Monday, January 30, 2017

Last Week's Comics Today - 01/30/2017

The Justice League / Suicide Squad ramble below could have gone much longer.

Pick of the Week
Saga #42 - This issue ends with several all-black pages.  I don't know if those are really to hammer home what just happened or to allow your brain a slight mental break before returning to the real world after what just happened.  At one point I said, "They killed [redacted]!" and then tried to explain to her both that scene and the final scene.  She was more concerned with The Stalk.  Maybe someday she'll read it and understand.  Then we can share in the goodness and sadness.  Damn this book for being so good.

Honorable Mention
Aliens Defiance #9 - I'm not sure if it's surprising or expected, but things continue to get worse for the small crew of this beleaguered ship.  When faced with very likely dying very soon vs maybe dying sometime later, they choose the latter and let loose the alien queen they've had on ice.  So now they'll have to deal with that and it won't be nearly as "easy" as it was the first time.  Once again, an amazing read.

Briggs Land #6 - This tends to be near the bottom of my weekly read pile -- not as any sort of indication of quality, as it's outstanding work, just that I need to be prepared to read it.  I'm not sure if that's been the case the entire time, but definitely since the Nazi uniforms issue.  Anyway, multiple plans are hatched or set in motion here setting the stage both short- and long-term.  This is a book that's incredibly well executed.  I'm looking forward to the forthcoming TV series so the comic can hopefully reach a wider audience.

Ether #3 - There's a hand drawn map in here that reminded me of Weirdworld.  There's enough similarities between the titles that for anyone that enjoyed the Secret Wars title, I recommend picking this up.  While that heavier on action, this is a murder mystery with a gut-punch of humanity at the beginning or end of each issue.

Frostbite #5 - The cliffhangers in this series are great by themselves, but even better is how the characters get out of them in the next issue.  It's really well done.  If last issue weren't enough, Vic shows she's nowhere near helpless.  The cast should arrive at Alcatraz next issue and what happens there will be anyone's guess but it should definitely be interesting and make for a fun read.

Everything Else
Abe Sapien v8 - The end of the series snuck up on me.  I mean, I probably read about it months ago whenever the solicits came out, but must have promptly forgotten about it.  It's been clear for a while that BPRD is building toward a finale and as much as I'd like to see it, I'm a little in denial about the whole thing.  We learn a lot in this volume about Abe's early years, about how he became Abe (even if you think you already know), and where he fits in the broader picture.  It's fantastic and makes me want to re-read the entire Mignola-verse to refresh my memory.  For anyone that read Hellboy but not BPRD or Abe, you're missing a significant chunk of the story.

Detective #949 - This two issue arc went well enough that I'm signing up for Batwoman Rebirth #1.  Kate's father is in a completely different place than when I last read, but I'm not sure I want to go back to read how all that went down.  It's good and I'm looking forward to reading more Batwoman.

Justice League Suicide Squad #6 - It's a better ending than these things usually get, and it's satisfactory in places, but my brain wouldn't stop reminding me of certain aspects.  Eclipso "unlocks the darkness within" ...which only manifests as violence, for some reason.  With all the talk of "secret desires" I kept thinking sex was being felt out, and I understand why, but there are other base instincts that could have been represented and the variety would have been nice.  The eclipse itself reminded me heavily of Forever Evil, especially given the cast similarities.  Finally, there's the large-scale destruction.  The Earth has faced a fair bit of global damage due to metahuman fighting in recent months, which reminded me of Hitch's opening Justice League arc and how - unbelievably - only one person died.  Surely more people died here, but I don't know if it will ever be addressed or even commented on in either title, especially given Hitch's detachment from this event.  All I'm saying is, it'd be nice to see some consequences.  There's constant fighting, constant destruction, but hardly any rebuilding or downtime.  For me, that's where the real fatigue of events and "widescreen" stems from.

I've gone off topic long enough.  I'm interested in Batman forming his own league and have no comment regarding the last page.

