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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Astro City #14

August 17, 2014
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Astro City 14

Caught up, now. This week was both better and worse than the week I just finished.

Starting at the weakest:

AVENGERS WORLD #11 (Spencer / Ienco / Mossa) Marvel

You know, I just don’t think I care enough about this book. Avengers Next are really lame – “What if all the Avengers had sex with each other?” The scattered storyline… the sub-par art..

Yeah, I’m done. DROPPED.

NIGHTCRAWLER #5 (Claremont / Nauck / Rosenberg) Marvel

Someone once told me that we should be glad for the openly racist because we KNOW there are racists out there and these one make them easy to spot and deal with.

The same goes for sexism.

Nightcrawler isn’t a book that would get yelled at or protested against over its sexism, but in a way it is more insidious because it does it without drawing too much attention to itself.

The first storyline had Kurt begin overly-protective of Amanda, despite the fact that she is an accomplished witch and was very capable of taking care of herself. I tried to give Claremont the benefit of the doubt and that was going to be a plot point where Amanda stood up for herself and Kurt learned he was wrong to act like that.

Instead she was written out of the book. In fact, she was damn neared ‘fridged’.

This issue there was something that may have gone without notice if I wasn’t already kind of unhappy about the way things had gone. Rachel takes Kurt into the Danger Room with a bunch of students. SHE sets of a scenario for the students. Kurt has down nothing at this point and is just along for the ride. She says she loads “one of my favourite [sic] worlds”. In it “Kurt’s the hero; I’m his sidekick.”

That’s one of her faves, is it? She just loves getting to play a ‘sidekick’? Oh, and keep in mind that these ‘roles’ had zero bearing on the rest of the story. She just said it. Because.

Do I condemn the book for that? No. But the trend is clear as day. DROPPED.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #5 (Slott / Ramos / Olazaba / Delgado) Marvel

I enjoy ASM in general, but I found I didn’t much care for this issue. I think part of it is the damage that Slott has done to the Black Cat recently. She is completely out of character.

Plus that Peter and Silk thing is just…gratuitous.

X-MEN #18 (Guggenheim / Talibao / Tadeo / Mounts) Marvel

New creative team? Is it better?

Meh.

And is this the third storyline already in this book focusing on female X-Men that deals with babies?

Really?

ALL-NEW X-MEN #30 (Bendis / Pichelli / Gracia) Marvel

This issue wasn’t bad but yet another book with the will ‘reveal’ was kind of lame. Warren and Laura’s ‘date’ was nice development, as was the new relationship between Jean and Emma.

ORIGINAL SIN #7 (Jason Aaron / Mike Deodato / Frank Martin) Marvel

Careful, Marvel. You nearly added some actual plot there. Nearly.

In fact, this book should have been lower on the list. In the end, is this entire mini going to be just setting up the new Winter Soldier status quo? A character I don’t care about anyway?

SHUTTER #5 (Joe Keatinge / Leila Del Duca / Owen Gieni / Ed Brisson) Image

This issue was much better than the last. This was about character and interaction and an interesting little mystery about dear old dad. Saved.

INHUMAN #3 (Charles Soule / Joe Madureira / Marte Gracia) Marvel

When I saw an issue of this came out, I assumed it was going to migrate to the bottom of my list, and possibly off it.

But this issue was actually pretty good! YES it is the Xavier School vs the Brotherhood all over again, but that doesn’t make it a bad story. Seeing things through the eyes of the ‘new mutants’ may not be novel, but it works.

SPIDER-MAN 2099 #2 (David / Sliney / Fabela) Marvel

All of a sudden, this book is about… people. There is a reason why so many people rave about Peter David’s skill with characterization. 

Strong characters with reasons to care.

SEX CRIMINALS #7 (Fraction / Zdarsky) Image

This was not as amazing as the previous issue, but it was still pretty solid. We got to add a new character to the inner circle, but most importantly Fraction dealt with the dark side of teenage hormones in a respectful way. He did it without turning Jon into a predator and made it feel ‘real’.

