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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’.

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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Swamp Thing #10

June 10, 2012
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Remember how last week was a relatively small week?

Making up for it this week!

 

Starting from the weakest and moving up, as usual.

 

WORLD’S FINEST #2 (Paul Levitz / George Perez / Kevin Maguire / Scott Koblish) DC

Perez and Maguire? What’s not to like? Well, a badly written story, boring characters and a terrible villain are a start.

I love supporting female led books and I love the artists. That may not be enough. I don’t think I will be getting issue 3.

 

DARK AVENGERS #175 (Parker / Shalvey / Martin) Marvel

Ouch. I was quite enjoying Thunderbolts, but this is… not so good. I cannot stress how much I hate Ragnarok. At lest give him a different costume so we are not constantly reminded what a dumb character he is. In fact, I don’t really like any of this crop of Dark Avengers (as opposed to the first crop). The Osborne mini was very good, but that didn’t make the villains introduced automatically matter.

I would drop this too, but I am hoping we will get more actual Thunderbolts in the title soon, despite the name change.

Oh, Shalvey’s art is getting better each issue, though!

 

DIAL H #2 (China Mieville / Mateus Santolouco) DC

This book gets by on pure creative inventiveness. Here is hoping the plot starts to catch up soon.

 

ANIMAL MAN #10 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh) DC

Some issues of this book, I love. Other issues I am luke warm on. I try to figure out what the difference is, and I can’t find it. Maybe it is my mood when I am reading it. It is well worth a read, but between this and Swamp Thing, AM has a ways to go.

 

iZOMBIE #26 (Chris Roberson / Michael Allred ) Vertigo

Sometimes I complain about a book not having enough plot. iZombie has too much. The characters are excellent but as the book trundles on to its untimely demise, there are too many plotlines that need to be crammed in and brought together. The book is suffering for it. Overall I still recommend the series. Buy the trades.

 

DEFENDERS #7 (Fraction / Dodson / Dodson / Oback) Marvel

I thought this book might be on the bubble down with World’s Finest, but the Dodsons drawing Black Cat? I am still not sold on the main Defenders storyline, but now I want to see a Fraction / Dodsons Black Cat book.

 

WINTER SOLDIER #6 (Brubaker / Lark / Gaudino / Breitweiser) Marvel

Michael Lark is pure atmosphere. This issue is all backstory, but it is on point! Fred Davis is the Bucky in a refrigerator, and I am not sure it was necessary, but the whole story of the sleeper for the past dozen years works well. Tying it in to Bucky’s story worked. (I do think they could go to the ‘Bucky’s past’ well too often, but they are not there yet.)

 

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #5 (Fraction / Romita / Hanna / Martin) Marvel

Something finally happens! I mean for real! Welcome the Phoenix Five!

One thing… when this is all over, Cyclops will be in prison, right? RIGHT???!

He should be.

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #31 (Gage / Grummett / Hamscher / Sotomayor) Marvel

Does anyone write young adults as well as Christos Gage? The plot is the plot… whatever. It is the characters that really shine… and now there is a new addition to the cast! I wouldn’t have minded if that was a trade for X-27, or whatever her name is… you know… Wolvie-Girl. Still, I like what they did with Shaw, and the Loa / Mettle / Hazmat situation will be interesting to watch. Personally, I hope they avoid the whole triangle cliche and instead turn into a really strong friendship like was implied last issue.

 

FAIREST #4 (Willingham / Jimenez / Lanning / Farmer) Vertigo

One more time: WHY IS A BOOK THAT IS SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT FEMALE FABLES STARRING ALI BABA?

Having said that, this was a good issue. The storytelling conceit has been good and having the Snow Queen be an addict to them works on many levels. Having her drugged into working for Gepetto strengthens her character a lot. Not much Briar Rose here, but the addition of Hadeon could be very interesting.

 

THIEF OF THIEVES #5 (Kirkman / Spencer / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

Does the gathering of the team reming anyone of Super Crooks? Oh well, it is a standard ‘heist picture’ set-up. It was well done, but once again… the only female of the group is a stripper? Really? WTF!

