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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Fables #136

January 5, 2014
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FABL_Cv136

The first week of 2014 (though I think these comics were actually released on New Year’s Eve… whatever…they kick off 2014 for me).

It was mother small week but I understand that next week will make up for it.

Starting at the weakest.

NEW AVENGERS #13 (Hickman / Bianchi / Dall’alpi) Marvel

Wait, didn’t I cancel this book. Sigh. I messed up and bought another issue.

Nothing in this made me regret the decision to stop buying this title.

(Me, not buying an Avengers book? Has it come to this? PLEASE, get Hickman off the Avengers. He is ruining the franchise.)

(Thankfully Mighty Avengers exists. Despite the Greg Land art.)

ROCKET GIRL #3 (Brandon Montclare / Amy Reeder) Image

While this book is good, it is still disappointing to me. It seems that with every issue, Reeder drifts further away from the amazing artist who did Madame Xanadu and more towards a cliche-manga-style artist. That is a real shame. She was incredibly good.

She is still not bad, but it feels like a step backwards.

DEAD BOY DETECTIVES #1 (Toby Litt / Mark Buckingham / Gary Erskine) Vertigo

I expected this book to top the list, and it easily could have. Charles and Edwin are great as always and the new character, Crystal, seems really engaging. Great characters, great art, great comic? Well, not quite. Litt and Buckingham are making a big mistake in the return to St. Hilarion’s. It isn’t that going back is a bad idea, it is that they are turning it into some sort of pseudo-super-villain front for a horrible criminal plot.

What made the school so horrible is that it was so awful, and so normal. You could SEE this happening. You could BELIEVE it. It was REAL.

Mistake guys. Don’t go there. Seeing the Headmaster sitting in front of the bank of monitors was jarring at best, and comic destroying at worst.

SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #7 (Spencer / Lieber / Rosenberg) Marvel

After seeing this book appear on so many rave lists, I decided to give it a try… and I am glad I did! Woo! The was great book! This issue was a back-story for the new Beetle and it worked in every way! Feminism in the criminal underworld! Why not? Complete with the ultimate old-school baddy (in attitude), Tombstone!

While this was not AS good, this book felt like the way Hawkeye reads, if you get what I am saying.

FABLES #136 (Willingham / Buckingham / Braun) Vertigo

If the Knights of the Round Table story going on the best arc in Fables history? Well, probably not, but it is certainly the best in the last… two-thirds of its run. Rose Red learned some interesting things this issue and we had some revelations that included the identity of a prospective knight (Sir None?), and a mystery about one of Snow White’s sons. This was just great, great stuff. (Too bad Brandish is in it, as he is a reminder that Fables was not always at these heights.)

Not that Fables has been awful or anything. It hasn’t. But there is a difference between good and great.

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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.


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

October 21, 2013
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fables134_1

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

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

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

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

Having said THAT, this book is worse than that.

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

A spear.

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

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

HUNGER #4 (Fialkov / Kirk / Aburtov) Marvel

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

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

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

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

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

Speaking of Bendis…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HAWKEYE #13 (Fraction / Aja / Hollingsworth) Marvel

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

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

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

Wow.

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

But this issue is better than that.

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

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

I can’t even really describe this.

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

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


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Lazarus #3

September 1, 2013
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Lazarus-03

Not a spectacular week, but some pleasant surprises. One cut, though, and one big disappointment.

CAPTAIN MARVEL #15 (DeConnick / Van Meter / Oliffe / Geraci / Troy) Marvel

So the art is better. The comic isn’t.

So now she has lost her memory and is turning into Binary? She has no emotional attachment to the people around her?

So a 30-year backslide in characterization?

Add to that, the THIRD time I have read the same story with slight variations.

Enough. Dropped.

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

I normally really like this book. The fact that I considered cutting it after this issue tells you something.

What is so great about this book is how grounded it is. This reads like something that COUDL happen, given extreme enough circumstances.

Spoiler alert, I guess…

Mary made nuclear missiles disappear with her mind. A whole bunch of them (though the number doesn’t really matter).

Mark this issue. If they don’t manage to dig their way out of this, issue #15 is the moment The Massive stopped being a good comic.

FEDERAL BUREAU OF PHYSICS #2 (Simon Oliver / Robbi Rodriguez) Vertigo

This book was called Collider with the first issue but ran into some copyright problems.

