Monday, April 27, 2015

comics for the week of 4/15/15 & 4/22/15.

I missed a week, so I'm just combining them. I have no idea what came out when because I've been trying to read ALL of the Convergence titles, but I think I'm done with that. For the most part, they've been shit. I mean, there was some solid gold the first week, but since then I've really only liked Aquaman and Superboy with the Legion.

All New X-Men 40 - Welp. That was weird. And I get what they're trying to do, differentiate all these kiddos, so they can stick around and so they can be unique and justified, but it still felt really weird to have at least a third of the issue dedicated to a fourth-wall-esque conversation about how it's okay that Bobby's gay when his older self isn't. I mean, call me old fashioned, but I think the best way to deal with someone being gay is to just say they are and move on. The more you need to justify it, the less authentic it feels. And then we had basically the same thing come from Angel's mouth, about some transformation that almost none of us know about because we didn't read that last shittastic crossover? So, yeah, I get the intent. They're unique. They don't have to go home, because we don't know them and getting to know them will be worthwhile. But it doesn't actually feel that way when it's so forced. Bendis is overwriting, yet again, and the new Jean, while the least focused on since the beginning of the series (when she was WAY too focused upon) is now just casually reading people's minds and telling them what they really are, and she seems like a ticking time bomb moreso now than ever before. But we won't get that storyline. Because we've already had it, when it didn't feel relevant. So now we're stuck.

Buffy 14 - Hm. Well. That was...fun. And weird. I don't remember Buffy being so gung ho for the way way way back retcon as this seems to go. It's not that it's bad, it's just...different? This is a lot of mythologizing. And the big bad seems to be making an early appearance and an early battle. While Spike will certainly get out of his last page cliffhanger dilemma, it still seems like they've got him on the ropes quite early. Will there be a classic Buffy twist? Or are we just seeing him early, taking an early lead and then the last battle will be bigger? I don't know. But the majority of this issue seemed like a genuine attempt to get a look at Spike's past and to justify the new Buffy/Spike relationship, which is cool. I'm fine with them being together (quite a change from my first time viewing the series, where I tore my eyes out at the thought) because they're good for each other, but most of all because it changes the dynamic of the book in an important way. Buffy's been alone (and in bad relationships) for long enough. Let's do something new and great with her character - this is a great place to start.

Hawkeye 2 - While I'm disappointed that Fraction's incredible run still isn't done, this book is more than making up for it. I picked up issue 1 on a whim (and a recommendation) and thought it was good, but this issue really ups the ante. Of course, the diversity in the art (between the flashbacks and the current story) is incredible - I had to look (AGAIN) to verify it was the same person using vastly different techniques. But the story is cool too. I'm hopeful that we're getting official canon placement of Clint as hard of hearing (or even deaf) and that it'll bleed over to the "superhero" mode of the Marvel U - the Avengers, etc. But even better, we have the Swordsman, we have Barney and Clint as kids, and we have Kate Bishop back next to Clint, making wonderful, wonderful mistakes.

Mind MGMT 32 - Duncan and Perrier's adventures to try to find allies for Meru's war against the Eraser...and none of it goes their way. But along the way, we see some truly incredible interactions, mainly between our two main characters. While the guys and gals they visit to try to recruit are amazing in their own ways (none moreso than the Immortal who's punished for sitting out of this war) the real meat of this issue comes from Perrier working on a method to counteract Duncan's abilities - ostensibly to make their team up more effective. But it's incredible to read the sidebars and see Duncan's abilities working on a micro level, too. There's just so much in this book that's carefully plotted out. I mean, the ideas behind why each person is where they are and how they got there; that's some great level storytelling. And, of course, the ending, with the two connecting is great. It was, perhaps, inevitable, but that doesn't make it bad in any way.

Thor 7 - It continues to not only be one of the best comics on the stands, but one of the most beautiful (which surely plays in to the overall goodness, so perhaps that was poorly phrased). The mystery of who the new Thor is certainly seems to be leaning toward Roz, but I'm hoping that's a red herring, not because I don't want it to be her, but because if it is, let's just be out with it. It looks like Thor called the whole list of suspects and they're there to back up Thor, and I didn't see Roz in the group, and we had that interlude with her, and her car is above Roxxon Island, so that certainly seems like where they're guiding us. But I dislike being led by the nose. Other than that, though, I loved the interaction between her and the Serpent God-controlled Destroyer, I liked Odinson's mom coming to clue him in, and I loved the internal monologue of Thor as she was facing down the Destroyer. This is a great superhero book. I hope she (whoever she is) stays Thor for a long, long time.

Book of the weeks goes to Mind MGMT.

Monday, April 13, 2015

comics for the week of 04/08/15.

I also read all of the first week of Convergence. Some was garbage, but there was some really, really good stuff in there, including Harley Quinn, Nightwing and Oracle, and Batgirl, although the art on that last one was truly bad.

