Monday, October 12, 2015

comics for the weeks of 09/23/15 & 9/30/15 & 10/07/15.

Honestly, I have no idea how I fell so far behind, nor what came out when, so I'm just gonna run down everything I've read in the last few weeks and, holy moly, it's a doozy.

Angel and Faith 19 - Angel's crew might actually be better than Buffy's at this point, but only because Koh kicks so much ass, and in spite of the Watcher's sisters, because they're essentially worthless. Fred's holding her own, though, and we didn't even see the Detective this issue. (Was he a red herring? It seemed like they were prepping him for a bait and switch, but now we haven't seen him doing anything meaningful in a LONG time. Maybe he just faded out of the plans?) Anyway, it's weird to see Angel getting dropped like such a punk, and even weirder to see him pull a sword out of his jacket eventually, but when he crashed through the window, Dru was waiting for him, with the mob, so that's weird times three. Nadira knew they were taking her, though, and let herself be taken, so I'm not necessarily worried about that. But it's al building to something and it's coming up soon. Good stuff. The art in this is so good. The dialogue, though, felt crazy overused, especially on page 1 panel 2. Regardless, it's great that both Buffy books are of high quality again. Looking forward to the grand finale.

Avengers 0 - This was fun and all of the new Marvel books look cool, but NOTHING beats the moment when we knew it was the Maker, before he revealed himself. Holy shit, they're bringing young, evil Reed into the new MU. This is the best possible world. The final page recap, though, reaffirmed a couple impressions: I won't care about A-Force. If people love it, I'm happy for them. Ramos on New Avengers will be a lot of fun. Mainline Avengers is going to be wacky and amazing. The Ultimates might be the perfect place for America Chavez. I hope this book kills, but it's got 2 characters with whom I'm totally unfamiliar. I still don't care about Squadron Supreme. And, lastly, and most unfortunate, between the line-up and the terrible art on Uncanny Avengers, I can't think it'll even be decent. Yuck. But 5 out of 6 is a great start for the new 'Verse.

Buffy 19 - This came out surprisingly touching, but only if you ignore the cover. The Buffy/Giles relationship has always been one of the stronger aspects of the series, at least for me. And while seeing Giles rush out to see Olivia and test-driving a car (looking like himself again!) and having a drink and losing his magical abilities due to aging and atrophy were all cool and funny and cute and neat touches, it was the scene at the end, with his simple conversation with Buffy that really hit home. He looked like Giles, he talked like Giles, Buffy said all the right things and they were...perfect. It was a really, really good filler issue and it felt like it was appropriate, too.

Doctor Strange 1 - Jason Aaron writes good stories. And Chris Bachelo draws good stories. And Doctor Strange is a cool, probably underused character. So all of this should add up to greatness. And there are great moments in this book. But overall...? I'm just not sure that I think Strange needs a solo book or what it would even really be if it ever was a successful one. The beginning was cool, but that'll wear off. The idea of random fighting on the street won't work. His club of magicians is a cool thing to introduce that could pay long term dividends. But Monako's presence felt forced,

Fight Club 5 - This book really is not good. At this point, I think Palahniuk is just fucking with all of us? Or maybe he's always been and it's only now that I'm old enough to think it's shit? Either way, there's too much going on here to care about either way. I'll finish buying and reading, but I'm not sure if there's a point.

Iron Man 1 - Huh. Well. There might be a spoiler in here for Secret Wars, eh? But I certainly don't know how we're getting here, so that's kind of OK? Regardless, Iron Man's a fun character and there's a lot that can and should be done with all aspects of him, but the one I'm least interested in is his dating life. Bendis brings his Bendis-y dialogue to the book, and Marquez brings the beautiful art, but unless we redirect to Doom, Madame Masque and the new suit, I'm just not going to be able to bring myself to care about this book in any meaningful way. I could give a shit less about Tony and his plethora of women.

Old Man Logan 5 - Well, the whole run was worth it to bring Old Man Logan into the new MU, and for the page with the memories spilling out of his head. Damn. That was awesome. I'm not sure if Jimmy will make it into the new Universe, but if he doesn't, at least Logan had a moment with him. And really, after the over-accelerated action of the last 2 issues, this one, with all its blank space and its exposition and its open ending, it felt perfect. I like what they're doing here, bringing in the disparate elements. I'm not sure how it's going to actually work, but I like that they're trying. It's going to be a fun experiment, and Logan will be an excellent addition to it.

