Saturday, September 6, 2014

Stack Rundown, 09/06/2014

What a week, Southern Bastards ends on a big "holy shit!" while I felt the complete opposite in regards to the ending of the first Marvel event I've read in individual issues. Both from the same guy! Comics are weird like that... Buuut also depend a lot on personal taste, so there's that too.

Swamp Thing: Futures End #1

So, I feel like the Futures End titles that actually involve either the regular writer or artist will be the ones that’ll end up being worth a damn, anything else… eeeeeh. This issue acted as the literal end to Charles Soule story (which is actually coming in March, boo) as we got Alec trying to defeat the Rot once and for all, and end up winning, presumably at the cost of his own life. What was interesting about this issue was Holland visiting all the other kingdoms like the Red and the Grey, but we were introduced to the Metal (machines) and the Divided (bacteria) which are both interesting inclusions to the mythos, and I’m sure will be expanded upon soon. There were a lot of cool hints and teases as to what happened between current time and the story five years in the future, thus this issue really felt like it took advantage of the fact that it was in the future, unlike say, Detective Comics, which other than a different costume, didn’t really do anything interesting with the five year time jump.

Green Arrow: Futures End #1

I was slightly hesitant to pick up this issue, simply because Futures End… bleh, I was bummed that this team was ending their run, so a future story didn’t really seem to have a point, and the fact that I was worried it was going to tie directly into the main weekly story, since Lemire is also contributing to that (and I lost interest about six or seven issues in). Nevertheless, I decided what the hell, and picked it up anyways, and I’m glad that I did. This issue, while it did tie into Futures End proper quite a bit, was more or less a nice little epilogue for the Lemire/Sorrentino run, offering up a lot more on The Outsiders, and revealing that not all is what it seems in the main Futures End title. Going to miss this team, not sure if I’ll continue on with the new not-Arrow team. I have a morbid curiosity what comes next for that book, but it’s kinda just me cynically wanting to be proven right that they’ll be too nudge nudge wink wink with the book and the show. We’ll see.

Justice League #33

So Lex is allowed into the Justice League in an effort to keep enemies close sort of thing. Makes sense. I’m actually surprised that Superman and Barry are still there, early art made it seem like they left the League after Forever Evil due to Lex’s inclusion, but I guess not. Anyways! Doom Patrol! What are the chances they actually get a book, or just remain on the cutting room floor like so many other random bits of continuity Geoff Johns has thrown in? Remember Plastic Man? Yeeeeeah, that’s probably not happening anytime soon. I guess they also changed the Jessica Cruz story and got Simon Baz thrown out in favor for Batman… because you know, Batman. That scene with him and Jessica remind anyone else of the scene from “Epilogue” where Bruce stays with Ace until she dies? Great scene. Based on the Jason Fabok cover, I guess Cruz will be joining the League. Going to be interesting to see how that works out given that Power Ring is pretty god damn evil, but, I guess there’s a plan for that. Also, ANTI-MONITOR! Crisis is coming! Even though Multiversity will probably end up being a better (not)Crisis!

Original Sin #8

I have a feeling that if I gave a shit more about Nick Fury, I would have liked this book a whole lot more than I did… but I don’t, and I thought it was a weird event. I don’t see what the big deal is with Fury having been some cosmic assassin who killed off threats to Earth. I just don’t see why it’s a problem, really… He’s basically a one man X-Force, whoop-de-doo. Other than Thor becoming unworthy (which was a fucking dick move on Fury’s part in retrospect) and Bucky getting his new cosmic book, I don’t really know what came out of this event? I guess Captain America is pissed about the mind wipe and wants to punch Ironman in the face or something? Yet here he seems fine and in his own book (which clearly takes place after Original Sin) there’s no problem with Stark either. Shit man, I don’t know, this was a weird event, bring on AXIS.

