What’s I&N Store (4/22)

For you, I&Nmates–you completists, you: the soul of wit:

  • Frankenstein Underground #2 (Dark Horse)
  • Mind MGMT #32 (Dark Horse) I&N Demand
Mind MGMT #32

Mind MGMT #32

  • Mister X: Razed #3 (Dark Horse) I&N Demand
Mister X: Razed #3

Mister X: Razed #3

  • Suiciders #3 (DC/Vertigo)
  • Drones #1 (IDW)
  • Invisible Republic #2 (Image) I&N Demand
Invisible Republic #2

Invisible Republic #2

  • Lazarus #16 (Image) I&N Demand
Lazarus #16

Lazarus #16

  • Satellite Sam #13 (Image) I&N Demand
Satellite Sam #13

Satellite Sam #13

  • Velvet #10 (Image)
  • The Black Hood #3 (Archie)
  • Cap Stone #5 (Titan)
  • Divinity #3 (Valiant)
  • Mono Vol. 2 #1 (Titan) Just I&N
Mono Vol. 2 #1

Mono Vol. 2 #1

  • Ninjak #2 (Valiant)

Avery’s Pick of the Week

  • My Little Pony: Fiendship Is Magic #4 (IDW)

What are you looking forward to this week?

Turning pages,

Scott

What’s I&N Store (4/15)

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Gosh!  I’m so late with this that I’ve already read three of ’em.

I wanna read another; so…

  • Archie vs. Predator #1 (Dark Horse) Just I&N OK, so, like, well, everyone else, I pretty much discovered the Archie-verse with Afterlife and regretted not having visited Riverdale more often after reading–along with everyone else–Life With Archie #36.  (Heck of a time to jump on board, eh?)  Despite my last-second, Scotty-come-lately Archievement, I was pretty settled on passing on this one.  I mean, it sounds silly–sure, like Afterlife didn’t–and I didn’t know from Alex De Campi–until I read No Mercy (Image), which was really, really good.  So, yeah, I’ve gone from I don’t care to Just I&N–just like that!
Archie vs. Predator #1

Archie vs. Predator #1

  • BPRD: Hell on Earth #130 (Dark Horse): As solid a read as your gonna find.
  • Millennium #4 (IDW): It’s not just Jordan, folks: it’s adult Jordan!  That move’s a slam dunk in my book!   After three issues, there’s no doubt: this is for hardcore Millennium fans only.  Good thing I make a point of watching all three seasons on DVD every summer.  Heh.  Who knew that old practice would come in handy some day?  Oh, but it has: it’s kept me so very ready for the further adventures of Frank Black.
  • The Fade Out #5 (Image): Honesty: I remember liking #4, but I can’t remember what the hell happened.  Rrrrrrrrrrrr <—-That’s my avoiding using an obvious pun.
  • Stray Bullets: Sunshine and Roses #3 (Image) I&N Demand #1 was our #3 book of February.  #2 didn’t quite reach that level, but it still scratched that itch.
Stray Bullets: Sunshine and Roses #3

Stray Bullets: Sunshine and Roses #3

  • Magneto #17 (Marvel): Erik’s past has come back to haunt him.  No, not that past.  Not that one, either.  It’s his past-past, his waaaay past–his WWII past: a Nazi tormentor has come to Genosha; he’s murdering mutants and promising to murder more.  There’s no way Erik can abide that.  Something tells me revenge is in the offing–after he cleans off his bathroom mirror with some disinfectant spray, of course.
  • Thor #7 (Marvel): We’re getting closer to the big reveal.  Series-wise: Aaron has delivered some strong moments–some naturally powerful moments; but they’ve been routinely undermined–destroyed, even!–by awfully obvious moments–made-up girl-power moments that would make Margaret Atwood cringe.
  • Uncanny X-Men #33 (Marvel): The X-Verse has been falling apart for some time now.  Took me long enough, but I’ve finally given up on All-New.  I should’ve given up on this one, too.  So, so terrible.  #31 had Cyclops berated by some nobody student in a moment that felt as unauthentic as Harper Row’s inexplicably lighting into Batman back in Batman #whocares; #32 saw him knocked out by Gold Balls.  No, really: he was hit in the head with Gold Balls’ gold balls.  This one looks like it’s going to be another patented X-filler issue.  It’s Unnecessary X-Men #33!  Yeah, I think it’s time.
  • Bloodshot: Reborn #1 (Valiant): I’m off Descender and All-New Hawkeye after trying two of each.  Believe me: I want to love something that Jeff Lemire’s writing; I really do.  That’s why I keep trying.  And here I am, trying again.
  • Crossed +100 #4 (Avatar) I&N Demand Alan Moore’s brought a touch of Burgess to his narration and dialogue, making his take on Ennis’s mad, mad, mad, mad world read like A Crossedwork Red.  No joke: #3 was not an easy read; but there’s still something terribly compelling about it, mainly because Moore’s clearly building–and patiently so–toward something–something big, maybe something not so big at all, who knows?  Maybe he’s forging headlong into the heart of darkness, which he’s done before, and which would mean we’re in for a Conradian adventure–one that’s an exercise in superhuman patience.  Because, let’s be honest, we all know that anything worth having is worth the work–and the wait.  That’s what I skull, anyway.
  • Giant Days #2 (BOOM!) I&N Demand I had no idea what to expect from Giant Days.  Maybe that’s why I ended up loving it as much as I did.  Could also be because it’s just that good.  Damn thing’s hilarious.  Keep an eye out: I’m going to fight to include #1 in our Top 5 for March.
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #2 (Archie) I&N Demand Man, I’ve been waiting for this.  #1 was one of my favorite single issues of 2014.  It was so good–so much better than that other, over-hyped wytch-themed book that overshadowed it; you know, the one that cast a spell with its creators’ names but ended up delivering a real wooden piece of “CHHIT.”  No, Sabrina does everything right: it’s a masterclass in storytelling–in juxtaposition, in pacing, and most important, in horror–from Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa–the genius behind Afterlife With Archie–and the panel-perfect Robert Hack.  What a mind-eff, no?  Seems the comic book home of true terror is Archie Horror!
  • The Sixth Gun: Dust to Dust #3 (Oni): Yay!  I get to add another issue to my Sixth Gun pile.

