And I’m finally caught up! I read 27 comics in July, and these were the best.
And I’m finally caught up! I read 27 comics in July, and these were the best.
Still incredibly late, but I will catch up soon. I read 30 comics in June, and these were the best.
I read 17 comics in March, and these were the best.
With March half over, I think now’s a good time for this list, yes? I read 17 comics in February, and these were the best.
Better late than never, eh? This is my list for the top ten stories of 2008! Woo hoo! Now, before we get to all the fun of me voicing my opinions and you disagreeing with them, I have to get a few rules out of the way.
1. These are the top ten stories/arcs/whatever. Not comic in general, not trade, but best stories (What can I say, I’m trying to be somewhat unique).
2. These are stories that ended in 2008. They could begin at any time, but as long as they concluded in 2008, they’re eligible.
3. I tried to keep the list as diverse and reader-friendly as possible. I love certain writers, but it would be boring if it was three Morrison books, two Fraction books, etc. So a writer/artist will only appear once on the list. Same thing goes for characters. I’m not going to have a list made up of a bunch of X-Men comics or in the case of 2008, Superman books. Lastly (Sorry, #3 is a long rule), I tried to spread the love even when it came to companies. You will see Marvel, DC, and even indies on this list.
Wow, with all those rules, how did I come up with a great list? Well, I hope I did. Anyway, let us begin the fun!
10. Hellboy: The Crooked Man (Hellboy: The Crooked Man #1-3)
Written by Mike Mignola
Illustrated by Richard Corben
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
I sound like a broken record. I’ve written for this site for about seven months now. In that time I have reviewed nearly every Hellboy comic. And over and over again I have to point out how wonderful Mike Mignola really is. It’s not just his art. He’s a terrific artist. What fascinates me more are his words. Though Mignola’s obsessed with the past, his comics constantly evolve. 2008 was a fantastic year for Big Red. A new movie that not only didn’t disappoint, it was better than its predecessor. A new comic actually drawn by Mignola himself, the start of the longest Hellboy journey yet and of course this little gem that I’m here to talk about. The Crooked Man, like most Hellboy stories, is deceptively simple. It’s difficult to express one’s love for Hellboy comics because they all have similar beats. Hellboy goes to some marvelous landscape. He encounters a mystical problem. He then beats the crap out of everybody until they fall down. But unlike most Hellboy yarns, The Crooked Man doesn’t take place in some faraway land. It’s set in deep Deliverance hick hell. It’s not about old artifacts or odd Guillermo Del Torro creatures. This is about the classic struggle between man and the devil. It’s about facing your fears and temptations. Hellboy is almost a supporting character for God’s sake! And of course who better to bring this horrifying masterpiece to life than Richard Corben. He’s a perfect fit for this book. The man is 68 years old and he’s still pouring his soul into his projects. This Hellboy tale is not to be missed.
9. Joker (Original GN)
Written by Brian Azzarello
Illustrated by Lee Bermejo
Publisher: DC Comics
Available here. Do you want to see the bloodiest and most brutal Joker story ever? This is it. Joker is a gritty crime graphic novel that’s all about the titular character through the lens of sanity, Jonny Frost. Lee Bermejo spent two years working on this project. This book looks perfect. And in a Joker comic that means the book looks like hell. Bermejo and Mick Gray share the inking duties. Gray has a softer look while Bermejo has a terrifying painted effect. I began to dread Bermejo’s inks as it meant something gruesome was ahead. Azzarello throws us into a mad dark world with realistic versions of classic Batman rogues. The Dark Knight does appear but he only says three words. This is a fascinating yarn and the fact that Bermejo’s Joker mirrors Ledger’s makes it all the more creepy.
8. The Walking Dead: Made to Suffer (The Walking Dead Forty-Three through Forty-Eight)
Written by Robert Kirkman
Illustrated by Charlie Adlard
Publisher: Image Comics
Collected here. The Walking Dead is a comic that suffers in this format. In fact, I even feel uneasy putting it here because it doesn’t really have arcs. Walking Dead is one giant story, but it deserves to be on this list. For several years it’s been one of my favorite comics for its character exploration in a brutal and harsh situation. Though this story does contain one of this series’ few blunders (The return of the character you see on that cover), it was undeniably excellent. Testing these poor characters once again, Kirkman created the most suspenseful story of the year. The amount of hell inflicted on these men, women, and children was unsettling and powerful. Clearly, this is a landmark in a fantastic monthly book.
7. Northlanders: Sven the Returned (Northlanders One through Eight)
Written by Brian Wood
Illustrated by Davide Gianfelice
Collected here. On the back of the trade (That’s only ten dollars! Eight issues for ten bucks is so awesome) there are quotes comparing this tale to Conan and 300. If that’s what you need to hear then I’ll agree with that comparison and even throw Braveheart into the mix. But really, this is the classic tale of the man born in the wrong time. It’s more than the modern language (You like the F-word right?) and evil uncle (That brings Hamlet to mind). Sven is a modern man trapped in a society based on dying with honor. Would you charge an army of one thousand if you were alone? I don’t think so. Yes, on the surface this is an enthralling adventure with Vikings, boobs and blood by the barrel full. But beneath the flare is a classic tale with a fantastic and unexpected conclusion.
6. Scalped: Dead Mothers (Scalped #13-17)
Written by Jason Aaron
Illustrated by R.M. Guera
Collected here. Dash Bad Horse and Chief Red Crow are incredibly intriguing characters even though they don’t have a lot to say. That’s one of Aaron’s strengths as a writer, he knows when to shut up and let his artist shine. Guera provides the usual rough style of art you’re used to seeing in these types of comics, but with a twist. It’s hard to put into words. You’ll just have to see it for yourself. Scalped, like Walking Dead, is an ongoing epic that’s hard to judge from arc to arc. But Dead Mothers is particularly amazing. And by amazing I mean heartbreaking. It’s hard not to spoil things, but Dead Mothers is about well, what do you think? Two people have lost their mothers and their murderers need to be brought to justice. But it’s so much more than that. Scalped is a crime western history epic filled with shocking twists and turns.
5. Black Summer (Black Summer #0-7)
Written by Warren Ellis
Illustrated by Juan Jose Ryp
Publisher: Avatar Press
Collected here. I dare everyone to read issue #0 (It’s one freaking dollar) of this series and not pick up the trade. It will pique your interest. Heck, you may have even seen this comic on the news if your town is small enough. Though it may be deemed by some to be liberal propaganda, you must remember this is written by Warren Ellis. It’s much more complex than that. This series is also enriched by the amazing and detailed visuals of Juan Jose Ryp. Though the story may devolve into a big action blockbuster (It does have summer in the title after all), I doubt you’ll find another blockbuster more thought provoking than this.
