Wednesday, April 03, 2013

The List - March 2013

Another month ends, another List rises from the depths.  End of the line for two books this month, and nearly there for a third.

1. Saga 11 - I can't think of a reason not to read this, unless you automatically write off books with sex and violence.  That's a shame if you do, because you're missing the most alive characters in comics.  Starting with the conception (or at least implying that it's starting with the conception) of book narrator Hazel and running through Marko's father's death, the book touches so deftly on how we experience these major moments in life, even in the extraordinary circumstance of fleeing persecution for breaking a society's taboos.  These people with horns growing out of their heads or wings out of their backs are so much like people we might know it's as though this is a non-fiction narrative instead of sci-fi.  Marko's memories of his childhood with his father are touching while Marko and Alana having sex is not only aluring it's also very real in the post coital worries.  Oh, and best quote of the month: "The giant evil space fetus just shot black goo from its eyes!"

2. The Walking Dead 108 - For all those who've complained that Negan
is just a repeat of the Governor, time to bring your mea culpas.  He's a whole other kind of crazy, and this story line that Kirkman, Adlard and Rathburn have developed is totally different from the Woodbury story.  There are now a minimum of three large communities in the area surrounding DC's remains, with Negan controling the others largely becausse they didn't know where his community was, as well as his brutality.  With Ezekiel's Kingdom and the Hilltop added to the community Rick leads, we're looking at a conflict of shifting alliances.  It's European History through World War II on a smaller scale.  Should be lots of opportunities for great stories there.

3. Todd: The Ugliest Kid on Earth 3 - Still hilarious.  And, no, he's not
from the old DC multiverse Earth 3, despite how it looks there.  Todd doesn't actually appear in a lot of this issue.  We have more with his mother and father, each off on her or his own shenanigans, and the chief of police who inadvertently tracks down the actual serial killer, ensuring fulfillment of his long held desire to be TV famous.  Todd does get invited to his first blanket party, though.  It's always nice when a kid gets invited to a party, especially when he's spending his first days in jail.

4. Fables 127 - Man, I so cannot wait until Brandish gets his comeuppance.  In the meantime it's nice to have a reappearance of Ghost.  Good thing Snow didn't let him kill Brandish.  Wouldn't want to have lost Snow.  Now that Snow's firmly painted into a box she can't escape and Bigby's arrived to tear Brandish a new one, I'm sure we'll have an unexpected resolution to the problem.  Also anticipating Beast's nifty plan to escape the clutches of the Blue Fairy.  Doesn't seem like Geppetto's going to like the plan much.

5. Invincible 101 - Ah, jocularity.  Love the deceptive cover "1st Issue"
display.  Looks like Robot is overcompensating for his own actions in the Flaxan dimension when he attacks Mark for having worked with Dinosaurus, too.  Super powered midwife says Eve has to stop using her powers while she's pregnant?  Yeah, that's probably not going to happen.  On the whole this was an intermediate issue, wrapping up the big events from 100 and leading into what's going to be a nice, kick-ass fight between Thragg (Viltrumite Freddie Mercury) and Nolan.

6. Sex 1 - I hadn't originally bought this when it came out but fortunately I actually read Jim's reviews of what he's bought each week as he singlehandedly attempts to keep the industry afloat.  His review of Joe Casey's and Piotr Kowalski's new book intrigued me.  This is definitely a skewed view of superheroes, at least from the traditional paragon perspective.  Probably not so skewed today.  I'm not sure what the big upset is in some circles about lesbian superhero sex.  For one, the women having sex weren't superheroes.  They were dressed as superheroes for the titilation of the man who paid to watch them.  Adventures in Saturn City should be interesting.

7. Wonder Woman 18 - Clearly the best book DC is publishing these
days, Lee's wistful desire to revert to books of 25 years ago notwithstanding.  The third arc in the book concludes with this issue.  Diana fails to recover her infant half sibling from Demeter after a great fight with Hermes.  She's fortunate to have Orion come to her aid in that fight, but her training by Ares when she was a kid shines through in defeating Hermes.  Still, Ares beat her to the punch in recovering the child, which should give her pause, considering his disdain for all these affairs up to this point.  I think First Born needs a real name, too.  It's a bit awkward for Poseiden to keep calling him that when they're fighting.  Second best quote of the month, from Orion: "I'm just saying.  It'll be easier on me if I have to destroy a boy baby rather than a girl baby."

8. Thor: God of Thunder 6 - I can't bring myself to write the numbering of this book as 006, as Marvel insists on doing.  Are they trying to evoke Bond?  Are they saying the book won't make it to 1000 issues?  What book has?  Anyway, it's a distraction, whatever its intent.  This issue gave us Gorr's origin.  That was fairly pedestrian.  More interesting was Volstagg's presentation of a logical conundrum to Gorr.  Gorr's goal is to kill all gods because his society's own gods let him down.  That's a bit of a twist on those who become atheists because they're disappointed in God, but different and ultimately futile, as Volstagg reveals.  By killing all the gods, and becoming an immortal himself in the doing, Gorr has become a god himself.  Hmm.  From the persective of some, it can be argued an atheist does the same.  Lots of fun philosophy in this book.

