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Posts tagged “Elvira

Last Weeks Pulls 6/22/22

I’ll be honest, I have absolutely no interest in DC‘s Dark Crisis or any of the repackaged 5G that they’re trying to roll out here. They’ve largely made the DCU so unrecognizable to me that it’s off-putting and, the stories just aren’t that interesting.

Still, I wanted to check out the Young Justice story they were doing. Young Justice is one of those titles that I really enjoyed back in The day, because it was just… Fun. It was just interesting. Peter David had been getting increasingly spicy and ideological and a little preachy in his writing around that time, and to see him approach Young Justice with straightforward adventure, centered around teen sidekicks that were actually… Well, teens! It was refreshing. One of the strengths of Young Justice is of course the youth of the cast. DC has a tendency to want to age up kid characters as soon as possible, and it always backfires. Tim Drake Robin, Connor Kent’s Superboy, heck even Jonathan Kent’s Superboy… They’re all more interesting when they’re 12 or 14. Once you bump that up to 19, they’re just another cape lost in the crowd. Young Justice leaned into the fact that these kids were kids, and The title was genuinely fun. I know they’re trying to rope us in with nostalgia, but fun was what I was still hoping for.
 
I don’t feel like I got that here. We get classic costumes, and a lot of member berries, but it’s permeated by the general angst of the DC right now. That is perhaps a complicated way of saying this just wasn’t what I wanted from this title are these characters. And these versions of these characters feel strangely out of place when you drop them in next to the 5G characters… The young Justice cast is really from another time… A time that DC has decided it’s best moved past.

Speaking of something else that was nostalgia bait, they released a new issue of New Fantastic Four. That’s that strange 90s team up between Grey Hawk, ghost rider, wolverine and Spider-Man. I don’t know where these gimmicks are coming from …I don’t know who’s green lighting the stuff… But on the other hand, I’m obviously encouraging them because I keep buying it. It’s an interesting revisit to that era… I’ve always wanted to read more Grey Hulk, so this definitely scratches that itch. It’s also a nice demon based story, kind of in line with what we’re seeing in the current ghost rider run. A bunch of people being mind controlled by some demonic thing and attacking everything in sight. Come to think of it, it almost feels a little bit like what we’re seeing in Worlds Finest as well. In any event, it’s an interesting little story, although I almost wish I’d been a one shot. We get a to be continued… And I’m not sure if this is going to have the legs to go multiple issues or to keep my interest that long. We’ll see what happens.
 
A big surprise for me this month was the Perry White book. Much like New FF. I have NO idea who’s idea was to put this out… A collection of stories featuring the editor in chief of the daily planet… with some hijinks involving Jimmy Olsen as well. But you know what, this was delightful. Way more interesting that had any right to be. We got a team up with Wildcat… charmingly titled “old guys talking in bars”, we get some reprints here and there – I’ve only read about Perry’s super cigars, I’ve never actually seen them. Good to see Curt Swan reprinted and to finally experiences classic story upfront. Not sure how they got away with it actually, considering the anti-smoking sentiment we have in 2022!
No, but seriously, the book is just fun. I’m shocked at how much fun I had with this… But perhaps I shouldn’t be. After all, I’ve always said that one of the great strings of the Superman comics is in fact the supporting cast.

Likewise, Worlds Finest also continues to bring the fun, and man this book is getting crowded. Do you know how we were talking about supporting casts? Worlds finest is increasingly supporting cast. It almost feels like that first run of Batman Superman – Public Enemies with Ed McGuinness drawing… Where Superman and Batman are public enemy number one. All sorts of other superheroes crowding in the edges… it’s a very similar take… and it’s good. I actually really enjoy this version of Supergirl, heck, I enjoy both his version of Supergirl AND Robin! They are extremely well done and complement the main characters very well, and have so much fun chemestry.
This issue is still just a beat down issue, we’re in the middle of the devil controlling other superheroes to take down Superman and Batman. There’s a little more to it, but you get the jest… Now go read the book. I’m absolutely buying this in trade when it comes out. This is one of those stories that needs to be collected… Although I must say, the once a month format isn’t bothering me on this nearly as much as it is Spider-Man.

Of course that’s probably because Spider-Man still a convoluted mess and I don’t know what’s going on. There’s a sort of Spidey saves the day resolution for this issue, and another one of those sort of bread crumbs drops… “What’s going on here?“. Black cat swings by to see Mary Jane for some reason and it’s weird, it’s almost like she’s surprised to see the daughter. “Hmmmm. Cute kid.” You know, that’s remarkably cryptic. Impressively so considering it’s simplicity. 
 
