Comic of the Week – Week of 3 Sep

Again, another week without any real Blackest Night installments… hell, there aren’t even any Amazing Spidermans

Good news from last week is that my Secret Warriors finally came in. The great news is that it looks like it is all leading up to a throwdown with the THUNDERBOLTS! Boo yeah!

The bad news is that Bendis is no longer doing the writing for #7. And the most gawd awful news is that the art duties has been taken over by a new guy who seems to be having problems with rendering body proportions and yet, in a seeming attempt to flaunt this deficiency, uses a pornographic amount of extreme perspective angles in the book.

Enough of last week. Let’s catch up to the present with this week’s runaway winner.

Chew #3 by John Layman and Rob Guillory.

Chew is a comic that I have been watching for some time. (I know, it’s only at #3, but one day I’ll like to be able to say, HA I was there since the beginning)

The concept of a CIBOPATH, someone who is able to get psychic imprints from the food that they eat is one of those quirky little “I should have thought of it myself” ideas. I started reading #1 out of curiosity to see how far this little idea can be played out and was seriously grossed out and supremely impressed by what I saw.

I was drawn in by the portrayal of a near-apocalyptic future where chicken is banned (and hence a premium black market item) for fear of Bird Flu and a “Big Brother”-ish FDA that stakes out illegal chicken selling outlets.

Tony Chu (Chu – Chew… geddit?), the protagonist, a “by the book and to the letter” paper pusher is not exactly my idea of a “hero”.

But in the first issue, Layman managed to throw enough of a candlelight on Chu’s personality quirks and possible complex family background through the smoke and mirrors to keep me intrigued. The last few pages of the first issue were particularly chilling and it shows how far someone who follows the book would be willing to go for what they deem as “justice”.

Fast forward to #3. Possibly due to the developments in #2, Chu is now quite a badass of an FDA officer himself.

Chew 003

Let’s just suspend our disbelief on the speed of Chu’s personality change from a pencil pusher to a bona fide foul mouthed gun slinger, I personally think it is a jump in the right direction. Now this is a protagonist I can root for.

#3 finally introduced the reader to Amanda Mintz, the lady that’s been prancing around the frames of the earlier issues and quite possibly the love of Tony’s life.

The introduction of the Saboscrivner proves that Layman and Guillory has more than a one trick pony on their hands. The possibility of other pseudo personality disorders and, well… for lack of a better word, Powers reminds me of the moment when I first discovered the X-Men… only, possibly… better.

Chew amanda mintz saboscrivner

And the one thing that possibly makes Chew better than the X-Men?

The humour. The Cartoon Network-ish artwork by Guillory suits the feel of the book to a T. The book mixes equal parts of gore, gross out moments and laugh out loud humor to produce a high energy recipe rarely seen in other books today.

I mean, the book is… FUN!! Something a lot of the “darker” offerings from the Big 2 are sorely lacking in these days.

Chew in love chu amanda mintz projectile vomit

That is why Chew #3  is my Comic of the week for 3 Sep 09.

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Comic of the Week – Week of 29 Jul

With no real Blackest Night installment this week, I was pretty convinced that this would finally be the week for Wednesday Comics (WC). WC is a new anthology that comes out every Wednesday (REALLY), or in sunny home town, Thursday featuring many one page stories of (relatively) popular DC heroes… much like the 1 page comic strip serials seen in the newspapers( think Prince Valiant, Dick Tracy, etc…)

The cool thing about WC is that they have a truly hardcore stable of creators which translates to some (wet) dream pairing up of writers and artists working on hugely established characters.

Exhibit A: Post 100 bullets (something I should definitely blog about) Azzarello and Risso working on a noir-ish Batman murder mystery. Hot dames, check. Wittily punny (or is it punnily witty?) dialogue, check. Hard talking, smooth dealing men, check. Batman? Check! Check! and check!

Exhibit B: Neil Gaiman (yup, HIM again) and Michael Allred in an almost trippy Metamorpho adventure. Neil Gaiman, check! Michael Allred, check!

Wednesday Comics 3 Cover

The whole comic is consistent in keeping with the tone of  the newspaper strip. The dialogue is accessible (meaning comic nerd will not be the only ones who will understand the speech) and a lot of this is because, like all Sunday comic strips, the stories does not carry the baggage of continuity. EVERYONE can just hop on and be entertained.  We have Agatha-ish mysteries, Last boy on Earth fantasy adventures, War stories and of course, Super hero tales. There really is something for everybody.

And did I mention the art? The deliberate news paper-ish lettering and adding of color half tones to the images to make the strips more vintage looking really brought on a wave of nostalgia… in a VERY good way

Halftones, barry allen, iris west, flash, wednesday comics

Sample art. Un Photoshopped

The reasons why WC is not top of the pops this week?

