Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Alternative Press Books I Read Part 4 of 4 of the Week of April 24 in Review

I still have a ton of stuff I have yet to read this week so I only got around to reading 6 books from other publishers. It is interesting to me that in six books we encompass Image, IDW, Dark Horse and Dynamite.
Posed in front of a comic to give you a scale
Before I jump into the books this week I received my inaction Batman and Robin figures made by Aardman studios, famous for Wallace and Gromit. I have fallen in love with these figures, they are hilarious and absolutely the best collectible I have picked up in a long, long time.  I now find that that normal action figures have less and less appeal to me, but this type of stuff is hilarious.

Invincible #102 by Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley is still a rock solid and entertaining series even over 100 issues into it. The great thing about an independent book like this is the story has to move forward. Mark is growing older and life events continue to have an impact on what happens in his life. Therefore it just seems to be a natural event when Mark asks Eve to marry him and she says yes. Also within this issue the sub plot that Mark is genetically related to the former ruler of the Viltrum race, which means his father is the hereditary king of their race. The current ruler tries to kill Omni-Man and would have succeeded but for the rest of the people. So now Mark is getting married and essentially a Prince of the Viltrum race. We won’t get a new writer who will wipe away all of this with a deal with the devil.

Buy it.

Highway #4 (of 4) by John Byrne was a fun little mini-series. In many ways I think John made this story too convoluted as who struck who and what the heck was that all about, was too often part of my read of issue #4. It may read better as a trade and was some of John’s best current artwork.

Don’t buy it.

Marvel Books I Read Part 3 of 4 of the Week of April 24 in Review

I have no long diatribe to throw out about Marvel. I will say that since the Marvel Now status quo over all it seems to me that solo character books are almost an afterthought. The core, foundation and first two floors of Marvel comics are all about the group books. Also the heavy publishing schedule of many of their books has forced me to cut out many other books that I may have followed like Uncanny X-Force, Ultimate X-Men, Journey Into Mystery, Young Avengers, Red Hulk, Moribus and a few others. I can only do so much of the Marvel stuff and 14 issues of All New X-Men in a month means other books have to go.
Guardians of the Galaxy #2 was another solid issue in this new series. I did find it immediately amusing that Steve (I’m not producing 20 pages in a month ever) McNiven is already only doing part of the book. What I love about multiple artists on this book is how Marvel made it work. The pages given to Sara Pichelli are a different story line and colored very differently. That means not having the same art was not jarring at all, plus she is a very strong artist in her own right. So many of Benidis’ books have the pace set in geological terms, but this book is moving at a great clip. The battle in London is full of action, the “B” story line is setting up the confrontation to come and the conclusion was a brilliant cliff hanger. Also I never thought integrating Iron Man into this title would work, but so far it is working to perfection.

Buy it.

Monday, April 29, 2013

DCU Death of A Legacy and DC Books I Read Part 2 of 4 of the Week of April 24 in Review

In reading Jupiter’s Legacy it reminded me that the new DCU has destroyed the legacy of the DCU Universe. It is my opinion this is perhaps the biggest problem with the new DCU. DC tired to have it both ways by starting five years into the new DCU but has found that their severe lack of planning has made many continuity elements unfeasible, but they try to make them work anyway.

Now I understand all continuity based characters now have an untenable amount of history to deal with and even with a clean restart in ten years you will have a whole new history to have to deal with (see Ultimate Marvel Universe). Still DC has always been steeped in legacy ever since the Silver Age started.

DC used the alternative world’s strategy, used Crisis on Infinite Earths to consolidate it, used Zero Hero, reboots of Superman and other ideas to constantly try and re-set things. With all of those gimmicks there was still a sense of continuity. Flash beget Flash beget Kid Flash, begat Impulse and retro continuity Max Mercury. Batman beget Robin beget Robin beget Nightwing begat Red Robin begat Robin begat Batgirl begat Oracle beget Batgirl and even more. When you look at some of the greatest stories of all time you’ll find JSA/JLA cross over event, The Watchmen, Dark Knight Returns, Grant Morrison’s run on Doom Patrol, All Star Superman and his Batman work and so many others, that all have a resonance of playing to a legacy of some sort. All Star Superman is a love letter to all the insanity of the Silver Age of Superman.

Jupiter’s Legacy #1 – A Review Part 1 of 4 of the Week of April 24 in Review

This was the best book that I read this week. Of course if may not be the best book out because I can only review what I have read. If you read something else and you thought it was better and I never read the book I have no clue whether we would disagree or not.

Before I jump into the review I owe you links for next week’s list. The clean and simple list is at Cosmic Comix (my store via mail order now) and Midtown Comics for all the details. At 29 books it is still a large list for me, still only 4 are straight DCU books, 6 Marvel and other 19 (including Vertigo).  The top five appear to be Hawkeye, Ten Grand, Polarity, Suicide Risk and Mars Attacks. Not the strongest week looking forward but lots of books that look good.

