Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday Comics 27 Oct...

I've been out of the scene a while but I love comics and I want to say an early sad farewell to one of my current favorites...

Though I could have figured that I would be posting about this months ago when Journey Into Mystery went away sadly I was blindsided when I saw that Fearless Defenders was going away. I love the adventure fiction of Cullen Bunn and think his femine centric adventure captured some really femine attitudes to heroism and the brutality that it can lead to... This book is one of my current favorites... I may have a great love for the fucked up that is the New Avengers but this was the title I wnt to for a really good time... I for one will miss this book once its gone... I miss Clea, Misty Knight, Valkerie and the rest of the less appreciated of the marvel distaff heroes... Long live the Fearless Defenders in comics fans memories...

 

 

 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sunday Comics Sept 15

Shameless anime cover aside Fearless Defenders continues to deliver the goods when it comes to fun comics and Cullen Bunn is the hero here. The book includes a collection of the current and not so current squeezes of the leads of Defenders these days. The guys are getting together to have an intervention with their distaff partners including luminaries like Venom (Flash T. is the man), Doctor Strange (who totally needs his own title), Iron Fist (ditto), Hercules, Werewolf (assumedly by night), Cannonball and Xman all in a bar run by the onetime heroine Shamrock(hmmmmm). The leads of the book are entangled in a combat with a bunch of female and other villains including a new Enchantress, Sandwoman and the totally weird group the Headmen (and woman) en route to the meeting. The interactions between the players here is really great in light of the usual fare of super hero relationships and the woman formerly known mainly as Shamrock was totally sarcastically charming. The next issue looks to be great too... till low sales kills this great book I'm totally on board.

Among the other books I actually bought this week were Wolverine by Paul Cornell which was a good book but at 3.99 a pop

The other book I had to get was Avengers Arena... Its as much a guilty pleasure as Paul's Wolverine but they are both great books its just if your into the books themselves when it comes to spending the money.... I like the ideas Paul and David are playing with... Logan is so much more interesting now hat he can't just Waid into damage... and Arcade is so much cooler now that he can well be what heal wars should have been... I'm sad to see young heroes die but... Well if death is off the table how much can you buy into the struggle....

 

Till next week...

 

 

 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sunday Comics Sept 8

First off a few comics from this week that may have slipped by you among all the hype...

Ok, yes. Last week I posted a good bit about the Superior Foes of Spider-Man by Spencer and Lieber and here I am posting again about this book about third stringer super villains and this book delivered the fun again this week. Its not the kind of book that you can just fall into one issue of since this one references events from both the previous ones and does so subtlety so I think this one will read as an excellent collection once it comes out. This time around we get a lot of play between out title character Boomerang and his new parol officer introduced at the end of last issue and there is a bit of backstabbing that goes on all throughout. The story really evolves around the interpersonal problems between these all too human characters.

One of the real fun things about this book comes when you pay full attention to everything going on in the panels, there is a story going on being told through the smaller icon only word bubbles and though some are just defining the background characters I think its a great way to move the story along. No really its a good time....

 

Oh look this may just be a theme like from A Christmas Story; here is another book I mentioned real recently. I would say if your a Marvel Unlimited member this is a book that you should definitely be reading. Cullen Bunn is moving this story towards a conclusion soon bringing in elements that have been lingering in the story since the Remender run including Damien Hellstorm who its seems people are gunning for... well actually skinning. He also reveals the why's of The speed with which Mania has become bonded to her symbiot. Also to give some of you a taste if you have yet to read Venom starring Flash Thompson check out the Marvel Unlimited app - there is an issue from a couple months ago up there for free and its a very good insight into the new Flash and the growth in his character.

Lastly this week I'll point out Catalyst Comics from Dark Horse again. This is an anthology of stories in the Dark Horse super hero universe in which Ghost and X are lead characters. This one stars in its lead tale another take on the flying super strong handsome hero and asks some questions that really need to be asked about where the real villains in the world are and why the spandex crowd kinda does nothing about them. The follow up stories do new and different things with superheroes too. I like this book and think Joe Casey who's been doing new and interesting thing with the genre since leaving the big too is doing something that needs a much bigger audience. Take a peek this is a very appealing book and does more in a few pages then some books attempt across a whole run of issues. Lacking the meddling of editorial shackles this books takes chances others might not be able to.

 

 

 

This last week there were a couple of big things that happened and both related to issues caused by DC editorial decisions and both in my opinion were a sign of an attitude I do not like at all. Because of editorial demands for changes and a roadblock put in the way of a lesbian marriage between Batwoman and her long time girlfriend Maggie Sawyer co writers JH Williams and W Haden Blackman both have decided to leave the title as of issue 26 (god knows what issue number it really is because of the Forever Evil thing et al marketing BS). I read several reasons as to why they decided that including the idea that marriage ages characters which is questionable that the editorial stated audience is 40 something men at some con this summer. I for one feel that alienating creative teams is pretty bad for a struggling industry especially when the title is so well recieved. 

