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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: 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: The Unwritten #46

March 5, 2013
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This was a huge week, made bigger because of a couple delayed books from last week. When I get a week like this it makes me look long and hard at what I am getting and there were some books that were found very wanting.

The cutting scissors are out!

Starting at the weakest…

ALL-STAR WESTERN #17 (Palmiotti / Gray / Moritat / Johnson) DC

I feel like no book was destroyed by the New 52 relaunch like Jonah Hex was. Jonah Hex was a very solid book, and the early issues of ASW held up to that standard, but it has been getting worse and worse. The constant Batman references were annoying enough, and then Jonah vs Mr. Hyde was pretty ridiculous. Now he is fighting… Vandal Savage?!?! Making this book part of the DC Universe is just silly. Do you remember ‘Hex’, the comic that sent Jonah into outer space? This isn’t that bad, but it is along those lines. It was made even worse by making the ‘classic DC character back-up’ Stormwatch. Uh what?

Dropped.

BATMAN INCORPORATED #8 (Grant Morrison / Chris Burnham / Jason Masters) DC

Uh, spoilers, I guess… but who hasn’t heard?

I am not one of those people who gets mad when they kill a character. The story comes first and if you can make a good story by killing a character, go for it. I am also not one of those people who gets upset about them bringing characters back. If it makes a good story, go for it.

Take when Marvel killed Captain America. It was a good story, but we always knew they would bring him back. (In fact, they took too long because Bucky was a terrible Cap.) The same thing with Peter Parker. Hands up anyone who doesn’t think he is coming back. No one? Good.

The problem here is that Batman Inc. hasn’t been a very good comic and the only thing that made it better was Damian. Now he is dead and it was done so in a really sloppy fashion that MINIMIZED the impact of his death. The sequential storytelling in this book has been very bad and it really destroyed any build up to Damian’s death.

Are they going to bring him back? Some people say yes. I am not so sure. I think Grant Morrison is taking his ball and going home and Damian will stay dead as long as Morrison needs appeasing. (Do you think there would have been those Before Watchmen books if Alan Moore was working for DC?)

More importantly, I am not sure I care.

Dropped.

AVENGERS ARENA #5 (Hopeless / Walker / Martin) Marvel

What DC did to Jonah Hex, Marvel did to Avengers Academy. They took a very good book and ruined it.

Now, like Batman Inc., don’t assume you know why. I am not one of the internet folk who hate the concept of the book. What did I say about killing characters in the previous review? The problem here is the writing. There is no plot. There is only a concept, and it is poorly executed. Let’s randomly kill characters, or make it seem like we are killing characters (because I am not convinced it is all legit), for no reason. Why? Because Arcade is suddenly the Beyonder in a bad mood.

Remember? They have done this story already. It was just in a less bloodthirsty time. The Beyonder took a bunch of heroes and a bunch of villains and set them against each other. With lots of exclamation marks.

Nobody would call Secret Wars high art, but I would rather reread that than this. (Having a BOYfriend in a refrigerator was a twist. Not that it makes it good writing…)

Dropped.

COMEBACK #4 (Brisson / Walsh / Bellaire) Image

Another book that is all concept and no execution. Some people (hi Kin!) hate time travel. I don’t. If it is written well it isn’t confusing at all.
Guess what this book isn’t and what it is.

I WOULD drop this book, but this is issue #4 and it is a 5 issues series. I’ll hold out to finish it.

WONDER WOMAN #17 (Azzarello / Akins / Green / Pinna) DC

Wonder Woman relaunched with a cool new feel, solid writing, good art. What happened?
Well, that opening story arc never ended. We are 17 issues in and are still telling the same story from issue #1 with no end in sight. This book isn’t about Wonder Woman, who happens to be trying to save Zola’s baby. This book is about Wonder Woman trying to save Zola’s baby. There is nothing else. It almost feels like that old Prison Break show where they just keep throwing up obstacle after obstacle because if they ever win, the show is over. Plus they keep subbing in Tony Akins on art and he is nowhere near as good as Cliff Chiang.

I woud consider dropping this, but it is one of Ruthanne’s favourites and very few of the books we get are ‘for’ her. This one stays.

ROCKETEER: HOLLYWOOD HORROR #1 (Roger Langridge / J. Bone) IDW

I bought the previous Rocketeer mini because of Chris Samnee. I enjoyed it, and I have good things about Langridge and I like J.Bone, so I decided I would give this a try. It isn’t as good as Waid and Samnee, but it is still okay. We talked about cutting this and decided against it. If I cut this one, it would just be to keep my budget in line, not because it was bad.

