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CAP + KANSAS

July 4, 2009

Well, the Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays so let’s talk about comics I’ve picked up recently + some of my favorite characters, both of which categories include Captain America.

Picked up Captain America #600, my interest piqued by rumors that they were going to bring him back. Killing Cap upset me — although, it’s comic books; it’s what happens. If you want a character with a storyline that never aggravates or annoys you, write your own comic/novel/cartoon. But that might not be a guarantee either.

Cap is all about triumph of human spirit and #600, which he doesn’t appear in is chock full of it in the good tear up a little and feel better about humanity sort of way. It’s a journey through how people feel about Cap’s legacy and Steve Rogers while Sharon Carter tracks down a rumor he might not be totally gone.

I’ve signed on for the Captain America trip, adding the book and the Reborn miniseries to my pull list. The comic book guy spent five minutes raving about Ed Brubaker’s writing and totally blanked when I mentioned my favorite Cap story arc, “Man Without A Country” drawn by Ron Garney. Garney’s Cap was iconic, a little cartoony (which I like) but solid and real — exactly like Cap should be. And Mark Waid’s strong stories gave Garney and Cap a springboard for excellent comics.

What else did I pick up? Jersey Gods, which is up to Issue #5 and fizzled somewhere in the middle of #3. Keeping your two main characters worlds and galaxies apart is not a ticket to keeping me interested. It turned from a potentially sharp love story to a plodding New Gods riff…Boo. New Jersey deserves better.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold is leaving my pull list soon. It’s become a dusty visit to some little known corner of the DC heroverse each issue without any wit or humor.

Batwoman, aka Detective Comics #854 with the Question II back of the book story rocked. Rucka’s a good writer (see Whiteout comments) — speaking of Whiteout artist Steve Lieber was robbed and doesn’t have the resources to promote his latest book, Underground. But back to Detective, whose artist is J.H. Williams III, whose fight scenes are kick ass wonders — he makes the Kate Kane in the Batwoman costume pages have a different, more stylized feel than the out of costume pages. Don’t like the tan background motif to the non action pages, but it’s a small quibble. Looking forward to the next issue. The Renee Montoya/Question II story is just the kick off without enough time to develop anything. I am trying to track down (actually I’ve sicced my brother on it — he’s the comic shopping expert in the family) the Gotham Central issues (6-10) where Montoya was outed and kidnapped by Two Face.

Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers — yes, Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers…I always liked Lockjaw’s appearances with the Inhumans and there’s a frog in a Thor costume (let’s see Branagh work that into the movie). Pet Avengers was fun, is only four issues and I’ll keep reading it. I seem to be on a Marvel kick.

But then there’s Phonogram, which is beautiful. Jamie McKelvie amazes me. Characters and colors make up for lack of background in the mostly nightclub interiors. The Singles Club is an interesting collection of characters — the first one pulled me in, the second one I couldn’t find (Joe’s on it, I hope) and the third was still beautiful and cryptic…I need to put all the music the creators list in a last.fm station.

Almost forgot Kansas, which is a Smallville reference. Now, Superman and Captain America are two heroes I think of as counterparts of each other — even though Superman adds yellow to the red and blue motif. Read MTV Splashpage interview excerpt with Justin Hartley and was somewhat disheartened at the news that he thinks the series could continue onto infinity when I think it lost it long ago.

What would get me back; humor, Lois, The Legion, Maggie Sawyer, moving Clark off stall, not having killed James Olsen, the Justice League rocking out, MUSIC — I hear songs from episodes of Smallville on last.fm and lament the loss of so many music style and wit points.

My favorite episodes;

The Season 4 openers, Crusade and Gone, where Lois shows up…excellent introduction of a great character. Actually, you can easily include the third and fourth episode — Facade and Devoted; the Lois and Clark interaction promises a sparking relationship to follow. Season 4, Episode 13, with Lois at Metropolis U is one of our favorites, with Clark demonstrating how essential Lois is becoming to him. Tom Welling does an excellent job of looking at Lois differently than any other woman — it’s a fascinating mix of exasperation, interest and concern.

Season 5, Episode 6, Exposed, is my favorite episode and not just because of the Lois pole dance (but oh, the lovely irony of Lois twirling to “Don’t Cha (Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot like Me).” Maggie Sawyer makes an appearance and I had hopes that this would be the first step on the path of Lois and Clark saving the universe together.

The Season 6 Lois/Green Arrow story line held my interest, but the show doesn’t want to commit to Lois and Clark and they seem to have lost their grip on her character and any hope that she and Clark would actually make a compelling couple, whether romantic or colleagues.

Now, I think Tom Welling does an excellent job, as does Erica Durance, Alison Mack, et al…but their talents are WASTED on the emotional, ill plotted morass Smallville has turned itself into — VOLUNTARILY!

And yet, no second season of The Middleman. Bah.

Happy Fourth of July. Exercise your first amendments rights and actually comment, darn it. And don’t blow yourselves up.

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