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

What’s I&N Store (8/27)

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This week isn’t defined so much by the number of books I’m getting as it’s defined by one particular book I’m getting.  You’ll know which one when you get to it.  So much for self control!

  • The Massive #26 (Dark Horse): Winding down to the end.  (I’m still in denial about it, mind you.)  #25 was OK–tough to be the first issue after an arc that truly slakes the thirst like “Sahara”–but had that “setting up the wind down” feel to it.  Silver lining: answers are on the horizon.
  • Mind MGMT #25 (Dark Horse): Can’t type about #24 without first mentioning the gorgeous wraparound cover–which, by the way, was won at auction by some lucky fan for a smidgen over $5000: I got Lyme disease just looking at it!  Inside, a bit of a retrospective, more a Rosetta Stone–all through the lens of Henry Lyme, who’s heart is so lovingly revealed–and it’s Merutiful!.  Loved it.  OK, so, the big question about this month’s issue: how much is this cover going to go for?
Mind MGMT #25

Mind MGMT #25

  • Pop #1 (Dark Horse):This poppy premise is definitely Top 40: a prefabbed pop princess goes off the reservation!  Will she auto-tune her way out of trouble?  Or will she go full Milli Vanilli?  Don’t know the creators, but when has that ever stopped me?  Here’s hoping that Curt Pires and Jason Copland deliver a hit–and that they’re not one-hit wonders.
Pop #1

Pop #1

  • Bodies #2 (DC/Vertigo): Loved, loved, loved the quilt that Si Spencer stitched together with his coterie of co-creators.  We liked it so much that we’ve made it one of our Top 5 Books of July!  (Write-up to come.)
Bodies #2

Bodies #2

  • Dead Boy Detectives #8 (DC/Vertigo): Continues to be an engaging read a la The Books of Magic ongoing.
  • Superman #34 (DC): Finally!  A Superman book worth reading!  It’s felt like forever since Morrison left and took his massive moments with him.  Two issues into their arc, Johns and Romita, Jr. have proven that they are worthy successors–even if they are a bit more straightforward in terms of storytelling.
  • The Last Fall #2 (IDW): Wasn’t knocked out by #1, but I’m going to try another.  Why?  Since you asked: I’m giving Tom Waltz my attention because of his terrific work on TMNT.  I’m loyal like that.
  • Low #2 (Image): Not high on this but not exactly low, either.  Yes, #1 read like a Remender book; but Greg Tocchini’s art, which is pretty excellent, made me think but not mind that I was basically reading The Wake Part II #1.  I’m going to go against my better judgement and buy this one.  I don’t know–maybe this’ll be the book that finally turns me toward Remender.  Then again, the writer’s own words from #1 haunt–and taunt–me; they are essentially telling me to lay off: “Being optimistic doesn’t mean you have to ignore the realities around you.”  Preach, Reverend Rick.  Preach.
Low #2

Low #2

  • The Manhattan Projects #23 (Image): In #22, Hickman refers to a “line between the mundane and the divine.”  Usually, TMP is firmly planted on the divine side; it’s as consistent a book as you’re going to find.  However, much of #22 toes that ironically referenced line; in fact, it does a much-too-talky tip-toe dance for a goodly part of the book.  But, in typical Hickman fashion, it ends elegantly on pointe.  And blade.  And spike.
  • Outcast #3 (Image): The story is compelling enough, with its layers and all.  Robert Kirkman and Paul Azaceta–whose art, as colored by Elizabeth Breitweiser, reminds of David Aja’s–have done a fine job of developing a sense of dread–you know, the seventh sense–and authentic sympathy for Kyle.
  • Saga #22 (Image): Honesty: #19 and #20 left me a bit wanting; yeah, hadn’t been feeling so gaga about Saga–until #21, that is.  Oof, what a comeback.  (Not so much for Mama Sun, though, eh?)  Five big splashes from Fiona Staples help hammer home the love, the hate, the hurt–the brilliance—of Saga.
Saga #22

