Review: Birds of Prey #7

How did Oracle's tax problems get so bad she had to fake her death? Shut up, YOU'RE misunderstanding things.Birds of Prey #7 (DC Comics)
By Gail Simone, Ardian Syaf, Vicente Cifuentes, Nei Ruffino and Travis Lanham

Synopsis: For the first time in history, something goes wrong at a strip club!

01. Can Gail Simone do any wrong?  I’m not sure she can.  Now, I haven’t read everything she’s written, but what I have I’ve loved.  And this right here hits the sweet spot.  At the beginning of a new arc, Simone has given a succinct little mission statement for the title, her plans for it, and her strengths in how she’ll do it.

02. It’s got intrigue.  Figuring she’s let her identity as Oracle become too well known, Barbara decides to initiate a controlled burn, including deceit, a triple agent, and… Batman.  So, yeah.  Things are pretty intense.  Now, things are obviously going to go south, and the issue’s end gives a good hint as to just one of the ways it’s going to, but she’s got a plan.  And I want to see how it plays out.

03. And like I said, it’s got Batman.  Bruce.  Acting as paternally as he’s ever going to with Barbara, we see some great little moments between them.  Rarely more than a panel, but incredibly poignant.  Simone “gets” Barbara’s voice and her relationships.  I don’t want to see her acting all Ballad of Jack and Rose with Bruce every month, but right now, as one issue?  It’s a great little splash.  After all, it’s Batman Incorporated, and as he makes it clear, that’s going to include Barbara, whatever she calls herself.  Hell, she could probably call herself Batman and he’d accept it.  I mean, he let a couple of nerds in France and Japan swing around like that, and Barbara could kick all their asses, as she shows this issue by taking down a pack of drug-addled cliches (the awesome kind) without having to even stand up.

04. Plus: strip club!  And none of that naked lady crap, either.  This is Grade A Man Meat, and it’s fun seeing how the characters play off it.  Lady Blackhawk is, of course, insatiable.  Dove is embarrassed and passes out.  It’s the strength of the creators at play here that lets half the issue be little more than the characters dropped into a situation and not suffer from it.  Like the best sitcoms, Birds of Prey has such strong, well-realized characters that Simone can basically do whatever she wants and have it be awesome.  She’s like comics’ Greg Berlanti or something.

05. So, yeah.  If this is where you’re jumping on, things might seem a little weird.  There are people you might not know, and the reasons things are happening might seem pretty vague.  But keep with it.  I hope there’s been enough to keep you interested, because Things are going to happen, and I want to be able to talk about it with you.

Review: Batman and Robin #18

Batman and Robin #18 (DC Comics)She just wants them to match! Isn't that sweet of her?
By Paul Cornell, Scott McDaniel, Christopher Jones, Rob Hunter, Art Thiebert, Andy Owens, Guy Major and Patrick Brosseau

Synopsis: The Absence, a villain with a giant hole all the way through her head that makes her smart, gets a surprisingly scientific origin story.

01. I’m blind in one eye, and I often find it hilarious to make jokes about it, much to the frequent discomfort of my friends and family.  So when The Absence, a new villain with a giant hole through her head, mocks Batman and Robin by pointing at her… um… condition, smirking, and reminding them that negotiating with her is pointless because it’s “in one ear and out the other,” I absolutely lost it laughing.  It’s the kind of ridiculous thing that seldom works anywhere but in comics, and frequently not even here, but Paul Cornell and his complicated art team absolutely sell the hell out of it.  Comics!

02. Speaking of comics insanity, when The Absence gives an explanation of her miraculous survival after getting shot through the forehead, she  calls it Dandy Walker Syndrome.  Guys?  That’s a thing.  Look it up.  Now, it sounds like there’s definitely some creative comics-ing going on in this issue, but nobody should get their Spidey briefs in an erotic bunch because of it; this is just a fun, creative way to give a villain an interesting gimmick.  If she were just a regular ex-girlfriend of Tommy-Elliot-posing-as-Bruce-Wayne out to get attention, that would kind of suck.  But add a hole straight through her head?  Well, now that’s some Grade A(rkham) crazy that I can get behind.  Toss in a bloody sack full of “Girlfriend Body Parts” and a giant novelty pair of scissors and this is a worthy successor to Grant Morrison‘s incredible opening run on the title.

