Federal Bureau of Physics

Weekly Pull Review 3/11/15

Southern Cross #1- Image

Hey, I’m giving a #1 top billing this week! Will you look at that? To be fair, none of the usual major heavy hitters came out this week (Saga, Sex Criminals, etc.), so I decided to push something a bit new. That’s not to say Southern Cross isn’t very deserving in its own right- I’m really digging it so far. Even apart from passing the Bechdel test, (the rarity of that in comics is extraordinarily depressing), it’s got solid art with an almost retro-futuristic look. Retro-futurism is most often applied to Buck Rodgers style futurism or 50’s futurism (Fallout), but Southern Cross feels like 80s retro-futurism. (And yes, that was three decades ago.) Grungy space stations and ships, industrial decor, headbands, transparent visors, actual naval outfits for starship personnel- it’s got the tone of so many of my favorite 80s scifi films. (My roommate thought of Cowboy Bebop.) The mystery set up has me interested, though there do seem to be hints of some sort of weird, semi-psychedelic craziness going on in the background- that, or the protagonists dreams are just extremely trippy.

East of West #18- Image

Babylon is really what this comic has been needing for a long time- a character you can actually sympathize with. There are abundant badasses and cool characters, but… yeah, I mention this every issue lately. Anyhow, Babylon gets to play with a giant horrifying demon that he sees as a giant hamster, Death and Lady Mao have a loving farewell, backstory backstory, the Endless Nation and the PRA plan out their war. Good times. I should backpedal on the character sympathy bit- getting to see Death and Lady Mao together actually goes quite a way towards humanizing the Horseman of the Apocalypse and the supergenius cybernetic despot.

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Weekly Pull Review 1/11/15

Sorry it’s late, I know. It’s been an interesting couple of weeks.

Satellite Sam #11- Image

“Is that a gun?” “No, I’m just happy to see you.”  Satellite Sam returns after a lengthy delay (I’m not sure exactly how long of one, I jumped in following issue 10. I picked up all the back issues in September, though, so… at least that long? Yeah, looked it up, September.) Generally speaking, I’d throw Satellite Sam below the divide, just for the cover art (I guess so as not to shock some random visitor to my site, maybe?), but the cover on this one is pretty tame compared to usual. While much of the attention Satellite Sam gets is focused on all of the sex, office politics, and backstabbing, I actually enjoy the hole it pokes in the image of the 50’s the most. Over the years, I’ve grown thoroughly sick and tired of people glorifying the 50s- they were a vile, hateful time, and Satellite Sam wallows in some of the worst of it. Not seeing it sugar-coated for once feels pretty good. Black and white art is also something I usually avoid- I think that Satellite Sam is the first black and white miniseries I’ve had in my pull since Snapshot, and that came out a couple of years ago. I just usually don’t enjoy black and white. I’ve tried several times to get into The Walking Dead, but the black and white art just doesn’t do it for me. (Plus, I’m not especially excited about the idea of reading through the sheer amount of back-issues there.) Satellite Sam, however, manages to get past my dislike of black and white comics, largely through its use of detailed backgrounds and easily distinguishable characters.

Thor #5- Marvel

The new Thor starts to settle into her role as Thor, and we finally get to leave the Roxxon floating fortress. (Seriously, four issues in one spot? My attention span is way too short for that.) We also get to see Odin being his pissy, self-important, argumentative self, his brother, Cul Borson, god of fear, big bad of the Fear Itself crossover event (have I mentioned that I largely hate crossover events? Because I really do) has returned at his side to serve as Asgardian Minister of Justice (which can’t possibly go wrong, can it? Surely he won’t turn on Odin and be a bad guy. Surely. Also, I just bought a bridge from a trustworthy looking fellow.) Meanwhile, Thor beats up the Absorbing Man and Titania (watching her punch out Creel with a thought balloon saying “That’s for saying feminist like it’s a four-letter word, creep” was pretty satisfying) and chats with Freyja. Unworthy Thor is still trying to figure out who the new Thor is. (I’m still betting on Roz Solomon.) Also, he’s drinking a lot. Overall, I’m pretty happy that they’re finally out of that damn fortress.

