Rusty's World

Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Wonder Woman #8

April 25, 2012
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Some really solid books this week! ¬†Plus the load was a manageable size…. I get a little carried away sometimes. ūüôā

 

Starting from the weakest book and moving up.

 

DOMINIQUE LAVEAU: VOODOO CHILD #2 (Hinds / Cowan / Floyd) Vertigo

This is kind of a mess. I mean, what is going on? I really want to like the book – and I DO like the Denys Cowan art – but the story is very erratic. I am going to keep with it, but it is danger of being dropped from the list. Too bad. (Ruthanne likes the book more than I do, apparently.)

 

DEFENDERS #5 (Fraction / Breitweiser / Breitweiser) Marvel

Captain Nemo is Namor’s father? Really? That is just dumb. This is the worst issue of the run, but what can you do with a Namor lead? Who is just not that interesting a character. There are some apparent continuity problems with Namor, but I don’t read the X-Men books, so I don’t really care. The art is… okay, I guess. It isn’t bad but it isn’t exciting.

It looks like next issue switches to being an Iron Fist focused story, which should be a big improvement. (Though I wish they would decided if they want Danny with Misty or not…)

 

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #2 (Aaron / Romita / Hanna / Martin) Marvel

There has been a lot of hype around this book. A LOT of hype. I have been looking forward to it quite a bit.

And THIS is what we get.

Page after page of people punching each other. That’s it? Where is the, you know, STORY?

Plus I am not a Romita Jr. fan. He isn’t terrible, but not enough to save this book.

However, my rant is not about the writing or art. It is about THOSE BLOODY AWFUL AR CODES STUCK IN ALL OVER! Whose ridiculously stupid idea was that? Certainly not the artist or the writer since they make the comic much worse.

MESSAGE TO MARVEL: STOP PUTTING AN AD FOR YOUR DIGITAL SERVICE ON THE PANELS OF THE COMIC. PERIOD.

 

AVENGERS #25 (Bendis / Simonson / Hanna / Keith) Marvel

Don’t buy into the AVX hype… but buy this book anyway. It is worth a read… for the art alone. The story is very disappointing. It is clearly a fill-in, marking time until the AVX story is in place. The art, though… is WALT SIMONSON! Woot! Before I get too carried away, I need to be honest. There are some panels here that are just plain bad. Not too many , though, and Simonson draws action as good or better than anyone. This is LIGHT YEARS better than Deodato over on New Avengers.

But, as I said, the story is weak. The good news is that Simonson appears to be here for the time being, so hopefully he will get better scripts to draw in the coming months.

 

THUNDERBOLTS #173 (Parker / Shalvey / Martin) Marvel

Thunderbolts continues to be the dirty little secret of Marvel. It has one of the best on-going stories of any Marvel book… paired with really sub-standard art that makes it look like a run of the mill, garbage book from yesterday.

Of course the yesterday bit seems a little apropos as the T’Bolts take on the 90’s version of the team. The whole book is worth it for the character interplay and contrast between Fixer and Techno.

That’s what I said. Fixer and Techno.

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #684 (Slott / Ramos / Olazaba / Delgado) Marvel

Dan Slott continues to do a great job on Spidey.The story is intriguing. The art is excellent. The only thing wrong with it is that ugly costume that he is currently sporting.

Oh, and the way they beat Sandman was kind of lame… but the book is generally so written that I can let that slide. (Oh, who did the cover? Caselli? Zip up that shirt, Caselli.)

 

CASTLE WAITING #16 (Linda Medley) Fantagraphics

Castle Waiting is back! Apparently it is only going to run to issue #18, but seeing how it has been three years since issue 15, I’m not complaining.

This book is wonderful. It would be higher on this list, except it’s strength really isn’y in single issues. (Though the issue with the baby Lion and the one with the little gremlins taking care of the baby would be top of the week.)

I don’t advise anyone to run out and buy this issue if you haven’t been reading the book. Instead what I advise is that you run out and buy the first volume of Castle Waiting in hardcover. DO IT.

