Thursday, July 06, 2006

On 6 July, 2006

I went to the store at a relatively busy time today. Quite a few customers, all guys, enough that chiming in on the Civil War discussion they had going just didn't feel right. Plus, when another woman entered the store, one of the guys joked about it being a sign of the Apocalypse. Two women in a comic book store at the same time, right? Not offensive, just not real original. The only reason I mention it is, well, that's the first "Ohmygosh, a girl!" type comment I've heard in that shop. Either that's unusual and I've been lucky, or people are pretty open-minded in mid-Michigan.

Needless to say, I'm in a pretty good mood. Getting this done early, since one of my aunts is coming to visit from out of town tomorrow, and if I don't do this now... who knows if it'll ever get done? Yeah, best do it while I'm in a relaxed mood and taking joy in seeing the world through a wonderful new pair of glasses.

Reading music: Dusk Till Dawn: The Best of Capercaillie

--Warning: Spoilers ahead--

Dark Horse

Archenemies #4: It's funny. I really didn't expect a bittersweet philosophical conclusion to this series but... that's what this was. A tale told primarily in flashback by an angsting Ethan on the phone with his father. There is a breakup; an origin story; a climactic fight between the archenemies; the discovery that one isn't all good, and the other isn't all bad; and the discovery that both have father problems. There are a few fun moments that sort of lighten the mood, but wow. Quite the departure from the first issue, that's for sure. It's not bad; it just took me by surprise, is all.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes
Do I Care? Yes.


All-New Atom #1:
Study the following three prologues, which are presented in non-linear fashion. Discuss how the sequence of events differs from traditional story-telling methods. Why did the author choose to present the epilogues out of chronological order?
-All-New Atom
Atom #1 is a symmetrical book. Nothing about the first prologue (pp. 1-3), which I won't try to describe, clicked until the last page. The second prologue (pp. 4-5), the sequence in which a pack of dogs kills a professor, is referenced about halfway through the story. The third prologue (pp. 6-7) deals with Dr. Ryan Choi's past and leads us nicely into his present, and the "meat" of the story. By presenting the prologues in this order, rather than chronologically, the story takes that symmetrical form. The prologues themselves force the reader to ask the questions, "What's going on," "What's up with those dogs," and "Who is Dr. Ryan Choi." In that general-to-specific order. These questions represent a major overarching problem, an immediate mystery, and the main character for whom trouble looms. All are elegantly connected. The order also makes for a tidy wave of a story, from the introduction, to the problem of Ray Palmer's belt (its shrinking capabilities in particular) and the general weirdness of Ivy Town, to the climactic rat scene, to the denouement (the presentation of the belt to the poker-playing scientists.) There is no definite conclusion, but then, this is comic book story-telling we're talking about, and this is a first issue. And a fun one at that. What is up with those dogs?

(Geez, these essay questions... This is graded on a curve, right?)

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes
Do I Care? Actually, kinda yeah.


This is a Civil War free week for me, which is wonderful. I am generally enjoying that story, but I think I OD'ed on it last week. Last month, even. It's detox time now, though, with three helpings of old-school Fantastic Four!

Fantastic Four: First Family #5: Sometimes, it seems, angst can be energizing. One scene Sue is commiserating with Ben, the next she's leading the team off to rescue Reed from his insane nemesis. In a flying bathtub. The flying bathtub. Johnny's recovery from a rescue-gone-wrong (Human torches and runaway tanker trucks don't mix well.) will now have to wait 'til the cosmic ray-powered zombies (as seen on the cover) are neutralized. Great set-up for what should be a feel-good explosive conclusion.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes
Do I Care? Yes

Marvel's Greatest Comics: Fantastic Four #52: I was a negative 17 years old when this was first printed, and the most economical way to get something like this tends to be black-and-white reprints. So this is a treat. Classic Kirby-Lee Fantastic Four complete with the Black Panther, the Inhumans, and the day-saving Wyatt Wingfoot! I'll have to go back and spend some time really reading the old ads and bulletins and fan letters. Because, you know, they're there and they're fun.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes
Do I Care? Yes

The Thing #8: Dan Slott concludes his first (but hopefully not last) run of The Thing with a poker party, a Bar Mitzvah, and a couple fun flashbacks involving Squirrel Girl and the Impossible Man (no, not at the same time.) It's wonderful, and it is a huge departure from Civil War. The first two-page spread is proof enough. Everybody's playing (and sometimes cheating at) poker, having a grand time. Namor's not being a total ass. Johnny's not comatose. Iron Man and Captain America aren't at each others' throats. And Ben... Ben gets a long-deserved respite. Not from his form (still the Thing), but from his sorrows. He gets to focus on the good things in his life for a change, namely his friends, his family, and Alicia. *sigh* Next week it's back to business as usual on Earth-616 (which, again, isn't bad), but for now, I'll just relish this.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes
Do I Care? Yes

Virgin Comics

Devi #1: Well, darn. I was hoping for more Indian mythology and less, er, cheesecake. The first half of Devi #1 is the story of Devi's deveat of Bala, the evil god. Devi is a god-gifted warrior (kind of like Wonder Woman?) of light dressed in, well, a few tendrils of fire and not much else. So, anyway, she defeats Bala and offers her gifts back to the gods.

Part two? Bala has, of course, escaped, and he's on the phone with a scantily-clad Heaven's Assassin as she systematically slaughters a group of Yakuza. (These Yakuza are everywhere. They need their own Sopranos spin-off or something.) I'm not sure whether the assassin is a reincarnation of Devi or what but... Ugh. I guess I just don't care that much. And next issue has a Greg Horn cover to boot. Suits the book, I suppose, but... eh. Guess I'll pass on this series and learn about Indian legend elsewhere.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Kind of?
Do I Care? Nope.

Week's most memorable moment: The GLX-Men/Avengers get a new name almost nobody objects to Thing #8.

Tentative checklist for 12 July, 2006
(*Indicates a title I've preordered.)

Beyond #1 (Chose Devi over this today. Oops.)
Civil War: Director's Cut (Yeah, I know. Shush.)
*Civil War: Front Line #3
*Ms. Marvel #5
The Next #1 (maybe)
Snakewoman #1 (bigger maybe)
Wasteland #1 (hmm...)


Anonymous said...

GREAT analysis, maybe my favorite so far.



Canton said...

Well, it's hard to resist a great prompt like that. It's like I'm back in high school English or something. Only with, you know, a comic book instead of Beowulf. ;)

Thank you!