Monday, December 28, 2009

What You Should Have Read #5

Mmm, pre-birthday comics.

Batman #694
Brave and the Bold #30
Green Lantern Corps #43
Justice League of America #40
Amazing Spider-Man #615
Astonishing X-Men #33
Captain America Reborn #5
Daredevil #503
Dark Avengers #12
Dark Wolverine #81
Hulk #18
Mighty Avengers #32
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #2
Thunderbolts #139
Ultimate Armor Wars #3
X-Factor #200
X-Force #22
X-Men Legacy #230
Angel #28
Angel: Hole in the World #1
Fables #91
Ex Machina #47
Locke and Key: Crown of Shadows #2

Stuff That I Loved

Other than this fine and dandy blog right here, the only other one I follow regularly is Peter David’s. If Brian Michael Bendis is my favorite writer, Peter David is a close second. It was his original run on and retooling of the first X-Factor series where I really took notice of him. I had a issue here and there of the Incredible Hulk, but jumping around didn’t help me with everything I DIDN’T know about the jade goliath. But David’s run on X-Factor was a perfect jumping-on point, especially since the entire X-line was attempting to provide an easy way for new readers to be able read everything. Wow. All that to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this issue of X-Factor. The comparison of Layla and Valeria, the not-so-subtle cameo of Deadpool and Shatterstar kicking the crap out of The Thing were just a few reasons why I enjoyed it so much.

And Warren Ellis would probably be #3 on my favorite writers list. I love the way he latches on to almost any kind of fringe science and makes it his own. I’ve also enjoyed the work he’s done in the Ultimate universe, and Armor Wars is no exception. As with the 616 Armor Wars, someone has stolen some Stark Tech and has sold it around the globe. Tony takes it upon himself to protect his property, but unlike the 616 Tony, this guy will kill to protect his work, apparently even cops. Ellis does a good job of portraying Tony as a nonstop Playboy, even when he’s in his work clothes. I wonder what Batman would be like if Bruce Wayne was the real identity and he acted like that while in the tights.

Thunderbolts has been top-notch ever since Osborn took over the team. And even having his original team become Avengers and recruiting a new crop of lunatics after the Secret Invasion didn’t hurt it. I like the in-fighting and double crosses. I like that nobody trusts each other, because why would they? They’re a bunch of psychopaths. With Jeff Parker now writing the book, a clash with the Agents of Atlas was inevitable. Best to get it out of the way early. And it was handled extremely well, jumping off from the Agents’ double-cross of Osborn in their own title.

I never cared all that much for Marvel’s cosmic line of characters. Everyone just seemed so powerful, and everything was so spread out that it just seemed daunting. Then the Annihilation Wave struck, and I got sucked in. I guess a good war will do that. I’ve been following these cosmic tales ever since, and I’m really liking where everything is going. I’m still a bit unsure of what to think about the Realm of Kings storyline, but this issue of Inhumans was stellar (HAH!). It was the little things that really made it click: the back-and-forths between Wasp and Karnak, Wasp and Medusa, Quicksilver and Crystal, and Hercules and Gorgon made the Avengers appearance seem natural and not forced, because really, with everything going on Earth-side, what would they be doing in a galactic setting?

Okay, THIS is the issue of Mighty Avengers where Dan Slott is really taking off. I’ve been extremely meh about the title since he took over, but I’ve kept with it. I’m glad I did. The issue starts off almost exactly where the Avengers appearance in Realm of Kings: Inhumans ended. That’s some old-school continuity keep-up right there. We also get to see more of Osborn losing his grip on his cabal, and Loki’s machinations continue to drive the team. The one-liners are excellent (have you guessed that I’m a fan of a good one-liner?) as are all the little character interactions. Kudos, Mr. Slott.

While I believe that you’re either born with or without creativity, I don’t believe it can be inherited. I may start rethinking that, though, as I read more stuff by Joe Hill. You may have heard of his father: Stephen King. His Locke & Key series is amazing. I love the concept and the history he has created for all of his characters. I guess similarities can be drawn between Hill and his dad. Hmm, and really thinking about it, this sort of has an “It: The Next Generation” feel to it, but that doesn’t bother me in the slightest. While “It” scared the shit out of me, it was an incredibly good book.

Once again, Mark Bagley produced a beautiful issue of Justice League of America. Robinson also did a great job of writing the final issue of what I consider to be an extremely lame JLA, second only to the villains of the issue, the Detroit-era team (of which I have no connection to since I didn’t actually start reading the title until Morrison revamped it). The line-up for the new team that will be introduced next issue looks different and promising. Plus, they’ve got a gorilla.

