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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Fables #132

August 25, 2013
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FABLES_132

Busy, eventful and fulfilling week.

But that is about life… this is about comics.

Starting at the weakest.

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #18 (DeConnick / Kitson / Woodard) Marvel

This has not been a very strong book. Then it crossed over with Captain Marvel and was an actively bad book. I decided to wait it out. Now it is an Infinity ‘tie-in’ that just reads as being pointless.

Enough. Dropped.

AVENGERS #18 (Hickman / Yu / Alanguilan / Gho) Marvel

Also an Infinity book, but this one is one of the ‘core’ books. Jerky and Hickmanesque, but at least it advances the plot, if only a bit and in somewhat opaque ways.

What I know about Infinity. There are aliens attacking… the universe, I guess. They are tough and scary enough that lots of other alien races are teaming up to fight them. Oh, and Thanos is behind it but nobody knows that… or something.

THIEF OF THIEVES #16 (Kirkman / Diggle / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

Ooh…harsh. Things don’t look good for our hero.

The fact that I have nothing else to really say tells you why this book is so low on the list this week.

DAREDEVIL #30 (Waid / Samnee / Rodriguez) Marvel

This book has two good things going for it: Chris Samnee and that pseudo-emotional sucker punch at the end. And even that doesn’t actually MEAN anything. The ‘alien menace’ wasn’t that interesting and the Silver Surfer appearance was only good for the visual.

This HAS been a great book but the last few issues feel like a real slip for Waid.

ANIMAL MAN # 23 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh / Francis Portela) DC

Solid book. Buddy’s struggles as he deals with the loss of Cliff manifest themselves well as he is more angry than he might otherwise be when dealing with threats. The L’il Nemo pastiche is also working perfectly, and it is better as it flips back between that and Buddy.

And now… betrayal!

X-Men #4 (Wood / Lopez / Smith / Peter) Marvel

A very well written book. We finally deal with Jubilee the vampire (I still think that is stupid… but you also shouldn’t just ignore it), and the backlash of Storm’s actions in the last story are mixed with an in-air rescue… and another in-air rescue.

Too bad it was marred but some really sloppy art. In the Storm team part anyone. The art in the Jubilee part (especially the baby) worked well.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #16 (Slott / Ramos / Olazaba / Delgado) Marvel

So, about that secret identity, Phil…

The exposure of Phil Urich worked on many, MANY levels. The chaos it created showed how WRONG Otto was to take that tack, which really worked for the story.

The only problems I had were the summary dismissal of Norah. Not only did I not like it, but it was ridiculous and the only acceptable story going forward is her suing the hell out of the Daily Bugle.

That at the ‘Goblin Knight’ is a really lame name.

REVIVAL #13 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

Great characterization issue. A formerly dead kid gets all spooky. A former player gets all charming. A doctor gets all murdery… or at least exposed as such.

Did anyone else think those knitting needles were going to find themselves buried in someone’s chest?

And did he just… discorporate?

WONDER WOMAN #23 (Brian Azzarello / Cliff Chiang) DC

Do you know what kind of comics I usually don’t like? Issue-long, over-powered fight scenes. WHat was this book? An issue-long, over-powered fight scene.

But it was really good. I should have known something was up the moment I said to myself, “You know, War is pretty awesome.”

That would be War the character, not war the concept.

Once again… looking forward to the next step.

FABLES #132 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha) Vertigo

Remember when they formed the Fables super-hero team and it seemed like a neat concept that just didn’t really pan out?

The new Knights of the Round Table seems like the same basic concept but made way, way cooler. I still don’t like Brandish so seeing him get yet another comeuppance was nice.

Fables has been not as consistently awesome as it once was (barring Willingham’s occasional messed-up political commentaries) and it is still WAY better than Fairest, but this Round Table story feels like it has the potential to be really great.

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Reading List 2013

August 20, 2013
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I have been away with computer problems first and then other distractions.

Three books since then:

A new Thomas Convenant book… a poetry book by a friend… and then THE book that everyone should read.

You can read more about it at another site I am managing, Am I Not – Kwissa.

