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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Ultimate Spider-Man #15

September 23, 2012
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Some very disappointing books this week. Comics that I normally like quite a bit that just didn’t deliver.

 

Starting at the weakest.

 

THE UNWRITTEN #41 (Mike Carey / Peter Gross) Vertigo

Surprised? Well, so was I when I started reading the book and realized I had no freaking idea what the hell was going on. I guess this is a flashback because it has no bearing at all on the last story arc. Taylor is a completely different character than he was when we saw him there. I am thinking that this is a flashback to the end of the PREVIOUS story, but that was not really clear. Throwing back to a story from MONTHS ago, without a reference is a BAD idea. I have never wanted a ‘What has going before’ page as much…

 

WONDER WOMAN #0 (Brian Azzarello / Cliff Chiang) DC

Continuing the trend of these zero issues being pretty bad. A story of Diana when he was a kid being trained by Ares. Ares was awful. The story was awful. The little pretend nods to old comics weren’t witty. Blah.

 

AVENGERS #30 (Bendis / Simonson / Hanna / Keith) Marvel

Ruthanne thought this comic was sexist. I just thought it was lousy. ‘Let’s hash out our relationship while we are fighting this pointless villains!’ The dialogue crossed that line into unrealistic that Bendis tends to skirt so well. The fight was pointless. hey tossed out a good Spider-Man villain like he was a chump. Set up by Hydra… this book was as lame as when they fight Hydra or A.I.M. or whatever. Avengers vs nameless scrubs is boring.

Very disappointing.

 

THE ULTIMATES #15 (Humphries / Tan / Pallot / Noor) Marvel

This may have been better of it hadn’t been spoiled. Even the actual reveal was not great with the random phone booth ringing thing. Also, really bad art. I like the story line, which puts it higher than the others, but it is still another disappointing book.

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #37 (Gage / Grummett / Hamscher / Sotomayor) Marvel

The first book I straight up enjoyed. I like the characterization of the kids. I alway shave. It is very well done. Too bad this book is cancelled.

Finesse is awesome, by the way. I don’t normally like heroes killing but as she said, he said she is a hero?

 

SPIDER-MEN #5 (Bendis / Pichelli / Ponsor) Marvel

The strength of this series has been the characters and this was more of an action story, so it is a bit weaker. I still enjoyed reading it but what made it better than AA was the last page. Now I want the non-existant issue #6!

 

FABLES #121 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha / McManus) Vertigo

I still don’t like last issue and this deals with that so it was starting in a bit of a hole. Overall a good issue, thought they cover too much ground too quickly. I REALLY like the way they get to earn their ‘wholeness’ back. The time shift was unexpected but it could be interesting. Looking forward to what’s next. (The Oz story continues to just be a waste of pages.)

 

BATWOMAN #0 (J.H.Williams III / W.Haden Blackman) DC

Now THAT is how you do a zero issue! This is the best written of the new run, probably because it leans so much as the Rucka stuff. This is the character that is so great. It isn’t the story that I dog so much, but the return of a:  a clear narrative and b: the look into the thoughts of Kate. Good job.

 

REVIVAL #3 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

This along with the Massive are my favourite new series… next to Saga. 🙂 The whole thing is so creepy without being overt… until that old woman showed up. That’s pretty overt. 🙂

That creature makes me a little nervous, but I have liked EVERYTHING about this book so I am willing to wait and see.

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #15 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

FINALLY! As great as this book is, the fact that it never referred to the crazy stuff going on across America was kind of annoying. This issue corrected that, and got rid of Miles’ guilt over the death of his uncle, which is good. The characterization continues to be excellent. Miles i sone of the best characters in comics and this is easily the best of the many books that Bendis writes. (When are we getting more Scarlet?)


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom #2

September 18, 2012
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This is one of those weeks that doesn’t have anything that really blew me away but neither did it have anything that was really bad.

