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The Master

Every comic you've read in 2015

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Crossed-Wish You Were Here vol 3 and 4: the last half of these omnibus collections. It took a REALLY long time for them to reveal Shaky's sin. Spurrier did a pretty amazing job still making it matter at the end. Pretty good shit.

Comics: 968

Graphic Novels: 40

Trade Paperbacks: 82

Omnibus: 9

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Buffy: Season 9 - I'll ignore the elephant in the room. What the hell? This is all over the place. No one feels right. I have no idea what they did to Xander. Characters are added and never really given a chance to become characters. Illyria shows up (awesome) but all the momentum from IDW is gone (not awesome). And the ending is a reset button to undo Season 8.

Angel & Faith: Season 9 - So, this was 25 issues trying to undo Season 8. Sounds familiar. A Season 8, mind you, that this book constantly points out was stupid. Better than Buffy, but only slightly. Angel's characterization has just been a mess since the jump to Dark Horse.

So what you're saying is don't read this.

I read Buffy Season 8 and thought it was terribly mediocre. I never got the chance to read what was essentially Angel Season 6 (and I own it in single issues). And completely lost interest in reading Season 9 of anything. I figured I'd try to forget the comics, and just let the franchise die with my memory of the tv shows but a part of me wants to rewatch Angel and read the season 6 (or the other way around).

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The Shadow (1973) #1-4: See these covers?

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That's probably the most accurate representation of what's inside a comic I've ever seen. If you don't look at at them and need to find these comics immediately, this is not a comic for you.

Written by Dennis O'Neil (with an assist from Len Wein in issue #4) and drawn by Mike Kaluta (with some inks from Bernie Wrightson), this is absolutely fucking amazing. Each issue is a done-in-one story of Lamont Cranston terrorizing the New York City underworld, and it's positively drenched in 1930s grit and squalor. The artwork is gorgeous, and I'll never as long as I live understand why Kaluta was never a much bigger name than he was. O'Neil was essentially put on this Earth to write the Shadow; if it calls attention to the fact that Batman began as a wholesale ripoff of the character, O'Neil couldn't care less. The hypnotic powers aren't eliminated entirely, but significantly downplayed; the Shadow gets his work done chiefly through being a psychotic asshole. Grim and humorless because that's what the story requires, the beautiful artwork and marriage between the hard-hitting pulp adventure stories of the original magazine with the heightened dramatics of the radio series make this one of the most fun comics I've read in ages.

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Great series. That team did a hardcover graphic novel for Marvel around the same time too that I have. It's amazing.

Ferals #1-18: David Lapham's werewolf epic for Avatar. Full of sex, gore and black humor. I loved it. There was supposed to be a sequel series last year, but it never happened. I wish it did.

Comics: 986

Graphic Novels: 40

Trade Paperbacks: 82

Omnibus: 9

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So what you're saying is don't read this.

I read Buffy Season 8 and thought it was terribly mediocre. I never got the chance to read what was essentially Angel Season 6 (and I own it in single issues). And completely lost interest in reading Season 9 of anything. I figured I'd try to forget the comics, and just let the franchise die with my memory of the tv shows but a part of me wants to rewatch Angel and read the season 6 (or the other way around).

I'd say Season 8 was better than both Season 9s, so take of that what you want. I'd say give the IDW Angel/Spike/Illyria stuff a chance. Out of all the comics, it feels the most like the show.

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Betrayal of the Planet of the Apes #1-4: the nest part of Hardman/Bechko's POTA continuity stories that take place 15 years before the events of the original film. Part "human rights" film, part murder mystery.

Comics: 990

Graphic Novels: 40

Trade Paperbacks: 82

Omnibus: 9

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"Betrayal of the Planet of the Apes"

shut-up-and-take-my-money.jpg

Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl and Batgirl by Barbara Kesel and Matt Haley. Decent story with great pencils by Haley that makes me wonder why he didn't make a bigger name for himself doing DC work.

