Rusty's World

Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Hawkeye #1

August 5, 2012
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Anybody who knows me at all should not be surprised at my comic of the week choice.

Big week, made bigger because I missed two books last week and got them this week.

 

Starting from the weakest.

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: NITE OWL #2 (J.Michael Straczynski / Andy Kubert / Joe Kubert) DC

Wow, was this ever a trashy comic. Bad story, bad writing, bad everything. Even the art wasn’t great. (Not terrible, though)

My only question at this point is whether I will miss the pirate back-up parts I don’t get if I don’t finish this miniseries.

 

WORLDS’ FINEST #4 (Levitz / Perez / Maguire / Koblish) DC

Why are we still getting this? Oh yeah… wanting to support female led books. And, in fact, that is what is good about the books. The characters of Huntress and Power Girl are interesting. (That and the great art), but the problem is that the villain they are facing… well, who cares? No character. No motivation. No nothing. They even ask the question on the cover without even thinking about answering it.

 

DIAL H #4 (China Mieville / Mateus Santolouco) DC

Just when this books tarted getting better, this confusing mess comes out. What is it with writers who try to hide the plot? In fact, this WOUDL have been below WF except the scene where the ‘hero’ turns himself into a hero WITHOUT his magic dial… well, that was nice moment.

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN #2 (Brian Azzarello / J.G. Jones) DC

I still don’t like the Forrest Gump version of the Watchmen. (‘So Comedian is chatting with Bobby Kennedy at the Ali / Liston fight…’) Having said that, much like the first issue, they do a decent job with such an annoying conceit.

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #34 (Gage / Grummett / Hamscher / Sotomayor) Marvel

Tom Grummett is back! Yay! The story is continuing respecting the AvX continuity but not making it an integral part of the book! Yay! Jeremy Briggs is back! Yay!

What I didn’t like was the quickness that Briggs revealed his master plan. That seems like something that they should stew with a while. Is he good or not? The answer is emphatically not. Okay.

I also don’t like the existence of SPINtech. I didn’t like in A:I and I don’t like it here. It is too pat. There is a reason that Forge’s nullifier (Or whatever it was killed) was destroyed.

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #10 (DeConnick / T.Dodson / R.Dodson / Delgado) Marvel

Another solid issue of Captain Marv… I mean Avenging Spider-Man. Seriously though, if this is the tone that the on-going Captain MArvel book is going to have, I’m all in.

 

iZOMBIE #28 (Chris Roberson / Michael Allred) Vertigo

A decent wrap-up to a prematurely ended book. This book reminds us what went wrong, with too many characters and plot threads all ending up here. The final resolution really worked for me, though. And no, not because Gwen got naked.

 

NATIONAL COMICS: ETERNITY #1 (Jeff Lemire / Cully Hamner / Derec Donovan) DC

So, when does one of the dead weight D 52 books (like Resurrection Man or something) get cancelled so Jeff Lemire’s Eternity can become a regular book?

Would it help if I said please?

 

ANIMAL MAN #12 (Jeff Lemire / Scott Snyder / Steve Pugh) DC

Speaking of Lemire… the Rotworld story ‘starts’ here (really it started in issue #1, but who is counting). I love the mix between the aggressive ‘male’ attitudes of Buddy and Swampy – ‘we are going to take the fight to them!’ – and the more protective ‘female’ attitude of Ellen – ‘we need to protect Maxine and save Cliff!’ Well done… and as we fight out next issue…

 

SWAMP THING #12 (Snyder / Lemire / Rudy / Green / Owens) DC

…the men aren’t exactly correct in their decision. I wasn’t thrilled with the ‘you ladies mind the fort while us menfolk go off to battle’ bit but the women found themselves neck deep in it pretty fast regardless.

One thing I will say right now… the thing that Arcane said about them being in there for a year? Baloney. Mark my words.

 

THIEF OF THIEVES #7 (Kirkman / Spencer / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

Nick Spencer wrapped up the opening arc of the book and a smart and stylish way. The cops were outsmarted but in a way that ensured that Redmond has to continue in the thief biz. I am looking forward to seeing what James Asmus can do with it. I am also looking forward to seeing what AMC can do with it.

 

RASL #15 (Jeff Smith) Cartoon Books

Speaking of comics that have been optioned… we have the wrap up of Rasl. Quite satisfying, but the twist didn’t feel organic when reading it this way. It might feel better when reading them all at once. The twist AFTER the twist, on the other hand, read REALLY well. Destroying knowledge doesn’t work for me. This does.

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #13 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

Miles is one of the most ‘real’ seeming characters in all of comics. That sadness/depression/guilt he is feeling WORKS. You FEEL what he feels.

Then, the face to face at the end was perfect, brief as it was. Then Cap had to wreck it. So far.

 

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #9 (Aaron / Kubert / Dell / Martin) Marvel

Surprised to see this book rate so highly? Me too… but it deserves it. Spider-Man as the never quit, give it all, fight until the last breath leaves his body hero is jsut perfect here. Other writers have done that with Peter Parker before, but it doesn’t get old. It reminds me of the last stand of Skurge, but Spidey, even as he sacrificed himself, never lays down and dies. He keeps trying to find a way… and he does!

Emma is about to get very scary. My guess is that Cyclops takes her down… before doing SOMETHING to let himself be beaten and killed. By the end it will be the Avengers AND the X-Men vs the Cyclops/Phoenix, but ultimately he will defeat himself, intentionally, when he sees what he has become.

Let’s see if I am right.

 

HAWKEYE #1 (Fraction / Aja / Hollingsworth) Marvel

I have been waiting for years for a decent Hawkeye comic. The Gruenwald mini was decent and it led to a good run leading the West Coast Avengers. That was a long time ago, though. Solo Avengers was D-list at best. That crazy mini with his pet werewolf, or whatever that was, is worth forgetting. The more recent Hawkeye and Mockingbird series was better… but not much.

And now this.

What a great comic. This is Batman: Year One and DD: Born Again, but for HAWKEYE. The story is excellent (forget the fact that he heals in six weeks… if you really want to be picky, why would he be in a regular hospital? The answer is because that is how this book works. The art is excellent and the DESIGN of the book is worth buying the book for all by itself.

If it continues at this level of quality, expect it to become a fixture at the Rusty’s COmic of the Week list.

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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.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Swamp Thing #10

June 10, 2012
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Remember how last week was a relatively small week?

Making up for it this week!

 

Starting from the weakest and moving up, as usual.

