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627

God of Comics 2015-12-30

Culture, God Of Comics

December 29, 2015

All-New Wolverine #3All-New Wolverine #3

I really like Laura. I dig her character and I’m glad she’s stepped in to fill Logan’s absence, even if the traditional Wolverine outfit looks kinda ridiculous on her. Still, I like what they’ve done with her pretty much from the get-go, and this comic continues that trend – we’re getting stories that explore concepts of personhood and agency, and adding a little spy thriller melodrama to the mix. Her relationship with time-displaced young Angel is presented as a healthy thing here, two characters that know and trust one another. It all makes for good reading, unlike…

 

All-New X-Men #3All-New X-Men #3

… this. This is not good reading. This is not good reading because everyone but Young Time Displaced Scott feels like they’re being written out of character. All that interesting stuff between Laura and time-displaced Warren I mentioned above? Short circuited here for some trite melodrama. Also, pretty much everyone else is relegated to comic release, or forced so far outside of what they were or what you’d expect them to be as to make them unreadable. The artwork is good and there’s some really not concepts here, but slogging through the mire of this dialogue is tedious at best.

 

Batman and Robin Eternal #13Batman and Robin Eternal #13

Okay, so Bruce maybe sorta ordered himself up an heir after a young Dick Grayson kinda screwed up enough for mother to realize who Batman was. We got to see the two of them chatting and talking about murder and other things, and I’m assuming that there is a trick coming – every writer on this is too skilled not to have something up their collective sleeves. This continues to be an excellent little mystery, an even keel that is ramping things up as we return to the DCYou version of Cassandra Cain. This is fun and if you like DC Comics you should be following it.

 

Black Magick #3Black Magick #3

If you like comics, however, or incredibly strong stories with a rich history and mythology implied on every page, then you really must be reading this. It’s Greg Rucka inventing another world in which to play in, this one involving a witch who is also a cop and the politics of a centuries out coven that is running from a group of witch hunters who are now using magic, or getting someone to use magic for them. There’s a real sense of menace here, some awful and thus far unseen power that is wrecking havoc on people’s lives. It’s great stuff, is what we’re saying. Check it out.

 

Drax #2Drax #2

We told you. We told you last month that CM Punk was going to write something awesome, and he went out and wrote something awesome. Drax is the muscle for the Guardians of the Galaxy, but all of them are going off and doing their own things in their own titles. Drax, of course, gets a turn, and heads off to find and kill Thanos because that is what Drax does. His ship cuts out, stranding him on a world with Terrax, so they go to get drunk and maybe go on a crime spree so they can raise some money to fix the ship and go kill Thanos, maybe even together~! Comics are amazing.

 

Harley Quinn & Power Girl #6Harley Quinn & Power Girl #6

Jimmy Palimioti and Amanda Conner have quietly been writing one of the best runs with this character that has ever been, and one of the best titles that DC Comics has ever published. This run is part of her epic team-up with Power Girl, when the two of them went galivanting through other dimensions and saved a Seventies Disco Sex God from an alien invasion led by aliens that are against fun in all it’s forms. Having done this they now have to find a way home, which might involve Power Girl marrying the aforementioned Sex God. There are no words for this. You must experience it. Yes.

 

Jughead #3Jughead #3

Wow, this comic is weird. Like, really, really weird. Jughead is the classic character we all know in love, now updated (again) for the modern world by… not really changing very much of anything. Jughead is one of those characters that is iconic because he fits into any situation. There’s something very Zen about Jughead. He is, of course, still subject to the vicissitudes of fate, and this comic is exposing him to the horrors of crumbling personal freedoms and enforced mediocre conformity within the modern American school system. He is, however, armed with his imagination, so my money is on Jughead, but then I hate people that abuse the authority they think they have.

 

Rat Queens #14Rat Queens #14

Has there ever been a tighter fantasy comic than this one? Rat Queens hit the world at the exact best moment for itself – a high-stakes fantasy adventure starring a foul-mouthed, life-loving, all-female mercenary band. It’s given us some of the deepest characters in the medium while exploring a number of absurd and harsh realities, all while never losing sight of itself. Take Hannah, the necromancer half-elf, half-tiefling who is sometimes the voice of reason but is now getting lost in some pretty terrible family stuff that was wide-reaching implications for her world. The timing of this – right after Christmas – is magic, the sort of thing we could all use.

 

Southern Bastards #13Southern Bastards #13

One of my favorite books growing up was a science fiction novel called Illegal Aliens: some aliens land in Central Park in the mid-eighties, and an entire chapter is dedicated to explaining how the world responds. When these reactions are summarized for the UN, it’s explained as “America during Superbowl Sunday.” There is nothing more important in the American consciousness than Football, especially when you leave the trappings of civilization behind for the ever-present heat of the broken south. This is a tale of that broken south and football. This will not end well.

 

Star Wars #14Star Wars #14

Do you ever think that, perhaps, a company decides to drag something on longer than they should? Sometimes, events happen on their own, necessitated by story: that’s what appeared to be happening with Vader Down, but aside from the last few pages in the last part of this event, well, there didn’t seem to be much happening. A holding pattern. I’m not sure why – the art is good and the writing is Gillen, and even bad Gillen is better than some people’s best. Let’s see if we can get this thing back in track with the one thing we all need: Wooke Wrestling Entertainment. BAH GAWD.

 

Sunstone Vol. 4Sunstone Vol. 4

Stjepan Sejic was goofing around on hid deviantart page and accidentally created one of the best romance comics, period. Sunstone is a mature and honest look at love and knots, the absurdity of kink mingled with the trust that any healthy relationship needs to be built on, and how insecurity and a lack of communication can kill even the strongest ties: let’s be clear, love never dies, love is murdered when people aren’t clear with one another. There’s a little something in hear for everyone, and if you’re not familiar with this book you really should look into it.

 

Welcome Back #4Welcome Back #4

Imagine reincarnation. Imagine lifetime after lifetime, bound to repeat some of the same events with the same people, but imagine, too, that this is no love story. Imagine you are in a war, a war without end – born again, die again, forever and ever. Is there any room for change there? Any room to be anything other than a victim, a killer, a corpse? And if the road ahead looks like death without end, is there a point? Where does it begin? That’s what this comic seeks to answer: what fate looks like, the importance of beginnings in understanding the present and changing the future.

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635

God of Comics 2015-12-23

Culture, God Of Comics

December 22, 2015

Angela - Queen of Hel #3Angela: Queen of Hel #3

You ever meet an over-achiever? Someone who just, by their very nature, tends to reach higher and farther than other people ever think to? That’s Angela. Born to Asgard and adopted by Heven, she doesn’t really feel comfortable with either, having learned about the flaws of both. Those flaws have sent her on a new quest, one to carve out her own place and her own realm, so she’s looking to take over Hel and become an equal to her adopted parents – Odin and Frigga – and her adopted mom – the Queen of Heven. This is who is starting a rebellion in Hel. Needs a metal OST.

 

Arcadia #7Arcadia #7

How great is the Expanse? The answer, of course, is “pretty great.” I was chatting with a friend and he was like “ity’s been so long since we had good sci-fi” and I was all “are you reading Arcadia?” And that is why, Casey, you’re going to be getting the Arcadia trade for Christmas, the moment that it comes out. Anyway, a terrible disease has ravaged the world and ninety-nine percent of humanity has been looked in cyro-storage, their minds shuffled into an MMO hellscape that is falling apart, because the tech they’re using was not meant for what they’re using it for. Awesome stuff.

 

Batman and Robin Eternal #12Batman and Robin Eternal #12

We now know exactly how horrific Mother is, and how terrifying her ability to sculpt minds is. They’re not kidding around with what they’ve built here, either, with some of the best writers in comics coming in and adding so much to the Bat-mythos. Jason and Tim are working with Bane and have just bumped into an Azrael, which should go poorly for Jason and Tim and maybe Bane, while Dick and Harper try to understand the horror that nearly swallowed Bruce back during the earliest days of the Bat. This is awesome and heady stuff, a rather awesome spy thriller.

 

Bloodshot Reborn #9Bloodshot: Reborn #9

I need to know how this ends. An unstoppable golem was created by the military industrial complex to kill god, but somewhere a long the way it gained a soul, questioned the violence of it’s being, and gave up the power of itself. That power went elsewhere, infecting others and turning them into almost unstoppable killing machines, and he’s had to go and reclaim his power from those that never wanted it… except for one guy, who did want it and came to the same conclusion the golem did: kill everyone, get all the power. These comics are insanely good existential action-terror.

 

Daredevil #2Daredevil #2

Matt Murdock is back in New York, has managed to hide his secret identity (again, dammit), and is still moonlighting as Daredevil. Good on him? He has changed a little bit, though, as he’s now working for the district attorney in New York as opposed to running a private practice. To show him how much they love him, they’ve stuck his office at the bottom of an elevator shaft, with the excuse of not wanting to waste windows on a blind man. Interestingly, studies show that blind people can tell – they need Vitamin D just like the rest of us. Could be okay. Was liking him in LA.

 

Dark Knight III - The Master Race #2Dark Knight III: The Master Race #2

No, no, don’t walk away, it’s readable, I promise. Yes, Frank Miller’s name is on the cover, and, yes, he’s got some creative input. Someone else is translating his ideas to paper, though, making this a much more interesting comic than it has any business being. The art is very much in line with the original Dark Knight comics, though things are a little more detailed here than they are in, say, Sin City. Anyway, Bruce is dead, the new commissioner forgot what she learned in the Dark Knight, and Carrie Kelly just got herself good and captured. Far better than it has any business being.

 

Darth Vader #14Darth Vader #14

Holy God but the Force Awakens was good. We can all agree with that, right? The D-Cast (link) thought it was incredible, and this? This comic here? Just as freakin’ good. Marvel has done an incredible job of getting from the end of Episode IV to the beginning of Episode V, particularly with Vader re-establishing himself following his loss of a whole Death Star. Along the way, Vader discovered Luke and has been actively hunting him, leading to him crashing on a planet where the rebel alliance was training an army specifically to deal with Vader. They failed just as Leia arrived. Also, Vader’s hench-people just had a battle with Han, and we get the fallout… now. Do not miss this.

 

Deadly Class #17Deadly Class #17

Things have not gone well for Marcus. He fell in love with two girls in a school for assassins, abandoned one as the other got killed, and has since fallen apart. He’s going through some terrible things and feels utterly alone, falling in with the wrong crowd as everything good in him erodes. It’s not just me thinking this; the faculty agrees, because final exams for the year include hunting Marcus down and executing him. This book is haunting, hunting, the sort of thing that is difficult to read but impossible to put down, the unblinking grit of slivered goodness in humanity’s worst.