This books glides on the characters and the design… but those are both things I like a very great deal.

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #11 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

Spidey kicking ass! The first time you are punched int he face has to be a bit of a shocker. Being used to the Peter version, I was surprised he got hit so often, but at the same time, none of it seemed to phase him. Apparently his powers include being able to take a beating without even a bruise.

One of the best books on the market, month-in and month-out. BUY THIS BOOK! Anyone… everyone.

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: MINUTEMEN #1 (Darwyn Cooke) DC

The baggage involved is immense. Here is my take…

Alan Moore got a little bit screwed by DC’s ‘it is yours once it goes out of print’. I say a ‘little bit’ because DC KEEPING it in print in order to keep the rights has probably done more for Moore’s career and reputation than anything else he has ever written. (And that is saying something.)

Moore thinks it is some sort of creative crime to use someone else’s characters.  This is the writer of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Oh, and let’s not forget that the Watchmen characters were all based on the old Charlton characters and only changed when DC wouldn’t let him use them. At least that is how the story goes… (and it seems pretty likely. The analogues are clear.)

Now… when Before Watchmen was announced, my reaction was ‘uh, no thanks’. Then they announced the creative teams. Wow. So now, my attitude is, ‘don’t buy them because they are Watchmen related. Buy them if they are good.’

The first one is good. REALLY good. Anybody who enjoyed the opening credits sequence of the movie (and most people I talked to liked it, even the ones who didn’t really like the movie as a whole) should like this. Darwyn Cooke is incredibly talented and he does a great ob here (despite some small continuity problems with the main story).

Even the Crimson Corsair back-up was solid. It is dense, as it should be, so the 2-pages didn’t seem too light and the density wasn’t overwhelming.

So far so good.

 

SWAMP THING #10 (Scott Snyder / Francesco Francavilla) DC

Normally this book takes a big drop when Yanick Paquette isn’t on it, but Francavilla is PERFECT for the mood of the return of Arcane.

ARCANE! BAD ASS! I wish he wasn’t tied so tightly to the Rot, as he was excellent without it. I guess they don’t want to tie so strongly to hell any more.

Regardless, excellent book (but a bump as I am already a fan of the Swamp Thing / Anton Arcane struggles).


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Ultimate Spider-man #10

May 6, 2012
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Do you know what it is like to work in a place where all anyone talks about it is whether we are going to be fired?

Stress is taking its toll…

 

It was Free Comic Book Day on Saturday. As per usual, I don’t really take part, since I think those should be to try and get new readers, not give extra comics to people who are already comic fans. I would have grabbed one of those Mouse Guard hardcovers but I was too slow.

I did pick up one book…

 

As usual, starting from the weakest book.

 

THE NEW 52 #1 (FCBD!) (Geoff Johns / Jim Lee / Gene Ha / Kenneth Rocafort / Scott Williams / Joe Prado) DC

I read that if you are reading any of the DC line,m you should pick up this book.

I beg to disagree. Let me rephrase the statement: if you are reading any of the mainstream JLAish books in the DC line, you might  want this. The books I read are a little away from the centre of the universe and I don’t think I needed to read this at all. Plus, I don’t like what they are doing to the Question.

 

THE DEFENDERS (Fraction / Ibanez / Sotocolor) Marvel

Oh, by the way, they killed all the Immortal Weapons and made one of them into a full-on villain.

Uh, what? If that wasn’t bad enough, they were killed in one panel each!

Remember how pissed people were at how Bendis killed Alpha Flight? This was worse.

 

WORLD’S FINEST #1 (Paul Levitz / George Perez / Kevin Maguire / Scott Koblish) DC

One of the ‘second wave’ of DC books. With this (and ‘Earth 2’) DC establishes that the old multi-universe style of writing is back in the new DC. I liked this book in general. The nod towards the post-crisis Huntress was nice. Reverting to the old Huntress costume was great and the new Power Girl costume… well, I’m not sold, but I don’t hate it either. The art was what you would expect with Perez and Maguire… which is quite a lot. Perez wasn’t able to stick around on Action for very long. Hopefully teaming up with Maguire will help him here.

