Saturday, June 23, 2012

COMICS READING FOR MAY: “Free comics? Yay!”

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

*****   Watchmen, Marvelman, V For Vendetta
****     From Hell, Supreme, Swamp Thing, Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow?
***        League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the first two series), Axel Pressbutton, Tom Strong
**           Promethea
*             LoEG: Century: 1969
DUD  (or lower)     anything he’s written for Avatar or any of the non-comics drivel he shits out on a regular basis

1.-4. Fatale #1-4 (Image, 2012) ****
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Sean Phillips
The usual noir greatness, this time with a HP Lovecraft horror twist.
5.-6. Grace Randolph’s Supurbia (Boom, 2012) ***½
Writer: Grace Randolph/Artist: Russell Dauterman
I’ve heard it described as the JLA meets Desperate Housewives. Seems accurate. A promising start.
7. The Secret Service #1 (Icon, 2012) ***¼
Writer: Mark Millar/Artist: Dave Gibbons
Too early to tell where this  will go, but it’s a solid start to the series.
8.-9. Hell Yeah #1-2 (Image, 2012) ***¼
Writer: Joe Keatinge/Artist: Andre Szymanowicz
Everyone’s doing superheroes-in-the-real-world type tales this year, it seems. This title seems to have a strong mysterious premise – slacker superhero discovers alternate versions of himself are being murdered (last-page his superhero mother!)  and has to man up to save his life. And why did superheroes suddenly appear 20 years ago? Are they evil aliens (my theory). I’m intrigued enough to stick with it for another issue or so.
10.-11. Super Crooks #1-2 (Icon, 2012) ****½
Writer: Mark Millar/Artist: Leinil Yu
Supervillains travel to Spain to avoid an America chockers with superheroes. And they plan to rob the world’s greatest supervillain in the process? This looks like violent fun, with shades of The Italian Job and Ocean’s 11 thrown in for good measure. Great stuff!
12. America’s Got Powers #1 (Image, 2012) ****
Writer: Jonathan Ross/Artist: Bryan Hitch
A very English take on the reality TV genre. Fantastic art by Hitch (as always), but Ross’s tale is a bit “seen it all before”. Still, his dialogue is fun and I’m interested to check out the next issue.
13. Secret #1 (Image, 2012) ***½
Writer: Jonathan Hickman/Artist: Ryan Bodenheim
14. Heart #4 (Image, 2012) ***¼
Writer: Blair Butler/Artist: Kevin Mellon
A surprisingly downbeat ending to this reasonably entertaining MMA-themed miniseries.
15.-16. Ragemoor #1-2 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***¾
Writer: Jan Strnad/Artist: Richard Corben
17. Annihilators: Earthfall #4 (Marvel, 2012) ***
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning/Artist: Tan Eng Huat
A flat ending to a series that I was enjoying to this point. The Rocket Racooon back-up was also less than fabulous.
18. Supreme #63 (Image, 2012) ****
Writer: Alan Moore/Artists: Erik Larsen & Cory Hamscher
Supreme is back! And I’m kinda intrigued to see where Erik’s gonna take this Superman-pastiche series now that he’s running with the ball handed to him by this old Alan Moore script (who wrote it back in the late 90s before Awesome went belly-up and it was never published). Could be fun to see how Supreme handles having his world overrun by a legion of evil Darius Daxes. 

