Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Comic Book Wednesday – 8/2011 Update


Comic Book Wednesday has been on a little bit of a hiatus. Hopefully this one is coming to you on the 17th. If not, know that I spent a whole extra week on it.

ULTIMATE FALLOUT
This started off as a very interesting look at the effect Peter Parker’s death had on the Ultimate universe (Oh, sorry – Mr. Bendis insists via Twitter that it’s not a separate universe, it’s a separate reality… or something) and after the second issue turned into a setup for the big Ultimate Comics relaunch coming in… uh… soon. I would tell you when, but I’m pretty much done. I don’t trust Marvel to maintain the Ultimate titles beyond the first story arcs and Ultimate Parker’s death was too perfect to sully with a failed reboot. I feel like that’s unusually negative for me, but I’ve got my hands full with a slightly-less-likely-to-fail reboot over at DC.
Now then – what do I think about the new mixed-race Spidey?


I don’t care and I think it’s a cheap stunt by Bendis inspired by all the hoopla earlier in the year when the internet decided Hollywood was racist for not casting a black guy in the new Spider-Man movie. I have no problem with Spidey being a legacy character and I don’t care what color he is. The issue I have right now (aside from my strong feeling that Bendis is being hacky and catering to some overly-PC douchetards) is that from what we’ve seen so far the new black/Latino Spider-Man is exactly the same as Peter Parker. Every bit of dialogue thus far could have come from the mouth of the original Spider-Man as written by Bendis. I realize this is more a symptom of Bendis’ writing style than a true problem with the character. It’s why I couldn’t read his Avengers comic. I cannot tolerate Iron Man and Wolverine and Captain America all standing around talking exactly like Peter Parker.
Otherwise, the post-Parker fallout in the comic is fairly interesting. Quicksilver is insane and plotting the enslavement of all of mutantkind. It’s neat-o, but like I said – I’m otherwise occupied.
ASTONISHING X-MEN
It is very difficult for me to deal with these alternating storylines. The last issue featured the Brood thing being written by Christos Gage. I like the story a lot, but Juan Bobillo’s art is either terrible or just not suited for such a sci-fi-oriented tale of the X-Men. I’m leaning towards terrible, but I’m willing to give the guy the benefit of the doubt.
The other story going on – “Monstrous” – is excellent in every way. I would totally buy a t-shirt of Armor fighting Fin Fang Foom.

BATGIRL
This one absolutely broke my heart. I’m not a big fan of people claiming they “fell in love” with a character, but I fell in love with Stephanie Brown over the twenty-four issues of this outstanding series from the mind of Bryan Q. Miller. The final issue was an abrupt but excellent sendoff; but clearly the story was cut far shorter than intended. Miller handled it the best he could and gave us a memorable, beautiful issue. This book gets my strongest recommendation. If you didn’t follow it while it was in publication, go out and buy the back issues now – you won’t be sorry.
BATMAN AND ROBIN
Well, I ended up liking Judd Winick’s arc and now I have to admit to kind of digging David Hine’s story in the latest issue. It’s not great and I don’t feel that it’s up to the standard that most of this series has held; but I didn’t hate it and that’s a lot more than I can say for any other work of Hine’s that I’ve read.
BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY
This book is doing a great job of building up my anticipation for the new game. The Catwoman appearance in the last issue was awesome. If you enjoyed Arkham Asylum and plan on buying the sequel, you really need to treat yourself to this book. At the very least buy the trade when it comes out; likely right around the time the game releases.
BATMAN INCORPORATED
Good lord. It’s really been two months since the Man of Bats issue?
BIRDS OF PREY
I thought this series was ending with Gail Simone’s last issue, but instead DC gave us a little bonus arc by Marc Andreyko and Billy Tucci. It’s full of Nazi-punching and guest-stars Manhunter, so I loved it. I’m still irritated that Simone didn’t get to follow up on Oracle’s promise of revenge at the end of her story arc, though.
DEADPOOLMAX
Still excellent and now renewed for a second run! More Lapham & Baker means more awesome!
DETECTIVE COMICS
Holy shit on a Triscuit did Scott Snyder wrap up his story with style. The art alternating between Francavilla and Jock was a little odd, particularly given the odd points at which the artists switched off. Regardless, Snyder’s entire run on Detective was great. I can’t say it was a s amazing as Rucka and Williams III’s, but I’ll buy the hardcover collection when it comes out.

