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The Master

Every comic you've read in 2018

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The World of Metropolis #1: Oh wow. There's some pretty racist shit in here. Like, the Asian guy is literally yellow. I'm done with this. (Young Lois Lane cheering on Perry White as he has a tantrum is funny, though.)

Lockjaw #1: This follows D-Man more than Lockjaw, but they seemingly team-up in time for the next issue. I might give it a go. Really digging the art by Carlos Villa, Roberto Poggi, and Chris O'Halloran.

Mera: Queen of Atlantis #1: Okay issue. Mera is Queen-in-Exile, her powers have been dampened, and she longs for her mate. She's lonely and angry and hurt. Good stuff here, but I'm a little more interested in Orm's story. I'll give the second issue a try, because it seems like he'll play a bigger role.

Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #300: Maybe if I knew what's come before I could get into this, but I was lost from page one. The Johnny / Jonah scene was great, though I wish the gag had been a little longer.

The Hellblazer #19: Ooh! This was good! One of John's ex-girlfriends is being used by dark forces, and nothing good can come of it. Very interested to see how the cliffhanger plays out. I was not expecting that character to show up here. While I know Constantine started in the DCU, then moved exclusively to Vertigo, it's sometimes a little odd seeing him next to superheroes.

The Terrifics #1: Fun issue. I'll read more. And Hannah is right: DC is mining the hell out of Alan Moore's back catalogue.

Marvel 2-in-1 #3: It's starting to lose me a little, but the art change and Herc kept me interested.

Comics: 307

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Moon Knight #188: this was pretty ok. Not great. MK is hardly in it.

Port of Earth #1: this was actually great. Finally a new sic fi comic I don't find annoying.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #16: this was alright.

Royal City #7: I'm tired of this series. I'm done.

She-Hulk #159: this was great.

Spirits of Vengeance #2: this was alright.

Suicide Squad #29: great

The Archies #2: this is nauseatingly bad.

The Harcourt Legacy #1: it's not innovative, but it seems fun. I'm in for a little more.

The Normals #6: solid.

The Wild Storm Michael Cray #2: Ok, I'm in for the long haul but switching to trades.

Uber Invasion #9: solid

X-Men Gold #15: fun.

Aquaman #30: pretty solid.

Babyteeth #6: kind of a slog to get through.

Batman #35: way more of a Catwoman story than Batman, but I really liked it.

 

Comics: 295

Trades: 5

Graphic Novels: 3

Omnibus: 4

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Girl in the Green Silk Dress: Midquel comic that serves as a good lore introduction to Seanan McGuire’s first book in the series and a refresher for the new sequel. Britt Sabo does great work here.

The Fish Wife: One of Mel Gilman’s 24 hour comics that I picked up at ECCC. Queer mermaids with a horror undertone that turns sweet at the end.

Sweet Rock: Another of Gilman’s 24 hour comics. Queer giantess romance, sweet and bitter and wonderful. 

East of West 36: Still not sure what’s happening overall here, but vaguely remember enough that I can follow what happens in the issue. More interesting advancements here, Dragotta continues to be real good at what he does. Also especially interesting bringing in the history of Native Americans into this. 

I Hate Fairyland 17: What seems like just an interesting side diversion at first appears to be building into an endgame plot. Oh my. 

The Fix 11: Decided to poke my head in here, haven’t followed for a while. Still reasonably funny but deeply uncomfortable knowing what we know now about Spencer in general. 

WicDiv 34: Oh hell. The shape of the game is being revealed in full, and things pick up from last time as well. McKelvie and Wilson do gorgeous work here, and Gillen is firing on all cylinders. 

Single Issues: 32
Trades/Tankobon/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 8
Omnibuses: 1

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Batman vs. Predator III: Blood Ties: Stumbled upon this at my job at Barnes and Noble. This is pretty entertaining. Probably the least bloody of the three Batman/Predator miniseries, but much of it involves Tim Drake, who's constantly kept in the dark by Batman about what they're up against. Written by Chuck Dixon, there's a lot of 90s era deep cuts (I.E. the best Batman era ever), including Bullock and Montoya and even a cameo by Mr. Freeze. The artwork is by Robert Campella who did the Batman and Robin movie adaptation. He's fine. Not great not bad. But I enjoyed the writing in this.

Trade Paperbacks: 9

Single Issues: 54

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Spider-Man Special Edition #1: A 90's one-shot by Peter David with art by Jim Craig, inked by Dan and David Day.

