Comics of the Week 03/27/2013

Best Comic

Fatale #13 - Down the Darkest Trail (how is anything ever better than Fatale?)

East of West #1 - Out of the Wasteland (incredible start)

Journey into Mystery #650 - Stronger Than Monsters, Part 5 (conclusion to one of the best relaunches ever)

Biggest Surprise

B.P.R.D.: Vampire #1 (a series I wasn't aware would be published from a universe I'm a stranger in just knocks me off my feet - great art and writing)

Biggest Disappointment

Uncanny Avengers #5 - Let The Good Tims Roll (an improvement in the series that still disappoints, the biggest failure in Marvel Now!)

Worst Comic

Fantastic Four #5au - The Death of the Family Richards During the Bloody Age of Ultron! or, "Everything's Going To Be Okay." (no one needed that)

Best Cover

B.P.R.D.: Vampire #1

Fatale #13

Worst Cover

Ultimate Comics Wolverine #2

The Flash #18 - The Heroes' Journey

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My Favorite Comics of 2012

1. Punk Rock Jesus: Sean Murphy

2. Wild Children: Ales Kot, Riley Rossmo

3. Spider-Men: Brian Michael Bendis, Sara Pichelli

4. Swamp Thing: Scott Snyder, Marco Rudy, Yanick Paquette

5. Ultimate Comics Spider-Man: Brian Michael Bendis, David Marquez

6. Animal Man: Jeff Lemire, Travel Foreman, Steve Pugh

7. Saga: Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples

8. Batman: Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo

9. Uncanny X-Force: Rick Remender, Greg Tocchini, Phil Noto

10. Daredevil: End of Days: Brian Michael Bendis, David Mack, Klaus Janson, Bill Sienkiewicz

11. Batman, Incorporated: Grant Morrison, Chris Burnham

12. The New Deadwardians: Dan Abnett, I.N.J. Culbard

13. X-Men: Brian Wood, David Lopez

14. Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.: Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, Alberto Ponticelli

15. Conan the Barbarian: Brian Wood, Becky Cloonan, James Harren

16. I, Vampire: Joshua Hale Fialkov, Andrea Sorrentino

17. Wolverine and the X-Men: Jason Aaron, Nick Bradshaw, Chris Bachalo

18. The Walking Dead: Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard

19. Daredevil: Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, Paolo Rivera

20. The Massive: Brian Wood, Kristian Donaldson, Garry Brown

21. Fantastic Four: Jonathan Hickman

22. Harbinger: Joshua Dysart, Khari Evans

23. Grim Leaper: Kurtis J. Wiebe, Aluisio C. Santos

24. America's Got Powers: Jonathan Ross, Bryan Hitch

25. Blue Beetle: Tony Bedard, Ig Guara

26. Before Watchmen: Minutemen: Darwyn Cooke

27. The Manhattan Projects: Jonathan Hickman, Nick Pitarra

28. Batman and Robin: Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason

29. Legends of the Dark Knight

30. Avenging Spider-Man: Zeb Wells

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New Comics 11/22/2012

Finally, another new comics blog! This time, a ranking.

1. Daredevil #20

Nice conclusion with very cool ideas.

2. Uncanny X-Force #34

We're almost there and this issue is very emotional and dramatic. If only the art was better!

3. Harbinger #6

This is getting better and better. The change of perspective is refreshing and very intriguing making this compelling series even more interesting.

4. Ultimate Comics X-Men #18.1

A very political, well-written, intelligent Point 1-issue with weird, seemingly unfinished art.

5. Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #17

This issue is not as good as usual, mainly because it doesn't happen as much as it could, but especially the scenes with Miles' father are very interesting for this character.

6. Blue Beetle #14

Every time I start reading an issue of Blue Beetle I think: "Well, let's try to get through this one." And every time I enjoy the issue a lot and wonder why I didn't expect that. This has been a consistently good series, better than most of the New 52 but somehow it even flies under my radar. It's being cancelled soon and it's too bad.

7. Comeback #1

A very intriguing concept that somehow doesn't hold up for an complete issue. This should be better than it is but I hope it gets better as it progresses.

8. Captain America #1

I like Rick Remender and somehow I like the much-criticized John Romita art. The story is all over the place and it couldn't be further away from Brubaker's Cap. But I liked it and I'm excited to see where it goes and if it becomes more than just goofy entertainment.

