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The Rest of the Stack: Week of October 19, 2011


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.


fearitself007Spoilers ahead. When? When am I going to learn that Marvel does not ever, Ever, EVER actually END an event? It’s just the attempting “hook” of the next thing. This issue hardly made any sense. More posturing. More glowy/Tron Legacy-style characters, more magical weapons transforming characters into weird alternate-version-action-figures of themselves. And just a couple years after all the hoopla over JMS having an interesting story to bring Thor back? Hey, let’s kill him off. AGAIN. And let’s just have all these vague little “moments” to spin off into other stuff. The story ends way early, but wait–there’s more! There are these multiple “epilogues” that REALLY are PROLOGUES to other series and such that Marvel wants you to go out there and buy. And of course, like a complete sucker, I fell in for it. And at $4.99 for this issue. Pretty sure that means I was hoodwinked into paying for those prologues. And the Hulk stuff makes no sense.


fearitself007aYeah, in writing this, if you think *I* am being choppy, well…I’m just emulating what I read. I was almost content to not even buy this issue, but figured no, I’ll finish the series, finish the event. But it doesn’t even truly end, it just sets you up for these other spin-off series, and these .1/.2/.3 issues (aka Fear Itself #7.1, #7.2, #7.3 so they can claim you don’t have to buy ANOTHER mini-series to make sense of this one, nor have to admit this series is now 10 issues instead of the originally stated 7). And you know what? I barely paid attention to the art here. Maybe it was ok, maybe it just wasn’t horrible, but I was trying to follow the story, and neither story nor art nor the combination really made things make the sort of sense they were surely going for. I may sound cliche, but fired up as I am at this, and seeing this as being another of Marvel‘s “core” things…well, chance after chance after chance, but I’m sorry, I just am not interested in more than the concepts. The actual stories, the actual execution of whatever ideas…there just isn’t any satisfaction to whatever payoff there is. Very dissatisfied with this issue, this series, and I’m voting with my wallet. I’m out. (2/10)


invincibleironman509My 10th issue post-500 (counting that 5xx.1 issue)…and yeah, I’m done. Modified my pull list recently, and told my comic shop I’d finish out Fear Itself and Iron Man, but none of the follow-ups. None of the spin-offs. Maybe I’m just out of touch with Marvel, but whatever potential there was here is squandered. Surfacey plan on Tony’s drinking. Whatever this Asgardian armor thing is, he looks like the Destroyer or whatever that robot with the visor is–but no one says anything about it, nor do I get what its properties are, whether this is a quasi-permanent thing or not. There’s some interaction between Tony and a dwarf that could set up stuff for down the road, but time alone will tell on that. Pepper’s situation is “conveniently” dealt with, squandering tension from the previous issue. And much as I loved Fraction‘s first 24-some issues in particular–it’s what got me buying this in the first place–all that goodwill has pretty much been crapped away–though I mainly blame Marvel in general and these darned event-after-event-after-Event-after-EVENT thing they’ve been doing. Art’s the usual for this title. Story’s probably not bad once it gets explained by those more patient than me, or in the collected volume (maybe with some tie-ins thrown in for better flavoring). Again…voting with my wallet. I’m done. This isn’t worth $3.99/issue, I’m caught up, and I’m choosing not to keep buying a title on the offchance it’ll get better “next month” or have an epiphany-type moment. (5/10)


justiceleague002If I’m paying $3.99, it’s for extra pages of story. If you want to–on top of a full issue at $2.99–give me extra pages of text or prose or whatever to add to the worldbuilding, sure, great. But if I’m paying for it? No. Not my cup of tea. 22 pages of story for $3.99, with some supplemental stuff. The Superman and Batman design pages were semi-interesting, because I’d listened to an interview weeks ago with Mr. Hamner discussing having been hired to do these guides. But the Steve Trevor transcript segments did nothing for me. Somehow I’m not quite AS fired up about this as I was about practically the same thing happening with Action Comics #2…but the mood I’m in having read this week’s comics, and being so freaking tired of comics’ prices, their VALUE these days, this title’s on my chopping block. Like Action…maybe I’ll enjoy it more in a collected volume, from Amazon, bundled with something else for free shipping, to justify whatever the cost. Get the whole story in one go so it feels like an actual story instead of a segment, and not have it broken up by the same old useless ads and such, and hopefully without stupid PAID backmatter clogging things up. The story–this feels like just another segment of something much bigger, that is INTENDED for a single story, which it will achieve in collected-edition format. The art’s good–it’s Jim Lee, after all–but even some of that seems to be posturing, and doesn’t really “do” anything for me. At $3.99 and not being significantly longer (remember, Superman #1 was what–25 pages for $2.99???) than anything else…you’re probably best off waiting for the graphic novel. (6/10)


