You Read These With Your Eyes – June 29th, 2011

Can you hand me that cheese?

Every week, Comics! The Blog goes through the list of new releases and we tell you which comics to plug into your mind hole. Your mileage may vary.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #664 (Marvel Comics)

I’m going to be totally honest with you: I don’t actually know what this issue is about.  I imagine that, as we move closer and closer to that big ol’ Spider Island event that’s going to be showing up pretty quickly, we’ll probably see some of the lead-up to that.  Maybe even some sarcastic Spidey quotes and a bit of webslinging.

See?  I don’t really know.

What I do know, however, is that the slight delay on this issue has me absolutely clamouring for more of Dan Slott‘s remarkable take on the character, because any more than one consecutive week without it and I start going loopier than usual.  When we last saw Peter, he was trying to deal with Anti-Venom and the Wraith and a bunch of other complications in life, and I’m desperate to find out what happens.  Maybe punching!

Please let there be punching.

But mommmmm, *I* wanted to ride the buffalo!BATMAN INCORPORATED #7 (DC Comics)

I don’t think it’s any secret that both of us here at Comics! The Blog are big fans of Grant Morrison‘s epic run with the character of Bruce Wayne.  For all of the various bits of mindfuckery Morrison has done since taking over the character’s direction a few years ago, one of my favourite arcs was the “Club of Heroes” that revisited the long and basically forgotten Batmen of All Nations.  Not only was it Morrison‘s Silver Age lovefest at its best, but it also (re)introduced a bunch of fantastic characters that are absolutely ripe for increased attention.  We’ve already gotten to see several of them again as part of Batman Incorporated - not to mention Paul Cornell‘s brilliant Knight and Squire miniseries, which is also released as a trade paperback this week – but this week, we finally get to see what Morison does with the Native American characters of Man of Bats and his sidekick Robin Red.  Aboriginal people aren’t really one of the more visible minorities in mainstream comics, and a couple of issues devoted to two of them sounds absolutely wonderful to me.  Chris Burnham has been stellar so far, and this looks like yet another issue that won’t disappoint.

DETECTIVE COMICS #878 (DC Comics)

Damn, the Bat-books have been on kind of a roll lately, haven’t they?  Morrison‘s doing his thing in Incorporated, Bryan Q. Miller has been pitch perfect on Batgirl, and Gail Simone‘s Birds of Prey has been wonderful, because that’s just the way she does things.  Then, throw in Detective Comics, which has been one of the best books month in and month out since Scott Snyder took over as its writer.  The A-story for the issue, drawn with the usual mind-boggling skill from Jock, looks to be another strong one.  I mean, a villain named Tiger Shark?  Explosives?  Gotham City as a twisted mirror into the soul of its denizens and its foremost protector?  I am honestly surprised I’m not gripping my wallet already.

The series’ “secret” weapon, however, has been the Jim Gordon story illustrated by Francesco Francavilla.  Francavilla‘s art is like nobody’s I’ve ever seen before, and every new instalment of his and Snyder‘s look at the relationship between Gordon and his estranged sociopathic, maybe-serial-killer son is simultaneously creepy beyond words and a celebration of art.  The news that the two will continue working together after the DC relaunch on Swamp Thing has me suitably excited, but four (yes, that’s correct!) more issues of stories like this in the meantime?  That’ll do, pig.

You’re welcome, internet.

ROBO-FUCKING-DINOSAURS, PEOPLESUPER DINOSAUR #3 (Image Comics/Skybound Entertainment)

If you don’t like this comic, there might be something broken inside you.  For chrissakes, it is a comic about a boy genius and his best friend WHO IS A TALKING TYRANNOSAURUS REX WHO WEARS A ROBOTIC SUIT THAT HAS A JET ENGINE AND GIANT ARMS THAT T-REX CONTROLS USING HIS OWN ADORABLY TINY ARMS.  If you don’t like this, well, you need to reconsider a lot of life decisions.  Maybe even see a therapist.  I mean, just… wow.  Wow.  I feel bad for you.

