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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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