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Two weeks worth of reviews

I’ve already written some other reviews besides these, and I have even more reviews to post, but I’ll just post these now.

4-2-18

One comic I forgot to review before:

THE ONE #1 (Epic, 1985) – “The Big Sleep,” [W/A] Rick Veitch. I read this but I don’t remember much of anything about it.

4-26-18

Another 100-plus comics to review, and I expect to read even more before I finish writing this round of reviews. The following comics were left over from the week of March 23:

SPIDER-GWEN #30 (Marvel, 2018) – “The Life of Gwen Stacy, Part 1: Counting Sheep,” [W] Jason Latour, [A] Robbi Rodriguez. This series is ending soon, and I don’t really mind; I think it’s worn out its welcome. This issue, Gwen visits another Gwen from a different universe. This issue has some funny interactions between two Watchers, and Robbi makes a sincere effort to draw like John Romita, but I can’t remember much about this issue at all.

KILL OR BE KILLED #17 (Image, 2018) – untitled, [W] Ed Brubaker, [A] Sean Phillips. Dylan arranges a fatal accident for Perry the orderly, who’s been molesting Dylan’s fellow mental patients. Also, a newspaper headline says that the copycat masked killer was killed by police, but we have to wait until next issue to find out how, or whether the person killed was Mason.

HERO CATS #21 (Action Lab, 2018) – “Warm Hearts on a Cold Day,” [W] Kyle Puttkammer, [A] Andy Duggan. Another cute story, in which the cats stop an alien invasion in the midst of a snowstorm. It turns out that the invasion was accidentally caused by two alien spouses trying to reunite. The female alien is much bigger than the male, which reminds me of Lindsey and Bud from Gunnerkrigg Court. Kyle’s editorial on the last page reveals that this is the final issue. I enjoyed this series, but I won’t miss it all that much; it was fun and cute, but never quite   lived up to its potential.

New comics received on March 30:

SAGA #50 (Image, 2018) – America’s preeminent comic book is back, but this issue was a little disappointing because it was so low-key. I’ve come to expect something shocking in every issue. This issue did include about five pages of oral sex, but for Saga, that hardly qualifies as shocking. The major plot developments this issue involve Upsher and Doff.

LUMBERJANES #48 (Boom!, 2018) – “Zoo It Yourself” (part 3), [W] Shannon Watters & Kat Leyh, [A] Ayme Sotuyo. This is confusingly billed as part of “Zoo It Yourself” but is really a standalone issue, and it’s the first issue of Lumberjanes where the five Roanokes are not the main characters. Instead, this issue focuses on the Zodiacs, who are putting out the camp newspaper, except the horoscopes are disturbingly accurate. I enjoyed this issue more than the last two, and it was nice getting to spend some time with the background characters, although we still don’t know much about the other Zodiacs besides Barney, Diane and Hes. The highlight of the issue is the kitten dressed like a reporter. As an overall comment, I’ve basically accepted that the Lumberjanes’ summer camp session is never going to end. But it would be kind of cool if the series would jump ahead in time a year or two, to when the characters are all a bit older. I’m also curious to learn more about the world outside the camp.

MANIFEST DESTINY #34 (Image, 2018) – untitled, [W] Chris Dingess, [A] Matthew Roberts. Pryor has taken over the camp. Sacagawea escapes due to unexpected interference from Charbonneau, but Lewis and Clark’s attempts to take back the camp end in failure, and the Spanish ghost dude leaves them and decides to haunt Pryor instead. Things are looking grim.

MY LITTLE PONY: LEGENDS OF MAGIC #12 (IDW, 2018) – “Finale,” [W] Jeremy Whitley, [A] Tony Fleecs. The highlight of this issue is the right-hand page where Somnambula says that Stygian’s element is friendship, “and friendship… friendship is…” and then the page ends, and on the next left-hand page she says “…well, it’s not nothing!” Jeremy described this as “maybe my favorite comics form gag I’ve ever done… I won’t ruin it, but I love the fun things you can do with a build up and a page turn in comics” (https://twitter.com/jrome58/status/979029687933349888). I probably need to mention this page in my upcoming conference paper on Legends of Magic. The rest of the story underscores the point of this: Stygian and his friends almost discovered the Elements of Harmony and the magic of friendship, but not quite. This series is over now, but I’m glad we’re getting Ponyville Mysteries next, because one pony comic per month is not enough.

MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #29 (Marvel, 2018) – “1+2 = Fantastic Three, Part 5: The Four Corners of the Multiverse,” [W] Brandon Montclare, [A] Natacha Bustos. A bunch of confusing stuff happens, including a fight with a villain called Cellar Dweller, master of the monsters under the bed. Then Lunella summons Devil Dinosaur from the past to become the fourth member of the team. Which means Brandon was straight-up lying when he said that Devil would never reappear in this comic, but oh well. I’m glad this storyline is ending soon because it’s been way too confusing.

ABBOTT #3 (Boom!, 2018) – “Lean Times on the Factory Line,” [W] Saladin Ahmed, [A] Sami Kivelä. This series has gotten better with each issue, and this is the best yet. As a frequent visitor to Detroit, I loved the scene at National Coney Island. I’ve never been there, but I eat coney islands every time I’m in Detroit, and this scene gave me a lot of nostalgia. It even gave me an idea for the paper on Omaha the Cat Dancer that I’m supposed to be writing: maybe comics are better than prose at evoking nostalgia for particular places. I really need to show this comic to my parents and some other relatives, because I’m very curious about how this comic would look to someone who grew up in Detroit. Anyway, lots of other stuff happens in this issue, and it ends with Abbott and her editor getting fired. I initially thought the fantasy aspects of this comic were kind of unnecessary, but in this issue the magic feels a lot more important.

LOCKJAW #3 (Marvel, 2018) – “Call of the Wild,” [W] Daniel Kibblesmith, [A] Carlos Villa. I just realized how appropriate the writer’s surname is. This issue, Lockjaw and D-Man team up with Ka-Zar and fight some wolves, who are led by another of Lockjaw’s siblings. And it turns out that Spider-Ham and another unseen character are spying on Lockjaw. I was going to say it’s curious that Ka-Zar’s wife and child are nowhere to be seen, but this series is not really in continuity.

PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #302 (Marvel, 2018) – “Amazing Fantasy – Part Two,” [W] Chip Zdarsky, [A] Joe Quinones. I barely remember this at all. The issue ends with the Green Goblin invading Peter’s home and kidnapping Aunt May.

BATGIRL #21 (DC, 2018) – “Father Knows Best,” [W] Hope Larson, [A] Scott Godlewski. A very cute story in which Batgirl teams up with Commissioner Gordon against a sentient cosmetics monster. However, again, I can barely remember anything about this issue. The scene at the end where Babs and Gordon meet for breakfast is heartwarming, and I like how it’s implied but not confirmed that Gordon knows his daughter’s secret identity, but I had to flip through the issue again to remind myself of these things.

BLACK MAGICK #11 (Image, 2018) – “Awakening II,” [W] Greg Rucka, [A] Nicola Scott. Rowan saves the baby, but loses her partner’s trust. This is another issue I don’t remember very well.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #699 (Marvel, 2018) – “Out of Time,” [W] Mark Waid, [A] Chris Samnee. Cap defeats King Baby and is elected the new president. Chris Samnee’s artwork in this issue is spectacular, but the writing mostly leaves me cold. Other than a couple great issues, I haven’t really been able to get into this Captain America run, especially since it’s ending soon.

JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS: DIMENSIONS #4 (IDW, 2018) – “Tasty,” [W] Sina Grace, [A] Hannah Templer, and “Jemojis,” [W] Kevin Panetta, [A] Abby Boeh. IDW’s final Jem comic (until further notice?) is a reasonable sendoff. The first story is about the Misfits appearing on a magazine cover, and the second story is about a Jem-based emoji app. I still hope Kelly Thompson somehow gets to write more Jem comics, because she left sone significant loose ends, especially Jem and Rico’s relationship.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #231 (Marvel, 1978) – “Aftermath!”, [W] Roger McKenzie, [A] Sal Buscema. Cap and the Falcon part ways, then Cap encounters Peggy Carter, who tells him about the National Front – which, I now realize, is clearly based on the KKK. There’s a disturbing scene in which the Grand Director publicly burns a cross. Sadly, this issue is perhaps more relevant now than when it came out. See the review of Kill or Be Killed #18 below for another example of a comic about white male terrorism. Roger McKenzie was a fairly good Cap writer, though his Cap run is largely forgotten because of the Roger Stern-John Byrne run that came after it.