The book is okay. I am hoping for more, honestly. There is promise here, but it hasn’t blossomed yet.

THE UNWRITTEN #52 (M.Carey / P.Gross / B.Willingham / M.Buckingham) Vertigo

Do you know what would be really cool? A story were Tommy Taylor and friends appear in the world of Fables.

To bad we instead got this alternate universe, kind of not really crossover.

The story isn’t terrible but as I read it, I can’t get out of my head how cool it COULD be.

NEW AVENGERS #9 (Hickman / Deodato / Martin) Marvel

Pleasant surprise number one.

The Black Order in action against the Illuminati. Namor turning into a full-on super villain again.
(side note: If this DOESN’T turn into some secret plot, how is Namor considered a ‘good guy’ after that? Back to his roots, I guess…)
(side note #2: which infinity gem did Reed Richards have?)

UNCANNY X-MEN #11 (Brian Michael Bendis / Frazer Irving / Kris Anka) Marvel

Sentinel! The ever-evolving Sentinels are awesome. (Though I prefer when they LOOK like Sentinels.)

Good overall. I wish the reveal at the end meant something to me, though.

YOUNG AVENGERS #9 (Gillen / McKelvie / Norton / Wilson) Marvel

Do you know what has dragged the last two issues down for me? Leah.

So much depends on her very appearance having a big impact on the reader and I never read Journey Into Mystery. It just loses that extra kick. Without that, the book is getting a little repetitive. Still solid, though.

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #26 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

Second Bendis book this week. The book hurts a bit from a lack of Miles, who is much more interesting that his costumed counterpart, but it is still really rock solid.

I have one big request, though. DON’T SCREW UP TASKMASTER. He used to be the best until they screwed him up over in the 616. You have another chance now.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #11 (Remender / Acuna) Marvel

The other pleasant surprise. This is a really good read. Wonderful art. Solid storytelling. Great characterization. This is all DESPITE having Sentry in it. I don’t knwo what is goign on with Wanda, but I guarantee that it isn’t what it looks like.

Good book.

LAZARUS #3 (Rucka / Lark / Arcas) Image

Now THIS is a good book. This is the best in its short run, by far. The characterization between the two Lazari was worth the price of admission alone. The negotiation scene was nearly as good. The bit with the Twins… everything. Good book. Very good book.


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

July 28, 2013
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spirit-rocket1

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

HUNGER #1 (Fialkov / Kirk / Aburtov) Marvel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LAZARUS #2 (Rucka / Lark / Arcas) Image

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

Save us from small minded morons.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Without the lights, I am sure.

Good, solid adventure and intrigue.

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

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

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

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

Good book. Consistently good book.

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

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

This book is just good fun adventure.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Animal Man #21

June 24, 2013
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ANMAN_Cv21

Good size week with a ‘big’ release that was pretty disappointing.

Starting at the weakest.

CAPTAIN MARVEL #13 (DeConnick / Hepburn / Bellaire) Marvel

I wonder if this book would ‘read’ better if it had a different artist.

AGE OF ULTRON #10 (No cover credits – Bendis / Maleev / Hitch / Neary / Guice / Peterson / Pacheco / Bonet / Palmer / Marquez / Quesada) Marvel

Ugh. I have actually enjoyed this series but this comic was barely even part of it. It read like an epilogue. “Remember that plan from last issue? It worked. Now there is fall-out… and you get to see it in the following comics!”

It is an ad for follow up comics! (Which I was already going to buy.)

The series as a whole was good but the last half of this comic was lame.

AVENGERS #14 (Hickman / Spencer / Caselli / Martin) Marvel

Stuff happens!

None of makes any real sense!

PLEASE tell me that Hickman will leave the Avengers titles after Infinity. PLEASE.

Not likely.

NEW AVENGERS #7 (Jonathan Hickman / Mike Deodato / Frank Martin) Marvel

Better than Avengers, so that is something. This time out, anyway. Big earth-threatening menace! That just seems to go on and on without anything ever actually happening! Grrrr! And now there is war on earth! Grrrr!

See note from previous issue.

REVIVAL #11 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

I am wavering on this book, but this issue was solid. I could do without that super-racist dude, but the main story with Emma and the organ-harvesters was interesting.

