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Comic Book (sort of) Weekly Reviews – 2/22/12

Getting closer to catching up with reviews….

All-Star Western #6 – The mystery of the abducted children is solved as Hex and Arkham’s adventure comes to a close.  Hex is now heading to New Orleans which should be fun and interesting.  The series so far has been decent and I’ve enjoyed it being tied together with the modern DC universe, a nice touch.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8 Overall: 7.75

American Vampire #24 – We get more of a background of how events got to where they are.  I’m loving the setting, action and how this arc is plotted out.  Solid stuff and I’d expect no less from Scott Snyder.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Aquaman #6 – Mera goes food shopping, and things progress as you’d expect.  The story is predictable, but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining.

Story: 8 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8

Avengers Academy #26 – We find out who and sort of why Reptil was sent back from the future, and it’s not what I expected.  The series hasn’t always been great, but it’s moving in the right direction to get there.  Getting better with each issue.

Story: 7.25 Art: 7 Overall: 7.25

Batman: The Dark Knight #6 – Bane is back and I can’t say I like this pumped up version compared to what we last saw in Secret Six.  This is just a hulking behemoth with no thought or depth compared to a rather complex character that grew from the 1 dimensional character he sprung from.

Story: 6.75 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7

Captain America & Bucky #627 -The story is cool in a retro sort of way, but that’s how he takes down Captain America?!  With a hug?!

Story: 7 Art: 8 Overall: 7

Chew #20 – Olive Chu goes on a mission and learns more about her abilities.  As usual, the story is over the top and so much fun.  This series is a must buy for every.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Fantastic Four #603 – The Fantastic Four and Galactus take on the Mad Celestials as the story continues to come together.  What’s been years in the making is finally coming to a close and the big picture is clearer.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall:8

The Flash #6 – The new Captain Cold?  Really don’t like.  The story though is ok and always great art.

Story: 7 Art: 8.25 Overall: 7

Green Lantern: New Guardians #6 – Interesting concepts, but not the best execution.  Lots of potential here that’s not being met yet.

Story: 6.75 Art:7.5 Overall: 6.75

I, Vampire #6 – The story is amazing and just full of holy shit moments.  This is one of the best series to come out of DC’s reboot.

Story: 8.75 Art: 8.75verall: 8.75

Justice League Dark #6 – Six issues to just get to this point… sigh.  I’m really only reading this for the I, Vampire crossover.  So much potential..

Story: 6.5 Art: 7 Overall: 6.5

The Mighty Thor #11 – The trolls attack as Loki figures out what’s going on and their plan is revealed.  Just in time for the new Asgard to launch too.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

New Mutants #38 – Doug visits the island where he died.  If you’re not a long time fan of the New Mutants, you probably won’t care, just like me.

Story: 6.5 Art: 7 Overall: 6.5

Secret Avengers #23 – Venom joins the team which doesn’t go over so well.  Is it just me or is Hawkeye way more dickish in this series?  Still, the series is finally finding a voice of it’s own, took long enough.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

Teen Titans #6 – Licking their wounds after the fight with Superboy, there’s a fight that seems to be pointless as others work to help Kid Flash.  Oh yeah, a mystery is thrown out there too.  Not a bad series, but like the rest of the DC reboots, it’s losing my interest.

Story: 7 Art: 8 Overall: 7

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #7 – General Krang needs Splinter and Stockman sends Mousers to go fetch him.  The series continues to be awesome in every way.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #7 – The fact he’s Spider-Man hits Miles as he heads out to see the extent of his power.  At the same time his uncle is up to something…. The series still has a lot of fun to it, even though the art isn’t quite as solid as it once was.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7 Overall: 7.5

Uncanny X-Force #22 – I thought the Otherworld setting was bad enough, now Weapon III is thrown into the mix.  This great series has dropped in quality quickly.  I can’t wait for this story arc to be over with.

Story: 6 Art: 6 Overall: 6

Venom #13.3 – Wow, is this story bad.  The fact that it’s weekly is just hurting the wallet too.  There was some hope this would be a good event, but can’t say it’s anything knew that hasn’t been seen before.  This great series has gone off the rails.

Story: 6 Art: 6.5 Overall: 6

Wolverine & The X-Men #6 – Wolverine is trying to get money for the school, folks are trying to help Kitty out and Kitty is trying to save herself.  So many different stories and all of it pretty damn fun.  It’s not quite as solid as it’s been, but still an entertaining and original story arc.

Story: 7 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7

X-Men #25 – The X-Men and vampires holding Jubliee meet up and of course fight due to a misunderstanding… how original.  Then something sort of original happens.  Still, not a great plot.  I wish someone would just stake Jubliee and get rid of the character.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

X-Men: Legacy #262 – The battle with Exodus continues and they stop to talk during the middle of it, cause that’s smart.  The story is the typical battle, nothing original really and the art isn’t up to snuff for me.

Story: 6.75 Art: 6.75 Overall: 6.75

Comic Book (sort of) Weekly Reviews – 1/25/12

One more week down.  Hoping to get three weeks of reviews done.

All-Star Western #5 – The back-up story is ok, but uneccessary (I’d go with $1 less without it), but the Hex story is entertaining.  Both Hex and Arkham have to climb their way out of a hole after being beaten to a pulp.  The series is great, giving some history to modern Gotham that gets referenced here and there in the Batman books.  It really plays off the shared universe really well.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Alpha Flight #8 – Hmm, lots of fighting and much better than the previous issues, but so many questions left unanswered.  How did the Master of the World take so much control?  What was up with the four toes?  Why did Heather turn?  Not a bad final issue, but overall it was clear the series was never quite up to monthly status.