19. My Favorite Martian (Hermes Press, 2012) **¾
Writers/artists: Dan Spiegle & ???
Reprints from the early 60s. The big question is, “Why?”
20. Barnaby And Mr O’Malley (Fantagraphics Books, 2012) **
Writer/artist: Crockett Johnson
21. Yo Gabba Gabba! (Oni Press, 2012) **
Writers/artists: various
22. Mouse Guard, Labyrinth And Other Stories (Archaia Entertainment, 2012) *****
Writers/artists: various
23. Burt Ward: Boy Wonder/Wrath Of The Titans Classic (Bluewater Comics, 2012) DUD
Writers: Darren Garnick & Burt Ward (Burt Ward); CW Cooke (Titans)/Artist: Ramon Salas
24. The Incredible Rockhead/Zinc Alloy (Capstone, 2012) ***
Writers: Scott Nickel (Rockhead); Donald Lemke (Zinc Alloy)/Artists: CS Jennings (Rockhead); Doug Holgate (Zinc Alloy)
25. Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Alabaster/The Guild (Dark Horse, 2012) ****
Writers: Andrew Chambliss (Buffy); Caitlín R. Kiernan (Alabaster); Felicia Day (The Guild)/Artists: Georges Jeanty, Dexter Vines & Michelle Madsen (Buffy); Steve Lieber (Alabaster); Jonathan Case, Adam Rex (The Guild)
26. Top Shelf Kids Club (Top Shelf, 2012) ***
Writers/artists: various
27. Overstreet’s Comic Book Marketplace (Gemstone, 2012) *½
28. World’s Most Dangerous Animals (Animal Planet, 2012) ½*
Writers/artists: various
29. Spider-Man: Season One (Marvel, 2012) **¾
Writer: Cullen Bunn/Artists: Neil Edwards & Karl Kesel
30. Image 20 (Image, 2012) ***¼
Writers/artists: various
31. Zombie Kid (Antarctic Press, 2012) ***½
Writer: Fred Perry/Artists: Brian Denham, Fred Perry (cover)
32. Peanuts/Adventure Time With Finn & Jake (Kaboom!, 2012) **¾ 
Writers/artists: various
33. Donald Duck Family Comics (Fantagraphics, 2012) ***¼
Writer/artist: Carl Barks
34. Voltron: Shelter From The Storm (Viedia, 2012) DUD
Writer: Brian Smith/Artist: Jacob Chabot
Utter shit.
35. The Stuff Of Legend/Finding Gossamyr (Th3rd World Studios, 2012) **** (Legend)/** (Gossamyr)
Writers: Mike Raicht & Brian Smith (Legend),  David A. Rodriguez (Gossamyr)/Artists: Charles Paul Wilson III (Legend), Sarah Ellerton (Gossamyr)
The latest sneak peek of The Stuff of Legend – about children’s toys searching for a missing child – is beautifully illustrated and written. Finding Gossamyr might have some promise, but it didn’t really grab me. The sub-Harry Potter plot kinda left me cold.
36. Moomin Valley Turns Jungle/Anna & Froga (Drawn & Quarterly, 2012) **
Writer/artist: Tove & Lars Jansson (Moomin), Anouk Ricard (Anna & Froga)
Just plain weird. And not really something that kids would dig, I imagine.
37. Graphic Elvis (Liquid Comics, 2012) **½
Writers/artists: various
38. Valiant 2012 (Valiant, 2012) **
Writers/artists: various
39. Superman: Family Adventures/Green Lantern/Young Justice (DC, 2012) **
Writers/artists: various
Kinda yawns-ville.
40. The New 52! (DC, 2012) **½
Writers/artists: various
Terra’s alive? Fuck this shit!
41. The Avengers: Age Of Ultron 0.1 (Marvel, 2012) ***
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis/Artists: Bryan Hitch & Paul Neary
Looks nice, but I won’t get drawn into another Bendis-helmed brainfuck that goes nowhere and signifies nothing.

42. Countdown #16 (DC, 2008) **½
Writers/artists: various
Completely irrelevant now, which explains why it was free.
43. Gen 13: Ordinary Heroes #1 (Image, 1996) ***½
Writer: Adam Hughes/Artists: Adam Hughes & Mark Farmer
I’ve never read Gen 13 before but...c’mooooooon! It’s Adam fuckin’ Hughes! Big-breasted women! This comic is sweet! And I’ve already ordered the second ish of this two-parter to see how it ends.
44.-45. Army Of Darkness: Shop Till You Drop Dead #2, #4 (Dynamite, 2005) **
Writer: James Kuhoric/Artist: Nick Bradshaw
46. Avengers Sampler #1 (Marvel, 2012) ***
- originally published in The Avengers #1 (Marvel, 2010)
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis/Artists: John Romita Jr & Klaus Janson
47. Ultimate Spider-Man Premiere Comic #1 (Marvel, 2012) **
Writers: Chris Eliopoulis & Paul Dini/Artists: Rich Ginter & Jeff Suter
More a storyboard of an animated episode than a real comic. Underwhelming and pointless.
48. Daredevil #66 (Marvel, 2004) ****
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis/Artist: Alex Maleev
49. Freshmen #1 (Image/Top Cow, 2006) *½
Writer: Hugh Sterbakov/Artists: Lenoard Kirk & Andrew Pepoy
Considering Sterbakov co-created this “superheroes-in-college” miniseries with Seth Green, I expected more. But it was pretty meh.

