Once & Future Vol.3: The Parliament of Magpies. Still lots of fun, and looks absolutely gorgeous. Last weekend I read Fire Power Vol.1: Prelude, which was also fun to read. Just a good old fashioned kung fu comic. Enjoyed it enough to read some more of it, even though it's a bit outside my usual reading habits.
LONE WOLF & CUB v8: "Tidings of the Geese" - "The Frozen Crane" - "Chains of Death" - "The Infinite Path" - "Thread of Tears" - "Beku-no-ji"
It's raining today and besides, I'm back in self-imposed lock-down, anyway, so I thought I'd read more Lone Wolf & Cub while I'm in the mood.
The covers that Frank Miller did (with Lynn Varley) for the covers of the First Comics series are among the best of his career. The one he did of the origin story for the first issue is particularly striking. Although it was not the first story (it was a flashback), it was also included in the first Dark Horse volume. For reasons of their own, however, they chose not to use the painting of the origin story on the first volume. (It was eventually used on volume six.)
Volume eight presents a similarly mismatched cover. Miller's covers always depicted a scene from the story, usually one per issue. The Dark Horse volumes usually present four or five stories, depending on length, but volume six has six stories. Most of them are shorter than usual, as one might expect, but one, "The Infinite Path" (which depicts the origin of the Ogami/Yagyu feud) is longer than expected.
The cover of volume eight illustrates the story from First Comics issue #4, memorable to me not only from the comics but one of the movies as well, however that story is not one of the six in the volume (that story hasn't been presented yet). Occasionally, Koike and Kojima present a Diagoro "solo" story, in which his father is gone somewhere (presumably performing an assassination) and Diagoro has an adventure on his own. (He's three years old at this point.) There's one of those stories in volume eight as well.
LONE WOLF & CUB v9: "Wife of the Heart" - "Wandering Samurai" - "Echo of the Assassin" - "Naked Worms" - "The Yagyu Letter: Prologue"
With the last two stories in this volume, Itto takes the Ogami/Yagyu feud to a new level.
Last night I read Injustice: Gods Among Us Year One by Tom Taylor and various artists. I planned on reading only a few issues, as it was late when I started. Instead, I read the whole 13-issue collection and went to bed at 4am. The art's uneven (though great in places), but the story's terrific.
HEROES UNION #1: This is one of the books for which Darin Henry has solicited advice here over the course of the last few years. Cap is writing an article about it next week, and I'll have more to say about it then. In the meantime I'll just say that it's a retro book with a more-or-less '80s feel and it will take you longer than five minutes to read.
SERIAL #6: If you want to read about a child molester get what's coming to him, this issue's for you.
THE MARVELS #4: Good story, good art.
LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT #4: After a good three-issue initial story, this done-in-one has some problems. It concerns a vigilante murder in the Gotham City of 1910 that the modern day Penguin wants to cover up. It is essentially a "Me Too" story which is all well and good, but the storytelling choices have left me scratching my head. The Batman reenacts the murder in the Batcave's "holodeck", which duplicates the Gotham City of a century ago with astounding accuracy. When the Penguin and his goons attack Wayne Manor, Batman sends Alfred in the Batmobile to deal with the goons while the Penguin himself runs amok in stately Wayne Manor.
SUPERGIRL: WOMAN OF TOMORROW #3: A story of racism set on another planet.
SUPERMAN: RED & BLUE #6: This is the moment I have not been looking forward to: the last issue of this enjoyable anthology series. (I particularly enjoyed the stories in this issue.) I have another series, two really, waiting on deck to take its place (as soon as I'm ready to read backissue comics again), neither of which I have read before.
STARMAN COMPENDIUM: Contains Starman #0-42, Starman Annual #1-2, Starman 80-Page Giant #1, Starman Secret Files and Origins #1, The Power of Shazam #35-36, as well as stories from Showcase '96 #4-5 and The Shade #1-4. If a fan of the Stargirl TV show every asks for a comic book recommendation, I'd hand him this. NOTE: In DC-speak, "omnibus" means "hardcover"; "compendium" means "softcover."
LONE WOLF & CUB v10: As I have done in the "Cross Cultural Duslexia" thread, I thought I'd list the two translations of this volume's stories, Dark Horse's on the left, First Comics' on the right.
"The Yagyu Letter" - "The Yagyu's Letter"
"The Tears of Daigoro" - "Separate Paths"
"The Fisherwoman's Love" - "The Sympathy Trap"
"Drifting Shadows" - "Drifting Shadows"
"Straw Boy" - "Child Decoy"
The Ronin Report: "Lone Wolf and Cub in Film, Part 1": Sword of Vengeance. (A more literal translation of the Japanese title would be "Son for Hire, Sword for Hire." This article, by Tim Ervin-Gore, identifies three of the sources of the first LW&C movie, which is just what I wanted: "The White Path Between the Rivers," "Baby Cart on the River Styx" and "Wings to the Bird, Fangs to the Beast," Part 2 appears in v27. I may have to skip ahead.
LONE WOLF & CUB v11:
"Talisman of Hades" - "Talismans"
"Ailing Star" - "Ailing Star"
"Thirteen Strings" - "Schisms"
"A Poem for the Grave" - "The Poetry of the Grave"
LONE WOLF & CUB v12: First Comics reprinted only two of the stories in Dark Horse v12. (I'll list those in parenthesis.) "Nameless, Penniless, Lifeless," "Body Check" ("Checkpoint"), "Shattered Stones" ("Choices"), "A Promise of Potatoes" and "Wife Killer."
The Ronin Report: "The Dotanuki Sword of Lone Wolf & Cub" by David S. Hofhine.
