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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Batwoman #14

December 1, 2012
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Big week. You know what happens on weeks that are too big? Drops!

 

Starting from the weakest…

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #1 (Rick Remender / John Romita / Klaus Jansen / Dean White) Marvel

No more Brubaker, hey? No problem! We will just sign up… Rick Remender? Remender is one of the ‘hot’ writers that I just don’t like. (see J.Hickman) This issues reminds me why.

Marriage? That was out of absolutely nowhere. Hey,mystery subway car with no explanation whatsoever? Hey, why don’t you get on it by yourself just because some guy said so, with no explanation whatsoever? Why doesn’t SHIELD, including your maybe new fiancee just say, ‘hey you go ahead and climb on the mystery subway. We’re good.’ with no explanation whatsoever. Why doesn’t Cap walk into an unknown situation unprepared while daydreaming about… whatever… so he get punked, with no explanation whatsoever.

Note to Remender: having Cap say ‘wow, doing this sure is stupid’ doesn’t give you carte blanche to have him act like an idiot.

Oh, and the art is not very good.

I will not be getting issue #2.

 

 

IT GIRL & THE ATOMICS #4 (Rich / Norton / Passalaqua) Image

I have been disappointed since the first issue when I thought that Mike Allred was doing the book. It hasn’t improved.

Dropped.

 

 

CAPTAIN MARVEL #7 (DeConnick / Sebela / Soy) Marvel

I considered dropping this book, but I think I will let it have another chance. The scene between Carol and Monica sold it for me. I am disappointed that the art is back to Soy. I was hoping Rios would find her feet here.

 

AVENGERS #34 (Bendis / Peterson / Mayhew / Keith) Marvel

Wow, is that cover ever terrible. Who drew that? Brandon Peterson? With all the great artists in the book, that is what you chose? This issue was not terrible but the big stupid fight scene just to get a bunch of artists in the book was… well, stupid. The attempt to fix Wonder Man was interesting, considering he still behaved in a selfish and stupid manner.

Like Captain America, here is another book that sounds like it is going to suffer greatly due to the Marvel NOW initiative.

 

REVIVAL #5 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

I am liking this book less and less. It is still interesting at the core, but this ghost(?) stuff is going in a direction that doesn’t work for me. I would rather this book be more ‘this just happened’ and explore the fall-out alone. We’ll see.

 

COMEBACK #1 (Brisson / Walsh / Bellaire) Image

This book is getting a lot of praise and I just don’t see it. Not that I don’t think it is good… I do. I just don’t think this issue gives you enough to have any idea where this book is going. We have no plot here, just setting. Another wait and see book.

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #698 (Slott / Elson / Fabela) Marvel

An otherwise poor comic saved by a huge and interesting twist. I can’t say this book was good, but I CAN say I am looking forward to issue 699 and on…

 

FABLES #123 (Willingham / Ha / McManus) Vertigo

Eh. Not bad, just not great. How fallen is Fables, no? I’m not even buying the new hardcover because the preview looks so boring.

I think Bigby is part of the problem right now. He is Wolverine… a character that was so awesome when he first appeared that now seems a little tired. I really hope this book gets back to the greatness it once had.

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #17 (Bendis / Larraz / Ponsor) Marvel

Big battle scenes do not thrill me. Bendis’ characterization of Miles, however, really does. Once this book gets out from under the Ultimates cross-over, I expect it to be right back near the top of this list.

 

ROCKETEER: CARGO OF DOOM #4 (Waid / Samnee) IDW

So… a cliffhanger ending to a one-off miniseries? Does this mean there will be ANOTHER Waid / Samnee Rocketeer series? If so, sign me up!

 

WONDER WOMAN #14 (Brian Azzarello / Tony Akins / Dan Green) DC

Wonder Woman winning using love and compassion. Recruiting family through shared heartbreak and familial betrayal.

This is good stuff. Really good stuff. WW is best when she isn’t playing the She-Hulk role and this issue is a good example of that.

This isn’t the best comic with Wonder Woman in it this week, though.

 

HAWKEYE #4 (Fraction / Pulido / Hollingsworth) Marvel

This is Marvel’s best comic these days. I LIKE the version of the world that says Hawkeye has some shame over killing someone. (I prefer a world where he DOESN’T do that, but that ship has sailed.) The idea that this tape getting out would harm his rep and the rep of the Avengers makes me happy. I read a review that said that people today wouldn’t care. In our world, you are right. A world filled with superheroes, though… gets held to a higher standard, thankfully.