Add caption
Back to Jupiter’s Legacy, I’m fascinated by this book by Mark Millar and Frank Quietly (actually he should go to his real name now of Vincent Deighan) for many reasons. I started life as a CPA and work for Citibank for many years. That serves as a prelude as to why the dollar and cents side of the business is so fascinating to me. This book is Mark Millar taking his first Millarworld book to Image and abandoning the Icon Imprint. I have to assume that Brubaker’s success in jumping over to Image lead to Mark’s decision to do the same thing. The orders for this book were extremely high and it may well end up atop the sales charts for April.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Week of April 24 in Review Preview

Four parts this week and as always filled with opinions and commentary.  A quick side note I read Global Frequency Part 1 by Warren Ellis and various artists, it was about six issues long and every damn issue was one and done and a great read. I miss that type of comic. Also saw Oblivion last night and it was a fun sci-fi action movie with some fun ideas in it. The only problem I had was the ending was turned into a Hollywood ending and the movie was hurt by it. Like Minority Report, adding the sugar coated ending takes away from the movie. Life is not always the perfecting ending. Damn, that was a long preamble.
Clips from the posts:

Jupiter’s Legacy #1 – A Review Part 1 of 4 of the Week of April 24 in Review

As to the actual comic book itself, wow what a great f**king story. Mark Millar and Frank Quietly just knocked it out of the park. First and foremost Frank is one of my favorite comic book artists. His women are drop dead gorgeous, all of his characters are distinct, his story telling is superb, his ability to display emotion with body language and facial expression top notch. The colors by Peter Doherty add to the quality of Frank’s work with flat tones that imparts realism to an unreal world of super heroes. The book is a piece of art.

DCU Death of A Legacy and DC Books I Read Part 2 of 4 of the Week of April 24 in Review

In reading Jupiter’s Legacy it reminded me that the new DCU has destroyed the legacy of the DCU Universe. It is my opinion this is perhaps the biggest problem with the new DCU. DC tired to have it both ways by starting five years into the new DCU but has found that their severe lack of planning has made many continuity elements unfeasible, but they try to make them work anyway.

Marvel Books I Read Part 3 of 4 of the Week of April 24 in Review

Guardians of the Galaxy #2 was another solid issue in this new series. I did find it immediately amusing the Steve (I’m not producing 20 pages in a month ever) McNiven is already only doing part of the book. What I love about multiple artists on this book is how Marvel made it work. The pages given to Sara Pichelli are a different story line and colored very differently. That means not having the same art was not jarring at all, plus she is a very strong artist in her own right. So many of Benidis’ books have the pace set in geological terms, but this book is moving at a great clip. The battle in London is full of action, the “B” story line is setting up the confrontation to come and the conclusion was a brilliant cliff hanger. Also I never thought integrating Iron Man into this title would work, but so far it is working to perfection.

Buy it.

Alternative Press Books I Read Part 4 of 4 of the Week of April 24 in Review

Clone #6 by David Schuler, Aaron Ginsburg and Wade McIntire as writers with Juan Jose Ryp as artist is a very good sci-fi thriller. Luke, the Alpha clone, is trying to escape from his father and the camp of clones to save his wife. With some help he escapes and sends a mad killer (another clone of himself but younger) in the direction of the camp by accident. His wife is being held captive and apparently there is steroid clone Mark at that facility. A lot of plot elements are going on fast and furiously but the book holds together well. At its core is Luke trying to save his wife and child. Ryp’s art is solid as always and goes a long way in making this book work.

Buy it.

The full length features coming Monday and Tuesday.

Comics Covers Sunday -- The Vigilante

I'm doing a quick pinch-hit for Lee today before Sunday School.  I just listed my Vigilante collection on ebay yesterday and I was impressed about all the great covers.  It really made me want to read the series again.  Enjoy!  And if you're interested you can buy them here:
These are actual scans from my copies.  I remember #19 being one of my favorites with art by Denis Cowan, who drew the Question series (also on sale right now) -- desperate plug.

This series did great job transitioning from the pre-Crisis to post-Crisis universes without missing a beat.

