By Ray Tate
Reviews of "Previews" began on the usenet with Johanna Draper Carlson's wonderfully fun column. This review of the comic book phone book is not meant to be remotely objective. It may turn out to later be riddled in errors. I make no apologies for these errors, and some opinions you should take to heart. They'll save you money and time.
Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee on "Batman!"Don't give a damn. He looks the same, and that can't be good. Besides, DC salted the earth with "Bruce Wayne: Gender Bending Butcher."
Inside "Previews" we have a misprint from the people at Spilled Milk. The blurb reads "The clone has soul, but she doesn't believe it." Actually, it should read "the clone has souls, two huge ones right below her collar bone, but the reader can't believe it." Yeesh.
Having noted I'm reading "Previews" backwards, I flip it over and find Lara Croft pared down and looking extremely menacing. You'd be scary too if somebody sliced off your excess dumplings.
Opening the book, allows me to find Lara's missing breast-meat. It must be hot where Vampi lives. Her silicone is melting. On the same page, Anarchy advertises something called "Xin." This book features a pair of cachongas with a woman attached to them straddled behind what looks like a mechanized rhino horn. What oh what I wonder are the publisher advertising?
Dark Horse offers two new Buffy projects. Issue fifty is what the Brits may call a bumper issue of forty pages. Meanwhile, we have a one-shot Tales of the Slayer to accompany the anthology. Joe Kubert draws a world-renowned western by Claudio Nizzi. The western is a genre that television and movies seemed to have abandoned. Let's hope comics gives this creative arena a good home.
It's hard to believe, but there was a time when I actually looked forward to the DC section of "Previews." No longer. Now, I merely wait to see what will make me cringe. Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee in another damn storyarc that's going to take twelve issues! Oh, certainly. It's shorter than "Bruce Wayne: Run away! Run away!" but what isn't, and will it be any better? You'll have to tell me. I'm never even going to consider buying another Batman DCU continuity title until all involved with DC sign a legally binding contract that states no story told in a comic title will exceed six issues. Even that seems a little too long, but I'm a reasonable individual. If DC wishes to sell trade paperbacks, they should hire more talent and sell original ones. They should not meander within the comic book title itself: padding out or adding a few scant storyarc pages to marginally related titles. As I said, "Bruce Wayne: Deadly Psychotic Mass Murdering Crossdresser" was the final straw.
At least there are some brain cells left in DC. If you passed on the hardcover, do not miss the soft-cover of Chris "Rocket Man" Moeller's stunning and superior Wonder Woman graphic novel: "League of One."
In time for the Birds of Prey WB series, DC releases the pathetic and insulting to women everywhere Man-Hunt by Chuck "Captain Mediocre" Dixon. Why would anybody wish to buy this piece of offal? The only thing "Birds of Prey" has in common with the DCU version is its name and a wheelchair. Huntress in "Birds of Prey" is Batman's and Catwoman's daughter as god intended. Huntress isn't even in Birds of Prey though she does guest star in the inferior blight to the intellect that is "Man-Hunt." Here's what I said so very long ago.
"This week's singular disappointment--it made my head hurt--is 'Birds of Prey.' Yes, it sports greater than decent artwork by Matt Haley and Wade von Grawbadger. Yes, it stars Black Canary, Huntress, Oracle and Catwoman, four of my favorite characters, but the writing leaves behind a slime trail as Chuck Dixon contrives a supremely sexist reason for bringing together all four characters. On the one hand, I know women like those portrayed--no, no, they can't cripple armies, but they do make bad choices concerning men, and these women are not the kind you'd find lost in the Kelly Bundy Think Alike Contest. Perfectly rational women can be suckered by guys that simply exude smarminess and spout manure like flowing champagne. However, 'Birds of Prey' is fiction, and to combine DC's most powerful female vigilantes together just to eliminate the guy who basically dumped them is more criminal than their proposed target. 'Birds of Prey' is an insult to reader intelligence and belittles the entire concept of the female crimefighter. It's like suggesting a woman can't become President because of the pms factor. Have Batman, Superman and the Flash suddenly combined forces to track down the woman who wronged them? No! Would any writer dare to even suggest a story such as that--never! While we're at it, would any writer in their right mind have Batman or Superman recognize a felon by his BUTTOCKS? If not why then is it allowable to have Huntress and Black Canary to do so! Hey, you're all smart people. I'm sure you can all type up another perfectly reasonable story featuring the Birds of Prey cast. In fact, why money wasted on this noisome first chapter when you can save money by investing in one-hundred sheets of paper and a pen?"
