Rusty's World

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: Ultimate Spider-Man 16.1

November 4, 2012
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Starting at the weakest, as always…

 

WINTER SOLDIER #12 (Brubaker / Guice / Thies / Breitweiser) Marvel

What went right in this comic: the mood is perfect, as always. You really get that underground espionage race against time back against the wall feeling.

What went wrong: WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? He implanted a mission into his own head? What the hell? That is just about the stupidest thing I have heard this week…

Oooh drama! Wait, it makes no bloody sense…

 

AvsX: CONSEQUENCES #4 (Gillen / Brooks / Charalampois) Marvel

Okay… last issue or so there was a thing were Cyclops was using some sort of dust to get a message from somebody. First off, that makes no sense. This prison would let him have this little package of dust? Uh no. Let’s forget that, though. It isn’t important. What IS important is that they don’t tell you who he is talking to. If  you realized that the dust was actually metal you would guess it was Magneto, but they didn’t tell you that. (I figured it was him, but you never know.)

That leads to a big cool reveal on the last page.

A big reveal that was spoiled on the recap page. Well done, editorial staff. Well done.

Or not.

 

ROCKETEER: CARGO OF DOOM #3 (Waid / Samnee) IDW

I have rally enjoyed this series. I still liked this issue but I had a little problem with how it unfolded. I am glad the villain died the way he did because it made it seem more ‘real’. But then to have him act in an uncharacteristic manner, SO uncharacteristic that Waid felt the need to try and explain it through another character (didn’t work), just so the rest of the story could work… not so good.

Then it looks like they are just going to wantonly kill all the dinosaurs. Hmmmph.

 

SWAMP THING ANNUAL #1 (Scott Snyder / Scott Tuft / Becky Cloonan) DC

There are two kinds of annuals. The kind that are integral to the main story and those that are cool side projects. This one tries to be both, making a story that could fit between two panels in the main book, shoehorning in a backstory. Eh. That is kind of the worst type.

The actual story was good, though. Well written and nice art. The readers of the main book that miss it, however, will have missed nothing, really.

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1 (no cover credits, but it is Williams / Walker / Livesay) Marvel

Avenging isn

‘t so caught up in on-going stories, so this is just a bigger than usual issue. What it really is, is fun. Entertaining story, witty dialogue, great art. What’s not to like?

 

CAPTAIN MARVEL #6 (DeConnick / Rios / Bellaire) Marvel

Yes! Finally an explanation! Kind of…

Wait. She explained who was behind it, but do they ever explain the how? Did she just DECIDE to make her plane into a time machine? Did I miss that part?

I hope the new version of Captain Marvel is still out there somewhere. She isn’t a villain per se, but it could be interesting.

 

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK ANNUAL #1 (Jeff Lemire / Mikel Janin) DC

This is the kind of annual that is right in thick with the main story. Miss this an you are screwed… and what a great story it is! Great massive climax, good vs bad and all that. THe new team si kind of pulled together (while also advertising the other ‘magic’ books out there from DC). Nice art as always.

Is it me, or does it feel like the Books of Magic are going to tie in with something going on over in Wonder Woman? I expected to here a BOOM when the portal opened.

 

THE NEW DEADWARDIANS #8 (Dan Abnett / I.N.J. Culbard) Vertigo

This is the final issue and it is exactly what the series needed. It put a nice bow on the whole thing. I would now heartily recommend the sure to be coming trade. In fact, it seems to me that this should be optioned for a movie. It has that feel to it.

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #16.1 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

Great, great issue. This comic is always good but the Betty story was perfect. I would have been unhappy if JJJ had printed the story, but I also would have preferred if he had bought it anyway, just to try and bury it. The surprise final page was… well too bad on one hand and great on the other. This isn’t a character I am a big fan of, but the reveal makes me more interested.

USM is one of the consistently best comics going.


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: 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: Before Watchmen: Minutemen #3

September 2, 2012
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This was a small week. I only got six comics and as such, even the comic of the week is not something that would normally win on a full sized week. Not to say I didn’t like it, because I did.

 

I also took advantage of Silver Snail’s end of summer sale and picked up a few trades. I got the first volumes of Shade, the Changing Man by Peter Milligan and Chris Bachalo, Top 10 by Alan Moore and Gene Ha, and X-Factor Visionaries: Peter David.

