I’ve been reading Antony Beevor’s heavy-duty and fascinating D-Day, which started out as a somewhat masochistic attempt to fully understand World War II, piece by piece. But it’s so good and I’m completely obsessed with it. Regardless, time to put that aside ’cause its’ New Comic Book Day!! What are you getting this week? Slim pickings this week for me, but all titles I’m really looking forward to. I would rather have a half-dozen excellent books than a dozen so-so titles.
Click covers to embiggen! L to R: Before Watchmen – Rorschach 01, Wonder Woman 12, Pigs 08 (so good and so underrated), Saga 06, The Walking Dead 101, AvX 10 (just please be over already!), Amazing Spider-Man 691, Daredevil 17 (welcome aboard Mike Allred!), The Dark Tower – The Man in Black 03, Harbinger 02 and Bloodshot 02 (possible tie for best covers of the week). What are you planning on picking up?
Before Watchmen – Ozymandias 02 – At what looks like the 25% mark for this entire Before Watchmen event, Ozymandias seems to be the best book of the bunch. The gorgeous artwork from Jae Lee certainly doesn’t hurt; check out the scene below for the proof.
As Ozy’s backstory continues to be explained, the issue ends with Adrian’s first encounter with The Comedian. The Comedian, who to this day bothers me. I know he’s supposed to represent a real world, grim n’ gritty war hero and that’s fine. But the unexplainable costume (no consistency as to when he’s in it and when he’s not) and the gigantic plot hole regarding his identity (why do some people seem to know who he is, whether in or out of costume while others have no idea?). Also, he’s just machine-gunning criminals? If this is supposed to be “super heroes in the real world” I would think the authorities would have problems with that. And quicker than you can say “glowing blue dong” yes, I know, Dr. Manhattan etc etc. I didn’t see it WAS the real world, just more real-world-esque than say a DC or Marvel. SO. Back to where we were…at this juncture I’d say, in order of “is it worth reading or not” I’d say that it goes Ozymandias, Silk Spectre, The Comedian, The Minutemen, Nite-Owl.
Gambit 01 – Even more embarrassing than buying this book is admitting that I liked it. It’s less super-hero-y (or as Gambit himself says, less “tights & fights”) and more chaotic-good, criminal/thief oriented. Which I’m all for; if I want spandex and face punching I’ll read AvX. I can see this having an fairly solid initial run of 6-8 issues before it falls off the rails completely & then it’s just playing cards, trench coats & mon ami’s from then on out. But I’ll read a few issues of Gambit breaking into the Long Island homes of super-villain artifact hoarders, like so:
Archer & Armstrong 01 -BOOM Valiant nails it again. Where are they getting these people from? These books are so good. This might actually be the best book of the four released during the “Summer of Valiant” ramp-up. There was a sly call-out to Gilead, The Eternal Warrior (one of Armstrong’s equally-immortal brothers); who was the third? I can’t remember; was his name the Eternal Enemy or something? After opening with some biblical-annihilation shenanigans, the book picks up at the creation museum (?!) where Archer was raised, which features Darwin the Chimp, star of the “Junk Science Follies”. It turns out that Archer is a brain-washed religious extremist & martial artist of the highest caliber. Good combination. Moving ahead, Archer is NYC bound, where he nails what Manhattan is all about: Then like any young man who finds himself in NYC for the first time, he ends up at Hogs & Heifers in the Meatpacking District (first bar I went to in NYC too) where he quickly meets Armstrong, the poet-bouncer. Archer thinks that Armstrong is the Anti-Christ and promises to kill him but in short order finds both of them taken prisoner. The mystical device Archer used to find Armstrong is taken and the book ends on an interesting twist. I’m definitely down for a martial arts buddy comic and you should be too.
Defenders 09 – Right, so this came out last week and while I was writing this post I just saw that Defenders just got cancelled. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO(deep breath)OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. So upsetting; they better finish this arc off. It’s a bit of a moot point now, but you should really go seek out this book & it’s back issues. It’s funny, clever, weird, the arts great, the writing is super strong, what more could you want? The Silver Surfer has Aspberger’s, She-Hulk has a big ass sword, Namor is a dick, Iron Fist is Iron Fist…and the most intriguing thing about this book is the little phrases and slugs that accompany almost every page. Sometime it’s a blurb for another book, other times it’s oddly dire prophecy like “The Universe Will Break” or “Everyone You Love, Dies”. By itself, whatever. But knowing, somehow, all of these weird phrases and tid-bits are going to (hopefully) tie-in and then pay-off is awesome. I would say I can’t wait for that to happen but I doubt it will now and if it does, it’ll probably be rushed. Drag.
