Rusty's World

Rusty’s Comic of the Week (month… year…): Fables #134

October 21, 2013
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Quite the extremes this week. The comic of the week was really… REALLY… good. The worst comic was… well, I might as well kick things off…

NEW AVENGERS #11 (Hickman / Deodato / Martin) Marvel

Let me start off by saying that even WITHOUT the problem I am about to lay out for you this book isn’t very good. Just as the 10 issues before it weren’t very good. What is keeping me around?

I just love the Avengers. I don’t buy them blindly any more (there are too damned many of them), but it is hard for me to let go. (Thankfully Mighty Avengers seems really good, because the Hickman stuff is very disappointing.)

Having said THAT, this book is worse than that.

There is a war in Wakanda, between some alien Thanos followers and the Wakandan army. You know Wakanda, right? One of the most (of not THE most) technologically advanced countries on the planet? Led by their Queen, the Black Panther. With all of that high tech at her disposal, she chooses to attack her enemy by… throwing a spear at them.

A spear.

A Queen of an African country LITERALLY throws a spear at someone.

Look, I am not implying that Hickman is racist. I don’t even know the man. But at a minimum he is guilty of being really, REALLY stupid here.

HUNGER #4 (Fialkov / Kirk / Aburtov) Marvel

Well, that was pointless. Rick Jones is Captain Marvel now. They are still going to destroy the Ultimate Universe, so who really cares? I am looking forward to Cataclysm, but this was just filling space.

AVENGERS # 21 (Hickman / Yu / Alanguilan / Gho) Marvel

Why does Marvel put the two Hickman Avengers books out on the same week every month? That doesn’t make sense at all.

This book is better than NA, but that is damning with faint praise. Any chance Bendis will come back?

UNCANNY X-MEN #13 (Bendis / Bachalo / Townsend / Gracia) Marvel

Speaking of Bendis…

Battle of the Atom is better than Infinity in every way, but this is still just an extended fight scene with an unexplained twist that seems a bit like a deus ex machina.

THIEF OF THIEVES #17 (Kirkman / Diggle / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

The on-going heist picture of a comic book continues to be an on-going heist picture. That works for me. WHo is making the series? This seems like an AMC property to me. Hamm as Redmond?

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #19 (Slott / Stegman / Livesay / Delgado) Marvel

So if 2099 is staying in 2013, the Captain is likely playing Spider-Hero, Miles will be the Ultimate survivor, Peter is coming back (duh)… the web is going to get crowded.

ANIMAL MAN #24 (Jeff Lemire / Rafael Albuquerque) DC

I thought Brother Blood was a formidable enemy, but really he is just a flunky. It is the Totem that is the issue. Big threat. Scary implications. Stress induced reunion. Good character points all around.

WONDER WOMAN #24 (Brian Azzarello / Goran Sudzuka) DC

Do you know what annoys me? That Superman/Wonder Woman book probably outsells this one, despite being nowhere near as good.

This issue was GREAT! We are finally moving on as the prophecy has been dealt with and the new story about Diana’s place among the pantheon is really interesting. Hermes got a really good point in and Apollo is nothing to fool around with. Good stuff.

HAWKEYE #13 (Fraction / Aja / Hollingsworth) Marvel

I should be disappointed. After a long delay this book STILL didn’t advance the plot, and only put other actions into some sort of timeline.

But it did it really well. Great stories, great art, great comics.

FABLES #134 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha / Pepoy) Vertigo

Wow.

It has been a long time since Fables was GREAT. It is still good (except when Willingham lets his politics take over), and sometimes it is really good.

But this issue is better than that.

Two conversations. That’s it. Two well written, moving, powerful, sad conversations. Illustrated in such a way to make them even MORE than they already are. Bucky’s design instincts go to a whole other level here.

But still… those conversations… the second one… the question…

I can’t even really describe this.

May I be overly moved by this? I lost my father this year. Did that chance how I looked at this book?

Maybe… but whatever. This is just a wonderful comic.

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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Swamp Thing #24

October 7, 2013
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swampthing24

Solid comic week.

From the weakest…

HUNGER #3 (Fialkov / Kirk / Aburtov) Marvel

It isn’t terrible but the whole ‘cosmic power’ and struggle against it in a non-specific way that drags on, issue after issue’ gets really old.

Also, inspired by Ultimate Peter Parker is almost becoming a trope.

TRILLIUM #3 (Jeff Lemire) Vertigo

And here is the most annoying comic of the week. When it was a flip book, it worked. When it is just random flipped pages, it is just a pain in the ass.

The comic isn’t good enough to make up for hoping it will end so you can stop flipping the book back and forth.

FAIREST #20 (Williams / Sadowski / Jimenez) Vertigo

Hey, remember what the premise of this Fables spin-off was supposed to be?

Yeah, me either. I am pretty sure it wasn’t the awakening of Prince Charming.

Not a great arc, but better than the last one. Hopefully Willingham doing Goldilocks will be better.

MARVEL KNIGHTS: SPIDER-MAN #1 (Matt Kindt / Marco Rudy / Val Staples) Marvel

This is the best LOOKING book out this week. Marco Rudy has done a great job. Too bad the story is such a bare excuse for a series of pin-up pages.

