Tuesday, February 25, 2014

COMICS READING FOR JANUARY: “Bits’n’pieces”



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

HOW I RATE THE COMICS VIA THE ALAN MOORE SCALE
*****     Watchmen, Miracleman, V For Vendetta
****      From Hell, Supreme, Swamp Thing, Fashion Beast, League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (first two series)
***        Axel Pressbutton, Tom Strong
**         Promethea
*           LoEG: Century: 1969
DUD (or lower) any of his non-comics stuff

1. Mazeworld TPB (Rebellion, 2011) ***¼
Writer: Alan Grant/Artist: Arthur Ranson
This is a grim fantasy, first published in 2000 AD in the mid-90s, about a just-executed murderer who gets catapulted into another world where mazes dominate the culture. It’s an interesting concept, if told perfunctorily by the writer. But I love Ranson’s art (after first seeing it in Rebellion’s Button Man collection). The ending is kinda flat, but the gorgeous artwork makes up for Grant’s lacklustre writing.
2. Western Adventure Library No. 1: The Man Who Would Not Die (Page Publications, 196?) **
This was a nice score for only two bux from Elizabeth’s Bookshop in Sydney. I grabbed it for the Keith Chatto cover, but this Aussie reprint of, I assume, a Euro-western was intriguing, even if much of the plot and action is pedestrian. It’s very pro-Indian, anti-white oppression and pro-peace, Maybe reflecting shades of anti-Vietnam War sentiment? There’s no writer listed but the competent-but-unflashy artist signs his name as “Juan Llorca”. Anyone know more about this guy?
3. Pantalones, TX: Zombiñata (Archaia, 2013) ***
Writer/artist: Yehudi Mercado
4. Batman ’66 #2 (DC, 2013) ***½
Writer: Jeff Parker/Artists: Jeff Parker, Jonathan Case
5. Black Dynamite #1 (IDW, 2013) ***
Writer:Brian Ash/Artists: Ron Wimerly & Sal Buscema
6. Deadly Class #1 (Image, 2014) ***¾
Writer: Rick Remender/Artist: Wes Craig
7.-9. Velvet #1-3 (Image, 2013) ****¼
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Steve Epting
Captain America colleagues reunite for a female spy series done right! This has a real 70s feel about it, mainly ’cos it’s set in the 1970s. Love this series so far.
10.-12. The Fox #1-3 (Red Circle, 2013-14) ***¾
Writers: Dean Haspiel & Mark Waid/Artist: Dean Haspiel (The Fox)
Writer: JM DeMatteis/Artists: Mike Cavallaro & Terry Austin (The Shield)
13. Blue Frame Enters The Gas Zone (A Gas Comic, 1992) **
Writer: unknown/Artist: Keith Chatto
Possibly the last comic illustrated by the legendary Australian artist. This educational comic extols the virtue of natural gas.
14. Seeker 3000 #3 (Marvel, 1998) ***
Writers: Dan Abnett & Ian Edginton/Artists: Andrew Currie & Andy Lanning & Hector Collazo
15.-18. Imagine Agents #1-4 (BOOM!, 2013) ***½
Writer: Brian Joines/Artist: Bachan
Joines is rapidly becoming my new most favourite writer.
19. Minimum Wage #1 (Image, 2014) ****
Writer/artist: Bob Fingerman
This inspired me to pick up a bunch of his old comics, including the original Minimum Wage.
20.-21. Secret #3-4 (Image, 2013) ***¾
Writer: Jonathan Hickman/Artist: Ryan Bodenheim
I thought this series had disappeared, so I was surprised to see new issues on my local comic shop’s shelves. I assumed Hickman was too busy shitting out his Marvel crap to bother with indie mags anymore. Clearly, I was wrong. He should stick with this cloak’n’dagger series, though, it shows real promise.
22. The Complete Torpedo Vol. 1 (IDW, 2012) ****
Writer: Sanchez Abuli/Artists: Jordi Bernet, Alex Toth
The initial Toth-drawn tales are suitably grim and ironic, but with Bernet’s arrival, Abuli turns the series into a 1930s gangster version of Deadpool or Punisher, with lots of wisecracks and casual killing for light relief. Not sure if rape should ever be played for laughs, but these Europeans can be crazy sometimes. Still, this blackly humorous crime series is gorgeously drawn and has some real moments of poetry amid the cracks to the jaw and bullet holes.
23.-28. New Crusaders: Rise Of The Heroes (Red Circle, 2013) ***
- originally published in New Crusaders #1-6 (Red Circle, 2013)
Writer: Ian Flynn/Artist: Ben Bates & Gary Martin (#1-3), Alitha Martinez & Gary Martin (#3-6)
I gave up on this series after a couple of issues, but as this graphic novel was on special at Kings, I picked it up and I’m glad I did. It reads far better in one hit and really picks up once you get past the whole “our superhero parents are dead and us kids gonna immediately pull on their cossies and assume their roles without the whole grieving process thingy” plot. In other words, the first three issues are kinda dodgy, but the next three are pretty damn good. And it has a surprisingly downbeat ending.
29.-31. Protectors Inc. #1-3 (Image, 2013-14) ***½
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski/Artist: Gordon Purcell
The idea of superheroes behaving like spoiled brats (or amoral gods) has been done before, but JMS walks through old territory with his usual aplomb. Not a bad series so far.
32. Black Widow #1 (Marvel, 2014) ***¼
Writer: Nathan Edmondson/Artist: Phil Noto
33.-34. Rover Red Charlie #1-2 (Avatar, 2013) ***¾
Writer: Garth Ennis/Artist: Michael DiPascale
35.-36. Ocean #1-2 (Wildstorm, 2004-05) ***½
Writer: Warren Ellis/Artists: Chris Sprouse & Karl Story
37. Miracleman #1 (Marvel, 2014) *****
- originally published in various comics (1954, 1956, 1982, 1985)
Writer: Mick Anglo/Artist: don Lawrence, Mick Anglo (1954, 1956)
Writer: Alan Moore/Artist: Garry Leach (1982, 1985)
38. Detective Comics #27 (DC, 2014) ****¾
Writers/Artists: various
39. Liberty Annual 2013 (Image, 2013) ***¼
Writers/Artists: various
40. All Crime Comics #2 (The Art Of Fiction, 2013) ***½
Writers: The Art Of Fiction/Artists: Steven E. Gordon, Vince Musacchia, Tom Neely & Kristina Collantes


