Rusty's World

Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Batman Incorporated #1

May 27, 2012
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Not as exciting a week as the last, and a surprise in at #1… in a week that includes previous award winners Fables, Unwritten and All-Star Western.

 

Starting from the weakest and working up.

 

THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #9 (Van Sciver / Harris / Cinar / Rapmund / Alquiza) DC

Another issue of a bunch of nuclear people fighting indiscriminately amongst themsevles. This time they add the JLI… which I neither read nor care about. I gave this a big chance as Like Jason and Ronnie… but this isn’t Firestorm anyway.

Dropped.

 

SECRET AVENGERS #27 (Remender / Guedes / Breitweiser) Marvel

I have liked the new iteration of Secret Avengers, but this issue… not so much. The art is just horrible. I said Guedes was ‘okay’ last issue… I am downgrading that. This was pretty darned bad. Look how dynamic the Marvels look on the Davis cover. Now look at them inside. No comparison. Plus the story isn’t working for me. We already know that the story has moved PAST this point in AVX. This is just a killing time story.

If the book continues like this it will join Firestorm.

 

DOMINIQUE LAVEAU, VOODOO CHILD #3 (Selwyn Seyfu Hinds / Denys Cowan / John Floyd) Vertigo

I am biased because Selwyn came and commented on my blog? I don’t know, but I will say that this issue was better than the first two. The simple a to b part of the plot is falling into place. There actual ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’, rather than just flashbacks of ominous doom. Cowan isn’t one of my favourite artists, but I appreciate what he does. I’m less of a fan of Grampa’s cover, but it is okay.

 

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #9 (Jeff Lemire / Mikel Janin) DC

I bought JLD when it launched but dropped it as it didn’t seem to be finding its feet. Lemire has done better in one issue than I saw in 3 by Milligan. I don’t read I.Vampire, so that guy doesn’t click with me, but the rest are excellent. I am hoping this joins Swamp Thing and Animal Man as a little corner of strong DC books.

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #686 (Slott / Caselli / Martin Jr.) Marvel

I have been enjoying the Ends of the Earth story, but it is starting to feel a little stretched. The first Mysterio ‘twist’ was pretty obvious (the second was good, though), but the way the story hinged on irrational behaviour by Chameleon and Dr. Octopus didn’t sit right with me. Best news? The words ‘To Be Concluded’. As I said t0 the story has been good, but it has run its course.

 

ALL-STAR WESTERN #9 (Gray / Palmiotti / Moritat / Scherberger / Green) DC

I have really enjoyed ASW and it has been near or at the best book of the week many times. So why is it so low this time? The ‘real’ story was too short, as it had to make room for a RIDICULOUS ‘cross-over’ and then a set-up for the next issue while STILL having a back-up.

Tying Jonah Hex in with Batman is walking a tightrope. Some references are great. Too many is not. An out of left field, pointless Court of Owls appearance was just stupid.

Please, no more. (The rest of the book was good, though!)

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #12 (Brubaker / Zircher / Mounts) Marvel

Scourge! Gyrich! The big reveal that I am not going to spoil!

Scourge worked better for me here. Last issue it seemed like he was working FOR the villains, and I didn’t care for that. Now it makes better sense. I know some people hate when they do anything with… the revealed character… that doesn’t involve him being the most awesome…whatever. He was a pretty lame character when created. Anything that makes him interesting s good. (Though I would have liked them to follow Bendis’ thread with him.)

 

THE UNWRITTEN #37 (Mike Carey / Peter Gross) Vertigo

(Aside: Jesse Chavez struck out the side! Woot!)

This comic was a good read, but it is hard to say to much . It feels like we are reading The Unwritten Volume 2, #1… a sequel or something. It will really take more than one issue to see how that goes.

 

FABLES #117 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha / McManus) Vertigo

The lead story is still too short, but things leap forward this issue. Therese putting her foot down was nice. The charge of Mountbatten was VERY well done. The new Fabletown is intriguing. The back-up continues to be… well, in the way, really.

