10,000th Comic!

I just added the 10,000th comic to my collection, and it was the Miracleman: Golden Age hard cover collection by Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham.

I would have reached this milestone before now, but I’ve sold off or gave away portions of my collection over the years, not to mention there was a time in the 1990s that I was only getting 4 or 5 comics a month. Still, wow, 10,000 floppies and trades! I guess I’ll never want for reading material. :)

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RandoMonday: Batman #7

Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.

Batman (2011) #7 by Scott Snyder (writer), Greg Capullo (pencils), Jonathan Glapion (inks), FCO (colors), Richard STarkings and Jimmy Betancourt (letters), Katie Kubert (asst. editor), Mike Marts (editor), and Capullo and FCO (cover)

The Court of Owls storyline was one of the–if not THE–strongest storyline with the launch of DC’s New 52. The issue opens with a flashback of the night that Bruce gets his inspiration to become a bat. But then we’re shown the bat that inspired Bruce be attacked and devoured by an owl. Unlike that unfortunate flying mammal, Batman has escaped the Court’s clutches. Back at the cave, we are shown just how badly the Batman was affected by his recent imprisonment because when he sees a “dead” Talon that Alfred secured for analysis, Bruce reacts with fear, backing away from the Talon. When I read this scene originally, my first thought was “Batman wouldn’t react that way!”, but I’ve since come to appreciate the take and evolution of the character as evidenced by those few panels. Later, Dick shows up to check on Bruce. Bruce proceeds to tell Dick that the Talon in the batcave is Dick’s great-grandfather. They have a disagreement about the information that Bruce isn’t sharing, prompting Bruce to hit Dick, knocking out a tooth. It turns out that Dick had been chosen to eventually become a Talon and working for the Court of Owls but fate, and Batman, intervened. I’ll tell you, I hated that scene. It’s supposed to be dramatic and perhaps showing that Bruce isn’t reacting intellectually, but unlike the previous scene that I came around on, this one I don’t buy at all.

Capullo, Glapion, and FCO do a great job at conveying the moodiness in general, and the fear and simmering anger that Bruce feels as the issue progresses in particular. If you haven’t read the Court of Owls story, I highly encourage you do so.

RandoMonday: East of West #5

Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.

East of West #5 by Jonathan Hickman (writer), Nick Dragotta (artist), Frank Martin (colors), Rus Wooton (letters)

This is a love story and one about redemption. The overall story of the series is quite grand in scope, bordering on myth, yet this issue is steeped in intimate character examination. The personification of Death falls in love with a warrior woman, they have a child together, one who, it is believed by some, is to be the Beast of the Apocalypse. So these people conspire to kill Death, chop off the warrior woman’s hands so that she cannot fight, and kill her son. When a resurrected Death arrives to see his bride, he informs her that their son is still alive, and that he is going to collect him and return to her.

Hickman and Dragotta created a very interesting landscape with this book. It’s an historical deviation and sci-fi western with very interesting characters. I love the mechanical, headless horses, for example, coupled with the 19th century American West qualities. It also reads like a Shakespearean tragedy with all the political machinations involved. It makes me wonder now why I stopped reading this title after #15 (at this time, it’s up to issue 22). Maybe I’ll hunt down those back issues.

RandoMonday: Avengers vs X-Men #8

Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.

Avengers vs X-Men #8 by Brian Michael Bendis (script), Adam Kunert (pencils), John Dell (inks), Laura Martin with Larry Molinar (colors), Chris Eliopoulis (letters), Lauren Sankovitch (assoc. editor), Tom Brevoort (editor), and Jim Cheung and Justin Ponsor (cover)

Namor goes after the Avengers while they’re in Wakanda. The Avengers manage to take Namor down (just barely), and then the the rest of the “Phoenix 5” show up. Thankfully, the Phoenix force leaving Namor after his defeat stalls for enough time for the Avengers to high-tale it out of Wakanda. Meanwhile, Professor X contacts Scott Summers telepathically demanding Scott to stop what he’s doing or that Xavier will stop Scott.

This issue is mostly one big fight scene (OBFS™), with a few moments of futility thrown in for good measure. This is the first time since the Phoenix Force was fractured that we find that it can abandon a host and join with the remaining hosts, setting up a play for power further on. But really the only interesting thing to me is the continuity between this series and Jonathan Hickman’s New Avengers run wherein Black Panther threatens to kill Namor because of his actions in AvX once the planetary invasion is dealt with.

 

RandoMonday: Best of the Brave and the Bold #5

Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.

Best of the Brave and the Bold #5 (cover by Jose Luis Garcia Lopez)

Batman and the House of Mystery, “Red Water, Crimson Death” by Denny O’Neil (writer), Neal Adams (artist), Petra Scotese (colorist), and Murray Boltinoff (editor)

Viking Prince, “The Ghost Ship” by Robert Kanigher (writer), Joe Kubert (artist), and Petra Scotese (colorist)

The Golden Gladiator, “Captive Champion” by Bill Finger (writer), Russ Heath (artist), and Petra Scortese (colorist)

Robin Hood, “The Secret of Sherwood Forest” by Robert Kanigher (writer), Russ Heath (artist), and Petra Scortese (colorist)

This is the fifth issue of a six-issue reprint series spotlighting Batman team-ups, but as you can see, there are also some backup stories from the Silver Age. While those were interesting to read and I particularly liked Russ Heath’s art in the two stories, I’ll focus on the Batman story (originally printed in Brave and the Bold #93).

This might be a weird one to modern Batman fans. It starts off with Batman having a close call with a thug, followed by Commissioner Gordon ordering Batman to take a vacation to Ireland (“You’re no good to me dead!”). Also, Gordon gives Batman a ticket on a steamship–how did that work exactly? After all, it’s Bruce Wayne who is the passenger. After saving a young boy who tried to kill himself by jumping into the Atlantic (because the kid was trying to join his dead grand-da), Bruce opens up his suitcase to find his Batman uniform in it (maybe Customs worked differently back then?), scolds Alfred in absentia, and then he throws it into the ocean (“Until I regain my health, the Batman is dead!”)! Later, a mystery presents itself, and Bruce deliberately ignores it: “No, blast it! I’m thinking like Batman again. I’m Bruce Wayne… and I’m on vacation!”. Ignores it until a ghost wakes him up, he suddenly has his Batman costume on, and the kid he saved earlier is wandering off into the Irish countryside in his PJs. Long story short, a local fishery owner is attempting to convince the island populace that the area is haunted so that he can take over (?). In one of the fights, Batman gets poisoned and the villain offers him a chance (for some reason) by pointing out two beakers, one of which contains the antidote. Logical Batman, however, sees the portrait of the ancestral king on the wall pointing to a test tube nearby, and so he dives forward and drinks the liquid from it that actually does contain the antidote. And for the second time in this story, Batman gets lucky against a guy with a gun to his head when the portrait of the king falls from the wall, killing the fishery owner. Cain, from the House of Mystery, who has been our narrative guide for this story, let’s us know that the spirit of the king caused all of these unexplained occurrences (which we knew already because we clearly see the ghost in several panels).

The story may not make much sense (weird for weird’s sake–but that is a staple of the House of Mystery stories, I guess), but the Neal Adams art is good, as expected. It’s especially good when Adams is drawing Cain.