Monday, April 27, 2015

Dead-Wood Comics Dispatch April 29 2015

The Comics Dispatch is my weekly column looking at what will be among the books I actually will be purchasing this week. I try to keep to an actual budget of twenty dollars though its not often I keep to it given how many good books there are nowadays but that is the aim. Each week I start with my choice for which one I would get if only get one and I follow the pull list with a suggested collection or original graphic novel for those who don't do periodicals...


(So last week I was working under the mistaken information that Jem and the Holograms came out last wee and was so so sadly dissappointed when I got to my FLCS so given I half chose it last week I'll post the pretty cover again and then chose a book for this week but you know I'm cheating a bit here go back if you want to see what I wrote about it. Still hits high on my list...,)

Bitch Planet #4

So not surprising possibly but my absolutely must buy for this week is the ever seditious Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue Deconnick. After last issues story about Penny Roll that officially made her my favorite character in the book we are back to moving the story forward. I've read a few things about this issue and am curious as to what to expect but I know its like to be NSFW but pretty much this title always should have that warning. This is one of the books I would say that waiting for a collection is a big mistake as the after story essays and letters page too are pretty required reading. Some of my comics I get for the laughs some for the fun this one for the story but more so the food for thought and the social commentary and to open my mind to those aspects of the book. Always like a book that is just a bit uncomfortable enough to make me think. $3.50


The next two rank high too...


Secret Avengers #15

What started with MODOK being a part of SHIELD, a mad poet, a talking existentially minded bomb and other weirdness not to mention most of my favorite Avengers promises to end with a big old weird mix of the same. Spiderwoman (Jessica Drew) was one of my favorite characters starting with the Saturday morning show and her relationship with Natasha and Maria was a total joy and adding another old favorite Clint Barton cinched my interest but Ales Kot is such a winner writer to boot. I'm going to miss these guys so much I'll have to go back and read what became my go to fun book when Hawkeye went on its long hiatus. Oh and the MODOK Maria hill romance was so brilliantly done and so unexpected. $3.99


Steven Universe Gregory Universe Special

This is very recent and I blame this on all the great artists I follow on Tumblr... who post images if their fan art of Steven Universe, had I never seen then my curiosity may not have been raised and I'd not have a new great obsession. I've only encountered a little of the show and am so completely charmed that I'll make room in my list for this and in my life for a little bit more wonder. Ok so I'd also have been curious after listening to the Less than Live podcast Aggressively Feminine episode. This show borrows much from shojo magical princess comics but is doing something totally different with it. Count me bewitched by this show, its cast and I fully expect to actually own episodes knowing me. Anyway this special is going to be my first SU purchase and people can expect my fan art sometime soon I expect.... I won't be embarrassed by my enjoyment of it either... $4.99



Wayward #7

And from one manga/anime influenced book to another I'll certainly give a nod to this book that pulls its inspiration from various and sundry modern fantasy titles and Jim Zub brands with his particular brand of adventure. Steven Cummings' art is well a treat his characters are truly mad his but the underlying influences are defiantly hinted at and as an old manga fan its doubly fun for me. Last issue introduced a new supernatural character to the mix and Jim managed to really involve me in her story quite quickly and oh so happy Ayane is back, so missed her on their hiatus. $3.50 for the comic and come back for the additional cultural or myth features in the letters pages.


So that gets me within some few cents of the twent dollar budget... Now I'm like to get Rumble too so I'll break my budget as usual but s not by much...


And for those that enjoy collections and original graphic novels....


Hinges by Meredith McClaren...

Largely told through art and expressions for there is very few word balloons or narration Hinges is a georgeously illustrated "clockpunk" tale that follows Orio its porcelain hued hinge jointed protagonist and her weird Odd or familiar. Meridith's book I found very involving in the way that reading manga without translation is; she very deftly comminicated emotion through expression and though minimal the art is deep, rich and textured. I once commented to an artist I could hear the clacking of bones through the power of his line work and that came though here even in the silence of the page I could just about hear the gears, the flowing of material against material and soft foot steps. Great great reading experience. $15.00



Monday, April 20, 2015

Dead-Wood Comics Dispatch April 22 2015

The Comics Dispatch is my weekly column looking at what will be among the books I actually will be purchasing this week. I try to keep to an actual budget of twenty dollars though its not often I keep to it given how many good books there are nowadays but that is the aim. Each week I start with my choice for which one I would get if only get one and I follow the pull list with a suggested collection or original graphic novel for those who don't do periodicals...

So without much ado... if I could only get one... This wee I would choose..


