April 2023 Reading Log

Here some quick thoughts/reactions to the comic books I read during April, 2023 (count: 70). If you’ve read any of these comics, what did you think of them?

Justice 7-8: I wrote about issue 7 here and issue 8 here. All of the Justice related posts can be found here.

Sandman 1: No, this is not the Gaiman/Keith Sandman from Vertigo, this is the Kirby/Simon superhero Sandman from 1972. I talked about this issue (along with The Demon 1 and OMAC 1) with Christopher Calloway in episode 234.

Amethyst 2: Peter and I discussed this issue as part of the Legion Project (episode 41).

Giant Days v12 (45-48; actually read this in 2022 but I forgot to record it), Giant Days v13 (49-52), Giant Days v14 (53-54, Special), Giant Days: Extra Credit (1-5): Alas, all good (great, stupendous, wonderful, fantastic, sublime) things must come to an end, and it is with a heavy heart that I finally finished Giant Days. It’s rare for me to find a comic book that brings me such joy to read, each and every issue — Giant Days is one of those books (another one is Superman: For All Seasons). The Sarin/Allison collaboration is so perfect, and while I would love to see what happens to Esther, Susan, Daisy, and the rest ten years hence, I doubt they could capture that lightning in a bottle so well again. If you have never read Giant Days, I implore you to seek this out posthaste! It will change your life. :)

Parker Girls v1 (1-5): I love when Terry Moore explores different aspects of his ‘verse and this was not a disappointment. In fact, for a thriller style story, I was left at the end genuinely concerned for Katchoo. When does volume two come out?!

Superman 654: I have heard for years that the Kurt Busiek and Carlos Pacheco run on Superman was not to be missed! And given how much I adored Pacheco’s work on Arrowsmith, I couldn’t wait to see how he portrayed Superman. Unfortunately, I did not see any of the charm I saw in Arrowsmith in Superman. I also found the story generally lacking. I probably should read another issue to be more fair, but I don’t really want to.

Millennium 1: I reread this as part of the Legion Project (episode 41), where Peter and I discussed it briefly.

Blacksad v1: I have had this digital collection in my To Read list forever after hearing for years how good the Blacksad comics were. I was immensely disappointed. Maybe it was the hype that tainted my reading experience, or perhaps it was the uninspiring detective noir style (though with anthropomorphic characters)? I won’t be continuing with any further volumes.

Rocketman & Rocketgirl 1: I really only bought this because of the Jacob Edgar cover (interior art was by Jordi Pérez). He also wrote the issue and because I really like his art, I wanted to support him. This was a wonderful surprise! It captured a Golden Age quality while being accessible to a modern audience. The plot is pretty basic, but the characterizations were charming, especially the wife and husband (I got some Nick and Nora Charles vibes from them). I would love to see Edgar write (and draw) more in this world (or really, anywhere).

Danger Street 4: This is a simmering stew, where bits of this and bits of that are slowly coming together to make something tasty that’s more than the sum of its parts. It gets better with each issue (thankfully) and I love how Fornes and King layer meaning in the panels — it really can be the epitome of what comic book storytelling does best. Overall though? I’m still not sure. Does that make it a bad comic book? Does each issue have to be a stand-alone masterpiece? Oh yeah, fuck the Green Team — no man escapes the Manhunters.

Batman/Superman: World’s Finest 13: Metamorpho has never been a favorite DC character, and we get 5 pages of 22 devoted to his origin! The Doom Patrol didn’t get 5 pages to explain them (maybe because they had a tv show out at the same time?), but whatever. The opening two pages are another wonderful bit of DC superhero goodness by Waid and Mora that hints at a story we may never see but we’d sure like to! The rest of the issue is the investigation, which Jimmy Olsen somehow breaks, hands over what he’s discovered to the cops who arrest the suspect (Bruce Wayne!), and co-wrote the article with Clark Kent. Just how much time has passed in this issue?!

Nightwing 102: I love the scene where the bad guy — Disguise Master — throws Olivia, expecting the Titans to abandon him and save the little girl and he is astonished they don’t. Of course, it’s the Titans, so Donna saves her while Starfire and Cyborg blast him. Later, after Beast Boy sarcastically suggests they go to Hell and “break into a demon’s filing cabinet”, he concedes that Nightwing’s name for the mission — Hell Heist — is better than his. It’s a fine issue, but mostly for the comradery and humor more so than the plot. The best thing about the backup tale? The flashback scenes as drawn by Pansica / Ferreira / Lucas — the shadow work and subtle colors really stand out against the very brightly colored present day story.

