Saturday, November 3, 2012

Stack Rundown, 11/03/2012

Easier week than last for this post, not a whole lot of books coming out, given it was a fifth week, but we got some annuals, American Vampire and my usual pick of Image books to go over.

Swamp Thing Annual #1

This issue was positioned in an odd place, the framing parts of it, set in Rotworld, technically take place during/after next week's issue #14, but for the most part, the story was a flash back of sorts, showing Alec and Abby meeting for the first time, which they would later forget by the end of the story. All in all, it was mostly a love story, which is kind of interesting to see coming from Scott Snyder, who has deep roots in the horror style (albeit, there were some horror tones to this issue) and his partner in crime, Becky Cloonan, definitely contributed to the mix of styles. Most of Cloonan's work centered around Alec and Abby, and was pretty damn gorgeous (see pic to the right), but she also totally killed it on those panels of Anton Arcane skinning a corpse to wear. Like I said earlier, this story just had a weird vibe of clashing concepts, that was perfectly fitting. It was both grotesque and beautiful, romantic and horrifying. Really good issue and the end of the day.

Justice League Dark Annual #1

Then we also had the JLD Annual this week as well. I'll get this out of the way to start with, I feel as if these annuals should be their own unique story, rather than a continuation of what is happening in the main story. For all intents an purposes, this could have been JLD #14 (and #15 too, I guess). That being said, it was still a good conclusion to the story, but I thought that the character interactions between the cast is what really sold me on it, as well as Lemire's run as a whole so far. If Amethyst and Frankenstein become BFFs, I would be more than pleased, that's just such an odd couple situation, but one can see it being pretty entertaining. I also love how Constantine continuously uses Black Orchid's powers to mess with people and con them into thinking what he wants them to think (like how he snapped "Tim's" neck). All in all, the characters are what really stand out in this book, and it was no different here... especially in the fact Zatanna still hasn't done anything, HEYOOOO... No, but really... I don't think she has done anything in this entire series.

Aquaman #13

The stand out of this week's DC releases, given that it was the only non annual issue of the New 52 line... for some reason, but nevertheless, the conclusion to The Others arc was worth the extra week wait... Also, shit, I just realized it was Ivan Reis' last issue! Damn. Anyways, what we got here was the final battle between Aquaman and Black Manta, as well as a tease as to who hired Black Manta. One would like it's Arthur's brother, Orm... but I don't know, that seems a little too simple, because that's who Arthur thinks it is as well. Anyways, some of what we got was a bit cliched, like the "KILL ME!" sort of bad guy stuff, but here's the thing with Geoff Johns' work... Yeah, it has these sort of cliches, last page reveals and all this sort of stuff people tend to knock him for, but in the grand scheme of things, this stuff works as a whole. Sure you can dissect things scene by scene, but where's the fun in that? When it comes down to it, Geoff Johns work (here, especially) is just straight up fun, and that's all I really want. Annnd, final note, Mera is still awesome.

American Vampire #32

We've got two more issues until American Vampire goes on hiatus, and things are getting fucked. Skinner has been working with Hattie, Vampires are storming the VMS, and Pearl is chained up in the dessert. Yeah, Henry gonna die. That's the conclusion you have to come to, unless Pearl pulls a fast one, and turns Henry at the last minute... or (sorry, in terms of a write up, I'm more or less just thinking aloud here) instead of killing Henry, Hattie turns him, as a way to sort of torture them both, seeing as Henry never really wanted to become a vampire. I think that's probably a better status quo game changer to go on hiatus for, instead of Henry dying, which a lot of people have been thinking for like 8 months now.

Happy! #2

So, unlike the first issue, this one has Happy, the horse, through out the entire issue, and it really begins to show what is so awesome about this book: The juxtaposition of this happy-go-lucky, upbeat, corny, imaginary friend, being all over the pages of a book starring a drug addicted murderer, who seemingly has no interest in saving a little girl abducted by (what I'm assuming to be) a child rapist dressed up as Santa Clause. This book is fucked up, and it has some little cartoon horse going "Give him a left, and a right!" cheering on during a fight, those two elements combined just create this bizarre masterpiece of sorts. It's just so god damn weird! And it's being turned into a movie?! That's amazing! You read this, and it doesn't really scream "Grant Morrison" to you, but at the same time... it totally does. This is one of those books where you try and explain it to someone, and all that happens is you start shaking your head saying "It's--I.... look, I don't know man, just read it for yourself."

Bedlam #1

Keeping the theme of fucked up weirdness, you may have heard of Nick Spencer and Riley Rossmo's new book, Bedlam. Lots of people seem to be talking about it, and for good reason. The story is simple... kind of, the easiest way to explain it is, imagine if an even more fucked up Joker from The Dark Knight got reformed, and lived out his life (without anyone knowing who he was) in Gotham. That's pretty much what the situation with Madder Red in Bedlam is. I honestly have to reread it again, given that it was an extra large first issue, but they released the first 22 pages for free, so I went in late at night and started where that one left off, but went to bed, woke up the next morning and finished it... not an ideal way to read the book. Regardless, it made a really good first impression, and the art from Riley Rossmo is dark, gritty and creepy, mixed with a nice minimalist use of color. Image has seem to got another hit on their hands.

Witchblade #161

Meanwhile, in Witchblade, we got a set up of what seems to be a task force of supernatural (and dead?) agents that may or may not be dealing with the mana trade subplot that's being spun in the background of the title. What I'm enjoying with Seeley's run is that he just keeps adding, and adding, continuing with the world building with Sara in Chicago, while maintaining a consistent plot thread through the whole narrative so far. The new characters introduced in this issue (mainly the woman pictured, Apparition) have this cool, mysterious vibe to them, and Seeley did his job well by piquing my interest on her, and wanting to learn more. She's looking after her sister, their last name is Castro, that Senator's last name is also Castro, are they related? Who knows! I'd like to find out, thus I will continue to buy this series! and that's how you hook someone, ha. 

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