Rusty's World

Rusty’s Comic of the Week: All-New X-Men #2

December 2, 2012
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I actually had time to read my comics on the day I got them! Woot!

Starting at the weakest…

ULTIMATE IRON MAN #2 (Edmondson / Buffagni / Troy) Marvel

Tony Stark can be a charming asshole. You know the type… the guy that acts in horrible ways towards women but gets away with it because he does it with style.

In real life, regular guys HATE those guys.

In here, Edmondson has taken that charming asshole and made him not charming. What does that leave?

An unlikable protagonist and a pretty crappy comic.

ALL-STAR WESTERN #14 (Gray / Palmiotti / Moritat / Windslade) DC

Not the best outing for this book in either writing or art. Neither are BAD, but neither do they shine. Barbary Ghost needs to put on some bloody clothes. I’m not a fan of adding Mr. Hyde to the Hex mythos, nor I am a fan of adding Eclipso (I assume…)

The insistence on including modern DC elements into this book is the biggest weakness it has. Do you remember how good Jonah Hex was BEFORE the new 52?

BEFORE WATCHMEN: OZYMANDIAS #4 (Len Wein / Jae Lee) DC

In the previous issues a somewhat pedestrian plot was overcome by beautiful art. Not this time. The art is nowhere near so creative and in spots (Page 3) in looks… awkward. The comic itself continues to read less like a story than a too-long What-Has-Gone-Before synopsis.

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #14 (Jeff Lemire / Graham Nolan / Victor Drujiniu) DC

This book was a pretty fun way to get a look at 3 lesser shown characters on the team – including 2 that are new and have their own books (though 1 is now cancelled.) A fin spotlight on Black Orchid, Amethyst and Frankenstein as they wander through the House of Mystery. Not a good idea.

I am enjoying this comic more than I would have thought. Lemire is a good writer.

BEFORE WATCHMEN: SILK SPECTRE #4 (Darwyn Cooke / Amanda Conner) DC

This mini wraps up with the weakest of its four issues. Still wonderful art and great characterization, but there are a few weak storytelling parts and that bit where Laurie impales that dude with her stiletto didn’t work for me at all.  Overall a very good mini… the best of all of the BW books.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #2 (Rick Remender / John Cassaday / Laura Martin) Marvel

So Red Skull is now Sylar. (Any fans of Heroes in the house?) Good book. Skull recruiting Scarlet Witch makes perfect sense, and Wolverine’s take on Havok leading the team echoes mine. Last week in Captain America, Remender tried to sweep questions about motivation under the rug by mentioning them and then moving on. He kind of does that again here, but to better effect.

After last week, I am really glad to read a Remender book that I enjoy.

FF #1 (Matt Fraction / Michael Allred / Laura Allred) Marvel

Yay! More Allreds! This book is going to be fun, you can just tell. Ms. Thing isn’t in the book yet (well, she is, but not as Ms. Thing), and that is going to be weird. How will She-Hulk take to her? I don’t get why people like Medusa, but that is a small thing.

Speaking of small things, it is nice to get a real Ant-Man back after that O’Grady business was dealt with over in Secret Avengers. (Black Ant? Really?)

This is just good comics.

BATMAN INCORPORATED #5 (Grant Morrison / Chris Burnham) DC

This look into a possible future doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it was so well done that I didn’t care. Damian as Batman is a frightening possibility anyway and this book just confirms that. The emotion on Damian’s face when Bruce tells him he can’t be Robin is just perfect… but I think everyone hopes that it isn’t true.

NEW AVENGERS #34 (Bendis / Deodato / Beredo) Marvel

As disappointed I was in Bendis’ last Avengers issue – this book makes up for it. Is it a great comic? Not really. The Dr. Strange fight scenes as an excuse to put in a bunch of jarring art (not bad – just wrong. Tell me that was jarring to turn to that Red Hulk page…) were not good. But the Luke Cage stuff more than made up for it. Some people have criticized Bendis for using Cage as his pov character, but this issue did it to great effect. Watching Bendis say goodbye to the Avengers as Luke Cage was sweet.

Plus, a hint at a new Cage / Jessica led Heroes for Hire book? Written by Bendis? I would buy the shit out of that book!