#1 -- Nov 1983 -- Keith Pollard

#11 -- Oct 1984 -- Ross Andru/Dick Giordano

#13 -- Dec 1984 -- Gil Kane 

#17 -- May 1985 -- Paris Cullins+
(Alan Moore story) 

 #19 -- July 1985 -- Denis Cowan
(I remember this being one of my favorites)

#25 -- Jan 1986 -- Dan Day 

#27 -- Mar 1986 -- Joe Kubert 

#28 -- Apr 1986 -- Bill S (I can't spell his name) 

#29 -- May 1986 -- Marshall Rogers 

#31 -- July 1986 --  Denis Cowan 

#35 -- Nov 1985 -- John Byrne 

#36 -- Dec 1986 -- Mike Grell 

#40 -- Apr 1987 -- Howard Chaykin 

#46 -- Oct 1987 -- Tod Smith 
(Series Artist for the most part) 

 #50 -- Feb 1988 -- Ken Stacy

Annual #2 1986 -- Brian Bolland

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Third Time's the Charm in NYC

On Tuesday I got to go to New York City for the third time in a row with my oldest daughter as a chaperon for her annual high school art field trip.  This year was extra special for a lot of reasons.  One was that my oldest son and wife also got to attend.  Two I got to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the first time, which was incredible.  And three...well, you'll just have to read further to find out.  But first some random pictures that are somewhat comic related:

Iron Man lands on top of a cab (sort of).

Friday, April 26, 2013


There's something very Frank Miller about the cover of this book.  Probably the use of black and white dominantly, with a bold red highlight.  Very Sin City.  That being said, Steve Lieber's art is entirely his own, not aping Miller at all.  Lieber employs considerably more detail and line work, as well as generally smaller panels throughout the book.

But let's jump back.  This one was a purchase for the simple reason that Greg Rucka wrote it.  Rucka writes great female characters, from Batwoman to Stumptown, so I had high hopes that this, originally published in 1998 and 1999, would be high quality.  Sure, it might not have been, being his first work in comics, but I was not disappointed.  Too bad the same can't be said for movie critics feelings about the movie made from the book.  Guess I'll pass on that.

The star of the book is Carrie Stetko, a US Marshall at the US base, McMurdo Station, in Antarctica.  She's been exiled there for killing a prisoner who had escaped his restraints, knocked out another Marshall (now her boss), and attempted to sexually assault her.  Yeah, sounds like an easy case of self defense, but Rucka and Lieber make it more ambiguous.  She probably could have returned him to custody alive and relatively unscathed, but instead strangled him.  With her bare hands.  Not to by f****ed with is Carrie.

The impetus of the story is that a 5 man exploratory team composed of 2 Americans, 1 Brit, 1 Austrian and 1 Argentine has left one dead body where its camp should have been but no longer is, and the other 4 gone altogether.  Being the only American law on the continent, and the deceased wearing a parka with an American flag on it, Carrie is told by her boss, who clearly would rather she be fired altogether, to solve the case within two weeks, which is when most of the people living on the continent will head home for the winter.

Lots more killings follow.  Along the way Carrie picks up the assitance of a female spook from the UK whose job it is to find out who is trying to smuggle mineral finds off Antarctica, which is banned by treaty.  The motivation for the murders Carrie is investigating is mineral but far more valuable than the run of the mill industrial minerals.

The plot isn't terribly tricky.  Rucka and Lieber aren't trying for that.
  Within the first 13 pages they've already let the reader know that someone is in on the initial murder, without letting Carrie know.  There's no secret to the reader in finding out who did it.  There's some initial slight of hand about who the dead guy out on the ice was, as his face and fingerprints are missing, but figuring out who it isn't and eliminating the other possibilities doesn't take long.  Their bodies keep piling up.  Rucka and Lieber pack a lot of story into what was originally a 4 issues tale.

The adventure in the story is learning about Carrie and going through her travails in solving the crime.  This is no simple case of a mental challenge to the detective, or even some light torture as many stories are wont to subject their hero.  Carrie loses 2 fingers on her right hand to the gangrene caused by the cold when the killer cuts her guide line during a blinding snow storm.

But aside from what she has to endure physically, Carrie is an interesting character.  She was sent to Antarctica as a punishment but has come to love the place.  She has no desire to leave and can sympathisize with a friend who is scheduled to rotate out. 

Of course, in the heavily male population of the Antarctic stations she's viewed as an object of lust, dosed with a healthy amount of fear from the knowledge of her ability to handle herself and not give ground to intimidation.  Even in parkas some of these guys manage to ogle women as though they were in string bikinis.  Naturally, they also accuse Carrie of being a lesbian, as if that were a crime or failing.

Now that I've enjoyed this volume I'm looking forward to locating the second, Melt.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Why I Hate Saturn

Some while back I read and reviewed Kyle Baker's Nat Turner book.  Seeing as I enjoyed that quite a bit I bought a couple more of his books, reaching back in time a bit from the Nat Turner publication.

So, the first of the Baker books I read from this purchase was 1990's Why I Hate Saturn.  This was a very amusing story.  There's the intended amusing of the life of protagonist Anne and the ancillary amusing of how much technology has changed in the last 23 years.  VCRs, faxes, pagers are cutting edge tech.  Well, current, anyway.  Makes me think of those times when an announcement is made before a dance or theater performance to turn off cell phones and pagers, and my son always asks what a pager is.  He tends to forget things that aren't important to him.