Saga #22

  • Wayward #1 (Image): Marketed as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer for a new generation,” but gonna give it a try anyway.  God knows I love a me a good “supernatural spectacle,” you know, like the supernaturally terrific Thomas Alsop (BOOM!).
  • All-New X-Men #31 (Marvel): Still haven’t gotten a hold of #30.  Figures that just as I came around to what Bendis is doing I can’t find the damn book on the shelf.  My fault, I guess.  I should’ve put it on my pull list as soon as things turned toward the positive for me.
  • Original Sin #5.4 (Marvel): Once again, a crossover has come along and murdered momentum–in the case of Loki: Agent of Asgard, magical momentum.  It’s been nice to look at; otherwise, I can’t wait for this nonsense to fall away so we can get back on the alluringly loqucious Lokimotive.
  • Silver Surfer #5 (Marvel): We’ve celebrated each of the first three issues as a top book of the month.  (See: March, April, and June.)  #4 was great, too; but, because of all of the greater books that dropped in July, it missed being a Top 5 book.  It was easily a Top 10 title, though.  Despite a dignified drop in the I&N rankings, one thing’s been a constant: SS has been a perfect marriage of writer and artist: Slott’s writing the new adventures of Norrin Radd like it was his professional destiny, and Allred’s, well, Allred: he is the power cosmic complement who makes the book pop–for as long as they both shall live.  Or at least until their hang-tenure is over.
Silver Surfer #5

Silver Surfer #5

  • Brass Sun #4 (2000 A.D.): I’m digging Brass Sun.  I like the possibilities offered up by the universe that Ian Edginton’s created, and I’ve really taken to artist I.N.J. Culbard’s approach and how carries the story without ever distracting from it.  #3, with its twists and spurns, has kicked things up a notch.  On to the next!
  • Evil Empire #4 (BOOM!): Speaking of a #3 that delivered some twists!  Glad I didn’t ditch after #2!  Can’t look past the great covers by Jay Shaw, either.  Then again, you have to, you know, if you want to read the book.  Rest assured: it’s OK if you want to judge Evil Empire by this cover:
Evil Empire #4

Evil Empire #4

  • The Sixth Gun #42 (Oni Press): Still a bit behind.  This’ll sit on a short stack, which I will–i must–read before I go back to work.
  • X-O Manowar #28 (Valiant): Generally, I don’t care for crossovers, but the Armor Hunters diversion works well here, for obvious reasons.  Sure, Archer & Armstrong and Quantum and Woody deserve the accolades they’ve received.  (Harvey noms are nothing to sneeze at.)  Robert Venditti, however, deserves a lot of credit for playing a one-note character into a symphony of sympathy, which has lasted, now, for twenty-eight issues.

Avery’s Pick of the Week:

  • Bee and Puppycat #3 (BOOM!): Avery just thinks that Bee and Puppycat is the dog’s meow.

What are you looking forward to this week?

Turning pages,

Scott

I&N Review: Wynter #1

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Here’s something to do on a quiet evening alone, you know, with the kids asleep and the wife snuggled up on the other end of the couch with her iPad, her face aglow with the shiny promise of Pinterest pins: pick a pair of authors and imagine a literary love affair–one that results in some form of fictional offspring, which you’d describe in great detail, of course, to yourself, of course, because the wife is still busy pinning away on her end of the couch.  Let’s try a quick, not-at-all random round: What kind of child would result from the objectively insane coupling of notorious party girl Ayn Rand and futurist Casanova Philip K. Dick?  She’d be special, that’s for sure; and she’d have a hell of a story to tell–one probably a lot like New Worlds Comics’ Wynter #1, a thought-provoking and visually stunning sci-fi spectacle from writer Guy Hasson and artist Aron Elekes.

Wynter #1

Wynter #1

Liz Wynter, the teenaged protagonist of this data-driven dystopian vision, is herself driven by a singular desire: to be an individual–to be special–in a world that is coded to corral such wayward thoughts, with the powers-that-be wielding drugs and ubiquitous technology as means to achieve their soul-crushing end.  She spends the entirety of the issue wandering the city with a Holden-esque compass, wondering where she might find that sliver of self amongst the oppressive numbers spouted out unsympathetically by the voice in her head, the aptly named Liz, a con of a conscience, a rewired superego meant to keep her in check, to keep her thinking she’s like everyone else, thus making her just like everyone else–not unlike the devices heaped upon Harrison Bergeron, the doomed hero of Kurt Vonnegut’s short story of the same name.  Hasson’s hitting familiar notes makes Liz an easy character to root for, even if she is as cold as her name implies.  See: we instinctively know that the thaw will come as the Promethean flame born of an unbridled ego burns through the layers of ice that have frozen her will; and the final reveal–timed just right–clearly provides the spark that’ll set the tinder alight.

