Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Southern Bastards #16

Southern Bastards #16

Southern Bastards, Issue #16 is the second issue in the "Gut Check" arc, in which the Craw County Runnin' Rebs football team has lost two games in a row.  Coach Boss aims to make sure there isn't a third loss.  He does this by going to the home of the star running back of the Locust Fork Super Bolts, Theron Goode, aiming to put a beating on him.  Things go south in more than one way.

Southern Bastards is the shit.  It's one of the first comics I started reading every month it comes out, along with Velvet, Saga, and Lazarus.  I came to like the genre that now I read 40 or so comics every month they come out.  Some come out every month come hell or high water, and some come out more rarely, like Southern Bastards.  Roberta Tubbs isn't in this issue, and I wonder if she's been put on the back burner a little too much for my taste.  The series is set to run 60 issues or so, and there's plenty of time for her to get into the picture.

Spider-Man/Deadpool #1.mu

Spider-Man/Deadpool (2016-) #1.MU

Spider-Man/Deadpool, Issue #1.mu is the Spider-Man/Deadpool arc of the "Monsters Unleashed" crossover event.  It's written by Joshua Corin, with art by Tigh Walker and colors by Rachelle Rosenberg.  The "Monsters Unleashed" event is when a bunch of leviathans drop from the sky in wave after wave, and only Spider-Man and Deadpool can stop them.  The comic starts out in usual fashion, with Deadpool hanging from the ceiling of a girls' preparatory school in Canada.  He was lured there by the promise of chimichangas.

I'm not planning to read the rest of the "Monsters Unleashed" event, but if there's an Issue #2.mu of Spider-Man/Deadpool, I'll check it out, although from what I've read, this is just a one-shot, 33 pages long instead of 22, thus the $4.99 price tag.  I love the chemistry between the two, which has carried over from Joe Kelly and company to a variety of different writers and artists.  Issue #14 comes out in three weeks and a day.

Romulus #3

Romulus, Issue #3 describes the two differing, hidden forces in the political-military-industrial universe, the Romulus, which represents order and is of nations; and the Illuminati, which represents culture and revolution and is of the people.  Ashlar, the main character, was of Romulus until Romulus turned on the Wolves.  Now the Illuminati is seeking her out, training her, all so that she can rescue the physicist Romulus wants to use to create a bomb.

I'm hoping to catch up on some of my old comics today; tomorrow new comics come out, including Issue #4 of Romulus.  I've fallen almost a full arc behind on Wayward, although I've continued to buy the comics every month.  I'm a couple issues behind on DC's Blue Beetle, and I don't know if I'll continue into the next arc.  Romulus I'll continue reading; it's good.

Infamous Iron Man #4

Infamous Iron Man (2016-) #4

Infamous Iron Man, Issue #4 begins on the S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, a flying carrier ship, a helicarrier.  Director Hill is talking to her mom when all of a sudden, she finds out that Victor Von Doom is on the helicarrier.  He has come to tell her that he's one of the good guys now and that S.H.I.E.L.D. should stop sending Ben Grimm after him.  When a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent casually mentions that Grimm is in Latervia, the kingdom once ruled by Victor Von Doom, he leaves to go meet the Thing and General Karadick, the latter of which he left in charge of rebuilding Latervia.

When I see "Bendis-Maleev-Hollingsworth" on the cover of a comic, I read it, for reasons I've pointed out in my previous reviews of their work.  If you read Marvel, this is one of the titles you should be reading.  I know, there's no Tony Stark anymore, boo-hoo, but as strange a man to put in the Iron Man armor as Victor Von Doom is, the great this comic is.  Go and read it, or buy it when it comes out in trade paperback in June.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

She Wolf #5

She Wolf #5

She Wolf: Black Baptism, Issue #5 is the story of Lizzie, Gabby's little sister.  In Issue #1 through Issue #4 of She Wolf, Gabby has a series of adventures where she believes she is becoming a werewolf because she was bitten by one, but the truth is a little bit more complicated.  Anyway, Gabby is off to college, and Lizzie is having her 16th birthday party which no one attends but her friend, Pam.  The first half of the comic is a nice look at country life in New Jersey.  What do they say about New England states?  The capital on one side, the big city on the other, and Kentucky in the middle?  Or is that just Pennsylvania?

Don't worry,  Issue #5 soon devolves into the wonderful mixture of fantasy and reality that we loved about the first arc.  I think what makes She Wolf so great is how the reality is so real and the fantastic so much a mirror of that dark reality.  Lizzie and Pam play in the creek, and Lizzie steals pornographic comics just like any curious kid her age.  Then the demons come, and she's battling the forces of darkness.  It's a fun comic because reading it, you never know where reality and fantasy overlap, and where one is not the other.  This is all sorted out eventually, though.