That was probably the best issue of The Hulk I’ve read since the title began 18 issues ago. One of my favorite issues of X-Factor was when Peter David brought in Leonard Samson to evaluate the team. It was very telling. Jeph Loeb did a great job this issue on having Leonard (my bad, Samson) on the couch, so to speak. And while the revelation as to the psychiatrist’s identity wasn’t a shock, I think it was handled extremely well. I like how the situation mirrored that of Banner’s situation when Samson helped merge all of personalities. This didn’t turn out quite as well, though.

“I can’t end like this! It’s dumb!”
“No, lady, it’s doom! The great monkey of doom!”
Bufkin has been so amazing these past few issues of Fables. Who would have thought, right? Now that Willingham is writing JSA, how long do you think it’ll be before we see a crossover between Bufkin and Cyclone’s little pet monkey? But I digress. Gepetto still isn’t taken all that seriously in his attempts to be a leader (being followed by naked bodyguards probably doesn’t help), and Ozma pulls together some serious magic, as well as an old acquaintance of the Adversary. Let’s see what happens next, hmm?

Ohhh, Osborn is losing it and I am loving it. It’s great to finally have some sense about the Sentry’s powers, because getting his ass handed to him constantly while having the “power of a million suns” is pretty lame. I imagine Dark Avengers is going to be an extremely fun ride during The Siege.

Stuff That I Liked

I think I’m liking Necrosha more than Blackest Night. Rather than just being husks of dead friends and enemies, these are the actual characters who are resurrected. Some even feel conflicted about what they’re doing but are powerless to stop. And maybe it’s because this is smaller in scope than the line-wide DC crossover. Those tend to get watered down by all the issues that crossover into it. The only complaint I’ve got about this issue is the art. It’s good, it’s just too dark. I had a decent amount of trouble figuring out what was going on in the fight scenes and who some of the characters were.

I’m going to have to read The Unknown: The Devil Made Flesh again when this latest mini is completed. Right now, I understand what’s going on, but I’m going to want to go back and put the pieces together, because it’s still a tad confusing.

Okay, if a superhero can go ape-shit and start killing people all willy-nilly, then I guess a bad guy can grow a conscience and want to save the world. It looks like Incorruptible is going to be the companion piece to Irredeemable, and I like what’s happening so far. I didn’t even know the book was coming out. I just picked it up because of Waid’s name and while hit-and-miss at times, lately he’s been doing nothing but hitting.

I haven’t been reading any of the online reactions to Green Lantern Corps #43, but I imagine it’s set fire to many discussion boards. I liked all the stuff with Guy and thought it was very natural. I hope it doesn’t stick, but I thought it was logical in light of the circumstances. Since there wasn’t a big deal made about the previous issue, I should have guessed Kyle’s outcome. I think it’s a bit of a cheat, but I’ll see how it ultimately plays out.

Okay, I did NOT anticipate the end of Ex Machina this month. That was…I don’t know. That’s definitely not good for our hero. It was so shocking that I don’t really know how to react. Let’s hope there aren’t any Red Lantern rings floating around this version of New York, ‘cause I think Mayor Hundred is going to hand somebody and extreme ass-whooping.

Angel: Only Human was a bit of history lesson. We learn a bit more about why/when/how Gunn became a vampire hunter (I guess we can’t technically call him a slayer) and a bit about Illyria before she was reborn in Fred. Not much else to say, really.

I wasn’t too excited when this issue of Amazing Spider-Man started out, but once Pete started doing some sleuthing and made it to Sandman’s island, well, the issue ended well. After Electro’s power-up, I like Sandman’s new trick that the issue ended on.

Angel ALMOST felt like the show again. Brian Denham did a great job of capturing all of the actors’ likenesses, and Willingham did a great job capturing the personalities. I just don’t understand why Conner had to be shirtless and incredibly ripped. Is it part of the story to flaunt it?

Stuff That Was Meh

X-Men: Legacy (It was a decent enough storyline, but kind of a lot just to get Rogue to come back), Dark Wolverine (it was pretty to look at, but otherwise kinda boring), Daredevil (not a bad issue, just nothing worth mentioning), Captain America: Reborn (I know it’s supposed to be the journey and not the destination, and you pretty much knew where this trip was going to end anyways, but I feel kinda gypped already seeing Steve Rogers running around), Brave and the Bold (needed more, hell, ANY action), Batman (I just can’t get into it, not even with Dick wearing the cape and cowl), and Astonishing X-Men (the continuity kerfuffles [dead mutants/M-Day/Necrosha, Emma stuck in diamond form, Storm’s problems in Wakanda] were really keeping me from enjoying this. The artwork was nice, though).

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