All Things Considered, All-New Ghost Rider, Astro City, Batman Eternal, Brent Eric Anderson, Brian Michael Bendis, Chris Claremont, Daredevil, DC Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, East of West, Evan Shaner, Flash Gordon, Fred Van Lente, Guiu Vilanova, Image, Iron Fist: The Living Weapon, J. Michael Straczynski, Jason Fabok, Jeff Parker, Jonathan Hickman, Kaare Andrews, Kurt Busiek, Magnus: Robot Fighter, Manifest Destiny, Mark Waid, Marvel, Matt Kindt, Nick Dragotta, Nightcrawler, Rob Williams, Royals: Masters of War, Scott Snyder, Shutter, Simon Coleby, Stuart Immonen, The Twilight Zone, Tradd Moore, Unity, Valiant, Vertigo
The lightest week in a long while swings around at the right time.
- Astro City #11 (DC/Vertigo): On to something new after the Winged Victory arc. Doesn’t matter what it is, really; it’s going to be a solid read. Kurt Busiek’s good like that.
- Royals: Masters of War #3 (DC/Vertigo): My problem with #2: the pacing. If Rob Williams were shooting for the fog of war, then he hit the target and caused plenty of collateral damage in the process. The art from Simin Colby, however, was just as strong.
- Batman Eternal #1 (DC): I have no faith in the value of this series–for a couple of reasons, really: the words “weekly” (more so “weakly’?) and “various” wail like a siren warning me away; and I’ve found no use for Snyder’s Batman since the penultimate issue of the Court of Owls storyline. Hard to imagine things’ll be different this time around. I’ll thumb through it and make the call from there.
- East of West #11 (Image): Still a slow death–even after an uncharacteristically busy #10–but still very good. Funny: Hickman’s plodding style plays well here but not so well on his hero books.
- Manifest Destiny #6 (Image): I swore to Derek that #5 was my last issue. Let’s see if I can stick to my muskets.
- Shutter #1 (Image): A “female Indiana Jones”? That promise doesn’t do much for me–mostly because I couldn’t care less about Indiana Jones. (Deep breath, Derek. It’ll be OK.) How about, maybe, a “classy Lara Croft”? Nah. Still nothin’. OK, how about an “Image #1″? Now we’re talkin’!
- All-New X-Men #25 (Marvel): Anniversary issues–and why not celebrate an anniversary at #25!–generally suck. My expectations? Already in the vacuum bag, boys and girls.
- All-New Ghost Rider #2 (Marvel): Will most assuredly pass. #1 was a disaster–save for Tradd Moore’s art, of course. Terrible transitions, head-scratching moments, and stomach-curling schmaltz add up to a missed opportunity.
- Daredevil #1.5 (Marvel): Leaning toward leaving it on the shelf. Again: anniversary issues never satisfy.
- Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #1 (Marvel): I’ve always liked Iron Fist/Danny Rand. And I also like the idea of a singular creator–in this case, Kaare Andrews–taking him on. I’ll give it a try.
- Nightcrawler #1 (Marvel): The name Chirs Claremont carries a lot of weight. Unfortunately, Nightcrawler is my least favorite X-Man–ever. May have to BAMF! its way into my bag.
- Flash Gordon #1 (Dynamite): Not kidding: the main reason I’m leaning toward “yes” is because I’ve taken to Millar’s Starlight, a clear spin on the Flash Gordon story. Doesn’t hurt that Jeff Parker and Evan Shaner are attached to it.
- Magnus: Robot Fighter #2 (Dynamite): I enjoyed #1 enough. You down with FVL? Yeah, you know mehl.
- The Twilight Zone #4 (Dynamite): #2 was one of our top books of February. #3 didn’t quite reach that level, but it was still pretty good. #4 brings J. Michael Straczynski’s first arc to its face-melting final act. Will the real Trevor Richmond please stand up. Please stand up. Please stand up.
- Unity #6 (Valiant): I’m awfully close to passing on it. It’s no secret: I’m a Matt Kindt junkie. Thing is, #5 was pretty terrible. Arrgh! I don’t know what to do!
Which books are you looking forward to this week?
Sorry our list is late. I blame Derek for having passed on his half of the Top 5 because his wife gave birth to his second child–another beautiful daughter–or something silly like that.
