Tuesday, September 1, 2015

COMICS READING FOR AUGUST: “A hundred comics without even trying...”

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

*****     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. Transmission Magazine #17 (Hepatitis NSW, 2014) ***¼
Writer: Justin Woolley/Artist: Skye Ogden
Pro wrestling, steroids and safe use of needles to avoid Hep C. Well-written, informative plus nice artwork from one of Gestalt Comics’ finest. A fun lil’ yarn despite the “heavy message” it’s conveying to readers.
2.-7. Ivar, Timewalker #1-6 (Valiant, 2015) ***¾
Writer: Fred Van Lente/Artists: Clayton Henry (interiors)/Raul Allen (main cover)
An extra quarter-star for the final-page shock reveal in the first issue.
And another quarter star for all the time-travelling newbies desperate to kill Hitler, but unable to do so due to bloody time paradoxes.
A very clever series about time travel. Valiant, you surprise me.
8. Cavewoman: Klyde and Meriem (Basement, 2001) ***
Writer: James Robert Smith/Artists: Loston Wallace and Kim DeMulder (interior stories); Tae Kwon, Mike Chen, John Trumbull, Matt Plog and Andy Park (pin-ups); Loston Wallace and Kim DeMulder (cover)

9. Kaijumax #5 (Oni Press, 2015) **
Writer/artist: Zander Cannon
Fuck this series. No more for me and I even wrote to the creator to explain why.

Hi Zander.
I’m not normally a squeamish guy and I certainly don’t have a problem reading comics that push or even disturb me at times (Revival and Southern Bastards spring to mind).
But Kaijumax has overstepped the line for me in issues four and five. Rape isn’t entertainment, even if it’s disguised as oversized monster-on-monster prison shower rape. It’s just unpleasant.
In fact, the past two issues have been nothing but UNPLEASANT and I’ve come to the realisation that Kaijumax isn’t FUN to read anymore.
So I’ll spend my dollars on a comic that I ENJOY reading and don’t dread to pick up. No offence.
Dann Lennard
Sydney, Australia

10.-15. The Sixth Gun Vol. 8: Hell And High Water (Oni Press, 2015) *****
- originally published in The Sixth Gun #42-47 (Oni Press, 2015)
Writer: Cullen Bunn/Artist: Brian Hurtt

16. Invader Zim #2 (Oni Press, 2015) ****
Writer: Jhonen Vasquez & Eric Trueheart/Artists: Aaron Alexovich & Megan Lawton
17.-19. The Mysterious Strangers #1-2, 4 (Oni Press, 2013) ***½
Writer: Chris Roberson/Artist: Scott Kowalchuk
I’m a completist. And reread these issues out of sequence to the rest of the miniseries. So sue me.
20. Copperhead #9 (Image, 2015) ***¾
Writer: Jay Faerber/Artist: Scott Godlewski
21. Nailbiter #15 (Image, 2015) ****¼
Writer: Joshua Williamson/Artist: Mike Henderson
22. Minimum Wage: So Many Bad Decisions #4 (Image, 2015) *****
Writer/artist: Bob Fingerman
23. Southern Bastards #10 (Image, 2015) ****½
Writer: Jason Aaron/Artist: Jason Latour
24. Oh, Killstrike #4 (BOOM!, 2015) ***½
Writer: Max Bemis/Artist: Logan Faerber
A kinda flat, soppy ending to what was an excellent miniseries to this point. Shame.
25. God Hates Astronauts #10 (Image, 2015) ****
Writer: Ryan Browne/Artists: Jordan Boyd (interior); Ryan Browne (main covers)
26. The Fade Out #8 (Image, 2015) ****¼
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Sean Phillips 
27. The Fox #5 (Dark Circle, 2015) ***¾
Writers: Dean Haspiel & Mark Waid/Artist: Dean Haspiel
28. Revival #32 (Image, 2015) ***¾
Writer: Tim Seeley/Artist: Mike Norton (interior); Jenny Frison (cover)
29. Stray Bullets: Sunshine And Roses #7 (Image, 2015) ****
Writer/artist: David Lapham
Not one of the better entries in this series. Normally I like Amy Racecar issues, but this wasn’t great.
30. Jupiter’s Circle #5 (Image, 2015) ****
Writer: Mark Millar/Artists: Wilfredo Torres (interior); Frank Quitely (cover)
31. Groot #3 (Marvel, 2015) ***½
Writer: Jeff Loveness/Artists: Brian Kesinger (interiors)/Declan Shalvey & Jordie Bellaire (covers)
32. All-Star Section Eight #3 (DC, 2015) ****
Writer: Garth Ennis/Artist: John McCrea
Garth Ennis really, really, REALLY hates Martian Manhunter.
33. Starve #3 (Image, 2015) *****
Writer: Brian Wood/Artist ;Danijel Zezelj
34. Airboy #3 (Image, 2015) *****
Writer: James Robinson/Artist: Greg Hinkle
35. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #8 (Marvel, 2015) *****
Writer: Ryan North/Artist: Erica Henderson
36. Deadly Class #15 (Image, 2015) ****
Writer: Rick Remender/Artist: Wes Craig
37. We Stand On Guard #2 (Image, 2015) ****¼
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan/Artist: Steve Skroce
38. The Spirit #2 (Dynamite, 2015) ****
Writer: Matt Wagner/Artists: Dan Schkade (interior); Eric Powell (cover)
39. Howard The Duck #5 (Marvel, 2015) ****¼
Writer: Chip Zdarsky/Artist: Joe Quinones, Joe & Paolo Rivera
40. Howard The Human #1 (Marvel, 2015) ***¼
Writer: Skottie Young/Artist: Jim Mahfood
I swore I’d never buy any Secret Wars titles, but I’m a fan of Howard The Duck, and I dig both Young and Mahfood’s previous work. But this one-shot doesn’t quite click and the plot is way too predictable, even if it’s meant to be a jokey noir pisstake.
47.-52. The Intrepids #1-6 (Image, 2011) ***
Writer: Kurtis J. Wiebe/Artist: Scott Kowalchuk
53. Velvet #11 (Image, 2015) ****
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Steve Epting
54. Bedlam #9 (Image, 2013) ***
Writer: Nick Spencer/Artists: Ryan Browne (interior); Frazer Irving (cover)
55. Dream Police #7 (Image, 2015) ***¼
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski/Artist: Sid Kotian
56. DC Comics Bombshells #1 (DC, 2015) ***
Writer/Interior artist: Marguerite Bennett/Cover artist: Ant Lucia
Like I’ve said before, making a comic based on a line of figurines is fraught with peril. This first issue is very mediocre.

