It’s the Last Days for many of our favorite Marvel heroes, and we’ll be here the next couple months to broadcast it all to you. That, along with Secret Wars, will undoubtedly dominate our immediate future Fistful of Sunday Stashes; but, of course, being the respectable comic-reviewing clergy that we are, Oni Press hit, The Auteur: Sister Bambi, and the apparent not-so-Dynamite, Swords of Sorrow, also take precedence among the most Marvel-ous.
Yeah, we like to mix it up–and we hope you do too. Enjoy.
au·teur /ōˈtər/ n. 1. [French, from Old French autor, author; see AUTHOR.] 2. A creative artist, especially a film director, seen as having a specific, recognizable artistic vision, and who is seen as the single or preeminent ‘author’ of his works. – American Heritage Dictionary Bubbling up through the primordial muck like some psychedelic dog fart, comes more rectal queefery, more cinemanic shenanigans, from our favorite reprobate filmmaker of comic world chicanery: one Mr. Nathan T. Rex!
The Auteur: Sister Bambi #1 delves into the collective brainpan with the visual insatiability of atomic-colored cream, inside a napalm-fevered dream; reminiscent of the dexterous comic perversity of such masters as R. Crumb, Harvey Pekar, and Foolbert Sturgeon (aka Frank Stack; who the writer of this review studied under while at Ol’ Mizzou). Who’s the band of brothers at fault for assaulting our senses here? Rick Spears (Teenager from Mars) rifles words; James Callahan (Barf Comics) shotguns pencils/inks; Luigi Anderson (Flash Gordon) splatterbombs colors; and Sick Rears (Rick Spears’ alter-ego) fisticuffs letters. Now, I’m wondering if Rick is related to Randy Spears. Ever heard of him?
EXT. JUNGLE PARADISE (Bolivian Marching Powder Territory) – DAY
We close in on our zero film director, N.T. Rex, muscles-with-muscles under, six feet in height; manifesting as the bastard progeny of an unholy union, leaked from the loins of the likes of John Waters, and Charlie Chaplin. With his hair coiffed in Hitlerian persuasion, the auchtung is already telegraphed here, as we discover that Rex’s new film financiers may be triplets of Third Reich-ian demeanor. As Rex begins to deliver his pitch—while glinting the gleam of a fist-sized blood diamond—the notion of linear narrative fractures into the multi-faceted gem this issue refracts.
From scenes of South American jungle-present, to recent Hollywood-past; melting into desert mirage and fantasy transmogrification, conflating physiological function and emotional intimacy – while all of it bleeds into gratuitous exploitation, encapsulated within the form of film, writhing inside Nathan T. Rex’s sack-wrinkled mind… We’re given a rogues’ gallery of visual cues and clues, handedly backhanded to us here, conjuring forth the hybridized mugs of such figures as: Red Buttons, James Gandolfini, Vic Tayback, Peter O’Toole’s Lawrence of Arabia, the Sultan Saladin, Pam Grier, Loretta Swit, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and The Mayor of Venice himself –Danny Trejo.
With all of these permutations of iconic flesh flooding before your eyes, as they traverse the terrain of myriad material planes, you just can’t go wrong with breaking yourself off some Auteur to suck on!!!
EXT. SKYLINE OVER JUNGLE PARADISE –SAME DAY
A Doberman skydiving, with the jungle canopy below him.
The Secret is out, and Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger need answers! Hah, nah, but in “The Last Days” of Captain America & the Mighty Avengers, the universes collide and only a select heroes will be left to rebuild from the rubble. Steve Rogers conducts a meeting with the Mighty Avengers (a.k.a. “We the People”), revealing to his family extension that the Illuminati had prior knowledge of the S.W. incursion and kept it quiet. Now the original Cap intends to stop them, and places the ultimatum on the table. They are either on his side, or against him.
Loki: Agent of Asgard scribe Al Ewing‘s penultimate issue of C.A.A.T.M.A. sets the tone as to which way this shitstorm of Infinity Gems and secrets is heading. Ewing does a great job showcasing the dynamic relationship between the “All-Black Cap” Sam Wilson and Old Man Rogers, while Luke Ross (Burbaker’s Captain America) pours out just the right mannerisms to express the Mighty “misforgivings” when it comes to the secrets held by Mr. Fantastic, Black Panther and the bunch. Watching “The Spectrum” Monica Rambeau go H.A.M. was even better! She’s one power who could play a darkhorse in future Secret happenings. But hey… if Luke Cage is indeed closing down these doors, at least it looks as if he’s choosing to shut it down in style. – 4/5 Bibles.
