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The Master

Every comic you've read in 2017

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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.

That makes sense. Must have missed that. I read issue one and I was like "well, that kicked off quickly!"

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Super Sons #3: Another strong, funny look at these two.

Nick Fury #1 (2017): You have my attention. This is a one-off story that will clearly lead to something bigger as the series plays out. But that's not why you're going to love this one; it's the art by ACO that will bring you in, hook you, and keep your attention. When a book consists mostly of double-page spreads, you can pretty much rest assured you'll spend only a few minutes reading it. Nick Fury #1 is quite the opposite, however, as it is overflowing with beautiful details, truly cinematic action, and cool character designs. It's Jim Steranko meets JH Williams III, yet entirely its own beast. And that's with much thanks to Rachelle Rosenberg's colors. She brings a rarely seen pastel color palette to the comic, giving it a truly exotic look for a modern mainstream action book.

Comics: 303

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Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie #2: Nancy has begun to show her hand, yet the mystery grows. Very well-crafted.

Comics: 304

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Old Man Logan #17: ok, this was a little much. I'm done with issue-long fever dreams at this point.

Planet of the Apes Green Lantern #1: this was slow to start but looks like it could be very cool. Will read another one or two.

Reborn #4: this is moving faster than expected. I'm enjoying this.

Red Sonja #1: holy fuck, even though this plot if lifted right out of a Conan What If? issue I'm loving it.

Savage #3: took me three issues to realize I didn't like this. And I've already got the fourth and final issue. Ugh.

Skybourne #3: dumb fun with gorgeous art.

Spell on Wheels #4: still good.

Star Trek/Green Lantern #1, 2: read these and was kind of confused with how familiar everyone was with each other. Turns out I missed a whole miniseries crossover. Will go back and read those before continuing on here. Thanks Mike. :)

Suicide Squad #10: not the best tie-in/epilogue.

Superman #16: ugh, is it over?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #66: feels like this is in flux. Nothing's really happening anymore after so much forward movement. They did so much and now I'm bored with it because crazy shit is not constantly happening.

The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom #2: not sure how I feel about this.

The Flintstones #8: still one of the best comics being made. So weird. They cram so much satire of modern life here that it risks being too much, but they keep delivering. Solid.

Green Hornet Reign of the Demon #1, 2: these are so fucking dense and take a long time to read but there is no more story than any other regular comics. They're clearly over-written. 

The Kamandi Challenge #1: fuck. off.

Odyssey of the Amazons #1: ugh...garbage.

The Unstoppable Wasp #2: this is really fun.

The X-Files #10. Fucking great. One of the best openings of a comic I've ever read.

Uber Invasion #2: fuck...most of this is an autopsy of Boston in the form of a newsreel after the Nazi superpowered invasion. It's fucking grim.

Unholy #1: no thanks.

Vampirella #0: one of the best single issue horror comics I've read in a long time.

Comics: 422
Trades: 23

Graphic Novels: 9

Omnibuses: 7

Edited by Dread

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Yes, Roya: Short erotic comic that combines m/f/m femdom, the 60s, cartoons, and a really well done plot centering on our main character. Got this at the recommendation of the writer, and it's one of my favorites of the weekend. 

Shutter vol 2-3: First off: Del Duca does some absofuckinglutely amazing things with process and deconstruction over these volumes. Second: think I'm getting the shape of the story, but not entirely sure, and I can live with this. Well done, looking forward to seeing how this continues to play out.

Princess Princess Ever After: Think I remember when this used to be on tumblr. A twist on the standard princess formula that deals with toxic family, lesbians, and standing up for yourself. Would give this to various female relatives as youngsters. The binding kinda sucks though.

Descender vol 3: Impressed with this; half to two thirds of the issues are flashbacks that fully flesh out our characters, and the last third or so moved the plot forward. Well done.

From Under Mountains: Collected volume of what's come out so far; apparently after this it's changing teams bc Marian and Brandon broke up. I still can't entirely tell what's going on, but Sloane Leong is gorgeous on this, and I'm sad she won't be coming back. 

Single Issues: 140
Trades/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 34
Omnibuses: 1

Edited by Venneh

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Caravaggio v1: Dark Horse released the first graphic album of Manara's biography of Caravaggio. MANARA DRAWS PRETTY, news at 11.
Yes, Roya: An erotic story involving a love triangle, cartooning and the politics of the 50-60s. Well done.
Princess Princess: A short story about little girls saving each other and family strife. Cute and kind.

