What’s I&N Store (3/4)

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(Sing along.  Go on.  You know how it goes.)

There’s a hole in my heart that can only be filled by comics.

No, really.  I’ve got a hole in my heart.  As of right now, however, my cardiologist is pretty firm in his opinion that comics are not the best option with which to fill it.

I’m in the market for a second opinion.

  • Hellboy & The B.P.R.D. #4 (Dark Horse): Hellish back-grenading, murderous monkey monsters, “insane Frankenstein crap,” and an ominous mound of bones–if that’s not enough to bring a reader back for more, I don’t know what is!
  • Lady Killer #3 (Dark Horse) I&N Demand #1 was one of our Top 5 books of January.  It announced its arrival: “Killer comic calling!” and left quite an impression.  #2 didn’t have the same effect–mostly because there was no surprise this time, and expectations were high going into it–but it certainly didn’t disappoint.  Joëlle Jones’ artwork is the big draw here–it’s elegantly aggressive and sells Josie’s separate spheres very well.  (Doesn’t hurt that it’s polished off to murderous–and motherly–perfection by Laura Allred’s color palette time machine.)  Story-wise: despite Josie’s denial, there’s definitely trouble on the horizon–yeah, Jones and Jamie S. Rich aren’t kidding around with the dilemma that’s driving the plot into #3.
Lady Killer #3

Lady Killer #3

  • Neverboy #1 (Dark Horse): Shaun Simon and Tyler Jenkins are blurring the lines “between the real and the imaginary.”  That’s right up my alley, gents!  (Consider how blown away I was–still am–by the lengths Matt Kindt went to tearing down the aforementioned lines in Mind MGMT #30, our favorite book of January.  Now, that’s how you do it!)  Oh, I’ll bite all right.  Professional prognostication: I’m thinking that this particular pick’ll be positively Pan-ed!
  • Detective Comics #40 (DC): All of a sudden, my Bat-book of choice is Manapul and Buccellato’s Detective.  How the heck did that happen?  The world’s gone mad!  It’s–it’s–Anarky!
  • G.I. Joe #6 (IDW): Through #4, I was all in.  I was like, “Yo Joe!”  I was 13 again–except for the fact that this wasn’t your grandHama‘s G.I. Joe; this was an elevated–and engrossing–approach from novelist Karen Traviss.  Again, through #4.  #5?  A rather muddled mess.  Damn thing’s literally all over the place!   Suddenly, I’m left wondering how much more I can take.
  • Descender #1 (Image) Just I&N and I&N Demand Lemire’s Descender is only the second title to earn both designations!  (The first: last week’s Mister X: Razed from master builder Dean Motter.)  The blurb on previewsworld.com has me thinking Blade Runner meets Essex County.  Yes, please.  Is there any doubt that this’ll ascend to the top of our list for the month of March?  Yeah.  Didn’t think so.
Descender #1

Descender #1

  • Nameless #2 (Image): If it weren’t Morrison, I’d be off after one.  I mean, I’m totally occulted out at this point.  If this issue isn’t particularly tight, I’m going to review it this way: Morrison’s occult/sci-fi mash up is Thomas Alsloppy.
  • Saga #26 (Image): Revolution calling!
  • All-New Hawkeye #1 (Marvel) I&N Demand Hoping that Lemire is fully invested–that he’s not going to be working at a fraction of his capabilities, especially now that he’s spreading himself as thin as a bowstring.  Boy, does he have a huge quiver to fill!  Also hoping that he doesn’t miss the mark as he did with Green Arrow.
All-New Hawkeye #1

All-New Hawkeye #1

  • Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #10 (Marvel): I&N Demand #9 was another explosion of kinetic cartooning from Kaare Andrews.  Great splashes, great layouts–the art as a whole elevates an already solid story, solid writing.  Reads with an energy similar to Kindt’s Mind MGMT.  “Ha-ha-hee!”  That’s high praise around these parts!
Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #10

Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #10

  • Miracleman #16 (Marvel) I&N Demand Classic isn’t strong enough a word to describe #15.  There are moments–impossible moments amplified by impossible choices–still gnawing at me.  It’s angels hurling mountains at each other; it’s George pulling the trigger.  It’s Alan Moore firing a canon at the superhero and building him anew. 
Miracleman #16

Miracleman #16

  • Princess Leia #1 (Marvel):  I don’t know.  I don’t really need it.  I don’t even want it.  But it is Waid and the Dodsons.  Ugh.  I haven’t loved Star Wars.  I’m even kinda cool on Darth Vader.  But it’s Waid and the Dodsons.  Damn it.  Go ahead Mr. Comic Shop Owner Guy: please ring it up.  Grumble, grumble.  Rebel scum.
  • Blackcross #1 (Dynamite): This is an Ellis buy. Recent résumé: Moon Knight was one of our Top Ten Books of 2014.  Trees, however, has been freakishly frustrating.  (He’s got to know that–he’s got to!  So there’s got to be a reason for his frustrating the hell out of us, right?  Am I too trusting?)  Even though I don’t have any experience with Project Superpowers, I’m going to give it a try.
  • Crossed +100 #3 (Avatar): I’m skulling Moore crossed with Burgess, which feels equal parts awkward and elevated. Pony me, malchicks?
  • Über #23 (Avatar): Gillen Hitlered a bunch of high notes in the most recent act of his Wagnerian war story.  “Capitulation or immolation,” indeed!
  • X-O Manowar #34 (Valiant): Remains one of the most consistent monthlies.  Never reaches rarefied air, but doesn’t need to to be effective.  The book’s biggest strength remains Aric, who has remained true to himself–and to us–thanks to Venditti’s thoughtful approach to his plight and his power.

I&Ntelligent Pick

  • Dry Spell TP (Action Labs/Danger Zone): Ken Krekeler and his brilliantly broken down Black Baron demand your attention.  Why?  Read our write up: the #3 Book of 2014.  Buy it, read it, and come back and thank us.
Dry Spell TP

Dry Spell TP

Avery’s Pick of the Week

  • Feathers #3 (BOOM!): My daughter is definitely down with Feathers!  Luckily, she’s not quite old enough to be down on puns.
Feathers #3

Feathers #3

What are you looking forward to this week?

Turning pages,

Scott

What’s I&N Store (2/25)

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This week offers up some big books–none bigger than Dean Motter’s Mister X: Razed.

Wait.  What?

You did a double-take, didn’t you?  You were expecting to read Spider-Gwen at the end of that superlative statement, weren’t you?

Ugh.

