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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Ultimate Spider-Man #22

April 27, 2013
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Ultimate_Comics_Spider-Man_Vol_2_22

Big week.

Right off, I should announce that you won’t see Batwoman reviews here any more… at least until they get a different writer. I like the character and want to support the diversity…but the comic is just terrible. It is such a muddied mess that it is hard to even tell what is going on from page to page.

Dropped.

It isn’t the only one… read on.

Starting from the weakest…

WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #28 (aaron / Perez / Martin) Marvel

I picked this up because I had been enjoying the Bendis X-books so much.

This isn’t them.

I read it all through the Savage Land adventure. I like the idea of the school, but this book… just isn’t good enough. Dog is a stupid character that should have never been created. Eye-boy is awful. Shark Girl has potential.

Art – bad. Story – dull.

Dropped.

BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN #6 (Brian Azzarello / J.G. Jones) DC

Some of the Before Watchmen stuff was worth the effort. Some wasn’t. So, in Watchmen they implied Comedian killed Kennedy. In this mini they say he didn’t… oh wait, there is more the one Kennedy, isn’t there?

(This IS what happened, best as I can tell, just with someone else as triggerman.)

AVENGERS #10 (Jonathan Hickman / Mike Deodato / Frank Martin) Marvel

This is probably lower than it deserves to be, but I am kind of annoyed that ONCE AGAIN the Canadian heroes are used as a Worf, killed off just so the threat looks big enough to challenge the Avengers.

Alos, finding out what Validator said was a real let-down.

FANTASTIC FOUR #7 (Fraction / Bagley / Hennessy / Mounts) Marvel

Wait… did this book make sense at all? Why did they need to save Blastaar? Did I miss something?

Overall, this book is going nowhere.

Dropped.

FF #6 (Matt Fraction / Joe Quinones / Laura Allred) Marvel

See the last comment on the Fantastic Four review.

Marvel made it easier on me by not having Mike Allred do the art this issue. I like the characters… but they never really do anything.

Dropped.

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #19 (Lemire / Fawkes / Janin / Cifuentes) DC

The cover didn’t mean anything… but it sure looks cool. I am referring to the Swamp Thing house on the fold-out. Nice. (This cover theme month is still turning out to be a whole lot of nothing.)

There WAS a cool reveal in this book, but not until the last page. I have to remind myself that the villain was DC first, despite Vertigo’s excellent co-opting of him.

I like Madame Xanadu, but I like how the other characters are questioning what use she is when she always tells them about things too late.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #7 (Remender / Acuna) Marvel

I am not a fan of the big, over-powered space villains, bit knowing that Kang is behind it helps. What slots it this high is the character interplay. That ‘real’ Avengers crack by Wasp was a little petty… which is good. In fact, I liked all the character work in this one. The art is really good, too. Much better than Cassaday.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #2 (Bendis / McNiven / Pichelli / Dell / Ponsor) Marvel

I have been ready to not like this book. Space stuff isn’t my thing. After an excellent zero issue, #1 wasn’t great. Then cam ethis one.

The plot isn’t grabbing me… but the characters are great! Rocket Racoon is awesome! Plus, is Sara Pichelli taking over for Steve McNiven? I like McNiven, but I like Pichelli even more!

So far, so good.

UNCANNY X-MEN #5 (Bendis / Irving) Marvel

So it seemed that all of the ex-Phoenix hosts had their powers changed except for Magik, right? Not so fast.

Magik’s powers have also been affected, and her powers mean a lot more than ray beams and twisting metal.

Dormmamu will likely be the least of their problems. There will be hell to pay…

Fraser Irving is the perfect artist for this story. His Limbo is perfectly nightmarish.

NEW AVENGERS #5 (Jonathan Hickman / Steve Epting / Rick Magyar / Frank D’Armata) Marvel

How do you get past Hickman’s circuitous, non-rational storytelling? Have an issue that involves on conversation with flashbacks. This issue works a lot better than previous ones have.

