Monday, October 26, 2015

comics for the week of 10/21/15.

Age of Apocalypse was horrible. Terrible dialogue and bad art. No point. But Uncanny Inhumans was worse. Granted, I don't give any shits about the Inhumans, so I'm not the target market. Maybe people who are predisposed liked it more, but I think we can all agree on one thing: putting the famous penciller's name first on the cover, when he's serving as the inker of the book is a real shitheel move, Marvel. That's some bullshit and you know it. Makes me really, really glad that I'm basically off the Big Two books. Spidey's been fun to keep track of and I'm super happy for people who are loving it, but it's not my Spidey and that's totally fine. I had more than enough time with him.

Buffy 20 - Cool development with Anya's ghost, cool way to depict the change in Spike and Buffy's relationship. The perfect form of what a single issue story can be. No Willow, little Giles (no pun intended), no problem. Love the use of the cop force, love the integration of SF, and love the way that Buffy is truly maturing. This is one of the ways the show could have gone. Dawn's absence, Xander's insanity, and the ground between those two and the ways in which they interact, will certainly be explored in the conclusion.

Invincible 124 - Wow. This was a perfect issue. I mean...shit. I'd be freaking out, too. And Mark does almost all the right things almost all the time. This is going to be incredible, almost no matter how it goes. I know it's not a real reboot. It's got a question mark and it's a three part story. But there's certainly going to be some real fucking chips thrown down at the end of this. It's going to matter and I am so so so so so so curious as to how.

Book of the week goes to Invincible. I'm almost always excited for this book, but this might be as excited as I've ever been.

Monday, October 19, 2015

comics for the week of 10/14/15.

A whole new flock of Marvel tryouts to talk about this week. Too bad most of it was garbage. On the other hand, the indies were great, as usual, plus there was some other goodness.

Captain America 1 - Well, they're certainly pushing an agenda. And while it's one I agree with, I'm not sure how it's going to sell. It'll be interesting to hear people talk about it. But the real thing is the last page. I'm not sure how the new Marvel U is totally shaping up, but it's nice to see that we're proceeding with old Steve as a real thing, in a new role. So this has gotta mean Nick Fury's on the other side, right? Sam does a good Cap (not as good as Bucky, but...it wouldn't have worked the same way this issue did, either; it couldn't have) and the bird is cool, but I've honestly never been that interested in Cap. I'm a fan of this issue, not sure I'll have much interest in the series.

Civil War 5 - Tight. That was fun. Pointless in a way that Old Man Logan (and anything else that brought someone into the new Marvel U) wasn't, but still fun. Nice to see Tony and Steve teaming up to change the world one last time. One of the best little series coming out of the Secret Wars.

East of West 21 - Layers on layers and flashbacks on flashbacks. I like the structure of this second year, where we're moving the story forward but learning about what came before as well. This was a solid issue even if I don't really understand the deal tie Chief made toward the end. Did he commit? I think so? But with so many sides and so many variables and so many unknowns, it's hard to act like I can really tell. The relationship between the Widowmaker and Doma is a solid device, I hope they both stay alive long enough for us to see some real fruit from it. The Nation are a complicated people and they bring a great side to this conflict; I'm glad we're getting some exploration.

I Hate Fairyland 1 - Go for the Skottie Young, stay for the hilarity. This is awesome and everyone should read it, if only just for laughs. Good good good stuff.

New Avengers 1 - Goddamn, that was weird. I mean, all parts of it were pretty great, but there was some truly bizarre stuff. What's with every book needing some radically wacky element? Squirrel Girl? Why is she even here? (Why was D-Man in Captain America???) The way the team comes together is cool and I don't really like the name Power Man, but the new guy seems cool. The Maker's presence in this book is what's gonna make me pay attention to it. (Also, Sunspot. Love the mutants. There's so few of them now?) But what's with Dugan being a Ghost-Robot-Frankenstein? What's with SHIELD? What's with the mutants being gone? It's cool that Marvel is doing the anti-DC and not spilling the guts on literally everything, but boy, we sure are in the dark about a lot. I'm glad it's not giving away the ending to Secret Wars, but it's waaaaay more different than I thought it was gonna be.

Spider-Gwen 1 - That was cooooooool. They're fully embracing the other universe now that they're let loose, huh? Cap on the last page, Roxxon, Oscorp, Harry, all kiiiiinds of mentions. Gwen's dad is back on her side, it looks like some time has passed and we've got a whole new universe to play with. That'll be fun. I'm in for the ride, especially if Robbi Rodriguez continues to go as nuts with the art as he did in this one. In the first series, it felt back and forth at times, but he has a nice consistency here that'll continue to evolve into a truly great style. I'm a big fan.

