Comics on Wednesday, even on a holiday week. How sweet it is! Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. Wish everyone a Happy New Year.
AMERICAN VAMPIRE #22 – Andy hooked you up with a highlight on Monday. I was looking forward to it myself and it did not disappoint. Great jumping on point. There was only one character in the issue who we had seen before. Takes place in Glendale, California, 1954. Travis Kidd (think James Dean) is a 19-year-old vampire huntin’ hot-rodder. It was cool. It was rock ‘n’roll. It was just great. And really is a must read. Read it up!
ANGEL & FAITH #5 – A one-shot featuring Harmony! Who I think is great. She’s hilarious. Always been a fan. And the depiction was perfect. Harmony is getting blackmailed and turns to Angel for help. And I will repeat: one of the best things about Season Nine of both Buffy and Angel is how easily accessible they are. Don’t think it matters if you’ve seen the TV shows or if you’ve read Season Eight. Think you will still enjoy. They’re just good comics.
DMZ #72 – The last issue. An epilogue issue. First page said 15 years later. Text was all excerpts from a book Matty wrote, laid over a tourist visiting different sites in the DMZ. Ended so well. The previous issue was great, it tied up the plots. This issue tied up the emotions. The creators wrote snippets in the back. Been a fantastic six-year journey and I appreciated the ride. Read the trades!
I VAMPIRE #4 – Nominated over SUPERMAN #4, GREEN LANTERN NEW GUARDIANS #4, and VOODOO #4. But let’s talk Voodoo and the DC All Access page! First off, the Voodoo intro says, "Sent here on a mission to gather information on Earth’s heroes." And that’s what she did this issue. Broke into a government facility to download information on Superman and other heroes. Second, the All Access page says, "Check out next month’s Stormwatch, in which a devastating explosion will echo in upcoming issues of both Grifter and Superman as a major new (yet somehow familiar) threat will be introduced." So what does that mean. My guess? The Daemonites are gonna invade. And that’s your DC summer crossover!
KICK-ASS 2 #6 (OF 7) – Hit girl! Hit girl! Hit girl! Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Love how she talks to Kick-Ass. Love how she talks in general. Wish I could give you some quotes but she has a very filthy mouth.
MIGHTY THOR #9 – I really thought I would hate this Thor arc. Thor did die. Some clown named Tanarus did take his place. Plus, no Olivier Coipel. So… BOOOOO! But I do like it. Mainly because it’s not about Tanarus. We know that’s Ulik the Troll pretending to be Thor. Told us that last issue. Told us this issue that it’s all a plot by the Norn Queen to usurp the Asgardian throne. Plus, Thor is still around, Little Loki is involved and the All-Mother shot a wicked two pronged magic arrow right into a frost giant’s eyes and blew his head off!
SECRET AVENGERS #20 – Hah! Warren. My man! He put a little effort into this one! A massively involved, fast paced, action packed, time travel story! Steve Rogers, Sharon Carter and War Machine died at the beginning. The Black Widow goes on an 18-week, two-day, nine hour and three minute time travel odyssey to save the Secret Avengers! Great use of captions. Zero minus thirty years. Zero minus four years. Had me flipping pages back and forth. It was awesome. Even threw in some ’60s comic strip pages. Gotta love Kongo. Thanks for the effort, Warren!
ULTIMATE COMICS ULTIMATES #5 – The last two issues have sealed the deal on the Ultimates. Mucho props to Jonathan Hickman. He really seems to have control of this massive story he’s presenting us. The entire world is in chaos and it’s so easy to follow. And he’s doing it without any real recaps. Just people having conversations about events. Nick Fury talks to the President’s Chief of Staff about what’s going on in the world. Hawkeye briefs the Pentagon about what happened in his mini-series. Tony Stark watches the stock market collapse. Still love the huge scale aspect. The United States is now the third largest superpower on earth. But the devil’s in the details and Mr. Hickman is nailing it right now.
UNCANNY X-MEN #3 – Loved it all. Mr. Sinister. Hope. Emma. Even Danger. It was all good. Might have ended a little abruptly. But issue #4 comes out next week so more on the way!
