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The Rest of the Stack: Week of October 12, 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.

BATMAN AND ROBIN #2

batmanandrobin002I’m definitely enjoying seeing the dynamic between Bruce and Damian here. Somehow it doesn’t seem like it’s really been all that long–but I think it’s been about half a decade now–since Damian was introduced into Batman continuity. And even though this title is part of this new DCU, even the flashbacks in this issue speak to it being a continuation rather than something all-new. Just as Alfred’s been a father to Bruce, now Bruce is trying (albeit in a suspend-your-disbelief sorta way) to be a father to Damian. We get a confrontation between Bruce and an “old friend” that sets up some of the atmosphere the two have–and while I’m not often a huge fan of “hey, here’s yet another person from this character’s past we’ve never heard of, but he’s really a Big Deal” situations…it works here. Mostly, I think I’m just glad to see BRUCE WAYNE, to see that there actually is a man under the cowl, and that Bruce is a part of things as much as Batman. Story’s good; not entirely thrilled with the art, again…but it still comes off better here than it did in Green Lantern Corps last I’d read the title over a year ago. (8/10)

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER SEASON 9 #2

buffyseasonnine002While the ending to the previous issue was a complete what-the-heck?!? sorta deal…this issue makes it quite plausible, and I think it made that cliffhanger that much more…something. I like it now, much more than I did then, since I didn’t have the context. I still have not read the final couple volumes of Season Eight, and I’m getting the feeling they were the most important–so I’m totally going to have to track ’em down in some form or another to read ’em. This issue, and probably this whole arc–would seem to be ‘the setup’ part of things, getting stuff together to propel us through the rest of the series. I like that this does not directly seem to tie to Angel & Faith, despite both these series being in the same universe. The story’s good here–though it’s now been long enough that I don’t quite hear the actors’ voices in my head anymore on reading the issues. This is definitely a different Buffy than what Gellar had played–this one’s older, and has been through a heckuva lot since Gellar portrayed Buffy. Art’s not bad; I definitely like that while the characters are recognizable, they’re not slavish look-alikes for the actors from the tv show. This title, and Angel & Faith made it through my recent cuts, and for the foreseeable future are part of my official pull list. (7.5/10)

DAILY BUGLE: AVENGING SPIDER-MAN

dailybugleavengingspiderman000Now, this is the kind of preview I don’t mind. Give it to me as its own separate thing, and quit padding out the single-issues of other series with the exact same stupid previews. Have a little substance to it, explain it, give the first few pages or whatever, give the sketch/back matter/etc. and make it like a comic on its own, something that I can read when I’m good ‘n ready. I’m far more receptive to such material in this format and thus a little more willing to consider buying what’s being sold–whereas I get totally turned-off to stuff when I get sick and tired of seeing the exact same preview issue after issue after issue, almost like I’m being ‘punished’ for reading numerous issues from a given publisher. That said…no, I won’t likely be buying Avenging Spider-Man…not for $3.99, and I don’t intend to hassle with the download codes and such. I’ve stated my feelings on digital and print elsewhere, and may do so in detail again soon. Still…if Marvel would put one of these out every couple weeks, these Daily Bugle preview things–or even every week–I’d actually be inclined to collect ’em, as they’d be their own series, and maybe something would come of it. Not an actual full comic, but as an individual item, I’ll rate this at a 5 for effort and potential. (5/10)

DEMON KNIGHTS #2

demonknights002Actually enjoying this…all the more since having the D&D analogy pointed out. While this is set in the distant past of the DCU, it’s still got that sword-and-sorcery/fantasy element (and yet, the dragons turned out to be other than what I thought, taking things at face value last issue). I’m not terribly familiar with all the characters, and can’t tell you much about them individually. But the issue was a fun enough read, and nothing to it particularly turned me off, so, that’s definitely a good thing. Story’s solid enough, and the art definitely fits the story–that’s a clear positive in my book. Unfortunately, this also has the feel of a limited series, like we’ll get this one adventure and that’ll be it–so I remain hesitant to invest overly so in the title. Still…I’ll be getting the next issue, to see where things go. (7.5/10)

FEAR ITSELF: HULK VS. DRACULA #3

fearitselfhulkvsdracula003This mini wraps up rather anti-climactically…and yet, it makes sense at the same time. By its end it seems to have given us a key part of the overall Fear Itself story, and with more detail and context than just going from the pages of one issue to a different status quo randomly showing up in another. I’m very glad this is a $2.99 series, though…yet I still had to check the price a couple times to make sure it wasn’t $3.99. Which, in gaining and maintaining my interest in a line of comics is not the best thing–as I tend to fixate on the price almost to detriment of the content. I suppose Gischler deserves congratulations–as the writer, it’s his work that prompted me to pick this series up at all, as I’d had no intention of buying any tie-in minis for Fear Itself. The Uncanny X-Force mini I bought for being UXF; this I bought for Gischler‘s prior work; and I’ve been getting Iron Man since I neglected to take it off my pull list before getting stuck in the midst of Fear Itself. So…story’s good. Art’s good. And I can’t help but wonder…will this be collected in a $9.99ish paperback, as part of a larger multi-mini volume, or what? (7/10)

