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Rusty’s Reading List 2013

September 29, 2013
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A book of poetry that I won at the CapSlam Finals. I didn’t even know we were doing that and suddenly there was a book in my hand. THey were donated by someone from UofO, I believe.

Regardless, I am glad I have it. It is a good book.

2013 in BOOKS

Zeppelin by Blaise Moritz
Go In My Glory Hole Heart by Regie Cabico, Cathy Petch & David Bateman
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: Daredevil #31

September 21, 2013
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Fairly big week. In part because not only were there DC Villain’s Month comics I wanted for the first time, but ALL the Villains Month comics I wanted came out on the same week.

There were only three. What a terrible promotion this was. Tie everything into Justice League, which holds no interest for me, and create a bunch of gimmick covers, which also hold no interest for me. Then short run them (ON PURPOSE) to create artificial demand. Get the fanboys into a tizzy, which drives the prices up and increases demand. It is a surefire method to SHORT-TERM sales, but its bad for the industry and really hurts DC credibility.

I got the 2-D covers, because I refuse to support such nonsense.

Do you want to know the best way to get long term sales? Make good comics. DC’s ‘new 52’ is failing at that.

Speaking of the Villains month… starting at the weakest…

JUSTICE LEAGUE: DIAL E #1 (no cover credits – China Mieville / Mateus Santolouco / Carla Berrocal / Riccardo Burchielli / Liam Sharp / Jock / Tula Lotay / Marley Zarcone / Brendan McCarthy / Emma Rios / Emi Lenox / Jeff Lemire / Frazier Irving / David Lapham / Carmen Carnero / Sloane Leong / Kelsey Wroten / Michelle Farran / Annie Wu / Zak Smith / Alberto Ponticelli / Dan Green) DC

Yeah, the book had a different artist for each page. Yes, some of these artists are great, but no page really stood out.

What really stood out was how absolutely terrible this comic was. First off Justice League? This book had NOTHING to do with the Justice League. It should have been Dial H: Dial E (or Dial Q, actually), but Dial H has been cancelled and it wouldn’t sell as many books, I guess (though why would this sell more? I spin off of a book that has ZERO in common with the book it is pretending to tie in with. This is even more ridiculous than the JL/JLD crossover.)

Then the comic itself is… not really a comic. A comic is sequential storytelling, not a series of pseudo-pin-up pages where the writer can puke out all the character ideas he didn’t get to use when the main book was cancelled.

That is all this is. Awful.

CAPTAIN MARVEL #16 (DeConnick / Van Meter / Olliffe / Geraci / Troy) Marvel

Didn’t I say I was going to cancel this? Let me go and check…

Yep, I did. I ended up with another issue. It’s reprieve ends here. A badly drawn book that only repeats what is going on in other books. A text-book ‘bad crossover’ book.

WONDER WOMAN: CHEETAH #1 (no cover credits – John Ostrander / Victor Ibanez) DC

Bad points: nasty cover. Despite using the WW logo, there is no connection with the actual WW book. None. It barely even seems like they are using the same character. This is not Azzarello. Cheetah’s new origin is not an improvement over the old character. It is change for change sake.

Good points: No, it i snot Azzarello, but Ostrander doing villains is never a bad thing. It is fairly well written and the art is decent. It felt like an unconnected, one-off book rather than a bad tie-in. Elseworlds?

Not awful, but not good.

NEW AVENGERS #10 (Hickman / Deodato / Martin) Marvel

As I have said before, I am no fan of Hickman. Also as I have said before, he seems to be writing the Infinity stories better than he normally does, and that goes for this one as well. However, Namor comes across as a whiny little baby here. He won’t TELL the Illuminati that Atlantis is destroyed until someone asks because… because screw you, that’s why.

I like the subversion of Dr. Strange and I like the Inhuman plotting.

INFINITY #3 (Hickman / Opena / Weaver / Ponsor) Marvel

I am glad I read this after New Avengers, as it picks up directly from that story. So, Black Bolt sacrifices Attilan to beat Thanos’ cronies? Considering this is issue 3 of 6, I am guessing it doesn’t work.

