March 2023 Reading Log

Here some quick thoughts/reactions to the comic books I read during March, 2023 (count: 67). What did you think of these issues?

Deadly Class v6 (27-31): Given that the final volume of this series came out not too long ago and that my friend Travis was telling me that it lost none of its charm, I decided to buy all the remaining volumes and decided I needed to get back to this. I love how much energy there is to this series. Not only is there a lot of plot going on, but it seems like every volume I get more and more backstory to the characters that make them more fully realized. And then there’s the tension of who will die (and who deserves to —  I can’t wait to read the next volume based on the ending). The Craig/Boyd art is frenetic but it’s Boyd’s color choices that make this book sing.

Money Shot v3 (11-15): The first volume of this series was a favorite of mine a few years ago. It was fun and funny and had heart. This volume, my last despite there’s a forthcoming new series, suffered from the sophomore slump (I know it’s third volume, so “sophomore” doesn’t technically apply, but “junior” slump doesn’t have the same alliteration…). Even though there were some changes with the lead characters’ relationships, the overall story just seemed to be coasting a bit on its premise (sex with aliens, hijinks ensue).

Human Target 12: This is how you end a murder mystery/superhero noir! Like most of King’s stories, this is a downer — you keep hoping Chance will figure out a way to cheat death (and he sort of does?) but alas…. The Smallwood artwork has been profound this entire run (I really hope this doesn’t pigeonhole him like New Frontier did with Darwyn Cooke), though I admit to having to read a pivotal scene a few times to understand what it was that I was seeing. I am definitely buying the hard cover collection (I bet DC issues a deluxe edition).

Batman/Superman: World’s Finest 12: I think it was from issue 1 when they teased the Supergirl/Robin date and I said then I hoped they’d reveal this horrible get-together. Well, they finally did it, and while it wasn’t quite what I imagined, it was better than I thought. The date was horrible and full of cringy moments, but you couldn’t help but feel for both of them (or, in my case, especially Robin because he was clearly outclassed). I especially enjoyed Batman and Superman listening to their partners and offering advice. And it was nice to see Robin do incredible feats that even Supergirl appreciated.

Nightwing 101: I have constantly been overcome with emotion reading the Redondo/Taylor run, and this issue was no exception. From Batman and the Justice League asking Dick to take over the team (because he’s the best goddamned superhero ever!) to Nightwing hugging his dad, this had me in tears a lot. Plus, it’s basically a back-door pilot for the new Titans series that was announced recently (well, this whole run has been a build-up of that). Everything old is new again, except that this continues to feel fresh and exciting, even after 20+ issues.

Ministry of Space 1-3: I’ve been wanting to read this Warren Ellis-written series for years, and when I discovered it on Comixology, I immediately read it. I love alternate histories, and this is one of those, with the premise being that the British were the ones who spirited away with the German rocket scientists instead of the Americans. That allowed Great Britain to win the space race (in the 1950s) and become the premiere world (and intrastellar) power. The Chris Weston and Laura Martin art provide the retro-future look of the series and was a major reason I enjoyed it. However, when I got to the end of the third issue, I was astonished because of the abrupt ending. Since then, however, I have learned that this was a planned ongoing series that just disappeared (and plagued by delays — it took three years for the third issue to be published), so I can forgive the unsatisfactory ending, I suppose.

Defenders Beyond (2-5): It’s 2-5, despite the fact that I read the collection, because I read issue 1 on the Marvel app some months before. While I didn’t enjoy this as much as the first volume — it read more like a prologue for the next thing and followed the basic plot of the first series — I still enjoyed it, especially for the Rodriguez art.

Justice 6: I wrote about this issue here, in my ongoing posts about this series.

Pretty Deadly v2 (6-10): I can’t recall when I read the first volume of this series, so it’s been too long (in fact, I had a similar reaction upon reading this and Montress v2, see below). The art in this volume/series is exquisite, but I can’t say for certain what is going on (my fault for not rereading volume one?). Where Monstress’ art is ornate and fluid, the art in Pretty Deadly is more visceral and symbolic –there are some really great panel transitions in this book.

Danger Street 3: I was pretty disappointed in the first two issues of this series, but things picked up for me this issue. I’m drawn more to Lady Cop’s part of the story, not to mention discovering how Atlas’s death unites Highfather and Darkseid. I can’t fucking stand the Green Team characters (which is the point, I think), and it irritates me that Codename: Assassin is one of their employ.

Saga 62: I have been amazed since day 1 regarding Fiona Staples’ art, and despite 62 issues, I still am — look at the gorgeous but simple cover! I do not like Gwendolyn the character, but damn does Staples make her look sexy as hell! I was pleased to see that Staples/Vaughan didn’t extend the melodrama of Hazel overhearing about that resurrection spell that her Mom refused. The other notable piece of this issue was the ending — god, I hope Special Agent Gale is murdered in the most painful, horrific way possible!