03. I like that this story is basically one big problem caused by Hush pretending to be Bruce for a year.  Most of the problems caused by this were usually pretty easily handled by Bruce’s friends and family, but a super smart insane woman with an army of derelicts and junkies brainwashed by her love into burning to death just to maybe kill the Dynamic Duo by holding them down inside a burning building?  That’s pretty awesome.

04. I’ll be honest: I wasn’t really enthusiastic about McDaniel and Owens‘ art for David Hine’s recent story in Detective Comics, but together with the rest of the art team here?  I am.  Oh yes, I am.  Everything I wasn’t entirely sold on before is suddenly like candy to me, and it can’t just be the extra hands.  No, I’m going to have to revisit those other issues, because this?  It’s working and I want more.

05. One word: “Mansplain.”

Review: Amazing Spider-Man #650

Amazing Spider-Man #650 (Marvel Comics)
by Dan Slott, Humberto Ramos, Neil Edwards, Scott Hanna, Edgar Delgado, Morry Hollowell, Joe Caramagna, Chris Eliopoulos, and a trio of inkers known only as Cuevos, Damon, & Olazaba

Synopsis: While dealing with the new Hobgoblin, Spider-Man is saved by the music of Lady Gaga. Also, other stuff happens.

01. Okay, so I love Dan Slott’s work on Amazing Spider-Man in general? But he really turned things up a notch when Spider-Man and his nerdy co-workers are saved by the power of a Bad Romance. And no, I am not being sarcastic. While you might have your opinions about Lady Gaga and her musical library, you can’t help but read the first few pages of this comic, and not think of the huge grin that crossed Dan Slott’s face when he was writing the scene. Can you not feel the fun radiating from the very core of this comic book? Can’t you feel it deep down in your soul, burning up through your retinas and out of your eye holes, like you’re some kind of fun loving, fire breathing time unicorn? Because if you can’t, I’m pretty sure you have another comic in your hands. Seriously, be on the ball, wouldja?

02. I should hate this storyline. I really should. If there’s something that gets my ire up more than anything else, its the swift death of a long-established character, just to put the new character over the top – and that’s exactly what has happened in this book. But here’s the thing: I really don’t feel angry about this. I mean, I know there has to be Roderick Kingsly fans out there having a good cry over how the character made his triumphant return, but the way Slott played the story was fair – setting up the means with little turbulence, before letting loose with the twist. It was unexpected, but fit with the overall story – and thus, I tip my hat to the man. Oh, and also, he included some lyrics from the Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark Broadway Spectacular in the story so… yeah. Bonus points.

03. Humerto Ramos is certainly bringing his A-game to the book this round. I’ve heard from various customers that his art is too cartoony for their liking, but I honestly believe that this style suits Spider-Man. It’s very expressive, and highly kinetic, which are things I think work quite well for a Spider-Man book – where the character needs to work in both the capacity as a swift, fast moving superhero, and just a guy talking with all of his family and friends. Both wouldn’t feel right without a style that doesn’t move fast or have much expression.

04. Each issue of ASM now clocks in at 30 pages each – and so rounding out the package after the main story concludes is a bit of set-up for the next arc. This one concerns the Scorpion and an old Spider-Man villain who arrives at the scene in a disguise, before his ENTIRE FACE IS SCIENCED OFF IN STRIPS revealing the menace within. And holy wow, does Neil Edwards draw the crap out of that reveal. My skin literally crawled. Yeesh.

05. These cappers are always the hardest part to write, although this time, I really do think my feelings are best described in song transposed into over affected prose.

Ahem.

I want your ugly, I want your disease, you and me? Could write a bad romance.

Thank you.


Review: The Tick – New Series #7

The Tick: New Series #7 (New England Comics Press)
by Benito Cereno and Les McClaine

Synopsis: The Tick follows the eastern star to find the Baby Santa with Arthur and the Man Eating Cow riding shotgun.

