Pull List Review (8/3/11 Comics)

Adventure Comics #529: Eh, it ended. I’m not sure why I’m sticking with this latest incarnation of the Legion. Actually, I do know why: 1) I love the characters; 2) Paul Levitz is writing them, only, I’m not caring for what he’s writing this time around. I keep hoping that things will be more like I felt about his 80s run on the title, but I don’t think it will be. I’ll read a few issues of the relaunch, but since the word is that the Legion is largely untouched in the DCnU, I don’t have high hopes that I’ll continue with any Legion title.

Flashpoint #4: A lot of focus is given to the S!H!A!Z!A!M! family kids, but it’s only a few tidbits in this issue that make this worth reading. Flash pleads with Thomas Wayne to stop what looks to be the final surge of the Atlantean/Amazonian war, but Batman refuses because it doesn’t matter if Barry succeeds in restoring reality as he knows it. Of course Barry doesn’t want to hear this, and compels others to join him, even Batman in the end, for he tells Thomas, “Bruce would’ve come.” And they call our Batman a master manipulator! Finally, the last page where Prof. Zoom appears to gloat, pointing at the devastation around him and telling Barry, “Look what you did.” I really am looking forward to the final issue coming out at the end of the month to see how all this contributes to the relaunch.

Flashpoint: Batman #3: The secret origin of the Joker! Yet again, we are shown what a bastard Thomas Wayne is. When he recounts the infamous alley death scene, he says two shots are fired, “bang, bang”, causing Martha to scream, “NOOOOO!”. But then he tells her what could happen if Flash is successful (which means that this story fits somewhere between Flashpoint issue one and two, I guess, thus connecting to the main series–which  I like immensely). The ending of this series is pitch perfect, and Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso did an awesome job overall. I almost didn’t buy this title, but I wanted to get the trinity tie-ins to see what DC would deliver, and this, so far, has been the best that I have read.

Flashpoint: Secret Seven #3: What the hell was the point of that? And by that I mean the whole series. Just to show that Enchantress is a betrayer, and Shade is an unwilling murderer? Waste of time. I thought the Lois Lane mini was the worst of those I’m reading, but this one takes that no prize thus far.

Flashpoint: World of FP #3: When I read the first issue of this, I thought perhaps it would have some sort of impact on the larger world of Flashpoint, but it’s really only a story between a daughter and her father with familiar tropes of loss, anger, and reconnection that kind of fall flat for me.

Mystic #1: What a breath of fresh air. I went into this with some reservations because I didn’t know the series when it was at CrossGen, and because the two restarts of old CrossGen series at Marvel were a bit lackluster. This is not. The story itself (by G. Willow Wilson) is a bit of trodden ground, but the characters and setting help make up for that. The art, however, is wonderful. David López (pencils), Álvaro López (inks), and Nathan Fairbairn (colors) do a fantastic job at conveying this world in a very accessible manner. Even the backgrounds are done well. The only complaint I have about the book visually is the choice to have the characters talking in purple text. I think that’s an unnecessary and distracting detail. I can’t wait to see issue two.

Secret Six #36: How bittersweet. I would have liked to see what story Gail Simone would have done with these characters if DC hadn’t gone down the relaunch path (not to mention the Bane transformation to fit him into the upcoming movie), but this is what we got, and it ends very well all things considered. I love love love the opening panels featuring Bane and his new girlfriend, Catman’s oft repeated mantra of “leave Huntress alone”, King Shark, Scandal proposing to the two loves of her life, and especially Huntress. It is through Huntress’s eyes and narrative through which the hero-side of this story is told, and it is a perfect way to end this story about these “criminals”: “In the end, we won. Of course we did. . . . Because we’re heroes. Right?” LOVED IT! I wish and hope and pray that DC brings these characters back together with Gail Simone writing them.

SHIELD #2: There is so much going on in this book, and if you didn’t read the previous seven issues, I can see someone getting very lost. Hell, I don’t understand everything and I’ve read it all. It is something that will require a reread once all 12 issues are published. But it is lovely to look at and I love the concept.

I also read Batman: Gates of Gotham #4.