GROO THE WANDERER #43 (Marvel/Epic, 1988) – “Slave!”, [W/A] Sergio Aragones, [W] Mark Evanier. Granny Groo sells Groo as a slave in order to get rid of him. Groo misunderstands and thinks that she wants him to fake illness, so she can take him back and then sell him to someone else – because when he was a child, she previously tried to do exactly that. If that sounds confusing, it’s because I can’t think of a simpler way to explain this issue’s plot. It’s a pretty average Groo comic.

HATE #8 (Fantagraphics, 1992) – “Follow That Dream!” part one, [W/A] Peter Bagge. The first part of a story whose conclusion I read earlier in March. Buddy becomes the manager of a band, consisting of four hairy dudes named Kurt, Kurt, Greg and Kurt. After one of the Kurts quits, Leonard replaces him as the lead singer. The band members are happy as long as they have beer, so Buddy embezzles all their money. This issue is a hilarious satire of the grunge music scene, and is based on insider knowledge of that scene, since Bagge published it in 1992 while living in Seattle.

Y: THE LAST MAN #49 (Vertigo, 2006) – “Motherland, Chapter One,” [W] Brian K. Vaughan, [A] Pia Guerra. I couldn’t really follow this issue’s plot, since it’s from long after I stopped reading this series. At least there’s some good dialogue. On the week of March 30th I was suffering from comics reader’s block  and was also very tired, and I’m very tired again now as I write these reviews, so I have very little to say about some of these comics.

BLACK PANTHER #171 (Marvel, 2018) – “Avengers of the New World, Part 12,” [W] Ta-Nehisi Coates, [A] Leonard Kirk. The penultimate chapter of the most long-winded Marvel storyline since “The Kang Dynasty.” This issue is mostly a long fight scene in which T’Challa finally defeats Klaw, except it turns out the real villain is the Adversary from Claremont’s X-Men.

MOTHERLANDS #3 (Vertigo, 2018) – “Meat is Murder,” [W] Si Spurrier, [A] Rachael Stott. This is perhaps my least favorite Spurrier title. The story isn’t nearly as exciting as that of Angelic or Spire, and the artwork is undistinguished. I’m pretty sure Rachael Stott was not Spurrier’s original choice of artist. This issue, there’s some more family drama that I don’t remember very well.

USAVENGERS #12 (Marvel, 2017) – “Maybe We Should All Be Praying for Time,” [W] Al Ewing, [A] Paco Diaz. I only ordered this because Squirrel Girl is in it, but it turns out this  storyline is pretty hilarious. This storyline has the same premise as the Star Trek episode “A Piece of the Action,” except the alien society is based on Archie comics rather than gangster films. As a result, this comic is a very funny Archie parody. Unfortunately this issue is hard to follow on its own; I should have read issue 11 first. See below.

HATE #10 (Fantagraphics, 1992) – “The Nut,” [W/A] Peter Bagge. Buddy gets his crazy ex-girlfriend Lisa a job at the bookstore where he works. Lisa proceeds to cause all sorts of insane drama. This was a laugh-out-loud funny comic, but not as inspired as “Follow That Dream.”

USAVENGERS #11 (Marvel, 2017) – “Hey, Bugface, Where Are You?”, [W] Al Ewing, [A] Paco Diaz. Again, I wish I’d read this issue first, so I wouldn’t have spoiled the revelation that the Archie-esque characters are actually Skrulls. But the premise of this story is awesome, and Ewing executes it perfectly. One of my favorite things about this comic is that it’s full of subtle puns that depend upon a deep knowledge of Archie comics. For example, the Veronica character calls the Archie character “Ritchiecakes” (Archiekins), and the Reggie character is named Gerry Mays, after Willie Mays, who was a contemporary of Mickey Mantle.

KID LOBOTOMY #6 (IDW, 2018) – “Uncommon Lobotomies: Part 6 of A Lad Insane,” [W] Peter Milligan, [A] Tess Fowler. I was surprised to realize that this was the final issue, but I’m not all that disappointed. Like many previous Peter Milligan comics, this series has gotten more incomprehensible with every issue. This issue mostly went right over my head.

