- Ex Machina #25
- 52 #32 of 52 (DC)
- Sandman Mystery Theatre: Sleep of Reason #1 of 5 (DC/Vertigo)
- Marvel Masterworks: The Avengers vol 70 HC (Marvel)
- Fantastic Four: The End #3 of 6 (Marvel)
- Athena Voltaire: Flight of the Falcon #3 of 4 (Ape Entertainment)
- The Goon vol 5: Wicked Inclinations (Dark Horse)
It’s taken a long, long time – nearly 20 years – but the Marvel Masterworks hardcover reprints of The Avengers have finally gotten to the good stuff: The volume reprints #51-58 and Annual #2 (as well as X-Men #45, which was part of a crossover story), from way back in 1968 (the year before I was born!). Written by Roy Thomas and pencilled by John Buscema, this set is perhaps best-known for the two issues that introduced The Vision, but to me this volume is important as it contains maybe my favoritest Avengers story every: In #56 the team went back in time to witness the death of Captain America’s partner Bucky, and when they returned to the present – in Annual #2 – they found that time had been changed, and that the original Avengers team had conquered the world and eliminated all the other superpowers people. The likes of Captain America, the Black Panther and Hawkeye had to take on Thor, Iron Man and the Hulk to save the world. Even today, this is great stuff in the superhero genre. (The annual is actually drawn by Don Heck, who – although not a favorite of mine – does some of his best work in it.)
Somehow I missed the second issue of Athena Voltaire, a 1930s-era Indiana Jones-type adventure yarn with a female protagonist. I’ll need to ask my comics shop to order it for me.
The Goon, by Eric Powell, is a weird concoction, part hard-boiled pulp fiction, and part gruesome horror yarn, but mostly it’s all played for humor. The Goon is the head of a local crime mob, and his main opposition is a mob of zombies led by a mysterious evil priest. The Goon is not exactly a good guy (and his sidekick Frankie is always looking out for number one), but sometimes he does the right thing, and sometimes even for the right reason. There’s a lot of blood, gore, and off-color humor, but y’know, I enjoy all that stuff if it’s pulled off well. This isn’t classic comics material, but it’s a fun read, and Powell is a crack artist, reminding me in a roundabout way of both Will Eisner and Mark Schultz. It may not be to your taste, but if you enjoy humor that’s on the sick side, then you’ll like this one.