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Comic Round-Up: Week of March 11, 2015

Comic Round-Up: Week of March 11, 2015

It’s been a while since I posted. The reason: I’ve been busy. I never got around to even reading the comics that I picked up until this past weekend, days after everyone else. Also, with the ones I picked up this week, nothing really stood out as worthy of a standalone post. So, instead, here are all of the comics I picked up last week at my LCS (for those in Winnipeg, be sure to check out Cover to Cover – they’ll take care of you). A round-up, if you will, of what I am reading – alphabetically, not in order of favouritism.

All-New X-Men 37

All-New X-Men 37

All-New X-Men #37
Marvel Comics
Brian Michael Bendis, Mike Del Mundo
I have a feeling that with Bendis’ departure from the X-Universe that this title may be cancelled. I guess that all depends on what happens during timelines and worlds being jumped during and post Secret Wars. But I have (for the most part) enjoyed this book. One thing with Bendis is that he focuses on the smaller events as well as the bigger ones for characterization. This is one of those issues, with Emma teaching Jean more about her powers, and showing her that Xavier had actually held her back from day one. It’s not the biggest action-packed story, but it did have some and it was enough. This issue reminded me a lot of the classic Claremont era, where there were always lessons to learn and sometimes a one-off that still progressed the story did that. Although not the best issue of this title, this was a damn good issue.

Amazing Spider-Man 16

Amazing Spider-Man 16

Amazing Spider-Man #16
Marvel Comics
Dan Slott, Christos Gage, Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba
The first issue after everything Spider-Verse is done. Dan Slott has a co-writer in Christos Gage for this issue, and I’m guessing it’s to let him catch his breath after the ‘Verse events. And he needs it. It was a lot of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff. Not the best crossover ever, but not bad. And it wasn’t overdone. The cover mentions “Peril at Parker Industries”… but there was no peril. I’m seeing that a lot now – the covers, while trying to be somewhat relevant to the story, has nothing to do with it. Based on the conclusion of the issue, this cover may be better suited for the next issue where the peril actually comes into play. This is just the lead-up. A good lead-up, mind you, but the cover just was not as relevant. This issue also had a backup story of the Black Cat. It tied into the main story a little (in a side-camera type of way) but it was enjoyable. I am looking forward to see where this goes, as I like this new boss-style Black Cat that Slott has introduced since Amazing returned.

Amazing Spider-Man Special #1

Amazing Spider-Man Special #1

Amazing Spider-Man Special #1
Marvel Comics
Jeff Loveness, Luca Pizzari, Nolan Woodard
This is part 1 of a 3 part story across a handful of specials. It was not bad, but not great either. Right now, Marvel has a HUGE focus on the Inhumans for a number of reasons. The story is not bad, and may seem better once the final chapters are in. It’s hard to gauge an issue on the first arc, and this whole issue is just the first arc in a story. I just find it hard to believe that Spider-Man has never encountered the Inhumans before… Oh wait! He has! In 1973, in an issue of Marvel Team-Up. The world has not been retconned yet so he should remember… At least Gorgon who was there (I don’t think Medusa was there). Although I am pretty sure he met her a long time back (time to hunt down the Marvel Masterworks on my shelf…) So elements of this just don’t fly. Marvel, you have not removed your history yet – the fact that Spider-Man didn’t know these guys – AT ALL – is bad. Had he just been like “It’s been a while…” that would be different. Even with all that, did not see the villain coming. That part you surprised me on, so that’s good. Now hopefully a certain level of continuity is maintained for the next parts of the story (at least until it gets wiped out, most likely… Do I sound bitter?).

Batman Eternal #49

Batman Eternal #49

Batman Eternal #49
DC
Snyder, Tynion IV, Higgins, Fawkes, Seeley, Blanco
This series is coming to an end soon and unlike the other weeklies I am kind of sad. This is the Batman title that I have enjoyed the most over the last little while. The story progresses, it has a great supporting cast (and introduced some new supporting members we see in the monthlies as well), and it still maintained just a little bit of mystery throughout. The supporting cast is around (except for Dick and Damian), but everyone else is there including some newbies. The biggest gripe of this issue: the cover gave away the last page. It had nothing to do with the story until the last. Freaking. Panel. This cover may have been more suitable for the next issue, based on that last panel, and so it just seemed to not suit the story at all. But that is the only gripe of this issue for me.

