Rusty's World

Rusty’s Comic of the Week: RASL #13

February 26, 2012
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A good comic week and a good saturday in general.

 

RASL #13 (Jeff Smith) Cartoon Books

I don’t buy much in the way of indy books. Heck, it was only recently that I added Image to my consideration list. (I still thought of Image as Spawn and Youngblood. Ick.) Many years ago I went to San Diego Comic Con. I was hanging out with a retailer from Calgary, Mike Moynihan, and through him I met Mike and Laura Allred (of Madman and now iZombie fame). We ended up spending most of the week together. It was nice. They are good people.

It was Mike (Allred, not Moynihan) who said he had just picked up the first four issues of this cool new comic. He recommended I give it a try. It was called ‘Bone’.

What a wonderful book. It is one of my ALL-TIME favourites.

(Aside… it may be time to contact Linda Medley. Over the years I have created a string of book books directly recommended to me. Mike Moyniham got me to try Madman. It was awesome. Then Mike Allred, the creator of Madman, got me to give Bone a go. It was Amazingly Awesome. So I then asked Jeff Smith, creator of Bone, for a recommendation. He suggested Castle Waiting. The trend continues…)

Anyway, when I heard Jeff Smith was doing a new book, I had to pick it up. Now, is Rasl as good as Bone was? No… but it is still pretty darned good. Dimensional travel. Art theft. Weird kid. Love. Nicola Tesla. What’s not to like?

Highly recommended.

 

SECRET AVENGERS #23 (Remender / Hardman / Breitweiser) Marvel

From one of my least favourite books to the top part of the list in just a couple months! The .1 issue by Remender showed promise but there was still something missing. The official first issue (last issue) was strong, but I still had some gripes. THIS issue, on the other hand, was excellent!  I am still not totally down with Hawkeye’s characterization, but I think it is going to change (Beast’s talk with him and the fact that it NEEDS to change to get Agent Venom on the team).

Two things really stole the show in this book. Beast laying the verbal smackdown on Hank Pym (I like Pym, but this attitude SHOULD exist towards him.) and Ant-Man. I have never really cared for the new Ant-Man but this issue changed that… of course it may be too late. 🙂

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #7 (Bendis / Samnee / Ponsor) Marvel

Did I talk about Chris Samnee on this book already or I am just repeating what I said abut Amy Reeder on Batwoman? Normally I LOVE Samnee’s art. He was PERFECT on Cap & Bucky and I really loved his work on the old Ultimate Spidey book he did.

This time? Not so much.

I don’t know what it is. It is still well crafted but it just doesn’t seem to ‘fit’.

Still a strong book. The scenes where Miles is testing out his powers were great. The bit with Prowler and the Tinkerer were also really strong.

 

ALL-STAR WESTERN #6 (Jimmy Palmiotti / Justin Gray / Moritat / Phil Winslade) DC

A good book but the Batman refs are starting to get tiring. That underground tribe of people was just weird… and it felt pointless. The gun battle was cool and the teaser for next issue looks awesome! I am looking forward to New Orleans and a couple more classic DC western characters!

The back-up… well, I’ll just say that I am glad it is over. Hopefully I’ll dig the next one more.

 

FANTASTIC FOUR #603 (Hickman / Kitson / Mounts) Marvel

The most shocking thing in this issue? That letters praising the Bobillo art from FF.

I am not normally a big cosmic fan but this one was good. Clearing out the Kree and Inhumans while ramping up the Celestial / Galactus scrap was a good call. Looking forward to what happens next… which is something that wasn’t happening with the two FF books for a while.

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #26 (Gage / Grummett / Hamscher / Sotomayor) Marvel

Uh, what’s with the cover? Was it supposed to be for last issue? Jocasta is IN the book, but that is where the connection ends.

I enjoyed this. It was pretty talky but that works for me. I was kind of disappointed that at least one main character didn’t switch sides (either direction) just for drama value. I really hope they are wrong about the kid. I think having an organization like that which actually does those things and isn’t secretly evil would be awesome.

