Haul Thoughts : Ultimate Drop, Valiant Pick Up

**SPOILERS BELOW BE WARNED***

The Walking Dead 100 -Oh you’re in some shit now!  Wow.  Barn burner of an issue.Very much a change in the status quo of this series.  For too long (the past year at least) the story has been in a bit of a holding pattern.  There’s been forward momentum, yes, but nothing like this episodes (with apologies to Mao) great leap forward.  Began is a BAD DUDE, on par with if not actually surpassing The Governor. SPOILERS: Lucille, on the other hand…oof.  Negan’s threats regarding Carl are equally chilling: “Anyone moves at all..cut the boy’s other eye out and feed it to the girl.” Brrrrrr.  Then when Rick acts up, Negan threatens to have his men run a train on Carl.  END SPOILERS. A bad, bad dude. This is what a landmark issue should feel like.

Batman 11 – Finally the conclusion to Court of Owls.  This arc really petered out, didn’t it?  ‘Cause it was SUPER bad ass to start with, but with the ridiculous turn it took last month with the SPOILERS reveal of Bruce Wayne’s (ugh) long lost brother END SPOILERS I’m really on the cusp of not caring.  Luckily the return of the Joker arc is right around the corner, which promises to be stupendous.  Some things (ed. note: Only SOME  things?) really stood out for their sheer ridiculousness this issue, including the flying Owl & Batman sequence where a) Bruce gets thrown into/through a giant skyscraper window.  DUDE THAT WOULD KILL YOU. But then b) the Owl can fly up into an oncoming jet’s flight path?  Isn’t that like, 20,0000 feet in the air?  Then c) when Bruce gets chucked into a jet engine and somehow he’s able to hold onto the lip of the engine and not go all Fargo on us?  Trained to the peak of human skills is one thing, defeating physics is quite another. You know who I felt bad for after this issue? The almost completely built but now completely destroyed Wayne Tower.  Oh, and me, for having to read Bruce & Dick’s ridiculous heart-to-heart to end the issue. Bring on the Joker!

Batman and Robin 11 – The more I read this series the more I really, really like Damian as a character.  His curent quest to best all of the past Robins in single combat is just perfect: funny, dynamic, interesting, they draw on past history & continuity as well as really showcasing Damian as a character.  An aside: since we’re speaking about continuity (and I think I brought this up before when The Killing Joke was mentioned) how & where does A Death in the Family come in to play in the New 52 universe?  I honestly thought it was a clean slate, yet they keep referring to pre-52 landmark events. Is this ever going to be explained?  What’s still considered canon & what got jettisoned? Aggravating.  Anyway, Damian is a bratty little know-it-all 10 year old who will kill you in the blink of an eye; that’s a character that could’ve gotten so cliche so fast and yet Peter Tomasi is doing an awesome job with him. The rest of the book was ok; the most intersting aspect is the cut-rate rogues gallery that’s assembled to attack Gotham who’ve all in someway been seriously f’d up by Batman, including the guy with a permanent boot tread on his face (named Bootface, natch) and the other guy with a batarang stuck in his skull.  Interesting to see the after effects of a Batman thrashing.  The hands down cheesiest part of this (or really, any recent issue of anything) was Bruce yelling “LEAVE MY CITY ALONE!”.  Keep this was just being yelled out on the street and not to anyone in particular.  It just struck a very odd chord.

Bloodshot 1 – I still have the Valiant-era Bloodshot #5 (the issue where Ninjak shows up for the first time (non-costume); I bought it at a sports memorabilia store that dabbled in comics and hadn’t yet discovered that particular issue was the hottest book going in comics, so I was able to get it for cover price.) somewhere.  Anyway.  Great cover, incredibly smart opening page explaining exactly what nanobots do and how they affect teh human body as well as some nightmare “Grey Goo” scenarios (read your Kurzweil, folks).  What I liked: the concept of hackable people.  Bloodshot’s ingenious infiltration method.  The overall feel and look of the book.  Hints of Bloodshot’s past and who/what he was/is.  What I didn’t like: where’s the explanation for the dead white skin?  Probably coming later.  Also, why is KRESSSSHHH  the sound effect every comic ever uses for when someone breaks through a plate of glass? PROMISING.

