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The Master

Every comic you've read in 2017

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Insexts 10: Interesting issue. Lots of long speeches on feminism by characters, some weird panel logic/page progression choices that lead to some confusion as to what happened at times, but building towards an interesting climax. Also, not sure who's doing the colors on the covers, but woof. 

Mayday 5: Perfect wrapup to the mini. Sets the stage nicely for the next one (so long as trade sales justify it, hint hint.) Good action scenes, great stuff with sound effects, definitely worth your time. If you haven't followed the mini, go get the trade. 

Single Issues: 126
Trades/Graphic Novels: 24
Omnibuses: 1

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Alabaster: The Good, The Bad and The Bird - I enjoyed this, but I have little idea as to why.  This has many elements I dislike, yet somehow I didn't.  What I did dislike is that this is Vol. 3.  It is not noted anywhere in/on/near/around this book, except one line in the legal fine print in the beginning.  Such a shame.

Riverdale: One-Shot - A prequel to the show, centered around the four leads.  Standard tie-in book really.  Does make the Grundy thing more awkward tho.

Single Issues: 11
Graphic Novels: 2
Trades:
31 (222)

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Elric of Melnibone: So, for whatever reason, someone decided to sell their copy of what, as far as I can tell, is one of the only collections of this series (back when it was called First Comics), and Jim found it in AlleyKat's $5 trade bin. P Craig Russell gets to do a high fantasy adaptation, and it is fucking insane and glorious. If you somehow manage to find it, it's worth your time. 

Single Issues: 126
Trades/Graphic Novels: 25
Omnibuses: 1

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Hawkeye -  Had a real fun vibe going for the first two trades.  Then the Hawkeyes parted way and it lost pretty much all the fun.

All-New Hawkeye (both of them) - Never regained the fun.  The dual narrative in both series didn't work for me (and really, the flashbacks were the best parts).  And the entire thing with the children never engaged me.

Overall, I never felt like I completely knew what was going on.  Like Avenger-y things.  And I don't think Kate is every really explained in any detail.  Kinda felt like I started watching Season 3 Episode 7 of random TV show.  Yeah, I can catch on after a while, but I will miss things.

And since I have complained about these things before, I like that Marvel collected these in a simple, easy to follow manner, even with the re-numbering of the series.

Single Issues: 11
Graphic Novels: 2
Trades:
37 (257)

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Superman #20: Batman shows up to investigate Jon's developing powers, specifically why they're taking so long to fully manifest. What he uncovers will reshape Hamilton County, and ties into the mystery that's been slowly building in the background. Lois has no time for Batman's in-the-shadows antics, and it seems she's also worried about how things wrapped up with the previous storyline. Solid issue, and any book that has Jon and Damian gets my seal of approval. 

Comics: 266

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America 2: Yeah, uh, I take back the positive stuff I said about this last issue. Oof. 

Shade the Changing Girl 2-7: This, on the other hand, is amazing. Alien girl gets knee deep in an awful teenage girl's life, tries to make sense of it all, and also has to fight her off from coming back to the body, with a dash of what I'm guessing is continuity from the previous series? Wonderful art (especially for the most recent one - Marguerite Sauvage!), great story, one of the stronger entries from Young Animal. Plus, three page backups of other series (Dial H, Elemental Girl) by awesome artists/writer combos (Paulina Ganucheau, Chyna Clugston Flores) that I would love to see expanded on, and what now appears to be a running thing with a 50s TV series that made it to the alien's part of the universe. 

Single Issues: 134
Trades/Graphic Novels: 25
Omnibuses: 1

Edited by Venneh

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Poison Ivy: Circle of Life and Death - Didn't really get the Ivy character.  Granted, my knowledge base is an unrelated cartoon from 25 years ago and some comics I read 10 years after that.  Outside of that, this was just bland.

Amelia Cole and the Unknown World - Now this, this I dug.  Standard 'character thrust into a new world' story, but with a likable hero and sidekick duo that makes this a fun little story.  Already have the next two coming my way.

Single Issues: 11
Graphic Novels: 4
Trades:
38 (263)

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Nightwing #18: Mostly a fight issue, but the stuff with Robintron was very good and any time Dick's acrobatic skills are displayed I'm sold. And the cliffhanger hit me hard, even though I'm not all that familiar with the mastermind character.

Comics: 267

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America 2: This comic reads like a parody of a hyper excited Tumblr comic. The writer continues to overwrite two great art teams and ugh. To be optimistic, this is a writer's first comic and the transition between mediums is difficult. As a thing that I'd spend money on: LOL NOPE.
All-Time Comics 1: In what is actually a parody and is also bad, All-Time Comics. A bunch of comix dudes get together and take old, old potshots in a traditional style. These points were made years ago in alternative comics, back in the day and also Marshall Law and also in Top 10, two of those things recently reissued by the parent company of what's being parodied here. This is as obvious as Coachella. Ugh.

Edited by jim
bolding

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Nightwing #18: Damn this arc keeps me guessing. Helluva cliffhanger. Batman RIP is highly suggested, Mike.

