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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Fairest #3

May 15, 2012
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As is the norm, here are all the comics I got this week, in ascending order of quality.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA & HAWKEYE #630 (Bunn / Vitti / Tartaglia) Marvel

When Captain America became Captain America & Bucky, it was  a good comic. WW2 stories drawn by Chris Samnee. How could you go wrong? Then it jumped forward to the 50’s and the quality went off a cliff. I stuck with it, despite it being terrible, because I heard it was going to switch to a new arc specific team-up format, starting with Hawkeye. I am a big fan of Hawkeye and this sounded great.

It isn’t. It isn’t quite as bad as the last arc, but it isn’t much better. I think this will be my last issue of this.

 

BATGIRL #9 (Gail Simone / Ardian Syaf / Vicente Cifuentes) DC

I loved Secret Six. I considered Gail Simone one of my favourite writers based on that. I also really like Barbara Gordon. In fact, she is the only Batgirl I have ever really liked. But this book just isn’t great. We have held on longer than I would have because I want to support female characters, but this issue hits a new low by being a forced tie-in to a crossover I have no interest in. I am not buying any of the BatMAN books (I am buying this and Batwoman), until Inc. comes back. I heard how much depth there was with this villain. Sorry. It didn’t do anything for me. I guess I need to care about the hero before I care about the villain and there is no connection between the Barbara in this book and the well developed character of Oracle. In fact, THIS Batgirl may as well be Stephanie.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #11 (Brubaker / Zircher / Mounts) Marvel

Now THIS is a better Cap book. I love how Brubaker switched from a spy-style book to a superhero style book by switching from Barnes to Rogers. The art is a step down from Alan Davis, but it is still solid, for the most part. The only thing I didn’t like is the nature of this new Scourge. The old Scourge was awesome but this one seems to be working FOR villains, which really takes away some of his appeal.

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #7 (K.Immonen / S.Immonen / von Grawbadger / Hollingsworth) Marvel

If you are going to do a one and done story… make it fun, and the Immonens do just that. Don’t think too hard about how easily Bast was tricked. Just enjoy the good old-fashioned superhero romp that somehow included She-Hulk growing a tail. The interplay between the two heros made this book, pure and simple.

 

NEW AVENGERS #26 (Bendis / Deodato / Beredo) Marvel

This book looks nice, which is something I wouldn’t have said about a Deodato book before the last couple of issues. The cover has absolutely zero to do with the story inside, but I think it may be foreshadowing. Connecting Phoenix to Kun Lun (which is NOT retconning) is an interesting twist, but it seems like a book such as the New Avengers should be a little closer tied in to the main AVX story. We’ll see how it plays out.

 

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #3 (Bendis / Bagkey / Miki / Mounts) Marvel

Two Bendis books in a row. I like the Avengers books and the direction that Bendis has gone in the main books… but I will say that this one FEELS more like an Avengers book than the other ones. I keep expecting Gyrich to show up. This is a fun book for the old school Avengers fan.

 

ULTIMATES #10 (Hickman / Humphries / Ross / Milla) Marvel

I have made no secret that I am not the biggest Hickman fan and previous issues of this book were sliding down and down. This issue is a nice reversal of the trend. The opening with the various people in Washington was really well done. The impact of what happened could really be felt. Thor’s frustration – Iron Man, Fury… everybody was note perfect. Let’s hope they can actually continue this for a change.

 

iZOMBIE #25 (Chris Roberson / Michael Allred) Vertigo

This is almost over and Roberson has responded by taking his ball and going home. I have absolutely zero problem with Roberson deciding to not work for DC any more. Acting like it is some big moral high ground on the other hand is pretty dodgy. If you don’t like the deal DC offers, don’t take it. Go to Image. Just don’t try to pretend that they are somehow obligated to offer a better deal. Just don’t take it. If enough top creators go elsewhere, things will change. Again though, the money part of the industry is just business. Nothing else.

Oh, the book is good. It is a little late to convince anyone to start reading it, but go ahead and get the trades.

 

THIEF OF THIEVES #4 (Kirkman / Spencer / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

Speaking of Image… I am really enjoying this one. It is unfolding really slowly, but every issue seems to give us one more layer. The design of the book is stylish and unique. Not much else to say here, other than I want to get to know this characters more.

