This week’s haul

By Dave Menendez
Saturday, July 5, 2008, at 10:57 PM

Summary: Some brief thoughts about the comics I bought this week.

I started buying comics a little over two years ago. Well, American superhero comics. Back in college, I followed a few indie comics, like Galaxion, and I started buying manga, but I rarely read the superhero comics. This, despite the fact that I watched the DC animated stuff and read not one but two on-line superhero parody fiction collectives, Superguy and the Legion of Net.Heroes.

As far as I can tell, it was Chris’s Invincible Super-Blog that lead me to reading superhero comics. He just makes them seem so fun.

So I’ve decided to get past my embarrassment over being an adult who buys comics and post some thoughts about my recent purchases. Mostly because I’d like to start blogging semi-regularly again, and it’s a ready source of material.

So here goes:

The All-New Atom #25 — This is apparently the last issue, and I can’t really say I’m too upset. The series shifted tone after Gail Simone left, and the last five issues really didn’t have the same charm. This issue almost felt like they were deliberately trampling on her run: Not only was Ryan Choi not Ray Palmer’s successor, the entire correspondence between them was faked by the villains! Also, Panda dies.

Batman #678 — I got completely lost the first time I read this, and I think a lot of that was because I had trouble telling Batman, Nightwing, and Robin apart. (Seriously, they all have black hair and blue eyes?) With the benefit of some on-line reviews, I was able to make more sense of it the second time. I’m really curious to see where this is going.

Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #1 — Captain Marvel is much more entertaining outside the main DC universe. It’s a pity they can’t use his name on the cover, though.

Blue Beetle #28 — I can see what they were going for here, but some of the details don’t quite work for me. A monster belonging to a long-missing supervillain shows up in El Paso. Jaime tracks it down. The monster turns out to be a transforming dog, and the villain turns out to be an old man who abandoned crime after a run-in with the first Blue Beetle decades earlier. Jaime determines that Dr Mephistopheles is up to nothing evil, and just wants to live quietly with his dog, so he lets them go. But what about all the damage the dog/monster caused the previous evening? Why was the dog in its monster form in the first place? Either Dr Mephistopheles deliberately transformed the dog into its monster form, and is responsible for the damage, or else the dog became a monster on its own, in which case it probably shouldn’t be living in the city.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #16 — It’s pretty funny to see Buffy confused by someone else’s slang. I’d describe the meeting of Buffy and Fray as “long awaited”, except that I wasn’t awaiting it. I never even occurred to me as a possibility.

Manhunter #32 — This is one of the more horrifying Joker murders I’ve come across, not because of what happens, but because it’s told entirely from the viewpoint of the victim. Also, Linda doesn’t qualify as a victim-of-the-week, since she previously appeared in Manhunter #4. (And if you’re wondering, I know that because I looked her up. I didn’t remember her at all until her father mentioned Dylan.)

Stephen Colbert’s Tek Jansen #2 — I’m trying to figure out why I like the Tek Jansen comics less than the animated series or the novel excerpts. I think’s because the comics are slightly too self-aware. I think of Tek Jansen as a Mary Sue character created by “Stephen Colbert”, the overbearing, loud-mouth pundit played by Stephen Colbert. Jansen’s super-competence reflects “Colbert”’s inflated self-image. In the comics, Jansen himself is portrayed as having an inflated self-image. It’s a story about a delusional maniac, instead of a story written by a delusional maniac, and that makes it less special.