Monday, March 23, 2015

comics for the week of 03/18/15.

March Madness is here!

All New X-Men 39 - This is bullshit. I know it's out of order now. The art is beautifully amazing and there was a cool moment between young Jean and young Scott, interrupted (I think?) by young Hank (but they're talking about Hank later and I can't imagine the old one is part of this bullshit crossover, so I have no idea because I'm not reading the rest of this bullshit arc) that was cool, but other than that, this is blah.

Buffy 13 - This book is really improving. I like the maturity with which the Spike and Buffy relationship is handled in the morning (after), I like Xander's logical reaction to Spike's story, and I like the layered references to Dr. Mike. (This feels like something sinister hiding in plain sight, so that'll be cool if we got the foreshadowing, but it's also something Buffy does just to throw something around, so it could be nothing.) The whole thing with Andrew felt more than a little bit like pandering to a certain section of the fans, but I don't think there's anything wrong with that. The gay audience probably has some issues with the Buffy comics, and they're probably not off base. But the good news was that something happened with the vampy bunch while Spike was locked up, so the Scoobies are pretty certain it's not him. Which is good, because it helps to continue with the mature approach that works so well. We've ruled out one thing, let's move on to the next. The art was still a bit cartoon-y for my taste, but it worked well enough.

Mint MGMT 31 - Well, what we missed in margin notes we got made up in the extraordinary meta-level of the comic book within the comic book, composed by Meru, serving as a guide for herself, her editor, the reader, and, possibly, the enemy? This book is incredible, the way that it functions on so many planes. The best panel, obviously, was the one with Meru and Lyme and the field of roses, with its Arthurian allusions. Great, great great stuff. I'm bummed this is coming to a close, but I can't wait until it's all done to pick up all the hardcovers and give it a re-read all at once. Next issue we'll see things from the other side?

The Private Eye 10 - Whoah. That was fucked up. We got the unhappiest possible ending of all possible endings. I mean, I thought having the rug pulled out from underneath me and having to root for the bad guy at the end was a hell of a trip, but they went even farther. The hope that Gramps leaves us with is nice, but it's a fool's hope, especially given that we probably won't revisit this universe. It's nice to see Raveena's progress and Gramps surviving, but there's not much more that's happy from this ending. And that's not bad at all. The book was a success in every conceivable measure. I, for one, couldn't be happier to have paid for all of this and that it exists. Highest possible recommendation.

Book of the week goes to The Private Eye. What an incredible experiment and how lovely to get these results.

Monday, March 16, 2015

comics for the week of 03/11/15.

I heard tons of great stuff about D4VE, so I picked all of them up digitally instead of waiting for the print versions that my friends are getting through IDW. I've also been advised by Dave to check out the Flash TV show and the Season Zero digital comics that coincide with that, so those'll probably be added next week.

All New X-Men 37 - I honestly have no idea what's happening here anymore. Did I miss the conclusion of that story that I didn't like? Where are these guys coming from? That aside, though, this was a solid issue. It's always about the characters, and Jean Grey has always been one of the most rich. And Emma Frost, ever since Morrison, has truly become one. Sure, at times, she's regressed to a one-dimensional being, but most of the time, she's been good since then. And this pairing offers a lot of potential. The art was just different enough to still be good, and the back and forths, not only with Emma and Jean, but also with Jean and the Blob, were solid. Young Jean has a ton of room for growth in this universe.

D4VE 1 & 2 - I'm not sure. It was fun, yeah, but not a lot more than that. I mean, I get that it's just a basic story with the robots as the humans, and there's some great humor in it, but I just don't see it going somewhere that I actually care about. 1 was an interesting premise, 2 didn't follow through much. The idea of the son is a good one, but he's more annoying than anything, and every character basically felt that way in the second issue: the wife got more one-dimensional, the boss was worthless, even D4VE came across as a fat old man trying to relive the flory days.

East of West 18 - Hm, that was different than the ending that I thought I saw coming. I thought Orion was there to take the blind fold off? But clearly that's not the case. As always, I'm a little lost. I loved seeing some of the past, too, though I wasn't really clear on if the bit with Death and Mao was contemporary or not. The kid's going to be the Beast. There's no way around that. It all just depends on how much of the world he truly sees before he fills that role that will tell us how it's going to actually turn out. Beautiful stuff, as always.