9. Indestructible Hulk #1

Another series that should be better than it is but somehow, eventually, this issue got to me. I didn't like the beginning because Banner can be such an arrogant prick. But when the plot gets moving, it makes for an interesting spin on the Hulk. I'm looking forward to more but I'm ready for disappointment.

10. Hawkeye #4

I can never get as excited about this series as everyone else but it's still quite good. Just never extraordinary. But it's kind of fun.

11. Wolverine and the X-Men #21

This issue starts very strong and has amazing art by Nick Bradshaw but somehow it doesn't really work in the end. Too bad.

12. Deadpool #2

Another nice issue with too much gratuitious animal violence for my taste.

13. Journey Into Mystery #646

No, I didn't understand much but considering this is an Asgard comic I'm amazed how much I enjoyed it.

14. Wonder Woman #14

Not for the first time I thought, maybe I have to reread the whole thing again to understand everything. I don't enjoy thinking that as much as I enjoy the art and the characters.

15. Legends of the Dark Knight #25

For a Christos Gage comic this was nice enough but it was on the edge of average (averedge) because the whole "This is real!" will of course turn out to be not real so what's the point?

16. Justice League #14

Well, the art is good but the story is boring and stupid. The back-up is more interesting but overall this drags a lot.

17. Nightwing #14

Okay, okay, okay. Not much to talk about.

18. Birds of Prey #14

Almost hard to say anything about this. It's okay, I guess.

19. Supergirl #14

The art is good and there are some interesting bits but this is very messy and not everything adds up.

20. Iron Man #2

The art is so bad (why didn't I notice that last time?) and the story is too Arthurian for me but after half a second reading I liked some of the dialogue. Still, one more issue like this and I'm gone.

21. The Amazing Spider-Man #698

I'm still shocked how poor the writing on this thing is. I mean, it's okay, I guess, but somehow Slott is incapable to write an interesting story or dialogue or characters. It's all just plot with nothing to fill it. Yes, the final reveal is interesting but it's presented in the least compelling way possible. Considering the hype around this arc, it's almost as if the issue almost doesn't notice what's going on. So weird.

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New Comics 9/12/2012

Avengers Vs. X-Men #11

AvX is coming closer to the end, which I’m kind of looking forward to. For one thing, I do want to know how it ends, but I’m also looking forward to some the new Now! series and they can’t start before this is over, so…

Anyway, Round 11 was interesting but I was expecting more. That’s the same problem that most issues of this series had but I still expected more from this almost final episode. The character death was somewhat underwhelming (as they so often are, which is very strange, considering how important they are supposed to be). I have to problems with this particular death: 1) In my (limited) perception, he didn’t play such a big role in any comic anyway, so I can’t imagine how his death will change anything and 2) It’s one of these characters where you just know he will come back at some point.

But the rest of the issue looked very cool and had some nice moments but as so often it is mostly restricted to cool moments instead of a really emotional story. The beginning is a perfect example of this: a huge build-up to a revelation moment (“Wow, the Hulk!” – on the other hand, how often did he had to play this role) which leads to one or two panels that don’t mean anything for the story or any of the characters.

It’s a weird event, but then again, they all are. Which doesn’t stop anyone to read and discuss them endlessly (including me).

Avenging Spider-Man #12

This felt like a typical Deadpool issue with no big relevance. Considering the Avenging concept so far, it should make sense but it felt kind of shallow anyway. The basic idea was nice but the jokes were almost too much as if trying to put everything in you could think of when thinking of high school. Another problem is that Peter almost has nothing to do here, his character is almost irrelevant to the issue and that shouldn’t be the point of such a team-up.

Batman #0

The zero issues. I can already see with the first one I’m reading this week that they will vary and be plagued by the same things I mentioned last week. Even the best ones last week didn’t feel completely necessary and more like additions to things we already know. Batman is not really different even if Snyder and Tynion are really trying hard. It might even be that I liked Tynion’s part more, which is kind of surprising. Snyder’s part starts out very interesting but the conversation between Bruce and Gordon is lacking something new. Tynion’s “back-up” felt like a main story as it shows all the Batmen in various states and how they respond to the innovation of the Batsignal. This is a cool idea and the art is amazing too. Tynion and Clarke pull it off in a good way.

