Strong!

Brian Hibbs

Something they don’t tell you about babies — the little beasts are STRONG. Ben can easily haul 150% of his weight, and I’m scared he’ll figure out what a fulcrum is.  The real problem, though, is that they have NO IDEA they are strong — they use their full strength all of the time because, well, why wouldn’t you?

Me and Tzipora have little welts all over our bodies when Ben has given us a hard pinch while trying to climb somewhere.

While I’m going to try to review “everything” for the next few weeks, once I’ve cycled through a whole month, I’ll probably drop back to “items of significance”. Are you liking this format, by the way? Should I change anything? Add publisher credits, maybe? Opinions!

SINGULARITY 7: Ben Templesmith’s new book and it’s really pretty to look at. Sure, the story is pretty much a warmed over 21st century Dawn of the Dead meets Terminator, and, yes, his scripting is a little overwrought in places, but it’s damn fine to look at, and the story problems don’t get in the way of enjoying it. I also like that he’s using a brighter palette than in 30 Days of Night — this is Good stuff.

TAROT #27: And we veer ever closer to Bondage Fairies territory.  I’m continually stunned by the contrast of the messages of the comic compared to the ones in the editorial section. Reading Tarot always makes me feel like I’m a robot in “I, Mudd”… “But if you are telling the truth, then it must be a lie, but if you are lying, then you must be telling the truth. Norman…. coordinate! *fzzzt*” Awful, but I don’t think you can judge this on the same scale of a real comic…

POWERLESS #2: It’s a What If…? story, I guess, but it suffers from too-many-ingredients-itis. Honestly, less is more, and having this span the entire Marvel Universe-yet-not just gives me a headache. Nice art by Gaydos, but I didn’t care about a single page of the 22. Eh.

BATMAN #630: While “last stand in the Batcave” is a good idea (and not one especially overused, really), it’s probably better to save it for something of more significance than the (*shudder*) “Scarebeast”. I suppose it’s a stab at trying to solve the “Wait, what the fuck can we do with the Scarecrow, anyway? He’s a sub-one-trick pony!” problem, but turning him into a version of the Hulk who says “Are you scared yet”? Nah, not the path to have gone. Other than Wagner’s covers, I’ve really disliked this arc. Awful.

LEGION #36:  Something bad happens, something else bad happens, another bad thing happens…. did Gail steal Bendis’ notes for Avengers? Waiting for motivations, or rationales or something to make it a mystery or a story rather than just a series of events. Part of the problem is that events are too big — any humanity becomes a sidenote, rather than the focus like good fiction. It’s not badly done, no not at all, but it sorta feels like plothammer more than anything else. OK.

AVENGERS #500: See Legion #36. Though I’ll also say that I think the coloring was way too dark because on top of “busy” artwork, it’s often difficult to tell what’s going on. OK.

USAGI YOJIMBO #77: Stan Sakai is a master cartoonist. And he gets better at his craft every year. Simple, clean storytelling, action every few pages, honest humanity, and a strong eye for humor and terror equally, it’s hard to say there’s a better comic being produced each and every month than Usagi. If people want to do comics activism, here’s an excellent book for you to start with. Excellent.

NAUGHTY BITS #40: And this would have been a good one too, but unfortunately this is suddenly the last issue. That’s a damn shame because Roberta Gregory is not only a fine cartoonist, but she’s produced 40 issues which is a whole lot better than most “indy” books could hope for. I also really liked Robert Triptow’s gay wedding comedy in the back of the book. Very funny stuff. Very Good.

(Marvel Knights) 4 #8:  As a comedy it falls kinda flat (The Watcher bookends were wretched), but as a character piece it’s OK, I guess. In a week I’ll have forgotten I’ve ever read it, though. Eh.

CATWOMAN #33: Not quite a fill-in, but it feels like marking time because of next quarter’s crossover. It’s a solid-enough story, but in the end it doesn’t feel like it matters much. OK

SLEEPER V2 #2: This on the other hand, worked like a charm. “Now can I stop breaking your heart?” Wonderful stuff on both an action and human level. Very Good.

OK, time to go off and work at the store! Restock, hurray!

-B

8 Responses to “ Strong! ”

  1. Welcome back, Hibbs & Jeff! We've missed you.

  2. I'm waiting for Balent to just stop playing coy and turn the book into out-right porno title.

  3. Thanks, Anon! Hibbs has been generous enough to let me throw in my .02, so y'all may have to put up with me again, but for now I have to get the template stuff sorted out. For now, I get to sit back and enjoy watching Bri tear it up again…

  4. I think the format is fine. The ratings system might be a little opaque to someone who hadn't read the old incarnation of the Savage Critic, but even so, it's pretty obvious if you thought something was worth reading.

    Personally, I'll miss the reviews of "everything", but as the father of a 7 month old myself (also a boy, also my first), I'm amazed you have time to review *anything*, let alone everything. Speaking of which, I hope you keep injecting little insights regarding raising your son. I enjoy them as much as the reviews themselves.

    —Bill

  5. I'm with Bill. I miss the old all-in-one approach, but entirely understand why you can't do it anymore. And Jeff! It'd be great to get your comments on books again, too.

    The format you guys are doing now is great, considering the your time limitations. And it's always fun to hear you rant about Tarot… I'm almost tempted to buy an issue just to gawk at it. But I suppose that's what well-stocked store racks are for… perusing this sort of book for ha-ha (or ta-ta) value, then buy the stuff you actually like.

  6. … not that I don't like ta-tas.

  7. Who doesn't like ta-tas, halben? It's just whether you want to pay good money for ta-tas, particularly when they might well be devouring your frontal lobe…I'm asahmed to say I've continued to read TAROT while the SC has been on hiatus for precisely the sort of brain-frying reaction described by Brian above.

    And thanks for the encouragin' words! I'll be back sluggin' away before too long, I'm sure.

  8. "Tarot" is what it is. Actually, I respect Balant for being willing to take the heat for his apparant position, which is that people ARE sex objects. And I mean people, not just women. You'll notice that he always puts his lone male character in as much sexual peril as his female characters. The guy's been molested three times that I recall.

    As for "Batman," I found this arc to be a pleasant change from the stupidity of Loeb's run and the out-of-character portrayals of Azzarello's. The whole Scarecrow/Scaremonster thing is a dodge. The real point of the story is to reassert the Penguine as a viable threat.

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