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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Animal Man #29

March 29, 2014
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Sorry this is so late…. since this is really comics from LAST week, but I have been pretty tied up with VERSeFest.

Starting at the weakest…

SOVEREIGN #1 (Roberson / Maybury) Image

I was a fan of iZombie. When it was cancelled Chris Roberson burned some bridges. I didn’t agree with everything he said but I supported his willingness to speak up. So when Image announced his new creator-owned book, I was on board.

Then I read it.

This comic is really bad. A pretty much incoherent story with unclear art to complete turn the book into a muddy mess.

Oh well. No issue #2 for me.

SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #10 (Asmus / Carmenero / Pallot / Mossa / Cowles) Marvel

Why didn’t you put creator credits on the cover, Marvel? Were you trying to hide the fact that this issue was a fill in? (They sure didn’t try to hide it on the inside… the issue is titled ‘Filling In’)

Remember the smart, witty SFoS comic? This isn’t it.

I’m looking forward to the return of the REAL comic.

ROCKET GIRL #4 (Brandon Montclare / Amy Reeder) Image

Another one for the cancellation bin for us. We bought this because we are big fans of Amy Reeder. Well, the story is boring and the art is nowhere near the art that made us into fans. She is going more and more ‘manga’ instead of the beautiful work she did on Madame Xanadu.

Oh well.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #2 (Gage / Rodriguez / Lopez / Briones / Gandini) Marvel

Annuals should be special. They shouldn’t read like a fill-in issue from a different creative team. This was a Urich Family story followed by a Wraith story, just filling in cracks for the regal brook. Hmmm…

It wasn’t awful, just no big deal.

AVENGERS WORLD #4 (Hickman / Spencer / Caselli / Mossa) Marvel

Not bad enough to drop, yet. Not good enough to praise.

X-MEN #12 (Wood / Anka / Mann) Marvel

As is often the problem with books that fight nigh-unstoppable villains, the ending is a little to pat. They can’t drag out a fight so they either figure out how to beat them, or they don’t… and since they are the heroes, which do you think happens?

Oh, and the roll-call scene and the beginning was absolutely ridiculous. (The Paul Smith-ian shot of Pryor was nice, though.)

UNCANNY X-MEN #29 (Bendis / Bachalo / Townsend) Marvel

The scene with Dazzler was maybe a little too disturbing. Meanwhile the scene with the Sentinels was maybe a little too formulaic.

This book is not as good as Bendis’ other X-book, but it is still quite readable.

SEX CRIMINALS #5 (Fraction / Zdarsky) Image

This felt a little weaker than previous issues, but still a solid read. The kegel-face but was kind of funny but not as great as some of the high points of previous issues (like the karaoke scene…)

UNWRITTEN: APOCOLYPSE #3 (Mike Carey / Peter Gross) Vertigo

Well now we have the apocalypse the title implied. What a mess. No big shock about who the villain is, but wow… how are they going to get out of that/ Will the world remember this? Has this completely changed how the Unwritten world works? A world with time travelling hordes is not the world that the average Joe knew about before…

LAZARUS #7 (Rucka / Lark / Arcas) Image

Whoa. That was sudden and brutal. Beautiful cover and wrenching story. All of it.

MS. MARVEL #2 (Wilson / Alphona / Herring) Marvel

Everything about this book rang true. Her reactions. Her family. All of it.

But we REALLY need to move past the ‘my ideal image is of a white, blonde lady’. The quicker the better.

WONDER WOMAN #29 (Brian Azzarello / Cliff Chiang) DC

Can you smell it? That is the excrement hitting the fan.

Diana, God of War, leading her troops against the Usurper of Olympus? Yes please.

The good… this story seems to finally be reaching its climax.

The bad… when it does so, Azzarello and Chiang are leaving and we are getting a WW T&A book again.

DAREDEVIL #1 (Waid / Samnee / Rodriguez) Marvel

I am going to really miss the old Daredevil comic by Waid and Samnee. Hopefully this new one will be good… who is the creative team?

Oh. Okay then.

