Monday, October 31, 2011

Goodbye Kiki – I Love You Baby Girl

Going personal today and doing this is more to try and sort and my feelings than anything else. Not sure why but often writing about this stuff helps me process things. Plus this can serve as a sort of tribute to a great dog.

As this is going to be posted Monday, tomorrow (Tuesday) I have to say goodbye to Kiki. She has bone cancer and is in a lot of pain and there are no good choices and most of them involve a massive amount of expense to extend her life a few months at most. Worse these choices are not necessarily going to give her any quality of life, just extend it. I refuse to treat my dog as poorly as we do our people. As hard as it is to do and as upsetting as the process is I will go down (she is in Florida due to my impending move) and with my wife authorize the vet to kill my dog. I hate it, it sucks, it makes me more emotional then I’m comfortable with but I will do it.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

New Post At WCS

Rating Last Week – Click to see the post on WCS

Green Hornet: Year One

Dynamite was all over the Green Hornet bandwagon, in conjunction with the movie. I was not impressed by the offerings, nor the movie, with the exception of the Matt Wagner penned Year One. Aside from the appeal of a story with the original Green Hornet, and the attendant noir atmosphere of the 1930s, Wagner's involvement was the primary reason for checking out this title. Anyone who's read The List over the course of this year knows it's been one of my favorite reads from the beginning.

Aaron Campbell provided the art and it was perfect for this series. No less important was the coloring by Francesco Francavilla. Together they had a good looking book with a certain rough edge to it that evoked the '30s, with its Depression hardships and working class settings. Nothing was too pretty nor were any of the characters overly muscled or waspishly figured (not to be confused with WASPishly figured).

I've not read any Green Hornet stories prior to this book, but I had some inkling that he bore some similarities to Batman. Britt Reid does share a common hertiage of wealth and being an only child. He also has a drive to solve a crime problem he doesn't think the government can or will resolve and is willing to take that drive to an extra legal level. Unlike Batman, he didn't lose his parents as a child, isn't a superior detective, and doesn't have the highest level of martial training. In fact, he doesn't have the nearly limitless financial resources of Batman, either. While both heroes are situated in a gritty mileau, they're differences are significant.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Daredevil #4 -- A Review

Yikes, I guess I better post this already, since DD #5 came out this week! I'll have a few comments about that issue at the end.

This is the second fourth issue of DD that I’ve owned. Once upon a time I went to my first “convention” (some rented room in a retail space with dealers plying their books) and purchased issues 3 and 4 of Daredevil. I don’t know where I got the money (maybe my step-father-at-the-time). I’ve loved the black-red and yellow costume ever since. I remember seeing an Incredible Hulk No. 2 that day also. I sure wish I had gotten that one. The DD’s I sold or traded so long ago I don’t even remember the details surrounding the deal. I’ve loved the Daredevil character for a very long time and although I have followed it sporadically over the years with long runs and long absences, this is the BEST Daredevil I’ve read in decades!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Indies Previews for December Part 3 of 3

 The last day...

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Tina's Mouth: Existential Comic Diary GN by (W) Keshni Kashyap (A/C) Mari Araki
Tina M., sophomore, is a wry and endearing observer of the cliques and mores of Yarborough Academy. (The name makes it sound fancier than all the public schools in the area. You'd really think the Prince of Wales attended.) And of the foibles of her Southern California intellectual Indian family. She's on a first-name basis with Jean-Paul Sartre, the result of an English honors class assignment to keep an existential diary. From Tina getting dumped by her smart-girl ally to a kiss on the mouth from a cute skateboarder, Neil Strumminger, Tina's Mouth answers the pressing question: Can an English honors assignment be one fifteen-year-old girl's path to enlightenment? $18.95
Lee: Does this remind you of that old MTV cartoon Daria? Yeah, me too.
Thomm: That and a million other indie books. More than a little navel gazing.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Indies Previews for December Part 2 of 3

Continued from yesterday...