While Eddie Brock does a stint in The Vault, the symbiote seemingly commits suicide. Brock then hires Matt Murdock for his appeal, and DD brings Spider-Man to use as a material witness. True to his lawyer self (when he feels like it), Matt does his best to defend Brock in court, and even suggests that had it not been for the symbiote, Brock would've simply killed himself and never have been a threat to anyone. Long story short, Brock gets off, Spidey tricks him to reveal that it was all a ruse, fight scene, the end.

This is a somewhat typical yet entirely enjoyable one-shot. If you're the type of Spider-Man who came up in the 90s, who enjoys characters like Ben Reilly and like Venom, you'll have fun with this story. If you're an older fan who hates all things Marvel during the 90s including Venom, this won't do anything for you. But while Peter David writes with a slight acknowledgment of it's fleeting value, he makes it enjoyable. The Peter and Matt relationship carries over from the Death of Jean DeWolffe story, where Peter is comparably more conservative to Matt. It's nowhere near as grim as that arc was, in fact there's a lot of amusing banter throughout. The artwork by Craig and the Day brothers is nothing to write home about, but it's not as awful as other artists at the time getting work were. It gets the job done. There's an awesome scene of Brock vomiting up the Venom symbiote to transform that I think is kickass, but others may find to be stupid. 

This is a fun comic for a certain type of audience.

Trade Paperbacks: 9

Single Issues: 55

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Des: I also read There's Nothing There, and while I'm obliged by friendship to like Kindlon's work, I'm genuinely surprised as to how you thought that was a dud ending.

- - - - -

The Terrifics #1: Seems like Jeff Lemire gets to write the Fantastic Four and someone told him to bring in Tom Strong. Tom Strong was written by other people when Alan Moore oversaw him, so I don't imagine anyone's tremendously angry. Promethea introduced by Steve Orlando, of course, is a whole other ball game, and that was handled terribly.

All-New Doop: Peter Milligan and a rushed David LaFuente have a whole bunch of meta fun. I got a little bit eyerolly at the end because of the twist, but Milligan's allowed to be Milligan and LaFuente keeps everything clear.

Rapture: Fun, inessential, reminds the Valiant universe Shadowman exists. CAFU and Robert De La Torre also do great work.

Batman: Creature Of The Night: A prestige format comic done by men who Know What They're Fucking Doing. Kurt Busiek and John Paul Leon appear to be I Kill Giants-ing the Batman origin, but set in 60's Boston.

Batman 44 (aka the issue Snyder decides he has something to say about the cycle of violence and to help him write young black men he drafts Brian Azzarello?): How quickly we forget about the Question. This issue feels incoherent.

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Bloodshot Salvation #3: I'm not enjoying this. I'm out.

Champions #14: this was pretty good.

Deadpool vs Old Man Logan #2: fun violent reverie.

Doctor Strange #381: this was terrible.

Evolution #1: holy shit. Great first issue. Very gruesome body horror with a McCammon vibe. I'm in.

Fence #1: this feels like a repurposed TV pilot. Decent, but not for me.

Generation Gone #5: holy shit. THAT's an ending. Can't wait for the next volume.

Guardians of the Galaxy #147: this was ok. It's moving really slow.

Incredible Hulk #710: This is kind of fun.

Jenny Finn #1: naw...I'm good.

Comics: 305

Trades: 5

Graphic Novels: 3

Omnibus: 4

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Superman #42 (2016): Good issue but Bizarro-speak requires a lot more concentration than I anticipated.

Nightwing #40 (2016): Pretty intense issue with a great escape sequence at the start involving a squid.

Bane: CONQUEST #10: This series, while good, is starting to wane on me, but Batman's back in the story so my interest is piqued.

Batman #42 (2016): I gotta say, this is the story by Tom King that I'm liking the most. It's unpredictable and well-paced. I still don't love his dialogue, but I'm used to it now.

She-Hulk #163: Nice wrap-up issue for Mariko Tamaki's run. I've enjoyed, and am sad to see it go. The art was an interesting style reminding me of Art Adams, Todd Nuack and Greg Capullo.

Amazing Spider-Man #797-#798: #797's artwork was not good. Too sketchy, and kind of amateurish. But the story, I liked. It's one of the MANY issues co-written by Christos Gage, who I tend to like whenever he does fill-in on ASM during Slott's run. #798 was good as well, with Osborn finally back to where he should be by the end, I hope. The Peter/MJ scene at the beginning was interesting, but it's hard to tell these days if there's any sort of committment going there or just another slap in the face from Marvel's Old Guard Quesada-era. Slott is trying to go out on a bang tho.