The Punisher #8


The Punisher, Issue #8 is the first issue without artist, Steve Dillon.  The issue opens up with Frank Castle facing an old woman wielding a shotgun, but she lets him in, tends his wounds, and lets him spend the night, but Condor is quick on his tail.  It isn't long before the two of them are riding off on the old woman's Harley-Davidson with a sidecar, and it isn't long before the two have subdued the three Condor agents and "we'll do a hell of a lot more than waterboarding'ed" the location of the Condor headquarters out of them.

This is an excellent issue and true to the memory of Steve Dillon, it being reminiscent of both Dillon's earlier The Punisher work and Preacher.  I've been reading a lot of the Punisher Complete Collection; I'm on the second book.  I also read the Doctor Strange/The Punisher team up comic that just started late last year.  I'm a fan, and part of what made me a fan was this version of the comic, with Becky Cloonan as the writer.  I didn't know of Laura Braga and Iolanda Zanfardino before reading this comic, but I'll be sure to look out for them.  Good stuff.

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Dregs #1


The Dregs, Issue #1 has a cover that intrigued me at the comic-book store two days ago.  I hadn't heard of the creators, and I hadn't heard of the publisher, Black Mask.  Well, guess what?  It's gross.  A homeless man is kidnapped, drugged, detoothed, shaved, and beheaded before his meat and intestines are used to make sausages to be served at a fancy restaurant.  The Dregs.  "You either get clean and escape, or live here until you die.  It's not pretty, but it's home."  The homeless of Vancouver are going missing.  "One's an anomaly, two's a coincidence, three's... is there a third?"

The intro quotes "A Modest Proposal," the short story by Jonathan Swift.  If you haven't read it, you probably should.  Gentrification, the practice of making poor neighborhoods into rich ones, is a constant theme.  You have an old homeless man playing detective.  What will he find?  I have to say, I'm into this comic.  I can't wait to see where it will go, what characters and situations will be introduced.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Poe Dameron #10

Star Wars: Poe Dameron (2016-) #10

Star Wars: Poe Dameron, Issue #10 begins right after Poe Dameron takes a blaster bolt to the chest in Issue #9.  Of course, it is only a stun blast, but he, mechanic Oddy Muva, C-3PO, and BB-8 are captured by the Ranc Gang, led by the very droid they're there to find.  Meanwhile, Agent Terex and his gang of First Order baddies are joined by Agent Terex's special group of aliens.  Their goal?  To capture the entire Resistance.  But first, a flashback to 27 years earlier, when Terex takes control of Grand Moff Tarkin's former flagship, the Carrion Spike.

Poe Dameron is classic Star Wars fiction.  I'm reminded fondly of 1994, when I first began reading Timothy Zahn's Empire trilogy.  See, good media tie-in fiction is a force multiplier.  From Timothy Zahn, I moved on to Kevin J. Anderson to every Star Wars novel that came out.  I haven't kept up with them, but Jason Aaron's Star Wars comic brought me back into the fold.  Charles Soule's been one of my favorite writers for some time, so I picked up this title, then Darth Vader, then Doctor Aphra.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Debbie's Inferno

Debbie's Inferno is my Retrofit/Big Planet comic of the day.  It begins with Debbie lying in bed, wasting her time away, watching cartoons, when a liquid fills the room.  Suddenly, her cat can talk ("I knew it," cries Debbie), and the cat leads her through the nine circles of discontent.  That's my turn of phrase, not hers.  In fact, I didn't count the number of circles of Hell or whatever she's going through; I just went with it.  The similarities to Dante's Inferno are purposely made.

The artwork is simple but appealing, pen on paper, no colors.  The use of cats can be problematic.  Everyone (with a soul and no allergies) loves cats, but them being used poorly can be a problem.  Fortunately, Debbie's Inferno doesn't run into this.  The use of a talking cat as Virgil, her guide through the inferno of thought, is a pleasant one.  I love the question of whether the circles of discontent are those of a normal mind or an abnormal mind.  I'd like to think that they are of a normal mind because I've been through those circles as well.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

U.S.Avengers #2

U.S.Avengers (2017-) #2

U.S.Avengers, Issue #2 stars Brazilian-American Billionaire, Roberto Da Costa, A.K.A. Citizen V.  He has assembled a team of superheroes called A.I.M., as they are now known, American Intelligence Mechanics.  A.I.M. was formerly known as Advanced Idea Mechanics, and before their successful (?) rebranding, they were dedicated to the acquisition of power, money, and prestige.  Now they're the good guys, consisting of Citizen V, the Iron Patriot, the Red Hulk, Squirrel Girl, and Enigma.