#5. Lazarus #6 (Image): Greg Rucka’s not a shy guy. We know which way he leans politically–and there’s plenty of leaning here in Lazarus. Sure, he could easily have turned this series into a didactic dystopian diatribe; however, he handles the political landscape with class, never becoming too heavy handed. This chapter is beautifully bookended: it kicks off with a flashback to a young Forever–and the simmering mystery regarding her family ties–and ends with the hope of a brighter future for old Dennis’s granddaughter–a future with a family not her own. The issue is a slow burn, satisfyingly so, which at its peak features the fleeting threat of violence. Michael Lark’s art is as effective as ever, but it’s the pacing, the patience, that propels this part of the story. (SC)
#4. The Twilight Zone #2 (Dynamite): J. Michael Straczynski’s a frustrating fella. His Joe’s Comics line, in general, has been a major disappointment; but we’re still willing to give him a shot, aren’t we? Of course, we are: he’s JMS, after all. And good thing, too: The Twilight Zone is something special–even if it isn’t so unique. See: the storyline–what makes this initial arc a believable Twilight Zone episode–is the very same storyline at the center of JMS’s Sidekick. No kidding! But I’m not going to speculate as to the reason for his identical identity-swapping plots; instead, I’m going to put that inconvenient truth aside and celebrate what he’s done well. Let’s be honest: it’s no surprise that Straczynski shines here: after all, he wrote episodes of The Twilight Zone television series some twenty-five years ago; and those TV writing chops are seen specifically in the furious pace that is set, the result of narration and dialogue designed to launch the story into the stratosphere, where, in true Twilight Zone fashion, the impossible becomes even more impossible: Trevor Richmond, who is technically the re-faced former Trevor Richmond, finds a new and improved Trevor Richmond, who unsettlingly looks the part and is looking to right the former’s wrongs–in the boardroom and in the bedroom–and the former is none to happy about it! Straczynski and artist Guiu Vilanova set Trevor Prime in motion–a la Dan Aykroyd’s Louis Winthorpe III from Trading Places: he gets scoffed at, shot at, frying-panned at; and, unable to take it anymore, he swears revenge “one way…or the other” on an ominous final page that makes us believe him. Something tells me that this new Trevor Richmond isn’t exactly what he looks like. (SC)
#3. The Massive #20 (Dark Horse): Once again, Brian Wood wields tension like a gun loaded with climaxes but not fired. He offers us a rope; we willingly pull it taut; and he challenges us along the way, never allowing any slack, but also never threatening to snap the rope in two. The telling tug-of-war extends to the characters, as well: Mag vs. agents of Arkady–and then Arkady himself; Cal vs. Yusup, himself a seemingly reluctant agent of Arkady; and, ultimately, roiling beneath the surface, waiting to boil over, Cal vs. Mag. The juxtaposition of the conversations is choreographed elegantly, and executed expertly by the game Garry Brown, through to the final page of this deliberate dance–a final page that hints at Wood’s willingness to finally pull the trigger: as his page-bound proxy promises, come next issue, “[A]ll will be made clear.” Oh, and there’s something about Mary–something very mysterious and melodious about Mary. (SC)
#2. Fatale #20 (Image): Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Fatale has been a well-Lovecrafted hypnotic thrill-ride from the smoking hot and super suggestive first issue. But none has possessed as much raw demonic power as this month’s offering, in which Josephine lights up and lets go, revealing several sides of herself, including, most notably, her desperate suiside–well, her numerous attempts, anyway. She’s driven to find Nick, and she ain’t kiddin’ around: in fact, in a particularly creepy scene, she kicks a kid–a boy who hits puberty hard in Jo’s “pretty, pretty” presence–out of a car she jacks and leaves him in the middle of the road, another casualty of the ruinous raven-haired femme fatale, who, in the end, lobotomizes Lance with a cigarette-flavored kiss and saves Nick, but not before leaving him with a memory that blows his mind–and an issue that blows ours to smithereens. Sexy mothereffing smithereens. (SC)
#1. Mind MGMT #19 (Dark Horse): And now for Matt Kindt’s next trick: using a torn paper technique and tri-color coding to affect four–count ‘em: four!–concurrent narratives, the incomparable creator sends Meru to Berlin for the next stop on her magical mystery recruitment tour, leaving us with that childish sense of wonder only a true wizard of the medium can inspire. The Magician’s Tale–the issue’s spine, fractured from the moment the fem illusionist first steps on stage–takes us on a vertical adventure, page after page, from fleeing the increasingly unfriendly audience–and the agents she’s identified in it–all the way to the welcoming arms of the new Mind Management. Attempting to keep pace with the disgraced mage, Meru’s crew splits into two teams, each–in its own series of panels–heading horizontally toward some precarious parallelism–all while the Eraser and her gang, in their own longitudinal fashion, actively pursue, and ultimately score the former agent. Doesn’t matter for whom you’re rooting: it’s an issue that deserves a standing ovation and the top spot in our Top 5. (SC)
The Biggest Dis(appointment): Rover Red Charlie #3 (Avatar)
Our heroic hounds chasing chickens? A tasty treat! Umm, but having a former feeder toss a bulldog’s kibbles leaves a bad taste in the mouth, doesn’t it? Ugh. (SC)
Al Ewing, Archer & Armstrong, Avatar, Batman, BOOM!, Brian Buccellato, Caliban, Charles Soule, Cullen Bunn, Damien Worm, Dark Horse, DC Comics, Dead Letters, Declan Shalvey, Detective Comics, Ed Brisson, Francis Manapul, Fred Van Lente, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Garth Ennis, Goran Parlov, Greg Rucka, IDW, Image, Inhuman, J. Michael Straczynski, James Asmus, Jeff Lemire, Jordie Bellaire, Loki: Agent of Asgard, Magneto, Mark Millar, Marvel, Monster & Madman, Moon Knight, Oni Press, Quantum and Woody, Sidekick, Simon Roy, Starlight, Steve Niles, The Field, Tom Mandrake, Trillium, Valiant, Veil, Vertigo, Warren Ellis
I’ve been dropping books and passing on new books and have been buying more books than ever. Sure ain’t adding up, but it sure as hell is piling up.
- Veil #2 (Dark Horse): #1 was a bit underwhelming, somewhat annoying at times, especially as the mysterious young lady got all Seuss-ian while trying on language–like a veil between who she was and who she has become. But it’s Rucka, sucka, mother——, so I’m trying on another.
- Detective Comics #30 (DC): Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul take up the cowl after having pushed the pace on The Flash. I’m interested.
- Trillium #8 (DC/Vertigo): Lemire’s time-twisting, sci-fi, doppelganger-driven epic comes to a close. Has flown by, really–so much so that I don’t feel that I’ve developed any sort of connection to the characters. But has this series really been about the characters? No: it’s been about the far-out layouts, which have been pretty outstanding.