Paper Girls 1 - An awesome start to yet another awesome BKV book. The preview didn't give too much away, the ending was a great hook, the art from Cliff Chiang is back to the level I expect from him... Everything was great. I like that we've got something in the past that will still have a contemporary edge to it, and I like the different ideas we're already exploring: AIDS, women's rights, stereotypes, cops, and so much more. There's a lot to digest in this issue, but this is obviously a keeper.

Plutona 1 & 2 - Geez, this book is a lot of fun. Thanks to Mikee for the recommendation! It's a bit like Powers, sure, meets...a kids book (not Lumberjanes, although the art is obviously a stylistic similarity) insofar as story and art. But there's depth, too. It's fun, it's got potential, and I'm in for the ride. I already care about all four of the main characters, and the back up stories, fleshing out the world, are pretty cool, too. Good ideas all the way around. Makes me think I need to go back and give Lemire's Descender another chance.

Powers 5 - Still good, still nothing new, still nothing real compared to the saga of Christian Walker that we've already seen. How many times has he probably already gone through this? But I love the changing character of Sunrise and how he's impressed by her just like we were (well, I definitely was...) in regards to the complaint they talk about. The trio also makes a good team, with the different dynamics. It's fun.

Sandman: Overture 6 - This was it. The swing, connect, and homerun of the series. He really saved it all for the end and what a perfect one it was. We see the whole thing, how Morpheus could end up so weak, how his family works together, and how the Universe might constantly be shifting underneath our feet. The artwork is the obvious appeal, but Gaimain's got a thing for the Endless. The way he involved all of them in this story (and Mom and Dad) was a great, unexpected aspect. And the last page was exquisite.

Secret Wars 6 - Jesus, it's a thing of beauty. From the cover on, the art is exquisite. (With the one exception being Peter Parker, Spider-Man, looking a little chunky. Does Ribic think that he has to accentuate that to make Miles look even smaller? Weird.) Anyway, the art is not the main story. The main story is Doom and the Black Swan and Val and the Reeds. And the Prophet. Because I've not been keeping up with all the tie-ins, I have no idea if I'm supposed to know who that is, but it's an interesting proposition. We thought the crews (the Cabal and the Life Raft Gang) were gonna be the X Factors, but it's clear they've got defined roles. Now whether the Prophet is one of bad Reed's toys or an independent actor, it's clear he's going to shake shit up. The only beef I have with this issue, and the series as a whole is that it's taking so long. I get that the art is great and it takes time, but they're rolling out All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe titles already because the war's not over - that's a problem.

Spider-Man 1 - Bought it for the Midnight Marauders cover. Stayed for the nostalgia. I won't be continuing to buy the book, though, because as fun as it was, it's not my Spidey any more. And that's fine. I hope the people who enjoy the book love it as much as I did for as long as I did, if not longer. The last-page reveal made me feel better about the time I thought I'd wasted with Renew Your Vows, though. So that's a cool thing.

Book of the week or month or whatever goes to Sandman. While Paper Girls was solid, it was only a start. It's much harder to stick the landing.

Monday, September 21, 2015

comics for the week of 09/16/15.

While we're waiting for things to settle in the Big Two Universes, let's have a look at one of the books that's done well to avoid the whole mess, Hawkeye, just like Daredevil did a couple weeks ago. Fantastic.

Hawkeye 5 - Hah! What a bizarro twist to what had previously been an ordinary (and I mean that in every good sense of the word) book! That ending? Hahahaha. Weirdness. But the new direction for this book is great. I know I've said it for five issues straight, but I'm really impressed by what Lemire and Perez have been able to do here, after Aja and Fraction had accomplished previously. The biggest knock on this issue was the art, which wasn't up to its previous standards, but that's still a pretty minimal complaint. I'll be interested to see how far they take the future angle.

Invincible 123 - The best part about not reading Previews is that I get to be genuinely surprised by twists like the one at the end of this issue. I mean, Hawkeye was cool and all, but we've seen that (in comics in general, in the MU in particular) before...we've never seen this in Invincible before. And I'm convinced of Kirkman's words at the end in the letters column, too: I think this is not going to be a reboot, in fact, and that there'll be long, meaningful impact here. This is an amazing opportunity to do some great work. And let's be real, it's not like the whole issue hinged on the twist. It was yet another showcase for Kirkman, proving how much he loves Mark and how dedicated he is to the idea of a family in superhero comics form. I wish more people had the balls to tell stories like Invincible. This was great. Eve had a great day, Mark had a great day, Oliver is growing up, and we have this new angle at the end to deal with.

