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

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“I can't believe Geoff Johns retconned your argument out of existence.”

It’s not so much that as he rendered it moot. Now it’s moot twice removed because there was no Parallax in the New 52 (or the DCnU or whatever you want to call it).

“I recently read Red Range by Joe R Lansdale and Sam Glanzman.”

I’m a Glanzman fan, too (and a Lansdale one as well). I pre-order Red Range and bought it when it shipped but haven’t read it yet.

I have read Jew Gangster, though. (I got it at Half Price Books.) As you say, it’s a great stoy by a master storyteller.

Umami
Ongoing series by Ken Niimura

Recently read the first issue of the latest Panel Syndicate series. I remember Niimura's cartooning from the Image series I Kill Giants he did with writer Joe Kelly. He has a very loose style, reminiscent of manga. The series is in black and white, and is the only Panel Syndicate series so far that uses conventional portrait oriented pages, like a standard comic book (the rest use a horizontal landscape format). Umami is about the adventures of two cooks in a sort of medieval kingdom. Which makes it a cartoon cooking fantasy story, I guess! The first installment is a satisfying 46-page chunk of story. And it's "name your price," so you can try it out for free if you want.

East of West Volume 6

Jonathan Hickman, writer; Nick Dragotta, artist; Frank Martin, colors

Image Comics, 2016

The conclusion to the second year of the Apocalypse (which is an odd thing to type). Two major events dominate the action. The first is a gathering of the Seven Tribes at Armistice (the site of the comet strike and the the great truce among the Tribes) called by the Prophet Ezra Orion, the first of the Chosen and carrier of the Message. Clearly this will mean nothing to you if you aren't already reading the book. The meeting devolves into a fight among the representatives of the Tribes, and then with the huge army of followers of the Message that have gathered at the site. Death's son Babylon is still being fed an apocalyptic vision of reality by Balloon, his AI companion (that's him on the cover). He finds himself beset by a group of Hunters. Death thought they were only tasked with finding his son, but they were in fact instructed to kill him. Babylon and his allies (which include a wild pig) defeat most of the Hunters, and Death finds them just in time to save the day. He is reunited with his son--which is awkward, to say the least--and convinced not to immediately disconnect Babylon from the AI. Instead he joins Babylon and Balloon on their adventures. This has interesting implications going forward, because Babylon will finally be receiving input about reality that is not mediated by the AI. Perhaps he will decide not to become the Beast of the Apocalypse after all.

TALES OF ASGARD: #127-128 feature a two-part look at Ragnarok presented as a vision of Volla the prophetess. Reportedly, Jack Kirby’s intention was to have these events ractually come to pass, then to introduce a cast of “new gods” to take the place of the Aesir. Issue #128 even uses the term “new race of gods.” Which brings me up to…

This special is where I first read the “Tales of Asgard” stories from #129-136. #129-133 dealt with Harokin who had won a seat in Valhalla. #134-136 was about Fafnir the dragon. These stories were no doubt chosen because Walt Simonson had just done (or was about to do) a story in which a Viking follower of Thor assisted him in his battle against Fafnir.

If you have a copy handy, check out the first two panels of page two of #129 and tell me that doesn’t look exactly like the scene from Star Wars (The Empire Strikes Back) in which Han Solo is encased in carbonite.

The second story collects the five-issue miniseries "The Last Resort," written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, illustrated by Giancarlo Caracuzzo. As the title implies, it's about a zombie outbreak at an island resort. It's a small island, so the resort is pretty much the only thing on it. The story opens with the scene of the infection, although it's not clear what it means until much later. The narrative takes its time with the backstories of the survivors on the island, inter-cutting them with the present disaster in ways that are frequently confusing. There are only a few direct chronological cues. Many of the survivors arrive via an emergency aircraft landing, with some others by boat (including the two scientists responsible for the infection, again not immediately clear). This is a classic modern scientific zombie story: the cause is an infection, and the survivors are taken completely by surprise. It is also incredibly bleak, with every survival ploy answered by a fresh disaster. I expected more of Palmiotti & Gray. They crafted some memorable characters, but the concept is derivative, and it's just not entertaining to watch them all get killed off. The Darwyn Cooke covers are fun, but completely contrary to the dark tone of the series.

