Variant Covers: An Ali Uppercut to Superman’s Dumb Jaw!

Welcome to Variant Covers! God damn I love comic books. If I don’t make that clear throughout my columns, I want to stamp it across your dome-piece right now. Not only do I love comic books as medium, but lately I’ve been rubbing a wild assortment of them across my groin in glee. There’s a lot of good shit out there to be reading. The comic industry may be declining, tangible products may be dying, but we still have a good amount of amusing funny books to leaf through. This is a slower week (for me), but I’m inclined to not complain. Nothing coming out that’s going to catch your eye? Go crack open an old book and try and look at it in a different light.

Lately I’ve been trying to examine the the effect of panel structure and panel choice on a narrative. I don’t usually pay attention that much to the art, as a disinclined literature nerd. But it can make things really interesting, really fast.

Per usual, hit the comments box with the titles you’re snagging (or not snagging) this week.


Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #6
This week, we get the climax to Mr. Wayne’s gallivanting across the Time Stream. Which is funny, because last week he was alive and well in Batman and Robin #16. Alive, well, and dropping Bat-Reveals with a stunning calm. I know I bitched about it last week, but it irks me to no end that publishers like DC and Marvel can’t organize their releases to have characters’ return stories finish before they arrive in other titles completely fucking alive. I know those corporations are leviathans, and its easier said than done. But still.

This storyline has been a mind-warping alteration of the entire Batman mythos. And I’ve dug it a lot. I know that Morrison’s modus operandi isn’t for everyone. Non-linear romps through the timestream with one of the world’s more prominent comic book characters is sure to turn people off. Perhaps you’re asking, “Why isn’t he throwing batarangs off the dumb faces of the Joker and Killer Croc? Fuck the Heat Death of the universe!”

To which I say, pshaw.

I don’t know how they’re going to wrap this storyline up in one more issue, but I’m interested to see it unfold. Others, I’m sure, will be wiping their hands and saying they’re glad its over.


Too Many Thor Comics
I’ve been worried for a while that Thor was going to reach a point of oversaturation. That the amount of titles they were putting out with his name stamped across it were going to break me. This week sees the breaking point, the final straw. Perche? This week, we’re getting: Thor: For Asgard #4, Thor #617, and Ultimate Comics Thor #2. Remember what I said about poor planning on the part of DC? Consider this the Marvel equivalent. All three of these titles are fantastic.


But there’s no way I can afford all three of them in one week, and perhaps more importantly, I don’t want to read three Thor comics in one week.

It’s a shame.

So which one of them will I be picking up? Of course faithful readers of this Shit Show know the answer: Fraction and Perry’s Thor #617. How can I turn down a Thor comic featuring multiple universes, metaphysical theory, marauding cross-dimensional murderers, and Fraction and Perry? I can’t. And you’d be remiss if you dodged it. Don’t forget to overpay for the Tron-theme variant! Though, in all fairness, Ultimate Comics Thor #2 features Jonathan Hickman and Carlos Pacheco, and goddamn if they ain’t two talents sons a bitches.

It’s a shame.


Superman vs. Muhammad Ali
Tomorrow, if you’re willing to spend $20, you can have an effort in glorious absurdity. Who doesn’t want to read something involving Superman and Muhammad Ali, throwing down? And then, of course, joining forces to combat villains across the chronosphere? I had never seen this comic book prior to glancing across this week’s release list.

But to say I did anything short of blow a load of wonderment and surprise would be to sell my response short.

What exactly is this comic book about? Let’s kick it to our friend Mr. Wiki for a quality synopsis:

Superman vs. Muhammad Ali is an oversize comic book published by DC Comics in 1978. The 72-page book, retailing for $2.50, features Superman teaming up with the heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali to defeat an alien invasion of Earth. It was based on an original story by Dennis O’Neil which was adapted by Neal Adams, with pencils by Adams, and figure inks by Dick Giordano with background inks by Terry Austin.

Let’s think about this. It’s Superman and Ali fighting aliens. I don’t think I have to say anything else. Do I? Naw, not even. I wish I was a porn star so I could have one of those Amazon Wish Lists. I’d totally put this baby at the top of my Lust Pile, and get some fanboy to mail it my way. As it stands, I’m going to silently despise anyone who picks it up tomorrow, jealous beyond measure.


Around The Universes:
After finally getting aboard Paul Cornell’s Action Comics train, I’ve been wanting to check the dude out further. Tomorrow the second issue of Knight & Squire written by him drops, with art by Jimmy Broxton. I don’t really know what to expect, but I may take a chance on it. What’s the worse that happens? I’m down $4 or so towards my next energy drink? Maybe I’ll save myself from my assured caffeine-fueled heart attack.

Then there’s Amazing Spider-Man #648 coming out. Spider-Man is a lover that consistently spurns me. Then he walks back up with flowers, and I’m like, fuck it. Okay man. One more time. Watch the face though, it’s my money maker. Dropping tomorrow, this comic kicks off Spider Event #520. I wouldn’t have thought of checking it out, but Marvel dropped a preview comic with a few pages of some upcoming comics, and it caught my fancy. It got me through a rather laborious effort on the toilet as I flipped through it, so I figure I might as well reward the team.


And that’s my take on tomorrow’s load. What are you guys looking forward to? I’m all ears. Proverbial ones, but still.