I read 17 comics in January, and these were the best.
Boring introduction! I read 21 comics in September, and these were the best.
5. Green Lantern #46
Hey, Green Lantern is great again! We know Mahnke’s art is going to blow our minds, but Johns pulled his weight too, delivering the gore he’s so fond of. There was a lot of progression here, featuring a fight that’s been brewing for a long time. Sinestro and Mongul’s conclusion is not only drawn well, Johns gives each baddie a fun monologue, dripping with a bit of truth. Indeed, for a brief time, Johns made me believe that Mongul could actually win. Loud, bloody, and just the kind of cosmic fun that Johns wants you to have.
4. Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant Size
It all ends. It was the worth the wait, but for Millar’s part of it, this issue played out exactly how you’d expect, which would’ve been a dull experience, except for the reason we’re all here: Steve McNiven. Just about every panel in here is iconic, ready to be framed on your wall. No matter what silly cliché Millar wrote, McNiven made it sing. However, the writing’s not all bad. This issue pays great tribute to Wolverine’s character as a whole, blending his Western and Eastern ways together. So, even on that corny, Lone Wolf & Cub-inspired last page, I smiled.
3. Detective Comics #857
Another conclusion, what can I say? Those are usually great issues. Alright, Rucka’s opening Batwoman arc hasn’t had as much substance as I’d like, but something we can all agree on is the talent of Williams. We haven’t seen Kate’s origin yet, but she’s already a fully-developed character, mostly due to Williams himself. That continues here, of course, as Williams gets to render some dazzling stunts, with Kate jumping from plane to plane, kicking her way to Alice. Speaking of Alice, this issue delivers a twist with her that I didn’t see coming at all, and it was telegraphed, even on the cover. The twist works, not only to shock us, but as a brilliant window into Kate’s past.
2. Dark Reign: The List – X-Men
I read most of these specials, and this is probably the only one that’s actually a one-shot. Fraction doesn’t conform. This isn’t about political nonsense or the status quo. Fraction gives us the simple tale of revenge, and it works very well. A great deal of that credit goes to Alan Davis. He makes this absurd, spandex-clad medium lyrical. Consider the scene at the end, with Namor, Osborn, and the Sentry. In Davis’ hands, this simple scene becomes a grand confrontation between legends. Superman and Luthor could easily replace Namor and Osborn, and Sentry’s inclusion is the icing on the cake.
1. Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Exodus
I, like many of you, wasn’t very impressed with this crossover. Fraction’s characterizations were still superb, but the plot seemed to contain nothing but buildup. Well, that all culminated with Exodus, and what a culmination. The epic battle between teams is there, with almost every character utilized. Deals with the devil, an old New Avengers callback, and a new status quo makes this the most explosive comic of the month, and the best too.
And the Summer’s over! Really? That…went fast. I had fun, though. Hope you all did, too. Back to school, kiddies! I read 20 comics in August, and these were the best.
5. Invincible Iron Man #16
Matt Fraction’s writing is absolutely top-notch. Yes, this story will read better as a whole, but our connection to Tony, Pepper, and Maria is so strong, it hardly matters. The only thing that brings this issue, and the entire series, down, is Salvador Larroca’s Greg Land-esque art.
4. Ultimate Comics: Avengers #1
Speaking of Summer, you like those blockbusters that accompany the season, right? Well then, this is the comic for you! Just some awesome-kickass, supercool fun! Mark Millar gives it to ya, and Carlos Pacheco makes it look pretty. This opening salvo features a bombastic helicopter fight and a terrifying new villain.
3. Secret Six #12
Like my previous selection, this too is filled with action and good times, only with more twisted villainy. But this comic also has character and soul, and that counts for a lot. This is Jeannette’s issue to shine, and I think she blinded me. Carlos Pacheco’s beautiful interiors certainly contribute to UCA’s placement, but you know what? I’d put Nicola Scott up against Carlos Pacheco any day. Yeah, you read that right.
2. Batman and Robin #3
Holy hell, Batman! This series just gets better and better! The first and second issue topped my list in their respective months, and it’s only by some Marvel miracle that this one didn’t. Since I don’t have a proper review of this issue, I want to go over a few things:
Professor Pyg’s “sexy disco hot.” Who else had this song in their head?
Any guesses on who was watching Alfred? Could it be the same person who spied on Bruce & Jezebel all those issues ago?
Awhile ago, DC said, “Scarlet isn’t who you think she is.” That was a damn lie, and I’m pretty sure Red Hood is who you think he is too.
1. Daredevil #500
A phenomenal conclusion to what turned out to be a great run. Brubaker did DD proud, and definitely cast away Bendis’ shadow. On top of that, you get a great short story and a reprint of possibly the best Daredevil comic ever! Yeah, I’m pretty sure that this isn’t just the best comic in August, it’s the best Marvel comic of the year.
I’m down, but not out!
Blackest Night #2
I was right there with Lebeau on the first issue, and you can find a bigger, better review of this issue from him. Johns definitely decreased the needless exposition this time around, but it’s not enough. This event is still moving at a dead snail’s pace. He spends too much time relishing in ghastly, deceased heroes terrorizing live ones. However, you can still find scenes to enjoy here, especially if you’re already fond of Johns’ particular brand of fun. Nightmarish sharks devouring Atlanteans here, a two-page, vertical splash of a resurrected Spectre there. The most impressive element of Blackest Night so far has been the images rendered by Ivan Reis. He’s officially a superstar.
The Boys #33
Why is John McCrea drawing this? Shouldn’t he be drawing Herogasm? I’m not complaining. Carlos Ezquerra’s art has been sloppy the last few issues, and while McCrea is no Darick Robertson, his work here, and especially on Herogasm, is more than satisfying. Although, he’s still not the right artist for the job. This is a dark, violent arc of The Boys, and McCrea’s images are too cartoony. Ennis’ writing, however, is still top-notch. This issue was a blast. Watching Butcher systematically take down the Boys-filtered Avengers was very entertaining. The fact that this arc is so action-heavy makes it all the more upsetting that Robertson is absent.
Hellboy: The Wild Hunt #5
It’s nice to have Hellboy back. The reason for the delay was Duncan Fegredo’s, and the wait paid off. I re-read the previous four installments before this one, and Fegredo’s work is simply stunning. The Wild Hunt has featured a fight in just about every issue. It makes each chapter stand on its own as an episodic action series. Fegredo draws the hell out of the battle scenes, while Mignola crafts a menacing threat for Hellboy in the background.
Ultimate Comics: Avengers #1
Off the heels of the biggest event in the Ultimate Universe’s history, at the start of a brand new status quo, is this issue exposition-heavy? @*&# NO!!! In true, Millar style, he kicks this series off in summer blockbuster fashion, featuring an extended fight scene, and a last-page shock to punch you in the face! As I mentioned with The Boys, if a comic is action-heavy, you have to provide pretty pictures. Well, Carlos Pacheco, in his glorious return to Marvel interiors, is just the man to provide such pictures. He handles all of the action, including some tricky helicopter scenes, with professional ease. Looking for pure, pop bliss? You got it!