- Monster & Madman #2 (IDW): A very Steve Niles initial offering–with art from a fella with an appropriately creepy name: Damien Worm–made this one a must buy. So did the clever strategy of making us wait for the madman.
- The Field #1 (Image): Ed Brisson’s a must try thanks to his solid showing on Sheltered. I haven’t read Prophet, so I don’t know much about Simon Roy. Guess I will after this one.
- Sidekick #6 (Image): J. Michael Straczynski has certainly been prolific of late. How does he manage it all? Well, for one, he’s using the same storyline for two of his current books: this one and The Twilight Zone. Not kidding: while reading Sidekick #5, I felt like I had entered the Twilight Zone.
- Starlight #2 (Image): #1 was really, really good. Out of this bunch of books, I’m looking forward to this one the most. Art-wise, it’s no surprise: Goran Parlov’s art brings me back to one of our favorites of 2012 and 2013: Fury: My War Gone By. And it’s no secret: Mark Millar generates great ideas. Those great ideas usually translate into great first issues–and, just as usually, not-so-great series. Here’s hoping that this one goes all the way.
- Inhuman #1 (Marvel): Will give it a flip through. It’s got Soule, but I’m not a Souledier.
- Loki: Agent of Asgard #3 (Marvel): Not sure how I feel about this book. I like the voice Al Ewing is affecting; in that, it’s a fun read. I’ve never been a fan of the Thor side of the Marvel Universe, but I could see myself sticking around because it seems Ewing smartly isn’t taking the Asgardian aspect too seriously. But what is this, really? Considering the page-bound Lorelei lob just prior to her appearance on Agents of Shield, it’s nothing more than a companion pamphlet–right?
- Magneto #2 (Marvel): Credit to Bunn and Walta: in #1, they delivered three terrific page turns and developed some serious tension–between Magneto and the motel maid! A few questionable choices plot-wise leave me wondering if mine is a fleeting attraction.
- Moon Knight #2 (Marvel): The first phase of the new Moon Knight didn’t have me waxing nostalgic. But it’s Warren Ellis. No, yeah, that’s all I’ve got.
- Archer & Armstrong #19 (Valiant): Best moment of #18: Armstrong doin’ a beer bong–all while Archer’s in the middle of a shoot-out with Bloodshot. Other than that, a notch below what we’ve come to expect from one of our top books of 2013. Some people say that there’s a crossover to blame…
- Caliban #1 (Avatar): Garth Ennis goes sci-fi horror. Well, OK, then. Gonna be on the lookout for that patented Avatar–the publisher, not the movie–moment. Come on: you know what I’m talking about: you have been reading Rover Red Charlie, right?
- Dead Letters #1 (BOOM!): Some more noir from BOOM! It’d be a crime not to try it! The second #1 this week that promises a premise predicated upon some dude waking up somewhere without any clue as to who he is, where he is, etc. Yup: that’s what The Field is offering, as well. Every new series should start that way!
- Quantum and Woody #9 (Valiant): Last issue got my goat.
What are you looking forward to this week?
Alan Moore, Ales Kot, Alex + Ada, Annie Wu, Avatar, BOOM!, Brian Wood, Canaan White, Captain America: Homecoming, Dark Horse, DC, Dead Boy Detectives, Doc Savage, Ed Brubaker, Fatale, Fred Van Lente, Garry Brown, Hawkeye, Howard Chaykin, Image, Iron Patriot, J.H. Williams III, Joe Infunari, Jonathan Hickman, Jonathan Luna, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Kieron Gillen, Marvel, Matt Fraction, Matt Kindt, Mind MGMT, Miracleman, Neil Gaiman, Nick Pitarra, Oni Press, Pariah, Ryan North, Sarah Vaughn, Satellite Sam, Scott Snyder, Sean Murphy, Sean Phillips, The Bunker, The Manhattan Projects, The Massive, The Midas Flesh, The Sandman: Overture, The Wake, Tom Grummet, Uber, Vertigo
This week, quantity marries quality. The bridal bed: my bag.
- The Massive #21 (Dark Horse): #20 was one of our Top Five Books of February–and deservedly so. Brian Wood and Garry Brown have hit all the right notes leading up to this arc ender–a real “Bloc” buster!
- Mind MGMT #20 (Dark Horse): It might seem as if we’re getting paid to say so, but, no, it’s just true: #19 was our #1 book of February. That’s back-to-back top spots! And let’s not forget that #17 was our top single issue of 2013! Innovation has been at the heart of our celebration; in that, we can’t wait to see what Matt Kindt has come up with this time around.
- Pariah #2 (Dark Horse): It’s Sheltered in outer space. I like Sheltered enough, so I’ll try another.
- Dead Boy Detectives #4 (DC/Vertigo): So very Vertigo, isn’t it? Has hooked me much in the same way John Ney Rieber hooked me with The Books of Magic ongoing back in the day. I love how the three narrative voices come together–kind of like the comic book version of Peter, Paul, and Mary.
- The Sandman: Overture #2 (DC/Vertigo): I’m already over its being overdue. I’m not much of a Gaimanite. It’s all about J.H. Williams for me. His art is always welcome in my bag.
- The Wake #7 (DC/Vertigo): Can’t say that I understand the celebratory waves left in the wake of the first five issues. But what I can say with certainty is that I liked #6 quite a bit–despite some expository dialogue that smacks of a Sci-Fi original movie. The clever cliffhanger–one of several selling points of #6–calls quickly–too quickly?–to mind what’s come before, making this month’s offering as crucial as can be. The danger: doling out too much or too little here in #7. Snyder’s got to play this one just right.
