I’ve got a suggestion for sis who is wondering what to get me for Christmas: oven mitts. I need a new pair. The realization dawned on me this evening sometime between when I was pulling the cast iron pan out of the oven and when I was leaving the top layer of my fingers on its handle.
Hey, you know what’s apparently even more dangerous than a well-worn oven mitt? A single stray hair from my french bulldog, Lulu. If you approach it at just the right angle – say, in your stocking feet when its sitting nestled in the fibers of a carpet – it possesses all the characteristics of a microscopic glass shard, the type of glass shard that slides easily into the bottom of your foot and then resists any attempts to remove it. Like an Occupy protestor, it settles in for the long haul, irritating the hell out of the pink, healthy flesh around it.
I’ve found the perfect tool for teaching English. The Far Side Collection! I kid you not. Akemi and I read ten pages every night before bedtime. It’s proven both educational and entertaining. Or should I say edutaining! No, let’s say educational and entertaining.
The comic book round-up:
Well, who’d have thunk? The Ultimate titles are now a strong 3-0 on my list, this after reading Jonathan Hickman’s version of the brash Clint Barton. I’m admittedly leery about books, films, and t.v. shows that are described as “dark and edgy” because, more often than not, they just seem to be trying too hard. Not the case here with Ultimate Hawkeye, a book whose alt. world storyline offers up the stakes and suspense lacking in much of the traditional titles. Why? Well, first and foremost, the Ultimate line allows the writers to take chances, something Hickman takes advantage of to glorious effect.
Verdict: Joining my pull list alongside Ultimates 2 and Ultimate Spiderman. Ultimate X-Men, here I come.
It’s great to see artists assuming a wider role in the narrative process. Here, the legendary George Perez takes both the artist and writer’s reins on Superman, rebooting Big Blue in line with Grant Morrison on Action Comics. What particularly struck me about Perez’s work on this title was the word per page count, a denseness that far outdoes any other book out there. The panels are packed with dialogue and it’s the words that drive the story – curious given that Perez is known, first and foremost, for his artwork. Not a criticism, simply a point of interest. What IS problematic for me, however, is the reboot itself which ultimately feels unnecessary. The new Bat titles have successfully relaunched without having to go back to square one and I’m not sure why Supes couldn’t have followed suit.
Verdict: Alas, not a character I’ve much cared for in the past and the prospect of starting over with the Man of Steel doesn’t hold much appeal.
The problem I have with the Punisher is that, unlike the other heroes in the Marvel and DC universe, his world is rather narrow. It’s Frank Castle vs. the Mob and, while there’s no better protagonist to take on the unsavory sorts who make up the big city’s underworld, after a while these stories begin to feel a little repetitious. As a result, the challenge comes in the telling and, with Punisher Max, writer Jason Aaron avails himself nicely, demonstrating the type of gritty storytelling that made Scalped one of my favorite reads. It’s the small parts – the characters, their interactions, the dialogue – that make up the greater whole – and, at the end of the day, it all comes together nicely.
Verdict: Jason Aaron is infinitely readable.
This title is unique and I love it for that. Amid all the contemporary superhero titles out there, Demon Knights stands out with its Dark Age setting and (literally) divided hero. Writer Paul Cornell is at his best here, spinning a tale teeming with battle, magic, the supernatural, and a nice dose of humor. From the first issue’s creepy talking baby to Vandal Savage’s turn as a surprisingly sympathetic warrior, it’s all great fun!
Verdict: He had me at the creepy talking baby.
Ed Brubaker manages to do the impossible: make the perennially uninterested Captain America interesting. It helps to surround Cap with terrific supporting players (in Nick Fury and Sharon Carter) and then drop him into a mind-bender of a Inceptionesque tale involving alternate realities, malleable dreamscapes, and rivals long thought dead. I’d be remiss if I didn’t make special mention of Steve McNiven’s pencils. Wow. Gorgeous work. This is one of those rare instances where I’d buy a title for the art alone. Fortunately, Brubaker’s narrative process ensures the book delivers on both counts.
Today’s entry is dedicated to blog regular JimFromJersey. Here’s hoping 2012 is a better year, buddy!