YOUNG AVENGERS #2 (Gillen / McKelvie / Norton / Wilson) Marvel

So far I still like the old YA better, and the story here that basically comes down to ‘the adults are either evil or under the sway of the bad guy so it up to the youngins to save the day’ is interesting enough. The whole ‘trapping them in comic panels’ thing is kind of cute.

THE MASSIVE #9 (Brian Wood / Garry Brown / Dave Stewart) Dark Horse

This book confused me a little bit but I think I was distracted by the cancer thing… as were the people involved, I would say.

So the ‘fleet’ got a little bigger? Yet they still don’t have the ship that the comic is named after?

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #17 (jeff Lemire / Ray Fawkes / Mikel Janin) DC

The big bust ’em up, throw down issue. Kind of… there appears to be more next issue. I really enjoy this comic and I am not sure why. Constantine is awesome is this other dimension. Frankenstein is kind of awesome in any dimension. It makes me wish I had read his book. (Side note: I ordered the new Constantine comic, but the preview running in the back of DC books this month doesn’t look very good…)

FABLES #126 (Willingham / Buckingham / Pepoy / Leialoha) Vertigo

Sometimes when something is supposed to be unsavoury it hurts the book even though it is doing what it means to do. This ex-husband of Snow White… ick. He is the most disgusting character that I can recall reading. Way worse than Comedian, and he is pretty bad. Now, he is supposed to be, but this rings worse. I think it may be because I know that Bill Willingham runs way on the right side of the political spectrum and this feels like an exaggerated version of what my lefty brain thinks that he thinks like. That is completely and totally unfair, but there it is.

BEFORE WATCHMEN: DR.MANHATTAN #4 (J.Michael Straczynski / Adam Hughes) DC

This book can be filed along with Silk Spectre and Minutemen to show how good the Before Watchmen concept CAN be. (Just don’t read Nite Owl or the Comedian unless you want to see the other end of the spectrum.)

This book was not as satisfying, storywise, as the previous three issues, because I don’t like it when they rehash what we have already seen (this is the same reason the otherwise good Ozymandias is sliding and why Moloch was one issue good and one issue terrible.)

And Adam Hughes is simply amazing. There are some artists who manage to take a tendency towards T&A but do it so well that it is beautiful rather than anything negative. Hughes exemplifies that. I mean, LOOK at that cover. Incredible.

As a whole mini this would rank higher, but this issue was relatively weak (and the flipped pages thing was just a novelty).

UNCANNY AVENGERS #4 (Rick Remender / John Cassaday / Laura Martin) Marvel

This is the best of the new crop of Avengers books… but as I have clearly said here and there, I am not a big fan of Hickman, so that isn’t hard. Still, this issue had a really good fight sequence against an ‘unbeatable’ foe, who lived to fight another day. It had a couple of really solid one-on-one scenes between Scarlet Witch and Rogue as well as Thor and Wolverine. I didn’t care for the tease, as I don’t look back at Onslaught with fond memories.

Also… what is the deal with the art? People rave about John Cassaday and I don’t know why. This just wasn’t that good.

UNCANNY X-MEN #2 (Bendis / Bachalo / Townsend) Marvel

First, I want to talk about the set. What is it about Bachalo’s art that makes the ridiculous costumes on the women seem so innocuous? Look at Emma on the first couple of pages. She has this weird cutout down the entire front of her shirt, yet it doesn’t seem to me to be overly sexualized. I think it is just the nature of his art. Those don’t look like melons hiding under her shirt… they are almost just well developed pecs. It waters down the effect, in a good way.

But then flip the page to the full page side shot of Emma’s face. That is some very pretty art. Well designed and well executed. Kudos.

Then there is the story. What does Bendis do well? Characters, characters, characters. These fell like real people. Real, interesting people. So far I like All-New better, but this is some solid work.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #0.1 (Brian Michael Bendis / Steve McNiven / John Dell / Justin Ponsor) Marvel

Here is Bendis again! I only bought this book because of his name in the credits because I normally don’t like the space stuff.

This was a very, very good comic. However, it wasn’t the space stuff that is coming, so it remains to be seen whether my enjoyment of Bendis’ writing can counter by normal dislike of the spacey aspects.

Even if the comic wasn’t good overall, which it was, the look on Peter’s mother’s face when she heard why he got in trouble for fighting was perfection.

FF #4 (Matt Fraction / Michael Allred / Laura Allred) Marvel

This was just an all-around sweet comic. The hijinks of (the equivalent to) young boys with a crush that ‘turn awry’ making Jen and Wyatt’s date better and better was just so well done. When Kin criticized Fantastic Four in his reviews (which I didn’t agree with, but that’s okay) he said, why can Fraction write Hawkeye so well and this so badly?

This book is Hawkeye brought to the FF.

