Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Comics! The Doctor is in!
A slim week for Pepito's stolen comics this week ... although not slim enough to prevent him from sniffing out at least SOME crap! He picked out this new J. Michael Straczynski hack-job 'Bullet Points,' after all ...
.... Still, some of the crap he picked out didn't LOOK like crap on the surface. This is certainly true of the latest 52, which was boring, hyperventilated, and completely unsatisfying.
I've noticed this about '52' - some of the issues (like the last one) work perfectly, managing to deliver an enjoyable comic book while at the same time being part of a much larger storyline. And some of them both don't do that and also suck. This was such an issue.
There's a lot of shouting in it - poor, bereaved Elongated Man gets the vengeance-inflicting powers of the Spectre just long enough to make the soul of his wife's murderer suffer for all e-teerrrrrnity, and Eclipso comes in for a bit, dunno why ...
But the issue wasn't a total loss: it had a wonderful backup feature detailing the origin of Black Canary, with rip-snorting good pencils by the mighty Howard Chaykin. Which made me wistful! Chaykin seems to be 'back' - willing and able to do mainstream comic work ... so why not a mini-series about the original Black Canary, the mother of the current one? That would be Canar-ific!
And even Pepito, with his crap-sense tingling, couldn't pass up the second issue of the great new Doctor Strange mini-series 'The Oath.'
The thing I love about this title is that its writer, Brian Vaughan, is smart enough not to re-invent the wheel. His Stephen Strange is looser and funnier than any previous incarnation (hands-down favorite line of comic book dialogue in 2006 happens in this issue: when confronted with a cadre of killer robots, the good doctor says "By the hoary #%*-ing hosts!" Hee), but he's still the same character Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created decades ago, and for good reason: that character works.
So, no 'he's really an alien' or 'secondary mutations' or any of that nonsense. This is still the man who was a brilliant but arrogant surgeon, who lost the skill of his hands in a car accident, and he learned the mystic arts from the Ancient One. In fact, this issue's best sequence is a flashback showing us just how big a jerk the pre-accident Stephen Strange was.
(and post-accident, as when the recovering Strange says he feels 'like suing whoever made seatbelts too damned uncomfortable for any reasonable man to wear')
Two things are certain about this mini-series: first, it will be collected in a nice trade paperback (so Pepito really shouldn't be buying it, but let's not tell him that)(he won't read it here, since this site has nothing to do with Menudo), and second, it will certainly re-launch a monthly Doctor Strange comic - let's hope the creators of the mini-series stay on board!
Let's finish up with some Doctor Strange trivia, to keep my little marmosets on their toes:
1. The presence of the Night Nurse in this issue raises the question: how many super-heroes have also been practicing members of the medical community? A full list, from memory!
2. In addition to his vast mystic abilities (learned from the Ancient One) and his considerable martial arts abilities (learned from who knows who - there's a great mini-series to be mined from the time when Strange and Mordo were students), Doctor Strange also has one other rather unusual superhero-trait. From memory, no peeking - what is it?
3. The good doctor knows at least one real-world literary giant - who can tell me who it is?
OK ... by the Vapors of Valtorr, by the hosts of Hoggoth, and by the Belches of Beepy, that's all for now!