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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Lazarus #3

September 1, 2013
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Lazarus-03

Not a spectacular week, but some pleasant surprises. One cut, though, and one big disappointment.

CAPTAIN MARVEL #15 (DeConnick / Van Meter / Oliffe / Geraci / Troy) Marvel

So the art is better. The comic isn’t.

So now she has lost her memory and is turning into Binary? She has no emotional attachment to the people around her?

So a 30-year backslide in characterization?

Add to that, the THIRD time I have read the same story with slight variations.

Enough. Dropped.

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

I normally really like this book. The fact that I considered cutting it after this issue tells you something.

What is so great about this book is how grounded it is. This reads like something that COUDL happen, given extreme enough circumstances.

Spoiler alert, I guess…

Mary made nuclear missiles disappear with her mind. A whole bunch of them (though the number doesn’t really matter).

Mark this issue. If they don’t manage to dig their way out of this, issue #15 is the moment The Massive stopped being a good comic.

FEDERAL BUREAU OF PHYSICS #2 (Simon Oliver / Robbi Rodriguez) Vertigo

This book was called Collider with the first issue but ran into some copyright problems.

The book is okay. I am hoping for more, honestly. There is promise here, but it hasn’t blossomed yet.

THE UNWRITTEN #52 (M.Carey / P.Gross / B.Willingham / M.Buckingham) Vertigo

Do you know what would be really cool? A story were Tommy Taylor and friends appear in the world of Fables.

To bad we instead got this alternate universe, kind of not really crossover.

The story isn’t terrible but as I read it, I can’t get out of my head how cool it COULD be.

NEW AVENGERS #9 (Hickman / Deodato / Martin) Marvel

Pleasant surprise number one.

The Black Order in action against the Illuminati. Namor turning into a full-on super villain again.
(side note: If this DOESN’T turn into some secret plot, how is Namor considered a ‘good guy’ after that? Back to his roots, I guess…)
(side note #2: which infinity gem did Reed Richards have?)

UNCANNY X-MEN #11 (Brian Michael Bendis / Frazer Irving / Kris Anka) Marvel

Sentinel! The ever-evolving Sentinels are awesome. (Though I prefer when they LOOK like Sentinels.)

Good overall. I wish the reveal at the end meant something to me, though.

YOUNG AVENGERS #9 (Gillen / McKelvie / Norton / Wilson) Marvel

Do you know what has dragged the last two issues down for me? Leah.

So much depends on her very appearance having a big impact on the reader and I never read Journey Into Mystery. It just loses that extra kick. Without that, the book is getting a little repetitive. Still solid, though.

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #26 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

Second Bendis book this week. The book hurts a bit from a lack of Miles, who is much more interesting that his costumed counterpart, but it is still really rock solid.

I have one big request, though. DON’T SCREW UP TASKMASTER. He used to be the best until they screwed him up over in the 616. You have another chance now.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #11 (Remender / Acuna) Marvel

The other pleasant surprise. This is a really good read. Wonderful art. Solid storytelling. Great characterization. This is all DESPITE having Sentry in it. I don’t knwo what is goign on with Wanda, but I guarantee that it isn’t what it looks like.

Good book.

LAZARUS #3 (Rucka / Lark / Arcas) Image

Now THIS is a good book. This is the best in its short run, by far. The characterization between the two Lazari was worth the price of admission alone. The negotiation scene was nearly as good. The bit with the Twins… everything. Good book. Very good book.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Animal Man Annual #2

August 4, 2013
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animal man annual 2

This was a pretty steady week. Nothing was over-the-top awesome, but nothing was really that bad either.

Starting at the weakest…

CAPTAIN MARVEL #14 (DeConnick / Hepburn / Sandoval / Troy) Marvel

So the Enemy Withins tory is over… and I was pretty much waiting for it to be over to cancel at least this book (if not Avengers Assemble as well)… but I’m not going to. It was a pretty good wrap-up to the story. The art was still lacking but the story itself felt deeper – stronger. I am interested in seeing what happens next, and I certainly wasn’t before now.

DAREDEVIL #29 (Waid / Rodriguez / Lopez) Marvel

Not one of the strong issues of DD. No Chris Samnee hurts… and the Serpents plan was just too sloppy… and Matt came across as a bit too petty at the end. I really enjoy the series, but this is the low point since I have been reading it.

X-MEN (Wood / Coipel / Morales / Martin) Marvel

This is a good comic overall. I love the art. The on;y thing that put this so low is that Arkea seemed too easy to beat. Why would she just stand there? Was it supposed to be that she didn’t think they would do it? Unsatisfactory ending to a good story overall.

