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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: THE MASSIVE #7

December 16, 2012
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I have to get on a plane in 7 hours and I am not ready to go so I don’t really have time to do this… so I  am not going to. I am just going to list the ranking. Maybe I’ll get back and update it. We’ll see.

 

Sorry.

 

Starting at the weakest

 

ULTIMATE IRON MAN #3

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #699.1

BEFORE WATCHMEN: RORSCHACH #3

AVENGERS ARENA #1

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #10

WINTER SOLDIER #13

SAUCER COUNTRY #10

FANTASTIC FOUR #2

BEFORE WATCHMEN: DR. MANHATTAN

THE MASSIVE #7


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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Hawkeye #5

December 8, 2012
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I MAY get next week’s reviews up in decent time but after that I am not going to be able to do so. I expect to fell behind a couple of weeks. Sorry.

 

Starting at the weakest.

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #15 (Cullen Bunn / Gabriele Dell’otto / Dommo Snachez Aymara) Marvel

Last issue a boring story was propped up by some really beautiful art. This issue the art was still good, but not as exciting, and the story was no better.

In fact, I think this i sit for this book. It is good when it is fun but now with the Superior Spidey coming, I can’t picture that. Dropped.

 

SWAMP THING #15 (Scott Snyder / Marco Rudy) DC

The pacing of Rotworld seems off. It doesn’t see, to be moving forward and even then it isn’t clear what it is moving towards.

Plus, the Rudy art is not my cup of tea. He is no Paquette, that is for sure.

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN #4 (Brian Azzarello / J.G. Jones) DC

This issue comes across as a montage rather than a story, but the pieces somehow are coherent. Still… Comedian is just so unlikable that it i shard to completely enjoy this book.

I wonder if issue #6 will feature Ozymandias.

 

DIAL H #7 (China Mieville / David Lapham) DC

Lapham is kind of like the poor man’s Steve Dillon. While the art is not great, my complaints before were about a lack of clarity. None of that here. This issue is not as strong as the last, but I am really enjoying the new partnership between Nelson and Roxie. These are definitely not your typical superheroes. Planktonian.

 

FAIREST #10 (Lauren Beukes / Inaki Miranda) DC

Ruthanne joked last month, wondering if Rapunzel was going to be dressed on any covers of this story.

Not so far.

This story continues to be just okay. The story is not really grabbing me and the art is so-so. At least the lead is… repeating myself, am I?

 

AVENGERS #1 (Jonathan Hickman / Jerome Opena) Marvel

Anyone who reads these reviews knows I am not a fan of Hickman, but I am a fan of the Avengers. This has concerned me. The first issue is… pretty good, actually. Some of Hickman’s narrative tics are still there and they still bug me. Dropping in new villains that we have been no reason to care about (and who act kind of stupidly) is not a good start. The art is good. I am not a big fan of the Avengers Army concept as I think you tend to lose out on characterization, but I’ll give it a chance. Cannonball joining = cool. Hyperion = not cool. Captain Universe? What?

We’ll see.

 

ALL-NEW X-MEN #3 (Brian Michael Bendis / Stuart Immonen / Wade Von Grawbadger / Marte Gracia) Marvel

Not as good as last issue. The leads don’t appear until the final page. Focusing on the villains for an issue is okay, though. I’m not sure about the malfunctioning powers bit. Is this just to turn Cyclops back into the version we remember (powerset-wise) and to stop Magneto from being too powerful?

 

ANIMAL MAN #15 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh / Timothy Green II / Joseph Silver) DC

The pacing is the same on Swamp Thing but Lemire just does it better. ANimal Man’s army if interesting and the scenes with Maxine and William are chilling. Sure she acts stupidly, but she is a little kid. She SHOULD act stupidly. Continuing the ‘at home’ story gives AM a grounding that ST just doesn’t have. The art is better, too.

 

GREAT PACIFIC #2 (Joe Harris / Martin Morazzo) Image

The story is starting to take shape here, and it is a good one. Can a country be non-stationary? Is Chas going to turn this place into some sort of viable haven? (Side note: New Texas = bad name.) He was way too quick on the trigger there… realistic Texan maybe?