 

Starting at the weakest…

 

INFERNAL MAN-THING #3 (Gerber / Nowlan) Marvel

Yeah, so in the end, not so good. Lovely art by Kevin Nowlan but the story is just confusing and one-note. This also reminds me of how much better Swamp Thing is than Man-Thing.

 

CAPTAIN MARVEL #3 (DeConnick / Soy / Kesel / Elson) Marvel

I really like what Kelly Sue DeConnick is doing with this book. I mean, if ANY book is going to send you the messages of feminism and strength in empowerment it should be the book and character that started as Ms.Marvel. I mean, that was the POINT of the character, once upon a time.

I would still like to know WHY she went through time. Also, her grand stand play sending the Japanese solider back to get his friends was just annoying. Gee, who wouldn’t think THAT would turn out badly. Over all, still good, though.

 

WINTER SOLDIER #9 (Brubaker / Lark / Thies / Gaudiano / Breitweiser) Marvel

From empowered women to the opposite. Black Widow has become a brainwashed pawn. With the number of times Natasha has been brainwashed, reprogrammed, deprogrammed etc., it is a surprise her mind hasn’t broken completely. Still, Bru does a good job with the save / twist. This book reads like an spy/action movie and that works. I wonder if this book will maintain this standard when he leaves, as has been announced.

 

THE NEW DEADWARDIANS #6 (Dan Abnett / I.N.J. Culbard) Vertigo

I run hot and cold on this book, but I quite liked this one. Delving into the downsides of living forever is good. Plus, they have finally introduced the hero of the book.

What? Salt isn’t the hero? But he is a poet, what else could he be?

 

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #11 (Zeb Wells / Steve Dillon / Frank Martin) Marvel

One of those ‘tear-jerker’ comics that actually doesn’t do the job because it is a little proscribed. Still a very good comic and a nice reminder of what makes Peter into the hero that he is. Solid story telling. I really like Steve Dillon’s art, but I didn’t think it fit here. The Chris Samnee cover worked a lot better. I would have liked to see that in the interior.

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: MINUTEMEN #3 (Darwyn Cooke) DC

Silhouette has become my favourite Watchmen character… and she was hardly in Watchmen. Maybe that is why. Cooke is able to tell her story without treading on holy ground. Maybe it is also because so many of the other characters are so unlikeable. Comedian is loathsome here. The cut scenes with Dr.Gretchen are really powerful.

As I said, in a stronger week, probably not a contender for top book, but still a very solid read. If anyone asks about Before Watchmen, I would recommend Silk Spectre, Dr.Manhattan and Minutemen without hesitation. Most of the others are middle of the road, with Nite Owl being the exception and the one book I am no longer buying.


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: Swamp Thing #10

June 10, 2012
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Remember how last week was a relatively small week?

Making up for it this week!

 

Starting from the weakest and moving up, as usual.

 

WORLD’S FINEST #2 (Paul Levitz / George Perez / Kevin Maguire / Scott Koblish) DC

Perez and Maguire? What’s not to like? Well, a badly written story, boring characters and a terrible villain are a start.

I love supporting female led books and I love the artists. That may not be enough. I don’t think I will be getting issue 3.

 

DARK AVENGERS #175 (Parker / Shalvey / Martin) Marvel

Ouch. I was quite enjoying Thunderbolts, but this is… not so good. I cannot stress how much I hate Ragnarok. At lest give him a different costume so we are not constantly reminded what a dumb character he is. In fact, I don’t really like any of this crop of Dark Avengers (as opposed to the first crop). The Osborne mini was very good, but that didn’t make the villains introduced automatically matter.

I would drop this too, but I am hoping we will get more actual Thunderbolts in the title soon, despite the name change.

Oh, Shalvey’s art is getting better each issue, though!

 

DIAL H #2 (China Mieville / Mateus Santolouco) DC

This book gets by on pure creative inventiveness. Here is hoping the plot starts to catch up soon.

 

ANIMAL MAN #10 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh) DC

Some issues of this book, I love. Other issues I am luke warm on. I try to figure out what the difference is, and I can’t find it. Maybe it is my mood when I am reading it. It is well worth a read, but between this and Swamp Thing, AM has a ways to go.

 

iZOMBIE #26 (Chris Roberson / Michael Allred ) Vertigo

Sometimes I complain about a book not having enough plot. iZombie has too much. The characters are excellent but as the book trundles on to its untimely demise, there are too many plotlines that need to be crammed in and brought together. The book is suffering for it. Overall I still recommend the series. Buy the trades.

