Rusty's World

Rusty’s Comic of the Week: The Rocketeer & The Spirit: Pulp Friction #1

July 28, 2013
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spirit-rocket1

Not as strong as recent weeks, but there are still some good books. Nothing really terrible, either.

HUNGER #1 (Fialkov / Kirk / Aburtov) Marvel

A little too ‘spacy’ for me. Let’s just get on with sending Miles and his crew over to the 616 uni and destroy the UU.

All right, it is clearly not going to happen with this mini because there is no way Fialkov gets the honour of shutting off the lights and putting up the chairs, you know?

Still, if the whole connection to tearing the universe open is just because the UU had a lame Gah-lak-tus and now Fialkov can do a story with a better version… well, that’s pretty lame.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #10 (Rick Remender / Daniel Acuna) Marvel

AM I crazy are was the dialogue really…off this issue? It just didn’t flow right. RIght from the joke Thor makes on the second page on. Huh. Remender isn’t usually that bad.

I normally lik eUncanny more than the Illuminati book, but this week the latter was better than usual and the former was worse.

Please don’t use this as a pretext to resurrect Sentry. He is better dead. Also, what was with Wasp’s costume? Is it 1963 again?

NEW AVENGERS #8 (Hickman / Deodato / Martin) Marvel

A tick better than it has been. Trying to explain how it fits into continuity is futile. If Reed is gone, let him be gone. If not, deal with it. “Hey, I have inter-space-time teleportation but don’t tell Scott Lang!”

Another issue with a pretty ugly costume change. What is up with Iron Man’s armour? Ugly.

So, Atlantis and Wakanda are at open war. Interesting. How will this effect… everything? Will it even be mentioned outside of this book?

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #14 (Slott / Ramos / Olazaba / Delgado) Marvel

Spider-man has a private army now? This just can’t stand. This has GOT to be the turning point towards the end of this Otto run.

I have been enjoying the story, but the longer we keep up with it, the more it seems that Marvel considers him an actual hero and that is… ugh.

Having said all that, I am looking forward to the Otto/Osborne connection. I don’t say clash since Otto seems to be unwilling to interfere with Osborne’s machinations.

THE UNWRITTEN #51 (M.Carey / P.Gross / B.Willingham / M.Buckingham) Vertigo

Better than the first issue but still fairly disappointing. I am surprised Bill Willingham was okay with this since it makes all of his characters look pretty weak… and I don’t just mean in power levels.

LAZARUS #2 (Rucka / Lark / Arcas) Image

There was a letter in this issue complaining that Forever looks to ‘butch’.

Save us from small minded morons.

I think that once she gets her head together (which has begun), Forever is going to be one of those great characters that refuses to fall into the old cliches.

HAWKEYE ANNUAL #1 (Fraction / Pulido / Hollingsworth) Marvel

Yet another view of what has been going on in the Hawkeye book, this time from Kate Bishop’s perspective. A bit of fun that really loses its momentum at the end. I am also not a big fan of Pulido’s art, though it isn’t terrible.

A good issue for most comics abut a sub-standard one for Hawkeye.

THE MASSIVE #14 (Brian Wood / Garry Brown / Jordie Bellaire) Dark Horse

The Kapital vs the U.S. Navy. Kind of. The mystery of Georg. The return of the sub and a journey towards the lights of Broadway.

Without the lights, I am sure.

Good, solid adventure and intrigue.

YOUNG AVENGERS #8 (Gillen / McKelvie / Norton / Wilson) Marvel

“The laws of physics can kiss my ass.” How is Miss America not the coolest new character in comics?

Well, it would be nice if we got to know more about her, instead of just bits and pieces.

The big Journey Into Mystery reveal did nothing for me, since I didn’t read Journey Into Mystery. The last page thing was… surprising. I assume he is up to something because it is Prodigy and he is every bit as calculating as Loki.

Good book. Consistently good book.