The other editorial piece of strangeness and misogyny relates to the new Harley Quinn ongoing series. If you have not read about that well here is the skinny; DC ran an artist search allowing new unknown artists to try out to draw part of the book, all pages of which become property of DC winning or not (corporate creepy much?), but it gets better in in that one page is images of poor disturbed Harley committing suicide in increasingly silly ways including a planet showing her naked in the midst of the attempt. I don't know your mileage and morals may differ but that just seems in all bloody kinds of bad taste. This comes on top of the extra sexification of Catwoman in the new DC and the travesty that they did to Starfire.   I don't know about anyone else this seems to be misogynistic and in absolute as bad a taste as the dead girlfriend I the refrigerator thing. I don't mention DC much here and there is a reason... I could name the titles I liked and I think you'll see some similarities in their fate... Frankenstein Agent of SHADE, Demon Knights, and Dial H... I'm pretty sure that Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol would not survive given where it fit thematically and story wise. So, I do not like saying negative things but these events well they leave me wondering about the general direction of one of the big two.

 

 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sunday Comics Sept 1

 

You could probably have guessed I'd be posting about the last issue of Journey into Mystery with how often I have mentioned it over the course Kathryn Immonen and Valerio Schitis' run on the title. Along with Captain Marvel this was the title that take the concept of female lead comics to a new fun storytelling level that we so need more of these days. As lead character Sif is much more then just a feminine Thor she was at times a very violent woman berserker, a leader of men and women, a storyteller and a devoted friend and protector. The final storyline brought back her old friend and one time love Beta Ray Bill in a story where we got a good deal in terms of interaction between them and a look into how both of them have changed. The art by Schiti was as wild and playful as the storytelling. This is a comic that like so many I enjoy had a great short run that developed many stories for the great background players in the Marvel picture. Kathryn gave us some fun Viking adventures with blood, mayhem and honor a plenty. Get the trade when it comes out if you missed these and fondly recall the Walt Simonson era of Thor. Short runs like this though sad often are better for not becoming tired after several years of issues. I will be looking forward Mrs. Immonen writing something else soon.

 

Though I'm not following all the Infinity issues across the marvel titles New Avengers by John Hickman is the one I choose to get with my limited comics dollar. Though this title is of the Avengers family I often love the title most for characters who are not traditionally Avengers and for ones for whom the stakes seem very very personal. This issue "introduces" Thanos' little band of generals and advisors and gives a few pages of their battles with the characters in this title across the world. I particularly loved the stories surrounding Black Bolt and Namor, neither characters are easy one being effectively mute and the other well kind of an ass but they are so much fun to read about. I think in many ways compared to the other infinity issue I read this one well stands alone and is much more a part of its own story. With such a big cast on stage in this issue I particularly enjoyed seeing Doctor Strange and miss him having his own title. Two pages in particular near the end of the issue seal the deal in terms of enjoyment level and OMG kind of reveals and added mystery; sure that is what serial fiction is good for and Hickman really gets that. Mike Deodato shines here too but with the amount of story in the issue you kind of have to go back and pay attention to his art just for how much he does in terms of storytelling too. A winner of a book even at 3.99.

 

Though I am still sorely missing the old DCU Secret Six and its over the top super villain capers I'm ever so glad that I gave Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber's Superior Foes of Spider-Man a couple weeks back. Where as Gail Simone's title was the Inception/Oceans 11 version of the villain super book this is the Cohen Brothers look at caper stories. Taking the same approach to the story as Matt Fraction does with Hawkeye SFoS focuses on the normal lives of the Sinister Six including Boomerang, Shocker, Speed Demon, the new Beetle and their getaway driver Overdrive. I have to ask you what other super villain group include a getaway driver who is a major player in the story. This book gives you their planning sessions ala Tarantino and the aforementioned Cohen's, Boomerangs meeting with bosses, lawyers, and judges; it also includes their personal attempts at robberies that don't really go as planned or expected. The title is sarcastically fun in its look at being a criminal in the Marvel universe and fans of Hawkeye should really take a look at ta book before it goes the way of Venom and Journey into Mystery...

 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday Comics Aug 25 2013...

This week's Sunday comics choices are both written by Cullen Bunn and one sadly is on the soon to be gone list.

Venom which stars one time bully and long time Spiderman fan Flash Thompson as the symbiot host and darker edged hero trying to do the right thing, fighting his deep personal demons and the influence of Venom. The book goes from self seraching personal drama to frenetic action featuring webs, guns and bombs with repercussions for both the personal and superhero conflicts in Flash's life. The recent storyline has him setting up himself in the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia, where heroes are scarce and a villain named Lord Ogre has free reign. Starting a new life after his failures in the big apple Flash takes up residence and to the streets as a hero for the people who have no spandex wearing defender.

