Thursday, September 06, 2012

The List - August 2012

Should be a shorter List next month due to a few series ending this month.  Actually, it's not too long this month, really.

1. Spaceman 9 - Like all the series that have just ended I'm going to have to re-read this to get the big picture, but even on a singles basis, this was a great read.  Orson is right up there with Willy Loman when it comes to things not working out.  Carter is a different sort and comes out on top, suckering Orson into faux selflessness.  At least Tara came out of it well.  As well as can be expected being an adopted kid of Angelina Jolie/Brad Pitt parody parents.  Azzarello's not short on social commentary with this mini, particularly pop culture obsession to the point of ignorant bliss of rising seas from global warming.  Risso's art captures the atmosphere to perfection, too.

2. Scalped 60 - I know, it's hard to believe that this isn't the top pick for the month, but Spaceman was that good.  No good comes to most of our major players in the drama of Dash's undercover mission to expose the crimes of Red Crow, which took 5 years to tell.  Carol comes out well, being just about the only character who went through a redemption, but then she wasn't corrupt like her father.  She was an addict.  Dash is gone.  Maggie's producing his heir.  Dino's far gone.  Red Crow does give Nitz his fitting salute (though I must say I find it less than believable that Nitz would be buried on the Rez).  Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera have a work in which pride of accomplishment is well founded.  At least the left the Rez with some hope when they were done.

3. The Unwritten 40 - Not a series end, but an arc end.  Didge may be my new favorite character.  Nice to finally see Tom back in the book, too.  His confrontation in the messianic Filby in the packed theater is great.  Carey and Gross wrap The Wound, so to speak, with a well reasoned take down of all cult thinking and the attendant myopic thinking (this means you Know Nothings [aka Tea Party]).  Tom gives Filby a well deserved smack down.  His belief that he's some sort of gnostic Judas is misguided, to say the least.  I'm not sure what Didge sees in Danny, but we all have our weak points.  And, yea, it looks like Lizzie's coming back.

4. Wonder Woman 12 - Another arc conclusion.  Love that cover.  Doesn't really have anything to do with what's between the covers, but love that cover.  Just another great part of what Chiang's doing in presenting the gods of Greek myth.  And, yeah, I thoroughly enjoyed the comeuppance Apollo received.  Arrogant doesn't begin to describe him.  Fitting, I suppose, for the guy who's now top god.  Of course, the big reveal is the ramping up of Diana's power.  All that she's shown before has been restrained.  She really is up there in Superman classification.  No, I don't think the big reveal is the New Gods.  That's just usual Big Two stuff, though I'm sure Azzarello will take it in fascinating new directions.

5. Fairest 6 - I love the diaglog in this book.  Willingham doesn't hold back with how these ladies feel about each other.  But the other great part is how much these Fables who haven't been in our world don't know about pop culture references, something our friendly, manipulative bottle imp works to great effect.  And a nice high tech meets magic explanation of Briar Rose's immunity to Hadeon.  "Redundancy of Effort" filters, indeed.  True love versus romantic love?  Never would have thought of that one.  I hope future arcs without this group providing the talent rise to this level of creativity.  There are certainly plenty of other stories to branch off of Fables.

6. Fables 120 - Speaking of which, here we are.  No ending yet in this arc or series.  I shouldn't be surprised that death can come to even well loved characters in this book.  Look at Boy Blue, after all.  Still, we hadn't nearly as much story about all the cubs as I thought we might before we started getting into this kind of dire circumstance.  Cast off toys from fatal injuries to children, however innocent the toys were in those fatalities, are some nasty, nasty critters when they try to free themselves from their purgatory.  Terese and Dare are much the worse for wear due to this endeavor, and the critters don't care a whit.  A Revolution in Oz has certainly taken a bloody turn, too.  Probably the most humorous beheading I've ever seen.

7. American Vampire 30 - Pearl, Pearl, Pearl...  I suppose it had to happen eventually, and it's a common enough human/undead foible, but Skinner?  Yeah, he's a bit reformed from his pre-Pacific days, but only by dint of outside manipulation, not any internal improvement in character.  I suppose this guarantees that Henry will recover so that we have the necessary guilt and forgiveness.  Oh, and vampire sex is both sexy and icky.  Elongated fingers.  Ick.

8. Before Watchmen: Minutemen 3 - Darwyn Cooke's solo work is definitely the best of the Before Watchmen books I'm reading.  He's really filling in the stories of these disfunctional heroes and the man in their midst who exposes them in a book.  The Comedian, Dollar Bill, and the rest are captured so well by Cooke, in dialog and visually.  Of course, if anyone's going to provide the art for a story largely set in the 1940s, Cooke's the man.  No one does noir better.  He does leave out the casual racism of the day, though he does have the homophobia.