Blank Slate

Nelson GN by (W/A) Various
Over fifty of the UK's most interesting comic creators have taken part in this unique collaboration. One continuous tale takes us from 1968 to the present with one chapter for every year, each of those chapters recording the events of one day in the life of one woman. A life told in snapshots. Nel Baker's life. Nelson embraces all aspects of comics storytelling across a wide spectrum of UK-based creators, uniting established talents from 2000AD, DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, The Beano, and The Dandy with small press, Web comic and newspaper strip artists in one intriguing story. Nelson is an unprecedented anthology, a crazy experiment that is part exquisite corpse and part relay race, and best of all, an all-consuming novel like nothing you have seen before. $37.99
Lee: Hummm, this is either going to be really, really good or really, really bad. It’s like an anthology title with each creator getting 1-2 pages. These types of thing are really hard to pull off so I’m hoping the fact that they actually decided to publish it means it’s good.
Thomm: The page counts is one of the things that make me wonder. I don’t see one for the whole project and I don’t see anything saying how long each segment is. If it’s just 1-2 pages per creator, there’s not much room to work, and a whole lot of chance to lose any kind of coherent thread. With a good editor, this could work very well. Without, it could be a mash of unrelated stories of varying quality.

Marvel Previews for December

Lee: Somehow this month totally got away from us so Marvel is reduced to one day. I’ll leave it up to Greg to say nice things. I’m making fun of covers and stupid plot points. Yahooo! We’re back to normal.
Greg: Glad to see we're holding ourselves up to the high standards to which our readers have become accustomed.

FEAR ITSELF: THE FEARLESS #4 and #5 (of 12)
Written by Cullen Bunn, Matt Fraction and Christopher Yost
Penciled by Mark Bagley and Paul Pelletier
Cover by Arthur Adams
Guest-starring the Thing and the FF, Namor the Sub-Mariner, the Thunderbolts and more!
The Serpent’s hammers could be the most dangerous artifacts in the world – vfm knows this all too well as she lays siege to the impenetrable headquarters of the FF…where the Thing stands guard over his own hammer of power! Meanwhile Sin and Crossbones pursue the weapons of mass destruction, from the depths of the seas to claim one from the undersea vault of the Sub-Mariner…to the shores of the island prison called the Raft to confront the Thunderbolts!
32 PGS. (each)/ $2.99 (each) NOT FINAL COVER
Lee: yeah, yeah, yeah it’s not the final cover but that doesn’t mean we can’t make fun of it. I used to date a girl who could fit a beer can under her boobs. Yes, it was awesome. But, I never had a girlfriend who could use her boobs to hold up a shotgun. Granted this girl has the slightly unpleasant ripped off face thing going… but she can hold a shotgun without her hands… creepy face… no hands… this would be a lot easier if I knew how well she could aim the gun.
Greg: Now you know, kids. And knowing is half the battle.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What I read last week... Oct 25

Last week I managed to read a million books and this week I barely managed to read two. I don’t want to say it was quality that decreased the reading speed but that certainly had something to do with it.

Cyclops written by Matz, illustrated by Luc Jacamon and published by Archaia.

I read the trade which collected the first four issues of the series. In the future, soldiers are the new reality TV stars and their exploits are shown on the nightly news via cameras located in their helmets. Douglas Pistoia, our hero, is smart, good looking, honest, and believes he is doing what is best for the world so when he starts to suspect the company he works for of trying to instigate wars for profit his faith in the system is shaken. There’s a wee bit more to the story than that but not much. 

This book suffered from high expectations because this is the same creative team behind another series which I love, The Killer. In this book Matz takes a great idea of crossing reality tv with war and comes up with clichés and dull, listless battles. The problem is that Pistoia isn’t all that interesting. He’s something of the perfect, over achieving everyman with a heart of pure gold. And then, shockingly, he is manipulated by the big bad evil corporation. These are story lines that I have read a million times so for it to work, either the sense of danger has to feel real or the characters be full of life. Neither is the case here. 

Indies Previews for December Part 1 of 3

Lee: After last month’s short list, this one is huge. I am back on form for finding all sorts of strange and wonderful things.
Thomm: Now if only you could turn those talents to funding all these new and interesting things.