4. Criminal: Bad Night (Criminal Vol 2 #4-7)
Written by Ed Brubaker
Illustrated by Sean Phillips
Collected here. I got into this book late, very late. I wouldn’t have believed it, but Criminal really is Brubaker and Phillips’ best work. I’m sure you’ve heard of this book’s general accomplishments, so that gives me the opportunity to talk about Bad Night specifically. The first volume (Coward and Lawless) offered crime stories that seemed familiar but were told well. Brubaker provided lovable baddies and established the mood and tone wonderfully. And as for Sean Phillips, there’s a difference between pretty art and art that belongs. One can be replaced and one can’t. Phillips belongs in the latter category. I can’t imagine anyone else on this book. Phillips’ quality continued in the second volume, but Brubaker stepped it up a notch. He began to tell more unconventional crime stories. Bad Night was his most experimental and his best to date. He demonstrated true noir. I’m not talking about the watered down crap you’ve seen in the last few decades. I’m talking about the gritty old-school, where every character is scummy. Bad Night is about lust, creativity, and obsession. Its finale packs quite a punch.
3. Punisher: Long Cold Dark (Punisher #50-54)
Written by Garth Ennis
Illustrated by Goran Parlov, Howard Chaykin
Publisher: MAX Comics
Collected here. This is the year that made all Punisher fans (And anyone who appreciates great comics) cry. Garth Ennis left the big scary skull dude. But still, even in the winter of Ennis’ Punisher years, he managed to produce some damn fine comics. In fact, Long Cold Dark and Valley Forge, Valley Forge are two of his best. Now, Valley may be a better story for those who read the whole series, but Long Cold is for everyone (Except maybe children, old people and the squeamish). The first issue is drawn by the legendary Howard Chaykin and the rest of the arc is cinematically rendered by Goran Parlov. This is fun, twisted, and full of no holds barred action. And I really do mean that. Barracuda (The big black guy, not the Heart song) returns and has a piece of Frank’s past with him. I won’t spoil anything, but it’s a hell of a plot device. Possibly the Punisher’s best villain finds a way to get under Frank’s skin. It’s a terrific and bloody ride.
2. All Star Superman (All Star Superman #1-12)
Written by Grant Morrison
Illustrated by Frank Quitely
Publisher: DC Comics
Collected here and here. Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely are phenomenal. These two Scots collaborate again and again and every time they produce pure magic. All Star Superman is the best Superman story. Some would say that this is the only Superman comic one would ever need. To me, every Superman tale actually improves because of this. All Star Superman breathes new life into a seventy year old character. But this is more than nostalgia or a Silver Age throwback. It’s a unique and fascinating tale that’s extraordinarily memorable. Superman and Lois kissing on the moon. A man playing cosmic fetch with his dog. Superman saving that kid from suicide. Earth Q, the world without Superman. It’s all so beautiful. So if this is my #2, what the heck is my #1?
1. Casanova: Gula (Casanova #8-14)
Written by Matt Fraction
Illustrated by Fabio Moon
Publisher: Image Comics
Casanova, that’s what. I do not put Casanova ahead of Morrison’s Superman lightly. I put much thought into this decision and in the end, Casanova’s (Or is it Zephyr’s?) charm won me over. This book is purely transcendent. From its cost of two dollars to the fact that every issue is packed with more information, emotion, etc. than most mainstream six-issue arcs (And I’m just talking about Gula. The first arc, Luxuria, was even denser). Casanova is genuinely groundbreaking. It won’t be as easy to recreate as something like The Dark Knight Returns which is why it will probably never receive the credit it deserves. And speaking of the Dark Knight, what sets Casanova apart from its genre defining (Or redefining) counterparts is its undeniable sense of fun. Casanova, on top of everything else, is funny! So please, each issue is only two bucks if you want the floppies (Which you probably should since each issue is filled with wonderful back matter from Fraction himself) and the first trade is a little more than ten dollars. Casanova is worth your time.
Incredible Hercules: Sacred Invasion (Incredible Hercules #117-120)
This was the best thing to come out of Secret Invasion. Well, it wasn’t a great new series, that was Captain Britain. But it was the best story with the words “Secret Invasion” on the cover. Incredible Hercules is a fun, humorous and refreshing comic. Sacred Invasion features the awesome God Squad! It also contains the most shocking Skrull reveal ever (That was ruined on the cover of the trade)!
Superman: Brainiac (Action Comics #866-870)
Superman had a fantastic year. Along with All Star Superman, Geoff Johns wrote three wonderful Superman tales. Superman: Brainiac was my favorite. Gary Frank’s art is worth the price alone. He captures all the sci-fi, horror, and emotion perfectly. Superman’s ensemble cast also shines here. And those last few pages are heartbreaking. It’s too bad I couldn’t get Geoff Johns on the list this year, but with Blackest Night coming up, it’s a safe bet he’ll make the list for 2009.
Thor: Ages of Thunder (Thor: Ages of Thunder, Thor: Circle of Blood, Thor: Man of War)
The best Thor story in years, it explores the Thunder God’s early years. Fraction delivers some giant-slaying fun. If you’re looking for a good time with Gods, Monsters, and lascivious Odin, this book is for you!
Thunderbolts: Caged Angels (Thunderbolts #116-121)
I love this run so much. Why did I put Black Summer on my list instead of this? Black Summer isn’t well-known, Caged Angels is only half of the story, and Black Summer has complete creative freedom.
X-Force: Angels & Demons (X-Force #1-6)
This was on my list for so long. I do love it and isn’t that cover awesome? I figured I could only use one for the honorable mentions and that is by far the best. This is the dark and bloody version of the X-Men. X-Force also gives us a few continuity surprises. Clayton Crain renders some stunning images.
So there it is. That took a lot of time, so much so that we’re already in the second month of the new year (Time flies). I think it’s a pretty good list. I’m sorry Marvel fans. There aren’t any traditional Marvel comics on my main list (Though Punisher and Criminal kind of count), but at least you have my honorable mentions. Other than that, I think I spread the love, right? 2008 wasn’t that great for the real world (In fact, it was pretty horrible), but at least the comics were good.
Ah Fraction, I love you man. The last year of this series has, for the most part, been mediocre or worse, but you know what? Fraction knows that too. In this issue, the writer tells us why this series didn’t work. Sure, you could just have some fun with this zany Christmas adventure, but this is really a commentary on the entire series and the Punisher in general.
