As you can probably tell by the excessive and gratuitous swimsuit posts this week, it’s spring break for me and that’s the only excuse I have for these reviews going up a day later than usual. In my defense I don’t often have a lot of no-strings-attached free time and so I used that time wisely because I probably won’t have anything else like it until next year. But you don’t care about that, you just want the reviews:
THE PULL LIST 3:17:2010
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #625 2.99
AMERICAN VAMPIRE #1 (MR) 3.99
BATMAN #697 2.99
BOOSTER GOLD #30 2.99
BRONX KILL HC (MR) 19.99
CHOKER #2 (MR) 3.99
DARK AVENGERS #15 3.99
DEADPOOL MERC WITH A MOUTH #9 2.99
DOOMWAR #2 (OF 6) 3.99
GREEN ARROW #31 2.99
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #46 3.99
HULK #21 FOH 3.99
INCREDIBLE HULK #608 FOH 3.99
JOE THE BARBARIAN #3 2.99
PRELUDE TO DEADPOOL CORPS #3 (OF 5) 2.99
SIEGE #3 (OF 4) 3.99
SIEGE EMBEDDED #3 (OF 4) 3.99
SPIDER-WOMAN #7 3.99
SUPERGIRL #51 2.99
WONDER WOMAN CHRONICLES TP VOL 01 17.99
X-FACTOR FOREVER #1 3.99
X-MEN LEGACY #234 2.99
And now, your local news.
This issue didn’t make me want to strangle myself while jumping in front of a bus, so there’s the upside. That having been said, this issue did feature a pretty tremendous case of “Women in Refrigerators” syndrome, which I’m going to speak about in detail so if you don’t want the issue spoiled, go ahead and jump down to the next review.
Okay, if you’re still here that means you want to hear my rant about how the recently created character of Oksana who they made as a means to push the old Rhino into his new position on the other side of the law gets horrendously fridged in this particular issue. If you’ll remember my review of the issue dealing with the Rhino and his new girlfriend, you’ll recall how I thought that it was one of the smarter things they’ve done with the character and the story was genuinely touching on a character level. The pathos that the writer sought to evoke clearly rang true and I accepted what was presented with no resistance.
If I had known that they created the character only to blow her up violently a month down the road for the sole purpose of getting the Rhino back into his old role, I wouldn’t have enjoyed the issue as much. Why? Because what is the point of creating a new direction for a character if you don’t take the time to expand on it?
Did the conversation that made this issue basically go like this?
Marvel Guy 1: We’ve changed the Rhino into a good guy!
Marvel Guy 2: People liked it.
Marvel Guy 1: Oh, fuck…Let’s go back!
Marvel Guy 2: So we wrote an issue turning him into a good guy just so he can turn back?
Marvel Guy 1: That’s a bingo.
Marvel Guy 2: Why didn’t we just keep him evil from the get-go?
Marvel Guy 1: *silence*
So, yeah. Amazing Spider-Man entertained me for months simply to lure me into a false sense of security and then confound me to the point of anger.
Guys and gals, Vertigo seemingly can’t put out a bad book. Here we get a dense book with two well written stories, each with their own style and voice but both adhering to the principle that the less we see of the monster, the more intimidating they are.
Seriously, the vampirism doesn’t appear until the last few panels of each story, and we’re left waiting for it throughout the whole of the issue while KNOWING that it will come. The book is called American Vampire, it’s not like when the vampires show up we’re going to be shocked. What we’re waiting for is indication of what kind of vampires they’ll be. The genre and the archetype have been so played with over the course of literary history that it’s anybody’s guess what the rules for this new series will be.
Stephen King’s segment gives us the feeling that maybe we’ll be seeing a more realistic take on the vampire. That perhaps the “burning up in the sun” aspect isn’t an eruption of flame but something that could be solved with some SPF 15.
Either way, the intro issue is definitely worth reading. This looks like it could be the next big Vertigo hit if everything plays out as planned.
The Vertigo Crime imprint has been churning out some great stuff. This issue was basically like porn for me, because as a writer and the son of a cop I can totally relate to the main character…a writer and the son of a cop. After that the similarities disappear but the book is quite enthralling, following a writer in the throes of developing a new novel having to deal with the disappearance of his wife.
