Saturday, October 06, 2007
Are you one of those cheap bastards who won't shell out $1.99 (seriously, under 2 bucks! Why are you being miserable) to read one of the 3 best comics out there!
Please, say it isn't so!
Well, Image Comics are being super nice so they're now offering not one, but TWO (count it), two ways for you to get addicted to this crack.
CASANOVA #1 By Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba is available as an online comic on Image Comics' homepage
and now MySpace is offering the complete CASANOVA #8 issue for a download as a .CBR file (isn't that kinda 'extra cherry on top' cool?). Issue 8 kicks off the 'second season' of the title with new artist Fabio Moon and a perfect jumping-on point for new readers.
(Don't forget to also check out my review of #9 here)
Friday, October 05, 2007
Part two of 'No Future For You', the third 'episode' of Season 8, drawn by Georges Jeanty and written by BKV.
Where BKV apparently now stands for Buffy Kills Vampires! (Someone tell Brian!)
Since we last saw Buffy on TV, the world has just gone a bit more Slayer-ful, as hundreds (thousands?) of potential slayers have been leveled-up into full stabbity mode. Now Buffy and the Scooby Faculty have set up Slayer High atop a mouldy castle enrolling and training the Girl-Wonders in the ways of Stab-Fu.
But, back-track a bit (say that a few times over, fast, and see what you end up with)
Why did everyone just assume all the new slayerettes are cute and cuddly? We've seen in the past what a headache a Slayer turned bad can prove to be. When freshly-activated Slayer GiGi turns out to be a bad egg, Giles thinks of that old saying 'Takes one to know/catch one' and calls in the last known homicidal Slayer, the now-reformed Faith. The catch? Gigi's full name is Lady Geneviene Savidge, a spoiled British aristocrat with a hobby of using other slayers as game for her hunting expeditions. Faith will need to step up in society before she can stoop down to murder this new threat. If someone doesn't run off with a "The Princess' Slayer Diaries" pun soon, I'll be a very frustrated geek! (yes, that's a three-in-one pun, collect them all for the grand prize)
Jeanty is probably fake-casting Gigi after some young actress or another as she has the same almost-photoboxed quality about her like the rest of the cast. If this was the actual TV show 8th season back in the 2003-2004 season, I'd have cast a still young Fairuza Balk in the role. Other suggestions? (leave a comment! Me loves 'em). Meanwhile, Faith is a dead ringer, his Dawn has improved, but poor Willow remains trapped in chubby-face Amish hell.
Last issue impressed me with the trueness of the characters' voices; this issue has less of the chatty chatty and more of the internal monologue with a side dish of stone gargoyle kicking action, Alias-styling masquerades and flashback doozies. Step-by-step:
We open up with a look back on the decidedly wicked Slayer-on-Slayer action from episode 3x21 (Graduation Day Part One), this time told from a Faith's-eye-view. These 2 1/2 pages are deceptively laconic, much like most of BKV's work; pause a moment, take into account the events of Season 3 from Faith's POV, go back and reread and these short 'three steps' will reveal quite the treasure. (Long cheat sheet: Remember, Faith was blissfully unaware of the problems she was facing throughout season 3; in her mind she was just having fun and making friends. She was especially pleased to have found Buffy, a kindred spirit who could understand her problems; she used every opportunity available to girl-bond with B, constantly unloading her problems, hoping for B to reciprocate and share a moment. The Buffster though, had a different coping mechanism: an introvert to F's extrovert; every time F tried to get closer, B would clam up even more, reveal only a bit of her enormous Angel issues at the time, and push her away. In the end she of course pushes her a bit too far for comfort, leading to the classic 'you're about to get it back' moment. B and F (i love this first letter game, saves up space that I can then waste in meaningless parentheses) may have kissed and made better in season 7, but that's just an uneasy truce for Faith, since she still remembers Buffy's 'betrayal'.
And now, in true poetic fashion, she's called in to do the same with Gigi. After her infiltration of the gala succeeds (more Veronica Mars than Alias in her subterfuge here), she comes close to Gigi, but freezes, leading to uncomfortable balcony chatter over fags (that's cigarettes for you Queen-challenged folk) ; now Gigi thinks she has a new friend to confide in, while Faith is the one with the uneasy feelings.
