Saturday, November 2, 2013

Stack Rundown, 11/02/2013

Sort of a weird fifth week of the month. DC's got some annuals, and there are a couple of other stragglers so to speak, along with SAAAAAAGAAAAAAAA, and the return of Ron Marz to Witchblade.

Swamp Thing Annual #2

If I had to sum up this issue, I’d say it’s basically the Rocky training montage of Swamp Thing. The fight ballot has been set, and now Alec needs to get ready to go one on one with Seeder, so he’s got to train with past avatars, and realize how his human morals are really pointless in the world of the green, thus struggle to retain them. While I may have wanted a little more action here and there, ultimately this was a great character issue demonstrating Alec’s torn feelings towards who he was and who he is now. What really made this issue great was the confrontation at the end of the issue where Alec confronts the Swamp Thing who thought he was Alec all through out the original run of the character, or at least when Alan Moore got a hold of the title. Great scene to end things on. Also, I liked Kano’s art on the series up until this point, but I think Jesus Saiz is just a better fit from what we’ve gotten so far. I know Saiz didn’t draw this issue, but Pina is pretty much Saiz-lite, or can act as such, he just didn’t have the dynamic page layouts Saiz has had in his take on the character. 

Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S. #1

This was okay. Wasn’t great, wasn’t bad. It was solid. I guess DC wants to position ARGUS as their SHIELD, but I don’t know how well that’s going to work. Like a lot of things in the New 52, it feels shoe horned, but I’m sure if they keep beating away at it, it’ll stick eventually. What this issue fell short at isn’t unique to it, like the other two Forever Evil tie in mini series, it was just so much set up, not a whole lot of craziness. Yeah, Steve Trevor was close with Diana at some point, and now the world is crazy, Deathstroke is in the white house, woooooo… Not a whole lot of surprises here. I feel like two, three issues in, most, if not, all three of these titles will be more exciting, but so far they’ve just been predictable.

Green Lantern Annual #2

So with all the “The lantern corps energy is limited!” hoopla that has been going on lately… not going to lie, I thought Kyle “Space Jesus” Rayner “sacrificing” himself to replenish the well was a cop out. I thought it was a cool concept to sort of have a fuel gage on the emotional spectrum, but now we got the reset button… although, judging from the Green Lantern #25 preview, Hal might go super dick and try to limit everything, but I’ll save my thoughts on that for when the issue comes out. I think ultimately where this story ends, the most interesting thing about it is where all the various books are left. Kyle is even more of a Space Jesus now? John… well I don’t know. Hal is a dick… and you know what, fuck it, the most interesting thing to come out of this is the Red Lanterns calling Earth home. That’s crazy! Totally worth it though. Hope something real nuts comes from it. Also, I’m really not a fan of Hal and Carrol being on the outs. Maybe it’s because I’ve read a fucking decade of the “will they/won’t they” dynamic, and was real happy to see them “settle down” in Johns’ epilogue… now Hal is super dick and Carrol apparently loves Space Jesus? Nah man, naaaaaaah.

Guardians of the Galaxy #8

Hey, I’m reading a book with “Infinity” on the cover, and I’m not reading Infinity… I don’t know! Like I said in my comments on the previous issue, I have a general idea of what’s going on in Infinity, and this issue didn’t really do anything to confuse me. Guardians went to rescue Brand from Thanos’ army, Angela showed up. Pretty simple. I didn’t think the issue was that great, as a whole, but what I did think was pretty great, was the fact that Francesco Francavilla was doing the art. Francavilla has a real noir pulp heavy style, and in the past year or so, I’ve read issues from him here and there where he stretches out into different genres, be it horror with Swamp Thing and Batwoman, or sci-fi with this title. At first glance, and seeing him in his wheelhouse, you may not think the guy has a lot of range to do these different types of stories, and you’d be sorely mistaken. As rare it is that I read something with Francavilla on interiors, he definitely never disappoints. 

