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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Ultimate Spider-Man #22

April 27, 2013
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Ultimate_Comics_Spider-Man_Vol_2_22

Big week.

Right off, I should announce that you won’t see Batwoman reviews here any more… at least until they get a different writer. I like the character and want to support the diversity…but the comic is just terrible. It is such a muddied mess that it is hard to even tell what is going on from page to page.

Dropped.

It isn’t the only one… read on.

Starting from the weakest…

WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #28 (aaron / Perez / Martin) Marvel

I picked this up because I had been enjoying the Bendis X-books so much.

This isn’t them.

I read it all through the Savage Land adventure. I like the idea of the school, but this book… just isn’t good enough. Dog is a stupid character that should have never been created. Eye-boy is awful. Shark Girl has potential.

Art – bad. Story – dull.

Dropped.

BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN #6 (Brian Azzarello / J.G. Jones) DC

Some of the Before Watchmen stuff was worth the effort. Some wasn’t. So, in Watchmen they implied Comedian killed Kennedy. In this mini they say he didn’t… oh wait, there is more the one Kennedy, isn’t there?

(This IS what happened, best as I can tell, just with someone else as triggerman.)

AVENGERS #10 (Jonathan Hickman / Mike Deodato / Frank Martin) Marvel

This is probably lower than it deserves to be, but I am kind of annoyed that ONCE AGAIN the Canadian heroes are used as a Worf, killed off just so the threat looks big enough to challenge the Avengers.

Alos, finding out what Validator said was a real let-down.

FANTASTIC FOUR #7 (Fraction / Bagley / Hennessy / Mounts) Marvel

Wait… did this book make sense at all? Why did they need to save Blastaar? Did I miss something?

Overall, this book is going nowhere.

Dropped.

FF #6 (Matt Fraction / Joe Quinones / Laura Allred) Marvel

See the last comment on the Fantastic Four review.

Marvel made it easier on me by not having Mike Allred do the art this issue. I like the characters… but they never really do anything.

Dropped.

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #19 (Lemire / Fawkes / Janin / Cifuentes) DC

The cover didn’t mean anything… but it sure looks cool. I am referring to the Swamp Thing house on the fold-out. Nice. (This cover theme month is still turning out to be a whole lot of nothing.)

There WAS a cool reveal in this book, but not until the last page. I have to remind myself that the villain was DC first, despite Vertigo’s excellent co-opting of him.

I like Madame Xanadu, but I like how the other characters are questioning what use she is when she always tells them about things too late.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #7 (Remender / Acuna) Marvel

I am not a fan of the big, over-powered space villains, bit knowing that Kang is behind it helps. What slots it this high is the character interplay. That ‘real’ Avengers crack by Wasp was a little petty… which is good. In fact, I liked all the character work in this one. The art is really good, too. Much better than Cassaday.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #2 (Bendis / McNiven / Pichelli / Dell / Ponsor) Marvel

I have been ready to not like this book. Space stuff isn’t my thing. After an excellent zero issue, #1 wasn’t great. Then cam ethis one.

The plot isn’t grabbing me… but the characters are great! Rocket Racoon is awesome! Plus, is Sara Pichelli taking over for Steve McNiven? I like McNiven, but I like Pichelli even more!

So far, so good.

UNCANNY X-MEN #5 (Bendis / Irving) Marvel

So it seemed that all of the ex-Phoenix hosts had their powers changed except for Magik, right? Not so fast.

Magik’s powers have also been affected, and her powers mean a lot more than ray beams and twisting metal.

Dormmamu will likely be the least of their problems. There will be hell to pay…

Fraser Irving is the perfect artist for this story. His Limbo is perfectly nightmarish.

NEW AVENGERS #5 (Jonathan Hickman / Steve Epting / Rick Magyar / Frank D’Armata) Marvel

How do you get past Hickman’s circuitous, non-rational storytelling? Have an issue that involves on conversation with flashbacks. This issue works a lot better than previous ones have.

The Black Swan’s background was interesting, as was her dismissal of Dr. Strange – which tells me that magic is going to be crucial in saving the day. It will be the one factor that the Black Swan has not included in her calculations.

And who is the best suited to understand the balance of science and magic? Where are they going next issue?

THE MASSIVE #11 (Brian Wood / Declan Shalvey / Jordie Bellaire) Dark Horse

First off, I have been very critical of Shalvey’s work in the past, over on Thunderbolts. His attempt to fit with the style on The Massive is much more successful. It didn’t feel jarring at all.

Some important stuff happened here – the biggest of which is Lars learning about Callum’s condition. They also lost the helicopter and yet another crewman… the hard way, this time.

Plus sharks. Sharks are cool, right? And after seeing the Megalodon, I wonder when the Giant Octopus will show up. A Massive / Great Pacific crossover?

One thing though… swimming with the sharks when they are so hungry that they will jump out of the ocean to grab food on land?

Stupid.