“You punish the guilty, Frank. Not the stupid.” That’s from Rhino, the ridiculous voice of reason. Think about it, when has this series worked? When it embraced its idiotic nature. Punisher hits Stilt Man with a bazooka? Hilarious! Punisher blows up a bar with a bunch of Z-List baddies? Classic! The Hate-Monger saga? The ultimate Jigsaw story? Not so much. The fact is Punisher shouldn’t fight supervillains. I mean, I guess he could if Marvel would actually let him kill a true criminal, but he can’t. He can only deal with the bottom of the barrel. Stilt-Man is of course the obvious example and hey, Matt Fraction thinks so too because guess what this issue is about?
It’s Christmas day and Frank is sitting on top of a roof with a big silly gun spying on a bunch of idiots. “What kinda criminal would be dumb enough to come back to a place the Punisher already hit?” That’s right! This is the bar Frank hit way back in issue #4. These morons are arguing over who gets to be the new Stilt-Man. While Frank is watching his prey, the Rhino shows up with a Santa Hat. He’s here to feed the Vulture’s pigeons, but he’s also here to talk some sense into the Punisher.
This issue is drawn by Andy McDonald. I’m not too familiar with the man, but he has produced some wonderful work here. He hits all the right notes. Cartoony when it needs to be, but it also provides some realism to add to the humor. It’s sad that this is McDonald’s only issue on the book.
I’m a longtime Punisher fan, but even I’m having doubts about whether “the big guy with the skull on his chest” is really necessary in the regular Marvel universe. I still haven’t decided if I’m going to follow Remender to the new Dark Reign book. I don’t really see how that series couldn’t suffer from the problems here. Then again, Punisher Max hasn’t impressed me either since Ennis left. Still, one thing’s for certain. Punisher War Journal goes out with a comical bang and I couldn’t be happier.
It’s finally over. Ok, so I could just bash the hell out of this, but I don’t want to. I’ve been doing that since about issue two when everyone loved this book. Now it seems most people are on the same page as I am. Dclebeau just wrote a pretty good lengthy review that points out a lot of the faults that I would have. So if you want his negativity, go here. If you want my negativity on previous issues, go here, here, or here. But as for this issue, I’m going to keep it positive.
I know what you’re thinking. What nice thing can I say other than I like the art? Well, I do like the art, but everyone has said that already, including me. Um, Tony went old school. That was cool. That can’t be all I liked, right? Let me flip through my book here. Wasp dies? Don’t care. Norman kills the Skrull Queen? Um, yeah that’s kind of…uh, I liked Ellis’ Thunderbolts? Iron Man finds all the people who were captured (And doesn’t get credit for it). Well, I guess I’m glad they’re alive. So, yay? Luke Cage’s baby is missing and that isn’t resolved? That’s kind of…lame? Don’t care. Don’t care. Thor gives Tony more shit and Bucky gives him the dreaded silent treatment. Why Marvel why? Can’t they all just get along? I have to live with their ten panel team-up in a book I didn’t like? Damn you! Shit this is getting negative, isn’t it? Ok here we go. They kick Tony, a hero, out and bring Osborn, a pumpkin bomb throwing monster, in? You suck, faceless Marvel president! I like that though. It shows the crazy things people do when they’re scared. Well, I already knew that, I’ve lived in America for the last eight years, but kids may not know that. But I do like the idea of villains in control. So maybe Marvel comics will be cool if you can get past their new 3.99 price tag? Maybe, I guess I’m done talking about this issue, but while you’re here, I’ll talk about those new Dark Reign books I’m interested in.
How can I not buy this? So what do you guys think of this Evil Illuminati or Evilnati as I’m sure it will soon be called? Or if you take the Illumin as illuminate, would you then use the antonym? Would that be darken? Darkenati? Whatever floats your boat I guess. So what do you think of the members? Loki? I liked him before Stracynski gave him an operation. The Hood? Yeah, I do like him and hey I like Dormammu as well. Emma Frost? Love her, but I guess I am one of the many who hopes she isn’t evil. She’s had to fight that lack of trust for eight years! Give the lady a break Bendis! Namor? So he continues to go both ways? Way to be a turncoat fish boy. And what evil alliance would be complete without Doom and Stormin’ Norman? I approve of these baddies.
I wish I could quit this book, but I’m too far down the rabbit hole. So Spider-Man is back in the old blue and red. That’s fine. Wolverine is back. I see they still have to make this team as popular as possible. Captain America? More popularity? That’s ok. Bucky on a team will be interesting. Will he have to lead? Luke Cage? Cage on a Bendis team? No way! And Ronin? Will this still be Clint or will he be too busy lovin’ his girl now that she’s back? I still think Daredevil will be on a Bendis team at some point. So what do you think of this new team? It’s even more street than before! At least the last team had magic. Can these guys handle a cosmic baddie? Or even a flying one?
I heard Fraction talk about this a long time ago. Iron Man’s “Born Again” arc. It’s eight issues I believe. The first seven issues of this series have been pretty fantastic. I hope that will continue. Maybe after this, Tony will at long last cease to be Marvel’s whipping boy. It could happen. Please?
“Just when I thought I was out, they pull be back in”. I love Frank, but I was just about to break up with him. Ennis and Fraction left the building. Punisher MAX not only decreased in quality but will also cost 3.99 soon. So I was just about to leave until I saw this cover. The villains control everything? Bring in the Punisher! And hey, this book isn’t 3.99! Yet.
Damn it! I can’t find a good picture of New Avengers #50, but you all saw it, right? Plus it would be weird to put a New Avengers cover for Dark Avengers. I only bring it up because you can really get a good idea of what the line-ups will be. Oh, first I should add that it looks like Ms. Marvel and Spider-Woman will be on the New Avengers. So they do have some women and one member that can deal with flying or cosmic threats. That’s a little better. For the Dark Avengers you have Iron Patriot (Osborn?), Marvel Boy (Yay!), Ares (Yay!), Sentry (So once again, the New Avengers should totally get their asses kicked when they face this team), Black Suit (Venom, but no teeth and less bulky. New host?), Hawkeye (Should be Bullseye which would be cool), Daken (If you’ve seen the cover of NA #50 and you know what Daken’s claws look like, you could confirm this too. That middle claw is clearly below his knuckles), Ms. Marvel classic suit (Moonstone probably). So what do you think of this team? I’m a big fan. Again, I love villain books, so this should be a blast. Oh and I also loved Ellis’ Thunderbolts run and we have Deodato back. Can Bendis fill Ellis’ shoes? Probably not, but it’s still worth a look.
So please let me know what you guys think! And again, doesn’t that new four buck price suck?!
I know taste is subjective, but this just feels wrong. This is not The Punisher.
