Rusty's World

Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Saucer Country #11

January 27, 2013
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Here we go with another week of Rusty’s comic reviews….

 

Chris Koch wanted to know my take on Uncanny X-Force #1. I don’t read it but he told me what happened so I went and checked out the final page.

Ewwwwwww.

 

On to the comics I DO read, starting at the weakest.

 

WINTER SOLDIER #14 (Ed Brubaker / Butch Guice) Marvel

I kept hoping for a good pay-off to this story. Instead it is just semi-misogynistic crap, like most of the story has been. What was great about this book when it first started was that it was really a Bucky & Black Widow comic. This whole story has had Black Widow being a maguffin rather than a character. She is the woman in the refrigerator despite not actually being killed. Even in the end, she serves as angst for Bucky rather than a character in her own right. Does she ever even speak as herself in the comic?

Weak.

I am dropping the book. I know the creative team is changing, but it has soured for me.

 

BATWOMAN #16 (J.H. Williams III / W. Haden Blackman) DC

When can beautiful art be a detriment to a book? Here it is.

The thing that has been lost here is storytelling. Williams as writer has written a script that just allows Williams as artist to do big, lovely double-page spreads where he then stuffs in text blocks to try and understand what is going on… because the art doesn’t really show you at all.

The strength of comics is as linear storytelling. This doesn’t do that at all. If that is what you want, I would prefer you do it Stardust style, where Neil Gaiman provided Charles Vess with a prose story for him to illustrate. Don’t try to pretend it is comics when it isn’t.

 

AVENGERS #3 (Jonathan Hickman / Jerome Opena / Dean White) Marvel

There are world-threatening villains. The Avengers are an army now so they can take care of it! Except they don’t. Captain Universe does. Okay, what? How is having Captain Universe appear any sort of strategy? They can’t control that. (Oh, and side note, Hyperion can beat up the Hulk? No thanks.)

Eh.

 

UNCANNY AVENGERS #3 (Rick Remender . John Cassaday / Laura Martin) Marvel

That was better. Villains (but not over-powered, godly ones) fighting Avengers. Things look bleak, but I have a feeling the good guy swill figure out a way to pull this off. (Side note: I prefer it when Captain America is able to fight mental control himself, but the scene with him and Havoc worked. It was set up well.) (Side note #2: Having a different field leader when Cap is on the team never ‘feels’ right.)

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: MINUTEMEN #6 (Darwyn Cooke) DC

Other than Silk SPectre, Minutemen is the best of the BW books… but this was probably the worst issue of the mini. Suddenly the whole thing was a plot by the Comedian and now it was Nite Owl who killed Hooded Justice? How does Hollis not now gather his forces with the sole purpose of bringing Comedian down? He could do it.

Good mini. Not great ending.

 

YOUNG AVENGERS #1 (Gillen / McKelvie / Norton / Wilson) Marvel

The book has promise but there were too many niggling little things that kept this book from debuting higher on this list. First off, apparently Wiccan is an idiot. THEY JUST WENT THROUGH A BIG TIME TRAVEL STORY THAT TAUGHT THEM HOW MESSED UP THAT CRAP IS! Why would he pull that?

The Marvel Boy / Kate Bishop thing doesn’t work for me at all. What happened to that cool NORMAL girlfriend that Marvel Boy already had? I assume Miss America is actually going to get some sort of explanation other than “hey, I’m a new superhero who just happened to be in the neighbourhood…”

I am also not a huge fan of the art.

A book like this is going to live or die on characterization, though, and that is working for me so far.

 

WONDER WOMAN #16 (Brian Azzarello / Cliff Chiang) DC

What can I say? Milan is awesome. The insight into his powers was really well done. The bar scene was excellent. Orion was… okay. I still don’t see his point, but hopefully that will come around. Herc is… nasty.

But it is the bar scene that really stood out for me.

 

REVIVAL #6 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

There was so much in here. The world is finding out! Everything is going to change now! Anders’ eye shift shows how much you can do with linear art! Someone teach J.H. Williams that!

 

FF #3 (Matt Fraction / Michael Allred / Laura Allred) Marvel

Finally! Now it feels like the comic is actually starting! After two issues of nothing really happening, it was a nice change! (Though, did Darla really do that long scene in nothing but a towel? What is this, Saga?)