 

FAIREST #3 (Willingham / Jimenez / Lanning / Farmer) Vertigo

Issue #1 was comic of the week. Issue #2 was packed with a long sexist drivel rant. Issue #3 is comic of the week again. Please Willingham, don’t trot that misogynist tripe back out in issue #4.

Beautiful book, as always. The new reading of the Sleeping Beauty story is very well done. The imp is plotting to perfection.

Oh, and the cover… This is an incredibly beautiful piece of art… until the bottom quarter. It isn’t the cleavage… it is the way it is displayed. It is like you crossed a wonderful drawing of the Snow Queen with Power Girl.


Rusty’s Comic of the (two) Week(s): The Unwritten #36

April 15, 2012
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I would go and try to figure out which was my top book from each week, but I don’t feel like trying to find out which books came out in which week.

 

And who cares, really?

 

Trying something new this week. I always list the books from the best to the worst. Ruthanne thinks it would read better if I go from the worst to the best.

I think that is just because that is the order she reads them. Regardless, if you have a preference, o loyal reading public, let me know.

 

BATWOMAN # 8 (J.H. Williams III / W.Haden Blackman / Amy Reeder / Rob Hunter) DC

From best to worst in such a short time. This may be a little repetitive from earlier reviews, but here goes. Amy Reeder is a great artist. Her work on Madame Xanadu was stellar. When it was announced that she would be the ‘alt’ artist on Batwoman, I was thrilled. It would be very different from Williams, but I thought it would be a great contrast.

Those at DC thought differently. They brought her in and then tried to get her to draw like Williams. Since Williams as now the writer, my guess is that he uses full script and told Reeder how the pages should look. The end result is just awful. Instead of getting great Williams art or great Reeder art we get this absolute mess. The cover was nice. That’s about it.

On top of that, the writing is not good. Williams is not a very good writer. His phenomenal art has hid this… but now it is out there for all to see. (This sounds like the early days of Image, no?)

So why I am not cancelling this? Reeder is out (and she made no bones about how much she disliked working on the book). Trevor McCarthy is taking over and I am told that his esthetic is much like Williams’ anyway, so it should jell better. We’ll give it a try.

 

NIGHT FORCE #2 (Marv Wolfman / Tom Mandrake) DC

I was so excited when they announced this book. I love the IDEA of Night Force, with Baron Winter and his magic house. The first issue was a mess, however. It was confusing and did not do anything to keep me interested. In the interest of HOPING the book would get better, I stuck around for issue #2. It DID get better… but not enough. It reads like a book summary, if that makes sense.

Dropped.

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #6 (Rucka / Waid / Checchetto / Hollingswoth) Marvel

I nearly dropped this one but Ruthanne tells me that she enjoys it. This book crosses over with Daredevil and Punisher. Guess which two books I don’t buy? Shayne endorses both, so do I let this suck me in and buy them?

The real thing that gets me to consider dropping the book is that for the most part these stories feel like they don’t matter. I straight ahead superhero book in isolation isn’t enough for me. I have read thousands of those. I like the on-going stores that move from one to the other… and for Spider-Man, I quite enjoy Slott’s book. This one… well, just doesn’t have that.

Oh well. Sticking around for now.

 

THUNDERBOLTS #172 (Parker / Shalvey / Bellaire / Sotomayor) Marvel

Ruthanne would prefer I cancel this one, but I am sticking it out. So this is the big 15 year anniversary, with art by… Declan Shalvey? Really? I enjoy the story, which is good because the art is pretty awful. Good thing they got the anniversary celebration sin before the book is cancelled (and relaunched as Dark Avengers). I have a newsflash for Marvel… the book doesn’t sell poorly because it doesn’t say Avengers on the cover. It sells poorly because you don’t give it a decent artist to push it with.

(As an aside, I have been given the impression that none other than Declan himself has read one of my reviews where I slam his work. I am truly sorry about that. I am a creator as well and when I read reviews that rip me apart it hurts. But I don’t think I should lie about what I think of the book for that reason… so I am sorry. I wished I liked it more, but I don’t.)

 

iZOMBIE #24 (Chris Roberson / Jim Rugg) Vertigo

A non-Allred issue. When the fill-in was J.Bone, that was pretty cool. This issue… not so much. The art is fine, but it just makes me wish it was still Allred instead of being a nice change of pace.  This feels like a ‘marking time’ issue, which is odd as they race towards the finale in a few months (Vertigo has cancelled the book due to poor sales). I normally quite like iZombie, but this issue just didn’t wow me. Still good, just not great.