The only flaw this issue was the last issue reveal. The fact that I had doubts about who that was supposed to be is bad. (I know who it is… but my first reaction was Mockingbird.)

 

THE UNWRITTEN #43 (Mike Carey / Peter Gross) Vertigo

As Vertigo seems to be crumbling to dust, isn’t it nice that they still have this book? This animal world as a twisted version of literary world-buildign works for me. The characters here are top-notch and I love the motivation behind this one. A rescue… from? Non-existence maybe?

 

BATWOMAN #14 (J.H. Williams III / W. Haden Blackman) DC

That the art is beautiful is no surprise. That the book is written as well as it is, is. I have given Williams a lot of flack for his poor writing chops, but this issue redeems him somewhat. The scenes with Pegasus are heavy, deep, shocking, painful… just very well done. Wonder Woman is good in here, though I wouldn’t want Williams writing a WW book. Her willingness to take his head is perfectly acceptable. Her threat to leave him there to rot, not so much. The 20 pages felt very short this tim eout. Lots of splash pages that were still FILLED with story. Best Batwoman issue in quite a while.

 


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Hawkeye #3

October 27, 2012
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I am trying to catch up… really I am. A combination of being quite busy and a relatively new addiction to Out of the Park Baseball has kept me tied up. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

From the weakest to the strongest…

 

MARVEL NOW! POINT ONE #1 (A whole bunch of people not credited on the cover) Marvel

Who gets blamed? The con man or the sucker? $5 for what is basically an advertising pamphlet. There are no stories in here – just hints of stories leading to new series being launched in the future. I have no problem with this concept and I think it is a great idea to give away at comic store… what? Not given away? Charged $5? What the hell?

When I ordered this, I thought I was getting new stories that helped set the stage for the new status in the marvel universe. Nope. Nothing more than little teasers. It is kind of liking watching one of those new tv season specials they use to have every september.

Pass this by. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

 

AvsX: CONSEQUENCES #2 (Gillen / Kurth / Martinez / Charalampios) Marvel

I didn’t mind issue #1… what happened here? Well the big thing is the art. It is awful. In a book that is mostly a conversation, the art was very distracting. The story was decent… showing Cyclops to be totally deranged. He has become a villain of the best sort – one that is convinced that he is right.

 

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #8 (Bendis / Bagley / Miki / Mounts) Marvel

If this weren’t the last issue of this run, I would be cancelling it. It just never get good. Kelly Sue DeConnick takes over next issue, though, so I am going to hold on. Bendis is off to do Guardians and while I may miss him on New Avengers, I won’t miss him here.

 

ULTIMATE IRON MAN #1 (Edmondson / Buffagni / Troy) Marvel

Remember the previous UIM? By Card? if I didn’t know that had been jettisoned I wouldn’t have bought this.

It wasn’t bad. I don’t like the thing with the coin, but I do want to see more of the Ultimate Mandarin. It wasn’t tied in to the current Ultimate continuity enough.

 

CAPTAIN MARVEL #5 (DeConnick / Rios / Bellaire) Marvel

I will keep giving this book middling ratings until they let us in on what is going on , or at least have that seem to be more important. Emma Rios has joined the book! I quite like Rios, though I am not certain this is a perfect fit for her. She is best on quite dark books, in my opinion, and this is fairly light. Still better than no Rios at all!

 

WONDER WOMAN #13 (Brian Azzarello / Tony Akins / Dan Green) DC

It is nice to get back to the real book after the travesty off issue #0. Let’s start with that great Cliff Chiang cover. This issue is a very good ‘characer’ issue and the cover kind of shows that is leading somewhere rather than dumping you in to the middle of something. The mini twist was obvious but that is okay. What is obvious to the reader does not have to be obvious to the characters in the comic. Still a solid read and better than WW has been since… Rucka, maybe? Maybe longer?

 

IT GIRL! AND THE ATOMICS #3 (Rich / Norton / Passalaqua) Image

I am warming to this book after the initial disappointment. The villain team is entertaining and it was nice to see more heroes in action. Just a light, fun book.

 

SAUCER COUNTRY #8 (Paul Cornell / Ryan Kelly) Vertigo

RIght when it looked like it was teetering on the edge of being dropped, they give us a good issue. This comic is best when it focuses on the people rather than the conspiracy. There was a distracting mix up of word balloons that hurts when trying to establish character traits, but still the book worked. And HERE was an ending that I wasn’t expecting!

