Rusty's World

Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Ultimate Spider-man #200

April 6, 2014
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Another big week… but not a great one.

(It is nice to be back on schedule…)

Starting at the weakest…

PRETTY DEADLY #5 (DeConnick / Rios / Bellaire / Cowles) Image

Ruthanne claims I am “not paying close enough attention” because I say that this book is nearly incomprehensible.

If you say so.

Here is a book with a writer than I like, an artist that I like, and a story that is an absolute mess.

TRILLIUM #8 (Jeff Lemire) Vertigo

Almost the same problem…

I have spent the last few issues of Trillium complaining that the annoying nature of the book is hiding the story. Well, this issue is not annoying at all to read so I could really let the story shine through… only to find it trite and deeply unsatisfying.

Oh well. I still like Lemire on Animal Man…

…oh wait. That is cancelled.

Hopefully Justice League Canada is better than it looks…

THE MOVEMENT #11 (Gail Simone / Freddie Williams II) DC

Huh. I have been enjoying this series (so of course, it is also cancelled), but this issue was not so great. It almost feels like Simone felt like she had to cram the entire Burden story into one issue to get it done in time for the book to end. The whole introduction and resolution of his brother and Burden admitting that he is gay came at a breakneck speed that really made it suffer.

REVIVAL #19 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

Sometimes this book is quite good. Sometimes it is not so good. This time it was just kind of… meh.

Chuck better be okay!

INHUMAN #1 (Charles Soule / Joe Madureira / Marte Gracia) Marvel

Kin predicted that I would drop this after the first issue. Nope. It isn’t that bad. I am not raving about it, but it is interesting enough to keep with for now. The brother/sister at the end were interesting. I don’t really like Medusa, but I like the big door-guy. 🙂

Of course, this whole story is jus the X-Men vs the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in their fight to recruit new mutants…

FAIREST #25 (Marc Andreyko / Shawn McManus) Vertigo

I like this story in general, but it feels like it has outstayed its welcome. Time for a new story maybe?

Preferably NOT by Willingham?

SHE-HULK #3 (Soule / Pulido / Vicente) Marvel

Not as good as the previous two issues, but it still had its moments. The Hellcat appearance was a nice touch.

Th parts of Pulido’s art that I dislike (Jen’s face) was even worse this time, though I like his art in general. The lay-outs were problematic as there were a number of times where I found myself reading panels in the wrong order (page by page instead of ‘wide-screen’).

MOON KNIGHT #2 (Warren Ellis / Declan Shalvey / Jordie Bellaire) Marvel

Very innovative opening, but was this whole issue just so Ellis could make a political statement about the power of world banking? It is only the second issue and it already felt like Moon Knight was an afterthought.

It was a good read, though.

BLACK WIDOW #5 (Nathan Edmondson / Phil Noto) Marvel

Raiders of the Lost Ark, anyone?

The Mad Monk wrapped up a little… abruptly, but in true 24 style, there is a bigger menace behind the curtain.

I am guessing that Tori Raven turns out to be bad, but I hope not. She is an interesting support character.

Oh.. off the google to find out if I should know who Damon Dran is…

Oh, okay. He is not a new character, but no… there is no reason I would have heard of him. (He appeared in a short Daredevil arc in 1972. And not much else…)

SWAMP THING #30 (Charles Soule / Jesus Saiz / Javi Pina) DC

Is that three Charles Soule books this week? Well, this is the best of them. Some Anatomy Lesson flashbacks and Alec getting his human on.

Lady Weeds has had a nice upgrade. It suits her. I am digging the Sureen arc.

CALIBAN #1 (Garth Ennis / Facundo Percio) Avatar

I usually barely even look at the Avatar solicits. I will admit that I read the on-line Crossed comic, but in general, the way they market their books leaves a little cold. (‘Fatal Fantasy’ covers? Really?)

Having said that, I stumbled across the solicits for Caliban and it sounded like something I would like. I am glad I did. This is a really sharp book. It has a real Alien feel (the Ridley Scott version). The characters have CHARACTER, even if only briefly.

Has this been optioned for a movie yet? Because it sure looks like one.

Nice surprise here from Avatar and Garth Ennis. (The back cover may be the only thing that stopped the book from being the top dog this week.)

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #200 (Brian Michael Bendis . Dave Marquez / David Lafuente / Sara Pichelli / Mark Brooks / Mark Bagley / Andrew Hennessy / Justin Ponsor) Marvel

Now… this book deserved the top spot.