 

BATMAN INCORPORATED #1 (Grant Morrison / Chris Burnham) DC

Nice! A good mix of chuckles and action. (Batcow!) People were raving about the Batgirl issue that got me to drop the book – talking about the insight into one of the villains.

THIS book does that WAY better than Batgirl did. It helps that I don’t care at all about the Owls (not their fault – I just don’t read the mainstream Batbooks), while Goatboy was interesting all on his own, right off the bat (pun intended).

I hope the book stays at this level and doesn’t descend into madness, as Morrison books sometimes do.

 

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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Saga #3

May 20, 2012
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A GREAT week for comics! Even the comic I have as the weakest of the bunch wasn’t all that bad! The fight for the top spots was tooth and nail!

 

As always, I start with the weakest and work my way up.

 

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #4 (Hickman / Romita / Hanna / Martin) Marvel

There are some real problems with this book. The biggest of which is that it feels like it is just a series of recaps about crossover books, after claiming you don’t need to read those books.  The actual meat of the story is told elsewhere (and it sounds like the best of it is in X-Men books, which I don’t read.)

Still, I like the direction the story is going. Wolverine is starting to act in a more rational manner, which is nice. I expect the Phoenix force is going to fly right past them there on the moon, but we will see.

 

WINTER SOLDIER #5 (Brubaker / Guice / Gaudino / Palmer / Breitweiser) Marvel

This is a nice wrap-up for the story (though it seems like there will be an epilogue or sequel to come). It is an interesting fight and the bit between W.S. and Red Ghost was pretty cool and the arrogance of Doom was spot on. WInter Soldier is not a ‘great’ book, but it is solidly a ‘good’ book.

 

AVENGERS #26 (Bendis / Simonson / Hanna / Keith) Marvel

Man, Walt Simonson is awesome. Just look at some of those pages! Look at the MOVEMENT in them. This is a master at work (and less of the ‘misses’ found in the previous issue). The stuff with Noh and Annie was great and I really hope that this ‘betryal’ works out okay and we get to see more of them. I don’t care about Protector normally, but adding her makes him way more interesting. (Yes, we have seen her before, despite what the guy from The Buy Pile says.)

This is an example of where the crossover stories are better than the main AVX book.

 

BATWOMAN #9 (J.H.Williams III / W.Haden Blackman / Trevor McCarthy) DC

I have written in the past about how much I love Amy Reeder’s work on Madame Xanadu and how bad it was on Batwoman. Trevor McCarthy is a nice change. He goes in for the design vibe of Williams (while not being AS good, but who is?). The lay-outs and execution are interesting. I like the switch between the different ‘worlds’ of the characters.

Characters are everything here, because the plot is kind of a mess. The characters ar strong enough to overcome it though.

 

THUNDERBOLTS #174 (Parker / Shalvey / Martin) Marvel

Surprised to see this book this high on the list of such a good week? Me too, yet here it is. The story is interesting! Following through on the problems with time travel, it messes with our heads and ties everything in a knot… not neat and tidy but firm enough to stop it from unravelling. I miss Techno.

I have been very critical of Declan Shalvey’s work (and some sleuthing tells me it is POSSIBLE that he has read what I had to say), however, a lot of the problems I have had are not apparent this issue. It feels a lot stronger, artwise.

This is the last issue before it switches to Dark Avengers. A name change doesn’t bother me. Adding such a terrible character as Clor or Ragnarok or whatever they are calling him… that bothers me. We’ll see.

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #30 (Gage / Grummett / Hamscher / Sotomayor) Marvel

Is Christos Gage the best writer going for pure, honest characterization right now? If not, he is up there. Look how believable they ALL are in this book. Every time I see any of the characters talking about ANYTHING, I want to know what they think, because they seem REAL. In the letters page somebody complained about a lack of action. I find the action gets int eh way in this book. Make it pure soap opera and you really have something. In fact, the only scenes I didn’t like were the ones with Shaw in them. I just don’t care about him as he seems to only be there to be the villain.

 

SAUCER COUNTRY #3 (Paul Cornell / Ryan Kelly) Vertigo

This book suddenly got better. The scene with the obviously leading hypnotherapist was great. The bunnies. The argument that there are no facts, just mythology… even if it is real… is a head rush. Wherever this story is going, it isn’t predictable. I like that feeling.

