Panel Games

A mis­guided tour of the past few months in comic books…

Comic Heroes - - Contents - Lee Kirby

An al­ter­na­tive an­gle on the last three months in comic books

To boldly Pho­to­shop where no man has Pho­to­shopped be­fore

John Byrne is sin­gle­hand­edly at­tempt­ing to re­vive the photonovel (re­mem­ber them?). His Star Trek: New Vi­sions se­ries for IDW up­grades the old-school pho­to­graphs-with-cap­tions mon­tage for­mat with swanky mod­ern high-tech com­put­er­ing stuff, ma­nip­u­lat­ing im­ages to cre­ate all-new Trek tales out of ex­ist­ing ma­te­rial. The first is­sue, “The Mir­ror, Cracked”, is a se­quel to the clas­sic 1967 “Mir­ror, Mir­ror” episode. Some­times it looks a bit weird, but it’s as close as you’re go­ing to get to an Orig­i­nal Se­ries sea­son four. Here’s the bridge of the En­ter­prise as the ship gets hit by Klin­gon en­ergy blasts. For best re­sults, shake comic book from side to side.

Eye’ll be see­ing you

Who’s got their hands on one of the Watcher’s peep­ers? None other than dorky Ghost Rider foe the Orb. How ap­pro­pri­ate. De­but­ing in Marvel Team-Up #15 in 1973, the Orb was a mo­tor­cy­cle stunt rider who came off worst in a race with his ri­val Johnny Blaze and skid­ded along the ground on his face. His eye­ball hel­met not only hides his dis­fig­ure­ment but can hyp­no­tise people and shoot laser beams. Of course. The ques­tion you need to ask yourself, though, is why does he wear a hood for most of Orig­i­nal Sin #2 be­fore whip­ping it off at the end for the dra­matic re­veal. Could it be… just for the dra­matic re­veal?

The prize for the pro­mo­tion of in­ter­na­tional un­der­stand­ing goes to…

… Har­ley Quinn #6! If you ever wanted to be­come con­ver­sant in both Rus­sian and Yid­dish pro­fan­ity, this is the comic for you. The best bit of Rus­sian swear­ing is “kloun suka” which means, we think, “clown bitch” (a more or less ac­cu­rate de­scrip­tion of the ti­tle char­ac­ter). As for the Yid­dish, the p’tcha in “p’tcha-for­brains” roughly trans­lates as “calves’ foot jelly” and not some­thing nas­tier – but it’s still the kind of ex­ple­tive you might be tempted to use in po­lite com­pany. And let’s not get started on the pun­some sup­port­ing-char­ac­ter names: Kosta Ar­mano­leg, Zena Ben­de­mova and, best of all, bionic se­nior cit­i­zen Sy Borgman… What­ever co-writ­ers Amanda Con­ner and Jimmy Palmiotti are on, we’ll have some of it, please.

La­dy­boy mis­take

We’ve all been there. Hol­i­day in

South­east Asia. Pretty girl at a bar. You get her back to your room, only to find there’s a lit­tle more go­ing on down be­low than you ex­pected. No? Just us then? Any­way, is­sue #1 of War­ren El­lis’s Trees brings that queasy-but-strangely-un­for­get­table mo­ment back to life with this two-panel se­quence in which a lis­som beauty turns out to have some­thing of a sapling in her panties. Bet­ter just to pre­tend it never hap­pened, right?

The dog’s bol­locks

That naughty scamp Garth Ennis. Just when we thought Rover Red Char­lie was set­tling into be­ing a nice, friendly funny-an­i­mal comic af­ter all, along comes this nad-munch­ing scene in the fi­nal is­sue. Bad dog!

The “If Only It Were True” depart­ment

In Rob Wil­liams’s and D’Is­raeli’s Or­di­nary, a mys­te­ri­ous event gives ev­ery­one in the world dif­fer­ent pow­ers and abil­i­ties. In the case of the US Pres­i­dent, that means his in­ner­most thoughts are vis­i­ble to all as thought bub­bles. Can you imag­ine if that hap­pened to Obama? Our guess is all we’d see would be him mus­ing smugly on how hot his wife is. And if it were Ge­orge W Bush… Well, the bub­bles would be blank.

Hissing Sid is in­no­cent!

Ever won­dered what were-chick­ens would look like? Won­der no more, thanks to Al Ewing’s Mighty Avengers #10. But that’s not all. At last a main­stream Marvel comic has in­cluded a ref­er­ence to Cap­tain Beaky (of Cap­tain Beaky And His Band fame – you know, Timid Toad, Reck­less Rat, Art­ful Owl, Batty Bat, all of them, re­mem­ber?). We can die happy, clutch­ing our vinyl copies of the orig­i­nal al­bum – which fea­tured the voices of Peter Sell­ers, Harry Se­combe and, er, Twiggy, among oth­ers – to our bo­soms.

Scary Mon­sters (And Su­per Creeps)

Hy­dra bad­die and emo­tion vam­pire the Drain, in Rick Re­mender’s Win­ter Sol­dier minis­eries, looks aw­fully fa­mil­iar. As drawn by Roland Boschi, he’s an al­bino David Bowie circa 1976 and The Man Who Fell To Earth. Not since Mike Allred’s Mad­man has any­one paid such an overt trib­ute to the Thin White Duke. We can be (su­per) he­roes…

Who ed­its these things?

The cover of Guardians Of The

Galaxy #15 trum­pets it loud: that is­sue’s guest star is none other than Cap­tain Marvel. But wait. Al­though there are a host of cameos from other char­ac­ters, the good cap­tain her­self doesn’t ap­pear in a sin­gle panel. Wha-aat? The mob of in­dig­nant Carol Dan­vers fans is prob­a­bly form­ing out­side Marvel’s of­fices right now.

Astro City atroc­ity

Okay, “atroc­ity” is maybe tak­ing things too far. The word just looks a bit like Astro City, so we used it. Be­cause that’s how we roll at Comic He­roes. It’s a shock, nonethe­less, to see some­one else draw­ing the ti­tle af­ter a run of 66 straight is­sues (by our cal­cu­la­tion) dur­ing which no one else has sat in the artist’s chair but Brent An­der­son. Not that Gra­ham Nolan does a bad job in #12 of the book’s Ver­tigo in­car­na­tion – far from it – but it doesn’t feel right, and we hope this doesn’t be­come a per­ma­nent state of af­fairs. An­der­son is listed in the cred­its for his “in­sight and de­sign”, so we can only as­sume that Nolan’s ap­pear­ance is a guest shot and nor­mal ser­vice will be re­sumed as soon as pos­si­ble. At least Alex Ross is still on board, pro­vid­ing a gor­geous cover as usual.

“Look into my eye. Look into my eye. The eye. The eye.” That Ennis has got some balls.



Who’s been ex­plor­ing strange new worlds?

Like politi­cians all over, then.

She won’t be fir­ing ping pong balls with that… FILTH ALERT!

Sings: “The bravest an­i­mals in the land…”

Sep­a­rated at birth: the Drain and Thomas Jerome New­ton.

No of­fence Nolan, but bring back An­der­son!

It’s a, erm, marvel no one no­ticed sooner. Sorry.

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