• Columns 

    This Month in Comics: October 2011

    By | October 31st, 2011
    Posted in Columns | % Comments
    Journey Into Mystery #630

    It’s been quite some time since I last wrote this article (March 2011, to be specific). Due to the increasing number of our staff, this rotating article comes to my desk not quite often anymore. Now that it has come to me, I’m pleased to present to you my own warped take on the 100+ comics I read this month (because I literally read over a hundred comics this month, and I have some things to say).

    Hop on down after the cut as I tell you about the best and the worst of the month, make up a few categories, lampoon a few things and just get quite silly. Why not, right? 
    I suppose I should also note that spoilers are discussed for all these various books, so if you haven’t caught up on your reading yet… well, you’ve been warned.

    Casanova – Avaritia #2

    Best Comic of the Month: Casanova – Avaritia #2

    I don’t think I’ve ever been able to hide this undeniable truth: I adore Casanova. I liked it back when it was printed on Image and I couldn’t find any of the Gula issues, I loved it when Icon started reprinting all the issues in color, and I went nuts when the first issue of Avaritia came out. Every week an issue of Casanova comes out is arguably my favorite week of any given month, and this month’s issue was a perfect example why. We’ll be discussing it later in the column as well, but for now we’ll just leave it at this: I fucking love this god damn book so much. Bravo, all. Bra. Vo.

    Poor pandas.

    Runner up: Batman #2, Chew #21, Secret Avengers #18, Morning Glories #13

    Detective Comics #2

    Worst Comic of the Month: Detective Comics #2

    Alright, let’s think about this for a minute.

    On the one hand, we have Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman, which is a) arguably the best book from the DC relaunch (as much as it pains my anti-Batman sensibilities to say this) and b) the best Batbook in the past five years that hasn’t had the name “Grant Morrison” on the cover somewhere.

    On the other hand, we have the flagship DC comics book, in which Tony Daniel attempts to shake things up by making some changes that are already being ignored by other titles (see: Daniel’s “faceless Joker” appearing in Batman – The Dark Knight with his face and James Gordon appearing absolutely fine all over the place).

    If there’s one thing that the DCnU gave DC the opportunity to do, it was to tell a series of sync’d up stories that reflect the changes they begin and offer up a series of connecting stories within a singular universe. Instead, we have one good Batman books and then a bunch of other Batman books. I mean, if David Finch’s Batman – The Dark Knight (arguably the least high profile title of the bunch) can show a connected universe, why can’t any other?

    Oy vey, DC. Oy vey.

    Runner up: Batgirl #2, Legion Lost #2, Savage Hawkman #2, Batman – The Dark Knight #2

    Casanova – Avaritia #2

    Best Scene of the Month: Matt Fraction tries to kill himself (Casanova – Avaritia #2)

    Oh, look at that. The best book of the month won best scene of the month. Surprised?

    Continued below

    In Casanova – Avaritia #2, Casanova Quinn continues his current mission to find Xeno throughout the multiverse. Of course, now we know he’s Luther Desmond Diamond, so Casanova hopped through different versions of the multiverse to find Luther Desmond Diamond and murder him. While there are many memorable scenes in this issue (including and especially the final scene of the book), Casanova hops into what is theoretically “our” universe to come face to face with the Luther Desmond Diamond we know as the subtext becomes less overt and we’re given a nice little piece of dramatic irony: Diamond is Matt Fraction.

    Casanova – Avaritia #2

    “Everybody’s going to think this means something” indeed.

    Runner up: Transdimensional Kung-Fu in Secret Avengers #18, “Which side are you on?” in X-Men: Regenesis, Matty Roth is arrested in DMZ #70

    Batman – The Dark Knight #2

    Worst Scene of the Month: “Wait till they get a load of me!” (Batman – The Dark Knight #2)

    Originally I’d come up with a brand new category for this scene, called “From Bad To Worse of the Month.” Then I realized, this was basically the worst scene I’d seen this month, so congrats, Dark Knight #2! You get the worst scene of the month!

    Why is this so awful? Well, let’s break it down a tad:

    1. It is a carbon copy of the finale to the first issue (OMG, a roid-rage version of a “classic” villain!)
    2. It is a terribly done version of the finale to Batman: Arkham Asylum
    3. It quotes the 1989 Batman film by Tim Burton, starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson in a disservice to the word “homage”
    4. It makes little to no sense
    5. It’s just rather painfully dumb
    I think that just about sums it up, right? Why is Batman so popular again?

    Runner up: Probably something from a different Batman book

    Ultimate Spider-Man #3

    Best Character of the Month: Miles Morales (Ultimate Spider-Man #3)

    Miles in the course of three issues has quickly solidified his place in the Ultimate Marvel universe, easily and effectively replacing Peter Parker. I wrote quite a bit about it in my review of the issue, but the basic summary is this: Miles is a good kid, and an excellent role model. Reading his stories puts a smile on my face, and it’s kind of impossible not to love him already. I’m very much looking forward to what Bendis and Pichelli have in store for him for the future.