1821 Comics
Romeo and Juliet: The War GN by (W) Stan Lee (A/C) Skan Srisuwan
Two groups of superhuman soldiers have turned the Empire of Verona into the most powerful territory on earth. The Montagues, powerful cyborgs made of artificial DNA, and the Capulets, genetically enhanced humans known for their speed and agility, worked in tandem to destroy all threats to the city. With no one left to fight, the Montagues and Capulets found themselves a new enemy: each other. A young Montague boy and Capulet girl who fall in love. They secretly plan to marry, hoping their union can be what brings peace between the warring factions. But forces beyond their control begin to conspire against them, threatening their love, their lives - and the entire Empire of Verona. $19.99 Visit the official site here.
Lee: Ok, it’s a classic story but I really like how it’s updated with all sorts of science fiction elements. And, Srisuwan appears to be a really good artist. Here’s hoping the ending gets updated for a modern audience too… I’m kinda sick of the same old-same old ending.
Thomm: Wait, are you actually pleading for the Hollywood-style happy ending to this? Granted, Stan Lee might give you that, but I’d hope not. Kinda detracts from everything the original was about. Little things like love not conquering all…

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

IDW Previews for December

Lee: Fair warning, light months like this make me pick really expensive books.
Thomm: I am fairly warned. Not that you pick cheap normally.

Fat Tarino HC by Wood, Ashley
Originally only available from IDW during San Diego Comic-Con, FAT TARINO collects the long sold-out Uno Fanta, Dos Fanta, and Tres Fanta art books. This huge 12 x 12 hardcover collection showcases over 350 pages of Ashley Wood art and comes with a slipcase. Previously available as a convention exclusive. Strictly limited to 500 copies, and allocations will occur. 360 pgs, 12” x 12”, $100
Lee: And here we go. I am not sure if this actually contains a story but I’m thinking not. Other than that, it’s huge, has a small print run, and looks to be not only beautiful but collectable too.
Thomm: No story, no purchase. Really, I’m not running a museum at my house. Give me something engaging, meaning a story. Not being a limited print run sort of buyer, I’m curious as to what “allocations will occur” means. Something to do with not letting one buyer to corner the market, I’m guessing.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Week in Review – October 19

Everything we do in life is filled with context and as I type this today I’m still dealing with some bad news regarding my dog Kiki. Kiki is a great dog and right now she is in Florida and has suffered a broken leg with a spiral fracture. We now have to find out if she has a bone disease or what and may be forced to make some decisions we (my wife and I) do not want to make. I love this dog and I have to say my mood has been darkened considerable by what we are now facing. Life can really be crappy sometimes, but I’ll hope for the best.

So this week is going to be a short post (ha, I always say that and it usually still beats Greg’s post by 400 words or more) by my standards and somewhat on the negative side of the coin. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Morning Glories Vol. 2 All Will Be Free

Normally, when a book has a cover featuring sexy teenagers, I find it troubling. Troubling because the teens are being held out as sexual objects and that they should be sexual objects. Books like Dead @17 come to mind. Of course, most of the teens in those sorts of books don't behave much like teens. More often they are portrayed thinking like adults.

There's a little of that sort of adult thinking in Morning Glories Vol 2, but what separates the creepy, sexually alluring teen cover on this book from others is that I'm pretty sure that Spencer, Eisma and Esquejo intend it to be creepy. The goth eye liner on all 3 of the girls is probably some hint, and one of the girls isn't portrayed as sexy at all, but it's the content of the book that gives it away.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

In Search of A Spinner Rack

While I don’t have the official statistics, “The New 52!” from DC is an outstanding success. I can attest to this personally. Remember my pull list post from a few weeks back, where I had only managed to add two measly DC titles to the roster (Swamp Thing and Superman)? Well, I now have EIGHT (not counting the Flash tryout)!!! If you’re wondering where I’m going to find room in my budget for all of these…Well, I’m going to have to get back to you on that. (I did already axe Princess of Mars and FF.)