The story is a bit… fast forward to get you up to speed. A hope things settle down next issue.

 

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #3 (Brubaker / Romita / Hanna / Martin) Marvel

Did I forget something? When did the X-Men stop fighting? I hope it wasn’t in a support book. That is a pretty big plot point to not have in the main story.

The way Captain America dealt with Wolverine was… well, a little harsh. Other than that… I don’t know. It is what it is. Big fight. A bit of treading water.

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #685 (Slott / Ramos / Olazabo / Delgado) Marvel

Speaking of treading water… I like this story in general, so I don’t knock this down too much, but this issue feels like the whole story may be one issue too long.

 

SWAMP THING #9 (Scott Snyder / Marco Rudy / Yanick Paquette) DC

I have mentioned before that this is the kind of fight I don’t like. STRUGGLE without really DOING any thing, but then overcoming through WILL… or the seeds of will, or something. Still, the comic is very good. The art is really nice. And that last page… yeah. I am looking forward to next issue!

 

DIAL H #1 (China Mieville / Mateus Santolouco) DC

Another DC ‘second wave’ book. I love the Dial H concept. I love the creativity behind the characters. I am so-so on the art. I may warm to it. It is the plot that I am not clear on thus far. Hopefully that clears up. (That is my complain about Voodoo Child as well.)

 

ANIMAL MAN #9 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh) DC

Nice. A very solid issue. The Pugh art is solid. The story is interesting. The characterizations (of Maxine, her mom and grandmother, mostly) are strong. This is just a really good book. The ‘on the run’ aspect only really works if you ignore the fact that this is a world full of superheroes, but it is working so I am okay to ignore it.

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #29 (Gage / Grummett / Hamscher / Sotomayor) Marvel

I love Academy. The characters are all so interesting and when Gage brings new characters in, they are just as good. The scene with Loa, Mettle and Hazmat made the book all on its own. I don’t read any of the X-Men stuff so I don’t really get what is going on with Shaw. Does he remember who he is or not?

BUY AVENGERS ACADEMY.

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #10 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

I thought Academy was going to be comic of the week, until I got to the last book in my pile. If you haven’t picked up on this by now, characterization is what makes a book for me, and what Bendis is doing with Miles Morales is amazing work. Ultimate Peter was a good, good comic. Ultimate Miles is better. The stuff between him and his uncle works on SO many levels. The reader knows not to trust Prowler, but why would Miles think that way? The characterization of the uncle is excellent too. I LOVED his reaction to finding out that Nick Fury knows who he is. The parallel between Uncle Aaron and Uncle Ben is perfect.


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.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Fairest #1

March 11, 2012
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What a great week for comics! It was a little big… enough that it was supposed to be a ‘cancellation’ week… but there is nothing deserving of cancellation! (Yet… see below.)

 

FAIREST #1 (Bill Willingham / Phil Jimenez / Andy Lanning) Vertigo

Right from the amazing Adam Hughes cover, this book was a treat. This is Fables back before it got bogged down in overarching plot. Fables is still good, but this book is better! Willingham has totally mastery of these characters, not that it is a surprise at this point. Phil Jimenez is at his best… evoking a little Neal Adams in much the way he used to evoke a little George Perez. It is a little odd that a book that is meant to represent the female Fables characters has a first issue where the star is clearly Ali Baba, but that just seems to be set-up for a certain Slumbering Siren…

Buy this book. You won’t be disappointed.

 

THE DEFENDERS #4 (Fraction / Lark / Gaudiano / Hollingsworth) Marvel

A book that was hovering near the bottom of my list has rocketed way up! Matt Fraction took what I thought of as a weakness (Dr. Strange’s casual playboy attitudes) and turned it into a strength by giving us a peek behind it. Did you imagine that Molly from issue #1 would be back? I sure didn’t… and neither did Strange, likely.

I am a fan of the Dodsons but Michael Lark’s fill-in was perfect for THIS story, where the super-heroic postures of the Dodsons may not have worked as well.

