Every Wednesday to geeks like me across the country is the best day of the week. Being able to go through a long day of school or work and then coming home to read adventures of your favorite heros and villains is a reward in and of itself. It only makes sense that every Thursday, then, we have a weekly article talking about what we’ve read that week. While I can’t speak for the other writers of this site, I, your humble host, will most definitely be writing every Thursday my impressions of the books I’ve been reading.
For the record, I usually spend about $30-$60 on comics a week, so forgive me if I am a little slow. I promise I will always deliver, though. I’ll just have to do it in small bits and pieces and write as I read. So without further ado,
Atomic Robo: Shadow From Beyond Time #1 (MATT RECOMMENDED BOOK OF THE WEEK)
Atomic Robo is something I’ve wanted to get into for a long time now. I really dig creator owned properties, and the idea of a comic centering around a robot obviously appeals to me. After reading the Free Comic Book Day issue of Atomic Robo, I knew I was hooked. Shadow From Beyond Time (or Volume 3 of Atomic Robo) doesn’t disappoint either. After the first couple of pages I knew this would be a favorite for me. It opens with Atomic Robo being visited by Charles Fort and HP Lovecraft. Do I really need to go further to convince you that you should grab this book? For the record, I haven’t read Volume 1 or 2 yet, but I am eager to go and devour them. This issue pretty much combines the quirky humor Daniel Way writes (i.e. Deadpool) with the serious (and big bodied) characters Mike Mignola writes and creates (i.e. Hellboy). I don’t want to write too much about the books events because I’m really hoping anyone reading this will go grab the book, but as an extra insentive, the “twist” at the end of the issue is pretty much perfect, especially for the characters that appear. So please, go pick up the latest issue of Atomic Robo if you know what’s good for you.
Irredeemable is only two issues in, but I already feel like this book is going to become somewhat of an indie/cult classic. Written by Mark Waid (who brought us Kingdom Come), this is the story of how the greatest superhero in the world became the greatest supervillain. It’s a great concept, and it’s being executed well. The first issue packed a punch as the book (for me, anyway) came out of nowhere. This latest issue furthers that, and offers us more backstory to the hero who would later go rogue and bring about destruction and chaos. Plenty of twists and turns keep the story intriguing and leaves me eagerly anticipating the next issue. I highly recommend everyone pick this up if you haven’t yet because it’s sure to become a favorite.
The Invincible Iron Man #13
My friend turned me on to the writings of Matt Fraction recently, so I do what I can to read what he’s putting out. While I’ve enjoyed his Iron Man stories, this latest one fell a little short in my mind. Nothing very substantial happened in this issue. All the previous issues had Tony Stark working against a ticking clock as Norman Osborn takes over the world, but this issue takes a bigger focus on Pepper Potts and her new Iron (Wo)Man suit. I trust Matt Fraction, but in the wake of Secret Invasion, a lot of odd things are going on in the Marvel Universe. Granted, DC is having it’s own ups and downs at the moment, but for the most part, those are character related events. Everything in Marvel is topsy-turvy right now, and some of the tie-ins to Dark Reign appear to be hit or miss. World’s Most Wanted Part 6 definitely felt like a filler issue, but it leads to a promising ending, and if nothing else, the issue is worth it for Larroca and D’Armata’s art alone.
Amazing Spider-Man #593
J. Jonah Jameson as Mayor of New York. Can you believe that sentence is a truth at the moment? I must say, I wasn’t a huge fan of the past couple of arcs in Amazing Spider-Man, but I trust Mark Waid holding the reigns for everyones favorite web slinger at the moment (especially after his issue with the Spot). This latest arc, 24/7, continues to show Waid’s prowess as a writer and gets me 100% excited about the Spider-Man books again. The scenes in the book of Spider-Man deliberately trying to upset JJJ are hilarious and charming, especially when he webs a noisey bus riders mouth shut. Furthermore, this book is setting up quite wonderfully for the next big Spider-Man story, American Son, with Spidey yelling at JJJ’s group of bumbling enforcers and letting out a Freudian slip. The final twist at the end of the issue leaves me quite excited for where the story will turn and how Spidey will get out of this mess.
