Sunday, December 05, 2010

The List - November 2010

This month The List is a bit skewed. Three trades are on the list and bump some monthlies down. No reflection on the bumped monthlies, but these are really excellent trades. Gotta love 60% off sales after Thanksgiving.

1. Invincible 75 - Boom! Really big boom! Squish! Lots of squish! It doesn't get more fun than Invincible when it comes to super hero comics. I think a lot of that has to do with the finality. Death means death, unless you're the Immortal. Plus, Freddie Mercury really kicks ass in this book. On top of all that, there are bonus stories of Science Dog and Tech Jacket in this over sized, twice the price issue. Nah, it's not really twice the price, but I liked the rhyme. Kirkman doesn't even have the Viltrumite War ending in this issue. With all that's going on, it's still just one chapter in the saga, not a forced ending to coincide with the 75th issue. The biggest kicker? A ring around Viltrum, a la the rings of Saturn, composed entirely of the bodies of dead Viltrumites.

2. Scalped 43 - Yeah, it's something of a filler, but this slice of life story of a white sheriff of a town that borders the Rez is one of those examples of short story telling that so well fit the medium when it's used as a self contained product in one issue. The blowhard sheriff type has been seen many times previously, but this one gives him sympathy with his comeuppance. He seems to be set up for a larger story in coming tales, too. Guest artist Jason LaTour does a good job with the feel of this book's take on life on the Great Plains.

3. Xenozoic - This would be last Sunday's review choice. I'm still wishing for more tales from Schultz to complete his story, but I'm not overly hopeful. All the same, a great read and just wonderful pictures.

4. Echo: Atomic Dreams - This is volume 2 of the trades of Terry Moore's Echo. It's been almost a year since I read the first volume, but I was right back in it from the first page. Patience is well rewarded here. Moore keeps his pacing similar to the first volume. There's the ongoing mystery of just what the "suit" is or was and there's an epic battle with the messianic crazy who also has pieces of the suit attached to him. The most interesting aspects of the story were the development of Ivy, who's hunting for Julie and the suit, and the relationship between Julie and Dillon. I particularly like Ivy, who's working with an employer who's hiding information from her. What direction Ivy goes as a protagonist will be interesting.

5. Locke & Key: Head Games - The third of the three trades. This was also a big wait between chapters, as I had volume 1 around the same time I had volume 1 of Echo. Although there's much less action than the first volume, I found this one far creepier. Dodge is an evil Peter Pan. A hermaphroditic, sadistic Peter Pan, but eternally youthful all the same and with a significant disdain for adults. The Locke kids are subjects of Dodge's manipulation throughout this volume but at least they're doing better than Ellie, who loved Dodge when he last appeared to youth of Lovecraft 30 years ago. I particularly enjoy Dodge's anachronistic references resulting from his entrapment over those 30 years. Doug Henning? Heh. I saw that guy live when I was a kid. Here's hoping Rufus gets to be the hero and survives the adventure.

6. The Walking Dead 79 - Well, I didn't see Douglas's collapse coming, that's for sure. Not that he's had the kind of breakdown Rick has had, but he sure has fallen into apathy. I like the everyday nature of the gay relationship that we see in this issue, too. Just another couple. No big deal, as it should be. I'm also reading the first volume of the Compendium that collects issues 1-48, and will be getting to discussion of that down the road. The dead are more of a presence in this issue like they have been in those older issues. Sometimes the dead don't even feel like a threat anymore, but not now.

7. Atomic Robo: Deadly Art of Science 1 - Fun, fun, fun. Previously we've only had Robo and his merry band of scientists presented as heroes in this world. Now we have a masked vigilante, Jack Tarot, Gunfighter. Better than the usual first time meeting of super heroes, with the requisite misunderstandings leading to fighting, Robo's just a pest that Tarot doesn't want around. Tarot even shoots Robo in the head, to no effect of course. It's all very lighthearted, as always. The corny '20s dialog Robo uses is great, too.

