Rusty's World

Rusty’s Comic of the Week: The Unwritten #13.5

November 27, 2011
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To kick off this week’s reviews I just wanted to share something that has been bothering me. When you have one of these blogs you get quite a variety of statistics that go with them. One of the things that shows up is a list of search terms that have led people to your blog. Well, over at Rusty the Poet I had a long discussion/argument/whatever about a reference to rape in a comic. Now I get constant hits from people searching out the terms ‘rape’ and ‘comics’ together.

What are all these people asking for ‘rape comics’ looking for? I am afraid I do not want to know.

Anyway… on to better things…

COMIC OF THE WEEK

THE UNWRITTEN #13.5 (Carey / Gross / Kaluta / Geary / Talbot) Vertigo

Recently I was talking about how the Unwritten was still good, but had slipped a little in recent times. Wow, what a turn around here!

The reason it is a ‘.5’ issue is that they are running a background mini-series in parallel to the main series (just like the Venom run from the last Marvel Solicits). These issues are fleshing out the background of the world the comic is set in. The first one of these was amazing! The stories give a lot of the feeling behind the book more oomph, plus a Rick Geary story! Sweet! Not to mention all the other amazing artists… check out that list above. Talbot… Kaluta… and Gross, of course.

This comic has renewed my enthusiasm for The Unwritten and is certainly strong enough to pick up Comic of the Week.

As always, the rest are in descending order of awesomeness.

All-Star Western #3 (Justin Gray / Jimmy Palmiotti / Moritat / Jordi Bernet) DC

I was just talking about this book with Kin down at Silver Snail. He was marvelling over how popular All-Star Western is, when really it isn’t much different than Jonah Hex was, which didn’t sell well at all. The DC relaunch has really given people a chance to see things that they wouldn’t have tried before.

Having said that, there ARE differences. The first is the continuing nature of the storyline. It doesn’t look like too many ‘one-and-done’ stories are coming, which doesn’t bother me either way. However, the connections with the modern DC universe are in danger of slipping from ‘cute’ into ‘annoying’. The fact that they are in Gotham and the doc is named Arkham is fine. The ‘this city will need a special kind of lawman in the future’, well… not so good.

Not enough to ruin the book, though. Moritat continues to impress (though I think he was better on The Spirit than this) and it is nice to see Jordi Bernet back, even though the Diablo story has not been too exciting.

Fantastic Four #600 (Hickman / Epting / Magyar / Mounts / Di Giandomenico / Yu / Dalrymple / Doyle) Marvel

This issue is not only #600, but it is the 50th Anniversary of what basically kicked off the Marvel universe (along with Spider-Man).

First off – let’s talk about the price. $7.99 is a lot for a single issue, but what you get here is 100 pages of new material – none of it filler. As comics have shrunk to 20 pages, that is like buying five comics which will run you from $15 – $20.

Then let’s talk about the big surprise. (Spoiler free) First off, was it a big surprise? I don’t think so. It is what I expected. HOWEVER, it was done VERY well and has me very interested in the next issue. FF has been lagging a bit for me and now there will be two books. My only question is whether you will need to read both to get the full story, or if you can just buy one of the other. It LOOKS like Fantastic Four will be the place to get the main group and FF will give you the kids etc. We’ll see.

Highs and lows… I LOVED the Franklin and Leech story and I wasn’t thrilled about the Inhumans story. All in all, a very good comic.

CAPTAIN AMERICA & BUCKY #624 (Brubaker / Andreyko / Samnee / Breitweiser) Marvel

This book reads like a sneak peak at the new Winter Soldier comic, which is cool. The only thing wrong with this is that it is the last by this creative team. Chris Samnee is off the book and that is a shame because I am a big fan. (He has an arc coming up in Ultimate Spider-man, I believe).

Where is this comic going from here? I thought it was going to be set in WW2, but apparently that is no more. I expect it will end up being cancelled. If it does, I hope the main Captain America book gets its numbering back. Maybe in time for #650? #700?