Cable #14 (Messiah War: Chapter Four)
After Messiah CompleX finished, we got Cable and X-Force, two on-going titles destined to intertwine. That time is now with the sequel event Messiah War. I must say, while I absolutely adore X-Force, the Cable book has always fallen short in my opinion. I like knowing what’s going on, but nothing about the writing to me has ever been that compelling, and none of the events in the story have ever been that interesting to me. Right now is the first time I’ve ever really enjoyed the Cable book, and that’s only because it’s intertwined with X-Force. I love the return of Stryfe, though, and his portrayal in this recent issue was great, especially in the last couple of pages. We really see the kind of character Stryfe is – how he’s not totally evil, but in the end he’s still a villain. There was one thing in this issue that bugged me to no end, however: at one point, Domino and Deadpool are having a dialogue, and Deadpool’s speech bubbles aren’t in yellow. I don’t know if this is a glaring error or a possible foreshadow of events to come, but based on previous issues in this story, I’d say it’s an error. This is something that would probably only bug a person like me, but it bugs me none the less (especially since this issue comes after Magnum Opus, the Deadpool/Thunderbolts crossover that featured two Deadpools, so the possibility of a white speech bubble isn’t entirely out of the question… it’s just improbable at this point). I feel that the people behind the Cable book (Swierczynski and Olivetti) don’t pay enough attention to what is going on in the X-Force half, because there is contstant errors in the art in relation to how characters look. This could just be chalked up to different artists drawing different ways, but when we so clearly have seen Deadpool’s costume being tattered up and now it’s oddly fixed in parts, along with Apocalypse looking both tiny and frail in one scene and then bigger and a little more powerful in another… I just have to wonder. I enjoy the Messiah War story a lot, but the Cable books half of it just don’t do much for me, especially when the other half of this cross over is a book like X-Force.
Battle For The Cowl: The Network
I have a soft spot in my heart for Fabian Nicieza (he created Deadpool), so while most event tie-ins/one-shots are rather lame and not worth reading, I couldn’t help but be somewhat excited for this book, even if the concept of it didn’t intrigue me. Sometimes, good writers can pull off anything. So does Fabian do it? Well, the answer for this issue is yes and no. It’s a well written issue, but nothing of great importance happens. The issue just goes, once again, to remind us that Batman is gone and everyone has to figure out a new way to operate things. The representations of characters are done well, especially Batwoman, who is extra creepy in this issue, and Ragman, who is criminally underused, and I’m not saying that because we’re both Jewish. All in all, though, this tie-in doesn’t lead into anything, nor does it really show us anything that we couldn’t just get out of reading the Battle for the Cowl alone. So far, the only books of any importance have been The Underground and the Orcale mini. We’re getting closer to the end of the Battle, though, so perhaps Nicieza will get a better steady gig as a writer soon.
Oh Daniel Way. How you’ve taken my second favorite character of all time and made him better. This statement is not meant to downplay Deadpool’s older writers, but Way just has a … well, a way about him. In my opinion, he’s taken Deadpool from being a popular cult character straight to the forefront, into one of Marvel’s heavy hitters (as clearly evident by Deadpool’s recent surge in popularity). Deadpool is definitely one of my favorite books out right now, and this weeks issue is no exception. The opening sequences are pretty amazing, with Deadpool’s “RESPAWN LOL” sign and his return to the contract killer life. Deadpool soon meets up with Bullseye and the sparks fly. I’m interested in seeing where this ends up for Bullseye, because Deadpool is notoriously difficult to kill due to his healing factor, but I trust Way will provide another great story for the character. If you’ve never read a Deadpool book before, there’s no reason not to pick it up now.
