Saturday, February 7, 2015

COMICS READING FOR DECEMBER: “Mind over matter”


* 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.-22. Mind MGMT #7-28 (Dark Horse, 2013-14) ****½
Writer/Artist: Matt Kindt
23. Teen Titans Go! #32 (DC, 2006) ***
Writer: J. Torres/Artists: Todd Nauck & Lary Stucker (interior)/Sean Galloway (cover)
This issue has a wrestling theme, so I bought it. Rrrrrrrasssssslin’!
24. Superman Adventures #41 (DC, 2000) ***½
Writer: Mark Millar/Artists: various (interior); Mike Manley & Terry Austin (cover)
Fluffy, kid-friendly stuff, but it’s novel to see Millar write “nice” comics, and the various artists (including Darwyn Cooke) do a nice job of emulating the animated look while keeping their original styles.
25. Dark Horse Presents #4 (Dark Horse, 2014) ***½
Writers/artists: various
I get my Dark Horse comics and trade free from the company, but I’m still choosy about what I read. I only checked out this uneven anthology for THE MIGHTY CHAPTER 1 (Story and inks by Keith Champagne, pencils by Leonard Kirk) and some new gag strips by Evan Dorkin.

COMIXOLOGY
26. Epochalypse #1 (Legendary, 2014) ****
Writer: Jonathan Henesey/Artist: Shane Davis
27.-28. And Then Emily Was Gone #1-2 (Comix Tribe, 2014) ***½ 
Writer: John Lees/Artist: Iain Laurie
29. Justice League Beyond 2.0 #1 (DC, 2013) ***½
Writer: Christos N. Gage/Artist: Iban Coello (interior); Khary Randolph (cover)

OVER AND OUT
30. SIP Kids #1 (Abstract Studios, 2014) ***
Writer/artist: Terry Moore
Alright Peanuts-style reimagining of the Strangers In Paradise cast, but like so many things by Mr Moore...OVERPRICED.
31.-35. Sex Criminals Vol. 1: One Weird Trick (Image, 2014) **
- originally published in Sex Criminals #1-5 (Image, 2013-14)
Writer: Matt Fraction/Artist: Chip Zdarsky
Kinda rude, but like so many things by Mr Fraction...OVERRATED
36.-37. Revenge #2-3 (Image, 2014) **¾
Writer: Jonathan Ross/Artist: Ian Churchill
Stupidly violent but a tad...OVERWROUGHT.
38.-39. Sex #6-7 (Image, 2013) **¼
Writer: Joe Casey/Artist: Piotr Kowalski
Who knew SEX and SUPERHEROES could be boring. Only in the hands of Joe Casey. And, like many things by Mr Casey, I’m...OVER HIM.
40.-45. Saga Vol. 4 (Image, 2014) ****½
- originally published in Saga #19-24 (Image 2014)
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan/Artist: Fiona Staples
Finally! Someone shows you can produce a mature, funny, moving, violent, compelling, exciting story – and have loads of SEX in it – without it being juvenile crap. Like every Saga trade that I read...OVER TOO SOON.

46. Bitch Planet #1 (Image, 2014) ***½
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick/Artist: Valentine De Landro
A women-in-prison riff from a feminist perspective? Sure, I’ll roll with that...especially as there are loads of tits in it.
47. Southern Bastards #6 (Image, 2014) ****
Writer: Jason Aaron/Artist: Jason Latour
48. Copperhead #4 (Image, 2014) ****
Writer: Jay Faerber/Artist: Scott Godlewski
49. All Crime Comics #3 (ArtOfFiction.com, 2014) ***
Writer(s): The Art Of Fiction/Artists: Brad Rader, Jeff Snow (interiors); Bruce Timm (cover)
Glad to see these modern crime noir tales sold at an affordable price to a bigger market. They were waaaaaay overpriced if you tried to purchase the originals direct from their website. Anyway, I enjoyed this issue.
50. Image Firsts: Low #1 (Image, 2014) DUD
Writer: Rick Remender/Aritst: Greg Tocchini
Genuine, “I don’t give a shit” sci-fi crap. Muddily illustrated by Tocchini, haphazardly written by a slumming Remender. Bleh. Remender can do – and is doing – so much better.
51. Image Firsts: Outcast #1 (Image, 2014) ***½
Writer: Robert Kirkman/Artist: Paul Azaceta
A better-than-average introduction to this Exorcist-style supernatural horror tale. I’m intrigued enough by the $1.50 I plunked down to now spring for the first trade.
52. Image Firsts: The Wicked & The Divine #1 (Image, 2014) ***¼
Writer: Kieron Gillen/Artist: Jamie McKelvie
This Image Firsts concept is pretty cool. Throw down a small amount of money and check out some titles that you didn’t grab the first time around. I may grab the first trade of this Gods-among-us series, too. Then again, I may not.

