Saturday, March 15, 2008

Love and Hate (From Outer SPACE!!!!): Reviews in Brief, or, Amy Reads Takes a Spring Break

It’s true, Gentle Reader: this past week has been, how shall I say?, wonderfully relaxing. Understand that I say this with Full Knowledge that I have gotten Little Writing done on The Dissertation. I have researched, and read, but mostly, I’ve recovered from a ten-day illness and a year-long anxiety. Now that plans are Somewhat Settled for next year, I feel the desire to take some time to myself. Winter Break afforded none of that, and I have worked, steadily, consistently, and ruthlessly, since August. Even farther and even faster, six years now, since deciding to take the Ph.D. Taking a few days off has been lovely, truly, and with that loveliness comes the chance to, yes, even for This Humble Author, get Caught Up On Comics.

Constant Readers of This Humble Blog know, and know well, that I often find myself getting “Caught Up On Comics.” That is to say, between work and work and work (oh my!), over this past year in particular, I find myself with little time for non-television enjoyment. As it is My Job to Read Books for a living, sometimes, just sometimes, Gentle Reader!, I find myself unable to do so “for fun.”

But Spring Break offered a magical mystical time to get caught up on Very Old Series, like Grant Morrison’s run on New X-Men, to stay current on Old Series With Shiny New Writers, like Gail Simone’s run on Wonder Woman, and to read several months’ backlog of Grant Morrison’s tremendous run on Batman.

For this, I offer Reviews In Brief, with the understanding that there are still several titles that as of yet remain unread. Yes, give me your New Avengers, your Daredevils, your Teen Titans yearning to Breathe Free (gratitude, Ms. Lazarus). Or, at least, to escape the Tyranny of Bag-and-Board, courtesy of Mr. Reads's longboxes.

Wonder Woman #17 and #18 by Gail Simone
I’ve already reviewed Ms. Simone’s most recent issues of Wonder Woman elsewhere on this blog, and we are all Well Aware that I adore her run on the Princess Diana, madly and completely. But what stands out most is the whimsy brought forward for this heretofore decidedly not-so-whimsical character. Diana’s questioning of her appearance after seeing a Khund statue that had to be prettied up, Tom Tresser’s dawning revelation that the Amazons of Themyscira are not asexual beings, and This Humble Author’s Humble Favorite, Lt. Etta Candy’s “Woo #@#! Woo,” all offer a Fantastic Glimpse into the considerable talents Ms. Simone takes to the Amazonian Princess.

Serenity #1 by Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews
This is a mini I was Very Much looking forward to, but must admit that I wasn’t overwhelmed. Certainly, I enjoyed it, as I always enjoy stories of the Firefly Crew, but it was not the best comic I read the past few weeks. Most telling is Inara’s fantasy, and I am most looking forward to the continuation of this tale, but I do not finding the writing as strong as it is on other Whedon scripts, like Buffy or Astonishing X-Men or Runaways.

Angel #4 by Joss Whedon and Brian Lynch
This issue of Angel is proving to be a continuation of some Very Strong Issues, and an overall Very Strong Storyline. I am adoring this comic, with its dark, muddy art, its references, and its constant twists, turns, confusions, and dragons. Bonus: Spike.

Wonder Girl #6 by J. Torres
I added this title to the Reads Pull List mainly out of solidarity for All Things Wonder, All The Time. Granted, if it had been my most-deplored Donna Troy, I would not have bothered. While Wonder Girl was charming and fun, I did not find it, ultimately, astonishing or earth-shattering or, dare I say? Wonderful.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #12 by Drew Goddard
Next to Simone’s Wonder Woman, this is my favorite title in constant print at the moment. I've already reviewed it In (Extreme!) Brief, Not only because I am an Extraordinary Buffy Fan, but also because it is very well written. The “shock” of this issue, while generating a Great Deal of buzz, was not so “shocking” for Constant Readers of the Whedonverse. Sexuality is a fluid thing, and Buffy is ever an open-minded venue. Bonus: Xander’s Master returns.