 

Dr. Mirage Second Lives #1Dr. Mirage: Second Lives #1

It’s a Valiant comic, which I think should be enough of a recommendation on it’s own. Dr. Mirage is a medium who deals with the dead, like her husband, and the two of them work together to perform exorcisms, banishments, and other forms of benevolent necromancy while pondering the weight and circumstance of death itself. Here, she’s discovered a means of giving her husband flesh once more, but it’s an ancient rite that was never meant to be performed and you can already see where this is going… but, like life, this comic is about the journey, not the destination.

 

He-Man The Eternity War #13He-Man: The Eternity War #13

In order to win, in order to defeat the Horde that threatened to devour everything and everyone forever, He-Man had to give up the Power of Greyskull. This left him little more than a broken Adam while his uncle, Skeletor, stepped in and claimed that power. He now dominates everything and everyone, trapping Adora to keep himself on a throne that was never meant for him. Now, Adam must take back his power before King Hiss devours his soul in a series of comics that are far better and deeper than they have any business being. This is science-fantasy opera and it needs to be read to be believed.

 

Justice League 3001 #7Justice League 3001 #7

Speaking of science-fantasy opera, this comic features soul-devouring genetic overlays of various Justice League members teaming up with other immortal Justice League members a thousand years in the future, where things have gone weird. Also, villains have brought back other Justice League era villains to fight the new Justice League, which is going about as well as you’d expect given that a lot of details have become sort of muddled. Also, there’s some kind of robot invasion and they just killed Superman. That can’t be good. And this Superman? Not coming back. No one is safe.

 

Lazarus #21Lazarus #21

Oligarchy took over – this is the world of President Trump, a corporatist dream where the rich rule and the rest of humanity is referred to as ‘waste,’ used to the last drop. The corporations have gone to war, the CEO of the best of their lot poisoned and taken down while his company flounders and their chosen champion struggles to make a difference in the field. There’re powerplays and politics and ruthless plans all coming to fruition, written by one of the best writers in the game and illustrated in a haunting style that will follow you into your dreams and stay there. Poignant, intelligent, and very much a must-read.

 

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #2Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #2

This is insane. Okay, a smart girl who is being vilified for being smart and believing in science and being ahead of the curve makes friends with a giant indestructible Tyrannosaurus Rex in modern day New York, which should make bullies a little easier to deal with. This is her school’s faculty’s fault for fiddling around with her science projects when they had no idea what the hell they were doing, which is something some of us might have experienced and gotten in trouble for. This comic celebrates intelligence and ingenuity while also showing how both qualities are mucked about with by a system and society that embraces conformity. Important in the same way Ms. Marvel is. Did I mention the genius girl is black?

 

Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat #1Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat #1

You saw Jessica Jones, right link? Of course you did. It was incredible, one of the best things to come out of Netflix for a long while and a nice apology for that third season of Hemlock Grove link. Jessica’s adopted sister in that series was Trish “Patsy” Walker, an old and established character who is now getting her own series and that should be awesome. Trish used to date a literal partially reformed anti-Christ and is a partial celebrity and street level hero who’s kinda good at the martial arts thing. She’s pretty great, and this sounds like it could be a lot of fun. Give it a chance.

 

Pretty Deadly #7Pretty Deadly #7

Deathface Ginny returns to stare down the barrell of the Great War – which is what World War One was called back before people knew they were supposed to name them. This comic is a weird meandering treatise on the weight and responsibility of death, both from the perspective of the living and dying. It’s odd and beautiful and terrifying all at once, edged in with the scripture of the old west and married to the narrative of the early twentieth century. There’s a lot going on here, in other words, and this book is dense, the sort of thing you could use to prove comics-as-art.

 

Rai #12Rai #12

This is the weirdest book… okay, you know how Aphrodite IX and IXth Generation and Justice League 3001 are all about the futures of their respective universes, using the mythos of today to build a landscape set in the far future? That’s what Rai has done, taking the disparate parts of their various titles and making them more important by showing what the eventual consequences of those people, places, and things are. It’s beautiful and detailed and stranger than a badly cut eighties anime, moving at a breakneck pace and expecting you to keep up with introduced concepts.

 

Rocketeer At War #1Rocketeer: At War #1

Somehow, this character is still a thing. The movie link holds up pretty well, and there’s enough here that a company like IDW Publishing should be able to put out something cool – a stunt pilot discovers a jetpack back in World War II, and goes from being a nobody to being a major player because of the technology he has mastered. The man in question, Cliff Secord, gets by on his wits and is very much a chip off the Han Solo block, a guy who just wants to be left alone to do his thing, but given the proper circumstances can be a hero. I’m curious to see how this plays out.

 

Star-Lord #2Star-Lord #2

I’m trying to decide of I care. This is now young Peter Quill by way of John Crichton, having stolen a space ship and gotten himself stranded in space. This goes against the movie – and wasn’t Secret Wars supposed to do two things? One was fix the mistakes of Jonathan Hickman, and the other was to being the comics closer in line with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This serves neither, but still could be interesting if we weren’t comparing it to the series that came before Secret Wars, which was, well, stellar. We’ll see if this gets any better this month. I’m hoping it does.

 

Switch #3Switch #3

Stjepan Sejic is one of the most gifted artists working in comics today. He’s got a knack for writing engaging characters, even if English is not his first language. The trick is that in looking past his weaknesses to view his many strengths, and few comics illustrate those as well as this one. The Witchblade falls into the hands of an ordinary school girl who has no idea what she has or what she’s gotten into. Like spider-Gwen, this comic then takes familiar faces and puts new spins on them, so if you’ve never read Witchblade, this might be something you’ll dig. We dig it quite a lot.

 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #53Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #53

Hamato Yoshi killed Oroko Saki. It happened – we all watched it happen, and Saki welcomes it at the end. It brought an end to a struggle that traversed lifetimes, and might finally allow Saki to overcome with karma and evolve. Everyone who was watching understood… except Michelangelo, who fled to an old enemy for succor. He doesn’t know how bad Old Hob can be, because his family protected him from the worst of Hob’s excesses and he’s buddies with Slash, but without that barrier he’s likely to learn some things he might not like. The only sure thing is that this will be excellent.

 

Venom Space Knight #2Venom: Space Knight #2

So, Flash Thompson went to the planet of the symbiotes and got the madness within his other half expunged, aligning himself with the monastic heroic order the symbiotes are supposed to be. Now, he gets to wander like a knight errant throughout the cosmos, writing wrongs and fighting evil whenever he’s not hanging with the Guardians of the Galaxy. The first issue was a surprising pleasure, setting the stage for a strange heroic space opera, which is exactly what this feels like. The art is also gorgeous, matching the quality of the writing into an incredibly strong whole. Recommended.

 

Velvet #13Velvet #13

Every week, it seems, there’s one comic where we stop and say simply read this. So, to wit: read this. Velvet is a female James Bond operating in the early seventies, cutting a world-wide swath to expose a double agent in British intelligence while clearing her own name. We don’t know the full scope of the conspiracy, but neither does she – what we do know is that she’s good at what she does, an expert in the field and dangerous in every way conceivable, and that the people that messed with her made the mistake of forgetting who she is. Don’t make that same mistake. Read this.

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791

God of Comics – Top 5 for 2015-12-16

Culture, God Of Comics, Reviews

December 17, 2015

Clean Room #3

Clean Room #3

This isn’t a comic. A comic is a collection of colors and words that are passive – they sit on the page and allow you to look upon them at your leisure. This? This is a work of magic, some fell ritual that will devour your attention right from the start, suck you in and keep you there. This is Gail Simone revealing herself as a warlock of some sort, her wordsmithery tying all who look upon this work into the arcane heartbeat of the universal unconscious, where the really real reality dwells, unseen except by those of us with true grit. In tome – in the trap that has been put in your hands – a self-help guru has made a machine that allows her to view the perspectives of others as realities, touching and changing them as serves her needs. She knows what lays out there, in the spaces that man cannot see, and she stares at them without fear no matter the form they take. I would warn you, but there is no warning adequate. I would prepare you, but nothing can prepare you. Stare into the Clean Room, and know that it stares into you.

 

Hacktivist vol.2 #6

Hacktivist Vol2 #6

Some of us know: there is a war being fought for the soul of the internet. Many of us have learned that the internet is the greatest tool yet devised by man, a means by which information can be shared and reality itself can be shaped, for good or ill. The entrenched powers see nothing but ill, a challenge to the status quo that they have controlled and are losing control over. They roar and rampage attempting to legislate silence, to turn the first gasping breaths of dialogue into a monologue once more. Those that have spoken know the truth, however; the cat is out of the bag, neither alive or dead, and the world has changed. I can tell you that every single issue of this series, both volumes one and two, have made it into our top five comics list. There’s a reason for this, and those with the eyes to see will read this and understand what it is; record, logos, manifesto. A call to arms, to the celebration of intelligence and creativity. A battlecry against the old evils grasping for the loss of power as their paradigm dies. This explains so much.

 

Imperium #11

Imperium #11

I was at a friend’s house earlier, and my friend recommended Y: the Last Man to a friend of his. Quoth he, “Just lend me the whole series. It’s just comics. How complex can it be?” There are some people that do that, confuse the medium with the message, looking down on a whole means of sharing information from base misunderstanding or a false expectation. Comics are for kids, right? This title is a refutation of that idea. This is a superhero comic, yes, but it is very much a superhero comic for mature audiences – not the simpering gropery of adolescent power fantasies, the boobs and explosions that so many think make a mature book, but the measured understanding of real politick and the consequences that comes with power. Like Hacktivist, this series looks at various entrenched powers of a dying paradigm and challenges them, only to find consequences that make sense. Joshua Dysart is writing one of the most important and thought-provoking comics you’re ever going to read, and you should be reading it.

 

Ms. Marvel #2

Ms. Marvel #2

Modern fears are so much different than the fears of the past. Any of us can be taken at any moment, the flickering fiction of a single image broadcast anywhere, copyrighted, and used in ways that it was never intended. There are few secrets, little privacy, and the old and aging powers feast on the young – demanding free labor and growing angry when that labor demands to be paid, when that labor can’t afford things, when so many things go wrong. Ms. Marvel is a hero because she stands for essential decency, for the nobility of the human spirit in a world that sometimes equates the worth of an individual with their bank account. Material value is fun, sure, but trying to help others find happiness, based on their definitions of that word, without hurting other people? That’s the better option. Abandoning fear, reaching out to those that need it, helping those that can’t stand to stand for themselves. And that’s what this comic is about – finding a place in the world based on nobility, dignity, and strength. We need more like it.