SECRET AVENGERS #19 (Ellis / Lark / Gaudino) Marvel

This is the second decent Secret Avengers issue in a row, after some absolutely horrible issues. I still can’t wait for Ellis to be out and Remender to be in. This is the sort of line-up that suits the book but Ellis has zero idea how to write Steve Rogers. It is distracting. (Again, not NEARLY as bad as his first two issues… in fact, I enjoyed it.)

ALPHA FLIGHT #6 (Van Lente / Pak / Eaglesham / Oback) Marvel

Is it odd that I pretty much cheer whenever Northstar gets to kiss a man? It is getting less unusual, but for YEARS after Northstar came out as gay, Marvel wouldn’t show him kissing a man. It was ridiculous hypocrisy and I am glad it is done with.

I have to admit that the kiss probably moved the book higher on this list than it would have been.

Two more issues until AF returns to the comics limbo from whence it sprung.

SUPERMAN #3 (George Perez / Nicola Scott / Trevor Scott) DC

I had recently been considering dropping this book, but this issue redeems itself somewhat. Perez is still unnecessarily wordy but the straight supervillain-style fight, mixed with the on-going alien sub plot is quite interesting. If you can get past the the reams of backstory at the beginning of the comic, the book gets quite good. (Better than the latest issue of Grant Morrison’s Action, that is for sure…)

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #3 (Peter Milligan / Mikel Janin) DC

Are they ever going to come up with an excuse why it says Justice League on the cover other than marketing? Probably not.

Great characters but the storyline is shaky. I hope they tighten it up a little bit as this story continues, or moves on to the next one.

THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #3 (Ethan Van Sciver / Gail Simone / Yildray Cinar) DC

Another book that is wavering for me. It survives another issue on the strength of… I’m not sure. I want to see the new Killer Frost. Helix was disappointing.

ULTIMATE COMICS HAWKEYE #4 (Hickman / Sandoval / Tarragona / Anderson) Marvel

Was this always a miniseries? The whole thing was just a sideplot for the Ultimates? Disappointing. I would have preferred it if Hulk could have stayed with the Eternals. (Or was it the Celestials?)

RASL #12 (Jeff Smith) Cartoon Books

I like this series, but when he spends too much time giving Tesla back story it drags a bit. This was one of those issues. Did you know it has been optioned as a movie? If they make it, I bet they change the name.

ANNIHILATORS EARTHFALL #3 (abnett / Lanning / Huat / Hennessy / Quintana) Marvel

I am not one who has drunk the Cosmic Marvel kool-aid, but I decided to buy this due to the Avengers appearance. The story is picking up interest, but the art is ugly. I mean REALLY bad. It distracts from the story quite a bit.

AVENGERS SOLO #2 (Van Meter / Robinson / McCann / Henry) Marvel

I am a big Hawkeye fan which tells you that I mean it when I say that this comic is a mess. What is going on in the lead story? If you know, you are a better person than I am. Should I have gone back and reread the first issue? Who are the bad guys? Who are the good guys? I have compeltely lost track.

The Avengers Academy back-up was good.

AVENGERS ORIGINS: SCARLET WITCH & QUICKSILVER (McKeever / Pierfederici / Tartaglia) Marvel

These series of one-shots has been hit or miss, and this one was a very big miss. The story added nothing to the existing origin, other than modernizing the setting a bit. Adding that they had hints about their parentage was a big mistake that goes against the strength of the first Vision & Scarlet Witch mini. The art was not very strong. Overall, a weak comic. Hopefully the next one (Thor) will be better.

That’s it for this week. A big one, though not as strong as last week. (The Unwritten was sure great though…)

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Northlanders Book 3: Blood on the Snow

November 22, 2011
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Northlanders is a very solid read in TPB format (I never read the individual issues). This volume wasn’t as strong as the first two, but that is not a damning statement, as the first two were very good.

