Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Buy Pile for 11-9-11

Lite week this week. My wallet says thanks, but I am wary for next Wednesday...


It's Marvel Team-Up with a different name and starring Spider-Man every time. Marvel is taking advantage of Spidey's undying popularity and I cannot fault them for it. This book features the first ever team up of Spider-Man and Red Hulk. Not bad, not great. 3/5


This book is finally trying to go somewhere, and it saved itself from getting dropped by advancing the plot somewhat. You actually learn a little about Deathstroke's opponent and the motivation behind it. Staying on board for at least one more. 3/5

I thought this was a six issue mini-series and looked at this as a weak conclusion. As it turns out, this tale of a housewife hitwoman is ongoing. There was enough in the first arc to keep me around for one more, but Ennis needs to blow me away next month to warrant a $3.99 tag on this one. 3/5


Ugh. Geoff Johns attempts to put his precious Hal Jordan in peril in this book, and it's not working. Johns love Hal so much that he could only bear to write Hal as a suffering, hard luck hero for ONE ISSUE before giving him his powers back. He is subservient to Sinestro, but barely and halfway through the book, even that plot point is forgotten. PUT KYLE BACK IN THE MAIN BOOK!!!! 2/5


Tom Morello is trying to write a socially conscious story about a totalitarian government which enslaves it's subjects and it ruthless and cruel and dah da da da dah. Yadda yadda. I don't agree with a lot of Morello's thoughts on big government, but that doesn't stop the story from being enjoyable. It's nearly weighed down by all the rise up ramblings placed in the pages, but there does seem to be a direction here. I'm hesitant to say I like the book, but I do want to see where it goes. 3/5


Forgot to buy this one when it came out. Whoops. Sorry Hawkman. This is written by Tony S. Daniel, so the story doesn't make a lot of sense. Phillip Tan's art saves the hell out of this book. The visuals are striking and it makes up for inconsistent dialogue. I'm still on board the Hawkman Express. 3.5/5


Still digging this book. I like the sci-fi vibe that Scott Lobdell has brought to it and the presence of Caitlyn Farichild is still a neat bonus. Superboy is still struggling with whether he is a hero or not and there is an interesting tidbit about his genetic makeup that did not exist before. Thumbs up. 4/5

Unsurprisingly, this is still my book of the week/month/year. I really, really like Miles Morales as a reluctant hero. I just hope it doesn't take Bendis 10 years to allow him to develop some self conscious like it did with Ultimate Peter Parker. Miles has only just now ventured out as Spider-Man and he has not had much success in either of his outings. I love this book. Oh, and just to remind me of how emotional comics can be, the "Spider-Man saved me from a fire so I didn't die" line makes a return appearance in a flashback. Thanks, Bendis. I needed that tear jerker to make a comeback... 6/5. (Yes, this book has officially broken my scoring meter and earned a 6 out of 5.)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Shorter reviews than ever before. My Buy Pile for 11-2-11 (A.D.H.D. Edition)

This was a light week, at least as far as current comics go. As usual I I bought my share of DCnU books, a few Aspen and Image releases and an X-Men and Spider-Man book. This week I will just give a few comments about each book and an overall grade. It's becoming more and more clear which books of the DCnU are going to make the cut. I have already decided to drop Resurrection Man, which joins Blue Beetle and Supergirl in the reject pile. The problem is, for every DC book I've dropped, I've  managed to find a replacement title. I'm not saving one red cent yet. Hopefully the appeal of these relaunches fade fast.

Action Comics #3 - DC Comics

This issue was very, very Grant Morrisony. Decent, if you like weird Grant Morrison stuff. 3.5/5

Amazing Spider-Man #673 - Marvel Comics

Follow-up to Spider-Island. Ok stuff as an epilogue, but pales to the SI finale. 3/5

Blood Red Dragon #1 - Image Comics

A strange tale of how a real life Japanese singing sensation becomes a warrior fighting for the survival of mankind. The main character, Yoshiki, is a real dude. For weirdness alone, I give it a 4/5.

Charasmatic #0 - Aspen MLT

Queue up Rivers Cuomo and B.O.B., because this book has the magic in it. It's a 0 issue so it only serves to establish that there is both magic and magicians involved in this book. 3/5 

Executive Assistant Orchid #1 - Aspen MLT
Executive Assistant Orchid #2 - Aspen MLT
Executive Assistant Orchid #3 - Aspen MLT

This was a fun mini from the folks at Aspen. One of many "Executive Assistants" to mob bosses is also an assassin. Lots of dudes get killed. As one would expect from an Aspen book, all of the assassins are sexy ladies. 4/5

Justice League International #3 -DC Comics

Book of the week. Fun and engaging. Jurgens is doing great work making this one of the very select few humour books in the new 52. That said, it has a ton of action and is very fast paced and in your face. 5/5

Hawk and Dove #3 - DC Comics

At SDCC this year, writer Sterling Gates said he wrote Hawk and Dove to meet the strengths of his artist, Rob Liefeld. I didn't know what that meant until I saw that the villains have exactly the same costume as the heroes in this book. The gag is, Rob Liefeld draws every character exactly the same. Basically, Rob only has to draw two characters. Also there are a lot of gritted teeth. Despite all of that, I liked this book. 4/5

