Monday, December 30, 2013

comics for the week of 12/18/13 and 12/25/13.

Missed last week due to the holidays, so we've got two weeks to cover.

All New X-Men 20 - Not shocking. Not great. The art is subpar and the story is pretty cliche. Stryker's son is leading the purifiers and is probably some kind of self-loathing mutant. Wolverine's cloned daughter can track people. The X-Men head out to round up some of the haters, Jean has a trite line of dialogue and there's an ending that's supposed to suck me in for more. I guess the cover has some people jacked up because it'd be funny if Logan's "daughter" and young Cyclops got together? I don't find that intriguing or shocking in any way. This book's not doing it for me anymore.

Black Science 2 - Yep, still cool. I want more, though. This might have to be a TPB deal. We're getting a kind of Sliders deal here, except with more science and way more evil, nasty, gnarly shit. That's cool, but I don't like how they're dealing with the backstories. The only one that seemed authentic was Ward, the hired help. The scientists and their rich benefactor ring extremely cliche and, while I know I'm reading a comic, I don't want it to come across as a stereotype. The art is gorgeous, the worlds are going to be incredible, but I'm not sure single issues will do it for me here. The best part of this issue was the disparity between the Germans, stereotyped as Nazis, and the Indians, stereotyped as the native victims, and the way that situation actually plays out.

Daredevil 34 - I really thought they were going to kill her. I really thought that would be the bit that drove Matt out of New York City - maybe he'd be blamed for it, or maybe he'd just be guilty. But then she survived and her speech - although quite melodramatic - sat right with the people and the phone call came in. I don't know if they'd possibly dare to kill Foggy, but it certainly seems like they want us to think they're going to. It'd be a noble way for an ordinary person to die, and it'd be a lasting thing that Mark Waid would do to the Daredevil-mythos, but is it worth it? Foggy's always been around. This new DA, yeah, she's cool, but will she be able to fill that role? I don't think so. The things with the Sons of the Serpent are coming to a close and it's certain that DD is going to win, but what will it cost him? Next issue says Elektra; that's always a good thing!

East of West 8 - This might be the darkest book I'm currently reading? When it comes to trade, are people going to be able to deal with it? I mean, this much heavy shit, all in one dose... So, this single issue was pretty much the epitome of the philosophical debate of freedom, right? I mean, who's really free? If we see our chains, does that make us less free? If we don't see them, are we more free? And this extends all the way to the secondary part of the story in this issue, too, the brief interlude with Death seeking out the Oracle. I'm loving the thematic ties, and the white pages (at least here, if not in Infinity) are definitely serving a purpose. It's a fascinating read and I'm interested to hear more about long-term plans. I'd love to have some reassurance that this is a definitive story, one with a firm ending in mind, because that'll cause me to have more faith in the story as a whole. As it stands now, I'm OK with hope being thrown out the window because at least there's honesty. Comforting? Not at all. Realistic? I think yes.

The Private Eye 5 - While everyone was talking about the Madonna grave, no one mentioned the sexual ambiguity of PI! I think that's a sign that we're advancing as a culture? That's great. You know what else is great? The way this series continues to kick ass. Here we get clued in a bit more on the long term plans of DeGuerre, the relationship between the Internet and the Cloudburst, the way Gramps and PI have lived together and what exactly Taj was working on: turns out, bringing the Internet back! Holla. It's going to be a great conclusion. I'm hopeful that this book will actually conclude next year, as I know it's taken a while, but it's always been worthwhile.

Saga 17 - Man. I don't know how to express the feelings this book gives me. Seriously. It's...it's complex. I really thought we'd have more time with all the characters than we've got with each one who's died. And, of course, there's the possibility that, since Gwen's going there to heal someone, that more than one person will be healed. But...this book toys with my heart so much. Still loving the narration, the ghost Izzy, the subplot with the journalists, and, of course, the conflict that Prince Robot IV is creating for himself. The fact that he's rebooting isn't surprising, as he's got to be a pretty major villain, so he can't be gone already. The fact that they don't know that he's rebooting? Now that's ripe with storytelling potential, and not just for quick bloodshed. Best of all, though? All of our major players are now, for the first time in the series, in one place at one time. I'm really, really excited to see where next issue takes all this.

Thor: God of Thunder 16 - Not as happy with this issue as I have been with the previous issues in the run. Don't like Thor going off half-cocked and just killing his allies, nor the reveal of the traitor; feels like a cheap back door. Also, the fact that this is rising to the conclusion and the whole purpose of the League of Realms is now gone, the League itself dispersed makes it feel as though the prior issues didn't really matter. If it was just going to come down to yet another Thor slugfest, let's just have that first. I know, I know, that makes it less of a story, but I'm not feeling this one anymore at this point anyway, so it might as well have gotten here earlier? I don't know. This was just weird. The Garney art bothered me more than it has in the past, and the story seems to be slogging. I hope the conclusion can get us back to a great point.

Young Avengers 14 - Well, it's all almost over. The fun ride always has to come to an end and this is just about it. And, while I thought the other artists were just fine and did more than a passable job, after 13 issues of McKelvie's gorgeous pencils, they just couldn't cut the mustard. I loved the relationship between America and Kate Bishop, I loved the semi-cliffhanger ending, and I dug the kind-of confrontation between Billy and Prodigy. The parallels to Phonogram were obvious, but the backstory to Miss America was totally unexpected. I love the fact that they're still able to surprise, even in, essentially, an epilogue. I'll be sad when this book is gone, but I'll look forward to the inevitable hardcover and, hopefully, a resurgence of interest in the first two runs, which should be collected as hardcovers, too.

Book of the week goes to Saga. In the official aftermath of Locke & Key, we've got a firm transfer of power to the best comic book being produced.

*

The new week brought only two books. Good to let me catch up.

Avengers 24.NOW - More stupid numbering, but the story wasn't half bad. The art, however, was a hit and miss. None of the artists, in and of themselves, are bad artists, but I dislike the rapid changing from page to page. We start in 3030 with the Baxter Buildings and Franklin Richards running things. (He's the best future character, right? I mean, theoretically, he should always be in charge of everything in every future.) Then we have a future Iron Man jump back to the past, reveal the new problem and the Avengers dealing with it. We also have a great relaxation scene, conspicuously missing Tony Stark and Cap. Those two are inside dealing with the future of the Avengers - removing Wolverine and potentially Spider-Man - while a different future makes its way toward them and changes their course. The ending with the Rhodey reveal and grandfather and the Illuminati foretelling is exciting in a dangerous way. I like the idea that Cap and Iron Man are destined for yet another clash. I'm glad just to be keeping track of this and not necessarily needing to see every little bit, because, while it's good and interesting, I'm still not sure of every single intent. I think, when all is said and done, Hickman will go down as one of the best builders, if not one of the best executors.

Origin II 1 - More stupid numbering and not much more. Although I like the idea of including some information about Sinister in the early days, and I love the idea of Kieron Gillen doing some work with Wolverine, I didn't find there to be much intriguing about this issue. The pencils were fine, for a Kubert, I guess, but they weren't great. And the story, despite that button on the bear's nose at the end, wasn't anything to write home about. I get that it's supposed to show the animal side, and it did, but it was neither compelling nor all that interesting.

Book of the week goes to Avengers. I guess.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

lobo soccer loses to notre dame.

On Friday afternoon, the University of New Mexico soccer team lost in the Final Four of the NCAA post-season tournament. Although UNM did a good job of controlling possession and took an equal number of shots on goal than the Fighting Irish did, they allowed an early slip in defense, which led opportunistic Patrick Hodan to a goal in the seventh minute. With that disadvantage ensconced in their minds, the Lobos refused to play timid, challenging the staunch Notre Dame offense again and again.

As the second half began, though, and time started to slip through the fingers of the Cherry and Silver, things got a bit more tight. The set pieces started to develop for both teams - there were no corner kicks in the first half, and 8 total in the second. UNM still played the role of the aggressor, but it was clear by the mid-point of the second half that it was because they had to, not because they wanted to. Finally, in the 65th minute, Notre Dame connected again with the back of the net. Again, it was Hodan, this time off an extremely odd miss, hammered off the crossbar by Vince Cicciarelli and followed up on by Hodan after an unlucky Lobo touch.

From then on, it was desperation mode for coach Jeremy Fishbein and his crew; watching their magical season evaporate in front of their eyes and on ESPNU. When the final whistle sounded, UNM was still down 0-2, and Notre Dame was advancing, although their opponent was still to be determined at the time. Later Friday evening, Maryland took down Virginia for their place in the national title match.

There have got to be several consolations to ending the season in a loss, even in the face of departure from their seniors. Kyle Venter has been invited to the MLS Super Draft and is almost certain to be selected, while goalkeeper Michael Lisch and a pair of Michaels - Kafarri and Calderon - will all be gone next year, even if they don't all make it to the MLS. But the silver lining to these heavy contributors leaving the team is that there is a strong youth movement behind them. For a team that sometimes felt like it was overachieving this year, there's a solid foundation to build upon next year. And, much like this year's eventual champion, Notre Dame, there's a strong chance the Lobos will come back stronger next season.

The Lobos played yet another fantastic season and have much to be proud of. The future looks bright.

Monday, December 16, 2013

comics for the week of 12/11/13.

Short week. That's all.

Invincible 107 - Oh Monster Girl. That short skirt. That tragic story. And then. Mark. That power. The Viltrumite making moves on him. His angst over Eve. The ending. So good. The wack ass villains didn't help, but they also didn't hurt, since we saw that they will eventually be much more of a threat than they were this issue. So, yeah, another issue that's moving the long-term planning further ahead, as well as one that's entertaining in its own right. I love these kind of issues in general, and I love them even more from Invincible, because they're the type of issue that are always worth looking back on. The bits with Monster Girl, Rex's machine and the villains seem particularly ripe for future revelations. Good stuff, Kirkman.

The Walking Dead 118 - Oh man. That was great. They're really, really, really laying it on thick with the Rick Grimes as Savior thing, which only amps up my hope for the crazy change in direction that we've talked about previously. But for now, what we see is a mini-story from Ezekiel's point of view. And it's a sad one. And it's a good one. (We also get that awesome intro from Maggie, where she asserts her authority and it's great, too.) RIP Shiva.

Wolverine and the X-Men 39 - This book is GREAT again. This was the best issue I've read in a long, long time. Dual stories of Wolverine (who's apparently lost his healing factor?) and Cyclops taking on a SHIELD factory where they're making Sentinels, as per the end of Battle of the Atom. Meanwhile, back at the school, we see that a couple of SWORD agents have infiltrated the youngsters group. of course, one of those traitors is torn. He likes the kids. He's made friends! He seems them as people! But in the end..he makes his choice. And it turns out the kids knew all along! So next issue, we'll get two big battles and they'll both he awesome and then, hopefully, this book will go out with a bang, just like it began.

