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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Wonder Woman #7

March 24, 2012
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After a late week getting to my comics, this time I got them Thursday… but Thursday was my birthday and last night was Once Upon A Slam, so here I am!

 

From best to ‘least best’.

 

WONDER WOMAN #7 (Brian Azzarello / Cliff Chiang) DC

This book us going to ruffle the feathers of some long-standing WW fans… but I don’t care. It is just a well done comic. The changes in Paradise Island and the Amazons are very large, but they create a great story. The scenes with the Amazons hunting for… seed… were very well done. The scenes with Hephastus and the men were excellent. This is one of the best comics DC has going (at least when Cliff Chiang is on art duties) and this is the best issue of the run thus far.

 

FABLES #115 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha / McManus) Vertigo

Fables is not the book it once was (for that, read Fairest right now), but it still has flashes of greatness, instead of just ‘goodness’. I don’t like the back-ups… not the story itself but getting it in such small doses… but the main story was very VERY good. The stuff with Spratt worked but it is Discardia that REALLY resonates. I guess that can’t call it the Island of the Misfit Toys, but Discardia is such a great name anyway. It is more a cross between Rudolph and Toy Story anyway. Good comic.

 

SUPER CROOKS #1 (Mark Millar / Leinil Yu) Icon

I feel that I should point Ruthanne’s legitimate gripe against this book. Eight characters on the cover and only one isn’t white (or is it two, hard to tell) but more than that, only one female. And guess what? She also happens to be someone’s girlfriend or something. Past that, this is a good read. It isn’t hugely ground-breaking but a strong story of career loser criminals looking for a new stomping grounds. The bit with Vegas and supers was nice.

I bought this on a whim but am going to continue.

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #682 (Slott / Caselli / Martin Jr.) Marvel

This kicks off Ends of the Earth (the big Spidey story of the season). Doc Ock is helping to save the world. Do you trust him? Spidey doesn’t. I really liked them showing the uses of Peter’s inventions and what a great place Horizon Labs is. I don’t like the latest costume, though. Apparently it is Sinister Six proof or something.

 

DOMINIQUE LAVEAU VOODOO CHILD #1 (Selwyn Seyfu Hinds / Denys Cowan / John Floyd) Vertigo

This book was pretty disappointing. Not enough to drop it yet, but the story was pretty disjointed and the scripting was, well, bad. Put this in the Night Force category of ‘I hope it gets better’.

 

THUNDERBOLTS #171 (Parker / Walker / Pallot / Martin ) Marvel

Thunderbolts has been pretty good lately and this is the regular creative team… so why was it so lousy? The villain was lame. The premise was weak. Parts of it were just icky for no reason. It SEEMS like the only reason this comic exists is to change Songbirds powers… I guess. It is unclear. This book is turning into Dark Avengers soon. We’ll see.

 

AVENGERS: X-SANCTION #4 (Jeph Loeb / Ed McGuiness / Dexter Vines / Morry Hollowell) Marvel

Not that you could tell the name of the book by the cover. You would assume this was just the Avengers book. Maybe that was the point.

So, in the end this book served a purpose, narratively. It brought back Cable and set the stage for AvX… but just. It didn’t suck as bad as it seemed like it was going to early on, but I still would not recommend it.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Saga #1

March 21, 2012
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I am really late on this post because my weekend was crazy. Awesomely crazy. I spent all day Saturday at my annual strat draft, followed by a successful night playing poker. Sunday I featured at Dusty Owl.

 

So I didn’t get my comics until Sunday and then last night I had a VERSeFest meeting and I have been swamped.

 

Here they are, in order from best to… least best. 🙂

 

SAGA #1 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

I am ON the Saga fan train! I have drunk the kool-aid and it was GOOD! Everything about this comic was great! Great story, great art, great value. Both main characters are interesting. The support characters are interesting. EVERY character felt like they WERE someone, not just scene filler.

I read one review that said the breast feeding was gratuitous and that it was somehow sexist to make the female so strong.

Needless to say, I do not give that review any credence whatsoever. Both complaints are absolute rubbish.

I know this is sold out everywhere, but if you didn’t get it, buy the reprint. Trust me. Soon we will be say that Y, the Last Man is that old comic by the guy from Saga.

