Last Month’s Comics: ‘Uncanny X-Men’ Ends (Until the Next Issue), ‘Spaceman’ Lifts Off

Welcome to Last Month’s Comics, in which I discuss, uh, last month’s comics. I get my comics in bi-monthly shipments from Discount Comic Book Service, and as such, I can be a little behind. So here we are.

This column is later than usual, as I was a little preoccupied earlier this month, but for all those still madly wondering about what October 2011’s comics had to offer, here we go…

BEST #1

Spaceman #1
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Art: Eduardo Risso
Publisher: Vertigo

I’ve read only a fraction of Azzarello and Risso’s acclaimed 100 Bullets, which ran for ten years from 1999 to 2009, but one needs no familiarity with their past work to be immediately sucked in by the opening chapter of Spaceman, their new nine-issue mini-series from Vertigo. It takes place in a weird, sad future, just a few monsters and flying cars away from the one in Joss Whedon’s Fray. Our protagonist is Orson, a monkey-ish man genetically engineered to travel to Mars, a trip the human race never got to make. Orson and his low-class friends speak in bizarre, disjointed slang; “okee” is how they say okay, and they actually say “LOL LOL LOL” instead of laughing. In this first issue, Orson has ominous spaceman dreams and becomes involved in the kidnapping of the adopted child of reality TV stars. Eduardo Risso’s art is terrific, Brian Azzarello’s storytelling immediately compelling. Choice line, as Orson’s alarm chirps “New day, new day, new day” while he opens the door on a bleak, cloudless future: “Why, you lyin machine…it’s the same fuck old day it always is.” (Plus: $1!)

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Last Month’s Comics: ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ Swings In and DC’s New 52 Roll Out

Welcome to Last Month’s Comics, in which I discuss, uh, last month’s comics. I get my comics in bi-monthly shipments from Discount Comic Book Service, and as such, I can be a little behind. So here we are. This feature started last month.

So, September 2011, what kind of havoc did you wreak? Let’s find out…

BEST RETURN TO FORM

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 9 #1
Writer: Joss Whedon
Art: Georges Jeanty (pencils), Dexter Vines (inks), Michelle Madsen (colors)
Publisher: Dark Horse

To say that I was pleased upon finishing the first issue of the new “season” of Buffy is an understatement. Season 8 started off very well, with Buffy leading an army of 500 Slayers and trying to unmask the mysterious foe Twilight. And to tell the truth, it was great for much of its run, with an occasional stumble (vampires being outed to the public wasn’t handled with much finesse). But the last story arc, with the reveal of Angel as Twilight, cosmic sex, and general batshit insanity, was so damaging that even someone who considers Buffy the Vampire Slayer to be the greatest piece of entertainment ever given us by man had come to the conclusion that it might be for the best if Ms. Summers was finally laid to rest. The final issue of Season 8, though, was a dramatic 180 from the pace and structure of the last few issues leading up to it, and the Season 9 premiere continues in that vein. With Giles gone and magic vanquished, Buffy is depressed and adrift, working as a waitress and getting blackout drunk. It’s all done with Whedon’s razor-sharp wit and keen sense of twenty-something angst. The final “shock twist” is so humdrum and everyday it’s hilarious. In many ways, the metaphorical “party” is over for our Scoobies; now what? I can’t wait to find out.

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Last Month’s Comics: DC Reboots and ‘Spider-Island’ Breaks Out

Welcome to Last Month’s Comics, in which I will discuss, uh, last month’s comics. The past couple episodes, we’ve pimped Direct Comic Book Service, which I’ve recently started using as a way to return to regular comics reading. The only downside is that I only get bi-weekly shipments (the weekly option is there, it’s just more expensive), so I won’t wind up reading all of my comics from one month until the beginning or the middle of the next. So I figured it’d be nice to sum up my thoughts, frustrations, and surprises about each month’s comics in a single column. It should be noted that, of course, I’m only reading comics that strike my fancy, there are some books I won’t get started on until a couple months from now, and that I also skipped out on all of DC’s books this month…with one exception.

Let’s get started with August 2011…

BEST #1
Angel & Faith #1
Writer: Christos Gage
Art: Rebekah Isaacs (pencils/inks), Dan Jackson (colors)
Executive Producer: Joss Whedon
Publisher: Dark Horse

Last year, Gobbledygeek called Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight the Worst Comic Book of 2010. It was more a symbolic award than anything: there were worse comics, but none that were more disappointing. Season Eight had a very strong first two-thirds, but in the last third, things went awry more than they went a-right (please forgive me). It all culminated in the bizarre, confusing, contrived “Twilight’s Last Gleaming” arc. However, the final issue was a stellar return to form, and Joss Whedon has promised that Season Nine will be smaller, more character-driven, less prone to jump-the-shark-ness. Judging from Angel & Faith #1, the first piece of Season Nine, I’d say he’s kept that promise. Though I still don’t fully understand what Angel was up to last season–“Your whole Twilight phase makes about as much sense as a David Lynch movie,” so says Faith–watching him again struggling with remorse over his actions and back in help-the-helpless mode is refreshing. Where once Angel was Faith’s mentor, the roles have reversed. Faith is now there to help Angel deal with his grief, though based on the last-page shocker, she’s got a lot of work to do. Christos Gage has all of the characters’ voices down pat, and Rebekah Isaacs’ art might be the best to ever grace any Whedon comic. Can she draw Buffy too?

