2.26.2017

038 Wacky Raceland


Unreadable.  Absolutely awful.  I got through the first issue (barely).  Awful.

Wacky Raceland
Writer: Ken Pontac
Artist: Leonardo Manco
DC Comics

037 Justice League Vol 1: The Extinction Machines


Here's Bryan Hitch's second shot at writing a Justice League book.  His first attempt was kind of a mess.  Delays plagued the book almost from the start.  That's the problem when he tries to write and draw a monthly book.  Even with a head start.  This time around he's just writing, though he drew the Rebirth special, too.

I'm trying to figure out why I liked this book, but didn't love it.  The longer I think about it, the more I'm sure it's because he over thinks things.  The story he told was going along fine, but then it kind of started making less sense.  I think this is something an editor should have stepped in and helped smooth out.  But otherwise, it was a fine book.  They're easing the new Superman onto the team, they've added two new Green Lanterns.  Everyone is feeling out the new dynamic.

What I love love love about Bryan Hitch's storytelling is how cinematic it seems.  I thought we'd see less of that in this volume with a new artist, but this story also had a big screen, cinematic feel to it.  He does this extremely well.  I'm anxious to see what else he has in him.  Justice League is supposed to be a big book.  I hope he's able to deliver.

Justice League Vol 1: The Extinction Machines
Writer: Bryan Hitch
Artist: Tony S. Daniel, Bryan Hitch, Jesus Merino, Sandu Florea, Daniel Henriques, Scott Hanna, Andy Owens

036 The Fox Vol 1: Freak Magnet


Archie's Red Circle line of comics produced this fine volume of the Fox.  The Fox is Paul Patton Jr, son of the original Fox.  He's a newspaper guy who put on the costume in hopes of bringing stories to him rather than the other way around.  And adventure follows him everywhere.  Crazy, zany adventure.  It's quite the fun read.  This volume has the main Fox story, but also a back up tale starring The Shield.  By the end of the book, the two tales converge for one big ending.

It's a fun book, Dean Haspiel (my secret boyfriend) plots and draws fun shit!  Two thumbs up.

The Fox Vol 1: Freak Magnet
Writer: Dean Haspiel, Mark Waid, J.M. Dematteis
Artist: Dean Haspiel, Mike Cavallaro, Terry Austin
Red Circle Comics

035 Cosmic Odyssey: The Deluxe Edition


I read this when it first came out in the late 80s.  I remember nothing about the book.  So this was a good test to see how it holds up thirty years later.

It holds up damn well.  I had a great time reading it.  Jim Starlin loves cosmic stories.  He's known for cosmic stories.  This was a cosmic story.  Mike Mignola draws so beautifully.  Each page here was a treat.  His take on a lot of these characters was a real joy.

I'm not big on the New Gods.  I'm sure that's sacrilegious to say, but they've never been my favorites.  Though two of my favorite New Gods are featured here.  I love Metron and Lightray.  I love how polar opposite they are.  I love how polar opposite they look.  Mignola drew them in his own style without ever losing the original Kirbyness of them.  Such a great job.  There were also some stunning full page illustrations.  I can't get over how beautiful this book is.

One thing I'd completely forgotten was the whole Xanshi storyline.  Well, I hadn't forgotten it because it's still mentioned often enough, but I'd forgotten that lasting plot point happened here. In this book.  These mini-series are usually self-contained stories that don't bleed over into the proper universe with lasting effects. But this one did.  Thirty or so years later.

This book is a great read.

Cosmic Odyssey: The Deluxe Edition
Writer: Jim Starlin
Artist: Mike Mignola, Carlos Garzon
DC Comics  

034 Green Arrow Vol 1: The Death & Life Of Oliver Queen


Once upon a time, DC Comics decided to shoot itself in the foot and relaunched it's entire line under the New 52 banner.  This meant scrapping everything good about the DC Universe and starting fresh, making comics as awful as possible.  Green Arrow was one of the worst.  I have no idea what the fuck TPTB were thinking, but it's obvious they weren't.  Green Arrow was awful.  And DC realized over a year into it that something needed to be done.  They had a hit TV show based on this character and the comic was unreadable.  So they hired Jeff Lemire to reboot this reboot.  And it worked.  As far as I'm concerned, the first three trades do no exist.  Jeff's run is the New 52 introduction of Green Arrow.

Anyway, his run was great.  Then he left and I panicked.  But the book has remained solid ever since.  This volume is no exception.  In fact, it may be just as good.  It took everything great that Jeff and added in regular old DCU stuff.  He's still a different Oliver Queen than the pre-New 52, but he's evolving into that character.  And Black Canary is along for the ride.  Hopefully that character will get straightened out with Rebirth.  They fucked her up so bad with the New 52.  So many different versions of her and none of them jive together.  This BC seems fun and consistent with the Batgirl version.

And as I mentioned two posts ago, Shado is back.  I'm amused that both GA books I read this weekend featured the return of Shado.