 

Starting at the weakest…

 

IT GIRL AND THE ATOMICS #2 (Rich / Norton / Passalaqua) Image

After getting sucked in by the Mike Allred swerve I was ready to cut bait and run but Ruthanne said she enjoyed the book. After altering my expectations, so did I. Still, there isn’t a lot of meat on this. If it is going to ride on ‘fun’, it needs to be quite good. It is kind of borderline.

 

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #7 (Bendis / Bagley / Miki / Mounts) Marvel

The weakest Avengers book as it still doesn’t feel like it has a reason to exist, other than pairing Bendis and Bagley. And even that is running its course soon. I am not a big fan of space stuff. We’ll see.

 

SAUCER COUNTRY #7 (Paul Cornell / NOT Ryan Kelly) Vertigo

Right off the bat, the cover says Ryan Kelly. It is not Ryan Kelly. It is David Lapham. That is fine (though Ruthanne disagrees – she thinks the art is awful), but it IS false advertising.

I liked when this book took a break to lay groundwork for the world as far as aliens goes. Now they have done it again and it is only issue 7. When I review The Massive I talk about how great the world-building is in that book. This book, not as great. The first sidebar issue was good. This one is pushing it. Get back to the characters. This is a good, but not great book. Don’t squander it.

 

WINTER SOLDIER #10 (Brubaker / Guice / Breitweiser) Marvel

I am not a fan of brainwashing stories, though with a book starring Bucky and Black Widow, you are pretty much going there. My problem with it is that when it is all said and done, Natasha is going to be fine, as if nothing happened. The number of times her brain has been scrubbed should really end in major brian trauma. Having said that, the story and art lend themselves to just the right atmosphere and tension. Hey did they kill Sitwell? Has he been killed before? How many times?

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #17 (Brubaker / Bunn / Eaton / Magyar / Guru-eFx) Marvel

How do you get me to not care so much that the villains are kind of lame? Don’t put them in the book and instead throw in some Zemo! Yeah, that works. Too bad it looks like the Discordians are back next issue.

One thing… why can’t they just stop broadcasting that tv signal? Am I missing something?

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN #3 (Brian Azzarello / J.G. Jones) DC

What an all-around unlikeable tool. Kin said in his review that this mini makes him wish Comedian didn’t die at the start of Watchmen. It makes me glad he did. This issue was better than the previous because it didn’t read like the comic version of Forrest Gump. Also, I don’t need to like a character for them to be interesting, but I wonder how much ‘Natural Born Killers’ style response are they getting. “He is bad-ass!” No. The point is that he is despicable and evil. He isn’t a loveable jerk like Guy Gardner. He is just a rapist scumbag.

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #12 (Kevin Shinick / Aaron Kuder / Matt Hollingsworth) Marvel

This book assumes a lot. It assumes you have seen Inception. Luckily I have. It also seems to assume you are reading Deadpool’s book. I am not. I have no idea why he wants someone to kill him. (It also assumes you know what Breakfast Club is, but I am 44. No problems here.) All that aside, this was a fun read. Deadpool out-wackys Spidey and the romp through Spidey’s dreamscape is pretty fun. And the Hypno Hustler next issue? I am in!

 

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #11 (Bendis / Coipel / Morales / Martin) Marvel

Strong, high-energy comic that moves the story right where it needs to be (and exactly where I predicted). I have to take issue with Coipel’s story telling skills, however. Have you heard the news? Have you heard the spoilers? I won’t break it hear, but let me just say… if I HADN’T heard the news, I still wouldn’t know it had happened. How does it look any different than anyone else he has been beaten and just gets up to fight again? This happened when they ‘killed’ Bucky too. You shouldn’t have to read spoiler sot understand what happened in a comic you just read.

 

NEW AVENGERS #30 (Bendis / Deodato / Beredo) Marvel

You know when there is a big crossover and it has little side issues that are expressly designed to NOT move the plot along so that people won’t miss anything if they don’t read it? You know how that makes the comics pretty lame?

