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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Hawkeye #11

June 30, 2013
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hawkeye11

What a great week for comics! Comic after comic was in the running for best of the week… but in the end there was no contest.

Starting at the weakest…

THE UNWRITTEN #50 (M.Carey / P.Gross / B.Willingham / M.Buckingham) Vertigo

In a week full of great comics, this one falls here because it was so disappointing. I was really looking forward to this Unwritten meets Fables book and instead of that we got Unwritten meets messed up, altered time-line, not really Fables book. Just having some characters with the same name and similar looks does not make this a crossover. Snow White alone made me annoyed.

Very, VERY disappointing.

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #21 (Jeff Lemire / Ray Fawkes / Mikel Janin / Vicente Cifuentes) DC

Interesting fight with Dr. Destiny. The idea that Deadman could posses the House of Mystery was especially cool.

So then, why am I cancelling the book?

Simple… Trinity. JLD is about to enter a multi-month cross-over with the two Justice League books. That is ridiculously stupid. JLD is NOT a Justice League book (despite its name) and forcing it to work with those other books, which I have no interest in, just makes me not want this one either.

Maybe I will re-add it after the crossover is over. Maybe.

Bad choice, DC.

UNCANNY X-MEN #7 (Bendis / Irving) Marvel

I am enjoying the X-books these days but this one wasn’t very good. Basically, Magik just isn’t that interesting a character and a murky fight with demons where the fight is only hinted at rather than shown (other than gold balls flying everywhere), doesn’t make for good reading.

Now someone wants to quit. Which someone? I don’t even remember.

I liked this book more before this 2-parter so I expect to like it again when it is done.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #4 (Bendis / Pichelli / Ponsor) Marvel

Interesting characters… nice art… decent action… no plot.

This book DID have the best ‘sex scene’ I think I have ever seen in a comic. Still, I just don’t really like the space stuff in comics.

I am dropping this one.

LAZARUS #1 (Rucka / Lark / Arcas) Image

An interesting #1 but I was not blown away by it like I expected. You KNOW that Forever is going to rebel, but in the meantime, nobody in the book is worth cheering for.

X-MEN #2 (Wood / Coipel / Morales / Martin) Marvel

The 2nd of 3 X-books this week, and this one is much better than the last. Kitty vs Arkea was interesting, though I don’t think it will work a second time. Sublime was kind of annoying… but in a good way. The relationship between Jubilee and Shogo was brief, subtle and very strong. (So… is Jubilee a vampire or not? I am hoping no, but I wish they would address it. Actually, I am going to go look it up on Wikipedia… be right back…

Apparently she is still a vampire… or at least there has been no explanation why she is not.)

(I really hope she is not.)

THE MASSIVE #13 (Brian Wood / Garry Brown / Jordie Bellaire) Dark Horse

Two Wood books in a row, though they couldn’t be more different.

This book is all about what happened in New York, and all of coastal U.S. Chasing a nuclear sub with the intent of scuttling it and looking at the buildings poking out of the water… and here comes the navy! (The book does imply that NYC was the capital of the U.S. … I think it was just sloppy wording. New capital? Denver!

YOUNG AVENGERS #6 (Gillen / Brown) Marvel

Great story! What is this company that Prodigy and Speed are working for? The Prodigy concept alone is awesome. I guess since Barbara Gordon is no longer Oracle, Marvel can steal the idea. Following super-people who are no longer ‘fighting crime’ is interesting and it shows how easy it is to fall back into those patterns. So… what happened to Speed? I guess we know how the YA are going to get involved. (I hope Prodigy stays with them…)

Too bad the art wasn’t so great.

AGE OF ULTRON #10AI (Waid / Araujo / D’Armata) Marvel

This is a bridge issue between AoU and Avengers A.I., and that’s okay. Really this is letting us get caught up on why Hank Pym is going to be leading a new team. The new version of Hank’s early story was great and this book gave really good insight into the character and came to the proper conclusion… almost. Messing with a Doombot Hank? Have you learned nothing?

