Bulletproof Coffin: Disinterred #4, by David Hine and Shaky Kane
Pretty much the antithesis of Earth 2.
The fourth issue of this sequel to last year’s excellent Bulletproof Coffin is a “cut-up” comic. It’s comprised of 84 separate panels, arranged in a random order by a bunch of British comics artists down the pub one night, and published for your reading pleasure. The “narrative” that emerges is more intuitive than literal, and may be affected by the order in which you read the panels. Hine and Kane suggest that you proceed randomly, jumping around through the book until you’ve read them all.
That’s what I did, and in return I was presented with a dream-tale rife with themes of paranoia and Lovecraftian horror. I started with the final page, a full-page splash that reads, “Please, if it’s at all possible, I’d like to wake up now.” From there, I jumped around, reading the panels in each two-page spread in whatever order my eyes fell upon them, through aliens and monsters and horrible people, until I reached my final panel, which reads, “Then, to his astonishment, a doorway opened and he found himself gazing into the infinite.”
“And that,” I thought, “sums up this reading experience better than anything I could imagine.”
Super Crooks #2, by Mark Millar and Leinil Yu
No heroic over-emoting here, folks, just a fun little caper comic. Super Crooks is hardly god’s gift to comics, either, but at least it has the good sense to be entertaining and light, and that makes up for an awful lot.
Spaceman #6, by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso
Another beautiful issue from Eduardo Risso, and Azzarello’s story is coming together nicely on this one, too. All the various characters and plot pieces are coming together, bouncing off each other, and forming new shapes as they go. Fun to read and real purty to look at. Can’t ask for much more out of pulp funnybooks than that.
Ultimates #9, by Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic
Jonathan Hickman’s writing can sometimes have a cold clockwork efficiency to it that takes my breath away, and that’s what he’s pulling off on this book. I love the webs of cross and double-cross reverberating back and forth across the world here, the fears and manipulations both petty and… not noble, exactly, but at least… clever and necessary. I love that he’s given Our Heroes an increasingly impossible problem to solve, and that even after nine issues, I’m still not sure where it’s all going to end up. With the simultaneously powerful and delicate work of Esad Ribic on illustration, this is one of the very best mainstream corporate spandex books on the market.
The Goon #39, by Eric Powell
And now the remedy for mainstream corporate spandex books…
Heh. HEH. Honestly, there’s really nothing I could say about this issue that cover doesn’t say ten times better. Except that there’s even yet still more high-larity inside, and that if you’re not reading the Goon… WHAT THE HELL’S WRONG WITCHA, BOY?!
The Defenders #6, by Matt Fraction, Victor Ibanez, Tom Palmer, and Terry Pallot
More corporate spandex, but with a refreshingly irreverent touch. Matt Fraction’s just having fun on this book, and it shows. It’s weird enough to play as a tribute to Steve Gerber’s 70s run on the book, fun and complex enough to win it the title of “Corporate Fraction Book Most Likely to Appeal to People Who Like Casanova,” and well-drawn enough that even this issue’s fill-in work looks better than 90% of the corporate funnybooks on the market. Is this the Marvel comic most worth reading right now? Hmm. Ultimates gives it a run for its money, but… yes. Yes, I think it is.
The Boys #66, by Garth Ennis and Russ Braun
Billy Butcher is a bad man. He’s a very bad man.
He’s also something of a masterpiece of a character, at this point. The regular guy who’s anything but. The friendly psychopath who’s secretly manipulating even his closest companions toward a bloody end. One of these days, I’m going to have to sit down and explain exactly why this book is so very good, and why, like Preacher before it, it’s so easy to lose that quality in all the shock and gore. This is Garth Ennis at his best, aided and abetted by Russ Braun, an artist who’s very quietly made this book his own when I didn’t think that was possible. Top-notch funnybooks as this series heads into its final story arc. Oh, how I’ll miss it when it’s done…
(Ennis has also provided a great “commentary track” for the issue over at Bleeding Cool. Check it out: http://www.bleedingcool.com/forums/comic-book-forum/58315-garth-ennis-commentary-boys-66-a.html
Fury MAX #1, by Garth Ennis and Goran Parlov
It’s not often that a funnybook queers a major movie deal and gets a corporate president fired. It’s even less often that a funnybook like that gets a sequel. But here we are.
This is good Ennis war comics, less overtly parodic than the first Fury MAX and even a bit less offensive. It feels more grounded, more real, more like something Ennis is sinking his teeth into. Coupled with the fine cartooning of artist Goran Parlov…
…I really hope this one’s around a while.
Sweet Tooth #33, by Jeff Lemire
Haven’t talked about this book in a while, but this is a particularly nice entry in the series, another “sideways” issue told in storybook style. The landscape formatting lets Lemire really cut loose on his page composition; in fact, this might be the best-looking issue of the series to date. Story-wise, it’s a bit of an interlude. A funeral for Lucy, who finally succumbed to the plague in the last issue, and the beginning of Our Heroes’ final journey north to Alaska, to find the source of all the world’s woes. It’s a pause, more than anything else, but a pause that Lemire uses to good effect, cementing his casts’ relationships and putting some final steel in their spines as the series heads toward its conclusion.