Tuesday, November 24, 2015

comics for the week of 11/11/15 & 11/18/15.

Happy Veteran's Day. And Happy Pedro Zamora Day.

Avengers 1 – Well, it's a start. There's not a lot to say about a first issue that doesn't even feature all the members of the team. I get that they're beginning, but there's so much going on in this universe that it's hard to think that this team will ever actually become a big deal, especially with this minimal start. It wasn't bad, but Miles was the best part of the first story and the Ms. Marvel and Nova back-up was better than anything in the former, so...

Hawkeye 1 – And there's another new one. That's fine and all, but the art's not great, the story's cool, but the way it bounces back and forth, and the memory of how good it's been in the recent past...All these things conspire to make me think that I'll never care about Hawk-guy the way I once did. And that's fine. For me. But as a company, it's gotta be a little worrying for Marvel, huh?

Illuminati 1 - Honestly, this was the book I got that I thought was going to suck the most, but it was great. The art was just the right side of cartoony for me and I card about the C-List villains way more than I thought I would. Luke Cage and Iron Fist were happy accidental co-stars, and the Hood is always an interesting player. This has potential, but I can't see it being an ongoing. Fun for little stories about the other side, though. Also, the sound effects with the noises (Krakoom, etc.) were amazing touches, as well as the non-cartoony aspect of Iron Fist's dragon. There were some seriously great things about this issue. (Not to mention Luke's RTJ shirt!)

Secret Wars 7 – It was both better and worse than 6? It felt like he was taking the piss out of himself multiple times; the tone was totally different than I've ever heard from a Hickman book, like he was mocking himself. He can be funny, there's no doubt, he's not all serious all the time, but this was the first time I remember thinking, boy, that's weird. It wasn't just the bits with Sinister, nor the first reveal of the Prophet, but littered throughout the book. But, the action did move forward, so that was better than the last issue. But it pulled up short. I know this is what they're talking about when they say they split 7 into two issues, as opposed to the conclusion being elongated, but it feels like it wasn't even a full issue. Also: the text reads, the ultimate sacrifice, but we didn't see anyone give up anything. We just saw the beginning of the most ferocious battle. That's all well and good, but I'm not sure it's a proper issue. The art was good (except for the panel with T'Challa's head in blank space – and there was another instance of Hickman's mocking: Namor making fun of Reed's conversation with the King of the Dead, but then he turned it around and showed how the Panther needed that extra push from his old friend to actually assert his authority over the zombies) and the cover was beautiful and next issue looks great, but I want this to be over so we can fully embrace the new universe. It's too bad that Hickman's swan song is being delayed in this way; it could have been great. Now it'll just be another crossover that we dismissively remember.

Spider-Gwen 2 – Not great. Just fine. Can't imagine that I'm keeping this. It's fun, but it's not for me. Loved the Cap, the Falcon, and the interaction between Captain Stacy and the Parkers. But there's nothing connecting it to the real shit. At least not for me.

Twilight Children 2 – Strangely, this had even less info than the last issue? But I now see it's only a four issue mini-series, so my hope is that its already done and they're now just marketing it. It's great, it's beautiful, but I'm not sure what it's about yet. It'll read better as a whole (as almost everything does) but I'm really glad it exists and that I'm checking it out for now.

Ultimates 1 – This is the one that SHOULD have sucked the most. But it was fun. America Chavez deserves a better book, but maybe this has a chance of being one. I didn't see the end coming, it was a nice reversal, and I think the idea of T'Challa being involved in the Triskelion-based Ultimates in 616 new MU is a cool touch. Blue Marvel is weak, but Captain Marvel makes up for it. Spectrum is an unknown, but seems to demonstrate potential. I hope they find a place in the new U.

The Walking Dead 148 – LOOOOOOOOL. Rick would never go to Negan for help. Never. (I mean, let me clarify: fictional characters can do whatever the fuck their creator says/makes them do. I don't give a shit. You do you, Kirkman. But IMO, from what I've seen, he'd never go to Negan in full faith. I have total trust that Rick's got at least four fucking aces in his back pocket. And if he doesn't, that's weird as fuck.) Anyway, the big spoiler out of comic group for this issue was the Alpah bit, but I'm actually way more interested in the society angle and how Rick's dealing with it, and how Negan will play in to it, and how Maggie is supporting Rick, and how Andrea and Carl (and that girl...) are out on the road together. It's good.

