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The Rest of the Stack Catch-Up: Miscellaneous (July/Early-August 2012)

The Rest of the Stack logo

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.

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted much, so this is part of my “catching up” on the past month and a half or so.

GAMBIT #1

I picked this up because it was a new #1, a new start on a new Gambit series. I loved the original ongoing from ’99-’01 by Nicieza, and figured I’d check in on the character here. The issue itself is pretty good–we see Gambit in full thief mode, having fun with what he does, and while I can’t quite place all of his apparent motivations as being “fitting,” they work here, and I once again can totally “buy” Gambit as a solo act without needing the other X-Men. The art’s solid, though there’s something just a little bit “off” for me. Unfortunately, with other problems I’m having with Marvel lately–particularly the pending Marvel Now renumbering/relaunching of so many books; even if this stays at $2.99, it’s not enough and too late for me to truly care to “invest” in a long-form limited series right now. I’ll catch up in collected volumes or bargain bins if anything much pans out for this book. (8/10)

X-O MANOWAR #3

Normally I’m not a fan of decompression, especially lately…certainly not in a $3.99 book. But I’m loving this new X-O Manowar series. The story’s still seeming very familiar, keeping the basics of the character (as I recall ’em, anyway) pretty close to the classic version, just updated quite a bit to present-day comic sensibilities. The art’s a bit rough, but somehow fits the tone of the comic and the character in a way that works. I’m not all that familiar with characters’ individual names and such yet, but the issue works well for me just enjoying the story in and of itself. (7.5/10)

WALKING DEAD #101

Perhaps I’m over-simplifying a bit, but this (like its predecessor, the over-hyped #100) is a strong “next chapter” of the ongoing Walking Dead story. The art’s solid as always, maintaining the usual consistency–it looks and feels like an issue of The Walking Dead. The story moves forward, as the various characters react to what happened last issue, and begin to figure out what to do next. And of course, “to be continued.” I don’t know how much longer I’m going to stay on the “singles” bandwagon this time–I’m trying to tell myself to go back to the trades after this arc…but we’ll see. (7/10)

ANTI #1

I was surprised when the LCS owner mentioned this title to me when I recently revised my pull-list, as I had completely forgotten about it. I mean…it didn’t even ring any bells at all. So when I got it, I realized where it had come from: I must’ve requested it based on the Free Comic Day issue back in May. And for $1, figured I’d give it a shot. The art’s not bad, though it has that certain luminescent effect, a lightness even to the dark images, that so often makes me think “adaptation of something from TV” or some such, and the story (while it pulled me through the issue) is ultimately kinda forgettable, and I kept thinking as I read how this really seemed like something intended more for TV but relegated to comic book form. It’s also kinda telling that the selling point (which is what caught ME) is that it’s got Gale Anne Hurd‘s involvement, somehow…and that none of the actual creators who worked on story or art are even listed on the cover. I haven’t 100% decided either way on this title…I’ll probably give it another issue or two to really wow me, but at the moment I don’t see staying with this long. (6/10)

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The Walking Dead #100 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

The Rest of the Stack: Week of June 20, 2012

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.

TMNT MICRO-SERIES #5: SPLINTER

In a way, the numbering on this series is funky. Instead of “just” a bunch of one-shots, this is being treated as a series of its own, just with a different character focus in each issue. It’s a nitpicky detail, but one that I’ve noticed. Still…quite enjoying the extra dose of story and the look at stuff from each character’s perspective. This Splinter issue delves a lot more into the new origin of these characters, shedding light on his past as Hamato Yoshi, and his relationship with Oroku Saki. This issue takes place within the current TMNT arc, where Splinter is being forced to fight for his life–as he contemplates what it all means, his past lends strength to his choice. This may not be the greatest jumping-in point for a new reader, but if you’re already enjoying the TMNT stuff from IDW, this is well worth snagging. I’m a little uneasy with the emphasis on elements of the new origin, but I’m curious to see where it goes, and it works much more for me than what was talked of for a certain live-action film. The art worked for the issue…nothing overly special, but nothing bad, either. (8/10).

