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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Mister X: Hard Candy

March 31, 2013
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Starting at the weakest…

FANTASTIC FOUR #5 (Fraction / Araujo / Villarrubia) Marvel

So, I like the Fantastic Four comic. I like Age of Ultron. Having an Age of Ultron tie-in issue with Fantastic Four seems like a find idea… even if it is only to fix the continuity problems that stem from AoU being written long before the FF went off into space, or whatever.

To bad this issue is so bad.

First off, I really dislike the art. Then, the entire IDEA of this books is terrible, “Okay kids, we are going off to die. Good luck!” SO the kids are off on a spaceship by themselves with no idea what to do next? That is just stupid writing.

Also, trying to make it seem like we really think they are not coming back… give me a break.

Bah.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #6 (Christos Gage / Dexter Soy) Marvel

Take the entire first part of the last comment and replace all mentions of Fantastic Four with Superior Spider-Man. The art doesn’t work for Spider-Man. The comic is bad and that is clearly NOT Otto in AoU. This is a mess because it is continuity being forced where it doesn’t fit.

They should have just ignored it and moved on. THe continuity complainers should just shut up about it.

Two normally good books made bad by a cross-over.

WOLVERINE and the X-MEN #27 (Aaron / Perez / Martin) Marvel

Let me just start by saying how much a prefer Mohawk Storm. This is the way she SHOULD look.
An issue focusing on the students! Great! Iron Mask! Good stuff… but something was missing.I think the ‘why’. (Oh, and Eye Boy looks ridiculous.)

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #1 (Bendis / McNiven / Dell / Ponsor) Marvel

The .1 issue of this was very good. This one… less so. I might be a little biased as space comics don’t tend to do much for me. So Iron Man is in space now? Is he in space in his own comic as well?
Not enough Groot. Not enough Rocket Raccoon. Too much of everything else.

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #18 (Jeff Lemire / Ray Fawkes / Mikel Janin) DC

Not the best issue, but the arc worked over all. This is not quite the father of Tim Hunter from Vertigo. Either one of them. (Do you remember when Tim Hunter was awesome? I do.)
The ending was satisfying and made wonder what next issue will bring. It looks like Frank is on the time for good, and that gets a big thumbs up from me.
If only the title of the book wasn’t so stupid.

FF #5 (Matt Fraction / Michael Allred / Laura Allred) Marvel

Alex out, Ahura in. (Though we haven’t seen the last of Alex… though his actions are a little ill-advised. John is crazy. Medusa is… mind-controlled, I would say. Ms.Thing is ever-awesome. Then there is Scott, son of Bob, man of ants.

FF isn’t quite Hawkeye, but it is closer to it than much else.

AGE OF ULTRON #3 (Bendis / Hitch / Neary / Mounts) Marvel

Story progression! The scene where a talk on tactics turns into a talk on losses was well done. Succinct but ending with Jessica and the baby and showing why Luke was so willing to risk himself worked for me. (Yes you can argue it is GiaR, but that scene also talked about four other fallen, and none of them were female.)

Taskmaster calling Red Hulk Dave was a nice bit of levity.

On the other siade, I really don’t like how Hitch draws Captain America. First off, I have never been a fan of the ‘scale mail’ look. That shirt is supposed to be chain mail, not scale mail. The way Hitch draws it, he often looks ‘fuzzy’ in longer shots. Fluffy, maybe.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #5 (Remender / Coipel / Morales / Martin) Marvel

The best issue of this title yet. First off, Coipel is WAY better than Cassaday. This is mostly a character issue, but it is a well done one.

What is with Cap’s kneepads on the cover?

That cover shows why it is awkward having Alex as leader. Having Cap on a team and NOT having him as leader is always going to seem wrong… but in this story in makes sense and that awkwardness is PART of it. It is great to see Wasp and Wonder Man back on a team and neither of them acting like idiots. Sunfire seems on there just to keep the premise of the book intact. Look at the cover. 5 mutants (and only 4 X-Men) vs 4 non-mutants. And 6 Avengers. Now 9.

