Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Comic Book Wednesday - Update: 5-2011

ACTION COMICS
(I don't think David Finch is an appropriate Superman artist)I guess I’m pretty much done with this one, but Paul Cornell’s run sure has been a good time. I was disappointed that #900 incorporated a bunch of Doomsday bullshit that I didn’t care about, but I get that they wanted to try and hook readers with a new story. Didn’t work for me. If Cornell and Luthor are out, so am I. The wrap-up of the Luthor arc was very satisfying, though. Luthor defeating himself was fantastic. If you didn’t read this one you should really pick up the trade when it comes out.
I guess I should probably address the whole Superman renouncing his citizenship thing. Here’s what I said on Facebook:

My initial reaction was the same as Hama's (he blew a fuse over it and the friend I was writing to unfirended Hama over it; which I think is pretty stupid). Then I thought about it and realized that regardless of the direction of the story the concept makes a whole lot of sense. Superman is not disowning America, he's keeping America at a safe distance from repercussions from his actions around the world. There's no dissing America here. I can't believe I just bothered to write that. I don't even like Superman - I just wanted the end of Cornell's fantastic Luthor story.


And that’s pretty much it. While I do believe that the large majority of comic creators (and Hollywood types like David S. Goyer who wrote this short story) are liberal pantywaists who want to turn America into something that is not America; that has nothing to do with this short story.
For the record, I don’t like conservative moralists any more than I like liberals. They both want to take away my freedom and I think that’s pretty shitty.



ASTONISHING X-MEN

This comic continues to be fairly astonishing. The new story arc – “Monstrous” – deals with Armor and her family issues. It also deals with Monster Island and monsters attacking Tokyo. The final page of the second issue of the arc (it came out last Wednesday) is fucking awesome. I love Astonishing because it is sort of out-of-continuity and features one of the most interesting combinations of actual X-Men as a team.
AXE COP: BAD GUY EARTH
One of the most fun comics I have read in years. The novelty of a comic written by a five-year-old with an unlimited and mostly untainted imagination has not worn off yet. Buy the trade when it comes out. Buy the collection of the webcomics, while you’re at it.

BATGIRL
This is still a fun comic, but I feel like it’s getting stifled a bit by having to conform to Birds of Prey and Batman Incorporated. It’s not terrible, but it’s noticeable. If you enjoy good, old-fashioned fun comics you should be reading this one. Bryan Q. Miller has yet to give us a bad arc or even issue and Dustin Nguyen has taken over on art duties; so you know that’s good news.
BATMAN AND ROBIN
Tomasi and Gleason’s story wasn’t bad by any means, but it just didn’t really live up to what had come before in this title. Judd Winick and Guillem March are up next with a new Red Hood story. I hope this title can continue being special and not just another back-up book.
BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY
Remember that last Batman game? You know, the one that was the BEST VIDEO GAME EVER. There’s another one coming out and this mini-series tells you what happens between the two games. It’s written by Paul Dini with art by the guy that produced the concept art for the games (Carlos D’Anda). The first issue seems oriented more towards getting from point A to point B than being totally awesome and entertaining. It definitely reads like a media tie-in aimed towards non-fans, which is a bit surprising considering Dini’s talents. It isn’t bad, just very utilitarian. This is an alternate reality Gotham, so if you don’t care about the games, don’t bother with the comic.
BATMAN INCORPORATED
So far every single issue has been action-packed fun, but I especially loved the last arc with El Sombrero and Gaucho. You should try and pick up the recently released DC Comics Presents Batman: Conspiracy if you can find it. Orobouros has been around longer than you might think. The newest issue featured art by Chris Burnham that was mostly great but a little weird in places. Like, say, this depiction of Bruce Wayne:


BIRDS OF PREY
I still don’t quite get the point of the whole “Death of Oracle” storyline when everybody is still talking to Barbara Gordon all the time and calling her Oracle, but Gail Simone’s writing is so much fun I kind of don’t care. I just wish they could get a regular artist for this title. Ed Benes’ work on the first issues was just so damn good. I’m hoping this title can break away from Batman continuity a little bit and pursue its own adventures. I love Batman Incorporated, but not every title loosely related to the Dark Knight’s history should be restrained by it.
Okay, update: Jesus Saiz is the new regular artist for the title starting with issue 12 (which just came out). I’m fine with that because he’s pretty great. I liked Ed Benes, but people apparently had a problem with him drawing sexy women in a comic about sexy women. Also, issue 12 is AWESOME. It’s a good jumping-on point for new readers and has the best tension-mounting build-up of any comic I’ve read in the last year. The big reveal at the end is all the more impressive because it was satisfying despite the fact I had no idea who the character was. That’s just good storytelling – the impact was made through the process of getting to the reveal, not just by some cheap, “Oh, crap! It’s so-and-so!” at the end. Buy it on your next trip to the comic shop. I guarantee you’ll like it.
BLACK PANTHER: MAN WITHOUT FEAR
I love Francesco Francavilla’s art but I do not give a shit about this story. It took me a while to realize that, but there it is. T’Challa is pretty much just being a spoiled butthole about his whole self-imposed exile. It took a fill-in artist to make realize how much I don’t like the story or the character of the former Wakandan king. Once Francavilla’s beautiful art was absent the book fell flat. But I’ll keep buying it as long as Francavilla is illustrating.