THE UNWRITTEN #48 (Mike Carey / Peter Gross) Vertigo

From Hell to Hell? Why not? There should be as many version so fHell as there are people who have written about it. This isn’t Dante’s version, unless it is an altered one, since the devil is free.

Paulie learning his real origins should be interesting, as was Lizzie’s masquerade.

YOUNG AVENGERS #4 (Gillen / McKelvie / Norton / Wilson) Marvel

Is there a more fun book out this week? I say thee nay! Look at the design sense that went into this, from the cover, to the Noh-Varr attack scene. Beautiful. Loki is being an ass… and I am not referring to him taking a powder at the end. It is painfully obvious that he will be back. I am talking about him dropping those seeds of doubt into Teddy’s mind. Great stuff.

Marvel Boy is not me favourite character but the rest of the cast is aces.

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #22 (Bendis / Pichelli / Ponsor) Marvel

I guess Sara Pichelli is going to GoG, since they have announced she is leaving here. That’s okay, David Marquez is great too.

This book is… whoa.

So Miles’ identity is now known by Maria Hill. It was also known by his mother but…

Are they going to slowly turn him into Peter. I liked Miles’ mother so it is a loss… and you can argue that it is a bit of a ‘Girlfriend in a Refrigerator’, but the whole thing is going to tear Miles’ world apart. Trauma, despair and heartbreak make for good fiction.

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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Hawkeye #9

April 11, 2013
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The second week in a row where I have no real complaints about any of the books I read.

Have I gone soft in my old age?

Starting at the weakest…

AVENGERS #9 (Hickman / Weaver / Deodato / Ponsor) Marvel

Hickman sometimes seems to have no idea how to tell a story… but the story he is TRYING to tell seeps through.

Oh wait… I said I wasn’t complaining. You got me.

I find those gene bombs, or whatever they are called, to be suddenly interesting. Do you see what was being formed there? It was a uni-mind. That is pretty cool.
I just hope they don’t figure out how to turn Starbrand into a hero. One Sentry was plenty.

ROCKETEER: HOLLYWOOD HORROR #3 (Roger Langridge / J.Bone) IDW

I feel like I am supposed to recognize a whole bunch of people in this issue, and I don’t. Like… isn’t that narrater supposed to be Groucho Marx? I thought os, but he doesn’t look like him at all. Hmmm.

I like how they are showing that it isn’t so easy to just make more of those rocket packs.

Bridge issue.

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #14AU (Ewing / Guice / Palmer / D’Armata) Marvel

So, I realized what Marvel has done. There have been a couple of these AU books that I bought, thinking they were part of the regular title. They aren’t. It is a bait and switch. They are really stand alone comics that they have stuck in using SIMILAR Numbering from the regular books to convince people to buy them.

That is kind of slimy.

But I would have bought them anyway… and been disappointed. That is, until this issue. The Fantastic Four and Superior Spider-Man were lame comics trying to fix stupid continuity problems. This one is instead giving us back story and showing what it was like when the Ultrons sudden;y took over. Much better.
Plus, any Avengers book with Tom Palmer on inks gets a thumbs up from me!

FANTASTIC FOUR #6 (Matt Fraction / Mark Bagley / Mark Farmer / Paul Mounts) Marvel

This is the real #6. It is good issue, moving the story along nicely. My only problem is that whenever you let the Franklin genie out of its bottle, it is hard to get it back inside.

Oh, and didn’t they just execute Blastaar? That doesn’t seem like them.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #6 (Rick Remender / Daniel Acuna) Marvel

This was the best issue of this title yet, I think. A brash Thor and a way of getting certain new powers in the hands of the greatest Avengers villain of all time.

Well, maybe the second greatest. Third if you count the Masters of Evil as one thing.

UNCANNY X-MEN #4 (Bendis / Bachalo / Townsend) Marvel

This issue had a cool premise… what else was going on during the conversation between the two X-teams? The interplay between Emma and the Frostlings was well done… but I actually think she should want them to stay where Jean is. Maybe since her powers are a little messed up, she needs them handy.
The reveal was poorly handled. It was poorly NOT handles in the previous X-issue and now it was poorly handled here. It makes sense but we are given none of it… just a cold reveal that isn’t even the cliffhanger. They should have revealed it last week.

AGE OF ULTRON #5 (Bendis / Hitch / Neary / Mounts) Marvel

Now we are getting somewhere. I have liked the mini a certain amount, but now things are going to start hitting the fan. I like that the heroes are being proactive and while I think they are wrong to do so, I really hope Logan’s team succeeds. I want to see what happens.

I bet that Pym has saved the earth at least once, no?

SAUCER COUNTRY #14 (Paul COrnell / Ryan Kelly) Vertigo

Cancelled right when it is getting good. I have already heard that Cornell and Kelly are planning to continue the comic elsewhere. I woudl certainly buy Saucer Country from Image or Dark horse (or IDW or…)

I’m just saying.

SAGA #12 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

So this issue had some controversy. Get over it.

This is the second issue of Saga that did not win comic of the week for me, but that is because I love the Hawkeye issue so much.