All Star Superman #9 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely
As I admitted earlier, in Hushed Tones, I am Woefully Behind in my comics reading. I finally (!) read this issue of All-Star Superman, and truly, it is a fantastically written book. I am ever-amazed at the abilities of Mr. Morrison, particularly as I also am enjoying his New X-Men run and his current Batman run. It takes a very engaged and talented writer to make the Aliens (from Outer SPACE!!!) feel more human than the humans, and Mr. Morrison accomplishes that with aplomb, grace, and beauty. Apologies for the Enthusiasm, Friends, but Mr. Reads has watched many, many episodes of MST3K this week while cleaning, and some things stick more than others!

And finally,
Booster Gold #7 by Geoff Johns and Jeff Katz
I must confess, Gentle Reader, that Mr. Reads loves Booster more than I do. That is not to say that This Humble Author doesn’t adore this title; rather, I do not have the Deep Adoration that Mr. Reads has. However, this is pretty much one of the best titles being written at the moment, and even for a Reader like Myself who has, how shall I say?, a spotty fluency in All Comics Continuity, I don’t think there is a more enjoyable combination than Booster Gold and Blue Beetle.

The Best Comics I Am Not Reading
According to Mr. Reads, I am sorely lacking in Green Lantern. I know many of my Sister and Brother Bloggers would agree with this sentiment, but where should I begin? And how should I presume? (gratitude, Mr. Eliot, Mr. Prufrock). Any others, Gentle Reader?

The Best Comics I Can't Wait to Read
Manhunter returns in June, Gentle Reader. To quote Lt. Candy, "Woo Woo!!!"

7 comments:

SallyP said...

Woowoo indeed! I am so glad that Manhunter is going to make its long-anticipated appearance in June.

Not reading Green Lantern? Rather than dump forty or fifty some-odd years of continuity upon you, may I suggest picking up Geoff John's and Ethan Van Sciver's opus of "Rebirth"? It's the tale of Hal Jordan's redemption, and just happens to bring all the other Lanterns into the mix as well, and it's...well, it's just GREAT!

Skullduggery said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Skullduggery said...

Hmmm.
I've been rather enjoying Green Lantern myself of late (I thought the relaunch of the title got off to a bit of a slow start --- I can't remember exactly what issue I thought it really picked up steam with). The Sinestro Corps War was outstanding. So maybe jump aboard about six issues prior to the start of that?
As far as other stuff you're missing ... well, I know what titles I like. I don't know that they are books that will necessary float your boat, but I'll toss out a few in case.
Matt Fraction's Casanova (Image)
Warren Ellis' Fell (Image)
Bill Willingham's Fables (DC/Vertigo)
I'd say that month in and month out those are probably my three favorites.
The Circle is a new mini-series from Brian Reed and Ian Hosfeld published by Image. It is your basic espionage-style plot.
I rather enjoyed Gail Simone's Welcome to Tranquility (DC/Wildstorm).
If you're not someone who shuns manga, I would suggest a new series Dark Horse has just started putting out called Bride of the Water God. Fantastic art and an interesting story thus far (you might check out Dark Horse's site for details and perhaps they'll have some art samples as well).
Anyway, I hope you find something of interest in that brief list.
But definitely listen to Mr. Reads about Green Lantern.

Amy Reads said...

Hi Sally,
Woowoo indeed! I am so glad that Manhunter is going to make its long-anticipated appearance in June.

You, Ragnell, Shelly, and Mr. Reads are all responsible for making me read Manhunter, and I am Eternally Grateful. I cannot wait until June!

Not reading Green Lantern?

Teehee :) I knew you would find this Rather Shocking!

Rather than dump forty or fifty some-odd years of continuity upon you, may I suggest picking up Geoff John's and Ethan Van Sciver's opus of "Rebirth"? It's the tale of Hal Jordan's redemption, and just happens to bring all the other Lanterns into the mix as well, and it's...well, it's just GREAT!

