Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The List - March 2012

You put down a few new books on your pull list, and all of a sudden you're swamped in books. So far the new ones look good, though. A few of them even made the top ten. Off we go.

1. Scalped 57 - Oh, the cover to this issues. Dogs play an important part in Sioux history. Before the arrival of Europeans dogs were the primary beast of burden for the tribes. Once horses were the number one animal, dogs still played important roles in the nomadic society, though. In this issue, dogs are the reason Dash is in big trouble. Falls Down gives him a fighting chance, though. No one liked or missed Deisel. Still, all those issues ago when Dash killed him you knew it would come back on him at some point. With Dino now a player on the rez, and Red Crow not wanting to save his own skin in prison, there's chaos on the rez. Catcher working his vendetta against the council members who, with Red Crow, stole large sums from the tribe, is only adding to the confusion and to Falls Down's problems. You knew the peaceful, happy life couldn't last too long for Dash.

2. Spaceman 5 - Interesting cover. At first blush it has nothing to do with what's going on inside, but in a symbolic way it does. Orson has been exposed on TV (or realtee in the book's vernacular) with Tara in tow. No great surprise that the live porn chats that Orson had when he was lonely turned out to be a problem when the chica spotted Tara. She and a couple of cohorts try to kidnap Tara themselves, but they're no more successful than the original kidnappers, though they're at least not dead (yet). The Twitter campaign to find Orson and Tara turns out to take the show's producers to the wrong spaceman. Only 4 more issues in this series but it feels like Azzarello and Risso could go a lot more. It'll wrap well, I'm sure.

3. Fables 115 - It occurs to me that I've bought more consecutive issues of Fables than any other series I've ever read. I think. I'd have to check. Anyway, it's still going strong. The Island of Misfit Toys is a paradise compared to where Therese's malificient toy boat has taken her. Discared toys are much more like the toys in Toy Story 3 than the toys from Rudolph. Then there's Mrs. Spratt and Werian Holt conniving their way into the graces of the Fables as they return to Fabletown and Mr Dark's forboding castle. So far no one is on to them, and I for one have no idea where they're going to go with their deception, but I'm sure they have a longer term plan that's grander than simply hiding their alliance with Mr Dark. In the backup story of the Revolution in Oz, Bufkin's hanging is imminent, Lily wants to mount an attempt to save him, and the leader of the revolution is in no mood to accomadate her romantic attachment.

4. Atomic Robo Presents Real Science Adventures 1 - Clearly I wasn't paying attention because I wasn't expecting this series. Good thing all titles Atomic Robo are on my pull list. Love the cover on this one. The Silver Age presentation and the weathered appearance are great. Right up there with the pulp style covers done by Unwritten not that long ago. Of course, Atomic Robo is always a fun book to a large extent, but this has 5 short stories that are all great fun. Two of them are part 1, so more is coming for those, but the other three are one and done shorts. Brian Clevinger writes all of them with a different artist for each story. The Revenge of Dr Dinosaur alone is worth the price. Spam, spam, spam, spam...

5. Wonder Woman 7 - More Azzarello goodness. Cliff Chiang's art is no slouch, either. The book has a distinctive appearance and style that encapsulates its 'verse that's so far been kept apart from the greater DCU, much to its advantage. I love the modern iterations of the ancient Greek gods. No hiding out on Olympus for these guys. Cupid hangs out in clubs and works his magic. Hephaestus has a jewelry store that's a front for his large forge operation. What's really clever is that the slave workers at the forge are all male. The Amazons aren't the paragons of virtue they usually have been shown to be. Periodically they'd leave their island to sexually assault sailors. Any sons that were born of those encounters were discarded, taken in by Hephaestus. This is a great series. It and Batwoman are the two best things to come out of the New 52, and they're both largely divorced from the rest of the DCU.

6. Fairest 1 - One of this month's new offerings, it's no surprise that another title from Bill Willingham in his Fables mileau would be really good. So far we're looking at Ali Baba and a bottle imp named Jonah Panghammer as the latter convinces the former there's great treasure to be had in waking a princess with true love's kiss. Problem is, when Ali Baba sneaks into a goblin camp there are two princesses. At first his kiss revives neither, too. Thrown in Captain Oakheart, one of the Empire's wooden soldiers still trying to enforce the will of the now defeated Empire, and it's a high flying start to the tale. I'm hoping the cover is an indication of future stories with Snow White and Rose Red. The interior of this book has nothing to do with the four women on the cover, other than that fact that another woman was awakened in the same way Sleeping Beauty was awakened. 'Course, the back cover has even more of our favorite female Fables, so we could have a lot of good stories coming down the pike. Too bad Willingham's only doing the first arc, but I'll give the others a shot. Roberson's Cinderalla stories have been great, after all.

