Spiffy Speaks: Recommendations for 8/6/08

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August begins on an interesting foot. This week features two titles that I’m getting back into after reading earlier issues of the still young titles, three high profile mini series events (one being arguably the biggest in all comicdom) and last month’s issue of the most popular bug in comics. And all of them have something to do with time travel.

And, just so you know, Invincible Iron Man #4’s cover, by Gabrielle Dell Otto wins best cover, although Final Crisis #3 was a close second. Sadly, this is the only mention of Iron Man for this week, as I have to wait for the second printing of #3 to catch up with the title.

Ambush Bug #1 will not be apart of the rankings because it wasn’t released this week, but I will address it at the end.

4. Final Crisis #3 (of 7): Grant Morrison, J.G. Jones. Warning: I’m going to sound very harsh on this one. I may have jumped the gun last month, giving issue #2 a #1 ranking, but it was definitely better than this. Not that this is a bad issue at all, if I read every issue of Grant Morrison’s DC collection, I’m sure I’d be having a ball. Or if I knew about all these obscure characters. But I don’t, and I feel like I need to reread this and every previous Final Crisis issue each time I flip the page, and I honestly was rushing through reading it, because I just didn’t like that feeling at all. Darkseid’s in town, shit’s going down, and the World’s heroes are forced to come together in a waythey only have once before. But Frankenstein? The Question (a fitting title, because all I have are questions about her)? Anti-Life? There’s a new Aquaman? A Tiger with a jetpack? Black Canary with a red bra (awesome)? The Super Young Team (this is the biggest question mark)? Shade? No idea what’s going on. I do really like the stuff with the Flash and the future, and there’s obviously potential, but at this point, I know for a fact that myself and any reader without a ton of DC reading behind the belt, won’t realize said potential. J.G. Jones’ art is brilliant though, which at least makes my comicbook reading nightmare pretty to look at.

3. Avengers/Invaders #4 (of 12): Alex Ross, Jim Krueger, Steve Sadowski. This issue completes Act 1 of the big time travel mini series, and I’m happy to be along on the ride. I haven’t been blown away, but there have been some cool moments, especially with Dr. Strange figuring out what’s happening to the past now that the Invaders are in the present, and the awesome ending. Still, it’s nothing mindblowing, and I’m expecting more from the next issue and act, because it’s not a certainty that I will be here for issue 12, but I’d say I will be. Sadowski’s art has gotten better and better with each issue, but who wouldn’t want to see Ross doing some art?

2. Cable #6: Duane Swierczynski, Ariel Olivetti, Michael Lacombe. I have #1, but I read it before I had read Messiah CompleX, so it didn’t keep my interest. Now, after reading that, and Cable obviously having a huge impact on said storyline and the appearance of Cyclops, was enough to get me to buy this issue. And I was glad I did. Duane seems determined to make me type his last name a lot more than I want to, because he impresses the hell out of me with this issue (and Iron Fist #17). He has an excellent grasp on Cyclops, and the first person narrative from Cyke was really great and fascinating. In this issue, we have Scott laboring over his decision to let Cable with mutantkind’s last salvation for survival leave into the future. The fact that he hasn’t heard from Cable in six weeks makes him feel all the worse (especially with Bishop on the loose with Forge’s stolen time travel equipment), and he has trouble talking with Emma about it, and we actually see him keeping secrets from her, which makes this issue all the more compelling. We also get some clever storytelling surrounding Cyclops and Cable’s past, which is fairly enlightening to someone fairly ignorant of it. In this issue we have two artists, with regular artist Ariel Olivetti taking on the art chores for scenes featuring Cable in the future, and Lacombe doing the art chores for the Cyke scenes. The division of labor works, but I’m not sure I’m sold on their art. Olivetti’s art is gorgeous, especially on covers, but I’m not convinced it’s best suited for a monthly comic, because it seems to lack grace and motion so it comes off as stilted, but I think I’m full of shit. Lacombe was good, but nothing incredible. All in all, I’m not entirely sure I’m in for the long haul here, but this was a great self contained issue.

