Saturday, May 4, 2013

Stack Rundown, 05/04/2013

So, spoiler alert, I read a whole bunch of books this week, and just spent a good amount of time collectively writing about all of them. Excuse me, while I don't customize this pre-jump text block with anything specific, don't want to do anymore writing!

Swamp Thing #20

I liked Charles Soule's first issue on this series, but I've got to say, I think this issue was THAT much better. The main problem I had with #19, was Alec's voice just felt a bit off. Here's a guy who is struggling with his humanity, and his tone came off as a guy who grabbed a beer and just started shooting the shit. Well, I didn't have that complain this issue, as the voice seemed to be really well ironed out. A lot of this issue dealt with that humanity problem Alec has found himself dealing with, with a good half of the story being set in a dream where his old self is talking to the Swamp Thing, giving him all sorts of shit about how The Green doesn't actually care about him, and how he gave up everything he had for ultimately nothing in return. It's pretty deep stuff, and is almost sad in a way. When Superman knocks Alec out of it, he comes off a bit, I don't know how to put it… stern? Yeah, I'll go with that, he comes off a bit stern to Alec when asked about how to deal with immense power, but still trying to hold on humanity. Nevertheless, Superman does have some wise words for Alec and then the issue ends with us meeting Capucine, a new character of Soule's creation. So far, so good. Soule and Kano have been turning in some great work, very reminiscent of the older Swamp Thing tales, which is a welcomed change of pace for me. If you got tired of the Rot stuff after it went on so long, I'd say give Soule's stuff a shot.

Animal Man #20

This was another "that movie Buddy starred in" issue, similar to one they did early in the series, which was issue #6 I believe. I can appreciate the concept behind these issues, but I generally don't find them all that entertaining. It's not that they're bad, and I get it lends itself to the actual story's thematic strings, but I just come off rather indifferent. Then in real life we find out that depressed as all hell Buddy gets nominated for an Academy Award and… ehh, I'm indifferent to that too. I don't know, it just seems sort of corny to me. I will say that I enjoyed the American Vampire TV show call out in the fake movie. Fake TV show, based off a real comic, set in a fake movie, within a comic book. Impressive stat line to that gag.

Earth 2 #12

This was the finale of the Tower of Fate arc, and as usual, still one of DC's better books they're publishing. What I like about this title is that it has been juggling quite a number of plots, but in a way that feels natural in their progression, rather than bogging the readers down with everything happening all at once. While the whole Dr. Fate stuff was going on, we've had Green Lantern and Hawkgirl investigating the circumstances around Sam's death, but and now after Wotan getting beat, Steppenwolf's plot comes back from a few months ago. The story just keep hitting beat after beat, while setting up future story beats along the way. The only thing that threw me a bit in this issue was Alan's attitude. After the first arc, he was basically "Screw all y'all, I don't need nobody!' But now he's all the sudden a team player? Make up with Hawkgirl, then listen to his green force or whatever fuels his ring and goes off to be a hero without a second though. Now after he jumps into the fight with Wotan and Dr. Fate, he's all "Hey new friends, come live with me! I'll help you all out and get this mess sorted out." He just went from a one man party to seemingly being everyone's best friend in a matter of pages. Not a huge deal, just worth noting. Other than that, still a great book.

Action Comics #20

Another issue that makes me say "Man, why did they have to screw up things with Andy Diggle?" Because his story is really well suited for this book. Action packed, fun, and most of all, simple. That "simple" part goes a long way after coming off of 5th dimension stuff written by Morrison, let's just say that. I mean, the story is basically Lex Luthor gets some virus that mutates with Kryptonian DNA, makes weird hybrid creatures, then sets it on Metropolis so he can save it. Fucking, alright, cool, easy to follow and entertaining. But NOPE. Have to screw something up and now Scott Lobdell is going to be writing the title from July to November or something, when he's already writing a Superman book. Definition of "redundant." Oh well. So, Diggle's stuff was on point, but with that whole situation, he only plotted the issue, and Tony Daniel scripted, which I thought was fine. Daniel's art combined with Morey's colors was also great, and fit the story perfectly, so it sucks he's gone too. It'll be curious to see where he goes next. Not a whole lot of bigger books available outside of Action and Detective.