Avery’s Pick of the Week

  • My Little Pony: Fiendship Is Magic #3 (IDW): Avery’s Grammy saw #2, read the title through Fiendship, and stopped short with an “Oh.”  I assured her that it’s a series about some of the Pony villains.  Turns out that my definition of assured isn’t the same as hers.
My Little Pony: Fiendship Is Magic #3

My Little Pony: Fiendship Is Magic #3

What are you looking forward to this week?

Turning pages,

Scott

Top 5 Books of February

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For all of you keeping score, here it is: our Top 5 Books of February!

5. Satellite Sam #11 (Image): Waking life–and death!  Matt Fraction and Howard Chaykin are as masterful as ever as alarm bells go off, eyes open, and metaphors deliver their lines with ironic conviction.  This thickly-themed and perfectly-timed issue sees the largely unlikable ensemble cast dissembled and reassembled, self-serving agendas selflessly serving as the common thread that binds the lot together on this very, very good morning. (SC)

Satellite Sam #11

Satellite Sam #11

4. Ant-Man #2 (Marvel): How did this book, easily dismissed as a cynical corporate media tie-in, make it into our bag, much less our hallowed Top 5? Well, one could mention the appealing heart in a story about a down-on-his-luck divorced father who’s willing to do anything to be near his daughter. Or one could point to the clean, appealing art by Ramon Rosanas and Jordan Boyd. All true, but what separates this book from the congested, middle of the road superhero pack is that it is so. Damn. Funny. We mean it folks: not LOL funny, but quite literally Laugh-Out-Loud funny. People on the train giving me strange looks as I’m guffawing at a freaking comic book funny. Any comic, hell anything, that can engender such a visceral reaction is aces in my book. So let’s just come out and say it: Nick Spencer is the funniest writer working in funny books today. (DM)

Ant-Man #2

Ant-Man #2

3. Stray Bullets: Sunshine and Roses #1 (Image): With a sly “Hi,” David Lapham welcomes us back to the next round of Bullets: a lone gunman–a coldly fetching Kretchmeyer–is hunted down by series vet, the brooding Spanish Scott, a calculating killer himself, who is, let’s be honest, more siesta than fiesta.  Scott’s lethargic inevitability–you know, like death itself–is integral to the development of the issue-spanning tension, especially as it mirrors the dangerously direct and determined Kretchmeyer’s own semisomnambulistic nature.  Lapham brings the two together, guns drawn, in an unforgettable–and emphatically phallic–panel that finds Beth, one seriously distressed damsel, an extremely interested party who quite literally doesn’t want to lose her head.  Yeah, it’s vintage Stray Bullets, folks: it’s fun; it’s violent, and it’s tight–it’s “another [effing] hole-in-one.” (SC)

Stray Bullets: Sunshine and Roses #1

Stray Bullets: Sunshine and Roses #1

2. Silver Surfer #9 (Marvel): The little engine that could.  The ant with high apple-pie-in-the-sky hopes.  Buster Douglas.  Life.   Yeah, we’ve got a thing for the underdog; it’s hardwired; heck, it’s about survival–our own survival that we fight for vicariously through whatever odds-against scenario we’re privy to in the moment.  That’s what makes this issue of Silver Surfer so affective–so blisteringly painful.  Dan Slott and Mike Allred do more than just continue the brilliant course set in #8, our #2 book of January; they ride it to greater emotional heights, selling the Surfer’s inspirational effort of “surfing the moon,” only to–in the blast of an eye–reveal the tack’s ultimate value: none.  Yeah, seems Galactus is no Goliath, and the Surfer–stripped of the power cosmic–is the Surfer no more.  But his defeat doesn’t leave us feeling defeated.  Oh, no it doesn’t.  Despite the bleak ending–maybe because of the bleak ending–we’re built up even more; we’re even more defiant, more hopeful.  See: hope is our heroin, and thanks to the low note struck at the end, we are super high and primed for the return of our hero in a month’s time–primed for victory–because the little guy always wins–right? (SC)

Silver Surfer #9

Silver Surfer #9

1. Mister X: Razed #1 (Dark Horse): We honored Dean Motter’s previous installment Mister X: Eviction with the 2014 Innie Award for Best Limited Series. So expectations were high for his new collection. Well, we’re happy to report those expectations have been met and surpassed. In a book that already wears such stylish influences as Will Eisner and Fritz Lang, this issue boasts a gorgeous ensemble of O. Henry with just a dash of Edgar Allan Poe (in the undergarments) to weave a seamless, pulpy dream. You won’t find a better looking (or reading) book this season!