 

WORLD’S FINEST #2 (Paul Levitz / George Perez / Kevin Maguire / Scott Koblish) DC

Perez and Maguire? What’s not to like? Well, a badly written story, boring characters and a terrible villain are a start.

I love supporting female led books and I love the artists. That may not be enough. I don’t think I will be getting issue 3.

 

DARK AVENGERS #175 (Parker / Shalvey / Martin) Marvel

Ouch. I was quite enjoying Thunderbolts, but this is… not so good. I cannot stress how much I hate Ragnarok. At lest give him a different costume so we are not constantly reminded what a dumb character he is. In fact, I don’t really like any of this crop of Dark Avengers (as opposed to the first crop). The Osborne mini was very good, but that didn’t make the villains introduced automatically matter.

I would drop this too, but I am hoping we will get more actual Thunderbolts in the title soon, despite the name change.

Oh, Shalvey’s art is getting better each issue, though!

 

DIAL H #2 (China Mieville / Mateus Santolouco) DC

This book gets by on pure creative inventiveness. Here is hoping the plot starts to catch up soon.

 

ANIMAL MAN #10 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh) DC

Some issues of this book, I love. Other issues I am luke warm on. I try to figure out what the difference is, and I can’t find it. Maybe it is my mood when I am reading it. It is well worth a read, but between this and Swamp Thing, AM has a ways to go.

 

iZOMBIE #26 (Chris Roberson / Michael Allred ) Vertigo

Sometimes I complain about a book not having enough plot. iZombie has too much. The characters are excellent but as the book trundles on to its untimely demise, there are too many plotlines that need to be crammed in and brought together. The book is suffering for it. Overall I still recommend the series. Buy the trades.

 

DEFENDERS #7 (Fraction / Dodson / Dodson / Oback) Marvel

I thought this book might be on the bubble down with World’s Finest, but the Dodsons drawing Black Cat? I am still not sold on the main Defenders storyline, but now I want to see a Fraction / Dodsons Black Cat book.

 

WINTER SOLDIER #6 (Brubaker / Lark / Gaudino / Breitweiser) Marvel

Michael Lark is pure atmosphere. This issue is all backstory, but it is on point! Fred Davis is the Bucky in a refrigerator, and I am not sure it was necessary, but the whole story of the sleeper for the past dozen years works well. Tying it in to Bucky’s story worked. (I do think they could go to the ‘Bucky’s past’ well too often, but they are not there yet.)

 

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #5 (Fraction / Romita / Hanna / Martin) Marvel

Something finally happens! I mean for real! Welcome the Phoenix Five!

One thing… when this is all over, Cyclops will be in prison, right? RIGHT???!

He should be.

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #31 (Gage / Grummett / Hamscher / Sotomayor) Marvel

Does anyone write young adults as well as Christos Gage? The plot is the plot… whatever. It is the characters that really shine… and now there is a new addition to the cast! I wouldn’t have minded if that was a trade for X-27, or whatever her name is… you know… Wolvie-Girl. Still, I like what they did with Shaw, and the Loa / Mettle / Hazmat situation will be interesting to watch. Personally, I hope they avoid the whole triangle cliche and instead turn into a really strong friendship like was implied last issue.

 

FAIREST #4 (Willingham / Jimenez / Lanning / Farmer) Vertigo

One more time: WHY IS A BOOK THAT IS SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT FEMALE FABLES STARRING ALI BABA?

Having said that, this was a good issue. The storytelling conceit has been good and having the Snow Queen be an addict to them works on many levels. Having her drugged into working for Gepetto strengthens her character a lot. Not much Briar Rose here, but the addition of Hadeon could be very interesting.

 

THIEF OF THIEVES #5 (Kirkman / Spencer / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

Does the gathering of the team reming anyone of Super Crooks? Oh well, it is a standard ‘heist picture’ set-up. It was well done, but once again… the only female of the group is a stripper? Really? WTF!

This books glides on the characters and the design… but those are both things I like a very great deal.

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #11 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

Spidey kicking ass! The first time you are punched int he face has to be a bit of a shocker. Being used to the Peter version, I was surprised he got hit so often, but at the same time, none of it seemed to phase him. Apparently his powers include being able to take a beating without even a bruise.

One of the best books on the market, month-in and month-out. BUY THIS BOOK! Anyone… everyone.

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: MINUTEMEN #1 (Darwyn Cooke) DC

The baggage involved is immense. Here is my take…

Alan Moore got a little bit screwed by DC’s ‘it is yours once it goes out of print’. I say a ‘little bit’ because DC KEEPING it in print in order to keep the rights has probably done more for Moore’s career and reputation than anything else he has ever written. (And that is saying something.)

Moore thinks it is some sort of creative crime to use someone else’s characters.  This is the writer of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Oh, and let’s not forget that the Watchmen characters were all based on the old Charlton characters and only changed when DC wouldn’t let him use them. At least that is how the story goes… (and it seems pretty likely. The analogues are clear.)

Now… when Before Watchmen was announced, my reaction was ‘uh, no thanks’. Then they announced the creative teams. Wow. So now, my attitude is, ‘don’t buy them because they are Watchmen related. Buy them if they are good.’

The first one is good. REALLY good. Anybody who enjoyed the opening credits sequence of the movie (and most people I talked to liked it, even the ones who didn’t really like the movie as a whole) should like this. Darwyn Cooke is incredibly talented and he does a great ob here (despite some small continuity problems with the main story).

Even the Crimson Corsair back-up was solid. It is dense, as it should be, so the 2-pages didn’t seem too light and the density wasn’t overwhelming.

So far so good.

 

SWAMP THING #10 (Scott Snyder / Francesco Francavilla) DC

Normally this book takes a big drop when Yanick Paquette isn’t on it, but Francavilla is PERFECT for the mood of the return of Arcane.

ARCANE! BAD ASS! I wish he wasn’t tied so tightly to the Rot, as he was excellent without it. I guess they don’t want to tie so strongly to hell any more.

Regardless, excellent book (but a bump as I am already a fan of the Swamp Thing / Anton Arcane struggles).


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Fairest #3

May 15, 2012
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As is the norm, here are all the comics I got this week, in ascending order of quality.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA & HAWKEYE #630 (Bunn / Vitti / Tartaglia) Marvel

When Captain America became Captain America & Bucky, it was  a good comic. WW2 stories drawn by Chris Samnee. How could you go wrong? Then it jumped forward to the 50’s and the quality went off a cliff. I stuck with it, despite it being terrible, because I heard it was going to switch to a new arc specific team-up format, starting with Hawkeye. I am a big fan of Hawkeye and this sounded great.

