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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(s) of the Week: America’s Got Powers #1 & 2

June 3, 2012
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Really good week, despite being somewhat small. Of course, since it was small, and because of a reprint available, I tried a new book that was getting really good reviews…

 

Starting at the relative weakest book and moving up.

 

ANIMAL MAN ANNUAL #1 (Jeff Lemire / Timothy Green II / Joseph Silver) DC

I love the Animal Man book and it is often one of the top books in a given week. So, what is wrong with the Annual?

I have certain standards with an annual. It should be something different from the regular book. It needs to give us something special. They didn’t go that route with this one. Instead it reads just like any other issue of Animal Man… which would be okay except it is a regular issue but worse. It gives us a flashback to a prior version of Animal Man and Swamp Thing. It is a certain that is completely skippable as it adds nothing to the general story. Also, the art is way worse than the regular book.

This sounds harsher than I mean it to. The book was still worth reading, but it couldn’t compare to the better comics of the week.

 

RASL #14 (Jeff Smith) Cartoon Books

This is the penultimate issue of the run. I get the impression that RASL will read better as a whole than it does as individual issues, but it is still very good. I both look forward to seeing how it wraps up and seeing what Jeff Smith does next. Word is that RASL has been optioned for a movie. I think that could really work.

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #39 (Reed / Garbett / Lucas / Fabela) Marvel

Brian Reed is no Dan Slott as far as Spidey goes, but this is a solid book. This DOES fit into my criteria for an annual as it gives us a different writer, so a different take from the regular book. This one is sentimental in the right way, but suffers a bit for having no actual challenge for the heroes. When the only thing they have to do to defeat the ‘enemy’ is to go to where he is, it takes a little bit of the suspense away. Also, it seemed a little too easy for Spidey to accept the ultimate wrap up in the sotry. I think I would have preferred a little less time-hopping and a little more of Peter’s reactions to the situations he was faced with.

 

THE ULTIMATES #11 (Hickman / Humphries / Ross / Milla) Marvel

First off, the cover credits lie. There are many more artists involved. There must have been deadline issues and they got people to jump in. Add to that list (Guice / Kirk / Zircher / Aburtov). It didn’t distract too much.

It is funny how a book can turn around. Ultimates was sliding for me and was in danger of getting the axe. Since they blew up Washington, though, it has become a very interesting read. (I DO think it is odd that this can share a universe with Ultimate SPider-Man yet Miles never says anything about major cities being destroyed and Texas forming their own country. That is some pretty major stuff not to pay attention to.)

This is edge of the seat stuff and I look forward to each issue. (For the record, in my opinion, the cliffhanger is a trick.)

 

THE NEW DEADWARDIANS #3 (Dan Abnett / I.N.J. Culbard) Vertigo

Any of the last few books could have been my book of the week this time out, including this one, which was having a tough time clicking with me. This issue really worked as we got some great scenes with a zombie fence and a brothel. This is the characterization that had been absent thus far. The reason I put this one at the bottom of the top (so to speak) is while the characterization was perfect, how it advanced the plot wasn’t clear to me. We’ll see.

 

SUPER CROOKS #3 (Mark Millar / Leinil Yu) Icon

The plan starts to come together… and then starts to fall apart. This book is a little more gruesome than I prefer, but the gore is pretty effective. The way they get their info is pretty ingenious and risky, which shows in the end. This is a mini, right? It reads like one, but I don’t know how long it is set to run.

The one real complaint is that the book is the lack of female characters. The one they have is quite good, despite her tendency to lounge around in little bikinis. (For the record, I have no problem with a character that likes to lounge around in bikinis, but when she is the ONLY female character, it is… well…)

 

AMERICA’S GOT POWERS #1 & 2 (Jonathan Ross / Bryan Hitch) Image

I didn’t get this the first time around, but the reviews have been very positive. Certainly enough for me to take notice. When I was scanning the racks this week I saw issue #2 and also saw that Silver Snail had second printings of #1 (with a black & white cover, though. I didn’t really care for that), so I grabbed both.

Nice series! The set up in issue #1 was excellent and the expanded characterization in issue #2 worked very well! Maybe reading both made each better than if I had just read one, but that is okay. I understand that Ross is some BBC guy, but he has comic pacing down cold (maybe Hitch has helped him out a bit here).

