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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Batwoman #14

December 1, 2012
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Big week. You know what happens on weeks that are too big? Drops!

 

Starting from the weakest…

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #1 (Rick Remender / John Romita / Klaus Jansen / Dean White) Marvel

No more Brubaker, hey? No problem! We will just sign up… Rick Remender? Remender is one of the ‘hot’ writers that I just don’t like. (see J.Hickman) This issues reminds me why.

Marriage? That was out of absolutely nowhere. Hey,mystery subway car with no explanation whatsoever? Hey, why don’t you get on it by yourself just because some guy said so, with no explanation whatsoever? Why doesn’t SHIELD, including your maybe new fiancee just say, ‘hey you go ahead and climb on the mystery subway. We’re good.’ with no explanation whatsoever. Why doesn’t Cap walk into an unknown situation unprepared while daydreaming about… whatever… so he get punked, with no explanation whatsoever.

Note to Remender: having Cap say ‘wow, doing this sure is stupid’ doesn’t give you carte blanche to have him act like an idiot.

Oh, and the art is not very good.

I will not be getting issue #2.

 

 

IT GIRL & THE ATOMICS #4 (Rich / Norton / Passalaqua) Image

I have been disappointed since the first issue when I thought that Mike Allred was doing the book. It hasn’t improved.

Dropped.

 

 

CAPTAIN MARVEL #7 (DeConnick / Sebela / Soy) Marvel

I considered dropping this book, but I think I will let it have another chance. The scene between Carol and Monica sold it for me. I am disappointed that the art is back to Soy. I was hoping Rios would find her feet here.

 

AVENGERS #34 (Bendis / Peterson / Mayhew / Keith) Marvel

Wow, is that cover ever terrible. Who drew that? Brandon Peterson? With all the great artists in the book, that is what you chose? This issue was not terrible but the big stupid fight scene just to get a bunch of artists in the book was… well, stupid. The attempt to fix Wonder Man was interesting, considering he still behaved in a selfish and stupid manner.

Like Captain America, here is another book that sounds like it is going to suffer greatly due to the Marvel NOW initiative.

 

REVIVAL #5 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

I am liking this book less and less. It is still interesting at the core, but this ghost(?) stuff is going in a direction that doesn’t work for me. I would rather this book be more ‘this just happened’ and explore the fall-out alone. We’ll see.

 

COMEBACK #1 (Brisson / Walsh / Bellaire) Image

This book is getting a lot of praise and I just don’t see it. Not that I don’t think it is good… I do. I just don’t think this issue gives you enough to have any idea where this book is going. We have no plot here, just setting. Another wait and see book.

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #698 (Slott / Elson / Fabela) Marvel

An otherwise poor comic saved by a huge and interesting twist. I can’t say this book was good, but I CAN say I am looking forward to issue 699 and on…

 

FABLES #123 (Willingham / Ha / McManus) Vertigo

Eh. Not bad, just not great. How fallen is Fables, no? I’m not even buying the new hardcover because the preview looks so boring.

I think Bigby is part of the problem right now. He is Wolverine… a character that was so awesome when he first appeared that now seems a little tired. I really hope this book gets back to the greatness it once had.

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #17 (Bendis / Larraz / Ponsor) Marvel

Big battle scenes do not thrill me. Bendis’ characterization of Miles, however, really does. Once this book gets out from under the Ultimates cross-over, I expect it to be right back near the top of this list.

 

ROCKETEER: CARGO OF DOOM #4 (Waid / Samnee) IDW

So… a cliffhanger ending to a one-off miniseries? Does this mean there will be ANOTHER Waid / Samnee Rocketeer series? If so, sign me up!

 

WONDER WOMAN #14 (Brian Azzarello / Tony Akins / Dan Green) DC

Wonder Woman winning using love and compassion. Recruiting family through shared heartbreak and familial betrayal.

This is good stuff. Really good stuff. WW is best when she isn’t playing the She-Hulk role and this issue is a good example of that.

This isn’t the best comic with Wonder Woman in it this week, though.