I guess the big thing is that the shorter arcs meant I never felt as invested in the characters. The Shield Maidens story and the opening piece about the young Saxon in particular made me feel like I wanted to hear more about the characters than what there was room for in the allotted space.

Two stories that worked VERY well in the format were the Sven the Immortal piece and the ‘duel’ piece. Sven is a bit of a cheat because it doesn’t REALLY stand alone. It works as well as it does because as you read it, you recall Northlanders Book One.

The single combat piece works DESPITE giving you no reason to care about either character. It is all style and writing (in fact, the art is a little… sketchy), and it works.

Good book. Recommended.


Notes on Marvel Solicitations for Feb., 2012

November 21, 2011
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Avengers: The Crossing in hardcover? Why would anyone buy that? It was TERRIBLE.

Did ANYONE like the Crossing?

Hey, Avengers 1959 is coming in a TPB. Anyone want to guess whether I am buying it?

 

I will be buying the new Winter Soldier series. Brubaker and Guice… in other words, this series picks up where the old series left off before it switched to Captain America & Bucky.

Still looking forward to the new Defenders book. Fraction & Dodson are now taking them to Wundagore Mountain! Cool.

The Serpent Squad is back in Captain America. Remember when they turned Ronald Reagan into a giant snake-thing? Good times…

I wonder if Avengers Academy will have a sales uptick after Tom Grummet takes over on art. Would be nice.

The ‘New Era’ of Secret Avengers begins! Remender & Hardman and Hawkeye leading the team! Back to a ‘no-killing policy’! I am NOT a fan of the current run of the book so I really looking forward to this.

All the Ultimate books are coming polybagged. Grrrr…..

I’m not getting it, but the Venom thing is interesting. They are basically shoving a miniseries INTO a series, by numbering the issues 13.1 – 13.4. I guess they figure that will get the regular readers of Venom to buy it. If I read Venom, it would work on me… The mini includes Ghost Rider and X-23. Wrapping up cancelled books?

Just last night as Ruthanne was reading Avengers Academy, I mentioned that Alex and Julie Powers are appearing regularly in books now, but what about Katie and Jack? Why don’t they get any love? The answer is: FF #15 guest starring Power Pack!

Thunderbolts will still be ‘back in time’ in FEBRUARY. That feels like it is going to be too long.

The Twelve is back? Really? I’ll believe it when I see it.

Was Brilliant always a miniseries? (I think I asked the same thing about Scarlet at one time…)

 


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: The Avengers #19

November 20, 2011
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Does that headline surprise you? It did me.

This week’s reviews, from best to least…

THE AVENGERS #19 (Bendis, Acuna) Marvel

Now THIS is the Avengers that turned me into a comic fan! The Avengers was the first book I picked up back when I was 16 (issue #235). While I have enjoyed what Brian Michael Bendis has done with the franchise overall, it was still quite far from the book I had loved so much. Thie story has Cap trying to figure out who the team is going to be, complete with the public reveal at the end. Classic.

As for the new lineup, Storm is an interesting choice with lots of potential… but I don’t really like HOW she joined. Not terrible, but still. The Vision, on the other hand, was a GREAT reveal. It reminded me of issue #242 where the Vision came back from a long recuperation period. Great stuff. (Now, what about that OTHER Vision…)

While I don’t mind Spider-man and Wolverine being off the team (they are fine on New Avengers), but I don’t like HOW it happened. They deserve a little more respect than that.

Oh, and the art was GREAT. Daniel Acuna is PERFECT for this book. Even the back-up was kind of fun. All in all, a great read.

 

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #674 (Slott, Camuncoli, Janson, D’Armata) Marvel

The cover now reads ‘The World’s Greatest Super Hero!’ Works for me.

Dan Slott is knocking it out of the park with Spider-Man these days. A great story built around the Vulture (the old cool one, not the newer, creepy one). The Peter working with Carlie sub-plot works for me. The Mary-Jane and Glory Grant sub-plot partying works for me. I am a little less enthused about the Horizon Labs / Kingpin thing, but I am willing to ride it out.