It isn’t. It isn’t quite as bad as the last arc, but it isn’t much better. I think this will be my last issue of this.

 

BATGIRL #9 (Gail Simone / Ardian Syaf / Vicente Cifuentes) DC

I loved Secret Six. I considered Gail Simone one of my favourite writers based on that. I also really like Barbara Gordon. In fact, she is the only Batgirl I have ever really liked. But this book just isn’t great. We have held on longer than I would have because I want to support female characters, but this issue hits a new low by being a forced tie-in to a crossover I have no interest in. I am not buying any of the BatMAN books (I am buying this and Batwoman), until Inc. comes back. I heard how much depth there was with this villain. Sorry. It didn’t do anything for me. I guess I need to care about the hero before I care about the villain and there is no connection between the Barbara in this book and the well developed character of Oracle. In fact, THIS Batgirl may as well be Stephanie.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #11 (Brubaker / Zircher / Mounts) Marvel

Now THIS is a better Cap book. I love how Brubaker switched from a spy-style book to a superhero style book by switching from Barnes to Rogers. The art is a step down from Alan Davis, but it is still solid, for the most part. The only thing I didn’t like is the nature of this new Scourge. The old Scourge was awesome but this one seems to be working FOR villains, which really takes away some of his appeal.

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #7 (K.Immonen / S.Immonen / von Grawbadger / Hollingsworth) Marvel

If you are going to do a one and done story… make it fun, and the Immonens do just that. Don’t think too hard about how easily Bast was tricked. Just enjoy the good old-fashioned superhero romp that somehow included She-Hulk growing a tail. The interplay between the two heros made this book, pure and simple.

 

NEW AVENGERS #26 (Bendis / Deodato / Beredo) Marvel

This book looks nice, which is something I wouldn’t have said about a Deodato book before the last couple of issues. The cover has absolutely zero to do with the story inside, but I think it may be foreshadowing. Connecting Phoenix to Kun Lun (which is NOT retconning) is an interesting twist, but it seems like a book such as the New Avengers should be a little closer tied in to the main AVX story. We’ll see how it plays out.

 

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #3 (Bendis / Bagkey / Miki / Mounts) Marvel

Two Bendis books in a row. I like the Avengers books and the direction that Bendis has gone in the main books… but I will say that this one FEELS more like an Avengers book than the other ones. I keep expecting Gyrich to show up. This is a fun book for the old school Avengers fan.

 

ULTIMATES #10 (Hickman / Humphries / Ross / Milla) Marvel

I have made no secret that I am not the biggest Hickman fan and previous issues of this book were sliding down and down. This issue is a nice reversal of the trend. The opening with the various people in Washington was really well done. The impact of what happened could really be felt. Thor’s frustration – Iron Man, Fury… everybody was note perfect. Let’s hope they can actually continue this for a change.

 

iZOMBIE #25 (Chris Roberson / Michael Allred) Vertigo

This is almost over and Roberson has responded by taking his ball and going home. I have absolutely zero problem with Roberson deciding to not work for DC any more. Acting like it is some big moral high ground on the other hand is pretty dodgy. If you don’t like the deal DC offers, don’t take it. Go to Image. Just don’t try to pretend that they are somehow obligated to offer a better deal. Just don’t take it. If enough top creators go elsewhere, things will change. Again though, the money part of the industry is just business. Nothing else.

Oh, the book is good. It is a little late to convince anyone to start reading it, but go ahead and get the trades.

 

THIEF OF THIEVES #4 (Kirkman / Spencer / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

Speaking of Image… I am really enjoying this one. It is unfolding really slowly, but every issue seems to give us one more layer. The design of the book is stylish and unique. Not much else to say here, other than I want to get to know this characters more.

 

FAIREST #3 (Willingham / Jimenez / Lanning / Farmer) Vertigo

Issue #1 was comic of the week. Issue #2 was packed with a long sexist drivel rant. Issue #3 is comic of the week again. Please Willingham, don’t trot that misogynist tripe back out in issue #4.

Beautiful book, as always. The new reading of the Sleeping Beauty story is very well done. The imp is plotting to perfection.

Oh, and the cover… This is an incredibly beautiful piece of art… until the bottom quarter. It isn’t the cleavage… it is the way it is displayed. It is like you crossed a wonderful drawing of the Snow Queen with Power Girl.


Rusty’s Comic of the (two) Week(s): The Unwritten #36

April 15, 2012
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I would go and try to figure out which was my top book from each week, but I don’t feel like trying to find out which books came out in which week.

 

And who cares, really?

 

Trying something new this week. I always list the books from the best to the worst. Ruthanne thinks it would read better if I go from the worst to the best.

I think that is just because that is the order she reads them. Regardless, if you have a preference, o loyal reading public, let me know.

 

BATWOMAN # 8 (J.H. Williams III / W.Haden Blackman / Amy Reeder / Rob Hunter) DC

From best to worst in such a short time. This may be a little repetitive from earlier reviews, but here goes. Amy Reeder is a great artist. Her work on Madame Xanadu was stellar. When it was announced that she would be the ‘alt’ artist on Batwoman, I was thrilled. It would be very different from Williams, but I thought it would be a great contrast.

Those at DC thought differently. They brought her in and then tried to get her to draw like Williams. Since Williams as now the writer, my guess is that he uses full script and told Reeder how the pages should look. The end result is just awful. Instead of getting great Williams art or great Reeder art we get this absolute mess. The cover was nice. That’s about it.

On top of that, the writing is not good. Williams is not a very good writer. His phenomenal art has hid this… but now it is out there for all to see. (This sounds like the early days of Image, no?)

So why I am not cancelling this? Reeder is out (and she made no bones about how much she disliked working on the book). Trevor McCarthy is taking over and I am told that his esthetic is much like Williams’ anyway, so it should jell better. We’ll give it a try.

 

NIGHT FORCE #2 (Marv Wolfman / Tom Mandrake) DC

I was so excited when they announced this book. I love the IDEA of Night Force, with Baron Winter and his magic house. The first issue was a mess, however. It was confusing and did not do anything to keep me interested. In the interest of HOPING the book would get better, I stuck around for issue #2. It DID get better… but not enough. It reads like a book summary, if that makes sense.

Dropped.

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #6 (Rucka / Waid / Checchetto / Hollingswoth) Marvel

I nearly dropped this one but Ruthanne tells me that she enjoys it. This book crosses over with Daredevil and Punisher. Guess which two books I don’t buy? Shayne endorses both, so do I let this suck me in and buy them?