8. Secret Six 27 - I think I like Simone's version of Skartaris even better than Mike Grell's version. Definitely better than the most recent iterations. Of course, Calafiore's art certainly helps, as it's all very pretty as it bloodily and merrily continues on its way. The civil war between Secret Six factions continues. Excellent quote of the month from this book: "Hey, I like these guys! They fight good, and they're not so fatty!" It's only going to get better with Machiste possessed by Deimos. And remember, "Don't ever 8#*% with the Wall."

9. Madame Xanadu 29 - Ah, the first of several final issues this month. This is the saddest of the lot, as there was a lot more story telling to be had. If that telling had continued with Matt Wagner at the helm, I'd have had pleasant months for many to come. I highly doubt the return of Nimu to the DCU fold that caused her exile from Vertigo will be up to the same par, unless Wagner or another of his ken is holding the reins. At least Amy Reeder was back for this concluding issue. That was only right, considering the long run of beautiful work she provided through these two plus years. Not much happens in the issue itself. It's more a summary of where things are when it ends in the '60s and the tutelage of Nimu's protege.

10. American Vampire 8 - More Pearl. That's both what we have in this issue and my ongoing request for stories in this book. Pearl rules. Not that Skinner Sweet isn't interesting, but he's more of a characterization, being so much the evil bastard. I like the idea that people are remaining the same sort of person they were before becoming a vampire, at least with the American version of the species. The supporting cast continues to develop well, with Pearl's boyfriend taking an interesting step to try to protect Pearl this issue. Our vampire hunter socieity has some interesting tactics and treaties of its own. Yes, there's much of interest in store here.

11. Unknown Soldier 25 - The second final issue. This one was intentionally so. Dysart rightly reached an end that had to be. I was somewhat surprised in these last few issues that Moses was never the man he thought he was. There's an element of Manchurian Candidate about it. Or maybe it's more the Bourne trilogy? Regardless, the book was less about the deus ex machina than it was the culture and tragedy of Uganda. In exploring that mileu it was entirely successful. If you didn't read it in singles, get the trades.

12. The Unwritten 19 - The vaguely answered question of whether Wilson Taylor is a son of a bitch was definitely pushed into son of a bitch being the right answer. Aside from that, our trio take a trip to Herman Mellville's home to start on the path of the map, though they have no idea where to start there. Meanwile, a new character, a crone toymaker, has some interesting powers of story and manipulation. Oh, and Lizzie plants a passionate kiss on Tom.

13. Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard 4 - The end of this guest tale telling. The structure of the story was mice sitting in an ale house telling tales to win the prize of having a tab forgiven by the keeper, which meant different voices for each mouse. With each story being told by a different guest creator, there was in fact a different voice for each mouse. It's a great device that serves the narrative perfectly. Another good one to get in trade.

14. Northlanders 34 - Wow. A happy ending. Didn't see that coming. I thought Erik and Ingrid were goners for sure. Still not sure what to make of the mystic nature of a lot of this arc. I think a re-read is in order. Right now I'm not sure if it was all halucinogenics or supposed to be actual magic. Kinda hoping for the former, the latter being out of keeping with how stories have been more realistic up to this point.

15. Incorruptible 12 - I love Jailbait/Headcase and Alannah Patel. Max Damage is a good, interesting character, but his two female supporting cast members are even better. Look better, too.

16. Batwoman 0 - Yeah, there's not much to this. It's just laying the groundwork for the ongoing series, but I sure loved the character's appearance in Detective under the guiding hand of Greg Rucka. Now it's JH Williams III and W Haden Blackman writing with Williams and Amy Reeder doing the art. Williams did the art in Detective, and Reeder's fondly mentioned above regarding the end of Madame Xanadu, so I have high hopes for this series continuing at those high standards. Am I the only one who noticed that it appears there were two people trailing Kate Kane to see if she's Batwoman? One's Bruce Wayne Batman, but who's the other?

17. Birds of Prey 17 - Black Canary was coerced a little too easily for my taste. Sure, it's nice to see the Huntress be the strong one, fighting back against the scheme, but I think Dinah would have put up more of a fight, at least the character I've seen previously in BoP. A likable series, but not as strong as Simone's Secret Six.

