Monday, January 9, 2012

Is It Wednesday Yet?

Oh, man. Working full time. It takes a lot of energy. Not that I'm complaining. I'm happy. I love my job. I love the fact that I have money and benefits and job security. But finding the energy to focus on personal creative projects on evenings and weekends is a real challenge.

Last week, I had to work on music every night in order to prepare for a show I was playing on Saturday. It was torture, because all I wanted to do was lie down on the couch, eat potato chips, drink beer and watch TV. But I think it paid off in the end. (You can judge for yourself by listening to the recording of my set.)

This week, my plan is to get back into writing about comics. And again, all I want to do is watch episodes of Breaking Bad. I'm thinking maybe I should start writing in the morning. I'm too brain dead in the evening. I'm smarter, more relaxed and more focused in the morning. But I might have to wake up an hour earlier, which would mean going to bed an hour earlier, and I already find it hard to go to bed at 11:00. I don't know...

Anyway. Comic books! I've been reading some.

I thought the first issue of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' FATALE was pretty good. Nice blend of crime noir with hints of Lovecraftian horror. Only hints for now, but judging from the cover and the essay on Lovecraft in the back pages, I'm guessing it'll get more explicit soon. Recommended.

I also caught up on a few series I'd fallen way behind on, such as DAREDEVIL and JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY. I don't really know if I need to say anything about the former, because critic on the internet seems to be praising it, and it's well deserved. A perfect marriage of story and art. Just a joy to read. Meanwhile, JIM suffers from being tied to the Fear Itself event and its aftermath, but is still worth reading because of the awesome characterization of young Loki. The art is also a bit all over the place, depending on the creative team.

Those are some more or less random choices from the stuff I've been reading mostly on my morning commute to work these past couple of weeks. Going forward, I'm going to try to be more diligent about writing short reviews for individual issues.

Here's what's on my pull list this week:

  • Batgirl #5 (DC)
  • Batman and Robin #5 (DC)
  • Batwoman #5 (DC)
  • Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE #5 (DC)
  • The Ray #2 (of 4) (DC)
  • The Shade #4 (of 12) (DC)
  • Northlanders #47 (Vertigo)
  • Amazing Spider-Man #677 (Marvel)
  • Journey into Mystery #633 (Marvel)
  • Wolverine and the X-Men #4 (Marvel)
That's a lot of books and not a lot of non-DC/Marvel stuff. Sorry about that.

BATGIRL is teetering on the edge of my tolerance threshold right now. I can't say I'm enjoying it very much and the only reason I'm still buying it is that I feel some kind of obligation to stay on top of things in terms of the whole Oracle/New 52 situation, so that I can form my own opinion about it and potentially write about it later. I've tried to resist saying too much about how I feel about it for now, but sooner or later it's all going to come out. And when it does I'd like it to be an informed and carefully thought-out analysis, not just an emotional outburst.

Meanwhile, BATMAN AND ROBIN is a title that I had decided to completely ignore in the New 52, but I was convinced by Damian's considerable fan-following on Tumblr to give it a try. I bought the first four issues and read them over the holidays and I have to say it's really good. And I realize now just how much I missed Damian. Peter Tomasi has a good understanding of the character and Patrick Gleason's art is very pretty. The only problem I have with the series so far is that the first arc is yet another story about whether it makes sense for Batman to refuse to kill the villains he fights when they keep escaping from Arkham and killing more people. It's been done to death already, so it's hard to take it seriously. I'm also a little bit nervous about the preview for this week's issue, which teases a betrayal by Damian/Robin. But on the other hand, come on, that's gotta be a red herring.

I'm considering skipping FRANKENSTEIN this week, as it's a stupid crossover with OMAC. Although according to Dan DiDio, it's not necessary to read both. *sigh*

First issue of THE RAY was okay. The first three issues of THE SHADE were fantastic. As were those of WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN. And AMAZING SPIDER-MAN has been pretty consistently entertaining, despite the mostly shitty art.


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