I'm most excited that this volume ended on a giant cliffhanger.  Can't wait for volume two.

Green Arrow Vol 1: The Death & Life Of Oliver Queen
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Otto Schmidt, Juan Ferreyra
DC Comics

033 Batman - Detective Comics Vol 1: Rise Of The Batmen


This is the third Batman book of the Rebirth era I've read (Batman and Nightwing were the other two).  This is my favorite of the three.  I think it was the most well written.  The story was interesting as hell and it was executed with perfection.  There were things about it that surprised me.  The major thing was Clayface.  When I read he was going to be a supporting character in the book, I instantly wrote it off as a bad idea.  I stand corrected.  I really liked his use here.  It was a well thought out move on James Tynion's part and I applaud him for it.

My one nitpick is the character of Orphan (formerly Batgirl pre-New 52).  Naturally her tenure as Batgirl never happened and we're starting all over again with her.  It's kind of annoying because I've been reading her adventures as Batgirl recently.  We've lost years of character development.  I'm also not totally sold on her costume.  It looks like something she found in Black Canary's closet of former costumes that she had to rework in a Project Runway showdown.  Like she took an old BC costume and tried to jazz up her old Batgirl costume.  She lost that challenge.

I'm surprised that this first arc had such a big life changing event for Batwoman, especially considering her new solo book is coming so soon.  I guess the fallout will be addressed there.

Another thing I like is although it's a Batman book, Batman is more a supporting character than a main one.  I like that he's letting Batwoman feel like she's an equal (even though he sees no one as an equal).  And I like the team dynamic.  If this book wasn't called Detective Comics, Batman Family would be a great name.

Batman - Detective Comics Vol 1: Rise Of The Batmen
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Eddy Barrows, Alvaro Martinez, Al Barrionuevo, Eber Ferreira, Raul Fernandez
DC Comics

032 Green Arrow Vol 2: Here There Be Dragons


I posted about volume 7 in this series about a month ago.  Not too long ago I noticed I was missing the second volume.  I finally have it and just read it.  Like volume 7, I really enjoyed this read.  One of the things I especially love about Mike Grell's writing is how he can go two, three, four pages with no dialog.  You don't see it often these days, so it seems unique to see it now.  And it's not just a one off thing, Grell does it often.  And it works.  It's quite refreshing.

My one pan for this volume is the issue drawn by Paris Cullins.  He's one of my favorites from back in the day.  I love his art.  But just not in this issue.  I don't know if it was a rush job or if he was paired with an inker that doesn't do his stuff justice.  It just wasn't up to what I expect of him.

I love that this volume features the return of Shado, but it's the same thing that happens in post #034, coming up shortly.

Green Arrow Vol 2: Here There Be Dragons
Writer: Mike Grell, Sharon Wright
Artist: Ed Hannigan, Dick Giordano, Frank McLaughlin, Paris Cullins, Eduardo Barreto, Randy Duburke, Arne Starr, Gary Martin
DC Comics

031 Teen Titans Vol 4: When Titans Fall

When the New 52 hit, I vowed I wasn't going to read Teen Titans.  I picked up the first issue and it was awful, but when the first trade came out, I bought it.  And it was awful.  But I've been a lifelong Teen Titans fan and I couldn't help myself.  Scott Lobdell was hired to reinvent the Teen Titans for the New 52.  Most of the characters had to be reworked because the history and origins they had no longer fit in with the new DC Universe.  To me, it felt like Scott put as little effort as possible in coming up with the backstories for these new versions.  

Anyway, he eventually left the book and Tony Bedard came on.  I like Tony's stuff.  He's a solid storyteller, but even he couldn't do anything worthwhile with what he had to work with.  This volume, the last in the current run, isn't the worst volume.  It was okay, but nothing to write home about.  These versions of the characters are still awful and I wish they would disappear forever.

For the most part, I've been pretty satisfied with the Rebirth versions of characters I've been reading.  The Teen Titans Rebirth issue is included in this trade.  And surprise, surprise, it's awful.  DC has finally given up on the Teen Titans.  

Teen Titans Vol 4: When Titans Fall
Writer: Tony Bedard, Scott Lobdell
Artist: Ian Churchill, Miguel Mendonca, Cory Smith, Norm Rapmund, Diana Egea
DC Comics

2.22.2017

030 Batman Vol 1: I Am Gotham

I'm a huge fan of Scott Snyder's run on Batman,  Huge.  So it's taking a little getting used to someone else writing this book.  Tom King is a solid writer and I think he's off to a good start.  We're setting up a new dynamic here, with Duke Thomas now firmly ensconced in the Batcave.  I like Duke and I like the slow and steady use of him.  I like that Batman has gotten him a costume, but he's not been in it yet.  Slow and steady wins the race.  Always.  As a counterpoint to Duke, we have Gotham and Gotham Girl.  Two super-powered heroes who suddenly show up on the scene.  And they're all over Gotham.  They came on strong and burned out even stronger.  It's too bad, because I would have liked to have seen them show up here and there before getting to their story.  (Remember subplots and foreshadowing?  I mean REAL subplots and foreshadowing, not what we're given these days.  The fact that the next storyline is broadcast in each issue of this trade doesn't mean it counts as either of those things.)  They might have felt like more than throw away characters.