The Black Swan’s background was interesting, as was her dismissal of Dr. Strange – which tells me that magic is going to be crucial in saving the day. It will be the one factor that the Black Swan has not included in her calculations.

And who is the best suited to understand the balance of science and magic? Where are they going next issue?

THE MASSIVE #11 (Brian Wood / Declan Shalvey / Jordie Bellaire) Dark Horse

First off, I have been very critical of Shalvey’s work in the past, over on Thunderbolts. His attempt to fit with the style on The Massive is much more successful. It didn’t feel jarring at all.

Some important stuff happened here – the biggest of which is Lars learning about Callum’s condition. They also lost the helicopter and yet another crewman… the hard way, this time.

Plus sharks. Sharks are cool, right? And after seeing the Megalodon, I wonder when the Giant Octopus will show up. A Massive / Great Pacific crossover?

One thing though… swimming with the sharks when they are so hungry that they will jump out of the ocean to grab food on land?

Stupid.

THE UNWRITTEN #48 (Mike Carey / Peter Gross) Vertigo

From Hell to Hell? Why not? There should be as many version so fHell as there are people who have written about it. This isn’t Dante’s version, unless it is an altered one, since the devil is free.

Paulie learning his real origins should be interesting, as was Lizzie’s masquerade.

YOUNG AVENGERS #4 (Gillen / McKelvie / Norton / Wilson) Marvel

Is there a more fun book out this week? I say thee nay! Look at the design sense that went into this, from the cover, to the Noh-Varr attack scene. Beautiful. Loki is being an ass… and I am not referring to him taking a powder at the end. It is painfully obvious that he will be back. I am talking about him dropping those seeds of doubt into Teddy’s mind. Great stuff.

Marvel Boy is not me favourite character but the rest of the cast is aces.

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #22 (Bendis / Pichelli / Ponsor) Marvel

I guess Sara Pichelli is going to GoG, since they have announced she is leaving here. That’s okay, David Marquez is great too.

This book is… whoa.

So Miles’ identity is now known by Maria Hill. It was also known by his mother but…

Are they going to slowly turn him into Peter. I liked Miles’ mother so it is a loss… and you can argue that it is a bit of a ‘Girlfriend in a Refrigerator’, but the whole thing is going to tear Miles’ world apart. Trauma, despair and heartbreak make for good fiction.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does that sound like the basis for good character development?

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

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

Bendis has made me switch sides…

Starting at the weakest…

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

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

Just not very enjoyable.

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

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

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

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

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

It was certainly good enough to buy #26.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Hawkeye #5

December 8, 2012
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I MAY get next week’s reviews up in decent time but after that I am not going to be able to do so. I expect to fell behind a couple of weeks. Sorry.

 

Starting at the weakest.

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #15 (Cullen Bunn / Gabriele Dell’otto / Dommo Snachez Aymara) Marvel

Last issue a boring story was propped up by some really beautiful art. This issue the art was still good, but not as exciting, and the story was no better.

In fact, I think this i sit for this book. It is good when it is fun but now with the Superior Spidey coming, I can’t picture that. Dropped.

 

SWAMP THING #15 (Scott Snyder / Marco Rudy) DC

The pacing of Rotworld seems off. It doesn’t see, to be moving forward and even then it isn’t clear what it is moving towards.

Plus, the Rudy art is not my cup of tea. He is no Paquette, that is for sure.

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN #4 (Brian Azzarello / J.G. Jones) DC

This issue comes across as a montage rather than a story, but the pieces somehow are coherent. Still… Comedian is just so unlikable that it i shard to completely enjoy this book.

I wonder if issue #6 will feature Ozymandias.

 

DIAL H #7 (China Mieville / David Lapham) DC

Lapham is kind of like the poor man’s Steve Dillon. While the art is not great, my complaints before were about a lack of clarity. None of that here. This issue is not as strong as the last, but I am really enjoying the new partnership between Nelson and Roxie. These are definitely not your typical superheroes. Planktonian.

 

FAIREST #10 (Lauren Beukes / Inaki Miranda) DC

Ruthanne joked last month, wondering if Rapunzel was going to be dressed on any covers of this story.