Wonderful interplay between the Prince and Heist. You really can see each side and what motivates them.

One thing is certain, there are no ‘good guys’ in the war.

HAWKEYE #9 (Fraction / Aja / Hollingsworth) Marvel

This comic was amazing. It had a little of that time jumping thing that can be confusing but if you can follow along with Pulp Fiction, you can follow this.
Everything that made last issue seem less than perfect was here this time. Everything that made Clint seem like a bit of an ass was delved into here… but boy, did he screw up with Jessica. Big time.

And then the end… no!

Great comic.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Mister X: Hard Candy

March 31, 2013
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Starting at the weakest…

FANTASTIC FOUR #5 (Fraction / Araujo / Villarrubia) Marvel

So, I like the Fantastic Four comic. I like Age of Ultron. Having an Age of Ultron tie-in issue with Fantastic Four seems like a find idea… even if it is only to fix the continuity problems that stem from AoU being written long before the FF went off into space, or whatever.

To bad this issue is so bad.

First off, I really dislike the art. Then, the entire IDEA of this books is terrible, “Okay kids, we are going off to die. Good luck!” SO the kids are off on a spaceship by themselves with no idea what to do next? That is just stupid writing.

Also, trying to make it seem like we really think they are not coming back… give me a break.

Bah.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #6 (Christos Gage / Dexter Soy) Marvel

Take the entire first part of the last comment and replace all mentions of Fantastic Four with Superior Spider-Man. The art doesn’t work for Spider-Man. The comic is bad and that is clearly NOT Otto in AoU. This is a mess because it is continuity being forced where it doesn’t fit.

They should have just ignored it and moved on. THe continuity complainers should just shut up about it.

Two normally good books made bad by a cross-over.

WOLVERINE and the X-MEN #27 (Aaron / Perez / Martin) Marvel

Let me just start by saying how much a prefer Mohawk Storm. This is the way she SHOULD look.
An issue focusing on the students! Great! Iron Mask! Good stuff… but something was missing.I think the ‘why’. (Oh, and Eye Boy looks ridiculous.)

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #1 (Bendis / McNiven / Dell / Ponsor) Marvel

The .1 issue of this was very good. This one… less so. I might be a little biased as space comics don’t tend to do much for me. So Iron Man is in space now? Is he in space in his own comic as well?
Not enough Groot. Not enough Rocket Raccoon. Too much of everything else.

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #18 (Jeff Lemire / Ray Fawkes / Mikel Janin) DC

Not the best issue, but the arc worked over all. This is not quite the father of Tim Hunter from Vertigo. Either one of them. (Do you remember when Tim Hunter was awesome? I do.)
The ending was satisfying and made wonder what next issue will bring. It looks like Frank is on the time for good, and that gets a big thumbs up from me.
If only the title of the book wasn’t so stupid.

FF #5 (Matt Fraction / Michael Allred / Laura Allred) Marvel

Alex out, Ahura in. (Though we haven’t seen the last of Alex… though his actions are a little ill-advised. John is crazy. Medusa is… mind-controlled, I would say. Ms.Thing is ever-awesome. Then there is Scott, son of Bob, man of ants.

FF isn’t quite Hawkeye, but it is closer to it than much else.

AGE OF ULTRON #3 (Bendis / Hitch / Neary / Mounts) Marvel

Story progression! The scene where a talk on tactics turns into a talk on losses was well done. Succinct but ending with Jessica and the baby and showing why Luke was so willing to risk himself worked for me. (Yes you can argue it is GiaR, but that scene also talked about four other fallen, and none of them were female.)

Taskmaster calling Red Hulk Dave was a nice bit of levity.

On the other siade, I really don’t like how Hitch draws Captain America. First off, I have never been a fan of the ‘scale mail’ look. That shirt is supposed to be chain mail, not scale mail. The way Hitch draws it, he often looks ‘fuzzy’ in longer shots. Fluffy, maybe.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #5 (Remender / Coipel / Morales / Martin) Marvel

The best issue of this title yet. First off, Coipel is WAY better than Cassaday. This is mostly a character issue, but it is a well done one.

What is with Cap’s kneepads on the cover?

That cover shows why it is awkward having Alex as leader. Having Cap on a team and NOT having him as leader is always going to seem wrong… but in this story in makes sense and that awkwardness is PART of it. It is great to see Wasp and Wonder Man back on a team and neither of them acting like idiots. Sunfire seems on there just to keep the premise of the book intact. Look at the cover. 5 mutants (and only 4 X-Men) vs 4 non-mutants. And 6 Avengers. Now 9.

THE UNWRITTEN #47 (Mike Carey / Peter Gross) Vertigo

Interesting. So is this actually hell or not? Hmmm. Tom losing his memory is well done… though he is getting it back. The return of the rabbit and the return of those who have died around Tommy was all interesting, leading up to that last page. Do you think the two Taylors can sit down and have a nice talk? Well, one of them is being tortured in death and the other one os having Lethe problems, so I would count on it being very satisfactory.

