Friday, January 1, 2016

Catching Up On Comics with CGraig vol.1

Welcome to Catching Up On Comics with CGraig (the "C" in "CGraig" should have a strikethrough in it but for some reason strikethrough isn't as common or accepted a font accentuator as bold or italics or underline), a regular feature in which I tackle the stacks of unread comics at my bedside (and other places throughout my house).
The comic book blog-o-cycle tends to focus largely on newness, on what's out this week or previews of next week or what's shipping in three months (and occasionally quirky, older stuff), but what about the recently released general stuff, the not-number-ones and random runs in the middle of a series, or even just stuff that sits around one's for years unread... like a near complete run of Firestorm (ahem)? Well, that's this columns bread and butter... and by bread I mean comics...  and by butter I mean comics.
Today: Midnighter, Chew, Justice League United

Midnighter #7 (2015, DC)
(Pg9) Did I miss an issue or has it been so long since I read issue 6 that I don't remember Prometheus showing up in it.  I thought last issue was a Grayson crossover?  I could dig through the piles and find out.... maybe later.

(Pg10-11) Goddamn, Aco!

(Pg12) Setting up a nice long-term rivalry between these computer-enhanced-brain fighters here. And nice job Orlando on getting into Midnighter's history without *really* getting into it.

(Pg13) Ok, really does feel like I'm misding something here. Was M dating Prometheus unknowingly... I'm confused.  How did I miss that.  Need to reread. Unless I didn't actually read it.

(Pg17) Apollo. Dang. I was hoping we wouldn't go back to the whole gay Batman/gay Superman love story. People break up, and they move on.  Move on M. I didn't want to see Apollo at all this series, but that was asking too much, I know.  I trust Orlando tho.

(Pg18) Deadshot! Is that "absurd architecture" a real building in Boston?  A quick Bing search (which somehow my Google Android phone has defaulted to) yeilds no image results (some other weird buildings though).  That's a neat design from Hugo Petrus if he made it up.

Post-issue Thoughts:
I'm thinking I definitely missed the previous issue, or at least didn't catch on that Midnighter's boyfriend turned out to be Prometheus. What a twist. Like M, I didn't see that one coming. Oh sorry, SPOILER ALERT. Love this title.  Didn't make my top 5 best new series list this year solely beacuse Aco's only on art duty every other issue it seems, and that's annoulying because he's so damn crafty.


Chew #52
I just read #53 on Wednesday and, unlike Midnighter above, I had no idea I missed an issue.  I was going through the "to read" pile and found this issue of Chew just sitting there.  A skim throug the first three pages revealed a flashback, dealing with Savoy's past, so if it's entirely just background it didn't have an immense impact on the precedings of isse 53.

(inside front cover) Oh yeah, Savoy bit off Tony's ear that one time.  That totally happened.

(pg2) aside - fantasy cast Savoy. John Goodman seems the obvious choice, no? A plump Sean Connery circa 1994 (The Rock era) perhaps.

(pg9) Maybe I have read this already. It all seems familiar. The Chief in his kangaroo legs making googy eyes with Colby... I've seen that before.

(pg12) Yup I've definitely read this because doesn't Tony find that guy and he's gone crazy from trying read the skywriting and then Tony bites the guy to find out what he learned and Savoy is there?

(pg16) Called so much as I've read it already.

(pg18) I want to read that story where they go up against Boo-Berry, Count Chocula and Frankenberry, Ghostbusters-style.

(pg19) Called it... in so much as I've read it already.

(pg21) Isis came by while I was reading this issue, but unkike the cats in these photos she doesn't given a good goddamn about it.  She's never shown an interest.  She was all over my copies of Prez yesterday though.

(Pg23) anyone reading this Ringside book?

Post-issue Thoughts:
Gee, I wonder what happens next (sarcasm...because I've read the next issue already, see).


Justice League United #13-16
I've been disappointed with JLU from day one, back when Jeff Lemire was supposed to make it "Justice League Canada" but had no real plan for doing so.  When he left and Jeff Parker and Travel Foreman came on making this a weirdo Justice League book featuring whomever they wanted to cobble together for a mission in an almost anthology-like fashion, I was super keen on the idea but the execution proved problematic since the team dynamic would be hard to maintain if most of the team was cycling out every arc.  Plus, whatever that business was with Adam Strange that was the narrative thrust was kind of uninteresting. That first arc was entertaining enough but I can see why it didn't catch on.

Of this second arc, I've already read issue 13, and even possibly 14, but figured I should reread them in getting to the series' conclusion, just in case.
(JLU13, pg1) Sgt Rock! Oh yeah, this is a WWII story and WWII stories, like Italian Mafia stories, bore the pants off me.  Ey, I'm like Donald.Duck ova here!

