Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Comics Recap 11/19/14

I haven't done one of these since before I started my road trip.  So there are quite a few things here.  Let's start with the ones by the big publishers:

Annihilation, Book 1:  This was part of some big crossover Marvel thing a few years ago.  If you saw Guardians of the Galaxy then you know about the Nova Corps, sort of the Marvel version of the Green Lanterns.  Basically a swarm of aliens wipes out the Nova Corps, except the one human guy, which is sort of what happened in Green Lantern comics in the mid-90s.  There's also a 4-issue Drax the Destroyer series included, which really had little to do with anything except to explain why Drax was hanging around with a little human girl. There's a lot more to this series, but I didn't really care. (2/5)

Deathstroke, Volume 1:  This was the initial New 52 series published in 2011 (and canceled and then relaunched recently).  It focuses on the assassin Deathstroke and someone trying to kill him.  It was OK, but it really sucked they only included 6 issues and the story arc was 7 issues.  I think the Deathstroke in Arrow was better.  I'm just saying. (2.5/5)

Daredevil, Volume 1:  This was the start of the Mark Waid run on the title, which might still be ongoing.  I don't really know.  Anyway, I think this was fairly recent.  It's sort of a "soft reboot" as Daredevil returns to New York after a scandal drove him away.  It's fun even if the villains were kind of lame.  Briane Pagel might consider something Daredevil does, which is to charge people to train them to represent themselves in court.  Additional revenue stream! (3.5/5)

The Flash Rebirth:  This isn't Barry Allen's return to the DC universe as the title would suggest.  He's already back but like Captain America is "out of time" since he "died" years ago.  If you know more about the Flash then this is probably better.  As it is, I only had a bare idea of what the Speed Force is and so forth, mostly from reading Tony Laplume's blog. (2.5/5)

Batgirl Volumes 2-5:  They had the whole New 52 series on sale at one point so I bought all the issues I hadn't read.  Overall I liked them.  Mostly since Barbara Gordon is smart and has red hair I think of the Scarlet Knight series.  In these 28-ish issues she has to battle the Joker, a vigilante with the stupid name of Knightfall, and her own brother!  The last issue wrapped things up nicely; they recently did a soft reboot when they brought in a new writer.  What really annoyed me is like the Deathstroke one they did a shitty job at splitting these up between volumes, so that Volume 3 would end with one issue left in a story arc.  It wasn't that bad since I'd bought all the issues but it made it annoying on Goodreads.  Really DC, get it together! (3.5/5)

Deadpool Classic, Volume 1:  This features the origin of Deadpool in some random X-Men comic and then a couple of different attempts to launch a series for him.  Because of this there's not a lot of cohesion to this volume, especially since the various series are years apart.  It's interesting though to see the humble origins of the "Merc with a mouth." (2.5/5)

Uncanny X-Force, Apocalypse Solution:  Wolverine and some other less-famous mutants have to hunt down a little kid who is the reborn Apocalypse.  Mayhem ensues. (2/5)

Wolverine, Old Man Logan:  This is an alternate universe tale set in the future.  Wolverine has taken a vow of non-violence and is working a farm with a wife and kids.  Meanwhile, villains like Dr. Doom, Red Skull, and the Kingpin have split up America and killed most of the heroes.  Then a blind, old Hawkeye shows up and offers Wolverine a shitload of money to deliver a package across the country.  Mayhem ensues.  It was pretty interesting and since it comes from Mark Millar (the Kick-Ass series) there's a lot of violence and blood. (3/5)

Gotham By Gaslight:  This came out before the term "steampunk" was coined.  But essentially it's a steampunk Batman.  It wasn't really that interesting. (2/5)

52:  This was a big deal back in 2006.  Basically for a year Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman are out of action, so other heroes have to pick up the slack.  There are 52 issues that focus on one week of that year.  It focuses on characters you probably don't know much about like Booster Gold, the Question, Black Adam (to be played by the Rock in the Shazam movie), and Batwoman.  Almost as interesting as the comics are the notes from the writers after each issue.  There were 4 main writers who combined to create these, which was a massive undertaking, especially with the weekly time frame.  Most of this has been overwritten since then, so it doesn't matter so much now. (4/5)

And now here a bunch of indie comics I got as part of a bundle for $10.  Tony Laplume got the same bundle so we've both reviewed some of these.