I am nto a big fan of artist mash-ups, but this one was pretty seamless. I am also not a big fan of multiple massive splash pages… but, yeah.

The real work was in the other pages, though. This book reminds us about what has gone before and what is yet to come. This is character work to the core.

I am not sure who that person in the bushes was. There are a lot of people who seem to think it is a Peter clone… but let me be a vote against that. That would really be lame. That is what stops the Ultimate Spider-Woman from being more interesting. Please NO MORE CLONES.

I REALLY want to know what Ganke made for Gwen.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Hawkeye #17

March 15, 2014
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hawkeye17

A very solid week for comics. Even the bottom comic wasn’t so bad, and there was a battle for the top spot.

Starting at the weakest…

FBP #8 (Simon Oliver / Robbi Rodriguez) Vertigo

Sometimes this book gets a little hard to follow… but just a little. The art is partly to blame. I don’t dislike it per se, but sometimes it obscures the storytelling. The end for example… I KNOW who those two are, but only because of the story narrative.

ALL-NEW X-MEN #24 (Bendis / Immonen / von Grawbadger / Gracia) Marvel

I really like this book, but it is this low because I am NOT buying the Guardians of the Galaxy books, which makes following this one a little hit and miss. As usual with Bendis books, it is the characters that carry the day. That little Angela / Gamora interaction was a good example.

Did they REALLY kill Jean Grey’s family? Was that in the old death of Jean Grey storyline or after?

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #29 (Slott / Gage / Camuncoli / Dell / Fabela) Marvel

You know, Dan Slott, when you keep saying “don’t spoil the big surprise” and then there ISN’T a big surprise, you kind of lose all your credibility.

Was it supposed to be the new ownership of the Spider-Slayers? IT IS ON THE COVER! Was it the death of an annoying character nobody was invested in anyway?

Sigh.

The comics was still good. (And that is STILL not really Norman…)

BLACK WIDOW #4 (Nathan Edmonson / Phil Noto) Marvel

This comic continues to be really solid. Wonderful art and a pretty good story carries the day… but I WOULD like it if Edmonson raised his game a little and it wasn’t just mission after mission. Give Natasha some actual supporting characters. Down time.

MIGHTY AVENGERS #8 (Ewing / Schiti / D’Armata) Marvel

This continues to be the best Avengers comic on the market. Having Schiti on the art certainly helps. He is not the best artist going, but his so much better than the tracer. I like Adam getting his own storyline. He is an interesting character (though the power disparity concerns me, as always). The White Tiger bit worked really well too. I also really liked the Young Avengers stuff. (I have Wiccan on Twitter…)

SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #9 (Spencer / Lieber / Rosenberg) Marvel

“He can’t drink that? Where would it go?” was Ruthanne’s admonishment towards Silvermane.

This is just a fun book.

I do have a question, though, what was with the waiting symbol when Boomerang was on the phone? Wait… I just figured it out.

Ha.

ASTRO CITY #10 (Busiek / Anderson / Ross) Vertigo

While I like this book… I am a guy. I think I know some people who would not agree with Kurt’s (also a guy) take on how a woman’s strength should apply in this situation. As I said, it works for me, but…

Still, a really good comic, and nearly in the top spot.

HAWKEYE #17

Fraction / Eliopoulos / Aja / Bellaire) Marvel

Well, what can you say about that. Damn good issue, dog.

It was not quite as good as the Pizza Dog issue, but it had that feel. This comic keep showing you what you can accomplish while still riding in the super-Marvel lane.

Great comic. One of the best going these days (along with Saga.)


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Mighty Avengers #6

February 9, 2014
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MAvengers 6

A strong week… with a couple disappointments.

Starting at the weakest…

MARVEL KNIGHTS: SPIDER-MAN #5 (Matt Kindt / Marco Rudy / Val Staples) Marvel

I should have stopped buying this after issue #1. What a terrible, terrible comic. The thing is, the art is very good… in a vacuum. It just doesn’t illustrate the story well. And I am not totally convinced that there is a story there to illustrate. Yeah. Terrible.

TRILLIUM #6 (Jeff Lemire) Vertigo

Just when I thought this book couldn’t get more annoying. I barely even read a couple of pages because flipping orientation page-to-page (which was already very annoying) was not enough for Lemire. Now he has us flipping back an forth on the same page. I almost think this is a big joke for him and he is laughing about figuring out ways to piss the readers off.