Gotham City: Year One 6: I hate the kind of stories where a lie is the lesser of two evils, where allowing an adulterer and kidnapper be murdered and the killer go free is better than the truth. These are the hard choices Slam Bradley, and Constance Wayne, make in order for Gotham City to heal (at least for a while). While I prefer my superhero stories to be less shades of gray, this isn’t a superhero story. It’s about humanity at its worst. So what does this all mean to Batman? Bradley draws parallels to the Dark Knight Detective and his grandmother, but we don’t get to see how that impacts Bruce. He asks Bradley, “What does it mean?” Bradley replies, “Doesn’t mean anything. Just what happened.” In the end, does this story mean anything?

Marvel Saga 9: While I am now way behind Peter as he covers The Marvel Saga, I will continue to read this series (at least through issue 12, the last in the collection I have) to learn about the early Marvel universe. So, what did I learn this time? That Dr. Hank Pym is a pervert. He meets the young Janet Van Dyne, whom even he describes as “not much more than a child” (and who also looks like his deceased, first wife, Maria), and then he literally grooms her to be his “partner”, the Wasp. I found this sequence in the issue extremely problematic. Given what happens later between these two, you can almost see the writing on the wall in these early appearances.

The Variants 1-5: I almost bought this series as it was coming out, but decided to wait to read the first issue on the Marvel Unlimited app and see if I wanted the print collection. Time passed, and I realized in April that all five issues were available to read, so I started it … and essentially couldn’t stop until I read all of the issues! I have loved Jessica Jones since Alias, and this is a nice continuation of the character, even if the multiversal plot didn’t seem to add up totally for me. Regardless, it was neat to see Jessica What Ifed…?.

Inferno 1: I’m not sure why I added this mini-series to my reading list on the DCUI app months ago. I think it was because of the supermarket magazine-looking cover? When I finally read issue one, I realized it was a Legion book?! This is one of those future person trapped in the past stories. While I read the Threeboot Legion issues (at least until Shooter came back), I don’t recall this character at all. I found her to be a little too petulant and it turned me off reading more.

Sex v4 (21-26): For a book titled and depicts sex, I’m getting bored. About the only interesting part is the back story of Quinn (the Alfred of the story) and her involvement with Cooke and how she helped mold him into the Armored Saint. Also, the vision one of the main antagonists has before he dies plays into the next volume, so we’ll see where that ends up.

Dark Crisis: Big Bang 1: After I upgraded my DCUI subscription to Ultra, this was the first comic book I read. It was fun to see some of the infinite Earths as Flash and Kid Flash go racing among them, but even better was the list of alternate Earths at the end of the issue that included very brief notes by Barry — it makes me want to go read each of those issues. Of note in the list were the following Earths:

  • Earth-0: the main DC universe
  • Earth-33: where superheroes are fictional (from Flash 179); is this the new Earth Prime? Barry also states that by reading the comic books from this Earth, he was able to identify other Earths and he cites his sources for us!
  • Earth-44: robotic JLA variants (I don’t know why, but that one panel intrigued me)
  • Earth-59: the first known parallel Earth (from Wonder Woman 59)
  • Earth-789: where the Reeve Superman, Slater Supergirl, and Keaton Batman versions of the heroes (based on the 1978 and 1989 films) are are set.
  • Earth-1956: where the Silver Age Superboy and Krypto resides; also, later home of the Super Friends (interesting…)

I sure wish DC would lean into its parallel Earths in more comic book stories because I would love to see many of these Earths for more than a panel.

Action Comics 1051: I almost bought this issue for the Dan Mora cover. But I’m glad I read this on the DCU app because it was ho-hum. Too many characters, too much pulling from previous stuff I didn’t read, and not enough engaging material to hold my interest. I doubt I’ll read the next issue. I did love the Marguerite Sauvage art in the Power Girl short (even though I don’t get why TPTB thought PG needed psychic abilities?).

Superman: Space Age 3: Well, that ended, just as was predicted in issue 1. Was the point that narratives live on, changed though they may be? That Superman is the constant of the DC Universe? I’m so glad I hadn’t bothered to buy the issues, despite the Allred art.

