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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Hawkeye #14

November 30, 2013
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hawkeye-14

This was a pretty good week, overall, though I am also dropping a book.

Starting at the weakest.

PRETTY DEADLY #2 (DeConnick / Rios / Bellaire / Cowles) Image

This is the bottom book but it is NOT the one I am dropping. Why? Ruthanne really likes it.

I like the writer. I like the artist. I like the genre.

So why don’t I like this book?

Simple, I have no idea FROM THE COMIC, what it is about. (I know some from interviews, but that shouldn’t count.)

It just doesn’t make any sense. A series of pretty pictures (and they ARE that) does not make a story.

NEW AVENGERS #12 (Hickman / Deodato / Martin) Marvel

This issue sums up the PROBLEM with this book in microcosm. “You think Thanos and the Builders were tough? Wait until you face someone who is a REAL threat!” This book can do nothing but crank up the intensity. That is Hickman’s thing… make bigger and bigger threats, ad nauseum. That isn’t good storytelling. Just wait until the face the architects! is not my idea of interesting.

Many know I am a BIG Avengers fan from way back. That might have this book on my pull list a little longer than normal, but lets be honest. This isn’t an Avengers book any more than Avengers Arena is an Avengers book.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #14 (Remender / McNiven / Dell / Martin) Marvel

I don’t believe the end of this book for a second, and that is a good thing.

Oh, spoiler warning, I guess.

Still here? This issue they killed off Scarlet Witch, Rogue and Wonder Man. If I believed it was legit, I would drop this book right now.

This isn’t about begin attached to characters. Inf act, I am in the George Martin school of ‘kill ’em when people like ’em’ philosophy. No, my issue is them killing off two major female characters just like that. There is a shortage of TOP Marvel female characters and they kill two of them with no real pay-off?

Well, that’s why I don’t buy it. We’ll see.

INFINITY #6 (Hickman / Cheung / Morales / Ponsor) Marvel

The best part o this comic is the info on the cover that says it is the last issue. It was an okay read (which is why it is higher than the previous two books), but that is all. As an EVENT, it failed on all levels. The ONLY thing this story will be remembered for is launching the new Inhumans line… which has now been delayed three months. Well done.

ALL-NEW X-MEN #19 (Bendis / Peterson / Da Silva) Marvel

I quite like the Bendis X-books, but this one didn’t really stand out. Fighting mutant-hating soldiers with big guns. Been there, done that. A lot. Also, Cyclops suddenly turns into a moron, why? And the art wasn’t great. Not terrible, but not great.

THE MASSIVE #17 (Brian Wood / Garry Brown / Jordie Bellaire) Dark Horse

The environmentalists versus the old school whalers. I was firmly on the side of the Ninth Wave… but then Callum wants to shoot him? Huh?

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #22 (Slott / Gage / Ramos / Olazaba / Delgado) Marvel

When Peter comes back, he may be right out of friends. The Avengers… Black Cat… now Venom.

This book hits right on all levels. Character, story, subplots, everything.

REVIVAL #15 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

Finding Em’s killer? All right! I’m onboard. Anything involving super-creepy Jordan? You bet. The oddly awesome Mr. Majek? Great!

Just… can we drop that racist asshole?

SAGA #16 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

No the best issue of Saga, though still great. I am not a fan of dropping the word ‘faggots’ in, though it clearly was used to make that exact reaction. It also gave those two newshound an extra layer of character right away. The Klara / Oswald pairing is interesting and so on.

A good issue of a great comic.

THIEF OF THIEVES #18 (Kirkman / Diggle / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

There are two points in a heist story that are mutually exclusive but are the points everyone is waiting for. One: the point where you find out that the plan wasn’t what you thought it was, and was actually way smarter OR Two: the point when the meticulously laid-out plan goes inevitably wrong.

This issue was the former. This is where the comic excels. When it gets away from that, it suffers, BUT can you just have the same two stories over and over?

HAWKEYE #14 (Fraction / Wu / Hollingsworth) Marvel

If you see Wu in the credits then it is a Kate Bishop issue. Fraction pulls off charming very, VERY well. She is trying to be a sped-hero on a bicycle. The fact that she pulled it off while obviously against overwhelming odds while kind of stumbling to a resolution while having an understated position on same-sex marriage (or as it should be know, ‘marriage’).

If Saga was a good issue of a great comic, Hawkeye was a great issue of a great comic.

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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Saga #15

October 31, 2013
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saga-15-cover

This week had one of the most anticipated comics in years… at least to me.

Yet it wasn’t the comic of the week.

ULTIMATE COMICS CATACLYSM #0.1 (Fialkov / Suayan / Kirk / Woodard) Marvel

Bridging Hunger with Cataclysm. Unfortunately, Hunger was boring. I am looking forward to the real Cataclysm mini, with Bends and Bagley.

