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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror #4

May 12, 2013
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This was a small, and not great, week. The comic of the week wasn’t even great. Good reads, but nothing exciting.

Starting at the weakest…

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #15 AU (Ewing / Guice / Palmer / D’Armata) Marvel

This comic was… pretty stupid and fairly pointless. Starting from having the Ultrons pretend to be Daleks right through to a super-powered soccer player… really?

I am guessing this book may have been interesting for people who read the Captain Britain and M.I.6 book. THat is just a guess because the comic acted like we would already know and care about this characters.

SUICIDE SQUAD #20 (Ales Kot / Patrick Zircher) DC

I loved the old Suicide Squad but when this run started, it just wasn’t very good, so I stopped buying it. With this new writer, I had heard that better things were expected so I decided to give it a try.

So far so… we’ll see. It is very violent, but it seems to be purposely violent. Are they just torturing these characters for fun? Killing people as a motivational tool? My biggest complaint seemed to be reversed int he same issue as they implied that their expendable characters couldn”t actually die… but then they seemed to take that back, which is good.

We’ll see.

UNCANNY AVENGERS (Rick Remender / Daniel Acuna) Marvel

Interesting. The arrogance of Sunfire was well done as it was obvious that he was doing it to mask his fear. (That line with Thor offering him a hug was terrible, though. It was like Remender had a line he wanted to put in and there was nobody suitable to say it and he just made Thor say it anyway.)

I also fine that Wasp has been acting WAY out of character. It is a point of view he wanted in the book, so he gave it to someone, even though it doesn’t fit well. I suppose that is the problem with characters with long histories. They were much more heroic in past eras and now we need them to be more… gritty.

AVENGERS #11 (Hickman / Deodato / Martin) Marvel

Speaking of odd characters choices… Black Widow is written differently from book to book. Does anyone recall that she used to lead the Avengers? Casually suggesting that torture and killing are the best way to handle things?
Now people will argue that it IS in character and they are not wrong. She is just very inconsistent.

Shang Chi is awesome in this issue. Sam and Bobby are pretty fun, too. That poker scene is sloppy and awful, but you can’t win them all.

ROCKETEER: HOLLYWOOD HORROR #4 (Roger Langridge / J. Bone) IDW

This is a fun issue. That’s about it. That makes it the best book of the week.

One note… I will often speak out against sexism in comics, even when there can be excuses for it.

Do you know how to get away with it? Adam Hughes knows. So do the Dodsons.

Do it with style.

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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Hawkeye #9

April 11, 2013
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The second week in a row where I have no real complaints about any of the books I read.

Have I gone soft in my old age?

Starting at the weakest…

AVENGERS #9 (Hickman / Weaver / Deodato / Ponsor) Marvel

Hickman sometimes seems to have no idea how to tell a story… but the story he is TRYING to tell seeps through.

Oh wait… I said I wasn’t complaining. You got me.

I find those gene bombs, or whatever they are called, to be suddenly interesting. Do you see what was being formed there? It was a uni-mind. That is pretty cool.
I just hope they don’t figure out how to turn Starbrand into a hero. One Sentry was plenty.

ROCKETEER: HOLLYWOOD HORROR #3 (Roger Langridge / J.Bone) IDW

I feel like I am supposed to recognize a whole bunch of people in this issue, and I don’t. Like… isn’t that narrater supposed to be Groucho Marx? I thought os, but he doesn’t look like him at all. Hmmm.

I like how they are showing that it isn’t so easy to just make more of those rocket packs.

Bridge issue.

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #14AU (Ewing / Guice / Palmer / D’Armata) Marvel

So, I realized what Marvel has done. There have been a couple of these AU books that I bought, thinking they were part of the regular title. They aren’t. It is a bait and switch. They are really stand alone comics that they have stuck in using SIMILAR Numbering from the regular books to convince people to buy them.

That is kind of slimy.

