Monday, February 27, 2017

Last Week's Comics Today - 02/27/2017

I thought most of this week's books were okay, until I started writing all the reviews.  That's when the wheat really separated from the chaff and I remember all the good books I'd read nearly a week ago.  Which is why Honorable Mention is so stacked.

Pick of the Week
Fix #8 - The mayor is on the cover, but not in the issue.  Pretzels, however, is all up in this.  And the book still manages to inject humor even while slowly crushing your heart.  Also, are both leads independently deciding to do their jobs better?  How crazy would that be?  If you're a fan of the humor of Sex Criminals, you should be reading this book.

Honorable Mention
Black Road #7 - There's a subtitle on the cover, "A Magnus the Black Mystery."  I noticed this early on and thought it was cool - a nice indication for a hopefully long-lasting title.  But I took notice of it again this issue, specifically the "mystery" part.  'cause I gotta say, it seems pretty straightforward to me.  Christians and Northmen don't get along.  There's going to be religion and death.  I mean, clearly.  I read this last night and kept thinking about it today - cool moments in the issue and what's to come in the next.  I'm loving it.

Descender #19 - This damn book.  It's like Saga in that it's incredibly good and makes me feel feelings... except no one else is talking about it.  One of my first reads every month and one I most anticipate.

Frostbite #6 - I had no idea this was a mini series.  I've talked about how I thought this series and Unfollow could be the next breed of Vertigo titles to hit 60 issues, and now both are ending within weeks of each other.  If you were ever curious about Frostbite, I absolutely recommend picking up the trade.  I'll hold out hope for another series since I continue to think it could sustain it and the end perfectly invites additional exploration of the world.

Few #2 - I'd like this a bit better if Sherman made the characters more visually distinct.  A good chunk is tall people in masks walking around in the snow, but when the masks come off, it's dramatically more clear who's-who.  The story and world remain compelling.  Per solicits, it's only a six-issue mini series (though for some reason, called a maxi-series (because the page count is higher?)), which is unfortunate because I'm really enjoying it.

Everything Else
Belfry - This was good.  If it had been a series rather than a one-shot, I probably would have added it to my pull list.  For anyone that enjoys Hardman's art and horror, I suggest grabbing it.

Justice League Of America #1 - This was okay.  Pretty standard superhero comic, and standard hasn't been good enough for a long time.

Old Guard #1 - It's interesting enough that I'll grab the first arc to see where it's going.  The art is okay, but I don't think it's as good as it should be for a Rucka book.  A lot of that comes down to character faces which are large, weirdly proportioned, and have perspective issues.  The art is sometimes helped but frequently further hindered by the bright, simple coloring.  It's like no one on this creative team was on the same page.  Writing this, I may have just talked myself out of buying the first arc.

Teen Titans #5 - Two things: 1) I feel like the Ra's thing ended as best it could.  Which was actually pretty good; he was suitably disgusted by the outcome and his own descendant.  2) I'm pretty sure the ending here gives the Batman writers a reason not to include Damien in their books.  I mean, they weren't before, but now there's something they can point to when asked why he's never around.  I'm looking forward to Aqualad.

TMNT Universe #7 - It's hard to put too much stock into anything this series does.  Maybe I'll ultimately be proven wrong, but it feels like the Agents of SHIELD show whereas the main series as Marvel's movies.  Sure, things will get referenced back and forth, but you know where the real talent and focus are on the main stage.

Transformers Lost Light #3 - That's not Rung.  I've already written one Saga comparison this week, so why not another?  On an issue-to-issue basis, Saga isn't always amazing (I almost went with "stellar" instead of "amazing" but couldn't let myself do that).  However, each arc starts slow and builds to something phenomenal and/or crushing and great moments along the way.  More Than Meets The Eye was a lot like that, and I'm guessing Lost Light is continuing that considering it's the same creative team and all.  Good stuff happens here, but it's building toward something much greater.

The Wicked + The Divine - There's a new terrible thing and still no one can get along.  I'm less interested in the new bad that's coming for the cast and more interested in the varied and always entertaining way the cast interact with one another.  There's going to be a lot of fallout from decisions made here.  It's gonna be great.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Last Week's Comics Today - 02/20/2017

I normally start placing these into categories as I write them knowing some will move later as the scale their judged against changes.  This week I find seven books in Honorable Mention (with more good ones in Everything Else that missed the mark by a hair).  The thought of picking a single title above the others is more daunting than I care to engage in.  So it's a 7-way tie!

