Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Perhapanauts #2 - This is a pretty packed issue, but it never feels rushed. We get a JLA parody, a good chunck of character background/development for Arisa, Choopie becomes king of some little goat-gremlins, we get a strong hint to Molly's origin, and a surprisingly affecting journal entry from MG about his relationship with Arisa; oh, and the back cover is a funny gag on '50s sci-fi/monster comics. Arisa, the telepath of the group, had been a bit of a cipher up to this point, but this issue gives her new and deeper dimensions. It was a huge leap in character development. If you like adventure comics with good characters, you should read this.

Usagi Yojimbo #112 - Usagi and friends start out helping a young girl escape from a crime boss, and wind up taking out the whole criminal operation in a scene of mad samurai action. UY is a fun, exciting comic. Sakai's cartooning skills are topnotch.

Fables #73
- I was thinking about how epics and Events in comics used to happen in the regular series (i.e., The Great Darkness Saga, the Dark Phoenix Saga, Judas Contract, etc.) and how much better they were back then, b/c they got the proper amount of build-up, the story stayed focused b/c it was in one title and not difused over multiple minis, etc. etc. Well, that's what's happening in Fables right now. Fabletown's attack on the Advesary's empire has been building for the last 72 issues. While telling us lots of entertaining stories over the past six years, Willingham & Buckingham have put everything into place, strategically, emotionally, dramatically, to deliver a truly epic-level action story. This is incredible stuff. This is one of those series that you look back on and realize that you've really been reading something special.
The preview of Madame Xanadu in the back was very cool, and confirmed my decision to add that one to my sublist. :)

Firebreather #1 - A strong first issue. The character and his world are set up, we get a feel for who everybody is and the tone of the series, and we get ominous hints of big doin's to come. I'm intriqued by Firebreather's father. I had assumed he'd be some kind of kaiju, dumb and lumbering but awesome by sheer audacity, but it turns out he's more like a great wyrm of the D&D variety, all ancient and scheming. Kuhn's art is expressive, attractive, and has the storytelling chops. I'm digging this.

Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men - FINALLY. This qualifies as a good epic comic story, too. I like the sections with the other MU heroes, and especially how they were taken out of the fight (though, cool as it was, we don't find out how it was done, do we?). I would say i'd like to see Whedon write more MU characters, but i know it'd take a hundred million years for the stuff to come out, so i'll settle for this. Lots of big action and badassery here. Collossus and Kitty Pryde are the stars, with Spidey ably playing Special Guest Star. I suspected that the giant missle threat might be solved the way it was solved, which was depicted very cool by Cassaday. This series has convinced me that Cassaday isn't just an over-rendering "realist", but is actually a top-tier comic book artist. He tells the story, his characters emote, his characters all have individual faces (even the attractive women), and his tech designs are unusual and cool. Good stuff.

Blue Beetle #27 - It's a testament to the character, supporting cast, and situation that these fill-in issues while waiting for a the next creative team are still more entertaining that your average superhero comic. The last page felt a little arbitrary, but otherwise a solid and fun issue. One of my favorite series.

Shadowpact #25 - If it's gotta end, at least it ends well. And hey, here's another smackdown that gains significance and entertainment value by having been set up over the past 24 issues. The Shadowpact, with help from their time-displaced allies, take on the Sun King and all his nigh-unstoppable power. Blue Devil gets his groove back, and the Phantom Stranger lets his hair down a bit. Blue Devil is the character that gets a real boost out of this series, at least potentially. He faced off an entire eldritch army by himself, faced down the legal department of Hell, and showed his leadership mettle. I'd like to see more of this team, but honestly i don't expect to. It was good while it lasted.