So many comics came out last week I’ve barely been able to crack the surface, so expect more reviews next week. I’m also going to start moving my capsule reviews to another day, just because, though I expect there won’t be much in the way of complaints there. But here we are for this week’s new and noteworthy titles.
- BATMAN INCORPORATED #1 – This falls under noteworthy, as it’s Grant Morrison’s return to Batman to wrap up everything from his run. It sure would be nice to read this, but I just can’t bring myself to.
- COMIC BOOK HISTORY OF COMICS GN – youngI’ve only read the first and last issues of Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey’s history of comics, but it’s really amazing. If you’ve enjoyed Action Philosophers, it tackles the subject in a very similar manner and style. And if you were inclined to explain the history of comics with someone, what better way than with a comic? Very highly recommended.
- FANTASTIC FOUR #606
- GODZILLA ONGOING #1 – I’m still pretty bitter about the way IDW allowed Kingdom of Monsters to wrap up and the uneven quality of Legends. I’m going to have to give this one the flip test before Idecide to pay good money on Godzilla again.
- HULK #52 – I’m still pretty far behind on Parker’s Hulk because of a few missing issues, but the plan is to stay on through the Mayan story arc. Because, that’s why!
- PROPHET #25 – Prophet is a pretty novel branch of the Extreme wing, but it’s really losing me. It’s weirdness is just too vague after all this time. I think I’m going to hop off after this arc.
- YOUNGBLOOD #71 – The last of The Rob’s Extreme relaunch is here at last. I expect this to last one or two issues before getting dropped again, just like volume 2, Bloodsport, Genesis, and Imperial. For real.
That’s it for this week. What looks good to you?
A new year, a new batch of comics, but at least they’re still shipping on time! (That’s tomorrow, kids.) Expect more mainstream titles to appear now that my experiment is over, but I’m still putting a halt to $4 books not released by independent publishers. Marvel and DC should know better. That out of the way, here are this week’s new and noteworth titles.
- AVENGERS ANNUAL #1
- AVENGERS X-SANCTION #2 (OF 4) - The event sucker in me is all over this even as the fiscally responsible side doesn’t care. This is one I won’t pick up this week but will wait until I can find cheaper.
- GODZILLA LEGENDS #3 (OF 5) - I’ve spoken somewhat in depth about this title, and how it’s essentially horrible but still finds certain redeeming qualities. Still, I’m over it unless there’s an absolutely insane cover.
- GOON #37
- HULK #47 - Hello, Jeff Parker!
- PUNISHER #7 - I should be caught up on Rucka’s Punisher very soon, and I’m looking forward to continuing the run in real time. I never thought I would say that about a non-Ennis Punisher.
- THUNDERBOLTS #168 - See also HULK #47.
- UNCANNY X-FORCE #19.1 - I’m about 8 issues behind on UXF, but these .1 issues are supposed to be good jumping-on points for titles, right? In I jump, and it will determine whether or not I stay on the…trampoline? What a weird metaphor.
- VILLAINS FOR HIRE #2 (OF 4)
That’s it for this week. What looks good to you?
A VERY interesting batch of comics this week. Here are the noteworthy titles coming out on Wednesday.
- COMIC BOOK COMICS #6 (OF 6) - I wouldn’t have given this a second thought, but Comics Alliance mentioned this title the other day, by Action Philosophers team Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavy. So, despite it being the last issue of a miniseries I’m going to snag it.
- FANTASTIC FOUR #600 - And the original name and numbering of the FF’s title returns, as we all knew it would, to live alongside FF.
- GODZILLA KINGDOM OF MONSTERS #9 - This is make or break time for KoM, as diminishing returns move this from a must-read to a thing I’ve been reading. Make this a good one, IDW.
- INFINITE #4 - The Rob.
- MILK & CHEESE DAIRY PRODUCTS GONE BAD HC - Milk and Cheese — Evan Dorkin’s series about dairy products gone bad — was very much a product of it’s time. But that’s not to say there’s not some high-quality laffs in with all that mayhem. And now all the strips are collected in one hardcover! While I don’t recommend reading more than 2-3 at once (the gags tend to get repetitive), I do recommend this book.
- POGO COMP SYNDICATED STRIPS HC VOL 01 - I’ve been looking forward to Fantagraphics’ kickoff of Walt Kelly’s Pogo run for quite some time. They do such a great job with their other collections I expect nothing less than greatness here.
