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The Master

Every comic you've read in 2017

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Donomark   

Caveat: Matt Fucking Murdock who a year ago in our time, but, what, a month ago in continuity? was disbarred is now the fucking District Attorney of New York? Stoooopud.

Comics: 440
Trades: 23

Graphic Novels: 9

Omnibuses: 7

Yup

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Dread   

Moonshine #5: ok. not great.

Namesake #4: this ended with a whimper.

Neil Gaiman's Forbidden Brides...:not worth even typing the whole title. I thought this was a piece of shit.

Ninjak #24: really awesome.

Comics: 443
Trades: 23

Graphic Novels: 10

Omnibuses: 7

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jim   

Shutter v2, v3: What a deranged, fun adventure comic. Del Duca does dope drawing.

Southern Bastards v3: This comic is so tense, so often I take it for granted. They made a football game feel absolutely apocalyptic.

East Of West v6: Speaking of tense comics. Hickman's voice is unmistakable and Dragotta sells it effortlessly.

Black Hammer v1, 2017 Annual: An obvious in retrospect premise executed well. It's Justice League gets stuck in a small town, with nods to the classic comics of old. Characters named Len and Bernie make an appearance. Yeah, I'm here.

Edited by jim
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jim   

Bloodshot Reborn v2, v3: v2 is a great followup from v1, v3 is a harmless Mad Max nod.

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Venneh   

The Coldest Winter: solid spy story featuring one of the characters from Coldest City (though I definitely thought one of the few female characters was gonna turn out to be Lorraine in disguise). Not a fan of the art style here; feels like the artist did photorealistic tracing and then filled it in black and white in Photoshop. 

Single Issues: 151
Trades/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 45
Omnibuses: 1

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Batman #22: It's doubtful Thomas' advise to his son will take any real shape in the near future, but it would be interesting to see Bruce follow it.

Nightwing #20: A predictable wrap-up, but still good. Damian is gold here, and his heartfelt conversation with Dick was touching.

Superman #22: So, this giant squid is from the Watchmen Universe, right? And the title of the story, Black Dawn, is a reference to Tales of the Black Freighter, right? Also:

LOIS LANE DRIVING THE BATMOBILE IS THE BEST THING EVER!!

In a related thought, this is the second time she's used Batman technology to fight. In this same series, she wore the Hellbat armor to fight The Eradicator on the moon. Seems like they're setting something up.

Comics: 310

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Dan   

In this same series, she wore the Hellbat armor to fight The Eradicator on the moon

I love comics so much, you guys.

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Dread   

Ugh...biweekly comics are killin' me! I'm so behind on Superman!

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Spider-Man #16: Miles is a great character and I love what Bendis has done with him, but this series often stretches out moments to create fake drama. Rio running away from her son felt false. Yes, she's hurt, badly, by the lies her family has told her, but crap like that is Melodrama 101.

Jessica Jones #8: Solid issue.

Comics: 312

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Ugh...biweekly comics are killin' me! I'm so behind on Superman!

That's why I'm behind on Detective.

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Donomark   

Chew vol.12: The end of Chew. Honestly quite grimmer and darker than I was expecting. Not one but two major characters don't make it by the series end, and while it served the very last issue, and the final scene, it put into context that this has always been a dark, violent, tragic story throughout its entirety. I might read the series from the beginning to see how it all reads, but I've been following this book non-stop since 2010, so it's odd to have it all now be over.

Nightwing #20 (2016): Solid conclusion. I think Damian's voice is a little bit off, he doesn't really speak with such flowery language, but overall good stuff. 

Superman #22 (2016): Good, creepy stuff. Pretty suspenseful.

Batman #22 (2016): Part 3 of The Button. Honestly nothing happens in the Batman chapters. Jason Fabok is a terrific artist, but I feel he dropped the ball in presenting the emotional weight of Bruce meeting his father. The dialogue has it that Bruce is utterly shocked and unlike anyway we've seen him before, as he should be. Fabok simply draws him as grumpy old Batman. It doesn't work. The issue itself was good, but it should've been better and that part let it down.