 

Wayward #12

Wayward #12

We call ourselves Living Myth. There’s a reason for that – we believe that myths are living writhing things that never truly go away, the building blocks upon which we both our selfs and our stories. We are all mythic to someone, all of us living mythic lives that are tied to other concepts both ancient and new. That’s the core of this book, which is about Japanese kids becoming the gods that culture imagines. Cat girls and psychics and fate walkers, oh my, people that can tap into the internet and become machine gods, all mingled with the old legends of yesteryear – the kappa and the kitsune, the monks and spiders of folklore, and mangled together into something that is so much more than the sum of its parts. The explanations of history and context are worth the cover price alone, but it’s the characters that will hold you, trap you, keep you reading and wanting to know more. And you will want to know more. You’ll curse this comic for ending, especially given everything we learn in these pages. Buy the book. Buy it. Buy it and love it forever.

 

Didn’t quite make the Top Five. Still worth your time.

 

Axcend #3Axcend #3

Actions have consequence, usually larger ones than we can readily see – and actions that cause harm often cause greater harm down the line. When a person learns to live with pain it sometimes breaks them, but other times forces them to excel, or – worst of all – makes them worse than what was harming them in the first place. The victim becomes a monster, and those that caused that pain wonder why they’re now in pain. This is why.

 

 

Batgirl #46Batgirl #46

Fallout from the gang war in Catwoman brings Spoiler to Burnside, where she gets to hang out with Babs. This is great, because it puts two characters that compliment one another back together again, and adds the drama of someone else getting in on the action, a character action that adds to the story, and Barbara learns that sometimes her actions have unexpected consequences. There seems to be an on-going story in several comics about society smothering youth.

 

 

Dragon Age - Magekiller #1Dragon Age: Mage Slayer #1

Greg Rucka is writing this. I had no idea; I’m on my third playthrough in Inquisition and picked this up on a lark, started flipping through it and thought wow, this is good. I flipped back and saw it was Rucka and smiled because, hey, it’s Rucka – and there is are few finer writers in the world, and the Dragon Age mythology is a perfect fit for someone who likes details this much. Captures the look and feel of Thedas perfectly.

 

 

Huck #2Huck #2

Power does not come from nowhere – it is always fostered, grown, cultivated. It comes from adversity, from hardship or madness, because happy and content people change slowly, if at all. The powerful may not know their origins, but sometimes they know their power and sometimes they seek to do right, no matter the cost. There’s an essential sweetness here, a dignity that speaks to both the best and worst in humanity. I hope Mark Millar doesn’t go for an easy out.

 

 

Jem and The Holograms Holiday SpecialJem and The Holograms Holiday Special

There are tales of soldiers putting their guns down on Christmas and playing soccer with one another for a day. Just a friendly game before going back to murder the next day, because sometimes people are enemies for very stupid reasons. The bits between the various Misfits and Holograms are lovely, and the reasons how they got one another as Secret Santa’s were perfect, but it’s the interaction between Pizzazz and Jem that makes this comic. Barely missed the top five.

 

 

The Mighty Thor #2The Mighty Thor #2

Loki returns. There was some interest in seeing how Loki – the God of Stories – was going to play post-Secret Wars. The Al Ewing run was some of the funniest, cleverest, and most heart breaking comics of the modern era, and firmly established a new and fantastic direction for the characters – all truths that can be applied to what Jason Aaron has done with Thor. Loki and Jane have a history together, very little of it is good, and this sets the terms of engagement.

 

 

Lucifer #1Lucifer #1

Mike Carey wrote an incredible series of comics back in the day, using the Devil as established by Neil Gaiman, and bringing an end to both God and Satan. It’s a fascinating read. This comic acknowledges that one and the time that passed between them, re-establishing a Devil who is still very much himself and yet different. It also features the broken Gabriel last seen in the pages of Hellblazer, and forces the two of them together. Interesting. Very interesting.

 

 

Spire #5Spire #5

This comic does something that very few others manage to accomplish – because of the lettering, who can read the accents, the volume, the voices of the characters in this world. And it is a mass world, a mess of flesh and emotive chaos barely holding itself together in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. It’s beautiful and strange and full of anger, resentment, and beauty, all building towards a not-so-distant end. What is the Spire? We’re finding out. Oh, yes.

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470

God of Comics – Top 5 for 2015-12-09

Culture, God Of Comics, Reviews

December 10, 2015

Batman #47

Batman 047

See, the strength of this comic is something that comes from having a continuity. Everything in this comic builds upon years and years of mythology. Yes, you have Jim Gordon running around in a Bubblegum Crisis Hardsuit and having to put the thing down in order to stop Mr. Bloom, and, sure, Bloom is scary. You get the introduction of Bullock’s Gotham Style Poker, which just become a new favorite variation in our offices. But you also have the We Are Robin movement getting sick of Bruce being on the sidelines, and calling him out. After months and months of hinting you get Bruce being forced to confront his own mind, followed by the potential consequence of him remembering. The writing here is a thing of beauty, and the art accentuates every twist and turn, making those last few pages absolutely chilling. This is how you build to a climax, this is how you tell a story, this is the slow burn that’s been simmering for almost a year coming to fruition, and it is a majestic thing to witness. Well done, DC Comics. Well done.

 

Birthright #12

Birthright 012

For those of you that don’t know, Samael is the actual angelic name of Lucifer. The other named mages – Mastema and Enoch – are mythic figures of importance, and given how long it’s hinted they’ve been here and how time moves, the implications are staggering. We’re literally getting Mikey fighting the devil of Christic mythology, and the build to that battle is sinister enough even without the reader knowing what the name refers to. If you do, though… Lucifer is known as the Prince of Lies, but his real weapon is twisting the truth – and it’s the secrets between Mikey and his family that are destroying them. Aaron is behind bars by an FBI agent that seems to have a personal hatred for him, and the reveal is something that makes perfect sense, all things considered, and is one I refuse to spoil. Wendy is finally trying to heal the rift in her family, helped along by the angel that is about to make her a grandmother. This comic is incredible and cool and twisted, and if you’re not reading it that needs to change.

 

Spider Gwen #3

Spider-Gwen 003

It should be pretty clear by now that we’re fans of character and stories that make sense. So, Gwen putzing off to get some insight on her life? That’s interesting. Going to where her counterpart died, and meditating on that and what it means and questioning the power she has? That’s interesting. Sending her back home and having an Osborn enter her life, finding out that Harry went to the military and trained up to avenge Peter’s death? That’s tragic. The pacing is a little off here, which tends to be true of this title in general, but the depth of the characters and the world they inhabit more than make up for the pacing issues. The way the cops are investigating Spider-Gwen, the importance given to Captain Stacy and showing us what he could have done if still alive, the sheer sinister glee that Matt Murdock has every time he prances into panel, all of it adds up to something that feels utterly different from anything else. The art is also stellar, conveying weight, emotion, and momentum, and the character bios are a thing of beauty.

 

Star Wars Annual #1

Star Wars Annual 001

Casual Star Wars fans might wonder how bad the Emperor is, really. Nothing in the Phantom Menace made any sense at all, for example, so what exactly did the dude, you know, do? Was he really so terrible? That’s the question this book seeks to answer, and it does so in a roundabout way that works. This tale is told from the perspective of a deep cover agent, someone that we see is good at his jobs and has to do questionable things to maintain his cover and struggles with the monster he believes himself to be. And he does think of himself as a monster right up until the Emperor makes a mockery of him, out-thinking him and out-maneuvering him, killing hundreds of people for the sake of a favorable soundbite and to demonize the Rebellion. It’s thrilling, amazing, and utterly horrific – and I’m hoping that the character introduced in this comic makes it into at least some of the other comics, if not the upcoming movies. A James Bond character running around in Star Wars? That’s a license to print money.

 

Tomboy #2

Tomboy 002

My favorite anime is Revolutionary Girl Utena. It’s a brightly colored fairy tale with shiny primary colors that deals with abusive relationships, incest, twincest, thwarted expectation, identity value, and more… in the first four episodes. It just gets weirder from there, eventually becoming a subversive critique of the magical girl trope and fairy stories in general. This comics reminds me of that in the best possible way. The girl in question is a magical girl – we know that now, and we know that there are other people that are aware of her existence somehow. And we also know that the world she inhabits, like our own world, is full of official corruption that sees the worst criminals in the world exonerated, set free, or even idolized for their crimes. If that horror was visited upon your doorstep and you were aware of how bad things had gotten, if you had the power to fight for justice – real, actual justice – would you? How would you know what that looked like, or what it would cost? This comic delves into those topics. It’s tremendous.

 

Didn’t quite make the Top Five. Still worth your time.

 

Batman-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 001Batman / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1

I’m not sure what more I could ask from this comic other than maybe some better art. The style here is weird, but everything else is spot on – the characters, the way they act and behave, even hints at motivation. The Foot and the TMNT are stranded on Gotham and DC Comics is not their world, so both parties are looking for a way home. Batman gets involved because it’s Gotham, and nothing happens in Gotham that the Bat doesn’t involve himself in. Awesome.

 

 

Monstress 002Monstress #2

Oh, gods, the art. The pretty, gorgeous, unreal art. The sense of history here is glorious, too, playing with politics and propaganda, some people being in on things to know just how badly they’re screwed and others being utterly ignorant of the monsters in their midst. Of course we’re going to like that, and the build towards the confrontation at the end, and the revelation that happens through that, is nice. Needs to explain a bit more, I think, but there’s so much here.

 

 

Scarlet Witch 001Scarlet Witch #1

Wanda is one of those characters who gets by despite no one really knowing what her powers are, and the idea of actually addressing that is nice. I’m wondering about the logistics of showing up in costume (and it’s a nice redesign, by the by) at a crime scene, but her probability based powers can actually be used to explain quite a lot, and hand wave even more. Art style is a little messy, and the magic feels banal compared to, say, Strange.

 

 

Ultimates 002Ultimates #2

The art is a little cleaner this month, which is nice. The story does a bunch of interesting things, tackling a bunch of philosophical issues dealing with everything from creation to the ethics and realities of translocation to the idea of things man was not meant to know. This is heady fucking writing, is what we’re saying, and a direct challenge to the idea that superheroes can’t handle hard questions within their own universes and have everyone win. Fantastic.

 

 

Unity 025Unity #25

Okay, if you’ve never read a Valiant book, this will give you some idea of what the company has on offer. If you are a Valiant reader, however, this book is chalk full of in-jokes, character moments, and references that feel like a giant thank you to long time readers. This is Valiant poking fun at itself and the absurdity of comics in general, and the GI Joe-style Unity PSAs are worth the price of admission alone. This was a lot of fun.

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478

God of Comics 2015-12-09

Culture, God Of Comics

December 8, 2015

All-New Hawkeye #2All-New Hawkeye #2

The previous version of Hawkeye is one of the better comics that Marvel has ever published – pretty much the whole run of individual issues were either top five winners or honorable mentions. This follow up is a little odd, hopping between different timelines and employing different aert styles for both, and highlighting a conflict between the Hawkeyes that feels a little forced. It’s pretty, but is a serious contrast from the previous series. Worth checking out.

