Rusty's World

Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Fables #112

December 25, 2011
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So it is very early on Christmas morning (or very late on Christmas Eve… take your pick). We don’t celebrate Christmas much. Tonight was spent with homemade Nuts & Bolts and video rentals of Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Grey Garden. Both good.

 

New comics do not stay unread simply because of a holiday!

 

FABLES #112 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha / Pepoy / Green) Vertigo

What a charming book this was this month! It is a Christmas themed issue but it is no side-story. Rose Red has to decide what aspect of hope she wishes to be. The story and art are classic Fables. The reindeer are worth the price of admission alone.

I think I know who the spirit is that Rose needs to help. Roses are red, violets are… 🙂

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #5 (Bendis / Pichelli / Messina / Ponsor) Marvel

Miles meets the Ultimates! It is good to see a negative reaction to Miles’ choice of code-names. It is also good to see that the understand why he would want to use it. Cool new costume. Was that a reveal about who his uncle is? I could go back and check but… Did he appear BEFORE Ultimate S-M #1?

 

WONDER WOMAN #4 (Brian Azzarello / Cliff Chiang) DC

I love the mood of this book. War is great (I can’t believe I just wrote that line…). Diana’ way of dealing with her recent revelation is pretty novel… and makes her seem more real. Cliff Chiang continues to be brilliant on this book. I can’t say enough… WW hasn’t been this good since Perez.

 

THE AVENGERS #20 (Bendis / Acuna) Marvel

Acuna is the absolutely right artist for this book. The way Osborne is one step ahead of Cap is great. Because, lets face it, if he doesn’t outsmart them, what does he have going for him? Protector actually said and did something? Will wonders never cease?

 

BATMAN INCORPORATED: LEVIATHAN STRIKES! #1 (Grant Morrison / Chris Burnham / Cameron Stewart) DC

I don’t normally buy $7 comics, but this is really two issues stuck together. This is Morrison wrapping up the Batman Inc. story he was doing before the New 52 came along. The Batgirl story was solid and the wrap -up story was a head trip. I can be critical of Morrison but the way he made that story make sense… while not making sense at all was amazing. I really appreciated the text pages letting you know how everything ties together so  I don’t have to go back and check.

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #676 (Slott / Ramos / Olzaba / Delgado) Marvel

I prefer my Spider-man comics to have Spider-man in them. This issue FEELS like a fill-in. I know it isn’t, but still. An o’kay read but that is it.

 

FANTASTIC FOUR #601 (Hickman / Epting / Magyar / Mounts) Marvel

So Johnny is back and that’s that?I think this story will read better collected. At least I hope so. Every issue I feel like I am asking myself what is going on.

 

THUNDERBOLTS #167 (Parker / Shalvey / Martin) Marvel

So an explanation for the Ripper stuff I suppose, but it is a fairly chaotic issue. This book continues to teeter.

 

X-FACTOR #229 (David / Lupacchino / Ortego / Milla) Marvel

Unlike this book, which I think has just fallen off. It just seems… random. I think this one is going to get the axe from my pull list.


Complete March Adds

December 19, 2011
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I mentioned that I would be adding Night Force and Fairest from DC (vertigo for the latter) and Saga from Image.

The Marvel solicits are now out to finalize by March adds.

All Avengers stuff as it is damn near a fetich for me…

Avengers vs X-Men

Avengers Assemble

Prelude to the Avengers


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Batwoman #4

December 18, 2011
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This was a very solid week! In fact, the decision to make Batwoman the comic of the week was far from a sure thing due to the strong showings by a few other books!

BATWOMAN #4 (J.H. Williams III / W. Haden Blackman) DC

The dichotomy of the Flamebird fight and the Kate / Maggie (ahem) tussle was really well done. The art was just beautiful, as always.

One thing I found interesting about this issue centres around gender. If this had been BATMAN, and the Flamebird incident had happened, people would be calling it Woman-in-the-refrigerator syndrome. Is it not so because Kate is a woman? Why should that matter?

