Pipeline: Pipeline #114

Tue, August 10th, 1999 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Augie De Blieck Jr., Columnist

AD OF THE WEEK

I haven't done one of these in a while. It used to be a recurring feature in

the early Pipeline days. One ad a week would stick out, or at least stick

in my craw. This week it comes from LEVIS, who were nice enough to

take out full-page ads sporting head and shoulder shots of some

individuals. The freakiest one has frosted hair and brown stubble on his

face. It's EXTREMELY distracting. Looks a little like Screech from

"Saved by the Bell", actually.

As annoying as those Gap Kids ads and Backstreet Boys "Got Milk?"

ads were, at least they were just on the back cover where nobody cared.

These are stuck in the middle of the story pages. Eww.

FROM THE GREAT TIMING DEPARTMENT

Larry Young announced this week that there will be an

ASTRONAUTS IN TROUBLE trade paperback coming out in

November. This will collect the recently concluded 5-part mini-series

under one set of covers.

This announcement, of course, comes one week after I finally finished

dredging up all the back-issues. Thanks, Lar! ;-)

FEATURE REVIEW

THE NEW WARRIORS #1 hits the stands after months of rampant

fanboy speculation. The first thing that strikes me as odd is Marvel's

decision that the costumes needed to be changed to separate this series

from the old one. Yet, the logo on the cover doesn't change. Hunh.

It's written by Jay Faerber, drawn by Steve Scott and Walden Wong.

It's a pleasantly forced and/or contrived first issue in a history of

contrived first issues that are necessary to get the team together. I like

it. It's a fun romp through the Marvel Universe led by my favorite of the

original New Warriors, Speedball. I

think after reading this I'll spend some

time in San Diego completing my first

run of New Warriors. I gave up on it

shortly after Fabian Nicieza left, just

for fiscal reasons.

One small costume note: Namorita

remarks in the issue that she was sick

of looking like a Sports Illustrated

cover. I guess that explains why she's going for the prostitute fishnet

look. And does a half-aquatic person really want to wear fishnetting?!?

Seriously, one thing I really liked in the original series is that her

costume kept changing. Given her aquatic nature, I don't think it's that

much of a stretch that she would be wearing a bathing suit-type

costume. In the meantime, her capri-length tights work well in today's

fashion as well as being functional, given the wings on her ankles.

(Remember, however, that wise old saying: "Fashion is something so

ugly it has to change every 6 months.")

As soon as they change Nova's costume back to the real one, I'll stop

complaining about the costumes overall.

I think I could give this double-sized first issue (a "1st Collector's Item

Issue!" according to the cover) a "recommended" label to both old fans

and those who didn't read it the first time. It sets up the characters

nicely, although the #0 issue is a BIG help in understanding the

characters better. I hope we get to see some real team dynamics and

overall direction in the next issue, aside from the little bit of moralization

we got at the end of this one.

SHORT REVIEWS

YOUNG JUSTICE #13 contains the next part of the story started in

SUPERGIRL as Peter David crosses his titles over. The confusion I

mentioned from last week about SUPERGIRL continues to crossover

this week in YJ. That can't be good. The rest of the story is interesting

enough, but the subplots in YJ are the ones that seem to be the most

compelling. We learn a little more about Secret's past, and the Red

Tornado continues his fight for his daughter. Todd Nauck's art in here is

the best it's ever looked. And Peter David writes in a visual gag on

page 4 that just about makes the whole issue. (Oddly enough, the facing

page has one of those Levi's ads on it, although this one isn't with that

frosted freakā€¦)

Skip it if you aren't already a YOUNG JUSTICE or SUPERGIRL fan. Otherwise, pick this one up.

BLACK PANTHER #9 is the one in which Christopher Priest lets all

the stories start to fall together, at last. The ousted Wakandan king

starts to put two and two together and sets himself up for the big fight.

Mike Manley is the artist this month. His art has that Batman Animated

feel to it, which is weird after 8 months of "painted" art. But his

storytelling is sound and fits in quite well with Priest's method of

storytelling.