 

Batman #47Batman #47

DC Comics is getting ready to deliver Bruce into the waiting arms of the Bat-God that rules him, so we’re going to be paying attention to that to watch how that plays out. Bat-gum Crisis – Jim Gordon in a hard suit – continues to be the GCPD-friendly version of Batman, and is getting in a little over his head. This is Gotham, though, so that should shock no one. These comics are, generally speaking, fun, but it’s clear the creative team is ready to do something amazing.

 

Batman and Robin Eternal #10Batman and Robin Eternal #10

It’s interesting that the limited Batman series – this and Batman Eternal – have had a stronger narrative drive than the titles they revolve around. It might be because there’s a finite story involved, one that adds to the mythos while still having a definitive beginning, middle, and end. Jason and Tim are teaming with Bane, while Dick and Harper go to meet a person that can craft personalities in people. That’s kind of horrifying, and Bruce had history with these people…

 

Batman - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1Batman / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1

You know, I don’t even care how ridiculous this sounds. Not one whit. IDW’s TMNT is one of the strongest comics being published today, and DC Comics can do amazing Batman stories when they feel like it. This crossover starts with the Foot coming to Gotham and the TMNT following, and I’m hoping this is before Saki died because I need – I need – to see Batman take on that version of the Shredder. This can, should, and must be fantastic.

 

 

Birthright #12Birthright #12

Imagine your pre-teen child goes missing, and a year later re-appears as a hulking thirty year old warrior. That would be troubling, right? And then his very pregnant winged girlfriend – she looks like a freaking angel – shows up looking for him, saying that something has gone wrong. What would you do? How would you react? This is one of the most original fantasy stories period, a tale full of consequence and weight, and if you like fantasy at all you should read it.

 

Black Knight #2Black Knight #2

Marvel continues to push some of it’s lesser known characters in the wake of Secret Wars, so at least hat unholy quagmire has that going after it. Dane Whitman has a cursed sword that makes him powerful while devouring his morality, which makes him a perfect for a world where nonsense rules and everything is chaos. He’s finally home, in a world where he fits, so naturally the Uncanny Avengers show up to bring him home. This should be fun.

 

Catwoman #47Catwoman #47

Fuck. I should probably explain that. Catwoman evolved – out of Batman Eternal, we saw Selina grow up, saw her change and evolve and struggle with who she was becoming. It was the most interesting Catwoman has been since Dixon, Loeb, or Brubaker. It was a fascinating study of someone who thinks in terms of solitary tactics being forced to thing about groups and strategically. Now? Now, we’re back to base thievery. Given what came before, my hopes are not high.

 

Codename Baboushka - The Conclave of Death #3Codename Baboushka: The Conclave of Death #3

There’s been a boom in spy comics – Velvet, Black Widow, Lady Killer, all that sort of thing. A lot of them feature female leads, and all of them do different things with the concept: Velvet is a serious Bond movie, Black Widow a meditation on morality and cost, and Lady Killer a critique of gender roles and politics. This is very much Burn Notice, a fun send up starring someone who is very good at what she does but works for the other side. Cool beans.

 

 

Constantine The Hellblazer #7Constantine: The Hellblazer #7

This comic has managed to strike a happy medium between the old Hellblazer comics and the lighter (comparatively) Constantine comics, which folded John into the main DC continuity. It’s done so mainly through the writing talents of James Tynion IV, though the sharp art stylings also help. John is a terrible person and a worst friend, and we’ve seen him mangle old contacts left and right in this series so far, so it should be interesting to watch him try to screw over Swamp Thing.

 

The Eighth Seal #1The Eighth Seal #1

We’ve all seen this, right? And we all know what they’re referencing? The New Testament has a book called Revelations, which details the end of the world in Christic lore. There’re seven seals that need to be broken for the world to end, so an eighth seal is sort of intriguing, especially given the political back drop this book is going to have. A woman running for office sees nightmares leech into reality. Is she mad or a prophet? We look forward to finding out.

 

Giant Days #9Giant Days #9

One of the best slice of life comics we’ve ever read, this comic deals with people doing their best to live their lives while being both exceptional and ordinary. It’s what Archie aspired to be before Archie got Mark Waid writing, only this is written by the guy who wrote Scary-Go-Round and Bad Machinery, which are weird web comics about being exceptional and ordinary. Adorkable defined. Hunt it down and mount it in front of your eyes.

 

Gotham Academy #13Gotham Academy #13

DC Comics has two major Bat-things going on right now – Batman and Robin Eternal, which we covered above, and Robin War, which spins out of We Are Robin. Basically, imagine if Anonymous was a bunch of kid vigilantes who ran with a Robin motiff, and you end up with that comic. Various police incidents have led to the corrupt government making Robins colors illegal, which got one of the Robins sent to Gotham Academy, where she’ll be safe. Or not.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy #3Guardians of the Galaxy #3

Gamora returns to her team book but still hasn’t been given her own solo book when everyone else has – even the Tree gets a solo series, but the most dangerous woman in the galaxy? Nah. About eight months have passed in-world since Secret Wars was inflicted on us, and she’s returned to let us know where she stands on, well, everything. There’s a lot of everything. Quill’s a Star King, for instance, and married, and we’re in the middle of a Bendis Build and you know the climax is going to be intense.

 

Monstress #2Monstress #2

Buy this comic. Go out, grab a copy, and buy it. The first issue was one of the most beautifully horrific things we’ve ever read, a tale mired in a post-apocalyptic steam-punk Victorian utopia, where gods are created and science~! is capable of anything and also there are kaiju maybe. This took the breath of everyone in the office away last week, so to say we’re looking forward to this is an understatement. First comic we’re reading this week, and it should be yours, too.

 

Ninjak #10Ninjak #10

Shadowman was important but terrible. It assumed too much, explained too little, and introduced some important concepts to Valiant comics that have been touched on a few times since, like the Deadside. British Intelligence tried to go exploring the realm of the dead and had things go, well, poorly, and so the sole survivor of that expedition teams with Ninjak to head into the world of the dead. This should end well, perhaps strongly enough to resurrect Shadowman in the process. Fingers crossed.

 

Scarlet Witch #1Scarlet Witch #1

Here’s a character with an ill-defined set of powers who is nonetheless interesting because of who she is as a character and what she means to the Marvel Universe in general. She’s a mutant, a magician, the daughter of Magneto, an Avenger, a villain, a hero… and the best person this side of Stephen Strange or Illyana Rasputin to fix the broken magic of the Marvel Universe, and maybe even figure out why it’s broken. This is either going to be incredible or awful.

 

Snow Blind #1Snow Blind #1

This sounds like it could be fascinating – a kid in Alaska posts a picture of his dad on Facebook, because what’s the harm in that, right? Social Media FTW. Well, turns out dad is in the Witness Protection Program, and there are people looking for him and now they’ve found him and put out a hit. Dad’s got some explaining to do, the FBI goes into panic mode, and there’s a hitman coming to this sleepy little burg in the middle of nowhere. If you like noir, this is worth a look.

 

Spider-Gwen #3Spider-Gwen #3

Back in Spiderverse, the various spider-people realized that dimension hopping was a thing. Some of them kept transporters so that they can move from one dimension to another, and Gwen’s feeling a little out of sorts so she’s going to go visit Jessica Drew. No, not that one, the other one. 616 Jessica Drew, who was in a damn interesting comic before Secret Wars. You’d think Ultimate Jessica would be more interesting in this instance, but in Latour we trust.

 

Star Wars Annual #1Star Wars Annual #1

Marvel’s Star Wars comics have been some of the best comics they’ve put out in a long while – and this is saying something, considering the strength of, say, Loki, Thor, Angela, Uncanny X-Men, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Punisher… and it’s those last three this comic is going to draw on, as a deep cover agent for the Rebels has to move a host of sympathizers from the Empire as the senate is dissolved and Palpatine claims all the power. That’s a hell of a set up.

 

Tomboy #2Tomboy #2

Action Lab, what are you doing to me? First, you nabbed my attention with Exit Generation, which had me giggling and enthralled. This is more the latter than the former, as a literal magical girl gets to deal with corruption on corporate and political levels after police murder her best friend and his father to sate the greed of the oligarchy. This is, simply put, amazing comics and incredible storytelling with art like you ain’t never seen and it’s likely going to be in the top five. Again.

 

Ultimates #2Ultimates #2

Okay, this? This right here? This is awesome. Black Panther. Spectrum. Blue Marvel… the team here are all a-list powerhouses, and they’re starting off their series by approaching Galactus with intelligence and respect and a plan to actually actively fix a problem. The only thing that kept this from a top five spot last time was some weird art and pacing issues, but they’ve had a month to settle in and get everything in order. This could be incredible. Fingers crossed.

 

Unity #25Unity #25

Valiant is ending their team-book with a bang… following the events of Book of Death, the members of Unity are going their separate ways. For now, at least. But now that the team is done, some of the more secret missions of the team can be disclassified, like that time they went on mission with Quantum and Woody. Or that time Faith helped them fight United. Or Bloodshot did between Armor Hunters and the Valiant. This is gonna be a lot of fun, peoples. Read it.

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376

God of Comics 2015-12-02

Culture, God Of Comics

December 1, 2015

IXth Generation #7IXth Generation #7

Okay, get this – the actual big bad of the series was revealed eight comics ago, at the end of Aphrodite IX. Over the course of that comic we were shown the significance of the name and number, introduced to the world, and shown what was at stake. This series has shown people shirking their responsibilities and now we’ve gone from nine people to save the world to five, and if those five can’t get their shit together than the Darkness will devour all that is. That’s how you set epic level stakes. Also, Stjepan Sejic does art, and I’ll read pretty much anything he does the art for.

 

Batman and Robin Eternal #9Batman and Robin Eternal #9

Remember when Bane was an interesting character? It feels like years have passed since then… when was it? The last version of Secret Six? Something like that. Someone among the writers seems to have remembered that Bane can be great, and given this writing team that’s not surprising. I’d pick up this comic just for that, but we’re also looking at what Bruce Wayne was up to back during his first year and what his connection to Mother is… and what the process is for this organization that makes custom people. Is DC Comics about to get their very own Purple Man

 

Daredevil #1Daredevil #1

Can we all agree that the Mark Waid run was inspired, and one of the better things to happen to the character since the Brian Michael Bendis run? Yeah? Yeah. Also, the Netflix original series helped jumpstart interest in the character, and in the wake of Secret Wars that means putting Matt back in New York. Interestingly, though, Matt is now working with the District Attorney’s office in Hell’s Kitchen, which should make for an interesting change of pace. Daredevil has a lot of expectation to live up to, and it’s going to be interesting to watch where this series goes.

