Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What I Bought 1/27/2014 - Part 2

Don't you hate when you see someone make such an incredibly stupid argument that you know it has to be trolling, but you can feel yourself being drawn into taking the time to refute it? There was someone on ESPN trying to argue Tebow could have also lead this Broncos team to the Super Bowl, and even as I tell myself, "He's just saying it to stir things up," I'm simultaneously crafting the arguments for why that's nonsense. Argh.

Harley Quinn #1, by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti (writers), Chad Hardin (artist), Alex Sinclair (colorist), John J. Hill (letterer) - I actually like the version of her outfit Harley's wearing on the cover. Conner drawing has something to do with that, I'm sure, but it seems a little less ridiculous than the version she wore when I was buying Suicide Squad. Plus, it has a little more in common with her original outfit, the alternating black and red color scheme.

Harley reaches her new home, and even gets herself a new dog along the way. Turns out it isn't quite as simple as her just getting a new home. She's a landlord, so she has to collect rent and keep the place shipshape. Also, rent won't cover the buildings taxes and stuff, so it's job-hunting time. For a day job, Dr. Harleen Quinzel reenters the field of psychology, and on the weekends, roller derby. There's just one other small problem: there's a bounty out on her, and Harley's not exactly a hard target to find.

There's quite a bit about this set-up I enjoy. The bit with her rescuing the dog because she's moved by its suffering, but then dragging the owner behind her bike, that felt right. Harley can form deep attachments, and be incredibly harsh to anyone who mistreats those she cares about, along with being generally indifferent to the suffering of random folks. The tenants and her jobs provide plenty of chances for the development of actual supporting characters. The jobs are an interesting mix of the different sides of Harley's personality, and the psychologist job in particular could be a good look into her mind, through how she deals with other people with problems. I am a little surprised she can apply using her real name and not raise any red flags. You'd think there would be some records of Harleen Quinzel going nuts and running around with the Joker. But that plays into a certain sense of mystery that hangs over this. Who was this patient that left her the place? Who placed the bounty on her? Is it related to her killing a bunch of kids with exploding toys or whatever a few months ago? I was perfectly fine with ignoring that, but if it's going to stick, this is a reasonable way to deal with it. How are these prospective assassins finding her so easily?

About the only thing I'm not sure of is her conversations with the stuffed beaver, but if it's not a constant thing - and she doesn't seem like she carries it everywhere - I can live with it.

I mostly really like Hardin's artwork. It does have a lot of faint lines that make it look like they were part of his initial sketch that he didn't go back and erase later, but it's only occasionally distracting. Maybe it's that her face is white, instead of a mask, but I saw the Joker a lot in some of her facial expressions. Especially the grumpy looks on page 12. Also, page 2, last panel, I like the mushroom cloud in the eyeball to represent her rage. It's a Looney Tunes kind of thing, but that's not a bad tone for a Harley book to hit, at least some of the time. Also, Harley's mallet is back to being a more cartoon looking thing, instead of a flipping sledgehammer.

I'd call this an encouraging start.

X-Men #8, by Brian Wood (writer), Terry Dodson & Barry Kitson (pencilers), Dodson, Kitson, Hanna, Kesel & Pallot (inkers), Jason Keith (colorist), Joe Caramagna (lettering) - Five inkers. Sigh.

Typhoid Mary breaks into the school and makes off with all their files, plus a piece of Arkea. Rachel contacts John Sublime to let him know, but he's already talking with Ms. Cortes/Deathstrike, who is pretty blase about the danger of the whole thing. Then it turns out whatever of Arkea was in the sample is dead, which makes Sublime pretty happy, until Typhoid yanks the locations of where all the other pieces of the meteor Arkea rode down in impacted. One of those locations just happens to be near where Thor apparently exiled the Enchantress, after he took her powers. Isn't that just like Thor? He'll cut Loki eleven billion breaks, even after stealing Sif's body, trying to kill Balder, teaming up with Malekith, turning Thor into a frog, but the Enchantress is the one he comes down hard on.

Honestly, it's the smaller, personal subplots that interest me. The fact Bling and Jubilee can't find the time to try and discuss this whole thing about Bling apparently being attracted to Jubilee, because there's always another crisis. Which means thing's keep rolling under their own momentum, because no one can do anything to check it. Also, the relationship between Rachel and John Sublime, which is interesting to me mostly because, well, isn't "Sublime" actually a sentient bacteria that wears that human body like a suit? It's the same thing Arkea was doing to Shogo, right? That seems like something that shouldn't be encouraged, not to mention the fact the personality she's talking to is, again, a sentient bacteria.

As for the whole thing with Deathstrike and her new Sisterhood, eh, whatever. They're a bunch of idiots, messing around with poers they don't understand and greatly underestimate. Seems pretty likely if they do get Arkea up and running, it's going to backfire horribly against them.

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