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Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Daredevil #34

December 23, 2013
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dd34cover

When I picked up my books tho sweet, Kin at the Silver Snail told me to read Saga last because it was the best comic of the week.

That is usually a safe bet but, man, there was a lot of great comics this week!

Starting at the weakest…

ANIMAL MAN #26 (Jeff Lemire / Cully Hamner) DC

Animal Man is cancelled and the reports are that it is Jeff Lemire who has decided to pull the plug. After reading this issue, I no longer believe it. AM has been great but this issue reads like somebody who is wrapping things up in a somewhat off-hand, out-of-the-blue manner. I don’t buy it. I think he was told that sales weren’t good enough or something. (I don’t know the actual figures.)

I do know that they are giving him Justice League, which will pay a lot better.

Too bad.

PRETTY DEADLY #3 (DeConnick / Rios / Bellaire / Cowles) Image

Well this issue was better than the first two, but at this point I am only buying it because Ruthanne likes it. I think it is a bit of a mess. Can anyone actually explain the plot just by reading it once?

X-MEN #8 (Wood / Dodson / Dodson / Keith) Marvel

I am not normally someone who gets really caught up in little logic points. People don’t always behave in logical ways and sometimes people have to make bad decisions in order to move the plot forward.

But this… the security at the X-Mansion (or whatever it is called now) is so lax that Mary can just walk in but just good enough to catch her on her way out? That’s convenient. It wasn’t even hard. That is just ridiculous.

I like the Sisterhood that is forming, though.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #700.4 (Casey / Green / Chapman / Rodriguez) Marvel

The second part of that Spidey burn victim story. It got a little better, but not a lot.

Hopefully the next issue is better. I wonder when it comes out.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #700.5 (Reed / Grevioux / Chen / Weeks) Marvel

Well, that was quick. And it IS better. A fun little story with the Fantastic Four. Nothing too weighty. Nothing to important either. Just fun. The back-up is a message story. It feel alike it is the 80’s again… in a good way.

THE MASSIVE #18 (Brian Wood / Garry Brown / Jordie Bellaire) Dark Horse

I am considering dropping this book. The world building that Wood did to start the book was amazing. Then he gave someone super-powers, and then ignored it. This story was about a random revenge quest.

It isn’t terrible… at all… but it is starting to lose my interest.

REVIVAL #16 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

Revival has a bit of the same problem, but not to the same degree. I’, sticking with this one.

That is a very lovely cover. Too bad it has absolutely nothing to do with the insides of the comic. Is that a theme this week?

This was a pretty violent issue. Explosions and blood every where, but that doesn’t mean what you think it might.

WONDER WOMAN #26 (Brian Azzarello / Goran Sudzuka / Jose Marzan Jr.) DC

A solid issue of Wonder Woman. The Zola story was pretty transparent, but that’s okay.

Diana kind of messed up pretty hard here, but that is good. Nobody should be perfect. (Remember what I said above about making mistakes to advance the plot?)

I do wonder if the story will change at some point so WW isn’t just reacting.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #15 (Remender / McNiven / Dell / Martin) Marvel

Well, we didn’t get an INSTANT reversal, but I wasn’t expecting one. What is that? The villains weren’t begin honest? NO!

This book got as high as it did because of the Wasp / Sentry fight. The Wasp is a GREAT character when written right, and Remender did a good job here.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #24 (Slott / Gage / Ramos / Olazaba / Delgado) Marvel

The disappointing part was the info that Flash NEEDS Venom now. It changes everything. Now we know that we will get a revision to status quo when this story is over, as it pertains to Venom.

However, Otto’s arrogance is the story here. He thinks of Venom as just another tool that only he is smart enough to utilize. That works on many levels.

Also, his interaction with May… what a shift! His mind has hanged and he doesn’t even know it.

ALL-NEW X-MEN #20 (Bendis / Peterson / Asrar / Silva) Marvel

Speaking of covers that don’t match the comic… is that supposed to be what Jean saw in Scott’s mind? Maybe?

It is hero time. Fighting Purifiers and helping out another hero in need. This works for me. I DO hope that they don’t stay with older Scott’s group because then both Bendis X-Books are kind of interchangeable… or at least have the potential to be.

SAGA #17 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

Best book of the week? Not quite, but not for lack of trying. The scene with the reporters was great. The scene with The Will bleeding was great. Marko and Alana hiding while Klara goes to defend Heist worked on many levels. The Heist / Prince scene was great! The opposite of war?

Then… it got sad. Quickly.

How could there be two books better than this?

YOUNG AVENGERS #14 (Gillen / McKelvie / Vieceli / Ward / Wu / Norton / Wilson / Loughridge / Bellaire) Marvel

Here is a book made up of people talking. Sound exciting? It is is pretty great. These are fully fleshed people, with feelings and thoughts and emotions and…and…and…

I am not a fan of jam books and that was a bit of a drawback, but the character beats in this issue were spot on, over and over. When Young Avengers first came onto the scene, Kate Bishop was the wonderful new character that never really fully blossomed. Now, wight he Fraction Hawkeye book and here, that has changed in a big way.

Noh-Varr is an idiot.

DAREDEVIL #34 (Waid / Rodriguez / Lopez) Marvel

Wow. That speech. Not the Daredevil one – the Kristen McDuffie one. With one set of word balloons, Waid has made me care about the character more than the previous issues combined. So what does that mean is next? Game of Thrones time.

