Rusty's World

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: Fantastic Four #4

February 17, 2013
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This was an odd week. It wasn’t a bad read, overall, but nothing really jumped out as amazing.

I do have a note about what is going on over at Marvel and how it affected my buying choices this week.

I am an Avengers guy. I have literally every (core) Avengers book ever… all the way back to 1963. I used to collect the ancillary Avengers titles… but they starting putting out too many. The bloody awful Chaykin mini is what finally broke that and it got me to just stop buying the bad ones.

I am NOT a X-Men guy. There have been good runs, but the level of interest with me hasn’t been high since… Claremont, really. (Though, I used to enjoy Peter David’s X-Factor.)

Then Bendis went from the Avengers to X-Men and Hickman took over Avengers.

So far, the Avengers books under Hickman are a mess. Meanwhile, All-New X-Men by Bendis has been one of the best new books I have read… at least among superhero stuff… and not counting Hawkeye… o’kay, let’s just say it is good.

Why? Characterization. Hickman does not consider that a priority. He writes the Avengers more like the JLA. THey are power sets, not characters. Bendis is ALL about characterization.

So, this week there was a new Secret Avengers book. I stopped buying the old one, but it was still Avengers so I considered giving it a try. The premise is that the members of the team get mind-wiped after every mission so they don’t even know they are on the team.

Does that sound like the basis for good character development?

Uncanny X-Men was also out. I was NOT planning on picking it up, initially. I am very firmly NOT in the Cyclops was right camp. But still… Bendis…Bachalo…

So, I bought Uncanny and not Secret. And I also bought WOlverine & the X-Men for the first time.

Bendis has made me switch sides…

Starting at the weakest…

BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN #5 (Brian Azzarello / J.G. Jones) DC

It is possible to write a comic where the lead character is interesting despite being completely unlikeable. This is no that comic. This is a generic Vietnam is hell comic led by a scumbag.

Just not very enjoyable.

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #12 (DeConnick / Woods / Hanna / Beredo) Marvel

This book continues to read like… it doesn’t matter. It reads like fill-in arcs despite having a permanent writer. Those fill-in arcs are okay, but in the end, if I don’t feel like the stories mean anything, I will lose interest.

WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN #25 (Aaron / Perez / Martin) Marvel

So, I decided to pick this up. It looked like a ‘jumping on’ book… and I guess it is. My only problem here is that there are so many characters that I don’t know that it is hard getting a handle on them. Aaron does a good job making sure there is character across the board, though, but there is a lot of back story I am missing. What is the deal with Kid Apocolypse / Genesis? Etc.

How will this tie in with All-New X-Men?

It was certainly good enough to buy #26.

AMERICA’S GOT POWERS #5 (Jonathan Ross / Bryan Hitch) Image

I think this will read better as a trade. I also wonder of Sarah Palin knows that she is a villain in a comic and whether she is okay with that. 🙂

Don’t believe the cover. This is no longer a 6 issue mini. It has been stretched to 7. I hope the extra issue is more story and not just more explosions and chaos.

UNCANNY X-MEN #1 (Bendis / Bachalo / Townsend) Marvel

I wasn’t going to get this, as I mentioned above, because it is completely populated with characters I didn’t like. Cyclops, Emma, Magneto, Magik… none of them appeal to me. What does appeal to me is what Bendis is doing with the X-universe. I find it interesting that he ramped the powers down in Cyclops, Magneto etc. and then created a new character that is probably more powerful that all the rest of them put together. That creates an interesting dynamic potential.

So does the last page reveal. I won’t give it away, but it could be interesting.

SAUCER COUNTRY #12 (Paul Cornell / Ryan Kelly) Vertigo

Sometimes the best thing for a comic is for it to be cancelled. Since it was announced they put out the best stand-alone issue (last issue) and now the story seems to actually been progressing towards a resolution (of sorts, at least), when the weakness of the book was that it was meandering.

AVENGERS ARENA #4 (Hopeless / Vitti / Martin) Marvel

First off, ignore the cover. It has absolutely nothing to do with the contents of the book.

I have not been sold on this book at all… and then this issue happened. Maybe it was because it spotlights character I actually care about. Either way, it is the first issue that makes me feel emotion or empathy towards the characters in it. And the last page… holy crap. Is that going to stick? If so, if they ever revive Runaways, that will change that book… a lot.

FANTASTIC FOUR #4 (Matt Fraction / Mark Bagley / Mark Farmer / Paul Mounts) Marvel

What did I say above… characterization. This book has it in spades. Reed’s inner monologue was brilliant. Maybe it is because I can relate to it… being married 20 years to someone who owns my heart utterly.

I don’t know. I will just say that the book moved me.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Saucer Country #11

January 27, 2013
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Here we go with another week of Rusty’s comic reviews….

 

Chris Koch wanted to know my take on Uncanny X-Force #1. I don’t read it but he told me what happened so I went and checked out the final page.

Ewwwwwww.

 

On to the comics I DO read, starting at the weakest.