I am looking forward to The Unwritten Fables.

THE MASSIVE #10 (Brian Wood / Gary Erskine / Jodie Bellaire) Dark Horse

Coming off a meaty story, we now get a good balance of story and backstory. That last page seemed kind of chilling. Things are not going to be good soon.

I WILL say that I think the mutineers got off a little easy, but it totally fits with who Callum is. I am kind of surprised that we didn’t get a scene where Mag ‘took them to the boat’ and actually dumped them in the ocean, if you know what I am saying.

YOUNG AVENGERS #3 (Gillen / McKelvie / Norton / Wilson) Marvel

Best issue yet. Miss America is just all around awesome. I am missing Kate from this book, but America Chavez makes up for it. I want to know more about her and her two moms. Apparently she was in a mini called Vengeance, which I hadn’t even heard of.

Good comic.

MISTER X: HARD CANDY one-shot (Dean Motter) Dark Horse

I love Mister X. The funny thing is that I am a story guy, but this book is all about style and design. It may not look super-unusual now, but when Motter first started making Mister X comics, he was leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else. It is kind of like looking at Frank Miller stuff without knowing history and thinking that his lay-outs etc are ‘that style’ instead of ground-breaking.

And the story is good too!

It isn’t what I remembered from the comic. If you go to the ordering page that shows the old collections, look at the ones on the left compared to the ones on the right. That is what I remember. I remember the black, white and red comic.

The best news is the ad for an upcoming Mister X mini. Yes please!


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Saucer Country #13

March 22, 2013
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These reviews are very late because last week was VERSeFest – the awesome poetry festival that I am on the FOC for. THat included the first inductions into the VERSe Ottawa Hall of Honour (William Hawkins & Greg Frankson). That was my main project and I am really proud of it.

Starting at the weakest…

BEFORE WATCHMEN: OZYMANDIAS #6 (Len Wein / Jae Lee) DC

Doing stories of the earlier days of Watchmen characters… cool. Doing ‘backstory’ on the actual Watchmen story, ‘filling in details’… not cool. Whenever they have done that, the book has sucked. This issue was no exception. Way to ruin a decent mini.

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #13 (DeConnick / Woods / Bagley / Hanna) Marvel

This was okay. DeConnick’s AA stories aren’t bad, but they read like fill-ins. That is not a good thing.

WOLVERINE and the X-MEN #26 (Aaron / Perez / Martin) Marvel

The flashback scenes were great. Too bad the modern art was so sub-standard. I like the story, but there wasn’t enough with the kids this issue. Dog is interesting. Has he appeared before (as a grown up character, that is)?

ROCKETEER: HOLLYWOOD HORROR #2 (Roger Langridge / J Bone) IDW

Another solid issue of Rocketeer. Why do they do these as minis? Is it a marketing thing? Is it easier to attract creators?

AGE OF ULTRON #2 (Bendis / Hitch / Neary / Mounts) Marvel

So he really was sitting there trying to come up with a plan. Cool. I like the SPidey story-within-a-story. They are still moving at a pretty slow pace. I just heard that Neil Gaiman is co-writing the final issue and that the rumours about a new character are about Angela instead of Marvel Man. The former is exciting. The latter is disappointing.

FANTASTIC FOUR #5 (Matt Fraction / Mark Bagley / Mark Farmer / Paul Mounts) Marvel

I am enjoying the two FF books. This time travel story was interesting with a nice twist at the end. The thing with … Thing had ominous possibilities.

UNCANNY X-MEN #3 (Bendis / Bachalo / Townsend) Marvel

Dissension in the ranks. Nice to see Magneto isn’t a push-over. The face-off with the Avengers was great. The way they were neutralized was great. The idea that they could take advantage of the situation was great.

Bendis does good X-Men.

SAUCER COUNTRY #13 (Paul Cornell / Ryan Kelly) Vertigo

Why did it take cancellation to make this book go somewhere? THe ending of this book was excellent as those little ‘imaginary people’ were one of the few things I really didn’t like in the book.

I am looking forward to seeing who they are working for.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Fantastic Four #4

February 17, 2013
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This was an odd week. It wasn’t a bad read, overall, but nothing really jumped out as amazing.

I do have a note about what is going on over at Marvel and how it affected my buying choices this week.

I am an Avengers guy. I have literally every (core) Avengers book ever… all the way back to 1963. I used to collect the ancillary Avengers titles… but they starting putting out too many. The bloody awful Chaykin mini is what finally broke that and it got me to just stop buying the bad ones.

I am NOT a X-Men guy. There have been good runs, but the level of interest with me hasn’t been high since… Claremont, really. (Though, I used to enjoy Peter David’s X-Factor.)

Then Bendis went from the Avengers to X-Men and Hickman took over Avengers.

So far, the Avengers books under Hickman are a mess. Meanwhile, All-New X-Men by Bendis has been one of the best new books I have read… at least among superhero stuff… and not counting Hawkeye… o’kay, let’s just say it is good.