Seriously, Motter has spent years building up the fantastic, darkly surreal playground that is Radiant City. Now we get the supreme pleasure of just sitting back and watching the master play. (DM)

Mister X: Razed #1

Mister X: Razed #1

Biggest Dis(appointment): Moon Knight #12 (Marvel) – Brian Wood takes a fascinating, morally fraught premise – Khnoshu abandons Marc Spector and bestows the mantle of Moon Knight on someone who’s willing to murder a head of state for his past crimes against humanity – and ends it with a cop out. Spoiler alert! Turns out the new Moon Knight was just after his money! A weak ending that invalidates a riveting, timely premise. A true let-down. (DM)

Moon Knight #12

Moon Knight #12

Turning pages,

Scott & Derek

I&N Review: TERRORIST by Henrik Rehr

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By Derek Mainhart

What makes someone become a terrorist? It’s a question with some urgency at this point; one that, given recent events, is particularly resonant with cartoonists. In his new book Terrorist: Gavrilo Princip, the Assassin who Ignited World War I, cartoonist Henrik Rehr explores the mixture of ideology, desperation and political circumstance that are at the root of the phenomenon. Rehr’s vehicle for this exploration is perhaps the most infamous terrorist act in history.

Starting at birth, Rehr traces the forces that shape his subject, Gavrilo Princip: from his grandfather’s nationalistic stories of Serbia’s past glory, through the repression and indignity of daily life under occupation, first by the Turks, then the Austrians. Lacking any real education or prospects due to his second class status, Gavrilo’s idle days are filled at cafes digesting the news of the time with friends whose radicalization slowly, frighteningly, transforms from theoretical braggadocio to cold, irreversible action. As young Gavrilo (he was nineteen when he assassinated the Archduke) and his cohorts engage in ever more dangerous behavior, Rehr pulls off the neat trick of having the reader, fully aware of the historical implications of their actions, still feel anxious for their safety. He accomplishes this by skillfully interspersing telling, personal moments (Gavrilo’s sweetly naive relationship with his girlfriend, the family life of a reluctant co-conspirator), humanizing the principle actors.

As counterpoint, he interpolates scenes from the life of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, revealing him to be, yes, privileged and insulated, but also a loving family man, a reluctant leader, and also an optimist (charmingly naive in his own way) regarding human nature. If anything, he was predisposed, as Rehr portrays him, against exacerbating the tensions that would lead to war; more’s the tragedy.

Rehr’s even-handedness speaks to his humanistic underpinnings: whatever you think of his actions, Gavrilo’s concerns for his people were heartfelt. Whatever the cruelties of the Hapsburg Empire, Franz did not deserve to be gunned down in cold blood. (There is also a fatalistic irony at play as the author traces the combination of incompetence, botched plans and sheer chance that ultimately led to the fateful act.)

The subtlety of Rehr’s approach extends to his art, which is gorgeous throughout: beautifully composed, convincingly researched without being cluttered, the occasionally dense storytelling broken up by poetic vignettes of starkly lyrical black and white. This is especially true in the largely wordless coda, the powerful imagery of which recalls the work of the legendary Frans Masereel.

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In trying to condense a massive amount of complex information, Rehr does occasionally commit the misstep of having his characters narrate history through their dialogue. And as Gavrilo’s coterie grows, it sometimes becomes difficult (to these American eyes at least) to keep track of everyone amongst all those dark moustaches and names with too many consonants.

These are quibbles of course. Terrorist takes an impressive spot amongst the burgeoning field of politically-minded, historical graphic works. In addition to the aforementioned Masereel, Rehr’s exploration of history’s intimate effects on people’s daily existence recalls Jason Lutes’ magisterial Berlin, as well as the works of the incomparable Joe Sacco. (In fact, one could construct a credible primer on the tragic twentieth century of the region by reading a ‘graphic trilogy’ comprised of Rehr’s book, the acclaimed Fatherland: A Family History by Nina Bunjevac, and Sacco’s masterpiece Safe Area Gorazde.) Comprising various approaches and styles, the underlying hope offered by these works is that by attempting to understand how outsize forces affect individual lives (their dreams, their failures, their loved ones, their deaths) we can, on some small level, alter the course of our troubled times, before our own lives become so much grist for some future account of catastrophic history.

Terrorist: Gavrilo Princip, the Assassin who Ignited World War I, published by Graphic Universe, is on sale now. 

