Monday, January 11, 2010

What I Read This Week

Doom Patrol #6 -- "L" is for Larry, folks, and that's all you need to know about this month's installment of the Doom Patrol.  Meanwhile, the threat of the Clique reaches it shopstronomical climax.  The lead is something of a "fill in" in that it doesn't pick up immediately after the climax in 5, but it's not a stock story by any means.  Those of us who don't know the history of the Doom Patrol are about to get a whirlwind history lesson.  The Metal Men backup retains its hilarity.  I'm sad that it is going to be going away, but it seems like it will go out on the high note.  Strong and well worth the money.

Red Robin #8 -- The Council of Spiders has invaded the stronghold of the League of Assassians, and Tim Drake has to keep not only himself alive, but Tam Fox as well.  What I like about this title is that it fits a different niche in my monthly titles.  I have never been much of a Batman or Daredevil reader, so this sort of acrobatic street hero adventure is very sort of novel to me.  I like Chris Yost's handling of the characters, and his new crop of bad guys seem like they might have some legs (no pun intended).

Red Tornado #5 -- Red Volcano has a plan, and when an Earth Elemental with as much power as he does has a plan, that's bad for the entire world.  The main question from this issue is: What is the nature of Red Inferno?  Good or evil?  It's left purposefully vague here and should come to a head in the conclusion.  VanHook and Luis deliver the goods again, and I would not mind seeing these two handle more of Reddy in the future.

Warlord #10 -- McBane interviews those closest to Travis Morgan, but if you want to know the real story, you'd have to ask him about it.  Meanwhile, Kate Archer's plan for revenge on the Warlord might doom all of Skartaris!  Grell is not doing the art (save for one splash page), but that's alright in this relatively quiet issue.  My only complaint about this title is that Grell has reminded us of Morgan's origin at least three times now, using splash pages.  I don't mind that in dialogue, but let's cut down on recapping it in splash pages.

Weird Western Tales #71 -- The descendant of Jonah Hex's greatest foe gets his hands on a Black Lantern ring, and the Dead of the West are not happy about it.  It's fun playing "spot the character" (including Firehair, Super Chief, Bat-Lash, and Tomahawk) and the tale itself is fine, but as a tie-in to Blackest Night the connection is tenuous at best.  That's not to say that I didn't like this comic -- because I did -- but it's certainly not essential.  DiDio's script avoids cliches, and the art by Renato Arlem is clean and pleasing to the eye.  This issue does also serve to continue to build my confidence in DiDio as an author of Outsiders.

Phantom Double Shot: KGB Noir #1 -- The Ghost-Who-Walks is in Italy to track down a group of Russian gangsters, while the backup introduces us to Mike Bullock's new character Death Angel.  Both features are in black and white, and they are well-suited to that choice.  The Phantom adventure is nice, but the real star is Death Angel, who bows here for the first time and makes an immediate impression.  The Death Angel is one individual you do not want to run into in a dark alley!  Clearly I think that this series is designed to expose Phantom readers to the other noirish characters in the Moonstone stable, and so far they have succeeded in making me interested in another of their characters.

Julie Walker is... The Phantom: Race Against Death -- The only female Phantom undertakes an adventure which literally takes her around the globe.  An oversized one-shot, this story weaves the story of Julie Walker, twin sister of the Kit Walker active in 1889, with the historic "round the world" trip by crusading reporter Nellie Bly.  And Julie is one heck of a heroine -- Phantom Phans will be impressed with how she handles herself, and fans of female heroes in general will like the supreme confidence and compitence with which she handles herself.  Great fun.

Political Power: Ronald Reagan -- A biography of the 40th President of the United States, from his childhood through his battle with Alzheimers.  I had no idea this was coming out this past week, but it's timing was perfect.  There's no better way for me to start the new year then by reading about one of my real heroes, including excerpts from some of his most famous speeches.  Nothing groundbreaking here, but fans of "Reaganus Maximus" need to seek out and buy this comic.

Re-read Pile: Doom Patrol, Warlord, Phantom Double Shot, Julie Walker is... The Phantom, Political Power: Ronald Reagan.

The Pick of the Pile is Doom Patrol, which is so consistantly good month in and month out that it saddens me that more people aren't interested in it.  Political Power: Ronald Reagan will probably sit on my nightstand for a while, too.

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