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The Master

Every comic you've read in 2016

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The New Titans #101-#114

Starfire is, understandably, irrevocably traumatized from being raped by her former thought-to-be-dead teammate on what was supposed to be her wedding day, and goes off the deep end, eventually losing her memory. Nightwing chases after her, but not before Arsenal informs him that he's replacing Dick as team leader. With horrible artwork never far from the book, the Titans go into outer space and encounter a techno-alien race called Technis who restore Cyborg's mind to his body. For reasons they en up dying and need a human soul to survive, so Vic after years of being a vegetable and back as himself for 2-3 issues, sacrifices himself, merging his conciousness and for all intents and purposes dying.

Just for a head count, by 1994 we've lost Raven, Danny Chase and Jericho. Donna Troy is depowered and retired. Nightwing and Starfire are MIA. Red Star, Pantha, Phantasm and Baby Wildebeest are the only members left for Arsenal to lead. Changeling's the only recognizable Titans member remaining, and will continue to be so by the end of the major turning point.

Starfire has a big Storm Life/Death rip-off story, thinks she's a goddess of a South American tribe, and ends up in space regaining her memories by kissing Red Star. Dick, who chased her cross country, takes an issue to re-evaluate his life and how he's changed from the kid member of the Flying Graysons to Batman's kid partner to leader of the Titans for several years. He comes to the conclusion that he needs time off with just himself and decides to leave the Titans for good. He foils a robbery as Nightwing (wearing a bizarre Nightwing styled leather jacket, because 90s) and says he feels like his old self in that he threw out Robin-like quips.

Sarge Steel works out a deal between Arsenal and President Bill Clinton (yes) that basically has the Titans work as a government funded mercenary outlet. Nightwing definitively quits the Titans, gets stood up by Starfire for one last talk and presumably goes to meet up with Bruce and Tim Drake during Knightsend to fight AzBats. Starfire leaves the team without telling anyone, content to find her own way. Red Star, not wanting to be ruled by the government like he was in Russia, decides to quit as well, and Pantha and Baby Wildebeest join him in traveling the world. Changeling's the one and only member of the group who stays with Roy, along with a random appearance by Phantasm who says "Great evil is afoot!"

Throughout these issues, the artwork is absolutely horrible. There's one panel in issue #112 or round about where Wally West is precognitively drawn as a black man. Not just a case of mis-coloring, he's drawn with a broad nose and thick lips, and colored brown.  DAFUCK. Rick Mays is a quintessential 90s comic' artist in style, but I actually like what he's going for. It's just not very consistent. Everybody has a pretty brutal looking six pack.

The space adventure with the Technis Imperative and "killing off" Cyborg was pretty crap. The Arsenal-lead Titans era isn't very good, but FWIW I actually liked issues #113 and #114 with the focus on Dick. More to the point, #114 felt like a definitive series finale. Practically every single member leaves the book to go on their own, and for the most part it feels very organic, not just a gimmick for a set of melodramatic issues. Dick especially has a terrific character arc which puts his entire stint as the leader of the Titans in perspective when comparing it to his role as Bruce's partner and as his own man. With these issues, you can see the transition from the general Boy Wonder persona he had before 1980, to the Wolfman-written characterization where he really was a very straight-laced, serious leader character, to the guy he eventually becomes later in the decade under Chuck Dixon. It all feels right, and it's almost a miracle of character writing. It's also somewhat thematically neat that the final two Titans left consist of one from the original team of sidekicks and one from the iconic Wolfman/Perez era. It's a good place to leave things, which glimpses into the future.

Unfortunately this book runs for another 16 issues.

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MAD's Original Idiots-Will Elder: Elder was the workhorse of the original MAD team given that his trade collects his work from the same amount of issues and is 50 pages longer. His stuff is the most suited to comedy, but he is not as good a draftsman as the other fellas in the boxset. His storytelling is impeccable though, and while the other two used later issues to really experiment with the form, he stuck to his guns and pushed out consistent comedy comics. I didn't find this that funny, but I'm fully in the camp that I have read the first 23 issues of MAD Magazine in full over the past three weeks and so it just wore on me.

