Rusty's World

Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Batman #24

October 13, 2013
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Batman-24-Cover

This week had some surprises and some disappointments. The image above shows one of the surprises. We start with the disappointments…

AMERICA’S GOT POWERS #7 (Jonathan Ross / Bryan Hitch) Image

This book started good and got worse and worse as it went on. The delays got longer, the art got worse and the story went nowhere interesting. If this were on on-going, I would be cancelling it now. Very disappointing.

FBP #4 (Simon Oliver / Robbi Rodriguez) Vertigo

Another disappointing book. It has a great premise and there is a thread to follow, but the story seems really shallow, despite the depth of concept.

SUPERMAN & WONDER WOMAN #1 (Charles Soule / Tony S. Daniel / Matt Banning) DC

Wonder Woman is popular in this house so despite not being into the whole JLA thing, we decided to get this. Added bonus, Charles Soule is a great writer! Check out Swamp Thing.

This isn’t Swamp Thing. Yeah, this was pretty disappointing. Compare this to the great Brian Azzarello book. Not even close.

ROCKET GIRL #1 (Amy Reeder / Brandon Montclare) Image

It might be telling that the cover lists the artist first, because the writing is a little weak. Reeder is great, but this is not nearly her best work. Compare this ti Halloween Eve or Madame Xanadu and it is pretty disappointing.

I have been using that word a lot. Things get better. Promise.

AVENGERS A.I. #4 (Humphries / Araujo / D’Armata) Marvel

I am enjoying the concepts in this book. Dimitrios is an interesting villain and I hope that once he is defeated that the Diamond sticks around as a new ‘land’ in the Marvel world. Their very own Kandor.

X-MEN #6 (Wood / Lopez / Smith / Martin) Marvel

A good new chapter in the Battle of the Atom story. The villains are revealed as villains, though their story is not yet apparent. The Sentinel X reveal was a lot better than the Jean Grey one. Plus, we have a new Wolverine/Mystique hybrid maybe?

ASTRO CITY #5 (Busiek / Anderson / Ross / Sinclair / Comicraft) Vertigo

Sorry, but I have to say it again. After the last few issues, this one was a little… disappointing. Still a solid read but not near the excellence of issues 2-4. I did really like the Dame Progress / Mister Cakewalk / Dr. Aegyptus story-let quite a bit.

INFINTY #4 (Hickman / Opena / Weaver / Ponsor) Marvel

Now we get into the GOOD surprises! This comic was kind of bad-ass. Thor vs the Builder for Hala’s independence could have been a boring punchfest, but nope. Now the good guys have an army of Accusers at their backs.

BATMAN #24 (Scott SNyder / Greg Capullo / Danny Miki) DC

Speaking of surprises! I was considering cancelling this book and that was exacerbated when they showed up with a $7 issue (eep!)

But this comic was really good! It finishes off the battle with the Red Hood Gang… gives us what is probably the origin of the Joker, without revealing everything about him… and kicks off a Riddler story, who was the best part of the arc. Great!


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

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

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

Let’s start with the less awesome…

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

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

This is a mess. Dropped.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HAWKEYE #12 (Fraction / Francavilla) Marvel

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

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

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

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

And, the story was advanced!

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

DAREDEVIL #28 (Waid / Rodriguez / Lopez) Marvel

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

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

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

The life of super-hero support staff.

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

Wow.

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


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Fantastic Four #4

February 17, 2013
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This was an odd week. It wasn’t a bad read, overall, but nothing really jumped out as amazing.

I do have a note about what is going on over at Marvel and how it affected my buying choices this week.

I am an Avengers guy. I have literally every (core) Avengers book ever… all the way back to 1963. I used to collect the ancillary Avengers titles… but they starting putting out too many. The bloody awful Chaykin mini is what finally broke that and it got me to just stop buying the bad ones.

I am NOT a X-Men guy. There have been good runs, but the level of interest with me hasn’t been high since… Claremont, really. (Though, I used to enjoy Peter David’s X-Factor.)

Then Bendis went from the Avengers to X-Men and Hickman took over Avengers.

