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The Master

Every comic you've read in 2016

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I'll kick it off. And attempt to actually keep count, lol.

Island 5: All continuations of stories from a while ago that I'll honestly need to read again to remember what they were about. The first two are real intriguing, not so big on the last one.

The Death Defying Dr Mirage: Second Lives 1: Opens with a set up case that establishes some rules going in that, when they're broken later and things get capital f Fucked, you know how bad the situation is, which I like. Also reestablishes the Mirages' situation, and allows some time to get to know them again. Looking forward to what comes next.

Single Issues: 2

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The Totally Awesome Hulk #1: It's so much fun seeing Amadeus Cho as The Hulk, and I love the idea of Hulk fighting Kaiju-ish monsters. Also, Frank Cho on art is amazing. But $4.99 for a 30-page comic is wrong.

Comics: 1

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As a massive Incredible Herc fan, the idea of Chulk is perfect for me. I'll definitely pick up the TPB, but issue by issue is too rich for my blood.

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Chewbacca #1-5: This was much better than expected. Zarro is a great young character and a wonderful addition to the Star Wars Universe. And the book is perfect for younger -- especially young female -- readers.

Comics: 6

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Beauties: Great short story, Trungles' art fits it well. There's a real awkward moment where you can tell that the story was scripted to be in installments and then they were told oh hey, the next issue of Fresh Romance isn't going to be a thing, feel free to finish this up however you want. I'm glad they finished it! I think they could've reworked it once they learned that it wasn't going to be released in installments anymore past that first issue to make it flow slightly better.

Single Issues: 3

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Haul from the past two days:

Clean Room #3: this is the best thing Gail Simone has ever written. I'm totally in love with it.

Crossed Badlands #91: Max Bemis is exorcising his demons over what he feels about the comics industry here, and that's okay. It's not as good as the previous arc, but not much could be.

Daredevil #2: Fuck, this is awful. I'm out. Not even Garney's art saves it.

Dark Knight III: The master Race #1,2: I really like this. The art is incredible, even Miller's in the backups.

Death Head #5: okay, one more issue to go.

Fight Club 2 #8: getting uber meta.

GI Joe #221,222: pretty fun. looking forward to see Cobra World Order spill out over the next few issues.

Harrow County #8: pretty good first arc. Don't think I'll be back for the second.

Hercules #2: this was a lot of fun.

Huck #2: not as good as the first issue. Not sure where this is going...or if it's going anywhere.

Illuminati #2: I'm kind of loving this. Looking forward to the villain battle royale next issue.

Comics: 13

 

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COWL vol 2: Sad this is where it's ending for now, but watching superheroes getting thrown into the typical Chicago politics is pretty goddamn fantastic, and the artist (Reis) does some some real neat stuff with a villain who wields sound, and how the use of sound effects in a comic plays into that. 

Sattelite Sam vol 1: Fraction does 50s sleaze and noir, and Chaykin does decent art except when he forgets how to do an anatomy, especially on the ladies. Fun read, looking forward to catching the rest here and there. 

Single Issues: 3
TPBs: 2

Edited by Venneh

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Jem and The Holograms #10: A surprisingly good jumping on point that slows the book down to explore the characters as they await bad news.

Comics: 7

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Superzero #1: A rare beast, this one, in that it's a 20-page / $3.99 comic that's worth every damn penny. It took me at least 20 minutes to read thanks to its rich dialog and amazing characterization. The fourth page changes everything you're expecting, and the book, characters, and world are richer for it. I cannot recommend this enough.

The art by newcomer Rafael de Latorre needs to be seen; in some ways, I see it as an evolution of Paul Duffield's work on FreakAngels.

This page is from the book, but the scene does not represent it.

superzero_by_rafaeldelatorre-d9hr8s8.jpg

Comics: 8

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Imperium #11: solid.

Ivar, Timewalker #12: I think this is the last issue. It makes sense. Solid ending.

Jacked #2: Not unlike something I used to be working on. Fun. Dirty. Feels like old Vertigo.

Justice League Darkseid War Lex Luthor #1: snooze.

Justice League #46: ok.

Justice League of America #6: Thank god they used a fill-in issue so they could make this issue so good </sarcasm>

Last Gang in Town #1: literally could not even finish this one. Total garbage.

Limbo #2: so fucking fun.

Lucifer #1: Okay, I guess.

Monster World #1: could not tell you what happened. 

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #2: ask and you shall receive Moon Boy. Pretty funny. I'm around for another issue. I'm always amused when it takes two people to write a comic and like, four pages of plot happens.

Ninjak #10: Very cool.

Patsy Walker Hellcat #1: Someone cobbled this together very quickly to cash in on Jessica Jones, but the tone is way wrong. This is a kids book. Kids aren't watching Jessica Jones. They're also not buying this book.