The Walking Dead #64
Dale’s situation provides a wickedly funny beginning. Then we get a typical and sentimental revelation from Dale’s lover, Andrea. I say typical because we’ve seen a lot of it in The Walking Dead, but it is a natural reaction to grief, and we’ve sure seen plenty of that in this series. The rest of the issue is mostly spent planting seeds for future events that culminate in a tremendously badass moment for Rick. Another enjoyable issue, for sure, but this is mid-arc. So, it does suffer from the necessary plot-building.
Uncanny X-Men #514
We’re two issues away from this crossover’s conclusion, and I don’t think it’s the event anyone was really expecting. This isn’t mindless Dark Avenger-on-X-Men action. No, with Matt Fraction at the helm, we’re getting a highly developed and well thought-out story that presents realistic situations for these characters to deal with. The downside to all that is that we’ve had more set-up than payoff, but with an oversized, Mike Deodato-drawn conclusion in the near future, I’m sure we’ll get the carnage that we crave soon enough.
Continuing the feature I started last month, here’s my list! I read 17 comics in May, and these were the best.
5. Green Lantern #41
I’m sorry. I haven’t written a review for this comic, and two others on my list, but this was a great Green Lantern issue. This issue, like most of the Johns-penned Blackest Night preludes, is packed with interesting information. On top of that, Johns continues to make Larfleeze (Larfreeze sounds so much cooler) a really interesting villain. But the absolute awesomeness of this issue can be found on the last page. Oh, what a last page.
4. Irredeemable #2
Oh, I love this feeling in comics. The book is new, and it just feels like the best thing ever. Ok, so Irredeemable isn’t flawless, but it’s a damn fine book. When we reflect on the man’s career, this could be the best Mark Waid comic. He’s writing the hell out of this book.
3. Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #6
It’s sad. I think a lot of people dismissed this after the delays. I can certainly understand their reason for doing so, but if you did drop this book early, you missed out on a great series. Lindelof, while being a bit too unchained, actually wrote Wolverine and Hulk as fully fleshed-out characters. You know where they stand. And it’s so refreshing that the real “Wolverine vs. Hulk” of this series was much more psychological, instead of just a flurry of punching. Yu’s art is easy on the eyes as well.
2. The Walking Dead #61
Often thought of as my favorite ongoing series, instead of thinking “Will this issue be good?” I wonder “Just how good will this issue be?” This is definitely in the top-tier of The Walking Dead issues. There’s some bad stuff that happens here. If you aren’t reading this series, you should be.
1. Wolverine #72
Wow! Two Wolverine books in one month? That never happens! That’s because, with so many damn Wolverine books, most of them are repetitive and/or mediocre at best. But that’s exactly why “Old Man Logan” is so good. Millar takes a character that has been severely overused, and breathes some new life into him. Ok, so his actual characterization of Wolverine is more like Clint Eastwood than anything else, but this is a Wolverine story that is actually innovative. This series is packed with off-beat, fresh ideas. Oh, and Steve McNiven’s art is GORGEOUS!
So there it is! Agree? Disagree? Please, let me know!
I like this comic. I know it’s gotten a lot of flak, most of that is probably due to Millar’s hype. Oh, and it’s already becoming a movie, which is also lame. Now, whenever Big Daddy talks, I can’t get Nicholas Cage’s voice out of my head, and that’s a bad thing. Still, I actually do care about the characters. Yes, it’s not high-brow entertainment, but it is entertainment. It brings out the fifteen-year-old in me. The part that wants to bitch about movies and comics (What adult would do that?). The part that can relate to doing anything to get a cute girl. The part that wants to go out, dressed in all black and wearing a hockey mask, and beat the shit out of some assholes.
As you can tell from the cover, this issue features the origin of Big Daddy and Hit-Girl. It’s all pretty standard stuff, with Millar himself admitting as much through his character: “This guy was Frank fucking Castle.” Millar also makes this gruesome duo extreme conservatives, spouting lines like: “The dictionary definition of a Democrat? A fucked-up prick who will march for the right to murder babies, but hold candlelight vigils for serial killers.” This issue also contains a classic Millar cliffhanger. It’s a bit predictable if you’ve been paying attention to solicitations, but still appreciated. So, I’m a fan of Millar. I enjoy the fact that he points out his own unoriginality. I enjoy the pop culture references and the realistic touches. Hell, I even enjoy little things, such as Hit-Girl setting up name tags for Kick-Ass and Red Mist. And don’t forget, folks. John Romita Jr. kicks ass!
I missed this series on the monthly circuit and perhaps you did too. Four dollars for 32 pages is bad enough, but when you’re dealing with a series that’ll be a hardcover in a few months, it’s very deterring. Though I’m a fan of Millar, I was even going to pass once this was collected. I was uninterested due to the likelihood of sappy nonsense and Edwards’ seemingly esoteric art didn’t help. Over NYCC, I read an interview where Millar mentioned that Marvel 1985, Old Man Logan, and his Fantastic Four are all connected. Well, I read and adore Old Man Logan and FF, so I thought I’d go ahead and give this book a shot.
Do you like Steven Spielberg movies? If Spielberg wrote comics, they’d be a lot like this. Is it a bit corny and predictable? Yeah, but we need to embrace conventionalism every now and then. “It brings out the kid in you”, is uttered a little too often. It also happens to be appropriate in this case. Who didn’t fantasize about superheroes when they were a kid? I still fantasize about superheroes; although I will admit, my fantasies have gotten a bit more erotic. Anyway, I too dreamt of not only superheroes coming to our world, but also going to theirs. Wouldn’t it be cool to go to the Daily Bugle and say “Hey Pete, I know your secret.” That, and more, is explored in Marvel 1985.
Something we didn’t really consider when we were children, were the repercussions of our fantasy. If there are heroes, there must be villains. That’s actually was dominates Marvel 1985. The heroes don’t really show up (Except Hulk. And what happened to him is something that’s left unanswered) until the ultimate chapter. One of this book’s most appealing qualities is the fact that it shows C-list villains in a badass light. When was the last time you saw Vulture, Electro, or Fin Fang Foom get a full page splash? Has MODOK ever terrified you? Several other baddies you’ve probably never even heard of are mentioned in passing. Marvel 1985 feels like an event. Sure, not every character gets a shining moment, but they’re all there in appearance and spirit.