I&N Print!: Mister X: Razed #2

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Hey I&Nmates!  How’s this for cool:

In the back Motter of the most recent issue of Mister X: Razed (Dark Horse)…

Mister X: Razed #2

Mister X: Razed #2

…Mr. Motter himself was kind enough–and ostensibly flattered enough–to make reference to a little honor that we bestowed upon his perfectly built Mister X: Eviction, our #1 book of 2013.

Check it out:

FullSizeRender-4

What a surprise, right?  As it is, I’m not much of a back matter reader; so you might imagine my reaction as I happened upon “Innie Award.”

You’d be correct if you imagined that I erupted in expletives–very holy expletives.

Speaking of holy: we’d like to thank the godly Mr. Motter for giving us a shout out–and, of course, for his bar-razing follow-up to Eviction, which is already positioning itself for a run at our Top Ten of 2015!

Turning pages–all of them from now on!

Scott

 

 

What’s I&N Store (4/8)

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Here’s What’s I&N Store: The Spring Break Edition.  It’s a lot like the MTV Spring Break shows of the late-’80s, just without the alcohol and the butt floss.

OK, so it’s nothing like the MTV Spring Break shows of the ’80s.

  • Rebels #1 (Dark Horse):  Just I&N and I&N Demand I’m grabbing this one and I’m grabbing it fast!  How fast?  Howard Fast–that how fast.  Man.  That’s pretty damn fast.  It’s not as fast as I’d like, though.  See: my guy doesn’t open until Noon.  So, instead of picking up my book on a fine April morning, I’ll be picking it up in the afternoon.  Hey: either way, it works for me.  I’m just excited to get something original from Brian Wood, one of our favorite writers.  In fact, his recently completed Dark Horse series earned the #5 spot in our Top Ten of 2014.  But this–this–may be an even more massive undertaking.  There’s a Revolution calling–and I’m picking up.  Fast.
Rebels #1

Rebels #1

  • Astro City #22 (DC/Vertigo): You know, it’s funny: I didn’t care for the Quarrel arc at all until, wouldn’t you know, “The End of the Trail.”  #21 hit some decent notes, including the all-in, action-packed opening and the honesty that fueled the resolution.  But as someone who has been critical of the arc, I found the final page the most honest bit of writing that Busiek has done outside of The Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw lo these last several months.  I know, I know: I’m hearing what I want to hear; but, come on, it’s pretty remarkable that Samaritan says, “There’s got to be a better way than this.  We’re losing people we shouldn’t lose.”  Um, yeah!  Hello!  “Good hearts, good minds.”  My heart!  My mind!  “There’s got to be a fix”–yes, indeed!  “We can’t leave it like this…”  Mr. Busiek, I suspect you won’t.  That’s why I’m willing to stick around.  Good talk, by the way.
  • Convergence #1 (DC): Ouch.  Dan Jurgen’s super-redundant #0 left me feeling super-loopy; it left me feeling like I want to be left out of the latest reboot loop.  Are we kicking things off in the Bizarro world or something?  Because I can’t imagine that Scott Lobdell’s name is much of a selling point nowadays.  I guess if your plan is to destroy the Universe as we know it…
  • Copperhead #6 (Image): Copperhead started off really, really well.  Then it became, well, pretty run-of-the-mill.  Hey, I get it: it’s tough to keep the magic going.  Correspondingly, it gets tougher to keep the money flowing.
  • Descender #2 (Image): Look: #1 was OK.  It was familiar and cheesy and did what it needed to do for a first issue.  But it wasn’t the big book that many of the review sites built it up to be.  Gotta give my man Derek props for his prediction, which may or may not play out: he expects Descender to play out a lot like Sweet Tooth, which I haven’t read.  I do know, however, that Lemire’s not afraid to lean on stuff he’s already written.  I’m willing to go at least two deep to see if he’s got something new–at least in my sphere–something that’ll hit me like Essex County or Trillium.
  • Nameless #3 (Image): I&N Demand Let’s be honest with each other: #1 wasn’t all that good.  (Granted, it was a #1–even more, it was a Morrison #1.)  #2, however, asserted very adamantly, “We’re all good,”  what with that terrific twist and all.  So, yeah, I’m glad I didn’t cross this one off of my list.  It may claim to be Nameless, but it’s kinda Namemore, isn’t it?  I mean, Morrison and Burnham are names that sell, names that deliver.  Scott Lobdell, however…
Nameless #3

Nameless #3

  • ODY-C #4 (Image): There’s something messy about it, but I’m still digging it.
  • Saga #27 (Image): Saga always leaves me foaming at the mouth.
  • The Surface #2 (Image): I don’t know: I didn’t like #1 very much.  Might be because I’m stupid.  Might also be because Ales Kot–who’s killing it on Zero, our #7 book of 2014–can be pretty incomprehensible at times.  No, really: I skimmed through it.  I never skim through a comic.  I skimmed through this one, though, because I couldn’t connect to it.  Odd, right?  Especially considering the clever social commentary about being hyper-connected…
  • All-New Hawkeye #2 (Marvel): Fraction’s baby should’ve been put to sleep for good.  But it wasn’t.  Instead, Lemire’s in charge; and, as usual, he’s reaching into his quiver of tricks–this time back-waaaaaaay back–to Trillium.  That’s right: the last page, if anything, was a flipping warning.  Yeah, I’m leaning toward passing.
  • Ant-Man #4 (Marvel) I&N Demand Ant-Man is a big book–a huge book!  We loved #2 enough to name it one of our Top 5 Books of February.  #3 was pretty awesome, too.  I mean, c’mon: the Taskmaster?  And how about the line of the year so far: “Pick a theme!”  Yeah, I laughed out loud.  Thank you, Mr. Spencer!  Something tells me that we’ll be celebrating your book again!  Yeah, it’s more than just a little vice at this point, ain’t it?
Ant-Man #4