But I would have bought them anyway… and been disappointed. That is, until this issue. The Fantastic Four and Superior Spider-Man were lame comics trying to fix stupid continuity problems. This one is instead giving us back story and showing what it was like when the Ultrons sudden;y took over. Much better.
Plus, any Avengers book with Tom Palmer on inks gets a thumbs up from me!

FANTASTIC FOUR #6 (Matt Fraction / Mark Bagley / Mark Farmer / Paul Mounts) Marvel

This is the real #6. It is good issue, moving the story along nicely. My only problem is that whenever you let the Franklin genie out of its bottle, it is hard to get it back inside.

Oh, and didn’t they just execute Blastaar? That doesn’t seem like them.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #6 (Rick Remender / Daniel Acuna) Marvel

This was the best issue of this title yet, I think. A brash Thor and a way of getting certain new powers in the hands of the greatest Avengers villain of all time.

Well, maybe the second greatest. Third if you count the Masters of Evil as one thing.

UNCANNY X-MEN #4 (Bendis / Bachalo / Townsend) Marvel

This issue had a cool premise… what else was going on during the conversation between the two X-teams? The interplay between Emma and the Frostlings was well done… but I actually think she should want them to stay where Jean is. Maybe since her powers are a little messed up, she needs them handy.
The reveal was poorly handled. It was poorly NOT handles in the previous X-issue and now it was poorly handled here. It makes sense but we are given none of it… just a cold reveal that isn’t even the cliffhanger. They should have revealed it last week.

AGE OF ULTRON #5 (Bendis / Hitch / Neary / Mounts) Marvel

Now we are getting somewhere. I have liked the mini a certain amount, but now things are going to start hitting the fan. I like that the heroes are being proactive and while I think they are wrong to do so, I really hope Logan’s team succeeds. I want to see what happens.

I bet that Pym has saved the earth at least once, no?

SAUCER COUNTRY #14 (Paul COrnell / Ryan Kelly) Vertigo

Cancelled right when it is getting good. I have already heard that Cornell and Kelly are planning to continue the comic elsewhere. I woudl certainly buy Saucer Country from Image or Dark horse (or IDW or…)

I’m just saying.

SAGA #12 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

So this issue had some controversy. Get over it.

This is the second issue of Saga that did not win comic of the week for me, but that is because I love the Hawkeye issue so much.

Wonderful interplay between the Prince and Heist. You really can see each side and what motivates them.

One thing is certain, there are no ‘good guys’ in the war.

HAWKEYE #9 (Fraction / Aja / Hollingsworth) Marvel

This comic was amazing. It had a little of that time jumping thing that can be confusing but if you can follow along with Pulp Fiction, you can follow this.
Everything that made last issue seem less than perfect was here this time. Everything that made Clint seem like a bit of an ass was delved into here… but boy, did he screw up with Jessica. Big time.

And then the end… no!

Great comic.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Saucer Country #13

March 22, 2013
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These reviews are very late because last week was VERSeFest – the awesome poetry festival that I am on the FOC for. THat included the first inductions into the VERSe Ottawa Hall of Honour (William Hawkins & Greg Frankson). That was my main project and I am really proud of it.

Starting at the weakest…

BEFORE WATCHMEN: OZYMANDIAS #6 (Len Wein / Jae Lee) DC

Doing stories of the earlier days of Watchmen characters… cool. Doing ‘backstory’ on the actual Watchmen story, ‘filling in details’… not cool. Whenever they have done that, the book has sucked. This issue was no exception. Way to ruin a decent mini.

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #13 (DeConnick / Woods / Bagley / Hanna) Marvel

This was okay. DeConnick’s AA stories aren’t bad, but they read like fill-ins. That is not a good thing.

WOLVERINE and the X-MEN #26 (Aaron / Perez / Martin) Marvel

The flashback scenes were great. Too bad the modern art was so sub-standard. I like the story, but there wasn’t enough with the kids this issue. Dog is interesting. Has he appeared before (as a grown up character, that is)?

