Monday, July 28, 2014

comics for the week of 07/23/14.

There are no sports. Life.

Buffy 5 - Continues the great story of how Buffy got her family back. This seems to be the overarching motif of Season 10 and I'm great with that. The Dracula/Maloker (sp?) issue was taken care of with much more ease than I thought it would be, but that didn't feel like a bad thing. I was more relieved that we didn't stretch story unnecessarily, especially since we have so much more good story left. First up, the Dawn and Xander plot. Secondly, the Xander and Anya plot. Man. He's got some stuff going on. Then, of course, we've got Buffy and the cops, young Giles, Willow recognizing her place and Spike still kind of struggling to fit in. Lots of good seeds planted in this issue, I'm sure they'll be followed up on and I'm sure it'll be cool.

Daredevil 6 - Huh. Well, this one was a miss for me. I'm not sure whether part of this story was planned aside from the Original Sin tie-in, but I'm going to go ahead and blame the event for the lackluster quality of a book that's normally stellar. The art wasn't up to par, the story was shoehorned in, despite all the attempts to fit it into continuity, and the fact that it's not just a single-issue arc is more than disappointing. I'm kind of glad that we're demystifying Matt's dad's character a bit, but this seems like an odd way to do it. Just have the Original Sin plot go through and take it up there, unless the Wakanda thing is going to have larger ramifications. If it's not, this is a waste of time and effort.

Saga 21 - Wow. I don't know if it was, but this felt like an extra-sized issue. And every single page was good. From the drugs that Alana is beginning to the lack of romance in her sex with her husband to the casual touch of the other woman, it was all good. Plus, we get Robot IV learning he has a son, grandmother paying her respects to Oswald and the quippy line from the indentured servant. This is just chock full of goodness and it's so beautiful and so well told. Also, Robot's kid is on a voyage, and Hazel's narration continues to be spot on. Plus, she's becoming an older person, so the chances of staying undercover and becoming much smaller. I love this book so much.

Trees 3 - This series is weird and this issue was the weirdest. It wasn't remotely bad, but I'm not sure of anything at this point. Could be, if I continue with this book, it'll turn out to be one of the most important parts of the series. Could be this is the issue that makes me say it's not worth it. It was pretty and intriguing, though. I like the girl, I like the professor and I'm interested in the kid artist. That's about it for this one.

The Unwritten: Apocalypse 7 - The glitches serve their point and Pullman scores a (temporary victory) at the end. But this clearly isn't going to fly. Even if it doesn't revert back to the epic romance tale, Tom's pants aren't even down! Logic will shine its light through, even if it's clouded through the story lens. The back and forth nature of this issue really worked well, until the end, where it was clear that things were elevating to another level. Just look at the narration. There's no way this is actually the narrative. The rabbit's having second thoughts, the king vampire was dismissed so easily when we thought he'd be yet another true challenge, we haven't even got to the side effects of Tom bringing back the childrens' father - remember they were previously orphans! This is winding down in a hell of a way and while the last few pages were a bad note, they weren't (at least, I don't think, at this point) a missed on. We're going to see some serious pulling together of the strings here - it's no coincidence that Rauch is remembering back to the one dangling thread we've got, the scene that was never explained. Also, hilarious that her kids are already dreaming up theology and picking sides. The new world is coming, and there's always a place for the stories of good guys in the sky.

Book of the week goes to Saga. It's an honor that'll continue more than a few more times while this brilliance is happening, but I'm just as happy with the title today as I was for issue one. What a unique thing.

Monday, July 21, 2014

comics for the week of 07/16/14.

I also read The Life After, on the recommendation of Dave Jordan. It was cool and, as he said, very Matrix-y, which should be up my alley. I'll check out the second issue, but I really just couldn't stand the art.

Fables 142 - A really sad look at how the battle lines are being drawn, despite some characters deluding themselves into thinking they're not. Rose Red and Snow White simply approach one another and magical armor springs up? Man, there's going to be some shenanigans. Also, the reappearance of Bigby out in the Mundy world has brought around New York's finest, and they're sure to have some itchy trigger fingers regarding a killer who's brought down some of their number already. Lastly, we see the real power of the North Wind - she's calling in all the favors and she's putting down a big bet. This is another solid cog in the machine of getting us toward the end. The laughs at the end, when it comes to Sinbad's last story are relatively meager, if only because of the foreboding sense I got from the real story. It's going down.

