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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Ms. Marvel #5

June 28, 2014
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MsMarvel5

Maybe it is my general mood, but I was a little disappointed (at least) by most of the comics this week, even when there were some I normally really like.

Oh well… some weeks are like that.

Starting at the (very) weakest…

CAPTAIN CANUCK SUMMER SPECIAL (Richard Comely / Paul Gardner / Dean Henry / George Freeman / Claude St. Aubin) Captain Canuck Inc.

I was given this for free by Kin at the Silver Snail, and as such, I tried to be kind…. but wow.

Let’s start with the cover that is reproduced as the first page of the first story… with added Booster Juice product placement.

I guess Booster Juice wouldn’t pay the ‘front cover’ rate.

This comic is poorly written and poorly drawn. It is just generally bad.

Oh well.

ALL-NEW ULTIMATES #4 (Fiffe / Pinna / Woodard) Marvel

Now a cover like this had me a bit at odds because part of me says that it is kind of cheap, but the other part of me sees a really nicely illustrated cover. I wish David Nakayama did the interior art because it is really, REALLY sloppy. The less said there, the better. Bad.

The PLOT is solid and the information conveyed is good, but the actual scripting is just as bad as the art. The conversation is jerky and awkward. The whole comic flowed poorly.

It is too bad, because the revelation about Jessica Drew deserved better.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #21 (Remender / Acuna / White) Marvel

This story has been going on much too long, but it has turned interesting lately… until now. The big plan is to turn Rogue into one massive Deus Ex Machina? What is this, Captain Planet? “And if we all join hands and believe in ourselves…”

The betrayal worked and I was very happy to see ‘concluded’ on the last page.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3 (Slott / Ramos / Olazaba / Delgado) Marvel

Slott’s Spidey has been steady. Not ‘blow you away’ but worth reading. This issue falls into that.

Of course he is writing Black Cat SOOOO out of character that we just have to accept that it is his take on her and move on, because none of her makes any sense otherwise.

REVIVAL #21 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

Revival hits NYC! Solid story here as Dana goes all X-Files and (maybe) the rules change once again.

Revival is worth reading, but it is definitely a long-haul book.

THE MASSIVE #24 (Brian Wood / Danijel Zezelj / Jordie Bellaire) Dark Horse

Another beautifully drawn part of a very solid Mary story. Strong woman (which is Wood’s theme these days after taking some particularly negative press), tension, anti-capitalism, etc. All good. BUT, more of the ‘Mary is some sort of Super-Person’, which is very bad. It pulls the issue down a bit.

C.O.W.L. #2 (Kyle Higgins / Alex Siegel / Rod Reis) Image

Did this comic have more than one cover available? Because, if so, I sure wish I got a different one.

The insides of this comic were great – art and story – to the point that it could have been in the running for book of the week. But that cover. Oy.

YES, the scene is inside the book (kind of) but it is a fairly minor scene. The great stuff with Grant and his son and the impact of Grant feeling… less than adequate is great comics. The strip club scene worked on its own, but the cover makes the book look like it is Sin City. It isn’t.

SAGA #20 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

Do you know what stopped this book from being number one? Because of the time I spent yelling at the characters.

So why is it still #2? Because I care enough about the characters to get angry that they are in the process of messing everything up.

MS. MARVEL #5 (Wilson / Alphona / Herring) Marvel

It took five issues but her is Kamala’s thought-caption: “I’m not here to be a watered-down version of some OTHER hero… I’m here to be the best version of Kamala.”

YES!!

Great comic. Well written. Suitable art. Nice package.

(Yes, Saga is still probably better, but I am mad at both Marko and Alana…)

(C.O.W.L. might have been better if the cover wasn’t so tacky.)

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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Astro City #12

May 18, 2014
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This was quite a disappointing week. A number of comics ‘under performed’,

astro city 12

There were still some good ones, though.

Starting at the weakest.

DEADLY HANDS OF KING-FU #1 (Benson / Huat / Yeung / Aburtov) Marvel

Marvel’s track record with new books hasn’t been stellar lately. Sure, they have Ms. Marvel. Nightcrawler has been relatively okay. But this is the third new #1 I picked up (after an AWFUL Magneto and a disappointing Cyclops) where I won’t be buying issue #2.

The art is poor and the writing is choppy. There is nothing to hook you here and they even fridge someone (though I think it won’t stay that way…)

Dropped.

FABLES #140 (Bill Willingham / Steve Leialoha) Vertigo

Wow. Speaking of disappointing…

This didn’t feel like a Fables book at all. Not having Buckingham hurts but mostly it was the poor storytelling in both art and dialog. You couldn’t even tell who these people were if you hadn’t read the previous issue. Sloppy.

The non-deaths were kind of funny, but not enough to save the book.

BATMAN ETERNAL #6 (Scott Snyder / James Tynion IV / Ray Fawkes / John Layman / Tim Seeley / Trevor McCarthy) DC

This title is very disjointed. It is almost like the old Batman Family title with someone trying to tie the stories together into one loose narrative. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Batwing felt like he could have been anyone and Spectre wasn’t really used at all. Of the hit and miss nature of the title, this was a miss.

