Hey look! I have returned from the ashes, like a tiny child playing in the fireplace too long. Let’s bring it back with a bang as I talk about too many comics over the last two weeks, and I probably regret doing this. Ready? Let’s start.
Action Comics #18 written by Grant Morrison, penciled by Rags Morales & Brad Walker, inked by Cam Smith & Andrew Hennessy, colored by Brad Anderson, lettered by Carlos M. Mangual; “Never Ending Battle” backup written by Sholly Fisch, penciled by Chris Sprouse, inked by Karl Story, colored by Jordie Bellaire, lettered by Carlos M. Mangual:
“I… I can evolve into a future supermind and… and help you.”
Well, this felt like a missed opportunity. There certainly were good ideas here, but it’s marred by the inconsistent artwork
, and the general awfulness of the Nu52. Plus, I’ve read almost every published Morrison story , so trust me when I say that the conclusion to this is more than a little confusing. Not the general plot , which would ring familiar to anyone with a passing familiarity with the Superman book Miracle Monday, but specifics, things like why a character appears somewhere, or why they exist in the first place.
On another note, Morrison has some interesting dialogue tics in this issue.
It is kind of staccato, with 3 declarative sentences per panel, 1-2-3, and then again in the next panel. It manages to establish rhythm even with world-ending shit going on, which is kind of cool, even if the rest of the comic wasn’t. I really wish this comic was better.
Ah well. We’ve still got All-Star Superman, everybody. At least there’s that.
Adventure Time #14 written by Ryan North, drawn and colored by Shelli Paroline & Braden Lamb, lettered by Steve Wands; “Princess of Rad Hats (Part Two)” backup written and drawn by Chris Schweizer:
“That pun only works if I’m your boss or something, don’t even act like you didn’t know that.”
Quick aside: when I started working and writing more, I didn’t have time to do everything and also sleep, so I stopped playing video games. I don’t really miss
them, and even when I played them regularly, I wasn’t half as passionate about them as North seems to be. Ryan North loves video games like wacky sitcoms like outlandish analogies, is what I’m saying. So while the end to this comic might leave me cold on a personal level, I can definitely relate to North’s passion And even if I didn’t, the good dialogue and excellent art are enough to make this book worth buying.
Batman Inc #9 written by Grant Morrison, drawn by Chris Burnham and Jason Masters, colored by Nathan Fairbairn and Hi-Fi colorist, lettered by Dave Sharpe:
I can’t for the life of me imagine why DC would put Jason Masters and… Hi-Fi Colorist to fill in for 4 pages of this comic. Chris Burnham and Nathan Fairbairn are the best artist and colorist team working at DC, and if the comic needs to come out every 5 weeks instead of 4 to give them time to finish the damn issue, let ’em. Anyway, Morrison writes this comic better than Action, partially because he’s got a better artistic team, partially because he’s had time to build tension for the climax, and partially because it’s about as connected to the Nu52 as Uncanny Avengers. Regardless, the art is gorgeous when it’s Burnham and Fairbairn, and Morrison knows how to write Batman after 5 years on the book. CALLBACK ALERT: I paid attention to the rhythm of his dialogue this time, and he does favor a 1-2-3 beat, but he also mixes it up with 1-2, then 1-2-3. If I knew music at all, there might be something there. As it is, I guess I’m just counting things.
Captain America #5 written by Rick Remender, penciled by John Romita Jr., inked by Scott Hana & Tom Palmer, colored by Dean White and Lee Loughridge, lettered by VC’S Joe Caramagna:
“Let this killer of helpless children feel the furious future premonition of my Tachyon Fu style.”
This is the best issue of the series so far, and, tellingly, it features no terrible depressing flashbacks of Steve Rogers’ awful childhood. Gosh, those two things might actually be related somehow. Anyway, this gets back to what I actually like about the comic, which is Romita Jr. drawing horrific monsters that Cap fights while Remender writes awful-great SyFy movie dialogue.
It’s good stuff. Also, Jet Zola is 120% just Big Barda, but that’s okay with me, since DC doesn’t want to do anything with one-half of Kirby’s greatest creation.
Chew #32 written and lettered by John Layman, drawn by Rob Guillory, colored by Rob Guillory and Taylor Wells:
“Cuts tortillas into pointy things. Sharp and stabby things.”
Chew is great, and balances pathos with humor better than just about any other comic out there. If you’re not reading it, you should be.
SPACE JAM OF THE FORTNIGHT (TWO WEEKS)
Daredevil #24 written by Mark Waid, drawn by Chris Samnee, colored by Javier Rodriguez, lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna:
“But I will stay.”
I want Waid and Samnee to make this comic forever. T
his comic is dynamite, a classic in the making. Two creators at the top of their game, making a superhero title better than it’s been in years. Excellent writing matched with perfectly choreographed art. Lest I forget, Javier Rodriguez does some pretty phenomenal coloring work, and I might not know much about lettering, but Caramagna did a couple of cool things, so good job all around to the creative team.
