Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Switching Over.

Since there's a backlog of personal stuff here, I'm switching over to another URL. If you'd like to read my weekly comic book thoughts, follow along over here:

Monday, January 4, 2016

comics for the week of 12/30/15.

Is Spidey already delayed? 2 issues into a reboot-ish series? Forreal?

Black Magick 3 - Despite not being able to find a translation on the Internet of the German section, I'm fairly confident I got the gist of it. This book is only getting better and better. I love the colors (or lack thereof) and the lead character is a solid exercise in contradictions and caution. She's carefully developed and the process by which she makes her house safe (although it may be too late?) was cool to see. But the best interactions are with her work partners, not her witch ones; all of those people feel so real. Their relationships have been built over time and we don't need to have spent all that time with them to see that, to know it. This is a great book.

East of West 23 - Cool. The kids are coming out to play. It's not just about the end of the world, then. Of course not. Nothing ever really is. It's about the next world, the way forward. I, for one, am looking forward to all variations of it at this point. I think, obviously, the point of the series will be for us to find our chosen path forward and root for them, but at this point, all things being equal, I'm good with whatever. There's so many layers to the different provinces that I've still no idea who I'd truly want to see win. They all have appeal. The sign of a great story. We get to see the Kingdom's heir and the Wolf sharing a childhood (and a point at which Wolf didn't know Bird, apparently?) as well as the survival of Mao and the result of that on her would-be assassins. Great stuff.

Wolverine 3 - Still fun, still a classic comic, still not much more to it, still doesn't need to be. Wolverine is having some adventures, they're causing her to mess some people up and cross paths with another Marvel character. What more do you want?

Book of the week goes to Black Magick. I'm so sold on this new title.

Monday, December 28, 2015

comics for the week of 12/23/15.

Happy holidays, y'all.

Buffy 22 - "I had great friends in high school. And we keep in touch in social media...some of us. But... Most of them are married with kids now. We have nothing in common." If this is the direction Buffy is going, I'll be psyched to have slogged through Season 10 to get some real adult world shit in Season 11 - presuming that it's coming. Spike and Buffy's relationship feels like the first real bit of that, but Willow taking this job (and Kennedy being there too) is a great sign in that regard. Because, honestly, I still love the Buffy TV show, but I could never watch it the same way I did - I'm a different person. So if the comic can change to come along with us as adults, I don't think that's a bad thing - I think it's the best thing. And really, that's the whole of this issue. It wasn't a filler issue, because I think this might turn out to be the crux of the entirety of S10? It was great.

Daredevil 2 - Yeah, that's cool, I'm glad we're getting some classic villains mixed in with the new guy, but it still feels less. Lesser, maybe. I'll work on that. It's a fine book, but it's not for me. I don't care about Matt the prosecutor, I don't care about DD in a new costume, and I definitely don't care about Blindspot.

Extraordinary X-Men 4 - Still cool, still fun, still Ramos-y as hell in the art. Sinister is always a good presence, and the end is clearly a fakeout. But I'm worried about Nightcrawler, as well as the overall arc of this book. Bobby gets the good lines in the response to Jean and Logan, but why is he wearing sunglasses? And what's Forge's part beyond just the token technology guy? He's the new Beast without any of the ties (other than with Storm)? I like how quickly Logan and Ororo fall back into their patterns of speaking. But overall, Colossus is the rock of this book - Ramos' art fits him the best, and he's our clear protagonist. It makes sense for him to be this concerned, given that he's been through death before, with his sis and without.

Fight Club 8 - Jesus, this is fucking terrible. I don't have anything good to say about it, so I'll say nothing at all, other than noting that I'll finish it and hope for something worth while.

New Avengers 4 - Huh. Still fun, still wacky, still worth reading, or at least keeping track of. That's my kind of off the wall Marvel book. Kree, Skrull, Avengers, mutants, Terrigen mists, Clint being Cool Dad, Billy and Teddy having a real relationship, and potential for a long-lasting thread to be resumed at some point. Solid stuff.

Saga 32 - Wow. I love this book so much that it's easy to forget, either while it's gone or even just between issues, how good it actually is. It's not just the art, it's not just the story, it's the everything. This is everything a comic should be: true storytelling, in every sense of the word. The creators complementing one another. Marko and Alana are great and Ghus is the best. Prince Robot (no longer a Prince) is going to continue to play a crazy important role. I love this book.

