Tuesday, September 28, 2010


So I guess I should finish my funnybook review catch-up. Just in time for you not to be able to find any of these books at the funnybook store tomorrow because they all sold out...

Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #3 (of 5)
by Warren Ellis and Kaare Andrews

Can I just go on record as saying that I freaking love this cover?

(please oh please click to embiggen)

It has absolutely nothing (NOTHING!) to do with what happens inside. There's barely even any reference to Emma licking people, much less the insane (yet somehow wholesome) fetish sex foreplay we're seeing here. I mean, just look at that: humans-as-furniture fetish, food fetish, kinky-boot fetish, Crystal Gayle fetish, that whole thing with the tongue, whatever the hell's going on with the boob window and visible bra cups... And that's not even getting into Cyclops' whole scruffy bohunk trucker-hat thing he's got going on there. Seriously, man. What. The. Fuck! Such an hysterical, unsexy parody of every horrible, gratuitous "sex sells" funnybook cover on the racks. It's bloody perfect! Kudos to Kaare Andrews for putting that one together.

And then the story, of course, is all about helpless African children getting slaughtered by their own government. Ouch.

Writer Warren Ellis continues to play the politics of the situation smart, finally giving us the situation from the side of the man who ordered the killing. And, you know... It's kind of hard to paint him as the bad guy here. Which is what makes this Ellis' best work-for-hire writing in quite some time. Sure, he's really just writing a sequel to a well-remembered Marvel UK story from the 80s ("Jasper's Warp," for anyone who cares). But by setting it where he has, and delving into the political matters he's chosen to discuss, he's elevated it far beyond that. And far beyond the scope of this short review. I may have to come back to the issues of this story when it's over and done with. But for now, I give it...

Grade: A

Nemesis #3 (of 4)
by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven

Heh. A-heh-heh. This book is so dumb, and so awesome, I have a hard time believing that it really exists. And with only one issue remaining, I feel like it's finally hitting its stride. Millar pulls back from the cartoonishly over-the-top stuff this time out, to give way to the appallingly sensationalistic. I rather like the Nemesis jailbreak sequence at the beginning (not spoilered because, come on!). It has the feel of a Midnighter sequence, with one man doing the absolutely impossible in the most violently entertaining manner imaginable. I'd scan in a picture of it just to get the point across, but I really would hate to spoil that moment for anybody who hasn't read it.

I'd also hate to spoil the issue's big plot shocker, but I will tell you all about it behind the safety of the  [SPOILER]. Nemesis' men kidnap the Chief's kids, but return them unharmed after forcing the Chief's wife to reveal embarrassing family secrets, showing that the Chief's family finds him distant and a little scary. But then comes the capper, the thing that punts the entire situation over the top and into the realm of the absurd: while he had them prisoner, Nemesis inseminated the Chief's daughter with sperm from his son, leading to the following headline: "Police Chief's Daughter Pregnant By Her Gay Brother." [/SPOILER] BAAAA-ha-ha-haaaah!

Oh, holy crap. Seriously, it's like Millar decided to finally write the comic that the fanboys have always accused him of writing, but with a great big middle finger sticking up out of it. Because this is some brilliant stupid-ass tabloid action comics, way more entertaining than it has any right to be. As I've said in previous reviews of this series, I'd love to get something new from the far more subtle Millar who wrote Chosen or The Ultimates. But for now, this'll do.

Grade: A-

Daytripper #10 (of 10)
by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba

And now, for something completely different... Lyricism!

I actually held off reading this final issue of Daytripper for almost two weeks. I just didn't want it to end. But that's silly. It was a series all about endings. Endings, beginnings, and all the stuff in-between. It was one of the great slice-of-life dramas I've read, and I've read a good number of those over the years. It had a great hook (the main character dies at the end of every chapter!), and described a life in moments both big and small, from childhood to old age. It gave in to sentimentality every so often, yes (though not in a way I found mawkish), but those moments were more than balanced out by the darkness of the middle chapters. All in all, it was a good story well-told, and one that probably deserves a better analysis than I'm giving it here. Maybe when the trade comes out...

Grade: A

CBCG #3 (of 4)
by Kim Krizan & Toby Cypress and Robert Steven Williams & Giorgio Pontrelli

Hoo-boy. After a nice start, this series in tribute to the greatest punk rock club of all time is kind of fizzling out. The lead story this issue delves into punk as tribal metaphor, complete with mystical cave paintings and other aggro-hippy crap that sets my aging punk rocker teeth on edge. The back-up's a little bit better, dealing with an aging punk college professor who gets high and travels back in time to his own youth, where... On second thought, that sounds like a freaking hippy story, too, so fuck it.

Hippies are boring!
Sentimentality is boring!
This comic is boring!

Grade: FTW!

Hellblazer # 271
by Peter Milligan, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Stefano Landini, and Simon Bisley

And speaking of aging punk rockers, it's kinda old-home week in this month's Hellblazer. Shade's still around doing crazy shit (like fixing Epiphany's face by giving her Kathy's), that old bastard demon Nergal shows up for what must be the first time in about 15-20 years, and then Simon freaking Bisley pops in to draw three pages at the end, set in 1979! This was a fun issue, though. I'm starting to see various of Milligan's themes and plotlines start to dovetail, and it's always nice when the big picture of a series starts coming together.

(One odd side-note to this issue: rumor has it (thanks to Rich Johnston over at Bleeding Cool) that a new Shade series may be on the way, from James Robinson and Jill Thompson. No word on whether that'll be a Vertigo Shade...

...or something closer to the Steve Ditko original.

If it's the former, this story's just a way for the character's daddy (Milligan wrote all 70 issues of the Vertigo Shade series) to reintroduce him to the world. If it's the latter, then I guess this will be Vertigo Shade's swan song. Either way, I think I'll have to check it out. I was reminded recently of how good Robinson was at one time, and Jill Thompson artwork's always a treat.)

Grade: B+

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