Monday, January 26, 2015

comics for the week of 01/21/15.

I'm also keeping track of (and liking) the Spider-Verse stuff, but I've got a couple questions: why do you think people are OK with this and hated Maximum Clonage? Why are they OK with this but hated JMS' The Other storyline? And what's going to happen for Spidey coming out of Secret Wars and the "destruction" of the Marvel Universe?

All New X-Men 35 - Well, that was fun and I know why Bendis is in love with this frame story format, but it really falls flat when we've seen it from him 68,000 times. There's no doubt Miles will survive, so why try to set that up as the hook and the cliffhanger? I mean, if it's just the cliffhanger, cool, that's just typical comic book formula. But when you get greedy? Well then, all the cool, fun stuff in the middle just feels like filler. And it really does at this point. Because the story has taken such an odd amount of time, it comes across like Bendis is just a terrible plotter. "Here's how much time you have before Secret Wars." "OK, so I'll do 6 issues of set up, 1 issue where EVERYONE is miraculously rescued from their circumstances which seemed IMPOSSIBLE before, and then 1 issue of conclusion." "Sounds great." Anyway, shit-talking aside, there was a lot of fun stuff in here, mainly the Bobby on Bobby action (again) and X-23's conscience. The Jean Greys helping each other was cool too.

Buffy 11 - We got a feeling it was coming and now it's here. I wonder how people will react? If it's a (semi-)permanent move, I'll feel better about it. (The semi's in there because it's rare that anything lasts forever in a comic book about a show about vampires.) But if it's just another red herring then this book is making a bad habit of those. I'm not a huge fan of the art in this issue and I'm bummed to hear that she'll be on for the whole arc. It's not that it was bad, per se, it was just a bit too cartoony for me. It fit with the speed dating bit, but the rest was just bit off kilter. Love how we get to see everyone coming along, but feel bad for Dawn and Xander. It doesn't seem like they're getting back together at this point. Willow's in an interesting place and Spike's got some cool stuff happening with both the kitten callback as well as the police work moving forward.

Fables 148 - Goddamnit, we still don't get the answers! I thought this issue was finally going to clear up the Rose Red and Snow White origin, but we only get half the story (if even that much!) so I guess we'll have to wait for another month - or maybe even both of the remaining issues. It was compelling, compelling reading and I was frantically turning pages, hoping for some kind of resolution before the end of the issue. For me, that's all you can ask for from a comic. I'm loving how this series is turning super dark in it's ending, but even more, I'm loving how all the stories still have so much more to play out. The "Last Stories" that have filled each of the issues for this storyline have been cute, if sometimes annoying interruptions of the main storyline. But in this issue, it was the first time that I actually saw them for what they are: extensions, sometimes into millennia of the future. The theme of Fables, then, is that these stories DON'T, in fact, end, even when issue 150 hits and it's billed as the end. While that makes me feel immensely better in the meta context, I'm still going to be super bummed when Fables is no longer a monthly title.

Invincible 116 - I loved the way this issue was done, including the sequences of the fight between Thragg and Battle Beast. I also loved the progression we saw with everyone (including I guess the regression of Eve's parents, who seem to be totally off the rails at this point, moreso than I ever remember seeing them portrayed as) but especially Mark and his dad. They're really digging into roles that are rather complex, and it's mainly because they've got larger responsibilities to deal with. We saw it with Nolan at the beginning of the series, when he was torn between his Earth love and his Viltrumite duty, but the leadership has really moved him as a character. And the opening, of course, was perfect. I love the way the people of Earth are responding to the new status quo, mainly because I imagine that's how they would? Solid entry. I hope this background fighting goes on for a few more issues so we have to imagine the scope of the battle rather than shortchange it.

Book of the week goes to Fables. 148 issues and I'm still feeling like it's going to be gone before it's time. What an amazing book.

Monday, January 19, 2015

comics for the week of 01/14/15.

I also read that weird ass Avengers interlude that's happening infrequently, but I didn't understand why I'm supposed to care about any of that.

Avengers 40 - Wow, so are we going to get Black Panther as the new Namor? I mean, that was a damn cold blooded move. And the role that Black Bolt played, well, I don't really get that. (Also, just as a side note, could Namor really survive Black Bolt's whisper, much less a scream [and isn't there supposed to be no difference?], because that really bumps up his power levels in my mind.) I'm not sure that I buy into the concept of Steve just stopping his campaign because Sue said they should listen or on the appearance of Namor and Black Bolt, but the story needed them all together, so...sure. And last but not least, I love the Roberto and Sam angle as the new comic relief, if only for the great line it gave toward Beast. Good stuff, especially with the Cabal now being out of the picture, but still available if need be. I'm curious now where we're moving next; does Reed have a plan to stop them, or was this just a power move at the only time they saw it as possible? Will everyone be working together now that they know what needs to be done?

