Monday, June 23, 2014

comics for the week of 06/18/14.

I caught up on Sex Criminals as a whole before reading this issue and I'm torn on the idea of staying monthly with it or reading it in arcs. Anyone have a suggestion?

Avengers 31 - More wacky time travel. More layers. More shit I don't understand from what was previously a straight forward book. And I don't mind it. But I don't love it. We see how Stark is kind of the progenitor of all of this type of stuff, but now we've got Ultron (Prime!) involved in the mess as well as a lack of Thor and Hyperion, both of whom are always helpful. Barton less so, but it's always good to see that he's alive.

Buffy 4 - I like everything about where this issue has gone. The interplay between Xander and Dracula, the explanation for the tension between Xander and Dawn, the reconciliation of Buffy and Dawn, the way that Spike and Giles are being used as solid supporting characters. Man, it's good. And the ending makes sense, too. This season is going really well. The only thing that's off - kind of surprisingly - is the art. I'm not sure if it was just that one shot of Buffy when she and Dawn were talking in the kitchen, and if it was just her nose in that one panel, but it just felt half a degree off. However, I'm loving the book overall, and I like the fact that Nicholas Brendan is getting to contribute in this cool way. He has a grasp for the language, it comes off as very similar to the TV show.

Daredevil 4 - Awesome. We've got some magnificent seeds planted for the Owl's ascension as a master super villain. I love that this title is actually going places. I loved the Bendis arc because it was the first time I felt like a superhero comic was moving beyond its self-imposed limitations. And honestly? It's only gotten better since then. It continues to push the envelope on what continuity can mean, in the best way. When you take into account that a hero has a backstory, not only with a city (San Fran) but with enemies (like the Owl), it all of a sudden matters that those stories exist. It's not perpetually now. Sure, we've still got ridiculously decompressed timelines, but I'll take it. The art is gorgeous, the storyline is clearly plotted beyond just TODAY (the all caps, bold tradition of comics) and there are great things happening in the short term, too. Liked the not-so-subtle hints that Murdock is becoming a local celebrity just as much as I liked his being oblivious to it all. The Shroud will continue to develop, too. What a book.

Fables 141 - Jesus, what a beginning of an end. But other than that - and the last two pages (one of which was, like, a one page story? or a coda?) - there's not a lot to go on here. It's mainly just accumulating the pieces in place. Red vs. White, magicians taking sides and Cinderella coming back into the fold via a forgotten character. Lovely, but not quite the rolling start I'd hoped for. On the other hand, I'm sure when all the details are finally fleshed out, it'll look amazing in retrospect. This has been one of the most solid additions to the oeuvre of comics literature and I'm confident in its conclusion, even if that solid start (to the end) makes me fear for the state of Rose Red; let's not forget, with the last page in sight: they started the series by "killing" her.

The Private Eye 7 - An origin story for the driver starts the tale, but mixed in are some of the details that this team is famous for: the not-so-subtle nods to the current, with the oldies on sale, as well as some sweet aspects to the Dreamcoat. But that's shaded by the change to PI's present, because I'd forgotten why we might need/deserve a backstory on Melanie. So we have that tragic aspect of this chapter of the coolest comic on the market, we have an amazing car chase (involving an electronic/hovering motorcycle?) and we have the resumption of the Internet as imminent. DeGuerre seems intent on winning this battle and it seems like he probably will, too. So that puts us in a precarious position. I mean, obviously, I'm still rooting for my protagonists, but I think they seemed destined to fail in a way that'll make things all right... Brilliance, in a pay what what you format, on a recurring basis. Is there any better theoretical comic available right now?

Sex Criminals 6 - On the one hand, it's great. On the other hand, I don't know if I can handle adding yet another book that takes regular breaks. Regardless, in this issue, we see Jon facing some issues that we knew he'd have to, but that's going to continue for quite a while longer. What's more interesting, and what may be wrapped up sooner, is his battle with the Sex Police. The thing with each of these groups is, since they all have the same powers, there are some extraordinary things they can do to each other. And really, neither of them will ever know, unless their enemy wants them to. That's a fucked up situation. But in the good way. I feel like next issue will definitely focus on Suzie's side of things, and we won't get to see too much of what I want to see: the confrontation. But it was great, obviously.

Thor 23 - Haha. A great issue in every way. The parallelism that Jason Aaron writes with really puts him on another level. And Ribic's art is perfectly suited to this book. I definitely would not be reading this if it was another combo. I've never cared about Thor. But somehow, they've hooked me for more than two years now. Incredible stuff. I like the differentiation we're starting to see in Thor's granddaughters and I'm curious about how exactly old Thor disposed on Galactus without killing him. I didn't totally follow that, so I'm hoping there'll be some further explanation. I know next issue will tell us some more about Brixton, but I don't really care about the Oklahoman town or Asgard's presence there. It's been a good little run, but I'm comfortable with the change that feels inevitable at this point. More amazing? How much I've grown to care about Roz in a relatively little amount of time. It's just so so so good. Last of all, here's hoping that Dario doesn't get out of the trouble he should be in; lawyers and corporations can only take care of so much and it would push just a bit beyond the pale if he's just off scot-free.

Unwritten: Apocalypse 6 - First of all, can I just say that I love the fact that we've arrived at the point where Wilson and Tom are having a conversation where the kid calls the elder dad? I mean, man, what a small touch in such a wacky book. Additionally, in this story, we get at least two other names for Pullman, and we see him in a form that makes me think he's not just Cain, but he might be the Devil himself. Jesus. Also, Rauch is still playing the middle and she's only getting stronger and stronger. Pullman is firmly set as the opposition, but I'm starting to think of the Madame as a solid spoiler, which I didn't before. The subject of this issue, though, is the Maanim. I still don't know exactly what it is, but, like Pullman says, it's clearly a metaphor. But the ending, man, the ending. It's all coming together! It's so great. I love the criss-cross and how it's been building this whole time and how it makes sense. Tom is obviously going to kill the black knight (if not next issue, he's got to do it before the end) but the most important thing is that he's now entered the world of Arthurian legend. I'm curious about two things: are his friends with him? And, more importantly, will time work in a different manner there? Because he's still got quite the quest in front of him if he's now looking for the Holy Grail - that thing is NEVER easily obtained, no matter how pure he is.

The Wicked and the Divine 1 - Well if that isn't a hell of a comic (semi-pun fully intended) I don't know what is. Gillen and McKelvie create another monster and it's going to amazing. We only see the barest of beginnings (although we do see two of them, for what it's worth) to the story, but we have confirmation from Gillen in the letter pages that this is both intended to be an ongoing as well as the comforting fact that they have the ending plotted out. The art (DUH) is the most beautiful thing that came out this week, but the story's got a lot going on, too.

Book of the week goes to Unwritten. If it's too complicated for you at this point, maybe you shouldn't have been reading it at all.

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