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Comics I Bought 26 August 2010

Pretend you’ve just read some witty banter – there are too many comic books to talk about to spare the time or mental effort for eloquent introductory prose …

Batman #702
The first thing to hit you is how ugly the drawing of the Superman on the first page of this comic book: his fists are bigger than his head, his costume looks it’s made of the same material as tea towels, and space between his torso and legs look drastically shortened. Not a good start. Tony Daniel’s art is the not the reason I purchased this book; it was Grant Morrison’s writing about Batman around the time of Final Crisis and just before The Return of Bruce Wayne. It’s more enjoyable than #701, it has the lovely phrase, ‘Essence of bullet’, and seems to even link to the Neil Gaiman’s What Ever Happened To The Caped Crusader? story. It seems to have more of a reason to exist, at least, although the validity of its existence is up to debate.

Fantastic Four #582
I’m not sure about the time-travel aspects of this, with regards to pre-cosmic-rays Reed Richards (and Ben Grimm and Victor Von Doom) fighting against the wonderfully titled Anachronauts while his father fights for his life against himself from another dimension who is trying to kill him – is it part of Reed’s time line or not? – but this issue is fairly entertaining and has an emotional impact in the sacrifice of future Valeria and Franklin. I have to admit I won’t be missing the art of Neil Edwards when Steve Epting takes over next issue; it’s been better with good inkers (Paul Neary last issue, Scott Hanna this issue) but I was never going to love it, I’m afraid.

Heroic Age: Prince of Power #4
I’m extremely happy to have the continuing adventures of Hercules and Amadeus Cho, even if it’s in mini-series form, and with what it is effectively a final page that is an advert for the next Hercules mini-series. I enjoyed this immensely, with the way that Amadeus saves the day (with the aid of Delphyne, and they are now a couple) and the Flash Gordon reference and the appearance of Atalanta (from Peter David’s Pantheon from the merged Hulk days); however, it does end a little too rapidly after the build-up and the speed with which Amadeus and Delphyne become a couple seems rather fast. Still, this is good comics and I’m only grumbling because I love it. Roll on Chaos War.

Science Dog Special #1
I read Invincible in trade paperback form, so I hadn’t read these stories, which were back-ups in Invincible #25 and #50. In this collection, we learn about the origin of Science Dog and his nemesis, both created at the same accident which evolved them when their molecules were transported one million years into the future (Science Dog was only the laboratory mascot). Now, Science Dog saves the world, and other worlds, with the aid of two helpers. It’s a lot of of fun; Robert Kirkman writes some old-fashioned comic book fun, and it’s really well drawn by Cory Walker – he draws a great evolved dog with a jet pack and a gun. I would like to see this as an ongoing series, but Kirkman’s probably writing too much to do it. Just as long as we keep getting these occasional stories, that will do for now.

Usagi Yojimbo #131
I know I shouldn’t enjoy seeing anthropomorphic samurai slaughtering other animals as much as I do, but this was a great issue of Usagi and Kato raining righteous fury down upon the mob of Boss Higa. I also enjoyed seeing Ayaka, the owner of the inn, showing spirit and rallying the townsfolk to stand up to Boss Higa, as well as the smile on the faces of Kato and Ayaka when Kato says he will stay to be the law in the town. Stan Sakai crafts another masterful issue of Usagi Yojimbo. But I’m just repeating myself.

X-Factor #208
Could it be we have a new artist on X-Factor that I like? And will Emanuela Lupachino stay to be regular artist? I like her style – there’s a lovely rounded feel to the anatomy, albeit strangely breast-fixated, particularly on M, but it is very good, like a European-tinged Amanda Conner, with a strong emphasis on facial expressions, something important for Peter David’s comedy work. I really enjoyed the characters interacting with each other this issue, with the addition of Rahne to the cast (with a secret?), and yet the plot lines still move along in a brisk fashion; he does a very good job with this book, and I’m always impressed by his ability to mix up the action and the humour and the characterisation.

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