Bringing it all together, lifting the story from the effectively familiar to the level of something special, is Elekes’ digitally painted art, which, from page one, captures the prevailing tone of shadowy dissatisfaction and, at the same time, serves up a certain sensuousness, with specially affected textures–seen specifically in the folds of Liz’s loyal red scarf–that transcend the page.  If I’m comparing–and I most assuredly am–Elekes’ figures remind of Fiona Staples’ (Saga), just with considerably more depth; and I can’t help but think of Clayton Crain’s fully-painted work on Rai, which, while unquestionably beautiful, suffers–as Wynter does–from being much too static, a shade too stiff.  Ekeles’ makes up for it, though, with his layouts, which inject some energy into the narrative, especially as he, at times, emphatically eschews traditional paneling and, by doing so, puts a premium on every page turn.

One page turn, however, left me shaking my head in disappointment.  I mean, I don’t want to make a federal case out of it, but I was immediately taken out of the story during a brief courtroom scene in which the well-rendered countenance of a celebrity judge makes an unexpected–and unwelcome–appearance.  No, really: it’s quite shocking!  I’m sure it’s meant to be silly, to bring some levity to an otherwise dour story; but considering the effectiveness of the dourness, in particular, I have to object!

What I can’t object to is what Wynter as a whole brings to the table–err, tablet: a compelling main character, who is both familiar and relatable, and a unique visual experience that isn’t too soon forgotten.  With that as my takeaway, I’m definitely down for another issue.  In fact, if I had a Pinterest account, I’d pin the damn thing, without hesitation, to a board dedicated to independent comics that happen to get it right.

And my wife, who just so happens to be under a blanket at the other end of the couch, her face very much blanched by the bright light of her iPad, is undoubtedly pinning another recipe that she’ll never bother to attempt to her “Too Foodilicious for Ya Babe” board.

Want to read Wynter #1?  Find it on Comixology here.

Visit newworldscomics.com for more information.

Turning pages,

Scott

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Superhero Friday!

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My wife and I watched The Amazing Spider-Man 2 on pay-per-view Tuesday night.  As ludicrous as some of it was, there was plenty to like, including the opening sequence, the chemistry between Peter and Gwen, and the very end–which drew a tear from this true believer.

He swings and Mrs.

He swings and Mrs.

As the much maligned movie ended, I turned to my wife and asked her what she thought about it.  Her response launched my eyebrows into the hairlineosphere: “I really liked it.  I definitely liked it more than I liked The Avengers–“

“I can see that.”

“–or the last Captain America movie.”

As of now, we’re still married.

You know, for the kids.

Who are you wearing today?

Turning pages,

Scott

What’s I&N Store (8/20)

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Looking forward to a few HUGE number ones: DC’s Multiversity, Image’s The Fade Out, and Valiant’s The Delinquents.  Also have my eye on the repriced DHP.  Plenty of other good stuff, too–including an against-the-odds purchase that might bring down the walls of my LCS!

  • Dark Horse Presents 2014 #1 (Dark Horse): I would buy Geoff Darrow and Frank Miller’s anything.  I even would’ve paid $7.99!  But the fellas at Dark Horse have decided to knock down the price of DHP with the “reboot.”  So we’re talking $4.99 for Darrow and Miller and, among other anthological amuse-bouches, David Mack’s Kabuki!  Yes, please!
Dark Horse Presents 2014 #1

Dark Horse Presents 2014 #1

  • Batman and Robin #34 (DC): Robin is still rising.  I hope he does a better job of it this time around–especially considering how awful the awfully disappointing Robin Rises: Omega was.  That’s right: sad to say, my favorite Batman book earned the ignominious distinction of being the Biggest Dis(appointment) of July.
  • The Multiversity #1 (DC): Grant Morrison is back–finally.  He’s been missed–by us and, most assuredly, by the DC powers that be.  (Marvel’s been cleaning their clocks for a while now; so it’s about time.)  His name is synonymous with quality–even if it is an awkwardly incomprehensible quality.
The Multiversity #1