So far, the Avengers books under Hickman are a mess. Meanwhile, All-New X-Men by Bendis has been one of the best new books I have read… at least among superhero stuff… and not counting Hawkeye… o’kay, let’s just say it is good.

Why? Characterization. Hickman does not consider that a priority. He writes the Avengers more like the JLA. THey are power sets, not characters. Bendis is ALL about characterization.

So, this week there was a new Secret Avengers book. I stopped buying the old one, but it was still Avengers so I considered giving it a try. The premise is that the members of the team get mind-wiped after every mission so they don’t even know they are on the team.

Does that sound like the basis for good character development?

Uncanny X-Men was also out. I was NOT planning on picking it up, initially. I am very firmly NOT in the Cyclops was right camp. But still… Bendis…Bachalo…

So, I bought Uncanny and not Secret. And I also bought WOlverine & the X-Men for the first time.

Bendis has made me switch sides…

Starting at the weakest…

BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN #5 (Brian Azzarello / J.G. Jones) DC

It is possible to write a comic where the lead character is interesting despite being completely unlikeable. This is no that comic. This is a generic Vietnam is hell comic led by a scumbag.

Just not very enjoyable.

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #12 (DeConnick / Woods / Hanna / Beredo) Marvel

This book continues to read like… it doesn’t matter. It reads like fill-in arcs despite having a permanent writer. Those fill-in arcs are okay, but in the end, if I don’t feel like the stories mean anything, I will lose interest.

WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN #25 (Aaron / Perez / Martin) Marvel

So, I decided to pick this up. It looked like a ‘jumping on’ book… and I guess it is. My only problem here is that there are so many characters that I don’t know that it is hard getting a handle on them. Aaron does a good job making sure there is character across the board, though, but there is a lot of back story I am missing. What is the deal with Kid Apocolypse / Genesis? Etc.

How will this tie in with All-New X-Men?

It was certainly good enough to buy #26.

AMERICA’S GOT POWERS #5 (Jonathan Ross / Bryan Hitch) Image

I think this will read better as a trade. I also wonder of Sarah Palin knows that she is a villain in a comic and whether she is okay with that. 🙂

Don’t believe the cover. This is no longer a 6 issue mini. It has been stretched to 7. I hope the extra issue is more story and not just more explosions and chaos.

UNCANNY X-MEN #1 (Bendis / Bachalo / Townsend) Marvel

I wasn’t going to get this, as I mentioned above, because it is completely populated with characters I didn’t like. Cyclops, Emma, Magneto, Magik… none of them appeal to me. What does appeal to me is what Bendis is doing with the X-universe. I find it interesting that he ramped the powers down in Cyclops, Magneto etc. and then created a new character that is probably more powerful that all the rest of them put together. That creates an interesting dynamic potential.

So does the last page reveal. I won’t give it away, but it could be interesting.

SAUCER COUNTRY #12 (Paul Cornell / Ryan Kelly) Vertigo

Sometimes the best thing for a comic is for it to be cancelled. Since it was announced they put out the best stand-alone issue (last issue) and now the story seems to actually been progressing towards a resolution (of sorts, at least), when the weakness of the book was that it was meandering.

AVENGERS ARENA #4 (Hopeless / Vitti / Martin) Marvel

First off, ignore the cover. It has absolutely nothing to do with the contents of the book.

I have not been sold on this book at all… and then this issue happened. Maybe it was because it spotlights character I actually care about. Either way, it is the first issue that makes me feel emotion or empathy towards the characters in it. And the last page… holy crap. Is that going to stick? If so, if they ever revive Runaways, that will change that book… a lot.

FANTASTIC FOUR #4 (Matt Fraction / Mark Bagley / Mark Farmer / Paul Mounts) Marvel

What did I say above… characterization. This book has it in spades. Reed’s inner monologue was brilliant. Maybe it is because I can relate to it… being married 20 years to someone who owns my heart utterly.

I don’t know. I will just say that the book moved me.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week(s): Saga #8

January 4, 2013
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This is two weeks worth of comics since I was away for a bit. The real drama here, since it covers two weeks, is whether Hawkeye or Saga was going to be the better issue.

 

I guess I have spoiled that already.

 

Starting at the weakest.