ALL-NEW X-MEN #13 (Brian Michael Bendis / Stuart Immonen / Wade von Grawbadger / Rain Beredo) Marvel

This is an all-around good book but what makes it hit so high on this list is Kitty’s reaction to Havok’s speech. Well done Bendis.

I think the difference between Bendis and Remender is that BMB understands that mutants are an analogy for certain minorities in the MU. It used to be about racism and became about homophobia. I get that Remender doesn’t want it that way, but you can’t just turn it off. I remember a friend in college who was VERY offended when he was told he could ‘pass’ as ‘straight’. His response, “Why would I want to do that?”

Exactly. Well said, Kitty.

On many weeks, this might have been #1… but this week it was #3.

DAREDEVIL #27 (Waid / Samnee / Rodriguez) Marvel

The reveal where we discover that Matt is one step ahead was really, really well done. I loved it. It is one of my pet peeves in comics how the villains are always smarter than the heroes but the heroes pull it out with guts and fortitude. I don’t know about you, but I consider intelligence a pretty positive thing!

Great comic… right down to the intentionally misleading cover!

On any other week, this might have been #1… but…

HAWKEYE #11 (Fraction / Aja / Hollingsworth) Marvel

What an AMAZING comic! The entire story is told from the point of view of Lucky, Hawkeye’s dog. This was INCREDIBLE storytelling! It is our third chance to see the same events (and events around those events) but it ends with something totally new and gives some important information that we were not privy to before.

I thought this book was going to break my heart at one point. Not quite but it was still pretty sad.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Animal Man #21

June 24, 2013
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ANMAN_Cv21

Good size week with a ‘big’ release that was pretty disappointing.

Starting at the weakest.

CAPTAIN MARVEL #13 (DeConnick / Hepburn / Bellaire) Marvel

I wonder if this book would ‘read’ better if it had a different artist.

AGE OF ULTRON #10 (No cover credits – Bendis / Maleev / Hitch / Neary / Guice / Peterson / Pacheco / Bonet / Palmer / Marquez / Quesada) Marvel

Ugh. I have actually enjoyed this series but this comic was barely even part of it. It read like an epilogue. “Remember that plan from last issue? It worked. Now there is fall-out… and you get to see it in the following comics!”

It is an ad for follow up comics! (Which I was already going to buy.)

The series as a whole was good but the last half of this comic was lame.

AVENGERS #14 (Hickman / Spencer / Caselli / Martin) Marvel

Stuff happens!

None of makes any real sense!

PLEASE tell me that Hickman will leave the Avengers titles after Infinity. PLEASE.

Not likely.

NEW AVENGERS #7 (Jonathan Hickman / Mike Deodato / Frank Martin) Marvel

Better than Avengers, so that is something. This time out, anyway. Big earth-threatening menace! That just seems to go on and on without anything ever actually happening! Grrrr! And now there is war on earth! Grrrr!

See note from previous issue.

REVIVAL #11 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

I am wavering on this book, but this issue was solid. I could do without that super-racist dude, but the main story with Emma and the organ-harvesters was interesting.

WONDER WOMAN #21 (Brian Azzarello / Cliff Chiang) DC

This is still the 21st issue of the same storyline, which is a little long, but the end made it worthwhile. New Genesis! Highfather! Boom Tubes! Some big boring tough guy! Okay, you can’t win them all.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #12 (Slott / Camuncoli / Dell / Pallot / Delgado) Marvel

When is Peter coming back?

This is a well-written comic, but Otto is certainly unlikeable. The Jameson / Otto interaction is interesting. If Otto actually kills Smythe on Jameson’s orders, or even if he doesn’t, Otto now has blackmail material against the mayor. Interesting.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #9 (Rememder / Acuna) Marvel

So here it is! The big fight between Rogue and the Scarlet Witch!

Oh wait… that doesn’t actually happen? But the cover…?

Yeah. False advertising.

Godo story though. I know that this is going to blow over but I WANT Captain America to refuse to serve with Wolverine. I actually like BOTH characters but that should include Cap refusing to serve with Logan.

