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The Master

Every comic you've read in 2017

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Insexts 10: I'm still marginally interested in Insexts because even though I nitpick the hell out of this thing, it remains full bore strange in a way that a lot of its contemporaries aren't. There's a beat in the comic where there's a full page splash, a normal page, into a double page splash into yet another full page splash. It's a choice that's jarring that could've been improved by either a) the team giving up one of the splashes for story or b) Aftershock giving the team another page, since there's already house ads in the back of the issue.

Wic/Div 28: There's some killin'. Shouts out to the Baphomet beat, too. There's some really heavy spoilers, so what I'll say is it's a genius use of those ridiculous Andrew Eldritch glasses Baphomet wears.

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WicDiv 28: FUCK. That's an end of arc issue for sure. 

Single Issues: 137
Trades/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 28
Omnibuses: 1

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Red Hood and the Outlaws #9: It shocks me how much I'm enjoying this book.

Comics: 292

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The Champions #7 (2017): Yet another book that's all about the current Marvel mode of 2010s Social Justice, but this title was always more about that. Waid doesn't make it too cookie cutter, but it still feels like a cog in the machine of a pandering trend. Still, because the characters are teenagers it earns the nature of their naivete more. And I still am a fan of Humberto Ramos' art, even if he can't not give characters the wrong tonal facial expression.

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Star-Lord #2: this was ok.

Suicide Squad #9: this is good. Very good.

Superman #15: very weary of multiversal stories.

Superwoman #6: alright, the shine is coming off this one pretty quick.

TMNT Universe #6: i mean, they are JUST getting around to a Mutanimals story. This is bullshit.

The Assignment #1: I can't remember a thing about this. I guess I'm not reading any more.

The Few #1: I'm interested.

The Lost Boys #4: decent.

The Mighty Thor #15: this was fucking crazy.

Triggerman #4: this was ok.

USAvengers #2: this was good.

Uncanny X-Men #17: this was very not good.

Violent Love #3: i need a slow-burn crime comic like I need another hole in my head. I'm out.

WWE #1: Whoa...a behind the scenes WWE comic that promotes kayfabe view of things. It kind of makes me pine for the days when a WWE comic would be the wrestler's character being a bounty hunter or some shit.

Brigands #3: we're done here. The story loses its shine while the art is atrocious. 

Briggs Land #6: solid.

Action Comics #972: this was REALLY good.

All-New X-Men #18: this was also pretty good. Young Cyclops is still dealing with Adult Cyclops' actions. Which makes sense. 

Archie #16: still great. Amazing Dilton Doiley moments here. Never thought I'd type that.

Batman #16: This was kind of delightful.

Blood Blister #1: Loved this!

Bloodshot USA #4: cool enough ending.

Bullseye #1: this was fun.

Captain America Steve Rogers #10: this is starting to get stupid.

Comics: 369
Trades: 21

Graphic Novels: 9

Omnibuses: 6

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Batman/Wildcat: By Chuck Dixon, Beau Smith and Serigo Cariello

An Underground Cage Fighting Ring in Gotham pits Killer Croc against Wildcat, which ends with the latter getting brutally murdered. Batman investigates and finds out that it's some poor shmuck in a Wildcat costume, while Ted Grant himself learns of the murder and has a mad-on for whomever's responsible. A very fun, solid three parter involving Lock-Up, the KG Beast and other B-listers. Part 3 homages the Brave and the Bold issue Mike and Dan covered by having Batman and Wildcat fight with spiked gloves. The artwork is very energetic and 90s without being crazy. Recommended. 

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Black Cloud 1: Edited by a friend. Basically an urban fantasy thing that does amazing work with colors (Matt fuckin' Wilson y'all), and has my attention. 

Godshaper 1: Spurrier is having fun with this one. Alt history that's a blend of the 50s and 30s with magic, to quote him from the back matter, "a super-visual form of our existing capitalist system, based on metaphysics instead of physics". Art's gorgeous too. 

Motor Crush 5: Interesting twist, and good way to keep raising the stakes. Babs is having so much with the art on this, and she really gets to show off this issue. Well done, kids.

Single Issues: 140
Trades/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 28
Omnibuses: 1

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Carnage #16: holy shit, this whole series was way better than it ever deserved to be. Thanks Gerry Conway for basically rbinging Tomb of Dracula back in the modern age (albeit, sans Dracula or any of the characters from the book).