At the event’s epicenter lies Toby, a young boy who’s recovering from his parent’s divorce. We see all the wonders and horrors through his eyes. This makes Marvel 1985 a spiritual sequel to Marvels. One of the defining things about that series was the look given by a newcomer, Alex Ross. Though Tommy Lee Edwards, the artist on Marvel 1985, has a similar feel, his work will undoubtedly be less praised. The only extra in the hardcover edition I purchased, is a detailed look at Edwards’ artistic process. The man spent a year rendering this book. Everything visual about Marvel 1985, except the lettering, is all Edwards’ doing. He offers unique artwork to say the least, but I for one found it fascinating. It may not be very pretty at first glance, but Edwards is a born storyteller. Sampled in the art above my words, you can see scratchy realism. This is absolutely appropriate and vital to the story. When Toby enters the Marvel universe, Edwards’ work reflects that and morphs into a cleaner, Lichtenstein-esque form. Though it may take some getting used to, I’m a fan of the art.
Marvel 1985 has its problems. It’s not breaking any rules and there are a few artistic and literary missteps. Nevertheless, Millar’s verisimilarly brilliant tale will move you.
Wolverine #70 (*****)
Okay, this story isn’t going to change the medium. This issue features a “twist” that I saw coming and you probably will too. But that doesn’t stop this from being one hell of a good time. This book rarely comes out (We get the next one in March I believe), but every time it does it’s on the top of my stack. This thing isn’t even in continuity! I should be waiting for the trade! But I don’t care. I experience so much joy whenever I see that “Old Man Logan” tag. Who knew the elderly could be so pleasing? As I said, the Shyamalan twist isn’t that great, but Millar executes it brilliantly. Better yet, he doesn’t dwell on it. The story progresses and we even get a cool last-page-reveal. Of course, as I’m sure even Millar knows, this book wouldn’t be anywhere near what it is without the art team. Steve McNiven, Dexter Vines, Morry Hollowell, I salute you. I’m sure you fine people are responsible for this book’s delays but take your time. I’d rather have Wolverine out twice a year than a rush job. If you aren’t reading this book now, you’re missing out on some wonderful euphoria. Oh well, you guys can still enjoy the trade that comes out next year. Oh, and I love the chosen puppet master behind this issue’s scheme.
Kick-Ass #5 (****)
So, do we all agree that the name, Mark Millar, is synonymous with lateness now? Good God, it’s been like five months since the last issue, right? I had to reread the previous four to get up to speed. Oh well, I can’t really hate this book too much. Although I will say that the bit Millar wrote about the comic coming before the movie is bullshite. This issue’s delay is supposedly due to JRJR’s involvement with drawing the animated movie sequence, but I suspect that isn’t the only thing this new movie has influenced. So, last issue we were introduced to Big Daddy, the character Nicholas Cage is playing. Now we’re introduced to the Red Mist, the character McLovin is playing. It seems like the Red Mist gets a lot more screen time than he was supposed to. Anyway, let’s just say I’m really annoyed that the movie and the comic are being produced at the same time. As for the actual issue, there’s not much to say. If you have loved this book like me, then you’ll probably enjoy this. Millar provides some interesting and funny stuff and JRJR makes things pretty. Can we have the next issue a little quicker this time?
Green Lantern #36 (****)
Must I talk about the lateness in every damn review?! Is this the price I pay for quality? I guess, but what happened here DC? Wasn’t Shane Davis supposed to draw this? Then Doug Mahnke was shown as the artist on the DC website. And now that we actually get it, Ivan Reis is the on the book. WTF!? Shouldn’t Reis be working on Blackest Night? Oh well, Reis, as always, brings the goods. Seriously, I don’t care what you think of Johns, the pictures alone should do it for you. And boy does Reis get to show off this issue. We get to see the Red Lantern world, the Blue Lantern world and the birth of a Pink Lantern. And Reis isn’t the only one who deserves praise. Nei Ruffino, the colorist, also shines as you can imagine. Green, red, blue, he’ll have you wondering if you’ve picked up a Hulk comic by mistake. Hell, even the letterer, Rob Leigh, gets to have fun. That’s right, even the word balloons are outlined in green, blue, and red. This book looks fantastic and Johns continues to build his wonderful cosmic epic.
Justice Society of America #22 (***1/2)
And so Johns and Ross’ incredibly long epic concludes. Seriously, this has been about a year and a half in the making. Is it as good as it should be? No, but it’s an entertaining conclusion to a story with limitless potential. I think the main reason for my disappointment is the fact that I failed to realize who was writing my comic. This is Alex Ross and Geoff Johns, these guys live in the past. They, Ross especially, try to tell the same stories they loved as a child. This method is fantastic for kids, but will inevitably leave the rest of us wanting. This is our traditional battle finale. We’ve gotten all that sappy emotion out of the way which makes room for some big combat between the Gods and the men. The fighting ends after some humorous banter and demise of the JSA’s foe. Now we have to get rid of all that Kingdom Come nonsense. Again, KC Superman’s potential seems a bit wasted. Sure he punched a lightning bolt and all that jazz, but for so long he just seemed to blend into the background. Although I will say that Ross, who actually did draw some pages, did give the hero a fitting farewell. I think this review makes it seem like I disliked this issue, but I really did enjoy it. I liked the arc itself even more. Still, as I explained, I can’t help but feel a little sad.
I did this last year (obviously before the blog existed), and even though I’ve got a pretty durned big DCBS box coming next week (25 books. Yay!), I don’t necessarily expect them to crack this top ten, so I’m just going to jump the gun and publish my list now. Ha ha! It begins…
Going to skip putting the cover images on here because I am lazy and it takes up too much space.
10. Fables #75
Writer: Bill Willingham
Penciller: Mark Buckingham
DC’s Vertigo Imprint
Ah, Fables. If there’s one thing you do well (and believe me, it’s a lot more than one thing), it’s big milestone anniversary issues. You could argue that this book had a lot to live up to considering the quality of issue 50 and its positioning as the climax of the War and Pieces arc. I love the way Willingham and Buckingham depict war (the March of the Wooden Soldiers trade pretty much assured that I’d be reading this book until it ends), and this issue caps off the arc while giving us a window into what else we get to look forward to.
9. Kick-Ass #3
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: John Romita Jr.
Marvel’s Icon Imprint
Is it late as hell? Yup. Is Millar more interested in the movie than the comic? Probably. Doesn’t change my opinion of this issue. This book revels in being over the top, and does not pull any punches in the violence and blood department. There’s more to it than that crazy final battle sequence, but we shouldn’t exactly be looking for a lot of depth in a book like this. Review is here.
8. Thunderbolts #121
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Mike Deodato, Jr.
Ah, watching the Green Goblin go nuts. Who hasn’t seen that before? Well, me, honestly. Never really read much Spider-Man, mostly due to lack of time. This issue is the last of Ellis’ run, and it delivers on what we’ve been wanting to see since he started writing the book post Civil War. And that’s not all of course. You’ve got Bullseye with one of the best lines of the year, and the rest of the inmates attempting to run the asylum while Norman flies all over the place and just throws pumpkin bombs indiscriminately. Fantastic stuff.