THE UNWRITTEN #47 (Mike Carey / Peter Gross) Vertigo

Interesting. So is this actually hell or not? Hmmm. Tom losing his memory is well done… though he is getting it back. The return of the rabbit and the return of those who have died around Tommy was all interesting, leading up to that last page. Do you think the two Taylors can sit down and have a nice talk? Well, one of them is being tortured in death and the other one os having Lethe problems, so I would count on it being very satisfactory.

I am looking forward to The Unwritten Fables.

THE MASSIVE #10 (Brian Wood / Gary Erskine / Jodie Bellaire) Dark Horse

Coming off a meaty story, we now get a good balance of story and backstory. That last page seemed kind of chilling. Things are not going to be good soon.

I WILL say that I think the mutineers got off a little easy, but it totally fits with who Callum is. I am kind of surprised that we didn’t get a scene where Mag ‘took them to the boat’ and actually dumped them in the ocean, if you know what I am saying.

YOUNG AVENGERS #3 (Gillen / McKelvie / Norton / Wilson) Marvel

Best issue yet. Miss America is just all around awesome. I am missing Kate from this book, but America Chavez makes up for it. I want to know more about her and her two moms. Apparently she was in a mini called Vengeance, which I hadn’t even heard of.

Good comic.

MISTER X: HARD CANDY one-shot (Dean Motter) Dark Horse

I love Mister X. The funny thing is that I am a story guy, but this book is all about style and design. It may not look super-unusual now, but when Motter first started making Mister X comics, he was leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else. It is kind of like looking at Frank Miller stuff without knowing history and thinking that his lay-outs etc are ‘that style’ instead of ground-breaking.

And the story is good too!

It isn’t what I remembered from the comic. If you go to the ordering page that shows the old collections, look at the ones on the left compared to the ones on the right. That is what I remember. I remember the black, white and red comic.

The best news is the ad for an upcoming Mister X mini. Yes please!


2013 Reading List

March 25, 2013
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A new addition on the comics collection list. A gift from my friend Kevin Matthews for my birthday. I was already a Darwyn Cooke fan. The best way to describe this for me is this: pretend Will Eisner’s formative years were in the 60s instead of the 40s.

Good stuff.

2013 in BOOKS

Language Myths, edited by Laurie Bauer & Peter Trudgill
Tomy Bewick, My Mouth Hurts Too Much To Fight You.
Langston Hughes, The Ways of White Folks

2013 in Comic Collections

Richard Stark’s Parker Vol 1: The Hunter by Darwyn Cooke
New Mutants Classic Vol. 1


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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Saga #11

March 24, 2013
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Saga again? I think this makes 10 times out of 11 issues that it has grabbed the #1 spot. There was big competition this week too…

Starting at the weakest…

COMEBACK #5 (Brisson / Walsh / Bellaire) Image

What a terrible comic this ended up being. I think that they were trying to recreate the movie Primer in comic form and failing utterly. I have no problem with complicated comics but this was an absolute mess. Just look at page 8 and 9 for the wall of text that happens to try and explain the storyline. TOo much expository dialogue!

If you have a chance to read this comic, don’t waste your time.

WONDER WOMAN #18 (Azzarello / Sudzuka / Ains / Chiang / Green) DC

I used to really love this comic… what happened? I already talked about how this storyline was just going on an don, yet this issue had a resolution of sorts. The art this time out was really, really bad, which makes them lost the benefit of the doubt. But what really puts this book in the bad column?

How about the scene where War reaches in and rips a baby from a women’s womb.

The fact that they are gods and not really people and that it wasn’t really her womb doesn’t matter. Just look at that scene and tell me what you see.

That is some messed up shit right there. Ugh.