Spider-Man 2099 1 - Whoah. Great first issue. Nice inclusion of the A2 Captain America in the new Marvel U. That's a cool touch that'll have loads of potential. But, Miguel O'Hara, despite losing his love interest, just like Captain America (whether Steve or Sam) doesn't truly interest me. The 2099 line was always a fun side trip, but only because it was so different. Now that he's in the U proper, I'm not sure that I care enough about him to buy him over Miles (whose book isn't out yet, but I'm already banking on). It's funny, but he said it best: with so many Spider-people to choose from, I don't need him.

The Twilight Children 1 - Wow. The art, obviously. But the story, too. Geez. The next great Vertigo series? Way too early to tell, and with these two, I'd never be bold enough to expect anything even remotely longish, but it's a heck of a start. It's brief (in words) but long (in both content as well as pages - or at least it felt that way) in the best kind of way. We've got some kids, we've got adults behaving badly, we've got implied backstory, we've got a remote setting with its own world... Everything's good.

Uncanny Avengers 1 - Jesus, there was a lot of spoilery stuff in there, but none as bad as Old Man Steve Rogers acting like an out of touch grandpa and the horrid art. Spidey quitting so early in the issue, Johnny Storm playing the role of the idiot, Deadpool playing the role of trusted ace, Rogue speaking like a child, and the forced integration of the Inhumans at the cost of (apparently) most of the X-Universe (they're...elsewhere? We're still gonna HAVE X books, right?) were just some of the things I disliked here. Reed and Sue are gone? Ben's elsewhere, too? Is he hanging out with the X-Men? Spidey hates Deadpool this much but he's gonna have a book with him? I hope it's not as awkward (or poorly drawn) as this book. Deadpool with the triple-meta-self-awareness could be cool, too, but on a book that's supposed to be so serious and serve as a benchmark? No thanks.

The Walking Dead 147 - Huh, yeah, good developments, but not much. I don't think that gun on the last page is ging to amount to much, but I did think the conversation between Michonne and Rick was solid. She needed that. And he needed to say it about Andrea. Their relationship is in a good place. The people are going to be pissed when they find out Lydia's in safety, though, and I'm not actually convinced she is, heading up to the Hilltop with Maggie. Shit there is totally different than Rick thinks.

Book of the week goes to East of West.

Monday, October 12, 2015

comics for the weeks of 09/23/15 & 9/30/15 & 10/07/15.

Honestly, I have no idea how I fell so far behind, nor what came out when, so I'm just gonna run down everything I've read in the last few weeks and, holy moly, it's a doozy.

Angel and Faith 19 - Angel's crew might actually be better than Buffy's at this point, but only because Koh kicks so much ass, and in spite of the Watcher's sisters, because they're essentially worthless. Fred's holding her own, though, and we didn't even see the Detective this issue. (Was he a red herring? It seemed like they were prepping him for a bait and switch, but now we haven't seen him doing anything meaningful in a LONG time. Maybe he just faded out of the plans?) Anyway, it's weird to see Angel getting dropped like such a punk, and even weirder to see him pull a sword out of his jacket eventually, but when he crashed through the window, Dru was waiting for him, with the mob, so that's weird times three. Nadira knew they were taking her, though, and let herself be taken, so I'm not necessarily worried about that. But it's al building to something and it's coming up soon. Good stuff. The art in this is so good. The dialogue, though, felt crazy overused, especially on page 1 panel 2. Regardless, it's great that both Buffy books are of high quality again. Looking forward to the grand finale.

Avengers 0 - This was fun and all of the new Marvel books look cool, but NOTHING beats the moment when we knew it was the Maker, before he revealed himself. Holy shit, they're bringing young, evil Reed into the new MU. This is the best possible world. The final page recap, though, reaffirmed a couple impressions: I won't care about A-Force. If people love it, I'm happy for them. Ramos on New Avengers will be a lot of fun. Mainline Avengers is going to be wacky and amazing. The Ultimates might be the perfect place for America Chavez. I hope this book kills, but it's got 2 characters with whom I'm totally unfamiliar. I still don't care about Squadron Supreme. And, lastly, and most unfortunate, between the line-up and the terrible art on Uncanny Avengers, I can't think it'll even be decent. Yuck. But 5 out of 6 is a great start for the new 'Verse.

Buffy 19 - This came out surprisingly touching, but only if you ignore the cover. The Buffy/Giles relationship has always been one of the stronger aspects of the series, at least for me. And while seeing Giles rush out to see Olivia and test-driving a car (looking like himself again!) and having a drink and losing his magical abilities due to aging and atrophy were all cool and funny and cute and neat touches, it was the scene at the end, with his simple conversation with Buffy that really hit home. He looked like Giles, he talked like Giles, Buffy said all the right things and they were...perfect. It was a really, really good filler issue and it felt like it was appropriate, too.

