Rusty's World

Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Fables #114

February 19, 2012
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Interesting week. Nothing really blew me away, but there were some solid reads. Disappointing art in a lot of books… including one bad enough that I may drop it.

 

FABLES #114 (Willinham / Buckingham / Leialoha / McManus) Vertigo

Q: How many storylines were advanced in this comic? A: A lot.

From Winter to Spratt. From Oz to an interesting talking boat. nice McManus art in the back-up. I a, looking forward to the next issue ! (And to Fairest.)

 

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #679.1 (Yost / Slott / Clark / Palmer) Marvel

The secret is out… but Morbius leads to another classic Spidey foe (just in time for the movie…) The big strength in this issue was all about the scipting. There were some very funny bis and Uatu was a treat. Dan Slott has made a wonderful supporting cast and Chris Yost was a seamless addition to the team.

 

THUNDERBOLTS #170 (Parker / Walker / Pallot / Martin) Marvel

I still have some issues with the art… Troll’s costume is ridiculous and Moonstone does not look very… natural. The story, though, is very strong. Merlin is great in here. Ghost rejoining the squad… Boomerang’s ‘creative’ thinking. The best moment was Troll taming herself a dragon. Any chance it joined them in their tower? Now THAT would have been something…

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #4 (Zeb Wells / Greg Land / Jay Leister / Wil Quintana) Marvel

Land seemed a lot less… bad tracing job this issue. Keeping him away from female characters might be a good thing. The little insight into Hawkeye’s character seemed more like answering to stupid comic readers that think that power is everything rather than actually reflecting the character. but the story worked. Next is SPidey and Cap.

 

NEW AVENGERS #21 (Bendis / Deodato / Mounts) Marvel

New is the better of the two main Avengers books right now, despite the Deodato art. I enjoyed this book despite DESPISING the character of Ragnarok. I am enjoying ht return of Osborne story but if this gets anywhere near actually havign the governemnt consider reinstating him… well, that is just too stupid for words.

 

WINTER SOLDIER #2 (Brubaker / Guice / Breitweiser) Marvel

The marvel espionage book. It even had some Fury in it. I do wish they woudl change the name, though. A: He is NOT Winter Soldier, and B: this is a TEAM book. A team of Bucky and Natasha. Name it something to fit.

 

AVENGERS #22 (Bendis / Guedes / Magalhaes / Keith) Marvel

The story isn’t bad but the art is really sloppy. What is with the cover? This book reads almost like Under Seige but the art really distracts.

 

WONDER WOMAN #6 (Brian Azzarello / Tony Akins / Dan Green) DC

Speaking of art being a distraction, I am sure looking forward to Cliff Chiang returning to this book. The story is falling into place, but Akins is too ‘straight-forward’ for this quirky take on WW and the gods.

 

ULTIMATE X-MEN #7 (Spencer / Barberi / Wong / Gracia) Marvel

This may be the last issue I get of this. The story wasn’t interesting. The ‘twists’ did not excite me. The art was SO bad. Look at the Wanda reveal. Wow. I mean holy crap. That art is embarrassing in it s awfulness. Is it 1993 again and I didn’t notice.

Yuck.

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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Batwoman #5

January 15, 2012
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There was a lot of fighting this week… and some of it was pretty well done! Cutting another book this week… sadly. You will see.

BATWOMAN #5 (J.H. Williams III / W. Haden Blackman) DC

Williams is simply amazing. Every page is a work of art and all of it is DESIGNED rather than just drawn. He shows that some artists are not functioning to the level that they could be. It is beautiful stuff. Williams is subbing out for Amy Reeder Hadley next, I believe, but she is a great artist too! It will be interesting to see what she does while under the shadow of Williams.

The story is good too, but honestly, the art is almost TOO good to pay much attention to the story. 🙂 I like Bones so Batwoman’s new associates are very welcome.

THE UNWRITTEN #33 (Carey / Gross / Perker) Vertigo

As I said, a lot of fighting this week. Even The Unwritten involves a full frontal assault (albeit Dragoon-aided). Things are starting to be spelled out here and the ideas that come out of the workings of the Unwritten world work towards their ultimate conclusions… almost. The question is… why don’t they ‘write him out’?