  • Colder: Bad Seed #5 (Dark Horse): Nimble Jack is back, baby!  Maybe that’ll add a little oomph to an otherwise lethargic exercise.  Tobin and Ferreyra cultivated a creepy tone early on but kind of got stuck in one place.  Man, I’d give the finger to this series, but I’d be worried about getting it back.
  • Mister X: Razed #1 (Dark Horse) Just I&N and I&N Demand It’s the first time a book has earned both enviable distinctions!  Oh, yeah, baby!  Mister X is back, and we couldn’t be any more excited!  One reason–and it’s a good one: back in 2013, Dean Motter delivered the brilliant Mr. X: Eviction, which earned the coveted #1 spot on our highly respected Top Ten list, beating out the likes of Mind MGMT, Six-Gun Gorilla, and Saga.  Now that’s gotta tell you something.  Can’t wait to see what Mr. Motter has to tell us this time around.
Mister X: Raze #1

Mister X: Razed #1

  • Bodies #8 (DC/Vertigo): Gosh.  #1 hit the shelves with such promise.  Unfortunately, the damn thing collapsed under its own weight and, as a result, has been a four-pronged slog ever since.  Glad it’s over.
  • Suiciders #1 (DC/Vertigo): Lee Bermejo’s doing his own thing.  Would be silly not to try it.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #43 (IDW): Reptilicious fun!  All sorts of backstabbing going on.  Good thing our favorite turtles have shells–and madd ninja skills.
  • Low #6 (Image): I’m still pretty high on Low.  Remender’s not ringing my bell anywhere else; but this diving bell of a book is tintinnabulous!
  • ODY-C #3 (Image): This gender-bending blitz on Homer’s epic is a damn siren’s song; it’s a party with the local lotophagi.  Didn’t dig it so much after the first issue.  Good thing I stuck around.
  • Rasputin #5 (Image): I’m riding it out ’til the end of the arc.  There isn’t much here that’s keeping my interest.
  • They’re Not Like Us #3 (Image) I&N Demand Deadly Class only wishes it was this good.  How would you act if you had superpowers?  Eric Stephenson’s got the answer.  Heck, it’s like a team full of feisty and rather petty Ozymandiases.  What’s going to happen when the stakes get raised?  Can’t wait to find out.
They're Not Like Us #3

They’re Not Like Us #3

  • The Wicked & The Divine #8 (Image) I&N Demand The book’s got attitude.  Yeah, this book’s a real bitch–a beautiful, effing bitch–one you’ve just desperate to have.  But even when you have it, you don’t really have it; it has you.
The Wicked & The Divine #8

The Wicked & The Divine #8

  • All-New X-Men #38 (Marvel): Chapter 4 of “The Black Vortex” crossover.  Yeah, I’m out of that loop.  Probably going to leave it on the shelf.  Hindsight is 22/22: should’ve done the same with the Ultimate waste of an arc.
  • Daredevil #13 (Marvel): Despite some strong work from Chris Samnee, the Stunt-Master arc wasn’t particularly exciting.  Reminds that Waid’s missed the mark some since making the move to the Left Coast.  This issue kicks off the final chapter of Waid and Samnee’s run.  I say perfect timing.  Speaking of perfect: how about Samnee’s cover:
Daredevil #13

Daredevil #13

  • Darth Vader #2 (Marvel): #1 was fine.  Was the Force with it?  Not so sure about that.  Got to give Gillen another go-round to see just how dark his helmet gets.
  • Men Of Wrath #5 (Marvel/Icon): I’ve enjoyed it enough.  Father-son stories always hit me where it hurts.  It’s like “Cat’s in the Cradle” but the cat’s been blown to furry bits by a blast of buckshot.  “When you comin’ home son, I don’t know when, but I’ll fill you full of lead, dad, you know I’ll shoot you in the head…”
  • Spider-Gwen #1: Ha!  Made you look!
  • Thor Annual #1 (Marvel): I’m leaning toward passing.  Annuals rarely offer anything of worth–and are rarely worth the inflated price.
  • The Black Hood #1 (Archie): Duane Swierczynski and Michael Gaydos (who took a great turn on Zero) go all X-rated for Archie Comics?  That’s right: the images, the synopsis–I’m thinking X, Swierczynski’s violent vigilante haunt over at Dark Horse.  I mean, right?
  • Evil Empire #11 (BOOM!) I&N Demand I love Evil Empire!  This month’s not-so-sheepish cover from Jay Shaw:
Evil Empire #11

Evil Empire #11

  • Quantum & Woody Must Die #2 (Valiant): As much as I wanted to not want to want to play this game of life and death with the Valiant brain trust, #1 wasn’t bad.
  • The Twilight Zone: Shadow & Substance #2 (Dynamite): Mark Rahner and Edu Menna have huge shoes to fill, mostly because the recently–and brilliantly–wrapped-up The Twilight Zone‘s Straczynski and Vilanova have big-ass feet.

 Avery’s Pick of the Week

  • Abigail and the Snowman #3 (BOOM!): My daughter’s kind of scared of the Snowman.  She has to convince herself that it’s just a cartoon–the same way she talks herself down when Marshmallow shows up in Frozen.  Still she’s made it her pick of the week.
Abigail and the Snowman #3

Abigail and the Snowman #3

What are you looking forward to this week?

Turning pages,

Scott

What’s I&N Store (2/18)

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Wednesday’s forecast for the weather outside of my local comic shop is pretty much the same as its been: as cold as can be.  (I guess someone’s gone and ticked off Elsa again.)  The forecast for inside, however, is hot hot hot!  (That’s right: the way to thaw a frozen heart is with an act of true love–in this case, a perfectly pulled bag of comics!)  Speaking of hot books: our Top Ten Books of 2014 is well represented this week.  Take a peek:

  • BPRD: Hell on Earth #128 (Dark Horse): Has been good–not great.  Definitely glad I jumped on board, though.
  • Dark Horse Presents #7 (Dark Horse): DHP has been great–especially at the new price point.  This month’s edition offers up a little Matt Kindt–and Mignola, Van Lente, Aragonés, and more!  Talk about bang for your buck!
  • Batman and Robin #39 (DC): The Action-packed cover’s very clever:
Batman and Robin #39

Batman and Robin #39

I know better, though: B&R‘s been a huge disappointment for months now.  In fact, I finally got around to dropping it from my pull list last month.  No longer under any obligation, I should leave it on the shelf and fill the void with something new.  God knows there will be plenty of players for the spot.  Image alone has a thousand new titles coming out in the next few months, so…

  • The Multiversity: Mastermen #1 (DC) Just I&N Morrison’s Multiversity has been a metafiction metahuman masterwork!  And now, Mastermen–with every-panel’s-a-pinup Jim Lee on art duties.
Multiversity: Mastermen #1

Multiversity: Mastermen #1

  • Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw #4 (Image): I can’t be the only one who’s noticed: the current arc of Astro City‘s been a bit blah; but this has been really, really good.  Coincidence?
  • Bitch Planet #3 (Image): I enjoyed #1 for all sorts of reasons (exploiting exploitation, lots of Tarantino, hints of Fraction, etc.).  Hey: borrowing works well when it works well.  Oh, but when it doesn’t…  #2 lost me from the get-go–especially as I was taken immediately to a low budget modern-day exploitation flick that I caught one night on one of the Showtime or HBO channels: Raze, starring Tarantino darling Zoë Bell.  Coincidence?
Raze (2013)

Raze (2013)

I’ll try this one and see where it takes me.