 

FABLES #125 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha) Vertigo

An issue of Fables! I mean, a real one! It has been a while since this book felt like itself. Now this is a pure set-up issue, but it still had the feel of the great book we used to love.

Brandish and Leigh are going to be trouble with a capital TRUH!

 

THE MASSIVE #8 (Brian Wood / Garry Brown / Dave Stewart) Dark Horse

Act two of a really exciting movie, no? Did they really turn the ship over to this new country? What do you think?

Does this oil rig country remind you of Great Pacific in any way? A little?

 

SAUCER COUNTRY #11 (Paul Cornell / Mirko Colak / Andrea Mutti) Vertigo

Saucer Country has been hit and miss for me. So much so that when I recently heard that the book is coming to an end, I just sort of shrugged.

Until this issue. Wow.

Forget all the alien stuff and conspiracies and how this issue fits in to the broader scheme of the book. Instead just read it as someone who has had a tough grasp on reality since witnesses something traumatic when he was young. Reading between the lines, I had already guessed some of what was going on… but the fact that people knew made this almost too much. To cause such a visceral reaction. Well done Cornell et al.

 

 

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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: All-New X-Men #6

January 20, 2013
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Wait a minute… didn’t Saga come out this week?

 

Starting at the weakest…

 

ULTIMATE IRON MAN #4 (Edmondson / Buffagni / Troy) Marvel

Let me reiterate what I have said before. At the moment there is only one Ultimate comic worth buying and that is Spider-Man. (That one is VERY good, however.)

This mini was… I don’t want to say terrible. I just found that I didn’t care about anything that was happening in it. At all.

 

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #11 (Kelly Sue DeConnick / Stefano Caselli) Marvel

Not bad but, is this book going to remain as ‘Avengers-lite’? I know it is supposed to be accessible for the movie crowd but hopefully it will get a bit more meat on its bones. I liked the use of the Hulk, though. (Which, of course, mirrored the Hulk’s usage in the movie…)

 

COMEBACK (Brisson / Walsh / Bellaire) Image

While this book has not lived up to its promise, it is interesting. A little bit of Rasl. A whole lot of Primer.

 

SAGA #9 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

This is the worst issue of Saga yet… which is to say it is still better than most comics on the market. I just found it kind of… dull this month. Gwendolyn is interesting and they just tied Slave Girl into the mains tory, but …still. A little lacklustre by Saga standards.

 

CAPTAIN MARVEL #9 (DeConnick / Andrade / Bellaire) Marvel

Just as Saga doesn’t have its normal spot, Captain Marvel’s normal spot near the BOTTOM of the list was obliterated this month! First off, I LOVE the new art! It keeps the non-mainstream, off-kilter look of the previous artists, while feeling less dark. It is pure style. I like it!

Plus, the story was great! Carol’s own Pepper Potts! Tony Stark acting like a dick! A cat… (side note… did this issue feel like it could be a Power Girl comic?)

Then, the ending was great! Looking forward to the next issue. I hope they can keep up the trend!

 

NEW AVENGERS #2 (Hickman / Epting / Magyar / D’Armata) Marvel

Let’s just start with that great Jock cover. Sweet. This issue was all talking… and it was very well done. I think the fact that the comic was really just a few scenes stopped that jerky feeling I often get from Hickman’s work. The characterization was mostly good… though when did Black Panther become such an asshole? (Exception: the scene with Namor was spot on.)

You know something is bad when Captain America suggests building the Infinity Gauntlet. Who is going to wield it? It would have to be Cap, no? Who else would they trust?

 

ALL-NEW X-MEN #6 (Bendis / Marquez / Gracia) Marvel

Is Marquez a fill-in artist or is he taking over, because with all due respect to Immonen, I like this better. With his experience on Ultimate Spider-Man it should be no surprise, but he gets that YOUTHFUL look down pat. Perfect.

Now, why is this book #1? Characterization. There are three major interactions here. Jean/Kitty (and a bit of Storm), Cyclops/Wolverine, and Angel/Angel. The first and last were both excellent… extremely. You really see how Kitty has matured and also see how dealing with mental powers it so difficult. The scene between the two Angels is just joyous and fun. I wasn’t sure what would happen because I don’t read X-Force and I have no idea what was going on with Angel. Is he sometimes Archangel or what?

The Cyclops / Wolverine thing was fine, but not as emotionally interesting as the other two, though it set-up that last page reveal.