WALKING DEAD #99

There’s not much to say about this issue. It’s another chapter. It’s the last chapter before the huge #100 issue. Though I’ve gone back and forth between singles and trades, I remember when the series was barely hitting #50…I’ve actually been reading since just after the 5th collected volume came out, around the time #32 or 33 would’ve been just out. So I’ve been “into” this for almost 70% of its run. The art’s the usual; nothing new there. Story-wise, it’s interesting seeing the various character interactions, and I love the consistency of tone to everything as a whole. In some ways it’s kind of amazing to see where things have come, especially looking at the tv series now. This arc’s covers remind me a bit of the “No One is Safe” arc in the mid-40s, and makes me wonder if this’ll be the next big shakeup. Not really a good jumping-on issue, but definitely a good continuing issue…though as always, stuff like this seems to read best in bigger chunks. (8/10)

AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #6

Finally at the half-way point of this series. Originally I was gonna avoid it, then I was gonna check it out. Then I decided what the hey–I’ll go all-in. Something about it made it seem different to me, from all the other recent events. But with this issue, we’ve hit what I’ve been somewhat afraid of: the world itself has been altered…and yet, it’s only reflected in a handful of titles. Wolverine’s own book doesn’t seem affected, not all the X-books seem to be affected, basically the bulk of the Marvel Universe is continuing as if something of this scale wasn’t going on. The build-up stuff, sure…that works, as characters are always in conflict. But the world’s been radically changed as of this issue…but it’s such a self-contained world that it seems hardly believable, and thus weakens the event and lessens the impact for me as a whole. I’m digging the Phoenix Five’s costumes, and I love the concept coming out of this story…it just doesn’t seem to be set in the main Marvel Universe anymore, somehow. Looking forward to what’s coming up, though, to see what happens, and see what this whole “No More Avengers” really means. Story in itself is good; art’s not bad. (7/10)

UNCANNY X-MEN #14

Now, I learned a lot from this issue. The last I recall seeing of Sinister, we had Ms. Sinister or whatever. Finding a whole society of Sinisters, with their own Victorian cityscape was quite a bit to take…and yet it seems to fit right into the “big concept” tone of the relaunched X-Men stuff (This title and Wolverine and the X-Men). While this is set within the overall AvX stuff, this issue is quite a stand-alone side-story…if you’re a fan of Mr. Sinister, and/or apparent recent stuff with Sinister, this is definitely an issue worth getting. At the same time, if you’re unfamiliar with recent stuff…this may be a good point to jump in and learn of the new status quo. The primary point of view character raises some interesting points, and the end was disturbing yet fitting. The last page in particular leaves me eager to see where this plot is going, whatever AvX has…and while I still detest the renumbering, I begin to much more seriously consider investing in checking out recent X-Stuff, at least back to the start of the relaunch. I enjoyed the art and the story here, and while it hardly seems to justify the AvX banner…I’m mostly glad it had the banner as that’s what I’m looking for in my increasingly foolish quest for the full AvX experience. (9/10)

SECRET AVENGERS #28

This issue seems to be one of the more “important” issues of the tie-ins, at least in that I can see where this is prologue for other stuff…particularly the upcoming Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel Captain Marvel series. In that way this arc has somewhat been like a “backdoor pilot.” I have just enough background knowledge of things that I greatly appreciated the bit with Binary, and the visual was sufficiently reminiscent of something I’ve read with her in the past. I was also not at all shocked at Captain Marvel himself, except the very end which was a little creepy and disturbing while also being slightly hopeful, at least symbolically. Still not a huge fan of the art for this series/arc in general, but I think it worked better for me in this issue than the last several. (8/10)

AVENGERS ACADEMY #32

I didn’t care quite as much for the art in this issue as the last several…but it was still quite good. That, added to a solid story and reasonable cover price, and I have to say this will be a title I stick with beyond AvX if I stick wtih any. I haven’t read all of the Sentinel stuff, but I love the reintroduction to that concept this issue is for me, especially after making the connection last issue or the one before. While some may argue with my analogy, I found myself easily able to identify with Juston by likening the sentinel to a pet, such as a cat–the way I often find that it seems many don’t quite “get” or understand what (a cat) can be to someone though the cat is not human. Before I ramble much longer: very good issue that makes great use of the status quo created by the event without being just “the next chapter” or such. This is the first of a two-issue arc, so if you know the characters or just want to check things out, this is like a mini jumping-on point within the larger context. Highly recommended. (9.5/10)

NEW AVENGERS #27

This issue finally brings the arc full circle, showing what may have happened with the old Iron Fist that last encountered the Phoenix, as well as putting some stuff out to Hope. The involvement of Spider-Man seemed sorta strange, and yet I loved his interaction with Hope. The last several issues definitely gave deeper context, but in some ways it felt like this issue stood alone a bit more and so long as one knows THAT there’s much more detail if desired, you could probably get away with enjoying this issue without anything else. While it may just be the Spider-Man factor, the Spidey/Hope scene toward the end was maybe the most interested in Hope I’ve been in awhile. It’s nice to see an arc that’s not 6 issues long…and yet the danger with concluding a tie-in arc at this point is that it would be relatively easy enough to consider this month the wrap-up point of this exercise in completism and bail on at least some of the tie-ins. (8.5/10)

The Rest of the Stack: Week of May 30, 2012

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.