Ant-Man #4

  • Evil Empire #12 (BOOM!): Suddenly, I’m not so excited about Evil Empire.  Doesn’t feel as tight.  And, if I’m being honest, Victor Santos’s art hasn’t lived up to the standard set by those who have come before him.  I’m pretty invested at this point, so I can’t imagine jumping off.

Avery’s Pick of the Week

  • Scooby Doo Where Are You? #56 (DC): Of all of the comics I’ve bought for Avery, the ones I reread the most are Scooby Doo books.  She loves the big reveals!
  • My Little Pony: Fiendship Is Magic #2 (IDW):  That’s right: my baby girl loves her some evil ponies.
My Little Pony: Fiendship Is Magic #2

My Little Pony: Fiendship Is Magic #2

What are you looking forward to this week?

Turning pages,

Scott

What’s I&N Store (4/1)

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& now 4 the abbr ver o’ ur fav wkly rundown:

  • Hellboy and The B.P.R.D. #5 (Dark Horse)
  • Lady Killer #4 (Dark Horse) I&N Demand Has been so very good.  How good?  #1 was our #4 Book of January.  #3 will probably end up in our Top 5 for March, what with that stair-raising page turn and all.  (I love how serpentine Josie looks as she’s about to slither up the stairs.)  With this month’s offering and one more to go, Jones and Rich’s Lady Killer sure is “going somewhere”–straight toward our Top Ten for 2015!  High heels down, it’s been the year’s best mini.
Lady Killer #4

Lady Killer #4

  • Neverboy #2 (Dark Horse) I&N Demand I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the first one.  At first I found it kind of annoying; I was really ready to race through it just to get it over with.  When I got to that moment–if you read it, you know the moment–I was like “Wow!” and, wouldn’t you know, not put off by the –ugh!–police force, which reminded–and not in a good way–of the Sex Police from Sex Criminals; and as I ultimately finished–not in a manner that reminded of Sex Criminals, mind you–I felt compelled to give it another go.  That’s right: I read it again, right then and there, displaying a rather impressive rereading refractory period, if I do say so myself.  Yeah, that doesn’t happen often.
Neverboy #2

Neverboy #2

  • Convergence #0 (DC)
  • G.I. Joe #7 (IDW)
  • Millennium #3 (IDW)
  • The Dying & the Dead #2 (Image) I&N Demand Really liked #1.  It had the potential of collapsing under its own weight–and weighty it was in more ways than one; but it held up well, delivering those heavy Hickman notes that, when they’re right, are as good as it gets.
The Dying and The Dead #2

The Dying & The Dead #2

  • Southern Bastards #8 (Image) I&N Demand Aaron and Latour deserve a championship ring for almost every issue of Southern Bastards--but particularly for Coach Boss’s backstory, which has been executed like the perfect game plan.
Southern Bastards #8

Southern Bastards #8

  • No Mercy #1 (Image)
  • Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #11 (Marvel) I&N Demand So, whatever Daddy Rand has brought to NYC is clearly the mother of all mistakes.  But what Kaare Andrews has brought Iron Fist–hey. and to comics, in general–is a the most kinetic visual narrative this side of Kindt’s perpetually energetic Mind MGMT.  I mean, come on: in #10, Andrews destroys the staple-bound rules of space and time by having Danny punch his way across six pages–three double-page spreads of strike and follow-through that come together as a bone-and-nut-and-bolt crushing six-page spread–in a striking scene that leaves Danny, despite his best shot, at the mercy of his maniacal–and mechanical–father.  Sure, Iron Fist may be The Living Weapon, but Iron Fist: The Living Weapon is about as close to a living, breathing comic book as you’re gonna get.
Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #11

Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #11

  • Blackcross #2 (Dynamite)
  • War Stories #7 (Avatar)
  • X-O Manowar #35 (Valiant)

Avery’s Picks of the Week

  • My Little Pony: Fiendship Is Magic #1 (IDW)
  • Feathers #4 (BOOM!): Avery loves following the adventures of Poe and Bianca!  Aw, heck: so do I!
Feathers #4

Feathers #4

What are you looking forward to this week?

Turning pages,

Scott

The Top 5 Books of January

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Great Scott! Can it be? Has a third of the year gone by without us posting one of our ballyhooed Top 5 lists? I&Ndefensible we say! So, for you completists, here it is: our Top 5 books of January. Coming soon: our Top 5 of Feb! And March! (We swear!)