Captain Canuck-Unholy War: Okay. This is the late 90s series I remember reading the first issue of. It's pretty bog standard and a little hokey.

All-New All-Different Avengers #4: this is the worst issue of the bunch so far. They are really pushing the new kids, and I find that a little boring. All of this to get Cap and Thor to kiss. Snooze.

American Monster #1: Interesting story...great art. It needs another issue though.

Batman & Robin Eternal #16-18: really solid. I saw the reveal coming a mile away, but it's still great storytelling here.

Batman Europa #4: that was an ending, I guess.

Blooodshot Reborn #10: other than the fact that this is a total and utter ripoff of Mad Max Fury Road, it's beautiful. Larosa's art is on point and I really want to see and read more.

Captain Marvel #1,2: I gave this a shot because I saw some preview art and thought it was gorgeous. It is. I've never liked this character, and I still really don't. I also don't know what to think about the Alpha Flight being used as some sort of Battlestar Galactica homage. Puck, also, would FUCKING NEVER ask for Captain Marvel's autograph. The dude hung out with Ernest Hemingway and Captain America for fuck's sake. It sure is purty though. I'll give it another issue.

Comics: 142
Trades: 15

Graphic Novels: 6

Omnibuses: 3

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The New Titans #115-#130

There are a lot of crossovers between this book, Team Titans, Deathstroke, Darkstars and Green Lantern that I missed out on some parts. Zero Hour also happens around this time, which thankfully I do own.

Eventually the team roster settles on Arsenal leading Damage, Kyle Rayner Green Lantern, Impulse, Terra and Mirage whom the latter two are time-displaced after the events in Zero Hour. Donna Troy by this point is a Darkstar and has by now been divorced from Terry Long with custody of their son lost to him. There's a three part Psimon story before we forced to read yet ANOTHER Raven/Trigon arc. She corrupts Changeling and he helps her recruit more followers which include Thunder and Lightning, Francis Kane and the Matrix Supergirl. Raven's defeated but gets away, setting up another and final Trigon arc that finishes the series out.

This eventually brings Starfire back into the book along with Cyborg who's been reanimated as a red techy robot called Cyberion. Blackfire's a good guy and the fight with Raven leads to the destruction of Tamaran and the death of Kory and Komand'r's parents. Raven re-kidnaps Gar and captures Kory attempting to turn them on her side one final time before the Titans all waylay her with powers and exposition. Raven's soul is turned good, and she, Kory, Cyborg/Cyberion, Donna and Kory's new husband find a free planet and seek to rebuild Tamaran. Arsenal and Gar return to Earth, and we see a montage of Mirage giving birth to Deathwing's baby with Terra present, Impulse running along and Damage waling the Earth like Kane from Kung-Fu. The final shot is of Nightwing, in his third and best costume, staring at the Gotham sky randomly, seeing images of the Nick Cardy and George Perez Titans, wishing everyone well. It's a slightly confusing but very nice final image.

This was some of the most 90s-crazy DC Comics' I've ever read. Sonn after this point, around Kingdom Come I know DC gets away from chasing Marvel chasing Image, but around '94-'95 it was pretty bad. Too many crossovers made titles completely incoherent. The artwork never recovered after Titans #100, and although I like Rick Mays, everything was always grungy and dark. Wolfman does the bulk of the issues, but his penchant for character exploration is gone. He's been quoted as having been burned out for years and is clearly phoning everything in. Nothing ever gets as bad as #100 but the glory days are way past over. FWIW I like the Arsenal team of Roy, Kyle, Damage, Terra and Impulse alright, but they were never explored satisfactorily enough that I got used to them as THE Titans. At least with Pantha and Red Star, they were developed enough for their stint. Ultimately the book become too different too fast. It should've ended at #114 with the departure of the Grummett era characters and Nightwing, because Roy's barely a Titans member. He wasn't one of the originals, not coming into the Haney and Cardy run until several issues in, and his leadership role feels forced. Donna leaves then returns then leaves, and it never feels earned. The last story sees the return of the classic NTT team characters, but it's too little too late. Finally the Trigon stuff was really very tired to keep doing. I like Raven, and having her constantly be turned evil again and again was just ruining the character. The final Trigon story was the one that started the Baxter series, there was no need to bring him back has many times in the 90s, even if I did like Titans Hunt. The series doesn't end pathetically but it's still a fall from grace for sure. The decade claimed it more completely than Wolfman's writer's block did.

