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The Master

Every comic you've read in 2016

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Scott McDaniel's art in Robin: Son of Batman #7 is shockingly horrific. A few characters barely have faces, and the action is a cluttered mess.

As for the crossover as a whole, it's very tempting to go back through these issues to count the number of times the phrase "I am Robin" is used. Turn it into a drinking game, and you'll be piss-drunk by the end of the first issue.

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Alright let's see...

Batman and Robin Eternal #16: Decent. They've turned the Jason and Tim partnership into a very interesting relationship.

Batman #48: Pretty awesome.Effectively creepy. I've not been keeping up with the current storyline but Mr. Bloom in this issue is a terrific new villain. Snyder and Capullo are still bringing it.

Batgirl #47: Wrote in a soon-to-be-published-review, marginally interesting to see Babs, Stephanie Brown and Harper Row team-up, but the current storyline is a snore.

Ms. Marvel #3: (Kamala Khan vol.2): It was okay. Missed Adrian Alphona's art, even though Miyazawa is so slouch. I'm still resenting the fact that Kamala's Avengers' experience is being referenced, yet we've yet to see it in that actual book. That's a huge addition to her character to just not have a point of reference for yet.

The Amazing Spider-Man and Silk - Spider(fly) Effect Infinite Comic #1: If you love women verbally abusing men for no reason, then this is the book for you. Todd Nauck does reliably good art though.

Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat #2: The lightest of the lightweights. The art comes off as a poor person's Babs Tarr. I do like Patsy Walker from a comics historical perspective though, so I'm interested in seeing Golden Age elements like Hedy Wolfe and her romance series get some play. As well as Patsy's personal continuity like the fact that she once committed suicide and was in hell being referenced in this kid's comic.

Superman: American Alien#3: Waste of everyone's time methinks.

Captain America: Sam Wilson #5: Are they seriously gonna keep to this "We turned the black Cap into a werewolf" story?

Gotham Academy #14: Anything with Kate Cook gets love from me.

All-New All Different Avengers #3: Now that the introductory story is done, maybe we can get some more interesting stories

All New X-Men vol.2 #3: Really good stuff, a great continuation of the previous volume.

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Code Pru #1: Garth Ennis pens GIRLS meets Lovecraftian Elder Gods? Ok...I'm in to check it out. It was super-decompressed, but I'll try another issue.

GI Joe #223: Real placeholder issue in this arc.

God Is Dead #46: stellar as always.

Guardians of Infinity #2: okey doke. I'm out.

Gutter Magic #1: kind of cool. Feels like Mieville. I'm in for another issue or two.

Huck #3: fun and cute.

Illuminati #3: really good. Looking forward to next issue, again.

Invincible Iron man #5: Tony Stark really is the character Bendis was born to write. 

Joe Golem #3: weird ending given that there's two more issues to come,

Justice League #47: after all those (mostly) bullshit oneshots, I was hoping for stellar. It was mediocre at best.

Limbo #3: Fuck, this is weird and good.

Last Sons of America #1,2: Feels like a bit of a TV pitch turned comic book script. Still pretty good.

Lobster Johnson-The Glass Mantis: weak.

Midnighter #8: solid.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #0: is this a bit of a reboot? Like from when the Green ranger first shows up?

Mystery Girl #2: fun. Moving somewhere here.

Nova #3: I really enjoy Miles, Sam and Kamala together. At least in this issue.

Comics: 108
Trades: 9

Graphic Novels: 4

Omnibuses: 1

 

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Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #0: is this a bit of a reboot? Like from when the Green ranger first shows up?

I believe so. They're not quite as 90s as fuck as the original series but then, it could be simply reimagining. Regardless, it feels like it works.

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If it is indeed a reimagining, my biggest hope for the series is that Jason winds up turning on the team because Zordon pushes him aside to make Tommy leader, which always pissed me off.

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Star Wars #15: Following the events of Vader Down, I figured this issue would deal with the ramifications of said storyline. Nope. Instead we're treated to a flashback tale set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, one where Obi-Wan Kenobi pulls odd jobs helping the Jawas and making soup in his hut. It sounds boring, but there's so much going on here: Luke is coming in to his own as a pilot and adventurer, Kenobi is desperate to make sure Luke doesn't become too much like his father but he also wants to foster the boy's natural skills, Uncle Owen realizes what's going on and is not happy, and Jabba sets a familiar face on Obi-Wan's trail. There's a lot of story and depth here, especially in the few pages dedicated to Owen and Ben.

It's amazing how Jason Aaron writes Kenobi as both Ewan McGregor and Sir Alec Guinness, in that he's not quite done shedding his own sense of adventure and comedic quips, but you can see his older, wiser self is just around the corner.