CONSTANTINE #1 (Jeff Lemire / Ray Fawkes / Renato Guedes) DC

They cancelled Hellblazer for this. Now, I wasn’t reading Hellblazer, but the idea that they would water down yet another character didn’t sit well with me. When they turned Constantine back into a DCU character, I had no problem with that. Hellblazer was still running and I had no more problem with both existing than I do with the idea that the movie version of, say, Captain America, is a different version than the comic one. No problem.

DC seems to think otherwise. They thought it was too confusing so they killed Hellblazer and replaced it with this.

At first I just wasn’t going to buy it at all. BUt then they switched writers, bringing in Jeff Lemire, who writes Constantine very well in Justice League Dark, so I thought I would give it a try.

I tried it. That may be all I do.

CAPTAIN MARVEL #11 (DeConnick / Sebela / Andrade / Bellaire) Marvel

From here on, I actually quite liked the comics this week. THere were lots of them, but they were quite good.
I am hot and cold about the art in CM, but this issue worked for me. I think the difference from issue to issue may be more me than the art, but this time I liked it.
I like the ‘can’t fly’ story now, and I wouldn’t mind if they took her flight power away from her permanently so her facility with flying machines had a greater utility.
This was a solid issue, but not outstanding.

NEW AVENGERS #4 (Jonathan Hickman / Rick Magyar / Steve Epting / Frank D’Armata) Marvel

So the Illuminati are straight up villains now? Having Cap pushed out was the right thing to do because he would be WAY out of character to go for this. I think Beast should have a bigger problem with this than he does. (I would prefer if they ALL had a bigger problem with this but…)
Not a great book, but I am still hoping that heroic natures take back over.

AVENGERS #8 (Jonathan Hickman / Dustin Weaver / Justin Ponsor) Marvel

So, the Avengers acted pretty badly in here, no? All of the conflict came about because they treated someone who had done nothing wrong as an enemy, effectively turning him into one. While I am not a fan of idiocy as a plot device, this worked because you could see that they were really, really panicking. I think having characters used to being so powerful act rashly when faced with something MORE powerful makes sense.

I just wish Hickman did stories other than ‘big cosmic over powered god-think threatens the earth!’

REVIVAL #8 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

Creepy and powerful stuff. The character turns in this book are great. I dug Ken Dillisch, as he worked against type. The plight of the suicidal was yet another twist in this already psychologically messed-up book.

This should be the next Walking Dead.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #6 (Slott / Ramos / Olazaba / Delgado) Marvel

What I like about this book: Otto has become a VERY complicated character. His childhood flashbacks are becoming tiresome, but his obvious feelings of respect (and more?) for Anna Maria Marconi is really well played. Of course, his way of expressing that is a little over the top, but that is who he is.

What I don’t like: They did this in the mid-90’s when they broke Batman’s back. They replaced Batman with Azrael to answer to the people who thought that it was okay for Bats to be more brutal. They tried to show how wrong that would be. What happened? People cheered him. The people who say that Batman should have killed Joker years ago don’t understand what it means to be a hero.

I am afraid of that here. How many readers thing Otto was right to shoot that guy last issue? What I liked here is that people SHOULD realize that brutalizing two people over what amounts to a prank in order to commit a minor crime is too much.

I hope.

BATWOMAN #18 (J.H. Williams III / W. Haden Blackman / Trevor McCarthy) DC

This issue was fairly… straight forward. That is a nice change from the mess the last arc kind of became. The fight with Freeze was well done. Hawkfire is a stupid name, but the team is good. The Batman appearance was interesting and Kate was the right kind of rebellious to him. It suits her character. The D.E.O. stuff was good. The Maggie stuff was good. The ending was very poorly done. A cliffhanger that you have given us no reason to care or wonder about? Yeah… poorly done.