The art wasn’t as good this issue. Not terrible, but also not much ‘value-added’.

 

AVENGERS ORIGINS: LUKE CAGE (Glass, Benson, Talajic, Beaulieu) Marvel

These Origins comics have been hit and miss so far, and this one is a hit. Luke Cage is a great character, despite his blacksploitation roots, but they manage to make him modern and noteworthy without shying away from those roots. The reminder of why he is important IN the comic is also a reminder why he is important AS a comic. (But ‘Hero for Hire High’? Really?)

Is this the same writer from Suicide Squad? This is better. I am not familiar with the name Dalibor Talajic, but it was good stuff.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #4 (Brubaker, McNiven, Leister, Ponsor) Marvel

Seems like Marvel’s week, doesn’t it? This is a solid comic, with a solid premise, but it reads a bit like it is just moving the story along – getting from point a to point b. Those issues have to happen, but work better when you read them together.

The art is very good, but with all due respect to Steve McNiven (his is great) I can’t wait for the Alan Davis issues to start. His Cap in Avengers Prime showed he could be one of the CLASSIC Cap artists.

 

WONDER WOMAN #3 (Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang) DC

First, a note. You may notice that sometimes I give first and last names on the credits while sometimes I just give last names. The names are the ones put on the covers of the comics. DC apparently likes first names more than Marvel does.

The first two issues of Wonder Woman garnered my comic of the week nods each time. Why has this one dropped so much?

It is her changed origin. It doesn’t sit right with me. It seems like a needless change that kind of… cheapens her as a character somewhat. Maybe Azzarello will change my mind, but right now, I don’t like it. Did this colour my view of the issue? Maybe, but it felt a lot more disjointed that the first two.

The art is still great, though.

 

iZOMBIE #19 (Chris Roberson, Mike Allred) Vertigo

Another book that I expected to be higher on the list. There were parts of the book I liked… loved, actually. Spot’s date was absolutely charming. I hate to say it, but it was the art that threw me… and I LOVE Mike Allred’s art normally. He is one of my favourites. This issue seemed a little more… muddy maybe? A little sloppy? Not up to his usual level of brilliance, that is for sure.

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #22 (Gage, Chen, Hanna, Buchman, Cox) Marvel

I guess Quicksilver is part of the staff so having an issue focus on him isn’t actually out of place… but it sure seemed it. To me, the book is about the students, not the instructors. Yes, Finesse was an important part of the issue, but not in a way I really cared for. She seems a little hero-worshippy towards Quicksilver, who really has done nothing to deserve it. Let’s face it, Quicksilver has been pretty much a loser ever since he first appeared. Oh well.

 

THUNDERBOLTS #165 (Parker, Walker, Pallot, Soto) Marvel

Does Marvel WANT this book to fail? Why else would they put THAT cover on it? It is HORRIBLE! We were actually laughing about it. Kev Walker still does the interior art, so no problems there.

A solid book overall (once you get past the front cover). The Satana/Namor scene seemed a little gratuitous – besides, she isn’t his type. She isn’t blonde enough. It is tough to get too invested in a comic whose premise is that nothing can really happen (at the risk of changing history).

Both Avengers Academy and Thunderbolts are rumoured to be teetering close to the chopping block. I hope not. They are both good comics overall.

 

ULTIMATE COMICS X-MEN #3 (Spencer, Medina, Vlasco, Gracia) Marvel

Want to see a lame review? I don’t really know what about this book didn’t thrill me. I just read it and found that I didn’t care much about it. I didn’t read Ultimate X-Men before, but it is the Spidey connection that got me interested. We will see if it sticks or not.

 

X-FACTOR #227 (David, Kirk, Milla) Marvel

Of late I have been wondering if I just think I like X-Factor out of habit. It used to be great and it has earned some leeway because of it. This is also a Kirk issue, which means the art is not strong. Still buying it, but I hope it turns around or I may stop.