Flash was crippled in the war on terror and lives life in a wheel chair when not sharing his body with the alien symbiot, he's a coach for a local highschool and seems a man trying to make up for a past he regrets. He's the kind of character I particularly love, much like Jamie Lannister of Game of Thrones he is a man though we know has done bad things he has a code of morals when seen from his point of view as readers we can get. Like so many of the heroes in Marvel that I love he is not a first stringer, he is a character who's past informs his present and will shape his future; he is not Peter Parker who carries the weight of being an icon, Flash gets to be a person beyond the brand of being a brand like Spider-Man or X-men.

The the most recent run of issues have culminated in paranoia on Flash's part, superpowered mercenaries and assassins running roughshod over Phliiy looking for the bounty on Agent Venom's head and his contactes in Philly as Venom are seeking information on the new hero. In his many attempts to be the hero he idolizes Flash inadvertently has created another spawn of the Venom symbiot and gained a "sidekick" in the teen girl now called Mania. The art by Declan Shalvey is unique, dynamic and characterful and may not be to everyone's tastes but I personally love the fresh approach to action. His strengths lie in the expressiveness of the characters faces and when the symbiots are out and in action its a whole new SFX ball game much like Cameron's The Thing for the eighties. Vemon is a book that has action adventure and drama in spades and I'm sad that it will be a memory come November... Both Rick Remender's and Cullen Bunn's runs on this unappreciated book are available to Marvel Ultimate subscribers but if you do check it out get it from a local friendly comic shop.

 

I've mentioned Fearless Defeneders before but since I want this all "life on the d list" marvel women title to survive the current cull that seems to be going on in the second stringer title family at the new excellent house of ideas. This is a superhero comic that is part Big Trouble in Little China with its crazy Hong Kong cinema approach to action and fast forward adventure and part Farscape with its modern media reference points and snappy sarcastic dialogue. Cullen pulls on the whole catalogue of Marvel heroines with this bringing back long sadly ignored characters like the onetime apprentice of Dr Strange Clea and the one time Nextwave monster hunter Elisa Bloodstone. Issue seven was a Valkerie centric episode that used a trip to the Viking afterlife to bring home the perils of the afterlife and reintroduce Clea who I forgot I totally missed and issue eight was a Big Trouble in Marvel little China with a Brood influenced twist.

Fearless defenders spotlights characters that need more so called screen time. Misty Knight has been knocking around the Marvel universe for so long as their version of the bionic woman its great to see her shining as well as seeing Danille Moonstar being more then just another mutant and Brunhild just as a female Thor replacement. These issues are at their best when Cullen is giving us their everyday non-fighting lives. With Journey into Mystery ending next month I need a title like this to get a bit more fan love.

I love these kinds of titles; the Hero's for Hire, the Defenders, the thrid stringers, the d listers; their stories usually involve change that remains with them. Marvel carries stories forward... I say this because of the so called new 52. DC has long been known to push the reset button on stories for the time of the end of the first Crisis in 1985. I loved Crisis and what came after bit as time has gone on their predilection to push the rest button has become a crutch for DC editorial see the recent posts about the new Lobo ideas. Marvel has committed lots of bad summer and yearly events and summer crossovers and the debacle of the clone saga... What I will commend Marvel for the their embracing the past stories and create lemon aid from lemons. I would love the opportunity to read stories I could not afford to own and these days with Marvel Unlimited I can read them... History matters to Marvel so far and this I respect. I know someday Cyclopse will be the golden boy of Xavier and Magneto will be the enemy but there will hopefully be someone who recalles when he was the bad guy... Checkout Venom and Fearless Defenders... They are in sore need of fans... And Marvel loves telling stories these days....

 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mind fcuk....

Mind Mgmt is a subversive comic, it is a comic that plays with the idea that people can manipulate one another at a subconscious level to frightening levels. Matt Kindt has written and drawn a comic that plays on the same weaknesses and fears that the novel Lexicon by Max Barry and the movie In the Mouth of Madness plays upon; the basic question of if you can not trust your sences, if at the subconscious level you can be lies to what can you trust. As a reader and a watcher I love this kind of existential horror and with a book like Mind MGNT and John Carpetner's Mouth of Madness I'm totally onboard because the characters are relateable and compelling. Don't get me wrong I loved Lexicon by Max Barry but it's best elements were the ideas, the concepts that drove the tale and here it is the neat Xmen like characters that are the force that gives power to the ideas. If the mind is mailable and can kill with concepts Mind MGMT imagines a world where it happens and where few people use this power to its most powerful aspect, among the privileged few who know of its existence.