batman002Best of the week. Which isn’t saying much. Well, I suppose moreso, it doesn’t take much. This has Batman, and Bruce, Dick shows up and we see that this isn’t gonna be some dumb cliche thing. We jump right into the action, then flash back to pick up where #1 left off and resolve things and head to that opening action, and then wrap up from there. Though this is part of a continuing story, we get a functional beginning-middle-end that works, and I’m interested in coming back for the next issue. The art’s good overall, though I don’t much care for some of the panels that just seem…”off.” All in all, solid story and solid art, doing what a single issue should. Also potentially fortuitous that this came out the day after the Batman: Year One animated film, and that I read this issue shortly after watching an interview “extra” on the B:YO disc with Snyder and others talking about Batman. (8.5/10)

The Rest of the Stack: Week of October 12, 2011


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.


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)

Shades of Pricing

shadehulkvsdraculaI managed to miss Hulk vs. Dracula #3 this week in my regular visit to my local comic shop. Didn’t notice til I got home, so wasn’t particularly worried about it.

Friday night, out of town, I stopped by another shop to grab the issue. Having all of $1.37 in cash on me, of course I had to use my card. Which, at this store means a $5 minimum. Not a huge deal. Just gotta grab one more comic of at least $1.99, basically. Given those don’t really exist, my next option’s a $2.99 comic. Given I’ve settled with what I’m buying of the New 52 for present, and that I pretty much associate Marvel Comics with $3.99, my choice was pretty simple.

The Shade #1. Yeah, it’s 1 of 12, so a finite thing. And no, I have only read whatever’s contained in the Vol. 1 of The Starman Omnibus by way of Robinson‘s Starman work (oh, and the Blackest Night issue).

Yet another example (to me, myself, at least) of where I’m totally willing to try a new comic, or at least that Marvel has SO trained me to “assume” that any of their new comics are $3.99, that I really don’t even give their books a second glance unless–like the issue I was in this store specifically to buy–I already plan to buy the issue.

No clue if I’ll grab another issue of The Shade or not–if I write reviews this weekend, maybe it’ll be in there. I sort of have to read the thing before I make any decisions.

Shattered Heroes [Checklist]

“The war is over, and the warriors return home, carrying with them scars of battle, both physical and mental. Now the cost will be tallied, the casualties buried and mourned, the rubble swept up and carted away. But the damage to our heroes isn’t easily repaired, the wounds not easily healed. Decisions are made and lives are changed–can shattered heroes find renewed courage to go on?” — Tom Brevoort, SVP Executive Editor


The Fearless #1
Incredible Hulk #1


Fear Itself #7.1
Fear Itself #7.2
Fear Itself #7.3
Battle Scars #1
Avengers #19
Invincible Iron Man #510
Journey Into Mystery #631
Avengers Academy #21
The Mighty Thor #8


Defenders #1
Captain America #6


The Rest of the Stack: Week of September 28, 2011


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.


