All kinds of first issues and new directions this week. Where the last edition was all about how we move from introduction to rising action, this week’s Pull is a step back, showing how stages get set, balls get rolling, and … first things … happen. Right. On with it.
Chimichanga #1 ($3.00 shelf grab) – Man is Eric Powell cool. You like the Goon, right? Sure ya do – everybody likes the Goon. After the last year or so, though, the Gooniverse (like that? I made it up) needs a break (but check out its crazy wordless standalone story in Goon #33). Chimichanga is something new from Powell’s “Albatross Exploding Funny Books” label, but it feels of a piece with its ancestor.
Here we have a pudgy little girl skipping through a traveling carnival, past the boy-faced fish, out the gate, and off to the neighborhood taco truck, where she orders a chimichanga. At a witch’s house, a vulture vomits up an egg. A few farts and negotiations along, girl has both chimichanga and egg … and eventually a huge pet monster. End book.
Weird? Yup. This almost feels like an issue #0 for all the stage-setting, but it’s just connected enough to suggest the start of something cool. A story of carnies and monsters in a sepia-toned world is something Powell can be trusted to handle well. Also, see that price? $3. That’s a Man’s price. None of this $2.99 crapola. Eric Powell doesn’t have time to make change.
Daytripper #1 of 10 ($2.99 shelf grab) – Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon (I apologize for the missing accent marks, but I don’t know how to do them on WordPress) have been a growing presence in U.S. comics over the past year or so – Ba on Umbrella Academy, both on BPRD: 1947, as well as a profile in The Comics Journal – but they’ve been known quantities in their native Brazil for some time. Their work makes me want to learn Portuguese. It’s great to see them doing original stuff here.
Daytripper is a different kind of story, well-paced and introspective. It begins and ends in a bar. Obituarist Bras deals in the (ended) lives of others; his own rests the shadow of his father, a famous author. The book is a kind of meditation, set in a vibrant Brazil, on what makes a life, both during and after its span. Don’t let that scare you off if you’re more a fan of superhero fare – the story is good and the characters are solid (and the brothers write a terrific dog, on par with Dug from Up). The art is as distinctive as ever (think an elongated, less cartoony Tintin), and the story ends with a shock. I’m not sure where they’ll go from here (really, REALLY not sure), but it’s worth finding out.
Transformers – Bumblebee #1 ($3.99 shelf grab) – Thank GOD the new art style doesn’t extend to all the Transformers books (I’ll spare you a repeat of my earlier rant on the subject). This is a good-looking story (you can see a preview here, courtesy Previews) that seems to pick up right where Transformers #2 left off. Bumblebee’s running the show now, whether he likes it or not. He’s got Rachet arguing for deliberation on one side (are they ever going to settle on whether Rachet is a loose cannon or a status quo kinda guy?), Wheeljack (hooray!) wanting to stir things up on the other. As Bumblebee’s first official act, a new alliance is struck with … the humans? Maaaybe not such a good idea.
The Walking Dead #68 ($2.99 pull) – Looks like the gang’s time on the road might be coming to an end. The arrival from last issue is trying to gain Rick’s trust with the promise of a community that wants them to “audition” for membership. Everybody else likes the guy, so what’s Rick’s problem? I mean, other than having his friends and family slaughtered the last time he trusted a friendly-seeming outsider.
Also, and maybe it’s because of the pair of text-lite Powell books I’ve just read, but man does Kirkman like his speech balloons. On the other hand, there’s at least two pages where just about the only word used is “BLAM!” I’ll leave that to you to interpret.
Elephantmen #23 ($3.50 shelf grab) – I love Elephantmen, but sometimes I’m not exactly sure why. I devoured the initial run after finding just about all of them on the shelf at New Dimension in Canonsburg. While the book has admittedly a lot of backstory to deal with, however – you don’t just drop some gigantic military-grade anthropomorphs into a world without explaining how they got there – it’s gotten to feel slightly like spinning its wheels lately (and the book’s snail-pace of distribution doesn’t help).
This issue, though, something’s different. Vanity Case’s new friend takes her to see Obadiah Horn, the big Rhino in charge; Miki and Hip Flask (the Hippo) head to check out an alarm at the taxi stand; Sahara is hot; and Ebony Hide (the Elephant) gets to the taxi place just in time to see Hip get tagged with a bug that makes him revert to his military programming – just like Ebony did a few issues back. This issue is also the conclusion of the eight-part Dangerous Liaisons storyline, which has mostly gone about the business of setting pieces in place. For what? Looks like we’re gonna find out.
Blackest Night – Green Lantern Corps #43 ($3.99 shelf grab) – After Kyle‘s surprise (?) death last issue, Guy Gardner loses it and turns into a Red Lantern. This is not a spoiler considering the cover of the issue reads “Red Lantern Guy Gardner.” He’s still got his green ring, too, which means most of this issue is Guy blazing around like a goddamn Christmas tree. Meanwhile Kryb and her Star Sapphire escort find out what’s happened to her babies, which does not go well, seeing as they’ve been converted to undead heart-eaters. Oh, and Mogo. You like Mogo, don’t you?
The terms of my Blackest Night Project require me to read everything under that mantle. The Batman, Superman, and Titans stories were solid, and Wonder Woman and Flash look to have some promise – even the Outsiders story isn’t bad. This week’s tie-ins, however? Kinda disappointing, more so considering I’m dropping that extra Big Two dollar on each.
Blackest Night – R.E.B.E.L.S. #11 ($3.99 shelf grab) – Some people that were introduced in this issue or last get killed, Braniac 2 is no longer a Yellow Lantern … aaaand that’s about it.
Blackest Night – Booster Gold #27 ($3.99 shelf grab) – Contrary to what the cover might suggest, at no point in this issue does Booster Gold even approach being lynched by the Black Lanternized Blue Beetle. But he does get some closure with his dead ex-partner.