57.-60. The Hangman #1, Inferno #1, The Web #1, The Shield #1 (DC, 2009) ***
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski/Artists: various
61. The Shield #1 (DC, 2009) ***
The Shield: Writer: Eric Trautmann/Artists: Marco Rudy & Mick Gray (interior)
Inferno: Writer: Brandon Jerwa/Artist: Greg Scott
Francis Manapul (cover)
62. The Mighty Crusaders Special #1 (DC, 2010) **¾
Writers: far too many/Artists: Javi Pina (interior); Stanley “Artgerm” Lau (cover)
My ratings sum up this misguided attempt by DC to relaunch the MLJ/Red Circle/Archie line of superheroes a few years back. Nothing offensive, nothing new and nothing riveting. Just generic superhero pap. To be honest, Dark Circle has made a much better fist of things with the recent relaunch of The Fox and Black Hood.

63.-70. The American Way #1-8 (Wildstorm, 2006) ***¾
Writer: John Ridley/Artists: Georges Jeanty & Karl Story
In 1961, government-sponsored superhero team The American Way get paid to pretend to fight super-villains and stop invasions from outer space as PR stunts to keep Communist Russia scared and a nervous American public reassured. However, the group is torn apart when a black superhero is hired to join them. During the height of American racial tensions, the team is split down the middle between racist southern members and more progressive northern members. Meanwhile, a traitor within their midst – inspired by a serial killer who is secretly paid by the government to “fight” The American Way – is out to permanently destroy the team for his own warped reasons.
This is a really powerful series that almost achieves greatness but falls a little short due to some poor character development and alarmingly unsympathetic cast members.

71. The New Teen Titans #1 (DC, 1980) **½
Writer: Marv Wolfman/Artists: George Perez & Romeo Tanghal (interior); George Perez & Dick Giordano (cover)
72.-87. The New Teen Titans Annual #3-4, The New Teen Titans #26, 28-34, 39-44 (DC, 1982-84) **
Writer: Marv Wolfman/Artists: George Perez & friends
The Judas Contract is surpisingly awful and kinda icky – and it’s pretty much all creepy Marv Wolfman’s fault. I discuss this much talked about-yet-overrated storyline on an upcoming podcast.

88. World’s Finest: Worlds Apart #1 (DC, 1990) **½
Writer: Dave Gibbons/Artists: Steve Rude & Karl Kesel
89. Charlton Arrow #1 (Comicfix, 2014) **¾
Writers/artists: various
A tribute to classic Charlton characters, some tributes written and drawn much better than others. Way overpriced though. Go to www.morttodd.com/charlton if you’re interested.

90. Grey Legacy #0 (The Fragile Elite Studio, 1990) *½
Writer: Wayne Wise/Artist: Fred Wheaton
Teen angst comedy set at a college for supernatural and/or alien creatures. There’s not much I can pick up from this brief taste except that the main heroine appears to be bottomless throughout the comic. That’s a plus. Otherwise, it’s kinda forgettable.
91. Garbage Pail Kids Go To Hollywood (IDW, 2015) -*
Writers/artists: various
I was dared by a friend to pick up a title I’d never read before from the $2 “damaged comic” bin at Kings Comics. So I grabbed this one-shot. Boy, do I regret it. Puerile, stupid stories with gross-out “humour” that isn’t funny. The artwork is shit. Easily the worst comic I’ll read this year.
92.-101. The Goon #30-39 (Dark Horse, 2008-12) ****
Writer/Artist: Eric Powell (except #35 where the writer is Evan Dorkin)
I’m not sure why I gave up on this series – it’s really very good. Funny, dark, violent and brilliantly drawn by Powell. Maybe it’s because the guy took FOUR YEARS to put out 10 issues. Yeah, maybe that’s it. Ya lazy fuck, Powell!

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