Monday, March 2, 2015

comics for the week of 02/25/15.

We had some serious snow.

All New X-Men 38 - I don't know how the fuck I ended up in the middle of a crossover with this book, but this is the first time I've actually needed to read one of those recap pages, and let me tell you: this seems ridiculous! Maybe they all always are, but I don't ever read them. I don't need to. And, needing to, this seems crazy. And after reading, here's the verdict: the art was cool. Angel, especially, looks cool in his mutated, Black Vortex form, whatever the hell that is. Beast does not, Gamora was worthless except for exposition, and the X-Babies and the Guardians teaming up doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense. I have to assume I actually missed an issue in this series, even though the checklist in the back says that there were no All New X-Men books before this; it's just so out of left field. And, of course, what's not out of left field is the reunion with Cyclops at the end. So, they'll all be together, I'll have to endure one more issue of this nonsense (hopefully with the same artist, that was some good stuff, seriously) and then where do they go from there? Maybe Battle World? OK. Kind of worthless.

Daredevil 13 - A nice bit of turnabout with all the twists and turns that we've come to expect from this book. Some seriously jacked up foreshadowing when it comes to the Owl and his presence in Matt's life, as well as that nice last page. The Shroud is going to be a big part of the San Francisco adventures, huh? And Kirsten is getting to spend a lot of time setting up how capable she is, I hope it's not just prelude for her getting the axe (metaphorically or literally). She's a great supporting character and even if she's not Matt's girlfriend, she has potential to stick around for a while, just like Foggy has.

New Avengers 30 - It's too crazy, but at least Hickman explicitly acknowledges that in his narration. I mean, I know it's setting up literally everything that's coming, but damn. Hank tells the story of how the Beyonders are destroying the Multiverse and are killing not only the Gods, not only the Celestials, but the Multiverse itself. So...that's a big deal. Past that? I don't know. I'll have to wait until Secret Wars, try to understand it and then wrap my brain around the fallout. This is all prelude.

Spider-Gwen 1 - So, it starts off great, with cameos from the Vulture, Ben Grimm, the Hamburgler, Foggy Nelson, Frank Castle,and a reference to Yeezy! The art is cool, the story is cool insofar as taking place in another universe and referencing Spider-Verse. But other than that, there's not a lot of substance. It's a cool start, I'm glad to see the echo of Spider-Man with the Vulture as an enemy, but beyond the cute nods. I'm happy to be getting it, and I'm happy it's coming out (as per the end page) but I hope it does something real.

Book of the week goes to Daredevil.

Monday, February 23, 2015

comics for the week of 02/18/15.

If winter is coming, we can't tell in ABQ.

Buffy 12 - Happy with the Spike and Buffy story, unhappy with literally everything else in this issue. The art is just not a fit. And the section with Andrew was confusing in every little way. He's only comfortable being gay when he's a huge superhero, prone to over-explaining everything in dialogue, just like he's one of Sweet's wooden puppets? That's a bad look for a character who deserves more respect than he gets. The Xander/Dawn relationship is coming alone nicely, I like that we can see the little, natural things. But Giles is being played up too much as a kid (WE GET IT) and Willow got no shine at all in this whole issue. Obviously, Spike's dream is not just a dream, so this is going to go some interesting places, but I hate that Buffy doesn't get a chance just to honestly be happy and have some complication-free romance. I know that's a part of what drives the story, but... We'll see where it goes from here.

Fables 149 - I'll be honest: I wanted more from this issue. But I guess they're saving everything for the end. It looks like we got an end to the Brandish/Lancelot duel, but I hope that's not actually it. We see Rose's backstory finally fully fleshed out, and we see those evil urges appear to totally take her over. We get Boy Blue playing the ace up the sleeve role, and we see Snow preparing for the end. But really, everything is coming down to the next issue and that's all there is to it.

Invincible 117 - Certainly an interesting issue, but I didn't really care for the name of the baby. I get the motivation and I get how some people will think it's cute, but it wasn't for me. Other than that, though, we got a lot of really solid characterization of some cool folks. Mark and Eve saying goodbye was taken differently, depending on who they were telling and what reasons (i.e. how truthful they were being) were given; that's a sign of good variety. The interactions with his parents and her parents, while a bit thin on her part (as usual, they're just stereotypes, but it's not horrible) were cool to see, too. I'm intrigued by the idea that they might stay out in space for a while, though, too. We'll see if that happens.

Multiversity: The Mastermen 1 - Well that was the weirdest and the worst of the Multiversity titles thus far. Lee's art was awful, even when it was good, and Morrison seemed unable to connect this story to the rest of the larger themes. Maybe I'll look back when it's all done and have more of an appreciation, but for now I think it was a complete waste of time.

