Monday, April 28, 2014

comics for the weeks of 04/16/14 & 04/23/14.

It was Spring Break, so I knew I was going to be late.

Thor: God of Thunder 21 - Yup, that was awesome. Yet another story that delightfully bounces back and forth from current Thor to old King Thor, both fighting enemies who are much too big for them. Galactus in the future and (apparently) a minotaur in the present. I had no idea the CEO was supposed to be a minotaur, despite seeing his previous transformation, and I don't know how/why that's supposed to be such a big deal, given what I know of old mythos, but I'm sure there's more than one twist coming to this story in the future. However, in this issue, both Thors lose, to a degree. Galactus beats old Thor physically, punching him through the Earth into the moon, breaking it, and later breaking his spirit with all the talk of how he's already failed the people of Earth. On the other hand, our current Thor is acting more and more like his past self, rushing headlong into action without thinking about it for a moment. It's a bit of mischaracterization for all the growth Thor's shown in the last two decades or so, but it's not so unfamiliar that it feels foreign. Roz Solomon is going to have to justify her place soon, otherwise she'll become either a cliche or an overused mop.

The Unwritten: Apocalypse 3 - All right, so Tom figures out where to find the secret weapon. In order to do so, he has to bring to life a whole new line of people. (Gepetto makes an alluded appearance via Rausch, huh?) Then he leaves behind Peter and Sue, probably for good. I feel like that's the last time we'll see the purely fictionalized world of Tommy Taylor. Tom is fully in control now. He's got some words for his father, which weren't pleasant, but were probably all true. And lastly, it turns out the rabbit's going to be crazy important. It's as though Carey and Gross have had this thing planned for a while. Quite brilliant. Love it.

Book of the week goes to Unwritten. We're nearer to the end than ever before and it's truly incredible.

*

More books this week, which is always nice.

Buffy 2 - Echoing my comments from Angel and Faith, it was nice to see multiple perspectives on this battle. And yeah, it seems like Giles is here to stay. The only unfortunate thing is that since he's in a kid's body, Gage seems to be writing him a little overly stuffy. Yeah, we get it, he's an old man and there's some dissonance, but his voice seemed a bit off to me. Other than that, we had some super suspicious behavior from Dowling (that's such a no-brainer it's almost not even worth mentioning) and some classic Buffy missteps insofar as her love life at large as well as Spike in particular. It was a solid issue, setting up some of the larger themes - the new rules they'll have to figure out, the presence of a Big Bad as the person (entity) that's creating these rules - as well as some looming questions: Koh clearly knows that Illyria is not dead, Giles is going to have to adjust to his new role, Dawn and Xander have some shit to work through, etc. Good stuff.

Daredevil 2 - A cool issue with a cool introduction of a cool new character who's got some mixed up influences. Part Batman, part Spider-Man, part Daredevil, it turns out the Shroud is probably going to be a nice addition to the DD mythos. I hope the allusion to the Owl turns out to be a big deal, too, based on the first part of 1.5 a few weeks back. Very cool continuation of the story of Matt Murdock in San Francisco and we haven't even gotten to the best part: the deputy mayor (and, presumably, everyone else) thinks Foggy's dead! But that it's not the cancer that killed him? Or was that her way of winking and nodding? I don't really know, but I love the way this new trio is interacting. I like where this book has been as well as where it's going.

Mind MGMT 21 - The powers of Meru continue to expand even while it looks like she's losing. Also, Kindt's take on the silent issue idea goes over...ummmm...not well? I don't know. I still loved the issue, but I felt like it was a gimmick just for the sake of the gimmick. I'm not sure there was much more to it. There wasn't a lot of reason for anyone not to talk, although the opening section with Duncan and Lyme made sense. The rest of it? They were getting attacked! They barely know each other! (Aside from Bill and Meru. Which, I guess means only the little guy...) I think I would have screamed. And the ending... Well, I didn't get it, but that's not unusual for me with this book. Obviously, the Magician is setting up a third side. And the side-narration was less clear than ever. But it was still fantastic, don't get me wrong.

