Rusty's World

Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Avengers #32

October 28, 2012
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Is The Avengers #32 the actual best comic this week?

 

Of course not… but it is for me. I’ll explain when I get there, but sufficed to say that it has more to do with my history with the title than anything else.

 

Starting at the weakest…

 

SECRET AVENGERS #33 (Remender / Kuhn / Wilson) Marvel

This is the last issue for me. The story doesn’t interest me and the art is absolutely horrible. I considered holding on for the next creative team, but the hell with it. The only good thing in this issue is the destruction of Max Fury. I mean, Black Ant? Emperor Doombot? Really?

Pass.

 

ULTIMATES #17 (Humphries / Ross / Milla) Marvel

This book took a backslide this issue. In fact, if this was the normal level of enjoyment I got out of the book, I would also be dropping it. With the big surprise being that it is Modi not Loki pulling the strings, maybe you shouldn’t write him as if he were Loki. The Ultimates and SHIELD apparently charged into battle without a plan at all, as they fell apart immediately. Plus the art was pretty sloppy. Hopefully this book gets better again as it has been an interesting read.

 

AvsX: CONSEQUENCES #3 (Gillen / Eaton / Hennessy / Charalampois) Marvel

Better than the last issue. Cyclops is starting to show signs that he could be an interesting villain. The “I am a political prisoner” bit shows him to still be delusional, which totally works. I just hope nobody tries to redeem him. That would be a big cop-out.

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #696 (Slott / Gage / Camuncoli / Green / Fabela) Marvel

Interesting story, but not much of it. I mean, what really advanced here? Two Hobgoblins fighting, but what is our stake in it? What makes either any different than one another in practical terms?

I guess we won’t know until that goblin key opens its hidden lock. I picture quite a villain reunion in issue #700. Green Goblin and Dr. Octopus should be back right about them.

 

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #13 (Jeff Lemire / Mikel Janin / Victor Drujiniu) DC

String issue. The villains are interesting and the struggles the ‘heroes’ face are challenging yet brief. It feels right for magical struggles. It ties in with the zero issue last month, which is nice. I am not sure how I feel about Nick Necro, but the rest of the characters are spot on. House Fight!

 

BATMAN INC. #4 (Grant Morrison / Chris Burnham) DC

A well-staged assault that really shows the advantages of working with a team. I don’t read the other Bat-books so I don’t know why the reveal is a big deal. The end is a swerve, guaranteed. IF ti isn’t, Batman is WAY out of character… but it is, so he isn’t.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #19 (Brubaker / Epting / D’Armata) Marvel

Final issue! Until the next one! Final Brubaker issue, though, and it is a good one. Bru shows that he is a fan of the history of ALL the Captain Americas (which was already pretty clear in the book). He also ties up a nice loose end before he puts up the chairs and turns out the light.

The Cap relaunch… well, I am going to give it a go, but neither Remender nor Romita are very high on my list of go-to creators. We’ll see.

 

ALL-STAR WESTERN #13 (Palmiotti / Gray / Moritat / Winslade) DC

This book waffles between ridiculous Batman references and good Batman references. This issue is more the latter. The circus didn’t have to be called that etc. but it didn’t distract from the story which is (not) a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen cross-over. This book is just a good, solid comic.

 

REVIVAL #4 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

All I want to say here is PLEASEDON’TBEALIENS, PLEASEDON’TBEALIENS! That would really suck a lot of the cool factor out of this book. They ‘why’ is not the thrust of the book. Keep it that way.

 

FABLES #122 (Willingham / Ha / McManus) Vertigo

Fables’ best days are behind, but they still put out consistently good stories. I found the art to be a little hit and miss, but I really liked the story I hope it isn’t JUST a flashback and what happens in this story has a bearing on the modern stories.

I do want to mention the preview in the back.  If you are going to put out a hardcover graphic novel… couldn’t you get at least as good an artist as the regular book normally has? The art isn’t awful or anything, but it sure doesn’t seem ‘special’. For HC money, it should be ‘special’.

 

THE UNWRITTEN #42 (Mike Carey / Peter Gross) Vertigo

It feels like I am reading the old Unwritten again. Stories within stories and characters following journeys into the unknown with a surprise around each corner… or page turn. Yes!

 

NATIONAL COMICS: MADAME X #1 (Rob Williams / Trevor Hairsine) DC

An interesting take on Madame Xanadu, good plot, good execution, art that looks like it is channeling good Neal Adams… what’s not to like?

Well, the fact that they left a cliffhanger in a one-shot, for one. They did the same thing in the Kid Eternity book.

Why are the National Comics books consistently better than the new 52 books?

 

AVENGERS #32 (Bendis / Mayhew / Peterson / Keith) Marvel

Spoilers, I guess, but if you didn’t see this coming…

Wasp is back! The scene where she meets the big 3 and Hank, reuniting the real founding Avengers (functionally… I know it was the Hulk and Cap took a few issues, but for all intents and purposes, these are the five).

I loved this. I have been reading Avengers for 28 years and I have collected the entire run and scenes like this are the pay off. Is the book actually awesome? No. It is good, but not the best of the week.

But it touched my little geek-filled heart.

 


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan #2

October 20, 2012
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Still trying to catch up. I get new comics tomorrow.

Since my last report we have dropped World’s Finest. Not good enough to keep buying (though there is a way worse comic this week).

Starting at the worst… and it is bad.

AME-COMI GIRLS #1 (Palmiotti / Gray / Conner / Akins / Wong) DC

This looked like a can’t miss! The writers from Jonah Hex and the amazing artist most recently on Silk Spectre.

Wow.

This may be the worst comic I have read this year.

Who is this comic marketed towards? Poor boys trying to struggle through puberty? Wonder Woman hasn’t been drawn in this horribly sexist manner since the bad old days of Deodato’s 90s where every shot was of her crotch and her costume was a thong.

Just awful.

I will NOT be buying #2.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #18 (Brubaker / Bunn / Eaton / Magyar / Guru-eFX) Marvel

A super-hero comic relies on villains. The villains in this story arc are dull, dull, dull. The exception is the Zemo vs Carter parts, but they are side notes and can’t make up for the Discordians. Then there is a hint that they might come back. Oh goody.

It has been pointed out to me that the slide started when Bunn joined Bru on writing. He isn’t doing it after the relaunch is he?

SECRET AVENGERS #32 (Remender / Scalera / Wilson) Marvel

Ruthanne doesn’t like SW at all, but I do. I did feel a little burned that the cool looking front cover scene didn’t happen at all. I liked the inventiveness of how the Void was defeated, but the Black Ant? Really?

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #13 (Kevin Schnick / Aaron Kuder / Matt Hollingsworth) Marvel

Sometimes comics can just be fun. I don’t really like Deadpool most of the time, but the Hypno-Hustler? Yes sir!

I wonder if the fact that Deadpool is left in jail at the end of this one will be reflected in his own book.

I wonder idly, because I don’t read it.

AvsX: CONSEQUENCES #1 (Gillen / Raney / Charalampiois) Marvel

All along I thought that Cyclops had to die for AvX to work. He is quite irredeemable. Instead it looks like they are setting him up to be Magneto, of a sorts. We’ll see where that goes. I’m glad it is in here because I don’t read any of the X-Men books.