 

THE UNWRITTEN #35 (Carey / Gross / Perker) Vertigo

Remember how I said that Saga was such a great value? Unwritten was $2 more than Saga, for no more comic. It was really good though! This is what everything has been building up to! But it isn’t over. I am REALLY looking forward to the fall out from this one.

I am a big Fables fan, but I have to admit that the Unwritten has become the best Vertigo book. It is consistently good.

 

SAUCER COUNTRY #1 (Paul Cornell / Ryan Kelly) Vertigo

This week is just amazing! Not only did we get the first issue of Saga, but the latest Vertigo offering is Saucer Country. Now this book is not quite as strong as Saga, but that isn’t taking anything away from it. The only character I didn’t like is that republican strategist. I know here are people like that but being willing to listen to someone who says those things without immediately throwing them out on their ear does not say much for the main character. It was kind of disgusting.

 

THIEF OF THIEVES #2 (Kirkman / Spencer / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

Ruthanne doesn’t like this comic. We don’t always agree. 🙂

This is just a good week for characters as I go back to that well again. Even with only small glimpses into their lives, these all seem like REAL, fully formed people. The art wasn’t quite as good as issue #1, but I really like the DESIGN of the book, so the artist gets some credit there. The layouts are interesting and evocotive. Where he falls is the simple skills, like faces. They aren’t terrible or anything but the craft doesn’t seem to keep up with the art, if you know what I am saying.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #9 (Brubaker / Davis / Farmer / Martin) Marvel

Another solid issue by Bru and Davis. This reads like a Gruenwald issue, and that is high praise. The inclusion of villains like Machinesmith and the Serpent Squad sure helps that comparison. Is Crossbones going to show up next?

 

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #1 (Bendis / Bagley / Miki / Mounts) Marvel

Just like Cap and Avengers Academy, I get a real retro vibe out of this. Good old fashion superhero fun! I like lots of other stuff (see above) but this is the kind of book that turned me into a comic fan in the first place, lo so many moons ago. (I have been buying comics for…28 years.)

 

AVENGERS #24 (Bendis / Acuna) Marvel

Did people who weren’t long time Avengers fans like this book as much as I did? Beating Osborne would seem a little anti-climactic if it weren’t for the history that goes with it. “He has the super-adaptoid powers? No problem. We know how to beat that.”

As always, the Acuna art is excellent. The only thing I didn’t like about this was stuff that isn’t even in this… the news that Thunderbolts is morphing into Dark Avengers with some of the lame versions of characters from this book. Some are okay, but anything that has the Thor clone drops five notches in my estimation.

 

BATWOMAN #7 (J.H. Williams III / W.Haden Blackman / Amy Reeder) DC

Sigh. I have heard why this book does not showcase the amazing Amy Reeder that was so great on Madame Xanadu. Apparently the powers that be are trying to make her draw like Williams, which just makes her not fully realize the work on her own. Too bad. She is off the book now (sounds like it was a pretty awful experience and her leaving was very mutual). All I know about her replacement is the rumour that the got a Williams wannabe to be his fill in.

Is it too much to hope that they get a better writer and put Williams back doing the amazing art he excels at?

 

FANTASTIC FOUR #604 (Hickman / Epting / Magyar / Mounts) Marvel

Well that was.. something. The story is over, I guess. The Galactus thing was cool but a big seeming sacrificial scene where nothing was sacrificed? Using a character that we have no investment in anyway?

I am done. Book dropped.

 

BATGIRL #7 (Gail Simone / Ardian Syaf / Vicent Cifuentes) DC

So, if I am dropping Fantastic Four, why I am I keeping Batgirl when I have it rated lower? Mostly because I want to support them publishing female characters (of a different sort than Catwoman). I have also been a fan of Gail Simone and I hope she can turn it around… but this was the worst issue of the run. The characterization of Batgirl and Black Canary was really… off. (That slap was just stupid.)

Simone has received praise for keeping Killing Joke at the forefront of the comic. Personally, every time I see a mention of it, I am reminded of how much I dislike the sloppy, mishandled reasoning behind Babs walking again. Moreover, I am reminded of how much better a character she was as Oracle and what a terrible mistake they made by switching her back.  When the announcement was made, I had faith in Gail Sim one. That faith is gone.


DC Solicits for June… and some stats.

March 13, 2012
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The June solicits are out for DC… and they include three Before Watchmen books.

I’m buying them.

