What I bought - 25 March 2015

what the fuck is the sense of hiding under a desk and dying on our knees instead of rising up to cut off the teacher's mindless head (Tommy Trantino, from Lock the Lock)

13 Coins #6 (of 6) by Simon Bisley (artist), Martin Brennan (writer), Ryan Brown (colorist), Michael B. Jackson (writer), David Withers (letterer), and Tom Williams (editor). $3.99, 38 pgs, FC, Titan Comics.

Arkham Manor #6 ("The Sacrifice") by Shawn Crystal (artist), Gerry Duggan (writer), Travis Lanham (letterer), Dave McCaig (colorist), Matt Humphreys (assistant editor), and Mark Doyle (editor). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC.

The Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw #5 by Jordie Bellaire (colorist), Kurt Busiek (writer), Benjamin Dewey (artist), Albert Deschesne (letterer), and John G. Roshell (letterer). $2.99, 24 pgs, FC, Image.

Batman '66 #21 ("The Garden of Death") by Wes Abbott (letterer), Jordie Bellaire (colorist), Sandy Jarrell (artist), Jeff Parker (writer), and Jim Chadwick (editor). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC.

The Bunker #10 by Joshua Hale Fialkov (writer), Jason Fischer (colorist), Joe Infurnari (letterer), Brahm Revel (artist), James Lucas Jones (editor), and Robin Herrera (editor). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Oni Press.

Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers #6 (of 6) ("Lovaleen Spore") by Simon Bowland (letterer), Joe Casey (writer), Nick Dragotta (artist), Michael Fiffe (artist), Nathan Fox (artist), Jim Mahfood (artist), Benjamin Marra (artist), Dan McDaid (artist), Tradd Moore (artist), Grant "Yeah, I draw better than you do, too, fanboy!" Morrison (artist), Jim Rugg (artist), Brad Simpson (colorist), Hannah Elder (associate editor), Molly Mahan (editor), and Joe Rybandt (editor). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Dynamite Entertainment.

Chew #47 ("Blood Puddin' Part 2 of 5") by Rob Guillory (artist/colorist), John Layman (writer/letterer), and Taylor Wells (assistant colorist). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Image.

Curb Stomp #2 (of 4) by Colin Bell (letterer), Ryan Ferrier (writer), Jeremy Lawson (colorist), Devaki Neogi (artist), Jasmine Amiri (associate editor), and Eric Harburn (editor). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Boom! Studios.

Deadpool #44 ("Soul Coffin") by Gerry Duggan (writer), Salva Espin (artist), Brian Posehn (writer), Joe Sabino (letterer), Val Staples (colorist), Heather Antos (assistant editor), Charles Beacham (assistant editor), and Jordan D. White (editor). $3.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel.

The Fuse #11 ("Gridlock Part 5") by Shari Chankhamma (colorist), Ryan Ferrier (letterer), Justin Greenwood (artist), and Antony Johnston (writer); Mack Chater (artist, "Tabloid"), Ian Mayor (writer, "Tabloid"), and Abby Ryder (colorist, "Tabloid"). $3.50, 23 pgs, FC, Image.

Gotham Academy #6 ("Pizza Club") by Mingjue Helen Chen (artist/colorist), Becky Cloonan (writer), Brendan Fletcher (writer), Karl Kerschl (artist), Serge LaPointe (colorist), Msassyk (colorist), Steve Wands (letterer), Matt Humphreys (assistant editor), and Mark Doyle (editor). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC.

Gotham by Midnight #5 ("Judgment on Gotham") by Ray Fawkes (writer), Saida Temofonte (letterer), Ben Templesmith (artist), Dave Wielgosz (assistant editor), and Rachel Gluckstein (editor). $2.99, 19 pgs, FC, DC.

Grindhouse: Drive In, Bleed Out #3 (of eight) ("Blood Lagoon Part One") by Alex de Campi (writer/letterer), Chris Peterson (artist), Nolan Woodard (colorist), Ian Tucker (assistant editor), and Brendan Wright (editor). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Dark Horse.

Intersect #5 by Ray Fawkes (writer/artist). $3.50, 20 pgs, FC, Image.

Jem and the Holograms #1 ("Showtime Part One") by Sophie Campbell (artist), Robbie Robbins (letterer), M. Victoria Robado (colorist), Kelly Thompson (writer), and John Barber (editor). $3.99, 20 pgs, FC, IDW.

