This is an exciting week for me with comics as it is the first time that I have had more independent items on my list then Marvel or DC. This week I’m picking up 33 items and 16 (49%) are independents, 13 (39%) are DC and 4 (12%) are Marvel. Personally I couldn’t be happier to see my list end up that way. Marvel has not done well with me and I’m tempted to do a blog just on what I consider the state of Marvel to be, but it should suffice to see that they are now usually the least of what I get in a week. This week I get more books from Image then Marvel. All in all an interesting turn of events.
Birds of Prey #114 – Sean McKeever (writer) run continues and this issue Oracle is trying to determine who Misfit is and Huntress and Lady Blackhawk discuss their differences. Lady Blackhawk has been a background character that has been given more and more prominence in this series over the last year and I’m growing to enjoy this time lost gal from WWII.
Booster Gold #6 – The conclusion of the first story arc, has Booster trying to save Ted Kord from being killed by Maxwell Lord. You know going in this has to end badly. I appreciate that the “Blue and Gold” team r were true friends despite their different approaches to life.
Catwoman #75 – I’m not real happy with Catwoman being dragged into the “Salvation Run” series. I like her being in our own separate little corner of the DCU, but I’m guessing an editorial mandate forced her into this series. Still if anyone can pull it off and make it work it will be Will Pfeifer (writer) and David and Alvaro Lopez (artists).
Checkmate #22 – This book is written by Greg Rucka & Eric Trautmann; Art by Chris Samnee. The official hype “"Mademoiselle Marie" concludes! Will Black Queen's Knight get her target safely out of Bialya, or will she become the latest Mademoiselle Marie to be laid to eternal rest?” The first part was interesting and a good read and I’m looking forward to see its conclusion. It is nice when supporting players are given this type of spotlight.
Countdown to Final Crisis #15 – This is continuing the Monitors vs. Monarch war, which I have enjoyed so far. It feels like this book is finally moving forward and having some resolutions to what they have building up towards. When you have a long series like this, build up is okay, but some resolutions have to occur along the way.
Flash #236 – A bittersweet issue as we conclude the first arc of Wally West and family coming back in the DCU, but also apparently Mark Waid’s last issue of the Flash. I though Mark had done a good job, but Daniel Arcuna’s art style did not work for the Flash and the undersea aliens was a little odd to start the series off with a bang. Still now with Freddie Williams aboard and Tom Peyer coming aboard in two issues as the regular writer I think the Flash is in great hands. I think as someone who enjoys growth in a character seeing Wally grow from Kid Flash, to Flash, to a married man to a family man has been a great story.
Justice League of America #17 – Two stories this month, one featuring Black Lighting fighting a JLA foe and a back-up focused on Vixen and exploring what is wrong with her powers. Flash has a back up feature lately in his book also. I’m wondering if this is not a new way for DC to try and produce a monthly comic, but keep the artists from going nuts trying to maintain said schedule. Iron Fist has past Iron Fist stories, some books have solid fill-ins, and others rotate creative teams. The solution might be that is you want to publish an ongoing series just schedule 10 issues or less a year. Otherwise the Conan solution is also a good idea and that is to commission a back story on the main character and spread that arc out over the months when your regular team needs breather.
Robin #170 – This is an exciting issue as the original writer Chuck Dixon returns to the comic he launched. Chuck Dixon knows how to write comics and writes action stories as well as anyone. Since Chuck writes for everyone I do not know if he has ever done a seminal run on a book, but Nightwing and Robin are close. We also have also have a new regular artist with Chris Batista. The talent is there; now let’s see if they deliver.
Shadowpact #21 - This is one of those series that I enjoy month in and month out, has lots of great underused characters, moves the story and characterization forward every month, yet never cracks the absolute top of my list. Still this is what one really wants from an ongoing series. Nightmaster, Nightshade, Ragman, Enchantress, Blue Devil and Detective Chimp are the main stars but they have added even more cast members over the last almost two years. A solid and entertaining series every month.
Doom Patrol Volume 6: Planet Love – The final trade paperback collection of Grant Morrison’s remaking of the Doom Patrol. I read that Arnold Drake thought Grant Morrison captured the essence of what he was trying to do better then anyone else. Morrison’s version is bizarre version of the group that explores many different themes. In re-reading Arnold Drake’s 60’s Doom Patrol it was just as far out and strange as Morrison’s was for its day. In the 60’s doing some of the wild and wacky villains and stuff that Drake did does not seem as outlandish today as it was then. Drake was doing a whacked out super group book that I think was making fun of itself at the same time it had some true dramatic scenes and respected the characters. I’m very glad that Archives is finishing the original run and glad that we got trades of Grant Morrison’s run.