But, boy, do those pages look nice.

THE MOVEMENT #5 (Gail Simone / Freddie Willimas II) DC

Interesting issue. So there is a trial… but what authority does this court have? And what lengths are they willing to go to establish that authority? A schism was pretty much guaranteed at that point.

Best line: Oh no, you might see the skin around my eyes.

MIGHTY AVENGERS #2 (Ewing / Land / Leisten / D’Armata) Marvel

I have been a vocal opponent to Blue Marvel in the same way I was a vocal opponent of Sentry. Skewing the power level is DC’s thing. Marvel is better than that, usually.

Having said THAT, I really liked Adam in this comic. I may not like him when he starts fighting, but as the elder statesman, he was great.

Is this going to be the best Avengers book being published? Despite the Greg Land inclusion, signs point to yes.

ALL-NEW X-MEN #17 (Bendis / Immonen / Von Grawbadger / Gracia) Marvel

President Blaire, hey? Interesting twist… followed by the real twist. I missed the Wolverine issue but I don’t feel like I missed anything. Not much of a selling point there.

Still, this story is good, if slow. Lots of X-Teams from lots of times…

LAZARUS #4 (Rucka / Lark / Arcas) Image

This book is getting better and better. It was nearly #1 for me this week. Johanna is evil. I mean, REALLY evil.

So not all Larari are the same, I take it. I don’t think our star is as… metallic as Joaquim. I really liked the remove of the battle as the Carlyle’s tried to follow it through her biotelemetry.

Good book. Great art.

SWAMP THING #24 (Charles Soule / Andrei Bressan) DC

The reveal of who Seeder really is was excellent! I love the dichotomy between Swamp Thing and Seeder. (And Seeder is a lot better name than his pre-Alan Moore name.)

And the end with the Parliament NOT taking sides… wow. Charles Soule is the best Swamp Thing writer in a long time, in my opinion.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: All-New X-Men #15

August 18, 2013
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But, you might say, that book didn’t come out this week!

You are correct, but I had some computer issues. Big ones. Ones that mean I am now typing this on a new computer.

So I have two weeks to catch up, but I am still going to it as two posts.

Big week… dredging the memory banks… starting at the weakest…

THE MOVEMENT #4 (Gail Simone / Freddie Williams II) DC

The weakest issue so far. The jump-cuts to mini-backstory bits made it feel like filler. I guess it is trying to give each character some personality but it just didn’t jell for me.

HUNGER #2 (Fialkov / Kirk / Aburtov) Marvel

Just this week Marvel announced that this series was just basically a lead-in to the NEXT series, which IS written by Bendis and (my spec) will likely end the Ultimate Universe and move Miles over to the 616 (under the name Spider Hero? Ugh.)

This was better than issue #1, The Rick Jones / Silver Surfer pairing was okay, but not enough.

SWAMP THING #23 (Charles Soule / Kano / David Lapham / Alvaro Lopez) DC

First off, the art was terrible. I mean REALLY bad. There were a few Swampy shots that were okay and I assume those were Kano, but overall… not good. Look at that Constantine shot on page 2! Holy crap! Then there is that message at the end, written in the trees.

At least I THINK it is a message since it is completely illegible.

Very disappointing. This book has been very good lately.

DIAL H #15 (China Mieville / Alberto Ponticelli / Dan Green) DC

The grand finale. As such , this issue is all about the plot. What is this book good at? Not that.

The plot-centric issues are the worst ones and the pure characterization issues are the best ones. This was definitely the former. I am actually kind of glad it is over.

AVENGERS #17 (Hickman / SPencer / Caselli / Martin) Marvel

So Ex Nihilo, Star Brand and Nightmask are now Avengers? Okay… I guess. I suppose that means their stories now had a purpose, as a set up for this.

I still don’t like the Avengers Army concept, so adding EVEN MORE characters is not good. What else don’t I like? Ridiculously overpowered characters on the team. The worst one in recent memory was Sentry. Now we have Star Brand.

Wow, this wasn’t a very good week, was it…

AVENGERS A.I. #2 (Humphries / Araujo / D’Armata) Marvel

I like Dimitrios as Iron Man, though I think he should take the faceplate off permanently, like he did in that one panel, to differentiate more. The one thing about it, though, is that despite being the Avengers A,I, villain, there is no way Stark wouldn’t get involved. His reaction to his tech being used for untoward purpose has been quite violent in the past.

FAIREST #18 (Williams / Sadowski / Pepoy) Vertigo

Hey, a non-cheescake cover! Some decent characterization stuff in here. I don’t have a lot to say here. Fairest has generally disappointed, but that is because my expectations were quite high.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #15 (Slott / Ramos / Olazaba / Delgado) Marvel

Ramos should always draw the Hobgoblin. Spider Henchmen! Peter’s favourite women figuring things out! Phil Urich behind on his ‘car’ payments! This is really good stuff! People who are refusing to read this because of Otto are missing out. I am looking forward to the return of Peter as much as anyone, but int he meantime, this is good comics.