Buffy doesn't make an actual present-day appearance in the issue, but we're not bereft of the obligatory cut-away 'what are those wacky Scooby kids up to' scene. Dawn is still experiencing a growth spurt and fending off the birds-and-bees talk from Willow as they muse about sex, boys and reveal the dirty mystery behind Dawn's wardrobe changes (hint: there aren't any! eww). Whedon and co take good advantage of the main benefit of comics versus TV: no budgetary FX constraints! Why not have Dawn be 30-ft tall for the entire season? Why shouldn't Willow be able to fly around every issue? And wouldn't it be cool if Faith squared off mid-air against two giant stone gargoyles? (what, did I forget to mention that in the plot summary? oops!)
Jumping mediums may just turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to the Buffy franchise!
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Solicitation copy for The Order #3:
You are a member of the Order. You've been given extraordinary powers and a mandate to save the world. You've got one year. What do you do? "Calamity" James Wa was a baseball player with his whole future bright and perfect in front of him, when a drunk driver took it all away. What does HE do with extraordinary powers and a mandate to save the world? He goes looking for a little payback. Also: They're half zombie! Half hobo! ALL TERROR! The ZOBOS run roughshod on Rodeo Drive! Celebutantes and debutards beware–Botox is like ketchup to these flesh-eating, homeless weirdos, and they find your waxed and tanned skin DELICIOUS! Somebody call THE ORDER!
Seriously, who writes this stuff? Warren Simons, is it you? This is brilliant!
BART SIMPSON'S TREEHOUSE OF HORROR #13
It's that time of the year again. Kids start preparing their costumes, neighbours stack up on candy, Steve Niles is in a cheery mood and B-horror movies are suddenly cool again (but did they ever really stop?)
It's also time for Bongo Comics' traditional Treehouse of Horror anthology. I approach these books with the thought 'if you're only going to buy one Simpsons comic this year, this is the one you really want'. Because, you know, i do only buy one a year, and this is the one.
ToH stands out from the rest of the Bongo line, not just because of the horror theme (which honestly, leaves me cold at this point), but due to the amount of diverse talent it attracts from mainstream writers, and artists not normally associated with the franchise and the creative liberty they're allowed. In Halloween, anything goes, and these creators aren't forced to follow any style guides; instead, they're given free reign to reinterpret the Springfield population in their own artistic voice.
This year's stories in brief:
Writers: Brian Posehn, Gerry Duggan
Artist: Hilary Barta
The star of Mr Show writes the Simpsons take on Jaws, with the town terrorised by the gnashing and mashing horror antiques of a giant three-eyed fish monster. Classy and classic. Hilary Barta wows and dazzles on the art, picking up the traditional style guides and making sweet love to them with his trademark heavy inks and textured finished look (did that sound dirty? yum). The panels are all filled to the brim with secondary characters and little hidden gags, you'll still be picking up new stuff by the third time you're reading the issue.
2. THEY DRAW
Writer: Patton Oswalt
Artist: Jason Ho w. Mike Rote
The comedian and voice actor behind the uber-successful Ratatouille gives his best shot on this love song to the Simpsons' supporting characters, as Lenny discovers a discarded pair of magic sunglasses which allow him to see 'under the ink & color', at the raw pencil and breakdown stages of the comic book, complete with writer's guidelines on the characters scribbled around the pencil figures. How does a B-rate supporting character in a comic react when he discovers he is a B-rate supporting character, while the blubbering factory idiot picking his nose in the corner is the real star of the show?
The premise is strong and potentially brilliant, but Oswalt shows his complete lack of experience as a comic book writer in the execution; the pacing suffers as the team goes for comedic effect but misses its timing in every single beat. I'm hoping someone else picks up on this day and produces a full length issue. Mr Morrison sir?
3. PROP, PROP, WHIZ, WHIZ
Writer: Ian Boothby & Pia Guerra
Artist: Pia Guerra w. Terry Austin
The husband-wife creative team of Boothby and Guerra provide the big hit of the issue. Boothby is of course the monthly writer of most of Bongo's line, while Guerra has made a name for herself co-creating Y THE LAST MAN for Vertigo. Here unfortunately she doesn't stray too far from the style sheets, but her talent still shines through on the pacing and panel setups.
Comic Book Guy has lucked down on a collection of cursed movie props through an eBuy auction; anyone who touches the props gets transported and trapped into the movie they came from. Yup, just a cheesy set-up plot to allow a hilarious string of movie parodies starring the Simpsons family, one of the show's greatest strengths.