Trade Paperbacks: 9

Single Issues: 62

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Batman #42: Not digging this storyline. Issues 41 and 42 could have been a single issue.

Comics: 308

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X-Men Red #2: The team gains a new member, and Gabby has a crush on a girl. Fun issue.

Comics: 309

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The Amazing Spider-Man #797: Can't say too much without spoiling things, but oh shit! For the cliffhanger to work, though, you have be aware of recent events in Spectacular Spider-Man.

Batman: Gotham by Gaslight: I might review this soon, so I won't say much more than I was underwhelmed. I plant to read the sequel: Master of the Future.

EXO: Darwin II: Very interesting. Humans have discovered another Earth-like planet (Darwin II) and something has come here to stop us from getting there. There are two more volumes, and I'm all in.

Gotham City Garage #1-2 (#1): Not sure how I feel about it so far. It seems a bit too surface level, and I've not been given a reason to care about anyone.

Rose #1: Looks great, but I'm not into the world. Plus, the names are too on the nose; the villain is called Drucilla.

Silver Sable and The Wild Pack #1: Kinda fun in a 1992 way. I might keep reading.

Spider-Woman #1 (2015): Oof! This begins neck-deep in the Spider-Verse crossover, and it suffers for it. I like all of these characters, and I know where this series (and the follow-up) goes, so I'll stick around. But this is a rough start.

Harley & Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica #1: I'm gonna like this.

Comics: 317

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Hulk #1-11 (2017): Post-Civil War II: Jen Walters is out of a coma, Bruce Banner has been assassinated, and Jen is not pleased an Avenger killed her cousin. She's trying to live a normal life as a lawyer, by hanging out with her friends, by dating, by going to trauma groups, but this is the Marvel Universe and she's She-Hulk - so everything is going to go bad quickly. After picking up a case against a slumlord, one thing leads to another and the now-grey She-Hulk finds herself battling the physical manifestation of fear. While the buildup to the fight is rather familiar, Jen's fear of going outside to rejoin life is quite solid. She's clearly suffering from PTSD and, more than anything, fears becoming She-Hulk again; it's different this time, in that she's filled with rage and is not in total control of herself as She-Hulk. She's too used to living life as She-Hulk, which is best represented in three scenes:

  • Her mirrors aren't hung for a 5'6" woman, but rather for someone who's a foot-plus taller.
  • When she arrives at her office, everyone expects her to be big and green and wearing her famously upbeat face.
  • In the lift with coworkers, everyone is looking away from her, but in the reflection of the elevator doors we see how things would be if she was in her She-Hulk persona.

Anyone who suffers from depression, trauma, PTSD, and more will walk away from these 11 issues feeling like someone is advocating for them. Through Jen, writer Mariko Tamaki (Supergirl: Being Super) presents a rarely seen look at superheroes; their human sides (RE: emotions, mental well-being) are just as vulnerable as ours. One bad day can change them from something familiar to the unfamiliar, even to themselves. Hence Jen not knowing if she's She-Hulk or Hulk. (With Bruce gone, her rage barely under control, and her newly grey skin, Jen has dropped the She- portion of her Hulk side, hence the crossed out She-s above.) She dodges friends, rages in her office, takes up causes that clearly reflect what's going on in her head but fails to see it until it smacks (or in this case, punches) her in her face. These are all so real and familiar. It's brilliant writing, and I implore everyone to pick it up. Even if it doesn't relate to you, you know someone who's gone through these mental gymnastics to survive something as mundane as exiting their apartment.

While not the only artist on these 11 issues, Nico Leon (Spider-Women Omega) handles the first six chapters and she perfectly balances the slice-of-lifeness of Jen's world with the monsters that dwell in the MU. More than that, it's her ability to wordlessly reflect Jen's mental state. In particular, there's a mirrored-elevator sequence that is spectacular in demonstrating sheer self-terror. (While reading this one page, my anxiety kicked in because I knew what Jen was going through.) When she arrives home and she's alone, her near-inability to keep her trauma-fueled rage at bay is Hulk-like yet honest to real-world suffering.

After the 11th issue, the series reverts to its Legacy numbering - becoming She-Hulk #159. Once that opening storyline ("Jen Walters Must Die") is complete, I'll read those issue and report back. For the moment, though, pick up these 11 issues / two collections ("Deconstructed" and "Let them Eat Cake").

Comics: 328

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Did the series end with #163?