X-MEN LEGACY #260 – Thus ends Mike Carey’s five-year run on X-Men Legacy. Enjoyed it a lot. And the Age of X was great. Rogue is my favorite character. But she was one messed up chick before Mr. Carey got his hands on her. Thank you for making her a relevant, believable, intelligent character again. Great job!
No best book column again this week. What?! Go drink some egg nog! It’s the holidays! Gotta be between Secret Avengers and American Vampire this week. We’ll let the poll sort it out tomorrow.
Feel free to sing along! We wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Good tidings to you, where ever you are. Good tidings for Christmas and a Happy New Year!
BATMAN #4 – We go deep into the Owl’s nest as Bruce recounts his first detecting caper as a young boy. He found nothing. Ended up trapped in a room for a week. Ended up comatose. Spent three weeks in the hospital recovering. Glad he didn’t die! Then we wouldn’t have this fine, fine comic to read!
BATMAN INCORPORATED LEVIATHAN STRIKES #1 – Ginormous! And awesome! Absolutely loved the Stephanie Brown issue in the front (can only assume it was supposed to be issue #9 of Batman Inc.). It was near perfect. Forgot how much I enjoyed the old Batgirl series. It was great and so was this. Nice to have Stephanie back. The rest of the issue (which was probably supposed to be issues #10,11, and 12 of Batman Inc… yes, it was that big) was the conclusion to Grant Morrison’s Leviathan story. And I must say, although I have enjoyed Action Comics in the New 52 — it’s a good book, can’t really call it a “Grant” book, it’s a little too straight forward for that — this was totally Grant being "Grant.” And once again I forgot how much I enjoy Grant being "Grant” Loved it. Didn’t necessarily follow each and every bit but loved it nonetheless! Really put a cap on the story. Really got Batwing, El Gaucho and the secondary character involved. And the ending was great. Plus, we got liner notes in the back, which gave us a sweet recap of how we got to this point. Just a great book from beginning to end.
COBRA ONGOING #8 – Pretty much an epilogue/transition issue. Cleaned up what happened after the incredible shoot-out at the end of last issue and touched on how the new Cobra Commander is going to be changing things. Looks like for the next three months all the Joe books will be part of a Cobra Command crossover. Never fear. The Cobra title will remain awesome! It already managed to retain its identity: that of a cutting edge espionage thriller, all through an eight-month crossover. It can do three months in its sleep!
FABLES #112 – Double sized and excellent! A take on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Rose Red has been selected as an Agent of Hope. She just has to decide the Hope of what? So she goes to visit the surviving three Agents of Hope. Santa Claus is up first. He’s the Hope of Justice. Loved the Reindeer page. The issue did end without any real resolution. Have to wait until next issue to find out what Rose decides. And was that Boy Blue or am I just seeing ghosts?
JUSTICE LEAGUE #4 – Aquaman! Aquaman! Aquaman! He’s no joke! Hal on the other hand. That was hilarious when he touched Wonder Woman’s lasso. The truth hurts! And Batman laughing made it even better! Maybe a little too much Cyborg but another very cool issue. I am Darkseid!
PUNISHERMAX #20 – Another down and dirty, drag out fight! Punisher vs. Elektra this time around. No idea how old man Frank is even still standing at this point. Only two more issues to go! Hold on, Frank, hold on!
RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #4 – Loved the first three issues for what they were, a fun romp. This issue I’m actually willing to say was good! No sex jokes. No immature humor. Bummer! Just two big fight sequences, which still managed to move the overall plot. Confronted the first of the Untitled. Roy put eight arrows into the back of her head. Didn’t really help. Plus Starfire seems to have lost her powers. And a title that was roundly mocked after issue #1, deservedly so, although I loved it, might, just might, we will have to see, just might have to start being taken seriously.
WOLVERINE AND X-MEN #3 – Fantastic! Thought it was as good as the first issue. Quentin Quire was great. Krakoa was great, both the explanation and him/her/it joining the team. Cap at the beginning. The double-page team spread. Daredevil suing the Hellfire club. The Department of Education flunkies. Even the art. Loved it all.
How many is that? Eight? Well, plenty more to choose from this week. Lots of good books. And in the spirit of the season let’s just help Andy out on the poll tomorrow.
