2018.025 America Vol 1: The Life And Times Of America Chavez

This fits into the mold of the Marvel books I love the best.  Female driven.  Lighter in tone.  Funny.  Not too continuity laden.  Everything I love about recent Marvel books like Kate Bishop, Mockingbird, Patsy Walker, Spider-Woman, etc etc.  

However, I found this book to be insufferable.  I found that the more I read, the more annoyed I got.  I don't know what it was.  The story just annoyed the fuck out of me.  I thought maybe it was the first story.  This book contains a 4 part and a 2 part.  The second story guest stars Kate Bishop.  That story, I thought, was even worse.  I haven't read anything that I've disliked this much in a really long time.  I really wish I could figure out why I hated it.  This books seems right up my alley.  Joe Quinones' art was beautiful, though Ramon Villalobos' wasn't exactly my taste.  It's too bad.  I thought this was going to be another book for me to love.

America Vol 1: The Life And Times Of America Chavez
Written by: Gabby Rivera
Illustrated by: Joe Quinones, Ming Doyle, Stacey Lee, Joe Rivera, Paolo Rivera, Ramon Villalobos, Waldo Wong
Marvel Comics

2018.024 Aquaman Vol 4: Underworld

Aquaman is dead.  Mera is crushed.  Atlantis has a new King.  Things don't look good.  At all.  There's a new vigilante in Atlantis who is pretending to be "the Aquaman" and is helping the citizens one by one.  Is he pretending?  Or is he the genuine article?  Aquaman was left for dead in the last storyline, but he didn't die.  He's keeping a very low cover, doing what he can on a very small scale.  Eventually he's found out and he's forced to confront all the shit that's been going on under the terrible new King of Atlantis.  

With this story, I feel like Dan Abnett has FINALLY hit his stride.  He's been telling fine stories since taking over pre-Rebirth, but there's something about this that made it impossible for me to put down.  It's like he's been trying this and that, figuring out what's been working and what hasn't and now that he knows, he's crafting the best Aquaman stuff since Geoff Johns left the book.  I'm so excited to see where this book is going for this point out.  I'm so excited to see Stjepan Sejic draw more Aquaman.  This book is better looking that it has been in a while.  Not to saw that the last few art teams weren't any good, but Sejic brings something else to the book I can't quite figure out.

Aquaman Vol 4: Underworld
Written by: Dan Abnett
Illustrated by: Stjepan Sejic
DC Comics

2018.023 X-Men Gold Vol 3: Mojo Worldwide

I guess that technically, this is actually both X-Men Gold AND X-Men Blue vol 3.  It's the first official crossover between the two books.  I thought it might be too soon for that to happen, but after reading it, I was wrong.  I didn't feel shoehorned in.  It felt right.  And that's the way to do a crossover.

I love that the book starts out with the X-Men teams doing what the X-Men teams love best.  Playing baseball.  And like any X-Men baseball game, it never ends well.  This time it ends with an attack on NYC by Mojo.  He's back, he's looking to make a lot of trouble for the X-Men.  And why?  For big ratings, of course.  It's scary how the concept of Mojo and our current administration have more than enough in common to be comfortable.  

What I love about this particular story is it gets to be nostalgic without actually being nostalgic.  Mojo puts the various teams of X-Men through a series of their "greatest hits."  And it's fun.  Plus, we get the return of long time X-Men ally and member, Longshot.  You can't ask for much more.  Honestly.

X-Men Gold Vol 3: Mojo Worldwide
Written by: Marc Guggenheim, Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by: Mike Mayhew, Marc Laming, Diego Bernard, Jorge Molina
Marvel Comics

2018.022 The Immortal Iron Fists

What I look for when I pick a Marvel book these days is (a) characters I adore and (b) something a little lighter and happier.  This book fits both of these items.  I love Iron Fist.  I really don't know when that happened?  Maybe with the Ed Brubaker run?  Maybe when he was in the Avengers?  I really can't remember.  But I've really grown to love the character and have been eating up everything that's come out in the last few years.  

This book was a mini-series that followed up Kaare Andrews run on the book.  This is more the story of Pei, the newest and youngest Iron Fist.  Danny Rand brings her to Earth to both train her and raise her.  He enrolls her in public school to teach her what normal life is like.  It's a real joy to watch Pei not fit in, then totally fit in.  It's great to watch her try to act like a normal kid when she is anything but.  It's great to watch Danny fuck up parenting.  There is nothing to hate about this book other than the fact that it's over.  But that, too, is probably for the best.  There's nothing worse than keeping a book going until it's devoid of something special.  This book ends leaving you wanting more.  I can't recommend this enough.