AVENGERS #31 (Bendis / Mayhew / Peterson / Keith) Marvel

So, Bendis has some things to reverse before his run is up, does he? He is trying to give Wonder Man some character redemption and the mystery woman is pretty likely to be Wasp.

I’m okay with that.

I am surprised that it is the same artist inside and out because the art in the book isn’t bad but the cover is pretty ugly.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #1 (Rick Remender / John Cassaday) Marvel

Good premise. Good story. Good art. Nice surprise at the end. What’s not to like?

Well, I am not a big fan of Havoc, but that is a minor gripe. Let’s see where this goes. (Hey, didn’t he just join X-Factor again?)

HALLOWEEN EVE (Brandon Montclare / Amy Reeder) Image

After the mess that was Batwoman, it is so nice to see Amy Reeder drawing her own way again. The story is just okay, but every page is beautiful.

Do you know where she would be good? I would love to see her draw Young Avengers.

BEFORE WATCHMEN: DR. MANHATTAN #2 (J.Michael Straczynski / Adam Hughes) DC

What a great comic! This has become the top BW book me, even ahead of Silk Spectre and Ozymandias, becuase while it has art just as good as those books, it also has really inventive and interesting writing.

I read a review that called this book terrible because it goes again some minor plot point for the original mini. To that I say, get over it. If you let that ruin this comic for you, you may miss one of the best comics of the year (won’t know that until it is finished).


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: All-Star Western #0

October 3, 2012
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Sorry these are late. Next week’s will be even later as I will be in Saskatoon for the week. Chances are I will do two weeks at once next time.

Short even by my standards…

Working up…

 

WINTER SOLDIER #11 (Brubaker / Guice / Thies / Breitweiser) Marvel

This is wearing really thin. One of the good things about this book is the strong presence of Black Widow. Now she is all in-need-of-rescue and it is dragging out way too long. As I said last issue, her brain should be completely broken by now.

 

CAPTAIN MARVEL #4 (DeConnick / Soy / Barrionuevo / Quintana) Marvel

I like this book. Quite a bit, actually. I just don’t like that such an important plot point as WHY DID SHE SUDDENLY GO THROUGH TIME is being left as if it is a minor thing. At least mention it!

The next couple of issues are going to be drawn by Emma Rios! Sweet!

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #694 (Slott / Ramos / Olazaba / Delgado) Marvel

I graded this one too harshly. Ruthanne pointed out after that the airplane scene was pretty awesome. Which it was. I initially put it here because the wrap-up to the very uninteresting Alpha story was a very uninteresting and uncreative conclusion. That’s it? Really?

Please be better next issue, like the book normally is.

 

SECRET AVENGERS #31 (Remender / Scalera / Wilson) Marvel

Ruthanne doesn’t like this book. I think this issue is better than it has been. Good characterization and good fights. Neither great, but good.

 

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #0 (Jeff Lemire / Lee Garbett / Cam Smith) DC

Young Constantine! Young Zatanna! This was just a good read. The characters were interesting. The story was solid, if a little predictable, but that is okay. JLD is SO much better under Lemire than it was under Milligan.

 

BATMAN INCORPORATED #0 (Grant Morrison / Chris Burnham / Frazer Irving) DC

Ruthanne has a legitimate bone to pick with this book. All these new characters (or fairly new characters within a relatively short time frame) and the only female hero is a sidekick? There is more than one kind of diversity, Grant.

Having said that, I quite enjoyed this book. A nice reminder of what Batman Inc. is supposed to be (and isn’t really in the regular book). Hopefully this is a sign that that real Batman Inc. is coming back. This is the only Batman book I read and if it remains just a ‘regular’ Bat book, I may stop.

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: OZYMANDIAS #3 (Len Wein / Jae Lee) DC

Comedian is well written here. Some of the writers seem to forget that he is a BAD GUY. He is not a hero. In any way.

Great at, as always from Jae Lee. My only real complaint here is that Len Wein doesn’t know how to pronounce Ozymandias. The way he has him sound it out is just wrong. It is an existing name, from long before Watchmen. Changing the pronunciation because you think it sounds cooler is just dumb.

 

NEW DEADWARDIANS #7 (Dan Abnett / I.N.J. Culbard) Vertigo

I LOVE that the reversal on the big twist was in the same issue AS the big twist. Dragging it out would have been cheap. It sure doesn’t feel like this book is almost over. This issue was a HIT for me.

 

ULTIMATES #16 (Humphries / Ross / Milla) Marvel

President Cap kicks ass. He had so many great scenes and great lines. Too bad the art was so poor.

 

ALL-STAR WESTERN #0 (Gray / Palmiotti / Moritat) DC

I kind of liked that Jonah didn’t really have an origin. I would have said it was a bad idea to give him one.

I would have… before I read this issue.

This is a great, bloody comic.  I would be happy to hand this to someone who thought the comics can only be about superheroes. (Though one of the things that made it good was the lack of Batman references that are all over the book normally.)


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Before Watchmen: Dr.Manhattan

August 29, 2012
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This was a big, but really good, week. There was only one really disappointing book and a number of very good ones.

 

Starting at the weakest…

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #692 (Slott / Ramos / Alazaba / Delgado / more) Marvel

Here is the disappointing book. I really enjoy Slott’s Spidey, but this book doesn’t hold up. First off t falls under the spell of the BIG ANNIVERSARY ISSUE, which means padded with extra cliche stories that just retread the same stuff we have seen hundreds of times before. It is the main story that was the disappointment, though. It introduces Alpha as Peter without Uncle Ben (and WAY more powerful) if that makes sense. It doesn’t work. If he wasn’t so powerful you might think it is a new character that could learn and grow, but he is too powerful. As it is, the best we could hope for is Sentry… and that is pretty bad.

Let’s see: unlikeable character with no long term prospects… uh, why is this a big deal again?

Disappointing.

 

SECRET AVENGERS #30 (Remender / Scalera / Wilson) Marvel

This almost fell below ASM, but for the great twist. LMDs are not people, no matter how much they want to be. I guess Ant-Man can’t get a new hat either. Remender also failed Taskmaster 101 (that’s okay, MANY writers make the same mistake): he CAN’T copy the style of Spider-Men because Spider-man does things that are physically impossible for someone who doesn’t have his abilities… which Taskmaster doesn’t. If he wants to beat Venom, he needs to do it as Captain America and Iron Fist etc. NOT Spidey.

 

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #12 (Jeff Lemire / Mikel Janin) DC

The backstory for Dr. Mist was nice, as was the plan to divert the heroes. Question: dos the death of Zatara scene mean that the whole Alan Moore Swamp Thing story is in continuity in the new 52? So, who is the main bad guy? Should I recognize him? I am familiar with Blackbriar Thorn but not Black Boris.

 

FABLES #120 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha / McManus) Vertigo

This is the worst issue of Fables in quite some time, which doesn’t make it awful, but well below it;s usual standard of excellence. So the kid goes crazy, sees visions, and kills himself in order to save his sister… which of course will turn out to be the right thing to do which may or may not leave him dead or whatever… you know what? Reading this issue alone, I don’t care. There is no suspense here, just a rambling mess of a character. Maybe it will work when read WITH the preceding issues.