Book of the week goes to Wolverine and the X-Men. Honestly, all of the books this week were great, though.

Monday, December 9, 2013

comics for the week of 12/04/13.

As I was writing these reviews, I learned that Nelson Mandela died. It's my hope that anyone who reads these reviews already knows tons about him. But if you're the one in a million who stumbles across this and you don't, educate yourself; it's worth knowing.

Trillium 5 - Well, that was wacky. Just when I thought Lemire was done playing tricks in the single issue, we get yet another innovative technique. I like what he's doing here, but I am starting to worry that the spectacle might be coming at a cost. I mean, the story's great and all, but it's not necessarily one that we haven't seen or read before and it's not all that amazing - outside of the cool quirks of every issue. Is this going to look as good in reflection, when we read it in trade? I'm worried it might not be a story that lasts. Anyway, it's great while it's here. In this issue, we get half a story from each character, Nika and William (?), but they've switched places. Nika gets to be back in some version of post-Victorian England, where there are zepplins (oh, those classic signs of this trope!) all over the place, and William gets to be in the future, each joined by others who shouldn't be with them - their compatriots have somehow joined them both and been reassigned roles; Nika fought in the First War (but there was a Second Great War? And there were Blues?) and William's brother is alive all of a sudden. It's as though they should know that something is amiss... And they do! And it's awesome.

Young Avengers 13 - Man, this book is so much fun. And the fact that I thought I'd known the ending to last issue only helped me this issue when it turned out...whoah. All of the bad guys (except Mother and the villains the good guys themselves had gathered) were merely figments of Loki's imagination?!? Wow. OK. Yeah, I didn't see that coming at all. That was bizarre to see them all melt away. And Noh-Varr got exactly what he deserved and Billy and Teddy saved the day with gay love and America called it correct when she said, "Of course love is going to save us all." I love this book. At the end, Billy got his parents back, but not his brother, we still didn't figure out Not-Patriot, Loki is getting away (only to be ushered into service in some other book) and we're going to get the afterparty after all. I love this book.

Book of the week goes to Young Avengers. Trillium is an amazing experiment, but YA is fun.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

lobo soccer to face uw in elite eight.

The Lobo soccer team continued its roll in the NCAA post-season tournament on Sunday, winning the match against Penn State by a final score of 2-0. The opportunities for more scoring in the match were numerous, but the Lobos just could not connect for the extra insurance. However, as the clock ticked down the seconds of the Sweet Sixteen game, it became apparent that the bonus points weren't needed - the Lobos are now headed back to the Elite Eight for their second time since 2005.

The Lobos will match up in Seattle against the University of Washington Huskies, where the current head coach is Jamie Clark - a man well-known in Albuquerque for his role as an assistant coach to the Lobos from 2002 to 2005. Clark served under current head coach Jeremy Fishbein and was present for some of the most exciting times in Lobo soccer. Ultimately, he would depart the Cherry and Silver squad when an opportunity arose at Notre Dame, where he would assist under his father. After brief stints at Harvard and Creighton, Clark has now taken the Huskies to their first Elite Eight appearance in school history.

Neither Washington nor UNM have faced ranked opponents in the Tournament thus far, but if the Lobos win the game on Saturday, they'll have to travel again. Their opponent, should they win in Washington? Either an upstart Michigan State team, or the Notre Dame team that Clark left UNM to work with.

Either way, Coach Fishbein, cognizant of having been here before, says he would love to continue playing at home, but the team is ready to take the battle up to Washington. As one of only three programs in the nation to make three consecutive Sweet Sixteens, the Lobos will look to match or beat their prior best; the last time UNM made it past the Sweet Sixteen, they went all the way to the national championship game, before ultimately falling to Maryland.

The UNM/UW game will be streamed on link at 6 PM MST and should be shown at various bars around town. The soccer program is making waves yet again as an organization worth the time to support.

Monday, December 2, 2013

comics for the week of 11/27/13.

Well. Infinity finished. And....it was terrible. Maybe it's the five-year plan, but God...some things are just too epic. I'm holding out hope for the New Avengers issue from this week, but if it's not mind blowing, I think that book and Avengers too might both be off my list. It's not that they're bad, because, honestly, they're not. But they're not for me. And I've been pretending they are for too long now.

All New X-Men 19 - Yeah, there were cool parts of this, such as the ending (Hooray? X-23?) and the condescension from Angel regarding Cyke's directions, but overall, this was pretty generic. This whole book now feels like an extended prologue to making the Phoenix the worst thing anyone's ever seen, yet again. The fact that Angel is one of the best parts of the book isn't necessarily a bad thing, but he's never been the most compelling X character, so that should tell us quite a bit. Lacking the contrast with their current contemporaries (Cyclops aside) is going to make this book suffer. Also, the costumes are horrible. Cyclops' blind naivete continues to make no sense, given what he's already seen. And every issue is just going to give us a splash page of Jean going further and further off the deep end. It's not that it's not warranted, it's just that...is this really all Bendis thinks she's good for?

Black Science 1 - Dave Jordan recommended it, so I follow. And boy was he right. Damn, that's good. It's only a premise issue, but it's a hell of a one, at that. There's a league of scientists and it appears as though they're jumping from world to world. We only meet 2 of them in this issue (although we get glimpses of the others, briefly) and one of those dies in the first five pages. Man. This is going to move quickly and it's going to be beautiful. There are some huge ideas here, and they're only very loosely sketched, but it's a gorgeous idea in the making. Do yourself a favor and pick it up.

Hawkeye 13 - Another great issue of another great Marvel NOW! series, but I do have a problem with Wu on art - it's just not up to par. The story, too, with Kate and her back and forths (pluralized cuz there are so many - with Ward, with the Detective, and, ultimately, with Madame Masque) feel so damn awkward. I get that it's a quirky book, and I like that quirkiness when it comes to Clint and I obviously don't dislike Kate, because I love Young Avengers, but I just can't get behind how off the walls this long arc is. (Also, like the letters pages of YA, I can't figure out the timeline here.) However, I do like the variety of Kate in LA, Clint in NY, and the changing art for their stories. I like the fact that Kate is doing yoga, and is broke and is a plucky young detective. I like that she's got some awesome neighbors and that she's taking the initiative on setting herself up as a legitimate hero (I wonder if she'll run into DD when he moves out there?) insofar as advertising on the web and in person. It's fun; we need more fun.

Mind MGMT 17 - Wow. I don't even know how to judge this book anymore. It's so appropriate that there's a quote from the AV Club on the front comparing it to LOST, because that's definitely how I feel when I read it. There's so much going on and, while in the first arc we got some answers to questions, it feels like quite a while since that happened. Now we're just layering, making things more and more complex, building a puzzle that's too big too solve just yet. I like the fact that Meru's back on a side and that we've got some more clearly defined characters, but the drama is just on another level. There's so much backstory, and on the first page Second Floor we got introduced to yet another character whom I'm sure will pop up sooner rather than later. There are a lot of angles working in this plot and it's confusing but it's always good. The fact that Megan went with the bad guys (if they're even properly bad guys) is disappointing, not only from a character point of view, but from a rooting for the other side POV; she seems insanely powerful. I loved the double page of instructions from both field guides, too, as well as the straight-forward revelation that she's been working both sides and that pretty much everyone knew that. It's a kooky book.

New Avengers 12 - Yeah...so...about this... I'm done. Everything dies. Cool, I'm in for that. But I'm not going to follow the trail one bread crumb at a time. If it's amazing when it's done, I'll go back and re-read it. I love the character of the Black Swan and I've always loved the idea of the Illuminati, and I like the scope of what Hickman is trying to do here, but I just don't find myself caring enough. It's always been about the characters for me, and this feels like it's about the landscape. I'm sure it's amazing for some people. But I'm off that list.

Powers Bureau 7 - I've made myself a promise that I'm no longer going to get upset about this, essentially, being the same 40-ish issue arc every 40-ish issues or so and since making that promise I've enjoyed this book a lot more. Like, Retro Girl?! She's sick?! She might die?! Wow! It's so different! It's so cool! And Walker is struggling with his Powers balance?! Cool! There's a case where a group of Powers has been killed? And there's a guy who will only talk to Walker?! Cool! I'm OK with this, honestly. It's not sarcasm. Because, while, yeah, it's a drag that we're not getting any forward momentum on the book, it's still true that it's good. It's a good story to tell. And, it's like the novel just keeps getting revised. So that's cool. Whenever I want to read the original, I've got the hardcovers on the shelf and whenever I want to see what Bendis thinks he should have done differently, I'll be happy to check in on the current progress.

Saga 16 - Oh man. The fact that Gwen recognized so quickly that the food was hallucinogenic really says a lot about her. She's going to continue to be an amazing part of this play. And the fact that the end of this issue FINALLY brings us back up to speed and shows not only Prince Robot IV but Gwendy and the Lying Cat arriving where the whole gang has been hanging out is even better. I love the fact that the ghost babysitter is giving Marko's mom advice on how quickly to get with the author and I love how far ahead of the thread the oldies are compared to our two protagonists. They've carefully plotted pretty much every decision we've seen the two young'uns make since getting to the author's planet, which is a great indication that BKV understands the wisdom of old age. Mostly, though, I love that there's such a rich universe of characters out here. We get the two reporters on the cover and the story starts with them and a winged compatriot coming up with a new story regarding Alana. I don't think the intent of it is to confuse the reader, but it does show that there's either an official response to sow dissent among the public regarding this story that is imminently bursting forth or this guy is just incredibly quick on his feet. There's so much happening in the background that it shows the real level of thought that goes into Saga every month. That's why it's the best.

The Walking Dead 117 - Negan comes across more stupid than I thought he was, Rick thinks he's winning - and appears to actually be doing so - and the community is making progress. Negan's got some rules inside his, though, which we see at the end and that makes this a bit more interesting. The relationship between Michonne and Ezekiel is a great one, and I want to see what's happening next. That's about it.

Wolverine and the X-Men Annual 1 - One of the best possibilities of an awesome writer like Jason Aaron devoting himself to such old-timey books as the X-Men series is that we'll have some serious development of new characters, such as Kid Gladiator. That's what the X Books truly need at this point is some honest enthusiasm for the youth culture that's always fueled them. And this issue, while it wasn't my cup of tea, is a step in the right direction. There's some kid who might read this issue and KG might become his favorite character - I know, it's a stretch, but every issue is someone's favorite issue. It's a cool world and I hope that the X books get this kind of hero worship for a while, because I think it's good for superhero comics when the X books are good. And a crossover with Infinity seemed to be the last place in the world we'd get such an unironically fun issue. Cool stuff.

