Pull List Review: Week 4, June 2012

Here are some thoughts about the comics I read that were released during the fourth week of June, 2012.

Idolized #1 by David Schwartz (w), Micah Gunnell (a), David Curiel (c), Josh Reed (l), & Vince Hernandez (e)

I honestly don’t know what I was thinking. This comic violates a couple of my usual lines: 1) I don’t buy photo covers (yes, I know you can get non-photo covers), 2) the premise involves a tv contest show (á la American Idol), and 3) it’s a zero issue!. So why did I buy this comic and was actually looking forward to it? I think I was overcome for some reason by the photo cover (and I have preordered up to issue 2). In fact, I don’t recall at all what the solicitation text was for issue 0 because I don’t think I would have ordered it, so must be the photo cover. :) Regardless, the promise of the story to come does intrigue me–I just have to get past the whole Idol motif.

Star Trek #10 by Mike Johnson (w), Stephen Molnar (a), John Rauch (c), & Neil Uyetake (l), and Scott Dunbier (e), based on the original teleplay by Boris Sobelman

I know, I’m repeating a focus on this series, but I can’t get over how much I’m liking this title. I was pulled in by the premise of original series episodes told within the new Star Trek universe, and I thought after six issues I’d be out. But the stories kept getting better and better, and the stories improved upon the original series episodes! This two-part adaptation of “The Return of the Archons” is a prime example. And then the creative team throws in some shadow conspiracy involving Admiral Pike. What?! Keep ’em coming IDW!

Star Trek: TNG/Doctor Who: Assimilation² #2 by Scott & David Tipton with Tony Lee (w), J.K. Woodward (a), Shawn Lee (l), and Denton J. Tipton (e)

So, last time I praised issue one for the spot-on characterizations of the Doctor Who crew and wondered if we would get the same as far as the TNG crew. I think the writers were successful at that, and I really enjoyed the interaction between the Doctor and the Starfleet officers. The J.K. Woodward art is good (it’s painted), with the actor likenesses being done fairly well, though some of the placement of characters in the panels doesn’t appear to be consistent with what came before in particular panels. Plus, there are some interesting background action going on in some panels (I’m thinking of the one panel where a Lt. wearing goggles looks up at Worf, who looks down at her. It has nothing to do with the foreground scene, but it’s amusing.). What does bug me is the lack of real concern by Riker and Picard that an unknown person (the Doctor) has appeared on the Enterprise. In one instance, when the Doctor appears on the holodeck with Riker, does Riker call for security (ok, they do show up in the next scene, but still)? A little later, after receiving a distress call, Picard allows the Doctor on the bridge, moments after accusing the Doctor of being involved in the attack on Delta IV! But considering how many times this happened during the run of the show to move the plot forward, I should just go along with it. :)

I also read:

  • ANGEL & FAITH #11
  • AQUAMAN #10
  • FATALE #6
  • FF #19
  • I, VAMPIRE #10
  • RESET #3
  • SUPERMAN #10
  • VOODOO #10

Pull List Review: Week 3, June 2012

Here are some thoughts about the comics I read that were released during the third week of June, 2012.

Before Watchmen: Comedian #1 by Brian Azzarello (w), J.G. Jones (a), Alex Sinclair (c), Clem Robbins (l), & Will Dennis (e)

The Comedian was my least favorite character in Watchmen. He was a plot point, a commentary, but not without some depth–his “relationship” with Sally Jupiter and the reason for his confessional to Moloch made him less than a cardboard cutout, a parody of a costumed adventurer (I almost typed “superhero”, but Comedian was never that)–but I never cared for him as a character. This comic has changed that. I know a lot of people out there bitched about how DC was screwing Alan Moore and making a money grab and how they were abandoning DC for publishing Before Watchmen, but take all of that out and you have an intriguing, well-written character piece about a guy who believed in something beyond himself, at least for a while. I never thought I would like the Comedian, and yet, thanks to the creators of this book, I do now.