A silly renumbering, but what the hell. I like the setting. I like the new status quo with Matt as super-advising detective for the SFPD.

Oh hey, while you are there, say hi to our friends Nadine and Phil, would you?

Oh right… the review. Good comic. Buy it. Nearly comic of the week, but…

ANIMAL MAN #29 (Jeff Lemire / Travel Foreman) DC

I am going to give Lemire’s Justice League Canada a try, but it has better be good since this was cancelled to make room for it.

This book wavered between really good and Rotworld during its run, but this issue was absolutely stellar. Hands up, who though they were getting a FULL family reunion in this issue?

Instead they made it into a truly touching moment between those that were left behind.

I am not a fan of Lemire’s art and not Foreman so much either, but that didn’t distract me from the story which was perfect.

“Goodnight Cliffy.”

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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Amazing X-Men #4

February 25, 2014
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A little late this week due to a crazy weekend. There are a few books on this list that actually came out the week before, but my comic store had a box go missing temporarily. Better late than never!

Starting at the weakest.

GREAT PACIFIC #13 (Joe Harris / Martin Morazzo) Image

Hmmm… this is kind of turning into a ‘wandering’ comic. The concept is fairly solid, but the plot is not.

You know, I think that is it for me. Consider the book dropped.

AVENGERS WORLD #3 (Hickman / Spencer / Caselli / Martin) Marvel

Uh… the whole issue for that? Zero plot advancement. Zero character advancement. Zero anything.

I was THAT close to dropping this book after reading this issue. It better get better.

UNWRITTEN APOCOLYPSE #2 (Mike Carey / Peter Gross) Vertigo

The first issue was great. The second issue was not. Guess how he came back? They concentrated on a story that he was in where he came back.

Yeah, okay. That part was pretty much a given… but that’s all this issue was.

X-MEN #11 (Wood / Anka / Mann) Marvel

My problem with this issue was the X-Men figuring out the plan. There was no reason for them to do so. It was a little too convenient. The Sentinel fight was decent, but that is about it. This isn’t a bad book but this wasn’t a strong issue.

FABLES #138 (Bill Willingham / Russ Braun) Vertigo

An interesting little story about Gepetto that sets him as a resurgent bad guy down the line. I assume that he will be part of the big final story as Willingham has announced that he is going to wrap up Fables in the not-to-distant future.

ANIMAL MAN #28 (Jeff Lemire / Rafael Albuquerque) DC

This issue seemed really rushed, but with the book wrapping up, I guess they had no choice. Lemire wants to go and start making some real coin writing Justice League instead of a low seller like Animal Man. Too bad. This book used to be quite good and is still decent.

WONDER WOMAN #28 (Brian Azzarello / Cliff Chiang) DC

A decent issue. Dio has turned out to be more interesting than expected. The Apollo / Firstborn fight was pretty well down, so far. Looks like a big, multi-god blowout is in the offing.

UNCANNY X-MEN #17 (Bendis / Bachalo / Townsend) Marvel

Asa character issue, this was very solid. It is unfortunate that the plot point moving forward is so ridiculous, but the story as a whole was good.

So, what was with Eva? What happened?

That part interests me a lot more than Hijack’s firing.

DAREDEVIL #36 (Waid / Samnee / Rodriguez) Marvel

Here is the problem with multiple writers spanning years of a comic. Everyone knows who DD is! Then the comic works hard to turn that around so DD can have a secret identity again. Now everyone knows who DD is again!

Oh well. The writing is good and the art is amazing and I am looking forward to DD in SF.

SHE-HULK #1 (Soule / Pulido / Vicente) Marvel

The success of Hawkeye seems to have opened the door of this type of book. Superior Foes falls into that category as well.

No complaints from me, because I really enjoy a smart, funny book. She-Hulk is the perfect character for this treatment and Soule did a good job. I am less fond of Pulido, but I like the general look of the book… I just don’t like Jen’s faces. Oh well.

I do with I got the Skottie Young cover variant. 🙂

AMAZING X-MEN #4 (Aaron / McGUiness / Vines / Gracia) Marvel

Do you know what made this book so great? The flashbacks. That and the Firestar stuff, but especially the flashbacks. This made you really FEEL how much the characters missed Kurt and that made the reunion scenes work that much better.

