Monday, March 27, 2017

Last Week's Comics Today - 03/27/2017

I find it amusing that I have to least to say about my Pick of the Week and more words than usual about all the other books this week.

Pick of the Week
Black Road #8 - This went about as I'd expected, and it was still brilliant to watch/read.  Magnus the Black brings a smile to my face.

Honorable Mention
Black Hammer #7 - The life and times of Black Hammer!  Further down the page I call out a book for not giving me a sufficient recap to remind me what was going on.  I read this book immediately after that one, so the crit is still fresh in my mind.  With just a couple references to what happened at the end of issue 6, I was back up to speed.  And this had a longer period between issues.  Anyway.  Some of the murky chronology of both worlds is cleared up here as well as getting a detailed look into Black Hammer's life (and death).  Also, there are New Gods/Norse Gods/Inhumans stand-ins created here that filled me with joy.  It remains one of the best superhero books going, but since it's from Lemire, that really shouldn't be a surprise.  The first collection is out soon.  I recommend getting it.

Deadly Class v5 - Multiple "oh shit!" moments throughout this as a new freshman class comes to school and the returning sophomores try to figure out where everyone stands after the last arc's finals.  Betrayal comes early and often, there are some incredible fights, a D&D game, and a three-page description of a fart.  There's a reason this is one of my favorite books - it's amazing.

Descender #20 - There's an ad at the back of the book for a five-part Descender event called Rise of the Robots.  I am, perhaps, more excited for this than I should be.  This is a great title, and this is a great issue in particular with some nice surprises, a wonderful cliffhanger, and a suspense-filled setup for next issue with a fleet arriving at the Machine Moon.  The digital collections regularly go on sale at and Comixology.  I recommend grabbing them if you haven't tried the series yet.

Ghostbusters 101 #1 - Some of the panels in mine are blurry.  Never the whole page, just certain panels.  Like something was screwed up before printing.  Didn't hurt the reading experience too much, but it is unfortunate and worth mentioning.  That said, I love the IDW Ghostbusters.  When the ongoing series ended, I was bummed.  But since then we've gotten a steady stream (heh) of mini series and I'm thankful for every one.  The hook here is the two movie universes crossing over.  It's not yet clear what they'll be teaming up to capture, but I'm certain that will happen.  The B plot is pretty interesting - faced with what could be a crippling fine, Pete comes up with a new money-making plan.  Burnham and Schoening were always great at capturing the essence of the characters and putting it on the page.  It's still true for the cast of the new movie as well.

Peter Panzerfaust v5 - This was a long time coming.  I loved the concept of Peter Pan in World War II from the beginning and have thought of it often since it started back in 2012.  There was a stretch where I feared we'd never get a conclusion, but now I hold it in my hands.  The end was not what I expected and the character of John is not who I expected, yet I'm deeply satisfied by both.  Jenkins' art has always been very stylized and loose and it's evolved the the hiatus.  That's not a knock against the book, though I do think the coloring on earlier issues was better than some of the issues collected here.  But that doesn't put a damper on my enjoyment, especially seeing the big Peter/Hook battle.

Spread #20 - I'm not going to count the words, but the amount No speaks this issue might top the previous 19 issues combined.  It's a little weird seeing him as something other than a Logan-esque killing machine with occasional bouts on non-killing, but at the same time, it's nice.  While we don't learn a ton about No, what we do learn here is significant.  We also learn about Hope and that final page from last issue.  It's quite a bit, and lest you think it's an issue full of exposition, Jack gets in trouble and fills this issue's murdering requirement.

Everything Else
Birthright #23 - While torturing Mikey for information, Mastema learns some troubling new information.  She "asks" a follow-up question, but we don't get an answer.  I believe the answer to that question is going to be 'yes' and that can mean nothing good.  The whole issue reads like the second-to-last in a story arc, except that the actual end is issue 25, so expect the crazy and drama to be ramped up even higher next issue. 

The Few #3 - This addresses the problem areas of previous issues.  Out of their travelling gear, the characters are easy to distinguish from one another.  Also, given context, Hale's actions and hallucinations make far more sense.  It's still good and I still like it, but with the series now half over, I don't know if it's better to grab the three issues that are out or wait for trade.  If you can find it, and you're interested, you might as well grab the first issue and see if it tickles your fancy.

