Posted by: Brian Hibbs on August 2, 2006
The sucky part is I find myself almost completely incapable of any kind of “creative” writing right now.
A lot of it is having the 2 year old in the house, of course — while I had foolishly thought that a post-verbal child would need less maintenance (name your need, deal with the need — that’s much clearer than a pre-verbal “he’s crying, dear god, WHY is he crying?”), it turns out that that’s about as insane of a thought as I’ve ever had.
Benjamin and his mother share a common trait — they both speak their mind, all of it. Don’t get me wrong — this is exactly the number one trait I love about Tzipora, but it’s proven to be an…. adjustment to me to have TWO big Talkers in the house. When I finally get alone time, the last thing I want to hear is real human voices (include the ones inside my head)
Anyway, I bring this up partially as an excuse for why I’ve been such a lax bitch about writing reviews lately, but also because I’m astonished by just how fast Ben’s vocabulary, and its accuracy, is growing.
He’s 2 (and 3/4), and most of his friends are sort of not very past “Mama, hungry”. Ben, well, he is.
We’re walking to a park near us, and actually, let me sidetrack myself and tell you about this place. It isn’t properly a park, really, more like a community space between houses. SF is pretty hilly, as you know, so we have several neighborhoods where the houses and property lines are really weird diagonal shapes as people try to build AROUND the hills, right? There are odd gaps here and there that aren’t suitable for building on. So, at the top of one of these, someone built a community garden, but because the “bottom” part is just TOO steep for much of anything, some clever person decided to put it two custom slides built out of stone (finished concrete of some kind, but I’m not really sure). You’d never know they’re there unless you lived in the neighborhood, and they don’t have a name, or appear on any map, as far as I know. Just one of those cool, only in San Francisco, kind of things.
Anyway, so we’re walking there, and one of the things in the garden is this big ass tree whose base largely resembles a pineapple — with the blunt spiky things, or whatever. Ben asks me “Dada, why is that Pineapple so big?” and I say something like “Well, Ben, I think it is a Palm tree of some kind.” and Ben fires back with…
(and do this in a 2 year old’s voice)
“Actually, I think it is very similar to a pineapple”
Tell me, how many two year olds construct sentences like that?
So, because I’m spending all of my brain energy trying to keep up with BEN’s brain-energy (a battle I am already losing at 2!), I find it very hard to find time to write “creatively” at all — by the end of the day, I don’t want to hear ANY living human’s voice — even my own, inside my head.
I can still do “business” writing — TILTING; responding to idiots on Byrne’s board; CBIA… or whatever — because that’s all just “brain in neutral” stuff. But writing reviews I *want* to be “entertaining”, “funny” even… and bringing that on is hard in my verbal verbal house.
Only time I have to write creatively (though this will change come September and 3 mornings a week of blessed blessed pre-school for Ben!) is that brief 90 minutes or so between when I finish my Tuesday paperwork, and when the truck arrives with them thar funny books.
52 WEEK 12: The ship is veering wildly from good to bad and back again — this is a solidly GOOD issue; quite probably because it feels like there’s some real forward movement on a couple of threads here. You know, if this was a MONTHLY comic, it’d probably have been cancelled by now, but the weekly shipping gave a certain momentum that the storytelling itself has been iffy on. More issues like this one, and maybe it will end it’s run higher than I think it will. Oh, and can’t go without mentioning the new “secret origins” backup thing — a HUGE improvement of “The History of Crossover in the DCU, post-crisis” crap that ran for 10 weeks there. My only quibble is that the Wonder Woman sequence missed MY favorite part of her origin — the masked Amazonian Olympics.
SHARK MAN #1: What a terrific first issue. Usually I hate Steve Pugh’s art — I tend to think of him as the artist that “ruins” books (cf Animal Man, etc.) — but this is lush and gorgeous, and altogether stellar work. Went to backorder at Diamond of course, so let’s see if I ever get more copies to sell… GOOD
CASTLE WAITING v2 #1: Really wonderful and fun material — I missed these characters and setting quite a bit (esp now that we’re past the Solicitine stuff, which derailed the forward momentum of the series pretty substantially) — this is a great value, too, a nice chunky read for the price. VERY GOOD.
BATMAN #655: Unlike Lester, I was OK with the “meta” opening, but like him, I’m really looking forward to where this might go. Hated the coloring, though — way too bright and colorful for the work. Still, VERY GOOD.