 

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #2 (Bendis / Bagley / Miki / Mounts) Marvel

The Avengers book that just ‘happens’ to match the cast of the upcoming movie. Based on that, I wouldn’t buy it, but it is still Bendis and Bagley. It is a pretty fun read. It is one of those ‘old-school’ superhero books that I enjoy. I think it is Bagley that make sit feel that way. That and the Zodiac.

Not much to say. A fun book in the old Marvel style.

 

SECRET AVENGERS #25 (Remender / Hardma / Breitweiser) Marvel

A solid read. The only thing that bothered me is that the fast little teleport out seems like it could have been used last issue to avoid the beatings they kept taking. Venom gets to prove his worth to Hawkeye, which is important for the book going forward. Ant-Man did as well, with a hearty ‘BUT…’ to follow. New villains turn into a ‘thing’ rather than just a one-off. A nice teaser at the end.

What’s not to like?

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #683 (Slott / Caselli / Martin Jr.) Marvel

This book is WAY better than the Avenging version. The story here is really top notch. (As long as the world doesn’t KEEP buying into DocOck’s lies. He pretty clear acts villainous in front of the world leaders.)  The fight with the Avengers and the Sinister Six was exciting, and the way Spidey held his own was well thought on (by Peter and Dan).

My only real problem is that fugly costume Spidey is wearing as part of the story. I am looking forward to that being done with. You know those times when you read old comics and discover little blips where Cap or Thor or whoever are wearing some ridiculous ‘new’ costume that vanishes quickly after? This storyline will be THAT one day.

 

Note to Dan Slott. Forget Bendis. This book ‘matters’.

 

WINTER SOLDIER #4 (Brubaker / Guice / Gaudino / Breitweiser) Marvel

I am enjoying this book. The spy stuff is cool, but we are also reminded that the conceit that the world thinks Bucky is dead will stretch credibility if they continue it too long. Any book with Red Ghost and his super-apes has got to be good, and duelling Doctor Dooms is fun. (Though I am not quite down with Bru’s take on Doom’s dialogue. He comes across as delusional rather than insufferably confident.)

 

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #1 (Benids / Romita / Hanna / Martin) Marvel

Quick question… what is with that AR that appears on a bunch of pages? It is really distracting.

Well, this was a LOT better than that pretty bad issue #0. It sets the stage pretty nicely. I expected to take the side of the X-Men (I much prefer the Avengers books, but the way this story was laying out, thy are a little too ‘establishment’), but it didn’t go that way at all. Cyclops is an asshole. Everything that happens here on out is because his first reaction was to shoot rather than talk.

Good work by Romita. Better than we have seen from him in quite some time.

 

FAIREST #2 (Willingham / Jimenez / Lanning) Vertigo

I loved issue #1, so why has #2 dropped so far? The art is still beautiful and the story is still interesting…. but that imp has gotten REALLY annoying. Willingham is using him as a way to explain things that doesn’t read like it is to the characters. It is to the reader. Sloppy. (Plus, that long diatribe against the physical capabilities of women in a book meant to spotlight women? Really out of place. Not quite to the level of Fables #50 when Willingham turned the book into an anti-Palestine rant that was pretty darned offensive, but it follows that path…)

 

BATGIRL #8 (Simone / Syaf / Martinez / Cifuentes) DC

From nearly cancelled to flying up the list in one issue! Finally Simone deals with the shooting in a way that doesn’t insult the intelligence of the reader. She still doesn’t adequately explain how you can go from wheelchair bound to superheroics, but the story of how she was saved from bleeding to death on the floor really worked for me. After the terrible characterization of the Batgirl/ Black Canary meeting, this issue made me actually care about he characters. Well done.

 

SWAMP THING #8 (Scott Snyder / Yanick Paquette / Marco Rudy) DC

From a book moving up to a book sliding down.  I am sure this is just an aberration, because most of the reason this book isn’t as high as normal is that it reads like a transition. Look, Alec is Swamp Thing now! He is really strong and tough! He could beat the rotting animals in a fistfight! But how will he deal with Abby?

When I read this I remember thinking that by the end Paquette was really rushed. I double-checked the credits and saw that it was really because it wasn’t Paquette. Rudy is just not as good. (Not terrible or anything, but Paquette’s art is one of the things that makes ST so great usually). Normally I think Swamp Thing is better than Animal Man (its sister title). Not this month.