7 Unwritten 35 & 35.5 - These two issues take place contemporaneously, so I'm counting them as one large telling of the same story. The other .5 issues have taken place in more distant times than the current story of Tom fighting the Cabal, but this .5 is going on within a year or so before the fight and right into the fight. I love the ending of Serena in A Fish Called Wanda style. Fitting for her attitude. In the main arc Pullman finally achieves his goal but not before possibly eliminating Lizzie, too. Considering she's the product of a fiction story, and she sort of fades into her constituent words, I'm thinking she'll be back. Tom certainly hopes so, and I'm betting he's not going to be too happy with Richie when he wakes up.

8. Saga 1 - Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples are the creators of this Image book. It's a good bit thicker than the usual with 46 pages of story and nary an add. It's a hell of a deal for $2.99. It's a sci-fi/fantasy romance at the moment, featuring Alana and Marko as Alana gives birth to their daughter, who's also the narrator of the story. Alana and Marko are from opposing warring armies, a la Romeo and Juliet. 'Cept they're older. Considering how much Alana boob we get in this, I'd be really uncomfortable if they were the 15 years olds of Romeo and Juliet. I'm not sure if Alana and Marko will be the long term focus of the book or if it will shift to the as yet unnamed daughter. Right now Alana and Marko, aside from the birth, are fleeing both of their armies because of their forbidden association, not to mention the pregnancy. There's also an element involving royalty who are robots. Robots who look like humans but for the viewing screen head. This brought us the scene where Jim thought two of them were engaged in anal sex, which isn't what I'm seeing. An adult's fantasy story that's off to a fine, fast start. And when have you seen a baby nursing on the cover of a comic before?

9. Saucer Country 1 - Another Vertigo new launch. This is by Paul Cornell and Ryan Kelly. I haven't been overwhelmed by Cornell's work in the super hero books, but I like the start of this a lot. It could be at the top of the List soon if the quality goes in the direction I anticipate from this issue. Governor Alvarado, a divorced Democratic governor of New Mexico, is considering a run for President. Her advisers think the time is right. A Republican operative she hires as an advisor to explore such a run thinks the time is right, and has some hilariously askew views of how to achieve it. That would be an intereseting story in and of itself. Cornell and Kelly add a further twist. Alvarado has been kidnapped by aliens and is having flashback memories of the experience. She's convinced she has to save the world from the aliens. Could be a bit of a problem when running for President.

10. Northlanders 49 - The penultimate issue in the 9 issue, three part Icelandic Trilogy, Wood and Zezeu show why impetuous youth bucking wisdom of age can be a fatal problem for not just the youth but an entire family. Oskar Hauksson's usurpation of his father's leadership position has led to Oskar waging war on the other families. As his father predicted, that's leading to the Haukkson's being on the losing end of a fight. Oskar's prediliction for hulicsnogenic tea isn't helping his decision making, nor is his Lady Macbeth modeled wife. She at least realizes the peril the family is in and sends the soldiers out to institute a punitive draft that will force the farmers to fight or lose their homes. Next issue will tell if that's going to do the trick.

11. Dark Horse Presents 10 - The more I read this book the more I'm convinced it's well worth the $7.99 an issue. The variety and quality of the stories is such that I'd hate to miss it. This issue has stories by Brian Wood, Colin Lorimer, Carla Speed McNeil, Steve Niles, Evan Dorkin, Alan Gordon, Steve Horton, Andrew Vachss, M.J. Butler, and Rich Johnston. The Wood story is a preview for a new book called The Massive, so there's that to anticipate.

12. The Walking Dead 95 - A fine month indeed when The Walking Dead shows up this low on the List. Rick, Michonne, Carl, Andrea, and Glen have reached the settlement at Barrington House where there are about 200 people living. It's impressively organized, though defended with no guns because they ran out of amunition. Mostly they have high walls and lots of interior space. Gregory's the leader, and he's not shy about proclaiming it all the product of his work. Naturally, it doesn't take long for things to start hitting the fan, as it appears Rick and company are stepping into the middle of a conflict between two settlements. I could read stories with these 5 of our main survivors and happily forget about the rest of the group they left behind for this exploratory mission. Know what? There are actual Barrington House locations, too, though none in the area north of DC that this one's supposed to be. I found ones in Bloomington, IL, Dunn, NC and even in England.