The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #4

I'm a relative newbie to the Adventure Time / Steven Universe / Lumberjanes kind if books but am so well charmed by the depth of breadth of storytelling going on there. Ryan North (writer of the Adventure Time comic among other great things) and Erica Hernderson (who's art is a fresh treat compared to much of superhero fare) have taken Doreen Green who is oft played for laughs in Marvel books and well play her for much better laughs in that we are laughing with her. Though this title is not for everyone its great to have a title that is both taking its characters pretty serious and willing to be crazy, chaotic, weird and above all funny and accessible. This issue seems to be a face off between our heroine her talking squirrel versus the devoured of worlds as the cover seems to imply. Its bright and fun and pokes fun at a genre that sometimes does kind of need it. Love this book. $3.99

.... If the next one was not shipping....

Jem and the Holograms #2

I was a teen is the eighties, MTV when it played music videos formed a lot of my musical choices at the time given radio was poor where I lived and though never a big Jem fan then I am now. Kelly Thompson did win me over along with the reason I bought it to be begun with Sophie Campbell's artwork and character designs. The first issue was a good deal of origin story so this is where the story will really get going the only thing I think is kinda missing is the music itself. This issue promises to introduce the antagonists for the story if you can call another band that as the Misfits grace the cover of this one. I very much love the soft coloring being one on this book and can't resist trying to spread the word about it. If I could only get one tis week I'd be speeding my $3.99 here....

Kaptara #1

Chip Zdarsky is involved in numerous projects; he's the artist on the wild and popular Sex Criminals that I really must catch up on and is writing the new adventures of Howard the Duck and this book is being drawn by the artist that did the book Infinite Kung Fu which was pretty damn great a couple years back. What does Kaptara promise well seems its a space mission gone horribly wrong landing our astronauts on a weird and dangerous planet which may pose a danger to earth itself. I think it will also promise some challenging characters and some very dynamic kinetic artwork given Kagan McLeod's comics pedigree. Chip is good at comedy both as artist and writer so I really don't know what to expect but I expect to be entertained. This week is a bit spar so the additional $3.50 is pretty doable.




And as for a collection suggestion... I'll keep to being a bit different this week...

Natasha Allegri's magical girl temp story fits the bill quite nicely. If anything I would compare this book to of all things Matt Fractions Hawkeye because the story is really not so much on the part of the "life we know". As Hawkeye shows us his and Kate's life when they are not along with the big gun superheroes Bee and Puppycat show the lives of a Magical Girl hero and her familiar, much like Sailor Moin and Luna, but what we mainly get is their down time as they do errands that get interrupted and when they have to clean up when their mission goes awry. The art has a real animation quality without being manga in atmosphere and the way the stories are told require attention that some more conventional superhero comics really don't expect. I'm finding I really like all ages books and this may be the one that captures your heart. $14.99 and in this week where if there is little for you it might be the time to try something like this too....


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday Comics April 19 2015

Uncanny Xmen #33

Kitty and Illyana go to Monster Island I found to be truly charming and surprisingly moving. The story looks at the old friendship between Illyana and Kitty in the light of who they have become while they fight monsters and search for another new mutant. I picked up the issue because of how much I like Kris Anka's art given my hit and miss experience with Brian Michael Bendis's writing but I'm so glad I did. Brain's story through the witty banter filled dialogue looks at the way that the relationships have developed in the Xmen books and how the lives of these characters go from a meta story perspective. If these characters were ever your favorites or ones that you liked this book recalls the old days with a real kind of fondness without being maudlin or sappy. Its a great one and done issue, I like the feelings the story evoked in me, its great to have someone near move you to tears in a spare twenty pages Kris' art is expressive and emotive too and a great deal of fun. Though not in my dispatch it really should have been. Brian I'm sorry I doubt you sometimes because your sure deliver good stories. 5 stars or bullets if you like.

(More to come , had to work the weekend....and I am behind a couple weeks on a few books)


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dead-wood Comics Dispatch April 13 2015

The Comics Dispatch is my weekly column looking at what will be among the books I actually will be purchasing this week. I try to keep to an actual budget of twenty dollars though its not often I keep to it given how many good books there are nowadays but that is the aim. Each week I start with my "highlander" of books assuming I could only get one and I follow the pull list with a suggested collection or original graphic novel for those who don't do periodicals...