 

BLUE BEETLE #3 (Tony Bedard, Ig Guara, Ruy Jose, J.P. Mayer) DC

Here is a book that does not have a track record to save it. I wanted to support this book because I wanted to support DC’s publishing minority characters… but the comic just hasn’t been very good. When I read it, I can’t help but compare it to Ultimate Spider-Man, and it pales in comparison.

Maybe I just want Ted Kord back…

Regardless, Blue Beetle is off my pull list after this issue.

 

I also picked up Northlanders Volume 3: Blood in the Snow, but I haven’t read it yet. I liked the first two books. I’ll let you know.


Art Change on Avenging Spider-Man

November 16, 2011
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In last week’s reviews I said I had enjoyed the first issue of Avenging Spider-Man (Marvel Team Up by any other name would smell so sweet…)

I wasn’t sure I would because I am not a big fan of Joe Madueira’s art. I didn’t like what he did on Ultimates 3, but he isn’t an artist I ACTIVELY dislike.

The issue was good. Again, the art was not what sold it for me, but it wasn’t too bad.

Well now, as reported on Bleeding Cool, Madueira is off of Avenging Spider-Man as of issue #4. That should be good news, right? Hopefully they will get…

Oh.

Greg Land is taking over.

Sigh.

Land is best known as being the worst example of tracing that there is in comics right now. There is example after example, but sufficed to say that there are a lot of male characters that have an amazing physical resemblance to WWE wrestlers and a lot of female characters that share poses with people that you find on boxes in that dark room hidden at the back of the video rental place.

Now, I understand photo reference. I am a big fan of Alex Maleev and he makes no secret about it (even giving his models credit in the books). Land, on the other hand, isn’t just a tracer. He is a lazy tracer. A particualr character won’t look like the same person from page to page as he uses different ‘models’ as ‘inspiration’. The point that I found to be his lowest came back when I was still reading Uncanny X-Men. Someone was meeting with a p.r. person whose glasses changed style from panel to panel ON THE SAME PAGE.

Land’s art was the biggest reason I stopped buying Uncanny. Hopefully the same thing doesn’t happen here.


X-23 Cancelled

November 15, 2011
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I don’t buy X-23. In fact, X-Factor is the only X-book I buy.

So why is this news to me?

X-23 was the ONLY book published by Marvel with a solo female character.

Hmmm… not good…

Marvel has a lot of strong female characters – why do none of them have their own book?

EDIT: Apparently this is wrong. Believe it or not, Ghost Rider is currently female. Go figure.

DOUBLE EDIT: And Now Ghost Rider is also cancelled… so the above still applies. Marvel DOES have team books with prominent female characters (Generation Hope is the best example, I suppose. Her name is in the title) but no female solo lead books.


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DC Previews and Announcements

November 15, 2011
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The solicitations for DC comics in February 2012 are up and between those and other Bleeding Cool sources, there are a number of announcements that affect my future comic reading…

Tom Raney replaces Federico Dallacchio on Suicide Squad. I suppose that is a good thing. Raney is a lot… cleaner, I suppose. The problem with Suicide Squad seems to be on the writing end more than the art though…

Cliff Chiang is off Wonder Woman for two issues. Tony Akins will be handling things during that time. This is really too bad. Chiang has been excellent on WW.

Gail Simone is leaving Firestorm in March. That likely means I will stop buying it then. We’ll see.

Marco Rudy is drawing Swamp Thing instead of Yanick Paquette. This seems to be a fill in only… which is a good thing. Paquette is wonderful on Swampy.

Nicola Scott and Trevor Scott will be doing a few issues of Superman. If a couple of months ago you had told me that I would have said that it was a bad thing I wouldn’t have believed you, but George Perez isn’t really DOING the art on Superman – just breakdowns – with Jesus Merino doing the art. Nicola Scott might be an improvement. Merino isn’t bad, but Sueprman hasn’t been anythign special. (at all, in fact. It is possible I won’t still be reading it come February…)

Marvel solicits aren’t up yet, but when they are…


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Bill Mantlo

November 14, 2011
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If you don’t know the story of Bill Mantlo, read this.

