Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The List - May 2012

I think I'm getting less books at the moment, which means the quality tends to stay high.  There's only a couple that might get dropped at this point.  On the other hand, I'll be checking out some of the Watchmen pre-quels in June.  I like a good bit of the talent on those books, so they might make it, but you never know.  Could be a quick crash and burn, too.

On to The List.

1. Saga 3 - This has been a top choice for me since it started, so no surprise that it's here again, especially with no Spaceman issue coming out this month.  From the cover featuring our disembowled ghost to ex-lovers quarrel between bounty hunters, there are many gems in this book.  Fiona Staples provides great art for all these curious characters and their many varied physiologies.  Brian Vaughan, of course, provides a great story.  Killer boar!  Ghostly babysitter!  And who is Gwendolyn?
2. The Walking Dead 97 / 98 - May was a bonus month for TWD.  According to editor Sina Grace the book is working on a 3 week schedule for publishing.  I'm not sure why, other than to make fans happy and keep the market pumping with TMD books for the new readers recruited by the AMC show.  Unlike Invincible, this book wasn't behind in publishing.  Regardless, more good reading for me.  Kirkman seems to be a big fan of The Road Warrior.  Guarding the Globe featured a villain who looked like the Humungus and Nagan, the leader of the newest group to oppose Rick's band, seems to have the same sort of messianic qualities.  If we finally see him in the next two issues and he looks like Humungus I'll be laughing my butt off.  Anyway, big doings in these two issues, now that Rick's at war with Nagan.  One of the major and popular characters has been killed off in 98, which should come as no surprise, considering how many popular characters Kirkman has already killed in the book.  My one issue with the books is in the letters column of 98.  Sina Grace, in response to a writer asking about more ethnic diversity among the survivors, points out that these survivors are in the Kentucky and Atlanta area.  Problem is, that's not where they are now.  They're in the DC area.  Besides, there are plenty of minorities of many ethnicities around Atlanta.

3. Atomic Robo Presents Real Science Adventures 2 - Fun, fun, fun.  When all else in comics is death and destruction, Atomic Robo is death and destruction with humor.  This book's anthology style is a great sampler of Robo stories from different eras.  Some are ongoing throughout what appears to be a plan for 6 issues while others are stand alone.  All provide small insights into Robo and his supporting case.  A variety of guest artists lets regular artist Scott Wegener get a break, too.  This issue features art by Ryan Cody, Rob Reilly, John Broglia, and Zack Finfrock.  Each one's different but not a radical departure from Wegener's style.

4. Scalped 58 - Almost to the end at 60.  I'm going to miss this one, but I'll be sitting down to re-read the entire run as soon as it ends, so I have that to anticipate.  At this point it looks like the bad end we all saw for Dash from early on is about to come to pass.  He's still on the run and now has to deal with Catcher.  Hard to believe Catcher has lasted this long.  The foreshadowed career of Dino as the crime lord of the Rez appears to be in its infancy now that Red Crow has abandoned his enterprises.  Of course, the hunt for Dash for killing Deisel means the charges against Red Crow were dropped and Nitz is apoplectic.  That's fun to see.

5. Fables 117 - The cubs are an adventuresome and precoscious lot.  Not surprising, considering their lineage.  One's learning to be North Wind.  Another's queen of Discardia (unwillingly), and a third's searching for his queenly sister to rescue her from her unwanted regency.  I love that Dash has a few discarded toys fighting on his side because they're his own personal discarded toys.  Kung Fu Action fist!  Heh.  Hopefully next issue won't show Dash learning another meaning for his name than quickness (ie dashed on the rocks below).

6. Fairest 3 - I'll admit I'm somewhat swayed by the Adam Hughes cover.  The Ice Queen is just stunning.  Still, that alone wouldn't put Fairest this high on The List.  Willingham's story is really putting some great spin on the old tales, particularly sleeping beauty.  Of course, having a bottle imp whose specialty was 20th Century America tell the tale makes for some great lingo that his listners, Ali Baba and the Ice Queen don't always understand.  Sleeping Beauty gets it, what with it being her story and her having lived in the era.  And it's a great story.  A regular Joan Jett she was.  Fantastic art by Phil Jimenez, too.

7. The Unwritten 37 - Delving now into the post Cabal battle, The Wound is examining the repercussions of Tom's victory.  Australia finds itself the locus of a church worshipping Tom Taylor as something akin to the second coming of Jesus.  A detective's effort to infiltrate the group doesn't go well, bt another guy who is either an actual recruit or another cop appears to be having better luck, if it can be considered luck to enter a group where members are stripped naked, painted with words from the Tommy Taylor books, and disappear into thin air.  Looks like the Australia setting will go on for a while, which is a nice change from the London and New York centrality of the previous chapters.

8. Wonder Woman 9 - Hades marries Diana but only if she passes a test of being in a noose made of her own lasso.  If she doesn't tell the truth about willingly marrying Hades, it'll go from a marriage to a funeral right quick.  Ares makes a first appearance in this iteration of Wonder Woman, and like his fellow gods seen here, it's far from the usual.  No bulky, armor clac collosus.  Instead, he looks like an Antebellum plantation owner, replete with blood stains on his clothes.  There's so much commentary in that depiction that's not verbalized.  I love that subtlty.  Azzarello and Akins have done something particular and profound.  If all other DC books were dropped today it would be worth it to keep this one going.

