…at least where Wonder Woman is concerned.
Why hello there, comic shop peeps! If you’ve been trying to reach me via e-mail and I haven’t replied, please know that I’m not intentionally ignoring you (unless your name is Dario*)—rather, my e-mail has not been working lately. And by “not working,” I mean “forgot my password.” Don’t ask me how I managed to do that, but I did, and thus haven’t been able to log in for about three weeks or more now. EDIT: fixed!
I am staggeringly behind on my comics reading and haven’t picked up any new stuff in two weeks, so I ask your forgiveness for the lack of reviews. In the meantime, some notes/commentary:
- As the final cover and variant cover for Justice League #1 come out, the great pants/no pants debate rages on, and it’s absurdly amusing if not very depressing. For the record? I’m pretty thrilled to see the pants gone (although that David Finch cover makes me want to cry). DCWKA has a pretty great post that rather nicely sums up most of my own feelings on the topic of female character uniforms.
- Oh. I finally saw the nixed David E. Kelley Wonder Woman pilot. To say that it’s one of the worst things I’ve ever watched would be paying it a compliment. Thank goodness this thing didn’t get picked up. As I sat there twitching and staring at the television in disbelief, Boyfriend fearfully turned to me at one point and said, “I can actually feel the rage coming off of you right now.”
- Because I am completely obsessed with comics to the point I spend my … um … “lunch break” (heh heh) reading about comics news on the internet, I just saw that The Source has a first look at Henry Cavill as Superman in the upcoming new movie. It looks very good, wouldn’t you agree? And as the article mentions, Laurence Fishburne now has the role of Perry White. Are we following in the footsteps of a Samuel L. Jackson Nick Fury? Not a bad decision, if you ask me.
- Another thing that’s not a bad decision is Marvel’s reveal of who the new Ultimate Spider-Man is. SPOILERS here and here. The character’s debut issue hit the stands on Wednesday in Ultimate Fallout #4, so snag a copy while you can.
- The first issue of Terry Moore’s new book, Rachel Rising, also came out this week. Is anyone checking this out? Because you should. Terry Moore is legit amazing—I would hate for his awesomeness to be eclipsed by the latest Marvel and DC hype. Really looking forward to getting my hands on this.
- Speaking of amazing—oh my goodness, Craig Thompson. I love him. His new book, Habibi, is coming out in just a few short weeks, and the previews I’ve seen are unbelievably gorgeous. It makes me feel better to know I’ll have something to look forward to in September when the “New 52” inevitably lets me down. Also, Mr. Thompson is doing a signing at the Brattle Theater in Harvard Square the day after the book comes out, so if you’re in the area, let me know because I will most certainly be there. PSYCHED, PSYCHED, PSYCHED!
- Saw Captain America the other week. It was awesome. Avengers trailer after the credits brought out my squealing fangirl. ‘Nuff said.
Okay, that’s all I got! It’s gonna be a three-day weekend for me, so I’ll catch you punks later! Happy comic reading!
*Just kidding, Dario, you know I love you!
I asked a few different people at the comic shop this week what they thought of Fear Itself #2. The common response was “I don’t know. Hammers?”
Birds of Prey #12 – Gail Simone continues to effortlessly impress me, as this latest issue of Birds of Prey finds the ladies come face-to-face with a villain from Simone’s Secret Six. I always love when a writer cross-references work from other titles to provide a sense of continuity, assuming it’s done well, and Simone has no problem incorporating one of her own creations here. I’m eager to see how the Birds will handle the threat—after all, this group is far from being anything like the Six, and it’s a pretty ridiculous villain we’re talking about. A few refreshing elements to this issue: Zinda taking a more upfront role in the team’s current mission; Helena attempting to recruit and subsequently teaming up with The Question; and Hawk & Dove in the backseat of the story so far—the less of them, the better as far as I’m concerned. I like this book to concentrate on its core members—Babs, Dinah, Helena, and Zinda. Spotlight guests are welcome, but let’s keep them that way. When it’s just those four, the story seems to flow better, the quips come easier, and the tone throws it back to the good old days of the Birds book. Jesus Saiz comes on board for art duties here—I feel like I haven’t seen enough to really judge if I like him or not, but his stuff IS good. I’m not sure why Birds of Prey has been given the finger as far as not having a steady artist—a book as stellar as this month after month should have some priority and artistic consistency—but hopefully things change now with Saiz in the hot seat.
