RandoMonday: Buffy, Season 8 #9

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

Buffy tVS, Season 8 #9 by Brian K. Vaughan (script), Georges Jeanty (pencils), ANdy Owens (inks), Dave Stewart (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Jimmy (letters), Heidi Fainza (designer), Sierra Hahn (asst. editor), Scott Allie (editor), & Jo Chen (cover)

I hate it when the randomizer gives me the middle or end parts of a story to write about, and this time is no exception because here we get part four (the ending) of a short run by Brian K. Vaughan. This was a pretty good tale featuring Faith and Giles off on an adventure to, ultimately, help Buffy and the Scoobies. Mr. BKV’s talent as a writer of kick-ass stories is is so evident on the page in this issue. There are moments that can only have come from BKV’s mind because you can see that it isn’t Jeanty that is delivering those crisp, emotional beats in other issues (he was the artist during this season and the next). Anyway, this story in some ways sets up what later becomes the Angel and Faith series some years down the road. Plus, we get to see a little bit of the bad-ass “Ripper” Giles (talk about a storyline that is ripe for the picking!). A pity BKV couldn’t be writing Buffy more–perhaps I’d like the series more than I do.

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Podcast Episode 66: Must Read TV

I talk about some TV comics, including:

  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Buffy, Season 9
  • Angel and Faith
  • Star Trek
  • Doctor Who, including Prisoners of Time

Please send your comments to longboxreview@gmail.com, leave voicemail at 208-953-1841, or send me a voice message via Speakpipe. Please rate and review the show on iTunes.

Thanks for listening!

Direct Download (41:07)

All LBR episodes: http://wp.me/PZkAx-3f

Episode RSS: http://longbox.libsyn.com/rss

RandoMonday: Buffy, Season 9 #1

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

I love Buffy. I love the television series, I love the character, I love the actress who portrays Buffy. I love the stories and characters and themes. “The Body” was one of the best hours of television ever aired. But. But the comic book continuation of the tv series? Sigh. Not so much. There have been some good stories, but the overall arc of the “seasons” thus far have been disappointing. The ending of season 8 was ballsy but not well executed and in season 9 we are getting the fallout of those events, but I don’t feel connected to any of the characters anymore. Part of that is the characters aren’t acting in character. Part of it is that there isn’t a cohesive team (yet?). We’re getting close to the end of this season, and I fear that I may not return for season 10.

Having said that, this issue was a nice, if somewhat clunky, narrative showing us a Buffy who, after having saved the world yet again, but having lost Angel (again), and more importantly, Giles, is blowing off some steam, all while in the shadows a bad thing is coming for Buffy. Unfortunately, the ending of the issue is such a bad joke for the set up I cringed a second time when I flipped through the book for this review. I love Joss Whedon’s television, but not his comics (this issue was written by him). Probably the best thing about this issue for me was the Jo Chen cover. In fact, the subsequent Steve Morris covers for the rest of the series are also very good, and so much better than the interior art (seriously, Dark Horse, get someone else for season 10–Jeanty is ok, but I want someone else to draw Buffy).

Wow, that was a bit harsh overall, don’t you think? It’s just that I care a lot for this franchise and want the comics to be better than they are.

Podcast Episode 44: Alpha and Omega

I read some first issues and final issues of some comics, and wanted to share my thoughts about them with you.

Alpha:

  • Age of Ultron #1
  • Ame-Comi Girls #1
  • Helheim #1
  • Sex #1

Omega:

  • Before Watchmen: Rorschach #4
  • Buffy: Willow: Wonderland #5
  • Superman #17 (H’El on Earth)
  • Swamp Thing/Animal Man #18 (Rotworld)

Finally, I talk a bit about the Green Lantern and Young Justice finales (and end with a brief discussion with a special guest).

Please send your comments to longboxreview@gmail.com, or leave voicemail at 208-953-1841. You can also visit the Feedback page.

Thanks for listening!

Direct Download (35:29)

Pull List Review: 12/14/11 Comics

Here’s week 2 of my quick and dirty Pull List reviews for December 2011. There were many issues from that week, so let’s get cracking!

Batgirl #4: So, Batgirl outwits and defeats her first new villain of the DCnU. Yeah, yeah. (As you can tell, I wasn’t all that jazzed about Mirror.) What’s interesting about this issue is the Spot the Bat app that Hugo Strange (I presume it’s him–the thug only says Hugo, but who else could it be?) released to help criminals. I really appreciate the writers (or artists–it is a collaborative effort, after all) delving into the technological side of this younger DC Universe. In Batman, we are introduced I think every issue so far to really cool tech, and I’m glad to see that it’s not just the heroes taking advantage. Although, I think I’ve read this before and recently, but regardless, I’d like to see more of this across the line. Finally, I don’t know much about Barbara’s mother pre-DCnU, but here, she’s back in Barbara’s life after having abandoned her some 8-10 (?) years earlier. I smell some mother-daughter angst coming, and Gail Simone is good with that.