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: MOLOCH #2 (J.Michael Straczynski / Eduardo Risso) DC

When I read issue #1, right up until the last page I thought it was a one-shot. Now I wish it was.

The first issue gave a back story for Moloch. Something to make you care a little more about him. This issue just goes into unnecessary detail about stuff the happened in Watchmen that needed no extra explanation. In fact, this hurts the original story. Screw this issue. It just sucks.

 

FF #2 (Matt Fraction / Michael Allred / Laura Allred) Marvel

This comic was also unnecessary, but not in the actually damaging way that Moloch was. In this issue NOTHING HAPPENS. The Fantastic Four didn’t come back in four minutes. That’s it. I have high hopes for this comic and issue #1 did not let me down. Issue #2 did.

 

COMEBACK #2 (Brisson / Walsh / Bellaire) Image

This book isn’t bad, but it really doesn’t touch on anything new so far. If you were told the premise, you could probably come up with the story thus far. Hopefully that changes. I am not a big fan of the art, either.

 

CAPTAIN MARVEL #8 (DeConnick / Sebela / Soy / Gandini) Marvel

Was there supposed to be sexual undertones to the scene between Carol and Monica? If so, well done. If not, not so well done. What the last two issues reminded me is that I like Monica as Captain Marvel more than Carol.

Soy is leaving the book.

 

AMERICA’S GOT POWERS #4 (Jonathan Ross / Bryan Hitch) Image

What stops this issue from being higher on the list is that I am not going back and rereading the series every time a new issue comes out. If you can’t publish a comic with an ongoing story in some sort of timely fashion you should finish the whole book before soliciting any of it.

 

AVENGERS ARENA #2 (Hopeless / Walker / Martin) Marvel

I like the premise of the book and the feel of the book. What I didn’t like was side tracking the story for some back-exposition in the second issue. Killing a character is such on off hand way that we didn’t even know cheapens the whole thing as well.

 

WONDER WOMAN #15 (Brian Azzarello / Cliff Chiang) DC

Now we are getting into the better books. This issue is full of great characterization. Hera is the best example, but all of them – from the new brother to Hephaestus – are great. Orion still needs fleshing out, but that is to be expected.

 

FABLES #124 (Bill Willingham / Shawn McManus) Vertigo

This issue was well done… I suppose. The problem is that I haven’t liked the Bufkin story at all so getting a full issue of it doesn’t help (other than telling me it is over). It is better than the last two issues, but I am looking forward to getting back to the core of the book… and it looks like it is coming.

 

AVENGERS #2 (Jonathan Hickman / Jerome Opena / Dean White) Marvel

Good book in general, though it suffers from Hickman-itis. WHat I know about the new status quo I got from interviews and the diagram. It seems like that as Tony and Steve talk about the fact that they are changing things, that you might tactually TALK ABOUT HOW THEY ARE CHANGING THINGS. If you just went by the story you would assume the big change is that there are a bunch of reservists. Not a big change at all.

 

ALL-NEW X-MEN #4 (Brian Michael Bendis / Stuart Immonen / Wade von Grawbadger / Marte Gracia) Marvel

Nitpick: Going by the cover, it would seem that von Grawbadger has second billing. I know that i snot the intent but it is confusing.

Where Bendis works, and where this book works, is focusing on character. That works best here by focusing on the time lost heroes. This issue does that, to its benefit. Too much Cyclops and Magneto, except as villains, is a bad idea. (Side bit: Hank knowing… Beast’s password was a perfect touch – if not a bit inaccurate. Someone like Hank would change his password often.

 

THIEF OF THIEVES #20 (Kirkman / Asmus / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

What can I say that I haven’t said yet? Basically, this comic is a good heist movie, in comic form.

 

BATWOMAN # 15 (J.H. Williams III / W.Haden Blackman / Trevor McCarthy) DC

Avengers Arena, listen up. THIS is how you do a side story to give added character to a supporting cast member. In one issue, without doing anything drastic, you have made the readers care more about Maggie Sawyer. It sure made me hope that she and Kate keep it together (and that Kate shares her secret).

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #700 (no cover credits, but Slott / Ramos / Olazaba / DeMatteis / Camuncoli / Buscema / Van Meter / Buscema) Marvel

The first Buscema is Sal. The second one is Stephanie.