Anne's a writer for a New York magazine called Daddy-O.  It's as hipster as it sounds.  Or hipsta, as my daughter might say with disdain.  She is an editor's nightmare, having no particular ability or desire to adhere to deadlines.  She writes very well when she does write, though.  Much of the beginning of the book is laying the groundwork of who Anne is, her relationship with her editor, and her relationship with her best bud, Ricky.  Ricky may be a stand in for Baker.  Not sure.  Other than them both being black men, I don't know that they have anything in common, but at the least Ricky allows Baker to have a voice for a black man in an otherwise white and neurotic world.

In time Anne's sister, Laura, shows up at her door.  Anne's drunk at the time, having unsuccessfully attempted to drink her way to getting a writing assignment done.  Laura's been shot but Anne passes out before learning that, awaking in a hospital with a wound to the back of her head.  That would be from Laura dragging her by her ankles down the street to the hospital.

Laura thinks she's a warrior of some sort from Saturn, which gets us to the title. After the women leave the hospital we have a time where OCD and delusional Laura lives with Anne, vacuuming the apartment to within an inch of its life and constantly rearranging Anne's things or throwing them out.  This, of course, doesn't last.

After a lot of relationship angle to the book it shifts into a road trip.  Laura has gone west to California.  Or Arizona.  Somewhere.  For deus ex machina reasons, and having lost her job with Daddy-O, Anne goes west to find Laura.  There's a whole story line involving some rich guy who loves Laura in a possessive, controlling sense and who is driving all of this activity.  The whys of it really aren't that important.

Baker isn't telling a story so much as he's telling a snippet of a life.  Anne undergoes a transformation in appearance, develops an appreciation of her sister, and generally seems to grow a bit in this book. 

Baker uses his art as an illustration of the narrative and dialog.  He
doesn't present the traditional comics art and word balloons or expository text boxes.  He uses pictures to illustrate the words.  Considerably more pictures than what traditionally illustrates a narrative book, too.  It's a melding of comics and narrative with illustration, meeting somewhere betwixt.

The style of the art is a joy, too.  It's very different from what he used in Nat Turner.  In fact, and not surprisingly, there's very much an '80s feel to the appearance of the characters.  The fashions, the hair, the cars, and the streets all evoke that period, which was contemporary to when it was created.  There's no color in it, either.  It's black and white drawings with a lot of tan used for accents.

If you like stories about the development of people, with a lot of attitude, then pick this up.  You'll enjoy it.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Image Previews for June

Lee: I was gonna pick everything and let Thomm comment first, wondering why I picked the things I did. But then I couldn’t stop myself from talking (no surprise) and filled in the comments anyway. Except for Lazarus… because we’re all gonna love it anyway.
Thomm: Of course I’m safe from the silent treatment. I never had a doubt.

story Greg Rucka
art/cover Michael Lark
32 Pages / FC / $2.99
In a dystopian near-future, government is a quaint concept, resources are coveted, and possession is 100% of the law. A handful of Families rule, jealously guarding what they have and exploiting the Waste who struggle to survive in their domains. Forever Carlyle defends her family's holdings through deception and force as their protector, their Lazarus. Shot dead defending the family home, Forever's day goes downhill from there...
Thomm: I don’t know anything about Lark but that’s some cover. Of course, just about anything Rucka writes is worth reading, so this is an easy pick.
Lee: Michael Lark is an AWESOME artist.  He did the early issues of Gotham Centrol, Terminal City, and Scene of the Crime.  He's been around a long time and knows his stuff.  This really is an easy pick.
story Matt Hawkins, David Wohl, and David Finch
art / cover David Finch
160 Pages / FC / $99.99
The Original Series As You Never Read It Before! Re-imagining and re-collecting the complete, original Aphrodite IX series drawn by superstar artist David Finch, this trade has been completely rescripted, rebooted, and updated in celebration to for her new Aphrodite IX ongoing series. Only 500 copies of this glorious, oversized hardcover will be produced!
A beautiful female assassin's memory is purged after every hit to protect her and her masters. As she becomes self-aware, Aphrodite begins to surpass her programming to rebel against those who use her.
Lee: I think this should read “The original series as no one has ever read before.” I don’t think I know anyone who’s actually read this. Or anyone that would admit to it!
Thomm: Even without the $100 price tag this doesn’t appeal to me. Beautiful tool overcomes programming of evil masters. Besides, if I read this in its original format, why would I want this HC that is being described as something totally new and different?