Luke Cage: Hero for Hire #s 1 and 2 by Archie Goodwin and George Tuska. A favorite of my father's when he was a kid, I've never liked Luke Cage in that the idea of him being a solid black comic hero for black kids is akin to Power Girl being a solid female character for girls. Sometimes you just can't get past how they're marketed to serve the status quo. The issues are decent. Goodwin channels the Stan Lee style of writing to the point where I see little personal embellishment. This is the first time I've read a book by George Tuska, and his art has a strong Will Eisner quality to it. It's very cartoony and rugged. Not bad, but after reading ASM #123 where Cage and Spider-Man beat the hell out of each other and some Cap and Falcon 70s comics, both drawn by John Romita Sr., I'd much prefer him leading the title.

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Mary Jane / Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane - I wanted something light and fluffy after all that Buffy stuff. This was certainly that. Not the target demo, but that is okay. These were okay. A little more The OC than I would have thought. And I can see a lot of similarities with The Spectacular Spider-Man. (Now that damn theme song is in my head. Wonderful.)

Comics: 374
Digital First Comics: 59
Graphic Novels: 20

Trades: 132 (705)(4)(144)

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All-Star Section Eight #3: this is the best one so far. Still a weird tone and tempo to this. It's also not very funny. Why anyone let's Ennis near a superhero is beyond me sometimes.

Cadaver #1: a terrible underground erotic horror comic form the 90s a la Faust. Faust is way better.

Collected Paul the Samurai: A TPB of the spinoff of Tick. Same style but with the wrong tone of absurdity. Not very good.

Crossed Badlands #83: these girls are trouble.

Crossed +100 #7: I had hoped that Spurrier could pick up and wipe the shit off the story that Alan Moore laid down, but I think this story is shit to the core.

Comics: 994

Graphic Novels: 40

Trade Paperbacks: 83

Omnibus: 9

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Conitnued reading the first Aliens Omnibus. Nightmare Asylum was fricking amazing. The Female War was pretty good. Theory of Alien Propagation and The Alien were just there.

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Bombshells #3,4: I get it. It does nothing for me though. I'm out.

Harrow County #4: Picked a weird time to slow things down, especially when it's slow-going as it is.

King Tiger #1: another CGW reboot so of course I'm interested. I'll check out the next issue, but this didn't light me on fire.

Lando #2: Bored. I'm out.

Masks 2 #5: Holy fuck, it got weird.

Mercury Heat #2: I was right the first time. I'm out.

Planet Hulk #4: God, it's great.

Providence #3: What the fuck is the matter with me? Why on earth did I think that this would be any better than the first two issues? Especially after the Crossed +100 fiasco. The first three issues of this series is more than 100 pages of people talking to each other. Not in an interesting manner either. Fuck this book. Fuck Alan Moore. I'm done with him.

Red Sonja One More Day: This oneshot was solid and kind of fun, but it's basically the same as every other Red Sonja story. Still looking for a creative team to wow me on this character.

Savior #5: Just when I was about to drop it, it gets a little interesting...

Secret Wars Battleworld #4: this might be the best of the run so far. Silver Surfer vs Galactus is terrible and worthless. But SS versus Maestro is fun as fuck.

Comics: 1006

Graphic Novels: 40

Trade Paperbacks: 83

Omnibus: 9

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Howard the Duck the Complete Collection vol 1: I have the Essential, but I kind of wanted this in color. This encompasses most of teh pre-lawsuit pantsless Howard run and is gleeefully insane. In particular, the issue where he faces a disabled old Canadian man and his beaver exo-skeleton. The back matter is great too, including David Kraft's amazing FOOM interview with Steve Gerber. God, that man was a national treasure.

Secret Wars #5: Holy shit. It's remarkable how little has happened in this five issues. Terrible.

Secret Wars 2099 #4: still fun. One of the better tie-ins.

Comics: 1008

Graphic Novels: 40

Trade Paperbacks: 83

Omnibus: 10

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Leaving home soon, so I've been revisiting some books that I've wanted to for a while.

Captain America Operation Rebirth - Really daring story. The followup, Man Without a Country, is great too.