Book of the week goes to Invincible. If it all turns out to be a fakeout, I'll be pissed. But I don't think it will.

Monday, September 14, 2015

comics for the week of 09/09/15.

Things are slow with the mainstream universes. Marvel's Secret Wars is taking longer than expected and DC is miring in the slog. Good thing we've got the goodness found outside the Big Two. (And Spider-Man. Always Spider-Man.)

Bitch Planet 5 - Worth the wait. But now there'll be another wait, huh? With the end of volume one we see, and Kelly Sue directly tells us, that no one is safe. It's gonna be a hell of a ride, especially if these awesome ladies can't beat the guards. I know they were cheating, but you're shitting yourself if you think the pros won't do far, far worse. This is an amazing book for our time.

Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows 5 - Well, fuck Quesada's variant covers and his self-indulgent delight in knowing how he's screwed over so many Spider-Man fans, but good on this story for making use of the "Renew Your Vows" title in a meaningful way so that it's not JUST a dig at the marriage and its fans. The story ends the only way it could, with a To Be Continued... which felt right. Of course, before then, the Parkers team up to beat Regent and we see the ordinary people of the world turn against him because he's threatening a little girl. That doesn't seem likely when they were all for him killing the superheroes, but nobody ever said superhero stories have the greatest logic. Hawkeye continues to get special treatment, as he should, but the true thread of this story was the family. It was nice to have in a Spider-Man story once again.

The Walking Dead 146 - So the cover turned out to be a lie (except for the fact that that scene actually happened) but the leaders aren't actually squabbling to that degree. But that's OK (and good, even!) because they're going to need to be on the same page if they're going to take on the Whisperers. And it certainly seems like they're going to. While Rick is trying to convey the scope of the threat he's seen, his people are furious. But they don't understand. And I don't think that Rick Grimes is going to back away from this fight. He's just trying to figure out the approach. I think Maggie will help, and I even think there'll be a role for Negan? Is that out of left field? I don't know. But the cover for next issue makes me think that things are going to get worse before they get better, because if anyone's known for stupid, childish overreactions, it's the kids. And off they go. I don't really think the last page of Eugene looking menacing will come to any meaningful fruition, but I do think that might be an option that gets them out and "running away" which might set the stage for frenzy?

Book of the week goes to Bitch Planet. Heart loves Spidey, but Kelly Sue is just doing a better book and that's a fact.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

comics for the weeks of 08/26/15 & 09/02/15.

Lumberjanes is also out this week and is always excellent, you should get there, too.

Civil War 3 - Huh. Well, that was a weird issue. I mean...both missions were successful, to a degree, but did either one of them get what they truly wanted? It seems like Cap's side is ahead for now, but I'm not sure what that's actually going to mean with the knowledge that a third party is way. Either way, it's still fun, Yu is doing fine work on the pencils and the story still feels like a clear possibility. Good stuff, not vital, but it'll make for some solid memories.

East of West 20 - Year 2 of the Apocalypse starts with a bang. The Union is trying to stave off war while the Endless Nation and the House of Mao are teaming up. But we see some treachery lying in the wings, not from whom we'd expect. I like the alliances that we'll see in this part because I think it'll make all the various parts easier to keep track of. I'm sad we didn't see Babylon this issue, but there'll always be time for him - he's a central player.

Fight Club 4 - Jesus. Palahniuk is into the meta-ficiton now, too, huh? OK, so I have no idea what happened here, other than Sebastian appears to be in the house, making soap, and meets up with Angel Face, almost beats him in a fight, but then loses due to nostalgia? And there's creeping signs (not just the obvious author cameo) that we know we're reading a work of fiction? Is Chuck the one who gives Marla the advice to get the kids to go overseas? Are they actually joining some of the fighting groups? Are we supposed to believe there's ANY Make A Wish foundation that would actually even send them there, much less get that close to the madness? No way, right? So is it all in her head? In his? In ours? Is this some sort of test? The Mack covers continue to be gorgeous, I'll tell you that much.