41.-45. Batman: Black And White (DC, 2013-14) ****½
Writers/artists: various
46.-49. Marvel Universe #4-7 (Marvel, 1998) ****
Writer: Roger Stern/Artists: Mike Manley (#4), Bret Blevins & Mike Manley (#5), Jason Armstrong & Mike Manley (#6-7)
50. Revolutionary War: Alpha (Marvel, 2014) ***½
Writer: Andy Lanning & Alan Cowsill/Artist: Rich Elson
51. Revolutionary War: Dark Angel (Marvel, 2014) ***
Writer: Kieron Gillen/Artist: Dietrich Smith
52. Revolutionary War: Knights Of Pendragon (Marvel, 2014) ***¼
Writer: Rob Williams/Artist: Will Sliney (interior), Mark Brooks (cover)
53. Skyward/Fracture (Action Lab, 2013) ***
Writer/Artist: Jeremy Dale (Skyward)
Writer: Shawn Gabborin/Artist: Chad Cicconi (Fracture)
54. Absolution: Happy Kitty (Avatar, 2013) ***¼
Writer: Christos Gage/Artist: Paul Duffield
55. Deadpool: The Gauntlet (Marvel, 2014) ***¼
Writer: Brian Posehn & Gerry Duggan/Artist: Reilly Brown
56. Marvel: Now What?! (Marvel, 2013) ***
Writers/artists: various
57. Elseworlds: Superboy’s Legion #2 (DC, 2001) ***
Writer: Mark Farmer/Artists: Alan Davis & Mark Farmer
58.-61. Models Inc. #1-4 (Marvel, 2009-10) **¾
Writer: Paul Tobin/Artist: Vicenc Villagrasa & Terry Pallot (main story)
Writer: Marc Sumerak/Artist: Jorge Molina (back-up story, #1)
Writer: Paul Tobin/Artist: Colleen Coover (back-up story, #3)
62. Arrow Special Edition #1 (DC, 2012) DUD
Writers: too many/Artist: Omar Francia
63.-65. Black Science #1-3 (Image, 2013-14) ***¾
Writer:Rick Remender/Artist: Matteo Scalera, Dean White
Rollicking sci-fi adventure done right. This has a real 60s retro feel about it, but with a modern edge.  
66. WWE Superstars #2 (Super Genius, 2014) ***
Writer: Mick Foley & Shane Riches/Artist: Alitha E. Martinez
67. All-New Invaders #1 (Marvel, 2014) ***
Writer: James Robinson/Artist: Steve Pugh
68. Justice League 3000 #2 (DC, 2014)
Writers: Keith Giffen & JM DeMatteis/Artist: Howard Porter
69. Krampus! #2 (Image, 2014) ***¼
Writer: Brian Joines/Artist: Dean Kotz
70. Supergirl #12 (DC, 2007) ***¼
Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray/Artists: Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti
71.-74. Terra #1-4 (DC, 2009) ***½
Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray/Artists: Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti
Amanda Conner draws great big-titted women.

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