Monday, December 28, 2015

comics for the week of 12/23/15.

Happy holidays, y'all.

Buffy 22 - "I had great friends in high school. And we keep in touch in social media...some of us. But... Most of them are married with kids now. We have nothing in common." If this is the direction Buffy is going, I'll be psyched to have slogged through Season 10 to get some real adult world shit in Season 11 - presuming that it's coming. Spike and Buffy's relationship feels like the first real bit of that, but Willow taking this job (and Kennedy being there too) is a great sign in that regard. Because, honestly, I still love the Buffy TV show, but I could never watch it the same way I did - I'm a different person. So if the comic can change to come along with us as adults, I don't think that's a bad thing - I think it's the best thing. And really, that's the whole of this issue. It wasn't a filler issue, because I think this might turn out to be the crux of the entirety of S10? It was great.

Daredevil 2 - Yeah, that's cool, I'm glad we're getting some classic villains mixed in with the new guy, but it still feels less. Lesser, maybe. I'll work on that. It's a fine book, but it's not for me. I don't care about Matt the prosecutor, I don't care about DD in a new costume, and I definitely don't care about Blindspot.

Extraordinary X-Men 4 - Still cool, still fun, still Ramos-y as hell in the art. Sinister is always a good presence, and the end is clearly a fakeout. But I'm worried about Nightcrawler, as well as the overall arc of this book. Bobby gets the good lines in the response to Jean and Logan, but why is he wearing sunglasses? And what's Forge's part beyond just the token technology guy? He's the new Beast without any of the ties (other than with Storm)? I like how quickly Logan and Ororo fall back into their patterns of speaking. But overall, Colossus is the rock of this book - Ramos' art fits him the best, and he's our clear protagonist. It makes sense for him to be this concerned, given that he's been through death before, with his sis and without.

Fight Club 8 - Jesus, this is fucking terrible. I don't have anything good to say about it, so I'll say nothing at all, other than noting that I'll finish it and hope for something worth while.

New Avengers 4 - Huh. Still fun, still wacky, still worth reading, or at least keeping track of. That's my kind of off the wall Marvel book. Kree, Skrull, Avengers, mutants, Terrigen mists, Clint being Cool Dad, Billy and Teddy having a real relationship, and potential for a long-lasting thread to be resumed at some point. Solid stuff.

Saga 32 - Wow. I love this book so much that it's easy to forget, either while it's gone or even just between issues, how good it actually is. It's not just the art, it's not just the story, it's the everything. This is everything a comic should be: true storytelling, in every sense of the word. The creators complementing one another. Marko and Alana are great and Ghus is the best. Prince Robot (no longer a Prince) is going to continue to play a crazy important role. I love this book.

Spider-Woman 2 - This is a great book to match with New Avengers - they both feel fun, unconnected to the BIIIIIG issues, but still connected to the underlying fabric of the new Marvel Universe. Plus, Jess kicks ass and her friendship with Carol is amazing. The art is good, the story is fun, and that's about it.

Book of the week goes to Saga. I would have loved to give it to Buffy, but Saga is levels beyond.

Monday, December 21, 2015

comics for the week of 12/16/15.

Still reading I Hate Fairyland, still not worth reviewing, but still tons of fun. And if anything is being made clear by the new run of Marvel books it's that NO ONE SHOULD EVER be OK with seeing Doom out and about in the MU ever again. I know he's only been in Iron Man's book so far, but that shouldn't even be the case. There would have/should have been a five-alarm bell that Tony sent out and EVERY hero in the MU would have been there to whup his ass. Which means there'll be some sort of...amnesia at the end of the Wars?

All New X-Men 2 - Yeah, I'm off this. I don't care about young Cyke's guilt over future Cyke's actions. And that's what this book is turning in to. I do care about Laura and Kid Apocalypse and Pickles, but that's just not enough. Plus, I'm not loving Bagley's work here. Call me when something important happens.

Huck 2 - Huh. Well...we still don't have many answers, and the puzzle's only getting larger. But we can see that Huck's life hasn't nearly been ruined like we feared it would be by the last page of the last issue. In fact, he seems to be getting more and more brave. Last time was the first time (maybe?) he'd ventured out of the country and now he does so again with all the cameras on him? (How does he get to Afghanistan anyway? I mean, there's no trucks or trains he can just hop on top of there. Does he illegally board airplanes? Hop in the hangar? There's gotta be laws against that stuff, right?) Anyway, I'm still not sold on this as a great book, but it's entertaining for sure.

Illuminati 2 - Still fun, but not as much fun. I love that they're not taking themselves seriously. This is like that book that everyone THOUGHT was really great a few years back that I thought was shit. (But I can't remember what it was...) The Hood is known throughout the MU as a wanker, and his crew knows it. They even tell him to his face they're not interested in his schemes. The Club Fenris scene took the cake, though, not just for the siblings and the dialogue, but the Paste Pot Pete cameo. Geez. This is a seriously screwball take, but it's a worthwhile one.

Invincible 126 - Dang. That was a good ending, a good explanation, and a good issue. I liked the concept of Reboot? and it turned out almost as well as I could have asked for. I think the creature that sent him back in time will have some rather long-lasting ramifications, beyond just the twist of the last page. I can't believe that Eve would have stayed on the alien planet for that long, though, after she'd pretty much hated it just before this story takes place. I also can't believe those wouldn't be the first words out of her mouth. But otherwise, it was awesome, really well done and proof that you can do a time travel/reboot story without throwing everything away.

Lucifer 1 - How awesome that Lucifer is back and it's good and the art is nice and the story seems solid. And how nice that it's got a note about things coming full circle at a time when Vertigo is, once again, killing the market. I'm happy this exists; that it's good is a bonus. I'm along for the ride.

Ms. Marvel 2 - This is still one of the best new Marvel books and I love Kamala and the art and the storyline, but I have a gripe: I wish they hadn't made the villains so stereotypical. If we're gonna do the progressive thing and act like Muslims get discriminated against, can we just have the discriminators be real people, not cartoonish stereotypes? Because, honestly, that bit about walking on the sidewalk? It doesn't take a mastermind villain to say something as idiotic. I hear it all the time from very average people. Aside from that, though, this book continues to be head and shoulders above the rest of its Marvel brethren.

Thor 2 - Jesus, the colors in this book pop. The contrast between the first and second scenes really make that stand out, but even in the rest of the book, they really shine. This issue really succeeded in a lot of ways the first didn't but I can't pinpoint the differences. Maybe it really all comes down to Loki? Maybe it's the power of words? Maybe it was less of Jane and more of Thor? I don't know, but I liked it. I'm not a huge action fan, so I know it wasn't the war. It does, on the one hand, feel a bit familiar, what with Heimdall being put in jail, but there's huge progress being made on the overall story, so I'm good with that.

Ultimate End 5 - I thought I was gonna hate it but it was everything it needed to be: over the top, cheesy, sad, and then happy. What more could I ask for? I knew where it was going and so did everyone else, but that ending made it so worthwhile. Ganke's made the transition, and so did Miles' mom - shit, maybe it's even more than I had a right to ask for. Can't wait for Miles' book - probably the only Spider book that I'll legit stay with. Great stuff.

Book of the week goes to Ms. Marvel.

Monday, December 14, 2015

comics for the week of 12/09/15.

I also finished up with We Stand on Guard, but only because I learned it was only going 6 issues. I'd read the first, it was fine, but I didn't think I'd buy into it longterm. As a short term project, though, it was nice. I also dropped out of the Spider-Verse entirely. Spider-Man just feels like 60s Spidey, except spread across the globe (ergo more unbelievable) and Spider-Gwen is fun, but feels like it's 90s comics extremism in the alternative nature. Look, it's Harry! He's a goblin! He's a hunter! He's going to get the Spider-Girl! Enh.

Hawkeye 2 - Still fun, still weird, still cool that they're doing the multiple timelines thing. Still odd to think of Clint as this important. Still cool to see his ordinary life. Still fun to hear the banter between the two of them, but especially to bring in the guests they did in America and Noh-Varr. Still won't be continuing the book. I'll read next issue to see how they wrap this up, but the art doesn't facilitate my continued reading.

Rachel Rising 38 - Boy, Terry Moore really knows how to do relationships and small time conversations, huh? I mean, I know this book is about Lilith and the Devil and Good versus Evil and all those huge tropes, but... His biggest talent are the smallest moments. The Earl and Jet sleeping scene was the best, her one-liner about being clingy was hilarious and the ending was intriguing, but not the best part. The Johnny and Rachel conversation was the same: intriguing, but nowhere near as good as two old women reminiscing about the past. This is where he shines and it's so lovely.

Secret Wars 8 - Hickman delivers the goods. Doom knows how to rock a situation to make it what he wants, but, ultimately, he'll have met his match when he has to face Reed - not to mention 2 Reeds. The issue was great, but I'm still struck, overwhelmingly, that I just want it to be over so that I can reassess in retrospect and then see how things go forward. Ben Grimm is awesome, Franklin is going to feel like shit, Starlord was funny, Thanos got what he fucking deserves, and that's about it. Bring on the conclusion with T'Challa and Namor!

Twilight Children 3 - First of all, this book is great but so so so so so so so weird. I have no idea what's happening. It's a quick read and there's only 4 issues, which is good, because I think I'll pick up the trade because it's gorgeous and it'll be worth a re-read. But yeah, there's a lot of skimmed ground. We've got a name for the girl, Ela, we've got a task for her, to stop the bad guy, and we've got some refinements of all the characters, but most especially Tito. Other than that, I'm still in the dark. But in the back, we see there's gonna be a new Lucifer series? Awesome!

Ultimates 2 - Huh. So...did they destroy Galactus? And then remake him? And transform him? And now he's a totally different character than what we've known for decades? And he's going to serve as a one-of-a-kind new amalgamation of the Abyss and Ex Nihilo characters? And this is going to serve only to bump up this book in terms of grand scale? Cuz if so, that's kind of badass. I mean, I don't REALLY care about this sort of stuff, but if they're actually going to play around with this huge scale stuff, I think I WILL care. Cuz that's awesome. Also, what balls to retcon a backstory for Galactus' origi n. Good work team.

The Walking Dead 149 - It wasn't bad, but it kinda felt like a filler issue, just buying time until next issue's big landmark. Rick talks to Negan, Rick kinda moves forward and we see the community grieving and pacing (at least mentally) back and forth but not really going anywhere. The best part of this issue, though, was Negan's conversation with Rick. And I actually would take it even a step farther than Negan said: kill those motherfuckers forreal. You've got bullets, guns, people, you're gonna make an army? Kill them for sure. You don't need to lie at all.