 

BRILLIANT #3 (Bendis / Bagley) Icon

It is really hitting the fan now.The ‘you-have-to-give-the-money-back’ was a little bit of over-the-top moralizing, but other than that, it read well. I liked the way it was the challenge that really inspired Albert. Good read. Not much else to say here.

 

SAUCER COUNTRY #2 (Paul Cornell / Ryan Kelly) Vertigo

I liked this issue better than the first, in some ways. THe discussions about anal rape, didn’t thrill me, but they were not done in an exploitative manner. The characters worked a lot better for me this issue, but the rape stuff just makes it a little harder to say I ‘enjoyed’ the comic. We’ll see how it plays out.

 

THIEF OF THIEVES #3 (Kirkman / Spencer / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

I really like the style of this book. Ruthanne had complained that only female characters are only there in relation to the male, but he IS the main character. I think she’ll like the cop in this book. She is pretty solid. Apparently AMC has optioned this nook. I guess the Kirkman name is a selling point now. I think I like i tmore due to Spencer and Martinbrough.

 

THE NEW AVENGERS #24 (Bendis / Deodato / Conrad / Beredo) Marvel

Let’s get this out of the way: that cover is terrible. I am not a big Deodato fan at the best of times but this is bad even for him. The story, however, it really strong. This is an AvX tie-in, but the real strength and meat of the book is the Cage / Jones / Danielle storyline. It just reads so real. There is a lot of hate for Jessica Jones on the internet, but in my opinion that is mostly from people who don’t like when women in comics actually act like people instead of fantasy archetypes. The story is believable in every aspect of it.

Forget the AvX stuff (though it works in this book), just read a damn good comic.

 

ANIMAL MAN #8 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh / Travel Foreman / Jeff Huet) DC

This is the issue where Steve Pugh takes over for Travel Foreman. I approve. Mostly, though, it is the story that makes this one so good. The feeling of fear, terror. and generally disturbing unease FILLS this book. The scenes will Maxine (both ‘before’ and ‘after’) were chilling. Is this the best book that DC is putting out? I would have said no a month or so ago, but this issue was REALLY well done. Two thumbs up.

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #28 (Gage / Moline / Fern / Sotomayor) Marvel

It is hard to talk about this book too much without giving everything away, but the scene where the characters get to see INTO the other characters was very powerful. EVERY character seems better now than they did before. I love the new interaction between AA and the Runaways as long as they continue it and this isn’t just lip service. The post-revelation reactions were very moving.

Just a good comic. (The art could be better, but what can I say…)

 

SAGA #2 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

I loved the first issue. I love the second issue. BUY THIS BOOK. The last page alone makes me anxious for issue #3!

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #9 (Benids / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

What do you do with this book when Pichelli is not on it? If you answer Chris Samnee (as it has been in the past), well that is a very good answer, But if you say David Marquez, that may be even better! This book was great from end to end, story, art, everything. The scene with Miles and the cop were great. The scene with Prowler and Scorpion were great. The scene with Miles and his roommates were VERY great.

If you aren’t buying Ultimate Spider-Man, but only question is….why?

 

THE UNWRITTEN #36 (Carey / Gross / Dayglo) Vertigo

A week (or two) with Sage and an excellent issue of Ultimate Spider-man yet the Unwritten makes it to the top? You bet! The best issues of this book, easily, have been the ‘stairway’ issues and this one is no exception. Pauly and the Tinker are excellent characters and they work well together. The end reminds me of the old Sandman arc, Game of You, and that is high praise… yet it isn’t over! I can’t wait for issue #37!!!

 

 

What a great batch of comics.

So, which format do you like better? Best first or best last?


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Saga #1

March 21, 2012
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I am really late on this post because my weekend was crazy. Awesomely crazy. I spent all day Saturday at my annual strat draft, followed by a successful night playing poker. Sunday I featured at Dusty Owl.

 

So I didn’t get my comics until Sunday and then last night I had a VERSeFest meeting and I have been swamped.

 

Here they are, in order from best to… least best. 🙂

 

SAGA #1 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

I am ON the Saga fan train! I have drunk the kool-aid and it was GOOD! Everything about this comic was great! Great story, great art, great value. Both main characters are interesting. The support characters are interesting. EVERY character felt like they WERE someone, not just scene filler.

I read one review that said the breast feeding was gratuitous and that it was somehow sexist to make the female so strong.