ROCKETEER: HOLLYWOOD HORROR #2 (Roger Langridge / J Bone) IDW

Another solid issue of Rocketeer. Why do they do these as minis? Is it a marketing thing? Is it easier to attract creators?

AGE OF ULTRON #2 (Bendis / Hitch / Neary / Mounts) Marvel

So he really was sitting there trying to come up with a plan. Cool. I like the SPidey story-within-a-story. They are still moving at a pretty slow pace. I just heard that Neil Gaiman is co-writing the final issue and that the rumours about a new character are about Angela instead of Marvel Man. The former is exciting. The latter is disappointing.

FANTASTIC FOUR #5 (Matt Fraction / Mark Bagley / Mark Farmer / Paul Mounts) Marvel

I am enjoying the two FF books. This time travel story was interesting with a nice twist at the end. The thing with … Thing had ominous possibilities.

UNCANNY X-MEN #3 (Bendis / Bachalo / Townsend) Marvel

Dissension in the ranks. Nice to see Magneto isn’t a push-over. The face-off with the Avengers was great. The way they were neutralized was great. The idea that they could take advantage of the situation was great.

Bendis does good X-Men.

SAUCER COUNTRY #13 (Paul Cornell / Ryan Kelly) Vertigo

Why did it take cancellation to make this book go somewhere? THe ending of this book was excellent as those little ‘imaginary people’ were one of the few things I really didn’t like in the book.

I am looking forward to seeing who they are working for.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: The Unwritten #46

March 5, 2013
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This was a huge week, made bigger because of a couple delayed books from last week. When I get a week like this it makes me look long and hard at what I am getting and there were some books that were found very wanting.

The cutting scissors are out!

Starting at the weakest…

ALL-STAR WESTERN #17 (Palmiotti / Gray / Moritat / Johnson) DC

I feel like no book was destroyed by the New 52 relaunch like Jonah Hex was. Jonah Hex was a very solid book, and the early issues of ASW held up to that standard, but it has been getting worse and worse. The constant Batman references were annoying enough, and then Jonah vs Mr. Hyde was pretty ridiculous. Now he is fighting… Vandal Savage?!?! Making this book part of the DC Universe is just silly. Do you remember ‘Hex’, the comic that sent Jonah into outer space? This isn’t that bad, but it is along those lines. It was made even worse by making the ‘classic DC character back-up’ Stormwatch. Uh what?

Dropped.

BATMAN INCORPORATED #8 (Grant Morrison / Chris Burnham / Jason Masters) DC

Uh, spoilers, I guess… but who hasn’t heard?

I am not one of those people who gets mad when they kill a character. The story comes first and if you can make a good story by killing a character, go for it. I am also not one of those people who gets upset about them bringing characters back. If it makes a good story, go for it.

Take when Marvel killed Captain America. It was a good story, but we always knew they would bring him back. (In fact, they took too long because Bucky was a terrible Cap.) The same thing with Peter Parker. Hands up anyone who doesn’t think he is coming back. No one? Good.

The problem here is that Batman Inc. hasn’t been a very good comic and the only thing that made it better was Damian. Now he is dead and it was done so in a really sloppy fashion that MINIMIZED the impact of his death. The sequential storytelling in this book has been very bad and it really destroyed any build up to Damian’s death.

Are they going to bring him back? Some people say yes. I am not so sure. I think Grant Morrison is taking his ball and going home and Damian will stay dead as long as Morrison needs appeasing. (Do you think there would have been those Before Watchmen books if Alan Moore was working for DC?)

More importantly, I am not sure I care.

Dropped.

AVENGERS ARENA #5 (Hopeless / Walker / Martin) Marvel

What DC did to Jonah Hex, Marvel did to Avengers Academy. They took a very good book and ruined it.

Now, like Batman Inc., don’t assume you know why. I am not one of the internet folk who hate the concept of the book. What did I say about killing characters in the previous review? The problem here is the writing. There is no plot. There is only a concept, and it is poorly executed. Let’s randomly kill characters, or make it seem like we are killing characters (because I am not convinced it is all legit), for no reason. Why? Because Arcade is suddenly the Beyonder in a bad mood.

