This Week’s Comics

Another light week this time around. Here’s what I’m looking at this week.

  • ACTION COMICS #902
  • ROCKETEER ADVENTURES #2 (OF 4) – The first issue of the new Rocketeer anthology was a breath of fresh air, with a remarkable opening story from John Cassaday (always a treat to see his art) and a solid tale by Mike Allred. I’ll be anxiously keeping up with this one.
  • SECRET AVENGERS #14 – Secret Avengers stays on the list solely because of Matt’s recent thumbs up. I recently caught up with issues 1-11 (expect a review soon a la yesterday’s) and found it better put-together than New Avengers, but somewhat lacking. I’ll give the next story arc a shot before dropping it, though.
  • WOLVERINE #11 – Wolverine, though…Well, I love Wolverine…
  • X-MEN AGE OF X HC – Is Age of X over already? I remember when I heard about the Age of Apocalypse 15 years ago you could have knocked me over with a feather. Now Marvel does it again and it hardly makes any news at all. I blame the 90 OTHER X-Titles out there diluting the brand.

Fortunately, I’ve gotten to read some other new comics over the past couple weeks.

Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors #2 hit the stands last week and continues to bowl me over. I’m not even going to call it an all-ages title anymore, that’s how solid it is. We start off with the book’s strongest scene, a look at the different classes our villains-in-training have to attend, a nice mix of Harry Potter swirled with villainy, then cut to a pretty expansive fight scene where we learn a bit more about the villain’s code, a nice angle in a title where it has to make sense that villains are more organized than you’d expense. Another outstanding issue by Smith and Villavert.

I didn’t mean to pick it up, but because it was a light week I did grab IDW’s new Godzilla title, Gangsters and Goliaths.  Set in a different continuity than the Kingdom of Monsters title Eric Powell is writing, in this book Godzilla and the gang on Monster Island are already well-known. When a team of gangsters winds up on Monster Island, mayhem ensues. I don’t feel like this is as strong as KoM, but if you’re jonesing for a Godzilla book, G&G is a solid read.

Frank Cho is one of the most amazing talents in comic books, and every time he works on a title –no kidding — I feel like the industry is lucky to have him. That said, there are certain bad habits he tends to rely on. Now, Frank can work on whatever makes him happy (a la Jim Balent on Tarot) and his art is so spectacular that it usually makes up for any perceived definiciencies in the story, but 50 Girls 50 #1 is built around one cheeky idea (hot girls in space wind up having their spacesuits slowly dissolve) and doesn’t have his artwork backing it up*. So, as far as I’m concerned there’s not much worth sticking around for.

That’s it for me. What are YOU looking at?

*There were a couple pages at the end it looked like he worked on, but I could be willing myself to see that.

This Week’s Comics

There’s a great mix of material this week!  Here’s what I’m looking at.

  • 100 PENNY PRESS JOHN BYRNE NEXT MEN #1 – This is the last series when I REALLY remember liking John Byrne’s art.  Or at least, his inking.
  • AVENGERS #14
  • BATMAN #711
  • GLADSTONES SCHOOL FOR WORLD CONQUERORS #2 – I only picked up the first issue on whim, but I’m so glad I did.  Good, fun, all-ages fare that doesn’t seem to be an audition for a toy line or an affront to adult sensibilities.  Give this one a try.
  • GODZILLA GANGSTERS & GOLIATHS #1 (OF 5) – As much as I’ve been loving IDW’s Kingdom of Monsters series, this one seems to much of a novelty book.
  • HULK #35 – I’m only an issue away from being able to dive into Jeff Parker’s run.  I did just finish a big chunk of the Loeb/McGuinness run and — God help me — I loved it.
  • KIRBY GENESIS #1 – If you’re looking for a good “love letter to Jack Kirby” you’re better served digging up Rob Liefeld’s (okay, okay…Alan Moore’s) Supreme.  This is just a mess of ideas that don’t seem fully formed.  On the plus side, I got to find that out through a one dollar preview issue.

That’s it for me.  What are YOU looking at?

Two Weeks’ Comics

A good batch of comics this week.  Here’s what I’m looking at.

