Sunday, June 10, 2012

June 6, 2012 Pull List

This is what I bought (if I remember) on June 6th, 2012.  Yes, it's too many.  I have a problem.

Animal Man #10, Avengers Academy #31,  Avengers vs. X-Men #5, Dial H #2, Earth 2 #2, GI Combat #2, Hulk #53, Justice League International #10, Red Lanterns #10, Secret #2, Stormwatch #10, Swamp Thing #10, Thief of Thieves #5, Ultimate Spider-Man #11, and Uncanny X-Men #13.

Overall, this was a good week.  Animal Man and Swamp Thing are a bit stagnant too me, but Francavilla was on Swamp Thing this week and it was like watching a horror movie at midnight at a drive in.  He's fantastic.  Avengers Academy was weaker than usual and I think will be better once this AvX thing ends.  AvX finally had something happen, but it didn't thrill me and I'm not sure I can do this for 3.5 more months.  I'm tired of it.

Dial H is amazing.  I need to reread issue 1 and then read 2 again to piece it all together.  If you aren't reading it, do so.  Mieville is an amazing writer, and it's awesome to see his voice put together with a fantastic artist.

Earth 2 I liked, but didn't love.  I'm reading it for Mr. Terrific, but I guess I liked the Flash origin story just fine, but the Green Lantern story was boring, even with the boy/boy action.  I'll keep buying it, I like Robinson quite a bit as an author, but world building needs to be done slowly, and he's doing that, but it's not easy to slowly build a world when issues are 4 weeks apart.

GI Combat was uninspiring and #3 has to knock me out or I'll probably drop it, even with the awesome dinosaur art (which wasn't as awesome ass issue one and looked more static and rigid).

Hulk was good.  I like this new direction (and love the cover), especially considering my disappointment last issue.  JLI is getting canceled in 2 issues and I feel like I'm at a high school party where we just found out the parents are going to be home in a couple hours, so things are being straightened up the best they can and nobody wants to admit the party wasn't that great anyway so why am I cleaning someone John's house if you know what I mean.  I have seen DC's new 4 and am not dying to get any of them, so I'm wondering what else will be shut down (probably going to be a couple on my pull list, I like a couple unpopular comics) and am kinda sorta maybe hoping that nothing too new and exciting comes out so I can save some money.

Red Lanterns was a Stormwatch story that was better than the Stormwatch story, although Stormwatch had a great ending and made me like Apollo even more.  Midnighter still interests me, but he's being played up as a vicious killer, which I didn't get when he was first introduced.  I am not sure I'm supposed to understand Jenny Quantum's powers, but I don't, and think that in one panel she solved what took and entire comic to build, which may be a creative mistake.  I still like Stormwatch a ton.  It's my favorite team book in the DC Universe by quite a bit.

Thief of Thieves... umm, I haven't read it.  I've bagged it and put it away, but I need to reread issues 1-4 first.  That will come next weekend when school is out.  Uncanny X-Men is another title that needs AvX to get the hell out of the way so I can have a cool X-Men story.  Unit is going to mess stuff up, and I like it.  I just wish that we could get to it.

And lastly, Ultimate Spider-Man.  Fantastic.  I'd say amazing, but then that would be the amazing ultimate Spider-Man, which would be confusing.  People on the message boards were excited about the Aunt May sighting at the end.  I'm more interested in what Miles is going to do about his own parents and being blackmailed.  There has to be a showdown soon.  Issue 12's cover looks like a Prowler/Miles fight, and issue 13 has Captain America reaching down to help Miles up, so I'm looking forward to them greatly.  Every week when I see the title, it's the one that excites me the most.  I'm a fan.  It's not better than Amazing, but it's as good, and Amazing has been fantastic.

On the other hand....  These either are on my list that I have been collecting and dropped or am close to buying, just haven't gotten to it yet:

Action #10, Detective #10, Defenders #7, World's Finest #2. Invincible Iron Man #518, Journey Into Mystery #639, and X-Factor #237.

Action and Detective just bored me.  I tried.  I wanted to like the flagship titles of the DCU, and I didn't.  I can't justify the $3.99 price tag for something I'm not really liking.  World's Finest. . . I didn't buy the first issue until last week when it was restocked at the store.  It was an impulse buy.  I didn't love it, didn't hate it, but when it came time to buy this one, I just didn't care enough.

