Thursday, May 15, 2014

Thursday Morning Theology Hangover

Some of you may have missed this feature last week. I dropped the ball on that one. But I have a good excuse! My brother got married! Plus he and his wonderful bride got me this awesome Batman mug you see pictured above. LOOK AT THAT AWESOMENESS!

Man, typing in all caps is super tacky. Don't do that. But I feel the awesomeness of that mug required it.

Anyway, so here we have my rambling on new comic books I bought yesterday. And a few from last Wednesday I quickly purchased before skipping town for the festivities. And even a few from Free Comic Book Day which was way back on May 3rd.

Let's get started!

Pick of the (past couple of) week(s): Mouse Guard, Labyrinth, and Other Stories

The Walking Dead #127
Holy Crap. This issue starts a new storyline, and it does so by jumping forward two years into the future from where issue 126 left off. That's right, The Walking Dead pulled an Alias. Only this time, it doesn't make me mad. Plus, this book is hefty. It is thick. Why? Because apparently it is a double-sized issue. But you would never know that from looking at the cover. There is no gaudy explanation exclaiming it is a longer issue. Even more amazing, the price point stays the same at $2.99. This blows my mind! When so many books by DC and Marvel are standard length (or even a bit shorter) and sell for $3.99, this issue defies all expectations. Robert Kirkman is taking everything that DC and Marvel are doing wrong, and doing them right. That deserves a round of applause, a salute, and a tip of the hat. Oh, right, the actual story in the issue? It is amazing. Seriously, it is one of the best Walking Dead issues I've read in a while, and that is saying something. If you thought people fighting each other during the zombie apocalypse was entertaining, you'll find it even more intriguing when people actually work together to rebuild society in this issue.

Deadpool #28
Last issue Deadpool got married and it cost ten bucks. This issue Deadpool goes on his honeymoon and it costs $3.99 (see above ramblings on The Walking Dead). However, this issue does come with a "bonus" (but really, it costs you an extra dollar) code to redeem a digital copy of the issue. So, I guess yay? Maybe? Anyway, Deadpool and wife go to Japan and things go awry and many Japanese stereotypes are lampooned. It was a very fun read.

Star Wars #17
Princess Leia is getting married! But is it a trap? This is Star Wars, of course it's a trap. Star Wars has more traps than an episode of Scooby-Doo. This issue doesn't have a whole lot of action, but it does set everything up for it all to go into chaos next issue. So really, this issue just makes me want to read next month's issue, which I guess is the point? Star Wars. From Dark Horse. Get it while you still can.

FBP #10
This issue delves some more into direct reality vs. indirect reality. Direct reality is where the universe really exists as my senses tell me it does. Indirect reality is more like the brain in a jar scenario where the world is nothing like my senses tell me it is, but something (electrical impulses, whatever) trick my senses into experiencing the world that way. So, what happens when two people realize they are in an indirect reality contraption? Or, basically, knock knock, Neo.

Starlight #3
Mark Millar continues his most recent miniseries and it continues to be quite charming. It still never rises to the amazing heartfelt tenderness of the first issue, but this is still a surprisingly good Millar comic. It does trade some of the earlier charm for traditional Millar violence and depravity, but it feels far more significant here when it is juxtaposed with a story and characters you actually feel for. Dang, I want to go back and read Starlight #1 again.

Hellboy in Hell #6
This is Mike Mignola writing and drawing Hellboy. That should be all you need to know. However, this also may be the last issue of Hellboy. Ever. But since this is comics you never say never. So, yes, this issue is by Mignola, about Hellboy in Hell, and he's fighting a vampire. All of that sounds amazing and it is.


Red Sonja #9
If you read one Gail Simone book it has to be Red Sonja. I admittedly have my problems with other Simone books (Tomb Raider), but everything just clicks when she writes Red Sonja. The titular character is still on a quest to recruit the land's best entertainers to satisfy a king's dying wish so he will release a thousand slaves. This issue tasks Sonja with seeking out a legendary courtesan. So, yup, it's that kind of issue. But among all the euphemisms and wit, Simone adds quite a bit of heart and sentimentality to the story and characters. The most frustrating thing about Red Sonja is wondering why other books (Tomb Raider) aren't as good as this.

Rat Queens #6
Rat Queens is so much fun to read, you guys. It's like Saga, but without all the sentimentality that makes Saga one of the best comics out there. It's interesting to me, though, for I am not all that invested in the story in Rat Queens. I'm not particularly invested in any individual characters in the comic, either. However, I thoroughly enjoy the interactions between the characters and that is where this series shines. Reading about these 4 warrior ladies sitting down for a waffle breakfast is just as enjoyable as reading about them fighting an army of mushroom men, if not more so. I feel that is a fitting endorsement and should be a blurb on the cover.


The New 52: Future's End #0
This is pretty much indicative of everything that's wrong with DC's New 52 relaunch/editorial direction. You would think I would be overjoyed about a story that sends Batman Beyond back in time to mingle with superheroes of today (or superheroes of today but 5 years from now, I guess?). But I'm not. This issue is all about superheroes killing each other in graphic ways. It's dark and serious and tiresome. Chris Sims already expressed my feelings pretty solidly. DC seems to want readers to take it's heroes seriously and it ends up being joyless. Marvel seems to be taking things in the other direction and celebrating the joyous wonder of their superhero titles. I mean, just look at Deadpool, Ms. Marvel, Hawkeye, etc. But if you really want to read about Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and all the other DC heroes fighting each other, go read Injustice. Yes, it's a digital comic based on (or a prelude to) the video game. Yes, it is a bad comic. But it is so bad it is ridiculously good. Further, it seems to be self-aware of this and plays to it. It's so bombastic that I can't help laugh with glee as I read it. This Free Comic Book Day offering is supposed to entice readers to pick up this new Future's End crossover event. It certainly failed to entice me. And I'm a dude with an awesome, personalized, Batman wedding mug.

Mouse Guard, Labyrinth, and Other Stories
This surprised the crap out of me. I had no intention of getting this offering from Archaia, but by the time I got to the local comic book shop the selection of free comics was sparse. I picked up Future's End and then the proprietor sort of just shoved this into my hands. Thank you proprietor of my local comic book shop. First of all, this is a hardcover book. It is short and small, but it is hardcover and it was free! That ranks up there with The Walking Dead #127 for amazing value. Inside this hardcover is a sampling of short stories from Archaia's various comic book properties. I didn't really know anything about them, but they were delightful! The Mouse Guard story is just a great little fable. The Rust one is just beautiful. The bit from Labyrinth is both rather creepy but actually endearing. Bolivar is only four pages long and is about immigrants and talking dinosaurs and is incredible! Will O' The Wisp follows a night in the life of a raccoon. Rounding out the book is a tale set in the Farscape universe. I didn't fully understand it, but it made me interested in maybe watching Farscape. Is that on Netflix? This Free Comic Book Day book from Archaia is like the antithesis of Future's End. It celebrates comic books and makes we interested in seeking out these stories and reading more of them. And I am still blown away that it is a hardcover.

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