Needless to say, I do not give that review any credence whatsoever. Both complaints are absolute rubbish.

I know this is sold out everywhere, but if you didn’t get it, buy the reprint. Trust me. Soon we will be say that Y, the Last Man is that old comic by the guy from Saga.

 

THE UNWRITTEN #35 (Carey / Gross / Perker) Vertigo

Remember how I said that Saga was such a great value? Unwritten was $2 more than Saga, for no more comic. It was really good though! This is what everything has been building up to! But it isn’t over. I am REALLY looking forward to the fall out from this one.

I am a big Fables fan, but I have to admit that the Unwritten has become the best Vertigo book. It is consistently good.

 

SAUCER COUNTRY #1 (Paul Cornell / Ryan Kelly) Vertigo

This week is just amazing! Not only did we get the first issue of Saga, but the latest Vertigo offering is Saucer Country. Now this book is not quite as strong as Saga, but that isn’t taking anything away from it. The only character I didn’t like is that republican strategist. I know here are people like that but being willing to listen to someone who says those things without immediately throwing them out on their ear does not say much for the main character. It was kind of disgusting.

 

THIEF OF THIEVES #2 (Kirkman / Spencer / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

Ruthanne doesn’t like this comic. We don’t always agree. 🙂

This is just a good week for characters as I go back to that well again. Even with only small glimpses into their lives, these all seem like REAL, fully formed people. The art wasn’t quite as good as issue #1, but I really like the DESIGN of the book, so the artist gets some credit there. The layouts are interesting and evocotive. Where he falls is the simple skills, like faces. They aren’t terrible or anything but the craft doesn’t seem to keep up with the art, if you know what I am saying.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #9 (Brubaker / Davis / Farmer / Martin) Marvel

Another solid issue by Bru and Davis. This reads like a Gruenwald issue, and that is high praise. The inclusion of villains like Machinesmith and the Serpent Squad sure helps that comparison. Is Crossbones going to show up next?

 

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #1 (Bendis / Bagley / Miki / Mounts) Marvel

Just like Cap and Avengers Academy, I get a real retro vibe out of this. Good old fashion superhero fun! I like lots of other stuff (see above) but this is the kind of book that turned me into a comic fan in the first place, lo so many moons ago. (I have been buying comics for…28 years.)

 

AVENGERS #24 (Bendis / Acuna) Marvel

Did people who weren’t long time Avengers fans like this book as much as I did? Beating Osborne would seem a little anti-climactic if it weren’t for the history that goes with it. “He has the super-adaptoid powers? No problem. We know how to beat that.”

As always, the Acuna art is excellent. The only thing I didn’t like about this was stuff that isn’t even in this… the news that Thunderbolts is morphing into Dark Avengers with some of the lame versions of characters from this book. Some are okay, but anything that has the Thor clone drops five notches in my estimation.

 

BATWOMAN #7 (J.H. Williams III / W.Haden Blackman / Amy Reeder) DC

Sigh. I have heard why this book does not showcase the amazing Amy Reeder that was so great on Madame Xanadu. Apparently the powers that be are trying to make her draw like Williams, which just makes her not fully realize the work on her own. Too bad. She is off the book now (sounds like it was a pretty awful experience and her leaving was very mutual). All I know about her replacement is the rumour that the got a Williams wannabe to be his fill in.

Is it too much to hope that they get a better writer and put Williams back doing the amazing art he excels at?

 

FANTASTIC FOUR #604 (Hickman / Epting / Magyar / Mounts) Marvel

Well that was.. something. The story is over, I guess. The Galactus thing was cool but a big seeming sacrificial scene where nothing was sacrificed? Using a character that we have no investment in anyway?

I am done. Book dropped.

 

BATGIRL #7 (Gail Simone / Ardian Syaf / Vicent Cifuentes) DC

So, if I am dropping Fantastic Four, why I am I keeping Batgirl when I have it rated lower? Mostly because I want to support them publishing female characters (of a different sort than Catwoman). I have also been a fan of Gail Simone and I hope she can turn it around… but this was the worst issue of the run. The characterization of Batgirl and Black Canary was really… off. (That slap was just stupid.)

Simone has received praise for keeping Killing Joke at the forefront of the comic. Personally, every time I see a mention of it, I am reminded of how much I dislike the sloppy, mishandled reasoning behind Babs walking again. Moreover, I am reminded of how much better a character she was as Oracle and what a terrible mistake they made by switching her back.  When the announcement was made, I had faith in Gail Sim one. That faith is gone.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: The Unwritten #34

February 13, 2012
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Solid, though relatively small, week. The battle for the top spot was TIGHT!