  • Lazarus #15 (Image) I&N Demand Our #2 book of 2014!  It’s what we’ve been waiting for for like, well, forever: Forever in a Trial by Combat against another Lazarus!
Lazarus #15

Lazarus #15

  • Secret Identities #1 (Image): Jay Faerber’s earned Must Try status with Copperhead.
  • All-New Captain America #4 (Marvel): I know, I know.  But it hasn’t been terrible.  And this time out, Remender’s dusting off the Armadillo!  Gotta wonder, though, what effect Secret Wars is going to have on this little experiment–and if it’s worth following a dead title shelf-sitting.
  • Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #9 (Marvel): I love what Kaare Andrews is doing with Danny Rand.  In fact, Iron Fist was my #16 book of 2014–and my third-favorite superhero monthly after Silver Surfer and Moon Knight.  High praise, indeed!
  • Magneto #15 (Marvel): Bunn’s done a nice job of telling stories from issue to issue.  He’s delivered some nice twists along the way, too.  #14 ended with Magneto’s giving himself up to S.H.I.E.L.D.  Wonder what his endgame is…
  • Moon Knight #12 (Marvel) I&N Demand Our #8 book of 2014!  #11 ended on a bit of a down note–you know, with Marc Spector falling out of a flying detention facility and all.  (Wood and Smallwood must’ve watched–and liked–Stallone’s waterlogged–yet undeniably watchable–prison break bingo, Escape Plan, as they delivered quite an homage with Spector in Stallone’s role and Khonshu in Schwarzenegger’s.)  Not looking forward to saying goodbye to Wood and Smallwood, but I am looking forward to seeing how they end their arc–and how they leave things for Cullen Bunn and Ron Ackins.  Maybe they’ll reach back to Bullet to the Head.  Or Avenging Angelo
Moon Knight #12

Moon Knight #12

  • Silver Surfer #9 (Marvel) I&N Demand Our #4 book of 2014!  Well orchestrated fun from Dan Slott and Michael Allred!  The biggest–and best–superhero monthly around–and this issue promises to be HUGE!
Silver Surfer #9

Silver Surfer #9

  • Uncanny X-Men #31 (Marvel): Bendis is on his way out.  That promises some real havoc in the X-Universe.  No, really–look:
Uncanny X-Men #31

Uncanny X-Men #31

  • Burning Fields #2 (BOOM!): Kinda like a cross between The Killing and Homeland.  Not a bad thing.
  • Cap Stone #3 (Titan): Some real high points: the conversation between Charlie and her mom; the wild shifts in Sharp’s artwork.  Some low points, too: the conversation between Charlie and her mom; the wild shifts in Sharp’s artwork.  I loved #1.  #2, however, exposed a serious flaw: inconsistency.  Still intriguing enough, though.
  • Mono #3 (Titan): Another book from Liam Sharp that took a step back after a very promising premier.  What spoiled the sophomore offering: the conversation–coincidence?–between Heinrich and Isabella, which acts as a dragline on the storyline.  Also seems waaaaaay too serious for a book about an ape-man secret agent and assassin for the Queen, doesn’t it?  It’s so goddamned dour!  I do like the layered approach that Sharp’s taking to create the Mono myth, however.
  • The Valiant #3 (Valiant) I&N Demand I liked #1 enough–but I absolutely loved #2!  I was particularly struck by the artistic collaboration between Lemire and Kindt on the storybook section.  Sure, many of the notes that are struck remind of Lemire’s run on Animal Man; but what the hell–they work well here, so all the better!
The Valiant #3

The Valiant #3

  • The Twilight Zone #12 (Dynamite) I&N Demand Our #10 book of 2014!  This issue ends an extremely powerful arc and Straczynski and Vilanova’s superior run.  So sad to see this go.  Hmm.  Maybe–just maybe–I could travel back in time and kill another series–Dream Police, for instance–in its place…
The Twilight Zone #12

The Twilight Zone #12

What are you looking forward to this week?

Turning pages,

Scott

I&N’s Top Ten Books of 2014

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Welcome to the 34th edition of I&N’s Top Ten Comics of the Year! Why, it seems like just yesterday we were bestowing our top honor to a little known comic from across the pond titled Warrior #1 (1982), solely for its inclusion of the work of a budding, young upstart named Alan Moore (who subsequently sent us a scroll with a nigh-illegible incantation, which was either a note of thanks or a curse from the Necronomicon; we could never tell which). While we dug his nascent V for Vendetta, it was his writing on Marvelman that enthralled. Happily, after a long absence, the original stories are finally being reprinted by Marvel Comics of all places (now re-titled Miracleman, due to the book’s long and tortured publishing history in which Marvel itself played an ignominious part). Viewed through the lens of history, this groundbreaking work has often been seen as Moore’s warm-up to his seminal, ubiquitous Watchmen. Visiting these stories afresh, however, it quickly becomes apparent that Moore’s initial go at “realistic” superheroes is as poetic, disquieting and masterful as his better-known oeuvre. Indeed, it’s a good thing we already recognized Marvelman’s greatness. Otherwise, despite Marvel’s awkward presentation (half of each issue is filler? and polybagged for no discernible reason?) these brilliant, essential tales would likely top our list again.

Speaking of which!

10. The Twilight Zone (Dynamite):

This is the dimension of J. Michael Straczynski’s imagination.  It is an area which we call the #10 book of 2014.  Returning to a creative comfort zone, J.M.S. has penned a series of meticulously plotted arcs that could easily stand as episodes of the iconic television show, each issue filled with tight twists, palpable fear, and ethical dilemmas that try and crush the souls of men and women alike.  Complementing Straczynski’s script is the gorgeous work of artist Guiu Vilanova, who draws out the fateful schemes in a realistic manner, making the unreal scenarios that much more believable–that much more frightening.  So while Straczynski might be going through the motions with some of his other titles, here he’s most assuredly in the zone.  We, unlike his protagonists, are the luckier for it; and Rod Serling’s somewhere out there in the timeless fifth dimension smiling, smoking–and waiting for the next issue of The Twilight Zone to hit the shelves.  Sadly, Straczynski and Vilanova’s terrific turn on this moralistic monster of a comic has but one issue left!  Ah, yet another cruel twist…(SC)

The Twilight Zone #4

The Twilight Zone #4

9. Wild’s End (BOOM!):

At this point, the mash-up is a long accepted (if not well-worn) artistic trope throughout all types of media. Indeed the initial collaboration between creators Dan Abnett and I.N.J. Culbard yielded The New Deadwardians, a ripping Victorian detective story simply teeming with zombies and vampires wot, wot! Wild’s End’s mix of The Wind in the Willows and The War of the Worlds may seem an unlikely entry into the burgeoning genre at first (and ill-advised besides, given Alan Moore’s own memorable War of the Worlds mash-up in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). But in the end, what matters, as it always has, is the telling. Abnett fully realizes the quaint comforts of his cozy anthropomorphized village, before threatening to tear it to shreds. Culbard’s rendering is uncluttered and timeless, effortlessly evoking both 19th century fairy tales and 1950’s sci-fi cinema. Most mash-ups hold their disparate elements in stark relief. The magic of this one is that it seems utterly seamless, as though these genres had been married from the start. The result is deceptively simple and completely enchanting. (DM)

