Sunday, July 10, 2011

The List - June 2011

I put this off a week but this week isn't much better. The 4th of July, two days of training for a new software system at work, and a half day working as an arbitrator are killing me on time. Then there's Lee and his links to amusing web sites. Oh, the distractions.

1. Fables 106 - Jim didn't like this all that much, but I thought it was the best of the month, though that was a tight race throughout the top ten. Willingham, Buckingham and Leialoha didn't try to re-tell the same sort of story they did with the battle against the Emperor. The fight against hte Dark Man was a very different, and much more deadly, confrontatino. Besides, it made sense to have North Wind be the one to end the battle and in the fashion he did. I found the eagerness of many to return to Fabletown and the Farm well countered by the cult of Boy Blue's collective nostrum to explain away, or deny, his non-appearance in the final battle. Best of all was the disappointment of Ozma and Pinocchio in not actually battling the Dark Man, no matter how futile it would have been. No chance for glory. Wonder what hapens to Mrs Sprat now?

2. American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest 1 - As if Snyder isn't doing enough fine work in the regular American Vampire series, we're getting this bonus. No Skinner Sweet or Pearl in this one. Book's daughter and McCogan are on a quest to find a cure for vampirism. McCogan's motivation is easy to see, as it might cure his son. Not sure if the cure would be something Felicia Book would want, what with her heritage allowing her to spot vampires. The cure might take that away. Anyway, it's off ot nazi Germany to try to get this cure. Great opening with Felicia trying to convince a newspaper publisher that his right hand man is a vamire, and doing so in the most obvious way.

3. Secret Six 34 - The impending demise of this series eith the whole DCNu bit is the only real disappointment I have with the DCNu. Sure, DCNu might suck, but I don't have any great expectations going into it and won't particularly miss the vast majority of ongoings that are coming to an end in service of this project. Secret Six is the exception. It's a great book and should be left to continue under the brilliant hands of Simone and Calafiore. It's not like it's integral to the greater continuity of hte DCU. This issue had the usual great small moments, such as the rapprochement between Scandal and Rag Doll, and Bane's date with a stripper. "Mating, Mr Bane. Yes. Lots and lots and lost of mating." Ah, conversations with the socially maladjusted.

4. Scalped 49 - Now that's a close action shoot out. Aaron has Dash and Catcher firing away across the front seat of Dash's truck, perforating both of them substantially, albeit not fatally. Well, not for Dash. Too soon to tell for Catcher. I still don't think Dash realizes who killed his mother, though, but at least Falls Down appears to be alive and can fill him in later. Don't know if Red Crow's revelation is going to lead to a long term change, of if it does whether Shunka will go along with it. As always, Aaron and Guera tell a great story and have a lot of story still to go.

5. The Unwritten 26 - So much for the auctioneer's capture of Tom, Ritchie and Lizzie. Tom and his crew seem to be coming into their own and getting much stronger in operating in this shadow world. Like Lucifer before it, Carey and Gross have a creation here that tells a unique story in a fascinating way. And now we're off on a new journey to discover how Tom's father was active in the machinations of his adversaries during a time before his father was even born.

6. Cinderella: Fables are Forever 5 - Oh, that sneaky Dorothy. Good thing I have faith in Cindy and her ability to overcome all obstacles. This situation makes me think of an ad for a comedy on BBC America where a guy says having sex with another guy doesn't make you gay. Does having sex with another woman, when you don't know she's a woman, make you a lesbian? Guess not. Not that Cindy's concerned about that at the moment. Is a trap you meant to get into a problem if you fall into it sooner than anticipated?

7. American Vampire 16 - Sure, a story set in World War II isn't interesting enough. We have to add Skinner, Pearl and Henry, a team of vampire hunters working undercover as soldiers, and a Japanese held island infested with a previously unknown breed of vampires. Henry, being a smart man, figured otu who and what Skinner was and used that knowledge to strike a deal with Skinner that would allow Henry and the surviving vampire hunters, along with Skinner, to escape the Japanese prison. Of course, Pearl's on the island as well, and the Vassals' ulterior motives in helping her get there are showing through. Great work, as always.

8. Scalped 50 - A bonus second issue for the month. There wasn't anything that moved the story forward in this issue, which was dedicated to the milestone of reaching 50 issues. Still, it had a different somthing that I found very clever, which was that guest artist pinups were incorporated into the story. The story was a background sort of thing involving an ancestor of Dash Bad Horse, sclaping, and societal decay cloaked in defiance.

9. Green Hornet Year One 10 - More Wagner and Campbell goodness. Green Hornet and Kato appear to have erred in their calculations and now face some "enhanced interrogation" that could be uncomfortable. Is there a noir book that doesn't go into torture at some point? The first thing I thought of with this one was the Hmong torturer in Scalped. Maybe it's the smock.

10. Incorruptible 19 - Speaking of bad situations, Max seems to have entirely too many people with knowledge of his weakness now. Maybe some speed would help. I was surprised with the turn of events involving the guy Max was trying to recruit, heavy handed as it was, to run Coalville. And now the Plutonian's supposed to be coming back from his exile in space, so I imagine things will not be improving for Max.