FABLES #130 (Willingham / Kitson / Erskine) Vertigo

I could see the ending coming, but I still liked it. I think the final panel was poorly don, though, because all of a sudden it seemed like the Rats had abused her, which wasn’t the impression I got during that actual scene.

Nezumi for the win!

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #24 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

Hey, the Ultimate Dagger wears clothes! Cloak and Dagger are interesting in their limited appearance so far. We don’t know if what is going on in Cloak’s… cloak is the same as in the 616 uni or not. Gwen’s slap of Miles was perfect.

You can’t be in a Spider-man book and not learn that with great power… etc.

ANIMAL MAN #21 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh / Francis Portela) DC

This is the best book DC has going these days. This book as Maxine as a messed up Little Nemo. Twitter ruining Buddy’s life and letting the villain escape. The confluence of celebrity and tragedy. Buddy trying to actually be a super-hero.

Good comic.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Swamp Thing #21

June 9, 2013
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swamp thing 21

A bigger week with some pretty good comics.

Starting at the weakest…

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #11 (Slott / Gage / Camuncoli / Dell / Delgado) Marvel

There was nothing wrong with this issue, I just enjoyed it the least out of this week’s books. Otto was especially villainous in thought while continuing to be very effective in his mission. This is a dichotomy that works sometimes but not others. THe thing I DON’T like is that there are a number of JJJ’s who will be reading this who will be cheering for Otto. I call it Azrael syndrome.

AGE OF ULTRON #9 (Bendis / Pacheco / Peterson / Bonet) Marvel

So we get a little speech explaining why the one they can’t do to fix the problem is to… do exactly what they do to fix the problem.

It is interesting to me how little of a book called Age of Ultron has them actually fighting Ultron.

I do hope that there ARE actual changes to history when this is done.

ASTRO CITY #1 (Busiek / Anderson / Ross) Vertigo

I bought the first volume of Astro City in my comic library project and I really liked it so I saw this as an opportunity to jump on-board.

This isn’t as good as the first volume of Astro City, but it is still entertaining and certainly worth continuing with.

American Chibi?

THE MOVEMENT #2 (Gail Simone / Freddie Williams II) DC

A solid first issue was followed by a better second issue. Mouse was especially fun this issue. I understand that the last issue reveal would actually mean something to me if I ever read Gen13.

AVENGERS #13 (Hickman / Spencer / Deodato / Martin) Marvel

This felt like an old-school superhero comic a little. Throwing down against the High Evolutionary!

Though for those who have seen me complain about how over-powered the Blue Marvel is, Hyperion is just as bad. Superman is boring over in DC comics. Why have Superman knock offs over here?

MISTER X: EVICTION #2 (Dean Motter) Dark Horse

This book oozes style. The story is good enough. The actual drawing is good enough. But the STYLE and DESIGN of both makes this book both retro and modern at the same time. It is unique.

FAIREST #16 (Sean E. Williams / Stephen Sadowski / Phil Jimenez / Dan Green) Vertigo

I have complained when Fairest focused too much on make characters but this book felt like we were seeing Nalayani’s story still, but this issue was giving us Charming’s perspective. That works… for an issue.

The art continues to be superb… but the font in the word balloons continues to be very annoying.

ALL-NEW X-MEN #12 (Brian Michael Bendis / Stuart Immonen / Wade von Grawbadger / Marte Gracia) Marvel

Stupid, misleading cover… but I am glad that what happened there did not happen inside. The one line that captures the beauty of this book was “You got to see your brother at his best.”

Meanwhile, their insistence at going and clearing their own name was perfect. Baby X-Men vs Sabretooth could be messy. Good thing Pointy Bits is coming with them.

DIAL H #13 (China Mieville / Alberto Ponticelli / Dan Green) DC

If it wasn’t for the part at the beginning where I felt like I was playing catch-up as the book delved into lots of exposition to try and cover how confusing the book was… it would have been number one. Open-Window Man is ridiculous but he was perfect here as he tried to recreate Batman (as Orphan), but was ultimately rejected… and then saves everyone.

That out of nowhere characterization is what makes this book work. When they get to the more plot-driven parts… well, the plot is not always so comprehensible.