Though there was one BIG disappointment.

 

THE UNWRITTEN #34 (Carey / Gross / Perker) Vertigo

A strong issue clear through. I really liked how the heroes weren’t stupid just to make the trap better. It seems the cover should be for NEXT issue rather than this one. I foudn the art wasn’t as tight as usual, but no real complaints. I REALLY wanted to see what Tom pulled out of that mouth. Guess not…

 

THIEF OF THIEVES #1 (Kirkman / Spencer / Martinborough / Serrano) Image

This was REALLY close to taking the #1 spot, and I hadn’t even ordered it! It was a small enough week that I took a chance on a book I had heard good things about, and I am sure glad I did! The art is really nice and the story has just enough of a hook to keep me waiting for the next issue. Not a super-power in sight…

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #8 (Brubaker / Davis / Farmer / Martin) Marvel

The new Cap series, especially since Alan Davis joined, feels like a throwback to the 80’s for me, and that is a good thing. It feels like Mark Gruenwald could have been writing it. This and Avengers Academy are the books that seem like they remember what comics were like BEFORE the 90’s damn near destroyed the industry for me.

 

BATGIRL #6 (Gail Simone / Ardian Syaf / Vicente Cifuentes) DC

A pleasant surprise. This book has been annoying me with Gail Simone’s refusal to address the massive elephant that has been in the roof since the series was announced… and it still annoys me. The interplay between Batgirl and Batman made this issue very enjoyable, though. I especially like the way Batgirl was concerned with the villain. Sure the parallels were a little sledgehammerish, but they worked.

 

SECRET AVENGERS #22 (Remender / Hardman / Breitweiser) Marvel

This was mostly quite good. Another ‘throwback’ style comic, like Captain America. but a couple of things didn’t sit well. Has Captain Britain been that obnoxious for a while? I sure don’t remember him that way. Plus, while the ‘provocative clothing’ comment didn’t seem unrealistic, it also rubbed me he wrong way. I realize they were making fun of the terrorists, rather than muslims in general… but still.

 

BATWOMAN #6 (J.H. Williams III / W. Haden Blackman / Amy Reeder / Richard Friend / Rob Hunter) DC

This was a disappointment, in a lot of ways. Look, Batwoman has been CotW around these parts. Let’s be honest, J.H. Williams III is probably the best comic designer in the business right now. I like what some other artists do in the way of design (Marco Martin’s two-page Spidey back-ups leap to  mind) but Williams is the best.

MEANWHILE, when they announced Amy Reeder (has she dropped the Hadley?) was going to alternate arcs with Williams and there was consternation and gnashing of teeth, it didn’t come from here. Her work on Madame Xanadu was exemplary. A book that alternates between these two great artists has to be great, right?

Right?

Here’s the thing… the story is not strong. The Batwoman that was brilliant had Williams drawing over Rucka’s story. Now it is Williams and Blackman doing the story and I think the amazing art has been hiding a fairly lacklustre script. On top of that… this isn’t the Madame Xanadu Amy Reeder. Her action scenes are weak and what amazed me the most… her faces were not crisp. That was one of her strengths before!

I don’t get it. The book isn’t bad, but it was disappointing enough to drop to the bottom of the list.

 

VERTIGO PREVIEW 2012 (Lots of people) Vertigo

It is here because it isn’t a satisfying read, but… there are four previews and here is my take and how this preview has netted them some sales.

DOMINIQUE LAVEAU: VOODOO CHILD (Selwyn Seyfu Hinds / Denys Cowan / John Floyd)

I was not impressed with the preview. I found it jerky (which is a trait I find in lost of comics these days… a trait I don’t like) Ruthanne liked it hough and we are going to give it a shot… at least for a trial run.

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

I quite liked this one, The premise is interesting and the art flows nicely. The characters have enough to get me to want more… and the preview was timed at quite well. We are adding it.

SAUCER COUNTRY (Paul Cornell / Ryan Kelly)

Sold. Nice story. Interesting characters. I want more.

FAIREST (Bill Willingham / Phil Jimenez / Andy Lanning)

This is the only one we were already down for… and it was the best preview. I am looking forward to it.