UNCANNY X-MEN #9 (Bendis / Bachalo / Townsend) Marvel

Dazzler, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. is just too cool for words. The Uncle Tom / Sirhan Sirhan comments were harsh, but they worked. Hijack taking the helicarrier was nice, as was the end reveal. Solid book.

COLLIDER #1 (Simon Oliver / Robbi Rodriguez) Vertigo

A nice debut. It set the stage well, both for the ‘rules’ of the universe and for the potential threat. There were times when I wished the art was a little more… descriptive… but I liked it overall. This book is worth a follow.

BATMAN ANNUAL #2 (Scott Snyder / Marguerite Bennett / Wes Craig) DC

Claiming this ties into Zero Year is a bit of a stretch, but it was a pretty solid book. To be clear, though, other then the showing off pages, this is not a Batman book. It is an Arkham book. Batman does not defeat the… I hesitate to call her a villain. Arkham does.

Nice story.

ANIMAL MAN ANNUAL #2 (Jeff Lemire / Travel Foreman) DC

This went from being just a standard story to one that makes you feel all the feels at the end. The end makes it worth the read. Also, while I was not a big fan of Foreman on this book earlier, he works for this story. This is the best Buddy / Cliff story. Period.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Animal Man #21

June 24, 2013
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ANMAN_Cv21

Good size week with a ‘big’ release that was pretty disappointing.

Starting at the weakest.

CAPTAIN MARVEL #13 (DeConnick / Hepburn / Bellaire) Marvel

I wonder if this book would ‘read’ better if it had a different artist.

AGE OF ULTRON #10 (No cover credits – Bendis / Maleev / Hitch / Neary / Guice / Peterson / Pacheco / Bonet / Palmer / Marquez / Quesada) Marvel

Ugh. I have actually enjoyed this series but this comic was barely even part of it. It read like an epilogue. “Remember that plan from last issue? It worked. Now there is fall-out… and you get to see it in the following comics!”

It is an ad for follow up comics! (Which I was already going to buy.)

The series as a whole was good but the last half of this comic was lame.

AVENGERS #14 (Hickman / Spencer / Caselli / Martin) Marvel

Stuff happens!

None of makes any real sense!

PLEASE tell me that Hickman will leave the Avengers titles after Infinity. PLEASE.

Not likely.

NEW AVENGERS #7 (Jonathan Hickman / Mike Deodato / Frank Martin) Marvel

Better than Avengers, so that is something. This time out, anyway. Big earth-threatening menace! That just seems to go on and on without anything ever actually happening! Grrrr! And now there is war on earth! Grrrr!

See note from previous issue.

REVIVAL #11 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

I am wavering on this book, but this issue was solid. I could do without that super-racist dude, but the main story with Emma and the organ-harvesters was interesting.

WONDER WOMAN #21 (Brian Azzarello / Cliff Chiang) DC

This is still the 21st issue of the same storyline, which is a little long, but the end made it worthwhile. New Genesis! Highfather! Boom Tubes! Some big boring tough guy! Okay, you can’t win them all.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #12 (Slott / Camuncoli / Dell / Pallot / Delgado) Marvel

When is Peter coming back?

This is a well-written comic, but Otto is certainly unlikeable. The Jameson / Otto interaction is interesting. If Otto actually kills Smythe on Jameson’s orders, or even if he doesn’t, Otto now has blackmail material against the mayor. Interesting.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #9 (Rememder / Acuna) Marvel

So here it is! The big fight between Rogue and the Scarlet Witch!

Oh wait… that doesn’t actually happen? But the cover…?

Yeah. False advertising.

Godo story though. I know that this is going to blow over but I WANT Captain America to refuse to serve with Wolverine. I actually like BOTH characters but that should include Cap refusing to serve with Logan.

FABLES #130 (Willingham / Kitson / Erskine) Vertigo

I could see the ending coming, but I still liked it. I think the final panel was poorly don, though, because all of a sudden it seemed like the Rats had abused her, which wasn’t the impression I got during that actual scene.

Nezumi for the win!

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #24 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

Hey, the Ultimate Dagger wears clothes! Cloak and Dagger are interesting in their limited appearance so far. We don’t know if what is going on in Cloak’s… cloak is the same as in the 616 uni or not. Gwen’s slap of Miles was perfect.

You can’t be in a Spider-man book and not learn that with great power… etc.

ANIMAL MAN #21 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh / Francis Portela) DC

This is the best book DC has going these days. This book as Maxine as a messed up Little Nemo. Twitter ruining Buddy’s life and letting the villain escape. The confluence of celebrity and tragedy. Buddy trying to actually be a super-hero.

Good comic.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Wonder Woman #19

April 21, 2013
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Wonder-Woman_19

Big surprise at the #1 spot this week.

Maybe I am just in a good mood because I did really well at the Capital Slam semi-finals last night and made the finals. Time to get to work!