Batman and Robin #0

This is strange. I really liked this issue, which gave me more of what I needed: an origin for Damian. The story is a nice concept and the art delivers perfectly on that, with many interesting panel layouts and an amazing mix of beautiful scenery, dynamic action and gruesome details. But is that a story anyone needs who has read Batman in the last years? Hasn’t most of this been covered already? (I honestly don’t know). Then again, if someone started with the New 52, this issue can’t make much sense because you need some more information to understand all of it. It’s the dilemma for most New 52 books - Not enough new for old readers and too much old for new readers. Rarely there’s been a good balance.

Before Watchmen: Comedian #3

This more and more feels like a joke. Yeah, I know, the Comedian, a joke, ha ha. But do we really have to go through all of the 60s and watch the Comedian doing pointless things? It’s funny, it’s only annoying. And what about Eddie’s misogyny? Is it tongue-in-cheek? Is that even possible? To me, all of this just feels really stupid, in an almost offending way. Azzarello is throwing shit in our faces. People should stop buying this. Now, I don’t like it.

Batgirl #0

That was weird. Kinda. Sorta. As Batgirl would put it with her “hip lingo”. This origin story must be one of the least convincing ever conceived. Barbara has a crush on Batman, so she goes on a tour to the police station so that she can watch some police officers discussing Batman and meet a villain. She knows the villain already, being a student and all, so she fights him, puts on the Batman costume standing around and fights him. Then the holy Batman appears and honors with a “Well done.” Her thoughts tell us that she is scared, which is something, I believe, we have been told in every single issue of Batgirl up to now. Must be some cool way of making her seem more emotional and vulnerable. It stopped working a while ago. Drawing her in the first panel as some teenage wet dream doesn’t improve anything either.

Conan the Barbarian #8

What good is a comic without Becky Cloonan? I didn’t know Vasilis Lolos before and I wouldn’t say I didn’t like his style but it was hard at times to make it fit with this book. Sometimes the expression are extremely exaggerated and cartoon-like, which took me out of the moment. Overall, the style fits and works but it’s just not the same. And it doesn’t help that the change happens mid-arc. The story and the character development are as strong as ever, again making me admiring the skills of Brian Wood.

Fantastic Four #610

Hickman is trying to wrap up everything he ever wrote about before his run ends, so too bad for anyone who hasn’t been reading Fantastic Four since he got on. Both Fantastic Four and FF have become almost incomprehensible to me and it’s no fun to read them anymore.

Fashion Beast #1

So, what am I supposed to think about this one? I haven’t got a clue. A strange story, good art, but no idea what it is about. Sometimes I feel like a total n00b, as if having more comic experience enables you to understand even the most obscure comics more easily. I know this isn’t actually true, but I still don’t know what to make of this comic.

Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #0

It is truly amazing how well Frankenstein works. This must be one of the best zero issues yet, showing a truly original origin story with plenty of crazy and passionate ideas that are a joy to read. The journey of “the Monster” is entertaining and heartbreaking, as the best Frankenstein stories have always been. The consistency of Alberto Ponticelli as an artist helps immensely, since he seems absolutely perfect for this character and this world. I don’t know if this comic is underrated but it feels like the most underrated comic out there. People should talk and write about this and not a stupid, fake kiss or superhero battles or short-term deaths.

Harbinger #4

Somehow I always expect Harbinger to fall apart and become a bad comic. So it’s a nice surprise that this is probably the best issue yet, with some very interesting concepts, solid art and mostly convincing dialogue. This is a really good comic book Valiant is publishing here and I wish it was more popular.

Incredible Hulk #13

Finally we get a real issue of The Incredible Hulk again. Since July we had to suffer through an absolutely stupid storyline that always build up to something we never learned about. “Stay Angry” was horrible. Now we get the payoff for it and it is much better than everything that lead up to it. This issue isn’t great but it helps a little to understand the journey of Banner. It is no excuse for the stupidity of the last months but it feels like we’re back on track again. I hope that all this doesn’t lead simply more stupid fights with Doom and whatnot but that we actually deal with this new development. This, finally, is interesting.

Legends of the Dark Knight #15

And another solid entry in this cool digital comic series. The story didn’t completely get me as it gets tangled up in too much split ego talk. The beginning prepared me for something else, something more intriguing than just another Harvey story that ultimately feels inconclusive. We know these stories here don’t have a lasting effect on the character, so they should feel self-contained, too. That is one aspect where this story doesn’t work completely.