Book of the week goes to Secret Wars. All the books were good, none were great, but Secret Wars and Ultimates were the most fun.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

comics for the week of 12/02/15.

Holy crap, it's a lot of Marvel. And all of the solid gold was non-Marvel stuff. What a wacky world.

All New X-Men 1 - Fun, but I don't think I care enough about the kids to keep reading? Never really liked Cyke, Laura and Angel's relationship I can track in Wolverine, Beast is weird, and Iceman they're just making a spectacle of, quite literally. The good things that could come from here are Kid Apocalypse and Pickles - good reveal. Is that one of the little ones from the old Jean Grey school?

Avengers 2 - Still awesome, still huge, still don't care that much. When things get this big it's hard to muster up much caring. It's great, but it has no ramifications. They're meeting each other, which I'll hang out for, but I can't imagine staying on past that point. Good stuff, not great. The art doesn't help.

Angel & Faith 21 - First off, I'd love one of those Dark Horse hoodies. Secondly, good on the old man for not inviting vampires into his home. Thirdly, the story is really meh. Everyone else had to see the weirdness of Brandt for so long, right? And this is all still part of the plan. Angel may or may not actually be bad now, but it won't matter ultimately. His friends will save him, Archaeus will be defeated and he's never felt like an actual threat, just an overblown perfunctory Big Bad. The art's gorgeous and I'm happy to be reading the continuing adventures of the crew, but they're not great. It's more just something to read.

Barrier 1 - BKV does not disappoint but he sure knows how to shock. When the issue dropped out of nowhere on a Tuesday, I knew I was going to save it for last. And yep, that last page still made my jaw fall agape. I'd heard it was weird, but that doesn't even come close to covering it. Most of my Spanish got me through, but I'd be upset with his claim that I could get through with none if I knew none. I think there's some important stuff in those sections and I can't believe he doesn't think so. The story is only going to be a five parter, too, according to the back page, so I'm hoping this'll represent a new pattern for Panel Syndicate: more stuff, more often, all at the same great deal. For now, let's see where this one goes next.

Black Science 18 - Single issue of the year? It's on the fucking nose, no doubt about it. Full of cliches and tropes that we've seen a hundred times before, but it does them well, and it feels authentic. Grant McKay is facing his demons while we're learning about his past, it's beautifully drawn and things feel so good. Incredible issue.

Daredevil 1 - Welp, I guess I'm off Daredevil. Charles Soule is a fine writer, but Ron Garney is NOT my favorite artist and I am not feeling this new direction at all. I have all the answers I care about: Matt's secret ID is back in the bag, except for Foggy, Kirsten is (apparently) gone, they're back in NYC, Matt is now a prosecutor (an ADA, at that!) and we're back to grim and gritty status. I don't expect different from Daredevil and I've loved plenty of those dark stories, but this feels like several steps backwards. They could have done all the same things, but still kept moving forward. Blindspot could turn out to be a cool new character but I definitely don't care enough to stick around.

Dr. Strange 3 - Still fun. Still amazing art from Bachelo. Still a nice arc from Aaron. Still don't care much for or about Strange. I'm on board, but not loving it. But that's a fault of mine, not of the book's.

East of West 22 - Holy shit. I'd already committed to Black Science and then I read this?? Incredible. What a bounty of riches we've had this week. A silent issue (except the last page) that actually delivers and makes us feel the speed and intensity of the action? It's a rare fucking thing indeed. The factions are developing real enmity at this point and I can't wait to see where it goes from here.

Extraordinary X-Men 3 - Bobby continues to be the most interesting X-Man. He's had this untapped potential looming over his head for the last 2 decades, but slowly and surely, he's been fulfilling it. It's not just looking like the scary icicle guy from AoA, it's the abilities. And he's got them. Then, we have the cute inversion of the Logan-Jean Grey mentor-mentee role and that's awesome. The gang's all together, and they're so different, but so familiar. This is, by far, my favorite X-Men book, but I'm still excited by the prospect of Uncanny, which I'll obviously keep track of for a while. Great stuff here, but they'll need a new artist once Ramos runs through his usual burnout style.

Iron Man 3 - That was actually pretty fun. I mean, new Doom is still weird, but Mary Jane showing up was way better than I thought it was gonna be, and as soon as she started talking about how her old club was blown up, we knew this one was in trouble. But the best thing was the page with 24 panels. It was still just an old fashioned splash at its core, but I love to see the ways in which artists like to break their things up. Also, Friday is great, their dialogue is fun, and the suits are awesome. Plus, it opens with Iron Man fighting bio-ninjas on the beach. This is a good book. You should be reading it.

Paper Girls 3 - Damn, I have no idea who to trust. Our crew is in peril and it seems (increasingly) like this is just some weird video game contest to the outsiders? Maybe this is just some sort of game and everything will be fine at the end? That doesn't seem like a typical BKV ending, but he's gonna change at some point, huh? All I know for now is that this is the third straight solid gold comic that I've read this week. It's an embarrassment of riches.

Plutona 3 - Whoah. This took a turn. And I love it. Man, Teddy is a weird kid, huh? I mean, I'm sure he's got his reasons, but... I love the small ways in which this works. It's a quiet book, not bombastic (except for the backups, which are a cute addition) but that's a good thing. I'm hoping it's gonna be a recurring set of minis because apparently this series is only going 5 issues, which definitely will not be enough.

Spidey 1 - Buy this book for your kids. It's fun, and it's going to continue. It's basically an Ultimate Universe Spider-Man but set in our world. It's just gonna be a modern reboot, but telling the stories we already know. It's not for us, but it is for them. This was good.

Totally Awesome Hulk - I was not psyched, then I was, then I was not again. Hulk's never been a character I've really cared for. There have been some awesome arcs that I've bought and loved, but in general, I don't really care about him. So, trying it out, I thought, enh, I probably won't care. And I didn't. Cho is most inspiring when he's being the 7th or 8th smartest person in the new comics way - building a better world. But now he's trying to do that as an homage to Banner (who might be totally out of the picture? But I wonder where he is on that scale? And I wonder what order it goes in? Reed-Doom-Stark-T'Challa are our top 4, right? Pym? Banner? And then Cho? Maybe Parker? This is more interesting to me than anything in the book, which kinda proves why I'm not the ideal Hulk audience...) by catching monsters. He's got a robot sidekick, who's actually his sister in remote form, and he thinks he's in control, but he's obviously not. He has a switch that we see him use, but we also see him start to Hulk out when he doesn't hit the switch. That'll be cool, if they can turn it into that kind of book and Greg Pak might be the guy to do that, but I wouldn't know because Planet Hulk, despite all the praise it got was not one of the arcs that I thought was interesting enough to justify my reading the Hulk. So for now, it stays in the maybe pile.

Book of the week goes to East of West. It could have been a lot, but Hickman wins.

Monday, November 30, 2015

comics for the week of 11/25/15.

Happy Thanksgiving. I'm grateful for good ass comics.

Black Magick 2 - Great development on all fronts, but especially Rowan's partner. The relationships in this book feel real, as does the fear that Alex shows when Rowan tells her about the perp from last night. It's clear that one of the AIB folks doesn't trust her and that he knows something, but we'll pick that up later, I assume. For now, we can see that something big is happening and the last page isn't nearly the joke that the other officer assumes it is. No gorgeous splash pages here, but the art is solid once again and Rucka knows how to write like no other.

Fight Club 7 - Not as bad as last issue, but I'm still left wondering what we're doing here. It's a Moore/Morrison fiction-as-reality type of deal with all the references to the movie and the frat-bro-dudes starting their own, but the story is suffering because of that. There's no focus. We get a reanimated (by just calling his name?) zombie Robert Paulsen, we see Tyler's kid, and Marla might....be pregnant again? But drinking freely? I wasn't totally clear on that part. The bit with Sebastian and the psychologist was interesting, but not great.

Rachel Rising 37 - The weakest issue in a while, but I'm willing to have that for the sake of the set up. We saw none of the characterization, which is actually what makes any good book worth its while, but we certainly did move the larger plot along. There are also some seeds which are being planted, which I'm sure will be nice later.

Saga 31 - Hazel has grown again! And grandma is with her! And so is Isabel! And so is...whoever that girl was from the liberation group. There were several best parts of this issue, which I know isn't supposed to happen, but this is Saga we're talking about. The first was the splash of the both parts character, just super well done. The second was the teacher's face when she saw Hazel's wings, and the third was the anticipation that's gonna stay with me all month wondering just how much this is going to affect all of their lives just because the kid saw a book that she'd had when she was younger. They've obviously built something for themselves here; it's not perfect or even great, but it's something. And now, BKV is going to change it in a rather drastic way.

Wolverine 2 - Tons of fun again. Of course the clones all have their own personalities and of course Laura is going to be prone to helping them and of course the government is going to be the bad guy. But I didn't expect Taskmaster on the last page. He's always a bundle of joy. This is a fun superhero book.

Book of the week goes to Saga. There is no other.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

comics for the week of 11/11/15 & 11/18/15.

Happy Veteran's Day. And Happy Pedro Zamora Day.

Avengers 1 – Well, it's a start. There's not a lot to say about a first issue that doesn't even feature all the members of the team. I get that they're beginning, but there's so much going on in this universe that it's hard to think that this team will ever actually become a big deal, especially with this minimal start. It wasn't bad, but Miles was the best part of the first story and the Ms. Marvel and Nova back-up was better than anything in the former, so...

Hawkeye 1 – And there's another new one. That's fine and all, but the art's not great, the story's cool, but the way it bounces back and forth, and the memory of how good it's been in the recent past...All these things conspire to make me think that I'll never care about Hawk-guy the way I once did. And that's fine. For me. But as a company, it's gotta be a little worrying for Marvel, huh?

Illuminati 1 - Honestly, this was the book I got that I thought was going to suck the most, but it was great. The art was just the right side of cartoony for me and I card about the C-List villains way more than I thought I would. Luke Cage and Iron Fist were happy accidental co-stars, and the Hood is always an interesting player. This has potential, but I can't see it being an ongoing. Fun for little stories about the other side, though. Also, the sound effects with the noises (Krakoom, etc.) were amazing touches, as well as the non-cartoony aspect of Iron Fist's dragon. There were some seriously great things about this issue. (Not to mention Luke's RTJ shirt!)

