Monday, May 25, 2015

comics for the week of 05/13/15 & 05/20/15.

EOCs, EOY exams, finals, etc. Sorry to be late.

Black Science 14 - It was pretty and I'm glad I read it, but I know I've said this about Black Science before: I'm almost definitely going to have to read this in trade. It's just too...overlapping for me to make any sense of. In monthlies, with all the different versions of the same characters? And the art, while totally beautiful, often obfuscates who's who, maybe not due to artistic style as much as it's due to the costumes they're all wearing. I'm a huge fan, but I think I'll have to step back.

East of West 19 - The most awesome single issue of this series so far? The singular focus really helped, but so did the previous character-building that got us to this point with both Babylon and Balloon. Also, it didn't hurt that the lessons were real. While the boar probably wouldn't have been able to kill him, there's a lot to be said for the fact that they would have jacked him up. And Balloon's method of dealing in half truths is hilarious because he's playing quite the game as well. Also, there was a panel where little Babylon actually, authentically, genuinely looked like little Death. Awesome.

Saga 28 - Saga, man. Fucking Saga. From the first panel to the entire first page. This book is solid gold. But it's so much more than just the first page or the first panel. This book is the greatest example of the sum being greater than the addition of its parts. We meet Halvor. We have characterization of Ghus and Yuma. We see Alana and the killer robot (and EVEN HE SEEMS LIKE HE'S ALMOST LIKABLE AT THIS POINT!) and the Revolutionaries they're with now. And then we swing over to Marcus and Prince Robot IV and the whole time we've got this increasingly knowledgeable narration from Hazel going on. BUT THEN THE END. Jesus. I mean, I should have known with the beginning of the narration, but that's one of my favorite things about Saga: it's so good that it throws all of my normal senses totally out of wack. Damn.

Secret Wars 2 - Wow. That was so so so so so good. So much better than 1. Obviously, we get a ton of world building, and it took until the end, but it definitely (kinda) makes sense. I loved the glimpses we get of Sue, Stephen, Val, and others (not to mention even the lands beyond the Shield). This makes sense as an explanation of Battlworld, and it also leaves the door open for more than 2 worlds in the future (which is something we were all coming to anyway) since this was previously undetected. So, Doom's world is going to be overrun and we're going to see a whole lot of people just naturally fighting each other, especially since the Cabal just landed here. But, the key to this issue, I think, is in who we didn't see - even on the map. The life raft makes no appearance. So the heroes will get to show up and save the day, huh? I'm good with this. Ribic is killing it on art and the story is only getting better. Super happy stuff.

Thor 8 - So it turned out exactly like we all predicted from the get go, but the best thing about this issue wasn't getting the answers that I'd been clamoring for, but rather, the looks from the side via all the guest characters. It's so cool to see Jess and Carol, the All-Mother and Angela (in a not worthless appearance), Sif and the Valkyrie, and so many more, beautifully drawn and all worth our time. The Destroyer left because of Odin, but I kind of hate that, because it truly felt like the gang was on the verge of winning and that might have been more worth seeing? But it leaves long-term potential, too, obviously. And then, at the end, we get the answer we've been waiting for. And while it wasn't a surprise, it also wasn't poorly done. It was well explained and gives us something to watch for a long time, as long as they want to drag this storyline out. I'll be with them.

The Walking Dead 141 - What a contrast with Rick's noble speech; that last page was a killer. But puns and spoilers aside, I am actually starting to side with Negan a little bit. He didn't move at all? He didn't do anything? And Rick just casually discards that? That seems stupid on Rick's part. You can't just have him here as a symbol of your grand self, you've got to continue with this idea of making progress. Andrea is a good partner, Dwight wants out, and Maggie is taking up the reins of leadership in a totally different way. There's some cool stuff happening.

Book of the week goes to Saga. I hope it's always around.

*

And the next week came and went while I was finishing school, so I didn't get this up until two weeks later.

Buffy 15 - I coulda swore I just wrote a review for Angel & Faith where I said that it looked like the crossovers were done with and that was a good thing. But, to be fair, I think I left a little caveat saying they happened in the TV show once every season (or once every two?) and that'd be fine. So yeah, this makes sense. They need more power, we've clearly been seeing Angel dealing with the same nightmares, so it makes sense. And, again, there'll be the good reconciling of any of the Spike/Buffy relationship tension. So, yeah, it makes sense. But I'm hopeful that when this is over, they go their own ways. They're related, but they're not the same. I think Buffy works best when Angel is on his own. And the inverse is true. They're just so different now. Key example: Buffy forming up her team around her with the line that they're a family. Angel's not part of that anymore. He's got his own. And that's a good thing. The art in this issue bordered on just a little too cartoony for me, but overall, it was great.

Daredevil 15.1 - Fun, unnecessary, but nice to get another touch from the team. Hope they're still around on a Daredevil book post-Secret Wars.