Story: 7.25 Art: 7.25 Overall: 7.25

American Vampire #23 – And that’s how this latest arc ties back.  It’s so good as we get a lot of build up to the current action.  Some great writing as far as inner monologue and fantastic action.  All tied together with great art.  We might be in the 50s (or so), but the story and series continues to be fantastic with a setting you rarely see for a vampire series.  Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque keep putting out a series that only seems to get better and better.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Aquaman #5 – Wow what a solid issue.  Aquaman is in a desert and while he struggles an interesting mystery surrounding Atlantis is set up.  Also the status of what people think of Aquaman is played up really well.  This is one of the best series to come out of DC’s reboot and it alone made the mess worth it.

Story: 8.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.75

Astonishing X-Men #46 – Cyclops and others deal with this alternate world, I wonder what the point is…. The series needs to find it’s footing and place in the overall “X” structure and give me a reason it should exist.  It isn’t doing that right now.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5

Batman: The Dark Knight #5 – Um… Batman fights Scarecrow and then Superman shows up.  Then Batman fights Superman, mmm k… The dialogue is off for Supes, but Batman is decent.  Overall the issue is a mess I think.

Story: 6.75 Art: 8.25 Overall: 6.75

Captain America & Bucky #626 – Lots going on here as Cap chases a Bucky and some interesting history is dredged up.  Not as solid as it’s been in the past, but still pretty decent.

Story: 7.5 Art: 8 Overall: 7.5

Daken: Dark Wolverine #20 – Daken is still on a mission to become the kingpin of LA and he has to take on Count Nefaria.  Then there’s the FBI agent who can’t decide if she wants to kill, arrest or date Daken.  There’s some great moments here and then some crap as well.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.5

Fantastic Four #602 – The battle against the Kree isn’t going well and Reed and Susan do something pretty crazy to win, but there’s something bigger brewing.  I’m interested in how this ties into events in the recent X-Men comics…  Hickman continues his fantastic epic.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.5

FF #14 – We catch another glimpse of Hickman’s story and the Celestials arriving.  I can’t say I totally get everything that’s going on, but it’s an interesting piece of the bigger puzzle.  But on it’s own the issue can’t stand.  Still interesting in how it all ties together.

Story: 8 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.75

the Flash #5 – The Mob Rule storyline is over, thank god.  Not the strongest Flash storyline, but a lot was laid out there for future stories.  The overall plot was ok, but the groundwork it lays is the important thing.  Not bad though.

Story: 7.5 Art: 8.25 Overall: 7.75

Green Lantern: New Guardians #5 – The Lanterns check out the large vessel before them and some interesting stuff is hinted at.  There’s a decent amount going on as far as characters and all are given their fair shake as far as time.  The concepts presented are new which is cool.  Overall, pretty interesting stuff.

Story: 7.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.75

I, Vampire #5 – The vampires have headed to Gotham and that just means Batman is getting involved.  The writing and art is top notch and the interaction between everyone is great too.  Fialkov just does the mood right and with his artist the comic is a perfect team.  This is one of the best comics to come out of the DC shuffle.

Story: 8.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.75

Justice League #5 – The first story arc of the series reads like a big budget action movie with no depth other than those “kick ass” moments and the “witty banter.”  This is a comic of the 90s, all flash and no substance.  For being the flagship of DC I expect more and this is a missed opportunity that comics can be so much more than what’s presented.

Story: 6.75 Art: 8.25 Overall: 7.5

The Mighty Thor #10 – Thor begins to figure out who he is as moves against the All Mother continues.  There’s a lot going on here that might be a bit much for new fans.  There’s just something I feel like I’m missing, but it’s still an entertaining read.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8.25 Overall: 7.75

Secret Avengers #21.1 – An ok issue having Captain America testing Hawkeye if he should be the next leader of the Secret Avengers.  Overall an ok issue, but not enough to hook a new reader and the story could have been told in a much more interesting way.

Story: 7 Art: 7.25 Overall: 7

Teen Titans #5 – Superboy fights the team and of course whips up on them.  There’s a bunch of moments that don’t make too much sense and of course Superboy sees the error of his ways.  There was a big build up to this moment and it’s a bit of a let down.

Story: 7 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #6 – There seems to be a third faction that has to do with French martial arts as the series deepens its mythology and has yet another thing that’ll be familiar to fans at the end.  The series is fantastic with a lot of nods to long time fans and easy to understand for folks new to TMNT.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

Ultimate Comics the Ultimates #6 – Nick Fury assesses the situation and where they go from here.  Everything looks bleak and this is that quiet moment in the movie where you’re not quite sure if the good guys will pull it off and win in the end.  The series has slowed down but still solid.  My only complaint is there’s a lot of references to the continuity which I know nothing about.

Story: 7.25 Art: 8 Overall: 7.5

Voodoo #5 – Wait, what?  This information conveniently hasn’t been around for four issues?!  With Marz out as writer, I’m out as a reader.  I dug his mix of spy/super hero comic, this on the other hand is crap.

Story: 6.25 Art: 7.5 Overall: 6.5

The Walking Dead #93 – Is there another threat out there or do these new visitors really mean peace?  Rick decides to go all crazy and see what they’re up against with a lot of debate and chatter.  It’s an interesting plot, but rather slow paced.