NIGHTWING #122: Uhmmm…. what? So, Jason Todd becomes sort of a protoplasmic blob? That’s the best ending anyone could come up with? CRAP-tastic!
SPECTRE #3: Yeah, yeah “Crisis Aftermath”, whatever — I really wish they hadn’t branded those books in that way. Set up an expectation that wasn’t met. This was a perfectly adequate wrap up to this mini, but it was a bit telegraphed. The real problem is that it just basically resets the Spectre to where it was pre-Crisis — except now he has a goatee — there’s really nothing left of Crispus in there, nor any real reason to have changed hosts. I’ll give it an OK, but it should have been much more.
JSA CLASSIFIED #14 and JLA CLASSIFIED #25: I probably should have paid more attention to the solicit — I hadn’t realized that it was a continuation of the same story. A story which kind of makes me question the point of both of these titles (Other than “franchise expansion”, of course) — this would have been fine in 1980, but I expect more of a point to my comics in 2006. Extremely EH.
BATTLE POPE COLOR #9: We’re into new stories now? At least, I don’t recall this one from the first run. Kirkman is definitely going to hell for this, but at least it is a low GOOD.
SIDEKICK #2: Feels like a rejected pith for… well something. Its slightly funny, but I’ve read better takes on the basic material (anywhere from BRAT PACK to THE PRO, really). EH.
BLACK PANTHER #18: So, Jeff Lester and I were at a Klan rally the other day, and…. wait that’s a terrible joke. Still, we have comments in this week’s Jeff reviews thread that seem to suggest he’s a racist for not liking this. Hoo boy. Frankly, I’m of the opinion that “let’s put the two best known black characters together…. since they’re black and all” to be a bit racist myself. Meh, what do I know, I’m as white as a marshmallow myself. So, let’s judge this comic on its contents, rather than any racial thing: as a “Marvel wedding” with a tie in to the big summer crossover, this did everything it was supposed to do… well, except it was missing a super villain attack. (Parenthetically, I suggested to Jeff that we should round up the losers of Stan’s WHO WANTS TO BE A SUPERHERO to form a Revenge Squad against who ever the “winner” ends up being — that’s how it is in the funny books, right?) I think the comic tries way too hard to try and convince us these two are a perfect match, when in real non-retconned continuity they’ve maybe said 6 words to each other, ever? Ultimately a pretty EH issue of a pretty EH series — and one that, I suspect, forever puts Storm in “supporting character” status.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #20: I don’t really like Cap (except as a concept), and I really didn’t like the idea of bringing Bucky back (especially since it seems pretty meandering, and not leading to anything in particular), but I thought this was a rocking comic book, hitting all of my action-loving buttons jes’ fine. GOOD.
DAREDEVIL #87: I, too, wish I hadn’t spoiled myself on the ‘net before this issue was released — the reveal was handled excellently, and was strong storytelling. I particularly liked how it happened on a left-facing page, so that if you were flipping through it in the store, you were much likely to see it and spoil yourself. Plus, the Foggy stuff was just great, and Brube should be really proud of himself for pulling it all off. I’m not sure I really buy that there aren’t 7583726 people who KNOW that Matt outted himself in prison, but I suspect I can suspend my belief enough to go for it. VERY GOOD.
ASTRO CITY SAMARATIN SPECIAL: Despite no one saying any names backwards, I took Infidel to be a Mr. Mxyzptlk analogue — reality changing powers, regularly scheduled appearances, magic-based. And I thought it was terrific. But I’m totally annoyed, like a bad itch under my skin, that I can’t remember what the cover homage is supposed to be — I know I know what it is, but it’s just not manifesting itself in my memory. VERY GOOD
annnnnnd… fuck, the truck arrived already. That’s all I gots the time for, folks. Sorry, missed a lot of things I wanted to cover, too. Wrap this up at home…
Um, PICK OF THE WEEK: CASTLE WAITING v2 #1, though either of Brube’s books come close.
PICK OF THE WEAK: Oh, c’mon, NIGHTWING #122. Proto-red-hood-plasm = teh suk.
BOOK / TP OF THE WEEK: I think I’ll go with HELLBLAZER ALL HIS ENGINES, one of the better JC stories I’ve read, and one that I actually thought was worthy of the HC format and price (so twice as nice as a cheaper book)
What did you think?