Let’s do this! Don’t forget to chime in in the comments below.
AvX 08 – IMPERIOUS REX!!! Namor has shown up in Wakanda looking to tear The Avengers a collective new butthole and he very nearly succeeds. The opening splash page is as menacing as Namor has looked in recent memory and you see that this is not something that Wakanda will be recovering from anytime soon. Iron Fist is indignant that Iron Man and The Thunderer skip out to K’un-Lun without him, meanwhile Wakandans are being devoured by Atlantean seas serpents. Typical rich guy. Meanwhile Cap is all “I knew Cyclops was a dick! Forget all these corpses, I was right all along!” Typical unfrozen World War II science experiment. Anyway, Cap calls the Avengers, whom Namor proceeds to go H.A.M. on, even taking full powered blows to the dome from Red Hulk, Thing, Mjolnir, Dr. Strange and The Vision. NAMOR AIN’T CARE and he goes on to prove this by breaking the Red Hulk’s arm like it was one of my brittle, bird-like wrists. Then he decides to set the rest of the Avengers on fire. Then super Deus Ex Machina a.k.a The Scarlet Witch shows up, somehow (ed.note: With her ill-defined powers, that’s how!) defeats Namor whom the Phoenix Force decides to ditch, flowing into the other members of the Phoenix Force. Charles Xavier’s floating bald head shows up to scold Cyclops; Cyclops tells Chuck to “Cram it with walnuts, ugly”; Cap cries. Buy? Sure, if you’ve bought the earlier seven.
The Invincible Iron Man 521 – Think I mentioned this before but WHOA. The Invincible Iron Man is awesome. If you haven’t been reading this title, go back to #500 and read them all. I never cared for Iron Man; sure the movies got me interested and I think I picked up the book at an ideal time. So, if you’re planning on following my lead and picking up the earlier 20 issues, SPOILERS HERE Tony Stark is super-boned and the super-boner (ed.note: Really?) is non other than the Mandarin. Some observations: apparently 6 months have passed since issue #520 and all sorts of shenanigans have gone on, chiefly that Stark is working for the Mandarin. Side note: is the Mandarin the Marvel Universe equivalent of a beholder from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons? Seriously, check it out:
Mandarin ring powers:
Back to the issue at hand, literally. Resilient (formerly Stark Resilient) takes some shots at the crappiness of the cloud and introduces their solution, the swarm (which Warren Ellis introduced in Transmetropolitan a decade ago…). That’s one of the reasons this book is so excellent; it’s not all tights, capes & punchy-punchy. There’s corporate espionage, futurism, science, rad armor, clever banter..so good. Just buy it. Buy? Duh. Also, if I can’t have the Infinity Gauntlet, I’d gladly take the Mandarin’s rings.
Before Watchmen – Silk Spectre 02 – I really like Amanda Conner’s art on this book. In fact, I feel this is tied with Ozymandias as the Before Watchmen book with the best art. Definitely an Archie vibe going on. That being said…what the hell?! The first issue was so good where this one is…not. Not as good. The spirit of the book hasn’t really changed, but something this issue seems off. I did like the analogs of The Beatles and the Rolling Stones as well as an appearance from Kid Charlemagne himself, Owsley Stanley and what is possibly supposed to be Frank Sinatra? I don’t know, the innocence and free-spiritedness of the first issue gets muddled with some subplot about causing Haight-Ashbury hippies to embark on acid-fueled shopping trips. Also, the Silk Spectre’s costume is highly impractical. That’s not a reason to knock the book, it’s just that even fictional teenagers are idiots. Buy? Yes, as it’s not enough to derail the series (plus you’re already halfway through at this point). But don’t prepare for the high notes of last issue.
Daredevil – 15 – High hopes for Murdock this week; was he able to meet them? Welllllll….was the arc resolved? For the most part, as it’ll most likely wrap up next month. Was the premise clever? Daredevil sans senses? Sure. Was there anything outwardly terrible about this issue? Not especially. So…? Can’t help you dude. Then is it a Buy? It’s not the highpoint of this excellent series, but neither was the Punisher/Spider-Man crossover. It’s not a jumping on point, that’s for sure.
Fables 119 – Even if this series had nothing else going for it, it still has the best covers in the industry. Before I started reading, I was really hoping that this arc would wrap up this issue or next. But then I started reading; wow. If you’re a Fables fan, you won’t be disappointed. Things to note: a pretty shocking death, an Angry Birds cameo and my new favorite phrase, “shit fire on Pop-Tarts”! Buy? Have you read the previous 118 issues? Then you pretty much have to, don’t you?
