Monday, July 27, 2015

comics for the week of 07/22/15.

The last Fables trade came out, too! But I'm not sure I'll have time to read it for this set of reviews, so it might get put down next week.

Buffy 17 - Meh. I can't see how anyone there would not have known that was going to be the end. But I also don't see how anyone can think it's going to matter. Spike snapped out of it. Angel will, too. That's just a given. So then they'll get to take down the big bad at that point? Or is this yet another fake out and he'll get to scamper off only to fight another day? Or, best of all, will the Scooby Gang kill him, only to find out there's something bigger and badder? It all feels kind of hollow in the grand scheme of things. But what doesn't feel hollow is he character development. We have some laughs at Angel pretending that he's not the same, and at Angel calling out Andrew as out for a while now, but those two aside, Willow's assessment seems spot-on: the people we know and love in this series seem to have changed quite a bit. And that's always a good thing. I just hope it continues and we see some true development carry though to everyone.

Fight Club 3 - I dunno man...I'm losing the thread. It feels like it's just a jumble of Palahniuk, in all the ways that people have hated since I originally loved Fight Club. It's intriguing without actually being deep. It's pretty without meaning anything. Thus far. I'll give it the room to finish out. He can do whatever he wants with his properties and I don't begrudge giving him more money for something that I really liked once upon a time, but it felt like a bad idea from the get go and nothing that I've seen, from this issue or any of the ones before, has changed my mind.

Hawkeye 4 - This issue was actually a bit difficult to read, just because it was SOOOO much flashback and it was hard to tell what was happening in the present day, but it was a pretty basic story in our here and now, so that was helpful. The colors (and the pencils) on those flashbacks continue to the most beautiful thing about the book, though, and it's so worth it. I love getting to see the story of Barney and Clint as kids (again? I've not seen it before, and I know some of it has been established, but I'm not sure how full it's been fleshed out) especially when it's this gorgeous. Next issue will be the end of the arc, so I'm curious to find out what's gonna happen with the kids.

Mind MGMT 35 - If there was ever any doubt in anyone's mind that this is tied with Saga as one of the best comics coming out, I'm not sure why or who'd wanna talk to them. As sublime an almost-conclusion as we could possibly get, there are only a few strands left to be wrapped up by this monster. Meru comes out all right, as does Henry Lyme, who gets help from a couple unexpected sources. We get to see how in control the Eraser thinks she is, and we get to see how Meru's trust and relationship skills, the things she needed to work on in the beginning of the series, are, in fact, the things that save her here at the end. We see that Dusty's Kids (should) survive and the gang is almost all here. I'm very excited for the last issue but even more excited to re-read the trades and to see the whole picture unfold all over again.

Old Man Logan 3 - This really changed what I thought it was going to be; Old Man Logan gets to be our guide to Battleworld, showing us a glimpse of tons of stuff that we don't get to see otherwise. And I suppose this makes sense: since he'll be coming over to our Universe post-Secret Wars, he'll need to be a voice of what happened, what we've all gone through. But I didn't get it till now. And now? I love it. He's lived through the Age of Apocalypse, he'll kill some zombies and he'll get to rendezvous with Doom. I'm not sure if this is going one more issue or three, but I'm hoping for more, because it's a lot of fun. I thought it was all going to be in "his" domain, like the other books, but it's benefitted from the wide lens they've tossed out. And Bendis is doing shockingly great work. The art is a step up, as well. I loved Tony's role in this book, too.

Book of the week goes to Mind MGMT.

Monday, July 20, 2015

comics for the week of 07/15/15.

It's a very odd time in comic books. I'm pretty sure everyone should go see Ant-Man, though.

Hawkeye 22 - I can't believe it actually came out. And I'm not gonna act all hard: I cried multiple times reading this book. I mean, honestly...when Lucky/Pizza Dog got shot? Jesus. Fucking tears. But even the end: a Clint Barton/Kate Bishop Comic Book? That ending shot of their arrows? It's so perfect! It's incredible that this series ever existed, that its first issue got to come out, that they let it end like it should have, that they took the time to actually do it right, that it all came together... Everything about it was perfect. This will be a hardcover you should buy the first day it's available, and it's a series that immediately qualifies as one of the best created during our life time. Despite knowing Clint HAS to survive I was genuinely concerned for him when the gun came out. I honestly thought Kate might shoot Ivan. And those are the signs of a great, compelling story. You know it's going to happen one way. Convention says it must. And yet...you doubt. You worry. You care. It's so good.

