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Hibbsian Capsules for June 4

Brian Hibbs

I’m not going to speak for anyone else here, but there are weeks at a time where I just really don’t have anything meaningful to say about that week’s books, and I don’t just want to post in order to post, y’know?

But I thought this was a nice week o’ comics. Let’s go!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #596 DKR: Man, Phil Jimemez was only on for one issue of this storyline? Foul! Say what you will, Spidey is more readable than it has been in a long-ass time. I’m still frustrated by the “DKR” intruding on each and every thing in the Marvel U (especially because it feels like we got at least another year of this to go), but this is still basically OK stuff.

BANG TANGO #5 (OF 6): I can’t review this — I haven’t read past issue #1, but I do want to note that this is the first Vertigo comic ever where I’ve reduced my rack copy orders down to a single copy at FOC. I actually don’t think that Vertigo is capable of selling a periodical mini-series any longer because of their trade policies. Here’s the thing though: one subber, one rack copy sold — why would I order any copy of a theoretical trade paperback of this story? Discuss.

BATMAN AND ROBIN #1: Pretty, fun, but probably a little thin — this was more of a vignette than a story, wasn’t it? An extremely high GOOD, but it wasn’t meaty enough to push it up much higher.

BOYS #31: I’m much less interested in this book when Robertson isn’t drawing it. I really LIKE Ezquerra (or McCrea on HEROGASM), but when your name is above the title, then you should be drawing the book. Ennis very surprisingly kills a major character — even if that character kind of doesn’t HAVE a character yet. I would have thought we would have learned more before he got to that stage. I thought this one was oddly EH.

BTVS TALES OF THE VAMPIRES ONE SHOT: OK, this is goofy continuity point, but my understanding of the mythology of the Buffyverse was that when you became a vampire, “you” were effectively possessed by a demon who essentially took over your body and your memories (That’s one of the reasons that all Vampires know “kung fu” the moment they rise, yeah?) — and this would seem to completely ignore that concept altogether. It wasn’t bad or anything, but shouldn’t one follow the “rules” of the world you’re in? Kinda EH.

CHEW #1: I think John Layman might have finally hit on the right concept for him. More darkly humorous than humorously dark, this concept seems fairly sustainable, and I enjoyed it quite a bit: GOOD.

FINAL CRISIS AFTERMATH RUN #2 (OF 6): I don’t know about anyone else, but these FINAL CRISIS AFTERMATH books have been utter retail death for us — single copy preorders, under-one-hand rack sales, I’ve NEVER seen follow-up series sell this far below the series they have spun from. A teeny part of it was leading with the wrong books — RUN is the adventures of Captain Loathsome, after all — but even DANCE with a solid author, and the I-thought-people-liked-them-at-least-ironically Super Young Team sold less than 3 rack copies for me. And the best of the bunch — last week’s INK (a solid GOOD), was down to a single rack sale. Sheesh. And there’s five more months of these things scheduled. I nearly doubt that I’ll be carrying rack copies of ANY of them by the time we get to the end… Anyway, RUN #2 is slightly AWFUL.

IRREDEEMABLE #3: I really really want to like this, but even the creepy sexual thing at the beginning didn’t work because there isn’t any context for anything that is happening. I don’t think that it’s enough to have a hooky premise — “what if Superman suddenly turned evil” — what matters is what you DO with it. I can’t get into the premise because I never “saw” him be good, nor do we know why any of this happened. I guess Waid thinks the “why” is the story? It really isn’t — it’s the ignition. I guess we’re supposed to feel for Scylla and Charybdis here? But why? They’re absolute ciphers — there’s no real reason for us to care other than “look, a few more of the character boxes now will have an X through them!”. Sorry, this is EH.

KNIGHTS OF THE DINNER TABLE #151: Other than SAVAGE DRAGON and NINJA HIGH SCHOOL, are there any other independently produced comics that are currently being published, that have crossed the 150 bar? (if I was at the store, I could answer that easily with the POS, couldn’t I?) And, y’know, support a whole writing staff? This is a really amazing accomplishment, ESPECIALLY because no one in the comics field other than me ever even mentions this book. You’d think Spurge or Ace or maybe even Deppey would at least mention KoDT every once in a while. (Or NHS for that matter)

The best part is it really is funny — albeit it aimed very sharply at a specific niche audience (gamers). If I have complaints (and I have two), they are these: A) I just don’t think the World of Hackcraft stuff (obviously parodying WoWarcraft) is even a third as funny as the tabletop stuff. “Table chatter” is what MAKES KoDT, in a lot of ways, and they just can’t pull that off in the WoH sections; B) they’re often juggling too many storylines at once, stripping some of them of their inherent drama. As an example: this month’s chapter of “Gary Returns” basically just restated what we learned in part 1, with virtually no new information.

What KoDT really REALLY needs, though, is their own version of Essential or Showcase volumes — 20-25 issues worth for $20 (or less); preferably parsed in storyline order so the reading experience is worth it. The most recent “Bundle of Trouble” (their version of TPs — they’re at.. um, 23? 24?) was really essentially “all middle” because of the choice of material that was in there, and was less than a good read for it.

I wouldn’t recommend you start here with 151, (150 was a much better jumping on point), but I’d VERY much recommend buying a Bundle of Trouble and going from there. 151 was GOOD.

MUPPET SHOW #3 (OF 4): I was reading the comics at home and both Ben and Tzipora asked me “Why are you reading a Muppet comic, isn’t that for little kids?” Cracked me up. Then Tzipora asked “And just what is Gonzo anyway?” (Well, I think she said “that creature” because she doesn’t have them memorized, BUT THE POINT REMAINS), which was funny because that’s the very plot of this issue. This is solidly GOOD stuff.

SOLOMON GRUNDY #4 (OF 7)
STRANGE ADVENTURES #4 (OF 8): I just want to observe that these are two DCU comics that I had to stop racking because I wasn’t selling a single rack copy in the first few weeks. They both come out the same week, too, which is weird. Oddly, SOLOMON GRUNDY sells better than 2 or 3 other DCU books that I DO rack, because of sub requests from pre-#1′s release. I was talking with Jeff Lester today about the shape of the business, and I think it is literally astonishing that there is a Jim Starlin comic I can’t sell ANY rack copies of. I would not have pictured that as actually possible.

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #133: Fuck. Seriously, you can’t do a wordless comic for $4. FUCK, and no, you can’t end your run on the book on such a downer note. Especially not a book like this. It is betraying the very thematic underpinnings of the book to do so. Completely ASS.

ULTIMATUM #4 (OF 5): plus, if you’re going to do the Big Event, then you have to fucking get it out on time. AND have it be something more than just “Lots of people die, the end”. This is really starting to smell like the last Wildstorm reboot to me, in terms of audience interest. EH.

As always, what did YOU think?

-B

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