While You Were Away: Josh Catches Up on Some Comics

One of the great joys (or curses) of the comic book reader is that if you go out of reach of a comic shop for just a little while, it’s very possible that you’ll come back to a giant stack of books. It just so happened that there were some great books that didn’t get discussed. This is a wrong that must be righted!

First up was the last issue of Y: The Last Man. Holy crap!

(Beware of spoilers following the click. Seriously. I’m warning you.)

Y: The Last Man #58

This was, easily, the best issue of this book in the last two years. I’m not saying the rest of the issues were bad, but this is just one culmination in what I assume will be a series of culminations, as the book starts its quick sprint towards the conclusion of the story.

It appears that Yorick and 355 have been secretly in love with each other all the time. Now I know that, in retrospect, it’s pretty fucking obvious, but for some reason, it just didn’t occur to me that that was actually going to happen. I don’t know if there was enough diversions to keep me distracted from noting the obvious, or that is is brilliantly crafted, or that maybe I’m just a simpleton, but I didn’t really see it coming. But all that was secondary to the biggest punch this series, which is chocked right full of punches, has ever pulled on me. I don’t know if I’ve gasped like that when reading a comic in recent memory, but that quiet panel with the gunshot spoke exceptionally loudly. That is exactly how to use comic book frames in a cinematic way. This was an “eyes wide, flip back to see if it really happened moment,” and I was really very affected to see 355 go down like that. Unlike a lot of the rest of this book, I really don’t think she’s coming back either. The wait for the next issue will be long indeed.

The Boys #10

This might have been what I was waiting for. It took me ten issues, but I’m really starting to enjoy this series, and I’m glad I didn’t give up on it. I feel a bit like I am Hughie, in the sense, that he too is only just starting to come around to what’s happening around him. And just like Hughie, I’m starting to appreciate what Butcher and the other characters are doing. This isn’t all that different from what Civil War was about. In a world where these people with incredible powers would exist, chances are, they’d be a lot more dangerous than altruistic. Even if the public face of those heroes is good, if you looked in the back door, you’d see some shit you might not want to know about. It’s no different with our celebrities, who are given royal status. So you take that idea, and apply it to a world with superheroes, and that’s what The Boys is. It’s about the people who keep their superheroes in check. The series is just starting to get past the shock, and into some real stories, about real-esque people. I’m seeing that heart that I saw in Preacher, which I felt was lacking in earlier issues. The key to all this is Hughie, who is the “everyman” to keep this craziness grounded in something we can relate to. I can just hope it continues to get better from here.

lobster%20johnson.jpgLobster Johnson: The Iron Prometheus #1

It’s possible that I’m more familiar with the Hellboy Universe these days than I was just a couple short months ago. It’s possible that in this time, I felt I knew enough and was interested enough to jump into a series about Lobster Johnson. In fact, it’s very likely that I would have developed such an affinity for this particular character, who is somewhat silly, that I would be excited about the prospect of reading such a series. It’s very likely that I enjoy being vague and aloof in a comical manner when I write.

So I liked this one a lot. It’s retains the tone and feel of the books which spawned Lobster Johnson, due in no small part to the colors which unify the series with Hellboy proper. Those 2 orange circles that make up Lobster’s signatures are a fantastic visual device, which attracted me instantly to the character. He’s got one of those Batman-like He-Was-Right-There-and-Now-He’s-Gone things, which, while perhaps overdone in the world of comics, is still very cool when done right. In this story, there’s a dude in a very powerful suit which electrocutes people, and the bad guys want it, and Lobster Johnson has to keep it away from them. The rest is all tone. And if you like the tone in Mignola’s work, you’ll like this too. I can’t say for sure that it’s worth it without reading Hellboy, but if you do like it, you can be sure you’ll like Hellboy. I’m very glad to have expanded my world a bit in the Hellboy way.

Jonah Hex #23

If you can read this issue, and not like this series, Jonah Hex is not for you. This is one of the finest examples of what this series is all about. It’s a stark look at western-style morality, in the classic sense. This issue is couched in the tale of a teacher who once spent some time with Jonah Hex, and of course things go wrong, and then they get crazy, and we see Jonah Hex do what he does best. (Hint: It involves guns!) I’m not sure why the tough-as-nails-and-madder-than-hell schtick doesn’t get old on this book, but it doesn’t. The challenge for the writers lies in coming up with different situations to put Hex to up his ire, and make him decided he has to get involved, even though he wants to be left alone. There is no character development of Hex. He is who he is, and there’s not much chance he’s going to change. But that’s part of the tease of this book, in that you keep thinking, “maybe NOW he’ll fall in love and leave his killin’ ways.” But then he never does. And I keep signing up for more of that. Then this Bernet art is like watching a Sergio Leone movie. It is gritty western mixed with artsy European. It’s simple and sketchy, but clean and evocative all at once. It’s like he was born to draw this book. We’re 23 issues in, and I’ve never regretted recommending this book once.