 

THE ULTIMATES #14 (Humphries / Tan / Green / Pallot / Noor) Marvel

Now things are hitting the fan. They got Texas but lost the west coast and Wyoming. There is no longer a ruling body in the U.S. and somebody (ahem Loki ahem) is stirring up trouble everywhere he can. Great story. Too bad the art is fairly subpar.

 

ROCKETEER: CARGO OF DOOM #1 (Waid / Samnee) IDW

I don’t normally get Rocketeer but when I heard Chris Samnee was drawing a mini written by Mark Waid, I thought he would be a natural for it. I was wrong, kind of. Don’t get me wrong, he is great and the comic is really good and I don’t regret buying it at all and I will get the rest… but he isn’t as perfect as Ithought. Basically, he isn’t Dave Stevens. Nobody is, but when Betty showed up, well, nobody does Betty like Stevens. R.I.P.

Good, fun comic though. Give it a try.

 

BATMAN INCORPORATED #3 (Grant Morrison / Chris Burnham) DC

Are we sure that this is Morrison? It seemed a lot more… linear that I am used to from him. The story lays out in a pretty orderly fashion, with everything you need to know explained well and the characters moving forward in a fully comprehensible manner. Well done. (Though I would like to say, “Hey Batman… it is a trap, duh!”)

 

THE UNWRITTEN #40 (Mike Carey / Peter Gross) Vertigo

Speaking of things being a little clearer, the new Unwritten arc joins the old one right here. Everything worked: the unicorn, the new power couple Tom Taylor (isn’t he writing the new Rose and Thorn comic)… but especially the bopmb. That was just awesome.

 

AMERICA’S GOT POWERS #3 (Jonathan Ross / Bryan Hitch) Image

Ouch. So Zero gives other people powers – I think we knew that. But he can’t control it or who the powers go to? Or can he? Was Quarterback going to kill him on live TV? That seems like a bit of a stretch. I like this book… it is very character driven, which is the best way to go if you want me on board.

 

ALL-STAR WESTERN #12 (Palmiotti / Gray / Moritat / Kolins) DC

Tallulah kicks ass. She just beat them all, single handedly. That includes the ninja woman he beat the tar out of Jonah Hex and Tallulah handled her like she was nothing. One story wrapped up and another is starting. I thought this was going to get Hex away from the lame Batman references, but it looks like Arkham is along for the ride. That’s okay. He isn’t as cheesy as Mayor Cobblepot and the Court of Owls refs.

 

BRILLIANT #4 (Bendis / Bagley) Icon

Do you know what comics don’t do very well? Setting superpowers in the ‘real’ world. Brilliant is giving it a go and so far, so good. Overpowered kid with crazy energy abilities that is taking down loads of cops? Shoot him in the head. The interrogation panels is a well Bendis goes to too often, but it worked here. It properly set off the scared and scattered nature of the kids. Good book thus far.

 

SUPER CROOKS #4 (Mark Millar / Leinil Yu) Icon

RIght up until the last book I read, it looked like Super Crooks was going to be the book of the week. This issue made the whole series better. The way they pulled off the heist was a cool twist of the genre. The extra twist about the costumes made it even better. Read the trade. It is a bit gratuitous at times but I nice, self-contained story in all.

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: DR. MANHATTAN #1 (J.Michael Straczynski / Adam Hughes) DC

Wow. This is a very, very good comic. The stream of consciousness (from a consciousness that is anything but routine) combined with the amazing AH! artwork makes the best comic of the week. The whole comic is Schroedinger’s Cat writ large. It is no coincidence that the first time they show this concept it involves a cat in a box. Has he just changed time? Has he erased himself from existence or did he witness a parallel world?

And, of course, Adam Hughes drawing Silk Spectre in such a way that you believe completely that ‘Jon’ would be drawn to her. This also makes you wonder, what would have happened if he DIDN’T change those names? Would Nite Owl and Silk Spectre have been together all along? What sort of influence would Rorschach have had on Dr. Manhattan?

Great comic.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: All-Star Western #11

July 31, 2012
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Kind of an odd week. I can’t really rave about any books, but neither was there any that I had a real problem with. I went to the Jays game in Toronto yesterday and paid for it with a nasty burn and a bit of heat stroke. These are going to be even briefer than usual because of that.

 

Starting from the weakest.

 

SECRET AVENGERS #29 (Remender / Scalera / Wilson) Marvel

Decent story but the art is really not my cup of tea. I also don’t like the inconsistency in the portrayal of Taskmaster. Still worth reading.

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #690 (Slott / Camuncoli / Janson / Green / D’Armata) Marvel

I really like Slott’s run… a lot actually. But every multi-part story seems to have an issue where t feels like nothing really moves forward. This is that one.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #15 (Brubaker / Bunn / Eaton / Magyar / Guru eFX) Marvel

The only thing that holds this one back is the buy-in on the villains. I dont’ mean the masterminds, but rather the guys he actually fights. Who are they? Why do we care other than that they are wrecking stuff?

 

THE ULTIMATES #13 (Humphries / Tan / Pallot / Milla) Marvel

I quite liked this issue. The feeling of large scale disaster really is working. It reminds me of when they kicked the old New Universe into overdrive. I hope this Divided We Fall story doesn’t lean too much on the X-Men because I don’t read that book.

 

WINTER SOLDIER #8 (Brubaker / Lark / Thies / Guadino / Breitweiser) Marvel

Making the characters seem like they are really worried about Natasha is a trick when we aren’t at all, but they are pulling it off. Lots of tension and in a book like this, tension is key.

 

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #11 (Jeff Lemire / Mikel Janin) DC

How do they make such an interesting comic while doing things that I do NOT approve of when I see them described. Timothy Hunter? Seriously? But it keeps working!

 

AVENGERS #28 (Bendis / Simonson / Hanna / Keith) Marvel

What a neat, innovative way to tell the story! Not as good as New Avengers was, but Bendis is really giving it his all to round out his run.

 

THE NEW DEADWARDIANS #5 (Dan Abnett / I.N.J. Culbard) Vertigo

This book was not one of my favourite Vertigo books but it is getting better and better. The undead suffragette stuff is awesome! The mystery turn has got me interested inTHAT part of the comic for the first time!

 

ALL-STAR WESTERN #11 (Gray / Palmiotti / Moritat / Kolins) DC

WIthout a stand-out book, what puts this at the top of the list is Tallulah. She doesn’t need to hang around and wait for Jonah to rescue HER! No sir!


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Fables #118

June 25, 2012
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Big week. Lots of good books.

 

Unfortunately, it is a week that leads to a bit of trimming as well.

Starting with the weakest book as usual.

 

SECRET AVENGERS #28 (Remender / Guedes / Wilson) Marvel

This comic is awful. I mean absolutely awful.

Let’s start with the art. I really don’t like what Guedes has done here. It is sketchy and not dynamic in any way. The colours on it are very ‘crayon-like’.

Then the story. Let’s start with the fact that it makes absolutely zero sense when put in with AvX and the other Avengers AvX books. That wouldn’t be the end of the world except this is an AvX cross over. Were the editors sleeping? They should be pretty embarrassed about this mess.

