Great Easter Liveblog Challenge: Easter Monday - Let's Build Us a Religion!

Last day of the four-day Easter Miracle weekend and the end is actually in sight! 25 comics, a lot of them entire mini-series I've not gotten to or, yeah, big fat giant specials, but that should be quite doable. Priority comics pile, better hide your children, cuz I'm comin' after you.

Special Forces #1: I can't believe this is a Kyle Baker comic. Well, I can, because it's totally rad, but it's really not the kind of story I associate with him. Garth Ennis, maybe. Mark Millar doing Garth Ennis, probably. But Baker out-Ennises both here. A totally irreverent take on the War in Iraq, with a not that original high concept (the criminals and dregs of society drafted into the army) pulled from the headlines!Black humor that comes and gets you from page 1, crazy action, great art, and Felony is just the funkiest character find of the year! What am I waiting for? I've got the whole mini-series to read!

Special Forces #2: Is Baker using images from real life to enhance his art?
Helps keep the book straddling that thin line between action movie and real life. As Felony's uniform gets smaller and smaller, so do her chances of making it out of this alive. It's not "real" real, but you know what? It's like something a soldier might come back home telling.

Special Forces #3: If you're to be offended by an issue of this, #3 is the one. And if you're gonna be offended, be offended by the true events that inspired the story (in the text page). The best soldier is an autistic soldier... I'm sure that's a metaphor for something.

Special Forces #4: In #3, Baker mentions a #5, but this seems like a pretty definite ending. For those who have called it an anti-war (by which such people almost always mean anti-soldier) comic/propaganda, I have this to say: It's not anti-military, it's anti-military policy. It's about who gets recruited and how, and even though it's an extreme exaggeration (i.e. satire), it's right there on the first page of the first issue. Can I have my hyper-action giggles AND be touched emotionally and intellectually? Yes, yes I can.

Thor God-Sized Special #1: When Matt Fraction writes a Thor story, I show up. I loved his mythical specials, and this has the same basic take, but on a modern character - Skurge the Executioner. It's something of a follow-up to a Walt Simonson story (retold and then reprinted in the back), and is something of a love letter to Thor stories past. There's a great sequence drawn by Mike Allred that takes the characters from their Jack Kirby looks to their Simonson attire.
Don't screw with the great Ash tree!

Comic Book Comics #1: Another series I've waiting too long to read. It's Scott McCloud meets Larry Gonick, and all sweet sweet candy. The first issue tracks comics from the first use of sequential story-telling (The Yellow Kid) to the birth of superhero comics. The medium's connections to animation and pulp fiction have never been made so clear to me.

Comic Book Comics #2: My, these are long comics... can I make my deadline? From WWII to romance comics to EC (Bill Gaines' secret origin is the funniest!)

Comic Book Comics #3: How comics survived Wertham and Congress! You know, once these guys are done with American comics, I'd love to see CBC turn its attention to European comics. That's where *I* came from!

Marvel Apes #0: Starts out with reprints of Amazing Spider-Man #110-111, the first appearance of the Gibbon (with John Romita!). A different animal back then, but you can see how he evolved into the star of Marvel Apes. Then, a teaser for Marvel Apes starring Spider-Monkey... wait, did this come out BEFORE Marvel Apes? Anyway, best part about this is a reproduction of all those Ape cover variants. Favorite?:
Marvel Apes Speedball Special #1: I liked Marvel Apes and all, but did it really require follow-ups? And yet, here we are. Hey not bad. Our world needs a proper Speedball, even if it's a monkey, and the human Ape X makes a first appearance. Where is this going next? Uh-oh, it's high concept hell! Plus: Darwin on the Planet of the Apes. But why can't a 4-issue project actually be the same title numbers 1 through 4?

Top 10 Season Two #1: Top 10 without Alan Moore? Hey, he's right there at the murder scene:
A new anal commish from another parallel. Kinky crossover dressing. A new unexplainable murder. Drugs that turn our youth into Captain Marvels. It'll work. Gene Ha's not doing himself any favors by painting over his figures though.