Batgirl #21 – As much as I love Birds of Prey, these days I think I’m never happier than when I’m reading Batgirl. I love this book SO MUCH. I love Stephanie Brown, I love Bryan Q. Miller’s writing, I love the unapologetic humor, the fantastic artwork by Dustin Nguyen, the overall happy-go-lucky, FUN tone of this book. How I went so long before this title without Stephanie Brown in my life is a mystery to me, and the awesomeness that makes Batgirl what it is just continues to flourish with each story arc. Issue #21 continues Stephanie’s fight against The Order of the Scythe as she engages their newest member, Harmony. Not only does she have to deal with new foes, however; she’s also losing some allies. With Barbara stepping away from her Oracle persona, Proxy also breaking the news that she’s heading out on her own search for self-discovery, and the Grey Goose “betraying” Steph (though unbeknownst to her and, frankly, probably welcome), they’re dropping like flies. I love Bryan Q. Miller using the Goose’s obnoxious persona as a mirror to how Steph herself began as the arguably annoying Spoiler—it works hilariously well. What DOESN’T work well is what I propose to be this sense of urgency Miller has tried to build up over Proxy and her decision to leave team Batgirl. I don’t know enough about Proxy to really care or empathize; quite frankly, I’m kind of excited to see her go. Let’s focus this back on Batgirl and let her awesomeness shine on its own. It’s what got me into this book, and it’s what will keep me here.
Amazing Spider-Man #661 – I don’t read any Spider-Man titles on a regular basis; rather, I pick them up here and there when something catches my eye or sounds interesting. I wasn’t planning on reading this issue until my ever-hilarious friend and sometimes co-worker Dario urged me to check it out. I’m so, so glad he did, because this issue was … um, “Amazing.” Christos Gage temporarily takes over the writing duties, and he does a damn fine job—I was laughing out loud on almost every page as Spider-Man attempted to substitute teach Hank Pym’s problem children. Sampling the work here has made me want to check out his Avengers Academy; I’ll definitely be going back and picking up the first trade now. You know when you get into a stretch where you just seem to pick up bad issue after bad issue after bad issue of titles, and you get to a point where you’re like “Geez, do good writers EXIST anymore, or is it all just a world of Judd Winicks and Matt Fractions”? Then you pick up a Mike Carey or a Gail Simone and it’s THEN that you remember why you read comics in the first place. Your faith in the medium is restored. This is what this issue of Spider-Man was for me: faith-renewing. Thank you, Mr. Gage.
Captain America and the First Thirteen #1 (One-Shot) – I’ve been waiting for this one-shot for months, not realizing it had come out in March. Woops. Well, I guess I don’t mind the wait, because it wound up being pretty good. The ingredients are all there—Cap, Peggy Carter, wonderful artwork, and Kathryn Immonen doing the writing? That’s a win. We get a backstory here set during Cap’s time with the Resistance. It’s one of those stories that, although arguably “unessential” for our knowledge of the continuity, still adds a unique layer to the characters and their relationship that the reader may not have gotten otherwise. There’s war, drama, strong women, humor, and smart lines left and right. Some might call it a “throw away;” I call it an entertaining read that gets me even more excited for the upcoming Cap movie. Ch-check it out!
X-Men: Legacy #248 – This is THE X-Men title to read. The rest is toilet paper.
X-Men: Prelude to Schism #1 & 2 – Ummm … what? What the hell is this junk? Oh my God. Aforementioned faith is once again destroyed. I quit comics … (for the third time this week). Okay, seriously—this is such an utterly pointless mini. Issue two was a carbon copy of issue one, and neither part bothers to accomplish anything aside from attempting to illustrate Cyclops as some sort of savior to mutantkind. I say “attempting to” because what it ACTUALLY accomplishes is just a bunch of whining. This is two issues worth of Cyclops trying to make a decision—a decision on what, you ask? We don’t know! You aren’t going to be told, dear reader—and the best part is we have still another two issues left to go. Don’t waste your time with this. If you’re looking for a worthwhile X-book event to read, go back and pick up Mike Carey’s Age of X storyline in X-Men: Legacy. You need Prelude to Schism the way you need syphilis.
And that means it’s time for a PULL LIST!
Age of X Alpha #1 – I’m so excited about Mike Carey’s Age of X storyline and can’t wait to read the kickoff here. It continues in X-Men Legacy as well as New Mutants, I believe—normally I’d be shouting “NO CROSSOVERS!” but I’m actually looking forward to this. I don’t mind if it spans two or three books—if it means more Carey, I’m for it.
Amazing Spider-Man #650 – I have to get this 2nd printing version because I somehow missed the first one when it came out a few weeks back, so I haven’t been able to read the two issues that followed. Therefore I don’t know what’s going on with the suit. No spoilers, please.
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #152 – Admittedly only reading this for the return of Black Cat. I don’t really care about the upcoming “Death of Spider-Man” hoo-hah Bendis has got coming up. The first issue of this arc was pretty decent.
Secret Avengers #9 – I feel like this title is floundering a bit with the last issue or two; I’m not sure why. Maybe because it all centers around Shang-Chi and I’m finding him kind of boring at the moment. Sticking with this to get to the next arc, which I’m hoping will pick things up. Also, apparently someone needs to re-teach Mike Deodato how to draw a face.