East of West #1 written by Jonathan Hickman, drawn by Nick Dragotta, colored by Frank Martin, lettered by Rus Wooton:
“Well, that’s true. But not the way you mean.”
It took me a long time to figure out to why Hickman’s a good writer. I hated most of his mini-series, and his corporate work for Marvel has left me cold. The thing is, he never has a lack of ideas, but mini-series don’t work for that because they’re too short of a format. He packs in too many of his ideas, and they end up feeling like a cool outline for a story that you would want to read. His Marvel work is likewise limited because it revolves around characters that have prior histories, and have to continue on after his run. His original series, though? Those are great. Manhattan Projects has been one of my favorite monthly titles, and this comic
is a killer start to something that could be really interesting. It’s got the Hickman ideas, beautiful Nick Dragotta and Frank Martin art, and Western sensibilities. I friggin’ love Western-influenced fiction, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this comic evolves.
Five Weapons #2 written and drawn by Jimmie Robinson, colored by Paul Little:
“Dude, I always have a weapon.”
I can’t seem to talk about this comic without bringing up David Brothers, huh? This time, I was thinking about his recent post about blind spots in your taste, and how to accept that. This comic is right in my perfect blind spot. I grew up reading The Great Brain books, Encyclopedia Brown, et cetera. I’ve got a fondness for con-men characters outsmarting their enemies, especially while navigating a set location full of specialized characters. So, my opinion on this comic is going to be useless. If the series pitch sounds like something you’d be into, though, you’ll probably like it. It’s a simple story told well, and it knows what you wanna see, so you’ll see it.
Fury: My War Gone By #10 written by Garth Ennis, drawn by Goran Parlov, colored by Lee Loughridge, lettered by Rob Steen:
“It ain’t the years. It’s the wars.”
I know Marvel tends to move artists around as soon as a mini-series ends, but I really hope Parlov draws whatever Ennis does next. Red Team has a solid artist, but most Ennis Dynamite projects are not as lucky, and Ennis is definitely someone that rises to the level of his artist. And hey, you don’t need me to tell you whether or not to read this. If you saw the names Ennis and Parlov, you know whether it’s worth your money (yes).
G.I. Joe #2 written by Fred Van Lente, penciled by Steve Kurth, inked by Allen Martinez, colored by Joana LaFuente, lettered by Shawn Lee:
“Poverty is a business. Did you know that?”
I really thought that if anyone could get me to like an ’80s cartoon that I have zero fondness for, it would be Fred Van Lente. Dude’s an incredible writer, and is normally able to salvage a project that I would otherwise have no interest in whatsoever. Unfortunately, even he hasn’t been able to make the unfamiliar characters interesting, and the art is, well…. it’s not great. With all these factors in mind, I say goodbye to my first attempt to see what all the fuss was about G.I. Joe. I’m sure there’s a comic that would make me a fan, but this wasn’t it.
Harbinger #10 written by Joshua Dysart, penciled by Matthew Clark, Alvaro Martinez, Dimi Macheras, and Brian Thies, inked by Stefano Gaudiano, colored by Ian Hannin, lettered by Rob Steen:
“An animal in the snare. A mind in a loop.”
This comic’s frustrating. Artistically, it’s the strongest issue in a while,
despite having four (4) different pencilers in one 20 page comic, which is crazy. But while Dysart finally gives Peter Stanchek a complete character arc, but it’s hobbled by the fact that he was a straight-up rapist earlier in the comic. I mean, I respect that Dysart wanted to really start a character in the gutter, but that’s a shitty place to start, and it’s really hard to like a character at all after that, even if his moral code was sketchy then. I just want this comic to be better, and hopefully the crossover with Bloodshot (which has been pretty killer) makes it so.
Indestructible Hulk #5 written by Mark Waid, penciled by Leinil Yu, inked by Gerry Alanguilan, colored by Sunny Gho, lettered by Chris Eliopoulos:
“Power is relative.”
I know Yu has his fans, and I’m not about to bash him, but I am so excited for Walt Simonson next week, I can’t even talk about this comic. Walt Friggin’ Simonson and Mark Waid on a Hulk comic.
Red Team #2 written by Garth Ennis, drawn by Craig Cermak, colored by Adriano Lucas, lettered by Rob Steen:
“God, he’s a sensitive boy.”
Ennis is really good at talking issues, and showing characters that are at a crossroads in life, and about to choose the wrong direction. This has both, and a decent artist. I’m looking forward to more. BOOM! Review done! Next!
Saga #11 written by Brian K. Vaughan, drawn by Fiona Staples, lettered by Fonografiks:
“So you’re telling me you didn’t enjoy that?”
