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The Master

Every comic you've read in 2018

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Furious by Brian J.L. Glass and Victor Santos:

A six issue miniseries by Dark Horse, featuring a former child-star turned bad girl celebrity turned secret super powered crimefighter. It approaches several archetypes in the ways which comes off as commentary or satire, but it's really just an interesting story. The central character has rage issues but genuinely wants to be a beacon of hope (She wants her hero name to be "The Beacon", but an televised freakout results in her being dubbed Furious). We learn more of her backstory throughout the six issues, and by the final one I was pretty mad there was no more content with this character. The story leaves a lot of lingering threads, but this was back in 2014.

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol.II: Less complexly detailed than the first volume (only slightly) with a more straightforward plot, this is the series that freaked me the fuck out when I flipped through it back when I was in high school.

Spoiler

Mr. Hyde raping the Invisible Man to death drained all color from my face, and gave me trouble sleeping that night.

Reading it now, the content is still shocking and brutal, but there's a ton of dark comedy Moore thrusts in this one that I found to be pretty effective. The "TUNE IN NEXT TIME LADS!" blurbs at the end of every issue became funnier and funnier. He even has some really sinister fun with Hyde describing what happened to Griffin to Mina Murray in a way which cracked me up.

Trade Paperbacks: 2

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First comics of 2018!

Land of the Lustrous v4: This was probably my favorite comic from 2017, and the way this is swinging, will continue to be so into 2018. I keep wondering how the hell the last volume can be topped, and then the next goes and blows it out of the water. Amazing line work, stunning single page splashes, and unexpected plot twists. Fuck yeah. 

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card v1: The translation's finally come Stateside. It's really good to have CLAMP back in form (I really disliked the XXXHolic and Tsubasa eras), and fun to check in with the cast as a new threat comes to town and Sakura's power evolves as she goes into middle school.

Trades/Tankobon/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 2

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Superman #38 (2016): This was really comic-booky, not in a good way. Art was good, but a lot was going on from one scene to another with little time for characterization or characters not yelling. methinks this crossover has gotten out of hand.

Batman and the Signal #1: This wasn't bad. I'm not thoroughly familiar with Duke Thomas, the most I am with him was from All Star Batman, but the pacing was good, the character was likable, and it's a neat perspective for a new hero in Gotham. 

Batman - White Knight #4: Beguiling read as always

Batman #38 (2016): Wish I could like this single issue mystery better, but I wasn't following a lot of the leaps in logic. The discovery of the Denny O'Neil address from that non-Bible quote felt like it was right out of the sixties show. It's a cool idea for a story but I don't think was pulled off very well. Also Jeph Loeb did this already with Tommy Elliott. 

Nightwing #36 (2016): More straightforward than the last issue. Better.

Iron Fist #76: Good!

Spider-Man #236: One of the most action packed issues in a while

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Trade Paperbacks: 2

Single Issues: 7

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The Hard Place #1: fun and brutal start to a crime series. I'm in for more.

Van Helsing vs The Werewolf #1:had I known this was Chuck Dixon, I wouldn't have bothered. Obviously, it's garbage.

War Mother #1: this kind of sucked.

Weapon X #7: this was fucking awesome. This is the best greg land work I've ever seen. Looks more like John Cassaday. No porno tracing here.

X-Men Gold #10: not a huge fan of the art. Instead of aping Tom Raney, they should just hire Tom Raney. Still liking the story though.

Gwar Orgasmageddon #3: not great. Not going to bother with the rest.

Heavy Metal #287: I could have done without Grant Morrison's bullshit editorial pretending to even understand what heavy metal (the music) is. Jesus Christ. This is like listening to your fucking hippie grandfather at this point. Some of the stories were decent. Others not so.

Comics: 6

Trades: 1

Graphic Novels:

Omnibus:

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Hellboy In Hell Library Edition: Fucking hell, as a series that brings Hellboy full circle, as a crowning point of the team’s work, and an example of some of the best work the team’s ever done, you can’t get better than this. I’m kind of sad that Hellboy is coming back, but you can see the seeds for it laid out here.  