Friday, October 21, 2011

DC Preview Review for December Part 2 of 2

Told you we would be back with more………….

On sale DECEMBER 7 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+
All across the world, those with a primal connection to the forces of life and death can feel that something is very wrong. The war between The Green and The Other has begun, and the knights of decay walk the Earth unchecked – but without Alec Holland, the Green has no champion strong enough to fight back!
Jim: Vertigo seems to be in some weird state of flux. A lot of books have been canceled, but new projects still keep popping up here and there. At the same time I think under the DC banner a sort of Vertigo has “taken root” in the DCU. This consists of Swampy, Franky, Buddy and Andrew. Swamp Thing #1 was a miss for me, but the second issue sold me on this new series. Scott is honoring what went before and yet doing his own spin on the character and making it just as fantastic a twist as Alan Moore’s classic rethinking of the character. This is shaping up to be another great series from Scott.
Gwen: I never cared much for the Swamp Thing character but if anyone can make me interested it's Scott Snyder.
Lee:  Ooohhh lookeee here.  I take over one day and suddenly L'il Miss Jealous Pants wants her spot back.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Something Different

A little philosophical meandering I did on a friend’s website.

Click to check it out.

Softly, softly

Continuity is both one of the most impressive and one of the most regressive things about modern day superhero comics.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What I read this week... Oct 19

I didn’t think that I read that much this past week but apparently I was wrong.  I ended up finishing a series of books that I half started.... I also wasn't feeling well so I spent more time in my private reading room than I would have liked.  Oh well, lots of good stuff this week.

Mr. Natural written and illustrated by Robert Crumb, published by Fantagraphics
If you’ve never experienced Crumb’s work this is one of the better ways to do it.  It collects all of the Mr. Natural stories from his first appearance in ’67 through the 90’s.  I’d recommend this book over some of the other Crumb books out there because it covers such a broad period of work.  You can see how Crumb’s style develops over the years and his cynicism becomes, if anything, sharper than ever.  While there’s still sex and drugs, it’s tame when compared to some of his other works from the late 60’s/early 70’s. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

DC Preview Review For December Part 1 of 2

Jim: Yikes, these preview reviews keep coming around every darn month. What the heck is up with that stuff? As I type this the second issues are now halfway through and I have to say talent is talent. The best books are by Scott Snyder, Jeff Lemire, Grant Morrison and Brian Azzarello, not a big surprise.
Lee:  Oooohhhh. special guest appearance by me.  I haven't done this in so long I'm all giddy with excitement. 

Art and cover by CLIFF CHIANG
On sale DECEMBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Wonder Woman has left Paradise Island behind, but Hera is just arriving. Without the Amazons’ most powerful daughter to protect them, can they withstand the wrath of a God who once favored them? And why would Zola want Diana to march right back into the eye of the storm?
Jim: I have only read one issue, but what I liked about it was the feeling that we were getting more of an epic type of story and one that is central to Wonder Woman being a part of it. Plus Chiang’s art is great and we have no question that Wonder Woman is a true Amazon by her stature and beauty.
Lee:  This was one of those books that really seemed to get a mixed reaction.  Some loved it, some hated it, but it appears that everyone is sticking around for a couple of issues. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Week in Review – October 12

So real life keeps intruding and gives me less time to devote to this column then I would like. Last week a baby shower for my daughter Jamie and her husband Dallas, this week I’m going to the Redskins game on Sunday courtesy of my friend Rusty. So that means no time on Sunday to blog, Wednesday was huge batch of books and tons of stuff I want to talk about with a slow internet connection. The transitional period of my big move to Florida has been a real treat (where is the sarcasm font????).  So why the heck am I gabbling when I need to start talking about the books.