DOCTOR WHO: FAIRYTALE LIFE
I got caught up and finished this fun mini. If you like wizards and castles and dragons and the Doctor you should buy the trade whenever it hits. If all Doctor Who comics were stand-alone miniseries like this one I would buy more of them.
FLASHPOINT
I finally realized the problem with DC’s would-be Big Summer Event – DC told us it doesn’t matter. I’m not talking about the fact that we know the New 52 are coming. Those tie directly into whatever the heck is going on in “Flashpoint” and are actually the only thing lending the overly-hyped Elseworlds stories any credence or weight.
I’m talking about the fact that all of the other titles are running concurrently with a supposed new reality that has replaced everything in the regular DCU. It’s kind of hard to take Barry Allen and Booster Gold’s dilemma seriously when we know Dick Grayson is still swinging around Gotham and Superman is still… wandering around or whatever.
But some of the “Flashpoint” tie-ins have still intrigued and entertained me. I feel that most suffered from being limited to three issues. Or rather, suffered from an industry full of people who can’t complete a narrative in three issues.
  • FLASHPOINT – I guess things are coming to a head? The central title is actually being diluted a bit by the fact that other titles are telling a parallel story that is far more interesting. Still, this is where the central story is, so you better stick with it until they explain how the heck they’re getting from what we know to what’s coming in September.
  • ABIN SUR THE GREEN LANTERN – This was perfectly enjoyable and perfectly disposable. Not bad, but not in any way essential.
  • BATMAN KNIGHT OF VENGEANCE – A great, great narrative. I was legitimately bummed when it ended. I feel like there was a lot more of Thomas Wayne’s world to explore though and there were a few bits where you sort of had to overlook things and go with it. Even the mighty Azzarello was challenged by the 3 book format.
  • SECRET SEVEN – Dropped it. Too damn weird for me. I couldn’t even follow it well enough to tell if it was good or pertinent or anything.
  • THE WORLD OF FLASHPOINT – I really felt like this one was going to be surprisingly significant. Instead, it was merely an interesting side story about a character I was entirely unfamiliar with. And is her dad supposed to be Constantine or what? Because he sure looked like him at the end, there. I’m not sure I totally grasped this one, either.
  • CITIZEN COLD – Pointless, but I enjoyed it enough.
  • DEATHSTROKE THE CURSE OF RAVAGER – Dropped it after #1. I could tell it didn’t matter.
  • EMPEROR AQUAMAN – BORING. I dropped it after #1.
  • FRANKENSTEIN AND THE CREATURES OF UNKNOWN – AWESOME. I WANT MORE. I’m so glad this is sort of going to be a title in September.
  • DEADMAN AND THE FLYING GRAYSONS – I think this was actually my favorite of the side stories. It played the most like an Elseworlds story and had the BEST COVERS EVER. You should pick this one up if you skipped it. You get to see Boston Brand as the dick he’d been if he lived. Speaking of Boston Brand, be sure and check out my blurb about the new Deadman collection below!

  • LEGION OF DOOM – I felt like this was utter crap. I dropped it after the first one.
  • WONDER WOMAN AND THE FURIES – This must not have been that great. I didn’t buy any past #1. I don’t even remember it.
  • KID FLASH LOST – The third issue comes out next week. I liked the first two. Fun book.
  • LOIS LANE AND THE RESISTANCE – Hated it. Dropped it after #1.
  • THE OUTSIDER – The conclusion comes out today and I cannot wait to read it. This is probably my second favorite of the “Flashpoint” titles. I hope very much that this character is sticking around.
  • HAL JORDAN – I guessed that this was going to be boring and I was dead on.
  • PROJECT SUPERMAN – Fantastic comic. My general dislike of the Man of Steel keeps me from loving this one, but it really is a great and emotionally involving story. It’s almost like a grim reversal of All-Star Superman – where Kal-El has no hope and no power. I can’t wait to see not only how this wraps up but also how it ties into the Superman of the New 52.
  • THE CANTERBURY CRICKET – I will admit that I didn’t bother reading this.
  • GREEN ARROW INDUSTRIES – I think I skipped this, too. If not, the fact that I can’t even remember should be a good indicator of how good and/or important it is.