I am guessing that this is set-up for Fraction’s Inhumanity series. At least I HOPE it is.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #18 (Slott / Stegman / Livesay / Delgado) Marvel

As usual with this kind of book, it all hinges on the two ‘heroes’ refusing to slow down enough to actually talk to each other, which is a pretty bad cliché normally. It kind of works here, though, because Otto isn’t actually a hero. Not really. Meanwhile, the time portal seems to want to explode.

Hey, what if Miguel ends up stuck in the modern era… AND Miles ends up in the 616 as his universe gets eaten… and the Captain is running around as Spider-Hero… and Peter comes back…

Spider Avengers?

GREAT PACIFIC #10 (Joe Harris / Martin Morazzo) Image

The UN stuff is great. How do you deal with a country that just appeared out of nowhere? Chas dealing with the fall-out from his selfish escapade is interesting (but I hope it doesn’t just end with him buying himself forgiveness). The stuff back on the garbage pile is less interesting. WHo are those women again?

UNCANNY X-MEN #12 (Bendis / Bachalo / Townsend) Marvel

With Bachalo once again drawing Emma, etc., I am again at a loss. Why doesn’t the costume bother me? Why does it not ‘read’ as overtly sexual to me? I think it is just Bachalo’s style. Compare it with the Adams cover and you will see what I mean. (Not that Adams has done anything wrong. Look at what he has to work with.)

More bickering about what to do with the young 5…. this time with a new group to bicker. That is getting a little tedious but it is saved by the last page. Oh man. This is going to be good.

SWAMP THING: ARCANE #1 (no cover credits – Charles Soule / Jesus Saiz) DC

This is what ALL Villain Month books should have been! A direct one-for-one with each regular book getting a villainous counter-part that ties directly in with the regular book. Forget this Forever Evil nonsense.

Charles Soule has created a chilling look at the origins of both Arcane and Abby. Arcane’s Hell is excellently done. Arcane is just horrible… in a great way. Chilling.

Abby as the Rot Avatar still doesn’t totally work for me, but that is a small point. Good comic. On a different week, it could have been #1.

FABLES #133 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha / Pepoy) Vertigo

Fables has waned for me over the years, but this issue reminds me how good it used to be. Rose Red recreating Camelot is an idea that I just love. A look into the tragic life of Snow White and seeing it turn her into the hard as nails character we now have was pitch perfect. The search for knights was interesting. I suppose my only complaint is that I dislike Brandish enough (and I don’t mean in a good way) that I would have preferred if he ate the concrete.

DAREDEVIL #31 (Waid / Samnee / Rodriguez) Marvel

Daredevil has been… hit & miss isn’t the right phrase. How about Hit & Not Quite Hit? This issue is a hit. I am not sure how I like using the death of Trayvon Martin as a plot point, but the way it was spun to show the trouble that can come from anger, no matter how righteous, works. The arch-villains are the Sons of the Serpent, so using race is completely in character.

I guess the real point is not that Waid used Martin’s death and the accompanying court case, but that he did so well. (Including the reminder that the case HAD to end with an acquittal. Don’t blame the courts. Blame EVERYTHING that led to the trial.)

This is good comics (though I am certain that the final page will be a false tease.)

Posted in Weekly Reviews

Reading List 2013

September 18, 2013
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This new one is a chapbook by a friend (Cathy) a poet who I like (Regie) and, well, someone I had never heard of (David).

The poetry is good but be warned… this is filthy. I mean REALLY filthy. 🙂

2013 in BOOKS

Go In My Glory Hole Heart by Regie Cabico, Cathy Petch & David Bateman
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

Posted in Uncategorized

Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Astro City #4

September 15, 2013
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It was a small week and not much in the way of extremes. The good thing is that even the ‘worst’ book is a pretty enjoyable read.

Starting there…

MIGHTY AVENGERS #1 (Ewing / Land / Leisten / D’Armata) Marvel

Standard time-extended set-up. A little too much time was spent on ‘why for-hire?’ with Al Ewing pretty firmly in the camp of that being non-heroic. That is the problem with that set-up. As soon as someone questions it, it falls apart. It WOULDN’T fall apart in the real world, but in heroic comics it certainly does. Based on Ewing’s comments in the back of the book, he sees the core members to be Luke Cage and Monica Rambeau. Sounds perfect to me. Otto-Spidey doesn’t fit but the Captain as Spider Hero could be nice (assuming that IS who that is). If it is, it is a nice touch that both his names are plays on other hero’s names.