Remember? They have done this story already. It was just in a less bloodthirsty time. The Beyonder took a bunch of heroes and a bunch of villains and set them against each other. With lots of exclamation marks.

Nobody would call Secret Wars high art, but I would rather reread that than this. (Having a BOYfriend in a refrigerator was a twist. Not that it makes it good writing…)

Dropped.

COMEBACK #4 (Brisson / Walsh / Bellaire) Image

Another book that is all concept and no execution. Some people (hi Kin!) hate time travel. I don’t. If it is written well it isn’t confusing at all.
Guess what this book isn’t and what it is.

I WOULD drop this book, but this is issue #4 and it is a 5 issues series. I’ll hold out to finish it.

WONDER WOMAN #17 (Azzarello / Akins / Green / Pinna) DC

Wonder Woman relaunched with a cool new feel, solid writing, good art. What happened?
Well, that opening story arc never ended. We are 17 issues in and are still telling the same story from issue #1 with no end in sight. This book isn’t about Wonder Woman, who happens to be trying to save Zola’s baby. This book is about Wonder Woman trying to save Zola’s baby. There is nothing else. It almost feels like that old Prison Break show where they just keep throwing up obstacle after obstacle because if they ever win, the show is over. Plus they keep subbing in Tony Akins on art and he is nowhere near as good as Cliff Chiang.

I woud consider dropping this, but it is one of Ruthanne’s favourites and very few of the books we get are ‘for’ her. This one stays.

ROCKETEER: HOLLYWOOD HORROR #1 (Roger Langridge / J. Bone) IDW

I bought the previous Rocketeer mini because of Chris Samnee. I enjoyed it, and I have good things about Langridge and I like J.Bone, so I decided I would give this a try. It isn’t as good as Waid and Samnee, but it is still okay. We talked about cutting this and decided against it. If I cut this one, it would just be to keep my budget in line, not because it was bad.

YOUNG AVENGERS #2 (Gillen / McKelvie / Norton / Wilson) Marvel

So far I still like the old YA better, and the story here that basically comes down to ‘the adults are either evil or under the sway of the bad guy so it up to the youngins to save the day’ is interesting enough. The whole ‘trapping them in comic panels’ thing is kind of cute.

THE MASSIVE #9 (Brian Wood / Garry Brown / Dave Stewart) Dark Horse

This book confused me a little bit but I think I was distracted by the cancer thing… as were the people involved, I would say.

So the ‘fleet’ got a little bigger? Yet they still don’t have the ship that the comic is named after?

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #17 (jeff Lemire / Ray Fawkes / Mikel Janin) DC

The big bust ’em up, throw down issue. Kind of… there appears to be more next issue. I really enjoy this comic and I am not sure why. Constantine is awesome is this other dimension. Frankenstein is kind of awesome in any dimension. It makes me wish I had read his book. (Side note: I ordered the new Constantine comic, but the preview running in the back of DC books this month doesn’t look very good…)

FABLES #126 (Willingham / Buckingham / Pepoy / Leialoha) Vertigo

Sometimes when something is supposed to be unsavoury it hurts the book even though it is doing what it means to do. This ex-husband of Snow White… ick. He is the most disgusting character that I can recall reading. Way worse than Comedian, and he is pretty bad. Now, he is supposed to be, but this rings worse. I think it may be because I know that Bill Willingham runs way on the right side of the political spectrum and this feels like an exaggerated version of what my lefty brain thinks that he thinks like. That is completely and totally unfair, but there it is.

BEFORE WATCHMEN: DR.MANHATTAN #4 (J.Michael Straczynski / Adam Hughes) DC

This book can be filed along with Silk Spectre and Minutemen to show how good the Before Watchmen concept CAN be. (Just don’t read Nite Owl or the Comedian unless you want to see the other end of the spectrum.)