Secret Wars 7 – It was both better and worse than 6? It felt like he was taking the piss out of himself multiple times; the tone was totally different than I've ever heard from a Hickman book, like he was mocking himself. He can be funny, there's no doubt, he's not all serious all the time, but this was the first time I remember thinking, boy, that's weird. It wasn't just the bits with Sinister, nor the first reveal of the Prophet, but littered throughout the book. But, the action did move forward, so that was better than the last issue. But it pulled up short. I know this is what they're talking about when they say they split 7 into two issues, as opposed to the conclusion being elongated, but it feels like it wasn't even a full issue. Also: the text reads, the ultimate sacrifice, but we didn't see anyone give up anything. We just saw the beginning of the most ferocious battle. That's all well and good, but I'm not sure it's a proper issue. The art was good (except for the panel with T'Challa's head in blank space – and there was another instance of Hickman's mocking: Namor making fun of Reed's conversation with the King of the Dead, but then he turned it around and showed how the Panther needed that extra push from his old friend to actually assert his authority over the zombies) and the cover was beautiful and next issue looks great, but I want this to be over so we can fully embrace the new universe. It's too bad that Hickman's swan song is being delayed in this way; it could have been great. Now it'll just be another crossover that we dismissively remember.

Spider-Gwen 2 – Not great. Just fine. Can't imagine that I'm keeping this. It's fun, but it's not for me. Loved the Cap, the Falcon, and the interaction between Captain Stacy and the Parkers. But there's nothing connecting it to the real shit. At least not for me.

Twilight Children 2 – Strangely, this had even less info than the last issue? But I now see it's only a four issue mini-series, so my hope is that its already done and they're now just marketing it. It's great, it's beautiful, but I'm not sure what it's about yet. It'll read better as a whole (as almost everything does) but I'm really glad it exists and that I'm checking it out for now.

Ultimates 1 – This is the one that SHOULD have sucked the most. But it was fun. America Chavez deserves a better book, but maybe this has a chance of being one. I didn't see the end coming, it was a nice reversal, and I think the idea of T'Challa being involved in the Triskelion-based Ultimates in 616 new MU is a cool touch. Blue Marvel is weak, but Captain Marvel makes up for it. Spectrum is an unknown, but seems to demonstrate potential. I hope they find a place in the new U.

The Walking Dead 148 – LOOOOOOOOL. Rick would never go to Negan for help. Never. (I mean, let me clarify: fictional characters can do whatever the fuck their creator says/makes them do. I don't give a shit. You do you, Kirkman. But IMO, from what I've seen, he'd never go to Negan in full faith. I have total trust that Rick's got at least four fucking aces in his back pocket. And if he doesn't, that's weird as fuck.) Anyway, the big spoiler out of comic group for this issue was the Alpah bit, but I'm actually way more interested in the society angle and how Rick's dealing with it, and how Negan will play in to it, and how Maggie is supporting Rick, and how Andrea and Carl (and that girl...) are out on the road together. It's good.

Wolverine 1 – I thought I wasn't gonna care enough about this one to actually review it and it'd just be in the top line. But to see those old X-Force costumes, and to have Logan as the memory advisor, and to see her in the new costume... Damn. That was worth it. The villain's mask looked dope as hell, too. I love that Laura is working with young Warren (let's keep those characters relevant!) and I forgot that she has toe claws. But really, this is a cool new Marvel comic. It's a legacy, none of the characters are who we think they are, but it still works. It's the best of what a superhero reboot can be? (Other than the sub-par art?) And the ending, with the reveal of who the villain was sets up a nice long-term arc. It's cool.

Book of the week goes to Illuminati. And if you had bet me 100 dollars against that, you'd be winning at least a G. But it was so much fun.

*

Next week, sorry, got behind. Happy early Thanksgiving.

Buffy 21 - This issue started shit and really worked its way into something hilarious. Clem taking keyfabe, the dig at GRRM, and Satsu calling out Buffy and Spike as far less mysterious and cool than they used to be were all highlights. But the underlying message, the fact that the vamps were basically just using the Army recruitment as a chance to drive a wedge between Spike and Buffy, is worrisome. I mean, they're maturing. Just let that chill for a while. Unless you're going to send him away, which you're not. He's a vital part of the puzzle now. And I didn't get the end because I don't remember who Dylan is. Le sigh.

Extraordinary X-Men 2 - Young Jean is getting great, Ramos draws her well, Forge is ACTUALLY back, not just his presence, but most importantly: this X-Book feels like the ooooolllllllllddddd X books: people are terrified of mutants. This is going to change the whole lineup. In a good way. But even cooler? There's a lot of potential in this book. Between the Rasputin siblings (always good together) plus Nightcrawler (always good interactions with both Colossus and Magik) that's a solid line. But we have so much more: Bobby is mature, he's working with Storm. Storm's now worried about legacy, she's the new Scott. Scott appears to be really dead, so he's joined the ranks of Xavier and old Jean. And, of course, that ending. Jean, of course, will be the one to bring Logan in. This makes sense. My only worry is that they'll tease a romance between these two. It should never be that. Logan always has the mentor role with young women, but he's always loved Jean. Let's not let that get in the way of what could be one of the most solid X-relationships in a long time. (Bonus, the back page showed the covers of books I didn't know were coming because I don't read previews and both All New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men look good!)

Huck 1 - Huh. Well, that was the surprise of the week. It was totally, totally different than I was expecting, in both good and bad ways? I mean, the whole issue is people promising not to tell, and then someone does? For almost no reason? After he goes over there? For almost no reason? As though this is the first disaster he's ever seen on TV? As though this is the first time that he thought maybe doing things for the world would be better than mowing peoples' lawns? Just a super strange start. But what a concept. Smalltown Superman who's never come out to the world gets hauled out? And he's....special? A blue-eyed orphan? Yeah, we've seen all this before, but it's a novel take on an old trope and the art is beautiful and that's a good thing. The only thing that worries me is that it's Millar and he might take this into trigger word fantasy territory real quick, if only for the shock value. Here's to hoping it can stay away from there.

I Hate Fairyland 2 - That was a bunch of fun but I'm going to stop reviewing it here and now because there's not much substance. That's fine and all, I still enjoy it but there's not much to say.

Invincible 125 - It was fun, but not as much so as last issue? I mean...it's obviously still going somewhere and I'm still super excited to find out where that is, but...it feels kinda pointless at this point? Last issue was fun to see the changes, but this issue was just sad? I'm not sure that I believe Nolan either, not at this point. We'll see. Not bad.

Ms. Marvel 1 - Kamala Kahn continues her streak of being the coolest, most fun, most self-aware young person's comic out there. Bougie Foods and majority-minority neighborhoods aside, this has the formula of old school Spidey down pat: young person gets awesome powers, uses them, has fun, gets in over their head. It's great. It's small time storytelling that'll never be as monumentally fun as other books, but it's super important.

New Avengers 3 - Still a bizarre book, still fun. The contrast between the evil magic of the old dimension and the traditional Marvel space of Kree and Skrull, along with stupid Squirrel Girl being there, Hulkling calling himself a Dagwood and Power Man going all social justice warrior on Wiccan's name makes this book the oddest of combinations. With the in-jokes (Hawkeye admitting he flew into a Kree engine once, and the hybrids using "Uatu's eyes!" as a curse) and the references to Dr. Doom and Alpha Flight, this is a great book that'll reflect some of the new, broad status. POD seems to be in trouble, but I can't say I have any idea who the person inside is (or even that I knew there was a person inside, so....) so it's hard to really care. But when it makes mistakes, it'll be bad. (Also, just as my last note here, but as a 90s X-Kid, I'm a huge fan of Sunfire and Robert DaCosta is doing great things with his money and this team. But when Songbird says he's leaning into the villain thing, it got me SO EXCITED about a Reignfire possibility!)

Spider-Woman 1 - It wasn't great, but it was solid character building. And that single splash in the middle of the issue with the maternity leave party was excellent. Spidey and Spidey, Carol and Iron Man. So good. We also got to see plenty of people on that page, and they were interacting in interesting ways. (Shoutout Kamala, Ms. America, and Nova, as well as Miles. And THEN! On her maternity leave, does she GO TO ANOTHER UNIVERSE AND HANG OUT WITH GWEN STACY? Great little touch.) At the end, when she goes to see Alpha Flight, though, is when it gets good. I thought I was gonna just glaze right over this book, but it was fun. It's fun in the way books should be fun, not fun like the forced integration of Deadpool and Squirrel Girl into mainstream titles. But here we've got Ben Urich and a guy calling himself Porcupine Man and it feels quirky and different, but authentic. The aliens are just gonna be a continuation of that. Good stuff.

Thor 1 - Still fun, but not magic. I'm interested in Jane as Thor, the art is good, and the characters are almost all likable, but I've never been a Thor fan. In JMS' run, I didn't even consider it. It's only Jason Aaron that's keeping me on this book and I'll stay with it as long as he's plotting, because I have faith in his work, but as soon as he's gone, I am too. This issue we see a bit more of the Thor goodness that helps Jane, the madness of Odin, and the changes in Asgard. The ending is surprising, but not too much. The biggest takeaway for me was the lack of Odinson. He'll be a player in the new Marvel U, I'm sure, but his role is TBD. Jane's got her own merry band of pranksters by her side, so that's great enough for now. Who needs the men?

Book of the week goes to Ms. Marvel. Small ball still wins.

Monday, November 9, 2015

comics for the week of 11/04/15.

Comic books are fun.

Angel and Faith 20 - Yeah, OK, that was good. We can see that everyone is focused on the big picture now, which is always a good place to be. Nadira is coming along as not only a red herring but a good character in her own right, Angel is thinking straight, his relationship with Faith is progressing, Fred is finding her footing again, and Koh is worthwhile. But it's not stellar, so I'm hoping for something meaningful from the conclusion.

Black Science 17 - Black Science is back and, while there's still no doubt it'll read better as a trade, this is a hell of a start to the 2nd part. It's gonna be a bit smaller (a 5 part story to start us is a good sign) and so I presume it'll be broken up into little chapters to make up this whole? Either way, this issue was entertaining as hell. The circularity of the plot continues, which is awesome, even while three years have passed, but the highlight here was the art. Seriously, from the first page to the splashes toward the end, it was incredible. Love that we'll be getting some more on Grant's backstory. And, with the cast scattered throughout the Eververse, the focus will be a bit more narrow for a while, which will free some things up.

Doctor Strange 2 - Well, Mikee told me to continue giving it a chance, so I'm doing so. I've really never cared about Doctor Strange. I don't dislike him. But even as a kid, when I was reading the most random assembly of comics, I didn't find my way to him often. Every once in a while, when Ghost Rider and Blade and he would team up as the Midnight Sons, or when he changed his costume, I'd find something worthwhile, but for the most part, he's not for me. But with Jason Aaron and Chris Bachelo doing the book, I owe it more of a chance. And while the art is lovely (thanks Bachelo!) and the story is cool enough, I just can't find myself caring about the mystical world and all the huge level machinations that I feel like this book is destined for. It's not that I think it's bad. It's just not for me.