Paybacks #4: Pretty solid.

Puppet master #10: Y'know, I had a novel pitch that would bridge one movie in the PM series to another since I did the Full Moon thing in February. This latest arc is really basically that. Crazy.

Red Thorn #2: not sure why I bothered reading this.

Robin Son Of Batman #7: leave it to a crossover to provide the worst issue in the series by far.

Scarlet Witch #1: unreadably bad.

Secret Wars #8: if it wasn't for the art...woo boy.

Comics: 32

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Legends of the Dark Knight: The Norm Breyfogle Collection

In a realm of Neal Adams and Jim Aparo you have guys like Breyfogle who had memorable runs on the character but hardly ever gets mentioned in the same light. It's a crime because with this collection put together plus his available work included in the first part of the recent Knightfall releases it should be clear to anyone that he's easily in the top 5 best Batman artists of all time, if not top 3. He was basically doing Bruce Timm before Timm came on to the set, and Timm's usually my favorite Batman artist most of the time. There's always an incredible energy to his work, never hampered by any repetition of scenery (the late 80s) or mediocre scripts (John Wagner). What surprised me was that he first started on Detective Comics when Jason Todd was still Robin. That was very interesting to see considering I've always associated Breyfogle with Tim Drake, seeing as how he illustrated Tim's baptism of fire during a Scarecrow three-parter.

This collection also sees the introductions of primo 90s Batman villains such as Ratcatcher, the Corrosive Man and Cornelius Stirk. Longest lasting however is obviously the Ventriloquist and Scarface, which both have a great intro story. Much of the collection is from thr Wagner/Alan Grant writing team. Alan Grant would go on to be one of the best Batman authors for the next ten years, but Wagner's dialogue makes the character come off a lot hokier than Breyfogle's art depicts him. There's a bit of a Dudely Do-Right edge to his character that doesn't gel with me personally, but it's not ruinous to the reading experience.

But seriously, Breyfogle's the star of this collection. The Cornelius Stirk two-parter is amazing, and the 4-part Mud Pack arc with all of the Clayfaces is equally terrific. This is just a Batman artist every fan needs to expose themselves to, and I'm so glad DC did right by him after he had a stroke and put out this collection to help him out.

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It's interesting that you compare his work to Bruce Timm, and now that you say that I get what you mean. It's like if Bruce Timm picked up Todd McFarlane's style, at least as far as I see it.

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All-New Wolverine #3: This book continues to surprise me. What could have been a filler issue is a complete story within the middle of a storyline, has great action, and further develops Laura and her sisters.

Comics: 9

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Batman Beyond: 10,000 Clowns - The first I've read of the Batman Beyond comics and wow I loved this. This was just a kickass story. I didn't know why Dick Grayson is acting and looking like Nick Fury, but I just went with it. Norm Breyfogle is a really good fit for the book, to tie into the above post from Don.

Venom: Toxin With a Vengeance - I really missed Agent Venom, so I grabbed this trade from the Bunn era, which I gave up on two arcs in. I was really impressed with this one, the horror aspect of his run really came off well, especially with Declan Shalvey on art. 

Anakin and Obi-Wan #1 - Good first issue, if really decompressed. Interesting seeing Anakin's preteen years, since that's an era that I don't really see much of. Everyone's written really well, Palpatine continues to be his usual slimy self. I enjoyed the art by Checchetto, though some of the storytelling at the beginning was confusing.

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That was a great story, we reviewed the start of it back when it was first coming out at TBU. I remember reading the trade when it was released. Near flawless stuff.

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The Last Contract #1: An elderly, retired hitman is forced to go on the run when his past comes back to haunt him. A solid first issue that has me hooked for at least one more, but the characters aren't that deep and too many people entry the fray by the end. At times Lisandro Estherren's linework taps into Eduardo Risso, but it's its own gritty, dark style.

Comics: 10

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The Totally Awesome Hulk #2: We get another hint of what Frank Cho's more monstrous Hulk would look like, but not much happens. This is a third or fourth issue of a series / storyline, not a second. There's no plot development (save for the mystery of what happened to Banner), and nothing of consequence happens to Amadeus except he gets a little mad. While the issue was a fun read, it is completely skippable. 

Comics: 11

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A-Force #1: Singularity runs around space and Earth speaking in short sentences as she seeks out her friends from Battleworld / Arcadia. The book is trying to be cute but winds up being annoying. Quickly. It's pretty to look at, however; thanks to Jorge Molina's artwork, I'll give it one more.

Comics: 12

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Slash & Burn #2: This is great. Solid, innovative crime story, and I find the lead a little weirdly attractive.

Snow Blind #1: INteresting first issue for a crime series. I'll be checking more of this out.