Superman: Lost 1:  Considering Christopher Priest was writing this, I was expecting something a little deep and definitely interesting. What I read was neither. Maybe it’s a slow burn that will just kill in the end, but it was unexpectedly … dull? Superman goes on a mission, returns, but it’s been 20 years and he’s changed? I think we should have gotten a bit more of what happened to him (which I assume is in the next issue) or more of how he was affected by this gap.

Justice Society of America 2-3: Quite honestly? I’m reading this because I love the JSA characters and Mikel Janin’s art. The multiple timeline aspect of issue 2 is just noise at this point, but having Degaton show up at JSA’s HQ at the end of issue 3 was unexpected.

Hope v1 (1-6): The Previews solicitation about a superhero who is outed and what that does to her and her family grabbed me, but I was not expecting to have such an emotional reaction to the struggle the superhero mother goes through when the state removes her daughter from the mother’s care because her being a superhero is a risk. It’s a take that has rarely been, if ever, explored. At the time of this writing, there is a sequel being published, and I will certainly be getting the collection for volume 2.

Aquaman: Andromeda 1: I’ve been waiting a while to read this because of the preview pages I’d seen online. When it finally came on the DCUI app and I had some time, I dove (heh) in. Aquaman is hardly in it, but the Ward art sure is nice.

Unstoppable Doom Patrol 1: I’m not the huge Doom Patrol fan that my friend Travis is, but I like the ragtag team of misfits generally. This is a new dynamic with Jane taking on the field leader role as Chief, and we have a new member, Beast Girl, who seems a bit useless. Speaking of useless, Batman shows up and Jane gives him the what-for and when she announces they are taking the metahuman they came to Gotham to retrieve (to help him — making this seem more like an X-Men book than a Doom Patrol book), she tells him, “I wasn’t asking you … for permission”.

Patsy Walker: Hellcat 2: After all of the other wonderful Christopher Cantwell written comic books I’ve read in the last year, this was a complete dud. I almost didn’t read this issue because the take on the character in the first one was so … wrong. I’m all for exploring different aspects of a character, but after what Cantwell and the artists on Iron Man did with Patsy there, this comedic send-up in this mini-series is a travesty. Maybe the humor will hit home with some out there, but it ain’t for me, and I will not be reading any more.

Detective Comics 569-570: I saw that Alan Davis had a short run on Detective Comics that I hadn’t read, so I sought these out on the DCUI app. I love Davis’/Neary’s lanky (Jason Todd) Robin and his smiling Batman. Coupled with the Barr stories and characterizations, it seems like they were trying to do the 1966 Batman in 1987. 569 has the Joker turning Catwoman “evil” again and 570 ends with Batman grimly contemplating his greatest fear: Jason Todd murdered (by Scarecrow but a year before it actually happened by the Joker). These are fun Batman and Robin stories elevated by the Davis art.

Wicked Things v1 (1-6): I bought this collection ages ago, but I didn’t want to read it until I had finished with Giant Days. Please tell me there will be more of this! It’s like Panel Syndicate’s Friday but with far more humor and British everything. I don’t think there is any finer comedic duo in comic books than Sarin and Allison. However, the plot meandered a bit too long with Charlotte being in the employ of the police and they never resolved the fact that she was charged with murdering a fellow detective. Maybe that’s to come in future issues, but that wasn’t clearly indicated to me.

Scarlet Witch 1: I really only wanted to read this for the Sara Pichelli art. The premise reminded me of DC’s Madame Xanadu a bit with wayward souls needing help entering the shop and Wanda coming to their aid. The issue was good on characters (I liked that Darcy from the Thor movies was there, as well as brother Quicksilver), but I found it a little wanting in the overall story. I’ll have to read the next issue to see if I want to continue with it.

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.

February 2023 Reading Log

Here some quick thoughts/reactions to the comic books I read during February, 2023 (count: 97 — the most in the last year!). What did you think of these issues?

Justice 5: I wrote about this issue here, in my ongoing posts about this series.