 

HAWKEYE #4 (Fraction / Pulido / Hollingsworth) Marvel

This is Marvel’s best comic these days. I LIKE the version of the world that says Hawkeye has some shame over killing someone. (I prefer a world where he DOESN’T do that, but that ship has sailed.) The idea that this tape getting out would harm his rep and the rep of the Avengers makes me happy. I read a review that said that people today wouldn’t care. In our world, you are right. A world filled with superheroes, though… gets held to a higher standard, thankfully.

The only flaw this issue was the last issue reveal. The fact that I had doubts about who that was supposed to be is bad. (I know who it is… but my first reaction was Mockingbird.)

 

THE UNWRITTEN #43 (Mike Carey / Peter Gross) Vertigo

As Vertigo seems to be crumbling to dust, isn’t it nice that they still have this book? This animal world as a twisted version of literary world-buildign works for me. The characters here are top-notch and I love the motivation behind this one. A rescue… from? Non-existence maybe?

 

BATWOMAN #14 (J.H. Williams III / W. Haden Blackman) DC

That the art is beautiful is no surprise. That the book is written as well as it is, is. I have given Williams a lot of flack for his poor writing chops, but this issue redeems him somewhat. The scenes with Pegasus are heavy, deep, shocking, painful… just very well done. Wonder Woman is good in here, though I wouldn’t want Williams writing a WW book. Her willingness to take his head is perfectly acceptable. Her threat to leave him there to rot, not so much. The 20 pages felt very short this tim eout. Lots of splash pages that were still FILLED with story. Best Batwoman issue in quite a while.

 

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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Avengers #32

October 28, 2012
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Is The Avengers #32 the actual best comic this week?

 

Of course not… but it is for me. I’ll explain when I get there, but sufficed to say that it has more to do with my history with the title than anything else.

 

Starting at the weakest…

 

SECRET AVENGERS #33 (Remender / Kuhn / Wilson) Marvel

This is the last issue for me. The story doesn’t interest me and the art is absolutely horrible. I considered holding on for the next creative team, but the hell with it. The only good thing in this issue is the destruction of Max Fury. I mean, Black Ant? Emperor Doombot? Really?

Pass.

 

ULTIMATES #17 (Humphries / Ross / Milla) Marvel

This book took a backslide this issue. In fact, if this was the normal level of enjoyment I got out of the book, I would also be dropping it. With the big surprise being that it is Modi not Loki pulling the strings, maybe you shouldn’t write him as if he were Loki. The Ultimates and SHIELD apparently charged into battle without a plan at all, as they fell apart immediately. Plus the art was pretty sloppy. Hopefully this book gets better again as it has been an interesting read.

 

AvsX: CONSEQUENCES #3 (Gillen / Eaton / Hennessy / Charalampois) Marvel

Better than the last issue. Cyclops is starting to show signs that he could be an interesting villain. The “I am a political prisoner” bit shows him to still be delusional, which totally works. I just hope nobody tries to redeem him. That would be a big cop-out.

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #696 (Slott / Gage / Camuncoli / Green / Fabela) Marvel

Interesting story, but not much of it. I mean, what really advanced here? Two Hobgoblins fighting, but what is our stake in it? What makes either any different than one another in practical terms?

I guess we won’t know until that goblin key opens its hidden lock. I picture quite a villain reunion in issue #700. Green Goblin and Dr. Octopus should be back right about them.

 

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #13 (Jeff Lemire / Mikel Janin / Victor Drujiniu) DC

String issue. The villains are interesting and the struggles the ‘heroes’ face are challenging yet brief. It feels right for magical struggles. It ties in with the zero issue last month, which is nice. I am not sure how I feel about Nick Necro, but the rest of the characters are spot on. House Fight!

 

BATMAN INC. #4 (Grant Morrison / Chris Burnham) DC

A well-staged assault that really shows the advantages of working with a team. I don’t read the other Bat-books so I don’t know why the reveal is a big deal. The end is a swerve, guaranteed. IF ti isn’t, Batman is WAY out of character… but it is, so he isn’t.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #19 (Brubaker / Epting / D’Armata) Marvel

Final issue! Until the next one! Final Brubaker issue, though, and it is a good one. Bru shows that he is a fan of the history of ALL the Captain Americas (which was already pretty clear in the book). He also ties up a nice loose end before he puts up the chairs and turns out the light.