 

Doctor Strange #3Doctor Strange #3

Jason Aaron is writing this, which is as close to a guarantee of excellence as comics can offer. He’s a master of epic-level storytelling, and this is a character that lends itself well to that. The first couple issues of this new series have established who Strange is and what he does, what role he fills in the Marvel Universe as a whole. This issue is going to go one better than that, and get into the core of his identity by stripping him of his magic and home and forcing him to make due with an impossible situation. That sounds like the best sort of Strange story, pun certainly intended.

 

Exit Generation #3Exit Generation #3

One of the best ideas for a comic ever is happening right now and you need to be reading it…! Ninety percent of humanity leaves Earth, and the remnants find themselves living in a Utopia. One boy becomes addicted to eighties action movies and wants to be an eighties action movie hero for real, and is given the chance when ALIENS INVADE. They’ve come to eat humans because that’s how they roll, and it’s up to a handful of humans to band together, invade the alien spaceship, and punch the invaders in the face~! This is sci-fi punk rock at it’s finest, and it is amazing.

 

Extraordinary X-Men #3Extraordinary X-Men #3

The evil that is Fox has caused all mutants to become sterile. The stupid that was Secret Wars brought Old Man Logan into our more familiar reality, where his younger self is dead. The interesting writing of the Bendis Uncanny run saw time-displaced Jean Grey leave the X-Men, which lasted about a week before ashe was roped back in. Also, Storm remembers that hating Scott Summers and fighting with Rachael Grey doesn’t make for an interesting character, Iceman is Iceman, and Magik is the most interesting character in this book. Will this be good? Does Marvel care? We’ll find out together~!

 

Gotham Academy #12Gotham Academy #12

So, our favorite kids at Gotham Academy decided to go exploring while on a field trip and one of them has gone missing. Instead of, say, going to the authorities or the demon-hunting headmaster for help, they’ve decided to take care things on their own. The mystery is leading them to the ruins of Arkham Asylum, which went from asylum to demon-infested hellhole back in Batman Eternal, but apparently we’re going to get some more background on Olive’s mom, the forgotten Bat-villain known as Calamity. This is how you instill dread and stakes in kid’s comics; this is pretty much the textbook example of how you write kids comics. Pick it up.

 

Harley's Little Black Book #1Harley’s Little Black Book #1

Speaking of things to pick up, I’ll grab pretty much anything with Harley on the cover at this point. Harley’s been kicking ass in her own series and her team-up with Power Girl, which was such a good idea that DC Comics has decided to pair Harley up with other heroes and villains. We’re starting off with a bang, as Harley discovers a plot to assassinate Wonder Woman and decides she’s the only person that can possibly stop it…! Because Harley…! Zaniness will ensue, also because Harley. This is going to be bi-monthly and is almost certain to be awesome.

 

Invincible Iron Man #4Invincible Iron Man #4

I never thought I’d be saying that an Iron Man comic would be awesome, not after Civil War and everything that followed. Tony was such a failure as a hero that even Marvel decided to make him a villain, which made him even less readable. If there’s one thing that’s really worked coming out of Secret Wars, though, it’s Tony becoming a hero again. This is very much the Tony of the movies, fun to read and be around, and they’ve turned Madame Masque into an a-list villain again and that’s a great thing. Also, Mary-Jane Watson escapes the quagmire of One More Day and moves on with her life.

 

John Flood #5John Flood #5

Things we know: there is a sinister agency that did something to the title character, and robbed him of his ability to sleep. This has given him an ability to see patterns that no one else notices, one of which allowed him to see a mass murderer that was also created by that same agency. Problem: the murderer noticed and is hunting him, so John framed himself for a crime to be taken to a police station to keep himself safe. Further problem: the murderer is killing his way through the police station. John’s bodyguard and friend is going to have to get him out before death. Neat. I love this comic.

 

Nailbiter #18Nailbiter #18

And on the note of crazed killers who are more than somewhat interesting, a small town in the middle of American nowhere has just given rise to its seventeenth serial killer, and those in the best position to stop things from getting worse have been stripped of the ability to do anything by other people that think they’re doing the right thing and are being taken advantage of. This all begs the question – what would you do to fight evil? How far into the darkness would you venture, and what sort of mark would it leave on your soul? This comic is incredible. Hunt it down.

 

Prez #6Prez #6

Speaking of incredible comics, Prez is one of those titles that is probably hitting a little too close to home. It isn’t getting the attention it justly deserves, so here goes: a young woman gets voted into the American Presidency be default when the corporate ogliarchy that controls a corrupted congress fails to notice. A Bernie Sanders stand-in gets in as Vice President, and they go about trying to save a world so lost in corruption and propaganda that nothing can be controlled anymore. This comic is insane, but so are the American Presidential Primaries. Read one to understand the other.

 

Red Wolf #1Red Wolf #1

Coming fresh from the idiocy of Secret Wars… something interesting~! Okay, okay, Secret Wars itself was idiotic and unnecessary, but some of the mini-series that killed time between when that mess began and when it ended were cool, and one of them stared a Native American Sheriff in 1872 acting as the lawman over a town populated by western versions of different Marvel characters, including a mayor by the name of Wilson Fisk. It’s an okay concept that had some great writing and good art to support it, enough to grant it an on-going and it’s been awhile since the 6th Gun gave us anything new.

 

Robin War #1Robin War #1

Gotham’s been kind of a mess since Batman and the Joker killed one another. Yeah, Bruce Wayne is still kicking around, but he isn’t Batman… Jim Gordan is wearing a Bubblegum Crisis-like hardsuit and is calling himself Batman while working with the GCPD. A bunch of kids have taken to calling themselves Robin, but Damien Wayne is back and he is not happy. The other former Robins (minus Steph Brown) are also back and not impressed. Oh, and the Court of Owls is there and they might do something to make people think they’re relevant. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see.

 

Rowan's Ruin #3Rowan’s Ruin #3

So, there’s a girl named Katie that did a house-swap and is chilling across the pond and she disturbed a room that was never meant to be disturbed. Ghosts have ensued, and hauntings, and it hasn’t been nearly as much fun for Katie as she might have thought it would be. Her parents, meanwhile, are trying to make friends with the person that swapped houses, and that should go along just smashingly. As in, something is going to get smashed. Maybe Katie, maybe her parents. It’s a haunting fable, and these things don’t end well for anyone that isn’t a necromancer, or into necromancy.

 

Spidey #1Spidey #1

Ughhhhhhhhhh… okay. In another effort to recapture the energy and awesome of the original run of Spider-comics, Marvel is rehashing Peter Parker’s high school days again. It’s a retelling of stuff that’s been retold and retold, and, fine, whatever, I’m sure it will be fun and all and this is one of the things comics can do really well, revisit old concepts and make them relevant again. I just would rather see a comic where Peter didn’t sell his marriage to Satan, or at least a story where that actually mattered. I’d actually kill to write the latter. Just a twelve issue thing to kick start another new Spider-title for those of us that liked the marriage.

 

Star Wars #13Star Wars #13

Alright. You know how Marvel doesn’t seem to understand what to do with Spider-Man? The opposite holds true for the Star Wars comics: they know exactly what they’re doing. They took a year to show what everyone was doing between Episodes IV and V, setting the stage with entertaining tales, finally leading to their first event – Vader Down. Vader went hunting Luke and crashed on a small planet where the Rebels were training people to take down Vader, and Vader cut through them. Now, Leia gets her chance to meet Vader for the first time since Vader tortured his daughter. I am almost certain that this will make this week’s top five comics.

 

The Storyteller - Dragons #1The Storyteller: Dragons #1

So, a while back Boom Studios teamed with Jim Henson productions to give us the Storyteller, a series of tales that looked at old witchy fables and gave us some truly awesome stories to share. The second verse features more of the same, only instead of witches we get dragons. Told by a variety of writers and illustrated by a bunch of artists, this comic will look at draconic legends from around the world, starting with the Native American lore detailing the Horned Snake and the Thunderbird. This is going to be stupidly epic, so give it a look when you go comic shopping.

 

Toil & Trouble #4Toil & Trouble #4

Boom Studios continues to explore a war between the witches of MacBeth, where the three of them are engaged in a contest using the peoples of Scotland as pawns in a much larger game. Two witches stand against one another, with a third keeping the rules between them – they are family of a sort, and so much more than mere witches. There’s some awesome stuff going on here, the slow build of the first couple of issues laying the groundwork for the bloodbath we know is coming and the strange conflict between the Wyrd sisters. This is awesome stuff.

 

The Woods #18The Woods #18

This, though… this is in a league of its own. The Woods deals with a high school that was transported from earth to some other place, and everyone is trying to make due in the wake of that change. Problem is, there’s some people that are in it only for themselves and they’re making some impossibly shortsighted deals with outside powers to satisfy their own greed. There really isn’t anything else like this book on the shelves today, either in terms of emotional guy-punch writing or the insanity of the art. Pick this up; you won’t be disappointed.

 

Unfollow #2Unfollow #2

Here’s one of those ideas that you know someone, somewhere, is rich and terrible enough to find funny. A multi-billionaire is going to leave his money, evenly-split, among one hundred and forty strangers, or however many of them are still alive at the time of his death. Does this mean that some of them are going to try and kill the others? Yes. Does this mean there’s a good chance for character development, pathos, and ethical horror? You bet. This comic is unrelenting and promises to ramp things up quickly. Can anyone hold to ethics in the face of this sort of temptation?

 

X-O Manowar - Commander Trill #0X-O Manowar: Commander Trill #0

Aric of Dacia had a rough go of it, sure, but he’s the most powerful hero in the Valiant Universe because he was chosen by a god-like suit of living plant armor. You want to see someone who’s had a really rough go of it, look at the alien that would be his nemesis, Commander Trill of the alien Vine. Dude watched his god choose a member of a slave race, and a slave that he captured and crippled. He could do nothing when the God Hand came for his people and had to watch that slave save some of him. Now, he’s going to try and conquer the earth… and Aric again stands in his way. Valiant doesn’t like one-dimensional baddies, though, so expect this comic to dig deep into the layers of Trill’s psyche.

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499

God of Comics – Top 5 for 2015-11-25

Culture, God Of Comics, Reviews

November 26, 2015

Archie #4

Archie #4

One of the things that crosses people is expectation versus reality. We believe in things that we’re told to believe in, and doubt our own experiences in favor of expectations that may or may not have any reality to them. I’ve seen this destroy friendships, relationships, marriages… and I’ve rarely seen this conflict so well illustrated as it is here. We finally delve into the very heart of the lipstick incident, the moment that crushed Archie and Betty and drove them apart, and it’s entirely tied into preconceived notions of gender, identity, and popularity. Archie overhears some girls making fun of Betty and tries to come to her aid; the girls respond by trying to remake Betty into someone she isn’t, but it’s fun to experiment and kind of necessary to do so. We learn who we are as much by figuring out why we aren’t. The girls make changes to Betty and Betty goes along with it because it’s fun, it’s a game of make believe, but it’s Archie’s reactions to the change that hurt her and drive them apart. Excellent tragedy that resonates because it’s real.

