Saturday, January 25, 2014

Stack Rundown, 01/25/2014

This was one of those weeks where I had even more Marvel to read than DC, discounting the Batman books. Then there was a lot of Image stuff too. Oh how things change.

Justice League #27

If you had to get one Forever Evil tie in, this would be it, Johns is absolutely killing it (and the Doom Patrol) with this series during the event. We’ve moved past the origin stories for the Crime Syndicate characters, and gotten into Cyborg’s story, or should I say Cyborg 2.0’s story, because that’s what happens here. Cyborg is rebuilt to a new, sleeker (probably easier to draw) version of himself, which will lead to him finding the Metal Men, then taking on The Grid. It was just a great issue, with a lot of good father/son moments between Silas and his son. I am getting worried with the art though, seems like Reis is falling a bit behind, but they’re doing the best to keep him on schedule. Here he just did layouts, while others finished, and though Reis’ style comes through, it’s clear that something’s different. I think I’d just like to see someone (who is good) fill in for a few issues, to make sure Reis is ready to go on the next arc starting in April… or else we’ll get something like Guinaldo on JLD… bleh.

Animal Man #27

Definitely one of those “everything has to get worse before it gets better” sort of issues. Ellen is locked up for punching a tabloid photographer, Brother Blood captures Maxine, Buddy is fighting the Parliament of Limbs guy, shit’s gone baaaaaaad. Fun issue, with great art from Albuquerque, that’s for sure, just wondering how this is all going to wrap up. Next issue seems like it’s going to be the last of this story (while the actual last issue seems to be an epilogue of sorts), which makes it feel like we’re going to get some crazy deus ex machina outcome next month. I’m betting it’s something along the lines of Cliff saves Maxine from the red, but can’t come back with her, and she’ll have to finally accept her brother’s death… something like that. 

Wonder Woman #27

Any time Cliff Chiang comes back from his three or so issues off, it always boosts my interest in this book, because god damn, is his work fantastic looking, I really wish he could draw it all, but that’s not going to happen, so, blah. Anyways, more of the gods toying with Zola and torturing First Born, who got free this issue, so it looks like there’s going to be more fighting against him. I’m starting to wonder how long this story has left, because with First Born and Cassandra seemingly being the big threats, I can’t imagine they’d keep putting him away, only to bring him out for a fight again. Then the most recent solicitation has the Amazons coming back, which seems like a “Putting the toys back in the sandbox” sort of thing, as Grant Morrison put it when talking about his Batman run. It’s not like I want Azzarello’s run to conclude, it’s what got me really invested in Wonder Woman, but it just seems like we might be getting towards the end. Or who knows, I could be wrong, this is all speculation.

Trinity of Sin: Pandora #7

So I’ve tried, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that I just can’t get invested in Pandora. I was promised she’d be this lynch pin of the DCU, but she’s just been crossover bait, and I can tell you I’m done once this crossover is completed. This issue reveals that Pandora is the anti-Blight, the yin to his yang, so she basically goes Super Saiyan, and ultimately beats Blight, but in a time-tested cliche, they think it’s over, and spare the kid hosting Blight, but OH NO, it’s not over, and things just got worse. Yeah… I don’t know, I’m ready for the crossover to end.

Black Widow #2

Okay… sometimes Marvel double shipping can be pretty good, especially when a book is as good (and looks as good) as this one is. This one goes more into Natasha's head, as she goes on another mission, which introduces someone who could very well become a recurring villain, the brother of a mark she killed six years ago. This guy, out for revenger, calls Natasha a murderer, she corrects him by telling him his brother was a murderer, she's a killer, believing there to be a difference, as she's on the more righteous side of the act of death, or she'd like to hope. There's also some stuff going on with her manager, who is no slouch himself, as we find out in a pretty surprising turn of events. Another great issue with downright gorgeous art from Phil Noto. Here's to hoping this one keeps going for a long time.

