Thursday, June 06, 2013

The List - May 2013

With the end of some questionable books, either by design or lack of readership, I've added some new titles to my reading.  Some of them are the result of successful FCBD promotions.  One is a recommendation by Jim.  One is an addition because the writer has garnered my interest in another title.  All that being said, I found that this month's selections were largely on par with one another.  There's not a bad one in the bunch.

1. Fairest 15 - A new story arc this month.  The Return of the Maharaja doesn't surprise in who the Maharaja is, even though he isn't seen until the last page.  That's because he's on the cover.  Between the hero, Nalayani, whose tale told to Charming is the currency of the issue, and the return of Charming, Fairest went to the top of the List of what I enjoyed reading this month.  Nalayani's story is one of strength and determination in the face of perilous danger.  Charming is his expected charming in his brief moments in the book.  Nonetheless, it's great to see him again.  I haven't read any stories with him since he died in the pages of Fables.

2. The Walking Dead 110 - So now the complaints about a guy having a tiger
can stop, right?  Ezekiel's back story, told to Michonne, lays it our perfectly why he has such a big cat, why it doesn't kill him, and why he's the leader of his community.  Actually, I'm kind of eager to see what the letters column response is in a couple of issues.  Beyond Ezekiel's story, Jesus saves the day when he stops Kal from betraying the plan to Negan's people.  I'm a little disappointed we have no Negan and his multifaceted F bombs this issue, though.  No doubt he'll be bombing away shortly.

3. Fables 129 - Hoo-rah!  Snow's in kick ass mode and Brandish is down for the count!  Of course, no battle goes without collateral damage, and this is no exception.  Ok, I for one don't believe this damage is permanent.  We've seen the damage Jack can take and Snow herself was shot by Goldilocks in the early days of the book, with a wound that would have been fatal to a Mundy.  Willingham, Buckingham and Leialoha have nicely dovetailed the end of this story with the end of the Therese arc, as she shows up at the door in her adult form just as she did at the end of her story.  Clearly there is no shortage of stories in these guys' minds.

4. The Unwritten 49 - Another great return with Lizzie back in this book.
  Bonus for the ever villianous Pullman returning, too.  As alway, Carey and Gross pull in a great literary reference in the course of the story.  This time we have the tale of Orpheus in the escape from Hades.  All of this reminds me of their great work on Lucifer, of course.  Regardless, Tom's plan seems sound.  I wonder who it is who provided the push in his plan when none of his companions seemed willing.  More importantly, I hope this cross-over with Fables works out.  The Jack of Fables/Fables cross-over was my least favorite span of the Fables saga.  I hope this works better.

5. Sex 3 - Considering not a lot happens in this issue, I quite liked it.  Really, not much plot advanced.  The Alpha Brothers do a little cleaning of a mess.  The old man is crazy as hell and pulls a guy's teeth out to make sure he doesn't have a transmitter in them.  Our young couple have some nice sex and our Catwoman stand in enjoys a favorite toy while remembering/fantasizing about a past meeting with our Batman stand in.  It's just that the characters are so interesting to watch, whether or not they're having sex, that it's a fun read without a lot of action.  Can't say there's no action, as a guy gets shot in the head and teeth get pulled, as well as the aforementioned sex, but it's not wall to wall slugfest or anything.

6. Wonder Woman 20 - I would never have thought of Dionysius, of all the
gods, being so malevolent looking.  He's been in the book a few other issues but it struck me with the opening sequence in this issue, what with the pointy teeth and red eyes.  And now we know who the woman with the First Born is.  The gods and godlings here spin their histories like any politician, as Cassandra makes clear, if the conversations between Ares, Apollo and Dionysius didn't make it clear.  I must say, I prefer this weary version of Ares over the heedless warrior of the Perez version from the '80s.  Not that the Perez version wasn't the best thing to happen to Wonder Woman at the time, but this version is so much more interesting and multidimensional.  Next issue we get to see the conflict between an irresistable force and an immovable object.  Excellent.

7. Atomic Robo Presents Real Science Adventurs 8 - Annie Oakley and Wong Kei-ying blow up a train.  Do you need more description than that?  Ok.  It's a near constant battle throughout the issue.  This is your high action book, with a couple of pages of nefarious plotting thrown in for good measure.  The backup story about Robo and crew in Egypt is brief and amusing, with the rest of the pages taken up with a preview of the returning Neozoic (which came out before this book).  Aside from wanting more pages in the main story, a very enjoyable read.

8. Thief of Thieves 14 - Andy Diggle is on board as writer for this arc.
  Unlike the transition between the first and second arcs, which were really separate stories, the transition from the second arc to this third arc is seamless and a continuation of the same story.  Redmond's got a new mission to save Augustus from his own idiocy and has his ex-wife joined in for the massive con that will be needed to save the boy.  Will that be lots of tension leading to a nostalgic roll in the hay for them or a punch in the face for Redmond whenever she has the chance?  Maybe both.

