Saturday, May 10, 2014

Stack Rundown, 05/10/2014

DC continues riding the weekly train, oh look, another Marvel event, and more great Image series to read. So basically, it was your average week in the comics industry.

Futures End #1

So Futures End… I thought the #0 issue was okay, but it was pretty much just predictable point A to point B setup for the main series, so what about the main series? Eh, it was okay. Hard to really grasp the scope of the story with one issue, but it didn’t really make me go “OH FUCK YEAH, I’m in!” It’s just like Terry McGinnis! And Stormwatch! But they’re dead… so is Green Arrow? And you know, that’s crazy… but the whole thing that’s holding me back on Futures End as a whole is “Does it matter?” Most likely, it’s just not going to matter at all… Like, so what Green Arrow died? Why should I care? It takes place in a continuity that the main continuity will never reach because time doesn’t really pass in comics… unless DC wants to go New 52 on us and move everything up five years, which would be them jumping the shark and then some. Also, the thing about this book is that it just encapsulates every cynical thought on the New 52 as a whole… It’s no secret that DC has wanted everything to be dark and gritty… and that’s pretty much Futures End in a nutshell. EVERYTHING IS DARK AND GRITTY! So does that mean it’s good? Well, not really. My cynical thoughts aside, I’m still going to give this book a shot, maybe a couple months minimum, but it didn’t really make the best first impression.

Earth 2 #23

Have I mentioned how completely over evil-Superman I am? Between this and Injustice, which I’m starting to get tired with, the trope has just worn itself so thin. Sure, they’re both different, but at the end of the day, it’s still just evil Superman in both. If anything, I’m curious to see how the interaction between him and Lois plays out here, but other than that, god damn is evil Superman boring! I mean, there’s no substance behind it other than the “shocking” nature of it, given how much of a boy scout he is. It’s something I can imagine Michael Bay pitching to movie execs. “You know how good and righteous Superman is… WELL WHAT IF HE WAS EVIL!?!” and that’s pretty much it. At least Alan Scott is back… when the fuck did he die? or is that something that was just lost in the messy transition between writers like “oh you know how you just stopped seeing him? that’s cus he died…”

Green Arrow #31

Woo! We’re actually getting back to the city Green Arrow is supposed to be protecting! It’s taken over a year, but the Outsiders story seems to finally be concluded, for now. Not that it was bad, but there’s always been a part of me that’s wanted to see Lemire tackle Green Arrow in the city he’s supposed to protect, which really hasn’t happened at all in the 16 issues this creative team have produced. So I’m excited to see where this title goes, especially after the final page of this issue, which was set in Seattle. That said, I thought the Outsiders story was really good, and wrapped up pretty satisfyingly, also seeming to maybe tease a few things, like possibly Emiko’s involvement in the Futures End… future. But yeah, I thought it was a good conclusion and I’m excited to see Lemire take this book in a vigilante directions, rather than this big globe trotting secret society stuff he’s been dealing with… Also, maybe it’ll be the next arc, but at this point, who doesn’t expect Deathstroke to show up in this title at some point?

Swamp Thing #31

See, this is what I like about Swamp Thing now… short, three issue arcs, that still deliver a good deal of story and entertainment, wish more books would shorten things up, no need for every story to take up a half year+. Anyways, it was obvious by the last page of issue #30, but I was still sort of surprised to see Soule introduce The Grey into the modern canon. Sure we got the Green, Red and Rot, but I honestly thought that fungus would fall in the realm of the Rot, guess not. Anyways, we see a bit of that, Alec is the Grey avatar for a few pages, gets his body back, makes an enemy of the grey, and we find out the whole situation was sort of orchestrated by the Wolf. There’s a shit ton of stuff going on in this book right now, and after this brief crossover with Aquaman, it could easily go in all sorts of directions. Lots of opportunity to be had, and lots of quality to come, clearly.

