Thursday, November 03, 2011

The List

I think I've fairly well winnowed the readable from the worth spending money to read among the new DCU titles, but that still leaves quite a few. I'm considering adding I...Vampire, too. As it turns out, and not too surprisingly, it's mostly the lesser knowns that have garnered my attention. Still not as good as the Vertigo offerings, but a good start for this now DC world. And all Marvel's one title I'm getting is doing is irritating me.

1. Invincible 83 - This is one of those watershed issues where Kirkman does something irrevocable to someone. The fact that it features Magmaniac and Thether Tyrant, to of the greatest B, maybe C, level villains ever sells it that much more. Prior to this these two have been largely tangential characters, somewhat laughable in their inability to succeed in crime or legal activity. There's always been a bit of undercurrent of homoeroticism to their relationship, with the triangle completed by whatever relationship Tether Tyrant has with his alien symbiote. Now, with a major change in their relationship, and a major change in Tether Tyrant's powers, it looks like Kirkman, Ottley and Rathburn have something interesting in mind. Looking forward to seeing just what.

2. Scalped 53 - This is one of the few books where I'm looking forward to an ending. It has to have one to work, and it certainly seems to be approaching. Curiously, I find myself rooting for Sheriff Karnow. He and Officer Falls Down are the only people who are trying to do what their job description says they're supposed to be doing, especially when it comes to law enforcement in this book. Dash is more occupied with revenge on Catcher than building a case against Red Crow. Nitz is, as always, obsessed by his own revenge against Red Crow, to the point of sacrificing a guy who is trying to do his job right. In the midst of all that, Shunka has put himself in a position where he's not supported by Red Crow and is targeted by Rath. All coming to a head.

3. American Vampire: Servival of the Fittest 5 - Well, there go any hopes of a relationship between Felicia and Cash. I hope Snyder has a lot more Felicia stories in him, though. She's one of my favorite characters right now. What, though, is she doing with Cash's son? What's she doing with herself, for that matter? What will happen with the injections? So, when's the next installment of her story? And who knew that a tank could ski down a hill? Ok, that's enough questions.

4. The Unwritten 30 - That's a sad conclusion to that arc. Of course, I suppose it had to be. At least the Tinker might have something positive ahead of him. Wilson kept Miriam from being executed by his employers, but to what end? To waste away in prison, kept alive only because she gave birth to Wilson's son in prison? And then, to be released only because she's dying of cancer was hardly a reprieve. Tom does at least learn that he wasn't the first experiment Wilson conducted on engineered offspring. I love how Carey and Gross have turned genetic engineering into "story" engineering. That's a new concept. Of course, this book is full of new and interesting concepts.

5. Atomic Robo: The Ghost of Station X 2 - One of the great fun series out there, this arc's taking a more dark turn. Someone has laid a trap for Robo and almost "killed" him, which could have resulted in a nuclear explosion. Barely surving his re-entry from space (without a ship) and being reconstructed by his staff, Robo now has to get the big brains together to figure out who set him up. But what does the missing building known as Station X have to do with it? Hmm...

6. Fables 110 - You would think that after more than 9 years Wllingham, Buckingham and Leialoha would have played out all the modern telling of long time Fable characters' stories, or at least played out the ones they could tell where Bigby and Snow are central. But then they gave the couple a litter of kids and then turned that litter into the potential heir to their grandfather's title as North Wind. Lo and behold, the other cardinal direction winds are now introduced and provide even more great character development. What was the dispute between North Wind and West Wind? What exactly are the protocols that bind the cardinal winds to formalized behavior? Give me more story, please. Thank you.