All in all this was a solid first volume of the Rebirth run of Batman.  I'm anxious to read more.

Batman Vol. 1: I Am Gotham
Writer: Tom King, Scott Snyder
Artist: David Finch, Mikel Janin, Ivan Reis, matt Banning, Danny Miki, Sandra Hope, Scott Hanna, Joe Prado, Oclair Albert
DC Comics

029 Aquaman Vol 1: The Drowning

New 52 Aquaman was one of the few bright points of DC's whole New 52 fiasco.  It brought Aquaman back to the A List.  What worked best about the book is it really didn't discard all of his past, it didn't drastically alter the character and it was well written.  And with the exception of Cullen Bunn's short run on the book, the whole run has been solid.  Dan Abnett took over for the last New 52 arc and continues on to the Rebirth run.

The trade starts off with the Rebirth Special.  I wasn't that impressed with it.  It honestly felt like a fill in issue rather than a new start.  Even the first couple of issues of this story felt off to me.  Really, it felt like a fill-in issue in between the regular creative team.  But as I read, I got pulled deeper in to the story.  I like the direction it's going in right now.  I do have an issue or two with the series, but they're minor.  First, I don't know if Dan Abnett has really captured who Mera is.  She seems a little off.  I'm willing to give him time, though.  The other gripe is the art.  I think it's the reason this partially read like a fill-in story to me.  While there's nothing bad about the art, it's just not that remarkable to me.  It's fine, but unmemorable.

Aquaman Vol 1: The Drowning
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Scot Eaton, Oscar Jimenez, Mark Morales, Brad Walker, Andrew Hennessy, Wayne Faucher, Philippe Briones
DC Comics

028 Future Quest Vol 1


This is a book I was really looking forward to.  Of all the Hanna-Barbera books DC announced, it was the only one that looked the slightest bit interesting.  The rest, to be honest, looked horrible to me.  Anyway, the premise of this book is to gather up most, if not all, of the Hanna-Barbera "action heroes" into one giant crossover story.  This volume represents the first half of the crossover.  If I had to use one word to describe it, it would be disappointing.  Disappointing because it's kind of a convoluted mess.  In order to pull all these characters in to one story, it's gotten to be a giant mess.  There's a central story that most of the characters have something to do in, but there are other side stories using other characters that are trying to tie into the main story and all it does is take away from it.  It's a good idea poorly executed.  I wish there would be less of this side stuff and more focus on the main story.  And that anything that doesn't fit into the main story gets jettisoned.  

This book also hit a snag early on with issue three being a fill in issue.  That killed the slowly building momentum.  

I plan on finishing the story in the next volume and hope that it gets more focused.  Because it's a great concept and nice to look at, but just a jumbled mess.  Not something I normally would expect from Jeff Parker.

Future Quest Vol 1
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Evan Shaner, Steve Rude, Ron Randall, Jeff Parker, Jonathan Case, Aaron Lopresti, Karl Kesel, Carig Rousseau
DC Comics

027 A-Force Vol 2: Rage Against The Dying Of The Light



This book is right up my alley.  It's a team book.  It features and all female cast.  These two reasons alone should mean I love this book.  But I don't.  I like it very much, but I don't love it.  And that's a shame, because Marvel could do better.  And it wouldn't take much effort to turn this from a decent book to an amazing book.  My advice is simple.  First, give the book a foundation.  It's a female Avengers team, but it stars a bunch of heroes who just happen to find themselves working together.  One quick one issue story to set them up as an official line-up with an official headquarters and all that jazz.  Then they'll feel like a real team.  Second, rethink the line up just a little bit.  Singularity has got to go.  Singularity, if you aren't familiar with her, is a sentient pocket universe.  Yes, you read that right.  She's gotta go.  And Medusa.  I love Medusa, but I feel she's in this book to push Marvel's "Everything Inhuman" agenda.  Which is fine, but actually use her, dammit.  She feels like an afterthought.  The rest of this book has a lot going for it.  The women are all over the board personality and motivation wise.  I like that.  And despite me hating Dazzler's current look, she's quickly becoming my favorite member of this team.  She's the moral conscience of this team and I love it.

A-Force Vol 2: Rage Against The Dying Of The Light
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Ben Caldwell, Paulo Siqueira, Joe Bennett, Scott Hanna
Marvel Comics

May 2017 Solicitations - DC

DC announced their May books this week.  Here are some of the books I'm looking forward to.

NEW SUPER-MAN VOL. 1: MADE IN CHINA TP
Written by GENE LUEN YANG
Art by VIKTOR BOGDANOVIC and RICHARD FRIEND
Cover by VIKTOR BOGDANOVIC
#1 New York Times best-selling author and National Book Award nominee Gene Luen Yang introduce readers to Kong Kenan, an all-new superhero who could change the world...or be the end of it, in these tales from issues #1-6.