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So you didn't enjoy New Titans, is what I'm hearing. 

You're absolutely right that DC got a lot better, real quick. 

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Oh no, I really enjoyed the whole NTT vol.2/New Titans reading thoroughly. Yeah the last couple of years weren't the best, and issue #100 was horrible, but I enjoyed seeing the changes made to the team by the end of the series when comparing to how they were at the start. It dawned on me that pretty much every member is in a completely different place of existence with the one exception of Changeling/Beast Boy. Dick spends the majority of the book fighting against being like Batman and worrying about Batman, yet he ends up back in Gotham by the end. Starfire loves Dick (f'nah) and loves life on Earth, but ends up back in space with her sister and a new husband. Donna was a grounded woman with a husband, she ends up divorced and in space with new and strange powers. Cyborg fought against going completely mechanical, by the end he's entirely made of space tech. Seeing all of that development over the years, both the good and the bad, was fascinating for me to read in a short space of time.

My least favorite part of the series was that it kept returning to Trigon again and again, and in worse ways than the last time. But the series overall I really liked, and the last few years don't really do much to take away from that.

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Batman #354-#356

News of the Hugo Strange casting had me feeling some type'a way to read some old Strange stories. These take place post-Englehart Detective Comics Run (Laughing Fish/Silver St. Cloud era). This early-80s Batman is when Gerry Conway and Don Newton were on the title. If you've ever wondered what run directly precipitated the animated series, this is it. Rupert Thorne, Mayor Hamilton Hill and Arthur Reeve are all major players throughout, with all three of them in collusion with each other (Reeve himself actually isn't in these three issues, but still has a place in the era).The artwork by Don Newton is gorgeous, hinting slightly at Gene Colan but with less chiaroscuro and emotive atmosphere. Newton instead went for pure anatomical dynamism. Thin Neal Adams if his characters strength trained and went on a red meat diet.

#354 sees Batman getting shot and employs the classic "Robin pretending to be me" gag. #355 shows that Vicki Vale was in the books, and there was a love triangle between her, Bruce and Selina/Catwoman who actively tries to kill both Vicki and Batman out of a murderous rage.

#356 is a hidden gem. Strange is back for revenge and kidnaps Bruce on his way home from a date with Vicki. He wakes up at "Wayne Manor" and is constantly greeted, then attacked by both Alfred and Dick, only to turn around and everything is reset as though it never happened. It's an excellent, nearly Hitchcockian story that has Batman as vulnerable as if it were a Scarecrow story. Hugo Strange is honestly one of his best and most dangerous enemies, and the fact that he was a Kane/Finger original gives him that extra flare of Golden Age awesome. Every story I've read of him he always comes so close to killing Batman. He's awesome, and BD Wong as a really exciting choice to play him.

#356 also has this lovely image

https://p.dreamwidth.org/d7afc92f4641/-/i6.photobucket.com/albums/y241/Hefmeister/Misc Scans/cave13-1.jpg

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Orphan Black Helsinki #3 - There's really not much to it other than reminding you of the show before it comes back on the air. Decent art though.

Cry Havoc #1 - Picked this up for the gorgeous variant cover by Cameron Stewart. Art inside was surprisingly good, which is typically not the case when you get something for the cover. Story was intriguing enough. Might check this out in trade.

