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The Master

Every comic you've read in 2018

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USAvengers #1-12: This was a rather fun series that got mired in Secret Empire, resulting in it never quite finding its feet. Six whole issues are dedicated to Secret Empire, its build-up, and its aftermath. That's half the series. And while the characters shine throughout, due to the events of SE, we never see them as a team after the first three issues. When they work together, the thesis of the book comes through: this isn't an Avengers team that punches villains in the face to save the day; this is an AIM team that punches villains in the face with science to save the day. Once SE kicks in, the team is scattered: Cannonball is lost in space, Enigma and Squirrel Girl are stranded in Europe, Iron Patriot is in a Hydra prison with a near-dead Sunspot, and Red Hulk is under Hyrda control. From this the team, and book, never recovers.

All this said, writer Al Ewing does a marvelous job juggling the characters and the event. He's clearly trying his hardest to get these characters over, especially Iron Patriot, Red Hulk, and Sunspot. And it works. By the end of the 12th issue, I want to read more of Iron Patriot and Red Hulk, and Sunspot came off like a total badass (when he wasn't comatose).

He was also able to fill the book with a lot of his political ideology. The series opens with a crazed, gold-plated would-be despot who doesn't pay his employees. Sound familiar? And the book ends in a Riverdale-like community, one purposely locked in the 1950s. It quickly becomes clear this is a jab at Americans who feel that was the perfect decade and that society has fallen since then due to equal rights.

These issues -- the opening three and closing two -- are the strongest, and, if you're going to give the series a try, those are the ones I suggest you read. Issues #4-10 are worth the read too, but just know the series loses its focus during that run.

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Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #46: Fine issue. This is the first I'm seeing on the modern Highfather, so it's lame to me that he looks younger.

Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #306: I'm not really into this alt. future story (same with Captain America), but Zdarsky's writing is good enough that I don't mind that much.

Batman - Prelude to the Wedding - Batgirl vs. Riddler #1: I thought this was really good!  Most of the pre-wedding stories I've found to be really overwrought and just not read right, but I found the Riddler to be pitch perfect, and him facing off Batgirl made a lot of sense here. And it's been hard reading a good Batgirl story since the original Burnside team, but she was pretty cool here. This is the first time everyone's reactions to the wedding made sense for me. Recommended.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #23 (2016): I need to go back and read this series. This was another good issue and more great writing of Jason.

Trade Paperbacks: 15

Single Issues: 143

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On 6/9/2018 at 5:46 AM, The Master said:

Cloak & Dagger #1: Something has driven the duo apart, and, to make matters worse, it looks like Cloak might be murdering people. It's okay. I'll give the next a try.

Wow...that's the kickoff for the Marvel Epic proposal Davinder and I were putting together all those years ago when we first met.

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Mystik U #1: Decent enough book, but I'm not hooked enough to continue.

Rogue & Gambit #1-5: Well, someone actually managed to make me a fan of these two as a couple. Damn fine book.

Marvel 2-in-One Annual #1: This is setting the stage for what's to come in the new Fantastic Four book, and it looks to be big.

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42 minutes ago, Dread said:

Wow...that's the kickoff for the Marvel Epic proposal Davinder and I were putting together all those years ago when we first met.

Wow!

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Old Man Logan #41: Kraven v (old man) Logan in The Savage Land. Yes, please.

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Deadpool: Assassin #1: Deadpool's new direction is to kill other assassins, raise enough money to buy an island, then retire. This issue sees him slaughter a team of mercenaries, then ninjas. Lots of ninjas. It's pretty fun.

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Infinity Countdown Prime: I'm loving this. Way better than the Warlock issue. Love the art, and intrigued by the story.

Lucas Stand Inner Demons #1: not as impressive as the first series. I'll give it one more.

Mata Hari #1: snooze. Out.

Ninjak vs. The Valiant Universe #2: wow...really fun.

Pumpkinhead #1: this was really fun.