GHOSTBUSTERS #2

Layout 1Almost seems too soon to have another issue already–but I am absolutely not complaining. Well, there IS that pesky $3.99 price…but with a recent slashing of my pull-list, this is one of very few $3.99s that survived the cut. This issue picks up with Peter and Winston battling Slimer (this is not your goofy Real Ghostbusters Slimer, but the far less cute movie-verse Slimer). There’s something to seeing this “fight” play out, and the way it ends…I found myself seeing the transition in my head much as it’d likely play out animated, which made it a bit humorous. Story’s quite good, and the art still works quite well for me. If you’re a Ghostbusters fan, this is well worth picking up. I may even dig out the Infestation mini-series, as I believe that’s set in-continuity a bit, and I now have some context to go with for that. This is only #2, so if you’re a fan…snag this and find the first issue and just enjoy the ride… (8/10)

GREEN LANTERN #2

greenlantern002This issue feels a little like a cop-out on what seemed to be a twist on status quo. Now rather than seeming status quo, it seems like more of a gimmick for the arc rather than anything particularly long-term. Still, we’ve got Hal and Sinestro, and Sinestro’s shown to be quite competent–far preferable to what he was before Johns got ahold of the character. There’s definitely potential here, and I do look forward to where things go. Hal’s new status being tied to Sinestro opens up a lot of possibilities for growth–for both characters. The mission the two now face also holds a lot of potential, and I’m glad to be along for this ride. Whatever comes of this arc, I have to say that a Sinestro-as-protagonist (villain or otherwise) could be very interesting, and especially after this summer’s film, would seem to be a lot more viable than ever before. Four lantern titles, but this is the one I’ve opted to stick with–and at least for this issue, I don’t regret it. Looking forward to seeing where #3 takes us. (8.5/10)

RESURRECTION MAN #2

resurrectionman002Not too much to this issue in a way…and yet there’s quite a bit. We get a glimpse into the Resurrection Man’s past, as an individual–with hints as to his origins (which may have been covered in the 1990s series, but I don’t know yay or nay). We also get more on the folks trying to kill him–or rather, secure him, and again–I don’t know if these characters are new or old, or new takes on old characters, or what. But there are a couple other details dropped in this issue–particularly about an old man helping Mitch that seem highly ripe for story development in the near future. This is one of those oddball series that somehow works in the DCU even though in some ways it has a sort of Vertigo feel to it. Even though I’m not yet heavily invested in the book and can barely tell characters here apart, this is another title that I’m glad I’ve stuck with, and looking forward to the next issue. (7.5/10)

THE SHADE #1

shade001I waffled on this–first it sounded interesting, then I figured it’s a limited series so I’d pass on it, then I figured it’s tied to the writer’s “classic” Starman run, so another reason to hold off at least for a collected volume. But then I found myself at a comic shop, one $2.99 comic in-hand and in need of meeting a $5 minimum to use my card. Since Shade had not been something I’d already bought nor planned to buy–it wasn’t something I’d cut. It’s also 12 issues, which is more than some ongoing series seem to get these days. And it’s $2.99 rather than some debut $3.99 issue, so it fit my criteria. Having only read the first volume of The Starman Omnibus and the Blackest Night issue of Starman from early 2010, I’m not exactly steeped in the Starman stuff. Still, I found this to be accessible enough, and really pretty enjoyable. There’s an added bonus that a new character appearing here seems at the very least to be an analogue to the Malibu/Ultraverse Firearm character Robinson was responsible for, and even as a background character, I’m intrigued enough in this character alone to probably come back for the next issue and see where things go. (8.5/10)

SUPER DINOSAUR #5

superdinosaur005I am incredibly used to the 6-issue arc. So this ending the first arc now caught me by surprise. But it makes sense–this issue here in October, then next month is the collected volume, and sometime later the series will resume with #6, I believe…but there’s a brief hiatus for the creative team to work ahead a bit, it seems. Kinda took a chance on this series, and on the whole it’s been pretty good. It’s on my pull list, anyway, and I’ll probably go at least one more arc, see how I feel on it. This issue wraps up a number of threads running so far in the series, and opens up some new stuff. I’m not as engaged in this as I am with Kirkman‘s other stuff–specifically The Walking Dead or Invincible–but this is still the beginning of Super Dinosaur. There’s a lot of potential for the various characters, and I do look forward to seeing where they go in the near future. If you’ve not checked this series out, I do recommend it. I’ve paid about $15 now (5 $2.99 issues and 1 Free Comic Book Day issue), but the collected volume coming next month will only set you back $10. This issue was fun, but not huge…we’ll see where the story goes. (8/10)

UNCANNY X-FORCE #16

uncannyxforce016So…X-Force fights back against Archangel and the various Age of Apocalypse characters that’ve crossed over. There’s something that just really bothers me in particular about seeing Weapon X as a villain, to say nothing of Iceman. Blob was quite disturbing simply in his depiction, period…and I am still trying to get used to these gray costumes. They definitely symbolize the “dark” side of things, but seem to set the characters off all the more from their otherwise quasi-colorful surroundings. Looks like we have at least one more chapter of this to go, and I think I’m near the end of my run with this series. It’s still been good in and of itself, the writing’s solid, and the art–stylistic though it is–fits the story quite well. But the Schism that this title will soon be joining may make for a decent enough break-off point…or maybe I’ll just take Wolverine’s side with X-Force. I’m ready for this arc to end–haven’t cared for the “modern” Age of Apocalypse, as it’s so vastly different from the AoA that I so enjoyed in the mid-1990s, and I’d like to see this wrap up so we can get on with things. (7/10)

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