NIGHTWING VOL. 2: BACK TO BLUDHAVEN TP
Written by TIM SEELEY
Art by MARCUS TO, MARCIO TAKARA and MINKYU JUNG
Cover by MARCUS TO
Nightwing takes off for the city of Bl├╝dhaven, hoping to find a fresh start. Instead, he finds foes who’ve waited years for payback against the one-time Boy Wonder as a serial killer stalks the streets, framing him for crimes he didn’t commit. Collects NIGHTWING #9-15!

TEEN TITANS VOL. 1: DAMIAN KNOWS BEST TP
Written by BENJAMIN PERCY
Art by KHOI PHAM, JONBOY MEYERS and DIOGENES NEVES
Cover by JONBOY MEYERS
The Teen Titans are further apart than ever before...until Damian Wayne recruits Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy and the new Kid Flash to join him in a fight against his own grandfather, Ra’s al Ghul! Collects issues #1-5 and TEEN TITANS: REBIRTH #1.

JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. SUICIDE SQUAD HC
Written by JOSHUA WILLIAMSON, ROB WILLIAMS and TIM SEELEY
Art by JASON FABOK, RILEY ROSSMO, TONY S. DANIEL, JESUS MERINO, FERNANDO PASARIN, ROBSON ROCHA, HOWARD PORTER, GIUSEPPE CAFARO, CHRISTIAN DUCE and others
Cover by JASON FABOK
The wildly popular JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. SUICIDE SQUAD is here in this title collecting stories from JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. SUICIDE SQUAD #1-6, SUICIDE SQUAD #8-10 and JUSTICE LEAGUE #12-13. The Justice League has discovered the existence of the Suicide Squad, and the World’s Greatest Heroes can’t let that stand! But Amanda Waller and Task Force X won’t go down without a fight!

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA: ROAD TO REBIRTH TP
Written by STEVE ORLANDO and JODY HOUSER
Art by IVAN REIS, JOE PRADO, MIRKA ANDOLFO, STEPHEN BYRNE, JAMAL CAMPBELL and ANDY MACDONALD • Cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
Spinning out of JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. SUICIDE SQUAD, as a part of DC Universe Rebirth, the most diverse Justice League of America ever returns! Explore the roots of four very different metahumans in stories from Justice League Of America: Rebirth #1, Justice League Of America: Killer Frost #1, Justice League Of America: The Ray #1, Justice League Of America: The Atom #1 and Justice League Of America: Vixen #1

BATWOMAN BY GREG RUCKA AND J.H. WILLIAMS III TP
Written by GREG RUCKA
Art by J.H. WILLIAMS III, JOCK and SCOTT KOLINS
Cover by J.H. WILLIAMS III
Writer Greg Rucka and artists J.H. Williams III and Jock’s legendary run of Batwoman adventures from DETECTIVE COMICS #854-863 are collected in a single title for the first time! In these stories, Kate Kane takes on the Religion of Crime and struggles to save Gotham City from the surreal villainy of Alice. Plus, learn the origin of Batwoman!
 
BATMAN: DETECTIVE COMICS VOL. 9 — GORDON AT WAR TP
Written by PETER J. TOMASI and RAY FAWKES
Art by FERNANDO PASARIN, SCOT EATON and others
Cover by ANDREW ROBINSON
In these tales from issues #47-52, a case from Jim Gordon’s past may decide the future of Batman. And Gordon must balance the new freedom he has as a superhero with his belief in the system he helped build.
 
DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS VOL. 4: QUEENS TP
Written by MARGUERITE BENNETT
Art by MIRKA ANDOLFO, LAURA BRAGA, MARGUERITE SAUVAGE, SANDY JARRELL, PASQUALE QUALANO, MATIAS BERGARA and RICHARD ORTIZ • Cover by ANT LUCIA
Introducing two new Bombshells: Vixen and Hawkgirl! Joined by Batwoman and Renee Montoya, the group comes face to face with Cheetah and mechanical gods that prompt the return of Wonder Woman! Collects issues #19-24.

DC HORROR: HOUSE OF SECRETS VOL. 1 HC
Written by LEN WEIN, GERRY CONWAY, JACK OLECK and others
Art by BERNIE WRIGHTSON, JIM APARO, SERGIO ARAGONES, WALLY WOOD and others • Cover by BERNIE WRIGHTSON
Experience DC’s classic horror series in the retro collection as it was originally printed. Collecting HOUSE OF SECRETS #92-97, including the first appearance of Swamp Thing, this book includes contributions from writers and artists Len Wein, Bernie Wrightson, Jim Aparo and many others and sets the groundwork for classic DC Universe horror stories for years to come.