Look, there is no shock about this comic. The only question is how long it will take and how will they revert to the status quo. In the meantime they have made me interested in the story, and that is enough.

The scenes with Mary-Jane, though, are really bloody creepy and they had better address that. Otherwise it is rape, pure and simple. (Assuming it goes that way.) We’ll see.

As for the back-ups, the deMatteis one is getting praise and I don’t understand why. It is routine and hardly original in its obvious pay-off. In addition, let’s all laugh and how old people lose their memory! Ha ha!

No thanks.

The Black Cat story was cute.

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #18 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

Remember what I said about Bendis on the X-Men book? This is where he proves it. The plot is not the point in USM. The story is not the point. The characters are the point. Miles is perfect. Jessica is perfect. The real star of this book, though, is Jefferson.He did the right thing, but he still killed people. That is not an easy thing.

Well done.

 

UNWRITTEN #44 (Mike Carey / Peter Gross) Vertigo

Forget the reveal. What I liked about this book is Tom’s new attitude. He is just going to keep going forward and will never assume that something can’t be done. It is the perfect evolution of his unbelieving wide-eyed wonderment from the start of the series.

And that reveal… looking forward to issue #45. 🙂

 

HAWKEYE #6 (Fraction / Aja / Hollingsworth) Marvel

Remember how good the first 5 issues of this book were?

This issue is better.

It is all about Hawkguy. Like the guy from M*A*S*H.

 

Saga #8 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

How could a comic be better than the best issue of Hawkeye? By being Saga. In the last two issues they have made an already great character (Alana) a hundred times better by showing her when she is vulnerable. Marko was excellent, as always. His father showed the seeds of how Marko came to be. The ‘meet cute’. Gwendolyn.

I love this comic.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Before Watchmen: Dr.Manhattan

August 29, 2012
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This was a big, but really good, week. There was only one really disappointing book and a number of very good ones.

 

Starting at the weakest…

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #692 (Slott / Ramos / Alazaba / Delgado / more) Marvel

Here is the disappointing book. I really enjoy Slott’s Spidey, but this book doesn’t hold up. First off t falls under the spell of the BIG ANNIVERSARY ISSUE, which means padded with extra cliche stories that just retread the same stuff we have seen hundreds of times before. It is the main story that was the disappointment, though. It introduces Alpha as Peter without Uncle Ben (and WAY more powerful) if that makes sense. It doesn’t work. If he wasn’t so powerful you might think it is a new character that could learn and grow, but he is too powerful. As it is, the best we could hope for is Sentry… and that is pretty bad.

Let’s see: unlikeable character with no long term prospects… uh, why is this a big deal again?

Disappointing.

 

SECRET AVENGERS #30 (Remender / Scalera / Wilson) Marvel

This almost fell below ASM, but for the great twist. LMDs are not people, no matter how much they want to be. I guess Ant-Man can’t get a new hat either. Remender also failed Taskmaster 101 (that’s okay, MANY writers make the same mistake): he CAN’T copy the style of Spider-Men because Spider-man does things that are physically impossible for someone who doesn’t have his abilities… which Taskmaster doesn’t. If he wants to beat Venom, he needs to do it as Captain America and Iron Fist etc. NOT Spidey.

 

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #12 (Jeff Lemire / Mikel Janin) DC

The backstory for Dr. Mist was nice, as was the plan to divert the heroes. Question: dos the death of Zatara scene mean that the whole Alan Moore Swamp Thing story is in continuity in the new 52? So, who is the main bad guy? Should I recognize him? I am familiar with Blackbriar Thorn but not Black Boris.

 

FABLES #120 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha / McManus) Vertigo

This is the worst issue of Fables in quite some time, which doesn’t make it awful, but well below it;s usual standard of excellence. So the kid goes crazy, sees visions, and kills himself in order to save his sister… which of course will turn out to be the right thing to do which may or may not leave him dead or whatever… you know what? Reading this issue alone, I don’t care. There is no suspense here, just a rambling mess of a character. Maybe it will work when read WITH the preceding issues.