- Alex + Ada #5 (Image): Sure, the forum discussion gets a tad technical, but it is easily chalked up as a necessary evil–one rehabilitated almost immediately by Jonathan Luna’s patient visual storytelling, which, along with complementing well Sarah Vaughn’s more economical approach to the dialogue, accentuates the suspense born of Alex’s choice to reboot Ada. Love the way the issue ends: I’m pretty sure my eyes widened–like Ada’s–in anticipation of that final page turn, which revealed, to my dismay, a suffering Ada. Kudos to Luna and Vaughn for making me suffer along with Ada in the moment and along with Alex for the last month or so. I’m desperate to discover how this pans out for the
two of themthree of us.
- Fatale #21 (Image): This siren song of a series hit a high note with #20–our #2 book of February. Yet another insistent miracle from Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. Not yet willing to accept that Josephine’s story is coming to an end.
- The Manhattan Projects #19 (Image): Can you guess which part of #18 I appreciated the most? If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you know exactly which sequence left me squealing with joy–a hole lot of joy! (Hint: it’s not the one in Oppenheimer’s head.)
- Satellite Sam #7 (Image): With #6, it’s back to business and, as a result, a return to form. Matt Fraction’s writing is crisp, the dialogue an intricate dance; Howard Chaykin’s artwork is–as always–out of this world.
- Captain America: Homecoming #1 (Marvel): It’s Fred Van Lente’s turn to wield the shield! Oh, I’m definitely down with FVL. I’m hoping he’s going to deliver the Super Soldier I’ve been longing for since Brubaker bailed–and Remender, subsequently, failed.
- Iron Patriot #1 (Marvel): Ales Kot (Zero) and Garry Brown (The Massive): a Marvel Team-Up worth picking up!
- Hawkeye #18 (Marvel): Has been a wild ride number-wise, and, as a result, storyline-wise. #17 was kind of fun in a frivolous and furry way. Speaking of: it’s time for another Kate Bishop singleton! Starting to wonder if I’m buying this for Fraction or for his Hawkeye. I’m leaning toward the latter. That’s right: I’m the Leaning Reader of Hawkeye–who may pass on Clint-less copy.
- Miracleman #4 (Marvel): The real Miracleman: Alan Moore. Hard to believe this stuff is thirty-plus years old.
- The Bunker #2 (Oni Press): An interesting premise, naturally complicated by the time-travel aspect, delivered with relative ease by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Joe Infurnari. Looking forward to this one.
- Doc Savage #4 (Dynamite): Still haven’t read the first three.
- The Midas Flesh #4 (BOOM!): #2 was one of our top books of January. #3 didn’t crack our list for February, but it was solid follow-up that gleefully gave us all the finger–Midas’s finger. That’s some serious WMD: Weaponized Midas Digit. Talk about the spoils of war! The blood is the treasure!
- Uber Special #1 (Avatar): I’m still diggin’ Uber. Not too sure how much we need a “special,” though.
What are you looking forward to this week?
A Voice in the Dark, Adrian Alphona, Alberto Alburquerque, Ales Kot, All-New Ghost Rider, American Vampire, American Vampire: Second Cycle, Animal Man, Avengers World, BOOM!, Brian Azzarello, Brian Hurtt, Brian Michael Bendis, Brian Wood, Charles Soule, Chip Zdarsky, Chris Bachalo, Chris Samnee, Cliff Chiang, Colin Lorimer, Cullen Bunn, Curse, Daredevil, Dark Horse, Dark Horse Presents, DC, Dean Motter, Diego Bernard, Frank Barbiere, Fuse, G. Willow Wilson, Greg Rucka, Harbinger, Image, Jeff Lemire, Jonathan Hickman, Joshua Dysart, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Khari Evans, Larime Taylor, Lazarus, Letter 44, Mark Waid, Marvel, Matt Fraction, Matt Kindt, Michael Lark, Michael Moreci, Mister X, Ms. Marvel, Nick Spencer, Oni Press, Paul Tobin, Rafael Albuquerque, Rick Remender, Riley Rossmo, Robert Venditti, Scott Snyder, Scribblenauts Unmasked, Sex Criminals, Skyman, Suicide Squad, The Sixth Gun, The Witcher, Tim Daniel, Toby Cypress, Top Cow, Tradd Moore, Travel Foreman, Uncanny X-Men, Valiant, Vanesa Del Rey, Vertigo, White Suits, Winter Soldier: The Bitter March, Wonder Woman, X-Men, X-O Manowar, zero
Can’t buy ‘em all. That’s why I narrow it down to a select many every week.
- Dark Horse Presents #34 (Dark Horse): A pricey pick, that’s for sure; but a gotta grab because Dean Motter’s magnificent Mister X is making his much anticipated return to the DHU. And we love us some Mister X: if you didn’t already know–and you’d be in rare company–Mister X: Eviction was our #1 book of 2013.
- Skyman #3 (Dark Horse): Has been OK. My interest level in this book increased exponentially after reading Joshua Hale Fialkov’s The Bunker. Makes this a bit of a potential pick. Thing is, as a four-issue mini, Skyman might not have the time to realize that potential. On a positive note, I’m willing to go the distance because it’s a mini. Wouldn’t have been so willing if it had been an ongoing.
- White Suits #2 (Dark Horse): Toby Cypress’s art was certainly remarkable. The story, not so much. I’m leaning toward passing on it.
- The Witcher #1 (Dark Horse): Capable horror scribe Paul Tobin (Colder) makes it a maybe. The fact that it’s based on a video game makes it a maybe not. May also pass on this one.