Chew Secret Agent Poyo 1 – Don’t f with this chicken!  Funniest moment may have been the look on Hitler’s face as he was directed towards the room labelled “Butt Torture” and followed by a demon with a pineapple in his hand (this was happening in Hell, btw). Grossest was probably the bonus gallery in the back, especialy the pinup featuring an eyeball with a pencil jammed into it & another eyeball with pushpins and needles poked into it.  EYE SHIT IS GROSS QUIT IT YOU GUYS. If you like Chew (you do) , if you like clever jokes (duh that’s why you’re reading this) and most importantly you like good comics that don’t take themselves too seriously this is a PICKUP.

Dancer 3 – Cat & mouse sniper espionage games with Europe with your Irish girlfriend as bait.  I could see this as a movie.  C’mon, they made Red (the movie was shit, also). I bet at least one person picked this up thinking it was a spin off from Omaha, The Cat Dancer.

Defenders 8 – This book has just been…is this one of the best books that Marvel is putting out right now and probably no one is buying? Most definitely yes to the first part and probably for the second part. This has the same vibe that Nextwave had and that is one of my favorite series ever.  High points of this issue: flaying car in the shape of a cat face? Absurd, but they are in Wakanda.  Silver Surfer with the funniest line about the origin of bones in the entire history of the Silver Surfer.  Then some deeply weird stuff to close out the issue, including the revelation there are things out in the Marvel U. called DEATH CELESTIALS and they are coming to break the Universe. How cool is that?

Harbinger 2 – Peter Stancheck Comes Alive! Woe to everyone else on the planet. If I had to list a Top Ten of favorite on going series, all three Valiant titles (this, Bloodshot and X-O Manowar) would all be on it. Can’t they crank these out faster?

Ultimate Comics X-Men 14 – I’m done. For reals this time.  I just can’t take these half-assed cliffhangers that I just know will not pay off in any sort of meaningful manner.  If I’m going to start cutting back, I think it’s going to be with Marvel’s Ultimate line.

Wolverine & The X-Men 13 – Less whimsy, more punching.  As previously stated, not exactly what I want out of this title.  But I’m really digging Nick Bradshaws art, as I think it does tremendous justice to not only the characters but fits the story very well.  The intro page was a very clever Watchmen dig.  Reading this book made me realize that all of these characters are just terrible at problem solving. ARGUE ARGUE ARGUE….now what? oh right, PUNCH PUNCH PUNCH.  You have magic powers, alien technology and super-powers, yet you still resort to fisticuffs like this is some 1880’s public house and your honor was just impugned? I realize that you have to keep cranking these books out but just like the realization that everyone’s costumes, for the most part, are simply awful, I know realize that 20 pages of punching is not as appealing as it once was. I am sad? Oh right, SPOILER Gladiator died? END SPOILER.   Warbirds backstory was pretty cool, I’ll give the that.

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This Week’s Comics Haul – 100 Issues Strong…and Growing

Large pickup this week (but when isn’t it) but a real dearth of time.  Reviews soon! What did you get this week?

Batman 11


Batman and Robin 11


Before Watchmen – Minutemen 2


Bloodshot 1 – most anticipated book of the week (tie)


Chew Secret Agent Poyo 1


Dancer 3


Defenders 8


Harbinger 2


The Massive 2


The Walking Dead 100 – Most anticipated book of the week (tie)


Ultimate Comics X-Men 14


Wolverine and the X-Men 13

Roman Holiday

(ed. note: Intrepid contributor ViciousPjuraHead is spending the summer in Italy and will be filing dispatches of a gaming or comic related nature, when he gets around to it. This is the first.)

Due to my traveling schedule, my comic book thoughts have been delayed.  The best part of traveling is spending all those  hours on planes and trains (and automobiles?). Since I’m always on the move, I save all the comics I want to read for just those occasions. I’ve  just touched down in Rome to teach English at a day camp, which hopefully won’t take up my entire days, leaving me ample opportunities to get the goods, sit in a nice piazza and read away.

The beginning of my trip was fairly auspicious, what with the airline losing my luggage and me being stuck wearing the same thing for three days in the Roman heat.  Ignore anyone who says different, the heat is what caused the downfall of the Roman Empire. After watching 21 Jump street many,many times (ed. note: C-Tates!!) to pass the time but I am now settled with comics in hand!!!  When in Italy….start with the comic that deals with Italians…….

Dancer #2 – Still enjoying the story but for some reason I cannot get into the art work.