X-Men: Battle of the Atom #2

So this one’s finally over! And I don’t mean that in a negative way, just that after ten straight weeks of talking about it, it’s over. I liked this issue a lot, I really did, but after, again, ten straight weeks of talking about it, I don’t have much left to say. I am glad that some of these Brotherhood mutants from the future seemingly stayed behind, they’d make for good villains, just not sure what their purpose was the next time. I think what stood out most were the epilogues of this story. I really liked the moment between Jubilee and grown up Shogo, it was sweet. Then while I expected Kitty to leave the Jean Grey School, given it was spoiled in solicits, I wasn’t expecting the O5 to leave with her as well, and go to Cyclop’s school. Makes me wonder how All-New X-Men is going to be structured going forward, and if we’ll get anything back at the Jean Grey school. Overall, good story. Really enjoyed it.

Uncanny X-Force #13

This book… ugh, this book. So I’m pretty low on it, then Cassandra Nova gets introduced into the fold which is cool, and then we get back to this revenant nonsense and the fact that it’s Nova doesn’t really do much to sway to care about evil spiritual twins of everybody. Doesn’t help that whatever the plan here is, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense… Need telepath, for some ritual… I don’t know, nothing involving the evil plan was entirely clear to me in this issue. This just seems… I don’t know, kind of aimless? There’s no real hook for these characters to be together, other than “thems the breaks.” The X-Force used to mean something, and this is just X-Force in name only. I mean, Cable’s X-Force are outlaws, essentially, so there’s their hook, but in modern times the X-Force was this clandestine group of mutants who got the job done at any cost… this is just a group of mutants who happen to be hanging out. I just don’t see the point, honestly. I’ll probably stick around until the Cable and X-Force crossover, then I’m out if things stay the same.

Saga #15

It took me until the day I read this to realize the cover is a spoof on shitty romance novels… yeeeeeah, not proud of that late revelation. Oh well. Surprise! Another great issue of Saga. I really enjoyed how this issue sort of stepped back from the weird craziness of the series and focused in on the realities of being parents and having a family to think about. It’s like when you’re watching a show such as 24, and think “when do they go to the bathroom?” In the same way, comics often skip over logistics of how characters maintain their lifestyle, how they make money, etc. This issue just straight up reminds Marko and Alana that they need to do something, despite their fugitive status, to keep their family afloat. Then there was that last page and NOOOOOOO, I DON’T BELIEVE YOU!

Witchblade #170

Man, Top Cow is at a weird place. The final issue of The Darkness has yet to come out, doesn’t even have a solid ship date, nor does the graphic novel that features Jackie’s death… Does Witchblade care? Nope! How about a full page spread of Sara holding Jackie’s decapitated head? But where things get even weirder, this book jumps two years into the future, where Sara is a sherif in some New York town, and doesn’t have the Witchblade. No idea what the fuck is going on! Some of that is definitely by design, but I also feel like the conclusion of the Darkness has just been botched in terms of timing, and there are some missing pieces here. Regardless, despite this sort of dumping everything that has came before it, I did enjoy Ron Marz’s return, it set up quite the mystery, and Laura Braga’s art was very enjoyable. The one thing I really disliked about this book was the page count. For whatever reason, during Seeley’s run on the title, all the issues were 18 pages. I didn’t like that, because 20 is the standard, we all know that… This issue was 17. That’s kind of bullshit, and I hope it was just a one time thing.

Sex #8

Well, this wins “most sexually explicit book I’ve read all year.” Nothing like an entire issue being set in a rich people orgy. Getting past the visual aspect… this book, man. I’ll tell you one thing, the letters section at the end of this book is usually gets me off the ledge every month. I’m usually sitting here asking what the hell is the point of all this, and when is something going to happen? But then I read Casey’s responses, and I’m reminded about how this book has basically been personal character journeys up until this point. The characters have always been what has sold me on the book, albeit, mostly the “side” characters, but still, you got interesting archetypes of familiar characters in an unfamiliar setting. Sure, the provocative nature is also helpful, because I’ll admit it’s almost like a guilty pleasure, but the characters outweigh all. Most of this issue is not-Batman and not-Catwoman really talking, a lot. Not all that interesting on paper, but when you really get into it, and get into the fact that this is basically retired Batman and Catwoman talking to each other, it can get pretty enjoyable, and that’s why I still read this book… I still would really like something big to happen though.

1 comment :

  1. What I really liked about the Swamp Thing Annual was the surrealism that was missing from Scott Snyder's run, which I loved, and reminded me a lot of Moore's run, especially the opening scene.
    I did enjoy the adventurous tone of ARGUS and I thought Light's appearance at the end was surprising but that's mostly because I wasn't expecting his return to happen in this title