Lotsa time to read of late, little time to write. Which means that I need to abandon my usual long-winded review style, and settle in for something a little faster. So, without further ado… QUICKIES! ARE! GO!
Action Comics 17, by Grant Morrison, Brad Walker, Rags Morales, and A Host of Inkers
So ultimately, I think this will be looked back on as the “Vyndktvx for Dummies” issue of the Grant Morrison Action Comics run. In it, as Our Hero fights the ultimate test-marketed Superman, Vyndktvx runs around, popping in and out of the timeline, breaking the fourth wall, and explaining directly to the readers what he’s been up to all this time. It works better than it sounds like it might, owing both to Morrison’s skill and to the higher-dimensional nature of Vyndktvx himself. And I’m sure it was at least partly necessitated by the two or three years’ worth of stories that I understand were cut out of the run when Morrison decided he’d had enough of whatever’s wrong with DC editorial. But it still feels like the writer sighing, giving up, and finally just saying, “For those of you who haven’t understood the last year and a half, here’s what’s been going on.”
For those of us who’ve been following along, unfortunately, that makes this issue a bit of a bore. It’s not all bad, though. The Corporate Superman ™ is pretty hysterical as he rants on and on about his supposed superiority to Our Hero like some kind of robotic fascist. And this issue’s cliffhanger is pretty perfect, as well. I won’t spoil it, but… it’s bald.
At any rate. I think there’s one or maybe two more issues left in Morrison’s Action run, and I look forward to them every bit as much as I dread them. It’s been nice having a good Superman comic to read, after all, and I will miss that when it’s gone.
Powers Bureau 1, by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming
And holy shit Powers is back! It’s off to a good start this time around, too. Picking up a few days after the cataclysm that ended the previous volume, we find that all Powers cases have now been declared Federal matters, and that Walker and Pilgrim have been drafted by the Feds. It’s a good set-up, especially as the last few story arcs really did feel like they’d outgrown the purview of local police.
That trend continues here in typical Powers fashion, as Deena Pilgrim finds herself investigating a case where anyone coming into contact with Powers semen gets pregnant. That’s any contact, you understand. Just getting some on your hand is enough. And you don’t even have to be female, as Pilgrim’s erstwhile FBI partner discovers with rather explosive results:
Heh. So that’s Powers as usual, then. Big profane fun, filled with snappy dialogue, some good character drama, and all the gory WTF moments you could hope for. Good to have it back.
Fatale 12, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
One of the best books on the stands for a full year now, Fatale shifts gears impressively in this issue, as we flash back to medieval times, and meet a previous femme fatale. Aside from being a good story in its own right, this issue also has big implications for the series as a whole. I don’t know if Brubaker ever plans on fully defining the supernatural elements of the series, and I kind of hope he doesn’t. But this issue pulls the veil back farther than we’ve seen it pulled before, and it’s creepy as all hell:
Seriously, what the fuck?! And that’s not even the creepiest panel in the comic! There’s another unholy thing later that’s even more disturbing! But since they gave this one away on the back cover, I figured I’d share it, and let you stumble upon the other one yourself.
At any rate. This was a nice change of pace from Brubaker and Philips’ usual stuff. But the setting suits them, and I hope they do more like it. If not in Fatale, then maybe in whatever project follows it. A larger serving of medieval noir might be nice. This one certainly was.
Manhattan Projects 9, by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra
Under that classy bit of graphic design lurks a completely batshit funnybook. In the current storyline, our science
bastards heroes have come up hard against the Men Who Really Rule the World:
Considering that I could have happily read a comic about those guys, or at least enjoyed them as bad guys here, for years on end, I was a bit disappointed in their quick defeat this issue. But on the other hand, there’s really not a lot to them beyond artist Nick Pitarra’s fabulous character designs, so maybe it’s for the best. I am, I must admit, fully capable of letting my love of luchador banking magnates overcome my better judgment.
This has been the series’ “all out action” story arc, which has been a lot of fun to read. I do hope it gets back to its weirder, more menacing roots next issue, though. With all the gun ablazin’ silliness going on, the main characters have become a bit cartoonish, and I’m ready for Infinite Oppenheimer and Einstein Blue to disturb me again. With as bizarre a premise as this series has, it would be all too easy for it to degenerate into cheap comedy. There was a bit of that this issue, and though I might not have been able to resist going for an Einstein-as-Rambo gag, either, I don’t want it to become the new normal.
Aaaaand, I think that’s all I have time for tonight. I’ll try to do a bit more catch-up tomorrow. Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson’s Happy! wrapped up last week, after all, and there was another absolutely gorgeous issue of JH Williams’ Batwoman. Both well-worth talking about, I assure you. Hopefully, I’ll see you then.