THUNDERBOLTS #18 (Marvel, 1998) – “Career Opportunities,” [W] Kurt Busiek, [A] Mark Bagley. The Thunderbolts are offered employment by the new Masters of Evil. This issue includes some strong characterization, but I’ve never really been able to get into Thunderbolts, and I think the reason is that I don’t connect with any of the characters except perhaps Jolt. All of them are deeply damaged, and some of them, especially Moonstone, are just evil. This makes for storylines which are interesting on an intellectual but not an emotional level, and as a result, Thunderbolts is not my favorite Busiek comic.

THE WORLD OF KRYPTON #1 (DC, 2018/1987) – “The World of Krypton,” [W] John Byrne, [A] Mike Mignola. This freebie is a reprint of the 1987 comic of the same name, with a new cover. It’s much better than I expected. Mignola’s art in this issue is not bad, though it’s closer to P. Craig Russell’s art than to Mignola’s mature style, and Byrne’s writing is not bad either. I would get the other issues of this miniseries if I found them in a 50-cent box.

HELLBLAZER #59 (DC, 1992) – “Fallen Women,” [W] Garth Ennis, [A] William Simpson. A demoness named Chantinelle escapes hell and warns Constantine that the First of the Fallen is coming for him. This issue is most interesting for revealing the origin of the First of the Fallen: he was already in hell when Lucifer arrived there.

ADAM-12 #5 (Gold Key, 1974) – “But Not in Real Life” and “Satan’s Children,” [W] Paul S. Newman, [A] Jack Sparling. This mediocre comic is an adaptation of a mediocre cop show. The first of this issue’s two stories is completely forgettable. The second story is sort of intriguing, though, because it appears to be inspired by contemporary moral panics about Satanism. The Satanists in the story mention the spirit Haristum and the Clavicle of Solomon, which are actual Satanist concepts, so the writer must have done some research.

From April 5 to 8, I was in Gainesville for the UF Comics Conference, where I had the great honor of giving a keynote address. I may post the transcript of my lecture on this blog later. It was an awesome experience. My lecture got a very warm reception, and I heard some excellent papers, met some old friends and mentors, and made some new friends. Gainesville has changed a lot since my grad school days – there’s all sorts of new development along 13th Street and University Avenue, and even the old businesses that are still there may not last much longer. After the conference was over, I went to 2nd & Charles and bought some comics, including the following. (Incidentally, 2nd & Charles is just down the street from where Hoyt’s Cosmos of Comics , I have a recurring dream where I’m visiting a bookstore that’s somewhere far to the north of my house. I think this dream is inspired by Hoyt’s or by the old location of Dreamhaven Books.)

BLACK HAMMER #2 (Dark Horse, 2016) – “The Curse of Zafram!”, [W] Jeff Lemire, [A] Dean Ormston. This issue is a spotlight on Golden Gail, and it reveals that her powers are the reverse of Captain Marvel’s. She changes into a nine-year-old girl rather than an adult, so as her human identity grows older, her superhero identity remains stuck in childhood. Which also explains why Gail hates Black Hammer Farm so much: she’s stuck in her child’s body, so she has to attend elementary school despite being 55 years old. So this issue is rather depressing.

ATOMIC ROBO #1 (Red 5, 2007) – “The Will to Power,” [W] Brian Clevinger, [A] Scott Wegener. This issue introduces Robo as well as his archenemy, the Nazi scientist Helsingard. It’s a strong introduction to Robo’s character and to Clevinger and Wegener’s unusual style of humor. However, this issue is mostly a long fight scene and has much less narrative complexity than later Atomic Robo stories.

KIM & KIM #4 (Black Mask, 2016) – untitled, [W] Magdalene Visaggio, [A] Eva Cabrera. To avoid being evicted for nonpayment of rent, Kim and Kim accept a contract on a man named Merrill Frank. But Merrill Frank is killed by other mercenaries, and one of the Kims’ fathers pays the rent instead. This issue is a good example of how the Kims are not really heroes, but loveable screw-ups who can barely do anything right – which makes this comic a very realistic depiction of early adulthood.

BLACK HAMMER #3 (Dark Horse, 2016) – “The Warlord of Mars,” [W] Jeff Lemire, [A] Dean Ormston. Most of this issue is a flashback to the origin of Mark Markz, the Barbalien (a.k.a. J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter). We see that he’s a lonely outsider in two ways, as a Martian and as a gay man. There’s a heartbreaking scene where Mark, in his secret identity as a cop, shows tenderness to his partner and is brutally rejected. Also, Mark and Gail have a conversation in which Gail mistakenly thinks Mark is expressing his love for her, rather than the young pastor. And now that I’ve read this issue, my Black Hammer collection is complete.