01. That description is why I love The Tick. It’s hard to get comedy right – especially the kind of absurd comedy that is part and parcel with The Tick. Many have tried and… well, they’ve come close, but they didn’t quite get that right tone. But look at that beautiful description, will you? Just look at it. It’s beautiful. It’s ridiculous. And here’s the best part: the book is even crazier than that description lets on. I mean, the Chainsaw Vigilante gets toys made out of coal because he’s on both lists. And that’s just a throw away joke. God damn.

02. The book starts as a lawn gnome details a plan to get rid of the Man Eating Cow. This doesn’t go well, because Cow bursts in and starts man eating. Meanwhile, The Tick is feeling sad, because he’s feeling blue, until a star appears, and he gets happy and junk. Of course, its time for a road trip. So he catches Cow (who needs a ride anyway, to catch her goons) and they head off to find the baby Santa, passing such attractions like the Haunted Des Moines Mystery Spot, the Corn Palace, and the World’s Biggest Ball of Time! Then, of course, things happen. And still, we haven’t even reached the tip of the crazy iceberg.

03. Quite obviously, I’m enamored with this book. But how could I not be? Benito Cereno just gets how to tell weird ass jokes. And Les McClaine? He’s the guy that drew The Middleman comics, which were amazing. Through their combined might, the mighty magic of The Tick has returned in full force, with new and old characters alike. The price is a bit steep but I’m okay with that, because every time I open an issue, I know my face will be assaulted with the long dick of superhero comedy – and that is worth $5. If you like the Tick or laughter, you should pick up this book. A collected edition of the first 6 issues can be located in this month’s previews, so make sure your orders are in… ooooohhhh, now-ish.

Review: T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #2

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #2 (DC Comics)If that isn't Skeletor in the background, I am going to be ever so miffed.
By Nick Spencer, Cafu, Bit & Santiago Arcas, ChrisCross & Brad Anderson, and Swands

Synopsis: Because sometimes, running really fast to stop terrorists not only makes you see visions of your death but also moves you closer to it.

01. My love for Nick Spencer deepens the more of his stuff I read, and T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents is no exception.  Then again, I’m probably predisposed to like any comic with a premise as incredible as the United Nations going all Revenge of the Nerds on terrorists by giving people superpowers to fight the bad guys, except the powers are also killing the good guys slowly.  After all, that’s pretty damn awesome.  Throw in a great writer and some bitchin’ artists, and I’m sold.

02. This issue is impressive in how it darts between the present day T.H.U.N.D.E.R. work and the story of one of the titular agents, Henry Cosgei, aka Lightning.  Cosgei’s story is a bit of a bummer – Kenyan boy becomes world-champion runner, tests positive for banned substances under odd circumstances, becomes a suicide agent to do redeem himself – and if that were just the issue, it would probably have been a little boring.  But then Spencer throws in the scenes with T.H.U.N.D.E.R. reps Colleen and Toby, bickering and cracking jokes, and everything gets awesome.  On the first page, Toby is so tone deaf to the situation of these guys going into danger to slowly kill themselves for the UN that he actually stops listening so he can cue up “Fortunate Son” on his iPod and recreate a favourite movie scene.  Pure genius, and that’s page one.

03. Look at the scene where Colleen warns Lightning about the things he’ll see when running, and the actual visions themselves.  Look at the sheer pathos that the creators put into this.  Each of these deaths is only a page long, but they’re pure, distilled heartbreak.  It almost destroys Henry right there.  And Colleen knows it’s going to happen.  I mean, shit.  Look at her eyes.  Look at the sadness.  Talk about selling it.  Each panel is absolutely essential, and Spencer and the dual art teams of Cafu/Bit/Arcas and ChrisCross/Anderson absolute kill each one.  Each time I’ve reread those scenes, I’ve fallen a little bit more in love with the comic.

04. There’s a lot of intrigue still creeping around the edges, which could mean big payoff for readers later.  Colleen and Toby each come with their own baggage, and there’s a lot hinted at that I want to see fleshed out later.   I wouldn’t be surprised if it was T.H.U.N.D.E.R. themselves who got Lightning disgraced so he’d join their team and that’s all gonna come out eventually.  I get the sense this is a big, full world that’s being presented.  We’re only getting a little bit of it, and I’m hungry for more.