Not so far.

This story continues to be just okay. The story is not really grabbing me and the art is so-so. At least the lead is… repeating myself, am I?

 

AVENGERS #1 (Jonathan Hickman / Jerome Opena) Marvel

Anyone who reads these reviews knows I am not a fan of Hickman, but I am a fan of the Avengers. This has concerned me. The first issue is… pretty good, actually. Some of Hickman’s narrative tics are still there and they still bug me. Dropping in new villains that we have been no reason to care about (and who act kind of stupidly) is not a good start. The art is good. I am not a big fan of the Avengers Army concept as I think you tend to lose out on characterization, but I’ll give it a chance. Cannonball joining = cool. Hyperion = not cool. Captain Universe? What?

We’ll see.

 

ALL-NEW X-MEN #3 (Brian Michael Bendis / Stuart Immonen / Wade Von Grawbadger / Marte Gracia) Marvel

Not as good as last issue. The leads don’t appear until the final page. Focusing on the villains for an issue is okay, though. I’m not sure about the malfunctioning powers bit. Is this just to turn Cyclops back into the version we remember (powerset-wise) and to stop Magneto from being too powerful?

 

ANIMAL MAN #15 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh / Timothy Green II / Joseph Silver) DC

The pacing is the same on Swamp Thing but Lemire just does it better. ANimal Man’s army if interesting and the scenes with Maxine and William are chilling. Sure she acts stupidly, but she is a little kid. She SHOULD act stupidly. Continuing the ‘at home’ story gives AM a grounding that ST just doesn’t have. The art is better, too.

 

GREAT PACIFIC #2 (Joe Harris / Martin Morazzo) Image

The story is starting to take shape here, and it is a good one. Can a country be non-stationary? Is Chas going to turn this place into some sort of viable haven? (Side note: New Texas = bad name.) He was way too quick on the trigger there… realistic Texan maybe?

I’m interested in what happens next.

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: MINUTEMEN #5 (Darwyn Cooke) DC

This is one of the best BW minis, next to Silk Spectre, and what do both of those series have in common? Look up one line and the name in the brackets. Cooke really gets these characters and handles the time period very well. The Dollar Bill one-pager was excellent. The wedding worked. The comic book heroes bit worked okay, though it wasn’t great. The Hooded Justice story is clearly not over so I wouldn’t assume all is what we see.(Um, what was that panel all about? You know the one…)

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #699 (Slott / Ramos / Olazaba / Delgado) Marvel

This issue was so much better than the last. #698 had the big reveal but after a fairly lacklustre comic. This issue really made us feel the fear and desperation. The Lizard scene didn’t make a lot of sense… especially if Slott wasn’t using it as an excuse for Peter to break Curt out with him. Time will tell.

Only one more issue… at it is a massive. A budget buster. Apparently they are expecting it to break records. I don’t care, really. Just make it really good because it is really expensive.

 

HAWKEYE #5 (Fraction / Pulido / Hollingsworth) Marvel

Last issue was a ‘little’ weaker than the run had been so far. This issue totally made up for it. Good stuff. (Though, Wolverine? Why would they use Wolverine? How would that be a scandal at all? He probably killed more than that last week.)

This is Hawkeye. It isn’t that he has never killed. It is that he isn’t proud of it and would prefer to not do it. Okay.

It looks like Kate know has her own arch-enemy.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom #2

September 18, 2012
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This is one of those weeks that doesn’t have anything that really blew me away but neither did it have anything that was really bad.

 

Starting at the weakest…

 

IT GIRL AND THE ATOMICS #2 (Rich / Norton / Passalaqua) Image

After getting sucked in by the Mike Allred swerve I was ready to cut bait and run but Ruthanne said she enjoyed the book. After altering my expectations, so did I. Still, there isn’t a lot of meat on this. If it is going to ride on ‘fun’, it needs to be quite good. It is kind of borderline.