Squadron Supreme #1: Fuck yeah, this was pretty great. Members of Supreme squadrons from different realities (including Blur from DP 7!!!) get revenge for the events from the last issue of Secret Wars (which come out in like a month, way to go Marvel!). Fucking insane first issue.

Starbrand and Nightmask #1: Awful. Didn't even finish it.

Superman-American Alien #1: okay, this is weird. EVERYBODY in town seems to know what Clark is. Very odd. Interesting and brutal issue, but odd.

Symmetry #1: very high concept utopian/dystopian sci fi. I'll give it another.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #53: the art isn't the best this series has had, but I adore the Mutanimals and the fact that they now have a starring role in this series makes me really happy.

Death-Defying Dr. Mirage - Second Lives #1: where the fuck was the editor on this? The first few pages of this are a flashback to before Hwen is dead and it appears as though it involves an artifact that will be important for the series. A few pages of that and then we have the lead up and investigation of a haunted wedding which is completely inconsequential. BUT IT TAKES UP THE BULK OF THE ISSUE. Then they go off and start the investigation that the rest of the series seems to hinge upon. It's so fucked up. First of all, you have to be sparing and enticing when you start with a flashback. This really isn't that. The bulk of the issue focuses on something that should have been the first two or three pages of the issue (like when an Avengers issue starts with them holding the collar's of the unconscious members of the Wrecking Crew right before Ultron shows up). I was angry at how badly this was scripted.

The Goddamned #2: God. Damn. This is so fucking good. I want to stop reading and buy the hardcover, but then again I don't want to stop reading.

Comics: 41

 

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The Ultimates 3: Actual political consequences to doing something big like they did last issue? Going into the cosmic depths? Yes plz. Rocafort is doing great here.

Survivors Club 4: Fill in issue what manages to still move the plot forward and explain the workings of one of the hauntings? Alright. Let's see where this goes.

Bitch Planet 6: So, they point blank did a content warning for assault at the front of the issue, and made it clear it wasn't going to be in the issue recap next time, and basically said, were not gonna tell you what to do, just know it's there and evaluate your comfort level. I like it. The issue is another flashback issue that fleshes out more of the world and our girls, this time, Meiko. Good foot to start back on, hopefully it gets back on schedule soon.

Weirdworld 2: the continuing adventures of Bekah and Goleta, and the start of the larger plot. Del Mundo continues to do amazing work on the art. A bit more sedate than the first issue, but still one of the more interesting things Marvel has going.

Vision 3: Again, one of the most unique things Marvel has going. Split between Agatha and a vision quest on Wundagore using the plant in Vision's living room, and bringing the daughter back. Not sure what's with the vision quest, but okay.

Angela Queen of Hel 3: We get more background about the Angels and how Heven worked, and Angela continues on her quest through Hel. Some of the Asgardians the other titles forgot show up too. Hans is great on the flashbacks, and the main artist still hasn't gotten the note about how off model she's drawing people. 

Single Issues: 9
TPBs: 2

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Steam Man #3: fun. Funny and solid scary action. Does the Lansdale story proud.

The Violent #1: Vancouver Noir. Nasty crime world set in my old stomping grounds? Yes, thanks.

The Astonishing Ant-Man #3: seriously the best comic Marvel has had in ages.

Comics: 44

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Mighty Thor #2: wooof....I feel like this new series is more decompressed than the prior one. If the third issue doesn't blow me away, then I'm out.

The Tithe #7: I saw this coming a mile away but I still liked it. Interesting series.

Ultimate End #5: even including the ups and downs in quality of these issues, Ultimate End is a far better event comic than Secret Wars is. This was a beautiful final issue.

Ultimates #2: Love it, but where do you go after this arc?

Weirdworld #1: This was delightful. Better than the SW spinoff series. I like the characters and the art is gorgeous.

Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #2: it brings heart-wrenching emotion to the Eternal Warrior framework and that's incredible.

Comics: 50

 

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Deadly Class vol 3: hahaaha! Holy shit. Quietly one of the best books on the market. Oh my fucking god, Remender knows how to drag a character through the shit.

Comics: 50
Trades: 1

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Hawkeye vol. 2 Hardcover: collects Hawkeye #12-22 and Annual #1.

This collects the second half of Matt Fraction, David Aja, and Annie Wu's run, with additional work from Francesco Francavilla, Chris Eliopoulos, and Javier Pulido. It's still really good stuff, but I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I did the first volume. As much as I enjoy the character of Kate Bishop (and I do), and as great as Wu's work was on her issues, I didn't really go for her issues nearly as much as I did the Clint ones. The tone was jarringly different between the urban, gritty crime drama of Clint's story and the brighter, sunnier, goofier detective story Kate found herself in; it was kind of like sitting down to watch The Departed with clips from Get Shorty edited in. Still very good, but not as consistent.

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