ALL-NEW X-MEN #9 (Bendis / Immonen / Von Grawbadger / Gracia) Marvel

Jean Grey without training from Xavier is a whole lot of bad news. How long before nobody wants her around at all? The bit with Angel makes me think there will be unintended consequences with her messing with his head. The Times Square reaction was ridiculous. They did NOT come from the 60’s anymore. (Though I still like that they did stylistically) Please get Lady Mastermind a new name and a new costume. Her and Emma Frost in the same comic is too much.

I thought Sabertooth was dead…

FABLES #127 (Willingham / Buckingham / Pepoy / Leiloha) Vertigo

The Snow White story makes me nervous but this issue was very solid.

I don’t have a lot to say except this… if Snow WHite doesn’t engineer her own ‘salvation’ from this situation, I will be annoyed. Also, please don’t make her win the day by using her ‘sexual wiles’.

Thank you.

DAREDEVIL #24 (Waid / Samnee / Rodriguez) Marvel

I stayed away from this comic for too long. WHile she is new to me, I am an instant fan of Kirsten McDuffie. The problem is, we know that Matt will keep trying to win her over, and that is npt really a great message. No means no, fella.

Samnee’s art is beautiful. He reminds me of Darwyn Cooke while still being his own artist. (Speaking of Cooke, my friend Kevin Matthews got me Volume 1 of Parker for my birthday. I am looking forward to digging in to it.)

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #21 (Bendis / Pichelli / Ponsor) Marvel

Nobody does characters better than Bendis and nowhere does Bendis do them better than this book. You FEEL what they are going through. The scope of all this is too much for Miles, but he gets through it because it is the right thing to do. Mary-Jane and Gwen coming over was perfect. The fact that they really screwed up by doing so is going to have an impact. There is no way that cop doesn’t connect them to Peter Parker and therefore Spider-man.

I really hope Miles’ dad makes it through this. I want to read more about him.

SAGA #11 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

The best comic in an already amazing week of comics. THe ex talk was refreshingly frank (and funny). The space stuff was exciting and interesting. The Lying Cat rescue was cheer-inducing. Then… the fate of Barr…. with the bookmark comment… wow. Powerful. VERY powerful.

It made you feel the feels.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Saucer Country #13

March 22, 2013
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These reviews are very late because last week was VERSeFest – the awesome poetry festival that I am on the FOC for. THat included the first inductions into the VERSe Ottawa Hall of Honour (William Hawkins & Greg Frankson). That was my main project and I am really proud of it.

Starting at the weakest…

BEFORE WATCHMEN: OZYMANDIAS #6 (Len Wein / Jae Lee) DC

Doing stories of the earlier days of Watchmen characters… cool. Doing ‘backstory’ on the actual Watchmen story, ‘filling in details’… not cool. Whenever they have done that, the book has sucked. This issue was no exception. Way to ruin a decent mini.

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #13 (DeConnick / Woods / Bagley / Hanna) Marvel

This was okay. DeConnick’s AA stories aren’t bad, but they read like fill-ins. That is not a good thing.

WOLVERINE and the X-MEN #26 (Aaron / Perez / Martin) Marvel

The flashback scenes were great. Too bad the modern art was so sub-standard. I like the story, but there wasn’t enough with the kids this issue. Dog is interesting. Has he appeared before (as a grown up character, that is)?

ROCKETEER: HOLLYWOOD HORROR #2 (Roger Langridge / J Bone) IDW

Another solid issue of Rocketeer. Why do they do these as minis? Is it a marketing thing? Is it easier to attract creators?

AGE OF ULTRON #2 (Bendis / Hitch / Neary / Mounts) Marvel

So he really was sitting there trying to come up with a plan. Cool. I like the SPidey story-within-a-story. They are still moving at a pretty slow pace. I just heard that Neil Gaiman is co-writing the final issue and that the rumours about a new character are about Angela instead of Marvel Man. The former is exciting. The latter is disappointing.