story / art / cover Colleen Doran
240 Pages / BW / $16.99
The first new edition of the out of print A Distant Soil, Vol. 1 collection returns in a spectacular, digitally re-mastered volume! This beautiful and critically acclaimed series has not had a new edition in seventeen years. Now, digital technology allows us to bring you a more beautiful presentation than ever before.
Every single page has been completely restored, and re-lettered, with a new and stunning die cut cover! This is The Definitive Version fans have been waiting for!
Lee: This is another one of those indie cult hits that people seem to love. There’s always been a buzz around this series but I’ve never actually picked it up. Maybe now is the time.
Thomm: It does look nice, too. And unlike the previous collection, it’s being touted as a faithful reproduction of the original. I’m seriously considering this one.

story Nick Spencer
art / cover Christian Ward
192 PAGES / FC / $24.99
Deluxe Oversized Hardcover. Welcome to the Infinite Vacation, where alternate realities are up for sale, and buying and trading your way through unlimited variations of yourself is as commonplace as checking your e-mail. At long last the brilliant and beautiful series that turned alternate realities on its ear, collected together for the first time in a beautiful, lavish, oversized hardcover. All five issues, plus extras – and a five-page fold-out suitable for framing.
Lee: I ordered it. I don’t know why but I did. I know the last issue was months and months late but before that killed all the momentum I seem to remember people liking this.
Thomm: You remember people liking this but not whether you liked it, or did you not get the singles but are just recounting what happened with the delay? Anyway, let me know how it reads. I’m not sure why this turns alternate reality stories on their ear.

story Brandon Graham and Simon Roy
art Simon Roy, Farel Dalrymple, Giannis Milonogiannis and Brandon Graham
cover Giannis Milonogiannis
172 Pages / FC / $14.99
The distant future war continues, Old man Prophet is awake now and searching across the universe for old allies that have survived the centuries since the last war. Collects Prophet #27-32
Lee: The best description for this I’ve seen is: Conan in Space. It’s way more complex than that and well worth your time. I can’t wait to get this.
Thomm: Sure does have a lot of artists listed for only 6 issues. I don’t know anything about this book. To me the promo should have provided more information on what this is all about.

story Brian Holguin and Steve Niles
art Liam Mccormack-Sharp, Nat Jones, Kevin Conrad, Chance Wolf and Jonathan Glapion
700 Pages / FC / $59.99
Spawn: The Dark Ages Complete Collection reprints the journey of Lord Covenant, a 12th Century knight killed in a holy crusade far from his homeland, who returns to Earth as a HellSpawn. As a plague of violence and turmoil cover the English countryside, the Dark Knight must choose whether to align himself with the innocent inhabitants of the once-thriving kingdom or with the malevolent forces of evil and corruption. Featuring behind-the-scenes bonus art and cover gallery, Spawn: The Dark Ages Complete Collection is the first time the series will be collected in hardcover, oversized format.  Collects Spawn: The Dark Ages #1-28
Lee: A lot of “who asked for this?” this month. I know the first 10-15 issues look gorgeous with Sharp and Jones on art. I have no idea what the later issues look like. Nor do I have any idea about the story. But, all things considered it’s not a bad price for the number of pages here. Still don’t think I’ll get it though.
Thomm: I’ve read a bit of Spawn over the years and never felt any real affinity for it. A medieval setting is a plus for me, but not plus enough.

story Mark Millar
art / cover A Frank Quitely
cover B Bryan Hitch  cover C Jock
32 Pages / FC / $2.99
The comic book event of 2013 continues as the schism between the superheroes widens and a plot to unseat the greatest hero of them all emerges. Celebrate the 75th anniversary of Superman this month by buying this frankly much-more interesting book by superstar creators Mark Millar and Frank Quitely.
Lee: How did I miss this last month? I have no idea what it’s about but if anyone can make it interesting it’s Millar and Quitely. I’m trade waiting because I want Quitely’s art in a fancy hc.
Thomm: I’m getting this. Hell, I’d get it just for the smack talk in the promo. Between knocking the poor quality of Superman as it’s currently published and touting itself as the event of the year only 2 issues in, this is a ballsy piece of work. And, of course, there’ the Quitely art.

Thomm: Get out and get the first issue of Jupiter’s Legacy now while it’s on the stands. Don’t wait around for fancy productions like Lee does. As it is you’ll have to wait for the first issue of Lazarus.
Lee:  Yeah, do what Thomm says and support the book a whole lot so I get an even fancier hc edition!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What I Read – The Week of April 17 in Review – Part 2 of 2

Continuing from yesterday and we get to the three best books of the week.

