113 Extraordinary X-Men Vol 4: IvX

The latest era of X-Men is coming to an end.  I'm not disappointed.  The whole Terrigan Mists era of X-Men feels like it was more a placeholder than anything else.  Like, "we just came off of the Bendis run but we don't know what to do with the X-Men.  Let's push our Inhumans hard, poison the air and let the X-Men figure things out while we try to find a direction for the book."  That's what the last year or two have felt like to me.  But it's ending.

This book has a lot going for it.  Lemire!  It's an Inhumans vs. X-Men tie in, but it has almost nothing to do with that series, which is fine by me.  What we have here are four stand alone character driven stories, focusing on a different X-Man.  Forge, Storm, Old Man Logan and Magik.  Jeff Lemire makes it work in the context of the big, awful crossover.  There's really nothing he can't do.

Also included in this book is X-Men Prime, the latest version of "let's start things all over again."  Kitty Pryde is back and she's in charge of the team.  I hope this leads to a strong direction for the X-Men.  It's something they've been lacking for a while now.

Extraordinary X-Men Vol 4: IvX
Writer: Jeff Lemire, Mark Guggenheim, Greg Pak, Cullen Bunn
Artist: Eric Koda, Victor Ibanez, Andrea Sorrentino, Tom Palmer, Ken Lashley, Ibraim Roberson, Leonard Kirk, Guillermo Ortego
Marvel Comics

112 Nightwing Vol. 2: Back To Blüdhaven

Volume one of this series felt more like the last volume of Grayson than it did the first volume of Nightwing.  And this story feels more like it should be the first volume of Nightwing.  I don't know if what took place in the first volume was originally plotted out to be a story for the Grayson series or not, but it doesn't really matter.  DC has decided to bring Nightwing back to Blüdhaven, but first the very first time.  Remember, the New 52 wiped out that part of his life.  Superman puts an idea in Dick Grayson's head that he should check out Blüdhaven.  The Superman that did that knew that his Dick Grayson lived there once.  So Superman is giving Nightwing a push to get him where he needs to be.

This is a fun story, though a little too much by the numbers.  If you can't figure out the true identity of the villain right off, you haven't read comics.  It's a little cliche (and by a little, I mean a lot) but it's still a good story.  Dick moves to Blüdhaven, finds a volunteer job at a community center that happens to be rehabilitating a bunch of his former adversaries.  Classic comic book misunderstandings take place, hero and villains team up and take out the true bad guys.  But it's still a fun story.  I hope these characters become part of the permanent supporting cast.  This could prove to be really cool.

I especially like that the main story is bookended by two done in one stories.  I wish comics would do this more often.  It breaks things up nicely.

Nightwing Vol. 2: Back To Blüdhaven
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Marcus To, Marcio Takara, Minkyu Jung
DC Comics 


111 Batman By Brian Azzarello And Eduardo Risso

This book is a mixed bag for me.  I loved it, but there's a but here.  I love it, but only if I consider it an alternate earth Batman.  Which kind of makes sense considering there's a Flashpoint mini-series in here.  

I love what these guys do with Batman, only it's not quite the regular Batman.  It's a darker Batman.  It's a rougher Batman.  It's a grittier Batman.  The whole tone is different, yet not.  I don't know if this makes sense.

This book has a bunch of things.  A Flashpoint mini-series.  A six issue run on Batman.  The Wednesday Comics story. A black & white story.  It's all good stuff.  I promise.  

My biggest complaint of this book, if I had a true one, was the Wednesday Comics story.  This is not the right way to reprint that.  If you don't know Wednesday Comics, it was a series DC did a few years back.  It's printed on actual newspaper sized paper.  It does not translate well being shrunk down to comic book size, which is sad.  My old man eyes has enough trouble as it is.

Batman By Brian Azzarello And Eduardo Risso
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Eduardo Risso
DC Comics

110 DC Bombshells Vol. 4: Queens

I love the Bombshells.  I love their look.  I love their backstory.  I love the concept.  But I think I'm done with the book.  There's something about it that just doesn't rub me right.  I don't know if it's the digital first format that limits the storytelling.  I don't know if it's the size of the cast that limits the storytelling.  I don't know if it's trying to tell an overarcing story that limits the storytelling.  There's just something not right to me and I can't place my finger on it.  I think what I'd like to see is a bunch of smaller stories focusing on one or two Bombshells at a time.  It feels to me like there's too big of a canvas that these stories are taking place on and the focus is off.  It's too bad because I thought this series started off strong.  