Extraordinary X-Men 1 - This book has a chance to be THE X book. Ramos is the perfect style for Colossus and I love the relationship between him, and Magik, and Nightcrawler. (But Ramos is not the perfect fit for Nightcrawler. He looks weird.) The interplay between Storm, old Bobby and young Jean will be interesting. The Terrigen Mists being out in the world killing mutants (and, even more so, making them sterile, ensuring that "No more mutants" will be Bendis' lasting legacy to the Marvel Universe) will make every X book feel like it could be the last. Which is weird. Business is a stupid thing, and when it fucks up my comics, I get sad, but I guess that's just part of the whole industry. But for now, this book feels like it could be one of the good side effects. The last page cliffhanger with Old Man Logan really just emphasizes that. This could be a uniquely good time. But...it also feels like it might the last of its kind.

Invincible Iron Man 3 - Another suggestion from Mikee that I didn't really think I'd follow up on, but I gave it more of a shot because of his encouragement. While Bendis writing Tony Stark isn't always the best match, because of BMB's propensity for making all of his characters sound like teenagers trying so desperately hard, it kind of works for Doom? The new Doom is strange and different and is obviously going to be more involved in the world of Doctor Doom, so I think this is kind of a weird crossover between he and Tony, but like he said in 2, they do have some shared history. Madame Masque is being well-developed as a character gaining new powers, but the other woman in Tony's life seems to be the ultimate cliche: he even tells her that he's just using her to become a better person? And she thinks that's a cute thing to say? Bummer that Bendis, with all his other over the top tropes, had to put this one in, too. The back and forth banter with Friday is not actually Tony Stark, nor is his insistence upon a high five with Strange, those are just Bendisisms that he can't leave behind. A last note of disappointment: Marquez's art is usually beautiful but I found some things about it, in this issue in particular, that were crazy bad.

Paper Girls 2 - Cool stuff. I'm not sure where this is going, though. It's clearly got some rather large time travel issues, beyond the obvious Apple hook, though, right? I mean...those were pterodactyls, right? Also, that last panel is OMINOUS. Great work by Chiang. The pencils were kinda rough (not bad, but, like, as a descriptive word) the whole rest of the issue and I'm wondering if this is a new stylistic thing he's working on? It's a different look for him and I don't mind it but it's gonna take some getting used to. We're slowly but surely getting some personalities from the girls.

Uncanny X-Men 600 - I'm not the world's largest X-Men fan, but for some reason, this was the issue that I was pumped about the most this week, and that I thought about the most for the last two, three, four months while it's been delayed. I really have no explanation for why, but I think I thought it was gonna be great. It was not great. Despite all the delays, the art was still varying from page to page. The ideas weren't particularly revelatory. The story didn't do anything that we didn't all expect, and I didn't feel much emotional resonance from it. I came away pretty disappointed (especially in the art, because of all the delays) and feeling like I definitely won't care much about the X-Men in the new Marvel Universe.

Book of the week goes to Black Science. A welcome return.

Monday, November 2, 2015

comics for the week of 10/28/15.

I also bought Jeff Smith's Tuki #1, which is a super late grab, but it was really good. I'm strongly considering adding it to the stack and if you haven't checked it out yet, you definitely should.

Black Magick 1 - Rucka works magic yet again. Another new series with a strong female protagonist who's got problems. I loved the intro where we're supposed to think it was old times the phone goes off. Good contrast to set up all the later ones. The hostage scenario was a great way to get thrown into the action to start us off, and we got to learn just enough about Rowan to guarantee future interest. This one is definitely added to the stack.

Fight Club 6 - This is just getting weirder and weirder and I'm liking it less and less. I feel like Palahniuk wanted to play in the medium and he's got some good points for it, but overall, this is a failure. The kid is still alive, Tyler and Sebastian are one, the good doctor might not be so good after all, and Rize or Die is a global conglomerate which somehow escaped everyone's notice. Wack. The cop who saves him is never explained (maybe never will be?) and there's a JFK conspiracy thrown in for no reason whatsoever. Maybe it'll read better as a whole?

New Avengers 2 - The Maker is introduced as "What if...Reed Richards went wrong?" and that's the best way to put it. Hickman proved, with his FF run, and, to a lesser degree, with his Secret Wars stuff, that Reed Richards is not the stodgy old man of the MU. He can be one of the greatest characters in the whole story-world. So the Maker has great potential. But honestly, he wasn't even the best part of the issue. This issue read like if the Avengers (and superheroes as a whole) were real and Zuckerberg and his tech gang in Silicon Valley took them over: "How does this scale up?" It was hilarious and awesome to read, all at the same time. But to make the Maker merely the mad, wacky scientist feels like underselling him. It's the Superman problem. When you can beat anyone at any time, it makes everyone feel a little underwhelming.

Book of the week goes to Black Magick. While the Big Two are spinning their wheels, Image is becoming the best comic book company in the world.

Monday, October 26, 2015

comics for the week of 10/21/15.

Age of Apocalypse was horrible. Terrible dialogue and bad art. No point. But Uncanny Inhumans was worse. Granted, I don't give any shits about the Inhumans, so I'm not the target market. Maybe people who are predisposed liked it more, but I think we can all agree on one thing: putting the famous penciller's name first on the cover, when he's serving as the inker of the book is a real shitheel move, Marvel. That's some bullshit and you know it. Makes me really, really glad that I'm basically off the Big Two books. Spidey's been fun to keep track of and I'm super happy for people who are loving it, but it's not my Spidey and that's totally fine. I had more than enough time with him.

Buffy 20 - Cool development with Anya's ghost, cool way to depict the change in Spike and Buffy's relationship. The perfect form of what a single issue story can be. No Willow, little Giles (no pun intended), no problem. Love the use of the cop force, love the integration of SF, and love the way that Buffy is truly maturing. This is one of the ways the show could have gone. Dawn's absence, Xander's insanity, and the ground between those two and the ways in which they interact, will certainly be explored in the conclusion.

Invincible 124 - Wow. This was a perfect issue. I mean...shit. I'd be freaking out, too. And Mark does almost all the right things almost all the time. This is going to be incredible, almost no matter how it goes. I know it's not a real reboot. It's got a question mark and it's a three part story. But there's certainly going to be some real fucking chips thrown down at the end of this. It's going to matter and I am so so so so so so curious as to how.

Book of the week goes to Invincible. I'm almost always excited for this book, but this might be as excited as I've ever been.

Monday, October 19, 2015

comics for the week of 10/14/15.

A whole new flock of Marvel tryouts to talk about this week. Too bad most of it was garbage. On the other hand, the indies were great, as usual, plus there was some other goodness.

Captain America 1 - Well, they're certainly pushing an agenda. And while it's one I agree with, I'm not sure how it's going to sell. It'll be interesting to hear people talk about it. But the real thing is the last page. I'm not sure how the new Marvel U is totally shaping up, but it's nice to see that we're proceeding with old Steve as a real thing, in a new role. So this has gotta mean Nick Fury's on the other side, right? Sam does a good Cap (not as good as Bucky, but...it wouldn't have worked the same way this issue did, either; it couldn't have) and the bird is cool, but I've honestly never been that interested in Cap. I'm a fan of this issue, not sure I'll have much interest in the series.

Civil War 5 - Tight. That was fun. Pointless in a way that Old Man Logan (and anything else that brought someone into the new Marvel U) wasn't, but still fun. Nice to see Tony and Steve teaming up to change the world one last time. One of the best little series coming out of the Secret Wars.

East of West 21 - Layers on layers and flashbacks on flashbacks. I like the structure of this second year, where we're moving the story forward but learning about what came before as well. This was a solid issue even if I don't really understand the deal tie Chief made toward the end. Did he commit? I think so? But with so many sides and so many variables and so many unknowns, it's hard to act like I can really tell. The relationship between the Widowmaker and Doma is a solid device, I hope they both stay alive long enough for us to see some real fruit from it. The Nation are a complicated people and they bring a great side to this conflict; I'm glad we're getting some exploration.

I Hate Fairyland 1 - Go for the Skottie Young, stay for the hilarity. This is awesome and everyone should read it, if only just for laughs. Good good good stuff.

New Avengers 1 - Goddamn, that was weird. I mean, all parts of it were pretty great, but there was some truly bizarre stuff. What's with every book needing some radically wacky element? Squirrel Girl? Why is she even here? (Why was D-Man in Captain America???) The way the team comes together is cool and I don't really like the name Power Man, but the new guy seems cool. The Maker's presence in this book is what's gonna make me pay attention to it. (Also, Sunspot. Love the mutants. There's so few of them now?) But what's with Dugan being a Ghost-Robot-Frankenstein? What's with SHIELD? What's with the mutants being gone? It's cool that Marvel is doing the anti-DC and not spilling the guts on literally everything, but boy, we sure are in the dark about a lot. I'm glad it's not giving away the ending to Secret Wars, but it's waaaaay more different than I thought it was gonna be.

Spider-Gwen 1 - That was cooooooool. They're fully embracing the other universe now that they're let loose, huh? Cap on the last page, Roxxon, Oscorp, Harry, all kiiiiinds of mentions. Gwen's dad is back on her side, it looks like some time has passed and we've got a whole new universe to play with. That'll be fun. I'm in for the ride, especially if Robbi Rodriguez continues to go as nuts with the art as he did in this one. In the first series, it felt back and forth at times, but he has a nice consistency here that'll continue to evolve into a truly great style. I'm a big fan.

Spider-Man 2099 1 - Whoah. Great first issue. Nice inclusion of the A2 Captain America in the new Marvel U. That's a cool touch that'll have loads of potential. But, Miguel O'Hara, despite losing his love interest, just like Captain America (whether Steve or Sam) doesn't truly interest me. The 2099 line was always a fun side trip, but only because it was so different. Now that he's in the U proper, I'm not sure that I care enough about him to buy him over Miles (whose book isn't out yet, but I'm already banking on). It's funny, but he said it best: with so many Spider-people to choose from, I don't need him.

The Twilight Children 1 - Wow. The art, obviously. But the story, too. Geez. The next great Vertigo series? Way too early to tell, and with these two, I'd never be bold enough to expect anything even remotely longish, but it's a heck of a start. It's brief (in words) but long (in both content as well as pages - or at least it felt that way) in the best kind of way. We've got some kids, we've got adults behaving badly, we've got implied backstory, we've got a remote setting with its own world... Everything's good.

