Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Definitely Not Reviews (10-20-10)

Wow, really late this week on doing these. Could this be the looming death of our only currently regular feature at Second Printing? Well, at least I got it out before the next batch of new releases hits the stands. I didn't get around to reading B&R #15 until Saturday, and on Monday I realized I hadn't read Sixth Gun #5 yet. I blame Netflix.

Batman and Robin #15 - Damn, I love looking at Frazer Irving's art. I'm not sure what it is about it, but it's absolutely unique in almost every respect, from his figure work to his color palette, it's just so... interesting. Which reminds me, when's Gutsville coming back?

X-Factor #210 - sort of a 'tweener issue with a lot of plot but not so much action. Loved the Rictor/Rahne/cabbie conversation, which is one of my favourite comic book moments of the year.

Sixth Gun #5 - this is a serious game changer, this issue, really setting out (or at least really implying) what the stakes are and what the deal really is with those guns. And for Lost fans, there's a hatch! Even if none of the characters resonate all that strongly with me, I still love this book.

Super-Soldier #4 - I don't like it when stories end with an opening for further stories, because just as often they don't materialize. I enjoyed Super-Soldier (even at $3.99 a pop) but why is it only a mini-series? Why not ongoing? Surely there's enough room for a Bucky-led Captain America book, and a Steve Rogers-led Secret Avengers team book, AND a Steve Rogers-led solo book, no? Or is this just leading to a new plot for those other two books to cross over with one another?

Legion of Super-Heroes #6 - What I find remarkable is that this relaunched Legion is centering around a Bill O'Reilly-like conservative blowhard super-hero, and actually making a real go of it, really getting to the meat of "Earth-Man" and his views. He's not just a caricature of the extreme right, but made understandable, even if you don't agree with his viewpoints. It's astonishing, really, and I'm surprised that the right - well, Colbert especially - haven't glommed onto this book and trumpeted the hell out of the most prominent identifiably conservative superhero currently on the stands.

Older stuff I finally got around to reading:

The Anchor Volume 1: The Five Furies - Phil Hester is one of my favourite writers out there. I assume he's more interested in his own work than work-for-hire since he's not really written for any of the books at DC and Marvel (despite having a long illustrative past at each), but then I do know that he's worked rather extensively on Top Cow books which I just can't bring myself to read no matter who writes or draws them. The Anchor is another really fab original idea from Hester and super-enjoyable. Volume 2 is a must-find for me.

Dr. Id - I found this curious one-off from 2006 recently in the bargain bin of a small indie comic shop in Vancouver, and it looked both fun and well illustrated, and it is. A satire of the Doctor Strange ilk, wherein the mystical Dr. Id takes on various physical manifestations of the psyche. It's funny, trippy and quite entertaining. The glorious black and white art is a hybrid homage of both Kirby and Ditko, and the whole premise that this is a "best-of" collection of a classic, forgotten character is well worn but otherwise inviting.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Definitely Not Reviews (10-13-10)

This week in geek:

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #5
- I think I want to like this series more than I actually like it... for now. Once it's done, and I read it all in one sitting, perhaps two or three times over, perhaps with another complete reading of Morrison's Batman run and Final Crisis, then maybe I'll like it more. Sometimes Morrison's dense structural style and call-back-ed-ness makes for too challenging a read. This is almost Invisibles-level mind-numbing.

Booster Gold #37 - I'm a huge Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League fan. That series has had the biggest and most lasting impact of any pop-culture experience in my life. I was afraid that yet another dalliance in JL territory by the writing team would further dilute my affections (ala the moneygrubbing Star Wars onslaught of the 'aughts), but I find this to be perfectly charming, full of the heart that I remember the series having if not exactly being as witty (it feels kind of forced). It's hard to resolve this quasi-buffoonery with the serious goings-on in Generation Lost, but I still like it.

Bruce Wayne, The Return Home: Batgirl #1 and
Bruce Wayne, The Return Home: Red Robin #1, given that "The Return of Bruce Wayne" isn't finished yet (another Morrison series delayed? *gasp*), these feel like they've jumped the gun a little bit. Both, however are like bonus issues of their respective series and they tie loosly into one another in the whole "Return Home" thing whereby Bruce tests the mettle of all his former associates. I'm curious about his "Amazo-suit" and I really liked the bit about Cassandra Cain (Brian Q. Miller is doing a bang-up job on Batgirl). Red Robin (here and in issue 5 of ROBW) is drawn as far too grown up for his own good, though.

Green Lantern #58 - I've officially dropped Brightest Day from my pull list, but I can't help but be totally agog over Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy's work here. I don't care about Hal Jordan, I'm seriously surprised at the popularity of Larfleez, and where the hell did John Stewart disappear to? But I am happy that Atrocitous will be the big bad of the first season of the Green Lantern cartoon. I like that dude.

Justice League: Generation Lost #11 - I miss Giffen's breakdowns on this title, as I really dig me the 9-panel grid. That said, I think Winick is doing a decent job with the story without him, and the art has been pretty decent as well. The fact is I want to hate this because it's another dumb "let's make Kingdom Come part of continuity" story, but I don't and that's surprising. Plus, loving the Cliff Chiang covers.

Mighty Crusaders #4 - Two more issues to go and I don't think we're going to see the Archie heroes in DC Comics for at least another decade. It's too bad though, because this is a fun little team book (even at $3.99) full of heroes taking on invading aliens and bizarre villains.

