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.

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.

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?