I’ve spent the last week taking it easy during the holidays and doing my best to catch up on my reading stack. In the past few days, I have brought myself up to speed on a few titles and some 40 issues of:
Justice League – Meh. Just … meh. I wish I could offer something more on this title, but it’s leaving me bored. Might be time to drop it from my pull list soon, but I’ll finish the current arc first.
Gotham Academy – I hate to say this because I was hoping for so much more, but the writing on this title has let me down. It’s not BAD—it’s just … a little slow? The pacing is dragging for me. And it’s perfectly reasonable that many others would love the type of story they’re telling in Gotham Academy, but for me personally, it’s not hitting. I anticipated giving the book at least the first full arc to grab me, but I think I already know that it’s not going to fit. And that’s really a shame, because I LOVE the artwork on this book. Karl Kerschl’s style is so clean and so lively, and even more exciting when you throw on Geyser and Dave McCaig’s incredible colors—I wanted so badly to fall in love with this book. But I’m just … not.
Hawkeye – Umm … so, this title is coming back, right? Because I need this title. This title has to exist.
Black Widow – Natasha/X-23 team-up? Yes, please. More, please. Also, my goodness, I cannot explain my love for Phil Noto in any sufficient way for others to fathom. He is just … I can’t. I love his work so much, it’s unlike anything else. I can’t compare him to anyone. And Marvel just announced that they’re releasing a month’s worth of Phil Noto variant covers in February, which means I’m trouble and will be buying way more titles that month than I need to be….
Thor – LOVE. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. Three issues in and I am OBSESSED with this book. Everything about it is solid; the writing is spectacular, the artwork is a delight, the colors are captivating. There is nothing more I could possibly want from this, and I’m so excited for the next issue.
Superman/Wonder Woman – This title was actually fairly decent under Charles Soule—it was better than what I was expecting, and Tony Daniel’s art was crisp and lovely. But Tomasi’s first issue as of #13 made this book take a giant nose-dive for me, and Mahnke’s artwork is just not my cup of tea. Wonder Woman’s characterization continues to suffer greatly since the New 52—I don’t know who that person is, but she’s not my Wonder Woman. But that in itself is a topic for a whole other discussion.
Sensation Comics – This book. This book is … just about the only thing keeping my DC fandom afloat at this point. If post-New 52 Wonder Woman is wrong, then Sensation Comics Wonder Woman is everything RIGHT and everything she should be. Reading this title is this massive dose of nostalgia, which is kind of weird, right? Because how can something brand new with different, alternative takes on a character make you feel nostalgic toward said character? It does, so very much. I’m not sure I’d do it proper credit in trying to explain, except to say that it’s very clear each writer and artist gets Wonder Woman. They get her and they love her, and that comes through so obviously in every story—which, I’m sad to say, is not the case in her actual title or in pretty much any other DC book she’s currently in. It’s a tragic state of affairs. But if, like me, you want the Wonder Woman you loved before the New 52 destroyed everything she was and everything she stood for, then pick up Sensation Comics. You won’t regret it.
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.
A number of weeks ago I read about an online promotion for the upcoming Thor movie wherein S.H.I.E.L.D. was recruiting agents. You went onto their website and entered your e-mail address, and received a message saying that you would be called upon to join the ranks when the time came. A couple of days ago, I received this—which I nearly didn’t open, as it was sent from “Acura”:
I had a little mini geek-out at how cool this felt. Entrance exam for S.H.I.E.L.D.! I’m going to ace this! I sat in my work cubicle during my lunch break, logging in and studying the website, feeling all determined. Of course, this is S.H.I.E.L.D. we’re talking about—they’re not going to let just anyone in. First thing’s first—and that, my friends, is a fingerprint scan:
Gotta say, a retinal scan would have upped the coolness factor, but this will do. You have two choices for logging in:
- Use your Facebook account to create an agent record
- Log in as a visitor (which won’t allow you to save your progress)
I’m not really a huge fan of using my Facebook account to log into other sites, especially when I’m not on my personal computer, so I took the easy way out for now and selected “Vistor.” It takes you to a narrated mini movie describing the organization and you whirl through a lot of different events and photos and nifty graphs in rapid succession:
Until you eventually reach this screen:
Hahaa. Nice, eh? Can’t fully say I was expecting that. It could be worse—it could have been product placement for a Prius (blech). You’re instructed to customize your vehicle—I chose the TL (although the MDX sports a 2.4 liter turbo, I’m not a huge fan of the midsize crossover) and went on my merry way to the assignments screen. Getting there, you’re hit with thrilling shots like this, meant to make the fanboy(girl) squee:
You ultimately come to a series of four “case files,” of which you must complete the first in order to access the next, and so on. Case L1 is comprised of completing a sector scan to locate a recorded energy disturbance.
More geeking out upon hitting the “Activate Agent Task” button. Oooh, it feels so … authorized! I’m so excited! Nick Fury, I won’t fail you!
Want to see what comes next? Too bad. This is as far as I go. I’m under obligation from S.H.I.E.L.D. not to disclose any further information. I’ve already said too much… I bet they’re hovering overhead as we speak.
This was just meant to entice—I can’t do all your work for you, agent.
Check out http://www.joinshield.com/ to sign up and become part of the campaign.