What’s I&N Store (10/1)

I’m just going to get right to it; you know: give you what you want.

  • Green Arrow #35 (DC): I’ve given each creative team at least one issue since the New 52 misfired with J.T. Krul, who seemed to quiver under the pressure of the big launch.  Kinda smart to bring the TV team to the book.  Definitely worth a look.
Green Arrow #35

Green Arrow #35

  • Wonder Woman #34 (DC): Azzarello’s godlike run is almost done.  Not gonna lie: I’m getting a little weepy about it–because with #35, I’m done, too.  That’ll bring to an end an equally epic run: WW‘s the only New 52 title I’ve stuck with from #1.
  • The Squidder #4 (IDW): I’ve enjoyed Templesmith’s wild, post-cepholopocalyptic world and am sad that it ends here.  Gosh, if I had ten arms, I’d wrap ‘em all around The Squidder and wouldn’t let go for anything!  Clearly, my measly two just ain’t gonna cut it–especially since I need to keep one free for all the scratching.  Yeah, I’m super itchy as a rule.
The Squidder #4

The Squidder #4

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #38 (IDW): OK, so I think the glamour is starting to wear off.  It’s been a few months now; I’m just not as psyched about it as I had been.  Definitely sad about that.
  • Alex + Ada #9 (Image): Ain’t nothin’ to be sad about here.  Well, maybe there is–but it’s for all the right reasons.  (I mean, come on: the cover’s even got rain falling like tears–presaging my own, perhaps?)  Ada’s walking out the front door at the end of #8 offers up so many possibilities–and many of them crappy for her and Alex.  It’s a familiar story, right: the naïve girl from Kansas steps off the bus and the big city smells her innocence and pounces.  I’m nervous for her–and kinda excited.
Alex + Ada #9

Alex + Ada #9

  • The Fade Out #2 (Image): It’s Brubaker and Phillips very own Satellite Sam!  Felt like Fatale, too, which is fine by me.
  • Rat Queens #8 (Image): Can’t imagine I’ll be sticking around much longer.  I mean, come on: it wasn’t ever going to be a long term relationship, was it?  Nah.  Things have already gotten stale; the Queens’ crowns have tarnished.
  • Bucky Barnes: Winter Soldier #1 (Marvel): Ales Kot and Marco Rudy?  Would be stupid not to try one, right?  Thing is, Kot’s struggled with his hero books.  Says a lot that I know that: I’m willing to give him a shot no matter what he’s on because he’s got a strong voice.  And I don’t want to miss it when it finally sounds super in spandex.
Bucky Barnes: Winter Soldier #1

Bucky Barnes: Winter Soldier #1

  • Captain America 25 (Marvel): Oh, why not?  Seriously.  I can’t really Remender why not.  Someone remind me!  Please!
  • Miracleman#11 (Marvel): OK, so, the best book on the shelf is one that’s thirty years old.  Considering the number of quality books being pumped out on a monthly basis by big and small publishers alike, that’s damn impressive.
Miracleman #11

Miracleman #11

  • Moon Knight #8 (Marvel): Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey are gone–and no doubt will be missed.  Maybe not too much, however–especially if Brian Wood and Greg Smallwood continue to carve out their own little moon kniche as they have with a confident first issue.  Certainly woodn’t have been as effective an issue if they had tried to simply ape the previous cycle.  Nah.  Wood has already chipped away at Moon Knight’s perfection; and Smallwood–who amazed us on Dream Thief–offered up some sick paneling.  Yeah, gimme more!
  • Silver Surfer #6 (Marvel): Doesn’t get more fun than what Slott and Allred are doin’ here.  Easily one of our favorite titles of the year.
  • Thor #1 (Marvel): Thor’s a woman!  I say thee okay.  I’ll try it.  We’ll see how Aaron and Dauterman hammer out the most heavily hyped sex change in comic book history!
  • Cloaks #2 (BOOM!): Looking forward to this.  I liked #1 a lot.  Put creators Caleb Monroe and Mariano Navarro on my radar.  It was plenty fun, nice to look at, and certainly “[left] me wanting more.”
Cloaks #2

Cloaks #2

  • Brides of Helheim #1 (Oni): Helheim didn’t blow me away like I hoped it would.  I make this vow: if Bunn doesn’t propose something magical here in the first issue, I’m going to divorce myself from all things Helheim.
  • The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood #1 (Dynamite): I’m doubly damned: I’m drawn to the title–and the Francavilla cover.
The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood #1

The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood #1

  • Holmes vs. Houdini #1 (Dynamite): Aw, hell: how can I pass this up?  It’s no mystery; it ain’t magic: it’s mystery and magic!  Doesn’t hurt that a similar note has been struck in the terrific The Last Broadcast from Archaia.
  • Über #18 (Avatar): Gillen’s still killin’ it.  It’s Überlicious!

