Thursday, September 27, 2007

Milos + Milo

Where the borders between freak, geek and art blur to pixelate. A self-portrait.
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Review: Casanova #9


Writer: Matt Fraction

Artist: Fabio Moon

Image Comics

'When is Casanova Quinn?'

That's the question-du-jour, as my favourite spy-adventure returns after a hiatus-- but the protagonist gets left behind... somewhen! Big sister Zephyr Quinn takes center-stage, as twin brother Fabio Moon takes over for Gabriel Ba who has moved to the big leagues with Dark Horse's UMBRELLA ACADEMY (review coming soon), and moody midnight beach blue replacing the mouldy green as the monochromatic colouring tone of choice.

What really interests us this issue though is Sasa Lisi, the sexy new cast member, the super-diva from th future with the wardrobe to die for and the optional extra four arms and vintage spaceman helmet. Love her! On the Y chromosome side, new hottie man-candy, jet-set terrorist and potentially crazy love machine Kubark Benday isn't as sexy as advertised, looking like 007 by way of Dragonball, trumping Wolverine on a bad hair day. Thankfully he packs enough witty to make up for coiffure-terrible.

What else goes on? Zephyr shoots people in her PJs, Valomilk has a famous flowing centre, Kubark Benday is gonna get some, Sasa Lisi gets the Nth degree, Kaito robo-geek has sex with a robot inside a giant robot, Daddy Quinn suffers from over-exposition and Zephyr meets the new boss who's the same as the old boss.

Phew! All this in 16 blue pages with 5 pages of behind the scenes commentary and extras, and under 2 bucks. You're insane for not buying this already!

Grade: 8/10

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Indy Capsule Reviews 27.09.2007

This week in review:

  • Fallen Angel #20
  • Madman Adventure Comics #4
  • Fables #65
  • The Programme #3


Write: Peter David
Artist: Dennis Calero
IDW publishing

The Fallen Angel's son, Jude, stars in this done-in-one exploration of the 5 stages of grief, trying to come to terms with his new role/curse as Bete Noire's magistrate. Bar fights, runaway nuns and seduction of the clergy.
Jude still hasn't grown on me as a character, although this issue is a step in the right direction. Peter David's exploration of the five stages doesn't break from the expected, even falling in the common misconception of what the Bargaining stage really refers to; it's commonly shown as literal bargaining with a third-outside party to alleviate the pain, while in reality it most commonly refers to a person bargaining with themselves: 'if I do this one thing today, it will help ease the pain'. Still better than the sum of FALLEN SON: CAPTAIN AMERICA.

Grade: 6/10


Writer/Artist: Mike Allred
Colorist: Laura Allred
Image Comics

Mike Allred's return to the character who made him famous continues on an odd pace and with a novel spiritualist adventure bent. Madman's done with the soul searching, he's back to reality-- but a moment too late! His loved ones have already shot his body into space for burial - packed tight with his robot cloned body, AstroMan, for company -huzzuh! While Astroman races on low fuel to earth for help, Madman has a close encounter of the third type with a space hottie from a planet of multi-colour tuffy and gets tangled up in a vag-mouthed dendromorphic seer.

Does the story make much sense? Not at this point. Since the start of the new volume, with the first recap issue, Allred has been pushing Frank onto a larger path of destiny, trying to fit everything that's come before into a grander scheme (something that doesn't easily suit the character), while at the same time amping the weirdness with each stop of his Odd-yssey. As jarring as the plot is, the art has never looked better. This is the most beautifully drawn and coloured book on the stands, but I do miss the nonsensical adventures just for the sake of fun which littered the original run of the title. Some things are better left simple and fun without an overall purpose and direction.

Grade: 7/10


Writer: Bill Willingham
Artist: Mark Buckingham

It's been taking more and more of an effort to sit down and crack this book open every month. When did Fables turn into Days of Our Fairy Lives? The current storyline has been dragging on way too long, feeling like an ongoing soap opera. Don't get me wrong, when I do manage to start reading, it's still engrossing and drop dead beautiful (deservedly Eisner-winning), but it doesn't have a central story in each issue to pull the reader in, instead offering the next part of the several ongoing plotlines.

The Frog Prince keeps marching with his army of Dead Fables, finally reaching his deserted Kingdom (Willingham's done wonders turning Ambrose into a true hero and convincing both the other characters and the reader of his valour and right to lead). In Fabletown central, everyone spends their days watching the Prince's exploits (told you it's like daytime soap over here). Frau Totenkinder reveals her true motivations and the nature of the coming conflict. Bigby trains more soldiers. The Snow Queen obsesses over beans. Prince Charming learns a foreign language. Khan schemes. Bluebeard still doesn't have any clothes on (roooowr)

Grade: 7/10


Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: C.P. Smith
colorist: Jonny Rench

Superman Max is still on the run after his awakening. So who you gonna call to stop the big bad Russian super-terror? Well, turns out, neither of the super-people are unique, as neither side of the Cold War stopped at one when producing superman weapons. Now the Spirit of Lenin has already reached his Communist Superwoman: Pravda, while the American agents race to retrieve the secret location of their number two from a retired child-molesting piece of trash.