All-New All-Different Avengers #4 - Kinda cute, liked the art by Mahmud Asrar.

Daredevil #3 - Best issue so far, but that's not saying much.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #3 - Really liking this series. 

Spider-Woman #3 - Great issue. Javier Rodriguez's storytelling is fantastic.

Eleventh Doctor Year 2 #5 - Not the series' best. Cliffhanger is kinda cool though.

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Citizen Jack #3: this turned a corner into the realm of me not reading anymore.

Clean Room #4: this needs to get interesting VERY quickly.

Code Pru #2: nowhere near as good as the first issue. Also not excited about these two issues being a tease to the following story in Alan Moore's upcoming garbage looking horror anthology.

Crossed Badlands #92.93: This got a lot better. Bemis might be my favorite Crossed writer.

Cry Havoc #1: I read this once, and completely did not take anything in. In a rare turn of altruism, I read it again. It was ok, I guess. I might give it a second issue depending on how I feel on the day. 

Ex Mortis #2,3: Not very good. I'm done.

Comics: 150
Trades: 15

Graphic Novels: 6

Omnibuses: 3

 

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Tales of The New Teen Titans #4 of 4, The New Teen Titans #23-#25, The New Teen Titans Annual #1

All Starfire, all the time baby. Tales is basically her telling the Titans her origin story. Her birth and life on Tamaran, their war with the Gordanians, and most importantly her rivalry and hatred of her older Sister Blackfire. NTT #23-#25 is a three part story of Blackfire's return and kidnapping of Starfire, which brings the Titans into space and teaming up with the Omega Men. One of the many space battles they find themselves into over the years. NTT Annual #1 is the resolution of that three parter where Starfire and Blackfire have a knock-down drag-out fight.

JLA/The Titans #1-#3

Basically the pilot for Devin Grayson's Titans book, with artwork by Phil Jimenez. Cyborg's Technis body has come to Earth and kidnaps every single living person who ever was considered a Titan in any permutation of team, from Starfire to Bette Kane to Kyle Rayner and Impulse. It's clearly a labor of love from two very devoted fans. It stops just short of continuity porn where every single Titan is referenced one way or another. It's a great story that believably demands involvement from the JLA, which was the 90s Morrison team at the time that included Zauriel, Huntress, Steel, Orion, Barda and Oracle. Characterization is perfected, and even Young Justice gets a shout out. This is also the first meeting between Nightwing and Starfire since they broke up way back near the end of the run before Dick left the Titans and Kory left Earth. The book's a little sappy, and having read so much Marv Wolfman stories, the fellowship of the original five feels a tiny bit forced considering that the Wolfman/Perez team went through so much more together. Not to discredit the Fab Five, but Garth/Tempest/Aqualad interacted with all of them the least, and Roy/Arsenal/Speedy and Wally/Flash/Kid-Flash had been away from the Titans for a long time as well. Still, it's a much better "conclusion" to the Titans legacy than the original series had.

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Darth Vader #16: The bulk of the story carries on from Darth Vader Annual #1, however the cliffhanger reassures us that that the ending of Vader Down will be dealt with. Soon. While the issue continues to demonstrate the growing gap between Vader and The Emperor, and begins to lay the foundation for the next storyline, overall it was skippable. Not bad by any stretch, just a "wait for the trade" issue.

Comics: 35

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All-New Wolverine #4-5 Okay, this just turned into Marvel Two-in-One 2016 and I love it! Also, the ending of #5 is so earned, so badass, and so has me itching for the next issue. If there's one thing I'd gripe about, it's the constant reminders that Logan would have done things differently (RE: with more violence). Strange does it in #4, The Wasp does it again in #5, Sims did it in 826. Let's just see her as Wolverine without the reminders of Logan. Bringing him up inadvertently keeps her in his shadow while trying to push her out of it. Despite that small bug, this is an amazing series; each issue truly stands alone as a fun adventure while building to something greater.

