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 ridicously praising three amazing comics this week, THOR: GOD OF THUNDER #10, THANOS RISING #4 and UNCANNY X-FORCE #8. Boy, did I love those comics. In fact, the positivity spread, because after last week’s negative nit picking, I really loved pretty well every book I read this week, so let’s get happy! HUGE SPOILERS for all titles below.
It’s weird how DC does this whole ‘ladies week’ thing – WONDER WOMAN, SUPERGIRL, BIRDS OF PREY and BATWOMAN all come out on the same week pretty well every month! Of course, that’s only about half of their female led books, which puts them 9000% ahead of Marvel in that regard. Anyhow, WW really seems bent on making me more and more of a gleeful fanboy every issue – this thing is straight up perfect. The Highfather and Orion, WW breaking out of futuristic bondage (nice touch on Azz’s part, who mentioned in an interview that Marston’s classic superhero erotica were the only WW stories really worth reading – ouch to Rucka and Simone!), Orion’s battle with his rage, the coyote/dog people, War’s last page pun, and of course Chiang’s incredible art. WONDER WOMAN is seriously the best superhero comic DC has published in forever.
I really like this – Supergirl ends up saving a planet with the technology to turn memories tangible, and somehow MAN avoids the get it because that’s her whole thing angle that the story could have fallen into. Supergirl’s battle with Cyborg Superman is intense, and her reunion with her mother was touching. I’m quite enjoying Nelson’s work on the title so far.
Please tell me you all read INVINCIBLE! This comic is amazing. I know it has a (well-earned) reputation for being a Tarantinoesque gore-fest fan-fic, but there’s a lot more going on than that. In fact, even the gore is simply Kirkman’s way of exploring every aspect of the superhero genre, including the indulgent and juvenile violence. However, the moving stories of what it means to be human are what lay at the heart of the superhero story, and this issue is spectacular on that front. Eve manages to question Levy’s methods without as much as throwing a punch – it’s a great way to reinforce Invincible’s immaturity, when he comes bursting through an alternate dimension with fists raging. Ottley’s art is just beautiful – unbearble tension in the scenes between Eve and Levy, fantastic action in a battle between Mark’s. I don’t think any book makes me as excited as INVINCIBLE.
Go out and buy this book right now. Si Spurrier, man, that guy. Every time he writes a comic I want to write a thousand words about it, and I think even he’s sick of my sycophantic praise on twitter anytime he puts pencil to paper. NUMBER CRUNCHER, originally serialized in 2000AD, tells the story of an accountant in the afterlife, in charge of assigning reincarnations. Bastard Zane, an ornery ex-gangster, sends a doctor back to Earth in search of his one true love, only to watch heartbreak and longing on the not-too-distant future below. Smart, complex, moving, everything Spurrier excels at, and Holden and Bellaire’s art work suits the story perfectly.
THE SHADOW: YEAR ONE is one of my favourite books on the stand, but with Wagner writing, that shouldn’t surprise me. I love how Wagner understands what makes pulp stories great, and then translates those strengths into the contemporary style of comics writing, giving us the best of two different eras. Seriously, I love and horribly miss gimmick villains – such as Mr. Carlo, a crime boss obsessed with style and dignity and always correcting his own atrocious grammar. “This ain’t…ISN’T acceptable, capiche?” That’s INCREDIBLE. Every scene crackles with style and wit, from Shadow’s meeting with an insurance agent to Cranston’s new beau to a nosy interloper hot on the Shadow’s trail. Wagner’s dialogue is effortless and graceful, fun and endearing without being tacky. Torres’ art work is completely gorgeous – if you enjoy any of the artists he name checks in a fun visual Easter egg (Churilla, Samnee, etc.), you’ll love Torres’ work. Beautifully expressive line work. A great comic all around!
I’m off and on with this series, but holy cow everybody, ADAM FREAKING WARREN drawing Domino and Scarlet Witch! There’s your reason to buy a comic book. The first story featuring Black Widow and Fantomex isn’t as fun as it should be, but Warren’s story is as delightful and adorable as I expected. He has fun not only with the unique powers of the two characters, but also their differing personalities – he really gets Dom especially. So yeah, I loved that Warren story, but still pretty skippable.
Speaking of Domino, this issue was a whole lot of fun! Your basic ‘mission-that-can’t-go-wrong-does’ scenario, with Dom and Boom Boom as the leads. Hopeless’ script is great, positively crackling with personality. I’ve got the same minor problem I have with the other X-FORCE title – things are moving incredibly slowly. I mean, I love these spotlight issues as a fan, but neither book really feels like an X-force book. Ah, well – good comics are more important than whatever weird thing I’m looking for! And yeah, ugh, not a fan of Larroca.
I keep picking up these ‘inventory’ issues of DEADPOOL simply because I really like old Marvel comics, but honestly, they’re not so great. I really love the gags about the Bronze Age’s abusive overuse of narrative captions – the scenes describing Iron Fist’s powers are spot-on to what those comics read like – and there’s a hilarious nod to Steranko as well. Beyond that, the jokes are really tired and forgettable. Koblish mimicks the stiff corporate style of the era well (reading Howe’s MARVEL COMICS: THE UNTOLD STORY boy, was I not surprised to learn that artists were practically forced to memorize Kirby, Romita or Adams’ layouts – almost everything in the Bronze Age reads like lifeless copies), and Staples has fun mimicking the dot-colour art. Still, this comic is not funny or worth reading.
Something occurred to me last night while reading this comic. I have been COMPLETELY WRONG about Matt Fraction’s FANTASTIC FOUR books. These things are great. I don’t know why I’m so late to the party – I sincerely wasn’t enjoying them up until now, but reading this issue, I mean, this is everything I want in an FF book. Fraction takes one of the gloriously insane ideas of the early stories – Reed Richards turning the Skrulls into cows – and modernizes it in a way that isn’t another eye-rolling and juvenile attempt at ‘maturity’. Val’s questioning of her father’s moral decision is great, and feels like a real and heart felt family moment. I love the sincere and complex argument of America’s past, the shadow of slavery that will never dissipate across the country’s landscape. When I finished reading, I even retroactively enjoyed all the previous issues – it’s like something clicked, and I understood why those stories were great and why I wasn’t understanding them. So, all right, xmenxpert, if you’re reading, you were right. FANTASTIC FOUR is great. Sheesh, next you’ll have me on board for YOUNG AVENGERS!
I guess we’ll end things on a downer note so you all don’t get too comfortable. This issue is ridiculous – nothing happens. Immonen’s art is real gorgeous, though. But yeah, I don’t really know what to say. Mystique is a bad guy so the X-men fight her. Hoo-ray!
Well, that’s it for this week! If you’d like to talk about more Batman ’66 ginchiness, Medusa in a bikini, a Loebless Nova or 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!