  1. Jonah Hex was really great!

  2. YTLM 58 should have been the pick of the week, but you only read in trades. You picked Buffy instead….I repeat, you picked “Buffy” instead.
    Hard to do POTW when you’re not reading weekly…
    Know you guys don’t have unlimited budgets, but
    that week was way off. You had the Writer, but the wrong title.

  3. YTLM 58 should have been the pick of the week, but you only read in trades. You picked Buffy instead….I repeat, you picked “Buffy” instead.

    Um, I picked Buffy, not Josh.

  4. You are so correct about Y. I did what I always do when I read an amazing comic, I jumped right on the ‘Net to see what people were saying about it, and I couldn’t believe there wasn’t more discussion about this issue. I mean c’mON! That was HUGE!

    Usually, at this point, if this were any other comic, I would be saying “I am gonna be so pissed if she is dead.” However, this is BKV and Y The Last Man. This isn’t some superhero that is going to come back from the dead next month. She’s fucking dead. I can’t believe he did that to us, but I’m also DYING for that next issue now. I have NO idea how this series is gonna wind up, but it’s certainly NOT going to be how I figured it would end (I have noticed 355 and Yorick growing closer for quite some time, and I just assumed the series would end up with him realizing that, and them heading off somewhere to be some modern day Adam and Eve…so much for that idea.)

  5. If you can, watch the spoilers in the comments, because the first bits of them show up on the main page. Thanks!

  6. Rich, had I had the pick that week, this would have been my pick, definitely. But we are three different people, with three different tastes. So, the pick isn’t going to make everyone happy all the time. But I went on vacation, so I didn’t get a chance to talk about it. That’s why I wrote this here.

  7. I’m glad someone is talking about Y: The Last Man. I’m the only person I know that is reading this book monthly. Josh, I had the very same reaction. Although, mine wasn’t so much of a gasp as it was, “Wait…what the…(flip back and forth three or four times)…oh no.” For that split second, my heart sank. I wanted so bad to give this issue to my friends, but then I realized they wouldn’t get it.

  8. This has been a pretty great last two weeks for comics. It’s weeks like these that make me realize spending all this time and money is truly worth it.

    Hex has been consistantly good every issue, and this past one was probably the best.

    YTLM just blew my f’n socks off. I’ve been there the whole way, and to have it end the way it did just… wow. Did NOT see that coming, and it sucks that the series is coming to an end.

    I think Josh’s point about The Boys and the readers being in Hughie’s shoes is on the mark, and I think that’s intentional on Ennis’ part. Say what you will about Ennis and his consistantly over-the-top tendencies, but he is a smart writer who is entirely capable of pulling off something like this. Kinda sucks it took 10 issues to get there, but nonetheless.

    One other book I think stood out was the last issue of Incredible Hulk (110 I think). I know it’s smack dab in the middle of WWH and that’s turned a lot of people off, but it features a great, fun, almost Silver Age “comic-booky” explaination about why the Hulk’s death toll has been non-existant for the last 40-some years. Whether that holds up, we’ll have to wait and see, but it is a pretty genius idea IMO. If you’ve been turned off by WWH, at least spend a few minutes to give this issue a read. If this doesn’t get you on board, then you’ll know for sure you won’t need to buy the massive hardcover when it comes out next year.

  9. I think I almost shed a tear when I read Y #58. I re-read the issue repeatedly for a couple of days just to let it sink in, and put the book underneath a big stack because I didn’t even want to see the cover anymore.

    I never want to experience such a heartbreak like that again while reading a comic book. That hurt.

  10. I completely agree about Y. I never saw it coming either, but it retrospect, it totally made sense. I really can’t wait for the last issue to come out; I’m going to hole myself in somewhere and just read through the whole series from start to finish. Superhero books are lots of fun, but this is why I got back into comics.

    On the Jonah Hex wagon, I read the first trade and really dug it, but I have yet to go back and catch up. I was never a Western fan before this, but it’s got me going back to Eastwood movies and enjoying them. I’d love more genre books like this, cuz I feel like especially crime and spy books, not to mention the whole zombie thing, are making a huge comeback, and it’d be awesome to see stuff like that find a substantial niche again and come back to their popularity post-WWII.

  11. glad to see some Lobster Johnson love. love all things hellboy. welcome back josh me lad.

  12. Glad you picked up Lobster Johnson. This is like a n old pulp adventure on crack. Evidently the next issue will move even faster piling on one catastrophe on top of another. I completely agree with your note about Dave Stewart’s colors. They really pull the art together and make it feel part of the Mignola-verse.

  13. Yeah, that issue of Y was sick. Did you guys notice the “Y” that was formed on the last page? BKV and Pia Guerra rock my world…