Superman: Space Age 1: I read this after I read Mike Allred’s phenomenal run on Silver Surfer with Dan Slott (from the previous month’s reading) and this was … not as amazing regarding Allred’s art, comparatively. It’s a bit of an Elseworld’s tale, putting Superman, well, Clark Kent, as a contemporary of JFK (“Superman” doesn’t appear until page 69 of 90). It’s an origin story, and not just for Superman — both Batman and Green Lantern’s origins are revealed, with Princess Diana showing up at the end. While some of that is interesting, what I find fascinating is the apparent commentary on DC’s first Crisis. The story opens in 1985, with the destruction of the Earth. Later in the issue but twenty years earlier, Clark interviews Pariah, who tells him of the Anti-Monitor and the imminent destruction of the universe. Given how the issue opened, I’m very curious how this is resolved, if at all (perhaps this is one of those parallel worlds that didn’t make it?). But I will be content reading about Superman (and the Justice League) during the Space Age.

Legionnaires 1-7: Despite my self-proclaim love for the Legion of Super-Heroes, there’s a large portion of the Legion’s publishing history I’ve not read, so I decided to start where I left off and that meant rereading the Legionnaires series. I had bought and read the first 12 issues years ago, but I wanted to start over and then get to stuff I hadn’t read before. Boy, this may be harder than I thought, because I find some of the characters obnoxious and the humor sophomoric. This may be a long slog.

Sunburn (by Simon Grane and Andi Watson; Image Comics): This graphic novel was a delight. It’s about a young woman who spends a summer on a Grecian island, and while there she finds and loses love and discovers an inner strength that I found charming. Also charming was the depiction of the island life — you can almost feel the heat of the day and the evening relief, thanks in large part to the coloring. There was an aspect of the plot that I found confusing and perhaps unnecessary to the overall narrative, but I still recommend the book.

Impossible Jones v1 (1-4) (David Hahn and Karl Kesel; Scout Comics): I was really looking forward to this collection. I love superhero stories about people who are “bad” and work at redemption, and this seems to be heading in that direction with the main character being a thief who is mistaken for a new hero. However, the Plastic Man cartoon-like antics and humor turned me off. 

Nightwing 100: This has a nice “family” cover showing the relationships Nightwing has developed across the DC universe. Inside, we get some pages by former Nightwing artists, including Scott McDaniel, Eddy Barrows, and Mikel Janin, among others, that help celebrate Dick’s past and connections he’s made through the years. What was extremely satisfying was the confrontation with KGBeast, the man who shot Nightwing in the head. Batman had his run-in with the Beast some time ago, and Flash even humiliated him, but finally Dick has his opportunity to deal with his would-be murderer. What’s great about this scene is that Dick isn’t approaching it from a place of vengeance, just the desire to end the fight so that he can help others. Then there’s the “ask”. It started off the issue with a conversation between Dick and Bruce, and later the Justice League scene reveals what the ask is: Nightwing, we want you to lead a new Justice League. We get back to that opening scene and Bruce tells Dick why they want him: “The way you look for the best in everyone. The way you seek to help before you seek to punish”. Bruce then apologizes to Dick if he failed him and for pushing him away, and Dick just hugs his father and tells him he loves him. … I’m not crying, you’re crying! The issue ends with Dick Grayson buying the prison in Bludhaven and announcing it as the new headquarters of the Titans, leading to that forthcoming series. I can’t wait.

Daredevil v7 Lockdown (31-36): I started the Zdarksy-written Daredevil run being most impressed not with Matt’s (yet another decline and redemption) arc, but Wilson Fisk’s. Matt being in prison didn’t interest me, but seeing how the Kingpin navigated a “normal” life outside of crime and then later his relationship with Typhoid Mary did. Also, seeing how Elektra struggled with living up to Matt’s ideals was fun. It’s very odd to be more interested in the supporting cast, especially when it comes to Daredevil comic books, that I think I’m done with DD for now.

Something Is Killing the Children v5 (21-25): This series has always been on the chopping block for me, and I think I’ve reached that point. I love the dark, expressive, and moody Dell’Edera art, but the overall story has always felt a bit thin. When they started exploring the back history in v4, my interest perked up, but this latest volume just seems like rinse, repeat of what I’ve read before.

Once & Future v4 (19-24): Speaking of rinse/repeat, this series is starting to feel like that as well. But we get Dan Mora art and the added layer of multiple version of King Arthur and Merlin showing up near the end, which makes me compelled to read on anyway. I just wish the lead characters would do more than fight the myth of the issue and move on to the next one in the next issue. I have the sense that we’re moving towards something, but it’s a slow-go.

