Pipeline: Pipeline, Issue #62

Tue, August 18th, 1998 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Augie De Blieck Jr., Columnist

A SATURDAY SPENT READING...

This is the 62nd consecutive week I've written this column. 62. Does this mean this column is eligible for all the senior citizen discounts now?

I spent Saturday afternoon reading some recent comics. All in all, there's about a dozen I read. So let's look at them. Some short comments on each.

The first group of four were actually not 'recent' comics. They were the last four issues of DC's superb mini-series THE KENTS. John Ostrander shows off how to structure a story. The last issue or two might seem anticlimactic to some. But to me, they seemed like the fulfillment of everything the first ten issues were leading up to. And for that, I applaud it. It's a wonderful story of some wonderful multi-dimension characters. Jeb Kent could have a psychological dissertation written about him. He's that complex. It makes for very interesting reading.

Tom Mandrake drew these last four issues and did a great job. His style is subtly different than his days on THE SPECTRE. But there are still a lot of his hallmarks there on the page. His pages are easy to read and nice to look at. What more can you ask for?

I just hope this series gets collected someday. Some nice hardcover book which reaches out to the mass-market bookstores would be nice, too. It deserves the treatment.

Speaking of Ostrander and Mandrake, their stint on MARTIAN MANHUNTER began this past week with its 0 issue. For those of us unaware of MM's origin, it's a necessary read. It may not be the most exciting thing. It is, after all, an origin. But it's told well and sets up some future stuff in a nice way. In addition, it's told in an interesting fashion. The comparisons between MM and Superman are worthy of some consideration.

Once this issue 1,000,000 nonsense is over with, I look forward to continuing these adventures.

YOUNG JUSTICE #2 is out already. I didn't discuss issue #1 all that long ago. Probably issue #60. And my opinion hasn't changed one bit. Great job by Peter David and Todd Nauck.

Warren Ellis recently wrote a bit about DANGER GIRL. With DG's third issue out, I suggest you go to his web site at

http://www.warrenellis.com

and subscribe to his newsletter. The most recent one has his comments about DANGER GIRL in it and he's nailed it. Yes, it's an obvious piece of cheesecake. But it's also the most fun and best-packaged adventure series I've ever read in comics. J. Scott Campbell lays out the action beautifully.

Steve Gerber's NEVADA features a scantily clad female, as well. (Hmmm, maybe sex does sell after all?) But it's also an intelligent series. (AHA! There's hope that it is me reading comics and NOT my hormones! Whoo-hoo!) Issue 5 just came out. If you haven't read the first four issues, this one would seem pointless. If that is the case, go find the first four issues, grab this fifth one, and sit back. It's very cerebral. Very strange. And also contains the first example of a singular swear word dropping me nearly to tears in laughter. In and of itself, it's not quite that funny. But it just hit me so well and fit the character to a 't'. (For those of you who have the fifth issue, it's on page 9 - Ogden's last word balloon on that page.)

Note to Chris Claremont on the publication of FANTASTIC FOUR #10: yes, it's always interesting to see what happens to characters when certain changes happen to them. But it is infinitely less frustrating to the readers when they know why or how the change occurred. Just about every member of the F4 is acting strangely. This is probably due to a darn good reason. Hints have even been dropped to this effect. But not having a clue as to what those causes are just makes the reader uncomfortable, hoping that it isn't just bad writing.

Meanwhile, SUPERMAN FOR ALL SEASONS is so far the must-read Superman book of the year. Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale are doing a breath-taking job on this series. The art is gorgeous; the writing complements it without overpowering it. The two work hand in hand. I'm looking forward to the BATMAN: LAST HALLOWEEN TPB to read their last collaboration.

WIZARD contains two major interviews this month and their both with writers and they're both interesting, not wasting space on discussing White Castle hamburgers or anything. The writers are the aforementioned Chris Claremont and Joe Casey, writer of CABLE and HULK. In their own ways, they are very interesting men.

Yes, I did read more than just those, even. But that's all you're getting out of me. ;-)

Until week 63. . .

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