In some ways this is like reading The Boys without feeling dirty afterwards. (Nothing wrong with feeling dirty sometimes…)


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: RASL #13

February 26, 2012
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A good comic week and a good saturday in general.

 

RASL #13 (Jeff Smith) Cartoon Books

I don’t buy much in the way of indy books. Heck, it was only recently that I added Image to my consideration list. (I still thought of Image as Spawn and Youngblood. Ick.) Many years ago I went to San Diego Comic Con. I was hanging out with a retailer from Calgary, Mike Moynihan, and through him I met Mike and Laura Allred (of Madman and now iZombie fame). We ended up spending most of the week together. It was nice. They are good people.

It was Mike (Allred, not Moynihan) who said he had just picked up the first four issues of this cool new comic. He recommended I give it a try. It was called ‘Bone’.

What a wonderful book. It is one of my ALL-TIME favourites.

(Aside… it may be time to contact Linda Medley. Over the years I have created a string of book books directly recommended to me. Mike Moyniham got me to try Madman. It was awesome. Then Mike Allred, the creator of Madman, got me to give Bone a go. It was Amazingly Awesome. So I then asked Jeff Smith, creator of Bone, for a recommendation. He suggested Castle Waiting. The trend continues…)

Anyway, when I heard Jeff Smith was doing a new book, I had to pick it up. Now, is Rasl as good as Bone was? No… but it is still pretty darned good. Dimensional travel. Art theft. Weird kid. Love. Nicola Tesla. What’s not to like?

Highly recommended.

 

SECRET AVENGERS #23 (Remender / Hardman / Breitweiser) Marvel

From one of my least favourite books to the top part of the list in just a couple months! The .1 issue by Remender showed promise but there was still something missing. The official first issue (last issue) was strong, but I still had some gripes. THIS issue, on the other hand, was excellent!  I am still not totally down with Hawkeye’s characterization, but I think it is going to change (Beast’s talk with him and the fact that it NEEDS to change to get Agent Venom on the team).

Two things really stole the show in this book. Beast laying the verbal smackdown on Hank Pym (I like Pym, but this attitude SHOULD exist towards him.) and Ant-Man. I have never really cared for the new Ant-Man but this issue changed that… of course it may be too late. 🙂

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #7 (Bendis / Samnee / Ponsor) Marvel

Did I talk about Chris Samnee on this book already or I am just repeating what I said abut Amy Reeder on Batwoman? Normally I LOVE Samnee’s art. He was PERFECT on Cap & Bucky and I really loved his work on the old Ultimate Spidey book he did.

This time? Not so much.

I don’t know what it is. It is still well crafted but it just doesn’t seem to ‘fit’.

Still a strong book. The scenes where Miles is testing out his powers were great. The bit with Prowler and the Tinkerer were also really strong.

 

ALL-STAR WESTERN #6 (Jimmy Palmiotti / Justin Gray / Moritat / Phil Winslade) DC

A good book but the Batman refs are starting to get tiring. That underground tribe of people was just weird… and it felt pointless. The gun battle was cool and the teaser for next issue looks awesome! I am looking forward to New Orleans and a couple more classic DC western characters!

The back-up… well, I’ll just say that I am glad it is over. Hopefully I’ll dig the next one more.

 

FANTASTIC FOUR #603 (Hickman / Kitson / Mounts) Marvel

The most shocking thing in this issue? That letters praising the Bobillo art from FF.

I am not normally a big cosmic fan but this one was good. Clearing out the Kree and Inhumans while ramping up the Celestial / Galactus scrap was a good call. Looking forward to what happens next… which is something that wasn’t happening with the two FF books for a while.

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #26 (Gage / Grummett / Hamscher / Sotomayor) Marvel

Uh, what’s with the cover? Was it supposed to be for last issue? Jocasta is IN the book, but that is where the connection ends.

I enjoyed this. It was pretty talky but that works for me. I was kind of disappointed that at least one main character didn’t switch sides (either direction) just for drama value. I really hope they are wrong about the kid. I think having an organization like that which actually does those things and isn’t secretly evil would be awesome.