Green Arrow #20

This was a pretty brutal issue for Ollie… just stabbing a motherfucker in the eye. Surprise, surprise, this book continues to be great. Green Arrow just feels so young and fresh now, not unlike the show, but the New 52 did come first… it just took them 17 issues to get it right… 18 if you count the zero issue. Here Ollie seemingly defeats Komodo, while we get some more Outsiders teases, which apparently is also going on in Katana as well, but I'll say if Nocenti's name is anywhere near the final product of whatever comes out of the teases, I'm staying as far away from it as possible. We also get some more teases with Komodo and his daughter whose mother is probably Shado… which makes me think that there's a possibility she's really Ollie's daughter? Stranger things have happened. Emiko will be his own Damian. I don't know. Andrea Sorrentino continues to kill it on art, and Marcelo Maiolo's clever highlights with black, white and a single color continue to be just that, clever. All around, just another great issue from the new Green Arrow team.

The Phantom Stranger #8

It has probably gotten old by now, but I just have to keep repeating how much better this book has gotten since JM DeMatteis jumped on, and in my opinion, this issue really felt like what a Phantom Stranger issue should feel like. One of the dumbest things this book had going for it in the early issues was the notion that the Stranger settled down and had a family… I get he'd like normalcy, but no, just no. But the spin that entire plot point takes with the Sin Eater? So great. Now that the Stranger has an idea of where his family is though… I kind of hope they don't make it out of this. Just, move on from it, especially with Trinity War on the horizon. It'll just be a plot line that will have served its purpose, no need to beat it into the ground. But yeah, I'd have to say this has been generally one of the most improved books in the New 52, happy I stuck with it.

The Movement #1

Despite knowing almost nothing about this, I gave this series a shot, because the last time Gail Simone wrote a team book (Secret Six) it was pretty fucking fantastic. So, what did I think of this book? Well, it definitely has potential. I can't say anything too definitive on the subject, because we weren't given enough context of this new city Simone is creating to know exactly what's going on. Still, even with some questions still up in the air, it was a pretty fun read. From what we do know, The Movement is basically Anonymous, or V for Vendetta, or whatever you want to say, who have taken up residence in a neighborhood of Coral City known as the 'Tweens (based off the street numbers). The Movement is so influential on their home turf, that the neighborhood is pretty much lost to government and law officials, and is being lead by all these would be heroes with powers. You've got Tremor from Secret Six, Katharsis from Batgirl, then new characters like Mouse who is the "king of rats" and Virtue, who seems to be the leader and is able to "read" people and see into their lives, or something.  There are no doubt a few more characters to be revealed based on the cover (one of which may have been in here, Burden) but it's safe to say that this is a team with a  very unique power set. So yeah, I'm definitely going to stick around and see how this one plays out.

Aquaman #19

One of the two not-so-WTF leftovers. It was alright. There was a whole bunch of plot lines in this issue that didn't add up to a whole lot by page 20. This is a much more slower arc, which is quite noticeable coming off of the Throne of Atlantis crossover which was pretty crazy. Aquaman still looking for Scavenger, Murk still hating Aquaman, those two plots don't really come to much. The most interesting part of this issue had to have been Mera… she was captured by the Ice King guy, who has gotten no explanation yet, somehow escapes, and we find out that she had a husband she left behind. If I had to guess, it'd probably be one of those arranged royal marriages, thus her easily being able to leave her, but still, that's a bit crazy I guess… but other than that, I'd really like to see something happen next issue, or the one after that given Johns is taking an issue off.