BRILLIANT #2 (Bendis / Bagley) Icon

The quality of Scarlet got me to give Brilliant a try. It is very different but still well worth a read. The Bagley art and Bendis dialogue makes it feel like Peter Parker is going to wonder in any some point. The characters are strong and while the plot is unfolding slowly it is still keeping me hooked.

NEW AVENGERS #20 (Bendis / Deodato / Beredo) Marvel

So an issue that is just one long fight scene and drawn by Mike Deodato. Sounds like something I would slag, right? Well, I would have thought so, but this was a really entertaining comic! Deodato was nowhere near as bad as he normally is. The different characters were actually different and not cut-outs of each other! The only real thing I didn’t like came on the last page because I hate being reminded that such a stupid character exists.

ULTIMATE X-MEN #6 (Spencer / Medina / Barberi / Vlasco / Lokus) Marvel

First off, what is with that cover? When was the last time Kitty looked ANYTHING like that, it either world? Leaving that, Rogue redeemed herself as a character SOMEWHAT, but still has a ways to go. The surprise ending was something I projected before it happened, though I didn’t think they would admit it yet. I didn’t read Ultimate X-Men before the relaunch… so I don’t know how big a surprise that was.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #7 (Brubaker / Davis / Farmer / Martin) Marvel

The only thing I don’t like about this story is the seen-it-before syndrome. Cap losing his serum powers is a story I feel like I have read a few times already. It is working okay so far, and I quite like the Serpent Squad (though I would like to see the return of the Serpent Society). The new Cap book reads a bit like the old Mark Gruenwald issues and that is a very good thing. I think the Davis art really helps that feeling.

SECRET AVENGERS #21 (Ellis / Immonen / Von Grawbadger / Sotomayor) Marvel

Sigh. The best thing about this issue is the knowledge that it is Ellis’ last. I don’t dislike Ellis and I have liked SOME of his run (last issue was REALLY good) but his apparent dislike of Steve Rogers is really a problem for me. I tried to look at this issue two ways: once as is and once with a mental substitution of Nick Fury in for Steve Rogers. With that chane, the book was actually quite good. Fury was ruthless. Beast was his conscience. Rhodey was good. Natasha was good. Valkyrie was good.

But it wasn’t Fury. It was Rogers.

Look, I am NOT getting into a debate about torture. My problem is not about whether it is okay to torture someone or to casually discuss killing your own team without first trying to find a better way. My problem is that Steve Rogers WOULD NOT do those things. Beast was saying things that Rogers should have been saying.

Looking forward to Remender.

BATGIRL #5 (Gail SImone / Adrian Syaf / Vicente Cifuentes) DC

Neural implant surgery? In a tossed off line? You need to do better than that.

EXPLAIN WHY SHE IS WALKING. EXPLAIN WHY SHE CAN DO THINGS THAT NOBODY SHOUDL BE ABLE TO DO.

If you don’t do that, Gail, and soon, I am dumping this book. You are making those who complained about taking her out of the chair right.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #677 (Waid / Rios / J.Rod) Marvel

This is part one of a cross-over with Daredevil and it is written my Mark Waid, the DD writer, instead of Dan Slott. It feels like a fill-in. Quite disappointing. Also, I liked Rios’ art on the Osborne series but it doesn’t feel right here. The dialogue is light and playful and the art is dark and ominous. There is a disconnect.

SUICIDE SQUAD #5 (Adam Glass / Federico Dallocchio) DC

Someone tell me when this gets better. I’m not waiting anymore. (Bring back Ostrander! Or maybe Simone!)

Dropped.

AVENGERS SOLO #3 (Van Meter / Barrionuevo / McCann / Henry) Marvel

The back-up is good. The lead is not. I’ll run this out because I like the Avengers Academy story but I really wish it was McCann on the lead story.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Secret Avengers #20

January 2, 2012
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This post is a little late because of New Year’s. Last night was spent NOT reading comics but enjoying a party held by our friends, Nadine and Phil. It involved me successfully defending my NYE Poker Championship! Then today also had some New Year’s festivities with those same friends, in the form of Chinese food.