The Wicked and the Divine 2 - Did not care for it. Art is beautiful, but... The story is too self-indulgent. I'm buying another issue, but we'll see if it goes further than that.

Book of the week goes to Fables, not in any bad way, it actually earned it, but there was no competition in reality.

Monday, July 14, 2014

comics for the week of 07/09/14.

While the Solstice just happened a little bit ago, a New Mexico teacher's summer is more than halfway over. This is incredibly sad.

All New X-Men 29 - Before even reading it, I just want to talk about how weird the cover made me feel. It's like...we're living in a world where the original five X-Men have time traveled to the 'present' and are riding motorcycles around and know about what happened and...isn't that just weird? I mean, even for comics? Man. And then I read the issue and the end was the cover and the beginning and the middle...? Well, it was (KIND OF) a wrap up of some of the craziness that's been going on. While Xavier and Raze are (apparently) now here for good (which seems like a HORRIBLE IDEA, BTW) along with the time-displaced X-Men and the bad-but-not-really-bad-they-were-just-being-mind-controlled-by-Xavier have been sent back to the future (THAT SEEMS LIKE THE REVERSE OF WHAT YOU SHOULD DO, BTW), we have things kinda sorta set back to a status quo. But that status quo now involves a shitload of out of time people, and the bad guys in a place where there's no chance things don't go wrong. In good news, Angel is clearly the most underused of these characters, so it's nice to think we're going to get some shine time on him with X-23 next issue. Deadpool was also funny.

Avengers 32 – Well, I thought that was just about as wacky as it was going to get, but my jaw literally dropped at the last page. Not that it was so shocking or something crazier than I've seen in comic books, but just...I far down the rabbit hole are we going??? Also, I love that this is ostensibly an Original Sin tie-in, but there's nothing to it. We've got Cap, Black Widow and Starbrand 4,000 years in the future talking to Franklin Richards, seeing an Avengers World, with a cool cameo on the second to last page. And the dialogue was right up my alley, with discussions about time not being linear and space-time being an actual organism and all that good stuff. But every layer that we've peeled back has revealed more and more, so for the first time in a long time, I'm actually really, really excited for the next issue of Avengers because I feel like there's some point finally coming. I'm not sure I know what it is, nor where this battle between Cap and the Illuminati is going, but I feel like things are definitely coming to a head. And that's exciting.

Daredevil 5 - What a hilariously comic book explanation Matt has for Foggy regarding his own death. It's as though Daredevil's been through this before himself, or with his girlfriends, or with enemies, or with Spidey and Iron Man, who get specifically name checked, or he's been reading some Marvel Universe books. And then the whole book plays out and you wonder how Mark Waid hasn't gotten to be one of the biggest writers on the planet year after year after year. He just knows the genre so well, and he knows that DD has had years of bad karma, so he gets this one fortuitous moment, where the Leapfrog attacks, Foggy's complaining about faking his death, wanting to the the hero and he's presented with the perfect opportunity. Ant-Man's on hand for a special (and important) guest spot, and Foggy narrates the whole thing in his diary. It's so touching. A really, really good single issue that fits in so well with the overall narrative that's been happening in this book for the last 2+ years. Superhero comics at their best.

The Walking Dead 129 – Oh man. That's just...I don't know. I don't feel fear for any of the people I've come to love, nor any hatred for Negan, just a whole mess of...I don't even know. I'd forgotten about the new people, but I'm hopeful they're not going to be that stupid. I'm happy for Carl, in more ways than one and I'm worried about Rick. He seems committed to the idea of the new, peaceful society, but to a disturbing degree. I don't know how the rest of his people feel about him, though. They all seem more than okay with him, calling him sir, etc. So, I guess if he cracks down hard on a horse rider, they're not going to care? Which is fine with me? I don't know. It's in a weird place for me right now.

Book of the week goes to Daredevil. While I was really happy with Avengers, I just can't deny the truly happy feeling I get from Waid's DD. And Samnee's art is a huge plus.

Monday, July 7, 2014

comics for the week of 07/02/14.

Before these books came out, the US soccer team lost to Belgium. I'm still sad.

