It’s Thursday night and we’ve got some quick drive-by comic book thoughts for you. That’s right it’s the Pure Mood Pull List!
As always, if you’re looking for the very best in Marvel reviews, head on over to http://www.marveldisassembled.com. I’m over there talking about VENOM #37, AVENGERS A.I. #1 and tomorrow X-MEN LEGACY #13. So check it out! HUGE SPOILERS for all titles below.
Hope you all had a fun Canada Day weekend, and Happy Independence Day for any readers in the States. BFor maybe the first time in my life, I haven’t even finished reading my comics from last week yet! It was a colossal haul, and it pretty sincerely burned me out. I know we’re not allowed to complain about having too many comics to read, but dang! My compulsive nature keeps me from making any cuts, but things are getting a little too heavy. However, I may still have a sizeable stack from last week (including some of my favourite books like STAR WARS LEGACY and MIND MGMT, or Rucka’s new Image title LAZARUS which I was looking forward to immensely and is just SITTING HERE) but this week’s comics were a bit on the lighter side, and there were some fantastic books. It really reinvigorated me. I gotta find a way to keep things around a dozen a week. Bless these five Wednesday months!
Carlos M. Mangual
My name is Erik Robinson, and I like a Scott Lobdell comic in the year 2013. If ever there was a doubt that I do not sit with lowest of brows, let me present exhibit A, where I, the charged, read a Superman comic book launched by one of superhero comics’ greatest talents and picked up (and immediatley dropped) by a writer of incredible talent, only to be salvaged by a former stand-up comedian who so infamously wrote ’90’s X-MEN comics in supposed 24 hour periods, I read a Superman comic by that guy and really really liked it. It’s fun! Lobdell has a blast with Hammond, with dialogue that is genuinely funny. Lobdell takes a cue from Peter Sarsgaard in the GREEN LANTERN film, characterizing Hammond as weird and asocial more than evil genius. Clark Kent causing a little trouble at a social event for his new website was charming and endearing. And, taking a cue from the Silver Age stories, Lobdell spends a lot of time with bubble clouds, giving Superman plenty of hilarious deadpan dialogue. When an actor with a steampunk skeleton enters the party – “Yes, it’s a little strange an academy award winning actor is powered by a pan-dimensional energy supply that animates what APPEARS to be a synthetic body…” – that’s hysterical. The overtly expository and serious inner monologue of these weird stuffy superheroes has always been one of my favourite things about DC, and Lobdell has fun with that idea. That’s what I find so painfully unfunny about a book like FF or HAWKEYE – all of the jokes seem so desperate to be in on the joke, but I think playing things sincerely is what creates a real laugh, rather than just a sense of superiority chuckle. Consider (and prepare for the first segue in TPM history) the later seasons of the 1966 BATMAN series. Once the show became so into itself, the magic was gone. ACTION COMICS is a Superman story first and funny second, and it’s better for it. The art is typical Nu52 bland corporate style, but this was an actual good time. It’s weird, but the thing I like most about it is the same thing I liked about SUPERMAN UNCHAINED so much – it isn’t ashamed to feel like a Superman comic. It’s got Clark reporting, using his super powers in public to troll people (really, his calling card), Superman in space, fighting a big evil alien, etc. It’s good!
BATMAN ’66 #1
Everything about this book was perfect, and when I say that, please understand what exact level of praise we’re talking about here. I love Jeff Parker – I’ve written at length about his work on THUNDERBOLTS, RULK and DARK AVENGERS before, and books like AGE OF SENTRY are some of my all time favourites – and the 1966 BATMAN series is one of my all time favourite TV shows, and one of the greatest representations of Batman in other media. Now, knowing that I’m a guy who writes thousands of words about Superman movies that let him down, I was all prepared to hate this thing. I mean, what, it’s gonna be a weird choose your own adventure motion comic thingee? Really, DC? As always, my cynical snobbish nature was completely uncalled for – BATMAN ’66 #1 was GREAT. Even the digital innovative aspects! They work incredibly well. And Parker completely understands what was great about that seminal series of pure pop art – namely, it wasn’t ironically funny, it was just funny. It was funny in the same way that THE HONEYMOONERS or CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM is funny. Also, it was completely a superhero story – every other representation of superheroes after this show (with the exception of Timm’s animated series and possibly Raimi’s SPIDER-MAN films and Donner’s SUPERMAN movies) tried their absolute hardest to get away from being about superheroes. Which makes absolutely no sense to me – superheroes are about superheroes! Right?!?! Can’t we agree on this? Holy cow, I’m gonna bust a blood vessel here. BATMAN ’66 was amazing, as if you didn’t know. Jonathan Case draws the hell out of this thing, specifically one panel where Gorshin as Riddler looks near orgasm, a perfect cartoon representation of that guys manic acting sensibility. READ THIS!