Last of the Greats #1 - Image Comics
Last of the Greats #2 - Image Comics

Strange and twisted tale of the sole remaining superpowered "saviour" of mankind. The only problem is, the saviour freaking hates all humans. Twists and turns abound. Reminiscent of Irredeemable. 4.5/5

Red Lanterns #3 - DC Comics

If anyone would have told me this would be my absolute favourite book with Lantern in the title prior to the relaunch, I would have laughed. Today, it is reality. It beats out New Guardians by a hair. 5/5

Stormwatch #3 - DC Comics

I don't want to like this book, but for some reason I keep coming back. Maybe it's because Justice League is so disappointing and this is a team book that introduced the entire team in one issue. It did that in one issue with 8 less pages than Justice League. Plus the villain has some weird sci-fi/fantasy vibe. Fun, but far from perfect. 3.5/5

Uncanny X-Men #1 - Marvel Comics

Yep, they're the Uncanny X-Men, yep Namor and Magneto are on the team. Yep, Emma Frost is still a bitch. Yes, they are actually calling themselves "The Extinction Team." Yes the writer, Kieran Gillen,  took a weird and out of place shot at the Iraq war. Unlike the slight dislike I wanted to hold toward Stormwatch, I want to HATE this book. Somehow I don't. 3.5/5

Monday, October 31, 2011

Bottomless pockets: My Buy Pile for 10-28-2011

This was another huge week for me, with 18 total books purchased. My comics budget is out of control thanks in large part to the DCnU 52. Try as I may, I am not able to trim many books from my monthly pull and it is weighing heavily on my budget. I know by issue 6 of most of the new series I will drop out, or at least wait for trades. In the meantime, however, I am forking over cash hand over fist to subsidise my comics addiction. I will be posting short opinions on my purchases this week below and in an upcoming update, I will review which books I will be keeping after issue 3 of the New 52.

Not all of my selections are from DC, however as Marvel and a couple indy publishers also made a few bucks from me this past Wednesday. The breakdown is as follows: 7 DC, 3 Marvel, 5 Aspen MLT, 2 Top Cow and 1 GG Studio comics. I decided to get caught up on Fathom as well as getting the first and zero issues of Lady Mechanika. Aspen really does have some interesting titles and I've enjoyed everything I've picked up from them. Everything beside those titles were current issues.

Before I get into my opinions on individual issues, I have to say my book of the week was Voodoo#2 by Ron Marz and Sami Basri. The last page reveal made me feel like I was 14 all over again and reminded me of why I love comics so much.

(In progress... Updating throughout the day)
Amazing Spider-Man #672 - Marvel Comics

This is how you close out a big crossover event. I was not a big fan of Spider-Island, but the conclusion was handled brilliantly. Dan Slott spun a web of perfection, allowing Peter Parker to reach his full potential. The titular character shines brightly proving that dark and edgy is not the only thing selling these days (pay attention DC.) Reccomended highly to any fan of comics. 5/5

Aquaman #2 - DC Comics

Everything that issue number one did right, this one seems to do wrong. The idea that the world at large views Aquaman as a joke is funny, but it really gets jammed down our throats here. A man interrupts himself while begging Aquaman for help to hurl a few broadsided insults at him. He then claims Aquaman saved his sisters life and she told him "everything" that he was capable of, then demonstrates in the next few panels that he has no idea what Aquaman's powers are. I do want to see where this story is going, but if the star is the butt of too many jokes, it will quickly become unreadable. 2.5/5

Blackhawks #2 - DC Comics

Mindless action and fun. Don't look for a ton of plot here as this is basically a bargain bin version of G.I. Joe. One of the elite team of super soldiers was infected with nanocites at the end of the first issue and we get some idea of what these tiny machines can do to the person they are inside. Continuing the streak of insane violence in the DCnU, a main character loses an arm. The story overall is still fun as The Blackhawks are facing an unknown terrorist threat and public exposure via the Internet. Reccomended for fans of G.I. Joe and the Go-Bots (K-Mart Transformers.) 3.5/5

Captain America and Bucky #623 - Marvel Comics

A quick one and done tale of Bucky and the Human Torch during World War II. Decent quick paced story follows a rebellious Bucky into a POW camp with a twist. Bucky and Toro quickly find themselves fighting for their lives. While the story was solid, it is completely skipable as the next arc in this series skips forward to the Winter Soldier era. 3/5

Dead Man's Run #0 - Aspen MLT

A very interesting prequel to a story where Hell is a very real, very invadible place on Earth. We get a glimpse into a world where guards are appointed to keep everyone who belongs in Hell in, and everyone else out. A very unfriendly picture is painted of the main character, and this seems to be shaping up to be a tale of redemption. I enjoyed, and will be sticking around for the next few issues at least. 4/5

Extinction Seed #0 - GG Studio

Another fun indy title from an Itallian company. GG Studio reminds me of Top Cow as most of their titles feature sexy ladies in the lead spots. This one was no different. Again this is a zero issue so we do not get a ton of background, but there is a lot here to get a new reader interested. This appears to be a somewhat political techno-thriller akin to The Bourne Identity. With a very low pricetag, at $1.99 this is a good pickup if you like techno-thrillers or sexy ladies. 4/5

Fathom #0 - Aspen MLT
Fathom #1 - Aspen MLT
Fathom #2 - Aspen MLT

I read these 3 issues together, and I'm glad I did. I was completely unfamiliar with Fathom, but Scott Lobdell does a great job of catching up any newcomers. The lead character, Aspen Mathews, is the offspring of two kingdoms from below the sea and she quickly becomes involved in preventing a war between the sea dwellers and those that live on dry land. The story is fun and breezes by. Reccomended for people who want to see fish-men try to assassinate the Vice-President. 4/5