04. I know there’s a previous world of T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents that this is just the latest incarnation, but for those readers like me for whom this is an introduction, I can’t think of a better one.  It’s smart, emotional and impeccably well told.  I’m clamoring for more.  I’ll probably have to dig around the old versions of this world, and encouraging that kind of archeology is the mark of the great things the present series is doing so far.

Review: Red Robin #18

Red Robin #18 (DC Comics)Why aren't they hitting the giant sinister guy behind them?
By Fabian Nicieza, Marcus To, Ray McCarthy, Guy Major and Sal Cipriano

Synopsis: Tim travels to Russia to investigate a billionaire’s ties to the crime internet, which I guess is like the regular internet but with fewer adorable kittens.

01. A while ago, a friend and colleague mentioned to me that he thought the “teen” comic series are frequently the most enjoyable ones because the label gives them freedom to have the characters be lighter and make mistakes.  After all, they’re still kids.  And every month when Red Robin and Batgirl are released I remember that conversation because I think he was right.  This is fun.

02. So, as an ongoing part of his hit list, Tim goes to Russia to investigate a prominent billionaire’s alleged criminal ties and runs afoul of his old friend, Red Star.  This billionaire has been pretty good for Russia, so Red Star gives some thinly-veiled threats to Tim and leaves him alone until Tim, suspicious of Leonid, lets his chips fall with a young woman who attacked Russia’s benefactor.  And wouldn’t you know it, things go hilariously wrong.  It’s a deceptively simple plot; Fabian Nicieza does a great job of focusing on Tim’s detective skills, so every leap and reveal feels completely natural.  And when you’re talking about a secret criminal version of the internet called the Unternet, that’s saying something.  Reading Nicieza‘s version of Tim Drake, it’s plainly obvious why Bruce and Ra’s al Ghul hold him in such intellectual regard.

03. But besides that, the real reason I like this issue and this series so much is because Tim’s not just Teen Batman, brooding and moping (coming soon to Smallville!).  He’s got friends.  He’s got love interests with a slightly lower chance of being the heiresses to international criminal empires.  Slightly.  Most importantly, he enjoys doing what he does, as tough and life consuming as it is.  There’s a panel towards the end of the comic where, when breaking into Red Star’s alien spaceship sidekick – yes, I meant to type that, and I would read a series all about it – Tim flat-out admits, “Who am I kidding, I love it.”  Bam.

o4. Take that to heart, Internet.  We love this shit, or why would we read it?  It’s awesome reading detective spy stories that take place inside alien spaceships hovering over eastern Europe where people dressed in outlandish costumes punch and kick each other while narrating their actions.  I’ve loved this since I was a kid, and series like Red Robin are throwbacks to that innocent kind of fun that I hope I never stop enjoying.

05. I’m a big fan of Marcus To‘s art.  It’s crisp and expressive, which matches the tone of the writing perfectly.  It feels like it could come to life as a Saturday morning cartoon.  There’s a page where Red Robin accidentally walks in on a vigilante showering that feels a little off to me with its strategically-placed towel whipping through the air, but it’s a brief blip in an otherwise strong issue that has some great moments, like Tim and Tam Fox’s exchange in their hotel.  It feels like To and Nicieza had fun making it, which goes a long way with me.

06. One more thing: any comic that ends with a character asking, “What has happened?” and the teaser answering, “Next issue: We find out what happened” is okay in my books.

Review: The Office – Episode 711

The Office – Episode 711: Classy Christmas
Originally aired December 9th, 2010

Synopsis: Michael pours coffee on his ex’s Woody at a Christmas party dressed as Classy Santa.

01. It was an easy joke, yes, but I had to make it. You can’t let terrible things burn inside you like that, because they’ll kill you. That’s just fucking science.

02. I haven’t been keeping up with The Office lately. In fact, that last time I really made an effort to check it out on a weekly basis was back when Jim and Pam got married… was it a year ago? Two now? God, I don’t know. Anyway, since around that point in time, I drop in on the gang at Scranton every now and again and check on how things are going – and then pick up the DVD season when it goes on for a bit cheaper, and laugh myself silly all at once. But every now and then, their promos drop something so delicious that I have to make sure I’m sitting down at the TV right at 10pm to catch the insanity. This week, it was the return of Holly.