Wild's End #3

Wild’s End #3

8. Moon Knight (Marvel):

It’s an I&N first!  That’s right: we’re celebrating a book that has had two different creative teams–over the course of the title’s first ten issues, no less!  Yeah, that’s usually a bad sign.  Not here, though: the launch team of Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey rocketed this latest incarnation of the second-string, schizophrenic servant of Khonshu into lunar orbit.  In a series of connected one-offs, Ellis finds his–and Marc Spector’s–voice while favoring frugality: displaying his mastery of the craft–and enough confidence to cast a long shadow over some of his long-winded contemporaries–he wisely withdraws his words from the massive moments, not because they are unnecessary, but to allow Shalvey to shine like the fullest of moons–and shine he does, showcasing loudly his silent storytelling through striking sequences issue after issue.  Now, the news that this team was only on board for a sixer didn’t come as a surprise, but it was disappointing, especially considering what the pair had accomplished in so short a time.  The disappointment wouldn’t last long, however: the new team–Brian Wood and Greg Smallwood–came in with a clear plan and executed it with a vengeance.  They were clearly not intimidated by the work before them, and their fearlessness helped them to hit the Marc–changing the titular character to suit this new phase–one that so far reads not unlike an episode–or an arc–of The Twilight Zone.  Man, I only wish they’d gibbous more than one more issue!  (See: sticking to the motif: it’s on to a newer phase–and on to creative team number three–with #13.)  What they–both teams–have given us, however, has been superior–and vital–superhero fare; what they’ve given us is a white knight to lead us out of the dark. (SC)

Moon Knight #1

Moon Knight #1

7. Zero (Image):

Certainly the most frustrating title on our list, Ales Kot’s nihilistic super-spy thriller could range from the poetically sublime one issue to incoherent violence the next. At different points this year we named it both Book of the Month and Biggest Dis(appointment) – one thing you could never call this book was ‘predictable’. But at its best, this title (drawn by an impressive roster of rotating artists) was at once lyrically beautiful and viscerally harrowing, loosely tethered, as it was, to real life arenas of violence. This was never more true than in issue #9, a tale (an origin story it turns out) set in the Bosnian War that encompassed deceit and innocence, hope and despair, and a tragic ultimatum that yielded new life in the face of brutal murder. Told in a spare 22 pages, it was possibly the best single comic we read all year. Holding up a mirror to the darkness of recent history, and shining a light upon it, however frail, not only to remember, but also to try to render something beautiful out of it, may well be a fruitless exercise. It may also be art. (DM)

Zero #10

Zero #10

6. Afterlife with Archie (Archie):

A no-brainer, really–well, only because said brains have been exuberantly consumed by the Jughead-led undead of Riverdale.  Maestro Roberto Aguirre Sacasa and the perfectly frightening Franceso Francavilla have continued their brazen exploration into the heart of nostalgia by wearing the mask of familiarity while delivering something wholly unexpected–something undeniably challenging and zombeautiful.  And, of course, there’s issue #4–our #2 book of March and one of the best single issues of the year–which, doggone it, made me cry.  Real tears.  See: as it turns, what happens to Vegas stays with you for a long, long time–like that heartbreaking song that’s so perfectly composed that you get lost in the shadow of every sorrowful note–and hope to never be found again.  Sure, this isn’t the afterlife that they pitched in Sunday school, but if I’m being honest–and maybe a little bit blasphemous–I like this one a hell of a lot more.  (SC)

Afterlife With Archie #4

Afterlife With Archie #4

5. The Massive (Dark Horse):

Environmental degradation and societal collapse have always been the subtext in Brian Wood’s magisterial, globe-trotting mystery. Well, in its unsparing final act, (with appropriately stark visuals by Garry Brown and Jordie Bellaire) subtext became text as the Ahab-like search for a missing vessel, which previously drove the narrative, was transformed into Judgement Day, with all the biblical proportion that implies. One always suspected that Wood would get around to driving his point home; that he did so with such force contrasted sharply with earlier issues, which were told with a subtlety that sometimes veered toward the opaque. The apocalyptic ending, with its uneasy mix of hope and misanthropy, served as a case study for a failed species: humanity. The series, in the end, is an impassioned, ecological cri de guerre, but one that is packed in a masterpiece of storytelling. (DM)

The Massive #24

The Massive #24

4. Silver Surfer (Marvel):

Of the so-called “Big Two” in 2014, Marvel seemed to have the more cohesive game plan. Certainly, they thrived on the expected, event-driven, media-tie-in franchise titles. But they balanced the relentless grinding of the hype machine with some surprisingly refreshing takes on some of their lesser known characters; those B and C – listers who exist at a remove from the shenanigans of the their bread-and-butter superstars. That remove and relative obscurity allowed for a certain amount of freedom. Marvel, to their credit, brought in some top-tier talent and gave them a free hand with these characters (see Moon Knight, above). Call them the Outliers, for their success seems to be in inverse proportion to their proximity to the main goings on of the Marvel U. (Even everyone’s darling, Ms. Marvel, began to flag once she was saddled with Wolverine guest-appearances and increasing ties to Marvel’s ongoing Inhumanity storyline). What better place then for Silver Surfer to be, than on the fringes of the known universe? Dan Slott’s inspired choice of setting not only wisely removed him from the chess board, so to speak, it gives wunderkind artist Mike Allred the largest possible canvas in which to unleash imagination. Aliens, other dimensions, planet casinos; Allred brings the F-U-N to any project he’s involved in. As I’ve said before, he seems to inspire his collaborators to elevate their game, and Slott has proven up to the challenge. Together they’ve concocted the kind of absurdly sublime cosmic romp one would be hard-pressed to find anywhere this side of Terry Pratchett. And in Dawn Greenwood, small-town girl from Anchor Bay, Mass., they created the most winning new Marvel character of the year (the aforementioned Ms. Marvel notwithstanding). Finally, in pairing the Man from Beyond the Stars with the Girl Next Door, they also have the makings of the most adorable budding romance in comics. Truly they’ve producing the best monthly super-hero book on the stands. Let’s hope it survives Marvel’s Next Big Thing. (DM)