I wouldn't jump into this issue cold, but if you've been following the

Marvel Knights' BLACK PANTHER, you owe it to yourself to get this one, too.

BATMAN: GOTHAM ADVENTURES #17 gets pretty much the

same review as did issue #15. It's really good. Tim Levins' art is, as

usual, excellent. Scott Peterson's story touches on an aspect of the

classic Batman mythos. The script is not wordy or over-written. Lee

Loughridge's color palette is amazing. In this issue, it's making use of

earth tones, almost to the exclusion of anything representing a primary

or brighter color. The shading works to add a third dimension to the art.

The only thing I do miss is the days when Richard Starkings did the

lettering. That added a certain character to the comic that's missing

now. Tim Harkins is a capable letterer, but his work lacks the design

sense Starkings' did. It does, however, have the advantage of not being

computer-generated.

Go ahead and pick this one up, whether you're a regular reader or not.

After all this discussion of anthologies in Pipeline2 and the Pipeline

Reviews message board, what terrific timing for America's Best Comics

to come out with the Alan Moore-written anthology TOMORROW

STORIES. It's a mixed bag. There are a couple of great stories, one

real stinker, and one I like with reservations.

Jack B. Quick is the story of a small, but brilliant boy, drawn by Kevin

Nowlan. Think of Mister Majestic from Wildstorm put in the body of a

small boy. Then make the storytelling a little more straightforward and

easy to follow. That's what you have here. It's a fun story.

Greyshirt may be the highlight of this issue. It's a SPIRIT-esque story,

right down to the lettering. And it's got a great Twilight Zone-esque

twist to it. It's the best surprise of the issue. Rick Veitch draws it.

The Fighting Americans is drawn by Jim Baikie and contains one of the

most literate parodies of Jerry Springer I've ever read. If you're sick of

that object of parody (there's probably a French term for that

somewhere ;-), this one might not be for you. That's my reservation.

Finally, there's the Cobweb, drawn by Melinda Gebbie. Sorry, this one

doesn't work for me. It was painful to get through. It's not my style.

Three out of four ain't bad. (That's close to being a Meatloaf song . . .)

I'm looking forward to the next. This book has no connections to the

rest of the ABC Universe, really, so don't hold back because of potential continuity confusion. Jump on in.

SHORT SHORT REVIEWS

THE UNCANNY X-MEN #373

continues Marvel's confusion when it

comes to Marrow. It's worth buying

these books to watch Marrow's

clothes change from panel to panel, as

the colorist has to add in clothes

where none belong. Very strange. The

draw of this title continues to be

Adam Kubert, who does his best

every month to vary his art style as

often as possible. We get a couple of

different looks from him again this month, including an opening

sequence in sepia tone.

It's funny how time changes things. I used to prefer Andy's artwork to

Adam's. That's completely reversed now. I think Adam has greater

depth and artistic ability.

100 BULLETS #3 concludes the first tale of the story. Brian Azzarello

writes and Eduardo Risso draws. It's a wonderful story. Although I'm

not usually one for gritty street drama and such consistent street slang,

this one just works really well. If you can scare up the first couple of

issues along with this one, it's well worth the investment and the read.

THE AUTHORITY #5 starts off the second story arc for this title, by

Warren Ellis, Bryan Hitch, and Paul Neary. This one looks to be just as

large as the last one, and includes a couple of breath taking

double-page splashes. We're tapping into some older

STORMWATCH material here for the main villains, although that's

explained in the issue, so no back-story knowledge is really necessary.

It's an enjoyable romp. Feel free to start here, if you'd like. Or go buy

one of the trade paperback collections of Ellis' previous Stormwatch work.

DEADPOOL #32 is, well, surreal.

Kelly writes what Woods draws. I'd

give this a pass unless you've been

following this book for a while. It

might be lost on you. But I'll say this

about DEADPOOL: it's Marvel's

best-written title and the best

exploration of a single character I've

ever read over a long time like this. Go dig around for back issues if

you need to. This series should be a textbook for writers.

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