Monday, September 29, 2014

comics for the week of 09/24/14.

It's movie time.

Edge of Spider-Verse 3 - Well, that was the least interesting and least worthwhile one yet. But it appears as thought it won't have anything (overall) to do with the larger story, so at least there's that? It was a waste of the seven minutes it took to read, though. Skip it.

Mind MGMT 26 - We see the history of the First Immortal, but he's not a character we've seen before. (At least, not according to my memory. The letters column seems to imply otherwise.) Even if he is, he's not one of the two we're super familiar with. We also see Meru act quite dangerously with the Greek guy (and the diver) she meets, but I think, ultimately, the point of those interactions was to highlight the shocking new development at the end: the Field Guide bleeds into the story. (So maybe Meru was the "bad guy" and it was highlighting how they were forgetting their training because of her ability?) The book is obviously ramping up for its conclusion and, even though I thought it was Duncan going to be miraculously healed, I still think we'll see him in time for the end.

New Avengers 24 - Hm, well...I won't say that I completely got it. It was a much larger tonal shift than we got in regular old Avengers. The Cabal is falling apart and Namor is trying to scrape some of his dignity back off his shoe and onto his person. He goes to Doom to effect this change, but it doesn't work out well for him. Doom, on the other hand, seems to be doing quite well. As always. And we see some pretty awful stuff in Wakanda. T'Challa and his sister go to break the bombs out of their headquarters - apparently Wakanda fell in the 8 month gap - but the Cabal are running things now. So the reports of them being off-world? Not entirely accurate. We also see the members who are off-world as brutal torturers, especially Thanos and his crew, in a touching scene with Xorn, Zorn and Charles Xavier. Man. That was rough. But the best thing is the sight of Reed, even if it's only in hologram form, and Shuri staying after to talk some smack to Proxima Midnight and (hopefully) not die in the process.

Rachel Rising 28 - The secondary arc is still being introduced, but it's coming along pretty rapidly. If Rachel (and Jet) don't realize how awful Zoey (two o's?) truly is, it's their own fault when it comes back to bite them in the collective ass. Jet, also, seems to be going through her own thing, part of which is weird, given who we know now is occupying her body. The cover subject last month gets introduced and he seems like he'll be a handful, pun totally intended. Last but not least, we have the fulfillment of some of Rachel's powers, which might come in handy some time in the future.

Saga 23 - So the split is more literal, huh? Interesting, but still not really promising. The division of the story is going to be even more frustrating next month when we don't even really get to check in with our main characters and then we go on break again. Le sigh. But here we have a whole bunch of convergence and we also see Marko being a good guy. Which I had faith in. Alana, on the other hand, slips further down the rabbit hole and the killer black and white robot gets even worse. The best part of the issue, for me, though, was the characterization we got of Izzy; she's a great character who deserves those lines talking back to Alana. She's a complex individual who's got her own shit going on - nice to see that acknowledged.

Book of the week goes to Saga. Still the best.

Monday, September 22, 2014

comics for the week of 09/17/14.

Huge week.

All New X-Men 32 - Huh. Well, that would be an interesting way to re-introduce the newness of this gang. I don't actually think they're going to stay in the Ultimate universe, but this'll be fun for a while. It's interesting that they were all together but transported separately. It's interesting that I thought it was Turkey where Hank washed up, too. But most of all, it's fun to see Miles interact with yet another set of people that he thinks he knows and has semi-sorta-secrets from. Bobby is going to save them all? And what's going to happen with Angel and Jimmy?