I am really enjoying this book. Is it REALLY better than Saga? Overall, not even close. This issue though, you bet it was.


2013 Reading List

January 15, 2013
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2013 in BOOKS

Tomy Bewick, My Mouth Hurts Too Much To Fight You.

Langston Hughes, The Ways of White Folks

 

2013 in Comic Collections

New Mutants Classic Vol. 1


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Reading List

January 14, 2013
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I am going to copy Charlotte Ashley and keep track of what I read this year.

 

I am doing this not because I read a lot, as she does, but because I am starting to suspect that I read less than I think.

I mean, I read quite a bit, but that includes comics and magazines and internet baseball stuff… so I am going to track the BOOKS I read here. I am also going to track comic collections because… hey, this is this blog.

I read some over Christmas (Douglas Copeland’s Miss Wyoming, Powers Vol. 1) but I am going to go by the calendar year, just to see.

 

So…

 

2013 in BOOKS

Langston Hughes, The Ways of White Folks

 

2013 in Comic Collections

New Mutants Classic Vol. 1


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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Superior Spider-Man #1

January 13, 2013
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A fairly light week, both in quantity and quality. No awesome books. No terrible books.

 

Starting at the weakest…

 

AVENGERS ARENA #3 (Dennis Hopeless / Kev Walker / Frank Martin) Marvel

So, they are doing a Marvel Hunger Games. They were already wearing that on their sleeves, but this cover is ridiculous. Now they are killing off characters with no drama whatsoever. Mettle’s death had a point. Red Raven’s did not. Destroying the Sentinel had none. Two issues in a row where we got a back story to try and force us to care about a character.

I like the idea of this book… but it has not been done very well thus far.

 

FAIREST #11 (Lauren Beukes / Inaki Miranda) DC

I wish this story would end. Stuff happens. It feels semi-random and incoherent. The way Rapunzel climbed out of the well made no sense at all. It all just seemed a set up for the (admittedly bad-ass) image on the last page.

 

FANTASTIC FOUR #3 (Matt Fraction / Mark Bagley / Mark Farmer / Paul Mounts) Marvel

Is this going to be one of the SF shows where they face a new weird planet every week? (So to speak.) Those went out with the first Star Trek. Hopefully this ha a little more substance than that.

 

ANIMAL MAN #16 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh / Timothy Green II / Joseph Silver) DC

The Rotworld stuff isn’t as interesting as the Maxine horror story. Chilling. They made a big deal about the Green Lantern and then didn’t do anything with him. Maybe next issue.

 

SWAMP THING #16 (Scott Snyder / Yanick Paquette) DC

I was disappointed with the big robot. Why? Because before I turned the page, I said to myself, “Cool! It is going to be Chemo!” and was disappointed that it wasn’t. 🙂

The Batman stuff made this issue really need. I love that Batman is the one who figured out what to do even though he had lost the fight.

 

DIAL H #8 (China Mieville / Alberto Ponticelli / Dan Green) DC

Going to Canada! Solid book, but do you know what made it so great? Flame War and the rest of The Insult. (Though I don’t get the Wolf Ticket gag…)

The art is not to my taste, but it isn’t terrible.

 

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #1 (Dan SLott / Ryan Stegman / Edgar Delgado) Marvel

Was this issue excellent? No, but it was solid, which is enough on a week like this. The new Sinister Six was enough to get it over. I mean, the Big Wheel! The Living Brain! Wicked!

If Otto becomes a rapist, though, I am going to have serious issues with this book. (The comment about her boobs was funny, I’ll admit…)


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Ultimate Spider-Man #19

January 6, 2013
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A fairly light week, but some good comics, as always.

 

Starting with the weakest.

 

ALL-STAR WESTERN #15 (Palmiotti / Gray / Moritat / Winslade) DC

This is a book that has been found as comic of the week. NOw it is at the bottom of the pile. Why?

It used to be a gritty western book which was fairly unique on the shelves. Bit by bit they have been turning it into a book for Batman readers to look at and chuckle as they slide in references to the Bruce Wayne / Gotham City mythos. That was bad enough. Now they are trying to be League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Jonah Hex fighting Mr. Hyde, powered by Eclipso!