Angel and Faith 4 – Hm. Cool. First of all, I love the art in this book. But beyond that, the story is working on several levels. I like what's happening with Nadira, and the detective, and Corky, and the magic bottles and the reveal of the baddie at the end. I even flipped back a few pages to see if she was around. Yup, she was. I'll have to check some of the previous issues at this point. Really cool take on bringing back yet another old face, but I'll be curious to see how it all gets explained, if it does at all. I mean, I'm sure there'll be some kind of token, but... There's a lot of ground to cover. For now, I'm not really clear on believing who's the good guys versus who's the baddies. (Except for the last page.) And the most interesting wrinkle in that equation is Faith, on the other side of the pond, who's got to contend with a missing Riley all of a sudden. Yep, that's worth sticking around for. And, as much as I've always hated Riley, he's a great draw to continue to connect the series to the books. I hate him and it was a hook even for me. So good for the writers.

East of West 13 – Huh. Well, I still don't understand this book at all. Beside the fight between Death and the lawman, I didn't grok any of the Crow/Wolf/demons encounter. But I guess I don't necessarily need to just yet. It's a long game (as usual) Hickman's playing. It's pretty and it's entertaining and I feel there's some sort of (mini, perhaps) conclusion coming up, so I'm happy with that.

Original Sin 5 – Well that was different. A hell of a retcon, there's no doubt. I mean, when the term was introduced, I don't think they even contemplated this scale. But here it is. Nick Fury is Jon Snow. The man on the wall. Times infinity. But with Howard Stark dead, why does he continue? Who does he talk to? To whom does he make his reports? How will he know how to pass the position on to? Why does all of this seem so convoluted? Really, I mean, that's all we get from this issue, aside from the question of who killed the Watcher. It still doesn't seem like it was Nick, but he certainly knows who it was. Also, way to write a mini-series for the express purpose of retconning everyone and everything Marvel. I can't believe it took this long for someone to suggest this concept, much less this long for the comics industry to embrace it. Damn, this is going to be a hell of a game changer when it's over, regardless of how this series turns out. We can just introduce all kinds of secrets from “back in the day” and say they've been around all along and were obscured by the Watcher or Fury or this semi-SHIELD (notes of Hickman's old series, huh?) or just...stuff... Man. What a weird thing I'm reading.

Thor 24 - Sad, in a weird way. But fitting. Asgard leaves Earth, through an odd set of circumstances, but no more weird than what brought it to our planet in the first place. (Ragnarok, right? I mean...) Roz gets some real love here, not just from the oblique references of everyone around her (good thing for comic book writers - characters live as long as you want them to, they're not subject to contract renegotiations, so Roz looks like she'll be around for the long term) but also from Old King Thor himself, having his granddaughters name a river after her, Jane and Steve. (Love the love that emanates from every character in the Marvel Universe for Captain America, BTW.) Also, Galactus is a whipped little puppy but he's transforming, we see that Roxxon has, in fact, set up base on Mars - but is apparently in no shape to challenge Galactus upon his arrival there like old Thor did when he showed up on Earth, so at least that's good - and we get the conclusion of the saga in Broxton. (Is that the name of the town?) Thor makes many sacrifices, Jane will still be around, she's accepting of Roz and next issue is a diversion. The art wasn't perfect, because I think only Ribic's art is perfect for this book and I'm going to be disappointed every time he's not on it. But it's still a hell of a comic book.

Ultimate Spider-Man 3 – Oh cool! The recap page just told me that Miles' girlfriend is Katie Bishop! I'm sure that's supposed to be an analogue for Stature in the 616, right? So...can we assume she has powers? Or is this going to be yet another divergent point? But then the issue started and all I could see was responsible JJJ, the beautiful art of Marquez and the LOLz at cross-dressing Carol talking about the incursions. Man, this book is so good. It's the little touches: the way Norman disables Chang by talking to her, the Blaire realty sign, the Scooby Doo homage, everything that used to make comics feel like a cool in-joke that nerds could get is in here. But it doesn't feel exclusionary. The only bad part of this issue was the fact that it ended where the cover began. It wasn't a huge surprise, but I hate to be drawn out like that. Beautiful all the way around, I feel bad for Spider fans who aren't reading this.

Book of the week goes to Angel and Faith. It's weird, I felt like ALL the books this week were great, but looking back over the list, a single title didn't jump out at me. That's not a diss of Angel & Faith, just a note.