Okay, sure; I can accept Frank feeling guilty about the death of an innocent. What I can’t accept is this:
That panel should never have been written, let alone drawn.
Frank Castle would never put a gun IN HIS MOUTH!!!*
I’m done with this book.
*It’s very likely that in the character’s lengthy publishing history this is not the first time a writer has put a gun in Frank’s mouth, so when I say “never” I am obviously stating my subjective opinion, not fact. But if these writers had any “taste”, I wouldn’t need this disclaimer. Heh.
Ugh! I feel like Billy! I had hoped it wouldn’t come to this but sadly it has. I’ve been really busy saving civilization lately. Hopefully the aliens and super ninjas will stay away long enough for me to write some proper reviews soon. I have to at least write long reviews for Final Crisis and Secret Invasion. Anyway, enjoy my negligence!
Mighty Avengers #19 (***1/2) That’s two good MA issues in a row Bendis! You have one more left to go. Make it count!
Conan #4 (****) Always a solid read and hey the Corben stuff is making sense now. This book looks pretty as well.
Grant Morrison Doctor Who #1 (****) I’m not a Who fan, but this is still usual Morrison excellence. It’s very entertaining forgettable fun!
Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #2 (****) A bit worse than last issue but this is still epic stuff. Plus, Perez’s art has never looked so good!
Final Crisis: Rogue’s Revenge #3 (****1/2) What a fun series! I’m so in the mood for that new Flash comic. Go villain books!
Green Lantern #35 (****) Yeah it was too long but that won’t matter much in trade. How many origin stories have been better? Oh, and how awesome is Reis?
Secret Invasion: Inhumans #3 (***1/2) More forgettable fun! Pretty art too!
Justice Society Of America #19 (****1/2) One of the most consistently great books out there right now. I like all the Eaglesham art but I don’t like waiting!
Punisher #63 (***1/2) That forgettable entertainment that looks pretty theme continues!
Secret Six #2 (****1/2) Fun! Fun! Fun! But not as great as last issue. Catman vs. Batman!
Amazing Spider-Man #573 (*****) Go JRJR go! Hooray for awesome comics! Stephen Colbert fans must pick this up!
Ultimate Origins #5 (***) Meh. I’ve forgotten it already. Weak last page!
Uncanny X-Men #503 (***) Write better Fracker! You slightly improved here, how about an extreme improvement next time?!
Astonishing X-Men #27 (****1/2) To hell with the haters! This book is awesome! I laugh so much!
Young Liars #8 (****1/2) Very interesting issue! Not as fun, but still fantastic! This is the best book you have never heard of!
Again, I’m so sorry about this crap. Hopefully I can remedy this problem and have awesome new reviews soon. Please comment if you want me to further explain my zany opinions. Sadly, I can’t show all the covers but I will give you this one!
Marvel Zombies 3 #1 (***)
Is anybody excited about this? Good old Marvel, they take a fun idea and beat us to death with it. Zombie covers! Skrull covers! Ape covers! Aren’t these awesome?! Arrggh! Anyway, Marvel Zombies 3 is the fourth mini-series (When will Marvel Zombies 8 come out?) about these super flesh-eaters. Kirkman and Phillips have left the building to make way for Fred Van Lente and Kev Walker. The new creators have an unenviable task. They have to not only deal with the aforementioned complaints of boredom, but this story also takes place in Earth-616 (the regular Marvel U for those who don’t know). Are you a fan of Jennifer Kale? Siege? The Conquistador? What about the Aquarian? Though I admire the respect for Steve Gerber, I doubt many kids (or anyone) will care about these characters. Part of, if not all, the fun of Marvel Zombies was seeing your favorite characters zombified, Captain America missing the top of his head for example. But because we’re in 616, you pretty much know nothing radical will occur. However, Lente and Walker make the best of what they have to work with. This issue is still filled with comedy, gore, and interesting twists and turns. The only problem is that you can get those same elements in other better comics. The series has lost its uniqueness. So, unless you’re a big fan of Machine Man, Jocasta, Morbius, or the creative team, you can probably skip this.
Punisher War Journal #24 (***1/2)
What an odd cover. “Secret Invasion” is absent yet this issue is littered with Skrulls. All we see is this dark haunting Alex Maleev cover featuring Frank Castle in a cell. That is not what this issue is about at all. Entertainment is the name of the game here. After a bit of plot dealing with something that occurred earlier in this series, everything cuts loose. I’m talking Frank riding around in a vehicle decorated with Skrull skulls blowing everything green to kingdom come. This is old school sci-fi fun. Want more proof? How about a Super-Skrull that is part Kingpin part Hammerhead? Yep, that’s in here, the jerk even takes a chunk out of G. W. Bridge. Can’t I have one comic where someone doesn’t get bitten? If you’ve followed Punisher War Journal since the beginning, you’ll know that the series is strongest when it’s a tie-in. That’s true again here, but sadly it’s weaker than its predecessors. That’s because these issues contain so much action and with stuff blowing up, you want it to look pretty. Though Chaykin does a passable job, his art is still not my style at all. Still, if you’re in the mood for some fun that involves aliens and vigilantes instead of booze and broads pick this up!
Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #44 (****1/2)
Does anyone over 8 read this comic? Well, I do have an excuse. This issue features the art of the talented Jonboy Meyers. I doubt the name sounds familiar, but here is some of his work. He recently did some back-ups in JLA as well. He rarely does interiors so I jumped at the chance to get my hands on this. I don’t care if this book is meant for kids. It’s nice to have a wholesome break between my gore. This issue was refreshing and fun. The art is amazing! We get to see multiple lizards, the Serpent Society, and Curt Connors Godzilla-style! There’s some humor in here too and what kid comic is complete without some good lessons? This book has it all!
Action Comics #869 (*****): Another solid chapter in the reinvention of Brainiac arc.
Bruce Castle (*****)
DC Lebeau (Liked it!)
All-Star Superman #12 (*****): So much needs to be said about this book, and I plan to, just as soon as I get my copies of the rest of the series back from Mandy. Expect a Series Review of this masterpiece by the end of the month.
Seventh Soldier (A+)
Bruce Castle (*****)
The Amazing Spider-Man #572 (****): On par with the rest of the arc, but not even close to the ultimate Bullseye vs Spider-Man fight that Slott promised us. Too much hype, dude.
Bruce Castle (****1/2)
Birds of Prey #122 (**): I didn’t read it so much as look at the pretty pictures… and vomit.
DC Lebeau (Hated it!)
Captain Britain and MI:13 #5 (****): Blade, you son of a bitch!
