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

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NEXUS: I'm up to Archive vol. 5, which reprints #26-32. What makes this volume uneven is not just that Steve Rude drew only two of seven issues, but five different artists were chosen for the fill-ins. For the record, the artists were Mike Mignola, Rick Veitch, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Gerald Forton and Jackson Guice. It's not that any of these are bad artists, but the end product would have been better in a single artist did all of the non-rude issues. the use of different artists smacks of a stunt, such as when Steve Ditko was given a different inker every month he was on Rom or Eric Larson's 12-issue World Greatest Comic Magazine, each issue of which was drawn by a different artist. the only time such "stunt casting" ever works is when it serves a purpose, as in Badger Berserk for which each of the Badger's multiple personalities was drawn by a different artist. 

One thing that makes these archives go quickly is that I skip the back-up features, originally Clonezone then Judah the Hammer. If I had edited this series, I would have left out the back-ups and completed the series in fewer volumes. Also, Steve Rude provides one new painted frontispiece per volume based on one of the original covers. 

GRIMJACK: I've led a Grimjack discussion twice before on this board, usually covering Timothy Truman's issues, either the early Starslayer back-ups through "Trade Wars," or newer releases such as "Killer Instinct" or "The Manx Cat." I have also covered such non-Truman material as "Youngblood," "The Demon Wars" and the Demon Knight graphic novel. what I haven't read in a while are the periods I refer to as "Clonejack" and GrimJim Twilley." To that end, today I read The Legend of Grimjack Vol. 7 (#22-30), covers the era between Truman and tom Mandrake. Most of these issues are drawn by Tom Sutton, plus on by Shawn McManus and one (a Dynano Joe guest appearance) by Doug Rice. I was familiar with Sutton when these first came out, but now, 30 years on, I'm way more familiar with him now than I was then. Unlike the Nexus Archives, The Legand of Grimjack wisely leaves out the "Munden's Bar" back-up features. 

Ah, those were the days!

FIRE POWER, VOLUME 1 (PRELUDE): Last week I posted a reaction to the first ten issues of Scott McCloud's Zot. In the first issue, there was a single scene which bore certain surface similarities to Jack Kirby's "Fourth World" (it may have even been an homage), but make no mistake: Zot is no more derivative of Kirby's work than Forbidden Planet is the The Tempest or Star Wars is to The Wizard of Oz (both ideas I've seen put forward in the past) due to certain surface similarities. I once read (probably something written by Mark Evanier) that Kirby was uncomfortable with those who tried to do comics "The Kirby Way" by slavishly imitating him, and the only true way to do comics "The Kirby Way" was to do something wholly original. That's the only thing Zot truly has in common with Jack Kirby. 

The same can be said for for Fire Power. Like Zot, though (and Forbidden Planet and Star Wars), there will be those who will claim it is derivative of certain other works, specifically the Kung Fu television series and Frank Miller's Daredevil (as well as the Daredevil work of artist Chris samnee). The basis for comparison is there, but Fire Power is unique, like Zot, like Kirby's "Fourth World." A few weeks ago I picked up the first FCBD issue of the ongoing series, which occurs 15 years after the events of the Prelude graphic novel. I didn't feel as if I were missing anything by not having read Prelude, but the first issue was so well-written I wanted to go back and find out what happened first. I'm glad I did because doing so greatly enhanced my enjoyment of the first issue.

The pages of Prelude aren't numbered, but I'd guess there are about 200, for $10. To put that in perspective, DC's recent "anniversary" issues have been $10 for 100 pages and far less story overall). As soon as I log off, I'm going back to read issue #1 again. Recommended

Re-read the collected Super-Villain Team-Up.  Overall it was OK, but kind of uneven in parts.

DIE! DIE! DIE! #1-8 & #9-12: I followed up Robert Kirkman's Fire Power with his (and Chris Burnham's) Die! Die! Die! To be clear, this series was never on my "drop list"; I'm just behind. As you may recall, Kirkman (and co-plotter Scott M. Gimple, both of The Walking Dead fame, managed to get this series to shops initially with no advance notice to fans whatsoever. It's over-the-top violence in service of a socially positive message. Not for the faint of heart. After the first storyline, the series went on planned hiatus. It's been back for four issues, but I wanted to re-read the first eight before moving on. I can't recommend Die! Die! Die! to everyone, but it is my favorite ongoing series currently being published. 

FANTASTIC FOUR: ANTITHESIS #1 by Mark Waid and Neal Adams. they are both credited as "storytellers," but I'd be willing to bet that quite a bit of the dialogue was suggested by Adams. It is descrubed as "a new story from a classic era," namely, when Valeria was an infant. The first issue is pretty much everything I expected it to be (which is to say, kinda goofy). Also, Adams draw the Things mouth weird in ever panel. My favorite single page is nine. I was surprised to see a full-page tribute to Joe Sinnott in this issue; I hadn't heard of his death anywhere else.

THREE JOKERS: BOOK ONE: There was a time the Joker was so overused that DC put a one-year moratorium on his use. I stayed away from all of the Bat-titles that year, just to see if they meant it. they did, but as soon as that year was up, he was back. I, too, think the Joker is overused. Ironically, whenever I do buy a Bat-book, it tends to be a Joker one. I am very intrigued by this concept: that there are actually three Jokers. there's really no such thing as "continuity" anymore, so I don't really have a problem with that. Batman's allies this issues are Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) and Jason Todd (the Hood), both hearty and hale. 

Something just came up. More later...

Where was I? Oh, yeah! 