Superman #20: I love the humor of Lois not having any of Batman's shenanigans. I do sort of object to Batman repeatedly appearing in this title. It's Superman, let a Superman character show up.

Spider-Man #15 (2016): I was just on the phone with a friend about how this book doesn't seem to be going anywhere. This actually is a great issue, possibly the best of the current volume. Bendis does "loved ones learn about secret identity" issues very well.

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No Mercy 14: A really nice place to end for now for the comic. Does neat stuff with dialogue and lettering because the main character is partially deaf, and does capture the feel of a small town super well, especially in those desperate last days of summer. Sad to see it on hiatus for now, but would recommend folks picking up the trades. 

Deadly Class 27: (Odds are high Jim and I are going to hash this out further on the podcast.) Okay, so. On the one hand, good to see the Saya background we were promised last issue, and his portrayal of the Yakuza/Japan in general isn't as tropey as he did with Tokyo Ghost, thank god.

On the other hand, Saya now appears to be reduced to damsel in distress status for the rest of the arc, Marcus and Maria are definitely back for vaguely defined reasons and it's hinted that shit's gonna get fucked up for Maria again, and Marcus is now being positioned as the Big Badass Hero, which, THAT'S NOT WHY I'M READING THIS COMIC REMENDER. Reading this again tonight, but my gut feeling is not good for where this stands to go, because it feels like it just casually threw out one of the core themes of the book because his script partner for the TV show thought it would be cool? It's got one more issue to get me back.

Chainmail Bikini: Anthology of comics from women/women identified cartoonists about games. Great read earlier in the week. 

Single Issues: 136
Trades/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 26
Omnibuses: 1

Edited by Venneh
Forgot finishing Chainmail Bikini earlier in the week

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James Bond 007: Eidolon:

Another solid story, this one by Warren Ellis. A touch bit more no nonsense than Diggle's story, which had more personality. That felt like reading a Craig adventure, this feels like reading a Fleming novel. Moneypenny is a badass in this particular take.

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X-Men GOLD #1: Pretty by-the-numbers X-Men first issue. Humans hate mutants. The X-Men sigh and shrug. The new leaders wonder if they're doing the right thing/if they're right to lead. Thinking about the past. Softball. As I'm writing it I realize how basic and uninventive this was. It's not bad. Marc Guggenheim and Ardian Syaf work well together. But unless you're a DIE-HARD X-Fan who loves all the tropes, I'd actually say skip this because nothing is new. The last few major X-Books started off with beguiling premises. This does not.

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Spider-Man #15: I echo Donovan, but I'll add that each issue has been unique. Even though some scenes have been cloned (RE: Spider-Man on the ceiling), the end results were vastly different each time around.

Jessica Jones #7: Exceptionally solid issue.

Bullseye #3: Okay issue. I think I'll finish out the storyline.

Comics: 270

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Justice League/Power Rangers #1: surprised me by how much I liked this.

KISS #4: kind of a boring issue.

Khaal #1: there's a lot of early Metal Hurlant worship in sci fi comics these days. This is one of those. It's a terrible example. Ugh.

Lobster Johnson Garden of Bones #1: fun.

Lucifer #14: here's my door out. Female John  Constantine was the last straw.

Monsters Unleashed #1: hahahahahahahahhahahaha....fuck you.

Moonshine #4: solid.

Motro #3: remember the Metal Hurlant worship? Good example right here.

Namesake #3: see above

Nightwing #13: ok.

Ninjak #23: fucking great.

Occupy Avengers #3: really good. 

Peepland #3: still great. Totally the standout of this line.

Red Hood & The Outlaws #6: lovely.

Reggie & Me #2: fun. 

Rocket Raccon #2: not so fun.

Shipwreck #3: Phil Hester is on top of his fucking game. I still have no fucking clue what's going on in this series.

Spider-Man #12: I think we're done here.

Squadron Supreme #15: beautiful. Overall, the best series Marvel had going in recent years.

Comics: 345
Trades: 21

Graphic Novels: 9

Omnibuses: 6

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Justice League/Power Rangers #1: surprised me by how much I liked this.

Same. I went in expecting big dumb fun, but walked away thinking it was smarter than it had any right to be.

On a somewhat related note, have you read Star Trek / Green Lantern: The Spectrum War? It's basically an Elseworlds were Nekron successfully destroyed the entire DCU, resulting in a desperate Ganthet sending the GLC and other ring-bearers into the current Star Trek Universe. It too was quite fun and ended in a way I truly did not expect. It also resulted in a sequel, which is four issues in at this point, called Star Trek / Green Lantern: Stranger Worlds.

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Justice League/Power Rangers #1: surprised me by how much I liked this.

Same. I went in expecting big dumb fun, but walked away thinking it was smarter than it had any right to be.

On a somewhat related note, have you read Star Trek / Green Lantern: The Spectrum War? It's basically an Elseworlds were Nekron successfully destroyed the entire DCU, resulting in a desperate Ganthet sending the GLC and other ring-bearers into the current Star Trek Universe. It too was quite fun and ended in a way I truly did not expect. It also resulted in a sequel, which is four issues in at this point, called Star Trek / Green Lantern: Stranger Worlds.