Pull List Review (7/27/11 Comics)

Batman: The Dark Knight #4: You know, I only bought this series because of Finch’s work on covers I’d seen. I am always leery of artists with seemingly no writing experience taking on writing & art duties in a book (insert your early Image Comics joke here), but I have to say I was impressed by Finch’s first few issues of this title. Of course, he doesn’t draw this issue, but Jason Fabok on pencils and Ryan Winn and Batt on inks do a really good job of evoking Finch’s style. I am intrigued by Ragman’s appearance in this story (and the devil-worshiping cabal whose cloaks look an awful lot like Ragman’s suit). I’m not sure all the demons and demon-possessed folks showing up as much as they are in a Batman story fits, but I’m along for the ride (at least until September). That final two-page spread was done well, evoking a sense of cinematic dread (but does Batman really not see or hear them approaching?). I am ignoring the Gordon sub-plot, just because I won’t be returning to it in September. Four Batman-family books are enough, I think.

Brightest Day Aftermath: Search for Swamp Thing #2: Bah.

Criminal: Last of the Innocent #2: Another great issue. Ed Brubaker does a really good job of developing character, which is my favorite thing about any story, in a comic book or otherwise. Plus, I love the bad guy as protagonist, which Criminal the series excels at. The art style of the flashbacks continue to please me, and add a nice juxtaposition between the dark grittiness of the main story and the Archie Comics feel of the past sequences. Nicely done.

Fables #107: I bought this only because Terry Moore was listed as a guest artist (plus that Joao Ruas cover is quite striking). I have to admit, I was a little disappointed in what I got. Moore’s work on Strangers in Paradise is at times sublime, and almost always better than most comic artists out there, but here, it was . . . typical for this book, I guess. The story was also typical if you’ve read enough of Fables, as I have. I did like, however, the sign shown in the background of one panel where a line of newly minted princes await their turn to kiss the Sleeping Beauty; it reads: “No tongue! No touching! No ogling! No drooling! No gifts!”, and then, tacked onto the sign at the bottom: “No singing!” Hah! Take that Disney!

FF #7: Part two of the Black Bolt interlude. Nothing to say here, really.

Flashpoint: Kid Flash Lost #2: I wonder if anything will be made of the facts that the Flash, in the present, and Kid Flash in the future knows that the universe has changed. Or is it simply that because of what the Reverse-Flash did to change the DCU via his anti-Speed Force (dark SF?), and that Barry and Bart are connected via the Speed Force, that’s enough of an explanation? I guess in this case I’d like things to be spelled out for me a bit more, but then, why do I care when we get the new status quo next month?

Flashpoint: Lois Lane & the Resistance #2: This is currently my least favorite of the tie-ins. When I pick up something called Lois Lane and the Resistance, I expect Lois Lane to be the focal point of the story, but she really wasn’t in this issue. Plus, I just don’t care for Grifter.

Flashpoint: Project Superman #2: Now this issue was actually pretty good. Seeing how General Lane adopts the alien Kal-El as a surrogate son over time was nice to read, plus how Subject Zero helps Kal over the years, only to be schooled in humanity by the alien boy was also nice. It’s definitely a nice change of pace from the General Lane we were shown in Superman: Secret Origin (I feel like I have to spit when I type that title . . .).

Mighty Thor #4: Now this is more like it! Odin and Thor (and the other Asgardians, presumably, though they are conspicuously absent in this great battle) take on Galactus! But it’s not merely a physical fight, and I appreciate Matt Fraction showing us a battle of minds between the two “gods”. We get to see a side of Galactus that I have never seen, and I actually feel some compassion for that old blow-hard Odin. Then, after Thor has flung himself and Mjolnir at Galactus’s head, the Silver Surfer attacks Thor and they land on Mars! That’s a helluva distance, I presume.

Sixth Gun #13: Ok, so now we know why Sinclair was so spooked by the appearance of the mummy from last issue. Regardless, I’m starting to wonder if I should keep reading this title. It definitely started out strong for me, but these last few issues is just more of the same. I want the plot to move along, little doggey.

Teen Titans #98: I haven’t had much to say about this title in recent months, and I’ll only add this now: Superboy-Prime is back? Blech. I am so sick of this character. So sick of the recurring trope of Conner saying he’s the “real” Superboy and Prime going all ballistic. Just sick of this story being retold again and again, and this storyline is what will end this title before the relaunch? Ugh.

Wonder Woman #613: We are finally shown the events leading up to the “old” Wonder Woman being replaced by this “new” version. The rest of the issue is mostly a fight scene between Nemesis and WW, ending with Diana reclaiming all of “herself” that Nemesis had taken, but still, and refreshingly, in her new outfit (which I have grown to like quite a lot–I hope the relaunch WW keeps the pants). Next issue is the last before the relaunch, so I suppose we’ll have a battle royale.

