What I’m looking forward to on New Comics Wednesday!

BATMAN #13: The Joker is back and under Mr. Snyder’s skillful pen.

HALLOWEEN EVE: I love Halloween tie-in comics, and this is one of two that I ordered this year.

PHANTOM STRANGER #1: Ok, “looking forward to” is perhaps pushing it, but I am genuinely interested in 1) seeing where DC takes this character now and 2) if the writing improves over the zero issue.

POINT OF IMPACT #1: When I saw this in Previews, I was immediately drawn to the premise.

TEAM 7 #1: Mostly, I’m getting this to see the history of the DCU unfold, but based on the zero issue, I don’t think I’ll stick with this comic beyond six issues. But that’s part of the fun of comics: trying new things and being delighted at times.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #1: Both from a comic book fan and commentator perspectives, how can I not be looking forward to reading this?

The rest of what I’m getting this week is listed here.

Podcast Episode 26: Avengers Movie Talk

After a couple of unsuccessful attempts to do this particular episode, here finally is the LBR podcast discussion, with a special guest, about The Avengers movie. We still encountered technical issues, however (26 is 13 twice, so double the bad luck?!), so apologies ahead of time for that.

Thanks for listening!

Direct Download (1:37:28)

Pull List Review: Second Half of May Comics

The return of my Pull List Reviews (it’s been a while, I know!)! While I’ve been focused on the podcast, I realized that I missed critiquing all the other comics that I read (or at least some of them). Since I get my comics every two weeks or so, future installments will likely be presented in two-week groups. With that, I give you my thoughts on some comics from the second half of May.

HERO COMICS 2012 by Various

For the second year I bought IDW’s annual Hero Initiative benefit book. I appreciate the eclectic nature of this book, plus you get a few stories that exemplify why everyone involved with this comic works on it, namely to provide assistance to comic book creators who need it. Considering how much we get out of the things that creators do, buying this benefit book is the very least that I feel I can do to give back. Perhaps you should too, or donate to the Hero Initiative directly.

RESIDENT ALIEN #1 by Peter Hogan (w) & Steve Parkhouse (a)

I plan to review this series as a whole on the podcast (preview: I’m enjoying it), but something on page one just irritated me: the editorial note that tells me and you that we need to read issue 0 before reading issue 1. What?! I’ve ranted before about the whole issue zero thing, and this is the worse example of that. If issue 0 is so integral to the overall plot, then why not just call it a number 1 issue instead? Okay, enough ranting. You should pick up this series.

SECRET AVENGERS #27 by Rick Remender (w), Renato Guedes (a), Bettie Breitweiser & Matthew Wilson (c), & Chris Eliopoulos (l)

I got this only because it appeared from the solicited cover that Mar-Vell was back, and since he has always been one of my favorite Marvel characters, I had to find out what was going on. Plus, I figure we might have gotten some prelude to Carol Danvers becoming the new Captain Marvel. Now, I did get Mar-Vell back thanks to the Phoenix force (which is as good an explanation as any), but everyone is acting weird on Hala, which detracted from the return of the character I was hoping for. Also, when did Mar-Vell get to be so powerful? His face is on the receiving end of Thor’s hammer for crying out loud! I didn’t read the previous issue, so is this the residual effect of Mar-Vell’s Phoenix-inspired resurrection? I also didn’t care for the art–there are too many lines on people’s faces, especially the Visions, whose face looks like a wrinkled old man’s and not the smooth-skinned synthezoid I’m familiar with. Great cover by Alan Davis though.

STAR TREK #9 by Mike Johnson (w), Stephen Molnar (a), John Rauch (c), & Neil Uyetake (l), based on the original teleplay by Boris Sobelman

First off, I love Star Trek. It’s one of my favorite television series of all time. Having said that, there are some pretty lame episodes, and “The Return of the Archons” is one of those. The delight of this issue was that, given the framework of the original episode, Misters Johnson and Molnar actually improved upon the original story. While I have been enjoying these reinterpretations of classic Star Trek episodes in general, it was this particular issue that stood out as far as the reimaginings. Plus, are we getting the new Star Trek universe’s Section 13?