All-New X-Factor #2

You know what, I’m not wild about these costumes… scratch that, I just hate the stupid goggles. They need to go. Stupid goggles aside, I’m liking this book so far, despite being lost on a couple of things this issue references from the pasts of these characters. The only problem I had with this issue was that it sort of closed the first story without really any major hints of where it’s going to go next. These two issues were pretty much the appetizer, and I assume from here more characters will join the team and then the book will get a bit more of an established footing. I just hope it doesn’t rely too much on the past stories, because I don’t have the time to read wiki entries!

Hawkeye #16

So the weirdness of the comic industry (this week) was the fact that this issue came out… That’s not the weird part, the weird part is the fact that this issue is #16, and the last issue was #14… which means #15 is in some sort of production limbo. I’ve got to say… I wonder how long this is going to last, because this book has had some serious fucking schedule issues, and it sucks, because the Aja issues are the ones I’m interested in the most. But, getting to this issue specifically, another Kate in LA, trying to be a P.I., this time, investigating a burnt out musician whose unreleased masterpiece was leaked to the world. There were definitely a handful of funny moments in this issue, especially the library scene, so I did enjoy it quite a bit. I don’t know if it was just me, but Annie Wu’s art looked a lot more solid this issue, not that I had any problem with #14’s art, I just thought this one looked better. So yeah… good, fun issue of Lady Hawkeye, but the Hawkguy issue delays are concerning.

Cable and X-Force #19

Final issue of the series, and unfortunately, it didn’t feel like it, due to the nature of the crossover it’s in. Total bummer. I’m not all that interested in Uncanny X-Force ending with a solid goodbye, because I didn’t think that book was very good at all, but Cable and X-Force was fucking fun, and it just sort of… goes away. Hope stabs Bishop after being baited into it by Stryfe, that’s the big event in this issue, and okay… fine. Bishop doesn’t die (from that) because I’ve already read the preview, soooo, what else you got crossover? If anything, there were a nice set of one-liners through out the issue coming from either Nemesis or Boom Boom, directed at whoever needed a dose of sarcasm, so that was entertaining. So yeah… Goodbye Cable and X-Force, you were the funnest book at Marvel is was reading, sorry you went out like this… NOW WHERE THE HELL IS DOMINO GOING?!

All-New X-Men #22

Heeeeey… wasn't there an issue of this last week? Double shipping at its best! So begins the crossover with Guardians of the Galaxy, and I guess I have to start reading that book again, after I did for a hot minute before. This was pretty by the numbers of what you'd expect. Some aliens come and take Jean Grey, and then the Guardians show up and hooray, crossover! The first issue of crossovers always seem to be dull set up, so I won't get on its case too much… YET. The one really good part was Angel in the middle of Scott and Jean, just because he was so awkward… That said, Scott and Jean need to fuggin progress already, same thing every other issue "don't read my mind!" "don't judge me!" whaaaa!!!

X-Men #9

So, Arkea is back, and that’s a bad thing, because now she’s got all sorts of control over a whole bunch of sentinels… which is bad… Yep. I don’t know, this is one of those books that I enjoy reading, I don’t have any problems with the story, and it sure does look nice, but most of the time I don’t have much to say about it. Does enough to keep me interested and coming back for more, but nothing too crazy that lands it as a must read ASAP on the weeks it comes out. I’m enjoying the Arkea plot, and all the Sentinels coming back will probably make for a few good fights, but aside from that, just a standard issue in my book.

Deadly Class #1

Rick Remender is on a creator owned bender at the moment, and I couldn’t be happier. Black Science is cool, but Deadly Class is the book that he announced which I was REALLY looking forward to? Why? Well, pretty much for the character designs. I’ll be honest, I think they’re fucking great, especially Saya, who you can see in many of the promos, she’s the japanese girl with the Yakuza style tattoos. Just fucking great looking. Anyways! The story is basically this: there’s a high school for the world’s deadliest assassins, and this homeless kid Marcus, with a hazy past, is the newest student. This is all set to the late 80s San Francisco, which Remender is using to revisit elements from his youth as somewhat of a skater punk, who knew all these types of kids. This first issue was a great set up for what’s to come, and has a great sense of visual identity due to Wes Craig and Lee Loughridge’s art. Another great Image #1 that I’d highly recommend you pick up.