Reborn #5 - Featuring Bonnie's husband!  And he's not a piece of shit like I expected!  Spoiler?  But all that foreshadowing from earlier in the series has to be leading to some kinda pay-off and this issue had shifty eyes and mentions of Bonnie's mother, so... The reveal at the end of this wasn't a big twist -- there's still one coming.  But hey, I've gotten this far and haven't mentioned Capullo's fantastic art.  I never read his Spawn run, so reading this series actually reminds me most of the Angela mini-series from way back  (which I think I've mentioned before, but it's true every issue).  I enjoyed Batman, but seeing him cut loose on this series is a real joy.

The Spirit: Corpsemaker #2 - This is better than the first issue... but I've also forgotten about what the characters are only vaguely referring to here.  If the first issue gets its basic grammar corrected, this could be a good trade, but The Black Beetle remains superior.  I'll finish the series, but if you haven't tried The Black Beetle, get that instead.

Teen Titans #6 - This issue is better than the entire first arc.  Team established, it's time to get on with adventuring.  And now with Aqualad!  Well, featuring Aqualad, as he hasn't joined the team or even met the team yet.  Yet.  Garth + Damian banter isn't quite as good as Jon + Damian, but it's up there.

TMNT #68 - After the brutal trouncing the Mutanimals took last issue, Hob goes looking for help.  Meanwhile, the Mutanimals themselves aren't exactly helpless without him.  Pete, remains forever, comic relief.  Leo's struggle with leadership seems forced, though.  The turtles' interpersonal conflicts at home are one thing, but he shouldn't be having issues in the field.  Especially given that he just faced nearly the same situation in Universe a few issues ago.  Mateus' art is a highlight, as always.

Unworthy Thor #5 - Not the ending I was expecting.  Which could be considered a spoiler.  It makes an okay end to the mini-series, but what I'm sure will be a far more satisfying eventuality for Odinson.  Since I didn't read Original Sin, I don't know the context in which Fury whispered what he did to Thor, but learning what he said makes him look like an asshole.  The final page is a bit frustrating since we just had one of these mysteries.  Hopefully this one isn't dragged out for eight issues like the last one.  Despite these complaints, the issue was awesome.  Much ass was kicked and characters got what was coming to them.  Though I'm still not sure why Thanos got roped into this.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Last Week's Comics Today - 03/21/2017

I wish the good comics were a bit more spread out each month.  I didn't have much to read last week (re: two weeks ago), and then this week's overflowing with 'em.  I can't complain too much, though, since I was able to catch up on some trades.

Pick of the Week
Super Sons #2 - This book is amazing.  Tons of action, comedy, a little horror, a flabbergasted Lex, and some brief looks into the hearts of our main characters.  The book even addresses Superboy's absence from the Teen Titans comic.  Fantastic reading.

Honorable Mention
Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye #6 - Wild Dog gets all the best lines.  Also, ouch!  The crew take drugs before fighting a giant subterranean slug god and it's all rendered by Oeming.  If that doesn't spark your interest, I can't imagine what will.

Ether #5 - I'm always glad when I get to the end of a mini-series I like, like this one, when it says, "End volume 1."  It gives me hope for the series to continue.  And I really hope this does.  Each issue injects heartbreaking emotion into just a few pages or panels between all the wild adventure.  It works incredibly well.  I've already pre-ordered the collection and recommend you do the same.

Kill Or Be Killed #7 - This is a Kira special.  If you're anything like me, then the shotgun and hair color change on the cover threw you as much as it did me.  She's Dylan's ex-girlfriend.  Dylan's our main character, if you really haven't been paying attention.  I found it very interesting.  I really wasn't sure how involved she'd be in the series given how their relationship had ended, but this seems to indicate she'll be around for a while.  The usual inner-monologue narration I love is still present.

Daytripper - Amazon tells me I bought this in August of 2010.  That's entirely my fault for not reading it until now.  I'd like to say as little as possible about this so readers can experience it fresh, like I did, so I won't say too much expect that it's fantastic.  Like I did with Edena a few weeks back, here's a carefully edited Amazon description:

DAYTRIPPER follows the life of one man, Bras de Olivias Dominguez. Every chapter features an important period in Bras’ life in exotic Brazil.  In every chapter, the story follows him through his entire existence – one filled with possibilities of happiness and sorrow, good and bad, love and loneliness. Each issue rediscovers the many varieties of daily life, in a story about living life to its fullest – because any of us can die at any moment.