Daredevil Noir #2
Marvel’s noir line has been very hit or miss in the four books that have come out for it. Some issues are really great, while other stories just fail to really hit the noir aspect of story telling and instead move the super heros back in time to change the setting of their origins. Daredevil Noir started off with a great first issue, because to not give Daredevil his own noir book is to try and deny a bird it’s right to fly. Alexander Irvine showed he had a good concept on what was necessary for the book to be true not only to the character but to the theme. The second issue keeps that going. First off, let me say that the art done between Coker and Freedman is amazing. It sets the mood and tone like no other book in Marvel’s noir series. Secondly, as I stated before, Irvine’s writing is top notch in this book. With the history the character has, it’s very easy to write a noir story about Daredevil, and this is the first book in the series to really pull it off. X-Men Noir was a good attempt, but in the end it faultered due to a cluttered cast. Daredevil features all the staples a good noir story should have, from the detective to the mysterious dame whose angle is unclear. I’d recommend this book over the other noir books Marvel has been selling if you’re curious about the line, because this outshines the others to a great extent.
Flash: Rebirth #2
From my experience, if you’re in a comic book store and you see a book with Geoff Johns’ name on it, you should pick it. No exceptions. Flash: Rebirth certainly goes to enforce that stereotype. It’s been quite some time since Johns wrote Green Lantern: Rebirth and moved on to several different series full time, but he certainly hasn’t lost his step in bringing favorite dead characters back to life. I’ll admit, when I first started reading the issue, I expected it to pick up exactly where the last one left off. This is not the case, and the beginning is a bit esoteric. I’m not 100% up to date with Flash mythos, so I began to think that it is not as accessible as other things he’s written, and I suppose this is the case. The book does heavily rely on knowledge of the Flash. That doesn’t make it unenjoyable for someone who doesn’t know all there is to know about the fastest man alive, but it does hurt in a couple places this issue. However, it’s easy enough to fill in the blanks, and the shocking twist ending left me staring at the page with my jaw down. Before the actual last page, I began to get suspicions about what was to happen, but to actually see it still left me in awe. Johns is once again crafting an amazing return arc, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. As long as the book keeps up the pace (no pun intended), it’ll certainly end up as good as Green Lantern: Rebirth, if not better.
On a side note, did anyone see the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory? It’ll knock your socks off.
Final Crisis Aftermath: Run #1
With every major event, there is always tie-ins. After every major event, there are still tie-ins. All in all, they’re never really any good. Yet, I’m a sucker, and I read them all anyway. I am not entirely sure why I do this, but I do. I think it’s part of my “I buy too many comic books” problem. DC promised that FCA would be good, but after reading the first issue of Run, I have my doubts. In all honesty, I just have no interest in the Human Flame. Sure, he was a big part of the opening of Final Crisis, and without him the Martian Manhunter would still be alive. But does anyone actually care where he ends up after? Not really. Run #1 doesn’t really do much to change that, either. The Human Flame is a fat bastard who ties his wife up in the basement and steals his kid’s bike. I’m not sure if DC expects me to route for him as he tries to flee the country, but in all honesty I would rather see him get what’s coming to him. It’s not that I have any particular allegiance to Martian Manhunter, but there is just no reason to care about the Human Flame. It’s no surprise that he got sucked up into Libra’s horde early on – he’s barely a B-list villain. So while I still read it because I read almost everything, I can’t with good conscience tell anyone else to read it. I hope the other Aftermath tie-ins are more interesting, but after this I have even lower expectations than I did before.
The Mighty #4
Peter J. Tomasi’s The Mighty is an interesting book. When it first came out, I was drawn in by the art alone. It seems like something Darwyn Cooke might draw, and I’m a huge fan of Darwyn Cooke (his run on the Spirit makes all other issues of the Spirit look pathetic in comparison). As I began to read the story, however, I found a story that I can now possibly compare to Irredeemable. It’s not the same “superhero to supervillain” story at all, but we have one single hero, Alpha One, protecting the entire world, and by the end of the first issue his closest friend is dead. This sets off a spark of new incidents which lead our main character, Captain Cole, to take the role as leader of the Omega Section, the company that does all the behind the scenes work for Alpha One to save the world. Up until this issue, I had been very confused as to what the overall direction of the story would be. I enjoyed the first 3 issues, but for the most part I wasn’t sure if this was just the solving of a murder or something more. Finally, with this latest issue, Tomasi throws it on the table. The conflict arrives, and it couldn’t have been timed better. This issue picks up where #3 left off, and then fast forwards 3 months to show the great work Cole and Alpha have done together. There’s even a great page of Alpha and Cole staring off into the horizon, commenting about what great things they’re going to do for the world. What better time to spring some conflict into the series? Despite it’s slow pace, I still get the feeling that this is going to end up with quite a killer ending before it’s all concluded.