THE GUILD: FAWKES ONE-SHOT

I missed the original Guild 3-issue mini-series, and though I keep meaning to, as fo this typing have yet to snag the collected edition. However, between when that came out and when these one-shots started coming out last year, I watched the first four seasons of The Guild. A few weeks ago, I watched the whole of Season 5 in one go and greatly enjoyed it. So it was a REALLY pleasant surprise to discover this one-shot, after I thought all the one-shots were done coming out. I’ve quite enjoyed Wheaton’s appearances in The Guild and Big Bang Theory, so as with all the other characters’ one-shots, it’s a real treat to get a lot more spotlight on the specific character. In this case, we get the backstory to Fawkes that fills in the details of how he wound up where he did in season 5. The story’s good, and I liked the art. I especially like that these one-shots are truly that: one-issue stories that you don’t HAVE TO follow one to the next (though as a Guild fan, you’ll WANT to). (8.5/10)

THE WALKING DEAD #98

Not a whole lot to say about this issue. I enjoy this series, I look forward to seeing what happens next and where things go. But individual issues tend to blur together for me, as it’s the overarching stories and developments that stick with me. Of course, the sudden, unexpected death of a major character should ultimately leave this issue sticking out a bit. It’s weird–this character’s been around quite awhile–about half the existence of the series–and yet still never quite felt as familiar to me as the original group of survivors did. But the death definitely fits with the way the series runs. Two more issues to #100, and I’m thinking that after being back in on the single issues for the last several arcs…I may be ready to bow out for awhile to “just” catch up in the collected volumes. (7.5/10)

X-MEN LEGACY #267

I particularly like the focus on Rogue in this issue. Iron Man’s shown up, and starts taking apart the Jean Grey School faculty, until Rogue is convinced to throw down the glove and wade into things, “old school.” Between the previous issue and this one, there’s been a bit of focus on Rogue dealing with her past–which has prompted me to look a bit into her past in the comics myself, and as a result I’ve really enjoyed the relevant emotion of the character here: she got her start fighting the Avengers, and now she’s thrust back into fighting them again, despite years of growth and getting away from that. I’d say that continuity stuff very much fits this series’ title. The art’s not 100% to my liking–but on the whole no great problem with it. I am definitely looking forward to the next issue, and seeing what else develops for Rogue–as well as the rest of the cast. (8/10)

WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #11

This issue bridges the gap between panels in AvX #4, following Wolverine and Hope and how they secured transport to the moon. There’s also a bit of checking in on the various plot-points, some of which seem moot by now…feel like I’ve seen ’em play out in other ways in other issues…but I suppose THAT is one of the drawbacks to having jumped in on this AvX thing whole-hog. I don’t care too much about Kid Gladiator here, though it’ll be sorta interesting to see how that stuff plays out. The Iceman/Red Hulk fight reminded me of the Age of Apocalypse Iceman here with the numerous shells or ‘avatars’ of the original…not quite sure I care for that. Definitely like the art MUCH better on this issue than the previous. (7.5/10)

The Walking Dead #96 [Review]

A Larger World (Conclusion)

Creator, Writer: Robert Kirkman
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Penciler, Inker, Cover: Charlie Adlard
Gray Tones, Cover Colors: Cliff Rathburn
Editor: Sina Grace
Published by: Image Comics

Rick and “our” survivors get a taste of this other facility where so many live, and have their own perspectives on the whole thing. While they’re learning about the situation in general, Rick finds himself in position to make a deal for long-term survival, though his friends aren’t entirely thrilled with it.

Story-wise, not a bad issue. I hardly remember the last issue, so surely lost something in between that and this. As story conclusions go, this is a bit less thrilling than some, so a bit of a let-down…but it sets things up for other stories to come, and the run-up to #100 (which by usual 6-issue arcs will kick off the 2nd half of the next arc).

Visually, nothing new or shocking, really…the art’s one of the most consistent things about this comic (actually, same can be said for the writing).

Frankly, this is no jump-on point…but it’s the latest issue of The Walking Dead, and it’s not bad.

Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 8/10

Walking Dead #55 [Review]

Posted to Comixtreme.com.

The Walking Dead #54 [Review]

Posted to comixtreme.com.

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