The Life After #8 by Crank! (letterer), Joshua Hale Fialkov (writer), Gabo (artist), Ari Yarwood (editor), and James Lucas Jones (editor). $3.99, 24 pgs, FC, Oni Press.

Miami Vice: Remix #1 by Joe Casey (writer), Jim Mahfood (artist/letterer), Justin Stewart (colorist), and Shannon Eric Denton (editor). $3.99, 24 pgs, FC, IDW/Lion Forge.

Morning Glories #44 by Joe Eisma (artist), Paul Little (colorist), Johnny Lowe (letterer), and Nick Spencer (writer). $3.50, 26 pgs, FC, Image.

Multiversity: Ultra Comics #1 ("Ultra Comics Lives!") by Christian Alamy (inker), David Baron (colorist), Keith Champagne (inker), Gabe Eltaeb (colorist), Mark Irwin (inker), Doug Mahnke (penciller), Jaime Mendoza (inker), Grant "Those who can't criticize, pick on critics!" Morrison (writer), Steve Wands (letterer), and Ricky Purdin (editor). $4.99, 40 pgs, FC, DC.

Rumble #4 by John Arcudi (writer), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), James Harren (artist), and Dave Stewart (colorist). $3.50, 22 pgs, FC, Image.

The Sixth Gun #47 ("Hell and High Water Part Six") by Cullen Bunn (writer), Bill Crabtree (colorist), Crank! (letterer), Brian Hurtt (artist), and Charlie Chu (editor). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Oni Press.

The Tower Chronicles: Dreadstalker #8 (of 12) by Simon Bisley (artist), Ryan Brown (colorist), Sean Konot (letterer), Matt Wagner (writer), Greg Tumbarello (associate editor), and Bob Schreck (editor). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Legendary Comics.

The Wicked + the Divine #9 by Clayton Cowles (letterer), Kieron Gillen (writer), Jamie McKelvie (artist), Matthew Wilson (colorist), and Chrissy Williams (editor). $3.50, 21 pgs, FC, Image.

All Star Western volume 6: End of the Trail by Mike Atiyeh (colorist), Darwyn Cooke (artist), Fabrizio Fiorentino (artist), Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez (artist), Justin Gray (writer), Staz Johnson (artist), Rob Leigh (letterer), Guy Major (colorist), Carlos M. Mangual (letterer), Jimmy Palmiotti (writer), Cliff Richards (artist), Dave Stewart (colorist), and Paul Santos (editor). $14.99, 133 pgs, FC, DC.

Anti-Hero by Jay Faerber (writer), Paul Little (colorist), Charles Pritchett (letterer), Nate Stockman (artist), Justin Eisinger (editor), and Alonzo Simon (editor). $19.99, 106 pgs, FC, IDW/Monkeybrain Comics.

Hawkeye: Avenging Archer by a bunch of people, notably Jim McCann and David Lopez. $34.99, 412 pgs, FC, Marvel.

Nemo: River of Ghosts by Ben Dimagmaliw (colorist), Todd Klein (letterer), More Alanis Morissette (writer), and Kevin O'Neill (artist). $14.95, 52 pgs, FC, Top Shelf/Knockabout.

Roche Limit volume 1: Anomalous by Lauren Affe (colorist), Justin Boyd (colorist), Jim Campbell (letterer), Kyle Charles (art assistant), Ryan Ferrier (letterer), Ben Holliday (art assistant), Marissa Louise (color assistant), Vic Malhotra (artist), and Michael Moreci (writer). $9.99, 135 pgs, FC, Image.

The Complete Collection of the Tragedy Series: Secret Lobster Claws and Other Misfortunes by Benjamin Dewey (writer/artist). $17.99, 306 pgs, BW, Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Griffin.

World War X Book 1: Helius by Jerry Frissen (writer), Edward Gauvin (translator), Kirsten Murray (letterer), Delphine Rieu (colorist), Peter Snejbjerg (artist), and Nora Goldberg (editor). $15.99, 48 pgs, FC, Titan Comics.

