Report what comic books you have read today--and tell us a little something about it while you're here!

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BINGE BOOKS: Startup #2, Super Suckers #2 and Z-People #1 all shipped yesterday. I never did buy The Walking Dead on a monthly basis, but now that even the collected editions have been completed, I find that I welcome a periodic zombie comic. It's written like a TV sitcom and drawn by Tom Richmond of Mad magazine. I would really like to see this format (64 pages for four bucks) catch on, so I buy all the Binge Books "Sitcomics" there are.

FLORIDA MAN #3: I didn't say anything about it last month, but issue two shipped with a #1 on the cover. It was probably simply a  printer error, but American Mythology Productions passes it off as (main character) Gary Duba's idea to cash in on multiple #1s. Last issue I did mention that it was announced that this was a three-issue limited series, but this issue announces that there will be a second volume. 

ANT-MAN #3: The older I get, the more difficult it becomes for new writers to attract my attention. Al Ewing is one such writer.

DEFENDERS BEYOND #3: Ditto.

GENIS-VELL: CAPTAIN MARVEL #3: No comment (although this one does qualify).

CAPTAIN AMERICA: SYMBOL OF TRUTH #5: Last week I complained that the sound effect for the Hulk bounding across the countryside as "Bound Bound Bound." This week in Defenders: Beyond #3 the sound of an alarm is "Alarm Alarm Alarm." In this issue, the sound of Sam Wilson whistling for his falcons is "Whistle Whistle Whistle." I wish someone would tell Marvel writers and/or editors and/or letterers (with whomever the problem lies) that that is not how onomatopoeia works.

SPIDER-MAN #10: Marvel would probably classify this issue as a crossover with Judgement Day, but I call it a fill-in. I don't have to try very hard at all to imagine that this volume is set in an alternate universe. First of all, a Celestial called Progenitor (not one of Kirby's Celestials) has set events in motion. Second, the term of Judgement is 24 hours (not 50 years). It manifests itself (to everyone on Earth, presumably) as someone from that person's past. In Spider-Man's case, that person is Gwen Stacy. "You have twenty-four hours to justify yourself," says the Celestial. "You will be judged individually. You will be judged as a collective. Today is Judgement Day." 

"Gwen" spends most of the issue following Peter Parker around (Aunt May is being judged by "Uncle Ben") until it finally switches its attention to Norman Osborn, with blood in its eyes. We are told the story is "To Be Continued" but we aren't told where. In Judgement Day, I hope. 

SUPERMAN: SPACE AGE: BOOK TWO: This issue covers the years 1972 through 1975. [SPOILERS] Clark Kent is covering Watergate. Superman diverts an asteroid from a collision course with Earth. Lois Lane interviews Superman for the first time. Bruce Wayne turns Wayne Enterprises over to Maxwell Lord so that he (Wayne) can concentrate more on being Batman. Lord escalates missile production which escalates the war in Viet Nam, while on the home front he abandons Gotham City for the suburbs. The JLA begins to hold regular meetings. Perry White reassigns the Watergate story to Lois Lane. Superman saves the Edmund Fitzgerald. Lois Lane falls for Clark Kent, reveals she knew he was Superman all along. ("Clark... I'm the reporter who broke Watergate.") Batman blows up Wayne enterprises as well as Wayne Manor and goes underground. Lois and Clark get married. The JLA fights Brainiac; Green Lantern is killed. the Anti-Monitor is coming. [END SPOILERS]

All of the above events serve as backdrop to a philosophical conundrum posed by Green Arrow early on. Batman approaches it his way, Superman approaches it his way, but those solutions are in microcosm to the impending attack by the Anti-Monitor. Brainiac has been reimagined somewhat. He acts as "Galactus" to planets he knows to be doomed in order to gather resources to defeat the Anti-Monitor. He allows himself to be defeated by the JLA reasoning that Superman would not help if Brainiac destroyed Earth. My Pick of the Week.

Batman: Dear Detective: This is the Lee Bremejo joint in which he creates a story based on his previous Batman covers. While not entirely successful, it is a pretty neat experiment. The text is separate from the art, it is presented in the form of a letter to Barman. What made it worth the price to me though is that you get all of that gorgeous art unadulterated.

Let's see ...

On the one hand, my reading regimen this year is Golden Age Comics.

On the other hand, October is horror/monster reading month, and for the last couple of years that's meant swamp monsters (Swamp Thing, "It", TwoMorrows' Swamp Men).

How, oh how, can I reconcile these two imperatives?

I know!

Thanks, Gwandanaland!

Actually, I've been a Gwandanaland fiend lately.  I've been reading GA heroes exclusively this year, but I haven't read anything from DC or Timely for the last three months, and could easily continue like that for months more (and probably will) without ever buying another book from G'land.  (But let's face it, I'm definitely ordering more.)

SPIDER-MAN #1: I bought this issue because it is drawn by Mark Bagley, but it's too closely tied to that poetry title for my tastes. Ironically, the editor dissuaded me from buying future issues when he admitted on the letters page, "It doesn't really get better than this." 'Nuff said!