angelandfaith002Faith finds herself questioning Angel and his intended actions, as well as what effect her going along with him–or not–would have. While she does and as they battle some demons, we also get reference all the way back to early in Angel season 1, which I rather enjoyed because it’s a deep continuity reference that even I can “get” with my limited exposure to the tv series. This is one of those series that I think is going to take a bit of a concerted effort to get through. In a way, it’s not one I necessarily want to read in and of itself from the cover alone. Even now, just a couple days after having read the issue, I can’t even remember what the cliffhanger was. And it takes flipping back through the issue to refresh my memory of exactly what went on in the issue, at length. So on the surface, it’s not something that overly engages or interests me. And yet, when I actually read it, I enjoy it. (I also realize that I have got to read those final two volumes of Buffy Season Eight!). I won’t let many series go like this, but at least for now, I’m sticking with this. I didn’t follow the last Buffy series in singles because I hadn’t yet watched the tv series enough to want to (I’d watched 3/4 of season 1, and wasn’t interested in jumping clear across 7 full seasons). This definitely is a series for long-term fans of the tv series–Buffy and/or Angel. I do definitely like that this series allows us to follow Angel and Faith without taking up space in the main Buffy series, allowing all a better shot at the spotlight and character development and depth. (7.5/10)


fearitselfhulkvsdracula002This series is still building up to the actual battle that gives it its name. Normally I wouldn’t like this, but 1. it’s Gischler–whose writing I’ve come to quite enjoy–and 2. it’s only 3 issues at $2.99 per, which seems quite tame compared to the $3.99 monstrosities that abound with Marvel. On the whole, this is definitely a side-story, but I’m finding it interesting enough to be explored. I’m not particularly enjoying Fear Itself on the whole…but this at least does something with the concept, fleshing out the impact one of the hammer-carriers has simply by existing, simply by being present. Until Gischler‘s Curse of the Mutants arc last year in the new X-Men title, I knew only that Marvel‘s Dracula was a vampire, had had some dealings with Storm and had apparently interacted with Blade. Since then, with the development of the various vampire factions, I’ve come to realize that the vampires can be very much their own culture within the Marvel Universe, much as the Atlanteans or Inhumans or the Shi’ar. Still, 3 issues seems quite short and not a lot of room for intricate development…but it’s a darned sight better than some uber decompressed 6-issue arc. I’d’ve enjoyed something like this at its length being something like one of those Marvel Must Haves, as a triple-sized issue for $6-7. I daresay if such a thing was done, and they were of the quality of this, I’d buy more tie-ins. The art’s not bad, either. It’s sorta cartooney and over the top in a way, but not drastically so, and certainly works to the favorability of this issue. Probably the only drawback to me is that it doesn’t seem like it’s been a month since the previous issue, almost like the series was held and now being rushed out. This’ll be for more die-hard Hulk fans that want everything Hulk; but primarily for the vampire/Dracula fans, or fans of Gischler himself, I think. (8/10)


xmenlegacy256OK…I think I’m officially–if I wasn’t already–following this book out of habit. I want this story to end. I’m interested in Rogue and Magneto, in their relationship…and I’m not opposed to the writer playing with the Rogue/Gambit/Magneto triangle. I’m interested in Havok, Polaris, and Rachel in terms of whether or not they’re coming back to Marvel Earth or to remain in the “Marvel Cosmic” realm of things. But this story in general just isn’t doing it for me. I’m trying to like the series, I’m trying to engage after enjoying Age of X. But right now, I’m pretty much ready to throw in the towel and keep up via Wikipedia. I don’t care for the “X-Men in Space” thing, and that holds just as true in this issue as earlier. The art’s pretty good overall, though doesn’t blow me away. It’s certainly not good enough to “carry” the book on its own. All in all, I’m pretty disappointed here–in the story not holding me, and in myself for continuing to buy this series despite rapidly-declined interest. (4/10)

The Rest of the Stack: Week of September 21, 2011

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.