7. Terry Moore’s Echo #3
Writer: Terry Moore
Artist: Terry Moore
Most of the awesome in this issue came from the last page reveal, which is that kind of true holy crap moment that gives you a little glimpse of what could be coming over the months as this series continued. We have a new character introduced out of the blue, all kinds of craziness and over the top dialogue. It forces you to pause and try to cope with what you just read, and the only words you can think of are “Damn. Didn’t see that coming.” Contrast that with a crushing interaction between the main character and her sister, and you have a wonderful issue of a wonderful book. Review is here.
6. Nova #15
Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Penciller: Wellington Alves
Yes, I love Galactus. Yes, this was one of the better Galactus stories I’ve read in recent history. Any of the three issues of the story arc could have been on this list, but I think the way that the Harrow B plot was resolved was a great moment. Wellington Alves did a great job with the big G, and the way he was used as this disinterested party hovering in the background of panels was excellent. Review is here.
5. Superman/Batman #51
Writers: Michael Green and Mike Johnson
Artist: Rafael Albuquerque
You can only read so many depressing ass comics (and considering my top four could all easily fit in that category except Iron Fist) before you need a break. And what works better as a break than the madcap fun of the two issue “Little Leaguers” arc from Superman/Batman? Not much at all, really. Super fun silliness that just makes you feel good inside. Sure, either issue could have been put here, but I went for the first because I flipped a coin. These things need to happen sometimes. Review can be found here.
4. The Twelve #6
Writer: J Michael Straczynski
Artist: Chris Weston
This is probably the best issue of this series so far (and this is pound for pound the best mini series that has come out this year, despite delays), mostly because JMS really poured on the despair in a way we hadn’t seen yet or since. That’s really what this series is about: despair. It’s another very quiet book similar in style and scope to Thor (and really, this is where JMS seems to be most at home). This issue features the actual fate of Rockman, and dear lord is it heart-wrenching. Check out my previous review for some more insight.
3. Thor #11
Writer: J Michael Straczynski
Penciller: Olivier Coipel
More JMS love here. This is a recent one (and oddly enough, takes the same place on the list as Thor #3 last year), and I might be high on this one because it’s fresh in my mind, but the quality is there nonetheless. I LOVE what JMS is doing with this book. It is nothing like what someone would necessarily expect from a character like Thor, but it perfectly fits into his world. Gods with flaws as an interesting literary device dates back to the tragic plays of Ancient Greece to me, and that’s the same kind of feel that I get from this Thor run. It’s such a quiet, slow burn. This issue is similar to that third chapter that I loved so much, in this case we’ve got Thor getting some closure concerning the death of Steve Rogers. He wasn’t around when it happened, so in this book he manages to contact Steve’s spirit and just talk to him for a bit. Coipel’s art in these pages is gorgeous, and he really makes such a simple story device sing. You’ve also got the continuation of Loki’s manipulation of Balder, as well as a callback to the fate of Lady Sif. Fantastic storytelling in every way.
2. The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall and the Death Queen of California (One-Shot)
Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Artist: Guiseppe Camuncoli
This to me was just a beautiful throwback to the 1920’s noir style starring a character I’ve enjoyed quite immensely since his creation by Fraction and Brubaker. Swierczynski had written some Iron Fist work prior to this, but I think this issue is what really made me believe that he would be a worthy replacement for the original creative team. I think this ended up being better than Fraction’s Green Mist of Death one shot simply due to the layered references to Pygmalion and Metropolis, as well as the general feel of the book being more akin to what I look for in an Orson Randall tale. Here’s the review.
1. Casanova #14
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Fabio Moon
If anyone read my ridiculously over the top review gushing like crazy about this book back when it came out, it shouldn’t be a surprise that this is my top choice of the year. I’ve gone back and read it probably 15 to 20 times, and it never ceases being absolutely and totally incredible in every possible way. It’s the perfect ending to a story arc. It’s the perfect twist that completely changes (without being cheap) everything that came before it. I think I wrote enough in my review to justify my feelings, so I’ll just point you there. This book is covered in the combined souls of Matt Fraction and Fabio Moon. Gorgeous. Beautiful. Transcendent.
Wolverine #69 (****)
Ok, so I absolutely love this arc. But I was a little disenchanted this time. Why? Probably because it was about two months late. I have the urge to play the “not much happened” card, but I believe my disappointment was because of the wait and this installment certainly wasn’t packed with much info. This is the traveling issue. Millar speeds Wolverine and Hawkeye’s journey so that we can get a proper finale. But that haste comes with a price. There are several interesting visuals including Loki’s skull, the Venom Symbiote attached to some rock, and the Red Skull’s visage added to Mount Rushmore. I’d like to know the story behind those wouldn’t you? I wish there was some mini to accompany this story but I highly doubt that will happen. So what did I like about this issue? Millar made Moloids scary as hell! The conclusion promises that we’ll find out what changed Wolverine next issue (I’m guessing he let the animal out and killed a hell of a lot of people including possibly someone he loves) so I certainly want more. And of course the best thing about Old Man Logan is the art. Steve McNiven, Dexter Vines and even Morry Hollowel have created one of the most beautiful post-apocalyptic worlds ever!
Walking Dead #54 (****1/2)
Sweet fucking Christmas there was a lot of F words in here! That doesn’t bother me but I think it will bother some. I believe the extra swears were due to the new character, Abraham. Honest Abe is one of three new survivors. There aren’t any big events in this issue, but there is a lot of zombie killing! It’s been a long time since we’ve seen much of that in WD. Our heroes haven’t had to rough it out in the open thanks to their cozy prison (Prisons are cozy right?) so they got soft. Abraham and Andrea have an interesting exchange here. I hope Andrea doesn’t cheat on Dale, who appears to have a peg leg in this issue. Did he have that before? I believe this was the end of an arc, but Kirkman manages to stay away from his usual shocking conclusion. It’s refreshing.
Recently in the comments section of this post, I brazenly asserted that Batman, by Grant Morrison & Tony Daniel, fails as a monthly comic reading experience. Basically, I feel the plot is too convoluted or complex for easy monthly digestion, although I’m sure it’ll go down very easy in trade.
So, what makes a good monthly comic? A couple of things:
Comics that put “character” first!
Comics that tend to focus more on character than plot are inherently more readable as monthlies. When jumping into the middle of a six issue arc, its character that pulls you in and fills in the holes. With the exception of Fantastic Four, every comic on my list stars a single character.
“Done-in-One (or two)” Stories!