(Paul and I reviewed Angel & Faith #1 in “Talking Turkey.”)

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‘Moon Girl’ #1 & 2 Review: By the Light of the Moon

Moon Girl was an EC Comics character from the late 40’s who lasted about nine issues, and over those nine issues, the series’ title changed several times: Moon Girl and the PrinceMoon GirlMoon Girl Fights Crime!, and my personal favorite, A Moon, a Girl…Romance. The last three issues under that final title didn’t even include Moon Girl and were instead a romance comic with totally different characters. Having not read any previous iterations of Moon Girl, I go into the first two issues of Tony Trov and Johnny Zito’s five-part re-imagining of the character totally fresh, besides some quick research done on Don Markstein’s Toonopedia.

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Review: Venom #1

Venom #1

Written by Rick Remender

Art by Tony Moore

Cover by Joe Quesada

Published by Marvel Entertainment

 

One of the characters I care the least for from the last decade or two of comics would have to be Venom. An interesting idea spun out of Secret Wars and brought into the mainstream Spider-Man titles in the mid-eighties, it very quickly became the dead horse that every single Marvel writer desperately wanted to beat the shit out of. In my mind, Venom is the poster boy for everything that went horribly wrong with comics in the nineties.

So if you told me that 20 years later I’d not only purchase a new Venom comic but actually enjoy it? Well, incredulity hardly seems a strong enough word. Nevertheless…

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Review: Xombi #1

Xombi #1

Written by John Rozum
Art by Frazier Irving
Letters by Dave Sharpe
Published by DC Entertainment

 

For one reason or another I never got onboard with the Milestone line of comics that debuted in the nineties. Not really sure why, but perhaps I was just too focused on the more mainstream Marvel and DC universes. But whatever it was, I’ve come to regret that in recent days, particularly with the passing last month of Milestone creator Dwayne McDuffie. I really need to make the effort to track down some of those titles, things like Static and Hardware.

One series that I fortunately won’t have to look too hard to find is Xombi, which makes its triumphant return to the racks this month with a brand new #1, now under the DC Comics banner. Original writer John Rozum is still manning the wheel, now joined by the incomparable Frazer Irving on art.

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Comic Book Review: ‘Serenity: Float Out’

Writer: Patton Oswalt
Penciler: Patric Reynolds

It’s been two years since the last Serenity comic, the Firefly-era Better Days, and five years since Serenity itself. And yet the fanbase just seems to keep growing, the love for these characters and their world deepening with each passing year. So, I mean, Dark Horse could put out a comic that consists entirely of Simon and River grocery shopping, and people would buy it. Actually…why haven’t they done that yet? I would definitely buy that. (As someone joked a few years back, I believe on Whedonesque, if Universal didn’t want to put up the money for a full-on, big-budget Serenity sequel, they could just give Joss Whedon a few g’s and let him film the characters peeling potatoes. It would still be better than anything else at your local multiplex.)

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Comic Book Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer #35 (2010)

Originally published on May 6, 2010

Writer: Brad Meltzer
Penciler: Georges Jeanty

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #35 makes me glad that we don’t use ratings here on the Gobbledygeek website. Everywhere else I’ve written reviews, I’ve used a ratings system, be it the four-star, the five-star, or my current favorite, the trusty old letter grades. But rating this issue, or the last few issues, of Buffy would be…difficult. I have been able to enjoy them while still being incredibly frustrated and confused by the new directions the story has taken.

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Comic Book Review: Nemesis #1 (2010)

Originally published on April 27, 2010

Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Steve McNiven

The cover for the first issue of Mark Millar’s new Icon series Nemesis enthusiastically proclaims, “Makes Kick-Ass look like $#!t.” To some, it would not be hard to make Kick-Ass look like $#!t. Millar is an acquired taste, often given to self-indulgence and outrageous excess. I’ll go on the record as a Millar fan: there was a sobering truth about comics readers and fantasists at Kick-Ass‘ core that made it work, and what I’ve read of The Ultimates is a terrific re-envisioning of the Avengers, a group that usually bores me. And the bottom line is simply that there’s something about Millar’s ridiculously over-the-top writing that gives me a happy.

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