Now ignore all that and try to judge this comic on its own.

Nope. Still terrible. They brought Captain Marvel back for no reason, only to kill him off again. I suppose this is meant to inspire Carol… but only if the editors get it together with the new book by DeConnick and after the mess the last couple of months, I seriously doubt it. Betrayal! Oh wait, just kidding! Oh wait, we need a sacrifice! Hands up anyone who thought he was surviving this issue anyway?

I came VERY close to cancelling this book from my file… and anyone who knows my addiction to Avengers comics knows what a big deal that would be.  In the end I decided to ride it out a bit for two reasons. 1. after this issue it is no longer an AvX cross-over. Maybe letting Remender go back to the story he WANTED to tell will help. and 2. Guedes is off the book.

We’ll see. Another mess like this and it is snipped

 

DOMINIQUE LEVEAU: VOODOO CHILD #4 (Selwyn Seyfu Hinds / Denys Cowan / John Floyd) Vertigo

To Selwyn, who has read my reviews the last couple of times DL has come out… sorry. I am a writer. Poetry mostly but I also used to write for Legend of the Five Rings and I know how much it sucks to read people talking about not liking your baby.

The book is cancelled now… as of issue #7. We won’t be getting the rest. I’ll just leave it there.

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #8 (Slott / Templeton / Clark / Parsons / Quintana) Marvel

(Why does Slott get top billing on the cover? He didn’t write the comic…)

A book of this nature will also be a hit-and-miss prospect… and this one kind of missed. Story epilogues in comics are rarely good. If the story was worth telling, it should have been part of the main story.

The real problem here is that we basically have a flashback inventory-style story masquerading as an important plot point. The problem is two-fold: the nobody actually believes that Silver Sable is dead (and the narrative is making this abundantly clear) and… who really cares? It isn’t like she is an important character. Killing off D-list heroes is not exactly newsworthy, no matter how hard they try. The real story is that Spidey is upset that he ‘let her die’, but that story rolls along fine without this fill-in stuff being needed in it anyway.

 

BATWOMAN #10 (Williams III / Blackman / McCarthy) DC

Here they are starting to get better. McCarthy is no Williams III and Williams III is no Rucka. The jump cuts are an interesting conceit but they are also a bit conufsing. I feel like I need to go back and reference earlier issues and a reader should NEVER have to do that. I feel like he is writing for the trade and the story will work better once collected.

 

WINTER SOLDIER #7 (Brubaker / Lark / Thies / Gaudiano / Breitweiser) DC

This comic works very hard at feeling like a movie… and they do a pretty good job. I am wearying of the Russian connection behind every villain, but that is okay. The action was solid (except the firefight in the van. I am not sure why Bucky and Natasha aren’t dead. That is a pretty confined space for multiple people with machine guns to miss while spraying bullets around… they must have Stormtrooper disease.

The way the readers were led on the same way the heroes were led on was well done.

 

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #6 (Hickman / Coipel / Morales / Martin) Marvel

When I read people taking the side of the X-Men I kind of laugh. Those people must not have been reading comics for very long. This story has been done many, many times. I even just re-read a DC mini where they main heroes crossed over with a another universe full of different characters with the same names (I think the universe was called ‘Tangent’). Superman had done the ‘obvious’ thing and taken over the world to the betterment of everybody.

But what about free will?

Exactly. That is the story. I must have read that story in different places ten times… likely more.

Besides… Cyclops is a villain. The sooner everyone realizes that, the better.

At least stuff is HAPPENING in the series now. Also, this one of the few comics where I don’t find Hickman getting in the way of the story he is telling.

 

ASTONISHING X-MEN #51 (Liu / Perkins / Troy) Marvel

I don’t buy any of the X-Men titles normally. I bought this one. It is important.

They did a good job, mostly. Anyone who complains about them doing this marriage, whether do to homophobia, ‘sanctity of whatever’ or claims of pandering and whatever can feel free not to let the door hit you on the way out.

This is important.

And unlike the ‘coming out’ issue back in the 90’s, the book doesn’t suck.

I am not going to start buying the title though.

 

DARK AVENGERS #176 (Parker / Walker / Pallot / Martin) Marvel

Dark Avengers? Sure looks like the Thunderbolts to me.

Good issue… though I am not sold on the new version of Man Thing. The time travel who joins them is a welcome addition. I woudl say I am looking forward to the next issue but the next issue will probably be back to the pretty lame Dark Avengers. Are they splitting the art the same way? If so, that works because the better story gets the better artist.

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #32 (Gage / Green / Huet / Sotomayor) Marvel

This is the AvX story properly turned into an interesting narrative that plays out as an actual story rather than just the idea of a story. How can a forced crossover turn to questions like ‘what is life?’ ‘what defines someone as a person?’

The X-23 bits are a little heavy handed, but that is normal for the character, She is about as subtle as a brick. Juston is great, though. Pym works as a foil well enough… though he IS acting kind of stupid.

The art is not great. Can’t Tom Grummet handle the workload? Why do they keep subbing in inferior artists?

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN #1 (Brian Azzarello / J.G. Jones) DC

This is the weakest of the BW books so far, but it is still pretty good. Dropping Comedian into the Kennedy family is a bit too Forrest Gump for me, but the end with Moloch is worth the pay off. I have read some commenters that say that Eddie’s turn to necrophilia is a bit much, but if THAT is what you think happened in that scene… well, your mind goes different places than mine does. I’m glad mine doesn’t. That isn’t a very nice place to live.

Now, there are some real problems with continuity here. Breaking continuity like the Avengers folks did is one thing. Breaking continuity between a prequel and the book you are homaging is a whole different thing. Here is hoping Azzarello explains the discrepancy later.

Or… wait… am I mixing up the actual Watchmen with the movie? That would be embarrassing…

 

WONDER WOMAN #10 (Azzarello / Akins / Kano / Green) DC

Two Azzarello books in a row! This one is REALLY good… storywise, but it is marred by sub-standard art. It is really too bad that Cliff Chiang wasn’t on this one, because the story is excellent. Diana’s excuse for beating his truth-lassoed question is what makes this book special.

In fact, all the characters in this issue were excellent. I LOVE how it ended and I especially love that Azzarello didn’t feel the need to EXPLAIN what was going on there.

Love thyself.

 

NEW AVENGERS #27 (Bendis / Deodato / Beredo) Marvel

I have never liked Deodato and I have made no secret of that. This current storyline though… Deodato should be drawing Iron Fist stories set in K’un-L’un full time. It is beautiful. It helps that the two female characters in the book are SUPPOSED to look alike so the fact that ALL of his female characters look alike isn’t a problem.

 

What MAKES this issue is the Hope and Spider-man scene at the end. Perfect use of the line that basically acts as the moral tagline for the entire Marvel line of comics.

Very well done.

 

THE UNWITTEN #38 (Mike Carey / Peter Gross) Vertigo

A world without stories? I was wondering where Carey was going to take the book after the first mega-arc was over. This is a good direction. A VERY good direction. I don’t quite understand why that person is made of wood, but I DO get why she is turning back into flesh and blood. It shows what could happen to a world with magic in it without stories.

I am so happy that this great book looks like it can continue being great.