Bane: Conquest: This was great. You're probably only going to care if you're a 90's Batman stan, but this is written and illustrated by Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan, Bane's creators. They bring back his Knightfall crew of Trogg, Zombie and Bird. We see Bane be intimidating as hell, and a little crazy. The design is a mishmash of several costumes. The mask resembles the classic one and the animated series, the neck-brace recalls the Arkham game, and he's wearing fatigue pants and his black tank top. I'd prefer a slicker design, but aside from that, highly recommended of you're a Bane fan.

Spider-Man #19 (2016): This was a good issue, but I felt that the drama could be way more intense. Bendis has done issues like this one before in the original Ultimate Spider-Man series, and it felt emotionally staid. 

Champions #8: Really good. Best team book I've read in a while.

Iron Fist #2-#3 (2017): Mike Perkins is the star of this title. Some of the best artwork I've seen in a comic. Michelle Yeoh is an obvious stand-in for the character Patience. It's a very straightforward story, but as someone new to Iron Fist from the comics, I'm digging it.

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World Reader #1: The first humans to venture into deep space have discovered that something is killing all sentient life throughout the galaxy. It's a good setup for what's to come, and it looks amazing, but this issue reads way too fast.

Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider #1: If I wanted to read Deadpool, I would, in fact, buy Deadpool. 

Comics: 314

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Dread   

Pink Panther Cartoon Hour Special #1: not very good, but little kids will probably like it...you know, those kids who just LOVE the Pink Panther these days.

Red Hood & The Outlaws #7: No, YOU'RE too emotionally wrapped up in Bizarro.

Red Sonja #2: fuck, I love this series.

Suicide Squad #11: pretty good.

Superwoman #7: intense.

The Great Divide #5: ok, this opens it up a lot more than I expected.

The Lost Boys #5: it has its moments.

The Unworthy Thor #4: fucking great.

Triggerman #5: this ended strong. The whole series just felt like it had already been told a million times before.

Action Comics #974: great. I REALLY dig the new Clark Kent angle, and I can totally see where it's going now.

Amerikarate #1: this is someone's failed Adult Swim pitch, but I couldn't help but enjoy it.

X-Factor: Genesis & Apocalypse Epic Collection: I recalled this fondly and I was not disappointed. What an angle! Great art. Louise Simonson establishing herself as probably the best writer of the era that Marvel had. Ends just before everything goes to complete shit for the characters (Mutant Massacre) but I want the next volume IMMEDIATELY. Scott's an insane narcissistic asshole for what he does to Jean in these issues. Holy shit.

edit: also fun is the inclusion of letters to Marvel Age speculating who was going to be the fifth member of X-Factor. I forgot that was a thing. The guesses range everyone from Storm (Xavier's first student before the X-Men, good guess) to Wolverine, Madleyne Summers (after magically gaining powers, ironically a thing which would happen a few years later) and Franklin Richards (!). But the best guess in my opinion is that (paraphrasing) "since it can't possibly be Jean as she is dead, I think it's Charles Xavier" (who is also dead at this time).

Comics: 454
Trades: 23

Graphic Novels: 10

Omnibuses: 8

 
Edited by Dread

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Dan   

Captain America Omnibus vol. 1: collects the Captain America stories from Tales of Suspense #59-99 and Captain America #100-113.

It's weird how a comic can be really quite good and also rote and repetitive at the same time. These stories, the vast majority of which are Kirby/Lee creations, very much feature Cap-as-brawler, and it's clear that Kirby was having a hell of a good time drawing these. However, the TOS stories (which, by dint of being eight to eleven pages, tend to be very quick and punchy reads that fly by and are pretty enjoyable overall), especially in the beginning, can be generally synopsized as "Cap fights a whole room full of bad guys" and you get many, many issues in a row that are variations on the Winter Soldier elevator fight, over and over again. Again, Kirby obviously had a ball doing this, but it does get old fast. There are occasional extended story arcs that generally involve Nick Fury using Cap as a weapon to aim at HYDRA, AIM, or hidden masterminds (I use "masterminds" in the plural, but it's virtually always the Red Skull, which really drives home how thin Cap's rogues' gallery is), but those invariably turn into (wait for it) Cap fighting a room full of bad guys. For a while, the book is set during WWII, but if the letters pages are anything to go by, this was fairly unpopular, and the story is abruptly brought into the present day, where Cap faces off against Nazis who have been waiting all this time to resurface, so the only thing that changes is the cars in the background. However, that seemed to be enough for the letterhacks. Three of the last four issues are where Jim Steranko took over art duties (unlike his work on S.H.I.E.L.D., Stan is still writing these; there's a one-issue fill-in by Jack that honestly looks like it was crapped out in an afternoon), and they somehow manage to be really dynamic and interesting and also not very good at all. Steranko's trademark action is there and it's immediately clear this is a new direction, but he really doesn't commit to things the way he did with Nick Fury, and as a result it really doesn't work. The layouts and pop art aesthetic is nowhere near as pronounced or bold as in the other series (and doesn't really fit Captain America anyway), so it falls pretty flat. And without all the awesome psychedelic artistry, it's a lot harder to forgive his terrible anatomy.