  • 50 GIRLS 50 #1 (OF 4) – Only for Frank Cho.  Only for Frank Cho…
  • ACTION COMICS #901
  • ASTONISHING SPIDER-MAN WOLVERINE #6 (OF 6) – I’m missing one issue from being able to dive into this.  I imagine Jason Aaron’s Spider-Man is awesome, because his Wolverine is.
  • BATMAN BEYOND #6 – I’m caught up through BB #4 and enjoying this as much as I did the mini.  Starting off the ongoing with a Justice League appearance was a good call in establishing Terry’s place in the DCU.
  • DETECTIVE COMICS #877
  • FEAR ITSELF #3 (OF 7)
  • FF #4
  • FLASHPOINT #2
  • GODZILLA KINGDOM OF MONSTERS #3- This title is everything I could possible want from a Godzilla book.  The monsters are emerging and they’re not going to let humans stand between them and…well, doing whatever they want.  The highlight of issue #2 was Anguirus turning into a spiky ball and rolling through the countryside.  In this issue the monsters get named for dubious reasons, but at least we’re getting them named.  The political  commentary is boring me, but the story is still progressing nicely.
  • GREEN LANTERN #66
  • GREEN LANTERN CORPS #60
  • GREEN LANTERN EMERALD WARRIORS #10
  • HERC #4
  • HEROES FOR HIRE #8
  • HULK #34
  • KIRBY GENESIS #0 – “Even better than seeing Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross team up again is seeing them doing it with Jack Kirby’s characters. I’m really looking forward to this.” I wrote that last week, then I read the book.  The creators are  top-notch, but these are a hodge-podge of Kirby characters you’ve never heard of and don’t care about.  I’m also tiring of the Kirby homages.  To really honor the man, create a new universe from scratch, don’t recycle his.  And yes, Ross and Busiek have both done this, so it’s a somewhat inconsequential exercise.
  • SECRET AVENGERS #13
  • SUPER DINOSAUR #2 – This is the only book on the list I’m not picking up.  Issue #1 and the FCBD Orign Special were fine and all, but seemed to be a bit more dumbed down that necessary, even for an “all-ages” book.  In fact, it reads more like a pilot for Cartoon Network’s Saturday programming than anything else.
  • THUNDERBOLTS #158
  • UNCANNY X-FORCE #11
  • VENOM #3
  • WOLVERINE #9

Unlike Super Dinosaur, Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors is an all-ages book done right.  I picked it up on a whim, but I’m glad I did.  The story is fun and uncomplicated, but not in a way that makes it a burden for a grown-ass man to read.  Mark A. Smith’s story is not overly-complicated, but also not dumbed down.  That is, just right.  Armand Villavert’s art is stylized a la Mike Oeming, and he creates more cool, unique throwoff characters in the background than we could hope for.  This book is a treat, and the secret behind Gladstone and the school leaves enough mystery to leave me
eager to find out where it goes next.

That’s it for this week.  What are YOU looking at?

Game Tape

This week was the biggest week I’ve had in a while, and there were things to actually write about too. Let’s see if I remember how it’s done shall we?

No sense in not starting with the 900 lbs. gorilla in the room. DC got it right. Action Comics #900 was  worth reading. The black sphere saga ends and Luthor gets everything he ever wanted. Of course you have to be careful what you wish for. With the main story, Cornell shows that he really understands what makes both Luthor and Superman tick. In addition, we’ve got a strong start to the upcoming Doomsday cross-over. The back-up stories were pretty well crafted, but mostly forgettable. I can only assume the Donner piece didn’t get an artist because it would ahve upped the page count. A shame, because it could have benefited from being fully fleshed out. One other thing that this anniversary issue should have included is a recognition of other characters that have debuted or been featured regularly in Action Comics. Where’s the Blackhawk story? Congo Bill? Zatara? Wild Dog? Sure it’s primarily Superman’s book, but with an anniversary this big, there needed to be recognition of the history. At least he’s not going to start walking across the country.

Onward and upward then. FF #2 continues to be Hickman being Hickman. Dialogue and character are strong and clever. The situation continues to be dire and interesting too. Specifically, we learn in this issue what sort of deal Valeria made with Dr. Doom back in the pages of Fantastic Four. This issue also highlights one of Hickman’s greatest strengths. The ability to tell a whole story in a single issue while dropping crumbs to be picked up later. Seriously, there’s no reason not to be reading this title.

Age of X ended this week also. On the whole the story wasn’t bad. The world created there was sufficiently different and interesting, and the mystery created by jumping in medias res was well sustained. If anything, it ended a little too quickly and neatly. Still, it did manage to be a decent alternate universe story. It’s also interesting to see that there are small repercussions to be felt in the aftermath. So not everything is returning to status quo. Checking out the trade or finding the issues on the cheap wouldn’t be a bad idea.

I did pick up the second issue of the Godzilla book. I really liked the first issue. This one felt a little too disjointed. I’m curious to see where this book is going. In spite of the death and destruction, I’m inclined to root for Godzilla, but I’m not sure why yet.

The three Avengers books we solid too. The two .1’s proved to be genuine in their desire to serve as starting points. In Avengers, we’re teased with a Spaceknight. We also see a MODOK with spider legs. To my mind, this is not an improvement on the floating chair design. Secret Avengers is a nice done-in-one that introduces readers to all of the main characters while giving Nick Spencer a chance to find his footing on the title. Not bad.

That’s a wrap for this week. Good solid reads all around with only minor missteps.

This Week’s Comics

Wow, there’s a good amount of stuff to talk about this time around. Here’s what I’m looking at this week.