What are you looking forward to this week?

Turning pages,

Scott

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Superhero Friday!

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Here’s an autumnal Superhero Friday to test your metal, man.

And your patience with puns.

I'm falling and I can't get up!

I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!

Aren’t you the least bit mercurious?

Who are you wearing today?

Turning pages,

Scott

What’s I&N Store (9/24)

Kicking off a four-day weekend with a bag!

  • The Massive #27 (Dark Horse): #26 ended on a MASSIVE note.  What’s been lost–what’s been an afterthought, really, despite the title!–is finally found.
  • Mind MGMT #26 (Dark Horse): Some spectacular moments in #25–none more so than Dusty’s Army rolling through with a promise to Meru.
Mind MGMT #26

Mind MGMT #26

  • Bodies #3 (DC/Vertigo): Loved #1 enough to name it a Top 5 Book of July.  Bar set.  #2 fell short but was still pretty good.  Got a bit chunky in spots, which only served to make #1 look even more effortless, more effective.  Still super interested to see how it all comes together.
  • Dead Boy Detectives #9 (DC/Vertigo):  I’ve been enjoying the read without any real investment in the characters.  Some of the enjoyment is coming from–as I’ve mentioned–its reminding me of The Books of Magic ongoing from back in the day.  Some comes from the well affected voices.  Might have to think about any further investment in the book, however–especially if I still find myself unable to warm up to the Dead Boys themselves.  One thing I have no trouble warming up to: the covers from Mark Buckingham.
Dead Boy Detectives #9

Dead Boy Detectives #9

  • A Voice in the Dark: Get Your Gun #1 (Image): My feelings about AVitD have been well documented–save for how I felt about the final issue of the first arc.  As I told Larime Taylor: I thought it pulled everything together well and, in doing so, reminded of #2, the high murder mark of the series.  Going forward, hoping for sharper knives and sharper pacing.  Someone very important to the development of the series promised the latter, so…
A Voice in the Dark: Get Your Gun #1

A Voice in the Dark: Get Your Gun #1

  • Low #3 (Image): OK, so, how low can I go?  How about one more.   Chalk it up to my digging Greg Tocchini’s art–and my not having been turned off my Remender’s writing.  Not yet, anyway.
  • Outcast #4 (Image): Has been slow but not uninteresting.  I’ll give it another whirl; I mean, something’s bound–Skybound, even!–to happen.  Right?
  • Roche Limit #1 (Image): I dunno.  I’m not excited about it.  I didn’t like Michael Moreci’s Curse all that much.  I’ll thumb through and make the call from there.
  • Saga #27 (Image): Has gotten a bit bloated–as evidenced by the farty first page of #26.  Hmm.
  • Loki: Agent of Asgard #6 (Marvel): You wanna talk sin?  How about the eighth deadly sin: Original Sin: Thor & Loki.  Yeah.  Give me a break!  Er, no!  Not another break.  Not another Norse goddamned crossover!  AXIS shmaxis!  Let’s get back to it–back to the metro-immortal Asgardianhole I’ve come to like a lot more than I ever thought I would.  (Blame-thank Al Ewing for that!)
Loki: Agent of Asgard #6

Loki: Agent of Asgard #6

  • Magneto #10 (Marvel): Mostly back to form–save for the arrival of the Red Skull (Not-zi what I was hoping for, that’s for sure) and the threat of a Genoshan Death March to AXIS, which promises to suck.  Hard.
  • Armor Hunters #4 (Valiant): “The Final Hunt.”  Ain’t complaining.
  • Brass Sun #5 (2000 AD): #4 had me thinking Top Book of August as a top book was fetched by a Bookworm at the urging of Whisper–“librarian, second class.”  No, really: so good.  Trailed off a bit after that, knocking it out of contention; but it ended on a strong note with a Nominal Charge.  I mean, come on: who doesn’t love sky pirates?
Brass Sun #5

Brass Sun #5

  • Butterfly #1 (BOOM!): More espionage stuff!  Velvet‘s been good; so I’m gonna give this one a try.
  • Evil Empire #5 (BOOM!):  Wow!  #4 delivered the goods–er, evils!  Oh, brother: this time, the twist was twisted.  And, as expected, another righteous cover from Jay Shaw:
Evil Empire #5

Evil Empire #5

  • Rachel Rising #28 (Abstract Studio): Pains me to say this: the only reason I’m picking this up is because I feel obligated to–not because of any loyalty at this point, but because I forgot to take it off of my pull list.  Yeah, it’s been that bad.  And it was sooooooo good, too.  Seems like forever ago that we named it one of our Top Ten Books of 2013.
  • The Sixth Gun #43 (Oni): Still stockpiling ‘em.
  • X-O Manowar #29 (Valiant): I’ve enjoyed the Armor Hunter diversion.  Usually, crossovers kill momentum; this one, however, has fed it.  Kudos to Venditti & Co.

