Wednesday, November 3, 2010

November Comic Book Update

I really want to write about comics. That’s fortunate considering I need an article for Wednesday, the day I only occasionally manage to make comic book themed.

So here’s another one of those sporadic updates where I run down how the books in my pull are, quality-wise. Sorry I don't have any pretty pictures today. My November malaise has rendered me too tired to scan or even Google.

Invincible Iron Man – I’m still digging this one and excited about seeing the Mandarin reestablished as a badass menace.
I also picked up the extra-fancy Extremis hardcover. I really liked the story, but it pisses me off to no end when publishers reprint or collect comic books in sizes that are not comic book sized. The thing is too small and I found it mildly irritating to read. I haven’t watched the motion comic yet because I can’t get past the idea that motion comics are a little fucking stupid.

Batman & Robin – The end of issue 15 gave me a boner. A big ol’ “Grant Morrison is amazing when he is on” boner. So yeah, that’s a boner courtesy of a dude.

GI Joe – While I never doubted Chuck Dixon’s long-term plans with IDW’s GI Joe title, it was slightly frustrating waiting to get to where we are now. Now that we’re there, though, it is hugely satisfying. Seriously, if you were waiting for the action to pick up to start reading the new Joe stuff; now is the time. The art is solid and never too cartoony and the writing is very good, if a bit decompressed. Dixon gets what GI Joe is all about. These are starting to feel like the old Special Missions issues (I always felt those were more procedure-oriented); just with a single, overarching story.

Curse of the Mutants – This continues to be entertaining. I love that Marvel reprinted the first meeting between the X-Men and Dracula for the X-Men versus Vampires comics. I'm not sure I see how Wolverine can become a vampire, but I'm sure he's not really anyway.

GI Joe – A Real American Hero – I haven’t read the new one yet, but I stand by what I said last time: this is only for the hardest of hardcore Joe fans. If you can’t get past 80’s-style storytelling to enjoy a property you love, skip it.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – I find I actually like this one more the stranger it gets. I am very excited about the return to Sunnydale and the approaching conflict with the Master.

Batman: Odyssey – I dropped it. Bat-shit crazy. Adams can illustrate anything he wants, but keep him away from words.

Green Lantern & GL Corps – Very solid. I’m rapidly losing interest in Brightest Day, but both of these titles are solid.

Batman – They’re going to need a good hook to keep me buying this one once Batman, Inc. and Batman: The Dark Knight start up. 701 & 702 were awesome Morrison-penned fill-ins of the time gaps in Final Crisis and 703 is one of many lead-ins to the actual return of Bruce Wayne. After this, I’m going to need some substance to convince me to keep buying.

Detective Comics – Dropped it. I have absolutely hated this whole fucking “Fake Jokers vs. Fake Batmans” storyline pretty much since it started. I just kept forgetting to take it off of my list. I finally just put it back last week and told my Friendly Neighborhood Comic Clerk, “No more”.

Scarlett – This title is so fucking good I’m going to have to go back and find collections of Bendis and Maleev’s previous collaborations. I’m a huge fan of Bendis’ solo-character titles and have loved what I’ve seen of Maleev’s work. Scarlett has sold me on the team.
That’s exactly what I wrote last time because there hasn’t been another issue yet.

Batgirl – This is a great, fun title that I look forward to reading every month. You’re really missing out if you’re skipping this one. I’m really looking forward to the Smallville episode that Bryan Q. Miller (Batgirl’s writer) wrote.

Brightest Day – Despite my expectations, I like the new Aqualad. I even dig his origin story. It looks like this book is going somewhere pretty interesting, and you know I love that Boston Brand is basically our tour guide, but we need to giddyup here. It seems like about three things happen in each issue and that’s kind of lame.

Hack/Slash – My First Maniac was a tremendous way to jumpstart this great horror series again. I think it is probably a good idea for Tim Seeley to plan on just doing miniseries rather than any kind of ongoing title. The most important thing about Hack/Slash is that he avoid getting in any shitty artist ruts like he did the first time around.

X-Factor – Best characters in comics right now. This should be the next great comic book show. Sadly, that’ll never happen.

Ultimate Spider-Man – I love the new artist. I can’t think of her name right now, but she is just a tad less cartoony than Bagley. I’m hoping they just go back to the original numbering after the next issue.

Birds of Prey – I am thoroughly enjoying Gail Simone’s newest Birds title. I dig Oracle and Black Canary when they’re written well, and that is most definitely the case here.

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne – Issue #5 was waaay late. Like, so late that we have the classic multi-title story issue where a critical part of the narrative is coming out after chapters that should follow it. This is apparently due to artist deadline issues. I am not overly familiar with Ryan Sook’s art. The only thing keeping me from making rude comments about how I don’t understand why he of all people should have deadline issues is that for all I know he had family issues or got ill or something. Someone else penciled the last nine pages of number five and I kind of feel like they should have done the whole thing in the first place. Still, this was another very solid issue that took a couple of reads to wrap my head around. I look forward to reading the whole story in one sitting.

Bruce Wayne: The Road Home – This is a series of one-shots involving the various members of Batman’s extended family, as well as some enemies. I’m not going to give anything away because I went in not having any idea what it was all about and was pleasantly surprised by what was inside. Just know this: Start with Red Robin and end with Ra’s Al Ghul. And if you haven’t read them yet, wait until Return of Bruce Wayne #6 comes out if you can stand to. This is the story that takes place after that. It may well be after Batman & Robin #16 too, I’m not sure.
The Road Home is just as engaging as the Morrison stuff, but more traditional and accessible storytelling-wise. I give Fabian Nicieza most of the credit for this. He wrote most of the issues and it made me remember why he used to be one of my favorite writers. I’m going to have to dig out all my old Robin comics now.

The Walking Dead – I am never super-excited to read TWD, but once I open it I am engrossed. This is without a doubt the strongest ongoing comic I have ever followed. There has never been a weak issue and you are always left wanting more without feeling dissatisfied. Kirkman deserves all the acclaim he gets for this one. I hope that man makes enough off of the show (which, judging by the premiere is going to be outstanding and hugely successful) to buy a gold house or something.

Star Wars stuff – I hate to lump Dark Horse’s Star Wars titles together, but chances are you don’t care about them. That’s a shame, because they’re really good. I have only recently discovered the ridiculous amount of internet hatred towards the Expanded Universe (courtesy of the almost universally douchy io9 commenters), and I really don’t understand it. The Fett miniseries is cool and is giving some more interesting background on our favorite (unless you’re Darth Pete) bounty hunting family. Invasion is still great. I’m glad they’re doing a series of minis rather than an ongoing or adapting the books. We already know what happened in the books – it’s nice to have fresh stories about a familiar (and in my case favorite) event.

Until next time, stay creepy

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