Punk Rock Jesus #3

I love the art. I love the plot. I love how time progresses and we see what kind of character Chris becomes. I love how torn his mother is. I love Thomas because he's the best hero ever. I love the concept. I love Punk Rock Jesus. I love this amazing comic book.

Resurrection Man #0

This had been one of the most interesting New 52 series for me when it started but it soon deteriotated to an average series. Now it's over and leaves with an all-too-convenient ending that wraps everything up and explains a lot, but doesn't do much else. The art is not really impressive, especially the "evil" Mitch looks very weird and cartoonish. I still don't see the point in a zero issue for a series that's ending, but who cares? I have plans for reading the first volume which I hope was better executed than this one under the New 52-pressure. It's sad this didn't end better but seeing how it ended, I'm not sad to see it go.

The Manhattan Projects #6

This is such a strange series that I never know what to expect. And the other funny thing is that it is so good, although I find it almost impossible to follow a coherent story. But the issues are so strong on their own that this doesn't even matter. And since it's Hickman it's always possible that everything eventually will add up. Until then we can enjoy an issue like this one that gives a heartbreaking account of a man wanting to be free and two opponents who turn out to be very similar to each other. The art is still amazing, the coloring is kind of obvious but still brilliant (first time I mention coloring!).

The Massive #4

After the first arc of "The Massive" interested but never fully engaged me, this new arc was a pleasant surprise. In some way, this was exactly what I'd been waiting for in the first three issues. A clear, suspenseful story, a lot of background information that enriches the characters and worldbuilding that is as intriguing as it should be in such an apocalyptic story. The art retains the same good quality, despite the artist change. Now I really want to read on and see what will happen. What a relief!

Ultimate Comics X-Men #16

Somehow I thought the crossover was "Divided We Fall", but here's "United We Stand", which seems to be even bigger. But let's not discuss crossover politics, this doesn't matter anyway for this issue. The story is okay, but feels a bit like a filler between important events. It's nice enough but it doesn't feel like there's actually much going on. And somehow the addition of Nick Fury feels like a distraction for me. It's meant to connect the different comics but it feels like this is the only reason why he is there. About the art: I always accepted Medina's art but never completely enjoyed it. But the use of flares was so intrusive, I couldn't but be annoyed by it. It even lead me to observe even more digital effects that bothered me. I'm not an expert on drawing techniques, so I don't know how much is digitalized (I suppose a lot) but doing it so offensively and for such pointless results, really distracted me.

Wolverine and the X-Men #16

It's so weird to see how all the regular titles become a place for short stories and deeper characterizations during an event. But if it's done like in WatX, I don't mind. The last two issues were already very good and this one shows us the history of Kade Kilgoe in an entertaining, cruel way. It has nothing to do with AvX but with such a fun issue, we shouldn't care much.

X-Men #35

Brian Wood continues his excellent run on this series. The second arc came out slightly weaker than the first one but was still clever and maybe a bit short. It also feels still strange that this exists outside the normal continuity but for having this fresh take on the characters and the concepts of mutants, this is definitely worth the out-of-placeness. The art is also not as convincing as in the first arc, but still good enough.

Best issue in this run: Punk Rock Jesus #3

Worst issue in this run: Before Watchmen: Comedian #3

Biggest surprise in this run: The Manhattan Projects #6

Biggest disappointment in this run: Avenging Spider-Man #12

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The Walking Dead 50-101

I'm still amazed at myself for having read so many issues in such a short time and overall for getting up to speed on a 100-issue series.

Of course, if it was another series, I'd never got that far, but The Walking Dead has proven to be one of the most addictive and constantly well-made series out there. The writing is always good and the art never lets you down either. Kirkman is ready for anything - killing his characters of course but also spending a lot of time with character and story development. There are those super-violent, shocking issues with people dying but especially with the community story arc, there were lots of issues that just dealt with relationships and characterizations. On top of that, he is often asking us to follow a leader whose methods are not often reasonable and who, showing the skills of the writer again, is questioned by the people his leading too.

I found the art to be constantly strong, too. The expressions show a lot of emotions and it's easy for the book to do some pages without dialogue. I especially loved the splash pages as they often broadened the scope and helped to get a perspective on the overall situation the characters were in.

This series, at least for me, stands pretty alone as being extremly entertaining and easy to read, hard to put down but still with enough ideas to think about.