Bill & Ted's Most Triumphant Return #1

Bill & Ted’s Most Triumphant Return #1

Bill & Ted’s Most Triumphant Return #1
BOOM! Studios
Brian Lynch, Jerry Gaylord, Whitney Cogar
For those who are fans of the movies, this issue does get the spirit of Bill and Ted together. It is a continuation of the 2nd flick, as characters like Station and Death are still hanging around. The downside is that some characters from the 2nd flick are still hanging around, like the robot Bill & Ted. Take the good with the bad, I guess. This is the first issue of a 6 issue miniseries and, although fun, the story in its entirety is not having me rush to add the subsequent issues to my pull list. It’s not a bad issue, but the main story is too short for a miniseries – and that’s to make room for a backup story as well, by a different creative team, and it kind of took me out of the flow. Don’t get me wrong – it was a fun read. I probably could not recommend it for everyone as a standalone issue, maybe after a few issues are in print and you read them all in one go or in a trade.

Coffin Hill #16

Coffin Hill #16

Coffin Hill #16
DC/Vertigo
Caitlin Kittredge, Inaki Miranda, Eva de la Cruz, Travis Lanham
There is a lot of talk about female creators in comics these days. For those looking for a unique story from a female writer, you should definitely check out this series. This issue is part 2 of a 2-parter, so maybe not the best issue to jump into this series, but it does seem to be setting up a future arc. The visuals and the story take me back to classic horror comics of old – not always too gory, but just that creepy vibe that always lingered around. It’s still a Vertigo title, though, so the language is not always suitable for younger readers. But even still, it’s a solid read and one of the few series that I look forward to seeing what they do each issue. If they keep future stories like this one, I will definitely be happy.

Earth-2: World's End #23

Earth-2: World’s End #23

Earth-2: World’s End #23
DC
Too many creators
The weeklies for DC are coming to an end. Thank God. Although I was excited for this series, as I loved Earth-2, it’s been too… meh. The story crosses over with Earth-2, and for readers of both on a week that they are both out, which do you read first? There is no order to things. Future’s End is in the future and does not tie in to other titles, which is its strength. The multiple versions of Barda and the New Gods here, crossed over with Future’s End, is just confusing. And, with the Future’s End title showcasing refugees from Earth-2 in about 5 years, we know how this series ends. It’s rather anticlimactic, I’m sorry to say. Seeing Kara wear the S is nice. I like this Alan Scott. I like this new Superman and Red Tornado. But I will be happy when this series is over, as they tried to do too much and the interest in the characters is now waning. Sorry, DC; because of what this series has done to these characters I won’t even be picking up the new Earth-2 book post-Convergence.

Green Lantern Corps #40

Green Lantern Corps #40

Green Lantern Corps #40
DC
Van Jensen, Bernard Chang, Mirko Colak
The final issue of the series. This is one of the titles not making the Convergence cut (although a variant of it will return). It is a nice ending to John Stewart’s story in the GL Corps series, without ending him. It showcased why he has multiple rings and the story was solid. It seemed to drag on a little here, but the writer couldn’t add in foreshadowing of what comes next at all because… It’s the last issue, if I had not said so already. I can’t say much bad at all – I enjoyed the story, I enjoyed the art, and I enjoyed the conclusion. I cannot recommend you pick up the next issue as there isn’t one, but I would recommend you look at picking up the trades of this series (so long as you don’t mind an inordinate amount of crossovers you will need to pick up too).

Guardians Team-Up #2

Guardians Team-Up #2

Guardians Team-Up #2
Marvel Comics
Brian Michael Bendis, Stephane Roux, Jay Leisten, Brett Smith, Cory Petit
With the popularity of the movies, the Guardians are now being known. Almost everyone has their own solo series so far, so why not a team-up? Because it’s just a bad idea and being used as a blatant marketing scheme. But then again, this is Marvel (owned by Disney) and marketing is what they do best. This is part 2 of a 2-parter. 2 parts. And they changed the artist for the 2nd issue. Issue 1 had Art Adams, someone who holds a certain status within Marvel. Hell, I was not going to pick this book up at all, but then it was Art Adams on issue 1. He is why I picked it up. The lack of Adams in this issue upset me. It’s not that the art is bad (hell, these guys did a hell of a good job on Rocket), but I picked up this title for Adams. Also the visual of Nebula is TOO much that of the Nebula of the movie, and not so much the Nebula that is that classic Avengers villain. I will pick up #3, but only because of the Black Vortex crossover, but won’t be getting future issues.

Howard the Duck #1

Howard the Duck #1

Howard the Duck #1
Marvel Comics
Chip Zdarsky, Joe Quinones, Rico Renzi, Travis Lanham
Long-time Marvel readers know Howard. He gets around. He’s frickin’ everywhere – even the end credits of Guardians of the Galaxy. Knowing that Howard was returning was both a good and bad thing. Good, because he’s been too much of a joke and used only as comic relief for far too long. Making him a private detective, and working out of the same office as She-Hulk (God, how I loved that series), means that it should be a fun read. Unfortunately, I feel disappointed. For a character with so much backstory in the Marvel Universe, I see a persona change in the character. Sure, he’s trying to “make it in a world not his own”, but there’s still the character. Plus the story just was not solid enough. Let’s re-introduce Howard, start setting up a cast and his environment, and then remove him from it by the end of the 1st issue and put the other talking Marvel animal character in there? Forced. Although it’s not bad, it’s not Howard; but then again, no one is Steve Gerber.