- SECRET AVENGERS #19
- TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES ULT COLL HC VOL 01 - For $50 I doubt I’ll pick this up immediately, but if you’ve been looking for an Absolute edition of the original TMNT run, this is the book for you. I admit, I have been…
- WOLVERINE AND X-MEN #2 - By all accounts Jason Aaron’s new X-Title has been a revelation. Onto the pull list it goes.
It’s been remarkably difficult to sort out my feelings on Godzilla Legends #1. To a certain extent it feels like a cash-in. Without big-name creators like Eric Powell or John Layman, it seems a bit like a try-out book. We’re dumped in the middle of the story without any clue as to who the (human) characters are, what they do, or what this “G” logo everywhere is. In fact, writers Matt Frank and Jeff Prezenkowski spends more time establishing Anguirus as the Hank Pym of kaiju than anything else. Frank’s artwork is fine, but somewhat inconsistent in his depictions.
And yet…there are some really strong moments that won’t let me dismiss the book. I mean, the underdog thing really works for me, as they set up Anguirus as a monster who’s never won a battle and yet still fights as hard as he can. And for Frank’s lack of polish, there are some really nice layouts and panels that really make me see his vision. While I’m not sure how long I’ll want to stick with this one, there’s real potential here, and since Kingdom of Monsters is drifting somewhat aimlessly it’s nice to get a series of done-in-one stories.
But no matter what you think of the points I’ve made so far, this is indisputable:
Art Adams’ cover is INSANE.
Apparently proving that I’ll give anything recommended by Chris Sims a shot, I picked up Mudman #1. Paul Grist’s work on Kane and Jack Staff never really clicked for me, but I wanted to give his work another shot. Mudman seems to be more in the Grist style. That is, good, cartoony art and a somewhat scattered story. Like the protagonist, I spent most of the issues somewhat confused. And whether it was intentional or incidental the drifting between the real action and hallucination/dreaming wasn’t differentiated enough. I’ll give it another issue to decide for sure, but if you like Grist’s past work there’s no reason this will let you down.
That’s it for this week and I’ve updated my running pull list. What are YOU looking at?
Not a whole lot noteworthy this week, but let’s take a look at what is.
- ATOMIC ROBO GHOST OF STATION X #3 (OF 6) - When your main character is in the title of the book (and it’s only issue #2), you KNOW nothing’s going to happen to him. And yet when I read the first pages of Atomic Robo GoSX #2 it felt like a punch to the gut, that’s how good Brian Clevenger and Scott Wegener are. Pick of the week, kids.
- AVENGERS #19
- FEAR ITSELF #7 POINT THREE - Ah. Point Three now. There you go.
- GLADSTONES SCHOOL FOR WORLD CONQUERORS TP VOL 01 - Unlike so many of Image’s new titles, which mistake aimlessness for mystery, Gladstone’s does it right. Now’s your chance to get caught up on an incredibly well thought-out all-ages title that keeps unravelling an legitimately intriguing mystery. Imagine Wanted with a sense of fun (and without wanting to punch Mark Millar in the face for that last page).
- GODZILLA LEGENDS #1 (OF 5) - With Gangsters and Goliaths wrapped up and Kingdom of Monsters losing almost all of it’s steam, this is IDW’s last chance to keep me on board for a while.
- PUNISHER #5
- THUNDERBOLTS #165
- VENOM #9
With Matt’s recommendation, a healthy dollop of curiosity, and a big chunk of books found for 50 cents each, I’m well into IDW’s Cobra Civil War, having read the first 3-4 issues of GI Joe, Cobra, and Snake Eyes. Each has it’s own set of pluses, as Cobra tells the main story of Cobra candidates vying for the position of Commander by trying to rack up the highest Joe body count, The GI Joe title showing the ramifications of that, and as expected, Snake Eyes’ side mission.
And while each book has it’s own strengths, Snake Eyes is the strongest title for me iwth Chuck Dixon’s strong writing and the best art of the bunch by Robert Atkins. Color me surprised, but this is the first Joe series I’ve picked up that hasn’t crossed over with Transformers, and I’m really digging it, enough to go back and pick up another couple dozen IDW issues (all for 50 cents!). I’m definitely digging these.
Wow, that’s a lot of IDW books! They’re becoming quite the powerhouse. My running pull list has been updated, that’s it for me. What are YOU looking at?
- FEAR ITSELF #7 POINT ONE - Err…I thought the Point One issues were jumping-on points for new readers. Isn’t Fear Itself over?