fearitselfuncannyxforce003I’m of quite mixed feelings on this issue. On the one hand…it’s Uncanny X-Force, and it’s only $2.99. But then, this is a Fear Itself tie-in, that in some ways feels like it has zero bearing on the main story. Of course, it has a bit MORE meaning to me than the first two issues did, as I have now read God Loves, Man Kills…so have some basis for the Purifiers stuff. This issue primarily suffers from being the closing issue of an only-three-issues mini outside the main title’s continuity flow, and thus this story has nowhere to “go” at its end. Nothing to really explore coming out of this, no real ramifications. Its timeframe is also questionable given the ongoing Dark Angel Saga in the main title–does this take place before or after that story? Still…it’s this cast of characters, we see them doing exactly what the team’s supposedly been formed around, and so the story is fitting. I’m undecided on the art for the issue–it’s good in and of itself, I like it that way. But something about it seems a little bit “off” somehow. All in all, though…a good issue, even if it means YET ANOTHER issue of Uncanny X-Force in such a short period of time. I think I would’ve preferred this as some triple-sized $5-$6 single issue, though. Worthwhile if you’re a fan of UXF in general and want to see how the characters would deal with Fear Itself, or just to have an extra dose of them and their way of doing things. (7.5/10)


invincibleironman508I’ve meant to drop this book since #500, but never quite got around to it. Then I found myself figuring that I’m mid-arc, and didn’t want to get caught with a cliffhanger and having to separately track down an extra chapter of something. I’ve generally enjoyed the title…just not for the jacked-up $3.99 price point after being THRILLED to “discover” it was only $2.99 as of the dawn of the Heroic Age. I’ve been having a bit of trouble “following” all this Fear Itself stuff with Tony, and wondering where things are actually going and what it’s going to mean, long-term. The story’s ok in and of itself, though, I suppose…but between the price point and this being something that seems far better suited for collected volumes, I’m not thrilled with it. The art’s good in the way I’ve enjoyed on this title, so can’t really complain about that. I am thinking that I’ll probably get the next issue–what I hope is the conclusion of the title’s tie-in to Fear Itself–and then probably part ways with the title in favor of collected volumes, if at all. (5/10)


guildclara001The first thing I noticed about this issue is the HORRENDOUS cover. I don’t really remember the last time I so disliked a cover. If I wasn’t already interested in the issue for the content, I would avoid this entirely just based on the cover! I also didn’t much care for the art on the interior as well. It certainly captures the essence of the character, sure…but it’s a bit too stylized for my taste, particularly given that I’m buying this because of enjoying the live-action web series, and not for this to look like something so different. The story was very good, though, offering plenty of insight into the character and filling in where she’s come from and her relationship with her husband–and kids. I missed the original Guild mini-series, though I’ve been picking up these one-shots and enjoying them. As such, I do plan to pick up what I believe will be the final one-shot of this run in a couple months. I’d recommend this for Guild fans, though I don’t see there being much here for non-Guild fans. (7/10)


startrek001The 2009 Star Trek film is easily my favorite film of the last couple years–and certainly my favorite of 2009. It’s the ONLY film I’ve ever seen 5 times in its first run in the theatre. I think what really hooked me was that with a couple of quick scenes this was established not as a replacement but as an alternate timeline, thus keeping all original continuity intact, and setting this continuity as TECHNICALLY taking place after Nemesis. All that said: I didn’t know what this comic series was going to do, except it features the “new” versions of the characters as established in the 2009 film. That it looks like this series is going to adapt episodes of The Original Series fitting it to this version of the characters was what sold me on this. I hate the $3.99 price point, but I am sufficiently hooked as to at least give this a shot for a few issues. The art’s good–I like how it treads a fine line: the characters look like the actors/actress while also looking like the characters regardless of the live-action actor behind ’em. The story’s good, and a solid read overall. I’ll definitely be getting the next issue. (8.5/10)


