blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

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Hot Millions (1968, Eric Till)

Hot Millions is an entirely amiable, often charming light comedy about career embezzler Peter Ustinov’s attempt to keep embezzling in the computer age. The film starts with Ustinov getting out of prison, late for his exit because he’s busy doing the warden’s taxes. He was caught by the computer last time, and he’s out to show them what for. Ustinov co-wrote Millions with Ira Wallach, and the film’s first half showcases him. It changes once…

Catwoman (2002) #8

Batman doesn’t appear in this issue, but he really ought to be here somewhere. What with the cops moving a bunch of heroin through the city to make a deal with the Russians. One would think the Darkknight Detective would give a shit. But he apparently does not. It’s hilarious how bad Batman is at his job. Anyway. Enough about useless white men and on to the awesome ones. Writer Ed Brubaker, penciler Brad Rader,…

Black Panther (1998) #2

The misadventures of Everett K. Ross continue, with writer Priest still hopping around the flashbacks to give the most bang for the two and a half bucks. It starts with Mephisto, last issue’s hilarious and extra cliffhanger. For some reason, Mephisto’s waiting for T’Challa; Ross (and Priest) don’t tell us (or Nikki, Ross’s boss, who he’s debriefing). Instead, we get these occasional check-ins on the odd couple sitting on a couch, Ross without any pants…

Infinity 8: Volume Six: Ultimate Knowledge (2018)

Much of Ultimate Knowledge is the best-written Infinity 8 has been so far, and Infinity 8 has been exceptionally well-written so far. But this volume pairs an odder couple than usual, so there’s constant banter. The partner is also a know-it-all, verbose historian, and he’s always got something to say about whatever they’re experiencing (or running from). The volume opens introducing the historian—Bert—and the agent, Leila Sharad. Also, more than any of the other volumes,…

Legion of Super-Heroes (1980) #264

Turns out the only time Wildfire isn’t a raging asshole is when he’s ostensibly worried about his kidnapped parents. Either I forgot, didn’t realize, or didn’t care his parents had gotten taken last issue. They didn’t stand out (I think some parents got kidnapped off-page) because they weren’t assholes like their kid. It’s a really weird failing for writer Gerry Conway, who can write Wildfire freaking out about someone not saying hello to him, but…

Do a Powerbomb (2022) #2

Well, despite being curious about something related to the issue’s Brobdingnagian last page reveal when creator Daniel Warren Johnson set it up last issue… I can’t remember the last time I’ve been as surprised by a comic. It’s a perfectly solid narrative choice but also entirely unexpected. Johnson started Powerbomb last issue doing one comic, then changed to another, then another. So now he’s on to a fourth–or at least a three and a half.…

Tomb of Dracula (1972) #31

The “Taj in India” C plot has been running seven issues, so half a year, and it’s just now getting to him staking his vampire son. The cover shows Taj thrilled to do it and the wife begging him to stop; the interior’s the opposite; the entire point of Taj going home was to stake the kid before the villagers do it. And to slap his wife around for being… a woman, basically. Anyway. Writer…

Absolution (2022) #2

I’m unsurprised to see writer Peter Milligan downshift Absolution’s pace this issue. The action opens on streaming assassin Nina finishing her outing from last issue and quickly becomes about establishing the actual ground situation. First issue, Milligan did the world set-up; now it’s time to lay out Nina’s “normal” life. While the action might open on Nina, the issue starts with a yucky one-page scene introducing one of Nina’s fans, a masseuse coerced by a…

War Story: D-Day Dodgers (2001)

D-Day Dodgers ends with a ten-page series of splash pages, with artist John Higgins moving through a battlefield, a poem accompanying the imagery. The poem, “The Ballad of the D-Day Dodgers,” is from an unknown author. Higgins’s pages tie the poem’s lines to the various characters we’ve met throughout the issue, which is a fairly standard war story until the “D-Day Dodgers” plot point arrives. Writer Garth Ennis’s opening text block informs the reader of…

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000, Joel Coen)

O Brother, Where Art Thou? is a frustrating, adequate success. There’s some excellent filmmaking and even better performances. Still, the Coen Brothers’ adaptation of Homer’s The Odyssey is at times too stringent and, at other times, narrative spaghetti on the wall. The falling pieces are co-stars John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson, who spend the first half of the movie establishing themselves and seemingly firmly affixed, only to drop. The film’s got three creative impulses:…

Mamo (2021) #1

Creator Sas Milledge is masterful when it comes to introspection. Despite Mamo often being full of expository dialogue, it’s about the characters when they’re not talking, why they’re not talking, what they’re thinking about instead, and so on. Just like most of the book, it’s understated, thoughtful, and fantastic. The issue begins with teenager Jo riding her bike out to the seaside cliffs to consult the town witch. It’s windy, and the trees are swaying,…

Werewolf by Night (1972) #27

There are numerous things to talk about this issue, but the teaser for next issue muscles them all out. Next issue is Lissa’s eighteenth birthday, an event the series has been promising for twenty issues and three years. I’m not taking the teaser as a promise, especially when writer Doug Moench is so comfortable retconning. The biggest official retcon is Jack remembering Wolfman Jack’s adventures. It’s always been a problem for the book, which has…

The Terminator (1988) #1

If I knew there was a licensed Terminator monthly from the late eighties, I’d forgotten. I knew there was the Burning Earth limited (which concludes the NOW Comics license, with Terminator then headed to Dark Horse), but I didn’t remember there was a regular series. Though after one issue, it’s got squat to do with The Terminator. Outside the very obvious—the near future humans talk about Skynet all the time—the comic’s its own thing. I…

House of Bamboo (1955, Samuel Fuller)

I had a variety of ways I was going to open this post. I was going to make a Robert Palmer reference for my apparent target demographic (it would have read: Director Fuller has cranes and knows how to use them). Except it turns out… Fuller didn’t have a dozen cranes roaming the Tokyo streets. He shot it on a minimal budget for locations, and the city shots were done guerilla without permits. It’s okay,…

Catwoman (2002) #7

Last issue ended with Holly, on assignment from Selina (but maybe a little too gung ho), shot by dirty cops. This issue opens with them approaching; luckily, Selina gets there in time. Selina rushes Holly to Leslie Thompkins’s clinic and reveals she knew Holly was a recovering addict this whole time. As Leslie gets to operating, Selina takes the scant information she’s got—Holly was trailing an undercover narc before seeing some cops kill him—and heads…

Black Panther (1998) #1

I remembered Priest and Mark Texeira’s Black Panther being good, but I didn’t remember it being a comedy. I also didn’t remember Black man Priest writing it for the white audience. His protagonist is CIA guy Everett K. Ross, who thinks T’Challa’s just like any other diplomatic liaison and isn’t anywhere near as badass as everyone makes him out to be. Ross admits he’s wrong real quick. He narrates the story, possibly as a report…

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