A Month of Comic Books

We went through a patch where funds were tight and the few books I was getting were coming out here and there, so I waited a few weeks to pick up my books. I dropped Legion of Super-Heroes - which is now called Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes thanks to DC's One Year Later event - not because it's a terrible book or anything, but more because it's just "consistently pretty good," and honestly, you've got to do bette rthan "consistently pretty good" to get my money. I'll consider picking up the trades sometime, but for now, dropped.

We'll go in order of how much I enjoyed them, from least to most. First up,

Peter David's X-Factor #6. I went in this last week and told the counter jockey at my local comic shop that I wanted to drop Legion and X-Factor, but ended up picking this up on Free Comic Book Day after a few days of self-doubt. I've been a Peter David fan since his original run with Larry Strohman (Do you remember how much that guy ruled?) on X-Factor back in the day, as well as his Wolverine "Blood Hungry," story with Sam Kieth (remember how much THAT guy ruled?) that ran in Marvel Comics Presents. He's funny, quick and knows how to plot a story. Lately he's been put on doomed books (Captain Marvel, anyone) that, despite his best efforts, disappear. I worry about this book sometimes, which is why I will continue to pick it up, despite the fact that it's in a similar situation as Legion in terms of being solid, but not knocking my socks off. This issue focuses on Layla Miller, the enigmatic character spun out of Marvel's 2005 "House of M," mega-crossover. Layla "knows stuff," a catchphrase that says nothing and is getting a bit tiresome. in this issue, David explains Layla's abilities a little better. It seems a little like Peggy's abilitiy in Card's Alvin Maker books - Layla can see how things maight urn out and can affect them through small actions. She's a walking Butterfly Effect. And that's pretty cool. David has a way of taking powers and characters that seem kind of lame (Multiple Man, I'm looking at you) and making them interesting and cool (Multiple Man, I'm looking at you). My only complaint is that the story is progressing a bit sluggishly, but we are getting some good character moments, so it's a fair trade. For the time being, I'm sticking with this book, despite the fact that we've lost Sook (initially, a major selling-point for me) completely on art. Calero's decent, if a bit stiff, but he still maintains the noir-ish look befitting a detective story. Also, the cover isn't doing it for me but it's nowhere near as ugly as the last issue's.

X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #4 of 5. As insanely ludicrous as the last three issues have been. Love is in the air: Guy and Edie's reunion is halted because...well, Mr. Sensetive is a lot less agressive now that he's dead, which Edie finds annoying, especially for eternity; Dead Girl and Doctor Strange continue to flirt; and the Phantom RIder gives Guy some advice on how to get your horse to love you again. Oh, and the Pitiful One and the Ancient one may have killed Doctor Strange. A fun little miniseries and a great cover by the ever-amazing Allreds.

Godland #10. What to say about this series? It's still rocking after ten issues and I'm still surprised at how a) dense it is, and b) how fun it is. Adam Archer gets tortured by Freidrich Nickelhead and Eghad, a giant cosmic pyramid erupts from Mount Everest, Adam's sister Neela's shady space launch is a success, but has knocked out all power in North America, Stella tries to take the space pyramid on in a fighter jet but is sucked in and Maxim manages to break Adam free of Freidrich's bonds. This is what cosmic comics are all about. Pure pop goodness.

Iron Man: the Inevitable #5 of 6. Man, this book is cool. Tony deals with the fallout from last issue, is confronted by Doc Samson and may have been led into Spymaster's trap. Great story, great character moments and great art. I've always had an affinity for the character, but have never been enticed into buying the book, despite Ellis' run in the main title (though I wa sinterested, I was scared off by the "super-decompression" mode Ellis has been into lately). I'm glad I've picked this series up, though I wish Casey and Irving were the doing more than just a mini, though my wallet breathes a silent sigh of relief.

Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. #4. Pretty much like every other issue of the series: stuff blows up, some jokes are funny, some fall flat, the art is amazing and this is big dumb fun. By now you like it or you don't. Personally, I'm in the former camp. Nextwave is, essentially, a Saturday Morning Cartoon. On drugs. I mean, how can you not love a comic book where the characters utter llines like: "Ever since I found out these guys are half-broccoli, I've wanted to know if they'd burn."? Also, did I mention that stuff blows up?

Planetary #25. Well, it's wrapping up. This is one of the books that got me back into the comic book game. This, Morrison on New X-Men and Milligan and Allred's X-Force, so I'm committed to the end. This issue comtaind the Four's "origin" story, as they tapped into the Bleed and struck a bargain with a planet of superpeople to have the earth ready for them to take over in fifty years. Hence them having to neutralize Elijah in his search to unearth the stuf fthey'r eholding back from humanity. My personal, "Heckyess!" moment occured when Nick Fury analog John Stone pulled the flesh of his hand off to reveal the Devil's Claw, a red metal hand that he chopped of of some bad guy years ago. Pulp touches like that are what cemented my love for this book and, in a way speak to the meta-textual story Ellis is telling here. The birth of thr Fantastic Four in the early 60's effectively stopped forward momentum in comics, making them the template and the foundation. Sure, some Golden Age characters exist, in fact, most fof them make up DC's roster of icons, bu tthey've all cowtowed to the Marvel style in some way in order to stay "relevant." If I'm reading him right, Ellis is recommending that in order to save comics, we need to look back even further, to their pulp roots and the variety of genres explored therein and that a blind allegiance to superhero comics may spell the end for the medium.

Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein #4 of 4. Kicked. It just kicked. I've loved this mega-series and am waiting like a sonuva for the wrap up in Seven Soldiers #1. Frankenstein now works for S.H.A.DE., kills Neb-U-Loh and travels a billion years in the future to Summer's End to track down the Sheeda Queen. We learn that the Sheeda are future beings who pillage their own past to survive, an idea that has been banging around the barbelith boards for a looong time now ad kind of speaks to the meta text as well, as comics are guilty of the same past-pillaging as the Sheeda. It will be interesting to see how this all wraps up, but really, Morrison owns me. I'll love it even if it takes me months to figure out why.

Anyway, that's all for now. Next up: I [heart] Lost.

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