 

FURY OF FIRESTORM #6 (Ethan Van Sciver / Gail Simone / Yildiray Cinar / Norm Rapmund) DC

I have waffled on Firestorm, but I like the way it is going. The emotional wringer that they are going through (especially Ronnie) feels real. The cover reads ‘CONSEQUENCES’. I hope they follow through with that.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA & BUCKY #627 (Asmus / Brubaker / Francavilla) Marvel

I couldn’t care less. Since they left WW2 behind the book has been uninteresting (and the art is pretty weak at times). I am looking forward to the next iteration of this book.

 

AVENGERS SOLO #5 (Van Meter / Robinson / McCann / Kesel) Marvel

The credits on the cover don’t include the two incredibly awful pages by Declan Shalvey. Wow, do they suck.

Why can’t they make a decent Hawkeye comic. I feel dumber for having read this. Avengers Solo is the worst book I have read over the past year (and that INCLUDES Avengers X-Sanction.)

 

 

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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: The Unwritten #33.5

January 29, 2012
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After a week were just about every book was fighting for the top spots, this week was a lot more… sedate. Not bad comics, just not shining stars.

 

THE UNWRITTEN #33.5 (Carey / Gross / Locke) Vertigo

You want to hear effusive praise? It felt like I was reading an issue of Sandman.

What was most amazing about it is that everything was telegraphed but rather than that ruining the reveals it just me anticipate them more. I’ll admit that I don’t know how this issue ties in with the rest of the main story, but at the moment I don’t care. I am just enjoying the storytelling.

 

ALL-STAR WESTERN #5 (Justin Gray / Jimmy Palmiotti / Moritat / Phil Winslade) DC

Quite a disappointing issue for ASW, but the book is so good that it isn’t damning. The main story opened strong but there was very little suspense as the issue continued. The back up wasn’t stellar, but it made me want to read the next part, so that is saying something.

 

FANTASTIC FOUR #602 (Hickman / Kitson / Mounts) Marvel

This was a better read than I expected, but maybe it only seemed so good because I had just read FF. The story is continuing in a clearer fashion than usual. One question… why does Galactus have a big bowtie on his stomach?

I am not a big fan of the jerky / jump cut style of storytelling, but it didn’t bother me as much this time out.

 

SECRET AVENGERS #21.1 (Remender / Zircher / Troy) Marvel

This issue sets up Hawkeye as the new team lead and sets up the new Masters of Evil as the villains. I am looking forward to the new book, but this issue had some problems. Mostly, it gets the relationship between Captain America and Hawkeye a little backwards. This is what they were like towards each other a very long time ago, but they had moved well past it. They had become actual friends instead of this shadow-boxing semi-advesarial thing they have going on here. It didn’t read well.

I am REALLY looking forward to the new run… partially because Ellis is off the book and Rogers will be out of the book. (He was ALWAYS a bad fit here.)

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA & BUCKY #626 (Asmus / Brubaker / Francavilla) Marvel

This book has taken a slide since it left WW2 (and left Chris Samnee behind). The problem is I think that the Bill/Fred versions of Cap and Bucky were never that interesting. I am looking forward to the reworking of the book and Captain America & Hawkeye taking over.

 

THE ULTIMATES #6 (Hickman / Peterson / Ribic / Rauch / Delgado) Marvel

Some good character work here but this is more of that jerky style of writing that doesn’t suit my tastes. A perfect example is the scene at the very end of the book that is labelled as Black Widow (which is good because there is no other way to recognize her) with a little character piece that has no apparent relevance to the rest of the story. It feels tacked on.

 

THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #5 (Van Siver / Simone / Cinar / Rapmund) DC

I am almost surprised that I am still buying this book. There is just enough here to keep me interested… but I am getting kind of tired of there being so many Firestorms. The rapport between Jason and Ronnie is interesting and the terrorist Firestorm was disturbing. They get yet another issue out of me…

 

ALPHA FLIGHT #8 (Van Lente / Pak / Eaglesham / Aburtov) Marvel

And it ends again. Why can’t they make a really good AF comic? Check the line-up at the end. Notice anything?

 

FF #14 (Hickman / Bobillo / Sosa / Sotomayor) Marvel

What is Marvel thinking? Who thought they should keep having THIS calibre of art on the book? On ANY book? It is really awful and is making this book hard to read.