Reborn #4 - Millar gets Bonnie and her father out of the scrape from the end of last issue, then gets them into and out of two more before this issue wraps.  It's a wild ride and I love seeing Capullo draw all of the craziness.

Teen Titans #4 - I can't quite put my finger on what but something about this feels off.  It's a fine read, kinda typical monthly superhero stuff, which isn't really my usual bag.  There's just something about Damian here that makes me wish only Gleason and Tomasi would write him.  They get him in a way that makes this feel hollow.  Ra's too, if I really think about it.  Hopefully I can enjoy the book more when the entire arc isn't focused on him.  Otherwise, I'll probably drop this in a few months.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #66 - Raph and Angel search for Alopex in Alaska.  It wasn't until that sentence I realized how many female character names start with "A."  It's a good read that moves Alopex forward in a significant way, even if it does seem implausible to borrow a helicopter in New York to fly to Alaska.  I'll just let that one slide.  Sophie Campbell is back and does an outstanding job illustrating everything.

Thief Of Thieves v06 - Honestly, this seemed a bit rushed.  The job within the comic, not the comic itself.  There was a lot of setup, virtually no planning, and then suddenly the plan was getting executed.  I feel like this title has historically taken more time to flesh those events out, with at least one storyline going on the side.  There was no story going on other than the job itself.  Still good, still highly enjoyable, but a minor mis-step I think.  Oh, and an ending that ensures I'll be back for more.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Last Week's Comics Today - 01/24/2017

I thought about creating a special category below "Everything else" just for Black Widow and Justice League this week.  Read on to find out why.

Pick of the Week
Superman #15 - I was wrong.  Last time I said this would cross over with Action Comics, but that's the Superman Reborn arc which is coming in March.  And I'm still skipping the Action half because I don't like Jurgens.  However, this isn't that.  Multiplicity is on fire!  Writing, art, all of it's amazing.  Basically a continuation of Grant Morrison's Multiversity bookend storyline.

Honorable Mention
Black Road #6 - I got to the last page here and said, "Holy shit."  Which is, unintentionally, a little funny given the context.  Even given the break between the last arc and the new one here, there was no problem picking up where it had left off.  It's brilliant, brutal, beautiful, and if the plan on the last page is the story for this arc, I want nothing more than to be reading more right now.

Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye #4 - As much as I want more Powers, it's been clear for a long time that that's not where Bendis' priorities are at.  I'm extremely glad someone has put Oeming to work, since he's perfect for this book.  The character designs, fantastic settings, emotion, violence... he excels at all of it.  It's also really well written.

Descender #18 - Whaaat?  There are some surprising turns of events here.  Look, for the last 17 issues I've been writing about how great this series is.  This issue is no different.  Get it, see what all the alien/robot goodness is all about.

Kill Or Be Killed #5 - If you're not reading this, you're genuinely missing out.  It's easily one of the best written books on the market.  There's a slight time-skip from last issue in which Dylan gets better at killing people without nearly getting himself killed.  I actually winced while writing that because I remember how the issue ended.  Get it!

Trinity #5 - Things that were confusing before make sense now after the explanations given here.  This continues to be a fun read and gorgeous to look at.  Props to Manapul for pulling off both the writing and art so well.

Everything Else
Black Hammer Annual - If you like Black Hammer, read this.  It's a nice collection of stories about each of the cast members, with each one drawn by a different artist.  It's nice.

Black Widow #10 - A few things of consequence happen this issue, but those cover about three pages.  The rest of the book left me wonder, "What was the point of all that?"  If this gets cancelled and renumbered again, I'm out.

Curse Words #1 - I read this on Monday, after hearing nothing but praise about this book for days.  I don't know if that set expectations too high or what, but I don't get what all the hype was about.  It's alright, but it's basically just all character establishment.  I expected more from Soule.  The art is okay.

The Few #1 - You need to pay a tiny bit of attention here because the time jumps aren't immediately obvious.  Other than that, everything is great.  Action, interesting characters, a mission, a twist, and all told with great art.  This is getting added to my pull.