I guess I’m just going to have to accept that I don’t much care for this comic. I want to like it as much as seemingly every literate person in the entire world does, but I find myself bored by most of Vaughan’s dialogue. Which is fine; sometimes you just don’t connect with a comic. Staples’ art is gorgeous, though, and it’s not a bad book, so I’ll probably just keep buying it to check in with it.
Storm Dogs #4 written by David Hine, drawn by Doug Braithwaite, colored by Ulises Arreola and Doug and Sue Braithwaite, lettered by Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt:
“What the hell is going on?”
I really like this comic, I just need to learn to read the prior issues the day a new one comes out. It’s a detective story, and I keep forgetting who characters are, which… I don’t know if you know, but murder mysteries tend to rely on clues quite a bit. Bit of trivia there. Anyway, I really appreciate the level of detail Hine packs into his scripts and his world, the world-building is fluid, and makes you want to know more (Which is the right way to do it. Anyone that complains about world-building in stories has been reading some awful stories). And the backup material! I love that shit. Character designs, and background info, script to thumbnails, that is exactly what I want at the end of every comic I read.
Ultimate Comics All-New Spider-Man #21 written by Brian Michael Bendis, drawn by Sara Pichelli, colored by Justin Ponsor, lettered by VC’s Cory Petit:
“That kid has no idea what he’s doing.”
Uncanny Avengers #5 written by Rick Remender, penciled by Olivier Coipel, inked by Mark Morales, colored by Laura Martin and Larry Molinar, lettered by Chris Eliopoulos:
“There is no time to react.”
Boy, I don’t think anyone expected this issue to explode like it did, huh? I’m sure by now you all know about the whole Remender Hobo Piss Debacle, but if not, David Brothers and Andrew Wheeler had some excellent posts about the problematic speech in the comic. Personally, it didn’t jump out at me on the first read, since it was one character’s opinion, which necessarily opens itself up to a myriad of interpretations from readers. But then, there was Remender’s response to the whole thing, which definitely soured my opinion. First of all, it’s safe to say you, as anyone of any race or gender or whatever, did not solve racism with one idea. Chances are. Just saying. People have to be flexible on shit like this, because that’s how you improve as a person. Plus, dude’s straight-up crazy if he doesn’t think he could improve his inclusion of POC in his comics. Psylocke, Dr. Voodoo, and Sunfire in however many years he’s written for Marvel does not speak to a huge commitment to putting in POC in his work. Remender’s since apologized, but it’s a good lesson on how not to respond to internet criticism.
As to the comic itself, I’m about done. While Remender’s a very good writer, he’s never been able to make me like a character I didn’t care for before. I didn’t like Psylocke much before Uncanny X-Force, and I didn’t care for her after. He writes for the existing fans, not the willing-to-be-converted, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I just don’t give two shits about any of the characters on Uncanny Avengers, just slight fondness for Sunfire and Rogue. Bring the Prowler on, though, and I will buy a dozen copies of each issue.
Witch Doctor: Mal Practice #5 written by Brandon Seifert, drawn by Lukas Ketner, colored by Andy Troy, lettered by Brandon Seifert:
“So, Catrina, what say we kill them all?”
I never have much to say about this comic, mostly because it’s very consistent. Seifert does research and has a funny script, Ketner draws grotesque things very well, and Troy makes it all very colorful. It’s nice to have consistency in the stack, even if I don’t have a whole lot to say about it.
Wolverine and the X-Men #27 written by Jason Aaron, drawn by Ramon Perez, colored by Laura Martin & Matt Milla, lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna:
“Shoot the robots in the face, cowboys in the hand, cavemen in the knee!”
The way Aaron is able to play off established continuity without making readers feel like they need to memorize wikipedia is frankly stunning, and Perez is so freaking good at drawing. After talking about all these artists, it’s hard to think of adjectives to talk about his art, but it really is that great. I love this comic so much.
X-Men Legacy #8 written by Simon Spurrier, drawn by Tan Eng Huat, inked by Craig Yeung, colored by Jose Villarrubia, lettered by VC’S Cory Petit:
“All a wee bit trippy, no?”
It is really nice to be surprised by a comic that you randomly pick up off the stands.When I tried out #1 of this series, I was blown away by how good the writing and art was; the series had an instantly understandable through-line, the dialogue was distinct, and the art was reminiscent, but distinctive from, half a dozen artists. Seven issues later, it’s only gotten better. Spurrier’s ideas are brilliant, and Huat’s art is a great match for the series. All together, this is my favorite of the new Marvel relaunch/reboot/reset, and no one’s more surprised than me. Pick this comic up, it’s really good.
Young Avengers #3 written by Kieron Gillen, drawn by Jamie McKelvie and Mike Norton, colored by Matthew Wilson, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles:
“Don’t. That’s a hail mary.”
Hey! If you’re reading this, you made it all the way through 20-odd comic reviews. Good job! In the meantime, why don’t you look at this kickstarter I’m doing for a comic I wrote with a super great artist? It has good art. Better art than G.I. Joe. Promise.