There’s no need to wait for the trade if each arc is only 1-2 issues long, right? Again, this type of story goes well with character writing. Since the plot isn’t required to sustain itself for 3-6 issues, it can be pared down and used primarily as a vehicle to reveal the titular hero’s character. Batman and Zatanna team up to stop the Joker!?! Reading that story you find that it’s not really about catching the Joker as much as it’s about developing Bruce and Zatanna’s relationship. Also, without really sacrificing the overall plot, these “done-in-one” stories can be framed like TV episodes that when viewed over an entire season combine to reveal a hidden master plot. Think Buffy, Heroes, etc… As many of us know, it can be very intimidating for a new reader to jump onto a book with a long running story, so hiding the plot in this manner is a great way to eliminate that intimidation factor. It also allows the writer to integrate sub-plots with clearly defined conflicts into the background that can be slowly developed and brought to the forefront at a later date, as Mark Millar does in Fantastic Four.
Cliffhangers that punch you in the face!
I mean, does this one really need explanation? There are quite a few comics (many on this list) that use the “final page splash” to great effect in almost every single issue. The rush you get from experiencing these in a floppy is much different than when experiencing them in a trade. Actually, it doesn’t even come close.
Getting that “OMG I can’t wait for next month!” Soap Opera feeling!
Of the four I’ve listed here, I think this last one is probably the most important (although it is very closely related to the Cliffhanger thing). For me, it’s the most important factor in deciding whether or not to wait for the trade. I ask myself, as many of you probably do, “Can I go more than a month without reading about BLANK?!?” If you answer “NO!”, then you obviously have a great monthly in your hands!
With the pretentious explanations out of the way I present to you, in no particular order, my “Top Ten Comics That Work Best as Monthlies”:
ACTION COMICS by Geoff Johns & Gary Frank
I could NEVER read this comic in trade; I just love the characters too much! And the cliffhangers are the epitome of punch you in the face. There haven’t been many done-in-ones in the Johns run, but that’s okay, since at least half the comics on this list barely utilize that comic book storytelling device. But Johns does love the sub-plots, wherein he writes some of the best (or, THE best) character moments in comics. CONS: More done-in-ones would be nice.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN by “The Spidey Brain Trust”
With the exception of the current arc, “New Ways To Die”, Brand New Day has been nothing but 1-, 2-, and 3-issue arcs filled with character, character, character… the Soap Opera mojo has been strong. Because of the weekly shipping schedule, the Spidey team has been using the last page splash to great effect. CONS: Actually, maybe there are too many characters? Sometimes it gets confusing.
CAPTAIN AMERICA by Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting & Luke Ross
All of the above? Without all the little Bucky character stuff, I would not be enjoying this book as much as I am. It’s funny, but to me, most issues of Captain America feel like single issue stories set in an epic tapestry whose true significance won’t be seen ‘til Brubaker ends his run. It’s one long, ongoing story that excites me month in and month out.
DEADPOOL by Daniel Way & Paco Medina
We’re two issues in and I’m in love. For now. Plot? What plot? If you’re looking for a story, you’re in the wrong place, duder. This is all about Deadpool. That’s it. Do you need to read issue one to understand issue two? Hell no! Enjoy the funny!
DETECTIVE COMICS by Paul Dini & Dustin Nguyen
Current master of the 1- or 2-part story (yeah, yeah, I know the RIP tie-in breaks the rules). Reading Detective for the last two years I remember more about Bruce sex life (obv lack thereof) than I do the details of any of the stories. And to me, that’s awesome writing. Dini has made Bruce likable. This is new, folks. Bruce Wayne as an actual character in comics? Not since pre-DKR, I would think, have we seen the identity of Bruce Wayne written as a real character. Ah no, I disagree with you, Morrison’s Wayne is a flimsy piece of cardboard. Maybe he had something at the beginning of his run, but fleshing out Batman’s alter ego took a back seat to RIP setup long ago, maybe around the time Adam Kubert left the book. Anyway, yes, Dini isn’t writing Batman, he’s writing Bruce Wayne as Batman. And there is a difference, and that difference is quite refreshing.
FANTASTIC FOUR by Mark Millar & Bryan Hitch
The character stuff is lacking, but the sub-plots, cliffhangers and OMG moments make this a top of the stack must-read. Here’s a recent review that reads more negative than it actually is.
GRAVEL by Warren Ellis, Mike Wolfer & Raulo Caceres
The way the current arc is framed, it works wonderfully as a series of single issue stories filled with scenes exploring the character of William Gravel. Oh, you know what? Thank God Ellis finally got around to fleshing this guy out. Gravel started life as a boringly hollow SAS thug who starred in a series of idea-driven minis. In those minis, there was never anything particularly exciting or compelling about the Gravel character and the fact of the matter is, I probably only read them because they were written by Ellis. Now, under the watchful eye of Mike Wolfer, I really grown to like this guy and each month I can’t wait to read Gravel’s next adventure. Shocking. That’s good stuff, brother.
HULK by Jeph Loeb & Ed McGuinness
INVINCIBLE by Robert Kirkman & Cory Walker
Ever since the #51 reboot, this book has been one of the most anticipated monthlies in my stack. LOVING IT… happy now, Bruce?
JACK OF FABLES by Matthew Sturges & Bill Willingham
Awesome title character? CHECK!
Outstanding sub-plots? CHECK!
SOAP OPERA?!? TRIPLE CHECK!!!
I’ve warmed up to this run (I’m actually really enjoying its throwback style), but that doesn’t mean I can’t see the flaws. Take this issue for instance, logic errors abound!
It’s 500 years in the future and Hulk (Millar) would have us believe that it’s far easier to build a super time machine to send eight billion people to the past than it is to build spaceships to transport those same people off-planet? No. Oh, but this is cool, right? So you wanna go with it? Me too! Let’s see how long those beliefs remain suspended, shall we?
Wait, ethical dilemma, Mr. Ultron? Oh, the irony…
MY, GOD, ROBOT! You’re right! Why didn’t super-smart Hulk think of this?
Well, look how petty the heroes are in the 26th century! But seriously, besides the ethical dilemma, this plan is doomed to failure. Like, if part of the reason the planet fell apart in the first place was overpopulation and the mismanagement of natural resources, then how the hell do you suppose to solve those problems by adding eight billion more mouths to the equation? Logically, this doesn’t make sense. But, whatever. Apparently this question is irrelevant:
Establish a base? HUH?!? I don’t understand this. So, there’s not enough power in the future, but there is in the past? And we’re not talking about hydro-electric, nuclear or coal produced power, we’re talking about the kind of power that comes from the cosmic!
Man, Bryan Hitch loves him some Galactus! Okay, so these New Defenders “mug” the Big G, siphon off his power, shunt a small group into the future, build their base and go about looking for “ultimate” power. Where do they find this power? Oh, you know, they just go out and “mug” this century’s Galactus, break Dr. Doom out of jail and kidnap The Human Torch.