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New Comics 09/05/2012

The Amazing Spider-Man #693

I found last month's anniversary issue surprisingly underwhelming and on this aspect, 693 was an improvement. I liked the beginning especially, as the other react to Alpha and the reactions are so diverse and complex (and for a moment it felt like I was reading Avenging Spider-Man). But somehow the issue turns into something of a mess (again). The villain's goal is very confusing and doesn't add up to much (which Dan Slott seems to note himself), the characterization jumps around especially for Peter who never seems to be sure what he wants to do. Especially the ending felt so forced to have this old-school, cliffhanger ending that it just ended up feeling completely silly and out of character. And why did the Jackal dress up as Comissioner Gordon? To make the Lois Lane joke?

Animal Man #0

For some reason, despite my unhappiness with most of DC's decisions concerning The New 52, I was looking forward to the 0-issues. I'm not even sure I liked the concept, but still. Anyway, since it's Animal Man and Jeff Lemire and Steve Pugh, not much could go wrong anyway. It holds off our journey to Rotworld, but Lemire is good enough to write an interesting origin story that is funny and exciting and at the same time ties in perfectly with everything we have read in the last year, but also seems to help form the road that's ahead of us. It's not a mind-blowing comic, but it is very good.

Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre #3

Silk Spectre holds up to be one of the only two good Before Watchmen series. It wasn't as good as the last issue, mainly for the extended trip scene, which is different than what we see mostly in comics (especially with a DC logo on it), but in the end it was just a trippy scene. The rest remains interesting with lot of nice nods and references, good character moments and some guts to show what they show. On top of all of that is again the amazing art by Amanda Conner that sells this comic easily and fits perfectly to its dialogue and atmosphere. It's too bad this series ends earlier than some other, much crappier ones.

Earth 2 #0

What a strange issue, definitely dampening my joy about the 0-issues. It doesn't feel very accessible and it doesn't tell a very interesting story. It big events of earth getting blown up feel unimportant and not as exciting as they should be. The narration is not very gripping and the characters are almost as much a gimmick as in the first issue. I accepted that in the beginning because it was a nice twist to show it's not about them. But then why focus on them entirely here again? The art was okay, but the regular series looks better in my opinion. Well, I'm not impressed.

Green Lantern #0

That was an interesting issue. I'm not sure if I hate the idea of an Arab-American Green Lantern who seems to be defined by the fact that he is an Arab-American or if I like it since comics don't seem to deal with that very much. And the comic is good, no doubt, but it is also extremly over the top with its interrogators who can't wait to torture an Arab and call him Muhammad. It's almost a satire of anti-government-post-9/11-paranoia when it (I hope) is intended as a serious criticism. As with (too) many Geoff Johns comic I only rate this high because it entertains me. But the more I think about it, the more problems I have with it.

Harvest #2

I'm still not sure if I can like this series, but this issue is an improvement over the first one. It still has that "Everything's so fucked up"-vibe I don't like, but because our "hero" discovers some conscience, it's much more interesting to read. The kid is an asset and the art really rocks here. I'm just wondering how this can continue for three more issues, since things developed really fast here.

Hawkeye #2

Another improvement over the last issue! The first issue felt too "I want to be cool" for my taste and while there are some hints of that here, too, overall it works out just fine. The story is nothing special but the dialogue crackles often enough, the art is by David Aja is cool anyway. It's still not absolutely amazing, but at least I can see it as something entertaining for a longer time.

Legends of the Dark Knight #14

And again and again and again, LotDK surprises with an interesting concept. I was a bit disappointed by the Joker intervention as suddenly it felt just like another Joker story but apart from that, this was a refreshing idea. Why is this series so much under the radar again?

The Phantom Stranger #0

Why did I even start to read a Dan Didio comic? No, I didn't finish it. No, I didn't like it. Next.

Swamp Thing #0

Basically, see Animal Man. Kano works great here as a different artist on the series and the origin is fun and interesting. The art is amazing, the writing's great, Snyder's doing what he does best. It's strange how you can get used to such a high quality in a comic book.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #14

Another cool entry in a very cool series. Bendis can be so good at doing exactly what we want him to do. Captain America behaves like a jerk (or..., well, see MJ) and we want Miles to prove him wrong and he proves him wrong, but it still is highly entertaining and has some very cool moments. Miles also has some nice quips. The whole webshooter episode with Aunt May was nice but I didn't break into tears as I was lead believe to do. The art is cool, the ending is cool. Only question remaining: what does this have to do with "Divided We Fall"?