Trades/Tankobon/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 2

Omnibuses: 1

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Batman #38: The mystery is obvious, but the gut-punch at the end is worth it.

Rogue & Gambit #1: I walked away not hating Gambit. I'll give the next one a try.

Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #1: Very interesting take on these characters. They have my attention.

Comics: 3

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Infamous Iron Man #11: one of the sleeper hits Marvel had this year. There needs to be more monthly Doom.

John Carpenter's Tales of Science Fiction The Vault #2: 

Outrider #1: not great.

Paklis #4: yeah, this is not my cup of tea even though it is pretty to look at.

Rapture #4: Decent ending.

Robot Western  #1: no thanks.

The Normals #4: solid.

The X-Files #17: still great!

Vampirella #6: I usually don't enjoy this method of storytelling, but I'm really liking this.

X-Men Blue #10: holy shit this is bonkers,

All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #9: really good and interesting way to get to Baby Groot.

Astonishing X-Men #3,4: definitely my least favorite kind of X-Men story (it goes Psychic Plane Battles X-Men < Cosmic X-Men < Every other X-Men story) but I love the art and there's some solid character work here.

Batman #30: decent. 

Comics: 20

Trades: 1

Graphic Novels:

Omnibus:

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1 hour ago, Dread said:

Infamous Iron Man #11: one of the sleeper hits Marvel had this year. There needs to be more monthly Doom.

It looks like he'll be around in the new Marvel Two-in-One.

His interaction with Ben kicks off the series, and the ending implies he has a vested interest in Johnny and The Thing.

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3 hours ago, The Master said:

It looks like he'll be around in the new Marvel Two-in-One.

His interaction with Ben kicks off the series, and the ending implies he has a vested interest in Johnny and The Thing.

Makes sense. Looking forward to catching up.

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Captain America #697: Kraven hunts Captain America, but not for himself. Samnee, as always, nails body language and facial expressions. His Cap is bold and brave, but at times angry and innocent.

Hawkeye #14: Clint plans to save Kate (whose help she doesn't need) by bringing a Kate-clone (RE: Madame Masque) into the mix. Things go as you'd expect. It's a shame this book is ending soon, as it's a lot of fun.

Quantum & Woody #1: This is the latest reboot. It's fun for what it is, but it didn't hook me, story wise. I might come back for Kano's art, however. He's employing Hawyeye-esque (2012) sensibilities -- in that the characters look more human than superhuman and the layout breaks most storytelling traditions -- but it never feels like a ripoff.

The Walking Dead #175: It's the start of a new storyline, so I thought I'd give it a go. It's fine. A town leader / bureaucrat welcomes Michonne's group to his Commonwealth with ominous overtones. Zombies attack. Michonne sees something that shocks her. I haven't read TWD with any consistency in ages, and this feels tired even to me.

Comics: 7

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Sleepless 2: Del Duca doing vaguely fantasy plus court politics means we have some absolutely amazing designs and art here. The plot's unfolding nicely, and I'm interested to see where this goes.

Single Issues: 1
Trades/Tankobon/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 2
Omnibuses: 1

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Doctor Who: The Lost Dimension Alpha, Doctor Who: The Ninth Special, and Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor - Year Three #9: These are the first three chapters of the eight-part story The Lost Dimension. While it was fun to see a spaceship-piloting Jenny saved by the fifth Doctor and the ninth Doctor interacting with three familiar faces, it wasn't enough to keep me interested in finishing the storyline. Hell, I didn't even finish part three.

Comics: 10

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Hellboy In Hell Library Edition: I adore this thing. It's magisterial, sad, slow and perfect. There's three or four pages in a row of architecture in an issue and never once does the comic feel decompressed. At this point, the team are masters of mixing as few elements for maximum effect. Probably the best Hellboy story I've ever read. I'm bummed they're bringing the character back because this was a perfect ending. The inkwash pages kill. Dave Stewart knows how to color Mignola flawlessly. It's difficult to say too many good things about the book.