No thanks. Turn this back into a western. Please. Next thing you know we will be getting the old HEX comic back as Jonah goes into the future…

 

NEW AVENGERS #1 (Jonathan Hickman / Steve Epting / Rick Magyar / Frank D’Armata) Marvel

The ‘Hickman-ization’ of the Avengers continues. New Avengers is now about the Illuminati… I guess. This comic was about Black Panther and some new world beating villain that is fairly indistinguishable from the new world beating villain in the Avengers, other than it is a solo villain instead of a group. (Without going back to check, is there a character named Manifold in both books? What is the Aborigine hero in Avengers called?)

There were references to the Illuminati and I have read that this is that book.

I sure hope it gets better.

 

BATMAN INCORPORATED #6 (Grant Morrison / Chris Burnham) DC

This book is hit and miss but this issue was pretty good. The challenge facing Batman was pretty simple except… what was the threat to Damian? When Talia says that Bruce has to choose between saving one or the other, that is a pretty standard trope, but there needs to be a threat to both. What was the threat to Damian?

On the other hand, Damian gets a kitten!

 

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #15 (Jeff Lemire / Ray Fawkes / Mikel Janin) DC

This new world is interesting. It is bursting at the seams with magic, but magic is outlawed. Is that why? People aren’t using the magic so it is building up? Neat premise.

The best part of the book is when Constantine is forced to tell the truth… which is a problem for him as he lies every time he opens his mouth. I hope Lemire uses this to force him to explain some things to his teammates.

Could you picture having to tell everything you were thinking at all times? Shudder.

 

GREAT PACIFIC #3 (Joe Harris / Martin Morazzo) Image

Previously introduced but I hadn’t though of it until now… this new machine can turn sludge into water? Wouldn’t that DESTROY New Texas?

 

ALL-NEW X-MEN #5 (Brian Michael Bendis / Stuart Immonen / Wade von Grawbadger / Marte Gracia) Marvel

A lot of great stuff in this issue! We get to see the way Beast imagines himself… and that is looking like the vastly superior ‘ape’ version. Unfortunately Bendis had the opportunity to turn him back into that form but chose not to. Jean Grey gets to see… everything. We get the excuse for keeping them in the present. Solid book that is all about the characterization.

Iceman met Iceman. Beast met Beast. Cyclops met Cyclops. Jean Grey got to see her fate. When will Angel meet Archangel?

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #19 (Bendis / Pichelli / Ponsor) Marvel

As much as I love Miles and Ganke and the rest, right now, it is Jefferson that makes this book amazing. This line MADE the book: “I don’t think it feels that way to him.”

Seriously. Buy Ultimate Spider-Man.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week(s): Saga #8

January 4, 2013
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This is two weeks worth of comics since I was away for a bit. The real drama here, since it covers two weeks, is whether Hawkeye or Saga was going to be the better issue.

 

I guess I have spoiled that already.

 

Starting at the weakest.

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: MOLOCH #2 (J.Michael Straczynski / Eduardo Risso) DC

When I read issue #1, right up until the last page I thought it was a one-shot. Now I wish it was.

The first issue gave a back story for Moloch. Something to make you care a little more about him. This issue just goes into unnecessary detail about stuff the happened in Watchmen that needed no extra explanation. In fact, this hurts the original story. Screw this issue. It just sucks.

 

FF #2 (Matt Fraction / Michael Allred / Laura Allred) Marvel

This comic was also unnecessary, but not in the actually damaging way that Moloch was. In this issue NOTHING HAPPENS. The Fantastic Four didn’t come back in four minutes. That’s it. I have high hopes for this comic and issue #1 did not let me down. Issue #2 did.

 

COMEBACK #2 (Brisson / Walsh / Bellaire) Image

This book isn’t bad, but it really doesn’t touch on anything new so far. If you were told the premise, you could probably come up with the story thus far. Hopefully that changes. I am not a big fan of the art, either.

 

CAPTAIN MARVEL #8 (DeConnick / Sebela / Soy / Gandini) Marvel

Was there supposed to be sexual undertones to the scene between Carol and Monica? If so, well done. If not, not so well done. What the last two issues reminded me is that I like Monica as Captain Marvel more than Carol.

Soy is leaving the book.

 

AMERICA’S GOT POWERS #4 (Jonathan Ross / Bryan Hitch) Image

What stops this issue from being higher on the list is that I am not going back and rereading the series every time a new issue comes out. If you can’t publish a comic with an ongoing story in some sort of timely fashion you should finish the whole book before soliciting any of it.