NIGHTCRAWLER #2 (Claremont / Nauck / Rosenberg) Marvel

What save this title is the impression I get that they are going to deal with the sexism involved. Nightcrawler is acting in a real patriarchal manner towards Amanda which would bug me more if it was unaddressed. It looks like that won’t be the case. Otherwise it would join the other Marvel start-ups and the drop list.

ALL-NEW ULTIMATES #2 (Fiffe / Pinna / Woodard) Marvel

Hmmm… the free-for-all worked. It was a little disjointed but not so much that it ruined the scene. The characterization, though, was problematic. Why is Bombshell suddenly acting like an idiot with no real lead-up? More importantly, why would Black Widow NOT MENTION THAT SHE WAS JABBED IN THE CHEST WITH A HYPODERMIC NEEDLE FILLED WITH SOME SORT OF LIQUID?

Oh, about that… did she actually change her name to Black Widow IN the book? Did I forget that or did they just start calling her that?

JUSTICE LEAGUE CANADA #1 (Jeff Lemire / Mike McKone) Marvel

I know it is really called Justice League United, but my copy says Canada on the cover!

This is an okay superhero comic but nothing really makes it stand above any others. Stargirl got a chance to shine and for some reason the Adam Strange ‘origin’ reminded me of Hellcat, and that brought a smile to my face. (Oh, and #0 was not #0. It was #1. It was not a prequel. It was the first issue and this is the second. Period.

ALL-NEW X-MEN #27 (Bendis / Immonen / von Grawbadger / Gracia) Marvel

Not much to say. Psychic fights aren’t very exciting, but Bendis rights these characters so they are interesting.

Is that healer immortal now? I guess that will come up in Uncanny.

SHUTTER #2 (Joe Keatinge / Leila Del Duca / Owen Gieni / Ed Brisson) Image

Not as good as the first issue, but there is still potential there. A lot of chaos, which is not great for characterization usually. I like that she can get hurt. I like her Felix butler/clock. I like the Lion Squad (though not the name…)

AVENGERS #29 (Hickman / Yu / Alanguilan / Gho) Marvel

All right, why isn’t this in New Avengers?

So Steve and Tony are now fighting… again?

How many times are we going to do the SAME STORY?

Having said all that… this comic was quite good. Good art. Decent storytelling (especially from someone not known for good storytelling, like Hickman). Pleasant surprise.

ASTRO CITY #12 (Busiek / Graham Nolan / Ross / Broome / Comicraft) Vertigo

This was the only book this week that I loved from end to end. While Nolan is no Anderson, he brings a certain Carmine Infantino-esque feeling to the pages. The story of addiction didn’t have to be about a super villain, but the fact that it was adds a certain element. I really liked the idea of constantly changing gimmicks to try and stay ahead of the game.

Astro City is consistently good comics.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Shutter #1

April 13, 2014
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Shutter1Cover

So, in a couple other aspects of my life, I have been confronted with the spectre of sexism and misogyny. You know how when something gets to the forefront of your mind, you are more likely to notice it elsewhere?

Hey, comics are sexist, who would of thought?

Seriously, though, there were a bunch of things bugging me this week… I’ll point them out when I get to them.

Starting at the weakest…

SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #11 (Kalan / Peyer / Sliney / Plati / Carnero) Marvel

Remember that great series by Nick Spencer?

This isn’t that. This is two issues in a row of just… sub-par comics. I tried to see if Spencer was coming back, but I am not sure the COMIC is coming back. If it was to still be THIS, I would cancel.

ALL-NEW X-MEN #25 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor / Timm / Martin / Adams / Mack / Young / Keith / Rodriguez / Bermejo / Gracia / Williams / Jones / Del Carmen / Campbell / Ruffino / Wicks / Shiga / Hipp / Wittert / Parker / Wilson / Thompson / Smith / Wiacek / Bellaire) Marvel

There is a tradition to take a big anniversary issue, fill it full of great artists (and there is some GREAT art in this issue), and ale a really terrible comic.

Yes, this is that. First off, why is the 25th issue of something worth this treatment? That is not what I would call a major milestone.

Mostly, though, we have a series of pin-ups with a weak story trying to tie them together. (The best parts were the Kitty & Colossus and Logan & Jean mini-steps that had nothing to do with the main story and just seemed stuck in for no reason.)

DAREDEVIL #1.50 (Waid / Bendis / Kesel / Rodrigues / Maleev / Palmer / Lopez) Marvel

Another big anniversary type issue (with stupid numbering) to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of DD.

Another dud, but at least this one tried to give you a story.

A story about a jerk father who acts all condescending and disappointed about his son all the time. Oh, and that is the hero of the book.

Then there was a text piece, that i WAS quite enjoying until it turned out that Bendis and introduced a character, made her interesting, and then fridged her just to create some trauma for DD. (annoying sexism #1) Then there was a Mike Murdock story that was just plain awful. Stupid dialogue giving a DD obscure history lesson and pretending it is a story.

