I made this joke on Twitter, but seriously, to anyone who reads this: you clearly sought this out, cuz my Google numbers don't reflect too much pass-through traffic: Thanks. I appreciate y'all.
Batman 21 - All right, so it appears as though I'm dropping Batman. Zero Year begins (I don't know, is this a DC-wide thing, or is it just Batman?) and I can't imagine a lot of ways it could be worse. First of all, the name. It recalls both Zero Hour as well as Year One, neither of which it's better than. And yeah, getting over Year One would have been a hell of a feat, but getting over Zero Hour should have been half a jump for a talented writer like Snyder with the richness of Batman's character. Instead, we have Bruce and Alfred arguing about why young master Wayne came back to Gotham, the retcon of an Uncle Phillip and some sort of Capulet/Montague fued between Bruce's progenitors. And worst of all? It appears as though the dear old Uncle who wants Bruce to come back to Wayne Enterprises for totally unselfish reasons isn't what he seems! Shocking. He's using the Riddler and we see that it was Nygma's (God, what a stupid, pointless respelling of his name) algorithm that allowed Wayne Industries to rise to the top while Bruce was off training and Thomas was dead. This is a poor use of a blank slate. Even the back-up, with art by Rafael Albuquerque, seems wasted on explaining a throwaway line that came from the main story: Where did Bruce learn how to drive like a madman? It's not that the book is bad, really, it's not. It's just that with so much opportunity in front of them, I can't believe that this is the direction that Synder chose to take, and if he didn't choose, I can't believe this is the direction that DC Editorial is forcing. No more for me.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer 22 - I've already expressed my disappointment with this title, so I'm not going to get too redundant. But I am going to say that this issue continues a trend, and that pattern is not a good one. Buffy is too blind to see something that's been staring her right in the face until she hears a keyword from Xander and at that point, we have this artificial feeling conflict brewing of saving the world again, which we REALLY DIDN'T NEED. We could have gotten to this exact same point without any of the pointless backtracking from Xander's character. Literally. This is just pointless regression. And that's what makes me so sad. In the same issue that we have a conversation between Spike and Dawn that shows how far they've all come, we have Xander needlessly sliding back, further and further back. It's stupid. It's like how mainstream comics think they need to keep everything status quo. Not only is it OK for these characters to grow, but that's part of the attraction. Let me finish it by saying that Spike and Dawn are incredible and everyone else in this book sucks. Hopefully the great progress we've already achieved in Angel and Faith will carry over into some amazing things for this book, because otherwise it's almost worthless to even talk about this shitshow.
Thumbprint 1 - Yeah, this was interesting. I came for the Joe Hill, since he's impressed me with everything he's done and I stayed for the art, the gnarly subject and the graphic tone. But I'm not sure how long I'll stick with it. Honestly, war stories just aren't necessarily my cup of tea, so it's hard for me to stay with them. I appreciate the contemporary angle, and I'm sure Hill's got some impressive things to say about what happened not just at Abu Ghraib but regarding the War on Terror in general, but that's not my wheelhouse. All that being said, if it turns into some complicated family dynamics, like we saw in the too-brief bar scene, I'm into that. This poor girl is clearly living in the shadow of her father and her narration in the beginning describing his death was spot on. I'll have to listen to people who are talking about this title in the near future, just to see if it's worth pursuing. For now, I definitely give it a recommendation, it's more than worth your time, check it out.
Superman Unchained 1 - Oh man. Oh man. Boo. That's the only response I can muster. I don't even wanna get into it, honestly. If you liked it, I'm happy for you. Jim Lee can still draw when he wants to (although those much-vaunted splash pages didn't do ANYTHING for me) and Snyder seems to have a story he wants to tell. But there was literally nothing here for me.