Milligan is in his best form here, providing a sharp and fast-moving story, with C.P Smith providing adequate (if sometimes confusing) art, but which is raised to drool-worthy heights thanks to Jonny Rench's pallette which simply make the book. Get this guy a raise and an Eisner nomination please.

Grade: 8/10

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Light a candle - Stop Child Pornography

Take a minute of your time to help spread the word, post this on your blog and email it to your friends:

The innocent victims of Internet child abuse cannot speak for themselves.

But you can.

With your help, we can eradicate this evil trade.

We do not need your money. We need you to light a candle of support. The more candles we light, the more powerful our voice becomes.

This petition will be used to encourage governments, politicians, financial institutions, payment organisations, Internet service providers, technology companies and law enforcement agencies to eradicate the commercial viability of online child abuse. They have the power to work together. You have the power to get them to take action.

Please light your candle at or send an email of support to Together, we can destroy the commercial viability of Internet child abuse sites that are destroying the lives of innocent children. Kindly forward this email to your friends, relatives and work colleagues so that they can light a candle too.

Candles now lit = 2,267,751

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

X-Men #203 Advance review

X-MEN #203

Writer: Mike Carey

Artist: Humberto Ramos

Marvel Comics

Mike Carey's action blockbuster 'Blinded by the Light' concludes -- with a buddy movie action sequence?

Yup, it's time for some Sam+Bobby action!

[recommended soundtrack for this issue and this review: You've Got a Friend in Me - Randy Newman, Toy Story soundtrack. Go ahead and scroll down to start the Youtube video]

The X-Men are reeling from the shock of the combined attack from Exodus' Acolytes, Sinister's Marauders and Mystique's turncoat X-Men (Gambit, Malice-Sentinel, Sunfire and Lady Mastermind). Sinister has sought out to destroy and incapacitate any and all access to future knowledge, including New X-Men's Blindfold, Cable and finally the Books of Destiny.

Kitty and Colossus are left in a shattered institute with the New X-Men trying to revive a comatose Blindfold, the Astonishing X-Men are shattered from the attack at Mystique's place and Carey's team-- oh, wait, there's nothing really left of Carey's team!

Rogue is comatose
Cable is dead (yeahhhh)
Sabretooth is dead (uh-huh)
Lady M, Sentinel and Mystique have defected

Now it's up to the two remaining X-Men, Iceman and Cannonball to escape the combined forces of the X-Men's two greatest villains and retrieve the hidden Diaries. Mike Carey loves us.

Sam and Bobby rule the day here... for a bit. Carey comes up with a convincing battleplan to convince us that the two typeset 'team rookies' (one from the 60s the other from the 90s) can prove their mettle in this tough spot. Ramos manages to stay out of Carey's toes and not confuse the action too much; I wish he would work to his full potential, as the brief flashback on page 3 hints, with the gorgeous crosshatch shadowed style he used to great effect in Dark Horse's REVELATIONS.

What we love: Carey's Emma Frost, with a duty to be cool for her adoring audience. Kitty and Colossus minding the kids (for all AOA Generation Next fans). Emma's clandestine double mindwipe trick to protect the diaries. Bobby being cool, Sam kicking ass. Gambit in the familiar grey zone between the X-Men and the Marauders. And Everyone Hates Mystique!

What we don't love: Lady Mastermind not being the center of the universe! But mostly, the Mystique-Bobby relationship, which Mike has only clued us to, but not really explored yet. Mystique (erm, SPOILERS!!!) spares Bobby's life this issue, telling him he's 'the only X-Man who gets a benefit of a warning'. Presumably, Mystique joined the team and flirted with Bobby to incapacitate him as he's considered their most powerful (Omega) mutant, but in the process felt something for him; something to make her put him above her foster daughter (who she cold-bloodedly shot in the chest - with no benefit of warning) or her birth son Nightcrawler? I hardly see the build-up to something so deep between the two in the title, as the whole romance took place mostly behind the scenes.

While the other four X core titles are busy micromanaging and keeping well out of each other's business, Carey has taken the daunting task of looking at the 'big picture', putting all the separate pieces of the X-Men tapestry puzzle together and making the teams work together. I haven't enjoyed this feeling of X-Men synergy since the days of Scott Lobdell's masterminding the titles (but then, I make a point of saying this in every X-Men review lately).

