Thursday, May 02, 2013

The List - April 2013

The paring down of less than adequate reads means that, outside the top ten, the books are largely on par with one another.  Only the last one was particularly disappointing, though even that disappointment has to be tempered with the expectation that it wouldn't amount to much.  Anyway, short story is that all these books but one are quite good.

1. Invincible 102 - As much as I just went on about disappointment, albeit expected, I was suprised in a very pleasant way with this one.  In fact, this issue of Kirkman, Ottley, Rathburn, and Rauch's long running story is far more significant than the events of milestone issue 100.  I totally did not expect what happened here.  I'll not reveal anything, but this really did have an event that will alter the course of the book.  Of course, unlike the Big Two there won't be a revision a few years down the road that makes it all go away, unless Kirkman suddenly drops dead.  And for those of you into that sort of thing, lots of gore in the fight in this issue.

2. Saga 12 - It makes sense to keep the artist up to speed, but it's still a little
deflating when Saga reaches another hiatus.  It's worth it because it means no substituting another artist for Fiona Staples.  Doesn't mean I like it, though.  With the cliff hanger we got from this arc to the next I'm particularly eager for the hiatus to end, too.  Seriously, if you're not reading this, get on board.  If you think of it like a novel, which it is, you're only 2 chapters in.  You can get those and get right up to speed.  Funny how we had a minor controversy about the gay sex in the last issue but there's nothing about the exploding head this go round. 

3. The Unwritten 48 - Lots of good back story this issue.  Pauly Bruckner, foul mouthed ruler of a hell, finally learns how he ended up a rabbit in a children's book.  Heh.  Not that he believes it.  Pauly sure is good for some amusement, so long as you're not on the receiving end of one of his disjointed diatribes and attendant violence.  Better yet, we have the return of two very important and interesting characters from the book's original story run about Leviathan.  Next issue should be very interesting indeed.

4. Fairest 14 - This was a stand alone issue about Reynard's attempt to date a
dryad.  Willingham wrote this one, with Barry Kitson doing the art, so it's as good as you might expect.  I love the little things you don't usually think about in inter-species romance.  Can someone overcome revulsion at the object of affection's diet?  What kind of breath is too bad for smooching?  Is a fox really that picky, considering what it'll eat?  And, being in the great tradition of its progenitor, Fables, this stand alone issue also has some hints of future larger machinations in the Fables world.

5. Wonder Woman 19 - Hmm.  Orion's face.  A bit of his heritage showing through, there.  No Cliff Chiang art this issue, but Goran Suzuka and Tony Adkins do a good job filling the gap.  They maintain similar lines to what Chiang does so it's not a jarring difference.  Anyway, the story is a little light on action.  Lots of talking about what to name the baby, Orion storming out, Lennox taking his leave, Apollo trying to save his own butt from the baby, and First Born being re-directed from his attack on Poseiden, and likely Hades, to Apollo, Diana, or both.  No one beats pagan gods for political infighting.  The gatefold cover was unnecessary, but ok.  At least it accuratey represented things that occurred inside, albeit out of order.

6. Todd: The Ugliest Kid on Earth 4 - Todd gets a sister.  A sister who also
wears a bag on her head.  The funniest visit to a world of total disfunction you're likely to read any time soon.  Quote of the month, too.
Todd: "Lost loved ones should be kept alive in your heart with cherished memories." (quoting Buddha about dead people)
Teacher: No, Todd.  Don't be racist.  Buddha may have been a bald fatty, but he was wise.  He said, "Push dead people out of your mind and replace them with alive people." 
I'm sure that's just how it went.

7. The Walking Dead 109 - Cool.  Maggie and Sophia.  Haven't seem them since you-know-who died in 100.  But, man, they're not in a good place.  Gregory is creepy and weak.  Kal appears to be a mole for Negan.  Looks like this bunch is going to be the death of the plan to take out Negan.  Then again, Kirkman and twist, you know.  Definitely some big confrontation on the horizon, one way or another.

9. Thor: God of Thunder 7 - God Bomb.  Not just a
name.  Not just a potent drink.  Shadrak the mentally broken god of some forgotten world is god of bombs.  Gorr wants to kill all the gods.  Not a good combination for present Thor and future Thor as they seek to confront Gorr, of course not knowing that past Thor is Gorr's prisoner.  Man, all that time stuff.  It's only going to get worse when all 3 are together fighting Gorr at the same time.  Aaron's going ot have to work to keep this from being a total chronal cluster, but I'm enjoying to so far.

10. Sex 2 - Blase stroll through orgy room.  These are some very jaded iterations of Batman and Catwoman.  The hints of what's happening in the larger plot continue.  I hope it picks up pace a bit soon, though.  Aside from shooting out a motorcycle there's not a lot of action.  Well, there's a lot of action if you consider a naked chick awaiting our hero at his penthouse, but since he sent her on her way without partaking, it's not really much action there.  Clearly I'm doing something wrong in my life that I don't have this many good looking naked people around as a regular occurrence.  Or maybe it's something wrong in his life that he does have that but doesn't appreciate it.