- GOON #36 - Always a solid read, last month’s issue (written by Evan Dorkin) was more hilarious that usual. I hope they get the band back together soon.
- HULK #44 - I recently finished reading the first year or so of Jeff Parker’s Hulk and it’s everything you could possibly want. Namely, the Hulk beating the tar out of Marvel’s classic giant monsters. Highly recommended if you enjoy big things hitting other big things without taking itself too seriously.
- INFINITE VACATION #3 (OF 5) - I really enjoyed the first couple issues of Infinite Vacation, a sci-fi tale of hopping bodies with other-dimensional yous, but then…It dropped off the face of the Earth. I’m really glad it’s shown up again, and looking forward to seeing where Nick Spencer and Christian Ward take us.
- LAST OF THE GREATS #2 - With the grand experiment in full effect, I’ve picked up more Image and indie titles with strong covers that I’d ordinarily buy. Last of the Greats had an amazing cover by Brent Peeples, but unfortunately the story by Joshua Fialkov was a somewhat generic tale of humanity’s betrayal of 7 godlike aliens and their attempts to get the last of them to save us from another attack. Oh, and the “Great” is a huge dick.* The interior art by Peeples was passable, but stilted and not very dynamic. I’ll not be picking up the rest of this series, beautiful covers or no.
- PEANUTS #0
- ROGER LANGRIDGES SNARKED #2 - Roger Langridge’s new Alice in Wonderland-style book has impressed both of us, with Matt’s tolerance for the poetry a bit higher than mine. This is an all-ages title that is truly for all ages, and the jokes don’t stop with the dialogue, as Langridge crams each panel full of jokes. Highly recommended.
- STRANGE TALENT OF LUTHER STRODE #2 (OF 6) - Much like Last of the Greats, Luther Strode is another title I picked up solely on the basis on a strong cover and an intriguing blurb on the Bullpen Bulletins (or whatever thing they’re calling it) on that month’s Image Comics. Unlike LotG, I enjoyed this book a lot. Luthor Strode sends away for a Charles Atlas-style bodybuilding kit and is turned into a huge punching machine. While there are enough internal organs and splatter effects to fill a Mark Millar comic, I felt there was enough heart in the story to get me to come back and see how it turns out. Recommended with reservations, as it could turn either way.
Rick Veitch is an enormously talented comic creator, both as a writer and an artist. When I saw The Big Lie in the aforementioned Bullpen Bulletins, I thought it had a solid chance of being a good read and expected something like Brought to Light, by his frequent collaborator Alan Moore. Big Lie concerns Sandra Mansfield, who travels back to September 11, 2001 in an attempt to rescue her husband Carl from the World Trade Center before it collapses. Armed with her trusty iPad full of evidence, she sets out to provide enough proof to convince him to evacuate.
In itself, great idea. In practice, it’s a mess. Veitch spends too much time establishing the pseudoscience for how time travel works, when we all know it’s just a plot device to cram in all of the evidence he wants to tell us that 9/11 was an inside job. Once he gets to that, all we get is a bunch of rushed strawman arguments and proof that the Carl is such a huge douche** that I find it hard to believe she would cross the street to save this asshole’s life, much less invent time travel to do so.
In the end, the only people who would buy this book have heard this argument already, told better. You may be tempted to check this one out, but it’s a book better suited for laying down and avoiding.
Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters started off really strong with just it’s premise: Godzilla and a bunch of monsters are going to pound the stuffing out of each other. And it started like that, but then it turned into The Walking Dead, where the monsters are just the backdrop for telling the survivors’ tales. Which is fine, just not what I picked up the book for. Phil Hester stopped doing the art with issue 4, Eric Powell and Tracy Marsh are leaving, and there’s no third act anywhere in sight. Truly, it’s all middle, which is okay, but we still need story arcs with beginnings and endings. KoM feels like it’s meandering along, and I’ll pick up the next issue to see what the next writer can do with it, but everything that got me hooked is now gone and unless something changes I will be, too.
Apparently I’ve had a lot to say this week! My ongoing pull list is still a thing, and going well. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @LEMURComics (Hi Larry!). What are YOU looking at this week?
*Seriously, I can’t believe that this is the only new take anyone’s had on Superman in 20 years, since The Rob created Supreme in 1992.