The Cap relaunch… well, I am going to give it a go, but neither Remender nor Romita are very high on my list of go-to creators. We’ll see.

 

ALL-STAR WESTERN #13 (Palmiotti / Gray / Moritat / Winslade) DC

This book waffles between ridiculous Batman references and good Batman references. This issue is more the latter. The circus didn’t have to be called that etc. but it didn’t distract from the story which is (not) a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen cross-over. This book is just a good, solid comic.

 

REVIVAL #4 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

All I want to say here is PLEASEDON’TBEALIENS, PLEASEDON’TBEALIENS! That would really suck a lot of the cool factor out of this book. They ‘why’ is not the thrust of the book. Keep it that way.

 

FABLES #122 (Willingham / Ha / McManus) Vertigo

Fables’ best days are behind, but they still put out consistently good stories. I found the art to be a little hit and miss, but I really liked the story I hope it isn’t JUST a flashback and what happens in this story has a bearing on the modern stories.

I do want to mention the preview in the back.  If you are going to put out a hardcover graphic novel… couldn’t you get at least as good an artist as the regular book normally has? The art isn’t awful or anything, but it sure doesn’t seem ‘special’. For HC money, it should be ‘special’.

 

THE UNWRITTEN #42 (Mike Carey / Peter Gross) Vertigo

It feels like I am reading the old Unwritten again. Stories within stories and characters following journeys into the unknown with a surprise around each corner… or page turn. Yes!

 

NATIONAL COMICS: MADAME X #1 (Rob Williams / Trevor Hairsine) DC

An interesting take on Madame Xanadu, good plot, good execution, art that looks like it is channeling good Neal Adams… what’s not to like?

Well, the fact that they left a cliffhanger in a one-shot, for one. They did the same thing in the Kid Eternity book.

Why are the National Comics books consistently better than the new 52 books?

 

AVENGERS #32 (Bendis / Mayhew / Peterson / Keith) Marvel

Spoilers, I guess, but if you didn’t see this coming…

Wasp is back! The scene where she meets the big 3 and Hank, reuniting the real founding Avengers (functionally… I know it was the Hulk and Cap took a few issues, but for all intents and purposes, these are the five).

I loved this. I have been reading Avengers for 28 years and I have collected the entire run and scenes like this are the pay off. Is the book actually awesome? No. It is good, but not the best of the week.

But it touched my little geek-filled heart.

 


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan #2

October 20, 2012
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Still trying to catch up. I get new comics tomorrow.

Since my last report we have dropped World’s Finest. Not good enough to keep buying (though there is a way worse comic this week).

Starting at the worst… and it is bad.

AME-COMI GIRLS #1 (Palmiotti / Gray / Conner / Akins / Wong) DC

This looked like a can’t miss! The writers from Jonah Hex and the amazing artist most recently on Silk Spectre.

Wow.

This may be the worst comic I have read this year.

Who is this comic marketed towards? Poor boys trying to struggle through puberty? Wonder Woman hasn’t been drawn in this horribly sexist manner since the bad old days of Deodato’s 90s where every shot was of her crotch and her costume was a thong.

Just awful.

I will NOT be buying #2.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #18 (Brubaker / Bunn / Eaton / Magyar / Guru-eFX) Marvel

A super-hero comic relies on villains. The villains in this story arc are dull, dull, dull. The exception is the Zemo vs Carter parts, but they are side notes and can’t make up for the Discordians. Then there is a hint that they might come back. Oh goody.

It has been pointed out to me that the slide started when Bunn joined Bru on writing. He isn’t doing it after the relaunch is he?

SECRET AVENGERS #32 (Remender / Scalera / Wilson) Marvel

Ruthanne doesn’t like SW at all, but I do. I did feel a little burned that the cool looking front cover scene didn’t happen at all. I liked the inventiveness of how the Void was defeated, but the Black Ant? Really?