ASTRO CITY #14 (Busiek / Anderson / Ross) Vertigo

As usual, Busiek has this amazing talent to introduce a character and have us care for them almost immediately. Ellie is great and weren’t you ready to scream the second Fred showed up? You could tell immediately that he is a user and a loser. The story became very sad and I was incredibly happy to see the words ‘To Be Continued’ at the end.

Someone needs to make this right. Probably Arthur.

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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Daredevil #5

July 13, 2014
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daredevil-5-cover-2014

Now this is actually this week…. smaller selection, but arguably better, over all.

Starting at the weakest.

JUSTICE LEAGUE CANADA #3 (Lemire / McKone / Smith / Ortego / Maiolo / Dalhouse) DC

Sigh. I WANT this book to be better. A Canadian based Justice League written by Jeff Lemire? That sound great. Unfortunately it is just kind of tired old JLA retreads. The core DC stuff just isn’t very good.

Dropped.

NIGHTCRAWLER #4 (Claremont / Nauck / Rosenberg) Marvel

I nearly dropped this one too. I was grumbling through the sexist over-protectiveness of Nightcrawler over Amanda Sefton but I rode it out because I figured it was going to be a plot point. Kind of like the racial problems in Ms. Marvel. In Ms. Marvel I was right. In this book, not so much. Rather than deal with it, they just wrote Amanda out.

I’m not dropping it yet, but it is right on the edge.

SPIDER-MAN 2099 #1 (David / Sliney / Fabela) Marvel

Disclaimer: I was never a 2099 fan. I tried them all when they first started and I didn’t really like any of them, including this one. If this book was SET in 2099, I wouldn’t have picked it up, but I like Miguel’s appearance in the main book so I thought I would give it a go.

So far, so good. He is a little too willing to kill for my taste, but okay. What really made this book for me was the last Liz Allen page. Yes. Smart. Dangerous. Let’s see how that goes.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1.3 (Slott / Perez / Herring) Marvel

The first two issues of this sneaky mini were not very good. This issue was better. Clash is a cliche but showing the problems that Pete dealt with from a different perspective worked a little better this time out.

CALIBAN #4 (Garth Ennis / Facundo Percio) Avatar

This is turning out to be a very solid mini. Very Alien, of course, and that is a good thing for me. The ‘attack’ was believable while still being stupid. How many characters are left?

ALL-NEW X-MEN #29 (Bendis / Immonen / von Grawbadger / Gracia) Marvel

I am not a big fan of ‘mental’ fights, but this issue worked pretty well. We also get to see the problem with time travel, as Xavier can just keep attacking over and over. Why doesn’t Kang do that?

I think that next time he ends up dead, just to close that can of worms.

Angel & X-23?

AVENGERS #32 (Hickman / Yu / Alanguilan / Gho) Marvel

I’ll give credit where it is do – this is a very good issue of Avengers. I think that Franklin is lying, and I think that trying to convince Captain America that the lesser of two evils is the way to go is kind of ridiculous (if he buys it), but the whole conversation worked and the secret of the tree (not the space ship part) was awesome.

SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MEN #13 (Spencer / Lieber / Rosenberg) Marvel

This book was nearly the comic of the week. I am almost regretting the decision. I wish these top two books were actually on different weeks because they both topped last week’s (still very good) USM book.

As if this book weren’t hilarious enough… that Beetle Bechdel line was KILLER. This is the kind of book that you say, “if you aren’t reading Superior Foes, give it a try.” Just make sure it says Spencer not eh cover because those fill-in issues were less good.

