Monday, May 26, 2014

comics for the week of 05/21/14.

School's out for the summer.

Buffy 3 - Wow. I was not of the opinion that Nicholas Brendan writing this book was much of an idea, much less a good one, not to mention the great way this turned out! It was really, really close to the tone of what I expect from a Buffy comic - and I really think he made the difference. Of course, it helps that he's got a natural in, playing with characters where he got to show off some seriously cheesy chops in the show, hamming it up with Dracula again. But it didn't end there. The dialogue between Willow and Buffy, the love dynamic between Xander and Dawn, it all rang true. I'm a huge fan of this book three issues in and, while I didn't see Dracula's turn coming, I don't believe that Xander is all the way gone, either. Things are going pretty well for the gang, and I don't think there's any sign of a big bad rearing his ugly head yet - unless you count the strange behavior of the cop in last issue, here only alluded to. Great stuff all the way around.

Daredevil 3 - Hah. Another great issue of another great series with another great creative team. This book is really rolling by this (early - kinda) point and it's lovely to see Samnee and Waid keeping up with their unique take. The way they've evolved the Owl, the cool team-up of the Shroud and Daredevil, the totally trite, but lovely, last page cliffhanger - it felt just like a comic book should. Plus, Dave Jordan pointed out the Saga homage, which was a fine touch. The thing is, it's almost perfect. I mean, I just don't have any complaints. It's incredible proof of what a comic book can do in the 21st century.

East of West 12 - Another killer (pun totally intended) issue of the complicated mess of things. I'm not going to pretend that I have any clearer idea of what's happening than I ever had, but I do know this: things continue to escalate. There are plenty of tribes, I have no idea what the alliances are, and we didn't even get to see Death in this issue. Just the old folks trying to rig the game so they can last a little bit longer. In that regard, it reminds me of our own real world. Small surprise that war is coming.

Invincible 111 - Holy crap. After the slow burn of the last issue, I wasn't convinced that the cover to this one wasn't just a gag of some kind. But man oh man, it was not. This is getting crazier and crazier and it's only going to continue. I'm not truly convinced that Cecil is dead (I mean, Nick Fury would have some kind of backup, LMD, etc. and Cecil is even more realistic/paranoid than Nick) but it was vicious and I wouldn't be surprised if that was the end of the matter. The Eve bit, I thought, was going to be even worse. And basically....that's all. We got some solid set up, but Rex's resignation in the words, "Let the slaughter begin," was apparent and it's really going to get going next issue. This is going to change everything.

Saga 19 - I don't even know how to talk about how good it was to have it back and how hard that last page was to read. The art is perfect, the parallels in the story were amazing and the way the cast has all grown is incredible. This is the book everyone should be reading. Period.

Unwritten: Apocalypse 5 - Pauly Bruckner. Just like we knew since issue 12, he's going to be a vital part. And was there any doubt that was Cain masquerading as Mr. WOO the whole time? I mean, Pullman. The idea of the stairs and their relationship with the stories and the world most of the characters are living in now is a curious one. Pauly has truly changed in the course of this series and it's going to be fascinating to see where and how he ends up. His feelings on Wilson are pretty clear, while his ambivalence about Tom(my) is the only thing that might save them all. We'll see if this rabbit has one more trick to pull out of his magic bag - it may be the thing that they all rely upon eventually.

Thor: God of Thunder 22 - This book just continues to get better and better. We didn't see any of the youngest Thor in this issue and that was for the best. While he's clearly the weakest of the three characters, that's also not a condemnation of him. It's just when something is this good, even ordinarily great things are going to look weak in comparison. There was no cliffhanger when it was revealed that old Thor was flying in the opposite direction, but what he was going to retrieve is a great tie-in to the previous stories and really makes this run feel like a complete thing. Meanwhile, in current day, modern Thor is getting his first glimpse of the minotaur and I feel like that's going to be the turning point; he now has knowledge with which to fight his enemy, which feels like a classic bad guy screw up. Oh well, I hate him anyway, so it's good that he'll soon be beaten - but probably not vanquished. Also, we didn't even get to the coolest part: Thor's granddaughters showing up to continue his fight against Galactus, getting named, and showcasing their weapons and abilities. It was awesome, maybe the best issue of the series thus far?