Avery’s Pick of the Week:

  • Bee and Puppycat #4 (BOOM!): Plenty of fun from Anissa Espinosa.  Oh yeah, it’s weird!  But in the wild world of Avery, weird is wonderful!  Nothing’s as wonderful, however, as when my girl says, “Daddy, read it!”
Bee and Puppycat #4

Bee and Puppycat #4

What are you looking forward to this week?

Turning pages,

Scott

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Superhero Friday!

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It’salreadythethirdFridayoftheschoolyearcan’tbelieveitatthisrateit’llbesummertomorrow.

Don'tblinkyou'llmissme

Don’tblinkyou’llmissme

Whoareyouwearingtoday?

Turningpages,

Scott

What’s I&N Store (9/17)

Being a bit choosy this week, but maybe not choosy enough in some spots.

  • Batman & Robin Future’s End #1 (DC): It’ll be in my bag, but I couldn’t care less.  If that makes me a heretic, so be it.
  • The Multiversity: The Society of Super-Heroes #1 (DC): With The Multiversity #1, Grant Morrison effectively dangled a Captain Carrot on a stick and for that and a multitude of other reasons I’m going to follow him–and artist Chris Sprouse–to the ends of the Earth–in this case, Earth-20.
The Multiversity: The Society of Super-Heroes #1

The Multiversity: The Society of Super-Heroes #1

  • Wonder Woman Future’s End #1 (DC): Same as B&R.  One good thing as I peer into the future: my relationship with Future’s End ends with these two titles.
  • Clone #20 (Image): I’m still hanging onto the cliff, baby!  These guys know how to build tension and expectations, and aren’t afraid to “go there.”  In that, it’s not unlike Saga.  As consistent a book as you’re going to find.
Clone #20

Clone #20

  • Satellite Sam #10 (Image): #9 was a strong issue from every angle.  I know that Sex Criminals gets more attention, but it’s masturbation compared to this orgy of compelling characters and taut storylines.
  • Stray Bullets: Killers #7 (Image): We’ve been kinda down on the reload since a .44 caliber Magnumicent first shot, which we named our #1 book of March.  #5–the return of Amy Racecar–was fun, but it failed to satisfy.  #6, however…  OK, so, for just about the entire issue, I felt as if I were reading #2 or #3 or #4; and I wasn’t excited about it–until the final page.  THAT’S what I’m talking about, Mr. Lapham!  That’s Stray Bullets, baby!  And, darn it, I’m going to fight for its being represented in our Top 5 for August.  It’s not going to be easy, but I’m going to try.
Stray Bullets: Killers #7

Stray Bullets: Killers #7

  • Trees #5 (Image): Speaking of a lack of excitement: ugh.  It’s like watching a tree grow.  A really boring tree.  What I should do is prune it from my picks.  Probably won’t, though.
  • The Wicked & The Divine #4 (Image): I liked #2, but I loved #3.  Yeah, I had my doubts at first; but now Gillen’s got me good.  Toss in some terrific art from McKelvie (lovely layouts, splashes, and double-page spreads) and wow, wow, wow!  Another book that deserves to be in our Top 5 list for August.  I’ll do my best to fight for it.
The Wicked & The Divine #4

The Wicked & The Divine #4

  • All-New X-Men #32 (Marvel): I’m getting nervous about the Ultimate storyline.  Damn, man!  If you’ve been following along, then you know I’ve been really enjoying All-New–when I’ve been able to get it, of course.  This could very easily kill it for me.  (I don’t want it to kill it for me!)
  • Daredevil #8 (Marvel): #7 wasn’t very good.  Is Original Sin to blame?  Or is the bigger sin Waid’s turning DD into a monthly PSA?  Instead of being excited about the next issue, I’m thinking more about what issue Waid’ll focus on next.  Not where I should be.  For example: #8 offers up a new “menace”: the Purple Children.  So, where are we headed?  Homelessness?  Adoption?  Child abuse?  It’s getting to be so forced, so processed, ham handedness just doesn’t speak to it–it’s more like Spam handedness.
  • Original Sin #5.5 (Marvel): Here’s the real truth: the first .4 issues of this misguided diversion have been underwhelming and painfully obvious.  Why have I bothered?  Well, I bet on Al Ewing and Loki–and lost.  Should’ve listened to you, Derek!
  • Uncanny X-Men #26 (Marvel): #25 was an overpriced, forced effort that was more transition than climax.  I don’t know what’s happened.  I finally gave myself over to Bendis and I get this and All-New #31?  OK, so, the cover’s cool.  Would say we have a plethora of Cyclopses?
Uncanny X-Men #26

