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.

Monday, June 8, 2015

comics for the week of 06/03/15.

An almost all-Marvel week? What the hell is the world coming to? And I'm even enjoying all of it!

All New X-Men 41 - So it's all coming to an end and Jean Grey is the voice of reason, huh? That seems right. And this is gonna be the end of what Bendis has been working toward, huh? That seems good. So now the question remains: what is that? Does it mean Jean Grey comes back to life without coming back to life? The young mutants get to stay in the present, so we have a bunch of "new" mutants but we don't have to deal with people saying that death doesn't matter. We also get some of Bendis' coolest ideas without being burdened by Bendis trying to constantly making them cooler and cooler - which almost always has the opposite effect. Cool. I'm all right with it, overall.

Angel and Faith 15 – A fun little one-off, but pretty unnecessary. Fred and Angel take a trip to Ireland for no reason. All the dialogue felt forced. No one's connection felt authentic. The walking tour was ridiculous. The innkeeper and her servants were easily disposed of, indicating their importance. The only part that seemed to matter was the ending and getting Angel over to the States. It would have been better to have the issue start with the phone call and then have a comedy issue of how to get a vampire from England to San Fran; does he take a redeye? Does he have to worry about flight delays? How does he pay for it? How does the gang pick him up? Those conceits, while poor, would have been better than this wasted issue.

Future Imperfect 1 - Marvel does dips into the past well. Or maybe it's just that they've got a more rich past? I don't know. I honestly can't figure it out, because DC clearly has the advantage on the generations of heroes. But this was so cool. It's fun to see this wacky version of the Hulk again, it's fun to see the changes that Janis and her rebel alliance have gone through since we thought we'd disposed of the Maestro. It's fun to see the new leader and how he's going to try to deal with bad bad Banner. And it's even more fun to think - shit, this guy might be part of the MU proper going forward. Man, that would really change the Hulk's character.

Secret Wars 3 – Wow. It's everything I could ask for from an event. We've got things implied, but not fully fleshed out. We've got echoes of characters who are familiar and back stories that could go for days but won't – and that's a good thing. We've got circles inside circles inside circles – and I know we're going to get more. But best of all? It feels like there's a concrete plan, a definite story to be told, with a purpose and a set ending. Something huge will be spinning out, sure. It's comics. They almost always have to. But usually we move restlessly from event to event without any real defined story arc set down. That does not feel like it will be the case now. Doom knows what he's done and so does Stephen. It appears no one else does, though, which is good, and also totally understandably explained by Strange. Sue gives a little background on Johnny and we see more of the Thor Corps, but the real meat here is in seeing what's coming up. The last page is setting up quite a bit, but I'm more interested in the middle. Reed reacts reasonably well when he finds out it's Doom, but I don't think that can last. We'll see, though. We've got a lot more room to grow. It's fabulous so far.

Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows 1 - Guh. Several parts of this book gutted me. First of all, her name's not Mayday which is funny (in a good way, because it shouldn't be) but I couldn't help but think of Annie that way the whole time I was reading it. Secondly, it's amazing how strong of a character Mary Jane can truly be. She's a confident woman who's earned her partnership with Peter. They work great together. But otherwise, this was a focus on Spidey and Venom, which wasn't what I was expecting, but maybe it should have been. The Goblins' resurgence, if I'm now remembering correctly, really spun out of this whole ending of the baby ordeal. So if it had never gone that way, maybe Eddie would have remained the number one threat on the board. It was troubling to see Peter make the decision he did in the end, but I wasn't unwilling to believe it. I'm excited to see how it'll finish.

Years of Future Past 1 - Not as much fun, maybe because we've had Days of Future Past overload between the movies and the fact that Secret Wars is filled with much better stuff (?), but still good. Cute to see Wolvie's son and Kitty's daughter as the pair most likely to succeed and weird to see Rachel back in the old-timey Phoenix outfit, but, obviously, appropriate.

Book of the week goes to Secret Wars for the immensity, but Renew Your Vows for the heart. Really, nothing can take down the grand picture that Hickman is painting for us.

