Spiffy Speaks…ONCE AGAIN: Reviews for 8/13 and 8/20

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I’ve drank face since I got into college on Thursday, and that warm fuzzy feeling in my head is the perfect backdrop for reading comics, and then writing about them. It’s about damn time I caught up here, because while AA probably loves running a one man show, he’s just not very good at it.

Read on for awesome. And soak it in, because without internet at my house until September 10th, spiffy’s going to be a rarity.

Arther Sudyum’s Moon Knight cover (for #21) wins best of the week, narrowly beating Alex Ross’ Batman. Yeah, I like it that much, even if it was misleading.

Because these two weeks is chock full of greatness, especially on the art side of things, I’m going to break up the weeks, so I don’t have 8 artists as the best of the week.

The Week of August 13th:

5. Green Arrow and Black Canary #11: Judd Winick, Mike Norton. This isn’t a bad book, but for some reason, in an issue featuring Batman and Plastic Man and Ra’s Al Ghul and with Connor Hawke in dire straights, I just wasn’t as pumped or tense as I should be for any of it. Maybe it’s because of Norton’s art, which is very clean and delightful (like Terry Dodson), but almost doesn’t make me take the book seriously. But it’s still some good stuff here, and I think I’ll continue on until the new team takes over, because I want to know how Winick finishes things off.

4. Booster Gold #11: Chuck Dixon, Dan Jurgens. Dixon comes onboard, taking over for DC stud Geoff Johns for this two part Bat-themed Booster Gold. This ranking isn’t to demean the quality of this, I honestly wouldn’t have thought it wasn’t Johns if DC didn’t tell us these things. The set up is simple: a time fuck-up occurs in Gotham, where the future is a Gotham without Batman. Booster and company (Skeets, Rip Hunter and new arrival, Booster’s twin sister, Michelle?), fuck up the first go around, with some cool stuff with Killer Moth (which I didn’t know was possible). Alfred is also a pain in the ass. I’m looking forward to the next part. Jurgens’ art continues to be a treat, but news that he’s taking over for Johns on the title permanently after this arc, tempers my enthusiasm (although I hope he does continue the art chores). Then again, the man created Booster Gold, so maybe I’m an idiot. Either way, Booster has been my favorite DC title since I’ve started reading, and I’m not stopping now.

The next three issues are fairly even in terms of rankings, providing another chink in the armor of the idea of rankings itself, but I’ll do my best to rank them, even if they all have a case for #1 honors.

3. Fantastic Four #559: Mark Millar, Bryan Hitch. Just so we can be clear: Hitch fucking rules. ‘Nuff said in terms of art, and what’s great is that the book hasn’t suffered any delays so far. Millar, as usual, is the perfect complement, and the big reveal with Dr. Banner’s team of Secret Defenders  was AWESOME, even if I knew it a page before it happened. Add in a cool fight with “The Hooded Man” and Human Torch (who is an extreme badass) and you get yourself a sweet issue.

2. Secret Invasion #5 (of 8): Brian Michael Bendis, Yu. First off, I didn’t notice that Yu’s art wasn’t anything bad in this week’s issue. It wasn’t as superb as the first couple issues, but I didn’t dislike it or anything. This issue marks the a big turnaround in events in SI, and some just flat out great stuff with Mr. Fantastic, and Green Hair Lady, because I just misplaced her name. Don’t let my alcohol wrecked memory fool you, Bendis has turned this seemingly boring character into badass range, and I love it. Perhaps best of all has been the transformation of Maria Hill, from scapegoat to sweet character (who I always knew had it in her). We finally get a resolution on the Skrull vs. Maybe Skrulls vs. Non-Skrulls on Savage Land, to both sad and predictable results, but it was still a sweet scene that was followed by an unbelievable last page. I can’t wait for issue 6.

