Loose Staples (03/29/14)
Welcome back to Loose Staples, your place for news, reviews and opinions of the goings on in the comic book world. You can peruse The Spinner Rack to catch up on all the talk around the web, check out my opinions on the latest comics with Bagged & Boarded, or discover something you may have overlooked with Back Issues. Well, get going!
The Spinner Rack
IGN has news that Lorenzo Semple, Jr. has passed away at age 91. Best known to the geek crowd as the creator of the Adam West Batman series, he was also responsible for writing the 1980 Flash Gordon film. The man was a genius, and I say that with no irony at all.
Fox has tapped David James Kelly to write the script for the next Wolverine solo flick. /Film has the details.
Major Spoilers say Red Star will be coming to television. Hopefully this will bring more exposure to this amazing series.
Sandman will have even more delays, according to writer Neil Gaiman. THR’s Heat Vision blog has some info, and some links, though no reason for the rescheduling.
Marvel’s got a giant Spider-Man event coming later this year, with writer Dan Slott and Oliver Coipel. Spider-Verse will team-up every Spidey incarnation to take on Morlun, that guy from the JMS run way, way back. Spider-Ham is in the mix, so, I’m in just to see how that even works. Check out The Nerdist website for more.
Check out the teaser trailer for the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot. It’s uh, something else.
CBR has an exclusive interview with writer Jeff Lemire about his upcoming Teen Titans: Earth One graphic novel. Finally, one of these I’m excited to read!
They’ve also got an interview with Chris Roberson about his upcoming Aliens series from Dark Horse.
Going back to Spidey for a moment, Newsarama has word that Spider-Man 2099 will be back on stands in a new series, courtesy of Peter David and Will Sliney. Check out the link for more.
They’ve also got an interview with writer Si Spencer about his new Vertigo series, Bodies, which follows a centuries-long murder mystery.
Bleeding Cool has the first images for the upcoming collector’s edition of the Death of the Family arc in the Batman books. It’s pretty awesome.
Now, let’s read some comics!
Bagged & Boarded
Captain Marvel #1 (Marvel)
Other than her presence in the Avengers titles, I haven’t kept up with Captain Marvel (AKA, Carol Danvers) since I came back into the comic fold. I’m aware that the character has a pretty vocal fan base, thanks to writer Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Twitter feed, which was enough to pique my interest in the latest relaunch of the title, which has David Lopez pulling art chores. I’d love to say I was immediately drawn into Carol’s world, saw what made her unique and interesting in the eyes of her fans and am excited for what’s next, and to catch up on her past adventures, but I can’t. The issue opens with a pretty good action set piece on a far away planet, with Carol and her crew (I guess?) looking for an item while trying to evade capture, then jumps six weeks into the past to give us a starting point for all of this. It’s a common narrative trick, and it’s fine here, except that we don’t get filled in on ANY of Carol’s recent history, a necessity for new readers like me, and the end of the issue doesn’t build back to the opening segment, it just stays in the past and drops a “To be continued…” on us. Now, if all the issues are going to play time-skip like this, then, yes, I imagine we’ll get pertinent information as it goes, but if the story just moves straight from here, by the time we get back to the planet and the mayhem, I’ll have forgotten it all, especially the characters. I’m willing to admit that it’s not the book that fails, but maybe my ability to go along with its methods, but Stan Lee was fond of saying “Every comic is someone’s first,” and this book is a shining example of how mainstream comics have forgotten that. I did think the writing was fine, and the catalyst for getting Carol into space was actually pretty clever, and David Lopez’s art is absolutely stunning. It might be the sole reason I come back for at least one more issue. I just hope the storytelling device doesn’t continue to outwit the actual content.
Vandroid #1-2 (Dark Horse)
Two reviews for the price of one! I picked up the first issue awhile back, intending to take a look at it, but it fell by the wayside. Then issue two hit and I thought I’d better at least see if it’s a mini-series worth keeping up with. Written by Tommy Lee Edwards (whose art I love, but I’m not sure I’ve read anything he’s written) and Noah Smith, with art by Dan McDaid, it’s the story of a tech wizard who develops an uber-intelligent A.I. and convinces his junkie mechanic friend to design a robotic body to house it. Then things go horribly wrong in the cheesiest ways possible. I spent most of the first issue wondering if I was supposed to take this book seriously, because it seemed like the writers definitely didn’t, and then I got to the end. It seems the story comes from a small budget grindhouse film that was in production at an indie studio when it burned to the ground. Everyone’s fine, but the movie was lost. Until they brought it to the four color world. Knowing that, I had a blast reading issue two and reminiscing about all of the ridiculous sci-fi movie my brother and I had forced my Dad to rent on weekends. I was completely taken aback, and really enjoyed every second of it. McDaid’s art is perfect for the kind of storytelling the book tries to get at, and while the whole thing can be just a bit too vulgar (exactly like those movies we used to watch), it all works together to achieve the exact right tone for an ‘80s action-flick that never was. When these guys are done with Vandroid (it’s five issues), the gang at Community needs to tap them for a Kickpuncher mini-series. It would be the perfect companion piece and a great follow-up!