AVENGERS A.I. #5 (Humphries / Schiti / D’Armata) Marvel

So, the art is Schiti? Actually, it isn’t that bad.

What knocks this book down this week is the Alexis transformation. There is a memory block! She thinks hard! It is broken now!

That’s it?

X-MEN: BATTLE OF THE ATOM #2 (Bendis / Cho / Gracia) Marvel

This ended up pretty lacklustre. So the young X-Men can’t go back in time because of… what? Was that in the Wolverine & X-Men issue that I didn’t get? Because the future X-Men have no problem going home. The deaths mean nothing. The Brotherhood stayed here? That means something. Kitty and the youngsters have joined Cyclops?

This comic wasn’t great but there is story potential going forward.

INFINITY #5 (Hickman / Opena / Weaver / Ponsor) Marvel

This crossover has gotten better. It has moved all the way up to – doesn’t suck. I still am looking forward to it begin over.

AVENGERS #22 (Hickman / Yu / Alanguilan / Gho) Marvel

See Infinity #5.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #20 (Slott / Camuncoli / Dell / Fabela) Marvel

He knocked out her tooth?! What the hell?!

I didn’t care for that at all. I like the new Parker company though. That will be interesting when Peter comes back.

SWAMP THING ANNUAL #2 (Charles Soule / Javier Pina / Kano) DC

Bit by bit, Swamp Thing is turning back into classic Swamp Thing. This was a good issue and a great evolution of his powers. I’m not sure I liked the mentor, but the Lady of the Weeds was pretty cool. Swampy is a really good comic.

SANDMAN OVERTURE #1 (Neil Gaiman / J.H. Williams III) Vertigo

I was SOOOO looking forward to this. Gaiman’s Sandman is one of… if not THE… high-water marks for long form comics. He is joined by one of the best design artists going. How could this not be good? How could they possible screw this up?

Well, neither Gaiman or Williams did… and this is almost a silly point… but the ads really annoyed me. Two page ad spreads interspersed throughout the comic whenever there was a scene break.

I hated it. It ruined the flow of the story. Comics used to be like this, but Vertigo books are usually held to a higher standard.

Great comic with that nitpick.

SAGA #15 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

Which opened the door for the best CURRENT comic going to day. New inspiration for Alana. A dramatic turn of events for The Will and Sophia. An awesomely ridiculous cover. This is good comics. (If it wasn’t for that ad issue, Sandman would have taken it, though.)


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Batman #24

October 13, 2013
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Batman-24-Cover

This week had some surprises and some disappointments. The image above shows one of the surprises. We start with the disappointments…

AMERICA’S GOT POWERS #7 (Jonathan Ross / Bryan Hitch) Image

This book started good and got worse and worse as it went on. The delays got longer, the art got worse and the story went nowhere interesting. If this were on on-going, I would be cancelling it now. Very disappointing.

FBP #4 (Simon Oliver / Robbi Rodriguez) Vertigo

Another disappointing book. It has a great premise and there is a thread to follow, but the story seems really shallow, despite the depth of concept.

SUPERMAN & WONDER WOMAN #1 (Charles Soule / Tony S. Daniel / Matt Banning) DC

Wonder Woman is popular in this house so despite not being into the whole JLA thing, we decided to get this. Added bonus, Charles Soule is a great writer! Check out Swamp Thing.

This isn’t Swamp Thing. Yeah, this was pretty disappointing. Compare this to the great Brian Azzarello book. Not even close.

ROCKET GIRL #1 (Amy Reeder / Brandon Montclare) Image

It might be telling that the cover lists the artist first, because the writing is a little weak. Reeder is great, but this is not nearly her best work. Compare this ti Halloween Eve or Madame Xanadu and it is pretty disappointing.

I have been using that word a lot. Things get better. Promise.

AVENGERS A.I. #4 (Humphries / Araujo / D’Armata) Marvel

I am enjoying the concepts in this book. Dimitrios is an interesting villain and I hope that once he is defeated that the Diamond sticks around as a new ‘land’ in the Marvel world. Their very own Kandor.

X-MEN #6 (Wood / Lopez / Smith / Martin) Marvel

A good new chapter in the Battle of the Atom story. The villains are revealed as villains, though their story is not yet apparent. The Sentinel X reveal was a lot better than the Jean Grey one. Plus, we have a new Wolverine/Mystique hybrid maybe?

ASTRO CITY #5 (Busiek / Anderson / Ross / Sinclair / Comicraft) Vertigo

Sorry, but I have to say it again. After the last few issues, this one was a little… disappointing. Still a solid read but not near the excellence of issues 2-4. I did really like the Dame Progress / Mister Cakewalk / Dr. Aegyptus story-let quite a bit.

INFINTY #4 (Hickman / Opena / Weaver / Ponsor) Marvel

Now we get into the GOOD surprises! This comic was kind of bad-ass. Thor vs the Builder for Hala’s independence could have been a boring punchfest, but nope. Now the good guys have an army of Accusers at their backs.