03. Have their ever been two people more perfect for each other than Holly Flax and Michael Scott? Every time they meet again, they seem to pick up right where they left off, both hopelessly amused by their painfully unfunny bits that manage to break pretty much every arbitrary comedy rule ever invented. It’s so cute and uncomfortable, that everyone – both in the show and out – end up rooting for them to just get over their stuff and just get together already. Except for Erin, who seems to be utterly perplexed as to what Holly’s appeal is. (Aside: can I just say how happy I am that they added Erin to the cast, all those many months ago? She’s so terrible cute, and dense in that weird, innocent kind of way that just makes you want to pat her gently on the head before distracting her from her troubles with some kind of delicious cookie. Sigh.) Anyway, this pull for Michael and Holly to get together is felt in full force during this episode, as pretty much every member of the office ends up pushing the pair together in one form or another – in some cases violently, in the form of the girls telling Holly to deliver A.J. an ultimatum about their relationship. (I honestly believe that this Phyllis acting in that deliciously Machiavellian way she does sometimes, viciously destroying perceived wrongs. The other girls are just there, pushing the idea along.) The part that really struck me was how – even after Michael childishly destroyed a gift A.J. had given Holly (the aforementioned Woody doll from Toy Story) – they all leapt to his defense when it was clear just how much he was hurting. Yes, he was in the wrong, but the office members always follow that key rule of family: only we’re allowed to hurt the ones we love, and get away with it. Bitch. A really nice, yet endlessly uncomfortable moment.

04. Speaking of uncomfortable, holy Jim and Dwight! Their snowball fight had to be one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve seen on the show – but mostly because I’ve been in fights that have escalated beyond control in this fashion, and I could just feel the guilt from here. And while I have no doubt Dwight will never, ever regret his actions, you could tell that Jim knew he had gone a bit too far when he lacrossed that snowball at Dwight, and immediately regretted his anger – not only because he knew that Dwight would end up taking it too far, but because he’s better than that.

05. On the whole, this was a pretty fantastic episode – indicitive of why I love the series. You get all sorts of great character moments, and you feel the very real emotions behind the awkward funny bits. I honestly think the reason why I’ve stopped watching it so religiously, is that there’s more of it around. I mean before, in season two, I was clawing at scraps, trying to get my fill with the episodes that were available at the time. Now, if I want, its all at my finger tips, in the form of six different DVD sets. It’s still a fantastic show, but yeah. Things happen, right? Anyway, great episode, and something you should check out if you’re a lapsed Office fan like myself. Onwards to some quotes:

  • Michael, being asked who told him Holly would be single: “Nora Ephron. And every romantic comedy ever made.”
  • Creed on Holly: “She is one sassy black lady.”
  • Holly on Jim and Dwight: “When I left, you two were the best of friends…”
  • Gabe: “Yes, Erin and I are still dating. Why do you ask me so often if we’re still dating?”
  • Michael: “Thank you, Scranton Strangler! I love you! You just took one more person’s breath away!”

Review: Knight and Squire #3

Knight and Squire #3 (DC Comics)This is how 90% of all juntas start.
By Paul Cornell, Jimmy Broxton, Guy Major, Swands

Synopsis: King Richard III is resurrected by science and tries to take over England with the power of soliloquies and an army of other evil Kings.  Only the combined powers of motorcycle jousting and social media can save the day!

01. Okay, that synopsis is a little long.  I’ll cop to that.  But I honestly couldn’t think of a way to summarize this comic any shorter and still do it justice.  It is, as they say, chock full of nuts.  Kings’ nuts.  Rolling around in your mouth, all salty-like.  I’ll leave you with that.

02. FINE.

So, you know how Knight and Squire are basically the English Batman and Robin?  Well, this issue is basically as English as it gets without picking fights with the Irish.  It’s got everything, from British tabloid culture to the music scene to jokes about not one but six different monarchs.  Charles the First literally has an array of missiles where his head should be, guys!  I don’t see how you could possibly not like that unless you happened to have a Charles the First fetish.  And even then, you could just imagine they weren’t missiles.  It’s a little ambiguous, really.  See?  Paul Cornell thinks of everything, which is then beamed into the brains (and pens) of Jimmy Broxton and Guy Major!