"The character assault continues in 'Birds of Prey,' this week's only disappointment. Catwoman joins Chuck Dixon's Tupperware party, adds nothing to the poor-excuse for a plot and cranks up the already impressive exploitation level of this distasteful offense against intelligent readers. Though Matt Haley, Wade Von Grawbadger and John Lowe prove themselves as artists and succumb only twice to the malodorous atmosphere, writer Chuck Dixon tortures readers with the same stupid story; both Black Canary and Huntress were dumped, and they want to make the dumper, who just happens to be an international thief, pay. In the past Black Canary fought alongside the JLA against the Manhunters. Huntress traded jokes with an insane Predator, and Catwoman faced the Batman. The rather dim-witted Braun possesses a small army with some sophisticated weaponry. On a threat level, I'd say he reaches the same plateau as King Tut. Against any one of these remarkable female characters, Braun should wet himself and beg for mercy. Fortunately for the antagonist, Chuckie's Angels behave like their seventies role-models. Avoid."
"Ridiculous nonsense can be found in the final chapter of 'Birds of Prey.' Too little, too late. Braun we discover is a meta-human with clairvoyant and psychokinetic powers, but I don't buy it. Mr. Dixon failed to foreshadow these abilities in previous issues of 'Birds of Prey,' and the experience of Black Canary refutes his weak argument. Surely, Black Canary who served in two incarnations of the Justice League encountered various mind parasites and telepaths. Surely, Black Canary who served with Batman, J'onn, Zatanna, Mister Miracle and Dr. Fate fortified her already formidible willpower. Surely, she, if not able to resist, would have at the very least sensed Braun's mental invasion, and why pray tell does the amazing Oracle fail to root out Braun's abilities? Babs at the very beginning of the mini-series should have known every aspect to Braun's life. Chuck Dixon attempted a storyline that, in comparison, made 'Baywatch Nights' positively gripping. He compounded his crime by conjuring a deus ex machina ending that makes the Spider-clone dreck plausible. For essentially raping the characters of Huntress and Black Canary, the entire mini-series earns the dubious honor of being a 'Pick of the Brown Bag' Disappointment of the Year thus placing this robber of life on the same plateau as 'Verotika # 1,' Jamie Delano's 'Man Bat' and 'Rose and Gun # 1.'"
"Birds of Prey: Man-Hunt" is pure crap. Put that money to good use and buy "Superman/Batman: World's Finest" Dave Gibbons and Steve Rude produced the quintessential team-up between these two heroes and recreated the foundation for a friendship that DC then buried. The characterization rings true. The artwork is stunning. No slaps to the brain occur.
In "Detective Comics" which is really a silly title given that Batman no longer detects, it's "Dude, Where's My Body-Guard!" This is what's even worse about Tolkein-length storyarcs. They continue even when they're ostensibly over. In "Batman: Gotham Knights" Batman teams up with Bane, the cretin who broke his back. Let's see now: attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and I believe conspiracy to overthrow a local government. So, Batman still loathes the Huntress, but he hasn't any qualms in parntering with a bona fide psychopath like Bane? yes, that makes sense. Thank Rao for "Legends of the Dark Knight," "Catwoman," "Gotham Girls" and "Batman: Gotham Adventures."
Now, you know I was going to remark about "Birds of Prey." Am I happy Babs has got her legs back? Of course not. Why asks you? Because in the real world we may one day use stem cells to heal spines, but Babs will still be confined to a wheelchair. I don't believe for one second that she's going to emerge out of this story walking. Something will happen to revert her back to what DC considers normal. Simply put. DC hates women. While it's just spiffy to have Batman's back knit by the magic touch of Shondra Kinsolving, BatGIRL must suffer for the end of her days. Bastards. Big things are happening in Superman's comics. Yup. DC to show just how much they love women appear to be killing off Lois Lane. Bastards.
Peter David looks to be returning a hero long thought dead, but I don't believe she's the bona fide article. I just hope Hypertime isn't involved. If it's any consolation, I doubt PAD will betray her memory. Geoff Johns is very much like Roy Thomas when it comes to respecting history, and that's a superb thing. In "Hawkman" he reunites the Hawks with an old friend--one whose name doesn't begin with green.
A really clever looking "Justice League Adventures"awaits us in Ocotober, but damn it, Phil Jiminez is still writing "Wonder Woman." This means she's likely still dating Trevor, who will star in Joel Schumacher's simply fabulous--insert sarcasm--Nipple Man musical (Mad TV joke amended.) At least Kurt Busiek and and PAD are still doing "Power Company" and "Young Justice," respectively. Outside the DCU, John Rozum concludes "The Dragon's Eye" in "Scooby-Doo" and contniues with his superb "Midnight Mass."
Let's take a brief look at the merchandise. I abhor Hal Jordan, but even I can see a marketability for his action figure. Who though with whole brains will be buying the Guy Gardner doll?
Image really depresses me. "G.I. Joe: Frontline" is just silly. I loved Larry Hama's "Batman," but even he cannot get me interested in a missing adventure of the Joes taking place between the Marvel incarnations and the Image versions. Was there a dying need for this book? And why do the Joes look like the Village People? I suggest calling the whole thing off and selling the excellent Dave Dorman cover as a poster.