The Walking Dead 111 - Wow, Negan is terrible. And I'm back on this comic month to month because this is the type of story that I can easily go to because stuff is actually happening. This is great. In the frist half, we get the gathering of the army and we see that things are going pretty swimmingly for everyone. (Now, in the back of my head, as a wounded Walking Dead reader, I know this is bad. I know this is just the calm before the storm. I know that something is going to go terribly, terribly wrong. But, again, as a season reader, I also know that I will not be able to predict the shenanigans that Kirkman will pull. All I can do is wait with dreadful anticipation.) The armies are combining and the plan is forming. And while the first half was good, I was kind of disappointed because I thought that meant we were going to get yet another issue full of plotting without any real action. But then...Negan comes knocking. He's arrived at Rick's group to pull his share a bit early. And Rick's not there. (Fortunately, Rick is smart, so he'll come back with some things.) But who should approach Negan but Spencer. He's here to warn Negan that Rick is insane. (Because he is.) But Negan, arrogant asshole that he is, isn't having it. I hope we get to hear some words from Negan as he's dying, letting us know that he sees all the ways he slipped up and that he could have avoided his fate. (Although, I guess that's presuming that he's going to die. I hope to God he is, but that would be a unique angle for Kirkman to take if Negan got away or something. I mean, Rick and his assembled armies have to win, right? BTW, still concerned about Ezekiel. God, this book makes you paranoid.) Anyway, the ending is great, the action is enough to keep me engaged and it's actually looking like we'll get the grand battle soon. Maybe not next issue, but the one after?
Thor: God of Thunder 9 - Let me just preface all of this before I even read the book by saying: I can't believe we have a story with three different timelines of Thor and they're about to battle a God Slayer and that the recap page says, "The hammers are about to fall." This is almost everything I dreamed about as a comic-book-reading kid. But it involves Thor, whom I've never really cared about, and yet, it's one of the best books being put out nowadays! This is incredible. OK, now to read. OMG. YOU SHOULD HAVE BROUGHT MORE THORS. THIS BOOK IS INCREDIBLE! I love the page of all of them jumping into battle with Gor in their own, so so so so so so different styles. Damn. And then we give them all a moment to shine. They all have great lines, so varied in their styles and approaches, and Gorr breaks them all down so expertly. It's as though Gorr is the voice of the author and he's letting us know exactly what differentiates each of his characters in a way that's perfectly cheating because it doesn't feel anything like cheating. Gorr goes against three Thors and I'm not going to spoil the result, but let's be satisfied to say that next issue is a must-read, almost no matter what. Even if you haven't been picking up this book, I'd recommend that you get the next one. This is one of the best comics on the market right now at all, much less from Marvel. Jason Aaron has a great grip on the story, and Esad Ribic is the perfect artist for all of this. It's solid.
Wolverine and the X-Men 31 - Quentin is a natural fit as the narrator of this book and I'm glad that he's finally getting his chance to shine, even though I still think he's a good guy at heart. (I'm not quite convinced that should read "even though..." I think it's a good thing he's a good guy. He's gonna be one of the greats.) The splash with him saying the classic line? So good. I also loved the (not-so) subtle dig at the Distinguished Competition with option B from Professor Mystique. Other than that (and the fantastic cliffhanger that I'll get to) though...yeah...I get it. This is the opposite of the Jean Grey School. It's the kiddie Hellfire Club (again) and the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (again) and they've teamed up and they're doing the opposite of Wolvie and Co. Yeah. I get it. But to take us through the periods, well, that was wack. (Sidenote here: what the fuck is going on with Husk? I'm pretty sure I mentioned this last month, but this is beyond the pale now. She's either DEEEEEEP undercover [with some sort of mental blocks on herself] or she's going through a radical change of character. I'm not really OK with either, I don't think.) But once we get through the school day, Quire's plan to find the Broo shooter and rescue himself, Broo and Idie all at once encounters a serious roadblock. Snot got an upgrade and, surprise, the seemingly innocuous guy from the beginning (the Philistine! What a great name!) turns out to be the harbinger of an amazingly great throwback villain, if it can even be called that. Even when he said just the first part of the name, I didn't immediately snap to it. I like where this is going, but I don't like the depressive nature of Wolverine and his insistence that they give up the school (this despite his knowledge of the future from the last issue) and I hate the over-reliance on the mirror format. All that being said, I'm intrigued and delighted by the ending.
Book of the week goes to Thor. This is exactly what I want from a super hero comic. Huge storylines, solid art, and things that my younger self would have thought of, but plotted out to the exponentially better degree. I love the fact that this is a mainstream comic and I hope Jason Aaron gets to frolic in this playground as long as he'd like.