Best and Worst of the Week in Comics: Sept. 24, 2009
First of all, a little business. The name of this feature, “Best and Worst of the Week,” just ain’t cutting it with me. I’m thinking of re-naming it “A Scanner Dorkly.” What do you guys think? Hit the poll at the end of the post.
The world of comics turned inward last week as heroes and villains alike were caught in a series of private moments. Some of these private moments harken back to another time, and other herald important revelations. But all of the major plot points from last week seemed to stem not from a blow struck or a laser fired… but from those moments when nobody is looking. Click on the thumbnails for a full-page excerpt.
A Private Moment with… Norman Osborn
Of course, a few Private Moments are better left private. Case in point: Somewhere in Thunderbolts Mountain, Victoria Hand (heh-heh) approached a heavily fortified door at the end of a long corridor.
On her cell phone is the Secretary of Defense, ostensibly demanding a conference with Osborn.
Osborn (from behind the roon): Not now.
Hand: You all right?
Hand (walking away): Mister Secretary, I’m sorry, he went out on a mission. Yes. Absolutely. Of course.
Osborn Victoria? Are you still there? I think I need some help. Hello?
Go ahead. Laugh. As if you haven’t been off on your fair share of missions.
A Private Moment with… Alfred
My seven-year-old son has much of the Johnny DC line of comics in his Pull List at the comic shop. And I’ve been planning on making this point ever since Batman fought a criminal on Finger Avenue in the Johnny DC version of the Brave and the Bold series. It was a series of panels replete with call-outs to such important names in the Batman mythos. (Bill Finger, for the uninitiated, was a man many credit for the creation of Batman as we know him.) I love that my son and I can read those comics and enjoy them simultaneously on different levels.
Last week’s Tiny Titans featured another such moment as faithful butler, Alfred, sprang towards the Bat Pole after activating a secret button in a location familiar to anyone who ever watched the wonderfully campy Batman TV series.
A Private Moment with… M.O.D.O.K.
By far, this was the hands-down winner of the week. You read about it in last week’s “Five to Pull,” and if you didn’t pick it up, run back to your shop and snag it before it’s too late. Folks, this Ryan Dunlavey one-shot was a cover-to-cover rollick. From M.O.D.O.K.’s insecure-ex-girlfriend-ish answering machine messages to Norman Osborn to a splash page scene of M.O.D.O.K. getting a swirley at his high-school reunion to a phone call fielded by the wife of Canadian super-hero Box:
Mrs. Box: Hey, some dudes over in Erie want to hire you to fight some bad guy named, um, Motor Doc? Doctor Moe?
Mrs. Box: Yeah, Moe Doc.
This book was pure joy to read. In the end, our anti-hero is released from the hands of the authorities when it is discovered that the super-hero, Box, who apprehended him is:
“…a mutant. And Canadian. (Probably an Atheist, too.)”
…Which makes M.O.D.O.K. a bona fide super-hero in comparison! The next day’s Erie (Pa.) Daily Times trumpets the good news in its lead story.
Deer Season Only 6 Weeks Away!
Luckily, a sidebar noted: “Giant Headed Man Yells at Shoppers.
Dear Marvel: More!
A Private Moment with… Batgirl
I think I’m going to like Stephanie Brown as the new Batgirl. Last week, as she brunched with Barbara Gordon, she faced a severe tongue-lashing (down, boys) from the former wearer-of-the-tights.
Barbara: You’ve already “died” once in the line of duty, Stephanie.
Stephanie: I got better.
That’s right, Bat fans, we have a new Batgirl, and she kicks butt. Plus she quote Monty Python.
And if that doesn’t light your Bat signal, nothing will.
A Private Moment with… Clint Barton
For several consecutive issues, Loki has mislead the Earth’s Mightiest by masquerading as the Scarlet Witch. That is, until Clint “Hawkeye/Ronin/Lothario” Barton decides to use his super powers and solve this mystery once and for all.
Clint: The lips? The lips don’t lie. You’re not Wanda.
One can only assume Wanda does that swishy thing with her tongue.
Nonetheless, Clint has better be careful using his newfound super-powered lips. Is this sort of thing that landed Starfox in a courtroom being defended on sexual-assault charges by She-Hulk. (Here’s an excerpt from She Hulk #7, if you can’t recall.)
A Private Moment with… Batman and Robin
In a wonderful little scene that remembers a gentler time in Bat history, Dick “Batman” Grayson shares a lesson with Damien “Robin” Wayne.
Batman: …One of the first things Batman warned me about when I started out as Robin was how easily a hood… can become a blindfold. (He throws the hood over Robins head and proceeds to try to pummel the Boy Wonder. who blocks every shot.)
Robin: I. Can. Fight. Blind. I can hear you breathing and beat you senseless in pitch darkness. Your point is?
This ain’t your father’s Robin. Ten-to-one the Joker winds up with a crossbar shoved up an awkward crevice if these two cross paths. And it ain’t your father’s Batman, either, because Dick has a very un-Batman-like reaction.
A Private Moment with… Black Lantern Ralph Dibney
Along with their rings, their ability to reconstitute themselves after being demolished, and their ability to rip hearts out of girlfriends and wives of super-heroes everywhere (what is up with that, anyway?) the Black Lanterns have yet another weapon in their fearsome arsenal: The Awkward Moment
Zombie Ralph: We were never really tight, were we, Hal? Don’t think I didn’t catch you scoping out Sue when she was wearing a skirt. And you, ray. You’re not looking me in the eyes. What’s wrong? You still feel bad about what Jean did to my lady, don’t you?
That’s a good reason for not looking you in the eyes, Zombie Ralph.
That. And the fact that you don’t have any on account of the worms and all.