Because this is a five-issue limited series, I was surprised to se a "LGY" number at the bottom (#157). Apparently, despite its limited status, this series is considered to be a continuation of the 1990 series launched by Todd McFarlane. That "adjectiveless" series changed its title to "Peter Parker: Spider-Man" with its 75th issue (which technically doesn't have an adjective, either) and ran through #98. Peter Parker: Spider-Man launched with a "new #1" in 1999 which ran for 57 issues. If you do the math (98 + 57) that still comes up an issue short of making this #157. In 2013, Marvel released issue #156.1, so I guess they're counting that...?

ANT-MAN #4: This issue features the Ant-Man from 2420. It is written by Al Ewing. (See comments for Ant-Man #3 and Defenders Beyond #3 from last week.) Coming in January 2023: Wasp by Al Ewing!

CAPTAIN AMERICA: SENTINEL OF LIBERTY #5: Cap spends much of this issue running around without a mask in this issue. (Ditto for Spider-Man in Spider-Man #1.) I blame the MCU. Cap steps between Bucky and the bad guy and [SPOILER] Bucky shoots through him. (Don't know why his Kevlar tunic didn't work.) [END SPOILER]

NEW FANTASTIC FOUR #5: The last issue. No change to the status quo, but how could there be? That's not what this series is about.

DARK CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS #5: If you haven't been reading this series, don't look to me to explain it to you!

MIRACLEMAN #0: It looks like it just might happen this time, but Marvel's taken us to the brink of completing "The Silver Age" once before then backed out after reprinting 22 issues leading up to it. It's been eight years since the last new Miracleman (2014's All-New Miracleman Annual), but if you've never read it before, this is not the place to start. Incidentally, it looks as if the first two issues of "The Silver Age" are to be redrawn rather than merely reprinted. Miracleman #0 is my Pick of the Week, but more for what it portends than what it is

Miracleman #0 was my first Miracleman story. So, the character's gimmick is that he sits around reading comics all day?  OK.

YOUNG GODS & FRIENDS: We were talking about BWS's Storyteller and Adastra in Africa last month, so I next moved on to the collected edition of the "Young Gods" serial. Storyteller was originally intended to be ongoing, then it was truncated to twelve issues, then cancelled after only nine. See above for Rob's discussion of the serialized chapters; this post is about everything else in the collected edition. 

The collection begins with "The Pizza Story," a 23 page prequel set in present day New York City which finds Adastra delivering pizzas. the two-page "Interlude" which segues into the ten chapters originally published in the nine issues of Storyteller tells the story of how the cast of all three features are the principle management and players in an ancient production company based in Manhattan's TriBeca area (and also accounts for how Adastra came to be playing the role of "Storm" in Adastra in Africa). 

Although Storyteller was cancelled with #9 (chapter ten of "Young Gods"), BWS was working on chapter twelve when he got the word to wrap it up by #12. The story was originally planned to run through #17, so chapters 11 & 12 had to be abandoned. (The second-to-the-last page of chapter twelve of the story he was working on is inked but not colored, and  the last page is pencils and blue-line pencil sketches only. Six pages of the revised plot follow, fully penciled, inked and colored, but BWS himself scrapped them. Instead, He opted for a reality-bending "Storyteller wrap party" (18 pages) in which characters from all three serials co-mingled. 

There was a page from the published chapter five in which the story is interrupted by "the author", but it wasn't originally written that way, it replaced an actual page (presented in the collection) which BWS didn't think was working. In addition, there are 14 pages of fully completed vignettes which never saw publication for similar reasons. All of these pages are fully expended upon in text. So, in addition to the entire story as published, the collection includes 56 completed pages of never-before-seen story and commentary, making it well worth the while of even someone who has the nine original issues. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

CAPTAIN AMERICA: SENTINEL OF LIBERTY #5: Cap spends much of this issue running around without a mask in this issue. (Ditto for Spider-Man in Spider-Man #1.) I blame the MCU. Cap steps between Bucky and the bad guy and [SPOILER] Bucky shoots through him. (Don't know why his Kevlar tunic didn't work.) [END SPOILER]

Kevlar is bullet-resistant, but it's not impregnable.

I don't even know that it's Kevlar per se; I just said that that the way some people say "Kleenex" instead of "tissue" or "Jello" instead of "gelatin." Chances are it's made of something even more bullet-resistant. In any case, it was a through-and-through.

I just finished the first issue of DC Horror Presents: Sgt. Rock and the Army of the Dead. I have declaimed numerous times my love of Sgt. Rock stories, and my annoyance that latter-day tales produced after the end of his classic run (1959 to 1988, spanning Our Army at War and Sgt. Rock) have little but glaring flaws.

Rock, famously, is a master sergeant. But how the promotional image for Billy Tucci's 2009 Sgt. Rock: The Lost Battalion (which was really a history lesson disguised as a comic) promoted Rock to first sergeant. That erroneous image was used in ads but was fixed before it appeared on the first issue's cover.

Worse, an Our Army at War one-shot special from 2010 takes away one of Rock's stripes and carelessly demotes him to sergeant first class

Sgt. Rock and the Army of the Dead slips up even further: Someone approaches Rock and specifically asks if he's "Master Sergeant Frank Rock?" and he answers in the affirmative. But the images show him having lost one more stripe since 2010 and he's now a mere staff sergeant, even though he has his six stripes on the cover. 