First up is Punishermax #18 by Jason Aaron and Steve Dillon. Aaron is in his element with characters that are “real”. His super hero work has left me cold, but Scalped and Punishermax are epic. Steve Dillon is doing great work in making these characters look age appropriate and depicting the action no matter how gruesome or depraved. Sex and violence are amped up to the nth degree. This issue we see Frank is taking out his revenge against Kingpin the only way he can by hitting every two bit operation run by the Kingpin’s organization. Frank has been reduced to a foot soldier in his war against the Kingpin and is doing what he can to bring him out in the open.  Also this issue we got to see Frank shoot a comatose Bullseye in the head blowing out his brains. Not just gruesome, but realistic from the standpoint of how a “real” Punisher would react and we are not hampered by Marvel continuity in this book. This series is holding up to Ennis’ run on the book which I did not think was possible. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Amazing Spider-man Vol. 2: Revelations

Which brings us to volume 2, Revelations, of the JMS and JRJR Spider-man trades. I enjoyed volume one enough that I bought this second volume. In retrospect, I probably could have stopped with volume 1, but I hadn't put as much thought into my feelings about Spider-man then.

This volume isn't a coherent single story the way Coming Home was. It starts with the single issue commemoration of the 9/11/01 World Trade Center attacks. While that's a nice tribute to the real life people who died and to those who strove to rescue them, it's oddly disconnected from the universe in which the story is told. While Marvel has always been more in touch with our world than DC, bringing in whoever's currently president on occasion and taking place in actual locations on this planet (Metropolis, KS notwithstanding), it's still entirely separate from our reality, what with its super heroes, aliens, and fantastic technology that, if really existent in our world, would have us living very different lives.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I'm better than you

It never ceases to amaze me how competitive people are. Oh, you might say you aren’t competitive but deep down everyone is. I think things get even more competitive among family members. I remember watching and listening my Grandmother at our family reunion. After the meal and all the young folk had fled the table, she and her siblings would sit around and compare illnesses. The youngest one always had a bad back. The second had a bad back and sore knee. The third had a bad back, a sore knee, and a hemorrhoid that just wouldn’t go away. By the time it got to my Grandmother, #9, she had some rare tropical illness that she had gotten years ago but never told anyone so not to worry them along with everything else. It was like the 12 days of Christmas only with pain and rare diseases.

I always thought it was limited to older people because I was never competitive with my siblings. Mostly because I was always so much smarter than my brother, and my sister… well we don’t talk because she scares me. She’s a wee bit more ‘focused’ and ‘intense’ than the average joe.

But, something interesting happened the other day that made me think it wasn’t just old people. It started as I was driving the kids to school…

Friday, October 14, 2011

Quick Hits

Feeling a bit scatterbrained this week, so let’s keep it simple and go with some of my random thoughts about comics.

Black Panther #524 – Now that is how you do a crossover issue. Uses the Spider-Island premise well enough to make it distinct from other issues, but serves as merely a side story to the crossover. Best of all it advances the book’s next storyarc. Great story from David Liss, who’s getting better every issue, and gorgeous art from Francesco Francavilla. And look at that cover…

That is incredible. Best artist in comics today.

Overdrive! – Superhero comics typically rely too much on characters invented 40 years ago. Overdrive was a great car themed villain from the Brand New Day Spider-Man relaunch. Wish more guys like him would get reused for stories like this. Helps broaden the universe.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Recent Reads

Some books really deserve the full spotlight review treatment, but that also means many, other books worth commenting on never get mentioned. So, in attempt to cut through the backlog (and hopefully, pull something together faster than last week) I present the latest installment of my irregular Recent Reads feature. This will be a good representative sample, but probably won’t cover everything I’ve read comics-wise.

I was like a dieter in a candy store this week and overindulged in FIVE comics NOT on my pull sheet. The good thing is that they all were enjoyable, but now I’ve got to make some hard decisions again.

Batman #1 (DC)

I really liked this book. The art was fantastic, the story straightforward and interesting. I thought it was much better than Swamp Thing #1 and I’m tempted to trade Swampie for Bats before issue 2 even comes out. The only thing that bothered me a little was the ending. Having Dick Grayson be the possible killer is just ludicrous, so the concern over that mystery seems a little hollow to me. I’m really going to enjoy reading Batman again. A new addition to my list.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

BOOM Studio – About to Implode?