The Multiversity #1

  • Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland #1 (IDW): I don’t have any experience with Little Nemo, but this looks too good to pass up.
  • The Fade Out #1 (Image): Hot on the high heels of the Fatale finale comes this new series from Brubaker and Phillips.  The description reminds of Fraction and Chaykin’s Satellite Sam–which is not a bad thing.
The Fade Out #1

The Fade Out #1

  • Stray Bullets: Killers #6 (Image): The first new Amy Racecar issue brought a little horsepower back to Lapham’s Bullets, which has been grinding its gears a bit since a high-octane first issue–which Derek gushed over here.
  • Supreme: Blue Rose #2 (Image): Re: #1: I felt kinda lost.  Figure I’ll give it another issue, you know, ’cause it’s Ellis.
  • Trees #4 (Image): #2 earned our Biggest Dis(appointment) of June.  #3 didn’t necessarily wash the taste of #2 from our mouths, but, for the quality of the conversation, it certainly changed the flavor a bit.  Just when I thought I’d be free of Trees, Ellis sucks me right back in.
  • The Wicked & The Divine #3 (Image): I thought #2 was OK–certainly better than the first one.  It didn’t make me want to call it quits, nor did it leave me inconsolable over the fact that I’d have to wait a month for #3.  Damn thing reeks of arrogance–which suits the godly gang well.  I still think the premise is kinda cool, and I’ve come to have more faith in Gillen thanks to Über; so I’m sticking around.  We’ll see what happens.  (Side note: anyone else seeing similarities between this and Azzarello’s Wonder Woman?  A quick flip through just gave me that vibe.)
The Wicked & The Divine #3

The Wicked & The Divine #3

  • Daredevil #7 (Marvel): The Original Sin tie-in was actually pretty good and included one of the best DD double-page spreads I’ve ever heard.  On to another, more about Matt’s mother–and off to Wakanda.
  • Magneto #8 (Marvel): Re: #7: not my favorite issue.  More a carried note than a new one.  Translation: the pattern that Bunn’s been following stood out more than the story itself.  Hope that doesn’t carry forward.
  • Ms. Marvel #7 (Marvel): I can’t believe I’m saying this: I didn’t care very much for #6.  My secret crush–the marvelous Kamala Khan–was insufferable!  Ugh!  How did endearingly awkward twist to annoyingly annoying so darned quickly?  And my concerns about the change in artist–well, they were well founded.  Wyatt’s work may as well have been lined with metal, too.  I’m not ready to quit Kamala, but I am, quite suddenly, anxious about our next meeting.
  • Armor Hunters: Harbinger #2 (Valiant): The first one didn’t do much for me.  Probably going to ride it out anyway.
  • Black Market #2 (BOOM!): I’ve pretty much hated everything I’ve read from Frank Barbiere–until Black Market #1.  Everything about it worked–especially the end.  Definitely looking forward to my experience with #2–maybe more so than #2 itself.  Is it possible that I’ll like another issue of a Barbiere book?
  • The Delinquents #1 (Valiant): This has the potential of being the best thing ever, you know, with Van Lente and Asmus clinking their heads together like IPA-filled pint glasses.  I couldn’t be hoppier–er, happier about this collaboration.  Add to the toast the oft-amazing Kano, who blew us away with his work on Quantum and Woody #10, and, well, I’m willing to “Wow!” before I even read it!
The Delinquents #1

The Delinquents #1

  • The Last Broadcast #4 (BOOM!/Archaia): We’ve loved the series thus far–and we’ve broadcasted it to all who’d listen.  We made #2 one of our Top 5 Books of June and #3 just missed despite its being maybe even better than #2.  (Yeah, July was a pretty stacked month.  Top 5 to come.)  Very much looking forward to this.
The Last Broadcast #4

The Last Broadcast #4

  • The Life After #2 (Oni Press): Suicide certainly is a touchy subject–made even more so with the recent loss of Robin Williams.  For some, the wound might be too fresh.  For me, however, that wound calloused over a long time ago.  A high school classmate of mine took her life during our junior year; it’s something I’ve never gotten over but have learned to live with.  Fialkov is healing with the help of some famous figures.  I’m willing to follow along.

Avery’s Pick of the Week

  • Scribblenauts Unmasked: A Crisis of Imagination #8 (DC): Avery’s embrace of #7 went viral.  OK, so it wasn’t Ebola; but it certainly infected writer Josh Elder.  Odds are good she’s gonna hug this one, too!