Uncanny Avengers 1 - Jesus, there was a lot of spoilery stuff in there, but none as bad as Old Man Steve Rogers acting like an out of touch grandpa and the horrid art. Spidey quitting so early in the issue, Johnny Storm playing the role of the idiot, Deadpool playing the role of trusted ace, Rogue speaking like a child, and the forced integration of the Inhumans at the cost of (apparently) most of the X-Universe (they're...elsewhere? We're still gonna HAVE X books, right?) were just some of the things I disliked here. Reed and Sue are gone? Ben's elsewhere, too? Is he hanging out with the X-Men? Spidey hates Deadpool this much but he's gonna have a book with him? I hope it's not as awkward (or poorly drawn) as this book. Deadpool with the triple-meta-self-awareness could be cool, too, but on a book that's supposed to be so serious and serve as a benchmark? No thanks.

The Walking Dead 147 - Huh, yeah, good developments, but not much. I don't think that gun on the last page is ging to amount to much, but I did think the conversation between Michonne and Rick was solid. She needed that. And he needed to say it about Andrea. Their relationship is in a good place. The people are going to be pissed when they find out Lydia's in safety, though, and I'm not actually convinced she is, heading up to the Hilltop with Maggie. Shit there is totally different than Rick thinks.

Book of the week goes to East of West.

Monday, October 12, 2015

comics for the weeks of 09/23/15 & 9/30/15 & 10/07/15.

Honestly, I have no idea how I fell so far behind, nor what came out when, so I'm just gonna run down everything I've read in the last few weeks and, holy moly, it's a doozy.

Angel and Faith 19 - Angel's crew might actually be better than Buffy's at this point, but only because Koh kicks so much ass, and in spite of the Watcher's sisters, because they're essentially worthless. Fred's holding her own, though, and we didn't even see the Detective this issue. (Was he a red herring? It seemed like they were prepping him for a bait and switch, but now we haven't seen him doing anything meaningful in a LONG time. Maybe he just faded out of the plans?) Anyway, it's weird to see Angel getting dropped like such a punk, and even weirder to see him pull a sword out of his jacket eventually, but when he crashed through the window, Dru was waiting for him, with the mob, so that's weird times three. Nadira knew they were taking her, though, and let herself be taken, so I'm not necessarily worried about that. But it's al building to something and it's coming up soon. Good stuff. The art in this is so good. The dialogue, though, felt crazy overused, especially on page 1 panel 2. Regardless, it's great that both Buffy books are of high quality again. Looking forward to the grand finale.

Avengers 0 - This was fun and all of the new Marvel books look cool, but NOTHING beats the moment when we knew it was the Maker, before he revealed himself. Holy shit, they're bringing young, evil Reed into the new MU. This is the best possible world. The final page recap, though, reaffirmed a couple impressions: I won't care about A-Force. If people love it, I'm happy for them. Ramos on New Avengers will be a lot of fun. Mainline Avengers is going to be wacky and amazing. The Ultimates might be the perfect place for America Chavez. I hope this book kills, but it's got 2 characters with whom I'm totally unfamiliar. I still don't care about Squadron Supreme. And, lastly, and most unfortunate, between the line-up and the terrible art on Uncanny Avengers, I can't think it'll even be decent. Yuck. But 5 out of 6 is a great start for the new 'Verse.

Buffy 19 - This came out surprisingly touching, but only if you ignore the cover. The Buffy/Giles relationship has always been one of the stronger aspects of the series, at least for me. And while seeing Giles rush out to see Olivia and test-driving a car (looking like himself again!) and having a drink and losing his magical abilities due to aging and atrophy were all cool and funny and cute and neat touches, it was the scene at the end, with his simple conversation with Buffy that really hit home. He looked like Giles, he talked like Giles, Buffy said all the right things and they were...perfect. It was a really, really good filler issue and it felt like it was appropriate, too.

Doctor Strange 1 - Jason Aaron writes good stories. And Chris Bachelo draws good stories. And Doctor Strange is a cool, probably underused character. So all of this should add up to greatness. And there are great moments in this book. But overall...? I'm just not sure that I think Strange needs a solo book or what it would even really be if it ever was a successful one. The beginning was cool, but that'll wear off. The idea of random fighting on the street won't work. His club of magicians is a cool thing to introduce that could pay long term dividends. But Monako's presence felt forced,

Fight Club 5 - This book really is not good. At this point, I think Palahniuk is just fucking with all of us? Or maybe he's always been and it's only now that I'm old enough to think it's shit? Either way, there's too much going on here to care about either way. I'll finish buying and reading, but I'm not sure if there's a point.

Iron Man 1 - Huh. Well. There might be a spoiler in here for Secret Wars, eh? But I certainly don't know how we're getting here, so that's kind of OK? Regardless, Iron Man's a fun character and there's a lot that can and should be done with all aspects of him, but the one I'm least interested in is his dating life. Bendis brings his Bendis-y dialogue to the book, and Marquez brings the beautiful art, but unless we redirect to Doom, Madame Masque and the new suit, I'm just not going to be able to bring myself to care about this book in any meaningful way. I could give a shit less about Tony and his plethora of women.

Old Man Logan 5 - Well, the whole run was worth it to bring Old Man Logan into the new MU, and for the page with the memories spilling out of his head. Damn. That was awesome. I'm not sure if Jimmy will make it into the new Universe, but if he doesn't, at least Logan had a moment with him. And really, after the over-accelerated action of the last 2 issues, this one, with all its blank space and its exposition and its open ending, it felt perfect. I like what they're doing here, bringing in the disparate elements. I'm not sure how it's going to actually work, but I like that they're trying. It's going to be a fun experiment, and Logan will be an excellent addition to it.

Paper Girls 1 - An awesome start to yet another awesome BKV book. The preview didn't give too much away, the ending was a great hook, the art from Cliff Chiang is back to the level I expect from him... Everything was great. I like that we've got something in the past that will still have a contemporary edge to it, and I like the different ideas we're already exploring: AIDS, women's rights, stereotypes, cops, and so much more. There's a lot to digest in this issue, but this is obviously a keeper.

Plutona 1 & 2 - Geez, this book is a lot of fun. Thanks to Mikee for the recommendation! It's a bit like Powers, sure, meets...a kids book (not Lumberjanes, although the art is obviously a stylistic similarity) insofar as story and art. But there's depth, too. It's fun, it's got potential, and I'm in for the ride. I already care about all four of the main characters, and the back up stories, fleshing out the world, are pretty cool, too. Good ideas all the way around. Makes me think I need to go back and give Lemire's Descender another chance.

Powers 5 - Still good, still nothing new, still nothing real compared to the saga of Christian Walker that we've already seen. How many times has he probably already gone through this? But I love the changing character of Sunrise and how he's impressed by her just like we were (well, I definitely was...) in regards to the complaint they talk about. The trio also makes a good team, with the different dynamics. It's fun.

Sandman: Overture 6 - This was it. The swing, connect, and homerun of the series. He really saved it all for the end and what a perfect one it was. We see the whole thing, how Morpheus could end up so weak, how his family works together, and how the Universe might constantly be shifting underneath our feet. The artwork is the obvious appeal, but Gaimain's got a thing for the Endless. The way he involved all of them in this story (and Mom and Dad) was a great, unexpected aspect. And the last page was exquisite.

Secret Wars 6 - Jesus, it's a thing of beauty. From the cover on, the art is exquisite. (With the one exception being Peter Parker, Spider-Man, looking a little chunky. Does Ribic think that he has to accentuate that to make Miles look even smaller? Weird.) Anyway, the art is not the main story. The main story is Doom and the Black Swan and Val and the Reeds. And the Prophet. Because I've not been keeping up with all the tie-ins, I have no idea if I'm supposed to know who that is, but it's an interesting proposition. We thought the crews (the Cabal and the Life Raft Gang) were gonna be the X Factors, but it's clear they've got defined roles. Now whether the Prophet is one of bad Reed's toys or an independent actor, it's clear he's going to shake shit up. The only beef I have with this issue, and the series as a whole is that it's taking so long. I get that the art is great and it takes time, but they're rolling out All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe titles already because the war's not over - that's a problem.

Spider-Man 1 - Bought it for the Midnight Marauders cover. Stayed for the nostalgia. I won't be continuing to buy the book, though, because as fun as it was, it's not my Spidey any more. And that's fine. I hope the people who enjoy the book love it as much as I did for as long as I did, if not longer. The last-page reveal made me feel better about the time I thought I'd wasted with Renew Your Vows, though. So that's a cool thing.

Book of the week or month or whatever goes to Sandman. While Paper Girls was solid, it was only a start. It's much harder to stick the landing.

Monday, September 21, 2015

comics for the week of 09/16/15.

While we're waiting for things to settle in the Big Two Universes, let's have a look at one of the books that's done well to avoid the whole mess, Hawkeye, just like Daredevil did a couple weeks ago. Fantastic.

Hawkeye 5 - Hah! What a bizarro twist to what had previously been an ordinary (and I mean that in every good sense of the word) book! That ending? Hahahaha. Weirdness. But the new direction for this book is great. I know I've said it for five issues straight, but I'm really impressed by what Lemire and Perez have been able to do here, after Aja and Fraction had accomplished previously. The biggest knock on this issue was the art, which wasn't up to its previous standards, but that's still a pretty minimal complaint. I'll be interested to see how far they take the future angle.

Invincible 123 - The best part about not reading Previews is that I get to be genuinely surprised by twists like the one at the end of this issue. I mean, Hawkeye was cool and all, but we've seen that (in comics in general, in the MU in particular) before...we've never seen this in Invincible before. And I'm convinced of Kirkman's words at the end in the letters column, too: I think this is not going to be a reboot, in fact, and that there'll be long, meaningful impact here. This is an amazing opportunity to do some great work. And let's be real, it's not like the whole issue hinged on the twist. It was yet another showcase for Kirkman, proving how much he loves Mark and how dedicated he is to the idea of a family in superhero comics form. I wish more people had the balls to tell stories like Invincible. This was great. Eve had a great day, Mark had a great day, Oliver is growing up, and we have this new angle at the end to deal with.

Book of the week goes to Invincible. If it all turns out to be a fakeout, I'll be pissed. But I don't think it will.

Monday, September 14, 2015

comics for the week of 09/09/15.

Things are slow with the mainstream universes. Marvel's Secret Wars is taking longer than expected and DC is miring in the slog. Good thing we've got the goodness found outside the Big Two. (And Spider-Man. Always Spider-Man.)

Bitch Planet 5 - Worth the wait. But now there'll be another wait, huh? With the end of volume one we see, and Kelly Sue directly tells us, that no one is safe. It's gonna be a hell of a ride, especially if these awesome ladies can't beat the guards. I know they were cheating, but you're shitting yourself if you think the pros won't do far, far worse. This is an amazing book for our time.

Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows 5 - Well, fuck Quesada's variant covers and his self-indulgent delight in knowing how he's screwed over so many Spider-Man fans, but good on this story for making use of the "Renew Your Vows" title in a meaningful way so that it's not JUST a dig at the marriage and its fans. The story ends the only way it could, with a To Be Continued... which felt right. Of course, before then, the Parkers team up to beat Regent and we see the ordinary people of the world turn against him because he's threatening a little girl. That doesn't seem likely when they were all for him killing the superheroes, but nobody ever said superhero stories have the greatest logic. Hawkeye continues to get special treatment, as he should, but the true thread of this story was the family. It was nice to have in a Spider-Man story once again.

The Walking Dead 146 - So the cover turned out to be a lie (except for the fact that that scene actually happened) but the leaders aren't actually squabbling to that degree. But that's OK (and good, even!) because they're going to need to be on the same page if they're going to take on the Whisperers. And it certainly seems like they're going to. While Rick is trying to convey the scope of the threat he's seen, his people are furious. But they don't understand. And I don't think that Rick Grimes is going to back away from this fight. He's just trying to figure out the approach. I think Maggie will help, and I even think there'll be a role for Negan? Is that out of left field? I don't know. But the cover for next issue makes me think that things are going to get worse before they get better, because if anyone's known for stupid, childish overreactions, it's the kids. And off they go. I don't really think the last page of Eugene looking menacing will come to any meaningful fruition, but I do think that might be an option that gets them out and "running away" which might set the stage for frenzy?

Book of the week goes to Bitch Planet. Heart loves Spidey, but Kelly Sue is just doing a better book and that's a fact.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

comics for the weeks of 08/26/15 & 09/02/15.

Lumberjanes is also out this week and is always excellent, you should get there, too.

Civil War 3 - Huh. Well, that was a weird issue. I mean...both missions were successful, to a degree, but did either one of them get what they truly wanted? It seems like Cap's side is ahead for now, but I'm not sure what that's actually going to mean with the knowledge that a third party is involved...in...some way. Either way, it's still fun, Yu is doing fine work on the pencils and the story still feels like a clear possibility. Good stuff, not vital, but it'll make for some solid memories.

East of West 20 - Year 2 of the Apocalypse starts with a bang. The Union is trying to stave off war while the Endless Nation and the House of Mao are teaming up. But we see some treachery lying in the wings, not from whom we'd expect. I like the alliances that we'll see in this part because I think it'll make all the various parts easier to keep track of. I'm sad we didn't see Babylon this issue, but there'll always be time for him - he's a central player.

Fight Club 4 - Jesus. Palahniuk is into the meta-ficiton now, too, huh? OK, so I have no idea what happened here, other than Sebastian appears to be in the house, making soap, and meets up with Angel Face, almost beats him in a fight, but then loses due to nostalgia? And there's creeping signs (not just the obvious author cameo) that we know we're reading a work of fiction? Is Chuck the one who gives Marla the advice to get the kids to go overseas? Are they actually joining some of the fighting groups? Are we supposed to believe there's ANY Make A Wish foundation that would actually even send them there, much less get that close to the madness? No way, right? So is it all in her head? In his? In ours? Is this some sort of test? The Mack covers continue to be gorgeous, I'll tell you that much.

New MGMT 1 - Well well well. It's finally done, but the last page was perfect. Meru wins. There's a new MGMT. But there's just enough left over that things are still...in flux? I wouldn't even say that. I would just say that it was well-written. It wasn't the best written conclusion I've ever read, but it was almost exactly what it should have been and what it needed to be. I'm thankful for the series as a whole and for the fact that Matt Kindt succeeded in this ambitious look at something that used to be a lot more common: making good comics fun again and sell good numbers from month to month. Plus, it kicked ass the whole way out. It'll make a solid recommendation for any comic fan at any time.

Old Man Logan 4 - Well, that was fun, if only a one-note bit of fun. But I liked the crossover from the rest of the Battleworld storylines, and I like where it left Old Man Logan. We can see, maybe, where he's going to join up in the All New Marvel U. But for now, it's just a filler issue, showing old Wolvie taking on a whole world of zombies. Fun.

Book of the week goes to New MGMT. Let's not mourn its passing, let's celebrate its existence.

*

Happy late Labor Day! Instead of working, I ran, broke my phone, and read comics. In other words, it was a near perfect three day weekend.

Angel and Faith 14 - Interesting, fun, and another ending that I didn't truly understand. Drusilla still didn't look much like her character, but the ending with Faith and Fred on the rooftop having some vino felt real. We obviously learn why Mary was the prize, but I don't get the relevance of the statue, so I'm assuming it'll be cleared up for me some time soon. Fine issue, nothing special.

Daredevil 14 - A great end to a great run on a great series. It's funny to think, but since DD was relaunched in the Marvel Knights line, it's probably been the most consistently great Marvel book? I mean, shit. And the tonal shifts on this last run really hit their stride in this move to SF, the alliance with the DA, the refocus on Foggy and the friendship of he and Matt. There were so many good things about this run that I can overlook an imperfect last issue because it was damn good, just like the rest of the book. It wasn't perfect, but you know what? It doesn't have to be. It was fun and some of the most pure joy comics I've read in a long time. Thanks to Waid and Samnee for making things fun again while proving that fun doesn't have to mean wacky, off-the-wall, not-important-to-continuity bullshit. This was important. This matters. And it can still be fun.

Rachel Rising 36 - Well wasn't that just a perfect mixture? The gang of three are plotting their way into the Big Bad and his demise, we see just a smidgen of the guy who (probably) killed Rachel, and we get that amazing little glimpse into Jet and Earl. Those wordless panels, man, I love them. (And I know my buddy Dave Jordan loves them even more.) Terry Moore seems to finally be back on track and I'm loving this book again.

Book of the week goes to Daredevil. I think RR was probably actually better, but Waid and Samnee went out on a high note and I expect Moore to continue, so there's more opportunity for him.

Monday, August 24, 2015

comics for the week of 08/19/15.

You know what's cool? Superhero comics. You know what's fun? Movies based on those comics. You know what's weird? How much bad shit we heard about Ant-Man while it was being made versus how good it turned out, compared to how little bad shit we heard about Fantastic Four while it was being made versus how bad everyone seems to think it turned out. Weird.

Buffy 18 - Not a huge fan of how Angel framed the relationship in the end, but I can't say I totally disagree with it. The art was still a bit off, and the fight, while cool, still seemed less thrilling than it needs to be, especially if Archaeus is the Big Bad. But I'm glad this arc is over - it's got most of our main characters to a good point. So now we'll have a mini-arc and then the end? Curious to see where it goes.

Invincible 144 - We're clearly getting the seeds planted for Mark and Eve's inevitable return to Earth, but I've gotta say: I love seeing them so out of place. Of course, the fish out of water is a fun story to tell, but more than that, I mean that I love seeing Walker get to pencil some of those backgrounds and characters! It's a great opportunity for him to go totally nuts. Other than the art, though, the story was good, too. We got a neat little split between their new world and the larger goings on in the universe (outside of Earth) and it's looking like the Council will be taking the fight to Thragg. Mark might have trouble convincing Eve to let him join that fight, but he shouldn't. This is the most important thing he could be doing. It's worth risking his death.

Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows 4 - It's too bad Kubert's on the art, but the story isn't half bad. The kid's got guts, she's a great Parker heir - Annie May. Regent's got an idea of taking on Doom, Hawkeye has become Nick Fury and Urich's been covering the Parkers' tracks. There's a lot to like here. But, ultimately, it's not that meaningful and it certainly won't stand the test of time as one of the all-time great Spidey stories. But it's been a lot of fun.

Book of the week goes to Invincible. Tons of fun.

Monday, August 17, 2015

comics for the week of 08/12/15.

I'm wondering how thing are going over in the DCU. It's been a long time.

Secret Wars 5 - Huh. Well. I thought I got it pretty well when Doom and Molecule Man were talking, but the end is still a bit wobbly. Obviously, Val knows something is up. And her group is going to find out some of the shenanigans. But where's Franklin in all this? And what's up with the SHILED gang (old school Hickman alert!) being there? (And will we ever get the end to that series?) And what's up with the old Thor on the first page? And if Molecule Man's statue is there with Strange's, why doesn't anyone ever talk about him? And how does Doom get into that wacky place? And what (exactly) was the plan that let them beat the Beyonders? They cloned Reece? Then they attacked the Beyonders....? with their own bomb...? times a whole bunch...? And now he has to live in there as a conduit of the power? But it's made of Doom? Because he made the choice? And what (exactly) did Franklin do to Stephen's statue? And why couldn't we see that growing out of it later? Owen's words about needing to eat something soon seem to stand out as some pretty stark foreshadowing, as does Thanos being on the edge of the shield, but some of that is obviously given away by next month's cover - it's not as though zombies are going to be able to stop the Mad Titan.

The Walking Dead 144 - This was a good example of a good waste of time. There was almost nothing to this issue that we didn't get from the ending of last issue and that we won't get from the beginning of the next. Despite the fact that nothing truly happened, it didn't feel wasteful. Seeing people grieve is a real thing, but it wasn't compelling and I won't remember it long-term.

Years of Future Past 4 - The worst it's been, but in a very X-Men way. Cameron and Christina are related, Magneto is a traitor, there's divisions on the sides, and it's all very soap opera-y. Not well pencilled, nor written with good dialogue (although a good joke about monologues in there) but we only have one more till the end. I wonder if many of these series will serve any point. I mean, Old Man Logan is coming over, but, like, is anything going to spring from THIS series into the new Marvel U? If not, this was a pretty bad waste of time.

Book of the week goes to Secret Wars.

Monday, August 10, 2015

comics for the week of 08/05/15.

The Civil War part of Secret Wars is still proving to be fun, but I'm getting impatient with the mainline book. Is it already behind? Or am I just cranky? Also, we still don't really know what's going to happen with, like...everything else.

Angel & Faith 17 - Yeah, things are happening. But...is that Drusilla on the last page? It doesn't look much like her, but it doesn't seem like it could be anyone else and cursory Googling says yeah, so...I guess it is? OK, that'll be fine, and I like how Faith and Angel have a good discussion in this issue, and I like how Fred is back in the mix (although going undercover as a lunch lady seems a bit beneath an Elder God like Illyria) but I'm not sure how this is all going to play out. Does this mean that Archaeus is controlling Dru (as mentioned in the now-looking-back-it-might-have-been-heavy-handed conversation) and that he'll turn out to be the Big Bad for both books? As I mentioned with the last Buffy book, I'm not sure he feels big or bad enough? But that's fine, they're working smaller still, maybe? Anyway, the book is still good, but I'm not really feeling compelled by either of them any more. Maybe this is just part of growing older and growing away from things I once loved? I don't feel like the book is bad, at all. So if it's not changing, maybe it's just me.

Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows 3 - That's fun. I like the idea of Annie taking the lead next issue, but if we're honest, she really did so here. Peter can narrate all he likes, but it was her words that led him to fight. As well it should be. The art's still pretty poor (sorry Kubert) and the story is trite, but it's cool to see Spidey as "the most important hero" yet again. I mean, he's my guy. So of course I'm gonna like it, right?

Ultimate End 4 - Hm. OK. I can't say that I fully understand it, but I'm starting to see that there might be a point to it after all. I mean, it can't just be this totally atemporal look at a version of a What If...? story, right? There's gotta be something. And here we see Val asking Doom exactly that? Maybe he knows, even with the power of God, that he can't hold on to it forever? Maybe that's why he's intentionally introducing chaos into the system? (Also, Jesus, how much does Bendis love chaos theory? He must have flipped his shit for Jurassic Park and just never moved past that point, huh? Wanda's a chaos magician, kicking off Disassembled, and now he's trying to muck in Hickman's waters by saying chaos is the magic reset button? What a dork.) But I still don't know what's happening with Tony vs. Tony nor do I really get who Frank's ultimately shooting at - but I think that's (at least part of?) the point? We'll see next issue.

Book of the week goes to...none of them? Nothing was great this week, but I guess I'll go with Spider-Man. Best of the bunch.

Monday, August 3, 2015

comic for the week of 07/29/15.

I also read Powers (still fun, if totally stagnant) and finished the Fables trade. I thought the ending to Fables was perfect for that series, even though it's not one of the best endings I've ever read. It felt pitch perfect, but it wasn't anything that blew me away. It was just perfectly, reliably solid, like the entirety of the series.

Daredevil 17 - That beginning! Matt's fight with Ikari takes up most of the issue, but the parts in between explain how we got to this point and it's done so well. The Kingpin, always three steps ahead, appears to be ahead of even his own curve at this point. Then Max comes in an complicates the picture, as has been his wont. I'm curious to find out what Matt had planned before his plan was tattered, but I'm more curious about that crazy change of costume - it doesn't look like it was possible, nor did it make much sense, even if it's just for the point of visuals in the story? Surely there's gotta be a bit more to it? If not, that was worthless, but I'll tell you what wasn't: this series. I'm still dying to find out what they're going to do with Matt Murdock and Daredevil in the new Marvel U, especially given the bizarre changes I've heard announced regarding Thor (Odinson version) and the Hulk and Iron Man and so many others. It's going to be a different world, how much? For now though, that's far out. For now, let's finish this up.

No book of the week when there's only one, but everyone else should be catching up on (or current, if you're in better shape than me) Spider-Woman. That's a lot of fun.

Monday, July 27, 2015

comics for the week of 07/22/15.

The last Fables trade came out, too! But I'm not sure I'll have time to read it for this set of reviews, so it might get put down next week.

Buffy 17 - Meh. I can't see how anyone there would not have known that was going to be the end. But I also don't see how anyone can think it's going to matter. Spike snapped out of it. Angel will, too. That's just a given. So then they'll get to take down the big bad at that point? Or is this yet another fake out and he'll get to scamper off only to fight another day? Or, best of all, will the Scooby Gang kill him, only to find out there's something bigger and badder? It all feels kind of hollow in the grand scheme of things. But what doesn't feel hollow is he character development. We have some laughs at Angel pretending that he's not the same, and at Angel calling out Andrew as out for a while now, but those two aside, Willow's assessment seems spot-on: the people we know and love in this series seem to have changed quite a bit. And that's always a good thing. I just hope it continues and we see some true development carry though to everyone.

Fight Club 3 - I dunno man...I'm losing the thread. It feels like it's just a jumble of Palahniuk, in all the ways that people have hated since I originally loved Fight Club. It's intriguing without actually being deep. It's pretty without meaning anything. Thus far. I'll give it the room to finish out. He can do whatever he wants with his properties and I don't begrudge giving him more money for something that I really liked once upon a time, but it felt like a bad idea from the get go and nothing that I've seen, from this issue or any of the ones before, has changed my mind.

Hawkeye 4 - This issue was actually a bit difficult to read, just because it was SOOOO much flashback and it was hard to tell what was happening in the present day, but it was a pretty basic story in our here and now, so that was helpful. The colors (and the pencils) on those flashbacks continue to the most beautiful thing about the book, though, and it's so worth it. I love getting to see the story of Barney and Clint as kids (again? I've not seen it before, and I know some of it has been established, but I'm not sure how full it's been fleshed out) especially when it's this gorgeous. Next issue will be the end of the arc, so I'm curious to find out what's gonna happen with the kids.

Mind MGMT 35 - If there was ever any doubt in anyone's mind that this is tied with Saga as one of the best comics coming out, I'm not sure why or who'd wanna talk to them. As sublime an almost-conclusion as we could possibly get, there are only a few strands left to be wrapped up by this monster. Meru comes out all right, as does Henry Lyme, who gets help from a couple unexpected sources. We get to see how in control the Eraser thinks she is, and we get to see how Meru's trust and relationship skills, the things she needed to work on in the beginning of the series, are, in fact, the things that save her here at the end. We see that Dusty's Kids (should) survive and the gang is almost all here. I'm very excited for the last issue but even more excited to re-read the trades and to see the whole picture unfold all over again.

Old Man Logan 3 - This really changed what I thought it was going to be; Old Man Logan gets to be our guide to Battleworld, showing us a glimpse of tons of stuff that we don't get to see otherwise. And I suppose this makes sense: since he'll be coming over to our Universe post-Secret Wars, he'll need to be a voice of what happened, what we've all gone through. But I didn't get it till now. And now? I love it. He's lived through the Age of Apocalypse, he'll kill some zombies and he'll get to rendezvous with Doom. I'm not sure if this is going one more issue or three, but I'm hoping for more, because it's a lot of fun. I thought it was all going to be in "his" domain, like the other books, but it's benefitted from the wide lens they've tossed out. And Bendis is doing shockingly great work. The art is a step up, as well. I loved Tony's role in this book, too.

Book of the week goes to Mind MGMT.

Monday, July 20, 2015

comics for the week of 07/15/15.

It's a very odd time in comic books. I'm pretty sure everyone should go see Ant-Man, though.

Hawkeye 22 - I can't believe it actually came out. And I'm not gonna act all hard: I cried multiple times reading this book. I mean, honestly...when Lucky/Pizza Dog got shot? Jesus. Fucking tears. But even the end: a Clint Barton/Kate Bishop Comic Book? That ending shot of their arrows? It's so perfect! It's incredible that this series ever existed, that its first issue got to come out, that they let it end like it should have, that they took the time to actually do it right, that it all came together... Everything about it was perfect. This will be a hardcover you should buy the first day it's available, and it's a series that immediately qualifies as one of the best created during our life time. Despite knowing Clint HAS to survive I was genuinely concerned for him when the gun came out. I honestly thought Kate might shoot Ivan. And those are the signs of a great, compelling story. You know it's going to happen one way. Convention says it must. And yet...you doubt. You worry. You care. It's so good.

Invincible 121 - Wow. That was great. But I have to believe that maybe Brit was a plant the whole time? He saw the light pretty damn quickly and his word carries a lot of weight. It was an abrupt change, but it's probably right. Which only leads me to wonder: what's going to happen when Mark sees these latest developments? Maybe he won't. Maybe everything will be changed by the time he and his family make their way back to Earth. But I have rather large doubts that'll be the case. Also, is anyone keeping Nolan in the loop? Like, allllll the way in the loop? Like, does he know that all those plants are super safe now? And the Viltrumites are going to make a major comeback? Not just on Earth, but thanks to Thragg, too? Man. This was a really good issue.

Rachel Rising 35 – Wow! As far back as 10 issues ago, I was wondering if this book was just going to meander along or if it was going to get a grand, over-arching plot again. And yeah, we've seen it coming the last couple issues, but this one really bumped it up. I feel like I've said it for the last few, but this issue was better than anything that's come before. I love the long arc of Lilith and Rachel, I love Rachel getting her memory back, I love Zoe playing the foil (and let's talk about planting seeds for waaaaaaaay further down the road, I mean, shit, that could come back to haunt everyone in a major way if this book goes on long enough) and I love the fact that we got to see some of the differences between the sisters. The memories were beautifully done, too.

Book of the week goes to Hawkeye. It was phenomenal and one of a kind. If it hadn't come out, it would have been Rachel Rising, but if you're going up against Top 5 Lifetime material, you've gotta be prepared to lose.

Monday, July 13, 2015

comics for the week of 07/08/15.

Some of the Secret Wars tie-ins have been truly bizarre. And one I tried this week, I was really worried about. But the Civil War issue was strangely compelling. It was an interesting continuation of some of the ideas of the original series and it was pretty well done. All of these characters are so much more than the one-dimensional caricatures they're made out to be in the Civil War iterations, but it's still a pretty fun experiment.

Black Science 16 – It's still too dense. I understood next to nothing about it, other than Rebecca being an evil bitch and Kadir dying for no reason. We have the end of one epic arc, but the gang is so change and the world they left behind is so fucked that it's hard to keep track of. What's going to happen? Are we, like an onion, going to circle back around to this time and place and see some ramifications? Or do we move only boldly forward, never pausing to try to retrace where it's gone wrong and how we could have fixed it? It's a hell of a book, but it feels like a roller coaster where the ride is broken and we just keep plummeting down and down and down.

Saga 30 - “There's no graduating from this kind of education, couples just keep growing and changing until they either break up or die.” Wow. This book...man...this book. There's nothing better. Marko and Alana are back together, but it came at a remarkably high price. The robots appear to be on their own, the Last Resistance has gotta mutate, and Ghus is still in tow. We don't get to see what's up with Grandma in this brave new world, but I can't imagine it's anything amazing. Hazel, though, still gets to narrate this tale, despite the distance, and it continues to function in a great way.

Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows 2 - Yeaaaaaaah. This was way better than the first issue. Still pretty standard, end of the shelf superhero business, but it was nice to see some character development from all of them, even if Annie's was just a (not-so childish) fear of Venom. MJ and Peter being on equal footing was always one of the highlights of their relationship (only them and Lois & Clark have that, as far as I know) and it's so cool to see them talking to each other like partners. Jonah seems like he'd be too proud to turn into what he appears to be, so I'm hoping for a twist there, but other than that, the universe feels poorly fleshed out. We knew it was going to be the Sinister Six at the end, but where are the other parts of SHIELD that we got hinted at in this issue - and who's running it? This is cool.