Astonishing X-Men #51 – For a comic book issue that is supposed to touch on one of the hottest topics in society, this issue was not as nearly as exciting or edge of your seat as I’d have thought.  I understand that a wedding is much more different from a huge battle among superheros but the writing seemed a bit too “do it for the sake of doing it to get it over”.  The art was not very captivating (Is Wolverine supposed to look like Elvis?) and what was the deal with Warbird? Has she always had these feelings or is this something they just threw in to cover all sides of the gay marriage spectrum.  Just seemed a little out-of-place.  This book did very little to keep me entertained and interested.

The Crow #1 – As a kid, there wasn’t a movie I was more obsessed with than The Crow.  Brandon Lee’s death, the soundtrack, the story, something about all of that just hit me at the right time and it  just became my everything.   God only knows the amount of posters and pictures I had on my wall (God: You had 36). I don’t think I ever saw City of Angels,  nor did I ever really care to.  However, sic transit gloria. The obsession was gone…until I saw this comic at which point all of those memories came roaring back.  I think this is a great opportunity to go back, revisit the comics and maybe look at these comics & the movie from a different perspective, maybe try to figure out why they had such a hold on me as a teenager.  As I started reading this I was trying to compare every page and every panel to the movie, which was ultimately frustrating because almost nothing was similar.  It wasn’t until the last two pages where the connection happened and the AAAHHH moment hit me.  The main character is in the wrong place, wrong time scenario and the quest for revenge begins.  I’m definitely going to read the next issue and am honestly hoping that it continues to hold my interest.

This Week’s Comics Haul

GIGANTIC is the word.  Good thing I get paid tomorrow.  I picked up the following (a few more on the way, I wanted Bloodshot #1 but no dice):

Amazing Spider-Man: Ends of the Earth (one-shot) – Maybe it’s good?

Avengers vs. X-Men #04 – This I know isn’t good; in fact it’s stupid.  The Cap vs. Wolverine scrape from last issue was ridiculous and not in a good way.  This is just a dumb hero v hero battle comic, shades of the marvel/DC crossover where fans voted on whether Logan could beat Lobo, etc.  Stupid on another level too, ’cause I keep getting them.

Dancer #01 – I had all but written Image off but someone they’ve come back strong with a varied line of interesting super-hero/non-super hero material that’s kept me intrigued.  I’ll at least pick up a first or second issue of a new series. Speaking of:

Danger Club #02 – hooked from the first issue.

Daredevil #13  – This new quasi-lighthearted take on DD has me looking forward to this every month.  Let’s hope Waid can string together a run like Bendis.

Fantastic Four #605.1 – Impulse purchase.

Fury Max #02 – I loved both Punisher MAX series, so if Ennis is involved I’m there.

Hardcore #01  – See Dancer and Danger Club.

Incredible Hulk #07.1 – Where did you go Marc Silvestri???

Justice League #09 – I swore for years I would never read a Justice League comic and yet here we are. Stil marveling (heh) at the fact that the New 52 gamble seems to have paid off.

Locke & Key – Clockworks #06 – When I first heard Stephen King’s kid was getting into comics, I gave the news an eye roll and that’s it.  That was before I started reading L&K.  Now I tell everyone about this.  Read it.  It’s good.

Pigs #06 – I forgot to get this issue at some point, so this is backfill.  Another very intriguing pick from Image.

Saga #03 – The art isn’t exactly my thing, but hell, BKVaugh is writing it so I’ll give it a good, oh, 20 issues.

The Manhattan Project #03 – I LOVE this so far.  The closest thing I can compare it to is Planetary, which I could read on a daily basis.  That series might be in my Top 5 All Time.

Uncanny X-Men #12 – See AvX #4. I’m a sucker for crossovers, especially ones staring the X-Men.  I believe this affliction started way back at X-Cutioner’s Song.

Winter Soldier #05 – Impulse.

Wonder Woman #09 – Another favorite New 52 title.  I can honestly say I’d never picked up a Wonder Woman book before this reboot but I’m glad I gave this book a chance.

X-Factor #236 – I didn’t really check the cover too carefully, ’cause I thought it was Gideon on the cover.  What can I say, I lie his name and I like his topknot.  Sadly, it’s some doucher named Scattershot which sounds like your run of the mill mid-’90’s Image character.  BloodStryke! HellWulf!