Wife still sick. I am going to have to quarantine her, I think.
It was my birthday over the weekend, but I got you a present: comics!
Batman Incorporated #4: I have to admit, I was amazed to see this issue show up. I mean, sure, they said it was going to be coming out, but I wasn’t going to believe it until I had it in my hands. The issue was pretty damn good, and Chris Burnham channels himself some Frank Quitely on art. I think I’d be okay with him taking over as the regular series artist. This issue feels a lot stronger than issue 3, and Burnham’s shifting art styles (each different time period in the comic has its own distinct style, and others have already mentioned the Benday dots used to color the stuff taking place in the past) really work. Morrison throws a bunch of stuff up against the wall, and a good chunk of it sticks.
Justice League: Generation Lost #22: It’s the final calm before the storm. Our heroes are joined by a ringer, Batman (the Bruce Wayne one), and Max Lord’s plan is finally revealed. I’m curious to see how this book ends, curious to see what comes out of it, and curious to see what Max’s final fate is.
Deadpool #34: The second part of Deadpool’s return to merc work is chock full o’ the sort of stuff you’d hope: bizarre plans, goofy humor, and lots of nonsense. His battle against Id the Selfish Moon is gonna be a doozy.
Deadpool Max #6: Deadpool hooks up with his baby mama. It’s bizarre and twisted and really messed up, and I can’t wait to see the next issue.
Power Man and Iron Fist #3: Twists, betrayals, and Power Man punching thugs. It’s a good time, folks, and you should be reading this book.
Thor #620.1: I don’t really understand a jump-on issue that has nothing to do with the current storyline and isn’t by the current creative team. it doesn’t make much sense. This is a nice done-in-one Thor story, and his solution to the problem in the book is clever and works (for the most point), but I am left wondering what the point of this thing is.
FF #1: So, the Fantastic Four becomes the Future Foundation. Spider-Man joins up, costumes are changed, and a plan to fix the world is set in motion. There’s an interesting new addition to the group on the last page, and it’ll be fun to watch what Hickman does with that in coming issues.
I didn’t grab any trades this past week, but it looks like my pull list for tomorrow will more than make up for that.
I have acquired a new computer and new comics! Let’s do this thing!
Fear Itself: The Book of the Skull #1: The Red Skull’s daughter has fancy plans, even if they are daddy’s old plans. There’s an ancient weapon of immense power, a double-cross, and some nice setup for this summer’s Fear Itself event. To be honest, I probably could’ve done without this issue, though really I won’t know for sure until I dig into Fear Itself in the coming months and see how this feeds into it.
Knight and Squire #6: The Joker (the real American one) has arrived in England with an axe to grind. Jarvis Poker, the British Joker, is along as a witness. The issue brings up an interesting dichotomy between these laid-back British heroes and villains and their American counterpart; nothing in this series so far has seemed all that serious or grim. Instead, we’ve had a lighthearted, whimsical romp through the British countryside. The Joker’s rampage is jarring, but our heroes’ solution is very British and in keeping with the series as a whole. All in all, this was a fun miniseries, and I’d love to see more from some of these characters.
Casanova: Gula #3: Zephyr kills everyone. Like, everyone. But don’t worry, most of them get better. Fraction has crafted a bizarre and engrossing tale of betrayals, double-crosses, puzzles, and synthetic humanoids who used to be sex slaves. It’s got me hooked and I can’t wait to see how he ties it all together next month.
Invincible Iron Man #502: Tony Stark is in a bit of trouble, here. Doc Ock has him in a classic hero dilemma: in order to save innocent lives, he’ll have to heal the broken-down brain and body of the villain. Add to that the promise of Pepper Potts versus some Spider-Man villains, and we’ve got a pretty nice setup for some good ol’ fashioned tights (or armor) and fights next issue.
Iron Man 2.0 #2: The plot thickens, and James Rhodes gets some help from an old friend. Nick Spencer is writing a pretty decent comic here, but the rotating art still bugs me.
Ice Man and Angel #1: I will read anything Brian Clevinger writes. Period. The art isn’t really my thing, at least in regards to the way Juan Doe draws our two “heroes,” but his take on Goom, the Thing from Planet X, is perfect. Hands-down my favorite comic this week.
I got a couple of trades in the mail this week. The most recent Captain America collection, Two Americas, wasn’t too bad (even if it was a bit heavy-handed with the “we live in different Americas!” stuff). I also got the Jason Aaron Ghost Rider Omnibus, which was damn good comics.
I’ve re-read all of Transmetropolitan since Friday evening. Damn, if that isn’t a great book!
