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.