I want to buy an Iron Man book, but it seems to be in the middle of a pretty major storyline right now, so I'll wait.  I've read in many places that X-Factor is good, but I think I'll wait until AvX shuts down.

Journey In To Mystery - Every review tells me how awesome this is.  My excuse last month was the whole tie in with. . . umm, New Mutants?  I forget.  But that's over.  I should pick it up.  Maybe soon.

Big week.  Next week looks cool as well, with Spider-Man and Ends of the Earth, Batman AND Batman and Robin (hopefully finishing off those owls, who are sucking the joy out of the Bat-verse), Demon Knights, and ooh, The Shade and (woohoo) Spider-Men, which better be awesome.  I have faith, Bendis does Spider-Man right.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Spider-Man Annual #39

This is why I don't buy annuals.  It was a mediocre and fine story.  It was a long story, and it was only $3.99.  However. . .

It added nothing. It's a Grady Scraps story (the best kind of story), and it's shallow and empty and just didn't add anything.  I guess I'm right at the grand finale of Ends of the Earth and all of a sudden instead of Doc Ock and Spidery saving the world, you've got Peter and Uncle Ben and completely non-threatening time distortion. . .

I'd have rather re-read ASM 678 and 679.  Which I'm going to do right after this post.

It's a C- story with C- art and I guess my real problem with it is the timing of it, which is an F.

Grade: D.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

All Star Western 1-9

When I asked the guy at the comic store what was good, one of the first things he recommended was All Star Western.  That surprised me, because that was probably at the bottom of my list of ideas.  Batman, Spider-Man, Justice League, that kind of thing, were what I was looking for.

His advice was excellent.  It was a remarkable change from what I'd expected in comics and in the thirty minutes it took me to read it changed what I was looking for in comics.

I had no idea this was going to be a buddy book.  It should be.  The dichotomy between Arkham and Jonah is played off perfectly.  It's taken a bit of a dip in New Orleans as Cinnamon and Nighthawk add absolutely completely nothing, but Hex and their plan to bring down the August 7 is pretty cool.

There is one thing that is keeping this from being an A.  It's a $4 book that has awful backups instead of $4 worth of Jonah Hex and Arkham.  The backups have been terrible (although the Barbary Ghost was ok, I'd give it a D+), but the others have been low quality and dumb.  I'd rather pay $3 and not be stuck with 8 pages of crap at the end.  It's too bad.  Issue 1, I couldn't believe how much story there was - it was the best first issue DC printed.  The rest have seemed short (although the story moves along much faster here than in other books, Gray and Palmiotti have succeeded there.  I wish they had the full set of pages to give me more All Star Western.

All Star Western 1-9 - Grade:  Hex/Arkham = A,  Backups = D-, Final Grade:  B+.

Batman Annual #1 (and 1-9)

Batman has been one of the top 5 books of the New 52 without question in my mind.  It and Batman and Robin I have found to be light years ahead of the other Bat-books.  The Night of the Owls needs to end and probably didn't need 85 crossovers (of which I read all, and actually liked most of them and was glad to get exposed to the new Bat-Universe), but I'm about done with it as it no longer seems like much of a threat as all the Talons pretty much got their butts kicked.

Batman 1-9: Grade = A.

Batman Annual:  I never know what to expect with annuals.  In the past I've usually been disappointed by them, expecting more and better and frequently getting five times the fluff for twice the price.  Not this one.  Straight up a Mr. Freeze book, this book is awesome from start to finish.  The back story of Freeze is creepy and sad, his current motivations are even creepier, and he is extraordinarily powerful, weird, and a bit scary.  He's turned into a fantastic villain, which makes me happy, since my only memories of him are from the old TV show and whichever Bat-movie he was in.

This is only the second time I've read him.  The first was in Red Hood, and it was good, but this was over the top awesome.  I guess I don't like that at the end he's going to be back in Arkham and not on the loose, because I think he could be a fun villain to have around (unlike the Penguin, who has sucked in the other Bat-book he's in).  I'm setting the bar here for the grade for this because I hate doing this right off the bat, but this book is that outstanding.