New comics received on March 9, after returning from Gainesville:

RUNAWAYS #8 (Marvel, 2018) – “Best Friends Forever,” [W] Rainbow Rowell, [A] Kris Anka. Julie Power is back! Although it’s really sad when Karolina stands her up at the airport. But Molly’s reaction to meeting Julie is incredible. Also, Abbie gives Molly a cupcake of eternal youth, and Doom invades the Runaways’ hideout, demanding Victor’s head back. This issue didn’t have any great Old Lace moments.

ISOLA #1 (Image, 2018) – untitled, [W] Brenden Fletcher, [W/A] Karl Kerschl, [A] Msassyk. An epic fantasy series about a woman warrior and her animal companion, a queen trapped in the form of a tiger. Karl Kerschl’s art is fantastic, and this series’s premise is very promising, though we don’t know much yet about just what’s going on here. When Rook addresses the tiger as “your majesty,” I can just imagine my cat saying “Finally, someone who treats cats with the respect we deserve.”

GIANT DAYS #37 (Boom!, 2018) – untitled, [W] John Allison, [A] Max Sarin. Daisy’s homophobic grandmother throws her out, forcing Daisy to find somewhere else to live. After viewing several hilariously awful apartments, one of which is haunted, Daisy decides to become a residential mentor – what we in America would call an RA. A highlight of the issue is the scene where the accommodations officer “reminds” Daisy that she already applied to be an RM and her paperwork was “lost.” Also, at the end of the issue, Daisy’s grandma realizes she was wrong and apologizes.

MECH CADET YU #8 (Boom!, 2018) – untitled, [W] Greg Pak, [A] Takeshi Miyazawa. Stanford and friends attack the alien vessel, but their attempt to destroy it fails because of Cadet Park’s interference. At the end of the issue, the cavalry arrives: Chief Max and all the other service robots. This issue includes the best line in the entire series: “If someone tells you there’s only one possible way to do something…. and that one possible way benefits them… maybe think twice.” This issue also further demonstrates that janitors, mechanics, etc. are just as vitally important as people with more glamorous jobs.

SEX CRIMINALS #23 (Image, 2018) – “My Epiphany,” [W] Matt Fraction, [A] Chip Zdarsky. To be honest, I didn’t understand anything that happened in this issue. I’m not sure what Susie’s epiphany was, or which characters are on which side. A recap (a real one, not the joke recap on the inside front cover) would have helped a lot.

THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #35 (Image, 2018) – “1-2-3-4!” etc., [W] Kieron Gillen, [A] Jamie McKelvie. With this issue, this series’s confusing storyline finally begins to make sense. We begin with a flashback that happens right after the 1923 special issue, in which the Shirley Temple character kills Ananke. Which leads to a shocking revelation: the present Ananke is the same individual as the 1923 Minerva. Meaning that the present Minerva will be the next Ananke… I’m not sure if this is a universal pattern, but now I want to look at the other two flashback issues again. Oh, also it turns out that Baal, who seemed like the best of the gods, has been sacrificing children. This was a fun issue.

MOTOR CRUSH #11 (Image, 2018) – untitled, [W] Brenden Fletcher & Cameron Stewart, [W/A] Babs Tarr. The season-ending race is invaded by gangsters. Domino saves the day and leads her protégé Ya-Ya to victory, but is publicly unmasked. Lola decides to leave her new girlfriend for Domino, which is probably a bad decision, but it’s heartwarming, I guess. And then at the end of the issue, Decimus shows Domino a room full of clones that look just like her. This was an effective conclusion to the second story arc.

ASTRO CITY #51 (Vertigo, 2018) – “Down in the Depths,” [W] Kurt Busiek, [A] Brent Anderson. This issue contains probably the most shocking panel Kurt has ever written. In a flashback, a woman named Rose Wilkerson describes how she and her son were kidnapped by a giant spider-thing. The flashback ends with her saying “I held his hand the whole time,” and on the next page, she reveals her missing hand. Wow. After that, the rest of the issue is a letdown. Rose confronts Michael with evidence that his wife never existed, and Michael tells her his story (at excessive length), but it’s not clear whether she and the other support group members are willing to buy it. By the way, Michael reminds me a lot of Mr. Rogers.