Uncanny X-Men #26

  • The Delinquents #2 (Valiant): #1 was fun but just not as fun as I had hoped it’d be–especially considering the star power in charge of this light brigade.  Sure, we’re only one issue in, but it’s kinda clear: Asmus and Van Lente are neither the Archer & Armstrong nor the Quantum and Woody of writing teams.  Highlight: Kano’s artwork!  No surprise: the guy can sell a story–even one forced into being–with the best of ‘em.
  • The Last Broadcast #5 (Archaia/BOOM!): There’s nothing nonchalant about the way these fellas tell a story. Yeah, this book’s about to Doyle over!  Plenty of threads have been spun together; can’t wait to untie them!
The Last Broadcast #5

The Last Broadcast #5

  • The Life After #3 (Oni):  I’ve enjoyed the casting of Hemingway as Virgil in this Truman Show for suicides.  The Christ twist at the end of #2 was made tolerable by a plugged-in–and brazen–presentation of God.  I’m intrigued.
  • The Sixth Gun: Days of the Dead #2 (Oni): Starting a new Sixth Gun pile!
  • The Devilers #3 (Dynamite): Not sure if I’m long for this.   It’s fine for what it is; I’m just not sure if I need it.

Avery’s Pick of the Week:

  • Scribblenauts Unmasked: A Crisis of Imagination #9: Avery’s gonna be excited to get a hold of her favorite comic from Josh Elder and Adam Archer!  But she ain’t gonna be happy that this is the end of the Scribblenauts.  Poor baby!
Scribblenauts Unmasked: A Crisis of Imagination #9

Scribblenauts Unmasked: A Crisis of Imagination #9

What are you looking forward to this week?

Turning pages,

Scott

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Superhero Friday!

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My wife–Lee bless her–went out to pick up some new clothes for the girls and instead came home with this:

To me, my t-shirt!

To me, my t-shirt!

Poor kids!  Running around in their diapers while I’m busy showing off my all-new Superhero Friday shirt.

Oh, well!  That’s my X-wife for ya!

I’m telling you: this woman could find a superhero t-shirt at an Asian grocery.  It’s uncanny!

Who are you wearing today?

Turning pages,

Scott

 

What’s I&N Store (9/10)

Yeah, so, I haven’t even finished last weeks books.  Thanks, work!

  • Astro City #15 (DC/Vertigo):In #14,  Kurt Busiek offered up a mechanical mystery in the style we’ve come to expect.  Liked Ellie right away and hated seeing her get taken advantage of.  That’s something Busiek is very good at: creating sympathetic characters in a finger snap.  Looking ahead: I’m already anticipating the twist–meaning: I’m pretty sure I know how this is going to play out.
  • Copperhead #1 (Image): Another sci-fi Western?  Oh, why the hell not?  Hickman and Dragotta’s East of West–also out this week–is excellent; Spurrier and Stokely’s Six-Gun Gorilla–a new classic–was one of the best books of 2013.  Wonder what Jay Faerber and Scott Godlewski have in store for us?  Will it show up in the square at high noon, or will it hightail its way out of town?
  • East of West #15 (Image): Still running at a very high level.  Love Dragotta’s Lovecraftian creatures, which really pop with horrific elegance.
East of West #15

East of West #15

  • Lazarus #11 (Image): #10 found Jonah Carlyle having a whale of a time in Hock territory.  He sure got a taste of his own medicine, didn’t he?  Tasted a lot like Jakob Hock’s medicine, which was forced down his throat, no doubt.
Lazarus #11

Lazarus #11

  • Sheltered #11 (Image): This book is pissing me off.  I’m so damn conflicted!  I really don’t want to read it anymore; but, at the same time, I want to know how the whole thing plays out.  I guess I could always thumb through it at the shop or ask a friend.  Or just keep buying it.
  • Velvet #7 (Image): Super-solid storytelling all the way around from Brubaker and Epting.  Doesn’t have the one-punch knockout power of Fatale, but certainly racks up points round after round.
  • Hawkeye #20 (Marvel): Re: #19: How do two follow up an issue of such deafening power?  Answer: they don’t!  Instead, we get another patented Hawkeye fill-in issue with Annie Wu.   Lucky for us, the fill-ins are generally pretty good.
  • Magneto #9 (Marvel): The last two issues haven’t lived up to expectations–mainly because they’ve played out just as expected.  Sure, a fully powered Magneto’d be attractive; but I’d like to see Bunn working at full power, too.
Magneto #9