Ming MGNT is a world of psionic powers and conspiracy gone corporate, gone viral, and been broken up before a catastrophe. It is a place where subtle powers like telepathy predicts the near future, where ad copy can influence the actions of others more then is the real world and. A select few can erase memory with a whim and kill just by sending a letter with a silly haiku or by pointing their fingers and saying bang. This is a would a mystery crime writer named Meru finds herself living in in Mind MGMT vol 2 and the one I fell into reading it. She is a thriller writer who is failing to writer her promised new novel because of reoccurring thoughts about stories and conspiracies that involve her mailman and letters and such. These worrying thoughts lead her down a rabbit hole that lead to murder, danger and a man named Lyme, people who played with others minds and killed because they could till the Eraser came along.

This is a book highly reminiscent of the eighties comic and RPG Espers written by Mage writer Matt Wagner when he posited a story about characters with ESP powers in the modern paranoia spy driven world of the paranoid eighties. These days its not the red menace that is the fear element but fear is a big element in modern post 2000 lifeline and Matt Kindt taps into that in this comic with its water color highlighted primative lined art and its look over your shoulder storytelling. Given its somewhat amnesiac protagonist and the deceptive nature of the heroes I am still guessing as to the nature of the real story. Yes I came in at the opening of the second act and myself may be Rosenstern but I can hardly tell hero from villain. This is a caper tale where as readers we are forced to be astute and pay attention to the whole picture if we hope to understand the story.

Along the course of this story our reporter heroine Meru encounters many potential allies in her quest to tell the story; her savior Lyle, a man who may not be worthy of her full trust bet is fighting for a bigger goal and seems to be getting the sharp end of the stick, Duncan who seems a sociopath but may just be the tales hero, Perrier who is the most used by the old power who has the most to gain by taking Meru's side and is the most worthy of vengeance and Dusty who well has a lot lose and the most to protect. In the end Matt leaves you with a heroine you still want to follow heroes to root for and villains to despise but your not really sure of things. This is a great overall caper tale like that of Inception the movie in that he end though clear may not be so clear and the story has angles yet to persue. The villain the Eraser is still out there and if we get her/his tale next who knows where the story will go. I like this kind of thing that plays havoc with expectations and makes you wonder though you think you know the story... I'm laughing in the cinema seats with the doomed hero in this one like at the end of Mouth of Madness... At least that is the end I hope for... Its dark but well truth is a darkness sometimes...

If you like mind f7cking stories Mind MGMT may be for you its a great caper bringing the band back together tale.... Excelsior

Mind MGMT by Matt Kindt is a densely packed caper story that has much in common with the thriller Lexicon by Matt Barry I can't help but wonder, but that is the human mind looking for connections (cause and effect) where no conspiracy or link exists. Dropping into this complex mind and memory manipulation tale blind in volume two was no hindrance to understanding the story and getting the characters. It is really more a mix of Xmen and Lexicon since each of the characters has a special ability like being able to read others thoughts, seeing and feeling through their twin or knowing how to twist someone unseen through words an images an addition o being trained today with people's minds on a subconscious level.

 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday Comics

Wolverine by Paul Cornell is one of those titles... you know the ones it is one you want to love and you like and tickles the right spot just enough that you can't give it up. Last issue I did like but at almost 4 dollars I should love it to continue but because of something I just can't say indeed to stop NOW. Paul is pulling from Marvel history in a way I love; he is tapping into the old Mike Golden Micronauts,the old Frankenstein titles and delves into Logan as a character and not Wolverine as an ICON. It is totally a book I would not balk at 2.99 but at 3.99 I think it always has to prove itself and this issue does it in spades.

Alan Davis is back on the art so it is a feast for the eyes and the emotion in the issue comes out of the corners to hit you as a reader. Wolverine 8 is a winner in terms of story and art renewing my trust in the title... I want so much to love this title that I may be clouding my own opinion but I think its totally up to the task of living up to its price. Black Panther has not looked better in a long time and Logan has not been as sympathetic; he has been for so long a man who's pain has come with little consequence and this issue points our the realities of being Wolverine from several angles because of all the various players in the story including Black Panther, Victoria Frankenstein and several others. I love the fact Paul is thinking about the real emergent behavior of being the Wolverine or having access to resurrection or rebirth or super science... Its a smart book a dim so sad people may have checked out before this happened. I am still on the hook for this one. Thanks Paul for the thinking mans Marvel Comic.... Of yeah could we please have a Victoria Frankenstein mini series written by Deconnick and Cornell.....

Excelsior....

 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sunday Comics...aug 4

Catalyst Comix... By Joe Casey and a cast artists....

Once upon a time Dark Horse Comics started a series of superhero comics refered to as Comics Greatest World; the world was populated by such characters as X,Ghost, Motörhead to name just the few that occur to me the fastest but there were many more. This was a setting that survived a while and was cool in many ways but in the morass of the superhero glut it got lost and buried in the mass of the mediocre. Writers are returning to these concepts and characters today and I for one hope that with the new reality of comics they can gain an audience.