I had a bit of an existential crisis this week when I bought my comics. It's not the money; I've mentioned before that I rarely buy other needless and entertaining things, so my comics budget is pretty much my entire entertainment budget. That's not to say I don't blanch a bit when I get rung up (I mean, this week I spent $183.28, bringing my total for the year to $1457.62 for the year ... after three months), but it's not the biggest concern. It was the sheer volume of comics I bought - I got 23 (!!) single issues this week, plus 7 trade paperbacks or graphic novels. That's a lot of comics, and whenever I go even more nuts during a week than I usually do, I get a bit worried.

As you might realize, I love comics. I mean, we all do - we wouldn't be here if we didn't - but I love the experience of getting them at the store on Wednesday and coming home and reading them immediately. I realize that I'm "lucky" in the sense that I don't need to work - "lucky" because the only reason I don't work is because my daughter sustained a traumatic brain injury and I take care of her - but I've always loved that experience. When I worked near a comic book store, I would take my lunch break and go get my haul. When I had to wait until after work, I would go immediately after work. And I would read the books immediately. I don't keep up with my trade collections and graphic novels quite as well, but I still get to them fairly quickly. Even before I was reviewing comics and felt like I had to be a bit more timely, I would devour my weekly haul. When I was back in Pennsylvania for seven weeks in 2011, I didn't get my weekly comics because the store here in Arizona was pulling them for me. I really didn't mind it at all - I just lived my life as if I didn't buy comics. But I still love reading new comics every Wednesday and Thursday (depending on how long it takes me and what else I have to do).

Which is why this week was a bit of a shock. 23 issues is a lot, even for someone like me, and this week was particularly brutal for me. Every year, my daughter's school has one fundraiser, an Ice Cream Social, and I'm in charge of coordinating it all. It's a fairly massive undertaking, and I have a few people helping me coordinate and a bunch of parent volunteers who may or may not be reliable, but most of it falls on me. (One of the conditions of attendance at my daughter's school is that parents have to volunteer for 3 different things, as the school operates under the idea that teachers should teach and not do anything else, so we have a lot of volunteers, but of course some parents shirk their duties.) I don't mind - I could just turn the responsibility down - because I don't work so I have the time, and because I don't have a job, I like to volunteer, but during the week in which the Ice Cream Social takes place, it can be pretty hectic. This week, of course, was the week (we had the event last night, and yes, it was one of the big reasons I didn't go to ECCC this year), and I was pretty busy. Plus, I volunteer for her Art Masterpiece program - every two weeks, I spend 20 minutes in her class and two others talking about various paintings, and of course, this week was one of the weeks. Then, on top of it all, I get a shitload of comics that I really wanted to read. What a first world problem, right?

Well, sure it is. But it does bring up the idea of buying things that you might not like, which I mentioned a few weeks ago. I pre-ordered almost all of these comics, mainly because I want to make sure that my retailer gets a copy. He's gotten better in the past few years, but he used to even under-order Image books, mainly because his customer base was so DC-and-Marvel superhero-centric. I still pre-order every Dark Horse comic I get, every Image book I get, every IDW book I get, and every publisher behind the "Top Five" in Previews. I don't pre-order DC and Marvel single issues, but I do have to pre-order their trades, although he does get some trades just for the store, which is why I didn't pre-order that Hawkeye trade but still purchased it - he happened to get one for the store, and I decided to pick it up. So when I go through Previews, I have to pre-order a few months in advance, and maybe I've already ordered issue #3 before issue #1 comes out. If I hate issue #1, I still feel like I need to get issues #2 and 3, even though he might not mind if I tell him I hated it and ask him to just put it out on the table and hope it sells. But I still don't feel comfortable doing that.

