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.