Comics: 37

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Faith #1: I can't stand the art in the fantasy sequence. Other than that, this would be a perfect book. My biggest worry is that this would be a book with a Dr. Who or Firefly reference ever three panels. This is so much more than that. I young girl trying to make it as a superhero the only way she knows how...with several years of research. Another win for Valiant.

GI Joe #224: Well, that escalated quickly.

God is Dead #47: Have they announced this book is ending? Because shit is getting even more apocalyptic than usual.

GLC Edge of Oblivion #1: Yeah, I didn't like it.

Hellboy Winter Sampler 2016: fun anthology book.

Hercules #3: Solid.

Imperium #12: dense. Almost too dense.

Insexts #1,2: creepy, weird and incredibly sexy. This is fucking great.

Invincible Iron Man #6: Doctor Doom crashes your date, but he's just being a nice dude. That's like the best premise ever.

Jacked #3: fun as fuck.

Joe Golem #4: hrrrm.

Comics: 162
Trades: 15

Graphic Novels: 6

Omnibuses: 3

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Saga 31: Yeah yeah yeah more characters coming back to bring things full arc, can we get back to Hazel already please?

No Mercy 7: Aaaaaaand things get even more fucked!

Single Issues: 31
TPBs/Collections: 10
Digital First Issues: 10

Edited by Venneh

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Totally Awesome Hulk #3: Still good!

Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan #4) vol.2: Still good!

All New X-Men vol.2 #4: Still good! (Really enjoying this book every month. Bagely mane...)

All New All Different Avengers #4: IMO the first good issue.

Gotham Academy: S'alright. I fear this book is running out of ideas or that it'll get axed soon.

Batman #49: Didn't like it much at all compared to the last issue. The whole "Bruce Wayne/Batman" split personality shtick really gets play here, and I never like it when the character is depicted to be that extremely messed up.

Spider-Man/Deadpool #2: Now with more Miles! I liked this, most enjoyable Spidey comic of the current era I've read in over a year or two.

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Hellboy in Hell 7+8: Mignola is back in full form, and it's fucking gorgeous. You don't need to know lots about the current status quo, just that Hellboy is dead and in hell. Nice little arc. 

Devolution 1: Remender tries to do his take on Walking Dead, except with humanity being devolved. It is not exactly spectacular. 

Radioactive Spider Gwen 5: Captain Stacy meets up with the Kingpin, and they get closer to the truth of why Peter died, and what exactly is going on with Harry Osborne and the Lizard. Gwen doesn't really feature in this issue that much, but that's okay. Latour continues to write a fun comic, and the guest artist this issue continues Rodriguez' art style, while bringing his own twist to the verse. 

Gotham Academy 15: The yearbook concept is a neat way to get guest artists and writers, and to wrap up a year of the book. I hope to god that this actually continues, as it's pretty great, but fingers crossed. Good blend of art styles here, and some real cute stories, too. 

Weirdworld 3: One of the prettiest, funnest, most original books Marvel is putting out right now. Here's hoping that it can keep going. 

The Ultimates 4: Good handling of flashbacks to stuff that went on in other comics to explain what's going on, and an interesting new twist to what's been done (anyone know who that was at the end of hte issue?). 

Insexts 3: God bless, Bennett, this just keeps getting weirder and gorier in the best kind of ways. And the art swings perfectly between beautiful and straight up horror. 

Dr. Mirage: Second Lives 3: So, on the one hand, De La Torre does a great job on the art on this, especially in leaving his ghosts as just the pencils, which makes them stand out, and is gorgeous besides. On the other hand, we have a random artist switch for a few pages in the middle of the issue, which is jarring, and doesn't say good things about the deadlines this was under. This is a four issue mini but it feels like there's a lot of chaff that could've been cut in the first few issues to make this flow better. I was under the impression this was a six issue mini, not a four issue. 