Starting at the weakest.

BATWOMAN #19 (J.H. Williams III / W.Haden Blackman / Trevor McCarthy) DC

So, the DC cover gimmick where it is supposed to reveal some big surprise? Did nobody tell Williams that?

I really should drop this comic. I like the character. I like the concept. I like to support diversity in comics.

But I prefer comics to be somewhat coherent. This isn’t. And the art is bad.

Sigh.

CAPTAIN MARVEL #12 (DeConnick / Sebela / Andrade / Bellaire) Marvel

I like this comic more, but this is still just a big fight scene. Interspersing the medical talk helped a bit, but not enough.

So, she ‘caught’ something now? I guess that makes sense because that way she can find a cure, go back to being her old heroic self, and feel bad about Helen Cobb. I get it.

It looks like they are going to try a more ‘standard’ artist starting next issue. We’ll see how that plays.

AGE OF ULTRON #6 (Bendis / Peterson / Pacheco / Martinez) Marvel

What really puts that book down this low is the art. It just wasn’t very good. The past Pacheco art is a lot better than the Peterson art… but nether really wowed me.

The end wasn’t shocking at all and the announcement of an upcoming book called Avengers A.I. has already spoiled that this ‘shock’ doesn’t stick around so, there is that.

The Age of Ultron spin-off this week was way better.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #8 (Dan Slott / Huberto Ramos / Hector Olazaba / Edgar Delgado) Marvel

The scenes with the Avengers were not great. The cool big fight scene that was expected just didn’t happen and then their ‘scan’ was pretty weak. The stuff with Cardiac was a lot better and Otto’s feelings about being a hero were an interesting evolution.

They have teased that something big happens in issue #9. I think that is it for that Peter echo, cementing Otto’s place. (Of course, I still think Peter WILL be back, but not just yet.)

REVIVAL #9 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

Ruthanne’s complaint is that the book doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, and that is a fair assessment, but I still like it.

I actually don’t know what else to say with this one.

THIEF OF THIEVES #13 (Kirkman / Asmus / Martinbrough / Serrano ) Image

This is another one I like more than Ruthanne does. I dig the cinematic feel of it. There are always twists but they don’t feel contrived. This issue marks the end of the Asmus arc but it also sets up the Andy Diggle arc that follows.

The one real criticism I have is that I wonder if EVERY arc is going to be about how someone manipulates him into stealing for them and how he turns the tables.

DAREDEVIL #25 (Waid / Samnee / Rodriguez) Marvel

This is an interesting take on the Daredevil fight scene. I love Chris Samnee’s art normally, so it feels weird criticizing him, but it felt like we were being TOLD that the fight was brutal, rather than seeing it. I recall when Waid made comments about how busted up Matt was inside, wondering, ‘why?’ It just felt like reading a normal fight scene with a supervillain while being told that it was much more.

DD is a good book, though. I am glad I finally starting buying it.

WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #27 AU (Kindt / Medina / Vlasco / Curiel) Marvel

Right off the top, let me say that this book does not deserve to place this high on the list. It is just not THAT good. The art is not great and the writing is nothing special.

SPOILER ALERT FOR THIS AND AGE OF ULTRON

But the CONCEPTS in this book really hit be in my happy place.

Wolverine and Sue Storm just screwed up. BIG time.

Forget the possible fall-out from killing Hank Pym… Sue just made Reed more distrustful and less likely to work with the wider community to keep the world safe.

Meanwhile, Wolverine just created a race of SUPER-Brood that would probably threaten the existence of humankind on the planet. (Think the movie Aliens, let loose on the world).

My only concern is that since this isn’t in the main title, these threads won’t be as important as the death of Pym one (which should also be a big deal) and won’t be touched on as much. I hope I am wrong.

FABLES #128 (Willingham / Buckingham / Pepoy / Leialoha) Vertigo

My concerns about this book have been allayed so far. Snow White was awesome. Brute force is clearly not going to win the day (in fact, wait until Bigby hears what he just did to his wife). Rose Red rose (ahem) to the occasion. The witches are DOING something.

I feel more comfortable that Snow will save herself and that is what I want to see.

WONDER WOMAN #19 (Azzarello / Sudzuka / Akins / Green) DC

WW is #1? Wow. I have not been liking the book that much lately, so what made is so great this time? Cliff Chiang isn’t even on art!

Oh, I how I enjoyed this book. Let me count the ways.

The Apollo stuff was okay and the Poseidon stuff didn’t do it for me… but the rest!

Let’s start with the naming sequence. They start with the Brit names. Diana suggests Steve and everyone gives her a look (that is almost a 4th-wall sequence). War shows where his head is at. Hera looking at the baby and the effect that has on her. Then, Zeke! Orion’s idea of what the name sounds like is awesome! What a great name!

