Friday, September 02, 2005

ScatterThoughts: The Books Of Late August

I usually try to be more specific, but "Late August" will have to do. I got two weeks worth of books this Wednesday, and can't tell 'em apart. That's the only real drawback to .... the mail. They do a good job there, but I'm afraid I'm with Zilla on this one: I'm too impatient.

Wizard Magazine Issue 168

... Three months ago, I looked in the mirror at those nasty little spiderwebs of lines around my eyes, and I realized something. I'm getting older, and ... and he isn't.
Lex Luthor in All Star Superman

I am not a big fan of Wizard. But I'm man enough to admit when I'm being grabbed by the proverbial short hairs, and an exclusive eight page preview of Morrison & Quitely's All Star Superman is plenty grabby enough. It's wonderful, and well worth the small bit of integrity I sold to get my hands on it. Luthor using the phrase "spiderweb of lines around my eyes" makes me wonder if we'll see him in white leather and diamond lipstick, announcing how "very, very, very cross" he is. Not saying that would be bad.

Jack Cross Issue 1

Truth is, I'm a Warren Ellis fanboy. I'll buy anything he writes, I subscribe to Bad Signal, and I read through all his blog postings. I don't think he's about to rip off an American TV melodrama, but he's sure sniffing the same zeitgeist.

But is there really anything in Jack Cross that we haven't seen in 24? Being unwillingly drawn back in to active service? Check. Violent and shocking interrogation techniques? Check. A philosophy of "ends justify the means"? Check. Breaking down alone, when he confronts his true emotions? Check. For Pete's sake ... they are both named Jack. I thought there might be some fun involved by the fact this is set in the standard DCU. How does a Jack BauerCross function in a world with Superman? But I see no indication besides the cover logo that this is the DCU. Perhaps there's a rooftop chat in Jack's future, and all will become clear.

Black Panther Issue 7

I had to reteach the stupid humans everything they forgot, but the Old School ways are the best!
- Ancient mutant potentate Apocalypse

This is my first issue of Hudlin's Black Panther, so I don't know what he's been doing with the characters. I'll happily accept a revision of T'Challa as a playa who drops Faith Evans quotes. It's not the haughty and stoic ruler of Wakanda that I remember, but it's an interesting take. This is a Black Panther that is of the world, not above it.

But Apocalypse using the phrase "Old School"? Apocalypse? He's five millennia old, and isn't known for his immersion in hip-hop culture. Or any human culture. I would like to see more hip-hop in comics. But I'd like to see it in character, because a hip-hop Apocalypse is laughable. It completely took me out of what was a pretty enjoyable comic.

Young Avengers Issue 6

I blogged my reactions to Young Avengers in one of my first posts here, so don't feel the need to re-hash that into a critique of the first arc. I re-read those issues last night before reading the arc's conclusion in #6, and it only strengthened my opinion that Young Avengers might be the best book Marvel's producing right now. Ultimates is the only thing that stands with it. The dialogue really shines, and is exactly what I was expecting to see in Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men ... but didn't. It's sharp and witty, and shows Heinberg's television ear. The arc comes to a bold conclusion, and it's clear this series is working by some new rules. It's not afraid to shake up the status quo and break genre conventions by allowing fundamental changes to happen. I hope that the series doesn't settle down after this initial arc. Even if it does, this still stands as the best thing to come out of Disassembled.



Jim Roeg said...

About Young Avengers being the best thing Marvel is publishing: Agreed! How I love this series. (Miles ahead of Joss's Astonishing.) You've also made me regret passing up Wizard--how did I miss the fact that there was a Morrison Superman preview in there? Sheesh.

Mark Fossen said...

You're another Wolfman/Perez Teen Titans guy .... am I the only one getting that vibe off the Young Avengers? Unabashed superhero action with unabashed teen soap opera. And the opening arc certainly had that Wolfman/Perez scale to it.

Jon Silpayamanant said...

I would like to see more hip-hop in comics.

I don't know if you've heard of Brick City Bunch. One of the local DJ's from Indianapolis is the artist.

Here's the website:

And here's a short article about Justin Bleep at

I haven't gotten around to reading it yet myself, and really don't even know who writes it (or even if Bleep contributes the writing chores), but thought you might be interested.

Jim Roeg said...

You're another Wolfman/Perez Teen Titans guy .... am I the only one getting that vibe off the Young Avengers?

This is exactly why I love the book: the only other comic that's ever even come close to the original feel of the Wolfman/Perez New Teen Titans for me was Marvel's New Warriors, but this is much better. The marriage of art and scipting here is as strong as it was in NTT, and of course the premise is very similar (after all, the JLA played a role in the early issues of the NTT just as the older Avengers do here). I'm also really happy to see that Heinberg is sticking to his guns about the Asguardian/Hulkling relationship, despite the dispiriting reactions of some readers. I'm really looking forward to the upcoming "Secret Identities" two-parter in YA 7-8, which sounds like an extended version of "A Day in the Lives" from NTT 8...

Mark Fossen said...

Jon -

I definitely haven't heard of that, but it looks interesting. I suppose I really meant "mainstream comics". There's been a thread of hip-hop in the indy scene before, but it seems excised from the mainstream DC/Marvel stuff. "Urban" heroes and settings are nothing new, but it never seems to ring true (especially the dialogue). As long as we're importing writers, how about Talib Kweli writing Cloak and Dagger, or K-Os on a new Static.

Jim -

Glad to see I'm not alone on that.

Jon Silpayamanant said...

Ah, I see Mark.

but it seems excised from the mainstream DC/Marvel stuff. "Urban" heroes and settings are nothing new, but it never seems to ring true (especially the dialogue).

Yeah, I know what you mean there.

Talib Kweli writing Cloak and Dagger

Now there you go!