- American Vampire: Second Cycle #1 (DC/Vertigo): I’ve been looking forward to this! Oh, sure, I bashed Batman a time or two and have been mostly put to sleep by The Wake (that is until #6, which was, pretty much, in The Wake world, anyhow, the equivalent of a cold shower!). But that doesn’t mean I’m a Snyder hater; in fact, I happen to love American Vampire. Consumed ‘em all in trade form and am ready for the next course!
- Animal Man #29 (DC): Jumped off a while ago. Wondering if it’s worth picking up seeing as it’s the last issue and all. Love Lemire’s cover:
- Batman and Aquaman #29 (DC): Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason continue to deliver the darkest of the Dark Knight books–and now, apparently, the wettest.
- Suicide Squad #29 (DC): Hasn’t been as good as I had hoped it’d be with Kindt in command. Riding out his run, anyway.
- Wonder Woman #29 (DC): It’s no surprise that this is the only New 52 book I’ve stuck with–without missing an issue–from #1. It’s no myth: Brian Azzarello has made a monthly living of being good. Of drawing out the story, sure, but of being good, nevertheless.
- A Voice in the Dark #5 (Image): Well, I certainly didn’t celebrate #4. (Check out my review here.) What I have celebrated, however, is the potential that Larime Taylor has shown–especially in a terrific #2. Here, I’m hoping to see more than a return to form: I’m hoping to see improved pacing. This book desperately needs to cut to the chase–and draw some blood in the process.
- Fuse #2 (Image): #1 was an offer I could easily refuse–not re-Fuse, mind you. Leaning toward leaving it on the shelf.
- Lazarus #7 (Image): #6 was terrific–as always. In it, Rucka and Lark build some serious tension, which neither slacks nor snaps. It’s no wonder that Lazarus was our #7 book of 2013.
- Sex Criminals #5 (Image): #4 was a bit of a rebound from a not-so-good #3, which was our Biggest Dis(appointment) of November 2013. I’m going to go one more round and see what happens. Let’s call this my having faith in Fraction. Sure, he’s a mad god; he’s an effing oversexed overlord! But when he’s good, he’s damn good. If Fraction’s big three books were a menage a trois–ain’t they, though?–Sex Criminals would be on the bottom–and loving it, no doubt.
- Zero #6 (image): With an arc in the books, er, trades, Zero–our #8 book of 2013–gets back to business with Vanesa Del Rey (artist on BOOM!’s quick Hit) bringing Ales Kot’s vision to life. OK, not going to lie: still not too sure how I feel about how #5 ended. I mean, aliens? Really? Going to have to trust my man Kot on this one.
- All-New Ghost Rider #1 (Marvel): My only real exposure to Tradd Moore has been Zero #2, which is my favorite issue of the series thus far. Honesty: I don’t give a boo about Ghost Rider; I’m grabbing this to get a little Moore. We’ll see if the little’ll turn into a lot soon enough.
- Avengers World #4 (Marvel): The series has been mostly blah. Started off well enough, but it seems to have fallen into its “bigger” trap, leaving me asking, “What in the world?” Consider how much bigger my bag promises to be this week, this one might find itself displaced.
- Daredevil #1 (Marvel): Speaking of being displaced: time to see what Waid and Samnee have in store for comidom’s newest San Franciscan.
- Ms. Marvel #2 (Marvel): I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed #1. Reminded me of my initial experience with Miles Morales and how well Brian Michael Bendis handled–and sold–the character in the face of controversy. In this case, I’m hoping that Wilson and Alphona can keep Kamala out of the editorial web that ultimately ensnared Miles.
- Uncanny X-Men #19 (Marvel): Don’t judge me.
- Winter Soldier: The Bitter March #2 (Marvel): Probably not. I didn’t really care for the first one. And after Remender’s Deadly Class #2, I’ve pretty well given up hope that he can deliver something that interests me.
- X-Men #12 (Marvel): OK. Now you may judge me. You know, the series started off on such a nostalgic note, and I bought right into it. Felt like the X-book I had been waiting for since coming back to comics. Then came the momentum busting Battle of the Atom. Since then, the damn thing’s been a bit of a mess. I’ll ride out this storyline and decide from there.
- Curse #3 (BOOM!): My curse: being unable to quit on a mini if I’m at least two issues in–even if I really don’t care very much about it. That pretty well describes this series for me.
- Harbinger #0.2014 (Valiant): Everything you’ve wanted to know about the Bleeding Monk but were afraid to ask.
- Letter 44 #5 (Oni Press): Still loving President Blades, and right now that’s all that matters to me.
- Shadowman #16 (Valiant): A monthly mystery: I don’t care a lick about any of the characters and I’m often vexed by all the voodoo; but I still like it. A major selling point: Roberto De La Torre’s art. It really suits Peter Milligan’s turn on the book.
- The Sixth Gun #39 (Oni Press): I’m almost caught up! I’ve got three more issues to rock out. Know what? There’s no reason why I shouldn’t read through them tonight. There you go: I’m going to read them tonight; and I will read this one first. How’s that? Oh, and, umm, just in case you didn’t know already: it’s good. Really good. As I’ve mentioned in recent posts: the team of Bunn and Hurtt will go down as one of the greats of the modern era–maybe even of all time–because of the terrific work they’ve done on The Sixth Gun.
- X-O Manowar #23 (Valiant): Has been a solid read from the get-go. Aric’s another one of my favorite characters, and Venditti’s shown a great command of his character in and out of the armor.
Avery’s Pick of the Week
- Scribblenauts Unmasked: Crisis of Imagination #3 (DC): My daughter has enjoyed the first two issues well enough. By “enjoyed” I mean “not torn the covers off yet.”