I have read only one Jason Todd/Red Hood story in my life: the "pounding of Superboy's fist" one that explained how he returned from the dead. It's difficult to pick the worst comic book I have ever read, but that one's definitely in the running. I am given to believe that DC may have since presented a more plausible explanation for Jason's return, but i cannot confirm that. None of that is in my personal continuity.

Barbara Gordon, I have no idea. DC continuity is a mess AFAIAC. I thought Flashpoint wiped out The Killing Joke, but Three Jokers references it. I have no idea how Barbara Gordon is Batgirl again with her pre-Flashpoint backstory intact. All three "Jokers" are shown this issue, but the spotlight is on the one who beat Jason to death with a crowbar and crippled Barbara. Despite my general dislike of post-Flashpoint DC continuity, I rather liked this first issue and look forward to what comes next.

THE MAN WHO F#&%ED UP TIME #5: The main character returns to the events of the first issue. Technically, I suppose, one could read only issue #5 and get a sense of the story, but I wouldn't recommend it. A satisfying ending to a convoluted story.

Did any of these changes have to do with the Doctor Manhattan-related reboot? Then again--

Jeff of Earth-J said:

THE MAN WHO F#&%ED UP TIME #5: The main character returns to the events of the first issue. Technically, I suppose, one could read only issue #5 and get a sense of the story, but I wouldn't recommend it. A satisfying ending to a convoluted story.

-- maybe this guy had some influence on the DCU?

Jeff of Earth-J said:

I have read only one Jason Todd/Red Hood story in my life

I've read one less than you have. I just figured somebody dug up his rotten corpse and tossed it into a some Lazarus pit.

"-- maybe this guy had some influence on the DCU?"


"I just figured somebody dug up his rotten corpse and tossed it into a some Lazarus pit."

Actually, I think that "more plausible' explanation I mentioned does have something to do with the Lazarus Pit now that you mention it.

BASKETFUL OF HEADS #1-7: This is also not a series I considered dropping. It's just that I got to issue five or so and decided it would read better in a single sitting. then i somehow missed issues #6-7, but i've got them all now and just read the whole series start to finish. Basketful of Heads is the "flagship" title (I suppose) of Joe Hill's "Hill House Comics" imprint published by DC Black Label. It's a top notch horror/crime/mystery with plenty of twists. Right up until the end I couldn't imagine how Hill was going to bring the story to a satisfactory conclusion, but he pulled it off. I would think anyone who enjoyed "The Haunting of Hill House" (no relation) on TV would like this; it's got the same kind of vibe. If you missed it, I'd wait for the trade. It's a fairly quick read, but it's not "decompressed" in any way. Recommended.

BEAUTIFUL STORIES FOR UGLY CHILDREN: I like the premise of this late '80s/early '90s series published under DC Comics' "Piranha Press" imprint: that each story will include some beauty and some ugliness, but it's left up to the reader to decide which is which. It is written by Dave Louapre and Dan Sweetman. the last time I set about re-reading this series I didn't get very far before my interests turned elsewhere for whatever reasons. Consequently, I'm breaking my own rule by returning to the beginning yet again, ratyher than picking up where I last left off.

Actually, I'm gong to begin with volume two, "The Deadjohnson's Big Incredible Day," a story about a dead couple, Clyde and Margurite, and the (dead) dog, Tippy (with a special cameo appearance by God). I skipped volume one this time, "A Cotton Candy Autopsy," because it is part of a "clown trilogy" which I have read many times. When I first started posting about this series (some time ago, now), I transcribed the synopsis of each issue's story, but this time I think I'll just leave it with the title. More details available on request.

THE WRATH OF THE SPECTRE OMNIBUS: From week to week it is a surprise to see which of the pre-COVID solicitations actually shipped. this omnibus contains every solo (or team-up) Spectre story from the Silver Age through 1983 (plus a "Who's Who" entry from 1986). We have discussed the 1960s run of the character before, from Showcase, The Brave & the Bold and his own eponymous title, and the general consensus from those who have read it was... something less than stellar. I have never read these stories before, though. but I have always wanted to. (I have read the 1970s run in Adventure Comics, however.) Some time ago, I picked up the DC Showcase Presents volume reprinting these stories, just so I'd have them, but I was never too keen to read them. the new omnibus is printed on bright white (although non-glossy) paper and it looks great! I'm currently reading other things now, though, so this will have to wait.

BEAUTIFUL STORIES FOR UGLY CHILDREN v2: "Diary of a Depressed Tap Dancer"

GREEN LANTERN ARCHIVES, v2 (#6-13): I have already mentioned elsewhere that Tracy finds that Hal Jordan's parents did not give him an alliterative name as they did their other two boys to be completely unbelievable. Political correctness aside, "Pieface" is a stupid nickname. (I rank it right up there with "King Faraday" and "Tom, Dick & Harriet.) Personally, I find the term "little Eskimo grease monkey" (which Broome uses at least once each issue) to be more offensive. The covers of each of these issues stands out in my memory, but the splash pages are quite distinctive and memorable as well. I have learned to skip all of the footnotes (as well as the oath) in order to avoid repetition.

Stumptown Volume 3: The Case of the King of Clubs. Finally catching up with Stumptown, now that one of my local public libraries has started buying it. This volume welcomes new artist Justin Greenwood, whose work I recognize from the Image series The Fuse. I like the change: when I read Volume 2 last month I liked Matthew Southworth's style much less than I remembered from reading the first volume years ago.

But I really liked the stolen guitar mystery in Volume 2. This one hinges around soccer, which I can barely relate to at all. Fortunately the mystery and the character interactions were strong enough to get me through. Dex continues to be a hot mess, but we learn a little more about her with each installment.

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