 

WONDER WOMAN #9 (Brian Azzarello / Tony Akins / Dan Green) DC

I’ll start with a criticism: think of how god this book COULD have been, if the art was better. If only Cliff Chiang could draw EVERY issue…

Some people criticize WW because of what it is doing to such a classic character and her mythology. I honestly couldn’t care less. Say this isn’t WW at all and pretend this is a new Vertigo book if you want… I just know that this is the most interesting version of the greek gods I have EVER read. Ares is brilliant. In fact, I liked everything about this issue except the art. Akins isn’t terrible, but he isn’t good enough for the story being told here.

 

SAGA #3 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

Great yet again. The story – the characters – everything.

What I really want to address is the letter that follows I review I read that says that the male lead is ‘weak’. Bullshit. He doesn’t act like your typical, testosterone laden leading man? GOOD. It is called character. Not everybody should act the same way!

Too ANYONE who says that Marko is (these are actual quotes from the mouth breather who wrote in) ‘a testosterone-free girl-man who is mind-numbingly “sensitive”‘ and ‘feeble and effeminate’ I just want to say, grow up. Even past the sexist crap you are layering in here, I am sure glad I don’t know you. Stick to the monster truck races and leave books with actual well-rounded, non stereotypical characters to people who can handle it.

In this context, do you know what ‘sensitive’ means? Not an asshole.

 


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Fairest #3

May 15, 2012
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As is the norm, here are all the comics I got this week, in ascending order of quality.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA & HAWKEYE #630 (Bunn / Vitti / Tartaglia) Marvel

When Captain America became Captain America & Bucky, it was  a good comic. WW2 stories drawn by Chris Samnee. How could you go wrong? Then it jumped forward to the 50’s and the quality went off a cliff. I stuck with it, despite it being terrible, because I heard it was going to switch to a new arc specific team-up format, starting with Hawkeye. I am a big fan of Hawkeye and this sounded great.

It isn’t. It isn’t quite as bad as the last arc, but it isn’t much better. I think this will be my last issue of this.

 

BATGIRL #9 (Gail Simone / Ardian Syaf / Vicente Cifuentes) DC

I loved Secret Six. I considered Gail Simone one of my favourite writers based on that. I also really like Barbara Gordon. In fact, she is the only Batgirl I have ever really liked. But this book just isn’t great. We have held on longer than I would have because I want to support female characters, but this issue hits a new low by being a forced tie-in to a crossover I have no interest in. I am not buying any of the BatMAN books (I am buying this and Batwoman), until Inc. comes back. I heard how much depth there was with this villain. Sorry. It didn’t do anything for me. I guess I need to care about the hero before I care about the villain and there is no connection between the Barbara in this book and the well developed character of Oracle. In fact, THIS Batgirl may as well be Stephanie.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #11 (Brubaker / Zircher / Mounts) Marvel

Now THIS is a better Cap book. I love how Brubaker switched from a spy-style book to a superhero style book by switching from Barnes to Rogers. The art is a step down from Alan Davis, but it is still solid, for the most part. The only thing I didn’t like is the nature of this new Scourge. The old Scourge was awesome but this one seems to be working FOR villains, which really takes away some of his appeal.

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #7 (K.Immonen / S.Immonen / von Grawbadger / Hollingsworth) Marvel

If you are going to do a one and done story… make it fun, and the Immonens do just that. Don’t think too hard about how easily Bast was tricked. Just enjoy the good old-fashioned superhero romp that somehow included She-Hulk growing a tail. The interplay between the two heros made this book, pure and simple.

 

NEW AVENGERS #26 (Bendis / Deodato / Beredo) Marvel

This book looks nice, which is something I wouldn’t have said about a Deodato book before the last couple of issues. The cover has absolutely zero to do with the story inside, but I think it may be foreshadowing. Connecting Phoenix to Kun Lun (which is NOT retconning) is an interesting twist, but it seems like a book such as the New Avengers should be a little closer tied in to the main AVX story. We’ll see how it plays out.

