Thrift Store Finds: HPB quarter bins
I did a little digging in my Half-Price Books’ quarter bins recently and pulled out about $6 dollars worth of DC Comics from the recent past.
Superman #663 and #664 are two issues from Kurt Busiek’s run with the Man of Steel back in the mid 2000’s. I picked these books up specifically because they were a collaboration between Busiek and Carlos Pacheco; I’m a fan of their WWI/fantasy mash-up comic Arrowsmith and I was interested to see what their take on this classic character looked like. It’s pretty great – Pacheco does flying scenes wonderfully well, with lots of distinct, interesting angles in his panels. Busiek was doing an admirable job of telling distinct stories in each of these two issues while spinning out a longer narrative. Busiek’s long game seemed a little familiar to this longtime Superman reader (an outside force suggests Superman’s good work on Earth is holding humanity back) but these are rock solid comics. I wish I had been reading this run when it was originally being published.
Adventures in the DC Universe #1 is a book I’ve passed on a few times. I’m gigantic fan of the DC Animated Universe, going back to Batman: The Animated Series and on up through Justice League Unlimited. Those are, more or less, my definitive take on the DC stable of superheroes. I’ve avoided AitDCU because it’s a very weird footnote to that continuity. DC commissioned the series after Superman: The Animated Series was a go project but before WB Animation had done work on the Batman redesign or the Justice League series. To wit, we get very specific DC Animated takes of characters that were never to appear on television, like the comic-specific versions of Kyle Rayner and Aquaman. It’s an entertaining enough comic and John Delaney’s version of the Bruce Timm style has a lot of kinetic energy… but it’s just not for me.
Detective Comics #787 has a lot in common with the DC Animated approach to bare bones storytelling. Written by Bryan K. Vaughan with pencils from Rick Burchett, this is a Mad Hatter story that’s very straightforward in the approach to both art and story. Vaughan’s script bends over backwards to allow for a throwdown between Batman and a Jabberwocky-like monster. Burchett often did work for the DC Animated books but his stripped-down style works well with Vaughan’s direct storytelling. A fun book.
Hellblazer #92 through #96 is a complete run of a storyline written by Paul Jenkins with art by Sean Phillips. I’ll be honest – outside of some of the more famous John Constantine stories (Dangerous Habits being one of them) I’m not a huge Hellblazer fan. I mainly picked these up because (a) it was a complete run and I new I’d be able to read through it without gaps, and (b) I love Sean Phillips’ art. He’s fantastic at what he does. I haven’t quite gotten to these yet, however.
Finally, Green Lantern #55-#58 are four issues published in 2010, written by Geoff Johns with pencils by Doug Mahnke and inks by several others. These four books are fallout from the whole Blackest Night/Brightest Day crossover event DC was pushing before their New 52 reboot. It’s competent enough work but I’ll admit, I’ve never been the biggest Hal Jordan fan and the multi-hued Lantern Corps while interesting for awhile never grabbed me in a big, bad way. Having said that, Johns writes nice issues and Mahnke’s pencils are crazy-good, especially on the pages where Christian Alamy is inking him.