Wolverine 1 – I thought I wasn't gonna care enough about this one to actually review it and it'd just be in the top line. But to see those old X-Force costumes, and to have Logan as the memory advisor, and to see her in the new costume... Damn. That was worth it. The villain's mask looked dope as hell, too. I love that Laura is working with young Warren (let's keep those characters relevant!) and I forgot that she has toe claws. But really, this is a cool new Marvel comic. It's a legacy, none of the characters are who we think they are, but it still works. It's the best of what a superhero reboot can be? (Other than the sub-par art?) And the ending, with the reveal of who the villain was sets up a nice long-term arc. It's cool.

Book of the week goes to Illuminati. And if you had bet me 100 dollars against that, you'd be winning at least a G. But it was so much fun.


Next week, sorry, got behind. Happy early Thanksgiving.

Buffy 21 - This issue started shit and really worked its way into something hilarious. Clem taking keyfabe, the dig at GRRM, and Satsu calling out Buffy and Spike as far less mysterious and cool than they used to be were all highlights. But the underlying message, the fact that the vamps were basically just using the Army recruitment as a chance to drive a wedge between Spike and Buffy, is worrisome. I mean, they're maturing. Just let that chill for a while. Unless you're going to send him away, which you're not. He's a vital part of the puzzle now. And I didn't get the end because I don't remember who Dylan is. Le sigh.

Extraordinary X-Men 2 - Young Jean is getting great, Ramos draws her well, Forge is ACTUALLY back, not just his presence, but most importantly: this X-Book feels like the ooooolllllllllddddd X books: people are terrified of mutants. This is going to change the whole lineup. In a good way. But even cooler? There's a lot of potential in this book. Between the Rasputin siblings (always good together) plus Nightcrawler (always good interactions with both Colossus and Magik) that's a solid line. But we have so much more: Bobby is mature, he's working with Storm. Storm's now worried about legacy, she's the new Scott. Scott appears to be really dead, so he's joined the ranks of Xavier and old Jean. And, of course, that ending. Jean, of course, will be the one to bring Logan in. This makes sense. My only worry is that they'll tease a romance between these two. It should never be that. Logan always has the mentor role with young women, but he's always loved Jean. Let's not let that get in the way of what could be one of the most solid X-relationships in a long time. (Bonus, the back page showed the covers of books I didn't know were coming because I don't read previews and both All New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men look good!)

Huck 1 - Huh. Well, that was the surprise of the week. It was totally, totally different than I was expecting, in both good and bad ways? I mean, the whole issue is people promising not to tell, and then someone does? For almost no reason? After he goes over there? For almost no reason? As though this is the first disaster he's ever seen on TV? As though this is the first time that he thought maybe doing things for the world would be better than mowing peoples' lawns? Just a super strange start. But what a concept. Smalltown Superman who's never come out to the world gets hauled out? And he's....special? A blue-eyed orphan? Yeah, we've seen all this before, but it's a novel take on an old trope and the art is beautiful and that's a good thing. The only thing that worries me is that it's Millar and he might take this into trigger word fantasy territory real quick, if only for the shock value. Here's to hoping it can stay away from there.

I Hate Fairyland 2 - That was a bunch of fun but I'm going to stop reviewing it here and now because there's not much substance. That's fine and all, I still enjoy it but there's not much to say.

Invincible 125 - It was fun, but not as much so as last issue? I mean...it's obviously still going somewhere and I'm still super excited to find out where that is, but...it feels kinda pointless at this point? Last issue was fun to see the changes, but this issue was just sad? I'm not sure that I believe Nolan either, not at this point. We'll see. Not bad.

Ms. Marvel 1 - Kamala Kahn continues her streak of being the coolest, most fun, most self-aware young person's comic out there. Bougie Foods and majority-minority neighborhoods aside, this has the formula of old school Spidey down pat: young person gets awesome powers, uses them, has fun, gets in over their head. It's great. It's small time storytelling that'll never be as monumentally fun as other books, but it's super important.