Book of the week goes to Daredevil. While Saga impacted me the most, DD is what I look for when I look at comics. Even though I'm transitioning out of the superheroes and more exclusively reading the indie stuff, you wouldn't be able to tell by looking at this list. And that's because the superheroes still have my heart.

Monday, May 19, 2014

comics for the weeks of 05/07/14 and 05/14/14.

Finally got a chance to check out The Amazing Spider-Man 2. It was a solid flick, they just tried to cram too much in. That being said, I feel pretty tapped out on Peter Parker, Spider-Man, which was good for this week.

Angel and Faith 2 - Couldn't find it. Will review later.

Ultimate Spider-Man 1 - All I know is...that's not Peter Parker. This was a fantastic start to what feels like a logical next step. Just like Miles was the logical next step to Peter, now it feels like it's truly Miles' book, and not just because of the name. I love the discussion the guards have about the cyclical nature of superheroes and the way that twists with Norman in this issue. I love the frank way Miles has with talking to MJ and getting advice. I love the fact that this is almost assuredly that background character we saw earlier who is now his girlfriend and that she almost assuredly already knows that Miles is Spider-Man, but that he's puzzling out how to tell her. There are some really good things happening in this series and the last page is going to set us up for plenty more. This is great.

The Wake 8 - Wow. I don't know what's happening, but the world building just keeps getting more and more layered. What the hell was that with the General? He was just hallucinating? From the Mer venom? But it lined up with reality? In curious ways beyond what Guv Viv would have said and done? And they traced our protagonist to her merry little new band of outlaws and pirates. And one of them has a gnarly hand that Captain Hook would be insanely jealous of (maybe even Inspector Gadget). Now we're coming up on the conclusion and it still seems as likely as ever that we'll still get to see Lee one last time. I don't know what the connection between all this is, but I'm thinking it's pretty damn good.

Book of the week goes to Ultimate Spidey.

*

Finals time meant that the reviews didn't get put up on time. It is what it is.

All New X-Men 27 - This book REALLY feels like it took a jump. And is this what this is going to be now? Just all time travel all the time? I guess this is some kind of poetic justice for my saying that I liked X-Men time travel stories? It feels like overload, and while I like getting the backstory on the future Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, it really does feel like it came from out of nowhere.

Avengers 29 - Well, that was wonky. It really does feel like a recycled idea to have it simply be Cap vs. Iron Man yet again, but the change with the Infinity Gauntlet was a good one (if it was one...I certainly don't remember it from before, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen) and the one-page epilogue/cliffhanger was nice. I'm not reading, nor do I plan to, Original Sin (yet another recycled title, boo), but I didn't feel like I needed to in this case either. So that's always nice. Meanwhile, it's an issue where basically only one thing happens: Cap remembers the Illuminati and their mind wipe of him (BTW, what kind of shitty Sorcerer Supreme is Strange anyway, if that spell doesn't work?) and goes to have a chat with Tony about it. He takes Widow, Hawkeye, Thor and two of the newbies (Starbrand and Hyperion?) with him and it turns into a fight. Next up?

Fables 140 - I'm not going to claim I totally understood it, but I'm definitely going to claim that I'm unhappy with it. We'll see when it's all over if these two issues mean more but for now I just feel robbed out of great story and filled with a mediocre (at best) short arc.

New Avengers 18 - Meh. A lot of time has been spent building up these heroes and it feels like so much wasted time. It's not that I don't care, it's just that it was the only logical next step. And the next? Some of them have got to live. So...who cares? They're going to die eventually. I didn't need to see all that time with them to know they were good. And I didn't need T'Challa's communion with the dead Black Panthers of the past to see that he was troubled. He's always been the most conscious of the group - which is probably a purposeful thing - and Reed and Tony are the opposite ends. Banner seems like the new wild card, but Hank is fitting right in. We still haven't seen any of the (good) ramifications of Strange's new powers, so it seems like next issue is where we'll finally get to the point of all of the last few months; that is, if it actually comes to a head next issue and we don't have to play decompressed storytelling for another round.