Why? Characterization. Hickman does not consider that a priority. He writes the Avengers more like the JLA. THey are power sets, not characters. Bendis is ALL about characterization.

So, this week there was a new Secret Avengers book. I stopped buying the old one, but it was still Avengers so I considered giving it a try. The premise is that the members of the team get mind-wiped after every mission so they don’t even know they are on the team.

Does that sound like the basis for good character development?

Uncanny X-Men was also out. I was NOT planning on picking it up, initially. I am very firmly NOT in the Cyclops was right camp. But still… Bendis…Bachalo…

So, I bought Uncanny and not Secret. And I also bought WOlverine & the X-Men for the first time.

Bendis has made me switch sides…

Starting at the weakest…

BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN #5 (Brian Azzarello / J.G. Jones) DC

It is possible to write a comic where the lead character is interesting despite being completely unlikeable. This is no that comic. This is a generic Vietnam is hell comic led by a scumbag.

Just not very enjoyable.

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #12 (DeConnick / Woods / Hanna / Beredo) Marvel

This book continues to read like… it doesn’t matter. It reads like fill-in arcs despite having a permanent writer. Those fill-in arcs are okay, but in the end, if I don’t feel like the stories mean anything, I will lose interest.

WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN #25 (Aaron / Perez / Martin) Marvel

So, I decided to pick this up. It looked like a ‘jumping on’ book… and I guess it is. My only problem here is that there are so many characters that I don’t know that it is hard getting a handle on them. Aaron does a good job making sure there is character across the board, though, but there is a lot of back story I am missing. What is the deal with Kid Apocolypse / Genesis? Etc.

How will this tie in with All-New X-Men?

It was certainly good enough to buy #26.

AMERICA’S GOT POWERS #5 (Jonathan Ross / Bryan Hitch) Image

I think this will read better as a trade. I also wonder of Sarah Palin knows that she is a villain in a comic and whether she is okay with that. ๐Ÿ™‚

Don’t believe the cover. This is no longer a 6 issue mini. It has been stretched to 7. I hope the extra issue is more story and not just more explosions and chaos.

UNCANNY X-MEN #1 (Bendis / Bachalo / Townsend) Marvel

I wasn’t going to get this, as I mentioned above, because it is completely populated with characters I didn’t like. Cyclops, Emma, Magneto, Magik… none of them appeal to me. What does appeal to me is what Bendis is doing with the X-universe. I find it interesting that he ramped the powers down in Cyclops, Magneto etc. and then created a new character that is probably more powerful that all the rest of them put together. That creates an interesting dynamic potential.

So does the last page reveal. I won’t give it away, but it could be interesting.

SAUCER COUNTRY #12 (Paul Cornell / Ryan Kelly) Vertigo

Sometimes the best thing for a comic is for it to be cancelled. Since it was announced they put out the best stand-alone issue (last issue) and now the story seems to actually been progressing towards a resolution (of sorts, at least), when the weakness of the book was that it was meandering.

AVENGERS ARENA #4 (Hopeless / Vitti / Martin) Marvel

First off, ignore the cover. It has absolutely nothing to do with the contents of the book.

I have not been sold on this book at all… and then this issue happened. Maybe it was because it spotlights character I actually care about. Either way, it is the first issue that makes me feel emotion or empathy towards the characters in it. And the last page… holy crap. Is that going to stick? If so, if they ever revive Runaways, that will change that book… a lot.

FANTASTIC FOUR #4 (Matt Fraction / Mark Bagley / Mark Farmer / Paul Mounts) Marvel

What did I say above… characterization. This book has it in spades. Reed’s inner monologue was brilliant. Maybe it is because I can relate to it… being married 20 years to someone who owns my heart utterly.

I don’t know. I will just say that the book moved me.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Superior Spider-Man #1

January 13, 2013
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A fairly light week, both in quantity and quality. No awesome books. No terrible books.

 

Starting at the weakest…

 

AVENGERS ARENA #3 (Dennis Hopeless / Kev Walker / Frank Martin) Marvel

So, they are doing a Marvel Hunger Games. They were already wearing that on their sleeves, but this cover is ridiculous. Now they are killing off characters with no drama whatsoever. Mettle’s death had a point. Red Raven’s did not. Destroying the Sentinel had none. Two issues in a row where we got a back story to try and force us to care about a character.

I like the idea of this book… but it has not been done very well thus far.

 

FAIREST #11 (Lauren Beukes / Inaki Miranda) DC

I wish this story would end. Stuff happens. It feels semi-random and incoherent. The way Rapunzel climbed out of the well made no sense at all. It all just seemed a set up for the (admittedly bad-ass) image on the last page.

 

FANTASTIC FOUR #3 (Matt Fraction / Mark Bagley / Mark Farmer / Paul Mounts) Marvel

Is this going to be one of the SF shows where they face a new weird planet every week? (So to speak.) Those went out with the first Star Trek. Hopefully this ha a little more substance than that.