Bendis knows how to NOT do that. From the prison break issue to this one, he gives you reasons to CARE about what is going on. In this issue he reminds us that in the aftermath of AVX, there should be increased anti-mutant hatred and paranoia. He also gets a character to make a decision that makes sense for his development. (Not that I agree with his logic…but that doesn’t make it out of character.)

Just a good story.

 

THE MASSIVE #4 (Brian Wood / Garry Brown / Dave Stewart) Dark Horse

New artist… yet it doesn’t really look very different. I would have to go back an compare the two, but the feeling of the book is still the same. This issue take a step back from world-building and switches to character-building. Good. I like both but it was time for an issue like this. I am quite enjoying the Massive and I really hope, like Saga, that it can stick to the principles of pacifism while also being realistic about it. So far so good.

 

ROCKETEER: CARGO OF DOOM #2 (Waid / Samnee) IDW

This is just fun. Dinosaurs with jetpacks? Really? Awesome! I like the addition of Earl Garland. I read elsewhere that he is anachronistic, but I don’t think a comic like this is required to portray systematic racism in a realistic context. Instead give us a strong (in every sense of the word) black character he acts as an equal to the others without anyone making a thing about it. I wouldn’t even have mentioned it if I didn’t read someone complaining about it.

Fun comic.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre #3

September 11, 2012
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This is my second RCotW in a row that goes to a Before Watchmen book. Whodathunk?

 

Starting at the weakest…

 

DIAL H #0 (China Mieville / Riccardo Burchielli) DC

The zero issues are here. I don’t like the concept. Rehashes of origins for the most part, letting us know how they have mucked around with the them for the relaunch. This particular comic has an advantage of being a new concept (let’s face it, this book has nothing to do with the old Robby Reed version), but it fails for a different reason. IT IS STUPID. A sundial? Seriously? Four days to dial?

They DID completely change the concept of the heroes dialled up though… and not in a good way.

Bah. I am close to cancelling this book.

 

ANIMAL MAN #0 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh) DC

Here is a better example, because this is a book I really like. Let’s take the established origin and tweak it enough to make the Red fit in it. Oh, and add Arcane for good measure. Boring.

 

SWAMP THING #0 (Scott Snyder / Kano) DC

Take my review of Animal Man and duplicate it exactly. Now sub in the word Green for the word Red.

Twice the boring.

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #693 (No cover credits, but it is Slott and Ramos) Marvel

I don’t like Alpha.I don’t mean in the way we are SUPPOSED to not like him, but in the way that makes the comic not anjoyable. It is the power level problems that made Sentry such a terrible character.  am looking forward to this story being over so we can get back to the GOOD Slott stories.

 

WORLDS’ FINEST #0 (Paul Levitz / Kevin Maguire) DC

This zero issue is a LITTLE better because these are NEW characters and their story has not yet been told. Not a great comic, but better than he others.

The comics do get better this week, I promise.

 

THIEF OF THIEVES #8 (Kirkman / Asmus / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

Starting here. I really enjoy this book. The only reason this is so low is that, as the first issue of a new arc, it is all groundwork and not much in the way of payoff. It is really hard to judge books like that.

 

FAIREST #7 (Matthew Sturges / Shawn McManus) Vertigo

Hey, remember how Fairest was advertised as the comic focusing on the female Fables? Apparently the folks at DC forgot that. The first arc starred Sinbad. This stand-alone issue stars Beast. Yes, both stories are ABOUT females int he end, but the protagonists are male. I really undercuts the concept if you keep doing that. Ignoring that, which is hard to do, this is avery good comic that gives a whole new story for one well established character (not Beast, so you can probably guess). I like the McManus art. It fits. And that cover…oh boy.

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #36 (Gage / DiVito / Sotomayor) Marvel

This comic was all about the moments. The moment between Mettle and Hazmat. The internal moments of White Tiger and Reptyl. The moment when Lightspeed is suddenly a bad-ass. “And now… I have a dagger.”

This comic will be missed. Only one issue left.