It's gothic and weird and slow. It's a mystery/ghost story from masters of the form.

Land Of The Lustrous v4: Continues the pitch perfect marriage of Stephen Universe, samurai manga and My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness, while also keeping a plot together. My favorite comic of 2017. I'll be bummed when there's not new volumes dropping every two or three months, since it'll require me to wait an entire year to see what happens next.

Edited by jim
Land of the lustrous

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Justice League of America #13: This is an odd numbered arc for this series, so naturally, I dislike it. So weird.

Champions #12: Great.

Dastardly & Muttley #1: off to an interesting start.

Harbinger Renegades #7: heartfelt and sad.

Iceman #5: pretty wonderful.

Nightwing #28: not great.

Swordquest #3: still fucking great.

Black Sable #1: fucking terrible.

Comics: 28

Trades: 1

Graphic Novels:

Omnibus:

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Thanos #1-12: This starts out very strong, with Thanos cutting through everybody like they're melting butter. So when Thanos' son, Thane, arrives you're instantly on his side -- even though he's aligned with Death. By the midpoint, however, there's a major power shift and the book spins a little out of control. Not only is Thane underdeveloped -- he comes across as a whiny whelp rather than an all-powerful god -- the characters begin to repeat themselves several times throughout single issues. The latter point becomes painfully obvious due to the fact that the characters keep saying, "As I told you before." This could have been cut to eight issues, easily.

Mike Deodato illustrates the first six issues and they are glorious! His panel / page layouts break so many rules, but the storytelling is better due to this. A space opera about The Mad Titan should not look the same as a Spider-Man swinging through NYC, and Deodato perfectly illustrates this.

Comics: 22

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Thor Vs. Hulk Champions of the Universe #1: this sucks. I get it though. It's not for me. It's for kids. Cool. I wish Marvel would stop being so fucking half-assed about it. Either make things exciting and drive sales with your current readership, or actually attempt to reach new readers. This is clearly meant to capitalize on Thor: Ragnarok, but where's the fucking marketing for this? Good lord, what a shitshow.

Victor Lavalle's Destroyer #4: still stellar. Just fucking excellent. Weighing whether I'll read another or just grab the trade. Might do both.

World Reader #6: sadly anti-climactic.

Action Comics #987: I kind of saw that reveal coming. Still interesting. I sense a swerve, though.

Comics: 32

Trades: 1

Graphic Novels:

Omnibus:

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Unknown Soldier v4: This is probably my second favorite comic I read last year. The ending was only an 8 in a series that hit 9 or 10. Anyway. Fucking fantastic series, and now I'm kicking myself for not agreeing with the people saying I was Unknown Soldier when I actually cosplayed Newman Xeno.

Ms. Marvel v6 and v7: Binged a couple collections tonight and I feel strongly that this should be the low bar for superhero comics. Compared to what surrounds it, it's a massive artistic success, given it's a distinct voice from a largely stable team that in style and tone differentiates itself from the rest of the line. GWW and I disagree on some contentious shit, but these collections feel like the work of discrete human persons, buttressed by the Marvel trademarks. I thought the get out and vote story was snide, but you'd expect that from me.

In a better world, this would be the minimum for creating superhero comics. In this world? Fuck, nominate her for an Eisner.

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All-New Wolverine #24: this is fucking fantastic. Great team-up with GOTG and some amazing comic book morality. And fun.

Babyteeth #4: still excellent.

Dead of Winter #2: this went downhill really quickly. I'm out.

Lazaretto #1: terrible. Awful high school art style that just impedes any enjoyment I could take from the story.

Made Men #1: fucking awesome.

Redlands #2: ehhhh, not as good as the last one.

Sacred Creatures #3: not a lot happened here. A lot of flashbacks before things went crazy which doesn't really have anything to do with the main plot.