New MGMT 1 - Well well well. It's finally done, but the last page was perfect. Meru wins. There's a new MGMT. But there's just enough left over that things are flux? I wouldn't even say that. I would just say that it was well-written. It wasn't the best written conclusion I've ever read, but it was almost exactly what it should have been and what it needed to be. I'm thankful for the series as a whole and for the fact that Matt Kindt succeeded in this ambitious look at something that used to be a lot more common: making good comics fun again and sell good numbers from month to month. Plus, it kicked ass the whole way out. It'll make a solid recommendation for any comic fan at any time.

Old Man Logan 4 - Well, that was fun, if only a one-note bit of fun. But I liked the crossover from the rest of the Battleworld storylines, and I like where it left Old Man Logan. We can see, maybe, where he's going to join up in the All New Marvel U. But for now, it's just a filler issue, showing old Wolvie taking on a whole world of zombies. Fun.

Book of the week goes to New MGMT. Let's not mourn its passing, let's celebrate its existence.


Happy late Labor Day! Instead of working, I ran, broke my phone, and read comics. In other words, it was a near perfect three day weekend.

Angel and Faith 14 - Interesting, fun, and another ending that I didn't truly understand. Drusilla still didn't look much like her character, but the ending with Faith and Fred on the rooftop having some vino felt real. We obviously learn why Mary was the prize, but I don't get the relevance of the statue, so I'm assuming it'll be cleared up for me some time soon. Fine issue, nothing special.

Daredevil 14 - A great end to a great run on a great series. It's funny to think, but since DD was relaunched in the Marvel Knights line, it's probably been the most consistently great Marvel book? I mean, shit. And the tonal shifts on this last run really hit their stride in this move to SF, the alliance with the DA, the refocus on Foggy and the friendship of he and Matt. There were so many good things about this run that I can overlook an imperfect last issue because it was damn good, just like the rest of the book. It wasn't perfect, but you know what? It doesn't have to be. It was fun and some of the most pure joy comics I've read in a long time. Thanks to Waid and Samnee for making things fun again while proving that fun doesn't have to mean wacky, off-the-wall, not-important-to-continuity bullshit. This was important. This matters. And it can still be fun.

Rachel Rising 36 - Well wasn't that just a perfect mixture? The gang of three are plotting their way into the Big Bad and his demise, we see just a smidgen of the guy who (probably) killed Rachel, and we get that amazing little glimpse into Jet and Earl. Those wordless panels, man, I love them. (And I know my buddy Dave Jordan loves them even more.) Terry Moore seems to finally be back on track and I'm loving this book again.

Book of the week goes to Daredevil. I think RR was probably actually better, but Waid and Samnee went out on a high note and I expect Moore to continue, so there's more opportunity for him.

Monday, August 24, 2015

comics for the week of 08/19/15.

You know what's cool? Superhero comics. You know what's fun? Movies based on those comics. You know what's weird? How much bad shit we heard about Ant-Man while it was being made versus how good it turned out, compared to how little bad shit we heard about Fantastic Four while it was being made versus how bad everyone seems to think it turned out. Weird.

Buffy 18 - Not a huge fan of how Angel framed the relationship in the end, but I can't say I totally disagree with it. The art was still a bit off, and the fight, while cool, still seemed less thrilling than it needs to be, especially if Archaeus is the Big Bad. But I'm glad this arc is over - it's got most of our main characters to a good point. So now we'll have a mini-arc and then the end? Curious to see where it goes.

Invincible 144 - We're clearly getting the seeds planted for Mark and Eve's inevitable return to Earth, but I've gotta say: I love seeing them so out of place. Of course, the fish out of water is a fun story to tell, but more than that, I mean that I love seeing Walker get to pencil some of those backgrounds and characters! It's a great opportunity for him to go totally nuts. Other than the art, though, the story was good, too. We got a neat little split between their new world and the larger goings on in the universe (outside of Earth) and it's looking like the Council will be taking the fight to Thragg. Mark might have trouble convincing Eve to let him join that fight, but he shouldn't. This is the most important thing he could be doing. It's worth risking his death.

Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows 4 - It's too bad Kubert's on the art, but the story isn't half bad. The kid's got guts, she's a great Parker heir - Annie May. Regent's got an idea of taking on Doom, Hawkeye has become Nick Fury and Urich's been covering the Parkers' tracks. There's a lot to like here. But, ultimately, it's not that meaningful and it certainly won't stand the test of time as one of the all-time great Spidey stories. But it's been a lot of fun.

Book of the week goes to Invincible. Tons of fun.

Monday, August 17, 2015

comics for the week of 08/12/15.

I'm wondering how thing are going over in the DCU. It's been a long time.

