Comic books for the week of Wednesday, April 22, 2009:
Sgt. Rock: The Lost Batallion #5 (of 6) (DC)
Supergirl #40 (New Krypton #22) (DC)
Invincible #61 (Image)
Detective Comics #853 (Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader, part II) (DC)
After Watchmen ... What's Next:
Preacher #1 (Vertigo / DC)
Transmetropolitan #1 (Vertigo / DC)
Sgt. Rock: The Lost Batallion #5 (of 6) (DC) * * * * *
This fictional look at a historical WWII battle has shown the depth of research done by writer and artist Billy Tucci. Two previous attempts by Allied troops to rescue the Lost Batallion have failed, and this issue sets up the final battle in the concluding issue. Not only does this mini-series incorporate historical accuracy, it also includes various characters from DC Comics line of war comics including, of course, Sgt. Rock and the Haunted Tank. This issue continues Tucci's excellent job of portraying the quiet moments between soldiers before the next terror of battle. In the banter between a Texas soldier and a French rifleman, we learn of a French Foreign Legion version of the Alamo, also against Mexico. The all Japanese-American 442nd Regiment continues to be highlighted, and their valor is shown in this issue. In the last panel I swear that line came from a Bill Mauldin Stars & Stripes cartoon from WWII.
Supergirl #40 (New Krypton #22) (DC) * * * * *
Supergirl shows more cunning in battle in this issue than any other I've read of her title, and her cape becomes more than a fashion statement as well. She also discovers who Superwoman really is. I won't mention who it is, but I was surprised that one of my guesses was right. It doesn't happen very often. Cat Grant is a little too nosy for Lana's comfort, and I wonder if it will lead to something in later issues. Speaking of Lana, there is a new development in her life as well. What I liked about this issue is that it showed Supergirl's progress in becoming a super hero in her own right. She's not there yet, but she shows she has learned the lessons taught her by the more experienced heroes.
Invincible #61 (Image) * * * * *
This issue is picking up the pieces, literally, from the Invincible War. The banner at the top of the cover says Invincible War: Aftermath, after all. The issue is titled Conquest: Part One, beginning the next storyline. Writer Robert Kirkman does his usual excellent job of weaving plot points into the narrative that will lead to developments in later issues, none of them good for Invincible. The heroes, and the world in general, begin the long process of rebuilding after the carnage of the last issue. And just when Invincible thought it couldn't get any worse, and at the worst moment, it does at the end of the issue. Kirkman is not afraid of putting his super heroes throught the ringer, and then doing it again before they can catch a breath. As Invincible becomes a more experienced super hero, the threats he faces also become greater The question is can be the equal to the next one. That is what keeps bringing me back for the next issue. This one is no different.
Detective Comics #686 (Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader? part II) (DC) * * * * *
This is part two of the story Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader? begun in Batman #853. This is a Neil Gaiman story, especially in the ending. The cover of the Batman issue I bought was the alternate Alex Ross cover of a grieving Alfred holding the cape and cowl. There was no Ross alternate cover for the Detective issue, but Andy Kubert's homage to the first Batman cover of Detective #27 was still great. This issue has more of Batman's supporting cast, heroes and villains alike, each tell their own version of Batman's death. Just like in part I, in this issue everyone's story is completely different, and a completely different version of Batman from his long history is portrayed. And Batman himself, mostly off panel in both parts, remains the detective as he tries to solve this mystery.The ending of this story is a little amiguous, but a lot more satisfying than Grant Morrison's Batman R.I.P. or Final Crisis. This was a very satisfying story that left me satisfied that there will always be a Batman.
After Watchmen ... What's Next? is DC Comics' marketing tool to introduce new adult comic book readers, who may have been attracted to the Watchmen movie and trade paperback, to other attractive titles for mature readers. Of course they are featuring their Vertigo line of titles, so DC has reprinted the first issues of some of their alternative titles, including Planetary from Wildstorm. The two titles I picked up, since I already have all of the Planetary issues (and is eagerly waiting on epilogue issue #27), were the first issues of Preacher and Transmetropolitan. I am familiar with both titles but had never had an opportunity to read either title and thought that this would be a good opportunity to remedy the situation. When I saw copies of these issues at Acme Comics, http://acme-superstore.com/ , I had to buy both of them, and they were specially priced at only $1.00. If you haven't checked out any of these titles, which carry the AWWN? banner, they are at the perfect price to try them.
Preacher #1 (Vertigo / DC) * * * * *
This first issue of Garth Ennis' treatise against religion tells the story of a disillusioned pastor of a small town Texas church who is possessed by the Genesis entity, which has escaped heaven. The series, which has ended and is now available in trade paperback, is about this former pastor's journey as he discovers the secrets of heaven and hell. This first issue sets up an intriguing story that I'll have to check out sometime. It's take on religion is controversial, but I'm not worried about it making me doubt my faith. I haven't read much of Garth Ennis' stories but this first issue shows he knows how to create a story.
Transmetropolitan #1 (Vertigo / DC) * * * * *
Being a fan of Planetary, I had to check out this earlier title. The main character, Spider Jerusalem, reminded me of the late gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, looking like Alan Moore, at least in the beginning. He has been living secluded in a mountain cabin, but is forced to return to the city to fulfill a book contract. The years in the cabin have left him without anything in his creative tank, and so he returns to the city for inspiration. That means returning to a job at a newspaper. The city is like no city we've ever seen before, a futuristic hi-tech city with a different type of alien immigration problem. Once Spider "cleans up" he reminds me of Jack Carter, a character in Planetary #7, because of his tattoos.
Free Comic Book Day is Saturday, May 2, 2009. Support your local comic book store, or if you haven't been to a comic book store but are interested in reading comics, this Saturday is a perfect day to try them out. While you're there, try to buy something from the store, because the FCBD titles are paid for by the comic book store owners. Check with your local comic store owner for their limits on the number of free titles you can get. Most stores do various promotions, so take advantage of it. For a full list of the Free Comic Book Day titles go to the web site http://www.freecomicbookday.com/ . I've already chosen which titles I plan to get.
I'll be going to Acme Comics http://acme-superstore.com/ . They will be having balloon art and super hero face painting for children, and, from 11:00 a. m. to 5:00 p. m. will have some comic book guests. They will have Christian Slade, writer and artist of Korgi, published by Top Shelf, and Art Baltazar, writer and artist of Patrick The Wolf Boy, Gorilla, Gorilla and Tiny Titans. Their free comic book limit is 3 titles.
Another comic book store, this one in Lake County, where I live, will have master artist George Perez on Free Comic Book Day Saturday, May 2. Action Games and Comics in Clermont, Florida, http://www.myspace.com/actiongamesandcomics ,will have Perez appear from 1:00 - 5:00 p. m. Unfortunately I won't have time to visit this store because of a family commitment. If you are in the Clermont area Saturday check out Action Games and Comics.
Next week I will post about the Free Comic Book Day titles I chose, along with the other titles I bought. I would be interested in the FCBD titles you picked, so leave a comment at the end of this post, or send and e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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