1. It’s an anthology. For every cool Busiek Green Lantern story, there is one lousy and confusing Wonder Woman one. Having a book with something for everybody means everybody has something not to like in the book. Though the average quality of the book is good to rock your heart out superb, there are still some jarring tales that just does not sit very well with you (I’m looking at you Wonder Woman)

2.  Three words. Brian Michael Bendis with his Secret Warriors.

The Group that Fury built during Secret Invasion finally come of age. With the addition of a new kick ass member and the return of the Howling Commandos, the Secret Warriors are slowly shaping up to be the prickly thorn in Osborn’s backside. It’s like watching the growing of the Rebel movements in Star Wars.

Nick Fury, secret warriors, brian michael bendis

Finally. Reason number 3.

And the top reason why Wednesday Comics is not the king of the hill THIS week.

thunderbolts

Post Secret Invasion, we’ve seen this team take a beating week after week after week. We bemoan the lost of the darkly humored Thunderbolts and silently, we think that this incarnation of Thunderbolt is just gonna be the forgotten step sister to the Dark Avengers.

I mean… villains masquerading as good guys that save the world for personal gains. That’s basically the premise of Thunderbolts since its conception. So with the Dark Avengers around, who need the Thunderbolts?

The final page of #134 throws that question right open. The final reveal shows the huge and intricate web of deception that has been built around the readers. We’ve been played for WEEKS. And this normally means 2 things.

1. The old direction for the book is not working and the editors decide to take creative liberties and give a big twist in the tale to bring it in a whole new direction (think soap operas)

or

2. It was planned for all along. (Much like George Lucas planned his Star wars to be part of a nine-0-logy. It’s all bout the money, it’s all bout the dum dum de de de dum) (think soap operas)

Either way, consider me gullibly swindled due to the smoothness in the handling of the twist.

Without giving too much of a spoiler away, I’ll say this image of a future cover of Thunderbolts says it all…

thunderbolts, mach 4, songbird, fixer, black widow

It begs the question… WHO are the Thunderbolts?

And for those not afraid of a spoiler, I would say this lil minx will be getting a LOT of exposure in the coming year.

scarlett johannson black widow iron man 2

Oh, I forgot to include the context…

scarlett, robert downey jr, mickey rourke, iron man 2, iron man, black widow, entertainment magazine

Comic of the Week – Week of 22 Jul

I’m supposed to have sworn off the whole Spiderman comics franchise after the fiasco that was Brand New Day.

But I just can’t help getting this issue. Deep inside, I am still a geek clamoring for these landmark issues.

Landmark, in the sense that the numberings are whole numbers, or “significant numbers” such as #1, #25, #50, #100, #250, #500, #13, #17 or… whatever numbers the Powers That Be deemed fit, apparently.

Amazing Spider Man 600, cover, Spider Man

It’s a bit of a surprise that Amazing #600 top the inaugural comic of the week list, (As a test of dedication and monetary depth, let’s see how long I can keep this going…) given how hyped up I am about “Blackest Night” at the moment.

For the record, I am not a big fan of the art of John Romita, Jr, I have an innate distrust to anyone with “Junior” in their name.  I believe they’ll always have deep psychological issues. Ok, let’s get objective (before some Italian mobster with a Oedipus complex come after my head with a cleaver), Romita’s art is blocky and just does not reasonate with what I percieve as, to use the scientific term, pretty pictures. But somehow, the art works fantastically for the main story of Amazing Spider Man #600.

Slott’s writing channels the work of Stan Lee in his prime. And for nothing else, I love the examination of the long term impact on a super villain (hur hur) who gets pummeled by SUPER heroes week in and week out.

Amazing Spider-Man #600, Doctor Octopus, Spider Man

And like all anniversary/landmark issues, the main stories are filled with guest appearances by Daredevil,  the Fantastic Four, the Original, Secret, Mighty Avengers. Some (Daredevil) turned out much better and relavant than others (Avengers). No matter what, the sharp writing never made the interaction between Spidey and the guest stars awkward, and it was actually fun reading the dynamics between the characters. My favorite guest star HAS to be the one that came out on the last page of the main story and the possible repercussions of her (re)apperance for Spidey. *nudge nudge wink wink*

Spider-Man #600, Daredevil, Spider Man, Blindside

And that is just the main story. The side stories by (among others_ Mark Waid, Mark Guggenheim and Stan “the MAN” Lee were, however, were a mixed bag. While I enjoyed Stan’s over the top recounting of Spiderman’s visit to a psychiatrist and the subtle and not so subtle digs at the various (sometimes ridiculous) plotlines of Spider Man over the years, I cringe at the overly dramatic and soap operaic rendition of Aunt May’s visit to Uncle Ben’s grave.

But the one thing that clinches the side stories for me has to be the return of the Spider Mobile, which I suppose was Marvel’s attempt at creating a Batmobile for Spiderman. Only instead of a cool, sleek, gadget filled grease lightning, the Spider Mobile turned out more along the lines of, and this is a direct quote, “Barbie’s Dune Buggy”.

The final reason why this is the Comic of the Week? It’s 100 PAGES long, baby! Count ’em! A four comic length epic for the price of one (slightly pricier) floppy warms my cockles and sings like a canary in my cheapskate heart.

Also… Toilet Humor Rocks!

Spider-Man #600, hydro man, toiletbowl, spider Man