My prediction: good news for Foggy. Bad news for Kristen.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Sex Criminals #3

November 25, 2013
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Sex-Criminals-3-Cover

This was a pretty good week. I went into it thinking I might prune a book or two from the bottom end… but I am not interested in cutting either of the bottom books. They were actually pretty good!

Starting at the weakest…

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1 (Gage / Rodriguez / Lopez) Marvel

I like Christos Gage and this was a good comic, but it didn’t quite ‘feel’ the same as the Slott version. The villain was pretty forgettable and never felt like a real threat. The scene were May sees him in action felt needless… but maybe I am wrong and there will be repercussions.

Not a bad book, just not as good as the monthly.

ANIMAL MAN #25 (Jeff Lemire / Rafael Albuquerque) DC

I am quite enjoying Animal Man, so why is this issue so low? Well, as I said, there are no real bad books this week. I think what makes this one relatively weaker is that it feels like just a piece linking the previous issues with the next one. The end seemed WAY out of place, but I can’t judge that until I know why it is happening. The bits with Buddy and Ellen worked, as they always do.

Definitely worth reading, just don’t start with this one.

AVENGERS #23 (Hickman / Yu / Gho / Mounts) Marvel

An issue of Hickman Avengers above an issue of Lemire’s Animal Man? Well, yeah, but just. This issue FINALLY starting feeling the air of desperation and need that comes with good war books… and that is what they need for this story to work at all. So, the story is starting to work in mood, if not in plot.

Side note, Yu is a very good artist when he isn’t drawing women’s breasts. I don’t mean they are too large or whatever – lots of artists have that problem. I mean he draws them like he has no idea what they are supposed to look like.

WONDER WOMAN #25 (Brian Azzarello / Goran Sudzuka) DC

Strife! The way Strife is playing everyone like a fiddle really works for me. The double standard between Hermes and Hera also really works, because it ISN’T a double standard. Hera was their enemy. Now she isn’t. Hermes was their ally and he betrayed them. Very different.

The only thing that stopped this book from being higher is that the art was only so-so and the scene with the First Born didn’t work for me at all.

X-MEN #7 (Wood / Dodson / Dodson / Keith) Marvel

Wait… Ana Cortes was a teenager? I like the Dodson’s work, but if you can’t tell the difference between a teenaged woman and an adult woman… well, that isn’t great.

The comic IS very good though. Monet is a very good addition to the cast, as is the new Karima (nice excuse about actually making her look brown). The interplay between the two is very good, as is it between Monet and Jubilee.

I have said before that the X-line is an embarrassment of riches right now.

AVENGERS A.I. #6 (Humphries / Schiti / D’Armata) Marvel

The good: the S.H.I.E.L.D. stuff so we question who the actual good guys are. The Hank Pym manic stage and the Victor reveal. The Dmitrios / Vision fight.

The bad: a meaningless reveal that actually doesn’t add anything to the story.

The awesome: “I am not compatible with embracing.” Respect his space, Hank!

UNCANNY X-MEN #14 (Bendis / Bachalo / Townsend) Marvel

A nice spotlight on not-Morph. Bendis doing what Bendis does best – characterization. Bachalo was key here as he made the scenes with Mr. Deeds work. It was mostly wordless and needed to be. Good job.

YOUNG AVENGERS #12 (Gillen / McKelvie / Norton / Wilson) Marvel

So, this book was about getting people to read Journey Into Mystery? You should have done that while it was still being published. Seriously though, this is a really good comic. So, of course, it has been announced that it is ending.

Sigh.

FABLES #135 (Willingham / Buckingham / Braun) Vertigo

I am really digging the Knights of the Round Table concept, but I still don’t really get why Brandish has been ‘rescued’. I am with Snow on that one. The end was a little sudden, but with all of the pieces in the air, I am looking forward to where it is going. (Plus the books still gets extra brownie points for that amazing afterlife issue.)

DAREDEVIL #33 (Waid / Samnee / Copland / Rodriguez) Marvel

This was a really good read. Waid and Samnee should do a Marvel Monsters book. This one was top-notch. I will say that I think it s weird when a long-standing character says that he doesn’t really trust magic… how many times has he teamed with Dr. Strange?

DD is just a fun, old-school read. Top notch.

SEX CRIMINALS #3 (Fraction / Zdarsky) Image

Wow, is this book great. The second issue wasn’t as good as the first, but the musical number in this one was excellent! I actually read a review where the writer was complaining about the scene, saying that their inability to get the rights to the song really hurt it… I think you really missed the point there. I don’t think they ever tried. The ‘post-is’ were the POINT! Just like the Hawkeye censorship when we have otherwise had full frontal Clint, was the POINT!

This is a fun book.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week (month… year…): Fables #134

October 21, 2013
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fables134_1

Quite the extremes this week. The comic of the week was really… REALLY… good. The worst comic was… well, I might as well kick things off…

NEW AVENGERS #11 (Hickman / Deodato / Martin) Marvel

Let me start off by saying that even WITHOUT the problem I am about to lay out for you this book isn’t very good. Just as the 10 issues before it weren’t very good. What is keeping me around?

I just love the Avengers. I don’t buy them blindly any more (there are too damned many of them), but it is hard for me to let go. (Thankfully Mighty Avengers seems really good, because the Hickman stuff is very disappointing.)