Full disclosure. I miss the days when Nightwing was the best kept secret in comics. Chuck Dixon really had interesting directions to take Dick in, and when the comic got popular it felt like it mainstreamed a little bit more. More editorial dictates and control over the direction it went… It was never quite the same. I have to say, this issue feels a lot like the old Nightwing series… I’m really enjoying watching his relationship with Barbara start to takeoff again. This is something that I see them exploring both here and in Batgirls, and I’m really up for it. There’s not an enormus amount of Nightwing shenanigans going on here though… It’s a fairly simple straightforward story. I picked a good issue to try out with a contained narrative. This area of the Haven is seeing increased crime, and the police are using it as a excuse to hassle the locals. Of course the police force anywhere near Gotham is going to be corrupt, and it turns out these guys are using the crimewave as an excuse to step up patrols and triple the amount of cops in the area. They point out, quite correctly actually, that if there’s increased crime in the area, you need a increased police presence… But Nightwing replies, asking if making these kids feel like criminals is gonna make them feel safe…
 
And this is where the problems begin.
 
The thing is, we had a lot of these kind of stories in both Nightwing and the Batman titles back when Nightwing was a new title. However, this sort of thing takes on a different context in 2002 then it did back in 1997. After the better part of a decade with politicians on a certain side of the aisle demonizing cops, saying they’re all bad, saying they’re all bullies, and suggesting that any sort of increase patrols is just racism… seeing it portrayed here, it’s not nearly as palatable. These can’t be read as just caricatures of villains… The writer is trying to make a political statement here. It’s one that bothers me too, because it’s misinformed, and it’s incorrect. When the corrupt police chief says an increased police presence in high crime areas is going to make people safer… He’s right. And the hero tries to suggest that he isn’t. This is how Giuliani cleaned up New York. This is something that a lot of the poor want in their neighborhoods. Something I definitely want in mine.

Now, of course these bad cops take it a step further, hassling kids playing basketball in broad daylight at noon on a Sunday or something…, But I still feel a suggestion that all police activity is harassment, all cops are bad, and that if they just left it all alone, everything will be all right… After all it’s probably the cops causing all the trouble anyhow! It’s a drag too, because I was really liking this book… Until I got smacked in the face with a large baseball bat labeled “the message“.

On the other hand, there’s absolutely no message in Elvira… Other than cleavage is good.
We take a trip to the overlook hotel this time around, although the names have been changed to protect the innocent… From legal action.
I know I keep saying this, but it’s a ridiculously self-aware book. The best part of it being, Jack Torrance keep speaking in Jack Nicholson quotes. There’s a lot of Batman quotes here, along with the occasional “You can’t handle the truth!“ At one point he confronts Elvira with a “did you ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?“ To which she responds “you wanna get nuts? Let’s get nuts!“ It’s all insanely glorious. There’s a couple of pokes at Kubrick‘s directing style as well, the use of banner slides to tell you which day it is… That sort of thing, and even an acknowledgment of the recent Dr. Sleep film. But the part that’s truly horrifying is when you see what’s written on Jack’s typewriter instead of “all work and no play makes jack a dull boy“. It’s genuinely good stuff, and we can see by the end of this book, that is leading her into her next film… Alien. Once again, I can’t wait.

The thing that is so charming here is that it’s really the best possible venue for the character. Elvira has always been fundamentally a horror host, so dropping her into these movies… It’s really just an extended version of the things that a lot of posts like Zacharly would do, green screening themselves into the movie. Elvira is taking this to a whole new extreme, but it fits. It gives her a chance to be a character, while still retaining her identity as a host.

If you’re a fan of the current ninja Punisher run, You may want to check out Punisher war journal. It’s a nice self-contained story, but it’s a side quest. Definitely something that they’re doing in another book so that they don’t interrupt the flow of the main story going on in the main book. Or journal still evokes a desire for gunplay, and I have to admit, while this is a Punisher story… It’s a Punisher story largely without firearms. There’s a few, but I have to admit I miss them. Then again, props on them for at least giving us a scene or two of ninjas with guns. I understand cinematicly why you never see them using firearms in the movies, but realistically, just like any good spy I would assume a ninja would use any weapon at his disposal… That includes firearms. I think at the end of the day, this is still gonna go down as just one of those “weird“ periods in the Punisher’s history, much like the mobbed up ponytail storyline, or the Demon Hunter one… Marvel’s just not sure what to do with him right now because he’s a little too politically incorrect, but at the same time a little bit too popular to just rest the character. I’d still prefer all of this is the side quest, and alternate universe whatever sort of thing, but I’m still enjoying the ride a lot more than I expected to, so I’m sticking with this.
 
 
 
 
 

 

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Last weeks pulls

Worlds finest continues to be my favorite of all the current tiles out there. It’s just good straightforward adventure fare with familiar faces. Superman, Batman and Robin, Supergirl on the flash and Green Lantern… No agendas no personal politics just straightforward storytelling. That’s not to say there’s nothing complex, we’ve got an ark going on here along with various DCU characters coming in and out of the story. It’s just all really good. It’s exactly what I want. I almost feel like back in the days where I was losing interest in Superman and Batman‘s main titles, but couldn’t wait for the Superman Batman issues to come out every month. It was the same way with Spider-Man for a while too. While the main line series was kind of meandering and falling apart, I was very much getting into the late run of ultimate Spider-Man… And even, I guess I’ll admit it, Spider-Man loves Mary Jane. 