Daredevil 12 - This was actually my least favorite issue of the series so far, but not for any of the actual story reasons. It just felt way too cheesy. It felt like a 70s issue of Daredevil where we can see anything and everything happening for no good reason. Character needs super strength? OK, all of a sudden they have it. Next panel doesn't work if they're super strong? OK, it's gone. Too scattered. The base story, with the Stuntmaster wanting to go out on top, and the development of Matt and Kirsten's relationship, was good at its core. But all the superfluous stuff on top, especially the motorcycle and chase sequences made it feel a bit slimy.

Star Wars 1 - Meh. It was fine. I didn't dislike any part of it, except the ending. It's not for me, though, so I'll not continue with it. I'm happy there will be Star Wars comics for people who are into them.

Ultimate Spider-Man 9 - Not just a fun issue, but a fantastic one, once again mainly because of the art. While it's interesting to get Miles' dad's backstory (Jefferson?) the biggest thing is the shift in art from decades old to modern times. It's incredible how this works. And the Nick Fury involvement with Kingpin and Toad and MGH and SHIELD - it's all building an increasingly richer history for Miles. I love it. I love his character and I'm interested to see where it goes from here.

The Walking Dead 136 - Well, there was practically no action in this one and I couldn't really bring myself to care about much of what anyone said, so I think I'm siding with Nick Bennett: it's getting worse. I still hold out hope that next issue will be better, but I don't give a shit about Carl and his friendship with Lydia. I don't care about the plot to kill him. I don't care about the new whisperers and their shitty plot to attack one of the towns. There's no way any of it should work and it all feels the same. Bummer.

Book of the week goes to Avengers. Everything else was middling to bad with the exception of Spidey, so the long story with the jokes gets the honors.

Monday, January 12, 2015

comic for the week of 01/07/15.

Welcome to the new year. The second week in a row with only one book. It's the new norm for me, sadly. I did, however, check out the new Ant-Man #1 and it was fun. It has a Hawkeye-like feel, which could be cool. I'll stick with it for a while, see if they can keep it up.

Angel and Faith 10 - Huh. Well that was a hell of an ending. I just figured it was going to be Faith and I was disappointed; where would the shock be in that? But nope. I got what I was asking for. A shocker. The art in this series is phenomenal and the story was OK. As far as conclusions go, it did everything it needed to do, even if there were some cheesy lines. That's fine. I like the direction the magic guru is going because I didn't trust her, especially when it seemed like her goal was coinciding with Amy's and she was going to bring Willow in, but now I'm rolling over to her side a bit. I'm still wary, but she's a great addition to the cast of characters, I hope we can keep her around and utilize her more so than the vanished Koh. Good work, looking forward to the next one.

No book of the week when there's only one.

Monday, January 5, 2015

comic for the week of 12/31/14.

I guess it's only appropriate that I got only one comic on the last day of the year. My love for comics is just as strong as it was a decade ago, but I buy soooo many fewer comics. I'm not convinced that's a bad thing.

East of West 16 - For what it's worth, I also grabbed The World handbook, which I found very useful insofar as getting a nice little recap. But this issue picks up with the Apocalypse kids right where that issue left off, so it was even more than that. As far as the humans (or post-humans, where the Endless are concerned) we get to see some consolidation, some firming up of allies (the PRA and the aforementioned Endless), we get to see naiveté is not over (thanks America) and we get to see that there might be some hope for the ones we previously thought were hopeless - although I won't be holding my breath.

When I only grab one, I don't push for a book of the week.

Monday, December 29, 2014

comics for the week of 12/24/14.

I hope everyone had an excellent holiday season. They're all done now, it's the end of the year.

Black Science 11 - All right, this is finally the end for me. I can't read this in singles. It's just too big. Too confusing. It was another GREAT issue, but I can't take the backtracking, trying to figure out where I left everything. The art's great, there's a multiverse and an onion and so many different factions and it's all good, but I can't do singles anymore. Hooray for one of the best new series of the year. I'll see you again when you're available in chunks.