I'd heard of a few of the characters of U.S.Avengers before I picked up Issue #1 two weeks ago, but I'd only read Jeph Loeb's Red Hulk, and while I love Jeph Loeb's work in general, I didn't particularly take to Red Hulk.  The story starts when Captain America 20XX, Danielle Cage, visits from the future to tell of a timeline that didn't happen, an attack by Thanos that was thwarted.  It's a decent and (thankfully, since it's bi-weekly) easy-to-read comic, and the characters have caught my eye.  I know I'm buying too many comics, but I do think I'll keep this one.

The Salmon of Doubt #4

Image result for The Salmon of Doubt #4 farah

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency: The Salmon of Doubt, Issue #4 introduces Farah Black, a novice bodyguard.  How she will be connected to this story is something that will be revealed at the end of the issue.  Bernice and Sally Mills are missing.  Bernice is a cat, and Sally Mills is a nurse; she's also Dirk Gently's assistant.  So, Dirk Gently and the physicist Reg go back in time to find the inventor of the cat-flap, Sir Issac Newton.  And remember, everything is connected!

There's something immensely satisfying about a single-issue comic like this one.  When I first started reading comics, I read mostly trade paperbacks, as most readers do.  Slowly, I began to notice that the way the genre was meant to be read was month-by-month.  At first, I only read a few titles.  Then more, and eventually, it became an obsession.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Doctor Aphra #3

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2016-) #3

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra, Issue #3 is one of the Star Wars titles I read, along with Star Wars, Star Wars: Darth Vader, and Star Wars: Poe Dameron.  Of the four, it's the one I'm least interested in.  A spinoff of Star Wars: Darth Vader, it is the story of Doctor Aphra, the rogue archaeologist.  Along with Triple-Zero, the murderous protocol droid; Krrsantan, the murderous Wookie; and Beetee, the murderous R2-style droid, she is in search of a forgotten tribe on a small moon riddled with Imperial forces.

I have gotten used to the four new characters that make up the cast of Star Wars: Doctor Aphra, but I don't have a deep feeling for any of them yet.  Dr. Chelli Lona Aphra is kinda' cute, I guess, but so far Kieron Gillen hasn't captured the subtle humor of Star Wars the way Charles Soule, Chuck Wendig, and especially Jason Aaron have.  I mean, it is funny at times, like how murderous Triple-Zero and Beetee are, but it just doesn't have the same feel.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Green Lanterns #15

Green Lanterns, Issue #15 is called "A Day in the Life."  Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz are the Green Lanterns who watch after Earth.  Of course, Earth is "special" because out of 3600 Green Lanterns to watch after the whole universe, a whole two of them have to watch Earth, and there are a bunch more from Earth.  Jessica Cruz has anxiety, and that's the focus of this issue.  Simon Baz is her partner.  Then there's a Justice League emergency, and since the two are also in the Justice League, they have to hurry off.

I used to deal with anxiety but not at the level Jessica Cruz does.  Before becoming a Green Lantern, she sat in her bed for three years.  Dang, that sounds appealing now that you think of it.  I do work at home, so I've pretty much been in bed all day, I guess.  Six days out of seven, I have my son, but he's sick at home with his mother today.  I've always wondered why she isn't really fat.  I mean, if you stay in bed all day, how do you stay in shape?

Infamous Iron Man #3


Infamous Iron Man, Issue #3 begins with Victor Von Doom's mother Cynthia, who is somehow young and alive, doing magic.  Then it returns to the fight between an unarmed Victor Von Doom and Ben Grimm, who is now and Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Victor Von Doom's armor comes on, and he's... Infamous Iron Man.  Amara Perera, the brilliant scientist, watches on in horror from her apartment window before waking up in Victor Von Doom's castle in Switzerland.