(pleasedontsuckpleasedontsuckpleasedontsuck)

 

I just went through and checked out my ‘Rusty’s Comic of the Week’ columns and statted them up.

In 18 weeks there have been 11 different comics that got the Comic of the Week ‘award’. There have been 3 3-time winners and 1 two-time winner.

3-Times

AVENGERS, FABLES, UNWRITTEN

2-times

BATWOMAN

1-time

FAIREST, RASL, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, MOON KNIGHT, SECRET AVENGERS, SWAMP THING, ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN


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Marvel Infinite

March 12, 2012
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So the end of comics has begun.


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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Fairest #1

March 11, 2012
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What a great week for comics! It was a little big… enough that it was supposed to be a ‘cancellation’ week… but there is nothing deserving of cancellation! (Yet… see below.)

 

FAIREST #1 (Bill Willingham / Phil Jimenez / Andy Lanning) Vertigo

Right from the amazing Adam Hughes cover, this book was a treat. This is Fables back before it got bogged down in overarching plot. Fables is still good, but this book is better! Willingham has totally mastery of these characters, not that it is a surprise at this point. Phil Jimenez is at his best… evoking a little Neal Adams in much the way he used to evoke a little George Perez. It is a little odd that a book that is meant to represent the female Fables characters has a first issue where the star is clearly Ali Baba, but that just seems to be set-up for a certain Slumbering Siren…

Buy this book. You won’t be disappointed.

 

THE DEFENDERS #4 (Fraction / Lark / Gaudiano / Hollingsworth) Marvel

A book that was hovering near the bottom of my list has rocketed way up! Matt Fraction took what I thought of as a weakness (Dr. Strange’s casual playboy attitudes) and turned it into a strength by giving us a peek behind it. Did you imagine that Molly from issue #1 would be back? I sure didn’t… and neither did Strange, likely.

I am a fan of the Dodsons but Michael Lark’s fill-in was perfect for THIS story, where the super-heroic postures of the Dodsons may not have worked as well.

 

ANIMAL MAN #7 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh / Travel Foreman / Jeff Huet) DC

As I have said before, I find Foreman’s work on Animal Man to be a little TOO effective, so I like the switch to Pugh, but that isn’t totally why the book is this high on the list. It is the writing. The scenes with Buddy and Cliff are excellent. Cliff is the often overlooked member of the Baker family, and Lemire knows it and is using it. Other touches, like the cat-shaped avatar of the red making its food preferences known. I am not so sure about the dream (?) sequence with ‘Animal Woman’, but I AM sure that everything is about to hit the fan.

 

SWAMP THING #7 (Scott Snyder / Yanick Paquette) DC

Beautiful cover. Beautiful art. Normally I have Swamp Thing ahead of Animal Man, but they are so tightly connected that it almost doesn’t matter.

This is it folks… this is where the book REALLY starts.

 

AVENGERS: CHILDREN’S CRUSADE (Heinberg / Cheung / Morales / Ponsor) Marvel

SPOILERS!
SPOILERS!

SPOILERS!

 

 

 

Still here?

 

 

Wow. I was SURE that when they brought Scott Lang back that he would be dead again before the series was over. Well, a Lang is dead, but it is Cassie. That truly surprised me. Killing Vision didn’t, because the new one is back. No more Patriot… Iron Lad on his way to being a villain (separate from Kang, I think). So now there aren’t two Visions, but there are still two Hawkeyes and now there are two Ant-Mans (Ant-Men?) as well.

Hmmm.

This book was hurt by the bi-monthly pace but the characterization is strong and the art is excellent.

Oh…are they engaged? For real? Well done. (as was the kiss.)

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #27 (Gage / Moline / Fern / Sotomayor) Marvel

I love the Runaways and Gage did I good job capturing them. The art didn’t, but you can’t have everything. I hope that Tom Grummett is just taking an issue off. His addition to the book was a bog step up, I hope it wasn’t temporary.

The conversation between Pym and Tigra was terrible. I don’t mean the content, but the actual delivered lines only existed to make a damning sound bite. People don’t talk like that.

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #8 (Bendis / Pichelli / Ponsor) Marvel

Still a great comic, but the focus this time was a little more on plot than characterization. Other than the fact that Miles is bothered by his Uncle’s revelation, there wasn’t much there for him. Scorpion coming to the U.S. was interesting. (Who does he look like on the cover? The Rock maybe?)