 

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #7 (Bendis / Bagley / Miki / Mounts) Marvel

The weakest Avengers book as it still doesn’t feel like it has a reason to exist, other than pairing Bendis and Bagley. And even that is running its course soon. I am not a big fan of space stuff. We’ll see.

 

SAUCER COUNTRY #7 (Paul Cornell / NOT Ryan Kelly) Vertigo

Right off the bat, the cover says Ryan Kelly. It is not Ryan Kelly. It is David Lapham. That is fine (though Ruthanne disagrees – she thinks the art is awful), but it IS false advertising.

I liked when this book took a break to lay groundwork for the world as far as aliens goes. Now they have done it again and it is only issue 7. When I review The Massive I talk about how great the world-building is in that book. This book, not as great. The first sidebar issue was good. This one is pushing it. Get back to the characters. This is a good, but not great book. Don’t squander it.

 

WINTER SOLDIER #10 (Brubaker / Guice / Breitweiser) Marvel

I am not a fan of brainwashing stories, though with a book starring Bucky and Black Widow, you are pretty much going there. My problem with it is that when it is all said and done, Natasha is going to be fine, as if nothing happened. The number of times her brain has been scrubbed should really end in major brian trauma. Having said that, the story and art lend themselves to just the right atmosphere and tension. Hey did they kill Sitwell? Has he been killed before? How many times?

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #17 (Brubaker / Bunn / Eaton / Magyar / Guru-eFx) Marvel

How do you get me to not care so much that the villains are kind of lame? Don’t put them in the book and instead throw in some Zemo! Yeah, that works. Too bad it looks like the Discordians are back next issue.

One thing… why can’t they just stop broadcasting that tv signal? Am I missing something?

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN #3 (Brian Azzarello / J.G. Jones) DC

What an all-around unlikeable tool. Kin said in his review that this mini makes him wish Comedian didn’t die at the start of Watchmen. It makes me glad he did. This issue was better than the previous because it didn’t read like the comic version of Forrest Gump. Also, I don’t need to like a character for them to be interesting, but I wonder how much ‘Natural Born Killers’ style response are they getting. “He is bad-ass!” No. The point is that he is despicable and evil. He isn’t a loveable jerk like Guy Gardner. He is just a rapist scumbag.

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #12 (Kevin Shinick / Aaron Kuder / Matt Hollingsworth) Marvel

This book assumes a lot. It assumes you have seen Inception. Luckily I have. It also seems to assume you are reading Deadpool’s book. I am not. I have no idea why he wants someone to kill him. (It also assumes you know what Breakfast Club is, but I am 44. No problems here.) All that aside, this was a fun read. Deadpool out-wackys Spidey and the romp through Spidey’s dreamscape is pretty fun. And the Hypno Hustler next issue? I am in!

 

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #11 (Bendis / Coipel / Morales / Martin) Marvel

Strong, high-energy comic that moves the story right where it needs to be (and exactly where I predicted). I have to take issue with Coipel’s story telling skills, however. Have you heard the news? Have you heard the spoilers? I won’t break it hear, but let me just say… if I HADN’T heard the news, I still wouldn’t know it had happened. How does it look any different than anyone else he has been beaten and just gets up to fight again? This happened when they ‘killed’ Bucky too. You shouldn’t have to read spoiler sot understand what happened in a comic you just read.

 

NEW AVENGERS #30 (Bendis / Deodato / Beredo) Marvel

You know when there is a big crossover and it has little side issues that are expressly designed to NOT move the plot along so that people won’t miss anything if they don’t read it? You know how that makes the comics pretty lame?

Bendis knows how to NOT do that. From the prison break issue to this one, he gives you reasons to CARE about what is going on. In this issue he reminds us that in the aftermath of AVX, there should be increased anti-mutant hatred and paranoia. He also gets a character to make a decision that makes sense for his development. (Not that I agree with his logic…but that doesn’t make it out of character.)

Just a good story.

