Lids all heavy all...

*Dept. of World Records: How long does it take from Dirk announcing a curious gaffe in the most recent Comics Journal solicitation in Previews to somebody taking said solicitation seriously and giving the issue in question a positive plug based thereon? Less than one day (keep scrolling down till you see it)! And let me be the ten billionth to note how nice that cover looks.

*I did manage to scrounge up enough cash to get several of the books on my 'wait list' for the week: I decided that it wouldn't kill me entirely to purchase a few more floppies.

The Intimates #7

On the other hand, that’s a damn generic cover. The printed version (which I can’t seem to find an image of) is even duller, as all of the character art is set against a plain white background with some plain-looking type surrounding it. It’s also the first cover Jim Lee didn’t work on, and he is thusly stricken from the cover credits, which you obviously can't see right now. You also can’t see a nice joke slipped in: “LAST DAY OF SCHOOL: Who lives? Who dies?” Of course, nobody dies. Nobody even fights, which sort of ties into the plot.

At first I found the many time-jumps in this issue to be a bit disorienting, but I was making a vital mistake in worrying about getting a handle on what is happening ‘first’ on the issue’s timeline. Disjointed scenes might be occurring hours or weeks before or after one another, but it honestly means little as far as the story is concerned; simply following along with the flow of information, unconcerned with sorting things into order, is probably the most rewarding way to read the book.

It’s the end of the term, and all of the young superheroes in superhero school are getting out for the summer; maybe some of them will be asked back next year, based on their scores. Or maybe some of them will score a cherry summer position at the sinister National Park Service, which I think figured into writer Joe Casey’s “Automatic Kafka” too, unless I’m misremembering. But popular rich girl Destra (who also happens to be smart and strong and genuinely stout-hearted, an almost taboo-breaking trait mix these days) wants to spend her vacation exploring the dark secrets of the school, and she’s hankering for a team-up. Meanwhile, Empty Vee (horrible name, but surprisingly interesting character at this stage in the game) is bugged by a corporate trendspotter. And Sykes and Kefong continue to act mysterious, as usual.

It’s a nice superhero book, bright in its use of teen drama (calling it a ‘soap’ doesn’t seem right - the book is too poppy and aloof for that) and pulled off with a sense of humor. Giuseppe Camuncoli and Sandra Hope keep things looking nice. The page design has laid off with the flim-flam ‘style’ and now focuses on subtler techniques, which is great. The book has grown on me, much as “Automatic Kafka” did back in the day. Hopefully this one won’t stun us all with an abrupt final issue when we didn’t even know it was cancelled, like that prior Joe Casey book did.

Seven Soldiers - Shining Knight #2 (of 4)


Obviously there’s an issue #2 trend going on here, with close-ups of every title character’s face on every cover. I think I’ll go out on a limb and predict that the second issues will be joined by more than that; I think these halfway points is where the transformations take place.

You’ll recall that back in “Seven Soldiers” #0, seven aging bald fellows literally packed up the project’s revamps and headed out into space and time. This issue, Sir Justin wanders into a mysterious old bald fellow who speaks his tongue and spits out horse feathers and magically endows him with a brand-new costume, and maybe a new sense of purpose (with no less than a spotlight shining down from the night sky to mark the occasion!). There’s six more of these guys for six more miniseries.

All of this only occurs after Justin wanders around town shadowed by Guilt, a Level 7 Mood Destroyer who looks like a big fuzzy theme-park mascot with Satanic spider-eyes. He also doesn’t seem to have any powers beyond being invincible and following Justin around and making him feel bad, which provides for sad laughs and plenty of exposition. There’s also fights and escapes, all lushly illustrated by Simone Bianchi with painterly color courtesy of Dave Stewart.

There’s a fun subplot too, as it turns out that Justin’s talking horsy pal is alive and well and in the hands of a bunch of characters who you just know Morrison dredged up from lord knows which inky pools of the DCU. Sticking the guy with the b&w face into a hooded tracksuit in his later scenes was a stroke of genius, though. Also: Neh-Buh-Loh shows up on his awesome spider-steed to kill him some C-list. But this issue’s mostly about Justin and Guilt, and how an encounter with Revision enables the former to maybe stand up to the latter. Will this thread extend across all of our second outings. Tune in again in a pair of weeks.