 

SAGA #4 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

Remember the people claiming the breast-feeding panels in the first issue were gratuitous? They are going to lose their shit after reading this issue. 🙂

I don’t want to give anything away but the scene where the space pimp opens the door?

Yeah.

Yeah.

Add to that the conversation between our leads and the new nanny.

This is just good comics.

It was one of the first comics I read this week and I KNEW there wasn’t go to be a better comic in the pile.

 

Except then there was…

 

FABLES #118 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha / Pepoy / McManus) Vertigo

The secret of the broken toys is… well, I don’t want to spoil that. But it is chilling. REALLY chilling. This book was already treading on scary ground, but that has been ratcheted up a whole bunch of notches. That would be enough to make this a great comic, but add to that the fight between a tiger and a damaged (in many ways) stuffed bear and… wow.

The Oz story is still not grabbing me. It is just too short.

 

If you bought Fables, Saga and the Unwritten this week, well… that would be a good week of comics right there.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Batman Incorporated #1

May 27, 2012
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Not as exciting a week as the last, and a surprise in at #1… in a week that includes previous award winners Fables, Unwritten and All-Star Western.

 

Starting from the weakest and working up.

 

THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #9 (Van Sciver / Harris / Cinar / Rapmund / Alquiza) DC

Another issue of a bunch of nuclear people fighting indiscriminately amongst themsevles. This time they add the JLI… which I neither read nor care about. I gave this a big chance as Like Jason and Ronnie… but this isn’t Firestorm anyway.

Dropped.

 

SECRET AVENGERS #27 (Remender / Guedes / Breitweiser) Marvel

I have liked the new iteration of Secret Avengers, but this issue… not so much. The art is just horrible. I said Guedes was ‘okay’ last issue… I am downgrading that. This was pretty darned bad. Look how dynamic the Marvels look on the Davis cover. Now look at them inside. No comparison. Plus the story isn’t working for me. We already know that the story has moved PAST this point in AVX. This is just a killing time story.

If the book continues like this it will join Firestorm.

 

DOMINIQUE LAVEAU, VOODOO CHILD #3 (Selwyn Seyfu Hinds / Denys Cowan / John Floyd) Vertigo

I am biased because Selwyn came and commented on my blog? I don’t know, but I will say that this issue was better than the first two. The simple a to b part of the plot is falling into place. There actual ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’, rather than just flashbacks of ominous doom. Cowan isn’t one of my favourite artists, but I appreciate what he does. I’m less of a fan of Grampa’s cover, but it is okay.

 

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #9 (Jeff Lemire / Mikel Janin) DC

I bought JLD when it launched but dropped it as it didn’t seem to be finding its feet. Lemire has done better in one issue than I saw in 3 by Milligan. I don’t read I.Vampire, so that guy doesn’t click with me, but the rest are excellent. I am hoping this joins Swamp Thing and Animal Man as a little corner of strong DC books.

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #686 (Slott / Caselli / Martin Jr.) Marvel

I have been enjoying the Ends of the Earth story, but it is starting to feel a little stretched. The first Mysterio ‘twist’ was pretty obvious (the second was good, though), but the way the story hinged on irrational behaviour by Chameleon and Dr. Octopus didn’t sit right with me. Best news? The words ‘To Be Concluded’. As I said t0 the story has been good, but it has run its course.

 

ALL-STAR WESTERN #9 (Gray / Palmiotti / Moritat / Scherberger / Green) DC

I have really enjoyed ASW and it has been near or at the best book of the week many times. So why is it so low this time? The ‘real’ story was too short, as it had to make room for a RIDICULOUS ‘cross-over’ and then a set-up for the next issue while STILL having a back-up.

Tying Jonah Hex in with Batman is walking a tightrope. Some references are great. Too many is not. An out of left field, pointless Court of Owls appearance was just stupid.

Please, no more. (The rest of the book was good, though!)

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #12 (Brubaker / Zircher / Mounts) Marvel

Scourge! Gyrich! The big reveal that I am not going to spoil!

Scourge worked better for me here. Last issue it seemed like he was working FOR the villains, and I didn’t care for that. Now it makes better sense. I know some people hate when they do anything with… the revealed character… that doesn’t involve him being the most awesome…whatever. He was a pretty lame character when created. Anything that makes him interesting s good. (Though I would have liked them to follow Bendis’ thread with him.)

 

THE UNWRITTEN #37 (Mike Carey / Peter Gross) Vertigo

(Aside: Jesse Chavez struck out the side! Woot!)

This comic was a good read, but it is hard to say to much . It feels like we are reading The Unwritten Volume 2, #1… a sequel or something. It will really take more than one issue to see how that goes.

 

FABLES #117 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha / McManus) Vertigo

The lead story is still too short, but things leap forward this issue. Therese putting her foot down was nice. The charge of Mountbatten was VERY well done. The new Fabletown is intriguing. The back-up continues to be… well, in the way, really.

 

BATMAN INCORPORATED #1 (Grant Morrison / Chris Burnham) DC

Nice! A good mix of chuckles and action. (Batcow!) People were raving about the Batgirl issue that got me to drop the book – talking about the insight into one of the villains.

THIS book does that WAY better than Batgirl did. It helps that I don’t care at all about the Owls (not their fault – I just don’t read the mainstream Batbooks), while Goatboy was interesting all on his own, right off the bat (pun intended).

I hope the book stays at this level and doesn’t descend into madness, as Morrison books sometimes do.

 


Rusty’s (Ruthanne’s) Comic of the Week: All-Star Western #8

May 1, 2012
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This week we switched things up a bit. I am still doing the mini-reviews, but the order is based on Ruthanne’s rankings. When they are substantially different than mine, I’ll let you know… and why, when possible.

 

Starting from the weakest book…

 

FURY OF FIRESTORM #8 (Ethan Van Sciver / Joe Harris) DC

Ruthanne pointed out that the bottom bunch could have gone in any order. None were books that she found actually bad. I likely would have had this book here as well. The problem with Firestorm is that it is all ‘concept’ and very little ‘story’. There are ‘Firestorms’ from lots of countries and they fight. I think you can tell Van Sciver’s politics by paying attention to which of them are ‘good guys’ and which are ‘bad guys’… but having said that, they made the new Firehawk French…

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA & BUCKY #629 (Bunn / Vitti / Tartaglia) Marvel

Forget what I said above… this was the worst book this week, in my opinion. By far. The characterization was actively bad. It is like the development of Hawkeye through the 80’s never happened. Ugh. The art makes the story look good, though. It was bad. In some ways it is worse even than those FF issues after Fantastic Four came back. You can’t even claim this was  a style choice. It looks very amateur.

Very disappointing. (I am very much looking forward to the Fraction / Aja Hawkeye book!)

 

SECRET AVENGERS #26 (Remender / Guedes / Breitweiser) Marvel

I liked this a lot more than Ruthanne did, I think. Solid, solid book. I love the way Remender is using Beast. He tells it like it is, and doesn’t pussyfoot around the feelings of the other heroes… when it is deserved. This book also makes me look forward to a future book. The new DeConnick Captain Marvel looks very promising.

The Guedes art is okay, but putting Alan Davis on the cover makes me really wish he was on the inside as well.