Seventh Soldier (B+)
Daredevil #111 (****): I like her. And I definitely liked this. Matt Murdock. What a bastard.
Bruce Castle (****)
DC Lebeau (Liked it!)
Fables #76 (***): Holy Lord, how much did I hate reading this issue of Fables? Sure, I know Willingham is a hardcore Republican, but some of the dialogue in this issue almost made my head explode. Really, Snow White? Is that how you justify all this death? And this cliché anti-tech speech? LAME. Also, no one talks like this on their cell phone. Can we stop writing crap like this? Please? Question: what does it say about me that I agree with Geppetto?
Hulk #6 (****1/2): AWESOME!!!
Bruce Castle (*****)
The Punisher #62 (***): Even without comparing this to Ennis’ take on the character, I would still hate it. And it’s not that I hate all other versions of the Punisher, because I think Fraction’s version is great (until the plot started to suck ass).
Bruce Castle (****)
Robin #178 (***1/2): Okay. Fine. Meh. BLAH. It wasn’t bad, how about that?
DC Lebeau (Liked it!)
Superman #680 (***): OH. MY, GOD. Could Superman be a bigger @$$hole? I do not like this book, but it’s not awful. Not yet.
DC Lebeau (Liked it!)
Ultimate Fantastic Four/Ultimate X-Men Annual #1 (**): Way worse than the last issue. UGH.
Bruce Castle (****)
Ultimate Spider-Man #126 (****): I liked it. Plus, it made me nostalgic for a time when Nick Fury ran S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Ultimates were badass.
Bruce Castle (***)
Uncanny X-Men #502 (**): STAB MY EYES!!!
Bruce Castle (**)
The Walking Dead #52 (***1/2): Okay, with a side of losing interest fast.
Bruce Castle (****)
War Heroes #2 (**): I thought about scanning the penis page… but that would be crude. Get it?
Bruce Castle (***1/2)
Angel: After the Fall #12 (****1/2)
Sons of bitches. I just dropped the damned book, and these bastards go and come out with an issue that’s really good. Perhaps I should have seen this coming. I am staring at a Murphy’s Law poster while I write this, after all. For every issue that didn’t capitalize on the potential of the characters or plot, you get something like this where everything clicks and you’re reading an excellent instance of a comic book. Every question brought up in the first eleven issues of this book is answered. It all fits too. The entire series turns a huge corner, and we now have more of a sense of where we’re headed and why. Franted, the art is still not to my liking, and Wesley is very much in the role of Dr. Exposition during much of the issue. There’s a lot of story to cover here. Maybe there might have been better ways to go about disseminating the necessary information, but the device used works, and only the most impatient reader would grow tired of the amount of text. This issue very well might have renewed my faith in IDW’s handing of Angel, and I might have to keep getting it, as much as it bewilders me to say that.
Invincible Iron Man #5 (****)
The ending of this book is right out of the book of comic cliffhanger cliche. It’s one of those little moments that makes you love the medium. The rest of the book is no slouch too. Fraction obviously has a handle on Zeke Stane, considering he created the character, but his use of tony Stark has been excellent as well. This truly is Iron Man the hero, and it’s practically the only place you can really get that right now (though I surmise that things will change post Secret Invasion). Obviously, this book is perfect for those that are coming in to the Iron Man books from the movie; the first storyline is basically the generational sequel to the Iron Monger storyline that was covered in its own way in the film. It’s good stuff. Fraction can definitely navigate his way through the mix of political intrigue and terrorism that is the cornerstone of Zeke Stane’s attacks on Starktech. The art is still a bit of a sore point, as it’s tough to completely suspend disbelief when Stane’s face is modeled after Brian Michael Bendis. But Larocca does draw the armor and the action well, so I can roll with the punches.
Green Lantern Corps #28 (****)
I do love these issues so very much. Between the Ringquest arc and the current Eye of the Beholder issues, Pete Tomasi has been doing an excellent job keeping the momentum leading into Blackest Night strong while Johns is wasting his time on Secret Origin. I am a bit surprised that Tomasi wrapped up this story in two issues, and there’s a bit of compression here in order to allow for the book to reach its conclusion. I think we probably could have benefitted from one more issue in order to flesh out the main villain of the piece. He’s introduced and captured all in the span of one issue, which gives the impression that we’re basically dealing with fodder. Sick and sadistic fodder with a pretty big body count, but fodder nonetheless. Still, there are a lot of good quiet moments with the Lanterns, and it’s a good installment of my favorite DC ongoing.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer # 18 (**)
I’m liking this arc less and less as it goes on. I’m not really enjoying the future Fray universe; it’s quite possible though that this is because I haven’t read the original Fray story. Still, the future moments aren’t sticking. The little dialogue quirks grate on me from time to time, and nothing about the story grabs me in a significant way. It’s a bit scattershot. I’m also not too jazzed about the present day story line with Dawn and Xander. It’s alright, but this issue just felt ephemeral. This isn’t a bad book or anything; it’s just not good.
Eternals #4 (****)
Still digging this book, and that’s predominantly because of the Makkari story line. The backstory of the Eternals, Celestials and Deviants was a highlight of Gaiman’s mini, and while the branched dialogue of the Celestial can be silly/unnecessary (see what I did there?) at times, the story being told is the big show. The other story lines going on are also entertaining, but Makkari’s world building and mythos establishing travels create that sense of wonder that hearkens right back to Kirby. It’s just another testament to the quality of the middle tier Marvel books. You’ve got the flashy Avengers books and Amazing Spider-Man and the X books, but right under the surface are books like this, the cosmic suite, Incredible Hercules, The Twelve and so on. It’s the main reason why I love Marvel as much as I do. And the Eternals are wicked cool characters that are becomiung deeply established in the Marvel U. The Knaufs are doing well and Acuna’s art does the job and brings forth the otherworldly feel that the Eternals should have as citizens of Earth that are wholly separate from humans.
Punisher War Journal #23 (**)
So the Jigsaw arc is finally over. It never really felt right outside of the penultimate issue. I do like the idea of GW Bridge and his merry band of hottie assassins. Plus, the Lady Punisher set up was a nice one. But Punisher and Jigsaw didn’t ever sound right, and when your two main characters are off base, it’s going to be tough to make things work. Let’s hope they get everything sussed out in time for the Secret Invasion tie in. If it’s anywhere as good as the World War Hulk issue, we could be in for a treat.