Secret Wars 5 - Huh. Well. I thought I got it pretty well when Doom and Molecule Man were talking, but the end is still a bit wobbly. Obviously, Val knows something is up. And her group is going to find out some of the shenanigans. But where's Franklin in all this? And what's up with the SHILED gang (old school Hickman alert!) being there? (And will we ever get the end to that series?) And what's up with the old Thor on the first page? And if Molecule Man's statue is there with Strange's, why doesn't anyone ever talk about him? And how does Doom get into that wacky place? And what (exactly) was the plan that let them beat the Beyonders? They cloned Reece? Then they attacked the Beyonders....? with their own bomb...? times a whole bunch...? And now he has to live in there as a conduit of the power? But it's made of Doom? Because he made the choice? And what (exactly) did Franklin do to Stephen's statue? And why couldn't we see that growing out of it later? Owen's words about needing to eat something soon seem to stand out as some pretty stark foreshadowing, as does Thanos being on the edge of the shield, but some of that is obviously given away by next month's cover - it's not as though zombies are going to be able to stop the Mad Titan.

The Walking Dead 144 - This was a good example of a good waste of time. There was almost nothing to this issue that we didn't get from the ending of last issue and that we won't get from the beginning of the next. Despite the fact that nothing truly happened, it didn't feel wasteful. Seeing people grieve is a real thing, but it wasn't compelling and I won't remember it long-term.

Years of Future Past 4 - The worst it's been, but in a very X-Men way. Cameron and Christina are related, Magneto is a traitor, there's divisions on the sides, and it's all very soap opera-y. Not well pencilled, nor written with good dialogue (although a good joke about monologues in there) but we only have one more till the end. I wonder if many of these series will serve any point. I mean, Old Man Logan is coming over, but, like, is anything going to spring from THIS series into the new Marvel U? If not, this was a pretty bad waste of time.

Book of the week goes to Secret Wars.

Monday, August 10, 2015

comics for the week of 08/05/15.

The Civil War part of Secret Wars is still proving to be fun, but I'm getting impatient with the mainline book. Is it already behind? Or am I just cranky? Also, we still don't really know what's going to happen with, like...everything else.

Angel & Faith 17 - Yeah, things are happening. that Drusilla on the last page? It doesn't look much like her, but it doesn't seem like it could be anyone else and cursory Googling says yeah, so...I guess it is? OK, that'll be fine, and I like how Faith and Angel have a good discussion in this issue, and I like how Fred is back in the mix (although going undercover as a lunch lady seems a bit beneath an Elder God like Illyria) but I'm not sure how this is all going to play out. Does this mean that Archaeus is controlling Dru (as mentioned in the now-looking-back-it-might-have-been-heavy-handed conversation) and that he'll turn out to be the Big Bad for both books? As I mentioned with the last Buffy book, I'm not sure he feels big or bad enough? But that's fine, they're working smaller still, maybe? Anyway, the book is still good, but I'm not really feeling compelled by either of them any more. Maybe this is just part of growing older and growing away from things I once loved? I don't feel like the book is bad, at all. So if it's not changing, maybe it's just me.

Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows 3 - That's fun. I like the idea of Annie taking the lead next issue, but if we're honest, she really did so here. Peter can narrate all he likes, but it was her words that led him to fight. As well it should be. The art's still pretty poor (sorry Kubert) and the story is trite, but it's cool to see Spidey as "the most important hero" yet again. I mean, he's my guy. So of course I'm gonna like it, right?

Ultimate End 4 - Hm. OK. I can't say that I fully understand it, but I'm starting to see that there might be a point to it after all. I mean, it can't just be this totally atemporal look at a version of a What If...? story, right? There's gotta be something. And here we see Val asking Doom exactly that? Maybe he knows, even with the power of God, that he can't hold on to it forever? Maybe that's why he's intentionally introducing chaos into the system? (Also, Jesus, how much does Bendis love chaos theory? He must have flipped his shit for Jurassic Park and just never moved past that point, huh? Wanda's a chaos magician, kicking off Disassembled, and now he's trying to muck in Hickman's waters by saying chaos is the magic reset button? What a dork.) But I still don't know what's happening with Tony vs. Tony nor do I really get who Frank's ultimately shooting at - but I think that's (at least part of?) the point? We'll see next issue.

Book of the week goes to...none of them? Nothing was great this week, but I guess I'll go with Spider-Man. Best of the bunch.