Off The Rack #119

Monday, December 24, 2018

I was hit by a spasm of back pain on Saturday like the ghost of Christmas Past. That’ll teach me for being such a Scrooge this time of year. I try not to be naughty but being nice is such a pain in the pants. I am slowly recovering under the gentle ministrations of Santa’s Helper. Being around family and friends is better medicine than any pain pills I could take. My brother and sister-in-law hosted a brunch yesterday and seeing everyone together laughing and happy soothed me greatly. Just holding baby Oliver and making him smile eased my back pain.

I saw the Ottawa premiere of Aquaman thanks to my Jee-Riz partner Chris, who won passes from the comic book store Myths, Legends and Heroes. I can sum up how I felt about the movie in one word; wigs. I wish they had spent some of the Atlantis special effects budget on better wigs for the actors. Arthur’s dad’s toupee was glaringly obvious. I’ve seen better hair on Cosplayers than Nicole Kidman’s wigs. It looked like Amber Heard/Mera was wearing a wig at times but even when it looked like her real hair the colour red they chose was too unnatural looking. The movie’s saving grace for me was Jason Momoa. He makes a great Arthur/Aquaman. I’m glad I didn’t pay to see this one.

Ugh. Stan Lee tribute covers. Terrible marketing idea.



Dead Man Logan #2 – Ed Brisson (writer) Mike Henderson (art) Nolan Woodard (colours) VC’s Cory Petit (letters). A couple of things really annoyed me this issue. Sin, the Red Skull’s daughter, acted like a spoiled brat. It’s not a stretch to foresee the villains losing at the end of this 12-issue story. Then we have Forge repairing a machine that can get Old Man Logan back home. They actually go there and he doesn’t stay. I’m for super heroics as much as the next nerd and maybe I’m selfish, but that irked me to no end. Old Man Logan has been whining about getting home ever since he showed up in this timeline and now he wants to stay to prevent all the super heroes from being killed by all the super villains. There isn’t even a guarantee that is what happens in the future. And why don’t they use the machine to fix things? Man I hate time travel. I really like Mike Henderson’s art but this looks like another travelling super heroes versus super villains battle every issue, and that’s not very interesting to me.



Defenders: The Best Defense #1 – Al Ewing (writer) Joe Bennett (pencils) Belardino Brabo (inks) Dono Sanchez Almara (colours) VC’s Clayton Cowles (letters). It’s the big Defenders reunion to save Earth. Old Man Dr. Strange, Hulk, Namor and the Silver Surfer have to sidetrack The Train in order for Earth to survive. It’s a bit complicated and I’m surprised that you didn’t really need to read all the one-shots to get what’s going on. I mean all those scenes where the stabby killer in the bed sheet is killing aliens isn’t even mentioned in this story. So what was up with that?



Marvel Knights: 20th #4 – Vita Ayala & Donny Cates (writers) Joshua Cassara (art) Matt Milla (colours) VC’s Cory Petit (letters). Here’s where they explain why all the super heroes have forgotten who they are. T’Challa/Black Panther is featured in this issue that ends with him discovering the lair of villains. I’m wondering how the bad guys retained their memories.



Old Man Hawkeye #12 – Ethan Sacks (writer) Francesco Mobili (art) Andres Mossa (colours) VC’s Joe Caramagna (letters). That was a very satisfying ending. What a great prequel to the Old Man Logan story where Clint and Logan go on a road trip. This is where Clint loses his sight for good. I loved the last page epilogue showing Clint tracking down someone who will help him to continue to fight the bad guys despite his blindness.



Runaways #16 – Rainbow Rowell (writer) Kris Anka (art) Matthew Wilson (colours) VC’s Joe Caramagna (letters). Reading this Christmas special is better than getting a lump of coal. Having Doombot as a dinner guest made this a treat. I wish he was a regular member of the team.



West Coast Avengers #6 – Kelly Thompson (writer) Daniele Di Nicuolo (art) Triona Farrell (colours) VC’s Joe Caramagna (letters). The good guys have been captured by the bad guys: Satana Hellstrom, M.O.D.O.K., The Eel and Madame Masque. Kate is still free however and she’s not going to abandon her team mates. Too bad she gets waylaid on her way to rescue them. Her captor is a complete surprise, which will make the next issue a hoot.



Thor #8 – Jason Aaron (writer) Mike del Mundo (art) VC’s Joe Sabino (letters). This is an awesome issue with Thor fighting the Angelus. It ends with an ex-Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. being paid a visit by the Black Panther. I like how this book is being tied into The Avengers.



Season’s Beatings #1 – Jason Latour (writer) Greg Hinkle, Chris Brunner, Veronica Fish & Mario Del Pennino (art) Rico Renzi, Jim Campbell & Veronica Fish (colours) VC’s Travis Lanham (letters). I should have realized from the cover that this was a Deadpool Christmas Special. If I had known, I would have bought a pair of socks from the Dollar Store with the $4.99 US that this comic book costs. Unless of course, you’re a big Deadpool fan or West Coast Avengers fan or even an X-Force fan. They’re all in here too. Plus Squirrel Girl and Doctor Doom. Come to think of it, this is an everything but the kitchen sink gift for a Marvel Comics fan who will get a few chuckles out of it.