Edited by jim
bolding okay

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Caravaggio v1: Dark Horse released the first graphic album of Manara's biography of Caravaggio. MANARA DRAWS PRETTY, news at 11.

Excited to get my copy.

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Batman: Face the Face: The storyline that served as the return of Batman (and Robin) from the year long hiatus during 52 after Infinite Crisis. James Robinson, Leonard Kirk and Don Kramer take up issues of both Batman and Detective for six months, re-establishing classic elements and firmly re-positioning Batman back in Gotham City.

It's a good story. There's a lot of continuity that's used here, especially from the 90s Batman era, but it's not 100% necessary to have a full knowledge of in order to read it. Lots of Post-Crisis villains are killed off in this, including the Arnold Wesker Ventriloquist, the KGBeast, Orca and Magpie. Two-Face returns after Harvey's face was cured during HUSH. Batman and Robin operate as a well-organized machine and Tim is adopted as Bruce's son (From here until the new 52, 2006-2011, it was unclear whether Tim was Tim Drake or Tim Wayne). The artwork is moody and solid, and actually resembles Batman the Animated Series in terms of its color palate.

Some things I don't care for, but they're more likely editorial mandates. Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Bullock return inexplicably just to re-set the status quo. Their departures from the GCPD were during big storylines and the four or five years they were away was during Gotham Central. It's completely hand-waved how they return (Robinson includes the fact that this is the third time Gordon's come back to the force), but inso doing flicks at Gotham Central, implying that Commissioner Atkins was corrupt and jettisoning all of the characters. Tim also is in his red and black costume, doubtlessly inspired by the New Batman Adventures. I never loved this design. I don't like Robin having full sleeves or having a lack of green. And Tim's initial suit is my favorite Robin design. Ultimately the new status quo actually resembles Batman the Animated Series quite a bit, and while that isn't a bad thing, it clearly cut some corners in getting there. It's also during the Cassandra-Cain-is-Evil era that was the worst thing ever.

But I love this era, and miss it dearly. After this, Paul Dini was on Detective Comics and Grant Morrison was on Batman. That era is sorely underappreciated, and has me yearning for it every time I think about it. 

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Southern Bastards v3: I'd seen some of the individual issues of this volume, but it's been a while since I read them, so doing this all again in one go was a good idea. The structure of this v3 is similar to Descender's v3, in that there are individual stories that tie into the greater whole. And man, they manage to make a highly dramatic comic about a single game of football. Special props to Chris Brunner for the absolutely nuts art stuff he does in issue 12. Roberta finally shows up on the scene in the last issue, and oh man, I can't wait to see where this powder keg goes now that she's landed. 

Boke Expressway: When this gets its head out of its own ass about music, it's a real good 70 pager about chasing a song you heard in a club with some really amazing visuals at times. Unfortunately, its head is in its own ass about 30% of the time about "What happened to old school trance?" and "why is it so hard to find ANY decent music these days?". There are several DPSes here that I think work better as prints than they do sequential storytelling, but you can tell there's improvement over the period of time he did this. 

East of West v6: I spent most of this issue trying to remember who all was who and what was going on last time I read this (it's been a while since I read v5, sue me), but this continues to be interesting. Could probably use a recap page, though. The last two issues were probably my favorites this time around. Let's see what all goes down here. 

Bloodshot Reborn v2: Guice isn't my favorite artist among the Valiant stable, but still does some real good stuff. Lemire does real good at unravelling the mystery, and the final twist to it. I was also able to pretty easily pick it up from having read the last volume... almost a year ago, I want to say, so that's a good point in its favor. 

Zodiac Starforce v1: (Now designating this as v1, since there is a confirmed v2 coming out this summer.) Good to be able to read this all in one go (the original had some pretty severe delays towards the end), and it's great to see some of the extras in the back (process work, some of the old stuff, extra covers, etc). Solid magical girl vein story, and sets up some good stuff for future volumes. Also, just a nice, fun, fluffy thing to read in the morning here. (Also, Paulina is amazing at this kind of stuff, and she sneaks fun cameos/easter eggs in without it being annoying.)

XO-Manowar 2: *vigorous nodding, thumbs up* Continues with gorgeous art and transitions into a "war hero leads a squad of doomed compatriots on a suicide mission" type story, still very much my thing. 