I felt like I had seen those scenes before, because they read just like the old Claremont book. Well done.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: The Unwritten: Apocalypse #1

January 26, 2014
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Big week with a drop and a surprising #1.

Starting at the weakest…

BATMAN #27 (Scott Snyder / Greg Capullo / Danny Miki) DC

More on the origin of Gordon’s coat? Really? Plus, the cops aren’t just bad…. they are bad enough to throw another cop in a pit of fighting dogs just to see what happens.

Ugh. Yeah, this just didn’t work for. This book has been more miss than hit and I am dropping it.

DC is really weak these days.

PRETTY DEADLY #4 (DeConnick / Rios / Bellaire / Cowles) Image

This book is five times better than it was the first couple of issues… which still doesn’t make it worth buying, in my opinion. Ruthanne likes it so we keep getting it.

AVENGERS #25 (Hickman / Larroca / Martin) Marvel

Well, this book wasn’t terrible. I liked the idea of finding a dead Hank Pym… to bad they solved the mystery for us immediately. Bad Avengers? Still, early strength Avengers should get whomped by the current level of power not he team.

AVENGERS WORLD #2 (Hickman / Spencer / Caselli / Martin) Marvel

I am good with the focus on Smasher (she sure looks like Yellowjacket at the end…), but I am less a fan of the yet-another-super-powerful-near-cosmic threat. I wonder how many people out there realize that the Entropic Man is not a new character?

X-MEN #9 (Wood / Dodson / Dodson / Keith) Marvel

Did Brian Wood create Arkea? He seems to be enamoured with her. Not a bad book. I actually think the Dodson’s (whom I like) is a bad choice with too many female characters because he does not differentiate between them very much. They were great on a book like Harley Quinn because they drew that one character very well without drawing attention to the fact that their range was a little limited.

I like the Sisterhood.

WONDER WOMAN #27 (Brian Azzarello / Cliff Chiang) DC

I think I am down to 3 DC books (this, Swamp Thing and Animal Man), and one os being cancelled.

This book is well done, but are we REALLY doing a story now about Zola and the baby being missing AGAIN? This book has got to expand its focus. It has been over two years with only one storyline.

THE MASSIVE #19 (Brian Wood / Garry Brown / Jordie Bellaire) Dark Horse

As I list my second Brian Wood title, I will say that I considered dropping all Wood books… and any creators that came out as acting inappropriate towards women in the comic industry.

The thing is, I read Wood’s apology and I think it makes sense. Am I giving him too much of the benefit of the doubt? Maybe.

Oh… the comic. It is pretty good. Callum hunting down his past.

ANIMAL MAN #27 (Jeff Lemire / Rafael Albuquerque) DC

This is the DC book that is begin cancelled, so Lemire can go work on Justice League. Sigh.

It is Justice League Canada, though, so I am going to give it a shot. We’ll see.

What makes this book land as high as it does this month is the scenes with Ellen. Punching that reporter was great. Showing that there are real-life consequences to such an action was also great. The fight scene wasn’t much but Maxine and Socks ‘going the wrong way’ (I have a feeling they didn’t and the Red is just circular) and the Shepherd paying for it… good stuff.

ALL-NEW X-MEN #22 (Bendis / Immonen / von Grawbadger / Gracia) Marvel

A strong characterization issue, which I tend to say a lot on Bendis books. The scene with Scott, Jean and Warren did ‘talking head’ in a great way. The Bobby scenes showed him off very well. Even the fight scene had a great level of kinetic energy, despite being a little one-sided.

I will have to remember to pick up the Guardians books, though they sure don’t look appealing based on that splash page. (Angela? How about getting some clothes?)

BLACK WIDOW #2 (Nathan Edmondson / Phil Noto) Marvel

Better than the first issue. The art is still spectacular but the writing mad dup some ground as well. Isaiah just got a little emote interesting and with the Iron Scorpion we now have a possible recurring villain for the book. Good, good…

I would recommend this book to a new reader.