Mind MGMT 33 - That's the best thing about Mind MGMT - everything is planned out, plotted rather precisely. Willie makes his way into the series and we get to see a tertiary character become part of the main focus. His fortune cookie narration over the second plot of the issue was perfect; when this many characters can see what's coming, it's vital that we have this wide lens to cast over all of them, so that we can still maintain the element of belief. And then the bookends. That was cute. But it felt meaningless? Which drives me back to the first point: it must not have been. There must be more to the parents, but they only have a little more time to pay off. It's going to be great, but I'm sad that it's going to be over so quickly. Beautiful stuff.

Wytches 6 - God. That's horrible. But amazing. I mean, I tend to think that I figure stuff out pretty quickly, but I did not see that coming and I thought it was an amazing turn. All the mainline story stuff aside, there was the great background of Charlie putting out his last book and the recurring theme that it was all about Sialor, which is quite meta, obviously. But it was nice to hear all those complimentary things he had to say about her, given their up and down relationship this whole run so far. My biggest wonder is whether this will mean the end of the book as we know it and when 7 comes out, if it'll be set much, much later, or if Sailor will immediately get into the monster-hunting business. Superb stuff.

Book of the week goes to Wytches. Conclusions are the hardest part to pull off, and though this was only the ending to chapter one, it was beautifully done.

Monday, May 11, 2015

comics for the week of 04/29/15.

Convergence is still happening but it's not good.

Avengers 44 - Whoah. I...have no idea. Tony gets Sol's hammer to work. And...the Ultimate Universe is...maybe on board with evil Reed? It seems like he's got them eating out of his hand? And we've got a callback to the old premise of Tony and Steve? And Ultimate Nick Fury was with evilReed and Thanos (and Maximus...) and...then he wasn't? And Clint neither? But the ultimate showdown comes between Tony and Steve and the old metaphor of them being life and death. I don't know how Secret Wars is going to shake out, but I know that it can't end with them being best buddies any more, if continuity means anything. It's gone too far.

Daredevil 15 - Huh. Not what I was expecting. But then again, what else could it be, huh? Man. This is great. I'm curious how much longer it's gonna run (1 issue?) before the Wars kill everything, and what's going to come after. Like I've said about Ultimate Spidey, Miles and his gang, there's been so much development in this book that it would be a total shame to waste it. So, what are we left with? DD's not getting his identity back, so what can he gain from seeing Fisk?

Invincible 115 - Solid. Eve and Mark have the right decision when it comes to the rape, and Terra turns out all right. Eve figures out how to cook, Mark maybe gets a job, but there are some complications, too. Obviously, the job cliffhanger is the biggest one and I love that the preview for next issue says that it'll be the conclusion to that battle. Because, while I got a huge chuckle out of the one page spread of that fight, it's a gag that could go on too long. This will be a great time to wrap it up. Also, Mark's accusation of Oliver's girlfriend probably is going to have some long term consequences, huh?

Multiversity 2 - Well, just like all events, I thought it was cool and there were some awesome moments, but I was ultimately left feeling hollow. It had some cool stuff, no doubt. But it's never been my cup of tea, the Morrison event.

New Avengers 33 - Avengers made me whoah, but this made me really wow. This was the difference between movies and films. And just like most films, I'm certainly not going to claim that I got everything right away. This will bear repeated re-readings. But damn. This was, basically, a conversation between Dr. Strange and Dr. Doom, retconning the whole lot of the universe. (Or, rather, the multiverse.) Damn.

Book of the week goes to New Avengers. I'm psyched for Secret Wars even more than I was before because of this issue.

*

Secret Wars is here!

Angel and Faith 14 - That was fun, the group shot was hilarious, and the end set things in play for the finale - or at least I think. We see some of the uneasiness we all had about Nadira coming out in that last section, and it appears as though it's a good thing that Fred and Illyria have reached a truce...even if they haven't really, and it'll be a subplot for a while. But the coolest thing is that it looks like Angel's got a whole new gang. I like this idea because it means that he doesn't have to head back to the States and reunite with the Scoobies in order to validate his adventures. He and Faith can have Angel & Faith in Magic Town and crossovers every once in a while can be cool, but they can just live in the same Universe without being dependent upon the American crew. Cool.

Rachel Rising 33 - Welp. I have no idea. It was beautiful and she seems powerful. But like most issues of Terry Moore's latest series, it feels woefully short and full of beautiful panels that are obviously joys to pencil and provide a wonderful look at an artistic process, but do little to actually move the story forward. It feels like a quarter of a chapter at most.

Secret Wars 1 - Well that was cool. Not exactly a promising start for either universe, but I guess that's the point, isn't it? It was good. We saw Doom to start and Reed to end. We saw evil Reed and we saw the Cabal and the (seemingly) obvious end of everything Ultimate. It's a start, but nothing more for now.

Spider-Gwen 4 - It is, at last, at least, finding its feet. This is a title that can be so much more than a one-off joke and I'm hopeful that we'll get some real development while it's around. On the other hand, it can't be around forever, so let's get some sort of plan. If we've got Peter and the Parkers, the Stacys, Frank Castle, the Kingpin and Matt, the Vulture and a few other cameos, I feel like we're good on main characters. That doesn't mean we have to avoid nods, but let's go somewhere. Here, it starts. She's back in the band, she's lecturing kids, she's visiting with the Parkers and there are people on her side. Let's go.

Book of the week goes to Angel and Faith. Meh.