Strange Tales II #1

Comic book, 2010

Hey, new Strange Tales! This is where Marvel Comics gets cute little indie comics artists to make cute little stories using their superheroes and everyone is delighted. It sure would be cool if Marvel had interest in doing some longer form, more substantial stuff in this vein, but this is the world we live in and I’m happy, and more than a little surprised, to at least have this from them. The opening “Who Will Watcher the Watchermen?” by Nick Bertozzi is as funny as it was in the last volume, and it probably the outright funniest thing in any of these books. Let’s talk about the stories, starting with my favorite and ending with my least favorite: I’m a Frank Santoro fan and the Silver Surfer story he does here is his prettiest work ever, it almost looks like stills from a deleted scene of the old Heavy Metal movie. Kate Beaton’s Kraven strip is funny, even by her standards. Dash Shaw’s Spider-Man story gets big points for being super pretty, and I would’ve liked to have spent more time dissecting it before I say anything definitive about it, but I’m pretty sure that he’s engaging in some sort of meta commentary about Marvel and it’s movies and that’s not the type of thing I usually enjoy. The Rafael Grampa Wolverine story is more pretty than it is a good read, but what I really love is Grampa’s luchador-esque take on superhero costumes (and dig Wolverine’s pants-less look subtly snuck onto the cover). Kevin Huizenga seemed to be doing the same sort of thing as Shaw, but his pages aren’t as pretty. The Shannon Wheeler Red Skull story was almost kind of funny or interesting. I was very bored by the Jillian Tamaki Dazzler and Jeff Lemire Man-Thing stories. And I downright didn’t like the Gene Yang Frog-Man story. I similarly hated the Jhonen Vasquez Wolverine story, but when I thought of it as a continuation of the Grampa story, I liked it a lot better. Two really great ones, a few pretty good ones and a few more bad ones isn’t too bad a record. Consider me delighted. More please! 3

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