STAR TREK: TNG / DOCTOR WHO: ASSIMILATION² #1 by Scott & David Tipton with Tony Lee (w), J.K. Woodward (a), Shawn Lee & Robbie Robbins (l)

Normally, taking two of my favorite television series and teaming them together would have me superexcited, but the last IDW mash-up–Star Trek/Legion of Superheroes–left me cold. So, with a bit lowered expectations, I read this inaugural issue, and I have to say, I really enjoyed this and now I’m excited for the rest of this series. The characterizations of the Doctor Who cast were excellent! I felt as if I were watching Matt Smith, Karen Gillen, and Arthur Darvill do what they do so well, so kudos Misters Tipton and Lee. And then I get to the end of the book where the Doctor and friends step into a San Francisco bar and who’s there but our old friends Commanders Riker, Data, and Crusher in period clothing. I can’t wait to see if the characterizations of the TNG crew hold up as well.

I also read:

  • AQUAMAN #9
  • BATMAN INCORPORATED #1
  • DOMINIQUE LAVEAU: VOODOO CHILD #3
  • FANTASTIC FOUR #606
  • I VAMPIRE #9
  • JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #9
  • SUPERMAN #9
  • TEEN TITANS #9
  • UNWRITTEN #37
  • VOODOO #9
  • ANGEL & FAITH #10
  • ANIMAL MAN ANNUAL #1
  • BATMAN ANNUAL #1
  • BATMAN BEYOND UNLIMITED #4
  • DC COMICS PRESENTS: SUPERMAN/SUPERGIRL
  • FF #18
  • MAGDALENA #12
  • NEW DEADWARDIANS #3
  • POWERS #10
  • RACHEL RISING #8
  • RAVAGERS #1
  • SUPERCROOKS #3
  • SUPERMAN FAMILY ADVENTURES #1
  • YOUNG JUSTICE #16

Most Awesome Weekend Ever!

This last weekend was absolutely tailor-made for me, and I write this after having attended the Emerald City Comicon just over a month ago. Consider:

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Pull List Review: 12/14/11 Comics

Here’s week 2 of my quick and dirty Pull List reviews for December 2011. There were many issues from that week, so let’s get cracking!

Batgirl #4: So, Batgirl outwits and defeats her first new villain of the DCnU. Yeah, yeah. (As you can tell, I wasn’t all that jazzed about Mirror.) What’s interesting about this issue is the Spot the Bat app that Hugo Strange (I presume it’s him–the thug only says Hugo, but who else could it be?) released to help criminals. I really appreciate the writers (or artists–it is a collaborative effort, after all) delving into the technological side of this younger DC Universe. In Batman, we are introduced I think every issue so far to really cool tech, and I’m glad to see that it’s not just the heroes taking advantage. Although, I think I’ve read this before and recently, but regardless, I’d like to see more of this across the line. Finally, I don’t know much about Barbara’s mother pre-DCnU, but here, she’s back in Barbara’s life after having abandoned her some 8-10 (?) years earlier. I smell some mother-daughter angst coming, and Gail Simone is good with that.

Batman & Robin #4: This continues to be one of the most solid Batman books, and that includes both story and art (for the most part). A lot of the DCnU books have introduced new villains and they haven’t been that interesting, but Nobody works because there’s a connection to Bruce’s past, then add in Damian’s angst and anger and you have a hella lot of story potential. Again, though, Alfred steals the show with his soliloquy about Damian realizing how human Bruce really is. Bruce may be Damian’s father by blood, but it is Alfred who continues to be the father figure to the Wayne household. I just hope Pete Tomasi continues to play with that trope.

Batman: Brave & the Bold #14: This issue had Ragman, an all-time favorite of mine, so of course I had to get it. It’s a simple tale about faith restored (in more ways than one) and a hero’s conviction renewed. Nothing ground breaking, but what do you expect from this line? And that’s not a slight–just remember what age group DC’s going for. I usually ignored the Johnny DC line but having bought a few of this title and the Tiny Titans, I may have to go back and get some more issues. For my kids….