 

Black Magick #2

Black Magick #2

Combing the writering of Greg Rucka with the art of Nicola Scott isn’t fair to the other comics. You’re pretty much guaranteed to come up with something that will be, at the very least, exceptional. Rucka has a talent for sifting out some really interesting history and crafting lore with it whenever he delves into fantasy, and Black Magick is no exception. A cop who happens to be an actual witch is nearly set on fire by a group of people that hunt witches because they use magic, but the hunters are now using magic themselves. There’s a lot of politicking and double-speak going on here and there has to be; the witches are trying to live among the rest of humanity, and very few really believe in magic any more. Humans, that is. Animals know better. So does the thing lurking behind you right now. Nicola Scott’s art, as always, is the perfect sort of haunting for this tale, all soft shades with few edges. The sum is a comic that reads like a gentle dream, one of those strange overlays where everything feels real. This is beautiful stuff.

 

Darth Vader #13

Darth Vader #13

And this is about as far from the previous two comics as you’re likely to get while still keeping the same level of quality. Vader got sick of the Rebel Alliance being a thing and decided to take them out on his own, which is an unfair fight. Vader proves this quickly, even after Luke crashes into Vader’s ship. If the Alliance was smart, they’d destroy everything, pack up, and leave – instead, they try to fight Vader en masse and then they die en masse. There’s some clever moments around Vader as the people he’s cultivated from the beginning of this comic quickly find themselves in a bind and go to his rescue, even going so far as to capture Luke so that Vader will hopefully not obliterate them. There is nothing – nothing – that has given Vader back the dread and dignity he had before the prequel movies like these comics. This Vader is a force of nature, and everything around him reflects that, from the facial expressions and body language of everyone around him. This is the best of the Star Wars comics, and you need to be reading this.

 

Moongirl and Devil Dinosaur #1

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1

I’m not sure when intelligence became vilified in popular culture, or why. Perhaps it’s an idea of enslaving those gifted with a high intellect, to keep them subservient to the status quo. Regardless of the origin, there is an ideological war going on in our modern world, where conservatism goes out of its way to punish intelligence, curiosity, and passion. Witness the blatant lies, the blind adherence to staid dogma over question and seeking. And, yes, there’s a matter of representation: there are some intelligent heroes that are allowed to be, but they’re usually white and male. There’s exceptions, but this is the first time we’ve seen someone whose superpower is intelligence and curiosity who is also a young black girl, and that’s fucking awesome. Her world reacts poorly in its groping stupidity, but she’s made friends with a giant red Tyrannosaurus Rex, so I think she’s going to be okay. This comic is a puzzle of time travel, of the joy in discovery and the escape from a gray mundanity that sucks all life from the world. As great and important as Ms. Marvel, and for the same reasons.

 

X-O Manowar #42

X-O Manowar #42

Oh, look, X-O Manowar makes the Top Five again. It’s not like this isn’t earned; Valiant goes out of it’s way to make certain that this comic is one of their best, and the strain of quality this forces on all other comics is tremendous. Aric of Dacia has come a long way spiritually from the violent maniac he once was, having learned that all of his actions have consequences and that the god-like power that he now wields comes with a price. Aric is a warrior who has seen and become disillusioned with war while still acknowledging the occasional necessity of it. Here, he drives a hard peace among the factions he has sworn himself to while recognizing that there are other powers at play that are manipulating them all. There’s complexity here, philosophy and meditations on faith, violence, and real-politick all set against a sci-fi superhero backdrop that is unique for the sheer weight of everything that happens. We have called this the best of all comics time and again, and Valiant continues to prove us right. Thanks, guys. Please keep this up.

 

Didn’t quite make the Top Five. Still worth your time.

 

Angela - Queen of Hel #2Angela: Queen of Hel #2

Right from the start, this book is gorgeous. We described Black Magick, above, as having very soft shades with few edges, but this is very much the opposite: hard lines, stark colors, this book resembles a stone relief that is trapped somewhere between a church wall and a viking campfire. The story follows suite, standing firmly on an epic playing field, and starts building towards the means by which Angela will be able to overthrow Hel.

 

 

Switch #2Switch #2

Stjepan Sejic’s art is in a class by itself. There is no one who is better able to convey emotion through facial expression and body language like he can, and it makes anything he works on incredibly distinct. His writing style is also very much different than anything else you’re going to find on the stands. English is very much his second language, and there’s a weird flow to his narrative because of it. Oddly charming, like all his works. Definitely worth checking out.

 

 

Venom - Space Knight #1Venom: Space Knight #1

It’s weird how all the Guardians of the Galaxy – except Gamorra, and now the Thing – have gotten their own series, and each series has been stronger than the book they all share. Groot, Rocket, Drax, and Star-Lord have all ended up being fantastic reads, but I had my doubts when it came to this. I really shouldn’t have: this is both weird and excellent, with Venom becoming something like a Jedi by way of symbiote. Weird and excellent.

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412

God of Comics 2015-11-25

Culture, God Of Comics

November 24, 2015

All-New Wolverine #2All-New Wolverine #2

Issue one was okay. Laura’s always been a little more about the hard philosophy and question of identity than Logan was; she knows where she comes from, but she wonders what that makes her. Her journey has been one of consequence and self discovery from the very start, and her time among the Avengers Academy and All-New X-Men were echoes of that concept and her previous solo series, which, well, read the old X-23 comics. This, well, we’ll see.

 

Angela - Queen of Hel #2Angela: Queen of Hel #2

This title, on the other hand, has a very clear sense of itself. Through the auspices of Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen, she was inserted into the Marvel Universe and given history and identity. Both have been given a rich sense of lore that explains where Heven and the angels were and what’s been done to them, while also giving Angela reason to storm the very pits of Hel and claim them for herself. If you like truly epic myth-making, you need to read this.

 

Archie #4Archie #4

Finally, we might get some details on the Lipstick Incident! What was it that drove Archie and Betty apart? Can Betty and Jughead save Archie from the clutches of Veronica? Where is Reggie? Seriously, we’re four issues in and there’s been no real sign of Reggie. This month does give us Dilton and Moose, though, and I’m curious to see how this team updates the smartest man in Riverdale, especially given the chic that geeks are increasingly claiming for themselves.

 

Batman and Robin Eternal #8Batman and Robin Eternal #8

It continues. It powers on. The even comic that will evolve the whole of the Batman mythology, starring the various Robins – including Steph Brown, though she’s not a Robin here – with newcomers Harper and Cassandra Cain. Two things make this comic: one is the interplay between the Robins and their allies as try to work a case in Bruce’s absence, while the other is the sheer horror and utility of the villain, who makes custom people. Awesome stuff.

 

Black Magick #2Black Magick #2

Greg Rucka is writing an urban fantasy story. That should be enough information to get you interested in picking this up, but it probably won’t be, so… there’s a police detective working a case and she just happens to be a practicing witch, and she and her people have been doing their best to lay low from the forces that are hunting them, forces that think that the witches are evil and will not accept any other definition of them. Oh, and Nicola Scott is on art. You need this comic.

 

Darth Vader #13Darth Vader #13

So, in the first issue of Vader Down, Vader decided that he was done with this whole ‘Rebel Alliance’ thing and attacked the Rebel Alliance. By himself. He slaughtered a whole squadron with the same level of care that you might walk across a room before Luke crashed into the Dark Lord of the Sith, sending them both down to a single planet where the Rebels were training people to fight Vader. He’s still going to kill them all. This is going to be great.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy #2Guardians of the Galaxy #2

Now that Secret Wars is over, we can get back to our regularly scheduled awesome. The Guardians of the Galaxy have had some strange things happen – notably, Peter Quill got elected in-absentia and has become a literal star-lord, the new head of a galactic empire. The other Guardians – including his new wife, Kitty Pryde – are not sold on the concept and are off doing Guardian-things. It’s all pretty great, and being written by Bendis. Worth hunting down.

 

He-Man - The Eternity War #12He-Man: The Eternity War #12

Things went to hell when Hordak attacked: Skeletor claimed the power of Greyskull for himself, trapping his niece and letting his nephew try to clean up the mess. The problem is that Skeletor is a terrible person to hold any sort of power, and he’s got a good chance of ending everything that is sort of by accident… meaning Adam is going to have to step up his game and save the world, but the snake people are looking to replace him and remake the world in their image. I love comics.

 

 

Hex 11 #6Hex 11 #6

Get in on this now – humanity discovers that Ether is an actual thing, an energy force that allows them to do magic. Digital mysticism results, resulting in absolute chaos on a political and corporate level as world powers strive to claim more and more power, as power filters its way into the hands of anyone willing to claim it… though those outliers and heretics find themselves relegated to the Hex, ghettos for magical outcasts. This is awesome stuff, and you must read it.

 

Ivar, Timewalker #11Ivar, Timewalker #11

Oh, this is the comic that broke time. An immortal chrono-naut caused his own creation when the woman that he taught time travel to invented time travel, then took back his younger self to a point before she became the villain of the series. Now, there are dinosaurs in control of the Roman Empire, which is pretty much how I remember the Roman Empire about seventy million years ago. Yeah, their civilization didn’t survive, either, but it might now. This is madness.

 

Justice League 3001 #6Justice League 3001 #6

This might be the best comic coming out of DC right now. No, seriously. It’s about clones of the Justice League being recast in the future to save the future, and being drawn towards old members of the original Justice League who are immortal for reasons and reforming a team while one of the twins that cloned them also clones villains who maybe aren’t villains anymore because the clones are really genetic overlays and are working off broken information. This comic is the purest sort of lunatic gold. It’s brilliant and unexpected and does great things.

 

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1

I don’t even. Wut. A super-genius girl is made smarter when she becomes an Inhuman, which is basically a different version of mutants with a dumber name. She wants to save the world but the world doesn’t want to be saved because there are bad people out there, bad scary people. Thankfully, she’s just made friends with someone that can protect her and maybe help with her self esteem: DEVIL DINOSAUR, who is a MUTANT IMMORTAL RED TYRANNOSAURUS REX. You read comics to see shit like this. Get in on the game.

 

Ringside #1Ringside #1

Wrestling is the weirdest business there is. It’s a live-action show about an athletic competition that featuring death-defying stunts carried out in front of live audiences, pre-determined but not fake, with larger-than-life personalities that include sorcerers, demi-gods, and more. This is a comic about that, from the perspective of people involved in the strange twilight world of behind-the-scenes, whatever that means. This could be completely insane, and we’re looking forward to it.

 

Silk #1Silk #1

Of all the spider-powered people living in the Marvel Universe, Cindy Moon has had it the worst. Her family was taken from her and she was locked in a bunker for half her life, freed to kick-start an apocalypse, and then left on her own without any sort of safety net. She tried to make a go of things, but now she’s hooked up with an evil Black Cat, made that way by the Redacted Spider-Man back when that was still a thing. This was good before Secret Wars.