The Flash #2 - DC Comics

Flash has been a pretty good title thus far. I'm not entirely sold on the army of clones, and I feel like that concept has been done better elsewhere. Aside from the lame villain, the character development is wonderful. Barry and Iris are very real people, and I want to know more about their relationship and where it is going. I would have to reccomend this to fans of strong character growth. 3.5/5

Green Lantern: New Guardians #2 - DC Comics

This is the best of the Green Lantern books, hands down. Kyle really starts to shine, and he gets an assist from Saint Walker. The Guardians are still aloof and unemotional, and they have done something wrong to Ganthet. Kyle gets yet another new suit, and I love it. Reccomended for folks who grew up with Kyle as their GL. 5/5

Justice League Dark #2 - DC Comics

I can't figure out if I like this book or not. I'm intrigued by it, but I'm not sure if I'm enjoying the experience. DC's magical realm is extensive and well fleshed out, but I really don't have any attachment to these characters. Dove guest star s in this issue, and you get more character development in her few guest pages than you will in the two issues of the title she stars in. Madam Xanadu's intentions are revealed on the last page. If you like magical characters, this book may be for you. I, however, may drop it in favor of saving a precious few dollars. 2/5

Lady Mechanika #0&1 Collected Edition - Aspen MLT

I am really enjoying this steampunk adventure. I did go out of sequence and read issue 2 first, but that didn't stop me from liking this issue. Be warned; this book is very dialouge heavy. The word count per page quadruples anything else I read this month. That said, the book manages to not tell more than it shows. A lot of content is packed into these pages. The artwork is beautiful and consistent. I reccomend this to fans of sci-fi and steampunk. 4/5

The Magdaelna #9 - Top Cow Productions

It is no secret that Ron Marz is my favorite comic book writer. As you may expect, I am biased toward this book. It has a well written, interesting and beautiful heroine, corrupt Catholics, monsters, a child that may or may not be the son of satan, amazing characterization and an intriuging storyline. Nelson Blake II is back on art duty after two fill in issues had to be done to get the book back on track and the art is stunning. 5/5

Teen Titans #2 - DC Comics

I'm enjoying most of Scott Lobdell's work in the DCnU and Teen Titans is no exception this month. I was a bit sceptical after the first issue, but I think this could turn out to be a fun book. A brand new character is introduced, Caitlyn Fairchild makes yet another appearance and we learn a few more tidbits about N.O.W.H.E.R.E. Red Robin and Cassie Sandsmark's relationship develops further. 4/5

Top Cow Pilot Season: The Beauty #1 - Top Cow Productions

Another of the Pilot Season books from Top Cow. Here we have an STD that makes people beautiful. Then after an indetermined amount of time, they spontaneously combust. Not surprisingly, both main characters introduced are afflicted by the disease. Predictible and semi-boring. This will likely not win the publication deal with Top Cow, so it can be skipped. 2/5

Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates #3 - Marvel Comics

Jonathan Hickman is clearly enjoying having an expendible version of the Avengers to play with. This run is far superior to anything Ultimates related over the past few years. This issue is one long knockdown, drag out battle. In the end, one Ultimate makes off to sacrifice himself for the good of both the team, and all of mankind. Quick and fun, but the $3.99 pricetag is a bit steep for 20 pages of lazer blasts. 3.5/5

Voodoo #2 - DC Comics

My clear cut book of the week if only for the promise of what the next issue brings. A villain who would be familiar to any mid 90's Green Lantern fans emerges on the first few pages. The FBI agent gets duped by Voodoo and the two have a confrontation later. Voodoo manages to slip away, only to have the last page reveal her next opponent. I won't spoil it, you'll have to read it. 5/5

Friday, October 21, 2011

So many comics this week... It was supposed to be a slow week!

I bought way, way too many books this week. Even with my trimmings of new 52 books, I still wound up purchasing about 12-13 books. This may be a small number to some, or an inflated number to others but I like to limit myself to about 5-7 books per week. DC, as usual, dominated my purchases as I purchased 11 DC, 1 Marvel, 1 Dark Horse and 1 book from Aspen MLT.

Yes, you read that correctly, I bought an Aspen MLT book. I took one look at the cover to Lady Mechanika #2, a steampunk comic, and immediately thought this is a book that I will enjoy. I purchased the book and ordered the number 1 and 0 issues off the Internet, hoping the series is as good as I want it to be. I have not read it yet, since I want to wait for the other issues to arrive. When they do arrive, I will post a review of the series so far.

In actuality, I have only read half of my books, so I will list my initial reviews below, and add the others later. First and foremost; my purchases...