Champions #5: I will never like or understand enjoying Gwenpool.

Civil War II The Oath: Jesus...Nick Spencer is really channeling Bendis here because this is just solid fucking dialogue. What a terrible slog.

D4VEocracy #1: very rarely am I aggravated by reading a comic. This is one of those times.

Dante #1: this is basically a graphic novel oneshot that is a really fun setup. Wondering if they'll carry it through or if it's a proof of concept for a TV show.

Dead Inside #2: this REALLY got rolling.

Deathstroke #11: this is a pretty bleak look at gun-violence in Chicago/America but it's hard to read without thinking that it was remarkably influenced by the never-released (but then released years later) Hellblazer story by Warren Ellis called "Shoot." Like REALLY influenced.

Detective Comics #949: good send-off for Batwoman from this series. Kind of a zero issue for her continuing adventures.

Divinity III Stalinverse #2: fuck yeah.

Comics: 378
Trades: 21

Graphic Novels: 9

Omnibuses: 6

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Based on Des' comments above, I thought I'd look at Deathstroke #11 and the controversial Hellblazer story Shoot.

Deathstroke #11: Mixed feelings on this one. On one hand, I loved the Jack Ryder portion of the book. His investigative brain ran circles around everyone, including the frustrated detective. The way he was able to quickly deduce the woman's story was false and then piece together the truth made me want to read a Christopher Priest-penned Jack Ryder book. But then Ryder turned into The Creeper. At that point, not only did the book stop making sense, it transformed from a gritty crime novel with twists and turns and the want for revenge into a cliched comic book with awful cackling dialogue. Despite that, give it a try. The Creeper stuff lasts only a handful of pages, and the final line (though I don't agree with it) is perfectly in-character for Deathstroke.

Hellblazer: Shoot: While I remember loving this when I first read the bootlegged / scanned pages in the early 2000s, and again when I read it after it was finally printed a decade (or so) later, this time around I actively disliked it. Once John Constantine shows up, the comic crawls up its own ass in terms of the "American kids don't know how to feel anything other than crushing despair" angle. It's an angry, naive, in-the-moment lashing out at a dire situation; this type of story requires focus, wisdom, and reflection if it's meant to mean anything. Shoot is an essay without a conclusion, and the revelation is both forced and false; it was written to fit Ellis' faulty thesis that American children and teenagers are without hope and a future. Glad though I may be that a supernatural element was not employed to explain away schoolyard shootings, I cannot and do not accept what this book is trying to sell. 

Comics: 294

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Based on Des' comments above, I thought I'd look at Deathstroke #11 and the controversial Hellblazer story Shoot.

Deathstroke #11: Mixed feelings on this one. On one hand, I loved the Jack Ryder portion of the book. His investigative brain ran circles around everyone, including the frustrated detective. The way he was able to quickly deduce the woman's story was false and then piece together the truth made me want to read a Christopher Priest-penned Jack Ryder book. But then Ryder turned into The Creeper. At that point, not only did the book stop making sense, it transformed from a gritty crime novel with twists and turns and the want for revenge into a cliched comic book with awful cackling dialogue. Despite that, give it a try. The Creeper stuff lasts only a handful of pages, and the final line (though I don't agree with it) is perfectly in-character for Deathstroke.

Hellblazer: Shoot: While I remember loving this when I first read the bootlegged / scanned pages in the early 2000s, and again when I read it after it was finally printed a decade (or so) later, this time around I actively disliked it. Once John Constantine shows up, the comic crawls up its own ass in terms of the "American kids don't know how to feel anything other than crushing despair" angle. It's an angry, naive, in-the-moment lashing out at a dire situation; this type of story requires focus, wisdom, and reflection if it's meant to mean anything. Shoot is an essay without a conclusion, and the revelation is both forced and false; it was written to fit Ellis' faulty thesis that American children and teenagers are without hope and a future. Glad though I may be that a supernatural element was not employed to explain away schoolyard shootings, I cannot and do not accept what this book is trying to sell. 

Comics: 294

Ha! Basically, my thoughts exactly.