Life Begins at Incorporation:  This is a bunch of "liberal" essays and cartoons.  The author is a real liberal's liberal, taking Obama to task for not closing down Gitmo and wanton use of drone strikes.  He also exposes the hypocrisy of liberal media kingpin Arianna Huffington, whose Huffington Post largely uses free labor (authors being paid in "exposure" lol) and then cashed in for $320 million to AOL.  But there's also plenty of venom for the Tea Party, NRA, and big corporations, for which the book is named.  The author also visited Afghanistan and provides some inside dope on the situation there, like for instance that many Afghans have no clue what 9/11 was, thus don't really understand what the fuck we're doing there.  How much you like this would depend on your politics. (4/5)

Jackie Rose:  This is kind of Sky Captain & The World of Tomorrow meets The Goonies.  The eponymous character is a 16-year-old girl in an alternate 30s with a sidekick who is really into planes and dreams of asking her out.  This first volume focuses on a group of air pirates.  It was fun and unlike the Sky Captain movie didn't take the technology to ridiculous extremes, ie there are airships but not giant robots or helicarriers. (3/5)

Footprints:  This is kind of like Watchmen only with mythical beasts.  The foot in the title is Bigfoot, whose brother the Yeti is killed.  So he rounds up a super team featuring the Loch Ness Monster, Megalodon (giant shark), Jersey Devil (demon), and Chubacabra (giant pig dog thing).  It's told as a noir tale and if you can handle the absurdity of the premise, it's OK. (2.5/5)

Dust: Withered Earth:  I bailed on this one pretty quick.  The characters looked like they were drawn by Napoleon Dynamite and the story seemed like your typical post-apocalytpic Western thing.  Yawn. (0/5)

Chronic Argonauts:  This is a good one for fans of Dr. Who.  Only it starts in the 19th Century in a little village.  To escape the persecution of his religious neighbors, a man invents a time machine to go into the future.  He takes a reverend with him, but they find that their leaving has opened Earth up to being dominated by a whacko Christian sect.  But things get worse when they go even farther into the future.  It has some of the silliness of Dr. Who, which I judge based on one episode I watched, which is why I think fans of that would like it more than I did. (2.5/5)

Dumbing of Age:  This takes place on the campus of Indiana University (why not Butler so it could have Blue II or Blue III?!) and focuses on a group of freshmen.  One is a really naive ultra-Christian girl, another is a former cheerleader, and so on.  And one girl is the resident vigilante on campus, dressing up like a superhero to take down bullies and the like.  It's fun and seemingly light-hearted even when it covers serious ground.  Between the cartoonish art and the subject matter it's like a modern twist on Archie comics. (4/5)

Bikini Cowboy:  An absurdist Western about (you guessed it) a cowgirl who dresses in a bikini and carries around a surfboard.  She befriends a little boy while searching for the perfect wave--in the desert.  I know Tony Laplume liked it a lot more than I did. (2.5/5)

Astronaut Dad:  This is a tale of the early space program when 3 astronauts were used to spy on the Russians from space.  The focus (as you might guess from the title) is on their families.  I really liked it as it covers serious ground without being too serious.  The black-and-white cartoonish art helps to give it a nostalgic air too. (4/5)

Deadhorse, Book 1:  I really don't know what was going on in this.  A middle-aged guy and a younger guy and girl were looking for something and some politician was involved and whatever.  Unlike most of these it didn't really wrap up in one volume, which kind of sucks.  I had no interest in buying the second one. (2/5)

Chloe Noonan, Monster Hunter:  This is about a young British girl who (big surprise) hunts monsters but finds the job to be a real pain in the ass.  Much of it seems to be about her and her best friend trying to get dates while the monster hunting thing gets in the way.  If you watched Buffy you might like this more. (2/5)

Binary:  This reminded me of Neil Vogler's upcoming book Tripler.  Only in Tripler it's one person who can become three, but in this it's two people who are psychically connected.  And for whatever reason these "Binaries" go around killing people and stuff.  The plot is like Demolition Man where a couple of cops are unfrozen in the future to hunt down a rogue Binary.  Overall it felt derivative. (2/5)