BRIGHTEST DAY
I dropped this one a few months ago but picked up the final issue - #24 – just to see the surprise guests show up (SPOILER ALERT! - Swamp Thing and John Constantine are back in the DCU! [and now fodder for Mattel]). Nothing made a damn bit of sense, but I’m willing to chalk that up to not reading the last ten or twelve issues. I am disappointed that Boston Brand got shafted, though.

DANGER GIRL/ARMY OF DARKNESS
I bought this for three pretty good reasons:
  1. I love all things Evil Dead
  2. I love most things Danger Girl
  3. I really wanted the J. Scot Campbell and Paul Renaud covers
I did not, however, expect this to be any good. I thought at best it would be another silly comedy comic like the last AOD or DG (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but DG/AOD #1 is a straight-up action comic that reads like an Indiana Jones adventure. If you like either of these franchises or just good adventure comics you should give this a try. Also of note is the fact that the art is not the cartoony style of the previous offerings from both franchises.
DEADPOOL
I always wonder why I’m still getting Deadpool, but then I read it and enjoy it and decide I might as well keep getting it. The last story arc of Deadpool in space was a lot more fun than I thought it would be, with the final issue giving a great payoff to Wade’s recent woes. I’m still a little bummed that Deadpool Team-Up got cancelled, though. I liked that just a bit more than the regular title.

DEADPOOLMAX
This is one fantastic comic. It’s dirty and crazy and constantly shocking and absurd. David Lapham’s words and Kyle Baker’s art make for one of my favorite comics every month. This is always near the top of the stack now.
DETECTIVE COMICS
Consider me a Scott Snyder fan. I love what he’s done on Detective with Dick Grayson so far. He is already a guy that I’ll follow, starting with his new Gates of Gotham mini-series. I’m not as sold on Jock’s artwork, but it does the job.
DOCTOR WHO: FAIRYTALE LIFE
I didn’t like this one the first time I read it. So I read it again. I’m still not sure what it is about the first issue of this new mini-series about Amy and the Doctor visiting a(nother) medieval planet that feels a bit off, but I really liked it the second time around. I think it’s that it feels more like an old-school Doctor Who adventure than part of the drama-infused new series. It threw me off at first. The story is that the duo go to what is supposed to be a resort planet (think Westworld by way of a Renaissance Fair) that turns out to be more real than it should be. It’s fun and I’m looking forward to the rest of it.
Update: Third time’s a charm. I love this book now. I am super-stoked that the artist – Kelly Yates – is going to be at Heroes Con.

EDGE OF DOOM
I thought this one was just an anthology series that gave Steve Niles and Kelley Jones the chance to be awesome some more. The previous four issues had merely been tales of four different individuals who had and lived through horrifying and/or gruesome experiences. And then in issue #5, they tied them all together and blew my mind. I don't want to give anything away, but you should really check this one out. I had no idea they were all going to tie togther. This is one of the coolest comic book surprises in recent memory.
THE FLASH
I never really warmed up to Francis Manapul’s art on The Flash. I really love the guy’s work, I just never felt like it fit the title. I think he’d be solid on Batgirl or Birds of Prey or a new Swamp Thing, maybe. I just never dug his style for the Scarlet Speedster. Issue #12 brought the series and the storylines to a close and led directly into

FLASHPOINT
I wasn’t going to read any of this. I am so fucking sick of alternate reality stories that don’t end up having any bearing on the regular continuity that we know and love (I skipped “Age of X” entirely [but may come back to it]). But then that darned ol’ ComicsAlliance.com mentioned something about the last page being really cool so I grabbed a copy. And CA was right. It is really cool. The rest of the first issue is good stuff, too; but that last page is the shit. Now I’m going to have to pick up at least a few of these titles. Dammit. That Geoff Johns knows how to write a hook. He just doesn’t always have the follow-through. Also, it appears that the events of Flashpoint will have a lasting impact on the DCU. But they always say that.

GI JOE
Oh fucking great. GI Joe is getting rebooted again. Well, not really. IDW is just using the last storyline to do sort of a reset before they do another reset. But everything is all in the same continuity, so I can’t get too bent out of shape. Once Chuck Dixon and Antonio Fuso really got rolling with the GI Joe and Cobra titles respectively, they got fucking rolling. I’m in for this whole “Cobra Civil War” thing.
GI JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO
Hama has really got his Joe legs back, so to speak. This series is the same goofy fun as the old 80’s one, so if you can take some old-school dialogue and some surprisingly good art (with covers by original ARAH artists like Herb Trimpe and Rod Whigham you’ll be in for a good time.
GREEN LANTERN
&
GREEN LANTERN CORPS
&
GREEN LANTERN EMERALD WARRIORS
Fucking shit. The Green Lantern Corps are easier to fool than Sting in the 90’s. How many times have these cosmic idiots been infiltrated and turned against each other? Honestly, though, I’m having a ton of fun reading about their turmoil. We’ve been heading towards “War of the Green Lanterns” at a breakneck pace and the ride has been awesome. A whole lot of straight-up goofy shit has happened:

But it’s all been exciting.