American Virgin #22 – The penultimate issue of the series. The official hype “"69," Part 3 of 4. It's a dysfunctional family reunion as Adam reunites with a member of his family that he never knew. How Mamie and the rest of the Chamberlain clan will react will come as a shock that will leave one member literally reeling.” Pick up the trades on this book and check out what is a very strong series.
Programme #7 (of 12) – The Russian Super Soldiers have hit the US and are tearing up Las Vegas, will the American weapons be able to get their act together enough to respond. Peter Milligan (writer) and C.P. Smith (artist) continue their exploration of cold wars, politics and super heroes.
Wildstorm Revelations #2 (of 6) – I still feel like I’m being suckered. I read all the Armageddon specials that lead into this series and we still have no answers as to what is going, if anything. I’ll ride out this series, but the Wildstorm Universe is more of a mess now then it was before they tried a “soft” re-launch.
Fell #9 – I love when this book comes out, I hate that it comes out so infrequently. I cannot even remember when #8 hit the stands. Still Ben Templesmith (artist) has been so busy with Wormwood (as artist/writer), 30 Days Red Snow (artist/writer) and other projects that I understand this may have fallen to the wayside, but it is hands down Warren Ellis (writer) and Ben’s best work. Can’t wait to read the next adventure of Richard Fell.
76 #1 (of 8) – I did not originally ordered this book, but I want to try out issue #1. The official hype “Two continuing tales of Bicentennial street justice, featuring "Jackie Karma," by B. Clay Moore & Ed Tadem, and "Cool," by Seth Peck & Tigh Walker. Jackie Karma is a Sixties-era New York City karate master and street fighting legend who comes out of retirement to battle an old foe, while "Cool" features Los Angeles bounty hunters Pete Walker and Leon Campbell as they deal with runaway strippers, geriatric gangsters, drug-dealing dwarves and ex-porn star hit men.” This is not a premise that is blowing me away, but I want to give it a try anyway.
Strange Embrace #8 (of 8) – I’m really curious to see have David Hines wraps up this twisted and perverse tale. It is impossible to root for anyone in this story (except for maybe the young boy the story is being told to) as all of these characters have been so tainted by their lives that there are no happy endings. This is a story that will stay with you for years and a great piece of fiction.
Cemetery Blues #1 – What sold me on checking this book out is the art by Thomas Boatwright, his work in Edgar Allen Poo was so nice that I wanted to see more of it. He has an almost ethereal style to his work and a sense of whimsy that still conveys all the drama that I found very appealing. The writer does not a ring a bell with me (Ryan Rubio), but the premise of bumbling monster hunters sounds like fun.
Graveslinger #3 (of 4) – Frank Timmons is the “Graveslinger” who is in the middle of a range war and fighting to keep the dead, dead. The meshing of genres has been a great trend in many of the independents and I have been enjoying this supernatural western.
Sword #4 - I was a little bit of a “Johnny come lately” to this book as I did not pick it up until issue #3, when I got all three issues at once. The Luna Brothers art style was never my personal favorite, but it is solid art and well done. The story of an enchanted sword and the girl who ended up being stuck with it has been a fascinating story. The violence the sword allows her to do is horrifying to her and us as the readers. Especially with the style of art being so light and almost pretty, juxtaposed against heads being sliced off.
Grendel Behold the Devil #3 (of 8) – I love this series and it is nice to see it coming out in a timely manner. This tale flashing back to Hunter Rose as the Grendel has been great so far. Matt Wagner is actually better then he has ever been and he is bringing all that he has learned over the years in to structuring this story. This issue features a face off between Hunter and Argent.
Fear Agent Hatchet Job #2 (of 5) – This book is another one that you just smile when you see that another issue is coming out. The rotating art crew for each arc is great as both artists bring different strengths to Rick Remender’s self pitying “hero”. Jerome Opena is a spectacular artist and last issue his work and Michelle Marsden’s colors had the pictures almost popping off the page. A fun series, with great characters and terrific artwork.
Umbrella Academy Apocalypse Suite #5 (of 6) – I finally have an analogue for what this book is and I would call it the Morrison “Doom Patrol” for the 21st Century. It has super powered people and super villains as part of the story, but it also is a portrayal of some severely mentally damaged individuals. I guess when you get down to it; we all have scars from our lives, just hopefully not as bad as this group.