There's also the hope that things will get better. I don't judge things solely on a first issue, as they're notoriously hard to do. There have even been first issues that I've liked where the series continues to get better from that decent first issue. So if a first issue isn't very good, I tend to give comics that aren't from DC and Marvel a chance (for those two, I'm much more likely to jump ship after a mediocre first issue). I don' mind that too much, although I don't give it forever. I gave Saga 18 issues, which is probably the longest I've ever given a comic that just wasn't thrilling me, mainly because there often were places in each issue that were amazing, even if they were surrounded by mediocre to downright awful stuff. But a bunch of comics came out this week that I'm mulling over dropping, and they just happened to fall on the same week. These comics are Intersect, The Life After, Morning Glories, and Rumble. All of these comics are in different situations, but I'm probably going to stop buying them pretty soon. I like Fawkes, and his writing on Gotham by Midnight is quite good, but I just can't get into Intersect. It's starting to become a bit clearer, but when the recap page is vital to understanding what's going on, that's not a good sign. I have a peculiar relationship with Fawkes's solo writer/artist work - I appreciate that he goes for big and unusual things, but I admire them more than I love them. That's what's going on with Intersect, and after next issue, which is the end of the arc, I won't be back. The Life After is another example of me liking the writer but just not connecting with this particular series. Fialkov is a good writer and a hell of a nice guy, and I enjoy The Bunker, which also came out this week, but I'm just not feeling The Life After. Jude's journey doesn't interest me, and I don't love Bautista's artwork, although it does fit the tone of the book fairly well. I wasn't sold on the book after the first arc, but I decided to give the second arc a try. It ends with issue #10, and I will then drop the book. Morning Glories is depressing, to me, because a few years ago I thought it was one of the best comics out there, but Spencer really does seem to be running in place with it. Yes, we get some connections to past issues (which I don't appreciate even with the tutorial in the back, because they came so long ago), and he pushes the story forward very, very incrementally, but too often I feel like he's re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic, and I find myself caring less and less about all the characters. Like I said, this bums me out, because the book was so good back in the teens, but I'm getting ready to jump ship. I noted last time that Spencer seems to write these in "seasons," and I assume issue #50 will end one of those seasons, after which I'll probably drop the book. Why not now? Well, I really do want to see if he can grab my interest one more time, so I hold out hope. And I do like to give writers a chance to resolve things, which is why I rarely drop something in the middle of an arc. Issue #50, I imagine, will be a natural end point, so I will end there. Finally, Rumble presents the most annoying decision for me. The first two issues were pretty much incoherent, and while issue #3 explained some things, it still felt like a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Issue #4 is also good, and Arcudi is starting to hint at things that make it more interesting than just "Look at these cool monsters fighting each other," but I'm still not completely sold. I don't know if issue #5 is the final one of the first arc, but I'll have to think about continuing with it. Like Fawkes and Fialkov, I like Arcudi as a writer, so I'm willing to trust him a little bit, but it still feels a bit empty. Harren's art is terrific, though, so there is that. But these comics, which have a irregular schedules (Intersect and The Life After both came out last on 25 February, but Morning Glories showed up on 11 February and Rumble came out on 18 February), and it's just a coincidence they all came out in the same week (for the record, when Morning Glories #44 was first solicited, its release date was 29 October, but the other three are right on schedule, at least for these issues).

Meanwhile, some other comics came out that are also in this boat, but they're limited series, so I probably won't drop them because I know they're going to end soon anyway. Curb Stomp is okay, but nothing great, and the second issue didn't improve too much on the first issue, which was just okay. Ryan Ferrier really doesn't do anything to rise above the clichés of the genre, and Neogi's art is just okay - it gets the job done. The color scheme remains fascinating, but that's not really enough, is it? However, it's a four-issue story, so I'm going to stick it out. Meanwhile, in the Simon Bisley section of comics this week, we have two somewhat disappointing comics. I enjoyed the first story of The Tower Chronicles, as Wagner and Bisley came up with a batshit insane tale about an immortal monster hunter, and while it wasn't great literature, it was fun. The second story, which has delved more into John Tower's origins, hasn't been quite as good, but it's only 12 issues and I've gotten 8 of them, so I'm getting the rest in the hopes that it will come together better. Part of the problem is that Wagner seems to want to ignore the monster hunting so he can do Tower's origin, but Tower's origin - his life as a Templar, his forbidden love for a Muslim woman - just isn't that interesting. Bisley's art is a bigger disappointment, as it's often too sloppy, and I wonder if it's a problem with speed. The first story was four issues that were, to be fair, slightly longer than regular issues, but Bisley obviously had more time to do it, and it was really amazing. This time around, some of it is very nice, but overall, it's disappointing - a bit too sloppy and definitely too dark. This is also the case with 13 Coins, which shipped its final issue this week. The paper quality of the comic is a bit better than on The Tower Chronicles, which holds Bisley's lines a bit better, but it's still sloppier than a lot of his work. 13 Coins was also a bit of a mess, story-wise - Wagner's story in The Tower Chronicles isn't that great, but it's coherent, while Brennan and Jackson on 13 Coins seemed to try way too hard to cram a lot into their six issues, and they never quite pulled it together. It's too bad - there's a lot of violence in 13 Coins, and Bisley has fun with it, but the main bad guy is defeated remarkably easily, and Brennan and Jackson pull the old "non-ending" to imply that they want to do a sequel. That's never not annoying. But again, like Curb Stomp and The Tower Chronicles, 13 Coins was a limited series. I didn't love it, but I could deal with buying six issues to see what was what.