Thief of Thieves v3 (14-19): It’s interesting. In comparison to say, Something Is Killing the Children, this is another rinse, repeat book, but it works for me for some reason. In part, it’s the caper aspect that I like, as well as Redmond’s charming personality. This volume reads like the second act of the overall story, but looking ahead at future volumes, I wonder if the overall series will be as satisfying. 

Fantastic Four 48: I’ve long loved Sue (since the Hickman-written run) and this issue (and the one before it where Exterminatrix has taken over the Baxter Building) continues to show us how bad-ass Sue really is. Even her husband agrees: “Sue is the most powerful of us all. Because she’s always pushed the boundaries of what is possible… precisely because she doesn’t know the meaning of defeat.”

Batman/Superman: World’s Finest 11: Mora and Waid were able to take a story about a new character that has been retconned into Superman and Batman’s past and make me care about their relationship. When Superman tells Boy Thunder he was everything he’d hoped for in a son (though Superman couldn’t say the word, he was so emotional), it plucked my heartstrings. The reveal of Gog at the end was interesting because is this David (Boy Thunder) to be the new Magog?

Human Target 10-11: #11: G’Nort has NEVER been a favorite character, but I think I respect him just a little bit after his appearance in this issue (such is the power of an artist/writer’s different take…). And of course the Guardians of the Universe have secret files on everybody in the universe, no matter how creepy that is. I’m sure fans of Guy Gardner were thrilled to see he wasn’t dead after all, though given his behavior in this issue, they may not be pleased for very long. #12: The mystery is revealed! Truths are spoken, and that was one damn fine double splash at the end after that very emotional exchange between Chance and Ice. Just a lovely comic book all around.

Danger Street 2: Unlike the previous Tom King written book in this log, I am unsure about this one. It’s a cake still baking. There’s a lot of quality ingredients, but until it’s done, will the sum of its parts be any good? I like the Lady Cop scenes, can’t stand the Green Team, I never did like Creeper, and while I don’t like how Warlord is handling what Starman did, I’m intrigued by where this could lead. What surprised me about this issue was the hug Darkseid gave Highfather. WTF?!

Saga 61: As always, it’s Saga’s issue endings that really make this series sing, and this issue sets up further strife between Hazel and her mother, which is going to kill me in time, I’m sure.

New Champion of Shazam 4: I got this mini (as opposed to waiting for it to be on the DCU app) because I wanted to support a female character series and see Doc Shaner’s art. But the story was just so lackluster. Though his line work was fine, Shaner’s coloring didn’t help the middling feel of this series. Despite this, I hope we see more of Mary in the future.  

Area 510 (Justin Greenwood and Jay Faerber; Oni Press): I was really looking forward to reading this newest book written by one of my favorite comic book writers, but while this was a fine 16 Blocks / War of the Worlds mashup, but it read more like an opening chapter and I wanted more or I just wanted more of the characters in this story as opposed to the focus on plot. Either way, I found this a bit lacking in substance.

Thor v4 God of Hammers (19-24): The Cates/Klein run on Thor has been different and interesting. They pick up on something mentioned in the Aaron-written run about Mjolnir and run with it (and I love how Klein and Wilson portray the God of Hammers). I also love the the depiction of Thor as king, especially the “heavy is the head that wears the crown” angle. This arc would make a great Thor movie. But, like with another Marvel character I love, I think I’m done with Thor for a while.

Time Before Time v3 (13-17): They introduced a new character, bounty hunter Sebastian, and I’m totally on board with that guy. He’s doing a crappy job and he knows it, but he’s doing it for family. We even get a caper story thrown in involving some interesting cannon fodder. Despite my liking this new guy, however, I am more invested in Tatsuo’s (and Nadia’s) journey. Unfortunately, an apparent (it is a time travel story after all) sacrifice changes everything. Now I have to decide if I keep with this book given what looks like a change of characters.

Killadelphia v2 (7-12): This just felt like a repeat of volume 1, and there’s nothing compelling in this volume for me to continue. 

Legion of Super-Heroes 40 & Amethyst v2 1: These will be featured in a future The Legion Project episode.

Ultra: Seven Days (1-8): Years ago I read the first issue for free on Comixology and was interested in the idea. In the intervening years, my appreciation for the Luna Brothers’ work has diminished. However, while the art was a bit under par, I was surprised at some of the emotional depths these characters reached.