DAREDEVIL #5 (Waid / Samnee / Rodriguez) Marvel

This book edged SFoSM by a nose. It was the extra emotional impact as we got to see how much DD actually cares for Foggy. Loves him, really. The Death of Foggy (so to speak) was shown in flashback and this was just great comic with great art and very strong storytelling.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Astro City #12

May 18, 2014
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This was quite a disappointing week. A number of comics ‘under performed’,

astro city 12

There were still some good ones, though.

Starting at the weakest.

DEADLY HANDS OF KING-FU #1 (Benson / Huat / Yeung / Aburtov) Marvel

Marvel’s track record with new books hasn’t been stellar lately. Sure, they have Ms. Marvel. Nightcrawler has been relatively okay. But this is the third new #1 I picked up (after an AWFUL Magneto and a disappointing Cyclops) where I won’t be buying issue #2.

The art is poor and the writing is choppy. There is nothing to hook you here and they even fridge someone (though I think it won’t stay that way…)

Dropped.

FABLES #140 (Bill Willingham / Steve Leialoha) Vertigo

Wow. Speaking of disappointing…

This didn’t feel like a Fables book at all. Not having Buckingham hurts but mostly it was the poor storytelling in both art and dialog. You couldn’t even tell who these people were if you hadn’t read the previous issue. Sloppy.

The non-deaths were kind of funny, but not enough to save the book.

BATMAN ETERNAL #6 (Scott Snyder / James Tynion IV / Ray Fawkes / John Layman / Tim Seeley / Trevor McCarthy) DC

This title is very disjointed. It is almost like the old Batman Family title with someone trying to tie the stories together into one loose narrative. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Batwing felt like he could have been anyone and Spectre wasn’t really used at all. Of the hit and miss nature of the title, this was a miss.

NIGHTCRAWLER #2 (Claremont / Nauck / Rosenberg) Marvel

What save this title is the impression I get that they are going to deal with the sexism involved. Nightcrawler is acting in a real patriarchal manner towards Amanda which would bug me more if it was unaddressed. It looks like that won’t be the case. Otherwise it would join the other Marvel start-ups and the drop list.

ALL-NEW ULTIMATES #2 (Fiffe / Pinna / Woodard) Marvel

Hmmm… the free-for-all worked. It was a little disjointed but not so much that it ruined the scene. The characterization, though, was problematic. Why is Bombshell suddenly acting like an idiot with no real lead-up? More importantly, why would Black Widow NOT MENTION THAT SHE WAS JABBED IN THE CHEST WITH A HYPODERMIC NEEDLE FILLED WITH SOME SORT OF LIQUID?

Oh, about that… did she actually change her name to Black Widow IN the book? Did I forget that or did they just start calling her that?

JUSTICE LEAGUE CANADA #1 (Jeff Lemire / Mike McKone) Marvel

I know it is really called Justice League United, but my copy says Canada on the cover!

This is an okay superhero comic but nothing really makes it stand above any others. Stargirl got a chance to shine and for some reason the Adam Strange ‘origin’ reminded me of Hellcat, and that brought a smile to my face. (Oh, and #0 was not #0. It was #1. It was not a prequel. It was the first issue and this is the second. Period.

ALL-NEW X-MEN #27 (Bendis / Immonen / von Grawbadger / Gracia) Marvel

Not much to say. Psychic fights aren’t very exciting, but Bendis rights these characters so they are interesting.

Is that healer immortal now? I guess that will come up in Uncanny.

SHUTTER #2 (Joe Keatinge / Leila Del Duca / Owen Gieni / Ed Brisson) Image

Not as good as the first issue, but there is still potential there. A lot of chaos, which is not great for characterization usually. I like that she can get hurt. I like her Felix butler/clock. I like the Lion Squad (though not the name…)

AVENGERS #29 (Hickman / Yu / Alanguilan / Gho) Marvel

All right, why isn’t this in New Avengers?

So Steve and Tony are now fighting… again?

How many times are we going to do the SAME STORY?

Having said all that… this comic was quite good. Good art. Decent storytelling (especially from someone not known for good storytelling, like Hickman). Pleasant surprise.