Speaking of…

HAWKEYE #8 (Fraction / Aja / Wu / Hollingsworth) Marvel

First, what a great cover. Amazing. The art inside was a lot of fun too, both Aja’s normally brilliant work and the special Wu ‘covers’ scattered throughout. Hawkeye is one of my favourite comics being published and I certainly enjoy it more than the Unwritten normally, but this week it slipped a bit because I had a bit of a problem with the story. So, she comes in, Jessica sees her, but there is no explanation about who she is or where she fits into Clint’s past? I would be okay with that if he WASN’T hooked up with Jessica, but since he is, that didn’t feel right. It needed an explanation.

Not enough to ruin the comic for me, but enough to knock it out of the top spot.

THE UNWRITTEN #46 (Carey / Gross / Ormston) Vertigo

Zombies, Vampires, the chilling menace of IMAGINING death and… oh my god… did she just do what I think she just did? OMG, she did! The ending of that book was super chilling. The puppet lady who you can talk to in your dreams was super scary enough already but now she can imagine things and make them real? Holy crap. This is Freddy ramped up to the freakiest. Well done.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Saucer Country #11

January 27, 2013
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Here we go with another week of Rusty’s comic reviews….

 

Chris Koch wanted to know my take on Uncanny X-Force #1. I don’t read it but he told me what happened so I went and checked out the final page.

Ewwwwwww.

 

On to the comics I DO read, starting at the weakest.

 

WINTER SOLDIER #14 (Ed Brubaker / Butch Guice) Marvel

I kept hoping for a good pay-off to this story. Instead it is just semi-misogynistic crap, like most of the story has been. What was great about this book when it first started was that it was really a Bucky & Black Widow comic. This whole story has had Black Widow being a maguffin rather than a character. She is the woman in the refrigerator despite not actually being killed. Even in the end, she serves as angst for Bucky rather than a character in her own right. Does she ever even speak as herself in the comic?

Weak.

I am dropping the book. I know the creative team is changing, but it has soured for me.

 

BATWOMAN #16 (J.H. Williams III / W. Haden Blackman) DC

When can beautiful art be a detriment to a book? Here it is.

The thing that has been lost here is storytelling. Williams as writer has written a script that just allows Williams as artist to do big, lovely double-page spreads where he then stuffs in text blocks to try and understand what is going on… because the art doesn’t really show you at all.

The strength of comics is as linear storytelling. This doesn’t do that at all. If that is what you want, I would prefer you do it Stardust style, where Neil Gaiman provided Charles Vess with a prose story for him to illustrate. Don’t try to pretend it is comics when it isn’t.

 

AVENGERS #3 (Jonathan Hickman / Jerome Opena / Dean White) Marvel

There are world-threatening villains. The Avengers are an army now so they can take care of it! Except they don’t. Captain Universe does. Okay, what? How is having Captain Universe appear any sort of strategy? They can’t control that. (Oh, and side note, Hyperion can beat up the Hulk? No thanks.)

Eh.

 

UNCANNY AVENGERS #3 (Rick Remender . John Cassaday / Laura Martin) Marvel

That was better. Villains (but not over-powered, godly ones) fighting Avengers. Things look bleak, but I have a feeling the good guy swill figure out a way to pull this off. (Side note: I prefer it when Captain America is able to fight mental control himself, but the scene with him and Havoc worked. It was set up well.) (Side note #2: Having a different field leader when Cap is on the team never ‘feels’ right.)

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: MINUTEMEN #6 (Darwyn Cooke) DC

Other than Silk SPectre, Minutemen is the best of the BW books… but this was probably the worst issue of the mini. Suddenly the whole thing was a plot by the Comedian and now it was Nite Owl who killed Hooded Justice? How does Hollis not now gather his forces with the sole purpose of bringing Comedian down? He could do it.

Good mini. Not great ending.

 

YOUNG AVENGERS #1 (Gillen / McKelvie / Norton / Wilson) Marvel

The book has promise but there were too many niggling little things that kept this book from debuting higher on this list. First off, apparently Wiccan is an idiot. THEY JUST WENT THROUGH A BIG TIME TRAVEL STORY THAT TAUGHT THEM HOW MESSED UP THAT CRAP IS! Why would he pull that?

The Marvel Boy / Kate Bishop thing doesn’t work for me at all. What happened to that cool NORMAL girlfriend that Marvel Boy already had? I assume Miss America is actually going to get some sort of explanation other than “hey, I’m a new superhero who just happened to be in the neighbourhood…”

I am also not a huge fan of the art.

A book like this is going to live or die on characterization, though, and that is working for me so far.