I’m interested in what happens next.

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: MINUTEMEN #5 (Darwyn Cooke) DC

This is one of the best BW minis, next to Silk Spectre, and what do both of those series have in common? Look up one line and the name in the brackets. Cooke really gets these characters and handles the time period very well. The Dollar Bill one-pager was excellent. The wedding worked. The comic book heroes bit worked okay, though it wasn’t great. The Hooded Justice story is clearly not over so I wouldn’t assume all is what we see.(Um, what was that panel all about? You know the one…)

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #699 (Slott / Ramos / Olazaba / Delgado) Marvel

This issue was so much better than the last. #698 had the big reveal but after a fairly lacklustre comic. This issue really made us feel the fear and desperation. The Lizard scene didn’t make a lot of sense… especially if Slott wasn’t using it as an excuse for Peter to break Curt out with him. Time will tell.

Only one more issue… at it is a massive. A budget buster. Apparently they are expecting it to break records. I don’t care, really. Just make it really good because it is really expensive.

 

HAWKEYE #5 (Fraction / Pulido / Hollingsworth) Marvel

Last issue was a ‘little’ weaker than the run had been so far. This issue totally made up for it. Good stuff. (Though, Wolverine? Why would they use Wolverine? How would that be a scandal at all? He probably killed more than that last week.)

This is Hawkeye. It isn’t that he has never killed. It is that he isn’t proud of it and would prefer to not do it. Okay.

It looks like Kate know has her own arch-enemy.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: All-New X-Men #2

December 2, 2012
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I actually had time to read my comics on the day I got them! Woot!

Starting at the weakest…

ULTIMATE IRON MAN #2 (Edmondson / Buffagni / Troy) Marvel

Tony Stark can be a charming asshole. You know the type… the guy that acts in horrible ways towards women but gets away with it because he does it with style.

In real life, regular guys HATE those guys.

In here, Edmondson has taken that charming asshole and made him not charming. What does that leave?

An unlikable protagonist and a pretty crappy comic.

ALL-STAR WESTERN #14 (Gray / Palmiotti / Moritat / Windslade) DC

Not the best outing for this book in either writing or art. Neither are BAD, but neither do they shine. Barbary Ghost needs to put on some bloody clothes. I’m not a fan of adding Mr. Hyde to the Hex mythos, nor I am a fan of adding Eclipso (I assume…)

The insistence on including modern DC elements into this book is the biggest weakness it has. Do you remember how good Jonah Hex was BEFORE the new 52?

BEFORE WATCHMEN: OZYMANDIAS #4 (Len Wein / Jae Lee) DC

In the previous issues a somewhat pedestrian plot was overcome by beautiful art. Not this time. The art is nowhere near so creative and in spots (Page 3) in looks… awkward. The comic itself continues to read less like a story than a too-long What-Has-Gone-Before synopsis.

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #14 (Jeff Lemire / Graham Nolan / Victor Drujiniu) DC

This book was a pretty fun way to get a look at 3 lesser shown characters on the team – including 2 that are new and have their own books (though 1 is now cancelled.) A fin spotlight on Black Orchid, Amethyst and Frankenstein as they wander through the House of Mystery. Not a good idea.

I am enjoying this comic more than I would have thought. Lemire is a good writer.

BEFORE WATCHMEN: SILK SPECTRE #4 (Darwyn Cooke / Amanda Conner) DC

This mini wraps up with the weakest of its four issues. Still wonderful art and great characterization, but there are a few weak storytelling parts and that bit where Laurie impales that dude with her stiletto didn’t work for me at all.  Overall a very good mini… the best of all of the BW books.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #2 (Rick Remender / John Cassaday / Laura Martin) Marvel

So Red Skull is now Sylar. (Any fans of Heroes in the house?) Good book. Skull recruiting Scarlet Witch makes perfect sense, and Wolverine’s take on Havok leading the team echoes mine. Last week in Captain America, Remender tried to sweep questions about motivation under the rug by mentioning them and then moving on. He kind of does that again here, but to better effect.