Excuse me while I go order Two Brothers, which has similarly been sitting on my wish list for too long and is also created by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon.  At the very least, I hope you're familiar with them and their work.

Everything Else
All Star Batman #8 - Anyone thinking Mad Hatter isn't a major league Batman villain should read this book to learn just how close he came to convincing Batman he's insane.  Really impressive writing to accomplish that with art that varied in style based on Bruce's mental state.  I repeat: really impressive.

Batwoman #1 - Has Julia been in Detective?  Last I saw she was working for the cops at the end of Snyder's Batman run.  Working with Kate seems more her speed, though the relationship isn't fully defined as even Kate questions it at one point.  This is the Batwoman comic I've been wanting since Blackman and Williams walked off during New52.  It's getting added to my pull.

Casanova Acedia #8 - As you'll see further down the list, it's been a week for focusing on female side-characters.  In this case, it's a certain young girl with a perchant for violence and a father that's extremely thorough.  Any week with new Casanova is an automatic win for me.  Ba's art is spectacular as always, but Moon's colors really make everything pop.

God Country #3 - This family can't seem to catch a break.  Or maybe any break they do catch is short lived.  Roy has a conversation with his wife while their daughter and his father play outside.  Er, sorry, they weren't playing because Valofex is not a toy.  And then all hell breaks loose.  Perhaps literally!  It seems some of the best series are actually mini series that end three months from now.  This included.  I kinda miss it already.

Invincible #134 - Surprisingly, this wasn't instantaneous murder-death-kill, but a gathering of forces as Mark tries to get Nolan to join in the fight against Thragg and Allen makes a confession to Mark.  It's good, though I'm still filled with a creeping dread for what's inevitably to come.

Justice League #17 - Basically an entire issue of talking as babyface-Brainiac Timeless makes their (?) big move and the League get into position to blow things up on a massive scale.  Still, it's entertaining talk and contrary to my previous belief, Hitch does seem to be paying attention to what other creators are doing.  Heck of a final page, too.

Lucifer #16 - There are quite a few plans in motion by a number of different characters here.  This checks in with most of them, albeit briefly.  My only wish would be for a tiny bit more character re-establishment upon scene changes, especially when it's been a few issues since we last saw someone.  The series has a large cast and it's a lot to mentally juggle.

Mighty Thor #17 - Thor vs the Shi'ar gods continues.  Also, we learn what set the Shi'ar gods off in the first place and there are more boats vs spaceships.  It's a whole lot of fun, even if the Shi'ar seem to be singing from Earth's bible.

Sex Criminals #17 - Similar to Kill or Be Killed, this is a special issue focused on Kegelface Mrytle Spurge.  Well, half-focused, as she tracks down a sex criminal, the other half focusing on the creation of the aforementioned sex criminal.  It's... very interesting.  Still funny, but not as funny as usual.  Still honest, but with a clear narrative the team wanted to tell, there wasn't as much room for the series' usual dialogue.

Superman #19 - I did skip Part 2 of Superman Reborn that was in Action Comics.  Thanks to news sites, I read a preview of the issue, confirmed Jurgens is still a terrible writer, and learned who fake - Clark had been.  So it feels like I didn't miss anything at all.  This issue is all kinds of weirdness and allusions to bigger things.  It's not great on it's own (though the Jon bits are good) though makes for a very interesting read on whatever DC are doing to Superman 'n' family as a whole.  Hoping for answers and a satisfying ending to this story.

Trinity #7 - This is the first of Cullen Bunn's two issues, though given how well he writes Ra's, Lex, and Circe, I'd be okay with him taking over if Manapul ever leaves.  There's a lot of posturing and insults as these three come together for reasons unknown.  I'm interested to see where this leads.

Wild Storm #2 - Things are heating up, as next issue should see multiple conflicting agendas converge.  This issue was all prep and name-dropping, but good nonetheless.  Of all the re-designed characters, it's Marlowe I can't get used to.  I think the head's too small.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Last Week's Comics Today - 03/13/2017

There were a few new #1s this week, but they weren't quite as good as those from recent weeks and I'm leaning toward not adding any of them to my pull.  In any other month, they might have made the cut.