WONDER WOMAN #21 (Brian Azzarello / Cliff Chiang) DC

This is still the 21st issue of the same storyline, which is a little long, but the end made it worthwhile. New Genesis! Highfather! Boom Tubes! Some big boring tough guy! Okay, you can’t win them all.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #12 (Slott / Camuncoli / Dell / Pallot / Delgado) Marvel

When is Peter coming back?

This is a well-written comic, but Otto is certainly unlikeable. The Jameson / Otto interaction is interesting. If Otto actually kills Smythe on Jameson’s orders, or even if he doesn’t, Otto now has blackmail material against the mayor. Interesting.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #9 (Rememder / Acuna) Marvel

So here it is! The big fight between Rogue and the Scarlet Witch!

Oh wait… that doesn’t actually happen? But the cover…?

Yeah. False advertising.

Godo story though. I know that this is going to blow over but I WANT Captain America to refuse to serve with Wolverine. I actually like BOTH characters but that should include Cap refusing to serve with Logan.

FABLES #130 (Willingham / Kitson / Erskine) Vertigo

I could see the ending coming, but I still liked it. I think the final panel was poorly don, though, because all of a sudden it seemed like the Rats had abused her, which wasn’t the impression I got during that actual scene.

Nezumi for the win!

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #24 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

Hey, the Ultimate Dagger wears clothes! Cloak and Dagger are interesting in their limited appearance so far. We don’t know if what is going on in Cloak’s… cloak is the same as in the 616 uni or not. Gwen’s slap of Miles was perfect.

You can’t be in a Spider-man book and not learn that with great power… etc.

ANIMAL MAN #21 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh / Francis Portela) DC

This is the best book DC has going these days. This book as Maxine as a messed up Little Nemo. Twitter ruining Buddy’s life and letting the villain escape. The confluence of celebrity and tragedy. Buddy trying to actually be a super-hero.

Good comic.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: X-Men #1

June 8, 2013
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XMen_1_Cover

This was a really small week.

Three books.

That’s it.

THIEF OF THIEVES #14 (Kirkman / Diggle / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

Eh… in a vacuum this is a good read. My issue is that we seem to be getting the same story over and over. SOmebody gets something on Redmond and forces him to steal for them. He figures out a way to screw them over. Repeat.

NEW AVENGERS #6 (Jonathan Hickman / Steve Epting / Rick Magyar / Frank D’Armata) Marvel

Did you hear that they have announced a new REAL New Avengers? Only they are calling it Mighty Avengers.

This issue wasn’t bad. The way Black Swan talks down to all of them is fun. Hickman’s choppy writing style is less so.

X-Men #1 (Wood / Coipel / Morales / Martin) Marvel

Now THIS book was good. I love how Wood has made a comic starring female members of the X-Men without it being ABOUT the fact the characters are female. SOme may feel that revolving it around a baby is a little stereotypical, but it doesn’t read that way.

Is Jubilee still a vampire? Please say no…

Good characters. Good writing. Very good art. What’s not to like?


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Ultimate Spider-Man #22

April 27, 2013
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Ultimate_Comics_Spider-Man_Vol_2_22

Big week.

Right off, I should announce that you won’t see Batwoman reviews here any more… at least until they get a different writer. I like the character and want to support the diversity…but the comic is just terrible. It is such a muddied mess that it is hard to even tell what is going on from page to page.

Dropped.

It isn’t the only one… read on.

Starting from the weakest…

WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #28 (aaron / Perez / Martin) Marvel

I picked this up because I had been enjoying the Bendis X-books so much.

This isn’t them.

I read it all through the Savage Land adventure. I like the idea of the school, but this book… just isn’t good enough. Dog is a stupid character that should have never been created. Eye-boy is awful. Shark Girl has potential.

Art – bad. Story – dull.

Dropped.

BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN #6 (Brian Azzarello / J.G. Jones) DC

Some of the Before Watchmen stuff was worth the effort. Some wasn’t. So, in Watchmen they implied Comedian killed Kennedy. In this mini they say he didn’t… oh wait, there is more the one Kennedy, isn’t there?

(This IS what happened, best as I can tell, just with someone else as triggerman.)

AVENGERS #10 (Jonathan Hickman / Mike Deodato / Frank Martin) Marvel

This is probably lower than it deserves to be, but I am kind of annoyed that ONCE AGAIN the Canadian heroes are used as a Worf, killed off just so the threat looks big enough to challenge the Avengers.

