Over at the Eat More Bikes site, Nate just finished a series on "Batman's Head". It's fine stuff, maybe even the finest. Take a look!
We're starting back on a semi-regular stick (shtick?) this week: reviews, Nate was here, but no Abhay--he's in talks with Legendary about filming his take on Image and needed some
hot cocaine rest. We thought there were still some First Second jokes around here that hadn't gone stale, but there's a bunch of ornery looking raccoons lurking around the trash can--that's where I keep all of my First Second related material, it just makes the most sense--so we'll just point you to Google, which you can use to track down all those articles on that whole tempest if you still care.
Real Rap #2
By Benjamin Urkowitz
Published by Oily Comics
The back of this comic features a bio for Stu, its main character, that merely says "He sucks. Who cares", so you immediately know what you're in for. As with all Urkowitz comics, there's some solid cunnilingus on display as well as the sense that what you're reading is only a brief glimpse of some larger project. It's snippets about Stu--one where he meets some swingers, another where he watches television, and two where he wanders around the city. Like End of the Fucking World, it lasts longer than you'd think ten pages would, and you reach the end and immediately want more. That's the way it's supposed to work.
By John Harkness, Louise Williams, Max Scheele
Published by Marvel, 1986
Although this comic has the exact basic plot as the previous issue, it doesn't acknowledge that issue's existence or content in any perceivable fashion, which leads me to think that someone in a supervisory fashion gave Ann Nocenti and John Harkness (and possibly other people I haven't read yet) the same general idea and sent them off to compose scripts, and then based their decision of who would be hired off which individual made the least horrible comic. (This is a severely flawed theory, predicated as it is on the assumption that quality matters.) The plot is this: Black Widow shows up to check on a post-Born Again Daredevil, ask for his help tracking down a US government fuck-up she's been employed to handle, and then a superhero comic book ensues. It's about as entertaining as I've made it sound, as long as I've been successful in making it sound entirely unentertaining. "But how does it look," the art-first reader asks? It looks generic and boring, the column responds. Nearly 30 years later, let it be officially said: this comic wasn't very good.
The End of the Fucking World #15
By Charles Forsman
Published by Oily Comics
Opens with a gunshot, ends with a gunshot, and it takes place maybe 30 seconds after the previous issue. The meat of the issue is revenge, violence, and an immediate repetition of the two with the players reversed. It's an unusual experience--despite the way these comics can live in memory, it's been more about the intensity of its violence than it has been about frequency--but it had to get all Kill List eventually, there's no other ending this particular brand of story can allow.
Punisher War Zone #4
By Greg Rucka, Carmine Di Giandomenico, Matt Hollingsworth
Published by Marvel
Although this comic contains the absolutely wonderful occurrence of the Punisher besting Iron Man and stealing his stupid Iron Man outfit, Rucka continues to deny the world the visual component of the whole comic book experience, so one has to make do with watching Frank blow Peter Parker across the room like the boring ass Peter Parker that he is: which is still pretty satisfying. Back before "the geeks won," shame was a useful tool brought to bear so that people wouldn't leave the house dressed like wet, aggressive balloons; nowadays, nobody is allowed to make fun of fat guys who wear porkpie hats and the worst thing a comic book reader can do isn't making a rape joke, it's admitting that something is a guilty pleasure, because guilt and shame are verboten as a motherfucker. But that's what this comic is, for me: an embarrassing piece of shit (albeit one that's well drawn and competently written) where one character is portrayed as the coolest, most efficient badass in the world as he goes about besting every single one of Marvel's top tier (as gauged by their box office success) in a variety of ways, each of which is guaranteed to send fans of those characters into an ear-splitting, teeth-grinding tirade that would alienate all but the most hardened message board reader. This is as dumb as it gets, but at least it isn't gross, and God bless it for not trying too hard. If there were more like this--more crotchety old man comics--there's a whole bunch of us who'd get out of bed just a little bit quicker in the morning. That's something worth being embarrassed about.
The Masters of the Universe: The Origin of He-Man
By Joshua Hale Fialkov, Ben Oliver
Published by DC Comics
I didn't read this thing. I just looked at this, the final page, because somebody said hey, comics is a meritocracy, here's the proof and showed this to me. There are worse comics in the world, worse drawings, there are plenty of worse things that end with titles like "The Beginning", there are a lot of dead people who deserved a better deal, there are a lot bigger fish to fry, there are too many Jews in the banking industry: I get it, you gotta have priorities, no problem. But man. This page makes me tired.
Batman Incorporated #7
By Grant Morrison, Chris Burnham, Nathan Fairbairn
Published by DC Comics
The situation hasn't changed: Grant Morrison says a lot of dumb shit absolutely every time he opens his mouth, his devoted fanbase have gone so far around the bend that they're now agreeing that there's probably some truth to the fact that Alan Moore stole Watchmen from The Filth, and Action Comics might knock Morrison's Judge Dredd comics from the "worst thing he's ever written" pedestal. And then there's this, the other thing that never changes: when Morrison writes an active action comic with Damian character in a key role (either as physical protagonist or sarcastic Greek chorus/Socratic extrapolator), the only way to screw it up is to partner him with Phillip Tan. This issue of Batman Incorporated, which sees Batman and his team of Bat-types reeling from their latest defeats while Damian irritably explains to Alfred Pennyworth why "Batman needs Robin" might not be the most satisfying comic book experience to someone seeking a "serious" Batman comic--despite its action and horror trappings, this issue continues the recurring appearances of kittens and Batman's newest pet, a cow--but it is the exact Grant Morrison Batman comic that ex-Grant Morrison fans were once excitedly looking for back when he was still in DC's good graces. It's no wonder those readers are gone, and no one can blame them for jumping ship--I'm only here because of the whole read-it-for-free thing, honestly--but at least he's finishing up with some dignity. The last interview he gave made it seem like he didn't have any of that left.