Book of the week goes to Saga. Black Science was cool and all, but Saga is incredible. Awesome in the old sense of the word.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

comics for the week of 11/20/13.

It's getting to the holiday season, which I guess is kinda happy, but is also crazy stressful. I'm grateful for good comics that help me relax.

Avengers 23 - RONAN THE ACCUSER! That's about it. I'm losing faith in Lenil Francis Yu's art, which will sound shocking to casual observers, but I've never been a huge fan of his. Captain America gets the checkmark on racking up allies and Thanos gets some heroes in his face. Can't wait to read the conclusion to THIS story in a totally different book. Ugh.

Batwoman 25 - Holy crap. JH Williams didn't even get to finish his arc? This was probably already news, but I didn't get ahold of it in time. Instead, I waded through a Zero Year retcon where we get to see Maggie and Kate meeting ahead of time, Bruce being an idiot and a whole bunch of other stupid shit. Really bummed to see Batwoman pulled down into the dregs of the new normal in the New 52. This one was already off my list after this issue, but I should have read the news and realized I wouldn't enjoy this issue and cut it off before. As it stands, here's to hoping JH ends up doing some regular work again outside Sandman (already delayed) and that the character stays interesting to some people.

Daredevil 33 - More cute touches from Waid about how Matt Murdock is, in fact, a blind man. Plenty more monsters, which is always cool. The Darkhold, not so much. And guest artists? Definitely not. I like the different stuff that's going on here, but I don't like the fact that Waid's got Matt hedging so hard against any spiritual beliefs. The fact that Murdock is a Catholic has been a central part of his identity for a while now, so why dodge it? 2 more issues until a reboot...something huge is going to happen.

Fables 135 - Annnnd...another guest artist? Russ Braun just can't fill the shoes, I'm afraid to report. It's not that his art was terrible, it's just that Fables has been such a consistent force and this one is so off. The issue's content was great, though, with Rose building her side of the army, Snow White warning her kids away from the ex-beloved Auntie and the mysterious piece of Bigby Wolf being held by someone who's drinking a glass of wine! Yup. Good stuff here.

Rachel Rising 21 - That cooooooooooover. Zoe is so gangster, it's perfect that she was in a VW bus, Aunt Johnny's definitely going to make it back to life and the doctor is surprisingly stubborn when it comes to this stuff. The presence of dogs in this book is strange. It feels like it must be significant in some way, but I guess it probably won't be. I love the way this is developing and the fact that it's been such a slow burn with so many different angles to the focus. Great, great, great work from the master Terry Moore.

Young Avengers 12 - I'm not sure how anyone could be surprised by this ending, but that also doesn't mean it wasn't a solidly great issue. I'm kind of tinged on this book, though, as it's been announced that it's ending. Every issue is still good, but it makes me so sad that it'll be gone so soon. In the meantime, Noh-Varr still comes off like a lying, cheating asshole, which he is, all while Kate can't really figure that out; poor girl. Also, Miss America Chavez is the best new character in a long time, super intriguing and I hope that she doesn't go to waste after this series is done. Here we get to see Mother taking her turn invading the Earth and how the wool is still pulled over the eyes of all adults - including Cap. The kids are there to save the day, and they run a two-pronged attack, but, of course, Leah knows what's going on, and it turns out she's had a plan his whole time. Surprise surprise. It's beautiful and it's a great story and if you're not getting it, you're going to be shocked when you read it all in one trade and you'll wonder why you didn't get it while it was coming out.

Book of the week goes to Young Avengers. Love the fact that it got a chance and that McKelvie & Gillen are getting the chance to tell the story they wanted to.

Friday, November 22, 2013

lobo soccer gets 7 seed, faces george mason on sunday.

The University of New Mexico Men's Lobo soccer team will play in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday at home at 5 PM MST. The Lobos will host George Mason at home as a result of their 7 seed, which is the second-highest in school history. (In 2005, the Lobos received a 2 seed.)

Despite losing in the C-USA Tournament last week, the Lobos were rewarded by the selection committee for a fantastic season. The Lobos have now made the NCAA post-season 11 in the last 13 seasons.

George Mason advanced to Albuquerque by defeating William & Mary on Thursday night by a final score of 2-2 that had to be decided by penalty kicks. The PKs ended up 4-2 in GMU's favor and the match was in the books. The George Mason Patriots finished up their season with a record of 12-2-5 and were the champions of the Atlantic 10 conference.

When it comes time for the match on Sunday night, the Lobo soccer club will be positively littered with honors, both on and off the field. ON Thursday, the Lobos received yet another Team Academic Award, rewarding our student-athletes for posting a cumulative team-wide 3.43 GPA. The academics are impressive, but there's no doubt that the men on the club will be looking to pick up another win to extend their season.

Tickets are available now for the match on Sunday. They can be bought at both the UNM ticket office as well as the UNM Bookstore. In addition, tickets can be purchased through Albertson's Ticket Outlets.

Monday, November 18, 2013

comics for the week of 11/13/13.

I'm keeping track of the Ultimate Universe Cataclysm stuff, too. It's good, but only in the way it was good before. Ultimate Spider-Man's title is incredible, Pichelli's art is gorgeous and I'm still concerned that they're going to throw away a good thing. Cloak and Dagger are cool characters and the crossover book looks horrible. I am, however, interested in the presence of 616 Galactus in the Ultimate Universe.

All New X-Men 18 - Immonen's art is still superb, but the relationships felt forced. Kitty's joking around with Scott by the third page? Really? But the moments they all get to shine (Iceman kinda sorta hitting on Eva Bell, her leaving and his falling asleep; the Cuckoos with Jean, wondering whether one of them will actually go red, so I can finally kinda sorta tell them apart; Hank's tension with Magneto and then the soap opera with Jean; all broken up by Cyke. Crazy to think that he might be one of the most sane people in this group, given all the things that he's had to learn about himself. Sure, Jean's died, Hank's grappling with physical [and maybe mental] mutation, and Iceman's a flake, as always, but Cyclops is the only one who's truly a BAD GUY.) are incredible. The character moments with Illyana and Kitty are cute, too, but they feel a little forced. I'm not up on my X history enough to know how it all ended with either of them when it comes to Colossus, but I did think it was curious that Kitty naturally put her defenses up and that neither of them commented on the negative ramifications of that action. But after that, when you put the pieces all together again, even Immonen's art can't make those new costumes look good. They look generic and 90s throwback in the worst way, but the actual worst thing about them are Angel's horrible, horrible line. (BTW, what's up Bendis? Just can't think of anything for Angel?) And the ending involves Jean going down her inevitable path to crazytown and a Cerebro going off. Cute. People have accused various X characters of having an obsession with Jean Grey? It's clearly the writers. It's a cute book and all, but it's kind of devolved into what I initially feared when the concept was revealed. It got A LOT better than that in the middle, so I'll stick around for a while. But I'm hesitant.

Thor: God of Thunder 15 - Oh Jason Aaron. You're amazing. What a great addition to the Thor mythos you're crafting. Seriously, this run has been incredible. I'm not a totally fair or completely unbiased judge, because I've never cared enough about Thor to read his title. I tried the JMS, I've read the old Simonson stuff, it's just never been for me. I don't care about the character. But Jason Aaron has done the trick. And now, with this arc, with its perfect parallels with the movie (just enough of some of the same characters, but none of the same story, just the way it should be), I'm totally won over. If he can write epic stuff like the Godbomb story and then Hollywood-lite stuff like this...? It's superb. Here, we see Thor as a strategist, bringing his team together (via drinks) and his trapping of Malekith and his band in Jotunheim. But the ending, as any good comic reader knows, flips the script. So now we're set up for a pretty climactic battle next issue and I'm loving it. I hate Ron Garney's art normally, but even that isn't bothering me during this arc. The hallmark of a truly fantastic writer is that he can make art I don't really care for not even stand out of irksome. Incredible.

The Walking Dead 116 - Well, sure, we get the first chapter of All Out War (second, I suppose, but first with any real fighting) and it's good and it shows that Rick's got several plans and that he's learned from his own past. But it also, intriguingly shows that he's ready and willing to die. I don't want to do the fanboy thing of pinning my hopes too hard on a kind of far-fetched idea, but...the timing couldn't be better. The Walking Dead is ESTABLISHED. Let's do it. Kill the main character. It'd be awesome. On a non-indulgent note, Rick really should have stayed behind with Holly when she stole his plan and his car and should have just shot Negan in the head when he was waiting for her outside the car. That's some bullshit. It's a good plan, but since the event lasts 12 issues, we can assume it's not going to work. I look forward to seeing why. Also, one can only assume that Dwight is going to be very, very pissed off that their original plan would have sacrificed him? His treachery was evident when he didn't go send off for the outposts, but he's going to have to be around Negan for quite a bit longer. I think something awful is coming up in that realm.

Book of the week goes to Thor. There's no chance for anything else when this book is firing on all cylinders like it did this week.

Monday, November 11, 2013

comics for the week of 11/06/13.

Just a weird, weird week of comics here. Only 2 and they're both wacky, out there, semi-indie books. Cool.

East of West 7 - Whoah. That was...horrible. And amazing. And I don't really know if I have anything to say about it. I mean, the repetition of the phrase and the incredible art of the merging... This was definitely as good as this book has been, but simultaneously, it was the issue that told us the least. We kind of got the origin of the Dark Tower, and we got some backstory on the Four Horsemen, but that's about it. The relationship was never real, but Ezra was just too blind to ever see that. And now, without Death, I wonder if that changes the reality of the situation? I mean, there's no reason for it to do so, but... The art was superb, the text was minimal, and the book continues to kill.

Trillium 4 - Well, this was the first issue of this series to not feature some kind of gimmick and, while that was disappointing, the meat of the story certainly wasn't. There's some sort of connection between Nika and William, but we already knew that, duh. The shock here was seeing Clayton thrown into the mix and the way they switched planets/times. The other shock was the brutal efficiency of the military commander who, against all advice, blows up the temple. That was silly. And, one would think, it's going to have far-reaching repercussions. A poor choice if I've ever seen one. Beyond that, it's an interesting proposition to think that the gang in the future now has twice as many Trillium flowers as there are humans alive in the Universe. (And seriously, did we know the number of humans left was that low already? Damn.) The other interesting bits were the matched up savage groups, William's reaction to his savages and Nika's dismissal therein, and her trying to explain to him what a black hole is. This book is full of cool stuff.

Book of the week goes to Trillium. Good stuff that keeps getting better.

Monday, November 4, 2013

comics for the week of 10/30/13.

Good thing there's so many good alterna-press books.