Invincible 121 - Wow. That was great. But I have to believe that maybe Brit was a plant the whole time? He saw the light pretty damn quickly and his word carries a lot of weight. It was an abrupt change, but it's probably right. Which only leads me to wonder: what's going to happen when Mark sees these latest developments? Maybe he won't. Maybe everything will be changed by the time he and his family make their way back to Earth. But I have rather large doubts that'll be the case. Also, is anyone keeping Nolan in the loop? Like, allllll the way in the loop? Like, does he know that all those plants are super safe now? And the Viltrumites are going to make a major comeback? Not just on Earth, but thanks to Thragg, too? Man. This was a really good issue.

Rachel Rising 35 – Wow! As far back as 10 issues ago, I was wondering if this book was just going to meander along or if it was going to get a grand, over-arching plot again. And yeah, we've seen it coming the last couple issues, but this one really bumped it up. I feel like I've said it for the last few, but this issue was better than anything that's come before. I love the long arc of Lilith and Rachel, I love Rachel getting her memory back, I love Zoe playing the foil (and let's talk about planting seeds for waaaaaaaay further down the road, I mean, shit, that could come back to haunt everyone in a major way if this book goes on long enough) and I love the fact that we got to see some of the differences between the sisters. The memories were beautifully done, too.

Book of the week goes to Hawkeye. It was phenomenal and one of a kind. If it hadn't come out, it would have been Rachel Rising, but if you're going up against Top 5 Lifetime material, you've gotta be prepared to lose.

Monday, July 13, 2015

comics for the week of 07/08/15.

Some of the Secret Wars tie-ins have been truly bizarre. And one I tried this week, I was really worried about. But the Civil War issue was strangely compelling. It was an interesting continuation of some of the ideas of the original series and it was pretty well done. All of these characters are so much more than the one-dimensional caricatures they're made out to be in the Civil War iterations, but it's still a pretty fun experiment.

Black Science 16 – It's still too dense. I understood next to nothing about it, other than Rebecca being an evil bitch and Kadir dying for no reason. We have the end of one epic arc, but the gang is so change and the world they left behind is so fucked that it's hard to keep track of. What's going to happen? Are we, like an onion, going to circle back around to this time and place and see some ramifications? Or do we move only boldly forward, never pausing to try to retrace where it's gone wrong and how we could have fixed it? It's a hell of a book, but it feels like a roller coaster where the ride is broken and we just keep plummeting down and down and down.

Saga 30 - “There's no graduating from this kind of education, couples just keep growing and changing until they either break up or die.” Wow. This book...man...this book. There's nothing better. Marko and Alana are back together, but it came at a remarkably high price. The robots appear to be on their own, the Last Resistance has gotta mutate, and Ghus is still in tow. We don't get to see what's up with Grandma in this brave new world, but I can't imagine it's anything amazing. Hazel, though, still gets to narrate this tale, despite the distance, and it continues to function in a great way.

Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows 2 - Yeaaaaaaah. This was way better than the first issue. Still pretty standard, end of the shelf superhero business, but it was nice to see some character development from all of them, even if Annie's was just a (not-so childish) fear of Venom. MJ and Peter being on equal footing was always one of the highlights of their relationship (only them and Lois & Clark have that, as far as I know) and it's so cool to see them talking to each other like partners. Jonah seems like he'd be too proud to turn into what he appears to be, so I'm hoping for a twist there, but other than that, the universe feels poorly fleshed out. We knew it was going to be the Sinister Six at the end, but where are the other parts of SHIELD that we got hinted at in this issue - and who's running it? This is cool.

The Walking Dead 144 - That's fucked up. All parts of it. Alpha and the Whisperers seem to have genuinely made their mark. And there's some part of her that's conflicted about it, but the bigger question, obviously, is what Rick and the gang are going to do about it. I mean, it seems like Alpha is sincere in her desire to simply be left alone. But Rick (and co.) haven't been great about leaving people who kill their people alone. Even if those last few pages hadn't been what they were, I'm not sure they would have let it lay. But now, with that on top? It's going to be a heck of a lingering issue. Carl's girl problems are also going to continue. And let's not forget: we've got our own intra-squad murder to reconcile, too.

Book of the week goes to Saga.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

comics for the week of 07/01/15.

Comic books are so much fun, and Marvel is doing a great job of proving that right now. I read the second Future Imperfect and the Years of Future Past and they were both a lot of fun. That's kind of all I ask for?

Angel and Faith 16 - Hahahaha. This is shaping up to be ridiculous. You've lost all the momentum from Angel and Faith's reunion and any of the semblance of greatness from Magic Town. Now we've just got Faith, as a substitute gym teacher, in London, with a cop who's crushing on her, and with revived Fred as a sidekick. That's a comic premise and it doesn't come across any better when you add in the schoolboy vamps and the ridiculously reluctant Mary. There are some obvious directions this storyline is going to go, but I hope it just wraps up sooner rather than later so that we can get back to something like an overall plot. For now, this was a rather wasted issue.