2013 in BOOKS

Am I Not by Em Kwissa
Heart Clench Year by Janice Lee
Against All Things Ending by Stephen R. Donaldson
Faust McKenzie, Faux Reals by Chris Gilpin
Daughter of Regals and Other Stories by Stephen R. Donaldson
The Great Black North, edited by Valerie Mason-John & Kevan Anthony Cameron
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

The Walking Dead Volume 3: Safety Behind Bars
The Walking Dead Volume 2: Miles Behind Us
The Walking Dead Volume 1: Days Gone Bye
Uncanny X-Men: From the Ashes
X-Men: The Fall of the Mutants
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: Astro City #3

August 18, 2013
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ASTRO_City v3

Smaller week… but still pretty solid, despite a slight disappointment.

Starting from the weakest…

BATMAN #23 (Scott Snyder / Greg Capullo / Danny Miki) DC

Since Zero Year started it has seemed that every issue was a little worse than the one before. This one is the worst yet.

The new version of ‘I shall become a bat’ is just bad. You took an iconic and arguably PERFECT scene and turned it into a mess. Now it is some sort of hallucination that ends with a bat landing on his head like a trained pigeon or something.

Terrible.

INFINITY #1 (Hickman / Cheung / Morales / Ponsor) Marvel

I almost didn’t buy this, but I think it was either buy this or cancel all the Avengers books, and I wasn’t ready to do that (yet). One thing I will say is it sure is pretty. The badass aliens look badass. The weak skrulls look weak.

Oh, and Black Bolt was awesome.

SAGA #13 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

Here was the big disappointment for the week. To be clear, it is not a bad book in any way. It is just kind of there. It feels like a bridge between amazing issues, you know? Grieving Marko really works.

In short – good comic, but not the issue I would use to show people how great it is.

GREAT PACIFIC #9 (Joe Harris / Martin Morazzo) Image

The complexities of international politics! I REALLY hope they will find some way to turn their new ally out. I hate to say I like what happened, because I don’t… but it is really good storytelling.

UNCANNY X-MEN #10 (Brian Michael Bendis / Frazer Irving) Marvel

I thought Irving was just going to be for the Limbo story, but I guess not. Good art, but better suited for darker fare. I could get used to it. There were some really great spots in this. The expansion of those time powers. Magneto / Hill / ‘Dazzler’. Cyclops crashing the pro-mutant protest and then supporting the Avengers.

Godo stuff.

ASTRO CITY #3 (Busiek / Anderson / Ross / Sinclair / Comicraft) Vertigo

Yay! It was a two-parter! Was this as good as last issue? No, but it was still very, very good. I would hold the last two issues up against Saga, Hawkeye, Joe the Barbarian or any of the top books out there.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: All-New X-Men #15

August 18, 2013
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all-new-x-men-15

But, you might say, that book didn’t come out this week!

You are correct, but I had some computer issues. Big ones. Ones that mean I am now typing this on a new computer.

So I have two weeks to catch up, but I am still going to it as two posts.

Big week… dredging the memory banks… starting at the weakest…

THE MOVEMENT #4 (Gail Simone / Freddie Williams II) DC

The weakest issue so far. The jump-cuts to mini-backstory bits made it feel like filler. I guess it is trying to give each character some personality but it just didn’t jell for me.

HUNGER #2 (Fialkov / Kirk / Aburtov) Marvel

Just this week Marvel announced that this series was just basically a lead-in to the NEXT series, which IS written by Bendis and (my spec) will likely end the Ultimate Universe and move Miles over to the 616 (under the name Spider Hero? Ugh.)

This was better than issue #1, The Rick Jones / Silver Surfer pairing was okay, but not enough.

SWAMP THING #23 (Charles Soule / Kano / David Lapham / Alvaro Lopez) DC

First off, the art was terrible. I mean REALLY bad. There were a few Swampy shots that were okay and I assume those were Kano, but overall… not good. Look at that Constantine shot on page 2! Holy crap! Then there is that message at the end, written in the trees.

At least I THINK it is a message since it is completely illegible.

Very disappointing. This book has been very good lately.

DIAL H #15 (China Mieville / Alberto Ponticelli / Dan Green) DC

The grand finale. As such , this issue is all about the plot. What is this book good at? Not that.

The plot-centric issues are the worst ones and the pure characterization issues are the best ones. This was definitely the former. I am actually kind of glad it is over.

AVENGERS #17 (Hickman / SPencer / Caselli / Martin) Marvel

So Ex Nihilo, Star Brand and Nightmask are now Avengers? Okay… I guess. I suppose that means their stories now had a purpose, as a set up for this.

