Monday, July 4, 2011

COMICS READING FOR JUNE: “If it’s June it must be Brubaker”


* NOW WITH STAR RATINGS (ala Wrestling Observer Newsletter PPV reports) *

HOW I RATE THE COMICS VIA THE ALAN MOORE SCALE
*****    Watchmen, Marvelman, V For Vendetta
****       From Hell, Supreme, Swamp Thing, Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow?
***         League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Axel Pressbutton, Tom Strong
**           Promethea
*              WildC.A.T.S.
DUD  (or lower)     anything he’s written for Avatar or any of the non-comics drivel he shits out on a regular basis

1.-12. Sleeper Season One (Wildstorm, 2009) ***¾
- originally published in Sleeper #1-12 (2003-04)
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Sean Phillips
Goddamn, this was good! Not great – it lost momentum in the middle issues, but a pretty good noir tale (even if it does feature superheroes). If you like Ed's Criminal series, then this is a worthwhile read as well.

13. Secret Avengers #12 (Marvel, 2011) ***
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artists: Will Conrad & Mike Deodato
A strangely unsatisfying ending to Brubaker’s run (which he’d kicked into high gear with the Max Fury/Shang-Chi storyline. Mysterious immortal hero-turned-villain John Steele was also a nice addition, but his “origin” in #11-12 lacked oomph. I hope Warren Ellis has more fun with him when he starts his run on this title in a few issues.

14.-19. Incognito #1-6 (Icon, 2008-09) ****
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Sean Phillips
20.-24. Incognito: Bad Influences #1-5 (Icon, 2010-11) ***¼
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Sean Phillips
While I loved, loved, LOVED the first miniseries (the idea of a vicious supercrim forced into witness protection and having to spend his life with “normals” was a cool concept), the second miniseries fell flat. Ed stated he didn’t know where Bad Influences was heading – he wrote it on the fly as an experiment in writing...and it shows. I’m sure there’ll be a third instalment, but I’m a bit worried it’s just gonna wind up as a nastier rehash of Daredevil vs Kingpin in prison from a few years back. I guess we’ll find out.

25.-48. Daredevil by Ed Brubaker & Michael Lark Omnibus Vol. 1 (Marvel, 2009) ***¾
- originally published in Daredevil #82-105 (Marvel, 2006-09)
Starts out strong with the “Daredevil in prison” storyline. Foggy Nelson dies? Holy fuck! That blew me away – pity it was a big work. But the series went downhill for a bit with the “Daredevil in Europe storyline, but it all kicked back into top gear for the “Daredevil vs Mr Fear” arc and ended with an absolutely gut-wrenching final couple of issues. Great stuff.

49. Captain America #600 (Marvel, 2009) ***¾
Writers: Ed Brubaker & friends/Artists:  Butch Guice & friends
Steve’s alive? Hooray! Nice back-up tales, too and the 1940s-era reprint is one I haven’t read before. Good stuff.

50.-55. Captain America: Reborn (Marvel, 2010) **¾
- originally published in Captain America: Reborn #1-6 (Marvel, 2009-10)
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artists: Bryan Hitch & Butch Guice
Strangely disappointing. While it was nice to see Steve Rogers return, Ed did it in a pretty lame way. And I still don’t quite get why the Red Skull wanted to send Rogers back in time. Why not just kill the fucker stone fucking dead? And the end sequence of the two Captain Americas fighting a giant Red Skull was just ridiculous. Still, I liked that Skull’s daughter, Sin, now looks like him courtesy of a nasty explosion.
56.-73. Daredevil by Ed Brubaker & Michael Lark & Stefano Gaudiano Omnibus Vol. 2 (Marvel, 2010) ***¾
- originally published in Daredevil #105-119, #500, Annual #1 and Daredevil: Blood Of The Tarantula (Marvel, 2008-10)
Daredevil’s wife is insane, but shit just keeps getting worse for Daredevil in Brubaker’s second half of his legendary run. Lady Bullseye (which could have been a stupid Bullseye rip-off, but kinda works), Black Tarantula, Dakota North and the return of The Owl AND The Kingpin. This is a fitting conclusion to the series and the final issue’s denouement is a shocker. All in all, after reading this 100+ issue run by Bendis and Brubaker I have to say, Daredevil is the LAST guy I’d have as a friend, relative or lover. You’re just gonna wind up dead, insane or mind-fucked.


OTHER STUFF:
74.-79. Daredevil: Father (Marvel, 2006) ***
- originally published in Daredevil: Father (2004-06)
Writer: Joe Quesada/Artists: Joe Quesada, Danny Miki & Richard Isanove
It’s nice that Joe dedicated this book to his dad, but y’think his old man would’ve been happier with a tale less clichéd and derivative? What you have is another tired serial killer yarn while Joe does his best to ape Frank Miller (covers, certain splash pages) and Rob Liefeld. The wacky new Latino supergroup, The Santerians, thrown into the mix are kinda interesting, but the rest of the tale is meh. Only read this if you score it cheap (or, like me, it’s a lender from a friend. Thanks, Matt!).

80. THB #4 (Horse Comics, 1995) **½
Story/art: Paul Pope
This was a nice rare find from Elizabeth’s Bookshop in Pitt St, Sydney. I adore Pope’s artwork, but goddamn! He’s a pretentious motherfucker.

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