Mike Mayhew's art perfectly captures both the majesty of the Star Wars Universe and the isolation of Tatooine, in that there are several familiar cinematic shots, but most of the book is spent with Obi-Wan as he visually laments his need to hide from the Empire, Jabba, and others.

It turns out this is a follow-up to Star Wars #7, so I'm off to read that next.

Comics: 28

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Star Wars #7: While Obi-Wan's sadness and torment are here on the page, I feel both Jason Aaron and Simone Bianchi played it safe by crafting a more action-style story over a slower character piece. It also feels like Aaron hadn't quite nailed Kenobi's voice; he comes off akin to a beaten-down Old Man Logan rather than a tired Obi-Wan Kenobi. It's interesting reading these two in reverse order, in that I feel you can skip #7 and head straight to #15, mostly because the recap page of the latter does a fine job filling you in.

Comics: 29

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Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl 6: Perfect way to wrap the series as a whole up. Also, fucking Phonogram curse re: Bowie dying the week before this came out. Was going to reread the whole series the last few days, didn't quite get to it. *shrug* I'll get to it soon enough. 

Single Issues: 21
TPBs/Collections: 6
Digital First Issues: 10

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Various issues from Fantastic Four #232-300: I got a bulk lot of about 25 issues from the John Byrne run on eBay. Over the years I've caught an issue or two of this but this has long been a huge hole in my reading. There's some pretty great stuff here. Byrne was very much at the height of his powers, and while he was still learning to write it's actually a lot less clumsy than it would later become. He inks himself for a lot of it, and that's all right, but when he teams up with Jerry Ordway it looks pretty fantastic. The stories themselves are a callback to the old Kirby-Lee stuff, with a touch more superheroics, especially from the Torch. I always liked She-Hulk on the team, and she slots right in even though it means Ben is elsewhere. Really fun.

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Secret Wars #9: so so pretty. Pure garbage storywise.

Seduction of the Innocent #1: oof. Sucked into that one, unfortunately. Tough when your favorite current artist does a lot of covers.

Sheriff of Babylon #2: y'know, this comic consists almost entirely of two guys sitting down and talking, and it's still riveting.

Squadron Supreme #2,3: why does everyone have to have the Uncanny Avengers show up? That team sucks. Instead of them showing up in Weirdworld this time to take on Black Knight, they show up and the Squadron flees to Weirdworld. I love this team and this creative team on this book, but I want to see them movie beyond a fucking Deadpool cameo.

MAD's Original Idiots-Wally Wood: collecting all of his art from the first 23 issues of MAD Magazine. The supergero satire is bring, but there is some incredible pseudo-comedic satire on a Twilight Zone level that's fucking killer. There's a scathing indictment of all the ripoff magazines too. Great stuff. Man! Could Wally ever draw some babes. Phew!

Comics: 113
Trades: 10

Graphic Novels: 4

Omnibuses: 1

 

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Captain Marvel (2016) #1: I imagine the pitch for this was "Imagine Captain Janeway ran Deep Space 9." They're not even trying to hide it; Carol refuses to be called "ma'am" (like Janeway) and hates the minor disputes that come with running a space station (like Sisko). Her interactions with Puck and Rocket are cute, and I hope to see more of the science officer. In those regards, it's fun. However, I am troubled by three things:

  1. The complete lack of explanation as to why Carol has taken this post in space. She and Rhodey talk about this being a self-imposed exile, and I can only assume we're supposed to know what that's about.
  2. Similarly, Alpha Flight is now a space-based organization. When did this happen? (It's also, apparently, replaced SWORD.)
  3. Biggest of all, though, is the characterization of Aurora and Brand. They both hate Carol because. Just, because. It's a tired cliché in media to have women hate each other, and it serves this book no favors.

Still, it's a fun read with an artistic style that rides the line between a traditional superhero book and what DC is doing with Batgirl and Black Canary. I'm on for a few more issues.

Comics: 30

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Sandman: Endless Nights - Pretty good collection of short stories. The Death one didn't leave too much of an impression but had pretty P. Craig Russell art. The Delirium story was a heartwarming story that was told really weirdly, though that one big panel of Delirium is just iconic. Dream's might be my favorite of the lot, I love the art and the ties to the DCU. And Destiny's chapter has the most gorgeous Quitely art I've ever seen.