THE ROCKETEER & THE SPIRIT: PULP FRICTION #1 (Waid / Smith) IDW / DC

Now THIS comic was awesome. Mark Waid has got the feel of these books down pat. I like the rotating minis thing they are doing with Rocketeer, but any chance DC could persuade Waid to write a regular Spirit book. (Not likely). Drawn by Chris Samnee? (Not likely). Or Darwyn Cooke? Or Paul SMith, who is doing this mini?

This book is just good fun adventure.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Ultimate Spider-Man #25

July 22, 2013
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Another week with really strong contenders for the top spot. Now that I have been adding a pic to the post it was tempting to make either Scarlet or Revival the top book just because the covers are so nice, but I have to be true!

Starting at the bottom…

AVENGERS #16 (Hickman / Spencer / Caselli / Martin) Marvel

Well, they can’t all be winners. Sigh. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love the Avengers. I have the full run… yes the FULL run, right back to 1963.

Last night I was trying to remember the last time the Avengers were as bad as they are now. Geoff Johns? Maybe not. Chuck Austen for sure.

Sigh.

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #17 (DeConnick / Buffagni / Woodard) Marvel

I don’t mind the story here but it isn’t enough to overcome the awful art. This AA / Captain Marvel crossover has made me want to cancel them both. In fact, they READ like books that are about to be cancelled, if that makes sense.

FABLES #131 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha) Vertigo

First off – great cover. One of many nice covers this week. The story is solid. The Brandish ‘surprise’ (which was telegraphed all through this issue) was interesting, but not as much as the Rose Red story. The only reason that this issue is so far down is that is seems more like a prelude to great things than great things itself.

ANIMAL MAN #22 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh / Francis Portela) DC

Steve Pugh’s depiction of the Red was really wonderful this issue! Maxine’s influence on the place is a welcome addition! It contrasted nicely with the brutal attack on Buddy. Of course you all knew exactly where the Cliff thing was going as soon as she started, but some lessons need to be learned, as the Shepherd pointed out. The villain reveal was great for fans of the old Teen Titans book… back when it was good.

ALL-NEW X-MEN #14 (Brian Michael Bendis / Stuart Immonen / Wade von Grawbadger / Marte Gracia) Marvel

Another striking cover. This issue was a good old fashioned super fight… but done really well. There was action, there were quips, there was plot advancement, there was villainous escapes and captures. Just a good comic for people who like old-school super-heroics.

WONDER WOMAN #22 (Brian Azzarello / Cliff Chiang) DC

And New Genesis joins the new DC Universe! I liked it! I wasn’t sure about Highfather being kind of a dick, but his last line showed that there are layers within layers here. Orion gets more characterization that works for him. Meanwhile, back on earth…

Good stuff. (despite still being the ‘first story’ on issue 22)

SCARLET #7 (Bendis / Maleev) Icon

This easily could have been the top book. I almost wanted to put in at #1 just because of the beautiful cover.

What stopped it from being #1 is that very little happened. It just happened very well, if you get what I am saying. The plot advanced in a very small way, but it a well-written, compelling and interesting fashion.

One of the best books going… but it just doesn’t come out often enough. Read the trades.

REVIVAL #12 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

First, let em do a little cut and paste: “This easily could have been the top book. I almost wanted to put in at #1 just because of the beautiful cover.”

I have been close to cancelling this book in the past. I felt it had a great high concept that was being squandered. Then it devolved into random racism that didn’t seem to advance the plot at it became a bit of a chore to read.

This issue feels like they finally got it right, end to end.The emotional impact on both sides was well presented. The potential story threads were laid out nicely. Even the racism angle seemed to have a point this time.

Good book. Now keep it up.

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #25 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

Is there a character that you really feel what he is going through more than Miles Morales? If there is, let me know because I want to read that book.

Why he doesn’t want to wear the costume makes perfect sense. Why others want him to wear the costume makes perfect sense. Why he would end up making the decision he makes, makes perfect sense.

