Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Best and Worst of Last Week

This is one of the slimmest weeks I have ever done with Best and Worst. It was a terrible week for best books and Mouse Guard made on the strength of the whole series as much as it did for the individual issue. On the plus side I only found one book that hit the worst column. I’d liked to think I was just being too hard on the books, but I think it was just solid mid-level entertainment this week and little on either side of best or worst, which is why I added some short comments on other books to round out the post.


Madame Xanadu #11 – Writer Matt Wagner, Art Michael Wm. Kaluta, Colors Dave Stewart. This book is always one of my favorites and this month is no exception. After the conclusion of Madame Xanadu’s origin we get the fantastic Mike Kaluta on art and his detailed line work is enough all on its own to make this a best book. Michael is more of a classic illustrator and his lush and detailed work is drop dead gorgeous. I credited Kaluta with making Madame Xanadu a memorable character at all. I believe it was his illustrations of her back in the day that made her be remembered and such a compelling character. Fortunately we get more than just great art, Matt Wagner is telling us his first tale of a more modern Madame Xanadu, but he left the timeframe in the forties when she started her business in New York. While I was expecting to jump to the present, this was a good choice and Kaluta’s art certainly fits the time. We also get flashbacks to the 15th century where the situation she is working onto today apparently is either related or has parallels. If Wagner writes this book and the two artists are Amy Reeder Hadley and Michael Kaluta I will buy this book every single time without batting an eye. Hell I'll buy the Absolute.

Mouse Guard Winter 1152 #6 (of 6) – by David Petersen. Each individual issue of this book is always a lot of fun, but the dragged out release dates due to the financial problems of Archaia made this particular Mouse Guard story too spread out and took some of the edge or buzz away from this title, but it shouldn’t. This issue we see a new Black Axe arise, as the old one dies in battle and he passes the mantle onto Lieam. The amount of story, emotion and feeling of an almost epic tale that gets packed into the Mouse Guard stories is amazing. It really is a modern day series of Fairy Tales and I will have to buy this story in the hardcover format. David Petersen’s stories feel timeless and while I’m not sure how widely recognize these stories are, I’m sure they will be discovered by various people over time and one day a Mouse Guard movie will be made and the action figures and plush toys will be all the rage.


Starcraft #1 – Books based on video games just don’t work for me almost all the time. I keep thinking some of the concepts sound cool, but I think you need to be immersed in the game to really enjoy the book. Still if a writer is worth his salt he should be able to draw me in from the jump and this did not. Cancelled.

Quick Hits on The Middle Books

Green Lantern #41 – The lead up to Blackest Night has not been as strong as I expect Blackest Night will be. In fact GL corps has been the stronger book, still having said that GL is a super solid book now.

Iron Fist #26 – Another book that instead of failing after the “dream team” left the book in many ways got better. Still the end of the “Eight City” saga fell a little flat. I’m looking forward to the Immortal Weapons series and then to see what happens to Danny after that. Can I get a Masterworks of the early stuff yet?

Last Days of Animal Man #1 (of 6) – Feels like an Elseworlds book. Why does DC have a problem with that concept, it produced some of the best stories ever done by DC. I like this as it speaks to me because it is partially about getting older and unfortunately I am.

Astounding Wolf-Man #16 – This is as good as any other Kirkman series. Invincible and Walking Dead are only stronger because they have more history, but this book is one people should be trying out. It is a good, fast paced and usually goes zig, when you thought it would zag.

Batman in Barcelona – In one longer story Waid did a ton of great stuff with Bruce Wayne and Batman. DC should take note that they can leave Dick as Batman forever and still do plenty of Bruce Wayne and Bruce as Batman stories and it will be okay.

Crossed #5 – Interesting chapter, not a single Crossed person and Ennis gave us a different perspective on what life can be after the apocalypse, quiet, empty and beautiful.

Ghost Rider #35 – Johnny Blaze versus Sailor Moon (not really, but sort of), over the top madness. Aaron continues to make this book interesting, I’m hard pressed to think I will hang around once he stops writing this book.

Guardians of the Galaxy #14 and Nova #25 – DnA are having a blast with these books and tying it into War of Kings in big and small ways. The Cosmic side of Marvel is a fun place to be, I’m really enjoying this stuff.

Ms. Marvel #39 – The bad girl is more interesting then the good girl, I knew that a long time ago, but it is true even in comics.

Wolverine #72 – Mark Millar is wasting some excellent and talented artists. Millar is all about the fan fiction cool moments that make the 12 year old boy say, WOW, but this stuff is like Pop Music hits, overplayed today and forgotten tomorrow, McNiven deserves better.

Well the quick hits was fun as my format does not lend itself to normally talking about the middle books, but on occasion I think I will add this to the Tuesday post.

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