 

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #3 (Bendis / Bagkey / Miki / Mounts) Marvel

Two Bendis books in a row. I like the Avengers books and the direction that Bendis has gone in the main books… but I will say that this one FEELS more like an Avengers book than the other ones. I keep expecting Gyrich to show up. This is a fun book for the old school Avengers fan.

 

ULTIMATES #10 (Hickman / Humphries / Ross / Milla) Marvel

I have made no secret that I am not the biggest Hickman fan and previous issues of this book were sliding down and down. This issue is a nice reversal of the trend. The opening with the various people in Washington was really well done. The impact of what happened could really be felt. Thor’s frustration – Iron Man, Fury… everybody was note perfect. Let’s hope they can actually continue this for a change.

 

iZOMBIE #25 (Chris Roberson / Michael Allred) Vertigo

This is almost over and Roberson has responded by taking his ball and going home. I have absolutely zero problem with Roberson deciding to not work for DC any more. Acting like it is some big moral high ground on the other hand is pretty dodgy. If you don’t like the deal DC offers, don’t take it. Go to Image. Just don’t try to pretend that they are somehow obligated to offer a better deal. Just don’t take it. If enough top creators go elsewhere, things will change. Again though, the money part of the industry is just business. Nothing else.

Oh, the book is good. It is a little late to convince anyone to start reading it, but go ahead and get the trades.

 

THIEF OF THIEVES #4 (Kirkman / Spencer / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

Speaking of Image… I am really enjoying this one. It is unfolding really slowly, but every issue seems to give us one more layer. The design of the book is stylish and unique. Not much else to say here, other than I want to get to know this characters more.

 

FAIREST #3 (Willingham / Jimenez / Lanning / Farmer) Vertigo

Issue #1 was comic of the week. Issue #2 was packed with a long sexist drivel rant. Issue #3 is comic of the week again. Please Willingham, don’t trot that misogynist tripe back out in issue #4.

Beautiful book, as always. The new reading of the Sleeping Beauty story is very well done. The imp is plotting to perfection.

Oh, and the cover… This is an incredibly beautiful piece of art… until the bottom quarter. It isn’t the cleavage… it is the way it is displayed. It is like you crossed a wonderful drawing of the Snow Queen with Power Girl.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Ultimate Spider-man #10

May 6, 2012
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Do you know what it is like to work in a place where all anyone talks about it is whether we are going to be fired?

Stress is taking its toll…

 

It was Free Comic Book Day on Saturday. As per usual, I don’t really take part, since I think those should be to try and get new readers, not give extra comics to people who are already comic fans. I would have grabbed one of those Mouse Guard hardcovers but I was too slow.

I did pick up one book…

 

As usual, starting from the weakest book.

 

THE NEW 52 #1 (FCBD!) (Geoff Johns / Jim Lee / Gene Ha / Kenneth Rocafort / Scott Williams / Joe Prado) DC

I read that if you are reading any of the DC line,m you should pick up this book.

I beg to disagree. Let me rephrase the statement: if you are reading any of the mainstream JLAish books in the DC line, you might  want this. The books I read are a little away from the centre of the universe and I don’t think I needed to read this at all. Plus, I don’t like what they are doing to the Question.

 

THE DEFENDERS (Fraction / Ibanez / Sotocolor) Marvel

Oh, by the way, they killed all the Immortal Weapons and made one of them into a full-on villain.

Uh, what? If that wasn’t bad enough, they were killed in one panel each!

Remember how pissed people were at how Bendis killed Alpha Flight? This was worse.

 

WORLD’S FINEST #1 (Paul Levitz / George Perez / Kevin Maguire / Scott Koblish) DC

One of the ‘second wave’ of DC books. With this (and ‘Earth 2’) DC establishes that the old multi-universe style of writing is back in the new DC. I liked this book in general. The nod towards the post-crisis Huntress was nice. Reverting to the old Huntress costume was great and the new Power Girl costume… well, I’m not sold, but I don’t hate it either. The art was what you would expect with Perez and Maguire… which is quite a lot. Perez wasn’t able to stick around on Action for very long. Hopefully teaming up with Maguire will help him here.