Avengers 35 - This is what I've been waiting for. Throw me into the deep end, Hickman! Different artists for different stories in one book. We start with Ex Nihilo and Abyss (whose story is probably the most important, right, but it's the one I obviously get the least) and their casual observance that Earth is at the heart of the death of the universe. Then we get Eden/Manifold and Sunspot dropping in on Cannonball, who's living in the Shi'ar Empire? And has a kid? With a girl I don't recognize? (Am I supposed to know who this Izzy is? There's too many characters and I have a horrible memory.) They're reconvening the Avengers. Bobby fills him in on the missing 8 months, where people either dropped out or focused on "The Tony Problem." This is sounding dire for the new Iron Man book. It's almost compelling me to read it! It's time to come home. Next we get Starbrand and Nightmask who are apparently getting younger, and I'm glad that dialogue was in there, because the art certainly made it look that way. Also, they're dealing with survivors from the Bleed and we see "old models" and a reference to Sunspot as the most reliable Avenger. Finally, we see a Kingdom Come-style bearded-Supermanesque Hyperion. He must be the second of the titular three Avengers, right? (Which, BTW, is the most effective way to shatter the old. Replace that trope with completely new guys. Holy moly it's a killer when the one that's changed the most is still actually the same but so totally different.) He's in the Savage Land, building some sort of machine with his children and AIM (oh yeah, apparently Bobby bought AIM and they're good guys now?) The troubling parts of this issue is that the former Avengers Tower is now called Golgotha (an ominous name, to be sure), the intruder's mind moves like Quicksilver, but it turns out not to be Magneto's son, but Amadeus Cho, and the SHIELD guys are wearing helmets that make them look a hell of a lot like evil Reed from the Ultimate Universe. There's a LOT happening here. It looks like Cho's got an Infinity Gem? And he's called part of the Illuminati? And he says they've lost Stark? And who's he talking to? Ms. Marvel, Hawkeye and War Machine look to be the other side of that three, and it's sad to see such great characters (apparently) on the wrong side of the equation. The capper comes on the last page where we learn who's wearing that evil Reed Richards mask: his wife. It's a great, great, great, fresh start to a book that's going to be heading into amazing territory right away.

Buffy 7 - The Odd Couple and the restart, as penned by Xander himself. This is awesome. The comic adventures of two of the best characters in the series are always amusing when they happen, but the fact that Brendan is writing helps the tone, as previously noted. The arc itself is a bit silly (sirens, really?) but the dialogue is fun, Anya's got her place, Xander shows progress and regression and so does Spike. They're getting to good places, but for them, like all good characters, it's not a destination that actually matters they arrive at; it's the journey. I'll be interested to see all the jobs the various characters get, too, and how those fit with their personality types.

Daredevil 8 - What an awesome way to change the dynamic, keep a character relevant and reinvent him (them) for the next generation. And it was all accomplished in one issue. Mark Waid is absolutely killing it on this title. Samnee's art wasn't as great as I've come to expect, but he still stands head and shoulders above most of the rest of the crowd, so that's A-OK. The Purple Man appears to be dead, but his legacy should live on for quite a while, not only in Daredevil but in the MU at large. As a little note, I love all the DD merchandise we see in this issue, as well as the great way that Kirsten and Matt's relationship has progressed. No Foggy mentions this issue, which isn't great, but he'll make his way back to the spotlight.

Edge of Spider-Verse 2 - Yep. Gwen Stacy, Spider-Woman. This was everything I wanted and so much more. If she joined the 616, I might even start buying Spider-Man comics again. Gwen as Spidey has just a little bit of everything that made Peter Parker a great character for so long: some tragedy, some personality, a little ordinariness despite extraordinary circumstances, etc. The art was fantastic, too. I'm on board.

Fables 144 - Bigby is a killing machine and gets called the God of killing. This is shaping up to be way more tragic than I thought it would be. Mrs. Dark is almost completely transformed, it looks like she'll be ready to take on the whole gang of magicians, so it's lucky that Totenkinder comes back on the last page, looking all rejuvenated and ready for war. On the other hand, it's a shame to lose both Beast and Ozma in such cavalier fashion. However, it's wonderful to see that Snow White is finally accepting what's to come and that some of the Fables might stay in the Mundy world after it's all done, now that the secret's out?