ASTRO CITY #12 (Busiek / Graham Nolan / Ross / Broome / Comicraft) Vertigo

This was the only book this week that I loved from end to end. While Nolan is no Anderson, he brings a certain Carmine Infantino-esque feeling to the pages. The story of addiction didn’t have to be about a super villain, but the fact that it was adds a certain element. I really liked the idea of constantly changing gimmicks to try and stay ahead of the game.

Astro City is consistently good comics.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Shutter #1

April 13, 2014
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Shutter1Cover

So, in a couple other aspects of my life, I have been confronted with the spectre of sexism and misogyny. You know how when something gets to the forefront of your mind, you are more likely to notice it elsewhere?

Hey, comics are sexist, who would of thought?

Seriously, though, there were a bunch of things bugging me this week… I’ll point them out when I get to them.

Starting at the weakest…

SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #11 (Kalan / Peyer / Sliney / Plati / Carnero) Marvel

Remember that great series by Nick Spencer?

This isn’t that. This is two issues in a row of just… sub-par comics. I tried to see if Spencer was coming back, but I am not sure the COMIC is coming back. If it was to still be THIS, I would cancel.

ALL-NEW X-MEN #25 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor / Timm / Martin / Adams / Mack / Young / Keith / Rodriguez / Bermejo / Gracia / Williams / Jones / Del Carmen / Campbell / Ruffino / Wicks / Shiga / Hipp / Wittert / Parker / Wilson / Thompson / Smith / Wiacek / Bellaire) Marvel

There is a tradition to take a big anniversary issue, fill it full of great artists (and there is some GREAT art in this issue), and ale a really terrible comic.

Yes, this is that. First off, why is the 25th issue of something worth this treatment? That is not what I would call a major milestone.

Mostly, though, we have a series of pin-ups with a weak story trying to tie them together. (The best parts were the Kitty & Colossus and Logan & Jean mini-steps that had nothing to do with the main story and just seemed stuck in for no reason.)

DAREDEVIL #1.50 (Waid / Bendis / Kesel / Rodrigues / Maleev / Palmer / Lopez) Marvel

Another big anniversary type issue (with stupid numbering) to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of DD.

Another dud, but at least this one tried to give you a story.

A story about a jerk father who acts all condescending and disappointed about his son all the time. Oh, and that is the hero of the book.

Then there was a text piece, that i WAS quite enjoying until it turned out that Bendis and introduced a character, made her interesting, and then fridged her just to create some trauma for DD. (annoying sexism #1) Then there was a Mike Murdock story that was just plain awful. Stupid dialogue giving a DD obscure history lesson and pretending it is a story.

Very disappointing. I put it ahead of the X-Men book because there was a least an attempt at narrative.

FBP #9 (Simon Oliver / Robbi Rodriguez) Vertigo

Apparently this has been optioned for a movie. I bet it would make a better movie than a comic book.(Oh, the male character acts all protective of the capable female character for no reason… but I am not adding this to my annoying sexism list because A: it didn’t seem out of character and B: she ignored him.)

I am dropping this one.

ALL-NEW ULTIMATES #1 (Fiffe / Pinna / Woodard) Marvel

I LOVE Bendis’ Miles Morales. Near the end of the last run, he pretty much assembled a team for him, though it didn’t become official until the pretty lousy Survive comic from a couple weeks back.

THIS is NOT Bendis’ Ultimates. The dialogue is super stilted, the art is sloppy, and the plot is just… meh. The Kitty plot line is okay, but just okay. (Oh, and, the sudden pervasive nature of super-powered people everywhere… is that part of a bigger Ultimate Universe story or did Fiffe just randomly start that with no explanation?)

VERY disappointing. I am going to buy issue #2, because I really want this to be better.

NIGHTCRAWLER #1 (Chris Claremont / Todd Nauck) Marvel

Mostly decent comic, but it is a little ‘aged’, in the way that the Claremont style is a little dated. That’s okay. So am I.

