Archive for May, 2014

Friday Night Fights: Dead Reckoning!

Kids, it’s been a long week, and papa’s tired. So without no further ado, let’s just get right to it. It’s time for… FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight’s battle comes to us from September 1983’s The Flash #325 by Cary Bates, Carmine Infantino, Dennis J. Jensen, and Phil Hugh Felix. Professor Zoom has been killed by the Flash, and the Rogues have gone to the trouble to hijack his body from the morgue.




There we go, children. Now y’all shoo — papa’s gonna start the weekend off with a nap…

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Blue Plate Special

The most unexpected dose of fun this week came in a single comic book — or rather, two comic books crammed into one. Chew/Revival and Revival/Chew were two complete stories combined into one awesome flipbook. Let’s take a look at the menu…


Chew/Revival #1

So in the comic written by John Layman and illustrated by Rob Guillory — the guys behind “Chew” — Tony Chu, the FDA detective who gets psychic impressions from everything he eats, pays a visit to Wausau, Wisconsin with his partner, the cyborg John Colby. They’re investigating… something about a chopped-off hand? For some reason, that just led them to the Reviver capital of the world. That leads them to a morgue full of dismembered corpses and a recently sewn-together reviver, and then to a local chef with an extra arm.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a severely weird story, and it often doesn’t make a lick of sense. But it does everything that a “Chew” story should do — it delivers funny, morbid, slapstick weirdness, and that’s a good thing.


Revival/Chew #1

And on the other side, with Tim Seeley and Mike Norton handling the creator chores, John Chu is in Wausau on a different case — helping investigate some grave robberies. Chu is along on this one because many people think reviver parts could grant immortality to anyone who eats them. And Chu’s investigation leads to some weird stuff. He eats a little snow — and discovers that the ghosty-aliens around the county are actually human souls. And snacking on one stray fingernail leads to the discovery that someone is digging up all their old friends and holding a barn dance. When Chu, Dana, and Ibrahim investigate the barn, they find a grisly waltz featuring a bunch of bloody, stitched-together corpses.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Much more serious than the other story — and magnificently bloody and scary. Plus it features the epic crossover of Poyo the cyber-chicken from “Chew” with Lying Cat from “Saga.” Definitely worth the price.

Again, folks, that’s two excellent comics, slightly less than full-length, all in one package, for just five dollars. Go grab it, kids.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • To think — we could’ve had the brilliant Edgar Wright making a superhero movie for us — and Marvel went and pulled a DC Comics on us.
  • There’s a Kickstarter to bring “Reading Rainbow” back. I don’t even have kids, and I kinda want to back that one.
  • On a much more serious note: Basically, these people sit around all day and talk about their plans to write manifestos and kill as many people as they can. For some reason, no one calls this terrorism, and no one arrests these people making plans to commit terrorist attacks. Because they’re mostly white guys. And the people they hate with such endless, demented fervor is women.

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The Triumph of Zita


The Return of Zita the Spacegirl

When last we left our heroine, Zita the Spacegirl, she had been captured by the forces of galactic oppression. The third volume of Ben Hatke’s all-ages-friendly space adventure serial picks up from that point — Zita is brought before the tyrannical court of Dungeon World, jeered as Zita the Crime Girl, and thrown into a cell to rot, while her friend, Pizzicato the giant mouse, is slated for execution. The only way Zita can save him, even briefly, is by agreeing to work in the mines of the planet as a slave. Her only companions in her cell are Femur, a talking skeleton, and Ragpile, a talking, um, ragpile. And her only ally is a mysterious figure wearing a blue tentacled cloak…

Can Zita make an escape? Can she survive slavery and betrayal? Can she keep the villains from finding and enslaving Earth? Will her many friends ever manage to find her before it’s too late? And most important of all — Will Zita be able to save everyone?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Rousing, gloriously fun science fantasy. It’s a little darker than the previous books — not that they didn’t have their moments of darkness, too — but after all, the heroine spends so much of this story trapped in a dungeon breaking rocks while villains plot the invasion of her homeworld.

