Haul Thoughts: Surprises (Bad) & Surprises (Good)

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:

Beholder powers:

BEHOLD...er

Mandarin ring powers:

Where's the duck sauce ring?

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!

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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.

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

This Week’s Comics Haul featuring MILLIONS OF DOLLARS MILLIONS OF DOLLARS MILLIONS OF DOLLARS

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.