Justice League #13 - There's no reason to buy this.  No wait, even if you get this for free, there's no reason to read it.

Justice League Suicide Squad #5 - Whenever The League get taken out or possessed or incapacitated in some way, it's always Batman that's unaffected.  Because of course it's Batman.  He needs to save them to show how awesome he is.  The same is true here.  Also, the actual bad guy of the series is finally revealed -- scratch that -- finally shows up.  Because DC marketing revealed the character months ago.  Despite all of the above, it's still a fun series.  Especially Lobo.

Lucifer #14 - That's Constantine, right?  I mean, except she's a woman.  But other than that...  Anyway, new writer taking over with this issue and I was concerned at first.  Just like I was with Holly Black until I read the first issue.  The same holds true here.  All the plates are still spinning and not a step was missed.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe #6 - The Turtles get a Clayface-equivalent in this Mikey-focused issue.  For reasons I won't go into for spoilers, Pitarra is an outstanding choice for artist this issue.  Which makes sense, since he had a hand in the story too.  And a nice bit of history as a back-up story.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Last Week's Comics Today - 01/18/2017

I read most of these early but didn't start writing about any of them until Tuesday night.  So these will be real quick as I try to remember what all happened.  This should be fun!

Pick of the Week
Spread #18 - I don't know if anyone's paying attention, but Justin Jordan is on fire.  Spread is already an amazing book, but this issue opens a whole new door on the world and is brilliant.  Loved every second of it.  Saying anything more would spoil it.

Moonshine #4 - Lou really needs to stop blacking out.  He might have less problems if he did.  But that might also make the book less interesting as he wouldn't need to piece together the happenings of the previous night while hungover each morning.  I'm surprised this is only issue four as it seems like a considerable amount has happened in that time.  This continues to be a favorite.  The writing and art are stellar.

Honorable Mention
Detective Comics # 948 - I haven't read Detective since it was Rebirth'd.  But with Batwoman getting her own title, which I'd like to read again, I figured it's time to give this another shot.  And it's good!  Well written, good art... really can't ask for more than that.  I'm in for part two and will be checking out her new series when it launches.

God Country #1 - Well written, well drawn... interestingly colored.  I loved Cates and Shaw on The Paybacks, and both continue to impress here.  I saw a comment about the coloring not really being representative of Texas in a review last week and saw what they were talking about when I read this today.  Would I have noticed if I hadn't been primed for it already?  I don't know, and now I'm passing that mental seed downstream.  Oh, I'll also be adding this to my pull list because it's great.

Everything Else
All Star Batman #6 - It's better than the Two-Face arc!  Beyond that, it's Jock's stylized art and Snyder's ridiculous Batman.  "Better than the Two-Face arc" is such a low bar to begin with, I honestly can't tell if this is good or not.

Birthright #21 - Another flashback issue with no advancement of the present storyline.  But these tend to color the explosive ends of arcs with new information and I find them fascinating.  Since the whole series has been told with regular flashbacks, it's just part of the DNA and I don't have a problem with it.  Here, we learn much more about Rya, before, during and after Mikey's arrival and eventual departure.  It's good stuff.  Should make their inevitable reunion all the better to watch.

Gotham Academy Second Semester #5 - Colton's on trial!  AFTER getting expelled.  There's a map (which Maps wants, obviously), and several competing agendas, and a Bruce Wayne appearance.  I haven't counted panels or anything, but I believe Bruce has been in this more than Batman, and that's cool.  This issue kinda makes me wish I were reading it in trades just so I didn't have to deal with the cliffhangers and wait between issues.

Green Valley #4 - When thinking back about this, it's easy to wonder, "But what actually happened?"  While reading, however, that never crosses my mind.  The writing is slow and deliberate, but good nonetheless.  And the art is excellent.  If you'd rather wait, grab the collection once the series is done.  But one way or another, you should read this series.

Justice League Suicide Squad #4 - It would have been nice if DC marketing hadn't spoiled the big reveal here months ago.  It's still good, though the art took a dip here from previous issues.  But what should have been a major twist is what I've been waiting four issues to get to.  Hopefully the final two issues won't be spoiled by the publisher as well.