 

ANIMAL MAN #16 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh / Timothy Green II / Joseph Silver) DC

The Rotworld stuff isn’t as interesting as the Maxine horror story. Chilling. They made a big deal about the Green Lantern and then didn’t do anything with him. Maybe next issue.

 

SWAMP THING #16 (Scott Snyder / Yanick Paquette) DC

I was disappointed with the big robot. Why? Because before I turned the page, I said to myself, “Cool! It is going to be Chemo!” and was disappointed that it wasn’t. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Batman stuff made this issue really need. I love that Batman is the one who figured out what to do even though he had lost the fight.

 

DIAL H #8 (China Mieville / Alberto Ponticelli / Dan Green) DC

Going to Canada! Solid book, but do you know what made it so great? Flame War and the rest of The Insult. (Though I don’t get the Wolf Ticket gag…)

The art is not to my taste, but it isn’t terrible.

 

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #1 (Dan SLott / Ryan Stegman / Edgar Delgado) Marvel

Was this issue excellent? No, but it was solid, which is enough on a week like this. The new Sinister Six was enough to get it over. I mean, the Big Wheel! The Living Brain! Wicked!

If Otto becomes a rapist, though, I am going to have serious issues with this book. (The comment about her boobs was funny, I’ll admit…)


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.ย 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.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Saga #1

March 21, 2012
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I am really late on this post because my weekend was crazy. Awesomely crazy. I spent all day Saturday at my annual strat draft, followed by a successful night playing poker. Sunday I featured at Dusty Owl.

 

So I didn’t get my comics until Sunday and then last night I had a VERSeFest meeting and I have been swamped.

 

Here they are, in order from best to… least best. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

SAGA #1 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

I am ON the Saga fan train! I have drunk the kool-aid and it was GOOD! Everything about this comic was great! Great story, great art, great value. Both main characters are interesting. The support characters are interesting. EVERY character felt like they WERE someone, not just scene filler.

I read one review that said the breast feeding was gratuitous and that it was somehow sexist to make the female so strong.

Needless to say, I do not give that review any credence whatsoever. Both complaints are absolute rubbish.

I know this is sold out everywhere, but if you didn’t get it, buy the reprint. Trust me. Soon we will be say that Y, the Last Man is that old comic by the guy from Saga.

 

THE UNWRITTEN #35 (Carey / Gross / Perker) Vertigo

Remember how I said that Saga was such a great value? Unwritten was $2 more than Saga, for no more comic. It was really good though! This is what everything has been building up to! But it isn’t over. I am REALLY looking forward to the fall out from this one.

I am a big Fables fan, but I have to admit that the Unwritten has become the best Vertigo book. It is consistently good.

 

SAUCER COUNTRY #1 (Paul Cornell / Ryan Kelly) Vertigo

This week is just amazing! Not only did we get the first issue of Saga, but the latest Vertigo offering is Saucer Country. Now this book is not quite as strong as Saga, but that isn’t taking anything away from it. The only character I didn’t like is that republican strategist. I know here are people like that but being willing to listen to someone who says those things without immediately throwing them out on their ear does not say much for the main character. It was kind of disgusting.

 

THIEF OF THIEVES #2 (Kirkman / Spencer / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

Ruthanne doesn’t like this comic. We don’t always agree. ๐Ÿ™‚

This is just a good week for characters as I go back to that well again. Even with only small glimpses into their lives, these all seem like REAL, fully formed people. The art wasn’t quite as good as issue #1, but I really like the DESIGN of the book, so the artist gets some credit there. The layouts are interesting and evocotive. Where he falls is the simple skills, like faces. They aren’t terrible or anything but the craft doesn’t seem to keep up with the art, if you know what I am saying.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #9 (Brubaker / Davis / Farmer / Martin) Marvel

Another solid issue by Bru and Davis. This reads like a Gruenwald issue, and that is high praise. The inclusion of villains like Machinesmith and the Serpent Squad sure helps that comparison. Is Crossbones going to show up next?

 

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #1 (Bendis / Bagley / Miki / Mounts) Marvel

Just like Cap and Avengers Academy, I get a real retro vibe out of this. Good old fashion superhero fun! I like lots of other stuff (see above) but this is the kind of book that turned me into a comic fan in the first place, lo so many moons ago. (I have been buying comics for…28 years.)

 

AVENGERS #24 (Bendis / Acuna) Marvel

Did people who weren’t long time Avengers fans like this book as much as I did? Beating Osborne would seem a little anti-climactic if it weren’t for the history that goes with it. “He has the super-adaptoid powers? No problem. We know how to beat that.”

As always, the Acuna art is excellent. The only thing I didn’t like about this was stuff that isn’t even in this… the news that Thunderbolts is morphing into Dark Avengers with some of the lame versions of characters from this book. Some are okay, but anything that has the Thor clone drops five notches in my estimation.