9. Fairest 13 - Rapunzel's saga comes to its conclusion.  It's a more
peaceable solution than expected.  All the major players actually survive, despite the spirited, bullet and sword filled fight.  This arc really did make Rapunzel an interesting character, particularly with her relationship to Totenkinder.  I'm hoping she'll show up again in the post Empire world to possibly resolve her loves and losses.  I must say, this arc affirmed for me that Jack is much better as a supporting character than he was as a lead in his own book.  He's just too shallow, and should stay that way, to be a lead for long.

10. The Unwritten 47 - Hades ruled by our favorite homicidal rabbit is a capricious place.  It would be far more dangerous for Tom if he had his memory and Paulie knew who he is.  Amnesia has a benefit here.  I rather liked the confusion of the minions of Hades who aren't quite sure what to do because Tom is alive and they can't kill him if he refuses to do what they order.  Obviously the masked minion who leads Tom to the surprise resident of Hades at the end isn't one of the minions, though.

11. Dark Horse Presents 22 - This book remains an intimidating buy at
$8 an issue, but it also remains worth the bang of the buck.  This issue has very amusing stories by Kel McDonald, Shannon Wheeler, and Steve Moncuse that are one offs, as well as an interview with Geof Darrow (by Mike Richardson, who interviews himself almost as much as he does Darrow), and a very interesting alternate history story about Gen. Custer by Howard Chaykin.  That doesn't even include the ongoing chapters of stories by Caitlin Kiernan, Michael Avon Oeming, Geoffrey Thorne, and Denis Medri.  The Darrow cover was good enough to give this month a bonus cover in the List, too.

12. Batwoman 18 - We're deep into tricks and double tricks now, as Batwoman is firmly in the grasp of the DEO, deeper even than Hawkfire knows.  I'm not too certain on how much I'll keep going, especially without Williams doing the art for this one.  Trevor McCarthy is good, and he uses a lot of the Williams layout style, but he's not quite there.  The plotting was interesting in having a DEO agent in Batwoman's ear while Kane's dad was in Hawkfire's ear, without either knowing what the other was saying.

13. Mara 3 - Wood has this story moving much better now and it's starting to move up on the List.  I'm starting to like our eponymous hero and want to know where her nascent powers are going to take the story.

14. The Massive 10 - The other Brian Wood entry, and the older one.  It's taken longer to get to a point where I want to know what's happening next issue.  A mutiny is definitely an attention grabber.

15. Joe Kubert Presents 6 - The final issue in this anthology mini-series, I particularly like the ending to Spit.  It's so Kubert.  A friend caught a glance of it and commented just how alive the art is.  I used to love his Kamandi stories, but the one he co-wrote with Brandon Vietti is lacking because Vietti is the artist rather than Kubert.  It's not bad art.  It's just on Kubert.  I'm not so sure about the story, either.  The anthropomorphic animals are a product of Etrigan's demon sorcery?  I like a sci-fi explanation for Kamandi's world better.

16. Dia de los Muertos 1 - This one is thanks to Lee for taking note of an upcoming issue when we were reviewing the Image previews.  I've liked Rossmo's art since his work on Proof, so I gave this a look.  The three stories are unrelated but for adhering to the Dia de los Muertos theme.  All are a joy to read.

17. Before Watchmen: Rorschach 4 - This was probably the most disappointing of the minis that I bought in the Before Watchmen milieu.  The art by Bermejo is beautiful and Azzarello's scripting is appropriately gritty, but the plot didn't reveal anything new about Rorschach's character that we didn't already know from Watchmen.  I'm afraid the Comedian book is facing the same problem, but we'll see how it concludes.

18. Saucer Country 13 - I'm torn by this issue.  On the one hand, I think we have way too much of the Professor and not enough of the Governor, who's supposed to be the central character of the book.  On the other hand, we finally find out how it is the Professor is seeing Man/Woman.  I guess the final issue next month will tell us why they were leading him around by the nose.

19. Swamp Thing 18/Animal Man 18 - SPOILERS - Just in case anyone was actually reading this other than me and Jim, Abby is the avatar of the Rot now.  Not a megalomaniacal avatar like her uncle Anton, but an avatar dedicated to balance between the Rot, the Red and the Green.  That's the big change that we sat through 18 issues to reach.  Meh.  In the other side of this Buddy's son Cliff is killed by the Arcane brat.  He was always a third wheel of sorts, so who cares?  Both books smack of the editorial control that Jim and Shawn bemoaned last week.  I'm done with both books now.

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