Xombi #5: God, I love this book. I love the visuals, I love the ideas, I love the characters. Rozum and Irving have created something unique at DC Comics (hell, anywhere, really), and I hate to see it go (I know, I keep saying it, but it’s still true). Irving’s art is either getting better or I’m just getting used to it, but I still think it’s lovely. I love how he uses shading/shadows to create form. And I think where I’m getting used to the art is where he uses coloring–I didn’t mind it so much this time. The only problem I have with this issue is the two pages that were spent on David talking about the love of his life who, correct me if I’m wrong, we haven’t even seen in these five issues. Why bring this up now and spend so much time on it? If it doesn’t come up in some way in the next, the last, it was a wasted moment on Rozum’s part. I look forward to the resolution of this storyline.

New Comics Wednesday (8/17/11)

I think this goes down as one of the shortest lists for me in recent memory. After having such long weekly lists of comics, this is oddly refreshing.

  • Daredevil #2
  • Flashpoint: Wonder Woman & the Furies #3
  • JLA #60
  • LSH #16
  • Spider Island: Amazing Spider-Girl #1
  • Zatanna #16

The Halcyon trade is also releasing today, and I cannot wait to get that.

I tweeted this yesterday, but I had an opportunity (thanks to the $1 price of these comics from Fearless Readers Online) to read several Flashpoint tie-in number one issues. Specifically, I read Abin Sur–the Green Lantern, Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravager, Hal Jordan, Legion of Doom, and The Outsider. When the Flashpoint tie-ins were first announced, Legion of Doom and The Outsider were the only ones of those I weren’t already buying that interested me because the latter was just different (Who is he? How is he so powerful?) and the former was ostensibly about the villains, and I love a good villain book. However, I only found the two Green Lantern titles to be enticing, especially Abin Sur. It’s ironic because out of the ones listed above, I thought I like them the least! Hal Jordan is just fun to see Hal unburdened by the responsibility of being a Green Lantern. Abin Sur grabbed my attention because Abin Sur has become so much more of a character ever since Secret Origin and Blackest Night, and this comic helps complete that journey (even though it’s set in an alternate timeline). Plus, you get references to the Green Lantern movie, from the way Sinestro looks to the Guardians and their long, red robes as they sit atop those columns. I will have to go buy issues 2 & 3 of Abin Sur.

What about you? Been surprised by something you’ve read recently? Let me know!

Pull List Review (7/20/11 Comics)

Batman: Gates of Gotham #3: Based on the information that came out of San Diego ComiCon, I see now how this series will tie into the relaunch of Batman, so DC did deliver on the promise of the solicitation for this series. I’m actually now enjoying the story set in Gotham’s past, but don’t really care for the present story, which is weird for me since Dick is the focus out of all the Bat-family members, and I love Dick (get your mind out of the gutter!).

Daredevil #1: I so looked forward to this comic. How could I not like that one of my very favorite comic writers, Mark Waid, is writing one of my favorite comic book characters (not just favorite Marvel characters)? Let’s start with the Paolo Rivera cover. I love how everything surrounding DD is sound given form. The way that DD’s billy club covers his eye is, pardon the phrase, eye-catching, which then allows you to focus on the fact that DD is smiling. I recently listened to a Marvel podcast featuring Waid where he discussed his take on DD, which is, yes, a lot of shit has gone down in Matt Murdoch’s life, but he’s choosing to look past that and focus on the future (or he’ll go crazy again). So, superficially, we get the DD from many years ago (the fearless swashbuckler), but under the surface is the man who has endured a great many things, and who should kill Brian Michael Bendis for all the crap he put DD through. :) The only misstep that I see with Waid’s characterization of DD was when DD kisses a bride-to-be in the middle of fighting the Spot. I get the, pardon the pun, devil-may-care attitude, but it still reads out of character to me. I also really liked the vignette at the end of the issue that builds upon how Matt’s sensory powers affect him and are shown to us.

The Paolo Rivera/Joe Rivera art is good enough, and reminds me of Mazzucchelli’s art on the “Born Again” storyline, only less heavy and a bit more cartoony. I liked how DD’s radar sense was shown, though, it reminds me a little of the visual that was used in the Daredevil movie, but that’s not a bad thing. All in all, I’ll go along for the ride, for now.

