Even more reviews you can(not) use: A Good Day to Review Hard

Well, it’s that time again.  It’s time to dig into my stack of unread comics and see what the good people in funnybookland are selling to the masses.

Oh, what’s this?  There are four new #1 issues?  Looks like I have a theme.

WARNING:  THERE BE SPOILERS AHEAD!  YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!

Batman/Superman #1

Writer: Greg Pak

Artists: Jae Lee and Ben Oliver

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I`ll start off by saying that prior to the New 52, the Batman/Superman team-up book was called Superman/Batman.  I’m happy that the team over at DC Comics finally came to their senses and put the main characters’ names in the correct order (in terms of coolness, badassness, pretty much any way you compare them). 

My understanding is that this book is meant to show the first time these two flagship characters meet each other in the New 52 universe.  The plot is pretty straight forward:  Wayne Enterprise employees are being murdered in Metropolis, and journalist Clark Kent travels to Gotham City to see if Bruce Wayne has any comment on the story.  Bruce tells Clark to eff off (which was easily my favourite part of this issue) and then dons the cape and cowl to investigate the matter himself.  That’s when things run into familiar territory, with Superman running into Batman just as the Dark Knight is taking care of some business with Catwoman and a Wayne Enterprise employee, which makes Superman think that Batman is the killer.  It’s the kind of superhero mix-up I’ve seen before, but it serves as a way to introduce these characters to each other.  In addition to telling Superman off (which was so awesome I had to mention it twice), there is another awesome moment where Batman pretty much calls Superman dumb.  I would read an entire book of Superman insults.

Unfortunately this book has multiple artists, which is one of my biggest pet peeves in comics.  I love the Jae Lee art, and while Oliver’s art is close to Lee’s, you can tell when they switch over.  I understand that sometimes artists can’t draw an entire book, but I would have liked it if the same artist had drawn every page, especially since this is the first issue of a new series.  Other than that, my only quibble with the art is that the first time you see Superman he has demon eyes.  I don’t know what happened, but I thought Superman was a hero, not a servant from the depths of hell.

Overall I thought this book was fine.  The jabs at Superman made up for the somewhat derivative plot, but the use of multiple artists kind of took me out of the story at a certain point.

X-Files: Season 10 #1

Writers: Joe Harris and Chris Carter

Artist: Michael Walsh

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Did you guys know that the X-Files lasted on TV for nine seasons (about seven of them good)?  Did you also know that there are two movies (one of which is serviceable) based on the franchise?  Well guess what?  Now there is a new season of X-Files, so you better call in sickand take the phone of the hook because it’s time to get caught up on the adventures of Mulder and Scully!

The story of season 10 picks up after the events of the second movie (I think, anyway. I try to block the events of the second movie from my memory).  Mulder and Scully are now living under assumed names in the witness protection program, but after Deputy Director Skinner (someone got himself a promotion) arrives to tell them that someone may be looking for them, that’s when the poop really hits the fan. 

They don’t really get into the back story of the characters in this issue, so I don’t know how well this book would play for someone who isn’t familiar with the series.  Lucky for me I am familiar with the series, so this issue worked well for me. 

The art is good, but one of the things that bothers me about this and other comics that are based on TV shows (like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dollhouse) is that the characters look similar to their human counterparts, but they’re different enough that my brain keeps trying to figure out what it is that makes them look different than their real life counterparts.  That said, it doesn’t bother me enough to make me enjoy this comic any less.

It’s hard to say after just one issue, but it feels as though this story could fit well in the X-Files mythos.  After the entertaining end to this book, I can’t wait to read the next issue.

Ok, let’s move on to some non-licensed, independent comics!

Lazarus #1

Writer: Greg Rucka

Artist: Michael Lark

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This story takes place in a world where a handful of wealthy families control everything, and those who are not related by blood either provide a service to the family to get by or are considered waste.  Each family has one member called the Lazarus, who is basically the family’s immortal ninja assassin and is charged with protecting the family’s interests. 

When the book begins, we are introduced to the Carlyle family’s Lazarus, Forever, as she stops 3 “wastes” (the word used to describe poor people who leech off of the family) from stealing food from an uninhabited Carlyle guest house.  The battle is vicious, and it gives an early indication of what exactly this person has to do to the underprivileged on a regular basis.

The overall plot of this issue is interesting, as it sets up a conflict between the Carlyles and another family, but the real conflict appears to be internal, with Forever questioning her actions.  Rucka has set up an interesting world.  I’m excited to see where it goes.

The art in this book speaks for itself, with Lark doing a great job of making a socially disgusting world look cold, harsh and gritty.  I didn’t recognize his name when I saw it, but Lark’s art looks familiar.  I think I’m going to need to do some digging to see where I know him from. (Update: I recognize him from Gotham Central).

Overall, this is a great book.  You should read it.  Now!

Satellite Sam #1

Writer: Matt Fraction

Artist: Howard Chaykin

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This is a black and white comic where we learn about the seedy underbelly of a 1950’s science fiction television show.  When the comic starts, we are introduced to the behind-the-scenes crew just before a live taping of the show.  Unfortunately for them and the rest of the cast, Satellite Sam himself hasn’t shown up yet.  As we learn later on, there is a pretty good reason for that.

I wasn’t sure what to think when I picked this book up, but now I’m glad I did.  Fraction introduces a big cast of interesting characters and sets things up in such a way that he will have lots of threads he can pull on going forward.  While the story is great, the highlight for me is the dialogue.  Here are a couple of my favourite quotes:

“—Mary mother of ten fucks you gotta be kidding me—“

“Somebody let the human-fucking-mattress down there know to paaaad!”

Hehe.  Pure gold.

In terms of the art, I don’t consider myself much of a fan of Chaykin, but he does a great job of making this comic look like… um… I guess the best way to describe it is he makes it look like a 1950’s TV show.  That’s probably the best thing he could have done in this book.

All in all, this is a great start to what I hope will be a long series.

There’s also a lady’s bum on the cover.  What more do you want from a comic book?

So that’s it for this week.  After reading all that you probably want to know where you can get these and many other great comic books.  Why, you can get them at your local brick and mortar comic book store of course.  If you live in the Ottawa area you should go to the Silver Snail.  That’s where I go.  If you require any assistance while you’re there you can talk to Helen, pictured here:

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Don’t worry.  She doesn’t always look as demonic as a Jae Lee Superman.  See what I did there?  That’s called a call back.  You’re welcome. 

FUNNY BOOK BAMPF! 

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