Magneto #9

  • Ms. Marvel #8 (Marvel): The last two issues of Ms. Marvel have been pretty terrible. If this one doesn’t remind me of the reasons I fell in love with Kamala in the first place, I’m out.  (See that: it took only two issues to change my tune about this book.)  Big plus–huge plus: Adrian Alphona is back.
  • The United States of Murder #5 (Marvel/Icon): I’ve enjoyed the series a lot more than I thought I would.  Bendis is sitting right in the pocket; he’s playing toward his strength and delivering.  Highlight of #4: a couple of to-die-for double-page spreads from Oeming.
  • Annihilator #1 (Legendary): Grant Morrison and Frazer Irving?  Yes, please.
Annihilator #1

Annihilator #1

  • Archer & Armstrong #24 (Valiant): “American Wasteland” was about as good as it gets–and not just for A&A, mind you.  Karl Bollers assumes writing duties for an issue with a nice assassin; that’s right: Mary-Maria takes center stage for the first time.  And I’m thinking, as you are: it’s filler time.
  • Black Market #3 (BOOM!): #2 was OK; it suffered from having to necessarily follow up a fantastic first issue, which found me actually–and surprisingly–liking Barbiere’s writing.  I know, right?  The second installment, however, reminded me of why I had reservations going in.  Got a little rough.  What kept me from completely losing interest was Victor Santos’s art, which reminds of Mateus Santolouco, Jeff Stokely, Michael Avon Oeming, and Vanesa Del Rey all at once.  Nice company.  Despite the drop off on the writing side, I’m going to stick it out to the end.
Black Market #3

Black Market #3

  • The Bunker #6 (Oni): The Bunker has been really, really good.
  • Caliban #6 (Avatar): “It’s going to be okay”?  Really?  What are the odds of that?  Unless, of course, San goes full Ripley on the alien’s ass.  That’d be plenty okay by me.
  • Dawn/Vampirella #1 (Dynamite): There’s no way around it: Linsner‘s Sin Boldly was a disappointment.  Sure, Linsner’s art is gorgeous, but his writing’s always been tough to swallow.  Leaves me wondering if I should just let this one go.  Would be out of character, of course, considering the fact that I’ve got just about everything Dawn going back twenty-five years.
  • Magnus: Robot Fighter #6 (Dynamite): Re: #5: a nice marriage of action and intrigue.  Sure, there was no reason to doubt Van Lente, but still: this series has been a pleasant surprise.
  • Stumptown Vol. 3 #1 (Oni): Double your Rucka, double your comic book fun!  Will never forget Vol. 2 #4 with its stunning car chase that quite literally had me turning pages.  Hoping for similar high notes this time around.
Stumptown Vol. 3 #1

Stumptown Vol. 3 #1

  • Terminal Hero #2 (Dynamite): Liked #1 enough to go another round.  It wasn’t a perfect premier issue by any stretch.  (I can’t help but think of Peter Milligan pulling pantyhose over his head.  A single issue isn’t meant to have so much story shoved inside!)  If the pacing improves, I’ll stick around.  If not, I’m out.
  • Thomas Alsop #4 (BOOM!): The series has been straight-up great.  One of my favorites.  We loved #2 enough to name it one of our Top 5 Books of July; and #3 was also very strong.  Can’t wait to rock out with Chris Miskiewicz and Palle Schmidt again!
Thomas Alsop #4

Thomas Alsop #4

What are you looking forward to this week?

Turning pages,

Scott

Superhero Friday!

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I heard that someone was waiting for me.

Uncommon to the core...

Uncommon to the core…

Funny.  I’ve been here the whole time.

Who are you wearing today?

Turning pages,

Scott

What’s I&N Store (9/3)

Back to work tomorrow!  Best way to make up for it?  Comics!

  • The Names #1 (DC/Vertigo): Peter Milligan’s plate is filling up quickly.  Good for him–better for us.  Here, he’s offering up a recent widow who’s taking in the likes of George Soros and Warren Buffet.  That’s a premise even they can’t devalue!
  • The Squidder #3 (IDW): Templesmith’s art is terrific.  It’s worth the price of admission.  Doesn’t hurt that he’s also doing a fine job on the writing side of things.  Sure, the story’s a familiar one, but he’s making his take on it an exciting one all the way around.  I like Jack a lot.  He reminds me of Costner’s Mariner from Waterworld, but as played by Bruce Willis or Jason Statham.  (It’s funny: I don’t usually imagine actors in roles when I read comics.  Wonder what it is about this one?)
The Squidder #3