DC rocked this week. NIGHTWING #4, CATWOMAN #4, BIRDS OF PREY #4 and SUPERGIRL #4 were all excellent once again. WONDER WOMAN #4 is still a you-like-it-more-than-I-do book, but it deserves to be listed. Same with DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS #4, as Deadman and the Morningstar go on a roller coaster ride full of questions without answers.
And I thought the core Marvel books were pretty solid this week. Enjoyed DAREDEVIL #7, AVENGERS #20, FANTASTIC FOUR #601 and INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #511, as I usually do. INCREDIBLE HULK #3 is starting to grow on me. Plus, I mostly understood UNCANNY X-FORCE #19 this week. Hurrah!
But if you press me for two more nominees I would have to go with INVINCIBLE #86, because A) it’s Invincible and B) watching Nolan get the crap kicked out of him and Oliver siding with Allen the Alien was pretty funny.
And amazingly enough, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #676, because A) Spider-Man wasn’t in the issue and B) watching the Sinister Six fight the Intelligencia for the entire 22 pages was pretty fun.
No Best Book column again tomorrow. It’s the holidays! I read WOLVERINE AND X-MEN #3 second (Punishermax always goes first!), and I thought it was going to win for the vast majority of the night, but BATMAN INCORPORATED LEVIATHAN STRIKES #1, which got pushed to the bottom due to its ginorminity, and I read it virtually last, is now giving me a dilemma! Hmmmm…
PS – What’s up with the lack of votes for Walking Dead #92 in the poll last week? That one vote was mine! I thought it was great. Jesus was awesome! Where’s the love?!
PPS – It’s okay, Jesus loves you!
Lots to say today so let’s get to it. Starting with the much hyped, heavily promoted AVENGERS X-SANCTION #1 (OF 4). Cable is back! And believe it or not, Cable is actually a character I have a lot of interest in right now. Really enjoyed Messiah Complex, Second Coming, and Bishop chasing Cable and Hope across both time and space. So my interest was definitely piqued. It’s by the creative team of Jeff Loeb and Ed McGuiness. It did feature a long Cable/Captain America fight. It did read like an issue of the Red Hulk. None of which I’m a big fan of. But the story did seem to pick up right where we left off (i.e. Cable dying), so that made me happy. Still very curious to see what they do with Cable. Got a little back story on what actually happened to him, hope they give us a lot more. And if we’re lucky we might even see some groundwork laid for the Avengers/X-Men crossover this summer. Have to wait and see. Fingers crossed!
BATMAN AND ROBIN #4 – Another good issue. It’s just a good series. Batman’s two-finger jab to snap Damian out of his "coma" was awesome. A pure Batman moment if there ever was one. And I will repeat: if they turn Damian into a villain I am not going to be happy!
BATWOMAN #4 – Totally got me this month. Sucked me right in. Started with Flamebird getting the crap kicked out of her for the first eight pages. Cut to the detectives investigating said beating. Cut to Batwoman asking questions of a super-villain doctor. Cut to the detectives getting a nearly dead Flamebird to give up some valuable information. Cut to the detective talking to Director Bones. And then it said to be continued! I was shocked! I was appalled! I still had a third of the comic in my right hand to read! DC had sneakily moved all the ads to the back of the book. Still a 20-page story. I just wasn’t done reading it yet! Which makes it an easy nomination this week. I want more!
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER SEASON 9 FREEFALL #4 – End of the first arc. Really like it. It’s just got a real good feel to it. And they are just getting started, it’s only gonna get better.
GREEN LANTERN #4 – Sinestro’s plan fails miserably. Seems the yellow central power battery doesn’t think Hal tastes good! Ptooie! And his back up plan ain’t much better. Giving a punch of power rings to people who hate you? Not a good idea!
JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #632 – Wow. Again. Amazing. Volstagg as Santa Claus was a nice bit to open. But Hela’s gift to Loki stole the show! Hell hound puppies! It was great. Seems six of the pups take after their mom and Loki manages to find suitable homes for them. Mephisto gets one. Gaea. The New Mutants as a gift for Valkyrie. Heimdall. Tyr. The seventh pup takes after his father and is a trip. He talks. Says things like, Murder. Murder. Murder. Or Raise my leg on the Rainbow Bridge. Or Foul Hag Queens. The All-mothers counsel Loki that it might just be best to off the last orphaned pup. But Loki, as an orphaned pup himself, can’t do it and so keeps him for himself. Names him Thori. Dog says no. Not Thori. Deathripper! No you’re Thori. No. Entrail-gargler! No Thori. No The Death that Prowls on Four Legs! Absolutely hilarious. But the best thing about it, the best thing about it, is the hell hound pups are a natural progression of the story! You saw Mom and Dad hellhound in the Fear Itself issues. The pups are orphaned because of Loki’s action’s during Fear Itself. It makes total sense. And you haven’t seen the last of the hell hound pups. Guarantee they have a role to play in the future. Everything that happens in Journey into Mystery is so continuity tight it’s incredible. Read the series or read the issue, it’s all good!
NEW AVENGERS #19 – More Squirrel Girl! Daredevil’s hyper senses get the best of him. Baby smells and squirrel musk. I think I’m going to throw up. Hang in there DD! You’re a superhero! More Norman Osborn! And once again I appreciate that Mr. Bendis is, in the actual comic, addressing my concerns about why bringing Norman and his Dark Avengers back is a bad/good idea. Madame Hydra and Gorgon are in. Once Norman goes crazy… again… they will be waiting in the wings to take over. Barney Barton is in. He thinks he’s better than Clint. Skaar thinks he’s better than the Hulk. Gorgon thinks he’s better than Wolverine. It worked far longer than anyone thought the first time around. We’ve got a better plan now. Why won’t it work again?
RAY #1 (OF 4) – Surprise of the week! I had absolutely no faith going in. It was very, very good. An origin story wrapped around a giant telepathic jellyfish fight. Pace was great. Lots of info passed along in a clear concise manner. Got to know the characters. Laid out the plot. Great twist at the end which featured a punch throoooough the face. Give it a whirl.
RESURRECTION MAN #4 – Enjoyed it all but made me smile at the end. Talk about main characters dying on the last page all the time. And the whole point of Resurrection Man is that he dies and comes back to life with different powers each time. And, frankly, he should die every issue. In more and more creative ways coming back to life each time with more and more creative powers. That’s a concept I can get behind. At the end of this issue, an angel who specializes in collecting souls who have cheated death over a long period of time shows up to collect on Resurrection Man. And really kills him! He’s dust! "Oooops. Turns out there is such a thing as too much extreme prejudice. I think I just killed the unkillable." Don’t start that paperwork just yet, he is Resurrection Man.
SEVERED #5 (OF 7) – Started strong, wavered the last two issues, this issue put the series back on track. Although I thought Jack’s salesman traveling buddy was the bad guy? In fact, I know he is. Says so in the previously. The salesman kills Sam and offers Jack a ride. And I kept expecting this psychopathic salesman with shark teeth to try and kill Jack the entire issue. But the old guy behaved himself the entire issue and it couldn’t have been more creepy!
WALKING DEAD #92 – Awesome! Been waiting! Expand the plot! Jesus shows up. He had to make a supply run to a couple of other communities in the area. "Wait a minute. Did you guys think you’re the only survivors out here? Boy. Your whole world is about to change." Loved it! Awesome!
And I don’t mention trades very often but this was one of the best new trade paperback weeks I’ve seen in quite some time. WALKING DEAD TP VOL 15, FABLES TP VOL 16, 28 DAYS LATER TP VOL 06, ROCKETEER ADVENTURES HC VOL 01, and HITMAN TP VOL 05 TOMMYS HEROES (which is a little older and we don’t talk about much these days but was a perennial best book candidate back in the day) all came out. Heck, I’ll even throw in WITCH DOCTOR TP VOL 01 to the bunch. Quality books one and all.
No best book post again this week. Long column today and I’m still recovering from the Sale. Thanks to everyone who stopped by last week. Heck, THANK YOU to everyone who stops by period! We do absolutely appreciate your continued support of the store. Hope you enjoyed your bonus discounts last week and hope you enjoy your comics!