Story: 8 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8

X-Men: Legacy #261 – Exodus comes a calling and I yawn.  There’s some attempts at making the characters human and focus on their personal lives post split but it’s all rather 90210 for me.  Yawn.

Story: 7 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7

DC Entertainment Releases New Vertigo App

DC Entertainment Releases New VERTIGO App

And Announces SANDMAN Digital Comics Sale for $.99

Starting today, VERTIGO fans can download a new dedicated app featuring all Vertigo digital titles. The new app, available on the App Store, is free to download and features popular VERTIGO series THE SANDMAN, FABLES, Y: THE LAST MAN, PREACHER, 100 BULLETS, HELLBLAZER, AMERICAN VAMPIRE, THE UNWRITTEN, DMZ, THE INVISIBLES, TRANSMETROPOLITAN, and SWEET TOOTH, among others.

As an added bonus, readers who download the new VERTIGO app will have exclusive access to a three-day in-app sale that offers all SANDMAN digital comics for $.99 per issue. Written by #1 New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman, THE SANDMAN is one of the most acclaimed titles in the history of comics. Norman Mailer described the series as “a comic strip for intellectuals.” With a rich blend of modern myth and dark fantasy in which contemporary fiction, historical drama and legend are seamlessly interwoven, the series is considered to be one of the most original and artistically ambitious comic books of the modern age.

The launch of the app is timed to the release of four new VERTIGO series debuting each week this month, beginning with today’s publication of FAIREST by New York Times best-selling and award-winning writer Bill Willingham. A spin-off of FABLES, the series stars some of the fairest in the land and balances horror, humor and adventure. Each FAIREST storyline will explore the secret histories of one character, from Sleeping Beauty to Rapunzel to Cinderella to Thumbelina to Snow White and more. The first six issue arc drawn by Phil Jimenez (WONDER WOMAN, THE INVISIBLES) follows the misadventures of Briar Rose along with Ali Baba and the Snow Queen.

Also available same day digitally this month are the following new Vertigo series:

  • SAUCER COUNTRY (VERTIGO / ongoing series / 32pg. / Color / $2.99), a dark thriller that blends UFO lore and alien abduction with political intrigue, all set in the hauntingly beautiful Southwest written by Paul Cornell (DEMON KNIGHTS, Doctor Who) with art by Ryan Kelly (NEW YORK FIVE).
  • DOMINIQUE LAVEAU: VOODOO CHILD (VERTIGO / ongoing series / 32pg. / Color / $2.99), a high octane story set in New Orleans that blends the mortal and supernatural worlds, written by former editor-in-chief of The Source magazine, award-winning author, journalist and TV producer Selwyn Seyfu Hinds, with art by Milestone Media co-founder Denys Cowan (THE QUESTION) and John Floyd with covers by Rafael Grampá.
  • THE NEW DEADWARDIANS (VERTIGO / mini-series / 32pg. / Color / $2.99), a murder mystery set among the world of the undead in post-Victorian era London, brought to vivid life by writer Dan Abnett (RESURRECTION MAN) with art by newcomer I. N. J. Culbard (At The Mountains of Madness).

“Making all of our digital titles available in one downloadable location provides readers even more accessibility to our vast array of ground-breaking stories. What’s better than that? I can’t wait to get the app on my phone.” said Karen Berger, executive editor, VERTIGO. “With four new series launching in March, this is the perfect time for fans to download the VERTIGO app and keep coming back each and every week.”

“As the digital landscape becomes increasingly crowded, this stand alone app underscores DCE’s commitment to growing and spotlighting Vertigo by directly addressing its unique reader base,” stated Hank Kanalz, senior vice president of digital, DC Entertainment. “Vertigo fans can now access same day digital content faster and more conveniently on their iOS devices.”

Click here [http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/vertigo-comics/id503929481?mt=8&ls=1] to visit the App Store and download the new VERTIGO App.

Previews of all four new series are available for viewing here: http://www.vertigocomics.com/2012/02/08/graphic-connection-vertigo-preview-2012

Around the Tubes

The weekend is almost here!  Here’s the news you might have missed.

Around the Blogs:

DC Women Kicking Ass – Justice League Dark artist Mikel Janin on the cover – Pitch forks were raised and an artist stood up with a very clear and reasonable answer.  Too bad these responses aren’t gained before.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews:

CBR – American Vampire #24

Comics Girl – Dotter of her Father’s Eyes

Paste Magazine – Comic Book & Graphic Novel Round-Up (2/22/12)

Pick of the Week – Transformers: Robots in Disguise #2

It seems like a pretty light week of books, but I’m digging IDW’s Transformers series.  This week see Transformers: Robots in Disguise #2.  The Transformers universe has changed quite a bit with one series following the recovery and rebuilding of Cybertron while others are on a quest for something from their past.  The two books are solid together expanding upon a universe that’s already been solid.

  • Transformers: Robots in Disguise #2 – see above
  • I, Vampire #6 – Vampires in the DC universe and we’re building towards something huge.  Can’t wait to see this battle.
  • Incorruptible #27 – Mark Waid is wrapping up the series and I can’t wait to see what he does for an encore.
  • American Vampire #24 – Scott Snyder is one of the hottest writers out there, and this series is one reason why.
  • Chew #24 – Consistently one of the most entertaining comics on the market.