Mark Sullivan (Vertiginous Mod) said:

Zomnibus Vol. 2

IDW Publishing, 2011

Continuing with the IDW omnibus horror collections I picked up at HeroesCon a couple of years ago: the Halloween season seemed a good time to finally dip into them. Got to love the title! Didn't see how I could go wrong at $5, so I bought both volumes on the same day.

"Everybody's Dead" (written by Brian Lynch, art by Dave Crosland, colors by Leonard O'Grady) is the five-issue miniseries that opens the collection. Most of the action takes place at a Halloween party hosted by a questionable college fraternity. The second page has the caption "This is the story of the last, best night on Earth," so Spoiler Alert: things do not turn out well. This is a real B-movie story, with fairly stereotypical character types: the nerd, the jock, an older guy who has been an eternal college student, and so on. Crosland draws the series in a simple cartoon style, prioritizing energy over detail. The cause of the zombie outbreak is unusual. What looks like some sort of meteor strike turns out to be a bomb, possibly military in origin. That is one story thread that remains unresolved at the end, but the action covers for it unless you really stop to think about it.

Having read Mimi Pond's recent graphic novel The Customer is Always Wrong, I went back and read the first installment, Over Easy. It handles the characters better than the sequel (granted, the sequel assumes, in part, many readers will know the characters, because, it's a sequel), but I found the second part more affecting.

This weekend I read The Bunker Vol. 1-3, which leaves just one more volume in the series. I plan to write a blog entry on the whole thing. But I will say that there are still plenty of open questions at the end of the third volume. Anxious to see how they are resolved.

Mark Sullivan (Vertiginous Mod) said:

I really liked The Bunker, too. Just this week I noticed that it was up to Vol. 4 in the collections! One of my libraries has them all. I intend to re-read Vol. 1 (it's been years now since I first read it) and the rest of them soon.

Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

The Bunker vol1 - Woof, I can't wait to continue this series. A group friends go to bury a time capsule, and discover a bunker. In that bunker they find letters addressed to them from their future selves that they are responsible for an apocalyptic event. Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov, whose work I've always enjoyed. 

I spoke with Mimi when the book came out. She'd always thought of them as one book, but the realities of publishing made her split it up.

I really liked them both, but if I were pressed, I think the first speaks to me more; I love books where you seen an impromptu family being built, and she really makes it seem like a magical time and place.



JD DeLuzio said:

Having read Mimi Pond's recent graphic novel The Customer is Always Wrong, I went back and read the first installment, Over Easy. It handles the characters better than the sequel (granted, the sequel assumes, in part, many readers will know the characters, because, it's a sequel), but I found the second part more affecting.

Cool! Everyone has a different entry point, and I read Customer before Over Easy, so that affects how I see them. As I concluded in my review of Customer:

I didn't live in Oakland, I'm neither female nor a cartoonist, and, in my youth, only briefly waited tables. Yet, despite its dark turns, few things I've read lately have made me so entirely miss the chaos and promise of being twentysomething as this graphic novel.

It was a magical time, but some magic is extraordinarily dark.

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

I spoke with Mimi when the book came out. She'd always thought of them as one book, but the realities of publishing made her split it up.

I really liked them both, but if I were pressed, I think the first speaks to me more; I love books where you seen an impromptu family being built, and she really makes it seem like a magical time and place.



JD DeLuzio said:

Having read Mimi Pond's recent graphic novel The Customer is Always Wrong, I went back and read the first installment, Over Easy. It handles the characters better than the sequel (granted, the sequel assumes, in part, many readers will know the characters, because, it's a sequel), but I found the second part more affecting.

"Chaos and promise" -- that's a nice way to put it. Man, I miss it too.

Wrapping up the collection, the third and final story is the four-issue miniseries "We Will Bury You." Written by Brea Grant and Zane Grant, art by Kyle Strahm and colors by Zac Atkinson, it is a historical zombie tale set in New York in 1927. The locations and characters would have lent an unusual flavor even without the time period. The protagonists are a pair of lesbian lovers, and much of the action takes place in Coney Island in the company of a troupe of sideshow freaks. This and other surreal  touches give artist Strahm a lot to work with, which he makes the most of. His characters have a heavy, almost woodcut-like appearance reminiscent of artist Ted McKeever. It serves the story well, even if it mainly consists of a group of survivors fighting their way through mobs of zombies. Our heroes take to the rooftops, and the final scene shows the pair leading the Spanish Revolution in 1928.