Slow down… in the future, it took the combined might of 170ish New Defenders to tackle Galactus but in our time they manage the same feet with less than six guys? W. T. F. On top of that, how the hell did they even locate Galactus? Where did they obtain the means for space flight? THIS IS SO STUPID!!! IT’S TOO STUPID!!!*
Okay, fine, maybe Millar will explain this next issue and maybe he won’t, I’ll assume they managed it somehow and move on… but then there’s still the matter of Dr. Doom and Human Torch. Why these two? Are we to believe that the combination of these three beings is enough to bring eight billion peeps from the future to the past? Does the math seem wrong to anyone else? Like I could understand it if they’d captured like 50 super heroes, or 100, or 200, but just three? The scale here is wrong.
Um, no! Super heroes don’t kidnap other super heroes and use them like batteries!
Can’t wait for this. That single panel may have redeemed this entire issue for me.
Oh, back to the sub-plots! This is the chick that’s dating Thing. That is her ex-boyfriend. He seems upset. Last panel is great. What’s he gonna do?!?
Okay, so by the end of this issue we discover that this nanny chick is actually Susan Storm from the future and she’s also the mastermind behind this whole “Save the Future” scheme. I scanned these panels to show that yes, Bryan Hitch was playing fair with us the whole time. Looking at these panels side-by-side and it becomes so obvious that these two women are the same person. Just look at that nose! Same nose! Same lips! Bravo, Mr. Hitch.
Ah, just a cool shot to illustrate the talent of Mr. Hitch, although the writing kind of fails here. If this is future Sue, would she really resort to this type of blatant show of force? I mean, wouldn’t she just wrap present Sue’s head in an invisible force field ‘til she passed out? It wouldn’t kill her and the fight would be over in seconds. Also, she wouldn’t have the clues to figure out that nanny lady is actually her from the future. DURF.
…and here is where Millar almost redeems himself. Obviously, Sue has thought about the question I brought up earlier in this review: how can present Earth support the lives of the present and future populations? Um, it can’t. Sue knows this… Sue is going to kill us all!!!
No, Sue. It is YOU that’s embarrassing yourself. OBVIOUSLY, Mr. Fantastic is going to find you! He’s FANTASTIC!!! You should know better, lady.
As a midway point (for the run), this issue works fine. It moves the plot forward (albeit illogically at times) and gets most of the exposition out of the way. I assume next issue will be jammed full of action, suspense and Doom killing Invisible Woman. YAY!
*Or it could be that the Galactus pictured is “future” Galactus. If that’s the case, then that portion of my argument falls apart, but it then raises another equally pressing question: two Big Gs in the same time? PARADOX!!!
All Star Batman and Robin #10 (**1/2)
I have a lot to say about this, but I’ll try to keep it brief. Remember when I talked about the altered cover in my Action Comics #869 review? Probably the reason for the change was because it came out in the same week as this fiasco. This is a Batman comic that contains numerous F bombs and C words. Here are some of the actual words and enjoy this original page as well. Did I mention that these words and actions come from a 15 year old girl? Miley Cyrus eat your heart out! I think this is more proof that Frank Miller is not writing a Batman comic. This should be an Avatar book. I think people would accept it more. I feel bad for Jim Lee. He has to draw kids groping testicles now? Jim Lee should be on a different Batman book and Frank Miller should write some indie books. Despite all of this nonsense, I’ve actually enjoyed most of this series. The stories are absurdly fun and Lee’s art looks gorgeous! Speaking of pretty art, isn’t that Frank Quietly cover cool? This issue still looks marvelous, but I can’t say I enjoyed Miller’s writing. This is packed with horrible noir monologues. Analogies, similes, and metaphors used to sound hardcore. Ugh! This issue took so long to read and yet the plot barely moved forward. Lee produces pure beauty and Miller’s writing isn’t completely horrible, but this was disappointing and some shame should go to DC for the editorial misstep as well.
War Heroes #2 (***1/2)
How many of you were pissed when you heard that a Kick-Ass movie will be released only a few months after the comic series ends? Well, Mark “Sellout” Millar does it again! It seems War Heroes will be a movie too. At least they waited until issue #2 came out right? Ok, let’s talk about this issue. What does this have to do with censorship? It contains full-frontal male nudity of course. I know Mark Millar likes to shock people, but this is too much. I remember reading that Millar was going to put anal sex and cumshots in Wanted, but J.G. Jones talked him out of it. I guess Tony Harris couldn’t do the same. A friend of mine who has a nine year old daughter flipped out when he saw this issue on the shelves for kids to see. I’ve also heard on the “Internets” about some trouble that shop owners are having. Do comic distributors deserve blame? I don’t think so, but that’s me. Anyway, Tony Harris is the star of this series. I think Millar knows that too. This is your basic boot camp issue only with superpowers. Instead of putting weapons together they construct planes, instead of lifting weights they lift tanks and so on. This issue is fun and there are some shocks, like the aforementioned penis, but the story isn’t anything spectacular yet. If you’re a fan of Millar’s writing and especially if you like Harris’ art, you should give this book a try.
This inspired my title. Isn’t it awesome? Joe Linsner rocks!
Kick-Ass #4 (****1/2)
Billy already wrote a great review about this issue with cool scans. I can’t add too much to that because all I have are words. Words aren’t that important when it comes to Kick-Ass. This series is basically brain candy for the comic fan. Kick-Ass is bloody, sadistic, and fun. This is a quick enjoyable read. There isn’t too much plot, but who cares? This is pure enjoyment. I’m not a big fan of Millar’s shameless promotion (Check out the 1985 promo in this issue. What’s next? A character talking about how much they love Mark Millar?), but this issue did make me laugh out loud so it’s cool. If you’re looking for some fun and really pretty JRJR art, buy this book! Oh and to fit with my presents title, this issue has a lot of gore!
Wolverine #68 (*****)
Like Kick-Ass, this doesn’t have the most substance, but it has a lot of cool flash! I love this arc. It’s an extended What If that’s always a pleasure to read. Millar and McNiven have created an incredibly intriguing future. There are even a couple unexpected twists and turns in this issue. Oh and yes, there is a lot of gore in this issue! The first two have been violent, but we get even more blood and action here. Someone even gets decapitated using a shotgun like a club! Things will probably get even more violent. I’ve mentioned it before but I’ll say it again, McNiven’s art looks amazing! i’m extremely pleased that this creative team produced an interesting tale for an overused character.
Like last time, this review is gonna be filled to the ass with spoilers, so… click links at your own risk!
First, a recap… (it has been, like—two months since the last one?!?)
Okay, so when we last left our hero, little Davey was about to—SLAYAGE!!!