Buffy 10 - We finally get a clue as to the Big Bad, but I've still got no idea. It was nice to take an issue off, though, and, as usual, it happens with Harmony. Clem gets the big, awesome role in this issue, though, because even as Harm was narrating, we all knew there was no chance any of that was going to happen. Her fantasies were pretty in tune with what I'd think Harmony from the show would want, and Clem is perfectly in tune with how he was in the show, too, right down to the unicorns. Xander and Spike have a perfect conversation that Buffy overhears (and seems sad about?) and walks away from. I'm still waiting to see if there'll be an intersection between this book and its sister book, but given that Angel and Faith aren't even together in their own book, I'm not sure how that'll happen, unless it relates (circle time!) back to the Big Bad that we finally have an allusion to. I like the Soul Glutton sticking around in a bit part and I feel like we've seen both of the demons he was with before, even if I don't remember them. I was expecting to be disappointed by this issue, but the Buffyverse has usually done unexpectedly well with the vacation issues.

Daredevil 11 - A fun little diversion and right along with the tone of this new Daredevil book, but I found myself caring less than usual. Maybe it's because I don't have fond memories of Evel Knievel or maybe I just thought it should have been a one-off issue. It was fun, no doubt, especially the sections with Kirsten, Foggy and Matt recapping the old DD days. I still love the new place setting of DD in SF and I'm a huge fan of Samnee's art, but this issue was below par.

Mind MGMT 29 - The page showing Meru flashing back consecutively (except one panel!) constructing her distraction device was awesome. But the real incredible nature of the issue was the amazing progress of Meru. This arc has been all about her becoming what she could have been the whole time. And although her battle with the Eraser ends in a dissatisfying way, it's not like Meru lost. So there's a could more stories to tell (awesome, of course) and there'll be at least one more big battle. I like Meru taking control and I think there's some room to stretch over the finale of Mind MGMT in fact coming back, with Meru as its head. With the Politician story we've been getting in the back, in fact, it looks like that's an inevitability. With her psychic paper and umbrella in hand, Meru's going to have one last crack at her enemy; but after next issue's break of giving us the backstory of the Eraser.

New Avengers 28 - Cool! It's happening! It's all going down! We've got some momentum! And...I'm still not quite sure where we're going. But I love the Reed narration from the last issue carrying over to this one, but not until the middle. I love the reintroduction of the alterna-Hulk. I was sad to see Spidey on the side of weird Avengers yet again; you'd think he'd learned his lesson - maybe he just thinks it's a Tony vs. Steve thing and he was just duty-bound to switch it up? But now it's time to move forward. We've got some great revelations at the end (hello Namor) and we've got some serious possibilities with all the targets being held by Susan - how's she going to get rid of them? One by one and lock them up? One by one and recruit? Just shove them all together into some holding cell? That seems like an exceedingly poor idea. Now, we just need to find Tony.

Book of the week goes to Mind MGMT. This is what potential (almost) fully tapped feels like.

Monday, December 22, 2014

comics for the week of 12/17/14.

Wow, I didn't even realize I was a week late (again) until the next week.

Avengers 39 - Well that was a heck of a battle. Obviously loved the Hulk vs. Ms. Marvel, although it didn't feel like much of an actual fight. Reed's narration was spot on, as usual (Hickman just knows him by this point, huh?), we still don't see Tony (which is interesting given all the stuff going on in Superior Iron Man), and the variable at the end, while predictable, was fun. Other than that, it's all still just prelude.

Rachel Rising 30 - That was dark. And interesting. It introduced a lot of new stuff and had some terrible things to say about the old, particularly the way this spirit dude keeps coming up with new ways to get his spirit to move on. Damn. Also, Rachel was pretty much entirely out of this issue. It's great, but I also feel like it's meandering a bit. I mean, if he has a story to tell, I'm down for it. But if he's just publishing the book to keep it going, I don't get where the complaints come from when its numbers are so low that he'll be "forced to cancel" it. Either way, a beautiful issue and a nice addition to the shelf.

The Walking Dead 135 - There is a lot of shit coming to a boil here. This book feels like it's been on a HARD edge for the last few months and it's due to spill over any minute now. For real, how many seriously fucked up things do we have happening simultaneously? I love the way all the treads are coming unraveled and next month's cover seems to encourage me to think that it's going all the way to 11. Carl's locked up, Lydia looks like she knows what she's doing, the assholes are going to attack and the talkers are going to hit the other camp? Or the same one? Man. Good stuff.

Book of the week goes to The Walking Dead. I can't believe it, but I'm kind of thinking Kirkman is actually going to follow through on some of this.

