Monday, September 17, 2012

The Week Of September 12 in Review

So this week I plan to keep it shorter. I have a long list of books so I’m writing out brief blurbs for many of the books. If the blurbs get too long or I have more to say we will call those capsule reviews. Right now I like trying to at least mention ever book I read as for some bizarro reason I think it at least acknowledges that these creators made an effort to do a good job. 

A quick sports note before the reviews the Orioles will be a 500 team (actually better) for the first time since 1997. Being a long suffering Orioles fan and having grown up with one of the best teams in baseball be reduced to a long time losing team ,there is joy in mudville again. Of course the Ravens should be a great team again this year.

Punk Rock Jesus #3 (of 6) by Sean Murphy is an incredible series. It is pretty dense, yet a surprisingly easy story to follow. The pace is quick and we have jumped ahead quite a few years as Jesus (Chris) Christ 2 is now in public school and going on the TV interview circuit. His Mom is kicked off the reality show that is Chris’s life. She tries to commit suicide and is saved by an Angel. Tim is Chris’ defacto father and bodyguard and it is all done at a breath taking lighting pace. Yet with all the subtext, all the characters and the dense story telling this book is just a pure pleasure to read and enjoy. It is easily one of the best mini-series of 2012 and just a great story. Mr. Murphy has shown that he can do a hell of a lot more than just draw.

Frankenstein Agent of Shade #0 by Matt Kindt and Albert Ponticelli was a great read as we learn how Frankenstein was created and how he was recruited to be an Agent of Shade. What is so funny for me is that I’m halfway through reading the original Frankenstein novel by Mary Shelly. It is an excellent read and while I had read a small portion of it before I had never finished it. It is a totally different story from what we know. It is laden with flowery language, but is well written and an engrossing story. It gives some perspective on how the Frankenstein that is now portrayed is such a radical departure from what was created. Every iteration builds on the one from before and what we now see is so far from its origins as to almost have nothing in common. Yet Kindt is still managing to at least invoke the spirit of the creature that was created by Shelly. It would be interesting to see characters like Superman, Batman pass into public domain like Frankenstein and see what creators would do with them.

The big book of the week was Avengers vs X-Men #11 (of 12). Of course it had the big death spoiled all over the place as Professor X died, yet again. I  guess what I don’t like is that in order for the story to work you have taken characters that used to be heroic and made them villains. Scott Summers is the Dark Phoenix and based on stuff I have seem he will be lobotomized like Claremont and Byrne wanted to do with Jean Grey all those years ago. I’d rather at this point the character be killed, but Marvel never lets any character die. It is just sound and fury signifying nothing. In a few years we will have forgotten about this and what ever happened will only have an impact if the current writer wants it to have an impact. Still the series is entertaining in that mind numbing CGI, car chase, explosions, action film kind of way.

Winter Soldier #10 exhibited one of Ed Brubaker’s worse traits the tendency to drag out his stories way too long. The back story for what happened at Shield with Natasha could have been told a lot faster. I had already figured it out based on the end of the last issue. Still a good story but the pace needs to be quicker. Also I just found out Nick Fury in the MU will be a black Nick Fury from some convoluted crap about an illegitimate son Nick had and he has retired. Apparently not in this book as it is my old white guy Nick Fury. Making a black Nick Fury for the regular MU is such crap I can’t believe it. Hell, if you want a black guy running Shield just replace Nick, but keeping him named Nick Fury is crap.

Green Lantern Corps #0 by Peter Tomasi and Fernando Pasarin was an entertaining book. It was also confusing as hell to anyone who has been a fan of DC for any length of time. Guy’s entire back story was changed and he has only been a Green Lantern for a couple of years. When DC restarted everything they insinuated that the GL side had not been touched, but slowly we are seeing that they are making adjustments on the fly. I’m not that invested in the characters anymore but it is still maddening because I have no handle on any of the characters. It was a good story and it actually developed Guy as a character in the new DCU. For the most part I would call the book a success. I think the hard part is that I’m still following some of the characters I like and continue to think I know them.

