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I stand up next to a mountain: Graeme finishes off his 8/8 haul.

Graeme McMillan

Before I launch into a bunch of things written very, very early morning today, I have to ask: Has anyone else been having a really stressful and strange last few days? At work, I’ve had maybe the oddest series of (bad) coincidences in a short period of time since last Friday, and in attempting to calm me down from climbing the walls and looking for the Graeme Voodoo Dolls, people have been telling me that everyone seems to be having a weird time of it lately. So abuse the comments section below and comfort me.

CRIMINAL #8: It’s got to be dull for you to keep reading that each issue of this book is solidly Very Good, so instead I’ll skip over the wonderfully noir dialogue (“It had been a long time since a woman had looked at him like that…”) and artwork that reminds you of Toth’s simplicity with scratchier personality, and instead point out that this book also contains the best recap page in comics these days.

DAREDEVIL #99: Continuing the Ed Brubaker love, things are coming to a head emotionally here, and it still works even if I have no idea who the supervillain at the end is – some kind of Scarecrow rip-off? – purely because of the melodramatic intensity that the creators manage to sell you on. Despite the whole “part five of five” thing when you start the issue, this is very, very clearly an old-school “Next issue is #100!” one, and Good for that.

GREEN LANTERN #22: According to the cover, this is The Sinestro Corps War Part 4. According to the third page of the issue, it’s Sinestro Corps Chapter Two. And while, sure, it can be both (fourth part of the crossover, second chapter in this particular series), there’s something about that kind of sloppiness that makes me want to make cheap jokes about Countdown, just because. Nonetheless, the story itself is full of high stakes and tough-guy dialogue (“It’s ironic, isn’t it, Jordan?” “What, Amon? Me about to use your father’s ring to break your nose?” Oh, Hal. You’re so macho jerk) and rompiness and, even though not that much actually happens, it manages to skate just under the line of Good thanks to my goodwill about the larger story and Ivan Reis’s artwork.

THE INCREDIBLE HULK #109: Emphasizing just how much last issue was a last-minute fill-in, this issue picks up directly from the ending of #107 and continues WWH #3’s turn towards the Hulk turning out to be an unjustified bastard after all. It’s sad to admit that the more the actual plot kicks in and replaces people getting beaten up, the less I find myself interested in World War Hulk, but I guess I’m just a simple lad with simple tastes. Eh.

THE NEW AVENGERS #33: If you melded recent superhero novel “Soon I Will Be Invincible” together with “Invasion of The Body Snatchers” and a complete lack of attention to Dwayne McDuffie’s Fantastic Four run, then you’d come up with this Eh issue. The supervillain stuff is pretty generic – and isn’t the Wizard currently in Fantastic Four and, um, nothing at all like he’s being written here? – and seriously bogs down the issue, which at least offers a healthy dose of Luke Cage being unhealthily paranoid now that the Skrull plot is happening. More of that and less of everything else, please.

THE NEW AVENGERS/TRANSFORMERS #2: Crap, and worth mentioning only because of that cover – with such a terrible Wolverine and such a great Transformer – and the sad sight of Todd Klein’s computer lettering.

NOVA #5: I keep expecting it to zig, it keeps zagging. Color me happily surprised to see the fill-in Nova story explained so quickly and this particular cliffhanger. Sure, both events will surely be undone within the next two issues, but I’m enjoying the irreverence with which Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning are treating their material. Good, and just saying that makes me pause and thinking “Huh,” in a surprised manner.

OUTSIDERS: FIVE OF A KIND: KATANA AND SHAZAM! #1: Or, as it should really be renamed “Katana, with a guest shot by Shazam that really doesn’t matter one way or another.” When the best thing about a comic is that you’re happy to see the writer (Mike W. Barr, in this case) still getting work, then you know that it’s pretty Crap.

THE UN-MEN #1: What’s good about this issue: The logo and Tomer Hanuka’s cover art. What’s not so good: Everything else. Another bad-mood-book that replaces originality, wit and intelligence with world-weary faux-cynicism and shallow social commentary, this is the kind of Eh thing that leaves a bad taste in my mouth and a longing for when Vertigo launched and was the place where anything could happen. Ah, to be young and naive again…

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