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #16 (Bendis / Larraz / Ponsor) Marvel

Love the comic… but I don’t buy that Cap would welcome him into the Ultimates. Support him? Sure. Train him? Sure. Sign him up for the nation’s official superhero team? No way. If nothing else it would be a pr DISASTER. The comic was great, though. Look at what Miles is using for a cel phone at the end. Nice.

One of the best comic runs going today.

 

THE MASSIVE #5 (Brian Wood / Garry Brown / Dave Stewart) Dark Horse

Great, great issue. This is where the comic really works. GIve us huge world building and then drop in an issue like this one where the world you have built sits in the background while we get to read about the people of the comic and how they operate and maybe a bit of why they are like they are. Great characterization makes for strong comics.

 

NEW AVENGERS #31 (Bendis / Gaydos / Beredo) Marvel

What did I just say? When Bendis really shines it is when he deals with characters over big world-shaking events. Remember last week when I said that Bendis is putting his house in order before he leaves? That includes taking Luke and Jessica off the table so the next writer won’t screw them up. These are two of the best written characters in mainstream comics right now (not quite as good as the couple in Saga, but still very good) yet there is a whole bunch of people who absolutely hate them. I can’t figure out why. Maybe it is because they are too real in a medium that trades on fantasy. I don’t know.

The other thing that Bendis is putting in order? I expect that when the ‘magic’ story is finished, Dr. Strange will have his title back. I’m just saying…

 

BATWOMAN #13 (J.H. Williams III / W.Haden Blackman) DC

This has been a poorly written comic, until issue #0 which was very good. This issue seems to continue that trend… not AS good, but following some new lessons that Williams has learned about writing, I think. (“make sure people know what you are writing about” being a big one). He handles Wonder Woman well, though I don’t want him taking over for Azzarello. And, of course, the big draw for one of these books – he draws it as well. Beautiful, beautiful work. If there is another artist as talented when it comes to design working in comics today, I don’t know who it is (though I should really read some Chris Ware…)

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: MINUTEMEN #4 (Darwyn Cooke) DC

Who would have thought that the best character to come out of Watchmen was only in it for one panel (or whatever). Silhouette has become my fave in these books, but I suppose that extends to Nite Owl as it is the way he relates to her that makes her so great. Too bad the Nite Owl comic was so bad. Even Silk Spectre seems decent after the graveyard scene. Still don’t like the Comedian, though.

 

HAWKEYE #3 (Fraction / Aja / Hollingsworth) Marvel

3 issues in and the best comic each week it has been out. What comic is better than this comic out these days? Saga? Well, yes, but not much else. The writing, the art, the design, the characters, the characterization… the little Hawkeye head that suddenly appeared to stop us from seeing a little Hawkeye head.

Great comics… and each issue one and done!


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom #2

September 18, 2012
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This is one of those weeks that doesn’t have anything that really blew me away but neither did it have anything that was really bad.

 

Starting at the weakest…

 

IT GIRL AND THE ATOMICS #2 (Rich / Norton / Passalaqua) Image

After getting sucked in by the Mike Allred swerve I was ready to cut bait and run but Ruthanne said she enjoyed the book. After altering my expectations, so did I. Still, there isn’t a lot of meat on this. If it is going to ride on ‘fun’, it needs to be quite good. It is kind of borderline.

 

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #7 (Bendis / Bagley / Miki / Mounts) Marvel

The weakest Avengers book as it still doesn’t feel like it has a reason to exist, other than pairing Bendis and Bagley. And even that is running its course soon. I am not a big fan of space stuff. We’ll see.

 

SAUCER COUNTRY #7 (Paul Cornell / NOT Ryan Kelly) Vertigo

Right off the bat, the cover says Ryan Kelly. It is not Ryan Kelly. It is David Lapham. That is fine (though Ruthanne disagrees – she thinks the art is awful), but it IS false advertising.

I liked when this book took a break to lay groundwork for the world as far as aliens goes. Now they have done it again and it is only issue 7. When I review The Massive I talk about how great the world-building is in that book. This book, not as great. The first sidebar issue was good. This one is pushing it. Get back to the characters. This is a good, but not great book. Don’t squander it.