SWAMP THING #21 (Charles Soule / Jesus Saiz) DC

Start with a beautiful cover by Jock… add in strong storytelling and nice art inside. A new interesting Swampy from the past. The Parliament of Trees (threatened YET AGAIN), a new character with promise (though limited). Even some good action bits.

This feels like the best Swampy issue of the relaunch. I was worried about what the book would be like after Scott Snyder left. It is better.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Ultimate Spider-man #23

May 19, 2013
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ultimate-spiderman-23-cover

Small week… some good books though.

Starting at the weakest…

AGE OF ULTRON #8 (Bendis / Peterson / Mounts) Marvel

If this is such a big cross-over, couldn’t they have gotten a better artist?

Nothing happens. I mean, stuff happens, but nothing you couldn’t explain away in a few lines. This mini is hit and miss. Great ideas but not always the best execution.

AVENGERS: THE ENEMY WITHIN #1 (DeConnick / Hepburn / Bellaire) Marvel

So, why did this need to be its own comic? Really, this is just an issue of Captain Marvel with Spider-woman and Thor guest starring. That’s okay. I read Captain Marvel and Avengers Assemble, so getting this cross-over was going to happen anyway.

Buy this if you already buy Captain Marvel. If you don’t, this isn’t going to change your mind.

WONDER WOMAN #20 (Brian Azzarello / Goran Sudzuka / Cliff Chiang) DC

Sudzuka is a better fill-in than Tony Akins.
There was nothing WRONG with this comic… but are we ever going to get something different? The gods send someone after the kid. Wonder Woman et al fight to save the baby. Rinse, repeat.

This is getting very, very repetitive.

FABLES #129 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leiloha / Pepoy) Vertigo

Well, I got what I wanted… but I wish there was a little more too it. They didn’t outsmart him. They just cast a spell and had a fight. But, the right person won and now it is ‘her other half’ that needs the saving. That works.

Oh, and Rose Red was awesome… (and right).

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #23 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

One year later…
It is the same story you would expect, just not so time-compressed. Miles’ girlfriend was a bit of a surprise. The pressures from Ganke and Jessica are the right ones.

But the best part of the comic? Jefferson. “Kid’s got play all of a sudden.”

Excellent stuff.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Animal Man #20

May 8, 2013
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comics-animal-man-20

Decent week. A good pile of good comics.

Starting at the weakest…

DIAL H #12 (China Mieville / Alberto Ponticello / Dan Green) DC

The tricky bit when doing a comic this crazy is that sometimes you run the risk of straying over the line from wacky awesomeness to just pointlessly weird. This issue went the wrong way over that line. Open Window Man? really?

The pace was frenetic but it just became disorienting and the story suffered.

AGE OF ULTRON #7 (Bendis / Peterson / Pacheco / Martinez) Marvel

Oh my god! Everything has changed!

Well, duh. And that was the whole issue. It was fine but it was the sort of issue you have to get through to go from the last one to the next one, without having much to offer itself.And the art wasn’t great, either.

Where are the super-brood?

ALL-NEW X-MEN #11 (Brian Michael Bendis / Stuart Immonen / Wade von Grawbadger / Marte Gracia) Marvel

This comic was damaged by the messed up publishing schedule. The big reveal was already spoiled in Uncanny, as was the result of the big reveal. Since this issue was mostly just about that, it felt a little pointless. The bit with Jean and Kitty was good. And yes, Jean is scary.

SWAMP THING #20 (Charles Soule / Kano / Alvaro Lopez) DC

The effect of Scarecrow’s chemicals on Swampy was really well done. That is the perfect nightmare for someone who has become as powerful as he has.

Superman was a straight up dick, though. He clearly needs help and Supes just utters vague threats.

I don’t know where Soule is going to go with the book, but his introduction to it was solid.

SNAPSHOT #4 (Andy Diggle / Jock) Image

So, everything gets wrapped up with a nice, happy ending.

Or not.

Wow, was that depressing.

MISTER X: EVICTION #1 (Dean Motter) Dark Horse

In a book where style takes front seat over story, it is still a pretty solid story! Especially the back-up. The scene where Shrodinger starts directing traffic is great.