Atomic Robo #4 (of 6) – Gwen and I have hyped this comic to the moon and back, because it is that good. The creators have crafted what is one of the best fun books on the market. The clean artwork and fast paced story telling mixed with the improbable cast makes each and every issue a fun place to go and enjoy a few minutes. The official hype “In 1975, with pressure to deliver a success, NASA turns to Atomic Robo to act as a top-secret escort for their troubled Viking mission to Mars. But one small step for a robot may not be the kind of giant leap for mankind that they were hoping for.”
EC Archives Crime Suspensestories Volume 1 – This is the sixth EC archive series being started with a forward by Max Allan Collins. I’m not sure how many actual volumes I will end up with if they actually reprint all of the EC output, but so far I have nine and this will be number ten. At three or volumes a year this is a pace that I can handle. Now if I can just find time to read it.
Stranded #1 – I’m trying out this series from Virgin comics as I’m always a sucker for a good science fiction story and Mike Carey’s name as writer doesn’t hurt. The official hype “Five ordinary people must face a terrifying question: What if your entire world — your childhood, your family, all your memories — was a lie? For The Stranded, it’s true; they’re all, secretly, from another world. And now a deadly, otherworldly force has returned to try and kill them, operating through a twisted, altered human called Janus. Their only hope: Tamree, a dark, mysterious woman sent to Earth as their protector. One by one, Tamree must awaken the buried memories of The Stranded — along with their powerful, unique psychic and physical abilities. But even if they can defeat Janus, they must also deal with a deadly threat from one of their own.” Still for the most part Virgin is a company with huge resources behind it, but has yet to have series that I always can’t wait to see.
Domionon #4 (of 5) – The last issue of this book was so good, especially considering that it pulled you right back into the story even after a long hiatus. The plaque is creating super humans and if it can’t be stopped will the government nuke the city. A really well done series so far and feels like it has potential to have follow-ups.
Two Guns #5 (of 5) – The wrap-up of the “buddy movie” that has had more crosses and double crosses then you can shake a stick at. I think this series was hurt by the large delays between issues, but it will read really well as a trade paperback.
Resurrection #2 – The first issue was a good set-up and started the story off nicely. I usually enjoy post apocalypse world stories. The official hype “Chapter Two: "What Now?" That’s the question staring down the people of Earth after the mysterious end to the oppressive military domination by an alien race. Marc Guggenheim (Wolverine) and artist David Dumeer continue their intriguing look at humanity’s next chapter as we continue to learn about the political leaders, military commanders, and ordinary people struggling in this brave new world.”
Fallen Angel #23 – This is another series that never cracks my absolute best list, but is always a solid and entertaining book. The official hype “'Red Horse Riding, Part 1.' War has come thundering through Bete Noire. An ancient evil in the demonic person of Gills De Rais has come to the city that shapes the world, and he doesn't seem interested in leaving anytime soon. Alliances will shift, lives will be lost... and if the Fallen Angel is unable to stop the fall of Bete Noire, then the rest of the world may well be next.”
Iron Fist #12- Continuing the “Seven Capitals Cities of Heaven” story line. Some of my friends do not think the Iron Fist story line is too long, because it is well done. I personally believe that without Aja as the artist this book would have failed. The storylines need to be shortened and the pace a lot faster. I guess I should just switch to trades on this book.
Penance Relentless #4 (of 5) – This has been a surprisingly interesting mini-series. Since I hate that they made Speedball into Penance I was expecting to not like this exploration of his character, but instead I have been surprised by Paul Jenkins look into the psyche of this character. Paul Gulacy has done a top notch job on the art and looks as good as he has in years.
Incredible Hercules #113 – Hercules vs. Ares, wow what an original story idea. The worse part is that Incredible Hercules maybe a better comic then the Hulk. As the Red Hulk is not solicited as a mini-series I wonder how long Hercules will be in this book and how long I will continue to buy it.
New X-Men #46 – Almost to the end of Messiah Complex and it feels like the ending will be the same as too many “event” type stories, where very little has really changed. Still we will see and that will help to determine whether the X-Men get a reprieve to continue on my list or not.
That is a wrap for this week and appears to be a solid week of books. When you really think about the bang for your entertainment buck is still a bargin with comics as most books only cost $3. I also enjoy the portability of comics as they are easy to read anywhere.