For the record, much like last week, I really don’t see how you can beat the Walking Dead this week but Journey into Mystery sure did come close.
P.S. – If you gotta minute could you explain UNCANNY X-FORCE #18 The Dark Angel Saga: Conclusion to me? I’ve only been reading it for eight months! And I have no idea what happened!
P.P.S. – If you got two minutes could you explain the variant cover to UNCANNY X-FORCE #18 The Dark Angel Saga: Conclusion to me? What good is a variant cover if it’s bagged!
The SALE is on! And we are busy, busy around here. So keeping it short today. Nominees!
CHEW #22 – Wow. I get to start with Chew today. Utterly fantastic once again! It’s insane how good it is. And with the sale this week the Chew Volume 1 TP is available for only $7.50. It will be the best $7.50 you ever spent in your life!
DEFENDERS #1 – Worth giving a shot. It read well, the first page was great, and it features Dr. Strange, Namor, Iron Fist, She Hulk and the Silver Surfer, who temporarily transformed himself into snow. Wonder Twin cosmic powers activate! Form of a Snowflake! Shape of a hexagonal prism snow crystal!
GI JOE VOL 2 ONGOING #8 – Only normally read my Cobra but this issue did reveal who the new Cobra Commander was so I had to check it out. Handled pretty well. There was a twist. Major Bludd thought he had won but Zartan threw a monkey wrench into the decision and Krake was declared the new Cobra Commander!
PENGUIN PAIN AND PREJUDICE #3 (OF 5) – Once again we see both sides of Penguin’s personality. He destroys the life of a morticians aide for the crime of chewing gum, while offering untold riches and a life of ease to his now deceased Mother’s nurse. Plus, Penguin found a girl friend this issue. Easily the best Penguin story I have ever read. It’s awesome!
RED LANTERNS #4 – One of my favorite titles in the new DCU and another very good issue. Loved the mini histories of Red Lanterns Ratchet and Shallox this issue. Just enough to get a feel for the characters without bogging down the main plot. Atrocious is paranoid and Krona is gone!
STORMWATCH #4 – The DC Comics All Access page this week was devoted to cliffhangers! Does seem like every issue in the new DCU ends on a cliffhanger these days. Which is fine. Leave them wanting more and all that. Loved the cliffhanger in Stormwatch #4. A mysterious cosmic figure from the equally mysterious Stormwatch Shadow Cabinet showed up and declared that Adam, the new (and from what I’ve been able to tell, useless) leader of Stormwatch, has to die! Please. Please. Please.
STRANGE TALENT OF LUTHER STRODE #3 (OF 6) – Has totally won me over with this issue. It’s just good. Reads a little like Invincible. Twenty-something-ish superhero. The way they do the fight scenes. Reads a little like Chew. Dialogue and flow are excellent. Give it a whirl. We do have a few copies left in the store but I just ordered a bunch more. It’s that good.
SWAMP THING #4 – I’ve nominated all three of the previous issues, and this issue blew them away! Totally consolidated every thing that’s happened before into one streamlined story. If you had any problems following what was happening in Swamp Thing, I bet you don’t anymore. I don’t. The little boy from the hospital. Alec Holland and his relationship to the green and the rot. How Abby fits in. Was a beautiful recap without any actually recapping! Plus the story was still able to move forward. Thought it was an almost perfect issue.
SWEET TOOTH #28 – The Taxidermist Part 3 of 3! I’m still amazed that the origin of Sweet Tooth was unveiled in early 20th century Alaska. It’s a futuristic post-apocalyptical title, not a period piece. And yet it worked out great.
No Best Book column tomorrow. Did I mention the SALE is on! Don’t really see how you can beat Chew but Swamp Thing came awfully darn close this week!
Andy got me sucked in to watching The Fabric of the Cosmos. It’s part of the Nova series on PBS. Here’s the official synopsis of the show:
"The Fabric of the Cosmos," a four-hour series based on the book by renowned physicist and author Brian Greene, takes us to the frontiers of physics to see how scientists are piecing together the most complete picture yet of space, time, and the universe.