DEATH OF HAWKMAN TP
Written by MARC ANDREYKO
Art by AARON LOPRESTI and LIVESAY
Cover by BILL SIENKIEWICZ
When Adam Strange returns to Rann to find his newly adopted home planet razed to the ground, war with neighboring planet Thanagar seems inevitable. On the other side of the battle lines? Katar Hol, a.k.a. Hawkman! Can the two find out the real villain behind it all? Or will they destroy each other first? Find out in this title collecting the six-issue miniseries.

SUPERBOY AND THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES VOL. 1 HC
Written by GERRY CONWAY, PAUL LEVITZ, PAUL KUPPERBERG and JACK C. HARRIS
Art by RIC ESTRADA, MIKE GRELL, GEORGE TUSKA, JAMES SHERMAN, WALTER SIMONSON, JIM STARLIN, JOE STATON and others
Cover by MIKE GRELL
These classic 1970s stories are collected in hardcover for the first time! In stories from SUPERBOY AND THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #234-240 and ALL-NEW COLLECTORS’ EDITION #C-55, the Legion give Superboy a treatment that blocks his memory, try to stop the Worldsmith from terraforming the surface of Braal and witness the wedding of Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad!

THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES: THE SILVER AGE OMNIBUS VOL. 1 HC
Written by OTTO BINDER, JERRY SIEGEL, EDMOND HAMILTON and others
Art by AL PLASTINO, CURT SWAN and others • Cover by J. BONE
The tales that introduced the teen-team known as the Legion of Super-Heroes are collected in an Omnibus Edition for the first time! Don’t miss these stories from the pages of ADVENTURE COMICS #247, #267, #282, #290, #293 and #300-328; ACTION COMICS #267, #276, #287 and #289; SUPERMAN #147; SUPERMAN ANNUAL #4 and SUPERMAN’S PAL JIMMY OLSEN #72, #76; and SUPERBOY #86, #89, #98 and #117.

TALES OF THE BATMAN: GERRY CONWAY HC
Written by GERRY CONWAY • Art by JOSE LUIS GARCIA-LOPEZ, JIM APARO, STEVE DITKO, MICHAEL GOLDEN, DON NEWTON and others
Cover by JIM STARLIN
Get ready for some of the greatest Dark Knight tales ever in this new title featuring Two-Face, Deadshot, Killer Croc, the new Robin, Jason Todd and more! These tales written by Gerry Conway are collected from BATMAN #295, 305, 306 and 337; BATMAN FAMILY #17; THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #158, 161 and 171-174; DETECTIVE COMICS #463, 464, 497-499 and 501-504; MAN-BAT #1 and WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #250 and 269.

May 2017 Solicitations - Marvel

Marvel announced their May books this week.  Here are some of the books I'm looking forward to.

AVENGERS: FOUR TPB
Written by MARK WAID
Penciled by BARRY KITSON
Cover by BARRY KITSON
The Old Order Changeth — more than you ever suspected! For the first time ever, learn what really happened all those years ago when the founding Avengers turned over their membership to a set of new recruits. Three reformed super villains — Hawkeye, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch — join the recently thawed Captain America as a new group of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes takes shape! But with his team labeled “The Mighty Pretenders” by an unforgiving public, how can Steve Rogers revive the Avengers’ reputation when they face an unbeatable foe? Perhaps he has an ace up his sleeve — one you’ve never seen before! It’s a new story of Cap’s Kooky Quartet (should that be Quintet?) that has direct ramifications for the Avengers of today! Collecting AVENGERS (2016) #1.1-5.1.
112 PGS./Rated T+ …$15.99



AVENGERS: UNLEASHED VOL. 1 — KANG WAR ONE TPB
Written by MARK WAID
Penciled by MIKE DEL MUNDO
Cover by ALEX ROSS
The time has come! Their ranks shattered by CIVIL WAR II, their spirits weighted down by a toll both personal and spiritual, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes must find the resolve to stand united one final time against their greatest foe! The Avengers will assemble once more: Captain America! Thor! Vision! Wasp! Spider-Man! Hercules! But when the dust settles, will any of these valiant warriors make it out alive from an all-out war with Kang the Conqueror?! And when the Vision sets out hell-bent on revenge against Kang, all of history will be in jeopardy if the Avengers can’t stop the synthezoid! The Firewall of Time will be shattered — and it will fall to the Avengers to stop the dangers it held back! When war after war ends, not everything — or everyone — will be the same! Collecting AVENGERS (2016) #1-6.
144 PGS./Rated T+ …$17.99





SPIDER-WOMAN: SHIFTING GEARS VOL. 3 — SCARE TACTICS TPB
Written by DENNIS HOPELESS
Penciled by VERONICA FISH
Cover by JAVIER RODRIGUEZ
Jessica Drew has tangled with some of the worst and toughest criminals the Marvel Universe has to offer — and she’s even done it while learning to be a mom! But even the sleepless nights and exhausting responsibilities of motherhood couldn’t have prepared her for her toughest challenge yet: the scare tactics of the Hobgoblin! And just who is lurking under the mask?! In the fight of her life, Jessica will be pushed to the absolute brink physically, mentally and emotionally as the Hobgoblin does the unthinkable! She’s tangled with Tiger Shark, battled Blizzard and taken on a whole host of super villains in her time, but Spider-Woman has never known the world of pain a Goblin can bring! If Jessica has any hope of victory, it’s going to take every last ounce of strength she has! Collecting SPIDER-WOMAN (2015) #13-17.
112 PGS./Rated T+ …$15.99