HACK/SLASH
Seeley has gotten way into this whole Black Lamp thing with the new Image series. I’m not saying it’s bad, I just hope we get a resolution soon and can get back into some good ol’ slasher slaying. The story seems to be suggesting that we’ll get back to basics sooner than later.
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN
I liked the Doc Ock story, but I think it got cut a bit short to allow for the start of the “Fear Itself” tie-in that comes out today. Which I do not give a shit about. I can’t even remember the last Marvel crossover I read (aside from X-Men stuff).

NEW MUTANTS
I read the first “Age of X” tie in and actually kind of liked it. I’ll probably pick up the trades whenever they happen. I didn’t bother with the second tie-in, though. The newest issue kicks off a new creative team and is a good starting point, with the major arc of the last 24 issues resolved and the team revitalized with a new leader. The stuff with Illyana is very good and she continues to be one of my favorite mutants alongside Jamie Madrox.
Note: I’m not going to call anybody out, but I Googled this issue before posting to check something. The review I came across read like the guy hadn’t read the issue closely. He missed the whole point of the Cyclops/Illyana conversation and the fact that Wolverine was sent off on a mission with other mutants with emotional ties to Magick so Cyclops could subdue her if it came to that (it didn’t). Now, I know I’m not one to talk as my reviews tend to consist of, “It was AWESOME!” or “That fucking sucked!”; but I don’t claim to be dissecting everything I talk about here. I’m just sort of shooting the shit. And I am most certainly not getting paid for anything you guys read. I’ve come across that sort of thing a few times and it irritates the shit out of me. That place does have a badass Walking Dead header, though.
RED ROBIN
Fabian Nicieza has always been one of my favorite comic book writers. And he writes Tim Drake stories better than anybody out there. Nicieza is to Drake as Miller is to Stephanie Brown. Tim Drake is now being presented as his own man while still being a vital part of Bruce Wayne’s operations, and this title has its own stories and goals while still fitting in with the whole Batman Incorporated thing.

SUICIDE GIRLS
You know how clever Birds of Prey is? How deep and conflicting Scarlet is? How fun Batgirl is? Suicide Girls wants to be all of those things and succeeds at none of them. This comic is an utter failure in pretty much every way. The story is a derivative mess and the art – while nice to look at – does a poor job of telling the story. The focus was definitely on making the Suicide Girls in the story recognizable to whoever is familiar enough with the site to be able to identify them. I’ve been a member for years now and for all I know these characters were all made up just for the comic. None of the old favorites were used (at least not in the first issue): Mary, Quinne, Reagan, Fractal or my personal favorite; Blyss. I didn’t expect much out of this title and I sure didn’t get it. It’s a bunch of “We’re so anti-establishment” bullshit that was trying so hard to be cool it forgot to be fun. NOBODY is going to take a story starring girls who put pictures of their tattooed vaginas up on the internet as seriously as the creators thought this should be taken. This comic pretty much sums up what is wrong with every goth/hipster/emo/alternative person ever: you look far too silly to be taken as seriously as you want to be. The Hack/Slash & Suicide Girls comic had the perfect tone. That’s what this should have gone for.
ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN
I don’t know what Bendis is doing with Ultimate Peter Parker or whatever you call him, but I sure hope he isn’t actually dying. I love this book. Top of the stack every time.
UNCANNY X-FORCE
Along with Scott Snyder and Paul Cornell, Rick Remender is now an writer I will follow. Franken-Castle is what sold me on the guy, but Uncanny X-Force is what sealed the deal. This is an extremely dark book, but still has Remender’s signature humor. Every time Wolverine calls Deadpool a ding-dong I laugh.
WALKING DEAD
How has it been so good for so long? How did he do that to Carl?
WARLORD OF MARS
I started buying this just to get the J. Scott Campbell covers. I’ve stuck around because it’s a damned good story. I haven’t read the original John Carter stories, but a guy at work assures me this is a faithful adaptation. The art isn’t as pretty as it was at first, but it’s serviceable. As long as it stays at at least that level I’ll keep buying. This should be the next big cable show. Holy shit that would be good.

WARLORD OF MARS: DEJAH THORIS
I wasn’t going to buy this spin-off, but it got put in my pull when the first issue hit. I read it and it is just as good as Warlord. Lots of political intrigue and action. And the art is far superior to the above title.

X-FACTOR
I absolutely love this comic. At its worst X-Factor is very good. Characters grow and change and come and go. Things happen and there is no status quo. I totally believed Strong Guy was going to die in the last issue and that makes for a good, involving comic. As a matter of fact, I dig X-Factor so much I’m going to put together a fantasy casting article right now.

Until next time, stay creepy
-Phantom

2 comments:

  1. I'm not sure I'd want an X-Factor movie, but, damn, I'd love an X-Factor TV show (though not on network TV, cause they'd totally fuck it up...). I'm now looking forward to your fantasy casting article.

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  2. I think if it was on FX we'd be in good shape. Hang in there for the casting call. It might be a minute.

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