Other comics ended this week, too, and I liked them a lot more than 13 Coins. Three of the four Bat-books I currently buy ended arcs this week, with one of them - Arkham Manor - going the way of the dodo. Arkham Manor was pretty good, although this issue ends rather oddly, with Gerry Duggan wrapping things up quickly and seemingly setting up quite a lot for future story arcs that will never happen. It's very weird, unless DC has plans for it going forward. Duggan doesn't even get Bruce back in the manor - his house remains an asylum for now, which makes it seem like DC is very interested in having stories set there. Shawn Crystal's art on the series has been excellent, and I hope he draws a book I want to read coming up. Crystal has worked hard to go from a fairly non-descript artist (not a bad one, certainly, just not terribly distinctive) to what he's doing on Arkham Manor, and that's nice to see. The "Gotham" books - Academy and by Midnight - also finish arcs, as DC gears up for "Convergence" and gives me two months off from buying any of their single issues. Both Gotham Academy and Gotham by Midnight have been pleasant surprises, and they're the kind of comics (along with Arkham Manor and Batgirl) that DC should have been doing in September 2011, when they rebooted their line. They're all recognizably linked to Batman, but tonally they're very different. Arkham Manor might have been gloomier without Crystal's unusual art. Gotham Academy deals with "serious" issues like separation anxiety and care for the mentally disabled, as well as "teenage" issues like peer pressure and cliques, and it does it all without being condescending and with interesting characters who are more than a collection of stereotypes. Olive is a terrific character who can face down Batman and apparently start fires with her mind, while Maps is a very cool girl and a good foil for Olive. Cloonan and Fletcher create a "team" very organically, and it will be interesting to see where the book goes from here. Meanwhile, Fawkes's weirdness is tempered by the fact that he's writing a comic set in Gotham City, so he can do some strange stuff - the "bad guy" in this arc is a monster created by the collective sin of Gotham's founding - but he doesn't go too far, as he's done so far in Intersect. Templesmith is a great horror artist, and he's a really good fit on this book, which makes me wonder why he's leaving it. Templesmith does seem to get restless on comics, so maybe he just wanted to move on. I'm glad Gotham by Midnight is coming back after the break, though, and I think Juan Ferrerya will kill on the art. Finally, Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers ended this week, as well. Like 13 Coins, I didn't think this worked as well as I wanted it to, but unlike that book, Casey's infectious love of comic books and Nathan Fox's punk rock artwork was enough to carry it through, and Casey was always able to get artists to draw a few pages in each issue, too. The series isn't terribly consequential - Captain Victory himself is a wildly passive agent in this incarnation and in this arc, and most of the action in this issue, at least, is confined to flashbacks - but it's pretty fun, and the artists have a lot of fun with it. I don't know which artists did every panel, but they're all very weird and keen. As a story, Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers was a bit of a disappointment. As a pure blast of what's awesome about comics, it was a pretty big success.