The Private Eye 8 - As usual, BKV does a great job of flipping the script. Last issue it was a revelation that perhaps we'd been cheering for the wrong side. And this issue, we re-induce doubt. PI going after Mel is the touching part of the story, but Gramps surviving will be a major accomplishment if that's what's to come. On the other hand, we got more nods to journos (Greenwald and CNN) as the dominant force and more pop culture. The series is obviously gearing up for the finale and I can't wait. Journos getting overrun by CNN, the bad guys having noble intentions, the hero going after the sidekick, the girl along for the ride who (hopefully) won't just turn out to be another secondary character? This is a great time.

Thor: God of Thunder 25 - It's weird how many Thor books have been cancelled given how popular he is. And I know, just like the back page tells me, that this book isn't truly ending, per se, and the re-numbering makes sense. But it's still strange. This issue, though, gives us some great looks at all the characters we've grown to love over the course of this series. Old King Thor, with his Destroyer's arm, is a hint at what's coming. Because we've seen Avenger Thor with one in the near future. And young Thor? Well, he's not the worthless drunk he was at the beginning of this run. It's incredible to see that progress. However, it's not all good news: Esad Ribic is leaving the book. The new book faces an uphill battle without him. I'm hopeful that the new character, with her buzzworthiness simply about her gender will bring in enough readers to counter any of those stupid enough to leave over that same factor. For me? I'm still on board and probably even more committed than I was when I started this book. Jason Aaron knows how to write Thor and I'm game for more in this realm. Too bad this one marked the end of such a great artist working with Aaron, but I'm confident in Marvel's ability to grab some new talent.

Ultimate Spider-Man 5 - The longer they play this out, the more inclined I am to believe that this is actually Peter Parker. I don't think I actually want that, as they've done such a good job of getting him off the stage, but I'm kind of past the point of incredulity by now. It certainly seems like Peter Parker is he's holed up with Mary Jane. Maria Hill is with Miles, getting his story. Ganke will come into it in some way. And last but not least, JJJ takes a hell of a stand. I don't think it's going to work out well for him, but it's nice to see his character continue to evolve. The art was lovely, the scripting was nice, and the double page spread of the two of them together, with their hands up, was perfect. It got more than a few chances to shine, too, as the backdrop of the TV in others' panels. Seriously good stuff here.

The Unwritten: Apocalypse 9 - I don't know how to react. There's still so much more to wrap up. But yes, this was yet another almost perfect issue of one of the best series of our time. The connections are all revealed at this point, except for the fact that they're not. This is like that penultimate episode of LOST that so many people hated, but I have a feeling this one will go over so much better. Why? I have no idea, but it feels like a fulfilling part of the story. Loved hearing Cain's real name, loved seeing Madame yet again, loved the Will reveal. Loved that this is almost the end and the only real glimpse we get of the protagonist of the series is through his pseudo-self, the word-child, but it still felt complete and worthwhile. This book is incredible. There's one more note to play. I could not be more excited.

The Wicked and the Divine 4 - Baal was cool, the Tron hall was cool, the Gods were cooly indifferent and Luci took the easy way out. I still suspect the journalist, especially with her hands in those odd positions at times. But the art wasn't as good as it's been in the past, especially with Baal's supposed-to-be dramatic turn making his chain and jacket look like they're up in the air, which would be way too hard to do on a basic turn. I'm over this, but it's still beautiful. I don't care who killed the judge. I don't care about any of these characters.

Book of the week goes to Avengers. I'm all for the ambitious plans.

Monday, September 15, 2014

comics for the week of 09/10/14.

It's almost fall.

Avengers 34 - Yeah, dunno. Was this part of the regular line, just irregularly numbered? A cute little Hyperion story, but not really worth anyone's time who's already read Squadron Supreme or even any of his new stuff.

