What a novelty! You have certainly never seen this before, I bet!
Ghost Rider #35- Well, that certainly was creepy. I could read one offs like this and last month's Highwayman story all day with Jason Aaron and Tony Moore doing them, so it's kind of disappointing that it looks like they're going to be wrapping up Aaron's two year run instead, when the series comes back from hiatus for a mini-series, apparently. Man, I just showed up for the Lone Wolf McQuade and Smokey and the Bandit references! Pander more to that and not your regular readers, Aaron! Although I guess I can't even pretend to demand things of him until I start reading Scalped regularly. I think then I can actually request content from him. Is that how that works?
Death Defied: Jesse James Is A Dead Man One Shot- Yes, I'm reviewing a f%&*&^ free one shot, but only to point out the g@##$() ridiculously excessive use of c#(~&*%!** edited cursing. It made this $#!^^~ bit of free advertising even more unreadable than it already was (I was really disappointed when I found out this would be a show about Jesse James doing stunts that might kill him than a drama about him being stalked by the grim reaper, which this comic implies). I just can't stand this kind of a$$+@#+!# self censorship, unless it's in Dr. McNinja. They can eat a d*&^ on this thing I chose to read!
Immortal Iron Fist #26- I have no idea why, but this series is really not working for me anymore. I like Duane Swierczynski's ideas as much as anything collective entity du jour Frubaker came up with in their run (this issue finished an arc where Iron Fist and the Immortal Weapons fighting their way out of kung fu hell), and while Travel Foreman's no David Aja, he's a solid artist. That said, the last few issues have left me feeling indifferent where I should really be enjoying myself, so maybe it's time to call it a day and move on.
The only real reason I can think of not to is inertia; I have every issue of this run in one form or another. I'm having the same reaction to Buffy Season 8 these days, too. I really don't want to be the guy who keeps buying comics for a complete run, even if they're perfectly good ones like this.
Incredible Hercules #129- Pak and Van Lente find a way to wed Greek Mythology and the Marvel Universe beautifully here, tying superhero ressurections in to the ongoing storyline (and getting some hilarious scenes with dead Avengers in there in the process). Also, the two pages of Amadeus Cho counting cards are more entertaining than the entire film 21, although that is not saying much. Also, that's not really fair, as they didn't have Hercules and Cerberus to resolve the plot there, seeing as how it was a true story. They probably didn't have the budget to work them in after paying for Kevin Spacey and Laurence Fishburne anyway.
Madame Xanadu #11- Spoiler: Xanadu and some redhead totally lez out at the end of the issue! I'd demand that Matt Wagner prove that women experimented in lesbianism during the Spanish Inquisiton but:
1. I know so little about Madame Xanadu that I have no idea if this is a new thing for her or not, and no, I do not want to take 4 seconds to google and find out.2. Greg was not actually demanding that Whedon prove that, so I totally missread him there.3. Greg has not yet had a chance to respond to this issue. I want to see what he'll do without too much prompting.4. I probably shouldn't bust his balls too much. I don't think I've earned the right.
The non girl on girl stuff was the solid work you'd expect from Matt Wagner, especially given the setting, which comes complete with a cameo from some dude in a weird mask. Wonder who that could be? I really only bought this because Mike Kaluta was drawing it and the shop had a spare issue on the racks, but the parallel stories seem interesting enough to make this worth following. And I should probably go back and read the preceding issues, especially since it got all those Eisner nominations.
Spider-Man: The Short Halloween One Shot- This was a perfectly acceptable debut comic for SNL cast members Seth Myers and Bill Hader which I bought entirely for Kevin Maguire's art. I'd like to see the writers do a slice of life comedy story in comics, as that's totally in their wheelhouse here. They do the superhero elements fine, playing them for laughs in a Giffen/DeMatties Justice League kind of way, but I could definitely see them doing better with a straight slice of life comic. Well, if they weren't more likely to just write that story as a movie script, that is.
I have no idea why it's out in May, or what that means for retailers. Can Hibbs sue for this, too? I do wish comics companies would stop doing the "we're overcharging you, but here's a cute header that looks like an old timey comic book price tag to make light of it" gag. It's not cute anymore. The book is padded out with a sketchbook for the "American Son" storyline in Amazing Spider-Man, which actually makes me want to read the damn thing despite the fact that I'd planned to sit it out. Thanks, jerks!