Conan the Cimmerian #3 (****)
Conan is Conan. Unless Grant Morrison or Alan Moore is writing the character, you have a general idea of what you’re getting in our favorite Cimmerian’s comic. But what kind of quality can you expect from this Conan book? It’s only the third issue, but I think this will be a great run. I’m already entertained which is a necessity in a Conan series, but I also think Truman is building to something. We get less of Connacht in this issue, but he’s still included. There has to be a reason for these stories right? I love the done in one tales as much as the next person, but I’d love to see an epic Conan story. As much as I enjoy Richard Corben’s style, it was nice to see more of Giorello’s art in this issue. It’s interesting, it’s fun, it’s bloody, it’s Conan!
Punisher #62 (****)
I’m going to get through this whole review without mentioning Ennis. Damn it! Ok, so this is still Ennis’ book. Maybe even Ennis’ character, but that doesn’t mean Greg Hurwitz is doing a bad job, far from it actually. After only two issues, Hurwitz has created an intriguing Punisher. He’s kind of a detective and seems more violent, or at least has a greater love of torture. As far as emotions go, he’s not nearly as human as Fraction’s version. He’s more like Ennis’ in that respect. He may even be less cold, but it’s hard to tell given the subject matter. We’re still close to the thirtieth anniversary of the death of Frank’s family. Last issue it seemed Hurwitz had a very generic take on the subject, but that’s changed. Campbell’s art still impresses. His style fits the story like a glove and I love the widescreen view. I’m glad this series is still running smoothly. Oh, and be prepared for the ending, it’s a doozy!
The Twelve #7 (****1/2)
So this is the pitch of the series in a nutshell for those of you sad, silly, misguided fools that aren’t reading this book: “Hey Golden Age folks! You guys were heroes 60 years ago (though ‘heroes’ is probably a stretch), so we feel obligated to treat you as such now even though most of you are pretty lame! Oh, and the world has gone to complete shit and you’re going to live long lives of misery, depression and anguish because most of you are barely 30! And all of your families are dead! Aren’t you so glad we found you?” Even taking into account the ending of the issue (Chris Weston remains a master of facial expressions), this one wasn’t quite as emotionally devastating as the kick in the balls that was issue six. JMS still likes torturing his own characters, because we’re now seven issues in and NOTHING good has happened to any of them since their return to the living world. I think I’m getting the idea why many folks consider his Fantastic Four and Spider-Man runs (One More Day notwithstanding) subpar. It seems like big action stories aren’t exactly JMS’s strength. I’ve never gotten the chance to watch Babylon Five, but I’m pretty sure remembering that the show wasn’t designed to be a big action sci fi epic. And you look and what he’s doing here and on Thor; these aren’t action books. But they’re FANTASTIC and practically flawless examples of character work. You get on a big property like FF or Spidey, and you can’t necessarily get away with making it the type of book that JMS seems to excel at. But a book about forgotten Timely characters or a Thor relaunch, both of which are playing out like slow burning Greek tragedy? They’re great (makes you wonder what’s going to happen with Brave and the Bold). There isn’t even a question that this is the best mini series that will be put out this year. It blows Secret Invasion and Final Crisis out of the water. There is no more satisfying read on Earth right now than this book.
Invincible Iron Man #4 (***1/2)
You know, this book would probably be close to perfect if Larocca were a bit tighter with the art. I’m not going to breach the subject of the pros and cons of aggressive photo referencing, but an inescapable problem does arise when Tony and Reed aren’t consistent from panel to panel and page to page. It futzes up the internal continuity of the book and sequential nature of the comics. It’s certainly not as bad as some of the other photo referencing that you’ll see, but it does have a tendency to bleed things together. And there’s always that sort of pseudo blurry Photoshoppy feel to it. Which is not to say that I didn’t enjoy the issue. I did. But I think the art foibles were more noticeable here than in previous issues. It’s a good thing that Fraction is generally writing the holy hell out of this book, because this could have been a turning point issue that could have tanked the series for me. Though I must say that the chess scene is a bit played out in the grand tradition of “two incredibly smart individuals play multiple games of chess at the same time while talking about everything but chess. Aren’t they smart?” scenes that I’ve seen in various movies/books/media. The punch line of the scene was cute, but it didn’t completely save the scene from slipping into cliché. I do think the book is still searching for a bit of an identity between the super heroey stuff and and the “Tony Stark is just this guy, you know?” moments, but we’ve only seen four issues so far, and I’m willing to give a book (especially one that’s got such a compelling foil like Zeke Stane) the time to find its legs.
Punisher War Journal #22 (****1/2)
Holy shit! It got good! Out of nowhere! Are we seeing the case that Remender and Fraction are finally starting to click? This book was so muddy for the first three issues, and once things started to sharpen from a plot perspective last issue, I started to see some signs of life. And this issue really got things going in a clear and concise way that is finally compelling and interesting and not at all clunky or awkward. Praise be to Fraction and Remender! Chaykin’s art isn’t exactly something I would go out of my way to search out, but I don’t actively hate it, and it has a hand in setting the mood of the story as a whole. I do quite enjoy GW Bridge and his band of merry female assassins, and the one Jigsaw appearance was pretty darned fun. It felt like a book with a focused purpose. This book has been given meaning again. They just might save this arc yet. We’ll have to see how this thing ends.
Captain America #41 (****1/2)
I’m happy to report that this issue delivers the same excellence I’ve come to expect from Brubaker’s Captain America. As you may know if you visit this site often, my fellow reviewer Billy really loves this book. He already wrote a review of this issue complete with cool scans the day it came out. So, I don’t have too much to offer. All I’ll say is that I really enjoyed this issue. If you aren’t reading this series, you owe it to yourself to pick up the first trade. Be prepared, you may get hooked.
Conan #2 (****)
It’s a little funny that the first story from this new Conan series isn’t about Conan. It’s about Conan’s grandfather, Connacht. You may remember him from Conan Vol. 0: Born on the Battlefield. If not, then I recommend you read it. Not to understand this issue, but because I liked that story. In addition to Conan, the regular artist, Tomas Giorello, takes a backseat to give Richard Corben a moment to shine. If you’re familiar with Heavy Metal at all, you may know Corben’s work. Corben’s simplistic and gory style fits the tale of Connocht incredibly well. This issue was very good and it’s nice to read about Conan’s relatives. It looks like Corben will be involved with the next three Conan issues at least. Are they building to something? Will Conan meet the present Connacht? I don’t know, but I’m eager to find out!
