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Let me break their jaws: Douglas’s quick takes on 3/5

Douglas Wolk

Pamphlets! Under the cut: LOGAN, NEW FRONTIER and YOUNG LIARS.

LOGAN #1: I realized after I’d bought this issue that it’s cover-priced at $3.99, and for that money I expect more than 22 pages of story. And in fact I got more: it’s 23 pages of story. (And a glossy cover; so what?) Eduardo Risso’s in good form, but I expected much better from Brian K. Vaughan. The story is once again sending Wolverine to Japan (which was a really clever and refreshing idea when Claremont and Miller did it twenty-five years ago–yes, I am of the Paul O’Brien “oh Christ, not Japan again” school), and once again exploring a bit of his adventuring past so deeply forgotten it’s never been referred to before. Although I suppose repeating oneself is the risk you run when you’ve got him appearing in at least half a dozen books a month. Also, Vaughan’s cliffhangers tend to be much less cheap than this one. What’s the exquisite, pastoral Japanese locale where Wolverine rescues and is bedded by a beautiful young woman in the waning days of World War II? Why, a little town he’s never heard of called Hiroshima, of course! Knocked down to Awful for the price gouging.

JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE NEW FRONTIER SPECIAL #1: Effectively a 48-page plug for the direct-to-video animated New Frontier movie, but hell, it’s Darwyn Cooke–nine pages of the first story even have his signature at the bottom, distractingly enough. That story doesn’t really add much to the original series–Superman and Batman have a misunderstanding and fight, and then Wonder Woman mediates a deal between them–but Cooke’s artwork and design sense are the point here. The backup Robin/Kid Flash story is seriously incoherent (having Robin drag-race Wally Wood is a joke I wish someone would explain to me), and the Wonder Woman/Black Canary/Gloria Steinem teamup is just kind of a dopey joke. Good, on the strength of the lead feature’s lovely Cooke art.

YOUNG LIARS #1: A new Vertigo ongoing by David Lapham, who spends the better part of his text piece wincing about the fact that he still hasn’t finished Stray Bullets yet. So instead of Amy Racecar, we get a different all-id-no-superego antiheroine, Sadie Dawkins, who’s come by her personality the Phineas Gage way–she’s got a bullet in “the moral and emotional centers of [her] brain.” I’m looking forward to hearing what Polite Dissent says about that one. This is apparently Lapham’s take on youth culture, and specifically the New York music scene of the moment (the story happens literally yesterday, March 7, 2008), and he’s really shaky on that stuff from the top of the very first page, where the credits appear on a cassette tape. Note: that date is 2008, not 1993. The supporting cast are broad but shallow caricatures–an anorexic ex-model called Annie X, an aging trust fund kid (“Daddy refused to pay the co-op. They’re kicking me out tomorrow!”), etc. Lapham’s stuffed this issue with temporal jumps and cutaways, and he seems to have some kind of master plan for the series. I could be convinced yet, but this is an Awful start.


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