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

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Just read The Shadow Strikes 11, one of several back issues of that title I picked up at NJ Comics Expo. It's a good done-in-one by Gerard Jones and Ron Wagner, delving into Margo Lane's past as it comes back to haunt her. 

I also read Action Comics 582, by Craig Boldman and Alex Saviuk, the last issue before "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow" capped off the pre-Crisis Superman's career. In it, Jor-El and Lara are seemingly brought back to life from brain-waves stored in Superman's head since he was a baby. (It doesn't quite work out that way.) But of interest to me was a Fortress of Solitude helper robot named Quigley. This is apparently his only appearance, but he's a definite precursor to Kel-Ex (who's shown up a few times on Supergirl!). 

The Goddamned #5: I had a pretty long gap between reading the last few issues, so I had nearly forgotten about Caine's "healing factor". This was a pretty good issue, beautifully drawn by R.M. Guerra--or should I say "grimy"? That would be a much better word for it. This issue has all of the good, horrible things about a Jason Aaron comic, with all the trappings of a Jason Aaron comic. This is the story of what happens up to the flood (the Noah's Ark flood).

Warlords of Appalachia #1-2: This is a book from Boom Studios that I bought because it looked like it had some thematic similarities with Briggs Land from Dark Horse as well as Fargo Season 2 from FX--rural families (bad ones) trying to protect what's theirs. This did not disappoint. I loved Phillip Kennedy Johnson's writing (he also did Last Sons of America from Boom), and Jonas Scharf's art--although it's a bit rough--serves this story very well. This book takes place in the near-future where Kentucky has seceded from the rest of the United States after the big religious revolution which caused a big rift between the two. I loved how back-woods this book felt, with very little to make you root for either side.

Archie #14: This continues the run of Mark Waid, this one with art by Joe Eisma. It really makes you start to like Veronica a tiny little bit, but mostly because she's the devil you know. Jughead tries to get Archie to lighten up a bit, leave his social media, and quit leading girls on. In the meantime, Veronica squares off in Switzerland against Cheryl Blossom, who is the personification of the mean girl.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #9: Well, the GLC team up with Soranik (daughter of Sinestro and new leader of the Sinestro Corps) to battle Starro. I liked that we finally had a villain that wasn't another color Lantern. It's been many, many years. Anyway, this is a solid issue that is just pure super-hero fun. It stars a whole cast of characters, and Hal Jordan is just one of them, including Guy Gardner, John Stewart, Kilowog, and a few surprise guests.

DK III: The Master Race #6: Well, this one continues the ridiculous story of the future Batman vs. the Kandorians. I don't say "ridiculous" as a bad thing. I think that's what comics ought to be. This was brought to us by Brian Azzarello, Frank Miller, Andy Kubert, and Klaus Janson. Here, Superman and Batwoman (Batgirl? It's Carrie Kelly) aid Batman in fighting the formerly bottled super-people. Who knows what the ending means on this one, but I think we have at least two more issues of this book, so we have room to see.

I haven't actually talked much about comics here of late, but I am still reading them. Honest! Some I buy, some I check out from the library. 

One series I have belatedly discovered is Ex Machina. I know I'm late to the party -- and I know the series ended about three years ago -- but I'm enjoying it.

I also recently read the first and second collections of Stumptown, by Greg Rucka with art by Matthew Southworth. Stumptown is Portland, Ore., the stomping grounds of Dexedrine "Please -- Call Me Dex" Parios, proprietor and sole operative of the Stumptown Investigations private detective firm. Dex is a p.i. very much in the Jim Rockford vein, which is to say she often finds herself in over her head and she gets beat up a lot when she's not getting shot or shot at. On the other hand, she's different from Jim Rockford in that, well, she's female, and second, she actually gets paid.

In the first collection, of the four-issue miniseries "The Case of the Girl Who Took Her Shampoo But Left Her Mini," we see Dex has a bad gambling habit -- that is, she's bad at gambling, but the owner of the Confederated Tribes of the Wind Coast casino will forgive Dex's $17,616 if Dex locates her missing granddaughter. Before it's over, Dex tangles with a local mobster who, like the dad in the Prodigal Son story, favors his dumb wastrel son over his smart loyal daughter.