Mara #4 is the second Brian Wood book that I was considering dropping. This issue we finally got more into the crux of the series. Mara is a full blown super hero and she has no clue how it happened. The government wants to use her as a secret weapon and has faked her death. They will not tell her brother, but promise to keep him safe if she cooperates. She escapes to go find her brother and the government comes after her. She escapes, but it appears the brother will be used as leverage to try and control her. The first three issues did not add that much to the story and this issue could almost have served as the start of the book. It is not a bad book; it is just one that will read better collected. Pacing is critical to any comic, but a mini-series, even one that is the start of a hope for series of mini-series should have started faster. The art is competent, but lacks any real panache.

Wait for the trade.

DC Universe Presents #19 was a last minute add when I found out it was about Beowulf. This was the updated version by Tony Bedard and Javier Pine from the Sword of Sorcery book. If I hadn’t seen the gatefold before the book shipped I would have missed out on this issue. It was a very enjoyable issue that wrapped up Tony’s storyline and even gave us an ending that could be a new beginning. Little runs like these are forgotten, but Tony and Javier did a great job with trying to make this all fit into one issue. By the way these fold out covers are so lame and dishonest and to not be worth commenting on. This one shows Beowulf trashing the JL and in reality he fought a shape shifter who took on the forms of some JL members for a panel or two. Bedard is an often overlooked writer, but his books are always well done.

Buy it.

Monday, April 22, 2013

What I Read – The Week of April 17 in Review – Part 1 of 2

In Matthew’s reviews on Saturday he mentioned one’s mental state coming into reading and reviewing a book will have an impact on their viewpoint. Well I have a lousy cold and feel like total crap, so this will not be one of my best columns ever. In fact I’m just basically doing one long post about what I managed to read and will break it into two parts; otherwise it will be too damn long. I actually called out sick on Friday from my real job, which is about a once a year occurrence or less.

Now before this becomes a pure pity party lets give you the list for next week’s books with the clean list at Cosmic Comix and the detail listing at Midtown Comics. The top five books for week appear to be Batman Inc, Jupiter’s Legacy, Mind Mgmt, Fury Max and Before Watchmen the Comedian. I believe that leaves only one BW book left.

Okay onto the comics I read and I plan to be direct on a lot of these books as I feel many were missing the bang for the buck.

Cable and X-Force #7 as a $4 book sucks as a $3 book it was okay. Apparently Marvel wanted the strangely costumed Cyclops on all sorts of covers for a month. That X across his face has to be a bitch to see through from the inside. The mission statement for this book is for the team to act on Cable’s future visions. It is minority report done as a super hero adventure. I love that people are willing to sign up with Cable to do stuff and stop what is going to happen. I can’t wait until the red ball comes out saying to kill Cable.  The issue was a waste on many levels. This is decompressed story telling Bendis style. Cyclops shows up to say hi to Cable and wish him good luck. Dominion is keeping prison guards away while Boom Boom frees the mass killer alien. They are freeing him to prevent others coming after him and killing six million people as they go after him. The mission goes tits up at the end. The problem the entire length and breadth of this issue was five pages maximum.

Skip This Issue

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Week of April 17 in Review Preview

I made it very simple this week and wrote about every book that I got around to reading. I then broke it into two posts to keep the length reasonable.

A clip from each post:

What I Read – The Week of April 17 in Review – Part 1 of 2

Nova #3, the kid looks like he is 12 and going to high school. I hate the ultra young heroes. That is why I could care less about 12 year old Ultimate Spider-Man and I’m having issues with this book. I was shocked to hear Loeb and McGuinness are off the book after five issues, maybe that means we can get more story per issue. McGuinness big bold panels mean you get less story per issue then almost any other comic. To give Loeb credit he tries to pack as much as he can into the book. This issue Nova goes to Moon, meets the Watcher, gets trained by Gamora and Rocket and then goes off to scout out the invading bad guys coming in from space. It is a fun ride and a decent book, but again paying the extra buck for the digital comic is not worth it.

Read it on the stands, it will only take a minute.

What I Read – The Week of April 17 in Review – Part 2 of 2

Miniature Jesus #1 by Ted McKeever was interesting. A recovering drunk is seeing things and at a church a miniature Jesus comes off the cross and comes to life. The whacky preacher goes to step on Jesus and that was the issue. It is also oversized and in black and white. I’m an idiot so I will buy the next issue, but this is obviously a graphic novel being split into solo issues to underwrite the hoped for trade. Not enough occurred to draw me in 100% but McKeever’s work is nothing if not interesting.

Wait for the trade.

Come back Monday and Tuesday to see it all!

Comic Covers Sunday: X-Force

Who doesn't fondly remember the 90's and all the wonderful things it did for the comic book industry.  There were foil covers, poly bagged books, and even variants of variant covers.  It's when marketing departments finally took over the industry and nothing has been the same since.  I think one of the books that epitomizes the era the best is X-Force.  I'm not sure I can do Rob Liefeld's X-Force justice but that isn't the point of this post.  Let's talk about the art because, amazingly enough, the series had some great cover artists.
X-Force #1, August 1991
Pencils/Inks: Rob Liefeld
I will not pick any more Liefeld covers.  It's too easy to make fun of them and theres's no sport in that.  But I do love the polybag which ruins any chance of actually seeing what was on the cover.  Not that it mattered because the book came with a baseball card!