Avengers 22 - So, Infinity gets to be a two-part event and here we get to see the pivot? OK, sure, I'll go with that, but I'll also say this: the best part of the issue is when Captain Marvel asks if what Thanos is doing makes sense and Annihilus responds, "Yesssssssssss." Hilarious. And it's not that the issue was bad, it's just that...well, where's it all going? It's as my buddy Dave points out: it didn't take this long for Hickman's Fantastic Four run to hammer me with emotions. And so far it's only happened once in all of Hickman's Avengers World arc. And that's not a bad thing, I guess, if he's playing a MUCH LONGER game, but I don't find myself caring all that much. I like the little bits, like with Thor and Manifold (still the stupidest. name. ever.) at the end, but there are so few of them and so much in between that I just don't have the faith in Hickman that I was preaching 1-2 years ago. I'm still riding with him, but I won't preach his gospel anymore.

Infinity 5 - This is where we get to see the start of the Avengers World. And it's clear that this is where Avengers was going from the very beginning. Which is cool to see that Marvel is giving Hickman that much rope. But, overall...if this is the fifth book of a massive crossover...I shouldn't feel so lost. I know that the Avengers books are tied in and maybe I'll feel better when I read it, but I'm not sure we should HAVE to. I like that Cap and Thor and Hulk (but mostly Cap) have garnered all these galactic accolades and that the Kree and the Shi'ar are willing to follow them into battle and that they're willing to do so for Earth but...I don't find myself caring much.

Saga 15 - This is the best book. And the ending was killer. (No pun honestly intended, because I don't think it's going that direction.) But the best part of it was the game inside a game inside a game that the family (and its newest member - not Hazel) were playing. Alana is always a direct character and I'm well aware of the history of how this book has portrayed sex, but it's always surprising when she just comes right out with it. I love the role the nanny is playing and I can't wait to see what happens with Prince Robot.

X-Men Battle of the Atom 2 - So, this was fun and I like where they're going with it and it's clear that it was meant mainly to establish the All-New X-Men as a presence here for a while, which it did, but it also came out to get MORE time-displaced characters here? Ugh. I liked the Nightcrawler references in the epilogues and the art in at least one of them, but Esad Ribic was not the right choice for the main part of the issue. The Cyclops stuff was incredible, as was the Jubilee/Shogo relationship, in all its iterations. However, the winner (as always) goes to the Icemen, who are the perfect comic relief in all their forms. Overall, it was a cool idea, but it could have been about half the length and it still would have worked out. I'm worried that Xavier and alterna-Jean Grey (Xorn) are still going to be around and they're going to be beating that idea to death. So let's hope that doesn't tarnish the greatness that this started with.

Book of the week goes to Saga. Nothing else was amazing, much less good. It's like Michael Jordan playing against a high school JV squad. Just goes to show what an amazing era we're living in if the content goes this deep.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

boston red sox win the 2013 world series.

The World Series began on Wednesday night with a blow out win by the Boston Red Sox. The Sox were widely expected to win the series, so the beginning of the best-of-7 set seemed auspicious at best. However, the St. Louis Cardinals came back on Thursday to squeak out a 4-2 win to knot up the ultimate contest for baseball. Then things got wacky.

St. Louis pulled into the lead after a bizarre win on Saturday night. There was no end to the analysis about the game-ending call: Opinion pieces were written as were some obligatory defense of the umps - by the umps, for what it's worth - inquiries. ESPN had the aforementioned 2 different stories on the event, and it even made the front page of CNN.com.

However, Boston took their turn eking out the same supposedly small victory, a 4-2 margin to tie things up once again on Sunday night. And with a defensive showdown in Game 5, won 3-1 by the Red Sox, the World Series was all but over. With Game 6 to be played at Fenway in Boston, there were reports of record prices being set for the city's first chance to witness a championship in a lifetime. The Red Sox famously hadn't won the World Series since 1918, but suddenly find themselves in the spotlight, winning twice in the last 10 years. However, the 2004 championship was a sweep, ending in Game 4 at Busch Stadium, when the Red Sox beat the Cardinals. Most recently, they swept the 2007 World Series against the Colorado Rockies, finishing Game 4 in Denver. Thus, the people of Boston were amped for a closing win at home.

When the Cardinals had trouble with the plane getting them to Boston, it seemed as though things were primed for the Red Sox to close everything down for the season. Game 6 did indeed slam the door on baseball for the year, and Boston did it in near-dominating fashion. In the largest romp of this World Series since Game 1, the Red Sox won their 8th World Series title 6-1, holding the Cardinals scoreless until the seventh inning, at which point Boston was firmly in charge.

Nike sent out their obligatory tweet and the people of Boston celebrated like they hadn't seen this in 100-plus years, which, in a way, they haven't. Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox on winning it all.

Monday, October 28, 2013

comics for the week of 10/23/13.

Maybe on time comics?

Daredevil 32 - The Jester plays the part of a Shakespearean narrator to a T and I'm glad to to see that my confusion regarding last issue's ending was totally justified. Jester's reaction to Matt's non-reaction also illustrates one of the BEST things that Waid (and Samnee) have done in this run: they've shown that Matt is truly blind in such a variety of ways, and they've shown that his enemies (and even his friends) don't really understand that. It's such a weird divergence, but it's true. He is actually blind; he can't SEE things that most of us just take for granted. And when Jester's trap relies on "the whole Matt Murdock being a blind lawyer" thing being a ruse, it fails. Then there's the rest of the book, where it seems like Mark Waid is merely carving out a corner of the Marvel Universe for himself and using DD as his key to get things back, which is fun, in a way. The whole Sons of the Serpent angle has run its course through here as a throwback and now we get a Dr. Strange appearance, a mention of the Darkhold (which I wouldn't have even remembered if I hadn't just gone through my entire comic book collection - what up Spirits of Vengeance!) and then we get the ending that the cover promised and it's Halloween in an MU that knows how to have fun again! This book is so cool, Samnee is the perfect artist for it and I'm so happy to have comics like this still around. (And then, after I wrote that, the letters column makes me find out it's getting canceled. WTF? I'm fairly sure it'll relaunch, what with another movie coming out, but... Seriously?)

Mind MGMT 16 - I don't know how to process what I just read. This is...the best. It's operating on so many levels. The characters we think we know, the art, the bleeding edges, the text... I mean, this could go down as one of the best of all time. Seriously. So, here we have the backstory....maybe...of the Eraser? And a man? And a fictional set of stories? In the story? But she gets in trouble? Or she was born that way? Or, she was born that way and someone (or some organization?) made it worse? Or...things are just crazy around her all the time? Well, I don't really know, but I know that it'll continue to get more and more clear even as it gets more and more murky. That's what's great about this book is that it gets crazier even as it gives you answers. There's no endless quest for deeper and deeper mystery only, it's give and take. So, next issue will wrap up this arc, which has been balls out crazy and then I'll have to reread that whole arc to see if it makes any more sense.

Trillium 3 - Somehow I missed this when it came out, so here are my thoughts: Nika's ray gun is awesome. The world building continues to be fantastic. William's mental problems in his past are clearly going to contribute to the overall story. God, the way the pages flip; every time I think that's got to be the end of the innovation in technique in this book, they pull something else, huh? It's just an incredible idea and I'm loving the grand scale. I'm interested to see what happens next issue, if all those ships are going to make it through the portal into the past. We didn't get as much backstory with Nika this time, but we do find out that she built her own AI suit and that she believes enough about the year and the location to download old English, so there's a chance that next issue, the two protagonists will actually be able to communicate. Great, great stuff.

Ultimate Spider-Man 30 - WHY DO I KEEP FINDING OUT BOOKS ARE ENDING IN THEIR LETTER COLUMNS!?!? Damn. This was fantastic. So well drawn, so much fun, and the story really let the characters dig into each other. The two (three?) pages with Miles just hanging out with Roxxon, letting him do all the talking was where I finally gave in and shouted with joy. And then, the science brain trust shows up and the kids just demolish them. It's so much fun, it's so great, and it just feels like a great, old-fashioned kiddie comic book. I love the way this looks and feels and then I find out it's going away. Damn. I mean, I'd heard the Ultimate Universe rumors, but I had no idea this book was actually ENDING. Makes it all the more likely that things are winding down in this Universe, eh? That's a damn shame. This art, this style of Bendis writing, this Cloak & Dagger, even this Bombshell, the way she said they should text each other... It was so good. The only consolation I can take is from Spider-Woman's last line of dialogue and the fact that it certainly looks like they're setting the stage for a new team. These kids would make a great one.

Unwritten 54 - THIS IS IT! This is the climax I've been waiting for in this book. "Tommy was a dream." There is so much dream-breaking in this book that I don't even know where to start. Tommy's weakened state in the beginning. The death of the cubs and Snow White. The boys blue. Tommy's friends. "All worlds begin somewhere. And end somewhere." Holy moly. This book completely kicked my ass. It's incredible what's happening here and it's even more amazing that we're getting a break and then a true conclusion. The fact that this book exists and has been allowed to work how it wants to is a testament to the Vertigo line. I love the fact that the art kind of deteriorated as the scenes closed (before the white pages, obviously) and that we got the (almost?) full text of the poem. I love that Frau Totenkinder gave in to her base impulses as the last chance for Tommy to bring about the end of the world. And I'm so psyched for Apocalypse that I have no idea what to expect. But I know it's going to be good and I know they're going to get to tell the story they want to. That's worth the price of admission right there. Fantastic stuff.

Wolverine and the X-Men 37 - Welp. I'm over the fun aspect. This is too much, too ridiculous, too many teams, too many X-people, too many books I'm not reading, and too much bad art. This issue really suffered from that last aspect as, if it had a great penciller on it, I think I would have been a bit more into the ride. But when the characters look nothing like I've come to expect them to, and when major events happen, like Xavier getting crippled and Wolverine getting gutted, in books I'm not reading, well...I lose track and then I lose interest. It's nice to see that people are pretty well sorted out as to who's who, it's nice to see all the characters who can are fighting different versions of themselves and it's horrible to have so much cliche dialogue in one issue - at least 2 get out of my head!s, 1 hope you survive the experience, and 1 old Iceman take on the most interesting man in the world? As of now, it was fun, but I'm glad it'll be done soon. Here's to hoping when this book gets crossover-free, it'll get back to the fun experience it was when it started. But if it doesn't, there are definitely enough Marvel books out right now that are ready to take its place.

Young Avengers 11 - Loki changes! Man, this was a cool issue. Between the Loki changes, the page of the cell phone call going out and the last page with Hulkling, there were some serious events in store for the kiddos here. And they cashed allll the way in. Leah is getting her big-time revenge, Loki is firmly in control - though the Kid's still around in a brilliant touch, modified from its JiM form - and the gang is about to have an all-out battle that they thought they'd avoided more than a handful of times. The art is gorgeous, as usual, and the story kills, so what more do you want?

Book of the week goes to Mind MGMT. This is the comic every single person should be reading.

Monday, October 21, 2013

comics for the week of 10/16/13.