 

MOON KNIGHT #12 (Bendis / Maleev / Hollingsworth) Marvel

This is our first big divergence, as I thought this was a very good comic. However, I know what has left a sour taste in Ruthanne’s mouth, and she is absolutely right. Echo is nothing more than a ‘Girlfriend-in-a-refrigerator’. She was killed for no reason other than to make Moon Knight mad. Now I am not a big Echo fan, but this was a pretty shoddy end for her.

This may be the biggest reason I am looking forward to DeConnick’s Captain Marvel book. Female characters shouldn’t only exist as fodder for the make character’s adventures and emotions.

 

THE TWELVE #12 (J.Michael Straczynski / Chris Weston) Marvel

This is pure epilogue, but it is very well done, just like the rest of the series. (Though that little hint of a Rockman story seemed very sad…)

Anyone who fell off this series or didn’t give it a chance should read it collected. The publishing schedule on this was ridiculous but now that it is done, it is a very good book, deserving of a place on your bookshelf.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #10 (Brubaker / Davis / Farmer / Martin) Marvel

Every issue I say the same thing, but every issue it is true. Good, old style superhero fun. Villainous plots and superheroic efforts to save the day. Sharon’s method of defeating Machinesmith was great.

And the Alan Davis art! Yes!

 

THE ULTIMATES (Hickman / Ribic / White) Marvel

Here is a book that I would have quite a bit lower. Certainly below the Twelve, Secret Avengers, Captain America and DEFINITELY Moon Knight. Having said that, for a Hickman book, I found this pretty easy to follow. It was still way over the top, as his style. (How is all of this going on without there being an impact in Spider-man?)

I do really like the way Hickman is writing Reed and Hulk together. That is very well done.

 

NEW AVENGERS (Bendis / Deodato / Conrad / Beredo) Mavel

This issue made me dislike Deodato even more. ‘How could that be?’ you may ask. “This issue was really great!’ It is true. The art in this issue was absolutely stunning. So why does this make me like Deodato more?

Because he HAS great skill as an artist! So when he draws characters (ESPECIALLY female characters) as carbon copy cliche cutouts of one another, he is doing it on PURPOSE!

With that out of the way… yes, what a beautiful book. Tying Iron Fist to the Phoenix is the right kind of ‘retcon’ (as the term is often misused). It doesn’t ‘change’ anything. It just adds to it.

 

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

Here is a book where our tastes diverge in the other direction. Two issues in and this is NOT a very good comic. The story is barely moving. It is almost like Abnett said “hey, I have a great idea for a comic’ and stopped there. I also don’t like the art. Simple, I like. This is too simple. It looks like an issue of The Unwritten with the talent of the artist dialled quite a bit back.

The worst thing is that this is a miniseries, and it feels like we are still reading the prologue.

 

SUPER CROOKS #2 (Mark Millar / Leinil Yu) Icon

Ruthanne put this very high despite hating the cover. I don’t like it quite as much as she does. I liked it a lot but I felt the violence level was pretty gratuitous. Ruthanne though tit was fun.

Yeah, I can’t figure her out some times. 🙂

Solid comic. Well worth a read.

 

ALL-STAR WESTERN #8 (Palmiotti / Gray / Moritat / Scherberger / Green) DC

We agreed on what the best comic of the week was. All-Star Western is just good comics, week in and week out. I wish the infiltration had gone a little further so we could see what Hex was actually willing to do… also , I wonder how much longer he should be willing to put up with Arkham. I know that Ruthanne really likes Cinnamon too, and what’s not to like? A strong female character who looks good without showing as much skin as she possibly can and every opportunity? What is a shame is that it is so unusual.

I like the art in both stories. Moritat is a stylish choice, and in the back-up it reminds me of Art Adams, and there is nothing wrong with that!


Rusty’s Comic of the (two) Week(s): The Unwritten #36

April 15, 2012
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I would go and try to figure out which was my top book from each week, but I don’t feel like trying to find out which books came out in which week.

 

And who cares, really?

 

Trying something new this week. I always list the books from the best to the worst. Ruthanne thinks it would read better if I go from the worst to the best.

I think that is just because that is the order she reads them. Regardless, if you have a preference, o loyal reading public, let me know.

 

BATWOMAN # 8 (J.H. Williams III / W.Haden Blackman / Amy Reeder / Rob Hunter) DC

From best to worst in such a short time. This may be a little repetitive from earlier reviews, but here goes. Amy Reeder is a great artist. Her work on Madame Xanadu was stellar. When it was announced that she would be the ‘alt’ artist on Batwoman, I was thrilled. It would be very different from Williams, but I thought it would be a great contrast.

Those at DC thought differently. They brought her in and then tried to get her to draw like Williams. Since Williams as now the writer, my guess is that he uses full script and told Reeder how the pages should look. The end result is just awful. Instead of getting great Williams art or great Reeder art we get this absolute mess. The cover was nice. That’s about it.

On top of that, the writing is not good. Williams is not a very good writer. His phenomenal art has hid this… but now it is out there for all to see. (This sounds like the early days of Image, no?)

So why I am not cancelling this? Reeder is out (and she made no bones about how much she disliked working on the book). Trevor McCarthy is taking over and I am told that his esthetic is much like Williams’ anyway, so it should jell better. We’ll give it a try.

 

NIGHT FORCE #2 (Marv Wolfman / Tom Mandrake) DC

I was so excited when they announced this book. I love the IDEA of Night Force, with Baron Winter and his magic house. The first issue was a mess, however. It was confusing and did not do anything to keep me interested. In the interest of HOPING the book would get better, I stuck around for issue #2. It DID get better… but not enough. It reads like a book summary, if that makes sense.

Dropped.

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #6 (Rucka / Waid / Checchetto / Hollingswoth) Marvel

I nearly dropped this one but Ruthanne tells me that she enjoys it. This book crosses over with Daredevil and Punisher. Guess which two books I don’t buy? Shayne endorses both, so do I let this suck me in and buy them?

The real thing that gets me to consider dropping the book is that for the most part these stories feel like they don’t matter. I straight ahead superhero book in isolation isn’t enough for me. I have read thousands of those. I like the on-going stores that move from one to the other… and for Spider-Man, I quite enjoy Slott’s book. This one… well, just doesn’t have that.

Oh well. Sticking around for now.

 

THUNDERBOLTS #172 (Parker / Shalvey / Bellaire / Sotomayor) Marvel

Ruthanne would prefer I cancel this one, but I am sticking it out. So this is the big 15 year anniversary, with art by… Declan Shalvey? Really? I enjoy the story, which is good because the art is pretty awful. Good thing they got the anniversary celebration sin before the book is cancelled (and relaunched as Dark Avengers). I have a newsflash for Marvel… the book doesn’t sell poorly because it doesn’t say Avengers on the cover. It sells poorly because you don’t give it a decent artist to push it with.

(As an aside, I have been given the impression that none other than Declan himself has read one of my reviews where I slam his work. I am truly sorry about that. I am a creator as well and when I read reviews that rip me apart it hurts. But I don’t think I should lie about what I think of the book for that reason… so I am sorry. I wished I liked it more, but I don’t.)