If you are fan of design in comics, as I am, do not hesitate to grab any of Motter’s Mr. X books.

THE MOVEMENT #1 (Gail Simone / Freddie Williams II) DC

Did we really need a watered-down, super-hero version of Scarlet?

Yes, actually. I know plenty of people – good people – that if they had super-powers this is exactly what they would do. SUper-heroes are very pro-establishment as it stands, so it is nice to see the other side. I have faith that Simone can do this grey area, after she handled the darker areas so well in Secret Six (a book which should still exist…)

FAIREST #15 (Sean E. Williams / Stephen Sadowski / Phil Jimenez) Vertigo

Bad cover. No wait, great cover, but bad choice for a cover. Giving away the final page reveal on the cover is kind o fa bad idea, no?

This was a very good comic, and I am happy with it, but if this becomes yet another arc where the man is the actual start… well, that would suck.

The first issue was absolutely top-notch, though, so hopefully not.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #9 (Slott / Stegman / Delgado) Marvel

I really enjoyed Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

This comic was good, too.

The funny thing is, if you look at things a certain way, Otto did nothing wrong. That wasn’t Peter. It was just the memory of Peter.

Still, there is much gnashing of teeth because people thought this was how Peter was going to come back.

Fret not, little ones. Peter will come back.

Just like Steve did. And Clark before him. And countless others.

HAWKEYE #10 (Fraction / Francavilla) Marvel

You really notice it was Aja isn’t here… but I still quite like Francavilla. This book is a little more surreal than it has been, but it takes you where you need to go and does it in style. It doesn’t take you where you might WANT to go, but that ship sailed last issue.

ANIMAL MAN #20 (Lemire / Leon / Green II / Silver) DC

I don’t really understand how this warrants its own story, but I don’t care. This is just a really good story. Trim off the Buddy stuff and just read about Red Thunder.

I want to see his movie. A much, much sadder version of Kick-Ass.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Wonder Woman #19

April 21, 2013
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Wonder-Woman_19

Big surprise at the #1 spot this week.

Maybe I am just in a good mood because I did really well at the Capital Slam semi-finals last night and made the finals. Time to get to work!

Starting at the weakest.

BATWOMAN #19 (J.H. Williams III / W.Haden Blackman / Trevor McCarthy) DC

So, the DC cover gimmick where it is supposed to reveal some big surprise? Did nobody tell Williams that?

I really should drop this comic. I like the character. I like the concept. I like to support diversity in comics.

But I prefer comics to be somewhat coherent. This isn’t. And the art is bad.

Sigh.

CAPTAIN MARVEL #12 (DeConnick / Sebela / Andrade / Bellaire) Marvel

I like this comic more, but this is still just a big fight scene. Interspersing the medical talk helped a bit, but not enough.

So, she ‘caught’ something now? I guess that makes sense because that way she can find a cure, go back to being her old heroic self, and feel bad about Helen Cobb. I get it.

It looks like they are going to try a more ‘standard’ artist starting next issue. We’ll see how that plays.

AGE OF ULTRON #6 (Bendis / Peterson / Pacheco / Martinez) Marvel

What really puts that book down this low is the art. It just wasn’t very good. The past Pacheco art is a lot better than the Peterson art… but nether really wowed me.

The end wasn’t shocking at all and the announcement of an upcoming book called Avengers A.I. has already spoiled that this ‘shock’ doesn’t stick around so, there is that.

The Age of Ultron spin-off this week was way better.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #8 (Dan Slott / Huberto Ramos / Hector Olazaba / Edgar Delgado) Marvel

The scenes with the Avengers were not great. The cool big fight scene that was expected just didn’t happen and then their ‘scan’ was pretty weak. The stuff with Cardiac was a lot better and Otto’s feelings about being a hero were an interesting evolution.

They have teased that something big happens in issue #9. I think that is it for that Peter echo, cementing Otto’s place. (Of course, I still think Peter WILL be back, but not just yet.)

REVIVAL #9 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

Ruthanne’s complaint is that the book doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, and that is a fair assessment, but I still like it.