Batman and Robin #21: This issue is better than the last, with the characterization of Damian less grating this time and an interesting story shaping up. The idea of a guy who goes around killing the families of Arkham inmates as some form of reparations for their own horrible actions is interesting, and Tomasi’s script works well. Gleason’s art is growing on me a bit, but his characters still feel way too bulky and blocky for my tastes.
Doom Patrol #20: With this book building towards its conclusion, Giffen seems like he’s just decided to pull out all the stops and go nuts with it. The Doom Patrol spend most of the issue visiting different corners of the DCU trying to find a new place to live after Oolong Island evicted them at the end of the previous issue. Of course, it doesn’t go well, ’cause the easy way is not the Doom Patrol way. The last third or so of the book, with the visit and offer from an old villain, is clever and an interesting way to set up the last few issues we’ve got left of the book. I am sad this book is ending soon, but it looks like Giffen’s going out with a bang.
Justice League: Generation Lost #21: Speaking of books nearing their end, this issue is the calm before the storm of the final confrontation between Maxwell Lord and the JLI. There’s a lot of self-doubt running around in this issue, a lot of frustration and people on the verge of giving up. There’s also (spoilers!) the reveal that the big happening from a couple of issues ago was just a dodge. I’m sure it’ll be made clearer next issue. I am curious to see how this series is going to resolve, but I guess we’ll know that in about a month or so, right?
Booster Gold #42: This issue is an example of why I absolutely love Giffen and DeMatties working together: usually, this pair is all “Bwa ha ha” and more jokes and dialogue packed into a panel than you’d think possible. But they also do drama and tragedy really well. They can switch gears at the drop of a hat, and they can pull it off like no others. This is a darker, more sinister issue than we’ve seen in awhile, but it’s carried off with aplomb and heart. I really do hope they’re just taking a brief break from the book for the Flashpoint event this summer and will be back after that’s all done, because I love what they’ve been doing on the title since they took it over almost a year ago.
Wonder Woman #608: I do like that, since Hester has taken over on scripting duties, characters actually have individual, distinct voices and motivations for what they’re doing (and hell, they’re actually doing something!). This book is actually interesting again, and while it’s maybe not as good as the Gail Simone run, it’s a damn-sight better than when JMS was running the show all on his lonesome.
Batman Incorporated #3: Well, this finally came out. And it’s…well, there are bits that are truly clever (it’s Grant Morrison, there’s always gonna be something that’s clever), there’s some fun silver-agey stuff (exploding scorpions!), but for some reason it all just feels kinda…flat. Like there should’ve been something more to it if we were gonna have to wait three months for a new issue. There is the hint that this isn’t just a series of disconnected issues of Bruce Wayne traveling around the world to wherever Grant Morrison saw a travel poster for that month, but not enough build up yet for us to really know what to make of it. I’m gonna keep reading it, ’cause I trust Grant Morrison to do something interesting with the book, but I’m more than a little frustrated.
Birds of Prey #10: This book, however, is never a disappointment. Simone draws her “Death of Oracle” story to a close by…well, basically killing the idea of Oracle. By letting the criminal element think she’s dead, she can operate more effectively; or, as Barbara herself puts it, “If I’m out in the open, then criminals get cautious. And we can’t have that. Because my goal is that they never see me coming.” It’s brilliant, and there’s a nice metaphor (unspoken, but one I’m kind of assigning to the story anyway) of a mother bird pushing the babies out of the nest to fly on their own (the few pages of heroes calling in to Oracle and getting stony silence, then winning their own battles anyway). Plus, we’re promised the Huntress/Catman date next issue! How is that not going to be awesome?
I also grabbed the second trade of Thor: The Mighty Avenger, which was just as awesome as the first collection. I’m really upset now that Marvel decided not to let them finish this book. It’s sad that great books like this don’t get picked up on by more readers ’cause they “don’t matter” to the larger continuity. I am coming to hate continuity. This is, hands down, the best Thor book since Walt Simonson was writing Thor.
Winter had its last hurrah here last night (snow?!), but that didn’t stop last week’s comics!
Deadpool #33.1: Another of Marvel’s “Point One” comics. It does a decent enough job of introducing Deadpool and the conceits of the current Deadpool book (the dueling caption boxes, breaking the fourth wall, etc.). It’s not the best issue of Deadpool ever, but it’s not bad and it does a good enough job of telling you what the character is all about.
Power Man and Iron Fist #2: I missed this one last week for some reason. It picks up with our heroes encountering the Commedia dell’Morte (which is an awesome team name) and deepening their investigation of Crime Buster’s murder, and it introduces another villain for the piece that looks like he could’ve just stepped out of the pages of a mid-90s Garth Ennis book. Good stuff.