Alright… The Sighs of Sorrow— I mean, the Swords of Sorrow starts out with the very obvious and scantily-clad attempt to get a 12-year-old boy’s attention… BOOBS!…On top of the scattered storyline set up, and the unexplained dispersing of the actual swords and what they do, the story could have desperately benefitted from a little more conversation and a little less action. But not every reader values brain cells over boob size, so you may disagree.
The mostly-female storyline & cast (the exception being a Prince who must’ve had a really terrible Tindr experience and is looking to start a major set back for gender relations) is greatly appreciated and refreshingly progressive, but the women need to be drawn in a way that they are taken seriously and as mature characters; it’s hard to take any character seriously who’s drawn like they just left their shift on the pole. As a woman who so sincerely WANTS to become a fan of an All-Female-Ass-Kicking-Comic, it shouldn’t be too much to ask for more wardrobe choices and words in just such a comic, at least so that the main characters look more like the Swords of Sorrow and less like the Swords that are Swallowed. Here’s to hoping Marvel’s A-Force has much better luck next week. 2/5 Bibles, mostly for the effort to try and offset the gender ratio in Comics.
Secret Wars #1 ended in a cacophony of destruction and death. Caught up? Good! Issue #2 transports us to a universe that is unlike anything ever seen out of Marvel: A world that consists of a genuinely fascinating police troop of Thor clones (imagine Happy Hour!), alternate versions of fan favorite barons/baronesses (Sinister, Hyperion, Madelyn Pryor, Apocalypse and his horsemen, Captain Britain, Selene, etc.), zombies, and — at the helm of it all — DOOM as their omniscient GOD. It’s all as crazy cool as it sounds and Jonathan (East of West, Secret Warriors) Hickman‘s execution is just as lovely.
Perhaps my favorite moments took place during the conflict between Barons, Sinister and James Braddock. This fight does more than show that alternate universe versions of these characters don’t vary that much, as Sinister will always be the same self-absorbed asshole. In addition to multiple accusations (of just being a dick), Sin calls out Braddock’s pregnant wife. Before things can get too out-of-hand — and they do — the all-omnipotent Doom offers his own version of “Mercy”: The Shield. No, not the old FX series with The Thing Mackie and that crazy transexual guy on Sons of Anarchy; not those dubya dubya wrasslers; and absolutely not the Agents many of us love to watch on ABC. No, this Shield is essentially a giant wall that protects God Doom’s kingdom from outsider nastiness; it’s also where this Doom throws out anyone that has the inane audacity to disobey or displease Him.
Going over this wall is a veritable death sentence. You can: Be dismembered and eaten by Marvel zombies (hell, even a zombie symbiote appears); be annihilated by…Annihilus and his Annihilation Wave; or, being completely eradicated by an entire army of ever-evolving and self-replicating Ultron A.I. Yeah–good night.
Believe it or not, SW #2 is just as enjoyable as number one, if not more, and Esad Ribic (Silver Surfer: Requiem, Sub-Mariner: Depths) does another masterful job giving the characters depth and realism. All of the designs are on-point, except for the first panel with alternate universe Bentley; it first appeared that he was a girl until someone called him Bentley — and it was then that the character was sporting a sizeable…ayo! 4.5/5 Phoenix Force Deus Ex Machinas.
It’s hard not to get all the feels over here. Magneto is the best. He’s the psychotic, over-loving, human-hating, super father I always wanted, and his days are coming closer to an end. Not because of illness. Not because someone is going to assassinate him. NO! Because he is becoming The Savior of all mankind, and using his powers to their extreme.
Polaris is back by her father’s side to see him through it. The Brotherhood of Mutants is helping to save the lives of the puny homo-sapiens. Cullen Bunn (Sinestro) creates a world that is upside down. Cats and dogs are living together. Magneto is in the air, draining Earth’s energy to do what he needs to do, and then BAM! It’s not going to be so simple because the “Earth 2” has sent reinforcements of its own.
If these are indeed “The Last Days”, then that’s even harder to deal right now… 4.5/5 Magnets.