 

iZOMBIE #23 (Chris Roberson / Michael Allred) Vertigo

I really like this book. The risk, though, when there are so many disparate plots, is that it starts to feel ‘crowded and chaotic. This is the same problem Hickman has a lot. Still well worth a read, even if just for the Allred art.

 

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

Good read. It is funny that a plot hole became a plot point, as Peter’s plan was ridiculous. Also, why didn’t Johnny bring one of those special ‘FF-space suits’ that lets him be the Torch without using up the oxygen (or lack thereof). By not having it, it made him pretty useless.

 

WINTER SOLDIER #3 (Brubaker / Guice / Gaudiano / Breitweiser) Marvel

Only this low because the week was so good. The Doombot stuff is nice. The story was a little jumpy, but it still works. I love how this reads like a spy thriller. Everytime Guice draws Black Widow it feels like this book is thirty years older than it is. That’s a good thing.

 

NIGHT FORCE #1 (Marv Wolfman / Tom Mandrake) DC

I only just this moment noticed that the cover says this is a miniseries. I loved the premise of the old Night Force from … what, the late 70’s? Early 80’s? This book is all set-up, though. Super jumpy and more hints at plot rather than actual plot.

I was really looking forward to this and I hope it gets better.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: AVENGERS #23

March 4, 2012
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I am a little late on this because I have been SUPREMELY busy as one of the organizers of VERSeFest in Ottawa. That is a poetry festival that encompasses both ‘page’ and ‘stage’. Just last night I hosted etc. OpenSecret, Mighty Mike McGee, Taqralik Partridge… and Ursula Rucker.

 

URSULA RUCKER

 

I am still buzzing.

 

AVENGERS #23 (Bendis / Acuna) Marvel

This book is SO much better when Acuna is on it. This book had the Avengers a little less chumplike. The scene with the president talking to Madame Hydra with Cap in chains was great (especially after my distaste for the way it LOOKED like it was going last issue). Stark’s cockiness even when a prisoner was spot on. All in all, a great read and I am looking forward to next issue!

 

NEW AVENGERS #22 (Bendis / Deodato / Conrad / Beredo) Marvel

Another nice uptick in the book. Luke Cage was great (though while his characterization is really good – he isn’t much of a leader in those situations). The Victoria Hand stuff was solid (though predictable). The end, though… the end was sweet! I didn’t see that coming (but then I never read the books he has appeared in before).

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #680 (Slott / Yost / Camuncoli / Janson / D’Armata) Marvel

Spidey – in – space! The only thing, and I mean the ONLY thing, that I didn’t like in this issue was Spidey saying that Human Torch had changed and then having him act as if nothing had changed. It was a ‘show me, don’t tell me’ moment… and they just told.

This is obviously a ramp up to that big Spidey story coming down the pipe.

 

MOON KNIGHT #10 (Bendis / Maleev / Hollingsworth) Marvel

I honestly expected to open this book and see Echo alive. Not to say they might not still do that, but not yet. Now add Buck to the endangered list. Did Bendis create a supporting cast only to eliminate them before the book wraps up in two months?

 

THE TWELVE #10 (J.Michael Straczynski / Chris Weston) Marvel

I look forward to reading this complete. I honestly can’t remember if the reveal here is out of left field or if there were hints.

How often do you see full frontal male nudity in comics? Especially in a MARVEL comic!

 

THE UNWRITTEN #34.5 (Carey / Gross / Erskine) Vertigo

I find the Unwritten .5 issues to be hit or miss. This one was mostly a miss. Still worth reading but not something to jump to the top of the pile.

 

THE ULTIMATES #7 (Hickman / Ribic / White) Marvel

I think Hickman is trying to make this book very dense. He did the same thing with Fantastic Four before clearing the decks and clarifying the goings on. I expect that will happen here. Eventually.

 

FF #15 (Hickman / Dragotta / Sotomayor) Marvel

Well… the art is better. Lots better. Two Hickman books on the bottom of the pile. That isn’t good, but this book reads okay. The big Power Pack cover makes no sense. Sure they are there, but they are not very important (character-wise) and there is no explanation why Julie is not in California.

It just reminds how much better Avengers Academy is then this book. I’m not dropping it, but the ice is not very thick.