Magnus Robot Fighter #12

Magnus Robot Fighter #12

Magnus Robot Fighter #12
Dynamite/Gold Key
Fred Van Lente, Joseph Cooper
From all accounts, this is the last issue of the series. I find this unfortunate, as this was my favourite of all of the Gold Key titles that Dynamite brought back (with the possible exception of Doctor Spektor, but it’s hard not to like something that Mark Waid is writing…). I don’t know if the whole line is cancelled, if sales were less than stellar… But this was my favourite. This issue also gives closure, which is nice, but this issue simply feels rushed. The story, the art… With 2 colorists and letterers on board, I am wondering if it really was rushed in order to achieve a certain deadline. If you haven’t read this title in the monthlies, I do recommend the trade when it comes out – it’s worth reading for sure.

Ms. Marvel #13

Ms. Marvel #13

Ms. Marvel #13
Marvel COmics
G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazawa
This title completely blew me away. I expected it to be meh, mostly because all of the pre-release materials focused on Kamala’s religious background, making it seem like a cheap marketing ploy (and I wrote Marvel saying so). After reading it, it is not that – it is the story of a young woman who gains powers through Terrigenesis and is coming to terms with both her powers and her personal life. It was a fun read. It was angsty, but not too angsty. It seemed real. (I also wrote Marvel and told them this, too, that I was thoroughly impressed.) Like previous issues, this issue is fun. This is Peter Parker back in the 60s. This is Richard Rider in the 70s. And why lose the alliteration of the coming of age characters, and we now have Kamala Khan for the 2010s! One comment: The art in this title is rather cartoony for a Marvel super hero book. But that’s OK because it suits the tone of the book. This style I don’t think I would enjoy on some other titles, but it completely works here. Post-Secret Wars, this book is still getting picked up.

New 52: Futures End #45

New 52: Futures End #45

New 52 – Futures End #45
DC
Too many creators
Unlike the Earth-2 story which has one long story that has dragged on too long, Futures End seems to have a number of storylines and that makes the jumping around much more palatable. I think it’s also good that it’s coming to an end, with the stories starting to wrap up. As well, having the legacy of some characters explored – such as a new Firestorm – while paying homage to the original is still nice. It’s not just a re-imagining a la Earth-2, but a continuation. And adding in villains like Brainiac, and then Brother Eye, there are ties to DC’s roots here. Whereas I liked the Earth-2 weekly better early on, this late in the game I like this series much better. And although it’s ending, it’s best to end this one on a high note.

New Avengers #31

New Avengers #31

New Avengers #31
Marvel Comics
Jonathan Hickman, Kev Walker, Frank Martin
This was a Doctor Strange heavy issue, and that’s OK. Doc is one of the most powerful people in the Marvel U and he’s not been showcased much at all of late. (You’d think they would, what with his movie announcement…) But it’s still nice to see him, moving the plot forward. In a couple of months, this title comes to an end leading up to Secret Wars. Although I like the long-plot arcs a la classic Byrne and Claremont, this whole run of Hickman has just dragged on. There is such a thing as too long, and this had it. Combined with the main Avengers title, it became boring and stale. I am quite glad this is coming to an end. What started as an interesting take just took far too long, and the resolution (even with Secret Wars) means that we will move forward with some new stories – in whatever incarnation the Avengers family returns as post-Secret Wars.

Nova Annual #1

Nova Annual #1

Nova Annual #1
Marvel Comics
Gerry Duggan, David Baldeon, Terry Pallot, David Curiel
This is a one-and-done annual, which is nice. It also ties in to events in the main series, which is also nice. For readers of the series, Nova’s helmet has been acting all wonky and he’s trying to fix it. He finally manages to get Doc Green (formerly known as the Hulk) to assist him, but to fix things they have to head to Xandar, the homeworld of the Nova Corps. This story has a little but of humour in it, but not too much. Enough to match the levels of the monthly version, but not over the board. It’s also nice to see the Hulk… er, Doc Green get in a quip or two. All in all, this was a fun distraction and leads Sam into the Black Vortex story arc taking place in TOO MANY FREAKING BOOKS.