There are some great current writers and some writing stars of years past that are writing in this setting that traders should be looking farther afield from Marvel these days for good superhero stories. There are reasons I exclude DC and it has to do with my taste and my dissatisfaction with the new 52stable. I will say I loved Frankenstein and the agents of Shadow, Demon Knights, Dial H, Justice League Dark and the Simon Baz Green Lantern but on the whole the new DCU falls totally flat for me especially the big three they are worth nought these days and the new standard is the greatness is the old house of ideas.... Marvel.

Marvel currently has the writing of people who have ideas and artists nat are given the free reign to draw to their strength. Captain Marvel is about the best of the stable these days followed closely by Hawkeye and Daredevil. To me an OLD comics fan its like the early eighties when DC has a couple good books considered c level titles and Marvel and the Indys had the lead in storytelling. This is where I will talk about the cool that is Catalyst Comics #1

This issue introduces us to the heroes and stories of a world which has survived a cosmic apocalypse of Lovecraftian proportions. Among the three tales we get a superman like tale of the single superhero against the cosmic horror but with consequences and emotional baggage, we get the story of the possible cause and solution to the crisis in the first back up story and in the last we set a bringing the band back together story in a superhero vein. This book makes me wish I had picked up the Deconnick Ghost series because I love her writing on Captain Marvel and Hopeless's title for Dark Horse too. These are titles that may hall beneath the usual superhero collectors radar but these tales are just as good as the big two.... I was a long time fan of the Elementals and this stable have the feel of the old First comics.... Take a look they are not the big guys but they are no less for it.

Along the same line I have to point out the Zenith comics project from kickstarter that needs support. Its a comics fan that wants to bring the light back to the grim dark that has swallowed the comics world. Here is the link to the project. I read the script for the first issue and it looks to be as good as the feat of things on the shelf and worthy of sharing the space with them. It has a great pedigree and I hope to see it as a reality.. Take a look let me know what you think.... Again go http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/412792115/zenith-comics-presents-heroic?ref=search to look at the project....

 I think its worth a look if you have the dosh to let go of... I think this may be worth it...


Take a look to at Catalyst, Ghost, X Captain Midnight from Dark Horse... If there are more super hero comics the ones put there will get better .... I dug the first issue of Catalyst and will be adding the second to my pull list....

 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday Comics June 30

So this week is a lot of nostalgia for me mixed with a bit of cool storytelling and have to wait for next week when I have the free cash....

 

Ah Journey into Mystery does my heart so good. I've been out of the mix for a while but it is so easy to get back on the marvel soap opera ride that I did not feel out of the loop at all. Beta Ray Bill is totally still my favorite character and though Sif and he still love each other its so much more complicated that the artist along with the history says so much more then the dialogue. I missed the creation of his girlfriend and all that but it matters not because the history of their love shoes through. I will so much miss this comic when it gets canceled in the next coup,e months... At least I got some great action adventure drama comics out of this and I can ever go back to them when I miss the good new days...

Katheryn Immonen deserves another comic in the marvel stable.... I would so buy whatever she writes....

 

 

Wolverine by Paul Cornell is one of the mutant titles I hope gets enough attention. Anyone into Hawkeye should check this out. Paul does not pack as much into an issue but this is the title that wanted to tell the story of Logan and hisnfriends recognizing that he is more then the bloody killing machine that most titles featuring him goes for. Logan here has buds he has a heart and a voice that says that he may be the best there is at what he does but that may not make him happy. As someone who enjoys a good brew, who would love to hang with his old buddies and well has so many regrets tis may just be the Wolverine title for all us old fans who wants more then the claws and the attitude to engage us... Paul I so want this to succeed.... Hell is love to see a Logan as Dredd comic....

 

Hawkeye... What can I say about his title that has not been said... If tour into comics someone must have said check put Matt Fractions Hawkeye. Well if yo have not read anything about how great the writing is on this book here is an issue to check out. Matt writes from the POV of the dog in Clint's Barton's life. The issue touches on the events of the series recently, on the perception of the non human loved ones in our life and treats it with all the seriousness of the first person episode of MASH from back in the early eighties. This issue is such a success in writing and in art by Aja that it better shadows what comics can achieve in storytelling. I feel that though I was paying attention I missed subtitlites in the story that would have been more implicit had an English speaker told the tale.... Check this out if you thins comics have nothing new to say...

 

 

The next two I have yet to get because of the cost of comics this week.... I can only go one 3.99 a week but next week is so minimal for me I can check out Uncanny and Xmen by Bendis if not All-New if I get the chance.... Costs forestall me sometimes and this is one of those weeks.... I was a big fan of Magik and Illyana from the New Mutant days back in the eighties and I so want to read about her these days since another old favorite of mine Doctor Strange is involved. In terms of the Bendis Xmen well I love the leads and giving then a series beyond Scott and Logan well is too awesome to pass over.....