7. The Walking Dead 89 & 90 - As though this title wasn't far enough ahead of it's sort of companion, Invincible, this month saw two issues come out. Kirkman's got this one more than half a year ahead of Invincible when it wasn't that long ago that they were at the same point. Does color make that much of an impact? But to the point. The rebellion in the Community dies a quick death. Fomentor of dissent Nicholas isn't much of a planner or a leader. When Glen happens on Nicholas conspiring with two others to take control from Rick, that's pretty much the end of things. Sure, he takes Glen's gun away and ends up chasing Glen back to his house, winding up in a Mexican standoff, but really, how was that going to work out? Of course, as it did. Rick and the others who were out foraging come back, armed to the teeth, and put an end to it. The wonder is that Rick didn't just shoot Nicholas. Something of a wonder to Rick, as it turns out. So that's the main action element of the two issues. The more interesting character development and discussions involve Rick's feelings that he's become too accustomed to killing, his worry about Carl becoming the same, and the big surprise at the end of 90. Will it continue or is it a tease from which they'll back away in the next issue?

8. Batwoman 2 - I've been looking forward to this series for quite a while. I'm not going to let the fact that it appears to be continuing on the old DCU when everyone else is in a new DCU detract from my enjoyment of what Williams and Blackman are creating. And that's because the DCU doesn't really matter for this book. It's a great story of Batwoman and her relationships while she tries to track down a mysterious, repentant killer/abductor of children. That's some cool cover, too.

9. Spaceman 1 - A new limited series from Vertigo, I decided to check this out because 1) it was only $1, and 2) I've enjoyed the couple of issues of Wonder Woman that Azzarello's done in the new DCU. And a good choice it was. It has a dystopian future with a new lingua franca, akin to the gang speak of The Dark Knight Returns, among other things. There's an element of Waterworld to it, too, because much of the world is underwater, though not so far as it was in Waterworld. The protagonist is a down on his luck former astronaut who had been genetically engineered for that job but now salvages metal from the submerged world. There's a lot going on already, but it all relates to our world enough that it's easy to grasp, even the new language. There's even a recession that halves the value of his money while he's amidst salvage operation. Very cool.

10. Northlanders 45 - The second part of the trilogy within a trilogy begins in 999 Iceland. We're now 5 generations removed from the last arc. Brida Hauksson and her twin brother, Mar, lead the clan now. They're the major players on the island, with the much reduced Belgarssons being the other player. A young girl tries to assassinate Brida right in the opening, and being a Hauksson, she takes swift and severe retribution. Still, it's not all sunny in Iceland for the Haukssons. Mar has to borrow money from Brida to undertake raiding missions (viking as a verb) and Brida has to call him back from his most recent mission when the Belgarssons ally with the Catholic Church, throwing the balance of power into turmoil on the still mostly pagan island.

11. Wonder Woman 2 - Azzarello's other book I'm reading, this time illustrated by Cliff Chiang. Love the style of the book and the mythology being employed. This Diana doesn't have quite the bosom relationship with her fellow Amazons that the Perez version did. A lot more tension when she arrives on Paradise Island with Hermes and the middle American pregnant with Zeus's latest child. I love the American, Zola. Hermes asks her what form Zeus took to impregnate her. She rattles off 3 possible candidates right away. When Hermes looks askance, she says she likes men and won't apologize for that. Hermes, chagrined, agrees there's nothing wrong with that, though it might be a problem if said too loud on Paradise Island. Diana herself is not taking sides with Zeus or Hera. She's trying to protect Zola, who's caught in the middle. Not that Hera takes it that way.

12. Swamp Thing 2 - Scott Snyder has a good take on Swamp Thing. I like his homage to what Moore and Bissette did with the character (particularly having Abby ride a motorcycle made by Bissette Motors), while taking the character in a new direction. I do want to know how it is that Holland came back from the dead, and I'm sure Snyder will get to that in good time. Yanick Paquette's art is wonderfully florid, appropriate for a book about the Green.

13. Animal Man 2 - I haven't read any Sweet Tooth, so this is my first go with a Jeff Lemire book. It and Swamp Thing appear to be conjoined in having the same threat from Sethe, a force of death that is attacking both the Green and the Red. I suppose it's because it's animal flesh, but the odd things done with the animals in Animal Man by Travel Foreman in the art are much more disconcerting than the odd things done with plants in Swamp Thing. I don't have the same affinity for this book that I do Swamp Thing, if anyone can have affinity in only 2 issues, but I like it and want to see where it's going.