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #13 (Kevin Schnick / Aaron Kuder / Matt Hollingsworth) Marvel

Sometimes comics can just be fun. I don’t really like Deadpool most of the time, but the Hypno-Hustler? Yes sir!

I wonder if the fact that Deadpool is left in jail at the end of this one will be reflected in his own book.

I wonder idly, because I don’t read it.

AvsX: CONSEQUENCES #1 (Gillen / Raney / Charalampiois) Marvel

All along I thought that Cyclops had to die for AvX to work. He is quite irredeemable. Instead it looks like they are setting him up to be Magneto, of a sorts. We’ll see where that goes. I’m glad it is in here because I don’t read any of the X-Men books.

AVENGERS #31 (Bendis / Mayhew / Peterson / Keith) Marvel

So, Bendis has some things to reverse before his run is up, does he? He is trying to give Wonder Man some character redemption and the mystery woman is pretty likely to be Wasp.

I’m okay with that.

I am surprised that it is the same artist inside and out because the art in the book isn’t bad but the cover is pretty ugly.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #1 (Rick Remender / John Cassaday) Marvel

Good premise. Good story. Good art. Nice surprise at the end. What’s not to like?

Well, I am not a big fan of Havoc, but that is a minor gripe. Let’s see where this goes. (Hey, didn’t he just join X-Factor again?)

HALLOWEEN EVE (Brandon Montclare / Amy Reeder) Image

After the mess that was Batwoman, it is so nice to see Amy Reeder drawing her own way again. The story is just okay, but every page is beautiful.

Do you know where she would be good? I would love to see her draw Young Avengers.

BEFORE WATCHMEN: DR. MANHATTAN #2 (J.Michael Straczynski / Adam Hughes) DC

What a great comic! This has become the top BW book me, even ahead of Silk Spectre and Ozymandias, becuase while it has art just as good as those books, it also has really inventive and interesting writing.

I read a review that called this book terrible because it goes again some minor plot point for the original mini. To that I say, get over it. If you let that ruin this comic for you, you may miss one of the best comics of the year (won’t know that until it is finished).


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: Spider-Men #4

August 16, 2012
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Sorry this is so late. We are in the middle of home renovations and the idea of free time is pretty foreign. Today I am installing a new closet. Tomorrow is back to flooring.

 

From weakest to strongest, as usual.

 

IT GIRL AND THE ATOMICS #1 (Jamie S. Rich / Mike Norton / Allen Passalaqua / crank!) Image

Is it just me? Am I the only one who ordered ‘Michael Allred’s It Girl and the Atomics’ and expected it to be by Michael Allred? I doubt it. Very disappointing and bordering on false advertising. It DOES say on the cover that it is by the ‘creators of Spell Checkers and Battlepug’ but much less prominently than Allred’s name. Mike even does the cover.

Oh… I have never heard of either Spell Checkers or Battlepug.

So, that aside, is the comic any good?

It is okay. The opening bit nearly had me not finishing the comic, but that turned out to be a swerve. I’ll be getting #2. Maybe with different expectations I will enjoy it more.

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: OZYMANDIAS #2 (Len Wein / Jae Lee) DC

Remember what I said about #1? That again.

The Lee art is beautiful. The two page spread with Ozy springing into action is amazing. The story, on the other hand, does not measure up. It is trite and predictable. It also covers too much ground in a single issue, but that seems to be a common problem with some of these BW minis. Still way better than Nite Owl. Probably better than Comedian as well.

 

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #6 (Bendis / Bagley / Miki / Mounts) Marvel

Still the weakest of the Avengers book. (Did you hear? Avengers Academy is cancelled! It is a lot better than this book…) The ‘quip’ level seemed to be out of place here as they try to get a cosmic cube back from Thanos. They should be worried that he is going to blink the universe out of existence, but no… still with the bon mots. The Guardians of the Galaxy are supposedly the big selling point this issue… and they continue to be not very interesting. Keep Rocket Racoon, Groot and maybe Bug and toss the rest of them. The Iron Man / Hulk trick served no real purpose whatsoever. A fully armed and armoured Iron Man should be every bit as scary as Hulk, so what is the upgrade?

