Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Best to Worst of Last Week

There was a point this week as I was reading my books that I thought I could have a week where nothing was going to be best of the week. There would have been a book listed at the top, but I was feeling nothing was going to be that special. Of course I try to put what I think the best 10 books for the week towards the bottom of the stack, so I should have had a little faith that a true top book would show up and it did and it had competition.

Locke & Key #3 – Writer Joe Hill, Art Gabriel Rodriquez, Colors Jay Fotos. This series has so much going for it that I really can’t help but want to go out and buy Joe Hill’s prose novels as if they are half as good as this story they will be well worth my time. This issue focuses on 15 year old Kinsey and how she is trying to cope with a myriad of issues. First she is growing up, second she is the new kid in high school, third her father was murdered by a psychopath who has now escaped from prison and finally her little brother is very odd. This is a horror story, mystery story, drama and a coming of age story all at the same time. The art by Gabriel Rodriquez is very well done. He mixes up his panel layouts and points of view to help tell even more of the story. His use of body language to express Kinsey’s reluctance to try and be friends with another girl was well done. His style has a realistic edge with a cartoonist touch to it that is a great style. I don’t say enough about the colorist because I have less of an idea as hard their job is, but whenever I see Jay Fotos name I know it will be a plus for a comic. IDW has a real winner on their hands with this series.
Simon Dark #7 – Writer Steve Niles, Art Scott Hampton, Colors Chris Chuckry. I absolutely loved this issue. The story really takes off with the bad guys putting some sort of demonic like creature into soap bars and the creatures then bite and enter the person. That person then becomes a cold blooded homicidal maniac. There is a great scene where a guy’s wife pushes him out a window of an apartment building and she jumps after him and they crash into a car. This is a good as time as any to say the Scott Hampton is outdoing himself with the art in this book. The actual look and style of the art is great and the layouts and design of the pages are fantastic. Scott has created an atmospheric quality that no other comic can match. We also learn that Simon Dark has a specific purpose and it appears to be he may have the key to stopping this group from spreading these creatures. This book deserves your attention.
Terry Moore’s Echo #2 - Story and Art Terry Moore. This series is progressing very nicely. This issue Julia goes to the Emergency Room to see what the heck this metal is on her skin. She goes to get into her truck and all the pellets on her truck gravitate to her body and increase the amount of material now sealed to her skin. The hospital thinks she is playing a prank, but she has no clue what is going on. We know that it is the suit that was on Annie and as the pieces come together it is reforming on Julie. I assume that ultimately Julie will be able to hear or sense Annie, hence the title of the book. Still the owner of the suit knows someone was there when the suit rained down on the land and has sent a young woman Ivy out to find who was on the ground when the accident happened. Ivy is obviously a bad a** and she will be after Julie. This is such an easy read, yet it accomplishes so much and the art work is great. I’m just becoming a Terry Moore fan, but I may have to go back and get Strangers in Paradise now. I find that I’m enjoying stories that actually have a beginning middle and an end more and more.
Scalped #16 – Writer Jason Aaron, Art R. M. Guera, Colors Giula Brusco. A week late for me as my store was shorted on Wednesday and that’s when I pick up my books. This was another strong issue of what is one of the best series on the racks. While I would not make it a best book this week, it sets the concluding chapter very well. Dead Mothers has been the best arc that this series has done. This issue we see Bad Horse is looking for the guy who killed the young boy’s mother outside of his jurisdiction. He has no luck and returns to the reservation to see his young friend off. Later when pulling over two drunks he sees a gift he gave the boy in the back seat of the car. After “gently” asking them what happened he finds out he has gone after the killer himself. Dash Bad Horse goes to stop him. In the story line about Bad Horse’s mother we see the FBI agent in charge of that area go to Red Crow and just push him and push him and push him. Since he is an FBI agent Red Crow has to just seat there and take all the crap this guy is dishing out. As he leaves and goes down towards his office he sees two casino employees holding a man and asks why. They tell him he was cheating. Red Crow takes out all of his rage and frustration on the man until his body guards have to pull him off what it left of the man. Not only the best straight dramatic book on the market, but arguably one of the best series period.