The real thing that gets me to consider dropping the book is that for the most part these stories feel like they don’t matter. I straight ahead superhero book in isolation isn’t enough for me. I have read thousands of those. I like the on-going stores that move from one to the other… and for Spider-Man, I quite enjoy Slott’s book. This one… well, just doesn’t have that.

Oh well. Sticking around for now.

 

THUNDERBOLTS #172 (Parker / Shalvey / Bellaire / Sotomayor) Marvel

Ruthanne would prefer I cancel this one, but I am sticking it out. So this is the big 15 year anniversary, with art by… Declan Shalvey? Really? I enjoy the story, which is good because the art is pretty awful. Good thing they got the anniversary celebration sin before the book is cancelled (and relaunched as Dark Avengers). I have a newsflash for Marvel… the book doesn’t sell poorly because it doesn’t say Avengers on the cover. It sells poorly because you don’t give it a decent artist to push it with.

(As an aside, I have been given the impression that none other than Declan himself has read one of my reviews where I slam his work. I am truly sorry about that. I am a creator as well and when I read reviews that rip me apart it hurts. But I don’t think I should lie about what I think of the book for that reason… so I am sorry. I wished I liked it more, but I don’t.)

 

iZOMBIE #24 (Chris Roberson / Jim Rugg) Vertigo

A non-Allred issue. When the fill-in was J.Bone, that was pretty cool. This issue… not so much. The art is fine, but it just makes me wish it was still Allred instead of being a nice change of pace.  This feels like a ‘marking time’ issue, which is odd as they race towards the finale in a few months (Vertigo has cancelled the book due to poor sales). I normally quite like iZombie, but this issue just didn’t wow me. Still good, just not great.

 

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #2 (Bendis / Bagley / Miki / Mounts) Marvel

The Avengers book that just ‘happens’ to match the cast of the upcoming movie. Based on that, I wouldn’t buy it, but it is still Bendis and Bagley. It is a pretty fun read. It is one of those ‘old-school’ superhero books that I enjoy. I think it is Bagley that make sit feel that way. That and the Zodiac.

Not much to say. A fun book in the old Marvel style.

 

SECRET AVENGERS #25 (Remender / Hardma / Breitweiser) Marvel

A solid read. The only thing that bothered me is that the fast little teleport out seems like it could have been used last issue to avoid the beatings they kept taking. Venom gets to prove his worth to Hawkeye, which is important for the book going forward. Ant-Man did as well, with a hearty ‘BUT…’ to follow. New villains turn into a ‘thing’ rather than just a one-off. A nice teaser at the end.

What’s not to like?

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #683 (Slott / Caselli / Martin Jr.) Marvel

This book is WAY better than the Avenging version. The story here is really top notch. (As long as the world doesn’t KEEP buying into DocOck’s lies. He pretty clear acts villainous in front of the world leaders.)  The fight with the Avengers and the Sinister Six was exciting, and the way Spidey held his own was well thought on (by Peter and Dan).

My only real problem is that fugly costume Spidey is wearing as part of the story. I am looking forward to that being done with. You know those times when you read old comics and discover little blips where Cap or Thor or whoever are wearing some ridiculous ‘new’ costume that vanishes quickly after? This storyline will be THAT one day.

 

Note to Dan Slott. Forget Bendis. This book ‘matters’.

 

WINTER SOLDIER #4 (Brubaker / Guice / Gaudino / Breitweiser) Marvel

I am enjoying this book. The spy stuff is cool, but we are also reminded that the conceit that the world thinks Bucky is dead will stretch credibility if they continue it too long. Any book with Red Ghost and his super-apes has got to be good, and duelling Doctor Dooms is fun. (Though I am not quite down with Bru’s take on Doom’s dialogue. He comes across as delusional rather than insufferably confident.)

 

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #1 (Benids / Romita / Hanna / Martin) Marvel

Quick question… what is with that AR that appears on a bunch of pages? It is really distracting.

Well, this was a LOT better than that pretty bad issue #0. It sets the stage pretty nicely. I expected to take the side of the X-Men (I much prefer the Avengers books, but the way this story was laying out, thy are a little too ‘establishment’), but it didn’t go that way at all. Cyclops is an asshole. Everything that happens here on out is because his first reaction was to shoot rather than talk.

Good work by Romita. Better than we have seen from him in quite some time.

 

FAIREST #2 (Willingham / Jimenez / Lanning) Vertigo

I loved issue #1, so why has #2 dropped so far? The art is still beautiful and the story is still interesting…. but that imp has gotten REALLY annoying. Willingham is using him as a way to explain things that doesn’t read like it is to the characters. It is to the reader. Sloppy. (Plus, that long diatribe against the physical capabilities of women in a book meant to spotlight women? Really out of place. Not quite to the level of Fables #50 when Willingham turned the book into an anti-Palestine rant that was pretty darned offensive, but it follows that path…)

 

BATGIRL #8 (Simone / Syaf / Martinez / Cifuentes) DC

From nearly cancelled to flying up the list in one issue! Finally Simone deals with the shooting in a way that doesn’t insult the intelligence of the reader. She still doesn’t adequately explain how you can go from wheelchair bound to superheroics, but the story of how she was saved from bleeding to death on the floor really worked for me. After the terrible characterization of the Batgirl/ Black Canary meeting, this issue made me actually care about he characters. Well done.

 

SWAMP THING #8 (Scott Snyder / Yanick Paquette / Marco Rudy) DC

From a book moving up to a book sliding down.  I am sure this is just an aberration, because most of the reason this book isn’t as high as normal is that it reads like a transition. Look, Alec is Swamp Thing now! He is really strong and tough! He could beat the rotting animals in a fistfight! But how will he deal with Abby?

When I read this I remember thinking that by the end Paquette was really rushed. I double-checked the credits and saw that it was really because it wasn’t Paquette. Rudy is just not as good. (Not terrible or anything, but Paquette’s art is one of the things that makes ST so great usually). Normally I think Swamp Thing is better than Animal Man (its sister title). Not this month.

 

BRILLIANT #3 (Bendis / Bagley) Icon

It is really hitting the fan now.The ‘you-have-to-give-the-money-back’ was a little bit of over-the-top moralizing, but other than that, it read well. I liked the way it was the challenge that really inspired Albert. Good read. Not much else to say here.

 

SAUCER COUNTRY #2 (Paul Cornell / Ryan Kelly) Vertigo

I liked this issue better than the first, in some ways. THe discussions about anal rape, didn’t thrill me, but they were not done in an exploitative manner. The characters worked a lot better for me this issue, but the rape stuff just makes it a little harder to say I ‘enjoyed’ the comic. We’ll see how it plays out.

