Monday, June 16, 2014

Bryant Has Issues #47

You'll pardon me if I'm a bit distracted tonight: today, I bought myself the first season of True Detective on Blu-ray, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey on Blu-ray, and the original Cosmos on DVD (on account of how it isn't on Blu-ray).  So really, all I want to do is plop down in front of the teevee and spin some discs.

Instead, let's talk comics for a bit, beginning with:

That bottom cover is pretty creepy.  I like 'em both, but the bottom one makes me think that there is some serious chump-change to be made if Joe Hill decides to sell NOS4A2 (NOS4R2 for our friends across the drink) to Hollywood.  I am envisioning a Jason/Michael/Freddy-style series of seemingly-neverending sequels in which Charlie Manx and his Silver Phantom of doom treat everyone to the joys of the holiday season.  These films, of course, would be mostly terrible, but so what?  It's a fun concept, one that could be exploited by shoddy film producers for decades to come.

I'm not sure I would actually want to see such a thing happen, but the thought that it could happen fills me with a perverse sort of happiness.

Wraith #7 wraps up the series, and it does so in a medium-stretching format that is less a traditional comic (i.e., is less a traditional graphic narrative) than it is a sort of illustrated novella.  Let me show you what I mean:

The issue is a sort of epilogue to the rest of the series, but it also resolves certain issues that were mentioned way back in issue #1.  It's pretty fantastic, not only because Joe Hill is a skilled prose writer, but also because C.P. Wilson III delivers some of his best art for the miniseries.  In fact, from an art standpoint, I think this is best single issue of Wraith; there are numerous standout panels in the others, but this issue's atypical nature seems to have spurred Wilson to a level that I would argue he did not always get to previously.  And that's not a knock against his previous work; it's a compliment to what he's done here.

Overall, I think I'd say Wraith was a smashing success.  It complements and deepens NOS4A2, all without doing anything to retread it for existing fans or spoil it for those who have not read the novel.  In some ways, it's a great model for what cross-media tie-ins are capable of being.

So, it's official: that's a recommendation.

So is this next one:

Saga is always a recommendation, though, so that's no surprise.  #19 is the first issue back after the title's customary post-arc-completion break.  For some reason, I always worry during those breaks that when the book comes back, it will be diminished somehow.  This has so far been a needless worry, and #19 continues the trend.

Say, gang, didja ever wonder what a robot giving birth might look like?  Well, you degenerate perverts, if your wonderings are broad enough to include robot vaginas, blue blood, and a nurse who is a sentient crocodile with a tact problem, then Saga #19 might be the thing you've been looking for.

Elsewhere, this issue's charms include lousy disguises, a dance instructor, superhero soap operas, heckling, and a menstruating walrus.

I mean, honestly.

And it's a mere $2.99 per month!

If that cover doesn't make you at least a little happy, then you and I are not on the same wavelength.

Before we proceed, allow me to set the stage:

Glorious.  I apologize for the extent to which I'm about to sound like a cantankerous old coot, but it can't be helped: 2014 sucks donkey dick in comparison to 1986, at least insofar as movie-ending pop songs go.  If you disagree, I understand; I'd try to explain to you how wrong you are, but really, that video does all the explaining for me.  2014 has no Coup de Villes, and is all the poorer for it.

2014 also has no Big Trouble In Little China, except that now, thanks to Boom! Studios, it kind of does, in comic-book form.  This would be -- potentially -- pretty cool under any circumstances, but given that this particular comic has John Carpenter as a co-writer alongside Eric Powell (whose Goon is said to be terrific), it's super-duper cool.

The first issue begins with . . . ah, hell, lemme just post the first few pages for you:


Picking up immediately where the movie left off is exactly the correct move, as far as I'm concerned, and while I won't give away what happens next, I will say this: it is perfect.

So, yes, I enjoyed this premiere issue.  It threatened to go wrong for me during one particular two-page sequence, but Powell and Carpenter righted the ship almost immediately.

I'm not familiar with Brian Churilla's work as an artist, but I've heard that his series The Secret History of D.B. Cooper is good, and I like his style here.  When it comes to licensed comics, I tend to feel that cartoony is the way to go; it keeps the need for every panel to look like Kurt Russell to a minimum.  This way, Churilla can worry about recreating Russell's Jack Burton persona moreso than recreating Russell's looks.  And to that end, I think he does a very good job.

Overall, the issue isn't quite a slam-dunk for me, but I definitely enjoyed it, and I hope this is the beginning of a long run for the series.

Another good issue for American Vampire, this one finds Pearl receiving some unexpected assistance while fighting fighting an especially heinous new breed of vampire.

This is the penultimate issue of The Wake, and as I believe I've stated before, I simply don't see how a fully satisfactory conclusion can be reached in the amount of time the series has left.  It feels to me as if Scott Snyder has taken what ought to have been an expansive ongoing series and has shoehorned it into a miniseries.  My opinion on that could, obviously, change once the final issue is out, but for now, that's what I'm afraid of.

It is my only complaint with the book, though.  This is fantastic stuff, and I wish there was going to be more of it.

I'm sort of over the whole Zero Year thing in Snyder's Batman, but this issue is pretty good, and if nothing else, it contains what is arguably one of the bad-assedest things I've ever seen Batman do.  It involves lions, and that's all I'll say; ruining this would be criminal, and I'm too tender for jail.