The villain was kind of cheesy, but the big strike against the book is ANNOYING SEXISM #2. Amanda Sefton is an accomplished witch who of fully capable of fighting her own battles. So, our hero teleports her to safety, ensuring she is out of the fight long enough for him to defeat the baddy.

AVENGERS A.I. #11 (Humphries / Araujo / D’Armata) Marvel

A fun little jump back-and-forth through time. Doombot awesome as always. Alexis is turning out to be just a great character.

Pym, the Living Planet?

BATMAN ETERNAL #1 (Scott Snyder / James Tynion IV / Ray Fawkes / John Layman / Tim Seeley / Jason Fabok) DC

Where is Bluebird? She is why I added this book! Seriously though, this is a solid Batman book. The messing with Gordon is good timing for the new cop, Bard. Clearly Gordon is being manipulated / set up, but that doesn’t make it less of an interesting read.

MIGHTY AVENGERS #9 (Ewing / Land / Leisten / D’Armata) Marvel

I already knew who Ronin was so the reveal meant little. It is the Brashear story that really deserves the spotlight. How do you make a story interesting when the hero is so overpowered? Hit him in the ‘feels’.

One thing that made me squirm was the idea that the Marvel ‘Age of Heroes’ no started sometime AFTER the year 2000.

Ugh.

IRON FIST: THE LIVING WEAPON #1 (Kaare Kyle Andrews) Marvel

Oof. I had a real problem figuring out where to slot this book. One one hand, this could have been easily the best book of the week. On the other hand it is an offensive piece of crap.

Let’s start with the positives… why a beautiful looking book! The lay-outs, the design, the STYLE of this book are TOP NOTCH. The storytelling (except the part I will mention below) was excellent. Great book… except…

ANNOYING SEXISM #3!!!!

So, he is begin interviewed… by the least professional reporter ever. They make a comment about there begin a student in order to justify it, but I will tell you that my work with Slam has had me interviewed by a number of student reporters and she is the worst I have ever seen. By a lot.

She is depicted as a complete airhead who blatantly flirts (and not in a grown-up, classy kind of way) with her interviewee, seeming more interested in getting him into bed than interviewing him.

Which he obliges.

Oh, how old is Danny Rand supposed to be? How old would this STUDENT reporter be?

Then, once they end up in bed, it is quite clear that he barely acknowledges her as human. She may as well be a sex-doll. They make a RUNNING JOKE that he can’t remember her name as she keeps repeating it to him.

Aaargggghhh…. I should have ranked this lower.

But, it IS the best looking book on the market. Any chance we can get a new writer and just let Kaare keep drawing it? Is tho stye J.H. Williams III conundrum?

ASTRO CITY #11 (Busiek / Anderson / Ross / Sinclair / Comicraft) Vertigo

This is solid story about the support staff behind a hero. Busiek obviously loves this concept as he has dipped ingot hat well a few times. The hero is a cross between Dr. Strange and a certain era of Wonder Woman… but does she ever come across badly here. If she is SOOO busy, why is it that every time we are show the hero, she is enjoying drinks with someone or ones? Or hungover from a previous celebration of her begin a hero.

All that makes her assistant come across as abused rather than anything else.

Oh, but part of the story included references to their old place outside of Victoria.

(I could throw another annoying sexism warning in there, but if I started complaint about how female characters dress, we would be here all day…)

SHUTTER #1 (Joe Keatinge / Leila Del Duca / Owen Gieni / Ed Brisson) Image

Until now! What a breath of fresh air! This is an interesting story about a women who grew up as an globe-trotting (and beyond) explorer who is now a photographer. Strong, interesting character. Nice art. Solid plot. Interesting story-propelling ending. AND a couple of great bonus strips in the back (ESPECIALLY MUNGORE!!!)

Yes. Buy this book and all is forgiven.