9. Thor: God of Thunder 8 - Gorr's boy explains the rationale for the god bomb.  Can you say god bomb and not enjoy the sound of it?  I can't.  Throw in Thor's trio of daughters and young Thor's Tarzan look and you've got a great looking book, too.  Oh, don't forget space sharks.  Who doesn't like space sharks?  Best line of the month: "Nay.  The time for words has past.  Now we let the hammers talk."

10. The Wake 1 - And now we get to one of the month's new books.  This is
something I thought for a time there might not be any longer - a new Vertigo title.  Granted, it's a 10 issue series, but still.  Scott Snyder as writer is the obvious draw.  In fact, Snyder is a much better reason to read this than the previews that have been running in Vertigo titles this month.  The preview doesn't present any of what is the main story line in this issue.  That line is far more interesting than the high seas future that's in the preview and comprises the first several pages of this issue.  The rest of the issue is about gathering a team to resolve a problem Homeland Security has.  I did find the view of Homeland Security as some bottomless pit of money, oil explorer, and high fashion bastion highly amusing.  The only real drawback, though, was that seeing Sean Murphy's art just made me miss American Vampire.

11. Damsels: Mermaids 1 - This was one of the books that was the result of a successful FCBD promotion.  Despite the cover this is no T&A book.  Or T&F in this case.  There's a very good fantasy story here, written by Matt Sturges with art by Jean Paul Deshong.  A depressed mermaid and a deposed prince become companions and allies and set off on adventure.  Wizards and goblins appear at different points.  I like our lead characters already, so I'm going to see where this goes.

12. Memorial: Imaginary Friends 3 - Thus concludes a brief story in the Memorial 'verse.  I don't think the story forwarded the larger quest that M is on, but it was a nice little story all the same. 

13. The Bounce 1 - Because I'm enjoying Sex I decided to give this Casey title a look, too.  It has some similarity to Sex in that it's a superhero world that works off the Big Two premises but takes things in a different, unfettered direction.  There's no retired hero here.  This one is more Spider-man-esque with his banter and quick movements.  There's some grand conspiracy going on with some dude who eats small lizards whole guiding things, if not in charge.  An interesting start.

14. Ten Grand 1 - This was the Jim recommendation I tried.  A good recommendation, too.  I may actually come off my reluctance to read JMS penned singles if this book continues at its level of quality and comes out with some regularity.  Ben Templesmith's art doesn't hurt matters, either.  A veteran hit man who charges $10k for each job and who is taking jobs to redeem himself to one day be with his dead girlfriend is an intriguing premise.

15. Neozoic: Trader's Gambit 1 - It's been years since the original Neozoic came out.  It was a great book, and it did at least conclude its opening arc, but there was clearly a lot more to tell.  This issue is jumping on where the original left off.  It's planned for 4 issues and is starting off well.  I just hope there isn't such a long gap to the next arc after this one.

16. Bodie Troll 1 - Red 5 has more on my list this month than it has ever had.  This is another FCBD promotion success, as this 4 issue series is going to be a lot of all ages fun.  Can a too cute troll overcome the limitations of his appearance to become a scary troll?  Probably not because his personality matches his appearance.  Bring on the floor rolled roots for lunch!

17. The Shadow: Year One 3 - Dynamite's making a good showing this month, too.  Doesn't hurt to have Matt Wagner writing a book for you.  Dr Zorn looks like the opposite number to The Shadow.  The funny thing is that the name seems like an actual name rather than a nom du guerre.  If you like good girl art, check out the covers for the next issue, too.

18.  The Massive 11 & 12 - I'm not sure how I ended up with two issues this month.  Then again, I don't know how environmental distress brings the return of a Megalodon, either.  Issue 11 featured the ongoing search for The Massive but with Mary handing the reins of Cal's captaincy to Lars in anticipation of Cal's demise.  Something of a land shark moment in the book, too.  Stretch credibility a bit.  Issue 12 has more of a mental demise than physical for Cal.  It also shows some of Cal's origin, all while the Kapital is stuck in polar ice.  Mary may have made Lars captain but she's in charge now.

19. Dark Horse Presents 24 - Blackout is previewed this issue.  It's a beautiful book with a good hero premise.  Alabaster, Bloodhound, King's Road, Nexus, and Brain Boy all continue, too.  The most interesting thing for me, though, was the return of Ron Randall's Trekker.  I have the original issues from back in the '80s, when black and white was the thing.  I thnk Randall's writing and art have both improved in the intervening decades.  It's good to see Mercy St Clair back again.

20. Batwoman 20 - Ah, a truly comic book superhero, or in this case supervillain, return to life.  I'll let the magic sarcophagus bit go because I want to see more about Alice, but it's this kind of thing that makes superhero stories so impermanent.

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