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The Rest of the Stack: Week of October 5, 2011


allofthestack

The Rest of the Stack is my general mini-review coverage of new comics for any given week. It’s in addition to (or in place of) full-size individual reviews. It’s far less formal, and more off-the-top-of-my head thoughts on the given comics than it is detailed reviews.

ACTION COMICS #2

actioncomics002Superman’s been smashed by a train, and captured by the government. While his captors question him, Supes is working up enough focus to break free–and woe to those who stand in his way. Meanwhile, his indestructible cape is also put to the test, while Lois Lane gains entry thanks to her father. And it seems Luthor’s out of his depths. Oh, and the actual CONTENT of this issue, the story itself, the thing that I buy any given issue for? 20 freaking pages. For $3.99. Meanwhile, there are 8 pages of generic extras–sketches and internet stuff printed for the sake of pages thrown in to make the issue feel that much thicker, and then the USUAL back-of-the-issue preview for something I’m not even going to buy, and which is not going to change my mind, because either I’m NOT BUYING WHAT IS BEING PREVIEWED…or I’m NOT GOING TO READ it because I am planning to buy it, and don’t want to read a QUARTER to THIRD of its contents before I pay too much for cover price. So on principle alone–$3.99 for 20 pages–this thing is a huge disappointment, and I discourage anyone who hasn’t already from buying the single issue, as such. Collected volume? Sure. I think this’ll be a strong story in the end. But I for one refuse to support this sort of crap for a $4 issue when bought alongside several $3 issues with the EXACT SAME LENGTH STORY. (2/10)

ANIMAL MAN #2

animalman002Lots of death, decay, and gore in this issue. Disturbingly so, really. Buddy finds himself drastically affected by “The Red,” and his daughter seems more powerful than her father, leading him to follow the call of the Red. The cover alone is quite disturbing, and the interior visuals are, too. Even some of the tamer stuff is rather creepy–the skeleton of a cat squatting for milk especially rattled me. And yet…for essentially a horror book, something that typically would’ve been Vertigo…it’s fitting. The story doesn’t have nearly the blown-away effect on me the first issue did. But still, something to this–I’m curious where it’s all leading. And hey…it’s Vertigo, yet not. A worthy second issue, and there’s nothing to this one that prompts me to drop it or otherwise not come back for the next issue. (6/10)

JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #2

justiceleagueinternational002I wish I was overtly enthusiastic about this issue. There’s something just sort of mediocre about it. It’s nothing spectacular. The story’s not terribly engaging, and doesn’t send me running for back issues and chomping at the bit for the next issue. But the story’s solid enough. The art’s not bad–I do like it, really. And together, they make for a quality book. And while there isn’t much that really jumps out or stands out…I liked it. We have the team, already assembled from the first issue, we see them in action, we see them in down-time, we get interaction and we get a built-up threat that justifies the group staying together. And on the whole, this feels like a second issue–we’ve been introduced to the characters, but here we learn a bit more. Unfortunately, there are a lot of characters, so there’s little focus on any specific character. Much of my not being bothered too much by that is my history with these characters’ prior incarnations, so I’m “projecting” what I know of those onto these. Still sticking around for the next issue, and seeing where this goes…if only for Booster Gold. (6/10)

SWAMP THING #2

swampthing002So, once again the nature of the Swamp Thing seems to be getting shaken up. Between reading the first issue of this series and this issue, I read the first volume of Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing…which spoiled me, and made this sort of ho-hum by comparison. It’s not bad, if you’re really into the character, but the changes being brought up here seem to be flying in the face of prior stuff…which is at it should be, for being part of the New 52–give the new readers their own definitive character(s). But it leaves me a little bit confused…though there’s a lot of potential. I’m along for the ride, at least for now. I want to like this series, but I can’t help but wonder if I’m really more interested in some past stories…and this serves more as an affordable mini-dose for $3/month rather than $20+ in one go. Still…whatever the reason, I’m still in for the third issue. (7/10)

INVINCIBLE #83

invincible083I’m sort of on the fence lately with this title. It’s NOT bad. But it’s not one I’m enjoying consistently as have before, and it’s not nearly as gripping as The Walking Dead. I’ve read this series primarily through collected volumes from the library, a several-issue bit around The Invincible War or whatever the one-issue-summer-event-crossover was (which I got quite a kick out of). Missed a few issues, got back in just in time for The Viltrumite War, which I stockpiled and read largely in one go. Now being back on Earth, there’s a different feel to this title for me. I’m also starting to feel that I’ve missed quite a bit for not having read Guarding the Globe or other tie-ins. I’m in for now, but I wonder if I might be close to jumping ship–at least until #100 or so…or the collected volumes. (7.5/10)

WALKING DEAD #89

walkingdead089It’s almost maddening how quickly these issues read. And how much I’m drawn in, to where I’m buying the singles just to have every last bit of story as soon as it’s available. This reads so much better in larger chunks, there’s more substance to the collected volumes. But I enjoy reading what I can ASAP. This issue sees a bit of a power struggle, and certainly raises some questions for both “our” group of survivors and those that were already established before they arrived. The art’s solid as usual, and the story as well. It’s a great time to be a Walking Dead fan and reader–monthly issues, a second season of the tv show about to debut, and the first hardcover novel due out this week. At nearly 90 issues in, there’s loads of continuity in this series. But for what it is, in and of itself…pick an issue, and dive in. You’ll be in over your head, but you’ll figure it out before too long. Or pick up the collected volumes. Well worthwhile. (9/10)

X-MEN #19

x-men019The FF and X-Men deal with their opponents, and resolve the current situation. And, kind of frustratingly, wind up right back at the status quo they had at the beginning. While the scope of this story is pretty epic, and it does what it does nicely in 4 issues instead of being stretched to 6, it doesn’t really DO anything. If not overt, things are ambiguous–enough so that this doesn’t really affect any other titles–X-books nor FF. And yet…maybe that’s one of its strengths, one of the things that I enjoy with Gischler’s work. It’s strong stuff, fun, epic stories that can plausibly fit in within established, less epically-scaled stuff. Unfortunately, I’ve been waiting for this issue–not so much for “finding out what happens” as to finish up this story, and leave this title behind. Came time to cut books, and weighed against other stuff I’m going to continue buying monthly as singles, I just can’t get past this title being $3.99 vs. X-Men Legacy’s $2.99. So…a good issue to wrap things up, and jump ship. If this were $2.99, it’d be a keeper, but for what I’ve paid at this point for singles, I feel like I should have a stack of 25+ issues by now rather than only 19. (8/10)

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