Comics

Weekly Pull Review 3/4/15

Saga #26- Image

Insert obligatory raving about Saga. Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples are continuing to keep this arc balanced on all three of the main stories so far- Dengo and his captives, Team Lying Cat, and the dads. This arc so far seems to really be one focused on character development, moreso than plot development, which isn’t a bad thing at all. (Especially considering how common the reverse is in the industry.) Dengo especially stands out in terms of growth- not that I particularly expected Saga to have anything less than a fully fleshed out, complex villain. Also, that ending splash page? Hooboy.

Descender #1- Image

Descender starts off with an interstellar (Alliance? Council?) at the height of its power, and on the eve before an attack by unstoppable, moon-sized humanoid robots. It then skips ten years forwards, into a world where over three fourths of the inhabitants are dead or gone, the planet lies in near ruins, and angry mobs have destroyed most of the robots in existence. When a childlike robot companion wakes up on an abandoned mining colony, a hunt for him begins as it is revealed that his model of robot might actually have something in common with the massive destroyers. I’m torn on this one. Dustin Nguyen’s art is fantastic, no question there. Jeff Lemire’s writing is solid in the sections revolving around the protagonist, Tim the robot boy and his robot dog, Bandit. Many of the other scenes, however, have some quite clumsy over-exposition, at least in my mind. There’s a comment I’ve heard bandied around about science fiction, though: That science fiction movies run twenty or thirty years behind science fiction novels in terms of ideas, which, to be fair, is pretty much spot on. I think that the same adage might be applicable to comic books, though perhaps not to the same degree. It’s not a commentary on the quality of the work at all, but it might have something to do with my reaction to the exposition here- it’s stuff that is already old hat in science fiction prose, so it just feels forced.

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Weekly Pull Review 2/25/15

ODY-C #3- Image

It’s cyclops time! Woo! The cyclops is one of the best comic book monsters I’ve ever seen- It’s absolutely profane and alien, all at once. A three lobed mouth that looks almost like one of Guillermo Del Toro’s freakish mutant vampires from Blade 2, though not quite, an enormous eye with eyelids that close along a vertical line, enormous breasts running in three rows down its chest- it definitely stands out. We get introduced to new gods this issue- Hera takes a greater role than in the past, and we get properly introduced to Apollo, and more especially Dionysus. Poseidon still takes the cake as the most visually striking god, but Apollo and Dionysus stand up quite well themselves.

Chew #46- Image

This isn’t the first time a major character has died in Chew, but it’s treated very differently this time around. Most characters don’t even know about this death yet- in fact, only one person does. The status quo has undergone a number of other shakeups, as well- beyond all of the characters lying in the hospital, Tony now refuses to work with Colby, and is stuck working with D-Bear, of all people. No signs of the Vampire yet this arc, but considering that this arc is titled Blood Pudding, and has vampire teeth in the logo…

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Weekly Pull Review 2/18/15

There were no giant science tubes this week. Not a damned one. Seriously, people, what’s the point of drawing a comic without giant science tubes, especially if a laboratory shows up?

Bitch Planet #3: The Secret Origin of Penny Rolle- Image

Bitch Planet is doing something a bit unusual- every third issue is going to be drawn by a guest artist, in order to help keep the comic rolling on a regular schedule. I personally think it’s a fantastic idea, at least based on the art in this issue. The old school four color toning continues to work incredibly well everywhere it’s used in the comic- it just fits into the comic’s voice. Consistent release schedules are a major problem for many excellent comics out there. This issue jumps back in time to give an origin story for Penny Rolle. It seems a little early in the series for an origin story issue for someone other than the protagonist, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing- far too often, ensemble cast comics do far too little in the way of establishing personality and history for characters, just leaving you with a broad trope or two. This issue also does a great job with showing us how things really are for average people under the rule of the Fathers. I’m really, really wanting to learn more about Megaton, though. I’ve got to admit it, I’m a sucker for fictional sports, especially sci-fi ones. The afterwards materials/columns are really proving to be a draw, as well- letter columns are nice, but unless it’s the Sex Criminals letter column, having a little extra informative material in the back does nothing but good for the comic. This issue also features the most ominous use of hair care products I’ve seen in quite a while. Also, an awesome magic mirror, using science! Suck it, Snow White. (Seriously didn’t even catch the symbology there the first readthrough, but that’s on me for being thick.)

Multiversity: Mastermen- DC

Grant Morrison takes us to his version of Red Sun this issue- one where Superman’s pod lands in Nazi occupied territory, leading to him ruling over a Nazi Earth as Overman. (In the original Red Sun, Superman’s pod crash-lands in Soviet occupied Ukraine.) Jim Lee handles the art duties on this one. I knew this was going to be one of my favorite Multiversity issues yet when it opened with a splash page of Hitler straining with constipation on the toilet. The story is pretty straightforwards, but that’s not a bad thing. The Sivanas are really building up more than the Gentry in terms of the overarching story- to be fair, though, it’s often a better idea to have the minor villains take more screen time than the Big Bads. Nazi Batman (Leatherwing, how fitting) proves creepy as hell. Establishing Uncle Sam as a superpowered freedom fighter is a pretty awesome move. Much of the driving force behind the plot is Overman’s moral doubts creeping up on him- even raised by Hitler, he proves to still have something of a moral compass. One thing that really bothered me, though- Underwaterman never looked directly at the camera. Ever. No science tubes, though there is a cylindrical hovering specimen jar. It’s just not big enough to be a proper giant science tube.