 

FURY OF FIRESTORM #6 (Ethan Van Sciver / Gail Simone / Yildiray Cinar / Norm Rapmund) DC

I have waffled on Firestorm, but I like the way it is going. The emotional wringer that they are going through (especially Ronnie) feels real. The cover reads ‘CONSEQUENCES’. I hope they follow through with that.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA & BUCKY #627 (Asmus / Brubaker / Francavilla) Marvel

I couldn’t care less. Since they left WW2 behind the book has been uninteresting (and the art is pretty weak at times). I am looking forward to the next iteration of this book.

 

AVENGERS SOLO #5 (Van Meter / Robinson / McCann / Kesel) Marvel

The credits on the cover don’t include the two incredibly awful pages by Declan Shalvey. Wow, do they suck.

Why can’t they make a decent Hawkeye comic. I feel dumber for having read this. Avengers Solo is the worst book I have read over the past year (and that INCLUDES Avengers X-Sanction.)

 

 


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: The Unwritten #13.5

November 27, 2011
2 Comments

To kick off this week’s reviews I just wanted to share something that has been bothering me. When you have one of these blogs you get quite a variety of statistics that go with them. One of the things that shows up is a list of search terms that have led people to your blog. Well, over at Rusty the Poet I had a long discussion/argument/whatever about a reference to rape in a comic. Now I get constant hits from people searching out the terms ‘rape’ and ‘comics’ together.

What are all these people asking for ‘rape comics’ looking for? I am afraid I do not want to know.

Anyway… on to better things…

COMIC OF THE WEEK

THE UNWRITTEN #13.5 (Carey / Gross / Kaluta / Geary / Talbot) Vertigo

Recently I was talking about how the Unwritten was still good, but had slipped a little in recent times. Wow, what a turn around here!

The reason it is a ‘.5’ issue is that they are running a background mini-series in parallel to the main series (just like the Venom run from the last Marvel Solicits). These issues are fleshing out the background of the world the comic is set in. The first one of these was amazing! The stories give a lot of the feeling behind the book more oomph, plus a Rick Geary story! Sweet! Not to mention all the other amazing artists… check out that list above. Talbot… Kaluta… and Gross, of course.

This comic has renewed my enthusiasm for The Unwritten and is certainly strong enough to pick up Comic of the Week.

As always, the rest are in descending order of awesomeness.

All-Star Western #3 (Justin Gray / Jimmy Palmiotti / Moritat / Jordi Bernet) DC

I was just talking about this book with Kin down at Silver Snail. He was marvelling over how popular All-Star Western is, when really it isn’t much different than Jonah Hex was, which didn’t sell well at all. The DC relaunch has really given people a chance to see things that they wouldn’t have tried before.

Having said that, there ARE differences. The first is the continuing nature of the storyline. It doesn’t look like too many ‘one-and-done’ stories are coming, which doesn’t bother me either way. However, the connections with the modern DC universe are in danger of slipping from ‘cute’ into ‘annoying’. The fact that they are in Gotham and the doc is named Arkham is fine. The ‘this city will need a special kind of lawman in the future’, well… not so good.

Not enough to ruin the book, though. Moritat continues to impress (though I think he was better on The Spirit than this) and it is nice to see Jordi Bernet back, even though the Diablo story has not been too exciting.

Fantastic Four #600 (Hickman / Epting / Magyar / Mounts / Di Giandomenico / Yu / Dalrymple / Doyle) Marvel

This issue is not only #600, but it is the 50th Anniversary of what basically kicked off the Marvel universe (along with Spider-Man).

First off – let’s talk about the price. $7.99 is a lot for a single issue, but what you get here is 100 pages of new material – none of it filler. As comics have shrunk to 20 pages, that is like buying five comics which will run you from $15 – $20.

Then let’s talk about the big surprise. (Spoiler free) First off, was it a big surprise? I don’t think so. It is what I expected. HOWEVER, it was done VERY well and has me very interested in the next issue. FF has been lagging a bit for me and now there will be two books. My only question is whether you will need to read both to get the full story, or if you can just buy one of the other. It LOOKS like Fantastic Four will be the place to get the main group and FF will give you the kids etc. We’ll see.

Highs and lows… I LOVED the Franklin and Leech story and I wasn’t thrilled about the Inhumans story. All in all, a very good comic.

