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. But...is 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.

Monday, August 3, 2015

comic for the week of 07/29/15.

I also read Powers (still fun, if totally stagnant) and finished the Fables trade. I thought the ending to Fables was perfect for that series, even though it's not one of the best endings I've ever read. It felt pitch perfect, but it wasn't anything that blew me away. It was just perfectly, reliably solid, like the entirety of the series.

Daredevil 17 - That beginning! Matt's fight with Ikari takes up most of the issue, but the parts in between explain how we got to this point and it's done so well. The Kingpin, always three steps ahead, appears to be ahead of even his own curve at this point. Then Max comes in an complicates the picture, as has been his wont. I'm curious to find out what Matt had planned before his plan was tattered, but I'm more curious about that crazy change of costume - it doesn't look like it was possible, nor did it make much sense, even if it's just for the point of visuals in the story? Surely there's gotta be a bit more to it? If not, that was worthless, but I'll tell you what wasn't: this series. I'm still dying to find out what they're going to do with Matt Murdock and Daredevil in the new Marvel U, especially given the bizarre changes I've heard announced regarding Thor (Odinson version) and the Hulk and Iron Man and so many others. It's going to be a different world, how much? For now though, that's far out. For now, let's finish this up.

No book of the week when there's only one, but everyone else should be catching up on (or current, if you're in better shape than me) Spider-Woman. That's a lot of fun.

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.