02 April 2012

THIS WEEK IN PANELS: March 28, 2012

Last week for THIS WEEK IN PANELS, folks. In case you missed yesterday's post, later this week TWIP will undergo an expanded format under the title PULL LISTED. I'll probably let the link to TWIP linger for a few weeks in the Features column but I don't have any intention of merging labels for the two features. So bookmark away or get friendly with the search function if you want to backtrack.

Let's start this (last) week off with one of my favorite comics by one of my favorite artists. I missed it in the March 21st post and, frankly, nothing this week compared for the coveted "panel of the week." Abbreviations still go (S) Story, (A) Art, O))) Sunn.

The Goon #38

The Goon #38 by Eric Powell (S)(A)

This month's Goon marks the second issue focusing on tales of semi-fictional characters that aren't Goon. Kizzie, feeling out of place in her podunk town, leaves her family and fiancé to join the traveling circus, eventually displaying her brute strength as the Iron Maiden, and (without giving too much away) becomes a very prominent figure in the Goon's life.

More panels make ya jump, jump.

Avengers Vs. X-Men #0

AVX  #0 by Brian Michael Bendis (S) & Frank Cho (A)

AVX #0 by Jason Aaron (S) & Frank Cho (A)

The AVX Prologue picked up some well needed momentum after the rather uneventful X-Sanction. The final wait-for-it before next month's kick-off event is divided into two stories focusing on the main female protagonist from each team. Frank Cho handles the art duties beautifully. There is simply not enough acclaim for his renderings of women in real life proportions, but the writing left a bit to be desired.

Bendis' Scarlet Witch story shows the outcast mutant Avenger trying to pick up the pieces after dooming the mutant race with her now infamous three little words. The most memorable visual of the story is an unintentionally hilarious page of seven of the Earth's Mightiest Heroes pouting on the steps of Avengers Mansion, but I had to go with the above image of a Modok versus Ms. Maximoff because A) Modoks!, and B) just look at it.

Aaron's tale follows Hope Summers as she deals with the pressure and isolation as the fated host of the Phoenix Force. Donning a jetpack and police scanner, she makes like Batman and sets off to foil a robbery by the Serpent Squad, punchifying her anger out on the D-list villains.

BPRD Hell on Earth: the Pickens County Horror #1

BPRD Hell on Earth: the Pickens County Horror #1 by Mike Mignola (S), Scott Allie (S) & Jason Latour (A)

While its refreshing to see a story told entirely from the perspective of two ho-hum Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense agents, the lack of familiarity requires the story to be that much more engaging. Unfortunately, the eerie vampire pilgrim-fog-magic mushroom-suspicious hermit soup of Pickens County Horror feels like a bad episode of the X-Files. But being the Year of Monsters an' all, the conclusion in issue two should be of epic proportions.

Daredevil #10

Daredevil #10 by Mark Waid (S) & Paolo Rivera (A)

Rivera takes the crown for cover of the week, hands down, but its a display of onomatopoeia and busted visor that require nothing else to sum up the fists of justice released upon Mole Man as Daredevil unintentionally copes with the loss of his father after all these years.

The Flash #7

The Flash #7 by Francis Manapul (S)(A) & Brian Buccellato (S)

The Flash continues to be one of my surprise favorites of the DC relaunch. Manapul's mixed media art is gorgeous and, with Buccellato, writes Barry Allen as a hero determined to prove himself rather than the wise-cracking goofball I had always been familiar with. The expansion of the Speed Vortex provides a source and reason for Flash's diverse rogue's gallery, like this issue's sneak at one of his strangest and best: Gorilla Grodd.

I, Vampire #7

I, Vampire #7 by Joshua Hale Fialkov (S) & Andrer Sorrentino (A)

I picked this title up solely because of the direct tie-in to the quite drawn out storyline in Justice League Dark (see below). It's better than I'd have expected a vampire craze cash-grab to be, Sorrentino's art makes me miss Jae Lee in a big way and there's an awesome wood engraved-style double page spread telling the history of Cain, the first vampire (in DC mythos, anyway). But ultimately, what interested me was the interaction with the League, including the above jab at Zatanna's street walker get-up and Shade's trippy threads.

Justice League Dark #7

Justice League Dark #7 by Peter Milligan (S), Admira Wijaya (A) & Daniel Sampere (A)

*sigh*, JL Dark... I had so much hope, but seven issues in there's little team interaction and about zero teamwork. And to end the introductory story arc by forcing the reader to pick up another title likely on the cutting board? C'mon, DC.

What was actually great about this issue, though, was Constantine's interaction with another, non-JL Dark hero: Batgirl. Her wit level is off the charts and Barbara is illustrated infinitely better than in her own title. Let's see her in better artistic hands and holding her own in all-out war instead of whimpering and full of doubt; huh, Gail (Simone)?

The New Deadwardians #1

The New Deadwardians #1 by Dan Abnett (S) & I.N.J. Culbard (A)

Dan Abnett's contribution to Vertigo's mini-launch proves to be the strongest as a war seemingly unfolds among vampires and zombies coexisting and dubbed the Young and the Restless (see what he did there?) in early twentieth century England. And its up to vampire Inspector George Suttle (above), the sole homicide detective of the MET to solve the case.

Secret Avengers #24

Secret Avengers #24 by Rick Remender (S) & Gabriel Hardman (A)

The Father is the penultimate tyrannical villain, screaming dominion over the robotic supervillain super team of Sentinaught, Origin, Emporer Doombot (YES!), Lord Ultravision (DOUBLE YES!!), and more. Meanwhile, Hawkeye struggles to keep it together as Venom prepares to enter the picture and save all their sorry asses.

Spaceman #5

Spaceman #5 by Brian Azzarello (S) & Eduardo Risso (A)

Orson holds his own against the attempted kidnapping of Tara by his internet lover and two armed Rastafarians, but what does a run-in with his once fellow Spaceman turned bounty hunter hold? I. Am. Hooked.

Uncanny X-Force #23

Uncanny X-Force #23 by Rick Remender (S) & Greg Tocchini (A)

Could Remender be commenting on the "return of the 90's" running rampant in the comic book industry? Or am I reading too much into Deadpool's schizophrenic inner monologue?

While I appreciate X-Force's willingness to dig deep into the X-pantheon -- featuring previously shunned Grant Morrison creations (Fantomex, Ultimaton) and now the Otherworld and Captain Britain Corps, heavily mired in English myth and Marvel multiverse -- I'm relieved to see the story's conclusion. Although it was handled well, having to reference Wikipedia every five pages was a bit too much to digest. But, more 90's is coming with an Omega(s) Red storyline. Radical!

Tune table: Sunn O))), Monoliths & Dimensions | Grinderman, Grinderman 2

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