The Dig List - 10/14/07

Haven't done one of these in awhile, and between DCBS and a semi-regular local comics & collectibles show, I've had a nice stack of fun comics to read lately. So here are some (hopefully) brief thoughts on some of those, possibly spoilery.

New(ish) stuff first:

Dr. Thirteen: Architecture and Morality TPB - Mmm... metatexty. Could very easily have been one long "But comics were better when we were younger!" rant, but thankfully went the "there's still life in these characters, and interesting stories can still be told with them, even if they don't technically fit the newest world order" route instead. Fun story by Brian Azzarello, astoundingly gorgeous art by Cliff Chiang. In a year of excellent - if under the radar - comics stories, this stands out as one of the best.

(Interesting that one of the Architects was supposed to be Grant Morrison, since this was precisely the kind of story he was telling in Animal Man. Did Azzarello use him merely because he was part of the 52/IC/FC team, or was it a subtle, tongue-in-cheek way of saying we often eventually turn into that which we once railed against?)

First in Space - The story of Ham, the first chimp shot into space by the U.S. as a test for the Mercury program. Cute, if slight, telling of the story. Could be fun to read with the kids, provided your ready to explain to them what happened to those chimps in the unsuccessful ground-testing exercises. A good read on an interesting subject. Makes me really want to read Laika from First Second now.

Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century 6 - Seriously, couldn't they just call this LSH Adventures? Anyway, the animated Legion (all of it, for once) meets (and fights) the 31st Century Green Lantern Corps, including future co-Lantern of Sector 2814 (and dual legacy member), Jordana Gardner. She must take after Guy's side of the family more than Hal's, since she's a really cool character. I hope we get to see more of her (and her Superman fanboy co-Lantern) in future issues. And they resist the typical Johnny DC book urge to end the story with everyone learning A Valuable Lesson, so bonus points for that. I know the books are aimed at younger kids, but even they know when they're being talked down to, DC.

All New Atom 15 - In which our man Ryan Choi is plucked - blissfully and literally - from the Search for Ray Palmer snoozefest and returned to more interesting things. Is Gail getting all metatexty on us, too? Long story short, still great, and at its best when allowed to be its own entity, not just another crossover vehicle.

Spirit 10 - The fourth-wall-breaking framing sequence was fun, and something Eisner himself would've been proud of, I'm sure (again with the meta!), but the main story, while a fun idea, was a little too heavy handed with its message, and entirely too of-the-moment to have much shelflife. Nothing ages worse than topicality. Go back and read old Bloom County strips if you don't believe me. Still, even a misstep on this book is better than most everything else, so it's got that going for it, which is nice.

Johnny Hiro 2 - I was a little less interested in homicidal sushi chefs than I was in the giant monster from the first issue, but still... homicidal sushi chefs is a pretty great idea. Mix with a fun main character, one of the sweetest love interests in any comic today, a plot centered around keeping food writer and Iron Chef judge extraordinaire Jeffrey Steingarten happy, and a couple of Alton Brown cameos, and you've definitely got Fun Comics.

Blue Beetle 18 & 19 - Loved the first two trades, promised I'd keep reading in that format, picked these up on a whim because I wanted to see if the quality kept up... and I'm completely hooked. Enough that I may just cave and follow the monthly, because honestly, this book has everything I'm looking for in regular superhero comics, and I don't see the point in denying myself that. Also, it seems like one of those perpetually "on the cancellation bubble" titles that could probably use my help. I'm thinking of a larger post on just why I love this book so much that I'll write up in the not-too-distant future, but for now, just accept that it's fantastic and well worth your time. As someone said over in Devon's comments a while back, it's "Spider-Man done correctly."

Okay, that's enough eyestrain for you people tonight. I'll cover the older stuff from the comic show later.

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