X-Force #18, January 1993
Pencils: Greg Capullo
Inks: Harry Candelario
And 20 years later Greg Capullo would be artist on Batman.  I wonder which book actually sold/is selling more, X-Force or Batman? 

X-Force #28, Novemeber 1993
Pencils: Tony Daniel
Inks: Jon Holdredge
Ok, now this is just getting weird because 20 years later Tony Daniel is also drawing Batman.  I really like this cover but I don't think it's the best representation of Daniel's style.  It's also interesting how much Daniel and Capullo were products of Marvel's 90s house style.

X-Force #57, August 1996
Pencils: Adam Pollina
Inks: Mark Morales
Believe it or not, X-Force was actually a good book for a couple of years once all the expectations were off of it.  Pollina was a great artist with a distinct style that was different from most of the other artists on the stands at the time. 


X-Force #93, August 1999
Pencils: Jim Cheung
Inks: Scott Elmer
Again, it's amazing the artists that worked on this series.  Cheung is a great storyteller and his covers are just as good today as they were then.

Well, that's all for today.  Now it's time to go watch baseball.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Superior Spider-Man #008 and Daredevil: The Man Without Fear #025 – Two Reviews

Superior Spider-Man #008
Writer:  Dan Slott
Penciler:  Humberto Ramos
Inker:  Victor Olazaba
Color Art: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Chris Eliopoulos
Publisher: Marvel
Price: $3.99 (including “FREE” digital copy which I sold on eBay for $3.00)

Troubled Mind Part Two: Proof Positive didn’t “WOW” me very much, but honestly it could have just been me.  Reading comics is sometimes like entering the Dagobah Tree, what you find inside is related to what you bring with you.  For me, I was bringing extreme fatigue and was hurrying to finish reading it, so I really didn’t get the opportunity to savor the story.  Still it did have its moments.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Indies Previews for June Part 2 of 2

Continued from yesterday.

Uncanny #1 by (w) Andy Diggle (a) Aaron Campbell (c) Dan Panosian
For comic fans that pre-order a copy, you can receive an exclusive Dan Panosian cover! This super-special variant is limited to initial orders! SIX BILLION SKILL SETS. ONE LAST CHANCE. Weaver is unique, or so he thinks. Born with an uncanny ability, he can steal other people's skills - their memories, abilities, and expertise - for a limited time. A man with a power like that could change the world; but as a professional gambler, con-man, and thief-for-hire, Weaver prefers to look out for number one. That is, until he finds himself drawn into a dangerous game of international intrigue where the rules keep changing, the players are hidden and the first thing he stands to lose is his life. And maybe, just maybe, he isn't so unique after all... 32 pgs, FC, $3.99
Lee: It’s the new Andy Diggle book. In actuality it’s probably a reprint of some of his 2000AD material but that’s ok. Based upon how good Snapshot is, I’m not missing this!
Thomm: Eh, a male version of Rogue. At least it won’t have the X-Men angst.

Fantagraphics Books
Everybody is Stupid Except for Me Expanded Edition HC by (w/a/c) Peter Bagge
Peter Bagge takes on the erosion of our civil liberties, the Iraq war, art and entertainment, the homeless, the drug war, and whether citizens should be allowed to own bazookas in this hilarious and provocative collection of independent-minded satirical strips from the pages of Reason magazine. No sacred cow on either side of the political spectrum is left standing in this new definitive hardcover edition, which adds over 30 new pages to the long sold-out first paperback edition. 156 pgs, FC, 7.75 x 10, $24.99
Lee: This is for you Thomm. Allllll for you.
Thomm: Oh, hell yeah. The title alone is for me. This is bound to be smarter than 5 of the idiots on the Supreme Court and all of the idiots running the House these days.

Treasury of Mini-Comics HC by (w) Michael Dowers
Inspired by the unexpected hit, NEWAVE! The Underground Mini-Comix of the 1980s, The Treasury of Mini Comics charts the evolution of mini comics over four decades. This first volume will collect some of the best work by some of the most creative DIY creators in the world. From bodily-function humor to EMO style poetry, mini comics creators have been uninhibited in their efforts to strive for something fresh, raw, and vital. 720 pgs, PC, 5 x 7, $26.99
Lee: Mini comics are a completely different world. They are good. They are bad. Some are even downright atrocious but I don’t think you’ll find those in this collection. If you like comics experimentation then you will love this. If not, I would stay away.
Thomm: Different I like. Whacko experimentation for the sake of experimentation, not so much. It’s a fine line.