11. Birds of Prey 13 - The Question? Cool. Junior? Way cool. Hunterss being handed the rains? Excellent. Too bad this book isn't going to survive in the DCNu. Well, not in a form that I'm going to read, anyway.

12. Invincible 80 - Las Vegas reduced to a sheet of glass. Talk about your readical improvement projects.

13. Super Dinosaur 3 - Two books in a row by Kirkman, and two books in a row with dinosaurs on the cover. Granted, the dinosaur on this one is the star of the book, so it makes sense, but I'm sensing a peccadillo. More all ages fun in this one. Kirkman has all ages with a sophisticated story method, so it's not dumbed down. Lots of layers.

14. The Walking Dead 86 - What, no dinosaur? 'Course, Michonne on the cover is even better. I like the additional time spent on Rosita, as she's been mostly a cypher to this point. She's moving from being a hot chick sleeping with Abraham to someone worth reading about. Most of the issue is long conversations Rick has with Michonne and Andrea, with some zombie target practice thrown in for good measure.

15. Graveyard of Empires 1 - As I think I mentioned previously, I figured the title to this meant a story about invasions of Afghanistan, as that's the nickname of the place. And while it does involve the current NATO operations in Afghanistan, particularly the US element, it's a zombie book. A very different zombie book from The Walking Dead, and off to an interesting start so far, as dead Taliban are coming back to life.

16. Somerset Holmes 3, 4 - This was a free books selection. I remember seeing ads about this book but I can't recall where, as I don't remember buying any Pacific Comics back in 1984 when this came out. I'm in the midst of a story line, but it's high quality detective noir by Bruce Jones and Brent Anderson and includes a back up serial called Cliff Hanger by Jones and Al Williamson that's highly entertaining, too. Something to keep an eye out for in the cheap bins.

17. Northlanders 41 - Entitled "Thor's Daughter", Wood, with artist Marian Churchland, is presenting a single issue tale of a young woman taking over leadership of her father's crew. It's not really clear on how she does that, other than force of will. She's opposed by some elements in the group, but others help her to kill one of the opposition as a show of authority, but I don't really know why any of these guys are on her side. Probably the weakest story in this series to date.

18. iZombie 14 - This arc seems to be taking a while to get going. Gwen and Horatio are clearly going to end up finding Spot in the catacombs below the cemetery, but it's taking a long time to get there. I'm finding I like the Dead Presidents back up more right now.

19. Suicide Girls 2, 3 - This was a total lark based on a column Chris Sims wrote on his ISB. He was right that the plot is a mess, but it's not unreadable. Mostly it's a simplistic concept of religious folks being bad because they persecute the people who like to spend their time naked. Well, all women, actually, but particularly the naked ones. Wrapped around that is a bunch of sci-fi stuff with cyborgs and machines that read people's thoughts. The obvious selling point is a bunch of topless women, much more prevalent in the third issue than the second, but I'm at least somewhat impressed that the artist, David Hahn, draws each of the many girls with an individual body type, right down to different breast sizes and shapes. Don't see that too often in comics.

20. Haunt 16 - Speaking of which, we have the book with the women who all look the same. Most of this issue was dead brother speaking with a disembodied voice, in a white backdrop setting. Not much more to it, though conceptually it's curious because dead brother is himself disembodied even though he's depicted with one.

21. FF 5 - I'd really like to finish this arc, but this one's starting wear on me. At least the FF switched to the black unis. Those look much better than the white ones. Does anyone know why Reed has grey at his temples but his father has no grey hair? Just for Men?

22. Hero Hotline 3 - Another free book. I know I was a bit busy in '89, what with graduating college and starting law school, but I don't remember this DC product at all. It was some goofy fun with some D list "heroes". Nothing all that memorable.

23. Blue Devil 6 - Wonder if DC had to pay any royalties to Duke Univesity? Probably not. More in the silly realms of super heroes, with a lot of pop culture references, albeit back to Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" for the most part. Funny how that's been turned into a source of comedy as far back as Bugs Bunny toons when there's nothing funny about the book.

24. Infinity Inc 45 - This was just bad, even with the Teen Titans of 1987 showing up to help. Even being free didn't help. Bad jokes. Bad story. Bad art. I guess Obsidian wasn't gay back then, either. Or just over compensating. One of those.

25. 50 Girls 50 1 - This was worse because I paid $3 for it. Frank Cho's art is good, of course, but the story is just meandering crap. It's cheesecake without actual nudity, which always irks me. If you're going for skin, show the skin. 'Course, even if this one did show the skin, the story would still be dim and not worth $3.

26. The Sisterhood of Steel 1 - Free. From 1984. Epic Comics. Bad art. Worse story. It's a pale rip off of Wonder Woman mythos. Way too much modern colloquialism for a story set in a mythinc past. Not the Northlanders kind of thing that purposely avoiding trying to use archaic dialogue but rather a mix of archaic and modern.

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