Sandman: Overture - And after 3 years, give or take, I've finally read every Sandman comic. This works really well as a greatest hits package, since it has just about all the things you expect from Sandman, the creepiness, magic, wonder, all with a good helping of family drama. And then there's JH Williams III's amazing storytelling, there's just so much to get out of each page. This is a really good final Sandman story. (Although I'm not sure if it would be the very last)

Batgirl #47 - What Don said. The inconsistent art doesn't help either.

Captain Marvel #1 - The transition from DeConnick's character redefining era to this is pretty smooth, unlike some other Marvel characters. (I'm looking right at Daredevil) I think this has more narration boxes from Carol than previously. Aside from that, it's a solid enough beginning to the arc. The art by Anka's really good, I'm never really sure what to expect from him since I see him use so many styles.

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Superman American Alien #3: I was ready for this to be garbage, but I actually really loved this issue. It's sweet and funny. There is a moment where teenage Clark meets a supervillain who thinks he's teenage Bruce Wayne and the result is...amazing. People hate this for Max Landis, and they're part right. But he's doing something interesting here.

Superman-Lois&Clark #3: So fucking good.

Survivors Club #4: I'm not sure I'm following this series. I might quit and grab the first trade.

Swamp Thing #1: Woof...yikes.

The Last Contract #1: More of Ed Brisson's Canadian Noir. Love it.

Totally Awesome Hulk #2: This is dumb. I'm out.

Cupid's Revenge 1, 2: Garbage erotic graphic novels.

Comics: 119
Trades: 10

Graphic Novels: 6

Omnibuses: 1

 
Edited by Dread

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Spitfire & The Troubleshooter #1-3: total fucking garbage. I'm done with this one. Time to pick up on a New Universe series I know will be better.

All Crime Comics #1,2: pretty good.

Mighty Thor #3: Pretty solid. I can do without Loki, but I like the political alignment of the war coming.

Ultimates #3: This is so totally the Fantastic Four replacement. It is also the team that will be responsible for finding the FF and bringing them back. It will happen. Watch. Then they're going to cancel this.

Uncanny X-Men #1: I really like this. Carrying on thematically after Bunn's Magneto book.

Unfollow #3: this is playing the long game and that's ok. This is fucking excellent.

Venus #1: boredom.

Vision #3: really fucking good.

Weirdworld #2: snoozeworthy. I'll give this one more issue.

Worst X-Man Ever #1: interesting semi-comedic look at the Legion Of Super-Heroes story with what's his name (Wildfire?) where you can't get in without displaying a unique power, but his unique power is one he can only use once.

Ninjak #11: the Unity prep was good for introducing Ninjak to a supernatural world. He's basically all spy/sci fi until now. Interesting.

Comics: 133
Trades: 10

Graphic Novels: 6

Omnibuses: 1

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Superman American Alien #3: I was ready for this to be garbage, but I actually really loved this issue. It's sweet and funny. There is a moment where teenage Clark meets a supervillain who thinks he's teenage Bruce Wayne and the result is...amazing. People hate this for Max Landis, and they're part right. But he's doing something interesting here.

Superman: American Alien #3: Drunk (well, poisoned) Clark might be one my favorite Clark Kent moments, specifically: "You ruin Broosh Wayne shirt" and "Sard borken."

Joëlle Jones' art perfectly captures all of the right beats, be they quiet, serious, or comedic. She also does a wonderful job on the final page as we move away from the boisterous party to a darker realm; the switch is jarring, but that's exactly what it should be.

Comics: 31

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Sard Borken would be an amazing black metal band name.

Glad I'm not alone in my feelings about this issue/series. It's my understanding that not only does this series stand alone in continuity, every separate issue does as well. It's the ultimate snub at continuity.

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All New All Different Avengers #4


This really is becoming a waste of time the entire issue was non-lead-up to the final page where Thor and Captain America kiss. I have such a conceptual problem with this book because it's just so far been Avengers hi-jinks instead of meaningful characterization aside from Ms. Marvel acting all Tsundere around Nova. And because this is out before Miles' book, his positioning in the title is bizarre.

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American Vampire vol 1 - Loved it. Snyder does so well with characterization and dialogue. It really broke my heart to see what Pearl goes through in this. The Stephen King-written stories didn't appeal to me as much though. Rafael Albuquerque's art was excellent.

Harley Quinn #24 - Fun action issue with good art as always. Can't wait to see what happens next.

Ms. Marvel #3 - Solid enough issue, it hits all the right beats. Miyazawa continues to be my favorite Kamala artist.

Star Wars #15 - Decent story, nice seeing more of the time between Sith and Star Wars. I like Mayhew's art well enough, even if it's on the verge of the Uncanny Valley. This transitionary Obi-Wan looks a lot like Liam Neeson to me. And Uncle Owen looks like James Corden. 

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