BATMAN INC has sort of been in a series of climaxes for a while now. It’s getting a bit tired. It’s impossible to deny how breathlessly exciting the beginning of this book is – Batman injected with the Manbat serum wearing electro-gauntlets is pretty spectacular, and Burnham draws as if his life depends on it. The DARK KNIGHT RISES parallels are intriguing, and I am very excited for Talia and Bruce’s final showdown, but…I don’t know. I’m ready for the real thing, instead of all these preludes to the final battle.
Carlo Pagulayan, Patrick Oliffe, Wellinton Alves
I don’t know what to do except shame anybody who did not support this book. Again, Parker is maybe my perfect idea of what a superhero comics writer should be – he completely indulges the genre’s bizarre nature, but equally respects the deep emotional drama that defines superhero comics just as much as the over-the-top action. We get fun moments like Jen Walters hearing Man-Thing’s global voice as a kind and sensitive gentleman, and more heart-felt scenes such as Betty choosing to not spend a life of love with a cured Bruce Banner in an alternate universe. Tesla, Machine Man, ancient S.H.I.E.L.D. popes…this is a wild ride. I will really, really miss this comic, and I really hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Parker at Marvel. MACHINE MAN on-going in Marvel NOW! anybody?
Jorge Molina, Norman Lee
VC – Clayton Cowles
Nothing like a good old What If…! Honestly, this one spends a little too much time setting up the events of AVX – if you’re familiar with that story, you might as well just start with issue two. Still, this follows the Marvel rule of alternate timelines (basically, if anything changed, everybody dies), and there’s some fun schlocky surprises to be had. The second issue looks to kick things up a notch!
This may end up being my favourite single issue Marvel comic of 2013. It takes the overbearing influence television has had on modern superhero comic books and makes it work in a way that suits the medium and genre far, far better than the work of a Bendis or Hickman. Don’t get me wrong, those guys are great writers, but they barely write comic books. They write in the way they want to write, and they do it very well and are incredibly disciplined about it – but I always appreciate an attempt to work in the confines of the medium. I don’t think everything should be this way – you need guys like Bendis who don’t follow the rules, and as is often the case, it’s those guys that will break out into a wider audience. Anyway, as you know I take a while to get to the point, SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN balances humour, action and sincere human feeling. Boomerang’s story is tragically funny, a painfully unaware man who just can’t realize how much he’s deluding himself. Spencer and Lieber sum it up in a painfully sad and darkly comic moment – visiting his friend in prison, Shocker jokes and laughs about Boomerang changing his identity, while Boomerang responds with defeated silence. The comic book store scene is a bit much, and the symbol bubble clouds are far too cute, but Speed Demon stealing a dog? Spencer somehow finding a way to make a joke about Shocker’s costume funny? Great, great, perfect.
I enjoyed this. Filthy and overworked sex-hungry men – who does it better than Fraction or Chaykin? Always fun to see them working together. Like most Image number ones, it was more of a taste of the future than anything else, but I enjoyed it.
Story By: Phil Hester
Art By: Todd Nauck
Art By: Gabe Eltaeb
Hester and Nauck keep on telling fun, traditional superhero stories! I honestly love this series. This takes the typical Silver Age set-up of a cold open that we can’t believe happening – Superman working with Lex Luthor, Batman robbing banks – and then stringing us along as we guess what the answer to the heroes strange behaviour could be. Best Tiger is my favourite Guardian next to El Chupacabra, so seeing them equally sparred was a great moment. Very exciting stuff, phenomenal art and very solid writing. What most superhero stories should aspire to.
Well, that’s it for this week! If you’d like to talk about any of the other delicious comics I didn’t have time to talk about, leave a comment below! Otherwise, I’ll be back next week, and keep checking in at the Pure Mood for, as always, daily updates on all things comics and pop culture!