Tues reviews: pearls and poos

September 15th, 2009

I saw Crank 2 the other day.  I have never seen a film like it in my life, although admittedly I haven’t seen the first Crank film.  This trailer makes it look far less ridiculous than it actually is:

So anyway, Crank 2 is now the yardstick with which I measure all things.  With that in mind,

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Citizen Rex #1+2

Published by Dark Horse

Story- Mario Hernandez

Art- Gilbert Hernandez

This reviewer is shamefully unfamiliar with the work of the Hernandez brothers.  I’ve dipped in and out of Love And Rockets but have always concluded that this is not the way to consume such a sprawling work.  Because of this I’m drawn more to the self contained stuff.  I’ve always loved their run on Mr. X, particularly for Jamie’s art and enjoyed Gilbert’s Grip: The Strange World of Men.  Citizen Rex seems to be doing the old Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep theme of exploring identity through robots.  There’s plenty of plot threads to engage the reader but you kind of feel like you know where they’re all going.  The art feels a bit lazy.  In the back matter of #1, Mario describes their initial conversation regarding the creation of this work thus:

Gilbert:  “I got us a project with __. We can have __pages or __ issues.”

Mario:  “Do you have any idea what they might want?”

Gilbert:  “I don’t want to think about it and I don’t want to draw buildings or cars.”

Mario:   “Science fiction it is, then.”

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This would all be fine if the pages were dripping with raw brainspill instead of exploding with adequacy as they are.  The story provides ample opportunity to include a scene where the protagonist  attaches one jump lead to his tongue and another to his right nipple then electrocutes himself but almost willfully refuses to do so.  Citizen Rex isn’t bad, it just isn’t great.

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The New Avengers # 56

Published by Marvel

Story- Brian Michael Bendis

Pencils – Stuart Immonen

Inks- Wade VonGrawbadger

Colours- Dave McCaig


In principle I don’t think the constant event Marvel is a good idea.  Why can’t comics stand alone without serving a bigger story which requires one to buy four million other comics blah blah we all know this.  It’s been many years since I read an Avengers comic and I certainly haven’t been following Dark Reign other than what I pick up from Amazing Spider-Man and Fantastic Four.  Let’s face it, the BIG STORY is basically that Norman Osborn and lots of baddies are getting away with being baddies.  I thought this copy of the Avengers read fine.  It’s just goodies and baddies with good art and clear storytelling.  I wouldn’t pay money for it (this was left round my dwelling) but I enjoyed it nonetheless.  Much of this issue is taken up with Mockingbird as the only Avenger left standing after a fight.  She fights the baddies.  The action is clear and believable in its own obviously ridiculous way.  At the end loads of baddies turn up, most of which I haven’t seen outside of the Marvel Handbooks I loved as a kid.

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Spoilers, by the way.  One serious criticism though:  At no point in this comic does a stripper get shot in her fake tits so we can see all the silicone leak out all gooey and horrible.

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Strange Tales #1

Published by Marvel

Story and Art – Various

Doing what DC did years ago with Bizarro Comics, Marvel has assembled a bunch of indie type creators to play with their characters.  Loved it.  Doesn’t all work, the John Leavitt/Molly Crabapple She Hulk piece being a low point but on the whole it was really pretty funny.  High points include:

  • Dash Shaw’s magical fight between Dr. Strange and Nightmare which involved a magical fist punching a nose.
  • This panel from Johnny Ryan’s Punisher story:

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  • The whole M.O.D.O.K and his lover story by Nick Bertozzi
  • The long awaited publishing of Pete Bagge’s The Incorrigible Hulk. Just a shame it had to be awkwardly cut so as to spread it across three issues.

So on the whole a success despite the lack of any scenes where a man puts a big gun up the bottom of another man really quite a long way.

If you have found any of these reviews insubstantial or overly frivolous try here for a handy alternative.

16 Responses to “Tues reviews: pearls and poos”

  1. Sean Witzke Says:

    Crank 2 can only be compared with other Crank 2s.

  2. Eman Anistow Says:

    READ HEARTBREAK SOUP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    it’s easy to get hold of it, all collected up by various publishers.
    and there’s new stuff out as an extra incentive.

    READ HEARTBREAK SOUP and don’t worry about the rest of Love & Rockets until you’ve got at least as far as “Duck Feet.”
    the other stuff is pretty good (a touch on the kitsch side of things but i doubt if that’d be a problem) and Jaime is a graphic virtuoso etc but Heartbreak Soup is the…
    it’s the…
    th the…

    itss…

    itsthebestcomicever!

    no no no – ok, but it would be if such a status was possible.

    read Heartbreak Soup *soon* because you will want to go back and read it all again as many times as your mortality will allow.

  3. nrh Says:

    Heartbreak Soup yes, but…

    FEAR OF COMICS! Better as “New Love” in single issues, but…but…

    So perfectly Mindless I don’t even know how to explain.

  4. Tucker Stone Says:

    Punisher MAX Presents: Barracuda has silicon breasts shot in it.

    Also, Heartbreak Soup! Very good.