Right up there with Wraith and Saga for me in terms of my personal excitement level, this episode issue of Star Trek is another of John Byrne's photomontage books (the previous, "Strange New Worlds," got reviewed here a few months back).  It's just as good as the first one, if not better.

This time, Byrne has given us a sequel to "Mirror, Mirror."  I may as well confess that the Mirror Universe conceit is not exactly my favorite thing Star Trek ever did.  It was fun on the original series, provided that you don't stop to actually contemplate the likelihood of the whole scenario.  I'm told that the Enterprise episode set in the mirror universe is also a lot of fun.  My disdain comes from the episodes of Deep Space Nine that used the conceit; a lot of fans loved them, but I thought they took a silly idea and not only made it sillier, but did so while trying to be really serious about it.

Your feelings about these deep issues will undoubtedly have an impact on your feelings about Byrne's sequel to "Mirror, Mirror."  Let's have a look at the first few pages:

As before, Byrne has done an exceptional job not merely with the art but also with the story.  This sucker ends in an especially satisfying fashion, and IDW will get $7.99 out of me every time they partner up with Byrne to produce one of these babies.

Marvel double-shipped Miracleman this month, which is kind of okay by me.  These reprints are just fantastic.

In these issues: Miracleman is forced to fly the normal way as opposed to the super way; we find out a great deal about how Project Zarathustra came to be; a change in Marvelman's Miracleman's costume is explained; Gargunza gets an origin story; two words -- "Abraxas" and "Steppenwolf" -- are spoken; and Miracledog goes hunting.

The classic reprints are especially charming this time out, so much so that I'm going to post one in its entirety, risking the wrath of Marvel comics.  Have a look:

It's kind of satisfying to see a superhero whomping the ass out of insomnia.  Gotta love old-school comics, don't you?

And, finally, The Star Wars reaches its conclusion with its eight and final issue.  It was a fun diversion as a miniseries, and hardcore Star Wars fans -- which I am not (I'm softcore only, at least until the new movie comes out) -- will be thrilled.  So if that's you, go get this when it comes out in a collected edition; you will not be disappointed.

If you're a bit more on the fence, then take my word for it: this comic WAS produced fro a rough-draft screenplay, and shows every sign of it.  It isn't bad, but there are things that will almost certainly get a WTF out of you.  On the whole, I'd personally consider The Star Wars to be a curiosity moreso than a satisfying story in its own right.

But as curiosities go, it's got its moments.


I'd intended to do another bit about Image-era Alan Moore, but the force is not strong with me this morning.  I'm sleepy, and I think that rather than fight it, I'm going to just give in.

Marvelman put all that hard work in to make the next few hours possible, so what kind of jerk would I be if I didn't honor his service by going and catching some bunk-time?

I hope to have a spoilery look at Mr. Mercedes up in the next few days, so see you all then!


  1. Enjoy those Comos discs! I've been circling purchase of both versions myself - can't wait.

    (Instead, I got Quantum Leap season 5 on an impulse buy. Neither here nor there, just chuckling at myself.)

    Those Marvelman pages are just so perfect. I can't even articulate how much I love those.

    Glad to hear the Big trouble comic was fun - I forgot all about that coming out. I'll need to stop by my local this week and snag that, definitely. Totally with you on the style choice you describe - cartoony is definitely the way to go. Suggest the actor's appearance but just be consistent in-panel; so many of these licensed-adaptations repel me with this specific failure.

    I share your indifference to the DS9 Mirror episodes. They just don't do it for me. I watched them all last summer, hoping I'd discover something in there I'd previously missed, but they still fail to excite me. I wasn't as into this 2nd of Byrne's photonovels, but I'm still jazzed he's doing them. I don't know what it was about this one that didn't quite do it for me. I need to read it again.

  2. * Cosmos

    (p.s. And those Wraith pages are dynamite, as well.)

    1. I've never seen the original "Cosmos," so I'm definitely pleased with that purchase. I'm not sure how soon I'll actually rewatch the new version, but it's the sort of thing that not only do I feel obliged to monetarily support, but also that I just plain feel better to have on my shelf.

  3. John Carpenter fronting an actual band. I'll admit I never saw anything like that coming. I've heard of Big, Little, China before, though I haven't seen it yet. I might have to remedy that now.

    Haven't been keeping track of the latest Bat news, I'm afraid.

    I agree about 80s film soundtracks. Sometimes, in the case of film's like Cocktail, the soundtrack is actually a whole lot better than the movie.


    1. Ah, "Cocktail." One of the very few Tom Cruise movies I've never seen. I need to make time for it, just for that reason. Same goes for "Days of Thunder." And, believe it or not, "Risky Business."

      The Coup de Villes actually did an entire album. I don't know what's weirder, that it happened or that it's kind of not bad.

  4. hey Bryant, long time...

    i'll reply with some randomness:

    - i'm enjoying the MiracleMan reprints, as i've never read the material before; when it's all said & done i'll bind them in HC

    - Wraith has been great, i agree on all points; i have the HC ordered

    - more agreement IRT Saga, and after a (more anxiously painful than not) wait, my Summer has been made by the announcement (and subsequent order) of the Saga and Manhattan Projects HC's; it's gonna be a (bigger) party on my bookshelf

    - looking forward to reading Wake in TPB

    hope you're well, my friend-

    1. Doin' pretty fair -- can't complain, that's for sure. You, too, I hope.

      I actually did not know "Saga" was finally getting a hardback release. I'll be getting one of those for sure.