Punks Not Dead #1: this was decidedly unpack and lame. Out.

Red Sonja #13: kind of losing its shine here. I am going to eye dropping this if it continues that way.

Tales of Suspense #102: I'm really enjoying this.

The Brave and the Bold Batman and Wonder Woman #1: I'm out. Terrible.

The Mighty Thor #704: fucking beautiful.

Uber Invasion #11: fucking great.

Vampirella #10: same feeling here as with Red Sonja

X-Men Gold #22: this is also losing its shine. They don't need three X-men books.

Cave Carson has a Cybernetic Eye/Swamp Thing Special #1: more fucking garbage. 

Generation X #87: hard to see why they bothered with this.

Superman #41: alright.

The Further Adventures of Nick Wilson #2: love this.

Abbott #2: this better get to the fucking point right quick next issue.

Action Comics #998: boy, Booster Gold really stunk this book up.

All-New Wolverine #31: I loved this.

Avengers #682: this was solid.

Backways #3: I'm out. Not terrible, but it's failing to grab me and it's really close to something I'm writing.

Black Betty #2: not my thing. I'm out.

Calexit #2: I appreciate what they're trying to do, but I just don't give a shit. 

Champions #17: this was pretty ho-hum.

Comics: 665

Trades: 17

Graphic Novels: 8

Omnibus: 9

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The Flash #48: The Flash War storyline continues, and it is excellent. The only downsides are Wally is way to reactionary, and Barry is a complete hypocrite when it comes to using time travel to reclaim family members. Those points aside, it's a beautifully illustrated, fun book that's looking to bring back a good chunk of pre-Flashpoint continuity and characters.

Hawkman #1: Holy hell this was good. And it adds a lot to the mythos. No spoilers here, but a lot of avenues for future stories and characters have been opened up. This is how you use a fucked up continuity to the advantage of the character, the universe, and the company.

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Plastic Man #1: This is fun and compelling, and it doesn't pull some harsh punches. Not sure how this lines up with Plastic Man as a whole, as my knowledge of him comes from the cartoon, but I enjoyed this.

The Magic Order #1: Mark Millar is surprisingly restrained here. The all-power mages of Earth are in danger when a small-but-powerful threat from within makes their power-grabbing intentions known. While I'm sure things will ramp up in the coming issues, this first one remains rather mellow, but Millar gives Olivier Coipel enough room to flex his muscles. There's a truly creepy scene involving a child, and the ending is some Matrix-level mind-fuckery. I'm all-in on this one.

Thor #1: Mike del Mundo was born to illustrate cosmic Thor stories, and Earthbound Thor stories, and those set on a tiny boat, and anywhere he damn well pleases. And Jason Aaron, he really can do no wrong when penning these characters. Excellent new direction for Thor and his cast.

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X-Men: Blue #29: In the wake of the five-issue Venomized miniseries, Jimmy Hudson now has some latent Venom powers and calls himself Poison. The X-Men show up, a generic fight ensues, and cliffhanger. This was not good.

As an aside: Now that Wolverine is about to return from the dead, Marvel seems to be getting rid of the other Wolverines:

  • Laura is X-23 once more.
  • Old Man Logan's powers are fading and it looks like he's not long for the world.
  • Jimmy is this weird Poison thing.
  • Daken is the only one who seems immune to whatever's going on, but that might be because he hasn't had his own series in a while.

Witchblade #1-2: This is a fresh take on the Witchblade power -- a former journalist-turned-social-worker gets the powers after being mystically resurrected -- but the execution falls a touch short. There are too many time jumps to make sense of the overall narrative, and it seems there are flashbacks (and maybe forwards) within in flashbacks. I'll give the series another issue or two, but the creative team really needs to find a way to denote when each scene is set.

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X-Men: Red 1-5 and Annual #1: There's so much I want to say, but I'll write this for now: buy this. It is beyond excellent. So topical and on-point, and it makes the X-Men politically and socially relevant once more. This is the best X-Men comic in the last 20 years, and that includes Astonishing X-Men.