 

WINTER SOLDIER #14 (Ed Brubaker / Butch Guice) Marvel

I kept hoping for a good pay-off to this story. Instead it is just semi-misogynistic crap, like most of the story has been. What was great about this book when it first started was that it was really a Bucky & Black Widow comic. This whole story has had Black Widow being a maguffin rather than a character. She is the woman in the refrigerator despite not actually being killed. Even in the end, she serves as angst for Bucky rather than a character in her own right. Does she ever even speak as herself in the comic?

Weak.

I am dropping the book. I know the creative team is changing, but it has soured for me.

 

BATWOMAN #16 (J.H. Williams III / W. Haden Blackman) DC

When can beautiful art be a detriment to a book? Here it is.

The thing that has been lost here is storytelling. Williams as writer has written a script that just allows Williams as artist to do big, lovely double-page spreads where he then stuffs in text blocks to try and understand what is going on… because the art doesn’t really show you at all.

The strength of comics is as linear storytelling. This doesn’t do that at all. If that is what you want, I would prefer you do it Stardust style, where Neil Gaiman provided Charles Vess with a prose story for him to illustrate. Don’t try to pretend it is comics when it isn’t.

 

AVENGERS #3 (Jonathan Hickman / Jerome Opena / Dean White) Marvel

There are world-threatening villains. The Avengers are an army now so they can take care of it! Except they don’t. Captain Universe does. Okay, what? How is having Captain Universe appear any sort of strategy? They can’t control that. (Oh, and side note, Hyperion can beat up the Hulk? No thanks.)

Eh.

 

UNCANNY AVENGERS #3 (Rick Remender . John Cassaday / Laura Martin) Marvel

That was better. Villains (but not over-powered, godly ones) fighting Avengers. Things look bleak, but I have a feeling the good guy swill figure out a way to pull this off. (Side note: I prefer it when Captain America is able to fight mental control himself, but the scene with him and Havoc worked. It was set up well.) (Side note #2: Having a different field leader when Cap is on the team never ‘feels’ right.)

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: MINUTEMEN #6 (Darwyn Cooke) DC

Other than Silk SPectre, Minutemen is the best of the BW books… but this was probably the worst issue of the mini. Suddenly the whole thing was a plot by the Comedian and now it was Nite Owl who killed Hooded Justice? How does Hollis not now gather his forces with the sole purpose of bringing Comedian down? He could do it.

Good mini. Not great ending.

 

YOUNG AVENGERS #1 (Gillen / McKelvie / Norton / Wilson) Marvel

The book has promise but there were too many niggling little things that kept this book from debuting higher on this list. First off, apparently Wiccan is an idiot. THEY JUST WENT THROUGH A BIG TIME TRAVEL STORY THAT TAUGHT THEM HOW MESSED UP THAT CRAP IS! Why would he pull that?

The Marvel Boy / Kate Bishop thing doesn’t work for me at all. What happened to that cool NORMAL girlfriend that Marvel Boy already had? I assume Miss America is actually going to get some sort of explanation other than “hey, I’m a new superhero who just happened to be in the neighbourhood…”

I am also not a huge fan of the art.

A book like this is going to live or die on characterization, though, and that is working for me so far.

 

WONDER WOMAN #16 (Brian Azzarello / Cliff Chiang) DC

What can I say? Milan is awesome. The insight into his powers was really well done. The bar scene was excellent. Orion was… okay. I still don’t see his point, but hopefully that will come around. Herc is… nasty.

But it is the bar scene that really stood out for me.

 

REVIVAL #6 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

There was so much in here. The world is finding out! Everything is going to change now! Anders’ eye shift shows how much you can do with linear art! Someone teach J.H. Williams that!

 

FF #3 (Matt Fraction / Michael Allred / Laura Allred) Marvel

Finally! Now it feels like the comic is actually starting! After two issues of nothing really happening, it was a nice change! (Though, did Darla really do that long scene in nothing but a towel? What is this, Saga?)

 

FABLES #125 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha) Vertigo

An issue of Fables! I mean, a real one! It has been a while since this book felt like itself. Now this is a pure set-up issue, but it still had the feel of the great book we used to love.

Brandish and Leigh are going to be trouble with a capital TRUH!

 

THE MASSIVE #8 (Brian Wood / Garry Brown / Dave Stewart) Dark Horse

Act two of a really exciting movie, no? Did they really turn the ship over to this new country? What do you think?

Does this oil rig country remind you of Great Pacific in any way? A little?

 

SAUCER COUNTRY #11 (Paul Cornell / Mirko Colak / Andrea Mutti) Vertigo

Saucer Country has been hit and miss for me. So much so that when I recently heard that the book is coming to an end, I just sort of shrugged.

Until this issue. Wow.

Forget all the alien stuff and conspiracies and how this issue fits in to the broader scheme of the book. Instead just read it as someone who has had a tough grasp on reality since witnesses something traumatic when he was young. Reading between the lines, I had already guessed some of what was going on… but the fact that people knew made this almost too much. To cause such a visceral reaction. Well done Cornell et al.

 

 


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Hawkeye #3

October 27, 2012
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I am trying to catch up… really I am. A combination of being quite busy and a relatively new addiction to Out of the Park Baseball has kept me tied up. 🙂

 

From the weakest to the strongest…

 

MARVEL NOW! POINT ONE #1 (A whole bunch of people not credited on the cover) Marvel

Who gets blamed? The con man or the sucker? $5 for what is basically an advertising pamphlet. There are no stories in here – just hints of stories leading to new series being launched in the future. I have no problem with this concept and I think it is a great idea to give away at comic store… what? Not given away? Charged $5? What the hell?

