Monday, October 01, 2012

The Week of September 26 in Review

Damn, but it was a huge week of comics and I’m going to the Bucanners/Redskins game Sunday so no time to read everything. I have decided that the week itself deserves a letter grade and will have plus and minuses included, you can skip to the bottom for that.

This week I read two books before my box showed up as I cheated on my comic store. I needed a long box as I’m reordering some books for one of my daughters and I went to a local LCS Wednesday to get the box and picked up Aquaman #0 and Superman #0 on a whim. A short marketing note, when someone enters your store and buys a long box and two new comics, talk to them about a pull service or how your store can offer any discounts. I would not have changed from my store, but still can’t believe this store did not talk or even ask me anything.

Aquaman #0 was a pretty book and it was a nice little origin for Aquaman. Heck Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis managed to tweak his origin but remain true to what I know as the basics. It left me wanting to read more, but I’m not sure if I will as I hear Johns is leaving the book and so is Reis. I’ll decide as I go on this book. I like how Orm is his half brother and according to Vulko killed his Mother the Queen of Atlantis. The use of Vulko was well done and the whole origin story felt right. Heck I normally hate Johns stuff so my ambivalent feeling is a plus. I will put this back on my list and judge issue by issue.

Superman #0 by Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort was a travesty. The art was okay, but the Jor-El and Lara story was almost comical. Apparently they are both highly trained martial artists. Of course as is almost the norm lately, Lara is the better fighter. Jor-El finds out the world is going to die soon and then there is a group who kills the entire science center to keep the information quiet, but tries to just capture Jor-El and Lara. It was not even making comic book sense. It lacked any imagination or logic. I find Lobdell’s writing to be action oriented with no strong logic sense and therefore Superman does not come back on my list.

Punisher #16 by Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto was a rushed ending of the series. At a minimal it felt rushed. I think Rucka was told they were ending it so he wrapped it up pretty quick. The series did a nice job making the story about two police officers who got caught up in the whirlwind world of Frank Castle. By leaving Sgt. Coles alive it at least allows some writer to bring her back someday to be Frank’s partner again. The mini-series coming after this arc of the Punisher ends is about the Avengers trying to bring in the Punisher. I’m curious because anytime Frank and the super hero community intersect it is a harder story to tell as Frank does not fit with that crowd, unless it is a one on one thing. I’ll be following that mini-series as Rucka is the writer.

Happy #1 (of 4) by Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson was brilliant. Nick Sax is an ex-cop turned hit man. Everyone is now after him since he has a secret password to a mob fortune. At the same time some blue winged unicorn donkey cartoon character is trying to get him to save Hailey. Who is Hailey, we don’t know. Why is Nick, who is in a hospital at the end seeing this character, we don’t know and it does not matter. This first issue has me hooked; a violent over the top action adventure with the blue donkey is one of the best of this month and maybe this week’s best book.

Rachael Rising #11 by Terry Moore is another (fill in adjectives of high praise) issue in a great series. Moore is a great story teller and this one is proof of that assertion.

Hit Girl #3 (of 4) by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. is more of Millar’s mindless action/adventure work. It is fun to read, enjoyable and forgettable. The 12 year old killer girl is still a funny concept.
Teen Titans #0 by Scott Lobdell and Brett Booth ruins the character of Tim Drake. I have no clue why I subjected myself to Lobdell twice this week, but this new origin of Tim is pure crap. The funniest thing was showing Tim as a great gymnast on a balance beam. I guess no one watches the Olympics as the balance beam is not an apparatus used in the male gymnastics program. Total trash.

BPRD Hell on Earth The Return of the Master #2 (of 5) by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, Tyler Crook and Dave Stewart. What can I say, except that BPRD is always a good book and this middle chapter continues to move all story elements forward.

The Shadow Annual #1 – Uneven at best.