 

THE MASSIVE #4 (Brian Wood / Garry Brown / Dave Stewart) Dark Horse

New artist… yet it doesn’t really look very different. I would have to go back an compare the two, but the feeling of the book is still the same. This issue take a step back from world-building and switches to character-building. Good. I like both but it was time for an issue like this. I am quite enjoying the Massive and I really hope, like Saga, that it can stick to the principles of pacifism while also being realistic about it. So far so good.

 

ROCKETEER: CARGO OF DOOM #2 (Waid / Samnee) IDW

This is just fun. Dinosaurs with jetpacks? Really? Awesome! I like the addition of Earl Garland. I read elsewhere that he is anachronistic, but I don’t think a comic like this is required to portray systematic racism in a realistic context. Instead give us a strong (in every sense of the word) black character he acts as an equal to the others without anyone making a thing about it. I wouldn’t even have mentioned it if I didn’t read someone complaining about it.

Fun comic.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Hawkeye #1

August 5, 2012
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Anybody who knows me at all should not be surprised at my comic of the week choice.

Big week, made bigger because I missed two books last week and got them this week.

 

Starting from the weakest.

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: NITE OWL #2 (J.Michael Straczynski / Andy Kubert / Joe Kubert) DC

Wow, was this ever a trashy comic. Bad story, bad writing, bad everything. Even the art wasn’t great. (Not terrible, though)

My only question at this point is whether I will miss the pirate back-up parts I don’t get if I don’t finish this miniseries.

 

WORLDS’ FINEST #4 (Levitz / Perez / Maguire / Koblish) DC

Why are we still getting this? Oh yeah… wanting to support female led books. And, in fact, that is what is good about the books. The characters of Huntress and Power Girl are interesting. (That and the great art), but the problem is that the villain they are facing… well, who cares? No character. No motivation. No nothing. They even ask the question on the cover without even thinking about answering it.

 

DIAL H #4 (China Mieville / Mateus Santolouco) DC

Just when this books tarted getting better, this confusing mess comes out. What is it with writers who try to hide the plot? In fact, this WOUDL have been below WF except the scene where the ‘hero’ turns himself into a hero WITHOUT his magic dial… well, that was nice moment.

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN #2 (Brian Azzarello / J.G. Jones) DC

I still don’t like the Forrest Gump version of the Watchmen. (‘So Comedian is chatting with Bobby Kennedy at the Ali / Liston fight…’) Having said that, much like the first issue, they do a decent job with such an annoying conceit.

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #34 (Gage / Grummett / Hamscher / Sotomayor) Marvel

Tom Grummett is back! Yay! The story is continuing respecting the AvX continuity but not making it an integral part of the book! Yay! Jeremy Briggs is back! Yay!

What I didn’t like was the quickness that Briggs revealed his master plan. That seems like something that they should stew with a while. Is he good or not? The answer is emphatically not. Okay.

I also don’t like the existence of SPINtech. I didn’t like in A:I and I don’t like it here. It is too pat. There is a reason that Forge’s nullifier (Or whatever it was killed) was destroyed.

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #10 (DeConnick / T.Dodson / R.Dodson / Delgado) Marvel

Another solid issue of Captain Marv… I mean Avenging Spider-Man. Seriously though, if this is the tone that the on-going Captain MArvel book is going to have, I’m all in.

 

iZOMBIE #28 (Chris Roberson / Michael Allred) Vertigo

A decent wrap-up to a prematurely ended book. This book reminds us what went wrong, with too many characters and plot threads all ending up here. The final resolution really worked for me, though. And no, not because Gwen got naked.

 

NATIONAL COMICS: ETERNITY #1 (Jeff Lemire / Cully Hamner / Derec Donovan) DC

So, when does one of the dead weight D 52 books (like Resurrection Man or something) get cancelled so Jeff Lemire’s Eternity can become a regular book?

Would it help if I said please?