FANTASTIC FOUR #5 (Matt Fraction / Mark Bagley / Mark Farmer / Paul Mounts) Marvel

I am enjoying the two FF books. This time travel story was interesting with a nice twist at the end. The thing with … Thing had ominous possibilities.

UNCANNY X-MEN #3 (Bendis / Bachalo / Townsend) Marvel

Dissension in the ranks. Nice to see Magneto isn’t a push-over. The face-off with the Avengers was great. The way they were neutralized was great. The idea that they could take advantage of the situation was great.

Bendis does good X-Men.

SAUCER COUNTRY #13 (Paul Cornell / Ryan Kelly) Vertigo

Why did it take cancellation to make this book go somewhere? THe ending of this book was excellent as those little ‘imaginary people’ were one of the few things I really didn’t like in the book.

I am looking forward to seeing who they are working for.


Reading List

March 11, 2013
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So, yeah… I am reading a lot less books than is my norm. Wonder why?

2013 in BOOKS

Language Myths, edited by Laurie Bauer & Peter Trudgill

(A Christmas gift chosen for me by my Fairy God-daughter)

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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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: All-New X-Men #8

March 10, 2013
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Starting at the weakest…

BEFORE WATCHMEN: RORSCHACH #4 (Brian Azzarello / Lee Bermejo) DC

In the end this mini was just generally unsatisfying. Rorschach didn’t even really defeat any of the villains. THey just kind of got beat on their own and on one case, he got vengeance. That’s it. Not one of the better BW books.

FAIREST #13 (Lauren Beukes / Inaki Miranda) Vertigo

The best thing about this book is that this Rapunzel story finally ends. I have read some on-line reviews about this story and I just don’t get it. It was a pointless mess of a story with some really crappy art. Look at the bottom left of page three. Why do so many of the characters look like blow-up sex toys?

I enjoy Fables, and I hope this book goes back to that level of quality. If it doesn’t, I may have to dump it.

GREAT PACIFIC #5 (Joe Harris / Martin Morazzo) Image

Ruthanne doesn’t like this book at all. I like it more, but I do hope it moves on in some way. I am still wondering why he would have a tool that could fix all of the garbage problems and not use it to just eliminate this big garbage patch.

SNAPSHOT #2 (Andy Diggle / Jock) Image

This is a movie in comic form. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if this were optioned. Interesting mystery. Interesting characters (once we got past the misogynistic bits in issue #1).

I’d watch it.

AGE OF ULTRON #1 (Bendis / Hitch / Neary / Mounts) Marvel

I really don’t like gimmick covers. Well, at least they didn’t charge extra. This book would have been $3.99 anyway.

This was a good kick-off to the story, but all it did was set the stage, so it wasn’t super-awesome on its own. Using Hawkeye and Spidey was a great idea. Cap at the end was chilling. I am looking forward to Bendis’ Avengers swan song.

SUPERIOR SPIDE-MAN #5 (Slott / Camuncoli / Dell / Delgado / Fabela) Marvel

Interesting turn. You had to see it coming when they used such a lame villain. That just changed Spider-man forever. Even when Peter comes back, having all those people SEE Spider-man pull the trigger HAS to change things.

ANIMAL MAN #18 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh) DC

I am glad that Rotworld is over, but I am also glad that there were real consequences. The actual ‘execution’ was not super. It was kind of like the Damian offing where they ‘buried the lead’. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the cover, I would assume he was badly hurt as opposed to dead.

DIAL H #10 (China Mieville / Alberto Ponticelli / Dan Green) DC

Man, this has turned into a really good book! The secret of the new dial works on so many meta-levels. The ending was a big surprise and now I REALLY want to see where it goes from here. What other book would happily have the two leads be a women in her 60s (I am guessing) and an overweight couch potato… and then giving them a romance? Will it carry over to their ‘civilian’ guises? I’m not sure if I want it to. It would be gutsy but having a male/female partnership that ISN’T built on that is pretty cool too.

I have faith that whatever Mieville chooses, it will be interesting!