BATMAN #24 (Scott SNyder / Greg Capullo / Danny Miki) DC

Speaking of surprises! I was considering cancelling this book and that was exacerbated when they showed up with a $7 issue (eep!)

But this comic was really good! It finishes off the battle with the Red Hood Gang… gives us what is probably the origin of the Joker, without revealing everything about him… and kicks off a Riddler story, who was the best part of the arc. Great!


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Avengers A.I. #3

September 8, 2013
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avengers ai 3

This week was pretty solid, but without any books pushing to the top of the stack… or the bottom.

Starting at the weakest…

X-MEN: BATTLE OF THE ATOM #1 (Bendis / Cho / Gracia) Marvel

There was nothing wrong with this book per se, but the whole thing just seemed a rehash of the discussions from the individual comics, all as a set-up for the end, with the pay-off waiting for the cross-over.

INFINITY #2 (Hickman / Opena / Weaver / Ponsor) Marvel

This is one of those rare times where Hickman’s style really works for the book. The choppy delivery gives the feeling of urgency and desperation. Plus the plot actually moves forward! A son you say… Is his name… Luke… Cage?

Probably not. (In fact, that would suck.) But it would set up that line…

FAIREST #19 (Williams / Sadowski / Jimenez / Braun) Vertigo

Beautiful cover, but with Hughes, that is pretty common. THe story was a little weak, but interesting. It shows what happens when ‘regular’ people interact with ‘spirit’ people. The regular people come out the worse for wear.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #17 (Slott / Stegman / Livesay / Delgado) Marvel

Did we know about the Tiberius Stone / Spidey 2099 connection before? That is pretty impressive forward planning on Slott’s part otherwise.

I was never a fan of the 2099 line, but could we end up with THREE Spider-men in the 616? And none of them Peter?

ALL-NEW X-MEN #16 (Bendis / Immonen / von Grawbadger / Gracia) Marvel

Here is the pay-off from Battle of the Atom. The future X-Men were pretty interesting, complete with a great (though predictable) end game reveal. What really made this issue shine was the characterization between Jean, Hank and Scott. Great stuff.

TRILLIUM #2 (Jeff Lemire) Vertigo

This was nearly #1 (and it probably should be, really), but the art is still a negative. The back-and-forth between the two characters was great. We still have no idea what is going on, but that is okay… so far.

AVENGERS A.I. #3 (Humphries / Araujo / D’Armata) Marvel

Why did I like this issue so much? I didn’t like the first two issues that much. It is the Diamond. I really, REALLY hope that when this shakes out, there continues to be this new ‘land’ on the Marvel Earth – like the Savage Land, Atlantis, Wakanda, etc. for the A.I.

Great concept.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Astro City #3

August 18, 2013
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ASTRO_City v3

Smaller week… but still pretty solid, despite a slight disappointment.

Starting from the weakest…

BATMAN #23 (Scott Snyder / Greg Capullo / Danny Miki) DC

Since Zero Year started it has seemed that every issue was a little worse than the one before. This one is the worst yet.

The new version of ‘I shall become a bat’ is just bad. You took an iconic and arguably PERFECT scene and turned it into a mess. Now it is some sort of hallucination that ends with a bat landing on his head like a trained pigeon or something.

Terrible.

INFINITY #1 (Hickman / Cheung / Morales / Ponsor) Marvel

I almost didn’t buy this, but I think it was either buy this or cancel all the Avengers books, and I wasn’t ready to do that (yet). One thing I will say is it sure is pretty. The badass aliens look badass. The weak skrulls look weak.

Oh, and Black Bolt was awesome.

SAGA #13 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

Here was the big disappointment for the week. To be clear, it is not a bad book in any way. It is just kind of there. It feels like a bridge between amazing issues, you know? Grieving Marko really works.

In short – good comic, but not the issue I would use to show people how great it is.

GREAT PACIFIC #9 (Joe Harris / Martin Morazzo) Image

The complexities of international politics! I REALLY hope they will find some way to turn their new ally out. I hate to say I like what happened, because I don’t… but it is really good storytelling.

UNCANNY X-MEN #10 (Brian Michael Bendis / Frazer Irving) Marvel

I thought Irving was just going to be for the Limbo story, but I guess not. Good art, but better suited for darker fare. I could get used to it. There were some really great spots in this. The expansion of those time powers. Magneto / Hill / ‘Dazzler’. Cyclops crashing the pro-mutant protest and then supporting the Avengers.

Godo stuff.

ASTRO CITY #3 (Busiek / Anderson / Ross / Sinclair / Comicraft) Vertigo

Yay! It was a two-parter! Was this as good as last issue? No, but it was still very, very good. I would hold the last two issues up against Saga, Hawkeye, Joe the Barbarian or any of the top books out there.