Batman Confidential #16 – Writer Tony Bedard, Pencils Rags Morales, Inks Mick Gray and Rodney Ramos, Colors I.L.L. This was a very good ending to a really nice story arc. I like that it ended with the new Wrath in Blackgate prison so that he can be used one day again to be part of Batman’s rogue gallery. I enjoyed this arc enough that if they put it in a hard cover and add the original Wrath tale as a back up I would pick it up. This issue was a great action issue with Batman and Nightwing chasing after the Wrath and the Wrath turning the tables on them with his Wrathmobile versus the Batman mobile. It also highlights Dick’s detective skills and had a good showdown to end the issue as Nightwing and Batman took down the wrath.
BPRD 1946 #4 (of 5) – Writers Mike Mignola and Joshua Dysart, Art Paul Azaceta, Colors Nick Filardi. The Mignolverse is so much fun to read. I read Hellboy when it first came out and then drifted away from it over the years. Then I got back into with a gift of all the BPRD stuff from a friend and now I’m just enjoying the heck out of it. It is so nice they way all the parts that are thrown out there all fall into place and fit together. It was amazing to pick up the first hard cover collection of Hellboy this week and flip through it and see how everything from the beginning fits it the stories being told now. Have you ever put together a 1,000 piece puzzle and struggle to find pieces to put together? As you do you can start to see the picture come into shape. Once it does the puzzle starts to come together faster and faster and you are anxious to see how it looks as a completed picture. I know the box shows it to you, but for me seeing the puzzle in its full grandeur was cool. The Mignolverse is like that to me and it is all coming together, it’s just that they are releasing the pieces too damn slow. Not really, but I always glad to get another piece. My favorite part of this series is the demon that has taken the shape of a little girl who runs the Russian counterpart to BPRD. She is scary and extraordinarily funny all at the same time.
Justice Society of America #14 – Story Geoff Johns and Alex Ross, Writer Geoff Johns, Pencils Dale Eaglesham, Inks Prentis Rollins, Colors Alex Sinclair. Long past due that this series got moving forward again. I love the JSA, but the slow build has been killing me on this book. This issue we see Power Girl asks Sandman to track down Gog and he finds him in the jungle fighting Infinity Man. We then cut back to JSA headquarters and see the entire group has gathered around the table. As they are discussing going after Gog he appears with Sandman hanging from his staff. A huge fight breaks out and the issue ends on the streets with Green Lantern (looking all Kingdom Come like) and Obsidian ready to bring the battle to Gog. I enjoyed this issue a lot more then recent issues as the story is actually moving forward. A small side note is that right before Power Girl goes into Sandman’s room we “hear” his internal monologue that tells us he can’t sleep due to dreams of criminals who are doing some bad things and only gets a good night’s sleep after he catches them. So he really has become Sandman in all ways and I want to see a mini-series about him. Another note, as I’m mentioning great colorists this week, Alex Sinclair is certainly a top one. Last and not least Dale Eaglesham is a great artist and has become better and better, I hope DC has this guy signed to an exclusive.
The Foundation #4 (of 5) – Writer John Rozum, Art Chee, Colors Pablo Quiligotti. This is a well done series and after issue #4 I think I will have to expend a few dollars and pick up the trade paper back when it is published. BOOM has a great philosophy when it comes to selecting the graphic novels they are publishing. This combines conspiracy theories with covert ops and gives us a good action adventure. Plus by focusing on one main character, Valentine, we have a character to identify with. This issue after surviving the set-up and seeing so many fellow agents die, Valentine manages to escape the enemy and figures out who the mole in the Foundation is. Next issue Valentine goes after the mole Waters and tries to stop his plan.
Screamland #2 (of 5) – Story Harold Sipe, Art Hector Casanova. This issue was unexpected. In issue #1 we met Frankenstein’s Monster and see that he has hit hard times and is a bit of a lush with no real direction. His agent lands him a role in a new movie, but it involves the rest of the old gang (Dracula, The Mummy and Wolf-Man). Last issue was a comedic gem with some terrific art, but was firmly a tongue in cheek story. This issue we start with some Frankenstein in therapy humor and then focus on the Mummy’s story. The story is more of a tragedy as the Mummy’s life has gone worse then everyone else’s life. We see snippets of his past troubles and learn he is nowhere to be found. While certainly still a lot of fun, you really felt badly for what has happened to the Mummy, but it also makes sense inside the premise of the book. Next issue we focus on the Wolf-Man. This book is a true gem and if you like well written, well illustrated books, that have a sense of humor, yet can still tell stories that pull on your heart strings, then pick this book up.