Next week is small so well hope to comment on some of these then....

 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Personal apology...

Hey everyone... I don't have a Sunday Comics column this week... I will try to make it up to you this week....

I got no votes on the review so this week in addition to my planned review I will be doing a review of Lexicon by Max Barry...

One of the post Age of Ultron books I most want is Mighty Avengers.... It includes some of my most favorite characters... The old Captian Marvel from the late eighties, Luke Cage the man once known as Poweman hero for hire, Falcon my favorite part of the seventies Captain America and Jennifer Walters The Sensational She-Hulk.... Its also written by Judge Dredd Al Ewing.....

 

 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sunday Comics...

I did not get to my friendly local comics shop this last week so I've yet to read my copies of Paul Cornell's Wolverine and the Kelly Sue Captain Marvel issue of Avengers Assemble. I am most likely going to pick up the Thor issue this week as well as possible look into the current BPRD Hell on Earth series....

What I would like to do is write about the sad imminent end of Journey into Mystery in a few months. I have really loved the series and will miss Kathryn Immonen's writing.... Hope that she geta another regular gig soon...

At least we have three months left in this series and getting some Beta Ray Bill is great even if its just for a short time.... Learned that Red She Hulk is also on the chopping block... Sad that but well that is how things go...

Till later in the week Excelsior.....

 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Return of the Master(s)

Mike Mignola and John Arcudi spin a great apocalyptic tale; in fact they are so good at it that BPRD Hell on Earth The Return of the Master (a title worthy of Mark Hodder) overcomes any apocalypse fatigue you may have. As a horror story fan I have to say Mike and John create a great mood of foreboding in this volume foreshadowing a horrible event on the horizon. I am an on again off again reader of BPRD and have only passing familiarity with some of the characters and I'd say this is a bad place to start but I thoroughly enjoyed this book and its got me hooked back into the story. Hell on Earth pulles storylines from the early volumes of Hellboy and talks about recent events like the horrors that affected the UK, Canada and lead to the shooting of favorite Abe Sapien and the suspension of another long term BPRD agent.

This volume in the long running story of the B.P.R.D fight against the supernatural brings back a long though defeated antagonist who has a real desire to bring hell to earth. The all too mortal agents sent to Scotland to deal with the threat have no clue of the magnitude of the danger to them. The story brings in elements of the world created by Mike and John Arcudi from as far away as the old Soviet Union and from stories dating back to the days of World War Two. Though I have read the series sparingly their handling of the history is so deft that I never really felt that lost or out of the loop.

This story has a newbie coming into the department, one who gives a different perspective on the agency. She is a percognitive and has disturbing visions of a blood soaked future. Given her fresh eyes on the story as well as the perspectives of the leader of the Russian paranormal agency, the veteran BPRD agent Johann as well as the mortal operatives I could really see just how serious the situation is. Without the essentially super powered heavy hitters of the agency things look terrifying bleak given the events in Return of the Master. It ends I warn you on a cliffhanger and I need to see the next issue now. NOW I say.

John Arcudi is a perfect artist for this story and he has been Mike's creative companion on so much of this series he really has defined the world visually. His characters are very human looking blemishes and all, this is not the supermodel/bodybuilder kind of books. The people look like people and their expression through his art give gravity to the storylines. This time out he gets to create giants and ogres and mythological things left best unnamed lest they be summoned. Some of the things in this story get decisively into the Kaiju range of things. If you are like me and enjoy seeing people trying to contend with situations far beyond their pay grade this is one you need to get. The sketchbook alone that accompanies the five issues collected in the volume is worth having as a springboard for creativity.

 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sunday Comics

I have precious little for you...though I did buy a good load of comics this week I will be mentioning one... I love Loche and Key and picked it up but have yet to read it, same goes for Winter Soldier and Fearless Defenders I read just one that I will note ... With personal issues and a speculative fiction death and reviews pending this week I've only got a single book to spotlight...

Avengers Arena proves again with issue 10 Hopeless is I afraid to hurt readers yeat leave them with a shred of hope... This issue focuses on a Runaway favorite of mine and its hurt from beginning to end... I don't know how I'll feel is the end is a nightmare kind of Dallas kind of denial of the entire story.... I like to think a writer named Hopeless will not deny us change... Its a great book people should really be reading ... just in case it makes big changes......

 

 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunday Comics June 2

 

(Un-adjective) X-men number 1 starring all the women of the team is a 3.99 book you all need to read. I'm a old comic collector; I recall the days of Kitty's unending costume changes, pre and post mohawk Storm, pre and post asian Psylock and the advent of Rachel Summers so I have a history with these women and Bendis does the legacy proud. He manages to overcome being a guy to present women as more then damsels in distress and presents them as powers in and of themselves... I for one am happy with this book, happy e nought to tell me local shop owner to add it to my list as my second 3.99 title after Paul Cornell's Wolverine. I don't do this lightly... Hell I don't do that with Hickman's Avengers just yet and I love the New Avengers title...

