Rusty's World

Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Saga #7

November 24, 2012
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A little late this week. Sorry. I have been insanely busy. It wasn’t just the reviews, but reading that got left behind.

Starting at the weakest…

THE ULTIMATES #18 (Humphries / Ross / Milla) Marvel

I liked this storyline when it first started. The widespread break-up of the U.S. was something they could do in the Ultimate Universe that they couldn’t in the ‘616’. It was interesting. President Cap also had promise (even though they had to give him a character makeover to do it… that was already in process and the old version of the character really was awful anyway).

Over the last few issues, though, the book has been getting worse and worse. The art has ben really bad but I was dealing with that. This issue was just terrible. Beyond the awful art, the story was no better. It was just a big mass punch-up with no tension at all. Then the rah-rah go America tuff was just really annoying. They took an interesting premise and drove it into the crapper.

I dropped this book from my pull list following this issue.

NEW AVENGERS #33 (Bedis / Oeming / Beredo) Marvel

Let’s get this out of the way first. The art is horrendous. It isn’t the art itself that is so bad, because it isn’t. It is a style that I don’t dislike at all. But it is SO wrong for this book that it beggars belief. This is the middle of a storyline! Think of how ridiculous this is going to look once it is collected. Bad, bad choice.

The spontaneous possession powers of Daniel Drumm make for a very uninteresting fight scene. It just doesn’t mean anything.

I have a feeling something bad is going to happen to Luke. Either that or he saves the day.

FANTASTIC FOUR #1 (Matt Fraction / Mark Bagley / Mark Farmer / Paul Mounts) Marvel

I have great hopes for this book. I expect it to be a lot better than that Hickman mess and I like the premise of the two companion books.

Having said that, I have a couple of problems with this issue along the lines of characterization. So Reed is going to just lie, lie, lie to his family again. Haven’t we run this story before? Like a thousand times? It also only works of Sue acts like a doormat. And for them not to pay attention to Franklin’s dream… this isn’t just some kid’s silly nightmare. He has powers! Powers that let him see the future! What the hell!

I realize this issue was just to get them where Fraction wants them to be, but come on. Try a little harder.

Really nice art, though.

ALL-NEW X-MEN #1 (Brian Michael Bendis / Wade von Grawbadger) Marvel

This book has promise. Once gain the premise to get the book where it needs to be is a little shaky, but not as bad as the FF. I am looking forward to reading the cash of eras as we learn how much has been lost as comics get darker and grittier. We have gained a lot since the 60’s but lost a lot as well.

Another book with really nice art.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #697 (Slott / Gage / Camuncoli / Green / Fabela) Marvel

So Harry has joined the cast of Breaking Bad? No? Seriously though, it was nice to see him in that context. The Hobgoblin fight was decent and I LOVE the new Roderick status quo. Now I want to see the new Unicorn! Max saving Norah was pretty cool. Now we just have to wait… only another day for me… for the big issue #698.

CASTLE WAITING #18 (Linda Medley) Fantagraphics

This is it. The last issue. Sigh.

I can’t really recommend this issue, to be honest. Not that this issue us bad, but it is the last issue of a very long story. What I DO want to recommend is the collections. Buy them. Read them. Love them.

Am I crazy or dos it seem like she should be announcing a Snow White variant as her newest book?

I have heard that Medley is somewhat disillusioned with the industry so this may not just be the last CW, but the last Linda Medley comic. I hope not.

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #9 (Kelly Sue DeConnick / Stefano Caselli) Marvel

I was ready to cancel this book but held off to see what DeConnick was going to do with it. My review is really simple: do you enjoy the fun style of the Avenging Spider-Man book? If so, you will like this. It doesn’t take itself too seriously without turning into farce. It is just good, fun comics. Yay!

THE MASSIVE #6 (Brian Wood / Garry Brown / Dave Stewart) Dark Horse

I am a fan of showing the pacifism is a viable option. (That is one of the reasons I love Saga so much.) This book is clearly leading towards a confrontation between the pacifist Captain and his less so inclined muscle. This is just a consistently good book.