A heartbreaking story of a comic professional and a crushing condemnation of the health care system in the U.S.


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Conan

November 14, 2011
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Based on the title and the nature of this blog you might assume that this post is going to be about one of the Conan comics.

It isn’t.

It is really about the way different aspects of my life line-up and how things don’t really compartmentalize, as much as I  try sometimes.

This post is about books and comics and art and marriage and career missteps and poetry.

Somehow it always comes back to poetry.

So, last night I was in bed reading. My current read is a Conan collection by RobertE.  Howard. As I was reading I looked up at the wall to a framed print hanging there and the chain of events that brought me here.

I first read Conan, in comics form, when I was working at Mac’s in 1987. I worked the night shift and as much as you try to stay busy, there was down time. Soemtimes that was filled by watching old wrestling videos on the VHS rental kiosk. Sometimes in meant skimming through Rolling Stone or Spin magazines. Sometimes it meant reading Savage Sword of Conan and Conan Saga.

It was Conan Saga that stood it. It was reprints of the Conan comic in magazine form. Inside were classic Conans drawn by (as he was then known) Barry Smith.

I was a fan of Barry Windsor-Smith, through some other comics. Not rabid or anything… but a fan.

Jump forward to 1993. I had been working for a comic distributor called Styx. I worked there for four years and decided it was time for a change. I put word out and had three job offers (or tentative ones at least) in comics retail in the Calgary area (where I was living at the time). Before I made a decision I found myself visiting my hometown Victoria for a family reunion. While I was there I approached the owner of Island Fantasy, who also offered me a job.

While I was visiting I renewed my friendship with someone I had knwon well in high school. Before the week was up, I knew I wanted to marry her.

Short version: I took the job offer at Island Fantasy, moved back to Victoria and got married.

While I was at Island Fantasy we got a Barry Windsor-Smith Portfolio in that someone had taken apart and framed each piece. We took these beautifulpieces of art and made a window display out of them. I made no secret that I LOVED one of the pictures. It was an illustration of Paolo & Francesca. I really liked it.

Then, when Ruthanne and I were married, the owner of Island Fantasy gave us that framed print as a wedding gift. It hangs on our bedroom wall to this day.

(Things didn’t work out at Island Fantasy. It is the only job I have ever been fired from. Was it partly my fault? Sure. Was there also blame to be handed to a store that was being driven into the ground? Sure.)

Now flash forward to 2007. I was in my first full year as a spoken word poet and I was writing what turned out to be my breakthrough, signature poem: Why Art?

While I was writing it I found inspiration in a familiar place… Dante’s Inferno, specifically two characters, Paolo & Francesca, as brought to mind by a certain print on my bedroom wall…

 

So, was this about comics? Not really, but still…


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Ultimate Spider-Man #4

November 12, 2011
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So here is my first week of comics for the new blog…. are you excited yet? Ready?

Every week, as I read the comics I rank them, so Ruthanne can save the best for last. So here are the books I bought, from best to worst… (though if I really thought something was going to be bad, I wouldn’t have bought it…

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #4 (Bendis/Pichelli/Ponsor) Marvel

Man, do I love this comic. Since the relaunch it has been my favourite book being published… probably since Joe the Barbarian (a Grant Morrison Vertigo book which I absolutely loved).

The characterization of Miles Morales is excellent. There are a lot of people who could take lessons from Brian Bendis on how to write youth. I LOVE that the new Spidey is non-white and I love that it isn’t the only thing that makes him who he is. He is as well-rounded a character as you can find after only four issues.

I really like the art as well, but I understand Chris Samnee will be doing some issues and that is something I can really get behind. I am a big fan.

This issue finally starts to create a connection between Morales and Peter Parker. Guilt is an amazing motivator…

BATWOMAN #3 (J.H. Williams III, W. Haden Blackman) DC

I am normally a ‘story-first’ guy, but it is the art the makes this book special. Williams doesn’t blow me away as a writer but this is the best designed comic on the shelves. Every page is beautiful.