5. The Multiversity: Guidebook #1 (DC): Grant Morrison takes the unwieldy mess that is the DC multiverse and turns it into a strength; a rich tapestry, (illustrated by an impressive bevy of artists) at once alien and familiar, ripe with possibility. He not only accomplishes the herculean feat of making sense of it all, he tells one barn burner of a story while doing it. His expansive view seemingly embraces everything, the odder and more trivial the better. I don’t what DC has planned after its next clearing of the decks, but it could do a lot worse than using this as its Guidebook. (DM)

The Multiversity: Guidebook #1

The Multiversity: Guidebook #1

4. Lady Killer #1 (Dark Horse): “Top 5 Books of January calling!”  Wow!  What a killer debut from Joëlle Jones and Jamie S. Rich!  As evidenced by the cover–a kitchen done up in classic post-war abattoir–they’re mopping the floor with genre tropes and gender notes, the highest being Josie, of course, their Bride of Fifties-stein, who is June Cleaver living up to her name, that’s for sure!  She’s one tough mother–one who’s not afraid to use her assets to get the job done.  It’s the nature of the assassin–and of clever creators–to play a game of cat and mouse with her prey, isn’t it?  Consider the final page, fellow readers: we are most assuredly the mice.  (SC)

Lady Killer #1

Lady Killer #1

3. Wild’s End #5 (BOOM!): Abnett and Culbard’s Wild’s End–our #9 book of 2014–has been about as perfect as a book can be after five issues.  In this installment, the stakes are wildly high, what with the killer lamppost lighting around and lighting up our motley zoo crew, who, all along, keep–relatively–calm and carry on as well as they can with a six-legged, extraterrestrial death ray on their tails.  Love the ribbon tied to the end of the issue: revealing the irrepressible Ms. Peardew’s written account of the big adventure and her pretty assertive assessment of Lewis Cornfelt.  With its tentacles 100% wrapped around me, if Wild’s End were the only fiction left in the world, I’d be quite satisfied.  (SC)

Wild's End #5

Wild’s End #5

2. Silver Surfer #8 (Marvel): Fresh off their claiming the #4 spot on our Top Ten Books of 2014, Dan Slott and Mike Allred offer up a grave planet of survivors–each the last of his or her or its species–and a tidal wave of guilt upon which the former herald of Galactus rides, leaving a wake of cosmic energy that leads the Devourer of Worlds to perhaps his most satisfying meal yet.  It’s a brilliant premise that brings together a universe of victims and pulls apart our otherwise perfect pair, the Surfer and Dawn Greenwood, as emotionally affective individually as when side by side–and, in a very fun moment, with Dawn at the wheel for the first time, “Ha ha ha!”–they ride the temperamental Toomie.  What’s that?  You’re right: When it comes to superhero books, there is none higher, and #8 is further proof.  (SC)

Silver Surfer #8

Silver Surfer #8

1. Mind MGMT #30 (Dark Horse): In one fell swoop Matt Kindt takes everything you knew about this title and turns it on its head. He gathers up threads from earlier issues and ties them together with a revelation that changes the perspective of the entire series. Not content with that, he tells the modern-day story as though it were a pulp sci-fi novel of the 1960s. The meta conceit however is merely a filter for the viewpoint of the narrator, one that makes total sense given her past. Furthermore this narrator, through the use of the (always challenging to pull off) second person, becomes “you.” Confused yet? Perhaps the biggest miracle in this is that Kindt doesn’t lose you, even for a second. A masterpiece. (DM)

Mind MGMT #30

Mind MGMT #30

The Biggest Dis(appointment): Loki: Agent of Asgard #10 (Marvel) – What could have been just another movie franchise tie-in, turned out, in the early going, to be remarkably entertaining due to Al Ewing’s witty, exuberant writing. Alas, just as Loki himself seems unable to escape his destiny, this book was unable to steer clear of getting embroiled in a “Big Event.”  Since then the jocularity has been drained of this once surprising title, its imaginative gold spun into cumbersome lead. (DM)

Loki: Agent of Asgard #10

Loki: Agent of Asgard #10

Turning pages,

Derek & Scott

What’s I&N Store (3/25)

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Last week had me Wow-ing more per book than any week in the recent past.  Here’s the near future:

  • Mister X: Razed #2 (Dark Horse) I&N Demand No surprise here: we loved #1.  It easily fell into our Top 5 Books of February, the result of the tasty termites and the hungry peregrine pigeons, which, of course, is Christmas come a bit late, you know, in the perfectly-wrapped gift of Dean Motter’s icicle-sharp storytelling.  (Deep breath.)  It’s everything we loved about Mr. X: Eviction, which was just as easily our #1 Book of 2013.  Don’t remember why?  Remind yourself.
Mister X: Razed #2

Mister X: Razed #2

  • PastAways #1 (Dark Horse) Just I&N With his nonpareil Mind MGMT in its stretch run, main man Matt Kindt takes aim–along with artist Scott Kolins–at a fresh future with PastAways, the latest–and most assuredly not the last–entry in the suddenly supersaturated–and not-so-fresh–time-traveling-team market.  Yeah, but it doesn’t matter if it’s good, right?
PastAways #1