So why is it at the bottom. Greg Land, for one. His sterile, tracing art does not appeal to me… though it is nowhere near as bad as when he was on the X-Men. Also, this is ALL set-up and no follow through. It is too bad that it starts with an Infinity cross-over, but as an excuse form, there have been worse.

Oh, and much has been made about this being the Minority Avengers. NOTHING was mentioned about that in the book. Good. Using minority characters – great. Putting them on the team BECAUSE they are minority characters (in universe) would NOT be great.

I look forward to the next issue.

X-MEN #3 (Wood / Lopez / Smith / Martin) Marvel

This is the first non-Bendis issue of Battle of the Atom, and it shows. Nothing against Brian Wood (I really liked the earlier issues of this book), but it seemed clear to me that he was told that he just had to get Jean Grey and Cyclops to the Uncanny group while showing dissension among the ‘modern’ X-Men… and that’s what he did. Point A to Point B.

I look forward to more of the Bendis issues AND I look forward to Wood getting to go back to telling his own stories.

AVENGERS #19 (Hickman / Alanguilan / Gho) Marvel

From one inter-family crossover to another. This is a core Infinity book. This is certainly where Hickman belongs – big, epic scope stories. This is better than the books had been before… but that is not saying a lot. Prisoners. Betrayal.

Well, that is about it, actually.

FBP #3 (Simon Oliver / Robbi Rodriguez) Vertigo

Did this book change names again? It was Collider, then Federal Bureau of Physics and now FBP. Regardless, this is also the best issue so far. Backstory and a fairly clear narrative while still maintaing that muddy ‘what are the rules here’ thing which fits the setting.

If it keeps being ‘luckily the messed up physics saves the hero’ then it will get stale, but not so far.

ASTRO CITY #4 (Busiek / Anderson / Ross) Vertigo

Kin at Silver Snail raved about this issue, telling me it was even better than the last two. I disagree. I don’t think it is better than the last two… but it is still really good and this does make three straight issues where it was my comic of the week. Yet another angle to see what this universe of super people looks like. Yet another issue where the characters, many of which you have never seen before, feel like actual people. Well done.

I have to admit that when I saw the villain was called Majordomo I said… uh, what? But he gets called on his bad name choice later.

Great comic. I should really pick up the other collections. I only have the first one, and then this volume as singles.

Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Avengers A.I. #3

September 8, 2013
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avengers ai 3

This week was pretty solid, but without any books pushing to the top of the stack… or the bottom.

Starting at the weakest…

X-MEN: BATTLE OF THE ATOM #1 (Bendis / Cho / Gracia) Marvel

There was nothing wrong with this book per se, but the whole thing just seemed a rehash of the discussions from the individual comics, all as a set-up for the end, with the pay-off waiting for the cross-over.

INFINITY #2 (Hickman / Opena / Weaver / Ponsor) Marvel

This is one of those rare times where Hickman’s style really works for the book. The choppy delivery gives the feeling of urgency and desperation. Plus the plot actually moves forward! A son you say… Is his name… Luke… Cage?

Probably not. (In fact, that would suck.) But it would set up that line…

FAIREST #19 (Williams / Sadowski / Jimenez / Braun) Vertigo

Beautiful cover, but with Hughes, that is pretty common. THe story was a little weak, but interesting. It shows what happens when ‘regular’ people interact with ‘spirit’ people. The regular people come out the worse for wear.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #17 (Slott / Stegman / Livesay / Delgado) Marvel

Did we know about the Tiberius Stone / Spidey 2099 connection before? That is pretty impressive forward planning on Slott’s part otherwise.

I was never a fan of the 2099 line, but could we end up with THREE Spider-men in the 616? And none of them Peter?

ALL-NEW X-MEN #16 (Bendis / Immonen / von Grawbadger / Gracia) Marvel

Here is the pay-off from Battle of the Atom. The future X-Men were pretty interesting, complete with a great (though predictable) end game reveal. What really made this issue shine was the characterization between Jean, Hank and Scott. Great stuff.