 

ANIMAL MAN #7 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh / Travel Foreman / Jeff Huet) DC

As I have said before, I find Foreman’s work on Animal Man to be a little TOO effective, so I like the switch to Pugh, but that isn’t totally why the book is this high on the list. It is the writing. The scenes with Buddy and Cliff are excellent. Cliff is the often overlooked member of the Baker family, and Lemire knows it and is using it. Other touches, like the cat-shaped avatar of the red making its food preferences known. I am not so sure about the dream (?) sequence with ‘Animal Woman’, but I AM sure that everything is about to hit the fan.

 

SWAMP THING #7 (Scott Snyder / Yanick Paquette) DC

Beautiful cover. Beautiful art. Normally I have Swamp Thing ahead of Animal Man, but they are so tightly connected that it almost doesn’t matter.

This is it folks… this is where the book REALLY starts.

 

AVENGERS: CHILDREN’S CRUSADE (Heinberg / Cheung / Morales / Ponsor) Marvel

SPOILERS!
SPOILERS!

SPOILERS!

 

 

 

Still here?

 

 

Wow. I was SURE that when they brought Scott Lang back that he would be dead again before the series was over. Well, a Lang is dead, but it is Cassie. That truly surprised me. Killing Vision didn’t, because the new one is back. No more Patriot… Iron Lad on his way to being a villain (separate from Kang, I think). So now there aren’t two Visions, but there are still two Hawkeyes and now there are two Ant-Mans (Ant-Men?) as well.

Hmmm.

This book was hurt by the bi-monthly pace but the characterization is strong and the art is excellent.

Oh…are they engaged? For real? Well done. (as was the kiss.)

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #27 (Gage / Moline / Fern / Sotomayor) Marvel

I love the Runaways and Gage did I good job capturing them. The art didn’t, but you can’t have everything. I hope that Tom Grummett is just taking an issue off. His addition to the book was a bog step up, I hope it wasn’t temporary.

The conversation between Pym and Tigra was terrible. I don’t mean the content, but the actual delivered lines only existed to make a damning sound bite. People don’t talk like that.

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #8 (Bendis / Pichelli / Ponsor) Marvel

Still a great comic, but the focus this time was a little more on plot than characterization. Other than the fact that Miles is bothered by his Uncle’s revelation, there wasn’t much there for him. Scorpion coming to the U.S. was interesting. (Who does he look like on the cover? The Rock maybe?)

 

iZOMBIE #23 (Chris Roberson / Michael Allred) Vertigo

I really like this book. The risk, though, when there are so many disparate plots, is that it starts to feel ‘crowded and chaotic. This is the same problem Hickman has a lot. Still well worth a read, even if just for the Allred art.

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (Slott / Yost / Camuncoli / Janson / D’Armata) Marvel

Good read. It is funny that a plot hole became a plot point, as Peter’s plan was ridiculous. Also, why didn’t Johnny bring one of those special ‘FF-space suits’ that lets him be the Torch without using up the oxygen (or lack thereof). By not having it, it made him pretty useless.

 

WINTER SOLDIER #3 (Brubaker / Guice / Gaudiano / Breitweiser) Marvel

Only this low because the week was so good. The Doombot stuff is nice. The story was a little jumpy, but it still works. I love how this reads like a spy thriller. Everytime Guice draws Black Widow it feels like this book is thirty years older than it is. That’s a good thing.

 

NIGHT FORCE #1 (Marv Wolfman / Tom Mandrake) DC

I only just this moment noticed that the cover says this is a miniseries. I loved the premise of the old Night Force from … what, the late 70’s? Early 80’s? This book is all set-up, though. Super jumpy and more hints at plot rather than actual plot.

I was really looking forward to this and I hope it gets better.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Amazing Spider-Man #679

February 2, 2012
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So, I have been sick for days now. All the way through the weekend and just getting worse and worse. I finally stayed home today which means… early comics!

 

So, how were the comics that had to get me through a sick day? Pretty darned good, actually!