Very disappointing. I put it ahead of the X-Men book because there was a least an attempt at narrative.

FBP #9 (Simon Oliver / Robbi Rodriguez) Vertigo

Apparently this has been optioned for a movie. I bet it would make a better movie than a comic book.(Oh, the male character acts all protective of the capable female character for no reason… but I am not adding this to my annoying sexism list because A: it didn’t seem out of character and B: she ignored him.)

I am dropping this one.

ALL-NEW ULTIMATES #1 (Fiffe / Pinna / Woodard) Marvel

I LOVE Bendis’ Miles Morales. Near the end of the last run, he pretty much assembled a team for him, though it didn’t become official until the pretty lousy Survive comic from a couple weeks back.

THIS is NOT Bendis’ Ultimates. The dialogue is super stilted, the art is sloppy, and the plot is just… meh. The Kitty plot line is okay, but just okay. (Oh, and, the sudden pervasive nature of super-powered people everywhere… is that part of a bigger Ultimate Universe story or did Fiffe just randomly start that with no explanation?)

VERY disappointing. I am going to buy issue #2, because I really want this to be better.

NIGHTCRAWLER #1 (Chris Claremont / Todd Nauck) Marvel

Mostly decent comic, but it is a little ‘aged’, in the way that the Claremont style is a little dated. That’s okay. So am I.

The villain was kind of cheesy, but the big strike against the book is ANNOYING SEXISM #2. Amanda Sefton is an accomplished witch who of fully capable of fighting her own battles. So, our hero teleports her to safety, ensuring she is out of the fight long enough for him to defeat the baddy.

AVENGERS A.I. #11 (Humphries / Araujo / D’Armata) Marvel

A fun little jump back-and-forth through time. Doombot awesome as always. Alexis is turning out to be just a great character.

Pym, the Living Planet?

BATMAN ETERNAL #1 (Scott Snyder / James Tynion IV / Ray Fawkes / John Layman / Tim Seeley / Jason Fabok) DC

Where is Bluebird? She is why I added this book! Seriously though, this is a solid Batman book. The messing with Gordon is good timing for the new cop, Bard. Clearly Gordon is being manipulated / set up, but that doesn’t make it less of an interesting read.

MIGHTY AVENGERS #9 (Ewing / Land / Leisten / D’Armata) Marvel

I already knew who Ronin was so the reveal meant little. It is the Brashear story that really deserves the spotlight. How do you make a story interesting when the hero is so overpowered? Hit him in the ‘feels’.

One thing that made me squirm was the idea that the Marvel ‘Age of Heroes’ no started sometime AFTER the year 2000.

Ugh.

IRON FIST: THE LIVING WEAPON #1 (Kaare Kyle Andrews) Marvel

Oof. I had a real problem figuring out where to slot this book. One one hand, this could have been easily the best book of the week. On the other hand it is an offensive piece of crap.

Let’s start with the positives… why a beautiful looking book! The lay-outs, the design, the STYLE of this book are TOP NOTCH. The storytelling (except the part I will mention below) was excellent. Great book… except…

ANNOYING SEXISM #3!!!!

So, he is begin interviewed… by the least professional reporter ever. They make a comment about there begin a student in order to justify it, but I will tell you that my work with Slam has had me interviewed by a number of student reporters and she is the worst I have ever seen. By a lot.

She is depicted as a complete airhead who blatantly flirts (and not in a grown-up, classy kind of way) with her interviewee, seeming more interested in getting him into bed than interviewing him.

Which he obliges.

Oh, how old is Danny Rand supposed to be? How old would this STUDENT reporter be?

Then, once they end up in bed, it is quite clear that he barely acknowledges her as human. She may as well be a sex-doll. They make a RUNNING JOKE that he can’t remember her name as she keeps repeating it to him.

Aaargggghhh…. I should have ranked this lower.

But, it IS the best looking book on the market. Any chance we can get a new writer and just let Kaare keep drawing it? Is tho stye J.H. Williams III conundrum?

ASTRO CITY #11 (Busiek / Anderson / Ross / Sinclair / Comicraft) Vertigo

This is solid story about the support staff behind a hero. Busiek obviously loves this concept as he has dipped ingot hat well a few times. The hero is a cross between Dr. Strange and a certain era of Wonder Woman… but does she ever come across badly here. If she is SOOO busy, why is it that every time we are show the hero, she is enjoying drinks with someone or ones? Or hungover from a previous celebration of her begin a hero.

All that makes her assistant come across as abused rather than anything else.

Oh, but part of the story included references to their old place outside of Victoria.

(I could throw another annoying sexism warning in there, but if I started complaint about how female characters dress, we would be here all day…)

SHUTTER #1 (Joe Keatinge / Leila Del Duca / Owen Gieni / Ed Brisson) Image

Until now! What a breath of fresh air! This is an interesting story about a women who grew up as an globe-trotting (and beyond) explorer who is now a photographer. Strong, interesting character. Nice art. Solid plot. Interesting story-propelling ending. AND a couple of great bonus strips in the back (ESPECIALLY MUNGORE!!!)

Yes. Buy this book and all is forgiven.