Saga 27 - Guys, I just...I just...I just love everything about this book. That's all. I mean, seriously. It might be on pace to be my favorite book of all time? If not, this is one of the best single issues I've read in a long, long, long time. So good. Jesus. So, we have some serious insight into Marko's back story, we have Ghus playing the most baddest of the asses and we have a good revelation about Robot blood that seems like some intense seed planting for waaaaaay further down the road. And that's not even touching on the actual content of most of the story: we get to see Marko in a drug trip that reveals so much about him. His father, his mother, the war, Gwen, everyone's got a part to play. We also, of course, get the glimpse of Alana which is already a classic. The opening, too! Shit, the issue was so good, I forgot the beginning! God. Hilarious. Touching. The perfect comic book?

Ultimate Spider-Man 12 - Wow. What an ending. I'm curious whether this new power is something that will be followed up on, or if it was just a one-off since they knew they were sending him over to the 616. And speaking of that promo that got released, let me just say, again: GAAAAAAAAAANKKKKEEEEEEEEEEEE! WE CAN'T LEAVE HIM BEHIND. Add to that list: Cloak and Dagger, the Spider clone, the Aunt May triumvirate even to a degree, but especially the newly beloved Judge. There are so many awesome supporting characters in Miles' book that I even forgot in the above list to name his Dad. Guh. The book is great, even if the plausibility of Miles defeating Doom and a whole Hydra unit, no matter what this new special power is, is beyond any kind of belief. But the art was beautiful, as usual, and the dialogue was cute, as usual, and the book is amazing. Here's to hoping we get a whole lot more of this good stuff.

The Walking Dead 140 - Maggie can't kill Gregory. Jesus is just wrong on this one. Send him as a prisoner to the other camp. Period. The whisperers camp, on the other hand, was the contrary of what Alpha said: sure as shit looks like a settlement to me. Sure, maybe it's temporary, but these fools aren't nearly as independent as they'd like to think they are. But the whole issue was honestly overridden by that last page. I'm dead curious to find out what's going to happen there. The good thing about this book, at this point, is that there are so many different things going on that it actually feels like there's a lot of progress, even when there's very little, just because there are multiple storylines. That's a good thing.

Book of the week goes to Saga. Nothing can beat it, not even Miles' conclusion.

Monday, April 6, 2015

comics for the week of 04/01/15.

April Fools is for suckas. I looked for that Howard the Duck RTJ variant, but there was no way I was finding it. Whatever, I think it might have even been delayed? Deadpool next week, maybe.

Angel and Faith 13 - Well, that was the expected turn. And now we've got to wait another month for the (final?) battle. But that's not to say there weren't good things about this issue. The way things are turning out with Nadira is actually quite reassuring. And Faith and Angel seem to be getting closer. But Koh was on his way to redemption and now he'll face an inevitable back slide, no matter what the result of the battle is. (Honestly, had a second where I hoped Illyira would snap Faith's neck, too. I mean, I love her, I don't want her to die, but that would be a hell of a game changer.) The art was a little TOO pretty? That's a weird thing to say, I know, but it was...glossy, maybe. Good book overall.

Avengers 43 - I have no idea what the fuck is happening. Tony's out, I still don't really know what he did, I don't know if the Shi'ar are destroying Earth or the “rogue planet” or what purpose Sol's Hammer serves or anything else. But, I mean, I think it's coming together...? Question mark? I don't know. I mean, there's just too much. Maybe we'll get some clarification later or maybe I'll just be left with this universal, colossal, confusing mass. But either way, there's some grand things happening. I can't say I'm loving them, but it's certainly inspiring.

Black Science 13 - So, the recap page is especially helpful in this series and I've finally learned not to just skip it. It revealed to me that this is the OG Grant, but according to the video of the Grant from this world, we might have gotten him back just to lose him again? And Shawn? But maybe he grabbed a solution? On the other hand, we have Pia and Sara sharing quite the moment. We never really hear whether this Sara experienced that with her daughter, but it's a hell of a story, regardless. And it takes on an even more strident tone because we'll never find out. Despite the rapid death rate (and returns) in this book, I won't believe that Pia's going to die until I see her corpse lowered into a grave. There's too much there, especially after losing (and getting back) Grant in the original arc. But I have no idea where we'll go from here, which is typical for this book, and awesome. The back page doesn't give me a lot of reassurance along those lines, but I still believe what I believe. I also believe that having a 50 issue outline is a GREAT thing.

Spider-Gwen 3 - The thing about it is that it still basically feels like a gimmicky. Every appearance doesn't have the gravity to make it feel like it matters, it just feels like an extended inside joke. I mean, Ben Parker's there, and May is too, and the Vulture makes reference to working for Osborn and Frank Castle is a typical bully, but the only good part was the discussion between Gwen and her dad. I'm still liking it, I don't want to give the impression that I'm not, but it's got no legs – I'm not sure how long it'll last, much less keep my interest. And if the backpage is any indication, they're just going to keep it up with the jokey approach: Spider-Gwen-Man? That's stupid, even if it's just for one issue.

Book of the week goes to Black Science. I'm still torn on the monthlies versus trades, but it's a hell of a read either way.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

comics for the week of 03/25/15.

I'm also trying out the new Powers series, but I don't feel like I can say anything about it yet. It remains to be see if it will turn out to be the exact same story, yet again.