Alos, finding out what Validator said was a real let-down.

FANTASTIC FOUR #7 (Fraction / Bagley / Hennessy / Mounts) Marvel

Wait… did this book make sense at all? Why did they need to save Blastaar? Did I miss something?

Overall, this book is going nowhere.

Dropped.

FF #6 (Matt Fraction / Joe Quinones / Laura Allred) Marvel

See the last comment on the Fantastic Four review.

Marvel made it easier on me by not having Mike Allred do the art this issue. I like the characters… but they never really do anything.

Dropped.

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #19 (Lemire / Fawkes / Janin / Cifuentes) DC

The cover didn’t mean anything… but it sure looks cool. I am referring to the Swamp Thing house on the fold-out. Nice. (This cover theme month is still turning out to be a whole lot of nothing.)

There WAS a cool reveal in this book, but not until the last page. I have to remind myself that the villain was DC first, despite Vertigo’s excellent co-opting of him.

I like Madame Xanadu, but I like how the other characters are questioning what use she is when she always tells them about things too late.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #7 (Remender / Acuna) Marvel

I am not a fan of the big, over-powered space villains, bit knowing that Kang is behind it helps. What slots it this high is the character interplay. That ‘real’ Avengers crack by Wasp was a little petty… which is good. In fact, I liked all the character work in this one. The art is really good, too. Much better than Cassaday.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #2 (Bendis / McNiven / Pichelli / Dell / Ponsor) Marvel

I have been ready to not like this book. Space stuff isn’t my thing. After an excellent zero issue, #1 wasn’t great. Then cam ethis one.

The plot isn’t grabbing me… but the characters are great! Rocket Racoon is awesome! Plus, is Sara Pichelli taking over for Steve McNiven? I like McNiven, but I like Pichelli even more!

So far, so good.

UNCANNY X-MEN #5 (Bendis / Irving) Marvel

So it seemed that all of the ex-Phoenix hosts had their powers changed except for Magik, right? Not so fast.

Magik’s powers have also been affected, and her powers mean a lot more than ray beams and twisting metal.

Dormmamu will likely be the least of their problems. There will be hell to pay…

Fraser Irving is the perfect artist for this story. His Limbo is perfectly nightmarish.

NEW AVENGERS #5 (Jonathan Hickman / Steve Epting / Rick Magyar / Frank D’Armata) Marvel

How do you get past Hickman’s circuitous, non-rational storytelling? Have an issue that involves on conversation with flashbacks. This issue works a lot better than previous ones have.

The Black Swan’s background was interesting, as was her dismissal of Dr. Strange – which tells me that magic is going to be crucial in saving the day. It will be the one factor that the Black Swan has not included in her calculations.

And who is the best suited to understand the balance of science and magic? Where are they going next issue?

THE MASSIVE #11 (Brian Wood / Declan Shalvey / Jordie Bellaire) Dark Horse

First off, I have been very critical of Shalvey’s work in the past, over on Thunderbolts. His attempt to fit with the style on The Massive is much more successful. It didn’t feel jarring at all.

Some important stuff happened here – the biggest of which is Lars learning about Callum’s condition. They also lost the helicopter and yet another crewman… the hard way, this time.

Plus sharks. Sharks are cool, right? And after seeing the Megalodon, I wonder when the Giant Octopus will show up. A Massive / Great Pacific crossover?

One thing though… swimming with the sharks when they are so hungry that they will jump out of the ocean to grab food on land?

Stupid.

THE UNWRITTEN #48 (Mike Carey / Peter Gross) Vertigo

From Hell to Hell? Why not? There should be as many version so fHell as there are people who have written about it. This isn’t Dante’s version, unless it is an altered one, since the devil is free.

Paulie learning his real origins should be interesting, as was Lizzie’s masquerade.

YOUNG AVENGERS #4 (Gillen / McKelvie / Norton / Wilson) Marvel

Is there a more fun book out this week? I say thee nay! Look at the design sense that went into this, from the cover, to the Noh-Varr attack scene. Beautiful. Loki is being an ass… and I am not referring to him taking a powder at the end. It is painfully obvious that he will be back. I am talking about him dropping those seeds of doubt into Teddy’s mind. Great stuff.