 

FABLES #116 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha / McManus) Vertigo

The whole Discardia story is coming along nicely. The art is beautiful as always. Seeing another side to Lord Mountbatten was nice. The kids are rapidly becoming the best characters in Fables… and Fables is a book that is teeming with great characters.

As usual, I don’t like the format for the back-up… but this time it was pretty good! The rope was awesome, but it is still too small a slice to get a proper feel. I would WAY rather the issues of the book alternate between the two stories instead of short-changing both.

 

WONDER WOMAN #8 (Brian Azzarello / Cliff Chiang) DC

Some issues of Wonder Woman make me think it is the best book DC has going. Other issues make me think that Azzarello is letting the ideas in his head spill onto the page a little too muddled and clear only to him. Then there is the whole destruction of tradition angle.

This issue, is easily the best of the run, in my opinion. The rest of the stuff with the Amazons etc. is put to he side to give us a straight ahead journey into hell, and all that entails. Hades, the dead, Haphaestus, Cupid, Hermes, Zola… all are just right in here.

Here is the deal: the complaints about Azzarello destroying the best example of female strength in comics… well, maybe. I get that. I see why this would be something people wouldn’t like. But this is a damned good comic. Let him kill the sacred cows… it will just be his responsibility to create new ones.

Here’s hoping he does.

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Rusty’s Comic of the (two) Week(s): The Unwritten #36

April 15, 2012
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I would go and try to figure out which was my top book from each week, but I don’t feel like trying to find out which books came out in which week.

 

And who cares, really?

 

Trying something new this week. I always list the books from the best to the worst. Ruthanne thinks it would read better if I go from the worst to the best.

I think that is just because that is the order she reads them. Regardless, if you have a preference, o loyal reading public, let me know.

 

BATWOMAN # 8 (J.H. Williams III / W.Haden Blackman / Amy Reeder / Rob Hunter) DC

From best to worst in such a short time. This may be a little repetitive from earlier reviews, but here goes. Amy Reeder is a great artist. Her work on Madame Xanadu was stellar. When it was announced that she would be the ‘alt’ artist on Batwoman, I was thrilled. It would be very different from Williams, but I thought it would be a great contrast.

Those at DC thought differently. They brought her in and then tried to get her to draw like Williams. Since Williams as now the writer, my guess is that he uses full script and told Reeder how the pages should look. The end result is just awful. Instead of getting great Williams art or great Reeder art we get this absolute mess. The cover was nice. That’s about it.

On top of that, the writing is not good. Williams is not a very good writer. His phenomenal art has hid this… but now it is out there for all to see. (This sounds like the early days of Image, no?)

So why I am not cancelling this? Reeder is out (and she made no bones about how much she disliked working on the book). Trevor McCarthy is taking over and I am told that his esthetic is much like Williams’ anyway, so it should jell better. We’ll give it a try.

 

NIGHT FORCE #2 (Marv Wolfman / Tom Mandrake) DC

I was so excited when they announced this book. I love the IDEA of Night Force, with Baron Winter and his magic house. The first issue was a mess, however. It was confusing and did not do anything to keep me interested. In the interest of HOPING the book would get better, I stuck around for issue #2. It DID get better… but not enough. It reads like a book summary, if that makes sense.

Dropped.

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #6 (Rucka / Waid / Checchetto / Hollingswoth) Marvel

I nearly dropped this one but Ruthanne tells me that she enjoys it. This book crosses over with Daredevil and Punisher. Guess which two books I don’t buy? Shayne endorses both, so do I let this suck me in and buy them?

The real thing that gets me to consider dropping the book is that for the most part these stories feel like they don’t matter. I straight ahead superhero book in isolation isn’t enough for me. I have read thousands of those. I like the on-going stores that move from one to the other… and for Spider-Man, I quite enjoy Slott’s book. This one… well, just doesn’t have that.

Oh well. Sticking around for now.