Archeologists of Shadows:  I know Tony Laplume really liked this.  I didn't really know what the hell was going on.  For some reason people in this future make themselves into robots but there are two kids who aren't robot-y enough and thus are hunted by bad guys.  The artwork was really nice but the story had sort of that video game feel of the Matrix Reloaded. (2/5)

Moth City, Season 1, Part 2:  I'm not sure whose genius idea it was to include Part 2 and not Part 1.  Made it kind of confusing.  And I hate these ones that are set up to be kind of like motion comics.  You have to keep tapping the screen to not only bring up each panel, but each dialog box or text box.  It gets to be annoying.  So the whole experience was lame. (1/5)

Muktuk Wolfsbreath, Hard Boiled Shaman:  As the title suggests, this is written like a noir story, only focusing on a shaman-for-hire in Siberia. Like many of these stories, it starts when a beautiful woman walks into Muktuk's office, er hut, and employs him to save her dying son.  Which leads to him having to descend to the lowest depths and loftiest peaks of the spirit world to unravel a mystery.  It's a lot of fun with the absurdist topic and yet it's a well-written mystery too. Though the shaman names are a little too goofy really. (4/5)

Nathan Sorry:  On 9/10/01 the eponymous character doesn't get on a plane from Phoenix to New York and that saves him from dying in the World Trade Center.  But the world thinks he's dead and he has a briefcase with access to $20 million.  So he goes into hiding in North Carolina.  A lot of questions are left unresolved in this and I don't really care enough to read more. (2.5/5)

Snow:  One word to describe this:  depressing.  A woman named Dana (who is 32 but is drawn to look about 10) in Toronto's West Queen St area is losing her job at a bookstore, witnesses a murder, and witnesses domestic abuse (twice).  She can't stop the abuse or solve the murder.  The end.  Um...yay?  Yeesh, what a bummer. I guess the idea was kind of a female Canadian version of American Splendor (which I only know of from watching the movie) and on that level I think it pretty much succeeds in bringing a relatively ordinary person to life, though I'm pretty sure the American Splendor guy didn't witness murders.  (3/5)

Squid & Owl:  This was weird.  It's a bunch of silly poems and stuff about a squid and owl.  I'm sure Tony Laplume will think it's clever.  I thought it was lame. But it does reference cuttlefish, which I saw in Salt Lake's aquarium.  (1/5)

Testament:  This is a retelling of Abraham and Lot (or something) but it takes place in the near future when a fascist government is implanting people with chips.  Mayhem ensues. It was kind of weird.  I never really got into it.  Maybe because I'm an atheist.  (2.5/5)

Thirty-Six:  I remember in Michael Chabon's Kavalier and Clay that at one point the comic book artist Joe Kavalier was going to make a comic book based on Jewish mythology commonly known as Kabbalah.  This comic actually does that.  Basically it's kind of like the X-Men or that "Heroes" show.  It's said there are 36 special people who will rise to use their powers to save the world.  Though like with X-Men there are two camps with differing views on that.  The Xavier group wants to pretty much just keep things going while the Magneto group wants to use the Leviathan to destroy the world and start over.  Overall it was pretty good, though the art is kind of crude-looking; Joe Kavalier would have done it better-had he been real.  It might be better if you're Jewish. Obviously I'm not.  (3/5)

I've only got 3 left in this bundle, plus a couple more things I've bought and haven't gotten to yet.  I probably will at some point.  But for now you're caught up!


  1. I can't imagine Logan as a farmer, but at least he wouldn't been a hoe or trowel.

  2. Nathan Sorry actually sounds intriguing. The Chloe Vampire hunter sounds like a pure ripoff.

    A lot of the Indie comics sound like they suffer from what I call The Tumblr Disease: The premise itself is the joke and tires quickly. That "Hard Boiled Shaman" struck me as that, too.

    As for "Life Begins," having tried myself some heavy-handed political allegory and tales, I know they mostly suck. I think either come right out and write an op-ed, or try to be subtle about it.

  3. Squid & Owl sounds like a challenge, sir...



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