Silver Surfer #7

Silver Surfer #7

3. Dry Spell (Action Labs/Danger Zone):

Ken Krekeler’s Dry Spell is a book that kicks off with a bold promise–one in the form an artfully chosen quotation from the incomparable Alan Moore.  In fact, I bought the book because I figured anyone ballsy enough to borrow so brazenly from the best must have something to say.  Turns out that Krekeler didn’t have something to say after all–he had something to shout!  Hey, Ken: I hear you.  Loud and clear.  OK, so, it took re-releasing your book (originally published through Krekeler’s own Kinetic Press in 2011) through a more established outfit like Action Labs to finally reach me; but thank goodness for that–for the person who knew this book needed to reach me and that it could only reach me this way; otherwise, I would’ve been deprived of this superb take on the superhero genre–a canvas filled with small voices and big moments, crazy twists and smart page-turns–in total, a “Howl” for the villain in us all.  Krekeler–a previously unknown quantity–delivers on his book’s bold promise by taking advantage of the medium, particularly with his inventive dialogue and his sympathetic color palette; and he serves up a finale–the definitive finale–a perfect final issue that hits massive notes–the biggest struck by the tsunami of splash pages, the last–reminiscent of Rocky and Apollo (coincidence?) throwing punches that never quite connect at the end of Rocky III–declaring the Black Baron’s personal dry spell officially over.  Good to know that this superior series–and best mini of 2014–isn’t over: the inside back cover of #4 makes another bold promise–one that Krekeler better keep, if he knows what’s good for him–and for us: Dry Spell 2 is coming soon.  Yeah, not soon enough. (SC)

Dry Spell #4

Dry Spell #4

2. Lazarus (Image):

What would you get if 1984 was directed by Francis Ford Coppola from a screenplay written by Noam Chomsky? The answer might look a lot like Lazarus. Alternating between a macro view of a near-future worldwide economic catastrophe and a microcosm of the inner-workings of one of the powerful Families who rose to power because of it, Lazarus, like most great socially-minded science fiction, feels at once expansive and suffocating. Creators Greg Rucka and Michael Lark have hit that sweet spot of dystopian dread, where the reader is exhilarated by the sheer breadth of this brave new world, even as its does its best to debase, dehumanize and stamp out any sign of resistance from its inhabitants. No mere escapism this; its true power comes from the realization that the seeds of the future nightmare it describes are currently being planted all around us, if only we would notice. Lazarus is a visionary sci-fi masterpiece for the early 21st century. (DM)

Lazarus #9

Lazarus #9

1. Mind MGMT (Dark Horse):

There was no denying Matt Kindt’s kinetic masterpiece this time around.  Its ascension to the top spot of our annual Top Ten was as inevitable as truth and death: #3 (2012), #2 (2013), and now #1, the spot it so richly deserves for its clever cover homages (re: Rousseau [#18] and Magritte [#22]) and its ebullient barrages of images and words, which create a reading-cum-sensory experience even more unique than unique to the comic book genre.  The year flew by in a fury of frantic page turns: from Meru’s failed recruitment of Ella the Animal Kid, an inventive and intense story inspired by Kindt’s own daughter and one of our favorite single issues of the year; to the illusory introduction of the Magician; to the frustratingly thoughtful silent issue, which actually earned the ignominious title of Biggest Dis(appointment) for the month of April; to Kindt’s pushing the petal-to-the-metal to reach the speed of heartbreak, the result of the death of a major character; to the father of clichéd revelations that manages to be fresh and affecting; and ultimately, to a showdown that’s all show up, leaving us to wait a little while longer for the final throw down between Meru and the Eraser.  Kindt drives the narrative as only he can with his unexpected layouts and whitewater watercolors.  His Field Guide/Voice of God–voice of Meru!–marginalia continue to draw more into the story, allowing us to draw more out–more out of the relative reality of the universe he’s created; more out of the fiction that empowers Meru in climactic moments; more out of the memories that are either reality or fiction–or both.  There’s unquestionably more here in Mind MGMT than in any book on the shelf, which makes this our easy pick for the #1 book of 2014. (SC)

Mind MGMT #24

Mind MGMT #24

Derek’s Honorable Mentions: 20. Multiversity (DC) 19. Archer and Armstrong (Valiant) 18. Cap’n Dinosaur (Image) 17. Satellite Sam (Image) 16. The Fade Out (Image) 15. Punks: The Comic (Image) 14. Copperhead (Image) 13. Ordinary (Titan) 12. Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland (IDW) 11. Adventure Time (kaboom! – so long Ryan North & co.!)

Scott’s Honorable Mentions: 20. BPRD (Dark Horse) 19. Saga (Image) 18. Evil Empire (BOOM!) 17. Satellite Sam (Image) 16. Iron Fist: The Living Weapon (Marvel) 15. Stray Bullets: Killers (Image) 14. Southern Bastards (Image) 13. Brass Sun (2000 AD) 12. East of West (Image) 11. The Wicked & The Divine (Image)

Publisher of the Year:
This was the year that Image Comics doubled-down on its core strategy: attracting top-tier talent from throughout the industry and parlaying their success to create a space where lesser-known creators can play as well. The result was an avalanche of diversity that exemplified the boundless range of the medium (just check out how many Image titles made our Honorable Mentions, not to mention the two on our Top Ten). Were they all winners? Of course not. But each title was allowed to be its own idiosyncratic, little thing. To wit: Madame Frankenstein. Perhaps not one of the year’s best, Jamie S. Rich’s odd melange of Shelly’s classic horror story, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s milieu, Pygmalion‘s mores (stretched to their logical conclusion) and even Kafka-esque fatalism at the end, was unlike anything else on the stands, possibly ever. Furthermore, Megan Levens tackled such complex, macabre subject matter with an art style that was a cartoony blend of Jeff Smith and Ted Naifeh; in other words something one is more accustomed to seeing in a YA book. As a visual approach, it stretched the overall reading experience almost to the point of incongruity. Was Madame Frankenstein a complete success? I’m still not sure. But it sure was fascinating watching the creators try. And for giving such singular titles like this one a place to exist, I’m grateful to Image Comics. (DM)

Turning pages,

Derek & Scott

What’s I&N Store (2/11)

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Snow what?  I’m definitely digging the blizzard of comics–whether good or bad–in the forecast for my area.