I happen to thing the syndrome is overblown. Are women portrayed well in comics. Often, no. That doesn’t mean that you can handcuff a writer by not allowing any bad things to happen to female characters. If it is done well, it is done well. If it is done badly…well…

CotW was a close call, though…

AVENGERS ACADEMY #23 (Gage / Raney / Hanna / Sotomayor) Marvel

Yes! This whole book was elevated by one scene.  I am not worrying about spoilers here because Axel Alonso had already blown it, but it turns out that Striker thinks he is gay. That alone is just a story point but the conversation between him and Lightspeed is very well done. His uncertainty compared with Lightspeed… well it just works. Some are complaining that his history of sexual abuse makes this a cliche, but the hell with that. Children are sexually abused. They even address the fact that this did NOT ‘turn him gay’.

The rest of the comic was fine, but it is that one scene that nearly made in CotW.

Oh, Tom Grummett takes over on art next issue! Excellent!

THE UNWRITTEN #32 (Carey / Gross / Perker) Vertigo

Another close one! This wasn’t as good as issue 31.5, but that’s okay. The struggle in the cold stayed interesting as did the meeting of the cabal. I hope that isn’t the last we will see of Frankie for a while.

BATGIRL #4 (Gail Simone / Ardian Syaf / Vicente Cifuentes) DC

I WANT to put this lower on the list, but I just can’t. It was too good an issue. So why do I want to put it lower? It is the way Simone is toying with the readers by not telling them why Gordon is walking again. It is coming off as cheap. Actually, it almost seems like she is stalling while she comes up with a good story.

All that aside. Good issue. Good characterization. Good art. Just good comics.

ULTIMATE X-MEN #4 (Spencer / Medina / Vlasco / Gracia) Marvel

After I read this I thought it would be higher… but the week was just too good. The characterization of Kitty was really strong here. I don’t believe for a second that Rogue is a traitor… but I would almost rather she was instead of being the god-squadder that was implied recently. We’ll see.

NEW AVENGERS (Bendis / Deodato / Bereto) Marvel

No, I don’t like Deodato, but that is not why the book got a weak rating from me. No, it is just one of those transition episodes where nothing much happens but it is needed to get from one plot point to the next. No great criticism, but neither am I going to say it is a great issue. The scene between Squirrel Girl and Daredevil was funny, though.

SUICIDE SQUAD #4 (Adam Glass / Federico Dallocchio) DC

Hey, Suicide Squad isn’t last! Woo-hoo! The story is better, in general, but it doesn’t really flow well. It his some good beats, though the betrayal of Boomer was too sudden with no build up. Dropping us right in was a bad move this time out. The set-up for the next issue would have been interesting with…yes… a bit more set up. Glass is trying to be Grant Morrison… and I don’t really like the jerky style even when Morrison does it.

AVENGERS: X-SANCTION #1 (Jeph Loeb / Ed McGuinness / Dexter Vines / Morry Hollowell) Marvel

Wow. Bad story. Crappy art. At this point I am just hoping they get it together somehow. Does this lead into Avengers vs X-Men?

Leave Cable dead. He is a boring character that should have stayed in the 90’s.


March Add from Image

December 16, 2011
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I usually barely glance at the Image solicits. I remember when Image first kicked off… with a bunch of big name creators making comics I had absolutely zero interest in.

I suppose I bought an Image book for a while while Bone was being published there… briefly.

But, anyway, I gave the Image solicits a once over and ended up finding a book that I am goign to order! It is called Saga and is written by Brian K. Vaughan and drawn by Fiona Staples. They call it ‘Star Wars meets Game of Thrones’ but I am buying it just based on the quality of the writer and the amazing art.


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DC March Solicits

December 13, 2011
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The new solicits from DC have me adding books from them for the first time since the new 52 launched.

 

Night Force. I LOVED the old Night Force and this is IT! Marv Wolfman and Tom Mandrake sound like the PERFECT team for this.

 

Fairest. Yeah, I am a Fables guy. I’ll be getting this.


DC Art Changes

December 12, 2011
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Steve Pugh is joining Travel Foreman on the art duties for Animal Man! Pugh worked on Animal Man back when Jamie Delano was writing it. Good stuff.

