The internet has really led to a host of experts on everything. Well at least at a lot of us think we are experts on things. I guess what caused me to make this remark is a host of political back and forth on CBR between some political blogger and CBR personnel and the comment sections underneath it all. I skim read much of it and everyone is so self assured as they know what is right and what is wrong. In the end I think this is a good thing as anyone with an IQ over room temperature should read everything and then run it through your own filter as to whether it sounds plausible or not. I think when we all thought the newspapers and television were reporting facts we were too accepting of what was being told to us. Now I find that I read things and then think about it on my own to see if it really sounds like it is real or just utter bullsh*t. In many ways I can be viewed as cynical, but a cynic is just a skeptic with the facts. On some things I can be an expert and no one can beat my expertise on what I’m getting Wednesday.
We start off with Blackest Night #7 (of 8). I’m amazed that I’m still into this series. The Rainbow Corps are set to go up against Nekron and I want to see the results. We already know Hal is running the JLA afterwards; something happened to Ollie, Aquaman is coming back from the dead, but what is death now in the DCU and what is going to happen with the Guardians and the other corps. Like I said, the series still has my interest. This includes looking forward to Blackest Night JSA #3 (of 3) and the ominously named Black Lantern Green Arrow #30.
Each one of DC’s big three has their home title coming out with Batman and Robin #9, Superman #697 and Wonder Woman #41. Of the three Batman and Robin still is the book for me. I know it has gotten a little off kilter with the overseas adventure but the Batman versus Robin issue promises to be exciting. Plus even though I’m a little concerned with all the plans I have heard about I’m holding out hope that Dick and Damian remain the dynamic duo even after all is said and done with Bruce’s return. I hope Superman and Wonder Woman pick up their game in 2010, as last year those books were only okay for most months.
Rounding out books from the DCU we have Flash Rebirth #6 (of 6), Gotham City Sirens #9, Justice Society of America #36, and The Web #6. Plus we have a lone strangler from Wildstorm with Victorian Dead #4 (of 6). You know DC has kicked Dan Didio upstairs from Executive Editor to co-publisher with Jim Lee. From an outsider’s perspective I’m a little confused because under Dan, DC has been hit or miss. The Web is already being revamped and he had many other aborted series that started in disaster. Flash Rebirth is a series that after all the hype and push around the book has sort of become an afterthought. I guess the proof will be in the actual series. Heck, Johns did not really starting hitting his stride with GL until the regular series was a year old or more. Of course trying to understand the decision making when you are just a fan is almost an impossible task. My bottom line is that they choose Didio, Lee and Johns as the main three guys driving the bus and each one of those loves this art form. So good luck gentlemen and may your successes outweigh your failures and may you have to courage to be willing to fail.
Vertigo has a strong week with three of my favorite series coming out Madame Xanadu #20, Northlanders #25 and Scalped #35. Madame Xanadu is in the midst of a two part flashback by guest illustrator Joelle Jones and of course Matt Wagner. Joelle’s work is nice, but for me Amy Hadley is the artist for this book. I appreciate the high quality artists who have filled in and keeping the book monthly helps with sales, so all is good, but I miss Amy’s work anytime she is not the illustrator on the book. Scalped is a one shot by Jason Aaron with Daniel Zezlj, whose art work I love, about how live is in the Badlands. Northlanders is in the middle of the excellent “Plague Widow” arc. All three of these books are great series.
Marvel is Siege heavy this week with New Avengers #62, Thunderbolts #141 and Thor #607 all being tied into the event. Thunderbolts is my favorite book to add and drop from my list. It is such a strange duck since Ellis left the book, but it appears Jeff (Agents of Atlas) Parker is at the writing helm for right now and I will hang in and see how this book morphs into whatever form it will take after Siege. This issue the Thunderbolts are called in to help with the Siege and run into the Mighty Avengers, depending on who is part of that group right now it could be a one sided fight in favor of the good guys.
Next up I have two hard covers from Marvel with Marvel Masterworks Volume #132. This is the twelfth volume for the Fantastic Four and covers issues #117-#128 and I believe it contains the last regular issue with Stan Lee as the writer. By now I think the FF was no longer the number one title for Marvel and Spider-Man had become king, after that the X-Men and now the Avengers. Still some highly entertaining issues, although at the end of Stan’s writing career at Marvel he was repeating his stories a lot. The other thing is this era does not hold up as well as the earlier material in my opinion, but I will have to re-read again to be sure. The other hard cover is the Avengers Korvac Saga which was Jim Shooter’s brain child and suffered from a lot of creative hands being involved. Today it would have been a mini-event and delayed for months as the one artist writer team completed it. It was still a good story and one I’m happy to add to my collection.
The rest of Marvel is a mixed bag with Fantastic Four #576, Marvels Project #6 (of 8), Realm of Kings Inhumans #4 (of 5), Secret Warriors #13 and X-Factor #202. So far Jonathan Hickman’s run on the FF is not blowing me away month after month, but it has drawn me back into the series and made it one that is never on my radar for cancellation. Also it is in my mind as to what is happening and how these storylines will play out. The whole Franklin Richards mystery has been well done and I really appreciate that the FF feels like a family again. I still hate the static approach in that Johnny is the perpetual 20 something after 50 years, but if the stories are good I can let that pass. Dale Eaglesham as the main artist on the series still has everyone a little too buff but I’m back to reading the FF on a regular basis and that makes me happy, my complaints are minor quibbles at best.
Five very good books and one unknown are on my list from the indy side of the world. We have the glorious and insane Cowboy Ninja Viking #4. One thing I will have to get the trade of this so I can re-read it, but it better be in the Golden Age size. Walking Dead #70 is out in which Rick and his crew is joining another community of survivors outside the Washington, DC area (welcome to the neighborhood Rick, stop in Baltimore one day). Kirkman set us up thinking we may find out what caused the plague, but has left that plot thread in the dust for now. I want to learn more. Captain Swing #1 (of 4) is the wildcard in this group as Ellis has a flying pirate ship in the 1830s. Ellis has been hit or miss for me of late, but I will try out any and all of his number one issues. Gravel #17 the continuing story of our Combat Magician who is now the man in Magic, at least in England, always a good read. The very sacrilegious Chronicles of Wormwood The Last Battle #3 (of 6), which due to its slow publishing schedule I had actually forgotten about. Last and far from least is Irredeemable #11. I have gone from loving this series and thinking it could be a seminal work, to thinking it is a good series and one that I enjoy. If it had been a limited series it would have been better, in my opinion. If the truth is told I can still be proven wrong, but stories that have an ending going in are often better stories.
This is the kind of week that actually makes me get into an almost can’t wait for Wednesday mode. Thankfully I’m sure my real job and life have plenty to keep me occupied until then.