Saturday, March 22, 2014

Stack Rundown, 03/22/2014

If Sex Criminals having a new issue wasn't good enough, this week also saw the return of Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque's American Vampire, and all is right in the world of comics because of it.

Wonder Woman #29

Okay, now you can really tell that the book is ramping up to the final confrontation with Hera back as an olympian god, the Amazons are no longer a bunch of snakes (didn’t see Hippolyta though), and Diana is finally accepting her role as the god of war, which is awesome. This book has been so great, and I’m really looking forward to its final act where everything comes to a boiling point. That said, this book is what made me a Wonder Woman fan, and I’m concerned about what may happen to it afterwards. There’s the Finch/Finch rumor, which… is probably true, and I don’t know about that, especially on the writing end, but whatever the book turns out to be, chances are, it’ll be wildly different, and that’s what worries me. Oh well, no point in thinking about it now, might as well enjoy the ride as this run wraps up.

Animal Man #29

Well, this was a fitting end to the series, and since we already have one hero who lost his son and accepted it without a contrived resurrection, does that mean we can have Damian back since that’s been done before? PLEEEEASE!? But I digress… I like the fact that Jeff Lemire got to draw a good deal of this final issue (along with bringing Travel Foreman back as well), because this is one of DC’s rare series that is just so uniquely attached to the creators, and I think it was the right decision to let it end, and not try to string it along, trying to make it as great as it had originally been. You got to give DC some credit in that sense, they’ve exhibited knowledge of when to naturally end series rather than let them go on for too long under someone else, and ultimately fail to live up to what they once war. Lot’s of similarities between this title ending and Batman, Inc. actually… that and the whole dead son thing.

Superman Unchained #6

Every time an issue of this comes out, I get sort of bummed out. Why? Because I think Scott Snyder has a really great grip on Superman. Clark acts as you’d expect him to act, heroic and never willing to give up, and all while all that’s going on, you’ve still got Lois in her own story being awesome. I’ve said it countless times before, but this is really Snyder’s Batman, Incorporated, only with Superman. It’s a story that he just wants to tell, and doesn’t really give a fuck about continuity, not that it blatantly ignores it, but it’s clear they’re not going to worry if they mention Green Lantern patrolling Earth. This issue had some pretty cool moments in this, like Superman destroying nearly every nuclear bomb on the planet, and pulling a Batman on WRAITH and punching him with a ring made of whatever acts as WRAITH’s Kyrptonite (which Batman made). Speaking of that moment, the “It’s good to have paranoid friends” moment? Faaaaantastic. I’m going to miss this book.

X-Men #12

This last arc has just been sort of messy, last issue especially, but I will say this issue seemed a lot tighter and straight forward, probably because they were wrapping everything up. Things maybe wrapped up a little too evenly, but oh well, I’m not exactly sad to see the arc end. I do hope that the whole back-up thing doesn’t become a permanent feature in this title, because it sort of just popped up out of nowhere, and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why. I’d much rather get 20 pages of solid story, that way things can get fleshed out more rather than the writer learning they’ve now only got 15 pages and have to jumble some things around.

Wolverine and the X-Men #2

SO WAIT… This book’s Fantomex is living in that bubble world that Morrison had him in way back? So what the fuck is with the Fantomex in X-Force? That has to be the other one, right? …God damn it, someone just explain this already, please? Anyways, this book focuses a lot on Quentin, doesn’t it? I don’t have a problem with that, but wasn’t exactly expecting that coming in. Regardless, it’s interesting with the whole future premonitions stuff, but I mean… how many different futures do we have possible at the moment? That’s the one thing that gets me about Marvel stuff, they’ve got so much future and time traveling nonsense, it’s hard to keep all the possible timelines straight. Still an enjoyable book when you don’t focus on the small details. Something I forgot to mention last issue is that I really like Asrar’s work. I know he was at DC on Supergirl for awhile, and while I never read it, I did see a good deal of the art… but it’s way better on this book. I don’t know what it is specifically that looks better, but I think it does. So yeah, good book so far, not amazing, but it does the job.