Invincible Universe #2

So, they're taking the name of this book quite literally, because there is a crazy fight scene in this book with just about every friggen hero in this world. The only two I could think of off the top of my mind that weren't there were Dupli-Kate and Atom Eve, both due to baby stuff. Seriously… EVERYONE. I'm a pretty frequent page editor over at Comic Vine, and going through and filling out all the characters in this page proved to be impossible for me, as I saw some and thought "I've read every single issue of Invincible… no clue who that is." There is really more to this world than I though, but I'm just sticking to the two Invincible branded books, seeping it simple. Anyways, these first two issues were interesting in that the personal story was in a way, focused around Cecil, who is a very interesting character. He's pretty much an Amanda Waller, but a little more… I don't know, righteous? Maybe? It's late (at the time I'm writing this, about 1am), so we'll go with that. But also on a much larger scale. He's an interesting dude, does a whole lot of questionable things for the greater good. From the looks of it, it seems like the title will have these smaller personal stories wrapped in the big character rosters, which I could definitely be on board for.

Hawkeye #10

David Aja is a great artist, but you know who else is also a great artist? Francesco Francavilla. You know what would be awesome? When Aja takes a break, Francavilla fills in on some Hawkeye. OH WAIT! That's exactly what happened, and it was good. It was a bit of a different issue though, as it stepped away from Hawkeye a bit, and told the story of clown nut job that showed up last issue. Basic rundown is he was a circus performer, most of the family gets killed, becomes bros with the Track Suit Mafia, little brother gets killed, and then he goes nuts and becomes a hit man who dresses up like a classical clown. He's a real well balanced individual. So the Track Suits are all "Bro, go kill this bro!" and he listens… Oh, and Kate is totally hot on him, without knowing he's a crazy clown killer. Good issue, great art.

All-New X-Men #11

Who leaves the original X-Men!? Well, if you're reading Uncanny X-Men, you already knew! And if you're not, then you're the only person who didn't know! That's what I thought was weird about this issue… everybody already knows what was being teased, so why continue to do it? Anyways, so yeah, Angel leaves, and Jean continues to be a bit of a brat, due to the fact that ever since she discovered her mind powers, whenever something doesn't go her way, she just decides to control someone's mind and make them do what she wants. So, when Emma sent her three little Mini Mes to teach Jean a lesson, even though they were fucking with her head, I was thinking to myself: "Yeah… teach her a lesson!" I mean, nothing against Jean, but she was being kind of crazy, and starting to go down a dark path, something Bendis obviously wanted to illustrate. Then later her and Kitty talk it out, meanwhile Mistique is still being all "Look, the original X-Men are attacking things… while I steal a whole bunch of money," and the Uncanny Avengers show up, which will be entertaining. What I found interesting was the dynamic between the two factions of mutants. The school and Cyclops' mutants aren't necessarily enemies, but there's this weird tension between the two that makes me really want to see what will happen when it boils over. Perhaps it will in the Battle of the Atom story.


  1. Thanks to you I began picking up hakweye, I liked it a lot. The story is not that good, but man do those witty dialogs and spectacular art work make up for it! Aja (and, of course, Francavilla) are geniouses!

    1. I wouldn't call the story bad by any means. Love the concept of "This is what happens when he's not an Avenger." It's a side of heroes we rarely get to see.

    2. it's pretty boring, let me tell you, and it feels like it's just going nowhere (I hope that's not the case, and they're probably going to probe me wrong, anyway) I just feel that our "hero" hasn't had a true chance to prove himself as the great archer we know he is (I don't follow any other marvel series, so let's just talk about this as if it was the only title the character appears in) and it seems like Kate has to be around always because he screws up all the time... It's a cute chemestry they've got, like the tough girl and messed up boy, but I need evolution. I'm sure that's to come, so nothing wrong with that either.

      and the ironic use of the "this looks bad" clichè line got old in the second issue, by the 7th I just had to skip the first few lines because I just couldn't stand it anymore, besides that the series is in a point in which it became a sort of trademark so them stop using it would seem off... The only truly bad thing I can say about it.