When I ordered this, I thought I was getting new stories that helped set the stage for the new status in the marvel universe. Nope. Nothing more than little teasers. It is kind of liking watching one of those new tv season specials they use to have every september.

Pass this by. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

 

AvsX: CONSEQUENCES #2 (Gillen / Kurth / Martinez / Charalampios) Marvel

I didn’t mind issue #1… what happened here? Well the big thing is the art. It is awful. In a book that is mostly a conversation, the art was very distracting. The story was decent… showing Cyclops to be totally deranged. He has become a villain of the best sort – one that is convinced that he is right.

 

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #8 (Bendis / Bagley / Miki / Mounts) Marvel

If this weren’t the last issue of this run, I would be cancelling it. It just never get good. Kelly Sue DeConnick takes over next issue, though, so I am going to hold on. Bendis is off to do Guardians and while I may miss him on New Avengers, I won’t miss him here.

 

ULTIMATE IRON MAN #1 (Edmondson / Buffagni / Troy) Marvel

Remember the previous UIM? By Card? if I didn’t know that had been jettisoned I wouldn’t have bought this.

It wasn’t bad. I don’t like the thing with the coin, but I do want to see more of the Ultimate Mandarin. It wasn’t tied in to the current Ultimate continuity enough.

 

CAPTAIN MARVEL #5 (DeConnick / Rios / Bellaire) Marvel

I will keep giving this book middling ratings until they let us in on what is going on , or at least have that seem to be more important. Emma Rios has joined the book! I quite like Rios, though I am not certain this is a perfect fit for her. She is best on quite dark books, in my opinion, and this is fairly light. Still better than no Rios at all!

 

WONDER WOMAN #13 (Brian Azzarello / Tony Akins / Dan Green) DC

It is nice to get back to the real book after the travesty off issue #0. Let’s start with that great Cliff Chiang cover. This issue is a very good ‘characer’ issue and the cover kind of shows that is leading somewhere rather than dumping you in to the middle of something. The mini twist was obvious but that is okay. What is obvious to the reader does not have to be obvious to the characters in the comic. Still a solid read and better than WW has been since… Rucka, maybe? Maybe longer?

 

IT GIRL! AND THE ATOMICS #3 (Rich / Norton / Passalaqua) Image

I am warming to this book after the initial disappointment. The villain team is entertaining and it was nice to see more heroes in action. Just a light, fun book.

 

SAUCER COUNTRY #8 (Paul Cornell / Ryan Kelly) Vertigo

RIght when it looked like it was teetering on the edge of being dropped, they give us a good issue. This comic is best when it focuses on the people rather than the conspiracy. There was a distracting mix up of word balloons that hurts when trying to establish character traits, but still the book worked. And HERE was an ending that I wasn’t expecting!

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #16 (Bendis / Larraz / Ponsor) Marvel

Love the comic… but I don’t buy that Cap would welcome him into the Ultimates. Support him? Sure. Train him? Sure. Sign him up for the nation’s official superhero team? No way. If nothing else it would be a pr DISASTER. The comic was great, though. Look at what Miles is using for a cel phone at the end. Nice.

One of the best comic runs going today.

 

THE MASSIVE #5 (Brian Wood / Garry Brown / Dave Stewart) Dark Horse

Great, great issue. This is where the comic really works. GIve us huge world building and then drop in an issue like this one where the world you have built sits in the background while we get to read about the people of the comic and how they operate and maybe a bit of why they are like they are. Great characterization makes for strong comics.

 

NEW AVENGERS #31 (Bendis / Gaydos / Beredo) Marvel

What did I just say? When Bendis really shines it is when he deals with characters over big world-shaking events. Remember last week when I said that Bendis is putting his house in order before he leaves? That includes taking Luke and Jessica off the table so the next writer won’t screw them up. These are two of the best written characters in mainstream comics right now (not quite as good as the couple in Saga, but still very good) yet there is a whole bunch of people who absolutely hate them. I can’t figure out why. Maybe it is because they are too real in a medium that trades on fantasy. I don’t know.

The other thing that Bendis is putting in order? I expect that when the ‘magic’ story is finished, Dr. Strange will have his title back. I’m just saying…

 

BATWOMAN #13 (J.H. Williams III / W.Haden Blackman) DC

This has been a poorly written comic, until issue #0 which was very good. This issue seems to continue that trend… not AS good, but following some new lessons that Williams has learned about writing, I think. (“make sure people know what you are writing about” being a big one). He handles Wonder Woman well, though I don’t want him taking over for Azzarello. And, of course, the big draw for one of these books – he draws it as well. Beautiful, beautiful work. If there is another artist as talented when it comes to design working in comics today, I don’t know who it is (though I should really read some Chris Ware…)

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: MINUTEMEN #4 (Darwyn Cooke) DC

Who would have thought that the best character to come out of Watchmen was only in it for one panel (or whatever). Silhouette has become my fave in these books, but I suppose that extends to Nite Owl as it is the way he relates to her that makes her so great. Too bad the Nite Owl comic was so bad. Even Silk Spectre seems decent after the graveyard scene. Still don’t like the Comedian, though.