    Runner up: Banner-less Hulk with a beard, Wolverine in all those millions of books he pops up in

    Catwoman #2

    Worst Character of the Month: Catwoman (Catwoman #2)

    On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have the “Catwoman for 2011“, a character whose actions “reflect someone who lives in our times.” Yeah, no. Not really.

    Runner up: Starfire from Red Hood and the Outlaws #2

    Journey Into Mystery #630

    Best Writer of the Month: Kieron Gillen (Journey Into Mystery #629-630, X-Men: Regenesis, Generation Hope #12, Uncanny X-Men #544)

    Two issues of Journey Into Mystery (with a recap of Fear Itself that is arguably better than Fear Itself), his final issue of Generation Hope (arguably the best issue of the series so far), the final issue of Uncanny X-Men (until the next one), and the line dividing X-Men: Regenesis. Five books this month, and starting next month Gillen brings in a brand new era for the Uncanny X-Men as part of the Regenesis status quo shift.

    Continued below

    Oh, and each issue was great. Really, legitimately great.

    Mr. Gillen, you take a bow, sir!

    Runner up: Scott Snyder, Jason Aaron, Warren Ellis

    Detective Comics #2

    Worst Writer of the Month: Tony Daniel (Detective Comics #2, the Savage Hawkman #2)

    Detective Comics netted the worst book of the month, so it’d be weird to not give Tony Daniels the worst writer of the month award, really. Tony Daniel is an artist, and his strengths lie there; I don’t want to necessarily tell anyone their place, but Daniels should stick to illustrating. Between his past run on Batman, his current work on Detective, and the “so dull I couldn’t even pretend to finish reading the issue while in store” Savage Hawkman (which is a major shame, because I love Hawkman stories  usually), it’s just clear that Daniels doesn’t hold the writing chops to match his illustrations.

    On the plus side, we’ll always have Batman RIP.

    Runner up: Sterling Gates, Paul Jenkins/David Finch, Judd Winick

    Batwoman #2

    Best Artist of the Month: JH Williams III (Batwoman #2)

    This is such a tough category to pick. There were a lot of really great books this month with great art — Francis Manapul’s stylistic work on the Flash; David Aja’s MC Escher fight club in Secret Avengers; Marcos Martin’s gorgeous Daredevil work; Gabriel Ba’s jaw-dropping work in Casanova – Avaritia; Tradd Moore’s gloriously violent debut in Luther Strode. However, the game is certainly always stacked against everyone when JH Williams III is putting out a book that same month, because JH Williams III is a god on his pages.

    Good game, everyone.

    Runner up: Francis Manapul, David Aja, Marcos Martin, Gabriel Ba, Tradd Moore

    The Fury Of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men #2

    Worst Artist of the Month: Yildray Cinar and Steve Buccellato (The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men #2)

    To be honest, I don’t remember reading through a lot of books that really annoyed me visually. Around the offices there were certainly books that were derided for their visual components, but the ones discussed never really bothered me (Such as Rob Liefeld in the Infinite or Hawk and Dove — but really, what did anyone expect there? Rob has a style, and he sticks to it. That’s not going to change!).

    Even beyond that, I try not to read books I don’t like, which usually houses art that I don’t like, but for the sake of this article, I read a few extra books this month (or at least flipped through them in the store). The only book I can very actively remember disliking artistically (because it came out this past week) was The Fury of Firestorm.

    What makes it so bad to me is that the book can’t even sneak by on the excuse that there were multiple inkers or colorists — there wasn’t. Cinar illustrated the whole book and Steve Buccellato colored it – so why can’t it look even? Despite the high profile writing team on the book, we’re given a title that looked unfinished, uneven and — unlike a few other less than great looking titles — the shifting art tones didn’t even come off as thematically appropriate. It was just rather messy.

    Runner up: Rob Liefeld, I guess? I don’t know. I don’t think it really matters.

    The Strange Talent of Luther Strode #1

    Best New Book of the Month: The Strange Talent of Luther Strode by Justin Jordan and Tradd Moore

    Continued below

    Image is definitely the place to look for dynamite new titles any given month, and that’s a statement I will always stand by — especially in this day and age. Marvel and DC putting out a new book? Well, alright. That’s cool, but hit or miss. Image, though? 9 times out of 10, Image is putting out the best new creator owned content from all sorts of talent, and Luther Strode is a prime example of this.

    We have certainly talked a LOT about Luther Strode on this site already, so I don’t think I really need to do it again. It won the Best New Book award from two unknown talents in the industry against creators I already knew and liked (see runner up list), so that alone should speak leagues and volumes about the title. So if you haven’t already grabbed a copy of the book, you might want to head over to your comic store later today — and be sure to grab issue #2 when it hit stands this week. You won’t regret it.