Walking Dead 127 - Ironically, I got half my wish, but it felt like half of half. (So, like a quarter of a wish?) This was cool. I'm happy to see this direction taken, and I like where we've found all the characters. They're different enough that we can see time has truly passed. I love Jesus the most, I think, and the new samurai-ish suits, but Rick's haircut was also impressive. Carl seems to have progressed. The new guys will be interesting, but even more so will be to see the changes that have overtaken everyone else, the people to whom we'd already gotten used to. It's clear that there are two communities at this point, and we didn't even get to see Hilltop. This is fresh, it feels good.

Book of the week goes to The Walking Dead. Way to be bold.

Monday, May 5, 2014

comics for the week of 04/30/14.

Happy Mean Girls Anniversary week. (Even though by the time you read this it'll be long over.) It was a nice, pink Wednesday.

Amazing Spider-Man 1 – Yup, I'll admit that I read it. My friends have been talking too much good stuff about Spidey since the Doc Ock stuff (and really, even since Brand New Day, where I jumped off, finally, after two decades of waffling between torture and delight) and so I figured I'd give it a go. Plus, I love Ramos, and they've been saying particularly good stuff about Dan Slott. But when I read it, it's not like I was disappointed or thought it was bad, it was more just...meh. Ramos' art is too exaggerated for me now, and Peter's problems came off as cartoony. Maybe they always were. All I know is, it didn't feel like home and that's OK. I'm fully over Spider-Man. I'm happy for the people who are loving it, but I'm not the audience anymore.

Avengers 28 - Wellllllp. He certainly is pulling the threads together. Alterna-Banner goes down, real Banner joins the Illuminati, the same group that once exiled him, and we get an origin (kind of) for the Mapmakers. Turns out they're...created by AIM? Interesting. But that's basically all we get in this issue that consists almost entirely of a conversation between Tony and Bruce.

Black Science 6 - Holy crap. This comic is not playing around. There will be some serious Exiles-style turnover is what I'm getting. So this issue spends the whole time reinforcing what a bad guy Kadir is and now it seems like he's going to be the spotlight. The kids get to step into their own, Grant (seemingly) dies, the gang jumps away and we have a hiatus. The art is so beautiful, the writing is so on point, this book has jumped a few levels. The recurrence of the Pillar and the Black Science gang's symbol is just more evidence that Remender is playing a long game here, which I'm always in favor of. I love the new guy (shaman-type) who's with the gang, and I'm hopeful that he made the jump with the crew, as he's got some powers that could definitely prove useful. This book is elevating.

New Avengers 17 - Annnnnd, I thought it would get better there, because of the tightening of the threads and because of the editor's note and because it seems like they're obviously related, but it's still so broad. I mean, I get what's happening at the end, but so what? Now they know the people they're going to have to kill? (Or, at least, Namor and T'Challa do?) Am I supposed to believe that's going to make a difference? And if it does, doesn't that mean all the tough talk of the last year or two has meant nothing? Or was the warning specifically about the Hulk in their presence? All that just for one picture of him? Who cares? Haven't we passed the age where we need everything spelled out so precisely before it happens? I mean, isn't that basically the thesis of this story? I don't know. Maybe I'm just spoiling on it. It was fine. But nothing great. It'll look better in the rear view, from a distance. (Hopefully.)

Rachel Rising 25 - "Stardust be damned...The transformation is hell." Terry Moore captures dissonance very well. Zoe is becoming a star in this book and it's all due to that disconnect when it comes to expectation and reality. Of course, when it comes to this book, reality is a pretty loose term. I like the fact that he seems to have pivoted very successfully, because I was a bit worried that the book would end abruptly, the story having been told. But now we've got a new mission, a semi-new crew, and a new attitude, wherein almost everyone trusts in that fake-reality I was talking about. This'll be good going forward and this would make a great jumping on issue for anyone who hasn't read it yet.

Book of the week goes to Black Science. Every issue is better than the last, a rare feat.