I loved BOOM studios a few years back and was happy to try and sample almost any book they produced. A guy named Chip Mosher and Francesco Francavilla did a book called Left on Mission which I thought and I still think is one of the best spy stories ever done as a comic book. I think this book holds up to Criminal and other noir type stories and Francesco has certainly gone on to make become a name in the industry. Chip signed up as Marketing Director for BOOM and has been a driving force for the company. Today I read that he has moved onto comiXology and I have to wonder how much longer BOOM has to last. 

BOOM at first was publishing tons of different genre books and was doing things like Giant Monsters, Left on Mission, Cover Girl, Two Guys and Two Guns (or something like that) but their publishing schedule was erratic and they did not have a signature book. Then the big change came Mark Waid signed on as Editor in Chief. Mark gets the trains running on time and then contributed to be BOOM’s lineup by launching Irredeemable and Incorruptible. They still had different genres and things were starting to look like it was coming together for BOOM. Heck they managed to get the publishing rights for the Disney books after Gemstone folded, added Farscape, 28 Days Later and BOOM looked like the next IDW. But that has all seemed to die.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What I read this week... Oct 11

So another week and even better books this time around. This week was filled with hacking and slashing, lots of punching, and some historical facts for a chaser.

I spent the majority of the week reading Shaman Warrior Vols 2 through 7 of 9, written/drawn by Park Joong-Ki, published by Dark Horse

Although stylistically similar to manga, Shaman Warrior is actually Korean Manwha. The series begins as a mystical shaman warrior is assassinated by his general. Batu, the shaman warrior’s servant takes his masters infant daughter to raise as his own. Years pass and all the shaman warriors are now hunted by the army they once served. Batu is drawn back into battle and must try to save his masters daughter while appeasing his own desire for vengeance.

Joong-Ki has written one hell of a good story. It is complex with lots of characters interwoven into a complex scheme. Joong-Ki takes the time to develop the back story for everyone and there are very few throw away characters. Probably the most interesting part of the story is how tragic almost every character is. All of the heroes manage to be heroes despite some really bad things happening to them along the way. Add just the right hint of foreshadowing and there is a sense of impending doom for all the heroes in the book.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The DCNu In Review

By the time this sees the light of day we will have had a round of the number 2s already out, but as I type this nary a second issue has passed my eyes. Let me say that these impressions of all the number one issues are just that quick impressions. I’m sure some will turn into great series and some will crash and burn. All in all I think DC has succeeded in what they wanted to do, now can they make half of these titles be long term successes and continue to generated the needed replacements? Next week back to the standard, but a busy weekend necessitates me doing something that I can write ahead of time.

Justice League #1 – A pretty book with Jim Lee doing some great work, but a paint by numbers and decompressed story that smacks of a six issue arc that will end in the group just coming together and beating a menace together. Then they will decide to let’s be the Justice League and much cheering and hugging ensues. This is standard fare with high quality talent, on my list but not in my heart. C+

Action Comics #1 – I just love Grant Morrison’s super hero work and with Rags Morales on art this is a hard book to not like. This book feels like a modern updating of the origin of Superman from the 30’s. I’m sure it will not tie into the current Superman 100%, but who cares. This is one of my favorites. A

Batgirl #1 – This was a flawed start. I have such a love and affinity for this character changing her this dramatically was tough. It appears Babs has never been Oracle and that bums me out. I like that she  is sort of a fish out of water fighting the desire to be Batgirl with her natural concern about just getting out of the chair along with freezing when a gun was pointed at her. I didn’t like getting an apartment with someone who she will have to hide her identity from. I trust Gail with this book, but it will take some time for me to be used to this iteration of Barbara Gordon. C+

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Amazing Spider-man Vol 1 Coming Home

I should like this more than I do. It and Volume 2 were recommended by trusted sources, and J Michael Straczynski (JMS from here out) gets a lot of positive word of mouth, but for not always completing what he starts. I liked Babylon 5, too. Plus, I've liked John Romita Jr's art since I was a kid. All in all, this should be some of the best stuff I've read in a while, especially because I've been away from Spider-man for a long time.

