Saturday, April 6, 2013

Stack Rundown, 04/06/2013

So, this week in comics, we've got alcoholism, a bunch of some crying about lost kids, and a good amount of other dead loved ones. It was one of those weeks, you know, the really uplifting kind.

Swamp Thing #19

So, this was Charles Soule's first issue, after 19 issues (including the #0) from Scott Snyder, and I've got to say, it was different, but I really enjoyed it. Look, I enjoyed Snyder's Swamp Thing, but there was no denying that it went on for a while, one could argue it was a year and half long single arc, so the new writer doing the exact opposite of the long arc is just what the book needed in a creative change. Soule's book starts off immediately reminding me of the Alan Moore material that I've read, it's just got that godly plant wonderer vibe to it, only with Alec's actual voice this time. That's where I kind of got thrown for a loop, with the voice of Alec, I felt it was a bit off. But then I asked myself if it was just because of the feeling of those Moore stories mixed with the fact that it's actually Alec this time, and not the Swamp Thing that thinks he's Alec… I don't know, but that's what I came up with. I also enjoyed that right off the bat we're seeing that Soule is taking full advantage of the present-day DCU, and Swamp Thing's way of beating Scarecrow (who is on a job for the Society of Supervillians from JLA) was really genius in a way. Looking forward to Superman next issue too. So far, so good.

Earth 2 #11

Stop everything, because Big Barda is back! Blah blah blah, Doctor Fate, Mr. Miracle, blah blah. BARDA IS BACK! Sure, she just shows up on one page, but you know what? That's enough to hold me over for the time being. Outside of Barda, the bulk of the story was as one would expect, involving Khalid accepting the Helm of Fate once again, and becoming Doctor Fate. The whole "Jay's courage inspired me to take on this burden" thing from Khalid was a nice little moment, and as per usual, this title has got me interested in a character who I held no interest for prior. We also get a few tidbits of Wotan's origin and the current state of Gotham, which is a glorified pile of rubble (with giant monsters fighting in it!) So, as usual, another good issue of Earth 2.

Green Arrow #19

This book just continues to be great. Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino are miracle workers, it's that good.This is the first "traditional" super hero book, of either creator, that I've read, and I've continued to be impressed. Here we got one big old fashioned arrow fight, and Green Arrow gets his ass kicked, but not without getting in a few shots of his own. In fact, it almost seems like Ollie is going to win… up until a little girl with a bow, who is better than both him and Komodo, lights him up with a few arrows. Yeah, it's tough being Green Arrow, that's for sure. We also get a few little hints as to what surrounded Green Arrow's origin in the New 52, along with how his father supposedly died, then how he supposedly really died at the hands of Komodo. All in all this has become one of the titles I look forward to the most each month, having not expected how much I'd end up liking it, much like Earth 2.

Action Comics #19

So, it's a shame that DC chased Andy Diggle away, because this was a pretty damn good issue, especially for the first of a run… which will ultimately be very short lived. If I had one complaint about the actual story, it would be that it relied a bit too heavily on a rather large fight scene, which made the issue itself go by very quickly when all was said and done. That said, a particular strength Diggle brought to the table was how he wrote super crazy Lex Luthor. He kidnaps a psychiatrist to do what they do, has her be honest, and tell him how he's this crazy level narcissistic sociopath, meaning he's the most dangerous man on earth, and he just brushes it off while exhibiting every symptom he just said. It was pretty funny in a dark way. Tony Daniel's art was equally great, and he seem to make that transition from Batman to Superman exceptionally well. Tomeu Morey's colors help tremendously, as always. Final not, and not huge… but they did the thing where they didn't have enough story pages to fill out the full 28 that they use to justify the $3.99 price point, so they did what they did a lot in the early New 52, and just reprint covers and stuff we've seen before. Sort of bugged me, not gonna lie.

Animal Man #19

Hey kids! Were you having a good time, but totally tired of it by now? Want to get super depressed and bummed out?! Well break out the razors, cus I have the comic for you! Dead son? Check. Wife leaving? Check. Godly avatars who granted you your super powers now forsaking you while threatening you and your family's very existence? Check. Annoying mother-in-law? Check! Man does this book have it all! And as my sarcasm has noted, holy crap is it depressing. Granted, it's nice to see Lemire sort of getting back to the roots of the book, the way it was when it first started, you know, about the family, but damn it, did it leave me totally bummed out. I'm okay for some drama, and this stuff needed to happen, but I really hope for my own selfish desire to enjoy this book, that it doesn't stay too depressing for all that long. A book can be phenomenal, but I don't necessarily want to feel like shit after every single issue due to it being so damn depressing. Here's to hoping someone tells a freaking joke, or something.

