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Don’t Ask! Just Buy it!: X-Men Forever, Batmen, Muppets, and Sexy Turn-of-the-Century Koreans

Savage Critic and “Reading Comics” author Douglas Wolk runs down the hottest comics and graphic novels coming out this week.

KEY

# The legacy of 52 continues even today
% Although one could also say the legacy of Action Comics Weekly continues even today
^ Back. Way back. Back into time
Why the long face?
ƒ “Monkey play in the jungle/Robot work in the factory”
ø It’s not easy being green
Have superhero franchises been working out lately? They seem, you know… wider.

‡ X-MEN FOREVER #6

I was pretty dubious about Chris Claremont’s biweekly “let’s just pretend everything since my X-Men #3 didn’t happen, shall we?” series when it began — would you want to go back to dating the person you were dating in 1991? But people who know their X-Men better than I do have been surprisingly enthusiastic about it. And this issue reunites Claremont with my favorite X-Men artist, Paul Smith. I don’t think I’m going to be able to resist it.
# † ‡ BATMAN AND ROBIN #3

Peanut butter and jelly, Batman and Robin, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. This is actually Quitely’s last issue for a while, in the interest of the series coming out something like monthly, but he’ll apparently be back.

# ‡ BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #8

There’s a “Great Ten” miniseries due in a couple of months, but admirers of the Chinese super-team introduced to great fanfare in “52″ (and barely seen since then) should note that they turn up in this issue of the B&B that’s the tie-in with the animated series, as opposed to the one that’s marking time until Straczynski shows up. Also, there are yetis.

† ‡ BETA RAY BILL: GODHUNTER #3

The final installment of Kieron Gillen and Kano’s miniseries about the horse-headed Thor supporting character’s attempt to starve Galactus to death. It’s been very, very plot-heavy in a way I find pretty appealing–Gillen’s still working out some of the kinks in his comics writing here and in “Phonogram,” but he’s developing quickly (and I also like his ideas about gaming criticism). The backup stories have been reprints of Walt Simonson’s first few “Thor” issues, which definitely counts as value-for-money.

† ^ CEREBUS ARCHIVE #3

If you thought the first volume of “Cerebus” was Dave Sim’s juvenilia, wait ’til you see this stuff — Cerebus himself is still quite a while away from showing up. This issue, we get 3 horror stories Sim wrote and drew in the mid-’70s to try to impress an editor at Charlton Comics with his impressions of Berni Wrightson. (It didn’t work.) It’s made considerably more interesting by Sim’s decades-later explanations and analysis of what he was up to at the time.

ƒ CITIZEN REX #2

The new Mario and Gilbert Hernandez collaboration looks oddly like Gilbert’s non-Palomar work from the early days of “Love & Rockets” — “Twitch City,” “Radio Zero,” that sort of thing. The story itself is badly disjointed SF so far, but I’ll look at anything Gilbert draws. Speaking of which: we may finally get to see “The Troublemakers,” Gilbert’s OGN that was supposed to be out a year ago, which seems to be part of the same “adaptations of nonexistent B-movies with Fritz from L&R in minor roles” series as “Chance in Hell” and “Speak of the Devil.” According to the comments on this Flickr post, it’s now scheduled for “late fall/early winter.”

^ THE COLOR OF HEAVEN

The third and final volume of Kim Dong Hwa’s series, set in the Korea of roughly a century ago, about a single mom rediscovering her sexuality as her daughter grows into her own. Technically only a soft PG, although it has lots of dialogue along the lines of “What kind of stove, no matter how many times a log is put in, stays merely lukewarm?” “Are you saying that this thing here is a log? Even a matchstick would have lit the flame better than that.”

# ‡ DETECTIVE COMICS #856

J.H. Williams III’s artwork on the Batwoman serial is some of my favorite superhero-comic art ever–I guarantee you that in 20 years people are going to be talking about this stuff the way they talk about Steranko and Adams and Sienkiewicz now (and in about two years we’re going to start seeing the awkward ripoffs of it).

# % ø ‡ GREEN LANTERN #45

Everybody’s favorite dead DC character is going to be resurrected at some point in “Blackest Night”; I guess my number is up, since this week we get the Black Lantern version of Katma Tui. I am probably just fond of her because one of the first comics I ever bought was “Green Lantern” #124, in which Hal Jordan kisses her at the end of the story and she replies “Though I resemble your Earth women, I am not female as they are! Your… kiss… has no meaning for me!” Even at that tender age, I knew she was blowing smoke up his ass, though I probably wouldn’t have put it quite that way. Anyway, she’s a zombie now.


ƒ ø ‡ INCREDIBLE HERCULES #133

The August through October issues of IncHerc are alternating between a Hercules story and an Amadeus Cho story, both written by the usual Greg Pak/Fred Van Lente team. This is the first part of the latter, which involves his origin (do really smart people have origins?) and “his arch-nemesis, Pythagoras Dupree.” That alone sold me on it.


ø ‡ INCREDIBLE HULK #601

And speaking of Pak and Van Lente, they’re splitting up the relaunched Hulk-with-an-adjective series, which appears to be Marvel’s first experiment with the “baiting the $4 cover price with a backup feature” format DC’s been doing for a few months: Pak’s writing the front of the book (drawn by Ariel Olivetti this time), and Van Lente’s writing (and Michael Ryan’s drawing) the She-Hulk story in the back.

^ ‡ MARVEL ADVENTURES SPIDER-MAN #54

The second issue of Paul Tobin and Matteo Lolli’s “soft relaunch” of MASM as a Peter Parker-in-high-school series–last issue was mighty entertaining, and featured Emma Frost as a social-climbing newcomer to Midtown High School, which is the role she was born to fill. This one’s got my favorite cover of the week, too.


† ƒ ø THE MUPPET SHOW: THE TREASURE OF PEG-LEG WILSON #2

Roger Langridge’s best comics in the past have often been variety-show-style sketch comedy, which makes him exactly the right guy to do “Muppet Show” comics–he’s one of very few cartoonists who would even dare to attempt musical numbers on the page. This miniseries actually has something of a story arc to it (there’s a very funny subplot involving Animal’s drastic personality change), but Langridge is happy to nudge it to the side for, say, a Swedish Chef routine. Also out this week: a ten-dollar paperback of Langridge’s first “Muppet Show” miniseries.

# ƒ ‡ TRINITY VOL. 2

The thousand-page Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman epic by Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley and a cast of half a dozen or so other creators didn’t quite work as a weekly serial–it seemed a little too tightly controlled, too light on week-to-week pivots and jolts–but its consistency makes it flow much more smoothly in collected form.

# % ƒ ø ‡ WEDNESDAY COMICS #8

Quote of the week, from this CBR interview with Kyle Baker: “Put it this way. You know how my Hawkman is turning out to be even more awesome than everybody thought it would be, even though I promised everybody it would be awesome and I gave half of it away for free online, so everybody was already expecting it to be awesome, but still they’re like, ‘Damn! This is ten times more awesome than I expected!’ Well, this next thing I’m doing with DC will take that awesomeness and multiply it to the trillionth power, and even though I’m telling you this and you’re now expecting it to be a trillion times awesomer, when the announcement is finally made by DC about the trillion-times awesomest Kyle Baker project ever – that trillion-fold awesomeness will be but a fraction of the true mind-blowing spectacularity which is yet to come.” Also this week: reprints of the first two Wednesdays, for those who missed them.

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