Jessica Drew was REALLY good in this issue. I have not been a big fan of the Ultimate Spider-Woman because I am not a fan of the clone angle, but here it works to perfection.

If you aren’t reading Ultimate Spider-man, you are missing out on some of the best characterization in comics.

My top 5 books, in no particular order are: Ultimate Spider-Man, Saga, Hawkeye, Scarlet and… whatever I say at this point will be fairly random as there are a bunch. But that is my top 4 for sure. (I would add Joe the Barbarian, but it is hardly current. Hopefully Sandman: Overture will join this list in the fall.)


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Astro City #2

July 17, 2013
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astro-city-2013-2-cover

This was an EXCELLENT week for comics! FOUR books that easily could have been comic of the week!

Let’s start with the less awesome…

SUICIDE SQUAD #22 (Ales Kot / Patrick Zircher) DC

There was a time when Suicide Squad was one of my favourite books. Back then John Ostrander was writing it. Every time it comes back, I TRY to like it. This time I had heard that this hot indy writer named Ales Kot was taking over so I decided to give it another try.

This is a mess. Dropped.

AMERICA’S GOT POWERS #6 (Jonathan Ross / Bryan HItch) Image

I honestly thought this was over. This mini started very strongly but I think it needs an end-to-end read now. Coming out this slowly just ruins a book.

GREAT PACIFIC #8 (Joe Harris / Martin Morazzo) Image

The story was decent, if transitional. The art continues to look good if you don’t look too closely. Morazzo does great drawings of ‘things’ but his people are not to my taste. A solid if unspectacular read.

BATMAN #22 (Scott Snyder / Greg Capullo / Danny Miki) DC

The first half of the book wasn’t great. The storytelling didn’t flow well. Choppy. The petty fighting between Bruce and Alfred neither worked for me as characterization or as a logical story progression.

The second half made up for it. The Bruce / Nigma stuff was great, both as story and as design. Snyder and Capullo hit one out of the park there. I also liked Bruce’s public outing. Good stuff.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #13 (Slott / Camuncoli / Dell / Pallot / Fabela) Marvel

This comic continues to have my brain at odds. I read it, enjoy it, and think how well Slott is doing at showing the difference between an actual hero (Peter) and someone who will do whatever it takes to win (Otto).

Then I go on-line and see reviewers talking about how much better at being a hero Otto is than Peter.

Am I the one who is missing the point here? I hope not, because anyone who thinks that what Otto is doing is heroic… well, let us just say that I disagree.

UNCANNY X-MEN #8 (Bendis / Bachalo / Townsend) Marvel

Nothing is that easy, Fabio. We got to see a ‘recruiting a new mutant’ bit, which used to be all the rage and looks like it is back. We also got to see Dazzler, acting all official-like. Plus, an incredibly powerful team… that really needs some basic training.

HAWKEYE #12 (Fraction / Francavilla) Marvel

The first of the four potential CotWs. The only thing that holds this book back is that Francavilla (while talented) is no David Aja. I think the ‘tell the same story from four different perspectives’ would work better if it was the same artist each time. It would make the parallels more clear.

This time we got Barney – showing how far he has fallen and the spark that is still within him when pushed. I could see him being a nice addition to the cast.

YOUNG AVENGERS #7 (Gillen / McKelvie / Wilson) Marvel

The king of comic design among active artists used to be J.H. Williams III, but these days it is between Jamie McKelvie and David Aja. The way this book was laid out made what was really just a series of montages into something better. Fraction needs full credit here as well as the different characters really shone through.

And, the story was advanced!

PLEASE keep Prodigy in this book! SPeed is okay, but Prodigy is amazing.

DAREDEVIL #28 (Waid / Rodriguez / Lopez) Marvel

At first I was disappointed when the sharp Chris Samnee cover did not open to reveal Samnee interior’s, but Javier Rodriguez was perfect for this take of mixed flashbacks and the dichotomy between childhood trauma and adult responsibilities. Why does Matt dislike this guy so much? Those wounds run deep. Why did he need to help him? Because, as unlikeable as he was, he was not guilty.