 

HAWKEYE #3 (Fraction / Aja / Hollingsworth) Marvel

3 issues in and the best comic each week it has been out. What comic is better than this comic out these days? Saga? Well, yes, but not much else. The writing, the art, the design, the characters, the characterization… the little Hawkeye head that suddenly appeared to stop us from seeing a little Hawkeye head.

Great comics… and each issue one and done!


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom #2

September 18, 2012
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This is one of those weeks that doesn’t have anything that really blew me away but neither did it have anything that was really bad.

 

Starting at the weakest…

 

IT GIRL AND THE ATOMICS #2 (Rich / Norton / Passalaqua) Image

After getting sucked in by the Mike Allred swerve I was ready to cut bait and run but Ruthanne said she enjoyed the book. After altering my expectations, so did I. Still, there isn’t a lot of meat on this. If it is going to ride on ‘fun’, it needs to be quite good. It is kind of borderline.

 

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #7 (Bendis / Bagley / Miki / Mounts) Marvel

The weakest Avengers book as it still doesn’t feel like it has a reason to exist, other than pairing Bendis and Bagley. And even that is running its course soon. I am not a big fan of space stuff. We’ll see.

 

SAUCER COUNTRY #7 (Paul Cornell / NOT Ryan Kelly) Vertigo

Right off the bat, the cover says Ryan Kelly. It is not Ryan Kelly. It is David Lapham. That is fine (though Ruthanne disagrees – she thinks the art is awful), but it IS false advertising.

I liked when this book took a break to lay groundwork for the world as far as aliens goes. Now they have done it again and it is only issue 7. When I review The Massive I talk about how great the world-building is in that book. This book, not as great. The first sidebar issue was good. This one is pushing it. Get back to the characters. This is a good, but not great book. Don’t squander it.

 

WINTER SOLDIER #10 (Brubaker / Guice / Breitweiser) Marvel

I am not a fan of brainwashing stories, though with a book starring Bucky and Black Widow, you are pretty much going there. My problem with it is that when it is all said and done, Natasha is going to be fine, as if nothing happened. The number of times her brain has been scrubbed should really end in major brian trauma. Having said that, the story and art lend themselves to just the right atmosphere and tension. Hey did they kill Sitwell? Has he been killed before? How many times?

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #17 (Brubaker / Bunn / Eaton / Magyar / Guru-eFx) Marvel

How do you get me to not care so much that the villains are kind of lame? Don’t put them in the book and instead throw in some Zemo! Yeah, that works. Too bad it looks like the Discordians are back next issue.

One thing… why can’t they just stop broadcasting that tv signal? Am I missing something?

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN #3 (Brian Azzarello / J.G. Jones) DC

What an all-around unlikeable tool. Kin said in his review that this mini makes him wish Comedian didn’t die at the start of Watchmen. It makes me glad he did. This issue was better than the previous because it didn’t read like the comic version of Forrest Gump. Also, I don’t need to like a character for them to be interesting, but I wonder how much ‘Natural Born Killers’ style response are they getting. “He is bad-ass!” No. The point is that he is despicable and evil. He isn’t a loveable jerk like Guy Gardner. He is just a rapist scumbag.

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #12 (Kevin Shinick / Aaron Kuder / Matt Hollingsworth) Marvel

This book assumes a lot. It assumes you have seen Inception. Luckily I have. It also seems to assume you are reading Deadpool’s book. I am not. I have no idea why he wants someone to kill him. (It also assumes you know what Breakfast Club is, but I am 44. No problems here.) All that aside, this was a fun read. Deadpool out-wackys Spidey and the romp through Spidey’s dreamscape is pretty fun. And the Hypno Hustler next issue? I am in!

 

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #11 (Bendis / Coipel / Morales / Martin) Marvel

Strong, high-energy comic that moves the story right where it needs to be (and exactly where I predicted). I have to take issue with Coipel’s story telling skills, however. Have you heard the news? Have you heard the spoilers? I won’t break it hear, but let me just say… if I HADN’T heard the news, I still wouldn’t know it had happened. How does it look any different than anyone else he has been beaten and just gets up to fight again? This happened when they ‘killed’ Bucky too. You shouldn’t have to read spoiler sot understand what happened in a comic you just read.

 

NEW AVENGERS #30 (Bendis / Deodato / Beredo) Marvel

You know when there is a big crossover and it has little side issues that are expressly designed to NOT move the plot along so that people won’t miss anything if they don’t read it? You know how that makes the comics pretty lame?

Bendis knows how to NOT do that. From the prison break issue to this one, he gives you reasons to CARE about what is going on. In this issue he reminds us that in the aftermath of AVX, there should be increased anti-mutant hatred and paranoia. He also gets a character to make a decision that makes sense for his development. (Not that I agree with his logic…but that doesn’t make it out of character.)

Just a good story.