Comic Book (not so) Weekly Reviews – 12/28/11

I’m WAY behind in my reviews, but here’s there first batch of them.  Hopefully I can be nice and caught up in a week or so.  It was the last week of the year and that saw a lot of new releases.  It was a thick stack of books… did the year end on a good note?  Find out below.

All-Star Western #4 – Jonah is still in Gotham, this time hired to look for missing children.  The story is decent and pretty entertaining, but there’s a hint as to what he stumbles into, and while I like him being tied into the greater DCU, I’m not sure if connections like this are a bit too cute.  Still though, we have a western comic that’s a great read in both story and art.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

Alpha Flight #7 – Wolverine shows up to see what’s going on and it turns into good guys versus good guys before they team up to take on the bad guys.  This limited series turned ongoing turned back into limited series has one more issue to go.  It hasn’t been a bad read, but also hasn’t knocked it out of the park like I’d hope.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

American Vampire #22 – Flash forward to 1954 and we have a new story arc from the vampire hunter angle.  It’s a completely different comic in a way and so damn good.  The main character just exudes the time and bleeds cool.  Add in some great story telling when it comes to revealing the plot and you’ve got a hell of a way to end the year.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Annihilators: Earthfall #4 – Hmmm, not the best of cosmic Marvel.  Hopefully whatever 2012 has in store, it’ll be better than this.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

Aquaman #4 – Aquaman and Mera head into the trenches to free the people kidnapped by the weird fish people.  All of that raises lots more questions that don’t get answered, but gives a good place to go over the next year.  The art is fantastic, writing top notch.  Aquaman is one of the best super hero comics being put out by DC and one of the best on the market.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Astonishing X-Men #45 – Astonishing X-Men to me has struggled as to where it’s stood in the “X” cannon and how it stood out from the other “X” series out there.  This story arc which has Cyclops in another universe is pretty damn interesting, but I’m still not sure it’s enough to really justify it’s existence.  Still, much better than what’s come before.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5

Avengers: Children’s Crusade #8 – So I guess this character wasn’t big enough to make headlines about being killed off?  It’s been a while since we saw the last issue for this series which feels like it started years ago.  The two teams fight Doom who then hints that he was behind Wanda going crazy.  Did we just get a crappy retcon!?  Ugh.  This limited series has dragged as far as release schedule and not lived up to what I’d hope as far as story, but the art has been solid.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 7.75

Batman: the Dark Knight #4 – Batman investigates Ivy’s hideout and chases some leads in an ok issue of the comic.  Really, the focus is on friendships and how being Batman crushes Bruce Wayne’s personal life and limits his personal friendships.  There’s a bunch I like about the comic, but some things seem a bit forced.  Some foreshadowing though that could get interesting.  This is the Batman book that’s more about the visuals than the plot.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 7.75

Black Panther: the Most Dangerous Man Alive #527 – The Panther and Kingpin’s chess game continues as each attempts to out-maneuver each other.  It’s sad the series only has a bit to go.  It’s such high quality and deserves and audience.  The art too is great with a very interesting style in this particular issue.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

The Cape #3 – Um wow.  To say the moment my jaw dropped would ruin the comic.  The issue and series is balls out, just going full throttle.  The body count is rising but how can someone prove there’s a flying person out to get them?

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Captain America #5 – Hydra is starting to role again as Cap battles in the dream world.  The ending to the first story arc wasn’t bad, but there was something a bit off about it.  The good part is we start to get a sense of a weakness when it comes to Steve Rogers and Captain America.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.75

Captain America #6 – Steve’s got some doubts and he also might be having issues with the super soldier serum.  He and Hawkeye head out for a night of crime fighting and run into an old nemesis.  The arc has been solid so far, the art I’m not totally sold on though.

Story: 8.5 Art: 7.25 Overall: 8.25

Captain America & Bucky #625 – Cap is drawn into a murder mystery surrounding the Cap and Bucky that replaced him after he was frozen (yes a bit confusing to explain).  The story is pretty damn interesting and very entertaining and shows off some more “lost” history of Captain America.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

DMZ #72 – And with that, the series comes to an end.  Brian Wood’s series about war and those impacted by it turns into a love letter to New York City and those that live there.  The series for seventy-two issues has been solid and some of the best political commentary in an entertainment medium.  The ending is bitter sweet.  A great comic, but you don’t want it to end, because that brilliance comes to a close with it.

Story: 9.25 Art: 8.5 Overall: 9.25

FF #13 – The kids, Doom, Reed Richards and Nathaniel Richards stand against the made Celestials.  It’s interesting, but the bigger questions is how does writer Jonathan Hickman’s crazy storytelling all weave together.  he’s put together an epic Fantastic Four story for the ages.

Story: 8.25 Art: 7.75 Overall: 8.25

the Flash #4 – Mob Rule is causing all sorts of issues as folks have to deal with the affects of the EMP blast and folks are confused by the Flash’s passing a plane through a bridge.  This issue has some amazing visuals and the story has some good pacing.  It doesn’t stand on it’s own, but as part of the story arc, it’s solid.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Green Hornet #20 – The new Hornet and Kato take on a bad guy that their parents did in this self contained issue.  The relationship between the two is the focus really and it’s a reminder that this isn’t your parents’ Hornet.  The art takes a bit of a dip, but the story is solid enough to keep this series entertaining.