  • Resurrectionists #4 (Dark Horse)
  • Astro City #20 (DC/Vertigo)
  • Satellite Sam #11 (Image): I&N Demand Sam‘s been gone for a while.  Can’t wait to get back into the sordid swing of things.  Hope my guy has it in stocking–I mean, stock.  Gosh.  This cover’s got me Chaykin in my heels.
Satellite Sam #11

Satellite Sam #11

  • Southern Bastards #6 (Image): I&N Demand The shift in the focus of the narrative was surprising, sure.  It’s also been pretty boss.  A punishing tale of persistence that is its own reward.
Southern Bastards #6

Southern Bastards #6

  • All-New X-Men #36 (Marvel)
  • Darth Vader #1 (Marvel)
  • Thor #5 (Marvel)
  • Brides of Helheim #4 (Oni)
  • Divinity #1 (Valiant): Just I&N Matt Kindt’s next Valiant venture.  Sure, I didn’t like Rai very much; I even lost interest in Unity pretty quickly.  But I’m enjoying The Valiant and am curious to see Kindt’s take on Ninjak.  This, however, is the one I’m looking forward to the most.  I certainly wouldn’t mind if Kindt manages to give me another book to love–you know, to eventually fill the massive void that’ll be created as Mind MGMT reaches its inevitable end.
Divinity #1

Divinity #1

  • Magnus: Robot Fighter #11 (Dynamite)
  • Q2: The Return of Quantum and Woody #5 (Valiant)
  • Rachel Rising #31 (Abstract Studio)
  • The Sixth Gun #46 (Oni)
  • Über #22 (Avatar)
  • War Stories #5 (Avatar)
  • Wild’s End #6 (BOOM!): I&N Demand Wild’s End ends here.  How much does that suck!?  The first five issues have been anthropomorphically delicious!  We have been in love with this series–from Dan Abnett and I.N.J. Culbard–since the deceptively simple and surprisingly affective first issue.  (Between you, me, and the scary-ass lamppost: we loved it so much that we named it one of our favorite books of 2014.  No, you haven’t missed anything: we haven’t gotten around to publishing the list yet; but it’s coming soon–I promise.)  If you’ve pretty much missed the train on this one, do yourself a favor and put the trade on your list.  You will not be disappointed.
Wild's End #6

Wild’s End #6

 

What are you looking forward to this week?

Turning pages,

Scott

What’s I&N Store (2/4)

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Nothing beats a deep freeze like a bag of sizzling hot comics!  Right?

Right?

Of course not.  The deep freeze doesn’t give a sleet how hot the books are.

Still worth the risk, though, of jumping into the ol’ snowmobile and maybe–quite possibly–most assuredly–running off the road, ramming into another road warrior, and/or crashing right through the façade of your favorite comic shop.

Right?

Right.

Whoa, wait: I may have something here: a drive thru comic shop…

Somebody get on that.

  • Hellboy & The B.P.R.D. #3 (Dark Horse)
  • Lady Killer #2 (Dark Horse) I&N Demand I tweeted this out about a perfectly executed #1 because I had to:

Lady Killer #1 was pretty great. Familiar notes with a fresh face: “Avon calling!”

Very much looking forward to this one.

Lady Killer #2

Lady Killer #2

  • Detective Comics #39 (DC)
  • Superman #38 (DC) I&N Demand New costume?  Thank God.  New power?  Say what?  It’s as bright as day: Johns and JRJ have been like twin yellow suns re-energizing the Last Son of Krypton; so I’m down with whatever it is they want to do.
Superman #38

Superman #38

  • G.I. Joe #5 (IDW)
  • Birthright #5 (Image)
  • East of West #17 (Image) I&N Demand Everything about East of West has been great.  Hickman went bigger with this world of his, and he’s owned it–like a mad god suffering from significant stretches of lucidity.
East of West #17

East of West #17

  • Nameless #1 (Image) Just I&N Grant Morrison.  Chris Burnham.  See: not so nameless after all.
Nameless #1

Nameless #1

  • Saga #25 (Image)
  • Sheltered #14 (Image)
  • Stray Bullets: Sunshine and Roses #1 (Image) I&N Demand The follow-up to the killer Killers arc.  Didn’t read Killers?  Haven’t been hit by any Stray Bullets at all?  Consider this a jumping on point–one that’ll inspire you to jump backward into the satisfyingly-uncomfortable line of fire; into a shotgun blast of expertly-wielded ambiguity.  Pull the trigger, you son of a gun!  Give Sunshine and Roses a shot!
Stray Bullets: Sunshine and Roses #1

Stray Bullets: Sunshine and Roses #1

  • Velvet #9 (Image)
  • Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #3 (Marvel)
  • Hawkeye #21 (Marvel)
  • Miracleman #15 (Marvel)
  • Star Wars #2 (Marvel)
  • The United States of Murder #6 (Marvel/Icon)
  • Annihilator #5 (Legendary) I&N Demand Lots of lovely layers here.  Meta magic courtesy of Mr. Morrison.  Looks great, too, thanks to the digitally dreamy artwork of Frazer Irving.
Annihilator #5

Annihilator #5

  • The Bunker #9 (Oni)
  • Feathers #2 (BOOM!)
  • Imperium #1 (Valiant)
  • The Sixth Gun: Days of the Dead #5 (Oni)
  • X-O Manowar #33 (Valiant)

What?  No Wytches?  Risking stitches: didn’t care for it.  Tried.  Couldn’t.  I blame the tone problems rooted in #1.  Can’t unsee needless tirades, right?

Right?

What are you looking forward to this week?

Turning pages,

Scott

 

What’s I&N Store (1/28)

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Snow snow snow, snow snow snow snow snow.  Snow?  Snow!  Snow snow snow snow.  Snow snow snow snow; snow snow snow snow, snow snow snow snow.

  • Colder: The Bad Seed #4 (Dark Horse): I don’t want to go pointing fingers, but…
  • Mind MGMT #30 (Dark Horse): I&N Demand Admission: I’m an Eraserhead.  Looks like this Eraser-focused offering will leave my shoulders speckled with rubbery residue.
Mind MGMT #30

Mind MGMT #30

  • Bodies #7 (DC/Vertigo): An autopsy has revealed that there’s life yet in Bodies.  Oops.  Nothing more awkward than a premature postmortem.  Sorry, Mr. Spencer et al.   Didn’t mean to doubt.  I’m believing again–and just in time, too.
  • Alex + Ada #12 (Image): So beautifully human.  Sure, the dialogue reads like it’s right out of an episode of Girlmore Girls–you know, that bizarre, hypnotic monotone that’s so damn maddening.  Thing is, it’s not off-putting here; it’s actually strangely affecting.  But most of all, I love the subtle shifts in the art from one panel to the next.  Speaks so loudly without a single word.
  • Bitch Planet #2 (Image): Ouch!  Kelly Sue DeConnick went and bitch slapped me and my low expectations for her women in prison send up.  I’m man enough to admit: in #1, she exploits exploitation expertly, reminiscent of Tarantino at times–which is a pretty deadly compliment.  Here’s another: throughout, I heard–more so, I saw with a hawk’s eye, if only in fractions, her hubby’s voice.  Heck, yeah, I’m gonna grab #2.  Doesn’t mean I’m in for life.  We’ll call it probation–with higher expectations this time around.
  • The Dying & the Dead #1 (Image): Just I&N Jonathan Hickman’s Image work has been pretty great–particularly East of West, which has been nothing short of great of late.  No reason to expect anything less here.
The Dying & The Dead #1