Duke City Marathon weekend. Loving the world right now.

Avengers 21 - "Emancipation" is the best of the big ideas that Hickman's had building (no pun intended) in these titles for the duration of his run. This is what I want to see: some gnarly changes to the Marvel Universe via amazing new characters who can literally change worlds. Here's to hoping some of them survive Infinity. Beyond the cosmic ramifications of the Builders and Engineers and Ex Nihilo and the Abyss, we get a little mini-Kree drama: Ronan smashed the Supremor with his hammer! Man, that's not gonna play well after this war is over. And then...it gets truly insane. They're winning, but not enough. So they turn to the suicide play, the Hail Mary: they unleash the Annihilation Wave. I know this was talked about before, but I literally put my head in my hands when I saw it. I can't believe that Cap would make this decision and I think it might do good things for the good guys, but boy is this planting some serious seeds that are going to come back and bite them all on the collective ass later on. Holy poop. And then, just pages later, my regret turned to absolute shock. The Annihilation Wave didn't do shit. But...lucky for the good guys, they've got God on their side. Not just Thor, a God. But maybe, perhaps, just maybe, what we all mean when we actually say GOD. The one who made everything. And when she wakes up, everything changes. The Builders know they're beat, but they won't leave without a little spite thrown in for good measure. Infinity finally seems to be living up to its name and its promise and I'm happy to be reading this.

Batwoman 24 - Amidst all the stupid drama going on with this title, I actually kind of forgot that it was being put out, which is a shame, because it was THE best thing about The New 52 for quite a while. For now, though, McCarthy is still on art and, if it finishes that way, it'll have to go down as kind of a failed experiment. I'm such a JH Williams III fan, and he's proved his writing chops (although the use of simps as a real word here is crazy), but the book is so much less of an entity when Williams isn't doing the art. And, ultimately, I don't want to talk about what could have been, just about what it is for now. The plan, drawn up by Bones, gone through with by Batwoman, to get Batman, the white whale, goes wrong. Of course it does. But Kate has some tricks up her sleeve and the fight gets GREAT and we've got the split panels with Flamebird's rescue reaching its climax and THEN..... nothing. It ends. We have the promise of Zero Year, which was so bad I stopped reading Batman because of, and then, they'll be gone. Man. What a disappointment of a book, what a horrible way to end this issue, this run and this promise from The New 52.

Fables 134 - God! Fables covers are one of the modern marvels of our art world. Seriously. They're fucking beautiful, month after month, and no one talks about it! And then, inside? OK, the tears fell. Yep. I want to give this issue to so many people. I love the way Blue talks, I love the start, I love the maturity with which Bigby handles it all, and I love the fact that he also questions not only going back but the big picture, too. And the ending? Holy moly. Almost perfect. This was a bizarre issue; if you had described it to me, I'm not sure I would have thought I was going to be a fan. But sometimes those turn out to be the best.

Hawkeye 13 - So glad to actually have it! I love this comic and you would too if you were reading it. And if you're not reading it, you're going to feel really stupid once you do start reading it. Because it's so so so so so so so so good, it's so personal, it's so close up, it's so worthwhile. This issue, we get to see the resolution of some things (Barney, Grills) and the beginning of some others that we've already seen play out a bit (Kate and her departure) but the main focus is on Clint Barton just generally not being a great human. He's a really cool hero, and he does amazing things, but he's very, very ordinary. He drinks too much and he makes mean comments and his friends are all usually pretty mad at him. And that's great. That's something we need more of in comics. So if you're not buying this comic, you need to. It's one of the few truly GREAT titles that's coming out nowadays. Support it.

Invincible 106 - A bunch of different threads, this is a set-up kind of issue, which is cool with me, but none of the threads felt particularly compelling. We start with Battle Beast being a badass, then have some silly drama with Mark and Eve and his mom and dad. Then we get to see Dr. Seismic (have we met him before?) and he gets taken out in an ambiguous manner. And last but not least, we get to see Monster Girl, still looking fine as usual, and start to worry about Rex more than we have even in the past. He seems totally at ease with the fact that his girlfriend looks at him with more than a handful of hesitation. While that's all we get from Robot and Amanda, the scene that's promised on the cover gets delivered and it's amazingly cheesy. I literally rolled my eyes as it was happening, but it did provide an intriguing end, which is always nice. Doc Seismic's story promises more in the long-term future, but the end of the book, with Battle Beast, is the story that I'm most looking forward to. It's clear that Thragg is going to destroy him and then it's going to be serious trouble time. Or, it could be that this will be Nolan's breaking point with Allen, which will be cool, too. Just a so-so issue, sure, but they can't all be home runs.

New Avengers 11 - "In our seemingly unending string of bad choices, this one, I think, has the potential to be our worst." I love the concept of the Illuminati. I like the Thanos' son stuff. I like the fact that Earth is at the center of two cosmic events and that Hickman's walking that line pretty well. But I hate the fact that this book, so solid a premise has faltered so badly. While mainline Avengers and the Infinity books themselves are getting great, this one is falling off HARD. I almost don't even want to read the next couple issues, just come back post-Infinity and see where the chips have fallen. Here we get alternate universe Builders and Engineers as well as alternate Ex Nihilo (and maybe an Abyss?) while Thanos finds the Black Swan and recognizes her as dangerous. After that...I don't really know? The alternate universe Builders decide to throw the Illuminati through the Incursion point? Or ask them to blow up their own world? I don't even know, but it's so dense that I'm not convinced it matters or that I should care about it. This started as an incredibly ambitious world-building project and a redefinition of a group that was bound for trouble. Instead, they're just a meandering, almost purposeless group of whiners.

Book of the week goes to Fables. I love the fact that they went for the gusto, so I have to give it to Vertigo over Marvel's (arguably) second best book and the resurgence of Avengers.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

us men's national team does mexico a favor.

On Tuesday night, the US Men's National Soccer team won a game, which wasn't a surprise, but the overall results of the night had an odd side effect: with a win in the match, against Panama by a score of 3-2, the United States helped their greatest regional rival - Mexico - retain hope of their own qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

For a long bit in the game, it didn't look as though the US - already securely qualified for the World Cup - would pull out the victory. Panama scored in the 18th minute, securing a lead for themselves that would last the vast majority of the game. When the Americans finally came back with an equalizer - Michael Orozco in the 64th minute with a sweet header off the vaunted set piece of the corner kick - it felt like the tide had shifted a bit. But Team USA was never able to fully capitalize and Panama continued to push the game in their direction. What seemed like the final blow came in the 83rd minute, as Luis Tejada put in a ball that had been deflected by American goalkeeper Brad Guzan in superior fashion, which the US defense was too slow to effectively clear. Tejada ran off the field, tore off his shirt and the country of Panama celebrated. This seemed to most observers to do two things: vault Panama into the World Cup matches and knock Mexico out, as they'd lost to Costa Rica just earlier in the evening.

But Jurgen Klinsmann teams have been taught to continue fighting and the Americans did precisely that, despite sitting some of their more established stars for this reason or that. (Whether the Americans were sandbagging the game or not does not seem truly important.) With three minutes of stoppage time added to the clock, Team USA was down 1-2 and, somehow, improbably, the Americans scored twice in that time span to send Panama into a tail spin and Mexico into a fevered frenzy, their chances still alive.

Graham Zusi absolutely nailed a header off one of the sweetest crosses in the 92nd minute and the game absolutely morphed into something else. Mere moments later, Aron Johannsson demolished the hopes of Panama with a bullet of a shot. Johannsson's goal resulted in the game's conclusion less than sixty seconds later, no hopes of extra time, no hopes of future games - at least not for Panama.

With the victory, the US Men's National Team racked up a record-tying 22 points in the qualifying stages and added some mojo back to their current streak. Earlier in the year, the Americans possessed the then-longest winning streak in the world - at 13 games - and the team will surely remember this game as a fantastic example of not folding when they could have easily done so. Team USA's next match will be an international friendly in Scotland on November 15.

Monday, October 14, 2013

comics for the week of 10/09/11.

There's some things going on. Luckily, I have comics to distract me.

Infinity 4 - Global Terrigenesis?!? Mjolnir?!? Black Bolt versus Thanos fight?!? Like Dave Jordan said: THIS IS THE BOOK I WANTED TO READ THE WHOLE TIME! This is where Infinity finally got it right. The bit with Thanos' son is (amazingly) still the lamest part of the book (get it? His son, the healer, becomes unto death...yeah, yeah...) but the galaxy-wide battle, never a favorite aspect of anything for me, is picking up steam too. Not only did we get the knock-down drag-out that we wanted between Black Bolt and Thanos, but we get to see Thor (via a Cap-designed plan) knock the shit out of some Builders. Incredible. The entirety of the scenes with Thor are the best of the book. The closeup of Cap's eye, gleaming with confidence in the God of Thunder. His getting off the ship. His prayer to Odin. His tossing of the hammer. The way he takes the slap from the Builder. His destructive hole. His dialogue with Ronan. The call of Ronan to the other Accusers. The splash of all of them raising arms. God yes. This is where it's at.

The Private Eye 4 - The Paul Administration, eh? The TV program with Flash, eh? Chief, eh? But the best part comes near the end, when we meet CG and hear about library records and see the true way in which privacy affects literally everyone in this world. It's all about the little details with this book: here's a normal man, having dinner with his family and he needs to put his mask on before answering the door. And while he seems to be a genuinely good guy, with the wife and kids, and he puts up that front of the sacred duty of librarians and protecting the records, he caves pretty damn quickly when PI talks about getting him in touch with his ex. It's a wacky world we live in (and that they do) where people are so truly, terribly fickle. I think his moral high ground speech on the search history might be as close to a thesis statement as we've got from BKV so far on why this world is the way it is. When they finally get to the library, of course, it's amazing. Martin is killing it on the art, and I love the Huxley callbacks to pneumatic tubes. Lady Nunchuk makes her triumphant return to the series and she connects with Raveena so quickly that it'd downright cute. The ending, of course, is a killer, with the juxtaposition between the flight and the wreck and the first real glimpse we've seen of DeGuerre. Honestly, one the things that makes this book, though, is the amount of time they put into not only the product itself, but the Afterword, too. It feels like the old Bendis letter columns.

Rachel Rising 20 - Oh man. All right. This story, already pretty epic scale just jumped up a few notches. This is really, really great work from Terry Moore and I'm not shocked by it, but I am shocked by how forthright it is, as well as how dark it is. I always thought Moore was more of a comedian than a tragedian, but this one is really making it hard to truly shake out. Here, Bryn Mary reveals some of her real powers, her boyfriend has trouble adjusting to his new body and Earl just takes it all in stride. Also, the cover is truly disturbing and Zoe makes a power play. Manus is revealed and the grand plan starts to get a bit more grand.