But for all the darkness, it just makes Zita’s victory all the more wonderful — and more bittersweet at the same time. It’s a story that can haul you bodily from one emotion to the next, where you exult in the appearance of each long-lost friend, and then cringe at the suggestion that Zita could lose them all again.

You’ve read the first and second volumes of these books, right? You loved the cosmic dust out of ’em, right? You’re definitely going to want to pick this one up.

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Speedy Reviews for a Sick Day/Holiday

Well, I feel like complete garbage, especially considering that I get to spend a holiday sick instead of, you know, being well. So I’m going to finish these as quickly as I can so I can go away and feel like garbage somewhere else.


Axe Cop: The American Choppers #1

Axe Cop gives up being President of the World so he can go back to fighting bad guys. He teams up with Super Axe and Captain Axe to defeat the Food Force Three and a bunch of alien monsters, then sing a song and eat some ham. They team up with Axe Girl, her mother, Axe Woman, Ralph Wrinkles, and a goat with axe horns to become… the American Choppers! But can they stop a bunch of evil axes controlled by demon lumberjacks?

Verdict: Thumbs up. So fantastically weird and funny.


Daredevil #3

Daredevil easily whups the Shroud’s ass, then learns that it was all a scheme to get the Shroud an audience with the Owl so he could kill him. But Matt has a different plan, involving Matt just walking right into the Owl’s mansion with a subpoena. But things never work out like they plan. Meanwhile, we learn a little more about the mystery of Foggy Nelson’s “death.”

Verdict: Thumbs up. Beautiful art and a delightfully convoluted story — and Foggy Nelson! I was getting worried about Foggy…


Velvet #5

Most of this issue is a flashback to Velvet’s ex-husband, a fellow super-spy like Velvet, and how she maybe killed him or maybe didn’t because he was maybe a double-agent.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It doesn’t get the overarching mystery cleared up, but it’s a well-told and beautifully illustrated story, soaking in action and espionage coolness.


A Voice in the Dark #7

Zoey finally breaks down and murders again — and she pulls off a couple perfect crimes — except for one little serial killer eyewitness…

Verdict: Thumbs up. As always, amazing artwork. Fantastic focus on the tension and intricacy Zoey’s planning and execution of her murders.


The Witcher #3

Geralt the Witcher encounters bunches of monsters, doesn’t trust Vara the succubus, and is strangely trusting of Jakob the hunter.

Verdict: Ehh, don’t know. It’s wonderfully moody, but it just didn’t entertain me much. It felt oddly predictable.

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Friday Night Fights: Knock Down, Drag Out!

Friends and neighbors, it is my sincere wish that all of y’all will get to enjoy a nice long Memorial Day weekend. I know not everyone gets Monday off — and if you’re one of them that don’t, I hope you at least enjoy a not too stressful Monday. But it is definitely the weekend now, and that means it’s time for… FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight’s brawl comes to us from April 1977’s Iron Fist #12 by Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Dan Adkins, and Don Warfield. Iron Fist finds his way into Avengers Mansion — and onto Captain America’s hit list.





Hope y’all enjoy this (hopefully) long holiday weekend, and I reckon I’ll see y’all back here on Monday.

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Rocket to Heaven


Rocket Girl #5

The cops are closing in on Dayoung Johansson, but the citizens of 1986 New York help hide her by disguising her with contemporary fashions. Meanwhile, one of the ’86 cops meets up with one of the 2013 Quintum Mechanics security goons — and they’re exactly the same person. But why can’t the future version remember ever meeting himself in the past? Meanwhile, in the futuristic 2013, Quintum Mechanics is making its bid to take over everything by dispanding the Teen Police and ordering a city-wide curfew. Is there going to be a way to disrupt the power play from the past? And what will it mean for the future?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Beautiful art by Amy Reeder and a cool ending (or maybe a sorta-maybe ending) from Brandon Montclare. I absolutely love Reeder’s facial expressions and body language, and I really hope this series will continue.