Daredevil/Spider-Man Unusual Suspects - Was working best when it was a crime drama. Didn't care for the turn for the supernatural at the end, at all. Art was a mixed bag.

FF by Waid and Wieringo Vol 1 - Rarely has a comic made me laugh out loud as much as this. Genius. Wieringo's art occassionally has those stiff dollfaces that Capullo does, but it's still some of the best F4 art. And Mark Buckingham does a good job on his issues too.

Kitty Pryde Shadow and Flame - Love it. More like this please.

Batman Death of the Family - It plays like a typical Joker story, nothing new. I like the idea that the Joker wants to remove the Batfamily to strengthen Batman. Which he actually kinda succeeds at, in the end. I like this book, and I might like Endgame, but there really needs to be more variety of Joker stories.

Hellblazer City of Demons - My favorite Constantine story right now. Doesn't hurt at all that Sean Murphy might be the best artist to ever handle him.

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Hawk and Dove five issue miniseries by Karl and Barbara Kesel and Rob Liefeld.

This is the story that introduces Dawn Granger as the second Dove. It centers around Hawk/Hank Hall still coping with the death of his brother Don/Dove and trying to make a life for himself by attending college, all while being hunted by an evil 90s villain called Kestrel. I actually quite enjoyed this. The 90s-ness was dull, but everything that had to do with Hank trying to move on with his life, being a halfway decent superhero and essentially completely failing on his own and getting to know the new Dove was genuinely interesting. I think the concept of Hawk and Dove when done right is a cool idea, and I really like the turn it takes with Dawn Granger. I know the ongoing series that followed this ends up getting messed over by Armageddon 2001 and the Captain Atom leak and stuff, which is a shame because I think had it not been for that, Hawk and Dove could've been more popular than they were.

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Catchup from moving chaos and my first fourish days of being down in Chicago.

Gotham Academy 9: The team is back together (kinda), shit's going down with Olive, and we get some good old fashioned Scooby Doo esque shenanigans as the story depeens. Good art for the age group it's aimed at.

Mercury Heat 2: The story is intriguing, and you can tell it's been percolating in Gillen's head a good long while. Francia's art is... Avatar, I'm sure you have someone better than this. Use them.

Starfire 3: I figured out why I'm not so high on this! It's basically an attempt for Conner and Palmiotti to do Power Girl 2.0, down to introducing Altee this issue. I'm out.

Ody-C 6: Christian Ward transitioned over to digital for this issue. God help us all. His stuff is already ridiculously detailed enough, and I'm not really sure that digital is gonna help that inclination. Story wise, Fraction point blank admitted he has no idea what he's doing here in the back matter. ...Yeah, probably sticking to trade only on this from now on.

Injection 4: Well THERE we go. You can tell that the story's structured with the trade in mind in the way the arc is playing out. Declan does great stuff on art, but Jordie Bellaire's work on the coloring makes this fucking phenomenal.

Years of Future Past 4: Well that went off the rails right quick. Alright. Let's see what happens, there's only one issue left.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 6: Glad that this is continuing, but this would've been a solid enough leaving place if it wasn't. Not really sure how the renumbering is gonna work with this, but fuck it, let's see what happens.

Star Lord and Kitty Pryde 2: Yup, this is crazy and adorable. Nice piece of fluff.

Secret Wars 5: I have no idea how this is going to wrap up in the space of three more issues. Bring on the crazy pants. Reworked origin of Multiple Man, too. Also like seeing Valeria and Doom playing off of each other. Ribic manages to hold the art quality up, even though you can tell he's getting pushed to hit deadline.

Planet Hulk 4: Yeah, calling this now, Bucky is the Hulk that's been our guide. Also GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY.

Secret Wars Battleworld 4: Two silver surfer stories, one by Stokoe, which is amazing, and one that you can skip.

Howard the Duck 5: You go, Zdarsky and Quinones. You go. again, no idea how the renumbering/reboot affects this because it's so new, but fuck it, let's see what happens.