Story: 8 Art: 7.25 Overall: 7.75

Green Lantern: New Guardians #4 – We start to get down to the mystery of the rings and Kyle.  There’s a lot here that I’ve never seen before, especially at the end.  The story is a giant fight scene and a bit muddled, but there’s some original stuff here and that has to be given lots of props.

Story: 7.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.75

I, Vampire #4 – Bennett meet Constantine, Constantine meet Bennett.  It’s a good story as these two individuals must deal with another vampire.  There’s a twist at the end I wasn’t expecting at all which just makes it that much better.  This is easily one of the best comics to come out of DC’s relaunch.

Story: 8.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.75

Iron Man 2.0 #12 – Wow, such a bad ending…. the series had a great start and then just went off the track into a wall.

Story: 6.75 Art: 6.75 Overall: 6.75

Justice League Dark #4 – What the hell did I read.  The series is just not doing it for me.  The story is muddled and really confusing.  It’s too choppy without a really solid narrative to pull it all together.  The series has a lot of potential, but so far I haven’t seen it come close to living up to it.

Story: 6.5 Art: 7.75 Overall: 6.75

Kick-Ass 2 #6 – The most entertaining thing about this issue is seeing Hit-Girl spout out really inappropriate things.  The series is over the top violence at this point without much of a narrative.  The first volume was Shakespeare compared to this mess of a follow up.  Millar wants to shock and awe, but missed the mark you need a story first to really pull that off.

Story: 6.25 Art: 7.5 Overall: 6.25

the Mighty Thor #9 – Loki still tries to figure out who Thor is.  Taranus does his thing and the All Mothers decide to turn Asgard into a Republic.  Um yeah… things got rather interesting in this series.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.5

Secret Avengers #20 – Wow did this issue make my head hurt.  Lots of time jumping and the story and art are interesting, but overall, call we move the series forward instead of these pointless self-contained stories?

Story: 7 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7

Spaceman #3 – The series is beyond unique and creative but I think it doesn’t read all that great as single issues.  I’m definitely waiting for the trade and reading it all at once.

Story: 7.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.75

Teen Titans #4 – Superboy takes on Wonder Girl as the Teen Titans finally get their members together.  The series has a great tone and some entertaining interaction.  The art is solid as well.  This is one of my favorite series of the DC relaunch.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Micro-Series Michelangelo – Michelangelo gets caught up in a diamond heist.  The story is entertaining and the art is solid.  I’ve loved the new TMNT series from IDW and these self contained issues have been just as good.  Great for TMNT fans new and old.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.25

Ultimate Comics the Ultimates #5 – This issue is just solid.  All kinds of great moments just building up to the eventual battle.  This issue doesn’t stand on it’s own, but as part of the greater story so far, it’s so good.  As usual, great art and great plot.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Ultimate Comics X-Men #5 – Um, holy crap.  So the beginning of the comic hinted at the ending, but I didn’t put two and two together as to what it all meant until those last few panels.  This comic just is so tense and so amazing.  The series as a whole just rocks.  The art, story, like the other Ultimate comics, I’m so happy I took chance with the relaunch.

Story: 8.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.75

Uncanny X-Men #3 – The team continues to fight Sinister and also have Celestials to deal with.  The story and art is ok.  To me, that’s it, just ok.  There’s two different teams basically and I think the quality is different too.  Out of all of the “X” books two stand out to me, Wolverine & the X-Men and Uncanny X-Force.  Uncanny, just doesn’t live up to the relaunch and continues on it’s meh course.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5

Voodoo #4 – Voodoo is on a mission to learn about the world’s super heroes.  Seriously, Marz has been booted from this series?  His mix of action heroine/spy/super hero comic is fresh and is as solid as they come.  Hopefully the series keeps it up, but I have my doubts the quality will keep up.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

X-Men: Legacy #260 – In a transition issue, Rogue and friends rescue Ariel and Korvus is dealt with.  The issue really just moves the story along with a dip in art and overall a ho-hum.

Story: 7.25 Art: 7.25 Overall: 7.25

 

Best Comics of 2011

It’s the first day of a new year and so that means we’re doing our “best of” listing of the top comic books for 2011. Generally these are comic books that came out in 2010, though some are from earlier times and we got around to reading them. Keep in mind, this is what I have read.  If it’s not on here, I just might not have read it.

Best Super Hero Comic – Daredevil

Daredevil #1 CoverDaredevil has had an interesting 2011, we started with Shadowland and then got Matt Murdock finding himself and then a relaunched back to basic series written by Mark Waid with art by Paolo RiveraShadowland wasn’t too bad, a bit uneven, but as a whole Marvel had issues with this year’s events.  Seeing Murdock corrupt and the emotion from his friends was an interesting read.  After you had Murdock wandering the country in short mini-series followed up by the relaunch.

It’s that relaunch that makes Daredevil stick out in my mind.  It’s a comic I look forward to reading each month.  Waid has given it a pulp action feel like classic Green Hornet or the Shadow and Rivera’s art is fantastic.  The comic is just fun to read.  On top of Waid’s take, Daredevil is now an Avenger and each of his brief appearances so far has enhanced that series.  When you show up in an ensemble comic and steal the show, that says something.

Waid has set up a lot going into 2012, can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Runner Ups – Moon Knight, Uncanny X-Force, Aquaman

Best Non-Super Hero Comic –DMZ

DMZ 50Is there a more politically relevant comic book series out there? Every month we’re given something to think about as we follow Matty Roth through Manhattan which is now a DMZ in the middle of the second American Civil War.