 

ANIMAL MAN #12 (Jeff Lemire / Scott Snyder / Steve Pugh) DC

Speaking of Lemire… the Rotworld story ‘starts’ here (really it started in issue #1, but who is counting). I love the mix between the aggressive ‘male’ attitudes of Buddy and Swampy – ‘we are going to take the fight to them!’ – and the more protective ‘female’ attitude of Ellen – ‘we need to protect Maxine and save Cliff!’ Well done… and as we fight out next issue…

 

SWAMP THING #12 (Snyder / Lemire / Rudy / Green / Owens) DC

…the men aren’t exactly correct in their decision. I wasn’t thrilled with the ‘you ladies mind the fort while us menfolk go off to battle’ bit but the women found themselves neck deep in it pretty fast regardless.

One thing I will say right now… the thing that Arcane said about them being in there for a year? Baloney. Mark my words.

 

THIEF OF THIEVES #7 (Kirkman / Spencer / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

Nick Spencer wrapped up the opening arc of the book and a smart and stylish way. The cops were outsmarted but in a way that ensured that Redmond has to continue in the thief biz. I am looking forward to seeing what James Asmus can do with it. I am also looking forward to seeing what AMC can do with it.

 

RASL #15 (Jeff Smith) Cartoon Books

Speaking of comics that have been optioned… we have the wrap up of Rasl. Quite satisfying, but the twist didn’t feel organic when reading it this way. It might feel better when reading them all at once. The twist AFTER the twist, on the other hand, read REALLY well. Destroying knowledge doesn’t work for me. This does.

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #13 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

Miles is one of the most ‘real’ seeming characters in all of comics. That sadness/depression/guilt he is feeling WORKS. You FEEL what he feels.

Then, the face to face at the end was perfect, brief as it was. Then Cap had to wreck it. So far.

 

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #9 (Aaron / Kubert / Dell / Martin) Marvel

Surprised to see this book rate so highly? Me too… but it deserves it. Spider-Man as the never quit, give it all, fight until the last breath leaves his body hero is jsut perfect here. Other writers have done that with Peter Parker before, but it doesn’t get old. It reminds me of the last stand of Skurge, but Spidey, even as he sacrificed himself, never lays down and dies. He keeps trying to find a way… and he does!

Emma is about to get very scary. My guess is that Cyclops takes her down… before doing SOMETHING to let himself be beaten and killed. By the end it will be the Avengers AND the X-Men vs the Cyclops/Phoenix, but ultimately he will defeat himself, intentionally, when he sees what he has become.

Let’s see if I am right.

 

HAWKEYE #1 (Fraction / Aja / Hollingsworth) Marvel

I have been waiting for years for a decent Hawkeye comic. The Gruenwald mini was decent and it led to a good run leading the West Coast Avengers. That was a long time ago, though. Solo Avengers was D-list at best. That crazy mini with his pet werewolf, or whatever that was, is worth forgetting. The more recent Hawkeye and Mockingbird series was better… but not much.

And now this.

What a great comic. This is Batman: Year One and DD: Born Again, but for HAWKEYE. The story is excellent (forget the fact that he heals in six weeks… if you really want to be picky, why would he be in a regular hospital? The answer is because that is how this book works. The art is excellent and the DESIGN of the book is worth buying the book for all by itself.

If it continues at this level of quality, expect it to become a fixture at the Rusty’s COmic of the Week list.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Fables #118

June 25, 2012
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Big week. Lots of good books.

 

Unfortunately, it is a week that leads to a bit of trimming as well.

Starting with the weakest book as usual.

 

SECRET AVENGERS #28 (Remender / Guedes / Wilson) Marvel

This comic is awful. I mean absolutely awful.

Let’s start with the art. I really don’t like what Guedes has done here. It is sketchy and not dynamic in any way. The colours on it are very ‘crayon-like’.

Then the story. Let’s start with the fact that it makes absolutely zero sense when put in with AvX and the other Avengers AvX books. That wouldn’t be the end of the world except this is an AvX cross over. Were the editors sleeping? They should be pretty embarrassed about this mess.

Now ignore all that and try to judge this comic on its own.