Secret Wars 4 - This is like the comic book equivalent of pure ego: "No one man should have all that power!" Doom plays the God role to perfection and several things do not go our heroes' way. But the best thing that does is that Strange recognizes that they might be good for the world and he scatters them before Doom can do more damage. Unfortunately (?) this also applies to the villains (?) who are in the vicinity? I'm actually not too clear on that part, if all the question marks didn't indicate that. Meanwhile, there's other signs that Doom's version of Paradise is about to come crashing down, too, as we've got Val and Sue noticing some similarities and making observations that will lead them down a path he'll be none too interested in. We also learn that there's (apparently?) no other Reed Richards in the multiverse? Hard to believe, given that we've seen him in a lot of these other 'verses over the years, but I'm certainly not keeping well enough track of the books coming out now to see if he's in any of these stories. That would be clever cherry picking, if so. Regardless, the stage is now set for quite literally the greatest Doom vs. Reed battle of all time. Man.

Ultimate End 3 - Again, essentially worthless. I hope this isn't the coda to the Ultimate Universe, because if so it's a shit cherry on what's been a hell of a sundae. It's a good enough book, but it seems like there's no point to it and it doesn't fit with anything else.

We Stand on Guard 1 - Whoah, Jesus! What a beginning! It was awesome and a lot of fun and it sucked me right in. I'm not exactly convinced of the long term potential, but I do love me some BKV, so I'm definitely going to keep on trucking with it. The art's not to my taste, but I love the dynamic of USA vs. Canada, if only because of the modern situation - with the longest land border that sits unprotected, there's some ripe storytelling ground. Also, setting the story in the future is one of the most sure fire ways to get me invested. A great start.

Book of the week goes to Secret Wars. This is everything we've wanted it to be.

Monday, June 29, 2015

comics for the week of 06/24/15.

Still genuinely excited for Marvel, still aghast at the mess that DC has made of itself. Nothing good from the Distinguished Competition again this week, despite my trying out some of the alternate titles that Dave suggested, as well as my dabbling in the mainstream. Nothing even suggesting hope, outside of Injustice. What an ironic shitshow.

Daredevil 16 - That certainly looks like blood underneath Foggy and there is no part of that that's good. Kirsten also appears to be in a not great place. Man, the offer that Matt presented to Kingpin was great - I did not see that coming. But it appears as though Fisk has out-thought him on this one. I'm confident, of course, that'll change, but there are going to be some damning consequences first, huh? I mean, there are a lot of players on the board right now: Owl and his daughter, Shroud and his ex, the anti-DD coming back as a dangling plot device and, of course, Matt and Fisk. (Sidenote: are we really going to have to base everything on TV and movies now? Fisk in his art gallery? But I loved that they weren't the stupid white canvases [appropriate for the story we got told in the Netflix series] but rather all tortured looks at killing DD.)

Fight Club 2 2 - It still seems kind of pointless. I mean, if he's going undercover at the Paper Street Soap Company to find out what Tyler knows, Tyler will be able to give him away, right? Unless he NEEDS hypnosis to resurface, in which case we might be getting somewhere. The art is still fine, Marla's still fine, but I have a feeling the kid is not exactly the desperate case that he's being presented as.

The Walking Dead 143 - Well, we're definitely seeing a changing dynamic. I'd be interested in hearing what the crew who claimed that TWD never changes say to this issue. Alpha is putting Rick in his place. The only real question remaining is if she really wants to be left alone, or if she's going to imperialist that shit and try to spread her values onto our gang. Carl's coming into his own as a character, but it feels cheap, if only because almost all young love is. But if that's what it takes for him, well, shit, most of us did it that way, too. (And we were misguided, just like he is.) Maggie's still gonna be in deep shit, none of Rick's crew is hurt just yet, but next issue could be the big switch. Which way's it gonna go?

Book of the week goes to Daredevil. Someday, we will look back at the 21st century as Daredevil's just as much as (if not more than?) Ultimate Marvel's.

Monday, June 22, 2015

comics for the week of 06/17/15.

I also read a bunch of the new DC You books, but I didn't love any of them.

Buffy 16 - Fun, but kind of a filler issue. I mean, we get the reunion, we get a chat between Angel and Buffy (which definitely doesn't go as well as it should - they should both be over it by now; they're adults, Angel even more so), we get Spike placing his mark, and we get a battle. But the battle felt soft, the trap feels obvious and the pace is a bit slow. We're just killing time until we go after the Big Bad at this point, which makes it feel like it's a bit of a worthless issue.