Having said THAT, this book is worse than that.

There is a war in Wakanda, between some alien Thanos followers and the Wakandan army. You know Wakanda, right? One of the most (of not THE most) technologically advanced countries on the planet? Led by their Queen, the Black Panther. With all of that high tech at her disposal, she chooses to attack her enemy by… throwing a spear at them.

A spear.

A Queen of an African country LITERALLY throws a spear at someone.

Look, I am not implying that Hickman is racist. I don’t even know the man. But at a minimum he is guilty of being really, REALLY stupid here.

HUNGER #4 (Fialkov / Kirk / Aburtov) Marvel

Well, that was pointless. Rick Jones is Captain Marvel now. They are still going to destroy the Ultimate Universe, so who really cares? I am looking forward to Cataclysm, but this was just filling space.

AVENGERS # 21 (Hickman / Yu / Alanguilan / Gho) Marvel

Why does Marvel put the two Hickman Avengers books out on the same week every month? That doesn’t make sense at all.

This book is better than NA, but that is damning with faint praise. Any chance Bendis will come back?

UNCANNY X-MEN #13 (Bendis / Bachalo / Townsend / Gracia) Marvel

Speaking of Bendis…

Battle of the Atom is better than Infinity in every way, but this is still just an extended fight scene with an unexplained twist that seems a bit like a deus ex machina.

THIEF OF THIEVES #17 (Kirkman / Diggle / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

The on-going heist picture of a comic book continues to be an on-going heist picture. That works for me. WHo is making the series? This seems like an AMC property to me. Hamm as Redmond?

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #19 (Slott / Stegman / Livesay / Delgado) Marvel

So if 2099 is staying in 2013, the Captain is likely playing Spider-Hero, Miles will be the Ultimate survivor, Peter is coming back (duh)… the web is going to get crowded.

ANIMAL MAN #24 (Jeff Lemire / Rafael Albuquerque) DC

I thought Brother Blood was a formidable enemy, but really he is just a flunky. It is the Totem that is the issue. Big threat. Scary implications. Stress induced reunion. Good character points all around.

WONDER WOMAN #24 (Brian Azzarello / Goran Sudzuka) DC

Do you know what annoys me? That Superman/Wonder Woman book probably outsells this one, despite being nowhere near as good.

This issue was GREAT! We are finally moving on as the prophecy has been dealt with and the new story about Diana’s place among the pantheon is really interesting. Hermes got a really good point in and Apollo is nothing to fool around with. Good stuff.

HAWKEYE #13 (Fraction / Aja / Hollingsworth) Marvel

I should be disappointed. After a long delay this book STILL didn’t advance the plot, and only put other actions into some sort of timeline.

But it did it really well. Great stories, great art, great comics.

FABLES #134 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha / Pepoy) Vertigo

Wow.

It has been a long time since Fables was GREAT. It is still good (except when Willingham lets his politics take over), and sometimes it is really good.

But this issue is better than that.

Two conversations. That’s it. Two well written, moving, powerful, sad conversations. Illustrated in such a way to make them even MORE than they already are. Bucky’s design instincts go to a whole other level here.

But still… those conversations… the second one… the question…

I can’t even really describe this.

May I be overly moved by this? I lost my father this year. Did that chance how I looked at this book?

Maybe… but whatever. This is just a wonderful comic.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Saga #14

October 3, 2013
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saga14-cover-49aab

Pretty decent-sized week… complete with a book I thought I cancelled. Huh…

Starting at, well, that book…

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #19 (DeConnick / Van Meter / Kitson / Magyar) Marvel

How many times do we need to read the same story? I mean… seriously. I thought I had already dropped this, but now I am doing it for sure.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #12 (Remender / Larroca / Martin) Marvel

This could have been higher if it wasn’t for the terrible art. Has Larocca always been this bad? I don’t recall.

The story is okay. I am not completely sure why Kang is being such a dick, but I have probably just forgotten.

There are better books out there, but the story is holding me so far.

AVENGERS #10 (Hickman / Yu / Alanguilan / Curiel) Marvel

Once again, the same story for the umpteenth time, but this time there was important story elements added to it. Plus the art was nice.

I do wish the Avengers books were better.

THE UNWRITTEN #53 (M.Carey / P.Gross / B.Willingham / M.Buckingham) Vertigo

I have not been enjoying this non-crossover, but this issue was better than it had been. The Fables characters were a little more palatable than the last few issues. It still feels like an Elseworlds book. At least the Unwritten parts are starting to feel more like itself. I liked the story in each others world aspect.

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #27 (Benids / Marquez / Ponsor / Mounts) Marvel

It seems weird to keep calling this story “Spider-Man No More” when he is clearly Spider-Man. Solid read. I am a little disappointed in Taskmaster because they had the chance to make him as cool as he used to be and kind of missed the boat. Now he is generic tough guy with an energy directing ability. Eh.

WONDER WOMAN: FIRST BORN #1 / WONDER WOMAN #23.2 (Brian Azzarello / Aco) DC

First off, this is the only one of these that I actually got the gimmick cover for. I prefer the regular covers generally, but whatever. The effect is well done, at least.

The book inside is really good! The art is great! I would much prefer that this Aco (who I had never heard of) be the designated fill-in artist instead of Tony Akins.