Freedom Fighters #1 – Robert Venditti (writer) Eddy Barrows (pencils) Eber Ferreira (inks) Adriano Lucas (colours) Deron Bennett (letters). This is some heavy duty patriotic poop right here. We start this 12-issue story in 1963 America that is ruled by Adolf Hitler and his “ratzi” party. The original Freedom Fighters meet to plot a resistance attack on a war robot factory. Things don’t go well for the good guys. Jump forward to 2018 and the surprise appearance of the New Freedom Fighters; Black Condor, Doll Woman, the Human Bomb and Phantom Lady. All we need is Uncle Sam. Robert Venditti holds nothing back showing the Germans as ruthless racists. The art is really well done so I will give these Golden Age heroes a chance to see how they fare in modern times.



Middlewest #2 – Skottie Young (writer) Jorge Corona (art) Jean Francois Beaulieu (colours) Nate Piekos (letters). A new character named Jeb is introduced who helps Abel get out of a bind. Jeb reminds me of the first time we meet Gandalf. Abel’s quest continues and we find out a bit more about the symbol on his chest. I predict he’ll meet his mother down the road but unlike the talking fox, I won’t be travelling down it with him.



Cover #4 – Brian Michael Bendis (writer) David Mack (art) Michael Avon Oeming (Owen art) Zu Orzu (colours) Carlos Mangual (letters). This issue is a great example of how a comic book can tell a story with words and pictures. I felt like I was watching a TV show or a short film. Brian, David and Michael work together seamlessly.



Hardcore 1 – Robert Kirkman & Andy Diggle (writers) Alessandro Vitti (art) Adriano Lucas (colours) Thomas Mauer (letters). Yeah man, it is. Agent Drake is a drone pilot but what he controls are other human beings. A new nanotechnology allows him to take over and move a remote body for 72 hours so he can complete wetwork missions. It’s really cool. The big problem arises when the guy who invented the tech comes back to reclaim it from the government. That guy is not asking nicely. I like this concept and the predicament that Agent Drake finds himself in at the end of this issue. Therefore, this goes on to my “must read” list.



Klaus and the Crying Snowman #1 – Grant Morrison (writer) Dan Mora (art) Ed Dukeshire (letters). This $7.99 US one-shot tells the tale of how Sam the snowman helps Klaus save the Earth from murderous aliens. I loved how they wove in Norse mythology. You’d think a crying snowman would be doomed in the end and you’d be right, but fear not, ’tis a happy ending.



Betty & Veronica #1 – Jamie Lee Rotante (writer) Sandra Lanz (art) Kelly Fitzpatrick (colours) Jack Morelli (letters). The BFFs are back with a 5-issue mini that starts off their senior year of high school. I know that these slightly more mature Archie Comics want to draw in a new audience but Betty dating Reggie? Sacrilege. A few other things bothered me storywise that turned me off even more. Betty drinking a spiked punch without noticing? C’mon. Then there’s the art. I didn’t like the interiors compared to the nice cover that Sandra drew. I expected my girl Betty to be treated better than this.



Catwoman #6 – Joelle Jones (story & art) Laura Allred (colours) Josh Reed (letters). The finale of “Copycats” is a quick read so I read it twice. The first time was to see how Catwoman deals with the evil Mrs. Creel and her pumped up on drugs son. The second time was to see Catwoman in action and to savour the beautiful art and layouts. I wish Joelle Jones would do a Betty & Veronica mini.



Extermination #5 – Ed Brisson (writer) Pepe Larraz (art) Marte Gracia (colours) VC’s Joe Sabino (letters). I tolerated this time travel tale because of the amazing art. I wish Pepe Larraz would do a Betty & Veronica mini. If you thought that the mutants being exterminated was a real threat then you haven’t been reading X-Men comic books for very long. This story puts the young X-Men back in their own time and all is well again. The big surprise comes on the last page and I’m thinking “oh geez, here we go again”.



Domino #9 – Gail Simone (writer) David Baldeon & Michael Shelfer (art) Roberto Poggi (ink assist) Guru-eFX (colours) VC’s Clayton Cowles (letters). Soldier of Fortune part 3. The ladies are asked to kill Longshot. Haven’t seen him in a while. Might not see him for long though, since he’s supposed to bring about the end of the world. This is interesting because both Domino and Longshot have the same super power. Who’s luck is going to run out first?



Firefly #2 – Greg Pak (writer) Dan McDaid (art) Marcelo Costa (colours) Jim Campbell (letters). Mal and Zoe are being hunted by a gang of thieves and the Alliance. Darn tootin’ there’s going to be shootin’. I have been watching Nathan Fillion’s new cop show The Rookie and I quite like it.



Batman #61 – Tom King (writer) Travis Moore (art) Tamra Bonvillain (colours) Clayton Cowles (letters). Knightmares part 1. The “what the!?” appearance on the last page of #60 is explained here as a new story starts. I knew something was hinky when I saw the string of pearls around the dead body of Martha Wayne in the alley. I thought we were in an alternate universe and we sort of are but it came as a complete shock when what was going on was explained. Arkham Asylum is getting a new inmate. At least he’s new to me unless I want to go back and read Batman #38.


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