Worlds' Finest #0

The last image of this comic haunted me throughout last night with its final line sending shivers to my feet: "And I think we're going to be friends forever." Really? Is this some kind of inside superhero joke I'm not getting? Or is it really one of the worst lines of dialogue ever put down in a comic book? Kara and Helena met just minutes ago, they share some weird, uncomfortable moments filled with strange dialogue together and then they cling to each other like lifeless, drug-induced dolls and say this sentence to pronounce their new friendship. Why is Kara holding her own hand in that last image? What is wrong with both of their lower halfs of their mouths? This is horrible and the issue itself didn't make matters better very much.

Action Comics #0

Oh, Superman, oh, Grant Morrison. I don't get what is happening here. Morrison continues to write strange stories but not the kind of strange that is intriguing, like he did in the past, but more the strange where you are wondering why he even bothered. This issue has two stories, one is cute enough and has cool art, the other (by Sholly Fisch) seems quite pointless. I have given up waiting for this to become cool (like issue 1), I'm just waiting for it to stop so we can move on.

Best issue in this run: Animal Man/Swamp Thing #0

Worst issue in this run: Worlds' Finest #0

Biggest surprise in this run: Hawkeye #2

Biggest disappointment in this run: Action Comics #0

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Ultimate X-Men 1-6

The second Ultimate series was entertaining with some little flaws. I didn't know that it was written by Mark Millar but it somehow made him look less appealing as an author to read for me. I loved "Civil War" but I already only liked "The Ultimates (Vol.1)" and it feels like Ultimate X-Men goes in a similar direction. Meaning there's lots of action, lots of coolness, lots of good action movie moments, but not much to think about and not much to feel but excitement and suspense. I liked the first arc, I really did, especially the evilness of Magneto in the last issues and some of the action moments were amazing. But it never captivated me the same way Bendis' first "Ultimate Spider-Man" arc did. The supposedly cool dialogue turned me off from the start but I got used to it. Some story elements seemed questionable to me, especially Wolverine's sudden change of mind which felt really forced. Maybe there will be some explanation later on (also for Charles Xavier's mysterious last words in the issue), but as it is, it didn't work for me.

Still, I like the concept and the changes. It's a very entertaining comic book but especially with the X-Men I wonder if it couldn't be more. Especially from a writer who showed with Civil War that comics can be more than just action poses.

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Reading 52 was a weird experience. It is written by four very talented writers and features art by dozens of artists. I wanted to read it because I found the concept very intriguing. But after finally getting through with it, I'm more than disappointed. First of all, the art was very often not really great but instead looked cheap and in a way as you'd expect it from a rushed, weekly comic. The story had some highlights and at times got me but mostly I was bored. It is one of those series that requires a lot of background information to understand it properly and most storylines were complicated or rather convoluted. The mixture between space adventures, monarchy tales, B-super heroes and mystery did never really work for me.

Again, I liked some parts but overall this felt like a (long) waste of time. And for me, as I'm beginning to notice a pattern within me, it was typical for what I feel with a lot of DC titles.

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New Comics 8/29/2012 (II)

Ultimate Comics X-Men #15

UC X-Men continues to be interesting and character-oriented thanks to the solid writing of Brian Wood. It feels like a lot happens and not much happens at the same time. I'm not sure what to think of the final reveal as Fury's appearance can mean anything. The art by Paco Medina is also solid. I like reading it a lot, but I wish it would excite me a little bit more.

Wolverine and the X-Men #15

Wow, that's impressive. It's a tie-in, it's an "issue-before-things-happen-issue", it features about a dozen little storylines - and it works! More than that, this is a real good comic book, with many, many nice touches. Funny, touching, dramatic, suspenseful - it's all in there. Hard to believe that Jason Aaron also has the incredibly awful Hulk-storyline going at the moment. Here he manages to reference some X-Men history and make the AvX event more exciting than it is on its own. It's really impressive work, especially on the character side.

Aquaman #12

After Aquaman started to annoy me, it has gotten back on track. This issue is very dramatic and exciting, with lots of action and... drama. It's basically a lot of hot air, but it still reads entertainingly. I give that much to Geoff Johns, that he can make a comic entertaining (if he doesn't make it convoluted, incomprehensible or just stupid). Of course, of course, in a comparison with WatXM (see above), this issue would lose horribly, least of all because it doesn't evoke a lot of feelings. But as guilty pleasure, it's just fine.