1. Ultimate Origins #3 (of 5): Brian Michael Bendis, Butch Guice. Finally, the good Bendis. This isn’t the best of #1’s in the world, but it definitely was the best of the week. This is proving to be quite the epic series, as Bendis wielded his narrative from about 4 different time periods here. We see the origin of Magneto and somewhat of Xavier, which is actually a substantial departure from the regular MU. We also are haunted continuously by a mysterious alien totem bearing what looks like a red eye that acting SHIELD director Carol Danvers and the FF are investigating. What is it? Who knows, but it’s apparently very important and there’s more than one, which sounds like bad news. This issue is a great set up for the final two issues of this mini series, and makes me want to know what the upcoming Ultimatum crossover is all about, and was far more interesting than the plain jane retelling of Ultimate Cap’s origin in #2. And perhaps best of all, is Butch Guice’s brilliant art. It’s not hard to draw a weird red totem pole, but goddamn it, he does it well.

Fucktastic Writers of the Week: Brian Michael Bendis, Duane Swierczynski.

Fucktastic Artists of the Week: Butch Guice, Ultimate Origins. J.G. Jones, Final Crisis.

And now, for what you came to read about:

Ambush Bug: Year None #1 (of 6): Keith Giffen, Robert Loren Fleming. In case you readers have missed it, I will explain the story within me buying this issue that I had no business to buy until recently. David and I made fun of Ambush Bug in our first solit round table romp. We made a mistake, as it was later realized, because Ambush Bug is a character with some history and love among DC fans. Now, I know why. I picked up last month’s #1 and found it to be as delightful as you’d expect. It’s really hard to write anything about it, it’s something that needs to be experienced. But Giffen and Fleming (and Giffen also provides the sketchy old school art) start this mini series off hilariously. I’m not going to even attempt to describe this issue’s contents, because it wouldn’t stack up to what I actually read. Hell, I’ll try: It’s meandering, it’s nonsensical, wacky, funny, and the dialogue boxes are a character in itself. And best of all, we meet Ambush Bug’s archenemy: Argh!yle (yes, the exclamation point is supposed to be there), a magic sock scorned. I can’t make this shit up, but Giffen and Fleming can. This is a true #1.

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2 Responses to “Spiffy Speaks: Recommendations for 8/6/08”

  1. davidry214 Says:

    I think it was a cop-out not to rank Ambush Bug, but I’m really glad you bought it, and I’ll be doing the same after that review. It sounds brilliant; Giffen is apparently one of the few writers who can pull off a comical comic.

    4. Yeah, I’m mostly balls confused as well. Anti-Life is quite well known (on a small scale, it’s just what turns people into Darkseid’s paratroopers), and I didn’t think what color bra BC wears would be so confusing (she was just in the process of putting on her costume), but otherwise, I’m lost too.

    3. I have a feeling you won’t finish all of A/I.

    2. I’m glad Cable rocked; I had a feeling it would. You should stick with it if S-whatsit is really that good. Plus, if there’s more Bishop vs. Cable coming, that must be good stuff.

    1. I didn’t want to completely ignore this, though I have nothing to say on it, so I’ll just mention that Guice does indeed rule.

  2. spiffyithaca Says:

    You’ll love Ambush Bug, perhaps even more than I did. It’s totally, irrevocably, us. It’s like JLI without the recognizable characters, and on crack.

    Canary’s bra color wasn’t something I was confused about, I just thought it needed mentioning.

    You’re probably right about A/I. I seem to be getting on well enough with tiny thrills interspersed throughout the 4 issues, but nothing so far has sunk in to the point where I know I’m in it for the long hall. I think I’ll give Act 2 a chance…but then again, it’s taking a month break, so I may just move on from then.

    S-whatsit so far has been awesome. I haven’t heard about people’s reactions to either of the issues that I’ve read, but it seems to me that he’s pretty fucking briliant, especially with using the deep history of characters.

    Ultimate Origins was great, but yeah, it was a lame #1 review. Guice put it over the top of Cable.

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