Spider-Gwen #2

Spider-Gwen #2

Spider-Gwen #2
Marvel Comics
Jason Latour, Robbi Rodriguez, Rico Renzi, Clayton Cowles
The breakout character from Spider-Verse has her own series, increasing the visibility of female-led Spider-characters within the Marvel Universe. Personally, I don’t know what the hype is about this character. The story was OK, but not spectacular. The Spider-Verse intro story was significantly better than this (and the first issue). There are too many showcases of Marvel characters we already know here, following in the Gotham-TV-show first episode failure of trying to do too much too fast. We’ve seen Frank Castle, Matt Murdock, Kingpin, Vulture… When you try to do too much too fast, it feels forced, and that’s not something for me. Plus, in order to add in some humour, Spider-Ham is added in here, and the visuals for the character are just… off. Compared to the original Peter Porker, and even compared to Spider-Verse… It’s just off. And it took me out of the story. I’ve read the first 2 issues, I won’t be coming back anytime soon (especially since it’s a parallel world and Marvel has already said that the universes are ending as a result of the incursions and Secret Wars coming – what’s the point?).

Spider-Man 2099 #10

Spider-Man 2099 #10

Spider-Man 2099 #10
Marvel Comics
Peter David, Will Sliney, Antonio Fabella
Of all of the Spider books on the shelves today, this is my favourite. Part of the reason is that it is Peter David writing, and he writes such great stories. (Above I referenced the long-arc style of Claremont and Byrne? David still does it within the Marvel U.) He was one of the creators of the 2099 universe – Spider-Man 2099, no less – and has managed to bring back the feeling of his original series perfectly. This issue had another advantage, bringing the Maestro into it (another David creation, Maestro is the Hulk in the future, but without any morals really, taken from the Future Imperfect series written by David). With Miguel back in current Marvel U and in the future (really, 2099 doesn’t seem so far away anymore) things are getting jumbled. It’s just a great read, it’s fun, and it’s Peter David at his finest. (I am liking this much better than his All-New X-Factor, and I LOVED that X-Factor run). This series better remain post-Secret Wars. In fact, let’s do a 2099 line again, and let David more or less executive produce the range with a competent editor who is willing to take risks… But don’t let him stop writing this title whatever you do, Marvel.

Star Wars #3

Star Wars #3

Star Wars #3
Marvel Comics
Jason Aaron, John Cassaday, Laura Martin, Chris Eliopoulos
This issue appears to be the end of the first arc of the title. The characterization of the popular characters are there, and done well. This series takes place shortly after the Battle of Yavin (Episode 4), so fans of the original trilogy will be quite happy. The art is pretty damn good. Cassaday does a fantastic job of making the visuals look like the characters in the movie, and I appreciate that. That said, I am still having a concern over whether or not to pick this up regularly. I know that Marvel will collect things into a trade and I may just wait for that. There’s a lot of other books out there, and it may make more sense to just focus on the trades for this series.

Superior Iron Man #6

Superior Iron Man #6

Superior Iron Man #6
Marvel Comics
Tom Taylor, Laura Braga
This title has somewhat surprised me. The inverted Tony after AXIS remained and was basically… well, an asshole. But taken to a new extreme. Unlike other series that are forcing things on the reader in a non-organic state, I feel that the growth to re-introduce characters just made sense. It flowed smoothly. Maybe that’s because it did, or maybe it wasn’t too much at once, I don’t know. But everything is there for a reason, for as long as it needs to be (read: Daredevil’s appearance). It was there, it was not overdone and did not drag on for half a year. It made sense to progress the story and then move on. But it’s a good read. It’s not on my pull list, but it is being pulled off the shelves. I am not adding it right now simply because who knows what the Marvel Universe will look like post-Secret Wars. If this book continues, in this way, it will probably be one of the few Marvel books remaining on my pull list. To that end, I hope it continues.

Thor #6

Thor #6

Thor #6
Marvel Comics
Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, Matthew Wilson
Thor has surprised me even more than Superior Iron Man. What could have been a cheap stunt to introduce a female Thor was done so well – the original no longer being considered worthy, and then Mjolnir finding someone who is. The story is also now starting to narrow down who the current Thor is. That was quick – it was not the first story, as that was intended to introduce you to her. It was not the second, as that was to showcase the confrontation between the new and the old. But now, it’s time to introduce who wields the hammer. And we are seeing it through the eyes of the Odinson, who himself is hunting to make this determination. This is also a book with one of Marvel’s flagship characters, where I am considering picking it up again monthly (depending on what happens in Secret Wars).

Worlds' Finest #32

Worlds’ Finest #32

Worlds’ Finest #32
DC Comics
Paul Levitz, Jed Dougherty, Chris Sotomayor, Travis Lanham
I believe this is the final issue of this series, leading into Convergence. I liked how the series progressed to bring Kara and Helena home to Earth-2, and when that happened turned this book into stories in the history of Earth-2. The run has had some ups and downs, and it just was not strong near the end in my opinion, but it ended here on a high note. The art seemed at times a little campy for what this series has done to date, and it took me out of it a little. The consistency of art over time has gone down here, actually, and if the book were not ending I would be dropping it (along with many others on my DC list). I’m sorry to say that it is not ending on a high note for me, but it is what it is. With the changes to DC happening soon, it’s best to end now and wait until Convergence ends and see how things start again.

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