The Dying & The Dead #1

  • Rasputin #4 (Image): I was mostly on board through two.  #3, however, felt a little light on substance.  I’ll thumb through this one and hope for heavier.  Wouldn’t be the worst thing if I decided to drop it, if I’m being honest.
  • They’re Not Like Us #2 (Image) I&N Demand OK, so, we’ve heard this one before, right?  Of course we have.  And we’ll keep hearing it, too–but maybe not quite like this.  See: all those other X-wannabes are not like They’re Not Like Us.  Ha!  I worked it out!  Anyway…  Sure, the book read well enough: the writing’s solid; the art works.  But I wasn’t completely sold until the end note.  Yeah, that’s a damn fine way to end a familiar tune.  Hoping that Stephenson and Gane keep separating themselves from the others with a strong sophomore effort.
They're Not Like Us #2

They’re Not Like Us #2

  • Zero #14 (Image): I&N Demand One of our favorite books of 2014.  (Just how favorite?  You’ll have to wait to find out.)  After a big time low point, Kot’s found his voice–which, at times, has been splendidly silent, allowing the artiste du mois to do the real talking.  Very much looking forward to what Kot’s got in store for us to kick off 2015.
Zero #14

Zero #14

  • Thor #4 (Marvel): Despite its heavy handedness–not related to Mjolnir, mind you–#1 was a promising start.  Since then, however, the book’s reminded of Superior Spider-Man–everything I hated about Superior Spider-Man.  I should probably pass.
  • Uncanny X-Men #30 (Marvel): Uncanny‘s been a ton better than All-New of late.  And that’s all I have to say about that.
  • The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood #4 (Dynamite): Everyone loves a good ethical dilemma.  No one does ‘em better in comics than J. Michael Straczynski (The Twilight Zone).  He’s not writing this.  But it’s not bad.  Credit Christina Blanch and Chris Carr for the fact that TDoCW is engaging on that “What would you do in the same situation?” kind of level.  (For the record: I’d do whatever it takes to take care of my daughters; so I feel for Charlie–and am rooting for him.)  I think my interest is amplified by the fact that good ol’ Charlie Wormwood’s an English teacher, who most assuredly has learned a lesson or two about ethical dilemmas through the novels and stories he’s read and taught through the years.  He probably never thought he’d be the one sitting across the table from the devil…
  • Evil Empire #10 (BOOM!): I&N Demand I really like what Max Bemis has been doing in his crazy country worth of comicbook.  Evil Empire is smart, aware, fearless, and, above all, entertaining as &%$@.  Happy to see Victor Santos–owner of a very distinct style–on visuals.  And, as always, Jay Shaw on cover duty:
Evil Empire #10

Evil Empire #10

  • Quantum and Woody Must Die #1 (Valiant): Yeah, I love Quantum and Woody and what Asmus has done with them, but I’m leaning toward leaving this on the shelf.  I just don’t like the games Valiant’s playing with the all-of-a-sudden minis and one-shots.  Just give me a damn series to follow!  For example:
  • X-O Manowar #32 (Valiant): I can’t believe I’m thirty-two issues in!  Credit to Robert Venditti.  He’s so good at X’s and O’s that he could probably coach a basketball team.  Hell, he could take over the Knicks right now.  Couldn’t do any worse than Derek Fisher.  Right?

Avery’s Pick of the Week

  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #27 (IDW): My daughter loves her ponies–and not just in comics, either.  We’re an MLP blind bag family, thanks mostly to DCTC (Disney Cars Toy Club)–otherwise known as YouTube Crack for Kids.  We opened two blind bags tonight.  Got a new one–Lucky Swirl, who looks a lot like Twilight Sparkle–and a “same duplicate,” as my daughter calls it.  Yup: another Neon Lights.  Yay.
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #27

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #27

What are you looking forward to this week?

Turning pages,

Scott

What’s I&N Store (1/21)

Lots of exciting stuff coming out this week, including two Titan-ic follow-ups to two sharp–and unmistakingly Moore-ish–first issues; a finale that finally flies our way after what feels like forever; and one of my favorite TV shows brought back to life–as a comic!

  • BPRD: Hell on Earth #127 (Dark Horse): I’m a believer!  Better late than never, no?
  • Dark Horse Presents #6 (Dark Horse): A prologue of Kindt’s PastAways keeps me on DHP for at least one more month.
  • Batman and Robin #38 (DC): New pull list will be New 52 free as of this week.  Dropping this…
  • Wonder Woman #38 (DC) ..and this.
  • Millennium #1 (IDW) Just I&N Three seasons just wasn’t enough!  Now that Frank Black’s back–after sixteen years!–I can focus all of my wish energies toward a comic book continuation of My So-Called Life.  Not kidding.
Millennium #1

Millennium #1

  • The October Faction #4 (IDW): Has been generally underwhelming.  Too far in to quit now.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #42 (IDW): If Old Hob’s goofy mutant crew couldn’t turn me off–guess I’m in for the long haul!
  • Wild Blue Yonder #6 (IDW) I&N Demand Check out our exclusive advance review here.
Wild Blue Yonder #6

Wild Blue Yonder #6

  • Autumnlands: Tooth and Claw #3 (Image): Busiek’s building something pretty powerful over here–so powerful it needed a longer title to express just how powerful it is!  Worth jumping on–or, better, catching up with–if you haven’t done so already.
  • The Wicked & The Divine #7 (Image) I&N Demand Gillen and McKelvie are delivering the gods.  One of my favorite books.
The Wicked & The Divine #7

The Wicked & The Divine #7

  • All-New X-Men #35 (Marvel): I’m preparing for ultimate disappointment.
  • Loki: Agent of Asgard #10 (Marvel): Leaning toward not picking it up.  All of the crossover crap has killed it for me.  Inevitable, I suppose.
  • Magneto #14 (Marvel): Hasn’t suffered as much as Loki has from the crossover crap, but has suffered nevertheless.  Isn’t hitting the same high notes that were hit early on.
  • Moon Knight #11 (Marvel) I&N Demand So, so good.
Moon Knight #11

Moon Knight #11

  • Burning Fields #1 (BOOM!): I haven’t loved what I’ve read from Michael Moreci.  I’m going to give him another go, though.  I mean, I didn’t quit on Williamson; and that’s paid off with Birthright.  Even better–and more unlikely–evidence: I kept trying Remender–despite hating everything with his name on it and knowing full well I’d hate the next thing with his name on it–and got lucky with Low.  So maybe, just maybe, this’ll work out.
  • Cap Stone #2 (Titan) I&N Demand I liked #1 a lot.  Hit similar notes to Krekeler’s Dry Spell, which we loved.  In that, hearing whispers of Moore.
Cap Stone #2

Cap Stone #2

  • Crossed +100 #2 (Avatar): Speaking of Moore.  Yes, please.
  • Epocholypse #3 (Legendary): Has the potential to be really great–or to collapse under its own weight.  Guess I’m investing in the former.  We’ll see.
  • Mono #2 (Titan) I&N Demand Liked this one a lot, too.  Love the meta effect, which will, without a doubt, keep me a regular reader.  This is one Mono that you should do your best to catch.
Mono #2

Mono #2

  • The Twilight Zone: Shadow & Substance #1 (Dynamite): All signs point to passing, what with J.M.S.’s superior run just about over.  Something–a voice…coming from…my water bottle?–is telling me I should give it a try.  Freaky!
  • The Valiant #2 (Valiant): Not willing to commit to it–despite Kindt’s hand in it.  Yeah, didn’t love the first one.  Unity didn’t work all that well; can’t imagine this one will either.  Got to wonder about some of Valiant’s choices of late.
  • Über #21 (Avatar): Still very good.  As thin as Gillen’s stretching himself across the industry, his work is still pretty damn substantial no matter the genre or the universe–whether his own or one he’s got to work within.  Dude’s a stud.

