Sunday, March 6, 2016

Stack Rundown, 03/06/2016

In the light of Rebirth, be warned, this post is real heavy on the "why aren't you people reading the great books that deserve to be read!?" shaming. SHAME.

And here's the part where I just start adding wrestling jokes and memes to every post I do. You're welcome.

Midnighter #10

Ever since Rebirth got announced, I’ve been super cynical for a number of reasons. This book is one of them. Not that it’s bad, but because of the constant narrative of people wanting new (good) stuff from DC, but when it happens, no one fucking buys it and then we get moves like Rebirth and its “meat and potatoes” initiative. Whatever. Midnighter is great, this issue actually featured him fighting the Suicide Squad rather than them just showing up the last couple of pages. Breaking Deadshot’s hands as a total “fuck you” move was pretty awesome. I wish it would continue more, but I guess life is pain and we can’t have nice things.

Omega Men #9

SPEAKING OF GOOD BOOKS NO ONE READS… Jesus christ, people. I can’t handle this anymore. So, the Omega Men go to the whole Galaxy and tell them all that the Viceroy killed a whole planet to mining purposes in order to prevent another Kyrpton. So what do they do? Blow up the fucking planet that’s being mined and go “Okay, now you have to genocide a whole planet again, but this time everyone will know what you’re doing.” This book is fucking hardcore. This would be a damn near perfect issue if it wasn’t for the botch on the second to last page when they were going over the lantern colors. Pink? PINK? More like violet.

Sheriff of Babylon #4

The irony of Tom King’s accession into the discussion of really good writers is that two of his books are woefully under the radar by the majority of comic readers these days. The good thing is that it seems like out of all those Vertigo titles that were announced, released, and relatively not discussed, Sheriff seems to have done better than expected. Last I heard it went from being an 8 issue series to a 12, and maaaaaybe it’s going past that now? I feel like I saw a tweet along those lines. Regardless, this book deserves the praise, and this issue just twists the spider web even more. That last page ended on a “WTF” moment without anything actually happening. Just two dudes talking about one of the character’s families and then boom… the fuck happens. This book is so good.

Uncanny Avengers #6

Fun fact, when I buy books, I flip through them real quick to get a sense of what I may want to read first and what I can read as a lower priority… well, this book became the lowest of the low priority, in fact, I didn’t even read it. Why? Well, because this book was on the razor’s edge with me regardless and then it ends on a “coming in the crossover” page… Nope. Not bothering with this. I now know I don’t need to read it. Also, seemed to have a bunch of Inhumans stuff so, a big “nah” towards that.

Black Widow #1

The Mark Waid/Chris Samnee Daredevil run seems like a thing I missed out on. Part of the problem is I just don’t really care for Daredevil that much, like most Marvel heroes, but there was a part of me that always thought “This gets a lot of attention, maybe I should try it.” Never really did. Black Widow on the other hand, I like her alright, she’s a badass lady, so now seems the time to jump into this team’s work. I loved this first issue. You can read it in about two minutes, unless you really stop to savor the art, but it’s just so fucking cool. It took me about half way through until I realized what they were doing exactly and that was just opening the series with a bang. It’s one long action sequence and it’s pretty masterful. They did all the right things to get me interested even though they barely did anything on the page. Really cool first issue.

Uncanny X-Men #4

This book continues to be just fine. The whole Dark Riders plot has started to get a little boring to me and it seems like whatever Mystique and Fantomex are up to is probably the more interesting part of the series, unfortunately that’s on the back burner. I’m hopeful some cool shit will pop up in the Apocalypse story with Archangle… but then again… I could just go read Uncanny X-Force again.

Old Man Logan #3

I have two major thoughts towards this issue: One, the whole hero of the week concept is starting to wear a little thin already. Each issue, Logan just finds some current hero to share the page with, then there’s a final page reveal of who he’s going to share the issue with next month. It’s just been real formulaic so far. But there was a glimmer of hope in this issue that came from Kate Hawkeye starting to question all the time travel logic and whether or not Logan is in his past. Basically, it’s all the shit I’ve been saying from the start. So at least there seems to be an out in terms of this storyline where it’s just Logan trying to fix the future that probably isn’t going to happen and he’s got to team up with a new hero each month to do so.

The Discipline #1

So this is a weird one. Originally a Vertigo title, then it wasn’t and now it’s an Image book. Basically, it’s a Peter Milligan 50 Shades of Grey… and I’m saying this on the very, very basic knowledge of what 50 Shades is, because like hell did I ever actually read that. So you got sexually repressed lady. She meets sexy hunk man with a kink. But instead of S&M, it’s some illuminati lizard people demon shit. YEP. No fucking clue what’s going on, but it’s weird. I wouldn’t say I liked this first issue 100%, it piqued my interest that’s for sure, but it packed a lot into the first issue and created some pacing problems because of it. Things happen very quickly and they jump around a lot… added to the fact that things are considerably weird, it’s a lot to digest at once. Regardless, I’ll at least give it a couple of issues to see if it does anything other than weird me out.