The Phantom Stranger #7

So, I'll be honest, right after I read this, solicits started popping up, then the news of Batman Inc hit and all that, so I didn't really have much time for this one to "digest," so to speak. I will say that I did enjoy it for the same reasons I've enjoyed the last few issues thanks to JMD's scripting, and I'm looking forward to him taking over the book completely in June. Here were got Phantom Stranger ultimately fucking over another guy, this time Jack Ryder, who will probably turn into the Creeper by result, and then, as you could figure out from the last page of issue #6, and the full cover, Stranger gets stabbed with the spear of destiny by The Question and Dr. 13. SHOCKING, except not really.

Green Lantern #19

So, Wrath of the First Lantern is a little more involved than I thought? Meaning, apparently I'm not quite sure what the hell he's doing given that I'm not reading any other Green Lantern family title? I guess he's building up emotion or something? I don't know… probably not the best way to usher out Geoff Johns' near decade on the book, but whatever, hopefully the last issue is strong. Anyways, two major things happen in this issue… well, three, I guess. One, the First Lantern destroys Sinestro's home planet, and second, Hal Jordan kills himself by jumping off a cliff. Womp womp. The third would be Sinestro finding his Sinestro Corp battery among the rubble of his planet, and I have  say my favorite part of the issue was the final page of narration from Sinestro, where over the course of four or five text boxes, the background starts to turn from green to yellow, really great touch that could very easily be missed if one isn't paying attention.So yeah, I mean, not quite sure what the full repercussion of this will be, but I'm willing to bet Sinestro's planet stays dead… as for Hal, he'll come back as a Black Lantern, and be Green again by the end of the next issue, or whatever. Only one more left for Johns, crazy!

All-New X-Men #10

"Motherfucker." Says me at the final page of this story. So basically, the issue ends with one of the original X-Men agreeing to join Cyclops' New Xavier School, only that it's off page and everyone is looking at him/her like "NO!" meanwhile the readers are just like "…" HATE THAT. Blargh. Worst of it? It seems like the reveal should be in in next week's Uncanny X-Men… but I'm doubting they'll get to it there, for whatever reason. Decompression for the win! Whatever, the issue itself was good. Love the tense vibes you get from everyone when Cyclops and his team show up. He makes good points, but he's still kind of a dick… but so is everyone else. Everyone is at odds with each other and nothing good is coming from it. All in all, it's leading to an inevitable X-Men event either this winter or early next year, just watch. Predictions? I think Jean is going in as a mole or something. Or Angel just continues to be a wuss and bails.

Deadpool #7

So, as per usual, I don't keep up with Marvel solicitations as much as I do DC, so a retro style issue of this series where Wade tries to get Iron Man to fall off the wagon and start drinking again was a complete surprise to me, and a good one at that. This was a meta/sarcastic love letter to that era of comics, that had some genuinely funny moments. Peter telling everyone he's Spider-Man, only to have no one listen to him? Pretty good. Wade putting on the Iron Man armor and flying around drinking his ass off? Even better. This was a nice little interlude of dumb fun, it's always fun to see these modern day retro style issues. 

Bedlam #6

So, this was the end of the first arc, and ultimately it left me wondering where it goes from here. There wasn't a whole lot to go on to make a guess as to how the story continues, or at least I didn't pick up on much. So the priest called off his angel of death in exchange for Madder Red confessing all his sins to him, cus he gets off on that, or you know, whatever. Then we find out the priest has a bunch of no-penis-crazies at the ready to do his bidding, but it's not like the book is just going to be that again and again, right? So again, I'm just sort of trying to guess where this one will go next. I'll see if the next issue hooks me, which I hope it does, as this is one of those books I like just fine, but it's no Saga, let's put it that way.

Witchblade #165

As if Animal Man wasn't enough, this issue bummed me out too, but not in a "holy fuck this is generally depressing" way, more of a "man, I miss the New York setting of Witchblade" way. Here, after all the Artifacts stuff going on, Sara is in New York for the first time since leaving for Chicago after all that universe voodoo, and we see her meet with Gleason again, which is what did me in. Her and Gleason's relationship was just so god damn good, and like Batman and Catwoman being on unfamiliar terms with each other in the New 52, I'm equally bummed out that they broke up with Top Cow Reborn. But, not all is bad, we also find out that in this rebuilt universe, Sara's sister has healed from getting shot in the face, and is alive and well. So you win some, you lose some? I was a bit confused at the end though, as it showed following the recreation of the universe, the embodiment of the Witchblade offered Sara a chance to remember her daughter, which she accepted, but in Progeny, we see her remembering Hope and freaking out. Yeah, I don't know. In the end, a good, yet sad issue.

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