**She’s 10 years older and he doesn’t recognize her at all. Sorry, 10 years doesn’t add THAT much baggage to your face.
The New 52 continues full-bore this week, as Marvel finally wraps up Fear Itself and releases a questionable X-Men book. Here’s this week’s noteworthy titles.
- ATOMIC ROBO GHOST OF STATION X #2 (OF 6) - I think Atomic Robo is my favorite title coming out right now, by anybody anywhere. It’s fun, beautiful, and comes out regularly. Plus, Ghost of Station X happens in the present! Comics can be fun and this book proves it. Add it to your pull list now, thank me later.
- AVENGERS #18
- BATMAN ODYSSEY VOL 2 #1 (OF 7) - I’m curious what’s going on with this one. The last issue of Odyssey came out months ago, so did DC decide to relaunch the rest of it as a volume 2? Either way, pass on this book. I’ve read one through six and it’s pretty, but a violent mess. Neal Adams is still an incredibly strong artist but he seems to be taking pointers on writing from The Worst of Frank Miller’s Batman (TM).
- FEAR ITSELF #7 (OF 7) - By all accounts this has been the best event title Marvel has put out in quite some time. I’m looking forward to reading it, but they’ve been doing a good job of selling out, making my plan to pick them up on the cheap pretty difficult.
- GODZILLA GANGSTERS & GOLIATHS #5 (OF 5) - I’ve considered this the poor man’s IDW Godzilla title, but John Layman does a pretty good job here. Not the premier Godzilla title of our day, but worth reading if you’re jonesing.
- HULK #43
- SUPERIOR #6 (OF 6)
- WOLVERINE #17
- X-MEN #1 20TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION - I’m really, really curious what’s going on with this one. The cynic in me thinks it’s Marvel showing DC that they can put out a book with Jim Lee art, too, but it seems strange they’d pick a book you can find in any quarter bin in America. Hopefully they’ll be justifying the re-release with some solid additional material, but the necessity of this one confuses me. (A quick search shows, at the very least it’ll be recolored.)
Well, that’s it for this week. What are YOU looking at?
Another light week this time around. Here’s what I’m looking at this week.
- ACTION COMICS #902
- ROCKETEER ADVENTURES #2 (OF 4) - The first issue of the new Rocketeer anthology was a breath of fresh air, with a remarkable opening story from John Cassaday (always a treat to see his art) and a solid tale by Mike Allred. I’ll be anxiously keeping up with this one.
- SECRET AVENGERS #14 - Secret Avengers stays on the list solely because of Matt’s recent thumbs up. I recently caught up with issues 1-11 (expect a review soon a la yesterday’s) and found it better put-together than New Avengers, but somewhat lacking. I’ll give the next story arc a shot before dropping it, though.
- WOLVERINE #11 - Wolverine, though…Well, I love Wolverine…
- X-MEN AGE OF X HC - Is Age of X over already? I remember when I heard about the Age of Apocalypse 15 years ago you could have knocked me over with a feather. Now Marvel does it again and it hardly makes any news at all. I blame the 90 OTHER X-Titles out there diluting the brand.
Fortunately, I’ve gotten to read some other new comics over the past couple weeks.
Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors #2 hit the stands last week and continues to bowl me over. I’m not even going to call it an all-ages title anymore, that’s how solid it is. We start off with the book’s strongest scene, a look at the different classes our villains-in-training have to attend, a nice mix of Harry Potter swirled with villainy, then cut to a pretty expansive fight scene where we learn a bit more about the villain’s code, a nice angle in a title where it has to make sense that villains are more organized than you’d expense. Another outstanding issue by Smith and Villavert.
I didn’t mean to pick it up, but because it was a light week I did grab IDW’s new Godzilla title, Gangsters and Goliaths. Set in a different continuity than the Kingdom of Monsters title Eric Powell is writing, in this book Godzilla and the gang on Monster Island are already well-known. When a team of gangsters winds up on Monster Island, mayhem ensues. I don’t feel like this is as strong as KoM, but if you’re jonesing for a Godzilla book, G&G is a solid read.
Frank Cho is one of the most amazing talents in comic books, and every time he works on a title –no kidding — I feel like the industry is lucky to have him. That said, there are certain bad habits he tends to rely on. Now, Frank can work on whatever makes him happy (a la Jim Balent on Tarot) and his art is so spectacular that it usually makes up for any perceived definiciencies in the story, but 50 Girls 50 #1 is built around one cheeky idea (hot girls in space wind up having their spacesuits slowly dissolve) and doesn’t have his artwork backing it up*. So, as far as I’m concerned there’s not much worth sticking around for.