New Avengers 3 - Still a bizarre book, still fun. The contrast between the evil magic of the old dimension and the traditional Marvel space of Kree and Skrull, along with stupid Squirrel Girl being there, Hulkling calling himself a Dagwood and Power Man going all social justice warrior on Wiccan's name makes this book the oddest of combinations. With the in-jokes (Hawkeye admitting he flew into a Kree engine once, and the hybrids using "Uatu's eyes!" as a curse) and the references to Dr. Doom and Alpha Flight, this is a great book that'll reflect some of the new, broad status. POD seems to be in trouble, but I can't say I have any idea who the person inside is (or even that I knew there was a person inside, so....) so it's hard to really care. But when it makes mistakes, it'll be bad. (Also, just as my last note here, but as a 90s X-Kid, I'm a huge fan of Sunfire and Robert DaCosta is doing great things with his money and this team. But when Songbird says he's leaning into the villain thing, it got me SO EXCITED about a Reignfire possibility!)

Spider-Woman 1 - It wasn't great, but it was solid character building. And that single splash in the middle of the issue with the maternity leave party was excellent. Spidey and Spidey, Carol and Iron Man. So good. We also got to see plenty of people on that page, and they were interacting in interesting ways. (Shoutout Kamala, Ms. America, and Nova, as well as Miles. And THEN! On her maternity leave, does she GO TO ANOTHER UNIVERSE AND HANG OUT WITH GWEN STACY? Great little touch.) At the end, when she goes to see Alpha Flight, though, is when it gets good. I thought I was gonna just glaze right over this book, but it was fun. It's fun in the way books should be fun, not fun like the forced integration of Deadpool and Squirrel Girl into mainstream titles. But here we've got Ben Urich and a guy calling himself Porcupine Man and it feels quirky and different, but authentic. The aliens are just gonna be a continuation of that. Good stuff.

Thor 1 - Still fun, but not magic. I'm interested in Jane as Thor, the art is good, and the characters are almost all likable, but I've never been a Thor fan. In JMS' run, I didn't even consider it. It's only Jason Aaron that's keeping me on this book and I'll stay with it as long as he's plotting, because I have faith in his work, but as soon as he's gone, I am too. This issue we see a bit more of the Thor goodness that helps Jane, the madness of Odin, and the changes in Asgard. The ending is surprising, but not too much. The biggest takeaway for me was the lack of Odinson. He'll be a player in the new Marvel U, I'm sure, but his role is TBD. Jane's got her own merry band of pranksters by her side, so that's great enough for now. Who needs the men?

Book of the week goes to Ms. Marvel. Small ball still wins.

Monday, November 9, 2015

comics for the week of 11/04/15.

Comic books are fun.

Angel and Faith 20 - Yeah, OK, that was good. We can see that everyone is focused on the big picture now, which is always a good place to be. Nadira is coming along as not only a red herring but a good character in her own right, Angel is thinking straight, his relationship with Faith is progressing, Fred is finding her footing again, and Koh is worthwhile. But it's not stellar, so I'm hoping for something meaningful from the conclusion.

Black Science 17 - Black Science is back and, while there's still no doubt it'll read better as a trade, this is a hell of a start to the 2nd part. It's gonna be a bit smaller (a 5 part story to start us is a good sign) and so I presume it'll be broken up into little chapters to make up this whole? Either way, this issue was entertaining as hell. The circularity of the plot continues, which is awesome, even while three years have passed, but the highlight here was the art. Seriously, from the first page to the splashes toward the end, it was incredible. Love that we'll be getting some more on Grant's backstory. And, with the cast scattered throughout the Eververse, the focus will be a bit more narrow for a while, which will free some things up.