The Auteur #1 (Oni)
We go from a comic about a movie that never got to be, to one about a movie producer that got to be maybe a little too much. Written by Rick Spears and drawn by James Callahan, this book follows down-on-his luck producer Nathan T. Rex as he attempt to mount a comeback after a giant box-office failure. And to do that, it appears he’s willing to go down just about any road available to him. It’s crude, offensive, full of…let’s call them rowdy images, and will leave you hoping you never meet the true faces behind the movies you love. It’s like The Player if it was directed by Quentin Tarantino, which pretty much makes it awesome. Assuming you don’t get easily offended. Spears doesn’t hold back when it comes to how debauched and despicable he wants his characters to be. Nathan T. Rex is not a guy you should be rooting for. Except, that’s exactly what you end up doing. Not because he’s any better than the people trying to sink him (he isn’t), but because somehow, for some reason, you wind up on his side. I’m sure pity has a lot to do with that, and maybe even Callahan’s art, which is so perfect, plays a factor. Either way, by the time Rex comes to his big revelation at the end of the book, I was completely in. It looks to be a wild, disturbing ride, and I can’t wait to take it!
With Superior Spider-Man going bye-bye, I’ve been curious as to what Marvel plans to do with its two spin-off (hey, unintentional pun!) titles, Superior Spider-Man Team-Up and Superior Foes of Spider-Man. Both are solicited for a few more issues at least, but there are constant rumours of cancellation, and while I don’t hear much outcry over Team-Up, Superior Foes always seems to bring the fans out in support. Now, I read the first issue back when it debuted, but I completely dismissed it as just a tie-in book to milk money out of Spidey fans. And since I’m not one of those, I didn’t bother with any more. I thought I’d reviewed it in the column, but I couldn’t find it in the archives, so my dismissal may have been harsher than I even thought. Well, after hearing how good it is for so long, especially amidst the noise that it might be ending, I decided to check out the first collection of the series, issues #1-6. I devoured them, then picked up the next three immediately.
If you need a sales pitch for the book, it’s Ocean’s Eleven with Spider-Man villains. But better than that. Most of the nine issues currently available are by Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber (Lieber’s name appears on at least one issue that he didn’t provide the art for), and revolves around a new incarnation of the Sinister Six (which only has five members). Heading up the team is perennial loser Boomerang, with his old pal Shocker in tow. There’s also Speed Demon, Overdrive (who can make getaway vehicles out of anything…I think, I’m not sure what his power set really is) and the new female Beetle. When Boomerang lands himself back in jail, the crew pools their resources and gets him a legitimate release…but only because of the promise of a major job waiting. Out on bail, Boomerang sets his plan in motion, which we find out involves the Chameleon, and the head of a dead crime boss, Silvermane! Things get crazy and the story becomes chock full of double crosses and bogus schemes, urban legends that may or may not be true and the face of Victor von Doom.
The best thing about the book is that it doesn’t take itself or the comic book world it exists in too seriously. Every issue features sight gags and cutaway jokes, something similar to what you see in the current Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, only less juvenile. But, it definitely does entrench itself in a more sinister (more word play!) side of the MU; these are bad guys doing bad things, albeit very badly. It’s funny, malevolent, action-packed and highlights these characters in a way I don’t think anyone ever has. Lieber’s art is gorgeous, and serves to completely enhance everything the story is trying to do. He nails all of it; the drama, the more quiet moments, the action, the humour, it’s all pitch perfect. I’m completely on board this one, and I’m inclined to agree with all the supporters, it’s THE sleeper comic of the last two years.
Have some comics you’d like to recommend? Any books out there you think aren’t getting their fare shake? Think I’m completely wrong? (You’re probably right about that last one…) Email us, firstname.lastname@example.org, and let us know. If you need to find the closest comics retailer to you, you can always head over to the Comic Shop Locator, punch in your zip code, and voila! If you don’t have a local comic shop, please consider visiting our affiliate, MyComicShop.com, at the link below. They stock all the latest issues, have a huge selection of back issues, and lots of great deals on trades and collections! That’s it for this week’s edition of Loose Staples. We’ll see you in the funny books!