The Immortal Iron Fists
Written by: Kaare Andrews
Illustrated by: Afu Chan
Marvel Comics

2018.021 Batman And The Outsiders Vol 2

This continues to be a fun read for me.  Sure, Mike Barr isn't my favorite writer.  He can be very hokey at times (a lot of the time), but he does tell a fun story.  This era of BATO was probably my favorite.  The characters were still new, Barr was trying to figure out what works with them and what doesn't.  We delve further into the new characters backstories.  It's all good stuff.  And if that's not enough, Jim Aparo hits home run after home run with his art.  I remember reading years ago that the thing he detested most was drawing team books.  You'd never know it looking at his art here.  It's just perfect.  And we get a look of the future of BATO with Alan Davis jumping in to draw some stuff.  

If you enjoy some of the cheesier aspects of the 80s, you'll love the pants off this book.

Batman And The Outsiders Vol. 2
Written by: Mike W. Barr
Illustrated by: Jim Aparo, Alan Davis, Jermoe K. Moore, Alex Saviuk, Jan Duursema, Rick Hoberg, Bill Willingham, Bill Anderson, Trevor Von Eeden, Ron Randall
DC Comics


2018.020 Two-Face: A Celebration Of 75 Years

What should have probably been a volume of Batman Arkham turned into a deluxe hardcover collection of Two-Face stories.  And what a collection it is.  Harvey Dent has had a long career battling Batman.  We get a little bit of every variation of Two-Face in this book.  The monster he was in the 40s, the cliche he was in the 60s, the darker psychological mess in modern times.  What I absolutely love about reading through this book is how consistent the character has been overall.  His back story barely changed at all.  However, after the last story in this book is a reinvention of Harvey's entire backstory over in Scott Snyder's new Bat book.  I'm still not sure how I feel about that, but this.... This book I love.

Two-Face: A Celebration Of 75 Years
Written by: Bill Finger, Don Cameron, David Vern Reed, Dennis O'Neil, Bob Haney, Max Allan Collins, Mark Verheiden, Andrew Helfer, Bruce Timm, Greg Rucka, David Hine, Peter J Tomasi
Illustrated by: Bob Kane, Jerry Robinson, George Roussas, Dick Sprang, Charles Paris, Neal Adams, Dick Giordano, Jim Aparo, Irv Novick, Dave Cockram, Mark DeCarlo, Don Heck, Pat Broderick, Chris Sprouse, Steve Mitchell, Bruce Timm, Damion Scott, John Floyd, Michael Lark, Andy Clarke, Guillem March

2018.019 Justice League United Vol 2: The Infinitus Saga

I was excited for this book when it first came out because Jeff Lemire was writing a JLA book.  Unfortunately, it didn't click with me like I wanted it to.  It was way too New 52-ey.  That's the biggest problem.  I didn't like what he did to one of my all time favorite characters, Adam Strange.  The team he picked was fine, but not these incarnations of the characters.  But...

I loved this story.  The Legion had been given a back seat at DC by this point and Jeff was free to play with them.  For the most part, we got the Legion as they were before their book was cancelled, but he tweaked the characters a bit, included some of the Legionnaires from the various "Legion of 3 Worlds" book.  But it's okay.  It was still the Legion of Super-Heroes and I'm good with that.

It's a cliched story.  It's a twist on the "going back in time to kill Hitler before he turns into Hitler and destroys everything" story.  But he gives it fresh life and makes it a lot of fun to read.  I enjoyed it much more in this hardcover than I did when I read it monthly when it was first published.  I picked this book up at my local Ollie's Discount Outlet.  Part of their massive DC liquidation sale.  I keep popping in and grabbing some books, so look for write ups of those when I get time to read them.

Justice League United Vol 2: The Infinitus Saga
Written by: Jeff Lemire
Illustrated by: Neil Edwards, Jay Leisten, Keith Champagne, Jed Dougherty
DC Comics

2018.018 Black Lightning Vol 2

In his introduction to this volume, Tony Isabella says that this series was only supposed to reprint Tony's work on Black Lightning, not everyone's work.  But he insisted that this be a chronological reprinting, skipping nothing.  I agree with him.  While I think it's cool that DC was going to do just Tony's stuff, I think it's important to give us all the stuff.  

The first volume was Tony, plus a couple stories by others.  This volume is Tony free.  We get BL back up stories from World's Finest and Detective Comics as well as the two part Justice League of America story where BL turns down membership.

I loved this book.  Is it great?  No.  But it's really good, at least to me.  It's reprinting stories from an era of DC that means a lot to me.  Most of these stories I'm reading for the first time, or at least that's what my memory is telling me.  Minor details are very fluid in this book.  Writer to writer things change, like what kind of teacher Jefferson Pierce is.  But who cares.  It's a great time to be a Black Lightning fan right now.  Embrace him and enjoy.

Black Lightning Vol 2
Written by: Dennis O'Neil, Gerry Conway, J.M. Dematteis, Martin Pasko, Paul Kupperberg
Illustrated by: Dick Dillin, George Tuska, Rich Buckler, Marshall Rogers, Mike Nasser, Romeo Tanghal, Joe Staton, Pat Broderick, Dick Giordano, Gerald Forton, Frank Chiaramonte, Bob Smith, Vince Colletta, Frank McLaughlin
DC Comics

2018.017 Superman And The Legion Of Super-Heroes

I'm an idiot.  I already own this, yet I bought it again.  I saw it at my local Ollie's Bargain Outlet in their big display of DC books.  I forgot I bought it twice already (once in floppies, once in trade paperback) so I bought it again, this time in hardcover.  It was only four bucks, so it was well worth it.

