Pull List Review (9/28/11 Comics)

Most of the comics from that week were DC’s new number ones and Travis & I reviewed them in the latest LBR podcast. To find out what I thought of those fourth week DCnU 52 comics*, have a listen.

Now on with the rest of the comics I read from that week.

FF #9: The moments in this comic just keep coming. After fellow villains turn on Dr. Doom, he triumphs and attacks Diablo, which prompts the Mad Thinker to wax a bit metatextual in that he tries to convince Doom to do what is unexpected, what is missing in the story, i.e., him being merciful, and the Mad Thinker says, “Shock the world, Victor. Shock the world.” To which Doom replies, “I think not,” as he blasts Diablo (and presumably the Mad Thinker). Later, I noticed that the alternate Reeds have various weapons, one of which is the Infinity Gauntlet and another has Rom’s blaster! Finally, one of the Reeds not only captures Doom, but humbles the dictator by literally collaring him under the threat of frying Doom’s brain if Doom does not help that Reed. Wow.

Mighty Thor #6: Well, at times, this was a fun ride. This is my last issue of this series, since I’d read that Marvel is bringing in a new Thunder God in this title, so I’m gone! While this storyline started out with a BANG, it ended in a much more subtle way, though, do we really need to have Silver Surfer trapped on Earth or is it Asgard? I’m not clear on where exactly the Surfer is stationed. Also, the bit involving the preacher becoming Galactus’ new herald seemed very fast in coming. I didn’t get the sense in the previous five issues that this character would want to become what he does here. Also, when did Silver Surfer become the uncaring character that he describes himself to be? Granted, I do not read a lot of Marvel titles and haven’t for many years, so maybe this depiction of the Surfer is currently accurate? It just felt like well-trodden ground to me. My final complaint involves the timeline in the last few pages. After the battle between Asgard and Galactus is averted, one of the next pages indicates the time being “Later”, yet Thor now has a full beard. So, either Thor’s beard grows really fast, or the timeline here is messed up. However, despite these small issues, I actually really enjoyed this title overall. It made me a fan of Matt Fraction’s writing, and the Olivier Coipel art was pretty good. I especially liked the characterization of Loki and his relationship with Thor. I think I’ll miss it.

New Avengers #16.1: You know, I used to really like Neal Adams’ art, but apparently not any more. This issue is even more poorly drawn than Adams’ work in Batman: Odyssey. In fact, my dislike of the art colors my overall impression of the issue. Anyway, this issue is just a set up of the return of the Dark Avengers arc that appears to be the next major storyline in this title. I almost dropped the title after hearing that Osborn and his team were coming back, though I thought Marvel and Bendis were allowing the Dark Avengers to take over the book again and I wanted nothing to do with that, but some solicitations I’d read indicated to me that my beloved New Avengers will still be a focal point of their book.

Sixth Gun #15: Talk about decompressed storytelling. Plot-wise, not much happens in this issue, but man, the Gord Cantrell part of the issue was C R E E P Y! In fact, some panels reminded me of the The Shining. And the final page with Becky and her dead father showing up was a nice cliff-hanger to get me wanting the next issue! Hmm, now that I think about it, ghosts are a connecting element between both mini-stories in this issue.

* These are the titles we reviewed:

  • All-Star Western #1
  • Aquaman #1
  • Batman: The Dark Knight #1
  • Blackhawks #1 (not really–neither of us read it!)
  • Flash #1
  • Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men #1
  • Green Lantern: New Guardians #1
  • I, Vampire #1
  • Justice League Dark #1
  • Savage Hawkman #1
  • Teen Titans #1
  • Voodoo #1

Pull List Review (8/31/11 Comics)

In case you missed it, Oddfellow and I talked extensively about Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1 in episode 9 of the LBR podcast. Check it out!

For the rest of the comics I read for the week of 8/31/11, see below.

Angel & Faith #1: I never read the IDW Angel: After the Fall series as it was being published monthly, though I did buy some cheaply priced trades of the first eight issues and enjoyed them. Now that Angel is published side by side with Buffy, Season 9 at Dark Horse, I decided to try this series out. It starts out strong enough, with Angel finally not catatonic and trying to amend for his murdering of Giles, with Faith as his helping hand/guide. Things are full circle because we saw Angel do the same for Faith during the television series, much to Buffy’s consternation. It turns out that Giles had been maintaining his Watcher Files and now Angel is reading those files and acting upon them where he needs to. The art is good enough, meaning that the principles look enough like them to appease me. The lack of duplicating to some degree the actors’ faces is one reason I don’t generally buy media tie-in comics, but Rebekah Isaacs pulls it off sufficiently. And I love the Steve Morris cover. I’ll stick around for the first story arc and then I’ll see, but that’s what I said about Buffy, Season 8 and I stuck around for 40 issues. :)

Mighty Thor #5: If I had to pick one word to describe this title, I would have to use BOMBASTIC! Odin headbutts Galactus?! That is some shite right there, let me tell you. I love the somewhat  unconventional elements in this storyline that Matt Fraction throws in because anything with Thor and the Asgardians as the focus should be a bit over the top. When Thor rushes to his father’s aid, he tells the old man, “. . . there are times I hate you . . . but I will escort to Hel personally anything that torments you more than I.” That pretty well sums up the relationship between these two, doesn’t it? The two plots of the book–the fight with Galactus and the conflict with the townsfolk–meet at the end of the issue with the Pastor heading toward Galactus saying, “I’ve always wanted to meet God . . .”. I’m looking forward to next issue. A pity I won’t be continuing with this book. (Also discussed in episode 9 was the price per page of content in this comic. Guess how pissed I am when I realize I only get 20 pages for $3.99?)