Not a great book.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #16 (Brubaker / Bunn / Eaton / Magyar / GURU eFX) Marvel

Still with villains I don’t care about. Also, the art is much weaker this issue. So what DID this book have going for it? The Sharon / Dum Dum team! I really like their parts of the book. Oh, and the panel with Falcon asking Dugan “Is that a human head?” is awesome.

If it wasn’t for the coming shift in creative teams, I would not feel confident in the continued existence of this book on my pull list. I am beginning to think the name Cullen Bunn ranks up there with Chuck Austen on the do-not-buy list.

 

NEW AVENGERS #29 (Bendis / Deodato / Beredo) Marvel

When is an all-talk book worth getting? Well, often, honestly. This book is supposed to be about Cap and Namor but what makes it good is the opportunity to see what the characters are thinking and why they are doing what they are doing. Everyone blaming Xavier and Richards reminding the Avengers what they are fighting against (and letting us see why the Ultimate version of Reed is not so far fetched.)

One question? What’s with the cover? I have been vocal about my dislike of Deodato’s work… though I am coming around on him… but why get a cover artist who is CLEARLY inferior to the interior artist. You are doing it wrong.

 

FAIREST #6 (Willingham / Jimenez / Lanning) Vertigo

This story would have been better if it ended last issue. They had a perfectly good method of defeating her, but no. THey had to switch it for an incredibly stupid twist just so Briar Rose could win the fight. THen we get a bunch of epilogue and that is it.

Still, I guess it was done alright. The art was great as always.

Wow. I am bring really negative this morning. Must be because I am tired. I really enjoyed this week’s comics and I am just slagging them.

 

THE MASSIVE #3 (Brian Wood / Kristian Donaldson / Dave Stewart) Dark Horse

I have seen reviews of this series that complain that they spend too much time world building. Poppycock! That is what makes this book so great! It isn’t plot driven, or character driven, it is world driven. It Gives it a really different feel from other books on the racks.

Oddly enough, the only thing about this book I didn’t like was someone else’s review. 🙂  Kin of Silver Snail said he liked that this book is proving that you can’t be nonviolent in a violent world. Let’s just say, if that IS what this book ends up being about, I will like it a lot less.

I think it isn’t going to be about that, though. I think it is going to show that you CAN. (While keeping Mag around to provide the action for the readers.)

 

SPIDER-MEN #4 (Bendis / Pichelli / Ponsor) Marvel

Ignore the cover. Not only does nothing like that happen, but that is a good thing. This comic is ALL about Peter and May and Gwen and Mary Jane. I am not afraid to admit that this book get me a little weepy. The emotional yet never overbearing punch provided by Bendis and Pichelli is just amazing. The worst thing about this issue? That there is only one more.

Hey, is Miles going to have webshooters now?


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: All-Star Western #11

July 31, 2012
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Kind of an odd week. I can’t really rave about any books, but neither was there any that I had a real problem with. I went to the Jays game in Toronto yesterday and paid for it with a nasty burn and a bit of heat stroke. These are going to be even briefer than usual because of that.

 

Starting from the weakest.

 

SECRET AVENGERS #29 (Remender / Scalera / Wilson) Marvel

Decent story but the art is really not my cup of tea. I also don’t like the inconsistency in the portrayal of Taskmaster. Still worth reading.

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #690 (Slott / Camuncoli / Janson / Green / D’Armata) Marvel

I really like Slott’s run… a lot actually. But every multi-part story seems to have an issue where t feels like nothing really moves forward. This is that one.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #15 (Brubaker / Bunn / Eaton / Magyar / Guru eFX) Marvel

The only thing that holds this one back is the buy-in on the villains. I dont’ mean the masterminds, but rather the guys he actually fights. Who are they? Why do we care other than that they are wrecking stuff?

 

THE ULTIMATES #13 (Humphries / Tan / Pallot / Milla) Marvel

I quite liked this issue. The feeling of large scale disaster really is working. It reminds me of when they kicked the old New Universe into overdrive. I hope this Divided We Fall story doesn’t lean too much on the X-Men because I don’t read that book.