What are you looking forward to this week?

Turning pages,

Scott

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Superhero Friday!

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Me: I am Iron Man!

Wife: Of course you are, honey.

Nobody wants me...

Nobody wants me…

 

Me: Have I lost my mind?

Wife: Well…

Me: Can I see or am I blind?

Wife: [Laughs.]  Yes.

Me: Can I walk at all–

Wife: Sometimes you–

Me: Not done.

Wife: Sorry.

Me: Or if I move will I fall?

Wife: Are we talking–if I’m playing this right–before or after your third can of “oil”?

Me: Nicely done.

Wife: Thanks.  Anything else?  It’s Avery’s bedtime.

Me: One more.  Am I alive or dead?

Wife: You’re married.

Me: I am Married Man!

Wife: For now.

 

Who are you wearing today?

Turning pages,

Scott

What’s I&N Store (8/13)

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This is not a drill: I will be buying no fewer than three Action Labs books this week.  To make room for them–and a sexy hardcover that I can’t possibly pass up–in the ol’ bag, I’m considering a couple of high-profile drops (Sex Criminals, Starlight).  Also looking forward to some reinvigorated interest (Zero) and an awkwardly-named under-the-radar book–the terrific Thomas Alsop–that’ll make your bag go BOOM!

  • Dark Ages #1 (Dark Horse): New series from prolific Brit writer Dan Abnett and artist I.N.J. Culbard.  They’re offering a take on the Dark Ages that’s a bit alien to us.  Dark Horse is offering a preview here.  I’m enjoying Culbard’s work on 2000 AD’s Brass Sun, so I figure I’ll give this one a try.
  • Astro City #14 (DC/Vertigo): With #13, Busiek and Anderson showed us a real good time: 24 hours’ worth of finely fractured Astro City action–a puzzle with the final piece placed oh so perfectly.
Astro City #14

Astro City #14

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #37 (IDW): Shredder and Krang?  How’s that going to work out?  This “stand alone” promises to provide the answer.  Standing in for Mateus Santolouco is Corey Smith, who’s been doing some solid work on Dynamite’s Magnus: Robot Fighter.
  • Sex Criminals #7 (Image): Congrats to Fraction, Zdarsky, and Image on the Eisner for Best New Series.  OK.  Enough of that.  I wasn’t overly–or underly–impressed with #6.  It felt like a conversation I could’ve had with my buddies, which is fine, you know, its playing nostalgic notes and all; but is that what I want out of a comic book?  Well, that’s pretty much what the series has been from the get-go, and, if I’m being honest, what caught my interest initially.  That interest, however, has waned, again, because, in the end, this isn’t a comic book as much as it’s, as the narrative knowingly reveals by disintegrating the fourth wall, an occasionally clever conversation that would be better suited as a blog or a podcast.  The “criminal” contrivance has been the comic book bait; but in the end, it’s the sex talk that sells, and I’m not buying it anymore.  Probably not.
  • Starlight #5 (Image): #4 was so far from the promise of #1 that I’m figuring Millar’ll never get back to it.  He’s fallen to formula, as usual, and, as a result, I’m leaning toward passing–as usual.  Sucks, too.  #1 was so damn good.
  • Zero #10 (Image): Speaking of living up to promise: Ales Kot’s back on track after delivering a very affecting #9, which worked its way to a Sophie’s Choice moment played out with a painfully pregnant page turn.  And now as I’m warming back up to Zero, it’s off to Iceland.
Zero #10

Zero #10

  • All-New X-Men #30 (Marvel): #29 was non-stop action rendered mostly in shades of Cyclops’s signature ruby red, which helped to sell a still suffering Scott Summers.  Happy to say, I’m still high on how Bendis is handling the X-ceptionally large cast of characters.  With all the time travel stuff going on, the most significant journey is the one I’m taking: Bendis and crew are reminding of what made the X-Men so good for so long–and what I, as a Claremont-reared X-reader loved about ‘em.
  • The United States of Murder Inc. #4 (Marvel): A killer series all around.  I had my doubts after the first issue; but #2 and #3 have been a double tap to the head.
  • Archer & Armstrong #23 (Valiant): Fred Van Lente is doing it his way all the way to the end, my beautiful friend, the end–of “American Wasteland.”  I wrote about #21 here, and #22 was a mighty fine follow-up that is in the running for our Top 5 of July.  Can’t wait to see how the arc plays out.  I just know I’m gonna love it madly!
Archer & Armstrong #24