Single Issues: 40
TPBs/Collections: 10
Digital First Issues: 10

 

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The Ultimates 4: Good handling of flashbacks to stuff that went on in other comics to explain what's going on, and an interesting new twist to what's been done (anyone know who that was at the end of hte issue?).

That was Eternity.

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Superman / Shazam: First Thunder #1-4: This is a fun Year One-style look at Captain Marvel, in which Cap and Superman team-up to battle Dr. Sivana, Eclipso, and Sabbac. The first three issues are filled with lighthearted superheroics, but the fourth issues goes dark. It's a well-written, emotionally charged final chapter, but it feels wrong for Captain Marvel to threaten to decapitate someone and use his headless body as a means to extract information from others.

On top of that, it's tone deaf in two places. Billy's best friend, Scott, helps him out by laundering Billy's clothes. This wouldn't be a big deal, except Scott is African American. Sure, friends help friends out, but did no one else feel maybe this was a touch racially insensitive? The other place the book is tone deaf is spoilery, so tags ahead:

 

After Clark realizes that Captain Marvel is really a young street child, he visits Billy at his squatter's den. Clark then proceeds to undo his shirt and tie before sitting next to Billy on his mattress, uttering the line, "My real name is Clark." While, yes, he's revealing his Superman crest and confiding his biggest secret to a child in need of comfort, it comes across very predatory.

Normally I like Judd Winick's writing, but those scenes really hurt the book overall for me. I'd say read issues #1-3, stopping when Superman says, "I'd like that, as well." One plot point won't be wrapped up, but it will be a better reading experience, I think.

Joshua Middleton owns this book artistically. His Superman is larger than life without being over-the-top, and Captain Marvel is perfectly childlike in his expressions yet powerful enough to topple buildings. Even the fourth issue, when he's called upon to make things more than bleak, has a certain dark beauty. If anything, I'll reread it for him.

Comics: 41

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Queen Crab: a really garbage graphic novel from Palmiotti.

Smut Peddler vol 1: an omnibus of female-centric erotica. I guess a lot of women fantasize about seemingly straight dudes turning gay for each other. Some is interesting, some is boring, some is ludicrous. Like all comic book erotica, I guess.

Just Another Sheep #1-3: weird superpowers/cult mash-up set in the sixties. Interesting.

Lucha Underground #1: I guess this is a TV show? It isn;t very good in comic form.

Lucifer #2: This is really fucking good. Going to have to revisit the original run as I never read all of it back in the day.

Midnighter #9: Midnighter vs Suicide Squad part 1. Enjoyed it.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #3: the shine is off of this completely. I'm done.

Mystery Girl #3: pretty good.

Nova #4: The best issue yet.

Old Man Logan #1: I don't understand what continuity is what in this book. I'm confused as fuck.

Pencil Head #1: Interesting. I don't remember much about it though. I read it only a few days ago.

Puppet master #11: that ended with a whimper.

Replica #1, 2: another attempt at clever clones. Not good.

Robin Son of Batman #8: nice to see them completely not even acknowledge the garbage fire that Robin War was.

Rowans Ruin #4: This was good. Should be a movie. It would certainly work as one.

Sheriff of Babylon #3: Holy shit. Pretrty exciting, even though most of it is talking heads.

Silver Surfer #1: Okay, I guess. It's gorgeous, but that goes without saying.

Slash & Burn #3: sleeper hit of the year. Calling it now. This is going to be one of the best regarded series of the year.

Snow Blind #2: Much better graps of this after the second issue. The first issue could have been smarter, but I'm basically invested now.

Spider-Man #1: I like Morales, but I'm not sure what to think here. Is this supposed to take place before all the Avengers stuff? 

Strayer #1: another new weird fantasy book. Very interested. Similar to The Anchor in style. I'll stick around for more.

Super Zero #1,2: ehhhh...it's alright. depending on my mood, I may grab the next issue.

Survivor's Club #5: this is one of several series that started around the same time to lose its shine. I don't give a single shit about any characters, I don't know what the fuck is going on, and I'm not interested to find out.