I don't recall when I purchased these, but it was not recently. I re-read them after Hurricane Irene knocked out our power for a couple days.

Volume 1 is the better of the two. Peter is still doing his bit of selling photos but he's also working as a teacher at a down and out public school. This provides an opportunity for a little moralizing when a kid comes in and shoots up the place. There are the burn out teachers who just mark time and do nothing to help. Peter can't use his powers outright and has to surruptitiously take the kid down. And the shooter, of course, is just a kid who has been bullied too far.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Swamp Thing #2 – A Review

You can’t judge a book by its cover, and you also can’t judge a series by its first issue. Case in point: Swamp Thing #1. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had anticipated. I was also totally distracted by Paquette’s bulky rendering of Superman’s new costume. For that matter, having Superman converse extensively with Alec Holland was unnecessary and had me thinking more about the changes to his character than Swamp Thing. Then there was the ending – Swamp Thing shows up to visit Alec! What?! How is that even possible? So, I was deliberating on whether or not to axe Swamp Thing from my pull list, since I had already decided to pick up Synder’s excellent Batman series. I’m glad I stuck around for the second issue, because it was PHENOMENAL!!!

Friday, October 07, 2011

Image Previews for December

Lee: Image is starting to kill me again. Now that the series are starting to get collected my budget is getting crushed by all the new trades.

Thomm: I think it’s well established that my budget pales in comparison to, well, everyone. I’ll pick and choose.

story Nathan Edmondson   art / cover Mitch Gerads
32 Pages/ FC / $3.50
The evolution of global warfare necessitates the evolution of special forces to rise and meet the call. The U.S Army has therefore looked to its last secret special operations tribe, the Intelligence Support Activity, or Gray Fox. Within Gray Fox is a team of elite men and women whose mission is flexible, whose technology is bleeding edge, and whose execution is precise and lethal. They are Team Omaha, and they serve The Activity.
Lee: This reminds me of that great series from Oni, Queen and Country. If it’s anything like that then this is something to look forward to.
Thomm: Team Omaha? Where’s the steaks? In fact, with reference to a bleeding edge rather than cutting edge, I think this is slyly telling us it’s about butchers.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

One of comics' great lost opportunities

So last week I noted how much Geoff Johns’ Aquaman went out of its way to address the widely held perception that its title character was lame. This is a stigma that has been attached the character since Superfriends. And creators have tried to address it in a multitude of different ways – playing up his royal heritage, making him a bad ass with a hook for a hand, writing a first issue that did nothing that talked about how cool he was, etc.

I think what disappointed me about Johns’ first issue was how much he drew attention to the character’s negatives. What really frustrates me about this isn’t just that he is accentuating the character’s biggest weakness, but that it reminded me of one of comics’ greatest lost opportunities – Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo’s Aquaman.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Dark Horse Previews for December

Lee: DH continues to surprise me. This month it’s a spotlight on overly expensive hc’s.
Thomm: Oh, sure that’s right up my alley.

Adam Warren (W/A)
bw, 712 pages, 6 1/2" x 9", $59.99
Enough Empowered to crush your nuts! The steamy cape-and-tights comedy so outrageous that the bonds of regular graphic novels could not hold the laughs within, Empowered has expanded into a tome so massive that even the superpowered can barely lift it! Empowered Deluxe Edition Volume 1 collects between its rock-hard covers all the material from the first three Empowered volumes, plus several metric tons (okay, like forty pages) of top-secret, never-before-seen extras (except by Adam Warren, a few close friends, and some ninja), including the very first Empowered stories, sketches, logo variants, Adam’s story notes, and more, more, more! That's seven hundred pages, chief, and printed on way nice paper, too! Only you deserve so much! Hardcover edition, limited to one printing!
Lee: Empowered has been around for awhile and seems to have a dedicated cult following. It has always looked really funny and I keep meaning to read it. But, for $60 it just might be too pricey for me right now. And, DH is one of the few publishers that I actually believe when they say there won’t be any more printings.
Thomm: Never heard of it. Not gonna be getting’ it.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

What I read this week... Oct 03

This week I was worried that I wouldn't have very much quality reading time due to conflicts between work, dance practice (Girl and Tiny), soccer practice (Boy and Tiny), and other misc commitments.  But, Wife decided that she wanted to see all the soccer games this weekend so while she stood in 50 degree weather with a lovely wind chill, I went to dance practice, sat in the heated lounge reading for 2 hours.  It was excellent! 

