Many a link in these reviews.

*Rumblings from other parts of this site dept: Rose has been kicking all sorts of ass with her comments in the past week or so (you do read the comments sections, right? I tend to think that those are half the fun of blogs). Just yesterday, she posted some new information about the possible “Scott Pilgrim” movie which was originally discussed here. Very interesting developments…

*Rumblings from the Journal board dept: according to former Highwater Books head Tom Devlin, Ron Rege Jr.’s “Skibber Bee Bye” will be reprinted by Drawn and Quarterly at some point in the (hopefully near) future, joining fellow pre-released Highwater production “Perfect Example” by John Porcellino. Hopefully homes for planned projects that were never released will be secured soon.

The Intimates #4

Am I seeing things? Ok… look at the cover image that Rich presented on Monday (scroll down just a bit). Click to enlarge, and look very very closely at the young lady’s breast, specifically at her nipple (always delighted to write a sentence like that for my comics site). There appears to be a tiny vertical rectangle of a deeper flesh hue than the rest of the breast placed over the nipple area. It could be a censorship bar (if it is, why isn‘t it black?), but from a distance, it appears to signify the presence of the nipple itself; no lines, just a bit of spot color. Now pull out your own copy of this issue. I know you’ve bought it and slept with it under your pillow and everything. The breast on the published cover is one solid light color; the darker flesh tone is missing. All that is left to indicate the presence of a nipple is a tiny break in the outline of the mammary in question. Maybe I’m nitpicking, but I wouldn’t have noticed the quasi-nudity whatsoever had there not been some sort of coloring in that crucial spot, coloring which is not on the final shipped cover. Perhaps DC decided to tone things down at the last second before print, and an unchanged version of the image made its way online? The bar looks awfully crude though. Is the presence of this tiny bar uniform on other online images of the cover (the real cover, not the placeholder cover that DC is still displaying on their site)? I don’t know. All I know was that I was staring intently at the breasts on this cover in the store, certain that something was different, and now the shop’s entire staff is either thinking I’m a pervert or wondering why I didn’t go for “Brian Pulidos’ Unholy”, which was just a few spaces over on the rack. Oh Christ, that was a pun, wasn’t it? Kill me now.

So as for the comic itself, it’s striding down the middle of the superhero aisle with determination and at least a modicum of character. Listening to Punchy’s dialogue and references to his online activities, I’m still unsure as to whether or not writer Joe Casey simply doesn’t have that strong a grasp on dumb-ass internet message board language cum white boy hip-hop slang, or if he’s intentionally making things unrealistic for the benefit of his superhero world. Still, Destra is starting to emerge as one of the more interesting ‘rich girl’ type characters I’ve seen recently, utterly self-possessed (and willing to trade in on her significant backing resources) but in a benevolent way, willing to allow other students to become empowered too. And that all might change later on. Or never. The bottom-page crawl is getting a little nervous, wondering aloud if anyone reads it and joking that it doesn’t know how long the book will last. It also drops a reference to “The Office”, which is always welcome. There’s a school dance. A tiny bit of fallout from last issue. I’m never drawn right into the book, but it’s pretty compulsively readable. That’s my constant impression, beyond hints of non-controversy.

Adam Strange #5 (of 8)

For some reason the colors seem a little more dim than average this issue. I know everything is taking place in brooding metal cities and darkened starship corridors but the generally muted color scheme of the book doesn’t serve these environs all that well. Pascal Ferry’s linework remains strong and expressive, with great architectural detail. Adam looks awesome flying into battle. But it’s a murky war he’s waging this time around.

Might I reiterate that it won’t matter all that much to me if DC decides to tie all this stuff into some future miniseries so long as everything also operates as a satisfying story in its own right? It’s only when a handful of plot threads are left purposefully hanging for the benefit of stringing readers along into purchasing another series that all of this starts to get annoying. Dave Welsh (working off of some thoughts by Shawn Hoke) also had a really good notion recently: that DC has seen how weakly this book is doing, despite its popularity in certain circles, and they want to support it, and they feel that the most effective way to support it is to try and tie it in to an upcoming ‘major miniseries’. After all, that’s what really moves copies these days. Think of it as hardball marketing. I like this theory a lot, and I think it makes perfect sense given the purchasing realities of the present Direct Market. And again, so long as the story doesn't amount to a glorified lead-in (be sure you read the comments on Dave’s post… also some good stuff in there).

As for this issue, it’s largely action, with Adam and the Omega Men running all over the place. L.E.G.I.O.N. pops in for what amounts to a special guest cameo. Some plot movement. It didn’t quite get to me like prior chapters, but I don’t think that's due to the book becoming more and more of a guided tour of the Outer Space DCU (the U of the DCU, if you will). It’s just that the sightseeing wasn’t as interesting at this stop off the bus.