 

THE MASSIVE #4 (Brian Wood / Garry Brown / Dave Stewart) Dark Horse

New artist… yet it doesn’t really look very different. I would have to go back an compare the two, but the feeling of the book is still the same. This issue take a step back from world-building and switches to character-building. Good. I like both but it was time for an issue like this. I am quite enjoying the Massive and I really hope, like Saga, that it can stick to the principles of pacifism while also being realistic about it. So far so good.

 

ROCKETEER: CARGO OF DOOM #2 (Waid / Samnee) IDW

This is just fun. Dinosaurs with jetpacks? Really? Awesome! I like the addition of Earl Garland. I read elsewhere that he is anachronistic, but I don’t think a comic like this is required to portray systematic racism in a realistic context. Instead give us a strong (in every sense of the word) black character he acts as an equal to the others without anyone making a thing about it. I wouldn’t even have mentioned it if I didn’t read someone complaining about it.

Fun comic.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Saga #6

August 20, 2012
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A really solid week for comics.

 

Starting at the weakest.

 

AVENGERS #29 (Bendis / Simonson / Hanna / Keith) Marvel

What a mess. The last Bendis Avengers issue (New) gave us a talky issue to answer some possible complaints / concerns about the AVX plot, with great success. This issue tries to do the same but crashes and burns. Let’s start with the art. I am a BIG fan of Walt Simonson. Period. But this issue was just not so great. Ruthanne was quite put off by the Spider-Woman butt shot right up front, while I just found it a little…sloppy.

Then comes the plot. The question is, why doesn’t Xavier just shut down everyone psionically? You could ask the same question about every story ever published in the Marvel Universe! How do they normally get around that? Simple, Xavier doesn’t DO that. It is against his code of ethics.

Oh wait, except this time. He is on the Avengers side but won’t stop the X-Men. Oh, but he is more than willing to totally breach his own ethics by MIND-WIPING EVERYONE INVOLVED!

Ridiculous.

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: RORSCHACH #1 (Brian Azzarello / Lee Bermejo) DC

I am not opposed to Before Watchmen. At all. Some of them have been very good. Some of them have been very bad ( {ahem} Nite Owl {ahem} ). But this is the first one that has made me go… why?

I am just not sure there is anything more than need be said about Rorschach. If you do anything to change him, that’s no good, but otherwise you are just retreading the character we already know.We’ll see…

 

CAPTAIN MARVEL #2 (Kelly Sue DeConnick / Dexter Soy) Marvel

The time travel story has been fairly predictable, but I see what DeConnick is doing with it. For the second issue in a row she is letting us in on a little HERstory, if you will. It is a nice touch without being preachy at all. The art is a little…manga for my taste, but it isn’t bad. At least it isn’t all cheesecakey like DC would have done with this book. Benes or somebody…

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #35 (Gage / DiVito / Sotomayor) Marvel

So it turns out this story is the book’s swansong. Too bad. It has been a solid read. Too bad they can’t maintain a decent art team. Grummet is good but the rest have been fairly subpar.

The story unfolds the way you know it has to, complete with that little “you can only be cured ONCE!” caveat. Still, it was a nice read and the scenes between Hazmat and Mettle really worked.

 

BATWOMAN #12 (J.H. Williams III / W. Haden Blackman) DC

This is half way back to being a good comic! Great art! Now if only we could get a decent writer so the story is a little more comprehensible.

 

WONDER WOMAN #12 (Brian Azzarello / Cliff Chiang) DC

Much better. Gods fighting. Strife living up to her nature and a traitor! A new King of the Gods! This book is just a very solid read.

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #691 (Slott / Camuncoli / Janson / Green / D’Armata) Marvel

Dan Slott just did something I didn’t know was possible. He made me care about the Lizard. Lizard stories have a certain pattern to them. Connors turns into the Lizard. Spidey fights the Lizard. Spidey turns the Lizard back into Connors.

Slott turned that on its ear. It still felt the same until the ending when the nature of the creature changed, or at least the way we look at him. Then that final inner monologue…

 

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #10 (Brubaker / Kubert / Dell / Martin) Marvel

This issue did what it had to do. It moved Emma into a full villain and forced Cyclops to go face her so that he can become the PHoenix in full by the end of issue #11 so he can fight, and lose, and die in issue #12.

But it did it well.

 

SAUCER COUNTRY #6 (Paul Cornell / Jimmy Broxton) Vertigo

This issue (with a new artist, yes?) gives us a lot of talking to know where we stand about UFOs and aliens in the world of the story. It kind of reminded me of watching JFK… and I am one of the few people who would say that is a good thing.

 

REVIVAL #2 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

Nice. This book is only on issue 2 but I am really enjoying following along The exorcist on the cover will be an interesting addition to the cast. I already feel like I CARE about the characters… and that morgue scene… who didn’t see it coming but it was awesome anyway! When will this be optioned?

 

SAGA #6 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

Kin at Silver Snail accurately predicted that this would be my comic of the week. Right-o! The characters… ALL of the characters… are note perfect. A rocketship tree! Breaking the sword! Grandparents!

Only one bad thing… no new issue for the next two months?! Aaaarrrgghhh!!


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: New Avengers #28

July 17, 2012
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Sorry this is so late. I was away in Toronto acting as Slammaster for SLAMtario. That was a lot of fun.