Batman Annual 1: Grade = A+

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Image/Darkhorse/Other titles

The best part about my newly re-found comic enthusiasm is all of the smaller titles that I'm enjoying.  I'm trying a ton of titles, dropping many after one or two issues (money is a factor), but always looking for new writers, or old writers getting to write something away from the mainstream.

Brilliant - Slow moving, apparently there's only going to be a few issues of this, so whatever is going to happen better happen pretty quickly.
Dungeons and Dragons - A fantastic first 15 issues.  Just fantastic.  And then. . . it stopped, and was a weird Infestation tie-in, and now an Ed Greenwood vehicle, and I'm not going to pay for Ed Greenwood's writing.  I'm just not.
Fatale - Awesome.  I have no idea what's going to happen, but I'm liking every page of every issue.
Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist - I liked the first two issues more than the last two.  I hope it regains its stride.
Merciless - Only one issue so far in the story of young Ming, and it was excellent.
Invincible - One of my happiest finds.  The hard part is going to be affording the money to go back and get all the old trades leading up to the current issues.
Kirby: Captain Victory - I've liked this so far.  I had no idea what to expect.
Kirby: Dragonsbane - I really did not care for the first couple issues and will probably drop this title.
Kirby: Genesis - I missed the first few and only got on board issue 5.  I like it, but it's too broad in scope and creating a very irregularly paced story.
Kirby: Silver Star - My favorite Kirby title.  The art has a watercolor painting feel to it.  A strange story about a person that is too powerful for his own good it seems.
Lord of the Jungle - Love the Francavilla covers, hated the annual, losing interest in the story.  I might keep buying if I can get the Francavilla covers, but that's it.
Manhattan Projects - Absurd, surreal, weird, and fantastic.  The art takes some getting used to and puts it in a different direction than if it were more realistically drawn.
Saga - Finally got the first issue (4th printing.  Better than Fatale, where I couldn't get it until the 5th).  Awesome story.  I have issues 2 and 3 already bagged, now I finally get to read them.
Saucer Country - I can't tell if this is supposed to be social commentary or not.  I hope not - I don't like to be fooled and the story is too good to have some deeper meaning.
Secret - I'm getting my secrets confused.
Secret History of D.B. Cooper - Weird and fun.  I can't wait for the next issue.
Secret Service - I get this confused with Secret and am going to have to reread both of them.
Smoke and Mirrors - Issue three I think took a step backwards (a bit too much flashback), but a cool book.
Super Crooks - I find it formulaic, but so well done (and surprisingly violent) that I've liked it anyway.
Thief of Thieves - I can't wait to re-read this.  I really have enjoyed it so far.

I may be missing a couple things, but this is a pretty good list.  A couple of the retro titles are in danger, but holy crap are there some cool stories in these.

Marvel Titles I'm collecting

When I collected comics as a kid, I was a Marvel first kind of guy.  When I started again, I looked at the comic shop and saw Spidey battling the Vulture and I thought, this is the same story as 25 years ago.  No thanks, I'll just go DC.

Then I saw Ultimate Spider-Man with Miles Morales and I was sold.  However, I am not collecting a wide range of Marvel titles.  I get X-manned out pretty easily, and none of the Avengers books are that interesting to me.  I've never been a Fantastic Four reader, and while I've looked at both FF and Fantastic Four, neither has appealed to me very much.  The Defenders was going to be my group book, but damn did I hate it.  This is what I'm buying:

Avengers Academy - It's a bit goofy and really sidetracked with AvX, but I'm enjoying it for the time being.
Daredevil - So good it hurts.  Can't wait each month for this title.
Hulk - A year ago I had no idea there was a red hulk.  I like it.
Incredible Hulk - Just starting this.
Amazing Spider-Man - Still my favorite comic book ever.  It's great every time.
Avenging Spider-Man - Can be fantastic (with the Red Hulk) or terrible (Hawkeye).  It's still fun no matter what.
Ultimate Spider-Man - Almost enough to sell me on the Ultimate Universe.  If I weren't fully committed financially to what I'm getting, I'd switch over.
Uncanny X-Men - Another title derailed by AvX (which has mostly sucked), but has been pretty cool so far.
Wolverine and the X-Men - It took me 4 issues to accept the art, another two to get the tone, and now it's a highlight.

