Wednesday, May 23, 2007

All-star Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder # 5; Ultimates # 13; Fables # 61

All-star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder # 5
Frank Miller-Jim Lee

People with a sense of humor and a keen sense of the absurd need be the only ones who apply. Fact being, this is not Dark Knight Returns. This isn't some super-serious thing that will be made into a movie, change lives, and find a cure for cancer. This to the untrained eye is the worst thing Frank Miller has ever done. It's offensive. It lacks fully-developed characterizations. It's at times embarrassingly written. And in some ways it may cause you to think less or diffrently of some of Miller's other work.

However. And it's a big however. This is my new freaking bible. This is the most hilarious and great thing on the shelves from last week. From the opening page quote from Wonder Woman "Out of my way, sperm bank" to yet another incarnation of "I'm the goddamn Batman", this book is full of silly somehow charming quotes that you will be dying to use amongst your nerdy friends.

There is an extent to where this book is some kind of parody. It is basically taking the basic foundations of these pristine mythological DC characters and taking them to such an extreme so as to pervert them fully. Which IS fascinating, because it's always been a charge against DC that they are too stiff with their characters, and hold them up too often as museum pieces. But Miller brings no such respect to the characters here. Intentional or not, this is derisive mocking work, and should only be ready with a readiness to laugh.

If you remember back, Charles Bukowski once wrote a book called Pulp which was his stab at a "bad" book. We'll see how the whole book turns out in the end, but I'm leaning to thinking ASBARBW is Miller's Pulp.

Ultimates # 13
Mark Millar-Bryan Hitch

The stunning final issue of Millar and Hitch's Ultimates can best be described as a comic Ragnorak. If only Civil War had been allowed to hit these heights. The final battle in Ultimates has been going on for what....5 issues? That's like...100+ pages. And Millar and Hitch throw everything in but the kitchen sink. This issue we get monsters, gods, massive explosions--if this were a movie, this issue alone would suffice as the final battle for most movies. That this is the final act of several issues of this quality only further underlines the fact that when this does finally come out in trade, you need to own it.

The Ultimates when all is said and done, may be the best thing Marvel has ever done. It will be interesting to see how it holds up over time, because the politics could end up dated in terms of the names and faces, but I would guess that in the end those are just place holders, and this can be viewed as a cautionary anti-establishment tale, with lots of great intrigue, drama, and moments that should prove iconic for ages.

Bryan Hitch is really the star of this show. Millar writes a great book to be sure, but Hitch is insane. He's a mad man. Like, I'm shocked that my eyes didn't explode out of my head. The way that the book builds to it's excesses and then always pays off is orgasmic.

If they ever talk about the age that Marvel finally took comics back from DC, this will be THE book they point to. This is wholly a marvel book, and it measures up to anything that DC has put out in it's decorated history.

Yeah. I'm a fan.

Fables # 61
Bill Willingham-Mark Buckinham

It's kind of weird that I don't have a fables review up every month. I mean, whenever people have asked me the last few years about comics I recommend, I usually tally Fables in that ledger. But the fact of the matter is that I have been following it in the trades, and have fallen behind there. So I was a bit reticent to jump in and spoil things for me.

This month however I bit the bullet. And I'm glad I did. I was surprised that I could basically jump right into this issue and not really be all that lost. I think I'm like...18 issues back in the trades or something. But yeah. Fables is one of the best possible books you could ever pick up in a monthly.

This is a book for that kind of Sandman crowd, that likes the adult fairy tale bend. The series really has it all. It can be funny, charming, intriguing, tear jerking--it really touches on every kind of emotion, and honestly, I hope Willingham never stops. He was born to do this book, and there are infinite stories he can tell in this world with this concept. I really don't see how anyone could NOT like Fables. It's probably the safest book on the shelves for me to reccomend anyone regardless of race, gender, age. Though obviously, it's vertigo, and even though it involves fairy tale characters, it probably isn't for like...really little kids. But I would have definitely dug this when I was 12 or 13.

Anyways. Yeah. I'm officially going on record to say that I am a huge Fables fan, and it's taken too long for me to tell the readers of this blog that. So now go your honest day's duty, and support the book.

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