Monday, June 1, 2015

comics for the week of 05/27/15.

Blessed, blessed summer break.

Fight Club 1 – We were all worried and I think it looks like that worry was justified. It's not that it was bad. It's just that...well...it's hard to get lightning back into the bottle. When we were kids and we read the book, it was amazing. And then the movie changed everything. And I don't think that a comic is going to be able to continue those revelations, especially more than a decade later. Plus, there's all we've leared about Palahniuk in the interim. He's not a bad guy and the ideas aren't totally off base, but he's not a good guy, and the ideas are, to a more mature mind, juvenile. The comic in and of itself? Fine. Jack goes by Sebastian. He's married to Marla. They have a kid. There's some weirdness happening with the babysitter. And...Jack's therapist hypnotizes him, brings Tyler out, who's secretly been running the world, guerrilla style, behind the scenes, for a decade. Yeah, it's bad.

Hawkeye 3 - I liked the recurring bottom panels, where we see that great, watercolor approach to the flashbacks, but most of all, I liked that Kate and Clint are getting to have their relationship really fleshed out. I still don't totally trust the kids, but I love that Maria Hill gets a bit role, but one that's important. Also, the hook for next issue's backstory came seemingly out of nowhere, but casting a look back there were plenty of hints. That's one of the best things about this book: it's going to grow organically.

Invincible 120 - Cool. The end of the battle was perfectly appropriate. I know we all knew that Thragg had to win. I mean, as cool as Battle Beast is, it wouldn't be right for anyone who's not Mark to take him out. (I guess this could eventually fall to Nolan or Oliver, but I doubt it.) But yeah, it's finally done. Then we get a lovely litter interlude where Mark gets to play super dad. Those panels were great, man, seriously. It's cool to see such serious time devoted to just showing that he likes hanging out with his little girl. It's rarely shown in superhero comics, outside the occasional issue of Fantastic Four, and I feel like there's some real potential here. But after family play time and a walk through the park? We're reminded that Thragg was not idling his time away – he was building an army and it's damn near practically built. Also, a moment of silence for how intimidating he's going to look every time he shows up wearing Battle Beast's skin as a fur. Fuck.

Sandman: Overture 5 - This. Was. Incredible. Honestly, I don't know if I have the words to review it. Williams' art, sublime to begin with, has transcended itself. Gaimain's storytelling, still so densely layered, is starting to clarify a bit, we're beginning to see the whole picture. The overall effect? The best single comic I've read this year, easily. The thing is, with preludes, we're usually a bit turned off by knowing where it's going to end. But this is a great place for a prelude since the beginning of Sandman proper is such a weird place. (Isn't all of it?) And there's soooooooo much of it. I mean...the cat is here, "our" Sandman is with his mom, we've got a ship in Destiny's garden that's not supposed to be there, a rescue that's not a rescue, a guy who needs rescuing who won't admit it or show any gratitude for its happening, the discussion of Dream's siblings and that bizarre section on Desire and Dream's similarities... There's so much. And it's all incredible.

Ultimate End 1 - Fun, just like last week's Daredevil interlude. It feels like a chance to wrap up some loose ends, but instead, this time around, it was basically only used to make Peter Parker jokes. Which, hey, they're funny, but... It feels like a wasted opportunity, I suppose. I think I'm reconciling myself to the supposition that Ganke will not be around in less than six months' time and that's sad. So why aren't we getting some glimpses of him here. In fact, we saw nothing of Miles in this issue at all. I mean, all his buddies were here, but no panels with him at all? Weird. I like the Tony versus Tony aspect, and I like how well the Thor Corps are being used, but it felt supplemental where it could have felt like an epilogue for the universe as a whole. If we're truly going to nix the Ultimate Universe - if this is, in fact, the end - it should have something great to go out with. And while Bagley and Bendis' reunion won't make everyone happy, it did the trick for me - for one issue. I want more next time.

Book of the week goes to Sandman. The only dilemma is that if Sandman and Saga both come out in a week, will we die from too much greatness?