Punisher #61 (***1/2)
No more Tim Bradstreet covers. I forgot to mention that in my review of the last issue. Bradstreet’s covers were the unsung hero of Ennis’ run. Trying to move on was the definite theme in my feelings for this issue. I tried very hard not to compare this issue to Ennis’ work. I tried to keep an open mind, but it was hard. Still, even with that hindrance, I enjoyed this issue. The art in this series was always overshadowed by the writing, but it really was quite good. This issue’s artist, Laurence Campbell, continues to give the book that cinematic feeling. His widescreen panels were very impressive. That, coupled with Hurwitz’ western styled story, made me feel like I was watching a Clint Eastwood movie. My main complaint is that Hurwitz doesn’t seem to know how to handle Frank yet. Punisher’s narrative seemed a bit off. Hurwitz is still new to the character though. I’m confident that in time, he may write some great Punisher stories. It looks like the future of this series won’t be as bleak as I once thought.
I’ve been dreading this issue. That isn’t because I thought it’d be bad or because I thought something terrible would happen in it, but because this is probably the last Punisher story Garth Ennis will ever write. Just typing that made me sad. What follows will be less of a review about this issue and more of a salute to Ennis and his phenomenal run on this character.
If you’re any kind of a Punisher fan, you should know the name Garth Ennis. He’s been writing the character for eight years. Punisher is a very hard character to write. Most of the time, he just comes off as a Dirty Harry knockoff which is what he originally was when the character was conceived. The more modern blunder of a portrayal would be Punisher slaughtering different thugs for no rhyme or reason other than simply to see an excess amount of blood and gore. Garth Ennis however, had a much more unique approach. In the early years of his run on the Punisher he wrote darkly comedic stories. In fact, I have some good news.
This is Punisher War Zone that comes out in December. No I’m not talking about the new movie. I’m talking about the new six issue weekly series from Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon! I know I’m getting off track, but I’m really excited about this! Oh, and this was written awhile ago, so Punisher #60 is still Ennis’ last Punisher story.
So after the darkly funny Marvel Knights series, Ennis moved onto the new Punisher Max series. Yes, the stories got even darker with a lot more gore, vulgar language, and nudity, but the stories got even better. Ennis transformed the Punisher from a one-note vigilante into an incredibly complex and intriguing character. The Punisher is one of my favorite characters because of Garth Ennis.
Within this issue, in addition to the usual 22 page story, we also get a 9 page preview of Punisher #61 that comes out next week. This issue still costs 2.99 so I thank Marvel for the free pages. The preview looks pretty good, but this book will probably never be the same. Ennis left his mark on the character, but he did more than that. Garth Ennis wrote the best Punisher stories.
So enough bull, how was this issue? Well, I think Garth could have done just about anything at this point and I would have been happy, but I think he really did end his run incredibly. During this arc, he did a great job providing enthralling entertainment while wrapping things up. Did this end with a big bang? Did the Punisher die at the end? Well, I won’t spoil anything, but I’ll just say that the end was written much like the rest of the series. Thanks Garth.
Hulk #5 (****)
There isn’t a need to say much about this issue. Those who love it will still love it and those who hate it will still hate it. Like the book, it’s that simple. I’ve tried to look under the belly of this behemoth but there is no need. It’s just plain dumb fun with really pretty art and I’m one of the people that love it.
Punisher War Journal #22 (***1/2)
This was the best issue out of this series that had Chaykin’s awful art. That’s not saying a whole lot but it’s something. Matt Fraction has written probably the most human Punisher. That’s not great, but I commend him for trying something new and making his Punisher unique like Ennis did. I liked this issue. There are twists and turns and the Wrecking Crew! I still have to complain about the art because it’s not my style and really detracts from my enjoyment. Another thing that bugs me is that this is supposed to be Jigsaw’s finest moment and he’s barely in it! He wasn’t in the last issue and he was only in two panels of this one. Anyway, this issue was much better than the last and I hope that continues.
I have pictures with some HAWT-HAWT ladies that I’ll probably post up in the next few days. Panels? Panels are for suckers, fool!
Batman and the Outsiders #9 (***)
Whoa, shit just got weird. I never read the original Batman and the Outsiders series, so maybe I just don’t know any better, but does it make sense to anyone else that the plot has veered into science fiction territory? Seriously? Batman’s gonna stop an alien invasion? Really? WTF!!! Don’t get me wrong, the issue is still very well-written, because Chuck Dixon is awesome, but how the hell did we come to this? Sure, we had space shuttles and OMACs and possessed people… but there’s just something about this latest plot turn that doesn’t sit right with me. I think it just feels too “big” for a Batman and the Outsiders plot. I need “Justice League Elite” style shenanigans from my BATO, not “Authority” end of the world shenanigans. Not that any of this matters since I’ll be tossing the book after Dixon leaves.
Justice Society of America #17 (****1/2)
I really, really, really love this arc. Some of us are comparing what Johns is doing with his DC books to what Bendis is doing over at Marvel. Which is true on the surface, but there’s a subtle difference. The difference is Johns is a much more talented character writer than Bendis. Johns relies on solid scene construction and not dialogue to reveal character. Most of the time, Bendis can barely manage the dialogue, and even then he’s only hiding behind the cleverness of it. The core of the character is usually missing… the core being the meaning/message/chunk of philosophy to chew and mull over. This is why he gets slammed so much for “decompression”. When the plot is literally oozing forward at a snail’s pace, you have to rely on internal character change to move the story. Johns can do this. Bendis can not.
The Punisher #59 (****1/2)
It’s all starting to make sense now. All those pages of prose from the last 5 issues, all the descriptions and explanations of how the Punisher’s birth and very existence has changed so many that knew him… it’s so obvious now that I think of it. There was really only one way this story could ever end. Of course, Colonel Howe isn’t going to use the tape. Punisher knew that. But, what the Punisher may not have known was how much the simple act of experiencing what he’s experienced would fundamentally change the Colonel. No, Howe’s not gonna release the tape to the media. It would devastate the country and cripple the military. No way in hell would a man like Howe be responsible for that. But, what he will do is this: he will dismiss his team. He will take sole responsibility for what comes next. He will help Frank Castle punish the guilty parties. Howe will become exactly like, for as long as his surely brief life lasts, The Punisher. There’s tons more to say, and tons more there that I haven’t picked up on yet, but we got to save some for next month. Powerful stuff, though. Next issue is going to be amazing!
• Amazing Spider-Man #564 (***): The blurb on the cover promises the most unusual Spidey story ever… consider me underwhelmed. Roshamon Spidey anyone? Sure, good idea, guys… poor execution.
• G.I. Joe #36 (***): It just didn’t do it for me. Instead of giving up a proper 3rd act, the story just kind of ended. I’m hoping the relaunch next year is awesome, and by awesome, I mean they have some top talent attached. If not, eff it, I’ll finally be done with serialized Joe fiction.