Doctor Strange 2 - Well, Mikee told me to continue giving it a chance, so I'm doing so. I've really never cared about Doctor Strange. I don't dislike him. But even as a kid, when I was reading the most random assembly of comics, I didn't find my way to him often. Every once in a while, when Ghost Rider and Blade and he would team up as the Midnight Sons, or when he changed his costume, I'd find something worthwhile, but for the most part, he's not for me. But with Jason Aaron and Chris Bachelo doing the book, I owe it more of a chance. And while the art is lovely (thanks Bachelo!) and the story is cool enough, I just can't find myself caring about the mystical world and all the huge level machinations that I feel like this book is destined for. It's not that I think it's bad. It's just not for me.

Extraordinary X-Men 1 - This book has a chance to be THE X book. Ramos is the perfect style for Colossus and I love the relationship between him, and Magik, and Nightcrawler. (But Ramos is not the perfect fit for Nightcrawler. He looks weird.) The interplay between Storm, old Bobby and young Jean will be interesting. The Terrigen Mists being out in the world killing mutants (and, even more so, making them sterile, ensuring that "No more mutants" will be Bendis' lasting legacy to the Marvel Universe) will make every X book feel like it could be the last. Which is weird. Business is a stupid thing, and when it fucks up my comics, I get sad, but I guess that's just part of the whole industry. But for now, this book feels like it could be one of the good side effects. The last page cliffhanger with Old Man Logan really just emphasizes that. This could be a uniquely good time. But...it also feels like it might the last of its kind.

Invincible Iron Man 3 - Another suggestion from Mikee that I didn't really think I'd follow up on, but I gave it more of a shot because of his encouragement. While Bendis writing Tony Stark isn't always the best match, because of BMB's propensity for making all of his characters sound like teenagers trying so desperately hard, it kind of works for Doom? The new Doom is strange and different and is obviously going to be more involved in the world of Doctor Doom, so I think this is kind of a weird crossover between he and Tony, but like he said in 2, they do have some shared history. Madame Masque is being well-developed as a character gaining new powers, but the other woman in Tony's life seems to be the ultimate cliche: he even tells her that he's just using her to become a better person? And she thinks that's a cute thing to say? Bummer that Bendis, with all his other over the top tropes, had to put this one in, too. The back and forth banter with Friday is not actually Tony Stark, nor is his insistence upon a high five with Strange, those are just Bendisisms that he can't leave behind. A last note of disappointment: Marquez's art is usually beautiful but I found some things about it, in this issue in particular, that were crazy bad.

Paper Girls 2 - Cool stuff. I'm not sure where this is going, though. It's clearly got some rather large time travel issues, beyond the obvious Apple hook, though, right? I mean...those were pterodactyls, right? Also, that last panel is OMINOUS. Great work by Chiang. The pencils were kinda rough (not bad, but, like, as a descriptive word) the whole rest of the issue and I'm wondering if this is a new stylistic thing he's working on? It's a different look for him and I don't mind it but it's gonna take some getting used to. We're slowly but surely getting some personalities from the girls.

Uncanny X-Men 600 - I'm not the world's largest X-Men fan, but for some reason, this was the issue that I was pumped about the most this week, and that I thought about the most for the last two, three, four months while it's been delayed. I really have no explanation for why, but I think I thought it was gonna be great. It was not great. Despite all the delays, the art was still varying from page to page. The ideas weren't particularly revelatory. The story didn't do anything that we didn't all expect, and I didn't feel much emotional resonance from it. I came away pretty disappointed (especially in the art, because of all the delays) and feeling like I definitely won't care much about the X-Men in the new Marvel Universe.

Book of the week goes to Black Science. A welcome return.

Monday, November 2, 2015

comics for the week of 10/28/15.

I also bought Jeff Smith's Tuki #1, which is a super late grab, but it was really good. I'm strongly considering adding it to the stack and if you haven't checked it out yet, you definitely should.

Black Magick 1 - Rucka works magic yet again. Another new series with a strong female protagonist who's got problems. I loved the intro where we're supposed to think it was old times the phone goes off. Good contrast to set up all the later ones. The hostage scenario was a great way to get thrown into the action to start us off, and we got to learn just enough about Rowan to guarantee future interest. This one is definitely added to the stack.