A good week, with a surprise as top pick… but also a couple drops.

DEFENDERS #8 (Fraction / McKelvie / Aymara) Marvel

I was ready to cancel this a couple of issues ago, but getting the Dodsons to draw Black Cat is a way to get a reprieve. 🙂 No such luck any more. The story is scattered and aimless. Most importantly, though, is the terrible characterization. The crazy thing is, the characters that are treated the worst or those from the Iron Fist center of influence… and it is written by Matt Fraction. I don’t get it. This has been a disappointing run and I am dropping it.

DARK AVENGERS #177 (Parker / Shalvey / Walker / Martin) Marvel

Drop #2. I really liked Thunderbolts. I like the parts of this comic that are still Thunderbolts. But I am not going to pay $3 every issue for ‘some’ of a good comic, because the Dark Avengers stuff is just awful. When Bendis remade the Dark Avengers he completely misunderstood what made them interesting in the first place. These were big name villains with strong track records that were taking the places of heroes. Even the original Thunderbolts didn’t make up villains to have them masquerade as heroes. They were well established. Here was get a bunch of d-listers that only existed to give Norman Osborne fodder in his mini. They are not interesting in their own guises… at least yet. Switching them to new guises does not make them interesting. The only one that showed ANY character in this comic was Barney… who is still a pale imitation of the original Trickshot.

Somebody let me know when they bring the real Thunderbolts book back.

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #5 (Bendis / Baley / Miki /  Mounts) Marvel

Not dropped but on thin ice. This book appears to have no CREATIVE reason to exist. It takes up space as a marketing movie tie-in (which I never buy) masquerading as a ‘legitimate’ comic. The line-up matches the movie. The villain matches the movie’s reveal. Suddenly Black Widow and Hawkeye are kissing… because that matches the movie. The Guardians of the Galaxy appear… what movie was officially announced at ComicCon?

When does Ant-Man join the cast?

I give Avengers books a lot of leeway, but this book is so much a pure advertising vehicle that they should be giving it away, not charging $4.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #14 (Brubaker / Zircher / Deodato / Mounts) Marvel

I didn’t notice Deodato art when I read it. He merged it with Zircher pretty well. I liked this book over all and I like the cold war aspect of a battle with Bravo. I am not quite so taken with Bru’s willingness to kill long-standing characters off, but this was a Scourge story and that is what they are based on. It is worth noting that Mark Gruenwald said later that he was wrong to use Scourge to ‘clear the decks’. Killing characters should never be done lightly as everybody is somebody’s favourite.

SAUCER COUNTRY #5 (Paul Cornell / Ryan Kelly) Vertigo

This has ben a good read so far, but I feel it has been sidetracked a little by the hypnotist thread. It seems that they just now have their ducks in a row and we are going to move forward on the main plot. I am looking forward to it.

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #9 (DeConnick / T.Dodson / R.Dodson / Delgado) Marvel

If this is what the Captain Marvel book is going to be like, I am sold. You will likely never see it at the top of my list, but a good solid, entertaining super-hero romp is nothing to turn your nose up at. DeConnick is a very good writer and I am glad she is on board. The Dodsons are always great, but they will not be the artists on the Captain Marvel book. I wish they had delayed this book so it came out in the right order, but oh well.

 

SPIDER-MEN #3 (Bendis / Pichelli / Ponsor) Marvel

Not as awesome as issue #2, but still a very good read. ‘Both’ Mysterios are now cooler than they were and the scene at the end… well, let me just say that meeting between Peter and Miles was epic, wait until the meeting of Peter and Aunt May and GWEN STACY.

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: MINUTEMEN #2 (Darwyn Cooke) DC

Excellent comic. I enjoyed this a lot. Cooke really sets the mood and tone for the time period. The scene where the team decides to NOT go after the child molester is horrific, but it is balanced out by the great Silhouette, Nite Owl, Moth Man mission. Having Sil lead the foray worked on many levels. This book also makes me wish Cooke was doing the Nite Owl book. He got his tone very well. Moth Man breaking down in tears was spot on.

Here is the part that bugs me if I think about it too hard. This is what stops the book from being higher. The parallels between the homosexual relationship in the book and the children being molested was a little too… there. Cutting back and forth between a consensual act that was frowned upon at the time and brutal sexual assault son children is implying something that I TRULY hope was unintentional. If I thought for a second that Cooke was trying to say these have ANY sort of equivalency, I would never buy one of his books again. I HOPE that he was being more subtle and trying to show how ridiculous it is that Larry was worrying about dealing with the ‘gay issue’ while thinking child molesters was beneath their notice.

I hope.

 

THE MASSIVE #2 (Brian Wood / Kristian Donaldson / Dave Stewart) Dark Horse

Note to writers like Hickman and sometimes Morrison: this is how you can do quick jump cuts while not losing the flow of the story. The new Hong Kong in this story is artfully crafted. I am not sure how strong this book is on plot so far but as world-building goes, it is brilliant. I want to know more about this world and see what has happened in every part of it. More, more, MORE!