Daredevil 14 - Well, I hate that new costume (if it can even be called that) but I don't hate the reasons for it. This title is obviously ending soon, with Secret Wars coming up, and I wonder what note it will end on. Matt seems to be becoming a totally different person, which is cool in some aspects but worrying in others. California surely has changed him. But most importantly, Waid continues to push this great idea that Matt is actually blind. While it was almost laugh-inducing to see Matt all of a sudden hitting baseballs like a pro, it at least kinda made sense. And so did the ending. DD might be able to sniff out all the details of items that come from Alcatraz, but he can't see a simple emblem, and he might not be able to recognize it from Max's face, even if he had. (Can he "see" that scar? Or does he have no frame of reference for either?) This is good, as usual.

Invincible 118 - Allen's bodyguards are hilarious (looking), Oliver is amazing, and the new planet looks great! Oliver's girlfriend, on the other hand? I kept thinking he was going to tell his brother it was a joke! I mean, I get it, we're seeing aliens and maybe this is a purposeful step in that direction, but... Wow. That was weird for me. But then we got into the real meat of the issue. There's no doubt that this is a bold, new way forward. The book is definitely changing gears. Everything about the setting makes that clear. But the discussion between Eve and Mark totally changes the tone of what'll happen when Terra pulls through - she's obviously not going to die, even Kirkman's not that brutal. But I think she'll be changed by this, just like his parents have been changed now, too? Cool! Way to truly make something a game changer.

Multiversity: Ultra Comics 1 - I don't actually know how to process that. I'll wait to post a review on it until the last issue of Multiversity comes out. For now, it was interesting and a really good read, but they've not been connected in any way other than the overt "symbolic" ways and I'm not sure if it's actually telling one story at all, I mean, beyond the simple idea of one story being all the stories. And I get that, and I agree with it, but I'm not sure that it warrants the attention that it got/is getting at this point. I'll love to be proved wrong.

New Avengers 32 - Oh man, it was so awesome, it was everything I want my superhero comics to be: HUGE, dumb, kinda touching, and maybe too much of all of those things. Thor and Hyperion and the rest of the multiversal gang are lost in space, thinking they might get back, but they run into ... the Beyonders? Who look like Transformers in this current form? And man...it's not like it's the best writing, but it's just the right note for a book like this. I'm waiting for the ultimate payoff to see what sticks and what's abandoned, but I hope this Thor gets to live, cuz man, some great things have been done with him. And if Hyperion gets to hang out with him, too, well, it certainly seems like they've developed more than just a friendship.

Spider-Gwen 2 - Better than the first one, if only because we get some more characterization. I mean, if this book is going to be a real book and not just a gimmick, we've got to care about these people. And Gwen and her dad, even Frank Castle and Matt Murdock get some better depth here. The Mary Janes are still an interesting angle, and I like the rivalry they're planting with the Black Cats posters in the backgrounds, but the obvious draw to this issue was the appearance of Spider-Ham. I wonder if he'll be a constant, or if it's just going to be this issue, where they thought they needed something more to keep people in. Regardless, it was fun and pretty well done. Still seems like it'll be a tough draw to make it something more than a one-off joke.

Thor 6 - Guuuuuuuuuuuh. The art is so goddamn pretty that it's hard to believe the story can be just as good if not better. I love that they're not just tossing out an answer to this question, but even more so, despite the cover, I love that it's not the central conceit of this series so far. Sure, we're all curious. Sure, the cover (to this issue only) is devoted to it. Sure, Thor's asking about it and the All Father is sending the Destroyer after an answer. But if that's all you're getting from this book, you're being foolish. There are so many cool things, including the touches in the art, not just the pure beauty of it, especially in the scenes with Jane Foster. The Heimdall close-ups of the eyes. The ongoing story arcs, the beats, hidden in his words. The references to Loki and Angela, both visually as well as verbally. This is an incredible example of what a comic book can be. Fuck people who don't like superhero books; give them this one, see what they say.

The Walking Dead 139 - There was probably more good stuff in this issue than there has been in the last three and they've all been pretty good. But these answers were a long time coming, so it's nice that we finally got to see Michonne. I also love the idea of what she's been doing - both the literal as well as the figurative. The issue was also obviously set up to make us think it was her from the get go, so that was a nice way to make it circular. Carl's stupid punk ass is also being set up in remarkable fashion to make some incredibly poor choices. Hooray for children.

Wytches 5 - That was cool! It continues to be really, really solid storytelling with incredible art by Jock. I like that things are almost truly wrapping up because I feel like we've got a real story. Obviously Mr. Rooks and Sailor are going to need to get out of the Cauldron to continue the story, but what does that mean for their lives going forward? (I'm assuming Mom will remember her kid, but if she doesn't that's a hell of another wrinkle.) Will the police officer he took out there die in order to let them keep living there under some kind of secret blanket? Will he live and they'll have to move, to be constantly on the run? Or will he live and they'll be engaged in active battles for the remainder of this book? I don't know, but I like it.

Book of the week goes to Thor. Maybe the best superhero book on the market right now?