There's a long prose monologue in this issue.  I know there are always people who complain about such things, so beware if that isn't your thing.  Of course, I'm a huge fan of Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev, and Max Hollingsworth.  VC's Clayton Cowles does the lettering, which is as good as always.  It took me a while to read this issue; I bought it three and a half weeks ago.  Sometimes the best comics stay at the bottom of your pile or on the bookshelf for too long.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Invincible Iron Man #3


Invincible Iron Man, Issue #3 continues to tease Riri Williams wearing Tony Stark's suit on the cover.  Well, guess what.  Riri Williams finally gets to wear Iron Man armor.  Further, Amanda Armstrong, the former pop star who was revealed to be Tony Stark's biological mother in International Iron Man, is running Stark Enterprises.  Stark Enterprises is a huge company, much like the Trump Organization, only not dedicated to evil, and it doesn't go bankrupt every five minutes.  Also, Mary Jane... is it Watson?  I haven't kept up... is a major player in Tony Stark's organization.

The second half of the issue deals with Riri Williams, who apparently is going by the name "Ironheart."  Fe-male ("Fe" as in "Iron") didn't make the cut.  Tony Stark's AI is still around, which is the next best thing to having Tony Stark.  Also, Victor Von Doom is Iron Man in Infamous Iron Man, which I need to get reading.  Pepper Potts is still around.  I guess Tony's going to stay dead until sales lag, and they do another big crossover event.

Kill or Be Killed #5 (spoilers)

Kill Or Be Killed #5

Kill or Be Killed, Issue #5 begins the new arc.  Dylan and Kira aren't sleeping together anymore, even though she and Dylan's roommate, Mason, broke up.  Dylan and Mason are still roommates because neither can afford to get his own place and because they have a rent-controlled apartment.  They hardly talk.  Dylan still has to kill someone every month, or the demon that saved his life will kill him.  This time, however, he gets caught, and in order to flee the scene, he has to kill a police officer.

In the back material, Ed Brubaker writes that this will probably be the longest series they've ever done.  Criminal and Fatale both ran to 30-something issues, so this is a good sign.  Like earlier series by this team, there's an essay in most issues.  This issue has an essay by Kim Morgan about the movie, Little Murders.  While I haven't read all of the essay yet, I've been watching movies from the 1960s for the past week, and I might give it a watch if the essay tickles my fancy.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Descender #18

Descender #18

Descender, Issue #18 begins with, apparently, Tim-21 having killed Tim-22.  Of course, machines don't really die, and the two are practically identical, so you don't know if it isn't the other way around until the end of the issue.  Jin Quon and Telsa (I keep writing "Tesla") escape from the Machine Moon, but which Tim is with them?  They seem to think that it's Tim-21, but it could just as easily be Tim-22.

A run of 18 issues is pretty good for a creator-owned comic, especially one done completely in watercolors, the way Dustin Nguyen does this title.  Originally, Descender was envisioned to run 24 to 40 issues - and that may still be the case - but with Sony Pictures winning a competitive bidding war over the film rights to Descender, it may run longer.  Keep an eye out because some big names are involved in the film adaptation.  I know, we hear adaptations being in the works for tons of comics, but I really think this one's going to happen.

Saga #41

Saga #41

Saga, Issue #41 begins with Petri, the transsexual Moonie, finding out that the comet they're on is headed toward a Timesuck.  Issue #40 ended with Prince Robot IV drugged out of his mind, threatening suicide in front of Alana, and once the Timesuck predicament is explored for a few pages of Issue #41, the title returns to that storyline.  And of course, the March are on the trail of Marko, Alana, Hazel, and the rest.  Then the man formerly known as the freelancer the Will is reunited with Sophie, the Lying Cat, and Gwendolyn.

This is a good issue, and like I've said so many times before, Saga is one of the good series, one of the ones you should seek out.  I know I'm not saying anything earth shattering, as the title is popular with fans and critics.  What makes it great is that it's not like anything else that's been out before.  That, and the characters.  It was emotional watching the Lying Cat having to decide between Sophie and the man formerly known as the Will, and it was emotional seeing the Lying Cat make its choice.

Doctor Strange/The Punisher #2


Doctor Strange/The Punisher: Magic Bullets, Issue #2 begins with the revelation, "(Doctor Strange's) magic isn't strong like it used to be."  Magic on Earth doesn't work like it used to because of the Empirikul, leaving Doctor Strange to go after demons, monsters, and the like with magic weapons instead of magic spells.  Bullets work too, so the Punisher is still effective, but they're still outgunned, leading to their retreat.

This is a longish title, hence the $4.99 price tag, and it's not one you can jump into in the second or third comic; you need to start from the beginning.  This way you'll gradually adjust to the characters and situations.  I'm guessing that the "Magic Bullets" tagline will have significance down the road.  In fact, there is a scene where I thought Doctor Strange is going to hand the Punisher magic bullets, but he just hands him a wand.  Tricky, tricky.  I bought a variant edition of Issue #2 which was originally planned for Issue #3.