Writer Robert Kirkman has talked about how Super Dinosaur came into existence because he wanted to write a comic that his son (WHO IS NAMED PETER PARKER, SUCK IT NICOLAS CAGE, BUT PLEASE MAKE MORE NATIONAL TREASURE MOVIES THANK YOU) could read.  Because, well, as wonderful as The Walking Dead is, it’s not really all-ages, what with the murders and rapes and undead and all.  Did he know that when he sat down to write a simple tale about a boy who fights evil with his dinosaur best friend (!) that he’d be stumbling onto something that adults everywhere would start hyperventilating over?  Maybe.  He’s pretty savvy.  But I like to think that this whole series is just one big happy accident, a perfect combination of content suitable for all ages and a concept that is too incredible not to love that just kind of came together.  Whatever the case, this is a comic that brings out that pure, childhood love out in adults, and that is something that should be applauded.

THE WALKING DEAD #86

If I were to be completely honest, I’d have to admit that I kind of thought Rick Grimes’ son Carl would be “safe” in The Walking Dead.  Yeah, I know that Rick’s wife and newborn daughter were horribly murdered already.  I know that there have been so many beloved characters that were horribly murdered along the way that as soon as I saw Lori take a bullet, I should have just figured anything was fair game.  Call it Robert Kirkman‘s storytelling skill, then, and not my incredible gullibility, that when Carl took a bullet to the head a few issues ago, it caught me completely off guard.

No, I don’t think that’s a spoiler at this point.

In the end, that’s the real strength of the series; that after 86 issues of murder and gore and the absolute worst things that people can do to each other, I was still shocked by something as simple as a stray bullet.  The fallout from that one event looks to be massive, and with this week’s issue, we should see things develop even more.  Are the survivors safe where they are?  Pull your head out of your ass.  Of course they aren’t.  Even if they’re not in any danger from zombies for the time being, the series’ big lesson can probably be described as “people are fucking awful,” and Rick, Andrea, Glenn and the rest aren’t exactly living with cuddly penguins right now.  I think it’s safe to say that things are going to get sticky pretty quickly.  I can’t wait to crack open this issue and find out how.

Does that make me a bad person?

These are just five books being released this week! You can find the full list of comics being released here. If you have any other recommendations, let us know in the comments below.

Recommendation: Super Dinosaur #1

SUPER DINOSAUR #1 (Image Comics/Skybound Ent.)
by Robert Kirkman, Jason Howard, and Rus Wooton

Synopsis: Derek Dynamo and his science-and-missile infused T-Rex fight evil with awesomeness.

01. I can’t exactly remember when it happened – whether it was shortly after he left Marvel to focus completely on his creator owned comics or around the time that he became a partner with Image – but if you poke the internet long enough, you’ll find a bit of dialogue from Robert Kirkman bemoaning the state of all ages comics from the big two. At the time it seemed a little odd – the man behind The Walking Dead and the increasingly blood soaked adventures of Invincible and The Astounding Wolfman talking about how superhero books needed to shed their adult-oriented story lines in favour of more kid friendly fare – but now the man is putting his money where his mouth is with a decidedly all-ages book called Super Dinosaur – and it’s rad.

02. The book opens big with our hero Derek Dynamo taking on some evil dinosaurs with the help of Super Dinosaur. In a short span of time, Kirkman lays out all the rules and the stakes while things are punched and everyone has a good time – minus the story’s villain. As the story progresses, the cast is fleshed out, as are their roles – and we learn just what kind of food Derek’s T-Rex likes best. Here’s a hint: it’s awesome.

03. The art from the book comes from The Astounding Wolfman’s Jason Howard, who is drawing a lot less blood, and a lot more missiles in this outing. His style is particularly suited for this kind of story – a larger than life romp with big ideas and crazy looking villains. It’s like you’re watching a Saturday morning cartoon with big stylized characterized humans and creatures alike – though unlike a cartoon, page turns are utilized to make big moments even bigger, like near the end when Super Dinosaur shows up with… ah, well, that would be giving things away. Suffice to say, it was a lot of fun to read.

04. This book is going to be a huge hit on Free Comic Book Day – I mean seriously, you tell a kid that they can read a free book about a boy an his pet dinosaur that uses missiles to fight bad guys? And you’re going to see them lose their minds – and with good reason. It’s a fun book with a great cast that can be enjoyed by the young and old alike. So if you’re into this kind of thing… uh… get it. Okay?

Recommended if you like: Invincible, Tiny Titans, Iron Giant and good comics.