 

BATWOMAN #7 (J.H. Williams III / W.Haden Blackman / Amy Reeder) DC

Sigh. I have heard why this book does not showcase the amazing Amy Reeder that was so great on Madame Xanadu. Apparently the powers that be are trying to make her draw like Williams, which just makes her not fully realize the work on her own. Too bad. She is off the book now (sounds like it was a pretty awful experience and her leaving was very mutual). All I know about her replacement is the rumour that the got a Williams wannabe to be his fill in.

Is it too much to hope that they get a better writer and put Williams back doing the amazing art he excels at?

 

FANTASTIC FOUR #604 (Hickman / Epting / Magyar / Mounts) Marvel

Well that was.. something. The story is over, I guess. The Galactus thing was cool but a big seeming sacrificial scene where nothing was sacrificed? Using a character that we have no investment in anyway?

I am done. Book dropped.

 

BATGIRL #7 (Gail Simone / Ardian Syaf / Vicent Cifuentes) DC

So, if I am dropping Fantastic Four, why I am I keeping Batgirl when I have it rated lower? Mostly because I want to support them publishing female characters (of a different sort than Catwoman). I have also been a fan of Gail Simone and I hope she can turn it around… but this was the worst issue of the run. The characterization of Batgirl and Black Canary was really… off. (That slap was just stupid.)

Simone has received praise for keeping Killing Joke at the forefront of the comic. Personally, every time I see a mention of it, I am reminded of how much I dislike the sloppy, mishandled reasoning behind Babs walking again. Moreover, I am reminded of how much better a character she was as Oracle and what a terrible mistake they made by switching her back. ย When the announcement was made, I had faith in Gail Sim one. That faith is gone.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: RASL #13

February 26, 2012
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A good comic week and a good saturday in general.

 

RASL #13 (Jeff Smith) Cartoon Books

I don’t buy much in the way of indy books. Heck, it was only recently that I added Image to my consideration list. (I still thought of Image as Spawn and Youngblood. Ick.) Many years ago I went to San Diego Comic Con. I was hanging out with a retailer from Calgary, Mike Moynihan, and through him I met Mike and Laura Allred (of Madman and now iZombie fame). We ended up spending most of the week together. It was nice. They are good people.

It was Mike (Allred, not Moynihan) who said he had just picked up the first four issues of this cool new comic. He recommended I give it a try. It was called ‘Bone’.

What a wonderful book. It is one of my ALL-TIME favourites.

(Aside… it may be time to contact Linda Medley. Over the years I have created a string of book books directly recommended to me. Mike Moyniham got me to try Madman. It was awesome. Then Mike Allred, the creator of Madman, got me to give Bone a go. It was Amazingly Awesome. So I then asked Jeff Smith, creator of Bone, for a recommendation. He suggested Castle Waiting. The trend continues…)

Anyway, when I heard Jeff Smith was doing a new book, I had to pick it up. Now, is Rasl as good as Bone was? No… but it is still pretty darned good. Dimensional travel. Art theft. Weird kid. Love. Nicola Tesla. What’s not to like?

Highly recommended.

 

SECRET AVENGERS #23 (Remender / Hardman / Breitweiser) Marvel

From one of my least favourite books to the top part of the list in just a couple months! The .1 issue by Remender showed promise but there was still something missing. The official first issue (last issue) was strong, but I still had some gripes. THIS issue, on the other hand, was excellent! ย I am still not totally down with Hawkeye’s characterization, but I think it is going to change (Beast’s talk with him and the fact that it NEEDS to change to get Agent Venom on the team).

Two things really stole the show in this book. Beast laying the verbal smackdown on Hank Pym (I like Pym, but this attitude SHOULD exist towards him.) and Ant-Man. I have never really cared for the new Ant-Man but this issue changed that… of course it may be too late. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #7 (Bendis / Samnee / Ponsor) Marvel

Did I talk about Chris Samnee on this book already or I am just repeating what I said abut Amy Reeder on Batwoman? Normally I LOVE Samnee’s art. He was PERFECT on Cap & Bucky and I really loved his work on the old Ultimate Spidey book he did.

This time? Not so much.

I don’t know what it is. It is still well crafted but it just doesn’t seem to ‘fit’.

Still a strong book. The scenes where Miles is testing out his powers were great. The bit with Prowler and the Tinkerer were also really strong.

 

ALL-STAR WESTERN #6 (Jimmy Palmiotti / Justin Gray / Moritat / Phil Winslade) DC

A good book but the Batman refs are starting to get tiring. That underground tribe of people was just weird… and it felt pointless. The gun battle was cool and the teaser for next issue looks awesome! I am looking forward to New Orleans and a couple more classic DC western characters!

The back-up… well, I’ll just say that I am glad it is over. Hopefully I’ll dig the next one more.

 

FANTASTIC FOUR #603 (Hickman / Kitson / Mounts) Marvel

The most shocking thing in this issue? That letters praising the Bobillo art from FF.

I am not normally a big cosmic fan but this one was good. Clearing out the Kree and Inhumans while ramping up the Celestial / Galactus scrap was a good call. Looking forward to what happens next… which is something that wasn’t happening with the two FF books for a while.