Spider-Man #12


Spider-Man, Issue #12 starts the "Sitting in a Tree" arc.  Miles Morales's father is missing after going on a mission for S.H.I.E.L.D. where he was acquiring technology that allows the user to travel between dimensions.  And of course, Miles is kissing Spider-Gwen on the cover, so let's take a wild guess and say that Spider-Man uses the tech, himself.  And he does, going to the universe where Peter Parker was killed, and Gwen Stacey was bitten by the radioactive spider.

To read the full story, you'll need to buy Spider-Gwen, Issue #16, where the story starts from her perspective. Although I haven't kept up with the series, I have read a little bit of it; it's written by Jason Latour from Southern Bastards fame.  Great.  I'm falling behind in my comics reading in the first place, but today I'm thinking of adding three or four new titles to my collection, just to see if they interest me.  There is quite a lot to read in this issue, as is common with Bendis's other work.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

U.S.Avengers #1

U.S.Avengers, Issue #1 arrived on the scene with much fanfare two weeks ago, but it's been sitting in my ever-growing pile of comics since then.  It came out with no fewer than 50 variant covers, one for each state, plus the main cover.  I bought the California cover, pictured.  I wanted to buy other variant covers, but I simply don't have a connection with the other states.  I've lived overseas, but I've never lived outside California.  I kinda' like Utah, but that one had already been bought.  My sister lives in Oregon, but that one had been bought too, so I ended up with just California.

For a title that's getting as much hype as this one is, it's low on story and heavy on introducing (or reintroducing) characters, most of whom are refugees, immigrants, or the children of immigrants.  All of them are American citizens, and the title has a multicultural angle to it.  It celebrates immigration and Americans of diverse backgrounds, the type which appeals to multiple audiences.  Issue #2 comes out tomorrow, and I'll have to decide then if I want to keep reading U.S.Avengers.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Old Man Logan #16


Old Man Logan, Issue #16 reunites the team of Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino, and Marcelo Maiolol it also starts the new arc, "Return to the Wastelands."  After opening up back in the Wastelands, the comic flashes back to Logan answering Puck's distress signal in space, using the X-Shuttle.  He arrives on Alpha Flight, and instead of seeing Puck, he sees the Brood.  Then he's sent back to the Wastelands to wonder if his whole trip back to the present was just a dream.

I did like the short "Dracula" arc, but for me, the Old Man Logan I've grown to love has been drawn by Sorrentino, with colors by Maiolo.  The "Dracula" arc looked good, but I'm just used to this team.  I'm looking forward to this new arc, as it's perhaps going to answer some of the questions I have about the Villain's Uprising and Logan's return to the present.  I like the idea of Bruce Banner going bad, ruining the world, and then raising a bunch of Hulk children and grandchildren.  This hasn't been explored enough so far in this series.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Spider-Man/Deadpool #13

Spider-Man/Deadpool (2016-) #13

Spider-Man/Deadpool, Issue #13 continues from Issue #11, in which Spider-Man and Deadpool blow themselves up in the hopes of destroying Itsy Bitsy, a creature with the powers of both Spider-Man and Deadpool who has been killing criminals in their name.  In Issue #13, they escape to Weirdworld, where time runs faster than on Earth, so that Spider-Man can recuperate from the explosion.  They have an adventure there involving Morgan La Fey and generally make a bunch of snide comments.

This is a comic book for people who like comic books.  It tells a simple story, it's full of catchy dialogue, it has great heroes, and it has dastardly villains.  Only four hours pass in the entire time Spider-Man and Deadpool are in Weirdworld, but as one would expect, she causes a ton of damage.  I particularly liked the damaged suit Spider-Man wears in this issue, how the knuckles in his suit are worn out from punching people.  Solid comic.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

God Country #1

God Country, Issue #1 is a new Image Comic.  In this short review, I'd like to explain it a little bit.  There's an unseen narrator who tells the story as it's been told throughout generations, starting in West Texas in the 1960s judging by the cars, although having a black sheriff means that it probably took place much later.  An old man suffers from dementia.  He walks out to the highway, and it takes three officers to subdue him.  His son, who has moved to West Texas with his wife and daughter to take care of him, is being patient.  His wife isn't.  One day, a tornado comes, but it's actually a 20-foot-tall demon, forcing the old man to transform into the god he used to be.