The second collection, of the four-issue miniseries "The Case of the Baby in the Velvet Case," seems simple: recover a guitar stolen from a musician on tour. Dex turns up meth smugglers and has the DEA on her back, not to mention skinheads trying to find the meth.

Artist Southworth does a great job in capturing the Portland atmosphere; I've never been there, but he makes me feel like I have. In "The Case of the Baby in the Velvet Case," he gives us a wild chase scene that's just as thrilling as anything from, oh, say, Lethal Weapon. And Rucka is as good as always. Dex Parios seems to be a lot like how Renee Montoya might have developed if she left Gotham and superheroes and all that weirdness behind. Good stuff. 

I bought and read all of Ex Machina as it came out. It kept me guessing all the way to the end. Hope you continue to enjoy it.

JIMMY OLSEN & LUCY LANE: When I was a kid I owned three issues of Jimmy Olsen: #160-162. #160-161 contained the two concluding chapters (of four) of a back-up story which reintroduced Lucy Lane (who had been presumed dead since Lois Lane #120) to Jimmy’s life. I really liked that story, but I hadn’t read it for more than 40 years, having long since traded most of my DCs of that era for Marvels. That was the first and last I heard of Lucy Lane (pre-Crisis), and I was somewhat nonplussed to discover (recently, on this board) that she was not always the best girlfriend.

This past weekend I picked up Jimmy Olsen #158-159, #163, giving me all four chapters of the Lena Lawrence/Lucy Lane story, as well as the last six consecutive issues of the series. It didn’t strike me at the time I initially read these stories 43 years ago, but “Lena Lawrence” bears a striking resemblance to Peter Parker’s Aunt May. I have yet to read any earlier stories of Lucy Lane (DC is not nearly as diligent about making their Silver/Bronze Age material readily accessible via reprints as Marvel is), but this is how I’ll always think of the pre-Crisis Lucy Lane.

Come to think of it, though, she did kind of dump him in the end.

Two things.

1. Thankfully the dealer at my LCS let me skim the issues before making a decision on buying them, because personally I'm disappointed with Dark Knight 3 and passed on getting this expensive limited series. Why? Because this one seems more like a commercial endeavor than an honest creative effort to me. Besides, at the end of DK2, I honestly thought Frank Miller was setting things up to do his own take on "Kingdom Come" in 3.
Will that still happen if there's a DK4, or am I mistaken?

2. Am enjoying the new take on Wonder Woman so far. Nice to see Greg Rucka hasn't lost his Amazonian edge after being away from the title for so long.

I can understand having alternate art teams to support the additional issues, but are all of DC's bi-weekly titles doing alternate story lines between the even and odd numbered issues, or just WW?

Jimmy had an aunt appear briefly in the second episode of George Reeves' Adventures of Superman. Not exactly an Aunt May type, and she noticed the similarity between Clark and Superman.
 
Jeff of Earth-J said:

JIMMY OLSEN & LUCY LANE: When I was a kid I owned three issues of Jimmy Olsen: #160-162. #160-161 contained the two concluding chapters (of four) of a back-up story which reintroduced Lucy Lane (who had been presumed dead since Lois Lane #120) to Jimmy’s life. I really liked that story, but I hadn’t read it for more than 40 years, having long since traded most of my DCs of that era for Marvels. That was the first and last I heard of Lucy Lane (pre-Crisis), and I was somewhat nonplussed to discover (recently, on this board) that she was not always the best girlfriend.

This past weekend I picked up Jimmy Olsen #158-159, #163, giving me all four chapters of the Lena Lawrence/Lucy Lane story, as well as the last six consecutive issues of the series. It didn’t strike me at the time I initially read these stories 43 years ago, but “Lena Lawrence” bears a striking resemblance to Peter Parker’s Aunt May. I have yet to read any earlier stories of Lucy Lane (DC is not nearly as diligent about making their Silver/Bronze Age material readily accessible via reprints as Marvel is), but this is how I’ll always think of the pre-Crisis Lucy Lane.

Come to think of it, though, she did kind of dump him in the end.

I read the first appearance of Jack Kirby's The Dingbats of Danger Street in First Issue Special #6. Such an odd book. It follows a lot of the Kirby kid gang tropes -- four kids with distinct looks and weird nicknames ("Good Looks," "Krunch," "Non-Fat," and "Bananas"), who, in this case, get mixed up in the cops chasing some super crooks. 