 

WONDER WOMAN #16 (Brian Azzarello / Cliff Chiang) DC

What can I say? Milan is awesome. The insight into his powers was really well done. The bar scene was excellent. Orion was… okay. I still don’t see his point, but hopefully that will come around. Herc is… nasty.

But it is the bar scene that really stood out for me.

 

REVIVAL #6 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

There was so much in here. The world is finding out! Everything is going to change now! Anders’ eye shift shows how much you can do with linear art! Someone teach J.H. Williams that!

 

FF #3 (Matt Fraction / Michael Allred / Laura Allred) Marvel

Finally! Now it feels like the comic is actually starting! After two issues of nothing really happening, it was a nice change! (Though, did Darla really do that long scene in nothing but a towel? What is this, Saga?)

 

FABLES #125 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha) Vertigo

An issue of Fables! I mean, a real one! It has been a while since this book felt like itself. Now this is a pure set-up issue, but it still had the feel of the great book we used to love.

Brandish and Leigh are going to be trouble with a capital TRUH!

 

THE MASSIVE #8 (Brian Wood / Garry Brown / Dave Stewart) Dark Horse

Act two of a really exciting movie, no? Did they really turn the ship over to this new country? What do you think?

Does this oil rig country remind you of Great Pacific in any way? A little?

 

SAUCER COUNTRY #11 (Paul Cornell / Mirko Colak / Andrea Mutti) Vertigo

Saucer Country has been hit and miss for me. So much so that when I recently heard that the book is coming to an end, I just sort of shrugged.

Until this issue. Wow.

Forget all the alien stuff and conspiracies and how this issue fits in to the broader scheme of the book. Instead just read it as someone who has had a tough grasp on reality since witnesses something traumatic when he was young. Reading between the lines, I had already guessed some of what was going on… but the fact that people knew made this almost too much. To cause such a visceral reaction. Well done Cornell et al.

 

 


Rusty’s Comic of the Week(s): Saga #8

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

 

I guess I have spoiled that already.

 

Starting at the weakest.

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

COMEBACK #2 (Brisson / Walsh / Bellaire) Image

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

 

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

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

Soy is leaving the book.

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

FABLES #124 (Bill Willingham / Shawn McManus) Vertigo

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

No thanks.

The Black Cat story was cute.

 

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

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

Well done.

 

UNWRITTEN #44 (Mike Carey / Peter Gross) Vertigo

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

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

 

HAWKEYE #6 (Fraction / Aja / Hollingsworth) Marvel

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

This issue is better.

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

 

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

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

I love this comic.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: All-New X-Men #2

December 2, 2012
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I actually had time to read my comics on the day I got them! Woot!

Starting at the weakest…

ULTIMATE IRON MAN #2 (Edmondson / Buffagni / Troy) Marvel

Tony Stark can be a charming asshole. You know the type… the guy that acts in horrible ways towards women but gets away with it because he does it with style.

In real life, regular guys HATE those guys.

In here, Edmondson has taken that charming asshole and made him not charming. What does that leave?

An unlikable protagonist and a pretty crappy comic.

ALL-STAR WESTERN #14 (Gray / Palmiotti / Moritat / Windslade) DC

Not the best outing for this book in either writing or art. Neither are BAD, but neither do they shine. Barbary Ghost needs to put on some bloody clothes. I’m not a fan of adding Mr. Hyde to the Hex mythos, nor I am a fan of adding Eclipso (I assume…)

The insistence on including modern DC elements into this book is the biggest weakness it has. Do you remember how good Jonah Hex was BEFORE the new 52?

BEFORE WATCHMEN: OZYMANDIAS #4 (Len Wein / Jae Lee) DC

In the previous issues a somewhat pedestrian plot was overcome by beautiful art. Not this time. The art is nowhere near so creative and in spots (Page 3) in looks… awkward. The comic itself continues to read less like a story than a too-long What-Has-Gone-Before synopsis.

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #14 (Jeff Lemire / Graham Nolan / Victor Drujiniu) DC

This book was a pretty fun way to get a look at 3 lesser shown characters on the team – including 2 that are new and have their own books (though 1 is now cancelled.) A fin spotlight on Black Orchid, Amethyst and Frankenstein as they wander through the House of Mystery. Not a good idea.

I am enjoying this comic more than I would have thought. Lemire is a good writer.

BEFORE WATCHMEN: SILK SPECTRE #4 (Darwyn Cooke / Amanda Conner) DC

This mini wraps up with the weakest of its four issues. Still wonderful art and great characterization, but there are a few weak storytelling parts and that bit where Laurie impales that dude with her stiletto didn’t work for me at all.  Overall a very good mini… the best of all of the BW books.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #2 (Rick Remender / John Cassaday / Laura Martin) Marvel

So Red Skull is now Sylar. (Any fans of Heroes in the house?) Good book. Skull recruiting Scarlet Witch makes perfect sense, and Wolverine’s take on Havok leading the team echoes mine. Last week in Captain America, Remender tried to sweep questions about motivation under the rug by mentioning them and then moving on. He kind of does that again here, but to better effect.