 

WINTER SOLDIER #8 (Brubaker / Lark / Thies / Guadino / Breitweiser) Marvel

Making the characters seem like they are really worried about Natasha is a trick when we aren’t at all, but they are pulling it off. Lots of tension and in a book like this, tension is key.

 

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #11 (Jeff Lemire / Mikel Janin) DC

How do they make such an interesting comic while doing things that I do NOT approve of when I see them described. Timothy Hunter? Seriously? But it keeps working!

 

AVENGERS #28 (Bendis / Simonson / Hanna / Keith) Marvel

What a neat, innovative way to tell the story! Not as good as New Avengers was, but Bendis is really giving it his all to round out his run.

 

THE NEW DEADWARDIANS #5 (Dan Abnett / I.N.J. Culbard) Vertigo

This book was not one of my favourite Vertigo books but it is getting better and better. The undead suffragette stuff is awesome! The mystery turn has got me interested inTHAT part of the comic for the first time!

 

ALL-STAR WESTERN #11 (Gray / Palmiotti / Moritat / Kolins) DC

WIthout a stand-out book, what puts this at the top of the list is Tallulah. She doesn’t need to hang around and wait for Jonah to rescue HER! No sir!


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: New Avengers #28

July 17, 2012
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Sorry this is so late. I was away in Toronto acting as Slammaster for SLAMtario. That was a lot of fun.

A good week, with a surprise as top pick… but also a couple drops.

DEFENDERS #8 (Fraction / McKelvie / Aymara) Marvel

I was ready to cancel this a couple of issues ago, but getting the Dodsons to draw Black Cat is a way to get a reprieve. 🙂 No such luck any more. The story is scattered and aimless. Most importantly, though, is the terrible characterization. The crazy thing is, the characters that are treated the worst or those from the Iron Fist center of influence… and it is written by Matt Fraction. I don’t get it. This has been a disappointing run and I am dropping it.

DARK AVENGERS #177 (Parker / Shalvey / Walker / Martin) Marvel

Drop #2. I really liked Thunderbolts. I like the parts of this comic that are still Thunderbolts. But I am not going to pay $3 every issue for ‘some’ of a good comic, because the Dark Avengers stuff is just awful. When Bendis remade the Dark Avengers he completely misunderstood what made them interesting in the first place. These were big name villains with strong track records that were taking the places of heroes. Even the original Thunderbolts didn’t make up villains to have them masquerade as heroes. They were well established. Here was get a bunch of d-listers that only existed to give Norman Osborne fodder in his mini. They are not interesting in their own guises… at least yet. Switching them to new guises does not make them interesting. The only one that showed ANY character in this comic was Barney… who is still a pale imitation of the original Trickshot.

Somebody let me know when they bring the real Thunderbolts book back.

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #5 (Bendis / Baley / Miki /  Mounts) Marvel

Not dropped but on thin ice. This book appears to have no CREATIVE reason to exist. It takes up space as a marketing movie tie-in (which I never buy) masquerading as a ‘legitimate’ comic. The line-up matches the movie. The villain matches the movie’s reveal. Suddenly Black Widow and Hawkeye are kissing… because that matches the movie. The Guardians of the Galaxy appear… what movie was officially announced at ComicCon?

When does Ant-Man join the cast?

I give Avengers books a lot of leeway, but this book is so much a pure advertising vehicle that they should be giving it away, not charging $4.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #14 (Brubaker / Zircher / Deodato / Mounts) Marvel

I didn’t notice Deodato art when I read it. He merged it with Zircher pretty well. I liked this book over all and I like the cold war aspect of a battle with Bravo. I am not quite so taken with Bru’s willingness to kill long-standing characters off, but this was a Scourge story and that is what they are based on. It is worth noting that Mark Gruenwald said later that he was wrong to use Scourge to ‘clear the decks’. Killing characters should never be done lightly as everybody is somebody’s favourite.

SAUCER COUNTRY #5 (Paul Cornell / Ryan Kelly) Vertigo

This has ben a good read so far, but I feel it has been sidetracked a little by the hypnotist thread. It seems that they just now have their ducks in a row and we are going to move forward on the main plot. I am looking forward to it.