Mark Sullivan (Vertiginous Mod) said:

The second story collects the five-issue miniseries "The Last Resort," written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, illustrated by Giancarlo Caracuzzo. As the title implies, it's about a zombie outbreak at an island resort. It's a small island, so the resort is pretty much the only thing on it. The story opens with the scene of the infection, although it's not clear what it means until much later. The narrative takes its time with the backstories of the survivors on the island, inter-cutting them with the present disaster in ways that are frequently confusing. There are only a few direct chronological cues. Many of the survivors arrive via an emergency aircraft landing, with some others by boat (including the two scientists responsible for the infection, again not immediately clear). This is a classic modern scientific zombie story: the cause is an infection, and the survivors are taken completely by surprise. It is also incredibly bleak, with every survival ploy answered by a fresh disaster. I expected more of Palmiotti & Gray. They crafted some memorable characters, but the concept is derivative, and it's just not entertaining to watch them all get killed off. The Darwyn Cooke covers are fun, but completely contrary to the dark tone of the series.

Mark Sullivan (Vertiginous Mod) said:

Zomnibus Vol. 2

IDW Publishing, 2011

Continuing with the IDW omnibus horror collections I picked up at HeroesCon a couple of years ago: the Halloween season seemed a good time to finally dip into them. Got to love the title! Didn't see how I could go wrong at $5, so I bought both volumes on the same day.

"Everybody's Dead" (written by Brian Lynch, art by Dave Crosland, colors by Leonard O'Grady) is the five-issue miniseries that opens the collection. Most of the action takes place at a Halloween party hosted by a questionable college fraternity. The second page has the caption "This is the story of the last, best night on Earth," so Spoiler Alert: things do not turn out well. This is a real B-movie story, with fairly stereotypical character types: the nerd, the jock, an older guy who has been an eternal college student, and so on. Crosland draws the series in a simple cartoon style, prioritizing energy over detail. The cause of the zombie outbreak is unusual. What looks like some sort of meteor strike turns out to be a bomb, possibly military in origin. That is one story thread that remains unresolved at the end, but the action covers for it unless you really stop to think about it.

I posted an update here in a while. I’m still reading the same “projects” I was last time (including The Spirit and EC Archives), I just haven’t had anything to say about them.

THOR ANNUAL #2: Thor Annual #2 was released between issues #136 and #137 of the regular series. The Fafnir arc of “Tales of Asgard” concluded in #136, and the annual marked the first time the Warriors Three appeared in a story set in modern times. It is set in Asgard and makes for a good segue between #136 and #137, the latter of which also takes place in Asgard. (I know there are nine other chapters of “Tales of Asgard” before the series comes to an end, but as those attempt to adapt stories of Arabian knights rather than Norse myths, they’re not favorites of mine and I don’t intend to read them at this time.

My intention for this project is rather ambitious. Once I get to the volume in which Kirby leaves Marvel for DC, I plan to add a sister project, alternating volumes of FF Masterworks where I left off reading FF Omnibus #3 a couple of weeks ago. I plan to continue through the Byrne era on FF and the Simonson era on Thor. Will I succeed? I’ll let you know here.

SWAMP THING: My intention for this project is rather ambitious as well. At the very least, I intend to read through the entire Alan Moore era. As I explained in a previous post, my wife has read far beyond what I have read of Swamp Thing. While she was reading beyond the Moore issues (many years ago, now), I filled in the gaps I had in the original series between #14-24. She never went back to read those, and I thought I hadn’t either, but as I’m reading through the Michelinie/Redondo issues now I realize I have read at least some of them before.

JIM APARO BATMAN: I am now beyond the point where I left off in my Brave & Bold reading a couple of months ago. The majority of issues which lie ahead of my in this project I have never before read.

Last week’s new comics I read are Captain America #696, Deadman #2 and Paper Girls #18.

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