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.

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