 

THIEF OF THIEVES #3 (Kirkman / Spencer / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

I really like the style of this book. Ruthanne had complained that only female characters are only there in relation to the male, but he IS the main character. I think she’ll like the cop in this book. She is pretty solid. Apparently AMC has optioned this nook. I guess the Kirkman name is a selling point now. I think I like i tmore due to Spencer and Martinbrough.

 

THE NEW AVENGERS #24 (Bendis / Deodato / Conrad / Beredo) Marvel

Let’s get this out of the way: that cover is terrible. I am not a big Deodato fan at the best of times but this is bad even for him. The story, however, it really strong. This is an AvX tie-in, but the real strength and meat of the book is the Cage / Jones / Danielle storyline. It just reads so real. There is a lot of hate for Jessica Jones on the internet, but in my opinion that is mostly from people who don’t like when women in comics actually act like people instead of fantasy archetypes. The story is believable in every aspect of it.

Forget the AvX stuff (though it works in this book), just read a damn good comic.

 

ANIMAL MAN #8 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh / Travel Foreman / Jeff Huet) DC

This is the issue where Steve Pugh takes over for Travel Foreman. I approve. Mostly, though, it is the story that makes this one so good. The feeling of fear, terror. and generally disturbing unease FILLS this book. The scenes will Maxine (both ‘before’ and ‘after’) were chilling. Is this the best book that DC is putting out? I would have said no a month or so ago, but this issue was REALLY well done. Two thumbs up.

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #28 (Gage / Moline / Fern / Sotomayor) Marvel

It is hard to talk about this book too much without giving everything away, but the scene where the characters get to see INTO the other characters was very powerful. EVERY character seems better now than they did before. I love the new interaction between AA and the Runaways as long as they continue it and this isn’t just lip service. The post-revelation reactions were very moving.

Just a good comic. (The art could be better, but what can I say…)

 

SAGA #2 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

I loved the first issue. I love the second issue. BUY THIS BOOK. The last page alone makes me anxious for issue #3!

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #9 (Benids / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

What do you do with this book when Pichelli is not on it? If you answer Chris Samnee (as it has been in the past), well that is a very good answer, But if you say David Marquez, that may be even better! This book was great from end to end, story, art, everything. The scene with Miles and the cop were great. The scene with Prowler and Scorpion were great. The scene with Miles and his roommates were VERY great.

If you aren’t buying Ultimate Spider-Man, but only question is….why?

 

THE UNWRITTEN #36 (Carey / Gross / Dayglo) Vertigo

A week (or two) with Sage and an excellent issue of Ultimate Spider-man yet the Unwritten makes it to the top? You bet! The best issues of this book, easily, have been the ‘stairway’ issues and this one is no exception. Pauly and the Tinker are excellent characters and they work well together. The end reminds me of the old Sandman arc, Game of You, and that is high praise… yet it isn’t over! I can’t wait for issue #37!!!

 

 

What a great batch of comics.

So, which format do you like better? Best first or best last?


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Fairest #1

March 11, 2012
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What a great week for comics! It was a little big… enough that it was supposed to be a ‘cancellation’ week… but there is nothing deserving of cancellation! (Yet… see below.)

 

FAIREST #1 (Bill Willingham / Phil Jimenez / Andy Lanning) Vertigo

Right from the amazing Adam Hughes cover, this book was a treat. This is Fables back before it got bogged down in overarching plot. Fables is still good, but this book is better! Willingham has totally mastery of these characters, not that it is a surprise at this point. Phil Jimenez is at his best… evoking a little Neal Adams in much the way he used to evoke a little George Perez. It is a little odd that a book that is meant to represent the female Fables characters has a first issue where the star is clearly Ali Baba, but that just seems to be set-up for a certain Slumbering Siren…

Buy this book. You won’t be disappointed.

 

THE DEFENDERS #4 (Fraction / Lark / Gaudiano / Hollingsworth) Marvel

A book that was hovering near the bottom of my list has rocketed way up! Matt Fraction took what I thought of as a weakness (Dr. Strange’s casual playboy attitudes) and turned it into a strength by giving us a peek behind it. Did you imagine that Molly from issue #1 would be back? I sure didn’t… and neither did Strange, likely.

I am a fan of the Dodsons but Michael Lark’s fill-in was perfect for THIS story, where the super-heroic postures of the Dodsons may not have worked as well.

 

ANIMAL MAN #7 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh / Travel Foreman / Jeff Huet) DC

As I have said before, I find Foreman’s work on Animal Man to be a little TOO effective, so I like the switch to Pugh, but that isn’t totally why the book is this high on the list. It is the writing. The scenes with Buddy and Cliff are excellent. Cliff is the often overlooked member of the Baker family, and Lemire knows it and is using it. Other touches, like the cat-shaped avatar of the red making its food preferences known. I am not so sure about the dream (?) sequence with ‘Animal Woman’, but I AM sure that everything is about to hit the fan.

 

SWAMP THING #7 (Scott Snyder / Yanick Paquette) DC

Beautiful cover. Beautiful art. Normally I have Swamp Thing ahead of Animal Man, but they are so tightly connected that it almost doesn’t matter.

This is it folks… this is where the book REALLY starts.

 

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

SPOILERS!
SPOILERS!

SPOILERS!

 

 

 

Still here?

 

 

Wow. I was SURE that when they brought Scott Lang back that he would be dead again before the series was over. Well, a Lang is dead, but it is Cassie. That truly surprised me. Killing Vision didn’t, because the new one is back. No more Patriot… Iron Lad on his way to being a villain (separate from Kang, I think). So now there aren’t two Visions, but there are still two Hawkeyes and now there are two Ant-Mans (Ant-Men?) as well.

Hmmm.

This book was hurt by the bi-monthly pace but the characterization is strong and the art is excellent.

Oh…are they engaged? For real? Well done. (as was the kiss.)

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #27 (Gage / Moline / Fern / Sotomayor) Marvel

I love the Runaways and Gage did I good job capturing them. The art didn’t, but you can’t have everything. I hope that Tom Grummett is just taking an issue off. His addition to the book was a bog step up, I hope it wasn’t temporary.

The conversation between Pym and Tigra was terrible. I don’t mean the content, but the actual delivered lines only existed to make a damning sound bite. People don’t talk like that.

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #8 (Bendis / Pichelli / Ponsor) Marvel

Still a great comic, but the focus this time was a little more on plot than characterization. Other than the fact that Miles is bothered by his Uncle’s revelation, there wasn’t much there for him. Scorpion coming to the U.S. was interesting. (Who does he look like on the cover? The Rock maybe?)