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Old Man Logan #39-40: "Glob Loves, Man Kills" is an incredibly touching story. Glob is catfished by The Purifiers who want to kill the X-Men -- as always. While the action beats are solid, it's seeing the younger X-Men (Glob, Shark-Girl, etc.) bond with each other and their attempts to prep Glob for a date that are why you should read this. Anybody who's ever felt self-conscious about their looks will find something to love here. And (old man) Logan is so good. He's still Wolverine, but wiser. His interactions with Shark-Girl and Glob are some truly amazing work.

All-New Wolverine #33-35: "Old Woman Laura" wraps up the series with a hopeful look at the future, but loses are suffered. This is a great finale to a killer series. And it's so good to finally see a bright, shiny Marvel future. There are far too many post-apocalyptic timelines out there.

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Champions #1-6: It's fun enough and I like that Waid is having the kids to kid stuff (paintball, camping, just having fun), but I'm not hooked. Maybe I'll come back.

Exiles #1-2: Li'l Wolvie is funny, but no other character has grabbed me.

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CatStronauts: specifically Space Station Situation and Robot Rescue - If you were like me you probably snickered at the name, maybe even more if you saw the web comic tier artwork of anthropomorphic cats in space suits. I picked it up thinking. 

"This should be cute."

And while there are some silly jokes such as the "Hubba Bubba" space telescope, or characters with names like "Blankets" or "Waffles." I found myself moved by the story. Drew Brockington knows how to shift from funny to serious. One issue even ended on a climax that was hardly original but the way Brockington portrayed it made me audibly whimper. The titular CatStronauts are all going into ISS but one gets separated. Normally the character of Waffles is the goofball who is always talking about how hungry he is, but the last page just shows a barely visible speck that is Waffles in the vast emptiness of space and as radio contact is getting fainter he confesses. "I'm scared."

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Hit-Girl #5: Jeff Lemire and Eduardo Risso come onboard to take Hit-Girl to Canada. It's fine. She kills and swears and comes face-to-face with a bear.

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Madrox #1-5: This miniseries from 2004 holds up so very well. Outside of one truly egregious bit of exposition regarding Madrox's past -- Strong Guy looks directly at the reader and outlines Jamie's origin as seen in Giant Size Fantastic Four #4, but he's telling it to Rahne who'd already know this -- the dialogue is crisp, the mood is perfectly noir yet doesn't betray the weird X-Men-iness of these characters, and nothing about it screams "this was written well over a decade ago." Hell, even what little we see of Chicago is right. Pablo Raimondi and Drew Hennessy make everyone shine in this sad, dirty world. And by the end, it really does come across like a pulpy, noir tale of murder and loss, secrets and lies, betrayal and triple-turns. If you can find the five issues or a collection, it's well worth your time.

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X-Men: Gold #30: The wedding issue. Non-spoiler thoughts, this was very good, and it played out very much as it should.

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Man of Steel #4 (2018): Four issues in and I can positively say I like Bendis writing Superman. The plot's alright, but his voice for Clark feels fresh but natural.

Batman #49 (2018): I appreciate what King is going for, but the whole villain casual conversation thing here feels less natural and more of a gimmick. This issue won't be remembered in 3-5 years time, even if the marriage sticks around that long.

Batman - Prelude to the Wedding: Red Hood vs. Anarky #1: S'alright.

Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider #20: Decent.

X-Men Gold #30: Yeah, this was a good issue. David Marquez is never not terrific, and this felt like classic X-Men storytelling without modern day contrivances. 

Batman: The Dark Prince: This was an exceedingly pointless story involving Batman and the Joker wrapped up in the child of a bar waitress, with implications that one of them is the father. It goes nowhere and only served as a favor given to Enrico Marini, who's artwork is admittedly nice to look at. But in the conversation for creator-given Batman stories, this might be the most throwaway I've ever read.

