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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This Week’s Comics Haul – A Fourth of My Paycheck

The important take away this week is thatwhen I say I’m not going to buy a book anymore, more often than not…I’m still going to pick it up.  Case in point with:

Wolverine 310 – arts improved but what do you expect when Simone Bianchi is back on the title. I don’t think Loeb’s really bringing it this issue but I’m definitely intrigued as to how & why Sabretooth came back. He was killed via the Muramasa by Logan himself (apparently the only weapon that can kill Wolverine dead.) and once more in Hell.  Yet he’s back, popping up the last few months. Other points of interest: a)Who could possibly pick this book up and figure out what’s going on? This is a perfect example of why a reboot is needed.  Completely choked with bizarre continuity. b) So they’re up in Alaska and Logan’s savior shows up in a one piece bathing suit.  You’re not cold?? c) Once more back to Silver Foxes and back to Weapon X. How many times is this material going to be revisited?

AvX 7 -Magick v. Scarlet Witch; this should be interesting.Here’s my problem with Wanda: her powers are so ill-definied that they could be anything. So she’s shooting hex bolts one minute, then wiping out 99% of the mutant race, then completely neutralizing the Phoenix? BE CONSISTENT. Speaking of, what did Clint shoot at Emma to completely scramble her? I know he continued on that road by soccer kicking her, Pride-era Shogun Rua syle.  But then it ends poorly for Mr. Barton, but what did you expect, you kicked a demi-god in the face!Favorite line of the issue goes to The Black Panther and “…the Black Panther prowls the boundary between super science & magic”.  Has anyone else noticed that they can never draw Hope right. Sometime she looks like a super model and other times ( like this issue) she looks like a 12 year old. Interesting move by Emma which leads to a fantastic splash page to close out the issue.  Anyone else notice the cool little touch of Namor crushing the balcony he was holding on to after his disagreement with Cyclops?

 
Uncanny X-men 15 – Assault on Sinister! If Marvel’s 616 universe is happening in one analogous to ours, albeit with super heroes, how does anyone take them seriously? You’re telling me that the Marvel U 616 Conan isn’t making cracks at Cyclops’ red thong? Fox & Friends aren’t calling Emma a tramp? The Phoenix Five’s (still hate the name) condescension and verbal head-patting of the other X-Men is pretty funny.  “Don’t get up, we’ve got this”.  Somehow I expect Sinister to hand them their asses and need a save.  But that’s just me.

 
Animal Man 11 – Very cool call back to the original Animal Man series to open this issue.  Buddy gets a warning from his quas-saviors to “Be still, this will hurt very much. ” Alberto Ponticelli might be the perfect artist for this series; his drawings of The Rot are truly grotesque.

 
Swamp Thing 11 -We’re finally on the cusp: The Green & The Red vs. The Rot begins next issue! This issue is just the final set-up push to get there.  Not really feeling Marco Rudy’s art for this series though, much preferred Yanick Paquette.

 
Thief of Thieves 6 – A question for anyone reading this book: The hand image that makes up a portion of the title on both the cover and the credits page…is that a famous image from something, possibly Hitchcockian? That image also makes up a Tumblr & WordPress theme so it has to be fairly well known.  This seems like a bridge issue too; the big payoff looks to be (but probably won’t be) next issue. Which I think will help determine where this series is headed.  Because right now it seems like this could just be a 7 issue mini-series.

 
Amazing Spider-Man 688- Synchronicity ( and not The Police album)! The Lizard shows up just in time to coincide with the release of the Amazing Spider-Man. Here’s a question: how does Spider-Man heal? He gets the piss beat out of him on the reg but as far as I know he doesn’t have any sort of accelerated healing powers. My favorite part of this issue is when Mary Jane called out P.parker for his incredibly dumb new motto “When I’m around, no one dies”. I think she’s the mouthpiece for the comic book community because that is just the absolute thing SM has ever said. Another issue: does SM have some sort of voice modulator in his mask or something?  He bursts into Horizon labs where he works with people (geniuses, mind you) that he begins shouting at.  How do they not match Spidey’s voice with Parker’s? C’mon!

 
Amazing Spider-Man 689 – Moebius drooling over bloodwork is a perfect tough, as is The Lizard pretending to cry.”What is the proper human response to the? Ah. Flailing limbs. Wet eyes. Mewling.” Madame Web lives in my neighborhood (Astoria!!).

More after the jump, including the Book of the Week.

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Haul Thoughts: An Excellent Week

Crazy week; no time for jibba-jabba though, let’s dive right in with this week’s Haul Thoughts:

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century #03Best 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 #12Second 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?

Further Thoughts on This Week’s Comics Haul

AvX #04 – So Daredevil, Spider-Man and Spider-Woman are supposed to be a credible force to stop this Juggernaut/Colossus hybrid (that we’re now supposed to be accepting)? Doubtful. I did like Hope’s beer trap & Kid Omega’s hand in it though.  Ultimately, Avenger punch X-Man is superdumb. See: Captain America obliterating Gambit’s stupid Cajun face for no reason whatsoever. I think Steve Rogers might be a sociopath. “What? I was using a shield! It was just self-defense.”

Fantastic Four #605.1 – Pick this up not expecting much; WOW. This was an awesome issue. Shades of Red Son & Planetary; alt history done right. I don’t want to say anything further; just pick it up and enjoy.

Hardcore #01 – Sci-fi, espionage, covert military actions, Robert Kirkman.  This is one to watch.

Incredible Hulk #07.1 – Not sure what to make of the ending.  That being said, this issue did feature  one of the single creepiest sets of panels I’ve seen in comics in quite awhile.  And I read Alan Moore’s Neonomicon.   Followed a few pages later but one of the funniest.  As were the pages of the Hulk “sowing his oats”. Speaking of , if I’m not mistaken Amanda Von Doom had a three-way last issue with two gamma irradiated, Hulked out wild animals aboard her ship.  How is she…alive?  Digging what Jason Aaron is doing with this series.

Uncanny X-Men #12 – AvX tie-in.  Compared to Wolverine & The X-Men, this is the inferior title.  It’s still considered a flagship book though, so you think they would notice something simple like character placement.  Look at the top panel of the first page:

Top panel

Look where Cyclops is. Now look where Colossus,Psylocke and Domino are.  Got it? Now please explain the following panel (this was as the bottom of the same page!)

X bottom

Based on the positioning in the first panel, this second panel would seem to show Cyclops turning to face Dr. Nemesis and Namor. A quarter turn at most.  Yet somehow Domino, who he was looking at head on a panel ago is behind him, as is Psylocke who was behind him on his right side.  Only Colussus and his ridiculously sized (Leifeld sized, really) shoulder are where appropriately placed.

Bottom line: buy Image, boycott AvX.