I finally got down to reading comics this evening, and no it is time for reviews!

Big week.

SECRET AVENGERS #20 (Ellis / Maleev / Filardi) Marvel

When Warren Ellis took over Secret Avengers I absolutely hated it. His first issue was completely awful and the next issue was not a lot better. His third issue, on the other hand, was pretty good and now this one… which is great! A Black Widow story, which gets brownie points already, Alex Maleev art, not at his absolute best but still very strong, and a VERY well done time travel story. Everything worked here, including the newspaper strip homage. I have been looking forward to the end of the Ellis run and the start of Rick Remender’s and this doesn’t change that, but at least there was finally an issue worth the praise that has been heaped upon the Ellis run.

ALL-STAR WESTERN #4 (Justin Gray / Jimmy Palmiotti / Moritat / Phil Winslade) DC

It has not gone unnoticed by me that the best of the DC relaunch are the books that are not mainstream superhero books. Marvel does those better. Where DC shines is going outside of those bounds with books like Wonder Woman, Swamp Thing, Animal Man and this one.  ASW has been my favourite comic in some weeks and this one was pretty good. The Moritat art was not as great as it usually is, but it was still very solid. The back-up was also not stellar. The main story more than made up for it. I am looking forward to the further adventures of Hex and Arkham.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #5 & 6 (#5 – Brubaker / McNiven, Camuncoli / Leisten… #6 – Brubaker / Davis / Farmer / Martin) Marvel

Yes, two issues of Cap in the same week. (Even more, Cap & Bucky came out this week as well.) I have no idea why. Even more puzzling, this is a transitionary spot as one art team makes way for the next. #5 was the best issue of the new title so far. I especially liked it as it reminded me of early Flag Smasher, before that villain was ruined by bad writing. It is really interesting to read about a villain he is completely right but using unacceptable methods to fight for his cause. It is so reflective of so many things going on today. Then, #6 was even better! Bru’s writing style feels slightly different under the pencil of Alan Davis. I have no problem with McNiven but what a treat to switch to Alan Davis! I was so happy when he did that Avengers Prime mini and when I heard he was taking over Cap… well, his style is perfect for this book. People who really liked the dark and gritty stylings when this was a Bucky book might disagree. Too bad for them, I guess. 🙂

AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE #8 (Heinberg / Cheung / Morales / Ponsor) Marvel

I have enjoyed this mini… I just don’t like waiting two months between issues. I am not a huge fan of the way both the Avengers and X-Man are made out to look like d-bags, but that is kind of seeing it through the eyes of the next generation. Are we trading Cassie in for Scott? I’ll take that trade… and I don’t dislike Cassie.

ULTIMATE X-MAN #5 (Spencer / Medina / Vlasco / Curiel) Marvel

This is SO much better than the old Ultimate X-Men. It has a great cast. I hope they follow through and get rid of Rogue. It looks like it is Kitty’s time to shine. And what is Pietro up to?

All are reasons to keep reading, which was something I couldn’t find myself doing before the relaunch.

FURY OF FIRESTORM #4 (Ethan Van Sciver / Gail Simone / Yildiray Cinar) DC

Last month I felt close to cancelling this book. This month I enjoyed it a lot more. Adding the Russians was great. International intrigue that a couple of teenagers now have to deal with? Good call. I liked the juxtaposition of Ronnie being upset that Jason would think him stupid… followed by him apparently doing something very stupid.

CAPTAIN AMERICA  & BUCKY #625 (Asmus / Brubaker / Francavilla) Marvel

This book started to slide as soon as it left WW2 (and lost the Chris Samnee art), but it made some gains again this issue. Focusing on the second set of Cap & Bucky, while still making it a modern story, really works. I don’t see a long run before this book is cancelled (and then the other Cap book takes over the original numbering) but for now it is worth a read. At last this month.

FF #13 (Hickman / Bobillo / Sosa / Sotomayor) Marvel

Bobillo’s art is a lot better than last issue. And by a lot better, I mean that is merely really crappy instead of that mess from the previous book. Hickman’s story is solid but the bad art is very distracting, Hopefully that problem is corrected before this book gets the axe.