Thor: God of Thunder 14 - The Dark Elves are taking refuge with the Dwarves, Malekith proves he fights dirty against Wormsong and Garney's art still doesn't bother me too much. All in all, another win for Jason Aaron and this amazing run on Thor. The fact that we see Malekith in such gory battle last issue and her we see Senator Volstagg with the line of the issue ("They did wither before the fury of my filibuster!") illustrates how lucky we are to have a book that's so good in such a diverse way. But insofar as the actual battle and substance of the issue, it was pretty standard fare. It's elevated by Aaron's mix of humor and politics, but it's nothing we haven't seen a hundred times before. Standard story, told by a superb storyteller is better than average.

The Walking Dead 115 - Welp. That wasn't as good as I wanted it to be. Sure, we've got the start and I know there's something to be said for a real intro when it comes to a 12-part story, but... There was nothing, really. Rick leaves Carl in charge of the homestead. Andrea doesn't go with. Rick's got a fucking army. They look tough, for sure. But the end? I don't know. Negan's got a hostage from the Hilltop? He switches the odds? Kind of? Jesus still is the guy and I'm not sure that some random schmuck is going to change things all that much. But I do know that next issue things are going to get crazy and I know that the symbolism and foreshadowing are still there: Rick should die. That would be the way to make this as crazy as it's been billed. My friends and I have talked about it and, yeah, if Carl dies, that'll be gnarly, taking it up a notch, but if Rick died, that would be the best. In fact, I think a new guy suggested a radical departure: Kill Rick, flash forward ten (maybe 15) years and have Carl be in charge of a whole new group of folks under different circumstances. What better way to end All Out War?

Book of the week goes to The Private Eye. Infinity was finally great, but The Private Eye always has been.

Monday, October 7, 2013

comics for the week of 09/11/13, 09/18/13, 09/25/13 & 10/02/13.

Somewhere, in the back of my mind, I'm keeping track of Infinity. But here's the thing: for as good as Marvel is doing right now, this one is kind of falling flat for me. Avengers and the Illuminati are still good in concept, but they haven't been solid for a while. I'm still floating on premise and that's just not good enough. Not when they're also putting out such sold stuff otherwise. Let's see if the latest issue can change my mind.

Avengers 19 - Whoah. All right. So...that was particularly bad. I'm still not loving the crossover, but I do see some of the bigger picture here. I think part of the problem is that space, in the Marvel U, has always been just this kind of interesting corner, and all of a sudden, it's the main event. And we have new characters and crazy old ones and some MU back history, and some radically long-term ideas and...well, it's just a lot. But here, we get two pretty basic storylines, and we are starting to see how they intersect. (The Thanos bit, as the third, in Infinity, is where it gets to be too much.) But I loved seeing Captain Marvel get to play such a large part, as well as the Kree respect for humans and Captain America in particular. I loved to see Ex Nihilo demonstrate his conflicted nature and I think we're in for huge things from him. This series has been up and down, sure, but this was an up. Plus, I mean, come on: that cover!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 25 - The closing of Season 9 was pretty much everything that it had to be, everything we figured it'd be, and everything we feared it would be. Magic is back. Everyone survived. There was no real tension. Dawn made it. Congratulations, I suppose? I'm already looking ahead to Season 10. I want to see how they're going to reconcile some vampires who pretty clearly realize they have some incredible new powers with the Fray Universe where no one had magic for 100s of years. I want to see if that's still the plan or if we're on divergent timelines now, which is really the only way to make sense of it. If they go with differing timelines, it'll free some of the book up from the worry of the future and it'll let them tell better stories. A lot of this season seemed either wasted (Billy and the pregnancy) or just like it was simply wrapping up loose ends (getting the gang back together and bringing magic back). I'd rather have some looser reins and let the creators tell some new stories.

Locke and Key: Alpha 1 - This is the best book ever, it's ending in the next issue, it's hella complicated and I'm not reviewing it for you. You should have been buying it all along. If you didn't, don't start here.

Rachel Rising - This is the best issue of this series so far. It's so incredibly good that I don't even really know how to talk about it without spoiling it. So, it goes from an origin story of Bryn Mary (?) to some modern-day glimpses of Rachel waking up. But primarily the issue takes place in the past, and it's about Lilith and the temptation of Rachel and the intriguing relationship they had and then...well, there's a boy. Of course there is, right? And the with trials are starting up and they love each other and there's a militia, a mob, and there's guns and then... Well, we already knew that Lilith's power was real. That's not the shock. But the shock is too good to really ruin here, so let me just say: this is a great jumping on point. You'll get it enough and you should get it, because Terry Moore has found his groove again.

The Walking Dead 114 - All Out War starts next issue and we finally get to see how they got to this point. Jesus annointing Rick as Saint Peter in some kind of odd reverse theological moment was the biggest laugh, but there were plenty of cries. It's clear that Rick and Andrea are headed for splitsville, and Carl will almost undoubtedly do some dumb shit like stow away in the big assault. Negan's people are idiots if they don't get the swinging dick reference and he knows that, so he's disappointed in them as he should be. Last of all, Ezekiel is still being underrated by everyone. Once he won me over, I'm riding hard for him. Have some faith, Jesus!

Book of the week goes to Rachel Rising. Yup, it was better than Locke and Key.

*

All right, so I'm behind again already. First of all, I bought a house, secondly, I don't have Internet yet, and thirdly, the job's killing me. Enough of the excuses, here are the books!

Daredevil 31 - Samnee, are you kidding me with this cover? Jesus, this guy just keeps getting better! The bits with Matt's head's shadow showing horns? A perfect touch! And then, we get to check in with Foggy again? He's part of what keeps this book as good as it is and I love the fact that his cancer wasn't just a single-issue, it's-done type of thing. I love even more that it's stretching on without getting melodramatic or over-the-top. It's a real life thing and I appreciate that Waid is treating it as such. The story is a great one and DD handles almost all of the obstacles thrown his way perfectly, but I'm honestly afraid of the last page; is that the Jester? I don't think it is, nor do I think it's Foggy. But it's someone from his group? So the villains still get to have their knowledge that Matt is Daredevil, it's only the good guys who have to pretend to look the other way? Man, this isa horrible world in which Matt is living and he's doing a good job to maintain his attitude during all these shenanigans.

Fables 133 - Rose Red turns savior, Snow White gives a disturbing backstory that we never really would have guessed at, no matter how dark this book has turned, the new knights find a star recruit, and the ending is a dagger. (Boom. Kinda.) It's fun to see some sisterly drama again, but I'm bummed by the concept of the two no longer working together. Bigby's being gone certainly seems like it's going to last longer than I thought it would, which is a bad thing, but is interesting for the sake of changing the story. The focus is kind of monolithic compared to what it's been in the past, but it wasn't a bad thing in this issue. I predict next time around that we'll see a bunch of tiny glimpses into the many stories we've got going on.

Infinity 3 - Yu's art is killer. The Spartax are a bunch of bitches. Starbrand is a badass mofo. And Black Bolt finally cuts loose. I'm not nearly naive enough to think he's taking out Thanos, but in this issue, the good guys won a few battles. And that was awesome to see.

Hawkeye 13 - Haven't been able to find it, still, even two weeks later. Did it come out?

New Avengers 10 - Fascinating to see the fractures happening to the group in real time. I mean, Namor JUST betrayed Black Panther (not to mention the whole world!) but here they are, chumming it up, as though everything's fine. This book is gooooood. Maybe too grand in scale for someone like myself, who doesn't really care for the space stuff, but, still... It's really good.

Powers: The Bureau 7 - Yeah, sure, that was fine. I like the echoes, I like the progress, I think I'll stop reviewing this. It doesn't feel like I've got much worthwhile to say about it. (OTOH, it doesn't feel like Bendis does either, heyooo.) Forreal, though, it's a good book. It's Powers as you've always known and loved it. And yes, the characters are kind of growing. Definitely Pilgrim. But she's already been through this (not exactly this, but a growth) before, and then it just disappeared. It's fun, it's good, I'm not disappointed, but I don't want to tread this ground every once in a while in this space when Bendis gets around to putting Powers out.

Thor: God of Thunder 13 - Every issue, I think to myself, this book is due for a let down. And every issue, it refuses to surrender. I thought for sure, when I saw Ron Garney's name on the art duties that this would be sub par. But Garney stepped up his game. The only place where the pencils still lacked was the close up of faces, but that's always been a pet peeve of mine with Garney. The story, of course, was still solid, and, sure, it's kind of a movie tie-in, but that's fine with me, as long as the stories are all this good. I love how menacing Malekith is made out to be (as he should) and I love the fact that he seems to be a step ahead of Thor and the Warriors However Many They Are Now. Jason Aaron is continuing to kill it.

Book of the week goes to Thor. This is too much to handle, I'm normally a Thor hater. But Aaron is conquering the world.

*

And, before I'd read even a single issue from last week, another week has passed. Oops. Sorry guys. I know it doesn't matter, but I do try to keep up with this. Turns out, things are happening all around me.

Avengers 20 - "Rest easy. All is well." Echoes of the Blue Lantern Corps in a space story that I'm not really comprehending is not a good sign for my faith in Hickman. But the story takes it to a really great place. I'm getting more and more of what's actually happening and I'm psyched about that, because that means this is a character-driven story again, the thing we can all relate to. I'm a huge fan of the fact that we see the Ex Nihilo and his Abyss go to the meeting that seems to be something that's going to turn the tide of the overall plot? Meanwhile, Cap is really earning his stripes with the alien races with the control of the battle, but I'm not sure about this surrendering idea. I don't think that's going to really be his aim, but I don't know what it's going to be. It's getting better in this book, though, I'm hopeful that it'll keep up.

East of West 6 - Wow. Colonel Sanders really pulls a number on Bel this issue and the Keeper has some gnarly powers! Seriously, his hand turned into, like, a death serpent! WTF? And then...man oh man. We get some huge backstory from the Republic of Texas. We see some Rangers and what drove the primary one to become the man he is today. We see Bel asking him to take care of the Chosen and we see some immediate smarts from the Ranger. I like the fact that he knows but I'm scared of the fact that he says he's going to save Bel for last. He should be STARTING with Bel if he had any kind of real smarts. Instead, we now have more and more characters thrown onto the board. I'm still loving the story, but I'm thinking at this point that it might be worth it to read this story only in trade form. It'll cohere a lot more and I won't have to try to keep track of all these characters and their various motivations and relationships.