13. Batwoman 7 - Another consistently enjoyable book that's out of the top ten this week because of some new arrivals. Amy Reeder's art is still a joy to behold and Williams and Blackman have Batwoman continuing her fight with Medusa. They're really developing a nice rogues gallery for Batwoman, and of course keeping up with interesting stories involving Kate, her father, Maggie, and Chase. I love that a demonic woman's name is Mary Worth. Hilarious.

14. Memorial 4 - Em is briefly captured but rescued by some legendary characters, including Robin Hood and Mulan. Schrodinger the cat is still at the Library, and the shadows, or at least Smoke, have figured out that there's more to the quest for Em than they've been told. Lots of good stuff here.

15. iZombie 23 - Roberson's second appearance on the List finds Gwen and Horatio not appearing much in the book. There's a lot of other goings on, including Amon trying to sacrifice Scott to prevent the end of the world, but Scott escapes. Fortunately for Amon, by the end Gwen has returned and says she's ready to help him stop the end of the world. Amon's means are questionable, though. I don't know that this alliance will last.

16. Blue Beetle 7 - Jaime has fled to NYC to protect his family from the suit and to try to find someone who can help him deal with it. Instead, he finds Stopwatch, an evil scientist sort who uses kids in a special suit to commit crimes for him, burning out their lives as he does. And there's the obligatory TV talking head attack the concept of super heroes, and Blue Beetle in particular, using a video showing him hitting his friend to save her life.

17. Thief of Thieves 2 - Surprisingly little happens this issue. What does a thief who quits being a thief do? After providing severance for his right hand woman, he goes to visit his ex-wife. She used to be a thief with him, along with her brother. A minor confrontation later and our hero is sitting in a storage unit looking at a picture of his son in a little league baseball uniform.

18. Super Dinosaur 9 - I'm wanting to reach a story arc end on this, at which point I'll consider whether to continue. As I've said, it's fun, but it feels like I've seen this before in the adult version that is Invincible.

19. Animal Man 7 - The Baker family dynamics are the primary focus this issue. Buddy and Cliff make a food run to a store. While Buddy's off on his own, Cliff comes out with food to find a couple of hot girls his age hanging out on a bench. One's wearing an Animal Man t-shirt. She doesn't believe him when he says that's his dad, but Buddy shows up and flies off with Cliff, making his day. Later, waking from a dream in which Maxine is an adult and still fighting the Rot, and losing, Buddy finds the camper is being surrounded by dead animals.

20. Swamp Thing 7 - Unlike Buddy, Alec has not embraced his power. Or in this telling, potential power. It looks like it's too late, too. The Parliament is dying and so is Alec. But in the end, Alec becomes Swamp Thing again in order to save Abby from Sethe. I love that he grows wings and flies to her at the end. A plant aping an animal ability.

21. Demon Knights 7 - I think this is the end of this series for me. Cornell's not holding my interest. Savage, of course, turned on the attacking forces and the invaders are defeated. There's great cost to the village, and some likely temporary cost to the Knights. It's as good an end point as any, I think.

22. Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child 1 - Another of the new Vertigo titles this month. I'm not sure about this one. Selwyn Seyfu Hinds is the writer and Denys Cowan the artist. It jumps around a bit in time, which isn't a bad thing, but is a bit confusing at times the way it's presented. There's also a part where Laveau is ethereal but then seen by someone who thinks she's killed all his friends. I'm never clear on what changed to allow him to see her. I'll give it a bit, but it's not so strong a start as Fairest.

23. Hoax Hunters 0 - Truth be told, I don't remember putting this on the pull list, but it showed up and I gave it a try. The premise is a TV show where hoaxes of mystical happenings are hunted down and exposed as false. In reality, these mystical events do occur but the Hoax Hunters are stopping deleterious events and hiding them from the public. The team of characters didn't click with me and the art had a tendency toward inconsistency in proportion and scale. I do like the space suit with a human consciousness that's full of crows. Interesting concept, that. On the other hand, one of the team is Ken Cadaver, who's a dead guy. A bit obvious and doesn't seem like a good idea if you want to keep the fact that he's dead a secret. There's a preview for issue 1 at the end and the art there seems much improved.

24. I, Vampire 7 - Eh. I'm done. I only got this one because it was Part 2 off the last issue, but really it's part 3 in a cross over with Justice League Dark and is going to finish in that book. Cross overs are death to me when it comes to these DCU books. I'm calling it a day.

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