See Groundskeeper Willy in X-Men, Krusty the clown in Jurrasic Park, Moe's bar patrons as the Ghostbusters. And that's all in three panels, before the real fun begins:
Lisa gets drafted as the newest Vampire Slayer, enjoying the attentions of a simpsonized Sunnydale. Bart swaps yellow paw for chainsaw in Evil Dead. And for the piece de resistance, Homer follows in the footsteps ofAnakin Skywalker through Star Wars Episode III to become Darth Vader! (Check this week's Darth Homer Panel of the Week voting for more fun)
Writer: Thomas Lennon
Artist: Tone Rodriguez w. Andrew Pepoy
Thomas Lennon is the genius behind such movie classics like Herbie fully loaded, the american Taxi adaptation, the Pacifier and Night At the Museum (insert "-sic-" where appropriate). Imagine my lack of surprise at his credits list after finishing this disappointing story. Mr Burns enlists Bart Simpson for a trip to the Amazon to retrieve the Pygmy Elixir of youth. Not much in the way of funny apart from a couple of slapstick gags. Tone Rodriguez is an unknown to me, but he impresses with his take on the demented Savage Bart-clone Pygmies and his daring layouts.
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 the pants-run was a close one, between Zatanna's stripper spell and Iron-Man's melting composure, but the witch got the prize at the end of the day with 38% of the votes!
This week, there hasn't been much of a competition, as BART SIMPSON'S TREEHOUSE OF HORROR #13 is the only book worthy for Panel of the Week. It was quite hard to choose just 3-4 panels of the book, so I had to narrow it down even more to only DARTH HOMER panels from the Ian Boothby/Pia Guerra story in the book, which were definitely the funniest of the lot.
In this story, each character gets trapped in a famous movie after touching a cursed eBuy collectible. Homer ends up in Star Wars Episode III courtesy of Darth Vader's light saber.
Jedi Death Choke
In Outer Space Noone Can Hear You D'OH!
Should Have Seen It Coming
For the rest of the panels see the review of the issue.
It's the newest trend!
Forget Ninjas, forget Pirates, forget ZOMBIES (so passe!)
From The Order #3 (Matt Fraction, Barry Kitson, Marvel Comics):
ZOBOS!! And they look like... what?
What else goes on?
#3 focuses on James Wa, a.k.a. Calamity, or 'The Boy Most Likely to Succeed'
James is the team's speedster, and this issue delves more inside him to show us what really makes him tick. We discover he's lost his legs in a car accident which ended his rising Baseball career, forcing him (in true Marvel comics pseudo-science tradition) to invent a new set of cybernetic goat-legs to replace his missing extremities.
James is struggling between two conflicting dilemmas:
1. His 'freezing' during the last issue when he was asked to pull the plug on four comatose Russkies in order to stop an A-bomb detonating. Should he have controlled his doubts, set his morality aside and killed them?
2. His desire to take revenge on the man who cost him his legs, refreshed by newfound information on his hiding place. Will he be able to control his temper, set his morality aside and not kill him?
Meanwhile, the Zobos keep eating away at the neighbourhood, Mullholland is having power control trouble of her own, and Suicide Girl ex-Order member Avona makes a return appearance on the mortuary table. I knew that Talking Bluetooth Sidekick Sword was too marketable to stay buried for long!
I won't say anything about the quality of the writing and art, I've spent too much time going over that for #1 and #2 the past few months. This is the best superhero book of the year, don't you dare miss another issue!
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
I went to great detail last month about how Marvel's newest Hollywood super-team THE ORDER reminds me of my old darlings, Pete Milligan's X-FORCE.
Taking a look at next issue's cover (#4, by Barry Kitson), I was struck by deja vu; looking back on google, I found the cover to that X-Force team's 4th issue (#119, since they debuted in #116, art by Mike Allred).
Creative Subconscious Synchronicity?
I love them both regardless :)
Monday, October 01, 2007
At the close of every month, LYSAD will be putting out the absolute and final word on what was H-O-T in comics.
September 2007 was an excellent month in comics, with few but amazing suggestions.
2. THE ORDER #3 (Marvel)
3. UMBRELLA ACADEMY APOCALYPSE SUITE #1 (Dark Horse)
4. PARADE WITH FIREWORKS #1 (Image)
5. CASANOVA #9 (Image)
6. INFINITY INC #1 (DC)
7. SHE-HULK 2 #21 (Marvel)
8. BART SIMPSONS TREEHOUSE OF HORROR #13 (Bongo)
9. SUPER VILLAIN TEAM UP MODOKS 11 #3 (Marvel)
10. SPIDER-MAN FAIRY TALES #4 (Marvel)
The month was marked by the jaw-dropping 'Y' on the last page of Y THE LAST MAN #58. Matt Fraction continues his monthly presence in the chart with CASANOVA and new darling THE ORDER.