It is highly entertaining and informative. Talks about time travel, quantum mechanics, the existence of a multiverse. Just touches, scientifically, on a lot of the concepts we see week in and week out in comics and on TV. Just watched a Stargate SG-1 rerun of Carter getting sucked into a parallel universe. The Big Bang Theory throws a lot of physics references around. Rasl is deep into Nicholas Tesla and alternate worlds. And this week’s entry into Top Cow’s Pilot Season contest was THEORY OF EVERYTHING #1. Here’s the first page. It’s a murder mystery featuring… alternate universes! And also the last of the Pilot Season books for 2011. Voting opens on December 5th! I’m going with The Beauty. Catching an STD is not necessarily a bad thing. Instead of pain, suffering and becoming a social pariah, you turn into a beautiful person. And the world is full of beautiful people!
Nominees! It was a light week. Coulda stretched. SPACEMAN #2. THUNDERBOLTS #166. STAR TREK #3. (Don’t laugh, it was pretty good.) But decided against it. So you only get eight this week.
ANGEL & FAITH #4 – So ends a very good first arc. The Mohra demon blood will not be bringing Giles back to life. And if you thought Wolverine channeling Professor X was funny, Angel channeling Giles was downright hilarious!
COBRA ONGOING #7 – Girl fight! Okay, it was three highly trained GI Joe women pitted against a Cobra spy but, nonetheless, GIRL FIGHT!
DAREDEVIL #6 – So ends a very good first arc. They sure are making a big deal of Marcos Martin leaving the book. Virtually apologizing for it on the letters page. He is a great artist but so is Paolo Rivera and I think the title will continue to excel without any problem. Marcos is headed for another top secret project from Marvel and the internet rumor mill is awhirl with a potential Howard the Duck/Dazzler team up!
FABLES #111 – Looks like Winter is going to be the new North Wind. Looks like Bufkin got hanged! His attorney was great. He opened with, "The quicker you confess to all your crimes, the sooner I’ll be in a position to negotiate the most humane form of execution for you." And ended with, "Congratulations, Bufkin! You’re going to be hanged today" — "Oh? And that’s good news why, exactly?" — "Because hanging is very humane. I argued them down from having you eaten alive by Tiger Beetles, because I’m just that good a lawyer."
GOBS #3 (OF 4) – Mentioned my love of Gobs and basically anything by Richard Moore in the past. Always worthy of a shout out. I do like it a lot. The Chip trade came out this week, too. Enjoy!
ULTIMATE COMICS ULTIMATES #4 – Another excellent issue. Thought Ultimate Thor was going to bite the dust, too. But no. The high octane, large scale production that has been the Ultimates toned it down a notch this issue and settled into a status quo. The City has stopped its outward expansion. Conquering Europe seems to be enough at this point. You leave us alone and we will leave you alone is their new mantra. And I thought it was the right direction to take with the title. The pace was so fast, the world would have been conquered in two more issues and this ain’t a mini-series! Loved the Asgard bits. They may all be dead but we’re not done with them yet. And even liked the big reveal at the end. Read it up!
UNCANNY X-MEN #2 – The return of Mr. Sinister has been great. He’s totally toying with Cyclops and his team at this point. And I do believe he’s as powerful as he’s being portrayed. Gonna be interesting to see how they eventually defeat him. Although the best part of the book was probably Hope as a sharpshooter. "What kind of idiot actually puts a target on his forehead?" was a great line. Now I’m rooting for an X-Men/Walking Dead crossover so we can see who is a better shot: Andrea or Hope?
X-MEN LEGACY #259 – Does get downgraded as it’s set before Uncanny X-Men #1 and Wolverine and the X-Men #1 and a large chunk of the issue is devoted to Rogue’s decision about which team to join. Really should have come out a month or two ago. But that’s an editorial snafu. The issue itself was great. Seems a psychic hitchhiker came back with the team from outer space. And the whole second half of the issue really built up the anticipation as to who this mysterious hitchhiker might be. It was really well done and I couldn’t wait to find out how it was. Thought it might be Phoenix. Or maybe even Nightcrawler. Turned out to be Ariel. And I will have to google her to find out exactly who she is/was but it was still great.
Conversation on Sunday. Finally! Sale starts on Wednesday. Hurrah!