Now we get Matt vs the Sons of the Serpent which couldn’t feel more timely as a different courtcase in the real world showed the difference between law and justice.

ASTRO CITY #2 (Busiek / Anderson / Ross / Sinclair / Comicraft) Vertigo

The life of super-hero support staff.

This was an excellent comic, from end-to-end. “She tried to tell me. But I sent social workers.”

Wow.

You know what? Just go read it. Not just this comic but all of Astro City… but especially this one.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Swamp Thing #22

July 4, 2013
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Swamp_Thing_Vol_5-22_Cover-1_Teaser

Not as good a week as last week, but some solid stuff.

Starting at the weakest.

AVENGERS A.I. #1 (Humphries / Araujo / D’Armata) Marvel

This was certainly the most disappointing book of the week. The set-up last week – the Age of Ultron special issue featuring Hank Pym – was great… but all we have discovered this week is that Sam Humphries is no Mark Waid.

I guess we already knew that after the Ultimates.

Oh well. This is neither written well nor drawn especially well. I like the idea and I thought I liked the characters but so far:

Vision is no longer Vision. He is now a generic android.

Doombot got really annoying really fast.

Monica Chang is such the stereotypical ‘bitch’ character that it takes what COULD be a great female role and turns it into caricature.

Pym is… well, any actual character development has just been thrown out the window. He just recreated Ultron and acts like it is no big deal.

Victor Macha is… the one character I liked in this issue.

Hopefully it gets better.

DIAL H #14 (China Mieville / Alberto Monticelli / Dan Green) DC

This books alternating between beautiful and incomprehensible mess swung more towards the latter this issue. Mieville seems to excel on individual ‘moments’ but has a real problem with over-arching plot.

FAIREST #17 (Williams / Sadowski / Jimenez / Gren / Pepoy) Vertigo

The first annoyingly sexist depiction of the week.

This issue is really just a flashback and one small plot advancement. There just isn’t enough here for this book to score higher.

THE MOVEMENT #3 (Gail Simone / Freddie Williams II) DC

The second annoyingly sexist depiction of the week. Yes, it i swritten by Gail Simone, but that doesn’t mean that the first few pages isn’t a little bit too much ‘baseball bat’ plot development. Later, with the ‘Missy’ line? Much better handling of the concept.

AVENGERS #15 (Hickman / Spencer / Caselli / Martin) Marvel

The third annoyingly sexist depiction of the week: this issue’s cover.

Look at how well most of the cover is drawn. This is Yeinil Yu and the artist has talent. Now look at BLack Widow’s chest.

What… the… hell.

Someone has been borrowing Greg Land’s porn collection.

The inside of the comic is much better. Actual plot development! Decent ‘against-terrible-odds’ fight scenes! Triumph (if only temporary)! Goofy Skrull faces!

Banner’s right hand/left hand thing was too stupid for an actual genius, but whatever. This was a better comic than it has been.

MISTER X: EVICTION #3 (Dean Motter) Dark Horse

A nice wrap-up to the mini. Mister Smith was interesting. A liked his treatise on tattoos and defining of self. I wish I understood the hidden tattoo better. I get the dichotomy, but not why it was created differently than the others.

Looking forward to more Mister X!

THIEF OF THIEVES #15 (Kirkman / Diggle / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

Best ToT issue in a while. I think it was more actual heist set-up, and less double-triple-quadruple cross for barely any reason. Yes, the book still has a problem with repetition, but this issue worked.

SWAMP THING #22 (Charles Soule / Kano) DC

Seeder is awesome! Who thought the Whisky Tree would work out well? Instead it turned into a DC version of Crossed. Constantine is great in here… better than in JLD. The art is beautiful too.

Very good book. With all respect to Scott Snyder, Charles Soule has made this a much better read.