SNOTGIRL #10 (Image, 2018) – “Weekend, Part 2: We’ve Only Just Begun,” [W] Bryan Lee O’Malley, [A] Leslie Hung. Last issue ended with a girl falling to her death. This issue, the protagonists deal with the fallout (no pun intended) of that incident, as well as heading out to the desert and taking mushrooms. The dialogue in this issue was excellent, but the plot was rather confusing, as usual.

SCALES & SCOUNDRELS #8 (Image, 2018) – untitled, [W] Sebastian Girner, [A] Galaad. Traveling on her own, Luvander teams up with some elves who are fighting in a local conflict. But it turns out the elves are a bunch of assholes who kidnap and sell slaves. I don’t know if Lu is able to carry a story all on her own; I miss Prince Aki and the other characters from the previous storyline .The best moment in this issue is the following exchange: “Just wait till I sound my battle hymn. The Baron’s men will turn and flee before we fire a single arrow!” “I don’t doubt it. I’ve heard you play.”

DOCTOR STAR AND THE KINGDOM OF LOST TOMORROWS #2 (Dark Horse, 2018) – untitled, [W] Jeff Lemire, [A] Max Fiumara. Doctor Star travels into space, where he saves some weird-looking aliens from a space dragon. But when he gets back, he discovers that eighteen years have passed on Earth while he spent mere hours in space. Again, this comic wasn’t bad, but I don’t know why it’s a Black Hammer spinoff.

BLACK BOLT #12 (Marvel, 2018) – untitled, [W] Saladin Ahmed, [A] Christian Ward. Black Bolt defeats the Jailer and reconciles with his wife. Crusher, Titania and Blinky live happily ever after, at least until some other writer comes along. This was an excellent series that deserved a longer run than it got, although I expect even better things from Saladin in the future.

EXIT STAGE LEFT: THE SNAGGLEPUSS CHRONICLES #2 (DC, 2018) – “A Dog’s Life,” [W] Mark Russell, [A] Mike Feehan. For some reason I got this issue two months late, on the same day that I got #4. This issue, Snagglepuss hires a new stage manager named Squiddly Diddly, Lillian Hellman tells him about the existence of the blacklist, and at the end of the issue Snagglepuss is subpoenaed by the HUAC. Besides being another brilliant piece of political satire, this issue shows an effective command of 1950s English. I especially love the line “You are asking me for my pen and that I cannot give.” Unfortunately, the Sasquatch Detective backup feature is a complete waste of space.

X-MEN UNLIMITED #38 (Marvel, 2002) – “Yartzeit,” [W] Greg Rucka, [A] Darick Robertson. This is an excellent but rather obscure issue. I must have read about it on Scans_Daily or in the Slings & Arrows Guide or something, because otherwise I wouldn’t have bought it. On the sanniversary of Peter Rasputin’s death, Kitty Pryde mourns for him and becomes obsessed with a police officer who resembles him. After Kurt Wagner stages an intervention, Kitty realizes the cop isn’t Peter, but there’s a suggestion that he might become her love interest anyway. This character, Danny Wyzcenko, never appeared again, and this story became irrelevant anyway when Peter came back to life two years later. Still, this is a very touching story, one of the best Kitty Pryde comics not written by Claremont. I should point out that this story’s title is spelled wrong (it should be yahrzeit or yahrtzeit) and that it’s not customary to observe the yahrzeit of a non-Jew. But these are less egregious errors than Mark Guggenheim thinking that, at a Jewish wedding, the father walks the daughter down the aisle.

ROGUE & GAMBIT #4 (Marvel, 2018) – “Ring of Fire Part 4,” [W] Kelly Thompson, [A] Pere Perez. Rogue and Gambit battle the clones, and it turns out that each time one of them defeats a clone, they get that clone’s memories and powers. It’s confusing, but leads to some interesting scenes where each character experiences a flashback from the other’s perspective. The flashback to X-Men #30 made me groan inwardly because it’s been many years since I read that issue, and it’s kind of embarrassing in hindsight. I’m glad that Kelly got an Eisner nomination for Hawkeye; she has been an extremely underrated writer.