EDIT: Shit! It did. Damn. Okay. I guess Hawkeye has to wait, 'cause I'm diving into #159-163 this afternoon.

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Kill the Minotaur #6: solid end. Liked this a lot.

Maestros #2: I'm out. This is not interesting me.

Nightwing #33: this was rough. I'm looking for a new direction for this book because it's getting really fucking tired.

Ninja-K #1: Yay for more retconning. He's not Ninjak. He's Ninja-K. Ninjas A-J also existed. I'll give it another because I love the art.

Rasputin The Voice of the Dragon #1: naw...I'm good.

Retcon #3: I couldn't tell you what is happening in this book if you put a gun to my head.

Ringside #13: so fucking good.

The Punisher #218: would be lying if I said this wasn't fun as fuck.

The Realm #3: fun.

Dark Fang #1: garbage.

Comics: 315

Trades: 5

Graphic Novels: 3

Omnibus: 4

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8 hours ago, Dread said:

Ninja-K #1: Yay for more retconning. He's not Ninjak. He's Ninja-K. Ninjas A-J also existed. 

HAHAHAHAHAHA

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While I think that's a clever idea, we're two Ninja-[LETTERS] away from Ninjam, the tastiest of all ninjas. Then we get Ninjan, the overlooked and often whiny Brady ninja. Ninjap is gonna be really awkward. Ninjaq at least sounds like Ninjak. Ninjar ironically has trouble opening lids. Everyone will think there are multiple Ninjas, which might work to said ninja's advantage. Ninjaw has a great left hook. Ninjax is back to sounding like Ninjak and Ninjaq. Ninjay is either a stoner or has a bird-like singing voice. Which works well with Ninjaz, because s/he is great with a saxophone.

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She-Hulk #159-163: Oh man, did this take a downward turn. Issues #159-161 could have been a great story about The Leader manipulating a woman into taking away She-Hulk's powers, giving them to a woman who he can control as his own She-Hulk, then Jen has to fight to get her powers back because she realizes she needs She-Hulk and only she can control the beast. Instead it's about The Leader wanting to see two female Hulks fight. That's literally it. Issue #162 sends Jen on a trippy adventure to re-self-discovery, resulting in her becoming the green She-Hulk again. In the process it hastily wraps up something that was clearly going to be an ongoing subplot (RE: Flo). Then the series closes with Jen and Patsy watching over the first mutant to ever be elected high school class president in the New York area, and teaching this young woman not to give into her rage / use her fire powers for revenge. So while I quite liked #163 and thought #162 was okay, the first three in the re-numbered series are skipable.

Comics: 333

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2 hours ago, The Master said:

While I think that's a clever idea, we're two Ninja-[LETTERS] away from Ninjam, the tastiest of all ninjas. Then we get Ninjan, the overlooked and often whiny Brady ninja. Ninjap is gonna be really awkward. Ninjaq at least sounds like Ninjak. Ninjar ironically has trouble opening lids. Everyone will think there are multiple Ninjas, which might work to said ninja's advantage. Ninjaw has a great left hook. Ninjax is back to sounding like Ninjak and Ninjaq. Ninjay is either a stoner or has a bird-like singing voice. Which works well with Ninjaz, because s/he is great with a saxophone.

Pretty sure Ninjaz has a deal with Psychopathic Records.

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Mage: The hero Discovered Book One vol 2: this was fucking excellent. I have never read most of this before. Just beautiful.

Superman #35: really fun. Digging this arc a lot.

The Mighty Thor #701: holy fuck. This was intense.

Weapon X #11: really solid.

X-Men Blue #15: kind of a lull in the arc. Could have boiled this down a lot.

Yuppies, Rednecks and Lesbian Bitches: this is basically sic fi porno comedy in the vein of The Beast in Space.

Liz & Beth: some of it is actually kind of sweet. Most of it is just poorly written.

Action Comics #992: this was an ok end to the Mr. Oz thing. I didn't dig it. The Superman book is so much better.

Cable #150-1: kind of decent. The art is fuckdicuously bad at times.

Detective Comics #969: so fucking good. Loving where this is going.

Doomsday Clock #1: not a great first issue. There's a lot of pages for not a lot of story.

Imaginary Fiends #1: Fuck. This is almost exactly a novel I've outlined.

The Hard Place #4: this was ok.

Glitterbomb The Fame Game #3: this is great!

Invincible Iron Man #594: loving this.