Nope. Still terrible. They brought Captain Marvel back for no reason, only to kill him off again. I suppose this is meant to inspire Carol… but only if the editors get it together with the new book by DeConnick and after the mess the last couple of months, I seriously doubt it. Betrayal! Oh wait, just kidding! Oh wait, we need a sacrifice! Hands up anyone who thought he was surviving this issue anyway?

I came VERY close to cancelling this book from my file… and anyone who knows my addiction to Avengers comics knows what a big deal that would be. Β In the end I decided to ride it out a bit for two reasons. 1. after this issue it is no longer an AvX cross-over. Maybe letting Remender go back to the story he WANTED to tell will help. and 2. Guedes is off the book.

We’ll see. Another mess like this and it is snipped

 

DOMINIQUE LEVEAU: VOODOO CHILD #4 (Selwyn Seyfu Hinds / Denys Cowan / John Floyd) Vertigo

To Selwyn, who has read my reviews the last couple of times DL has come out… sorry. I am a writer. Poetry mostly but I also used to write for Legend of the Five Rings and I know how much it sucks to read people talking about not liking your baby.

The book is cancelled now… as of issue #7. We won’t be getting the rest. I’ll just leave it there.

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #8 (Slott / Templeton / Clark / Parsons / Quintana) Marvel

(Why does Slott get top billing on the cover? He didn’t write the comic…)

A book of this nature will also be a hit-and-miss prospect… and this one kind of missed. Story epilogues in comics are rarely good. If the story was worth telling, it should have been part of the main story.

The real problem here is that we basically have a flashback inventory-style story masquerading as an important plot point. The problem is two-fold: the nobody actually believes that Silver Sable is dead (and the narrative is making this abundantly clear) and… who really cares? It isn’t like she is an important character. Killing off D-list heroes is not exactly newsworthy, no matter how hard they try. The real story is that Spidey is upset that he ‘let her die’, but that story rolls along fine without this fill-in stuff being needed in it anyway.

 

BATWOMAN #10 (Williams III / Blackman / McCarthy) DC

Here they are starting to get better. McCarthy is no Williams III and Williams III is no Rucka. The jump cuts are an interesting conceit but they are also a bit conufsing. I feel like I need to go back and reference earlier issues and a reader should NEVER have to do that. I feel like he is writing for the trade and the story will work better once collected.

 

WINTER SOLDIER #7 (Brubaker / Lark / Thies / Gaudiano / Breitweiser) DC

This comic works very hard at feeling like a movie… and they do a pretty good job. I am wearying of the Russian connection behind every villain, but that is okay. The action was solid (except the firefight in the van. I am not sure why Bucky and Natasha aren’t dead. That is a pretty confined space for multiple people with machine guns to miss while spraying bullets around… they must have Stormtrooper disease.

The way the readers were led on the same way the heroes were led on was well done.

 

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #6 (Hickman / Coipel / Morales / Martin) Marvel

When I read people taking the side of the X-Men I kind of laugh. Those people must not have been reading comics for very long. This story has been done many, many times. I even just re-read a DC mini where they main heroes crossed over with a another universe full of different characters with the same names (I think the universe was called ‘Tangent’). Superman had done the ‘obvious’ thing and taken over the world to the betterment of everybody.

But what about free will?

Exactly. That is the story. I must have read that story in different places ten times… likely more.

Besides… Cyclops is a villain. The sooner everyone realizes that, the better.

At least stuff is HAPPENING in the series now. Also, this one of the few comics where I don’t find Hickman getting in the way of the story he is telling.

 

ASTONISHING X-MEN #51 (Liu / Perkins / Troy) Marvel

I don’t buy any of the X-Men titles normally. I bought this one. It is important.

They did a good job, mostly. Anyone who complains about them doing this marriage, whether do to homophobia, ‘sanctity of whatever’ or claims of pandering and whatever can feel free not to let the door hit you on the way out.

This is important.

And unlike the ‘coming out’ issue back in the 90’s, the book doesn’t suck.

I am not going to start buying the title though.

 

DARK AVENGERS #176 (Parker / Walker / Pallot / Martin) Marvel

Dark Avengers? Sure looks like the Thunderbolts to me.