Justice League 11- Not going to lie, I’m kind of lost with this book. I’m not thrilled at the supernatural bent the it’s taken either; isn’t that the purview of the Justice League Dark? The high point for this issue was probably Wonder Woman calling the Green Lantern a dickless bitch, in so many words. Also, Diana’s problem solving starts and ends with decapitation. They’ve really made her one of the most compelling characters in the whole New 52. Also a nice touch: Cyborg: “I’m not partly dead, am I?” Batman:”…of course not”. What a dick! Buy? If you’re not invested in the series at this point? It’s a pass.
Saga 05 – I’m oddly compelled to keep getting this book. It’s clearly been building up for the past four issues and there is a bit of payoff here, but not in an equivalent amount to the rising action. The book opens with the television-headed prince who is a/the protagonist? Antagonist? All I know is that in the future/past, robots poop. Also, the two sides in the giant war that I (and I assume other readers) are trying to puzzle out art the “horns” and the “wings”, and a clutch of winged shock troopers drop down on our narrator and it’s parents Alana and Marko. SPOILERS Marko breaks his vow of nonviolence and goes apeshit, slicing through all of the shock troopers and is about to really start cutting heads, forcing Alana’s hand. END SPOILERS. Far more happens and I think this book is finally starting to pick up. I seem to remember Vaugh’s Runaways was a bit of a slow starter as well. Buy? At this point, while it’s still early in the series, yes, but only if you pick up the other four. Or wait a few months and pick up the first six issues in a collected format.
The Dark Tower – The Man in Black 02 – As I’ve already read all of The Dark Tower books, it seems a bit foolish to then buy them in serialized comic format. But it’s still a powerful series and Robin Furth & Peter David are doing extremely solid work on this and all the previous Dark Tower series. Buy? If you like The Dark Tower, all the trades are worth picking up. It definitely fills in gaps that were only hinted at in the series.
Wonder Woman 11 – Sometimes I get my comics & video games confused, like with all the Olympians showing up in WW and I find myself thinking, “Didn’t Kratos kill all you?”. This issue isn’t as good as the previous two in Hades, but it seems to be setting the stage for a pretty epic confrontation with Apollo and Hera, so I’ll check in next month. Buy? Not as a starting point, but this isn’t an issue that’ll make you drop the book either.
X-O Manowar 03 – The payoff! Aric and the X-O Manowar class armor make nice (it grows Aric’s hand back, he disintegrates aliens) until an explosion sends them flying outside of the ship. Aric apparently has his Dorothy moments, as he clicks his gold-and-powder blue heels together, disappears from deep space and reappears above modern Rome, where he crashes into the Coliseum. I’m interested to see if they go back to the “unfrozen viking business magnate” schtick Valiant used the first time with X-O. Buy? No brainer. Get the other two while you’re at it and transport yourself back to ’94.
Whew! Sound off in the comments about your thoughts on my thoughts, on what you picked up this week, on what you refrained from picking up this week or just general what-have-you’s. Goodnight Cleveland, where ever you are!
It’s too hot to even move; best thing to do is find solace in some air conditioning with a stack of comics. What I picked up this week (And a rare show of restraint!); what did you get? Tell us in the comments!
Wolverine ($5 bucks??! C’mon) & Fantastic Four. . Granted it’s only two but it’s a start!
A strong crop of books this week; it’s difficult to pick out which one or two could be the stand-outs this week. But picking two, I’d say it’ll be X-O Manowar and… Daredevil. Daredevil ?!? Yes, DD. I like the current arc, hell, I’ve liked the entire relaunch. It’s a fun book that still feels dangerous for the characters. It’s a delicate balancing act and Mark Waid pulls it off.
Reviews and thoughts on these in the next few days, along with the kick off of the MB Interview series!
Crazy week; no time for jibba-jabba though, let’s dive right in with this week’s Haul Thoughts:
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century #03 – Best book of the week. It’s going to take forever to unpack this. This, plus the other two entries in the Century series require another, closer read. In fact, I think it deserves it’s own post. There’s just so many bits to unravel & think about; it feels like I’d need to team up with a historian and a someone with a 20th Century Lit background.
Hit Girl #01– This series wil serve as a bridge between the events of Kick-Ass 1 & Kick-Ass 2. I can’t tell if I’m interested in the Hit-Girl vs. Mean Girls thing it seems to be shaping up to be.
Manhattan Projects #04- There seems to be a re-occuring dualities (or at least multiples) trend in MP; you have the multiple Openheimers inhabiting one body and now you have twin Einsteins. Hickman’s doing wonderful things with this series and it should be added to your pull ist post haste.