Daredevil #15 by Mark Waid (w), Chris Samnee (a), Javier Rodriguez (c), Joe Caramagna (l), & Stephen Wacker (e)

I have always felt that Daredevil was a big cheat. While Matt can’t see in the traditional sense, he had four other supersenses and his radar, perhaps more than making up for his loss of sight. But what happens if you take those other senses away from him, one by one? Can you imagine the isolation, the looming panic? For me at least, this is what I felt for Matt in this issue. Plus, that ending where Matt thinks he’s escaped? Gut wrenching. Once again, Mark Waid shows his immense talent and forte for writing Daredevil. I love the Bendis era on this character, but Waid is a worthy (and dare I say, better?) successor. Time will tell, but Waid is off to a fantastic start (Daredevil did win the Eisner for Best Continuing Series this year).

Saga #4 by Brian K. Vaughan (w), Fiona Staples (a), Fonografiks (l), & Eric Stephenson (coordinator)

Omg, that splash page (and subsequent images of the “hostesses”) freaked me out (and still does)! The Will continues to be my favorite character of this series, even more so than Alana and Marko (but it’s oh so very close). This issue just makes him simultaneously a little less and a little more of a monster than what we’ve seen so far, and that just makes him a potentially great character. Also, if you aren’t, you should be reading the back matter pages (“To Be Continued”). This issue, we are told that an 81 year-old is reading Saga. I hope I’m reading comics when I’m in my 80s! Finally, I respect anyone (looking at you Mr. Vaughan) who mentions Raymond Carver in a favorable light.

I also read:

  • BATWOMAN #10
  • CATWOMAN #10
  • SHADOW #3

Pull List Review: Week 2, June 2012

Here are some thoughts about the comics I read that were released during the second week of June, 2012.

Batman #10 by Scott Snyder (w), Greg Capulo (p), Jonathan Glapion (i), FCO Plascencia (c), Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Jimmy B (l), & Mike Marts (e)

I remember when Batman was relaunched as part of the New 52, and I and some of my fellow comic book readers were complaining about how Lincoln March looked too much like Bruce Wayne, so obviously something was wrong with what Capulo was doing art-wise. In fact, Capulo had even counter-argued this on Twitter, writing that the similarity was done for a reason. Well, this issue reveals that Capulo was indeed correct, and how did we all (ok, me) miss it? Because I didn’t think that Snyder would actually go to that old soap opera mainstay of the long-lost, evil relative suddenly appearing. Regardless of the disappointing plot turn, Capulo’s art has definitely grown on me and I really like what he’s done with Batman in this title.

Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre #1 by Darwyn Cooke & Amanda Conner (w), Amanda Conner (a), Paul Mounts (c), Carlos M. Mangual (l), & Mark Chiarello (e)

I knew that I would enjoy Before Watchmen: Minutemen, but despite the fact that Darwyn Cooke was writing Silk Spectre, I didn’t have great expectations for this book. After all, Silk Spectre is one of the Watchmen characters that I didn’t particularly care for anyway. Hoo-boy, was I wrong. Thanks mostly to Conner’s art, this was a delight to read. I actually care about young Laurie, and I don’t even mind Laurie’s inner thought panels, the kind of which usually grate on me. And what a strange relationship Laurie and her mother have (I’m referring to the mock attack scene)–this is a good example of adding to the back story of these characters making them richer for it, as well as potentially our reading experience of the source material. (In fact, it might be interesting to see how the Before Watchmen stories affect and inform my reading and enjoyment of Watchmen as a whole once these limited series’ are over.) While I love the art in general, there are a few times that Conner throws in some callbacks that can be seen as trying too hard (as in “hey! look at me!”), such as the last panel on page 3 with the light shining a circle above the broken snow globe in the foreground. Then there’s the silhouetted couple later in the book which is reminiscent of the similar, recurring image in Watchmen. But these are minor nits in an impressively drawn comic book.

The Massive #1 by Brian Wood (w), Kristian Donaldson (a), Dave Stewart (c), Jared K. Fletcher (l), & Sierra Hahn (e)

One thing I always have enjoyed about Brian Wood’s work is his dialog, which helps to create full-fledged characters, and that’s what draws me into this book. I don’t really care about the origins of the global catastrophe–Wood can play a The Walking Dead card in that he never has to reveal that for this comic to work. What may work against him is the hunt for the Massive by the main characters. You’d want to be careful and not get a negative reaction from the readers to the just-keeping-the-answers-out-of-reach tactic à la Lost. Finally, I’m of two minds about the back matter: 1) I enjoy the depth of information/setting that the material provides, but 2) the use of photos, maps, and redacted reports with comic art in them pull me out of the comic book world that I just read for 22 pages. Do you know what I mean? Still, I’m in it for a little while at least, though I’ve yet to stick with a Brian Wood story long term.