 


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: Batwoman #4

December 18, 2011
1 Comment

This was a very solid week! In fact, the decision to make Batwoman the comic of the week was far from a sure thing due to the strong showings by a few other books!

BATWOMAN #4 (J.H. Williams III / W. Haden Blackman) DC

The dichotomy of the Flamebird fight and the Kate / Maggie (ahem) tussle was really well done. The art was just beautiful, as always.

One thing I found interesting about this issue centres around gender. If this had been BATMAN, and the Flamebird incident had happened, people would be calling it Woman-in-the-refrigerator syndrome. Is it not so because Kate is a woman? Why should that matter?

I happen to thing the syndrome is overblown. Are women portrayed well in comics. Often, no. That doesn’t mean that you can handcuff a writer by not allowing any bad things to happen to female characters. If it is done well, it is done well. If it is done badly…well…

CotW was a close call, though…

AVENGERS ACADEMY #23 (Gage / Raney / Hanna / Sotomayor) Marvel

Yes! This whole book was elevated by one scene.  I am not worrying about spoilers here because Axel Alonso had already blown it, but it turns out that Striker thinks he is gay. That alone is just a story point but the conversation between him and Lightspeed is very well done. His uncertainty compared with Lightspeed… well it just works. Some are complaining that his history of sexual abuse makes this a cliche, but the hell with that. Children are sexually abused. They even address the fact that this did NOT ‘turn him gay’.

The rest of the comic was fine, but it is that one scene that nearly made in CotW.

Oh, Tom Grummett takes over on art next issue! Excellent!

THE UNWRITTEN #32 (Carey / Gross / Perker) Vertigo

Another close one! This wasn’t as good as issue 31.5, but that’s okay. The struggle in the cold stayed interesting as did the meeting of the cabal. I hope that isn’t the last we will see of Frankie for a while.

BATGIRL #4 (Gail Simone / Ardian Syaf / Vicente Cifuentes) DC

I WANT to put this lower on the list, but I just can’t. It was too good an issue. So why do I want to put it lower? It is the way Simone is toying with the readers by not telling them why Gordon is walking again. It is coming off as cheap. Actually, it almost seems like she is stalling while she comes up with a good story.

All that aside. Good issue. Good characterization. Good art. Just good comics.

ULTIMATE X-MEN #4 (Spencer / Medina / Vlasco / Gracia) Marvel

After I read this I thought it would be higher… but the week was just too good. The characterization of Kitty was really strong here. I don’t believe for a second that Rogue is a traitor… but I would almost rather she was instead of being the god-squadder that was implied recently. We’ll see.

NEW AVENGERS (Bendis / Deodato / Bereto) Marvel

No, I don’t like Deodato, but that is not why the book got a weak rating from me. No, it is just one of those transition episodes where nothing much happens but it is needed to get from one plot point to the next. No great criticism, but neither am I going to say it is a great issue. The scene between Squirrel Girl and Daredevil was funny, though.

SUICIDE SQUAD #4 (Adam Glass / Federico Dallocchio) DC

Hey, Suicide Squad isn’t last! Woo-hoo! The story is better, in general, but it doesn’t really flow well. It his some good beats, though the betrayal of Boomer was too sudden with no build up. Dropping us right in was a bad move this time out. The set-up for the next issue would have been interesting with…yes… a bit more set up. Glass is trying to be Grant Morrison… and I don’t really like the jerky style even when Morrison does it.

AVENGERS: X-SANCTION #1 (Jeph Loeb / Ed McGuinness / Dexter Vines / Morry Hollowell) Marvel

Wow. Bad story. Crappy art. At this point I am just hoping they get it together somehow. Does this lead into Avengers vs X-Men?

Leave Cable dead. He is a boring character that should have stayed in the 90’s.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Ultimate Spider-Man #4

November 12, 2011
5 Comments

So here is my first week of comics for the new blog…. are you excited yet? Ready?

Every week, as I read the comics I rank them, so Ruthanne can save the best for last. So here are the books I bought, from best to worst… (though if I really thought something was going to be bad, I wouldn’t have bought it…

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #4 (Bendis/Pichelli/Ponsor) Marvel

Man, do I love this comic. Since the relaunch it has been my favourite book being published… probably since Joe the Barbarian (a Grant Morrison Vertigo book which I absolutely loved).