 

AVENGERS SOLO #4 (Van Meter / RObinson / McCann / Henry) Marvel

This book remind sme of the old Spotlight issues. They weren’t very good either.

The back-up is decent. That is the best I can say about this comic.

 


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Batwoman #5

January 15, 2012
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There was a lot of fighting this week… and some of it was pretty well done! Cutting another book this week… sadly. You will see.

BATWOMAN #5 (J.H. Williams III / W. Haden Blackman) DC

Williams is simply amazing. Every page is a work of art and all of it is DESIGNED rather than just drawn. He shows that some artists are not functioning to the level that they could be. It is beautiful stuff. Williams is subbing out for Amy Reeder Hadley next, I believe, but she is a great artist too! It will be interesting to see what she does while under the shadow of Williams.

The story is good too, but honestly, the art is almost TOO good to pay much attention to the story. 🙂 I like Bones so Batwoman’s new associates are very welcome.

THE UNWRITTEN #33 (Carey / Gross / Perker) Vertigo

As I said, a lot of fighting this week. Even The Unwritten involves a full frontal assault (albeit Dragoon-aided). Things are starting to be spelled out here and the ideas that come out of the workings of the Unwritten world work towards their ultimate conclusions… almost. The question is… why don’t they ‘write him out’?

BRILLIANT #2 (Bendis / Bagley) Icon

The quality of Scarlet got me to give Brilliant a try. It is very different but still well worth a read. The Bagley art and Bendis dialogue makes it feel like Peter Parker is going to wonder in any some point. The characters are strong and while the plot is unfolding slowly it is still keeping me hooked.

NEW AVENGERS #20 (Bendis / Deodato / Beredo) Marvel

So an issue that is just one long fight scene and drawn by Mike Deodato. Sounds like something I would slag, right? Well, I would have thought so, but this was a really entertaining comic! Deodato was nowhere near as bad as he normally is. The different characters were actually different and not cut-outs of each other! The only real thing I didn’t like came on the last page because I hate being reminded that such a stupid character exists.

ULTIMATE X-MEN #6 (Spencer / Medina / Barberi / Vlasco / Lokus) Marvel

First off, what is with that cover? When was the last time Kitty looked ANYTHING like that, it either world? Leaving that, Rogue redeemed herself as a character SOMEWHAT, but still has a ways to go. The surprise ending was something I projected before it happened, though I didn’t think they would admit it yet. I didn’t read Ultimate X-Men before the relaunch… so I don’t know how big a surprise that was.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #7 (Brubaker / Davis / Farmer / Martin) Marvel

The only thing I don’t like about this story is the seen-it-before syndrome. Cap losing his serum powers is a story I feel like I have read a few times already. It is working okay so far, and I quite like the Serpent Squad (though I would like to see the return of the Serpent Society). The new Cap book reads a bit like the old Mark Gruenwald issues and that is a very good thing. I think the Davis art really helps that feeling.

SECRET AVENGERS #21 (Ellis / Immonen / Von Grawbadger / Sotomayor) Marvel

Sigh. The best thing about this issue is the knowledge that it is Ellis’ last. I don’t dislike Ellis and I have liked SOME of his run (last issue was REALLY good) but his apparent dislike of Steve Rogers is really a problem for me. I tried to look at this issue two ways: once as is and once with a mental substitution of Nick Fury in for Steve Rogers. With that chane, the book was actually quite good. Fury was ruthless. Beast was his conscience. Rhodey was good. Natasha was good. Valkyrie was good.

But it wasn’t Fury. It was Rogers.

Look, I am NOT getting into a debate about torture. My problem is not about whether it is okay to torture someone or to casually discuss killing your own team without first trying to find a better way. My problem is that Steve Rogers WOULD NOT do those things. Beast was saying things that Rogers should have been saying.

Looking forward to Remender.

BATGIRL #5 (Gail SImone / Adrian Syaf / Vicente Cifuentes) DC

Neural implant surgery? In a tossed off line? You need to do better than that.

EXPLAIN WHY SHE IS WALKING. EXPLAIN WHY SHE CAN DO THINGS THAT NOBODY SHOUDL BE ABLE TO DO.