03. If the first issue was an introduction to the world of DC Universe British superheroics, and the second was a look at a part of the nation’s past (as well as a literal effort to return to it), this is all about the present.   It’s about the relationship the English have to their government and their past, all filtered through Twitter, celebrity and regional dialect.  It’s surreal.  It’s colourful.  It’s absolutely spectacular in how succinctly it captures the breathless pace of today’s media and how someone can become a hero and then blow it in a week, told through the dick-measuring of Twitter follower lists and a little help from mad science and motorcycles.

04. The villain speaks in iambic pentameter!  He gives stage-whisper soliloquies and gets surprised when people can hear it!  I demand more of this.

05. Read the backmatter and learn about the multitude of ways this issue is Cornell‘s love letter to his country’s pop culture.  Your head will be swimming.

05. Knight and Squire is like a modern English version of the 1960s Batman TV series starring Adam West.  It’s silly.  It’s fun.  It has big, bold lines and colours from Broxton and Major that are matched only by the big, loving winks in the writing.  It’s exactly what I want.   Give it a try, I think you might have the same reaction.

Review: The War for Late Night

The War for Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy
by Bill Carter

Synopsis: NBC attempts to avoid some late night television drama by creating some more late night television drama.

01. So yeah, remember when all that stuff went down at the beginning of the year, with Conan O’Brien and the Tonight Show? Remember how Jay Leno had failed spectacularly when he was moved into the 10pm slot, and how NBC’s big plan to keep everyone on the air was to pretty much demote Conan and keep Jay on the air until his contract dried up, and then see how things progressed from there? Yeah, I remember thinking at the time this shit is crazy. Then this book came out. Holy wow, you guys, we didn’t even know the half of it.

02. In a sequel of sorts to his book about the previous late night kerfuffle that installed Jay Leno as the host of the Tonight Show while David Letterman went over to CBS to run his own late night show, Bill Carter managed to sift through all the craziness of this year, and distill something resembling a logical string of events. Doing so must have been a herculean task, what with so many voices contributing to the tale, each with their own opinions colouring the events as they occurred, but the guy did it – and did so without taking sides. I mean honestly, I defy you to read this book and tell me what Carter’s opinion is of the whole mess. Beyond the fact that the narrative paints the situation as a tangled web of shenanigans, it makes no judgments – instead letting the judgments of those involved bump up against each other, with all sides combining to make a coherent story in which all parties ended up losing something. All of them.

03. I will fully admit that I am not as fair a man as Carter is. While I read the book, despite the fact that he presented the events with an even keel, I still felt a bitter hatred for Leno boiling in the back of my mind. Little things that he said or did really tweaked me, such as his immediate response to getting the 11:30 slot back – which was “Yeah! Let’s do it!” and not “What about Conan?”. To be fair, he eventually asked about Conan, but in my head, that initial reaction spoke volumes as to his character – his first concern was about Jay, and not about the larger picture. That said, I know that if I was a Leno fan instead of a Conan fan, there were moments like that where I could look at Conan’s reaction to certain things, and just shake my head. Because really, the facts were these: both shows weren’t doing good. Had Conan’s Tonight Show been killing it in the ratings, there would’ve been no question as to what NBC would do – they’d find a way to dump Jay, rather than go through with what they did with Conan. And yes, Jay’s show had the benefit of some better lead ins and was given more time to grow, but in that pressure cooker of a situation, NBC’s reaction could be justified – despite the fact that I still don’t agree with how things played out.

04. A neat thing that this book did was explore the past of each of the hosts. Over the course of the book, you learned just how each and every one of the players got to the places they were at that moment – Dave, Jay, Conan, Craig, Jimmy, Jimmy, Jon and Steve. Conan’s was particularly interesting, especially when it got to the bits where Conan discovered his deep abiding love for comedy. Apparently, he discovered comedy through vaudeville, even going so far as to enroll in tap classes, and taking them diligently until discovering, much to his horror, that the genre was dead. Hilarious and very apropos.