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #9 (DeConnick / T.Dodson / R.Dodson / Delgado) Marvel

If this is what the Captain Marvel book is going to be like, I am sold. You will likely never see it at the top of my list, but a good solid, entertaining super-hero romp is nothing to turn your nose up at. DeConnick is a very good writer and I am glad she is on board. The Dodsons are always great, but they will not be the artists on the Captain Marvel book. I wish they had delayed this book so it came out in the right order, but oh well.

 

SPIDER-MEN #3 (Bendis / Pichelli / Ponsor) Marvel

Not as awesome as issue #2, but still a very good read. ‘Both’ Mysterios are now cooler than they were and the scene at the end… well, let me just say that meeting between Peter and Miles was epic, wait until the meeting of Peter and Aunt May and GWEN STACY.

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: MINUTEMEN #2 (Darwyn Cooke) DC

Excellent comic. I enjoyed this a lot. Cooke really sets the mood and tone for the time period. The scene where the team decides to NOT go after the child molester is horrific, but it is balanced out by the great Silhouette, Nite Owl, Moth Man mission. Having Sil lead the foray worked on many levels. This book also makes me wish Cooke was doing the Nite Owl book. He got his tone very well. Moth Man breaking down in tears was spot on.

Here is the part that bugs me if I think about it too hard. This is what stops the book from being higher. The parallels between the homosexual relationship in the book and the children being molested was a little too… there. Cutting back and forth between a consensual act that was frowned upon at the time and brutal sexual assault son children is implying something that I TRULY hope was unintentional. If I thought for a second that Cooke was trying to say these have ANY sort of equivalency, I would never buy one of his books again. I HOPE that he was being more subtle and trying to show how ridiculous it is that Larry was worrying about dealing with the ‘gay issue’ while thinking child molesters was beneath their notice.

I hope.

 

THE MASSIVE #2 (Brian Wood / Kristian Donaldson / Dave Stewart) Dark Horse

Note to writers like Hickman and sometimes Morrison: this is how you can do quick jump cuts while not losing the flow of the story. The new Hong Kong in this story is artfully crafted. I am not sure how strong this book is on plot so far but as world-building goes, it is brilliant. I want to know more about this world and see what has happened in every part of it. More, more, MORE!

 

REVIVAL #1 (Tim Seeley, Mike Norton) Image

Speaking of more… what an amazing take on the (somewhat overdone) zombie genre! These aren’t zombies, they are something else entirely. The bit with the teeth was incredibly creepy and the final page reveal promises much more. Seeley came up with a motherlode idea and I guarantee that this will be optioned as a movie or tv show… if it hasn’t already.

 

SWAMP THING #11 (Scott Snyder / Marco Rudy) DC

Don’t let the ugly cover throw you off… this is a very good comic. Arcane. Alec. Abby. The mini parliament of trees. The art was beautifully moody and evocative of the edge of horror that was being called for by Snyder. It seems that the not-quite-crossover is becoming an actual crossover. I will have to remember to pick up the appropriate Frankenstein issue to go along with the two books I already get (Swamp Thing and Animal Man).

 

NEW AVENGERS #28 (Bendis / Deodato / Beredo) Marvel

Before reading the books I NEVER would have guessed this would come out on top. A simple story about three Avengers breaking out of the X-Men’s jail.

Wow.

This was incredibly well done.

I don’t know what else to say. Just read it. Does it ‘matter’ (other than reminding us that the X-Men are very much the villains of this story)? Not really. A good story doesn’t need to ‘matter’.


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…


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Batman Incorporated #1

May 27, 2012
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Not as exciting a week as the last, and a surprise in at #1… in a week that includes previous award winners Fables, Unwritten and All-Star Western.

 

Starting from the weakest and working up.

 

THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #9 (Van Sciver / Harris / Cinar / Rapmund / Alquiza) DC

Another issue of a bunch of nuclear people fighting indiscriminately amongst themsevles. This time they add the JLI… which I neither read nor care about. I gave this a big chance as Like Jason and Ronnie… but this isn’t Firestorm anyway.