The story has not been as strong since Rucka left, but it gets by on the strength of so many great characters. Kate Kane, Flamebird, Maggie Sawyer, Chase… good stuff.

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #1 (Zeb Wells, Joe Madureira, Ferran Daniel) Marvel

Spider-man has always been one the best characters in comics, but he has been horribly written at times. Right now is an embarrassment of riches for a Spider-man fan. Ultimate is one of the best books on the rack. Amazing is in the midst of a great run by Dan Slott, and now this. I am not a huge Madureira fan normally, but this art is pretty solid. Even Rulk, who I am not a fan of, works.

This cook is basically the return of Marvel Team-Up with an Avengers reference in the title to make it sell.

I’m sold.

(I dislike that it comes in a bag, though. I know why, but its still wasteful packaging…)

BATGIRL #3 (Gail Simone, Adrian Syaf, Vicente Cifuentes) DC

A great character. A great writer. A great art team. An interesting new villain and intriguing co-star. What’s not to like?

Well, to start with, three issues in without an explanation as to how she got out of the wheelchair. Oracle was one of the most original characters in comics, and Babs is the only good Batgirl, in my opinion, but we need to understand how she got out of the chair. This is a really big deal and the longer Simone draws it out, the tougher a sell it will be.

It had better be something ‘comic-booky’. Magic hopefully. If she claims that she just has good recuperative powers or whatever it will be a pretty big insult to people who really suffer from severe injuries of that nature. I’m still on board to find out…

THE UNWRITTEN #31 (Carey/Gross/Perker) Vertigo

This has been Vertigo’s top book of late, but it seems to have lost some steam. I don’t know what it is, but now that Tom has a magic wand and can cast his Potter… I mean, Taylor spells… well, let’s just say I hope the book won’t keep meandering as it has been.

It used to be that this would be higher on this list. Hopefully it can get back there. Still worth reading.

THE NEW AVENGERS #18 (Bendis/Deodato/Beredo) Marvel

Other than Avengers 1959 (yeah, yeah) I still collect all the Avengers books, but even if I didn’t, I would get the Bendis ones. His grasp on the team is solid, and his Norman Osborne is excellent. The new Dark Avengers he assembled has me a little worried, since most of the characters he brought together are from books I didn’t care for. The big exception are the ones from the Osborne mini, and the magic shape changing Spider-dude was a bit of a stretch.

Still, I want to know what happens next.

But, MAN do I dislike Mike Deodato’s art! It is a good thing the new team has women with different hair colours, otherwise I couldn’t tell them apart. Also, I assume that is Gorgon pretending to be Wolverine, but how could you tell except by process of elimination?

AVENGERS ORIGINS: VISION (Higgins/Siegel/Perger) Marvel

After the pleasant surprise of how good the Ant-Man & Wasp issue was, my hopes for this rose. I am a big Vision fan (his first appearance was my first ‘important’ back issue that I bought when I was putting together my Avengers collection as a teenager), but this issue didn’t really add anything to the origin we already knew. Rather than dealing with the convoluted pre-Ultron part of his backstory, it just gave as the standard intro. The art was really good for all the parts that had no people in it, but not as strong when it wasn’t just Ultron and Vision.

SUICIDE SQUAD #3 (Adam Glass, Cliff Richards) DC

I really want this book to be better. I LOVED Suicide Squad. Back in the day, it was second only to the Avengers as a book that I followed slavishly. Can only John Ostrander write it properly? It is starting to seem so. I’m still not dropping it… but I really hope it turns around.

The art isn’t any great shakes either.

Ruthanne also picked up a big book called Drawing Down the Moon: The Art of Charles Vess. I haven’t looked at it yet, so I will leave that to her to comment on.

So that is what I bought this week… anybody else pick up anything good that they want to talk about? Bring it on!


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