2.14.2017

026 Uncanny X-Men Superior Vol 3: Waking From The Dream


I've been an X-Fan since way back when.  I was a big fan back in the day.  These days my interest comes and goes.  Probably because Marvel just doesn't know what the fuck to do with the X-Men.  Once they pick a direction, it comes to a screeching halt, all the books are started over and all the creative teams are new, all the X-Men teams are new and we start from scratch again.  (And to be fair, it seems like that's the way with all their books, but X-Men and Avengers especially.)

The X-book is written by Cullen Bunn, whom I genuinely like despite how uneven he can be.  I love him on this book, I HATED him on Aquaman.  It's weird how someone can write something so readable and turn around and write something you can't make heads nor tales of.  Anyway, Cullen Bunn's team of X-Men consists of Magneto, Psylocke, Sabretooth, M, Angel, Mystique and sometimes Phantomex.  Basically all bad asses with attitudes and chips on their shoulders.  And the dynamic of this team works well, even though it seems like it shouldn't.

My one big gripe about this series is Marvel has gone out of it's way over the last two decades of destroying the character of Angel.  Even in this book they really seem to have no idea what to do with him, nor how to fix him.  I wish they would make that a priority because even putting him in any X-book seems like a waste to me.

Hopefully this version of Uncanny X-Men will survive a little longer before it's rebooted into a completely different book with a different line-up and a different motivation.

Uncanny X-Men Superior Vol 3: Waking From The Dream
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Greg Land, Ibraim Roberson, Jay Leisten, Wade von Grawbadger
Marvel Comics 

025 Batgirl Vol 3: Point Blank


The Batgirl series starring Cassandra Cain is a series I never read before.  I'm not exactly sure why.  I'm guessing it was because Batgirl FINALLY got her own book, but she wasn't Barbara Gordon.  It might also be because I wasn't reading any of the Batman books at the time.  A little of both, probably.  But the good thing about living in the age of collected editions is I now have my chance to see what I've been missing.  And I really did miss this.  I find that I actually like Cassandra as Batgirl.  She's nothing at all like Barbara Gordon (who is a supporting character here) and dances to the beat of her own drum.  I love the tone of the book.  Cassandra started off not speaking at all, but has slowly started building a limited vocabulary.  It's really interesting to watch the stories develop from her mostly mute perspective.  She's all movement, all action.  Little speaking, no thinking.  Just instinct.  It's fun watching her relationship with Stephanie Brown develop.  Cassandra has no societal norms and seeing her confused and confounded by some things is really refreshing.

The art suits the book so well.  I don't know if Damion Scott continues on beyond this volume, but I can hope.  And Kelley Puckett seems to have a firm grip on who Cassandra is.  As grim and gritty as Cassandra is supposed to be, there's a lot of joy and light in this series.  It's a delicate balance, but it works.

Batgirl Vol 3: Point Blank
Writer: Kelley Puckett, Chuck Dixon, Scott Peterson
Artist: Damion Scott, Vincent Girrano, Guiseppe Camuncoli, Robert Campanella, Jesse Delperdang, Klaus Janson, Wade von Grawbadger, Cameron Stewart
DC Comics

2.12.2017

024 Nightwing Vol. 1: Better Than Batman


I read some back to back Grayson this weekend.  The last volume of Grayson followed by the first volume of Nightwing.  It's part of the DC Rebirth extravaganza.  The non-event where DC is trying desperately to fix the disaster they created called the New 52.  If you ask me, Dick Grayson wasn't broken, so they didn't really need to fix him.  I really enjoyed the Grayson series.  A lot.  But this puts him back into costume, back into the DC Universe proper where he belongs.  He's back in the black and blue version of the costume, which makes me happy.  The black and red one was a stupid move on DC's part to differentiate the New 52 version from the previous one.  Made no sense.  

This book was fun, but it was a little off.  It felt like DC mandated Dick Grayson back into costume before Tim Seeley was ready to do it because he still had Grayson stories loosely plotted out.  This felt like a rejiggered Grayson story, with some plot points changed to reflect that it's now a Nightwing story.  But it felt more like wrapping up loose ends than the end of Grayson did.  I can appreciate that.  What I was fearing is the story that took place in this volume was just the beginning of a long, drawn out 36 issue arc.  That would have bored me to tears.  Wrapping it up in six issues was perfect.

The Nightwing Rebirth issue is also represented here (as well as in the Grayson trade.)  That one issue did more in it's 20 pages than the whole previous trade paperback did.  It closed most of the loose ends from Grayson while laying out the groundwork for Nightwing.  I miss single issue stories that can fit so much in to 20 pages without ever feeling cramped.  I want more of those.