TRILLIUM #1 (Jeff Lemire) Vertigo

After some specific recommendations, I thought Trillium would be my top book this week.

Nope. It was really good, but not THAT good. The problem is the art. I am just not a fan. I found it distracted from the story. There were times when I thought it actually obfuscated the plot, and that is just not good. Because the story WAS good. Very good. The flip book conceit was perfect. I really want to know what happens next.

ALL-NEW X-MEN #15 (Bendis / Lafuente / Campbell) Marvel

The art was… perfect. Was it as great as we have had? Technically no, but it showed this team as the youthful characters they are supposed to be. The Hank/Jean scene worked all around. Scott and Bobby out in public was so… teenager!

This book takes over where Avengers Academy left off, and Avengers Arena absolutely DID NOT pick up.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: The Rocketeer & The Spirit: Pulp Friction #1

July 28, 2013
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Not as strong as recent weeks, but there are still some good books. Nothing really terrible, either.

HUNGER #1 (Fialkov / Kirk / Aburtov) Marvel

A little too ‘spacy’ for me. Let’s just get on with sending Miles and his crew over to the 616 uni and destroy the UU.

All right, it is clearly not going to happen with this mini because there is no way Fialkov gets the honour of shutting off the lights and putting up the chairs, you know?

Still, if the whole connection to tearing the universe open is just because the UU had a lame Gah-lak-tus and now Fialkov can do a story with a better version… well, that’s pretty lame.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #10 (Rick Remender / Daniel Acuna) Marvel

AM I crazy are was the dialogue really…off this issue? It just didn’t flow right. RIght from the joke Thor makes on the second page on. Huh. Remender isn’t usually that bad.

I normally lik eUncanny more than the Illuminati book, but this week the latter was better than usual and the former was worse.

Please don’t use this as a pretext to resurrect Sentry. He is better dead. Also, what was with Wasp’s costume? Is it 1963 again?

NEW AVENGERS #8 (Hickman / Deodato / Martin) Marvel

A tick better than it has been. Trying to explain how it fits into continuity is futile. If Reed is gone, let him be gone. If not, deal with it. “Hey, I have inter-space-time teleportation but don’t tell Scott Lang!”

Another issue with a pretty ugly costume change. What is up with Iron Man’s armour? Ugly.

So, Atlantis and Wakanda are at open war. Interesting. How will this effect… everything? Will it even be mentioned outside of this book?

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #14 (Slott / Ramos / Olazaba / Delgado) Marvel

Spider-man has a private army now? This just can’t stand. This has GOT to be the turning point towards the end of this Otto run.

I have been enjoying the story, but the longer we keep up with it, the more it seems that Marvel considers him an actual hero and that is… ugh.

Having said all that, I am looking forward to the Otto/Osborne connection. I don’t say clash since Otto seems to be unwilling to interfere with Osborne’s machinations.

THE UNWRITTEN #51 (M.Carey / P.Gross / B.Willingham / M.Buckingham) Vertigo

Better than the first issue but still fairly disappointing. I am surprised Bill Willingham was okay with this since it makes all of his characters look pretty weak… and I don’t just mean in power levels.

LAZARUS #2 (Rucka / Lark / Arcas) Image

There was a letter in this issue complaining that Forever looks to ‘butch’.

Save us from small minded morons.

I think that once she gets her head together (which has begun), Forever is going to be one of those great characters that refuses to fall into the old cliches.

HAWKEYE ANNUAL #1 (Fraction / Pulido / Hollingsworth) Marvel

Yet another view of what has been going on in the Hawkeye book, this time from Kate Bishop’s perspective. A bit of fun that really loses its momentum at the end. I am also not a big fan of Pulido’s art, though it isn’t terrible.

A good issue for most comics abut a sub-standard one for Hawkeye.

THE MASSIVE #14 (Brian Wood / Garry Brown / Jordie Bellaire) Dark Horse

The Kapital vs the U.S. Navy. Kind of. The mystery of Georg. The return of the sub and a journey towards the lights of Broadway.

Without the lights, I am sure.

Good, solid adventure and intrigue.

YOUNG AVENGERS #8 (Gillen / McKelvie / Norton / Wilson) Marvel

“The laws of physics can kiss my ass.” How is Miss America not the coolest new character in comics?

Well, it would be nice if we got to know more about her, instead of just bits and pieces.

The big Journey Into Mystery reveal did nothing for me, since I didn’t read Journey Into Mystery. The last page thing was… surprising. I assume he is up to something because it is Prodigy and he is every bit as calculating as Loki.

Good book. Consistently good book.

THE ROCKETEER & THE SPIRIT: PULP FRICTION #1 (Waid / Smith) IDW / DC

Now THIS comic was awesome. Mark Waid has got the feel of these books down pat. I like the rotating minis thing they are doing with Rocketeer, but any chance DC could persuade Waid to write a regular Spirit book. (Not likely). Drawn by Chris Samnee? (Not likely). Or Darwyn Cooke? Or Paul SMith, who is doing this mini?

This book is just good fun adventure.