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Vite, vite, vite: Jeff’s Really Quick Reviews of 11/1 Books & Stuff….

Jeff Lester

Dude. I totally shouldn’t be doing this. Nanowrimo. The regular job. Preparing for my brother in law’s engagement party. Plus, the Net connection is slow as hell this morning. And I want to post about Vegas at some point…

But just to fly in the face of common sense:

52 WEEK #26: What a weird little book this is–The Sivana Family meets the Black Marvel Family (and if I’m not mistaken, the Black Marvel Family is getting their own reptilian version of Tawny the Talking Tiger)–as every issue becomes more and more about a group of four ultra-fanboy comic book writers trying to amuse each other. And that’s closer to a Good comic than you would think.

AMERICAN SPLENDOR #3: A lot of last issue’s charm doesn’t stick around–or maybe I was just irritable last Friday. Either way, this seemed like Pekar at his laziest, just pages of kvetching. Includes a piece on community renewal so ineptly structured you’d think Joyce Brabner wrote it. Sub-Eh.

AMERICAN VIRGIN #8: As ever, some little bits that I like, and a lot of stuff I don’t. In fact, I think Other Side did a pretty good job of showing up this and Exterminators. Vertigo may want to think about their shipping schedules a bit. Eh, again.

APOCALYPSE NERD #4: The Daredevil: Father of the indie-nerd set. As usual, I wish some canny book publisher would nail down Bagge for a book of stories from the American Revolution. Though, looking at this book’s publication schedule, it’d probably be wise if they paid on delivery. OK.

BEYOND #5: Makes me feel like less of a geek for collecting Englehart’s run on West Coast Avengers. (Not that I am less of a geek, mind you, I just feel that way.) I dunno–if you’re like me and like Marvel c-listers drawn with panache, you’ll think this is Good (and like me, you won’t really be able to justify it).

BLUE BEETLE #8: I just realized–Blue Beetle is the Gilmore Girls of superhero comics. This book is really funny, really charming, and widely ignored, which breaks my heart a little. I doubt this issue, with Beetle fighting a generic monstery guy, will win any converts, but…the fun! The charm! Good.

CRIMINAL #2: I think we may be entering a new golden era of the comic book text page. Sure, sure, the story is Very Good and all, but Brubaker’s essay on Out Of The Past made me downright giddy–he just casually unpacked everything that was great about the movie, pointed out how it uses some of the great noir themes, and made his points cogently with no fuss and flash. Plus, there’s that lovely illustration to go with it… Fucking great issue.

EX MACHINA #24: A nice bit of progression for the overarching story and body language that fit the action made this a Good read.

EXTERMINATORS #11: Like American Virgin, possesses likeable bits (that shot of the dining table in near-darkness after all the night-vision POV shots was great) amid a vast and crushing unlikeableness. I’m all for misanthropic social satire (or maybe I only think I am) but it’s gotta have wit and incisiveness to work. Eh.

KILLER #1: Like Graeme, I picked this up at Hibbs’ urging and, like Graeme, I was completely won over–it’s a quietly assured little opener with a compellingly detached killer as the main character. Highly Good stuff and I’m look forward to where it’ll go from here.

MARVEL ADVENTURES SPIDER-MAN #21: Because I’m slow to the point of retardation, it wasn’t until the Newsarama article that I was made aware that the Van Lente toiling at the fringes of Marvel is the dude writing Action Philosophers, one of my favorite books. Althougn not earth-shaking, I thought this was a sensible little done-in-one that introduced a bunch of classic stinky Marvel villains (yay, Rocket Racer!) and the black Spidey outfit without a lot of fuss. Very OK and worth watching further.

OTHER SIDE #2: Cameron Stewart’s expressive and detailed art lends this story a feeling of direction it might otherwise lack…if that makes any sense. Two issues in, it’s very episodic and, apart from juxtaposition of the twin protagonists, might seem a little rootless. But the various episodes are either chilling or blackly amusing and Stewart’s ability to fill the pages with detail that descends into clutter keeps it pretty devastating. Highly Good, with an excellent potential for more.

SHE-HULK 2 #13: Another fun book for oldschool Marvel geeks like me–I mean, this has got Thanos and Stargod in it, for Christ’s sakes! I also loved the Rick Burchett art–simple but full. I hope they’re yanking our leg about switching this to a “serious” book. Highly Good.

SUPERMAN CONFIDENTIAL #1: As sometimes happens, Hibbs’ description of the book before I read it was better than when I read it (“It starts off amazingly awful–like, narrated by Kryptonite or something?”) I’ve never been particularly damp in the panties for Tim Sale’s art, but I was kinda surprised by how underwhelmed by Darwyn Cooke’s script I was. The “untouchables” angle on getting Lois, Jimmy and Clark to cover Lex Luthor seemed pretty damn lame–maybe we’ll be lucky and Perry’ll give a “they come at you with a knife, you hit ’em with correction fluid!” speech next issue. Eh.

TALES DESIGNED TO THRIZZLE #3: Hilariously odd–if the Monty Python TV show been a comic book, it’d be a lot like TDTT, I think. I’m too far away from my copy to quote it at length but if you like the funny, you should get it. Very Good stuff.

UNCANNY X-MEN #480: It’s a very old-school approach to The New X-Men, so I don’t entirely hate it, but mixing Vulcan with the Shi’ar is like pepping up your heroin with some tangy opium. OK in a very competent, face-clawingly dull kind of way.

WHAT IF AVENGERS DISASSEMBLED: My week as a froth-flecked Marvel fanboy ends here with a “What If” I found pretty enjoyable–particularly clever is the way the story is structured so you’re not really sure for the first two-thirds if you’re reading an alternate reality tale or not. And it made more sense than the original story and has roughly the same amount of heroes acting Out Of Character as Civil War. So call me crazy but Good.

PICK OF THE WEEK: Criminal #2, for the win but Tales Designed to Thrizzle #3 is right on its heels.

PICK OF THE WEAK: American Splendor #3? I dunno, my memory is shot–I either barely remember or don’t have time to read the awful books any more.

TRADE PICK: I picked up COMPLETE DICK TRACY VOL 1 HC but haven’t opened it up. I kinda wish I’d bought ART OF PLAYBOYS ELDON DEDINI HC, though: those cartoons bring me right back to those days of, as Garth in Wayne’s World put it, feeling like I’d just climbed the rope in gym.

And you?

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