 

iZOMBIE #23 (Chris Roberson / Michael Allred) Vertigo

I really like this book. The risk, though, when there are so many disparate plots, is that it starts to feel ‘crowded and chaotic. This is the same problem Hickman has a lot. Still well worth a read, even if just for the Allred art.

 

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

Good read. It is funny that a plot hole became a plot point, as Peter’s plan was ridiculous. Also, why didn’t Johnny bring one of those special ‘FF-space suits’ that lets him be the Torch without using up the oxygen (or lack thereof). By not having it, it made him pretty useless.

 

WINTER SOLDIER #3 (Brubaker / Guice / Gaudiano / Breitweiser) Marvel

Only this low because the week was so good. The Doombot stuff is nice. The story was a little jumpy, but it still works. I love how this reads like a spy thriller. Everytime Guice draws Black Widow it feels like this book is thirty years older than it is. That’s a good thing.

 

NIGHT FORCE #1 (Marv Wolfman / Tom Mandrake) DC

I only just this moment noticed that the cover says this is a miniseries. I loved the premise of the old Night Force from … what, the late 70’s? Early 80’s? This book is all set-up, though. Super jumpy and more hints at plot rather than actual plot.

I was really looking forward to this and I hope it gets better.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Amazing Spider-Man #679

February 2, 2012
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So, I have been sick for days now. All the way through the weekend and just getting worse and worse. I finally stayed home today which means… early comics!

 

So, how were the comics that had to get me through a sick day? Pretty darned good, actually!

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #679 (Slott / Ramos / Olazaba / Delgado) Marvel

I know that Kin down at Silver Snail hates time travel stories, but I don’t! This is two really good ones in short order (the Black Widow story in Secret Avengers is the other that comes to mind). I LOVED the resolution of this two parter. Strong story, strong characterization. Amazing Ramos art. This issue had it all! “To Be Continued… Last Issue!”

 

ANIMAL MAN #6 (Lemire / Leon / Foreman / Huet) DC

In soem ways this was a ‘break’ issue… but not really. This interlude told us a LOT about Buddy… and Cliff. And the ART! If John Paul Leon were to take over on Animal Man I would be thrilled! I am not a Travel Foreman hater, but the transition back to Foreman on the last few pages was jarring, because the Leon stuff was so good. The parallels between Buddy and Red Thunder were obvious but I would like to see more of the ‘movie’.

 

iZOMBIE #22 (Chris Roberson / Michael Allred) Vertigo

After a nice interlude, we are back to some great Mike Allred art! The story is moving along with all of its disparate pieces. There are so many characters that it would be heard to keep them straight, except they are all so well-delineated. (Dixie is a retired monster hunter? Did we know that already?)

 

WINTER SOLDIER #1 (Ed Brubaker / Butch Guice / Bettie Breitweiser) Marvel

For a while Bucky was Captain America… kind of. It was always a terrible fit. This was not Captain America in any way, shape or form. He always seemed like a completely different character that just seemed silly using someone else’s name. Kind of like the Young Avengers Hawkeye. Good character but hurting due to the inappropriate name choice.

BUT, as blatantly obvious that he was NOT Captain America, the Brubaker BuckyCap books were really good! So now, with the launch of Winter Soldier, we get more of those books without the extra baggage, while the Cap book has gone back to being a good CAP book. EVERYONE WINS!

And this book IS good. The title seems to only be there because calling a comic ‘Bucky’ would be lame (though I wish it was WS & Black Widow, as she is clearly a co-lead).

Question: what is the connection between Mitch and Bettie Breitweiser?

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #25 (Gage / Grummett / Hamscher / Sotomayor) Marvel

Is that kid’s Sentinel destroyed? I hope not. Another good AA book. I am not a big fan of ‘Hey, let’s just whip together this gadget to fix everything’, but hey. The time travel thing was good. The Jocasta bit was telegraphed, but Veil wasn’t. Looking forward to next issue and… THE RUNAWAYS! Woo-hoo!

 

SWAMP THING #6 (Scott Snyder / Marco Rudy) DC

Why so low for a book I have said is one of my favourite of the new DC books? No Yanick Paquette for one, but mostly it is a style of book that I don’t like. The whole issue is a sort of willpower struggle where lots is on the line but nothing actually happens. It is kind of like the equivalent to the old wrestling submission moves like the abdominal stretch. They act like everybody is straining hard but it is just dragging things out until the inevitable hip toss.

 

THE DEFENDERS #3 (Fraction / Dodson / Dodson / Oback) Marvel

Well, the book LOOKS pretty! Is that it for Nul? Not exactly the big threat he seemed… A little deus ex machina there, but I guess that was the point.

 

THE TWELVE #9  (J.Michael Straczynski / Chris Weston) Marvel

When did issue #8 come out? 2010?

Not actually a bad comic, but how can you hold any interest with that kind of schedule. I do believe that there is a real story here and I look forward to reading it all when it is finished. By then I may be reading it on my private holo-viewer, though.

 

AVENGERS: X-SANCTION #3 (Jeph Loeb / Ed McGuiness / Dexter Vines / Morry Hollowell) Marvel

#1 had about as much story as I expect from that wretched AVX: Vs series. (none.) #2 had hints of story. This issue had ACTUAL story. It wasn’t enough to make the book more than passable… but that is a big step up.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Avengers Annual #1

January 9, 2012
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Good week for comics! Not to big… a nice amount of good reads. Even the clunkers seemed to be improvements on what had gone before.

Let’s start from the best and work back, as always.

AVENGERS ANNUAL #1 (Bendis / Dell’otto / Svorcina) Marvel

This is a really good book! The voice of the people versus the voice of authority sang through this book. This was an interesting parallel to Bendis’ book ‘Scarlet’. (Great book, by the way).

I used to be a Wonder Man fan but he hasn’t be interesting in quite a while. This changes that. I heard people complaining about D-Man, of all characters. D-Man was a one-note character that was never interesting. Now they are claiming that he is crazy. What I want is for him to be telling the truth (AND a little crazy). But that I don’t really like the people on other comic forums… so screw them! 🙂

If you let it, this is a comic that actually makes you think. Rare for superheroes (let’s be honest here…)

SWAMP THING #5 (Scott Snyder / Yanick Paquette) DC

I go back and forth about what is the best of the new DC books. Is it All-Star Western? Is it Wonder Woman? Right now I am leaning towards Swamp Thing. This might not be quite Alan Moore, but it stands on its own. The Rot is a really cool villain and Abby is one of the best supporting characters going (along with the Baker family over in Animal Man).