Spider-Woman 2 - This is a great book to match with New Avengers - they both feel fun, unconnected to the BIIIIIG issues, but still connected to the underlying fabric of the new Marvel Universe. Plus, Jess kicks ass and her friendship with Carol is amazing. The art is good, the story is fun, and that's about it.

Book of the week goes to Saga. I would have loved to give it to Buffy, but Saga is levels beyond.

Monday, December 21, 2015

comics for the week of 12/16/15.

Still reading I Hate Fairyland, still not worth reviewing, but still tons of fun. And if anything is being made clear by the new run of Marvel books it's that NO ONE SHOULD EVER be OK with seeing Doom out and about in the MU ever again. I know he's only been in Iron Man's book so far, but that shouldn't even be the case. There would have/should have been a five-alarm bell that Tony sent out and EVERY hero in the MU would have been there to whup his ass. Which means there'll be some sort of...amnesia at the end of the Wars?

All New X-Men 2 - Yeah, I'm off this. I don't care about young Cyke's guilt over future Cyke's actions. And that's what this book is turning in to. I do care about Laura and Kid Apocalypse and Pickles, but that's just not enough. Plus, I'm not loving Bagley's work here. Call me when something important happens.

Huck 2 - Huh. Well...we still don't have many answers, and the puzzle's only getting larger. But we can see that Huck's life hasn't nearly been ruined like we feared it would be by the last page of the last issue. In fact, he seems to be getting more and more brave. Last time was the first time (maybe?) he'd ventured out of the country and now he does so again with all the cameras on him? (How does he get to Afghanistan anyway? I mean, there's no trucks or trains he can just hop on top of there. Does he illegally board airplanes? Hop in the hangar? There's gotta be laws against that stuff, right?) Anyway, I'm still not sold on this as a great book, but it's entertaining for sure.

Illuminati 2 - Still fun, but not as much fun. I love that they're not taking themselves seriously. This is like that book that everyone THOUGHT was really great a few years back that I thought was shit. (But I can't remember what it was...) The Hood is known throughout the MU as a wanker, and his crew knows it. They even tell him to his face they're not interested in his schemes. The Club Fenris scene took the cake, though, not just for the siblings and the dialogue, but the Paste Pot Pete cameo. Geez. This is a seriously screwball take, but it's a worthwhile one.

Invincible 126 - Dang. That was a good ending, a good explanation, and a good issue. I liked the concept of Reboot? and it turned out almost as well as I could have asked for. I think the creature that sent him back in time will have some rather long-lasting ramifications, beyond just the twist of the last page. I can't believe that Eve would have stayed on the alien planet for that long, though, after she'd pretty much hated it just before this story takes place. I also can't believe those wouldn't be the first words out of her mouth. But otherwise, it was awesome, really well done and proof that you can do a time travel/reboot story without throwing everything away.

Lucifer 1 - How awesome that Lucifer is back and it's good and the art is nice and the story seems solid. And how nice that it's got a note about things coming full circle at a time when Vertigo is, once again, killing the market. I'm happy this exists; that it's good is a bonus. I'm along for the ride.

Ms. Marvel 2 - This is still one of the best new Marvel books and I love Kamala and the art and the storyline, but I have a gripe: I wish they hadn't made the villains so stereotypical. If we're gonna do the progressive thing and act like Muslims get discriminated against, can we just have the discriminators be real people, not cartoonish stereotypes? Because, honestly, that bit about walking on the sidewalk? It doesn't take a mastermind villain to say something as idiotic. I hear it all the time from very average people. Aside from that, though, this book continues to be head and shoulders above the rest of its Marvel brethren.

Thor 2 - Jesus, the colors in this book pop. The contrast between the first and second scenes really make that stand out, but even in the rest of the book, they really shine. This issue really succeeded in a lot of ways the first didn't but I can't pinpoint the differences. Maybe it really all comes down to Loki? Maybe it's the power of words? Maybe it was less of Jane and more of Thor? I don't know, but I liked it. I'm not a huge action fan, so I know it wasn't the war. It does, on the one hand, feel a bit familiar, what with Heimdall being put in jail, but there's huge progress being made on the overall story, so I'm good with that.