After last week, I am really glad to read a Remender book that I enjoy.

FF #1 (Matt Fraction / Michael Allred / Laura Allred) Marvel

Yay! More Allreds! This book is going to be fun, you can just tell. Ms. Thing isn’t in the book yet (well, she is, but not as Ms. Thing), and that is going to be weird. How will She-Hulk take to her? I don’t get why people like Medusa, but that is a small thing.

Speaking of small things, it is nice to get a real Ant-Man back after that O’Grady business was dealt with over in Secret Avengers. (Black Ant? Really?)

This is just good comics.

BATMAN INCORPORATED #5 (Grant Morrison / Chris Burnham) DC

This look into a possible future doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it was so well done that I didn’t care. Damian as Batman is a frightening possibility anyway and this book just confirms that. The emotion on Damian’s face when Bruce tells him he can’t be Robin is just perfect… but I think everyone hopes that it isn’t true.

NEW AVENGERS #34 (Bendis / Deodato / Beredo) Marvel

As disappointed I was in Bendis’ last Avengers issue – this book makes up for it. Is it a great comic? Not really. The Dr. Strange fight scenes as an excuse to put in a bunch of jarring art (not bad – just wrong. Tell me that was jarring to turn to that Red Hulk page…) were not good. But the Luke Cage stuff more than made up for it. Some people have criticized Bendis for using Cage as his pov character, but this issue did it to great effect. Watching Bendis say goodbye to the Avengers as Luke Cage was sweet.

Plus, a hint at a new Cage / Jessica led Heroes for Hire book? Written by Bendis? I would buy the shit out of that book!

ALL-NEW X-MEN #2 (Brian Michael Bendis / Stuart Immonen / Wade von Grawbadger / Marte Gracia) Marvel

Two Bendis books top this week’s list! Out with the old and in with the new… which is the old. This comic works just based on the Iceman seeing Iceman panel. I’m not sure which of them looks goofier.  This book hits all the right notes. The shocked nature of the original five. Beast’s desperation. The stupidity of the plan. Wolverine realizing that Jean was alive. (One minor nitpick – Jean suddenly getting her ‘new’ powers was a little too convenient in her timing. I think before it was implied that it happened through intensive training, no?)

I am so looking forward to watching this book unfold… and I’m not even a very big X-Men fan.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: All-Star Western #7

April 2, 2012
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This week was overshadowed by a variety of much more important things (as can be seen on my other blogs and elsewhere) but I still managed to get this week’s comics read. A solid group over all, but another cancellation happened… though not of the worst comic I read this week.

As always, from best to worst….

 

ALL-STAR WESTERN #7 (Gray / Palmiotti / Moritat / Scherberger / Green / Austin) DC

Just when the bloom was coming off Hex in Gotham, off they go to New Orleans! The addition of Nighthawk and Cinnamon (especially Cinnamon) is just what this book needed! Ruthanne liked to point out how nice it was to have a strong female character, who actually wore clothes over all her parts…

Arkham continues to be a good foil for Hex. The art is beautiful as always and the Art Adams style in the back-up works as well, despite being very different from Moritat.

 

THE UNWRITTEN #35.5 (Carey / Gross / Walta) Vertigo

This must be the last .5 issue, no? If so, it is a good one to go out on. It gives us a story of the people (well, one of them) who work on the grid. It looks like this one is leading into the NEXT Unwritten arc, rather than just referencing back story of the current one.  The .5 issues worked for the most part, though there were some clunkers, but I am looking forward more to the next regular issue.

 

SECRET AVENGERS #24 (Remender / Hardman / Breitweiser) Marvel

This is how you do a team-is-facing-insurmountable-odds-before-they-overcome-them-next-issue issue. The surprise at the end wasn’t a big one, but the notes along the way worked very well. I like the robot council and the fighting spirit of the team. This is the best Avengers title right now… after coming off a run where it was the worst (Not counting Solo).

 

MOON KNIGHT #11 (Bendis / Maleev / Hollingsworth) Marvel

The thing I am most afraid of, as Moon Knight comes to a close, is that this run will just become a footnote. Bendis is leaving the Avengers and whoever takes over will bring in Moon Knight and ignore all that was done here to make him more interesting. He will go back to just being a cheap Batman impersonator with a twist. That would be a shame.