If you’re a fan of noir at all you should be picking up every book put out by this imprint. The writers are all A-list talent in the genre and the stories are about as complex and well written as you will see in the medium. I’ll admit that the art in this particular volume wasn’t my cup of tea, but it served the story well and it’s not really bad art, it’s just not the style I tend to enjoy.
Go buy this book. Try something new.
Okay, I actually have a lot to say about this particular direction for Green Arrow, but most of it seems dependent on the current status quo for Green Arrow sticking around for more than a few issues, but with the news breaking of a new # 1 for the character and the promise of a turn coming for the storyline that shifts gears pretty dramatically, all I can really comment on when it comes to this particular issue is what is contained within, with no thought given to anything that came before or what comes next.
The issue itself is kind of light. A lot of it seems derivative of the JLA special from last week and what’s left is just an extended inner monologue by Ollie as he wanders through the remains of Star City. The only real interesting part of the issue comes at the end, and I’m not going to spoil it. But the final few panels lead me to believe that the changes we’ve been promised prior to that new shiny # 1 issue, will hit hard next issue.
If nothing else, I give them kudos for ending on a cliffhanger that I honest to God did not see coming, which doesn’t happen often.
BOOM! KRAAWWW! KRAKABOOM! SMASH! BOOOOOOM!
Having read X-Men Forever by Claremont and not being all too impressed, I was hesitant to pick this one up, but unlike it’s counterpart, the X-Factor Forever series is reportedly a mini-series, which I take as an indicator that the story will be more focused and not as rambling and bumblefuck insane as Claremont’s series.
And the first issue packs in a LOT of info. I would have been lost if it weren’t for the fact that they printed a handy-dandy X-Factor saga time line and reference list in the back of the issue. It was a lifesaver, as it’s been quite a while since I’ve read the old X-Factor stuff.
The one thing I’ll say is that the mood seems consistent with the old series. Whereas Claremont now doesn’t seem anything like Claremont then, Louise Simonson writes some old-school X-Factor in the manner to which fans would be accustomed. I doubt that anybody in the customer base for this particular title could be disappointed in the slightest.
* * * * * * * * * *
So that’s it for this week. Sorry for such a light list, but like I said, it’s spring break and my reading schedule is somewhat off-key for the moment. Next week will supposedly be a bitch and a half, so I’ll try to live up to that with a hefty review section. Remember, if there’s anything in particular you want reviewed you can always shoot an e-mail, leave a comment, or let us know in the forum.
March 19, 2010 | Categories: Blog Posts, Reviews | Tags: Amazing Spider-Man, American Vampire, Batman, Ben Templesmith, Booster Gold, Bronx Kill, Choker, Dark Avengers, Deadpool, Deadpool Merc With A Mouth, Doomwar, Fall of the Hulks, Green Arrow, Green Lantern Corps, Hulk, Incredible Hulk, Jeremiah Arkham, Joe the Barbarian, Peter Milligan, Prelude to Deadpool Corps, Rise and Fall of Green Arrow, Siege, Siege Embedded, Spider-Woman, Stephen King, Supergirl, Vertigo Crime, Wonder Woman, World War Hulks, X-Factor, X-Factor Forever, X-Men Legacy | Leave a comment
CCQ Top 5 of 2009:
Alright, the year has ended and thus it’s time for me to round up the year and present my top 5 picks for the best stories of the year. Now, this being comics we’re talking about, some things get a little tricky when it comes to if a particular story should be eligible. For example, I will not include BLACKEST NIGHT on this list, no matter how many people claim it as the best of the year, because it hasn’t ended yet. (That and I don’t go ga-ga over it the way some people do. It’s an okay enough story, but it hasn’t given me the unending nerdgasm everyone has told me I should be experiencing over it.)
So here we go!
5. “Invincible Iron Man : World’s Most Wanted” (Marvel)
[Buy It At Amazon]
Matt Fraction has done something that I didn’t think was possible in the comic medium; he wrote an Iron Man story that people will actually remember. Do you know how many of those actually exist? To my knowlege the only two story arcs anybody can name as being of any lasting quality are “Demon in a Bottle” and “Armor Wars.” Perhaps the stuff with Doom, but I really only love that one because I love me some Doom. Seriously, that guy does not get the treatment he deserves. How many GREAT Doom stories can you count? He and Tony should totally hook up and make little underappreciated babies.