9. American Vampire: Lord of Nightmares 3 - You know, between these minis with Felicia, the main book with Pearl, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the most worthwhile vampire stories are ones told from the perspective of a strong female lead.  Other than Dracula, of course.  Speaking of whom, his indirect presence through Glass is creepier than any monstrous depiction.  That guy and his perpetual cheeriness is way more creepy.  Gus channeling Dracula was pretty creepy, too.  But I'm really glad to see more of the other varieties of vampire.  Snyder has a really great concept with vampire varieties.  Clearly there are a lot more he has in store for us to see, too.

10. Atomic Robo: The Flying She-Devils of the Pacific 2 - Who'd have thought a mission to reclaim lost military assets would be so exciting and fun?  I mean, in the real world it's mostly a matter of counting things and making sure the various lists match.  Outlaw bars, jet pack wearing women warriors and highly advanced robots don't usually come into it.  Clevinger and Wegener have done these kinds of great fun out of common beginnings before and this one is right on track to be another superb effort.  And things blow up with some regularity.

11. Saga 6 - I'm a little disappointed, mostly because I have to wait a few months for the start of the next arc.  Trees that are spaceships.  With foyers.  Man, that's some clever thinking.  I've seen concepts with living space ships before but this is the first time it's been a tree.  Just having gotten out of the shower when your in-laws show up unexpectedly?  That's more common.  In-laws armed to the teeth and expecting a fight with someone else? Back to being different.  Wish I knew more about that before we hit cliff hanger, especially with the wait 'til the next arc.

12. Before Watchmen: Rorschach 1 - Azzarello is helming this one with Lee Bermejo, so expectations are high.  Expectations for the series are still high, but in this issue we're off to a fairly slow start.  It looks great, and I understand laying the groundwork, but I was hoping for a little faster start.  I expect that's coming next issue.

13. Invincible 94 - We're into building to milestone issue time, but Invincible still has a good half year to get there.  More, depending on how regularly it's published.  In recent issues of splitting between the fight with the Flaxans here and now and recounting the time Robot and Monster Girl spent in the Flaxan dimension I've been enjoying the latter more.  Now, the two have come together as we learn Monster Girl was knocking boots with a Flaxan at some point, producing Monster Son (or whatever he's called).  You'd think that after 700 years together Robot would be more forgiving of an indiscretion, and he does profess his ongoing love for Monster Girl while she's frozen (and he thinks unconscious).  If her son doesn't kill them, maybe they'll get past this.

14. iZombie 28 - And so this tale from the Pacific Northwest comes to a close.  I have to read the entire run to get a better feel for it, but I was a little disappointed in Gwen's end fate.  In fact, I often found Gwen to be of lesser interest than the cast of supporting characters. 

15. The Walking Dead 101 - Carl continues to be the most well adjusted person in this apocolyptic world.  Or at least he reacts in understandable ways.  Rick wants Maggie to keep punching him in the head.  Sophia bites Carl to stop him stopping Maggie.  Ah, well.  At least the compound survived an attack by Negan's bunch and got themselves a prisoner.

16. Thief of Thieves 7 - Not at all surprised that Redmond pulled a fast one on the FBI.  More surprisesd that his right hand gal didn't figure it out until she almost perforated him.  Love the twists and turns of Redmond's plot, and the knowing of FBI procedures that is a requirement for it to work.

17. Atomic Robo Presents Real Science Adventures 5 - Anthology of Atomic Robo stories that continues to entertain.  Ah, the '70s and Bruce Lee movies.  Who'd have thought they'd work in a comic in the early 21st Century?  I'm looking forward to the last chapter, and the last Sparrow chapter, next month.

18. Saucer Country 6 - Mork and Mindy?  Excellent.  A lot of exposition in this issue, though.  The reliability of our source, who sees and talks to the couple from Pioneer Ten, is suspect.

19. Dark Horse Presents 15 - I think I'm getting to the point where I'll have bought more consecutive issues of this iteration of this book than I did the original.  It's well worth the $8 for the volume of good, varied stories that are presented.  I particularly like the ongoing Concrete Park story.  The Rex Mundi story might be a bit of a mystery to readers who haven't read any of the story previously (which I have, thanks to Lee, and I promise I'll get around to reviewing one of these days).

20. Doimnique Laveau Voodoo Child 6 - I know it's fairly far down The List, but this was my favorite issue of the book so far.  Samedi, like all trickster gods, is a very interesting character, and he's featured here.  The story he tells to the two who summoned him is an interesting choice, because he doesn't come out well in the end with that story.  He fares much better with the erstwhile summoners.

21. Batwoman 12 - Much as I have enjoyed the art I haven't been able to keep the story in my mind very well.  I even forgot that this issue started a new arc with Wonder Woman.  The version I like that Azzarello has created in Diana's own book.  This will definitely keep me on for at least this arc.  After that, who knows.

22. Animal Man 12 - Big time crossover time in the fight against the Rot.  That's fine for Swamp Thing because I'm reading that already, but throwing in Frankenstein may lead me to call it quits.  I tend to have the opposite reaction than what publishers intend with crossovers.

23. Swamp Thing 12 -  See Animal Man.

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