If this was an ongoing, I would drop it now. There are only two more issues though, so I guess I’ll see how it turns out.

LAZARUS #6 (Rucka / Lark / Arcas) Image

Ugh. I like this book in general, but not this issue. The old trope of a woman using her sexuality to distract stupid men while her partners do something nefarious is old hat. This went beyond that. Instead she actually let them have sex with her, when I would argue that her speech made it clear she didn’t really want to. The guards who were taking advantage of the girl (even if she WAS just desperate for food and water…. even more so), were admonished…but that is it.

Yeah. I am not claiming that this is like the infamous rape joke that launched this blog, but it IS cheap writing that adds to the general rape culture.

Not cool.

(In fact, this shows how much I disliked the two comics below it on the list that this book wasn’t last.)

AVENGERS A.I. #9 (Humphries / Araujo / D’Armata) Marvel

I have enjoyed this book, and this issue wasn’t bad… there just wasn’t that much to it. No great Doombot quotes. The revelation that everybody can just do whatever they want in the Diamond makes any battle kind of pointless.

Yeah, there have been better issues… but the America vs rebelling nations analogy was spot-on.

X-MEN #10 (Wood / Anka) Marvel

First off, the art is a big step down from the Dodsons. With all of their faults, they are still very talented artists and this is more… journeyman art. This is a leo a bit of a bridge issue. Not a lot really happens. The reveal of who WILL be joining the villains was pretty interesting.

SWAMP THING #28 (Charles Soule / Javier Pina) DC

Not a bad issue overall, but it was saddled a bit with the origin of Capucine. She has not been an incredibly interesting character and her origin emphasized that. The scenes with the ex-Parliament were better.

FAIREST #23 (Marc Andreyko / Shawn McManus) Vertigo

From the James Bond-esque cover to the addition of Ramayan, this book was pretty solid… but just solid. Again, there seemed to be a lot of ‘bridge’ stuff and the bits with the mice… like what was up with the sex scene at the beginning? He can change back and forth if he says he loves someone? Is that it?

THE MOVEMENT #9 (Gail Simone / Freddie Williams II) DC

An up-tick of this book. Batgirl was a good addition to the mix… the girls’ dinner had just the right amount of tension-easing for Babs to let her guard down enough to get dropped. The fact that she is the daughter of a cop meant that there was no way these two forces would get along.

I am happy to realize that this story does not go into the Batgirl book, which I don’t buy.

BLACK WIDOW #3 (Edmondson / Noto) Marvel

Another strong done-in-one adventure story for Natasha. Phil Noto continues to be amazing and they story’s morality part was telegraphed, but is still worked. I wonder if Natasha realized the big slip Isaiah made there?

Either he set her up, or Edmondson made a huge mistake in the script. In the space of one page, Isaiah went from assuming the job didn’t work out to knowing not only what when down, but why.

SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #8 (Spencer / Lieber / Rosenberg) Marvel

This is the Hawkeye of villain books. Or something.

The Silvermane vs Shocker fight was brilliant. Boomerang trying to pick somebody up. Big Wheel. BIG WHEEL!

The reveal (to the rest of the team) that Tombstone is Beetle’s daddy.

The Sinister Six has five members… or maybe four.

How did I miss the first six issues?

MS. MARVEL #1 (Wilson / Alphona / Herring) Marvel

This book would have landed a lot lower on the list if I hadn’t read interviews and seen some promo art.

A young, female, Pakistani-American, muslim super-hero headlining her own book.

Yeah. That is kind of a big deal.

They don’t shy away from the cultural differences but she doesn’t come across as a parody. STRONG writing. The art is not as good, but it gets the job done. It isn’t distracting.

Why would it fall lower, then? The last page.

Her first iteration of her powers as wish-fulfillment turns her into a blonde, white lady.

The thing is, I KNOW that isn’t where it is going – but wow. Leaving THAT as the last page cliffhanger with no pay-off?

Bad idea.

Anyone who reads this review, though… trust me. This is NOT where the book is going, based on everything I have read.

MIGHTY AVENGERS #6 (Ewing / Schiti / D’Armata) Marvel

Another great written issue and the art is better! There is so much goo din this issue… Jessica’s concern about being Avengers again… Power Man’s interesting power set… the difference in opinion between Luke and Adam… but more than anything, addressing the comments about Monica’s relaxed hair style… without trying to justify anything. They SEE the concerns and are willing to face them.

