Sunday, September 28, 2008

Comics Roundup 28/9/2008

I get the impression that virtually no one reads my weekly comics roundup, but it's too late to stop now. You can read my thoughts on this week's batch below.

Madame Xanadu #4, by Matt Wagner, Amy Reeder Hadley, Richard Friend

So in this issue the main character, whose name I can't remember (Niue or something like that?), teams up temporarily with Marco Polo to foil a sinister plot against Kublai Khan. She nevertheless still finds herself having to scarper from Xanadu. In narrative terms, this is probably a good thing, as an ongoing series about Kublai Khan's court magician would run out of steam very quickly. The art remains very impressive here, soft and gentle, but with a subtle depiction of character. Emblematic of this is Kublai Khan's face when Niue asks him an awkward question. Niue's own character continues to be an intriguing mix of ingénue and ancient barely human witch.

I must try and find the first two issues of this.

Superman #680, by James Robinson, Renato Guedes, & Wilson Magalhades

So in this story, Superman is having the shite knocked out of him by some bad guy, after some bad guy has drained away his powers using MAGIC. But then, he is rescued by Krypto, Dog of Steel. As you know, Superman is from the planet Krypton, and like all people from there he gets super powers from the rays of yellow stars like our Sun. And Krypto is from Krypton too, hence his amazing powers. And he is immune to the magic that has laid Superman low. Superman is lucky to have a good dog like Krypto.

Glamourpuss #3, by Dave Sim, with help from Sandeep Atwal

This is only really a comic in that it features both text and pictures, is sold in a comic shop, and is the same size as a typical US floppy. It remains an odd mix of discussion pieces on pioneers of US comics satirical stuff about fashion magazines. And the fashion satire stuff is done through the mouth of the titular Glamourpuss, a wafer-thin model from that world. I enjoy the strangeness of this, and in fairness the stuff on the comics old-timers is pretty informative, while the fashion satire seems pretty well observed and can be quite chortlesome. Quite what started Mad Dave Sim reading so many fashion magazines is anybody's guess.

Ultimate Fantastic Four / Ultimate X-Men Annual, by Joe Pokaski, Aron E. Coleite, Eric Nguyen, & Brandon Peterson

Marvel Comics' Ultimate comics are an attempt to reboot some of their long-running characters, jettisoning all that continuity shite and getting back to the thrill power. This one sees the X-Men (mutant outcasts with kewl powers) and the Fantastic Four (national heroes with kewl powers) teaming up to travel forward in time to fight the evil future overlord of the world – who turns out to be the future Sue Storm of the Fantastic Four – OMG WTF!

Sadly, this is not quite as thrill-powered as the initial premise suggests. Some of the art is not great, and I found the interrelationships between the characters a bit confusing. Still, it has its moments, like when the future and present day Things both get to say "It's clobbering time!" together ("it's clobbering time" being what The Thing (a member of the Fantastic Four) says before he punches the lard out of someone).

All Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder #10, by Frank Miller and Jim Lee.

Whereas All-Star Superman covered Superman at the end of his life, this covers Batman in his early years, with the Boy Wonder a new acquisition for the Dark Knight. Batman is having girl trouble in this issue, with the Black Canary seemingly out of control while someone Catwoman has been nearly killed by… someone whose name begins with J. Meanwhile, Detective James Gordon's daughter has been arrested after dressing up as a bat-person and starting a riot in some seedy amusement park.

There is a part of me that thinks this All Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder is just a little bit slow moving. But maybe this is only in comparison to All Star Superman, where so much happened in every episode. This does still feel like something that will only really work when it is collected into one volume.

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