Marvel Apes: Gruntline One Shot- They really ought not be labelling these as one shots, since this is basically issue three of Marvel Apes 2. It's also my least favorite issue of the run, although it's still solid comics. It's certainly much better than anything bearing the names Marvel Apes needs to be (or even has the right to be). That said, Tom Suitor's art doesn't work for me very well; I like the style, which looks a bit like an animation cell, but I don't think it tells the story well. I also think Karl Kessel's script teetered over the balance between seriousness and comedy the series has been balanced on since the beginning.
On the other hand, Tom Peyer's backups also continue to be uniformly great. This one's "title in place of a recap" gag alone is the funniest thing I've seen in comics in a long time. It deserves its own specialized Eisner category and award (I'm starting to get tired of that joke).
Punisher (vol. ?)#5- This is my first issue of Rick Remender and Jerome Opena's run, and this is exactly what I'd expect the creative team of Fear Agent to do with everyone's favorite Destroyer ripoff turned profitable character. Frank's use of Ant Man's helmet alone makes Remender my favorite Punisher writer since Garth Ennis. Nice cliffhanger, too. I'll have to keep an eye on this, although I really ough to catch up on Fraction's Punisher run that preceded it, too.
Thor: Tales of Asgard #1- Yeah, sure, I could read these back ups by Lee and Kirby in a lot of different formats beyond a $4 an issue mini series. I just really love the way they recolor his work when they do these obvious cash grabs. Looks lovely.
Ultimate Galactus TPB- Beyond the obligatory "it took them five times as long as Stan and Jack to do this story!" fanboy bitching, I have to say I enjoyed this. It's not anywhere as good, or much like, the original story. That wasn't really the point of the Ultimate line before it became Jeph Loeb's Grusome Murder Theatre, was it? It's a modern version of a familiar story with some glossy art that you don't need a deep understanding of decades old continuity to understand. It works on that level.
This is a very Warren Ellis comic (well, expect for the part Mark Millar writes, which comes across as him trying to be Ellis and Morrison to some middling, and ocassionally hilarious, results), and it's enjoyable in the way a lot of his "slumming" work can be. It's no Nextwave or Authority/Stormwatch, but it's widescreen comics that's not totally brain dead, as it's full of all of the anecdotes taken from research that you'd expect from Ellis. It's drawn by a rotating group of artists (Brandon Peterson is the only artist to draw a mini from start to finish), but it generally looks good, even if John Romita Jr's contribution (in the Millar written Ultimate Vision story) looks really out of place.
Uncanny X-Men #510- I wound up buying this after all. All the bones on the "Greg Land sure is terrible" carcass have been picked. So, I'll just say that I'm really enjoying Fraction's story here, especially his work with the junior team. That said, I could see myself dropping this fairly easily if push comes to shove, which may very well happen soon.
Runaways #10- I haven't finished Vaughan's run on the book yet, so I'm a bit behind on the series here. I have no idea who Klara is, for instance. I picked this up for the Molly/Wolverine team up story by Craig Yost and Sara Pichelli, and that was certainly worth the price of admission. I would totally by a Wolverine/Molly monthly team up book, so this was right up my alley, but I really though Yost killed it with the script. Between this and Killer of Demons, I've enjoyed all two of the things of his I've read a lot.
It was the right mixture of humor (with Wolverine being a mortified baby sitter and Molly being that kid who says whatever pops in to her head) and genuine pathos. Sure, it was a 90/10 split, but that seems like the right mix to me. The second story was a perfectly okay inventory story with the rest of the team playing truth or dare by some people I've never heard of and Christina Strain, who did the colors on both stories.
Wolverine: Weapon X #2- I was totally going to not buy this, but Sims went and made it his best of the week and talked about the laser claws, and I was pretty much obligated to buy it. Beyond the ISB pleasing bits, I was really impressed with the direction Jason Aaron is taking the story in.
Since all of the
Blackwater Blackguard mercenaries have all of his powers, plus laser claws and cancer darts and shit, he can't do his usual "stab everything that moves" routine. He has to use his brains to actually outfight his opponents. I really like that approach, and it's a recurring motif in Aaron's Wolvie (well, it's at least sort of similar to the hilariously awesome Manifest Destiny mini where Wolverine had to learn how to fight and damn it, I want to be all literary every once in a while). It's nice to see someone do more than the usual routine with a character as overused as the canucklehead, especially when pretty much every good Wolverine story ever doesn't rely on said routine at all.