 

THUNDERBOLTS #172 (Parker / Shalvey / Bellaire / Sotomayor) Marvel

Ruthanne would prefer I cancel this one, but I am sticking it out. So this is the big 15 year anniversary, with art by… Declan Shalvey? Really? I enjoy the story, which is good because the art is pretty awful. Good thing they got the anniversary celebration sin before the book is cancelled (and relaunched as Dark Avengers). I have a newsflash for Marvel… the book doesn’t sell poorly because it doesn’t say Avengers on the cover. It sells poorly because you don’t give it a decent artist to push it with.

(As an aside, I have been given the impression that none other than Declan himself has read one of my reviews where I slam his work. I am truly sorry about that. I am a creator as well and when I read reviews that rip me apart it hurts. But I don’t think I should lie about what I think of the book for that reason… so I am sorry. I wished I liked it more, but I don’t.)

 

iZOMBIE #24 (Chris Roberson / Jim Rugg) Vertigo

A non-Allred issue. When the fill-in was J.Bone, that was pretty cool. This issue… not so much. The art is fine, but it just makes me wish it was still Allred instead of being a nice change of pace. ¬†This feels like a ‘marking time’ issue, which is odd as they race towards the finale in a few months (Vertigo has cancelled the book due to poor sales). I normally quite like iZombie, but this issue just didn’t wow me. Still good, just not great.

 

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #2 (Bendis / Bagley / Miki / Mounts) Marvel

The Avengers book that just ‘happens’ to match the cast of the upcoming movie. Based on that, I wouldn’t buy it, but it is still Bendis and Bagley. It is a pretty fun read. It is one of those ‘old-school’ superhero books that I enjoy. I think it is Bagley that make sit feel that way. That and the Zodiac.

Not much to say. A fun book in the old Marvel style.

 

SECRET AVENGERS #25 (Remender / Hardma / Breitweiser) Marvel

A solid read. The only thing that bothered me is that the fast little teleport out seems like it could have been used last issue to avoid the beatings they kept taking. Venom gets to prove his worth to Hawkeye, which is important for the book going forward. Ant-Man did as well, with a hearty ‘BUT…’ to follow. New villains turn into a ‘thing’ rather than just a one-off. A nice teaser at the end.

What’s not to like?

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #683 (Slott / Caselli / Martin Jr.) Marvel

This book is WAY better than the Avenging version. The story here is really top notch. (As long as the world doesn’t KEEP buying into DocOck’s lies. He pretty clear acts villainous in front of the world leaders.) ¬†The fight with the Avengers and the Sinister Six was exciting, and the way Spidey held his own was well thought on (by Peter and Dan).

My only real problem is that fugly costume Spidey is wearing as part of the story. I am looking forward to that being done with. You know those times when you read old comics and discover little blips where Cap or Thor or whoever are wearing some ridiculous ‘new’ costume that vanishes quickly after? This storyline will be THAT one day.

 

Note to Dan Slott. Forget Bendis. This book ‘matters’.

 

WINTER SOLDIER #4 (Brubaker / Guice / Gaudino / Breitweiser) Marvel

I am enjoying this book. The spy stuff is cool, but we are also reminded that the conceit that the world thinks Bucky is dead will stretch credibility if they continue it too long. Any book with Red Ghost and his super-apes has got to be good, and duelling Doctor Dooms is fun. (Though I am not quite down with Bru’s take on Doom’s dialogue. He comes across as delusional rather than insufferably confident.)

 

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #1 (Benids / Romita / Hanna / Martin) Marvel

Quick question… what is with that AR that appears on a bunch of pages? It is really distracting.

Well, this was a LOT better than that pretty bad issue #0. It sets the stage pretty nicely. I expected to take the side of the X-Men (I much prefer the Avengers books, but the way this story was laying out, thy are a little too ‘establishment’), but it didn’t go that way at all. Cyclops is an asshole. Everything that happens here on out is because his first reaction was to shoot rather than talk.

Good work by Romita. Better than we have seen from him in quite some time.

