Hahaaha, oh my. This is getting worse and worse. Rob Liefeld on a new Hawk and Dove series? I just might have to buy that. The 90s are coming … I’m getting my suspenders ready!
As I try to quell my heartache over all of the DC news this week, I offer you some blurb reviews. I didn’t realize until I was finished that they’re all Marvel. There’s a chance that’ll become more often the case in the coming months.
And also, let me clarify one thing: despite what the last issue of the newsletter said, “Suicide Girls” was damn well NOT my pick of the week. You can thank my comic shop colleagues for that loving display of antagonism and embarrassment … but I suppose I had it coming. :)
The Mighty Thor #2 – I was surprised to like this book. Given my tendency to dislike Matt Fraction’s writing, my expectations for this title weren’t very high. The main factor that convinced me to pick it up is Olivier Coipel pulling art duties, and I was right to fall for it, because he shines as bright as ever. His crisp style does the same wonders for Thor here as it did during Coipel’s run with JMS not long ago, and his representation of the Silver Surfer is seriously awesome. Story-wise, it’s nothing particularly ground-breaking yet, but entertaining enough without feeling as lethargic as I usually find Fraction to be (more on that below, unfortunately). The plot involves Thor getting hurt while retrieving the World Seed, while the Silver Surfer warns earth of Galactus’ impending arrival. So far there’s a nice split of focus between Thor, Odin, Loki, and Sif (my favorite—I bet that doesn’t surprise you), and it’s just fallen into this groove of “light reading” for me. The title doesn’t seem to cross over much into Journey into Mystery so far, which is the better book of the two, but I wonder if that doesn’t have to change at some point. I’m sticking with this and drooling over Coipel’s artistic candy for now.
Fear Itself #3 – **SPOILERS**
I knew I shouldn’t be reading this. I knew I shouldn’t have bothered, but here I am, never one to resist the horror. My warm feelings for Matt Fraction don’t extend far beyond the above Mighty Thor post, readers, because—I’m sorry—this is some lazy, dumb shit we’ve got going on here. Okay—I’m going to completely avoid all the other nitpicks I have with this issue and just focus on the one big one, which is BUCKY. Poor, poor, dear old Bucky. It’s a testament to the languid storytelling here that by the end of the issue, I wasn’t even sure if he was actually dead. I had to take to the internet and get other people’s reactions in order to know for sure what was going on. Even the incredible Stuart Immonen couldn’t save this for me, and from what I’ve read, I wasn’t the only one left confused. But, yes—it’s confirmed that Bucky is very dead. Again. And I cannot for the life of me understand why they thought this would be a good idea. So Marvel wants Steve back as Cap? Okay, fine. Let’s do it. But that is absolutely no reason for Bucky to have to die. Marvel brought him back against a bunch of pissing and moaning from the fans, gave him to Brubaker who turned him into a really great character and let the spotlight shine on him for a couple of years, won all the fans over and now they’re taking all that and throwing it away just for one poorly-constructed scene in an event book. It makes no sense. It doesn’t sell any extra copies of the book, it didn’t add anything to the scene, and it didn’t take away from how blah and boring the rest of the story has been. It was nothing. Just a nothing scene. Despite my love for the character, I felt absolutely nothing reading this. Not to mention it made no sense at all to keep him completely out of the first two books, then turn around in issue three and off him out of nowhere. WHAT? That is damn LAZINESS, Matt Fraction—LAZY. YOU MAKE KITTY CRY.
Daken: Dark Wolverine #9.1 – Rob Williams writes this issue in place of the tag team of Daniel Way and Marjorie Liu. I’m not sure if this is a permanent change or just a fill in—I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that Marjorie Liu won’t be co-writing anymore, but I could be wrong. At any rate, the title’s been a little hit and miss for me. I enjoyed most of the earlier stuff, but as soon as the crossover with X-23 happened, I got a little turned off. With that done and over now, all of the attention is rightfully back on Daken. Despite the “point one” suggestion that this is a good jumping on point to read the book, it really wouldn’t hurt to go out of your way and pick up the stuff that came before it. It’ll only give you a fuller sense of the story and a better understanding of Daken as a character. Issue #9.1 mainly deals with Daken ascertaining his dominion over … well, himself, really—who he is, what he’s about, and the fact that he’s not Wolverine. As the issue opens with one of Daken’s victims chastising him with the reality that all he ever does is destroy—never does he create anything—Daken actually takes it to heart and decides to act. How he acts, I’ll leave it for you to see, but something kind of falls flat this issue. While the story idea isn’t terrible, it’s also not particularly strong, and just feels a bit recycled. That said, the impression we’re left with is that Daken will be launching into something better moving forward. Ron Garney on art is, like the story itself, hit and miss, but I haven’t given up on this yet. Let’s see what the next few issues bring.
Uncanny X-Force #11 – The Apocalypse personality continues to cause trouble for our dear Warren Worthington in the lastest issue of what has easily become one of my favorite comics on the shelf, and it’s up to the rest of the X-Force team to cure Warren of what ails him. Unfortunately, curing him means trusting in Dark Beast of the AoA and following him back into his own time in order to procure the life seed (what’s with the “seed” theme this month?) that will temper the Apocalypse personality within Warren. The character interaction here is great, not only among team members, but also with the surprise guests that pop up from the Age of Apocalypse timeline. You know when I said that X-Men: Legacy was the best X-book out there right now, and that the rest is toilet paper? Well, at the time I said that, I’d apparently forgotten about Uncanny X-Force. This title has been oh-my-word good since issue one, and Rick Remender is showing no signs of slowing down. This is the quality of writing—character, plot, and setting—that I look for in every book I pick up each month, but only seem to get in a handful. If that. I’ll take this over the 800 Fear Itself tie-ins any day.