Marvel Boy is not me favourite character but the rest of the cast is aces.

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #22 (Bendis / Pichelli / Ponsor) Marvel

I guess Sara Pichelli is going to GoG, since they have announced she is leaving here. That’s okay, David Marquez is great too.

This book is… whoa.

So Miles’ identity is now known by Maria Hill. It was also known by his mother but…

Are they going to slowly turn him into Peter. I liked Miles’ mother so it is a loss… and you can argue that it is a bit of a ‘Girlfriend in a Refrigerator’, but the whole thing is going to tear Miles’ world apart. Trauma, despair and heartbreak make for good fiction.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Saga #11

March 24, 2013
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Saga again? I think this makes 10 times out of 11 issues that it has grabbed the #1 spot. There was big competition this week too…

Starting at the weakest…

COMEBACK #5 (Brisson / Walsh / Bellaire) Image

What a terrible comic this ended up being. I think that they were trying to recreate the movie Primer in comic form and failing utterly. I have no problem with complicated comics but this was an absolute mess. Just look at page 8 and 9 for the wall of text that happens to try and explain the storyline. TOo much expository dialogue!

If you have a chance to read this comic, don’t waste your time.

WONDER WOMAN #18 (Azzarello / Sudzuka / Ains / Chiang / Green) DC

I used to really love this comic… what happened? I already talked about how this storyline was just going on an don, yet this issue had a resolution of sorts. The art this time out was really, really bad, which makes them lost the benefit of the doubt. But what really puts this book in the bad column?

How about the scene where War reaches in and rips a baby from a women’s womb.

The fact that they are gods and not really people and that it wasn’t really her womb doesn’t matter. Just look at that scene and tell me what you see.

That is some messed up shit right there. Ugh.

CONSTANTINE #1 (Jeff Lemire / Ray Fawkes / Renato Guedes) DC

They cancelled Hellblazer for this. Now, I wasn’t reading Hellblazer, but the idea that they would water down yet another character didn’t sit well with me. When they turned Constantine back into a DCU character, I had no problem with that. Hellblazer was still running and I had no more problem with both existing than I do with the idea that the movie version of, say, Captain America, is a different version than the comic one. No problem.

DC seems to think otherwise. They thought it was too confusing so they killed Hellblazer and replaced it with this.

At first I just wasn’t going to buy it at all. BUt then they switched writers, bringing in Jeff Lemire, who writes Constantine very well in Justice League Dark, so I thought I would give it a try.

I tried it. That may be all I do.

CAPTAIN MARVEL #11 (DeConnick / Sebela / Andrade / Bellaire) Marvel

From here on, I actually quite liked the comics this week. THere were lots of them, but they were quite good.
I am hot and cold about the art in CM, but this issue worked for me. I think the difference from issue to issue may be more me than the art, but this time I liked it.
I like the ‘can’t fly’ story now, and I wouldn’t mind if they took her flight power away from her permanently so her facility with flying machines had a greater utility.
This was a solid issue, but not outstanding.

NEW AVENGERS #4 (Jonathan Hickman / Rick Magyar / Steve Epting / Frank D’Armata) Marvel

So the Illuminati are straight up villains now? Having Cap pushed out was the right thing to do because he would be WAY out of character to go for this. I think Beast should have a bigger problem with this than he does. (I would prefer if they ALL had a bigger problem with this but…)
Not a great book, but I am still hoping that heroic natures take back over.

AVENGERS #8 (Jonathan Hickman / Dustin Weaver / Justin Ponsor) Marvel

So, the Avengers acted pretty badly in here, no? All of the conflict came about because they treated someone who had done nothing wrong as an enemy, effectively turning him into one. While I am not a fan of idiocy as a plot device, this worked because you could see that they were really, really panicking. I think having characters used to being so powerful act rashly when faced with something MORE powerful makes sense.

I just wish Hickman did stories other than ‘big cosmic over powered god-think threatens the earth!’

REVIVAL #8 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

Creepy and powerful stuff. The character turns in this book are great. I dug Ken Dillisch, as he worked against type. The plight of the suicidal was yet another twist in this already psychologically messed-up book.