The real treat about this book is that First Born now has some character! I didn’t really like him before, but now he is at least a little interesting.

YOUNG AVENGERS #10 (Gillen / McKelvie / Norton / Wilson) Marvel

Another solid issue of YA. Mother now has a bit more depth and Leah just got nasty. The crazy stalker group is great.

I am looking forward to next issue… as usual.

REVIVAL #14 (Mike Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

One of the better issues of Revival in a while… until that last page. Ick. Jordan is an incredibly complex character. The idea of a suicidal child is awful… but when she is probably right? That makes it worse.

SEX CRIMINALS #1 (Fraction / Zdarsky) Image

Great new debut. It was nearly #1. Here is the thing, though, if you read the title and think, cool, Sex! It probably isn’t for you. Unless it is. It is certainly for ‘mature readers’, but it isn’t salacious. Except when it is.

Fun and interesting, the way sex should be.

SAGA #14 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

Wow, three Image books top the week. This just beats out Sex Criminals because of the awesome scene between Gwendolyn and the Will.

Oh, but it also beats it out due to the touching scene between Heist and Klara.

Or maybe the panel with Sophie and Lying Cat.

Wow, this is just a great comic.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Fables #132

August 25, 2013
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FABLES_132

Busy, eventful and fulfilling week.

But that is about life… this is about comics.

Starting at the weakest.

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #18 (DeConnick / Kitson / Woodard) Marvel

This has not been a very strong book. Then it crossed over with Captain Marvel and was an actively bad book. I decided to wait it out. Now it is an Infinity ‘tie-in’ that just reads as being pointless.

Enough. Dropped.

AVENGERS #18 (Hickman / Yu / Alanguilan / Gho) Marvel

Also an Infinity book, but this one is one of the ‘core’ books. Jerky and Hickmanesque, but at least it advances the plot, if only a bit and in somewhat opaque ways.

What I know about Infinity. There are aliens attacking… the universe, I guess. They are tough and scary enough that lots of other alien races are teaming up to fight them. Oh, and Thanos is behind it but nobody knows that… or something.

THIEF OF THIEVES #16 (Kirkman / Diggle / Martinbrough / Serrano) Image

Ooh…harsh. Things don’t look good for our hero.

The fact that I have nothing else to really say tells you why this book is so low on the list this week.

DAREDEVIL #30 (Waid / Samnee / Rodriguez) Marvel

This book has two good things going for it: Chris Samnee and that pseudo-emotional sucker punch at the end. And even that doesn’t actually MEAN anything. The ‘alien menace’ wasn’t that interesting and the Silver Surfer appearance was only good for the visual.

This HAS been a great book but the last few issues feel like a real slip for Waid.

ANIMAL MAN # 23 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh / Francis Portela) DC

Solid book. Buddy’s struggles as he deals with the loss of Cliff manifest themselves well as he is more angry than he might otherwise be when dealing with threats. The L’il Nemo pastiche is also working perfectly, and it is better as it flips back between that and Buddy.

And now… betrayal!

X-Men #4 (Wood / Lopez / Smith / Peter) Marvel

A very well written book. We finally deal with Jubilee the vampire (I still think that is stupid… but you also shouldn’t just ignore it), and the backlash of Storm’s actions in the last story are mixed with an in-air rescue… and another in-air rescue.

Too bad it was marred but some really sloppy art. In the Storm team part anyone. The art in the Jubilee part (especially the baby) worked well.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #16 (Slott / Ramos / Olazaba / Delgado) Marvel

So, about that secret identity, Phil…

The exposure of Phil Urich worked on many, MANY levels. The chaos it created showed how WRONG Otto was to take that tack, which really worked for the story.

The only problems I had were the summary dismissal of Norah. Not only did I not like it, but it was ridiculous and the only acceptable story going forward is her suing the hell out of the Daily Bugle.

That at the ‘Goblin Knight’ is a really lame name.

REVIVAL #13 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

Great characterization issue. A formerly dead kid gets all spooky. A former player gets all charming. A doctor gets all murdery… or at least exposed as such.

Did anyone else think those knitting needles were going to find themselves buried in someone’s chest?

And did he just… discorporate?

WONDER WOMAN #23 (Brian Azzarello / Cliff Chiang) DC

Do you know what kind of comics I usually don’t like? Issue-long, over-powered fight scenes. WHat was this book? An issue-long, over-powered fight scene.

But it was really good. I should have known something was up the moment I said to myself, “You know, War is pretty awesome.”

That would be War the character, not war the concept.

Once again… looking forward to the next step.

FABLES #132 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha) Vertigo

Remember when they formed the Fables super-hero team and it seemed like a neat concept that just didn’t really pan out?

The new Knights of the Round Table seems like the same basic concept but made way, way cooler. I still don’t like Brandish so seeing him get yet another comeuppance was nice.

Fables has been not as consistently awesome as it once was (barring Willingham’s occasional messed-up political commentaries) and it is still WAY better than Fairest, but this Round Table story feels like it has the potential to be really great.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Ultimate Spider-Man #25

July 22, 2013
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Another week with really strong contenders for the top spot. Now that I have been adding a pic to the post it was tempting to make either Scarlet or Revival the top book just because the covers are so nice, but I have to be true!