I actually don’t know what else to say with this one.

THIEF OF THIEVES #13 (Kirkman / Asmus / Martinbrough / Serrano ) Image

This is another one I like more than Ruthanne does. I dig the cinematic feel of it. There are always twists but they don’t feel contrived. This issue marks the end of the Asmus arc but it also sets up the Andy Diggle arc that follows.

The one real criticism I have is that I wonder if EVERY arc is going to be about how someone manipulates him into stealing for them and how he turns the tables.

DAREDEVIL #25 (Waid / Samnee / Rodriguez) Marvel

This is an interesting take on the Daredevil fight scene. I love Chris Samnee’s art normally, so it feels weird criticizing him, but it felt like we were being TOLD that the fight was brutal, rather than seeing it. I recall when Waid made comments about how busted up Matt was inside, wondering, ‘why?’ It just felt like reading a normal fight scene with a supervillain while being told that it was much more.

DD is a good book, though. I am glad I finally starting buying it.

WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #27 AU (Kindt / Medina / Vlasco / Curiel) Marvel

Right off the top, let me say that this book does not deserve to place this high on the list. It is just not THAT good. The art is not great and the writing is nothing special.

SPOILER ALERT FOR THIS AND AGE OF ULTRON

But the CONCEPTS in this book really hit be in my happy place.

Wolverine and Sue Storm just screwed up. BIG time.

Forget the possible fall-out from killing Hank Pym… Sue just made Reed more distrustful and less likely to work with the wider community to keep the world safe.

Meanwhile, Wolverine just created a race of SUPER-Brood that would probably threaten the existence of humankind on the planet. (Think the movie Aliens, let loose on the world).

My only concern is that since this isn’t in the main title, these threads won’t be as important as the death of Pym one (which should also be a big deal) and won’t be touched on as much. I hope I am wrong.

FABLES #128 (Willingham / Buckingham / Pepoy / Leialoha) Vertigo

My concerns about this book have been allayed so far. Snow White was awesome. Brute force is clearly not going to win the day (in fact, wait until Bigby hears what he just did to his wife). Rose Red rose (ahem) to the occasion. The witches are DOING something.

I feel more comfortable that Snow will save herself and that is what I want to see.

WONDER WOMAN #19 (Azzarello / Sudzuka / Akins / Green) DC

WW is #1? Wow. I have not been liking the book that much lately, so what made is so great this time? Cliff Chiang isn’t even on art!

Oh, I how I enjoyed this book. Let me count the ways.

The Apollo stuff was okay and the Poseidon stuff didn’t do it for me… but the rest!

Let’s start with the naming sequence. They start with the Brit names. Diana suggests Steve and everyone gives her a look (that is almost a 4th-wall sequence). War shows where his head is at. Hera looking at the baby and the effect that has on her. Then, Zeke! Orion’s idea of what the name sounds like is awesome! What a great name!

The mod-WW semi-easter egg.

The kiss.

The balls.

The punch.

The UGLY Orion!

This book was FULL of great bits.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Hawkeye #9

April 11, 2013
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The second week in a row where I have no real complaints about any of the books I read.

Have I gone soft in my old age?

Starting at the weakest…

AVENGERS #9 (Hickman / Weaver / Deodato / Ponsor) Marvel

Hickman sometimes seems to have no idea how to tell a story… but the story he is TRYING to tell seeps through.

Oh wait… I said I wasn’t complaining. You got me.

I find those gene bombs, or whatever they are called, to be suddenly interesting. Do you see what was being formed there? It was a uni-mind. That is pretty cool.
I just hope they don’t figure out how to turn Starbrand into a hero. One Sentry was plenty.

ROCKETEER: HOLLYWOOD HORROR #3 (Roger Langridge / J.Bone) IDW

I feel like I am supposed to recognize a whole bunch of people in this issue, and I don’t. Like… isn’t that narrater supposed to be Groucho Marx? I thought os, but he doesn’t look like him at all. Hmmm.

I like how they are showing that it isn’t so easy to just make more of those rocket packs.