AVX: VS #5

Surprising as it may be, the AVX: VS event altogether was way more entertaining than anyone would have thought. But that doesn't mean there aren't some low points in this concept. This issue is definitely one. The fight between Hawkeye and Angel feels completely pointless, mostly due to Angel's character as the ending of the fight proves. Thereby the whole fight feels absolutely constructed. Black Panther vs. Storm feels similarly made-up, again proven by an ending that is a desperate cop-out, again showing that there was no need for this fight in the first place. The art for the second fight is really awkward, with strange poses that question the laws of anatomy. Again I wonder how this can happen in a comic that is basically just an excuse to show off art. The first fight fairs better artwise but it at best looks okay. With such big names on the cover, this comic feels even more like a slap in the face.

Before Watchmen: Minutemen #3

It is clear to me now, that there are only two Before Watchmen series worth reading or, to be more precise, worth having been written. It's Minutemen and Silk Spectre, both by Darwyn Cooke (and Amanda Conner on Spectre of course - I actually like her art and writing even more than Cooke's). The issues are interesting to read, as is this one again. Silk Spectre still wins, but the Minutemen are worth reading for the art alone and the sheer amount of ideas. It's a bit too much at times, but overall it's a really enjoyable comic that doesn't have this cheap feeling the other BWs come along with.

Green Lantern Annual #1

I'm not sure what to think about this one. It's entertaining to some extent, but it also feels like a constructed event, as if the things that happen only happen, so that more things can happen. In the regard, it feels like most Geoff Johns comics. The art is solid and the story moves along, but it doesn't feel real to me. And the look of the First Lantern is quite silly. Like, really silly.

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New Comics 8/29/2012 (I)

Justice League #12

Seriously? Four pencillers? Nine inkers? Five Colorists? Eighteen artists altogether? What is wrong with DC? Some art changes in "minor" books like Birds of Prey are annoying but can be explained, but the chaos of artists in almost all of their major books puzzles me. It happens so regularly and on such a big scale, that I'm surprised at titles where there is consistency (although from the top of my head I can only think of I, Vampire). I don't get it. And the art wasn't even that great.

Anyway, the comic is pretty bad all on itself. The conclusion of the arc is lame, the consequences for the League make no sense and the ending is really silly. How forced can a "controversial" relationship be? This is getting bad. I had liked the comic up until a point, but this is a new low.

Legends of the Dark Knight #13

A fine conclusion but actually a little bit of a letdown as it does not more than just wrap up the story by having Batman save the day. Too bad.

National Comics: Looker #1

Wow, that was an annoying comic book! Stupid characterization, awful narration, boring art, tedious plot. And, wow, vampires, haven't heard about them recently! Compared to last month's Eternity it feels as if it came from a different world. Please, DC, do not make more comic book about this character!

Phantom Lady #1

It's weird. The cover clearly says "Phantom Lady and Doll Man", the book is about Phantom Lady and the origin of Doll Man, but all solicitations just call it "Phantom Lady". It's a nice book as Palmiotti and Gray just know how to write a comic but I can't shake the feeling of "Another team of superheroes." It doesn't have enough to distinguish it from other books and characters. It was... nice but not a necessity.

The Flash Annual #1

The Flash had some bad issues after a really good start, but since last week's number 12, things got better again. I mainly put that on the art being by Manapul again, but this issue is different. There are five different artists but as Manapul does the breakdowns, they all succeed in keeping the atmosphere of The Flash's peculiar style alive. As much as I complain about DC's art switcheroos, if it works out like it does here, I won't complain. Of course, you could wonder why you need five artists to make the book look as if it was done by its original artist, instead of having different styles for each chapter, but as long it works, it works. Only the inks in the last chapter are sometimes too much (and this is me officially noticing inks for the first time - am I there yet?).

The issue is fun, entertaining, has nice twists and a good cliffhanger. The conclusion comes a bit quick, but there are enough things to be resolved in future issues. So, yeah, I enjoy reading The Flash again!

The New Deadwardians #6

This comic is just so good. It never stops to fascinate and intrigue me. The story stays interesting and suspenseful, with added twists and turns to keep it moving. The art is still brilliant in its simple style and although the cliffhanger was used before, it is still exciting. I cannot wait to see how this ends. Oh, and the cover is absolutely brilliant again.

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