Starting at the bottom…

AVENGERS #16 (Hickman / Spencer / Caselli / Martin) Marvel

Well, they can’t all be winners. Sigh. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love the Avengers. I have the full run… yes the FULL run, right back to 1963.

Last night I was trying to remember the last time the Avengers were as bad as they are now. Geoff Johns? Maybe not. Chuck Austen for sure.

Sigh.

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #17 (DeConnick / Buffagni / Woodard) Marvel

I don’t mind the story here but it isn’t enough to overcome the awful art. This AA / Captain Marvel crossover has made me want to cancel them both. In fact, they READ like books that are about to be cancelled, if that makes sense.

FABLES #131 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha) Vertigo

First off – great cover. One of many nice covers this week. The story is solid. The Brandish ‘surprise’ (which was telegraphed all through this issue) was interesting, but not as much as the Rose Red story. The only reason that this issue is so far down is that is seems more like a prelude to great things than great things itself.

ANIMAL MAN #22 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh / Francis Portela) DC

Steve Pugh’s depiction of the Red was really wonderful this issue! Maxine’s influence on the place is a welcome addition! It contrasted nicely with the brutal attack on Buddy. Of course you all knew exactly where the Cliff thing was going as soon as she started, but some lessons need to be learned, as the Shepherd pointed out. The villain reveal was great for fans of the old Teen Titans book… back when it was good.

ALL-NEW X-MEN #14 (Brian Michael Bendis / Stuart Immonen / Wade von Grawbadger / Marte Gracia) Marvel

Another striking cover. This issue was a good old fashioned super fight… but done really well. There was action, there were quips, there was plot advancement, there was villainous escapes and captures. Just a good comic for people who like old-school super-heroics.

WONDER WOMAN #22 (Brian Azzarello / Cliff Chiang) DC

And New Genesis joins the new DC Universe! I liked it! I wasn’t sure about Highfather being kind of a dick, but his last line showed that there are layers within layers here. Orion gets more characterization that works for him. Meanwhile, back on earth…

Good stuff. (despite still being the ‘first story’ on issue 22)

SCARLET #7 (Bendis / Maleev) Icon

This easily could have been the top book. I almost wanted to put in at #1 just because of the beautiful cover.

What stopped it from being #1 is that very little happened. It just happened very well, if you get what I am saying. The plot advanced in a very small way, but it a well-written, compelling and interesting fashion.

One of the best books going… but it just doesn’t come out often enough. Read the trades.

REVIVAL #12 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

First, let em do a little cut and paste: “This easily could have been the top book. I almost wanted to put in at #1 just because of the beautiful cover.”

I have been close to cancelling this book in the past. I felt it had a great high concept that was being squandered. Then it devolved into random racism that didn’t seem to advance the plot at it became a bit of a chore to read.

This issue feels like they finally got it right, end to end.The emotional impact on both sides was well presented. The potential story threads were laid out nicely. Even the racism angle seemed to have a point this time.

Good book. Now keep it up.

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #25 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

Is there a character that you really feel what he is going through more than Miles Morales? If there is, let me know because I want to read that book.

Why he doesn’t want to wear the costume makes perfect sense. Why others want him to wear the costume makes perfect sense. Why he would end up making the decision he makes, makes perfect sense.

Jessica Drew was REALLY good in this issue. I have not been a big fan of the Ultimate Spider-Woman because I am not a fan of the clone angle, but here it works to perfection.

If you aren’t reading Ultimate Spider-man, you are missing out on some of the best characterization in comics.

My top 5 books, in no particular order are: Ultimate Spider-Man, Saga, Hawkeye, Scarlet and… whatever I say at this point will be fairly random as there are a bunch. But that is my top 4 for sure. (I would add Joe the Barbarian, but it is hardly current. Hopefully Sandman: Overture will join this list in the fall.)


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Animal Man #21

June 24, 2013
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ANMAN_Cv21

Good size week with a ‘big’ release that was pretty disappointing.

Starting at the weakest.

CAPTAIN MARVEL #13 (DeConnick / Hepburn / Bellaire) Marvel

I wonder if this book would ‘read’ better if it had a different artist.

AGE OF ULTRON #10 (No cover credits – Bendis / Maleev / Hitch / Neary / Guice / Peterson / Pacheco / Bonet / Palmer / Marquez / Quesada) Marvel

Ugh. I have actually enjoyed this series but this comic was barely even part of it. It read like an epilogue. “Remember that plan from last issue? It worked. Now there is fall-out… and you get to see it in the following comics!”

It is an ad for follow up comics! (Which I was already going to buy.)

The series as a whole was good but the last half of this comic was lame.

AVENGERS #14 (Hickman / Spencer / Caselli / Martin) Marvel

Stuff happens!

None of makes any real sense!

PLEASE tell me that Hickman will leave the Avengers titles after Infinity. PLEASE.

Not likely.

NEW AVENGERS #7 (Jonathan Hickman / Mike Deodato / Frank Martin) Marvel

Better than Avengers, so that is something. This time out, anyway. Big earth-threatening menace! That just seems to go on and on without anything ever actually happening! Grrrr! And now there is war on earth! Grrrr!

See note from previous issue.

REVIVAL #11 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

I am wavering on this book, but this issue was solid. I could do without that super-racist dude, but the main story with Emma and the organ-harvesters was interesting.