(I promise this came out better the first time I wrote it. Trying to re-write from memory in the final 15 minutes of your work day is a royal pain.)
Ugh. I don’t think I’ve read a comic in about two weeks now. A combination of work and Christmas shopping has left me passed out on my train commutes, half-drooling onto my shoulder, but I finally managed to stay awake long enough over the past two days to read the following.
Heroes for Hire #1: Wow. Impressive. I almost didn’t give this one a go. I’d read the last incarnation of Heroes for Hire which took place during Marvel’s Civil War and really enjoyed it, but the pitch for this one felt weak. I recall when my co-worker, Dario, read the solicitation in Previews one Saturday and dared me to guess the lineup. “Who do you think is on the cover?” he said. I wound up getting four out of the five characters right (Moon Knight, Iron Fist, Ghost Rider, Elektra … Punisher eluded me), and that kind of predictability killed my interest a little. When the issue came out (last week? Two weeks ago?), both Comic Shop Dario and Comic Shop Mark urged me to read it. And I have to say, I’m glad they did. The writing on this is stellar, and the opening cast is great. I love the new, unique manner in which Misty Knight is employed—can’t you just hear this smooth, velvety voice saying “Hello, Hero. This is Control. Are you for hire tonight?” Add artwork that keeps up with the script, and you’ve got an entertaining, engaging read, with an ending that should leave you ready for the next issue.
Batwoman #0: I’ve haven’t kept up with Kate Kane despite her recent surge in popularity. I’m not sure why, but I just couldn’t get into the character beyond a couple of issues of Detective Comics. Considering I love the Bat verse and Greg Rucka’s writing, you’d think I’d have been all over that, but I guess there wasn’t enough time in the day, and something had to give. At any rate, no—I’m not a Kate Kane follower … but I might have to re-think my position after this issue of Batwoman. J.H. Williams pulls double duty here as both writer and artist, and he does so with a certain level of panache. The artwork is breath-taking, dynamic, the way each frame moves into the next, each panel transitioning seamlessly to and from the one before, it’s hypnotic, it’s lovely. It makes me write run-on sentences. Against the context of the story—Bruce Wayne spying on Kate and Batwoman alike in order to prove his theory that they are one in the same—I’m somewhat enamored of this.
Superior #2: Better than the first issue; still incredibly uninspired. The only thing that makes this book worth picking up is Leinil Yu’s outstanding pencils. It’s a shame they’re wasted on this. Don’t pay attention to what the front cover says—this is not “the most important comic book since 1938.” Sorry, Millar, but even your tongue-in-cheek is lost on me.
Daken: Dark Wolverine & X-23 #3: Dark Wolverine felt rushed to me this month, and I remain unconvinced that Mystique can be taken down and fooled so easily. Meanwhile, X-23 was a little deeper, and Conrad’s art seems to get better with each issue. Overall, still reading both of these and still enjoying them.
That said, it’s time for this week’s PULL LIST! Here’s mine—what’s on YOURS?
Batgirl The Greatest Stories Ever Told TPB
Birds of Prey #7
Amazing Spider-Man #650
Strange Tales II #3
Uncanny X-Force #3
Since I fear my constant bellowing over female-driven titles is giving you guys a skewed perspective as far as what is actually in my reading pile, I thought I’d do a quick “What I’m Reading” rundown post. I am a couple of weeks behind on my comics, what with the holiday rush coming up and the exhaustion of 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. work days, but I’ve been trying to keep up during my commutes. Please feel free to chime in with your own reading lists!
Batman, Inc. – Post on this coming soon!
Batman: The Return – Loved this one-shot. Very intrigued. Lots of questions. Want more.
Avengers: Children’s Crusade – So torn! Every issue of this mini has been spectacular so far, but its chronic lateness is killing me and kind of makes me not want to support it.
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents – Enjoyed the first issue a lot, having never read the original book. Very much on board for now. That Frank Quitely cover is lovely and a great homage.
Halcyon – Haven’t actually read it yet … hoping to make it to this one on the train ride home later.
Amazing Spider-Man – I gotta be honest, I rarely read this book. But I hear Dan Slott’s got a ton of awesome stuff lined up for his run that kicked off with the last issue, so it kind of piqued my interest. Also, the Black Cat cameo made me happy—I want to see Black Cat on the Avengers alongside Cap and Spidey, I would geek out pretty hardcore for that.
She-Hulks – No idea what’s going on here. Thought this was the launch of a new ongoing, but apparently it got busted back down to a four-issue mini-series. No idea who Lyra is or anything—haven’t read any Shulkie since her last Dan Slott/Peter David series got canned (which made me sad).
Scarlet – Ehhh … kind of like it, kind of don’t … still reading.
Daken: Dark Wolverine – Marjorie Liu and Daniel Way = Win. Also really liking the art on this book. Haven’t gotten to the latest issue yet.
X-23 – An issue behind. Enjoying it so far.
Uncanny X-Force – Second issue comes out today and I can’t wait to pick it up!
So, there’s my short list of just a few things from recent weeks. Any suggestions? What recent releases SHOULD I be reading that I’m not? Opinions, comments, questions welcome.