Captain America #24

I think Bleeding Cool had a post on the ending of this issue being the most disingenuous cliffhanger of damn near all time… well, maybe not ALL TIME, but it was a pretty damn weak one. So let’s set the stage, Zola is attacking New York, blah blah blah, there’s a bomb, Falcon accidentally triggers the fail safe, Iron Man is taken out of commission, so it’s up to Falcon to get the bomb out of NY, but he’s got no time to ditch it, just fly it up into the air and blow up… OH NO! What happened to Falcon!? Oh wait, somehow nothing, because he becomes Captain America next month, whoops! That’s comics for you in the age where stuff like character switches get revealed on the Colbert Report months before they happen, thus completely devaluing any sense of drama or suspense in the events that lead up to the already revealed reveal. Oh well.

Uncanny X-Men #25

Yep, this still had nothing to do with Original Sin, but you know, whatever. Marketing stunts, right? So we find out what Xavier’s will was… To go find some super crazy mutant with very destructive powers and make sure he’s still got them locked down (he don’t). Turns out despite everything he preached, Xavier determined this kid was too dangerous for himself and mutant kind, and gave him a lobotomy, which makes some of his former students mad (Cyclops) and I guess… you know what, I don’t see what’s so wrong with it. I’m with Bobby, Scott is just mad because it gives him a reason to feel just that little bit not as bad as he already does for killing Xavier. I mean, it eventually gets to the point where the kid wanted what Xavier was doing to him anyways. I still think that this big deep secret being rooted in something completely new to continuity kind of sucks. Doesn’t make the reveal as dramatic. If Xavier did some shit to characters we already know and are familiar with, the dramatic impact would be much more. So, a part of me is a bit disappointed with the big secures, but I guess there’s a bit more to the will after they check up on the kid… Which should be funny, because Wolverine is supposed to be a part of that team who finds the kid, and guess what he’s doing on a weekly basis? Dying! COMICS, ladies and gentlemen… Sense and making it, isn’t exactly a priority.

Black Widow #10

’ve been enjoying this string of issues where each month there’s a new guest star, but this one was kind of a disappointment for me. ThGood e Hawkeye portion of the story was entirely a flashback, and… it wasn’t that great in my opinion. Basically the twist is that some terrorist that Black Widow extracted back when she wasn’t exactly a hero, is working for whoever she’s up against, and the flash back was Hawkeye chasing them. That’s about it. When a bad guy is just some new guy we meet in a single issue, with a history involving the main character, I always find those stories to be a little weak, because more often than not, it seems like the book expects readers to care more about that character then they deserve. When villains aren’t built up naturally and just presented out of nowhere like this, I just find it hard to be interested in them in any form. This is the problem The New 52 has a lot of the time, just throwing out characters and concepts with no real foundation. If I've had a consistent problem with this book, the antagonistic forces just haven't been interesting to me.

The Punisher #10

I still think the ending of last issue with Black Widow just leaving Frank at some South American jail was kind of lame, especially when there were just a few issues of him being locked up by South American drug lords… Kind of similar there… But I guess it’s kind of implied that it’s what Frank wanted, as he seemed to be on a mission to get to the one specific “untouchable” guy in the prison. I just want Frank and the focus to get back to LA, that’s what was really entertaining me, and I’m just not digging this South America stuff as much… Oh yeah, bring back the AIM and Domino plot, because I don’t think I’ve said it before, but I kind of like Domino. 

Southern Bastards #4

This was one of those issues where after it’s over, you’re sort of left asking “well, what the fuck is next?” The main character very well may have gotten killed in that final scene. The next arc seems to be focusing on Coach Boss some more, so that might just mean Earl bit the dust. Of course, we also learn that Earl has a daughter (who is probably biracial, which I’m sure will go down SUPER well if she ever makes it to Craw County) in the army, so she’s probably going to come into play in a big way some point. But yeah, just one of those WTF issues, and as I’ve come to know this series, it was just as gritty and raw as all the previous issues. I will say that the “Well maybe I just didn’t give a shit” line from Earl that sparked the brawl between him and Coach Boss was quite possibly the most badass moment of the series so far.