The mask, the pre-pubescent body, the swords, the blood, the ###ING Masterlock securing the cape—this chick is creepy as ####!!! Dudes, the killing goes on for FOUR–SOLID–PAGES. If I saw this girl massacre a roomful of dealers and prostitutes, I’d barely manage to keep my undies clean (and I would probably fail at that), much less have the presence of mind to string words into thoughts like little Davey here.
Alright, I know I just said how much this “Hit-Girl” creeps me out, but L@@K! Look how pretty JRJR makes this page! That’s comic book mastery, folks. I’m convinced, as much sadistic fun as this has been—and it has been tons of fun, obviously—it would not play half as awesome without John Romita Jr. on the art chores. No doubt in my mind about that. Millar, you lucky ####er.
And now, a list of cool shit—flavor, if you will—conventions flipped on their heads, if I may:
+Kick-Ass inspires the masses.
+Kick-Ass also loves the “gay drama”.*
+In Mob towns, real super heroes are not famous.
+The “good guys” don’t let you go after you spill the beans…
+…they ####ing KILL YOU!
+…and then LAUGH about it!!
So, there you have it, yet another exciting issue of blood and mayhem. Based on the scans I’ve shown here, you might be under the mistaken impression that issue #4 is all filler, and no killer. You’re wrong, douche! It’s nothing but killer, blind bastards! Oh, you’re asking about the plot. Well, the plot moves, it surely does… slowly… like an iceberg… but it does move. What we get instead (GORE! VIOLENCE! SHOCK!), it’s well worth it in my opinion. Seriously, #### the plot. Seeing JRJR illustrate this shit is the real treat.**
*If you have to ask why this is on the list, no explanation will convince you.
**The same could be said about that much maligned Hulk series, one would think…
The people over at Millarworld were kind enough to once again send over a PDF copy of Millar’s latest release, 1985. The book came out yesterday, but since most of us have yet to read it, I left the spoiler warning in the title of this post. So, yes, there will be spoilers and pictures links and whatnot. Enjoy.
When we last left out heroes, the Lizard was on the roof and ready to tear open that van like a sardine can—I’m really enjoying the realistic portrayal of not just the villains, but of this entire world that Tommy Lee Edwards and Mark Millar have created—Next, Toby’s dad smashes into a roadside billboard in an attempt to clear the bug off his windshield, but instead, it leads to a hostage situation—The speech by the Lizard, in fact the point that Millar is illustrating through the Lizard is my favorite part of this book. In this simple moment, Millar shows us that in this world, heroism is not the naturally occurring phenomenon that it is in the Marvel Universe—After getting his son back, Toby’s dad asks the army what’s up and they explain some shizzy about “sleeper agents”—until this moment, I’d forgotten that this story takes place during The Cold War. Obviously, they’re Russian sleepers and not Super Villains! Very cool—After Toby’s father runs off to save his mother, Toby tries to recruit his very own “Monster Squad”—I see that Millar has fond memories of that film as well—Naturally, Toby’s buds tell him to ###-off, so Toby decides to save the world on his own. In the next few pages, Millar and Edwards show us what the villains have been up to—this Bullseye full pager being my favorite—We’re back with Toby just as he finds a doorway to adventure—a doorway to super heroes—SQUEEE—Toby leaps through, transporting himself across “The Bleed” and into the 616—it’s fun how not only does the art style change once we arrive in the Marvel Universe, becoming more realistic, but also the font of the “To Be Continued” appears in that trademark superhero style. Avengers Assemble!
I still love this book, despite all my Millar hate, because it’s a damn well put together read. Also, HO-HO-HO! I was right, as were many of you I’d guess; the kid from the Wyncham House had powers… or is it Toby’s dad with the powers? Not much more to say besides… looking forward to #5 and the promised crossover with Fantastic Four.
Oh, question for the readers… that scene in the middle of the book that takes place in 1964, are those zombies surrounding the house? Night of the Living Dead zombies? Hmm?
Green Lantern #33 (****1/2)
Very cool. It doesn’t bother me in the least that Johns is borrowing so much from The Trilogy (obv you should know what trilogy I’m speaking of), and he’s basically admitted as much in interviews. Spence, I know you want to jump in here and call me a hypocrite, but this is totally different than what Mark Millar is doing. First, Johns doesn’t hype the shit out of his work. Second, it’s really well-written. Talent really does mean that much. Anyway, okay, I do have some issues with this issue. First, is there going to be some kind of “mind-wipe” action in Sinestro and Jordan’s future? How come they don’t remember any of this? I can see the Guardians pulling this off to protect their secrets. In fact, if this does happen, it adds so much to an already mythic run and totally validates Johns’ need to tell this retconned origin story. Second, the ring-less fighting promised for next issue… um, why are we repeating ourselves? I’m hoping there’s a reason for this, and as always with Johns, I’m positive there is.
Ms. Marvel #29 (****1/2)
So, question: Has Brian Reed just been killing time in this book ‘til the “Invasion” or what? Is this why his SI tie-ins have been so awesome and the 10-15 issues preceding them had been such trash? Or, is Ms. Marvel finally reaching the climax of her “I want to be the best hero ever!” arc? I love the irony that being the best hero ever also means not being very heroic. Killing Skrulls, for example, even in times of war is still murder. Heroes don’t kill. I mean, Superman would find another way, right? I hope there are repercussions here. I hope someone in the Marvel Universe brings this up later. Like, do you guys remember the first couple of issues of the Kurt Busiek Avengers, when Carol got kicked off the team for killing someone? I want some drama, damn it! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. This book rocks! I just hope it’s also serving as the setup for even greater things to come.
Thunderbolts #122 (*****)
How does one follow up the epically fantastic Ellis run? I have no idea, but Gage is off to a great start. He somehow manages to maintain the tone established by Ellis, but at the same time injects enough of his own insanities into the characters to give us a little bit of the new, the fresh and the excitingly evil. Gage ain’t just aping Ellis; he totally owns this book! “Ellis who,” I found myself asking after finishing this issue. And it’s still ####ing funny!
Wolverine #67 (***)
Better than the last issue, mostly because the expo wasn’t so heavy-handed this time. Millar kind of relaxed a bit and let us enjoy the pairing of Hawkeye and pacifist Wolverine. Loved the Ghost Rider gang and loved the Hawkeye violence, but hell, I love violence in general, so that’s not saying much. The “Hammer Falls” thing is the most inspired idea in this arc so far. The teenage “Spider-Girl” wannabe is the least. I’ll finish the arc, because I’m a completist and I own every other issue of Wolverine, but I’m still waiting for that HUGE jaw-dropping moment. The fact that it hasn’t happened yet is encouraging, it means maybe Millar is saving it for the end, which would mark a change for him since in the past his endings have been the weakest parts of his stories. Oh, maybe a showdown with the Hulk? …also, yes, the art is amazing.