Top 10 Season Two #2: Another living building? (See Damage Control and Danny the Street.) I think there are enough to make a team (The Suburb... no The Quarter... hm... The Arondissement!... I'll come up with something... Your friendly neighborhood Neighborhood!!!) And Ha has quit the painted overlay. Good.

Top 10 Season Two #3: Origin Weekend, ha! A transformative experience, to say the least. And a bombshell drops a bombshell! ;-)

Top 10 Season Two #4: For some reason, I thought this was a 4-issue mini-series, but it's not really, is it? It can't be. Too much left dangling, including the mystery set up in the first few pages of the #1. Interlocking minis and specials, is it? Seems like the big two are indulging in "same series, pile of number ones" strategy lately. And now: A patented, crazy cameo the Top 10 way!Top 10 Season Two Special #1: Like this. Why can't this be #5? It's not like the issue is extra-length. Girl Two's new job as D.A. is worthy, though artist Daxiong doesn't have Ha's flair for background characters. In fact, Neopolis looks positively empty in this issue. And as far as the story goes, the Zanders would have done better to tie up one of their loose ends from the mini.

PRISONER BREAK! WITH INDIAN FOOD!

Umbrella Academy - Dallas #1: Missed out on the original, but the recap makes me regret that! I was lured to it by a statue of John Wilkes Booth shooting a rampaging Lincoln Memorial, and I wasn't disappointed. Sure, the Academy members aren't as charming as adults, but they make up for it in killer gazelle badassery.

Umbrella Academy - Dallas #2: Violence is... a pair of mascots.

Umbrella Academy - Dallas #3: Heaven is... an all-white western.

Umbrella Academy - Dallas #4: Time travel is... just a rotting corpse away.

Umbrella Academy - Dallas #5: Nice homage to Dr. Strangelove. A giant Vietnamese mummy. And can we hope for Séance Jr. in the future? Those back covers are pretty funk too.

Stephen Colbert's Tek Janson #3: Hilariousness behind a Darwyn Cooke cover. You know, Colbert doesn't actually write this stuff, but it certainly seems like he might have sometimes!
Stephen Colbert's Tek Janson #4: It says something about Tek that guns trained on him with laser sights are primarily concentrated on his crotch. But otherwise I think the weakest issue of the first 4. Laser sights almost save it though.

Age of the Sentry #5: The regular Sentry couldn't interest me less (let me publicly announce that I'm not picking up Dark Avengers), but the Silver Age version is a delight. This issue: Ego the Living Planet's cousin has a baby, the Guardians of the Galaxy as the Legion of Super-Heroes, an interstellar mailman, a fruit-pie ad with Sentry and Cranio, and that's just the front half!

24 BREAK! bee-BEEP bee-BEEP bee-BEEP bee-BEEP!

Age of the Sentry #6: What a great headline:It's the end. And I know how that sobbing Hulk feels. And it ends like every Silver Age story does, with massive doses of exposition! And at the same time, it reminded me of Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow. Geez, I'm gonna miss this.

JUST ONE LEFT!!! But - oh no! - it's...
Thor #600: Massive. Not just the comic, but the battle between Thor and his resurrected grandfather Bor. It's only missing John Workman's lettering to achieve almost Simonsonian proportions. Oh, too bad the Dark Avengers put in an appearance. There's a Stan Lee story taking place in his early Marvel history, cute. Some Mini-Marvels, always a charm. Throw in some vintage Lee/Kirby Tales of Asgard and... yep... I'm DONE!

Final Tally: 110 comics in 4 days, and my priority comics pile is GONE! Oh my God, my soul hurts.

(And now, have to read a Star Trek comic for tomorrow... ouch...)

3 comments:

rob! said...

I thought this was a great series...the true heir to Frontline Combat, and stuff like that.

Siskoid said...

Agreed.

I don't like the wars, but they HAVE inspired some mighty good comics (Special Forces, DMZ, etc.)

rob! said...

I thought it was grimly funny in SF #4, where Baker printed a bad review of the book by Trina Robbins, who seemed to not get the book at all.

 

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