Overall it turned out to be a mixed bag of books: 1 great, 1 very good, and 1 eh-ok.

Details below the break...

Monday, October 03, 2011

The Week in Review – September 28

Well the DCNu’s debut is complete. All in all I think DC did a great job and since next week I will not have the time to do a week in review post I will probably prepare a first impression and some sort of rating scale regarding all 52 books as I sampled each and every title. I have heard that Didio is micromanaging stuff and driving creators crazy and I can believe that aspect. The flip side is that he was right about a lot of the changes that were needed to get things right and he is enforcing what he believes is the right thing to do. Didio maybe was the force needed to bring DC in to a new era and eventually he may need to be the person pushed out the door also. Time will tell. Success always brings detractors and if everyone likes you then you must be doing something wrong.

I have a fair number of books to cover this week so I will be trying to keep it brief while talking about each book. I find it hard to do a proper review when just giving a brief bit to each book so they often become more about my feeling towards the series then an actual review. All in all September has been one of the most exciting month in comics in decades which offsets the never ending rain in Baltimore, Maryland area has been suffering through.

A big surprise for me is how much I enjoyed The Ultimates #2. While I love Hickman’s high concepts and ideas his execution and ability to actually tell a story often fall short or more accurately go on forever (see FF). This issue we get a tale of a science fiction city that cuts itself off from the world and inside the city time passes at a hyper-accelerated rate. In the span of minutes a futuristic people who have evolved a 1,000 years re-appears on Earth. A battle ensues with super heroes and they discover Asgard and succeed in killing off the power source and much of Asgard.  Great concepts, a very cool story, the plot moves fast, the art is enjoyable and we get an actual story. In FF Hickman’s story has been dragging on for years with no end points to the plot. Here we get a great story where we have plotline that resolves in one issue, but it is part of a greater whole. This book appears to be showing the payoff of Hickman finally marrying his great ideas into a great monthly comic.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

The List - September 2011

And here we are with another end of month rush to get the List up. This one's a bit inflated, too. I checked out several of the DCNu #1s, though nothing approaching Jim's catholic approach. Not surprisingly, most of them didn't make my top ten.

1. American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest 4 - This mini just keeps on rockin' to its bloody conclusion. Dr Pavel is front and center for this issue, starting with his narration of his story up to the point where we've met him in this series. Through his work he discovered the ancient, giant sized breed of vampires we now see in the cave below the castle. The vampire's we know better from this series and its progenitor have been destroying the ancient ones whenever they're found, so Dr Pavel has hidden these three in this cave and is now seeking to wake them to fight the vampires on their tails. There's a nice bit of realism when Felicia and Cash go down hard and fast when they're surrounded by vampires. A couple of good punches to the head, and they're down, as they should be. The big, ancient vampires are awake and active by the end of the issue. We'll see how that bodes for Felicia and Cash. I hope we learn why one of them looks like a werewolf, too.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

The Flash #1 -- A Review (2011 Version)

Do you remember when the Flash was a long running title, numbering in the two hundreds (and once upon a time in the three hundreds)? It seems like a lifetime ago and here we are again on the third reboot in as many years, and only 18 months since the last one. I gave that issue an “A”, but less than a year later I’d dropped the book before issue 12 and was so dissatisfied that I skipped Flashpoint altogether. After hearing that Barry’s marriage to Iris was kaput; I wasn’t planning on picking up The New 52 incarnation either. However, I ended up getting it anyway and unfortunately this will not be a repeat of my last Flash review.