THE UNWRITTEN #32.5 (Carey / Gross / Ormston) Vertigo

The first .5 issue of The Unwritten was one of the best issues I have read of this title in quite a while. This issue was… boring. I found that I just didn’t care about it in any way. Hopefully further of these interlude issues will be more like the previous one than this one.

THE ULTIMATES #5 (Hickman / Peterson / Ribic / White) Marvel

Without going back and double-checking, I assume this is a different artist from the previous issues. I assume that because the previous issues were much better. That isn’t the big reason I rate this book so low, though. It is more because NOTHING HAPPENS. The interaction between Thor and his… relations were the only real saving grace this issue.

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #4 (Peter Milligan / Mikel Janin) DC

This is the last issue of this book I will be getting. Four issues in and there is still zero story other than ‘bad things are happening. Of some sort. Or something.’ Milligan can sometimes slip in incoherence in his writing and gets away with it by coasting on style. I bought this book for Zatanna, Madame Xanadu and Constantine. This isn’t Zatanna. This isn’t Madame Xanadu. Constantine… well, if it is just him, I could just buy Hellblazer. Which I don’t.

Dropped.

SUPERMAN #4 (George Perez / Jesus Merino) DC

If I am dropping JLD and this is rated lower, what does that tell you? This has been the weaker Superman book and this issue made no in-roads there. As a writer George Perez is a great artist (luckily he IS that…). Good writing is not just putting in more words. I would think an artist would understand that, but I guess not. I miss the 80’s version of George. (But hey, can’t we say the same thing about John Byrne, Chris Claremont, Walt Simonson…?)

Dropped

ALPHA FLIGHT #7 (Van Lente / Pak / Eaglesham / Aburtov) Marvel

Do you remember the last time there was a good AF comic? 1985? I had high hopes for the new series that started as a mini, was changed to an on-going, and now back to a mini. With only one issue left, I am not going to cut it, but if it were an on-going, I would have.

ANNIHILATORS: EARTHFALL #4 (Abnett / Lanning / Huat / Hennessy / Quintana) Marvel

People talk about how great the Marvel space stuff is. I have no idea why. This miniseries was awful in every way… except the Rocket Racoon and Groot back-ups. They were good but not  enough to save the series.

I picked up some trades after Christmas, which I will do a mini-review about sometime soon. They are Green Lantern: Rebirth, Iron Man: Demon in a Bottle, 100 Bullets Deluxe Vol. 1, Fantastic Four Vol. 1 Imaginauts and Age of Bronze Vol. 1 (and then Kevin Matthews has lent me Vol. 2 & 3)


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Batwoman #4

December 18, 2011
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This was a very solid week! In fact, the decision to make Batwoman the comic of the week was far from a sure thing due to the strong showings by a few other books!

BATWOMAN #4 (J.H. Williams III / W. Haden Blackman) DC

The dichotomy of the Flamebird fight and the Kate / Maggie (ahem) tussle was really well done. The art was just beautiful, as always.

One thing I found interesting about this issue centres around gender. If this had been BATMAN, and the Flamebird incident had happened, people would be calling it Woman-in-the-refrigerator syndrome. Is it not so because Kate is a woman? Why should that matter?

I happen to thing the syndrome is overblown. Are women portrayed well in comics. Often, no. That doesn’t mean that you can handcuff a writer by not allowing any bad things to happen to female characters. If it is done well, it is done well. If it is done badly…well…

CotW was a close call, though…

AVENGERS ACADEMY #23 (Gage / Raney / Hanna / Sotomayor) Marvel

Yes! This whole book was elevated by one scene.  I am not worrying about spoilers here because Axel Alonso had already blown it, but it turns out that Striker thinks he is gay. That alone is just a story point but the conversation between him and Lightspeed is very well done. His uncertainty compared with Lightspeed… well it just works. Some are complaining that his history of sexual abuse makes this a cliche, but the hell with that. Children are sexually abused. They even address the fact that this did NOT ‘turn him gay’.

The rest of the comic was fine, but it is that one scene that nearly made in CotW.

Oh, Tom Grummett takes over on art next issue! Excellent!