Mighty Thor #15 - I hate to even say this because of what people might read into it, but I like Unworthy Thor (as a series, not a character) better.  The benefit that title has over this is a simple, straight-forward objective and main character in the right frame of mind to pursue that single-minded objective.  Here, Aaron's juggling far more plotlines and characters.  It's still good, but... why are the Shi'ar attacking?  I still have no idea.  And there's the other war, and the cancer, and Loki's schemes... and none of it seems anywhere near concluding.  Don't get me wrong, it's still a great series, but there's a helluva lot going on.  Still, I loved seeing Kid Gladiator again.  Brought back all those Wolverine and the X-Men memories.

Suicide Squad #9 - I tried the Rebirth issue of Suicide Squad and didn't find the writing to my liking.  But with a tie-in to Justice League vs Suicide Squad and art by Rossmo, I had to check this out.  It's an interesting look at the early days of Waller's squad.  Worth it alone for Rossmo's art.  Your mileage will vary beyond that.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Last Week's (ish) Comics Today - 01/09/2017

Note: Most of the rest of the last three week's worth of books are below.  There's still two or three stragglers that will make it into next week's post.

I complain about Black Widow and the interconnectedness of Marvel's comics below, then give high praise to two nearly stand-alone Marvel books.  So it's maybe not as line-wide as I indicated, but this week also saw that pic of a few panels of Nova complaining about recent Marvel developments that leads me to think that, yes, it really is that bad and I'm just reading the exceptions.

Pick of the Week
Unworthy Thor #3 - This series is kicking ass.  Loads of unexpected characters show up, and oh my god, text boxes explaining references to past events.  TAKE NOTE, BLACK WIDOW, THIS IS HOW IT'S DONE.  Really looking forward to next issue and the eventual conclusion.

Honorable Mention
Exodus Life After #10 - I can't be sure it's intentional, but there's a tiny smiley face on the space potato god early on in the issue that brings me joy just thinking about it.  Oh, and this is the final issue.  Honestly, I'm surprised it lasted this long as it's unlike anything else on the shelves, is trying to convey a message, and has a space potato for god.  It's brilliant.  I love it.  I'll miss it.  And you should absolutely try it if you haven't already.  The only reason this isn't getting Pick of the Week is because it came out weeks ago.

Ether #2 - It's hard to talk about anything that happens in this book.  There's a lot of otherwordly fantasy going on which you wouldn't understand unless you read the book, and then there's something else going on, which I don't want to spoil but is full of emotion and hits hard.  This is only issue two.  I'm SURE you can find a copy of the first issue somewhere, and you really should.  Another candidate for Pick of the Week.

Fix #7 - Below, I comment on things going wrong in Aliens Defiance.  The kind of wrong you can practically predict from aliens, humans, and androids in space.  Things go far more wrong here.  The kind of wrong that's perfectly set up before dropping the hammer.

Frostbite #4 - Nothing is going well for the main characters.  Things are going pretty well for the antagonists, however, so that should tell you something.  I have no idea where any of this is going, but it makes a great comic.

Moon Knight #10 - I don't know when it happened, but this has become my favorite Moon Knight series.  Not that I've read a ton of Moon Knight - really only since Ellis - but this really in phenomenal.  Watching the character struggle with reality and compelling and I'm regularly questioning how much of any of this is real vs in his head.  If you haven't tried it, I can't recommend it enough.

Everything Else

Aliens Defiance #8 - Some surprisingly good things happened last issue, so to balance that out, things go wrong here.  Still, all that wrong was merely setup for things to come.  Which, will very likely involve things getting much worse.  The artist changed, once again, but Wood's script was as solid as ever.

Autumnlands Tooth & Claw #14 - Androids and a human vs a goddess.  This ends another arc, and there's a note at the back about how it will be a while before the book returns so they can get ahead and ship on-time.  But was it shipping on-time for the last few issues?  Doesn't seem like it, but maybe I just haven't been paying attention.  Still a good book, though I find I have nothing else to say about it.