18. The Astounding Wolf-man 25 - Ah, a fond farewell to Gary and the Actioneers. Heh. Love that name. So cheesey. The cover reminds me of the days of old when the interior had little to do with the cover. Considering that Zechariah died at the end of last issue, his appearance as a sword wielding combantant on the cover of this issue is unlikely, especially because Kirkman tends to keep the dead dead. A good wrap to the series with potential to return on its own or somewhere else in Kirkman's Invincible centric hero-verse.

19. Batman and Robin 16 & 17 - A transition here. The former is Morrison's last issue and the latter Paul Cornell's first. As usual with Morrison, I'll have to read the whole arc again before I can figure out what all happened and whether it was worth the ride. I liked Cornell's start. "What...are...we...missing?" Isn't that the question for us all?

20. Justice League: Generation Lost 13 & 14 - Worth every penny just to see Magog blow up. Let's do it again and again and again. No, better yet, let's have him actually be dead and stay that way. Unlikely, but a fellow can dream, right? The second issue with Captain Atom in the dystopian future was fun, too. Always love those sort of future tales, going back to the Uncanny X-Men 141, as long we don't start having Cable show up or something. Looks like Max Lord is coming out of the shadows soon, too.

21. iZombie 7 - I continue to enjoy this book withour a lot of it sticking with me as something I should really invest in following. I particularly like Allred's art, but the book's walking a fine line, teetering on being dropped. Looks like Gwen's eating mom's brain so that should prove interesting. I think Roberson may have a good slow build going on, so I'm holding on for the moment.

22. Batman Streets of Gotham 17 - To a large degree I can't believe I've made it this far on this book. Hush is a minimally interesting villain. We're looking a lot at flashbacks to Martha Wayne and Hush's mother being involved with our aged gangster who's kidnapped Hush in the mistaken belief that he's Bruce Wayne. Still Dini makes it interesting. More interesting than the Ragman backup, which I've forgotten altogether. I do like Szymon Kudranski's art for Ragman, though.

23. Gotham City Sirens 17 - See, I really need to pare down my Bat related titles. These two books just get jumbled in my mind, and I don't think I really need to follow either of them. This one's looking like the one that loses out, as soon as this story involving Selena's repressed memories of Bruce's identity ends. For the life of me, I don't know when those became repressed memories. I thought she was perfectly well aware of who he is. Maybe I'm reading something wrong. Fah, it's not worth the effort to figure out.

24. Haunt 11 - Still just skimming that cut line. If it weren't for Kirkman, it'd be gone already. Greg Capullo's women all seem to have the same face, differentiated primarily by hair color and outfit. I found this somewhat striking a few pages into the issue when there were close-ups on two different women and it became obvious we were looking at the same face. The same was true with a couple of chippies knockin' boots with Hurg. Don't know why there's such a lack with the women. He draws men with different noses and cheek bones and such.

25. Irredeemable 19 - And this one did hit the cut list. Clearly, this is never going to end. Mentally unstable Superman will continue to destroy randomly because even though we've now thrown in powerful aliens to bring him down, Waid has clearly shown that having powerful people around to bring down the Plutonian isn't going to stop him from writing more into this story. The Paradigm has had enough power to take him out for awhile now. There was a demon who could have taken him out. Still kickin'. He'll be around for a long while, obviously. I think Ward would have a more interesting tale if he just ended the Plutonian somehow and delved into how the world recovers, the Paradigm adapts, etc.

26. Zatanna 7 - This one's very close to being on the cut list, too. No Dini now and Adam Beechen's story was entirely uninteresting. Goofy, too, what with Zatanna fighting an empty suit of mismatched magicians' clothes. I'm only holding on because it appears Dini will be back.

Not a bad total. Counting the couple issues I doubled up, 28 new purchases on the month, three of which were trades. With three of the titles ending and 1 other being dropped, The List is lightening. Gotham City Sirens will probably be the next to go.


  1. Always a great post, I have cut Irredeemable and as much as I love "Z" I have that book on my cut list also, maybe one or two more issues to see if it can make the grade.

  2. Irredeemable was really the greater disappointment. With the creator owned freedom I expected more. Funny how Incorruptible is so much better.