PastAways #1

  • The Multiversity: Ultra Comics #1 (DC): Re: Mastermen: Morrison and Lee bowled me over with their opening “splash” page–light a match, Adolph!  I mean, c’mon: Hitler on the can, reading Superman?  Hey, why Nazi?  They played it for a laugh–and got it!–and forged a connection between the Führer and me.  I was like, that’s what I look like when I’m reading during “Daddy Time,” you know, just without the mustache and the swastika.  Yeah, otherwise, pretty spot on.  After that, the rest of the book played out well–despite Lee’s pin-up-per-panel approach, which robs the story–artistically, anyway–of any momentum.  Not the best single Multiversity issue, but still plenty metafun.  This month, Morrison and Mahnke promise to make me “an integral part of the resistance.”  Can’t resist that!
  • Suiciders #2 (DC/Vertigo): Figured it’d be a one-and-done.  Clearly wasn’t–especially thanks to the end.
  • The Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw #5 (Image) I&N Demand Pretty great all around.  Sure, while Busiek’s been busy building this remarkably engaging world, Astro City‘s suffered a bit.  (The Quarrel arc is arguably the weakest multi-issue story since our return to the City.)  But that’s all right–especially now that the game is a(Good)foot.
The Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw #5

The Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw #5

  • They’re Not Like Us #4 (Image): They may not be like them, but concerns are rising: we’re three issues in and some of what’s going on is a lot like some of what’s already gone on.  Still love the design, though; love getting right to it!  And still hanging on the promise made at the end of #1.
  • The Wicked & The Divine #9 (Image) I&N Demand With #8, Gillen, McKelvie, and Wilson deliver a brand new Beat Generation of dance hall deities.  The rhythm–the rolling1-2-3-4, page after page–got me good, pulsing past simple gimmick right quick into pop magic, an hypnotizing rave that’s all about that base–YOLO, indeed!–no trouble.  OK.  Trouble.
The Wicked & The Divine #9

The Wicked & The Divine #9

  • Daredevil #14 (Marvel): Ooh, ooh!  A Shroud of secrecy!  Yeah, that pretty much made it all worth it.  As Waid and Samnee are making their way to the end of their run, I can’t help but think about Matt’s exes and wonder: what’s gonna happen to Kirsten?  I’m leaning toward this one breaking the mold.
  • Uncanny X-Men #32 (Marvel): Eva’s conversation with Scott left me feeling like I did after Snyder’s Harper Row lit into Batman (in the regrettable Batman #18).  That’s not a good thing.  Oh, and so, as it all works out, it’s like nothing ever happened, which is always gratifying.  Love that.  Oh, oh, and maybe the once and future leader of the X-Men isn’t so far from his grand return.  Ugh!  I hate all the secrets and the wars that rage as a result of them!
  • The Black Hood #2 (Archie): I was surprised by how much I liked the first one. What sold it: the last page.  As cheesy as it was, it felt authentic, heroic.  I needed that.  Great stuff from Gaydos.
  • The Bunker #10 (Oni): I’m feeling somewhat disconnected from The Bunker at this point.  If it were released on a more regular basis…
  • Hit: 1957 #1 (BOOM!): I was surprised that Hit earned a Harvey nomination because it wasn’t great.  Sure, it hit the right notes at the start–and at its soul was something to celebrate; but it didn’t come together well, as evidenced by the unremarkable end.  I’ll thumb through to see if Del Rey’s art is enough of a draw to warrant a try.  Otherwise, I’m going to pass.
  • Mono #4 (Titan): Through three now, I’m kinda feeling like I did after the summer after I graduated from high school–you know, after saying hi and goodbye to four different girls before leaving for college, and after learning that I had a case of mono, one bad enough to keep me home for what would’ve been my first semester at Penn State.  Just like that, actually.
  • Quantum and Woody Must Die #3 (Valiant): Funny, funny, funny!
  • The Sixth Gun #47 (Oni): The stack grows.
  • The Valiant #4 (Valiant): #3 didn’t hit me like #2 did.  Resulted in a bit of a letdown, especially as the entirety of the Valiant Universe gets further mired in Lemire’s return to Rotworld.
  • The Twilight Zone: Shadow and Substance #3 (Dynamite): The first two-issue arc didn’t live up to Straczynski’s standard–but how could it?  I’m probably going to pass.
  • We Can Never Go Home #1 (Black Mask): I haven’t like much of what I’ve tried from Black Mask.  This one sounds interesting enough.  I’ll thumb through to be fair.

Avery’s Picks of the Week

  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #29 (IDW): My wife just came home from Stop & Shop with eight more Pony blind bags.  Thanks a lot DCTC!  We’re drowning in Ponies over here–new ones and duplicates!  I think we have three Pursey Pinks, for crying out loud!
  • Abigail and The Snowman #4 (BOOM!): My daughter’s dug it plenty–even if the Snowman is more Bumble than Olaf.
Abigail and The Snowman #4

Abigail and The Snowman #4

What are you looking forward to this week?

Turning pages,

Scott

What’s I&N Store (3/18)

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Am I behind in my reading?  Yes.  Is this post late?  Umm, yeah.  Has the comic book world gone insane this week?  Crazier than Moore’s Joker, that’s for sure.