The mod-WW semi-easter egg.

The kiss.

The balls.

The punch.

The UGLY Orion!

This book was FULL of great bits.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Saga #11

March 24, 2013
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Saga again? I think this makes 10 times out of 11 issues that it has grabbed the #1 spot. There was big competition this week too…

Starting at the weakest…

COMEBACK #5 (Brisson / Walsh / Bellaire) Image

What a terrible comic this ended up being. I think that they were trying to recreate the movie Primer in comic form and failing utterly. I have no problem with complicated comics but this was an absolute mess. Just look at page 8 and 9 for the wall of text that happens to try and explain the storyline. TOo much expository dialogue!

If you have a chance to read this comic, don’t waste your time.

WONDER WOMAN #18 (Azzarello / Sudzuka / Ains / Chiang / Green) DC

I used to really love this comic… what happened? I already talked about how this storyline was just going on an don, yet this issue had a resolution of sorts. The art this time out was really, really bad, which makes them lost the benefit of the doubt. But what really puts this book in the bad column?

How about the scene where War reaches in and rips a baby from a women’s womb.

The fact that they are gods and not really people and that it wasn’t really her womb doesn’t matter. Just look at that scene and tell me what you see.

That is some messed up shit right there. Ugh.

CONSTANTINE #1 (Jeff Lemire / Ray Fawkes / Renato Guedes) DC

They cancelled Hellblazer for this. Now, I wasn’t reading Hellblazer, but the idea that they would water down yet another character didn’t sit well with me. When they turned Constantine back into a DCU character, I had no problem with that. Hellblazer was still running and I had no more problem with both existing than I do with the idea that the movie version of, say, Captain America, is a different version than the comic one. No problem.

DC seems to think otherwise. They thought it was too confusing so they killed Hellblazer and replaced it with this.

At first I just wasn’t going to buy it at all. BUt then they switched writers, bringing in Jeff Lemire, who writes Constantine very well in Justice League Dark, so I thought I would give it a try.

I tried it. That may be all I do.

CAPTAIN MARVEL #11 (DeConnick / Sebela / Andrade / Bellaire) Marvel

From here on, I actually quite liked the comics this week. THere were lots of them, but they were quite good.
I am hot and cold about the art in CM, but this issue worked for me. I think the difference from issue to issue may be more me than the art, but this time I liked it.
I like the ‘can’t fly’ story now, and I wouldn’t mind if they took her flight power away from her permanently so her facility with flying machines had a greater utility.
This was a solid issue, but not outstanding.

NEW AVENGERS #4 (Jonathan Hickman / Rick Magyar / Steve Epting / Frank D’Armata) Marvel

So the Illuminati are straight up villains now? Having Cap pushed out was the right thing to do because he would be WAY out of character to go for this. I think Beast should have a bigger problem with this than he does. (I would prefer if they ALL had a bigger problem with this but…)
Not a great book, but I am still hoping that heroic natures take back over.

AVENGERS #8 (Jonathan Hickman / Dustin Weaver / Justin Ponsor) Marvel

So, the Avengers acted pretty badly in here, no? All of the conflict came about because they treated someone who had done nothing wrong as an enemy, effectively turning him into one. While I am not a fan of idiocy as a plot device, this worked because you could see that they were really, really panicking. I think having characters used to being so powerful act rashly when faced with something MORE powerful makes sense.

I just wish Hickman did stories other than ‘big cosmic over powered god-think threatens the earth!’

REVIVAL #8 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

Creepy and powerful stuff. The character turns in this book are great. I dug Ken Dillisch, as he worked against type. The plight of the suicidal was yet another twist in this already psychologically messed-up book.

This should be the next Walking Dead.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #6 (Slott / Ramos / Olazaba / Delgado) Marvel

What I like about this book: Otto has become a VERY complicated character. His childhood flashbacks are becoming tiresome, but his obvious feelings of respect (and more?) for Anna Maria Marconi is really well played. Of course, his way of expressing that is a little over the top, but that is who he is.

What I don’t like: They did this in the mid-90’s when they broke Batman’s back. They replaced Batman with Azrael to answer to the people who thought that it was okay for Bats to be more brutal. They tried to show how wrong that would be. What happened? People cheered him. The people who say that Batman should have killed Joker years ago don’t understand what it means to be a hero.

I am afraid of that here. How many readers thing Otto was right to shoot that guy last issue? What I liked here is that people SHOULD realize that brutalizing two people over what amounts to a prank in order to commit a minor crime is too much.

I hope.