That’s it for me. What are YOU looking at?
*There were a couple pages at the end it looked like he worked on, but I could be willing myself to see that.
There’s a great mix of material this week! Here’s what I’m looking at.
- 100 PENNY PRESS JOHN BYRNE NEXT MEN #1 - This is the last series when I REALLY remember liking John Byrne’s art. Or at least, his inking.
- AVENGERS #14
- BATMAN #711
- GLADSTONES SCHOOL FOR WORLD CONQUERORS #2 - I only picked up the first issue on whim, but I’m so glad I did. Good, fun, all-ages fare that doesn’t seem to be an audition for a toy line or an affront to adult sensibilities. Give this one a try.
- GODZILLA GANGSTERS & GOLIATHS #1 (OF 5) - As much as I’ve been loving IDW’s Kingdom of Monsters series, this one seems to much of a novelty book.
- HULK #35 - I’m only an issue away from being able to dive into Jeff Parker’s run. I did just finish a big chunk of the Loeb/McGuinness run and — God help me — I loved it.
- KIRBY GENESIS #1 - If you’re looking for a good “love letter to Jack Kirby” you’re better served digging up Rob Liefeld’s (okay, okay…Alan Moore’s) Supreme. This is just a mess of ideas that don’t seem fully formed. On the plus side, I got to find that out through a one dollar preview issue.
That’s it for me. What are YOU looking at?
A good batch of comics this week. Here’s what I’m looking at.
- 50 GIRLS 50 #1 (OF 4) - Only for Frank Cho. Only for Frank Cho…
- ACTION COMICS #901
- ASTONISHING SPIDER-MAN WOLVERINE #6 (OF 6) - I’m missing one issue from being able to dive into this. I imagine Jason Aaron’s Spider-Man is awesome, because his Wolverine is.
- BATMAN BEYOND #6 - I’m caught up through BB #4 and enjoying this as much as I did the mini. Starting off the ongoing with a Justice League appearance was a good call in establishing Terry’s place in the DCU.
- DETECTIVE COMICS #877
- FEAR ITSELF #3 (OF 7)
- FF #4
- FLASHPOINT #2
- GODZILLA KINGDOM OF MONSTERS #3- This title is everything I could possible want from a Godzilla book. The monsters are emerging and they’re not going to let humans stand between them and…well, doing whatever they want. The highlight of issue #2 was Anguirus turning into a spiky ball and rolling through the countryside. In this issue the monsters get named for dubious reasons, but at least we’re getting them named. The political commentary is boring me, but the story is still progressing nicely.
- GREEN LANTERN #66
- GREEN LANTERN CORPS #60
- GREEN LANTERN EMERALD WARRIORS #10
- HERC #4
- HEROES FOR HIRE #8
- HULK #34
- KIRBY GENESIS #0 - “Even better than seeing Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross team up again is seeing them doing it with Jack Kirby’s characters. I’m really looking forward to this.” I wrote that last week, then I read the book. The creators are top-notch, but these are a hodge-podge of Kirby characters you’ve never heard of and don’t care about. I’m also tiring of the Kirby homages. To really honor the man, create a new universe from scratch, don’t recycle his. And yes, Ross and Busiek have both done this, so it’s a somewhat inconsequential exercise.
- SECRET AVENGERS #13
- SUPER DINOSAUR #2 - This is the only book on the list I’m not picking up. Issue #1 and the FCBD Orign Special were fine and all, but seemed to be a bit more dumbed down that necessary, even for an “all-ages” book. In fact, it reads more like a pilot for Cartoon Network’s Saturday programming than anything else.
- THUNDERBOLTS #158
- UNCANNY X-FORCE #11
- VENOM #3
- WOLVERINE #9
Unlike Super Dinosaur, Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors is an all-ages book done right. I picked it up on a whim, but I’m glad I did. The story is fun and uncomplicated, but not in a way that makes it a burden for a grown-ass man to read. Mark A. Smith’s story is not overly-complicated, but also not dumbed down. That is, just right. Armand Villavert’s art is stylized a la Mike Oeming, and he creates more cool, unique throwoff characters in the background than we could hope for. This book is a treat, and the secret behind Gladstone and the school leaves enough mystery to leave me
eager to find out where it goes next.
That’s it for this week. What are YOU looking at?