I also read:

  • BATGIRL #10
  • BATMAN & ROBIN #10: Damian’s a massive dick again, and I don’t care for how Tim is portrayed.
  • DC COMICS PRESENTS: SUPERMAN ADVENTURES #1: with stories written by Mark Millar. Millar?! Something just seems wrong about this, but I enjoyed the stories.
  • MIND THE GAP #2: I want to talk about this on the podcast, but I’m not sure how long I’ll stick with it.
  • SHADE #10: So so so so so good to see Frazer Irving art again.
  • SIXTH GUN #23: Finally! Some plot movement.

Pull List Review: Week 1, June 2012

Here are some thoughts about the comics I read that were released during the first week of June, 2012.

Action Comics #10 by Grant Morrison (w), Rags Morales (p), Rick Bryant (i), Brad Anderson (c), Patrick Brosseau, & Matt Idelson (e)

Just some quick notes about this issue:

  • I love that early Superman had a stash of different colored t-shirts locked away in locker 38 (for 1938, the year of Superman’s debut).
  • I also liked the conversation with older Superman and his new Justice League pals, especially Batman’s response to Superman’s question (“So what do we do now?”): “I don’t want to be part of a gang of authoritarian living weapons from America.” Is that a dig to the Authority and the lack of “of America” in the title of this comic book?
  • Clark Kent is dead?! What are you playing at Mr. Morrison?I know, I know, this old plot chestnut has been done to death; I just didn’t expect it so soon in this title, and with Morrison playing with it, I hope it’s more interesting than the thousand other times I’ve read it.
  • The one thing I really enjoy about this version of Superman is the friendship between Clark and Lois that developed before Clark went to work for the Daily Planet, which is something that I don’t think they have ever done.

Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1 by Darwyn Cooke (w & a), Phil Noto (c), Jared K. Fletcher (l), & Mark Chiarello (e)

Screw the anti-BW screeching all over the Internet–this book is beautiful. Also, it was the one title in the series that I looked forward to the most because the one thing I always wanted more information on as I read Watchmen was the Minutemen group. Finally, I just love Darwyn Cooke’s stories and his art.

Bleeding Cool Magazine #0 by Rich Johnston, et al.

Did you get this? For $1.49 you get all the goodness of the Bleeding Cool website, though, you do lose some of the timeliness of the website. But I really enjoyed this inaugural issue and look forward to subscribing to this comic-related magazine come October (but the price can’t be $1.49, I’m sure).

Creator-Owned Heroes by Jimmy Palmiotti, Steve Niles, et al

Where Bleeding Cool is definitely a magazine, COH is part magazine, part comic book anthology. Along with the interview with Neil Gaiman (and other goodies), you get two surprisingly good short stories–“Triggergirl 6” by Palmiotti & Justin Gray (w) & Phil Noto (a) and “American Muscle” by Niles (w) & Kevin Mellon (a). In fact, I wasn’t at all interested in “American Muscle” and I enjoyed it almost as much as “Triggergirl 6”, which is to say a bunch.

I also read:

  • A vs X #5: Yawn.
  • Dial H #2: Also yawn–this reads more like an uninteresting Vertigo version of Dial H for HERO; I’ll probably be dropping this soon.
  • Earth 2 #2: I plan to talk about this on the podcast, but I am loving this book!
  • Extermination #1: Another title I plan to discuss on the podcast.
  • Fairest #4: I love, love, love Phil Jimenez’s art!
  • GI Combat #2: I’ll be dropping this soon, I think, unless I get a Haunted Tank story.
  • Looney Tunes #207: Holy cats! A DC comic numbering in the three digits!!! I got this because I thought Daffy Duck was the main focus, but he only gets seven pages. Sufferin’ succotash!
  • Ramiel #2: I just can’t get into the art with this one. Plus, it’s a smidge taller than all my other comics. Huh?
  • Smallville, season 11
  • Superbia #4: This will relaunch as an ongoing, but I don’t feel I got a real ending to what was set up in the previous three issues. Very disappointing ending to a strong lead in.
  • Swamp Thing #10
  • Worlds’ Finest #2: Also liking this book, but not as much as Earth 2.