I was happy that Tom Raney was taking over Suicide Squad. Well, he is off already. He is replaced by Clayton Henry. I honestly can’t recall anything about his work…


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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Swamp Thing #4

December 11, 2011
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Now this is more like it! A solid week with some very good comics.

 

Let’s start, as always, with Rusty’s comic of the Week!

 

SWAMP THING #4 (Scott Snyder / Marco Rudy / Michel Lacombe / Sean Parsons) DC

Nice! They are really moving this story along nicely. The Green. The Rot. The Parliament of Trees. Abby. (Don’t screw up Abby!) I was worried when Yanick Paquette wasn’t doing the art, but Rudy is a very capable substitute. This book is on a collision course with Animal Man and that is okay with me.

 

iZOMBIE #20 (Roberson / Allred) VERTIGO

Right from the start… great cover! The pastiche of those teen mags is awesome! This may be the best Vertigo book (this or The Unwritten) but the great zombie attack had sidetracked it a bit. Now we are back with a nice Ellie / Francisco story, more on Spot and Gavin, Gwen and the Dead Presidents! Super nifty cool!

 

MOON KNIGHT #8 (Bendis / Maleev / Hollingsworth) Marvel

As much as I like the Avengers stuff, this is Bendis at his best. When Spider-woman was cancelled I was disappointed. Getting Scarlet softened that blow and now Moon Knight is where it is at. The art is absolutely beautiful. Maleev is one of the best in the biz. (There was a lot of good art this week, actually.) I never really cared for Echo before, but she is good in this book. The scene with the cop and Snapdragon played out nicely. Just plain good comics.

 

ANIMAL MAN #4 (Jeff Lemire / Travel Foreman / Jeff Huet) DC

This runs in the same ‘world’ as Swamp Thing, which is kind of a subset of the DC Universe. Still, I didn’t like this issue as much as the Swampy one because I don’t like the way the Red looks. I have a hard time with seeing it as anything other than the villain of the piece, when I know it is supposed to be the Rot. Maybe it is my bias but the world of the Green seems natural while the world of the Red seems abhorrent. Ellen is badass here. Great stuff.

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #2 (Zeb Wells / Joe Madureira / Ferran Daniel) Marvel

I am still not the biggest fan of Joey Mads, but getting him to draw Mole Man and his ilk is playing to his strength, that is for sure. This is a fun book for people who aren’t looking for anything more than superhero fisticuffs. Nothing wrong with that. The exchange between Jonah and Spidey was funny, though I feel like I have read that same joke before. I am not a huge fan of Red Hulk, but at least this issue read like he wasn’t just the Hulk with a paint job.

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #675 (Slott / Camuncoli / Janson / D’Armata) Marvel

There are parts of this book I really like and parts I don’t. The art was just okay and I really don’t like the way Vulture’s face is drawn. Actually I don’t like the way his followers are drawn either. The banter between Pete and Carlie was starting to get a little annoying, but it didn’t feel unrealistic. I like the story between them and I REALLY like the idea of Carlie and MJ having a sit down (and the reaction by Peter was priceless).

 

ACTION COMICS #4 (Grant Morrison / Rags Morales / Rick Bryant / Sean Parsons) DC

Last month I thought Action was in danger of being cut by me. This issue didn’t skyrocket up the charts but it was a solid issue.  Morrison doesn’t like to explain things much but the apparent new debut of Brainiac and the Bottle City of Kandor were a cool twist. The back-up was so-so, but bringing Steel in was nice. He kind of looks like an old Superman villain named Conduit. Remember him?

 

X-FACTOR #228 (David / Kirk / Milla) Marvel

Another book at risk of being dropped staves elimination off for another issue. Peter David weaves threads together so I keep wanting to know what happens next. What is going to happy with Madrox? Strong Guy? Is Hangman going to keep his turned leaf on the right side? (I hope so. Join X-Factor!)

 

DEFENDERS #1 (Fraction / Dodson / Dodson / Oback) Marvel

Even in a good week there can be disappointment. I was looking forward to this. I like the Defenders and I like the creative team they put together, The results? Not so good. What is with emo Dr. Strange? Also BOTH Strange and Iron Fist get a scene about casual sex that they regret? Seems a little odd. I’m giving the book more than one issue to get on my good side but they started out pretty poorly.