That about does it I&Nmates!
What are you looking forward to this week?
Ales Kot, All-New X-Men, Astro City, Avatar, Brian Michael Bendis, CAFU, Canaan White, comics, David Lapham, DC Comics, Death Sentence, Dynamite, East of West, Fantastic Four, Fred Van Lente, Garth Ennis, Hawkeye, IDW, Image, James Robinson, Jonathan Hickman, Kevin Eastman, Kieron Gillen, Kurt Busiek, Leonard Kirk, Magnus: Robot Fighter, Manifest Destiny, Marvel, Matt Fraction, Matt Kindt, Michael Walsh, mike Dowling, Monster & Madman, Montynero, Nick Dragotta, Red Team, Rob Williams, Ross Campbell, Royals: Masters of War, Secret Avengers, Si Spurrier, Simon Coleby, Steve Niles, Stray Bullets, Stuart Immonen, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Titan, Tom Waltz, Uber, Unity, Valiant, Vertigo, X-Force
My work here is done. Time to get to work.
- Astro City #10 (DC/Vertigo): Busiek’s Winged Victory tour has been a revelation! Hope it soars right to the end.
- Royals: Masters of War #2 (DC/Vertigo): #1 was a jolly good show! Rob Williams’ characters were instantly engaging; and Simon Coleby’s art was terrific, like Jae Lee with more detail and without the reliance on silhouettes. Together, they’ve delivered a well-rounded opening salvo filled with “awe,” “exhilaration,” “excitement,” and “fear.” Has a depth that separates it from the very similar Uber, which just so happens to be on tap this week, as well.
- Monster & Madman #1 (IDW): Frankenstein’s monster and Jack the Ripper together in the same book? Oh, and Steve Niles as the facilitator? Yes, please!
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #32 (IDW): Ross Campbell’s surprisingly strong run on the post-”City Fall” arc comes to an end. Good news, though: one of our favorites, the terrific Mateus Santolouco, is back with #33!
- East of West #10 (Image): A compelling read that has really started to take off. It’s a solid showcase for Hickman’s serious side, which is a nice counterpoint to his maniacal The Manhattan Projects.
- Manifest Destiny #5 (Image): I’m just about done. It’s a shame, really: #1 promised so much–maybe too much.
- Stray Bullets: Killers #1 (Image): Gonna have to stick this on the ol’ Catch Up pile because…
- Stray Bullets Uber Alles Edition (Image): I recently read the first four issues of Stray Bullets on Dave Lapham’s website. Have been waiting for this bad boy ever since. Thanks to my man Derek for pointing me in this direction.
- All-New X-Men #24 (Marvel): I’m a sucker for the Shi’ar Imperial guard, so…
- Fantastic Four #2 (Marvel): I’m a fair fella. I put The All-New Invaders out of my mind–only after a bit of a purple purge–and jumped into James Robinson’s reboot of The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine with the optimism of an innocent. As it turned out, it wasn’t bad. It wasn’t fantastic, but it wasn’t bad. Robinson–one of our favorite writers of 2012–set the terms of his take on the cosmic quartet–with fine art from Leonard Kirk–and did so well enough for me to follow along. 4 Now! anyway.
- Hawkeye #17 (Marvel): Sure, we’re bee-bopping around a bit, but it doesn’t matter much: wherever Fraction fires his arrows on Hawkeye, they hit the mark emphatically. This departure from the deafening events of #15 promises to be “a raucously adorable and hilarious animated adventure.” Sock it to me!
- Secret Avengers #1 (Marvel): The secret’s out: Ales Kot and Michael Walsh are teaming up again (see Zero #1 or the recently released Zero TP) for an Avengers title that I’m really looking forward to. No, really.
- X-Force #2 (Marvel): I didn’t really love #1. Heck, I barely liked it. But I’m going to give it another issue because Si Spurrier has earned my not-so-easily-earned loyalty. (Yes, I’m still riding the high of the meticulously meta Six-Gun Gorilla, one of our favorite books of 2013.)
- Death Sentence #6 (Titan): No hyperbole here: this is one issue away from cementing itself as the mini to beat for 2014. Writer Montynero’s made himself a must-read–the result of his brilliant storytelling, his unforgettable characters and his insightful back matter. Mike Dowling’s art–which calls to mind the fabulous Sean Phillips–is the perfect complement to Montynero’s wild, wild words. If you foolishly missed out on this rocking good time, fret not: there’s always the trade.
- Red Team #7 (Dynamite): Wow. Forgot this was a thing.
- Magnus: Robot Fighter #1 (Dynamite): Fred Van Lente’s bringing Magnus back, and, I’m like a groupie, so, yeah, I’m going to pick this up. Don’t have any experience with the character, so, yeah: groupie. Oh, c’mon: you know you’re down with FVL.
- Uber #10 (Avatar): Still solid. Wondering how long Gillen’s going to go with it. Wonder how long he can go on with it. Fair or not: I’m going to be holding it to Royals: Masters of War. It’s the nature of the business, ain’t it? Yeah, comics are hell.
- Unity #5 (Valiant): Looking forward to the new arc, which has not been billed as Kindt, CAFU, and you. Man, it should’ve been.
What are you looking forward to this week?