YES!

Though I imagine there are many readers who don’t understand the exchange at all, it was very great.


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

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

Starting at the weakest…

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

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

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

DC is really weak these days.

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

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

AVENGERS #25 (Hickman / Larroca / Martin) Marvel

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

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

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

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

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

I like the Sisterhood.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I would recommend this book to a new reader.

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

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

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

How about USING that logo on the book? No?

HAWKEYE #16 (Fraction / Wu / Hollingsworth) Marvel

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, what has happened while he was gone?


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Sex Criminals #4

January 14, 2014
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sex-criminals-4-web-72

Hello folks… sorry I am a little late.

With no further ado…

From the weakest…

CATACLYSM: ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #3 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

So it seems that the Ultimate line is NOT being mothballed after Cataclysm, which seems odd. Other than Bendis’ Spidey, none of the books are any good. I guess that are going to try and change that.

This comic is also not that good, but for a whole different reason. Because the UU is weak, I decided not to buy all the Cataclysm books. This one is the extension of the Spidey book, so I though it would hold up. Not so much.

Also, I went from hoping that Miles’ dad would somehow join him in the 616 to wanting to punch him in the face, so there is that.

AVENGERS WORLD #1 (Jonathan Hickman / Nick Spencer / Stefano Caselli) Marvel

So, what makes this different than the regular Avengers book? It is a big cast book facing ridiculously overpowered foes. So?

Oh right, HICKMAN ISN”T WRITING IT! They have him listed as a co-writer but I understand that is a bit of an overstatement.

Well, is it better than the regular Avengers book? So far, yes, but it is early. The plotting is clearer, for one.

We’ll see.

YOUNG AVENGERS #15 (Gillen / McKelvie / Cloonan / Doyle / Quinones / Norton / Wicks / Bellaire / Wilson) Marvel

This is the actual final issue of YA. It should have ended last issue. This book was entirely superfluous. They got to make a statement that the whole team is ‘not straight’ which is not true, and they got to wrap up the not-Patriot thing with an offhand and pointless explanation that made no sense.

Great series. Lousy final issue.

THE MOVEMENT #8 (Gail Simone / Freddie Williams II) DC

This was a solid issue. Heroes got to be heroic. They bucked overwhelming odds to save a bunch of people and now they get to meet one of Gail’s other ‘pets’, Batgirl. (Too bad they can’t meet the Secret Six.)

AVENGERS A.I. #8 (Sam Humphries / Andre Araujo / Frank D’Armata) Marvel

So, whose side are we supposed to be on? The A.I.s are RIGHT to fear and distrust the humans. The humans are RIGHT to think that it is too dangerous to allow them to continue as is.

Hmmm…. interesting….

SWAMP THING #27 (Charles Soule / Jesus Saiz) DC

Getting his job back seemed a little too easy, but wow! The Parliament of Trees! Screwing over Lady Weeds! Alec has mad himself some (more) pretty major enemies here!

FAIREST #22 (Marc Andreyko / Shawn McManus) Vertigo

Cindarella. Lots of transformed mice. A stone Fairy Godmother. What is left?

Oh right. Evil stepsister.

This Cindarella story is SO much better than the last couple of Fairest arcs.

BLACK WIDOW #1 (Nathan Edmondson / Phil Noto) Marvel

That’s right. Phil Noto interiors, not just the covers.

And yeah, this book LOOKS amazing. The DESIGN is worth the cost all on its own.

Too bad the story seems a little weak. Not terrible, but it hold stye book back a little bit. Hopefully Edmondson can make this book as great as it looks.

FBP #7 (Simon Oliver / Robbi Rodriguez) Vertigo

I have been lukewarm on this book… until now! What a great issue! This Agent Reyes is a great addition! A story of blackmail and seeing the sorts of practical problems these physics loops can cause. Nice. I hope the book stays at this level.

SEX CRIMINALS #4 (Fraction / Zdarsky) Image

This book is just flat out funny.

Criminals are born! Playing with powers for good… and revenge! Hey, who appointed those costumed yahoos to be the sex-crime police?

(Kind of like most costumed vigilantes, I guess…)

For those that don’t know, this is not some kind of poem comic, but the sex content is high, clearly, But it is really, really funny.


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