Sigh ... 

Other than that, well, the story proper is set in 1944, in the waning days of World War II. A German Army officer briefs Adolf Hitler about how the war is going: Badly. Their forces are short on everything: materiel, supplies, food and bodies. Hitler does not take well to this news. After he -- no, I shouldn't tell you what he does -- but after he does that, he orders another flunky to step up a secret program to get more soldiers by making zombies out of the dead. 

Further in, Rock and the Combat-Happy Joes of Easy Company are given the assignment of going deep into enemy territory to take out the laboratory where these undead soldiers are hatched/born/created/animated/whatever you want to call it. They get to see first-hand what they're dealing with when one such specimen busts out of a holding cell and it takes ALL of the guys from Easy to put him down. "Jesus. That was only one guy," Rock says. "Boys, if Hitler's got a whole damn army of these goons ... then we're in for one helluva fight."

Story is by Bruce Campbell, famed for starring in the Evil Dead films, which means absolutely nothing to me but is supposed to be a big selling point. Art is by Eduardo Risso, who provides the kind of atmospheric but somewhat cartoony art he delivered in 100 Bullets. So I know he's not going to be exact on the details like war artists Russ Heath or John Severin but more evoking a mood like Joe Kubert.

But I wish Risso has stuck to Rock's look; here, he gives him dark hair shaved at the sides, and has him smoking cigars, as if he got a model sheet for Nick Fury instead of Frank Rock. 

Plus, Kubert knew Rock sported six stripes, not four. That's going to be a burr in the saddle for me throughout this series, I'm afraid. 

World's Finest #292 - This series has been on a pretty awful roll for the past few issues leading up to this. Although this issue does bring up an original concept that I probably haven't really seen before in any other comic, the execution is completely butchered because you had to depower Superman to an insulting degree for this to work. You either not have him in the story, or make the villain's plan a bit more creative. So I can't say I enjoyed this one much, a frustrating read since the idea was pretty awesome.

2/5

World's Finest #293 - Right after reading this one I knew immediately that this is going to be one of my favorite Superman/Batman stories. The villain in here was awesome, he was original and relatable. This is probably his only appearance however, but it was a perfect one-and-done story. And also you had Superman feeling guilt for turning in a single mother to the police, stuff like this makes this issue a must-read if you ask me.

5/5

I’ve never really followed Sgt Rock, but this sounds like a real train wreck. I have a few observations, mostly based upon my “vast experience” of almost two years in the Army fifty-two years ago.

ClarkKent_DC said:

Rock, famously, is a master sergeant. But how the promotional image for Billy Tucci's 2009 Sgt. Rock: The Lost Battalion (which was really a history lesson disguised as a comic) promoted Rock to first sergeant. That erroneous image was used in ads but was fixed before it appeared on the first issue's cover.

Actually, assignment as a First Sergeant isn’t normally a promotion. Depending on the type of unit, there may be more than one Master Sergeant. When a Master Sergeant is assigned to a new company, he/she may or may not be given the job of First Sergeant. If so, he/she will sport the diamond in the center the chevron. First Sergeant is not a permanent rank, Rock really should have always been a First Sergeant, if Easy Company is really a company.

How many soldiers have ever been shown as making up Easy Company? A company is always 100 soldiers (plus or minus a few).

Other than that, well, the story proper is set in 1944, in the waning days of World War II. A German Army officer briefs Adolf Hitler about how the war is going: Badly. Their forces are short on everything: materiel, supplies, food and bodies. Hitler does not take well to this news. After he -- no, I shouldn't tell you what he does -- but after he does that, he orders another flunky to step up a secret program to get more soldiers by making zombies out of the dead. 

Without seeing it, I’m willing to bet that he “shoots the messenger,” a move close to what Vladimir Putin does these days.

Story is by Bruce Campbell, famed for starring in the Evil Dead films, which means absolutely nothing to me but is supposed to be a big selling point

I don’t understand having actors write comic books. I guess a zombie story cried out for Bruce Campbell. I’ve seen a couple of Evil Dead movies and enjoyed Bruce Campbell’s appearance as Pizza Papa in Doctor Strange II.

But I wish Risso has stuck to Rock's look; here, he gives him dark hair shaved at the sides, and has him smoking cigars, as if he got a model sheet for Nick Fury instead of Frank Rock. 

Shaved temples and/or shaved heads are a modern thing in and out of the military. In my time and certainly in Rock’s time these were not a thing.

Plus, Kubert knew Rock sported six stripes, not four. That's going to be a burr in the saddle for me throughout this series, I'm afraid. 

The three on top are called stripes. The one, two or three on the bottom are called rockers, like a rocking chair.

Richard Willis said:

I’ve never really followed Sgt Rock, but this sounds like a real train wreck. I have a few observations, mostly based upon my “vast experience” of almost two years in the Army fifty-two years ago.

I had responses for each one of your points, but I clicked the wrong button and lost them all! (*sob*) I'll attempt to recreate them later.

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