The Squidder #3

  • God Hates Astronauts #1 (Image): Billed as a jumping on point for those of us who failed to jump on Ryan Browne’s GHA the first time around.  So, what the hell–Geronimo!
  • Sidekick #8 (Image): Flyboy can’t–or chooses not to–rise above the betrayal he’s suffered at the hands of Red Cowl, his mentor; he’s been wronged and he’s ready to return in kind.  I’ve been down on much of what J.M.S. has been pumping out, but I’m digging this one.  He’s clicking with cliché in a meaningful way and delivering a dark twist without coming off as played or playful.
Sidekick #8

Sidekick #8

  • Southern Bastards #4 (Image): Got me a hankerin’ for some ribs–and another issue of Aaron and Latour’s Southern Bastards, especially now that football season is upon us.  Speaking of: I particularly enjoyed how Coach Boss bounced between putting together a game plan to deal with Winthrop’s no-huddle offense and coming up with a strategy to deal with the equally as challenging offense of the stick-swinging Earl Tubb.
  • Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #6 (Marvel): #5 didn’t quite live up to the standard set by an excellent #4 (really, how could it have?), but it still kicked all sorts of ass: Kaare Andrew’s writing is lively and engaging, and his art is so ridiculously detailed and kinetic, especially as he draws out more of Danny’s backstory, setting up further his current conflict.  One of my favorite monthly reads.
Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #6

Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #6

  • Miracleman #10 (Marvel): I’m finally all caught up–and I want Moore!  Damn thing is brilliant.  If I had only read it when it first came out…
  • Moon Knight #7 (Marvel): What a way to end a run! #6 is a brilliant bridge–even if it is a bit smug.  Trent–a disgruntled beat officer–tries to take out and replace Moon Knight, but he fails pretty epically.  Of course he does: Moon Knight is perfect in all he does–which mirrors the perfection of Ellis and Shalvey’s storytelling.  Yeah, this Spectre-acular creative team has set the bar pretty damn high, but that doesn’t mean Brian Wood and Greg Smallwood are going to blow (up) their opportunity to make Moon Knight their own.  I’m excited–especially because Wood’s been doing some of our favorite writing of the year on The Massive.
Moon Knight #7

Moon Knight #7

  • Uncanny X-Men #25 (Marvel): #24 fell a bit flat: Kris Anka’s art wasn’t enough to elevate an issue that doesn’t really go anywhere.  I knew–I just knew!–that this damn Original Sin crossover would put a crack in my newfound faith in X-Bendis.  With Bachalo back on board, maybe this issue will crackle and uncannily spackle the aforementioned fissure.  That wouldn’t make up for the fact that #24 was more or less $4 filler.
  • Cloaks #1 (BOOM!): I don’t know the creators (Caleb Monroe and Mariano Navarro), but I’m willing to give it a shot in hopes that they’re making some magic a la another BOOM!/Archaia book: The Last Broadcast, which has been so very good.
Cloaks #1

Cloaks #1

  • The Death-Defying Dr. Mirage #1 (Valiant): A couple of draws here: it’s a Valiant #1, and I’m excited about artist Roberto De La Torre, who did some de la terrific work on Shadowman.
  • Ex-Con #1 (Dynamite): I liked Duane Swierczynski’s work on Bloodshot enough to try this out.  (Brought the same attitude to X, however, which I dropped pretty quickly.)
  • Extinction Parade: War #3 (Avatar): As I mentioned last month: this is good stuff!  In #2, Brooks brings some beauty and musicality to the zombie massacre by unveiling a heady dance of death, which is delivered in great detail by the undaunted Raulo Caceres.
Extinction Parade: War #3

Extinction Parade: War #3

  • The Twilight Zone #8 (Dynamite): This brings the second arc–which has played second fiddle to the first one–to a close.  Hasn’t been a disappointment, but also hasn’t excited, which may leave the series on the chopping block.  This one’ll have to blow me away to keep me around.
  • Über #17 (Avatar): Gotta give Gillen a hand: my heart sank when Vernon sank, even though I knew things weren’t going to work out for him.  Got too warm and fuzzy; something bad had to happen.  Even still, Gillen got me feelin’ pretty quickly; but then just as quickly, he had me forgetting, which is what made Vernon’s hand breaking through the surface of the water that much more impactful.
Über #17

Über #17

What are you looking forward to this week?

Turning pages,

Scott

The Top 5 Books of July

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This was one stacked month of comics. Consider: our #1 book from last month (Silver Surfer), despite another strong outing, didn’t crack the Top 5 this time out. Also, only one of the titles below has been featured on our hallowed list before (having been, at different times, praised and damned – see below). This speaks to the veritable title wave of new, quality work being produced in this, the New Golden Age of Comics.