This is a solid start to the story; I bought the variant cover, and I think I'll continue to buy them.  I particularly liked that there were three rabbits in the background of various frames, including one running away from the storm along the highway.  The tornado appears to be a very powerful one, although it would probably not get the F-5 ranking because it is out in the middle of nowhere.  The coloring is solid, with a lot of blue and green tones, and the dialogue is very Southern.  The lettering is strong and varied.  I'll definitely buy Issue #2.

Sherlock: The Blind Banker #1

Image result for sherlock the blind banker issue #1

Sherlock: The Blind Banker, Issue #1 is the manga adaptation of the second episode of the first season of the hit B.B.C. show.  The manga series debuted in Japan in 2012, and it's being printed in comic-book form, oversized compared to normal manga.  Written and with art by Jay, the series uses the same phrases and action as written by Steve Thompson.  The series was created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss.  It follows the story of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson investigating the vandalization of a painting in a secure facility.

I'm a big fan of Sherlock, and I have been since the series debuted in 2010.  I don't watch much TV anymore, but I make an exception for Sherlock.  With really good fan-fiction, you can hear the incidental music of the original show or movie in your head; this is one of those great adaptations.  It is in black-and-white, and it does read right-to-left, so keep that in mind when you purchase it.  Not everyone loves manga, and the $4.99 price tag can be off-putting (nearly $30 for all six), but it's longer than most comics, so it's worth it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Number 1

Number 1 by box brown

Number 1 by Box Brown is my Retrofit/Big Planet comic of the day.  Of the 46 pages, 44 are made up of the story, "Kayfabe Quarterly," the story Virgil, who gets "smartened up" by a wrestler named Diamond Dick Corduroy (real last name, Corduroyzsky) and starts a magazine called Kayfabe Quarterly, which gives an inside view of not only wrestling but other secret aspects of life.  For instance, Virgil's brother Ollie says that at school, they sprayed this stuff in the air that smells like marijuana, and it smelled like their father's office.  The last two pages are "The Documentarian," a short piece about... guess what?

Number 1 came just at the right time for me.  I had just put on the movie Mockingjay, Part 2, and it's BORING!  I love a good wrestling story, and author Box Brown has put out a couple of good ones in "Kayfabe Quarterly" and Andre the Giant: Life and Legend.  I do recommend this comic, which is $6 on Amazon Smile or $2.99 on Kindle.  What makes it for me is the growth of Virgil, who sees everything as a shade of gray after a short talk with a wrestler; he even makes a decent living off it.

Monday, January 9, 2017

A.D. After Death, Book Two

Image result for A.D. After Death, Book Two

A.D. After Death, Book Two has two main timelines.  The earlier of the two takes place in the years leading up to the end of death, when Jonah Cooke is an art thief, working for a mysterious figure known as R'Overknight.  While working his cover job, he meets R'Overknight in person.  In the later of the two timelines, Jonah and Errant Knight/R'Overknight are living in the ninth century, After Death.  Jonah works high up in the mountains, where he looks for signs of life in the wastelands.  When he receives signals from below, he tells Errant that he's going to go back down there, in search of his long-lost wife.

It's been a while since I've been fortunate enough to see Jeff Lemire's art.  I've read his main work, Essex County, along with his first comic, the name of which escapes me.  Usually he does the writing while someone else does the art, in the case of his D.C., Marvel, and even Image Comics work.  For this collection, Scott Snyder writes the words, and Jeff Lemire does the artwork.  Like Book One, this is about an hour's read.  There's a lot of prose text with illustrations rather than just comics.

The Unworthy Thor #3


The Unworthy Thor, Issue #3 sees Odinson in search of another hammer, another Mjolnir.  He knows where it is, but he, along with the whole realm of Asgard, has been stolen by a being known as the Collector.  The Collector wants the secret to wielding Mjolnir, so he keeps Thor in a jail with the other beings and creatures he's collected over the years.  The collector isn't the only one who wants the power of Thor; Thanos is quite interested as well, sending his servants - Proxima Midnight, the Black Swan, and a mysterious hooded figure - to the Collector's ship.

For me, Jason Aaron became a legend in the comic-book industry with Southern Bastards - which is easily one of the best comics I've ever read - but to Marvelheads, Jason Aaron really cut his teeth writing Thor.  I've read some of Aaron's Thor, including the new Thor, about the mysterious woman who dares to be a god.  It's good.  The Unworthy Thor is good, and I'm left at the end of every issue waiting for the next one to come out.  When Issue #3 came out, there were literally a dozen issues I wanted to buy that week, and Christmas only left me enough money for half that.  I'm glad I did get around to it, though.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Green Lanterns #14

Image result for green lanterns #14

Green Lanterns, Issue #14 concludes the "Phantom Lantern" arc.  It opens up in Coast City, California, where the Phantom Lantern, Frank Laminski, has become an Indigo Lantern.  Meanwhile, across town, the Guardian of the Universe, Rami, is battling Volthoom, the First Lantern, who got his powers 10 billion years ago but lost them.  Laminski, in a moment of compassion, takes off the Phantom Ring.  Then Jessica Cruz, the Green Lantern, puts it on.