After last week, I am really glad to read a Remender book that I enjoy.

FF #1 (Matt Fraction / Michael Allred / Laura Allred) Marvel

Yay! More Allreds! This book is going to be fun, you can just tell. Ms. Thing isn’t in the book yet (well, she is, but not as Ms. Thing), and that is going to be weird. How will She-Hulk take to her? I don’t get why people like Medusa, but that is a small thing.

Speaking of small things, it is nice to get a real Ant-Man back after that O’Grady business was dealt with over in Secret Avengers. (Black Ant? Really?)

This is just good comics.

BATMAN INCORPORATED #5 (Grant Morrison / Chris Burnham) DC

This look into a possible future doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it was so well done that I didn’t care. Damian as Batman is a frightening possibility anyway and this book just confirms that. The emotion on Damian’s face when Bruce tells him he can’t be Robin is just perfect… but I think everyone hopes that it isn’t true.

NEW AVENGERS #34 (Bendis / Deodato / Beredo) Marvel

As disappointed I was in Bendis’ last Avengers issue – this book makes up for it. Is it a great comic? Not really. The Dr. Strange fight scenes as an excuse to put in a bunch of jarring art (not bad – just wrong. Tell me that was jarring to turn to that Red Hulk page…) were not good. But the Luke Cage stuff more than made up for it. Some people have criticized Bendis for using Cage as his pov character, but this issue did it to great effect. Watching Bendis say goodbye to the Avengers as Luke Cage was sweet.

Plus, a hint at a new Cage / Jessica led Heroes for Hire book? Written by Bendis? I would buy the shit out of that book!

ALL-NEW X-MEN #2 (Brian Michael Bendis / Stuart Immonen / Wade von Grawbadger / Marte Gracia) Marvel

Two Bendis books top this week’s list! Out with the old and in with the new… which is the old. This comic works just based on the Iceman seeing Iceman panel. I’m not sure which of them looks goofier.  This book hits all the right notes. The shocked nature of the original five. Beast’s desperation. The stupidity of the plan. Wolverine realizing that Jean was alive. (One minor nitpick – Jean suddenly getting her ‘new’ powers was a little too convenient in her timing. I think before it was implied that it happened through intensive training, no?)

I am so looking forward to watching this book unfold… and I’m not even a very big X-Men fan.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Batwoman #14

December 1, 2012
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Big week. You know what happens on weeks that are too big? Drops!

 

Starting from the weakest…

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #1 (Rick Remender / John Romita / Klaus Jansen / Dean White) Marvel

No more Brubaker, hey? No problem! We will just sign up… Rick Remender? Remender is one of the ‘hot’ writers that I just don’t like. (see J.Hickman) This issues reminds me why.

Marriage? That was out of absolutely nowhere. Hey,mystery subway car with no explanation whatsoever? Hey, why don’t you get on it by yourself just because some guy said so, with no explanation whatsoever? Why doesn’t SHIELD, including your maybe new fiancee just say, ‘hey you go ahead and climb on the mystery subway. We’re good.’ with no explanation whatsoever. Why doesn’t Cap walk into an unknown situation unprepared while daydreaming about… whatever… so he get punked, with no explanation whatsoever.

Note to Remender: having Cap say ‘wow, doing this sure is stupid’ doesn’t give you carte blanche to have him act like an idiot.

Oh, and the art is not very good.

I will not be getting issue #2.

 

 

IT GIRL & THE ATOMICS #4 (Rich / Norton / Passalaqua) Image

I have been disappointed since the first issue when I thought that Mike Allred was doing the book. It hasn’t improved.

Dropped.

 

 

CAPTAIN MARVEL #7 (DeConnick / Sebela / Soy) Marvel

I considered dropping this book, but I think I will let it have another chance. The scene between Carol and Monica sold it for me. I am disappointed that the art is back to Soy. I was hoping Rios would find her feet here.

