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I had four comics this week; hardly enough to give an accurate idea of what the best and worst comics are.
Since I started picking this book up in November, Amazing Spider-Man has been very close, or has been, my pick of the week. This week is no different. With the second of this book’s two rotating artists, Ramos and Caselli, Caselli has a similar style but unique take on the wall crawler. There are some great action beats that are drawing very well, character moments that are true to those characters, but at the same time it moves them forward. This current arc is about Spider Slayer Alistar Smythe who is back to ruin the life of the beloved J. Jonah Jameson. Naturally JJJ has some moments that highlight his hate for Spider-Man, but also his realization that Spider-Man isn’t the nuisance he makes him out to be. It’s similar to Barney Stinson for How I Met Your Mother, who we all know is a jack ass, but shows moments of sincerity. Slott has been writing some cliffhangers that feel much like a comic book should. He leaves the story at a spot that is logical and makes you want to read the next issue. With a book that is bi-weekly, I don’t have to wait long.
My pick for worst of the week is Thor #619, a book that has been here lately. I am almost done with this book, a book that hardly has any structure, a story that is trying to get back to its former status quo and a book that makes brow raising choices that make you shake your head. The only reason i keep buying this book is Pasquel Ferry. This guy can draw some great fantasy characters and draws Asgardians that look both fantastical and science fictional at the same time. For those who know Thor, know that this is how they character should be drawn. With Marvel changing Thor back to the title characters original book, Journey into Mystery and starting a new Thor series, The Might Thor, written by Fraction and drawn by former Thor artist Oliver Copiel, I may be done with this character for now. Gillen will be writing Journey, and he is a writer I can’t get into, and I haven’t liked what Fraction has done with Thor so far. Sorry Marvel, I am sure you will get lots of new readers with this maneuver, but I probably won’t be one of them.
I also picked up Invincible Iron Man #500. Marvel has decided to amalgamate all the volumes of Iron Man into one and go back to its original numbering, and to celebrate created a huge anniversary issue with three different artists telling two stories: one present and one future. The story was alright; jumping back and forth between the two time periods. However, the art was too wildly inconsistent, especially in the future story where I had no idea what was going on in some panels. Not sure if it was the colouring or the inking, but is seemed rushed and sloppy. The style is meant to be gritty, but this wasn’t pulled off well.
Finally, the last book was my only DC book this week, Brightest Day #18, and I am going to give spoiler warnings here. This issue focuses on the Hawks, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and their involvement in this series up until this point has highlighted the continuity mess that these two characters share. It would take too long to explain it all, so I will take the easy way out and point to a Wikipedia article on Hawkman . Brightest Day #18 finally gets the Hawks to a place where they can finally shed all that past continuity and start fresh, but Johns and Tomsai say that isn’t enough and kill off the characters for good. This May be the first real deaths of DC’s dead is dead that was pronounced by Hal Jordan back in Brightest Day #8. This may also be a way to create a new Hawkman or Hawkgirl that cannot be added to the continuity of the former. Brightest Day is almost over; there are seven issues left and this is book is bi-weekly, so that’s about three months worth of story to go and there is a lot that can happen.
Yes, I know its Sunday and not Thursday, but I’ve had a busy, tiring week. So without further a due, here are my Picks of the Week. As you may know from my pull list, it was a lightish week for me; just 4 books (3 of which were from DC)’ Let’s say I loved the books from one company and not the other.
THUNDER Agents #2 – THUNDER Agents is my pick for Best of the Week because it’s a much different comic than the first issue, but it has a lot of the great twists and turns that the first issue had. This issue primarily focuses on the new heroes, and one hero in particular, Lightning. The characterization that Spencer doles out really gets to the heart of what a character wants so when it comes time to making a choice, to be a hero whose powers will kill him, it seems logical. the next few issues I am sure will be a spotlight on a particular character, while this mission is underway. What I like about this is that it allows Spencer to show how his world works, but makes us care at the same time. and the art of Chafu and Bat do not disappoint here. There is a two page splash of lightning running with his new powers for the first time and it’s in your face, it’s detailed and it convey’s a lot of the emotion that these guys want you to feel about these characters. This book is really a different kind of superhero book, and at a point when I read a lot of superhero books, this one stands out because it’s different and not generic, like some of the books I read. Thank DC.
Thor #618 – This book is really starting to get on my nerves. The first issue posed these great cosmological ideas, and the art was so good I gave Fraction and Ferry a PoW for that issue. Each subsequent issue has been a bit of a let down. While the art has been great, the stories are lacking structure, things just seem to happen. It feels like Fraction is building his arcs to work better in a trade, which he does often enough, but in books like Invincible Iron Man each issue still has a story to tell. So far in this series, we have seen the resurrection of two characters, Loki, and in this past issue Odin, and they were such simple resurrections that they really lack any emotion. Thor seems to be able to do whatever; he’s that powerful. The art however is still really strong and I might just stay for that, but we will see. I will give this book another issue or two and see what happens.
What’s big this week? Not too much. I’m probably mostly excited for THUNDER Agents #2. I have another two DC books out this week too, Flash #7 (didn’t number 6 just come out?) and Superboy #2. I really enjoyed Lemire and Gallo‘s first issue, but I will be giving them a couple more issues to really wow me in order for me to stay.
I have only one Marvel book this week; Thor #618. This series is starting to let me down, and that mostly has to do with the story, a story I have no idea where it’s going, and that’s not a good thing. The Pasquel Ferry art is what’s keeping me here for now. It has some great scope, and lots of clean lines.