Dropped.

 

SECRET AVENGERS #27 (Remender / Guedes / Breitweiser) Marvel

I have liked the new iteration of Secret Avengers, but this issue… not so much. The art is just horrible. I said Guedes was ‘okay’ last issue… I am downgrading that. This was pretty darned bad. Look how dynamic the Marvels look on the Davis cover. Now look at them inside. No comparison. Plus the story isn’t working for me. We already know that the story has moved PAST this point in AVX. This is just a killing time story.

If the book continues like this it will join Firestorm.

 

DOMINIQUE LAVEAU, VOODOO CHILD #3 (Selwyn Seyfu Hinds / Denys Cowan / John Floyd) Vertigo

I am biased because Selwyn came and commented on my blog? I don’t know, but I will say that this issue was better than the first two. The simple a to b part of the plot is falling into place. There actual ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’, rather than just flashbacks of ominous doom. Cowan isn’t one of my favourite artists, but I appreciate what he does. I’m less of a fan of Grampa’s cover, but it is okay.

 

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #9 (Jeff Lemire / Mikel Janin) DC

I bought JLD when it launched but dropped it as it didn’t seem to be finding its feet. Lemire has done better in one issue than I saw in 3 by Milligan. I don’t read I.Vampire, so that guy doesn’t click with me, but the rest are excellent. I am hoping this joins Swamp Thing and Animal Man as a little corner of strong DC books.

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #686 (Slott / Caselli / Martin Jr.) Marvel

I have been enjoying the Ends of the Earth story, but it is starting to feel a little stretched. The first Mysterio ‘twist’ was pretty obvious (the second was good, though), but the way the story hinged on irrational behaviour by Chameleon and Dr. Octopus didn’t sit right with me. Best news? The words ‘To Be Concluded’. As I said t0 the story has been good, but it has run its course.

 

ALL-STAR WESTERN #9 (Gray / Palmiotti / Moritat / Scherberger / Green) DC

I have really enjoyed ASW and it has been near or at the best book of the week many times. So why is it so low this time? The ‘real’ story was too short, as it had to make room for a RIDICULOUS ‘cross-over’ and then a set-up for the next issue while STILL having a back-up.

Tying Jonah Hex in with Batman is walking a tightrope. Some references are great. Too many is not. An out of left field, pointless Court of Owls appearance was just stupid.

Please, no more. (The rest of the book was good, though!)

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #12 (Brubaker / Zircher / Mounts) Marvel

Scourge! Gyrich! The big reveal that I am not going to spoil!

Scourge worked better for me here. Last issue it seemed like he was working FOR the villains, and I didn’t care for that. Now it makes better sense. I know some people hate when they do anything with… the revealed character… that doesn’t involve him being the most awesome…whatever. He was a pretty lame character when created. Anything that makes him interesting s good. (Though I would have liked them to follow Bendis’ thread with him.)

 

THE UNWRITTEN #37 (Mike Carey / Peter Gross) Vertigo

(Aside: Jesse Chavez struck out the side! Woot!)

This comic was a good read, but it is hard to say to much . It feels like we are reading The Unwritten Volume 2, #1… a sequel or something. It will really take more than one issue to see how that goes.

 

FABLES #117 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha / McManus) Vertigo

The lead story is still too short, but things leap forward this issue. Therese putting her foot down was nice. The charge of Mountbatten was VERY well done. The new Fabletown is intriguing. The back-up continues to be… well, in the way, really.

 

BATMAN INCORPORATED #1 (Grant Morrison / Chris Burnham) DC

Nice! A good mix of chuckles and action. (Batcow!) People were raving about the Batgirl issue that got me to drop the book – talking about the insight into one of the villains.

THIS book does that WAY better than Batgirl did. It helps that I don’t care at all about the Owls (not their fault – I just don’t read the mainstream Batbooks), while Goatboy was interesting all on his own, right off the bat (pun intended).

I hope the book stays at this level and doesn’t descend into madness, as Morrison books sometimes do.

 


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.


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