What are you looking forward to this week?

Turning pages,

Scott

Marguerite Bennett @ Android’s Amazing Comics (1/14/15)

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As if I needed another reason to head down to my LCS on NCBD…

Android’s Amazing Comics, my HQ for all things comics, upped the usual Wednesday ante by hosting the very talented–and, as a result, very busy–Marguerite Bennett, currently killing it as a co-writer–along with the incomparable Kieron Gillen–on Marvel’s Angela: Asgard’s Assassin, for their first big signing event.

photo-55

And big it was!

My daughter–she a knowledgeable comic book fan of three–and I hit the shop in hopes of scoring a three-inch pinch of books, including Marvel’s big Star Wars relaunch and the final issue of Fraggle Rock: Journey to the Everspring (Archaia/BOOM!).  I arrived armed with previously purchased copies of the aforementioned Angela in the off chance I’d be able to get a minute with Ms. Bennett.  Android’s was buzzing like I had never seen it buzz before; but, despite the hubbub about Ms. Bennett, it appeared that the off chance I had been banking on was definitely on.  I snagged my bag of pull books, strafed the shelves for picks–the whole time surprised by how well-behaved my daughter was–and then got on line to meet the Woman of the Four Hours.

As my curious kiddo checked out the toys on the wall–surprising me again by revealing that she knows quite a bit about Minecraft–I waited behind a well-prepared Bennett fan, who asked for and graciously received autographs on a bunch of books, which once adorned with the writer’s signature–and after a quick photo taken by someone milling around to the right of the table–were swung over to the big island of back issues in the middle of the store and immediately bagged and boarded for safe keeping.

No joke: in a smooth move that I didn’t anticipate, the picture taker sidled into the space vacated by the fella who was already furiously bagging and boarding his Bennett bounty.  He had a copy of Batman: Joker’s Daughter ready to slide under Bennett’s pen and a flurry of questions that reminded of the speed round from the ’80s game show $ale of the Century.  Ms. Bennett handled the barrage as if she were the returning champ, offering up patient answers, even as the line behind me grew and grew–almost all the way to the door!

My daughter, unfortunately, hasn’t quite mastered the art of patience; you know, her being three and all.  After having named all the hero and villain statues on shelves just above the new releases–and mistakingly identifying The Flash as Green Lantern (I know, right?)–she became a bit hard to handle.  I was determined, however, to meet Ms. Bennett; so I asserted myself in a fatherly manner until the incontinent quizzer squeezed out his final query, which, like many before it, was prefaced by a desperate question-catching “Umm…”

I approached the table, semi-sure that the gentleman was finally out of questionition.  Ms. Bennett greeted me warmly and, over the course of our brief Angela-centered conversation, proved to be incredibly down to earth, especially as she responded to my question about her working with one of my favorite writers, Kieron Gillen.  She had nothing but great things to say about the experience, admitting along the way that Gillen is pretty darned meticulous–that he’s got a pretty specific vision for each and every panel.  As my daughter pointed out Scooby-Doo and Doodle Jump, I complimented Ms. Bennett, who suffered my child’s off-topic curiosity well, on her ability to keep up with the superstar scribe through the first two issues of Angela; I celebrated the fact that her substory blends seamlessly with the overarching narrative–and that the overall tone of the book is pitch perfect, which is difficult enough for one writer to achieve while living in the Thor-niverse.  She received the accolades well, endearing her to this new fan even further.

Mindful of the length of the line now behind me, I cut my questioning short and asked her to sign my copy of Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #1, which she did gladly.  She countered by offering my daughter and me cookies.  My daughter took her up on the offer so quickly that she didn’t bother taking note of the fact that there were different kinds of cookies on the plate.  Sure, they all looked like chocolate chip cookies; but there were some oatmeal raisins on the pile, too–and wouldn’t you know that’s what she ended up with.

OK, so what if after a few bites she mistakingly identified the raisins as blueberries.

After a volley of courteous thank yous, I scooped up my daughter and let the next piece of Pez–a bespectacled fella who was clearly anxious to have his book signed–claim his spot at the table.  Couldn’t leave, however, without a picture.

photo-55

We headed to the front of the store, where Anthony, the owner of the shop and architect of the evening, rang us up.  I cast some well-deserved kudos his way while he scanned by books.  My daughter begged me to also cast a few My Little Pony blind bags–strategically placed next to the register–his way, while giving me “Please, Daddy” looks.  How could I not?  As I always tell her: Good girls get good things.  And she was pretty darned good.

As we made our way out, the shop was still buzzing, and the line to meet Ms. Bennett still stretched almost all the way to the door!  Not bad for Android’s first time–Android’s first of many, I’m sure.

Looking forward to more exciting events at my LCS–and to checking out more from the angelic Marguerite Bennett on NCBDs to come.

Turning pages,

Scott

What’s I&N Store (1/14)

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No hyperbole here: never has the I&N Demand designation been used in such a meiotic manner.

Oh, and, umm, by the way: Star Wars.

  • Astro City #19 (DC/Vertigo)
  • A Voice in the Dark: Get Your Gun #2 (Image):
  • Copperhead #5 (Image)
  • Lazarus #14 (Image) I&N Demand
Lazarus #11

Lazarus #14

  • All-New Captain America #3 (Marvel)
  • Daredevil #12 (Marvel)
  • Silver Surfer #8 (Marvel) I&N Demand
Silver Surfer #8

Silver Surfer #8

  • Star Wars #1 (Marvel) Just I&N
Star Wars #1

Star Wars #1

  • 13 Coins #1 (Titan)
  • Q2: The Return of Quantum and Woody #4 (Valiant)
  • Stumptown Vol. 3 #5 (Oni)
  • Thomas Alsop #8 (BOOM!)
  • The Twilight Zone #11 (Dynamite) I&N Demand
Twilight Zone #11

Twilight Zone #11

  • Wild’s End #5 (BOOM!) I&N Demand
Wild's End #5

Wild’s End #5

Avery’s Pick of the Week

  • Fraggle Rock: Journey to the Everspring #4 (BOOM!/Archaia)
Fraggle Rock: Journey to the Everspring #4

Fraggle Rock: Journey to the Everspring #4

What are you looking forward to this week–you know, besides Star Wars?

Turning pages,

Scott

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