 

THE TWELVE #11 (J.Michael Straczynski / Chris Weston) Marvel

I hope when this is all done, people will realize how good a book this is, without all the innumerable delays. The main story wraps up here, though we still have one more issue. In a way this reminds me of the original Squadron Supreme mini where they covered some great concepts but in a way that minimized their effect. That was too bad and I can see that happening here.

 

AVENGERS 24.1 (Bendis / Peterson / Oback) Marvel

If you are an Avengers fan, skip the crappy AvX #0 and read this comic instead. It gives you the Vision / Wanda meeting from his perspective, but is just generally done better. The art is just okay, but the story is spot on. Vision’s reaction to Scarlet Witch and She-Hulk really sets the stage for what will follow (as long as new writers don’t screw it up… do NOT put them back together!)

 

THE NEW DEADWARDIANS #1 (Dan Abnett / I.N.J. Culbard) Vertigo

This was very disappointing. It wasn’t bad, but I expected so much more. The idea is great but the execution was fairly plodding and pedestrian. The art is not very compelling and… well, of the four new Vertigo launches, it wasn’t as good as Fairest or Saucer Country but it was better than Voodoo Child.

 

THE NEW AVENGERS #23 (Bendis / Deodato / Conrad / Beredo) Marvel

This one suffers due to the problems with the publishing schedule. Here we see the fight where Skaar switches sides and fights the Dark Avengers… which we have already seen the results of what, last week? The week before?

Decent little scrap, nut nothing to it, storywise. This is why I’m not buying AvX:Vs. It might have been okay if the books came out in order.

 

THE ULTIMATES #8 (Hickman / Ribic / White) Marvel

I am beginning to realize… I just don’t like Hickman’s style. His ideas a good, but he implements them in a vey jerky way. I prefer the narrative to be more straight forward, even when they ideas are not. I prefer to try and figure out WHY something is happening and not have to decipher WHAT is happening.

I liked the bit with Reed turning the Hulk, though.

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #5 (Zeb Wells / Leinil Francis Yu / Gerry Alanguilan / Sunny Gho) Marvel

This story would have been okay if both Spidey and Cap acted AT ALL like they do in other books. The whole plot was based on faulty logic. First off, it showed Cap as a terrible artist from back when he was a kid. Uh, did Wells read the books in the 80’s where Cap actually WAS a comic artist? He sure doesn’t think much of the quality of the comics from the 80’s, I guess. And Spidey thinking that he and Cap could be pals because Cap used to draw and Spidery liked Science? Uh… what?

 

THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #7 (EthanVan Sciver / Joe Harris) DC

This book just keeps hanging on. The interplay with the two main characters is interesting but the rest is a little too chaotic. Van Sciver may have a bit of Hickman-disease… though it isn’t quite the same.

 

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #0 (Bendis / Aaron / Cho / Keith) Marvel

I have been looking forward to AvX, but this issue has taken some of the bloom off that rose. Both stories were not interesting. The Scarlet Witch story was really bad, with the reactions from Ms.Marvel and Spider-Woman being downright baffling. The art was AWFUL. I am never a big fan of Cho, but this was seriously crappy. He draws women VERY badly and his Modok was cartoonish. The callback to Avengers #58 was just cheesy.

The Hope story was a lot better… even with the art, despite still being Cho. The bit where she puffed up was funny without being silly. It gave some decent characterization without everything seeming oddly set. I am normally a Bendis fan, but in this one I have to give the only props to Aaron.

I hope the main mini is better than this.

 

FF #16 (Hickman / Dragotta / Epting) Marvel

Oh, by  the way, your daughter is an idiot. The big reveal at the end is completely predicated on that fact. Great.

Yet that still didn’t seem as stupid as Reed’s super-erector-set building. Plus the art was terrible, as usual. I cut Fantastic Four this month and now FF joins it. These were good briefly, but that time has come to an end.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA & BUCKY #628 (Asmus / Brubaker / Francavilla) Marvel

This story ended. I found that I didn’t care about anything or anyone in it. Te shift away from WW2 (and Chris Samnee) has been the kiss of death for this book. The only reason it isn’t joining FF on the scrapheap is that it gets a new direction starting next issue. I am going to give it a try.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: AVENGERS #23

March 4, 2012
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I am a little late on this because I have been SUPREMELY busy as one of the organizers of VERSeFest in Ottawa. That is a poetry festival that encompasses both ‘page’ and ‘stage’. Just last night I hosted etc. OpenSecret, Mighty Mike McGee, Taqralik Partridge… and Ursula Rucker.

 

URSULA RUCKER

 

I am still buzzing.

 

AVENGERS #23 (Bendis / Acuna) Marvel

This book is SO much better when Acuna is on it. This book had the Avengers a little less chumplike. The scene with the president talking to Madame Hydra with Cap in chains was great (especially after my distaste for the way it LOOKED like it was going last issue). Stark’s cockiness even when a prisoner was spot on. All in all, a great read and I am looking forward to next issue!