Of course, we also get new comics, and if the comics are by creators I like or if the premise sounds good, I will give them a chance. IDW launched two 1980s-based series this week with Jem and the Holograms and Miami Vice: Remix, and I bought them both. I've already reviewed Jem, but I'll say it again: I have no fondness whatsoever for the cartoon or the characters. I bought this solely because Kelly is writing it and Campbell is drawing it. Kelly isn't my favorite writer in the world, but she has a decent track record, and her enthusiasm about the characters should come across well in the comic, which is always neat. Campbell is phenomenal, and I'll try almost anything she draws. Jem hasn't leapt to the top of my favorite comics ever after one issue, but it's a good comic. As with almost everything, I'll read the first arc and see what's what. With some comics, I know after the first issue or after the first few issues that I'm committed. I don't quite have that feeling with Jem, but it's a good start. Meanwhile, Casey and Mahfood blast us with an insane Miami Vice comic. It begins with a car chase through the streets and ends with a drug that turns people into zombie-like shamblers, with Crockett and Tubbs pursuing a case for their captain that, I assume (although one should never assume with Casey), will intersect with the dealer selling the zombie drug. Casey's steroid script is crazy, but Mahfood's artwork is staggering, as he cranks everything up to 11 and never takes his foot off the throttle (mixed metaphors rock!). I've always been much happier with Mahfood's artwork when he's not writing it, as I don't love his writing, so I'm pre-disposed to like this, and it delivers. Just like with any non-Marvel-or-DC Casey comic, I have no idea if he's going to be able to keep all these balls in the air, but the great thing about a Casey comic is that whether or not he sticks it or has the balls crash down around him, it's always fun to see. That ain't too bad.

Then there are comics that I enjoy but don't quite love yet. I don't know if I will, but I like them, and that's good enough. Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw, The Bunker, Deadpool, The Fuse, Grindhouse: Drive In, Bleed Out, and Multiversity are like that. The latter of those, of course, is a limited series, and while I've liked it, the God of All Comics has made some missteps. "Ultra Comics" is a course correction after "Mastermen," which wasn't great, as Morrison derails criticism of the book by including it in the text already. That's pretty clever. Doug Mahnke's art is superb, and Morrison has a lot of fun with the notion of creating our fictions to fight our fights for us and how horribly wrong that can go. Morrison isn't treading new ground here, but he's good at this, and it's fun to read. I don't know what's coming in the final issue of the quasi-series, but if it's Morrison's final statement on DC comics, it will be interesting to read.

The others are all at various stages in their existence, and as I noted, I just enjoy them. Deadpool's last issue is the next one, which is why I've continued to buy it even though Marvel raised the price to $3.99, and Duggan and Posehn have done a nice job maneuvering everyone into position for an incredibly violent and possibly very depressing finale. As I've noted before, if you had told me four years ago that I'd be buying a Deadpool comic, I would have laughed, but Duggan and Posehn, along with a gaggle of artists, have made it work. I don't think they've ever quite reached the heights of the first arc, but they've come close, and this arc has turned out to be quite good, so I hope they go out on a high note. Grindhouse, of course, is a fun bunch of two-issue stories, and in this issue, we revisit Garcia from the first arc, and bad things happen around her once again. It's "excessive, gratuitous, and tasteless," as the cover promises, but every issue is a lot of fun. Busiek, Dewey, Bellaire, Deschesne, and Roshell continue doing their thing on Autumnlands, as the animals continue to ignore or underestimate Learoyd, who takes advantage of that to plot his own course. Fialkov does a one-off in The Bunker, showing the effects of all the horrible things our core group have done in the future, as a couple struggles to survive in a dust-bowl like environment. And Johnston gets to the penultimate issue of this arc of The Fuse, which means there's an arrest, but who knows if it's the actual killer. All of these books are enjoyable, and I have no plans to drop them, but I don't love them. And that's okay.

Then there are the comics I actively anticipate because I love them so much. They're all different kinds of books, too, which is nice. These are books by creators I like hitting on all cylinders. Something like Batman '66, which I'm still amazed actually works, but which Jeff Parker writes with such flair that it does. Sandy Jarrell does a fine job with the slightly more serious matter of Lord Death Man, whose death schtick seems out of place in Batman '66, but which works here because it never becomes too oppressive. Plus, Batman and Batgirl flying on a plane in their costumes is a wonderful visual.

I've liked The Sixth Gun for years now, and as Bunn gets closer to the end, it seems like he doesn't want to let it go (we've already had a few spin-off mini-series, another one is coming out now, and yet another has been solicited for this summer!). I assume the next arc is the last one, as Drake, Becky, and Nidawi make it to ... another place, bad things are happening around the world, and General Hume makes an appearance, so I guess he's coming back. The book has never been exactly cheery, but it's taken a dark turn recently (considering the world is ending, that's not surprising), but Bunn keeps making it worth a read, and Hurtt continues to do marvelous work. I'm looking forward to the end, but of course, it's bittersweet.