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #26 (Gage / Grummett / Hamscher / Sotomayor) Marvel

Uh, what’s with the cover? Was it supposed to be for last issue? Jocasta is IN the book, but that is where the connection ends.

I enjoyed this. It was pretty talky but that works for me. I was kind of disappointed that at least one main character didn’t switch sides (either direction) just for drama value. I really hope they are wrong about the kid. I think having an organization like that which actually does those things and isn’t secretly evil would be awesome.

 

FURY OF FIRESTORM #6 (Ethan Van Sciver / Gail Simone / Yildiray Cinar / Norm Rapmund) DC

I have waffled on Firestorm, but I like the way it is going. The emotional wringer that they are going through (especially Ronnie) feels real. The cover reads ‘CONSEQUENCES’. I hope they follow through with that.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA & BUCKY #627 (Asmus / Brubaker / Francavilla) Marvel

I couldn’t care less. Since they left WW2 behind the book has been uninteresting (and the art is pretty weak at times). I am looking forward to the next iteration of this book.

 

AVENGERS SOLO #5 (Van Meter / Robinson / McCann / Kesel) Marvel

The credits on the cover don’t include the two incredibly awful pages by Declan Shalvey. Wow, do they suck.

Why can’t they make a decent Hawkeye comic. I feel dumber for having read this. Avengers Solo is the worst book I have read over the past year (and that INCLUDES Avengers X-Sanction.)

 

 


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: The Unwritten #33.5

January 29, 2012
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After a week were just about every book was fighting for the top spots, this week was a lot more… sedate. Not bad comics, just not shining stars.

 

THE UNWRITTEN #33.5 (Carey / Gross / Locke) Vertigo

You want to hear effusive praise? It felt like I was reading an issue of Sandman.

What was most amazing about it is that everything was telegraphed but rather than that ruining the reveals it just me anticipate them more. I’ll admit that I don’t know how this issue ties in with the rest of the main story, but at the moment I don’t care. I am just enjoying the storytelling.

 

ALL-STAR WESTERN #5 (Justin Gray / Jimmy Palmiotti / Moritat / Phil Winslade) DC

Quite a disappointing issue for ASW, but the book is so good that it isn’t damning. The main story opened strong but there was very little suspense as the issue continued. The back up wasn’t stellar, but it made me want to read the next part, so that is saying something.

 

FANTASTIC FOUR #602 (Hickman / Kitson / Mounts) Marvel

This was a better read than I expected, but maybe it only seemed so good because I had just read FF. The story is continuing in a clearer fashion than usual. One question… why does Galactus have a big bowtie on his stomach?

I am not a big fan of the jerky / jump cut style of storytelling, but it didn’t bother me as much this time out.

 

SECRET AVENGERS #21.1 (Remender / Zircher / Troy) Marvel

This issue sets up Hawkeye as the new team lead and sets up the new Masters of Evil as the villains. I am looking forward to the new book, but this issue had some problems. Mostly, it gets the relationship between Captain America and Hawkeye a little backwards. This is what they were like towards each other a very long time ago, but they had moved well past it. They had become actual friends instead of this shadow-boxing semi-advesarial thing they have going on here. It didn’t read well.

I am REALLY looking forward to the new run… partially because Ellis is off the book and Rogers will be out of the book. (He was ALWAYS a bad fit here.)

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA & BUCKY #626 (Asmus / Brubaker / Francavilla) Marvel

This book has taken a slide since it left WW2 (and left Chris Samnee behind). The problem is I think that the Bill/Fred versions of Cap and Bucky were never that interesting. I am looking forward to the reworking of the book and Captain America & Hawkeye taking over.

 

THE ULTIMATES #6 (Hickman / Peterson / Ribic / Rauch / Delgado) Marvel

Some good character work here but this is more of that jerky style of writing that doesn’t suit my tastes. A perfect example is the scene at the very end of the book that is labelled as Black Widow (which is good because there is no other way to recognize her) with a little character piece that has no apparent relevance to the rest of the story. It feels tacked on.

 

THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #5 (Van Siver / Simone / Cinar / Rapmund) DC

I am almost surprised that I am still buying this book. There is just enough here to keep me interested… but I am getting kind of tired of there being so many Firestorms. The rapport between Jason and Ronnie is interesting and the terrorist Firestorm was disturbing. They get yet another issue out of me…

 

ALPHA FLIGHT #8 (Van Lente / Pak / Eaglesham / Aburtov) Marvel

And it ends again. Why can’t they make a really good AF comic? Check the line-up at the end. Notice anything?

 

FF #14 (Hickman / Bobillo / Sosa / Sotomayor) Marvel

What is Marvel thinking? Who thought they should keep having THIS calibre of art on the book? On ANY book? It is really awful and is making this book hard to read.

 

AVENGERS SOLO #4 (Van Meter / RObinson / McCann / Henry) Marvel

This book remind sme of the old Spotlight issues. They weren’t very good either.

The back-up is decent. That is the best I can say about this comic.

 


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