What's remarkable, though, is how well-done everything actually is. Seriously, taken individually, these are some of the better comics Marvel was putting out in the 1960s; this is Jack Kirby at the absolute pinnacle of his form (maybe his Fantastic Four stuff was better, but it's comparing apples and oranges). They just really don't hold up to binge reading.

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Dread   

Animal Noir #1: what the fuck even is this?

Archie #17: good one and done.

Avengers #4.1: the best of the bunch so far.

Batman #17, 18: This was ok. Bane's kind of useless outside Knightfall.

Glitterbomb vol 1: this is one of the best horror comics I've read in a very long time.

Comics: 459
Trades: 24

Graphic Novels: 10

Omnibuses: 8

 

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Yeah, I read about four pages of Animal Noir #1 before giving up.

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Dread   

Yeah, I read about four pages of Animal Noir #1 before giving up.

I think I got a little past halfway, but I'm not sure because it felt like someone was trying to remove my brain with a coat-hanger.

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if the letters pages are anything to go by, this was fairly unpopular, and the story is abruptly brought into the present day, where Cap faces off against Nazis who have been waiting all this time to resurface, so the only thing that changes is the cars in the background. However, that seemed to be enough for the letterhacks.

Has there ever been a collection of the best letters to editors? And has there ever been a historical look at the people who became letter column-famous? Because, I know that was a huge deal for decades, and I would love to read the letters, thoughts (RE: essays) about them, their place in history (real-world and comic book), and interviews with the people who wrote them.

Did I just pitch a thing? 'Cause it feels like it.

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Donomark   

Batman: The Cat and the Bat: Collecting Batman Confidential #17-#21

A flashback tale by Fabian Nicieza and Kevin Maguire, starring Batgirl bumping into Catwoman to retrieve a notebook of investigations belonging to her father. I remember when this story first came out in 2009, which would've been soon after Batman "died" in Batman R.I.P./Final Crisis, so it was interesting having a throwback to the Bronze Age. Mostly I remembered the issue where Babs and Selina go nude when chasing each other at a Hedonistic Club. It's silly fanservice, but Kevin Maguire is all about anatomy and facial expressions more than T and A. His art is actually the star of the story. Nicieza writes a decent Barbara. She ambitious, stubborn and a detective. She's a touch too green for me personally, but it's meant to take place after Batgirl: Year One so I see where his writing is coming from. But Maguire's pencils are both a star and a distraction. As good as he is, he sometimes gets so caught up in snapshotting facial expressions for the precise moment that it distracts from the scene. Not every panel has to have someone squinting or pursing their lips or making a goofy face. But the story is good, and it's a solid original Batgirl story that doesn't bend over backwards to big her up like a lot of Babs-Batgirl stories tend to.

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Elektra #3: Still liking this book, but the non-Elektra characters are the very definition of cannon fodder.

All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #1: Quite fun. I'll stick around for a while.

Bullseye #4: Bullseye's sadism is wonderful.

Jean Grey #1: "This is frigging clown shoes" is my new expression of frustration. I'm liking this one. Hopefully it'll get a chance to last a while.

Comics: 318

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Dan   

if the letters pages are anything to go by, this was fairly unpopular, and the story is abruptly brought into the present day, where Cap faces off against Nazis who have been waiting all this time to resurface, so the only thing that changes is the cars in the background. However, that seemed to be enough for the letterhacks.