New Avengers 31 - Huh. I wonder if this was always the plan? Doom is Rabum Alal? Or if Doom simply saw opportunity, swept in, disposed of Alal and is posing? I don't know. Neither make much sense. But with all these reveals, it's clear that the end of this story is truly coming and that things are going to change in a rather large way. When we first saw Dr. Strange, post-giving up of his soul, it seemed like he hadn't changed much. But here, leading the Black Priests in war against the White Swans (who, ironically, are called Black Ladies by the Priests? That was weird...) and then invading the library, he seems like a totally changed man. This is Strange in a setting and as a character that befits his large stature. The conflicts on Earth have always seemed rather beneath him. If Marvel is going to go bonkers cosmic, this is where he should remain, so he can have some sense of gravitas.

Rachel Rising 32 - Yeah, that was cool. Different. Largely narration. But an interesting approach to an issue. The experiments with the narration boxes were cool. The flash via Rachel was something we've seen before, but it was well done, too. But mostly, I feel like this is set up for some of the LARGER picture. Terry Moore might be showing some ambition again?

Ultimate Spider-Man 11 - Aw man, next issue is the final issue? They really are going to kill the Ultimate Universe? Really? After all this caring about Ganke and Miles' dad and building Dr. Doom into a credibly awesome, totally different version of himself? Poop. I can't believe it. I DON'T believe it. I don't believe they'd spend all this time developing these characters just to throw them away. Whatever the end result of the next big Marvel event (I honestly don't even know what to call it anymore: Battle World? Secret Wars? Crisis on Infinite Marvel Earths?) is, I can't believe that it will result in there being merely one universe in the Marvel Multiverse. I've got to think this, not only because I love this book and these characters, but because they just introduced Spider-Gwen! So, with those frantic shouts, aside, yet another great issue of this series. Miles wakes up in jail, but a HYDRA jail, and he's talked down from his bold threats in a rather mature manner. I wish I saw more interactions go this way. He's smart, he knows. Speaking on that, their ex-roomie knows, too, so either that's going to come into play next issue, or it's merely setting the stage for the next arc of this book - BECAUSE IT'S OBVIOUSLY GOT TO CONTINUE! Katie does her best to make a rational case, but there's no possibility that continues, because Miles knows what HYDRA actually means.

The Walking Dead 138 - Carl Grimes is a little boy who fell in love with the first girl who fucked him. He's stupid, and he's a cliche. We all knew he was going after them. But the community is far more important than any one person, especially Carl, but even Rick or Maggie. I hope they leave him out there to die. I want to focus on Gregory and the two towns and hang out with the people who've made progress for a while. But, honestly, not a bad issue.

Book of the week goes to Ultimate Spider-Man. In a week full of strange surprises or disappointing books, this one stands out for consistently being better than I thought it would be, even when I think it's going to be good.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

comics for the week of 03/04/15.

Daylight Saving Time is about to screw us over all over again.

Angel and Faith 11 - Fun. Not much more. We're digging deep into some of the more mythic backstory that we didn't really care about in the beginning, so I'm not sure why they'd think we care about it now? I mean, Illyria is awesome and all, and Koh was a fun side character, but I'm not compelled by any aspect of this, other than the one that got the brush off: the reunion between Angel and Faith. Plus, with that cover (not just the art, but the text), I thought we were all but assured of some more major stuff! But that's fine. It's a long game.

Avengers 42 - It certainly seems like it's all been building toward this. Geez. The Shi'ar are coming to kill Earth. The Avengers are building Noah's Arc. The evil Reed and the Cabal are going to storm over the Multiverse. And to...something? Good Lord, there's a lot of stuff happening. This was the clearest issue in a while but it still felt like only a puzzle piece. It wasn't bad in any way, but I'm still not sure where this is actually going to take us. I feel like the last three years of the entire Marvel Universe will have to be retroactively judged after 3-4 more years have passed and we've seen the aftermath of Battle Worlds, Secret Wars and whatever's beyond that horizon. If it's a small reboot, that'll work, because the Marvel stories have always had that sliding timeline. But if it's a larger or harder one, that'll be tough to swallow. I look forward to seeing where it's gonna go.

Black Science 12 - That was a lot of fun and I'm glad that I'm not just reading it in trades because this might have been the best single issue of this series so far. The iterations keep coming and I honestly have no idea which version of all of these characters we're actually dealing with, but I don't think I care either. It's great to see the gang together, even if it's splintered from the first issue we saw, because there's obviously larger themes at work here. The only real goodness (at least, that we've not yet seen) from this issue was the revelation (if you can even call it that?) about Rebecca (if that's her name?) and how she's got a double role, just like everyone else.