CAPTAIN AMERICA & BUCKY #624 (Brubaker / Andreyko / Samnee / Breitweiser) Marvel

This book reads like a sneak peak at the new Winter Soldier comic, which is cool. The only thing wrong with this is that it is the last by this creative team. Chris Samnee is off the book and that is a shame because I am a big fan. (He has an arc coming up in Ultimate Spider-man, I believe).

Where is this comic going from here? I thought it was going to be set in WW2, but apparently that is no more. I expect it will end up being cancelled. If it does, I hope the main Captain America book gets its numbering back. Maybe in time for #650? #700?

SECRET AVENGERS #19 (Ellis / Lark / Gaudino) Marvel

This is the second decent Secret Avengers issue in a row, after some absolutely horrible issues. I still can’t wait for Ellis to be out and Remender to be in. This is the sort of line-up that suits the book but Ellis has zero idea how to write Steve Rogers. It is distracting. (Again, not NEARLY as bad as his first two issues… in fact, I enjoyed it.)

ALPHA FLIGHT #6 (Van Lente / Pak / Eaglesham / Oback) Marvel

Is it odd that I pretty much cheer whenever Northstar gets to kiss a man? It is getting less unusual, but for YEARS after Northstar came out as gay, Marvel wouldn’t show him kissing a man. It was ridiculous hypocrisy and I am glad it is done with.

I have to admit that the kiss probably moved the book higher on this list than it would have been.

Two more issues until AF returns to the comics limbo from whence it sprung.

SUPERMAN #3 (George Perez / Nicola Scott / Trevor Scott) DC

I had recently been considering dropping this book, but this issue redeems itself somewhat. Perez is still unnecessarily wordy but the straight supervillain-style fight, mixed with the on-going alien sub plot is quite interesting. If you can get past the the reams of backstory at the beginning of the comic, the book gets quite good. (Better than the latest issue of Grant Morrison’s Action, that is for sure…)

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #3 (Peter Milligan / Mikel Janin) DC

Are they ever going to come up with an excuse why it says Justice League on the cover other than marketing? Probably not.

Great characters but the storyline is shaky. I hope they tighten it up a little bit as this story continues, or moves on to the next one.

THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #3 (Ethan Van Sciver / Gail Simone / Yildray Cinar) DC

Another book that is wavering for me. It survives another issue on the strength of… I’m not sure. I want to see the new Killer Frost. Helix was disappointing.

ULTIMATE COMICS HAWKEYE #4 (Hickman / Sandoval / Tarragona / Anderson) Marvel

Was this always a miniseries? The whole thing was just a sideplot for the Ultimates? Disappointing. I would have preferred it if Hulk could have stayed with the Eternals. (Or was it the Celestials?)

RASL #12 (Jeff Smith) Cartoon Books

I like this series, but when he spends too much time giving Tesla back story it drags a bit. This was one of those issues. Did you know it has been optioned as a movie? If they make it, I bet they change the name.

ANNIHILATORS EARTHFALL #3 (abnett / Lanning / Huat / Hennessy / Quintana) Marvel

I am not one who has drunk the Cosmic Marvel kool-aid, but I decided to buy this due to the Avengers appearance. The story is picking up interest, but the art is ugly. I mean REALLY bad. It distracts from the story quite a bit.

AVENGERS SOLO #2 (Van Meter / Robinson / McCann / Henry) Marvel

I am a big Hawkeye fan which tells you that I mean it when I say that this comic is a mess. What is going on in the lead story? If you know, you are a better person than I am. Should I have gone back and reread the first issue? Who are the bad guys? Who are the good guys? I have compeltely lost track.

The Avengers Academy back-up was good.

AVENGERS ORIGINS: SCARLET WITCH & QUICKSILVER (McKeever / Pierfederici / Tartaglia) Marvel

These series of one-shots has been hit or miss, and this one was a very big miss. The story added nothing to the existing origin, other than modernizing the setting a bit. Adding that they had hints about their parentage was a big mistake that goes against the strength of the first Vision & Scarlet Witch mini. The art was not very strong. Overall, a weak comic. Hopefully the next one (Thor) will be better.

That’s it for this week. A big one, though not as strong as last week. (The Unwritten was sure great though…)