Batman Inc #02 – Still really liking this book, even though a)it’s most about Talia Al’Ghul (I don’t care) and b)it seems to only be somewhat concerned with the events of the last issue, instead spending the vast majority of time going over Talia’s upbringing and the ongoing chess match she has going with her father.
Dark Knight #10 – I enjoy the move in recent years (Batman Begins, Arkham Asylum, this) to make the Scarecrow super f’n creepy. If it’s not sewing his own lips shut then bloodily mumbling, it’s wearing a burlap sack over his head (which we all know is the scariest thing one can wear) and ditching the stupid farmers hat. One question though: Com. Gordon makes mention of the events from The Killing Joke; how/where does that fit into a post-52 world? When did it happen? Will it be addressd?
Before Watchmen: Nite-owl #01– What’s with the catchphrases ad cheers after Mason (original Nite-Owl) stops some perps? It was embarrassing. Stop it. I did like Rorschach busting balls though. Who knew a mentally scared quasi-midget had jokes? Though I guess he does show his funny side periodically in Watchmen, what with his “human bean juice” and “Big Figure. Small problem” lines. I also enjoyed the aftermath of the Crimebusters meeting which is only shown from in the original series to move the Comedian/Laurie story further.
FF # 19 – Kids adventure hour. Don’t care, though CBR gave it 5-stars.
Incredible Hulk #10– I really should stop reading this as it’s gotten quite bad in the last few issues. But every time I say that, an interesting line pops up that makes we ant to keep reading, like in this issue when the villain of the week says that after he kills the Hulk he’ll “eat grilled American & make love to many bears” which is just funny enough to get my money next month.
Justice League #10- Nothing much happening here. Or did I completely miss something?
Ultimate Comics Ultimates #12– I enjoyed Reed’s brief homage to John Turturro’s character in Miller’s Crossing, “…When you smart off to me it ruins it”. What’s up with Ghost Kid Stark? How could Reed have injected the Hulk with a needle? Isn’t the Hulk’s skin supposed to be SOMEWHAT more durable than your average humans? If so, wouldn’t the needle shatter? C’mon, this is brain science. The ending though was ultimately (ha!) satisfying, if a bit drawn out. This arc could’ve cut a few issues and been much better. Still, ya takes what you can get.
Wolverine & The X-men #12 – Second best book of the week. Even the AvX tie-in couldn’t ruin this. By the way, I love Kid Gladiator as a character, even more so after he smashed Giant Man (screw you, Pym!) right in the eyeball to which Pym exclaimed ” YOU PUNCHED ME IN MY EYEBALL!” Glad that original X-men fighting each other is raised, as when Ice man and Beast square off. Oh, and Thor basically calls Namor a fag. Really. Spider-Woman calling out Kid Gladiators new power with a “Stop making me feel creepy” was a fun throw away line. I hat ethe name the Phoenix Five, makes them sound like a boy band as opposed to the most powerful force on Earth. Another clever line from now-outed gay bigot Thor to Rachel grey”On your feet mind witch. Thor would have words with thee”. Hank McCoy tells Bobby Drake his little Ice-Man clones don’t taste half bad; Drake commands McCoy to “stop eating me!” However, you’re telling em that Rachel Grey can sneak up on Black Widow, super-spy? Nyet. WHEW. Then the book closes with an excellent line from Kid Gladiator as his dad & Warbird show up. Ok, so I clearly really liked this issue and was determined to give you a page-by-page description. You’re welcome.
Justice League Dark #10 – interesting enough but I’m losing focus. Don’t know who these people are. Argus? Wha?
Spider-Men #02 – Why are they fighting? Oh right, because it’s a crossover and they have to initially. This isn’t really all that interesting. I’m not going to miss anything by not continuing to read this.
Fatale #06 – Woody Allen appears at a decadent Hollywood sex party! Brubaker is good at drawing you in then stringing out a story. Some sort of cult/Scientology parable here, along with something terrifying on film.
American Vampire #28 – a very unexpected return. Why aren’t you reading this?
No time for love, Dr. Jones! And no time for thoughts on this week’s haul just yet. Soon though, friends. Soon. This week though, instead of alphabetically, I’ll sort my acquisition list by the order in which I am most excited to read them, with number one OF COURSE being:
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – Century #03 – This requires its own post.
The Manhattan Projects #04 – How good is this series? Strong hints of Planetary here, and in all the good ways.
Batman Incorporated #02 – I’m slowly turning from a Marvel Zombie…
Hit Girl #01 – I can’t help it, I love Millars stuff (with the exception of The Unfunnies which was definitely truth in advertising.
Before Watchmen – Nite Owl #01 – I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the other BW titles, so I’ve some hopes for this.