The Walking Dead 126 - I'm so dissatisfied with this conclusion that I don't even really want to talk about this issue. Suffice it to say Rick isn't dead, neither is Negan and, yeah, while things feel like they might change, I'm not necessarily interested in the direction this is taking. I'd love to be wrong, I'll certainly still read this book, it's not like it's BAD, it's just that...I really thought things were going to drastically change. We'll see what kind of follow through Kirkman provides in the next issue, but for now, it basically just felt like a six month, 12 issue battle that changed...nothing much. There's a possibility for awesome world building, but it seems like the pre-100 issues are going to be repeated here and that was definitely the worst part of TWD's run thus far.

Book of the week goes to Daredevil. Pure, superhero fun.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

women's historic game ends in blow out fashion.

A week ago, the NCAA Division I basketball tournament reached its apex. And the University of Connecticut won. Nope, not the men's game, which was fantastic, sure, but the women's game which was truly historic, and not just according to the wonks at 538, the newly minted sports blog. While there have been undefeated teams playing for EM ostensibly EM a national championship before, in college football at least, that's never been the case in basketball.

Many say the latest victory for the UConn women represents an endorsement of their coach, Geno Auriemma. With long-time rival Pat Summitt retired, it seems as though almost no one can stand in the way of the Huskies and their long-running records. Notre Damn fought valiantly for their place as the spoiler, and maybe if they'd had Natalie Achonwa, or Ace, playing alongside her senior teammates, things could have gone differently.

There's no shame in losing to this UConn team, but there are definitely columnists who have wondered if all the Husky wins that are piling up are leading to Geno and Co. fatigue. While Mechelle Voepel seems to argue that UConn's winning ways are good for women's basketball overall there's definitely room for disagreement. Kate Fagan reasons that games are better when they're truly competitive and if Notre Dame represents the best team that UConn had to face, things are getting into a bad place. The bottom line: We need more better teams, not just UConn.

The takeaway a week later, with almost no one talking about the women's game, despite the WNBA Draft already occurring, is that NCAA Division I basketball is still all about the men's game. March Madness, to most people, means the men's games exclusively. Even if, or rather, when, two undefeated teams play, something that has never happened in the sport before, there's very little attention for the women. Something needs to change.

Monday, April 14, 2014

comics for the week of 04/09/14.

Out of town. This will post in time, but next week's might not. FYI.

All New X-Men 25 - That was a lot, a lot, a lot of fun. The reveal at the end was cool, too, as I suspected an oldie but goodie villain choice, and I had a nice chuckle, but not out of frustration or anger. It was good. But the key, obviously, was the art. Every page had something cool about it, even the jokey pages that normally leave a bad taste in my mouth. I loved the Bruce Timm beginning, and there was plenty of goodness to pass around. You should definitely pick up this issue.

Daredevil 1.5 - Similar to X-Men, that was fun, but unlike that book, this had a significant downturn. The Bendis/Maleev run on DD is probably my favorite of all time, but their middle section was undeniably the weakest part of this issue. The ending section was truly a throwback, in a very nice way. But the beginning section, with Waid firing on all cylinders, maybe telling the future and maybe not, made for a great possibility. I love the fact that they're having so much fun with Matt Murdock nowadays and that this is the new direction. It's a welcome relief, as well as a justified turn. It hasn't come out of left field but rather been a fully explained turn of events. I'm excited for what comes next.

East of West 11 - The focus on the daughter is perfect here, especially since the difference between shame and shave is a natural-seeming joke for an ESL speaker. They oftentimes notice these subtle differences that some of us don't, and even if it's just Hickman projecting that, it's the sign of a good writer. And then we get the creepy interlude with Archibald and a very strange friend in a box (this is the first time we've seen him, right?) and a transition to Bel Solomon dealing wit ha world of dreams that may or may not be infiltrating the real world. But the real meat of this issue comes about as we see the current leaders and their respective progeny or designates heading to the meeting of the nations at the Wall. There's a helpful listing of all the characters we've encountered near the end. The Confederacy, the Union, the Kingdom, the Texas Republic, and the PRA are well-represented, but it feels like we're missing more than just Death and his compatriots. And at the very end, there's a semi-answer. Have we encountered the Endless Nation before and I just don't remember? Or is there a new player on the scene? Either way, another solid addition to a story that could easily continue for a long, long time.