This is the real deal guys... I have long looked for a writer who loved these characters enough to test them like this ... I don't know much about the antagonist but Storm, Psylock, Kitty, Jubliee and Rachel are the heroes here and I am so on board... after Avengers Arena This one is on my list... Awesome...

 

With my comments about Hickman in the post about Xmen I have to be honest with myself because New Avengers has hooked me too into the long haul. I like Tony, Namor, Black Swan and the rest here. This book hooks in the big man Doom who is my bĂȘte noir. Doom is the shadow that keeps me engaged with FF, he is the character the has lured me into story after story and though I'm a fan of Strange and Stark its the shadow of the man named Victor Von Doom that reels me in. A good Namor tale is great but its the lure of Victor after all that is the hook. New Avengers is the title that people may regret passing over... Jonathan is telling a tale like the long con here and I know I'll be sorry missing any of the goodness between Avengers and New Avengers.... Tale a look there is good story telling going on here... Ignore at your own risk as I did with the pre Fraction FF...

 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sunday Comics May 26

Ok this first one is a bit of a surprise to me I am mentioning it. I have never been a big Scott Summers fan, hell I always kinda disliked him but the art in this book and the fact that the are a couple of x-women in it I like got me to pick this up. The art in Uncanny Xmen by Frazer Irving is so bloody good, creating both a truly otherworldly atmosphere for the real of Dread Dormammu, giving even deactivated Sentinels a sense of gravity to them. Between his portrayals of the characters artistically and Bendis' writing. Think I have been missing out on something good here.

I was a big fan of the old New Mutants title and Illyana, Macik, was one of my favorites, I dig the White Queen, Magneto and the now turncoat Angel (old School version) to me almost hooked with the preview pages last month. The developments with the Shield side of this story with Maria Hill are particularly interesting.... the fact that SHIELD are showing up in so many comics makes the marvel universe feel a lot more interconnected.

Guess you could tell I liked it... Oh and big reveal for fans of Dazzler....

I gave you a warning last week and here is the follow through... Katheryn Immonen delivers again with Journey Into Mystery with her Sif centric comic. Now the majority of this book focuses on the fallout of last months Fenris romp through the forests of Asgaurdia. So as not to ruin anything about the plot there are developments that take Sif into the outer reaches of the solar system, we get a cameo by Iron Man along with some gratuitous property damage. My horse headed space bound hero does not appear much but what we get of him is beautifully illustrated and filled with the innocence I associate with him. Next months issue can't come too soon since I have to see the payoff on the bomb dropped in this issue....

 

 

 

In addition I snatched a copy of the extra sized Daredevil by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee too see if all the praise for the book was well placed and I was not disappointed. If you like street level adventure, realistic art and real character stories this is your beast. Matt Murdock and Foggy have not had a better writer in a long long time and this is so much more real then the old dated and (anti occupy wallstreet) Frank Miller days.

This issue progresses the story built up out of the last issue introducing Ilari and let's us know who is behind Matt's current troubles. I missed out on the stories leading to this but it stands on its own very well. There is a backup focusing of Foggy as he is dealing with some very real world issues..... Loved the whole thing....

May have to add this for a while....

 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Kickstarted Comic

Now as you may know I post weekly here about comics and on my gaming blog I post a lot, almost exclusively, about Kickstarter projects that look great but I have been remiss in mentioning projects I have backed. A while back, last year, Gail Simone and Jim Calafiore kickstarted a original graphic novel called Leaving Megalopoils. Anyone who knows me or has read a bit of my blog probably has come across my praise for Secret Six, the comic they did at DC before this whole new 52 thing. It was one of the few comics I looked forward to every month, Gail's writing and imagination never failed to impress me and I loved her portrayal of all those often stereotypes villain types that starred in the comic.

This week Jim put up some sample pages of his artwork for the kickstarted book and they look absolutely fan freaking tastic. Here is a link to the page where you can snag a download PDF of the pages in question as well as some nifty wallpapers for the book. Its one of the projects I'm happy to have found and backed and look forward to seeing in the flesh so to speak. Take a peek, this has the look of something great all over it....

 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Comics May 19

Only have a few for you this week.... The first is the beginning of a dare I say it crossover...

Kelly Sue Deconnick has been building up to this story for months with the beginnings of Carol's health problems, the threat of further complications if she flies the reappearance of Deathbird to the dinosaurs rampaging in an issue a few months back. So Captain Marvel is her own hero with her own life and can take care of her own problems and friends; we have seen her do it but this reminds us that though she is a strong hero she does have friends that do have her back.