14. Incorruptible 23 - Nice knock down between Plutonian and Max. When Max tells him about Alana's betrayal and Plutonian recalls how she ran out to tell everyone his secret identity after he disclosed it to her, it was the first time I felt at all sympathetic for Plutonian. Almost made me want to pick up his book again, but not quite. I don't know why Plutonian helps Max get Coalville on his side, as Max asking for his help to make up for what Max did to Plutonian all those years doesn't really wash, but Waid's obviously trying to keep it a secret for a little while. I'll wait to see where he goes, but I'm going to want some explanation relatively soon.

15. Blue Beetle 2 - A lot of fun with this title. I don't recall the scarab's origins being such a threat when I read the last iteration of the character, but I like the battle Jaime is having with his carapace. In two issues we have really good character development for Jaime, his buddy Paco, and their friend Brenda, whose Tia Cardenas is a lot more than just the head of crime syndicate. Some interesting objects she's collecting. Great art from Ig Guara and a good start to the story by Tony Bedard.

16. Demon Knights 2 - This one has been a surprise. A medieval tale of sword and sorcery featuring a bunch of lesser known DC characters should be a lot of fun, but I didn't expect Vandal Savage to be the source of the most fun. He's a lot dimmer in this iteration than what I'm used to, but that works. Maybe dim isn't the right term. It's more that he knows a lot from his millenias of existence and doesn't care how he's perceived. He's just having fun. Not used to a Vandal Savage having fun. The Demon is more interesting than the usual rhyming games, too. He only rhymes when he feels like it.

17. Resurrection Man 2 - I'm a little less sure of this one than some of the others. I'm not sure if the concept will grow stale, and throwing in a a couple of T&A assassins this early is retreading worn ground. Still, I hear a lot of good things about Abnett and Lanning, so I'll give it a few more issues.

18. Batwing 2 - I probably should put this ahead of Resurrection Man, but they're pretty close. Right now we're working on a lot of what's already known about east Central Africa, which is that it's a violent, dangerous place. Unknown Soldier traveled this path in a more realistic, non-superhero way, so Winick has quite a bit to live up to. We're still establishing characters that are totally new, and they're well done on the hero side, but I want Massacre to be more than just a killing machine. There's some hint of that with his knowledge of the disappeared African heroes, and his evident mission to kill them all, but I don't want to be strung along too much before we get to that information.

19. iZombie 18 - A little different turn this month. The issue is a background story on Diogenes, the one eyed monster hunter. As his character was a cypher prior to this story, it's a good addition to the ongoing story, and pretty damn funny with the missionary valley girl who's becomes leader of a vampire cult in the Amazonian jungle. Most significantly, the story shows the connection Diogenes has to his young partner, Horatio.

20. Super Dinosaur 5 - The first arc ends here. Kirkman and Howard are having fun, and we're along for the ride. I love all the little things that harken back to the old super hero comics of the sixties and seventies. Best off switch use since Data in Star Trek.

21. Dark Horse Presents 5 - As much as I'm enjoying the many and varied stories in this title, I'm having a hard time with the $8 each month that it costs. If I do stop buying this, that'll be the chief reason. The stories are highly entertaining throughout.

22. Guarding the Globe 6 - So endeth the much delayed spin off from the Invincible world. The delay was bad enough, but the deus ex machina was ridiculous. The Humongous (as I can't help but think of the lead villain being) is either some sort of demon or an alien who's trying to remold the Earth into a bloody mess for his father to come take over. Regardless, he has the ability to stop all living things in their tracks amid whatever it is the being is doing. He's not allowed to use that power to bring about the conditions for his father to take the Earth. We don't know this until his helmet is knocked off in the fight in ruined Paris. He walks away from it all to start over. This came out of nowhere and is the lamest reason for a fight to end that I've ever seen. Very disappointing.

23. FF 10, 11 - Speaking of disappointing, when will this story come to an end? This is ridiculously drawn out. At this point I'd be happy with the Reeds having to retreat because they failed their father. If this isn't over with issue 12, it's over for me.

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