 

WINTER SOLDIER #10 (Brubaker / Guice / Breitweiser) Marvel

I am not a fan of brainwashing stories, though with a book starring Bucky and Black Widow, you are pretty much going there. My problem with it is that when it is all said and done, Natasha is going to be fine, as if nothing happened. The number of times her brain has been scrubbed should really end in major brian trauma. Having said that, the story and art lend themselves to just the right atmosphere and tension. Hey did they kill Sitwell? Has he been killed before? How many times?

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #17 (Brubaker / Bunn / Eaton / Magyar / Guru-eFx) Marvel

How do you get me to not care so much that the villains are kind of lame? Don’t put them in the book and instead throw in some Zemo! Yeah, that works. Too bad it looks like the Discordians are back next issue.

One thing… why can’t they just stop broadcasting that tv signal? Am I missing something?

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN #3 (Brian Azzarello / J.G. Jones) DC

What an all-around unlikeable tool. Kin said in his review that this mini makes him wish Comedian didn’t die at the start of Watchmen. It makes me glad he did. This issue was better than the previous because it didn’t read like the comic version of Forrest Gump. Also, I don’t need to like a character for them to be interesting, but I wonder how much ‘Natural Born Killers’ style response are they getting. “He is bad-ass!” No. The point is that he is despicable and evil. He isn’t a loveable jerk like Guy Gardner. He is just a rapist scumbag.

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #12 (Kevin Shinick / Aaron Kuder / Matt Hollingsworth) Marvel

This book assumes a lot. It assumes you have seen Inception. Luckily I have. It also seems to assume you are reading Deadpool’s book. I am not. I have no idea why he wants someone to kill him. (It also assumes you know what Breakfast Club is, but I am 44. No problems here.) All that aside, this was a fun read. Deadpool out-wackys Spidey and the romp through Spidey’s dreamscape is pretty fun. And the Hypno Hustler next issue? I am in!

 

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #11 (Bendis / Coipel / Morales / Martin) Marvel

Strong, high-energy comic that moves the story right where it needs to be (and exactly where I predicted). I have to take issue with Coipel’s story telling skills, however. Have you heard the news? Have you heard the spoilers? I won’t break it hear, but let me just say… if I HADN’T heard the news, I still wouldn’t know it had happened. How does it look any different than anyone else he has been beaten and just gets up to fight again? This happened when they ‘killed’ Bucky too. You shouldn’t have to read spoiler sot understand what happened in a comic you just read.

 

NEW AVENGERS #30 (Bendis / Deodato / Beredo) Marvel

You know when there is a big crossover and it has little side issues that are expressly designed to NOT move the plot along so that people won’t miss anything if they don’t read it? You know how that makes the comics pretty lame?

Bendis knows how to NOT do that. From the prison break issue to this one, he gives you reasons to CARE about what is going on. In this issue he reminds us that in the aftermath of AVX, there should be increased anti-mutant hatred and paranoia. He also gets a character to make a decision that makes sense for his development. (Not that I agree with his logic…but that doesn’t make it out of character.)

Just a good story.

 

THE MASSIVE #4 (Brian Wood / Garry Brown / Dave Stewart) Dark Horse

New artist… yet it doesn’t really look very different. I would have to go back an compare the two, but the feeling of the book is still the same. This issue take a step back from world-building and switches to character-building. Good. I like both but it was time for an issue like this. I am quite enjoying the Massive and I really hope, like Saga, that it can stick to the principles of pacifism while also being realistic about it. So far so good.

 

ROCKETEER: CARGO OF DOOM #2 (Waid / Samnee) IDW

This is just fun. Dinosaurs with jetpacks? Really? Awesome! I like the addition of Earl Garland. I read elsewhere that he is anachronistic, but I don’t think a comic like this is required to portray systematic racism in a realistic context. Instead give us a strong (in every sense of the word) black character he acts as an equal to the others without anyone making a thing about it. I wouldn’t even have mentioned it if I didn’t read someone complaining about it.

Fun comic.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Spider-Men #4

August 16, 2012
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Sorry this is so late. We are in the middle of home renovations and the idea of free time is pretty foreign. Today I am installing a new closet. Tomorrow is back to flooring.

 

From weakest to strongest, as usual.