Writer Brian Wood is able to pivot and comment on what’s currently happening in politics and the world challenging our perceptions and not seem preachy at the same time.

With some single issues that stand as some of the best of the year and numerous holy shit moments, this isn’t just one of the most relevant comics out there, but some of the best political commentary of any entertainment medium.  Fittingly, this final week also brought us the final issue of the series, a perfect way to end the year.

Runner Ups – American Vampire, Chew, The Walking Dead

Best Limited Series or One Shot – Criminal: The Last Of The Innocent

Criminal: The Last Of The Innocent #1Really, just sign me up for whatever Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips have in store.  This latest volume of their crime/noir series from Marvel/Icon gave us a shit-head of a main character and kept us on our toes as to what to expect.  Sean Philips also showed us something new by changing up the art style every so often.

These two are one of the best teams in comic books today.  Early 2012 brings us Fatale from them to be published by Image which is more horror/noir.  Hopefully we’ll be seeing another volume of this series as well.

I’m a huge fan up pulp/noir comics, and this is the gold standard by which all others are judged.  Just fantastic.

Runner Ups – Critical Millennium, Severed, 27: Second Set

Best Single Issue – Transformers #22 and #23

Transformers #23 CoverTechnically it’s two issues, but the story is spread out between the two issues and either stands out as the best.  On top of that Transformers: The Death of Optimus Prime reflects on what’s discussed in these issues as well.  Megatron is captured and the two issues reflect on his and Optimus’ past and how they became who they are.  Flash forward to the present and the two leaders debate politics and motives.  It’s an adult discussion coming from two giant robots.

DMZ might have been “the” political discussion of the year, but these two issues I just didn’t expect it from.  Absolutely fantastic and enough to give me pause and make me think.

What’s the difference between a terrorist and freedom fighter?  Find out in these issues.

Worst Single Issue of the Year – Holy Terror

Just a holy piece of crap.  This is up there as one of the worst things I’ve ever read.  The graphic novel by legend Frank miller is racist, xenophobic, sexist and horribly written.  Can’t believe we’ve waited so long to read it.

Runner Ups The Infinite (any issue)

Best Graphic Novel/Trade Paperback – Green River Killer

Green River Killer A True Detective StoryDark Horse’s Green River Killer is a true-crime story focused on the Green River serial killings.  The writer was close to the subject, as his father was one of the lead detectives.  The story has multiple layers, looking at how families were affected, the struggles the police went through and at the end, why the killer did what he did.

The graphic novel is haunting.  I couldn’t stop thinking about it for many days it was that disturbing and unsettling.  The art is good, but it’s the story that gets you.  The whole time you’re wondering how they’re going to solve this, but also why is this happening.

Add in the fact this is a true story.  It’s a disturbing true story.  Being able to get some of the behind the scenes to a story I only know from newspapers and the nightly news, just adds more to it all.

Runner Ups Any Empire, Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand

Best Event of the Year – Uncanny X-Force: The Dark Angel Saga

Uncanny X-Force #18 Teaser 1I’m counting this as an event, though it’s really a long story arc.  Rick Remender has put together the best “X” book put out by Marvel.  This event which saw the rise of a new Apocalypse in the form of Archangel and X-Force is all that stands in the way between him and world destruction.

Diving into “X” lore with trips to the Age of Apocalypse universe, this was a story for the hard core “X” fans.  But, more than that, everything was thrown into it.  You had no idea what was going to come next and what to expect.

It wasn’t until I finally read the last issue that I know the ending, that’s how much of a big question mark Remender gave us.  The follow as well was fantastic as why characters did what they did and a new status-quo and direction were set.

Runner Ups Artifacts, Flashpoint

Best Genre of the Year – Horror

Horror was where it was at this year with DC folding in some Vertigo books and some great limited series like Severed.  Animal Man, Swamp Thing, I, Vampire, B.P.R.D. and more lead the way to dethroning last year’s winner, a bunch of shuffling zombies (though that’s also horror in a way).  I’ve never been creeped out more and enjoyed it as much.

Runner Up – Steampunk, Zombie

Best Comic Tie-In of the Year – Batman: Arkham City

I enjoy a video game or two (dozen).  One of the best video games of the year, not just comic book tie-ins was Batman: Arkham City which just brought more of the brawler game.  There’s a reason many are naming this as one of the best video games of the year and it’s sold so well.  It’s that damn good.

The downloadable material which seems to be coming as a steady flow, the fact you can play as so many characters, that all adds up to a comic book experience you can control.  Add in amazing graphics, game play and there you have it, it’s a must buy video game.

Runner Up – Marvel Universe toys, DC Universe Super Heroes Legos

Best Comic Book Related Movie – Thor

Marvel Studios Thor PosterThis year’s crop of comic book related movies wasn’t as amazing as I’d hope, but it’s a solid bunch.  Marvel’s batch as what stood out and all three really deserve to share the honors.  Each was excellent and flawed in their own ways, but out of the three Thor holds up best.

The story is pretty standard, didn’t really challenge me at all, but the visuals and Chris Hemsworth’s acting is what really makes it all stand out.  The flaws also are the least of the bunch with only the final fight between Thor and the Destroyer really bothering me.

Out of the bunch, this was also the highest grossing, showing it wasn’t just me that liked it.