American Vampire: Second Cycle #3

Pearl’s new refugee recruit, May, is a vampire who’s been vampirized by the Gray Trader, and it’s turned her into a gigantic monster with vampiric mouths opening up all over her body. Pearl and the kids are rescued, barely, by Skinner Sweet, who’s had his own harrowing close encounter with the Trader. And Pearl also encounters her late beloved Henry — but of course, it’s not really Henry — it’s the Trader himself. What does he want? Can anything stop him?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Deeply nerve-wracking horror coupled with Rafael Albuquerque’s always-amazing art. Anything that scares the crap out of Skinner Sweet has got to be uncommonly bad news.


Ghosted #10

Nina Blood Crow has been taken over by a monstrous bird spirit and is gonna kill the heck out of everyone except Jackson and Trick, who are going to sneak out — until Trick shames Jackson into trying to make things right. He releases the other possessed women from their prisons and throws the mad cult leader into the fire — but can he stop Nina from killing him? What kind of sacrifice will be made to see everything made right? And what new band of villains has Jackson in their sights now?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A nice ending to this storyarc — maybe not as much spooky stuff, but plenty of action and betrayals and revelations. And the cliffhanger promises some more wonderful ghosty stuff to come.

Today’s Cool Links:

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My Dinner with Andre


Andre the Giant: Life and Legend

A graphic novel biography of the biggest wrestler who ever lived? Well, okay, I’m fine with that.

It’s actually really straightforward. It’s a collection of vignettes about the life of Andre Roussimoff, a man afflicted with acromegaly, who became world-famous as a professional wrestler and actor. We get Andre at just 12 years old, already too big to ride a schoolbus, getting a ride from playwright Samuel Beckett. We get Andre flipping a car over. We get Andre intimidating the law at a bar in Dallas. We get Andre insulting Bad News Brown with an inappropriate racist joke and making up with him years later.

We get Andre slowly suffering more and more as his condition worsens. We get Andre getting into fights both in the ring and in real life. We get Andre hanging out with friends and strangers, both famous and obscure. We get a bunch of short stories about Andre during the filming of “The Princess Bride.”

And we get truly epic tales of how much Andre could drink. Because the man could drink a heck of a lot.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great work on both cartooning and storytelling by Box Brown.

This certainly qualifies as a warts-and-all biography — and there are a lot of warts to cover. The most obvious example is Andre’s racist joke and feud with Bad News Brown. Even if he was simply ignorant about how offensive those jokes were to Brown, Andre still comes off looking like a colossal jerk. In fact, he looks like a jerk pretty often — being rude to fans, using his size and strength to intimidate and humiliate people, drinking and drinking and drinking and drinking…

But it’s also a very affectionate biography, too. Andre is a jerk, but he’s also a hugely charismatic jerk, and he also has lots of moments of compassion and kindness and friendship and humor. He inspired great loyalty and affection in many people who knew him, and his struggles with his condition — as well as his refusal to give in to despair and his vast zeal for life — are entirely inspiring.

You’ll read this, and you’ll want to go watch his matches or his movies. So go pick it up.

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Eyes Wide Shutter


Shutter #2

Kate Kristopher, once the world’s greatest explorer, has been kidnapped by a robot and a bunch of ghost ninjas, while little mouse people imprison her in a crystal gem prison. And then a bunch of lion gangsters driving a flying car attack, all while the NYPD’s saucer police try to contain the mayhem. Kate makes a narrow escape, but winds up in the hospital, while the lions and ninjas go to jail. But powerful sorcerous interests want Kate — and they may be closer to her than she suspects.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Such a wonderfully weird, bizarre book. But I do hope Kate starts acting a bit more proactively — she doesn’t do much in this issue.


Hellboy in Hell #6

Hellboy is still trapped in Hell, and it seems that his punishment is to hang around listening to 19th-century fops rattle on. But then he gets attacked by a vampire, and there’s a great big brawl all over Hell. Does this great battle mean anything to the future of Hell — or is it all a dispute over an old card game?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s ultimately a light, fun story — and there’s still some interesting hints about Hell’s future being talked about at the very end. Ahh, yes, plus we also get to enjoy Mike Mignola’s artwork — that’s always a big plus.