Brittannia: We Who Are About To Die 2: To quote Jim, "they got the GOOD Peter Milligan". Ryp continues to be gorgeous, I managed to jump into this without having read any of the last series yet (I know). 

Single Issues: 142
Trades/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 39
Omnibuses: 1

Edited by Venneh

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Secret Weapons 1: More about this on the podcast. Quick summary? HELL YEAH HELL YEAH HELL FUCKING YEAH. Allen and Martin are a team to watch, always. I'm in. 

Josie and the Pussycats 6: The Frozen jokes were a bit played out, but the Golden Compass and Beastie Boys references are A+. Also a pretty solid family story, while also dealing with a brother sister duo that are basically the Trumps. Art takes a bit of a dive here on some pages, but I get the sense that's because ice architecture and armored polar bears. 

Batwoman 2: Good solid exposition and setup work, solid art, and enough pieces laid out in terms of past and present that I am very intrigued. Let's see where this goes. (Jim says please get Tynion off the book bc he's guessing he's the cause of some of the really rough dialogue, and I am inclined to agree.) Also: the Bernie tribute in back made me fucking sob on the train, well done. 

Monstress 11: SANA FUCKING TAKEDA GODFUCKINGDAMNIT HOW IS SHE SO GOOD. The normal gorgeousness combined with great contrasts in the coloring work this issue just fucking nail it. Plus, the story is starting to coalesce in a larger way. Will this probably be better on the trade in terms of making sense? Yeah. Do I care? Fuck no. 

Bitch Planet 10: Will be talking more of this on the podcast (and necessarily vague bc of spoiler agreements with Image), but you can feel the rage at the election in this issue on so many levels, especially in the back content. Also some really good panel composition work and color work that plays up some very good/interesting choices on the part of the art team. 

Black Monday Murders 5: As someone who just finished Shock Doctrine, there is a very special glee/dread of seeing Bolivia mentioned in the first two pages of this issue. Some dialogue in here that I am half convinced that people actually have said to Hickman while he was hammering this out. Builds on the last arc and very nicely begins to spin the threads for the next one. 

Single Issues: 148
Trades/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 39
Omnibuses: 1

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The Flash #21: Holy shit, this is good! Part two of "The Button" is filled with great characterization for Barry and Bruce, sets up a lot of questions and teasers, and ends on a killer cliffhanger. I also cannot believe how much I've come around on Howard Porter. He nails every page.

Comics: 305

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Detective Comics #955: Good stuff. Marcio Takara is a good Cassandra artist. Still don't love Tynion's simplifying, mostly in how one dimensionally evil Lady Shiva is, but it's good for what it is.

Flash #21 (2016): Much more development on THE BUTTON than the Batman issue. Further acknowledgment that the DC Universe is time displaced, not different universes. References to Pre Crisis, Crisis on Infinite Earths and Identity Crisis make me happy.

Teen Titans #7 (2016): The Jackson Hyde/Kaulder'aan Aqualad is reintroduced in this. Solid issue, but Damian is insufferable in this comic. Pulling rank over Starfire drives me nuts.

Batman Beyond #7 (2016): Man that new costume is growing on me. Mainly due to Ben Chang's art.

Batgirl #10 (2016): Props to Hope Larson for an issue that totally bucks the "writing for the trade" trend of modern comics. This needs to be read scene by scene. It's okay.

Action Comics #978: If the previous part established that the Krypton origins and landing on Earth are as basic and simple as it gets, and the Smallville life was basically Geoff Johns Secret Origin, Superman's current past in Metropolis is straight-Post Crisis 90s era. Death from Doomsday, Coast City explosion, Our Worlds at War Zod, Electric Blue Suit. Heck even Conduit is back. 

Most interestingly, it seems as though the years lost to the rest of the DCU have been restored to Superman. We see Lois and Clark got married, Lois got pregnant, and the family take a sabbatical for an unspecified amount of time to fit in the Lois and Clark miniseries. Meaning that Superman was off the grid for a few years when Jon was growing up. I find this melding of continuities pretty interesting, especially implying that at one point Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman all wore their new 52 costumes for a time in between the classic suits and the current designs.

Patsy Walker a.k.a. Hellcat #17: Final issue of a series that always felt a touch too silly for me. Plus I never cottoned to the wannabe manga artwork, and the continuity was REALLY bad. The book INSISTED that Hellcat's identity has always been a secret, when Patsy Walker wrote a book and went on talk shows about being Hellcat and married to Damion Hellstrom for years.