Runner Ups – Captain America: The First Avenger, X-Men: First Class

Best Surprise of the Year – DC New 52

DC ComicsThis is a mixed one as DC’s relaunch is also a disappointment, but I’ll address it all here.  DC made a bold move this year to shake up their sagging line of comic books by starting from the beginning and relaunching the entire line.  It was gutsy.  On top of that, their digital initiative was bold.

The story that lead up to it all, Flashpoint, was pretty damn good and what came out of it as well.  I took a chance on all fifty-two issues and came away with giving half of them a chance for the second issue.  From there, I made further cuts, but today, I’m reading more comics from DC than I ever have and their higher volumes they’re selling that the initiative has worked for the short term.

The disappointing part is that they didn’t go far enough.  The comics were pretty standard and we didn’t get anything out of the box.  There also was a clear audience, adolescent males (or men stuck in their adolescence).  While we saw more advertising to the general public, we haven’t seen a sustained campaign.  For all their gains in 2011, I think we’ll see a good chunk of it erode in 2012.

Biggest Disappointment of the Year – Marvel Events

Marvel ComicsFear Itself and it’s follow up were and are bad.  X-Men: Schism was ok, but much better than what was before.  Shadowland was uneven.  Marvel has been having some issues when it comes to their events.  I won’t call it overall event fatigue in the industry as others have put out quality and showed what works.

Too many tie-ins, stories not thought out and gimmicky tricks paved the way to a substandard experience.

Marvel relied on the tired gimmick of death, killing the Ultimate Spider-Man, Bucky, the Human Torch and more, that all made headlines but some of it is already undone.  There’s only so many times you can call death before the masses catch on and shrugs their shoulders.

Already we’re heading into more events at Marvel in 2012, here’s hoping there’s some improvement.

Runner Up – Green Lantern (movie), DCnU

Best Character – Moon Knight

Moon Knight #1 CoverMoon Knight has always been a character that’s intrigued me.  Brian Michael Bendis, along with amazing art by Alex Maleev, have given us a new series that really looks at the many personalities of Marc Spector.  The new series really has fun with the idea having Moon Knight drawing upon his personalities at different points.

Moon Knight is the psychotic Batman, a super hero struggling with mental illness.  But is he really suffering from it?  And should it be this much enjoyable to read?

Publisher of the Year – Archaia

ArchaiaArchaia received the honor last year as well, so let me really explain my logic here.  Lets start with the big two, Marvel and DC.  Marvel’s line has suffered in 2011, they’re out.  DC made a bold choice, but four months letter, it all feels empty.  There’s quality, but there’s also a lot that just doesn’t excite.

BOOM! made it’s case towards the end of the year with some great original series, along with some on-goings that continue to show off their quality.  Add in a lot of licensed comics and they’ve got a line that has something for everyone.  There were also some busts, but they’ve got a great line of comics.  Image Comics, for all the quality also has some major duds.  Inconsistency is the issue, but their quality is some of the best out there.

Dark Horse has some amazing comics.  A lot of big name licenses and some good original, but there’s a lot of series I read and just didn’t interest me.  Their quality though is up there.  If your a Star Wars or Buffy fan too, they put out excellent product.  Then we come to IDW Publishing.  A lot of license there too, and also a lot of original material.  Each week I see their new releases, I get excited, as a whole, I’m probably interested in more of their monthly comics percentage wise than any other publisher, and it’s all excellent.

And the big winner is Archaia.  I should start with the presentation of the books.  Beautiful covers and packaging is the first thing that sticks out.  Their entire line of graphic novels are beautiful to look at on a shelf.  Then there’s what’s in between those fancy covers.  The variety of the books and quality is unmatched.  I can find something for everyone and hand out one of their series or a graphic novel and know I’m good with my choice.  All of what I read was good to great and much challenges story telling and comic book visuals.

Licensed books, original books, it’s all here.  And it’s amazing.  There’s comics for kids and adults and books kids and adults will love together.  Books from the US and Europe, we have different styles and perspectives, it’s like the publisher goes out of it’s way to present choice and variety.  And it’s all good.

I said it last year and it still holds true this year, when I think Archaia, I think high quality and expect the best.  They continue to not let me down.

Runner Up – IDW Publishing

Around the Tubes

It’s Friday and only a few days left of the year.  I’m doing my best to catch up on reviews, so expect a flurry today.  While you wait for the first roll out, here’s news you might have missed.

Around the Blogs:

ICv2 – Marvel Owns Ghost RiderShocker…

Focus Taiwan – Website launched to promote Taiwanese comicsI might have to check out some Taiwanese comics now.

CBLDF – Today In Comics Showcases First Wave of Comics Code Censorship Articles – Some good history.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews:

CBR – American Vampire #22

CBR – Aquaman #4

Open Book Society – Pariah #4

Comic Book Weekly Reviews – 12/14/11

It’s a good mix of comics this week including a bunch I’ve been waiting to read.  What’s worth it?  Find out below!