Hawkeye 1 - This was a nice pick up from the Aja/Fraction book. There's tons of strong thematic connections, but it also does a great job of demonstrating that it'll be its own book. The colors are gorgeous in the flashback sections and the whole feel is right, tonally: he's got hearing problems in the past and the present, his brother is a huge part of his life, his relationship with Kate is complicated, but he's still just mostly concerned with trying to do the right thing. The references to the larger Marvel Universe as a whole feel right, too. It's a lot of fun and I can't see myself skipping it any time soon. But I'm still waiting for the old arc to actually finish. (And for that inevitable hardcover collecting all of it.)

Saga 26 - That was a lot of heartache followed by a last page of terrible heartache. Basically, this book feels like it delights in ripping my heart out. But here's something fun that I noticed: we're basically, at this point, following the adventures of three different (maybe four?) families, all pulled together not by blood but by circumstances. It's an incredible feat and I didn't even see it coming; how BKV managed to get the book to this point this quickly will always be something that astounds me. Obviously the little seal is a great addition, but the adventure with the dragons is turning out great, and we see some superb narration from Hazel cluing us in that the robot resistance fighter is going to have some rather large regrets. It's sooooo good.

Universe 2 - It's 41 pages of goodness from an indie creator on an indie site where you can pay what you want. And while I didn't pay for the first one because I wanted to just try it out as opposed to trusting in BKV and the Private Eye, this one is MORE than worth paying for. Not just to support the afore-mentioned ideas, but because the book was cool! A novel take on an old concept, there's a lot of rich ground for this book, especially if it's going to be this anthology-style approach that we've seen thus far. I loved the idea of that variety of models, and I liked the consistency of travel that we saw from issue 1 to 2. It was clear Alan was to blame when he hopped in that ship but I certainly didn't see quite where it was going. The mall guy was fun, too, not just in the conclusion, but in the introduction most of all.

Book of the week goes to Saga. It's just head and shoulders above everything else.

Monday, March 2, 2015

comics for the week of 02/25/15.

We had some serious snow.

All New X-Men 38 - I don't know how the fuck I ended up in the middle of a crossover with this book, but this is the first time I've actually needed to read one of those recap pages, and let me tell you: this seems ridiculous! Maybe they all always are, but I don't ever read them. I don't need to. And, needing to, this seems crazy. And after reading, here's the verdict: the art was cool. Angel, especially, looks cool in his mutated, Black Vortex form, whatever the hell that is. Beast does not, Gamora was worthless except for exposition, and the X-Babies and the Guardians teaming up doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense. I have to assume I actually missed an issue in this series, even though the checklist in the back says that there were no All New X-Men books before this; it's just so out of left field. And, of course, what's not out of left field is the reunion with Cyclops at the end. So, they'll all be together, I'll have to endure one more issue of this nonsense (hopefully with the same artist, that was some good stuff, seriously) and then where do they go from there? Maybe Battle World? OK. Kind of worthless.

Daredevil 13 - A nice bit of turnabout with all the twists and turns that we've come to expect from this book. Some seriously jacked up foreshadowing when it comes to the Owl and his presence in Matt's life, as well as that nice last page. The Shroud is going to be a big part of the San Francisco adventures, huh? And Kirsten is getting to spend a lot of time setting up how capable she is, I hope it's not just prelude for her getting the axe (metaphorically or literally). She's a great supporting character and even if she's not Matt's girlfriend, she has potential to stick around for a while, just like Foggy has.

New Avengers 30 - It's too crazy, but at least Hickman explicitly acknowledges that in his narration. I mean, I know it's setting up literally everything that's coming, but damn. Hank tells the story of how the Beyonders are destroying the Multiverse and are killing not only the Gods, not only the Celestials, but the Multiverse itself. So...that's a big deal. Past that? I don't know. I'll have to wait until Secret Wars, try to understand it and then wrap my brain around the fallout. This is all prelude.

Spider-Gwen 1 - So, it starts off great, with cameos from the Vulture, Ben Grimm, the Hamburgler, Foggy Nelson, Frank Castle,and a reference to Yeezy! The art is cool, the story is cool insofar as taking place in another universe and referencing Spider-Verse. But other than that, there's not a lot of substance. It's a cool start, I'm glad to see the echo of Spider-Man with the Vulture as an enemy, but beyond the cute nods. I'm happy to be getting it, and I'm happy it's coming out (as per the end page) but I hope it does something real.

Book of the week goes to Daredevil.