Bridge issue.

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #14AU (Ewing / Guice / Palmer / D’Armata) Marvel

So, I realized what Marvel has done. There have been a couple of these AU books that I bought, thinking they were part of the regular title. They aren’t. It is a bait and switch. They are really stand alone comics that they have stuck in using SIMILAR Numbering from the regular books to convince people to buy them.

That is kind of slimy.

But I would have bought them anyway… and been disappointed. That is, until this issue. The Fantastic Four and Superior Spider-Man were lame comics trying to fix stupid continuity problems. This one is instead giving us back story and showing what it was like when the Ultrons sudden;y took over. Much better.
Plus, any Avengers book with Tom Palmer on inks gets a thumbs up from me!

FANTASTIC FOUR #6 (Matt Fraction / Mark Bagley / Mark Farmer / Paul Mounts) Marvel

This is the real #6. It is good issue, moving the story along nicely. My only problem is that whenever you let the Franklin genie out of its bottle, it is hard to get it back inside.

Oh, and didn’t they just execute Blastaar? That doesn’t seem like them.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #6 (Rick Remender / Daniel Acuna) Marvel

This was the best issue of this title yet, I think. A brash Thor and a way of getting certain new powers in the hands of the greatest Avengers villain of all time.

Well, maybe the second greatest. Third if you count the Masters of Evil as one thing.

UNCANNY X-MEN #4 (Bendis / Bachalo / Townsend) Marvel

This issue had a cool premise… what else was going on during the conversation between the two X-teams? The interplay between Emma and the Frostlings was well done… but I actually think she should want them to stay where Jean is. Maybe since her powers are a little messed up, she needs them handy.
The reveal was poorly handled. It was poorly NOT handles in the previous X-issue and now it was poorly handled here. It makes sense but we are given none of it… just a cold reveal that isn’t even the cliffhanger. They should have revealed it last week.

AGE OF ULTRON #5 (Bendis / Hitch / Neary / Mounts) Marvel

Now we are getting somewhere. I have liked the mini a certain amount, but now things are going to start hitting the fan. I like that the heroes are being proactive and while I think they are wrong to do so, I really hope Logan’s team succeeds. I want to see what happens.

I bet that Pym has saved the earth at least once, no?

SAUCER COUNTRY #14 (Paul COrnell / Ryan Kelly) Vertigo

Cancelled right when it is getting good. I have already heard that Cornell and Kelly are planning to continue the comic elsewhere. I woudl certainly buy Saucer Country from Image or Dark horse (or IDW or…)

I’m just saying.

SAGA #12 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

So this issue had some controversy. Get over it.

This is the second issue of Saga that did not win comic of the week for me, but that is because I love the Hawkeye issue so much.

Wonderful interplay between the Prince and Heist. You really can see each side and what motivates them.

One thing is certain, there are no ‘good guys’ in the war.

HAWKEYE #9 (Fraction / Aja / Hollingsworth) Marvel

This comic was amazing. It had a little of that time jumping thing that can be confusing but if you can follow along with Pulp Fiction, you can follow this.
Everything that made last issue seem less than perfect was here this time. Everything that made Clint seem like a bit of an ass was delved into here… but boy, did he screw up with Jessica. Big time.

And then the end… no!

Great comic.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Animal Man #19

April 7, 2013
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Normally when I start these columns, I start by complaining. “This is why I didn’t like this book.” “This is why I am thinking about dropping…”

Not so much this week. I actually liked every book I got.

Good week!

Starting at the (relatively) weakest…

DIAL H #11 (China Mieville / Alberto Ponticelli / Dan Green) DC

This was the first DC book I read with one of those “WTF” covers… and it wasn’t really because they had long ago spoiled that Nelson was going to dial up the Flash. I guess this crossed over with the Flash’s book, but I don’t buy that one.

Nelson was a bit of a jerk here. No wait, he was a HUGE jerk… but that doesn’t bother me because it came across as real. He freaked out.

The accusations of sexual assault, on the other hand, are kind of a big deal. It is downplayed a little bit due to the ‘gender-reversal’ but it still needs to be dealt with.