MIGHTY AVENGERS #5 (Ewing / Land / Leisten / D’Armata) Marvel

Ah, Otto. The crazy thing is, he had a point… which he illustrated in the worst possible way. Arrogance will often be the undoing os such characters. Luke and Jessica sending Danielle away and then laying in to Otto was awesome. Is Jessica going to be more… active in this comic? I hope so (which does NOT mean going into costume with a codename…)

The best part of this book, and what nearly pushed it even higher? The last page. Complete with classic logo.

How about USING that logo on the book? No?

HAWKEYE #16 (Fraction / Wu / Hollingsworth) Marvel

This was the top book of the week right up until I pulled the final comic out of the bag.

Note: Issue 15 has not yet come out. This seems weird, but remember that right now Hawkeye is basically two separate comics – one about Clint and one about Kate. They also have different artists. I am guessing this is why 15 fell behind.

I don’t care. This was a really good, fun comic. Kate is pure charm. She i slough but not too tough. It looks like she has had enough of L.A., though. After the events of Young Avengers she is cleared to go back to New York. Will the two books-within-a-book intersect again?

THE UNWRITTEN: APOCALYPSE #1 (Mike Carey / Peter Gross) Vertigo

The Unwritten went on a little hiatus and then came back with a new name and a new #1. I guess sales needed a little pump.

Well, it seems like it was the fresh start it needed because the last storyline was incredibly disappointing (what a waste of a Fables ‘crossover’), but this one has fresh life (pun intended, if you read the book). The scene of Tommy trying to make to back to life were absolutely great. I don’t know what is going to come after this, because that is a one-off, but the different characters and lands that he pushed through without telling us what was going on, and getting clearer and clearer… yes. It worked from end to end.

Now, what has happened while he was gone?


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Daredevil #34

December 23, 2013
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When I picked up my books tho sweet, Kin at the Silver Snail told me to read Saga last because it was the best comic of the week.

That is usually a safe bet but, man, there was a lot of great comics this week!

Starting at the weakest…

ANIMAL MAN #26 (Jeff Lemire / Cully Hamner) DC

Animal Man is cancelled and the reports are that it is Jeff Lemire who has decided to pull the plug. After reading this issue, I no longer believe it. AM has been great but this issue reads like somebody who is wrapping things up in a somewhat off-hand, out-of-the-blue manner. I don’t buy it. I think he was told that sales weren’t good enough or something. (I don’t know the actual figures.)

I do know that they are giving him Justice League, which will pay a lot better.

Too bad.

PRETTY DEADLY #3 (DeConnick / Rios / Bellaire / Cowles) Image

Well this issue was better than the first two, but at this point I am only buying it because Ruthanne likes it. I think it is a bit of a mess. Can anyone actually explain the plot just by reading it once?

X-MEN #8 (Wood / Dodson / Dodson / Keith) Marvel

I am not normally someone who gets really caught up in little logic points. People don’t always behave in logical ways and sometimes people have to make bad decisions in order to move the plot forward.

But this… the security at the X-Mansion (or whatever it is called now) is so lax that Mary can just walk in but just good enough to catch her on her way out? That’s convenient. It wasn’t even hard. That is just ridiculous.

I like the Sisterhood that is forming, though.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #700.4 (Casey / Green / Chapman / Rodriguez) Marvel

The second part of that Spidey burn victim story. It got a little better, but not a lot.

Hopefully the next issue is better. I wonder when it comes out.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #700.5 (Reed / Grevioux / Chen / Weeks) Marvel

Well, that was quick. And it IS better. A fun little story with the Fantastic Four. Nothing too weighty. Nothing to important either. Just fun. The back-up is a message story. It feel alike it is the 80’s again… in a good way.

THE MASSIVE #18 (Brian Wood / Garry Brown / Jordie Bellaire) Dark Horse

I am considering dropping this book. The world building that Wood did to start the book was amazing. Then he gave someone super-powers, and then ignored it. This story was about a random revenge quest.

It isn’t terrible… at all… but it is starting to lose my interest.