Archer & Armstrong #24

  • Armor Hunters #3 (Valiant): So far, so good.  Doesn’t claim to be anything more than what it is.
  • The F1rst Hero #1 (Action Labs): On the strength of the deific Dry Spell, I’m trying any and all Action Labs books that I can find.  I don’t know the creators, but when has that ever stopped me?
  • Midnight Tiger #1 (Action Labs): Ditto.  Brings to mind Danny Fingeroth and Mike Manley’s stab at an all-new teen hero back in the early ’90s: Darkhawk.  That book ran for fifty issues.  How many will DeWayne Feenstra and Ray-Anthony Height end up with?
  • Southern Dog #1 (Action Labs/Danger Zone): Double ditto.  Expected: immediately calls to mind Southern Bastards and, of all things, Ms. Marvel.  Comparisons are inevitable.  Most interesting of the three Action Labs titles–even if, in the end, it’s a werewolf book.  The last werebook I read–which just so happened to have Riley Rossmo on it–was the underwhelming Cursed (BOOM!).
Southern Dog #1

Southern Dog #1

  • The Devilers #2 (Dynamite): #1 wasn’t bad.  I’m willing to go another round.
  • Thomas Alsop #3 (BOOM!): Thomas Alsop.  The name doesn’t really ring, but don’t let that fool you: this book is friggin’ great.  In fact, we’re calling #2 one of our Top 5 Books of July.  One of these days, we’ll get around to the write up.  Until then, be sure to pick this up–if only to see how well Chris Miskiewicz and Palle Schmidt balance the present and the past.
Thomas Alsop #3

Thomas Alsop #3

  • The Heart of the Beast HC (Dynamite): The team of Judith Dupré (author of Skyscrapers, an award-winning book about, well, skyscrapers, don’t ya know!), Dean Motter (creator of the Innie Award-winning Mister X: Eviction), and Sean Phillips (artist of Brubaker-ian proportions; see: Fatale, Criminal, Incognito, and the soon-to-be-released The Fade Out.) make this book–celebrating its 20th Anniversary–a Must Buy.

Avery’s Picks of the Week:

  • Littlest Pet Shop #4 (IDW): The littlest pets are big on fun!
  • Doodle Jump #3 (Dynamite): My daughter’s been known to drop everything only to exclaim, “I’m a ninja!”  She’s also kind of obsessed with American Ninja Warrior.  She creates her own obstacles and attacks them, only to jump off into the “water,” which, of course, is a win.  I love my little ninja!
Doodle Jump #3

Doodle Jump #3

What are you looking forward to this week?

Turning pages,

Scott

Image

Superhero Friday!

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Found this Bat-gem in the attic:

Gettin' my Keat-on.

Gettin’ my Keat-on.

Saw Burton’s Batman Returns in London back in the summer of ’92.

Ah, memories: The theater was packed and, in the enduring spirit of American independence, I was the one person in the place who laughed out loud when Max Schreck lays out to Oswald certain “unlimited” benefits to being mayor.

I’ve long wondered who was exposed in that moment: the Brits or me.

It certainly might explain my failed run for mayor back in ’93.

Who are you wearing today?

Turning pages,

Scott

 

 

 

What’s I&N Store (8/6)

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Lots to look forward to this week.

  • The Squidder #2 (IDW): Squids are in the air, and I’d definitely like to draw another breath of ‘em as drawn by Ben Templesmith.  The story is familiar, sure, but it’s delivered well enough.
  • Alex + Ada #8 (Image): The series has been a solid read with clean images and fluid artistic transitions that speak as loudly as the words.  It’s an against the odds love story with a dark cloud hanging over it.  Waiting on the storm and worrying about Alex and Ada all along.
Alex + Ada #7