1. Batman #679: Grant Morrison, Tony Daniel. This is the first true #1 that Batman RIP has garnered, because while it got one on a weak week previously, this one deserved it. It might be because for the first time I almost completely got what was going on and was genuinely impressed by it all that this one tops SI, because after writing the review for SI, I’m not convinced it doesn’t deserve this spot over Batman. But the Batman of Zurr-En-Arrh was awesome and completely NUTS, and I loved it. The Batman “without Bruce Wayne” just blew my mind, and I loved the ridiculous purple costume, and his incredible ravaged psyche. Alfred also has a badass moment, and the ending ruled. If next issue isn’t a #1, it’d be a huge disappointment. Last, and possibly best of all, was the art rendered by Tony Daniel, who AA and I gush about constantly. Even if Batman RIP finishes as a bust (which now I’m pretty sure won’t happen), it will qualify as a worthwhile buy just so I could discover this guy. He’s a superstar.

Fucktastic Writer(s) of the Week: Grant Morrison and Brian Michael Bendis.

Fucktastic Artist(s) of the Week: Bryan Hitch and Tony Daniel.

The Week of August 20th

5. Immortal Iron Fist: Origin of Danny Rand: Matt Fraction, old guys. This issue isn’t bad, it’s certainly informative and has a cool framing sequence by Fraction and Kano to start the issue off, and then we delve into the origin of Rand with the original Marvel Premiere issues written by Roy Thomas (like the subtitle says). It’s a fairly cookie cutter origin by all means (parents die in front of him, there’s snowy mountains, martial arts trainings), but the way the issues were structured were great, with flashbacks and present day flowing constantly as Danny fights his way to avenge his parents. Good stuff. The art, however, is nothing special, and I forget who it is.

4. Moon Knight #21: Mike Benson, Mark Teixeira. The first issue of the much publicized “Death of Marc Spector” storyline hits this week, and while it’s mostly setup, I can’t wait for what’s to come. We have Iron Man hunting Moon Knight, who has been framed for murders by Black Spectre (whom Marc decided to kill in front of all New York) and has had his registration revoked, and because Tony has been unsuccessful, the big guns are sent in: The Thunderbolts. I was disappointed that they didn’t have a big part in this issue at all, despite the cover. Misleading covers suck, even if this one was possibly the best of the week.

3. Uncanny X-Men #501: Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction, Greg Land. First off, I wish Greg Land was the sole artist on this book. Nothing against Terry Dodson, but there’s something to Land’s pencils. He was born to draw Pixie (which is a lame thing to have on a tombstone for sure) and born to draw women and comics even more. He’s just magical, and I love that he’s doing X-Men. This issue was such an up and downer at the same time, and while I liked the juxtaposition, I wasn’t sure it really worked as much as it could’ve. I liked having the opening scene and then the previously page hit us before the issue continued, and I definitely loved the lighter moments with Wolvy and Nightcrawler and Piotr, and tender moments between Cyclops and Emma (you can tell Brubaker and Fraction get boners from their writing sessions with them). I wasn’t that intrigued by the Hellfire Cult at all, until the ending, and now you can definitely color me intrigued (and that color would be red, fyi).

2. Captain America #41: Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting. Maybe it’s  because I’ve hyped this book so much, or maybe it’s because I love reading this book in trade so much more than issue by issue, but I couldn’t help but be letdown by this issue, the penultimate chapter of Brubaker’s tour de force. But I’m not overly worried (and only Cap can have a letdown issue place #2 in the rankings): it was still great, and everything’s moving to the final issue. Issue 42 is going to be nuts, and the ending of this gave me a big grin on my face, in spite of everything in this world. Steve Epting continues to rock the pants off me.

1. Marvel 1985 #4 (of 6): Mark Millar, Tommy Lee Edwards. SWEETNESS. We finally see how Marvel heroes are into the “real world” and we get some more sweet teases about Toby’s father’s past and the Wyncham house (the place where all the nuttiness is taking place). Tommy Lee Edwards’ art continues to be a revelation, and I’m tired of typing, so I’m going to end it here.

Fucktastic Writer(s) of the Week: Mark Millar, Ed Brubaker.

Fucktastic Artist(s) of the Week: How about the Trifecta of Fucktasmic: Greg Land, Steve Epting and Tommy Lee Edwards. Poor Teixeira never stood a chance, even in his new LA duds.

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