Batman & Robin #4: This continues to be one of the most solid Batman books, and that includes both story and art (for the most part). A lot of the DCnU books have introduced new villains and they haven’t been that interesting, but Nobody works because there’s a connection to Bruce’s past, then add in Damian’s angst and anger and you have a hella lot of story potential. Again, though, Alfred steals the show with his soliloquy about Damian realizing how human Bruce really is. Bruce may be Damian’s father by blood, but it is Alfred who continues to be the father figure to the Wayne household. I just hope Pete Tomasi continues to play with that trope.

Batman: Brave & the Bold #14: This issue had Ragman, an all-time favorite of mine, so of course I had to get it. It’s a simple tale about faith restored (in more ways than one) and a hero’s conviction renewed. Nothing ground breaking, but what do you expect from this line? And that’s not a slight–just remember what age group DC’s going for. I usually ignored the Johnny DC line but having bought a few of this title and the Tiny Titans, I may have to go back and get some more issues. For my kids….

Batwoman #4: I go from a comic rated E to a T+ book. I don’t know that I needed that one panel (“HUHlinhAAaaaaaaa…”), but juxtaposed with the one where Flamebird is bleeding out in the snow does give it more weight than mere titillation. Regardless, another good issue from the creators. Poor Flamebird. She doesn’t get any respect no matter what DC universe she’s in. And after reading about Agent Chase in this title, I may have to go pick up that Chase trade that DC recently released.

Buffy, Season 9 #4: I’m getting real tired of Xander’s and Dawn’s disdainful approach towards Buffy. My daughter will not like me saying this–yet again–but we see for perhaps the dozenth time that Spike is the guy Buffy should be with. The only thing about Season so far that I’m not sure I like is the real-world intrusion, a la the police getting involved. Normally, I’d want that kind of realism to intrude every so often in a fantasy story like this, but it just doesn’t feel right (just like it didn’t in early Highlander episodes).

Demon Knights #4: Another solid book, this time focusing on the Shining Knight. How much fun the creative team must be having in confounding the characters and us as to whether the Knight is man or woman. Sometimes, the art clearly shows a male, other times, the features morph slightly and the Knight looks more girlish. Of course, Merlin speaks in the issue of the Shining Knight’s dual nature, but then we see the Knight looking a lot like a vampire (and there is that whole drinking of blood thing earlier), so what exactly is the “dual nature” of which Merlin spoke? Man/woman? Good/evil? Both? (And in no way am I implying that there is a connection between those dichotomies: man does not equal good and woman does not equal evil, so don’t go there.) If it weren’t for my love of the Justice League characters, this would be my favorite book of the DCnU.

Green Lantern #4: Have I mentioned before what a great buddy cop story this comic has become? I love love love Sinestro as a Green Lantern and being “over” Hal at the moment. But it is Hal that gets Sinestro to break beyond the Korugarian’s limitations with his human penchant for thinking outside the box. After all, Sinestro has always been about order and control (well, since Geoff Johns took over as Green Lantern historian), and Hal has been about rule breaking and having fun with the ring (think of them as Murtaugh and Riggs from Lethal Weapon). Finally, that page where Hal creates his last construct and it is of Carol was touching. Is Johns setting up Sinestro to be THE Green Lantern in Green Lantern?

Magdalena #10: This is probably one of those comics where the idea outweighs the execution, so I may not be long with it. This reads a lot like Buffy in different trappings, and I have little interest in that. Ron Marz needs to focus on the character and not the plot as much to keep me around. I did buy the first trade, so I’m anxious to see if it’s more of the same of the last two issues I’ve read.

New Avengers #19: Why does Norman Osborne look like Tommy Lee Jones in this book? I love that Peter is an ass to Victoria Hand. Usually Pete is so … ok with things, but this, this he knows (from his perspective at least) to be a wrong thing and he takes every opportunity to point it out to Hand and the rest of the New Avengers. Also, do not mess with Madame Hydra. She will cut you. Seriously. Plus, she’s damn funny here. :)

SHIELD #4: Remember how I mentioned last issue that I felt a little ripped off because the issue was 18 pages of battle sequences and a couple of pages of dialogue? Well, this issue we get three repeated scenes with only the setting changing. I understand narratively what Hickman’s going for, but come on.

Suicide Squad #4: Still liking this comic. I will say it: I like this depiction of Harley Quinn. I like Deadshot (and perhaps even more than I did when he was on the old DCU in Secret Six). I like Diablo. I like what Deadshot did to Captain Boomerang. And I still like the endings to this comic: so far, every issue ends with the Squad needing to pull yet another job in a limited time frame or they’re dead. However, that trick’ll get boring real fast. Not to mention, these guys need to sleep some times, right?

I also read Resurrection Man #4 (again, love the angel/demon angle, but still do not care for the title character), Shade #3 (this really just served to get us to the next plot point), Star Trek/LSH #3 (Well, at least the two groups are working together at the end of the issue. This has been a disappointment from go. At least the Phil Jimenez covers are nice to look at.), and Unwritten #32 (the sacrifice of the Frankenstein’s monster was touching).