    Runner up: Penguin – Pain and Prejudice, Last of the Greats, Spaceman

    Xenoholics #1

    Worst New Book of the Month: Xenoholics #1

    On the flipside of my previous “Image puts out the best new content” statement, there are a few flukes in there. For this month, we were given Xenholics. Our newest reviewer Chad Bowers summed up the general feelings on the title in his review of it, and it’s worth quoting him on the subject: “Williamson and Damoose have done strong work before, and while I might not have cared for this first issue, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them figure it all out by number three or four.”

    Runner up: Brilliant #1, which really should have been better

    Northlanders #45

    Most Underrated Book of the Month: Northlanders #45

    Brian Wood. Declan Shalvey. How is this book not bigger on a month to month basis?

    It very much upsets me that this was cancelled, especially as Wood was just gearing up his Icelandic Trilogy. However, I will stick to the book until the end, and given the “you can literally pick this book up at any time and read it” nature of the title, you should to.

    Runner up: Ghost Rider #4, Hulk #43

    Daredevil #5

    Best Book That I Usually Deride But Actually Kind Of Enjoyed And Am A Bit Embarassed To Admit As Such Due To My Constant And Vocal Admonishment of the Month: Daredevil #5

    I have been rather vocal about my dislike of the current Daredevil run, and the rest of the guys on the site never let me hear the end of it. Even my shop clerk derided me when I took Daredevil off my pull! So I keep trying, and I keep trying, and I keep trying. Five issues in, and I’m still here, and I still don’t—

    Oh. Wait. The fifth issue was actually rather good. And it addressed the main problem I have with the book within the story.

    Whelp, looks like I’ll go sit in the corner for a bit.

    Runner up: Detecti– LOLJK

    Fear Agent #31

    Better Late Than Never of the Month: Fear Agent #31

    Fear Agent #30 came out on the 27th of October in 2010. Almost an entire year later, Fear Agent #31 came out on the 5th of October in 2011.

    Continued below

    Better later than never!

    Runner up: Who Is Jake Ellis #5, Captain Swing #4

    Hawk and Dove #2

    NYARRRR Of The Month: Hawk and Dove #2

    Hawk and Dove #2

    Runner up: Hawk and Dove #2

    Aquaman #2

    Most Divisive Book Discussed In The Multiversity Office of the Month: Aquaman #2

    We often argue about a lot of things in the Multiversity offices. Usually it’s a one-side vs. all thing (“No, seriously, you guys! Daredevil isn’t good!” “Shut up, Matt.”), but I don’t think anything has been as heated as the debate about Aquaman! Some of us think that the new Aquaman title is the best thing Geoff Johns is writing, whereas some of us think that the shtick where the characters in the comic don’t respect the lead character in the comic is overplayed already in issue #2. Arguing was seen, names were called, but in the end milk and cookies were given to all and we agreed that who cares, it’s just a comic book.

    Runner up: I don’t think there is a legitimate runner up to this, but Brandon loves shouting “OMAC!” whenever he can.

    Wolverine and the X-Men #1

    Best School I Wish I Had The Opportunity To Attend As A Child of the Month: The Jean Grey School For Higher Learning (Wolverine and the X-Men #1)

    Just look at that class line-up! Who doesn’t want to take choir from Doop? If I had Doop as a choir instructor when I was in high school, I probably would’ve enjoyed it a lot more.

    Runner up: Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors

    The Incredible Hulk #1

    Best Beard In Comics of the Month: The Hulk (The Incredible Hulk #1)

    Because Jason Aaron is writing the new Hulk book, the Hulk gets a beard. If there was ever a really easy way to tell that the Hulk is a complete bad ass, it would be now. With the beard.

    Runner up: Hercules, Volstagg, Jason Aaron

    It looks like he drew it on with a marker.

    Worst Beard In Comics of the Month: Multiversity’s own Joshua Mocle

    I’ll let Josh tell this story from NYCC 2011: “I told Jim Zub when he went to dialogue up my Skullkickers sketch that Edwin did that I wanted said dialogue to be directed at me and to be as defamatory as possible, and after letting him know what I was both Jewish AND Canadian, my beard is what he chose to zero in on.”

    “One dead Josh comin’ up!” “Aye Josh, ye don’t even gots a real @#*$ beard…”

    Couldn’t agree more, Jim Zub.

    Runner up: Mocle in a month from now

    //TAGS | This Month In Comics

    Matthew Meylikhov

    Once upon a time, Matthew Meylikhov became the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Multiversity Comics, where he was known for his beard and fondness for cats. Then he became only one of those things. Now, if you listen really carefully at night, you may still hear from whispers on the wind a faint voice saying, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine is not as bad as everyone says it issss."


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