Comics: 39

Trades: 1

Graphic Novels:

Omnibus:

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Detective Comics #972: Thoroughly enjoyable. Art, writing, characterization. Detective Comics might be the most consistently great Rebirth comic since its debut although the Superman books give it a run for its money.

Action Comics #995: Fun stuff. I really like Brett Booth's art, even though it's quite extreme. The colors by Andrew Dalhouse are great as well.

Ms. Marvel #25-#26 (2016): Good

She-Hulk #160-161: Not bad

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Trade Paperbacks: 2

Single Issues: 13

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Mister Miracle #6: Quite possibly the best dialogue I've read in a superhero comic ever. Barda and Scott discuss remodeling their house while taking on Orion's forces. They never once miss a beat or change topics. It's just a husband and wife talking. Thing is, Scott doesn't realize what they're talking about. Some readers might get it before the reveal and some won't. Either way, it's amazing and I can't wait to see where it goes.

Also, the panel layout and page design here is fucking phenomenal. One of the death traps is a shrinking room, which is shown to great effect as Barda and Scott make their way to Orion's throne room.

Comics: 23

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World's Finest Comics #215: The debut of the Super Sons: Superman Jr. and Batman Jr. They're two whiny brats who want to prove they're better than their fathers, despite having only half of Superman's powers and none of Batman's training. In the opening episode, Superman Sr. and Batman Sr. reluctantly agree to let the boys fight crime. Specifically they task the sons with taking down an aging crime boss -- but they don't want them doing it to the real deal. So Superman Sr. uses his super speed and strength at the San Andreas Fault to create a mirror city that's slightly out of sync with reality. This has the side effect of making the dying boss stronger than ever. After Superman Jr.'s "death," the boys are able to haunt the boss into killing himself by running in fear and tripping over his dead wife's tombstone.

Despite this being 1973, Bob Haney is clearly still rooted in Silver Age silliness. While that's not a bad thing on its face, it's rather odd seeing darker elements mixed with a nonsensically overpowered Superman making a twin city via earthquake. And the boys are so damn loathsome. I'm honestly not sure if younger readers were supposed to relate to them or find them annoying.

While Dick Dillin does a serviceable job making Bruce Jr. and Clark Jr. standout as civilians (I especially like his Clark Jr.), the sons look no different than their fathers while in costume. When they're standing next to Superman and Batman they're made to look physically smaller, but there's no telling them apart when they're on their own.

Old Man Hawkeye #1: A prequel to the original Old Man Logan series, in which Hawkeye seeks to take revenge on old foes before his failing eyes make him completely blind. While I always have time for Hawkeye, I am confused as to why everyone's talking as if they're in a Western. The Madroxes do it, as does the character revealed at the end. It's a small thing to get hung up on, I know, but I just don't get it.

Judas #2: A lot of people are going to hate this. Not only does it state that some people throughout time have not had freewill, it pits God as a villain (though this is filtered through Lucifer's gaze), and the cliffhanger is WHOA! For me, though, this is great. It's a beautifully rendered, perfectly told look at the Judeo-Christian god and its machinations. Two issues in and I'm already clamoring for the collected edition.

Injustice: Gods Among Us - Year One #1-36 (#1-12): Despite some stumbles, I'm loving this series. Based on the 2013 video game, this alternate reality sees Superman become a proactive protector after The Joker nukes Metropolis and tricks Superman into killing a pregnant Lois. Batman and his allies see what Superman is trying to accomplish -- that being total peace on Earth -- but they also see that an all-powerful being who's prone to killing his friends is going to become an authoritarian ruler.

There are times Superman's argument makes (simplified) sense, but other times he's a raging lunatic who seems to have never had to face loss before. Hopefully Years Two through Five deal with this, but I don't mind reading an authoritarian Superman, but I do want him to be levelheaded about it.

The art is a mixed bag. Some issues are very rough -- and I mean very rough. Others are beautifully illustrated. Whenever I see Mike S. Miller in the credits, I know I'm in for a treat. He's able to capture the power and emotion of Superman without overselling it with gritted teeth and flaming red eyes.