Wolverine and Hercules #1: This was in my subscription box (’cause I like Herc), so I figured I’d go ahead and pick it up and see what I thought. It’s not a bad comic, per se, but it’s not particularly interesting or original. I don’t think this is one I’ll be following.
Joe the Barbarian #8: It’s been…well, quite some time since we saw issue 7 of this book. This issue wraps things up nicely, and Sean Murphy’s art is spectacular as usual. Morrison’s script is well-paced and great fun, and the switches between the real world and Joe’s hallucinations really reflect the serious nature of both sides of his problem. The resolution to both stories is pretty cool, and the final splash page is downright fantastic. This was a great series; I wish Morrison would do more stuff like this.
Secret Six #31: Man, never, ever underestimate Ragdoll. I mean, there’s a reason each of the Six is on the team, and he’s not there just for his twisted, screwed-up sense of humor and perverse view of the world. The Get Out of Hell Free card that was the focus of the first story arc rears its ugly head here, and nothing good will come of it. Gail Simone is consistently upping the ante on this book, and damn if it isn’t one of the best books I read every month.
I also grabbed a digest of the Marvel Adventures Spider-Man written by Paul Tobin. It’s pretty solid Spider-Man fun, and it’s nice to see an all-ages book that’s this much fun even for an adult.
Man, it was a full week this week. Let’s take a look:
Astonishing X-Men #36: A new creative team picks up with the team used by Warren Ellis. Daniel Way and Jason Pearson (both of Deadpool fame) give us a very different sort of story than we saw under Ellis: some monsters, a family tragedy, Wolverine going off to get drunk in Japan. It’s a quick, light story, one that seems set up to allow the X-Men to fight some big monsters. And honestly, I’m okay with that.
Deadpool #33: So Deadpool’s given up on the whole “being a hero” thing, and he’s back to merc work. In space. Honestly, I’m fully okay with this setup. There’s some great moments here, though I probably could have gone the rest of my life without seeing Deadpool in a bikini.
Justice League: Generation Lost #20: With only a few issues left, we take a brief pause here to examine the life of Maxwell Lord and see what drove him from ally and patron of the JLI to guy who wants to kill all the metahumans in the world. It’s nice that someone has finally given us a reason for the changes we’ve seen in the character over the years, but I am still very unhappy about the way issue #19 ended (which carries over to the end of this issue as well). Winick promises that much of the last few issues will be the final, knock-down drag-out fight between the JLI and Lord. I am curious to see what’ll happen.
Thor #620: Speaking of issues that’re just big fight scenes, that’s what we get here. It’s Odin and the Asgardian Blood Colossi versus the invaders from outside the nine worlds. It’s clearly a fight that’s meant to be epic, and individual moments and panels certainly seem to carry a particular weight and sense of “hell yeah!” to them, but the issue on the whole leaves me kind of cold. I don’t know why it’s off, but it is. We’ll see what Fraction and company come up with next.
Invincible Iron Man #501: Years ago, Tony Stark made a fool of Otto Octavius at a conference. While it wasn’t much of anything to Stark, it apparently made quite the impression on Doc Oc. And now, Octavius is dying, and he wants Tony Stark to fix him. Or else. It’s a neat story hook, and it’s nice to have Stark off doing something that’s not some huge, status quo-changing epic story that changes everything forever. This looks to be a good time.
Iron Man 2.0 #1: I don’t know how we went from having no Nick Spencer books from the BIg Two to having 60 million of them, but I’m not going to complain. This book is focusing on James Rhodes, a character I’ve never really felt anything in particular about. He’s just sort of…there in the Iron Man books. Oh, I know he’s had a few solo titles here and there, but none of it ever struck me as essential reading. This book looks to maybe change that. It’s fun; Spencer has a good feel for the dialogue and what makes Rhodes a compelling character. The supporting cast seems to be almost completely new, though the cameo with Iron Man at the beginning is pretty awesome. The rotating art teams was annoying and kept throwing me out of the story, but this still looks to be a promising book.
Skullkickers #6: This isn’t a book I’d ever heard of, but it had a story written by Brian Clevinger and another by The ISB’s Chris Sims, so I decided to pick it up. It’s a fun, light fantasy read, the sort of book I actually quite like. I’m half tempted to start reading the book proper now, and that’s definitely a point in the book’s favor.
Action Comics #898: I didn’t read any of the Green Lantern stuff where Larfleeze the Orange Lantern showed up, so I know next to nothing about the character. It’s to Paul Cornell’s credit that he introduces the character quickly and gets us up to speed without too much wordy exposition. The whole Black Lantern Energy story is really picking up here (and concluding next month!), and the big reveal at the end of this issue makes a lot of sense. I can’t wait to see how Cornell resolves all the plot threads he’s currently juggling.