Flashpoint: Wonder Woman & the Furies #2: I definitely prefer Abnett & Lanning’s take on the Aquaman/Wonder Woman relationship/death feud when compared to what we see in Emperor Aquaman. I just hope by issue three that Diana knows about the treachery within the Amazonian ranks.

JLA #59: Interesting issue. It’s still written by James Robinson, but it reads slightly different than the last few years worth of JLA. I wonder if someone helped write this issue? Or, perhaps the new artist, Daniel Sampere, had something to do with the slightly different presentation. The Eclipso resolution came a little too fast and convenient for my taste, but I did like this issue overall, unlike previous issues in this storyline. That is, until I got to the end where, in one page, Batman announces the end of this JLA. This after Atom speechifies how this version of the JLA has been doing a good job and remain as they are as long as they want. I guess that’s what the next issue is about?

War of the Green Lanterns: Aftermath #1: This continues the story that ended in Green Lantern #67, so I am happy DC is putting out this two-issue mini to lead into the relaunch.

Zatanna #15: Hmm, compared to the last issue, I enjoyed this Derek Fridolfs story despite the familiar tropes (witch hunters, Zee being silenced, Zatarra showing up). The only problem I have with it is that the witch hunters claim they’ve hunted witches for centuries, yet this is the first time we’ve seen these particular guys? And really, if they were to go after all the magic-based characters in the DCU, would they even be around at this point? I also really liked Jamal Igle’s & John Dell’s art in this issue. Also, Zee looks kinda hot as a Puritan (is that wrong of me to think that?).

I also read Flashpoint: Deadman & the Flying Graysons #2 & LSH #15.

Pull List Review (7/13/11 Comics)

Alpha Flight #2: I was so excited to see Alpha Flight back, but this issue was just a little disappointing.

Batman, The Dark Knight #3: Not much actually happens in this, but it’s nice to look at. However, it bugs me when the artist gives me a two-page spread of just some random bad guy’s head. That just tells me that Finch needed to fill up two pages, but there wasn’t enough story.

FF #6: Wow, after the first five issues, and especially after the wonderful Barry Kitson art, this was a huge disappointment. I know Hickman is building a larger story with this interlude, but I want to read about the FF, not the Inhumans. Plus, I just don’t care for Paul Tocchini art (though it does remind me a bit of Gene Colan’s work).

Green Lantern #67: Holy cats, the ending! Unfortunately, the news from San Diego ComicCon spoiled this for me, but still, what an ending to the final issue of Green Lantern before the September relaunch. But first, Hal shows what an awesome GL he really is by killing a major Green Lantern universe character. And by awesome, I mean powerful and scary (at least to the Guardians). If you don’t read the comic, but still want to know, select the next bit of text to reveal the spoilery bit: a GL ring chooses Sinestro as a ring-bearer, and then the Guardians fire Hal and transport him back to Earth, no longer a Green Lantern. I can’t wait until September 14 to see how this all works out in the GL universe!

Guarding the Globe #5: If you like the larger Invincible universe, read this, but the long release schedule between issues is just irritating me.

Lady Mechanika #0-2: This is an interesting book in a couple ways. 1) When it came out: I ordered this back in February, plus issue #2 came out on the same day as this. What is up with that? *shrug* Maybe only I find that interesting. 2) I absolutely could not stand Joe Benitez’s work on the Titans title a few years back, but it works here very well. I also like the world to which I’m introduced. Something about the steampunk genre appeals to me, and Benitez’s art suits this comic very well. If he continues to put it out (hopefully on a more regular basis), I’ll buy it.

Teen Titans #97: The whole Solstice storyline is surprisingly good, and much better than the previous storyline by J. T. Krul.

I also read:

  • Batgirl #23
  • Flashpoint: Citizen Cold #2
  • Flashpoint: Emperor Aquaman #2
  • Flashpoint: Frankenstein & the Creatures of the Unknown #2
  • Unwritten #27
  • Birds of Prey #14: No Gail Simone, so what?

I’m enjoying the Flashpoint second issue tie-ins more than the first issues, and if you want to keep up on the world of Flashpoint, these are a must buy. Batgirl is always a joy to read, as is Unwritten, and are two titles you should have been reading from the start. :)

Disagree with my assessments? Let me know!