GREAT PACIFIC #1 (Joe Harris / Martin Morazzo) Image

This may be getting a #1 bump but I really like the characters so far. It makes this hook in and make me want to read more. That is good because the plot is VERY undeveloped. Not that it really is, but we can only go by what we see and we are not told very much about what is actually going on here. I look forward to reading more to find out.

THIEF OF THIEVES #10 (Kirkman / Asmus / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

Is there ANY comic that feels like a movie that Thief of Thieves? Has this been optioned? Have they cast Clooney yet? (Not saying he would be the best choice… just who I think they would cast.)

This book ALWAYS has great characterization but what puts it over the top this issue is the scene with Emma as hostage. The swings between fear and comfort and fear and terror are SO well done. Now we are going to see thieving skills put to a different use.

SAGA #7 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

What can I say about this book? WOnderful story. Amazing art. Great comic. It is easily my favourite comic coming out right now. Having Alana in a towel that whole time was brilliant. Watching her tough-girl attitude turn on a dime when she realized she couldn’t protect her child was absolutely perfect.

I read a review that criticized the book because the characters seemed too human.

That’s what I call missing the point… by a wide margin.

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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Fairest #5

July 10, 2012
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A pretty deep week. A solid-sized stack without getting overwhelming.

 

Starting at the weakest and moving up.

 

WORLDS’ FINEST #3 (Levitz / Perez / Maguire / Koblish) DC

So, I said I was going to drop this but I was overruled. I am not the only one with input on my comic purchases and Ruthanne wanted to give it another try as we like to support female character led books.

Well, it is still on the bottom of the pile, but it has pulled back from the brink a bit. The action was decent, though the villain is still lame. The cheesecake factor dialed down a bit, with the only spot being a funny little nod to the old Power Girl costume. I do like both Perez and Maguire. The comic is good for at least one more issue.

 

THE INFERNAL MAN-THING #1 (Gerber / Nowlan) Marvel

So Steve Gerber used to write a Man-Thing book. (That is where Howard the Duck first came to be.) It was weird. A lot of what Gerber wrote was pretty weird and Man-Thing was a perfect vehicle for it. It turns out that Marvel had an unused Man-Thing script that Gerber had done that was being PAINTED (!!!) by Kevin Nowlan. Yowza! I wasn’t going to miss that!

The thing is… it is pretty opaque. It is a sequel to an old book, which they reprint… part of it, anyway. I assume the rest will be in issue 2 and 3. I am hanging in there, hoping things get to be a little clearer.

 

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #7 (Fraction / Coipel / Morales / Martin) Marvel

Pretty clear who the villain are here. The one thing I am happy about is that the announced post-AVX books imply (to me anyway) that the current X-Men status quo is going to get demolished. In fact, I am pretty sure Cyclops is going to end up dead (if not all of the original X-Men). While I am not one to call for big deaths, they almost have to do something like that. They can’t just say “oh, sorry… we took over the world but we didn’t mean anything by it…”

The book hasn’t been awesome, but it has been better than many of the preceding ‘event’ books.

 

iZOMBIE #27 (Chris Roberson / Michael Allred) Vertigo

Ah, what could have been. The story is good. The characters are GREAT. The only real problem is the pace that the plot has been unfolding after the past handful of issues. That’s what happens when a book gets cancelled prematurely.

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MEN #689 (Slott / Camuncoli / Janson / D’Armata) Marvel

With the announcement that many (most?) of Marvel’s titles are getting a creative team shuffle, I can only hope that this is not one of them. Losing Dan Slott off ASM would be a major mistake. This is the best the main universe Spidey has been in years. Having said THAT, this i snot one of the best issues. It is okay, and I like how Lizard has manipulated the situation. I didn’t care for the ‘new Lizard’ at the end, and I hope that is corrected next issue. I am too big a fan of Horizon for anything to happen to them.

 

ANIMAL MAN #11 (Jeff Lemire / Alberto Ponticelli / Wayne Faucher) DC

I do NOT like the new ANimal Man powers and how they manifest. At all. I DID like the Animal Man vs Animal Man fight, as brief as it was. This book is not about Buddy. It is about the Baker family and this issue reminded us of that. But the art… ugh. Hopefully Buddy’s new power set won’t look as awful under a different pencil.