Pick of the Week
Not for a lack of good books, I just couldn't pick this week.

Honorable Mention
Ether #4 - Another amazing issue full of childhood fantasy and heartbreak.  I need to buy a hardcover of the eventual collection because it's absolutely shelf-worthy and I need to be able to lend it to people at a moment's notice.  Just shove it in their hands and tell them to start reading.

God Country #2 - Another comic this week where the fighting is done with words and a brilliant last page.  I recommend jumping on board now because this is a title you're going to continue hearing about.

Invincible #133 - It's great seeing Ottley back on art; it feels like he's been gone a long time.  The issue itself was an emotional rollercoaster with multiple characters using violence to process their emotions.  Terra and Mark's parents provided the levity while a quiet moment between Mark and Eve filled me with dread.  Well done, gentlemen.

Justice League #15 - This is what I've been waiting for.  Big, mad ideas coupled with great art and loads of action.

Mighty Thor #16 - I've given this title some smack in recent months, comparing it unfavorably to Unworthy Thor.  This issue, however, kicked serious ass.  Sif vs Cul, Thor vs Shi'ar gods, Volstagg vs the Congress of Worlds, and spaceships vs arrows not only advanced multiple plotlines, but did so with clever dialogue and massive-scale action.  I didn't care about the Shi'ar War before this issue; now I need more.

Sex Criminals #16 - Long before Kill or Be Killed was stealing thoughts out of my head, there was Sex Criminals.  It chronicled all the weird, wonderful, awkward personal and relationship stuff, and it's back.  There's an extremely informative recap up front since it's been quite a while since the last issue came out.  Note: these guys haven't lost a step.

Super Sons #1 - How about that last page?!  Next issue is going to be fantastic.  right after I finished reading this I texted a friend, "Your next must-read Rebirth title is Super Sons.  Jon + Damian is amazing, hilarious, and completely ridiculous."  I want only Tomasi and Gleason to write these characters.  The art is a great pairing for these young and energetic characters.  Recommended.

Everything Else
Batwoman Rebirth #1 - If you read previous Batwoman series, there's nothing new here except teaser snippets at the back about upcoming event.  If you haven't, this is a crash course is Batwoman.  I can only hope they're done recapping and the series can actually start when it starts next month.

Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye #5 - I read this days ago but didn't write anything at the time.  These are "reviews" in the loosest sense of the word.  More vague summaries, first impressions, tangential anecdotes, and sometime recommendations.  So I needed to flip back through it again to refresh.  Stopped on Wild Dog's bad trip and again for the "Fuck my life" panel which brought a smile to my face.  Pretty sure I actually laughed out loud the first time I read that, which is pretty incongruous considering the situation they're in.  I still love this book.

Kill Or Be Killed #6 - Dylan is completely fucked and he doesn't have the first clue.  For the first time this series, we get an extended look at what's going on away from Dylan.  Two forces are now gunning for him (perhaps literally) and by the time he's aware, it will likely be too late.  Another great issue from a great series.

Lucifer #15 - I gotta say, again, the new writer is doing well.  Everyone's making or putting plans into action.  Nothing really to say beyond that.  Still enjoying it.  And that's absolutely supposed to be Constantine, down to the carbon-copy origin.

Spread #19 - Not a significant amount happens here but some major information is given and there's a shocking final page I immediately want to know more about.

Superman #17 - A well made done-in-one.  It was great seeing Jon again (I haven't read Super Sons yet) and it's always great seeing him with Kathy.  If this series were a TV show, this issue would be one people remember and talk about years after it went off the air.  A little monster-of-the-week, a lot of weird, and I don't think we really got any satisfactory answers... it was brilliant.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #67 - Poor Slash.  But even more than that, poor Mutanimals.  Eesh.  My nephew is talking about getting his first apartment with some friends and my response was, "That's something everyone should experience at least once."  The Turtles are going through it now with Splinter not around for the first time in their lives.  It's well written, especially the scene between Leo and Splinter.  And Santolouco is back on art, which always makes me happen.

Trinity #6 - This didn't really stick the landing.  Great opening issues, but last issue with Mongul in a dream with Poison Ivy's daughter... it didn't really work.  That all wraps up here with a hasty memory erasure since she absolutely would have had follow-up questions and that's clearly not in the cards.  Anyway, I'm looking forward to the next arc and Manapul coming back on after that.  I still like his work, just hope the ending works better next time.