Alex + Ada #7

  • Clone #19 (Image): Continues to be one of the most kinetic comics on the shelf.  Yeah, this book cooks!  #18 offered a couple of Chubby twists that promise a checkered future for all involved.  (Sorry about that.)
  • Lazarus #10 (Image): Re: #15: Circumstances conspire and both Michael and Casey end up in the employ of the Carlyles.  Was there ever any other end?  Nah.  But Innie Award nominee (Best Writer) Greg Rucka and Michael Lark get there so well.  Yet another exercise in excellent storytelling.  Our #7 book of 2013 is well on its way to claiming a spot in the Top Ten of 2014.
Lazarus #10

Lazarus #10

  • Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #5 (Marvel): Re: #5: Some of the best bedroom action I’ve seen in some time.  Talk about getting laid…out.  Yeah, Kaare Andrews pricks up the pace with some passionate paneling–and one of my favorite splash pages, like, ever!  Never has a bottom lip been bitten so beautifully–in a comic book, anyway.  Go Brenda!  Love her line, “Show me some Kung-Fu.”  Throw in an iron fist-full of father-son issues and you’ve got yourself one hell of a book.  If you’re not reading this yet, you should punch yourself in the face.
  • Miracleman #9 (Marvel): Been stockpiling my Miracleman.  Gonna hafta get on that soon–or it might take a miracle to catch up.
  • Moon Knight #6 (Marvel): Warren Ellis may have earned our Biggest Dis(appointment) of June, but it certainly wasn’t for Moon Knight.  He and Declan Shalvey have been producing some excellent vignettes with the multifaceted Marc Spector.  This, sadly, is their last go ’round before giving up creative control to the talented team of Brian Wood (The Massive) and Greg Smallwood (Dream Thief).
Moon Knight #6

Moon Knight #6

  • Original Sin #5.3 (Marvel): Ack!  I missed #5.2.  Forgot I was buying an Original Sin book, you know, because of Loki.  I mean, why else would I be buying an Original Sin book?
  • Rocket Raccoon #2 (Marvel): Ain’t gonna lie: #1 was fun.  Will probably pass, though, despite what Skottie Young is bringing to the prickly procyonid–unless, of course, I don’t pass, which is far more likely.  Ugh!  I have no self control!
  • The Bunker #5 (Oni Press): I liked #4 a lot.  Thought the dialogue and the emotions were very real.  Overall, Fialkov and Infurnari are telling a terrific story with perfect timing.
The Bunker #5

The Bunker #5

Dry Spell #2

Dry Spell #2

  • The Extinction Parade: War #2 (Avatar): I’ve enjoyed The Extinction Parade saga a lot more than I thought I would.  (It’s true: I originally started picking it up for my wife–who hasn’t touched it.)  Yes, it’s been “bottomless slaughter,” but it hasn’t been mindless slaughter.  Max Brooks is offering an elevated apocalyptic experience, amplified by undeadly detailed artwork from Raulo Caceres.
  • God Is Dead: The Book of Acts Alpha (Avatar): Si Spurrier–the 2014 Innie Award Winner for Best Writer (Six-Gun Gorilla, Numbercruncher)–brings a little life to God Is Dead with the immortal Alan Moore.  You read that right: Spurrier and Moore.  Safe to say it’s a must buy.
God Is Dead: The Book of Acts Alpha

God Is Dead: The Book of Acts Alpha

  • Harbinger: Omegas #1 (Valiant): Not too sure why this couldn’t have just been Harbinger #26.  Is it rebootalism?  Guess it really doesn’t matter.  Dysart’s been telling a good story with these characters.  They certainly deserve to live on–whatever the title.
  • SIP (Strangers in Paradise) Kids #1 (Abstract Studio): Oh, why not?  Yeah, Rachel Rising has lost a lot of its shine.  But here’s Terry Moore having fun with the characters for whom he’s best known–by turning them into six-year-olds.
  • The Sixth Gun: Days of the Dead #1 (Oni Press): Anything The Sixth Gun is going to find its way into my bag.
  • Terminal Hero #1 (Dynamite): Peter Milligan had a nice run on Valiant’s Shadowman.  I’ll try him out here, where he’s teamed up with Sex‘s Piotr Kowalski.
  • Über #16 (Avatar): Über‘s riding quite a high.  Heck, I was close to dropping it around the time the Special came out.  Since then, however, it’s been terrific.  I’d go as far to say it’s Gillen’s best current work–including the wildly hyped The Wicked & The Divine.
Über #16

Über #16

What are you looking forward to this week?

Turning pages,

Scott

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