RE: The numbering: Three digital-first editions are combined into one print comic, so while they're were originally 36 digital issues, each one is only 1/3 of a physical comic. Hence, I'm only counting the 36 issues as 12.

Injustice: Gods Among Us - Year One Annual #1: Superman hires Lobo to track down Harley Quinn, shenanigans ensue. This is a very light-but-fun read.

Comics: 39

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Batman and Robin Adventures vol.2: Still fun stuff. The latest issue of Back Issue! which celebrates the 25th Anniversary of B:TAS has a section on the various comic book adaptations of the DCAU Batman series. They talk about how the original Batman Adventures lost its initial crew, and the B&R era was in flux before they hit the Gotham Adventures. I can see that with this second volume. Some of the stories near the back half of the collection are so-so. Brandon Kruise is the most prolific artist, and his style is good enough. The writing chores fall between Paul Dini and Ty Templeton, who does most of the covers. The overall bunch of stories aren't as strong as the previous volume, but there's still some really cool issues collected. The Man-Bat story introduces Robin to the character in the continuity, and is really creepy and action packed. There's the sequel to Mask of the Phantasm included, which doesn't feel necessary but is interesting nonetheless. There's a sequel to the Bane episode and a non-powered version of Deadman working at Haly's Circus. While the writing isn't as sharp as vol.1 or the Batman Adventures, it's still fun comics and none of them are bad.

 

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Trade Paperbacks: 3

Single Issues: 13

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Savage Things #7: this feels like an ending, but there's one more issue. That doesn't seem like a good sign.

Superman #30: This is weird. Good though.

The Realm #1: This is weird to read after seeing Bright. Kind of like Bright mixed with a post-apocalypse. I like it.

Uber Invasion #8: here's a thing this book does better than any other comic on the market: last issue a single German ubermensch (technically uberfrau) reached land in Boston and decimated an entire American city over the span of 20 pages. This issue just decides to take a quiet look at a Soviet superpower training facility like the end of the fucking world didn't just happen. Brilliant.

X-Men Gold #11: This was lovely.

Bloodshot Salvation #1: solid.

Dark Knights - Metal #2: this is pure fucking garbage. I've read a pre-teens fan-fic that's better than this shit. So, what's the deal? Snyder writes a couple mediocre Batman stories and suddenly he gets to do whatever the fuck he likes with no editorial oversight? The fact that this is right up my alley, and makes my blood boil, has to make this the absolute worst event DC has ever done. FUCK. THIS. BOOK.

Detective Comics #964: ahhhh...that's the stuff. Tynion IV writes a thousand times better Batman stories than Snyder ever has. 

Dread Gods #2: weird swerve that I don't really like, but it's Tom Raney.

Mister Miracle #2: if this isn't the best thing DC is publishing, I'll eat something one probably shouldn't eat.

Ninjak #0: cool ending. Ninjak is about the most successful thing Valiant has done since their relaunch.

Old Man Logan #28: fucking great.

Rocket #5: this was terrible. Makes me not want to read the last issue. I'm out.

Runaways #1: terrible. I'm out.

SLAM! The next Jam #1: not for me.

Comics: 54

Trades: 1

Graphic Novels:

Omnibus:

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Injustice: Gods Among Us - Year Two #1-24 (#1-12): Things pick up right where Year One left off, then we jump ahead seven months. This volume is much more violent, as a war between Superman's forces (combined with Sinestro's corps) and the GLC erupts. Lots of people die, lose limbs, and move pieces into place. Between the violence there are genuinely touching moments; Harley and Black Canary share a truly human moment when the former realizes the latter is pregnant, then visits her in the hospital once the child is born.

Overall, I enjoyed this volume a little better than the first because Superman is barely pretending to be a good guy at this point. Even though people still believe in him, he's too far gone and pushed Earth too far to look back.

I'll dive into Year Three soon, but I might take a break so as not to burn myself out.

Injustice: Gods Among Us - Year Two Annual #1: Sadly forgettable.

Comics: 52

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