Aquaman #1 (found a 1st printing and bought since I had to buy digital on release day)
Batman #2
Catwoman #2
Green Lantern Corps #2
Justice League #2
Lady Mechanika #2
Nightwing #2
Orchid #1
Red Hood and the Outlaws #2
Stormwatch #1
Stormwatch #2
Supergirl #2
Ultimate Hawkeye #3
Wonder Woman #2
X-Men: Regenesis #1

One Paragraph Reviews:

Batman #2 - Scott Snyder really gets Batman. I'm unfamiliar with his past work, but I'm absolutely loving what he's doing on this book. Lot's of intrigue and a new villainous society on the horizon indicates this book will be good for a long time to come. Snyder managed to make this a 20 page self contained story that adds a lot to the overall storyline. That's really a lost art in the age of six issue story arcs. It can be a challenge to make every issue count, but I can sum this one up by quoting Marv Albert, "It Counts!" 5/5

Catwoman #2 - I will start this off by saing I am a male in his 30's who doesn't at all mind looking at sexy ladies being sexy in comics. Catwoman's schtick in this book has been to use her body, literally and figuratively, against the male characters. While I don't mind that Catwoman is openly shagging Batman in penthouses around Gotham, maybe they Winick and March should leave that to our imaginations. Aside from that, I enjoyed this one. Catwoman is a theif and in the book, she steals something which comes back to bite her in the ass (figuratively.) Catburglar vs the Russain mob. Fun stuff. 3.5/5

Green Lantern Corps #2 - I want to like this book, much like I said in my previous review of Green Lantern. GLC is a book that features a ton of "should-be" interesting characters. That said, there were far too many panels full of dead bodies. At one point, the GL's are walking over the dead bodies as if traversing the Yellow Brick Road. I actually felt a bit queasy after those panels. We see a lot of dead bodies, a lot of "Grrrr Willpower" scenes and a new enemy is shown shrouded in darkness. This Green Lantern book is nearly as disturbing as Deathstroke. If this doesn't start making sense soon, I may drop it. I am holding out hope for GL: New Guardians later this month to save the franchise for me. 2/5

Justice League #2 - Nope, not doing it for me. Sorry, but this book reads like a bunch of Youtube comments. Justice League has historically been about a team of superheroes who united for a common task. This book is building toward the same result, but he heroes have to have a huge misunderstanding and a bitchin' fight scene first. Hit first, ask questions later. I don't like it. You have Superman and Green Lantern acting with all the maturity of two 12 year olds, Flash totally confused and akwardly introduced, and Victor Stone hundreds of miles away from the story kicking around Detroit. I like Victor's story and Batman as a voice of reason has it's charm. It's not enough to save the book from a below average rating though. Johns needs to step up the writing as I think Lee's artwork is quite good. This doesn't need to be a 90's style "extreme" book to succeed. It just needs to be good. 2/5

Nightwing #2 - Kyle Higgins gets Nightwing. Dick Grayson is a spoiled rotten kid that got to be a superhero as a child. He has all of the amenitites that a young man could ask for. He is also wanted for murder. More specifically, he is wanted by a guy who happens to be an acrobat with claws. We get more background on Dick as the issue progresses, meet some new characters from Dick's new past. Oh, and Dick has sex with a lovely lady. Lots of sex in the new 52 era. Another story that works on it's own while contributing to an overall arc. Great writing and the art is amazing. 4.5/5

Orchid #1 - Dark Horse comics presents a comic book by Rage Against the Machine and Nightwatchman guitarist Tom Morello. As you might guess, this book is a social commentary on the "machine" that is government and likens most regimes to dictatorships. It's set in a post apocalyptic distopia when the big evil governments have brought back slavery and prostitution is a way of life. Rebels challenge the government and are gunned down. Our hero, Orchid, is a hooker and an old hat at the trade as we see her schooling a newbie in her intro. She and a lone rebel survivor are abducted at the end, possibly to be used as slaves. I was glad the book didn't beat me over the head with politics. It's interesting enough to bring me back for another issue, but will have to blow me away to keep me coming back moving forward. 3/5

Red Hood and the Outlaws #2 - I admit, I bought this book to see what all the controversy was about. I read issue one, and I agree with the opinion that Starfire was written poorly. Yes, she was objectified and yes she was written to be a sex zombie. That said, was issue 2 any better? Yes, a little. Scott Lobdell has said that the Starfire is not mindless, but sarcastic. At one point in the first issue, Starfire says she has trouble telling Jason Todd and Roy Harper apart. People took this to mean that she had no sense of which human is which so she just sleeps with all of them. You find out in this issue that Jason Todd and Roy Harper are basically the exact same character (former sidekicks, bad attitudes, social issues, etc) and that is why they are hard to tell apart. They're essentially the same guy. Most of the tale in this one delves into Jason's past after being revived from the dead in a Lazarus Pit. His past literally comes back to haunt him as the villain in this issue are zombies of the assassin clan who cared for him post revival. I enjoyed, but wasn't thrilled. 3/5

Aquaman #1 - Still just as much fun the second time around. As stated earlier, I bought Aquaman digitally but picked it up in print form this week. Aquaman is characterized nicely in a small town story where the locals don't quite know the true story of Arthur Curry. Lots of fun interaction in a diner where Aquaman orders fish and chips for dinner. Where Geoff Johns has failed to nail the characterization in Justice League, he gets it right here. Fun read. 4/5

Stormwatch #1 - Picked this book up on a whim, and while I didn't hate it, I didn't exactly love it either. It's a rehash of the old Wildstorm characters from the Authority and for some reason, The Martian Manhunter is a part of the team. Our old friend J'onn has gone from being the conscious of the Justice League to an unscrupulous character who doesn't seem to mind hunting and killing supervillains. I miss old J'onn. The characters from the Authority play out true to form and Apollo and the Midnighter are still gay. 3/5