Deadly Class #19

Billy nooooo. I stand by my belief that this is the best arc of the book so far. Just everything has been thrown out the window, people are getting messed up left and right, and no one is to be trusted. I knew I was right to be excited for this book when it was announced, and now it’s just exceeding everything I had ever hoped for it. It’s just such a god damn fun book with attitude, style and every other intangible you can’t force onto a page. Super interested in what this book becomes after this arc, because it’s one of those arcs that really does change everything, there’s no going back.

Revival #37

Revival keeps reviving. I enjoyed the sort of “expectations vs. reality” take the book had on a handful of characters, especially with that ominous ending. I also enjoy how these last couple of issues haven’t even featured the two “main” characters all that much. It says a lot that a book can be 37 issues in and still be real involving without relying on the protagonists all that much. Seeley and Norton have crafted a wide cast of characters that are just real enjoyable to follow. Can’t ask for much more than that.


  1. People who get outraged over supermans underwear not being on the outside anymore is why we can't have nice things. Omega men is fantastic as is midnighter and Grayson. Can't wait till more meat and potatoes. FML

    1. It's funny how much I (and obviously others) were skeptical of the Grayson "secret agent" thing... then positively LOVED it after the fact. Given Dick Grayson's position as "the heart of the DCU," him being a globe-trotting super-spy makes too much sense. I'm also sad that it's coming to an end. Maybe it never could have lasted outside of King and Seeley's work on the character anyway. But damn it was good while it lasted.

      (Re: Midnighter, I'm personally of the opinion that there is still a ton of potential with all the Stormwatch/Authority characters. DC screwed that up big time when the New 52 first launched. They're sitting on a bunch of characters with lots of potential -- if they get the right writer(s) to use them!

      ... and I agree focusing on superficial crap like Superman's panties is idiotic. Let it go, people. Worry about quality story-telling first.

  2. LOL I love that one of your "reviews" is you not deciding not to read the book, and then dropping the series. haha Bravo, Sir. (I haven't read Uncanny Avengers or any of the new Marvel X-books, but anything involving the Inhumans is a big NO for me.)

    Re: Waid and Samnee's Daredevil of the past few years, it's fine. Very solid. Art is the best part, IMO. Mark Waid is the type of comic writer who understands the characters and does a faithful job of portraying them in ways that are consistent with their history and continuity. He's very workmanlike, and occasionally writers great stories (his 1990s Flash stuff is the best example). Daredevil's a kind-of-interesting character. But I think I've written before that if you want to "care" about the character, obviously read Frank Miller's early-1980s run (it's what the whole Netflix show is based on), and then maybe Brian Michael Bendis and Ed Brubaker's back-to-back runs from the early- to mid-2000s. I'd rank the Waid/Samnee stuff a tier below them.

    Re: Tom King's Omega Men and Steve Orlando's Midnighter, I'm of the opinion that they're more or less the only really good things that came out of DC You. I suppose some of the 6-issue limited series (Prez?) are supposed to be okay, but those aren't really ongoings so it's kind of hard to count them as true successes...

    As for people not reading these good titles, well, it's kind of hard to get people to (a) get interested in weird/fringe characters, (b) try a relatively unknown writer, and (c) get invested in a series that could get prematurely cancelled regardless of how good it is (as Omega Men almost was). Not saying any of that's good, but it's kind of the reality. Plus, when DC throws out so many books with mediocre/bad writers (Scott Lobdell, Tony Daniel, etc.) it's tough for fans to figure out what's really worth trying.

    Focusing on books (that aren't Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman) with good writers would go a long way. Putting Tim Seeley on New Suicide Squad was a good example -- but it looks like that's ending. D'oh! It's great that DC finds a diamond in the rough in Tom King -- but then they put him on Batman! It's natural that the best writers will want to write the biggest titles and characters (obviously DC needs those to sell well) but it doesn't help the rest of the line. Jeff Lemire's crimininally underrated run on Green Arrow is another example that comes to mind. He and Sorrentino absolutely cleaned up that character's Nu52 continuity and wrote a great book that looked great... then DC lets them both get away to Marvel. Again, D'oh!

    So I get the complaint about good "little books that could" not getting enough love or support. But DC doesn't have a great recent track record (i.e., last five years of New 52) of instilling the confidence to try its new books and get invested. I hope that changes with Rebirth. I want to be excited by more than just Batman and whatever Geoff Johns is writing. (I'm being reductive with that example, but you get my point.) Anyway, find talented writers and let them write good stories on B- and C-list characters, DC! And read the damn books, everybody!

    (Another problem is all the indie goodness that's out there. I know I'm going to get quality from certain writers -- Remender, Hickman, et al. -- and I can feel confident in giving their new titles a try. Random midlevel DC book with fringe character and unknown writer? Not so much...)