Unfollow #16 - This week's trend of final page stunners continues!  Early on in this series I said I could see it running for 60 issues like previous Vertigo greats.  Alas, that isn't going to happen as the book closes out two issue from now.  But it absolutely could have.  There's a lot of unmined material here, though the sudden speeding up of events hasn't made it any less great.  The counter on the front of #17 will be much lower than this issue's.

Wild Storm #1 - It's okay.  A decent, albeit subtle start.  It's interesting to contract this with Justice League from Hitch also out today.  I'll stick around to see where it's going, mostly to see more characters and actually see where this whole thing is going.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Last Week's Comics Today - 02/13/2017

The shop didn't have any Wicked + Divine, so that'll be in next week's write-ups.

Pick of the Week

Unworthy Thor #4 - This is better than the Jane Foster led Thor title.  Where that book has a lot of storylines to juggle, this benefits from laser-focus on Odinson getting a hammer.  Everyone standing in his way of that goal is screwed.  The writing is some of Aaron's best with art from multiple artists covering different time periods, not unlike recent issues of Moon Knight.

Honorable Mention
Green Valley #5 - It's knight vs dinosaurs.  Either that sentence interests you or it doesn't.  The writing is good, the art fantastic.  There's a moment in this issue in which a log full of dinosaurs gets kicked down a hill and it's utter brilliance.  It's tense, I care about these characters, and I'd love to see the bad guy get a sword through his guts.

Moonshine #5 - Lou's activities catch up to him in a far more tangible way than previous issues where he merely woke up hungover.  Less happens here than usual, but what does happen will have significant ramifications.  This was very much a stage setting issue with seemingly next issue kicking off fireworks on multiple fronts.  This remains one of my favorite books each month.

Everything Else
All Star Batman #7 - This is only loosely related to the previous issue.  Instead of Mr. Freeze, this issue has Poison Ivy.  Instead of Jock, this is drawn by Tula Lotay.  It's okay.  The art isn't Tula's best and the writing is dense with Snyder's research notes.  He tends to over-write but there's usually enough good to off-set the bad.  That's not the case here.  It hasn't been the case this entire series.  I guess I'm just holding out for Murphy's arc at this point.

Birthright #22 - With the introduction of Lore's daughter, this book is even more about family than ever before.  There's a tiny amount of forward movement on multiple storyline fronts, and while that tends to be the case in each issue, it seems to be even less movement than usual.  Still, Lore's daughter is one hell of a wildcard and it's hard to stop thinking about how she'll throw a wench into things.  The series remains good but likely reads better in trades.

Black Widow #11 - Black Widow chases girls through a secret facility while SHIELD once again proves just how inept they are at their jobs.  The art is great and the writing is... Look, clearly Brubaker can write.  There's nothing wrong with the writing, it's the world Natasha inhabits I don't care about.  The fact that SHIELD exists at all in movie or comic form after their constant and continual failures is mind-boggling.  This is supposed to be concluded next issue.  If it gets rebooted again, I'm out.  I'd rather this team were doing an Image book.

Gotham Academy Second Semester #6 - Mysteries deepen (literally in one instance) as a new (super?) villain (?) arrives.  The gang remains split looking for Colton, looking for Pom, and Pom pursuing her own agenda.  There's no end in sight for any of these threads, though things have to end soon with as much escalation happens here.  Second Semester has been darker than the first series but remains a fun read with these characters seeming more real than most at either of the Big Two and making the DC Universe seem more real as a result.

Justice League Of America Rebirth #1 - Pretty standard setup issue as everyone on the team gets introduced.  The way team books generally work is someone will join, leave, or betray the team by the end of the first arc, so let's see if that holds true here.  If you didn't read Justice League vs Suicide Squad, everything you need to know is covered here.  I'm interested enough to grab another issue and see what the real start of the series is like.  The best part here is the one page tease at the end of things to come.

Transformers Till All Are One #7 - I don't know if I'm supposed to be familiar with the final page reveal is supposed to mean something to me, but it doesn't, so I'm just confused.  The rest of the issue is infiltration vs defense of what are supposed to be allies.  It's alright, but the journey really wasn't worth it.  Starscream and Bumblebee remain a favorite pairing of mine.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Last Week's Comics Today - 02/07/2016

Well this is awkward.  Some good books this week, but top honors goes to an ad?!