TRILLIUM #2 (Jeff Lemire) Vertigo

This was nearly #1 (and it probably should be, really), but the art is still a negative. The back-and-forth between the two characters was great. We still have no idea what is going on, but that is okay… so far.

AVENGERS A.I. #3 (Humphries / Araujo / D’Armata) Marvel

Why did I like this issue so much? I didn’t like the first two issues that much. It is the Diamond. I really, REALLY hope that when this shakes out, there continues to be this new ‘land’ on the Marvel Earth – like the Savage Land, Atlantis, Wakanda, etc. for the A.I.

Great concept.

Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Lazarus #3

September 1, 2013
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Not a spectacular week, but some pleasant surprises. One cut, though, and one big disappointment.

CAPTAIN MARVEL #15 (DeConnick / Van Meter / Oliffe / Geraci / Troy) Marvel

So the art is better. The comic isn’t.

So now she has lost her memory and is turning into Binary? She has no emotional attachment to the people around her?

So a 30-year backslide in characterization?

Add to that, the THIRD time I have read the same story with slight variations.

Enough. Dropped.

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

I normally really like this book. The fact that I considered cutting it after this issue tells you something.

What is so great about this book is how grounded it is. This reads like something that COUDL happen, given extreme enough circumstances.

Spoiler alert, I guess…

Mary made nuclear missiles disappear with her mind. A whole bunch of them (though the number doesn’t really matter).

Mark this issue. If they don’t manage to dig their way out of this, issue #15 is the moment The Massive stopped being a good comic.

FEDERAL BUREAU OF PHYSICS #2 (Simon Oliver / Robbi Rodriguez) Vertigo

This book was called Collider with the first issue but ran into some copyright problems.

The book is okay. I am hoping for more, honestly. There is promise here, but it hasn’t blossomed yet.

THE UNWRITTEN #52 (M.Carey / P.Gross / B.Willingham / M.Buckingham) Vertigo

Do you know what would be really cool? A story were Tommy Taylor and friends appear in the world of Fables.

To bad we instead got this alternate universe, kind of not really crossover.

The story isn’t terrible but as I read it, I can’t get out of my head how cool it COULD be.

NEW AVENGERS #9 (Hickman / Deodato / Martin) Marvel

Pleasant surprise number one.

The Black Order in action against the Illuminati. Namor turning into a full-on super villain again.
(side note: If this DOESN’T turn into some secret plot, how is Namor considered a ‘good guy’ after that? Back to his roots, I guess…)
(side note #2: which infinity gem did Reed Richards have?)

UNCANNY X-MEN #11 (Brian Michael Bendis / Frazer Irving / Kris Anka) Marvel

Sentinel! The ever-evolving Sentinels are awesome. (Though I prefer when they LOOK like Sentinels.)

Good overall. I wish the reveal at the end meant something to me, though.

YOUNG AVENGERS #9 (Gillen / McKelvie / Norton / Wilson) Marvel

Do you know what has dragged the last two issues down for me? Leah.

So much depends on her very appearance having a big impact on the reader and I never read Journey Into Mystery. It just loses that extra kick. Without that, the book is getting a little repetitive. Still solid, though.

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #26 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

Second Bendis book this week. The book hurts a bit from a lack of Miles, who is much more interesting that his costumed counterpart, but it is still really rock solid.

I have one big request, though. DON’T SCREW UP TASKMASTER. He used to be the best until they screwed him up over in the 616. You have another chance now.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #11 (Remender / Acuna) Marvel

The other pleasant surprise. This is a really good read. Wonderful art. Solid storytelling. Great characterization. This is all DESPITE having Sentry in it. I don’t knwo what is goign on with Wanda, but I guarantee that it isn’t what it looks like.

Good book.

LAZARUS #3 (Rucka / Lark / Arcas) Image

Now THIS is a good book. This is the best in its short run, by far. The characterization between the two Lazari was worth the price of admission alone. The negotiation scene was nearly as good. The bit with the Twins… everything. Good book. Very good book.