Ultimate End 5 - I thought I was gonna hate it but it was everything it needed to be: over the top, cheesy, sad, and then happy. What more could I ask for? I knew where it was going and so did everyone else, but that ending made it so worthwhile. Ganke's made the transition, and so did Miles' mom - shit, maybe it's even more than I had a right to ask for. Can't wait for Miles' book - probably the only Spider book that I'll legit stay with. Great stuff.

Book of the week goes to Ms. Marvel.

Monday, December 14, 2015

comics for the week of 12/09/15.

I also finished up with We Stand on Guard, but only because I learned it was only going 6 issues. I'd read the first, it was fine, but I didn't think I'd buy into it longterm. As a short term project, though, it was nice. I also dropped out of the Spider-Verse entirely. Spider-Man just feels like 60s Spidey, except spread across the globe (ergo more unbelievable) and Spider-Gwen is fun, but feels like it's 90s comics extremism in the alternative nature. Look, it's Harry! He's a goblin! He's a hunter! He's going to get the Spider-Girl! Enh.

Hawkeye 2 - Still fun, still weird, still cool that they're doing the multiple timelines thing. Still odd to think of Clint as this important. Still cool to see his ordinary life. Still fun to hear the banter between the two of them, but especially to bring in the guests they did in America and Noh-Varr. Still won't be continuing the book. I'll read next issue to see how they wrap this up, but the art doesn't facilitate my continued reading.

Rachel Rising 38 - Boy, Terry Moore really knows how to do relationships and small time conversations, huh? I mean, I know this book is about Lilith and the Devil and Good versus Evil and all those huge tropes, but... His biggest talent are the smallest moments. The Earl and Jet sleeping scene was the best, her one-liner about being clingy was hilarious and the ending was intriguing, but not the best part. The Johnny and Rachel conversation was the same: intriguing, but nowhere near as good as two old women reminiscing about the past. This is where he shines and it's so lovely.

Secret Wars 8 - Hickman delivers the goods. Doom knows how to rock a situation to make it what he wants, but, ultimately, he'll have met his match when he has to face Reed - not to mention 2 Reeds. The issue was great, but I'm still struck, overwhelmingly, that I just want it to be over so that I can reassess in retrospect and then see how things go forward. Ben Grimm is awesome, Franklin is going to feel like shit, Starlord was funny, Thanos got what he fucking deserves, and that's about it. Bring on the conclusion with T'Challa and Namor!

Twilight Children 3 - First of all, this book is great but so so so so so so so weird. I have no idea what's happening. It's a quick read and there's only 4 issues, which is good, because I think I'll pick up the trade because it's gorgeous and it'll be worth a re-read. But yeah, there's a lot of skimmed ground. We've got a name for the girl, Ela, we've got a task for her, to stop the bad guy, and we've got some refinements of all the characters, but most especially Tito. Other than that, I'm still in the dark. But in the back, we see there's gonna be a new Lucifer series? Awesome!

Ultimates 2 - Huh. So...did they destroy Galactus? And then remake him? And transform him? And now he's a totally different character than what we've known for decades? And he's going to serve as a one-of-a-kind new amalgamation of the Abyss and Ex Nihilo characters? And this is going to serve only to bump up this book in terms of grand scale? Cuz if so, that's kind of badass. I mean, I don't REALLY care about this sort of stuff, but if they're actually going to play around with this huge scale stuff, I think I WILL care. Cuz that's awesome. Also, what balls to retcon a backstory for Galactus' origi n. Good work team.

The Walking Dead 149 - It wasn't bad, but it kinda felt like a filler issue, just buying time until next issue's big landmark. Rick talks to Negan, Rick kinda moves forward and we see the community grieving and pacing (at least mentally) back and forth but not really going anywhere. The best part of this issue, though, was Negan's conversation with Rick. And I actually would take it even a step farther than Negan said: kill those motherfuckers forreal. You've got bullets, guns, people, you're gonna make an army? Kill them for sure. You don't need to lie at all.

Book of the week goes to Secret Wars. All the books were good, none were great, but Secret Wars and Ultimates were the most fun.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

comics for the week of 12/02/15.

Holy crap, it's a lot of Marvel. And all of the solid gold was non-Marvel stuff. What a wacky world.

All New X-Men 1 - Fun, but I don't think I care enough about the kids to keep reading? Never really liked Cyke, Laura and Angel's relationship I can track in Wolverine, Beast is weird, and Iceman they're just making a spectacle of, quite literally. The good things that could come from here are Kid Apocalypse and Pickles - good reveal. Is that one of the little ones from the old Jean Grey school?