THE UNWRITTEN #32 (Carey / Gross / Perker) Vertigo

Another close one! This wasn’t as good as issue 31.5, but that’s okay. The struggle in the cold stayed interesting as did the meeting of the cabal. I hope that isn’t the last we will see of Frankie for a while.

BATGIRL #4 (Gail Simone / Ardian Syaf / Vicente Cifuentes) DC

I WANT to put this lower on the list, but I just can’t. It was too good an issue. So why do I want to put it lower? It is the way Simone is toying with the readers by not telling them why Gordon is walking again. It is coming off as cheap. Actually, it almost seems like she is stalling while she comes up with a good story.

All that aside. Good issue. Good characterization. Good art. Just good comics.

ULTIMATE X-MEN #4 (Spencer / Medina / Vlasco / Gracia) Marvel

After I read this I thought it would be higher… but the week was just too good. The characterization of Kitty was really strong here. I don’t believe for a second that Rogue is a traitor… but I would almost rather she was instead of being the god-squadder that was implied recently. We’ll see.

NEW AVENGERS (Bendis / Deodato / Bereto) Marvel

No, I don’t like Deodato, but that is not why the book got a weak rating from me. No, it is just one of those transition episodes where nothing much happens but it is needed to get from one plot point to the next. No great criticism, but neither am I going to say it is a great issue. The scene between Squirrel Girl and Daredevil was funny, though.

SUICIDE SQUAD #4 (Adam Glass / Federico Dallocchio) DC

Hey, Suicide Squad isn’t last! Woo-hoo! The story is better, in general, but it doesn’t really flow well. It his some good beats, though the betrayal of Boomer was too sudden with no build up. Dropping us right in was a bad move this time out. The set-up for the next issue would have been interesting with…yes… a bit more set up. Glass is trying to be Grant Morrison… and I don’t really like the jerky style even when Morrison does it.

AVENGERS: X-SANCTION #1 (Jeph Loeb / Ed McGuinness / Dexter Vines / Morry Hollowell) Marvel

Wow. Bad story. Crappy art. At this point I am just hoping they get it together somehow. Does this lead into Avengers vs X-Men?

Leave Cable dead. He is a boring character that should have stayed in the 90’s.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: The Avengers #19

November 20, 2011
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Does that headline surprise you? It did me.

This week’s reviews, from best to least…

THE AVENGERS #19 (Bendis, Acuna) Marvel

Now THIS is the Avengers that turned me into a comic fan! The Avengers was the first book I picked up back when I was 16 (issue #235). While I have enjoyed what Brian Michael Bendis has done with the franchise overall, it was still quite far from the book I had loved so much. Thie story has Cap trying to figure out who the team is going to be, complete with the public reveal at the end. Classic.

As for the new lineup, Storm is an interesting choice with lots of potential… but I don’t really like HOW she joined. Not terrible, but still. The Vision, on the other hand, was a GREAT reveal. It reminded me of issue #242 where the Vision came back from a long recuperation period. Great stuff. (Now, what about that OTHER Vision…)

While I don’t mind Spider-man and Wolverine being off the team (they are fine on New Avengers), but I don’t like HOW it happened. They deserve a little more respect than that.

Oh, and the art was GREAT. Daniel Acuna is PERFECT for this book. Even the back-up was kind of fun. All in all, a great read.

 

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #674 (Slott, Camuncoli, Janson, D’Armata) Marvel

The cover now reads ‘The World’s Greatest Super Hero!’ Works for me.

Dan Slott is knocking it out of the park with Spider-Man these days. A great story built around the Vulture (the old cool one, not the newer, creepy one). The Peter working with Carlie sub-plot works for me. The Mary-Jane and Glory Grant sub-plot partying works for me. I am a little less enthused about the Horizon Labs / Kingpin thing, but I am willing to ride it out.

The art wasn’t as good this issue. Not terrible, but also not much ‘value-added’.

 

AVENGERS ORIGINS: LUKE CAGE (Glass, Benson, Talajic, Beaulieu) Marvel

These Origins comics have been hit and miss so far, and this one is a hit. Luke Cage is a great character, despite his blacksploitation roots, but they manage to make him modern and noteworthy without shying away from those roots. The reminder of why he is important IN the comic is also a reminder why he is important AS a comic. (But ‘Hero for Hire High’? Really?)