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Weekly Pull Review 12/10/14

I know, I know, it’s technically the 11th, but I’m going to start dating theses reviews with the date I picked the comics up from here on out. Anyhow, on to this week’s comics I deemed good enough for my pull.

Bitch Planet #1- Image

I somehow utterly failed to realize that a new Kelly Sue DeConnick series was coming out until Tuesday night- but it was definitely a good surprise. Kelly Sue DeConnick is rapidly proving herself to be one of my favorite contemporary comic writers- anything by her is definitely going to receive at least a try. Bitch Planet might not have been something I’d pick up normally, since prison stories, even scifi ones, are hardly my cup of tea, but I gave this one a try, and the first issue already has me hooked. That’s not to say it’s perfect- the twist definitely confused me for a little bit, but that’s very likely to be my fault, so… Also, it’s pretty refreshing to have a comic book where the majority of the cast isn’t white. That’s still pretty damn rare these days. Valentine De Landro’s art is pretty well fitted to the book, and the dot-based backgrounds like you’d see in old comics really fits the aesthetic of the book. (I can’t for the life of me remember what that technique is called.) Also, having the title page be a two page spread four pages in? Actually works really damn well here. Very cinematic.

Copperhead #4- Image

Copperhead is really working well for me so far. It’s not that the story is particularly better than other good scifi police procedurals- and I do consider Copperhead more of a police procedural than a western so far, though it draws strongly from both- it’s that the comic focuses on a smaller, more focused cast than usual. It’s a consistent weakness of the genre, especially in comics- you have a limited amount of space to develop your characters, and introducing a giant cast just makes them all fairly forgettable. The comic Storm Dogs comes to mind- brilliant story, amazing setting, spectacular art, some of the best alien designs I’ve seen in a comic- but ask me to name the characters, or even describe more than a few, and I’d just have to shrug. It’s not that they are bad characters, by any means. I remember liking quite a few of them. Copperhead has avoided that pitfall by focusing on a smaller, more mobile cast, and it works extremely well. That, ultimately, seems to be its biggest takeaway from Westerns, rather than any stylistic element.

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Weekly Comic Pull Review Returns!

I know, I know, it’s been forever since I’ve posted one of these. But hey, I can finally afford my comics again! Yay employment!

 

(Lady) Thor #2

I was genuinely skeptical about this series. I was a reader of Thor: God of Thunder for its entire 25 issue run, and I loved the hell out of it. Some of the best art of any superhero comic, a truly epic aesthetic, time travel, and Gorr the Godslayer, Voldemort’s bigger badder brother. So when they announced that Thor was becoming unworthy and being replaced, I pretty much dismissed it as another gimmick, like any superhero death or depowering. But I’m swiftly changing my mind. The God of Thunder storyline is picking up where it left off, but in a very new way. We still don’t know who Lady Thor is (though I feel that it should be obvious to readers of God of Thunder), but she brings a whole new style to the hammer. She’s less single knockout blow, more hurricane of fists, lightning, and hammerblows. Regardless, Jason Aaron and Co are keeping there momentum going at full throttle from Thor: God of Thunder, with the added bonus of being a great starting point for new readers.

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Belated weekly pull review.

Sorry the pull review is late this week. Without further delay:

Beasts of Burden One-Shot: Hunters and Gatherers

Dark Horse Comics
Evan Dorkin, Jill Thompson
For those of you who have never read Beasts of Burden before: WHY? Seriously, this series about dogs and cats defending the town of Burden Hill from supernatural threats is amazing. Great characters, wonderful art, a dog lycanthrope, it’s got it all. I think it passes the Bechdel test, but I’m not entirely sure that it is particularly useful here, since you’ve got to guess the gender of the various animals from context clues/familiarity with the series, and there is no way to tell for some of the minor characters and extras. (I still have to finish the series proper myself, but I’m working on it). I think I’m just going to start commenting on whether a comic passes the Bechdel test, the test is non-applicable, or it is a serious failure. Otherwise, just assume it failed, which is sadly pretty normal in comics.
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