American Vampire #28 – Read all of the back issues over the past two weeks; this is a solid series.
Fatale #06 – I can honestly say that I like everything Brubaker writes. Criminal, Incognito and now Fatale. His fedora & moustache obviously contains all of his writing powers, I must have them!
Justice League Dark #10 – Don’t auite recall what happened last issue, but it was clearly interesting enough for me to pick up the following one.
Batman The Dark Knight #10 – Is Finch still on this book?
FF #19 – Think it’s going to be a wrap on this series too. Do we really need two Fantastic Four/Future Foundation books?
Incredible Hulk #10 – Didn’t I say I was done buying this series?
Spider-Men #02 – If this is another 20 pages of set-up I’m going to be pissed.
Ultimate Comics Ultimate #12 – I hope everyone dies.
AvX #6 – – reminiscent of The Authority. Cyclops still auditioning for lead singer of Cameo. Hope actually looks like a teenager. Emma is wearing something wholly impractical. Thor v. Cyclops! Ok, this book has definitely redeemed itself, especially with the final panel & Cyclops pronouncement. This could actually be leading to something bad-ass! I will definitely stay tuned.
Before Watchmen: Comedian #01 – I’m starting to come around on these Before Watchmen titles. This offered some interesting twists on established ’60’s myths, so I applaud them for that. The one thing that always bugged me about Watchmen was, if seemingly everyone knew Eddie Blake was The Comedian at one point in time, why was everyone then so mystified & amazed when Rorschach uncovered Blake’s secret costume stash in Watchmen#1? Did everyone forget? Answers people! I need them!
Daredevil # 14 : A Date with DOOM!: Ok, it’s not really called that, but Dr. Doom does show up up. In fact, last we saw Matt he was trapped in a box in Castle Doom in Latveria. HOW. WILL. HE . ESCAPE? I ain’t saying nuthin’ beyond “clever premise.”
Fables #118 – a terrifying twist I didn’t see coming. Much creepier than expected.
Grim Leaper #2 – Still an interesting premise, but the last panel, while disgusting, also introduced a brand new character that had me leafing back through the book trying to figure out exactly who was being talked about. Hate that. Though I dug the little 4 part EC Comics-esque story in the back, which featured a whole new disgusting way to kill someone.
Saga #04 – I guess Vaugh takes a while to get going. The story is definitely ramping up and there’s super bizarre things popping up in every issue. I just hope he starts to unveil a bit more of the narrative soon.
The Dark Tower: The Man in Black #01 – First off, The Stand is one of my ALL-TIME favorite books (the unabridged version, of course). Odd then that it took me until just two years ago before I picked up The Dark Tower. While the comics were cool and some beautifully illustrated, they just felt like re-treads on something I’d just read. I picked this up as a way to hopefully shine more light on one of King’s strongest creations, Randall Flagg a.k.a The Main in Black a.k.a The Walking Dude.
The Punisher #12 – Frank still has one eye, but that doesn’t stop him from stomping his female quasi-partner senseless in a trash-filled alley over a picture. Why am I still reading this?
The Walking Dead #99 – Set up set up set up. Issue #100 promises to be huge. At this point, how can they not kill Rick? I think that’s the safe bet. Or even crazier, EVERYONE gets eaten and they just end the series that way, on the darkest note possible.
Uncanny X-Men #14 – Did Mr. Sinister just say he was a eunuch? Regardless, an XCELLENT (see what I did there? That’s called laziness.) return to form here. Mister Sinister, here in his current role as devilish 19th-century English gentleman, shines as a an almost unparalleled mastermind. Really, like Lex-Luthor-from-Red-Son type shizz. From the interesting twist on “let loose the hounds!” to learning how far his genetic manipulation & cloning goes, Sinister as a serious threat is back. Pick this issue up.
Wolverine #308 – I can already tell this is going to be terrible…(opens cover) yep, I was right. This is clearly House of 1000 Corpses / The Devil’s Rejects, just set in the Marvel U. & starring Wolverine. It also seems that the “brain-wash Wolverine to be a secret killer thing” has gone beyond trope & into the realm of cliche. This was was much better done in Mark Millar & John Romita Jr’s Wolverine: Enemy of the State.
Wonder Woman #10 – Not as good as past issues but it does feature an interesting escape from Hell and a dog-headed medusa gets head-butted by an Englishman. HEADBUTTS FOR ALL.
Side Note: What’s with the MILLIONS OF DOLLARS MILLIONS OF DOLLARS MILLIONS OF DOLLARS ? Read With Leather’s Best & Worst of Raw to find out. It’s one of the highlights of my Internet week.