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #679 (Slott / Ramos / Olazaba / Delgado) Marvel

I know that Kin down at Silver Snail hates time travel stories, but I don’t! This is two really good ones in short order (the Black Widow story in Secret Avengers is the other that comes to mind). I LOVED the resolution of this two parter. Strong story, strong characterization. Amazing Ramos art. This issue had it all! “To Be Continued… Last Issue!”

 

ANIMAL MAN #6 (Lemire / Leon / Foreman / Huet) DC

In soem ways this was a ‘break’ issue… but not really. This interlude told us a LOT about Buddy… and Cliff. And the ART! If John Paul Leon were to take over on Animal Man I would be thrilled! I am not a Travel Foreman hater, but the transition back to Foreman on the last few pages was jarring, because the Leon stuff was so good. The parallels between Buddy and Red Thunder were obvious but I would like to see more of the ‘movie’.

 

iZOMBIE #22 (Chris Roberson / Michael Allred) Vertigo

After a nice interlude, we are back to some great Mike Allred art! The story is moving along with all of its disparate pieces. There are so many characters that it would be heard to keep them straight, except they are all so well-delineated. (Dixie is a retired monster hunter? Did we know that already?)

 

WINTER SOLDIER #1 (Ed Brubaker / Butch Guice / Bettie Breitweiser) Marvel

For a while Bucky was Captain America… kind of. It was always a terrible fit. This was not Captain America in any way, shape or form. He always seemed like a completely different character that just seemed silly using someone else’s name. Kind of like the Young Avengers Hawkeye. Good character but hurting due to the inappropriate name choice.

BUT, as blatantly obvious that he was NOT Captain America, the Brubaker BuckyCap books were really good! So now, with the launch of Winter Soldier, we get more of those books without the extra baggage, while the Cap book has gone back to being a good CAP book. EVERYONE WINS!

And this book IS good. The title seems to only be there because calling a comic ‘Bucky’ would be lame (though I wish it was WS & Black Widow, as she is clearly a co-lead).

Question: what is the connection between Mitch and Bettie Breitweiser?

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #25 (Gage / Grummett / Hamscher / Sotomayor) Marvel

Is that kid’s Sentinel destroyed? I hope not. Another good AA book. I am not a big fan of ‘Hey, let’s just whip together this gadget to fix everything’, but hey. The time travel thing was good. The Jocasta bit was telegraphed, but Veil wasn’t. Looking forward to next issue and… THE RUNAWAYS! Woo-hoo!

 

SWAMP THING #6 (Scott Snyder / Marco Rudy) DC

Why so low for a book I have said is one of my favourite of the new DC books? No Yanick Paquette for one, but mostly it is a style of book that I don’t like. The whole issue is a sort of willpower struggle where lots is on the line but nothing actually happens. It is kind of like the equivalent to the old wrestling submission moves like the abdominal stretch. They act like everybody is straining hard but it is just dragging things out until the inevitable hip toss.

 

THE DEFENDERS #3 (Fraction / Dodson / Dodson / Oback) Marvel

Well, the book LOOKS pretty! Is that it for Nul? Not exactly the big threat he seemed… A little deus ex machina there, but I guess that was the point.

 

THE TWELVE #9  (J.Michael Straczynski / Chris Weston) Marvel

When did issue #8 come out? 2010?

Not actually a bad comic, but how can you hold any interest with that kind of schedule. I do believe that there is a real story here and I look forward to reading it all when it is finished. By then I may be reading it on my private holo-viewer, though.

 

AVENGERS: X-SANCTION #3 (Jeph Loeb / Ed McGuiness / Dexter Vines / Morry Hollowell) Marvel

#1 had about as much story as I expect from that wretched AVX: Vs series. (none.) #2 had hints of story. This issue had ACTUAL story. It wasn’t enough to make the book more than passable… but that is a big step up.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Avengers Annual #1

January 9, 2012
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Good week for comics! Not to big… a nice amount of good reads. Even the clunkers seemed to be improvements on what had gone before.

Let’s start from the best and work back, as always.