teenagemutantninjaturtles002This issue goes a long way to explaining some questions I had from the first issue, both overt and back of the mind. Seeing the background of the animosity between the Turtles, Splinter, and Hob, as well as the way Raph was taken from them leaves me with a significantly different impression of how the story’s gonna shape up. Additionally, it seems that a significant piece of the puzzle that was missing from the first issue’s hints at the characters’ origin has been introduced, and on the whole I think I’m quite fine with this. The story itself has me totally interested and chomping at the bit for the next issue. That’s also a drawback, though–this feels much more drawn-out as a singular story than I can think of for any TMNT story I’ve read in more than a decade. Laird‘s series seemed to just be one ongoing story without clear-cut arcs, and the Tales title was full of one and two-issue arcs. This feels like it’s going to be a 6-issue arc that’ll make for an awesome read in collected format, but any given issue is going to be lacking structurally. The art is sort of sketchy and at points seems minimalistic…and yet, it works for this title, and so long as Duncan is maintained as a consistent artist, I think the style will grow on me and be as definitive for me as Lawson or Eastman. I do have to comment on the variant covers–I hate variants. The TMNT are my exception to the purchase rule, at least with the first issue. This issue, I actually (thankfully) mostly preferred the “standard”/most-common cover. My comic shop first offered me the Simonson 1:4 variant, but I already thought it was atrocious before seeing it in person, and opted to pass instead for the Duncan cover. I would love to see Eastman’s covers as the “main” cover, despite the drastic difference with the interior art. But I refuse–even with TMNT–to pay the far higher price for the Eastman variants for every single issue. This is by far my favorite issue of the week, and even if it meant different stories and different writers and artists, I’d absolutely love a weekly TMNT book. (9.5/10)

X-MEN #18

x-men018I keep saying it, but it keeps coming to mind: For only buying a couple X-titles, they sure seem to be out every week lately. And for $3.99 it’s getting a bit annoying in its way. Still, though part of me has meant to drop this title since the end of the first arc, due to the $3.99 price point primarily…I still find myself just simply enjoying the title with each issue I read. Gischler‘s stile works well for me, and I enjoy his take on these characters. I’m not as thrilled with the art–there’s something to this issue that felt visually “off,” though that may primarily have been Magneto’s depiction. Overall, though…another solid issue. That this is part 3 of a 4-part story (with a “to be concluded” rather than “to be continued” blurb at its end) is all the better, to me–it fits the story, and it’s great that it’s not simply yet another 6-issue arc for a standard collected volume. I will be dropping this title eventually, given the price point…but I’m in for at least one more issue. (8/10)

The Rest of the Stack: Week of September 14, 2011

restofthestack01It’s been a long time since I’ve used this Rest of the Stack heading for this blog. But while I’ve lacked the patience to compose full reviews, following my mini-reviews of the DC New 52 books, I decided to post mini-reviews/comments on other issues I bought and read this week. And realized that hey…I did this a few times back in ’09 and used this heading. So without further rambling…here’s the rest of the week’s stack.

X-Men #17

xmen017This came out last week or the week before, but I hadn’t gotten around to reading it right away–probably distracted by the first wave of the New 52 from DC, and a weekend trip. Read it this weekend, and it wasn’t bad, though it didn’t really suck me in. There’s an air of continuity here that I don’t totally “get,” as I am unfamiliar with all the characters from Cyclops and the FF’s past. The FF’s uniforms really stand out against the X-Men uniforms–the white/grays against the non-white colors. While this story is purported to be in another dimension, I can’t quite separate it from being another take on the “Savage Land,” which is a bit disconcerting. Though it’s another dimension, the Savage Land has been so overused (to me) that this just doesn’t seem all that different. Granted, the alien creatures are a bit different than what would seem to fit the Savage Land. The differences in Magneto and Doom seem rather apparent here, and I wonder how this story will affect the main FF book, if at all. While this seems a tangential title in the X-corner of the Marvel Universe…there’s something endearing about Gischler‘s take on the characters that makes them feel more “real” or “grounded” than other titles. This also feels like a weird sort of self-contained: it deals with facets of the Marvel Universe and yet doesn’t seem to tie directly to anything else. That’s both good and bad, as it can be enjoyed on its own as its own title and story…but it also does not feel essential to the goings-on of other titles and their stories. Recommended. (7/10)