That's a pretty light list for being a Marvel fanboy.  I'm sure nobody reads this, but what other titles out there are great?

Titles I've put down - Uncanny X-Force (the art is consistently not to my liking), Defenders (love the characters, hated the stories), Winter Soldier (completely un-fun), Secret Avengers (bland and made me bored by characters I thought I liked, except Hawkeye, who I have always hated), and FF and Fantastic Four (I feel like I'm intruding halfway through a 17 hour play and will have to work too hard to get caught up).

I'm reading Avengers Vs. X-Men, but last week I didn't buy all the tie-ins and I might be in that boat from here on out.  I feel like I'm reading the same kinda boring story over and over again - although it could really be picking up.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Comics and a change in direction

I could start a new blog, but I think I'll just keep this one and have it be my review blog of the things I read.  My D&D game fell apart (some of it my fault, some of it others), and now I'm a homebody that has time for WoW and reading.

I've also restarted reading comics with DC coming out with the new 52.  I was never a DC reader other than by accident, so I was excited to dive into something new.  I took a shotgun approach and bought some of everything.  I still am collecting way too many books (how did it get this big this fast?), but I'm enjoying most of them and am going to start whittling away at them as we get to issue 10.

These are the DC comics I've been collecting with a brief comment:

All Star Western - I'm still not sold on the art, but it fits the mood very well, even if it sometimes seems someone unfinished.
Animal Man - Another that I wasn't sure about, but I'm enjoying the Swamp Thing crossover storyline.  A couple fantastic issues so far.
Aquaman - I enjoy the new take, but these next three months will determine whether or not I keep it.
Batman - A great title and what Batman should be.
The Dark Knight - Not a great title and I'd have to re-read it to even describe it. 
Detective - Pretty disappointing so far.
Batman and Robin - I knew nothing of the new Robin.  I'm starting to warm up to him.  Very good so far.
Batwoman - The art the first six issues was unlike anything I'd seen in a comic.  It's in a lull right now and sadly has taken a huge turn for the worse.
Blue Beetle - I knew nothing of this character.  He's been entertaining so far.
Captain Atom - I'm completely 100% loving this book.  Worried about its future.
Demon Knights - It took me a couple reads to get into it, but I'm finding this pretty interesting.
The Flash - Innovative blend of art and storytelling keeps it worth buying, but the stories are nothing special.
Grifter - I'm trying to keep the faith but I didn't buy issue 9 and there have been a couple real stinkers of issues put out there.
Justice League - Fantastic huge explosion of a comic that is stunningly boring.  I've dropped it.
Justice League Dark - I liked the first story, hated the vampire tie ins, but have heard issue 9 is great.  We'll see.  Hanging in by a thread.
Justice League International - Went from lighthearted to "holy shit what just happened" in a heartbeat.  I'm really enjoying it.
Resurrection Man - This feels like a fantastic '80s action adventure movie.  I hated some of the early covers, but digging the run.
Stormwatch - Maybe my favorite title.  The Midnighter/Jenny storyline while rescuing Apollo was one of the most fantastic scenes I've read.
Action Comics - I'm just not a Superman guy.  I'm buying it because I like the stories, but I don't like Superman stories as a rule.
Swamp Thing - I think this is weaker than Animal Man, but good enough to keep getting.
Wonder Woman - So different than what I expected.  I think it's picking up, too.


Thunder Agents (1-6) - I liked the book, but I had a hard time remembering what happened from month to month.  With no history, I found it very confusing.  I have to re-read it.
The Ray (1-4) - A pretty stupid master villain, but I liked the character and hope he shows up in a group book somewhere.
Mr. Terrific (1-8) - Got canceled for good reason.  Poor stories and I hated the art.  I kept wanting to like it, but only bought the last three issues so I'd have the whole run.
The Shade (1-8 so far, 12 total) - Insanely awesome.  This is a must read.


The second wave

Dial H - China Mievelle is undoubtedly brilliant.  First issue of Dial H?  Intriguing and weird.  Very Mieville.
Earth 2 - I'm only buying one issue of this.
Batman Inc - I'm told I'm going to love this.  If I start buying it, probably going to dump The Dark Knight and Detective which have both been letdowns.