This should be the next Walking Dead.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #6 (Slott / Ramos / Olazaba / Delgado) Marvel

What I like about this book: Otto has become a VERY complicated character. His childhood flashbacks are becoming tiresome, but his obvious feelings of respect (and more?) for Anna Maria Marconi is really well played. Of course, his way of expressing that is a little over the top, but that is who he is.

What I don’t like: They did this in the mid-90’s when they broke Batman’s back. They replaced Batman with Azrael to answer to the people who thought that it was okay for Bats to be more brutal. They tried to show how wrong that would be. What happened? People cheered him. The people who say that Batman should have killed Joker years ago don’t understand what it means to be a hero.

I am afraid of that here. How many readers thing Otto was right to shoot that guy last issue? What I liked here is that people SHOULD realize that brutalizing two people over what amounts to a prank in order to commit a minor crime is too much.

I hope.

BATWOMAN #18 (J.H. Williams III / W. Haden Blackman / Trevor McCarthy) DC

This issue was fairly… straight forward. That is a nice change from the mess the last arc kind of became. The fight with Freeze was well done. Hawkfire is a stupid name, but the team is good. The Batman appearance was interesting and Kate was the right kind of rebellious to him. It suits her character. The D.E.O. stuff was good. The Maggie stuff was good. The ending was very poorly done. A cliffhanger that you have given us no reason to care or wonder about? Yeah… poorly done.

ALL-NEW X-MEN #9 (Bendis / Immonen / Von Grawbadger / Gracia) Marvel

Jean Grey without training from Xavier is a whole lot of bad news. How long before nobody wants her around at all? The bit with Angel makes me think there will be unintended consequences with her messing with his head. The Times Square reaction was ridiculous. They did NOT come from the 60’s anymore. (Though I still like that they did stylistically) Please get Lady Mastermind a new name and a new costume. Her and Emma Frost in the same comic is too much.

I thought Sabertooth was dead…

FABLES #127 (Willingham / Buckingham / Pepoy / Leiloha) Vertigo

The Snow White story makes me nervous but this issue was very solid.

I don’t have a lot to say except this… if Snow WHite doesn’t engineer her own ‘salvation’ from this situation, I will be annoyed. Also, please don’t make her win the day by using her ‘sexual wiles’.

Thank you.

DAREDEVIL #24 (Waid / Samnee / Rodriguez) Marvel

I stayed away from this comic for too long. WHile she is new to me, I am an instant fan of Kirsten McDuffie. The problem is, we know that Matt will keep trying to win her over, and that is npt really a great message. No means no, fella.

Samnee’s art is beautiful. He reminds me of Darwyn Cooke while still being his own artist. (Speaking of Cooke, my friend Kevin Matthews got me Volume 1 of Parker for my birthday. I am looking forward to digging in to it.)

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #21 (Bendis / Pichelli / Ponsor) Marvel

Nobody does characters better than Bendis and nowhere does Bendis do them better than this book. You FEEL what they are going through. The scope of all this is too much for Miles, but he gets through it because it is the right thing to do. Mary-Jane and Gwen coming over was perfect. The fact that they really screwed up by doing so is going to have an impact. There is no way that cop doesn’t connect them to Peter Parker and therefore Spider-man.

I really hope Miles’ dad makes it through this. I want to read more about him.

SAGA #11 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

The best comic in an already amazing week of comics. THe ex talk was refreshingly frank (and funny). The space stuff was exciting and interesting. The Lying Cat rescue was cheer-inducing. Then… the fate of Barr…. with the bookmark comment… wow. Powerful. VERY powerful.

It made you feel the feels.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Scarlet #6

February 10, 2013
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Starting at the weakest. A pretty big week. Bendis got the TOP THREE spots this week. Holy crap.

 

ANIMAL MAN #17 (Jeff Lemire / Scott Snyder / Steve Pugh / Timothy Green II / Joseph Silver) DC

I finished this book and tried to remember what it was that I liked about it in previous issues. The further into Rotworld we get, the less I care for it. It is just a book monster fight. The end is supposed to have emotional impact but it doesn’t because I, as reader, am fully aware that there will be a bog re-set button at the end of the story. There is just no buy-in from me.

 

FAIREST #12 (Lauren Beukes / Inaki Miranda) Vertigo

The thing I can’t understand is why Fairst is getting such great reviews out in internet-land. The story is not very interesting and the art is muddy and generally sub-par. Mostly, the story is just too long. I keep hoping it is going to be over so we can get back to better stuff.