• Astonishing X-Men #25 (*): I waited to read Uncanny X-Men #500 (in depth review to follow shortly) before reading this on the recommendation of the Pull List guys, I believe, and you know what? Didn’t help with the enjoyment, got to say. WOW. This book is terrible. First, the art: YOU CAN”T FUCKING SEE ANYTHING!!! It’s so dark! Second: WHO THE FUCK ARE THESE CHARACTERS!!! CSI X-Men is right. I’ll rant more about this when I do my UX:500 review, tomorrow or Saturday, because these books definitely go hand in hand in terms of quality. UGH.
• Black Summer #7 (****): And it’s finally over. And I liked it. And I may have to re-read the entire thing again. It got a little preachy at the end, but it made sense. I like that Ellis remembered to answer the question he posed in the zero issue. And I agree with him. For a second there, I thought he’d gone off the deep-end and was advocating violent regime change. Thankfully he’s still only half-crazy and not full-on bonkers crazy.
• Fantastic Four: Secret Invasion #3 (****1/2): This is exactly the type of mini I wanted (a story focusing on the interpersonal conflicts caused by the invasion) and it totally exceeded my expectations. I liked that it tried to reconcile old FF-Skrull continuity with new Bendis-Skrull continuity. This book was pitch-perfect in every single way except one: Lyja deciding to stay behind in the Negative Zone. This sounded like “Hey, Bendis says he doesn’t want to use Lyja in the main event, so get rid of her before the end of the mini.” That sucks, but at least they didn’t kill her. Anyone else wish RAS was still writing an ongoing FF book?
• Invincible #51 (****): I like the new costume and direction, but I wish Kirkman would cut it out with all the fucking subplots. Like, tell a main plot once in a while, dude! The final page reveal was not shocking or unexpected. That guy is totally the resurrection type of villain. Oh, and for all the haters, I don’t know what your problem is with the coloring, I actually think it looks tons better.
• Justice Society of America Annual #1 (****): I hate Earth 2, and yet… this was so good! OMG, why are there two Power Girls!?! OMG! Why is JSA so awesome?! OMG!!!
• New Avengers #43 (****1/2): Out of all the New/Mighty flashback stories, this one has been the most satisfying so far. It gave us tangible answers about what’s currently going on in the SI mini. Like, all the dudes in the ship are Skrulls. Mystery solved. Mockingbird is a Skrull and she doesn’t know it! Drama! Bendis, you sick bastard! And you’re a liar. You said you were finished torturing Hawkeye, but dude, what happens when he finds out she ain’t who she says she is? Great drama, that’s what! Also, I liked that I was made to feel sorry for Cap-Skrull. Three-dimensional villains– Hooray!
• Robin #175 (****): Other than losing a star for that terrible final page, the pose and dialogue made me cringe, I really liked this issue and I don’t think it portrays Robin out of character at all. Not at all. And, he finally voices his anger over what Stephanie did: the “I know you loved me and shit, and you would have liked to have known, but like, sorry I couldn’t be bothered to let you know I was still alive” crap. Yes, real human emotion has returned! I miss Dixon too, but Fabian appears to be an excellent second choice.
1985 #3 (****1/2)
So far, of all the Millar projects, this one has me the most excited. It’s just really ####ing good. The real live people actually sound like real live people, unlike in say, War Heroes. I love the sinister way the villains of the 616 Marvel Universe are just killing people. M.O.D.O.K. fulfills his function as “killing machine” better than he ever has in regular continuity by forcing a whole mess of townsfolk to drown themselves. And the plot just keeps turning and turning, revealing new layers every issue. Like, obviously this has happened before right? Based on the dad character’s reaction to it. Perhaps his old comic buddy had (or has?) something to do with it? And this issue’s double page spread made me laugh out loud, but in that good comic book way. Dudes, forget Kick-Ass and War Zeroes and Old Man Eastwood and all that other shit, 1985 is DA STONES!
Foolkiller: White Angels #1 (****)
Two questions: Who is this Greg Hurwitz guy and why is he so awesome? I’ve really been enjoying his fresh take on the Foolkiller concept, and now that we got the origin story out of the way, Hurwitz opens up the world a bit more. Punisher next issue… continuity between the MAX books? Seems like a neat idea seeing as how Hurwitz is writing the first Punisher arc after Ennis leaves the book next month. The thing I most like about this new mini is how much it reminds me of what Brubaker is doing with Criminal. You know, jumping on the other side of things and giving us a peek at how the dysfunctional elements of society live. I’m going to switch to trade for the next mini, these seem to read best that way, but I’m going to enjoy the hell out of this violence-fest till then.
The Invincible Iron Man #3 (****1/2)
Iron Man, Thor and Casanova; these are the books that remind me how awesome Matt Fraction can be. Iron Man? New favorite, baby! Why? It’s simple. Matt Fraction is writing Iron Man to be Marvel’s Superman. SUPERMAN. Don’t believe me? Check out this sequence…
Take away the armor and replace it with invulnerability and super strength. Swap the boot jets for super speed. Lose the tracking gadgets and throw in some super hearing. Oh, and, Pepper Potts morphs into Lois Lane and what have you got… DING! Superman. And another thing, Fraction has so seamlessly blended movie and comic continuity, that it doesn’t even bother me that much (anymore) that the “Invincible” Stark is so different from the “Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Stark. Anyway, it’s awesome. ‘Nuff said.
• Eternals #2 (*****): The Knaufs!!! Doing it again! These guys are sooooo good I want to sploodge all over myself after finishing one of their books. Ahh…
• Guardians of the Galaxy #3 (***1/2): D&A have yet to WOW me with the book, but that’s not to say it’s poorly written. I can feel them building to something epic, but I’m just not sure what it is yet. Hmm, maybe that shocking final page is a clue? Magus, anyone? Oh, and enough with that damn debriefs. They’re funny, and I’m sure I’d be okay with them if they hadn’t been used so poorly in The Order. Bitter much? Just a little.
• Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. #31 (***1/2): This fill-in continues to do an adequate job, but this is definitely not the quality we’ve come to expect from this title. From the hokey to the clumsy, the dialogue is easily the most obvious weakness. After this arc we get an SI tie-in starring War Machine and then hopefully, the Knaufs come back?
• The Last Defenders #5 (***): I’ve been enjoying this book, till this issue that is. Color me ten shades of confused? I think Casey bites off more than he can chew with all these pseudo-science explanations.
• Punisher War Journal #21 (*): Matt Fraction and Howard Chaykin? PLEASE LEAVE! When does Remender’s solo run start?
• X-Factor #33 (-): Everyone else has bashed this enough. It’s bad.
• Young X-Men #4 (*): Wow, great reveal, Guggenheim. Too bad I stopped caring two issues ago. Heh, bet you wish you’d actually written Cyclops as a Skrull imposter, aye?