Jeez, you guys: SO BEHIND. Not that anyone’s keeping track but me (I hope!) but my delightful trip up to Portland and some increased “Oh, hey, why don’t I stay up all night?” job stuff has put me a little more behind the eightball than I’m comfortable with. And since my extra-long Sketchbook entry is running really late (and slow? it’s not even that long…yet), I’m going to have to take a gamble and give you some capsule reviews on this, the day that Graeme and I record our podcast! Will this mean duplicative content? Will this mean I somehow manage to talk in two places about nothing? Ahhhh!
CALIBAN #7: Last issue, and it kind of shits its pants? (Which is a bummer considering the number of people who listened to me and picked it up…) Ennis is enough of a pro that it doesn’t totally fall apart, the emotional beats line up and all but it’s almost as if two-thirds of the way the author kind of went, “huh, where was I going with this? Shit, I had a really good take on Alien’s connection of body horror to class struggle but…what was it again? Oh, well.” <<cashes check>> Sorry, everyone!
BATMAN & ROBIN #35: Really interesting seeing how, just as the X-book writers in the wake of Morrison’s run alternated between erasing, pillaging, and redoing his ideas and beats, the Bat-books are pretty much doing the same thing. This issue has Tomasi and Gleason flat-out stealing Morrison’s “Batman metals up to take on Leviathan” finale of Batman, Inc. by having him get even more metal to take on Apokolips. It’s egregiously derivative (if ever a lit nerd needed to drop in Hamlet’s “Then there’s hope a great man’s memory may outlive his life half a year…” line, it’d pretty much be in this situation) but…I think the art team of Gleason and Gray makes it work?
I mean, Chris Burnham is great but the Batman pages on this should’ve had a sound chip installed to play death metal riffs to complete the experience. If DC actually had its shit together and all this Apokolips/New Gods stuff springing up actually meant something? That’d be great, but since I have no faith in DC’s line-wide editorial coordination, it just kinda seems like an entire line of comics have been turned into Countdown to Final Crisis. In a way, I kinda wish this was the direction Batman Eternal was heading in (even as I worry it’s precisely where it’ll end up) because “Batman invades Apokolips” is a far more compelling reason to drag all of the Bat-family into action then the crazed free-for-all that is the weekly Bat book.
BATMAN ETERNAL #28: It’s interesting being so into Grayson, which is co-plotted by Tim Seeley, when I find the issues he’s written for this title to be so…J.T. Krul-esque? This issue has a certain number of emotional beats but they all feel pretty weightless and I don’t know if that’s because most of them so recently set up or if Seeley keeps trying to inject humor into situations long past the point he should’ve started reaching for the pathos button, but I feel like I was way more blase about the death of an innocent child than I should’ve been. Or maybe reading so many comics have made me a monster? We all should consider that as a possiblity, I guess?
LUMBERJANES #7: Picked this up because last time I flipped through I felt like editorial had given it more direction that I felt like it’d lacked, previously. (And also, I kinda forgot I’d stopped buying it?) Anyway, in case you were wondering what the hell was going on and why—or, really, if the creators knew—it turns out that, yep, they did! And it’s a pretty neat idea in its way. I just wish it’d been the kind of thing that’d been set up and paid off in a more traditional manner. I’m glad it’s selling because it may very well mean this book will still be going by the time it has its act together…because it’s getting there!
Okay, sorry. Short I know but I got a handful of last week’s comics I have to get under my belt if I want to be at all prepped for this episode. More later! (Maybe even sooner?)
Batman and Robin’s first three trades, the ones before Robin got gored through the belly, were exceptional work from Tomasi, not transcendent, but still really good. I wish Gleason was shuffled somewhere else cool after that. He does have a really nice gothic, stained glass style that suits Batman books though.