Invincible 110 - The most truly disturbing issue of Invincible yet. I'm just not sure how to write about this, because when a man gets raped, people either see it as funny or a plot device. It served as the latter here, but I just don't know that anyone would ever thinking of employing a female rape (in the 21st century) in a similar vein. I'm not against the artistic choice, but I do think Kirkman is treading on dangerous ground. Also, I can both see where Eve is coming from and I have my suspicions that this is not an authentic representation of reality. Part of me thinks Robot has to have seen the possibility of Mark coming back and plotted some sort of backdoor (clone, hologram, fake, etc.) Eve so that it would put Mark in this bad place. Secondly, speaking of that bad place, two Viltrumites crashing to the Earth and fighting isn't going to make Mark any more popular next issue when he's trying to rally support to his side. He may or may not have already lost Eve (I don't think that's the case) but this fight/rape scene will do him harm, too. The table, though, is set for next issue: LET'S CHANGE EVERYTHING.

The Walking Dead 125 – Well, that's one way to get himself out of that corner that I said Kirkman had definitely written himself into last issue. And I suppose that I'm actually OK with it. The way this issue went, I was even falling for Rick's line. Of course, in the back of my mind, I thought it was Negan playing Rick, but it turns out I've been outfoxed at every turn in this arc. And I'm totally OK with that. I love what's happening here and I think All Out War has been an excellent story. However, if we don't see some serious change in the next issue, the conclusion, it will all have been for nothing. I don't see Rick dying as a plausible possibility any more, unless Kirkman is going to be playing purely for shock factor – at this point, with him apparently surviving due to Dwight's diligence, it would only be a gratuitous pull of the chair – so there's got to be something else. I've got confidence because this has been great, but don't let me down, Kirkman!

Book of the week goes to All New X-Men. Fun, classic X stuff.

Monday, April 7, 2014

comics for the week of 04/02/14.

This was the week that Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out. There was very little else that mattered in my world.

Angel & Faith Season 10 #1 - Well, the art was great and seeing the fight in Buffy from another POV was neat, too. I like that we're getting two sides to the same story, but I'm wondering if Faith is actually going to take that job with Kennedy or make her way back to Angel? (Or some kind of both?) I'm interested, obviously, in all the characters, but I thought the dynamic between Angel and Faith last season worked really well. I'm hopeful they'll maintain it. Also, the Magic Town angle, which I'd completely forgotten about (before the preview in Buffy) looks like it'll have a lot of room. Awesome. Also, the note about London being a much better city for a vampire to be able to move around in was a fantastic little notice. Love when writers grab little things like that. Last of all, the Spike preview seemed cool - written by Marsters is great - but to hear that it's set in Season 7 is quite odd. I'll probably check it out.

Black Science 5 - This was the best issue of the series so far and I feel like I'm saying that about every issue so far in the series. That's a great sign. I loved the instantaneous reveal of the mystery character and I loved that the kids (especially Pia) were so adamant in their refusal, even if they're not totally getting along with their dad all the time. I admire how quick on his feet Kadir is to think about how to shift blame and I like that we've got these quirky twists on cliff hangers in (what feels like, at least) every single issue so far. Great, great stuff here, especially in the art department.

Trillium 8 - Trillum forever. Man. No words.

Ultimate Spider-Man 200 - I had no idea this was coming. And it was wonderful. I hadn't kept track of the Cataclysm stuff, but I knew that the Ultimate Universe wasn't actually ending. But to see a return to the old numbering, before it becomes Miles Morales: Spider-Man, was awesome. And the Bagley art was great. The different looks at the different interpretations each of the characters showcased in this issue had of Ultimate Peter Parker was so much fun. Except for Kitty. Hers was just incredibly touching. Loved it. And now we have a totally fresh start, with a cool new status quo in the Ultimate Universe for Miles and it seems like it's going to go really well. I love that this line is still fresh and still going, even with its bit of history. It's a cool way of doing things and I hope it gets to stay the way it is for quite a while longer.

Book of the week goes to Trillium. It was amazing. Pick up the trade before it inevitably winds up on people's best of lists.