Symmetry #2: this is too high concept and moving too slowly.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #54: LOVE those Mutanimals.

Astonishing Ant-Man #4: still Marvel's best book by a long shot.

Black Hood #8: this is spinning its wheels.

Death-Defying Dr. Mirage #2: better than the first issue, but not by much. Jesus...between the two of them, there's about 12 pages of plot.

The Hangman #2: okay this is super weird and not at all what I expected. I don't know if that's a good thing yet.

Steam Man #4: I thought this was going to be the last issue. It is not. It is, however, a bonkers and really fun issue.

The Violent #2: still great.

The Heroes of Echo Company #1: yuck

Uncanny X-Men #2,3: So good. A few moments of Greg Land porno tracing, but this is still his best work I've seen in a very long time. Loving this series.

Unfollow #4: So. Fucking. Good.

Vision #4: the weakest issue thus far. The end was supposed to be "whoa" but I kind of found it "ho-hum."

Voracious #1: guy finds time machine, brings back a dead dinosaur and opens a restaurant. No thanks.

Comics: 200
Trades: 15

Graphic Novels: 7

Omnibuses: 4

 

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Robin Son of Batman #8: nice to see them completely not even acknowledge the garbage fire that Robin War was.

Grayson #16 did the exact same thing. Kinda funny yet sad.

A-Force (2015) #1-5: Do these characters remember their lives in the Marvel Universe? It seems like they've only known Arcadia and the Secret Wars fractured worlds run by Doom, which is really confusing; it's written as if we're supposed to know this world, the relationships, the rules, and how it all came to be. (For instance, why are America Chavez and Nico Minoru wards of Loki? Because plot, that's why.) Also, Singularity is officially the worst "love her 'cause she's cutesy" character ever; I cannot stand her here or in the post-SW MU.

All this said, the book was okay; it was a relaxing 25-30 minutes of reading time. That's mostly due to Jorge Molina's art work which is so expressive and crisp, it's unbelievable. While I think I'm done with A-Force as a whole (be it this Secret Wars tie-in or the new ongoing), I will follow him to his next projects. 

Comics: 46

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Silk (2015) #1-7: When Marvel announced the forthcoming debut of Silk, my first thought was, Really? Someone else was bitten by the same exact radioactive spider? Since I wasn't reading the Spider-books at the time, I ignored the new character and moved on with my life. Then yesterday I decided to give her first series a try, and I quite liked it. In fact, I can't wait to jump into the post-Secret Wars series tonight or tomorrow.

The way Cindy's backstory is woven into the overall narrative is deftly handled; the flashbacks never hinder the pace of the book, and they're well-placed in terms of revealing more and more about her pre-bunker life. While the mystery of who's watching her isn't wrapped up by the time Secret Wars begins, I assume it's been carried into the current book and will fuel more stories.

I'd like to see more of her supporting cast from Fact Channel, as well as further interactions with Dragonclaw and his daughter. J. Jonah is toned down here, but he's still very JJJ when he's in front of a crowd. And his turn in issues six and seven truly got to the heart of the character.

Her time in the bunker confuses me, though. If I recall, the comic says she was in there 10 years, while other sources say 13 years. If that's the case, she's somewhere between 27 and 31, yet she acts like someone in her early 20s. In some cases that's fine, because she was isolated for a decade(-plus?), but I'd rather she be written as more socially awkward than a young adult. That aside, I really love this character, and a lot of that comes from the little touches Stacey Lee brings to Cindy's expressions. When Silk is surprised, her eyes change in ever so subtle ways. There's some Bryan Lee O'Malley in her pencil work, but the style is all her own; it has an indy comic flavor while sliding right into the Marvel Universe.

Issues four and seven were illustrated by Annapaola Martello and Tana Ford, respectively, and they filled in nicely. All three artists have completely different takes on the character, her cast, and the MU, yet it feels like a cohesive world. Additionally, the placement of these two issues fit the overall seven-issue run, allowing for mid-series and series-finale breathers; four takes a break so Silk and Spider-Man can have a chat with the Fantastic Four, whereas seven follows Cindy as she searches for her brother while the world literally dies. Intended or not, the switch from Lee to Martello and Ford mark these story changes well, and is actually appreciated.