AVENGERS ANNUAL #1 (Bendis / Dell’otto / Svorcina) Marvel

This is a really good book! The voice of the people versus the voice of authority sang through this book. This was an interesting parallel to Bendis’ book ‘Scarlet’. (Great book, by the way).

I used to be a Wonder Man fan but he hasn’t be interesting in quite a while. This changes that. I heard people complaining about D-Man, of all characters. D-Man was a one-note character that was never interesting. Now they are claiming that he is crazy. What I want is for him to be telling the truth (AND a little crazy). But that I don’t really like the people on other comic forums… so screw them! 🙂

If you let it, this is a comic that actually makes you think. Rare for superheroes (let’s be honest here…)

SWAMP THING #5 (Scott Snyder / Yanick Paquette) DC

I go back and forth about what is the best of the new DC books. Is it All-Star Western? Is it Wonder Woman? Right now I am leaning towards Swamp Thing. This might not be quite Alan Moore, but it stands on its own. The Rot is a really cool villain and Abby is one of the best supporting characters going (along with the Baker family over in Animal Man).

The Paquette art is brilliant. The panel layouts were very well done (other than a single somewhat confusing double-page spread).

DC may not be great at superheroes, but they are great at the periphery books.

iZOMBIE #21 (Chris Roberson / J.Bone) Vertigo

Right up until I read the last two books in my pile, I thought iZombie was a shoe-in for comic of the week. As much as I have a big man-crush on Mike Allred, J.Bone is a wonderful change of pace. Don’t let the cartoony nature of his work fool you, this is some pretty deep work.

My only complaint was that I wanted to read the rest of the Dead Presidents origin.

ANIMAL MAN #5 (Lemire / Foreman / Huet / Pugh) DC

This is sort of a companion book to Swamp Thing. They share a villain and the books are going to cross soon. The only thing that knocks this book down is that Travel Foreman is no Yanick Paquette. Foreman is a very talented artist but the book is just so ugly. It is appropriate to the story but it makes it less enjoyable to read it.

I mean, just look at that cover. Ick. Not much of a selling point.

AVENGERS ACADEMY #24 (Gage / Grummett / Hamscher / Sotomayor) Marvel

This is a good read. The villain is not the most interesting and the Reptil from the future thing doesn’t ring my bell a whole lot… but the characters are just so wonderful. Tom Grummet is the perfect artist for this book. He is an upgrade without being a drastic change from what was going on. The cover was kind of misleading, but what the hell…

THUNDERBOLTS #168 (Parker / Southworth / Martin) Marvel

This issue was decent. I like getting back to the T-Bolts in the modern day, but I wasn’t really moved by the Mr. Fear story. The art was good but I didn’t think that the fact that Cage thought he killed that person was shown very well. Ghost is just plain awesome. I have a feeling one of two things will happen when this big time travel story is over. A: The new status quo will be very different OR B: the book will be cancelled. I hope it isn’t the latter.

ACTION COMICS #5 (Grant Morrison / Andy Kubert / Jesse Delperdang) DC

Action has been teetering for me. I have already cancelled Superman and I found this book was not holding my interest very well… until now. Strong storytelling here! I find that Morrison sometimes gets caught up in his ideas and doesn’t tell the story well, but not this time. Even the back-up was spot on.

Keep it going like this and Action will move up this list.

THE DEFENDERS #2 (Fraction / Dodson / Dodson / Oback) Marvel

Issue #1 was a big disappointment for me. This issue was quite a bit better. The scene between Dr. Strange and the red She-Hulk was worth the price of admission alone. Oddly enough, it is still Iron Fist that doesn’t feel right to me, and word is that Fraction loves the character.

AVENGERS: X-SANCTION #2 (Jeph Loeb / Ed McGuinness / Dexter Vines / Morry Hollowell) Marvel

Issue #1 was just terrible. Issue #2 was not exactly great, but it read better. I still can’t stand the art and the ‘Avenger of the Week’ thing doesn’t flow well. There was a little more characterization this time. Is it wrong that I just keep hoping that Cable will die again?


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Swamp Thing #4

December 11, 2011
3 Comments

Now this is more like it! A solid week with some very good comics.