 

REVIVAL #1 (Tim Seeley, Mike Norton) Image

Speaking of more… what an amazing take on the (somewhat overdone) zombie genre! These aren’t zombies, they are something else entirely. The bit with the teeth was incredibly creepy and the final page reveal promises much more. Seeley came up with a motherlode idea and I guarantee that this will be optioned as a movie or tv show… if it hasn’t already.

 

SWAMP THING #11 (Scott Snyder / Marco Rudy) DC

Don’t let the ugly cover throw you off… this is a very good comic. Arcane. Alec. Abby. The mini parliament of trees. The art was beautifully moody and evocative of the edge of horror that was being called for by Snyder. It seems that the not-quite-crossover is becoming an actual crossover. I will have to remember to pick up the appropriate Frankenstein issue to go along with the two books I already get (Swamp Thing and Animal Man).

 

NEW AVENGERS #28 (Bendis / Deodato / Beredo) Marvel

Before reading the books I NEVER would have guessed this would come out on top. A simple story about three Avengers breaking out of the X-Men’s jail.

Wow.

This was incredibly well done.

I don’t know what else to say. Just read it. Does it ‘matter’ (other than reminding us that the X-Men are very much the villains of this story)? Not really. A good story doesn’t need to ‘matter’.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Amazing Spider-Man #687

June 18, 2012
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Not a big week, but a decent one. I am a little behind because our slam finals were on Saturday and they took a lot of my time.

 

And they were awesome.

 

Starting at the weakest, as always.

 

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #4 (Bendis / Bagley / Miki / Mounts) Marvel

Twice while reading the comic I flipped back to the credits page to see who the artist was. I am very familiar with Mark Bagley, but he is a much better artist than you what you see here. I mean, there were parts of the art that were actively bad. Other parts were just okay. WAAAAY below the normal standard you get with Bagley.

Then there was the story, which wasn’t bad, but neither was it much of anything. It just seemed to be a fight in a vacuum… almost like the early parts of Avengers vs X-Men.

 

AVENGERS #27 (Bendis / Simonson / Hanna / Keith) Marval

What… the… hell… is… going… on? So there is Protector, having betrayed the team. Right, I got that part. Then there is Ms.Marvel, with the rest of the betrayed Avengers… uh. wait. I thought Protector betrayed the Avengers WITH Ms.Marvel and the returned Captain Marvel? No?

Wait, so that was in SECRET Avengers so there are two DIFFERENT betrayal stories going on with the same characters in the same storyline that are completely different from each other? That have NOTHING to do with each other? Someone forgot what an editor’s job is…

 

I like Bendis but do you ever get the idea he has turned into George Lucas? I read a story in Wired a while back about a huge database that Lucasfilm keeps to keep all of the facts from the extended Star Wars universe straight. Nobody is allowed to do anything that conflicts with what is in there.

Unless it has a red star. A red star means ‘because George said so’.

Having said THAT, this issue is pretty clearly a set-up for the cosmic books that Bendis is supposedly doing after he leaves the Avengers. I am not a big fan of cosmic, but I do like the Noh/Annie thing Bendis has going on.

(The Avengers were awfully harsh, though…)

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #13 (Brubaker / Zircher / Mounts) Marvel

I liked it… but I don’t know what to say about it. With Zircher on art it is starting to feel more like the old Bru Cap book, which is too bad. We already get that with Winter Soldier. I preferred the Bru/Davis style.

But it is still a good read. I wish D-Man would get a clear storyline though, and not change with every writer.

 

SAUCER COUNTRY #4 (Pul Cornell / Ryan Kelly) Vertigo

Solid story. I am glad the hypnotist stuff played on this way because it sure seemed sketchy when it happened. I like how Cornell is taking the whole UFO thing and eating the ridiculous  – cutting off avenues for criticism. I am really interested in seeing what is REALLY going on, and how can a comic ask more than that.

 

SPIDER-MEN #1 (Bendis / Pichelli / Ponsor) Marvel

If you are an Amazing fan, read this comic. See how awesome Miles is and become an Ultimate fan. As great as Slott is on ASM (scan down the page), Bendis is even better on USM.

Buy them both. Actually, by this one as well.

The only thing that keeps this as far down on the list as it is is other great books and the lack of Miles in this issue.

 

THE MASSIVE #1 (Brian Wood / Kristian Donaldson / Dave Stewart) Dark Horse

As far as world building goes, Wood has done a great job here. One question – were we supposed to realize that Mary couldn’t jsut drive the boat back? It is only in the extra material at the end of the book where I realized that.

The fact that the book is named after the MISSING ship tells you there is a big mystery to unfold here. Looking forward to it.

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: SILK SPECTRE (Darwyn Cooke / Amanda Conner) DC

I was thrilled with the first BW book (Minutemen). This one was better.

Read page 3 and tell me that isn’t incredibly good comics.

Cooke has these characters down cold and the Conner art is as good as anything I have seen by her. I am iffy on the next BW book (Comedian) but they haven’t let me down yet.

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #687 (Slott / Caselli / Martin Jr.) Marvel

Wow. I was starting to tire of the Ends of the Earth storyline, but Slott wrapped it VERY well. The feeling of the clock ticking away while doom lurked around every next bend pervaded the book. It is hard to create suspense when you know it isn’t possible for the heroes to fail, yet they pulled it off.