 

NEW AVENGERS #22 (Bendis / Deodato / Conrad / Beredo) Marvel

Another nice uptick in the book. Luke Cage was great (though while his characterization is really good – he isn’t much of a leader in those situations). The Victoria Hand stuff was solid (though predictable). The end, though… the end was sweet! I didn’t see that coming (but then I never read the books he has appeared in before).

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #680 (Slott / Yost / Camuncoli / Janson / D’Armata) Marvel

Spidey – in – space! The only thing, and I mean the ONLY thing, that I didn’t like in this issue was Spidey saying that Human Torch had changed and then having him act as if nothing had changed. It was a ‘show me, don’t tell me’ moment… and they just told.

This is obviously a ramp up to that big Spidey story coming down the pipe.

 

MOON KNIGHT #10 (Bendis / Maleev / Hollingsworth) Marvel

I honestly expected to open this book and see Echo alive. Not to say they might not still do that, but not yet. Now add Buck to the endangered list. Did Bendis create a supporting cast only to eliminate them before the book wraps up in two months?

 

THE TWELVE #10 (J.Michael Straczynski / Chris Weston) Marvel

I look forward to reading this complete. I honestly can’t remember if the reveal here is out of left field or if there were hints.

How often do you see full frontal male nudity in comics? Especially in a MARVEL comic!

 

THE UNWRITTEN #34.5 (Carey / Gross / Erskine) Vertigo

I find the Unwritten .5 issues to be hit or miss. This one was mostly a miss. Still worth reading but not something to jump to the top of the pile.

 

THE ULTIMATES #7 (Hickman / Ribic / White) Marvel

I think Hickman is trying to make this book very dense. He did the same thing with Fantastic Four before clearing the decks and clarifying the goings on. I expect that will happen here. Eventually.

 

FF #15 (Hickman / Dragotta / Sotomayor) Marvel

Well… the art is better. Lots better. Two Hickman books on the bottom of the pile. That isn’t good, but this book reads okay. The big Power Pack cover makes no sense. Sure they are there, but they are not very important (character-wise) and there is no explanation why Julie is not in California.

It just reminds how much better Avengers Academy is then this book. I’m not dropping it, but the ice is not very thick.


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.

 


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Secret Avengers #20

January 2, 2012
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This post is a little late because of New Year’s. Last night was spent NOT reading comics but enjoying a party held by our friends, Nadine and Phil. It involved me successfully defending my NYE Poker Championship! Then today also had some New Year’s festivities with those same friends, in the form of Chinese food.

I finally got down to reading comics this evening, and no it is time for reviews!

Big week.

SECRET AVENGERS #20 (Ellis / Maleev / Filardi) Marvel

When Warren Ellis took over Secret Avengers I absolutely hated it. His first issue was completely awful and the next issue was not a lot better. His third issue, on the other hand, was pretty good and now this one… which is great! A Black Widow story, which gets brownie points already, Alex Maleev art, not at his absolute best but still very strong, and a VERY well done time travel story. Everything worked here, including the newspaper strip homage. I have been looking forward to the end of the Ellis run and the start of Rick Remender’s and this doesn’t change that, but at least there was finally an issue worth the praise that has been heaped upon the Ellis run.

ALL-STAR WESTERN #4 (Justin Gray / Jimmy Palmiotti / Moritat / Phil Winslade) DC

It has not gone unnoticed by me that the best of the DC relaunch are the books that are not mainstream superhero books. Marvel does those better. Where DC shines is going outside of those bounds with books like Wonder Woman, Swamp Thing, Animal Man and this one.  ASW has been my favourite comic in some weeks and this one was pretty good. The Moritat art was not as great as it usually is, but it was still very solid. The back-up was also not stellar. The main story more than made up for it. I am looking forward to the further adventures of Hex and Arkham.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #5 & 6 (#5 – Brubaker / McNiven, Camuncoli / Leisten… #6 – Brubaker / Davis / Farmer / Martin) Marvel

Yes, two issues of Cap in the same week. (Even more, Cap & Bucky came out this week as well.) I have no idea why. Even more puzzling, this is a transitionary spot as one art team makes way for the next. #5 was the best issue of the new title so far. I especially liked it as it reminded me of early Flag Smasher, before that villain was ruined by bad writing. It is really interesting to read about a villain he is completely right but using unacceptable methods to fight for his cause. It is so reflective of so many things going on today. Then, #6 was even better! Bru’s writing style feels slightly different under the pencil of Alan Davis. I have no problem with McNiven but what a treat to switch to Alan Davis! I was so happy when he did that Avengers Prime mini and when I heard he was taking over Cap… well, his style is perfect for this book. People who really liked the dark and gritty stylings when this was a Bucky book might disagree. Too bad for them, I guess. 🙂

AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE #8 (Heinberg / Cheung / Morales / Ponsor) Marvel

I have enjoyed this mini… I just don’t like waiting two months between issues. I am not a huge fan of the way both the Avengers and X-Man are made out to look like d-bags, but that is kind of seeing it through the eyes of the next generation. Are we trading Cassie in for Scott? I’ll take that trade… and I don’t dislike Cassie.