 

DEFENDERS #7 (Fraction / Dodson / Dodson / Oback) Marvel

I thought this book might be on the bubble down with World’s Finest, but the Dodsons drawing Black Cat? I am still not sold on the main Defenders storyline, but now I want to see a Fraction / Dodsons Black Cat book.

 

WINTER SOLDIER #6 (Brubaker / Lark / Gaudino / Breitweiser) Marvel

Michael Lark is pure atmosphere. This issue is all backstory, but it is on point! Fred Davis is the Bucky in a refrigerator, and I am not sure it was necessary, but the whole story of the sleeper for the past dozen years works well. Tying it in to Bucky’s story worked. (I do think they could go to the ‘Bucky’s past’ well too often, but they are not there yet.)

 

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #5 (Fraction / Romita / Hanna / Martin) Marvel

Something finally happens! I mean for real! Welcome the Phoenix Five!

One thing… when this is all over, Cyclops will be in prison, right? RIGHT???!

He should be.

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #31 (Gage / Grummett / Hamscher / Sotomayor) Marvel

Does anyone write young adults as well as Christos Gage? The plot is the plot… whatever. It is the characters that really shine… and now there is a new addition to the cast! I wouldn’t have minded if that was a trade for X-27, or whatever her name is… you know… Wolvie-Girl. Still, I like what they did with Shaw, and the Loa / Mettle / Hazmat situation will be interesting to watch. Personally, I hope they avoid the whole triangle cliche and instead turn into a really strong friendship like was implied last issue.

 

FAIREST #4 (Willingham / Jimenez / Lanning / Farmer) Vertigo

One more time: WHY IS A BOOK THAT IS SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT FEMALE FABLES STARRING ALI BABA?

Having said that, this was a good issue. The storytelling conceit has been good and having the Snow Queen be an addict to them works on many levels. Having her drugged into working for Gepetto strengthens her character a lot. Not much Briar Rose here, but the addition of Hadeon could be very interesting.

 

THIEF OF THIEVES #5 (Kirkman / Spencer / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

Does the gathering of the team reming anyone of Super Crooks? Oh well, it is a standard ‘heist picture’ set-up. It was well done, but once again… the only female of the group is a stripper? Really? WTF!

This books glides on the characters and the design… but those are both things I like a very great deal.

 

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #11 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

Spidey kicking ass! The first time you are punched int he face has to be a bit of a shocker. Being used to the Peter version, I was surprised he got hit so often, but at the same time, none of it seemed to phase him. Apparently his powers include being able to take a beating without even a bruise.

One of the best books on the market, month-in and month-out. BUY THIS BOOK! Anyone… everyone.

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: MINUTEMEN #1 (Darwyn Cooke) DC

The baggage involved is immense. Here is my take…

Alan Moore got a little bit screwed by DC’s ‘it is yours once it goes out of print’. I say a ‘little bit’ because DC KEEPING it in print in order to keep the rights has probably done more for Moore’s career and reputation than anything else he has ever written. (And that is saying something.)

Moore thinks it is some sort of creative crime to use someone else’s characters.  This is the writer of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Oh, and let’s not forget that the Watchmen characters were all based on the old Charlton characters and only changed when DC wouldn’t let him use them. At least that is how the story goes… (and it seems pretty likely. The analogues are clear.)

Now… when Before Watchmen was announced, my reaction was ‘uh, no thanks’. Then they announced the creative teams. Wow. So now, my attitude is, ‘don’t buy them because they are Watchmen related. Buy them if they are good.’

The first one is good. REALLY good. Anybody who enjoyed the opening credits sequence of the movie (and most people I talked to liked it, even the ones who didn’t really like the movie as a whole) should like this. Darwyn Cooke is incredibly talented and he does a great ob here (despite some small continuity problems with the main story).

Even the Crimson Corsair back-up was solid. It is dense, as it should be, so the 2-pages didn’t seem too light and the density wasn’t overwhelming.

So far so good.

 

SWAMP THING #10 (Scott Snyder / Francesco Francavilla) DC

Normally this book takes a big drop when Yanick Paquette isn’t on it, but Francavilla is PERFECT for the mood of the return of Arcane.

ARCANE! BAD ASS! I wish he wasn’t tied so tightly to the Rot, as he was excellent without it. I guess they don’t want to tie so strongly to hell any more.

Regardless, excellent book (but a bump as I am already a fan of the Swamp Thing / Anton Arcane struggles).


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.

 


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?


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