If you don’t do that, Gail, and soon, I am dumping this book. You are making those who complained about taking her out of the chair right.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #677 (Waid / Rios / J.Rod) Marvel

This is part one of a cross-over with Daredevil and it is written my Mark Waid, the DD writer, instead of Dan Slott. It feels like a fill-in. Quite disappointing. Also, I liked Rios’ art on the Osborne series but it doesn’t feel right here. The dialogue is light and playful and the art is dark and ominous. There is a disconnect.

SUICIDE SQUAD #5 (Adam Glass / Federico Dallocchio) DC

Someone tell me when this gets better. I’m not waiting anymore. (Bring back Ostrander! Or maybe Simone!)

Dropped.

AVENGERS SOLO #3 (Van Meter / Barrionuevo / McCann / Henry) Marvel

The back-up is good. The lead is not. I’ll run this out because I like the Avengers Academy story but I really wish it was McCann on the lead story.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: The Unwritten #13.5

November 27, 2011
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To kick off this week’s reviews I just wanted to share something that has been bothering me. When you have one of these blogs you get quite a variety of statistics that go with them. One of the things that shows up is a list of search terms that have led people to your blog. Well, over at Rusty the Poet I had a long discussion/argument/whatever about a reference to rape in a comic. Now I get constant hits from people searching out the terms ‘rape’ and ‘comics’ together.

What are all these people asking for ‘rape comics’ looking for? I am afraid I do not want to know.

Anyway… on to better things…

COMIC OF THE WEEK

THE UNWRITTEN #13.5 (Carey / Gross / Kaluta / Geary / Talbot) Vertigo

Recently I was talking about how the Unwritten was still good, but had slipped a little in recent times. Wow, what a turn around here!

The reason it is a ‘.5’ issue is that they are running a background mini-series in parallel to the main series (just like the Venom run from the last Marvel Solicits). These issues are fleshing out the background of the world the comic is set in. The first one of these was amazing! The stories give a lot of the feeling behind the book more oomph, plus a Rick Geary story! Sweet! Not to mention all the other amazing artists… check out that list above. Talbot… Kaluta… and Gross, of course.

This comic has renewed my enthusiasm for The Unwritten and is certainly strong enough to pick up Comic of the Week.

As always, the rest are in descending order of awesomeness.

All-Star Western #3 (Justin Gray / Jimmy Palmiotti / Moritat / Jordi Bernet) DC

I was just talking about this book with Kin down at Silver Snail. He was marvelling over how popular All-Star Western is, when really it isn’t much different than Jonah Hex was, which didn’t sell well at all. The DC relaunch has really given people a chance to see things that they wouldn’t have tried before.

Having said that, there ARE differences. The first is the continuing nature of the storyline. It doesn’t look like too many ‘one-and-done’ stories are coming, which doesn’t bother me either way. However, the connections with the modern DC universe are in danger of slipping from ‘cute’ into ‘annoying’. The fact that they are in Gotham and the doc is named Arkham is fine. The ‘this city will need a special kind of lawman in the future’, well… not so good.

Not enough to ruin the book, though. Moritat continues to impress (though I think he was better on The Spirit than this) and it is nice to see Jordi Bernet back, even though the Diablo story has not been too exciting.

Fantastic Four #600 (Hickman / Epting / Magyar / Mounts / Di Giandomenico / Yu / Dalrymple / Doyle) Marvel

This issue is not only #600, but it is the 50th Anniversary of what basically kicked off the Marvel universe (along with Spider-Man).

First off – let’s talk about the price. $7.99 is a lot for a single issue, but what you get here is 100 pages of new material – none of it filler. As comics have shrunk to 20 pages, that is like buying five comics which will run you from $15 – $20.

Then let’s talk about the big surprise. (Spoiler free) First off, was it a big surprise? I don’t think so. It is what I expected. HOWEVER, it was done VERY well and has me very interested in the next issue. FF has been lagging a bit for me and now there will be two books. My only question is whether you will need to read both to get the full story, or if you can just buy one of the other. It LOOKS like Fantastic Four will be the place to get the main group and FF will give you the kids etc. We’ll see.

Highs and lows… I LOVED the Franklin and Leech story and I wasn’t thrilled about the Inhumans story. All in all, a very good comic.