New Avengers: The Reunion #3
Call me a sucker, but one of the best things about Secret Invasion was the reuniting of Bobbi Morse and Clint Barton, two dead Marvel heroes. One of my favorite moments was when Bobbi first came back as a skrull and Clint just lost it. It was such a great moment that when she really came back, it felt earned. Now they’re together again only to be seperated by their own original marital problems. Bobbi is also conveying a much darker side than has ever been shown of her in the past. It’s interesting to see how the events between them played out. To learn that Bobbi had always wanted a divorce was quite a shock the last issue, but to see what she had to go through on the Skrull’s planet was even worse. I don’t find it that surprising at all to see how distant she is from Clint after what she’s been made to go through. This issue was pretty good and an all aroudn enjoyable read, but over all I don’t think that The Reunion deserves the New Avengers title to it. While it features Ronin, a big player in the New Avengers, I feel this would have been much better as a Secret Invasion Aftermath title, or perhaps Dark Reign: The Reuinion. I only say this because when New Avengers is attached to a title I expect a certain quality that I’m just not getting from the book. I don’t mean to bad mouth it in any way, but it’s just not of the same calibre. Even the lolcat reference seems out of place, whereas I feel that if Bendis were writing it might have flowed much better. I just have a hard time believing that the Skrulls would really make such a reference on their home planet light years from Earth long before it was even a relevant phrase. I mostly have minor complaints with the book, but those minor complaints still exist at the front of my reading experience in it.
The Trojan War #1
Let me start off by saying this isn’t your Brad Pitt’s Troy. This is (what I am assuming) a faithful adaptation of the story (and I will get confirmation on that later). It’s an impressive feat that Marvel has been taking upon themselves these days, in trying to adapt famous stories in order to pull in more readers. The end result is a pretty good comic that I feel the general going non-super hero reading public could easily enjoy. The art is pretty good, and the writing stays true to the style it is attempting to emulate. I almost feel that Greg Pak should talk to Roy Thomas for tips when writing the Incredible Hercules. While I can’t say this is something any comic reader needs to get, it definitely is a small quality book and an enjoyable read. If nothing else, it helps me remember the story accurately, because at this point all I can remember is how Brad Pitt is attractive and kicks a lot of ass, and I’m 99% sure that wasn’t the point of the story.
Marvel Zombies 4 #2
Good God, does this series need to be continuing? When Mark Millar initially introduced the zombie-verse in Ultimate Fantastic Four, it was a great horror twist story. The initial issue of that blew my mind as I 100% didn’t see the ending coming (and I stayed away from spoilers 100%). Now, we’re in Vol. 4 of the spin-off series, and it just doesn’t need to exist. Zombie Deadpool is funny, and I’m glad to see the Hood gaining spotlight lately, but neither of them can redeem this book. It’s messy and centers around z-list characters while also screwing up continuity of the normal Marvel universe. As I sit and read this book, I can’t help but ask myself why it still exists over and over. Volume 4 doesn’t even accept the continuity of the previous books. It’s kind of a disaster. I imagine if there were actual zombies, they would find this book offensive to their kind, and demand that it be stopped to the point that South Park does an episode parodying Family Guy wanting to air an offensive cartoon of a zombie… wait a minute… The point is, Marvel, please stop with the Marvel Zombies. This story has gotten old, and no one cares about the Midnight Sons. I know none of them are doing anything at all, but that’s for a reason. Let’s just have this book be the final chapter in the saga and cut our losses, ok?