REVIVAL #16 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

Revival has a bit of the same problem, but not to the same degree. I’, sticking with this one.

That is a very lovely cover. Too bad it has absolutely nothing to do with the insides of the comic. Is that a theme this week?

This was a pretty violent issue. Explosions and blood every where, but that doesn’t mean what you think it might.

WONDER WOMAN #26 (Brian Azzarello / Goran Sudzuka / Jose Marzan Jr.) DC

A solid issue of Wonder Woman. The Zola story was pretty transparent, but that’s okay.

Diana kind of messed up pretty hard here, but that is good. Nobody should be perfect. (Remember what I said above about making mistakes to advance the plot?)

I do wonder if the story will change at some point so WW isn’t just reacting.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #15 (Remender / McNiven / Dell / Martin) Marvel

Well, we didn’t get an INSTANT reversal, but I wasn’t expecting one. What is that? The villains weren’t begin honest? NO!

This book got as high as it did because of the Wasp / Sentry fight. The Wasp is a GREAT character when written right, and Remender did a good job here.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #24 (Slott / Gage / Ramos / Olazaba / Delgado) Marvel

The disappointing part was the info that Flash NEEDS Venom now. It changes everything. Now we know that we will get a revision to status quo when this story is over, as it pertains to Venom.

However, Otto’s arrogance is the story here. He thinks of Venom as just another tool that only he is smart enough to utilize. That works on many levels.

Also, his interaction with May… what a shift! His mind has hanged and he doesn’t even know it.

ALL-NEW X-MEN #20 (Bendis / Peterson / Asrar / Silva) Marvel

Speaking of covers that don’t match the comic… is that supposed to be what Jean saw in Scott’s mind? Maybe?

It is hero time. Fighting Purifiers and helping out another hero in need. This works for me. I DO hope that they don’t stay with older Scott’s group because then both Bendis X-Books are kind of interchangeable… or at least have the potential to be.

SAGA #17 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

Best book of the week? Not quite, but not for lack of trying. The scene with the reporters was great. The scene with The Will bleeding was great. Marko and Alana hiding while Klara goes to defend Heist worked on many levels. The Heist / Prince scene was great! The opposite of war?

Then… it got sad. Quickly.

How could there be two books better than this?

YOUNG AVENGERS #14 (Gillen / McKelvie / Vieceli / Ward / Wu / Norton / Wilson / Loughridge / Bellaire) Marvel

Here is a book made up of people talking. Sound exciting? It is is pretty great. These are fully fleshed people, with feelings and thoughts and emotions and…and…and…

I am not a fan of jam books and that was a bit of a drawback, but the character beats in this issue were spot on, over and over. When Young Avengers first came onto the scene, Kate Bishop was the wonderful new character that never really fully blossomed. Now, wight he Fraction Hawkeye book and here, that has changed in a big way.

Noh-Varr is an idiot.

DAREDEVIL #34 (Waid / Rodriguez / Lopez) Marvel

Wow. That speech. Not the Daredevil one – the Kristen McDuffie one. With one set of word balloons, Waid has made me care about the character more than the previous issues combined. So what does that mean is next? Game of Thrones time.

My prediction: good news for Foggy. Bad news for Kristen.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week (month… year…): Fables #134

October 21, 2013
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fables134_1

Quite the extremes this week. The comic of the week was really… REALLY… good. The worst comic was… well, I might as well kick things off…

NEW AVENGERS #11 (Hickman / Deodato / Martin) Marvel

Let me start off by saying that even WITHOUT the problem I am about to lay out for you this book isn’t very good. Just as the 10 issues before it weren’t very good. What is keeping me around?

I just love the Avengers. I don’t buy them blindly any more (there are too damned many of them), but it is hard for me to let go. (Thankfully Mighty Avengers seems really good, because the Hickman stuff is very disappointing.)

Having said THAT, this book is worse than that.

There is a war in Wakanda, between some alien Thanos followers and the Wakandan army. You know Wakanda, right? One of the most (of not THE most) technologically advanced countries on the planet? Led by their Queen, the Black Panther. With all of that high tech at her disposal, she chooses to attack her enemy by… throwing a spear at them.