BATWOMAN #18 (J.H. Williams III / W. Haden Blackman / Trevor McCarthy) DC

This issue was fairly… straight forward. That is a nice change from the mess the last arc kind of became. The fight with Freeze was well done. Hawkfire is a stupid name, but the team is good. The Batman appearance was interesting and Kate was the right kind of rebellious to him. It suits her character. The D.E.O. stuff was good. The Maggie stuff was good. The ending was very poorly done. A cliffhanger that you have given us no reason to care or wonder about? Yeah… poorly done.

ALL-NEW X-MEN #9 (Bendis / Immonen / Von Grawbadger / Gracia) Marvel

Jean Grey without training from Xavier is a whole lot of bad news. How long before nobody wants her around at all? The bit with Angel makes me think there will be unintended consequences with her messing with his head. The Times Square reaction was ridiculous. They did NOT come from the 60’s anymore. (Though I still like that they did stylistically) Please get Lady Mastermind a new name and a new costume. Her and Emma Frost in the same comic is too much.

I thought Sabertooth was dead…

FABLES #127 (Willingham / Buckingham / Pepoy / Leiloha) Vertigo

The Snow White story makes me nervous but this issue was very solid.

I don’t have a lot to say except this… if Snow WHite doesn’t engineer her own ‘salvation’ from this situation, I will be annoyed. Also, please don’t make her win the day by using her ‘sexual wiles’.

Thank you.

DAREDEVIL #24 (Waid / Samnee / Rodriguez) Marvel

I stayed away from this comic for too long. WHile she is new to me, I am an instant fan of Kirsten McDuffie. The problem is, we know that Matt will keep trying to win her over, and that is npt really a great message. No means no, fella.

Samnee’s art is beautiful. He reminds me of Darwyn Cooke while still being his own artist. (Speaking of Cooke, my friend Kevin Matthews got me Volume 1 of Parker for my birthday. I am looking forward to digging in to it.)

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #21 (Bendis / Pichelli / Ponsor) Marvel

Nobody does characters better than Bendis and nowhere does Bendis do them better than this book. You FEEL what they are going through. The scope of all this is too much for Miles, but he gets through it because it is the right thing to do. Mary-Jane and Gwen coming over was perfect. The fact that they really screwed up by doing so is going to have an impact. There is no way that cop doesn’t connect them to Peter Parker and therefore Spider-man.

I really hope Miles’ dad makes it through this. I want to read more about him.

SAGA #11 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

The best comic in an already amazing week of comics. THe ex talk was refreshingly frank (and funny). The space stuff was exciting and interesting. The Lying Cat rescue was cheer-inducing. Then… the fate of Barr…. with the bookmark comment… wow. Powerful. VERY powerful.

It made you feel the feels.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Saga #10

February 24, 2013
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It is the second week in a row where I wasn’t really blown away by the quality. Two books that I buy, Wonder Woman and Fables, were damaged in transit so I won’t get them until next week.

Starting at the weakest…

CAPTAIN MARVEL #10 (DeConnick / Andrade / Bellaire) Marvel

It is hard to explain but last issue, with the new artist, I was happy with the change. This issue it looks ugly and messy. That may just be me… my changing moods. The storyline doesn’t excite me either.

AVENGERS #6 (Jonathan Hickman / Adam Kubert / Frank Martin) Marvel

When I finished this book, I turned to Ruthanne and said, “Where do you rank a book that pretty much sucked all the way through and then has something really cool right at the end?
Apparently the answer is right here.

Do you know what I really liked back in the 80s? The New Universe. I really liked DP7. I quite liked Psi-Force. Star Brand was decent. Not Nightmask, unfortunately, but hey.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #4 (Dan Slott / Giuseppe Camuncoli / Edgar Delgado) Marvel

I just… hmmm. Why didn’t I love this comic? It was just too bloody. This isn’t Punisher, it is Spider-Man. Slaughtering people left and right just doesn’t sit right with me. It doesn’t feel right.

THIEF OF THIEVES #12 (Kirkman / Asmus / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

I have been enjoying the Asmus story but all of a sudden in seemed muddled. I have had no problem following before but now things seemed a little… all over the place. This may be one of those issues that works better when read WITH the surrounding issues.

BATWOMAN #17 (J.H. Williams III / W.Haden Blackman) DC

Positives: Williams actually tried to draw a comic this issue instead of just some cool big paintings. The end bit with BW and Maggie. The end-end bit with Alice and Bones.

Negatives: That’s it? This big convoluted story ends with beating Medusa in the most obvious, cliched way and then taking down the big bad with a short chat? Then the BW / Maggie scene… as great as the IDEA is, it was a little sloppy. Kind of out-of-nowhere, no?

REVIVAL #7 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

Anders is messed up… kind of.

I always say that character is more important than plot to me… but I really hope this book starts going somewhere concrete.