Ghost Racers 3: Another affectionately nuts piece, fun read.

Constantine the Hellblazer 3: Split between Rey's art in the past, and Ming Doyle in the present. Like Ming on art way more than I do Rey, but eh. Gonna wait till the end of the first arc to see how this plays out.

Inferno 4: Yeah, still no idea the fuck is happening here, but fuck it, I'm four issues in, may as well finish it.

Howard the Human 1: Young on story, Mahfood on art. Reads like a human Howard in furry land at times, which can be a wee bit weird, but clever animal takes on various Marvel types. Like the art style.

Runaways 3: Again. Shows some real interesting threads, would really like to see this continue past Secret Wars

Secret Wars Journal 4: Combination of a Shield story and something with Psylocke. Very meh.

Wolf 2: Said this over on Twitter and I'll say it again. Kot, I like you when you have an editor. But holy shit if I never hear another man making periods into this mythological thing it will be entirely too fucking soon. Love the art. But between this and Material my patience is running thin for some of his affecations.

1872 2: I've read this fanfic done elsewhere and way fucking better. Pass.

Archie 2: Disappointed that this didn't carry the Office conceit to someone other than Archie, but oh well. Staples will be fun for the brief run on art, like the Jughead backstory, and the Betty plot felt super cliched, but ah well. Was surprised they didn't quite introduce Veronica into the mix just yet.

House of M: This was an event I quite liked, so to see it get expanded on like this is pretty neat. Fun initial issue, and I'm always more game for more Namor.

Black Canary 3: I'm 99% sure there's a New 52 backstory for Black Canary that I'm missing here, which is making this a wee fucking bit confusing. However, I'm willing to put up with it for Annie Wu on art (which, like Batgirl, main reason I'm reading this. Fight scenes are amazingly choreographed, little details (the mascara flecks, use of musical terms in the fight choreography), and Wu's general aesthetic fit this very well.

Power Up 2: So here for Leth's ragtag little band and Cunningham's adorable art. STAR LASER WHALE.

The Beauty 1: Real neat concept, and it has my attention. Has apparently been in percolation for several years now.

Secret Wars Secret Love: Yeah, I would read something like this on a regular basis. The Daredevil/Karen Page story is dedicated to Nocenti and JR Jr., and it shows. I love the aesthetic of it. The Iron Fist and Misty Knight story is frakking adorable. I love that at least one of them ends in a plantonic teamup rather than an actual romance (the Reyes/Kamala story). Bennett and Anka do my favorite thing though - a three page cracktastic thing where Squirrel Girl wins a date with Thor. Only thing that really falls flat is a bug themed Ant Man story by Katie Cook in back, but honestly, I'll put up with it for the rest of this.

Loki: Agent of Asgard 17: Perfect fucking ending. Well fucking done Garbett and Ewing. Really, just pick this up from the second trade and go from there. You won't regret it.

Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders 2: Holy shit can I just read Al Ewing taking potshots at UKIP, doing Judge Dredd takeoffs, and doing my favorites forever and ever? Really looking forward to seeing what he does next on the Ultimates.

What Did You Eat Yesterday vols 2-8: The gay cooking manga you have probably heard about. Has good recipes, and is slice of lifey and adorable to boot.

The Spirit (Darwyn Cooke) Book One: Cooke does the Spirit, and it's pretty much a perfect fit on all fronts. Includes the random teamup he and Loeb did to do a Batman/Spirit Crossover:

Ruse vol 2 and reboot vol 1: Waid does an attempt at Sherlock with a female Watson, from the Crossgen universe (and the reboot attempt). Fun enough read.

Two Step: Ellis and Conner do a series that focuses around future camgirls, zen gunmen, gangs, dicks, and a dude who fucks cars until they explode. Also features street bollywood, future attempts at Renaissance Faires, and really, you're gonna know within five pages whether or not this is for you.

Afrodisiac: Combination of Golden Age parody and blaxploitation results in one of the funniest, craziest things I've read in a while. Take a look if you can find it for a reasonable price.