  • Frankenstein Underground #1 (Dark Horse): Anything with Mignola’s name tied to it screams…  Well, yeah: it screams.  Been around the catacomb a time or two with Frankenstein’s monster, haven’t we?
  • Mind MGMT #31 (Dark Horse): I&N Demand #30 was easily our #1 book of January.  Damn thing erased everything and rewrote it even more painfully.  There’s something Stray Bullets-ish about Kindt’s attention to detail across the series, in the impact of each issue; in this case, however, every round is a shot to the head.
Mind MGMT #31

Mind MGMT #31

  • Superman #39 (DC): Geoff Johns’ Superman sounds like Superman, and I’m a super happy man as a result.  Who cares if the storyline didn’t develop as well as it could’ve and if Romita and Janson’s artwork appeared faster than a speeding bullet and about as powerful as Mister Roger’s Neighborhood Trolley.
  • Millennium #2 (IDW): I’m hooked!  Joe Harris and Colin Lorimer have captured the creepy, tense, and schizophrenic tone of the TV show–or has the tone captured them?
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #44 (IDW): As much as I’ve enjoyed my stay–starting with “City Fall”–I think I’m gonna sai goodbye–I’m gonna katana and run.  I’m gonna nunchuk TMNT off of the ol’ pull list; I’m gonna bō out after this arc.
  • Alex + Ada #13 (Image): I&N Demand This book is a whisper–the breath of a lover that fills your ear and sets off a silent storm that races up your spine, steels your muscles,  and makes your skin scream.  Yeah, that’s exactly what it is.
Alex + Ada #13

Alex + Ada #13

  • Invisible Republic #1 (Image): Leaning toward passing.  I’ll thumb through it and see if something strikes me.
  • The Manhattan Projects: The Sun Beyond the Stars #1 (Image): Hoping that the new format is the key to recapturing the science behind this once superior series.
  • Outcast #7 (Image): Pretty close to exorcizing this one from the list, as well.  Despite some interesting moments, I haven’t developed a connection to Kyle–at least one that has me caring enough to carry on with this very wayward son.
  • Satellite Sam #12 (Image): I&N Demand The best TV show in comics.  Each episode/issue is a sprawling mosaic of self-interest that reads–unlikely–like a long-story-short told round the water cooler.  Love it.
Satellite Sam #10

Satellite Sam #12

  • Secret Identities #2 (Image): I was kind of hung up on the untransitions from one character’s secret story to the next.  It was a odd choice for a first issue–unless, of course, it was done to emphasize the separate personal spheres, which are such an integral part of the story. Hmm.  The twist at the end: ho-hum.  Had me thinking Deathmatch in spots.  Maybe that’s why I’m on to #2.
  • Stray Bullets: Sunshine and Roses #2 (Image): I&N Demand Spanish Scott is a galleon of gold, and #1 let him shine: his pistolet-à-tête-à-pistolet with Beth and Kretch ranks as one of my favorite panels of the year.
Stray Bullets: Sunshine & Roses #2

Stray Bullets: Sunshine and Roses #2

  • Zero #15 (Image): I&N Demand #14 could’ve easily ended the series, right?  Can’t not speak of the protracted fight scene, which had its moments–including an stare down that jumped off of the page; otherwise, it seemed unnecessary, almost lazy storytelling-wise, which contradicts most of what Kot’s done since #9, our top book of July 2014.  It’s been a remarkable run, one that was due a hiccup.
Zero #15

Zero #15

  • Magneto #16 (Marvel): Magneto’s a badass.  And that’s all ye need to know.  Wondering what “Secret Wars” is going to do to the mighty Magneto.
  • Moon Knight #13 (Marvel): Wood and Smallwood’s run–which rounded out 2014 on a high note–stumbled across the finish line with an inexplicably weak resolution to an otherwise compelling story.  Now Bunn takes over–with artist Ron Ackins–with expectations unexpectedly lower.  Lucky Bunn.
  • Burning Fields #2 (BOOM!): I thought #1 was pretty solid.  I mentioned that it was like Homeland and The Killing.  #2 had me thinking The Bridge.  Also kind of lost me a bit.  I considered just letting it go, but still I buy.
  • Cap Stone #4 (Titan): Has been OK through three issues.  Certainly hasn’t lived up to the promise of the poetic and beautiful–and near miraculous–first issue.  Had Moore in mind; ended up Less.  Don’t get me wrong: I appreciate Sharp’s vision.  Page to page, the narrative’s like nothing I’ve ever seen.  At times, however, the disjointedness causes the narrative to stall.
  • Divinity #2 (Valiant): I liked #1.  I’m a big Kindt fan, but I’ve struggled to find a series outside of Mind MGMT that works for me.  Sure, I’ve enjoyed The Valiant, but he’s sharing writing duties with Jeff Lemire on that one.  While not mind-blowing by any stretch of the imagination, #1 hit some Kindt-ian notes that rang true, that carried consistently through the issue, leaving me far more satisfied than I was after reading Rai and Ninjak.  I certainly hope that #2 transcends to the divine.

What are you looking forward to this week?

Turning pages,

Scott

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