All in all, it's a good read and I'm looking forward to more.

Nightwing Vol. 1: Better Than Batman
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Javier Fernandez, Yanick Paquette
DC Comics

023 Grayson Vol 5: Spiral's End


Grayson.  The final volume of his series.  One of the better series DC has put out.  And probably my least favorite volume of the book.  It was a fine story, but it felt a little rushed to me.  I'm guessing that Rebirth was in the full planning stages and the book was put on the cancelled list, so things needed to be wrapped up and wrapped up quickly.  And that's what we got.  A big, kind of off-feeling wrap up.  Tim Seeley and Tom King were only involved in the first chapter of this book, so maybe that contributed to it feeling off?  I don't know.  I'm assuming they plotted the whole thing out, but only worked on the first part.  

The series ends with an Annual, written by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly, the same team who wrote the rest of the series.  The Annual felt like such a waste of time.  There was really no point of it.  It wrapped up loose ends that were quickly created so they could do an annual.  Whatever.

This volume was okay, but not quite up to snuff if you ask me.

Grayson Vol 5: Spiral's End
Writer: Tim Seeley, Tom King, Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly
Artist: Roge Antonio, Carmine Di Giandomenico, Geraldo Borges, Natasha Alterici, Christian Duce, Flaviano, Javier Fernandez
DC Comics

2.11.2017

022 Batgirl: A Celebration of 50 Years


DC has published a whole line of these Celebration books.  From what I understand, this is the last one, at least for a while.  And what a note for them to finish this up on.  Batgirl: A Celebration of 50 Years should be the gold standard on how to assemble one of these books.  In it's limited space (less than 400 pages), it manages to cover the true spirit of Batgirl.  While it's the Barbara Gordon Batgirl who graces the cover and is the best known Batgirl, there have been others and they are all represented here.  The book starts off with a Betty Kane Bat-Girl story before devoting the most space to Barbara Gordon.  It also covers Helena Bertinelli's very short run as Batgirl as well as Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown before returning to Barbara Gordon.

The one thing I found odd about this collection is the placement of a story from Batgirl: Year One.  It's the second story in the Barbara Gordon section.  While the stories presented are in chronological order of when they happened, I would have preferred this story to show up at the end of Barbara's section, not the beginning of it.  But that's a minor nitpick.

I love that they've included the story of Barbara running for Congress (and winning!) as well as a story from Batman Family.  I'm still holding out hope that DC will reprint Batman Family in some shape someday.

At work during my lunch breaks, I'm reading a volume of Batgirl featuring Cassandra Cain, so expect a post about that shortly.  I enjoyed the Cassandra stories in this volume.  Until I started reading the trades collecting her run, I really had no experience with the character.  Stephanie Brown never truly felt like Batgirl to me.  While I enjoyed the stories, I think I would have liked her in her Spoiler identity better.  She just felt hollow to me as Batgirl.

The one story I didn't really care much for in this volume was The Last Batgirl Story.  It was a special published back in the day.  DC was retiring Batgirl (see The Killing Joke) and issued this special as a grand send off.  Only it was awful and felt like a bad inventory story rather than a last hurrah.

This book is everything!

Batgirl: A Celebration of 50 Years
Writer: Bill Finger, Gardner Fox, Scott Beatty, Chuck Dixon, Frank Robbins, Bob Rozakis, Barbara Randall, John Ostrander, Kim Yale, Greg Rucka, Kelley Puckett, Dylan Horrocks, Bryan Q. Miller, Gail Simone, Cameron Stewart, Brendan Fletcher
Artist: Sheldon Moldoff, Charles Paris, Carmine Infantino, Sid Greene, Marcos Martin, Alvaro Lopez, Gil Kane, Don Heck, Irv Novick, Vince Colletta, Trevor von Eeden, Rodin Rodriguez, Barry Kitson, Bruce Patterson, Brian Stelfreeze, Karl Story, Greg Land, Drew Geraci, Mike Deodato, Sean Parsons, Damion Scott, Robert Campanella, Rick Leonardi, Jesse Delperdang, Tim Levins, Lee Garbett, Don Davis, Aaron Sowd, Trevor Scott, Pere Perez, Ed Benes, Babs Tarr
DC Comics

021 Batman Arkham: Man-Bat


Another Batman Arkham volume.  So soon after the Poison Ivy one, too.  Like the other volumes in this series, it collects stories about one particular Batman villain.  I use villain loosely here, because I don't consider Man-Bat a real villain.  He started off as a good guy and has slowly, over time, lost more and more of his sanity and humanity and has become closer to an adversary (not villain) to Batman.

This is one of the best volumes of the Batman Arkham run, if you ask me.  Maybe it's because there are fewer Man-Bat stories to choose from.  Maybe it's because I fucking love Man-Bat.  Maybe both.  But the stories in this book at pretty great.  Starting with his debut (drawn by Neal Adams!!), continuing on to his extremely short lived regular series (two whole issues), adding in his mini-series (which ran longer than his regular series!) and other appearances.  This was a lot of fun for me to read and I powered through the entire thing in one sitting.  My attention span isn't that big, so that's a real statement for me to make.