ALL-NEW X-MEN #2 (Brian Michael Bendis / Stuart Immonen / Wade von Grawbadger / Marte Gracia) Marvel

Two Bendis books top this week’s list! Out with the old and in with the new… which is the old. This comic works just based on the Iceman seeing Iceman panel. I’m not sure which of them looks goofier.  This book hits all the right notes. The shocked nature of the original five. Beast’s desperation. The stupidity of the plan. Wolverine realizing that Jean was alive. (One minor nitpick – Jean suddenly getting her ‘new’ powers was a little too convenient in her timing. I think before it was implied that it happened through intensive training, no?)

I am so looking forward to watching this book unfold… and I’m not even a very big X-Men fan.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre #3

September 11, 2012
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This is my second RCotW in a row that goes to a Before Watchmen book. Whodathunk?

 

Starting at the weakest…

 

DIAL H #0 (China Mieville / Riccardo Burchielli) DC

The zero issues are here. I don’t like the concept. Rehashes of origins for the most part, letting us know how they have mucked around with the them for the relaunch. This particular comic has an advantage of being a new concept (let’s face it, this book has nothing to do with the old Robby Reed version), but it fails for a different reason. IT IS STUPID. A sundial? Seriously? Four days to dial?

They DID completely change the concept of the heroes dialled up though… and not in a good way.

Bah. I am close to cancelling this book.

 

ANIMAL MAN #0 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh) DC

Here is a better example, because this is a book I really like. Let’s take the established origin and tweak it enough to make the Red fit in it. Oh, and add Arcane for good measure. Boring.

 

SWAMP THING #0 (Scott Snyder / Kano) DC

Take my review of Animal Man and duplicate it exactly. Now sub in the word Green for the word Red.

Twice the boring.

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #693 (No cover credits, but it is Slott and Ramos) Marvel

I don’t like Alpha.I don’t mean in the way we are SUPPOSED to not like him, but in the way that makes the comic not anjoyable. It is the power level problems that made Sentry such a terrible character.  am looking forward to this story being over so we can get back to the GOOD Slott stories.

 

WORLDS’ FINEST #0 (Paul Levitz / Kevin Maguire) DC

This zero issue is a LITTLE better because these are NEW characters and their story has not yet been told. Not a great comic, but better than he others.

The comics do get better this week, I promise.

 

THIEF OF THIEVES #8 (Kirkman / Asmus / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

Starting here. I really enjoy this book. The only reason this is so low is that, as the first issue of a new arc, it is all groundwork and not much in the way of payoff. It is really hard to judge books like that.

 

FAIREST #7 (Matthew Sturges / Shawn McManus) Vertigo

Hey, remember how Fairest was advertised as the comic focusing on the female Fables? Apparently the folks at DC forgot that. The first arc starred Sinbad. This stand-alone issue stars Beast. Yes, both stories are ABOUT females int he end, but the protagonists are male. I really undercuts the concept if you keep doing that. Ignoring that, which is hard to do, this is avery good comic that gives a whole new story for one well established character (not Beast, so you can probably guess). I like the McManus art. It fits. And that cover…oh boy.

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #36 (Gage / DiVito / Sotomayor) Marvel

This comic was all about the moments. The moment between Mettle and Hazmat. The internal moments of White Tiger and Reptyl. The moment when Lightspeed is suddenly a bad-ass. “And now… I have a dagger.”

This comic will be missed. Only one issue left.

 

HAWKEYE #2 (Fraction / Aja / Hollingsworth) Marvel

I thought this would be the top comic this week when I read it. Third is still not shabby. The design and art of this book is beautiful. The stories are appropriately small. The addition of Kate Bishop is great (though she should get her own codename). But DO NOT have them sleep together. Fraction, I am warning you… that would be almost as bas as Angel and Husk.

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #14 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

Then I read this and thought that IT would be #1. It is all about one thing. WEB-SHOOTERS! WOO-HOO!

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: SILK SPECTRE #3 (Darwyn Cooke / Amanda Conner) DC

MAN this is a good book. It is easily the best of the BW stuff (and a couple of the others are quite good). The drug scenes were INCREDIBLE. Conner is just a great artist. The only thing that concerns me is the addition of Comedian at the end. His appearances thus far show us that he was abetter character as a dead one. The only big that has really worked with him is Minutemen which is written by… oh right. I guess it might not be too bad.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Saga #5

July 19, 2012
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REALLY good week. Even the one book I have complaints about it a book I enjoy.

 

Starting at the weakest, as usual.