XStatix Omnibus: Fucking fantastic. You can see the backbone of a lot of future X-stuff in here, and features some pretty fantastic artists. The team is just in this for the money, and kind of the best example of found family slowly learning to not hate each other so much/team up against all the other nutjobs trying to encroach on their space. Just an overall great read. Plus, fun Dead Girl and Doctor Strange mini included as backup material. And any time Cooke does Doop, you know it's gonna be good.

Batman: The Black Glove, Batman RIP, Batman and Robin 1-12, Batman 700: Reading this as the Batman Morrison run. Cracky as fuck (Bat Mite as the voice of reason? okay), but goddamn if it isn't a ride. The artists range from real good (JH Williams III on Black Glove, Quietly for those first few issues of Batman and Robin) to .... (Tony Daniels).

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Afrodisiac: Combination of Golden Age parody and blaxploitation results in one of the funniest, craziest things I've read in a while. Take a look if you can find it for a reasonable price.

DEATH COMES FOR AFRODISIAC

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Sensation Comics #47: Took a while, but I'm done.

Shrinking Man #2: Holy shit, this is good. Better than Ant-Man (the movie) by far.

Starve #3: Pretty damned good still.

Complete Charlton Tales: a trade covering some weird oneshot mini stories. Pretty fun.

The Beauty #1: am STD turns half the population into beautiful people. There is, of course, a cost. Pretty good. Mostly because of Jeremy Haun's art. Interested to see where it goes.

Uber #27: Wow. I hate that this is over for a year. "Book One" is done and Uber: Invasion begins in 2016. Such a cliffhanger.

Years of Future Past #4: alright.

Lord of the Jungle #1-15, Annual 1: The annual's a fucking stinker. Everything else is great though. The first arc adapts the first novel pretty closely, but I can't speak for the other arcs as I'm not that well-read on Tarzan. Good stuff. Artwork feels European at times.

Comics: 1030

Graphic Novels: 40

Trade Paperbacks: 84

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Creepy Presents Alex Toth: The closest Toth ever came to a defining run was his work on Zorro. Even that was early and raw compared to where he would go, artwise. Instead, much of his late career in comics focused on 8 page stories and this is a damned good sampler of that. It's too bad he never did more long form work, because I would have loved to see it, This is gorgeous shit. Includes the Superman riff of one of my favorite Creepy stories too. Nice.

Captain Galaxy and the Power of the Vril: I'm not sure if I've lost the taste for period pulp stuff or not, but this is bland as fuck. The art is gorgeous and has a Dave Stevens vibe and I like the added complication of CG being a black guy behind the mask in pre-WW2 America, but it just falls flat for me in the end.

Comics: 1030

Graphic Novels: 40

Trade Paperbacks: 86

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The Hulk! Magazine - a couple of issues from around 1980, cashing in on the Lou Ferrigno show. These actually turned out to be really good. The issues I read were written by Doug Moench and had Gene Colan on art duties, and were aimed at an older audience than the comic would have been, trying to find a halfway point between being faithful to comic continuity and the "Banner wanders the country looking for a cure" themes from the show. I'm definitely going to seek more of these out.

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Get Jiro - Kinda dull. Going by nothing other than the cover and the blurb on the back, I expected a lot more action. So, yeah, too much talking. And I did notice until now that this was written by Anthony Bourdain. Random.

Slow News Day - A run of the mill, completely average RomCom, but in a comic book.

Incognegro - This was okay. Story went pretty much how a expected, with a couple of nice surprise twists added in for good measure. Yet this thing completely falls apart with the art. With a story about race, skin color and the main character's ability to pass for white, being in color would have been helpful. I just don't get the point of being B&W. It is halfway thru the book and I have no idea if the 2nd main character is black or white.

The Kite Runner - Feels like it is missing chapters 4-8. Also feels autobiographical, which I seem to not be a fan of.

Hit List - Not very good.