Criminal Macabre My Demon Baby #4 (of 4) - Writer Steve Niles, Art Nick Stkal, Colors Michelle Madsen. This issue was extremely late, not sure why, but it was very easy to pick up the story again. Cal finally succeeds in saving the possible anti-Christ from all the people after it, but only with an assist from the baby. Cal is fighting off the Knight Templar and the baby floats up and fries it with beams from its eyes. Cal gives the baby to someone he knows so the child has a chance at a normal life. I expect that the baby will return in some future story of this series. Some of the best parts of this book are the dialogue lines that Steve Niles comes up with. My favorite line this issue came as the Knight is shoving a sword into Cal’s shoulder and he thinks “It was nights like this that made me wish I had a pez dispenser filled with vicodin.” I mean who hasn’t thought that. Finally a note to say that Michelle Madsen is another top colorist in the field.
Criminal 2 #2 Writer Ed Brubaker, Art Sean Phillips, Colors Val Staples - This issue is all about Teeg Lawless who is the father of the character Tracy Lawless who was the focus of the second arc of this comic. While each one of the first three issues of the re-launched Criminal are stand alone books, they are actually giving us a lot of back story about the setting of this series. Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips really pour a lot of love and devotion into this book and it shows. It is always a page turner and you get drawn into this world every time you’re read this book. BUT, I almost feel like they are trying too hard to make this a tough, gritty, down and dirty book. Teeg Lawless is such a bastard that the excuse of Nam tearing him up doesn’t ring true. Also the fact that is worried someone will kill his sons seems untrue as he exhibits absolutely no caring for them at all. That is why I feel like they maybe trying to hard to make it so down and dirty you lose any ability to care for the character you are reading about and therefore do not feel connected to the series. Don’t get me wrong this is still one of the better series on the stands.
Resurrection #4 – Writer Marc Guggenheim, Art David Dumer. This post apocalyptic story is answering the question is how will the human race deal with their world being plundered by an alien race for 10 years after they leave. This was the best issue of this series so far. I know it is only 4 issues in, but it is important that a series like this continues to be interesting. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this book will be as strong as Walking Dead, especially if given a chance to survive for that long. This issue we moved all three main story lines forward and we had a bunch of shocking events. We open with a flashback as Norman Tulley is meeting with the President at the start of the invasion. This is where my only quibble came into play; the artist’s ability to differentiate who is who still needs some work. He needs to have a better repertoire of distinctive faces. The conversation between the President and Tulley was tough because it was hard to tell who was who. After the flashback we see Norman now covered with some sort of fungus from one of the alien ships and his aide is about to shoot him. We cut to Paul Dolan (the head of what is left of the US Government) as he puts down an attempted overthrow of his leadership by shooting the two military guys who were trying to take over. Then we check in with Judith, whose “pet alien” has escaped and she shots two people who saw him to keep quiet any problems what she has done will cause. This is becoming a really good series and has the potential to be a great series.
Wolverine #64 – Writer Jason Aaron, Art Ron Garney, Colors Jason Keith. The bad part about this story arc is that it is over in one more issue and then I will be dropping Wolverine again. I’m enjoying Logan’s chase of Mystique and learning about their shared history. I still don’t get why everyone the X-Men are after have to die, but the actual story itself has been well done. Ron Garney’s art on this arc has been excellent. It has all the grittiness and strong dramatic touches that just aces this story. Logan blowing himself up to get into a military base was ridiculous and points out an element that I have grown tired of with Wolverine, he has a healing factor that can overcome everything and for all practical purposes is immortal. Still that is minor quibble and I look forward to the conclusion next issue.
Green Lantern Corps #23 – Writer Peter Tomasi, Pencils Patrick Gleason, Inks Prentis Rollins, Colors Guy Major. This was a good build up issue. A group of Lanterns are called in by the Guardians to go after the Sinestro Corps Rings. The lanterns called in are the ones who performed well in the actual war. At the same time we see Mogul gathering yellow rings and the he has those plants that cause one to fall into a dream world. At the end of the issue Kyle and Guy refuse to follow the Guardian’s orders and go after Arisa and Sodam (who have gone missing) with the rest of their group. Unbeknownst to our heroes they are now captives of Mogul. As I said a good build up issue. One thing is really apparent the Guardians are no longer the benevolent good guys they were once betrayed as and being a Green Lantern has become a very different type of job.
