Rusty's World

Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Before Watchmen: Minutemen #3

September 2, 2012
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This was a small week. I only got six comics and as such, even the comic of the week is not something that would normally win on a full sized week. Not to say I didn’t like it, because I did.

 

I also took advantage of Silver Snail’s end of summer sale and picked up a few trades. I got the first volumes of Shade, the Changing Man by Peter Milligan and Chris Bachalo, Top 10 by Alan Moore and Gene Ha, and X-Factor Visionaries: Peter David.

 

Starting at the weakest…

 

INFERNAL MAN-THING #3 (Gerber / Nowlan) Marvel

Yeah, so in the end, not so good. Lovely art by Kevin Nowlan but the story is just confusing and one-note. This also reminds me of how much better Swamp Thing is than Man-Thing.

 

CAPTAIN MARVEL #3 (DeConnick / Soy / Kesel / Elson) Marvel

I really like what Kelly Sue DeConnick is doing with this book. I mean, if ANY book is going to send you the messages of feminism and strength in empowerment it should be the book and character that started as Ms.Marvel. I mean, that was the POINT of the character, once upon a time.

I would still like to know WHY she went through time. Also, her grand stand play sending the Japanese solider back to get his friends was just annoying. Gee, who wouldn’t think THAT would turn out badly. Over all, still good, though.

 

WINTER SOLDIER #9 (Brubaker / Lark / Thies / Gaudiano / Breitweiser) Marvel

From empowered women to the opposite. Black Widow has become a brainwashed pawn. With the number of times Natasha has been brainwashed, reprogrammed, deprogrammed etc., it is a surprise her mind hasn’t broken completely. Still, Bru does a good job with the save / twist. This book reads like an spy/action movie and that works. I wonder if this book will maintain this standard when he leaves, as has been announced.

 

THE NEW DEADWARDIANS #6 (Dan Abnett / I.N.J. Culbard) Vertigo

I run hot and cold on this book, but I quite liked this one. Delving into the downsides of living forever is good. Plus, they have finally introduced the hero of the book.

What? Salt isn’t the hero? But he is a poet, what else could he be?

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #11 (Zeb Wells / Steve Dillon / Frank Martin) Marvel

One of those ‘tear-jerker’ comics that actually doesn’t do the job because it is a little proscribed. Still a very good comic and a nice reminder of what makes Peter into the hero that he is. Solid story telling. I really like Steve Dillon’s art, but I didn’t think it fit here. The Chris Samnee cover worked a lot better. I would have liked to see that in the interior.

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: MINUTEMEN #3 (Darwyn Cooke) DC

Silhouette has become my favourite Watchmen character… and she was hardly in Watchmen. Maybe that is why. Cooke is able to tell her story without treading on holy ground. Maybe it is also because so many of the other characters are so unlikeable. Comedian is loathsome here. The cut scenes with Dr.Gretchen are really powerful.

As I said, in a stronger week, probably not a contender for top book, but still a very solid read. If anyone asks about Before Watchmen, I would recommend Silk Spectre, Dr.Manhattan and Minutemen without hesitation. Most of the others are middle of the road, with Nite Owl being the exception and the one book I am no longer buying.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Saga #5

July 19, 2012
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REALLY good week. Even the one book I have complaints about it a book I enjoy.

 

Starting at the weakest, as usual.

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #33 (Gage / Green / Huet / Sotomayor) Marvel

I like Juston and his Sentinel. I like the characterization of Finesse. I am even okay with the use of Quicksilver as deus ex machina. What I have a problem with is that this whole story is predicated on Emma acting like an idiot. She could have destroyed the Sentinel with a thought but chose not to ‘out of mercy’. More important than that, though, are you telling me that the Phoenixified Emma Frost couldn’t sense Pietro are know what he was doing? Seriously?

Sorry, that doesn’t work for me.

 

INFERNAL MAN-THING #2 (Gerber / Nowlan) Marvel

Ah, the madness starts to make sense, as I suspected it might after reading the rest of the original story. Not much to say here, other than I enjoyed it. It is madness. Just soak it in.

So why is it so low? Because the rest of the comics were so good!

 

BATWOMAN #11 (J.H. Williams III / W.Haden Blackman / Trevor McCarthy) DC

I am kind of hoping that Williams’ new gig drawing the Sandman mini will keep him from writing this book. Stuff happens but it doesn’t have a good flow. He is in good company – that is my exact complaint about Hickman.