Mind MGMT 34 - Kindt has Meru say "Its foundation is lies" about a building that defies physics and it doesn't even get time to breathe before she jumps into an imaginary, overblown battle: that's how fucking good he is. And the ending? Man. Did not see that coming. Great stuff, as always. I'm a bit concerned for Meru and her gang, but I don't think Meru's in real trouble; the cover makes it seem like the dog's important and I know he's got C-4 strapped to him, but it's gotta be OK for her, right? I mean, she hasn't even had her grand old confrontation with the Eraser yet (I mean...part two). So yeah, she'll be all right. And we finally see the film finishing up with Salvador Dali, and how that plays into the larger plot. But nothing in the margins was both odd and disappointing for this issue.

Old Man Logan 2 - Well fuck me, that was a marked improvement on the last issue and a hell of a good time in general. It's super fun to see the Age of Apocalypse crew again, of course, but the way they mix in the back story of Old Man Logan (shouts to Bobby for being hilarious in every universe) makes it even more special. I think he's going to have a hell of a time in this universe and I think there's going to be some fun easter eggs for the longtime Marvel U fans. Emma Frost is playing a great role in this book, in all her incarnations.

Book of the week goes to Mind MGMT.

Monday, June 15, 2015

comics for the week of 06/10/15.

I also read Batman 41 & 'Tec 41 just to check out the changes, but the best thing about it was the variant Sean Murphy cover. The rest was blah. Putting Manapul on a book for his writing without his art has not proven a winning technique. Boo.

Black Science 15 - Well, the conclusion is up next and, if we didn't think that the Shaman was an alternate version of our cast before (which I don't know why you wouldn't...) we certainly are led to believe that now. Grant's out trying to take care of things, but there's going to be some kind twist to it, right? I mean, it seems like they know what he's doing more than he does. And Kadir seems to have been confronted by himself, right? The kids are coming along in their own right, as well, which hasn't happened since the early issues. It's good, and it's going to read even better when we get 1-16 all in one trade so we can more fully process exactly what's happened.

Rachel Rising 35 - Huh, yeah, all right, that was good. I've been long wondering when this was going to get to another point, whether it was just going to meander around for a while or whether we were going to get another arc. It seems like we've finally got one. There's a lot of stuff going on here, but the best parts are with Jet and Earl. It's cute. OTOH, we've got Zoe and Rachel's relationship progressing, but apparently not enough for Zoe to tell Rachel some pertinent information she's got regarding our issue's guest star, Lilith. Some solid stuff from Mr. Moore.

Saga 29 - For everything I'd heard about this issue, I honestly kind of expected more. It was sublime as always, and the characters continue to grow in the way we expect them to, especially Hazel in her narration. But I'm not into this series for the shock pages and the bit with the dragon didn't even make me chuckle, much less blow me away. The last couple pages, though, did. There's been a lot of sacrifice in this series the last couple issues and I expect that'll continue, but I'm not quite sure where they're going now, with the cast split up, and the constant changes in who's alive and who's not.

Spider-Gwen 5 - Well, OK. So, they're done, huh? Wow, this is shaking out weird. I mean, I knew it had to go down kinda like this, but I didn't actually expect it to end so abruptly. Um...there's no conclusion? I guess I'll have to read Spider-Verse 2 to see where this is going. And don't get me wrong: I expect this book to be back. But for now...well...the Black Cat of this Universe is awesome and the French in the comic was awesome and the Jean DeWolff angle is always good, but... Then it just ended. I don't have much more to say, other than I'm looking forward to wherever they go next. (ETA: Boy, that Spider-Verse 2 was shittastic. I hope that's not going to be where Spider-Gwen ends up, with the various Spiders crew. Shit.)

Ultimate End 2 - There's a Groot Thor, a Storm Thor, a Destroyer Thor, and, of course, the normal variants we've seen before. And it was a far better first page than anything we got out of the last issue. But then they electrified Hawkeye and I was worried. But we get Tony and Tony teaming up, Peter going to see Ultimate Aunt May and Gwen Stacy...what's not to like? Except for the fact that it was over so quickly and doesn't seem to mesh with the mainline book at all and I'm not sure what the point is at all, other than just to sell a couple more copies gloating over the corpse of the Ultimate Universe. Enh.

The Walking Dead 142 - This actually should have been the most perfect issue of The Walking Dead in a long while, but for some reason I just wasn't feeling it. I like Carl's reasoning, and I like Maggie following up with Gregory and Rick, but I don't like the half-degrees she dealt with both of them in. And the last page cliffhanger should have been awesome, but I just didn't feel like I was in any imminent danger. I'm not sure what was off, but something is. It was good, but I didn't love it.

Book of the week goes to Rachel Rising. I'm actually not sure if it's a better issue than Saga, but it felt better.