New Avengers #8 – I don’t read Bendis’ Avengers on a regular basis; I pick it up here and there when I think it looks interesting. I tend to be more drawn to “character-driven” issues full of dialogue and interaction, as opposed to “action” issues that are just page after page of explosions. Not that I don’t like a good explosion, but … you know. I like to get into what makes characters tick, and this looks like it may be a good one. I suppose the preview pages of Luke and Jessica out for dinner could be misleading; maybe there will be an explosion at the end of the issue. Then I can’t complain.
Uncanny X-Force #4 – Love, love, love this book.
Uncanny X-Men #532 – I’m about five issues behind on this title. Greg Land … *gouges out eyeballs*
X-Men #7 – Wow, is this up to #7 already? I think I left off on #3. Has anyone been reading this?
Cursed Pirate Girl TP – I totally missed this story when it came out in single issues; I basically didn’t know it existed until last week and now I’m hearing about it everywhere. I like pirates and I like pretty art, so it’s a near certainty I’ll like this book. I hear the story’s amazing.
Other Stuff, Maybes, Borrows, Shelf-Reads:
X-23 #5 – I love the art on this book. I could take or leave Gambit, though. Marjorie Liu doesn’t let me down often.
Green Arrow #8 – I don’t know why I’m still reading this, honestly. I keep waiting for something … anything to happen that will actually make the plot MOVE somewhere. I may give it another one or two issues before I drop it.
Wonder Woman #606 – <Insert sound of car crash here>
Detective Comics #873 – Feels like five issues of this have come out since the last issue of Batman, Inc. Where’s Batman, Inc. #3? Did I blindly miss it somewhere?
Teen Titans #91 – Just ‘cause I like Damian.
Fantastic Four #587 – I’m actually not reading this; I don’t read FF, and the news has already spoiled which member is biting the dust. But for those of you who are planning to pick it up, I hear there have been some surprise packaged issues popping up with Jonathan Hickman’s original signature on the cover, so maybe you’ll get lucky.
That’s all, kids. What are YOU picking up?
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.
This book just isn’t doing anything for me right now. Like, at all. And I’m not sure if that’s because of the writing (which isn’t necessarily HORRIBLE, given some of the truly terrible stuff out there), or because the first story arc as a whole, which I like to call “Super Blasty Magic Battle,” didn’t interest me at all. I honestly just don’t care enough about the Sorcerer Supreme or any of that stuff to be able to get into this—which is why I’m going to give it another go with the next arc before I ultimately dub it shelf fodder.
Ergo, I want to say that the problem so far lies with me and not the story … but then again, isn’t it the mark of a good or great writer that he or she can MAKE you care about something you didn’t before? I have something of a pastime of ragging on Brian Michael Bendis, and I’m honestly not trying to—it’s just that my feelings toward him are currently lukewarm, and … well … what’s he done for me lately? Outside of maybe Scarlet, the answer is: not much. I’m sure this has been addressed elsewhere in comicdom on the interweb, but the fact of the matter is—and this is a real turn off for me—that the Avengers mostly all sound the same. I really can’t decipher The Thing from Spider-Man from Jessica Jones from Ms. Marvel … because they ALL sound like Spider-Man (who is essentially useless here, by the way). I didn’t know Ms. Marvel could quip like that.
Stuart Immonen, I want to say, does some pretty cool stuff, but the most recent issue that wrapped up the first story arc was kind of a “miss” as far as the big battle scene went. Half the time I couldn’t tell what in the world was going on, and the other half of the time, I didn’t care. He didn’t make me care. He didn’t really hit me with anything at all aside from a few dramatic facial expressions and a panel of Dr. Strange with a lone tear in the corner of his eye (which comes across as cliché rather than emotional). That’s all kind of pathetic, given that a character dies in this issue. And who are we kidding with that? Look at the cover and I promise you, you’ll know who it is. Maybe my dissatisfaction toward this issue in particular had something to do with the fact that I was reading it on the commuter rail far too early in the a.m., but come on—the death scene at least SHOULD have hit me. It should have been epic, but instead it floundered.
I do want to say, despite whatever I felt was “off” about the last issue, there is a definite light-hearted quality to this book overall, which I think is what keeps readers coming back to it. It’s not heavy. Despite fighting a universe-threatening power, the team still manages to make you laugh. Victoria Hand still manages to walk around toting a fraking huge gun and cracking me up. One can argue that, whatever the book’s faults, it’s still good, clean Avengers, so to speak. And maybe in the end, given all of the other Avengers titles to choose from—that’s all this one has to be.
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Illustrated by Stuart Immonen
X-posted @ Nerd Caliber