Nailbiter #5

Good conclusion to the opening arc. Like I said last month, this shit is just straight up R-Rated Scooby Doo. The mix of cover ups, secrets being held, and twists implied to come (possibly) all make for a pretty damn entertaining murderous universe. The final twist with Finch was definitely surprising, and given what he’s on trial for and the town he’s in, you know something big is going to come from it. 

Hack/Slash: Son of Samhain #3

And here I thought this new series was just going to move past the old continuity and into the new. FUCKING POOCH! If you’re going to bring back anything from the older Hack/Slash series, it better god damn well be Pooch… Cat is okay too, but Pooch is where it’s at. I continue to like this series for the personal stuff Cassie has been going through, and the scene where she talks to October about his “father” and the choices that they make was the stand out of the issue. One of the problems I had with this issue was some very specific call backs with the Black Lamp Society. Something about a lab that blew up, I vaguely remember what the call back is, but there’s just so much Hack/Slash (most of which I binge read to catch up to the previous series) that it was just hard for me to really recall what was being referenced. Other than that, still a great issue.


  1. Yeah, that scene with Ace was totally what I thought of when I saw the thing with Cruz. This is the first issue where I've actually thought maybe Johns really will be focusing on Batman AND Luthor first and foremost, rather than having Batman just be made a chump of by Luthor over and over.

    1. Yeah, those first couple of issues were very worrying in terms of Johns elevating Luthor at Batman's expense.

  2. The ending to Southern Bastards was perfect. After Earl gets maybe-killed, I'm like, "Well fuck, that was crazy. But what now?" Lo and behold, turn the page, and there's the answer! Good stuff.

    Couldn't agree more with you about the irrelevance of Original Sin. Bring on AXIS indeed!

    You convinced me to pick up the Green Arrow Future's End issue next week when I stop by my LCS. I was really bummed their run is ending, and wasn't buying the last issue in silent protest. But now that I know it's kind of an epilogue, I'll go buy it.

    Ditto on that JL ending with Batman and Jessica Cruz. Glad to see Batman get a chance to shine.

    And in re: X-Men, I'm finding it hard to care about any of the X-titles right now. Hope that changes eventually...

    1. Yeah, the X line is in a weird, stagnant spot, ultimately many of the titles feel very safe.

      The Bendis stuff is supposed to be the flagship, but his stories don't really seem to go anywhere unless there's some big crossover. I've got no idea what the direction of All-New X-Men is anymore outside of "Fuck, I guess we're stuck with the O5 in the present." I generally find Uncanny to be the better book, but it takes so fucking long to get to the good stuff sometimes. Regardless, both have their moments.

      Amazing X-Men and X-Men just seem like the leftovers at this point. Amazing just has no set reason to exist, and X-Men is just riding on "It's really X-WOmen, WHOA!" which I mean, great, female representation and all that, but it's a shallow concept to base a book around.

      Then you got your various solos like Nightcrawler and Cyclops which just seem to be occupying space.

      The best X book by far and large is X-Force, but it's also super weird, and not all that easily accessible.

      The titles really need a big shake up, one that's not "WOLVERINE IS DYING!" Because that's just... boring. Like I said, everything just feels safe, and while Marvel was doing some cool shit with unique conceptual books like Hawkeye, the X titles just kept doing the same old same old. Now that Marts is in there steering the ship, and looking at what the Bat books have become in his absence, I'm starting to see the similarities between the X books now and Marts era Batman, there's some quality in there, but the risk is nowhere to be found.

  3. The one thing I've been missing in Swamp Thing is the Rot and this issue delivered in spades and also Alec's interactions with the kingdoms were interesting and grounded.
    I loved the Green Arrow one shot especially because I read it before this week's issue of Futures End and after I read it, I thought "Does Futures End know you're revealing this big secret?" lol
    I loved how Justice League #33 really justified the League's motives in recruiting Lex and then the final page, with Superman shaking Lex's hand, was icing on the cake.