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Huh...according to Wikipedia:

 

His power of flight was discovered by his one-time mentor and team leader Peter Wisdom, who analyzed his mutation after the High Evolutionary devolved and re-evolved all mutants on Earth, and Wisdom forced James to incorporate this ability in his fighting style.[43] This power was ignored for a while, as writer Ed Brubaker did not understand how Warpath's speed and strength would allow it.[citation needed] However, Warpath's fighting style in the Messiah Complex storyline showed his flight powers,[44] and X-Force shows him flying for long distances.[volume & issue needed] It has since been suggested by writer Christopher Yost that Warpath felt "rather embarrassed by the whole flying thing."[45]

 

Apparently since X-Force #104, but then ignored by Brubaker but then sort of?

Ironically, if his brother was able to fly he'd still be alive today!

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Huh. I was always under the impression he was a great brawler with a love for the knives. Hell, I don't even know what his mutant powers are. Apparently he has a healing factor, though. Because everyone does these days.

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Caravaggio v1: Dark Horse released the first graphic album of Manara's biography of Caravaggio. MANARA DRAWS PRETTY, news at 11.

Excited to get my copy.

It's exactly what you expect from this, for better and for worse.

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Caravaggio v1: Dark Horse released the first graphic album of Manara's biography of Caravaggio. MANARA DRAWS PRETTY, news at 11.

Excited to get my copy.

It's exactly what you expect from this, for better and for worse.

Then I'll be happy.

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Superman #2 (1987): Rubbish! Lex has everything he needs to prove Clark Kent and Superman are the same person, with the evidence being so obvious it's painful, yet he denies it because he doesn't think anyone with Superman's power would "pretend to be a mere human." While it's meant to demonstrate Luthor's ego and inability to grasp basic human kindness, Luthor comes across as woefully and willfully stupid here. I mean:

  • Clark Kent graduates high school, then falls off the map for four years.
  • During the four-year gap, Martha Kent stops scrap-booking about her son and begins saving articles about mysteriously averted disasters.
  • Superman begins his career, and, in the same scrapbook about her son and those averted disasters, Martha begins saving clippings about Superman.
    • IN THE SAME BOOK!
      • IN THE SAME BOOK!
        • IN THE SAME BOOK!
  • Lex and his assistant enter all of this into their click-click-click-whirr-click-whirr-computer, which says, "Uh... duh! You needed me to connect these two dots?"
  • To which Lex says, "Pfft! Fuck that noise," fires his assistant, and has all of the data expunged.

Fucking stupid!

The only way this works is if Luthor feigned his anger and disbelief in order to make his assistant (who believes the computer's analysis) not believe it, that way only he would know the truth about Clark Kent / Superman. But, to my knowledge, it never plays out that way down the line.

Comics: 307

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The only way this works is if Luthor feigned his anger and disbelief in order to make his assistant (who believes the computer's analysis) not believe it, that way only he would know the truth about Clark Kent / Superman. But, to my knowledge, it never plays out that way down the line.

It does not.

I remember that issue very well, and as a kid I remember enjoying it, until that last page. This was the point where John Byrne was at pretty much the pinnacle of his fame, and DC was far less inclined to edit him than even Marvel had been by this point, so his very real deficiencies as a writer were coming through loud and clear.

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That reminds me of an awesome story I heard at a convention a couple of years back. By the time Byrne was at DC working on Superman, he was a monster. Just an absolute drizzling shit of a human being to be around and to work with.

One day he submitted a script that had a scene involving the quick melting of an iceberg or something similar, and one of the characters said, "Look at all the liquid water!" Now water is, by its very definition, liquid in nature, and the editorial team saw that and realized it was a terrible line and really ought not to go out like that.

However, at this point, you did not call John Byrne and tell him his script was anything less than perfection and suggest changes, and you certainly didn't take it upon yourself to just go ahead and fix it in editing, because either of those moves would result in an hourlong phone call where Byrne would hurl threats and verbal abuse at the assistant editor unlucky enough to be given that role. However, at the same time, they knew that if the line went out as written, Byrne would look like an idiot.

"So, the choice is to either get it fixed and get obscenities screamed at us or we let it go and he becomes publically humiliated and why are we still even asking ourselves which one we should do and let's go to Bennigan's and the first round's on me."

