Graphic Novels (#SFWApro)

IRON MAN SEASON ONE by Howard Chaykin and Gerald Parel hews pretty close to the film origin in having Tony injured while checking out his weapons’ performance against terrorists in a ‘stan (Pepper is also his right-hand, in contrast to the mere secretary she was in the Silver Age). Unlike the movie, it strongly implies it’s Tony’s own fault, not for not caring who gets blown up, but because there are serious problems with the weapons. Which is part of what I disliked about this—it takes the long-standing treatment of Tony as a seriously flawed hero (dating from the mid-eighties “Demon in a Bottle” storyline) and pushes it way too far for my taste (flawed yes, but for most of his career, not a self-destructive screw-up). I may be misinterpreting because between the poor art (I couldn’t tell some characters apart) and the poor story (the corporate skulduggery and Tony’s old friend turning Islamic extremist really added nothing) I could barely finish this (and skimmed a lot).
TITANS: Villains for Hire by Eric Wallace and Fabrizio Fioerentino isn’t that bad, but it’s the kind of forgettable, by-the-numbers comic I’ve read far too many of. The plot has the Titans’ old foe Deathstroke creating his own band of evil Titans (I don’t know why—it’s not explained in this volume) and trying to cope with the familiar dynamics of emotionally stressed-out super-teams. It does get a big black mark for the pointless murder of Ryan Choi, Ray Palmer’s replacement as the Atom, which apparently happens purely because they needed to show how bad-ass the team is. Seriously, do we really need to whack yet another minority/woman character?
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Getting to much better stuff—Sugar and Spike was a series I dismissed as kid stuff when I was a kid, but now I love it, as witness my buying THE SUGAR AND SPIKE ARCHIVES by Sheldon Mayer (cover by Mayer, rights with current holder). The premise is that baby-talk is a universal language so when Sugar Plumm and Spike Wilson appear to be babbling they’re having in-depth conversations about how to score more treats, have more fun, figure out all those weird things grown-ups keep doing … Mayer got better as he went along, but these early stories are delightfully whimsical (like what happens when Sugar says her first words—”I sowwy!”).
COYOTE Vol 3, by Steve Englehart and various artists continues Sly Santiangelo’s efforts to penetrate the Shadow Cabinet, though he gets distracted by a road race with James Dean’s ghost, women troubles and the Soviet assassin X-Caliber (which led to a heated dispute with Marvel: this was a creator-owned strip and they allegedly got very pissy about having a “X” character they didn’t own). Not Englehart’s best work, even on this strip, but good.
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BATMAN ILLUSTRATED BY NEAL ADAMS, Vol. 3 wraps up the complete collection of Adams’ work on the Caped Crusader. It’s great visually but a mixed-bag storywise, ranging from a classic Joker story (which I’ll discuss in more depth soon) to some tie-ins Adams did for Batman audiostories on vinyl records (the dialog is clearly written to fit with the audio) to the original R’As al Ghul stories from which the above cover is taken (art by Adams, rights with current holder). These are generally held up as classics, but awesome though Adams art is, I’ve never shared that view: R’As doesn’t come across here as the omega-class threat he’s supposed to be, just a slight variant on Blofeld (even by comics standards, Bats has faced similar organization to the League of Assassins before).

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Filed under Comics, Reading

3 responses to “Graphic Novels (#SFWApro)

  1. Pingback: The Joker Is Wild, Maybe Too Wild (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: Books and Graphic Novels (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  3. Pingback: Comic book ads and comic book heroes: books read | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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