50. Fork Frenzy (self-published, ??) **
Writer/artist: Levon Jihanian
Bizarro mundane superheroics (with added bloody murder) plus robot/monster mayhem. Disturbing.
51. Nuts! #2 (Bantam Books, 1985) **
Writer/artists: Harvey Kurtzman, etc.
52. Legion Of Super-Heroes Sketchbook (self-published, 2004) ***½
Writer/artist: David King
This was pretty cool. Glad I scored this.
53. Rattletrap #1 (self-published, 2000) ***
Writer/artist: Jerry Smith
Classic Miracle Force fun and action. I loved this superhero team and I wish Jerry would produce more issues.
54. Eight Pages Until I Die (self-published, 2005) ***½
Writer/Artist: Dan Lauer
55. The League Of Mikes (self-published, 1983) ***
Writer/artist: Matt Howarth
56. Star Jaws by Will Eisner (Scholastic, 1978) **½
Bad Star Wars and Jaws-related gags. But, hey, it’s Eisner!
57. U-Comix #146 (??, 1992) unrated
It’s all German to me. But, hey, some nice Euro-art in it and there’s also Tank Girl (also in German).
58. One Thursday (self-published, ??) **½
Writer/artist: Lara Miller
59. The Plot Thickens (Armchair Comics, 1997) **¾
Writer: Gavin Burrows/Artist: Adrian Stapleton, Simon Gane & Pete Doree
60. Monkey Squad One #7 (self-published, ??) **½
Writer/artist: Doug Michel
61. Pater Contrarius (Robot Publishing Co., 1999) ****
Writer/artist: Cathy Malkasian
62. Va Va Va Voom!! (Schwing !comix, 1994) **¼
Artists : various
63. Estrogen #5 (self-published, 2006) **½
Artist: Tom Brinkmann
64. Da Soopa Tooth ‘N’ Flossie #1 (self-published, 1988) *
Writer/artist: Scooter

65. The Ren & Stimpy Show #23 (Marvel, 1994) **½
Writers: Barry Dutter & Scott Benson/Artists: Ken Mitchroney & Buz McKim
The “wrestling” issue. I actually have the Aussie reprint published by Trielle Comix, but this is the original. Nice stuff.
66. Transvestic (Sorceror Studios, 2012) ***
Writer/artist: RastaWayneo
Famous trannies of our time.

67. The Guild: Fawkes (Dark Horse, 2012) ***¼
Writers: Felcia Day & Wil Wheaton/Artist: Jamie McKelvie
68.-74. Red Rocket 7 (Image, 2008) ***¼
- originally published in Red Rocket 7 #1-7 (Dark Horse, 1997)
Writer/artist: Michael Allred
75. Victorian Secret: Girls Of Steampunk (Antarctic Press, 2011) **¾
Artists: Brian Denham, Rod Espinosa, David Hutchison, Ben Dunn and Kelsey Shannon
Despite my best efforts, I was unable to orgasm while looking at this collection of girly pin-ups.
76. Sidekick #7 (Future Publishing, 2012) ***½
Writers/artists: various
Free with Comic Heroes #11, this sampler comic is the best one yet, featuring some classic Anderson Psi Division by Alan Grant and Romero, Hellraisers (featuring Oliver Reed) and more.
77. Batman Incorporated #1 (DC, 2012) ****¼  
Writer: Grant Morrison MBE/Artist: Chris Burnham
Yes, as good as everyone says it is. And, yes, Burnham’s art looks impressively similar to Frank Quitely. And, yes, it DOES make me wanna buy the original series in TPB. Fantastic!
78.-80. Seaguy TPB (Vertigo, 2005) ***¼
- originally published in Seaguy #1-3 (Vertigo, 2004)
Writer: Grant Morrison MBE/Artist: Cameron Stewart
Not as bad as I’d been led to believe, but somewhat confusing at the end. I guess it can be explained away as this is really just the first volume in a trilogy. I’m intrigued to read more.
81. Mind MGMT (Dark Horse, 2012) ****
Writer/artist: Matt Kindt
82.-87. Red Hulk: Scorched Earth TPB (Marvel, 2011) ***¾
- originally published in Hulk #25-30 (Marvel, 2011)
Writer: Jeff Parker/Artists: Gabriel Hardman, Ed McGuinness & Dexter Vines, Mark Robinson, Ben Oliver, etc
88.-91. Green Arrow #12-15 (DC, 2002) ***½
Writer: Kevin Smith/Artists: Phil Hester & Ande Parks  
The first appearance of Onomatopoeia. “Snap.”
92.-94. Stormwatch #10-11 & WildC.A.T.S./Aliens #1 (Image, 1998) ***
Writer: Warren Ellis/Artists: Bryan Hitch & Paul Neary, Michael Ryan & Luke Rizzo (S); Chris Sprouse & Kevin Nowlan (W/A)
The death of Stormwatch and the birth of The Authority. Of historical interest only.
95.-99. The Iron Age Alpha, The Iron Age #1-3, The Iron Age Omega (Marvel, 2011) ***
Writers/artists: various
Iron Man travels back to the 70s and 80s-style Marvel era. A fun idea but it lacked something in the execution.
100. The Hidden by Richard Sala (Fantagraphics Books, 2011) ***½
Very nasty horror tale about a mad Frankenstein-like scientist creates a monster-fuelled Armageddon.

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