A spear.

A Queen of an African country LITERALLY throws a spear at someone.

Look, I am not implying that Hickman is racist. I don’t even know the man. But at a minimum he is guilty of being really, REALLY stupid here.

HUNGER #4 (Fialkov / Kirk / Aburtov) Marvel

Well, that was pointless. Rick Jones is Captain Marvel now. They are still going to destroy the Ultimate Universe, so who really cares? I am looking forward to Cataclysm, but this was just filling space.

AVENGERS # 21 (Hickman / Yu / Alanguilan / Gho) Marvel

Why does Marvel put the two Hickman Avengers books out on the same week every month? That doesn’t make sense at all.

This book is better than NA, but that is damning with faint praise. Any chance Bendis will come back?

UNCANNY X-MEN #13 (Bendis / Bachalo / Townsend / Gracia) Marvel

Speaking of Bendis…

Battle of the Atom is better than Infinity in every way, but this is still just an extended fight scene with an unexplained twist that seems a bit like a deus ex machina.

THIEF OF THIEVES #17 (Kirkman / Diggle / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

The on-going heist picture of a comic book continues to be an on-going heist picture. That works for me. WHo is making the series? This seems like an AMC property to me. Hamm as Redmond?

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #19 (Slott / Stegman / Livesay / Delgado) Marvel

So if 2099 is staying in 2013, the Captain is likely playing Spider-Hero, Miles will be the Ultimate survivor, Peter is coming back (duh)… the web is going to get crowded.

ANIMAL MAN #24 (Jeff Lemire / Rafael Albuquerque) DC

I thought Brother Blood was a formidable enemy, but really he is just a flunky. It is the Totem that is the issue. Big threat. Scary implications. Stress induced reunion. Good character points all around.

WONDER WOMAN #24 (Brian Azzarello / Goran Sudzuka) DC

Do you know what annoys me? That Superman/Wonder Woman book probably outsells this one, despite being nowhere near as good.

This issue was GREAT! We are finally moving on as the prophecy has been dealt with and the new story about Diana’s place among the pantheon is really interesting. Hermes got a really good point in and Apollo is nothing to fool around with. Good stuff.

HAWKEYE #13 (Fraction / Aja / Hollingsworth) Marvel

I should be disappointed. After a long delay this book STILL didn’t advance the plot, and only put other actions into some sort of timeline.

But it did it really well. Great stories, great art, great comics.

FABLES #134 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha / Pepoy) Vertigo

Wow.

It has been a long time since Fables was GREAT. It is still good (except when Willingham lets his politics take over), and sometimes it is really good.

But this issue is better than that.

Two conversations. That’s it. Two well written, moving, powerful, sad conversations. Illustrated in such a way to make them even MORE than they already are. Bucky’s design instincts go to a whole other level here.

But still… those conversations… the second one… the question…

I can’t even really describe this.

May I be overly moved by this? I lost my father this year. Did that chance how I looked at this book?

Maybe… but whatever. This is just a wonderful comic.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Fables #132

August 25, 2013
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FABLES_132

Busy, eventful and fulfilling week.

But that is about life… this is about comics.

Starting at the weakest.

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

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

Enough. Dropped.

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

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

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

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

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

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

DAREDEVIL #30 (Waid / Samnee / Rodriguez) Marvel

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

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

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

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

And now… betrayal!

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

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

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

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

So, about that secret identity, Phil…

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

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

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

REVIVAL #13 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

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

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

And did he just… discorporate?

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

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

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

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

Once again… looking forward to the next step.

FABLES #132 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha) Vertigo

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

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

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


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

August 4, 2013
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animal man annual 2

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

Starting at the weakest…

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

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

DAREDEVIL #29 (Waid / Rodriguez / Lopez) Marvel

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

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

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

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

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

COLLIDER #1 (Simon Oliver / Robbi Rodriguez) Vertigo

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

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

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

Nice story.

