Saturday, October 21, 2006


Welcome to the latest BLOG EXTRA! This week: seven new comics from Dynamite Entertainment.

Johh Layman writes, and Fabiano Neves draws, XENA #1-3. I probably come to a XENA comic in much different fashion than most; I saw a total of one episode of the television show. And as it turned out, the episode I saw was one that featured Xena being trapped in the body of her enemy Callisto, so I didn’t even get much of Lucy Lawless. That means the comic had to stand on its own for me, as I had no prior reference to build off of.

Fortunately, Layman’s script takes nothing for granted and gives the new reader an easy opening towards enjoying this series. The setup is simple; the Greek and Egyptian pantheons find themselves in dispute, and they decide to solve their conflict by picking a champion to represent them in battle. The Greeks, thanks to a lucky moment, wind up choosing Xena’s sidekick Gabrielle. Hilarity, and the entrance of the rest of the show’s cast, follows. The dialogue is crisp and witty, and when exposition is required, it never feels heavy. But the bigger delight is Neves; I’ve never seen his work before, but it’s a revelation. He’s a star in the making. And that makes XENA a lot of fun to read.

RED SONJA #12-15, written by Mike Oeming and drawn by Mel Rubi and Stephen Sadowski, brings arch-villain sorcerer Kulan Gath into the Dynamite version of Sonja’s universe. Gath originally appeared in the Marvel universe, battling Sonja, Conan, Spider-Man, and others, and it was well established that he is one of the worst of the worst… a complete evil. And changing universes hasn’t improved his disposition the tiniest bit.

First, though, he must gain a toehold in the real world, and he does so in one of the most gruesome sequences in recent comics memory (in issue #13). While he’s getting his act together, Sonja herself is meeting new allies and looking for ways to stop the encroaching evil. We learn more about how Sonja met the goddess she worships, and that she is not the only one who does. And the redheaded warrior also shows her more rounded side, not only displaying her mighty skills, but also genuinely caring for others and actually engaging in an intimate moment. This Sonja is human, longing for and remembering where she came from and who she was. And Oeming also rewrites the somewhat odious “a man has to beat her in battle in order to have sex with her” deal in a way that makes a bit more sense and makes Sonja into a little less of a character who deals with her world solely as a victim. This continues to be a surprising and solid series.

That’s it for this week! Be here through the week for site updates, and come back next weekend for an all-new CWR WEEKEND BLOG EXTRA!


Friday, October 20, 2006

Start the weekend with a little action and adventure, as the G.I. JOE crew goes on a SPECIAL MISSION to TOKYO!



Thursday, October 19, 2006

It's a return to the greats of yesteryear, with a lovely new archive: TOPHATS AND FLAPPERS: THE ART OF RUSSELL PATTERSON. Go see.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

For the second week in a row... an all-new AISLE SEAT! This week, a look at TEEN TITANS SEASON 2 on DVD! Give it a read!


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Strolling back onto the scene after a four-year hiatus... DORK! Evan Dorkin's back, and he's brought over 200 gags with him! Check it out!


Monday, October 16, 2006

At long last... new commentary. Why can't direct market stores do a better job of selling manga? Because many of them are apathetic or afraid to ask the right questions...

Go check it out.


Sunday, October 15, 2006


Welcome back to a new CWR WEEKEND BLOG EXTRA. This week: a selection of new titles from Ross Richie’s Boom Studios!

First out of the gate we have SECOND WAVE #6, written by Michael Alan Nelson and drawn by Chee. The last couple of issues had shown a steep decline from the first few, leaving me wondering if Nelson had run out of gas with his story. But just when I was ready to write the book off: recovery! This is more like it; Miles and his rag-tag band escape the hick town they were stranded in and the Martians come back into play as a threat to their lives. While the last two issues were out of balance, this measures out trouble from both the human and the alien sides in equal amounts, which is what makes this book special and unique. I’m now back on board with it.

On the flip side, X ISLE #3 (written by Andrew Cosby and Michael Alan Nelson and drawn by Greg Scott) still isn’t setting my world on fire. The castaways have yet another gun-pointing standoff with one another as agendas conflict, and a couple of minor tweaks about the island’s nature appear (one, sadly, spoiled by the cover). In the previous two issues, I had sort of felt like the real problem was that all of the characters were so annoying that you wanted them to die, and soon. But in reading issue three, I’ve begun to believe that perhaps the real difficulty is in pacing. There’s really very little forward movement here as far as the underlying plot goes, and it makes me wonder if the final two issues are going to feel extremely cramped in order to offer some sort of resolution.

Andrew Cosby, writing with Johanna Stokes and aided by the art of Rafael Albuquerque, has a far better time of it with THE SAVAGE BROTHERS #2. When last we left the redneck zombie hunters, they had decided to rescue a virgin stripper from a head floating in a glass jar. Taking that lunacy to another level, their next feat must be to actually escape from the head’s zombie tracking dogs and other assorted creepy creatures. SAVAGE BROTHER has very little going for it in the way of plot or character development, and that’s perfectly fine. It has more than enough going for it in the humor department and the ludicrous fun department. There’s more than one laugh-out-loud moment here, and if you listen close enough, you can here Cosby and Stokes laughing as they wrote it. Great stuff. Oh: and congratulations to Cosby (co-creator) and Stokes (staff writer) on the renewal of EUREKA, a victory not only for them, but for fans of quality television as well.

Closing out the weekend is WHAT WERE THEY THINKING: MONSTER MASH-UP, written by Joe Casey, Keith Giffen, Johanna Stokes, and Kevin Church and drawn by various. This series, which features public domain comics re-scripted for humorous effect, can be a bit hit or miss. However, this issue is fairly strong. It gets off to a poor start with Casey’s overly long gay-joke story (homoerotic humor has been a staple for each issue and has begun to feel like a crutch), but my buddy Church, aided by Giffen, swoops in to pick up the pace with a funny story involving a man who likes hairy women. This is Church’s first published work, and while it has dead spots, he does a decent job of getting his voice onto the page and getting some snickers, which is something to take pride in. But stealing the spotlight from everybody else is Stokes’ tale, “Hats Off”, which is almost impossible to describe. It involves two men who are rivals for one woman and racing to find a lizard creature, but that barely really covers it. I’ll just say that this is the first time in the series that I was naked with jealousy over how good one of these stories was. Genius stuff.

That’s it for this weekend. I’ll be here through the week with site updates, and back here next weekend for another weekend blog extra!