Damn. Just when I was enjoying "Witchblade" some imbecille decided to do a crossover with Lara Croft. Steve Firchow however wishes to convince you that this event is sane by showing the readers that Lara and Sara have two large thingies in common.
Onward to Marvel. Holy spit, anal sex fans! Luke Cage returns in "Alias," the comic book. I can't stress enough that this drivel has nothing to do with the superb "Alias" television series. Sort of like "Birds of Prey" has little to do with the comic book of the same name. Not to worry, we still have "Spider-Girl" and "Amazing Spider-Man" to keep we older fans interested. Even "Peter Parker" looks like it might be work a peek.
It's very hard to review Marvel's coming attractions since they've gone mute. They do however speak of Alan Davis' "Killraven"mini-series. When I saw this I dropped a ball to make certain gravity was still working. Nobody I'm sure demanded this series, but hell, it's Alan Davis writing and rendering. How can you say no?
Not that I have anything against "Wizard,"but what half-wit will be interested in a supremely ugly Superman statue even if it is free? While I'm asking questions, does anybody know now AC comics stays in business? "Femforce" is usually harmless fun even if bountiful in the buxom babe department, but seriously who will pay five-ninety-five for a regular-sized comic book? Pity, I would have liked that "Hand of Zorro."
A new issue of "Halo & Sprocket" arives in October. Charming, funny, cute and drawn that way, this is the buried treasure that should be bought with anybody who still possesses an iota of innocence. "Highway 13" is a different type of animal, dramatic and comedic, but still worth your time and money.
Rob Liefield is back! Don't say I didn't warn you. It's like he regurgitated an anatomy book, and just picked out mostly intact pieces to put together any old way. I think my eyes started to bleed after viewing the samples. Likewise for the entire Broadsword line. These have never seen a woman, have they?
Crossgen really can kick the collective asses of DC and Marvel. If you missed "Route 666" pick up Crossgen's affordable "Forge" anthology trade paperback for a reprint. Crossgen offers also two issues of "Ruse" this "Previews" month.
Dynamic Forces hawks a "Battle of the Planets" Fan Club Kit. This time I held a magnet to a paperclip to make certain the forces of nature were still in operation. Then I checked the page again. Not a figment of hunger. Astonishing.
Not to be missed, "Comics Journal"issue two-forty-eight. The CJ team interviews Steve Rude and Andi Watson. The blurb reads "The cover alone is worth plunking down seven bucks for..."I have to agree.
You know some folk consider me "breast-obsessed." Oh, sure. Single out poor Ray when the smashing "Bizarre Breasts" column manifests every month in "Sequential Tart." Granted, I've been poking fun of mammoth mammaries for ten years, but even the many bouncing big baby Balents pales in terms of hilarity to a comic book cover that simply made me do a spit take. Go to Griot Enterprises. Two characters squat back to back with their arms raised. What are they doing? Pilates? Preparing for Potty Taining? Dancing in homage to Elaine Benes? You decide.
Wynnona Earp returns in a stunning, professional trade paperback. No, I'm kidding. Her Peacemaker's proceed her. Manuscript Press has found three Modesty Blaise stories by O'Donnell and Romero of which I've not heard. This item almost makes up for the return of Youngblood.
Boneyard number eight comes out just in time for Halloween. Boneyard is a sweet "Bloom County" influenced Universal monster movie directed by "Far West's" Richard Moore. The collected first four issues is a Star of the Month in case you missed them the first time.
The wisely anonymous artist of Wildflower places her burgeoning milk sacks on the table for a collected trade. You've been advised. Splatter Comix! Why! "Dogwitch" from Sirius confuses me. We have on the cover a really, really skanky hooker type from the disco era of vampirism, but doesn't "Dogwitch" imply a canine witch? Or a witch who focuses on casting spells on dogs? Consider me puzzled.
Back to Spilled Milk, the publisher offers three different covers for the clone star of "Cici." Her cup-size runneth over in triplicate. Cloned canteloupes. "Be afraid. Be very afraid." "Lorelei" proves beyond a shadow of doubt that Power Girl's "leetle window"was charming and innocent good girl art tradition.
Something Hellboy fans don't wish to miss is "Comic Book Artist" number twenty-three which looks at the artists work and includes an interview. Siouxsie and the Banshee fans such as myself will not wish to pass up "Meltdown Magazine." "Shivers" is by far the best magazine devoted to the horror of today. The bumper issue is always welcome, and although slightly more expensive, you'll be getting more pages in metric measurement. So it's like double the text and photos. Also, don't forget your "Video Watchdog." I don't shop for dvds without it.
In the tee-shirt section (?) we have Jay and Silent Bob statues. Let's see I checked gravity, magnetic forces...Ah! Centripetal force. Whipping a Duncan Yo-Yo around the world confirms that yes, physics is still functioning.
Where in public would you feel comfortable wearing a Bettie Page tee-shirt? Finally, what ticked off the Reed Richards statue?
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