The Returning #3

Beth Turner has been cornered by a horde of changers — people who’ve had a near-death experience and are now dangerous homicidal maniacs — and they really want her dead. But somehow, Beth discovers that she’s able to fight them all off and even kill a couple of them, even though she’s just taken a bullet to the shoulder and has never been a fighter. She makes her escape and goes to a local diner, hoping to get cleaned up and get on her way. But the local folks recognize her, and one of them shoots her in the stomach. After she fights them off, too, she runs into Marcus Harmon, her mysterious benefactor. He tells her that changers are actually possessed by demons, he and she are both possessed by angels instead, and it’s their job to destroy the changers based on the names that appear on their bodies wherever they’ve been wounded. So why has Marcus’ name appeared on Beth now?

Verdict: Still not really sure about this one. Usually by this point in a short horror series, the explanations are all out of the way, but in this case, there are just more and more mysteries piling up. Don’t know how they’re going to wrap it all up next issue…

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Friday Night Fights: Die for Mxy!

Well, now, my children, we’ve come up on another weekend, a much-needed break from drudgery and toil, and that means it’s time for us to get our all-too-brief break started with… FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight’s battle comes to us from 2000’s World’s Funnest by Evan Dorkin and a ton of artists, including David Mazzucchelli, doing a near-perfect pastiche of Jack Kirby. Mr. Mxyzptlk has chased Bat-Mite to the worst place in the Multiverse: Apokolips!






Is it my imagination, or does Mxy look an awful lot like Kirby himself in that one panel?

Hope y’all have a great weekend, with not too much cosmic destruction and madness…

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The Wolf at the Door


Astro City #12

Our full focus in this issue is Ned Carroway, a man addicted to fine clothing and armed robbery. He manages to combine his passions into a career as a costumed criminal, usually as a member of a gang of similarly dressed crooks. Besides his solo career as the Gentleman Bandit, he’s been a member of the Sweet Adelines, the Menagerie Gang, the Gatsbys, and more. But can Ned ever find true happiness? Or does happiness for him really extend no further than expensive Italian shoes and a crisply ironed shirt?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wow, it’s the first Astro City comic that doesn’t have Brent Anderson on pencils. Graham Nolan does a fine job, though, and I’ve got no complaints about his art. The story itself is exceptionally grand, even with minimal use of superheroes. Ned is a great character, and it’s especially cool to get a look into the world of the themed bank robbers who populated Silver Age comics.


Captain Marvel #3

After Captain Marvel recovers her spaceship from the alien Tic, she agrees to accompany her back to the planet her race has adopted as their new home — a planet that appears to be poisonous. But Tic’s people place some of the blame for their predicament on the Avengers, and they don’t have a lot of faith in human superheroes who show up insisting they know what’s right for everyone. Can Cap win them over?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A lot of it is really kinda by-the-numbers, but Carol’s conversation with Eleanides, the leader of Tic’s people, is really very grand. She’s calm, wise, charismatic, compassionate, but also quite furious — and probably justifiably so — at Earthlings’ insistence on meddling in things they have no business meddling in.


Lumberjanes #2

The Lumberjane Scouts are going to enjoy a canoe trip down the river. Some of them are eagerly anticipating it — some of them are maybe a little too terrified of the possibility of lake monsters. Everything’s going perfectly well — until there’s a waterfall where no one knew there was going to be one. And then there’s the seriously fer-sher giant three-eyed lake monster that comes up out of nowhere. After some gloriously demented exclamations of surprise and terror (“WHAT THE JUNK IS THAT?” and “HOLY MAE JAMISON!” were my favorites), the girls wind up on land, but far from camp — and their only food is stolen by a mysterious three-eyed eagle. And then there’s the ominous tunnel deep underground…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Still not real into this “Adventure Time” style of art, but the story really is fun, goofy, and scary, and that’s a very good thing.

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