New Mutants #1
New Mutants and their collective history is not something I’m very familiar with at all. I know the characters individually, but as far as adventures and important events go, I’m lost. However, I did find the first issue fairly entertaining. It was amusing to me to see Colossus’ little sister be so damn creepy. The issue just didn’t really stand out, however. There ws nothing in the story that particular grabbed me or made me want to continue reading past the first issue. A bunch of mild events happen and that’s about it. As far as the X-related books go, this is probably about as entertaining as X-Men Legacy is to me. Uncanny X-Men, X-Force, X-Factor… all of these books have recurring characters, and they are just great. Well written, well paced, great artists… this book just doesn’t have anything in it to make it stand out. Granted, it’s been one issue, but I often find that if I’m not grabbed in any way by the first issue then I don’t bother to continue. That’s pretty much the case of this one, which is unfortunate but honest.
Superman: World Of New Krypton #3
All things considered, I am not a Superman fan. I don’t enjoy the character or the majority of his stories. I did read his books when Geoff Johns was writing them, and I liked Grant Morrison’s All-Star Superman as well as Mark Millar’s Red Son, but outside of that I tend to stay away from Superman books. In the wake of Geoff Johns bringing all the Superman books together for the New Krypton story, however, I find myself still reading every Superman title to see where things lead to. World Of New Krypton is an intriguing idea, and I absolutely love the return of Zod, but other than that the book is falling a bit flat for me. The idea of an entire world of Kryptonians now being able to live outside of their bubbles, and have super powers, should be a bit more intriguing I believe. Plus, Superman has to answer to Zod, one of his greatest enemies. The issue ends on a good note, and I’m excited for the next issue, but I hope the series improves over all. There is possibility for a good story here, it just hasn’t arrived yet.
Then again, you could always wait for Gil to write an article about how amazing Superman is and ignore my negative thoughts on it.
War Of Kings #3
Out of all the Secret Invasion tie-in books, the only one that really mattered was the Inhumans tie-in. It led directly into the War Of The Kings epic, and as far as things go, I am really pleased with this issue. I like the Inhumans and Black Bolt, and the combination of all the more sci-fi characters in the Marvel universe is really pleasing to someone like me. The latest issue brought in the Guardians of the Galaxy, who I’ve never read before but already love due to Rocket Raccoon, and I will definitely be following that series from now on. It’s nice to see things that were built up in Secret Invasion actually matter now in the series, which I didn’t expect at all (i.e. the marriage of Crystal and Ronan). Plus, this issue was worth it for the last page alone. The only thing that I’m curious about at this point is where Darkhawk ties in to it all, but I’m sure this will become more clear soon enough. Either way, though, this event is beating my previous expectations for it by far.
This. Was. Ridiculous. I don’t even know why I actually read it! Probably because I like the Punisher. It’s definitely one of funniest things I read this week, though, and it wasn’t trying to be funny. Eminem meets up with one of his old friends, and it just happens to be someone who the Punisher is after, so the two go at each other. In real life? The Punisher would have killed Eminem before Eminem could even get around a corner (I assume). In the comic? Eminem beats the Punisher in the face with a gun while quoting one of his own songs. I think that gives you a sufficient explanation for what you have in store if you read this comic. It’s free and online, so don’t worry about losing money over this. It’s definitely worth a read if you like laughing (and for what it’s worth, the art is really good).
Power Girl #1
When I first heard that Power Girl was getting her own series, I believe my first thoughts were, “Huh? Why?” I have never seen Power Girl as a leading lady, and after the first issue, I still don’t. I haven’t read any of Geoff Johns’ Justice Society of America stuff yet, so maybe there is something in there with her that I’m just missing, but I’ve always felt Power Girl was just one of those DC characters that “existed” and worked in an ensemble team. I know she’s had a series in the past, but in this new one her villain is Ultra Humanite, a man who has had his brain put into a gorilla and who controls an army of Big Daddy rip-offs who attack with emotion beams. Pardon me if I’m not exactly clamoring for the next issue.
Also, this may be tacky, and I know DC characters don’t often change their costumes as much as Marvel characters do, but … really? I posted the cover of the issue I did for a reason, and the issue itself takes note of her costume choice. But in one moment where Power Girl calls someone sexist, I just had to pause and say, “well, it’s not like you’re helping.”