The Walking Dead 144 - That's fucked up. All parts of it. Alpha and the Whisperers seem to have genuinely made their mark. And there's some part of her that's conflicted about it, but the bigger question, obviously, is what Rick and the gang are going to do about it. I mean, it seems like Alpha is sincere in her desire to simply be left alone. But Rick (and co.) haven't been great about leaving people who kill their people alone. Even if those last few pages hadn't been what they were, I'm not sure they would have let it lay. But now, with that on top? It's going to be a heck of a lingering issue. Carl's girl problems are also going to continue. And let's not forget: we've got our own intra-squad murder to reconcile, too.

Book of the week goes to Saga.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

comics for the week of 07/01/15.

Comic books are so much fun, and Marvel is doing a great job of proving that right now. I read the second Future Imperfect and the Years of Future Past and they were both a lot of fun. That's kind of all I ask for?

Angel and Faith 16 - Hahahaha. This is shaping up to be ridiculous. You've lost all the momentum from Angel and Faith's reunion and any of the semblance of greatness from Magic Town. Now we've just got Faith, as a substitute gym teacher, in London, with a cop who's crushing on her, and with revived Fred as a sidekick. That's a comic premise and it doesn't come across any better when you add in the schoolboy vamps and the ridiculously reluctant Mary. There are some obvious directions this storyline is going to go, but I hope it just wraps up sooner rather than later so that we can get back to something like an overall plot. For now, this was a rather wasted issue.

Secret Wars 4 - This is like the comic book equivalent of pure ego: "No one man should have all that power!" Doom plays the God role to perfection and several things do not go our heroes' way. But the best thing that does is that Strange recognizes that they might be good for the world and he scatters them before Doom can do more damage. Unfortunately (?) this also applies to the villains (?) who are in the vicinity? I'm actually not too clear on that part, if all the question marks didn't indicate that. Meanwhile, there's other signs that Doom's version of Paradise is about to come crashing down, too, as we've got Val and Sue noticing some similarities and making observations that will lead them down a path he'll be none too interested in. We also learn that there's (apparently?) no other Reed Richards in the multiverse? Hard to believe, given that we've seen him in a lot of these other 'verses over the years, but I'm certainly not keeping well enough track of the books coming out now to see if he's in any of these stories. That would be clever cherry picking, if so. Regardless, the stage is now set for quite literally the greatest Doom vs. Reed battle of all time. Man.

Ultimate End 3 - Again, essentially worthless. I hope this isn't the coda to the Ultimate Universe, because if so it's a shit cherry on what's been a hell of a sundae. It's a good enough book, but it seems like there's no point to it and it doesn't fit with anything else.

We Stand on Guard 1 - Whoah, Jesus! What a beginning! It was awesome and a lot of fun and it sucked me right in. I'm not exactly convinced of the long term potential, but I do love me some BKV, so I'm definitely going to keep on trucking with it. The art's not to my taste, but I love the dynamic of USA vs. Canada, if only because of the modern situation - with the longest land border that sits unprotected, there's some ripe storytelling ground. Also, setting the story in the future is one of the most sure fire ways to get me invested. A great start.

Book of the week goes to Secret Wars. This is everything we've wanted it to be.

Monday, June 29, 2015

comics for the week of 06/24/15.

Still genuinely excited for Marvel, still aghast at the mess that DC has made of itself. Nothing good from the Distinguished Competition again this week, despite my trying out some of the alternate titles that Dave suggested, as well as my dabbling in the mainstream. Nothing even suggesting hope, outside of Injustice. What an ironic shitshow.

Daredevil 16 - That certainly looks like blood underneath Foggy and there is no part of that that's good. Kirsten also appears to be in a not great place. Man, the offer that Matt presented to Kingpin was great - I did not see that coming. But it appears as though Fisk has out-thought him on this one. I'm confident, of course, that'll change, but there are going to be some damning consequences first, huh? I mean, there are a lot of players on the board right now: Owl and his daughter, Shroud and his ex, the anti-DD coming back as a dangling plot device and, of course, Matt and Fisk. (Sidenote: are we really going to have to base everything on TV and movies now? Fisk in his art gallery? But I loved that they weren't the stupid white canvases [appropriate for the story we got told in the Netflix series] but rather all tortured looks at killing DD.)

Fight Club 2 2 - It still seems kind of pointless. I mean, if he's going undercover at the Paper Street Soap Company to find out what Tyler knows, Tyler will be able to give him away, right? Unless he NEEDS hypnosis to resurface, in which case we might be getting somewhere. The art is still fine, Marla's still fine, but I have a feeling the kid is not exactly the desperate case that he's being presented as.

The Walking Dead 143 - Well, we're definitely seeing a changing dynamic. I'd be interested in hearing what the crew who claimed that TWD never changes say to this issue. Alpha is putting Rick in his place. The only real question remaining is if she really wants to be left alone, or if she's going to imperialist that shit and try to spread her values onto our gang. Carl's coming into his own as a character, but it feels cheap, if only because almost all young love is. But if that's what it takes for him, well, shit, most of us did it that way, too. (And we were misguided, just like he is.) Maggie's still gonna be in deep shit, none of Rick's crew is hurt just yet, but next issue could be the big switch. Which way's it gonna go?

Book of the week goes to Daredevil. Someday, we will look back at the 21st century as Daredevil's just as much as (if not more than?) Ultimate Marvel's.

Monday, June 22, 2015

comics for the week of 06/17/15.

I also read a bunch of the new DC You books, but I didn't love any of them.

Buffy 16 - Fun, but kind of a filler issue. I mean, we get the reunion, we get a chat between Angel and Buffy (which definitely doesn't go as well as it should - they should both be over it by now; they're adults, Angel even more so), we get Spike placing his mark, and we get a battle. But the battle felt soft, the trap feels obvious and the pace is a bit slow. We're just killing time until we go after the Big Bad at this point, which makes it feel like it's a bit of a worthless issue.

Mind MGMT 34 - Kindt has Meru say "Its foundation is lies" about a building that defies physics and it doesn't even get time to breathe before she jumps into an imaginary, overblown battle: that's how fucking good he is. And the ending? Man. Did not see that coming. Great stuff, as always. I'm a bit concerned for Meru and her gang, but I don't think Meru's in real trouble; the cover makes it seem like the dog's important and I know he's got C-4 strapped to him, but it's gotta be OK for her, right? I mean, she hasn't even had her grand old confrontation with the Eraser yet (I mean...part two). So yeah, she'll be all right. And we finally see the film finishing up with Salvador Dali, and how that plays into the larger plot. But nothing in the margins was both odd and disappointing for this issue.

Old Man Logan 2 - Well fuck me, that was a marked improvement on the last issue and a hell of a good time in general. It's super fun to see the Age of Apocalypse crew again, of course, but the way they mix in the back story of Old Man Logan (shouts to Bobby for being hilarious in every universe) makes it even more special. I think he's going to have a hell of a time in this universe and I think there's going to be some fun easter eggs for the longtime Marvel U fans. Emma Frost is playing a great role in this book, in all her incarnations.

Book of the week goes to Mind MGMT.

Monday, June 15, 2015

comics for the week of 06/10/15.

I also read Batman 41 & 'Tec 41 just to check out the changes, but the best thing about it was the variant Sean Murphy cover. The rest was blah. Putting Manapul on a book for his writing without his art has not proven a winning technique. Boo.

Black Science 15 - Well, the conclusion is up next and, if we didn't think that the Shaman was an alternate version of our cast before (which I don't know why you wouldn't...) we certainly are led to believe that now. Grant's out trying to take care of things, but there's going to be some kind twist to it, right? I mean, it seems like they know what he's doing more than he does. And Kadir seems to have been confronted by himself, right? The kids are coming along in their own right, as well, which hasn't happened since the early issues. It's good, and it's going to read even better when we get 1-16 all in one trade so we can more fully process exactly what's happened.

Rachel Rising 35 - Huh, yeah, all right, that was good. I've been long wondering when this was going to get to another point, whether it was just going to meander around for a while or whether we were going to get another arc. It seems like we've finally got one. There's a lot of stuff going on here, but the best parts are with Jet and Earl. It's cute. OTOH, we've got Zoe and Rachel's relationship progressing, but apparently not enough for Zoe to tell Rachel some pertinent information she's got regarding our issue's guest star, Lilith. Some solid stuff from Mr. Moore.

Saga 29 - For everything I'd heard about this issue, I honestly kind of expected more. It was sublime as always, and the characters continue to grow in the way we expect them to, especially Hazel in her narration. But I'm not into this series for the shock pages and the bit with the dragon didn't even make me chuckle, much less blow me away. The last couple pages, though, did. There's been a lot of sacrifice in this series the last couple issues and I expect that'll continue, but I'm not quite sure where they're going now, with the cast split up, and the constant changes in who's alive and who's not.

Spider-Gwen 5 - Well, OK. So, they're done, huh? Wow, this is shaking out weird. I mean, I knew it had to go down kinda like this, but I didn't actually expect it to end so abruptly. Um...there's no conclusion? I guess I'll have to read Spider-Verse 2 to see where this is going. And don't get me wrong: I expect this book to be back. But for now...well...the Black Cat of this Universe is awesome and the French in the comic was awesome and the Jean DeWolff angle is always good, but... Then it just ended. I don't have much more to say, other than I'm looking forward to wherever they go next. (ETA: Boy, that Spider-Verse 2 was shittastic. I hope that's not going to be where Spider-Gwen ends up, with the various Spiders crew. Shit.)

Ultimate End 2 - There's a Groot Thor, a Storm Thor, a Destroyer Thor, and, of course, the normal variants we've seen before. And it was a far better first page than anything we got out of the last issue. But then they electrified Hawkeye and I was worried. But we get Tony and Tony teaming up, Peter going to see Ultimate Aunt May and Gwen Stacy...what's not to like? Except for the fact that it was over so quickly and doesn't seem to mesh with the mainline book at all and I'm not sure what the point is at all, other than just to sell a couple more copies gloating over the corpse of the Ultimate Universe. Enh.

The Walking Dead 142 - This actually should have been the most perfect issue of The Walking Dead in a long while, but for some reason I just wasn't feeling it. I like Carl's reasoning, and I like Maggie following up with Gregory and Rick, but I don't like the half-degrees she dealt with both of them in. And the last page cliffhanger should have been awesome, but I just didn't feel like I was in any imminent danger. I'm not sure what was off, but something is. It was good, but I didn't love it.

Book of the week goes to Rachel Rising. I'm actually not sure if it's a better issue than Saga, but it felt better.