DC Bombshells Vol 4: Queens
Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Artist: Laura Braga, Mirka Andolfo, Marguerite Sauvage, Richard Ortiz, Pasquale Qualano, Sandy Jarrell, Matias Bergara
DC Comics

109 Superboy And The Legion Of Super-Heroes Vol. 1

I've been waiting for this volume for a long, long time.  I have the full run of the Legion of Super-Heroes Archives.  I loved that series so much.  I just love the Legion so much.  This book picks right up where the Archive series ended.  I was particularly upset when the Archives stopped because of what was going to be printed in the next volume.  That volume is this volume!  And what I was waiting for was the tabloid that had the wedding of Lightning Lad & Saturn Girl.  About a year ago, I finally tracked it down, so it's in my collection now, but now I have it on really nice paper!  

This is the era when I first started reading the Legion.  My first issue was #238, which was a classic Legion reprint.  The cover is reprinted here, but not the story.  The rest of the book is wonderful and awful all at the same time.  I'm reliving a lot of this for the first time since the 70s.  And it's not as awesome as I remember it being.  Some of it is a little hard to read.  But it's still awesome to me.  This is when Paul Levitz jumped on the book to start his 700 year run on it.  If anything, this just makes me want volume 2 all the more.  We are finally into "my" Legion.  It just gets better from here.  Slowly. 

Superboy And The Legion Of Super-Heroes Vol. 1
Writer: Jack C. Harris, Gerry Conway, Paul Levitz, Paul Kupperberg, Jim Starlin
Artist: Juan Ortiz, Bob Smith, Mike Grel, Ric Estrada, Jack Abel, Vince Colletta, George Tuska, Joe Rubinstein, James Sherman, Bob McLeod, Mike Nasser, Rick Bryant, Walt Simonson, Jim Starlin, Howard Chaykin, Bob Wiacek
DC Comics


108 Batman: The Brave And The Bold - The Bronze Age Omnibus Vol. 1

Every day at work, I read comics.  I always have a trade or a hardcover in my desk.  The book I just finished was a labor of love.  It's this glorious book.  Bronze Age Brave & Bold stories.  This book absolutely brings me back to my childhood.  Many of these books were published before I started reading comics, but comics were so cheap back then that I'd picked up a lot of back issues at garage sales and flea markets.  As I got older, they got a little more expensive or were reprinted here and there. I've read all these stories before, but they're just as joyful and silly and fun a second, third, fourth or fifth time around.  Even moreso today.  They're all done in one stories, stripped of the darkness a modern day Batman book has.  The guest stars run a wide gamut from Wonder Woman and Flash to Sgt. Rock and the Demon and many more.

This book clocks in at just under 900 pages, so it took me quite a while to read it at work.  My lunch break is 30 minutes, so I was good to take in an issue or two at a time.  In a way I didn't want it to end.  It was so much fun to read.  They label this as volume 1, so I hope DC plans a follow up volume.  This ends at issue 109.  Brave and the Bold ran through issue 200.

And with this, I'm officially caught up on my mini-blog posts on my backlogged reading!!  

Batman: The Brave And The Bold - The Bronze Age Omnibus Vol. 1
Writer: Bob Haney, Mike Sekowsky, Dennis O'Neal, Marv Wolfman
Artist: Ross Andru, Mike Sekowsky, Bob Brown, Neil Adams, Irv Novick, Nick Cardy, Jim Aparo, Mike Esposito, Jack Abel, Dick Giordano, Joe Kubert, Frank McLaughlin
DC Comics

107 Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Year One

Wonder Woman is published twice monthly with issues alternating storylines.  The odd numbered issues tell a story set today.  The even numbered issues tell her backstory.  I thought it was an interesting concept.  I appreciate that each story is collected separately.  But after finishing this volume, I realize that doing it this way makes you miss a certain layer of storytelling.  The modern day story and this flashback story feature Barbara Minerva.  I think you'd get more out of the stories by reading them in the order that they're published.  Not to say that you can't read them as stand alone stories.  You absolutely can and they're both wonderful.  In fact, I'm willing to say that my enjoyment of this series is higher than it's been in YEARS.  Greg Rucka is hitting it out of the ballpark with this book.  It's a shame he's already leaving the series.  I feel like he's got a lot more Wonder Woman in him that I need to read.  Also already off the book is Nicola Scott, who is giving some of her best work ever to this project.  This book couldn't make me happier.  We're stripping away the New 52 version of the character, we're pulling elements of the awesome Wonder Woman movie into the book.  It's just fabulous.  You're missing out if you aren't reading Wonder Woman.  For real.

Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Year One
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Nicola Scott, Bilquis Evely
DC Comics

106 Trinity Vol. 1: Better Together

On paper this is the greatest concept in comics.  Put DC's three biggest, iconic characters together in one book.  What could go wrong?

This book is beautifully illustrated.  I can't say enough nice stuff about how beautiful it is.  But other than that, it left me a little cold.  In a nutshell, it's a rehashing/sequel to Alan Moore's brilliant Black Mercy story a hundred years ago.  This story does nothing to add to it, unfortunately.  It feels like it takes more than it gives.  Been there, done that.  It would have been better if the inclusion of Poison Ivy didn't happen.  I'm still trying to wrap my head around that.  It just does not work for me.

I'm hoping volume 2 gives us a better story.

Trinity Vol. 1: Better Together
Writer: Francis Manapul
Artist: Francis Manapul, Emanuela Lupacchino, Ray McCarthy, Matt Santorelli, Clay Mann, Seth Mann
DC Comics

105 Supergirl Vol. 1: Reign Of The Cyborg Supermen

I love the comic book Supergirl.  I love the tv Supergirl.  I love Steve Orlando.  This book is all three things wrapped up on one.  What could go wrong?  Not much, but I find that I didn't love this book like I hoped I would.  First of all, I was having trouble wrapping my head around Steve Orlando writing Supergirl after his epic run on Midnighter.  How do you reconcile the two?  Answer, you don't.

The New 52 version of Supergirl was one of the few things about the New 52 that I actually liked.  At least at first.  I think Michael Green was writing the book at first (I'll need to look that up) and he gave great stories.  He understood the character.  He made the best out of an awful situation (that situation being the New 52).  This is supposed to be the same character, only the success of the Supergirl tv series meant that DC wanted to bring the character closer to that version.  I can't say that I blame them.  I'd do the same thing.  But the difference between the two is jarring.  Another volume of this book and the New 52 version will be a distant memory.

The one thing that really bothered me about this book, and it may seem nit-picky, was that the story told in here feels more like something we should get in volume 2 or 3, not volume 1.  It's way too heavy to go along with the changes to bring the book closer to the tv Supergirl.  I would have liked to have seem more of that transition and a lighter story than what was presented here.  It was too much.  

But with that said, I'm looking forward to the new direction of the book.  I hope the book just gets better from here.

Supergirl Vol. 1: Reign Of The Cyborg Supermen
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Brian Ching, Emanuela Lupacchino, Ray McCarthy
DC Comics

104 Spider-Woman: Shifting Gears Vol. 3: Scare Tactice

I'm mad.  Pissed off.  Spider-Woman Vol. 3 ends Dennis Hopeless's epic run on the character.  I went into this book with trepidation.  I love Spider-Woman, but the spin on the character was to give her a baby, change her costume and change her entire tone.  I hated all of that, yet my love for Spider-Woman made me try the book.  And it quickly became on of my favorite books.  Who knew?  But like I just said, this book ends Hopeless's run and makes me incredibly sad.  Like all Marvel books, it's really not a continuing series, it's a mini-series dressed up in regular series clothing.  Seventeen issues is a long lifespan in the current Marvel Comics world, so I should be happy I got this much Spider-Woman goodness.

Like I was saying in my blurb about the Kate Bishop Hawkeye book, this is the type of Marvel book I have been gravitating towards lately.  Funny, grounded, not afraid to poke fun at itself and comic books in general, female lead.  I'm really going to miss this book.  They could revive it under a new creative team, but I'm afraid it's just not going to be the same.  I love this book.  Go buy all three volumes.  I demand it.

Spider-Woman Shifting Gears Vol. 3: Scare Tactics
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist: Veronica Fish, Andy Fish
Marvel Comics