 

iZOMBIE #24 (Chris Roberson / Jim Rugg) Vertigo

A non-Allred issue. When the fill-in was J.Bone, that was pretty cool. This issue… not so much. The art is fine, but it just makes me wish it was still Allred instead of being a nice change of pace.  This feels like a ‘marking time’ issue, which is odd as they race towards the finale in a few months (Vertigo has cancelled the book due to poor sales). I normally quite like iZombie, but this issue just didn’t wow me. Still good, just not great.

 

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #2 (Bendis / Bagley / Miki / Mounts) Marvel

The Avengers book that just ‘happens’ to match the cast of the upcoming movie. Based on that, I wouldn’t buy it, but it is still Bendis and Bagley. It is a pretty fun read. It is one of those ‘old-school’ superhero books that I enjoy. I think it is Bagley that make sit feel that way. That and the Zodiac.

Not much to say. A fun book in the old Marvel style.

 

SECRET AVENGERS #25 (Remender / Hardma / Breitweiser) Marvel

A solid read. The only thing that bothered me is that the fast little teleport out seems like it could have been used last issue to avoid the beatings they kept taking. Venom gets to prove his worth to Hawkeye, which is important for the book going forward. Ant-Man did as well, with a hearty ‘BUT…’ to follow. New villains turn into a ‘thing’ rather than just a one-off. A nice teaser at the end.

What’s not to like?

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #683 (Slott / Caselli / Martin Jr.) Marvel

This book is WAY better than the Avenging version. The story here is really top notch. (As long as the world doesn’t KEEP buying into DocOck’s lies. He pretty clear acts villainous in front of the world leaders.)  The fight with the Avengers and the Sinister Six was exciting, and the way Spidey held his own was well thought on (by Peter and Dan).

My only real problem is that fugly costume Spidey is wearing as part of the story. I am looking forward to that being done with. You know those times when you read old comics and discover little blips where Cap or Thor or whoever are wearing some ridiculous ‘new’ costume that vanishes quickly after? This storyline will be THAT one day.

 

Note to Dan Slott. Forget Bendis. This book ‘matters’.

 

WINTER SOLDIER #4 (Brubaker / Guice / Gaudino / Breitweiser) Marvel

I am enjoying this book. The spy stuff is cool, but we are also reminded that the conceit that the world thinks Bucky is dead will stretch credibility if they continue it too long. Any book with Red Ghost and his super-apes has got to be good, and duelling Doctor Dooms is fun. (Though I am not quite down with Bru’s take on Doom’s dialogue. He comes across as delusional rather than insufferably confident.)

 

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #1 (Benids / Romita / Hanna / Martin) Marvel

Quick question… what is with that AR that appears on a bunch of pages? It is really distracting.

Well, this was a LOT better than that pretty bad issue #0. It sets the stage pretty nicely. I expected to take the side of the X-Men (I much prefer the Avengers books, but the way this story was laying out, thy are a little too ‘establishment’), but it didn’t go that way at all. Cyclops is an asshole. Everything that happens here on out is because his first reaction was to shoot rather than talk.

Good work by Romita. Better than we have seen from him in quite some time.

 

FAIREST #2 (Willingham / Jimenez / Lanning) Vertigo

I loved issue #1, so why has #2 dropped so far? The art is still beautiful and the story is still interesting…. but that imp has gotten REALLY annoying. Willingham is using him as a way to explain things that doesn’t read like it is to the characters. It is to the reader. Sloppy. (Plus, that long diatribe against the physical capabilities of women in a book meant to spotlight women? Really out of place. Not quite to the level of Fables #50 when Willingham turned the book into an anti-Palestine rant that was pretty darned offensive, but it follows that path…)

 

BATGIRL #8 (Simone / Syaf / Martinez / Cifuentes) DC

From nearly cancelled to flying up the list in one issue! Finally Simone deals with the shooting in a way that doesn’t insult the intelligence of the reader. She still doesn’t adequately explain how you can go from wheelchair bound to superheroics, but the story of how she was saved from bleeding to death on the floor really worked for me. After the terrible characterization of the Batgirl/ Black Canary meeting, this issue made me actually care about he characters. Well done.

 

SWAMP THING #8 (Scott Snyder / Yanick Paquette / Marco Rudy) DC

From a book moving up to a book sliding down.  I am sure this is just an aberration, because most of the reason this book isn’t as high as normal is that it reads like a transition. Look, Alec is Swamp Thing now! He is really strong and tough! He could beat the rotting animals in a fistfight! But how will he deal with Abby?

When I read this I remember thinking that by the end Paquette was really rushed. I double-checked the credits and saw that it was really because it wasn’t Paquette. Rudy is just not as good. (Not terrible or anything, but Paquette’s art is one of the things that makes ST so great usually). Normally I think Swamp Thing is better than Animal Man (its sister title). Not this month.

 

BRILLIANT #3 (Bendis / Bagley) Icon

It is really hitting the fan now.The ‘you-have-to-give-the-money-back’ was a little bit of over-the-top moralizing, but other than that, it read well. I liked the way it was the challenge that really inspired Albert. Good read. Not much else to say here.

 

SAUCER COUNTRY #2 (Paul Cornell / Ryan Kelly) Vertigo

I liked this issue better than the first, in some ways. THe discussions about anal rape, didn’t thrill me, but they were not done in an exploitative manner. The characters worked a lot better for me this issue, but the rape stuff just makes it a little harder to say I ‘enjoyed’ the comic. We’ll see how it plays out.

 

THIEF OF THIEVES #3 (Kirkman / Spencer / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

I really like the style of this book. Ruthanne had complained that only female characters are only there in relation to the male, but he IS the main character. I think she’ll like the cop in this book. She is pretty solid. Apparently AMC has optioned this nook. I guess the Kirkman name is a selling point now. I think I like i tmore due to Spencer and Martinbrough.

 

THE NEW AVENGERS #24 (Bendis / Deodato / Conrad / Beredo) Marvel

Let’s get this out of the way: that cover is terrible. I am not a big Deodato fan at the best of times but this is bad even for him. The story, however, it really strong. This is an AvX tie-in, but the real strength and meat of the book is the Cage / Jones / Danielle storyline. It just reads so real. There is a lot of hate for Jessica Jones on the internet, but in my opinion that is mostly from people who don’t like when women in comics actually act like people instead of fantasy archetypes. The story is believable in every aspect of it.

Forget the AvX stuff (though it works in this book), just read a damn good comic.

 

ANIMAL MAN #8 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh / Travel Foreman / Jeff Huet) DC

This is the issue where Steve Pugh takes over for Travel Foreman. I approve. Mostly, though, it is the story that makes this one so good. The feeling of fear, terror. and generally disturbing unease FILLS this book. The scenes will Maxine (both ‘before’ and ‘after’) were chilling. Is this the best book that DC is putting out? I would have said no a month or so ago, but this issue was REALLY well done. Two thumbs up.

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #28 (Gage / Moline / Fern / Sotomayor) Marvel

It is hard to talk about this book too much without giving everything away, but the scene where the characters get to see INTO the other characters was very powerful. EVERY character seems better now than they did before. I love the new interaction between AA and the Runaways as long as they continue it and this isn’t just lip service. The post-revelation reactions were very moving.