Original Sin #1

So, I’m reading a Marvel event… pretty much the first one I’ve ever read while it came out in single issues. I’ve been asked why I’m reading this one now, and the answer is pretty simple enough: Seems interesting. But outside of that, it’s also pretty different than your average event. It’s not some crazy alternate universe shit that probably doesn’t matter like Age of Ultron (paging Futures End), nor is it some crazy end of the world fight like Infinity, instead, it’s a murder mystery, with some Identity Crisis thrown in with heroes and all their secrets. So yeah, kind of different in terms of big events, the art’s good, and I like Jason Aaron, so I figured why not. As for what I thought about the first issue, it had some interesting set up and the cast is pretty diverse, and it definitely sparked my interest, so I’m excited to see where it goes. I’m also real happy about the fact that it’s a bi-monthly deal, so instead of taking over half a year to tell his big event, it’s just going to take four months… hey DC… get on that. I’m also real interested in reading the tie-ins to the events from books I’m already reading, so there’s that too.

Loki: Agent of Asgard #4

And we're back to why I enjoy this book… Young Loki being witty and random dumb, yet charming shit everywhere, like a salmon recipe, which the caption boxes really think the readers should try. Sure, why not? The story itself is nothing spectacular, but what it lacks in gravitas, it makes up in just dumb fun. I mean, this issue, Loki outsmarts the devil… or Mesphisto… whoever pissed off all those Spider-Man fans. THAT DUDE. And it's just entertaining, along with really nice looking art from Lee Garbett. Next issue is going to be Loki, Thor, Lorelei, and that normal lady who can detect lies (whose name I forget) breaking into Asgard, that sounds real weird and dumb, so I can't wait.

Black Widow #6

So, this issue was worth it for the Hawkeye cameo alone. Back when this series started, I made a joke about how it should crossover with Hawkeye to have a “miserable personal lives” crossover of sorts, and well, I’m satisfied. That scene is just played so damn well, and the timing was perfect. Anyways, actual story! There was a point in this issue where I got sort of confused as to what was actually happening, what the situation was, etc… but then you realize that neither Natasha nor SHIELD really know what’s going on either, so that’s the point. There’s some big conspiracy that’s yet to be revealed, so I’m not supposed to know what’s going on. Once I realized that, I definitely liked all the twists and turns of this issue. Thought the art was a bit weird in the first half of the issue… not in a bad way, but just in terms of consistency. Noto has a couple of different styles, and the issue starts off looking more traditional with hard black lines, but it shifts in the middle of a page into his more regular style for this series without black linework. I was trying to figure out if there was a reason to this, but I don’t know, couldn’t really figure one out, just seemed kind of random. That said… the book still looks amazing.

The Punisher #5

Hey! Domino was in this book for literally a single panel! So you know what that means? It was amazing! Outside of my favorite Marvel character making a panel cameo, I do actually really enjoy this book for its own merits. The story is really consistent and tight, spanning over a wide variety of elements from your typical Punisher vigilante stuff, organized crime, and superhero involvement. What I also really enjoy is how the B and C plots develop nicely in the background, such as the black ops group after Frank or the cop who has seemingly become more and more influenced by the Punisher’s ways as she starts to see more and more shit that police can’t really handle. Everything balances out really well, and combine that with a great visual style from the artist Mitch Gerads (who I really hope comes back after the next couple of issues following this arc’s conclusion) and you’ve got yourself just one really satisfying title.

Moon Knight #3

Right now, the visuals are what’s selling me on this book, because so far the story has yet to really bring me in. I’ve got to assume that these single issues are all going to tie into a bigger story that’ll make things worth it… but god only knows at this point, really. If that turning point for the title is coming, I really hope it comes sooner than later, because I’m not getting much out of these issues individually. The last two issues probably took me about 3 to 5 minutes to read each, because they’re so sparse with dialogue and action heavy and it’s just sort of disappointing. At least Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire’s art is amazing.

She Hulk #4

This issue was the conclusion to the first arc, and I thought it was pretty enjoyable, especially with She-Hulk traveling to the west coast to talk to Daredevil about lawyer stuff. It’s an interesting spin to see within a super hero book, because let’s be honest, after awhile, everyone just punching everything does get a bit old. That said, I don’t think I’m going to continue reading the title. While the book truly is unique from anything else being published, it’s just one of those books that’s not for me, despite its quality. I’m not debating anything about the quality really, I know it’s good, it just didn’t do a whole lot to get me truly invested. Oh well. 