And Spidey DID fail, in a very real way.

At least for now. I wonder…


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Saga #3

May 20, 2012
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A GREAT week for comics! Even the comic I have as the weakest of the bunch wasn’t all that bad! The fight for the top spots was tooth and nail!

 

As always, I start with the weakest and work my way up.

 

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #4 (Hickman / Romita / Hanna / Martin) Marvel

There are some real problems with this book. The biggest of which is that it feels like it is just a series of recaps about crossover books, after claiming you don’t need to read those books.  The actual meat of the story is told elsewhere (and it sounds like the best of it is in X-Men books, which I don’t read.)

Still, I like the direction the story is going. Wolverine is starting to act in a more rational manner, which is nice. I expect the Phoenix force is going to fly right past them there on the moon, but we will see.

 

WINTER SOLDIER #5 (Brubaker / Guice / Gaudino / Palmer / Breitweiser) Marvel

This is a nice wrap-up for the story (though it seems like there will be an epilogue or sequel to come). It is an interesting fight and the bit between W.S. and Red Ghost was pretty cool and the arrogance of Doom was spot on. WInter Soldier is not a ‘great’ book, but it is solidly a ‘good’ book.

 

AVENGERS #26 (Bendis / Simonson / Hanna / Keith) Marvel

Man, Walt Simonson is awesome. Just look at some of those pages! Look at the MOVEMENT in them. This is a master at work (and less of the ‘misses’ found in the previous issue). The stuff with Noh and Annie was great and I really hope that this ‘betryal’ works out okay and we get to see more of them. I don’t care about Protector normally, but adding her makes him way more interesting. (Yes, we have seen her before, despite what the guy from The Buy Pile says.)

This is an example of where the crossover stories are better than the main AVX book.

 

BATWOMAN #9 (J.H.Williams III / W.Haden Blackman / Trevor McCarthy) DC

I have written in the past about how much I love Amy Reeder’s work on Madame Xanadu and how bad it was on Batwoman. Trevor McCarthy is a nice change. He goes in for the design vibe of Williams (while not being AS good, but who is?). The lay-outs and execution are interesting. I like the switch between the different ‘worlds’ of the characters.

Characters are everything here, because the plot is kind of a mess. The characters ar strong enough to overcome it though.

 

THUNDERBOLTS #174 (Parker / Shalvey / Martin) Marvel

Surprised to see this book this high on the list of such a good week? Me too, yet here it is. The story is interesting! Following through on the problems with time travel, it messes with our heads and ties everything in a knot… not neat and tidy but firm enough to stop it from unravelling. I miss Techno.

I have been very critical of Declan Shalvey’s work (and some sleuthing tells me it is POSSIBLE that he has read what I had to say), however, a lot of the problems I have had are not apparent this issue. It feels a lot stronger, artwise.

This is the last issue before it switches to Dark Avengers. A name change doesn’t bother me. Adding such a terrible character as Clor or Ragnarok or whatever they are calling him… that bothers me. We’ll see.

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #30 (Gage / Grummett / Hamscher / Sotomayor) Marvel

Is Christos Gage the best writer going for pure, honest characterization right now? If not, he is up there. Look how believable they ALL are in this book. Every time I see any of the characters talking about ANYTHING, I want to know what they think, because they seem REAL. In the letters page somebody complained about a lack of action. I find the action gets int eh way in this book. Make it pure soap opera and you really have something. In fact, the only scenes I didn’t like were the ones with Shaw in them. I just don’t care about him as he seems to only be there to be the villain.

 

SAUCER COUNTRY #3 (Paul Cornell / Ryan Kelly) Vertigo

This book suddenly got better. The scene with the obviously leading hypnotherapist was great. The bunnies. The argument that there are no facts, just mythology… even if it is real… is a head rush. Wherever this story is going, it isn’t predictable. I like that feeling.

 

WONDER WOMAN #9 (Brian Azzarello / Tony Akins / Dan Green) DC

I’ll start with a criticism: think of how god this book COULD have been, if the art was better. If only Cliff Chiang could draw EVERY issue…

Some people criticize WW because of what it is doing to such a classic character and her mythology. I honestly couldn’t care less. Say this isn’t WW at all and pretend this is a new Vertigo book if you want… I just know that this is the most interesting version of the greek gods I have EVER read. Ares is brilliant. In fact, I liked everything about this issue except the art. Akins isn’t terrible, but he isn’t good enough for the story being told here.

 

SAGA #3 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

Great yet again. The story – the characters – everything.

What I really want to address is the letter that follows I review I read that says that the male lead is ‘weak’. Bullshit. He doesn’t act like your typical, testosterone laden leading man? GOOD. It is called character. Not everybody should act the same way!

Too ANYONE who says that Marko is (these are actual quotes from the mouth breather who wrote in) ‘a testosterone-free girl-man who is mind-numbingly “sensitive”‘ and ‘feeble and effeminate’ I just want to say, grow up. Even past the sexist crap you are layering in here, I am sure glad I don’t know you. Stick to the monster truck races and leave books with actual well-rounded, non stereotypical characters to people who can handle it.

In this context, do you know what ‘sensitive’ means? Not an asshole.

 


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