 

HAWKEYE #2 (Fraction / Aja / Hollingsworth) Marvel

I thought this would be the top comic this week when I read it. Third is still not shabby. The design and art of this book is beautiful. The stories are appropriately small. The addition of Kate Bishop is great (though she should get her own codename). But DO NOT have them sleep together. Fraction, I am warning you… that would be almost as bas as Angel and Husk.

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #14 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

Then I read this and thought that IT would be #1. It is all about one thing. WEB-SHOOTERS! WOO-HOO!

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: SILK SPECTRE #3 (Darwyn Cooke / Amanda Conner) DC

MAN this is a good book. It is easily the best of the BW stuff (and a couple of the others are quite good). The drug scenes were INCREDIBLE. Conner is just a great artist. The only thing that concerns me is the addition of Comedian at the end. His appearances thus far show us that he was abetter character as a dead one. The only big that has really worked with him is Minutemen which is written by… oh right. I guess it might not be too bad.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Before Watchmen: Minutemen #3

September 2, 2012
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This was a small week. I only got six comics and as such, even the comic of the week is not something that would normally win on a full sized week. Not to say I didn’t like it, because I did.

 

I also took advantage of Silver Snail’s end of summer sale and picked up a few trades. I got the first volumes of Shade, the Changing Man by Peter Milligan and Chris Bachalo, Top 10 by Alan Moore and Gene Ha, and X-Factor Visionaries: Peter David.

 

Starting at the weakest…

 

INFERNAL MAN-THING #3 (Gerber / Nowlan) Marvel

Yeah, so in the end, not so good. Lovely art by Kevin Nowlan but the story is just confusing and one-note. This also reminds me of how much better Swamp Thing is than Man-Thing.

 

CAPTAIN MARVEL #3 (DeConnick / Soy / Kesel / Elson) Marvel

I really like what Kelly Sue DeConnick is doing with this book. I mean, if ANY book is going to send you the messages of feminism and strength in empowerment it should be the book and character that started as Ms.Marvel. I mean, that was the POINT of the character, once upon a time.

I would still like to know WHY she went through time. Also, her grand stand play sending the Japanese solider back to get his friends was just annoying. Gee, who wouldn’t think THAT would turn out badly. Over all, still good, though.

 

WINTER SOLDIER #9 (Brubaker / Lark / Thies / Gaudiano / Breitweiser) Marvel

From empowered women to the opposite. Black Widow has become a brainwashed pawn. With the number of times Natasha has been brainwashed, reprogrammed, deprogrammed etc., it is a surprise her mind hasn’t broken completely. Still, Bru does a good job with the save / twist. This book reads like an spy/action movie and that works. I wonder if this book will maintain this standard when he leaves, as has been announced.

 

THE NEW DEADWARDIANS #6 (Dan Abnett / I.N.J. Culbard) Vertigo

I run hot and cold on this book, but I quite liked this one. Delving into the downsides of living forever is good. Plus, they have finally introduced the hero of the book.

What? Salt isn’t the hero? But he is a poet, what else could he be?

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #11 (Zeb Wells / Steve Dillon / Frank Martin) Marvel

One of those ‘tear-jerker’ comics that actually doesn’t do the job because it is a little proscribed. Still a very good comic and a nice reminder of what makes Peter into the hero that he is. Solid story telling. I really like Steve Dillon’s art, but I didn’t think it fit here. The Chris Samnee cover worked a lot better. I would have liked to see that in the interior.

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: MINUTEMEN #3 (Darwyn Cooke) DC

Silhouette has become my favourite Watchmen character… and she was hardly in Watchmen. Maybe that is why. Cooke is able to tell her story without treading on holy ground. Maybe it is also because so many of the other characters are so unlikeable. Comedian is loathsome here. The cut scenes with Dr.Gretchen are really powerful.

As I said, in a stronger week, probably not a contender for top book, but still a very solid read. If anyone asks about Before Watchmen, I would recommend Silk Spectre, Dr.Manhattan and Minutemen without hesitation. Most of the others are middle of the road, with Nite Owl being the exception and the one book I am no longer buying.