Doctor Strange 1 - Jason Aaron writes good stories. And Chris Bachelo draws good stories. And Doctor Strange is a cool, probably underused character. So all of this should add up to greatness. And there are great moments in this book. But overall...? I'm just not sure that I think Strange needs a solo book or what it would even really be if it ever was a successful one. The beginning was cool, but that'll wear off. The idea of random fighting on the street won't work. His club of magicians is a cool thing to introduce that could pay long term dividends. But Monako's presence felt forced,

Fight Club 5 - This book really is not good. At this point, I think Palahniuk is just fucking with all of us? Or maybe he's always been and it's only now that I'm old enough to think it's shit? Either way, there's too much going on here to care about either way. I'll finish buying and reading, but I'm not sure if there's a point.

Iron Man 1 - Huh. Well. There might be a spoiler in here for Secret Wars, eh? But I certainly don't know how we're getting here, so that's kind of OK? Regardless, Iron Man's a fun character and there's a lot that can and should be done with all aspects of him, but the one I'm least interested in is his dating life. Bendis brings his Bendis-y dialogue to the book, and Marquez brings the beautiful art, but unless we redirect to Doom, Madame Masque and the new suit, I'm just not going to be able to bring myself to care about this book in any meaningful way. I could give a shit less about Tony and his plethora of women.

Old Man Logan 5 - Well, the whole run was worth it to bring Old Man Logan into the new MU, and for the page with the memories spilling out of his head. Damn. That was awesome. I'm not sure if Jimmy will make it into the new Universe, but if he doesn't, at least Logan had a moment with him. And really, after the over-accelerated action of the last 2 issues, this one, with all its blank space and its exposition and its open ending, it felt perfect. I like what they're doing here, bringing in the disparate elements. I'm not sure how it's going to actually work, but I like that they're trying. It's going to be a fun experiment, and Logan will be an excellent addition to it.

Paper Girls 1 - An awesome start to yet another awesome BKV book. The preview didn't give too much away, the ending was a great hook, the art from Cliff Chiang is back to the level I expect from him... Everything was great. I like that we've got something in the past that will still have a contemporary edge to it, and I like the different ideas we're already exploring: AIDS, women's rights, stereotypes, cops, and so much more. There's a lot to digest in this issue, but this is obviously a keeper.

Plutona 1 & 2 - Geez, this book is a lot of fun. Thanks to Mikee for the recommendation! It's a bit like Powers, sure, meets...a kids book (not Lumberjanes, although the art is obviously a stylistic similarity) insofar as story and art. But there's depth, too. It's fun, it's got potential, and I'm in for the ride. I already care about all four of the main characters, and the back up stories, fleshing out the world, are pretty cool, too. Good ideas all the way around. Makes me think I need to go back and give Lemire's Descender another chance.

Powers 5 - Still good, still nothing new, still nothing real compared to the saga of Christian Walker that we've already seen. How many times has he probably already gone through this? But I love the changing character of Sunrise and how he's impressed by her just like we were (well, I definitely was...) in regards to the complaint they talk about. The trio also makes a good team, with the different dynamics. It's fun.

Sandman: Overture 6 - This was it. The swing, connect, and homerun of the series. He really saved it all for the end and what a perfect one it was. We see the whole thing, how Morpheus could end up so weak, how his family works together, and how the Universe might constantly be shifting underneath our feet. The artwork is the obvious appeal, but Gaimain's got a thing for the Endless. The way he involved all of them in this story (and Mom and Dad) was a great, unexpected aspect. And the last page was exquisite.

Secret Wars 6 - Jesus, it's a thing of beauty. From the cover on, the art is exquisite. (With the one exception being Peter Parker, Spider-Man, looking a little chunky. Does Ribic think that he has to accentuate that to make Miles look even smaller? Weird.) Anyway, the art is not the main story. The main story is Doom and the Black Swan and Val and the Reeds. And the Prophet. Because I've not been keeping up with all the tie-ins, I have no idea if I'm supposed to know who that is, but it's an interesting proposition. We thought the crews (the Cabal and the Life Raft Gang) were gonna be the X Factors, but it's clear they've got defined roles. Now whether the Prophet is one of bad Reed's toys or an independent actor, it's clear he's going to shake shit up. The only beef I have with this issue, and the series as a whole is that it's taking so long. I get that the art is great and it takes time, but they're rolling out All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe titles already because the war's not over - that's a problem.

Spider-Man 1 - Bought it for the Midnight Marauders cover. Stayed for the nostalgia. I won't be continuing to buy the book, though, because as fun as it was, it's not my Spidey any more. And that's fine. I hope the people who enjoy the book love it as much as I did for as long as I did, if not longer. The last-page reveal made me feel better about the time I thought I'd wasted with Renew Your Vows, though. So that's a cool thing.

Book of the week or month or whatever goes to Sandman. While Paper Girls was solid, it was only a start. It's much harder to stick the landing.