Black Hammer #6 - What the hell kind of ending is that?  It's mildly infuriating, in a good way.  Most of the issue follows Madame Dragonfly and her journey to how she got to the farm, with a gut punch thrown in every few pages for good measure.  In short, it's great.

Black Widow #9 - Isn't Bucky supposed to be in space or something?  It's like if you're not reading EVERY Marvel title, you shouldn't bother reading ANY Marvel comic.  Anyway, there's a nice fight scene and characters speak vaguely about things you should remember from months ago.  The art sure is nice, though.

Dark Knight III #7 - I don't remember what happened to Hal.  Not that he's a major part of this or anything, but he makes an appearance in the main book and the mini is almost entirely him.  I'm confused by the actions of both Superman and Lara.  I've been confused by Lara this entire time and would need to go back to read her motivation.  Superman kinda makes sense, though I expect a "why?" as soon as he's able to speak.

Justice League #12 - A Justice League vs Suicide Squad tie-in not written by Hitch.  I wonder if Hitch is the new Johns in that he doesn't care what other writers are doing.  It's not essential reading, but does help flesh out Maxwell Lord specifically and the New52/Rebirth world more generally.

Justice League Suicide Squad #3 - Final page surprise!  The real surprise is the book is still good; everything is chugging along well.  It looks like next issue we'll have three teams in combat with one another, so that's sure to be interesting.  I barely noticed the artist change this time.  There's a couple panels where it's stand-out, but since everyone's been basically doing "DC style" art, it flows better than expected.

Lady Mechanika La Dama De La Muerte #3 - A whole lot of people die here.  A bunch of people died off-panel last issue, but here their deaths are seen.  It's been a fun jaunt, despite the mutilated children and a town wiped off the map.  It would have been better had this finished nearly Halloween rather than started, but still good.

Lucifer #13 - Aw, Christmas with Lucifer and Mazikeen.  This features two entirely skippable but enjoyable short stories.  I've been trying to figure out something more to say, but that really covers it.

Optimus Prime #2 - I'm stopping here.  I could maybe tolerate it for a while longer if there weren't any humans, but then we'd probably just get more Prime snark and worship and I've had enough of that too.  Ultimately, I just don't care about any of this and the only plotlines I did care about ended in the last series.

Ragnarok #11 - I don't care that this book only ships every other month, or that there's less art pages and more backmatter this issue.  It continues to be a great read, with impressive art.  I will happily endure the wait for as long as this series runs.

Superman #14 - Clark has a very real problem with changing into Superman when it would be blatantly obvious to any casual observer.  As he steps out of his own vehicle, for instance.  Anyway.  This should be an interesting crossover since I'll be skipping the Jurgen's half as I can't stand his writing style.  The beginning is interesting in a vague-threat-with-cool-guest-stars kind of way though, but suffers from people talking too much when there should be action... which I've complained about in a few different books recently.

Teen Titans #3 - Three issues in and the Teen Titans are almost, but not quite, a team.  About half of that is because of Damien's actions and the other half is in spite of them.  Things get a bit overly share-y in the middle with people admitting things to strangers that felt more forced than organic.  Other than that, this remains a fun book, in line with Robin, Son of the Batman.

Transformers Till All Are One #6 - It's not going well for Metroplex as he almost single-handedly battles an army or reanimated titans.  The fight takes a surprising and unexpected turn, however, yet once I considered the decisions being made, everything was completely in character.  I have no idea where things will go next, but it's an interesting ride.

Wonder Woman #13 - I don't know what's going on with the artists on this book, but the art here isn't done by either of the regulars.  I'd have to check, but I believe this is about as far into Azzarello's run as I made it before dropping.  It was a book I wanted to like more than I actually did and was hanging on because I liked the author and hoped things would improve.  Maybe it's time I faced reality.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Last Week's (ish) Comics Today - 01/02/2014

Here's a mish-mash of books from the last two weeks as I catch-up.  Expect at least one more of these as I read and figure out if I have anything to say about what's soon to be the last three week's worth of comics.