DAREDEVIL #23 (Waid / Samnee / Rodriguez) Marvel

I keep hearing how good this comic is and I finally decided to give it a try. I am a big Chris Samnee fan so it feels like it was about time.

And it was. This is a really good book. The looming villainy of the DD experiment looks interesting, but this was all about the final scene with Matt and Foggy. Really… REALLY well done.

SAGA #10 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

Secret Book Club! Upside-down faces! A glowing gorilla with an attitude! Izabel!

That planet was REALLY an egg? Holy smoke! That thing hatching is really, REALLY big. Firing that missile was incredibly stupid and now… LYING CAT?!?!?!! NO!!!!!!!!!!!


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: All-New X-Men #6

January 20, 2013
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Wait a minute… didn’t Saga come out this week?

 

Starting at the weakest…

 

ULTIMATE IRON MAN #4 (Edmondson / Buffagni / Troy) Marvel

Let me reiterate what I have said before. At the moment there is only one Ultimate comic worth buying and that is Spider-Man. (That one is VERY good, however.)

This mini was… I don’t want to say terrible. I just found that I didn’t care about anything that was happening in it. At all.

 

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #11 (Kelly Sue DeConnick / Stefano Caselli) Marvel

Not bad but, is this book going to remain as ‘Avengers-lite’? I know it is supposed to be accessible for the movie crowd but hopefully it will get a bit more meat on its bones. I liked the use of the Hulk, though. (Which, of course, mirrored the Hulk’s usage in the movie…)

 

COMEBACK (Brisson / Walsh / Bellaire) Image

While this book has not lived up to its promise, it is interesting. A little bit of Rasl. A whole lot of Primer.

 

SAGA #9 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

This is the worst issue of Saga yet… which is to say it is still better than most comics on the market. I just found it kind of… dull this month. Gwendolyn is interesting and they just tied Slave Girl into the mains tory, but …still. A little lacklustre by Saga standards.

 

CAPTAIN MARVEL #9 (DeConnick / Andrade / Bellaire) Marvel

Just as Saga doesn’t have its normal spot, Captain Marvel’s normal spot near the BOTTOM of the list was obliterated this month! First off, I LOVE the new art! It keeps the non-mainstream, off-kilter look of the previous artists, while feeling less dark. It is pure style. I like it!

Plus, the story was great! Carol’s own Pepper Potts! Tony Stark acting like a dick! A cat… (side note… did this issue feel like it could be a Power Girl comic?)

Then, the ending was great! Looking forward to the next issue. I hope they can keep up the trend!

 

NEW AVENGERS #2 (Hickman / Epting / Magyar / D’Armata) Marvel

Let’s just start with that great Jock cover. Sweet. This issue was all talking… and it was very well done. I think the fact that the comic was really just a few scenes stopped that jerky feeling I often get from Hickman’s work. The characterization was mostly good… though when did Black Panther become such an asshole? (Exception: the scene with Namor was spot on.)

You know something is bad when Captain America suggests building the Infinity Gauntlet. Who is going to wield it? It would have to be Cap, no? Who else would they trust?

 

ALL-NEW X-MEN #6 (Bendis / Marquez / Gracia) Marvel

Is Marquez a fill-in artist or is he taking over, because with all due respect to Immonen, I like this better. With his experience on Ultimate Spider-Man it should be no surprise, but he gets that YOUTHFUL look down pat. Perfect.

Now, why is this book #1? Characterization. There are three major interactions here. Jean/Kitty (and a bit of Storm), Cyclops/Wolverine, and Angel/Angel. The first and last were both excellent… extremely. You really see how Kitty has matured and also see how dealing with mental powers it so difficult. The scene between the two Angels is just joyous and fun. I wasn’t sure what would happen because I don’t read X-Force and I have no idea what was going on with Angel. Is he sometimes Archangel or what?

The Cyclops / Wolverine thing was fine, but not as emotionally interesting as the other two, though it set-up that last page reveal.

I am really enjoying this book. Is it REALLY better than Saga? Overall, not even close. This issue though, you bet it was.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week(s): Saga #8

January 4, 2013
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This is two weeks worth of comics since I was away for a bit. The real drama here, since it covers two weeks, is whether Hawkeye or Saga was going to be the better issue.

 

I guess I have spoiled that already.

 

Starting at the weakest.

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: MOLOCH #2 (J.Michael Straczynski / Eduardo Risso) DC

When I read issue #1, right up until the last page I thought it was a one-shot. Now I wish it was.

The first issue gave a back story for Moloch. Something to make you care a little more about him. This issue just goes into unnecessary detail about stuff the happened in Watchmen that needed no extra explanation. In fact, this hurts the original story. Screw this issue. It just sucks.