ULTIMATE X-MAN #5 (Spencer / Medina / Vlasco / Curiel) Marvel

This is SO much better than the old Ultimate X-Men. It has a great cast. I hope they follow through and get rid of Rogue. It looks like it is Kitty’s time to shine. And what is Pietro up to?

All are reasons to keep reading, which was something I couldn’t find myself doing before the relaunch.

FURY OF FIRESTORM #4 (Ethan Van Sciver / Gail Simone / Yildiray Cinar) DC

Last month I felt close to cancelling this book. This month I enjoyed it a lot more. Adding the Russians was great. International intrigue that a couple of teenagers now have to deal with? Good call. I liked the juxtaposition of Ronnie being upset that Jason would think him stupid… followed by him apparently doing something very stupid.

CAPTAIN AMERICA  & BUCKY #625 (Asmus / Brubaker / Francavilla) Marvel

This book started to slide as soon as it left WW2 (and lost the Chris Samnee art), but it made some gains again this issue. Focusing on the second set of Cap & Bucky, while still making it a modern story, really works. I don’t see a long run before this book is cancelled (and then the other Cap book takes over the original numbering) but for now it is worth a read. At last this month.

FF #13 (Hickman / Bobillo / Sosa / Sotomayor) Marvel

Bobillo’s art is a lot better than last issue. And by a lot better, I mean that is merely really crappy instead of that mess from the previous book. Hickman’s story is solid but the bad art is very distracting, Hopefully that problem is corrected before this book gets the axe.

THE UNWRITTEN #32.5 (Carey / Gross / Ormston) Vertigo

The first .5 issue of The Unwritten was one of the best issues I have read of this title in quite a while. This issue was… boring. I found that I just didn’t care about it in any way. Hopefully further of these interlude issues will be more like the previous one than this one.

THE ULTIMATES #5 (Hickman / Peterson / Ribic / White) Marvel

Without going back and double-checking, I assume this is a different artist from the previous issues. I assume that because the previous issues were much better. That isn’t the big reason I rate this book so low, though. It is more because NOTHING HAPPENS. The interaction between Thor and his… relations were the only real saving grace this issue.

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #4 (Peter Milligan / Mikel Janin) DC

This is the last issue of this book I will be getting. Four issues in and there is still zero story other than ‘bad things are happening. Of some sort. Or something.’ Milligan can sometimes slip in incoherence in his writing and gets away with it by coasting on style. I bought this book for Zatanna, Madame Xanadu and Constantine. This isn’t Zatanna. This isn’t Madame Xanadu. Constantine… well, if it is just him, I could just buy Hellblazer. Which I don’t.

Dropped.

SUPERMAN #4 (George Perez / Jesus Merino) DC

If I am dropping JLD and this is rated lower, what does that tell you? This has been the weaker Superman book and this issue made no in-roads there. As a writer George Perez is a great artist (luckily he IS that…). Good writing is not just putting in more words. I would think an artist would understand that, but I guess not. I miss the 80’s version of George. (But hey, can’t we say the same thing about John Byrne, Chris Claremont, Walt Simonson…?)

Dropped

ALPHA FLIGHT #7 (Van Lente / Pak / Eaglesham / Aburtov) Marvel

Do you remember the last time there was a good AF comic? 1985? I had high hopes for the new series that started as a mini, was changed to an on-going, and now back to a mini. With only one issue left, I am not going to cut it, but if it were an on-going, I would have.

ANNIHILATORS: EARTHFALL #4 (Abnett / Lanning / Huat / Hennessy / Quintana) Marvel

People talk about how great the Marvel space stuff is. I have no idea why. This miniseries was awful in every way… except the Rocket Racoon and Groot back-ups. They were good but not  enough to save the series.

I picked up some trades after Christmas, which I will do a mini-review about sometime soon. They are Green Lantern: Rebirth, Iron Man: Demon in a Bottle, 100 Bullets Deluxe Vol. 1, Fantastic Four Vol. 1 Imaginauts and Age of Bronze Vol. 1 (and then Kevin Matthews has lent me Vol. 2 & 3)


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