 

FAIREST #2 (Willingham / Jimenez / Lanning) Vertigo

I loved issue #1, so why has #2 dropped so far? The art is still beautiful and the story is still interesting…. but that imp has gotten REALLY annoying. Willingham is using him as a way to explain things that doesn’t read like it is to the characters. It is to the reader. Sloppy. (Plus, that long diatribe against the physical capabilities of women in a book meant to spotlight women? Really out of place. Not quite to the level of Fables #50 when Willingham turned the book into an anti-Palestine rant that was pretty darned offensive, but it follows that path…)

 

BATGIRL #8 (Simone / Syaf / Martinez / Cifuentes) DC

From nearly cancelled to flying up the list in one issue! Finally Simone deals with the shooting in a way that doesn’t insult the intelligence of the reader. She still doesn’t adequately explain how you can go from wheelchair bound to superheroics, but the story of how she was saved from bleeding to death on the floor really worked for me. After the terrible characterization of the Batgirl/ Black Canary meeting, this issue made me actually care about he characters. Well done.

 

SWAMP THING #8 (Scott Snyder / Yanick Paquette / Marco Rudy) DC

From a book moving up to a book sliding down. ¬†I am sure this is just an aberration, because most of the reason this book isn’t as high as normal is that it reads like a transition. Look, Alec is Swamp Thing now! He is really strong and tough! He could beat the rotting animals in a fistfight! But how will he deal with Abby?

When I read this I remember thinking that by the end Paquette was really rushed. I double-checked the credits and saw that it was really because it wasn’t Paquette. Rudy is just not as good. (Not terrible or anything, but Paquette’s art is one of the things that makes ST so great usually). Normally I think Swamp Thing is better than Animal Man (its sister title). Not this month.

 

BRILLIANT #3 (Bendis / Bagley) Icon

It is really hitting the fan now.The ‘you-have-to-give-the-money-back’ was a little bit of over-the-top moralizing, but other than that, it read well. I liked the way it was the challenge that really inspired Albert. Good read. Not much else to say here.

 

SAUCER COUNTRY #2 (Paul Cornell / Ryan Kelly) Vertigo

I liked this issue better than the first, in some ways. THe discussions about anal rape, didn’t thrill me, but they were not done in an exploitative manner. The characters worked a lot better for me this issue, but the rape stuff just makes it a little harder to say I ‘enjoyed’ the comic. We’ll see how it plays out.

 

THIEF OF THIEVES #3 (Kirkman / Spencer / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

I really like the style of this book. Ruthanne had complained that only female characters are only there in relation to the male, but he IS the main character. I think she’ll like the cop in this book. She is pretty solid. Apparently AMC has optioned this nook. I guess the Kirkman name is a selling point now. I think I like i tmore due to Spencer and Martinbrough.

 

THE NEW AVENGERS #24 (Bendis / Deodato / Conrad / Beredo) Marvel

Let’s get this out of the way: that cover is terrible. I am not a big Deodato fan at the best of times but this is bad even for him. The story, however, it really strong. This is an AvX tie-in, but the real strength and meat of the book is the Cage / Jones / Danielle storyline. It just reads so real. There is a lot of hate for Jessica Jones on the internet, but in my opinion that is mostly from people who don’t like when women in comics actually act like people instead of fantasy archetypes. The story is believable in every aspect of it.

Forget the AvX stuff (though it works in this book), just read a damn good comic.

 

ANIMAL MAN #8 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh / Travel Foreman / Jeff Huet) DC

This is the issue where Steve Pugh takes over for Travel Foreman. I approve. Mostly, though, it is the story that makes this one so good. The feeling of fear, terror. and generally disturbing unease FILLS this book. The scenes will Maxine (both ‘before’ and ‘after’) were chilling. Is this the best book that DC is putting out? I would have said no a month or so ago, but this issue was REALLY well done. Two thumbs up.

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #28 (Gage / Moline / Fern / Sotomayor) Marvel

It is hard to talk about this book too much without giving everything away, but the scene where the characters get to see INTO the other characters was very powerful. EVERY character seems better now than they did before. I love the new interaction between AA and the Runaways as long as they continue it and this isn’t just lip service. The post-revelation reactions were very moving.