WONDER WOMAN #21 (Brian Azzarello / Cliff Chiang) DC

This is still the 21st issue of the same storyline, which is a little long, but the end made it worthwhile. New Genesis! Highfather! Boom Tubes! Some big boring tough guy! Okay, you can’t win them all.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #12 (Slott / Camuncoli / Dell / Pallot / Delgado) Marvel

When is Peter coming back?

This is a well-written comic, but Otto is certainly unlikeable. The Jameson / Otto interaction is interesting. If Otto actually kills Smythe on Jameson’s orders, or even if he doesn’t, Otto now has blackmail material against the mayor. Interesting.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #9 (Rememder / Acuna) Marvel

So here it is! The big fight between Rogue and the Scarlet Witch!

Oh wait… that doesn’t actually happen? But the cover…?

Yeah. False advertising.

Godo story though. I know that this is going to blow over but I WANT Captain America to refuse to serve with Wolverine. I actually like BOTH characters but that should include Cap refusing to serve with Logan.

FABLES #130 (Willingham / Kitson / Erskine) Vertigo

I could see the ending coming, but I still liked it. I think the final panel was poorly don, though, because all of a sudden it seemed like the Rats had abused her, which wasn’t the impression I got during that actual scene.

Nezumi for the win!

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #24 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

Hey, the Ultimate Dagger wears clothes! Cloak and Dagger are interesting in their limited appearance so far. We don’t know if what is going on in Cloak’s… cloak is the same as in the 616 uni or not. Gwen’s slap of Miles was perfect.

You can’t be in a Spider-man book and not learn that with great power… etc.

ANIMAL MAN #21 (Jeff Lemire / Steve Pugh / Francis Portela) DC

This is the best book DC has going these days. This book as Maxine as a messed up Little Nemo. Twitter ruining Buddy’s life and letting the villain escape. The confluence of celebrity and tragedy. Buddy trying to actually be a super-hero.

Good comic.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Ultimate Spider-man #23

May 19, 2013
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ultimate-spiderman-23-cover

Small week… some good books though.

Starting at the weakest…

AGE OF ULTRON #8 (Bendis / Peterson / Mounts) Marvel

If this is such a big cross-over, couldn’t they have gotten a better artist?

Nothing happens. I mean, stuff happens, but nothing you couldn’t explain away in a few lines. This mini is hit and miss. Great ideas but not always the best execution.

AVENGERS: THE ENEMY WITHIN #1 (DeConnick / Hepburn / Bellaire) Marvel

So, why did this need to be its own comic? Really, this is just an issue of Captain Marvel with Spider-woman and Thor guest starring. That’s okay. I read Captain Marvel and Avengers Assemble, so getting this cross-over was going to happen anyway.

Buy this if you already buy Captain Marvel. If you don’t, this isn’t going to change your mind.

WONDER WOMAN #20 (Brian Azzarello / Goran Sudzuka / Cliff Chiang) DC

Sudzuka is a better fill-in than Tony Akins.
There was nothing WRONG with this comic… but are we ever going to get something different? The gods send someone after the kid. Wonder Woman et al fight to save the baby. Rinse, repeat.

This is getting very, very repetitive.

FABLES #129 (Willingham / Buckingham / Leiloha / Pepoy) Vertigo

Well, I got what I wanted… but I wish there was a little more too it. They didn’t outsmart him. They just cast a spell and had a fight. But, the right person won and now it is ‘her other half’ that needs the saving. That works.

Oh, and Rose Red was awesome… (and right).

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #23 (Bendis / Marquez / Ponsor) Marvel

One year later…
It is the same story you would expect, just not so time-compressed. Miles’ girlfriend was a bit of a surprise. The pressures from Ganke and Jessica are the right ones.

But the best part of the comic? Jefferson. “Kid’s got play all of a sudden.”

Excellent stuff.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Wonder Woman #19

April 21, 2013
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Wonder-Woman_19

Big surprise at the #1 spot this week.

Maybe I am just in a good mood because I did really well at the Capital Slam semi-finals last night and made the finals. Time to get to work!

Starting at the weakest.

BATWOMAN #19 (J.H. Williams III / W.Haden Blackman / Trevor McCarthy) DC

So, the DC cover gimmick where it is supposed to reveal some big surprise? Did nobody tell Williams that?

I really should drop this comic. I like the character. I like the concept. I like to support diversity in comics.

But I prefer comics to be somewhat coherent. This isn’t. And the art is bad.

Sigh.

CAPTAIN MARVEL #12 (DeConnick / Sebela / Andrade / Bellaire) Marvel

I like this comic more, but this is still just a big fight scene. Interspersing the medical talk helped a bit, but not enough.

So, she ‘caught’ something now? I guess that makes sense because that way she can find a cure, go back to being her old heroic self, and feel bad about Helen Cobb. I get it.

It looks like they are going to try a more ‘standard’ artist starting next issue. We’ll see how that plays.

AGE OF ULTRON #6 (Bendis / Peterson / Pacheco / Martinez) Marvel

What really puts that book down this low is the art. It just wasn’t very good. The past Pacheco art is a lot better than the Peterson art… but nether really wowed me.

The end wasn’t shocking at all and the announcement of an upcoming book called Avengers A.I. has already spoiled that this ‘shock’ doesn’t stick around so, there is that.