Tiny Titans/Little Archie #1 - sweet fun for the kiddies

Unwritten #18 - oops, I've kind of let a stack of these pile up beside my bed (I haven't read an issue since #12), but one of these days I'm going to have an absolutely fantastic time catching up (I saw that last issue was a "Choose Your Own Adventure"-style book which seems crazy awesome.

Strange Tales II #1 - The usual mixed-bag of great, good and utter crud, but I like these indie-twisted takes on mainstream characters, the opening Wolverine story (who the hell did that anyway, they didn't sign their work) was a standout (outstanding!).

Warlord of Mars #1 - I liked this so much I might actually read the books...someday... but not now... I'm busy y'see... yeah... busy...


Graig and Devon review some comics over at Joblo.com. And yes, I'll actually write something on this blog next week.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Discard Pile

I'm pretty proud of myself. I've just parsed through 8 months worth of unsorted comic at the side of my bed. I think that's the longest I've ever gone without collating, bagging and boarding, creating a Hoarders-like pile of unnavigatable space on the West side of the bedroom. This, however, isn't what I am proud of, but instead it's my rather paltry pile of false starts (series of which I bought the first issue/first few issues then gave up on). Regularly reviewing comics I tend to try out books on a regular basis, and this leads to a lot of unwanted odds and sods in the comic stack, but I've been more prone to reviewing things in trade or rather just reviewing things I'm already interested in. It kinda cuts down on the clutter. Oh yeah, I also just realized we had a lengthy hiatus between reviewing gigs, so I guess that accounts for some of it too.

My discard pile, so small and unappealing:

Wonder Woman #600
Freedom Fighters #1
DeadpoolMAX #1
Machete #0
DC Universe:Legacies #1&2

Friday, October 8, 2010

Definitely Not Reviews (10-06-10)

I have a venue to write reviews about comics (see last post), but I don't get to just geek out about them very much. Now, given my busy schedule juggling work, family, and consuming of popular culture in whatever time remains, the luxury of being able to really geek out over things has all but disappeared, so I'm creating "Definitely Not Reviews", a new feature for myself and the gang (hi gang) to throw down our list of what we purchased in any given week and drop a few poorly composed lines of praise or knee-jerk criticism on said titles and hopefully engage you, dear, faithful Second Printing reader to tell us in the comments your own list of books you bought this week and maybe your own quickly-formed opinions therein.

Let's go!

Brightest Day #11 - This was it for me, do or die... do or Deathstorm (Deathstorm? Ugh). Since the 3rd issue I've been finding it a tedious, dull read, with only my quickly waning affinity for most of the resurrected characters and the almost all-round fantastic art carrying me through. But with stuff like that scene where Jason Rauch's dad is standing there lamenting his relationship with his son right before Deathstorm kidnaps him... beyond ridiculous. Couldn't he just have been watching TV? And Aquaman hopping into a big rig...perhaps if the next chapter of that story were told from the trucker's point of view it might be a little interesting, but I'm bored, quite frankly. Am I alone, here?

DC Comics Presents: Jack Cross - Reprinting the 2005 4-issue mini-series from Warren Ellis in a 100-page, $8 special, rather than a $10 or $12 trade paperback. I say BARGOON! The remarkable thing about this compact espionage tale is how much of it is talking heads, one of the most difficult things to pull off in comics, but it's really quite good, and artist Gary Erskine makes it all quite exciting. I'm sorry I missed it the first time around but glad to have this affordable opportunity to pick it up again. I've kind of avoided Ellis' Red (for no particular reason), is it as strong as this?

Doom Patrol #15 - I've had such a difficult time with this series, with each issue since the end of the Metal Men co-feature sitting on the threshold of being its last. It has a manic energy to it but that leads it to feel unfocussed and I have a hard time reading it, but there's been enough each issue to keep me coming back for another. I really liked this issue, we'll see how next issue does.

Secret Six #26 - I'm a devoted Secret Six fan, and I think it's one of the most exciting and entertaining capes'n'tights books on the stands (and it's a sharp contrast to DeadpoolMAX in how to wright a book that features both graphic violence and comedy), but I'm really, really, really disliking Jim Calafiore's art. I remember him from X-O Manowar back in the Valiant days when they had a Bob Layton-inspired house style that most of the art team adhered to, and I liked him then (that was, what, 15 years ago?) but not so much now. Seeing Nicola Scott's gorgeous work in the Teen Titan's preview in the back of the book only underscored my longing for a pretty artist to get on the Six.

DeadpoolMAX #1 - I'm really disappointed.
Tron: Betrayal #1 - I'm really quite pleased.

S.H.I.E.L.D. #4 - oh my, I love this book. Nobody in comics juggles multiple eras like Hickman. There are elements reminiscent of Earth X and his own Pax Romana but this is a really fun stroll through the secret history of the Marvel Universe, that, really, doesn't even need to be set in the Marvel U to be all that entertaining. Oddly enough, though, I'm not 100% into the art. Dustin Weaver's drafting skills are quite impeccable and he provides at least two absolutely jaw dropping, inspired moments in each book (usually more), but there's something about it (digitally inked maybe?) that just doesn't connect fully for me.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

We've reviewed comics

It's true.

This week, Devon had a break but I did double duty to semi-soberly tackle DeadpoolMAX #1 and Tron: Betrayal #1

Last week, saw some Machete action, Action Comics action, Nemesis action, and more.

And before that, there was some Thor and Smurfs and Simpsons and lots of love all around.

Feel free to comment here (or there), as I'd really like to know if I'm alone on my assessment of Deadpool and David Lapham's post Stray Bullets endeavors.