The Paquette art is brilliant. The panel layouts were very well done (other than a single somewhat confusing double-page spread).

DC may not be great at superheroes, but they are great at the periphery books.

iZOMBIE #21 (Chris Roberson / J.Bone) Vertigo

Right up until I read the last two books in my pile, I thought iZombie was a shoe-in for comic of the week. As much as I have a big man-crush on Mike Allred, J.Bone is a wonderful change of pace. Don’t let the cartoony nature of his work fool you, this is some pretty deep work.

My only complaint was that I wanted to read the rest of the Dead Presidents origin.

ANIMAL MAN #5 (Lemire / Foreman / Huet / Pugh) DC

This is sort of a companion book to Swamp Thing. They share a villain and the books are going to cross soon. The only thing that knocks this book down is that Travel Foreman is no Yanick Paquette. Foreman is a very talented artist but the book is just so ugly. It is appropriate to the story but it makes it less enjoyable to read it.

I mean, just look at that cover. Ick. Not much of a selling point.

AVENGERS ACADEMY #24 (Gage / Grummett / Hamscher / Sotomayor) Marvel

This is a good read. The villain is not the most interesting and the Reptil from the future thing doesn’t ring my bell a whole lot… but the characters are just so wonderful. Tom Grummet is the perfect artist for this book. He is an upgrade without being a drastic change from what was going on. The cover was kind of misleading, but what the hell…

THUNDERBOLTS #168 (Parker / Southworth / Martin) Marvel

This issue was decent. I like getting back to the T-Bolts in the modern day, but I wasn’t really moved by the Mr. Fear story. The art was good but I didn’t think that the fact that Cage thought he killed that person was shown very well. Ghost is just plain awesome. I have a feeling one of two things will happen when this big time travel story is over. A: The new status quo will be very different OR B: the book will be cancelled. I hope it isn’t the latter.

ACTION COMICS #5 (Grant Morrison / Andy Kubert / Jesse Delperdang) DC

Action has been teetering for me. I have already cancelled Superman and I found this book was not holding my interest very well… until now. Strong storytelling here! I find that Morrison sometimes gets caught up in his ideas and doesn’t tell the story well, but not this time. Even the back-up was spot on.

Keep it going like this and Action will move up this list.

THE DEFENDERS #2 (Fraction / Dodson / Dodson / Oback) Marvel

Issue #1 was a big disappointment for me. This issue was quite a bit better. The scene between Dr. Strange and the red She-Hulk was worth the price of admission alone. Oddly enough, it is still Iron Fist that doesn’t feel right to me, and word is that Fraction loves the character.

AVENGERS: X-SANCTION #2 (Jeph Loeb / Ed McGuinness / Dexter Vines / Morry Hollowell) Marvel

Issue #1 was just terrible. Issue #2 was not exactly great, but it read better. I still can’t stand the art and the ‘Avenger of the Week’ thing doesn’t flow well. There was a little more characterization this time. Is it wrong that I just keep hoping that Cable will die again?


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Swamp Thing #4

December 11, 2011
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Now this is more like it! A solid week with some very good comics.

 

Let’s start, as always, with Rusty’s comic of the Week!

 

SWAMP THING #4 (Scott Snyder / Marco Rudy / Michel Lacombe / Sean Parsons) DC

Nice! They are really moving this story along nicely. The Green. The Rot. The Parliament of Trees. Abby. (Don’t screw up Abby!) I was worried when Yanick Paquette wasn’t doing the art, but Rudy is a very capable substitute. This book is on a collision course with Animal Man and that is okay with me.

 

iZOMBIE #20 (Roberson / Allred) VERTIGO

Right from the start… great cover! The pastiche of those teen mags is awesome! This may be the best Vertigo book (this or The Unwritten) but the great zombie attack had sidetracked it a bit. Now we are back with a nice Ellie / Francisco story, more on Spot and Gavin, Gwen and the Dead Presidents! Super nifty cool!

 

MOON KNIGHT #8 (Bendis / Maleev / Hollingsworth) Marvel

As much as I like the Avengers stuff, this is Bendis at his best. When Spider-woman was cancelled I was disappointed. Getting Scarlet softened that blow and now Moon Knight is where it is at. The art is absolutely beautiful. Maleev is one of the best in the biz. (There was a lot of good art this week, actually.) I never really cared for Echo before, but she is good in this book. The scene with the cop and Snapdragon played out nicely. Just plain good comics.

 

ANIMAL MAN #4 (Jeff Lemire / Travel Foreman / Jeff Huet) DC

This runs in the same ‘world’ as Swamp Thing, which is kind of a subset of the DC Universe. Still, I didn’t like this issue as much as the Swampy one because I don’t like the way the Red looks. I have a hard time with seeing it as anything other than the villain of the piece, when I know it is supposed to be the Rot. Maybe it is my bias but the world of the Green seems natural while the world of the Red seems abhorrent. Ellen is badass here. Great stuff.

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #2 (Zeb Wells / Joe Madureira / Ferran Daniel) Marvel

I am still not the biggest fan of Joey Mads, but getting him to draw Mole Man and his ilk is playing to his strength, that is for sure. This is a fun book for people who aren’t looking for anything more than superhero fisticuffs. Nothing wrong with that. The exchange between Jonah and Spidey was funny, though I feel like I have read that same joke before. I am not a huge fan of Red Hulk, but at least this issue read like he wasn’t just the Hulk with a paint job.

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #675 (Slott / Camuncoli / Janson / D’Armata) Marvel

There are parts of this book I really like and parts I don’t. The art was just okay and I really don’t like the way Vulture’s face is drawn. Actually I don’t like the way his followers are drawn either. The banter between Pete and Carlie was starting to get a little annoying, but it didn’t feel unrealistic. I like the story between them and I REALLY like the idea of Carlie and MJ having a sit down (and the reaction by Peter was priceless).

 

ACTION COMICS #4 (Grant Morrison / Rags Morales / Rick Bryant / Sean Parsons) DC

Last month I thought Action was in danger of being cut by me. This issue didn’t skyrocket up the charts but it was a solid issue.  Morrison doesn’t like to explain things much but the apparent new debut of Brainiac and the Bottle City of Kandor were a cool twist. The back-up was so-so, but bringing Steel in was nice. He kind of looks like an old Superman villain named Conduit. Remember him?

 

X-FACTOR #228 (David / Kirk / Milla) Marvel

Another book at risk of being dropped staves elimination off for another issue. Peter David weaves threads together so I keep wanting to know what happens next. What is going to happy with Madrox? Strong Guy? Is Hangman going to keep his turned leaf on the right side? (I hope so. Join X-Factor!)

