Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Best and the Rest of Last Week

Back to my normal Best and Worst post after a hiatus of a few weeks. I’m kicking around changing the format of this post, but I’m not sure exactly what I want to do with it yet, so for now I will just make a few changes. Quick Hits does not say why the other books are there. Each week certain books provoke a response that may require more then what space I’m allowed on Twitter and therefore I want to make a comment but not necessarily think they are the crème de la crème of the prior week. Also at times a book just causes me to think about a certain way a company is handling their line and I use the book as a jumping off point for my commentary. So I have changed the name to the rather labored title of Other Books I wanted to Mention. Last the name of the post is The Best and the Rest of Last Week. I want to save the worst segment for only those books that I really feel that they deserve it. Perhaps because I’ve gotten older or perhaps I’m just trying to recognize that unless the book was particularly atrocious there is no need for me to bash a creator who may have given it their all, but I’m crushing it because I did not like it. If I think it is merited I will continue to tear a book apart, but I want to be more careful about it and not assign a book an arbitrary worse award.


Sweet Tooth #5 – Story and Art Jeff Lemire, Colors Jose Villarrubia. Jeff Lemire did a great job ending this first arc. He manages our expectations of these two characters who we don’t really now perfectly. Sweet Tooth truly is the innocent child that he seems, but Jeppard the man who was “saving” him is a bounty hunter or something. The ending is what made this arc. Even though we had no information on Jeppard I had come to think of him as a hardened man, but still essentially a good guy. As all that we saw was a deal he had made with the people running this compound, he can still be a decent person. We have no idea what the deal is or why he made it. It is apparent he was not 100% comfortable delivering Sweet Tooth to these people so Jeppard’s story still has miles to go. Jeff has established a great post apocalyptic world and plenty of mysteries to keep this story going for many more issues. Sweet Tooth has joined the ranks of top flight Vertigo series.

Echo #18 – Story and Art Terry Moore. – I have seriously run out of superlatives for this story. What continues to impress me is not only does Terry do a great job with the actual plot, but each and every character is so real that you can’t help but be interested in what has happened to turn their lives upside down. I have focused on the writing so much that I feel like I’m giving short shrift to the art work and that would be a grave injustice. Terry’s layouts, page design are all fantastic. The story flows naturally and easily. You are never struggling to understand how we move from panel to panel or from page to page. The actual line work is also excellent as every person is different and yet each person looks real. Expressions, body language, action are all portrayed with equal skill. Echo begins 2010 as it ended 2009 as one of the best books on the stands.


Batman Confidential #40 – This was a strong start to an arc with Sam Keith as artist/writer. The story is about Batman (Bruce Wayne) and a social worker. They are both trying to determine what type of strange creature is killing the homeless and at the end of part one has attacked Batman. Keith’s cartoon like work fluctuates from the extreme exaggeration to the almost photo realistic. I was not thrilled about it being shot from the pencils, but it was a very good start to this arc.

FVZA #2 (of 3) – This is a great story with strong writing and excellent artwork. I like that Radical has gone to the three oversized issue format to tell the story. It is one step away from just releasing it as an OGN and I’m starting to prefer that format. Radical is starting off 2010 with a winner.

Marvel Boy Uranian #1 (of 3) – Jeff Parker just rules with these characters. Marvel Boy is giving a modern age make over as we are seeing his origin retold. I love having the additional background on the Agents of Atlas. I also have continued to enjoy just how much exposure these characters are being given even though their own series was cancelled.

The Mighty #12 – This was a decent ending to a good series. While it felt like the story was forced to be wrapped up a little quickly I thought overall the series held together well. I hope DC puts this out as a nice 12 issue collection in a hard cover format.

Proof #25 – It has been awhile between issues but I’m glad to see Proof is back. This story jumped forward so it was a little confusing, but an interesting taste of where the book is going. The best news is that I thought Proof was being cancelled, but after issue #28 the book goes on hiatus and then comes back with a new #1 issue and starts what they are calling Season 2 – awesome. I love this book and glad to see it is hanging around for the foreseeable future.

Red Robin #8 - Loved how this series shows just how smart Tim Drake is. In many ways I like Tim Drake the best and thought he was a great Robin and a wonderful compliment to the Bruce Wayne Batman. Now that we have the new Batman and Robin I’m enjoying Tim’s growth of being his own hero.

Suicide Squad # 67 & Weird Western Tales #71 – The first two revived titles (essentially a series of one shots) giving new life to old cancelled titles courtesy of Blackest Night. This is DC’s marketing stunt to keep Blackest Night on the stands as much as possible given the main mini-series has January as a built in skip month. It is a solid marketing idea, but must be hell for retailers in deciding how to order these books. This week we get a tale of two ways to approach these titles, one is to tell a nice little story, but essentially it is a throw away and has no impact on Blackest Night at all. The second is to tell a good story, but map it into an ongoing series and make it work not only as a Blackest Night themed book, but advance the regular series also. Weird Western Tales was the throw away story, well written and solid art and a nice enjoyable read. I thought it was worth my $3 entry fee, but it was an easy skip if a fan has a tighter budget then mine or is just interested in the main story. Suicide Squad was great. Simone and Ostrander crafted a story that uses Blackest Night, but also made it a story about the Suicide Squad and the Secret Six AND it leads into the next issue of Secret Six. It was a very strong story that highlighted Deadshot’s relationship to both groups.

Siege #1 (of 4) - The Siege #1 (of 4) - Writer Brian Bendis, Pencils Olivier Coipel, Inks Mark Morales, Colors Laura Martin. The story is that Norman Osborne wants to attack Asgard and he needs a premise to do so. Loki knows Norman needs a reason to be able to get away with the attack and he helps Norman set up Volstagg as the fall guy in an event that kills thousands of people at a football stadium. Norman then attacks Asgard without getting the okay from the President and enlists the aid of his Avengers by promising them their full freedom if they help him. He manipulates Ares by telling him Loki is in charge as Asgard. Thor joins the fight against Norman and is getting his a** kicked which causes Captain (Steve Rogers) America to get up off his couch obviously upset. Apparently he has been watching this on TV with his costume on and the last page is a grimacing Steve Rogers in his costume minus the cowl portion. And that is the basics of issue #1.
See my full review here

Stumptown #2 – The second issue is another high quality issue. I love how the story started off on a breakneck pace and how this issue slowed down, but still moved the story and characterization forward. Plus I liked how we saw the investigation into the girl’s disappearance take place. The timing between issues does hurt as it feels like it was awhile since this book came out and that impacts the pace of the story telling.

I’m starting to get back into the rhythm of the blog again. The time away was good for me, but not good for my blog work ethic. Plus with the Ravens continuing in the playoffs after crushing the Pats has me watching the NFL playoffs and taking a lot of time. I have to say having your team make it down to being one of the last 12 is cool, the last eight is nice and if we can still be standing next week it will be awesome. All we have to do is beat the Colts at their stadium. Yikes! Can’t wait!


  1. What about just calling it Other Interests? Succinct and broad enough to cover a lot of territory.

  2. Other Interests is good, in fact I may go with Other Books of Interest.