Just a good comic. (The art could be better, but what can I say…)

 

SAGA #2 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

I loved the first issue. I love the second issue. BUY THIS BOOK. The last page alone makes me anxious for issue #3!

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #9 (Benids / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

What do you do with this book when Pichelli is not on it? If you answer Chris Samnee (as it has been in the past), well that is a very good answer, But if you say David Marquez, that may be even better! This book was great from end to end, story, art, everything. The scene with Miles and the cop were great. The scene with Prowler and Scorpion were great. The scene with Miles and his roommates were VERY great.

If you aren’t buying Ultimate Spider-Man, but only question is….why?

 

THE UNWRITTEN #36 (Carey / Gross / Dayglo) Vertigo

A week (or two) with Sage and an excellent issue of Ultimate Spider-man yet the Unwritten makes it to the top? You bet! The best issues of this book, easily, have been the ‘stairway’ issues and this one is no exception. Pauly and the Tinker are excellent characters and they work well together. The end reminds me of the old Sandman arc, Game of You, and that is high praise… yet it isn’t over! I can’t wait for issue #37!!!

 

 

What a great batch of comics.

So, which format do you like better? Best first or best last?


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: All-Star Western #7

April 2, 2012
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This week was overshadowed by a variety of much more important things (as can be seen on my other blogs and elsewhere) but I still managed to get this week’s comics read. A solid group over all, but another cancellation happened… though not of the worst comic I read this week.

As always, from best to worst….

 

ALL-STAR WESTERN #7 (Gray / Palmiotti / Moritat / Scherberger / Green / Austin) DC

Just when the bloom was coming off Hex in Gotham, off they go to New Orleans! The addition of Nighthawk and Cinnamon (especially Cinnamon) is just what this book needed! Ruthanne liked to point out how nice it was to have a strong female character, who actually wore clothes over all her parts…

Arkham continues to be a good foil for Hex. The art is beautiful as always and the Art Adams style in the back-up works as well, despite being very different from Moritat.

 

THE UNWRITTEN #35.5 (Carey / Gross / Walta) Vertigo

This must be the last .5 issue, no? If so, it is a good one to go out on. It gives us a story of the people (well, one of them) who work on the grid. It looks like this one is leading into the NEXT Unwritten arc, rather than just referencing back story of the current one.  The .5 issues worked for the most part, though there were some clunkers, but I am looking forward more to the next regular issue.

 

SECRET AVENGERS #24 (Remender / Hardman / Breitweiser) Marvel

This is how you do a team-is-facing-insurmountable-odds-before-they-overcome-them-next-issue issue. The surprise at the end wasn’t a big one, but the notes along the way worked very well. I like the robot council and the fighting spirit of the team. This is the best Avengers title right now… after coming off a run where it was the worst (Not counting Solo).

 

MOON KNIGHT #11 (Bendis / Maleev / Hollingsworth) Marvel

The thing I am most afraid of, as Moon Knight comes to a close, is that this run will just become a footnote. Bendis is leaving the Avengers and whoever takes over will bring in Moon Knight and ignore all that was done here to make him more interesting. He will go back to just being a cheap Batman impersonator with a twist. That would be a shame.

 

THE TWELVE #11 (J.Michael Straczynski / Chris Weston) Marvel

I hope when this is all done, people will realize how good a book this is, without all the innumerable delays. The main story wraps up here, though we still have one more issue. In a way this reminds me of the original Squadron Supreme mini where they covered some great concepts but in a way that minimized their effect. That was too bad and I can see that happening here.

 

AVENGERS 24.1 (Bendis / Peterson / Oback) Marvel

If you are an Avengers fan, skip the crappy AvX #0 and read this comic instead. It gives you the Vision / Wanda meeting from his perspective, but is just generally done better. The art is just okay, but the story is spot on. Vision’s reaction to Scarlet Witch and She-Hulk really sets the stage for what will follow (as long as new writers don’t screw it up… do NOT put them back together!)

 

THE NEW DEADWARDIANS #1 (Dan Abnett / I.N.J. Culbard) Vertigo

This was very disappointing. It wasn’t bad, but I expected so much more. The idea is great but the execution was fairly plodding and pedestrian. The art is not very compelling and… well, of the four new Vertigo launches, it wasn’t as good as Fairest or Saucer Country but it was better than Voodoo Child.

 

THE NEW AVENGERS #23 (Bendis / Deodato / Conrad / Beredo) Marvel

This one suffers due to the problems with the publishing schedule. Here we see the fight where Skaar switches sides and fights the Dark Avengers… which we have already seen the results of what, last week? The week before?

Decent little scrap, nut nothing to it, storywise. This is why I’m not buying AvX:Vs. It might have been okay if the books came out in order.

 

THE ULTIMATES #8 (Hickman / Ribic / White) Marvel

I am beginning to realize… I just don’t like Hickman’s style. His ideas a good, but he implements them in a vey jerky way. I prefer the narrative to be more straight forward, even when they ideas are not. I prefer to try and figure out WHY something is happening and not have to decipher WHAT is happening.

I liked the bit with Reed turning the Hulk, though.

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #5 (Zeb Wells / Leinil Francis Yu / Gerry Alanguilan / Sunny Gho) Marvel

This story would have been okay if both Spidey and Cap acted AT ALL like they do in other books. The whole plot was based on faulty logic. First off, it showed Cap as a terrible artist from back when he was a kid. Uh, did Wells read the books in the 80’s where Cap actually WAS a comic artist? He sure doesn’t think much of the quality of the comics from the 80’s, I guess. And Spidey thinking that he and Cap could be pals because Cap used to draw and Spidery liked Science? Uh… what?

 

THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #7 (EthanVan Sciver / Joe Harris) DC

This book just keeps hanging on. The interplay with the two main characters is interesting but the rest is a little too chaotic. Van Sciver may have a bit of Hickman-disease… though it isn’t quite the same.

 

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #0 (Bendis / Aaron / Cho / Keith) Marvel

I have been looking forward to AvX, but this issue has taken some of the bloom off that rose. Both stories were not interesting. The Scarlet Witch story was really bad, with the reactions from Ms.Marvel and Spider-Woman being downright baffling. The art was AWFUL. I am never a big fan of Cho, but this was seriously crappy. He draws women VERY badly and his Modok was cartoonish. The callback to Avengers #58 was just cheesy.

The Hope story was a lot better… even with the art, despite still being Cho. The bit where she puffed up was funny without being silly. It gave some decent characterization without everything seeming oddly set. I am normally a Bendis fan, but in this one I have to give the only props to Aaron.

I hope the main mini is better than this.

 

FF #16 (Hickman / Dragotta / Epting) Marvel

Oh, by  the way, your daughter is an idiot. The big reveal at the end is completely predicated on that fact. Great.

Yet that still didn’t seem as stupid as Reed’s super-erector-set building. Plus the art was terrible, as usual. I cut Fantastic Four this month and now FF joins it. These were good briefly, but that time has come to an end.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA & BUCKY #628 (Asmus / Brubaker / Francavilla) Marvel

This story ended. I found that I didn’t care about anything or anyone in it. Te shift away from WW2 (and Chris Samnee) has been the kiss of death for this book. The only reason it isn’t joining FF on the scrapheap is that it gets a new direction starting next issue. I am going to give it a try.


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