KAPOW! Comics for the 4th of July
Cheap explosions, wasted friends, charred flesh and the strong possibility of irreparable physical damage – while it may be okay for Robert Evans's weekly brunch, it's a bit much for the average person to endure, even on 4th of July weekend.
Independence Day is a great day, a true celebration of the freedoms Americans are afforded thanks to the grit and determination of its founders, intellectuals and madmen, every one. These guys threw a riot over a beverage tax – they would have loved that we blow up stuff in their honor. But independence of the nation and celebration of the spirit aside, July 4 weekend can be kind of a groinpunch.
The noise. The traffic. The bugs, the parades, the heat, the forced communion with family, the televised Bon Jovi concerts, it just goes on and on. If that's not reason enough to avoid the celebrations, keep in mind that those usually lighting the fireworks are the absolute least-qualified in the universe. Remember that dude in school who jumped off a two story house into an empty pool? Imagine him with a Roman candle and half a case of Natty Light.
If this type of scene doesn't interest you (i.e. you're a wimp like me), take this potential three-day weekend as an opportunity to catch up on any trade collections you might have missed, reread the story you didn't quite get the first time around, or take a trip back to comics' halcyon days.
Use your eyes while you still have them.Point Blank
Back before Ed Brubaker was considered perhaps the best American comics writer of his generation, he was an indie cartoonist and crime writer just beginning to dip his toes into the mainstream, still searching for a way to do stories starring established characters the way he wanted. This might just be the one where everything started to click. Collected here for the first time, "Point Blank" follows Cole Cash, aka "Grifter" of WildCATS, through a series of shady back-alley meetings, untrustworthy allies, and clues that seem to lead nowhere, finishing with an ending that'll make the pit of your stomach sink to the soles of your shoes. Brubaker may have always been great, but this is where that greatness is apparent.
It's been said over and over again – these are some of the best, most vibrant, most important comics of all time – and they have never looked more handsome than in the Marvel Masterworks hardback edition. When reading it, it's as if you can feel your own Spidey-Sense tingling. In reality it's just a bottlerocket strafing across the back of your neck. My bad.
When Matt Fraction entered the Marvel fold, he informed them that if they were looking for somebody to handle "Thor," they were barking up the wrong tree. Good thing Marvel didn't listen. Over the course of three one-shots, collected here, Fraction penned the ultimate heavy metal take on the classic character, even naming one episode after Slayer's classic "Reign in Blood." Lovingly rendered by Patrick Zircher and others, this collection is sure to provide all the comely wenches and beheaded frost giants you'll ever need.
The message boards will have you believing that "Final Crisis" is a waste of paper, an incomprehensible mess, and confirmation that Grant Morrison is the most overrated writer in comics. Too bad they're wrong. Dead wrong. So wrong it's hard to imagine a situation in which they could be wronger. FC is the culmination of every strand running through Morrison's superhero comics over the last two decades, a multilayered treatise on the power of fiction and the fragile nature of reality. Is it demanding? Yes. Difficult, even? You betcha. Does it reward the attentive reader? Imagine a "yes" written from here to the stars, throughout eternity, in emphatic day-glo letters. Yes, yes, yes.