Avengers 2 - Still awesome, still huge, still don't care that much. When things get this big it's hard to muster up much caring. It's great, but it has no ramifications. They're meeting each other, which I'll hang out for, but I can't imagine staying on past that point. Good stuff, not great. The art doesn't help.

Angel & Faith 21 - First off, I'd love one of those Dark Horse hoodies. Secondly, good on the old man for not inviting vampires into his home. Thirdly, the story is really meh. Everyone else had to see the weirdness of Brandt for so long, right? And this is all still part of the plan. Angel may or may not actually be bad now, but it won't matter ultimately. His friends will save him, Archaeus will be defeated and he's never felt like an actual threat, just an overblown perfunctory Big Bad. The art's gorgeous and I'm happy to be reading the continuing adventures of the crew, but they're not great. It's more just something to read.

Barrier 1 - BKV does not disappoint but he sure knows how to shock. When the issue dropped out of nowhere on a Tuesday, I knew I was going to save it for last. And yep, that last page still made my jaw fall agape. I'd heard it was weird, but that doesn't even come close to covering it. Most of my Spanish got me through, but I'd be upset with his claim that I could get through with none if I knew none. I think there's some important stuff in those sections and I can't believe he doesn't think so. The story is only going to be a five parter, too, according to the back page, so I'm hoping this'll represent a new pattern for Panel Syndicate: more stuff, more often, all at the same great deal. For now, let's see where this one goes next.

Black Science 18 - Single issue of the year? It's on the fucking nose, no doubt about it. Full of cliches and tropes that we've seen a hundred times before, but it does them well, and it feels authentic. Grant McKay is facing his demons while we're learning about his past, it's beautifully drawn and things feel so good. Incredible issue.

Daredevil 1 - Welp, I guess I'm off Daredevil. Charles Soule is a fine writer, but Ron Garney is NOT my favorite artist and I am not feeling this new direction at all. I have all the answers I care about: Matt's secret ID is back in the bag, except for Foggy, Kirsten is (apparently) gone, they're back in NYC, Matt is now a prosecutor (an ADA, at that!) and we're back to grim and gritty status. I don't expect different from Daredevil and I've loved plenty of those dark stories, but this feels like several steps backwards. They could have done all the same things, but still kept moving forward. Blindspot could turn out to be a cool new character but I definitely don't care enough to stick around.

Dr. Strange 3 - Still fun. Still amazing art from Bachelo. Still a nice arc from Aaron. Still don't care much for or about Strange. I'm on board, but not loving it. But that's a fault of mine, not of the book's.

East of West 22 - Holy shit. I'd already committed to Black Science and then I read this?? Incredible. What a bounty of riches we've had this week. A silent issue (except the last page) that actually delivers and makes us feel the speed and intensity of the action? It's a rare fucking thing indeed. The factions are developing real enmity at this point and I can't wait to see where it goes from here.

Extraordinary X-Men 3 - Bobby continues to be the most interesting X-Man. He's had this untapped potential looming over his head for the last 2 decades, but slowly and surely, he's been fulfilling it. It's not just looking like the scary icicle guy from AoA, it's the abilities. And he's got them. Then, we have the cute inversion of the Logan-Jean Grey mentor-mentee role and that's awesome. The gang's all together, and they're so different, but so familiar. This is, by far, my favorite X-Men book, but I'm still excited by the prospect of Uncanny, which I'll obviously keep track of for a while. Great stuff here, but they'll need a new artist once Ramos runs through his usual burnout style.

Iron Man 3 - That was actually pretty fun. I mean, new Doom is still weird, but Mary Jane showing up was way better than I thought it was gonna be, and as soon as she started talking about how her old club was blown up, we knew this one was in trouble. But the best thing was the page with 24 panels. It was still just an old fashioned splash at its core, but I love to see the ways in which artists like to break their things up. Also, Friday is great, their dialogue is fun, and the suits are awesome. Plus, it opens with Iron Man fighting bio-ninjas on the beach. This is a good book. You should be reading it.