SWAMP THING #18 (Scott Snyder / Yanick Paquette) DC

Swamp Thing is Swamp Thing now! But Abby…no! I’ll admit that the mini-heartbreak was based on the OLD ST story, not the current one, because the current one hasn’t created that strong a connection. On the other hand, I don’t think Swampy would have done that in the old books, no matter what was saved.

AVENGERS #7 (Jonathan Hickman / Dustin Weaver / Justin Ponsor) Marvel

Damn, that was a good comic! I am no Hickman fan, and I have not been a big fan of his new Avengers run, but I have to give credit where it is due. THe intercut scenes were VERY well done. Bringing the New Unvierse into the Marvel Universe… yes! (Who is the Cipher, though?) Bring back DP7!

ALL-NEW X-MEN #8 (Bendis / Marquez / Gracia) Marvel

I have been enjoying this comic a lot, but what REALLY put it over the top this issue was Iceman and Kitty ‘translating’ the Captain America / Beast conversation. Oy my god, that was funny. Then when it cut to Cap and he is continuing that conversation at that exact spot. That was KILLER! Then Cap’s expression upon seeing Cyclops.

Great comic.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: The Unwritten #46

March 5, 2013
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This was a huge week, made bigger because of a couple delayed books from last week. When I get a week like this it makes me look long and hard at what I am getting and there were some books that were found very wanting.

The cutting scissors are out!

Starting at the weakest…

ALL-STAR WESTERN #17 (Palmiotti / Gray / Moritat / Johnson) DC

I feel like no book was destroyed by the New 52 relaunch like Jonah Hex was. Jonah Hex was a very solid book, and the early issues of ASW held up to that standard, but it has been getting worse and worse. The constant Batman references were annoying enough, and then Jonah vs Mr. Hyde was pretty ridiculous. Now he is fighting… Vandal Savage?!?! Making this book part of the DC Universe is just silly. Do you remember ‘Hex’, the comic that sent Jonah into outer space? This isn’t that bad, but it is along those lines. It was made even worse by making the ‘classic DC character back-up’ Stormwatch. Uh what?

Dropped.

BATMAN INCORPORATED #8 (Grant Morrison / Chris Burnham / Jason Masters) DC

Uh, spoilers, I guess… but who hasn’t heard?

I am not one of those people who gets mad when they kill a character. The story comes first and if you can make a good story by killing a character, go for it. I am also not one of those people who gets upset about them bringing characters back. If it makes a good story, go for it.

Take when Marvel killed Captain America. It was a good story, but we always knew they would bring him back. (In fact, they took too long because Bucky was a terrible Cap.) The same thing with Peter Parker. Hands up anyone who doesn’t think he is coming back. No one? Good.

The problem here is that Batman Inc. hasn’t been a very good comic and the only thing that made it better was Damian. Now he is dead and it was done so in a really sloppy fashion that MINIMIZED the impact of his death. The sequential storytelling in this book has been very bad and it really destroyed any build up to Damian’s death.

Are they going to bring him back? Some people say yes. I am not so sure. I think Grant Morrison is taking his ball and going home and Damian will stay dead as long as Morrison needs appeasing. (Do you think there would have been those Before Watchmen books if Alan Moore was working for DC?)

More importantly, I am not sure I care.

Dropped.

AVENGERS ARENA #5 (Hopeless / Walker / Martin) Marvel

What DC did to Jonah Hex, Marvel did to Avengers Academy. They took a very good book and ruined it.

Now, like Batman Inc., don’t assume you know why. I am not one of the internet folk who hate the concept of the book. What did I say about killing characters in the previous review? The problem here is the writing. There is no plot. There is only a concept, and it is poorly executed. Let’s randomly kill characters, or make it seem like we are killing characters (because I am not convinced it is all legit), for no reason. Why? Because Arcade is suddenly the Beyonder in a bad mood.