Has there ever been a collection of the best letters to editors? And has there ever been a historical look at the people who became letter column-famous? Because, I know that was a huge deal for decades, and I would love to read the letters, thoughts (RE: essays) about them, their place in history (real-world and comic book), and interviews with the people who wrote them.

Did I just pitch a thing? 'Cause it feels like it.

I swear you and I have had a conversation about this very thing. I would read the SHIT out of this book. Reading these Omnibuses always fascinates because of the names you see in the letters pages, tons of whom went on to careers in the industry: Don McGregor, Tony Isabella, Mark Evanier, Kurt Busiek, Marc DeMatteis, Doug Moench, Todd McFarlane, even Frank Miller once. (Also George R. R. Martin.)

But more so, the regulars who didn't go on to go pro would still be interesting to follow. Hell, you could do an entire book just on T.M. Maple all by himself.

Researching that book would be insane.

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Venneh   

Secret Empire/Spectacular Spider-Man FCBD: So, for Secret Empire - it does some neat things with panel logic and breaking it down towards the end of the 10 pages, but after a certain point it does get a bit hard to follow the specific details of what's going on. Spectacular Spider-Man is restrained for Zdarsky, but still funny, I'll page through it here and there when it comes out. 

Drawn and Quarterly FCBD: The excerpt of the Chechnyan hostage story was tense and for mostly being drawn in the same colors, gorgeous. The Poppies of Iraq does good stuff with narrative flow, not necessarily my favorite style, but still well done. 

Valiant FCBD: Good lead-ins for the upcoming Bloodshot and XO Manowar arcs. Would highly recommend XO if you haven't been reading that. They also have a preview for Secret Weapons, which we've been lucky enough to read in its entirety (episode coming up), and which I will also highly recommend. 

Secret Weapons 1: You'll be hearing about this on an upcoming podcast episode. TLDR? You're gonna want to get this, especially if you loved the feel of the Aja/Fraction Hawkeye. 

Weekend Routines: A zine-type comic, nothing too notable, but fun.

DC Superhero Girls FCBD: It's cute, it's fun, it weaves in a lot of the ladies from their superhero properties and does fun cameos too. Also apparently a lead in for a summer type graphic novel, which is good thinking on their part. 

I Hate Image: Very effective use of I Hate Fairyland's Gert to introduce a lot of their properties and make fun of themselves. I think this is the standout of FCBD this year, if only because it made me laugh out loud in the middle of a restaurant several times. 

Harrow County v1: Southern Gothic horror as fuck, and yeah, I'm definitely here for this. Might've already had one of the major twists already spoiled by the issues Carla sent me, but these are still gorgeous and creepy and lovely. 

Shutter v4: Styles go from old school romance-esque comics to Tintin to Disney-esque to three parallel stories in one issue differentiated only by color scheme. Holy fuck did we ever sleep on this. Story jumps off again in a big way. This wraps up this year, and I can't wait to see how it turns out. 

Single Issues: 158
Trades/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 47
Omnibuses: 1

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Donomark   

Detective Comics #956: Decent finale to the story. I was surprised Cassandra didn't get a final scene after everything she's been through.

All Star Batman #10: Intriguing start to a new story. Is this the first time we've seen Hush since the new 52? It can't be, I know he's been referenced before...

Action Comics #979: I thought this was cool comic book fun. Patrick Zircher's back on art, and I loved the villains all getting together.

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Carnage #1-16: This series was so unbelievably good. Everyone, including Carnage, is given real human moments; the story builds to a natural, satisfying conclusion; and Mike Perkins brings each character to life with truly human faces and reactions. The only two negatives are: Toxin doesn't quite fit, visually, with the rest of the book, and the storytelling bounces around a little too much for my liking after Jubulile (not the X-Man) shows up. Still though, so damn good. And no slight on the colors, which are pitch perfect, but I want to read a black and white collection.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #10: Okay issue.

Star Trek / Green Lantern: Stranger Worlds #6: The final line! OH. MY. GOD! Please let there be a third crossover!

Weapon X #3: I love Old Man Logan and Creed.

Comics: 336

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