 

AVENGERS ARENA #2 (Hopeless / Walker / Martin) Marvel

I like the premise of the book and the feel of the book. What I didn’t like was side tracking the story for some back-exposition in the second issue. Killing a character is such on off hand way that we didn’t even know cheapens the whole thing as well.

 

WONDER WOMAN #15 (Brian Azzarello / Cliff Chiang) DC

Now we are getting into the better books. This issue is full of great characterization. Hera is the best example, but all of them – from the new brother to Hephaestus – are great. Orion still needs fleshing out, but that is to be expected.

 

FABLES #124 (Bill Willingham / Shawn McManus) Vertigo

This issue was well done… I suppose. The problem is that I haven’t liked the Bufkin story at all so getting a full issue of it doesn’t help (other than telling me it is over). It is better than the last two issues, but I am looking forward to getting back to the core of the book… and it looks like it is coming.

 

AVENGERS #2 (Jonathan Hickman / Jerome Opena / Dean White) Marvel

Good book in general, though it suffers from Hickman-itis. WHat I know about the new status quo I got from interviews and the diagram. It seems like that as Tony and Steve talk about the fact that they are changing things, that you might tactually TALK ABOUT HOW THEY ARE CHANGING THINGS. If you just went by the story you would assume the big change is that there are a bunch of reservists. Not a big change at all.

 

ALL-NEW X-MEN #4 (Brian Michael Bendis / Stuart Immonen / Wade von Grawbadger / Marte Gracia) Marvel

Nitpick: Going by the cover, it would seem that von Grawbadger has second billing. I know that i snot the intent but it is confusing.

Where Bendis works, and where this book works, is focusing on character. That works best here by focusing on the time lost heroes. This issue does that, to its benefit. Too much Cyclops and Magneto, except as villains, is a bad idea. (Side bit: Hank knowing… Beast’s password was a perfect touch – if not a bit inaccurate. Someone like Hank would change his password often.

 

THIEF OF THIEVES #20 (Kirkman / Asmus / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

What can I say that I haven’t said yet? Basically, this comic is a good heist movie, in comic form.

 

BATWOMAN # 15 (J.H. Williams III / W.Haden Blackman / Trevor McCarthy) DC

Avengers Arena, listen up. THIS is how you do a side story to give added character to a supporting cast member. In one issue, without doing anything drastic, you have made the readers care more about Maggie Sawyer. It sure made me hope that she and Kate keep it together (and that Kate shares her secret).

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #700 (no cover credits, but Slott / Ramos / Olazaba / DeMatteis / Camuncoli / Buscema / Van Meter / Buscema) Marvel

The first Buscema is Sal. The second one is Stephanie.

Look, there is no shock about this comic. The only question is how long it will take and how will they revert to the status quo. In the meantime they have made me interested in the story, and that is enough.

The scenes with Mary-Jane, though, are really bloody creepy and they had better address that. Otherwise it is rape, pure and simple. (Assuming it goes that way.) We’ll see.

As for the back-ups, the deMatteis one is getting praise and I don’t understand why. It is routine and hardly original in its obvious pay-off. In addition, let’s all laugh and how old people lose their memory! Ha ha!

No thanks.

The Black Cat story was cute.

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #18 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

Remember what I said about Bendis on the X-Men book? This is where he proves it. The plot is not the point in USM. The story is not the point. The characters are the point. Miles is perfect. Jessica is perfect. The real star of this book, though, is Jefferson.He did the right thing, but he still killed people. That is not an easy thing.

Well done.

 

UNWRITTEN #44 (Mike Carey / Peter Gross) Vertigo

Forget the reveal. What I liked about this book is Tom’s new attitude. He is just going to keep going forward and will never assume that something can’t be done. It is the perfect evolution of his unbelieving wide-eyed wonderment from the start of the series.

And that reveal… looking forward to issue #45. 🙂

 

HAWKEYE #6 (Fraction / Aja / Hollingsworth) Marvel

Remember how good the first 5 issues of this book were?

This issue is better.

It is all about Hawkguy. Like the guy from M*A*S*H.

 

Saga #8 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

How could a comic be better than the best issue of Hawkeye? By being Saga. In the last two issues they have made an already great character (Alana) a hundred times better by showing her when she is vulnerable. Marko was excellent, as always. His father showed the seeds of how Marko came to be. The ‘meet cute’. Gwendolyn.

I love this comic.