This book was not as satisfying, storywise, as the previous three issues, because I don’t like it when they rehash what we have already seen (this is the same reason the otherwise good Ozymandias is sliding and why Moloch was one issue good and one issue terrible.)

And Adam Hughes is simply amazing. There are some artists who manage to take a tendency towards T&A but do it so well that it is beautiful rather than anything negative. Hughes exemplifies that. I mean, LOOK at that cover. Incredible.

As a whole mini this would rank higher, but this issue was relatively weak (and the flipped pages thing was just a novelty).

UNCANNY AVENGERS #4 (Rick Remender / John Cassaday / Laura Martin) Marvel

This is the best of the new crop of Avengers books… but as I have clearly said here and there, I am not a big fan of Hickman, so that isn’t hard. Still, this issue had a really good fight sequence against an ‘unbeatable’ foe, who lived to fight another day. It had a couple of really solid one-on-one scenes between Scarlet Witch and Rogue as well as Thor and Wolverine. I didn’t care for the tease, as I don’t look back at Onslaught with fond memories.

Also… what is the deal with the art? People rave about John Cassaday and I don’t know why. This just wasn’t that good.

UNCANNY X-MEN #2 (Bendis / Bachalo / Townsend) Marvel

First, I want to talk about the set. What is it about Bachalo’s art that makes the ridiculous costumes on the women seem so innocuous? Look at Emma on the first couple of pages. She has this weird cutout down the entire front of her shirt, yet it doesn’t seem to me to be overly sexualized. I think it is just the nature of his art. Those don’t look like melons hiding under her shirt… they are almost just well developed pecs. It waters down the effect, in a good way.

But then flip the page to the full page side shot of Emma’s face. That is some very pretty art. Well designed and well executed. Kudos.

Then there is the story. What does Bendis do well? Characters, characters, characters. These fell like real people. Real, interesting people. So far I like All-New better, but this is some solid work.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #0.1 (Brian Michael Bendis / Steve McNiven / John Dell / Justin Ponsor) Marvel

Here is Bendis again! I only bought this book because of his name in the credits because I normally don’t like the space stuff.

This was a very, very good comic. However, it wasn’t the space stuff that is coming, so it remains to be seen whether my enjoyment of Bendis’ writing can counter by normal dislike of the spacey aspects.

Even if the comic wasn’t good overall, which it was, the look on Peter’s mother’s face when she heard why he got in trouble for fighting was perfection.

FF #4 (Matt Fraction / Michael Allred / Laura Allred) Marvel

This was just an all-around sweet comic. The hijinks of (the equivalent to) young boys with a crush that ‘turn awry’ making Jen and Wyatt’s date better and better was just so well done. When Kin criticized Fantastic Four in his reviews (which I didn’t agree with, but that’s okay) he said, why can Fraction write Hawkeye so well and this so badly?

This book is Hawkeye brought to the FF.

Speaking of…

HAWKEYE #8 (Fraction / Aja / Wu / Hollingsworth) Marvel

First, what a great cover. Amazing. The art inside was a lot of fun too, both Aja’s normally brilliant work and the special Wu ‘covers’ scattered throughout. Hawkeye is one of my favourite comics being published and I certainly enjoy it more than the Unwritten normally, but this week it slipped a bit because I had a bit of a problem with the story. So, she comes in, Jessica sees her, but there is no explanation about who she is or where she fits into Clint’s past? I would be okay with that if he WASN’T hooked up with Jessica, but since he is, that didn’t feel right. It needed an explanation.

Not enough to ruin the comic for me, but enough to knock it out of the top spot.

THE UNWRITTEN #46 (Carey / Gross / Ormston) Vertigo

Zombies, Vampires, the chilling menace of IMAGINING death and… oh my god… did she just do what I think she just did? OMG, she did! The ending of that book was super chilling. The puppet lady who you can talk to in your dreams was super scary enough already but now she can imagine things and make them real? Holy crap. This is Freddy ramped up to the freakiest. Well done.