 

AVENGERS #34 (Bendis / Peterson / Mayhew / Keith) Marvel

Wow, is that cover ever terrible. Who drew that? Brandon Peterson? With all the great artists in the book, that is what you chose? This issue was not terrible but the big stupid fight scene just to get a bunch of artists in the book was… well, stupid. The attempt to fix Wonder Man was interesting, considering he still behaved in a selfish and stupid manner.

Like Captain America, here is another book that sounds like it is going to suffer greatly due to the Marvel NOW initiative.

 

REVIVAL #5 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

I am liking this book less and less. It is still interesting at the core, but this ghost(?) stuff is going in a direction that doesn’t work for me. I would rather this book be more ‘this just happened’ and explore the fall-out alone. We’ll see.

 

COMEBACK #1 (Brisson / Walsh / Bellaire) Image

This book is getting a lot of praise and I just don’t see it. Not that I don’t think it is good… I do. I just don’t think this issue gives you enough to have any idea where this book is going. We have no plot here, just setting. Another wait and see book.

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #698 (Slott / Elson / Fabela) Marvel

An otherwise poor comic saved by a huge and interesting twist. I can’t say this book was good, but I CAN say I am looking forward to issue 699 and on…

 

FABLES #123 (Willingham / Ha / McManus) Vertigo

Eh. Not bad, just not great. How fallen is Fables, no? I’m not even buying the new hardcover because the preview looks so boring.

I think Bigby is part of the problem right now. He is Wolverine… a character that was so awesome when he first appeared that now seems a little tired. I really hope this book gets back to the greatness it once had.

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #17 (Bendis / Larraz / Ponsor) Marvel

Big battle scenes do not thrill me. Bendis’ characterization of Miles, however, really does. Once this book gets out from under the Ultimates cross-over, I expect it to be right back near the top of this list.

 

ROCKETEER: CARGO OF DOOM #4 (Waid / Samnee) IDW

So… a cliffhanger ending to a one-off miniseries? Does this mean there will be ANOTHER Waid / Samnee Rocketeer series? If so, sign me up!

 

WONDER WOMAN #14 (Brian Azzarello / Tony Akins / Dan Green) DC

Wonder Woman winning using love and compassion. Recruiting family through shared heartbreak and familial betrayal.

This is good stuff. Really good stuff. WW is best when she isn’t playing the She-Hulk role and this issue is a good example of that.

This isn’t the best comic with Wonder Woman in it this week, though.

 

HAWKEYE #4 (Fraction / Pulido / Hollingsworth) Marvel

This is Marvel’s best comic these days. I LIKE the version of the world that says Hawkeye has some shame over killing someone. (I prefer a world where he DOESN’T do that, but that ship has sailed.) The idea that this tape getting out would harm his rep and the rep of the Avengers makes me happy. I read a review that said that people today wouldn’t care. In our world, you are right. A world filled with superheroes, though… gets held to a higher standard, thankfully.

The only flaw this issue was the last issue reveal. The fact that I had doubts about who that was supposed to be is bad. (I know who it is… but my first reaction was Mockingbird.)

 

THE UNWRITTEN #43 (Mike Carey / Peter Gross) Vertigo

As Vertigo seems to be crumbling to dust, isn’t it nice that they still have this book? This animal world as a twisted version of literary world-buildign works for me. The characters here are top-notch and I love the motivation behind this one. A rescue… from? Non-existence maybe?

 

BATWOMAN #14 (J.H. Williams III / W. Haden Blackman) DC

That the art is beautiful is no surprise. That the book is written as well as it is, is. I have given Williams a lot of flack for his poor writing chops, but this issue redeems him somewhat. The scenes with Pegasus are heavy, deep, shocking, painful… just very well done. Wonder Woman is good in here, though I wouldn’t want Williams writing a WW book. Her willingness to take his head is perfectly acceptable. Her threat to leave him there to rot, not so much. The 20 pages felt very short this tim eout. Lots of splash pages that were still FILLED with story. Best Batwoman issue in quite a while.