The story is a bit… fast forward to get you up to speed. A hope things settle down next issue.

 

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #3 (Brubaker / Romita / Hanna / Martin) Marvel

Did I forget something? When did the X-Men stop fighting? I hope it wasn’t in a support book. That is a pretty big plot point to not have in the main story.

The way Captain America dealt with Wolverine was… well, a little harsh. Other than that… I don’t know. It is what it is. Big fight. A bit of treading water.

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #685 (Slott / Ramos / Olazabo / Delgado) Marvel

Speaking of treading water… I like this story in general, so I don’t knock this down too much, but this issue feels like the whole story may be one issue too long.

 

SWAMP THING #9 (Scott Snyder / Marco Rudy / Yanick Paquette) DC

I have mentioned before that this is the kind of fight I don’t like. STRUGGLE without really DOING any thing, but then overcoming through WILL… or the seeds of will, or something. Still, the comic is very good. The art is really nice. And that last page… yeah. I am looking forward to next issue!

 

DIAL H #1 (China Mieville / Mateus Santolouco) DC

Another DC ‘second wave’ book. I love the Dial H concept. I love the creativity behind the characters. I am so-so on the art. I may warm to it. It is the plot that I am not clear on thus far. Hopefully that clears up. (That is my complain about Voodoo Child as well.)

 

ANIMAL MAN #9 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh) DC

Nice. A very solid issue. The Pugh art is solid. The story is interesting. The characterizations (of Maxine, her mom and grandmother, mostly) are strong. This is just a really good book. The ‘on the run’ aspect only really works if you ignore the fact that this is a world full of superheroes, but it is working so I am okay to ignore it.

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #29 (Gage / Grummett / Hamscher / Sotomayor) Marvel

I love Academy. The characters are all so interesting and when Gage brings new characters in, they are just as good. The scene with Loa, Mettle and Hazmat made the book all on its own. I don’t read any of the X-Men stuff so I don’t really get what is going on with Shaw. Does he remember who he is or not?

BUY AVENGERS ACADEMY.

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #10 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

I thought Academy was going to be comic of the week, until I got to the last book in my pile. If you haven’t picked up on this by now, characterization is what makes a book for me, and what Bendis is doing with Miles Morales is amazing work. Ultimate Peter was a good, good comic. Ultimate Miles is better. The stuff between him and his uncle works on SO many levels. The reader knows not to trust Prowler, but why would Miles think that way? The characterization of the uncle is excellent too. I LOVED his reaction to finding out that Nick Fury knows who he is. The parallel between Uncle Aaron and Uncle Ben is perfect.


Rusty’s (Ruthanne’s) Comic of the Week: All-Star Western #8

May 1, 2012
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This week we switched things up a bit. I am still doing the mini-reviews, but the order is based on Ruthanne’s rankings. When they are substantially different than mine, I’ll let you know… and why, when possible.

 

Starting from the weakest book…

 

FURY OF FIRESTORM #8 (Ethan Van Sciver / Joe Harris) DC

Ruthanne pointed out that the bottom bunch could have gone in any order. None were books that she found actually bad. I likely would have had this book here as well. The problem with Firestorm is that it is all ‘concept’ and very little ‘story’. There are ‘Firestorms’ from lots of countries and they fight. I think you can tell Van Sciver’s politics by paying attention to which of them are ‘good guys’ and which are ‘bad guys’… but having said that, they made the new Firehawk French…

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA & BUCKY #629 (Bunn / Vitti / Tartaglia) Marvel

Forget what I said above… this was the worst book this week, in my opinion. By far. The characterization was actively bad. It is like the development of Hawkeye through the 80’s never happened. Ugh. The art makes the story look good, though. It was bad. In some ways it is worse even than those FF issues after Fantastic Four came back. You can’t even claim this was  a style choice. It looks very amateur.

Very disappointing. (I am very much looking forward to the Fraction / Aja Hawkeye book!)