Nailbiter #1

Like Southern Bastards before it, I didn’t really pay a whole lot of attention to Nailbiter before this week, but I was going to pick up anyways, just because I knew the bare minimum and it seemed interesting enough… and once again, blind faith in a new Image title rewarded, because I thought it was a pretty great start to the series. Basic premise is that there’s this town in Oregon that has been the hometown of 16 serial killers. Someone thinks they may have figured out why, so they call their army cop buddy in, but when he gets to the town, his friend is missing, and their only lead may be an acquitted serial killer known as Nailbiter, who moved back to his home town. What really sold me on the book was the sense of atmosphere, it’s just real dark and creepy, with the rainy Northwest really housing everything very well. So, if you’re looking for a new creepy book to read… Nailbiter, son.

Fatale #22

What is there, two issues left for this book? Something like that…. Find it kind of weird that NOW is when we get a good deal of Bishop’s backstory and motivation, but I guess he was just generally supposed to be a mystery through out the series, so I guess there’s that. Included with a good deal of backstory, this one just sets up the final confrontation which I’m sure is going to happen over the course of the next two issues. I’m not sure what’s going to happen, I’m not even sure what I should expect in terms of answers to questions that I’m not sure actually have answers. If I had to guess, I’m going to say everyone dies… because that’s all happy and what not. I feel like it’s just going to be this thing with Jo getting killed killing Bishop, ending a cycle or something… I don’t know! This book and its mysticism is really open ended, and I just don’t think we’re going to get an ending that just wraps up everything in a neat bow. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to it.

Rat Queens #6

Fucking hell, this is a great book. After the usual month or two off following the conclusion of a volume that Image books take, Rat Queens comes back better than ever. All the elements that made this title so much fun to begin with are still present, but this new arc has really kicked things up a notch, as we’re getting deep into some serious story shit with secret pasts, motivations, etc to be had. While the first arc was amazingly fun, the actual story was pretty light, but did set up a good deal of plot threads that will most likely be dealt with in this arc, and well beyond. Just tons of great world building going on here with new characters and secrets to be had, and when you mix that with all the swearing, drinking, recreational drug use, and violence… well then, you’ve just got one of the best books on the market now, don’t you? If you like fun and aren’t reading this book, well then that just makes you a Gary, and fuck that dude. 

Revival #20

This was sort of a landmark issue for Revival, for the first time in 20 issues, we're leaving Wisconsin, and picking up where the book left off real early on with Anders Hine, the reviver who escaped. I'm curious to see how the book balances Dana being outside of Wisconsin because, well… that's all the book has been up until now. There's still so much going on in the quarantine, while I am curious to see what happens outside of it, it just also feels a bit weird to leave a whole bunch of stuff on Dana's plate dangling, especially when it seemed like we were getting somewhere with the murder investigation. Outside of the change of venue, I also really like the philosophical insights we got about revivers through the issue. The bridge scene was equal parts thoughtful as it was sooooorta creepy. Great book, still.

The Wake #8

Ugh, that sort of rhymes. I felt gross typing that. Moving on! We’re getting close to the end here, and everything remains really great… I just don’t have a whole lot to say about it all. I mean, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to tie the first half of the series back to this half, but as of now… not clues! Not that I’ve seen at least… We got two more issues to blow up the moon, I know that much. Sean Murphy apparently just broke his collar bone or something like that… hopefully that doesn't mean the final issues get pushed back too much.


  1. I agree with you on Swamp Thing, I felt the middle part of the arc was a bit off, but the ending was great.
    What I like about Futures End is that they set up the story in an entertaining fashion, something Batman Eternal took four issues to do. And it's of course a few things that this series changes will be changed back, that's just the nature of a time travel story but I highly doubt they will just wie their hands clean of everything.
    Regarding Earth 2, whatever your feelings are on Evil Superman, or how long it's taking to deal with him, you can't deny they go for the most epic possible stories in this book.

  2. Thanks for the Rat Queens review. I just read the first issue (one of those 99 cent "Image First" books) and it was awesome. Since you indicate that the book continues to be great, I think I'll pick up the first trade at my shop. Thanks!

  3. I remember Alan Scott being thought dead after Superman and Steppenwolf kicked the crap out of him near the end of Robinson's run.

    1. Yeah, pretty sure he was a casualty of superman laying waste to everything when he showed up again.