Pick of the Week
Lady Killer 2 #4 - Gorgeous art, great writing... honestly, I can't understand why more people aren't reading this.  I've said it before and will repeat it again here - I hope Lady Killer continues as a series of mini-series since I'd love to get more and this arc is nearly over.

Gotham Academy #7 - I enjoy a good mind-fuck, and this has a great one, going back to the very beginning of Second Semester.  Olive's in trouble, Colton's expulsion remains stalled for another issue, and Pomeline finds a disappointing (to me) secret.  I expect quite a lot to happen next issue.

Honorable Mention
Edena - This would have been my Pick of 2016, if I'd actually read the collection when Dark Horse published it last fall.  I had no idea how to describe the series other than using words like "mind-blowing" and "beautiful" which don't really do it justice.  So I wandered over to Wikepedia to see how they did it.  (I don't recommend doing this yourself since it gives a high-level overview of the early chapters and I think readers should go into this with as little preexisting knowledge as possible).  A spoiler-free sample describes it thusly:

Questions are posed about dreams, nutrition and health, biology and sexuality, the human desire to live in a structured society, and archetypal good and evil. All of these philosophical elements are organically embedded in deceptively 'light' stories.

It's ultimately about humanity, which seems vague and unhelpful now that I've written it out, but it really is about all those things in the quote while actually being about two people struggling their way through a wild series of adventures and unexpected turns.  The ride is just as wild for the reader, the story escalating ever more until it ultimately, couldn't support itself any longer.  The end caught me by surprise.  Within a few pages I was disappointed, confused, and finally overjoyed.  Yes, it ends well, even though I just said the story collapses in on itself at the end.  Just read it, you'll see.

Regarding the art, "Moebius restricted himself to a 'Clear Line' style (Ligne Claire), with minimal details." ... which, sure, is true, but strips the description of life.  Basically, you could take any page out of this book, frame it, and stick it on a wall.  It's gorgeous and I found my eye lingering on the art more than once.  

Highest possible recommendation.

Everything Else
Grass Kings #1 - Recommended for fans of Briggs Land.  There's something weird going on in an otherwise sleepy town.  Sleepy-ish.  Sleepy as long as they're left alone.  It's interesting but it's also entirely introduction.  There's simply not enough meat here to sink my teeth into it.  It might make a good collection, though.

Green Valley #6 - I don't believe I've spoiled this series up to this point - and I'd like it to say that way - which makes talking about anything from this issue rather difficult.  I guess I can say the cast confront the wizard again and things go even less well now than the last time.  If Landis can stick the landing on this, I'll grab the collection for my shelf.

Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys #1 - I nearly forgot about this one.  I was going to publish this piece when I saw Nancy on top of the stack waiting to be filed.  If this comic were a TV show, I'd watch it.  It's very well written, but it should have had a better artist on art.

Planetoid Praxis #2 - ruh-roh.  Another time-jump and lots of new people join this planetoid.  It's good and I'd rather not say anything more than that.

Redline #1 - Minor spoiler here, but the issue ends with the main character getting hit in the head and lying on the ground with a gash in his head.  I recently read a comic where a dog gets shot at the end of one issue and it's revealed he's not dead the next... so this seems survivable, though I'm not assuming anything.  It's a mystery/comedy in a sci-fi setting with military and action elements.  It's entertaining, though not quite enough to get me to add to my pull list.

TMNT Universe #8 - The story of Metal-Don ends here... or at least for now as he's put on the shelf, hopefully to be re-visited again.  I don't really like what was done with him, but to offer my alternative would spoil all the developments.  The series continues to be nice supplemental material that's not as good as the main series.  The back-up would have been a nice article since it's interesting though the art doesn't really add anything to it.

Wicked & Divine #27 - The problem with double-page grid layouts is I always question whether I should be reading left-to-right across both pages or just the one and then move to the next row.  Sometimes glancing at the panels is enough to determine which way to read, other times it's an awkward jump in conversation that tells me I'm reading it wrong.  This issue has both, and only the background color swaths helped me figure out which was right for the given situation.  Gods here are more wicked than divine as various things are set in motion.  It's entertaining, despite the confusion.

Logan - In short, I liked it.  The violence seemed fitting, never gratuitous.  The swearing, however, did tend to venture into gratuitous territory.  It's like once deciding the movie would get an "R" rating, the writer changed every expletive to "fuck."  I tend to favor more variety in my swears.

