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Comics: The Commentary Track for the December 15th Buy Pile

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Every week I do a column full of comic book reviews as I’ve done since March 2003 and currently published at Comic Book Resources. Then, after the reviews post, I try to come over to my blog and expand on the thoughts and ideas listed there. Sometimes it’s profound, sometimes it’s gibberish, but it’s always about comics … let’s see what we get this week!

What? This week’s reviews

THOUGH THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS FRIGHTFUL: Before we get started, my pals over at Stranger Comics are doing some cool stuff with the release of their new project, Ruining Christmas. When that leads to madness like this …

Do we really want to know what's happening here?

Do we really want to know what's happening here?

… well, you know something wonderful is going on.

As well, comics artist Afua Richardson (in her alter ego as “Candie Canes”) rocked a version of “Winter Wonderland” (purchase MP3) described thusly: “It is raspy. It is sexy. Let’s hope the elves, who sit upon red velvet couches, sucking on her namesake, appreciate all of her talents. For they are many.” Nice! Even Warren Ellis liked it.

She also did the art …

Candie Canes sings 'Winter Wonderland'

Candie Canes sings 'Winter Wonderland'

… as she should, as she should. A very talented young woman, and a very fun project from the upstart company that’s working on their first big screen movie for The Untamed with Watchmen producer Lloyd Levin, Shopgirl producer Andrew Sugerman and Eureka creator Andrew Cosby.

WE SHALL OVERTHROW: I’m not gonna lie like I haven’t been waiting for more answers from DMZ for some time, and this issue finally whetted my appetite. I’m a real deep continuity guy, so getting into the nuts and bolts of building the world matters to me. The fact that civil war could happen in the United States is not hard to believe — there’s a lot of weapons out there, there’s a lot of frustration, and everybody won’t be satisfied by some nutjob candidates getting junior legislative positions. I’ll never rule it out as a possibility.

Anyhoo, so I liked getting a look inside the mechanism of the Free States here, their Tea Party-esque origins (and yes, those parallels are interesting/frightening to me) for instructive purposes as well as entertainment ones.

JORMUNGANDR: The visuals needed to grow on me, but I gotta say I am loving the subtle understatedness of IDW’s Cobra Commander. His seduction of Chuckles (and it is a seduction, despite the fact that technically Chuckles hasn’t done anything outside of his mandate as a Joe, and killing people isn’t a big deal) is a thing of beauty, especially when you consider all the other plates Cobra keeps spinning (their Scientology-styled cult The Coil, sucking in cash like crazy, Crimson Guardsmen in politics and banking, military forces deployed all over the world, secret antarctic bases and huge submarines). How could such a huge organization ever really be beaten, permanently? I love that, and could honestly make with seeing a lot more of it. Not that I don’t love the Joes — I do, Stalker is my dawg, I love the possibilities in Sci Fi and Flash, and even Cover Girl has developed into an actual character — but Cobra is just so … much … yummier.

HERE BE SPOILERS: Sorry, need to go off the deep end past this point. You’re welcome to step out …

… or not. Here we go.

THE ONGOING INSULT: I just can’t get over how angry I am about T’Challa.

I gave a friend of mine the TPB of Enemy of the State for Kwanzaa (since I found out that The Client is out of print — thanks Mouse House of Ideas!) and, in rereading it, remembered how much I came to love the character despite his flaws. He was A Man Called Hawk, James Bond, Captain America, Batman and Barack Obama all rolled up into one vibranium-encased bundle of whup ass.

Now? How could he ever be called anything buy T’Challa the Weak, T’Challa the Failure, T’Challa the Foolish? Under Jonathan Maberry’s direction, T’Challa did what no Black Panther ever did — let Wakanda be conquered from without. Not just like his rope-a-dope with Reverend Doctor Michael Ibn al-Hajj Achebe, which was actually a move of strategy that could have been considered brilliant despite the chaos that ensued. No, in his struggle with Doom (and if you’re gonna lose to somebody, Doom’s the one, I’ll admit), he destroyed everything that made Wakanda — and by extension him — wonderful, all the gifts that Stan somehow created.

Now? On the word of a man who he has a passing acquaintance with (Daredevil? Really?), he abandons his wife, his shame, his company, his nation in need, his family, his responsibilities, his people and his friends … to “test” himself? T’challa was never so selfish, he was never so stupid, he was never so self-involved. What Marvel is doing with “Black Panther: Man Without Fear” is wrong politically, from a creative and narrative standpoint, culturally and intellectually. It makes no sense, and I could not stand more strongly against it.

REALLY? So Chaos War: Thor expects me to go for the following …

  • Thor can combine more than one mortal into himself, Firestorm style, to share the power.
  • Thor, in his hour of darkest need, would pray to a non-Norse god that he’s never met … and it would work.

Get the hell out of my office. Get that garbage out of here. That’s disgusting.

TABU OUT: That should hold you for a while, my little sandwich spreads. I’m on vacation days from my job at MIMCO, my first paid vacation in my entire adult life. I hope to finish my latest novel by year’s end and have some other fun stuff to drop on your brain in 2011.

Playing (Music): “I Need A Doctor” by Eminem feat. Dr. Dre

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