GI JOE
IDW is just cranking out some awesome GI Joe stories. I’m still not totally sold on this newest take on the Joes and their nemeses, but it’s a billion times better than Resolute.
GI JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO
Still totally rad. We’re naming our next pet Larry. Or Hama.
GREEN LANTERN
&
GREEN LANTERN CORPS
&
GREEN LANTERN EMERALD WARRIORS
All of these got wrapped up in a really fun way, with Green Lantern War: Aftermath being the big, depressing bow on top. But not in a bad way; just in a way that says there is a lot more story to tell after the whole Blackest Night/Brightest Day thing.

HACK/SLASH
Things are really moving along in a satisfying way and I’m really starting to like Cat (whatever) Girl Detective. I can’t get into the Ghost Hunters-esque backup stories, though.
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN
I haven’t heard good things about the main “Fear Itself” story, but what’s happening in this book has been very good. The whole Grey Gargoyle thing was awesome and I love Tony making the mystical armor with the dwarves. It really pains me to see him drinking and that surprises me. I hadn’t realized I had become that attached to the character.

LA MANO DEL DESTINO
This book is from a man called J. Gonzo and published by Castle & Key Publication and I am obviously going to make a big fucking deal about it because it is about a luchador and it is AWESOME. The first issue tells the tale of our hero and how he got dicked over and then returned to the ring to begin his hunt for justice and possibly revenge. The art is some of the most visually stimulating I've seen since Batwoman in Detective and the story is familiar but compelling. I love this book and hope you will all support it. You can check out the first issue FOR FREE here.
NEW MUTANTS
Abnett and Lanning have done a great job since taking the book over. I like the idea of the New Mutants being sort of like the X-Men’s version of Damage, Inc. And I’m dying to see where they fall in the aftermath of “Schism”.
PUNISHER
Greg Rucka’s first issue did nothing for me. The story seemed a little too high concept for a guy that shoots people in the face and the art was just not great. I’m hanging in there because Rucka has built up so much goodwill with me. I strongly hope to be eating my words in a couple of months, looking back at this post and thinking, “What an idiot I was!”

RED ROBIN
This felt like one of the few real, planned wrap-ups of the regular DC books. I love Fabian Nicieza’s handling of Tim Drake and this story about Captain Boomerang brought things full circle. Again I am lefty wondering how this will tie into the New 52.
STAR WARS: JEDI – THE DARK SIDE
This is shaping up to be a solid murder mystery tale starring the best saber jockey from the prequels – Qui-Gon Jinn.
STAR WARS: INVASION
Invasion is back with a new miniseries – Revelations – and it is still very good. I loved the New Jedi Order books and this series makes a fantastic companion to the events that were novelized.
UNCANNY X-FORCE
I heart Rick Remender.

UNCANNY X-MEN
I caught up with all of Kieron Gillen’s stuff and it’s great. And much like Invincible Iron Man, the Uncanny tie-in to “Fear Itself” is just great. You should be reading this.
WALKING DEAD
Surely I don’t even need to talk about how great this book is.
X-FACTOR
So now Rahne is teamed up with Jack Russell and fleeing from pursuit by pretty much every pantheon of pagan deities available. Typical Peter David.
X-MEN: PRELUDE TO SCHISM
I bought all of these, read them, and find them absolutely useless. I guess the four-issue miniseries might not be a bad starting point for somebody who has never read an X-Men comic; like, ever. Just know that if you do not fall into that category than there is no reason for you to read this. But you should totally check out

X-MEN: SCHISM
Absolutely compelling. I haven’t been this invested in a core X-title in a very long time. I hope the payoff is equal to the journey. I’m almost as stoked about the new X-titles later this year as I am about many of the New 52.


SPECIAL EXTRA!


DEADMAN VOLUME 1
Go to the comic shop and buy this right now. If they don’t have it, make them order five so you can buy one and they’ll have four more to sell. It is awesome. This is some of my favorite work by the legendary Neal Adams and the story here is great. I bet you won’t be able to read this without wondering why it was never made into a television show. Starring Bruce Campbell because I swear to you, you will not be able to read Boston Brand’s dialogue without doing ti in Campbell’s voice. I love these and cannot wait for more volumes.

Until next time, stay creepy
-Phantom

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