 

THE ULTIMATES #14 (Humphries / Tan / Green / Pallot / Noor) Marvel

Now things are hitting the fan. They got Texas but lost the west coast and Wyoming. There is no longer a ruling body in the U.S. and somebody (ahem Loki ahem) is stirring up trouble everywhere he can. Great story. Too bad the art is fairly subpar.

 

ROCKETEER: CARGO OF DOOM #1 (Waid / Samnee) IDW

I don’t normally get Rocketeer but when I heard Chris Samnee was drawing a mini written by Mark Waid, I thought he would be a natural for it. I was wrong, kind of. Don’t get me wrong, he is great and the comic is really good and I don’t regret buying it at all and I will get the rest… but he isn’t as perfect as Ithought. Basically, he isn’t Dave Stevens. Nobody is, but when Betty showed up, well, nobody does Betty like Stevens. R.I.P.

Good, fun comic though. Give it a try.

 

BATMAN INCORPORATED #3 (Grant Morrison / Chris Burnham) DC

Are we sure that this is Morrison? It seemed a lot more… linear that I am used to from him. The story lays out in a pretty orderly fashion, with everything you need to know explained well and the characters moving forward in a fully comprehensible manner. Well done. (Though I would like to say, “Hey Batman… it is a trap, duh!”)

 

THE UNWRITTEN #40 (Mike Carey / Peter Gross) Vertigo

Speaking of things being a little clearer, the new Unwritten arc joins the old one right here. Everything worked: the unicorn, the new power couple Tom Taylor (isn’t he writing the new Rose and Thorn comic)… but especially the bopmb. That was just awesome.

 

AMERICA’S GOT POWERS #3 (Jonathan Ross / Bryan Hitch) Image

Ouch. So Zero gives other people powers – I think we knew that. But he can’t control it or who the powers go to? Or can he? Was Quarterback going to kill him on live TV? That seems like a bit of a stretch. I like this book… it is very character driven, which is the best way to go if you want me on board.

 

ALL-STAR WESTERN #12 (Palmiotti / Gray / Moritat / Kolins) DC

Tallulah kicks ass. She just beat them all, single handedly. That includes the ninja woman he beat the tar out of Jonah Hex and Tallulah handled her like she was nothing. One story wrapped up and another is starting. I thought this was going to get Hex away from the lame Batman references, but it looks like Arkham is along for the ride. That’s okay. He isn’t as cheesy as Mayor Cobblepot and the Court of Owls refs.

 

BRILLIANT #4 (Bendis / Bagley) Icon

Do you know what comics don’t do very well? Setting superpowers in the ‘real’ world. Brilliant is giving it a go and so far, so good. Overpowered kid with crazy energy abilities that is taking down loads of cops? Shoot him in the head. The interrogation panels is a well Bendis goes to too often, but it worked here. It properly set off the scared and scattered nature of the kids. Good book thus far.

 

SUPER CROOKS #4 (Mark Millar / Leinil Yu) Icon

RIght up until the last book I read, it looked like Super Crooks was going to be the book of the week. This issue made the whole series better. The way they pulled off the heist was a cool twist of the genre. The extra twist about the costumes made it even better. Read the trade. It is a bit gratuitous at times but I nice, self-contained story in all.

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: DR. MANHATTAN #1 (J.Michael Straczynski / Adam Hughes) DC

Wow. This is a very, very good comic. The stream of consciousness (from a consciousness that is anything but routine) combined with the amazing AH! artwork makes the best comic of the week. The whole comic is Schroedinger’s Cat writ large. It is no coincidence that the first time they show this concept it involves a cat in a box. Has he just changed time? Has he erased himself from existence or did he witness a parallel world?

And, of course, Adam Hughes drawing Silk Spectre in such a way that you believe completely that ‘Jon’ would be drawn to her. This also makes you wonder, what would have happened if he DIDN’T change those names? Would Nite Owl and Silk Spectre have been together all along? What sort of influence would Rorschach have had on Dr. Manhattan?

Great comic.


Rusty’s Comic(s) of the Week: America’s Got Powers #1 & 2

June 3, 2012
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Really good week, despite being somewhat small. Of course, since it was small, and because of a reprint available, I tried a new book that was getting really good reviews…

 

Starting at the relative weakest book and moving up.