Paper Girls 3 - Damn, I have no idea who to trust. Our crew is in peril and it seems (increasingly) like this is just some weird video game contest to the outsiders? Maybe this is just some sort of game and everything will be fine at the end? That doesn't seem like a typical BKV ending, but he's gonna change at some point, huh? All I know for now is that this is the third straight solid gold comic that I've read this week. It's an embarrassment of riches.

Plutona 3 - Whoah. This took a turn. And I love it. Man, Teddy is a weird kid, huh? I mean, I'm sure he's got his reasons, but... I love the small ways in which this works. It's a quiet book, not bombastic (except for the backups, which are a cute addition) but that's a good thing. I'm hoping it's gonna be a recurring set of minis because apparently this series is only going 5 issues, which definitely will not be enough.

Spidey 1 - Buy this book for your kids. It's fun, and it's going to continue. It's basically an Ultimate Universe Spider-Man but set in our world. It's just gonna be a modern reboot, but telling the stories we already know. It's not for us, but it is for them. This was good.

Totally Awesome Hulk - I was not psyched, then I was, then I was not again. Hulk's never been a character I've really cared for. There have been some awesome arcs that I've bought and loved, but in general, I don't really care about him. So, trying it out, I thought, enh, I probably won't care. And I didn't. Cho is most inspiring when he's being the 7th or 8th smartest person in the new comics way - building a better world. But now he's trying to do that as an homage to Banner (who might be totally out of the picture? But I wonder where he is on that scale? And I wonder what order it goes in? Reed-Doom-Stark-T'Challa are our top 4, right? Pym? Banner? And then Cho? Maybe Parker? This is more interesting to me than anything in the book, which kinda proves why I'm not the ideal Hulk audience...) by catching monsters. He's got a robot sidekick, who's actually his sister in remote form, and he thinks he's in control, but he's obviously not. He has a switch that we see him use, but we also see him start to Hulk out when he doesn't hit the switch. That'll be cool, if they can turn it into that kind of book and Greg Pak might be the guy to do that, but I wouldn't know because Planet Hulk, despite all the praise it got was not one of the arcs that I thought was interesting enough to justify my reading the Hulk. So for now, it stays in the maybe pile.

Book of the week goes to East of West. It could have been a lot, but Hickman wins.

Monday, November 30, 2015

comics for the week of 11/25/15.

Happy Thanksgiving. I'm grateful for good ass comics.

Black Magick 2 - Great development on all fronts, but especially Rowan's partner. The relationships in this book feel real, as does the fear that Alex shows when Rowan tells her about the perp from last night. It's clear that one of the AIB folks doesn't trust her and that he knows something, but we'll pick that up later, I assume. For now, we can see that something big is happening and the last page isn't nearly the joke that the other officer assumes it is. No gorgeous splash pages here, but the art is solid once again and Rucka knows how to write like no other.

Fight Club 7 - Not as bad as last issue, but I'm still left wondering what we're doing here. It's a Moore/Morrison fiction-as-reality type of deal with all the references to the movie and the frat-bro-dudes starting their own, but the story is suffering because of that. There's no focus. We get a reanimated (by just calling his name?) zombie Robert Paulsen, we see Tyler's kid, and Marla pregnant again? But drinking freely? I wasn't totally clear on that part. The bit with Sebastian and the psychologist was interesting, but not great.

Rachel Rising 37 - The weakest issue in a while, but I'm willing to have that for the sake of the set up. We saw none of the characterization, which is actually what makes any good book worth its while, but we certainly did move the larger plot along. There are also some seeds which are being planted, which I'm sure will be nice later.

Saga 31 - Hazel has grown again! And grandma is with her! And so is Isabel! And so is...whoever that girl was from the liberation group. There were several best parts of this issue, which I know isn't supposed to happen, but this is Saga we're talking about. The first was the splash of the both parts character, just super well done. The second was the teacher's face when she saw Hazel's wings, and the third was the anticipation that's gonna stay with me all month wondering just how much this is going to affect all of their lives just because the kid saw a book that she'd had when she was younger. They've obviously built something for themselves here; it's not perfect or even great, but it's something. And now, BKV is going to change it in a rather drastic way.

Wolverine 2 - Tons of fun again. Of course the clones all have their own personalities and of course Laura is going to be prone to helping them and of course the government is going to be the bad guy. But I didn't expect Taskmaster on the last page. He's always a bundle of joy. This is a fun superhero book.

Book of the week goes to Saga. There is no other.