Fables is getting back on track int he main book. Hopefully Fairest can do the same.

 

SWAMP THING #17 (Scott Snyder / Jeff Lemire / Andrew Belanger) DC

Read the Animal Man review above. The same goes here. The only thing that makes this book rank a little higher is the Parliament of Rot scene. That has some promise.

 

NEW AVENGERS #3 (Hickman / Epting / Magyar / D’Armata) Marvel

Question: what are they arguing about? I was able to figure it out, but they never actually say. They also act as if Cap did what he did on purpose with nobody actually saying it or any evidence to support it… until he doesn’t deny it… kind of. It is hard to deny something that nobody ever says… or even implies.

This is kind of a mess, really.

 

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #3 (Dan Slott / Ryan Stegman / Edgar Delgado) Marvel

One of the interesting things about this storyline is how much smarter Otto is than Peter. If it wasn’t for his moral code, he would actually BE a better Spider-Man than Peter. The sudden backstory about being abused so having a soft spot for kids felt a little contrived. If Otto is going to need an excuse to beat a villain every time, that will start to wear a little thin.

 

GREAT PACIFIC #4 (Joe Harris / Martin Morazzo) Image

Nice idea. Good plot. Everything good except for the pacing. It is glacial. Four issues in and he is still just looking around. If he continues just as some rich kid wandering around on garbage, this series is going to lose my interest quickly.

Side note, couldn’t he use that invention of his to destroy the entire ‘country’, making the world a better place, in general?

 

DIAL H #9 (China Mieville / Alberto Ponticelli / Dan Green) DC

This book was always inventive but it used to lag on plot a bit. That has changed. I find myself interested every issue now. And it is still inventive. The Glimpse was great. What’s with the bug-head dude? Don’t know, but I am along for the ride. (Oh, and the portrayal of Canadians was funny. Not over the top, but funny.)

 

AVENGERS #5 (Jonathan Hickman / Adam Kubert / Frank Martin) Marvel

The Hyperion spotlight issue didn’t appeal to me because I don’t really like Hyperion. This Smasher issue was much better. Her interaction with the Hulk was great. (‘Smash’) Her origin was simple but interesting to follow. I liked it.

 

SNAPSHOT #1 (Andy Diggle / Jock) Image

Movie-style crime mystery. Interesting hook, leading you along but not giving you enough to figure it out. Nice Jock art. Black & white, which is rare these days. Nce package. Looking forward to the rest of the mini.

 

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE ANNUAL #1 (Christos Gage / Tomm Coker) Marvel

Man, this was a good Avengers comic! This was better than any I have read of the Marvel Now push. I want to see Gage on an Avengers book… or even a Vision book. Good story. Emotional impact while tying it in to the on-going story. Continuity flavoured without getting bogged down. And I quite liked the art, too!

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #20 (Bendis / Pichelli / Ponsor) Marvel

You have a fight scene against a superior opponent, sure. But what makes this book really good is the characters. Miles and Ganke are great, as always. It is Jefferson that really draws my attention, despite having so little in the way of lines. Why did he attack Venom? Doe she know who Spidey is? The on-goign story of his reaction to fighting Hydra is really great. I want more!

 

ALL-NEW X-MEN #7 (Bendis / Marquez / Gracia) Marvel

Cyclops and Mystique. The one thing I would say is that if you want Cyclops to not immediately recognize you as a villain, maybe you DON’T wear all those skulls as part of your costume. Just sayin’.

The way she led him down the path was perfect. She gave away enough of herself that he won’t immediately dismiss her when he finds out that she is a ‘villain’. The wedge she put between him and Wolverine was masterfully done.

 

SCARLET #6 (Bendis / Maleev) Icon

Before Saga, Scarlet was the best book on the market. But then issue #5 came out and it was a year before #6. Normally than will kill a book for me, but this one feels so real and such an answer to the chaos in the real world. I can see why they wanted to take a break, because it is hard to reflect the real world while also seeming like you are endorsing vigilantism. Still… comics need to be dramatic and extreme to work. I am not endorsing murder, but at the same time if there were more people who refused to accept the bullshit that surrounds us, maybe we WOUDL get some actual change.

In the meantime, this comic is incredibly well written and some of the most beautiful art on the market.


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