 

DEFENDERS #1 (Fraction / Dodson / Dodson / Oback) Marvel

Even in a good week there can be disappointment. I was looking forward to this. I like the Defenders and I like the creative team they put together, The results? Not so good. What is with emo Dr. Strange? Also BOTH Strange and Iron Fist get a scene about casual sex that they regret? Seems a little odd. I’m giving the book more than one issue to get on my good side but they started out pretty poorly.

 


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: The Avengers #19

November 20, 2011
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Does that headline surprise you? It did me.

This week’s reviews, from best to least…

THE AVENGERS #19 (Bendis, Acuna) Marvel

Now THIS is the Avengers that turned me into a comic fan! The Avengers was the first book I picked up back when I was 16 (issue #235). While I have enjoyed what Brian Michael Bendis has done with the franchise overall, it was still quite far from the book I had loved so much. Thie story has Cap trying to figure out who the team is going to be, complete with the public reveal at the end. Classic.

As for the new lineup, Storm is an interesting choice with lots of potential… but I don’t really like HOW she joined. Not terrible, but still. The Vision, on the other hand, was a GREAT reveal. It reminded me of issue #242 where the Vision came back from a long recuperation period. Great stuff. (Now, what about that OTHER Vision…)

While I don’t mind Spider-man and Wolverine being off the team (they are fine on New Avengers), but I don’t like HOW it happened. They deserve a little more respect than that.

Oh, and the art was GREAT. Daniel Acuna is PERFECT for this book. Even the back-up was kind of fun. All in all, a great read.

 

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #674 (Slott, Camuncoli, Janson, D’Armata) Marvel

The cover now reads ‘The World’s Greatest Super Hero!’ Works for me.

Dan Slott is knocking it out of the park with Spider-Man these days. A great story built around the Vulture (the old cool one, not the newer, creepy one). The Peter working with Carlie sub-plot works for me. The Mary-Jane and Glory Grant sub-plot partying works for me. I am a little less enthused about the Horizon Labs / Kingpin thing, but I am willing to ride it out.

The art wasn’t as good this issue. Not terrible, but also not much ‘value-added’.

 

AVENGERS ORIGINS: LUKE CAGE (Glass, Benson, Talajic, Beaulieu) Marvel

These Origins comics have been hit and miss so far, and this one is a hit. Luke Cage is a great character, despite his blacksploitation roots, but they manage to make him modern and noteworthy without shying away from those roots. The reminder of why he is important IN the comic is also a reminder why he is important AS a comic. (But ‘Hero for Hire High’? Really?)

Is this the same writer from Suicide Squad? This is better. I am not familiar with the name Dalibor Talajic, but it was good stuff.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #4 (Brubaker, McNiven, Leister, Ponsor) Marvel

Seems like Marvel’s week, doesn’t it? This is a solid comic, with a solid premise, but it reads a bit like it is just moving the story along – getting from point a to point b. Those issues have to happen, but work better when you read them together.

The art is very good, but with all due respect to Steve McNiven (his is great) I can’t wait for the Alan Davis issues to start. His Cap in Avengers Prime showed he could be one of the CLASSIC Cap artists.

 

WONDER WOMAN #3 (Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang) DC

First, a note. You may notice that sometimes I give first and last names on the credits while sometimes I just give last names. The names are the ones put on the covers of the comics. DC apparently likes first names more than Marvel does.

The first two issues of Wonder Woman garnered my comic of the week nods each time. Why has this one dropped so much?

It is her changed origin. It doesn’t sit right with me. It seems like a needless change that kind of… cheapens her as a character somewhat. Maybe Azzarello will change my mind, but right now, I don’t like it. Did this colour my view of the issue? Maybe, but it felt a lot more disjointed that the first two.

The art is still great, though.

 

iZOMBIE #19 (Chris Roberson, Mike Allred) Vertigo

Another book that I expected to be higher on the list. There were parts of the book I liked… loved, actually. Spot’s date was absolutely charming. I hate to say it, but it was the art that threw me… and I LOVE Mike Allred’s art normally. He is one of my favourites. This issue seemed a little more… muddy maybe? A little sloppy? Not up to his usual level of brilliance, that is for sure.

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #22 (Gage, Chen, Hanna, Buchman, Cox) Marvel

I guess Quicksilver is part of the staff so having an issue focus on him isn’t actually out of place… but it sure seemed it. To me, the book is about the students, not the instructors. Yes, Finesse was an important part of the issue, but not in a way I really cared for. She seems a little hero-worshippy towards Quicksilver, who really has done nothing to deserve it. Let’s face it, Quicksilver has been pretty much a loser ever since he first appeared. Oh well.

 

THUNDERBOLTS #165 (Parker, Walker, Pallot, Soto) Marvel

Does Marvel WANT this book to fail? Why else would they put THAT cover on it? It is HORRIBLE! We were actually laughing about it. Kev Walker still does the interior art, so no problems there.

A solid book overall (once you get past the front cover). The Satana/Namor scene seemed a little gratuitous – besides, she isn’t his type. She isn’t blonde enough. It is tough to get too invested in a comic whose premise is that nothing can really happen (at the risk of changing history).

Both Avengers Academy and Thunderbolts are rumoured to be teetering close to the chopping block. I hope not. They are both good comics overall.

 

ULTIMATE COMICS X-MEN #3 (Spencer, Medina, Vlasco, Gracia) Marvel

Want to see a lame review? I don’t really know what about this book didn’t thrill me. I just read it and found that I didn’t care much about it. I didn’t read Ultimate X-Men before, but it is the Spidey connection that got me interested. We will see if it sticks or not.

 

X-FACTOR #227 (David, Kirk, Milla) Marvel

Of late I have been wondering if I just think I like X-Factor out of habit. It used to be great and it has earned some leeway because of it. This is also a Kirk issue, which means the art is not strong. Still buying it, but I hope it turns around or I may stop.

 

BLUE BEETLE #3 (Tony Bedard, Ig Guara, Ruy Jose, J.P. Mayer) DC

Here is a book that does not have a track record to save it. I wanted to support this book because I wanted to support DC’s publishing minority characters… but the comic just hasn’t been very good. When I read it, I can’t help but compare it to Ultimate Spider-Man, and it pales in comparison.

Maybe I just want Ted Kord back…

Regardless, Blue Beetle is off my pull list after this issue.

 

I also picked up Northlanders Volume 3: Blood in the Snow, but I haven’t read it yet. I liked the first two books. I’ll let you know.