 

IT GIRL AND THE ATOMICS #1 (Jamie S. Rich / Mike Norton / Allen Passalaqua / crank!) Image

Is it just me? Am I the only one who ordered ‘Michael Allred’s It Girl and the Atomics’ and expected it to be by Michael Allred? I doubt it. Very disappointing and bordering on false advertising. It DOES say on the cover that it is by the ‘creators of Spell Checkers and Battlepug’ but much less prominently than Allred’s name. Mike even does the cover.

Oh… I have never heard of either Spell Checkers or Battlepug.

So, that aside, is the comic any good?

It is okay. The opening bit nearly had me not finishing the comic, but that turned out to be a swerve. I’ll be getting #2. Maybe with different expectations I will enjoy it more.

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: OZYMANDIAS #2 (Len Wein / Jae Lee) DC

Remember what I said about #1? That again.

The Lee art is beautiful. The two page spread with Ozy springing into action is amazing. The story, on the other hand, does not measure up. It is trite and predictable. It also covers too much ground in a single issue, but that seems to be a common problem with some of these BW minis. Still way better than Nite Owl. Probably better than Comedian as well.

 

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #6 (Bendis / Bagley / Miki / Mounts) Marvel

Still the weakest of the Avengers book. (Did you hear? Avengers Academy is cancelled! It is a lot better than this book…) The ‘quip’ level seemed to be out of place here as they try to get a cosmic cube back from Thanos. They should be worried that he is going to blink the universe out of existence, but no… still with the bon mots. The Guardians of the Galaxy are supposedly the big selling point this issue… and they continue to be not very interesting. Keep Rocket Racoon, Groot and maybe Bug and toss the rest of them. The Iron Man / Hulk trick served no real purpose whatsoever. A fully armed and armoured Iron Man should be every bit as scary as Hulk, so what is the upgrade?

Not a great book.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #16 (Brubaker / Bunn / Eaton / Magyar / GURU eFX) Marvel

Still with villains I don’t care about. Also, the art is much weaker this issue. So what DID this book have going for it? The Sharon / Dum Dum team! I really like their parts of the book. Oh, and the panel with Falcon asking Dugan “Is that a human head?” is awesome.

If it wasn’t for the coming shift in creative teams, I would not feel confident in the continued existence of this book on my pull list. I am beginning to think the name Cullen Bunn ranks up there with Chuck Austen on the do-not-buy list.

 

NEW AVENGERS #29 (Bendis / Deodato / Beredo) Marvel

When is an all-talk book worth getting? Well, often, honestly. This book is supposed to be about Cap and Namor but what makes it good is the opportunity to see what the characters are thinking and why they are doing what they are doing. Everyone blaming Xavier and Richards reminding the Avengers what they are fighting against (and letting us see why the Ultimate version of Reed is not so far fetched.)

One question? What’s with the cover? I have been vocal about my dislike of Deodato’s work… though I am coming around on him… but why get a cover artist who is CLEARLY inferior to the interior artist. You are doing it wrong.

 

FAIREST #6 (Willingham / Jimenez / Lanning) Vertigo

This story would have been better if it ended last issue. They had a perfectly good method of defeating her, but no. THey had to switch it for an incredibly stupid twist just so Briar Rose could win the fight. THen we get a bunch of epilogue and that is it.

Still, I guess it was done alright. The art was great as always.

Wow. I am bring really negative this morning. Must be because I am tired. I really enjoyed this week’s comics and I am just slagging them.

 

THE MASSIVE #3 (Brian Wood / Kristian Donaldson / Dave Stewart) Dark Horse

I have seen reviews of this series that complain that they spend too much time world building. Poppycock! That is what makes this book so great! It isn’t plot driven, or character driven, it is world driven. It Gives it a really different feel from other books on the racks.

Oddly enough, the only thing about this book I didn’t like was someone else’s review. ๐Ÿ™‚ ย Kin of Silver Snail said he liked that this book is proving that you can’t be nonviolent in a violent world. Let’s just say, if that IS what this book ends up being about, I will like it a lot less.

I think it isn’t going to be about that, though. I think it is going to show that you CAN. (While keeping Mag around to provide the action for the readers.)

 

SPIDER-MEN #4 (Bendis / Pichelli / Ponsor) Marvel

Ignore the cover. Not only does nothing like that happen, but that is a good thing. This comic is ALL about Peter and May and Gwen and Mary Jane. I am not afraid to admit that this book get me a little weepy. The emotional yet never overbearing punch provided by Bendis and Pichelli is just amazing. The worst thing about this issue? That there is only one more.

Hey, is Miles going to have webshooters now?