Quick Hits

Incredible Hulk #13 – Why do I get sucked back into some books? I’m going with Jason Aaron writing. Banner and Hulk decide to live with each other and go beat up Dr. Doom next issue with some friends.

Batman #0 – More retro-con with the Red Hood now being a gang and we see Batman learning the ropes. Back-up story a Bat Signal is born. Good issue. Even regular issues by Snyder are well written and it is set up for stuff next year.

Resurrection Man #0 – Last issue and Mitch the clone lives beating Mitch the original.

Shade #12 – Final issues, great art by Gene Ha, I wish this was an ongoing series.

Creep #1 – A great issue and picks up well from the zero issue without needing to read the zero issue. Hope this is the beginning of a series of mini-series, I love noir type stuff and private eyes are fun if done right as it is here.

Batman & Robin #0 – Good issue, but reiterating what I know about Damian already.

Before Watchmen The Comedian #3 (of 6) – This story is doing a great job of exploring the sixties. It was an interesting time in the US and I was too young to get all that was going on at that time, but felt the feeling of revolution. This issue we see the Comedian in the middle of riots in Watts.

Conan the Barbarian #7 – What a jarring artist change. Vasilis Lolos style was a horrible change and I had to almost ignore it to follow the story. Excellent writing by Brian Wood as always, but the art was a severe drop off in quality. At least this artist is only on one more issue.

Harbinger #4 and X-O Manowar #5 from Valiant are both fun books and some of the better series on the stands. I’m worried too many people are passing on this new iteration because it has such a small lineup and has no cache with the comic buying public, but you should be getting these books. The quality of the talent on these books is high with both the writers and the artists. Some of the names are names I have enjoyed on many other books with two examples being writer Joshua Dysart and artist Lee Garbett. Compelling stories and strong art, you can’t go wrong.

Chew #28 was another good issue, the book is not great right now and it feels like it has fallen into a bit of a lull. Of course Poyo tearing up some bad guys (no really tearing them up) and exploding meat keep a smile on your face. I think the schedule on the book has been a bit slow and once they get monthly again I’m sure all will be good. I’m looking forward to the rest of the planned 60 issue run.

Thund’da #2 was okay and had a reprint of an old Frazetta Thun’da story. Cliff Richards has shown better art then he did in this book though. Can’t say how long I will hang on this series, probably gone too long already.

Warlord of Mars #21 is the last Mars book I’m still getting from Dyn-o-Mite, err Dynamite. I wish Arvid, who obviously loves the Carter stuff, would do more of an adaptation as the story feels like it is way too long. Although in fairness when I read the trilogy the story did go on and on also.

Team 7 #0 – Appears like this will be a book that explores the history of the new DCU. I liked it and look forward to seeing what they do over the next few issues.

Uncanny X-Force #31 – We are wrapping up Remender’s run on the book and I seriously doubt that the next writers will hold my interest.

X-Men #35 – I’ll be damned how Brian Wood can make me enjoy an “X” book. No one else has, but this book is focused and well done.

And unfortunately I have to call it quits for this week as I have stuff to do for my real job and Sunday I have a Ravens game to watch and a 2 year old birthday party to go to for a friend of my wife. The party will impact my watching of the game, which is a bummer. Anyway I have Stumptown Vol 2 #1, Michael Avone Omeing’s Victories #2, Massive #4, Saucer Country #7, Manhattan Projects #6, Hoax Hunters #3, American Vampire Lord of Nightmares #4, Suicide Squad #0, Batgirl #0 (glanced at it and it looks like crap) and Demon Knights #0 yet to read. I have lots to do and too little time to get it all done.

Hopefully next week I will be able to hit all the books I get.

A final note DC is doing 2 page spreads in each book showing Sgt. Rock and honoring Joe Kubert, Marvel is doing a one page in each book showing a recent picture of Joe. I’d personally like to thank both companies for honoring a true legend in the field and a creator I will greatly miss. 

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