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: 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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Listen to Episode 46, “Tights of Spandex, Flights of Fantasy, Slices of Life”

Gobbledygeek episode 46, “Tights of Spandex, Flights of Fantasy, Slices of Life,” is available for listening or download right here. Endeavoring to enlighten the non-comics-reading portion of their audience, Paul and AJ offer up a sort of Comics 101 class: twenty-seven recommendations for beginners in five different categories. From superhero fare like Batman: Year One to webcomics like The Perry Bible Fellowship; from the engrossing autobiography Blankets to the fantasy epic Fables; from the zombie opus The Walking Dead to the boy-and-his-tiger opus Calvin and Hobbes; we’ve attempted to cover most of the bases. In addition to all o’ that, you’ve also got your news; your upcoming DVD releases; Paul’s takes on the first issues of new comics XombiVenom, Sigil, and Ruse; and AJ’s thoughts on the films Unstoppable, Due Date, and LennonNYC.

Next: we’ll discuss fictional worlds we’d want to live in.

(Show notes for “Tights of Spandex, Flights of Fantasy, Slices of Life.”)

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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