Skyward v1 (1-5): While I especially loved the depiction of the main character’s hair on the cover to this collection by Lee Garbett and the overall care the creators brought to showing us what a world with lesser gravity would be like, the old trope of Dad knowing how to fix the world but because of his sacrifice, his daughter takes on the responsibility just didn’t maintain my interest, possibly in part because the villain of the piece is so one dimensional.

Fables v16 (101-107): I loved this book up to volume 11, more or less. I stopped buying the trade collections because it was starting to repeat itself. However, I always wanted to read volume 16, “Super Team”, because of the superhero connections I imagined it would have based on the cover image alone. I should not have bothered. While it was kind of fun to see Pinocchio attempt to put together a team of superheroes to help save everyone because of the power of superhero stories, the actual execution of that idea was just not there. It was like Willingham had been forced to put in a superhero angle to drive up sales and he didn’t want to, but he would do it his way, which is to say, not very well. We don’t get to see the Fables characters actually be “superheroes” except in a short day dream scene and the defeat of the main antagonist was resolved in a deus ex machina fashion, i.e., disappointingly.

Iron Man 25: This final Cantwell-written issue was a nice change of pace given how cosmic things got near the beginning of the run. Iron Man is a little wigged out by the Iron Man Day celebration he’s not too keen on attending when he comes across a guy having a heart attack (love the symmetry regarding that). At the end, and not feeling his best, Tony is surprised and delighted when some friends show up to support him (including the MVP of this run for me, Hellcat). Nicely done creative team, nicely done.

Air v1 (1-5): I had heard over the years how good this was, and with Dark Horse reprinting the series, I had to try it. This was a delightful surprise in that it enters the metaphysical in an almost Morrisonian fashion. Blythe is an acrophobic flight attendant who has the ability to cross into “forgotten” and hidden lands. It’s also a commentary on capitalism with its struggle between “old” energy interests and the “new” technology of Air. I am worried that the antagonistic cabal in the series will be reduced to trite caricature, but I’m looking forward to reading the next volume to see where this goes.

Manifest Destiny v5 (25-30): It’s been a while since I read the last volume (October 2021) and the one before that was a year ago! My slow engagement with this series is not an indication of the quality, because each volume pushes the story forward in interesting and different ways. In this volume, the intrepid and overwhelmed travelers do more harm to each other than the monsters they’ve encountered previously, but it’s still connected to overall narrative. I think this is one of those great series that readers like, but it’s not as flashy as others and hasn’t received the attention it deserves.

January 2023 Reading Log

Here some quick thoughts/reactions to the comic books I read during January, 2023 (count: 85). What did you think of these issues?

Sex v2 (9-14): I bought a digital Humble Bundle that included this. I had bought the first 7 print issues and wondered how the series ended, so I was looking forward to continuing my reading. However, this second volume doesn’t really expand the story beyond what I’d read previously. I haven’t yet read v3.

Legion of Super-Heroes v3 Annual 3: Listen to the Tales of The Legion Project episode 13 for my and Peter’s thoughts about this issue.

Justice 4: I wrote about the issue here.

Wonder Woman: Black and Gold 1-3, 5-6: I finally got the collection and enjoyed it, for the most part. I also posted some pages I liked from the series on Instagram.

The Crows gn: Based on the solicitation, I was excited to read this, but it came across to me more like college-level short story: it was fine, but not really getting into the more interesting elements to me.

Jane Foster and the Mighty Thor 4-5: I was so looking forward to reading this series, but it was nothing like the previous outings with those two characters (under Aaron’s writing hand). It was fine.

Crisis on Multiple Earths: Team-Ups v1 (Flash 123, 129, 137, 151; Showcase 55, 56; Green Lantern 40; Brave and the Bold 61): I had only previously read the Green Lantern issue, so it was interesting to see how the Earth-1/Earth-2 stories progressed over time. Given the issue numbers of the Flash where Jay would team up with Barry, you can tell it was a popular story idea. Bonus: I got to read a few stories featuring my favorite Golden Age character, Hourman!

Friday v2 (4-6):  This is a must-read series! The only bad thing about this series is that the collections are too short (only three issues) and it takes too long in between them! :)

Danger Street 1: Given the inspiration behind this and the sheer audacity to weave them all together, I expected more out of this first issue — I was not wowed. I’d much rather read King’s Gotham City: Year One (but that has a lot to do with Hester’s art on it, not that Fornes is bad).