My one big gripe with this book is the story from Secret Origins written by Jan Strnad.  In it, Man-Bat's story is retold pretty much as it happened, but Strnad added in a piece to tie Man-Bat's backstory in to Batman's backstory that I feel is completely unnecessary.  Suddenly Bruce Wayne and Kirk Langstrom had met as children and Bruce remembers him to this day.  Stupid and unnecessary.  Distracting.

I'm not too keen on the New 52 version.  More specifically the fact that Francine Langstrom is a villain from the get-go.  Again, stupid.  He had a perfectly good backstory that shouldn't have been fucked up by the New 52, but tptb let it happen anyway.

All in all, this is a keeper.

Batman Arkham: Man-Bat
Writer: Frank Robbins, Gerry Conway, Martin Pasko, Jan Strnad, Chuck Dixon, Dan DiDio, Frank Tieri
Artist: Neal Adams, Steve Ditko, Pablo Marcos, Kevin Nowlan, Flint Henry, Quique Alcatena, J.G. Jones, Scot Eaton, Dick Giordano, Al Milgrom, Ricardo Villamonte, Eduardo Barreto, Nathan Fairbairn
DC Comics

020 DC Elseworlds: Justice League Vol 01


Another Elseworlds book.  The last one I read focused solely on Batman.  This one (supposedly) focuses on the Justice League.  I say supposedly because it's a real mixed bag.  The first story is a Superman/Batman story, there's a Teen Titans story in here, a Wonder Woman story and a Supergirl/Batgirl story.  There are two proper JLA stories, but I guess that's enough to call it a Justice League book. 

Like any book like this, it's going to be a wildly mixed bag.  I've read some of these stories before, while others were new to me.  The first story is a pulpy Superman/Batman adventure which was a lot of fun to read.  Justice Riders, the second story and the cover feature, was also a lot of fun.  Wonder Woman is the sheriff in the old west and teams up with a bunch of super-folks to bring down the villain.  There wasn't a terrible amount of story in that tale, but it was still highly enjoyable.  The next tale was League of Justice, a two part story I couldn't even get half-way through.  It was dreadful.  It was unreadable.  Next was Wonder Woman Amazonia.  I'd read this years ago and forgotten all about it.  It's my favorite story in this volume, both storywise and artwise.  It's set back in the era of Jack the Ripper and is the origin story of Wonder Woman.  Fascinating to me.  Next is Titans: Scissors, Paper Stone.  It's an anime type Titans story that is just as unreadable to me today as when it was first published.  Don't ask me what happened, because I can't tell you.  The volume rounds out with a Supergirl/Batgirl story.  I loved this story when it was first published.  I have to say that it doesn't hold up as well for me today.  It's a great concept, it just needs to be fleshed out some more.  This story might have benefited from being a two part story rather than a done-in-one.

All in all, it was a fun book.

DC Elseworlds: Justice League Vol 1
Writer: John Francis Moore, Chuck Dixon, Ed Hannigan, William Messner-Loebs, Adam Warren, Barbara Kesel
Artist: Kieron Dwyer, Hilary Barta, J.H. Williams III, Mick Grey, Ed Hannigan, Dick Giordano, Phil Winslade, Adam Warren, Tom Simmons, Matt Haley, Tom Simmons
DC Comics

019 Batman Arkham: Poison Ivy


I think I said in one of my previous posts that I love this type of compilation book.  Stories from all over the place with the common theme being a character, not a storyline.  I was very excited for this book because I've always loved Poison Ivy.  And until I read this book, I thought I had a good grasp on the character.  I guess I never realized until reading this collection that no one at DC Comics had a good grasp on the character.  It felt like in every story, she was written differently.  Her backstory kept changing.  Her powers (or lack of) kept changing.  The only common thread in this whole collection was the name Poison Ivy.  Even when they tried to straighten her story out, it didn't stick.

While she's known as a Batman villain, I love that there's a two-part Wonder Woman story included in this collection.

My disdain for the New 52 is well known, but I think that Poison Ivy is one of the better re-vamps to come out of it.  I really like her redesign, I like that she's starting fresh and that they've taken elements of her entire previous run and applied those that work with the character.  Maybe now we'll have a consistent version of the character.

Batman Arkham: Poison Ivy
Writer: Robert Kanigher, Gerry Conway, Neil Gaiman, John Francis Moore, Alan Grant, Andrew Helfer, J.T. Krul, Guillem March, Marc Andreyko, Derek Frindolfs
Artist: Sheldon Moldoff, Ric Estrada, Jack Abel, Irv Novick, Mark Buckingham, P. Craig Russell, Brian Apthorp, Cully Hamner, Guillem March, Javiar Pina, Joe Giella, Vince Colletta, Steve Mitchell, Stan Woch, Robert Campanella
DC Comics