#5. Bodies #1 (DC/Vertigo): Brit scribe Si Spencer–whose ambition is clearly as vaulting as a well-known Shakespearean Thane-in-the-neck–has brazenly pieced together a primo pastiche of disparate eras and artists–including a Murderers’ Row of Meghan Hetrick, Dean Ormston, Tula Lotay, and Phil Winslade–and in doing so has Doyle-d up a Holmes-ian mystery multiplied by four.  Sure, the transitions from one time period to the next are as harsh as a head on collision, but it’s entirely understandable because so is the seemingly singular homicide that links one Longharvest Lane crime scene to the next.  Lee Loughridge’s colors, too, help to both draw a distinction and create a connection among the settings, the latter established by his use of a clichéd shade of red, which is hinted at by the blood splatter on Fiona Stephenson’s vintage–and ironically vivacious–cover.  Bodies #1 is a killer first issue that executes an experimental exposition that could’ve easily succumbed to redundancy, but instead rises effortlessly to the level of required reading. (SC)

Bodies #1

Bodies #1

#4. Cap’n Dinosaur (one-shot) (Image): MORE! FUN! COMICS! Cap’n Dinosaur is just what any jaded comic book reader needs: sublime silliness distilled through a love of classic super hero tropes. A synopsis of the plot would be futile, and pointless besides (just take a gander at the cover!) Suffice it to say that writer Kek-W and artist Shaky Kane have cooked up a kooky confection of pure comic-y goodness. Kane’s absurdist Silver-Age aesthetic seems to bring out the best in his collaborators (as evidenced by another recent Image one-shot, That’s Because You’re a Robot, with writer David Quantick – also worth a look). In particular, Kane seems to inspire writers to release their buried id in order to keep up with his lunatic visions, in much the same way that Mike Allred does. In fact, with his timeless, retro style, anarchic non-sequiturs and surreal approach to pop culture, I’d say that if Mike Allred and (comic genius) Michael Kupperman had a baby, it would be Shaky Kane. So I guess what I’m saying is: Mike Allred and Michael Kupperman should have babies….Oh, just buy this book! (DM)

Cap'n Dinosaur

Cap’n Dinosaur

#3. Thomas Alsop #2 (BOOM!): The Mage. The Mystic. That mysterious Master of the Dark Arts, guarding the thin veil that protects our reality from the nefarious nether-worlds. Such figures have constituted their own archetype in comics since at least Mandrake the Magician. Curious then, that they have been underrepresented in the current comics scene since the demise of the venerated Hellblazer (What’s that you say? There’s a comic called Constantine featuring the same character? Sorry, never heard of it.) Poised to step into those considerable loafers is one Thomas Alsop. And by “step” I mean “stagger, covered in his own vomit.” Conjured from the aether by writer Chris Miskiewicz and artist Palle Schmidt, the titular magician (and voracious abuser of all sorts of substances), possesses a nice insouciance, equal parts debounair and depraved, that provides a necessary (gin and) tonic to the severity of the grave matters at hand (all puns and in-jokes are very much intended). Calling himself a “Supernatural Detective”, he shills his skills on his own reality television show (what else?). This however, is largely a cover (albeit one that pays handsomely) for his more serious work as protector of New York City. But that is not all the creators have up their sleeves; adding complexity is the story of Thomas’ ancestor Richard, the first magical protector of New York, and the dark secret that links past and present. And more still: this being very much a tale of New York, Miskiewicz has, very bravely I think, interwoven the 9/11 tragedy into his story. No small risk that, especially amidst all the fun and games. But he and Schmidt have, so far, accorded it the respectful tone it requires. All in all, this brew, seemingly light and frothy, is a lot more heady than at first it seems. Another round! (DM)

Thomas Alsop #2

Thomas Alsop #2

#2. Life With Archie #36 (Archie): Paul Kupperberg and Co.’s chocolate soda brought all the boys and girls–including yours truly–to the comic shop, and damn right it’s better than than all but one of July’s releases.  Yeah, this book–with the help of mainstream media coverage–absolutely blew up.  And I–like many other non-Archie readers–was caught in the blast radius; so even though I hadn’t touched as much as an Archie Comics Digest in 30-plus years, I just had to have it!  Mind you, this was no ordinary ordinance; this was a nostalgia bomb–one that made me feel welcome in Riverdale despite my being, for all intents and purposes, a complete stranger.