Comics: 328

Trades: 6

Graphic Novels: 5

Omnibus: 4

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Superman: The Odyssey: A one-shot written by Chuck Dixon and illustrated by Graham Nolan, the bulk of it is a flashback tale of when Clark was traveling the world between his leaving Kansas and moving to Metropolis before becoming Superman. He meets the daughter of the leader of a Himalayan nation during their conflict with Communist China. Clark learns to become easy with his growing abilities and settle his feelings on his origins. This is set in Post-Crisis, so Man of Steel is at play here, where Clark didn't know he was Kryptonian until after he became Superman. Some might read this and roll their eyes at the story showing the first times he realized he was bulletproof and other powers. It's a fun little story. A bit quaint, and some of Dixon's Superman dialogue is pretty corny, but I've rarely read him write the character beyond his appearances in Nightwing. Nolan's artwork is as slick as ever, but his own inking wasn't as great as when Scott Hanna is on him. This was a nice read.

Trade Paperbacks: 9

Single Issues: 63

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Superman: The Odyssey: Based on Donovan's post above, I sought out this one-shot. This was a very solid read. While I'm glad it wasn't a miniseries, a few more pages would have been nice. Seeing Clark come to terms with his powers, origin, and place on Earth through isolation and meditation is a nice touch. So when he witnesses the elder Rhana Bhutra's assassination, it makes sense that his young heart would break and he'd react with pure rage. When he does the same, however, upon hearing of Terri / the younger Rhana Bhutra's murder, I take some issue. He's older, wise, and more in control of himself at this point, so I'm not crazy about it. But, for the sake of an emotional beat, I'll go with it.

Oh, him using his X-ray vision on Terri's camera / film was a touch of beauty.

Also: Nice cameo. [no spoiler]  

Comics: 334

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Made Men #3: this book is crazy and fun and weird and I'm loving every page of it.

Nightwing The New Order #4: this is not very good. To the point where I'm finally quitting.

Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil #2: we've seen the retired villain who's really just kind of a nice guy before, but not one who is an emissary of a cosmic horror. Cthu-Lou is my new favorite character of the year.

Silver Sable and the Wild Pack #36: bummer-there is no wild pack. Fun stuff-about everything else. Decent. I would read more.

Swordquest #5: fucking beautiful. What a story.

The Demon Hell Is Earth #1: gotta say, I didn't really enjoy it, but the cliffhanger is enough for one more.

The Ruff & Reddy Show #2: love the art, but I just don't think this is for me.

The Unsound #6: shhhhh...not the best.

Void Trip #1: I fucking LOVE this idea. I fucking can't stand these characters. I can't do it.

X-Men Gold #16: I am still loving this.

All-New Wolverine #27: wow! Holy hell, this is great shit.

Aquaman Annual #1 Crownspire: this is solid. We've seen it before, but it's kind of a DC staple. Wonderful to see it applied to Aquaman.

Batman Annual #2: this was delightful. Took quite a while to figure out what was going on, but it was really beautiful and sad when I did.

Darkhawk #51: not great.

Eternity #2: god this is awful.

Giantkillers #0: I am so in. Tom Raney might be the selling point, but I cop to that.

Comics: 344

Trades: 6

Graphic Novels: 5

Omnibus: 4

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Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #40: An action issue but with solid artwork and Lantern effects. Thumbs up.

Detective Comics #976: For the record, this is the second time a cover image has Tim Drake storming out of the Bat-Cave with Batman in the foreground. Robin #49 had a similar scene on its cover, but nothing of the sort happened during that story (Batman wasn't even in the issue IIRC, and Tim was out of the country entirely).

At this point in Batman comics, it's a trope, nay, a cliche to have him argue with one of the Robins. Most of the time it's contrived. This time Tynion makes it work without anyone coming off as a douche. The scene between Bruce and Tim was solid IMO. But I don't like the artwork. Javier Fernandez gives the characters these beady little dots for eyes in the mask that they look sniveling and almost villainous. I got sick of that quick when he's on Nightwing but there's more masked characters to mess with here. Points to Tynion for the character scene with Cass though. While he's been playing on the safe side for a while in having her be this little ball of emotion, a key ingredient to her psychological makeup is thinking she's a bad person no matter what she does. That's on point.

Action Comics #999: A fine read with great motivation for Superman. Jurgens does impeccable work, and Will Conrad's a solid artist.

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #20: I like the plot of this issue but the dialogue was very on-the-nose. Much of it consisted of the characters stating their thought process and intentions in ways real people don't do.

Trade Paperbacks: 9

Single Issues: 67

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Mister Miracle #7: Jesus that almost became a punch to the gut.

Comics: 335

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