• I Kill Giants #1 (***1/2): Hey kids, Joe Kelly is back! Lots of setup, it’s a first issue, but also lots of fun. I really like this little girl and the way she sees the world. And I can’t tell just yet if she’s actually crazy or the stuff she sees is real or she’s just extremely creative, but I’m more than happy to stick around and find out.
• Number of the Beast #7 (**): More blatant exposition about the hokiest plot of the year. I wonder if this series would have been better served if the creators opted against revealing the (ridiculous) reasons for the WWII heroes’ incarceration. Probably. This issue slows this bullet train of a series to a crawl. Ugh.
• The Boys #20 (****): Another back story issue, but just like last time, it still works. That’s probably because Ennis is such a compelling storyteller. I think that may actually the thing I like best about Ennis. I love the way he writes characters telling stories. He makes you wish you were sitting around the campfire with the characters in the book. The Boys is blossoming into a must-read book. Good times.
Conan The Cimmerian #1– Man this book is great! It even has awesome covers from Joe Kubert and Frank Cho! I like the pretty woman on Cho’s cover, but Conan is holding an axe so I had to show the titular sword in Kubert’s cover. This again features the creative team of Timothy Truman and Tomas Giorello with some Richard Corben thrown in! This issue isn’t as cheap as issue 0, but we still get 40 pages for 3 bucks which is awesome. Oh and just some more props to the issue 0, the events in that issue actually gets mentioned in here! This issue includes some bloody action, humor, and an intriguing tale that left me pumped up and wanting more!
Captain America #40– I’ve heard some people trash Steve Epting’s art before, but it really shines here. There is a lot of fighting in this issue and it is drawn in dynamic and engaging fashion with a wonderfully written ongoing narrative accompanying the art. The characters are again written with much care and the dialogue between the villains is especially astounding. The last page reveal was both startling and unpredictable. This issue was remarkable!
Punisher #59– This proves that an issue with no action can be more fascinating than a book that has a fight on every page. This also proves again why Ennis is the best Punisher writer. When Punisher is written poorly (as he often is), he is a Dirty Harry knockoff spouting one liners and shooting holes into bad guys, but when Ennis writes him, he can have an entire issue that is without action that leaves you astonished. Ennis is not just finishing an arc, he’s finishing his entire run on Punisher. He ties things together that were mentioned 40 issues ago. Planning is one of the most admirable qualities in a writer. Just as Brubaker mentioned that Dr. Doom device in the aforementioned Captain America issue, Ennis mentions something from the early stages of this series. This issue left me much sadder than that FC Requiem, not because of its subject matter, but because we only get one more phenomenal Ennis Punisher issue before he closes the curtain on a fantastic run.
And now, The Gooders. These books were the cream of the crop, or as close to it as this bunch got.
• 1985 #2 (****): I’m really liking where this is headed. See, you can’t call me a Millar hater! Some of his stuff is utter garbage, and some of it, when he puts the research and thought in, turns out quite fantastic. Here’s hoping I’m right about this one.
• Conan the Cimmerian #0 (****): Bruce Castle’s review of this was spot on. It was a very, very, VERY good sword and sandal read. Unfortunately, I think I’m done with Conan for now… or, I may pick up the first issue when it ships! I just don’t know!
• Daredevil #108 (****): It just keeps getting better! Dear Greg Rucka, please never leave. No more brooding! No more Mila! No more Emo!
• Fantastic Four #558 (****1/2): This was really good. Really, really good. I can see clearly now what Millar is doing and I love it. The interweaving of the subplots over multiple 4-part story arcs is finally starting to pay off. I haven’t been this excited about reading Fantastic Four since JMS first took over the book. I know I was harsh on the first couple of these, but now that the engine is revving up toward max RPMs, I couldn’t be happier. I just hope he doesn’t blow his load too soon. But, I still think the Galactus suit was a lame idea. OH! Almost forgot, little Val is a genius!
• Ghost Rider # 24 (****): Love the new artist. Love the new direction. If this is what we can expect from the rest of Aaron’s Ghost Rider run, I think I can finally put myself safely in the “on board” column. It was touch and go there for a while with a couple of stinkers mixed in with the gooders, but this issue has restored my faith… for now! Ha-Hah, you just never know! Next month I could be bashing it again! Help, I’m in an abusive relationship and I can’t get out!*
• Iron Fist #16 (*****): Terrific series finale, bravo to all involved, especially Matt Fraction. I can’t wait for the “Heroes For Hire” relaunch this fall… wait, what? Not cancelled? New creative team? Get OUT of here!
• Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. #30 (****): Still not the Knaufs, but adequate. Actually, more than adequate. This Moore guys is doing a bang-up fill-in! Overkill Mind! Star Squad! Paladin messing up Iron Man’s fascist face! YES! YES! YES!
• The Punisher #58 (*****): Every month I get a little sad. New Punisher issue only serves to remind me of its imminent cancellation. Well, pretty much, right? I like the new guy, his Foolkiller was good, but no one’s ever going to top Garth Ennis. Oh, I should say something about this issue. It was really good, as usual. They always are. Sad face.
• Thunderbolts #121 (*****): OH GOOD GOD! This was epic. And now it’s over. Forever. I don’t care that this book shipped once a quarter, it was totally worth it. But, I don’t think Ellis is leaving because of lateness, I think he’s just done. Is that true? Does anybody know? I’m seriously asking a serious question here…
• X-Factor #32 (****1/2): In this issue, Madrox tells Cooper to get stuffed and finally takes responsibility as the father of Theressa’s baby… and just like that, *POOF*, X-Factor is a 4-5 Star book again. Why? Because we’re back to focusing on the drama, baby, and not the action. Yay! Thank you, Peter David. I don’t know what happened to you or why you had to phone the past 6 months in, but I’m glad you’re back. Now, if only I could say the same thing about She-Hulk. UGH!
• Young Avengers Presents: Hawkeye #6 (****): This was easily the best of the series. Fraction is just on fire this month (although his Punisher still sucks ass). I loved how much of a dick Clint is when he makes Kate cry. Ha-Ha! But then, it was just Clint teaching her a lesson all along! Oh snap! Shit, I wish Clint had his own team book or something. He works well as mentor/father figure… FUCK, why isn’t he leading the New Avengers? He’s got the attitude, the skill and the experience. Maybe that’s one of the changes Bendis has lined up for after Secret Invasion? I hope so. I’ve always loved me some Hawkeye. Oh, and when the hell is Young Avengers Volume 2 coming out? These characters are way cooler than the Titans and those shitters have two books, both equally shitty!
Hmm, got surly there at the end. Ah, well. Tomorrow, Planetary Series Review (honest) and on Wednesday, maybe a Spoiler Re view… if something cool comes out.
*That one was for VsRealms.