    1. The Lemire Sorrentino green arrow book was outstanding. I 100% agree that it shows a good creative team can make ANY character a must read monthly book. That creative team is the only reason I am currently reading old man Logan. I also agree that the wildstorm characters are a huge missed opportunity. I would LOVE a good storm watch, Wildcats, or gen13 book. DC needs to give these books some time to grow. With enough critical acclaim and sites like this singing the praises of books like omega men the sales will follow. It just takes time

    2. Also one point I disagree on. tony Daniels death stroke is a complete guilty pleasure. Great art 90's esque hyper violence and great utilization of the entire DCU cast.

    3. Fair enough. I admit to not reading Deathstroke. I've just been generally unimpressed with Daniel's other written work before it. I like his art just fine. (I think people who complain about the "90s style" are really just piling on the backlash that happened years ago and has become quite tiresome. Some artists draw epic looking superheroes. Not everything has to be "realistic.") Anyway, I could see how the book could fall in the "guilty pleasure" category. To each their own. There's obviously a market for it.

      I do, however, stand by my Lobdell criticism. While I also understand how his work could also fall under "guilty pleasure" (I think FHIZ has reviewed it that way in the past), I think he's pretty sexist in his work and IRL -- like, above and beyond the stereotypical old school "superhero babes in bikinis" tropes. What he did with Starfire was just ridiculous and inane. At a certain point, it's not "edgy" or "cool," it's just lowest common denominator and unoriginal.

    4. Lodbell is a travesty. I tried like hell to enjoy RHO and just couldn't keep it going. Continuity screw ups between multiple writers can be annoying but when it happens with just one writer on just his books it's inexcusable.

    5. A lot of it comes from DC's A-list books being terrible. Convergence was a train wreck. Superman was stuck in a terrible crossover story that seemed to be marketed towards people who hate Superman. Books that should be top priority like Wonder Woman and Flash were terrible. DC's brand was heavily damaged, and so the D-list books suffer. The general sentiment was that why bother with Midnighter or Omega Men if DC can't get even get their big names right.

    6. I think those are all fair and accurate points. Superman has been a mess since the New 52 launched. If they're going to make him one of the central characters of a potential billion dollar movie franchise, they need to write a good, coherent comics version of him. Same goes for Wonder Woman or The Flash. It makes zero sense to have mediocre/bad writers telling lame stories for A-list characters (or even B-list like Green Arrow -- if you assume he's not A-list) when they are now so prominent in various media -- be it movies or TV.

      Supergirl was debuting on TV and didn't even have a freakin' comic book! That's so ridiculous! I realize that the connection between the ongoing comics and the movies/TV shows is overstated, but to make no attempt to capitalize is baffling and makes DC look incompetent.

      I think it was underreported just how bad Convergence and the cross-country "break" was for DC. It looked a train wreck coming down the pike, and sure enough, Convergence was a huge publishing failure. (Apologies to anyone who liked that miniseries, but I found it to be an inconsequential mess.) There were very few "gems" to be found in all the miniseries. It's doubly baffling because DC was going to launch "DC You" so they could "Batgirl" the whole line, but they had just done a miniseries that was all about servicing the nostalgia of fans who hate the New 52.

      I think one reason they're not publishing advance solicits for Rebirth this month is because they still don't know what the hell it is, and probably won't right up until Wondercon. They just realized, "Uh, this isnt' working. Quick, do something!" And then they started saying, "We'll go back to the way things were! It wasn't a reboot! Really!" It's just to get fans excited, if that's possible at this point.

      For me, I'm going to care less about the "continuity" stuff than whether there will actually be some fresh talent being allowed to do something interesting with the characters. I don't care if it's books with obscure characters like Omega Men or Midnighter, or whether it's Superman or Wonder Woman. I just want the books to be interesting and readable -- and actually make some sense.

    7. For me the lack of quality in some of the core titles is all the more reason to buy the better obscure character books. Marvel can't put out a half way decent hulk book to save their lives but it doesn't stop me from getting the new power man and iron fist (which is great). Also core characters can change. Wolverine was a one off hulk character, deadpool was a new mutant villain, Harley Quinn was a joker side kick etc. just out out quality books and the fans will dictate who the core characters are to them

    8. Eh, some of the armchair quarterbacking goes a little too far IMO. Marvel doesn't have a Jessica Jones series, and no one thinks they are incompetent for it. DC *had* a Supergirl series and it got axed - can't really buy into the notion that they're missing an opportunity by not having one out alongside the TV show.

      I don't work for DC and have no stake in marketshare this or marketshare that, and I won't presume that my tastes are shared by anyone but me. I largely rejected the DCYou stuff because I found very little of it to be good or even interesting. Omega Men is a well-crafted comic. Midnighter's OK. The rest of it.. bleh. YMMV of course.

  3. For Old Man logan the hero of the month thing wnds at 4. Seod arc sounds way better. You have to remember this first four issues take place before extraordinary X-Men.