Reading this comic makes me want to explore more DC Universe Rebirth titles.  The problem is that they come out so fast, twice a month.  It's a blessing and a curse.  Just because Green Lanterns is good doesn't mean any of the other bi-monthly comics are good.  Basically, I read about 40 or 50 titles.  Two of them are DC, one is Boom! Studios, and the rest are split between Image Comics and Marvel Comics.  I probably read more titles on Image Comics, but because Marvel Comics come out every month, I probably read more issues on Marvel Comics.  Make sense?

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Hawkeye #2

Hawkeye, Issue #2 begins with a short summation of the previous issue in the form of a case file, and then it goes into Kate Bishop's arrest of Larry Gort, the love-sick stalker of her client, Mikka Nguyen, who unbeknownst to Kate, has been kidnapped. Bishop takes Larry Gort to the police precinct, but all she gets there is bureaucracy and tied hands. Her investigation is getting really sticky, and it has to do with a cult called Take Back Control.

While Hawkeye is the successor to Mockingbird, it has a whole different feel to it. Both Kate Bishop and Mockingbird have connections to Clint Barton, the original Hawkeye. Mockingbird was married to him, and Bishop is his partner and student. Kelly Thompson has some big shoes to fill; she's taking up the Hawkeye reigns from superstar authors, Jeff Lemire and Matt Fraction. This is a totally different title than the ones by those two writers, though. Kate Bishop is the star and only star.

Showman Killer, Vol. 2

Showman Killer Vol 2 Golden Child HC

Showman Killer, Volume 2: Golden Child continues the story of the all-powerful assassin/warrior.  In Volume 1, he comes across the Omnimonarch's son, but for some reason, he decides to save the child's life and raise him.  Of course, with futuristic technology, this is done in the blink of an eye.  In this volume, you find out why he has feelings for the child and how the two are related.  They are on the run from the Superheirophant, who has taken over control of the galactic empire.

I don't know how at such an advanced age, Alejandro Jodorowsky keeps putting out such quality work and finding such quality artists like Nicolas Fructus.  Fructus is a board-game designer and animation specialist who Jodorowsky brought into prominence in the world of comics.  Fructus had done comics before, but come on, Jodorowsky.  Anyway, I loved the first two volumes of Showman Killer, and if I can pry a little money away from my computer build, I'll order Volume 3 when it comes out on February 7.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Monstress #9

Monstress #9

Monstress, Issue #9 keeps rolling along. The art is consistently detailed and fantastic, yet it comes out every month like any normal comic. It opens up when Moriko's sister makes an appearance, along with her mother, who is a wolf Arcanic and the Queen of Wolves.  The two fight over the mask, Maika, and the future; the mother is a member of the Dawn Court.  Then there's a flashback to Maika's childhood, where Moriko is challenging her.  Then back to the ship, which is headed to the Isle of Bones.

This is a difficult comic to enjoy but a rewarding one.  The dialogue is dense, as is the art.  While I usually spend at most 15 minutes reading a comic, this one takes me 30 or 45 minutes, and it's easy to miss plot lines and situations.  There's a nice tribute to the Japanese artist Hosukai on the cover, for instance.  I'm sure I'm missing other homages and situations.  There's a lot to see and read.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Rocket Girl

Rocket Girl #3

Rocket Girl is a title I borrowed from Comixology Unlimited because the cover art caught my eye.  I read a few pages, and it was funny and well drawn, so I kept reading.  It stars Detective Dayoung Johansson of the New York Teen Police Department.  She's 15, and she's from the future, the year 2013, but not the 2013 we were aware of.  She goes back in time to 1986 to stop Quintum Mechanics from changing the past to their benefit in the future.  She stays in 1986, becoming Rocket Girl.

The scenes of 1986 New York City are almost uncannily accurate, like scenes out of Taxi Driver, although that movie was filmed a bit earlier. In the 1980s and early 1990s, Times Square was a mess.  Then came a mayor who was tough on crime, Rudy Giuliani, who instituted stop-and-frisk policies, racial profiling, and the like.  He cleaned up Times Square, but at a price.  This also took place at a time when crime decreased throughout America due perhaps to the decrease in atmospheric lead, which has gone down since hitting its peak at 1993.