Tim Drake: Robin 6: I only bought this because of the Dan Mora cover that featured Robin and Spoiler. The issue, with art by the expressive Riley Rossmo, was your typical hero (Tim Drake Robin) doubting himself because of villainous machinations, only to realize that he is good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, his boyfriend likes him (with apologies to Stuart Smalley)! In other words, it was an ok issue of Robin with wonderful Rossmo art.

Love Everlasting 5: I had been reading this series for free while Charretier and King were releasing it on their Substack. For some reason, issue 5 hadn’t been released for free, even though later issues were (at least, as far as I could tell). Regardless, I picked up the trade collection so I could read this issue and support the book. I think it’s important to buy non-superhero comics like this, plus, I get to look at beautiful Charretier art. I have to say though, the overall story is starting to bore me. We keep getting drip, drip, drips of information about why Joan is in the predicament she is, but it’s not holding my interest.

Ice Cream Man v4 (13-16): I’ve yet to read a “bad” Ice Cream Man story in four volumes! However, if anything has come close, it’s issue 13 (how appropriate, eh?). It’s a comic book told in palindrome, and while it was a fun exercise, it didn’t have the usual weight of an Ice Cream Man issue and just came across an experiment. If that experiment had some resonance in the story or overall narrative itself, then it would have been worth it. Regardless, I still enjoyed going through the looking glass. Issue 16 dealt with the lengths a father will go through for his child. It was both understandable and horrifying, which is the strength of this series.

Superman 1: After restoring Superman’s secret identity in Action Comics 1050, I was curious how this new series would go, and since it was on the DCU app, I tried it out. I love the scenes where Lex is talking to Superman from his jail cell (because Lex knows Superman can hear him), telling him how to be a better (and, in most cases, more brutal) Superman because a big bad is coming and only Lex can provide the guidance necessary to vanquish the threat. I find this pairing intriguing, if perhaps a bit derivative: see the Rebirth Action Comics issues featuring Lex as “Superman”. Unfortunately, nothing made me excited for the next issue.

Legion of Super-Heroes 41 & Amethyst v2 2: These will be featured in a The Legion Project episode.

Department of Truth v4 (18-22): I keep waiting to stop reading this series, but there’s always something that keeps me going (similar to Something Is Killing the Children). In part, it’s the ideas. For example, because people believe that Fort Knox is the most secure place on the planet, it is, which highlights the power of story. I feel like Tynion is trying to be like Gaiman but he’s not quite there. Given the direction of the plot, I think I might be calling it quits after all with the next volume. We’ll see.

The Demon 1 & OMAC 1: These will be featured in a future podcast episode.

Monstress v2 (7-12): It’s been a looong time since I’ve read volume 1, and my recollection was that I found the story to be somewhat confusing, and some of the art was good. Reading through volume 2, I have an even greater appreciation for the art (it’s intricate and imaginative) and I thought the story was pretty straightforward. Another interesting thing about this story so far is that there are no clear “good guys” or “bad guys” — this world is complex and nuanced. I’m looking forward to reading more of this world, preferably without such a long wait in between volumes.

Pearl v3 (1-6): This is really Michael Gaydos’ spotlight — the art is so gorgeous. It really is worth it to get all three volumes just to see what Gaydos is putting down on the pages. What I would like to see less of is Bendis’ voice — his characters are starting to sound the same to me. There were scenes that, if I closed my eyes, could sounded like they were from New Avengers, for example. Despite how much I love Gaydos’ work here, Pearl’s story has reached a good ending point, so I think I’m done if they were to do more.

Sex v3 (15-20): I need more from this series. The whole plot of the murdered Japanese businessman is BORing, I’m barely enjoying the Keenan part of the story (that fight scene between the gang leader and one of his followers, with both of them naked, was just … weird? I get that it was supposed to be primal, but still.). What I did like, and want more of, is the evolving relationship between Simon and Annabelle. But the most egregious part of this series is that I’m not interested in Simon! When the supporting cast is more interesting than the lead, there’s something wrong.

Superman: Space Age 2: Continuing the reimagining of Superman in “real time” (this issue being set in the 1970s), with Lois breaking the Watergate story and the Justice League’s confrontation with Brainiac. I can’t say that issue 2 has me feeling any different about the series. It’s fun to see the interpretation of the characters and events in the DCU, but it’s really kind of flat to me. I feel like Batman in the scene where Superman tells him, “I saved the Earth from an asteroid.” Ok…? But I did like the building romance between Lois and Clark and how Superman tries to convince Lois that he’s not a danger by showing her how he helps people and tries to give them hope. At least the creative team is presenting that aspect.

Brave and the Bold 1-5: Issue 5 will be spotlighted in a The Legion Project episode, but I reread 1-4 so that I could remember what led to the events of issue 5. I miss team-up books and George Pérez.


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