Meanwhile, Gillen, McKelvie, and Wilson are working on another classic, as The Wicked + the Divine continues on its merry course. Gillen reveals the twelfth member of the pantheon, and he also reveals some of the history of said pantheon. As I've often said, I'm in the bag for Gillen and McKelvie, and I know not everyone is, and that's fine. I just get giddy reading one of their collaborations, because every word feels perfect and every panel looks perfect. That's pretty cool.

Of course, the best serialized comic I'm currently reading is Chew, and much like the other comics I love, I get giddy when I see it on the shipping list that my retailer sends to me or when Layman posts something on Facebook about it. Chew is a reason why I buy so many comics, and why I will continue to buy so many comics, and why I proselytize about comics as much as I can. When it started, I knew very little about the creators - I had seen Guillory's work, but as this comic was one of the first things he ever drew, I hadn't seen much of it, and if I knew Layman's name, it was because he was an editor at Wildstorm during its turn-of-the-millennium Golden Age and I saw his name there. But I picked it up because the description sounded neat, and now, almost six years later, it's my favorite comic, possibly of this millennium. Layman takes the story to such weird places, but surprisingly, everything makes "sense" in the universe he has created, and we know that no one is safe, so when things like what happens in this issue happen, you can never be sure that everyone is going to make it out alive. Guillory's art is always great, and the entire comic just makes me happy to be alive. Layman and Guillory never hit wrong notes, and I'm really looking forward to the rest of the run, even though, like The Sixth Gun, there's not a lot left of it. But it put Guillory and Layman on my radar, and Layman has told me some of the stuff he's pitching to companies, all of which sound awesome. Chew is one of those books that make me happy I'm a comics reader.

So that's a little bit of explanation about why I buy certain things. If I bought only the books I really, really, really love, I might have bought only 4-8 comics this week. But I like to see what's out there, and as I noted, I don't fret too much about the money. I never know where the next comic I will love will come from - I bought Manifest Destiny on a lark, for instance, and that's become one of my favorites - and I really do feel like it's "better" to buy more comics than less. I drop the books I don't like, but even some of the mediocre ones are entertaining, and I'm rarely angry that I bought a comic. It's also noteworthy that, as I mentioned with regard to Morning Glories, that a lot of these books are off-schedule. Of the comics that list shipping dates in Previews, here's what they were:

All Star Western volume 6: 25 MarchArkham Manor: 25 MarchAutumnlands: Tooth & Claw: 11 MarchBatman '66: 25 MarchThe Bunker: 25 MarchCaptain Victory and the Galactic Rangers: 28 JanuaryChew: 3 MarchThe Fuse: 25 MarchGotham Academy: 4 MarchGotham by Midnight: 25 MarchGrindhouse: Drive In, Bleed Out: 14 JanuaryIntersect: 25 MarchThe Life After: 25 MarchMorning Glories: 29 OctoberThe Multiversity: Ultra Comics: 18 MarchRoche Limit volume 1: 25 FebruaryRumble: 25 MarchThe Sixth Gun: 28 JanuaryThe Wicked + the Divine: 25 March

When books get a bit behind, they can suddenly arrive on the same day, and that's what happened with some of these. Again, it's no big deal, but it does help to explain why I got so many comics in one week.

Even with some comics that aren't as great, I do love reading them. Things can get tough in the world, and reading comics is a great way to escape, even for a little while. On 8 April my daughter is having back surgery to correct her severe scoliosis, and major surgery like that is never fun. I won't be getting my comics that day, as I'll be at the hospital probably all day, but I'm sure I'll have some collected edition or another to read while she's in surgery and when she gets moved into a room. My life is certainly not as shitty as many, many others', but we all have stress in our lives, and for me, comics help with that. Television is fine, but you don't get the diversity of genres in television that you get in comics. Comics, I've argued before, can do a lot more than television and movies and can only fall short in terms of sound - either actors doing such a good job with a bad script that it becomes good or the music television and movies can use. I dig so many different kinds of genres, which is why I read a ton of comics. If I ever get bored with them, I'll stop.

This was an unusually big week, and I apologize for not being more in-depth. On the plus side, the Ice Cream Social went well, as nobody rioted and burned the school down. I'm putting that in the Win Column!!!!

I'll be back next week with more pithy reviews. First, though, I should probably take a look at Previews. I'm sure there's plenty in there to spend my money on!

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