When it comes to “World’s Most Wanted,” (hereafter refered to as WMW because I think that acronym looks cool) Matt Fraction gives us a breakneck paced thriller that would work as a James Bond or Jason Bourne film. The protagonist being up against the wall makes for some great character moments, showing just how Tony Stark deals with such things, as well as forcing the narrative forward in ways that wouldn’t work with the hero on level ground.
I cannot recommend this one enough. Even if you don’t normally read Iron Man, this one is definately worth checking out. It’s as good as it gets in modern Marvel comics. No joke.
4. Filthy Rich (Vertigo Crime)
[Buy It At Amazon]
The Vertigo Crime line kicked off with a bang with Brian Azzarello’s “FILTHY RICH,” the story of an ex football star turned car-salesman who gets suckered into a job as a bodyguard that quickly devolves into some of the girttiest noir this side of a Raymond Chandler novel.
Azzarello cranks up the noir to eleven and artist Victor Santos utilizes the stark black and white pallatte to create a world that positivly drips with dirt and grime. It’s a harsh reality filled with harsh people and as a reader you can’t help but be drawn in by the intricacies of the story, and believe me when I tell you that this is not a simple book. Don’t judge the book by it’s size, the scope and content contained within this graphic novel is mindblowing and it’s something you’ll want to go back and read again just to pick up on new details.
3. INCOGNITO (Icon)
I want to punch Ed Brubaker in the trachea. Or maybe in the kidneys. I dunno, somewhere painful. As a writer who labors to write even the most trite of a narrative, I hate Ed Brubaker for being able to consistantly and constantly put out such great material, and the fact that he does so mutliple times a month is enough to drive me into a seething rage not seen outside of a Tea-Party protest. Seriously, Bru, you suck.
“Incognito” re-teams Brubaker with Sean Philips, his collaborator from the equally amazing “Sleeper” and “Criminal” series. The art is perfectly suited to the world that Ed creates, it’s a sort of murky realm where people like this seem natural and organic, like they were born out of the scenery to play out the story that their God, Ed Brubaker hath destined them to partake in.
As a sort of flipside to the world of superheroics, much in the way “Sleeper” was, “Incognito” delivers familiar ideas viewed through a different lens. It’s basically the logical grandchild of the Watchmen era. And just as readable.
2. CHEW (Image)
[Buy It At Amazon]
If you were one of the lucky few who picked up CHEW # 1 when it first hit stands, congratulations not only were you in on the ground floor of one of the best new comics in years, you also struck gold because that first edition is going for mucho money right about now. It went back to press another three times and now if you haven’t read it, you’re just doing it out of spite because this book is what finally allowed me to say I read Image Comics out loud with no shame. Yeah, “Walking Dead” is amazing and so is “Invincible” but those are both written by Kirkman, so I was previously just saying “I read Kirkman comics” because I’m still not too keen on much else being published by Image but this is certainly helping.
Would you like me to tell you what the book is about, just in case you’re completely in the dark regarding what I’ve been rambling about for the last paragraph? Lemme just give you the official synopsis:
Tony Chu is a detective with a secret. A weird secret. Tony Chu is Cibopathic, which means he gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats. It also means he’s a hell of a detective, as long as he doesn’t mind nibbling on the corpse of a murder victim to figure out whodunit, and why. He’s been brought on by the Special Crimes Division of the FDA, the most powerful law enforcement agency on the planet, to investigate their strangest, sickest, and most bizarre cases.
Chicken is also illegal in the book.
Yeah, go read it.
1. Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe (Oni Press)
[Buy It At Amazon]
I cannot put into words how much I love Scott Pilgrim. Seriously, it’s awesome. So awesome that it had to be imported from Canada. Who knew, right? Anyhow, the series has been balls-to-the-wall cool since it’s inception but the lastest volume (being 5) seriously nails the emotional notes that it aims for and really provides us with solid development for the characters that has been slowly building since the first page of the first volume.
I can’t really do it justice, so here’s an actual page.
Nom Nom Nom, indeed.
January 13, 2010 | Categories: Best Of, Blog Posts, Reviews | Tags: 2009, Best Of, Brian Azzarello, Bryan Lee O'Malley, Chew, Ed Brubaker, Filthy Rich, Icon, Image Comics, Incognito, Iron Man, John Layton, Marvel, Matt Fraction, Nom Nom Nom, Oni Press, Reviews, Rob Guillory, Salvador Larroca, Scott Pilgrim, Sean Phillips, Top 5, Vertigo Crime | 1 Comment