Weekly Pull Review

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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Weekly Reading List- 1/25/15- 1/31/15

Bit of a slow week again.

Brian McClellan’s The Promise of Blood/ The Crimson Campaign

I devoured the first two books of the Powder Mage Trilogy last week, since the third book comes out this week. (I’ll be doing a review). Flintlock fantasy is a relatively new subgenre, or sub-sub-genre, depending how you want to look at it, featuring flint and wheel-lock guns, colonial era politics, the rise of non-monarchical political systems, plus, you know, magic. The only real luminaries so far are Brian McClellan and Django Wexler, both of whom are highly enjoyable writers, obviously both having a ton of fun with what they’re doing. McClellan’s The Promise of Blood starts out with a military coup against the monarchy of the nation of Adro, leading right into the action. I honestly can’t really blog about these books separately- I’ve read both of them twice, now, and each time I read them consecutively, so it’s kind of blurred together into one, much larger book. They’re excellent books- not perfect, of course, but excellent. My only real complaint is regarding the treatment of some of the parts of the story that are supposed to be epic and mythic- they sometimes feel a little less exciting than some of the gritty, down to earth battles, but that probably speaks more to McClellan’s ability to write said battles. Regardless to say, I’m quite excited for book three, the Autumn Republic.

Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky’s Just the Tips

Hey, it’s my second non-fiction book of the year! And, of course, it’s a book of sex tips. Terrible, hilarious sex tips. “Cross dressing can really spice things up. Ladies, try wearing a man’s dress shirt and tie to bed. Men, try wearing high heels and a skirt and thousand of years of patriarchal oppression to bed.” “Have sex outside, in the middle of Yankee Stadium, during a game.” “A man’s testicles are very sensitive and some sex moves can hurt them a bit, so just poke them back up inside his body where they’ll be safe.” Just the Tips is a companion to the awesome comic book series Sex Criminals, which is one of my absolute favorites. Specifically, it’s the companion to the letter column of Sex Criminals, which might be the greatest letter column of all time. People have actually started writing in for serious (and not so serious) sex advice from the creators, which somewhat baffled them at first, though they seem to have embraced their roles. Just the Tips doesn’t quite make me laugh as much as the Sex Criminals letter column, but I think that’s because it’s more dedicated to being a humor book. The actual letter column often deals with a lot of serious concerns and real issues, which often serve to contrast with and highlight the more whimsical submissions. Another part of why the letter column makes me laugh more, of course, is all of the hilarious and awesome in-jokes you find building up in it, most notably “Brimping”. It might be just the format, too. That’s not to say Just the Tips isn’t good, of course- it’s still funny, snarky, and wildly inappropriate. Remember- “You need to change your safeword every three weeks for security reasons and it must have numbers in it.”

John Scalzi & Mike Choi’s Midnight Rises

I haven’t read many comics specifically designed for digital consumption before this- in major part thanks to my lack of a tablet. Midnight Rises is an IOS exclusive digital comic. It’s actually its own app, since it’s actually the prequel comic to an IOS videogame, Midnight Star, which also had its story written by Scalzi. First off, Choi’s art is great, especially the machinery and background tech. Scalzi did a decent enough job writing the comic, but I do think it suffers somewhat from its prequel status- it very obviously is a lead-in to Midnight Star. Once Midnight Star comes out, I think it will likely fit in pretty well with the story of the game, but until then, we’ll have to wait and see. As for the digital comic features- it’s pretty interesting being able to choose, to some extent, the order and shape of the story. The controls are a little less flexible than I would have liked- you can only turn the page forwards and backwards via tapping the right side of the screen. Swiping is reserved for the larger pages that can be explored.