Remember? They have done this story already. It was just in a less bloodthirsty time. The Beyonder took a bunch of heroes and a bunch of villains and set them against each other. With lots of exclamation marks.

Nobody would call Secret Wars high art, but I would rather reread that than this. (Having a BOYfriend in a refrigerator was a twist. Not that it makes it good writing…)

Dropped.

COMEBACK #4 (Brisson / Walsh / Bellaire) Image

Another book that is all concept and no execution. Some people (hi Kin!) hate time travel. I don’t. If it is written well it isn’t confusing at all.
Guess what this book isn’t and what it is.

I WOULD drop this book, but this is issue #4 and it is a 5 issues series. I’ll hold out to finish it.

WONDER WOMAN #17 (Azzarello / Akins / Green / Pinna) DC

Wonder Woman relaunched with a cool new feel, solid writing, good art. What happened?
Well, that opening story arc never ended. We are 17 issues in and are still telling the same story from issue #1 with no end in sight. This book isn’t about Wonder Woman, who happens to be trying to save Zola’s baby. This book is about Wonder Woman trying to save Zola’s baby. There is nothing else. It almost feels like that old Prison Break show where they just keep throwing up obstacle after obstacle because if they ever win, the show is over. Plus they keep subbing in Tony Akins on art and he is nowhere near as good as Cliff Chiang.

I woud consider dropping this, but it is one of Ruthanne’s favourites and very few of the books we get are ‘for’ her. This one stays.

ROCKETEER: HOLLYWOOD HORROR #1 (Roger Langridge / J. Bone) IDW

I bought the previous Rocketeer mini because of Chris Samnee. I enjoyed it, and I have good things about Langridge and I like J.Bone, so I decided I would give this a try. It isn’t as good as Waid and Samnee, but it is still okay. We talked about cutting this and decided against it. If I cut this one, it would just be to keep my budget in line, not because it was bad.

YOUNG AVENGERS #2 (Gillen / McKelvie / Norton / Wilson) Marvel

So far I still like the old YA better, and the story here that basically comes down to ‘the adults are either evil or under the sway of the bad guy so it up to the youngins to save the day’ is interesting enough. The whole ‘trapping them in comic panels’ thing is kind of cute.

THE MASSIVE #9 (Brian Wood / Garry Brown / Dave Stewart) Dark Horse

This book confused me a little bit but I think I was distracted by the cancer thing… as were the people involved, I would say.

So the ‘fleet’ got a little bigger? Yet they still don’t have the ship that the comic is named after?

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #17 (jeff Lemire / Ray Fawkes / Mikel Janin) DC

The big bust ’em up, throw down issue. Kind of… there appears to be more next issue. I really enjoy this comic and I am not sure why. Constantine is awesome is this other dimension. Frankenstein is kind of awesome in any dimension. It makes me wish I had read his book. (Side note: I ordered the new Constantine comic, but the preview running in the back of DC books this month doesn’t look very good…)

FABLES #126 (Willingham / Buckingham / Pepoy / Leialoha) Vertigo

Sometimes when something is supposed to be unsavoury it hurts the book even though it is doing what it means to do. This ex-husband of Snow White… ick. He is the most disgusting character that I can recall reading. Way worse than Comedian, and he is pretty bad. Now, he is supposed to be, but this rings worse. I think it may be because I know that Bill Willingham runs way on the right side of the political spectrum and this feels like an exaggerated version of what my lefty brain thinks that he thinks like. That is completely and totally unfair, but there it is.

BEFORE WATCHMEN: DR.MANHATTAN #4 (J.Michael Straczynski / Adam Hughes) DC

This book can be filed along with Silk Spectre and Minutemen to show how good the Before Watchmen concept CAN be. (Just don’t read Nite Owl or the Comedian unless you want to see the other end of the spectrum.)