CAPTAIN AMERICA & BUCKY #624 (Brubaker / Andreyko / Samnee / Breitweiser) Marvel

This book reads like a sneak peak at the new Winter Soldier comic, which is cool. The only thing wrong with this is that it is the last by this creative team. Chris Samnee is off the book and that is a shame because I am a big fan. (He has an arc coming up in Ultimate Spider-man, I believe).

Where is this comic going from here? I thought it was going to be set in WW2, but apparently that is no more. I expect it will end up being cancelled. If it does, I hope the main Captain America book gets its numbering back. Maybe in time for #650? #700?

SECRET AVENGERS #19 (Ellis / Lark / Gaudino) Marvel

This is the second decent Secret Avengers issue in a row, after some absolutely horrible issues. I still can’t wait for Ellis to be out and Remender to be in. This is the sort of line-up that suits the book but Ellis has zero idea how to write Steve Rogers. It is distracting. (Again, not NEARLY as bad as his first two issues… in fact, I enjoyed it.)

ALPHA FLIGHT #6 (Van Lente / Pak / Eaglesham / Oback) Marvel

Is it odd that I pretty much cheer whenever Northstar gets to kiss a man? It is getting less unusual, but for YEARS after Northstar came out as gay, Marvel wouldn’t show him kissing a man. It was ridiculous hypocrisy and I am glad it is done with.

I have to admit that the kiss probably moved the book higher on this list than it would have been.

Two more issues until AF returns to the comics limbo from whence it sprung.

SUPERMAN #3 (George Perez / Nicola Scott / Trevor Scott) DC

I had recently been considering dropping this book, but this issue redeems itself somewhat. Perez is still unnecessarily wordy but the straight supervillain-style fight, mixed with the on-going alien sub plot is quite interesting. If you can get past the the reams of backstory at the beginning of the comic, the book gets quite good. (Better than the latest issue of Grant Morrison’s Action, that is for sure…)

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #3 (Peter Milligan / Mikel Janin) DC

Are they ever going to come up with an excuse why it says Justice League on the cover other than marketing? Probably not.

Great characters but the storyline is shaky. I hope they tighten it up a little bit as this story continues, or moves on to the next one.

THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #3 (Ethan Van Sciver / Gail Simone / Yildray Cinar) DC

Another book that is wavering for me. It survives another issue on the strength of… I’m not sure. I want to see the new Killer Frost. Helix was disappointing.

ULTIMATE COMICS HAWKEYE #4 (Hickman / Sandoval / Tarragona / Anderson) Marvel

Was this always a miniseries? The whole thing was just a sideplot for the Ultimates? Disappointing. I would have preferred it if Hulk could have stayed with the Eternals. (Or was it the Celestials?)

RASL #12 (Jeff Smith) Cartoon Books

I like this series, but when he spends too much time giving Tesla back story it drags a bit. This was one of those issues. Did you know it has been optioned as a movie? If they make it, I bet they change the name.

ANNIHILATORS EARTHFALL #3 (abnett / Lanning / Huat / Hennessy / Quintana) Marvel

I am not one who has drunk the Cosmic Marvel kool-aid, but I decided to buy this due to the Avengers appearance. The story is picking up interest, but the art is ugly. I mean REALLY bad. It distracts from the story quite a bit.

AVENGERS SOLO #2 (Van Meter / Robinson / McCann / Henry) Marvel

I am a big Hawkeye fan which tells you that I mean it when I say that this comic is a mess. What is going on in the lead story? If you know, you are a better person than I am. Should I have gone back and reread the first issue? Who are the bad guys? Who are the good guys? I have compeltely lost track.

The Avengers Academy back-up was good.

AVENGERS ORIGINS: SCARLET WITCH & QUICKSILVER (McKeever / Pierfederici / Tartaglia) Marvel

These series of one-shots has been hit or miss, and this one was a very big miss. The story added nothing to the existing origin, other than modernizing the setting a bit. Adding that they had hints about their parentage was a big mistake that goes against the strength of the first Vision & Scarlet Witch mini. The art was not very strong. Overall, a weak comic. Hopefully the next one (Thor) will be better.

That’s it for this week. A big one, though not as strong as last week. (The Unwritten was sure great though…)