Things wrap up… but not. The art is okay, but I also look forward to the Williams drawn arc to come.

 

WONDER WOMAN #11 (Brian Azzarello / Cliff Chiang) DC

I have a feeling that the real reason Lennox can’t go with them is to avid giving away his real identity. Just a hunch. I also think Strife is going to change sides (as the cover kind of hints at). When Diana gets Zola back, will Apollo still be king? Or will we see the fruits of the Artemis / Demeter discussion that tells us things are not all as they seem.

Will the good guys ever get a chance to catch their collective breath?

 

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #8 (Bendis / Kubert / Dell / Martin) Marvel

Do I look knock-down drag-out all-fight issues? Generally not. Did I like this one? YES! I don’t know what it is but I really liked seeing Namor getting his ass kicked. I also really like Professor X standing up (no pun intended) for what is right.

Have I mentioned that Cyclops will be dead when this is all over? My only question is whether the remaining three original X-Men will go down with him.

 

CAPTAIN MARVAL #1 (DeConnick / Soy) Marvel

I am trying to decide if I like the art or not. It is certainly expressive… and a good way to go for a character that they are trying to set-up as not just a ‘pretty’ character (as the new costume attests). There is a lot to like about this comic. The fight scene was all about character-building, and they did a good job at it. I like that she and Peter are ‘pals’. That just really works for me. That whole thing about her outranking ‘Captain’ America is just silly. He isn’t really a Captain, and hasn’t been for a long time. The new characters (new to me, anyway) introduced haven’t really stuck yet, so we will have to see how that goes.

I definitely recommend the book.

 

FABLES #119 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha / McManus) Vertigo

Uh…ick. That was just nasty. My only question now is how the CHARACTER of Therese survives this. That was pretty awful, no matter how hungry she was.

The back-up is still annoying. The little windows to her parents and the winds must be setting something up, because they didn’t do much here. Her brother, on the other hand…

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: SILK SPECTRE #2 (Darwyn Cooke / Amanda Conner) DC

I read this book first and I thought it had a decent chance to be the best book of the week. It shows you how good the week is that it fell to third.

What year is this book set in? What year was Watchmen? It seems to make Laurie older in the original than I thought she was, but that is okay. Everything about this book works. The art is beautiful and the story has just the right amount of throwback kitsch, without going overboard. This is a book I would like to keep reading on its own, without any Watchmen connection.

 

THE UNWRITTEN #39 (Mike Carey / Peter Gross) Vertigo

I don’t know if it was just me but when I started reading this, I felt like I had picked up an old issue of Books of Magic instead. That is a good thing. A hand turning things to stories. The origin of Pauley Bruckner (with some GREAT art for the flashback scenes). Great Didge scenes (including an AWESOME series if captions as she narrates the story). And they ride off on a Unicorn. Hell yeah!

 

SAGA #5 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Vertigo

Marko just became my favourite character in all of comics.

Many years ago, I was one of the writers for a game called Warlord: Saga of the Storm. This was my entry into the world of AEG which eventually put me to writing for Legend of the Five Rings. (This was before and during my discovery of poetry… which is the reason I STOPPED writing for AEG. I was using my creative time to write for someone other than me…)

Anyway, in the time I wrote for Warlord, I was able to create many characters,nations, gods and countries. (My best was probably the Narawat pantheon… now completely unused. I wonder if AEG would let me have it back…)

Amongst these characters was an illusionist named Zartoch (I can’t recall if I named him… I kind of hope not). I found a way to make a character in a game about constant warfare and battle into a pacifist. He used his illusions to defeat his enemies WITHOUT killing them. The reaction from the fans?

“I always knew Zartoch was a wimp.”

Being a pacifist is NOT being weak. NOT NOT NOT!

Neither is it being stupid. Marko has been called weak by ignorant readers. If they still think so after reading this issue… well, what can you do?


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Fairest #5

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

 

Starting at the weakest and moving up.

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

iZOMBIE #27 (Chris Roberson / Michael Allred) Vertigo

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

CASTLE WAITING #17 (Linda Medley) Fantagraphics

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

 

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

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

Great book, month in and month out.

 

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

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

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

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

 

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