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Clive Barker's Nightbreed Archive vol 1: I'm of two minds. This includes the film adaptation, a short from Epic comics, the rest of the first year of the epic comics run and the Jihad crossover with Hellraiser. Good stuff. The ongoing got better later on though and I'm afraid it will never get collected. The Hellraiser crossover, I'm sure, went a long way toward getting this published as a nice hardcover. Without that, will there be the interest and sales to validate volume 2? When even DC can't seem to finish publishing the Bwahahaha era JLI stuff, I can't say for sure,

Astro City Honor Guard: this is the best Astro City I've read since the original run. Just some solid beautiful and fun stories from lesser known members of the Honor Guard. Busiek has a way of putting a new character's 30 year-long publishing history into a single issue and make it all matter.

Deadly Class vol 5: holy fuck. This new class is awesome, especially Helmut and Zenzele. Still, I'm mindblown at the ending.

Grand Passion #2,3: some solid crime comics, right here.

Hellboy Winter Special: one great story, one decent and another awful.

Comics: 381
Trades: 23

Graphic Novels: 9

Omnibuses: 7

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Superman #21: Oooohhhh! Superdad is pissed!

Batman #21: Part one of The Button, and man was this good!

Nightwing #19: I love this book.

Comics: 297

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The Wild Storm #3: Very solid action issue, and it's nice to see the team forming.

Comics: 298

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Nightwing #19 (2016): Yeah this has been pretty good.

All-Star Batman #9: Didn't love this one, which is odd for a Scott Snyder/Jock Batman comic. For once, I really dislike Snyder's voice for the characters. Bruce and Ra's all talked like they were in a SyFy movie, saying "Damn" every fourth word. And since Ra's is currently featured in 'Tec, I didn't really care to see him pop up in this.

Batman #21 (2016): Kind of a fight issue with no real movement aside from more "MYYYYYSSSSTERIES". I assume that the over-the-top violence is meant to reflect how mean-old Watchmen ruined Dad's DC Comics. Jason Fabok kills the art as always though.

Ms. Marvel #16-#17 (2016): I love Kamala Khan. I've been reading her books since she first appeared, and have not looked back. G. Willow Wilson hasn't lost a step in the three or four years the character has had a book, and the wrap-up to this story is no exception.

Totally Awesome Hulk #18: I wasn't digging the middle part of this arc, but the first and this final part were very good. Glad it's over tho.

 

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Define mind blown. :P

 

Hidden Content

 

Hidden Content

Me too, a little bit. The book's so fucking good that it's easy to forgive, though.

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Hulk #2: I'll watch Jennifer Walters try not to turn into the Hulk for issue after issue if they're all this good. This is some solid shit.

Infamous Iron Man #4: These two series (this and Hulk) are some of the best things Marvel's got going right now.

Infinite 7 #1: ugh...no.

Inhumans vs X-Men #2,3: not bad. Not great though.

Josie and the Pussycats #4: I don't know for the life of me, how you can follow up three awesome issues with this pile of shit. So fucking bad.

Justice League #12, 13: 12 is the secret origin of Max Lord and it's fucking brilliant. 13 is pure garbage.

Justice League vs Suicide Squad #6: overall, a very good event with some very mediocre (and one fucking great) tie-in issue.

KISS The Demon #1: so this is the prequel to the other KISS series? Ok. This was a whole lot of meh. I'll give it one more.

Kong of Skull Island #7: this was ok.

Lady Castle #1: there's a really easy premise to get mediocre comics published and this is one of them. But calling this mediocre is so very generous.

Loose Ends #1: do I need another crime comic? Maybe. I'll give it another.

Midnighter and Apollo #5: really good.

Monsters Among Us #0: ok, maybe not.

Nightwing #14: glad this arc is over. It was about two issues too long.

No Angel #2: decent.

Nova #3: this is another Marvel book that's killing it.

Comics: 399
Trades: 23

Graphic Novels: 9

Omnibuses: 7

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And Nova's cancelled at issue 7, so *shrugs*

Im waiting to see how these next few issues turn out re: Deadly Class, immediate follow up feels like it got derailed by that last issue.

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Superman #84-85: Toyman abducts and kills Cat Grant's son, Adam, leading her to seek murderous revenge.

Tonally, issue #84 is all over the place. A bright, sunny, life-loving Superman takes Lois on a date in Paris. Meanwhile, Toyman is snatching up children all over Metropolis, resulting in Adam's heroic death. While there's nothing wrong with attempting to balance light and dark stories in the same book, it didn't quite work here. This is due to the fact that it begins in an extremely dark place before shifting to the lighter scenes; it needed to build to the dark from the light, turning an upbeat story about love and life into a tragic one about loss and death.