Stormwatch #2 - Same as above. More on the team and their mysterious origin. Oh and they fight the moon. Or at least an A.I. that has taken refuge on the moon... and can turn it into a giant claw. Oh, and there's a horned beast on Earth. I'm lost. 2/5

Supergirl #2 - Underwhelming tale of hit first, ask questions later. Supergirl is lost and alone on Earth and Superman shows up. Their first response to each other? Hit each other, HARD. Then they slowly start to learn that they are relatives, and each characters reaction is to not believe it and hit each other harder. Eventually Superman whoops Supergirl in her own book, and then he finally decides they should stop fighting. That is of course after this new whiny, punkish Superman won the fight. 1/5 DROPPED from my pull

Wonder Woman #2 - The lesbian undertones in this book are about as subtle as those in an episode of Xena: Warrior Princess. Other than that, the book delves deeper into the history of this new Paradise Island. We learn Diana's origin and find that her mother once again has blond hair. No horse beheadings in this one, but there are a lot of Amazon on Amazon fatalities when a new foe unleashes her strange powers. Ok, but not great. 3/5

Ultimate Hawkeye #3 - Ah, a Marvel book. Hawkeye teams with the characters from Ultimate Comics X to take on an entire society of supervillains. That should have been enough to fill the entire issue, but Hickman manages to throw in another flashback to Hawkeye's time as a criminal, pre-Ultimates. Decent stuff and there's no reason not to buy this issue if you read the first two. 3/5

X-Men: Regenesis #1 - I didn't want to get into the X-Men relaunch as I buy too many books as it is, but I picked this up because I'm an impulse buyer. I wasn't upset with the purchase. Kieran Gillen frames the story of the X-Men choosing sides, post Schism, with a fight between caveman versions of Cyclops and Wolverine. As the two negotiate with the X-Men and force them to pick sides, primal versions of them show up to cheer on the caveman version of their faction of choice. Very interesting setup for what is to come for the 616 X-Men. 4/5

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My buy pile - New 52 Edition

I have compiled a list of the DC New 52 titles that I have purchased, starting with the number 1 issues. I will list those below, followed by the titles I dropped after 1. After that, I will ist titles that are "on the bubble," meaning I will buy the second issue but may not follow to the third. Finally, I will list my keepers. The keeper books are safe through issue 3, but I guarantee nothing past issue 6. At some point, I will have to add a "wait for the trade" section as even 11 DC titles will strain my monthly budget soon.

First, the purchases:

ACTION COMICS #1 Grant Morrison and Rags Morales
AQUAMAN #1 Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis  
BATGIRL #1 Gail Simone, Ardian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes  
BATMAN #1 Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo
BLACKHAWKS #1 Mike Costa and Ken Lashley  
BLUE BEETLE #1 Tony Bedard and Ig Guara
CATWOMAN #1 Judd Winick and Guillem March
DEATHSTROKE #1 Kyle Higgins, Joe Bennett and Art Thibert
FLASH #1 Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul
GREEN ARROW #1 JT Krul and Dan Jurgens  
GREEN LANTERN #1 Geoff Johns, Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy  
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #1 Peter J. Tomasi, Fernando Pasarin and Scott Hanna  
GREEN LANTERN NEW GUARDIANS #1 Tony Bedard, Tyler Kirkham and Batt
HAWK AND DOVE #1 Sterling Gates and Rob Liefeld
JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 Geoff Johns and Jim Lee
JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #1 Peter Milligan and Mikel Janin  
JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #1 Dan Jurgens and Aaron Lopresti
NIGHTWING #1 Kyle Higgins and Eddy Barrows
RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #1 Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort  
RED LANTERNS #1 Peter Milligan, Ed Benes and Rob Hunter  
RESURRECTION MAN #1 Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Fernando Dagnino  
SAVAGE HAWKMAN #1 Tony Daniel and Philip Tan
SUPERBOY #1 Scott Lobdell and R.B. Silva and Rob Lean  
SUPERGIRL #1 Michael Green, Mike Johnson and Mahmud A. Asrar  
SUPERMAN #1 George Pérez and Jesus Merino
TEEN TITANS #1 Scott Lobdell, Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund  
VOODOO #1 Ron Marz and Sami Basri
WONDER WOMAN #1 Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang

Of those 28 titles, I dropped:

BATGIRL #1 Gail Simone, Ardian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes
BLUE BEETLE #1 Tony Bedard and Ig Guara  
SUPERGIRL #1 Michael Green, Mike Johnson and Mahmud A. Asrar
GREEN ARROW #1 JT Krul and Dan Jurgens
SUPERMAN #1 George Pérez and Jesus Merino

Titles I purchased issue 2 of (or will purchase), but are on the bubble for dropping:

CATWOMAN #1 Judd Winick and Guillem March
DEATHSTROKE #1 Kyle Higgins, Joe Bennett and Art Thibert
JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 Geoff Johns and Jim Lee
JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #1 Peter Milligan and Mikel Janin
RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #1 Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort  
RESURRECTION MAN #1 Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Fernando Dagnino
TEEN TITANS #1 Scott Lobdell, Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund

My keepers:

ACTION COMICS #1 Grant Morrison and Rags Morales
AQUAMAN #1 Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis
BATMAN #1 Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo
BLACKHAWKS #1 Mike Costa and Ken Lashley  
DEATHSTROKE #1 Kyle Higgins, Joe Bennett and Art Thibert
FLASH #1 Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul
GREEN LANTERN #1 Geoff Johns, Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy  
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #1 Peter J. Tomasi, Fernando Pasarin and Scott Hanna  
GREEN LANTERN NEW GUARDIANS #1 Tony Bedard, Tyler Kirkham and Batt
HAWK AND DOVE #1 Sterling Gates and Rob Liefeld
JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #1 Dan Jurgens and Aaron Lopresti
NIGHTWING #1 Kyle Higgins and Eddy Barrows
RED LANTERNS #1 Peter Milligan, Ed Benes and Rob Hunter
SAVAGE HAWKMAN #1 Tony Daniel and Philip Tan
SUPERBOY #1 Scott Lobdell and R.B. Silva and Rob Lean  
VOODOO #1 Ron Marz and Sami Basri  
WONDER WOMAN #1 Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang

My most notable bubble title is Justice League since it is considered the flagship new 52 title. The problem is that Justice League International is so much better and it gives me a team fix that is better than what is found in JL or Teen Titans. I have active subscriptions to Action Comics and Green Lantern, so they will be dropped from my pull. Hawk and Dove needs to blow me away to bring me bsack for issue 4, so it may be on the bubble next month. Superboy is my surprise like of the new 52 and has earned a big spot at the top of my reccomend list. Hawkman and Aquaman are 2 fringe titles that I might like the idea of the characters better than the execution, but they stay for the time being. All GL books are safe, but since Kyle is my favorite, only New Guardians is guaranteed to keep me coming back monthly. Action Comics, Batman and Wonder Woman give me a book of each of the big trinity in DCnU while tiles like Blackhawks and Voodoo give me something more obscure.

All in all, I went from buying two DC books per month to somewhere between 11-17. It's a big win for DC, as they are making more revenue, but it has also pulled me back into a hobby that I was only a few bad issues away from giving up entirely. I am interested to see my buy pile around issue 6 of these new series. Hopefully the subsequent books will not disappoint.

Friday, October 14, 2011

To Buy or Not to Buy

Books released on October 12

My Purchases:

Ultimate Spider-Man #3
Ultimate X-Men #2
Green Lantern #2
Superboy #2
Deathstroke #2
Resurrection Man #2
Amazing Spider-Man #671
Top Cow Pilot Season: City of Refuge #1
Jennifer Blood #5

1 Paragraph Reviews

Ultimate Spider-Man #3 - This is my favorite title this year. Great book; deep and interesting characters, well written and beautifully drawn. Lots of character development and we delve deeper into the mind of Miles Morales. The new Spider-Man has not even taken on the Spider-Man mantle yet, and I'm all aboard. Highest possible recommendation. 5/5

Ultimate X-Men #2 - Interesting stuff here. All mutants in the Ultimate Universe are being herded into concentration camps. A handful of X-Men and a former member of the Fantastic Four are fighting back. An old "friend" returns to the fold and the X-Men's unlikely leader takes charge. Recommended for fans of the X-Men that want something VERY different from what the 616 titles have to offer. 3.5/5

Green Lantern #2 - I expected to hate this book. Hal Jordan has become childish and hopeless. Sinestro is Green Lantern. The first book did not meet my expectations. Somehow, halfway through this book, it got better, but only by undoing what should have made this story arc interesting. This book is clearly for readers with very short attention spans. 3/5

Superboy #2 - Some interesting facts about Caitlyn Fairchild, Rose Wilson, Superboy and Project N.O.W.H.E.R.E. come to the surface in this issue. A huge reveal about Fairchild is made on the first few pages. More odd interaction between Superboy and Rose. A lot of fun action in this one. I recommend at least giving it a look. 4/5

Deathstroke #2 - I don't know what they are trying to accomplish with this book. It is VERY violent and lacks direction. This entire issue could have been done in three pages. About 15 pages were devoted to Deathstroke violently killin' dudes (and dames.) If all they wanted to do was show Deathstroke was merciless and unscrupulous, all they needed to do was have an editorial note referring to issue #1. Recommended for people who like to see one dude killin' 40 dudes. 2/5

Resurrection Man #2 - Disjointed, but still fun. The amnesiac, undying main character does some self discovery and gets hunted by a pair of ladies with big guns. We get some more background info on the Resurrection Man and the story advances somewhat. If you enjoyed the first book, you'll probably enjoy this one. It's more of the same. I fear that may be a constant throughout the series though. For now, I will be cautiously optimistic. 3/5

Amazing Spider-Man #671 - A fun, but wordy continuation of the Spider-Island storyline. I am not personally enjoying this arc as much as most, but I admit that it has merit. This is a good setup issue moving toward the finale. Heroes gain ground on the villain, only to end up two steps back at the end. Fans of the storyline shouldn't be disappointed. 3.5/5

Top Cow Pilot Season: City of Refuge #1 - The second book of Top Cow's 2011 Pilot Season was a good, detailed read. All of these Pilot Season books have to be packed with information and end on a cliffhanger to pull you in and get your vote. City of Refuge does that, but I'm not entirely sold on it. Generic detective story set in a future akin to the one in the movie 'Equilibrium.' Emotionless people gain access to a drug that allows them to feel emotion, and crime breaks out in the "Utopia." I would recommend this to folks who enjoyed 'Equilibrium.' 2.5/5

Jennifer Blood #5 - Hack n' slash about a suburbanite mother and housewife that moonlights as a masked vigilante. For a Garth Ennis book, this one is light on the typical schlock he likes to throw in. It's a tale of revenge as Jennifer's motive for hunting down an entire crime family is fully revealed. This title is ultra-violent, as is most of Ennis's work, but without much of his usual smarm. No Ennis work would be complete without a sexual predator surfacing at the end of the book. It's a fun read, but by no means a good one. Guilty pleasure all the way. 3/5

Monday, October 10, 2011

Holy Terror, it's The Magdalena!