There's still the usual problem with the bad guy's plan not really making any sense, but I found that fairly easy to overlook until Dr. Rice showed up.  Pierce made sense.  His motivation and intent were simple.  Then there's the suspension of disbelief-breaking cell phone video that'd clearly received some post-production editing and things take a turn until the on-creeen performances of Jackman, Keen, Stewart, Holbrook, Merchant,  and a surprise appearance by Eriq La Salle captivate the audience enough to forget the details.

I'd been thinking what made the movie work so well was how it focused on people, not powers, then my wife said nearly the same thing over the weekend.  So many X-Men movies have tried to show off everyone's abilities they forget to tell a decent story.  Whenever I talk about Apocalypse, I say, "It's a great Magneto movie."  Other than a nice bit about Mystique stepping up, the heart of that movie is Magneto and Quicksilver.  Everything else is forgettable.  This should be the take-away for Hollywood, but I fear they'll see an "R" rated movie make a bunch of movie and draw the wrong conclusions.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Last Week's Comics Today - 03/05/2017

It's a great week for indies as I've already added three #1s from the week to my pull list.  I mentioned in one of my posts last week that Edena is the best thing I'm reading, but I can't write about it until I'm done.  That continues to hold true.  It's glorious.

Pick of the Week
Extremity #1 - I suspect this book is going to put Daniel Warren Johnson on the map.  I thought the art looked familiar but I couldn't place it until I looked him up - he did Ghost Fleet.  Which basically no one read.  I thought it had hints of James Harren from some of the action here.  Anyway, the book is really good.  It's about revenge, and fear, and grief, and living up to expectations and there's flying bikes, and floating islands, and a robot hand, and a weird tooth mask, and a bird eating out of some dude's empty eye socket.  I'd say, "Recommended for people that like 'Title X'." except I'd have to list dozens of things to properly cast a net wide enough.  Instead, just pay your $3.99 and buy a copy yourself.

Honorable Mention
Paper Girls #12 - Congratulations!  ~ sad trombone ~    That won't make any sense unless you've read the issue.  This book continues to put a smile on my face every issue.  I love the art, love the writing.

Royal City #1 - The conundrum is where to put this.  I'm confused by what I just read, which means it doesn't earn the top spot this week... but I kinda like the confusion.  And at the same time, it's my fault..?  Maybe I should actually blame Lemire, but I'm sure I'm at least partially to blame since I thought the old guy at the beginning was the same as the guy in the car when I turned the page.  I thought the whole thing was an extended flashback.  So that's part of it and the other part is Tommy.  That's the confusion I like.  Recommended for fans of Underwater Welder.

Savage Things #1 - Note: The interior art is better than the cover.  Maybe it's just me, but I got a bit of a Ales Kot's Zero vibe - the early issues, before everything went off the rails.  I do wonder if at any point during the secret governmental meeting that decided to take child sociopaths and turn them into super-agents, if anyone raised their hand and asked, "But what if it all goes horribly wrong?"  Maybe this is their contingency.  Only way to know for sure is to keep reading.

Everything Else
Justice League #16 - The brakes get pumped from the fast-paced insanity of last issue for a lot of explanations and vague hints at things still to come.  It works better than the prior sentence makes it sound.  Just three things: 1) Hitch references another DC book! (does it still count if it was his own previous series?) 2) Every time a character mentions a "storm" - in this case referring to the time-attack that's going on - I think, "A Wild Storm??"  (probly not) 3) The Timeless should have been designed to look a little different than baby-faced Brainiacs.

Moon Knight #12 - Much like the new Legion show on FX, I'm constantly wondering how much of this is happening in reality vs only in the lead's head.  Here, Marc teams up with Moon Knight, as well as his other personalities to free a goddess.  Also, there's a B plot that involves an old villain that I'm completely unfamiliar with because I've only read the recent Moon Knight.  I suspect Lemire has an end in mind for the series as it seems to have been leading to a single confrontation since the beginning.  I'll be sticking around to see it.

Superman #18 - This is one long inciting incident.  Despite all my trash-talk toward Jurgens and vow not to read Action Comics for this crossover... I'm kinda curious.  Maybe because not enough happened here to satisfy, or maybe because things were left so open I'd like to know what's actually going on.