  • AVENGERS #12
  • BATMAN #709
  • BLACK DYNAMITE SLAVE ISLAND GN – Expect a dissertation on Black Dynamite to show up tomorrow, but for now I’ll say this: Black Dynamite is an amazing film, with a cast and crew who really know and love their source material: blaxploitation films.  This is not one of the ridiculous be-afro’ed pimps who show up in a comic every couple years, this is the real deal.  Black Dynamite comes with my highest possible recommendation.  And there will be sharks.
  • GREEN LANTERN #65 and GREEN LANTERN CORPS #59 – I’m resisting the urge to start quoting The Godfather, but I was happily out of the Green Lantern line until War of the Green Lanterns kicked off.  And now I’m off the wagon.
  • SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #1000 – Seriously Marvel, you can bite me with this shit.
  • SUPER DINOSAUR #1 – The cynic in me says this is a blatant attempt to catch in on the wave of new zany comics, or at the very least Axe Cop.  But the optimist in me says it’s a kid running around with a cybernetic dinosaur so I have to at least check it out.
  • THUNDERBOLTS #156
  • UNCANNY X-FORCE #8 – Marvel makes sure we know that they’re going to pry every single possible dollar from our hands by keeping their titles at $4.

o hai

I’ve finally picked up a copy of Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters #1.  I found out that local shop I Want More Comics also got their shop one of the variant covers so I was happy to be able to check it out. I’m fairly pleased with it, a slow burn of a first issue that doesn’t explain the origin of Godzilla so much, but does present the first appearance of the king of the monsters in Japan, and explain where his fire breathing ability comes from (not that I’ve ever cared).  This is very much a  ground-level Godzilla story, taking place from the human point of view rather than the monstrous.  Powell is a comic book master, and while I’d prefer a little faster pacing, I understand the need to properly lay the groundwork for the appearance of a creature that looks like it’s going to destroy Tokyo.  I have faith he’s going to take us where we want to go, and this title promises to feature all of the Toho creatures, so I’ll be on-board for a while.  The art by Phil Hester is solidly drafted (he opted for one of the more feline variants of Godzilla), but his panel layout is incredibly hard to read at times.  The way his pages are laid out are reminiscent of how Powell lays out The Goon, but Powell has the benefit of softer coloring to pad between scenes and I think Hester would be well-served to stick with more traditional panel borders for the time being, unless the coloring style changes up.

I was happy to get caught up on Nick Spencer’s new Image title Infinite Vacation, whose second issue hit the stands last week.  Infinite Vacation is a service that uses the theory of infinite universes to create an online auction system that allows you to trade lives with any parallel version of yourself, letting you live a life that may have been.  Mark is a heavy user, averaging almost 10 jumps per day, and someone is killing him across realities.  While that would be a good enough story to provide you with plotlines for years, Spencer also looks at the social and moral ramifications of the Infinite Vacation, and provides an interesting counterpoint with the “deadenders,” the 3% of society that refuses to participate (and the group I would probably fall in with).  I’ll have to do some research to find out if this is an ongoing or a mini, but I’d love to see stories of other vacationers, too.  This is a lush, well-rounded world Spencer and artist Christian Ward have created in just two issues, and I can’t wait to see where they take us.

Mile High Comics’s web site is starting to show significant price drops of this year’s issues, so that is a resource I’m able to take advantage of now.  I’ve updated my running pull list to reflect the new books I’ve picked up, and that’s it for this week.  What are YOU looking at?

This Week’s Comics

There’s a great batch of comics out this week, but I’m at the point where I’m just repeating myself as to what makes these so great, so little commentary from me this week (you’re welcome).

  • ACTION COMICS #899
  • AGE OF X UNIVERSE #1 (OF 2) – Because if I’m listing Age of X anyway and shooting to not pay cover price, why not?
  • AVENGERS #11
  • DETECTIVE COMICS #875
  • GODZILLA KINGDOM OF MONSTERS #1 – I am a not-so-secret Godzilla fan, though I’ve never gone into his comic adventures before.  But no Godzilla book has ever had Eric Powell in the credits box before, and that goes a long way with me.  I’ll be picking up my copy over at Time Warp Comics in Boulder, who have one of 100 (!!!) variants depicting their store getting destroyed.
  • JIMMY OLSEN #1 – Olsen seems to be on fire lately thanks to Nick Spencer.  I’ll give it a go.
  • SECRET AVENGERS #11
  • WOLVERINE #7

That’s it for this week.  I’ve added these titles to my running pull list, and now that the first quarter of 2011 is almost over I’ll probably take my first look at this experiment and seeing what goes right and what hasn’t worked out yet.  What are YOU looking at?

Random Links For Your Weekend

I hadn’t realized how long it’s been since I threw up a list of links until I opened up Firefox and it took 17 minutes to launch.  Here’s the noteworthy linkage for the last 9 months.