Top Cow Productions, Inc.
"The Magdalena: Volume 1"
Written by Ron Marz
Art by Nelson Blake II

Ron Marz has written this story before, and he admits to it in the afterward in the back of the trade. That fact doesn't stop this from being a great read. A satanic cult is trying to summon Satan into our world to remake it in his image and only The Magdalena can stand in their way. Marz wrote this story in Witchblade a few years back, but it was always meant for this character, and it pays off so much better than the previous.

The Magdalena, named Patience, is a decendant of Mary Magdalene, and is the Catholic Church's most powerful warrior against the armies of Hell. She is enlisted by Cardinal Innocent to hunt down a child who is believed to be the Son of Satan. Armed with the Spear of Destiny and accompanied by a Knight in the Catholic Inquisition named Kristof, she sets off not to do what is dictated to her by the church, but to do what is right. Patience is rebelious and only goes along with the Church's bidding because she doesn't believe anyone else would do the right thing.

What follows is a great battle of morality where the reader is led down a path that seems definite, making her decision in the end seem simple. Since I will make this write-up spoiler free, I won't reveal what happens but suffice it to say the end is not as clear cut as it seems. What you get in return is a very rich and deep character that is not willing to be a puppet of the Church (who may or may not have the best intentions) but a true voice of good in the battle of good versus evil. Interactions between Patience and Kristof, who has become her mentor, are a lot of fun. It is not the burgeoning romance that one would expect but a very professional one. Kristof is also shown to have a similar moral compass to Patience's and the two just work together so well.

The Magdalena is the latest title in a number of books that Ron Marz has cleaned up for Top Cow. A costume that was once overly sexy, especially for a character linked to the Catholic Church, has been toned down and molded into one of the most asthetically appealing in comics. The red and black costume complete with cloak, and armor look amazing on the page. Nelson Blake II's art is beautiful and should not be missed. Every page was a pleasure to look at and I cannot wait for more.

Issues 1-6 were collected in volume 1 and issues 7 and 8 are on shelves now. 9 and 10 should be out on schedule so this is a perfect time to jump on board. The title is self contained, so no knowledge of the Top Cow universe is required. I highly reccomend giving this one a look, even if you might have doubts about the religous tones. You will not be beaten over the head by them, and they are only as subjective as any ghost story.

I will have further reviews up when I read issues 7 and 8. I am also reading through Artifacts, another book by Marz that encompasses the entire Witchblade/Darkness/Angelus universe. I will have a review on that series up soon as well.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

An Ultimate Success

I decided to put off my reviews of the individual issues of the DCnU relaunch and take a look at what Marvel is doing with the Ultimate Line.

I will preface this by stating that I am a DC fan first, but I still enjoy the products coming from the House of Ideas. Marvel has done this right, especially when compared to the abysmal relaunch of the Ultimate line just two years ago. Instead of springing from a cataclysmic, world changing event, it is the death of Ultimate Peter Parker that put the wheels in motion.

Ultimate Fallout set the stage with several disjointed events taking place in a small window. Peter's funeral was handled beautifully. I have to say I nearly teared up when the little girl told Aunt May that Spider-Man saved her from a fire. Then Captain America's confession that it was his fault Peter was shot justifiably sent her over the edge. We are then given insight into the remaining Ultimates, X-Men and Pietro Maximoff. Pietro has taken over his father's mantle as top mutant with ill-intentions and is brokering deals to use mutants as slaves. We get a look at Miles Morales as Spider-Man, who is lambasted by a crowd of lookers-on for wearing Peter's suit as he takes down the Kangaroo. The series closes with the announcement that Captain America has quit due to his grief.

Fast forward a few weeks, and the relaunch begins proper. The first thing Marvel did correctly was launch with three regular series and one mini. The main event titles will once again build the foundation of the universe as Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate X-Men and The Ultimates are the chosen three. An Ultimate Hawkeye 4 issue arc rounds out the line.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man:

By Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli

A daring move, subject to much criticism and ignorance, was to kill off Peter Parker and replace him with a minority. Miles Morales, a half Puerto Rican/ half Black teenager is bit by a genetically engineered spider, and starts to develop "Spider-Powers." For all intents and purposes, this is very much a Spider-Man book. However, a great deal of social issues can now be addressed since we have a minority character.

Miles is shown to have caring parents, working to give him every opportunity. By sheer luck of the draw, they are able to get him enrolled into a prestigious charter school. Miles is shown to be visibly upset, not because he got in, but because everyone else could not. This was an interesting moment where you learn a lot about the character in a single panel.

Miles decides to visit his uncle, who unbeknownst to him is a criminal name The Prowler. The uncle stole the spider from Oscorp that would eventually bite Miles and turn him into Spider-Man, but a lot more happens in the exchange. Miles father arrives and screams at him, exclaiming that he is not allowed to be around his uncle. The father then goes off on his Miles' uncle, (his brother) telling him to stay out of Miles's life. Miles storms out, running away from the scene only to wind up turning invisible. The issue ends on that note.