Afterlife With Archie, Al Ewing, Archer & Armstrong, Archie, Austin Harrison, Avatar, Brian Michael Bendis, Chris Bachalo, Clone, Cullen Bunn, Dark Horse, David Schulner, Day Men, Declan Shalvey, Dynamite Entertainment, Ed Brubaker, Evil Empire, Francesco Francavilla, Frank Quitely, Fred Van Lente, Garth Ennis, Greg Rucka, IDW, Image, J. Michael Straczynski, James Asmus, Jeff Lemire, Jordie Bellaire, Juan Jose Ryp, Jupiter's Legacy, Lee Garbett, Loki: Agent of Asgard, Magneto, Mark Millar, Marvel, Max Bemis, Michael DiPascale, Mike Raicht, Moon Knight, Nelson Daniel, Oni Press, Quantum and Woody, Ransom Getty, Roberto Aguirre Sacasa, Rover Red Charlie, Starlight, Steve Epting, The Auteur, The Twilight Zone, Tom Fowler, Trillium, Uncanny X-Men, Valiant, Veil, Velvet, Vertigo, Warren Ellis, Wild Blue Yonder, Zach Howard
Huge week. And, yes, this counts as narrowing it down.
- Veil #1 (Dark Horse): Greg Rucka’s killing it with Lazarus and has Cyclops in his sights. On the strength of the former and in anticipation of the latter, I’m thinking that this one’s a no-brainer.
- Trillium #7 (DC/Vertigo): Through six issues, Jeff Lemire has insisted that we turn the page on our own expectations. As excited as I am sad, knowing that–including this one–only two issues of Lemire’s head-spinning layouts are left!
- Wild Blue Yonder #4 (IDW): One of our favorite books of 2013 is back–finally!–to bust some more blocks! Super excited for this high-flying action adventure from the fine folks at Noble Transmission.
- Clone #15 (Image): Clonetopia? Yeah, probably not. David Schulner and Co. have made it clear: happy endings end rather quickly in Clone–often after a single page turn. And what terrific page turns they are: artist Juan Jose Ryp’s attention to detail is astounding–not unlike the great Geof Darrow, no?
- Jupiter’s Legacy #4 (Image): If I’m remembering correctly, I thought #3 was all right–certainly enough for me to ignore my oath to pass over any Millar material no matter how shiny. We all know by now that Mark Millar’s not concerned with our experiences as readers of his fine material; he’s too busy generating new ideas like…
- Starlight #1 (Image): Of course I’m going to give Mr. Millar another opportunity to frustrate the hell out of me.
- Velvet #4 (Image): Brubaker and Epting are taking their time, doing their thing, which is near-perfect cinematic slow-burn espionage.
- Loki: Agent of Asgard #2 (Marvel): I’ve never been a fan of Thor’s corner of the Marvel Universe. Al Ewing, however, has convinced me to extend my visit to a tidy right angle.
- Magneto #1 (Marvel): Cullen Bunn (The Sixth Gun) writing one of my favorite characters? Yes, please.
- Moon Knight #1 (Marvel): I was crushed after the most recent–and mostly crazy–run of Moon Knight–by Bendis and Maleev–came to a close. Now, Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey are in charge of the lunatic in white. Can’t wait.
- Uncanny X-Men #18 (Marvel): Maybe–just maybe–#17 was a hint; maybe it was the nudge I need. See: at the end of the issue, Cyclops kicks David Bond off the team because the new mutant fails to live up to expectations. Maybe–just maybe–I should finally cast this book aside because it hasn’t lived up to my expectations. Then again, Marco Rudy’s art looks ridiculously good. So, another possibility: Fate has kept me around long enough for this!
- Afterlife With Archie #4 (Archie): The series has been so good for so many reasons. In fact, #3 was our #5 book of January–and deservedly so: Roberto Aguirre Sacasa’s storytelling–a brilliant balance of Archie and Afterlife–is top-notch, and Francesco Francavilla’s art is a perfect fit.
- Archer & Armstrong #18 (Valiant): #17 was a rare sideways step for Fred Van Lente. It certainly wasn’t what we were hoping for from one of our favorite books of 2013. Wouldn’t you know: I liked #0.2014 a lot; in fact, it turned out to be one of my favorite origin issues, like, ever.
- The Auteur #1 (Oni): Game-time decision. Yeah, not too sure I need another “deranged” book.
- Day Men #3 (BOOM!): A Millaresque release schedule without–so far, anyway–the Millaresque payoff that, generally, makes it worth the wait. I’m going to have to pull #2 to bring myself up to speed. Yeah, that’s always a bummer.
- Evil Empire #1 (BOOM!): Another game-time decision. I’m not familiar with Max Bemis or Ransom Getty, so I’ll give it an earnest flip and see what happens.
- Quantum and Woody: Goat #0 (Valiant): Maa.
- Rover Red Charlie #4 (Avatar): #3 was… Oh, I’m going to save it for a future post.
- The Twilight Zone #3 (Dynamite): Has been surprisingly good. Certainly Straczynski’s best work–of the current batch, anyway. The shine, however, was taken off a bit after I read Sidekick #5. Seems Straczynski’s borrowing from himself–and he sure as heck isn’t being subtle about it! Sure, I’ve seen creators who have borrowed from themselves, usually from past work, but this is just silly: Sidekick and Twilight Zone are concurrent titles, for goodness sake! OK. OK. Wait a sec. Is this the Twilight Zone? Oh, well. Still want to see how this plays out.
What are you looking forward to tomorrow?