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Weekly Pull Review 1/11/15

Sorry it’s late, I know. It’s been an interesting couple of weeks.

Satellite Sam #11- Image

“Is that a gun?” “No, I’m just happy to see you.”  Satellite Sam returns after a lengthy delay (I’m not sure exactly how long of one, I jumped in following issue 10. I picked up all the back issues in September, though, so… at least that long? Yeah, looked it up, September.) Generally speaking, I’d throw Satellite Sam below the divide, just for the cover art (I guess so as not to shock some random visitor to my site, maybe?), but the cover on this one is pretty tame compared to usual. While much of the attention Satellite Sam gets is focused on all of the sex, office politics, and backstabbing, I actually enjoy the hole it pokes in the image of the 50’s the most. Over the years, I’ve grown thoroughly sick and tired of people glorifying the 50s- they were a vile, hateful time, and Satellite Sam wallows in some of the worst of it. Not seeing it sugar-coated for once feels pretty good. Black and white art is also something I usually avoid- I think that Satellite Sam is the first black and white miniseries I’ve had in my pull since Snapshot, and that came out a couple of years ago. I just usually don’t enjoy black and white. I’ve tried several times to get into The Walking Dead, but the black and white art just doesn’t do it for me. (Plus, I’m not especially excited about the idea of reading through the sheer amount of back-issues there.) Satellite Sam, however, manages to get past my dislike of black and white comics, largely through its use of detailed backgrounds and easily distinguishable characters.

Thor #5- Marvel

The new Thor starts to settle into her role as Thor, and we finally get to leave the Roxxon floating fortress. (Seriously, four issues in one spot? My attention span is way too short for that.) We also get to see Odin being his pissy, self-important, argumentative self, his brother, Cul Borson, god of fear, big bad of the Fear Itself crossover event (have I mentioned that I largely hate crossover events? Because I really do) has returned at his side to serve as Asgardian Minister of Justice (which can’t possibly go wrong, can it? Surely he won’t turn on Odin and be a bad guy. Surely. Also, I just bought a bridge from a trustworthy looking fellow.) Meanwhile, Thor beats up the Absorbing Man and Titania (watching her punch out Creel with a thought balloon saying “That’s for saying feminist like it’s a four-letter word, creep” was pretty satisfying) and chats with Freyja. Unworthy Thor is still trying to figure out who the new Thor is. (I’m still betting on Roz Solomon.) Also, he’s drinking a lot. Overall, I’m pretty happy that they’re finally out of that damn fortress.

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Weekly Pull Review 2/4/15

Saga #25- Image

SAGA! Saga Saga Saga Saga Saga! Saga! …Okay, I might be a little excited. Just a little. But… Saga. In all honesty, if I had to pick a favorite comic from my pull, it would have to be Saga. So fucking good. The newest volume of Saga opens up with depressing backstory, depressing story, depressing foreshadowing, dragon piss, an axe wielding baby seal (hi Ghüs!), Hazel being adorable, half a planet, Dengo making poor decisions that are going to draw the family farther into the middle of the war, and… well… Dunno what else I have to say there, actually, because spoilers. (Seriously, though, why aren’t you reading Saga yet?) Despite following up with the majority of the cast, it even finds time to introduce- or at least show- new characters, without it feeling like a particular intrusion into the screen-time of the rest of the cast. Also, Sophie has glasses now, and Lying Cat is being taught tact!

Hawkeye #21- Marvel

After a nearly five month delay, we finally got more Hawkeye- it’s just too bad that next issue is the last of Matt Fraction and David Aja’s run. This issue is very much an ode to the John Wayne film Rio Bravo, which is actually the name of the issue. (For those of you who’ve seen of Assault on Precinct 13- that’s basically an updated version of Rio Bravo). This issue, well… it’s goddamn heavy. One of the opening scenes has Clint sending the children and other noncombatants away from the building to safety as they prep the apartment building for battle against the Tracksuit Draculas. This issue is rapidly pulling together all of the elements that Fraction and Aja have been pulling together over the course of their run. Grills even gets a bit of postmortem vengeance. The sheer amount of work that was put into this comic becomes more and more apparent with every readthrough. The good guys don’t get a victory without paying a real, heavy price for it- and not the hilariously forgettable, easily brushed off price you’re used to in superhero comics. This is what a superhero comic should be. Boomerang arrow: it comes back to you in the end.

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