Writer Kupperberg and artists Pat and Tim Kennedy (pencils), Jim Amash (inks), and Glenn Whitmore (colors) put Archie on a path through his past, present, and future–in a lead up to the not-so-shock ending–and as I followed I was struck by just how good Archie is; in, fact, he’s not unlike Superman in his Boy Scout-ish goodness.  In the end, however, he is simply a man: he can’t fly or see through walls; he’s not bulletproof; and his sacrifice leaves us all lamenting the death of that perfect innocence embodied by Archie Andrews–which is made more affective not by the amount of blood about Archie’s body but by the final image of a chocolate soda with three straws having been knocked over during the fracas, its figurative innocence–established on a playful first page–left to melt and spill to the floor.

More that that, really, I was surprised by how good the journey through Archie’s life made me feel.  Gosh, it made me wish more than once that we could all be Archies and Jugheads and Bettys and Veronicas–that all joy could be shared and problems solved over a chocolate soda with three straws. What a world it’d be!  It was an experience I did not expect.  I had initially planned to thumb through the thing and stick it in a bag.  Who knew that “every bit of it [would] just [feel] like home”? (SC)

Life With Archie #36

Life With Archie #36

#1. Zero #9 (Image): Sonuvabitch. As you might have surmised, we here at I&N read a LOT of comics. With so much new product coming out each month, we not only have to decide which titles are worth our time, but also which titles are no longer cutting the mustard. Zero, Ales Kot’s minimalist gut-punch of a spy thriller, in particular has been quite the roller coaster ride, and not always in a good way. After naming it one of our Top Ten Books of 2013 for its innovation and unpredictability, it promptly took a nosedive, as unpredictability gave way to incoherence. In fact, it was only a couple of months ago that the previous issue (#8) was named our Biggest Dis(appointment) of the month. So yeah, this book was on the chopping block.

And then Kot does this. Set in the midst of the Bosnian War, Zero #9 tells a tale from Roman Zizek’s past. Zizek is Zero’s mentor, an American black ops agent, and a war profiteer. Unsurprisingly, he’s a double-dealer of the first order. Already knee-deep in subterfuge and complicit in some of the worst atrocity in recent history, he also has a Bosnian girlfriend who is pregnant, victimized by the war. And things go from there.

Artist Tonci Zonjic deserves special mention as his storytelling manages to be atmospheric, clean, and cartoony (in the classic sense), perfectly setting the tone with a style reminiscent of early Mazzuchelli. And Jordie Bellaire’s muted hues, perfectly navigating between harsh reality and precious memory, are, as always, flawless.

A cursory look at the news will tell you that the world is rife with new, terrible things happening every day. So much so, that the horrors of even the recent past quickly get buried. Rare is the comic that can successfully mine such tragic events for its own fictive purposes, while also shining a light on those so easily forgotten or ignored (Joshua Dysart’s Unknown Soldier comes to mind). Rarer still, one that can do so with such spare, awful beauty. With this issue, Kot and Co. have not only banished any thought of dropping this vital book; they’ve produced one of the most powerful, resonant stories of the year. (DM)

Zero #9

Zero #9

The Biggest Dis(appointment): Robin Rises: Omega #1 (DC): I’ve been pretty vocal in my support of Peter J. Tomasi’s Batman and Whoever, especially in light of its being overshadowed by the over-hyped and underwhelming Snyder books.  (I even told Mr. Tomasi as much when I met him at the 2013 NYCC.  He seemed mildly appreciative.)  Tomasi did a commendable job of following in Grant Morrison’s footsteps, when it seemed that others had no use for them–until now, that is.  Ah, and therein lies the disappointment.  This book, which starts off well enough with a Damien-Robin retrospective, descends into a chaotic disaster of day-old dialogue and stumbles–despite some solid work from Andy Kubert, Jonathan Glapion, and Brad Anderson–into a terminally anemic battle scene–an epic game of casket keep away–that only ends because it eventually reaches its $4.99 price-point page limit.  To make matters worse, it turns out that Batman’s going to have to go BOOM! if he wants to get Robin back; that’s right: he’s headed to DC’s dark side–and, boy, I’d punch Tomasi in his pursed Mother-Boxing Apokolips if I were to ever see him again for going so against the Wayne with his choice of settings for the next rung on the way toward Robin’s return.  (Heck, whom am I fooling?  I’d probably say, “Hey, Mr. Tomasi!  Love your work!  I can’t wait to see what you have in store for…Superman/Wonder Woman!”  And he’d probably be mildly appreciative.)  The New God-darned piece of shard is so distressingly disappointing that I’m seriously considering giving up entirely on Batman and Robin–no, seriously–which would leave me Bat-less for the first time since I jumped into The New 52.  Well, there’s always Moon Knight…(SC)

Robin Rises: Omega #1

Robin Rises: Omega #1

Turning pages,

Derek & Scott

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