Alan Moore, Brian Wood, Cary Nord, Dark Horse, David Aja, DC Comics, Dead Boy Detectives, Deadly Class, Doc Savage, Dynamite Entertainment, Ed Brisson, Fantastic Four, Garry Brown, Hawkeye, Howard Chaykin, IDW, Image, James Robinson, Johnnie Christmas, Jonathan Hickman, Jordie Bellaire, Kevin Eastman, Kieron Gillen, Kurtis J. Wiebe, Leonard Kirk, Marvel, Matt Fraction, Matt Kindt, Mind MGMT, Miracleman, Nick Pitarra, Pariah, Rat Queens, Rick Remender, Robert Venditti, Roc Upchurch, Ross Campbell, Satellite Sam, Scott Snyder, Sean Murphy, Sheltered, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Manhattan Projects, The Massive, The Wake, Three, Valiant, Vertigo, Wes Craig, X-O Manowar
A nice list of books to round out the month.
- The Massive #20 (Dark Horse): #19 struggled a bit to to rise to the level of “Longship.” It was to be expected, I suppose, even as expectations were expectedly ramped up as a result of the exquisite study in tension that was the showdown between Cal Israel and Bors Bergson. In general, there is something magical about how Brian Wood gets more out of simmering than most get out of boiling.
- Mind MGMT #19 (Dark Horse): Matt Kindt is working at a completely different level; and, in that, he’s competing against himself–and winning, wouldn’t you know! Oh, you know–because you’re a regular reader of Mind MGMT, right? If you’ve been a regular reader of our humble blog, then you know that #16 was our favorite issue until #17 came along and earned our coveted Best Single Issue of 2013 award. #18–our #1 book of January 2014–has trumped #17 as our favorite issue of Mind MGMT to date; so you know what we’re expecting: #19 is going to be better still! It’s going to be magic!
- Pariah #1 (Dark Horse): Sounds interesting enough; has me thinking Gravity, obviously, but that’s OK. The creators–Aaron Warner, Phillip Gelatt, and Brett Weldele–come with some impressive credits, so I’m going to give it a try.
- Dead Boy Detectives #3 (DC/Vertigo): A unique narrative with a decidedly Vertigo vibe.
- The Wake #6 (DC/Vertigo): According to Scott Snyder: “#5 [was] the big game changer.” If that means that the series is suddenly going to get interesting, a bit more challenging, then terrific. If it simply speaks to the leap forward in time that we’ve been hanging onto since #1, then I’m bored already. Aside from some Snyder-esque horror in #3, the series has been an absolute snoozefest. This is a rep-read–did I just coin that?–if there ever was one.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #31 (IDW): I’m still marveling over the fact that I’m reading a Turtles book. Thing is, it’s good. The writing’s solid, and Ross Campbell’s art is terrific; it suits the situation in which the Turtles find themselves perfectly. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that Mateus Santolouco’a return to the title is just around the corner. Sweet!
- Deadly Class #2 (Image): I’ve about reached the end of my Remender rope. But I have just enough left for this one. I hope I get a bit more than recycled schemes, though.
- The Manhattan Projects #18 (Image): Clinically insane, historically hilarious. Engaging despite its evolving at a Darwin-esque clip. #17 ends on a Hickman high note: a heavily armed General Westmoreland flips off Einstein–easily one of my favorite characters–and fires, “F&@% your science, Doctor…I’ve got a machine gun.” Genius!
- Rat Queens #5 (Image): It sure as hell ain’t high art, but who gives a rat’s ass? Wiebe and Upchurch are spreading a plague of royal merriment! Catch it as quickly as you can!
- Satellite Sam #6 (Image): All I remember of #5: lots of below the belt lip service. Now, with the oral stage set, what’s to come, Sigmund Fraction? I hope we get back to business–before the afterglow turns totally to aftergloom.
- Sheltered #7 (Image): #6 offered up an interesting angle: the adult as the innocent. Derek and I talked about it here: I&N the Gutter with…Sheltered. I’m hoping that this series stays tight and doesn’t get tedious–like Revival, for instance.
- Three #5 (Image): #3 was great. #4 didn’t quite have the same impact but was a damn fine follow up with an edge of your seat cliffhanger. Can’t wait to see how it plays out here in #5. Kieron Gillen’s got something really good going with Three. Looks like when he’s doing his own thing, as with Uber, he’s much more effective and, ultimately, more engaging. He grabs his angle, does his research, and soars.
- Fantastic Four #1 (Marvel): James Robinson’s The All-New Invaders has been a major disappointment. In fact, we called out #1 as our Biggest Dis(appointment) of January. We all know that Robinson’s capable of so much more. Well, I hope he brings that more to Fantastic Four–and I hope what he and Leonard Kirk bring together as a team to “The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine” justifies the reboot.
- Hawkeye #15 (Marvel): Wouldn’t you know: a filtered Fraction is a much better–and certainly sexier–Fraction. But Fraction’s only half of the team that’s serving up the second best hero book–after Daredevil , of course–in the Marvel Universe: David Aja has a hand–a very active hand,
sexuallyactually–in the sexification of Clint Barton, as well. Hey Derek! Smart move jumping onto Mind MGMT–finally. Now it’s time to set your sights on some super hero action. What are you waiting for? I’ll even lend you my trades!
- Miracleman #3 (Marvel): I’m hooked on Alan Moore’s Miracleman! Gosh, I wish I had read these stories back in the day, though. But thanks to Marvel for giving me an opportunity enjoy them now. Could do without all of the ancillary material, however.
- Doc Savage #3 (Dynamite): On the strength of Derek’s recommendation, I’ve picked up the first two, but I haven’t gotten around to reading them yet.
- X-O Manowar #22 (Valiant): A reliable read, though rarely remarkable. Aric, however, remains one of my favorite characters. I wonder whether or not Aric’s involvement in Unity will bring a little something extra to this book. We’ll see.
What are you looking forward to this week?