This book was not as satisfying, storywise, as the previous three issues, because I don’t like it when they rehash what we have already seen (this is the same reason the otherwise good Ozymandias is sliding and why Moloch was one issue good and one issue terrible.)

And Adam Hughes is simply amazing. There are some artists who manage to take a tendency towards T&A but do it so well that it is beautiful rather than anything negative. Hughes exemplifies that. I mean, LOOK at that cover. Incredible.

As a whole mini this would rank higher, but this issue was relatively weak (and the flipped pages thing was just a novelty).

UNCANNY AVENGERS #4 (Rick Remender / John Cassaday / Laura Martin) Marvel

This is the best of the new crop of Avengers books… but as I have clearly said here and there, I am not a big fan of Hickman, so that isn’t hard. Still, this issue had a really good fight sequence against an ‘unbeatable’ foe, who lived to fight another day. It had a couple of really solid one-on-one scenes between Scarlet Witch and Rogue as well as Thor and Wolverine. I didn’t care for the tease, as I don’t look back at Onslaught with fond memories.

Also… what is the deal with the art? People rave about John Cassaday and I don’t know why. This just wasn’t that good.

UNCANNY X-MEN #2 (Bendis / Bachalo / Townsend) Marvel

First, I want to talk about the set. What is it about Bachalo’s art that makes the ridiculous costumes on the women seem so innocuous? Look at Emma on the first couple of pages. She has this weird cutout down the entire front of her shirt, yet it doesn’t seem to me to be overly sexualized. I think it is just the nature of his art. Those don’t look like melons hiding under her shirt… they are almost just well developed pecs. It waters down the effect, in a good way.

But then flip the page to the full page side shot of Emma’s face. That is some very pretty art. Well designed and well executed. Kudos.

Then there is the story. What does Bendis do well? Characters, characters, characters. These fell like real people. Real, interesting people. So far I like All-New better, but this is some solid work.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #0.1 (Brian Michael Bendis / Steve McNiven / John Dell / Justin Ponsor) Marvel

Here is Bendis again! I only bought this book because of his name in the credits because I normally don’t like the space stuff.

This was a very, very good comic. However, it wasn’t the space stuff that is coming, so it remains to be seen whether my enjoyment of Bendis’ writing can counter by normal dislike of the spacey aspects.

Even if the comic wasn’t good overall, which it was, the look on Peter’s mother’s face when she heard why he got in trouble for fighting was perfection.

FF #4 (Matt Fraction / Michael Allred / Laura Allred) Marvel

This was just an all-around sweet comic. The hijinks of (the equivalent to) young boys with a crush that ‘turn awry’ making Jen and Wyatt’s date better and better was just so well done. When Kin criticized Fantastic Four in his reviews (which I didn’t agree with, but that’s okay) he said, why can Fraction write Hawkeye so well and this so badly?

This book is Hawkeye brought to the FF.

Speaking of…

HAWKEYE #8 (Fraction / Aja / Wu / Hollingsworth) Marvel

First, what a great cover. Amazing. The art inside was a lot of fun too, both Aja’s normally brilliant work and the special Wu ‘covers’ scattered throughout. Hawkeye is one of my favourite comics being published and I certainly enjoy it more than the Unwritten normally, but this week it slipped a bit because I had a bit of a problem with the story. So, she comes in, Jessica sees her, but there is no explanation about who she is or where she fits into Clint’s past? I would be okay with that if he WASN’T hooked up with Jessica, but since he is, that didn’t feel right. It needed an explanation.

Not enough to ruin the comic for me, but enough to knock it out of the top spot.

THE UNWRITTEN #46 (Carey / Gross / Ormston) Vertigo

Zombies, Vampires, the chilling menace of IMAGINING death and… oh my god… did she just do what I think she just did? OMG, she did! The ending of that book was super chilling. The puppet lady who you can talk to in your dreams was super scary enough already but now she can imagine things and make them real? Holy crap. This is Freddy ramped up to the freakiest. Well done.