Saturday, September 27, 2008

(not so) Amazing Spider-Man

I just found out the biggest Spider-Man fan that I know stopped reading Amazing Spider-Man 3 months ago.
This is a guy who used to buy Marvel titles that he didn't regularly read simply because they had a Spidey cameo in them (and that included even the smallest of appearances --- such as Spidey showing up in the background of some big group fight on a cover --- even if he didn't actually appear inside the issue in question --- or just having a very minor one panel appearance inside an issue). He previously bought variant covers of Amazing Spider-Man (along with the regular covers) just because he wanted to be as much of a completist as possible in terms of Spider-Man appearances.
But after DECADES of reading Spider-Man (and buying all of those extra appearance issues), he dropped Amazing Spider-Man like the bad habit it was because it just isn't worth reading anymore. There is no enjoyment to be derived from the current direction of the title.
NICE JOB Joe Quesada and crew.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Comics and Ike

Made two trips to the LCS this week (I wasn't able to stop in last week due to other time commitments). Picked up lots of good comics, many of which I haven't yet read.
And that is because hurricane Ike decided to blow through town very early Saturday morning. I was fortunate in that my home took minimal damage. A tree broke in half (luckily it did not land on the house), part of my gutters were torn away (so I had to take those down Saturday afternoon) and half of my fence blew down. I lost power Friday night about 10:00pm and didn't have power restored until Sunday at 1:00pm. The power came on in time for me to watch NFL games Sunday afternoon and evening (so that was a welcome diversion). I believe over 3 million + lost power in the Houston area and at this point I think there are still just under 2 million who still have not had their power restored (I'm quite lucky to live on the west side of the city where we didn't get hit quite as hard as other areas). My parents live south of Houston (about halfway between Houston and Galveston) and they are still without power.
So while I was waiting for power to return earlier today, I read part of the stack of comics I picked up earlier in the week. Titans no. 4 was nothing special, much like the rest of the series has been thus far. Honestly, if this is what they are going to be delivering with a relaunch, there is no reason to have started it again. I wasn't planning on picking up the Adam Strange Special, but since I get the Rann-Thanagar Holy War mini-series, the guys at the shop dropped it in my box. I'm glad they did. I'm a little ticked off at DC because on the cover of the comic it says Jim Starlin and Al Milgrom. Yet, when you open it up inside you have Jim Starlin (writer), Rick Leonardi (penciller), and Dan Green (inker). I'm a big fan of Rick Leonardi's work, so I absolutely would have planned to buy this had I known he was handling the art. Yet, one wouldn't know that just looking at the cover. How could they screw that up so badly??? Al Milgrom isn't even credited anywhere inside, and as best I can tell, he didn't do the cover either. So how did his name end up on the cover under Jim Starlin's?? Aces job there by the editor.
Trinity no. 14 and 15 were great. I've really been enjoying this series. In fact, if you're a fan of Superman and/or Batman and/or Wonder Woman, you should ABSOLUTELY be reading this title. Jeph Loeb is really doing a great job on this title. I reallly like the way they structure each issue as well, with a 12 page main story by Loeb and Bagley and then a secondary story by Loeb and Nicieza and a rotating cast of artists that adds additional support to the main story. Just a well written and well planned title all around. Batman Confidential no. 21 featured the final part of the Batgirl/Catwoman story. This arc has been a lot of fun to read. I would absolutely buy a monthly (Tales of) Batgirl title by Nicieza and Maguire. Green Lantern no. 34 was part 6 of the Secret Origin arc. I thought it was supposed to be the final part, but apparently the conclusion is actually in the next issue, even though Hal and Sinestro finished their battle against Atrocitus in this one (that wasn't a spoiler --- I didn't mention who, if anyone, won). Wonder Woman no. 24 was an enjoyable issue. Diana takes Tom to meet her mother. And Tom is now apparently an Amazon (I wasn't aware males could become part of the Amazon lineage). Hippolyta's parting words were a bit surprising however. I'm not familiar with the villain who shows up at the end of the story though. Is she perhaps the Queen of Fables the JLA faced in the story arc written by Mark Waid several years back (collected in LA Vol. 8: Divided We Fall)?
Anyway, I've still got several comics left to read (finished the DC stack, now I have DC's Vertigo imprint, Dark Horse, Image, and a few other independents remaining), plus a couple of manga trades that have been sitting on my table for a few weeks.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Off the Shelf

Been almost a month since I last posted, so I'll try to make some brief mention of what I've read recently and what I thought of it.
The first issue of Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds (DC) was really quite good. Written by Geoff Johns with art by George Perez and Scott Koblish, it was definitely one of the more impressive titles I picked up that particular week. It is obviously a Final Crisis tie-in (hence the words Final Crisis in the title) but not required reading. But if you're a Legion fan, or you enjoy Geoff Johns and/or George Perez's work, then you should definitely pick it up. Geoff has expressed previous interested in writing the Legion of Superheroes, so this is his chance to fulfill that desire. It looks like it is going to be another excellent project from him.
Trinity (DC) has been a very enjoyable series thus far. I really didn't NEED another weekly series, but this is definitely a solid project. Jeph Loeb and Mark Bagley have done a bang-up job thus far. I really like what Loeb has done in establishing the connection between the characters and the different ways they represent a special trinity. Some very interesting stuff in this one so far. Definitely worth a look.
The concluding issue of the most recent Wonder Woman (DC) story arc finally made its way in front of me and it was a pretty good pay-off. I thought perhaps Diana defeated her foe a little too easily once it was all said and done, but there are only so many pages to fit it all into so I can understand why that part of it might have been more rushed. Anyway, this title continues to get better and better under Gail Simone's hand.
The fourth issue of the current Batgirl/Catwoman story arc in Batman Confidential (DC) showed up in the comic shop unexpectedly (at least for me ... I didn't remember seeing it on the shipping list for that week). I've really been enjoying this one. Fabian Nicieza should write a monthly (Tales of) Batgirl title.
I decided to pick up the first issue of Joe Kelly's I Kill Giants (Image). It wasn't quite what I was expecting, but it is only a five issue mini-series so I can stick around for the duration. Hopefully it will be a little more entertaining within the next couple of issues.
I ordered Red Mass For Mars (Image) even before I started hearing good things about it, and once some of the reviews started to filter in, I was even more excited to read it. The first issue did not disappoint at all. This is definitely a worthwhile read.
It was a slow week at the LCS, so I decided to pick up the first issue of the third volume of Fathom (Aspen). I had picked up a Fathom one-shot the previous month and it was decent enough to make me check out more. There has obviously been a lot that has happened in the previous two volumes, but J.T. Krul (the writer) did a good enough job establishing the principle aspects of the story that I didn't feel lost. And it certainly doesn't hurt that Ale' Garza is handling the pencils on this title. I'll definitely pick up the next couple of issues and kind of see where it goes from there.
Terry Moore's Echo (Abstract Studios) has been nothing short of fantastic. I definitely recommend this one. The story is very entertaining, the characters likeable, and the art is great. The trade collecting the first story arc will be in stores soon. You should definitely pick up a copy.
And the final book I'll talk about is The Bond of Saint Marcel (Archaia Studios Press). Archaia Studios Press really puts out some high quality material. I've been impressed with almost every single one of their publications that I have picked up. This particular mini-series is a vampire tale. It reminds me a little of Hellsing just in some of the set-up. It is written by Jennifer Quintenz and features some really fantastic art from Christian Gossett. I rate this one as definitely worth a look (if even just for the art alone --- but the story looks pretty interesting too).