Titan #1 – Writer Judd Winick, Pencils Ian Churchill, Inks Norm Rapmund, Colors Edgar Delgado. My big concern about this series was there going to be a logical reason for this group to come back together given how their lives have moved so far apart? Judd Winick pulled it off for me as having the return of Trigon (which was what brought this group together the first time) made perfect comic book sense. It was a nice touch to see each member of the group facing some danger on their own and not know what was causing it. Then they all gathered where Cyborg and his new group of Titans was attacked and badly beaten in the Titans East Special and the reveal that Trigon is back is determined by Raven. Ian Churchill’s art has progressed and he is really moving past that old Image house style from years ago and is moving into the more elite class of super hero artists. The issue was graced with a lot of major single page panels and that let Ian cut loose. This was a very good start for this series.
Exterminators #28 – Writer Simon Oliver, Art Tony Moore, Inks John Lucas, Colors Brian Buccellato. The final arc as this series draws to a close is about the battle between Atan and the boys from Bug-Bee-Gone. All the elements that have been carefully laid out are being brought into play and the pace was ratcheted up a few notches. The Mayan hissers are sent by Atan to get the last key from Henry to release a god and give that god dominion over Earth. There are so many hissers the building is collapsing around Henry and his fellow exterminators. You can tell that this story is being pushed forward and done sooner then they wanted, but it was necessary to give the series some closure. This was a solid start to the final arc on what has been a well done series.
Wormwood Gentleman Corpse #11 Calamari Rising #3 (of 4) – It is all Ben Templsmith’s fault. I’m going to be sacrilegious and state that this was not the best issue of Wormwood. There I’ve said it; it was not as good as the last two issues and probably not as good as the conclusion. Oh sure it had Ben’s wonderful artwork and some brilliance in the absurdity of it all, but it suffered from too much of a plot. Ben had actually written a rather involved story and got himself stuck and in writing how Wormwood defeats mama squid. The story got mired down in having to tell too much of a plot. Still the issue was saved when Wormwood facing certain death from mom’s kids is saved by Elvis and not just any Elvis, overweight Vegas Elvis. Too funny.
Goon #23- Writer/Artist Eric Powell, Colors Dave Stewart. This issue we ran into what I call middle chapter syndrome. Often when a writer is telling a long form story they run into an issue that the pacing of the novel they are telling is in need of a lot of set-up and moving the plot along to get to a climax, but no actual climax. The Goon is trying to find out what happened to the Zombie Priest and having no luck. Other enemies have returned and appear to be very powerful. Looks like Goon is in for the fight of his life very soon. What this book always has is the great art of Eric Powell, so when Eric Powell the writer produces a necessary pacing chapter we are still greeted by Eric Powell the artist and that is never anything but brilliant. Also a brief tip of the hat to Dave Stewart, he is another colorist that when I see his name in the credits you know the book will look great.
Booster Gold #8 – Writers Geoff Johns and Jeff Katz, Pencils Dan Jurgens, Finisher Norm Rapmund, Colors Hi-Fi. Another strong issue from what has been a surprisingly very strong series. This issue Booster and Beetle join up with a rag tag group of heroes to go up against Maxwell Lord and Superman (who is under his mind control). The group consists of Pantha, Wild Dog, Anthro, Green Arrow and Hawkman. The entire group is killed as Blue and Gold true to right history again. Booster and Beetle escape and decide the only way to take out Max is to gather the old JLI together to win back the day. It is painfully obvious that Ted will have to die again to set time right, but I wonder if they are going to go that direction as it is so obvious. If they do, the emotional aspect of it would be very powerful if done right.
Green Arrow / Black Canary #7 Writer Judd Winick, Pencils Mike Norton, Inks Wayne Faucher, Colors David Baron– I almost cried when I realized that Cliff Chiang was off this issue and apparently is off the book. Not sure what happened, but thanks Cliff for great work. Mike Norton takes over and he has a similar style, but just not as refined as Cliff’s work, still it is not a bad replacement for Cliff and I’m sure Mike will make this book its own. This issue also was a little slower then what we have seen. Green Arrow, Black Canary and Speedy get a led and go to England to find out more on who stole Connor. There is a bar fight with a character then seems superfluous all to get a another led from him about the League of Assassins being behind the affair. Now Ollie and Dinah are after Ras As Ghul. The expectations on this book are high and a decent issue feels like a let down and this was a decent issue.