Pick of the Week
[this space intentionally left blank]

Honorable Mention
The Wild Storm - This is not a comic (yet), but an extended ad that ran in the back of DC's books.  And one I liked enough to comment on.  I was a fan of WildStorm in the beginning and everything Ellis speaks of here - secret organizations, space programs, human experiments - continue to interest me while hitting all the right nostalgia notes.  Additionally, I'm a fan of probably half of Ellis' output, so this is right up my alley.  I'm really looking forward to this line and whatever he's got cooking.

Everything Else
DC Comics Bombshells #22 - There's a panel early on with Selina, Kate, Renee, and Vixen glowering at Hawkgirl and I think they might be as irritated with her as I was with her seven straight panels of soapboxing.  I'm kinda glad she gets shot outta that sky immediately after.  I made it a few more pages but can't finish this.  The heroes get captured and then it's Cheetah turn to parrot the writer's research.  I'm dropping this.  It's nowhere near as good as it used to be and hasn't been for a while.

Invincible #132 - I read this sitting across from my wife and made several exclamations while reading the events within.  My immediately Facebook post upon completion was "Fucking hell, Kirkman" and in the resulting comments discussed how Ottley would have drawn it both better and more gruesome.  For that, I am both thankful and sad.  Next issue starts the march toward the finale, so there's still roughly a year to get aboard this train before the ride is over.

Justice League #14 - The bulk of this issue takes place in a hole.  Various members of the league discuss things they should have gone over years ago immediately following their founding, and Superman throws Batman under a figurative bus as he deflects like a motherfucker.  Whatever else is in this category, just know that Justice League #14 is the worst of the bunch (Late note: not worse than Bombshells).

Moon Knight #11 - This title continues to be a fantastic read told with incredible art and a story that's difficult to succinctly summarize.  Marc Spector (or is it Jake?  Or Steven?) continues to grapple with his own mental state and the possible machinations of gods.  It is, as always, highly recommended.

Paper Girls #11 - I don't have much to say about the events of this issue, but that last page is a real nice kicker.  I'm glad this is back.  It's good, in case you were wondering.

Planetoid Praxus #1 - It's really nice to revisit Ken Garing's Planetoid.  Note: You don't have to read the first series to understand anything that's happening here.  There's enough of a recap to get you up to speed with the major players and idiosyncrasies of the place.  That said, it's a good read.  I don't know the sales figures of the original series, but can't imagine they were good.  So I'm extremely glad Praxus exists and hope more people check it out.

The Spirit: Corpse Makers #1 - I love Francavilla.  Between his work on Batman, Archie, and Black Beetle, I'll be interested in anything his guy does for life.  Him on The Spirit makes perfect sense.  Unfortunately, this isn't as good as Black Beetle.  I mean, obviously, this isn't complete so there's that, but a couple storylines are started and by the end a few are starting to converge.  Of note, there's a couple pieces of dialogue that threw me.  Contractions that were separate words, slang that's jarring.  Not enough to ruin the book, but it does lose some luster as a result.

Superman #16 - Multiplicity was over faster than I expected.  I just assumed it would be four.  That's what I get for not paying attention.  The Justice Incarnate bits were amazing, the antagonist alluded to things there were more interesting than he was, and everything was resolved with punching and laser eyes.  Kind of a mixed bag, but I'll chalk it up as a Win.  Hopefully we get back to the heart of the book - Clark, Lois and Jon next.

Transformers Lost Light #2 - Next issue promises we'll learn about rung's alt-mode and I have more to say about that than the events of this series.  Because what happens here relates to something this (roughly) same cast did in another series years ago.  Rung, I have long suspected, is a crucial piece of something larger - like a combiner, only not.  I used to think he was a trigger, but a lever works too, or even - gasp - a rung!  I don't know how that last one works out either.  I guess we'll find out!

Walking Dead #163 - This is the first issue I've read since #100.  Not that I found anything specific in #100 to turn me off the series, just the general sense that bad things would continue to happen to everyone and I didn't need that negativity in my life.  It's a good series, but can be pretty heavy.  I grabbed this because it was $0.25 and to see whether I should get back into it. What I found was that this issue is the start of a fairly significant event, and I no longer care about any of these characters.  Thanks, but I'll just stick with Invincible.