Trade Reviews

For Christmas, my wonderful wife got me the best present ever, namely, a gift certificate to my favorite store on the planet, The Comic Book Shop in Spokane. I usually take these opportunities to buy as many trades as I can. This time, it was four, but in the last two months I also bought two more, and now I present to you my trade reviews!

Daredevil: Cruel and Unusual: After Bendis left the book, I gave Brubaker’s first volume a try and liked it. So here is Brubaker’s second collected volume and it was a nice epilogue to the entire Bendis run. Brubaker brings Matt Murdock out of his pit of despair a little bit by giving him an innocent client that Matt helps free.  Life still generally sucks for Matt (he is Marvel’s second favorite whipping boy), but this volume ends with him smiling. I think I’ll call that an end to my relationship with Daredevil for a while.

Ex Machina: Dirty Tricks: This book consistently kicks ass. Brian K. Vaughan is one of my very favorite writers. He had a brilliant hit in Y: The Last Man, and with Ex Machina, he’s keeping me well entertained. Most of this collection has to do with a thrill-seeking political activist who has a thing for the Great Machine and is very disappointed in his alter ego, Mayor Hundred. Also going on is the beginning of the end, or at least it certainly seems that way. Since this series will end at #50, this sense of impending doom makes sense. Out of all the trades I collect, this one is always at the top of my read pile.

House of Mystery: Room and Boredom: I liked this introductory volume, but didn’t love it. I’m intrigued as to why Cain’s house abandoned him and the Dreaming (not sure about that last part) and now allows all these various people and creatures to inhabit it now. The main group of characters are interesting enough, especially the (what I call the) bridge character, Bethany. I’ll get volume two and then see.

JSA: Thy Kingdom Come, Part Two: The storyline featuring the Superman of the Kingdom Come universe continues. Much of the story is spent with the heroes interacting with Gog, who claims to be a benevolent god (how does that always work out in comics?). This is what I don’t like about continuity in comics. A so-called god shows up, performing miracles, and, besides a brief appearance by the JLA, this event seemingly has no effect on the DCU at large. Also, more specifically, the JSAers spend way too much time talking about what to do and following this creature around. But the next to last “chapter” had Power Girl transported to an Earth-2, pre-Crisis like world, and I loved it. I have always loved the Earth-2 characters, so this foray into that world (though not everything is as it seems–poor Power Girl), however brief, was delightful. Can’t wait for Part Three to come out.

Simon Dark: Ashes: Like Daredevil, I am happy to leave my Simon Dark reading with this volume. It’s not quite good enough for me to pursue getting the entire series. I certainly enjoyed the art of this series; it was very appropriate for the character and setting.

The Walking Dead: What We Become: There isn’t a whole lot plot-wise going on in this book, but my god, what characterization. I can’t wait to see how this book is translated on the small screen, and can’t see how it won’t suck. They (meaning the tv producers and network execs) will feel they will have to tone down the premise because most people won’t want to watch the slow destruction of humanity week after week, and, you know, the flesh-eating zombies. This is by far Robert Kirkman’s best work, and I always look forward to reading these collections. I am a little worried since Matt at the Shop said the quality of more recent issues has gone down, but I haven’t reached that point yet, thank goodness.

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