 

Switch #2Switch #2

Get this. Get this now. Stjepan Sejic does his own version of Witchblade, adopting the familiar characters and lore and taking them in radically different directions while still making everything, well, gorgeous. This latter bit is unsurprising given Sejic, but the story follows a young teen who picks up the ultimate weapon and is forced to become a player in the war between Darkness and Light. Take nothing for granted. Adorable chaos rules all.

 

 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #52Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #52

We keep saying that this is the best iteration of the TMNT that has ever been, and it is. Are you reading it yet? Oroko Saki and Splinter had it out, and the end result is Saki is dead and Splinter rules the Foot. Mikey split and has pretty much vanished, and some factions within the foot clan are not too happy about their new leader and are just stupid enough to try and do something about it. Also, Baxter Stockman is still out there and still terrifying. This is awesome.

 

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2

Marvel’s A-list hero has – all by herself – beatn Modok, Thanos, Dr. Doom, and even Galactus. She’s the best hero in the whole of the Marvel Universe, but can even she overcome being sent back in time and erased from history? Only her best friend remembers that she exists, and her plan is to get a man Squirrel Girl has an interesting relationship with to help: no less than Tony Stark, the Invincible Iron Man~! But who did this? Who is responsible? The cover will not tell us, so I suppose we’re just going to have to read the comic. You should do that, too.

 

Venom - Space Knight #1Venom: Space Knight #1

Neat. Groot gets his own book. Star-Lord… Lady. Whatever. Drax. Rocket. Not Gamorra, of course, for reasons. Venom, though? The guy that just kind of started hanging out with these guys after leaving the Thunderbolts? Sure, give him a book. This might be cool, though; Venom is Flash Thompson, former bully and war hero, double-amputee granted legs and power through the symbiote, and current Earth Ambassador in galactic affairs. The other Guardian books are great, and this should be, too.

 

X-O Manowar #42X-O Manowar #42

It’s the best of all comics. No, really. If there’s one thing that Valiant Comics has been good at, it’s been expressing the idea of weight and consequence that comes with power. No one has felt that more than X-O Manowar, a space viking chosen by the god of an alien empire and made the king of those aliens, his own time dispaced people, and the modern world. Sadly, there’s conflict between the fearful and the warmongers of all three peoples, and that’s all finally coming to a head – which is going to force Aric of Dacia to do something about it. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, and it makes for excellent reading.

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419

God of Comics 2015-11-18

God Of Comics

November 17, 2015

Batman and Robin Eternal #7Batman and Robin Eternal #7

DC Comics seems to have learned quite a lot from their time plotting Batman Eternal – this feels like a much more even ride so far, with the lows being nowhere near as bad and the story clipping along at a brisk pace. This is really Robins Eternal, as Bruce is still out of commission and Bat-tlegum Crisis hasn’t clued in yet, but we’ve gotten some shocking revelations about mother and the kids are off to investigate a criminal organization that makes designer humans. It’s a good read, and about as close to Batman: City of Crime as could be expected. Cool beans.

 

Black Knight #1Black Knight #1

Really? This guy gets his own comic series? Okay, the Black Knight is a sometimes-Avenger who wields a cursed sword. The sword makes him more powerful the more he uses it, but it drives him towards damnation as its powers grow. It’s an interesting horror or psychological device that has never been used in that way, but now that character is being warped to Weird World so maybe we’ll actually get the story that this character was designed for? I’m going to read this more out of curiosity and a love of Weird World than anything else. Fingers they be crossed.

 

Bloodshot Reborn #8Bloodshot: Reborn #8

I don’t even know what’s happening with this book anymore, and that’s not a bad thing – this was the single best action book on the shelves, but writer Jeff Lemire decided to move into action-thriller and then action-horror, showing the versatility of this concept and exploring the guts of the character. Equal parts Terminator, Dracula, and the X-Files, Bloodshot combines the best of those narratives and creates something wholly unique: a monster who became a man and now seeks to become a monster to trap the monster he was. This series is unspeakably cool, and you should read it.

 

Clean Room #2Clean Room #2

Hey, Gail Simone is writing Lovecraftian horror with a Scientology analogue, and you know what it is? If you said terrifying and awesome, than you are correct. We don’t know what the Clean Room is; those in-world that do know of it speak of it in whispers, and our protagonist, Chloe, is hunting for answers held by someone who many view as a savior. The thing is, we’re dealing with a false messiah that has a dangerous following and access to a perspective that puts everyone that might challenge her at a disadvantage. This book questions that nature of reality. Check it out.

 

Cognetic #2Cognetic #2

You know what’s fun? Starting a story off by showing how effective a character is, and then having them outplayed at every turn by someone so far above their paygrade that it makes them look… well, silly. Things did not go so well for Amie, but they worked out stellar fashion for the villain men call Blue. Now, Amie is back to less than where this story began – lacking resources burned and trust lost among colleagues. This is okay. A story with a decent enough hook, but it’ll be the next few issues that determine whether it’s going to be worth following.

 

Extraordinary X-Men #2Extraordinary X-Men #2

That was quick. Wasn’t issue one a week or two ago? Are we all that eager to put Secret Wars behind us? The short answer to that is a resounding yes, because fuck Secret Wars. The X-Men are in dire straits as all the mutants are sterile and the x-gene is no longer propagating because of Fox. Storm, eager to be a worthwhile character again following the taint Wolverine left on her in the last few years, has put together a team to make that happen. Wasn’t overly impressed with issue one, but I am curious to see where this goes and what Marvel has in mind.

 

Hacktivist #5Hacktivist #5

Read this. Read this. Do it now. Go to your comic book store or Amazon or wherever and get the first trade and then every single issue of the second volume. You’ll thank us. This is a reprint of a formerly con-exclusive cover and we’re okay with that on the basis that it gives us an excuse to bring up this series again. In essence, Alyssa Milano wanted to talk about the emergence of an information-centric economy and the real politick of of greed and corruption that is destroying our world. Like a superhero, she put together the best possible team and struck gold. You must read this.

 

Harley Quinn #22Harley Quinn #22

You get weird stuff out of the big two, sometimes. Parodies of their own stories and one another. Marvel has Deadpool, for the most part, and DC has Harley. This version of the character is insane, yes, but also incredibly bright and is past her Joker-obsession and trying to make a life for herself. Sometimes, that means making friends and helping them out. One of those friends is Sy Borgman, a retired supervillain who is having trouble with an old lover who may or may not have been impaled on a rhino. This series is batshit insane in the best possible way.

 

Huck #1Huck #1

I find Mark Millar hit-or-miss. There’s an unhealthy amount of self-loathing in some of his works, a hatred of himself and his craft and his fans that I think is born out of the fact that he writes comics. The thing is that he is impossibly talented, so even when he’s in the mire of his damage his work comes out qualitative. This sounds like Millar without the deprecation: a superhero living in a small town as an open secret finds himself being blackmailed by a reporter who discovers that he exists. This could be very interesting, and we’re looking forward to getting our mitts on it.

 

Jem and The Holograms #9Jem and The Holograms #9

Gods, but that movie was terrible. Who decided to lock down Kesha as Pizzazz and then not use her? That’s criminal, that is. That’s outrageous. Equally outrageous, but in the opposite direction, is this comic. Kelly Thompson has expanded the mythology of this series beautifully, growing her characters and taking the time to make her world make sense, at least to itself. Jem and her sisters feel like family, which is nice, and Synergy has hinted at how dangerous she might be… and with the Misfits sneaking into a house party Jerrica is throwing, things are about to get wacky.

 

Jughead #2Jughead #2

The modernization of Archie continues with Archie’s closest friend, Jughead. This version of the character is a teen who grew up rich and lost everything at a young age, which explains his name and apparent lack of money. He continues to be intelligent and tricky and maybe the single best character in comics (it’s arguable). Here, he’s having to deal with Riverdale High’s faculty being replaced by people that are mucking about with his world, and clearly do not know with whom they are mucking. Jughead’s imagination is his refuge and font of inspiration, and this is one of the better comics coming out this week. Give it a look.

 

Kanan The Last Padawan #8Kanan: The Last Padawan #8

We got the history of Kanan leading up to this point, watching as a young Padawan lost his Jedi and then learned to give up the Force. It was a tragic tale, but we’re moving even further back now – to the point where a young Caleb Dune was first taken in by a Master, and how the two of them found one another and learned from one another. It’s an interesting device that adds depth to Star Wars: Rebels, which has been the best way to kill time while waiting for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Do you have your ticket yet? Good. Need something to read? This is it.

 

Ms. Marvel #1Ms. Marvel #1

So, with any luck, this series is going to pick up where it left off prior to Secret Wars because here’s the thing: this comic is pretty much perfect. It’s the best young adult comic series going right now, honest and awkward and heartfelt and, most of all, important. It doesn’t talk down to its readers, it doesn’t shirk away from difficult content, and it is frank, honest, imaginative, and entertaining all at once. Better still, she’s now officially an Avenger, which has to be about the best thing ever for a geeky fangirl like her. Kamala Khan is the best thing ever and if you like fun you will like this.

 

The Mighty Thor #1The Mighty Thor #1

Marvel’s absolute king when it comes to epic level storytelling, Jason Aaron, continues to evolve the mythology of Thor. The Goddess of Thunder was revealed to be Jane Foster, which is an interesting twist: Jane is dying of late stage cancer, so when she’s not Thor she’s frail on death’s door. As Thor, she is one of the mightiest beings in the Marvel Universe, which is good considering the mess the Asgardians have made of the Ten Realms. Clever writing and beautiful art combine to make a story worthy of the best bards and one of the best comic runs Marvel has ever published.

 

Pretty Deadly #6Pretty Deadly #6

Deathface Ginny is back. The daughter of Death Himself returns with her small band of friends, having survived the encounter with her parents. Now, a new century approaches with the promise of a war larger and more brutal than anything that has come before – can Ginny, now Death Herself, handle the weight of her inheritance? Those of you that missed this the first time around might want to dive right in; this series is weird and excellent, with flowing artwork that feels wet and a meandering writing style that feels like the best parts of a vision quest.

 

Public Relations #3Public Relations #3

Nerdcouver is in the process of making some changes, but credit where credit is due: they’re the ones that turned us on to this series, and we will cover it in their absence. Why? It’s fun. A prince ran away from a magical kingdom to live in the real world, but was dragged back by co-workers and now everyone is regretting the decision. This is about making a place for yourself when you feel like you don’t belong, a slice-of-life book that went off the rails somewhere in the most entertaining way possible. Those who get it cannot explain; those who do not will not understand.