X-Men Legacy #255

xmenlegacy255Though I can “appreciate” the “X-Men in Space” stuff for what such stories have meant to the characters and their history, I don’t tend to ENJOY them all that much. This is shaping up to be another such story–interesting enough in a way, but not all that engaging. I do wonder if this is the story that’ll bring Polaris and Havok back to Earth, and that can have definite implications on the X-Books, especially with the Schism stuff going on, I guess. I’ve stuck around from the Age of X, but unless this arc wraps up quickly, it’ll probably be what sees me right back off this title. The story itself isn’t bad, and the art’s pretty good overall. But it’s also weird seeing Magneto as part of this grouping of X-characters the same week that I read X-Men #17 that sees Magneto and others in a dimension much like the Savage Land. There’s a certain disconnect. The cover of this issue is probably the most interesting part to me, as it’s easy to forget the family bond between Polaris and Magneto. If you enjoy X-Men in Space, you’ll probably enjoy this arc–which kicked off last issue, I believe. Otherwise, you’re probably gonna be just as well off waiting for the next arc when these characters return to Earth. (7/10)

Uncanny X-Force #15

uncannyxforce015I swear this title is shipping far too frequently of late, especially as I don’t really even recall any feeling of it being “late” at any point. The Dark Angel Saga continues, this is chapter 5. Archangel–through Genocide–has blown up a small town of a few thousand residents, and then with The World and the Life Seed, created a pocket of rapid evolution that goes from a scorched-earth blank-slate to a relatively modern-ish culture that evolved 100+ million years in a few hours. Provided all goes well, Archangel intends to do the same to the entire planet, and it’s left to X-Force to stop this from happening. Though this is indeed called The Dark Angel Saga, it seems to be taking Warren down a dark path whose implications absolutely will not be able to be ignored in general X-continuity…and it seems strange to see the character taken to these depths. The art on this book continues to be good stuff, and very stylistic, marking this as a much different side to the X-corner of the Marvel Universe. I’m not sure how long this arc is, though the next chapter–if this fits the 6-issue pattern–should conclude things. After a couple of 4-issue arcs, I wonder, though. If you’re following this title anyway, well worth picking up. Otherwise, you’re best off waiting for the next arc at least. (7.5/10)

Fear Itself #6

fearitself006I don’t know why I’ve stuck with this title/event. It really doesn’t seem to hold the “feel” that I would expect something called Fear Itself to have. The events of the story seem far too all-reaching for any normalcy to come back out of it. This seems more like the setting for some alternate universe, as the event that makes the other universe different from the main Marvel universe. There’s something that’s gotten to seem so generic about this…and yet, 6 issues in I’ll get the next issue just to see how this story “ends,” though I gather from news I’ve seen around online that this is yet another major event whose ending won’t be a true ending so much as something that’s just going to lead into the next few months’ “status quo” of Marvel stories. If you’re not already following this event or at least this core title, this isn’t for you. If you are…well, nothing I say’s really gonna change your mind. The art’s quite good, and though I don’t care for the story, the writing isn’t all that bad in itself: it just doesn’t work for me as an overarching story. Not particularly recommended. (4/10)

Fear Itself: Hulk vs. Dracula

fearitselfhulkvsdracula001Gischler‘s become Marvel‘s vampire guy. I’d love to see him take on a Blade series. This mini, though, ties in to Fear Itself, and begins the side-story of that event, focusing on Dracula and his vampires dealing with the sudden presence of the amped-up Hulk possessed by one of the Serpent’s hammers. The story’s more interesting than I expected at first glance, showing how Dracula’s people work together to get the intel the vampire needs to deal with the Hulk. This does not stand out as being anything essential to the overall Fear Itself story…but it’s rather enjoyable to see how the vampires are impacted by the goings-on of Fear Itself, to remind us that they exist, and keeps their story moving forward after the events in the early issues of X-Men. I picked this up as a fan of Gischler‘s work, and the concept…and enjoyed it. I’m also highly glad the issue is only $2.99, though…I’m still often caught by surprise at Marvel deigning to put a tie-in like this out for only $2.99 after their years-long fixation on the $3.99 price point. If you’re a fan of Gischler or Marvel‘s vampires, or just want to see more of what “Hulk” is up to during Fear Itself, this is definitely recommended. (7/10)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine #1