The Age of Ultron spin-off this week was way better.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #8 (Dan Slott / Huberto Ramos / Hector Olazaba / Edgar Delgado) Marvel

The scenes with the Avengers were not great. The cool big fight scene that was expected just didn’t happen and then their ‘scan’ was pretty weak. The stuff with Cardiac was a lot better and Otto’s feelings about being a hero were an interesting evolution.

They have teased that something big happens in issue #9. I think that is it for that Peter echo, cementing Otto’s place. (Of course, I still think Peter WILL be back, but not just yet.)

REVIVAL #9 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

Ruthanne’s complaint is that the book doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, and that is a fair assessment, but I still like it.

I actually don’t know what else to say with this one.

THIEF OF THIEVES #13 (Kirkman / Asmus / Martinbrough / Serrano ) Image

This is another one I like more than Ruthanne does. I dig the cinematic feel of it. There are always twists but they don’t feel contrived. This issue marks the end of the Asmus arc but it also sets up the Andy Diggle arc that follows.

The one real criticism I have is that I wonder if EVERY arc is going to be about how someone manipulates him into stealing for them and how he turns the tables.

DAREDEVIL #25 (Waid / Samnee / Rodriguez) Marvel

This is an interesting take on the Daredevil fight scene. I love Chris Samnee’s art normally, so it feels weird criticizing him, but it felt like we were being TOLD that the fight was brutal, rather than seeing it. I recall when Waid made comments about how busted up Matt was inside, wondering, ‘why?’ It just felt like reading a normal fight scene with a supervillain while being told that it was much more.

DD is a good book, though. I am glad I finally starting buying it.

WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #27 AU (Kindt / Medina / Vlasco / Curiel) Marvel

Right off the top, let me say that this book does not deserve to place this high on the list. It is just not THAT good. The art is not great and the writing is nothing special.

SPOILER ALERT FOR THIS AND AGE OF ULTRON

But the CONCEPTS in this book really hit be in my happy place.

Wolverine and Sue Storm just screwed up. BIG time.

Forget the possible fall-out from killing Hank Pym… Sue just made Reed more distrustful and less likely to work with the wider community to keep the world safe.

Meanwhile, Wolverine just created a race of SUPER-Brood that would probably threaten the existence of humankind on the planet. (Think the movie Aliens, let loose on the world).

My only concern is that since this isn’t in the main title, these threads won’t be as important as the death of Pym one (which should also be a big deal) and won’t be touched on as much. I hope I am wrong.

FABLES #128 (Willingham / Buckingham / Pepoy / Leialoha) Vertigo

My concerns about this book have been allayed so far. Snow White was awesome. Brute force is clearly not going to win the day (in fact, wait until Bigby hears what he just did to his wife). Rose Red rose (ahem) to the occasion. The witches are DOING something.

I feel more comfortable that Snow will save herself and that is what I want to see.

WONDER WOMAN #19 (Azzarello / Sudzuka / Akins / Green) DC

WW is #1? Wow. I have not been liking the book that much lately, so what made is so great this time? Cliff Chiang isn’t even on art!

Oh, I how I enjoyed this book. Let me count the ways.

The Apollo stuff was okay and the Poseidon stuff didn’t do it for me… but the rest!

Let’s start with the naming sequence. They start with the Brit names. Diana suggests Steve and everyone gives her a look (that is almost a 4th-wall sequence). War shows where his head is at. Hera looking at the baby and the effect that has on her. Then, Zeke! Orion’s idea of what the name sounds like is awesome! What a great name!

The mod-WW semi-easter egg.

The kiss.

The balls.

The punch.

The UGLY Orion!

This book was FULL of great bits.


Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Saga #11

March 24, 2013
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Saga again? I think this makes 10 times out of 11 issues that it has grabbed the #1 spot. There was big competition this week too…

Starting at the weakest…

COMEBACK #5 (Brisson / Walsh / Bellaire) Image

What a terrible comic this ended up being. I think that they were trying to recreate the movie Primer in comic form and failing utterly. I have no problem with complicated comics but this was an absolute mess. Just look at page 8 and 9 for the wall of text that happens to try and explain the storyline. TOo much expository dialogue!

If you have a chance to read this comic, don’t waste your time.

WONDER WOMAN #18 (Azzarello / Sudzuka / Ains / Chiang / Green) DC

I used to really love this comic… what happened? I already talked about how this storyline was just going on an don, yet this issue had a resolution of sorts. The art this time out was really, really bad, which makes them lost the benefit of the doubt. But what really puts this book in the bad column?

How about the scene where War reaches in and rips a baby from a women’s womb.

The fact that they are gods and not really people and that it wasn’t really her womb doesn’t matter. Just look at that scene and tell me what you see.

That is some messed up shit right there. Ugh.

CONSTANTINE #1 (Jeff Lemire / Ray Fawkes / Renato Guedes) DC

They cancelled Hellblazer for this. Now, I wasn’t reading Hellblazer, but the idea that they would water down yet another character didn’t sit well with me. When they turned Constantine back into a DCU character, I had no problem with that. Hellblazer was still running and I had no more problem with both existing than I do with the idea that the movie version of, say, Captain America, is a different version than the comic one. No problem.

DC seems to think otherwise. They thought it was too confusing so they killed Hellblazer and replaced it with this.

At first I just wasn’t going to buy it at all. BUt then they switched writers, bringing in Jeff Lemire, who writes Constantine very well in Justice League Dark, so I thought I would give it a try.