05. Another nice tidbit, which doesn’t come into play until the very end, is the idea that the show both Leno and Conan wanted never really existed in the first place. Suggested in the book by Jerry Seinfeld, is the idea that both hosts wanted to host the Tonight Show because of Johnny Carson – but failed to realize that Johnny had taken the show with him when he left all those years ago. While the name was still the same, of course, it would never be the same – with a show like that, in a format like that, the host bleeds into the woodwork, and it becomes something new and wholly different. An interesting and poignant idea, and one proposed with a delicate touch, so as not to render all the previous text inert.

06. This review does not really do the book justice – but to be fair, I’m really not trying to do it justice. I want you to feel the general shape of the thing, and discover all the nice tidbits as you go. There’s some really interesting stuff in there, such as the fact that part of Craig Ferguson’s deal with CBS is a guarantee that the Scottish host gets the Late Show if something were ever to happen to Dave, no if’s ands or buts. Or the fact that Conan knew about the ousting of Leno for quite a long period of time before the NBC execs even approached Leno with the idea. Small bits that make you go, “wait, what?”, even if you had your google alerts machine combing the internet for any scrap of new information you could get about the debacle. The whole thing is fascinating, and will definitely give you an idea of just why things turned out the way they did, and what all parties think about the future of the late night medium in general – which might actually be the most surprising part of the book. Nab it if you think it will interest you.

Review: New Avengers #7

New Avengers #7 (Marvel Comics)
by Brian Michael Bendis, Stuart Immonen, Wade Von Grawbadger, Laura Martin and VC’s Joe Caramgna

Synopsis: Jessica Jones and Luke Cage are looking for a nanny for their daughter and we learn about the most hilarious sexual conquest of all time.

01. First things first: Von Grawbadger is a phenomenal last name. I would gay marry that guy if I could get that last name.

02. This issue of New Avengers was just delightful. It also happened to be one of those seemingly rare done-in-one issues that Bendis seems to have a special knack for writing. Like, I know that the man is known for being the poster child of decompressed story-telling, but whenever he tries his hand and making a story fit into the confines of 22 pages, more often than not, he knocks the thing right out of the park.

03. Its after the big explosive Sorcerer Supreme battle. Brother Voodoo is dead, his brother is swearing vengeance, and Doctor Strange is feeling a bit down in the dumps. To combat this, he has a pretty long nap, and when he emerges, Spider-Man is so jealous that the man managed a 15 hour sleep, that he could poop. Which is a thing. Anyway, Doc is all “I can’t stay here, there’s some angry spirit craving vengeance after me, and Luke Cage and alla’ them are going, “Hey bro, remember that time we were crashing at your house and eating your food and junk? Yeah, well, now it’s time for some payback. And this time, payback is… well, she’s not a bitch, she’s more like a misunderstood friend with good intentions. And also, she needs a hug.”

You guys, I’m tired.

04. Doc Strange agrees to stay, bringing along Wong who is none too happy about serving these jerks after his last tour of duty, in which they made him do dishes and stuff. Oh, and there’s this whole thing where Luke Cage doesn’t want to take the money Steve Rogers is offering to him to be on the Avengers, and Jessica Jones is all, “Bitch, you got a kid, and we broke” and so he ends up swallowing his pride (because no one fucks with Jessica Jones… you know, since she stopped hating herself so much) and taking the money so that the pair can also hire a nanny. Who is Squirrel Girl. Which leads to what has to be one of the best Wolverine scenes that has happened for, uh… for quite a long time. Seriously, it was rad.

Also, it sounds like Luke Cage may have also banged the lady in charge of Damage Control, which is hilarious. And yeah! It was kind of a fun issue.

05. Oh God, okay. So I can’t just stop this review (is this a review?) without talking about Stuart Immonen’s fantastic art. The work here really calls back to his Nextwave days, in that it pulls on all those facial reaction moments that were key to making that book so funny. While it’s still very much in keeping with his New Avengers art style, it was nice to see those big comedic moments play out so well. Also, it made me want to go back and re-read Nextwave again. God, I miss that book. Oh well.