Comics: 53

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Mind MGMT vol 6: Perfect end to the series. I'm not kidding when I say I will throw the entirety of this at you as an example of one of comics' masterworks.

Bitch Planet 7: Takes a bit of time to ease you back into the story proper, great back matter, and the wheels are turning again. Still likely to trade switch soon.

I Hate Fairyland 5: You can see exactly where Young would've ended this if it had been less popular. Instead it's a whole "you either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become a villain" thing, and no, I won't tell you how that plays out, go pick up the trade and see for yourself. I can't wait to see more of Young's vitriol.

The Mighty Thor 4: Splits between the wrap up of the elf war and increasing tensions and civil war on Asgard, in a perfect way. Especially those last two pages. Bring on the fight next month! Also fuck this is pretty.

Single Issues: 43
TPBs/Collections: 11
Digital First Issues: 10

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Deadpool & Cable: Split Second (Infinite Comic version) #1-3: After reading the first three issues, I decided to stop. Deadpool isn't funny, Cable is a crazy old man, the Dr. Carl "not-Apollo Creed" Weathers joke is played into the ground, and I don't care about the outcome.

DC Sneak Peek: Bat-Mite and Bat-Mite #1: If you've ever seen a Bugs Bunny cartoon, you've read Dan Jurgens' version of Bat-Mite. Instead of reading this, hit YouTube for said cartoons.

Comics: 58

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Power Man and Iron Fist (2016) #1: An old friend of Luke and Danny tricks them into stealing something from Tombstone, thus setting up the storyline, series, and new foes. Not sure how long I'll stick around but I like the tone and art, and Luke trying not to cuss is cute.

Star Wars #16: Following Vader Down, Doctor Aphra is headed to a Rebel jail where every conversation goes like this: "I'm going to escape." "Nope." "I'm friends with Vader." "Yup." "I'm going to escape." "Nope." "I'm friends with Vader." "Yup." "I'm going to escape." "Nope." "I'm friends with Vader." "Yup." "I'm going to escape." "Nope." "I'm friends with Vader." "Yup." End issue. I think I need to pull back from both the Darth Vader and Star Wars series, returning to them in storyline form, 'cause I can feel myself getting tired of the issue-to-issue format. 

Comics: 60

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Secret Wars 2099 #1-5: This felt a lot like the original 2099 comics, which shouldn't be a surprise considering Peter David wrote the miniseries. It's totally inconsequential, but there are interesting bits in the form of Captain America's secret identity not being known to her, Miguel running Alchemax as a Stone, and Black Widow as a whole. I wasn't too keen on Will Sliney's art, though, despite liking his time on both of the recent Spider-Man 2099 series.

Comics: 65

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Sin Titulo - Collection of Cameron Stewart's webcomic. Pretty good, but I'm not sure what to make of the end.

Batgirl #48 - Some of the best art from Tarr so far. Fun seeing Canary. The new villain...ehh, we'll see.

Flash #48 - Good to see a new artist on the book, Merino feels right for it. The story, I'm not sure I get.

A-Force #2 - The way the book got the gang together was pretty well-done. I like all the characters, especially the ones I'm not so familiar with. The art really makes the book.

All-New All-Different Avengers #5 - Fun book with an interesting little mystery. Cliffhanger is pure comics. Dug the art by Asrar.

ASM #7-8 - Kinda forgettable. I dig the art though, it's pretty stylish. 

Captain Marvel #2 - Bit unremarkable, but the art is good enough to keep going.

Spider-Gwen #5 - The art was distracting. It makes sense for being an in-between chapter and it fits with the aesthetic of the book but I found it muddy and hindered my enjoyment of the story.

The Ultimates #4

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