At least I’m honest. Also, they’re in handy thematic sections. Kids love that, don’t they?
Hot girls hitting monsters: Dead @ 17: Afterbirth #1 and Hack/Slash #23
Yes, I realize how hilariously awful that subtitle is on Dead @ 17. I was aware of it before a lot of you, I bet, thanks to this. That was part of the draw. That and I wanted a first issue. Which this really isn’t in anything other than number. It functions more like the 32nd issue of an ongoing (which probably isn’t too far off the mark; this series has been going for years). It opens a new storyline, but it references the backstory established in previous stories. Which is fine. It would be better if any of it made a lick of sense to me, but I’m sure whatever fans this property has are happy.
Howard’s art is solid, in a “this looks like an animated series way”, even if he seems to have a Tila Tequila fetish. There’s just nothing here that makes me want to buy any more of the series ever. For my “post-Buffy girl who kicks supernatural ass” needs, I’ll stick with Hack/Slash.
#23 is an interesting issue. Not neccessarily good, but interesting! It’s a “double feature”; half of the issue is devoted to the story of a Nancy Drew-esque wannabe girl detective with autism (well, that’s what the characters say at least; she seems kind of OCD to me, but I’m never actually studied up on autism when I was sort of supposed to). It’s funny in spots, much like writer Tim Seeley’s Archie parody was, as the poor girl detective stumbles in to a world she wasn’t made for and doesn’t fair too well.
The half featuring the actual lead character, Cassie Hack, has her fighting an evil snowblower that kills yappy dogs. Even Cassie seems bemused with that one. It does feature the ugliest poodle ever, so that’s kind of funny. The back up story, where a demon tries to make bubble gum out of a Fundementalist Christian Reed Richards, redeems any flaws the lead stories might have.
Nominal Batman first issues: Batman and Robin #1 and Red Robin #1
B&R is exactly what I want out of a Batman comic. It’s by Morrison and Quitely, which really isn’t fair to all of the people in comics who aren’t Morrison and Quitely. Damien as Robin is a blast, and I’m in for this as long as they are, or at least as long as Tony Daniel is not.
Despite not having read a solo comic featuring him since I was in grade school, I am quite fond of Tim Drake. The storyline that made him Robin, A Lonely Place of Dying, is one of the first comics I ever read in trade form. I was in interested in what he was up to with Damien taking over his old job, so I picked up Red Robin #1.
I don’t think he works too well as an angst ridden, obsessed vigilante, so no thank you. Sure, if anyone has excuse to do that routine, it’s Tim. He’s lost two dads since Didio took over, not to mention various friends and girlfriends over the years, and he’s been replaced by an incorrigible little sociopath. Also, I do think the series has a good hook; Tim’s convinced that Bruce Wayne isn’t dead and is searching the globe for him. That said, I don’t think I’ll be jumping on board for this. Chris Yost and Ramon Bachs provide a perfectly solid comic, but I need more than that to commit cash. Also, seriously, stop milking Kingdom Come already, DC!
You need one for the last page of the other to make sense: Captain Britain and MI13 Annual #1 and #14
I was pretty bemused by a lot of issue #14. While the fakeout was clever, I was really hoping MI13 would have to dig themselves out of that massive hole Dracula had placed them in last issue. I totally bought that half the team was dead, too, so I guess shame on me there. It’s also sort of annoyting that Megan’s appearance on the last page only makes sense if you read the annual (or that people who didn’t read the annual might have to track it down). I dunno, that whole thing rubbed me the wrong way a bit.
Still, these are good comics. Cornell has found an interesting angle on Megan, who I never really had much time for in Excalibur. Really hope the creative team gets to work together after the series ends.
This also has vampires: Buffy: Season 8- Tales of the Vampires One Shot
I sort of agree with Hibbs here, in that this would have worked better if it wasn’t a Buffy-verse comic. That said, it seems like Cloonan and Lolos are following the rules of the fiction, especially given the direction of the book right now. And it was a solid one shot. I really ought to get the GN these two, Gabriel Ba, and Fabio Moon are doing together for Dark Horse that this was sort of an ad for. The collective talent alone should make that worth reading.
Ed Brubaker Sure Writes Good: Captain America #600 and Incognito #4
I love anniversary issues, and Cap is the best I’ve read in some time. Brubaker structures his contributions the way he does an average issue of the regular series, so we get to check in on a variety of players before the ad for Reborn #1 shows up (which I’m going to buy, because Bru and Hitch, and also the LCS owner ordered a million copies or so). The art is also very good, even if Howard Chaykin’s appears to be using Jay Leno as his chin model these days. Nice to see Blue Beetle’s Rafael Albuquerque on the Girl Bucky short.
Beyond Brubaker, Roger Stern’s contribution is a nice callback to the Grunewald era, because HOLY CRAP IS THAT BERNIE???!?!?!?! Mark Waid contributes a nice story about the adult who collected Cap.
There’s also contributions from Joe Simon about he and Kirby creating Cap (which is more about producing the book and the legal problems they had with Archie than anything else) and a reprint of a Stan Lee written story. All it really lacks is contributions from Engleheart and Steranko to cover all the bases of great Cap creators.
I’m less bullish on Incognito because, seriously, there’s nothing here other than Jess Nevins rad pulp fiction essays we couldn’t be getting better in Criminal, pretty much. Or already did better in Sleeper, sort of. I’ll buy anything Brubaker and Phillips do, because they’re right there with Morrison and Quitely as the best duo in modern comics, but I don’t have to be happy about it!
Really, I just miss Criminal. This is perfectly good comics, and I like Brubaker’s world building. That, and I’ll read anything with characters named Ava Destruction and Zoe Zeppelin. That said, I’ll be happy when they get back to the straight crime fiction. Never thought I’d say that, given how much I love hybrid fiction (I’m buying the GI Joe version of Sleeper, after all), but there it is.
Dark Reign, Some Stay Dry And Others Feel The Pain (Is that reference so old in internet time I can be nostalgic for it?): Agents of Atlas #6 and Dark Reign Fantastic Four #4
Despite all the incenst in both of these (Black Sue totally wants Pirate Johnny), I love both of these comics. AOA is right up there with Incredible Hercules as my favorite ongoing. Dark Reign FF is already up there with the best of Lee/Kirby and that Simonson/Adams New FF story as my favorite FF story ever. Franklin’s plan to deal with Norman Osborn alone is the greatest thing in any FF comic ever. I really can’t wait to see what Hickman does with the ongoing.
And, all the rest: GI Joe Cobra #4 and Exiles #3
I was really enjoying the story of Chuckles as a double agent in Cobra right up until the end, where it just stops until a future one shot. The ending was suitably bleak, so at least they didn’t cop out (even if I’m still not sure Jinx is dead).
Jeff Parker and Salva Espin’s Exiles has just been really good so far, but don’t take my word for. The internet’s #1 Scottish X-Men Completist also says the same thing, but better!