It's, um... well, it's something. It's a diverse group -- Non-Fat is a skinny African-American kid in a wool hat; Bananas is an Asian kid the others think is crazy -- but the coloring is remarkably restrained on this point. The early 70s were an era where pretty much all black people were colored the same shade of brown, and asians were all colored yellow-orange, and in my copy, there's just not a lot of difference in complexion, almost as if either the colorist was indifferent to the characters' ethnicity, or just instructed to ignore it. 

Beyond that bit of weirdness, there are two costumed villains -- Jumpin' Jack* and The Gasser -- and a cop who seems like he'd be a mentor to the kids (another part of the kid gang trope), except the gang rejects him at the end, saying that none of them trust adults at all. (There's a mention in the comic that if we want to learn more on the "tragic" backgrounds of these kids, let DC know.) Apparently Kirby wrote and drew two more issues, which have never been published, as far as I know. According to Wikipedia, the Dingbats have made a couple guest appearances since -- they showed up in Adventures of Superman 459, written by Karl Kesel, along with the Newsboy Legion and the Green Team. And then they showed up for a cameo in the last issue Batman: The Brave and the Bold, as Bat-Mite laments team-ups that will never happen.

Anyway, weird stuff -- a book I'd heard the title of for years, but never actually read until now.

*The best think about Jumpin' Jack is that he has a silly-looking mustache under his cowl -- Kirby was definitely trying to deflate the idea of costumed characters here.

I read Wilson by Clowes (2010). I think it may be his best work since Ghost World, and I look forward to the film adaptation.

Are they really making a film adaptation of this? That would be really interesting.

JD DeLuzio said:

I read Wilson by Clowes (2010). I think it may be his best work since Ghost World, and I look forward to the film adaptation.

I read this in a Jack Kirby omnibus from DC (not sure which one--I was on quite a tear collecting those up a few years back). I really don't remember that much about it. I may have to crack it open again.

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

I read the first appearance of Jack Kirby's The Dingbats of Danger Street in First Issue Special #6. Such an odd book. It follows a lot of the Kirby kid gang tropes -- four kids with distinct looks and weird nicknames ("Good Looks," "Krunch," "Non-Fat," and "Bananas"), who, in this case, get mixed up in the cops chasing some super crooks. 

It's, um... well, it's something. It's a diverse group -- Non-Fat is a skinny African-American kid in a wool hat; Bananas is an Asian kid the others think is crazy -- but the coloring is remarkably restrained on this point. The early 70s were an era where pretty much all black people were colored the same shade of brown, and asians were all colored yellow-orange, and in my copy, there's just not a lot of difference in complexion, almost as if either the colorist was indifferent to the characters' ethnicity, or just instructed to ignore it. 

Beyond that bit of weirdness, there are two costumed villains -- Jumpin' Jack* and The Gasser -- and a cop who seems like he'd be a mentor to the kids (another part of the kid gang trope), except the gang rejects him at the end, saying that none of them trust adults at all. (There's a mention in the comic that if we want to learn more on the "tragic" backgrounds of these kids, let DC know.) Apparently Kirby wrote and drew two more issues, which have never been published, as far as I know. According to Wikipedia, the Dingbats have made a couple guest appearances since -- they showed up in Adventures of Superman 459, written by Karl Kesel, along with the Newsboy Legion and the Green Team. And then they showed up for a cameo in the last issue Batman: The Brave and the Bold, as Bat-Mite laments team-ups that will never happen.

Anyway, weird stuff -- a book I'd heard the title of for years, but never actually read until now.

*The best think about Jumpin' Jack is that he has a silly-looking mustache under his cowl -- Kirby was definitely trying to deflate the idea of costumed characters here.

Yesterday I read Crossfire #11, by Mark Evanier and Dan Spiegle. It's a great done-in-one, with a nifty experiment: It's all presented as a screenplay, with the panels showing the action as it happens in the movie. And the twist at the end solidifies the reason it's presented this way, while throwing an extra wrinkle in, as well. 

It's a great trick -- the story construction feels like an Alan Moore notion, but it's leavened with the much warmer and more personable storytelling of Evanier.

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