53. The CDLDF Presents Liberty Annual 2014 (Image, 2014) **½
Writers/artists: various
All very righteous. All very noble. I’m glad I donated money to a good cause, but this kinda bored me.
54. Nailbiter #8 (Image, 2014) ***½
Writer: Joshua Williamson/Artist: Mike Henderson
55. Shadowshow #2 (IDW, 2014) ***
Writers/artists: various
Having now read the original book this series is based on, I’ve come to realise that it ISN’T VERY GOOD. The Neil Gaiman adaptation is probably the weakest Gaiman story I’ve ever read – and it’s still the highlight of this “tribute” to Ray Bradbury.
56.-60. Pop Gun War #1-5 (Absence Of Ink Comic Press, 2002) ****
Writer/artist: Farel Dalrymple
Farel is one of my favourite artists so I was thrilled to track down his first published (self-published) work. How sad it was then to learn that this wasn’t a five-issue miniseries but an ill-fated ongoing series. Which means that nothing is resolved by the end of issue five. Frustrating as this quirky series filled with magic realism showed such great promise. An angel fallen to Earth, a boy flying courtesy of stolen wings, a giant man, an evil puppeteer, a devilish manipulator and a homeless man who is greater than he seems living and interacting in a grimy city. Yep, real promise...shame it didn’t come together in the end.
61. Many Happy Returns (About Comics, 2008) ***
Writers/artists: various
A schizo indie comic mainly designed to promote Happy Harbor Comics, a Canadian comic shop, and its bland mascot Licensable Bear. The strips featuring the bear are pretty horrible, but the comic redeems itself with two gems, featuring the first Journey strip in decades, written and drawn by Bill Messner-Loebs, plus a new Crossfire tale, written by Mark Evanier and drawn by Dan Spiegle. They almost make up for Licensable Bear. Almost.
62.-76. The New 52: Future’s End (DC, 2014) ***¾
Writers/artists: various
77. The October Faction #3 (IDW, 2014) ***¼
Writer: Steve Niles/Artist: Damien Worm
78. American Splendor #2 (Vertigo, 2006) ***½
Writer: Harvey Pekar/Artists: various
It has art by Corben!
79.-81. The Auteur #3-5 (Oni Press, 2014) ***
Writer: Rick Spears/Artist: James Callahan
Showed promise but this violent, blackly humorous look at Hollywood ran out of steam by the fifth issue.
82.-86. The Woods #4-8 (BOOM!, 2014) ***¼
Writer: James Tynion IV/Aritst: Michael Dialynas
87.-90. Justice League 3000 (DC, 2014) ***½
Writers: Keith Giffen & JM DeMatteis/Artist: Howard Porter
Booster Gold and Blue Beetle are back! BWAH-hahahahahahahahaha!!!!!
91.-94. Caper #1-4 (DC, 2003-04) ****
Writer: Judd Winick/Artist: Farel Dalrymple
Gorgeously written and drawn tale of 1920s gangster revenge and redemption. A really strong start to this maxiseries. I look forward to reading the rest of the series, even though Farel left after issue #4.
95. Wild’s End #4 (BOOM!, 2014) ***¾
Writer: Dan Abnett/Artist: LNJ Culbard
96. Moon Knight #10 (Marvel, 2015) ****
Writer: Brian Wood/Artists: Greg Smallwood with Giuesppe Camuncoli (Interiors); Declan Shalvey (cover)
97. 70 Years of Marvel Comics Frame Art (Marvel, 2009) **¾
Artists: various
98. Rocket Raccoon #6 (Marvel, 2015) ****
Writer: Skottie Young/Artists: Jake Parker (interior); Skottie Young (cover)
99. Guardians Of The Galaxy #22 (Marvel, 2015) ***½
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis/Artists: Valerio Schiti & David Lopez
100. Guardians Of The Galaxy Annual #1 (Marvel, 2015) ***¾
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis/Artist: Frank Cho
101. Guardians 3000 #3 (Marvel, 2015) ****
Writer: Dan Abnett/Artists: Gerardo Sandoval (interior); Alex Ross (cover)
102. Legendary Star-Lord #6 (Marvel, 2015) ***½
Writer: Sam Humphries/Artists: Paco Medina & Juan Vlasco
103. Marvel 100th Anniversary: The Avengers #1 (Marvel, 2014) ***¾
Writer/artist: James Stokoe
104.-105. The United States of Murder Inc. #4-5 (Icon, 2014) ***¾
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis/Artist: Michael Avon Oeming
106. Men Of Wrath (Icon, 2014) ****
Writer: Jason Aaron/Artist: Ron Garney
107: The Multiversity: Thunderworld Adventures (DC, 2015) ***¾
Writer: Grant Morrison/Artist: Cameron Stewart
As a standalone issue, I really enjoyed Thunderworld. And Morrison’s overall story arc is slowly coming together, so I hope this means things are only gonna get better from here for The Multiversity.
108. The Flash #30 (DC, 2014) **¾
Writer: Robert Venditti/Artist: Van Jensen
A pretty ordinary issue in an uninspired series. I only have this because I’m friends with Anton Emdin, who drew the MAD Magazine-inspired variant cover of Gorilla Grodd. I won an autographed copy of the issue in an online comp, so that’s why I have it. Overall, though, The Flash was pretty dull.

109. Batgirl #37 (DC, 2015) ***¾
Writers: Cameron Stewart & Brenden Fletcher/Artists: Babs Tarr & Cameron Stewart
110. Justice League United #7 (DC, 2015) ***½
Writer: Jeff Lemire/Artists: Neil Edwards & Jay Leisten with Keith Champagne 

I’m collecting these series, but an extra incentive was grabbing the ones with variant covers by Darwyn Cooke. Gorgeous artwork.

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