Nova #12 – Writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, Pencils Paul Pelletier, Inks Rick Magyar, Colors Guru eFX. This issue we finally see Nova cured of the techno-virus that was threatening to overwhelm him. The cure was via a convoluted route that involved Warlock and his people and was a little “deus ex machine”, but it made comic book sense. Nova also gets Gamora and Drax cured and with Warlock and an adult Techarch (Warlock’s race) they go off to fight the Phalanx. This story line concludes in Annihilation Conquest and Nova goes back to having his own series. I like Nova and thought the series was going great guns when it started but this Annihilation Conquest adventure where Nova was sort of on the outside of the battle slowed the series down, but it is still a very solid series and one of Marvel’s top series. Paul Pelletier is a very good and I think under rated artist and I always happy to see his pencils. He did a terrific job with this issue and had some great wide screen panels.
Wonder Woman #19 – Writer Gail Simone, Pencils Bernard Chang, Inks Jon Holdrige, Colors I.L.L. I want to like this series more then I do, but it still is not clicking for me. This issue is part 2 of Wonder Woman helping the Khunds’ homeworld from being destroyed. She ends up making an enemy of sorts of a god like alien race who leaves the Khunds alone, but places any future crimes of theirs on WW’s head. We also check in with Tom Tresser as he wonders why WW is courting him. The book still does not have a rhythm yet and next issue will be our third artist in seven issues which is not helping. Saying this is the best this series has been since it re-launched is damning it with faint praise, but that’s what we have at this time.
Suburban Glamour #4 (of 4) – Story and Art Jamie McKelvie, Colors Matthew Wilson. The art is so clean and the line work is just flat out gorgeous, the story is something that I’m sure my daughter Gwen and many others who have more of a fantasy bent will enjoy, but this will be my last issue of Suburban Glamour. The story is essentially rebellious teen finds out she is a fairy princess, but does not want to return to fairyland and reminds here on Earth. She now has fairy type powers and was last seen winging her way home. I guess you could call it a coming of age story, but for me the real draw (no pun intended) is the art work and that is not enough to make me look out for a second mini-series on these characters. Still for the fantasy audience I think this book may have a lot of appeal and the book is well produced.
Countdown to Final Crisis #3 – Head Writer Paul Dini with Sean McKeever, Story Consultant Keith Giffen, Art Freddie Williams II, Colors Pete Pantazis. This was a battle issue with a lot off action, but ultimately nothing really happening. Mary Marvel this issue has progressed so far along the path of evil that she now has no qualms about anyone being killed or trying to kill anybody. Last issue she was just seduced by the dark side again and now she is almost totally evil. I didn’t like how Garth Ennis was denigrating his version of Mary Marvel in Boys and I don’t see what made her so evil in this story. Anyway Darkseid wants the powers that he put into Jimmy Olsen, Superman shows up only to have Darkseid beat him up. As Darkseid is about to win the Atom in Jimmy’s brain releases Jimmy from control of Darkseid and now we will have a showdown between Jimmy Olsen and Darkseid. It is almost too absurd and really has not been worth the 50 week wait. At least this will be over in two weeks.

I thought this was a decent week of books. I only had four books below the line and nothing got cut from my list. Locke & Key hit the top of the charts for me and I believe it was number one for me once before. This is an excellent series from IDW and I would recommend that if you haven’t tried it out, find this issue and read it.


  1. It always amazes me how you can get things SO RIGHT...

    AND SO WRONG at the same time.



  2. Titan #1

    UGH! I was not impressed by this issue. This should have been a FCBD intro or something. The art's solid, and I like Winick, but seriously, this was a weak first issue. I agree that Trigon was a 'reason' to pull the team together but it felt forced. Also, the Titans East special was a horrible story with way to much violence and gore to appeal to me in my superhero comics. When I read something to do with the Titans I'd prefer something a little more heroic. I hope this comic ends up being good, but I wasn't impressed with the opening.

    Also, what's up with Donna? That was a random reintegration and costume change.

  3. Also, BC/GA would have been at the top of my list - The opening had me laughing out loud, it was brilliant.