 

SECRET AVENGERS #26 (Remender / Guedes / Breitweiser) Marvel

I liked this a lot more than Ruthanne did, I think. Solid, solid book. I love the way Remender is using Beast. He tells it like it is, and doesn’t pussyfoot around the feelings of the other heroes… when it is deserved. This book also makes me look forward to a future book. The new DeConnick Captain Marvel looks very promising.

The Guedes art is okay, but putting Alan Davis on the cover makes me really wish he was on the inside as well.

 

MOON KNIGHT #12 (Bendis / Maleev / Hollingsworth) Marvel

This is our first big divergence, as I thought this was a very good comic. However, I know what has left a sour taste in Ruthanne’s mouth, and she is absolutely right. Echo is nothing more than a ‘Girlfriend-in-a-refrigerator’. She was killed for no reason other than to make Moon Knight mad. Now I am not a big Echo fan, but this was a pretty shoddy end for her.

This may be the biggest reason I am looking forward to DeConnick’s Captain Marvel book. Female characters shouldn’t only exist as fodder for the make character’s adventures and emotions.

 

THE TWELVE #12 (J.Michael Straczynski / Chris Weston) Marvel

This is pure epilogue, but it is very well done, just like the rest of the series. (Though that little hint of a Rockman story seemed very sad…)

Anyone who fell off this series or didn’t give it a chance should read it collected. The publishing schedule on this was ridiculous but now that it is done, it is a very good book, deserving of a place on your bookshelf.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #10 (Brubaker / Davis / Farmer / Martin) Marvel

Every issue I say the same thing, but every issue it is true. Good, old style superhero fun. Villainous plots and superheroic efforts to save the day. Sharon’s method of defeating Machinesmith was great.

And the Alan Davis art! Yes!

 

THE ULTIMATES (Hickman / Ribic / White) Marvel

Here is a book that I would have quite a bit lower. Certainly below the Twelve, Secret Avengers, Captain America and DEFINITELY Moon Knight. Having said that, for a Hickman book, I found this pretty easy to follow. It was still way over the top, as his style. (How is all of this going on without there being an impact in Spider-man?)

I do really like the way Hickman is writing Reed and Hulk together. That is very well done.

 

NEW AVENGERS (Bendis / Deodato / Conrad / Beredo) Mavel

This issue made me dislike Deodato even more. ‘How could that be?’ you may ask. “This issue was really great!’ It is true. The art in this issue was absolutely stunning. So why does this make me like Deodato more?

Because he HAS great skill as an artist! So when he draws characters (ESPECIALLY female characters) as carbon copy cliche cutouts of one another, he is doing it on PURPOSE!

With that out of the way… yes, what a beautiful book. Tying Iron Fist to the Phoenix is the right kind of ‘retcon’ (as the term is often misused). It doesn’t ‘change’ anything. It just adds to it.

 

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

Here is a book where our tastes diverge in the other direction. Two issues in and this is NOT a very good comic. The story is barely moving. It is almost like Abnett said “hey, I have a great idea for a comic’ and stopped there. I also don’t like the art. Simple, I like. This is too simple. It looks like an issue of The Unwritten with the talent of the artist dialled quite a bit back.

The worst thing is that this is a miniseries, and it feels like we are still reading the prologue.

 

SUPER CROOKS #2 (Mark Millar / Leinil Yu) Icon

Ruthanne put this very high despite hating the cover. I don’t like it quite as much as she does. I liked it a lot but I felt the violence level was pretty gratuitous. Ruthanne though tit was fun.

Yeah, I can’t figure her out some times. 🙂

Solid comic. Well worth a read.

 

ALL-STAR WESTERN #8 (Palmiotti / Gray / Moritat / Scherberger / Green) DC

We agreed on what the best comic of the week was. All-Star Western is just good comics, week in and week out. I wish the infiltration had gone a little further so we could see what Hex was actually willing to do… also , I wonder how much longer he should be willing to put up with Arkham. I know that Ruthanne really likes Cinnamon too, and what’s not to like? A strong female character who looks good without showing as much skin as she possibly can and every opportunity? What is a shame is that it is so unusual.

I like the art in both stories. Moritat is a stylish choice, and in the back-up it reminds me of Art Adams, and there is nothing wrong with that!