Just a good comic. (The art could be better, but what can I say…)

 

SAGA #2 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

I loved the first issue. I love the second issue. BUY THIS BOOK. The last page alone makes me anxious for issue #3!

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #9 (Benids / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

What do you do with this book when Pichelli is not on it? If you answer Chris Samnee (as it has been in the past), well that is a very good answer, But if you say David Marquez, that may be even better! This book was great from end to end, story, art, everything. The scene with Miles and the cop were great. The scene with Prowler and Scorpion were great. The scene with Miles and his roommates were VERY great.

If you aren’t buying Ultimate Spider-Man, but only question is….why?

 

THE UNWRITTEN #36 (Carey / Gross / Dayglo) Vertigo

A week (or two) with Sage and an excellent issue of Ultimate Spider-man yet the Unwritten makes it to the top? You bet! The best issues of this book, easily, have been the ‘stairway’ issues and this one is no exception. Pauly and the Tinker are excellent characters and they work well together. The end reminds me of the old Sandman arc, Game of You, and that is high praise… yet it isn’t over! I can’t wait for issue #37!!!

 

 

What a great batch of comics.

So, which format do you like better? Best first or best last?


Rusty’s Comic of the Week…

April 13, 2012
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You may have noticed that I did not put one up last week. That is because due to various reasons, I wasn’t able to get my comics last week. I will be getting them this week so my next review will be twice as beefy.

 

I did read two new comics this week. Magic Teeth Dailies #49 and #50.

 

They are the awesome. If you are in Victoria, you MUST go to Legends Comics and get Magic Teeth Dailies and anything else Gareth Gaudin wants to sell you.

 

This is an imperative.

 

 

Thanks Gareth! Thanks Shayne!


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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: All-Star Western #7

April 2, 2012
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This week was overshadowed by a variety of much more important things (as can be seen on my other blogs and elsewhere) but I still managed to get this week’s comics read. A solid group over all, but another cancellation happened… though not of the worst comic I read this week.

As always, from best to worst….

 

ALL-STAR WESTERN #7 (Gray / Palmiotti / Moritat / Scherberger / Green / Austin) DC

Just when the bloom was coming off Hex in Gotham, off they go to New Orleans! The addition of Nighthawk and Cinnamon (especially Cinnamon) is just what this book needed! Ruthanne liked to point out how nice it was to have a strong female character, who actually wore clothes over all her parts…

Arkham continues to be a good foil for Hex. The art is beautiful as always and the Art Adams style in the back-up works as well, despite being very different from Moritat.

 

THE UNWRITTEN #35.5 (Carey / Gross / Walta) Vertigo

This must be the last .5 issue, no? If so, it is a good one to go out on. It gives us a story of the people (well, one of them) who work on the grid. It looks like this one is leading into the NEXT Unwritten arc, rather than just referencing back story of the current one.  The .5 issues worked for the most part, though there were some clunkers, but I am looking forward more to the next regular issue.

 

SECRET AVENGERS #24 (Remender / Hardman / Breitweiser) Marvel

This is how you do a team-is-facing-insurmountable-odds-before-they-overcome-them-next-issue issue. The surprise at the end wasn’t a big one, but the notes along the way worked very well. I like the robot council and the fighting spirit of the team. This is the best Avengers title right now… after coming off a run where it was the worst (Not counting Solo).

 

MOON KNIGHT #11 (Bendis / Maleev / Hollingsworth) Marvel

The thing I am most afraid of, as Moon Knight comes to a close, is that this run will just become a footnote. Bendis is leaving the Avengers and whoever takes over will bring in Moon Knight and ignore all that was done here to make him more interesting. He will go back to just being a cheap Batman impersonator with a twist. That would be a shame.

 

THE TWELVE #11 (J.Michael Straczynski / Chris Weston) Marvel

I hope when this is all done, people will realize how good a book this is, without all the innumerable delays. The main story wraps up here, though we still have one more issue. In a way this reminds me of the original Squadron Supreme mini where they covered some great concepts but in a way that minimized their effect. That was too bad and I can see that happening here.