 


Departures: Simone and Bendis

December 7, 2011
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So the rumours were true: Gail Simone is leaving Fury of Firestorm.

I would say this is a bad thing, but as much as I like Simone, Firestorm really hasn’t found its footing yet. Maybe bringing in Joe Harris will do that.

I think it is more likely that it will drop from my buying list before too long.

In more surprising news, Brian Bendis has announced he will be leaving the Avengers in 2012. This is a seismic shift. When all is said and done, Bendis will have written more Avengers than anyone in history. He defined the current (incredibly successful) era.

Whomever takes over, I hope they have as clear a direction as Bendis has. With multiple Avengers books, they do not need to be written by the same writer, but they need to have a collective ‘steering’ that will keep them on course. Just look at Avengers Academy. It is a very good book, but there is no reason to have ‘Avengers’ in the title. It does not feel like it is part of the same family as the others.

Either keep Avengers and New Avengers tight like they are now, or seperate them more. Move the Avengers to a new Hydrobase while keeping NA on the mean streets of NYC… or something like that.

No idea who it is going to be… and first we have Avengers vs X-Men to deal with. (Pleasdon’tsuck, pleasedon’tsuck, pleasdon’tsuck – let’s be honest, Marvel’s track record on big crossovers has been pretty bad lately…)


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Fables #111

December 4, 2011
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The week of comics was, well, weak. It was a ‘fifth week’, so none of the new DC books shipped… I only got six books and that is RARE for me. If the Silver Snail still had Spaceman #1 I would have used this small week to pick up #1 and 2… but, nope.

FABLES #111 (Willingham, Buckingham, Leialoha, McManus) Vertigo

So, what made this book so great? Nothing, actually. As I said, this was a light week and this book wouldn’t have won if there was stiffer competition.

It was good, though. The resolution of the new North Wind search was interesting, and surprised me. (I was CONVINCED I knew who the winner was. Wrong!) Bufkin’s lawyer was funny as well.

Not much more to add.

 

THUNDERBOLTS #166 (Parker, Shalvey, Martin) Marvel

Hmmm… some great bits in here, especially the ones dealing with Troll. Satana is getting very annoying. They had BETTER give a better reason behind Hyde’s actions than what was here, but the story isn’t done. Anyone hear the London, ON’s new baseball team is the London Rippers? Really.

The art is solid but I think I prefer the regular team. I hear that this book is in the danger zone as far as sales goes. Too bad. It is worth reading.

 

READ IT!

 

AVENGERS ORIGINS: THOR (Immonen, Barrionuevo, Lacombe, Milla, Tartaglia) Marvel

 

80% into this book I thought it just might get comic of the week honours. But then the ending was pretty poor. A great story sullied by cramming a bunch in to make it count as an ‘origin’. (Stone Men from Saturn!) Enjoy the Mjolnir story and ignore then ending.

 

THE ULTIMATES #4 (Hickman, Ribic, White) Marvel

So… this is both an important issue AND an issue where nothing really happens. An odd mix, to be sure. “All right, let’s all just agree to not fight.”

Huh.

 

FF #12 (Hickman, Bobillo, Sosa, Sotomayor) Marvel

 

Second straight Hickman book on this list. Based on his writing, this should be much higher. But the art… oh my god. It is horrible. I mean REALLY horrible. There are times when the only reason I can tell characters apart is that Hickman writes them distinctly. I showed a page to Ruthanne and asked if she could tell who was who. “Well, he has some grey hair, so he must be Reed…”

 

Terrible. If Bobillo stays on this book, I may not keep buying it.

 

HERC #10 (Pak, Van Lente, Hahn, Richardson, Aburtov) Marvel

I stayed with this book because I knew it was cancelled anyway. I shouldn’t have bothered. Remember when Incredible Hercules was one of the most entertaining comics on the racks? Those days are long gone. They took a great book and stripped out what made it special and left something just… ordinary.

This is the last issue, so I don’t need to cancel it.

 

Wow. What a lacklustre week. I’m sure there will be more great books next week.