Ultimate Spider-Man 10 - It was so playful! The whole time! Not just the Spidey-villains dialogue. Not just the Spidey-Cloak and Dagger dialogue. Not just the cool, adult conversation at the beginning that was still lovely playful. Not just awesome Ganke (WHO MUST BE SAVED IF THE ULTIMATE UNIVERSE IS DOOMED! HE MUST BE!) not being embarrassed and giving Miles good advice. But the WHOLE ISSUE. Until the end. Where it turned super serious, super quickly. Man. That was awesome. It's just nice to have an issue where it feels like things are fun and playful and still have it mean quite a bit. I'm curious to see if Katie is a spy or just not a true believer, but it certainly seems like my theory about her dad maybe being undercover is shot to hell at this point. Which I'm cool with. It's giving us some awesome lines. I just wish we had more time here. It definitely seems like we don't. Which is a bummer. There's so many good things about this line and this book in particular.

Book of the week goes to Ultimate Spider-Man. In a week full of weak issues, I was surprised by this, but the books that I thought were going to kill just kinda sputtered while Miles got to have a lot of fun.

Monday, February 16, 2015

comics for the week of 02/11/15.

Drake dropped a new mixtape and it's NBA All-Star Weekend. Times are good.

All New X-Men 36 - Well, that was fun and I'm happy we got to see it, but it really does feel like we're just kind of in this place holder style with most of the Marvel books at this point. I don't want to see young Hank McCoy become some kind of evil guy, twisted by Bendis into the mea culpa for this whole mess. It certainly seems like that's where the cliffhanger is leading, but there was so much good to the issue: Miles getting his kiss, the good guys beating Doom, blowing up the castle, the alternate realities (esp. the one with Apocalypse and his horsemen!) and the resolution of a new mutant who conveniently opens up holes to new dimensions right about the time that they're all supposed to be going away. We'll see what happens with her.

Rachel Rising 31 - We're always getting hints about some rather large big bad in this series, but this issue seemed to be the most conclusive in presenting the case that maybe it's Zoe the story is actually about. I mean, Rachel seems like she's going to be a weapon, at best, to use against him? Aunt Johnny's out on the case and there are some smaller bads lurking as well, unless they're all tied together, which is obviously totally possible, given the nature of this book. Another cool issue.

Thor 5 - I love when comic creators address the criticism head on, which is definitely what the first five (ish) pages of this issue felt like. I mean, some of Titania's words were exactly what we heard from fanboys before the series debuted, verbatim. That being said, I'm not sure she'd just lay down for Thor. No matter what. But after that cool intro, we had ourselves a wacky as hell issue. I mean, Odin looks like he's losing his mind. Honestly. There's no rhyme or reason to his being this frivolous nor to his fearsome dedication to tasks that are, in reality, beneath him. Also, I know the story obviously demands it, but to dampen his omnipotence and his runes (and all the other methods) seems to be a poor step to take in servicing the story - just change the story slightly! The real enemy here seems to be some malevolent presence in the All-Father's head, because he's certainly not himself and that's going to be the big bad that's gonna come back to bite everyone. Other than that, the discussion between Sif and Odinson was all right, but the discussion between the All-Mother and Thor was way better. Good stuff. I want to find out who she is.

The Walking Dead 137 - So, Jesus is smart, Maggie is not as careful as she should be, and Carl's gonna get deflowered by some freaky bitch. Man, that girl is weird. Seriously. I mean, it's not just been this issue. Every time she's spoken, she's said things that are seriously jacked up and the adults are responding the way they should be, but Carl is acting like he's a little kid. (Which, I guess, he can be, certainly if hormones are affecting him, but...) It feels like I say this with every issue of TWD but I'm excited for next issue. I want to see something really happen, though.

Book of the week goes to Thor. Even a filler artist can't dampen the shine on this series.

Monday, February 9, 2015

comics for the week of 02/04/15.

It's a bummer that Hawkeye's gotta go. But it's clearly beyond Aja and Fraction's scope now.

Angel & Faith 11 - There are a lot of people converging in this issue. I'd even forgotten what had happened last issue, but Fred re-appearing, Faith coming back home, reuniting with Nadira and Angel, and Koh even making his cameo... This is good. The bar scenes are beautifully pencilled and I love the look of this book in general. However, for all of the goodness, it really did feel like setting up the pieces/filler. There's nothing wrong with that, and I'm sure it'll turn out in the long run, but for now, I'm impatient for more.

Avengers 41 - Well. That's a heck of a turn. Man, evil Ultimate Universe Reed has got to be one of the best new characters of the last ten years (if he counts as that) right? Geez. He's horrible. And now he's got a crew? This Secret Wars/Battleworld shit is shaping up to be amazing. Seriously. It's a crazily extended prologue, but hopefully when we get to the real action, it's time for some serious roll.