The ONLY thing that I didn’t really like is the reminder that this book is part of the main DC Universe. This is where DC’s insistence that none of these books can be Vertigo or whatever really hurts them.

SNAPSHOT #3 (Andy Diggle / Jock) Image

This almost seems like a completely different book than the first two issues, but I like where it went. If there was a supernatural element it would almost feel like an X-Files, but instead… this is pretty messed up but still based (loosely) in reality.

Would these people think that getting to that police car is going to help at this point? Wouldn’t the police have called this in? Won’t there be an investigation of the facility?

GREAT PACIFIC #6 (Joe Harris / Martin Morazzo) Image

Wait… how does that little rod thing work? I thought it turned garbage into water… not controlled garbage like some sort of waster management green lantern ring.

Here we finally see how this new country can exist. You have to be needed and he figured out a way to be needed.

I liked Chas’ reaction to the Navy’s confrontation of the octopus.

It feels like next issue wills tart the next phase of the book. I’m looking forward to it.

AGE OF ULTRON #4 (Bendis / Hitch / Neary / Mounts) Marvel

Wait, what?

That is a pretty awesome concept. Ultron is controlling the world from the future. I wonder if he teamed up with anyone, or if he came up with the technology on his own (which is possible, considering how many people have created it). I assume Doc Doom’s time square is going to come into play.

I LOVE that the answer once time travel comes into play ISN’T “let’s go to the future and fight him”, but rather “let’s go into the past and stop this from happening”.

Bendis has two current Marvel books dealing with time travel now. The other one is also out this week.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #7 (Dan Slott / Humberto Ramos / Victor Olazaba / Edgar Delgado) Marvel

Cardiac is pretty lame… always has been… but this issue was pretty good. I like that the Avengers have figured out that he isn’t really Spider-Man. I also like that Peter is learning from the way Otto handles things. Well, the non-over-the-top violent things.

Oh, and I love Ramos’ art.

Oh, and Slott is right. Otto Reply is a better letters page name than ‘Sup Spider-Man.

ALL-NEW X-MEN #10 (Bendis / Immonen / Von Grawbadger / Gracia) Marvel

So now we get Cyclops’ side of the argument. He is wrong, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have a side and it doesn’t mean he wouldn’t have people agreeing with him.

My pet peeve this issue is the last page. What a cheap ending. That is not how you get people to buy the next issue. SHOW the person and don’t give their reasoning until the next issue.

Oh well. I was buying it anyway because I think this book is great.

SWAMP THING #19 (Charles Soule / Kano) DC

Scott Snyder is off the book and replaced by Charles Soule, who I am completely unfamiliar with. Based on this issue, though, he is a good fit! This felt like a Swamp Thing book! A pre-Vertigo version, rather than post-Vertigo version. The WTF was not exactly a big deal (none of the three I got this week were), but the story itself was pretty solid. What happens when an elemental force gets scared?

I like Kano’s art on this. I like Yanick Paquette better, but this works too.

Good book. It is a big upgrade over the Rotworld story.

FAIREST #14 (Bill Willingham / Barry Kitson / Inaki Miranda) Vertigo

On paper, this would look pretty bad. Willingham doing a story on a female Fable and it is all about her trying to get a date? Told from the point of view of a male character (again)?

In practice, though, this was a really good comic. It was fun, while still having that dark underbelly at the end.

ANIMAL MAN #19 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh) DC

Speaking of a comic improved by leaving Rotworld… Animal Man didn’t have a creative change, but the tone change is incredibly powerful. Now that they are no longer on the run, and with the impact of Cliff’s death, Ellen and Buddy can get back to normal.

Well, they can’t actually.

Ellen was incredibly well written in here. She is wrong, as we know, but there is not a single ounce of unbelievability here. She wants out of Buddy’s crazy world and is taking Maxine with her.

But she can’t. Things don’t work that way and that is what makes this even more tragic.

Meanwhile, much like in Swamp THing, Buddy is turned back into the old style of Animal Man. Animal powers instead of… red powers? Will those crazy vein marks be gone too?


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!


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.


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