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

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


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Ultimate Spider-Man #25

July 22, 2013
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Ultimate_Comics_Spider-Man_Vol_2_25

Another week with really strong contenders for the top spot. Now that I have been adding a pic to the post it was tempting to make either Scarlet or Revival the top book just because the covers are so nice, but I have to be true!

Starting at the bottom…

AVENGERS #16 (Hickman / Spencer / Caselli / Martin) Marvel

Well, they can’t all be winners. Sigh. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love the Avengers. I have the full run… yes the FULL run, right back to 1963.

Last night I was trying to remember the last time the Avengers were as bad as they are now. Geoff Johns? Maybe not. Chuck Austen for sure.

Sigh.

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #17 (DeConnick / Buffagni / Woodard) Marvel

I don’t mind the story here but it isn’t enough to overcome the awful art. This AA / Captain Marvel crossover has made me want to cancel them both. In fact, they READ like books that are about to be cancelled, if that makes sense.

FABLES #131 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha) Vertigo

First off – great cover. One of many nice covers this week. The story is solid. The Brandish ‘surprise’ (which was telegraphed all through this issue) was interesting, but not as much as the Rose Red story. The only reason that this issue is so far down is that is seems more like a prelude to great things than great things itself.

ANIMAL MAN #22 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh / Francis Portela) DC

Steve Pugh’s depiction of the Red was really wonderful this issue! Maxine’s influence on the place is a welcome addition! It contrasted nicely with the brutal attack on Buddy. Of course you all knew exactly where the Cliff thing was going as soon as she started, but some lessons need to be learned, as the Shepherd pointed out. The villain reveal was great for fans of the old Teen Titans book… back when it was good.

ALL-NEW X-MEN #14 (Brian Michael Bendis / Stuart Immonen / Wade von Grawbadger / Marte Gracia) Marvel

Another striking cover. This issue was a good old fashioned super fight… but done really well. There was action, there were quips, there was plot advancement, there was villainous escapes and captures. Just a good comic for people who like old-school super-heroics.

WONDER WOMAN #22 (Brian Azzarello / Cliff Chiang) DC

And New Genesis joins the new DC Universe! I liked it! I wasn’t sure about Highfather being kind of a dick, but his last line showed that there are layers within layers here. Orion gets more characterization that works for him. Meanwhile, back on earth…

Good stuff. (despite still being the ‘first story’ on issue 22)

SCARLET #7 (Bendis / Maleev) Icon

This easily could have been the top book. I almost wanted to put in at #1 just because of the beautiful cover.

What stopped it from being #1 is that very little happened. It just happened very well, if you get what I am saying. The plot advanced in a very small way, but it a well-written, compelling and interesting fashion.

One of the best books going… but it just doesn’t come out often enough. Read the trades.

REVIVAL #12 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

First, let em do a little cut and paste: “This easily could have been the top book. I almost wanted to put in at #1 just because of the beautiful cover.”

I have been close to cancelling this book in the past. I felt it had a great high concept that was being squandered. Then it devolved into random racism that didn’t seem to advance the plot at it became a bit of a chore to read.

This issue feels like they finally got it right, end to end.The emotional impact on both sides was well presented. The potential story threads were laid out nicely. Even the racism angle seemed to have a point this time.

Good book. Now keep it up.

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #25 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

Is there a character that you really feel what he is going through more than Miles Morales? If there is, let me know because I want to read that book.

Why he doesn’t want to wear the costume makes perfect sense. Why others want him to wear the costume makes perfect sense. Why he would end up making the decision he makes, makes perfect sense.

Jessica Drew was REALLY good in this issue. I have not been a big fan of the Ultimate Spider-Woman because I am not a fan of the clone angle, but here it works to perfection.

If you aren’t reading Ultimate Spider-man, you are missing out on some of the best characterization in comics.

My top 5 books, in no particular order are: Ultimate Spider-Man, Saga, Hawkeye, Scarlet and… whatever I say at this point will be fairly random as there are a bunch. But that is my top 4 for sure. (I would add Joe the Barbarian, but it is hardly current. Hopefully Sandman: Overture will join this list in the fall.)


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: 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.


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