This issue brings back Jessica, Spiderwoman to the storyline and pulls in Thor too but also raises some questions about Ms Danvers herself. Since the story is from her point of view as a reader I have to wonder if she is a completely reliable narrator, happen to love well told tales that question the reliability of the storyteller herself and Kelly Sue may be playing that game but whatever game she is playing I'm happy to play along. We have five four more issues to see where this may go so it will be an interesting ride no matter which turns she takes I think...

 

 

The other title I would like to mention because it bring to a conclusion the story that involved one of my long time favorite characters - the Inhuman Medusa. This seems to keep happening but what can you do Matt Fraction Kelly Sue's partner happens to be writing some pretty fine comics too and they are coming out the same weeks. Now I would not say FF is the same kind of fun as Hawkeye but is defiantly fun. Matt seems to be building the relationships in this team and the characters are beginning to really support one another in a very Fantastic Four family kind of way. Sure I do think this story may have been better overall if the build up was longer but we have Dr Doom waiting in the wings and I am happy to be moving along and getting hat royal redhead back in the fold so she can be more then just a side story...

Its funny I'm really enjoying the kids and Darla Too as I mentioned about the last issue with the Yancy Street Gang....

Have a great week next Sunday I'm likely to be going great guns about Beta Ray Bill being back.... Just a warning.... Such a fan boy....

 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday Comics May 12

I'm avoiding most of the big titles this week with one exception to hit one one of the AU titles and one that I was not initially hooked on but picked up some issues last week with Free Comic Book day and I'm sad I only have a couple of the issues.

First up I will hit the one high visibility title that I have mentioned before and that is Wolverine by Paul Cornell and Alan Davis. This issue brings in what will likely be the more Logan back up cast then the Wolverine supporting cast that we normally see. Again I don't help but continue comparing this to Matt Fraction's magnificent Hawkeye. So Logan has some normalish friends that he meets up with at a superhero bar. At least one of them has been kicking around the fringes of the Marvel universe a while now.

The story is still building for this first story arc and I think there is some neat little foreshadowing going on in this issue. Yes there is a good amount of action too, Logan loses costume it's yet again and he gets off a couple of great quips during the story. Its still pricey as books go but if you mis likening the little Canadian from your early Xmen days this is the title that will make you like him again.

 

This is the one AU title I have read so far and I'll tell you all why; the draw here for me beyond my love of the Captain Marvel comic, Captain Britain and the MI13 group it was Al Ewing the writer. As a fan of 2000AD and the new pulps of Abaddon books I now Al Ewing can write some great, weird and different feeling heroes. Anything outside the US, Latveria and the Savage Land get very little screen time in most Marvel books so its good for a reminder that there are heroes back across the pond and who better to write an alternate universe one shot then someone used to having to tell a story in just a few pages. Al reminds us that there is a vital and little utilized group of heroes that I really miss and want to have back

Art wise this one was also a draw and kind of clinched it for me. Butch Guice and Tom Palmer get world every so often (about as often as we see the UK heroes) and have a more realistic and restrained style that suited this one shot story given that a couple of the heroes seem much more like normal people then the four color ones we also know and love. I also enjoyed the nod to old home make pixilated video games. YMMD but in my honest opinion it was worth the extra money this week.

 

Last the book I picked up nine months ago and checked out again last week. Dennis Hopeless' Avengers Arena is definitely a Battle Royal look at the marvel YH (young hero) universe. If you did not look at it your missing out like I was; this book takes heroes from the very fun Runaways, Avengers Academy the much overlooked UK marvel stories and a couple others and hands them to the laughable villain Arcade. This time though this time the murderous little foppish trickster is taking his byline seriously abducting these kids from around the globe putting them on an island that's a bit survivor and a hell of a lot like the novel and movie from Japan Battle Royal.

In issue one Hopeless and the magnificent Kev Walker on art duties set the scene having Arcade abduct his cast tell the contestants the rules then proceeds to kill one of them to show them he means business this time. No silly pinball or video game knockoff death traps. These kids are here to kill off the weakest links till there is just one left. The issues I've managed to get and read including this weeks give us more character interaction then violence and in the case of some of the players we get snippets of their origin and story along the way. Kev Walker is great at drawing expressions that tell you more about the characters then just the dialogue alone. I'd say this is one to pick up in trade paperback.

 

I missed the middling issues where we lost a character or two maybe and the one that gave the Arcade background story and that one may be key here. Arcade I think has more going on then he is letting on and though he is absent from all but the first issue in what I have read but the tension created between the "teams" leaves his grandstand from issue one lingering in the mind. I find I can't wait for next months issue; funny somehow this title is now up there with Hawkeye, Captain Marvel and Fearless Defenders for me. W

Well that's me this week... Check out Avengers Arena it is another pretty fun title.....