Mind MGMT 15 - Incredible focus on Henry Lyme, who is (maybe?) the real star of this book. I'm not going to claim that he's the main character, but damn if he isn't the star. We get to see some of his past, but nothing really that we haven't seen before. What we do get to see are his encounters with Meru from his point of view. And that stuff is fascinating. The amount of guilt this guy is living with at this point is overwhelming. The decision he makes with the Immortals makes a lot of sense, but it's super dark, and at the very end, we see the ramifications from it. This is a really cool idea to divide the story in this manner and I'm happy (as always) with Kindt and his style of storytelling. Another superb issue of a series that not enough people are loving.

Saga 14 - Hazel as narrator is one of the best choices BKV made with this book. Another is giving The Will a conscience and here we see it fully on display. He cares about Sophie, giving her that name. He cares about The Stalk - he's still got an APB out on her old vehicle. And, simultaneously, he's trying to move on. He's interested in Gwen and she seems to be interested in him, too, but the timing's just not right yet. The art is gorgeous, the relationship between Granny and the author seems destined to be a comedic one and we're finally going to catch back up to Prince arriving on Quietus. I love this book so much.

Ultimate Spider-Man 27 - The gang's all here! Bombshell (is that really her name, or am I misremembering?) and Cloak and Dagger and Spider-Man and Spider-Woman all team up to take on Taskmaster and, while they're ultimately successful, it's crazy how brutally he beats them all down before they finally learn/Cloak just takes care of things. I love Miles' narration and the fact that he's a young Spider-Man is something sorely missing from the 616 MarveluU, even after the horribly-implemented, editorially-mandated One More Day story. I also love the interplay between Miles and Jessica, as well as, OF COURSE, the art. This is almost a pure fun book, but the only niggling worry in the back of my mind as I read the issue is that all of this will, in the end, be for nothing. I hope that Miles gets to keep his book and that the Ultimate Universe continues to exist, in some aspect. I'm a fan of the idea of bringing him over to the 616, too, but I want the Ultimate U to continue as well. We'll see. Really great stuff here, with the ending promising that there will be some action with Roxxon next time around.

The Unwritten 53 - I think I've noticed this before, but in this issue, Bigby Wolf looks a hell of a lot like Wilson Taylor. I can't help but think that's purposeful. The Fables make their final stand against Mister Dark and Fly leads the troops into battle. The fake Boy Blue is one of the worst enemies, but the trick he pulls is horrible. The role that the Unwritten kids play cannot be overstated and I love the role we see Gepetto taking in this alternate universe. The ending, though, is what it's all about, and we'll see where this story goes from here. Obviously, Dark has to be stopped, but I don't know what's going to happen to Tom as a result.

Wolverine and the X-Men 36 - It's a shame that this book had such crappy pencils, but it's a good thing I read the ONE book that's happened in this crossover that I'm not normally reading, because I'm loving this story. I love that here we get the battle between Jean and a crew and Ms. Grey still takes them down. She's the best. Even when she "loses," she still wins. I love that Wolverine and old Cyclops have more a battle of words than any physical stuff and that it's young Cyke who can't help but lash out. I love that Logan calls them jackasses. I love that Scott threatens to go back in time and get young Logan. (These guys REALLY don't get that they're messing with the timestream, do they?) I love that we still don't really know about old Iceman. What I don't love is that Magik is jumping back and forth, we get the twist we knew was coming, but there are no tangibles! It's still just some crazy time-messed story. I get that that's kind of the gig here, but there needs to be something concrete at some point. Otherwise it just becomes What If overload. I'm all well and good with seeing some crazy alternate futures, but if that's all there is, nothing feels real. Let's have something real happen in the next issue or I'll have to get a bit less invested.

Young Avengers 10 - The first 2 pages are some of the most impressive, and simple, extensions of the medium I've seen in a long, long time. Is it brand new? No. Have I seen it before? Sure. But it's so clean, it's so pure, and it's in such a mainstream book that it feels groundbreaking. Then, we get some Leah revenge-mode story, leading Teddy around on a leash so opaque that it's shocking they didn't just draw it in for us to see. Leah is proving to be the perfect foil for Loki, whom, as we see here, is truly back to some evil ways. It's interesting to think that he'll probably be on the team for quite a while, since there will always be someone else for him to blame his scheming on and the team, in all likelihood, won't see through his lies, despite America's prejudice toward him. While we didn't get to see the ensemble this issue, it didn't feel like we got short changed, especially with more time devoted to pseudo-Patriot than in all his previous appearances combined. (Perhaps hyperbole.) Regardless, I'm loving the fact that Leah is here, now, and that she's got a serious grudge against Loki. Also, Mother was already enough of a problem; now that she's got at least two allies? This is going to get bad for the Young Avengers. (Also, the actual young revenge-seekers billing themselves as avengers? Hilarious.)

Before I get to book of the week, I do want to acknowledge that with Locke and Key ending, some people might be tempted to say the best book is off the market. Personally, between Saga, Unwritten, Young Avengers, Mind MGMT and [insert your favorite other book here], I think we're living in a new Golden Age of comics. The only thing that irks me is that DC proper is left out of this list, but they maintain with Vertigo. This is truly an amazing time. The best book of this week, though, has got to be Saga. Every time I think that it's "just" a fantastic story, it turns up a notch, like the page with Sophie and the Lying Cat. BKV - running this shit.

*

A light week (only one book!) means that I might finally get this posted. However, as Tumblr doesn't appear to support read more tags anymore, I don't think I'll be cross-posting it anymore. I don't want people to have to scroll past all this, definitely not now, and not even next week, when it'll be a quarter of this.

All New X-Men 17 - X-Men is always at its best when it mixes pretty overtly with politics. Also, time travel never hurts. So while I was a bit overwhelmed at the last part of this crossover with seeing yet another team, I think starting this issue with some of the backstory of this team really helped, especially in the context of the politics of the future world and their obvious echoes of the first mutant president. Plus, OMG, the easter eggs! Jubilee goes by Wolverine! Quintin Quire goes by Phoenix! Illyiana and Colossus have a moment! Iceman turns out to be the real deal, as we always knew he would be! Jubilee and Peter and the ones in charge! There's still that pseudo-Iron Man on the team! However, I've gotta say, honestly, I'm kind of sick of the cliffhangers. I'm glad to not be reading every part, but I want to know what happens with this story just as a whole already.

No book of the week when I only read one, but let me say that Batman: Black and White is also coming out and if you're not buying that, you're really missing out.

Monday, September 30, 2013

lobo football drops high-scoring game against unlv.

On Saturday, the University of New Mexico Lobos started hot. The cherry and silver squad scored 21 points in the first quarter, running up 217 yards in the first twelve minutes alone. However, the energy could not be sustained, the Rebels of UNLV came out with almost as much steam, and the Lobos ultimately fell 56-42, scoring consecutively less per quarter in a game that seemed an almost certain win at many points early in the evening.

While the Lobo offense was humming in the first quarter, UNLV came right back at the UNM in the second quarter. The Lobos registered another 14 points, UNLV another 21, and the score was knotted at 35-35 come halftime. The running games maintained its domination of the offense, especially for the Lobos, who gained another 183 yards. The two teams combined at half for 749 yards, but the tie score wouldn't remain that way for long.

The Rebels started to utilize the passing game and took advantage of a Lobo fumble, and held the previously unfettered running game to a mere 97 more yards in the entire second half. Two consecutive touchdowns by UNLV in the span of a mere three minutes seemed to break the Lobos willpower to mount any kind of comeback.

With the loss, the Lobos drop to 1-3 for the year. Coach Bob Davie said, post-game, that the first half was unbelievable but admitted that the end result depended on being able to stop the other team. The offense has proved their capabilities, especially in the first half of Saturday's action, but the defense of the cherry and silver needs to continue to work in order to right UNM's year.

Looking past the sting of the defeat, the night also brought about a school record of three players each rushing for more than 100 yards: Kasey Carrier, Carlos Wiggins and quarterback Cole Gautsche each accomplished the feat.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

team usa qualifies for the world cup.

On Tuesday night, Team America beat Mexico in Colobus, Ohio 2-0 and, later in the evening, when Honduras refused to hold on and beat Panama, tying 2-2 on a goal in stoppage time, ensuring that Team USA secured a qualifying spot in the World Cup.

The Americans had lost their last game, against Costa Rica, on Friday night. They were whupped, 1-3, and they lost the mental edge of having the longest win streak in the world, at 12. Moreover, they lost Jozy Altidore, Geoff Cameron, and Matt Besler for the Mexico match due to those players picking up their second yellow cards of the qualification process. Michael Bradley also suffered a freak injury during warmups, spraining his left ankle and sat out against Mexico.

Due to those absences - particularly Altidore, whose performance for the team has been impressive, to say the least - and the long-standing disadvantage America has maintained while facing Mexico, there were some who doubted the team's chances, despite the home field advantage. However, the Mexican team seems to be in complete disarray, suffering from the endless tailspin that inevitably follows a sudden departure from previously winning ways.

However, when it came time to get things done, the team stepped up as a whole with their depth tested, and the team answered the call. The previous stars were particularly adept, with Eddie Johnson scoring in the 49th minute, once again off a header. He was spelled by Mikkel Diskerud in the 76th minute. Reviled when his plan didn't seem to be taking right away, coach Jurgen Klinsmann now looks like a genius, particularly when it comes to substitutions. Diskerud played a smart ball of a throw in with a deft first touch, putting the ball right in front of the Mexico goal. Clint Dempsey had a brilliant look at the clicher but whiffed his attempt. Luckily, Landon Donovan was there, as he's been for Team USA ever since making his comeback. Donovan put his goal in at the 78th minute.

When Honduras tied Panama nearly an hour after the USA/Mexico game finished, the work of the night was complete. Team USA is now officially qualified for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. It's worth noting that, of the 207 nations in the world who compete in the qualification process, only 32 make it. 8 nations have won the World Cup; the United States is not amongst that number. With this qualification, though, the United States becomes only the 13th nation to qualify for the ultimate tournament 10 times.

Monday, September 9, 2013

comics for the week of 09/04/13.

So, I did read the Battle of the Atom chapter one book and it was cool. And I thought I wasn't going to read anything outside of the books I was already getting, but then this week's issue came out and I can fully say: I'm on board.

All New X-Men 16 - OK, I'm not even done reading the issue yet, but I've got to get some notes out here. First of all, it's wonderful to have Immonen on this title! God, he kills it! Secondly, I love the fact that I've never read an issue of the rebooted Uncanny X-Men and yet, I get everything I need to know about the team from that opening spread. It feels like this might be an event done right. Third, the next double-page spread, with the introduction of the future X-Men is even more amazing. Deadpool's word balloons, the Icemen next to each other, Wolverine's sarcastic tone, just everything is really going right in this book at this time. I love that Charles Xavier's grandson is now a possibility and I love that Kitty jumps into Wolvie's arms after he figures out it's her by sniffing. I love the Beasts reactions to the older one. I was holding out hope that the scarfed girl was going to be M, but I don't know much about her current state in the X-Universe. However, as ex-Runaway is always cool. And so then, yeah, of course, we have Xorn, and we never get an introduction from her, but when it finally comes, oh boy, is it awesome. And I wouldn't want anyone else pencilling those pages because, honestly? I think this is a panel I'll remember for the rest of my life. To see her there, we all knew it was coming sometime, and we've had a lesser version of it right here in this book, but...Oh man. It's gorgeous. I have no idea where this crossover is going: Will the young kids get sent back? Are we on the way to a time apocalypse? Will some of the elder statesmen stay? I don't know and I don't care. What I do know is that the Marvel Universe and the X-books are solidly fun again and that makes me love comics a little bit more everyday. You should read this book.