Zero #5

Holy fucking weird plot twist, Batman. Did not see that one coming. These past two issues have been surprisingly linear, and by the end of this issue, the camera pulls out a bit to reveal the scope of the world, and there’s some crazy sci-fi apocalypse style plot twist that I’m pretty sure no one expected. I liked the book prior to this world reveal, but the ending of this issue injected a serious amount of “what the fuck!?” into the whole series, which is definitely going to get me to stick around and see just what the hell is going on. I love a book that can just get really weird at a moment’s notice, but not so weird, that nothing makes any sense, and everything is just up its own ass. Things just got real interesting in Zero, and I’m looking forward to how crazier things will get from here.

Chew #39

Olive and Amelia impersonate FDA agents to steal DRUUUUUUGS. Well, not real drugs, by psychedelic Chogs… which they then stick in a blender, and serve to Tony! This issue got weird, real weird, and I wouldn't have it any other way. You can definitely tell that the Chew universe is all starting to come together as we're getting closer to the 2/3 point (next issue). That weird alien languages that showed up seems to be coming into play again, and the crux of it all just might be Toni. I've got to say, I'm really glad that Toni stuck around, despite being dismembered and having her neck snapped, because damn if she isn't one of the most entertaining characters in this book. With only 21 issues left (plus probably some specials here or there, maybe) shit's starting to get real in the book, and out of the book I'm starting to realize just how little there is left, in the grand scope of things. The Chew team can take all the delays they want, I don't want it to eeeeennnd!

Dead Body Road #2

AKA, BLAM BLAM, DIE DIE DIE! I really like the mini series Justin Jordan does for Image, because they’re just over the top, unapologetic fun. Everyone is a badass, and everyone kills everyone else, that’s pretty much what we’ve got going here. This issue worked out the way I thought it would, and we get introduced to the girl, there’s always a girl, and guess what!? She shoots someone too! Everyone is just trigger happy! It’s not as if this story is some super deep metaphor or something, but it just doesn’t need to be, because entertainment comes first, and I for one have been entertained. Matteo Scalera’s art was also quite nice to look at, and between this and Black Science, he’s easily becoming one of those guys whose work I’m probably going to continue to follow. So, looking for a shoot ‘em up revenge story? Probably check out this book.

Pretty Deadly #4

This issue really put a lot of things in their place in terms of story and characters, answering a lot of questions in the process. With this issue, everyone’s role is defined, and a bigger element of this world is revealed, IE that Death will eventually die, to have someone take his place… who is the kid, Sissy, who Death wanted Fox to kill, in order to Fox to eventually be able to see his wife again, and then there’s some more, but a run-on sentence doesn’t help explain anything. Regardless, what I’m getting at is everything is clear to me now, which is great, considering there are a few Image books I read that remain vague WELL into their first year. Though, this series holds another similarity to other Image books, in that I have no clue where it’ll go after this first arc. I feel like a lot of books are launched with the guarantee of a first arc/trade, and if it doesn’t necessarily catch on, well at least there’s a solid short story. But if it does catch on, that’s when shit usually goes crazy. So with this and a book like Sex Criminals, I can see where this first story is going, but I’m really interested to see this world get bigger and continue on, hopefully.

Sex #10

So, I’m dropping The Bounce, because the story is just too vague, and has really never hooked me at any point, and this series continues to be really vague and slow moving as well. Simon Cooke is still trying to figure it all out, and takes a deeper interest in his corporation… okay! Then there are the crime people, they’re still doing their stuff, and then there’s a random scene with Annabelle after a client didn’t like his barf show… don’t know what the point of that was, but okay. Yeah, it’s still fucking vague! But here’s the thing, it does just enough each issue to make me think “Okay, I’ll give it one more and maybe it’ll really click next issue” and the ending with Simon coming across his former sidekick is what did that this time. Will the next issue be fulfilling? Probably not, but I’ll probably think the next one will be too! Weird book.

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