I tried it. That may be all I do.

CAPTAIN MARVEL #11 (DeConnick / Sebela / Andrade / Bellaire) Marvel

From here on, I actually quite liked the comics this week. THere were lots of them, but they were quite good.
I am hot and cold about the art in CM, but this issue worked for me. I think the difference from issue to issue may be more me than the art, but this time I liked it.
I like the ‘can’t fly’ story now, and I wouldn’t mind if they took her flight power away from her permanently so her facility with flying machines had a greater utility.
This was a solid issue, but not outstanding.

NEW AVENGERS #4 (Jonathan Hickman / Rick Magyar / Steve Epting / Frank D’Armata) Marvel

So the Illuminati are straight up villains now? Having Cap pushed out was the right thing to do because he would be WAY out of character to go for this. I think Beast should have a bigger problem with this than he does. (I would prefer if they ALL had a bigger problem with this but…)
Not a great book, but I am still hoping that heroic natures take back over.

AVENGERS #8 (Jonathan Hickman / Dustin Weaver / Justin Ponsor) Marvel

So, the Avengers acted pretty badly in here, no? All of the conflict came about because they treated someone who had done nothing wrong as an enemy, effectively turning him into one. While I am not a fan of idiocy as a plot device, this worked because you could see that they were really, really panicking. I think having characters used to being so powerful act rashly when faced with something MORE powerful makes sense.

I just wish Hickman did stories other than ‘big cosmic over powered god-think threatens the earth!’

REVIVAL #8 (Tim Seeley / Mike Norton) Image

Creepy and powerful stuff. The character turns in this book are great. I dug Ken Dillisch, as he worked against type. The plight of the suicidal was yet another twist in this already psychologically messed-up book.

This should be the next Walking Dead.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #6 (Slott / Ramos / Olazaba / Delgado) Marvel

What I like about this book: Otto has become a VERY complicated character. His childhood flashbacks are becoming tiresome, but his obvious feelings of respect (and more?) for Anna Maria Marconi is really well played. Of course, his way of expressing that is a little over the top, but that is who he is.

What I don’t like: They did this in the mid-90’s when they broke Batman’s back. They replaced Batman with Azrael to answer to the people who thought that it was okay for Bats to be more brutal. They tried to show how wrong that would be. What happened? People cheered him. The people who say that Batman should have killed Joker years ago don’t understand what it means to be a hero.

I am afraid of that here. How many readers thing Otto was right to shoot that guy last issue? What I liked here is that people SHOULD realize that brutalizing two people over what amounts to a prank in order to commit a minor crime is too much.

I hope.

BATWOMAN #18 (J.H. Williams III / W. Haden Blackman / Trevor McCarthy) DC

This issue was fairly… straight forward. That is a nice change from the mess the last arc kind of became. The fight with Freeze was well done. Hawkfire is a stupid name, but the team is good. The Batman appearance was interesting and Kate was the right kind of rebellious to him. It suits her character. The D.E.O. stuff was good. The Maggie stuff was good. The ending was very poorly done. A cliffhanger that you have given us no reason to care or wonder about? Yeah… poorly done.

ALL-NEW X-MEN #9 (Bendis / Immonen / Von Grawbadger / Gracia) Marvel

Jean Grey without training from Xavier is a whole lot of bad news. How long before nobody wants her around at all? The bit with Angel makes me think there will be unintended consequences with her messing with his head. The Times Square reaction was ridiculous. They did NOT come from the 60’s anymore. (Though I still like that they did stylistically) Please get Lady Mastermind a new name and a new costume. Her and Emma Frost in the same comic is too much.

I thought Sabertooth was dead…

FABLES #127 (Willingham / Buckingham / Pepoy / Leiloha) Vertigo

The Snow White story makes me nervous but this issue was very solid.

I don’t have a lot to say except this… if Snow WHite doesn’t engineer her own ‘salvation’ from this situation, I will be annoyed. Also, please don’t make her win the day by using her ‘sexual wiles’.

Thank you.

DAREDEVIL #24 (Waid / Samnee / Rodriguez) Marvel

I stayed away from this comic for too long. WHile she is new to me, I am an instant fan of Kirsten McDuffie. The problem is, we know that Matt will keep trying to win her over, and that is npt really a great message. No means no, fella.

Samnee’s art is beautiful. He reminds me of Darwyn Cooke while still being his own artist. (Speaking of Cooke, my friend Kevin Matthews got me Volume 1 of Parker for my birthday. I am looking forward to digging in to it.)

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #21 (Bendis / Pichelli / Ponsor) Marvel

Nobody does characters better than Bendis and nowhere does Bendis do them better than this book. You FEEL what they are going through. The scope of all this is too much for Miles, but he gets through it because it is the right thing to do. Mary-Jane and Gwen coming over was perfect. The fact that they really screwed up by doing so is going to have an impact. There is no way that cop doesn’t connect them to Peter Parker and therefore Spider-man.

I really hope Miles’ dad makes it through this. I want to read more about him.

SAGA #11 (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples) Image

The best comic in an already amazing week of comics. THe ex talk was refreshingly frank (and funny). The space stuff was exciting and interesting. The Lying Cat rescue was cheer-inducing. Then… the fate of Barr…. with the bookmark comment… wow. Powerful. VERY powerful.

It made you feel the feels.


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