In the Endangered Species back-up, Beast and Dark Beast conclude their visit in the Guthrie farm. Dark Beast looks at the kids as something less than lab rats, as last segment's cliffhanger attests to, and you bet Beast has something to say about it! Beast versus Dark Beast in the catfight we were all looking forward to!

Grade: 7/10

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Milligan, Inc: the INFINITY Inc Interview

This week I'm celebrating the 100th LYSAD column over at the Nexus (it certainly took me long enough to get there!), presenting a special interview with my favourite writer: PETER MILLIGAN ,talking about his latest DC project: INFINITY Inc.

Infinity Inc. is one of the most thrilling comics on the market right now, and I'm confident the interview and the preview panels I chose reflect that and get all of you to give the book a go, it's certainly a leap above the usual DC superhero fanfare.

Choice Excerpts:

What is the high concept which sets this title apart from the flock?

Pete Milligan:
I was interested in creating what you might call a 'psychological superhero' book. Using a lot of Freudian imagery and ideas about who we are, what makes us tick, and where our problems come from. This opened up an incredibly rich area. Even the' powers' that a lot of the characters display have their roots in the world of the psychological. Most of the characters in this book have behavioral, psychological or mental problems. The trick of course is to trawl this rich ocean of possibilities... without getting drowned in a sea of miserableness. There's a lot of fun in the book, a lot of weird stuff. But there's raw emotion too. That was the crux of the pitch--and it's also what makes this book a bit different from the other teen superhero books out there.

How far have you been allowed to push the envelope in terms of adult content? Are there some things you wanted to do with the title but weren't allowed in terms of keeping the title PG?

What can I say, It's a PG book. But I think we're probably pushing things as far as they can go, and touching upon some areas that aren't usually approached in these books. That said this isn't a competition to see what I can away with. The limitations of a PG book mean you sometimes have to find creative ways of saying things. Of course the book would be different if it were Vertigo. The same subject matter would probably be handled in a very different way.

NUKLON: Gerome has severed any ties to his old friends who would remind him of his glory days, and developed narcissistic tendencies. What made you choose to go down this route with the character? And what's up with that hair?

Pete: Simply, it was my take when reading this guy. Some form of twisted narcissism seemed to lurk within Gerome's character--and I was interested in dragging that out, twisting it further, and seeing where it took him. The hair? What's wrong with the hair?

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Vote for Panel of the Week 23.09.07

Each week I'll be posting the 3-4 most memorable panels from the week and putting them up for a public week-long vote. The winning panels gets posted on the sidebar and earns boasting privileges over lesser panels...

Last week was slow voting-wise, with Ms Marvel losing to She-Hulk despite the odds stacked in her favour 3:1

This week's big ringer is the Green Arrow/Black Canary Wedding against stiff competition from the voting's favourite darlings, the Marvel Adventures books! And in a weird twist, all four are male crotch and ass shots with someone pointing towards them! Funky week.

Panel A
Silva' Surfa' wit' the Pizzower Cossizmic - Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four #28

Panel B:
Mr. Melty Iron-Pants - Marvel Adventures Avengers #16

Panel C:
--Big Arrow - Green Arrow/Black Canary Wedding Special

Panel D:
Eht Lluf Ytnom - Green Arrow/Black Canary Wedding Special

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Big Barda T & A but no Face?

Al Barrionuevo is the stellar artist behind the gorgeous MARTIAN MANHUNTER mini-series and last week's tolerable DC COUNTDOWN #32. He has a solid tight style, although the collaboration with 'breakdowns artist' Keith Giffen didn't seem to favour him well.

The question I beg to ask after finishing the (surprisingly) amusing #32 has to do with Big Barda's 'cameo appearance'. I've gone ahead and included scans of all of Big Barda's panels in the issue:

Notice anything funny going on?

Now, is this a case of Keith Giffen having fun with the breakdowns, DC making clandestine plans to change Barda's race or Barrionuevo simply not knowing what Big Barda's face looks like?

Big Barda has often been the subject of overly enthusiastic T&A portrayals, but at least past artists had the decency to also include her face in the panels. ;)
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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Marvel Retread Funnies

Tom Brevoort recounts a book that predated (by 20 odd years!) the recent 'Remixed' Identity Crisis/Civil War mania:

MARVEL RETREAD FUNNIES, remixing the Elektra death issue of Daredevil (#181), written by Mike Carlin and Christopher Priest! The Priest curse must have been in effect from those early days as the book was canned before even getting published!

(Another interesting point from that blog post is how Dazzler #1 sold 400,000 copies! oh dear.... and we thought the early 90s were bad :) )
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