Invincible 105 - Kind of a filler issue, and most of it wasn't that great, but this is the kind of thing that Kirkman does really well. He makes us think that nothing's going on, but lots of stuff is stewing. We got a check in with Robot and his lady, which was funny, Even working as a housewife, some editorializing about the lack of female superheroes that Rex didn't really listen to, and then a great conversation between Mark and Nolan. Those last couple pages were the best of the issue, and while that's not a bad thing because they really were great, it just wasn't that great of an issue overall.

Trillium 2 - So, I'm not saying this is as good as Daytripper, but... If you're not buying this book, you're foolish. This has the chance to be a really special story. Lemire's work is on point here and the story has a lot going on already. It's clear that there's some rich backstory that we're going to get as this goes on, the only question, to me, is: when and where is this actually taking place? I think we've got some pretty major psychotropic answers in store for us and I love the fact that their shared drug-induced hallucination was the only moment where they opened up that connection, other than physical touch and the word Trillium. This is a fascinating story, well-drawn that's going to be talked about for a long, long time.

Book of the week goes to All New X-Men. The art, the story and the nostalgia outweigh the artistic gold from Lemire.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

comics for the week of 08/28/13.

Slightly behind, but I consider them on time because it was a holiday weekend.

Angel and Faith 25 - Nice ending. That's about all I can muster. It didn't change anything, really, other than Faith departing, because I kind of knew that Giles was going to stay the way he is, right? Nadira has some potential for the future, as does Pearl, but the bit with Whistler was about the only way it could have gone down. He's always been an integral, but very minor, part of the Buffy mythos, so it's fitting that he'd go out this way. I'm happy to hear that Faith will be part of the series, but I'm worried about the balance next season if she's not around and Angel's got his own title. He's a great character, but I felt like they really shined when they worked together. Giles is up in the air, I'm not sure if he'll stick around Buffy's book next season (or even next issue, if that's a possible post-script) of if he'll be in the ether with Faith. Here's to hoping that these great characters, who've gone through incredible developments don't just disappear into the land of unused toys. This was clearly the stronger of the two books, aside from Buffy's incredible start so I hope we get to see some more of the growth next season from everyone involved - even the aunts.

Mind MGMT 14 - Another chapter in and I'm even more confused. I'm not sure that I believe Bill's on the side of angels anymore, but I'm not sure that I even know which side that is. Like Meru says, I'm sure there are things the Eraser will say that will help us to make sense of all this, but I'm not sure what's happening anymore. There was enough distrust sown this issue to make me doubt everything. I know that next issue we'll get to see some more of Lyme and then the one after that will focus on someone else, so I'm thinking that it'll be a long while before even this little thread gets to make sense. But I'm still loving what's happening and I love that Meru is figuring out her powers. I like that they're back in her home town and that she's got some memories this time around. Still one of the most gorgeous books on the market and definitely one of the most intriguing.

New Avengers 9 - It was better than the baseline Avengers book, but it's still too sprawling. I'm liking the implication from this book that literally all of the things done in both Avengers and New Avengers were merely setting the stage for Infinity, because that reinforces my view of Hickman as the master plotter. I'm disliking the fact that it might have all been setting the stage for a story that I don't care for. I've never liked Galactus or the Silver Surfer or the cosmic aspect of the Marvel Universe, so it's scant surprise that I'm not a fan of Thanos or the Kree-Skrull War or this new Black Order. I'm looking forward to the Illuminati being cast out by their friends and family when they find out what the sextet has done and I think Namor's at his best when he's not even pretending to get along with the rest of the world, like we see in his betrayal here. I don't think it's a red herring, what with the Black Panther's over-the-top reinforcement as the bad guys are leaving. I hope, honestly, that this is serving merely as prelude to a world without Iron Man, Reed and the rest of the Illuminati, because it'd be interesting to see how the rest of the Marvel U would step up without them. Bruce Banner would certainly have a shot and that's been pretty heavily hinted at as something that he wants, and Peter Parker would be wanted/needed - too bad he's not around. In this issue, though, Thanos' forces arrive and, for the most part, conquer and destroy. It's a little past the suspension of disbelief to me that T'Challa is the only one who can beat them, especially when he's pretty much always been seen (at least by me) as the weakest of the bunch, but the story needs some way to go forward. Namor's defeat is less an indictment of him as it is an indication of his weakened position - guess you shouldn't have messed with Wakanda, huh, Prince? And then, of course, he's gotta play like a spurned lover and sow some misdirection. Namor; always messing things up for the rest of the Marvel U.

The Unwritten 52 - This is beyond bizarre. There are so many alternate worlds being played around in at this point that I don't honestly know who's who. I 'm pretty sure that's our Pullman, but I've no idea if that's our Lizzie. I think the version of Tom that they saw inside of Tommy means that they're always one and the same? And I love how Tommy gets along with Pinocchio. That just seems to make perfect sense to me. Other than that, we knew that the Dark Man was coming for the Fables, regardless of the powers that Tommy and his gang brought to the party, but it was unexpected, even after seeing Pullman on the cover, the levels to which he'd understand the Multiverse , and how quickly. This is really going to take a turn, and I think now I can see how big this is going to get and why it's going to 'necessitate' a restart. I definitely do not know how it's going to end, but I can see that some serious shit is going to go down. And how sad that, at the end of the day, Pullman was right, Tommy couldn't help himself with Lizzie and he brought about the destruction that the Fables had put off for so long.

Thor: God of Thunder 12 - Continuing the journey but in a most unexpected way. After the epic conclusion of Godbomb, I didn't think that this issue could possibly be much good. It'd have to be a standalone issue, a jump on point, something kind of middling. Well, I was TOTALLY wrong. This is the kind of issue that makes you appreciate single issue comics. We get a glimpse of all three Thors and the art, while not Esad Ribic, stood up well in all three eras. I love the brief glimpses of old and young Thor and I love that we see so many different sides of Thor the Avenger. We transition between him drinking, him being a God, him being a flirt and a romantic and his trying to take a proactive stance in the world. All of this is what I expect from a God of Thunder and it's what we get in this issue. So grateful that the Jane Foster and Thor relationship has carried over in a relatively minor way and kind of shocked to see her moving out of the picture (although, of course, that can always be changed) in such a rapid fashion here. I'm hopeful that we'll still kind of get some kind of access to all three Thors as this title continues because it's been amazing. Marvel continues to win.

Ultimate Spider-Man 26 - The new Taskmaster is a badass, the Spider kids are stupid for ignoring their spider-senses, and David Marquez's art is incredible, with the SOLID exception of those flashback sequences. Gah, was that even him? It looked so bad. I get that he was going for something different and he definitely accomplished that aim, but God, it was bad. I like that we're getting some backstory on Bombshell (while getting a little current story on Cloak and Dagger) and I like that she references Peter Parker's Ultimate Spidey and I love the fact that Roxxon is being retconned into the new OsCorp Industries in the Ultimate Universe - how odd and interesting that the Ultimate U is now old enough that things are being retconned in. I loved the dialogue between Jessica and Miles in the beginning and I was shocked on the title page that they said Miles was a grade-schooler months before Peter was killed; is this the first time he's been pegged as sooooo young, or was it just the first time that I noticed? An issue without Ganke is rarely a great issue, but this one was good enough. I'm sure the trio will survive their encounter with Taskmaster, but I'm curious as to what they'll learn and what price they'll have to pay as he brings them into the Roxxon headquarters. Good stuff, as usual. Also, I hope the Ultimate Universe doesn't die. It's an interesting experiment that has thrived in the time it's been around, even if it's suffered through occasional droughts. I'd hate for the goodness of Marvel NOW! to interrupt this grand, long trial. Plus, Miles is amazing. Let him continue to be his own character. He doesn't need to be part of the 616 Universe. He's built up his own incredible little corner. Let him keep it.

Wolverine and the X-Men 35 - This was back to being the pure fun book that I loved when this title debuted. The art was cartoonish enough to be enjoyable but not over the top enough to be annoying. And the story's beats were on point. Kade didn't get his just desserts when we expected him to, but we knew better than to truly expect it then anyway. So it was great when the White Queen came from out of nowhere to take over the Siege Perilous. Mystique and Sabertooth still were out of place, Sauron was saved by the X-Men (?) and Dog finally seemed to make sense; he just cannot accept help from Wolverine, huh? But the big news here was the union of Quentin and Idie, as well as that ending. Man oh man, I'd be so psyched if he came back. I think Jason Aaron is just the guy to do it, too. And I love how the other four teachers are going to see Wolvie fearing the worst, but then get rebuffed by the new Headmaster. This is a fitting role for him, and I'm psyched to see where it goes next - aside from the stupid crossover in which I have no interest.

Young Avengers 9 - Delighted that I finished the Journey into Mystery run before reading this issue. It helped a lot. The art is still a draw, but honestly, as with most things (historically) Gillen/McKelvie, it's the combination that is the real winner. The dialogue is pure gold (and the letterer needs credit there too!), especially when it comes to the exchanges and how many different relationships we're presented with. The art shows emotions on faces in a way that few comics have ever done, and the backgrounds and panels - and the way they overlap, especially in Mother's dimension - is reminiscent of the way I went gaga for JH Williams III and his changing the game with his panel layouts. It's not so radical, but it is a novel use of something that not enough people have played with. Regardless, in this issue, we get to resume our chat with Leah, in more ways than one, and Teddy leaves Billy, at least to get some space. We get the ramifications of last issue's kiss and then a logical explanation that did more than enough to justify it to me. We see more and more of Miss America Chavez and we can see the cauldron bubbling underneath her entire existence. Young Loki pops back up and now I need to re-read the whole run thus far, with the post-JiM understanding under my belt. I loved the Game of Thrones and x is x memes that Gillen put in here. Every issue of this series that comes out just reaffirms my belief that this is the best book for comic fans of all ages that's currently coming out.

Book of the week goes to Young Avengers. Thor, Wolvie and even Ultimate Spider-Man were strong contenders, but I just have to go with something that so perfectly fills my childhood vision of what a comic can be. If I was a better adult, it'd go to Thor.