Ms Marvel #14

So my choice of if I could only buy one this week is a book I think usually manages to be able to stand alone even in the middle of a story. G Willow Wilson's inhuman creation that started just over a year back is still the book that reminds me of what it was like to read comics as a kid; she brings me back to a sense of wonder that many of the cool writers don't capture. Kamala Khan captures my imagination because she is someone I can identify with much like Agent Colson of SHIELD she's a fangirl of the heroes around her, she's a gamer and is not afraid for people to know these things about her. She struggles with the culture around her and limitations society places on her and the expectations of her family really matter to her but in a good way. In these ways she reminds me of the early Peter Parker and I do truly enjoy seeing her encounter the world and come to terms with it. The art I. This book has elways been great in my opinion and the artist this issue Takeshi Miyazawa is up to snuff I think given how pretty the last issue was, he does the cover here too so you can see his style...$2.99

Hexed #9

Nelson and Mora's great urban fantasy caper story would have been my if I could only get one if this was not a Ms. Marvel week given how consistantly thrilling and well told and drawn story. Michael built the mythology for this book from the legacy of HP Lovecraft and the like of cosmic, existential horror while working on parts of the comic Fall of Chuthlu. Witches, hell, ghosts, demons, arcane artifacts and multilayered plots and counterplots if these are story elements that intrigue you this is certain to be a title up your alley. Up till now there have been many irons in the fire story wise so there may be a bit of a learning curve but its book that is easy to get stuck into and and a great deal of horror fiction fun. One of my favorite books when I see its on the offing and if you have not seen Dan Mora's art the covers are again a good example of the quality and detail he usually hits. $3.99

Shutter #11

Like Hexed Shutter could easily have been my just one choice books and that would be for both the book itself and the back materials Joe and Leila include here but get left out of the collected edition. Joe Keating is great at misdirection as a writer and what appears to be a Indiana Jones fantasy romp is really something much deeper exploring family and the what lies you may just may be living with without knowing it. This is the penultimate issue of the second story arc that revealed to Kate that her family is far larger then she thought and calls into question what kind of person her famous explorer father really was. It may be the wrong time to join this book but I would urge people who didn't do so earlier to take a look at it specially fans of Saga given I would say this is a magical realism version of that wonderful drama. $3.50


Secret Identies #3

Speaking about stories revolving around lies and unspoken truths Joines and Faeber's new superhero team book is so full of lies I wonder what is actually the truth. I would assume the initial idea was formed around all the lies that build up over time as superhero stories go on for years and years and more so called secrets get created. The story is a great homage to the Teen Titans Judas Contract which saw a mole infiltrated into an established super group. As readers we are in on the gag right up front and we also know who is the one manipulating Crosswind into the position of confidential informant and some of the real tension they have created so far is more related to the secrets held by all the remaining members. I enjoy superheroes I really do and I like a lot of these characters and can see likeing them in to the future but I wonder what I will think about them once we really know more and who the actual heroes in th bunch will turn out to be. Its kind of a soap opera and its a bit of a guilty pleasure but it is good comics too. $3.50


Its a week I may actually keep to budget even if I get the Thor issues I have missed recently given I'm hiring right around fifteen dollars.

In terms of collections


As a fan of golden age pulp adventures and having grown up watching things like the TV rebroadcasts of the Flash Gordon and Superman serials and Wild Wild West I love heroic tales that take a bit of this a bit of that and the other and make something startling new out of it. Five Ghosts takes a treasure hunter like hero and infuses him with the essences of five legendary literary figures whom are not all heroic in nature and takes him on a series of roller coaster ride chiff hanger filled mystical journeys. The book has a very Indiana Jones reimagined pulp style adventure with cliffhangers abounding and enjoying the fun of the genre. Its a well paced solid tale and leaves lots of room to explore the concepts....



Monday, April 6, 2015

Dead-Wood Comics Dispatch April 8 2015

If I had to choose but one... (and oh this is a hard week for this choice)

Southern Cross #2

Becky Cloonan's science fiction Lovecraftian horror story did a lot to get my attention in issue one building what seems a haunted house story in space; feeling a lot like the original Alien she's planted a hook that will get me to return and to reccomend it. The art by Andy Belanger is the book is pretty magnificent in terms of grandure and scale when it comes to the vessels, a mixture of appealing characters and haunted atmosphere. Sure, its won't be everyone's thing but as the owner of my FLCS and I talked about the week after the first issue was out its so nice to have a wide science fiction comics again. Its seldom I get so much of what I love storytelling wise in one book like this and all for the low comics price these days of $2.99.

So eventhough its a hard choice this would be the one...


Copperhead #6

This week there seems to be an overall science fiction-y theme going on in the Deadwood pull list. If you missed the first story arc of Copperhead its now out there collected for the bargin Image price and is well worth it if you like the idea of a space western or a hybrid of Deadwood and Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers (yeah that dates me but what the hell.) This issue brings a new story arc and I expect will give us much more insight into Sheriff Clara and maybe why she was relocated to the frontier. The complex social landscape that Jay has built on the frontier setting is one of the draws for me; the mix of races I think over time will allow him to tell some complex stories where white and black hats are not very clear cut.