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #33 (Gage / Green / Huet / Sotomayor) Marvel

I like Juston and his Sentinel. I like the characterization of Finesse. I am even okay with the use of Quicksilver as deus ex machina. What I have a problem with is that this whole story is predicated on Emma acting like an idiot. She could have destroyed the Sentinel with a thought but chose not to ‘out of mercy’. More important than that, though, are you telling me that the Phoenixified Emma Frost couldn’t sense Pietro are know what he was doing? Seriously?

Sorry, that doesn’t work for me.

 

INFERNAL MAN-THING #2 (Gerber / Nowlan) Marvel

Ah, the madness starts to make sense, as I suspected it might after reading the rest of the original story. Not much to say here, other than I enjoyed it. It is madness. Just soak it in.

So why is it so low? Because the rest of the comics were so good!

 

BATWOMAN #11 (J.H. Williams III / W.Haden Blackman / Trevor McCarthy) DC

I am kind of hoping that Williams’ new gig drawing the Sandman mini will keep him from writing this book. Stuff happens but it doesn’t have a good flow. He is in good company – that is my exact complaint about Hickman.

Things wrap up… but not. The art is okay, but I also look forward to the Williams drawn arc to come.

 

WONDER WOMAN #11 (Brian Azzarello / Cliff Chiang) DC

I have a feeling that the real reason Lennox can’t go with them is to avid giving away his real identity. Just a hunch. I also think Strife is going to change sides (as the cover kind of hints at). When Diana gets Zola back, will Apollo still be king? Or will we see the fruits of the Artemis / Demeter discussion that tells us things are not all as they seem.

Will the good guys ever get a chance to catch their collective breath?

 

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #8 (Bendis / Kubert / Dell / Martin) Marvel

Do I look knock-down drag-out all-fight issues? Generally not. Did I like this one? YES! I don’t know what it is but I really liked seeing Namor getting his ass kicked. I also really like Professor X standing up (no pun intended) for what is right.

Have I mentioned that Cyclops will be dead when this is all over? My only question is whether the remaining three original X-Men will go down with him.

 

CAPTAIN MARVAL #1 (DeConnick / Soy) Marvel

I am trying to decide if I like the art or not. It is certainly expressive… and a good way to go for a character that they are trying to set-up as not just a ‘pretty’ character (as the new costume attests). There is a lot to like about this comic. The fight scene was all about character-building, and they did a good job at it. I like that she and Peter are ‘pals’. That just really works for me. That whole thing about her outranking ‘Captain’ America is just silly. He isn’t really a Captain, and hasn’t been for a long time. The new characters (new to me, anyway) introduced haven’t really stuck yet, so we will have to see how that goes.

I definitely recommend the book.

 

FABLES #119 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha / McManus) Vertigo

Uh…ick. That was just nasty. My only question now is how the CHARACTER of Therese survives this. That was pretty awful, no matter how hungry she was.

The back-up is still annoying. The little windows to her parents and the winds must be setting something up, because they didn’t do much here. Her brother, on the other hand…

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: SILK SPECTRE #2 (Darwyn Cooke / Amanda Conner) DC

I read this book first and I thought it had a decent chance to be the best book of the week. It shows you how good the week is that it fell to third.

What year is this book set in? What year was Watchmen? It seems to make Laurie older in the original than I thought she was, but that is okay. Everything about this book works. The art is beautiful and the story has just the right amount of throwback kitsch, without going overboard. This is a book I would like to keep reading on its own, without any Watchmen connection.

 

THE UNWRITTEN #39 (Mike Carey / Peter Gross) Vertigo

I don’t know if it was just me but when I started reading this, I felt like I had picked up an old issue of Books of Magic instead. That is a good thing. A hand turning things to stories. The origin of Pauley Bruckner (with some GREAT art for the flashback scenes). Great Didge scenes (including an AWESOME series if captions as she narrates the story). And they ride off on a Unicorn. Hell yeah!

 

SAGA #5 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Vertigo

Marko just became my favourite character in all of comics.

Many years ago, I was one of the writers for a game called Warlord: Saga of the Storm. This was my entry into the world of AEG which eventually put me to writing for Legend of the Five Rings. (This was before and during my discovery of poetry… which is the reason I STOPPED writing for AEG. I was using my creative time to write for someone other than me…)

Anyway, in the time I wrote for Warlord, I was able to create many characters,nations, gods and countries. (My best was probably the Narawat pantheon… now completely unused. I wonder if AEG would let me have it back…)

Amongst these characters was an illusionist named Zartoch (I can’t recall if I named him… I kind of hope not). I found a way to make a character in a game about constant warfare and battle into a pacifist. He used his illusions to defeat his enemies WITHOUT killing them. The reaction from the fans?