EXIT STAGE LEFT: THE SNAGGLEPUSS CHRONICLES #3 (DC, 2018) – “Actors and Stars,” as above. SP gets involved in the love triangle between Joe DiMaggio, Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller. I was kind of delighted when I figured out who they were. The issue begins and ends with SP’s metatextual comments on his own plays.

ARCHIE #17 (Archie, 2017) – “Get Your Head Outta the Rainclouds,” [W] Mark Waid, [A] Joe Eisma. Cheryl and Jason Blossom arrive in town and engineer an elaborate plot to meet Archie, having received a misleading account of him from Veronica, Meanwhile, Veronica uses trickery to get out of her boarding school and back to Riverdale. This issue was okay, but it was just lighthearted fun, unlike the more serious stories that followed it. Seeing the name Joe Eisma reminds me that Morning Glories has been on an indefinite hiatus for several years, not that I really care.

SUPERMAN: REBIRTH #1 (DC, 2016) – “Superman: Rebirth,” [W] Peter Tomasi & Patrick Gleason, [A] Doug Mahnke. Like Wonder Woman: Rebirth #1, this issue is a terrible starting point, requiring far too much knowledge of previous storylines and providing no explanations. Superman himself doesn’t appear in the issue at all. The issue focuses on Lana and the Superman from a different Earth, presumably the post-Crisis/pre-Flashpoint Earth, as they search for the real Superman.

ARCHIE #19 (Archie, 2018) – “When All is Said and Done,” [W] Mark Waid, [A] Pete Woods. Veronica and Archie are on the outs. In order to find Veronica a boyfriend other than Archie, Mr. Lodge creates a phony achievement award competition for teenage boys, with the winner to be chosen by Veronica. Jughead engineers a plan to get Archie and Veronica back together, and in gratitude, Veronica gives Jughead the achievement award. This was a funny and touching issue, but again, it was forgettable compared to “Over the Edge.”

I HATE FAIRYLAND #18 (Image, 2018) – untitled, [W/A] Skottie Young. Duncan Dragon and Larry team up to recruit Gert to defeat Dark Cloudia. This was a very average issue.

EXIT STAGE LEFT: THE SNAGGLEPUSS CHRONICLES #4 (DC, 2018) – “Doomtown,” as above. Huckleberry Hound is sleeping with a male police horse. The same horse is forced to participate in a raid on the Stonewall bar, in which Huck is caught. Meanwhile, SP introduces his wife to his boyfriend. The issue begins and ends with scenes depicting a nuclear test. This series is better than Prez, and at least as good as Flintstones; it’s a very moving depiction of love, politics, art, and queer identity. Too bad about the awful Sasquatch Detective backup.

SECOND CITY #1 (Harrier, 1986) – “Contact” and other stories, [W] Paul Duncan, [A] Phil Elliott. I bought this at 2nd & Charles because it was 25 cents and it was published by Harrier, a company that specialized in comics by British alternative cartoonists. It consists of four stories set in a city governed by clockwork. The Slings & Arrows guide gives this comic a poor review, which is unfortunately justified. Second City is similar to Mister X but worse, which and Mister X wasn’t that good to begin with. However, Phil Elliott’s art is very appealing.

INCOGNEGRO: RENAISSANCE #3 (Dark Horse, 2018) – “Libretto,” [W] Mat Johnson, [A] Warren Pleece. Mat teams up with… I guess her name is Miss Bette, who wants him to recover Xavier’s manuscript in exchange for information on Xavier’s murder. And it turns out Bette is also a black woman passing as white. And then some cop steals the manuscript. At this point I’m getting curious about what exactly is in that manuscript that makes it such a hot potato. From a tweet Mat Johnson posted, I just learned that he himself is a black man who can pass for white. So perhaps the reason this comic has such power and verisimilitude is that it’s inspired by personal experience.

THE FROGMEN #9 (Dell, 1964) – “The Strange Experiment of Doctor Vogar,” [W] Don Segall, [A] Mike Sekowsky. I’m glad I own this comic because it’s old, but it’s also boring as hell. In this issue, our protagonists, two scuba divers, are kidnapped by a mad scientist who’s breeding giant undersea creatures. Don Segall is better known for writing some really weird issues of Kona, but he shows none of that brilliance here, and the only redeeming quality of this comic is Sekowsky’s depictions of undersea life.

 

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