 

FF #2 (Matt Fraction / Michael Allred / Laura Allred) Marvel

This comic was also unnecessary, but not in the actually damaging way that Moloch was. In this issue NOTHING HAPPENS. The Fantastic Four didn’t come back in four minutes. That’s it. I have high hopes for this comic and issue #1 did not let me down. Issue #2 did.

 

COMEBACK #2 (Brisson / Walsh / Bellaire) Image

This book isn’t bad, but it really doesn’t touch on anything new so far. If you were told the premise, you could probably come up with the story thus far. Hopefully that changes. I am not a big fan of the art, either.

 

CAPTAIN MARVEL #8 (DeConnick / Sebela / Soy / Gandini) Marvel

Was there supposed to be sexual undertones to the scene between Carol and Monica? If so, well done. If not, not so well done. What the last two issues reminded me is that I like Monica as Captain Marvel more than Carol.

Soy is leaving the book.

 

AMERICA’S GOT POWERS #4 (Jonathan Ross / Bryan Hitch) Image

What stops this issue from being higher on the list is that I am not going back and rereading the series every time a new issue comes out. If you can’t publish a comic with an ongoing story in some sort of timely fashion you should finish the whole book before soliciting any of it.

 

AVENGERS ARENA #2 (Hopeless / Walker / Martin) Marvel

I like the premise of the book and the feel of the book. What I didn’t like was side tracking the story for some back-exposition in the second issue. Killing a character is such on off hand way that we didn’t even know cheapens the whole thing as well.

 

WONDER WOMAN #15 (Brian Azzarello / Cliff Chiang) DC

Now we are getting into the better books. This issue is full of great characterization. Hera is the best example, but all of them – from the new brother to Hephaestus – are great. Orion still needs fleshing out, but that is to be expected.

 

FABLES #124 (Bill Willingham / Shawn McManus) Vertigo

This issue was well done… I suppose. The problem is that I haven’t liked the Bufkin story at all so getting a full issue of it doesn’t help (other than telling me it is over). It is better than the last two issues, but I am looking forward to getting back to the core of the book… and it looks like it is coming.

 

AVENGERS #2 (Jonathan Hickman / Jerome Opena / Dean White) Marvel

Good book in general, though it suffers from Hickman-itis. WHat I know about the new status quo I got from interviews and the diagram. It seems like that as Tony and Steve talk about the fact that they are changing things, that you might tactually TALK ABOUT HOW THEY ARE CHANGING THINGS. If you just went by the story you would assume the big change is that there are a bunch of reservists. Not a big change at all.

 

ALL-NEW X-MEN #4 (Brian Michael Bendis / Stuart Immonen / Wade von Grawbadger / Marte Gracia) Marvel

Nitpick: Going by the cover, it would seem that von Grawbadger has second billing. I know that i snot the intent but it is confusing.

Where Bendis works, and where this book works, is focusing on character. That works best here by focusing on the time lost heroes. This issue does that, to its benefit. Too much Cyclops and Magneto, except as villains, is a bad idea. (Side bit: Hank knowing… Beast’s password was a perfect touch – if not a bit inaccurate. Someone like Hank would change his password often.

 

THIEF OF THIEVES #20 (Kirkman / Asmus / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

What can I say that I haven’t said yet? Basically, this comic is a good heist movie, in comic form.

 

BATWOMAN # 15 (J.H. Williams III / W.Haden Blackman / Trevor McCarthy) DC

Avengers Arena, listen up. THIS is how you do a side story to give added character to a supporting cast member. In one issue, without doing anything drastic, you have made the readers care more about Maggie Sawyer. It sure made me hope that she and Kate keep it together (and that Kate shares her secret).

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #700 (no cover credits, but Slott / Ramos / Olazaba / DeMatteis / Camuncoli / Buscema / Van Meter / Buscema) Marvel

The first Buscema is Sal. The second one is Stephanie.

Look, there is no shock about this comic. The only question is how long it will take and how will they revert to the status quo. In the meantime they have made me interested in the story, and that is enough.

The scenes with Mary-Jane, though, are really bloody creepy and they had better address that. Otherwise it is rape, pure and simple. (Assuming it goes that way.) We’ll see.

As for the back-ups, the deMatteis one is getting praise and I don’t understand why. It is routine and hardly original in its obvious pay-off. In addition, let’s all laugh and how old people lose their memory! Ha ha!

No thanks.

The Black Cat story was cute.

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #18 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

Remember what I said about Bendis on the X-Men book? This is where he proves it. The plot is not the point in USM. The story is not the point. The characters are the point. Miles is perfect. Jessica is perfect. The real star of this book, though, is Jefferson.He did the right thing, but he still killed people. That is not an easy thing.