    But Punisher MAX Presenting Barracuda For Your Pleasures: silicon breasts, getting shot. [She is surprised, she does not cry.]

  5. Gary Lactus Says:

    Better get me some heartbreak soup then. I take it from all of your endorsements that there’s a bit in it where a man has to rub up against people in order to generate static electricity to power his artificial heart because that’s how artificial hearts work so his girlfriend says “I’ll give you friction” and they make sex in the middle of a race track with horses jumping over them and lots of people watching.

  6. The Beast Must Die Says:

    I actually think dipping in and out of Jaime’s work is fine – it suits the scattershot nature of the story. He deliberately moves around his characters’ lives a lot, and goes back and forth in time constantly. But even without knowing exactly what’s going on, you can enjoy just kind of hanging out with these characters. Maggie, Hopey, Ray et al…I really feel like I know them. And care about them. Jaime’s Hoppers saga is easily one of my favourite comics, and laid out a template for brit comics like Deadline. I’m dipping into Beto’s work at the mo (Well, when i say ‘dipping’ i mean I’ve got two fat volumes that I’m working through…so far so interesting.

    I kind of liked the Molly Crabapple ‘She-Hulk’ piece – there was something a bit Angela Carter like about it.

    My favourite was Dash Shaw though, for perfectly capturing the energy and quaint psychedelia of early Ditko.

  7. Journalista – the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » Sept. 16, 2009: Where do I begin? Says:

    [...] [Review] Various titles Link: Richard Pachter and the Mindless Ones [...]

  8. Eman Anistow Says:

    Jaime -> Deadline (via Atomtan) = definitely.

  9. Zom Says:

    Crikey, I have to bloody read Love and Rockets one day. Perhaps there’s a series of posts in that

  10. Eman Anistow Says:

    i’d say! Heartbreak Soup alone could generate a whole spin-off blog.
    (did i mention that it’s really good?)

  11. Bucky Sinister Says:

    My favorite Love and Rockets is the early Jaime work: Mechanics and House of Raging Women, especially. I also really loved his book Whoa, Nellie!! But I’m a Mexican wrestling fanboy, so its charms might not be so obvious to all. And despite that, I still think that Gilbert is the better writer and cartoonist of the two. Heartbreak Soup is a must-read.

    And I thought that the She-Hulk bit from Strange Tales would have worked fine if they’d followed through on the conclusion they seemingly set up for it: Jen Walters and John Jameson both transforming at the altar and finding true love through monsterism.

  12. The Beast Must Die Says:

    See, I can’t get on with Mechanics. Once the series moves outside it’s sci-fi trappings, and Jaime gets the Moebius thing out of his system things really click. (I also love the fact, however, that the series never rejects the sci-fi or fantastical completely – see Penny Century. ‘Flies on the Ceiling’is one of my favourite L&R stories and that features the devil himself!

  13. plok Says:

    Oh man, does anybody else freak out when they see shit like that “To Be Continued…” from NA up above in a comic book, with the ellipsis and all? That just drives me INSANE. It’s like they’re printing “No really, this was important” and “Wouldn’t you rather be watching TV” both at the same time.

    I swear to God, I’ve never seen such juvenile superhero comics as the bad stuff that’s coming out right now. I mean I’ve seen dumb comics, I’ve seen shitty comics, I’ve seen comics that no one but a kid could love, but I’ve never seen comics that fucking smirk at you this way. What the fuck is “New Avengers” anyhow? When in the hell is it ever going to end, for Christ’s sake? I mean I do take the point of your review, Gary, and maybe I’m just having a spasm, but even the typography of this shit just turns me so far off it these days, I feel like it’s the Nineties again and I’m watching kids swap Pokemon on the bus, or sitting stoned on a couch watching Yu-Gi-Oh in the middle of the afternoon. Actually these days I would say I am more invested in Yu-Gi-Oh than in Marvel comics. It’s even turning me off Immonen’s artwork.

    Gotta catch that Strange Tales, though!

    Sorry: rant. Prob’ly coulda just posted that on my own blog.

    But this one’s so convenient!

  14. James Says:

    Stuart Immonen’s really good though… right?

  15. The Beast Must Die Says:

    It’s like Speaker’s Corner!

    I too cannot muster any enthusiasm for 99.9999995% of modern superhero comics. And I think a big part of that is due to the fact that there’s a real tendency towards a kind of knowingness that just flat out fucking sucks the joy out of the things. I’d rather have something bringing with manic creativity and pulp passion, than all this sub-Bruckheimer, oh shit-here-comes-another-kewl-double-page-spread, smirking, people-talking-to-each othe like fucking assholes, grimy fucking bleghness that is the accepted form nowadays.

  16. Zom Says:

    Which ties up nicely with my feelings about 99.99% of modern blockbusters. I realised, while passing HMV and spying a poster entreating me to buy Angels and Demons, that I loathe most blockbusters, and actually feel genuinely appalled that our culture has decided that raw sewage should be considered the apotheosis of entertainment.

    So, yeah, let’s go and ape that stuff, why don’t we?

    End of rant

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