As of the time I'm writing this, I've only read Issue #1 of Rocket Girl, although the first three issues are free with my Comixology Unlimited account.  I'll probably read up to Issue #7, which is as far as this very good series got when it ended in 2015.  The issues cost $1.99 each, but the first three are free, so it'll cost around $8.  The first trade paperback collects Issue #1 through Issue #5, and the last two issues are only available in comic-book or digital form.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Spider-Man/Deadpool #12

Spider-Man/Deadpool (2016-) #12

Spider-Man/Deadpool, Issue #12 is a Christmas issue written by guest writers and with art by guest artists. It starts off on Christmas Eve in New York City, where Deadpool is having a Christmas party without Spider-Man. His secret Santa is Kate Bishop, who he gets a T-shirt saying, "I killed the Hulk, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt." I guess he got his Hawkeyes mixed up. Nice Civil War II reference. Meanwhile, someone seemingly from Asgard is beheading everyone who is dressed as Santa Claus. After Deadpool gets kicked out of his own party, he and Spider-Man go out to solve the problem.

I don't know what Peter Parker's place is in the current Marvel universe, but this comic is pretty fucking funny. There's something about Spider-Man that makes Deadpool that much better. I've read my share of Deadpool comics, but this one is by far my favorite. I've also read my share of Spider-Man comics, and this is one of my favorite iterations of Spider-Man, which is saying a lot. In short, this is a very good issue of a very good series.

Spider-Man #11

Spider-Man (2016) #11

Spider-Man, Issue #11 starts off with a prose revelation that Miles Morales's father made a deal with the intelligence agency S.H.I.E.L.D. to protect his life. This was hinted at in an earlier issue, when Jefferson contacts that intelligence agency. Almost the entire issue is centered around Jefferson, Miles Morales's father, who is back in the spook industry again. Now he's after the illicit trade in Terrigen Mist or rather, creating it.

Things don't go as planned, of course. This story has a neat twist at the end which I won't give away. A lot of the recent Spider-Man comics haven't focused on Miles Morales himself, and this one is no different. I guess they really needed to develop the people around Miles Morales because as he's such an new character in the main Marvel universe that his situation isn't as fully realized.

Civil War II #8 (Spoilers)

Image result for Civil War II 8

Civil War II, Issue #8 concludes the limited series. The issues starts with a climactic battle between Captain Marvel and Iron Man while Captain America and Spider-Man look on. The Inhuman Ulysses, meanwhile, grows ever stronger. He shows everyone a vision of the future, and it isn't pretty. Then he leaves after growing too strong for the Earth and its people. Tony Stark doesn't really die, but he's not really alive, leaving open the possibility for him to return in a year or two.

This is a visually stunning comic, perhaps the most visually appealing comic I've ever seen from Marvel. Overall this series has been excellent. The eight issues at $4.99 each costs almost $40 in total. For this extra money you get pretty much just sturdier covers. I know some people will complain about there not being enough dialogue, as people complained about Issue #6. I think there is enough room in the comics world for comics with less dialogue than normal. Some people think that if they pay $3 or $4 or more for a comic that they should get more enjoyment out of it timewise. I don't think this is the case.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Wicked Chicken Queen

Wicked chicken queen by sam alden

Wicked Chicken Queen is my Retrofit Comic of the day.  The story opens up in the year 150 BCQ, the "BCQ" standing for "Before Chicken Queen."  The story unfolds page-by-page, with a sentence accompanying a lavish pencil drawing.  Each of the drawings shows a single scene (with a few exceptions), a castle with  a chicken head, dances, and of course, the Chicken Queen.  The beings of the island have one giant eye that takes up most of their head.  They seem to have no technology beyond gears and wheels, but then the narrator makes mention of a phone, and of course, there are phone wires on the cover.

The Chicken Queen is found as an egg, falls in love with the girl who finds her, and lays eggs every day that the people eat.  The King dies, making the Chicken a Queen, and at some point, she becomes wicked and attacks them.  The narrator is a rarely seen figure, a woman with a daughter in college.  All the main characters are women except the King.  This is the perfect comic to share with a friend or family member.

The difference between mini-comics and mainstream comics is like the difference between country blues and city blues.  I know people love their superstars, and I've been to mega-concerts at sports stadiums.  But there's something to be said for watching John Underwood or someone at a bar and hanging out with them afterward, maybe buying a tee shirt.  It's the same at a PWG wrestling card, or at least it used to be, when you could still get tickets.