East of West 17 - That was great. I like it better when we get fewer stories in this book so we can spend a little more time on them. (And I guess that'll always be the case now, since there's fewer stories to tell? But it doesn't actually seem like there are. For every one story we lose, we're picking up a new thread.) The sections with Babylon and Death were each great, and the Kingdom and the Confederacy felt nicely linked. I really like what's happening with the convergence, but I can't wait to see how they're going to pull the curtain back for the kid. Maybe they won't, and we'll just get the prescribed story.

Hawkeye 21 - I knew this was going to be good (they all have been and I can't wait to buy the inevitable hardcover of this run) but I didn't know it was going to be this good and I didn't know I was going to gasp loudly. Everything that made this book great was here, including the pencils, the bros, the dialogue beyond just the bros, the paneling, the clear acknowledgement of Clint's deafness and his horrible relationship history, and the nice surprise, both in the middle with those great panels of the crazy guy's mom, and the very last image of Pizza Dog. It's all coming to a head next month (hopefully) and I'm confident they'll stick the landing. But more importantly, I want that hardcover, and I want to stick around to see if Lemire can do something cool but different. I hope Hawkeye still gets to have a cool book, even if it'll never be this again. Barney.

Saga 25 - Well, this was, by far, the weirdest issue of this series we've received. That's not to say it was bad, but there was a lot of narration and more than a few subplots are starting. There's some incredible things being down with Hazel's narration, especially insofar as her getting out spoilers and setting up expectations, but too much exposition can bog things down. Also, Marko looks great with a beard and the variety of team-ups that are happening now are incredible. The way the core crew has been split up and yet remain on this parallel journey is rather inspired storytelling. The only bit we didn't get was the reporters in this issue, but I have a feeling they'll make an appearance soon.

Wytches 4 - That ending, thoooooooooough. I should have known it was coming, but I was so caught up in the current action and the awesome flashback that I forgot about it. Man. Hope Sailor gets out soon so they can all be reunited before everyone forgets. Then they've gotta get to a place without trees, find the Irons family, and burn down the whole fucking town. Yup. Sounds like a plan. Another solid entry.

Book of the week goes to Hawkeye. Heck of a comic right there.

Monday, February 2, 2015

comics for the week of 01/28/15.

Welp. It's finally happened. The Unwritten is gone. Big time sad face.

Mind MGMT 30 - The art in this issue was incredible, but the substance was just as good. We got the Eraser's backstory, but we only get her twisted version of it. It's hard to tell what's real with her, especially since there's so many layers to the P.K. Verve story: the back cover, the actual story inside the issue, the Second Floor prologue, her revelations at the end. There's just so many layers. It's overwhelming, but only in the good way. The best thing about this issue was how it inspired me to go back to the beginning of this series (as well as the previous arc) and reread to see how Meru interacted with the Eraser unknowingly. This is a book for the ages.

The Multiversity Guidebook - That was tons of fun. Multiversity, at least to me, is at its best when its whimsical like this with a hint of the larger story. I'm not sure the larger story is ever actually going to mean anything, so I'd rather just get to see awesome glimpses of all the cool stuff we've been surrounded by this whole time - without even realizing it. The Batmen story was fun and the Kamandi wasn't my cup of tea, but the actual guidebook portions were amazing.

New Avengers 29 - Cool. If we didn't already know a Battleworld type scenario was coming, this sure as shit should be our hint. My only beef with this issue (and, retroactively, the whole storyline) is what they're doing to Steve Rogers. How is he going to come back from this? He's turned into a parody of himself. And, of course, as soon as I typed that, I remembered the implication of what happened to Franklin Richards, so put that on the list of shit I don't like, too. But, I guess I'm getting ahead of myself, eh? We're getting a reset button in a matter of months in the Marvel Universe, so they can pretty much kill anyone they want to and they have a big honking back door in sight. This is a weird time for comics. It was a good issue, but it feels hollow?

Sex Criminals 10 - Yeah, it continues to be good and weird. The minimal backgrounds (a la McKelvie) don't work quite as well here, but they've been there the whole series and I just cared this issue, so maybe they do? The story is still weird as hell but at least we're getting some development of characters who aren't necessarily the protagonists.

Uncanny Avengers 1 - God, this was horrible. Don't buy it, don't waste your time reading it.

The Unwritten: Apocalypse 12 - I'm having trouble actually processing my feelings about this, much less articulating them. I think all I can say for now is that it was almost perfect. The Willowbank epilogue made me cry and I didn't think we'd get that good of an ending. I mean, the actual ending. The last few pages made it even better than it had already been, which was almost perfect. Honestly, there was no other way they COULD go, and they still managed to exceed my expectations.

Book of the week goes to the Unwritten's finale. The only book that can compete is Mind MGMT, but Tommy Taylor's farewell is honestly one of the best endings I've ever encountered.

Monday, January 26, 2015

comics for the week of 01/21/15.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, January 19, 2015

comics for the week of 01/14/15.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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