 

Let’s start, as always, with Rusty’s comic of the Week!

 

SWAMP THING #4 (Scott Snyder / Marco Rudy / Michel Lacombe / Sean Parsons) DC

Nice! They are really moving this story along nicely. The Green. The Rot. The Parliament of Trees. Abby. (Don’t screw up Abby!) I was worried when Yanick Paquette wasn’t doing the art, but Rudy is a very capable substitute. This book is on a collision course with Animal Man and that is okay with me.

 

iZOMBIE #20 (Roberson / Allred) VERTIGO

Right from the start… great cover! The pastiche of those teen mags is awesome! This may be the best Vertigo book (this or The Unwritten) but the great zombie attack had sidetracked it a bit. Now we are back with a nice Ellie / Francisco story, more on Spot and Gavin, Gwen and the Dead Presidents! Super nifty cool!

 

MOON KNIGHT #8 (Bendis / Maleev / Hollingsworth) Marvel

As much as I like the Avengers stuff, this is Bendis at his best. When Spider-woman was cancelled I was disappointed. Getting Scarlet softened that blow and now Moon Knight is where it is at. The art is absolutely beautiful. Maleev is one of the best in the biz. (There was a lot of good art this week, actually.) I never really cared for Echo before, but she is good in this book. The scene with the cop and Snapdragon played out nicely. Just plain good comics.

 

ANIMAL MAN #4 (Jeff Lemire / Travel Foreman / Jeff Huet) DC

This runs in the same ‘world’ as Swamp Thing, which is kind of a subset of the DC Universe. Still, I didn’t like this issue as much as the Swampy one because I don’t like the way the Red looks. I have a hard time with seeing it as anything other than the villain of the piece, when I know it is supposed to be the Rot. Maybe it is my bias but the world of the Green seems natural while the world of the Red seems abhorrent. Ellen is badass here. Great stuff.

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #2 (Zeb Wells / Joe Madureira / Ferran Daniel) Marvel

I am still not the biggest fan of Joey Mads, but getting him to draw Mole Man and his ilk is playing to his strength, that is for sure. This is a fun book for people who aren’t looking for anything more than superhero fisticuffs. Nothing wrong with that. The exchange between Jonah and Spidey was funny, though I feel like I have read that same joke before. I am not a huge fan of Red Hulk, but at least this issue read like he wasn’t just the Hulk with a paint job.

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #675 (Slott / Camuncoli / Janson / D’Armata) Marvel

There are parts of this book I really like and parts I don’t. The art was just okay and I really don’t like the way Vulture’s face is drawn. Actually I don’t like the way his followers are drawn either. The banter between Pete and Carlie was starting to get a little annoying, but it didn’t feel unrealistic. I like the story between them and I REALLY like the idea of Carlie and MJ having a sit down (and the reaction by Peter was priceless).

 

ACTION COMICS #4 (Grant Morrison / Rags Morales / Rick Bryant / Sean Parsons) DC

Last month I thought Action was in danger of being cut by me. This issue didn’t skyrocket up the charts but it was a solid issue.  Morrison doesn’t like to explain things much but the apparent new debut of Brainiac and the Bottle City of Kandor were a cool twist. The back-up was so-so, but bringing Steel in was nice. He kind of looks like an old Superman villain named Conduit. Remember him?

 

X-FACTOR #228 (David / Kirk / Milla) Marvel

Another book at risk of being dropped staves elimination off for another issue. Peter David weaves threads together so I keep wanting to know what happens next. What is going to happy with Madrox? Strong Guy? Is Hangman going to keep his turned leaf on the right side? (I hope so. Join X-Factor!)

 

DEFENDERS #1 (Fraction / Dodson / Dodson / Oback) Marvel

Even in a good week there can be disappointment. I was looking forward to this. I like the Defenders and I like the creative team they put together, The results? Not so good. What is with emo Dr. Strange? Also BOTH Strange and Iron Fist get a scene about casual sex that they regret? Seems a little odd. I’m giving the book more than one issue to get on my good side but they started out pretty poorly.