Dark Crisis 7: This series was such a disappointment… I thought I would at least enjoy the spotlight on Nightwing and the elder Titans, but this was an insult to the original Crisis.

Batman/Superman: World’s Finest 10: I feel like they should have expanded the Boy Thunder’s story just a bit more. Still, I get more Teen Titans! And I love their compassion for their fellow sidekick, given his trauma.

Batgirls 13: I only got this because of the Dan Mora Batgirl/Robin variant cover, but I decided to read it and I think I should have been reading this series all along!

Nightwing 99: I kinda feel bad for issue 99. Coming off the high that was 98 and Nite-Mite and before issue 100, it’s kind of like the middle child. In other words, it continues the ongoing plot, but there’s nothing special about the issue, save for the Dan Mora Nightwing/ Batgirl variant cover.

Action Comics 1050: We all knew that eventually DC would put the cat back in the bag (i.e., Superman’s secret identity), and I’ll be damned if they didn’t do it in an interesting way! Now, what does this mean regarding Lex going forward?

The Atomics 1: This popped up in my Comixology Unlimited perusal, and given that I just read Allred’s Silver Surfer run with Slott, I decided to give this a try. I will not be reading issue 2.

Gotham City: Year One 3-4: As mentioned previously, this is a lot of fun to read because of Hester’s work on it. This might be the best Slam Bradley story I’ve ever read.

Barnstormers 4: When are we going to get the techno-demon angle explained?

Dr. Strange & Dr. Doom: Triumph & Torment: Long on my Marvel Unlimited To Read list, The Daily Rios chose it as a book club offering, so I finally had to read it. It was an interesting take on the Strange/Doom dynamic that I don’t think I’d ever read before.

History of the Marvel Universe 3: I’m reading these after I see another issue is being covered on the Resurrections podcast. If nothing else, you will enjoy the Rodriguez art of this series.

The Altered History of Willow Sparks gn: While the logic of it doesn’t quite add up (or explained), the fantasy of literally rewriting your life in a book was interesting.

Side Effects gn: This is billed as someone who gets super powers after taking medication for depression, but it’s really a story about dealing with depression, and I’m glad they decided to focus on that aspect more.

Silver Surfer v1: New Dawn (1-5), v2: World’s Apart (6-10), v3: Last Days (11-15), v4: Citizen of Earth (1-6), and v5: A Power Greater Than Cosmic (7-14): What an amazing story! I’ve never cared for Silver Surfer, and Allred and Slot made me care! Yes, it’s Doctor Who on a surfboard (Toomie!) with Dawn as his Companion, but it’s also a romp through Marvel Cosmic and I enjoyed the hell out of it.

Fantastic Four 51: Because I hadn’t read this and it was the inspiration for Fantastic Four: Full Circle, I had to read it. While it filled in the gaps for Full Circle, I don’t think I really needed to read this issue.

The Black Ghost 1: This kept popping up as I perused Comixology Unlimited and it sounded neat. It was not.

Usagi Yojimbo Book 1: The Ronin: I’ve never read Usagi, and Comixology Unlimited made it possible. This is a collection of short stories, but you start to get a sense of a larger narrative. It definitely made me want to read more.

Redlands v1 (1-6): This was another Comixology Unlimited read, and I won’t be reading any more. What is it with these Comixology Unlimited books for me?!

Star Trek: Harlan Ellison’s The City on the Edge of Forever the Original Teleplay (1-5): Finally, another Comixology Unlimited offering that I enjoyed! While not better than the broadcast version, Woodward’s art in places and the major differences made for an interesting alternative take on the classic story.

Iron Man 24: I loved the surprise twist in this issue, and then the discussion about trust later made an average story about Tony Stark buying back all these weapons more interesting. I’m very curious how Cantwell is going to wrap up his run on this title next issue.

Favorite Comic Books of 2022

Direct Download (1:17:38)

It’s 2023, and that means it’s time to take a look back at my favorite comic books that I read in 2022, with some offerings from folks on social media! But first, I give you some stats about my reading, and I talk about the past and future of the show. I hope you enjoy this episode as much I did recording it.



Thanks for listening!