American Vampire #21 – We get some insight into who Skinner is, but still not how he became what he is.  That’s the story I thought was being told, but it’s clear that this story arc was just one small piece of the larger puzzle that Scott Snyder will eventually reveal.  Much like his general writing style, even with the bigger story telling, Snyder takes his time, laying it out in a slow, but enjoyable reveal.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Avengers Academy #23 – The plot of future Reptil coming back to make sure his timeline happens is rather interesting, but there’s something that’s missing to me as far as the writing.  The art too isn’t as top notch as I’d expect from an important title like this.  As with the characters, there’s something that just seems junior to me.  It’s an improvement in the series, but still not enough for me to consider it an “A” title.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7 Overall: 7.25

Avengers: X-Sanction #1 – This is the first step in the big Avengers vs. X-Men fight that reaches it’s full blown madness in a few months.  Cable is back to prevent a disaster in the future and to do that he has to take on the Avengers.  It all revolves around Hope too, and with all the mystery surrounding her, this event has the potential to reveal a hell of a lot.  The first issue is interesting and pretty solid, but quite of a few of Marvel’s recent events have started out strong too only to stumble.  We’ll see if this one can buck that trend.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8 Overall: 8.5

Batgirl #4 – We finally find out how Barbara is walking, even if it’s just a few panels and her battle with Mirror comes to an end in this holiday themed issue.  Overall the comic is pretty good as expected with Gail Simone behind the wheel, but it still nags me about Barbara Gordon now walking.  That’s not Simone’s fault, but it’s still the elephant in the room as it feels insulting to those who are in wheelchairs or who have other disabilities.  The comic is good though, even with the rather lame villain.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Batman and Robin #4 – We learn a bit as to who Nobody is as the villain and Batman fight for Damian’s loyalty.  It’s interesting these two so easily represent the dual sides of Damian, but it’s also so obvious this is the intent.  The comic doesn’t have subtlety, but the story is entertaining and art very solid.  Overall a good addition to the Bat family of comics.

Story: 8 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8

Batwoman #4 – Flamebird gets her butt whooped as Batwoman continues to search for the missing children and attempts to have a social life.  The story as usual isn’t the draw here, it’s all about the art which continues to be amazing.  Hopefully the storytelling will get to the level of the art and layout and at that point, this’ll be one of the best comics out there.  Until then, it’s only for people looking for something beautiful to look at.

Story: 7.25 Art: 9 Overall: 7.5

Battle Scars #2 – The mystery of Marcus Johnson isn’t revealed in this second issue…. maybe the next one?  The comic is ok, but nothing that’s gotten me too excited.

Story: 7.25 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.25

Black Panther: The Most Dangerous Man Alive #526 – In a plot that’s rather appropriate in today’s anti-corporate fervor, we find out exactly what Wilson Fisk wants with the Bank of Wakanda.  The story is pretty solid in it’s chess like plot and the art is always great.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8 Overall: 7.75

Green Lantern #4 – Jordan and Sinestro versus the entire Sinestro Corps.  But, what happens when they fail?  Captured and surrounded by people that hate them, Sinestro and Jordan have to figure out how to escape and free an enslaved world that despises them.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Iron Man 2.0 #11 – Just one more issue to go with Warmachine taking on a nano tech villain.  It’s been an interesting story, but nothing quite amazing.  The art in this issue though takes a dip as a few different folks hop in to put it all together.  The usual interesting and unique look changes a bunch and often in a jarring way.

Story: 7.25 Art: 6.75 Overall: 7

Magneto: Not a Hero #2 – What the hell is going on?  Unless you’re a die-hard “X” fan and care about Joseph/Erik/Magneto, this comic just makes little sense for the folks who haven’t been reading for decades.

Story: 6.5 Art: 7 Overall: 6.5

the New Avengers #19 – It’s Norman Osborn’s new Dark Avengers and a lot of discussion of what worked, what didn’t and why this team is better.  At the same time the new Avengers discuss Norman being loose and it looks like they have a traitor in their midst.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Resurrection Man #4 – A bunch of crazy in this issue as various forces merge to get Shelley back.  There’s heaven and hell and two women sporting big guns and a guy calling himself Transhuman.  The series is pretty crazy, but something very entertaining and interesting about it all.

Story: 8 Art: 7.75 Overall: 8

S.H.I.E.L.D. #4 – Is this in continuity?  There’s some things shown here that are pretty huge if this is happening in the 616 world.  As usual, a lot I like in the series but also a lot that’s a bit dense and hard to get in to.

Story: 7.25 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.25

Suicide Squad #4 – The cover lays it out there “betrayed by one of their own,” but who it is and why definitely caught me off guard.  The second arc comes to a close and leads directly into the third.  The series isn’t the tops out there and needs a bit more fine tuning to turn it into a solid Dirty Dozen type comic, but it’s still entertaining to read.

Story: 7.25 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.25

Superboy #4 – Superboy is given a choice after it’s clear who and what Red is.  But, in his wandering to figure it all out, Superboy comes off as a dick.  It’s interesting to follow this series, just because of it’s tie into Teen Titans, but without that, there’s not a whole lot that’s enjoyable about this Superboy.

Story: 7 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7

Ultimate Comics X-Men #4 – Well, hell, I totally didn’t expect that and see that coming.  Stryker attacks New York while the US government and the remaining X-Men have to figure out how to respond.  The story is very familiar, but just different enough to keep me on my toes.  The Ultimate universe is one where anything can happen and it does.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Uncanny X-Force #18 – Well that was one hell of an ending and I have to say I got a bit emotional for part of it, but still not sure why there was a bag.  Rick Remender’s epic story of the rise of the new Apocalypse goes out with a bang and deserves to be put up there as one of the best “X” stories ever.  Solid on every level.

Story: 8.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.75

The Walking Dead #92 – Just when you think writer Robert Kirkman is going to go in one direction, he throws something at you that you weren’t expecting.  This issue really shakes up the series and I’m sure you’re jaw dropped at the ending like mine.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

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