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HA! That's awesome!

Also, he has three female faces: Storm, Susan Storm, and Wonder Woman. All other female characters share the same generic template, changed only by hairstyle and glasses.

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His male faces aren't that much more varied, but no, he's very reliant on hair and clothes to differentiate his women from one another.

And I say this as someone who loves his 70s-80s work.

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Bloodshot Reborn vols 3-4: Volume 3 and the bullshit "it's all in your head" twist at the end can fuck the fuck right off. The art wasn't spectacular, and it felt like a bad Mad Max fusion prior to that, but the twist moved a solidly mediocre volume into bullshit. Volume 4 (Bloodshot Island) is pretty amazing, though. We get follow through on some stuff that was mentioned back in volume 2, and what is a pretty great premise and great art by Suayan combining in a pitch perfect way. Also includes the Bloodshot Annual, which is worth it for the Bloodsquirt story alone. Skip vol 3, but vol 4 is worth your time.

Wrath of the Eternal Warrior 5-6: Turns out there were two issues I missed in the lead up to the Labyrinth arc where Juan Jose Ryp just lets loose and goes full Conan, and it's pretty goddamn great. Also explains one bit of Labyrinth that I didn't fully get when I was reading just the issues. (Also paged through the rest of the Labyrinth arc, because this was in the vol 2 collection, because goddamn, that fucking arc).

Doctor Strange: What Disturbs You, Stephen?: P Craig Russell does a reworking of a Doctor Strange annual he did back in the 70s. Both the expanded retelling and the original are included, which I really like, just to see the difference in how he does it 20 years on versus when he was just starting out. P Craig Russell is fucking gorgeous, news at 11, etc. Also includes some of his earlier art and inking work on Doctor Strange, some of which feels like they were grasping for content to fill out the trade, but hey, we found it for $10, we're not complaining.

Black Hammer vol 1: Totally not the Justice League getting stuck in a mysterious small town/Essex County Elseworld/AU story, no sirree. Lemire does great with the riffs on the golden age archetypes (Gail forever), and Dean Ormston does great at capturing both the small town dread and the Golden Age flashbacks, and differentiating between the two well. Very interested to see where this goes.

Black Hammer Annual: Great use of a uniting story to give it over to individual artist/writer teams to riff (including the Kindts, Nate Powell, Emi Lenox, Ray Fawkes, Mike Allred!) for a few pages each.

Caravaggio vol 1: MILO MANARA DOES LADIES AND SEX AND BOOBS PAINTING AND SWORDS REAL GOOD GUYS. Don't think this needs too much more than that. (Other than god bless Dark Horse pricing almost everything at 40 to 70% off in the last hours of a con because they don't want to drag shit back to Oregon.)

Single Issues: 151
Trades/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 44
Omnibuses: 1

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Warlords of Appalachia #4: Pretty decent.

Will Eisner's The Spirit The Corpsemakers #1: never been much of a fan of Eisner or The Spirit, but Francavilla is good, everyone. Just in case you didn't know that.

Action Comics #973: interesting angle.

All-New Wolverine #17: decent

Death Be Damned #1: terrible.

Deathstroke #12: I liked this.

Detective Comics #950: I loved this.

Doctor Crowe #1: cool character wasted on terrible storytelling.

Divinity III Shadowman and the Battle of New Stalingrad #1:  fucking great.

Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme #5: this is getting old.

Dollface #2: this is base and stupid, but I'm still a little intrigued. After all these bad girl reboots going on, this is the new property that's actually kind of good.

EVIL Heroes #5: this is officially the only Zenescope series worth a damn. Which is saying something seeing how long they've been around.

Foolkiller #4: THAT's what this series needed! A wacky rendez-vous with Deadpool *eyeroll*

Green Valley #5: fuck this is crazy.

Inhumans Vs X-Men #4: decent

Justice League of America Rebirth #1: I'm kind of impressed and a little delighted by this book despite it being a "put the team together" issue.

Justice League/Power Rangers #2: This was incredibly fun.

Kingpin #1: went in not digging, but was delightfully swayed. Caveat: Matt Fucking Murdock who a year ago in our time, but, what, a month ago in continuity? was disbarred is now the fucking District Attorney of New York? Stoooopud.

Comics: 440
Trades: 23

Graphic Novels: 9

Omnibuses: 7

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