As we close out June, I get a huge pile of comics. They never distribute evenly. But that means more choices of great comics to feature, including an indy title I’ve been wanting to write about for a while, an example of my favorite character being awesome, and just an amazing issue of a great title.
In the beginning of this series, Hawkeye acquires a dog named “Lucky”, but also known as “Pizza Dog”. This issue is entirely told through Pizza Dog’s eyes. (It’s more fun to type Pizza Dog than Lucky.) He has limited language recognition, not unlike the old Far Side cartoon. We also get treated to very clever “smell” pictograms, as he has his adventure through the happenings of this issue.
This is not, however, a throwaway “cute” issue. Plot advances. Some of it is a bit mysterious, because it’s mysterious to Pizza Dog himself. I talk a lot about perspective being an excellent storytelling device, and this issue is another excellent example.
It’s hard to really describe this issue, other than just to say – check it out! It’s delightfully different, and master craftsmen at work.
Atomic Robo and the Savage Sword of Dr. Dinosaur #1
Atomic Robo is pulp adventure at its finest. I like it a lot, but it’s clear that what’s a very well written comic in a genre that I have a mild interest in is, for some, a direct hit on the pleasure centers of their brain. If pulp adventure is your thing, your thing is this comic.
Atomic Robo comes out as a sequence of miniseries. They get collected and you can buy those, or as issues, and there doesn’t seem to be a strict need to read them in order. Know this: Atomic Robo is a robot superscience hero created by Tesla. He’s been active since the late 19th century, and the stories are set in different time periods, involving Robo and his cohorts at Tesladyne Industries. It’s sort of half Eureka, half Indiana Jones.
In this current series, we’re set in the present day. There’s two parallel storylines going on. In the main one, Robo and Tesladyne have had some serious public relations issues, and one of their many adversaries is setting them up to take a big fall. In the other one, Robo and his crew are investigating an old Nazi Superscience base, where they run into an old nemesis. Given that it’s in the title of the series, it’s not really a spoiler to say it’s Dr. Dinosaur, a super-intelligent dinosaur villain, who manages to get the drop on Robo and friends.
I’m liking this series in the first issue more than most, and it could be one of the strongest Atomic Robos yet. If you’re a pulp person, give it a try!
All New X-Men #13
I’ve written before about this title, how it has really interesting characters and it’s clear stuff is going on, but the plot pacing is slow and it was never quite clear what Mystique was up to. Well, now we know. Sort of.
She’s been gathering tons of money, and meets up with Hydra to buy control of the island of Madripoor. Readers new to Marvel might not be familiar with this fictional nation, but those that are know it to be a wretched hive of scum and villainry, heart of the worldwide criminal culture, and all around bad place. The kind of place Wolverine goes to blow off steam and fight ninjas. Why does Mystique want this island? We don’t know, because the X-Men come in guns blazing at this point.
Much more interesting, though, was the bits that went off into minority identity. In a recent issue of Uncanny Avengers, Havok gave a televised speech about how he hated the M-Word (Mutant) and just wanted to be referred to as human. (They kindly reprinted the page in the back for those that don’t read that title.) In response, Kitty Pryde gives a fantastic counter-speech that ties it right back into the real world, bringing her background of being Jewish into the forefront.
And this really is a hotly debated topic. Pride in being a minority, or just work for a world where that’s all ignored and we’re just people? I tend to come down on Kitty’s side – it’s better for me to own my identity and embrace it, and it is a big deal. But much more interesting is that this dialog is being aired in the pages of various mutant books. It’s part of why I’m so attached to the X world. It may be folks in tights doing crazy things, but at it’s heart, it’s about people who are different and how they try to be themselves and still get by in a world that isn’t quite sure they have the right to do that. And that speaks straight to my heart.