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: OZYMANDIAS #1 (Len Wein / Jae Lee) DC

A bit of a mixed bag here. This is the best art out of ANY of the BW books so far, and that is high praise as I LOVE Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Connor. Jae Lee breaks from from the design elements that Dave Gibbons used and created something his own. Having said that, the actual story was fairly trite and predictable. The bisexuality was a nice touch, as was the vicious and overly intelligent childhood. But the whole girlfriend-in-a-refrigerator thing has been done to death. Even if it wasn’t that, it is still Batman losing his parents and Spider-Men not being there for his uncle. Only with drugs.

Is it still better than Nite Owl? Yes. Comedian? Uh, I’ll say yes. It isn’t better than the other two, though.

 

DIAL H #3 (China Mieville / Mateus Santolouco) DC

I held on through two issues of incredibly weak story due to the crazy INVENTIVENESS of the writing. Now it is starting to pay off. The insanity is not aiming towards a purpose… or at least seems to. The hint of a deeper backstory is what makes this a WAY better issue than the previous two. I think this is going to end up being a really solid book.

 

THIEF OF THIEVES #6 (Kirkman / Spencer / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

This book is all character and design, which are two things I prize very highly in a comic. The book looks like no other one I get. It is half storyboard cinematics and half novel teases but always with interesting characters to keep it going. It is nice that the woman of the thief team, who, as usual, was only there to be T&A, is the one who catches Redmond. Looking forward to the explanation next issue.

 

CASTLE WAITING #17 (Linda Medley) Fantagraphics

Lovely book, as usual. DO not buy this issue. Buy the collection. You will be very glad you did. Volume 1 is a prized possession in this house. I am sure we will buy Volume 2, despite having the individual issues.

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #12 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

Wait, did he tell his parents… or at least his mother? I hope so, because the “oh isn’t he lucky that the one person who could screw things up for him is now dead” thing is kind of lame. Having said THAT, this is one heck of a good book. Miles Morales is one of the most intriguing new characters to come along in… well, a long time. The art is good (maybe not as good as Pichelli, but not far off). The fight was great. The scene with Miles’ mother was great. Ganke, as always, was great. Plus we got a ‘don’t blink or you will miss it’ look at his new supporting cast member. (At least I think so…)

Great book, month in and month out.

 

FAIREST #5 (Willingham / Jimenez / Lanning / Pepoy) Vertigo

Now Fairest, on the other hand, has not been as consistent… but this issue is excellent! Now if you have read my reviews (especially the early AVX comments) the idea of a book that is one big fight doesn’t appeal to me at all. When the fight is as good, interesting and inventive as this one, though…

The star of this book was the Snow Queen, which is a nice change from the previous issues where Ali Baba and the imp starred in the book that supposedly is meant to spotlight the women of Fables. At first I groaned a little at the idea that Briar Rose was motivated by jealousy, but the explanation worked all around! It isn’t that she is jealous, it is that she is getting pissed off at the very concept of love. That totally works!

And talk about beautiful art! Phil Jimenez is a master of his craft.

 

I also picked up Nexus Archives Volume 1 by Mike Baron and Steve Rude. I can’t wait to sink into it.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Wonder Woman #8

April 25, 2012
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Some really solid books this week!  Plus the load was a manageable size…. I get a little carried away sometimes. 🙂

 

Starting from the weakest book and moving up.

 

DOMINIQUE LAVEAU: VOODOO CHILD #2 (Hinds / Cowan / Floyd) Vertigo

This is kind of a mess. I mean, what is going on? I really want to like the book – and I DO like the Denys Cowan art – but the story is very erratic. I am going to keep with it, but it is danger of being dropped from the list. Too bad. (Ruthanne likes the book more than I do, apparently.)

 

DEFENDERS #5 (Fraction / Breitweiser / Breitweiser) Marvel

Captain Nemo is Namor’s father? Really? That is just dumb. This is the worst issue of the run, but what can you do with a Namor lead? Who is just not that interesting a character. There are some apparent continuity problems with Namor, but I don’t read the X-Men books, so I don’t really care. The art is… okay, I guess. It isn’t bad but it isn’t exciting.