Uncanny X-Men #19

Looking back, ever since Battle of the Atom, this book has had five one-shot issues in a row. Some of them were better than others, but ultimately, after most of the recent issues I was left thinking “Would something happen already!?” Well, it looks like the next story arc has FINALLY started, and of course, it’s going to be the X-Men vs. SHIELD, plus that guy who showed up on a cover that one time. So naturally, I ended up liking this issue quite a bit, because some events actually got set in motion between Maria Hill finding Hijack, those Sentinels attacking again, and I don’t  know… Mystique calling Dazzler a sell-out whore? That was pleasant. That’s all I wanted! Something to happen! Just not as drawn out and decompressed as that Trial of Jean Grey crossover. The art took an interesting turn in the last third or so of the book. Jose Villarubia colored the final pages, which look drastically different than Bachallo’s own colors, which I can never determine if I like or not. On one hand, Bachallo’s pallet is clearly unique, but often, between the heavy use of purple and orange, things sort of blend together in the background for me. I think ultimately, I’d like someone to do their own unique colors on the title, because I can appreciate it looking a bit different, but as it stands now, it doesn’t work for me in some instances.

Thor: God of Thunder #20

I’m not sure what the point of juxtaposing the second story with King Thor and Galactus with the main feature of Thor, Roz, and Roxxon, but whatever, both stories are cool. The second story was mostly King Thor just going “Hey Galactus… stop eating Earth, even though it’s a wasteland now” until they finally start to fight the end, so that was okay, but I really do enjoy the present day story, mainly for the interaction between Thor and Roz. Thor is trying SO HARD to impress Roz, who isn’t exactly giving him the cold shoulder, but is sort of just hesitant about the whole situation, it’s sort of funny to read a god with so much power just try and impress a lady, but not be all that great at it. Esad Ribic’s work really impressed me this issue, especially with that full page of the Minotaur, so I’m really glad to have him back. So far, I’m liking this arc and I’m glad to have this book back on my pull list.

American Vampire: Second Cycle #1

Good lord, it’s been too long. When was American Vampire #34 released? Something like January 2013? Yeah, too long! But nevertheless, it’s back, and comics are better for it. Scott Snyder’s Batman is great, we all know that… but you know what’s really great? American Vampire, and now we’re in the 1960s, complete with Skinner Sweet having a douchey biker gang braided ponytail… Yeah, I don’t like the look, but oh well. This issue did a pretty good job of being fulfilling to long time readers of the series, such as myself, but also recapping the series as a whole, without spending too much time dedicated to making it new reader friendly. If you never read the series before, but still picked this one up, the bare bones set up is what’s given, and it’s pretty much all you need to get going, because The Gray Trader has shown up, and he seems to make any threat the series has seen before look minuscule by comparison, so who cares about them!? (Well, you should… but… you know what, read the trades, you’re welcome). 

Sex Criminals #5

It feels like it’s been forever since the last issue… and now we have to wait even longer for the next issue in JUNE. Ugh. UUUUGH. But oh well… it’ll be worth the wait. This book is still surprising me in various ways. Between the gun shaped vibrators, or sex cop who can apparently give herself orgasms simply by doing kegel exercises, it gets somewhat serious from time to time. This issue featured a good deal about Jon being diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder, his going off the medication and Suzie starting to worry about it… Like last issue (I think it was last) where Suzie used the quiet after some shit went down with Rachel, the revelations here just sort of took me off guard. This book is pretty absurd, I mean… Cumworld… but at the same time, it’s very human. As I’ve said before, it’s got a lot of heart, and it uses that to back up all the goofy humor. We also get a sense of what the book will be like in the next volume… Sex Criminals on the lam! 

Zero #6

This was one of those issues where after a reveal, I had to go back two issue #2 and refresh, then went “OOOOOOOOOH.” I kind of like when you have to do that in a good way… not when books are so far up their own ass that they don’t make sense, so you have to remind yourself of what the fuck is happening. That said, I don’t believe I really get everything that’s happening, but I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to, yet. I just love how everything is slowly coming together to build this big crazy world that was totally unexpected going into this, believing it’d be more spy-thriller than sci-fi crazy. I do hope the series jumps a round in time a little bit more, these past few issues have been pretty chronological, and I just liked the early issues that weren’t… Going to definitely need a bit more of Zero’s childhood with… him, after this issue.

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