Fight Club 6 - This is just getting weirder and weirder and I'm liking it less and less. I feel like Palahniuk wanted to play in the medium and he's got some good points for it, but overall, this is a failure. The kid is still alive, Tyler and Sebastian are one, the good doctor might not be so good after all, and Rize or Die is a global conglomerate which somehow escaped everyone's notice. Wack. The cop who saves him is never explained (maybe never will be?) and there's a JFK conspiracy thrown in for no reason whatsoever. Maybe it'll read better as a whole?

New Avengers 2 - The Maker is introduced as "What if...Reed Richards went wrong?" and that's the best way to put it. Hickman proved, with his FF run, and, to a lesser degree, with his Secret Wars stuff, that Reed Richards is not the stodgy old man of the MU. He can be one of the greatest characters in the whole story-world. So the Maker has great potential. But honestly, he wasn't even the best part of the issue. This issue read like if the Avengers (and superheroes as a whole) were real and Zuckerberg and his tech gang in Silicon Valley took them over: "How does this scale up?" It was hilarious and awesome to read, all at the same time. But to make the Maker merely the mad, wacky scientist feels like underselling him. It's the Superman problem. When you can beat anyone at any time, it makes everyone feel a little underwhelming.

Book of the week goes to Black Magick. While the Big Two are spinning their wheels, Image is becoming the best comic book company in the world.

Monday, October 26, 2015

comics for the week of 10/21/15.

Age of Apocalypse was horrible. Terrible dialogue and bad art. No point. But Uncanny Inhumans was worse. Granted, I don't give any shits about the Inhumans, so I'm not the target market. Maybe people who are predisposed liked it more, but I think we can all agree on one thing: putting the famous penciller's name first on the cover, when he's serving as the inker of the book is a real shitheel move, Marvel. That's some bullshit and you know it. Makes me really, really glad that I'm basically off the Big Two books. Spidey's been fun to keep track of and I'm super happy for people who are loving it, but it's not my Spidey and that's totally fine. I had more than enough time with him.

Buffy 20 - Cool development with Anya's ghost, cool way to depict the change in Spike and Buffy's relationship. The perfect form of what a single issue story can be. No Willow, little Giles (no pun intended), no problem. Love the use of the cop force, love the integration of SF, and love the way that Buffy is truly maturing. This is one of the ways the show could have gone. Dawn's absence, Xander's insanity, and the ground between those two and the ways in which they interact, will certainly be explored in the conclusion.

Invincible 124 - Wow. This was a perfect issue. I mean...shit. I'd be freaking out, too. And Mark does almost all the right things almost all the time. This is going to be incredible, almost no matter how it goes. I know it's not a real reboot. It's got a question mark and it's a three part story. But there's certainly going to be some real fucking chips thrown down at the end of this. It's going to matter and I am so so so so so so curious as to how.

Book of the week goes to Invincible. I'm almost always excited for this book, but this might be as excited as I've ever been.

Monday, October 19, 2015

comics for the week of 10/14/15.

A whole new flock of Marvel tryouts to talk about this week. Too bad most of it was garbage. On the other hand, the indies were great, as usual, plus there was some other goodness.

Captain America 1 - Well, they're certainly pushing an agenda. And while it's one I agree with, I'm not sure how it's going to sell. It'll be interesting to hear people talk about it. But the real thing is the last page. I'm not sure how the new Marvel U is totally shaping up, but it's nice to see that we're proceeding with old Steve as a real thing, in a new role. So this has gotta mean Nick Fury's on the other side, right? Sam does a good Cap (not as good as Bucky, but...it wouldn't have worked the same way this issue did, either; it couldn't have) and the bird is cool, but I've honestly never been that interested in Cap. I'm a fan of this issue, not sure I'll have much interest in the series.

Civil War 5 - Tight. That was fun. Pointless in a way that Old Man Logan (and anything else that brought someone into the new Marvel U) wasn't, but still fun. Nice to see Tony and Steve teaming up to change the world one last time. One of the best little series coming out of the Secret Wars.