That said, I like what DC was doing here. This was their way of telling a grim story without aping early Image. (These are dated December 1993 and January 1994, after all.) It's mature, as opposed to EXTREME~! And while Toyman sleeping in a crib is a bit much, he's treated as someone who is deeply troubled and needs extensive help. This version of Toyman is not trying to control Metropolis or destroy Superman; this version of Toyman is trying to save children from, what he deems to be, harmful parents. In a small way, he's been remade into the Norman Bates of the DCU, and Superman sees this in him.

As for Cat Grant, there's an amazing sequence where you're led to believe she's going to sink back into her alcoholism, but then she pulls a gun and you realize things just went from bad to worse for her. But, again, they attempt to use a dual narrative, which hurts the overall impact. Our focus should be on Cat as she mourns, falls into an abyss, then makes her way to murder Toyman. Instead, we spend more time following Superman's quest to capture Toyman, making the story about him rather than the grieving mother. Granted, these are early 90s Superman comics, so one can't judge them by 2017 standards, but the narrative seems skewed even for the time.

These are worth the read, despite my issues, as they fundamentally alter characters and the world in which they live. (My understanding is the other Superman books depict Adam's funeral, as well as more of Cat's mourning, so I might seek those out.)

As an aside, Superman finding the treasure chest is so much fun! Despite being, you know, Superman, he turns into a gleeful child at that moment.

Comics: 300

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Star Trek / Green Lantern: Stranger Worlds #5: This is going to get bloody. And I'll be shocked if there's not a third installment.

Comics: 301

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Superman #84-85: Toyman abducts and kills Cat Grant's son, Adam, leading her to seek murderous revenge.

Tonally, issue #84 is all over the place. A bright, sunny, life-loving Superman takes Lois on a date in Paris. Meanwhile, Toyman is snatching up children all over Metropolis, resulting in Adam's heroic death. While there's nothing wrong with attempting to balance light and dark stories in the same book, it didn't quite work here. This is due to the fact that it begins in an extremely dark place before shifting to the lighter scenes; it needed to build to the dark from the light, turning an upbeat story about love and life into a tragic one about loss and death.

That said, I like what DC was doing here. This was their way of telling a grim story without aping early Image. (These are dated December 1993 and January 1994, after all.) It's mature, as opposed to EXTREME~! And while Toyman sleeping in a crib is a bit much, he's treated as someone who is deeply troubled and needs extensive help. This version of Toyman is not trying to control Metropolis or destroy Superman; this version of Toyman is trying to save children from, what he deems to be, harmful parents. In a small way, he's been remade into the Norman Bates of the DCU, and Superman sees this in him.

As for Cat Grant, there's an amazing sequence where you're led to believe she's going to sink back into her alcoholism, but then she pulls a gun and you realize things just went from bad to worse for her. But, again, they attempt to use a dual narrative, which hurts the overall impact. Our focus should be on Cat as she mourns, falls into an abyss, then makes her way to murder Toyman. Instead, we spend more time following Superman's quest to capture Toyman, making the story about him rather than the grieving mother. Granted, these are early 90s Superman comics, so one can't judge them by 2017 standards, but the narrative seems skewed even for the time.

These are worth the read, despite my issues, as they fundamentally alter characters and the world in which they live. (My understanding is the other Superman books depict Adam's funeral, as well as more of Cat's mourning, so I might seek those out.)

As an aside, Superman finding the treasure chest is so much fun! Despite being, you know, Superman, he turns into a gleeful child at that moment.

Comics: 300

Everything surrounding Adam's death is brutal, even if it's not depicted on the page. I find it a little funny that Lois and Clark are yuking it up in Paris, and return to have Jimmy basically say "Because you went on random vacation, Toyman killed Cat's son. This is all your fault"

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Star Trek / Green Lantern: Stranger Worlds #5: This is going to get bloody. And I'll be shocked if there's not a third installment.

Comics: 301

Did I miss an earlier crossover? I thought everyone seemed VERY familiar in the first issue.

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Yup, there was a six-part series called Star Trek / Green Lantern: Spectrum War which was released last year. Star Trek / Green Lantern: Stranger Worlds is a direct sequel.

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