I’ve read the first two volumes of Layman and Guillory’s Chew, and have been loving it so far. It’s really a crazy book with awesome art and crazy ideas. I’ll be picking up the third volume with the rest of my comics.
P.S. I want to thank the great response to my Aquaman article, especially the guys over at Aquaman Shrine for linking Panel Flow!
So I had seven books this week, and choosing the best was really hard. Three books vied for the top spot, while only one book could be the pick for the low spot on the pile. But before I get to the picks, there will be a slight change in format from last week. Picks of the Week posts will now come on Thursday and will include a brief review. Okay, that’s over, now time for my picks.
Best of the Week
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1: I knew nothing about this book until earlier this week when I checked out the preview, which I did because I’ve heard good things about Nick Spencer. Why I picked this book is that it’s a beautifully drawn book; artist Cafu has a great Gary Frank vibe and really sells facial expressions. Spencer’s story is about a special UN superhero squad that is called when they really hairy shit hits the fan. While we see the THUNDER Agents, this issue is not about them, it’s about those who run the superhero program and what happens when something happens that no one planned for. There are lots of twists and turns, and the story is paced really well, with action, exposition and some great character work. This beat out Amazing Spider-Man #648 for two reasons. THUNDER Agents really surprised me and took a story I’ve read before and made it feel fresh. Reason two is that Amazing Spider-Man seemed to force one of Peters character traits on the reader to move the plot to its conclusion, but it was still a great book with a very strong story and great art. That being said, I’m very happy I picked up this book and look forward to the next issue.
Worst of the Week
Avengers Prime #4: At one point I looked at the cover to see if this was the final issue of this mini-series; alas it was not. This book is still taking place right after the fall of Asgard, and while the coming together of the Avengers big three: Cap, Iron Man and Thor, was important after Seige, this bi-weekly title is still telling this story months and months after Seige has ended while the rest of the Marvel Universe has been involved in the Heroic age. I’m not a fan of Bendis’ Avengers story, his characterization doesn’t seem to always fit; case in point the guy bond at one point in this issue about getting into a former Avengers pants. These guys have some serious trust issues, especially with Tony and this series was supposed to look at tackling that, but talking about what girls they’ve laid, not cool. Which is a shame too because Alan Davis is drawing this book, and these characters look great and the story telling Davis provides is really well done. There is one more issue left and I’ll get it because I am pot committed, and once this is done, Avengers The Children’s Crusade will be the only title that i read, and once that’s done, I don’t think i will be reading the any avengers titles, which sucks cause there seemed to be a lot of potential with this franchise.
I’m going to be talking a lot about comic books, and while I have said I am going to focus my blogging to this topic, this topic is still a pretty broad one. A good portion of the comics I read are of the superhero persuasion. I am though working on building a pull list/library of non-superhero titles, but I find this to be a slow process as my Local Comic Book Shop (LCS) primarily stock superhero comics, and of the non-superhero titles that do come, only a few are available. What I am trying to say is that most of the discussion I will have on this site will be about superheroes, and these will be heroes from Marvel and DC. But please note, I am reading comic books from companies that are not the big 2 and that are not about superheroes, and I will talk about any comic book related material, and if you have a recommendation, please give it here.
I guess then I should tell my blog readers (those of you who are going to read now, and for those who will back track my posts at a later date, that is if I keep this blog up and running) what books I am reading.
I’m mostly reading ongoings: Uncanny X-Men, Secret Avengers, SHIELD, Thor, Thor: The Mighty Avenger, Invincible Iron Man, Fantastic Four, Captain America, The Flash, Green Lantern, Batman and Robin, The Walking Dead (in trade paperback), Skull Kickers and American Vampire. As you can see, that’s a lot of Marvel; it’s what I started on, so it only makes sense I keep reading them. There are also a number of mini and maxi series that find their way in and out of my pull list: Avengers Prime, Astonishing X-Men: Exogenesis, Astonishing Wolverine and Spider-Man, Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne, Nemesis, Young Avengers: Children’s Crusade and Brightest Day.
So I guess I read about 20 books right now, though I am looking to drop some of these soon. I’m struggling to get through Uncanny X-Men, Batman and Robin and Thor: The Mighty Avenger. The last one is a shock to me; this is a critically acclaimed series with amazing art. Chris Samnee is a great artist and story teller, but I can’t seem to get on board with Robert Lethridge’s writing. This book is old school superheroes, and for some reason, it doesn’t do it for me. Dropping Batman and Robin would mean for the first time in a long time I wouldn’t be reading a Batman book, and that’s somewhat disappointing.
But there are a few books I am looking to pick up, and one is a Batman title; Detective Comics with Dick Grayson as Batman. As I mentioned in my pull list for this week, Superboy starts up this week. I’m getting this solely because of Jeff Lemire, who’s Graphic Novel Essex County is fantastic. The only other book I am considering picking up right now is Amazing Spider-Man. It has been a long time since I picked up a regular Spidey book, and with all I’ve heard Dan Slott say, and all the Humberto Ramos preview art I have seen, this is easily the book I am anticipating the most.
So there’s what I am reading; like I said a lot of superheroes. Though please, if there is anything you would like to recommend, please, I’m all ears, and eyes I guess since we are talking comics. And as for posts go, this one is pretty boring, I know, but I think it is important none the less. Helps you get to know me. Next week I will have an actual discussing something comic related, I promise