Sixth Gun #14: The origin story of the mummy we saw at the end of #12 and more in #13. I actually really enjoyed this interlude. It’s the usual disfigured, ostracized boy meets young girl who doesn’t care about his affliction story, but I like those, so this rendition was ok to me. We have a guest artist (Tyler Crook) for this issue, but honestly, except for the painted-looking panels, I didn’t even really notice that much of a difference, which I like. It helps maintain the overall continuity. The story ends with a revelation of a sort: Sinclair “succeeds” in remaking the world with those guns. Of course, this is according to a mummy seer, so who knows how it will all work out?

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.

Pull List Review (6/29/11 Comics)

Batman, Inc. #7: I actually haven’t been enjoying the recruitment drive that Batman has been on in this series, but for some reason I really enjoyed this issue. I wanted to read more about the Native American father & son Batman and Robin analogs. The only problem I have with it is that I’m wondering how, or now IF, Morrison will be wrapping up the story before September. Of course, this series will return after the Relaunch, but will DC somehow end this series in September story-wise or just stop it for the eventual return?

FF #5: Oh, I hate Reed Richards! How dare he blast Susan in the face with a ray gun?! Ok, it was an alternate Reed who apparently prefers brunettes, which just proves that that Reed is an idiot. ;) But the look on Susan’s face when she realizes that this Reed is not hers (pre-ray-gun blast) is just so beautifully done by Barry Kitson. I now know my answer to the “Which comic book character would you want to date?” question I asked Oddfellow in LBR Episode 4. :D The two-page scene between Ben and Alicia was also a very nice moment. Finally, the part where Reed (our Reed, not the doppelgänger) is examining Susan after her battle at Old Atlantis, where she glares at him, waiting for an explanation is priceless, and then when he sits down, defeated and anxious, telling her that he’s done something terrible was just brilliantly done by Hickman and Kitson. I do believe that this is my new favorite comic. Also, reading this makes me want to create a superhero in City of Heroes with force field and invisibility powers because I love Susan so much. I know, NERD! :)

Flashpoint: Project Superman #1: Harumph! Here we get another first issue of a Flashpoint tie-in that, while providing background and world-building, doesn’t really get me into the story that will be this series. Ok, I’m probably judging this too harshly based on my frustration of all the tie-ins I’ve read so far, so I’ll try to stop doing that. I swear this story was done just so we could have a blond “Superman”. :) So, since in this world Kal-El hasn’t arrived until the end of the issue (I assume), what alien DNA do they splice with Blondie to give him Superman’s powers? Another Kryptonian? J’onn J’onzz’s? None of the above? Anyone read Booster Gold #45 who could tell me? I actually liked that editor’s box plugging the tie-in to Booster Gold–I miss that in comics.

Flashpoint: Canterbury Cricket #1: So, is he a man who thinks he is a cricket, or a cricket who thinks that he is a man? And here’s another mini-rant: the human character’s name is Jeremy Chriqui. Who besides the writer thinks that’s cute? Does Mike Carlin like the actress, or is it just that he wanted a similar sounding last name that wasn’t Cricket? I don’t understand why we needed this one-shot. The story it tells isn’t all that interesting and could have been summarized in at most a few panels in some other book if DC wanted to spotlight this character. Or is this part of the diversity campaign that DC’s on by giving us an English character?

Sixth Gun #12: Okay, first of all, go read Oddfellow’s review of this issue. For me, however, this is yet another story I’ve read recently where it’s just one long fight scene. I enjoyed it, but really got nothing out of it that moves the overall story forward. The main element I liked was at the end when Sinclair gets wide-eyed because he thought he saw a giant mummy jump onto the train (which he did). Given what we know about Sinclair (and Oddfellow points this out as well), why does a giant mummy freak him out like that given what he’s had to deal with thus far, and deal with it in a pretty calm and straight-forward manner? Either we have some fake moment of distress hoisted upon us, or there’s something going on here with Sinclair or his past that I hope turns out to be intriguing (I hope it’s the latter). As to the art, I love how Brian Hurtt uses the two-page spread to such an advantage for the fight scenes in this issue.

Wonder Woman #612: I really enjoyed the reveal of the why in this “Odyssey” storyline, but it’s nothing Earth-shattering, though, I did think that perhaps the Greek gods were behind it as a way to teach Diana a lesson as opposed to helping her defeat a greater enemy. The part where Diana goes through the portal and is confronted by the statues of her defeated Amazons was a little creepy (they had word balloons, but no words), though it reminded me too much of the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who. The ending splash page is interesting, but who are we seeing? Our version of Diana, Nemesis in her form, or just some illusion designed to unbalance Diana in the coming fight? Looking forward to the next issue to see how this pans out.

Xombi #4: I was disappointed in this issue as it is mostly a talking heads issue (in some cases, literally) giving us Annie’s back-story. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed John Rozum’s characters and interactions in this we-can-breath-now-after-the-post-apocalyptic-battle story, but given that we only have a couple issues left, did we really need a whole comic to give us this information? That’s unfair, I know, since this was probably scripted and drawn before any announcement from DC about the Relaunch was made, but still. I just enjoy this comic so much in general that I don’t want any wasted moments before the end. DC really dropped the ball by not including this series as part of its Relaunch. If this series were to continue, I would be more forgiving as this issue would just be building up the next chapter in the story.