Descender #2

Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen's title that garnered a bit of good chatter last month hopefully doesn't get lost in the metric tonmof books coming out this week. Yeah it didn't make the top of my list but it is close and if I was actually going to stay in my 20 dollar budget is probably one I would get. The book to me looks like a take on an Astro boy given the boyish looks of the lead robot character and the persecution that robots are definitely suffering given the mysterious massive robots that slaughter lots of people and other beings at the outset of this series. Jeff hints at a crap ton of mysteries existing I this story, whys and where fors and such, and Dustin's character, creature and overall design work is pretty magnificent. Tim is the young looking robot in question and in the final panels his situation seems to be going from just frying pan to fire, I suspect that this will be better in large doses but the collections will be skipping all the pretty design pages included for your artistc pleasure and another great sci if book at $2.99 well another must.

Bucky Barnes The Winter Soldier #7

People much be tired about me going on about Ales Kot so I'll just say I have a great love for the super spy books that follow the current adventures of Bucky and I'm one of those people who said some deaths should be sacred once upon a time. Between the painted art of Marco Rudy and the clean clear pop art style of Langdon Foss this is a book that never tries to appeal to the middle of the road reader and is possibly not long for the shelves. Issue seven promises to flesh out the version of Crossbones who has never been my favorite nazi villain to hate so I'm curious what me feeling will be after this issue is over. $3.99


Jupiter's Circle #1

I missed the earlier series Jupiter's Legacy for which this is a prequel and serves as the Millerverse Silver Age. I have subsequently read the first issue of Legacy and will be getting the collected edition because it was pretty damned iteresting. I also choose to spotlight this book because the artist Wilfredo Torres who's art looks exemplary in the preview has suffered a very big personal loss just recently and well I have to give a signal boost because I can't afford to donate much money. From Mark Millar I expect a cynical deconstruction of the idealized comics era where the white hats are as tarnished as anyone else. I have high hopes and expectations.


The Legacy of Luther Strode #1

This is the third and last volume in the ultra violence story of a one time nerd Luther Strode who sent away from one of those martial arts books that used to be advertised in the back pages of comics. Traad Moore's comic work is just about the closet thing we have to the great old days of the book Fist of the North Star in Japan in the mid eighties; he has the most kinetic art style out there right now and I can just about see it in motion, just about. Justin Jordan deserves as much credit in that it takes guts to write something so honestly crazy and unforgivingly violent and with so much heart written into it. I'm on board but I loved Hokuto no Ken (Northstar) back in the day and this is right there too. $3.50



Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sunday Comics April 5 2015


Guardians Team Up #4

Guardians is a title I wanted to love but found not to my tastes on a monthly basis so Guardian Team Up is kind of a bit of luck as it leads to a series you can dip into when you like and pass with equal measure as most issues look to be one and done. John Layman wrote a pretty fun meat up between two of my favorite and probably most dangerous marvel heroes. This is also the issue that brings German comics artist Otto Schmidt to the US market and since I think he's doing the Korvak title during Secret wars its a nice taste of what might be comming up. The book is a great comedy of mistaken errors and like Rocket Racoon issue five actually smile and laugh inducing. Its the kind of thing that is the best that team up books do... allows you to pick and choose the ones you really want to pick up rather then being trapped in continuity. Gammora and She-hulk make a pretty good team too... Near five stars for art and story both...


Spider-Gwen #3

Latour and Rodriguez continue to deliver with this alternate universe Spider woman; I may keep wondering if the reason this book would work without at least a basic knowledge of the Peter Parker mythos given how tied I feel emotionally to the Spider-Man stories I recall so fondly involving characters named De Wolfe, Castle, Murdock and Stacy. Never a huge Spiderman fan having dropped into and out of the book for decades I do have to say I really love this book lots, bloody lots. I'm the kind of reader who enjoys the remix of elements to create something new and bigger then the pieces that it was built from. What Jason is doing story wise her taps into the old marvel and builds a new house of ideas out of it, with Castle as a cop and Murdock a pawn of the Kingpin this is very interesting and the art by Rodriguez is so characterful and all its own I can't say enough about how well I think this one works. Aces... Four and a half stars


The Dying and the Dead #2

Hickman and Bodenheim's Dying and the Dead number one was a whole lot of set up, set up and lots of very detailed art havy on implications. Issue two is so very cynical about the realities of modern society with its depictions both of the plight of the elderly in the retirement home system and of the halls of political power mirroring many of my staunchly held beliefs of the ruling classes. Hickman does a lot to set up the relationships between the old soldiers gathered by our hero to aid him and hints as to the object of the quest her has been tasked with. I love the overarching stories that Jonathan tells but often it can leave individual issues feel short or incomplete but that is not the case here...

For great art and solid story three and a half stars