Detective Comics #874: This issue picks up with the Commissioner Gordon backups that were running until a month or so back. It’s a creepy, disturbing issue, and Snyder carries it off well. There’s a bit near the beginning of the issue when Gordon’s son (the rarely-mentioned James) intimates that he’s killed someone in the diner bathroom. The art cuts to a shot of the bathroom door, and we get Gordon’s sense of foreboding, fear, and concern that maybe it isn’t a joke as his son states that it is. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes from here. The second half of the book, featuring Batman and Red Robin, is the less-interesting half of the book, as it deals with the aftermath of last month’s run-in with the new villain.
Atomic Robo: Deadly Art of Science #4: The action picks up again this issue, with Robo and company trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together to figure out who is behind the strange thefts. Like pretty much every other issue of Atomic Robo ever, it’s fantastic. Clevinger and Wegner keep putting out a fabulous book every time out, and the world is better for it.
I also grabbed the trade of Warren Ellis’s Astonishing X-Men story Exogenetic, which reads much better all at once rather than in the rather slow “whenever we can get an issue finished and released” schedule it was on.
Kind of a disappointing week in comics, but let’s look at what we got…
Wonder Woman #607: We’re finally starting to dig into the meat of the plot in this book and figure out what the villains of the piece really want. Also, Diana is actually allowed to have character and to react to things! This book has gotten considerably better since Phil Hester came on board, but it’s still pretty painful.
Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #5: This miniseries finally comes to an end. The final battle was decent enough. Wolverine got some nice one-liners, as did Beast and Emma Frost, and the way Frost dealt with the alternate-dimensional invaders was fairly clever (if not without its problems). Overall, this wasn’t the greatest miniseries I’ve ever read, but it wasn’t awful. It was just sort of…there, I guess. I am curious to see what Daniel Way does with the regular Astonishing X-Men ongoing starting next month. As much as I like Warren Ellis, his tenure on the book hasn’t been all that great (the fact that it was plagued with delays from the get-go didn’t help).
Deadpool Max #5: So, was this book always intended as a limited series? Apparently (according to solicits I’ve seen for future issues), it’s a 12-issue series. I thought it was a regular ol’ ongoing. Ah well. Either way, it remains a seriously messed-up book, but not in a bad way. Deadpool goes up against his “Mom,” Taskmaster, and we get more hints that there is something deeply sinister going on with whatever organization is employing Wade Wilson and Hydra Bob. Also, the flashbacks with the “Muskrats” was freakin’ hysterical. All summer camps should be run that way.
Doom Patrol #19: Apparently this book is slated for cancellation with issue 22, which is a shame. It’s a book with a lot of potential, and I think it would’ve fared far better if Giffen had a co-writer (most of his best stuff as a writer/plotter have come when he has a co-writer to handle dialogue so he can handle the crazy plots and layouts). This particular issue falls a little flat, as the usually competent Secret Six seem suddenly…less so. The issue doesn’t resolve so much as just end abruptly, but I wonder how much of that is the page count reduction from DC’s “Hold the Line at $2.99” nonsense.
S.H.I.E.L.D. #6: So apparently this is just the first volume in this story, which is probably good ’cause I have no idea what’s happened or why it’s happened or anything like that. Hickman writes a complex, interweaving narrative here, and the visuals from Weaver are beautiful as always. Leonid finally does something more than just stand on the sideline and look dumbfounded, even if what he does is fairly useless. There’s also a reveal at the end that’ll probably make more sense somewhere down the line.
Booster Gold #41: Booster and company fight off an attack from some old Nazi sympathizers, and Booster goes to jail. The pretense for sending Booster to jail is kinda flimsy (even if does bring up a point: why has no one ever tried to take him in for his thefts in the 25th century? They clearly have time travel in that time, in the DCU, so why hasn’t a time cop come back and taken care of this already? It doesn’t make much sense), but I think the story that comes out of it should still be pretty solid. It is Giffen and DeMatties, after all. Batista’s art is pretty good, though it’s inconsistent (Rip Hunter’s head seems to get taller and thinner in one panel, then squashed back out again later).
I also grabbed the trade of Avengers and the Infinity Gauntlet, the all-ages remake of the old Infinity Gauntlet series, done by Brian Clevinger and company. It’s a fantastic book (I picked it up in singles originally) and includes the first issue of the old Starlin/Perez Infinity Gauntlet series, but I have a complaint: why are all of Marvel’s all-ages books done in a smaller size than their usual trades? What point does this serve? I noticed it with their Marvel Adventures trades, the trade of Wizard of Oz (which has amazing art that deserves to be seen in a much bigger page), and now this. C’mon, Marvel, give kids the full-sized treatment! Just ’cause the person reading it may be small doesn’t mean the book has to be!