 

AVENGERS 24.1 (Bendis / Peterson / Oback) Marvel

If you are an Avengers fan, skip the crappy AvX #0 and read this comic instead. It gives you the Vision / Wanda meeting from his perspective, but is just generally done better. The art is just okay, but the story is spot on. Vision’s reaction to Scarlet Witch and She-Hulk really sets the stage for what will follow (as long as new writers don’t screw it up… do NOT put them back together!)

 

THE NEW DEADWARDIANS #1 (Dan Abnett / I.N.J. Culbard) Vertigo

This was very disappointing. It wasn’t bad, but I expected so much more. The idea is great but the execution was fairly plodding and pedestrian. The art is not very compelling and… well, of the four new Vertigo launches, it wasn’t as good as Fairest or Saucer Country but it was better than Voodoo Child.

 

THE NEW AVENGERS #23 (Bendis / Deodato / Conrad / Beredo) Marvel

This one suffers due to the problems with the publishing schedule. Here we see the fight where Skaar switches sides and fights the Dark Avengers… which we have already seen the results of what, last week? The week before?

Decent little scrap, nut nothing to it, storywise. This is why I’m not buying AvX:Vs. It might have been okay if the books came out in order.

 

THE ULTIMATES #8 (Hickman / Ribic / White) Marvel

I am beginning to realize… I just don’t like Hickman’s style. His ideas a good, but he implements them in a vey jerky way. I prefer the narrative to be more straight forward, even when they ideas are not. I prefer to try and figure out WHY something is happening and not have to decipher WHAT is happening.

I liked the bit with Reed turning the Hulk, though.

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #5 (Zeb Wells / Leinil Francis Yu / Gerry Alanguilan / Sunny Gho) Marvel

This story would have been okay if both Spidey and Cap acted AT ALL like they do in other books. The whole plot was based on faulty logic. First off, it showed Cap as a terrible artist from back when he was a kid. Uh, did Wells read the books in the 80’s where Cap actually WAS a comic artist? He sure doesn’t think much of the quality of the comics¬†from the 80’s, I guess. And Spidey thinking that he and Cap could be pals because Cap used to draw and Spidery liked Science? Uh… what?

 

THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #7 (EthanVan Sciver / Joe Harris) DC

This book just keeps hanging on. The interplay with the two main characters is interesting but the rest is a little too chaotic. Van Sciver may have a bit of Hickman-disease… though it isn’t quite the same.

 

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #0 (Bendis / Aaron / Cho / Keith) Marvel

I have been looking forward to AvX, but this issue has taken some of the bloom off that rose. Both stories were not interesting. The Scarlet Witch story was really bad, with the reactions from Ms.Marvel and Spider-Woman being downright baffling. The art was AWFUL. I am never a big fan of Cho, but this was seriously crappy. He draws women VERY badly and his Modok was cartoonish. The callback to Avengers #58 was just cheesy.

The Hope story was a lot better… even with the art, despite still being Cho. The bit where she puffed up was funny without being silly. It gave some decent characterization without everything seeming oddly set. I am normally a Bendis fan, but in this one I have to give the only props to Aaron.

I hope the main mini is better than this.

 

FF #16 (Hickman / Dragotta / Epting) Marvel

Oh, by  the way, your daughter is an idiot. The big reveal at the end is completely predicated on that fact. Great.

Yet that still didn’t seem as stupid as Reed’s super-erector-set building. Plus the art was terrible, as usual. I cut Fantastic Four this month and now FF joins it. These were good briefly, but that time has come to an end.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA & BUCKY #628 (Asmus / Brubaker / Francavilla) Marvel

This story ended. I found that I didn’t care about anything or anyone in it. Te shift away from WW2 (and Chris Samnee) has been the kiss of death for this book. The only reason it isn’t joining FF on the scrapheap is that it gets a new direction starting next issue. I am going to give it a try.