It looks like next issue switches to being an Iron Fist focused story, which should be a big improvement. (Though I wish they would decided if they want Danny with Misty or not…)

 

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #2 (Aaron / Romita / Hanna / Martin) Marvel

There has been a lot of hype around this book. A LOT of hype. I have been looking forward to it quite a bit.

And THIS is what we get.

Page after page of people punching each other. That’s it? Where is the, you know, STORY?

Plus I am not a Romita Jr. fan. He isn’t terrible, but not enough to save this book.

However, my rant is not about the writing or art. It is about THOSE BLOODY AWFUL AR CODES STUCK IN ALL OVER! Whose ridiculously stupid idea was that? Certainly not the artist or the writer since they make the comic much worse.

MESSAGE TO MARVEL: STOP PUTTING AN AD FOR YOUR DIGITAL SERVICE ON THE PANELS OF THE COMIC. PERIOD.

 

AVENGERS #25 (Bendis / Simonson / Hanna / Keith) Marvel

Don’t buy into the AVX hype… but buy this book anyway. It is worth a read… for the art alone. The story is very disappointing. It is clearly a fill-in, marking time until the AVX story is in place. The art, though… is WALT SIMONSON! Woot! Before I get too carried away, I need to be honest. There are some panels here that are just plain bad. Not too many , though, and Simonson draws action as good or better than anyone. This is LIGHT YEARS better than Deodato over on New Avengers.

But, as I said, the story is weak. The good news is that Simonson appears to be here for the time being, so hopefully he will get better scripts to draw in the coming months.

 

THUNDERBOLTS #173 (Parker / Shalvey / Martin) Marvel

Thunderbolts continues to be the dirty little secret of Marvel. It has one of the best on-going stories of any Marvel book… paired with really sub-standard art that makes it look like a run of the mill, garbage book from yesterday.

Of course the yesterday bit seems a little apropos as the T’Bolts take on the 90’s version of the team. The whole book is worth it for the character interplay and contrast between Fixer and Techno.

That’s what I said. Fixer and Techno.

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #684 (Slott / Ramos / Olazaba / Delgado) Marvel

Dan Slott continues to do a great job on Spidey.The story is intriguing. The art is excellent. The only thing wrong with it is that ugly costume that he is currently sporting.

Oh, and the way they beat Sandman was kind of lame… but the book is generally so written that I can let that slide. (Oh, who did the cover? Caselli? Zip up that shirt, Caselli.)

 

CASTLE WAITING #16 (Linda Medley) Fantagraphics

Castle Waiting is back! Apparently it is only going to run to issue #18, but seeing how it has been three years since issue 15, I’m not complaining.

This book is wonderful. It would be higher on this list, except it’s strength really isn’y in single issues. (Though the issue with the baby Lion and the one with the little gremlins taking care of the baby would be top of the week.)

I don’t advise anyone to run out and buy this issue if you haven’t been reading the book. Instead what I advise is that you run out and buy the first volume of Castle Waiting in hardcover. DO IT.

 

FABLES #116 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha / McManus) Vertigo

The whole Discardia story is coming along nicely. The art is beautiful as always. Seeing another side to Lord Mountbatten was nice. The kids are rapidly becoming the best characters in Fables… and Fables is a book that is teeming with great characters.

As usual, I don’t like the format for the back-up… but this time it was pretty good! The rope was awesome, but it is still too small a slice to get a proper feel. I would WAY rather the issues of the book alternate between the two stories instead of short-changing both.

 

WONDER WOMAN #8 (Brian Azzarello / Cliff Chiang) DC

Some issues of Wonder Woman make me think it is the best book DC has going. Other issues make me think that Azzarello is letting the ideas in his head spill onto the page a little too muddled and clear only to him. Then there is the whole destruction of tradition angle.

This issue, is easily the best of the run, in my opinion. The rest of the stuff with the Amazons etc. is put to he side to give us a straight ahead journey into hell, and all that entails. Hades, the dead, Haphaestus, Cupid, Hermes, Zola… all are just right in here.

Here is the deal: the complaints about Azzarello destroying the best example of female strength in comics… well, maybe. I get that. I see why this would be something people wouldn’t like. But this is a damned good comic. Let him kill the sacred cows… it will just be his responsibility to create new ones.

Here’s hoping he does.