Well done.

 

UNWRITTEN #44 (Mike Carey / Peter Gross) Vertigo

Forget the reveal. What I liked about this book is Tom’s new attitude. He is just going to keep going forward and will never assume that something can’t be done. It is the perfect evolution of his unbelieving wide-eyed wonderment from the start of the series.

And that reveal… looking forward to issue #45. 🙂

 

HAWKEYE #6 (Fraction / Aja / Hollingsworth) Marvel

Remember how good the first 5 issues of this book were?

This issue is better.

It is all about Hawkguy. Like the guy from M*A*S*H.

 

Saga #8 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

How could a comic be better than the best issue of Hawkeye? By being Saga. In the last two issues they have made an already great character (Alana) a hundred times better by showing her when she is vulnerable. Marko was excellent, as always. His father showed the seeds of how Marko came to be. The ‘meet cute’. Gwendolyn.

I love this comic.


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.

 


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Ultimate Spider-Man 16.1

November 4, 2012
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Starting at the weakest, as always…

 

WINTER SOLDIER #12 (Brubaker / Guice / Thies / Breitweiser) Marvel

What went right in this comic: the mood is perfect, as always. You really get that underground espionage race against time back against the wall feeling.

What went wrong: WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? He implanted a mission into his own head? What the hell? That is just about the stupidest thing I have heard this week…

Oooh drama! Wait, it makes no bloody sense…

 

AvsX: CONSEQUENCES #4 (Gillen / Brooks / Charalampois) Marvel

Okay… last issue or so there was a thing were Cyclops was using some sort of dust to get a message from somebody. First off, that makes no sense. This prison would let him have this little package of dust? Uh no. Let’s forget that, though. It isn’t important. What IS important is that they don’t tell you who he is talking to. If  you realized that the dust was actually metal you would guess it was Magneto, but they didn’t tell you that. (I figured it was him, but you never know.)

That leads to a big cool reveal on the last page.

A big reveal that was spoiled on the recap page. Well done, editorial staff. Well done.

Or not.

 

ROCKETEER: CARGO OF DOOM #3 (Waid / Samnee) IDW

I have rally enjoyed this series. I still liked this issue but I had a little problem with how it unfolded. I am glad the villain died the way he did because it made it seem more ‘real’. But then to have him act in an uncharacteristic manner, SO uncharacteristic that Waid felt the need to try and explain it through another character (didn’t work), just so the rest of the story could work… not so good.

Then it looks like they are just going to wantonly kill all the dinosaurs. Hmmmph.

 

SWAMP THING ANNUAL #1 (Scott Snyder / Scott Tuft / Becky Cloonan) DC

There are two kinds of annuals. The kind that are integral to the main story and those that are cool side projects. This one tries to be both, making a story that could fit between two panels in the main book, shoehorning in a backstory. Eh. That is kind of the worst type.

The actual story was good, though. Well written and nice art. The readers of the main book that miss it, however, will have missed nothing, really.

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1 (no cover credits, but it is Williams / Walker / Livesay) Marvel

Avenging isn

‘t so caught up in on-going stories, so this is just a bigger than usual issue. What it really is, is fun. Entertaining story, witty dialogue, great art. What’s not to like?

 

CAPTAIN MARVEL #6 (DeConnick / Rios / Bellaire) Marvel

Yes! Finally an explanation! Kind of…

Wait. She explained who was behind it, but do they ever explain the how? Did she just DECIDE to make her plane into a time machine? Did I miss that part?

I hope the new version of Captain Marvel is still out there somewhere. She isn’t a villain per se, but it could be interesting.

 

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK ANNUAL #1 (Jeff Lemire / Mikel Janin) DC

This is the kind of annual that is right in thick with the main story. Miss this an you are screwed… and what a great story it is! Great massive climax, good vs bad and all that. THe new team si kind of pulled together (while also advertising the other ‘magic’ books out there from DC). Nice art as always.

Is it me, or does it feel like the Books of Magic are going to tie in with something going on over in Wonder Woman? I expected to here a BOOM when the portal opened.

 

THE NEW DEADWARDIANS #8 (Dan Abnett / I.N.J. Culbard) Vertigo

This is the final issue and it is exactly what the series needed. It put a nice bow on the whole thing. I would now heartily recommend the sure to be coming trade. In fact, it seems to me that this should be optioned for a movie. It has that feel to it.

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #16.1 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

Great, great issue. This comic is always good but the Betty story was perfect. I would have been unhappy if JJJ had printed the story, but I also would have preferred if he had bought it anyway, just to try and bury it. The surprise final page was… well too bad on one hand and great on the other. This isn’t a character I am a big fan of, but the reveal makes me more interested.

USM is one of the consistently best comics going.


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