Marvel knew they were taking a big risk in making one of their flagship characters a minority. It certainly made Glenn Beck angry. So angry that he threw out a gay slur and took a jab at Michelle Obama in the process. Marvel wanted a character that would sell to a diverse crowd, ya know because lots of people read comics and might want a Spider-Man that appeals to them. Mr. Beck seemed to feel that the First Lady somehow had something to do with this character. Heaven forbid Blacks and Latinos have a role model to look up to.

At a time when the comic book industry is struggling to stay afloat, it is important to pull in as diverse an audience as can be. Everybody needs a hero they can look up to and judging by the way Ultimate Spider-Man is shaping up, he will turn out to be the kind of hero anyone can aspire to be regardless of race.

I will touch on some of the other Ultimate books in a future update.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

DC Universe Relaunch - Month 1 Reviewed

I have fallen quite behind on my first blog post as I expected to review each week of the DC relaunch. Since the first month has now come and gone, I will select a few of my favourite, and least favourite of the bunch. I will pick (in my opinion) the best and worst book of each week, totalling 8 reviews this post. Before I get into that, I will evaluate the reboot as a whole.

As we all know by now, DC Comics relaunched their entire Universe with 52 #1 issues, beginning with Justice League #1. The issue was below average. Far below average. It is a story set five years before the new continuity began, but you wouldn't know that as a reader unless you were following message boards, sitting in on Panels at San Diego Comic Con, or Geoff Johns and Jim Lee themselves. At no point in the issue do they setup any type of timeline.

This plot fail is a trend followed in many of the books that followed. Action Comics, for example, takes place ten years before the new continuity and again you are not warned this is the case. Many characters are thrown at you in rapid succession with no explanation of who they are or where they came from.

The point of this relaunch was to make all 52 books accessible to new readers. Only a select few of the books seemed to subscribe to this promise. If I was new to Justice League, given the characterisation of Green Lantern, I would have assumed he was a 12 year old boy in the body of a 20 year old. Superboy reintroduces Caitlyn Fairchild, a character from Gen 13, as a regular character. Why is she significant? A new reader would have no idea. In the DCnU, she has no powers and looks like an ordinary woman. Before the relaunch, she was a ridiculously enhanced powerhouse. New readers would totally miss this plot point.

The aforementioned usage of Fairchild is a neat homage to the readers who may be coming back to comics after taking some time off, but again new readers are left in the cold. Red Lanterns was one of the most 90's-esque "XTREME" books, but it was also one that had a lot of backstory and insight to the characters. I found that strange that one of the most accessible books could be one of the most disappointing.

I found myself asking why the books meant for new readers were so lackluster. Are the writer's that bad? Are the established creative teams that bad at building a story from scratch? Or was this whole project done haphazardly? Could it be that DC at one point was going to be smart and launch with say 20 books instead of 52?

Some of these books seem to have had a lot more development time than others. It makes me wonder how many books were cobbled together within weeks of the deadline to get these things out. I can't imagine DC has high hopes that even 50% of these titles will survive. The problem is, only like 30% of the books are good. The crazier part is, most of the good books are second and third tier titles.

Resurrection Man was good, whereas Detective Comics (DC's flagship title) was pretty bad. Ressurection Man was a brief miniseries in the 90's that was brought back for the relaunch for reasons only DC knows. Detective Comics has been published monthly since the 1930's. Why was the latter title allowed to be so bad?

As of now, DC has earned a C- on the relaunch. I would drop them to a D, but the titles I have enjoyed, I enjoyed a great deal. I believe if they had maybe started with 10 books and expanded slowly, rather than saturate the market, they would have hit more home runs. I already plan to drop a great deal of the books of which I purchased this month. I've been planning on adding a bunch of indy stuff to my pull list and a lot of these DC titles are going to get burnt to make room.

Since this ran a bit long, I will do a separate update later this week on the individual book reviews. I will also be commenting on the Ultimate relaunch as well as Top Cow's impending relaunch after their universe gets rebooted in Artifacts.

Stay awesome out there!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Welcome to The Wednesday Funnies

Hello reader. Welcome aboard the runaway train that is The Wednesday Funnies. The purpose of this blog is for it to be a place for me to post my opinions, reviews and vent my frustrations on comic books and the industry that creates them. I've been reading comics going on twenty years now, and like most bloggers had ambitions to in some way become a creator. Since I cannot draw and don't exactly have a slew of artists lining up to draw the multitude of ideas I've come up with over the years, I will stick to reviewing the work of the people who have been so fortunate.

Comic books are a misunderstood medium. The belief still exists that each week we are running to the comic shops to buy stories of heroes helping children pull cats down from trees. What many people are missing is that comics encompass racial relations, political intrigue, religious debate and the classic right versus wrong. Many of the stories told in comics can only be done in such a format because they are both a visual and literary vehicle. The ability to split story telling two-fold is not a weakness, but a strength.

I will be reviewing several new release books each week. I intended to start this blog along with the relaunch of both the DC and the Ultimate universes but fell sadly short of that goal. As I am three weeks behind, I will be working feverishly to get caught up to the current week. There will be several reviews coming over the next several days, but from that point forward I will pick about 4-6 books a week and post one review detailing the lot.

If you have somehow stumbled onto my blog, I hope you will stay tuned. There will be plenty of content to follow.