It's on the list. Very soon.

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America #2: I didn't dislike it as much as the first issue, but I still only appreciated the art. As she's written, America's pretty unlikable. She behaves like a petulant child, but isn't she like 20 years old? That's one thing, but the book is woefully unaware of how irritating she is and continues to have all its characters fawn over her and say she's awesome. :rolleyes:

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Conan and the Jewels of Gwahlur: P Craig Russell does Conan. That's all that needs to be said.

Descender vol 2: Well shit, Lemire and Nguyen have my attention. Nguyen does gorgeous watercolor here, and the story keeps unfurling in a wonderful way. Well done. 

Single Issues: 136
Trades/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 28
Omnibuses: 1

Edited by Venneh

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Black Widow #1-12: From the no-adjective-will-do-it-proper-justice visual storytelling to the pitch-perfect characterization of Widow, from her never using sexuality to achieve her goals to the The Weeping Lion having a genuine reason to hate Black Widow, from the terrifying young assassins to the threat of the jealous Recluse, this is one of the best 12-issue series you'll ever read. While dealing with the smaller threads, Waid and Samnee never forget the bigger picture, and they don't forgo smaller character moments for the sake of the next action beat. There's even a perfect balance between small and big action; sometimes Widow takes care of a situation with the quiet grace of a ballerina, while other times she's the loudest cannon to ever fire upon an opposing force. Simply put, she is whatever the situation needs her to be, but she's never an unstoppable beast; sometimes even The Black Widow needs friends and allies.

My one gripe, though, is how the Weeping Lion story ends. Please note my wording: it does not complete or even conclude, it ends. Was this because Waid and Samnee got word the series was closing at the 12th issue, or was it always the plan? I can't say (though I suspect the former), but, either way, the characters deserved a better finale to their portion of the series.

Despite that one complaint, Black Widow is one of those books that I can see myself rereading every few years, discovering new things each time. It'll be interesting to see how the conclusion plays out in the rest of the Marvel Universe; will the graduates of The Dark Room have a greater role to play, will Widow mentor some of them, or will they be forgotten? Hopefully someone will pick up the threads Waid and Samnee purposely left dangling, but, if not, it's still an exceptionally satisfying series. (A Black Widow / Wolverine crossover, with Widow and a Dark Room graduate at her side teaming with Wolverine and Gabby, is my fantasy series at the moment.)

As an aside, the opening of Black Widow #8 feels like an homage to the opening of The Stepfather. Anyone else get that sense? (EDIT: After tweeting Chris Samnee, he says he's never seen The Stepfather, so it's simply a coincidence.)

Red Hood: The Lost Days #1-6: Serving as a Year One-like story (but spanning several years), this six-issue miniseries fills in the gaps between Jason Todd's resurrection and his reappearance in Gotham as The Red Hood. We see how he goes from a virtual zombie to a master assassin, converting his non-lethal training into deadly attacks along the way. The book also does a good job transitioning Jason from wanting to murder Batman to wanting to become a better Batman. Though revenge against The Joker is in his heart, he can't not save people, especially children. And the way he's able to focus his rage into becoming The Red Hood is an obvious-but-apt parallel with Bruce doing the same to become Batman.

I do, however, question the timeline. Jason died in Batman #427 and Tim Drake officially became Robin in #457. While that's two years' worth of issues (December 1988 - December 1990), it can't be more than a year within the timeline. The reason I mention this is because Jason clearly spends several years honing his deadly skill set, yet there's a scene where Jason learns of the new Robin, and it's played as if Tim has only just been christened as the new Robin. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter, but it did pull me out of the story just a little bit as I started to do Continuity MathTM.

While I can't say I'll reread this one, it was a quick, enjoyable read.

Comics: 288

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I hated Talia and Jason sleeping together. That reeked of Judd Winnick not knowing how to have male/female interactions without sex happening.

Tim being Robin had to have happened no more than a year after Jason died, so that's something to gleefully ignore.

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Action Comics #977: Another retelling of Superman's origin. Nothing new here.

Comics: 289

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Action Comics #977: A smidge confusing but ultimately a good jumping-on point, re-establishing what's in continuity for Superman's origin. Half of it, the Smallville half, is just Geoff Johns Secret Origins again, which is fine because it's not the stupid bits. Overall everything that's basic about his origin is left intact with no embellishments. I'm not a fan of Lex coming from Smallville but whateves.

Detective Comics #954: All worth it for the final scene.

Amazing Spider-Man #26 (vol.4): Why am I still reading this?

Sam Wilson: Captain America #21: Still solid. 

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Deadpool vs. The Punisher #1: Kinda fun. Maybe I'll read the rest of the mini.

Weapon X #1 (2017): This is good. Like, really good.

Comics: 291

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X-Men BLUE #1: A bit better than X-Men: GOLD's story, greatly improved by the last page.

Motor Crush #5:  Wow I was not ready for that. And I'm sure the book was either. Only five issues in and a major game changer happens that upsets the foundation of the series.

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