Pick of the Week
Klaus & Witch Of Winter One Shot - I get the feeling Morrison would like to write Doctor Who.  The whole formula is on display here - Klaus comes in like a whirlwind into a normal person's life at a moment of distress referencing awesome sounding events we'll likely never see.  He quickly gets to work using his bizarre abilities and the day is ultimately saved by the power of love.  It's really quite enjoyable, even if this sounds like I'm shitting on it (and Doctor Who by extension).  Dan Mora remains an incredible talent and deserving of wider recognition.

Honorable Mention
Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye #3 - As soon as I opened the cover I thought, "Man, I love Oeming."  Then I started reading and remembered the writing is funny and heartfelt with action and just the right amount of weird.  It's wonderful.

Trinity #4 - I'm not sure what's going on between Batman and Wonder Woman, but I hope it gets addressed and not abandoned again like that forever Evil tease that was never followed up on.  Anyway, we've seen Superman's and Batman's past the last two issues, so this issue we focus on Wonder Women.  And it's good.  Better even than he current ongoing.  The last page reveals (maybe?) who's behind this group hallucination while outside, Lois deals with the physical end of things.  Still not sure where any of this is leading, but I'm enjoying the ride.

Everything Else
All Star Batman #5 - If I'm being honest, I stuck this series out hoping a) it would end well and b) the next arc would be better.  The first didn't come true.  Here's hoping the second does.

Sidenote: A friend wanted to know my thoughts on this issue, so I opened in while still at the shop just to take a peak... and was reminded it was drawn by Romita.  So I immediately closed it again and then put off reading it for two days.

Lake Of Fire #5 - Seeing knights fight aliens was great once again.  Unfortunately, there was also a bunch of talking when characters should have been taking action.  The exact same problem in this week's TMNT Universe.  There's no indication the series will continue, but if it does, I won't be picking it up without a serious increase in alien presence.

Justice League Suicide Squad #1 - A better start to an event comic than I expected.  In recent years I've come to believe event series start great, and at about the midway or three-quarters mark, fall flat on their face.  Ultimately, time will tell here, but it's a really strong start.

Justice League Suicide Squad #2 - Clearly, Batman doesn't believe in redemption.  I've been playing Arkham Knight the recently and when combined with this, makes me wonder just what the hell Batman is accomplishing.  Nothing productive, that's for sure.  The issue features just about every member of both teams momentarily getting the upper hand on a member of the opposing team.  Then Killer Frost levels up and Waller gets the upper hand on EVERYONE.  I'm enjoying it.  It's kinda like a Geoff Johns event, but with less splash pages.

Justice League #11 - Is Batman broke?  Synder screwed him pretty hard at the end of New52, but I haven't kept up with what King and Tynion have done with him since.  The reason I ask is, following a massive brawl across a Denver suburb that resulted in many destroyed homes, he promises Wayne will pick up the tab.  Given the close continuity between the JL vs SS and Batman issues this week, this feels a little off.  (And in more ways than just Batman's wealth, which admittedly, I have have not kept up with.)

Superman #13 - A bit of a low point for an otherwise excellent series.  Maybe it's for the lack of Jon.  Superman and Lois are acting a bit too familiar in "public" while Frankenstein and his bride fight over a criminal/bounty.  With Multiplicity starting up next issue, I hope things return to their regular greatness.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe #5 - A standalone issue featuring Hob, Leatherhead, and Hun.  It's alright.  A whole lot of talking when people should be taking action instead.  Also the conclusion to Leo's back-up story which you should be able to guess if you've been paying any attention at all.  Makes me question whether to continue with the series or not.

Mighty Thor #14 - Malekith is a such a dick.  I've believed for a while that he's the end antagonist for Aaron's overall run, and that eventually he'll receive the beatdown he deserves... but before that we'll have a war with Shi'ar for, I don't know, because the Shi'ar haven't received a beating in a while and someone felt they were due?