(JLU13, pg4) Oh yeah, I like highly meloramatic, pulpy, fictional WWII stories like Inglorious Basterds which this seems to emulate a bit.

(JLU13, pg6-7) This thing. (pg8-9) I don't like this thing. I don't like that "the universe" is dictating prophecy, that a specific groupnis required for every mission because each person has a predestined role to play.  It takes away from the heroic aspects of resolve and triumph over aversity.

(JLU13, pg12) I really hate Steel's current armor.  It's fugly, makes him look like a poor-man's Cyborg and has none of tge cool factor of his original gear.  I miss the Destro helmet.

(JLU13, P14/15) The asides in this book are so 1980's/Marv Wolfman/Teen Titans..  "The Metal Men are someone else", "Call me 'Star'. I don't want to slow you down when you're saving my life."

(JLU13, Pg17) Steel pulling a Chewbacca, carrying a busted up Robotman on his back.

(JLU13, Pg21) I've not read much Enemy Ace...ever really.  And I don't recall the Who's Who entry.  Is he supposed to be a sympathetic Nazi?  "One of the good ones"? What is his deal?

(JLU13, PG22) Hah, love it when time travel stories loop back on themselves. Good payoff in this first issue.  Still not clear exactly what the mission is here, tho.
(JLU14, pg1) egad, we open with a soldier attempting to stand, having been gored through with Stargirl's staff, this after she was shot out of the sky by Enemy Ace.

(JLU14, pg2) Sorry, she was hit by Ace's plane, not shot, and he's a WWI German pilot, not a Nazi, so he can be a decent dude in that case, I guess.

(JLU14, pg3) I love Robotman, but since when does he have a stretchy arm?

(JLU14, pg6) And then Batgirl pulls an iPhone out of her utility belt and proceeds to show Sgt Rock and Co. the entirety of Groundhog Day.  Easy Company is driven mad by the concept of the film, the advanced technology projecting it, and the cuh-razy getup of the bat-girl.

(JLU14, pg7) oh, sorry, no... she throws a gas pellet and kicks them in the face, setting Vandal Savage free.

(JLU14, pg10) Oh, well aint that a lucky coinkidink... that soldier gored by Stargirl's spear was G.I. Zombie of all people... err... "people"

(JLU14, pg19) Robotman vs G.I. Robot.  Hah, yes please.

(JLU14, pg22) I'd be more excited if it was classic Kirby OMAC.
(JLU15, pg4-5) Convergence. So many players from so many different times. I think it's both great and terribly confusing (and also rather suspicious that its all these name-brand players... Enemy Ace, Easy Company, Creature Commandos, OMAC, G.I. Robot, Unknown Soldier...)

(JLU15, pg19-20) And so you just need to bayonet the Unknown Soldier (who's actually a "Breaker".. part of this overall JLU thrust I'm not really jibing with) and everyone goes back to their proper time.

(JLU16, pg1-2) I liked Paul Pelletier's work on issues 13-15 but Travel Foreman was supposed to be the series artist.  He's back here, although I don't know why he's uber-manga-ed up Alanna Strange in that last panel.  In fact she's looking ungodly skinny on both pages.

(JLU16, pg5) These townspeople mostly all look grotesquely disfigured, and yet nobody's commenting on it (and they're looking for weird).  I like Foreman's work quite a bit most of the time but sometimes it seems self-sabotaged by these weird caricatures.

(JLU16, pg7) Ah, turns out the weirdness in town is the House of Secrets.

(JLU16, pg12) I thought Cain was the violent one, but here's Abel lashing out (or is it a fake House of Secrets?)

(JLU16, pg15) a team up of Professor Zoom, Katana, the Riddler and Detective Chimp... sounds like a cool Super Team-Up Family story.

(JLU16, pg18-19) Aw, one of the things I liked about Lemire’s redo of Alanna was not having her be Sardath's daughter...oh well.

(JLU16, pg22) This was obviously Parker's endgame for if not his run on JLU, then this general arc, but its also evident this should have been a longer tale ( the origin of Adam Strange's problem, the effects of his confinement over time, and his rescue) as it all seems very accelerated here.

Post-issues Thoughts:
I like the random team up idea, and issue 16's origin tale helped clarify nicely exactly why it was happening and how it all started, but that really should have been in issue 11 or the 8-page preview that preceded it.  I think readers would have bought into it more with a clearer understanding of the stakes.  Honestly, Parker's brief run was fun in a wacky 70's kind of way, but I understand why it didn't quite catch on.  the $3.99 price point indicates one of DC's elite books right now (Superman, Batman, Justice League) but this was B-grade from the start.  Parker, and Lemire before him, embraced the B-grade status but DC I think was hoping for top shelf with the 'Justice League' name attached.  I also bet we're not seeing Equinox again for a few more years, if ever again.

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