Howdy Interwebbers. I’m Matt Cohen, and I dig monkeys.
Can’t help it. They’re hysterical. I mean… look at them. Some even wear bowties! So it is in this grand tradition of simian love that I can happily say that not only have our hairy cousins invaded the world of comicdom, but they actually have spawned a fantastic series, and it’s my pick for book of the week.
What can I be referring to, you may ask? Well, let’s get into the week that was, and maybe you’ll just find out. Nosy…
Get ready, steady… go.
D.C Universe Decisions # 1: Or, Funny books get all political. I at first passed over this book on my way across the rack, but upon second viewing decided to investigate further (Ollie was on the cover and Bill Willingham wrote it. How could i pass that up?). So I had no idea what I was getting in for - and what I got, I liked. Nothing groundbreaking in this series, but the general conceit - “What would happen is Superheroes began throwing their might around the political arena?” - is executed by writer Willingham (He of Fables fame) and Green Arrow helmer (and Real-Worlder) Judd Winick well enough that I will be checking in to the rest of the series. It’s kind of fun to think which heroes would fall on which side, red or blue (left or right). In fact, Issue 3 is billed as just that - “Superman: Red or Blue”. Sure, it’s kind of annoying when comics get topical, but this series packs enough uniqueness and Green Arrowness to warrant a read.
Titans # 5: Raven, I apologize for calling you “All Gothy now”. Far from an emo teenager, Raven has “finally” ( I mean, it sort of has been a long time coming) emerged as the true daughter of Trigon that always lurked inside. In a really good issue where most of the meat takes place between Raven and Garth (Beast-Boy), just when it seemed the Titans were finally “together” again (Cyborg learns to walk. Hurrah!), Raven pulls a quick one - albeit unintentionally - and joins her family as the heir to the demonic kingdom, and as the one person destined to destroy the Teen Titans. This will not go over well - especially with the Team leaders, the on again off again Dick and Kori. It’s about to go down folks… demon style. Will the newly reformed Titans survive a threat from one of their own? I can’t wait to find out. Also, green grizzly bears are hilarious, and I want one. My birthday is coming up. Get on that, kids.
Spirit # 21: Though Darwyn Cooke’s is definitely missed, fan-favorites Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier (Groo, anyone?) have done quite nicely in assuming the creative duties on the exploits of Denny Colt. There are few humans in the world who can equal Cooke’s penciling, in my opinion, but both the art and stories in this current run have been fun, light-hearted, and honestly a nice break from all the Super-Event nonsense I read every week. This issue is no different from the prior, Denny/ladies/bad situation/bumbling Dolan/classic Aragones wit. If you have not checked out this series or are curious about the character due to the impending film, this would be a great jumping off point, Spirit-Wise.
All-Star Superman # 12: The final issue has arrived of Grant Morrison’s Eisner award winning series and I, along with many fans, will have a gaping hole in their comic reading lives. The past year of this series has reminded people of what Superman CAN be and how great a character he really is, if handled properly (and with respect) and not tangled up in continuity nonsense. In this final issue, Clark’s impending death catches up with him, but not before giving the world one final gift. This comic transcends into the near sublime, and Frank Quitely’s art couldn’t be more dreamy or fitting. One of the better comic book series I have ever read, and one that I will miss looking forward to reading more of. A MUST-READ book.
Marvel Apes # 2: Who would’ve thunk it, ay? What a year ago sounded like a joke, and what 6 months ago sounded like trying to capitalize off the “Zombie” craze, turned out to be not only a worth-reading series, but a damn fine one. I am enjoying the hell out of Marvel Apes. Flat out. Who would have ever though Marty - aka ”The Gibbon”, a perennial D-lister - would become not only the star of his own “Blockbuster” series, but a damn fine hero and a really likable character at that. If at the end of this thing we don’t see more of the Gibbon in the MU, I will be surprised and disappointed. Read the book, I won’t spoil it. But it is NOT what you are thinking it is, and the twist that comes in issue 2 is so random, insane, brilliant, hilarious, and oh my f-ing word I can’t believe they did that, that it took me about five minutes to recover. Marvel, I know people give you flack for the “What-If” minis that make so much pretty pretty money, but if they are as half as enjoyable and fun as Zombies and Apes have been, I will buy every single one. With bells on. Bells with the Marvel logo on them.
Amazing Spider-Man # 572: So remember when we all gave up on this title right around the horror show that was “One More Day”? Well, some of us lied. Some of us continued to buy the now weekly series, and trudge through what seemed like a very downhill spiral in quality. Then about three or four issues back, something mind-blowing happened. So “One More Day”, the arc that followed, and the craptacular “Daughter of Kraven” arc came and went, and the series seemed to be stuck in a death-grip of mediocrity. Then we met Anti-Venom. What seemed at first by many to be a stunt move has turned out to be one of the most exciting and bad-ass storylines in comics today. I am 90’s mark, so be it. I love me some Eddie Brock. Venom (the og edition) has and will always be one of my favorite comic characters. When the Scorpion took over the symbiote reigns i lost interest a bit, but still enjoyed most if not all Venom appearances. Meanwhile, poor Eddie has been stuck on the sidelines. Not anymore folks. Eddie Brock is back, and as Anti-Venom, more twisted and intriguing then ever. Throw in a now fully crazy Norman Osborne, a subplot with Harry and the Thunderbolts to boor. Pick up the title now, lest it goes in the direction I think it’s heading and you will be sorry later. Also, last panel of the book? Shockingly good. I applauded. I am back on the web-wagon, and hope others will join me.
Ghost Rider # 27: Who knew this book would get good again? If you haven’t been following the series lately, we found out that Ghost Rider is not working for hell, but rather heaven, and that heaven are the bad guys. Yeah. My brain hurt, too. And that demon of the week story line sucked big time as well. So what could make this seemingly dismal book readable again? Two words, one wonderful meeting of Riders - Danny Ketch. Yup, the sophomore rider is back, and he and Johnny seem destined to be locked in an epic battle for the true mantle of “Spirit of Vengeance” (coming next issue). For a non MAX imprint, the gore and carnage level in this book has been really stepped up, satisfying horror buffs like myself. Ghost Rider is not a superhero, and should not be involved in superheroics. The writers finally seem to understand that as well as the fans do. Throw in a new Caretaker, and you have quite the fun issue of what is re-bounding into a pretty decent series.
Unfortunately, the sun is going down and it’s time for me to put on my dancing shoes and hit the proverbial town (even though I’m not the violent type.) Tune in till next time for more mind blowing bloggitude. And while you are out it, give a listen to the newest podcast to sweep the nation, BAGGED & BOARDED, starring yours truly and the world famous philanthropist Jesse Rivers.
As always kiddos - and now podcast appropriate,
“Keep em’ bagged and boarded”
-Matt Cohen is currently all podcasty.
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