Pete Milligan debuts with INFINITY Inc just as Dan Slott gives us his continuity porn curtain close on SHE-HULK.
Mike Allred almost had two in the list, with MADMAN ATOMICS COMICS #4 barely losing the #10 spot in favour of Allred's other release SPIDER-MAN FAIRYTALES (which won mostly on the basis of Allred drawing Gwen, MJ and Spider-man with a mop).
As for SUPER-VILLAIN TEAM-UP, it took me 3 months to notice it, but it's most likely going to be a permanent fixture in the chart from now on.
Sunday, September 30, 2007
UMBRELLA ACADEMY: APOCALYPSE SUITE #1 (of 6)
Written by Gerard Way
Art by Gabriel Ba
Colors by Dave Stewart
Letters by Blambot's Nate Piekos
Cover by James Jean
Dark Horse Comics
Umbrella Academy is the new crack!
Promoted solely on the fame and crazy of its writer and creator, rockstar Gerard Way, him of the Chemical Romance fame, I expected nothing more than a dose of wacky with a side order of amazing art, courtesy of CASANOVA's Brazilian power-art-house Gabriel Ba (with a funny accent mark on the a I can't replicate right now. Gabriel Ba', Gabriel Ba').
Who knew a rockstar could write our socks off?
The Umbrella Academy is nothing sort of amazing and I'll tell you all about it:
Fathered and led by wacky wealthy and world-renowned inventor Sir Reginald Hargreeves, a.k.a. the Monocle, the Umbrella Academy consists of 7 mutant children-prodigies, the surviving few of a world-wide simultaneous miracle birth phenomenon. Raised as the thinking man's super-kids, they are now reunited in their 30s to deal with their father's apparent demise.
They are: (um, minor #1 spoilers)
(Luther, the Spaceboy)
Ruthless leadership skills, dedication bordering on inhuman, excels at everything he tries, particularly aviation and markmanship. Appreciably enhanced physical strength and resilience.
Most likely to have a full body trans-species transplant, move to the moon.
An insolent brat. Ability to hold breath indefinitely proves surprisingly useful in each mission. Not bad with a knife. Predictably reckless.
Most likely to lose an eye.
(Allison, the Rumor)
Prevaricates with appalling ease. Making falsehood come true is the power.
Most likely to cry wolf.
(Klaus, The Séance)
Fretful, morbid temperament. Psychic abilities allow him to communicate with the dead, levitate. Pale death-like complexion, most fitting.
Most likely to listen to Chemical Romance.
Most likely to disappear for 20 years.
(Ben, the Horror)
Gruesome but fascinating. Crazy monsters under his skin. A parallel dimension of unsavory feeling.
Least likely to make it out alive.
No discernible talents. Some enthusiasm for music, but mediocre skill on the violin.
Most likely to write all about it.
The manic plot of the 1st issue follows the children from the uncanny coincidence of their birth, to 10 years in their future thwarting the berserker tourist-unfriendly rampage of the Eiffel Tower and then 20 years further in the future as they rejoin in their childhood home after rumours of the Monocle's death start to spread.
Gerard Way fascinates me with his writing debut. The story is fueled on the same absurdist humour that made Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Wes Anderson such great darlings; Gabriel follows suit with pacing, photography and a cinematic rhythm that reminds me of the aforementioned's cellulose mastercrafts: Le fabuleux destin d'Amelie Poulain and the Royal Tenenbaums.
All this, tied up in a ludicrous action-adventure package the likes of which hasn't been attempted in comics since Ba's last project, CASANOVA from Image. No wonder he's the perfect artistic choice for this. It's not just the writing and the art, mind you. Kudos to Dark Horse for a true dedication to quality, joining this duo with the best of each field in the industry: the most able and Eisner-friendly colourist in Dave Stewart, the greatest indy letterer: Blambot's Nate Piekos and finally everyone's favourite cover artist, FABLES' James Jean.
Hurray! Hurray, Apocalypse!
This is the comic you always dreamed of reading.
Preview of Umbrella Academy #2 from CBR
Full story from Umbrella Academy FCBD issue from Scans Daily
The Kraken solo story from Dark Horse Comics Presents on MySpace