Scalped #29 (DC/Vertigo): As Jason Aaron hits the crescendo of High Lonesome, he’d make Quentin Tarantino proud as the arc pulls a Pulp Fiction and doubles back on itself with intertwined stories from different perspectives, forcing new meaning to ripple back through issues we’ve already consumed. It's evident from the first page, the way that shotgun was being slung, that some shit was going to go down this issue. We're treated to a voyeuristic witnessing of the mental breakdown of Dash Bad Horse. To put it in a single word, this issue wrestles with the notion of fate. What I'm finding interesting about Scalped, in that it's an endemic pattern, is the way that Jason Aaron concludes an arc by ending his thoughts on a theme he's been toying with, but the story continues, often times with the same characters and action put into motion carrying over into the next arc. Random quote to summarize my feeling on this issue... it's a toss up between the old causality notion “If a butterly flaps its wings in Tokyo…?” and “The true sin is not the act itself that's committed, or even repenting for it and feeling remorse, it’s waking up one day and wanting to do it all over again.” Grade A-.
Seaguy: Slaves of Mickey Eye #3 (DC/Vertigo): One the one hand, this reminds me of the dreaded sophomore slump in the music biz, wherein the second album, following the first one that hit big, invariably tries to go deeper and examine disillusionment with fame, but ultimately repeats many of the same themes in a less crisp fashion. So yeah, this little trifecta of goodness does smack of repitition, it also relies on fodder from a Matrix style construct to exert control over society and counter the anti-consumerism mindset. But alas, there are some flashes of brilliance. The second the wedding is interrupted, we enter into a breathtakingly rousing sequence; Doc Hero is quite notable sans costume, the Seadog as Blackhawk aesthetic is tasty, I enjoyed the River Styx vis-à-vis Epcot Center, and most brilliantly Cameron Stewart’s usually grand pencils just go ballistic with the denouement of the sword fight. But the overarching narrative really takes off when you read Seaguy as Pinocchio wishing to be a real boy, and Chubby as Jiminy Cricket. Once you figure out who Geppetto, Figaro, and Stromboli are, you’re really onto something. Random quotes for this thing: “Girls who are attracted to bad boys finally understand now that they don’t want to *fuck* the bad boy, they desperately want to *be* the bad boy." That or “…this whole notion of I can see the moon from my backyard, so now I’m an astrophysicist.” Grade A-.
Batman & Robin #1 (DC): The inevitable comparison to Frank Miller's ASSBAR, well, it ain’t much of a discussion since this is far superior. So far it doesn’t look to be the archetypical character examination that All Star Superman was (though hey, it's only the first issue), but a more straightforward thriller with little flourishes scurrying about. There’s the Eisner inspired sound effects drawn into the structure of the panels, the villainous new villains touting the villainy of a Saw/Seven/Lecter kind of protagonist, as G’Mo and F’Quit test the pairing of a Dick Batman and Damian Robin. But whatever, you could have basically put two roles of toilet paper together and slapped a DC logo on it and I’d have bought it anyway, provided you said the words “Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely doing Dick Grayson.” I mean, they only did one of my favorite books of all time (I meant Flex Mentallo, why, what did you think I meant?) and Dick is my favorite character in the DCU. So yeah, tally ho, I’m in. Random quotes: "The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became truth." Or a simple “We got the tools, we got the talent!” Grade A-.