Speaking of Spider-Man, I really have weird mixed feelings regarding this new run of amazing Spider-Man. If I hadn’t spent the first week of 2022 basically catching up on the last two years of the Spider-Man comics, I swear I just walked into the middle of a storyline or something. We still don’t really know what the status quo is here, and the opening scrawl admits it. It literally says something has happened in spider-Man‘s life, but doesn’t actually tell us what. It’s maddening, especially since I’m really enjoying a lot of what they’re doing here. The whole bit with tombstone is interesting and fun. Spidey himself is being well written and somebody really understands his voice. It’s funny and sad and good adventure all at once… With a story that is fun enough for me to put up with John Romita juniors thin line nightmare style of art. But I’ll tell you what, I really do need to know what the status quo is. I need to understand what’s happening, and it needs to be soon. You got another issue and a half or I’m out. Still, for the moment….I gotta say – this one panel just sums it up.

 

I’m actually been a big fan of what Dynamite’s been doing over the years. It’s the same model as Dark Horse, lean into licensed properties, but dynamite always seems to pick ones that I’m far more interested in the dark horse ever did. Elvira‘s had a couple of series now, and honestly they’ve been hit or miss, nothing I was really digging, but the new Elvira in horror land has really got my attention. They drop her into an old movie, and she interacts. It’s actually pretty perfect. It’s kind of the thing I really enjoy with horror hosts in the first place! First issue she finds herself in psycho. Psychos got a special place in my heart, especially since I didn’t get around to watching it until I was in my early 40s when they were doing a screening up at the rain palace. I’ve recently screened it for my daughter as well, and this has got it fresh on my mind. It’s well done, poking fun at the tropes, paying respect to the characters, even taking a shot at the remake. I’m really enjoying it, but what’s really interesting for me is the last page.

Elvira escapes the movie alive, and ready for her next adventure. Unfortunately, her next adventure starts in the snow… In a remote mountain resort… With a sinister hotel beckoning in the distance.Yeah, I’m sticking around for a while on this title.

Three issues in and surprisingly enough, I’m still on board with the Punisher. I actually think this would have been a perfect miniseries. Not necessarily the main line title, but a sort of side spin off… It probably would’ve served a character better. Even if it weren’t, advertising it as a mini series kind of assures people that this is just a temporary diversion and things will be returned to the status quo. To his credit, the writer genuinely tried to reassure us of that in the first issue and I respect that. It allows me to settle in and enjoy this interesting exploration of Frank Castle as the leader of the hand. There’s a lot to like here. The concept is strong and smart, and I’m genuinely on board with a lot of what they’re doing.

Or at least, I was until now.

You see that kid on the cover of issue three? The one wearing the captain America mask? That’s Frank. 10 year old Frank Castle is the centerpiece of the story, in response to a question asked to him… “When did you first kill someone?”

 

This irritates me. It’s not the first time that we’ve seen this sort of deconstruction… This attempt to paint Frank as just an inherent killer. A fundamental bad seed. it pops up from time to time, whether it’s in the punisher showing up in the ‘Nam, or the supernatural run where the angels pick him because he’s just inherently the best murderer out there, or even the attempt at Microsoft deconstructing his personality in the punisher max series.

Wherever it happens, I hate it. It shows a basic misunderstanding of the character and his history.

It’s especially prevalent among writers who have never lived through the 70s. People who never experienced The high crime rates and massive inflation and General loss of hope (but buckle up guys, because we’re there again and in 10 years you’re gonna see a whole new crop of storytelling that represents it). They don’t properly remember Bernie Goetz taking up arms and murdering people in a fit of vigilante rage. They’ve never experienced the sort of stagnation that lead rise to books and films like Deathwish. That’s what the punisher is. He’s a fairly ordinary guy who is finally pushed too far and snapped. He’s a person who is a protector as a cop, deeply religious with training as a priest, loving as a father and a husband… Someone who’s had all that stripped away. Those things didn’t keep the killer in check, those things were who Frank Castle was. The killer is the aberration, not the good man. It always frustrates me when the riders get this wrong. It’s not enough to put me off the title, but man it’s frustrating.

Equally frustrating is the ridiculousness of Harley Quinn. That sloppy artwork just kills me, and this book is simply all over the place. Honestly, I just dropped in to check the series out, but I’m dropping right back out. Harley Quinn‘s always been a little wacky, but she’s also been serious and deadly as well. The Harley that I am reading in this book, quite frankly it’s pinkie pie from my little pony.That’s fine, that’s even fun, but it’s not Harley. 

Maybe it’s time for me to just settle back and dig into some back issues instead. Both fanboy expo and Comicpslooza DID happen this weekend after all.