The Amazing Spider-Man #801: Dan Slott's final issue, and honestly it's one of his better ones in the ten years he's been on the series. A simple done-in-one, akin to the Paul Jenkins' style of simple stories. Nothing major, but heartfelt and nice. Issues like these are what I preferred from Slott, moreso than his overarching, continuity-laden, multi-part storylines. I won't miss Slott, but I will appreciate how, every now and then, he had issues where he demonstrated his earning the job.

Trade Paperbacks: 16

Single Issues: 149

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I'm thinking about covering X-Men: Gold #30 to X-Men #30, because there are a few similarities beyond both being wedding issues. Such as a certain character showing up, secretly, to give his blessing.

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Detective Comics #975: beautiful

Doom Patrol/JLA Special #1: this whole event was garbage from the get-go and it only got worse. Holy shit. Embarrassing.

GI Joe vs Six Million Dollar Man #1: Tried this on a whim and holy shit, it's good. SMD Man is captured by Cobra officers and Mindbenders gets to him. Cut to him attacking a plane where a team of Joes is escorting the three leaders of the North American countries to a conference. I'm psyched to read more.

Imaginary Fiends #4: I'll be shocked if there's a better horror series this year.

Invincible Iron Man #597: pretty solid.

Justice League of America #25: going back to the world of The Extremists is the perfect way to get me back on side for the finale.

Kiss vs Army of Darkness #1: oof...terrible.

Legion #2: I get what they're doing, but it's just not clicking with me. I'm out.

Lockjaw #1: dumb fun. 

Mera Queen of Atlantis #1: decent. I'll read another.

Moon Knight #192: this is really good.

Motherlands #2: this is too frenetic and goofy and feels like it would have been ahead of its time ten years ago. Now it's just rote. I'm out.

Raven Daughter of Darkness #2: of...this is a snooze. I'm out

Rick Veitch's The One #1: terrible.

The Beef #1: I didn't really like this, but I'll try one more. It's weird enough to intrigue me.

Suicide Squad #36: solid.

The Demon Hell is Earth #4: still good.

Comics: 682

Trades: 17

Graphic Novels: 8

Omnibus: 9

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Action Comics #992-998: This is an exceptionally interesting look at time travel within the DC Universe if you view this as a Booster Gold story. It being in Action Comics, it's a Superman story; as such, it reduces Superman to a whimpering child who's throwing a fit because he can't get his way. I have very mixed feelings about these issues. I might cover them on The Show to sort said feelings out.

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33 minutes ago, The Master said:

Action Comics #992-998: This is an exceptionally interesting look at time travel within the DC Universe if you view this as a Booster Gold story. It being in Action Comics, it's a Superman story; as such, it reduces Superman to a whimpering child who's throwing a fit because he can't get his way. I have very mixed feelings about these issues. I might cover them on The Show to sort said feelings out.

Yeah, I'm not a fan. 

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20 hours ago, The Master said:

Action Comics #992-998: This is an exceptionally interesting look at time travel within the DC Universe if you view this as a Booster Gold story. It being in Action Comics, it's a Superman story; as such, it reduces Superman to a whimpering child who's throwing a fit because he can't get his way. I have very mixed feelings about these issues. I might cover them on The Show to sort said feelings out.

Suggestion: Maybe cover it in conjunction with Batman #45-47.

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Captain America #695-704: Mark Waid's third shot at Captain America (if you don't count Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty) is mixed. While the series opens strong -- with a post-Secret Empire Steve Rogers searching America for himself -- it quickly jumps away from that for two stories set in the future. One is 2025, the other is in the 24th century. The first focuses on Cap fighting Nazis and a king, the second is about his great-great-great grandson and his attempt to save his child. Because neither is grounded in the here and now, and because we don't really get to know any of the characters surrounding our leads, nothing feels weighty. Chris Samnee brings so much life and action and power to issues #695-700, but then he moves on. Honestly, read the first two issues then move on as well. Nothing here is bad, but it isn't even interesting.

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