9. Invincible 91 - Eve's confrontation with Thragg is, fortunately for her, all anger on her side and disinterest on his.  She does manage to track him down, but Dinosaurus must be getting tired of being attacked by people who don't get his alliance with Mark.  Of course, the big news of the issue is that Mark is recovered from the virus, but not quite the same as previous.  Will he be able to resume the title of Invincible, or is Bulletproof going to have it long term?  Then again, there's also the age old question of why does a hot, young, apparently intelligent woman like Carla stay with Bulletproof, given his penchant for philandering?  That and my usual question of why we can have gory violence but can't see the naughty bits of Zandale and Carla, clearly in bed post coitus.  If we can see the guts we can see the tits (and other parts).

10. American Vampire 27 - Wolf like vampires.  I shouldn't be surprised.  We saw a wolf like vampire in the mini-series with Felicia and Cash.  I guess these guys are a descendant of some sort.  Or rather, were.  Seeing as they were part of a previously thought extinct line, perhaps the line is back to extinct.  I'm looking forward to seeing Cal and Pearl join forces to pursue whoever killed Henry in the next issue.  This two part story was a nice one, particularly in touching on racism in the '50s South without getting pedantic, but Pearl's my favorite character in the book, so more of her is welcome.

11. Saucer Country 3 - That's got to be the spookiest rabbit I've ever seen that's on the cover of this issue.  I have some friends who are scared of such curious things as monkey and clowns, and my own kids are oddly afraid of things like butterflies and squirrels, but this could give a person reason to be afraid of the otherwise cuddly rabbit.  As to the story, I haven't seen recovered memory brought into a story since it was debunked a decade ago.  Interesting to see it making a return in the equally dubious world of alien abductions.

12. Memorial 5 - As an early in the month book I sometimes forget what's going on in this title.  Even with battles and beatings it can be a little low key.  The device of telling back story to a character who has forgotten her own life furthers the story but it's also not the most exciting way of presenting it.  Now that Em and Moment are face to face, hopefully we're about to hit a point of resolution.

13. iZombie 25 - Another early in the month book.  This is going to read really well altogether, once it reaches its end.  I just forget things between issues.  Like, why is Horatio green?  Ah, well.  It remains a layered story of monster hunting, demon fighting, and mistimed or misplaced romances.  There really is something of the horror romance novel to it, but in a good way.

14. Batwoman 8 & 9 - So, Cards, Comics and Collectibles tells me the reason for not having an issue in April was a distributor problem.  At least I got two this month.  I thought the Drowning Woman story had wrapped in the first arc but now she's been brought back already.  Much as I like this book I'm hearing there was some sort of dispute that has lead to Amy Reeder leaving the book already.  Trevor McCarthy does a nice job picking up the story's art duties but it's not nearly so beautiful as Reeder's work, nor enthralling as writer J.H. Williams III's art. 

15. Animal Man 9, Annual 1 - I put this ahead of Swamp Thing, but as usual they're really two sides of the same coin.  You can read one without the other but the lead characters are fighting the same opponent in the same war.  Lemire has this book moving forward but getting from an element of the Rot possessing Buddy's body to get to Maxine is taking a bit long with the detour into the Annual.

16. Swamp Thing 9 - Scott Snyder's portion of the war against the Rot has some of the more interesting parts because the rot's avatar is Abby.  While Animal Man fights proxies, Swamp Thing confronts the heart of the Rot.  Plus, Abby's really the one who wins the day, and I hope she gets to remain a person of some power.  I like her as an equal with Alec.

17. Incorruptible 29 - You know, I like a good jab at the idiot Know Nothings, but Waid really pushes it.  He has people killing "hangers" because the hangers are continuing to do their pre-Plutonian destruction jobs without pay.  The people killing them are afraid that if the world survives Plutonian then it'll be done with people working without pay, like communism.  They want to take their country back.  I don't know that even the Know Nothings are that stupid.  And it doesn't really add anything to the story of Max Damage and Alana Patel that is the main line of the story, other than giving Alana something else to blame on Max.  Now that Max is without hope of recovering the world, what's he going to do?

18. Thief of Thieves 4 - Master Thief is not even close to being the same as Master Dad.  This issue shows how the apple didn't fall far from the tree but didn't have the skills, either.

19. Blue Beetle 9 - Some Lantern guests here.  It flows alright but I'm not sure how much longer I'll keep going with this one.  Jaime's got a lot of potential to be a great character.  I'd like to see this book handled more like Wonder Woman, with independence from the greater DCU.

20. Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child 3 - Only three issues in and I either don't understand what's going on or have lost interest to the point that I haven't tried very hard to figure it out.  I may re-read the first 3 issues to see if that puts it together for me.  If not, there won't be a forth.  And why is it that New Orleans accents in print always seem so forced?  Maybe it's just it's been ruined by Gambit and Rogue.

21. Dark Horse Presents 12 - There just wasn't that much that was interesting in this issue.  I'll keep getting it because I'm sure it'll be back, but this collection of stories was just disappointing.  The best thing in it was a largely illustration free story by Harlan Ellison from 1994.  The Creep and Black Beetle were both good installments on larger stories, but that was about it.

And then there's the free stuff.  I'm not really putting this in the rankings but I wanted to mention it.  Madame Mirage 1-3 was written by Paul Dini with art by Kenneth Rocafort.  It was published in 2007.  My first reaction was that it was a T-A heavy book that didn't have a lot going on, but on getting through the third issue I see the T-A emphasis was an intended commentary.  The setting in a world where superheroes were banned and jailed but supervillians just went underground and took over businesses is something of a play on the world of the Watchmen, mixed with the lesser known The Psycho by James Hudnall and Dan Brereton.  So, a better than expected for this one.

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