Knife goes in, guts come out. Comics go in, thoughts come out. Same process, more or less.
Agent of Atlas #9- Really enjoyed Dan Panosian’s art this time around. Had a real John Romita Jr. vibe to it. That’s a very good thing, especially when he’s drawing Gorilla Man. Who dual wields assault rifles at one point. So, in case you’re on the fence about trying Agents of Atlas, that should tell you whether it’s for you or not.
Story wise, Jeff Parker is doing a riff on the “ex-girlfriend from hell”. It’s nice to see the Agents finally have their own storyline outside of Dark Reign. The stuff with Norman Osborn was fun and all, but it’s nice that they an antagonist that Parker can actually do things with.
Amazing Spider-Man #601- This was about as good as every issue of ASM written by Mark Waid has been. Maybe a little less, due to the lack of Marcos Martin, although Mario Alberti is no slouch. Nice to see him getting more work. I really enjoy these “day in the life” stories, and Waid excels at them. (Paul Jenkins was also very good at them when he was writing Spider-Man)
Also, as much as I claim indifference to the Spider-Marriage, I am glad that MJ’s back (and knows a secret!). Even if that probably means we’re going to need a big story to undo Peter’s bargain with Mephisto soon. Not looking forward to that.**
Bendis and Quesada’s back up, which is basically a trailer for New Avengers, is solid. I may be overrating it because I wasn’t charged an extra dollar for it, or underrating it because I haven’t finished reading Alias yet. It’s a typical Bendis dialogue, so you probably know whether you like that sort of thing by now.
Brave and the Bold #25- Hey, here’s some more Mario Alberti! Only on the cover (which is what enticed me to buy this), but still. Nice to see. Also nice to see; a cover that makes me want to read a comic. Doesn’t happen often.
Inside, this is a perfectly acceptable team up comic. Completely lives up to the premise the cover established. Blue Beetle does his Spider-Man routine, which is always cute, and is a mostly unwanted partner for Hardware. I like the idea of making this book a spotlight for Milestone characters. Seems like a good way to make them an organic part of the DCU (well, as organic as they can be, given that they’re as grafted on as the Fawcett and Charlton characters).
That said, what was with the last page reveal, exactly? It’s really hard to take a character named Gizmo seriously, but that could be because that’s my cat’s name. I think he may be more intimidating than his DC namesake.
Captain America Reborn #2- I was going to just wait for the trade for the rest of this series, given that I have the complete run of Brubaker’s Cap that way so far. But then I saw this cover. There’s no way I can pass up a comic where Cap is applying the Cobra Clutch to Hitler on the cover. So, I’d better hope that Marvel doesn’t use this knowledge for evil and put that scene on covers for Anita Blake or Dark Reign: Daken’s Extreme Sports Jamboree.
The story is a combo of your typical Brubaker Cap story and a big summer crossover. Even the art goes both ways there. Hitch gets a chance to do some big, splashy action, but the general look conforms what’s defined Brubaker’s Cap. Of course, given that Brubaker’s Cap is one of the best things Marvel publishes, that’s no bad thing. And really, everything after that cover is gravy.
Doom Patrol #1- The main feature didn’t do a lot for me. It’s pretty much all the things that annoy people about your average Didio-era DC Comic but with the Doom Patrol. But who cares? This has a 10 page Metal Men story by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatties, and Kevin Maguire. As such, it’s worth the $4 price tag all by itself. It’s quite fun. In fact, I’d go as far as calling it a hoot. Yes, it’s that good.
Exiles #5- While a solid superhero comic being canceled isn’t the end of the world, it’s still a shame that Jeff Parker’s run on Exiles is ending so soon. I’ve enjoyed it a lot so far, and was really looking forward to seeing what Parker could do with the concept as he went. As it is, his run is being capped as a functional mini next month.
That said, it’s been fun while it’s lasted, which is as much as you can ask for a property like this, which exists in a perpetual cycle of cancellations and reboots. Being Judd Winnick’s last good superhero work probably has something to do with it. It’s cursed, is what I’m trying to say.
Ghost Riders: Heaven’s On Fire #1- You know, I’d happily read a series about Jaine Cutter: Occult Terrorist. Just putting that out there. The rest of the comic is pretty good, too. Sure, the joke about the anti-Christ is obvious, but it doesn’t make it any less funny (or true). This is also a pretty solid jumping on point. Well, at least for someone who’s read bits and pieces of Jason Aaron’s Ghost Rider run, but I’m pretty sure you could jump on this cold, too. Oh, and I really liked the art from Roland Boschi and Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown* too. My only problem with this is that they seem to be trying to justify the $4 price tag by serializing Ghost Rider #1 (’70s edition) as a back up. Not so crazy about that.
Hack/Slash #24- That is one striking cover, even if I’m probably tacitly endorsing a really creepy fetish by purchasing it. The story features some well done but miscast cartooning (in that it looks like Hack/Slash: the animated series) from Bryan Baugh. It’s probably the best art I’ve seen on the series in my periodic readings of the series, it just seems a little out of place given all the stabbing.
The story introduces a secret society of slashers, which gives a cute reason for why they’re always killing horny teenagers. That’s one of many subplots. The main story is pretty typical for the series (Cassie Hack and friends find a slasher. Next month, they’ll probably kill it). There are some details thrown in for flavor, but that’s the crux of it. It’s capped off with Seeley’s Lovebunny and Mr. Hell one page gag strip, which I’ve found amusing both times I’ve seen it. Not to hoot levels, but that’s hard to achieve.
*You wouldn’t think he’d need to moonlight in comics to pay the bills. And I’m sure if it’s not that Dan Brown, he’s certainly not tired of this sort of joke.
**Am I supposed to be angry about Peter’s drunken one night stand with his room mate? Is that a thing to get outraged about, or is the internet still directing all of its outrage at that JLA comic?