 

Rat Queens #13Rat Queens #13

The best high fantasy D&D-inspired comic ever comes back for unlucky thirteen, but who is that lack of luck for? The students at Mage University, where magic-users go to learn their craft, are having issues because the faculty is cracking down on the concept of education. The Rat Queens are involved because their resident necromancer’s dad seems to have kicked the whole thing off, and the others are looking to get drunk and get to the bottom of things. Or a maybe a glass. You know, whichever comes first. Look, it’s Rat Queens, if you’re reading this you know it’s fucking great. Recommended.

 

Red Thorn #1Red Thorn #1

We get a lot of Celtic mythology in modern fantasy. A lot of Roman and Norse and Egyptian. Some Japanese or Chinese, maybe. And, well… that’s pretty much it. Maybe some Santeria, if we’re lucky. No Sumerian, no Hindu, slivers of Meso-American and Polynesian. This comic seeks to redress some of that by going into Pictish and Scottish lore, playing with the monstrous beings that lurk under Glasgow in the modern era. A girl discovers she can make her drawings come to life as a demi-god emerges from underhill. Sounds like exactly the sort of story we like.

 

Secret Six #8Secret Six #8

Turns out some things have gone awry on the mystical side of things in the DCYou, and it’s adversely affecting the various mystical people that normally would deal with this sort of thing. The only person left that can do anything about it is Black Alice, who is a sullen traumatized teenage girl who happens to hang out with a bunch of other sullen traumatized people. Thankfully, the lot of them have a guide in the form of a literal demon, Etrigan. This should end well. For us readers, anyway; things rarely end well for the Secret Six, which is kind of the point.

 

Star Wars #12Star Wars #12

Jason Aaron, who we’ve already called Marvel’s resident master of epic scale storytelling, was given the wherewithal to tell a Star Wars story. It’s been a lot of build and expansion, showing what happened between the destruction of the Death Star in Episode IV and the attack on Hoth at the beginning of Episode V. The short answer is chaos, as Luke investigates every scrap of Jedi-lore he can find, and Leia gets caught up in Hans’ smuggling past. It’s a fun little tale that will get us from one point to the next, and it’s well worth picking up if you’re a Star Wars fan.

 

Star Wars Vader Down #1Star Wars: Vader Down #1

More Jason Aaron, this time building on the framework laid by Keiron Gillen. That’s basically saying that Michelangelo is working on something started by Leonardo da Vinci in a collaborative manner. Yeah. Following the Machiavellian machinations of the Vader comics, the Dark Lord of the Sith decides to go after the Rebel Alliance by himself. Everyone gets involved from both sides, because if there is one person (besides Palpatine) that the entire galaxy lives in terror of, it’s Vader. This is going to be awesome, and is almost a shoe-in for a top five spot. Get this.

 

Star-Lord #1Star-Lord #1

Okay, so this is about how Peter Quill basically stole his way into space, back before he was a member of the Guardians or Star-Lord. The problem with this is that it goes what we know about Quill being in space as a kid, but we trust Sam Humphries to tell his tale; the man writes a better Peter Quill than anyone else in the history of ever, though I’d much rather get more details on what Star-Lord is doing, you know, running an empire juxtaposed with what his wife is doing while guarding the galaxy. Should be fun and worth a look if you’re a GotG fan.

 

Tomboy #1Tomboy #1

We don’t look at Action Lab Comics too much, so we’re hoping this series changes that. The cover looks gorgeous, and the story sounds interesting – a young girl who spends her time playing field hockey loses her damn mind when a childhood friend is murdered. She decides that murdering the people that did the murdering is the best thing she can do, especially given the utter corruption she discovers is lurking all about her. The best part? The narrative promises to look at the deeper terrors of revenge, namely that fighting monsters can turn one into a monster. Looking forward to this.

 

Wayward #11Wayward #11

You’re reading this, right? You need to be reading this. Go buy the prior two trades, because spoilers lie ahead. The revelation of evolving divinity has recast what this comic is about, establishing who our characters are, why they have the powers they do, and what is happening all around them. Now that these characters understand who and what they are, the old gods are running for cover and trying to survive this latest celestial emergence. Spectacular artwork and a heady concept mingle with excellent characters, witty dialogue, and deceptively simple storytelling. Also, the appendix in each of these comics is worth the cover price alone. If you haven’t read this yet, fix that and do so now.

 

Welcome Back #3Welcome Back #3

We’ve seen the story where two lovers are resurrected time and again, through the ages, finding one another and falling in love all over again. Sometimes it’s effective; most times it comes across as sort of meh. This takes the basic concept and does something different with it – the two people being reincarnated are warriors, and arch-enemies on top of it. They’ve been hunting and killing one another for eons as part of a war of other immortals that are, likewise, caught up in the same conflict. Discovery and character are the hallmarks of this book, and make it well worth the read. Check it out.

 

Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #1Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #1

I want to be excited by this book. I do. I love the character of the Eternal Warrior. I love the concept of him, and I love the stories it should be easy to tell with him. He’s a character full of age and gravitas, a living record of what has been and what is told bluntly. Trick of it is, Valiant has tried this twice already and failed. Admittedly, they didn’t have Robert Venditti – the man who writes the best of all comics, X-O Manowar – writing it then, and… you know, that does make a difference. I just talked myself into being excited by this book, and it might be my first read this week.

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431

God of Comics – Top 5 for 2015-11-11

Culture, God Of Comics, Reviews

November 12, 2015

Catwoman #46

Catwoman #46

A highly controversial run comes to an end with both a bang and a whimper. Selina saw Bruce’s utter failure in Batman Eternal, and got involved with one of Gotham’s most dangerous crime families with the goal of unifying the Gotham Underworld under her control. It was a heist story where the prize was the Gotham Underworld, writ against Roman Sionis and the Yakuza, and people suffered for Selina’s ambition as she suffered with her own desire for the immediate as opposed to the long term machinations this heist demanded of her. Here, she wins and loses everything at the same time; her plan comes to fruition but not with a cost she can stand, and so she does what she does best: cuts and runs. There’s a beauty here, an elegance in the narrative that Genevieve Valentine wove together, and it’s a shame to see it end. The art was always a little too loose and dark to fully mesh with this story, which needed tighter lines and shades, but this story granted Selina a greater degree of depth than we’ve seen from her before, and planted seeds for the future. Well done.

 

Darth Vader #12

Darth Vader #12

Vader continues to be an absolute force of nature here, manipulating everyone around him as he seeks to covertly pursue his own goals, which now very much includes challenging the Emperor. This means undercutting the various other powers that Palpatine has put into play, while also making use of the commander that has been assigned command over Vader himself and the small group of agents that Vader has collected in secret. This book is ruthless, with everyone involved being terribly good at what they do – every victory feels earned, and every loss is based in heartbreak. This is a story worthy of Vader, a mythic story of gods waging war in the ultimate science fantasy series, and it is a perfect playground for writer Kieron Gillen. The art and colors of Salvador Larroca and Edgar Delgado only make the whole more powerful, the lush starkness of their work. This is a must read for any Star Wars fan.

 

The Goddamned #1

The Goddamned #1

Several of the people in our offices study religion, mythology, and history for fun. It’s just one of the things we do, and it’s one of the reasons that we appreciate the writers we do. We get the power of myth, and it’s one of the reasons we all love Jason Aaron. If this were an age of Vikings, Jason would be one of the most sought bards, the sort of storyteller than would breath life into the old stories, and he very much does that here. This is a tale of what happened after Eve and Adam were booted from Eden but before the Flood, and it’s hard to imagine a more horrible land of Nod than what we get here. This works primarily because of how wet the whole feels, the lines and colors bleeding along with the words and taking hold of the mind. It’s a trick Jason has mastered, working to the strengths of everyone he works with, and the final revelations of this book have us craving the next part of this tale. This sets the stage for something powerful and potent, and it should be interesting to see how this contrasts with Noah.

 

Imperium #10

Imperium #10

We’ve described Toyo Harada as a man so powerful that he might as well be a god in the past. This single issue illustrates that point in full, as an inter-galactic species that has colonized Earth goes to war with him and he barely notices, effectively stomping them flat in the past. In the present, they’re thinking they might have a chance to get to him when he’s sleeping, as he’s taken their doomsday weapon and made it his own, sort of. Said weapon is alive and wants to kill him, but knows doing so might be impossible – this man fought their god to a stand still back in the early days of Unity – but it’s interesting to see the fractures within the Vine, how they function given the losses they’ve suffered. Combined with this is a tale of psychological analysis, as Harada’s closest adviser seeks to understand the thoughts of an actual alien and an artificial intelligence. This is, politically and conceptually speaking, one of the most complex comics on the shelves, and an absolute masterpiece. If you’ve never read this book, change that now.

 

The Wicked + the Divine #16

The Wicked + The Divine #16

We mentioned up above how good Kieron Gillen is at working with myth. He’s got a talent for it that can only be compared to people like Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore, and doing this column has given us an incredible appreciation for what he’s capable of. From Three to Young Avengers, everything we’ve read that he’s written has resonated with us in some way. The Wicked and the Divine is about gods, yes, but it’s also about the myth of gods and what happens when people ascend to godhood with an absolute limit. More and more, we’re finding out what cost comes with power. For the Morrigan it was loneliness and separation, two concepts she was very much tied to before she came to power. This comic deals with finding reasons to live without hope, of dancing on the edge of entropy and finding a way to live there; goth culture as a medium for the human spirit. It’s beautiful, and guest artist Leila Del Duca instills every page with a thrashing gravity. It’s an interesting choice that highlights the emotional beats of the story. Hunt this down.

 

Didn’t quite make the Top Five. Still worth your time.

Batman and Robin Eternal #6Batman and Robin #6

Continues to drive home how lost the Robins are without Bruce while also forcing them to grow up. We finally get a taste of what sort of evil they’re fighting, and what that villain might look like and it’s horrifying. The existence of Mother is something that would have horrified Bruce, and feels as close to City of Crime as we’re ever going to get.

 

 

 

Birthright #11Birthright #11

This comic is going to crack the top five at some point. It’s too good not to; the art and story line up perfectly, and the concept behind it is too brilliant for it not to be recognized as genius. We get to see Mikey as the bad ass hero here, finally striking out on his own back in the fantasy world, and we see the trauma that will eventually destroy him. Awesome stuff.

 

 

 

Illuminati #1Illuminati #1

Would have been better without the idiot ending. Seriously, talking about how badly people suffer after paying their debt and applying that to the super villain community? That’s a lot more interesting than someone being set up for failure by one of their own. This would have been a much better comic without the twist at the end. It’s still fun.

 

 

 

The Ultimates #1Ultimates #1

There was an inter-office argument between this and The Wicked and the Divine getting a top five spot, and it finally came down to art. The writing is good, the set up interesting – heroes trying to defeat problems with more than punching, dealing with symptoms instead of causes – but the art feels more street than cosmic. It’s a little jarring, but still good.

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