Humanoids Inc
Beirut 1990: Snapshots of a Civil War HC by (w) Bruno Ricard (a/c) Christophe Gaultier
In 1990, off to join an aunt working for a relief organization, young Frenchmen Sylvain and Bruno Ricard come to discover the ins and outs of everyday life in Lebanon's war-torn capital. More than a decade later the brothers recount their experiences with the help of artist Christophe Gaultier, as inspired by the real life pictures taken by the pair on their journey of discovery. 160 pgs, B/W, 7.7x10.5, $29.95
Lee: I almost didn’t pick a Humanoids book this month but then I saw this. I’ve read a bunch of Joe Sacco’s journalistic tales from various war fronts and I’ve always enjoyed them so I am willing to give this a try. The real story of what happens to everyday people who still need to live in war zones is just incredible. It doesn’t get any more real than this so I’m sold.
Thomm: Not a lot of people remember Lebanon’s civil war, even though it was a huge event running through the ‘80s into the ‘90s, and still having vestiges today. At most there’s the occasional mention of the Marines being killed in Beirut. I’d very much like to see this personal narrative of that war.

Rebellion / 2000AD
War Machine GN by (w) Dave Gibbons (a/c) Will Simpson
Dave Gibbons (Watchmen, Martha Washington) writes the story of genetically engineered super-soldier Friday. Artist Will Simpson provides the fully painted art. They are the best of the best. Alpha Company, first genetic infantry, have been created for war. Able to survive in the harshest environments, Friday and his brothers know how to obey orders. Fight hard. Die well. But as the sole survivor of a brutal massacre, Friday starts to question those who have made him this way, making his an uncontrollable war machine and the most dangerous create in the galaxy! 96 pgs, B/W, $17.99
Lee: This seems to be Gibbons re-telling the 2000AD Rogue Warrior story. Maybe it’s different, maybe it isn’t but I can’t tell. Gibbons is a decent enough writer and Simpson is a very good artist so I’m willing to take a chance.
Thomm: Not quite enough here for me to take a leap. I’ve seen this concept in various iterations other times. It’s a bit light on pages, too.

Renegade Arts Entertainment
Tales of the Buddha Before He Was Enlightened SC by (w) Alan Grant (a/c) Jon Haward
Just what did this holiest of men do before gaining enlightenment? The stories take an extremely lighthearted approach to the Buddha's journey of discovery as he samples other religions, hangs out with other religions icons, as well as experiencing life's more physical pleasures along the way. 80 pgs, FC, 7x10, $14.99
Lee: If you don’t see the humor in the description… just avoid the book now. As for me, I’m always up for some wicked satire so I’m ordering a copy.
Thomm: Humor and a certain amount of historical accuracy. The man who would be Buddha did make a varied search for his enlightenment. Looks good to me.

Titan Comics
Sharky HC by (w) David Elliott (a/C) Alex Horley
Sharky is the Earth-bound son of Odin and the grandson of Zeus - and he just hit puberty! All his life, he's been raised by his mom, with no idea of who is father was. Now he's hit puberty, only to discover that the no-good-S.O.B is none other than Odin! Whenever something sets off his hormones, he transforms into the demi-god Sharky, complete with a body The Rock would kill to have and the strength of a superman! 144 pgs, FC, 7x10, $14.99
Lee: I remember seeing this a very, very long time ago on the stands, back in ’98 or so. It’s got great art by Alex Horley but that’s about all I know. I think it’s kinda Lobo-ish more than anything else. But, it’s gonna look pretty and I am always tempted by pretty art.
Thomm: Hmm. I’m not so interested in it if it’s just pretty, but the concept is amusing. The Lobo-ish description is a negative, though. Lobo’s just irritating.

Top Shelf Productions
Burning Building Comix HC by (w/a/c) Jeff Zwirek
Presented for the first time under one cover and in full color, Burning Building Comix is a comics art object and reading experience like no other. The innovative format of this book allows readers to follow the plight of the trapped tenants in a ten story burning apartment building, with each tier of panels representing 1 story in the building. Distributed by Top Shelf Productions. 40 pgs, FC, 6.25x12, $19.95  You can read previews here.
Lee: This sounds really cool.  It's an oversized book so there should be plenty to read.  The previews are very interesting but I can't help but feel they aren't doing the story justice.  It's worth checking out.Thomm: Well, the concept is certainly interesting. I don’t know if it works in execution as well as it seems to in concept. At 50 cents a page it’s a bit of an investment.

Thomm: Good variety this month. Once you get past the love offerings to Jim there’s a lot to consider here. Actually, even the love offerings are good. Beirut 1990 looks like the best bet to me.
Lee:  As always there is a lot of good stuff.  There were more single issue that really interested me.  That hasn't happened in awhile.