I will set Mr. Reads to acquiring these for me posthaste!
Thank you, Friend!
Ciao,
Amy

Amy Reads said...

Hi Skullduggery,
Hmmm.

Hello :)

I've been rather enjoying Green Lantern myself of late (I thought the relaunch of the title got off to a bit of a slow start --- I can't remember exactly what issue I thought it really picked up steam with). The Sinestro Corps War was outstanding. So maybe jump aboard about six issues prior to the start of that?

I keep hearing Fantastic Things about the whole Lantern war over the rings and such. I really need to just dive in, no?

As far as other stuff you're missing ... well, I know what titles I like. I don't know that they are books that will necessary float your boat, but I'll toss out a few in case.
Matt Fraction's Casanova (Image)
Warren Ellis' Fell (Image)
Bill Willingham's Fables (DC/Vertigo)
I'd say that month in and month out those are probably my three favorites.


I've not read the first two, but Fables is on my pull-list, although I'm a few issues behind. I just hollered, er, Gently Called Out to Mr. Reads who says we do indeed have Fell and Casanova (which I didn't know!), and he will pass those along.

The Circle is a new mini-series from Brian Reed and Ian Hosfeld published by Image. It is your basic espionage-style plot.
I rather enjoyed Gail Simone's Welcome to Tranquility (DC/Wildstorm).


Again with the Gentle Calling, and we have The Circle (which I've not read). I *adore* Welcome to Tranquility. I reviewed its first issue and Gen-13's first issue here on my older blog. I think Welcome to Tranquility is one of the smartest comics around at the moment.

If you're not someone who shuns manga, I would suggest a new series Dark Horse has just started putting out called Bride of the Water God. Fantastic art and an interesting story thus far (you might check out Dark Horse's site for details and perhaps they'll have some art samples as well).

I don't shun Manga as a rule, although I don't know much about it. There are a few things I read here and there, and am always happy for recommendations.

Anyway, I hope you find something of interest in that brief list.

Most certainly! Thank you, Friend!

But definitely listen to Mr. Reads about Green Lantern.

And How :) He's passing them along as we speak.
Ciao,
Amy

Skullduggery said...

So Mr. Reads already has Casanova, Fell, and The Circle in hand.
Clearly he is a man of good taste.
And you are obviously a woman of good taste seeing as
a) you readily enjoy Fables and Welcome to Tranquility
b) you chose Mr. Read (who we've established has good taste himself).
I am a little curious though why, if he has already been reading those titles named above (and I assume enjoying them), why he has not exposed them to you as of yet (though perhaps it is more an issue of time and his recognizing that you have many other important things on your place.
Regardless, I'll be looking forward to your comments/reviews on those titles in your blog in the future.
Enjoy.

Amy Reads said...

Hi Skullduggery,
So Mr. Reads already has Casanova, Fell, and The Circle in hand.
Clearly he is a man of good taste.


He is :)

And you are obviously a woman of good taste seeing as
a) you readily enjoy Fables and Welcome to Tranquility
b) you chose Mr. Read (who we've established has good taste himself).


I am :)

I am a little curious though why, if he has already been reading those titles named above (and I assume enjoying them), why he has not exposed them to you as of yet (though perhaps it is more an issue of time and his recognizing that you have many other important things on your place.

Ah, there is The Conundrum. As I am Dissertating at the moment, time is rather precious, I'm afraid. Mr. Reads throws things my way when he thinks I will swoon, and other times, he waits. Take New X-Men, for example. He knew I would love it, but he knew I wasn't quite ready for it (I am rarely a Marvel Girl). But spring break 2008 proved to be the perfect time for it.

Regardless, I'll be looking forward to your comments/reviews on those titles in your blog in the future.
Enjoy.


Thanks, Friend! I will enjoy sharing thoughts on them once time allows! I am Woefully Behind on many of my regular titles (Captain America is still alive in Amy-Reads-World), but I will get on these forthwith!
Ciao,
Amy