I love this book.  I love seeing the real Legion of Super-Heroes back in action.  I love seeing Gary Frank draw them.  I only like the Geoff Johns world of Superman, though.  He was trying to re-write the modern day Superman to mirror the Christopher Reeves movies better.  Or at least give it that feeling.  Which meant re-writing DC history again.  But as Geoff often does, he did it well.  

Brainiac 5 sends for Superman in the past to come help the 31st Century.  It's become a very anti-alien landscape on future Earth and it kind of scares me because I see a lot of parallels with what's going on in this country right now under Trump.  Such a great read, though, and it puts the Legion in place to regain their own title again.  I could read this a hundred more times.

Superman And The Legion Of Super-Heroes
Written by: Geoff Johns
Illustrated by: Gary Frank, Jon Sibal
DC Comics

2018.016 Batman Arkham: Clayface

I forget sometimes exactly how many people have used the name Clayface.  But DC hasn't.  And this collection covers them all.  I love books like this.  It really does give a nice overview of the entire Clayface family with stories from the 40s all the way through the New 52.  One of the nice things about the various and sundry Clayfaces is that the stories tend not to contradict each other.  Reading other books, the elements and plot points of the stories change like the wind depending on the weather.  But having so many different Clayfaces means there isn't too much history on any one character to change.

I love this whole Batman Arkham series.  Different villains getting the spotlight.  I look forward to more.

Batman Arkham: Clayface
Written by: Bill Finger, Len Wein, Mike W Barr, Dough Moench, Ed Brubaker, Steve Purcell, A.J. Lieberman, John Layman, Dan Raspler
Illustrated by: Bob Kane, Jerry Robinson, Sheldon Moldoff, Charles Paris, Marshall Rogers, Dick Giordano, Jim Aparo, Keith Giffen, Bernie Mireault, Tom Grummett, Al Gordon, Denis Rodier, Gary Martin, J.H. Williams III, John Beatty, Mick Gray, Darwyn Cooke, Mike Allred, Mike Mignola, Al Barrionueva, Bit, Cliff Richards
DC Comics

2018.015 Green Arrow Vol 9: Old Tricks

Green Arrow must have been still selling well enough by the time these issues came out that DC gave him a mini-series at the same time.  This volume collects Green Arrow 73-80 along with the mini-series Green Arrow: The Wonder Year, a sort of Year One story.

The story that's been Oliver Queen's life keeps on chugging through this volume.  Dinah finally dumps his ass after she catches him sucking face with someone else, he gets suckered into another job with Eddie Fyres, more political intrigue.  Nothing out of place in this series.  We must be getting closer to the end of Grell's run and Ollie's life.  I really can't remember when that happened as I'd been out of the series by then, but it feels like it's gotta be soon. 

The biggest thing about this book that I didn't like is the fill-in art by Shea Anton Pensa.  I don't know the name and I'm guessing he didn't get too far in comics.  It was awful to look at, at least for me.

Green Arrow Vol 9: Old Tricks
Written by: Mike Grell
Illustrated by: Rick Hoberg, Mike Grell, Bill Marimon, Shea Anton Pensa, John Nyberg, Gray Morrow
DC Comics

2018.014 Robin: Year One - The Deluxe Edition

As I opened the cover to this book, my initial thought was that I remember liking this when it was first published, but I remember liking Batgirl: Year One better.  That may still hold true, but I really, really enjoyed every page of this book.  Say what you will about Chuck Dixon, but his Batman work has left an indelible imprint on my brain.  He makes writing the BatFamily seem so easy.

This book gives us a nice overview of Robin's first year as Batman's partner.  It's chock full of Bat Villains, too, but mostly focusing on Two-Face.  We get to learn about the time Robin quit and ran away, too.

Overall, this book is just a lot of fun and such an easy read that you're finishing before you even realize it.

Robin: Year One - The Deluxe Edition
Written by: Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty
Illustrated by: Javier Pulido, Marcos Martin, Robert Campanella
DC Comics

2018.013 Batman: Super Powers

I like Marc Guggenheim's comics work an awful lot.  Well, most of it.  His X-Men book has been falling slightly short for me, but it's still enjoyable.  I was excited to read this book.  It collects an arc he did in Batman Confidential a while back.  It's two parallel stories running at the same time.  One in present day and one back in the training days of Bruce Wayne.  While I didn't love it, I didn't hate it either.  I don't know if I could be more neutral on it if I tried.  It's a fine story, but it's left no lasting impression on me.  I want to leave a story feeling something, anything.  This didn't leave me feeling anything, which is too bad.

Batman: Super Powers
Written by: Marc Guggenheim
Illustrated by: Jerry Bingham, Mark Farmer
DC Comics