Good issue… though I am not sold on the new version of Man Thing. The time travel who joins them is a welcome addition. I woudl say I am looking forward to the next issue but the next issue will probably be back to the pretty lame Dark Avengers. Are they splitting the art the same way? If so, that works because the better story gets the better artist.

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #32 (Gage / Green / Huet / Sotomayor) Marvel

This is the AvX story properly turned into an interesting narrative that plays out as an actual story rather than just the idea of a story. How can a forced crossover turn to questions like ‘what is life?’ ‘what defines someone as a person?’

The X-23 bits are a little heavy handed, but that is normal for the character, She is about as subtle as a brick. Juston is great, though. Pym works as a foil well enough… though he IS acting kind of stupid.

The art is not great. Can’t Tom Grummet handle the workload? Why do they keep subbing in inferior artists?

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN #1 (Brian Azzarello / J.G. Jones) DC

This is the weakest of the BW books so far, but it is still pretty good. Dropping Comedian into the Kennedy family is a bit too Forrest Gump for me, but the end with Moloch is worth the pay off. I have read some commenters that say that Eddie’s turn to necrophilia is a bit much, but if THAT is what you think happened in that scene… well, your mind goes different places than mine does. I’m glad mine doesn’t. That isn’t a very nice place to live.

Now, there are some real problems with continuity here. Breaking continuity like the Avengers folks did is one thing. Breaking continuity between a prequel and the book you are homaging is a whole different thing. Here is hoping Azzarello explains the discrepancy later.

Or… wait… am I mixing up the actual Watchmen with the movie? That would be embarrassing…

 

WONDER WOMAN #10 (Azzarello / Akins / Kano / Green) DC

Two Azzarello books in a row! This one is REALLY good… storywise, but it is marred by sub-standard art. It is really too bad that Cliff Chiang wasn’t on this one, because the story is excellent. Diana’s excuse for beating his truth-lassoed question is what makes this book special.

In fact, all the characters in this issue were excellent. I LOVE how it ended and I especially love that Azzarello didn’t feel the need to EXPLAIN what was going on there.

Love thyself.

 

NEW AVENGERS #27 (Bendis / Deodato / Beredo) Marvel

I have never liked Deodato and I have made no secret of that. This current storyline though… Deodato should be drawing Iron Fist stories set in K’un-L’un full time. It is beautiful. It helps that the two female characters in the book are SUPPOSED to look alike so the fact that ALL of his female characters look alike isn’t a problem.

 

What MAKES this issue is the Hope and Spider-man scene at the end. Perfect use of the line that basically acts as the moral tagline for the entire Marvel line of comics.

Very well done.

 

THE UNWITTEN #38 (Mike Carey / Peter Gross) Vertigo

A world without stories? I was wondering where Carey was going to take the book after the first mega-arc was over. This is a good direction. A VERY good direction. I don’t quite understand why that person is made of wood, but I DO get why she is turning back into flesh and blood. It shows what could happen to a world with magic in it without stories.

I am so happy that this great book looks like it can continue being great.

 

SAGA #4 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

Remember the people claiming the breast-feeding panels in the first issue were gratuitous? They are going to lose their shit after reading this issue. πŸ™‚

I don’t want to give anything away but the scene where the space pimp opens the door?

Yeah.

Yeah.

Add to that the conversation between our leads and the new nanny.

This is just good comics.

It was one of the first comics I read this week and I KNEW there wasn’t go to be a better comic in the pile.

 

Except then there was…

 

FABLES #118 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha / Pepoy / McManus) Vertigo

The secret of the broken toys is… well, I don’t want to spoil that. But it is chilling. REALLY chilling. This book was already treading on scary ground, but that has been ratcheted up a whole bunch of notches. That would be enough to make this a great comic, but add to that the fight between a tiger and a damaged (in many ways) stuffed bear and… wow.

The Oz story is still not grabbing me. It is just too short.

 

If you bought Fables, Saga and the Unwritten this week, well… that would be a good week of comics right there.