Monday, January 27, 2014

comics for the week of 01/22/14.

Well, I'm in the midst of trying out a bunch of new things. I'm catching up on Pretty Deadly and the Manhattan Projects and I expect them to be added to this list soon. I tried out Avengers World and it wasn't quite to my tastes. But there are some other new titles on here that are already golden in my eyes and the (somewhat surprising) return of another one. Cool week.

All New X-Men 22.NOW - Between the stupid costumes and the ridiculous numbering, I don't even have it in me to pretend that I give a shit about reviewing this issue. The Guardians of the Galaxy, with Angela, show up. Bobby is hilarious. The rest is trash. I don't care.

Avengers 25 - Welllllll...I just have no idea what the hell is happening in this book anymore. When it comes to X-Men, time travel is one of my favorite tropes, but when it's getting down to Avengers World and Hickman, I'm afraid he's operating above my level. It's cute to see the original Avengers again, but then it turns out they're not the original Avengers, and modern Tony is still wearing that stupid suit, and poor Maria Hill is really getting overworked, being everywhere at once in every Marvel book except Daredevil, and AIM is really stepping up their reputation, but those names are still ridiculously stupid. "Scientist Supreme"? Really? Anyway, I'm not really down for this any more. If someone tells me it gets great again, I'll jump back in, but for now, I think I'm done with this.

Batwoman 27 - Well, I picked it up only because Dave kept talking about the last issue, which I wasn't even that impressed with. But I've got to say: this was a solid issue. The Batwoman stuff itself was good, the Wolf Spider and his interactions with his benefactor were better and the Manapul art that (at least to me) seemingly came from out of nowhere was awesome to see. I've just heard about Manapul getting some work on Detective, which I'm psyched for, and this issue only served to further that interest. This was a cool look at Manapul aping Williams' layout style, if not any of the actual artistic stylistic choices beyond that. And that's totally OK. I loved the double page spreads and the involvement of Alice (and Bane and Dr. Bones, even though we don't know WTF actually happened with all this, and now I'm getting upset again, but I digress...) and the way that Manapul's cartoony style didn't hurt any of the gravity that was conveyed there. I didn't like Bette just leaving her cousin out to dry like that, but apparently it all worked out? Except...I didn't get the cliffhanger and I'm not sure if I'm supposed to and I think that's a problem for a series that I've read every issue of. But other than those minor quibbles, this was a solid issue. I'm in for a while more, at least.

Deadly Class 1 - Cool concept, nice execution. Remender doing a comic set in the 1980s and (at least for now) in San Francisco. The protagonist has an intriguing backstory and the group that seeks him out, while Remender says in the letter pages that this is a real world story (no aliens, no super heroes, no magic), definitely seems like they're going to be pretty over the top. I'm in, at least for the first arc, to see how wacky it gets. A hidden, underground school for assassins; what's not to like?

Hawkeye 16 - Self-Flagel-Kate-Tion and Joltin' Joe Kate-Zier. That says it all. Honestly, at this point, I may like the Kate stories even more than I do the Clint ones. This one's a hardly veiled look at the Beach Boys and Brian Wilson's Smile record, which he thinks his evil brother leaked online, to make him look crazy. But he doesn't need help looking crazy, and Kate thinks something is up with the nursing staff where he's staying. She's the best narrator ever, with her casual dismissal of culture, pop music, computers and the Internet. She's like a cranky 80 year old woman in the body of an awesome 20-something (or is she supposed to be a teen?). Annie Wu's art is perfectly suited to the irreverent tone of the book, too. The scene where Will is explaining the "Wish" record and we've got the classic portrait style, with his brother and the The story itself winds up in a semi-satisfying manner, with Kate giving up on the case, but Grey dying, Will performing, and Kate (and her neighbors) getting to see the concert. And everything is good. But just for a second, as someone has found her. The ominous tone struck by that moment continues into the letter pages where the editor explains the insanity that Marvel is forcing upon creative teams now and the inane numbering system has to be related, right? Anyway, great book, hope it gets to continue to be its own thing for as long as Fraction and whichever artists he wants to work with desire.

Mind MGMT 18 - The fact that Matt Kindt can make some incredible arcs and blend them with one-off stories like this is part of what makes him a modern master. While this issue wasn't my favorite of the entire series, it was totally indicative of why this comic is operating on levels that the mainstream companies can never hope to accomplish. The art seemed a bit looser than usual, but that felt appropriate for this childish tale, too. I loved the Zookeeper and the way she communicated with the animals. I loved Lyme's interactions with her as a kid, and we could definitely tell he was the bear from the get-go, right? So who was his wife supposed to be in that original image? Interesting. Meru is the perfect person to talk to Ella as a (young?) adult, too, but only for that little bit of time. I'd be scared if Meru's power-blocking ability worked on the girl for too long, because that's a whole lot of animals around without anyone to hold them back. In the letters page, there was a not-so-subtle hint dropped that we're halfway through the story. While I'll be sad in just under 20 more issues to say goodbye to Mind MGMT, I'm delighted to hear that they've got an end in mind. Serial storytelling is losing its appeal to me, thanks to the power of comics like this one. Fantastic.

The Walking Dead 120 - Yeah man...All Out War is at its midpoint. And we've already had two switcheroos. Maggie's back, Carl is injured, Rick's being a little baby and Negan thinks he's won. I think that means it's time for the tide to turn back to the good guys' favor, which is nice, but I'm still tempted to think about the far flung future, too. I'm loving this story. It feels like just the antidote to what we've been slogging through in TWD for a bit of time now. There was a little while where it was just atrocious, but ever since 100, things have been positively jumping. And I'm a fan. While I realize it's not all about war and killing (whether that's zombies or people) all the time, it's still nice to have a go with an action comic again. I'm curious to see how Kirkman will once again flip the script and I'm happy to see that...what's his name? The scarred guy? He's still with Negan, but working for Rick (and co.) in as effective a way as he can. This is going to be good.

Wolverine and the X-Men 40 - Wolverine and Cyclops get drunk together and have (at least half of) a reconciliation. It's awesome. The art, by Pepe Larraz, was perfectly cartoonish while not ridiculously so. The other half of the story was the SHIELD agents getting worked over by the kiddie X-Men and it was satisfying, but not nearly as much as Logan and Slim working out their problems. It's my hope that this issue is really relied upon and that other series start to reference it as we begin to look at healing the mutant rift that's been hanging over all the X books since the last Dark Phoenix saga. And if this series is truly ending in a couple issues, as opposed to just starting over, I can't imagine a better way for it to go out. This has been great.

Book of the week goes to Mind MGMT. There is very little better.

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