Comics: 361
Digital First Comics: 59
Graphic Novels: 23

Trades: 130 (696)(4)(144)

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The Hulk! Magazine - a couple of issues from around 1980, cashing in on the Lou Ferrigno show. These actually turned out to be really good. The issues I read were written by Doug Moench and had Gene Colan on art duties, and were aimed at an older audience than the comic would have been, trying to find a halfway point between being faithful to comic continuity and the "Banner wanders the country looking for a cure" themes from the show. I'm definitely going to seek more of these out.

Is that Rampaging Hulk or the follow-up mag?

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Detective Comics 866, Batman and Robin 13-19: Finishes off the Morrison run, with a bit of Cornell at the end. Frazer Irving has probably my favorite art arc of the run, especially with the Joker. And honestly, the run continues the general insane trend, but it pays off all the way.

Akira 3 and 4: Absolutely amazing art work, especially in the breakdown of the city that features throughout these two collections. Story mostly doesn't feel like it's stalling, thank god. There's two more collections left of this I think? Let's see what happens.

Multiple Warheads: Bizzare ass slice of life fantasy sci fi series with some of the most godawful puns I've ever seen. Real evocative at times, too. Well fucking done, Graham.

Fantastic Four 1234: Morrison and Lee do a breakdown of the F4 story. Ben briefly becomes human and spends most of the issues in agony. The ongoing will Reed and Sue ever figure out that maybe polyamory would really work for them and Namor too thing is there. Johnny is a dickbag. Meeeeeeeh?

King City: Graham's first work with Tokyopop, took Image to finally get it published. Not as puntastic as MW, and not as well formed, but still pretty neat read.

XMen Season One: Hopeless does a pretty decent modernization of the original four X-Men, Magneto, and Xavier. But really, let's be real, you're here for the McKelvie art. Also included what was then a current issue of Uncanny X-Men to get you into the run, which, maybe starting with the whole Utopia, Hope, Sinister thing isn't the best place to start a new reader??

American Flagg: Fucking loved it. Chaykin does great on the art, and the colorist is spectacular, and the story is that kind of 1984/Blade Runner-esque dystopian awesome. Neat seeing how his art style changed with some of the later epilogue material.

Mind MGMT vols 1-3: Holy fuckshit. First, Matt Kindt does some pretty damn amazing watercolor work here. Two: watch the liner notes. They change. They're important. Three: The morphing and unfolding nature of this story over these three volumes is amazing. You think you know what you're getting by issue 4, but look back at those first issues after finishing, say, volume 3, and look at just how much you didn't fucking know what's coming. Read this.

Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps 3: Alright, we got our escape issue. Nice. Now let's see how they wrap this.

Batgirl 43: Yeah, I know comics people really like drawing their friends in, but the cameo this issue was slightly distracting, if awesome. Good art, solid enough story.

E is for Extinction 3: This shit is bananas, b a n a n a s. Very much feels like an extension of the Morrison run.

Marvel Zombies 3: Well damn, Spurrier. Another round of great cameos, great family pathos, and just general bits of fun and exposing Elsa's soft underbelly. Fun little run.

Zodiac Starforce 1: That magical girl comic from Dark Horse you've probably seen the Mary Sue promoting the shit out of. It's real fun, has great homages in the art, and is a fun look at what happens to a magical girl team after the big evil is defeated and everyone goes their separate ways. I'm intrigued.

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No Hero #0-7: This Ellis series is saved by Ryp's art. The guy does grotesque like few others. The story was okay, but it could easily have been told in 3 or 4 issues.

Brandi Bare #1-4: Joe Pekar's cheesecake comic. Not very good.

1872 #2: Pretty solid. Looking forward to the next issue. Kingpin does some cold-ass Mason Verger shit in this issue.

AoU vs Marvel Zombies #3: Best issue yet. And it was more of an establishing relationships issue. As much as this series can have.

Last Days of Ant-Man #1: One of the best single issues I've read this year. So up my alley. Even moreso than the other ones. I haven't been reading these Last Days things because...why bother. The world is ending. Glad i read this.

Comics: 1045

Graphic Novels: 40

Trade Paperbacks: 86

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