Phantom Lady and Doll Man #2 (of 4) by Gray and Palmiotti with Cat Taggs and Tom Derenick on art. The second issue was better. The first issue felt very paint by numbers and while this issue was not a home run, it was better and these characters are nice updates.

Batman the Dark Knight #0 – Had nothing new to say or add to the Batman story, except the whole new DCU continues to get muddled as now Bruce was roaming into crime alley a few nights after his parents died. DC should have a back story bible on at least their main characters so the various flashbacks line up better.

Debris #3 (of 4) by Kurtis Wiebe and Riley Rossmo is a nice little series. I’m enjoying this post apocalyptic world. It is hard to define in a one liner, but fast paced and enjoyable characters with Rossmo’s great artwork make this a good series.

X-Men #36 by Brian Wood and the Lopez brothers is a very good read. A shame that current events will force this book to change.

Hawken #6 (of 6) by Ben Truman and Tim Truman was a great mini-series. Tim’s art is some of his best work and the series is a hard edged western that makes Jonah Hex look like a pansy in comparison. I’m hoping we get a second series.

Secret Avengers #31 by Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera was another good issue in what has been an excellent long arc by Rememder, except the cross over issues. Again, current events will force this book to change. One insane thing was the Black Widow fighting this issue with her zipper open to almost open to her navel the entire time to show off her cleavage.

Talon #0 by Scott Snyder and James Tynion with Guillem March on art was not a bad start. The time line was a little wonky in some parts, but the story of Calvin Rose was interesting enough to bring me back for more. Another book for the Bat family means that Batman is not only the foundation for DC, but also the first floor.

Amazing Spider-Man #694 by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos was okay. I picked this up to read the ramp up to #700, the last issue of Amazing Spider-Man, until it is re-launched in January. It was a fun adventure wrapping up the Alpha story line. Ramos’ art is too loose and cartoon like for me, but he is an excellent story teller.

Incredible Hulk #14 by Jason Aaron and Jefte Palo was a throw away issue. I don’t get why the Hulk is wearing his weird armor and not even sure the entire book makes sense. It is Aaron channeling the same madness he did in Ghost Rider, but it worked in Ghost Rider and is hit or miss on the Hulk. This issue was a miss.

National Comics Rose and Thorn by Tom Taylor and Neil Googe was another maddening one shot. It was a decent updating of the character that left you hanging as to what happens next. DC should solicit this stuff as mini-series and make sure we get a complete story.

The Goon #42 by Eric Powell was all set up and for me a flat issue. I love this book and have very high expectations, so when an issue is just good from Eric, it feels flat.

Invincible #95 by Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker was the conclusion to the Robot and Monster Girl story line. We find out all that happened in the other dimension and talk about a complex and f**ked up relationship, this is the most messed up one ever. An enjoyable issue and hopefully we see Mark Grayson the former Invincible next issue.

American Vampire #31 by Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuqueque was another excellent issue. The Blacklist story line has a lot going on and the reveal at the end of this issue was a great twist. I love this series and think it is Scott’s best work and most of his work is top tier.

Fury Max #6 by Garth Ennis and Goran Parlov was another mini-masterpiece. Garth can write tough, hard edge stuff as well as anyone and better than most. Nick’s actions to help his friend this issue proves the point.

I, Vampire #0 by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Andrea Sorrentino was excellent. This continues to be a top series and the origin of Andrew Bennett becoming a vampire was a tragic tale.

Before Watchmen Ozymandias #3 (of 6) by Len Wein and Jae Lee was a thing of beauty. Jae Lee’s art is breathtaking. The story this issue focuses on Ozy and the Comedian and it was perfect. Ozy is such a smug bastard.

Way too many brief blurbs and impressions and very little of pure reviews this week, but I just ran out of time. Heck I still have over 10 books to read that I will not even get to mention. I have to give the week a B+, heck it might have been an A if I had not picked up the crap Lobdell books on a whim (Superman and Teen Titans).

Come back next week and hopefully I will not have what feels like a rushed post. 

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