11. Fables 128 - You know it's a quality month for books when Fables
doesn't make the top ten.  It's not like this was a bad issue.  And the cover's really good, hence the bonus outside the top ten.  It didn't move things forward as much as I'd like, but that's mostly because I'm eagerly anticipating the eventual demise of Brandish.  He's an irritating tool.  Makes me nostalgic for Mister Dark.  Bigby gets his ass handed to him quite a bit fighting Brandish this issue, which is a bit unusual.  Fortunately, it looks like Snow is going to put an end to it next issue.

12. Atomic Robo Presents Real Science Adventures 7 - This was a surprise to me.  First, I thought the original 6 issue limited series was all there would be.  Second, where the original issues were a collection of short stories, some running over multiple issues, this is just one story.  I guess it's because it's about Tesla rather than Robo that it's not part of the regular Atomic Robo book.  Anyway, it's good.  Clevinger is writing with Erica Henderson on art.  It's a story of an attack on Tesla before he made Robo.  Westinghouse and Edison are featured prominently but there's a new crew of derring do that arrives at the end.

13. Mara 4 - Something Jim wrote had me thinking this was the last issue of this book, but it has 2 more issues, at least as planned so far.  It's picked up more in this issue and the last, so I'm hoping for a fast and furious finish over the next two.  Mara's fled her military handlers and is appearing quite the superwoman by the time we reach the end of this issue.

14. Dia de los Muertos 2 - Once again, a nice collection of short stories centered arround the holiday with all of the art by Riley Rossmo.  I was particularly impressed with the first story, Mine, by Joshua Williamson.  It appeared to be one thing then became something radically different, all seamlessly and logically.  Nifty.  Just as nifty, Rossmo's art style changes in each of the three stories.  You can see some common elements, but he plays with how he's presenting the stories to fit the tennor of each. 

15. The Black Beetle 3 - Still a beauty to behold with a good, tight script.  My noir choice right now.

16. Thief of Thieves 13 - A little weird that this is ending an arc and a new writer is coming in because the arc doesn't really end.  Sure Augustus's girlfriend is rescued but that's a minor thing compared to what's going on with the new villain who's so bad ass he scares his underling into killing himself rather than delivering news of a failure.  Whatever happens next with that, at some point in the near future the pursuing agent has to either meet with some success or get canned because the way things are going with her this is turning into Perry Mason or The Fugitive (TV version).

17. Batwoman 19 - The pretty of the art on this book is bringing it further up the List than it might otherwise be.  Twists and turns in the plot boil down to Kate being driven from her family by the DEO and being forced to try to capture Batman, which we know isn't going to go well.  At least we may see Beth again next issue.

18. Miniature Jesus 1 - Well, that was a bit trippy.  Any or all of this could all be in one man's disturbed head.  It's nice to look at and is moving along well but I'm going to need more story before I can tell whether it's any good.  Fun so far, though.

19. Jupiter's Legacy 1 - Another new book that needs room to grow before I can render judgment.  It looks great with Quitely's art, but I've seen this generational conflict among super powers other times, so I need something to keep my interest.  Right now Millar hasn't provided that hook, and I certainly hope the hook is something more than a bunch of blood and gore.  That's not new, either.

20. Dark Horse Presents 23 - A lot of new stories this go round.  Bloodhound: Plain Sight by Dany Jolley & Leonard Kirk, Brain Boy by Fred Van Lente and Freddie Williams II, King's Road: The Long Way Home by Peter Hogan and Phil Winslade, and Nexus: Into the Past by Mike Baron and Steve Rude are all starting new stories.  There's a couple of stand alones, three third chapters and one fourth chapter, too.  Eden by Jim Alexander and John Higgins was particularly good, though its modus operandi was a bit suspect if thought about too long.

21. The Shadow: Year One 2 - Well, Cranston has devised his now famous costume, though not taken the name The Shadow, yet.  I suppose that'll be next issue.  It's a good story but I found the Black Beetle to be the more interesting noir story this month.

22. Memorial: Imaginary Friends 1-2 - I missed the first issue last month so we get two this month.  Em and friends are now involved with a family whose daughter has disappeared into one of the other lands.  Seems there's a family history of being able to contact these other realms.  Looks good so far, but again a bit early in the narrative to say how good.

23. Before Watchmen: The Comedian 6 - Well, I have to say it ended quite well.  Where Rorschach didn't develop anything new about the character, in my opinion, this book brought to light a lot that explains why Blake was the way he was in Watchmen.  It should keep conspiracy theorists happy for years.

24. Saucer Country 14 - I'll re-read all 14 issues sometime in the near future, but my feeling coming out of this concluding issue is that not only did this book not go as long as intended, it didn't come close to resolving any of its story.  Arcadia is elected president, giving her access to all the government secrets on aliens.  Well, we're not knowing any of those secrets.  The only thing that resolved in the 14 issues was that the professor was being conned using some sophisticated tech and a couple of naked actors.  Arcadia and her ex being kidnapped by aliens at some point is still an unresolved thread.  Kind of hard to believe, considering how heavy the book has been on exposition over action.

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