LONE WOLF & CUB v13: First Comics reprinted only two of these (which I'll again put in parenthsis).
"The Moon in the East, the Sun in the West" ("Black Death"), " 'Marohosi' Mamesho" ("Mamesho Marohoshi"), "Spoiling Daigoro," "the Hojiro Yagyu," "The Bird Catchers."
The Ronin Report: "Weapons Glossary, Part 2" by Tim Ervin-Gore. (Part 1 was in v4.)
SPIDER-MAN: LIFE STORY ANNUAL #1: This is a supplement to the main series that doesn't fit the "one decade per issue" premise. It cover the years 1965 through 2001, 35 of which J. Jonah Jameson spends in prison. It's an interesting take on Jameson's obsession, well worth reading.
THE UNITED STATES OF CAPTAIN AMERICA #3: Over on "This Week in comics," Captain comics said,"I think a Native American Captain America would have a completely different view of American history than Steve Rogers, and might be reluctant to suit up in the colors that did so much damage to his ancestors." He also said, "I doubt that's how Marvel will play this," and he was right about that.
SUPERMAN '78 #1: I am not as enamored of Superman: The Movie as (seemingly) everyone else is, but I found the first issue of this six-issue series to be refreshing. I didn't even bother seeing the movie when it first came out, and when I did years later, it was to see Marlon Brando as Jor-El. If you like the movie (or maybe even if, like me, you don't), you should like this. Introduces Brainiac.
BATMAN '89 #1: Unlike Superman: The Movie, which I am merely indifferent to, I actively dislike Tim Burton's Batman. This one shipped last week, but I didn't pick it up until this week along with Superman '78 #1 figuring, "What the hell?" (Wasn't there a Wonder Woman one, too, based one the TV series? I may have to buy that one, too, to complete the "set".) Written by movie writer Sam Hamm (the third time I've heard his name), this one introduces Barbra Gordon (a cop, girlfriend of Harvey Dent) and Harvey Bullock.
"Michael Keaton" is given greying temples, which is an odd choice, but it works. Harvey Dent is the Billy Dee Williams version, a bit of continuity they didn't even follow in the sequel movies. Alfred looks like an amalgam of Michael Gough and Alan Napier, and Commissioner Gordon looks more like the comic book version than he does Pat Hingle (which is a good thing). Just as Marshal Roger's Batman "sequel" was better than the movie, so too is this issue, and better than Hamm's previous Batman comic book work as well.
SUPERMAN, SON OF KAL-EL #2: Jon Kent adopts a secret identity ("Finn Conners"), then loses it on page five. Apparently, Jon Kent's identity is common knowledge. Is the revelation of Clark Kent's identity still in continuity...? Superman (Clark) makes a vague reference to "a chance I'll have to go away," but that remark is not explained. Also, they can apparently talk on the Moon without effort despite the lack of oxygen. ("Willing suspension of disbelief" is one thing, but science is science.)
WONDER WOMAN: BLACK & GOLD #3: Five more non-continuity tales by different creative teams told in duo-tone shades. Recommended.
LONE WOLF & CUB v14: "One Rainy Day" - "O-Shichiri Man" - "The Kyushu Road" - " "Day of the Demons"
Volume 14 marks the halfway point of the original Lone Wolf & Cub saga. It also marks the last story that First Comics reprinted, which they titled "The Shichiri Man." It was the 70th overall, published in their 45th issue, but because they skipped several stories, First Comics reprinted only 32% of the series overall. Really, if I had know how intense this series would become, I would have made a better effort to complete reading the entire thing long ago.
I was working at my LCS yeaterday, so I finally wrapped up The Flash Archives, vol. 5. Just a year and half later!
LONE WOLF & CUB v15: "The legendary saga of Lone Wolf & Cub passes the halfway mark with this stunning volume. Watch as Ogami Itto, the Lone Wolf, comes face-to-face with his arch enemy, Yagyi Retsudo, in a tale of dark ambition and political intrigue. Witness the tragic tale of the 'Women of Sodeshi.' Stalk alongside a deep-cover ninja as he chases his brother who has fled his station, while a group of shadow warriors prepare for a suicide mission to find a secret gold mine--guarded by the Lone Wolf!"
GROO MEETS TARZAN #2: The story is divided into three sections: 1) Sergio Argones and Mark Evanier, 2) Groo, and 3) Tarzan. The Groo and Tarzan sections overlap to good effect, with cartoony Groo drawn against a realistic background.
HEY KIDS! COMICS! V2, #4: More roman a clef fun.
FIREPOWER #15: I almost began tradewaiting with #13, but each successive issue I read makes me happier I didn't.
MMW MARVEL TEAM-UP V6: this is a really decent collection of comics, beginning with Annual #1 and continuing with regular issues #53-64. the volume itself begins with Chris Claremont's sincere and heartfelt tribute to Bill Mantlo. The first four issues comprises a single story, it's parts often reprinted but never reprinted in it's entirety (to my knowledge) in a single volume until now (except maybe in an "essential" edition). Annual #1 features the then (very) "All-New, All-Different" X-Men, #53-54 feature the Hulk, and #55 features Adam Warlock. #56-58 feature rarely-if-ever-reprinted team-ups with Daredevil, Black Widow and Ghost Rider, then #59-64 the beginning of the oft-reprinted Claremont/Byrne run.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN OMNIBUS V5: I should also mention that this volume shipped yesterday as well, reprinting issue #143-180, Annual #10-11 and Nova #12. This volume is the equivalent of three Masterworks, including introductions, plus letters pages. I kind of hope they stop the Spider-Man omnibus series at this point. It brings the story to a good ending.