Death of Wolverine 2 – Yeah, it was still good and I'm interested, but I'm still not sure they're actually going to pull the trigger. The best part was the plethora of guest stars (Mystique, the obvious Viper and Sabertooth, but the quick pairs of goodies at the end was great, too) and the beautiful art. Even more excited, honestly, for issue three, with the promise of the good side of guest stars than I was for two. And did this come out only a week apart? That'd be super fun if they did it all in a month.

East of West 15 - Holy shit, this comic just leveled up in a significant way. The introduction of Babylon and Balloon will go down as my personal turning point on this book. I liked it before, thought it was good, but didn't have that edge to it. This issue? Obviously provided not only that edge, but two compelling characters, as well as yet another storyline to a book that doesn't need anything more in terms of plots to keep track of. But it was well worth it for the visions that Balloon was showing him as well as his easy dismissal of Conquest. The Beast as the Master of the Four Horsemen (with Death missing) but also as the kid Babylon being manipulated by Balloon as the fatherless champion of the world is now my favorite story going on here. I cannot wait to see how he gets integrated into all the other lines. And, of course, we spent some time with his mother and she's clearly got a plan, which will fold nicely, I'd imagine, into whatever's going to happen. This is getting really, really, really good.

Edge of Spider-Verse 1 – Yep, I read two Marvel event books this week and I don't regret either of them. This was really cool. I liked the Spider-Man Noir book that came out just before I jumped off the Spider bandwagon, and this felt like a natural return to it. I haven't read it since it came out, so that could just be nostalgia speaking, but the art, the dialogue, it all felt perfect. And the intrusion of the event didn't feel like any kind of bad thing since that's what it was set up in the first place to be. Can't wait for the next issue so we can meet the gang. Might even go back and find the first piece of the puzzle, as mentioned in the checklist at the back.

Hawkeye 20 - The neat little bow is being tied. It's been a phenomenal run. Hickman's got a way with the large and a way with the small. I'm still bummed, more than anything, that this run is ending, but I'm also ecstatic that it ever found a place and has managed to stay this good the whole time. I feel like it's got one or two more issues, but I wish it had vastly more than that. In this issue, we see Kate's story in LA come to an end, but not her story in general. Her encounters with Masque all add up to an interesting family dynamic, the good guys using her, in both the small sense (Harold) and larger (SHIELD) but it does seem like it works out for her. I mean, other than the whole PI thing, which was never a good fit for her anyway. The art, as always, is superb and the story's got her headed back to NYC for a HawkGuy reunion.

Invincible 114 - That was the incredible ending that felt practically inevitable from the beginning, right? I mean, that's the way it HAD to go down. And I love it. I'm happy the Viltrumites saw Rex's logic, I'm happy Mark lost, I'm happy the news is reporting on it just the way Robot said they would and I'm happy that Eve has her legs back and the baby out. Because I feel like we're only starting the upward motion again. This tiny arc has been resolved, but this cannot be a lasting peace. (It'd be a fun experiment to make it so, but I don't think that's what Kirkman's going for.) There will be a few issues devoted to how much better the world is, overall, because it makes sense that it will be. BUt there will be undercurrents and people who are bitter about the way it happened. (NB: Bulletproof is definitely going to pay for his Judas role.) The other interesting angle? Monster Girl. She's going to be pissed.

Powers 11 - Exciting. I feel like this might actually change something? I'm not worried about Walker, he'll survive that fall, but Pilgrim is a volatile sort and she might have a problem with this info. Also, Calista seems to be in a bad place and no matter how that turns out, it'll be a cool change. The only thing is, after one more issue, how long will it take until we get a new series that capitalizes on any of the possibilities that are going to spin out of this? With the TV series coming up, I'm worried that BMB will be even less likely to have time for his OG baby. Regardless, I'm amazed at the turn around in this short season. It's been a fun ride, I look forward to the finish.