 

ANIMAL MAN ANNUAL #1 (Jeff Lemire / Timothy Green II / Joseph Silver) DC

I love the Animal Man book and it is often one of the top books in a given week. So, what is wrong with the Annual?

I have certain standards with an annual. It should be something different from the regular book. It needs to give us something special. They didn’t go that route with this one. Instead it reads just like any other issue of Animal Man… which would be okay except it is a regular issue but worse. It gives us a flashback to a prior version of Animal Man and Swamp Thing. It is a certain that is completely skippable as it adds nothing to the general story. Also, the art is way worse than the regular book.

This sounds harsher than I mean it to. The book was still worth reading, but it couldn’t compare to the better comics of the week.

 

RASL #14 (Jeff Smith) Cartoon Books

This is the penultimate issue of the run. I get the impression that RASL will read better as a whole than it does as individual issues, but it is still very good. I both look forward to seeing how it wraps up and seeing what Jeff Smith does next. Word is that RASL has been optioned for a movie. I think that could really work.

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #39 (Reed / Garbett / Lucas / Fabela) Marvel

Brian Reed is no Dan Slott as far as Spidey goes, but this is a solid book. This DOES fit into my criteria for an annual as it gives us a different writer, so a different take from the regular book. This one is sentimental in the right way, but suffers a bit for having no actual challenge for the heroes. When the only thing they have to do to defeat the ‘enemy’ is to go to where he is, it takes a little bit of the suspense away. Also, it seemed a little too easy for Spidey to accept the ultimate wrap up in the sotry. I think I would have preferred a little less time-hopping and a little more of Peter’s reactions to the situations he was faced with.

 

THE ULTIMATES #11 (Hickman / Humphries / Ross / Milla) Marvel

First off, the cover credits lie. There are many more artists involved. There must have been deadline issues and they got people to jump in. Add to that list (Guice / Kirk / Zircher / Aburtov). It didn’t distract too much.

It is funny how a book can turn around. Ultimates was sliding for me and was in danger of getting the axe. Since they blew up Washington, though, it has become a very interesting read. (I DO think it is odd that this can share a universe with Ultimate SPider-Man yet Miles never says anything about major cities being destroyed and Texas forming their own country. That is some pretty major stuff not to pay attention to.)

This is edge of the seat stuff and I look forward to each issue. (For the record, in my opinion, the cliffhanger is a trick.)

 

THE NEW DEADWARDIANS #3 (Dan Abnett / I.N.J. Culbard) Vertigo

Any of the last few books could have been my book of the week this time out, including this one, which was having a tough time clicking with me. This issue really worked as we got some great scenes with a zombie fence and a brothel. This is the characterization that had been absent thus far. The reason I put this one at the bottom of the top (so to speak) is while the characterization was perfect, how it advanced the plot wasn’t clear to me. We’ll see.

 

SUPER CROOKS #3 (Mark Millar / Leinil Yu) Icon

The plan starts to come together… and then starts to fall apart. This book is a little more gruesome than I prefer, but the gore is pretty effective. The way they get their info is pretty ingenious and risky, which shows in the end. This is a mini, right? It reads like one, but I don’t know how long it is set to run.

The one real complaint is that the book is the lack of female characters. The one they have is quite good, despite her tendency to lounge around in little bikinis. (For the record, I have no problem with a character that likes to lounge around in bikinis, but when she is the ONLY female character, it is… well…)

 

AMERICA’S GOT POWERS #1 & 2 (Jonathan Ross / Bryan Hitch) Image

I didn’t get this the first time around, but the reviews have been very positive. Certainly enough for me to take notice. When I was scanning the racks this week I saw issue #2 and also saw that Silver Snail had second printings of #1 (with a black & white cover, though. I didn’t really care for that), so I grabbed both.

Nice series! The set up in issue #1 was excellent and the expanded characterization in issue #2 worked very well! Maybe reading both made each better than if I had just read one, but that is okay. I understand that Ross is some BBC guy, but he has comic pacing down cold (maybe Hitch has helped him out a bit here).

In some ways this is like reading The Boys without feeling dirty afterwards. (Nothing wrong with feeling dirty sometimes…)