Is this the same writer from Suicide Squad? This is better. I am not familiar with the name Dalibor Talajic, but it was good stuff.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA #4 (Brubaker, McNiven, Leister, Ponsor) Marvel

Seems like Marvel’s week, doesn’t it? This is a solid comic, with a solid premise, but it reads a bit like it is just moving the story along – getting from point a to point b. Those issues have to happen, but work better when you read them together.

The art is very good, but with all due respect to Steve McNiven (his is great) I can’t wait for the Alan Davis issues to start. His Cap in Avengers Prime showed he could be one of the CLASSIC Cap artists.

 

WONDER WOMAN #3 (Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang) DC

First, a note. You may notice that sometimes I give first and last names on the credits while sometimes I just give last names. The names are the ones put on the covers of the comics. DC apparently likes first names more than Marvel does.

The first two issues of Wonder Woman garnered my comic of the week nods each time. Why has this one dropped so much?

It is her changed origin. It doesn’t sit right with me. It seems like a needless change that kind of… cheapens her as a character somewhat. Maybe Azzarello will change my mind, but right now, I don’t like it. Did this colour my view of the issue? Maybe, but it felt a lot more disjointed that the first two.

The art is still great, though.

 

iZOMBIE #19 (Chris Roberson, Mike Allred) Vertigo

Another book that I expected to be higher on the list. There were parts of the book I liked… loved, actually. Spot’s date was absolutely charming. I hate to say it, but it was the art that threw me… and I LOVE Mike Allred’s art normally. He is one of my favourites. This issue seemed a little more… muddy maybe? A little sloppy? Not up to his usual level of brilliance, that is for sure.

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #22 (Gage, Chen, Hanna, Buchman, Cox) Marvel

I guess Quicksilver is part of the staff so having an issue focus on him isn’t actually out of place… but it sure seemed it. To me, the book is about the students, not the instructors. Yes, Finesse was an important part of the issue, but not in a way I really cared for. She seems a little hero-worshippy towards Quicksilver, who really has done nothing to deserve it. Let’s face it, Quicksilver has been pretty much a loser ever since he first appeared. Oh well.

 

THUNDERBOLTS #165 (Parker, Walker, Pallot, Soto) Marvel

Does Marvel WANT this book to fail? Why else would they put THAT cover on it? It is HORRIBLE! We were actually laughing about it. Kev Walker still does the interior art, so no problems there.

A solid book overall (once you get past the front cover). The Satana/Namor scene seemed a little gratuitous – besides, she isn’t his type. She isn’t blonde enough. It is tough to get too invested in a comic whose premise is that nothing can really happen (at the risk of changing history).

Both Avengers Academy and Thunderbolts are rumoured to be teetering close to the chopping block. I hope not. They are both good comics overall.

 

ULTIMATE COMICS X-MEN #3 (Spencer, Medina, Vlasco, Gracia) Marvel

Want to see a lame review? I don’t really know what about this book didn’t thrill me. I just read it and found that I didn’t care much about it. I didn’t read Ultimate X-Men before, but it is the Spidey connection that got me interested. We will see if it sticks or not.

 

X-FACTOR #227 (David, Kirk, Milla) Marvel

Of late I have been wondering if I just think I like X-Factor out of habit. It used to be great and it has earned some leeway because of it. This is also a Kirk issue, which means the art is not strong. Still buying it, but I hope it turns around or I may stop.

 

BLUE BEETLE #3 (Tony Bedard, Ig Guara, Ruy Jose, J.P. Mayer) DC

Here is a book that does not have a track record to save it. I wanted to support this book because I wanted to support DC’s publishing minority characters… but the comic just hasn’t been very good. When I read it, I can’t help but compare it to Ultimate Spider-Man, and it pales in comparison.

Maybe I just want Ted Kord back…

Regardless, Blue Beetle is off my pull list after this issue.

 

I also picked up Northlanders Volume 3: Blood in the Snow, but I haven’t read it yet. I liked the first two books. I’ll let you know.