The Walking Dead 131 – I liked pretty much everything about this issue. From Rick's blowing off the revelation to Maggie taking control. From Carl's reunion with Sophia to Maggie's interesting new man. (Are we supposed to know him? Have we even previously met him? I get the characters mixed up, even after 10+ years. I got that his name was Dante, and that's about it.) The best thing, though, was the common sense way that Carl and Earl got everything worked out. Way more important than communal dinners is seeing some of the main characters in this book starting to talk to each other like real people would. The cliffhanger at the end is more of the same bullshit that's plagued the book for a long, long time, but I'm a little reassured that we're actually going to change things, with the dead whispers and the common sense. Maybe I'm still an idiot fanboy hoping for change, but this is an Image book by a guy who doesn't need the status quo to sell books. I'm hopeful.

Book of the week goes to East of West. It was great before. But now it's incredible.

Monday, September 8, 2014

comics for the week of 09/03/14.

Not a totally atypical week, at this point. Marvel event books that weren't great, no DC and a great Dark Horse syndication.

Angel & Faith 6 - Despite their being apart, Angel and Faith's stories seem to be coming together, just like the two main Buffy books are. Like the sunny vampire angle, don't like Angel's side of it: Amy being back feels like more of the same, especially when she pulls out a jar of Warren. If we're going to bring characters back from the dead, let's go to Tara. The fans are certainly clamoring for it. But honestly, this book felt fine. I like Angel's interaction with the cop. I still don't trust him. And Faith is clearly getting back to a place that can work for her. It's going to take this arc, but I feel like, by the end of it, they'll be reunited. Unless this is a whole season type of deal, in which case I'll be frustrated by that ampersand. Zane Pharmaceuticals seems like a nice juicy hook for later and the re-emergence of Amy is troubling for much much further down the line.

Death of Wolverine 1 - I was curious enough to pick it up and I'll be curious enough to finish it out. It's only a four issue mini and the way the series is set (already) with the Then and Now designations means they can basically throw this into continuity at any time. I don't think it's actually going to result in Logan being gone from the Marvel Universe. I think it's going to end with him dying in the Now, but getting his healing factor back in the Then, that is to say, our now. I think it'll be something they say, hey, this is definitely going to happen. Just not yet. But if Logan does actually get out of the 616, I want to be keeping up with it as it goes. And if he doesn't? Well, I won't be disappointed or surprised. This issue was fine. The pencils were sharp, the connections to Canada were fun, Logan's killing skills were on display and the dialogue with Reed was good. I'm interested to see next issue because it looks like Sabertooth is being kept as a pet by Viper. I've not kept up with Wolvie in a long time so that's weird to me, but I'm sure it'll be briefly touched on. Superhero comics. Weird.

Original Sin 8 - Gotta say I'm disappointed. Fury doesn't die, is relegated to some odd new role that we may or may not see. Bucky doesn't die, but is also relegated to a man in outer space, removing him from his best previous element. The Orb doesn't become the new Watcher, which is what I thought was happening (but maybe that's what we're supposed to get from Fury) and is back on the Earth being a reverse creeper Watcher? The shadowy figure behind Strange and Black Panther was obviously supposed to be Fury but they didn't notice him? And they didn't tell Cap...why? I'm not sure any of this makes any sense. Maybe it's just seeding for later but for now the conclusion really didn't live up to the previous wackiness.

Book of the week goes to Angel and Faith. Big Two are letting me down.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

comics for the week of 08/27/14.

I saw Boyhood. Everyone else should, too.

All New X-Men 31 - Celeste's remark was hilarious, the art was atrocious and I just don't find myself caring at all. Even with the introduction of a cool new mutant, with the power to jump across universes and the cool ending where we find ourselves where we were in the beginning (not the 616) it just doesn't feel like it did once upon a time. Maybe it's just the art. I'm gonna hang in for a while, because I like Iceman, but all the other concepts feel like crazily old retreads. Jean's crazy, she might destroy everything. Hank is curious. Warren isn't an angel, he's just Angel, a force for good. Bobby is stupid on purpose and will eventually regret not tapping his potential. I've seen it before. It felt like they had a chance to do something new, but they're wasting it. Maybe the Ultimate Universe field trip will revitalize that chance.