“I always knew Zartoch was a wimp.”

Being a pacifist is NOT being weak. NOT NOT NOT!

Neither is it being stupid. Marko has been called weak by ignorant readers. If they still think so after reading this issue… well, what can you do?


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Amazing Spider-Man #687

June 18, 2012
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Not a big week, but a decent one. I am a little behind because our slam finals were on Saturday and they took a lot of my time.

 

And they were awesome.

 

Starting at the weakest, as always.

 

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #4 (Bendis / Bagley / Miki / Mounts) Marvel

Twice while reading the comic I flipped back to the credits page to see who the artist was. I am very familiar with Mark Bagley, but he is a much better artist than you what you see here. I mean, there were parts of the art that were actively bad. Other parts were just okay. WAAAAY below the normal standard you get with Bagley.

Then there was the story, which wasn’t bad, but neither was it much of anything. It just seemed to be a fight in a vacuum… almost like the early parts of Avengers vs X-Men.

 

AVENGERS #27 (Bendis / Simonson / Hanna / Keith) Marval

What… the… hell… is… going… on? So there is Protector, having betrayed the team. Right, I got that part. Then there is Ms.Marvel, with the rest of the betrayed Avengers… uh. wait. I thought Protector betrayed the Avengers WITH Ms.Marvel and the returned Captain Marvel? No?

Wait, so that was in SECRET Avengers so there are two DIFFERENT betrayal stories going on with the same characters in the same storyline that are completely different from each other? That have NOTHING to do with each other? Someone forgot what an editor’s job is…

 

I like Bendis but do you ever get the idea he has turned into George Lucas? I read a story in Wired a while back about a huge database that Lucasfilm keeps to keep all of the facts from the extended Star Wars universe straight. Nobody is allowed to do anything that conflicts with what is in there.

Unless it has a red star. A red star means ‘because George said so’.

Having said THAT, this issue is pretty clearly a set-up for the cosmic books that Bendis is supposedly doing after he leaves the Avengers. I am not a big fan of cosmic, but I do like the Noh/Annie thing Bendis has going on.

(The Avengers were awfully harsh, though…)

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #13 (Brubaker / Zircher / Mounts) Marvel

I liked it… but I don’t know what to say about it. With Zircher on art it is starting to feel more like the old Bru Cap book, which is too bad. We already get that with Winter Soldier. I preferred the Bru/Davis style.

But it is still a good read. I wish D-Man would get a clear storyline though, and not change with every writer.

 

SAUCER COUNTRY #4 (Pul Cornell / Ryan Kelly) Vertigo

Solid story. I am glad the hypnotist stuff played on this way because it sure seemed sketchy when it happened. I like how Cornell is taking the whole UFO thing and eating the ridiculous  – cutting off avenues for criticism. I am really interested in seeing what is REALLY going on, and how can a comic ask more than that.

 

SPIDER-MEN #1 (Bendis / Pichelli / Ponsor) Marvel

If you are an Amazing fan, read this comic. See how awesome Miles is and become an Ultimate fan. As great as Slott is on ASM (scan down the page), Bendis is even better on USM.

Buy them both. Actually, by this one as well.

The only thing that keeps this as far down on the list as it is is other great books and the lack of Miles in this issue.

 

THE MASSIVE #1 (Brian Wood / Kristian Donaldson / Dave Stewart) Dark Horse

As far as world building goes, Wood has done a great job here. One question – were we supposed to realize that Mary couldn’t jsut drive the boat back? It is only in the extra material at the end of the book where I realized that.

The fact that the book is named after the MISSING ship tells you there is a big mystery to unfold here. Looking forward to it.

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: SILK SPECTRE (Darwyn Cooke / Amanda Conner) DC

I was thrilled with the first BW book (Minutemen). This one was better.

Read page 3 and tell me that isn’t incredibly good comics.

Cooke has these characters down cold and the Conner art is as good as anything I have seen by her. I am iffy on the next BW book (Comedian) but they haven’t let me down yet.

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #687 (Slott / Caselli / Martin Jr.) Marvel

Wow. I was starting to tire of the Ends of the Earth storyline, but Slott wrapped it VERY well. The feeling of the clock ticking away while doom lurked around every next bend pervaded the book. It is hard to create suspense when you know it isn’t possible for the heroes to fail, yet they pulled it off.

And Spidey DID fail, in a very real way.

At least for now. I wonder…