The characterization of Miles Morales is excellent. There are a lot of people who could take lessons from Brian Bendis on how to write youth. I LOVE that the new Spidey is non-white and I love that it isn’t the only thing that makes him who he is. He is as well-rounded a character as you can find after only four issues.

I really like the art as well, but I understand Chris Samnee will be doing some issues and that is something I can really get behind. I am a big fan.

This issue finally starts to create a connection between Morales and Peter Parker. Guilt is an amazing motivator…

BATWOMAN #3 (J.H. Williams III, W. Haden Blackman) DC

I am normally a ‘story-first’ guy, but it is the art the makes this book special. Williams doesn’t blow me away as a writer but this is the best designed comic on the shelves. Every page is beautiful.

The story has not been as strong since Rucka left, but it gets by on the strength of so many great characters. Kate Kane, Flamebird, Maggie Sawyer, Chase… good stuff.

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #1 (Zeb Wells, Joe Madureira, Ferran Daniel) Marvel

Spider-man has always been one the best characters in comics, but he has been horribly written at times. Right now is an embarrassment of riches for a Spider-man fan. Ultimate is one of the best books on the rack. Amazing is in the midst of a great run by Dan Slott, and now this. I am not a huge Madureira fan normally, but this art is pretty solid. Even Rulk, who I am not a fan of, works.

This cook is basically the return of Marvel Team-Up with an Avengers reference in the title to make it sell.

I’m sold.

(I dislike that it comes in a bag, though. I know why, but its still wasteful packaging…)

BATGIRL #3 (Gail Simone, Adrian Syaf, Vicente Cifuentes) DC

A great character. A great writer. A great art team. An interesting new villain and intriguing co-star. What’s not to like?

Well, to start with, three issues in without an explanation as to how she got out of the wheelchair. Oracle was one of the most original characters in comics, and Babs is the only good Batgirl, in my opinion, but we need to understand how she got out of the chair. This is a really big deal and the longer Simone draws it out, the tougher a sell it will be.

It had better be something ‘comic-booky’. Magic hopefully. If she claims that she just has good recuperative powers or whatever it will be a pretty big insult to people who really suffer from severe injuries of that nature. I’m still on board to find out…

THE UNWRITTEN #31 (Carey/Gross/Perker) Vertigo

This has been Vertigo’s top book of late, but it seems to have lost some steam. I don’t know what it is, but now that Tom has a magic wand and can cast his Potter… I mean, Taylor spells… well, let’s just say I hope the book won’t keep meandering as it has been.

It used to be that this would be higher on this list. Hopefully it can get back there. Still worth reading.

THE NEW AVENGERS #18 (Bendis/Deodato/Beredo) Marvel

Other than Avengers 1959 (yeah, yeah) I still collect all the Avengers books, but even if I didn’t, I would get the Bendis ones. His grasp on the team is solid, and his Norman Osborne is excellent. The new Dark Avengers he assembled has me a little worried, since most of the characters he brought together are from books I didn’t care for. The big exception are the ones from the Osborne mini, and the magic shape changing Spider-dude was a bit of a stretch.

Still, I want to know what happens next.

But, MAN do I dislike Mike Deodato’s art! It is a good thing the new team has women with different hair colours, otherwise I couldn’t tell them apart. Also, I assume that is Gorgon pretending to be Wolverine, but how could you tell except by process of elimination?

AVENGERS ORIGINS: VISION (Higgins/Siegel/Perger) Marvel

After the pleasant surprise of how good the Ant-Man & Wasp issue was, my hopes for this rose. I am a big Vision fan (his first appearance was my first ‘important’ back issue that I bought when I was putting together my Avengers collection as a teenager), but this issue didn’t really add anything to the origin we already knew. Rather than dealing with the convoluted pre-Ultron part of his backstory, it just gave as the standard intro. The art was really good for all the parts that had no people in it, but not as strong when it wasn’t just Ultron and Vision.

SUICIDE SQUAD #3 (Adam Glass, Cliff Richards) DC

I really want this book to be better. I LOVED Suicide Squad. Back in the day, it was second only to the Avengers as a book that I followed slavishly. Can only John Ostrander write it properly? It is starting to seem so. I’m still not dropping it… but I really hope it turns around.

The art isn’t any great shakes either.

Ruthanne also picked up a big book called Drawing Down the Moon: The Art of Charles Vess. I haven’t looked at it yet, so I will leave that to her to comment on.

So that is what I bought this week… anybody else pick up anything good that they want to talk about? Bring it on!