*

So yeah, I just went to write this week's and realized I'd fallen behind without even knowing. So, a lot of catching up to do.

All New X-Men 34 - This was fun, mostly because I'd forgotten that all of them were along for the ride and not just Miles and Jean Grey. So when the issue opened, I was like, oh yeah, this is gonna be weird. And then we got our fun Bobby break, the section with Angel, where X-23 gets to be the brains and figure everything out, and the terrifying section with Hank and Ultimate Dr. Doom. Man, that guy's scary. Also, Hank is apparently still hung up on Jean. “That Spider-Man” also likes her. And we're left with a cool, 60s-style cliffhanger. Not the best art in this issue, but it was still a load of fun.

Fables 147 - Huh! Well, that's the first time I've been genuinely pissed off at the end of a comic book in a long time. And not pissed at what happened, but pissed that I don't get to keep reading. This felt like it could have been half an issue easily, if they'd just gone without some of the mystical mumbo jumbo with Rose, but it feels like an inevitability that next issue will FINALLY clear up some of the mystery. On the other hand, I have no idea what's going to happen with Lancelot and Brandish. I don't want it to end. But then we got a sweet Terry Moore treat with Beauty and the Beast (kinda) at the end. That was nice.

Multiversity: Thunderworld Adventures - Not surprisingly, my least favorite issue of this idea so far. Captain Marvel, Sivana, an impossible day, a crossover with Paralax and...that's about it. I didn't care.

Sandman: Overture 4 - Good God, that's some serious shit. I mean, the city of stars, the father of the Endless, the death of Hope? The imprisonment of Dream? The thing is, we know that's not how this is going to go. He's going to get trapped, yes, but not by stars. So there's still quite a bit of thread to unspool. Which is good because we have two more issues (six more months?) to go. It's beautiful and JH Williams is making his name even more so, but the delays are truly hurting at this point. I think it'll make an amazing addition to the oeuvre when it's done and I'm enjoying it as it's going along, but it feels like a truly early 90s Vertigo comic - there's very little rhyme or reason to it.

Ultimate Spider-Man 8 - Well, that was cool and an interesting wrinkle, but the thing that actually impressed me the most was the fact that it was all Marquez on art. That's a damn impressive changing of the style for a time piece and I wasn't actually convinced it was all him. But other than the art, here's the cool things I noticed: the 2099 reference. The Kingpin's beginnings. The awesome way Ultimate U Nick Fury looks when he's young. And last but not least, the cover. This seems to be planting some seeds that some people who worked for HYDRA (maybe where Fisk was coming from?) a while ago are actually undercover good guys. So maybe there's hope for Katie Bishop? Anyway, it really only felt like half an issue since we didn't get the full story, but it was full of goodness.

Wytches 3 - This book continues to rule mainly because Scott Snyder knows how to dole out a story slowly but surely. We have the hint of so much backstory, but we don't need all the details laid out for us in every minute detail. It's crafting at its finest. The art is great too, with the splatter effects overused, but to great effect. Sailor is officially gone and the townies will officially do their best to cover up exactly WTF is going on. Solid.

Book of the week goes to Fables, if only for the ability to still enthrall me three issues until the end.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

comics for the week of 12/03/14.

I'm late. Sorry. Finals are coming up.

Angel and Faith 9 - A satisfying middle issue (even if it's late-mid) but I want the answers already. I want to see the re-combination. I want to see where this Amy madness is going and I don't really care about Faith's apology (or whatever) to Riley, nor about Riley and Sam. I mean, I'm cool if they join the gang, but I don't care enough about them (especially if they don't!) to spend this much time with them. It's like a greatest hits record; some of the nostalgia in Season 10 (Andrew wanting to resurrect Tara) hit the spot and some we know is just obligatory filler.

The Private Eye 9 - So so so so so so so so good and it really does make me believe that DeGuerre was a defacto good guy in this series. I mean, obviously, the death of Taj is what set all of our characters on their collision course and I'm happy we got that revenge out of the way, but it appears as though the dastardly plan will, in fact, go through. And I, for one, couldn't be happier. Gramps gets a lot of the shine in this issue, not only in the flashbacks, although they were great, but also in the modern storyline, where he has to explain that not every smartphone is an iPhone and gives the press the clues they'll need (presumably) to put all of it together. But we're left to wonder: what will happen to the press after we don't need the privacy and the aliases? After the Internet comes back. We got two old French goodies in this one, too. "The revolution is already finished" and "After me, the deluge." God this book is amazing.

Book of the week goes to The Private Eye.