buffyseasonnine001This certainly didn’t open quite the way I would have expected…even though I don’t even know what I did expect. I got into Buffy early this year when I re-watched the first episode of the tv series, and then spent the next 14 weeks in a dash through all 7 seasons. I experienced the first half of “Season Eight” via the motion comic Blu-Ray edition, and then the next couple TPBs from the local library. I read the final issue, having picked that up, so I have some context for this issue. Things open with Buffy going about life with new roommates and unsure of things with her friends, given the events that ended Season Eight. She then encounters a new horror this issue that seems so out of place that I’m not even sure if I can take it seriously–it’s like something from some comic strip rather than the next chapter of the Buffy story. The art fits what I’ve gotten used to seeing for this incarnation of the comics, and the writing’s on par as well. Nothing fantastic, nothing horrible. As a new “season,” this does a good job introducing new characters and old as well as a little about what they’re all about. But also as the start of a new season, there isn’t a whole lot to go on quite yet. Where a tv season goes a few months, I believe this is slated to run a couple years, so there’s plenty of time for things to develop. If you enjoyed Season Eight chances are you’ll enjoy this, for a continuation of that story, and of the Buffy saga on the whole (remember, this is set in the same continuity as the tv series). If you’re not a Buffy fan, you probably won’t care for this, though if you’re willing to go old-school and jump in while figuring “everything” out later, this is about as good a jump on point as anything. And the cover I went with…that’d be an AWESOME poster. (8.5/10)

Super Dinosaur #4

superdinosaur004I picked up the first issue on a whim. Got the FCBD issue shortly after. Picked up #s 2 and 3 as they came out. But truthfully–I didn’t even read ’em right away. Then I did, recently…and rather enjoyed the over-the top campiness of this. A mutant dinosaur in a robotic suit, a genius kid, and the two are best friends…fighting against the forces of some mad scientist that used to work with the kid’s father…and loads of other mutant dino-people in the mix. But…this is fun. And while this issue was apparently quite late…it was right on time, for me. Rather than having multiple issues to catch up on, I caught up, and was already set for this as a new issue this week. Plus, this is “only” a $2.99 comic, so it feels about as well priced as we can really expect for current comics. As campy as this title has already seen, the cliffhanger pushes it into even greater campiness…even as it leaves me grinning at the prospect of what’s to come. This is just a comic, but it feels like a cheesey Saturday-morning cartoon that would’ve come out in the early 1990s. And though just a comic…this beats the heck out of most of the current cartoons out there. If you trust Kirkman‘s writing sensibilities, take a chance and pick this series up, or at least the upcoming collected volume. This really seems like a great “all-ages” title…kids ought to enjoy it, and I can say that as an early-30s adult, I’m enjoying it myself. Even if you’re charged for the Free Comic Day issue…there are only the 5 issues so far, so it’s feasible you might be able to to scoop up the whole lot at once, so it’s not too late to get in at the beginning. Highly recommended. (9/10)

The Infinite #2

theinfinite002Above I commented about Super Dinosaur that it’s worth checking out of you trust Kirkman‘s writing…and I hold to that here. Of course, the writing is really overshadowed by the visuals. Looking at this cover, I see Cable…with bigger shoulder pads, smaller guns, younger and without the cybernetic/glowey eye-thing going on. For the interior, I had to keep reminding myself one character is NOT actually the Heroes Reborn Steve Rogers (Captain America) and another character made me think immediately of Gladiator from the X-Men comics. There’s a lot of time-travel stuff involved here, and it essentially seems like the main time-traveler is one of a two-man team–either he or his partner would have gone back, in order to try to prevent the future (their present) from happening. All they had to go on was some basic information, and in the past (now the present) the younger versions of these soldiers are being trained to fight against the coming darkness. It’s rather cliche and very ’90s-esque…but darnit, there’s something that just makes this work…maybe it’s a trainwreck waiting to happen and I’m waiting for that, but I picked this up after getting the first issue, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be back for #3. If you’re a Kirkman fan and can “handle” Liefeld‘s art, this is worth checking out…surely Kirkman‘s got something in the works for this. If you’re a Liefeld fan, can’t go wrong with that matched with Kirkman‘s writing. And heck…if you’re a Cable fan, this even reads a little bit like an alternate universe Cable story, so you could check this out and skip the last 18 years of Marvel‘s continuity. (6/10)

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