Avengers 34 - That was an end worth waiting for. Any time I get to see Iron Lad and Kang and Immortus all in one place, it's damn worthwhile. (I also want to reflect, now that Cap's journey through time and the Multiverse is done, how DC-like Marvel is becoming in the hands of Jonathan Hickman, and how much better it is than any of the concepts DC has tried out with their variations in a long, long time. I'm happy that I stuck with this story. I'm certainly not going to claim that I understand all of it or that I definitely know where it's going, but it's great.) Anyway, Cap gets to talk with a compatriot of his and his elder versions and we finally get the reveal of what older Hawkeye said to him. We see him reliably nifty shield trick yet again and he arrives back in the present to set all the Avengers on the course of tracking down not just Stark but all of the Illuminati. In New Avengers, though, we see that they're all sufficiently racked with guilt and they didn't even fight the last incursion, but rather that Namor and the Cabal have taken up that cause. So, will the Illuminati go down quietly, realizing they were wrong. Will they then try to get Cap to go after Namor, knowing that he's got to be the one responsible? Will Strange be there at all? (His disappearance still has not been noted thus far.) I don't know but I'm excited to have some answers. And we're getting there. And it's awesome.

Black Science 8 - Beautiful and moves the story forward. What more can you ask for in a comic? Oh, you want it to be meaningful in a long term way? Yup, this has got that in spades, too. The switch in narration that we've gone through in this series has been a great boon and getting to spend the whole issue with the kids was neat, too. (Aside from, of course, the backstory of the suddenly-English speaking shaman, who gives us our series title.) Kadir's not such a bad guy and I honestly feel bad for him, getting blackballed the way he is. More importantly, though, I'm worried about his fate when the kids (inevitably) return. There's going to be a serious schism and I'm not sure how it's all going to play out. However, I will say this: they're pushing Grant's death awfully hard, which makes me think he's not actually dead. I wouldn't put money on it, but I won't be surprised when (if) it happens.

Mind MGMT 25 - I know they billed last month's issue as the perfect jumping on point, but this one felt more like it. It gave us plenty of recap but also pushed us forward. I thought the margins were really pushing us toward not trusting Kevin (was that Duncan's friend's name?) but at the end it seemed as though he'd given Meru legit advice. However, every time I think something in this series is straight forward, it turns out to be at least a double cross, so that could obviously come back to haunt me. I liked how this arc is called the Eraser, but we didn't really see her in this issue - or did we? There's a lot happening in the foreground as well as the background of this whole work, so there will always be questions. But for now, I'm content in thinking that neither Duncan nor Lyme are dead while mourning Bill. Dusty doesn't FEEL dead just yet since his army came to Meru's rescue in this issue and he'll certainly have at least one more part to play. This is great, great, great stuff.

Saga 22 - Well isn't that just horrible. Man. BKV really upping the ante on making people believe that the death of this relationship is real and giving equal blame to both sides. It does seem to me that Alana's got some more horrible stuff going on, but Marko's response to her questions is inappropriate, even if his actions might not have been (yet). Meanwhile, Grandma either knows something is up or was warning of something far worse, because I don't believe that this deterioration, regardless of how bad it gets, is the worst thing the family's going to go through very soon. The biggest part of this issue (pun totally intended) though, was King Robot. And boy did he live up to his name. That massive screen was perfect, IV's submission to him, but his devious side-dealings, and the reporters seeing something in the play were all great sidelines, too. Love this book.

Book of the week goes to Mind MGMT. It's a rare occasion when something can overtake Saga, so I'll happily go with Kindt this time.