Batwoman #4: I go from a comic rated E to a T+ book. I don’t know that I needed that one panel (“HUHlinhAAaaaaaaa…”), but juxtaposed with the one where Flamebird is bleeding out in the snow does give it more weight than mere titillation. Regardless, another good issue from the creators. Poor Flamebird. She doesn’t get any respect no matter what DC universe she’s in. And after reading about Agent Chase in this title, I may have to go pick up that Chase trade that DC recently released.

Buffy, Season 9 #4: I’m getting real tired of Xander’s and Dawn’s disdainful approach towards Buffy. My daughter will not like me saying this–yet again–but we see for perhaps the dozenth time that Spike is the guy Buffy should be with. The only thing about Season so far that I’m not sure I like is the real-world intrusion, a la the police getting involved. Normally, I’d want that kind of realism to intrude every so often in a fantasy story like this, but it just doesn’t feel right (just like it didn’t in early Highlander episodes).

Demon Knights #4: Another solid book, this time focusing on the Shining Knight. How much fun the creative team must be having in confounding the characters and us as to whether the Knight is man or woman. Sometimes, the art clearly shows a male, other times, the features morph slightly and the Knight looks more girlish. Of course, Merlin speaks in the issue of the Shining Knight’s dual nature, but then we see the Knight looking a lot like a vampire (and there is that whole drinking of blood thing earlier), so what exactly is the “dual nature” of which Merlin spoke? Man/woman? Good/evil? Both? (And in no way am I implying that there is a connection between those dichotomies: man does not equal good and woman does not equal evil, so don’t go there.) If it weren’t for my love of the Justice League characters, this would be my favorite book of the DCnU.

Green Lantern #4: Have I mentioned before what a great buddy cop story this comic has become? I love love love Sinestro as a Green Lantern and being “over” Hal at the moment. But it is Hal that gets Sinestro to break beyond the Korugarian’s limitations with his human penchant for thinking outside the box. After all, Sinestro has always been about order and control (well, since Geoff Johns took over as Green Lantern historian), and Hal has been about rule breaking and having fun with the ring (think of them as Murtaugh and Riggs from Lethal Weapon). Finally, that page where Hal creates his last construct and it is of Carol was touching. Is Johns setting up Sinestro to be THE Green Lantern in Green Lantern?

Magdalena #10: This is probably one of those comics where the idea outweighs the execution, so I may not be long with it. This reads a lot like Buffy in different trappings, and I have little interest in that. Ron Marz needs to focus on the character and not the plot as much to keep me around. I did buy the first trade, so I’m anxious to see if it’s more of the same of the last two issues I’ve read.

New Avengers #19: Why does Norman Osborne look like Tommy Lee Jones in this book? I love that Peter is an ass to Victoria Hand. Usually Pete is so … ok with things, but this, this he knows (from his perspective at least) to be a wrong thing and he takes every opportunity to point it out to Hand and the rest of the New Avengers. Also, do not mess with Madame Hydra. She will cut you. Seriously. Plus, she’s damn funny here. :)

SHIELD #4: Remember how I mentioned last issue that I felt a little ripped off because the issue was 18 pages of battle sequences and a couple of pages of dialogue? Well, this issue we get three repeated scenes with only the setting changing. I understand narratively what Hickman’s going for, but come on.

Suicide Squad #4: Still liking this comic. I will say it: I like this depiction of Harley Quinn. I like Deadshot (and perhaps even more than I did when he was on the old DCU in Secret Six). I like Diablo. I like what Deadshot did to Captain Boomerang. And I still like the endings to this comic: so far, every issue ends with the Squad needing to pull yet another job in a limited time frame or they’re dead. However, that trick’ll get boring real fast. Not to mention, these guys need to sleep some times, right?

I also read Resurrection Man #4 (again, love the angel/demon angle, but still do not care for the title character), Shade #3 (this really just served to get us to the next plot point), Star Trek/LSH #3 (Well, at least the two groups are working together at the end of the issue. This has been a disappointment from go. At least the Phil Jimenez covers are nice to look at.), and Unwritten #32 (the sacrifice of the Frankenstein’s monster was touching).