I still don’t like the Avengers Army concept, so adding EVEN MORE characters is not good. What else don’t I like? Ridiculously overpowered characters on the team. The worst one in recent memory was Sentry. Now we have Star Brand.

Wow, this wasn’t a very good week, was it…

AVENGERS A.I. #2 (Humphries / Araujo / D’Armata) Marvel

I like Dimitrios as Iron Man, though I think he should take the faceplate off permanently, like he did in that one panel, to differentiate more. The one thing about it, though, is that despite being the Avengers A,I, villain, there is no way Stark wouldn’t get involved. His reaction to his tech being used for untoward purpose has been quite violent in the past.

FAIREST #18 (Williams / Sadowski / Pepoy) Vertigo

Hey, a non-cheescake cover! Some decent characterization stuff in here. I don’t have a lot to say here. Fairest has generally disappointed, but that is because my expectations were quite high.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #15 (Slott / Ramos / Olazaba / Delgado) Marvel

Ramos should always draw the Hobgoblin. Spider Henchmen! Peter’s favourite women figuring things out! Phil Urich behind on his ‘car’ payments! This is really good stuff! People who are refusing to read this because of Otto are missing out. I am looking forward to the return of Peter as much as anyone, but int he meantime, this is good comics.

TRILLIUM #1 (Jeff Lemire) Vertigo

After some specific recommendations, I thought Trillium would be my top book this week.

Nope. It was really good, but not THAT good. The problem is the art. I am just not a fan. I found it distracted from the story. There were times when I thought it actually obfuscated the plot, and that is just not good. Because the story WAS good. Very good. The flip book conceit was perfect. I really want to know what happens next.

ALL-NEW X-MEN #15 (Bendis / Lafuente / Campbell) Marvel

The art was… perfect. Was it as great as we have had? Technically no, but it showed this team as the youthful characters they are supposed to be. The Hank/Jean scene worked all around. Scott and Bobby out in public was so… teenager!

This book takes over where Avengers Academy left off, and Avengers Arena absolutely DID NOT pick up.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Animal Man Annual #2

August 4, 2013
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animal man annual 2

This was a pretty steady week. Nothing was over-the-top awesome, but nothing was really that bad either.

Starting at the weakest…

CAPTAIN MARVEL #14 (DeConnick / Hepburn / Sandoval / Troy) Marvel

So the Enemy Withins tory is over… and I was pretty much waiting for it to be over to cancel at least this book (if not Avengers Assemble as well)… but I’m not going to. It was a pretty good wrap-up to the story. The art was still lacking but the story itself felt deeper – stronger. I am interested in seeing what happens next, and I certainly wasn’t before now.

DAREDEVIL #29 (Waid / Rodriguez / Lopez) Marvel

Not one of the strong issues of DD. No Chris Samnee hurts… and the Serpents plan was just too sloppy… and Matt came across as a bit too petty at the end. I really enjoy the series, but this is the low point since I have been reading it.

X-MEN (Wood / Coipel / Morales / Martin) Marvel

This is a good comic overall. I love the art. The on;y thing that put this so low is that Arkea seemed too easy to beat. Why would she just stand there? Was it supposed to be that she didn’t think they would do it? Unsatisfactory ending to a good story overall.

UNCANNY X-MEN #9 (Bendis / Bachalo / Townsend) Marvel

Dazzler, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. is just too cool for words. The Uncle Tom / Sirhan Sirhan comments were harsh, but they worked. Hijack taking the helicarrier was nice, as was the end reveal. Solid book.

COLLIDER #1 (Simon Oliver / Robbi Rodriguez) Vertigo

A nice debut. It set the stage well, both for the ‘rules’ of the universe and for the potential threat. There were times when I wished the art was a little more… descriptive… but I liked it overall. This book is worth a follow.

BATMAN ANNUAL #2 (Scott Snyder / Marguerite Bennett / Wes Craig) DC

Claiming this ties into Zero Year is a bit of a stretch, but it was a pretty solid book. To be clear, though, other then the showing off pages, this is not a Batman book. It is an Arkham book. Batman does not defeat the… I hesitate to call her a villain. Arkham does.

Nice story.

ANIMAL MAN ANNUAL #2 (Jeff Lemire / Travel Foreman) DC

This went from being just a standard story to one that makes you feel all the feels at the end. The end makes it worth the read. Also, while I was not a big fan of Foreman on this book earlier, he works for this story. This is the best Buddy / Cliff story. Period.