There were no giant science tubes this week. Not a damned one. Seriously, people, what’s the point of drawing a comic without giant science tubes, especially if a laboratory shows up?
Bitch Planet #3: The Secret Origin of Penny Rolle- Image
Bitch Planet is doing something a bit unusual- every third issue is going to be drawn by a guest artist, in order to help keep the comic rolling on a regular schedule. I personally think it’s a fantastic idea, at least based on the art in this issue. The old school four color toning continues to work incredibly well everywhere it’s used in the comic- it just fits into the comic’s voice. Consistent release schedules are a major problem for many excellent comics out there. This issue jumps back in time to give an origin story for Penny Rolle. It seems a little early in the series for an origin story issue for someone other than the protagonist, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing- far too often, ensemble cast comics do far too little in the way of establishing personality and history for characters, just leaving you with a broad trope or two. This issue also does a great job with showing us how things really are for average people under the rule of the Fathers. I’m really, really wanting to learn more about Megaton, though. I’ve got to admit it, I’m a sucker for fictional sports, especially sci-fi ones. The afterwards materials/columns are really proving to be a draw, as well- letter columns are nice, but unless it’s the Sex Criminals letter column, having a little extra informative material in the back does nothing but good for the comic. This issue also features the most ominous use of hair care products I’ve seen in quite a while. Also, an awesome magic mirror, using science! Suck it, Snow White. (Seriously didn’t even catch the symbology there the first readthrough, but that’s on me for being thick.)
Multiversity: Mastermen- DC
Grant Morrison takes us to his version of Red Sun this issue- one where Superman’s pod lands in Nazi occupied territory, leading to him ruling over a Nazi Earth as Overman. (In the original Red Sun, Superman’s pod crash-lands in Soviet occupied Ukraine.) Jim Lee handles the art duties on this one. I knew this was going to be one of my favorite Multiversity issues yet when it opened with a splash page of Hitler straining with constipation on the toilet. The story is pretty straightforwards, but that’s not a bad thing. The Sivanas are really building up more than the Gentry in terms of the overarching story- to be fair, though, it’s often a better idea to have the minor villains take more screen time than the Big Bads. Nazi Batman (Leatherwing, how fitting) proves creepy as hell. Establishing Uncle Sam as a superpowered freedom fighter is a pretty awesome move. Much of the driving force behind the plot is Overman’s moral doubts creeping up on him- even raised by Hitler, he proves to still have something of a moral compass. One thing that really bothered me, though- Underwaterman never looked directly at the camera. Ever. No science tubes, though there is a cylindrical hovering specimen jar. It’s just not big enough to be a proper giant science tube.
Ms. Marvel #12- Marvel
A Valentine’s Day issue, really? Okay, it turns out pretty well, but still, I can’t say as I’m a huge fan of holiday tie in stuff. (With the notable exception of last year’s Krampus.) Loki shows up to investigate the aftermath of the Inventor’s plot, gets bored, causes mischief with a truth potion, lalala lighthearted fun, lalala romantic subplot, whee. The high point of this issue was definitely Loki continually getting called Hipster Viking and being mistaken for a Brooklynite. “They’re coming, man. Gentrification. Next year it’ll be Viking dudes from here to Newark Ave.”
Manifest Destiny #13- Image
This issue focuses mostly on the interactions between the various members of the expedition as a growing undercurrent of unrest builds. It also serves to introduce the monster of the arc, who, frankly, is… a little cutesy. Actually, let me rephrase- it’s straight up a muppet, with more teeth. Same size, same type of poses, everything. At last, the truth is revealed- Jim Henson is the Arch Builder, and Lewis and Clarke are on an expedition to stop him!
Ei8ht #1- Dark Horse
Fuck yes, monochrome palettes in comics. When done well, they look absolutely fantastic, and they are done well here. This comic has everything- time travel, dinosaurs, weird anachronistic other dimensions full of what appear to be time travel refugees, dinosaurs, scientists with curly hair, dinosaurs, futuristic cityscapes, badguys riding raptors, and, oh yeah, dinosaurs. Have I ever mentioned that I really like dinosaurs? Because I totally do. This one stays in the pull, because dinosaurs. (Also awesome monochromatic art.) Unfortunately, despite having laboratory scenes- not a single giant science tube.
Rumble #3- Image
Hey, we finally know Scarecrow Dude’s name and backstory! (Rathraq, and it’s complicated and involves a riding wardog. Also, deadbeat barfly turns out to be the bad guy.) Rumble continues to be absurd, weird, and… well, mostly just absurd and weird. Awesome, though. It seems to draw heavily from African mythology and folklore, tonally, which is something you see all too little of in comics- Greek myth, Norse myth- tons of those. A little bit of Chinese and Japanese myth (that’s its own whole conversation), a tiny bit of Native American influence- largely, though, comics just stick to European myth. Finding one of the rare exceptions always cheers me up. No freaky mutated giant cat or three legged dog this issue, though.
Drifter #4- Image
Well, things are finally starting to tie together- not in a way that answers any questions about what is going on, but in a way that lets us finally start to know what questions we should be asking. The silent man in the bar, the insane, murderous priest, the (undead? alien?) wheelers- they’re all starting to feel like they should be making sense. (I’d certainly hope so, since this is issue 4.) The art is what pulled me into this series, but the story is finally starting to catch up. Also, people need to start calling Pollux by name in the comic more- I keep forgetting it, which isn’t good for a protagonist.
Letter 44 #14- Oni Press
Hey, a backstory issue about one of the randos on the spaceship! …Before Letter 44, I would have stared at someone like they were saying something ridiculous if they’d told me that I wouldn’t care about the crew of a spaceship in a work of scifi. Well… normally, they would be being ridiculous, but as I’ve been saying for ages, I simply prefer the action going on with President Blades. This issue’s a bit too little, too late to change my mind on this one. It’s a fun read, at least, and I did really like the guest art. Also, despite multiple lab scenes- still no giant science tubes this week. Alas.