I Am John's Stomach Pains.

On The Precipice of Mediocrity, Teetering

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

10 Comics You Should Be Reading, Pt. 2 of 2  

Previously on Stomach Pains.

5) Caper - I’ve already praised the writing prowess from Real World alum Judd Winick in his hilarious series Barry Ween, but it’s this adult trilogy of stories currently being published that may go down as his best ever. The first arc, an old fashioned mafia story set in 1920s San Francisco, was a great brotherly story about revenge, and the current second arc following the killing of a Hollywood starlet in the 70s has produced surprises in every issue. Can’t wait to see how Judd finishes this up.

4) Y: The Last Man - In the first issue of this book, a massive plague kills every male on the planet in one fell swoop, except for our protagonist, Yorick. So how many stories could there really be in a world of all women and one lone man before it falls into a joke? Well, it’s been over two years of cliffhanger endings, and the book hasn’t missed yet. Even the recent Safeword storyline, which at first appeared to be the writers finally giving us the obligatory sex story, became the definitive character study that made perfect sense in light of everything that happened in the past.

3) Daredevil - The current run on Daredevil has comic fans split right down the middle, either love it or hate it. And by current run, I mean Bendis’ 30+ issue opus which began with DD’s identity being revealed to the world. Since then, Matt Murdock has been torn down and rose back up multiple times, in one of the best deconstructions of a superhero we’ve seen since Dark Knight Returns. At the moment, it’s appearing as if the entire run is reaching the apex. Matt has taken over the role of Kingpin, creating a peaceful police state in Hell’s Kitchen, taking his role as protector to the ultimate extreme. But obviously this has consequences that are coming to a head, be it fellow heroes having a problem with it, or Murdock having to face 100 Yakuza warriors looking to take over. The art is intentionally dark, and Bendis’ noir-like dialogue meshes perfectly. This whole run may go down as more memorable than Frank Miller’s.

2) Fables - A lot of people are excited for the new Shrek 2 coming out today. But if you’re looking for a far more superb modern take on classic characters, look no further than this dark, funny Vertigo book. Set in modern day New York where fairy tale characters such as Snow White, Pinochio, and The Big Bad Wolf have been living for the past 300 years, the book is a collection of fresh takes on well-known characters from one’s youth added with an adult flair. Old villains become much needed heroes, conspiracies abound among the most innocent of characters, and mysteries compound on each other in every issue. The current arc promises to end in a huge battle, with Geppeto’s wooden soldier army vs. the population of Fabletown, with the possible revelation of The Advesary’s true identity… but of course, I’ve been surprised before, and I expect more than just a good war.

1) Ultimate Spiderman - What praise can I give to this book that I haven’t done before in almost every comic review I’ve given? The book is perfect. Absolutely perfect. Aside from the mind-numbingly boring Aunt May therapy session issue from last year, I don’t think there’s been an unenjoyable issue. What makes it the best book on the shelves? Is it the pitch-perfect dialogue flowing from the pen of Brian Michael Bendis? The action-packed plots mixed in with quiet character-driven subplots? The dynamic art from Mark Bagley? Scott Hana’s brilliant inks? These are all just the tip of the iceberg of the golden gem of not only Marvel’s Ultimate line, but the entire Marvel spectrum. A perfect example of the gold this book brings each time: last month’s issue began with a knockdown drag out fight between Spiderman and Doc Ock, quips and all; but it was the second half, tracking Peter Parker as he tried to get back to New York from Brazil by hitching a ride in the cargo hold of a plane that made this comic fanboy laugh our loud, and make me read it all over again.

Bonus: Best Miniseries of the Year: - Superman: Secret Identity. Actually, I think I'd say it's the best miniseries of the century. If you did not pick up the book for some reason, be it the high $6 cover charge for each book, or maybe you're just not a Superman fan, you are missing out on one of my favorite comic book stories of all time. No exaggeration, this is why I love comics so much. Is this a Superman story? Yes and no. Is this a Clark Kent story? Sorta. How about Lois, does she get to shine? Well yeah, but not in any way you're expecting. This is the best story Kurt Busiek has ever released, hands down. If you read this, and are not blown away at it's treatment of the Superman mythos, I don't know if you deserve to call yourself a fanboy.

posted by Holz | 5:49 PM | Rant & Rave, Bitches! (2)


I read that Ultimate Spiderman issue, but I didn't feel it. I could see why it was funny, but I didn't get into it. In fact, I found myself skimming through so much of the book, that I can't even begin to tell you what the plot was.

All I know is that Octavius kidnapped Peter and they were in Brazil. Then Peter got away and made his way home. Mm...well I guess I do know what the plot was, LOL.

Anyway, it was a nice read. Didn't inspire me to follow the series though. My friend is a big fan of Ultimate Spidey though, and it was his comic that I read. I was just meh on the whole thing.

However, I spent a bit of time drooling over Humberto Ramos' work on that one Spidey book. I didn't actually read the story; I just kinda drooled over the art. I think lately, I've just been reading books for the visuals, not the stories anymore.

I do like Supreme Power, though, for its story as well as the art. Mm... I can't think of another book right now, LOL. Too early in the morning...


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/24/2004 9:29 AM  

Ha! Wow, I had completely forgotten about Supreme Power... that book is just frickin' amazing. Bad fanboy! I knew I had forgotten a book...

If you're a fan of Humberto's take on Spider-Man, I recommend a story from last year, I think, in Peter Parker: Spiderman. I think it was issues #46-50. Anyway, it was basically Spiderman vs. The Green Goblin, and is one of my favorite Spidey stories.

By Blogger Holz, at 5/24/2004 10:36 AM  

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Ozymandias, DrOzymandias, Darth Angelus, Darque Feonix, Trip McNeely
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100 Bullets #42