East of West 21 - Layers on layers and flashbacks on flashbacks. I like the structure of this second year, where we're moving the story forward but learning about what came before as well. This was a solid issue even if I don't really understand the deal tie Chief made toward the end. Did he commit? I think so? But with so many sides and so many variables and so many unknowns, it's hard to act like I can really tell. The relationship between the Widowmaker and Doma is a solid device, I hope they both stay alive long enough for us to see some real fruit from it. The Nation are a complicated people and they bring a great side to this conflict; I'm glad we're getting some exploration.

I Hate Fairyland 1 - Go for the Skottie Young, stay for the hilarity. This is awesome and everyone should read it, if only just for laughs. Good good good stuff.

New Avengers 1 - Goddamn, that was weird. I mean, all parts of it were pretty great, but there was some truly bizarre stuff. What's with every book needing some radically wacky element? Squirrel Girl? Why is she even here? (Why was D-Man in Captain America???) The way the team comes together is cool and I don't really like the name Power Man, but the new guy seems cool. The Maker's presence in this book is what's gonna make me pay attention to it. (Also, Sunspot. Love the mutants. There's so few of them now?) But what's with Dugan being a Ghost-Robot-Frankenstein? What's with SHIELD? What's with the mutants being gone? It's cool that Marvel is doing the anti-DC and not spilling the guts on literally everything, but boy, we sure are in the dark about a lot. I'm glad it's not giving away the ending to Secret Wars, but it's waaaaay more different than I thought it was gonna be.

Spider-Gwen 1 - That was cooooooool. They're fully embracing the other universe now that they're let loose, huh? Cap on the last page, Roxxon, Oscorp, Harry, all kiiiiinds of mentions. Gwen's dad is back on her side, it looks like some time has passed and we've got a whole new universe to play with. That'll be fun. I'm in for the ride, especially if Robbi Rodriguez continues to go as nuts with the art as he did in this one. In the first series, it felt back and forth at times, but he has a nice consistency here that'll continue to evolve into a truly great style. I'm a big fan.

Spider-Man 2099 1 - Whoah. Great first issue. Nice inclusion of the A2 Captain America in the new Marvel U. That's a cool touch that'll have loads of potential. But, Miguel O'Hara, despite losing his love interest, just like Captain America (whether Steve or Sam) doesn't truly interest me. The 2099 line was always a fun side trip, but only because it was so different. Now that he's in the U proper, I'm not sure that I care enough about him to buy him over Miles (whose book isn't out yet, but I'm already banking on). It's funny, but he said it best: with so many Spider-people to choose from, I don't need him.

The Twilight Children 1 - Wow. The art, obviously. But the story, too. Geez. The next great Vertigo series? Way too early to tell, and with these two, I'd never be bold enough to expect anything even remotely longish, but it's a heck of a start. It's brief (in words) but long (in both content as well as pages - or at least it felt that way) in the best kind of way. We've got some kids, we've got adults behaving badly, we've got implied backstory, we've got a remote setting with its own world... Everything's good.

Uncanny Avengers 1 - Jesus, there was a lot of spoilery stuff in there, but none as bad as Old Man Steve Rogers acting like an out of touch grandpa and the horrid art. Spidey quitting so early in the issue, Johnny Storm playing the role of the idiot, Deadpool playing the role of trusted ace, Rogue speaking like a child, and the forced integration of the Inhumans at the cost of (apparently) most of the X-Universe (they're...elsewhere? We're still gonna HAVE X books, right?) were just some of the things I disliked here. Reed and Sue are gone? Ben's elsewhere, too? Is he hanging out with the X-Men? Spidey hates Deadpool this much but he's gonna have a book with him? I hope it's not as awkward (or poorly drawn) as this book. Deadpool with the triple-meta-self-awareness could be cool, too, but on a book that's supposed to be so serious and serve as a benchmark? No thanks.

The Walking Dead 147 - Huh, yeah, good developments, but not much. I don't think that gun on the last page is ging to amount to much, but I did think the conversation between Michonne and Rick was solid. She needed that. And he needed to say it about Andrea. Their relationship is in a good place. The people are going to be pissed when they find out Lydia's in safety, though, and I'm not actually convinced she is, heading up to the Hilltop with Maggie. Shit there is totally different than Rick thinks.

Book of the week goes to East of West.

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.