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The Master

Every comic you've read in 2018

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James Bond: Kill Chain: By Andy Diggle and Casalanguida. Nothing more than Dynamite Entertainment 007 goodness. I really enjoy these comics.

 

Trade Paperbacks: 11

Single Issues: 94

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Dept H vol 1-3: So, unsurprisingly, it turns out that this is meant to be read as close together as possible, because there are tiny details in each volume that it’s easy to forget in the half year between trade volumes. Have a feeling that this was more a graphic novel plan than a monthly series plan, but still incredibly well crafted. 

Previews: 2
Single Issues: 60
Trades/Tankobon/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 38
Omnibuses: 1

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Iceman #9: still pretty great.

Iron Fist #76: pretty good.

Koschei the Deathless #1: solid 1st issue.

Nightwing #36: hanging on by a thread here. I'm out.

Phoenix Resurrection #2: this turned out pretty good.

Rise of the Black Panther #1: this is really poorly written. It's kind of a Marvel's Project based around Wakanda but all in the first issue, not over ten. I'm out.

Rogue & Gambit #1: fun.

Secret Weapons #0: this was kind of beautiful.

Superman #37: oof...this was terrible.

Comics: 491

Trades: 12

Graphic Novels: 6

Omnibus: 7

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Captain Swing And The Pirates Of Cindery Island: Even in Ellis' bibliography, I'd ask is this someone doing a dead on impersonation of him, but hey. Renato Guedes draws a lot of detail and throws in some cheesecake, because obviously what a steampunk story about the hopes of the future needs is ass and cleavage shots. /sarcasm font
The Season Of The Snake #1: From Titan Comics' European imprint/tax writeoff comes a reissue. It's a massively detailed THING which is "about" a city, terrorism, kind of, and a use of color to indicate violence or heightened emotion. It feels similar to the Incal in spots, though that could just be because the artist straight up re drew the "falling into the city" page from the Incal. I enjoyed it and look forward to more.
Escapo (colored reissue): This is the first time I came to Escapo and I enjoyed it. I built up the comic in my head and while my experience reading it didn't match up with my imagined conversation around this book, I still enjoyed it quite a bit.
Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol v1: So this is where Newman Xeno comes from! But really it's a brick of surrealist comics and the main penciller Richard Case does a pretty fantastic job given what's thrown at him. He's the secret MVP here.
Afar: Afrofuturism kind of? Leia Del Duca writes it and while I wish she drew at least part of it as well, the art's competent enough that whatever the female artist does next she's gonna knock it out of the park.
Bloodshot USA: Reliably above average superhero work from Jeff Lemire and Doug Braithwaite. RIP Valiant.
Secret Weapons v1: My second favorite of the epic level 6 style cape stories in the vein of Hawkeye. Oh, what might've been. RIP Valiant again.
Jade Street Protection Services: Unremarkable "what if we made magical girls BADASS?" idea. Executed okay, though the change when the penciller inks themselves and someone else inks them is noticable. Early work, let's see where the authors go.
Injection v2: The team riffs on Chew and William GIbson's Blue Ant trilogy.
Right State: Another one of Vertigo's "fuck, we should try to get into the thriller book market" OGNs that's a bit too on the nose, but still sadly prophetic seven odd years later.
Bitch Planet v2: Look, it's still great. Steady as she goes.

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Season of the Snake: Insanely detailed art with good use of color, plot's pretty ehhh, standard "ooooh, sex and titties!" European comics stuff thrown in. I'll see where it goes. 

Descenders 29: More endgame stuff, Nguyen real fuckin' pretty. 

Rumble 5: I feel like there's flashback stuff here that might explain stuff I didn't know from the first time around? Rubin continues to be wonderful. 

Skybound 1: I know Garbett from Lucifer and Loki: Agent of Asgard, and he does real great art, especially gravity-less. Story's pretty standard. 

Previews: 2
Single Issues: 64
Trades/Tankobon/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 38
Omnibuses: 1

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Batman #45 (2016): S'alright. Some fun gags in this alternate universe, mainly the Green Lantern one, but Action Comics just came off a Booster Gold storyline so I'm kind of tapped out of the idea right now.

Nightwing #43 (2016): More enjoyable than the last several runs have been. Dick works great with other character he has a rapport with, and while Roy Harper is still being bithced out by current writers (Fuck Scott Lobdell for turning him into a joke in the new 52), Dick and Damian is always fun.

Superman #35 (2016): Beautiful comic, and a wonderful end to a terrific run from Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason.

Incredible Hulk #715: Goood issue.

Ms. Marvel #29 (2016): I loved this! It's a total Young Adult Romance story, but features some pretty significant turning points in Kamala's life, and they're depicted in ways which are both natural and supremely entertaining. Only niggle: Nico Leon comes off as a poor man's Adrian Alphona in a couple of scenes just because the facial expressions could've been more expressive. I miss Alphona on the book, but otherwise this was a blast.

Action Comics #1000: I enjoyed this. I think the last couple of years bringing Superman back from the utter dregs of whatever the hell the Superbro era was with Rebirth has really helped salvage his image in the hearts of fans, and this feels like the culmination of that, celebrating everything that makes him fun. There's not too terribly much to the stories, and the supporting cast aren't really used too much besides a story here or there. But it's a feel good comic that serves as a near-100 victory lap and appreciation for what Superman has done for pop culture media. My favorite story was the Hypertime one with Vandal Savage. Paul Dini's story was great as well.

Trade Paperbacks: 11

Single Issues: 100

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The Shadow/Batman #4: the stark difference in quality between this and the earlier miniseries is really glaring. This, for example, is good.

X-Men Gold #19: having some issues with the art (why go with discount store Tom Raney when Tom Raney would probably take the job?) but the story is still really good. Out of all the teams in the MU (maybe barring the FF) the X-Men have seen some shit. So they're like "Ok, let's split up so we can kill this giant alien god. Cool? Cool."

Action Comics #995: jesus, this shouldn't be so terrible. It is.

Archie #27: by far the least interesting issue of the entire series. I hope it's just a hiccup.

Avengers #675: pretty solid.

Black Betty #1: pretty cool. I'm interested.

Cable #153: I mean, this kind of sucks. So, I guess I'm out.

Daredevil #597: ok, I like.

Detective Comics #972: this was really awesome.

Hack/Slash vs Vampirella #4: this is really good.

Judas #2: this is not  very good. Sadly.

Comics: 502

Trades: 12

Graphic Novels: 6

Omnibus: 7

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Shadowpact vol 1-3: picked these up at my old LCS going out of comics sale and this was pretty good. Not a great straight line of single story-ness, but a pretty good attempt. A really fun and enjoyable exploration of the DC magic universe.

DC Comics: The Art of Darwin Cooke: Some truly lovely stuff here. Some complete throwaway stuff as well. Still, 2 great issues of Jonah Hex, the Solo issue and the Superman story with Stan Lee are all great. 

Savage Dragon #232: while I tend to get a little distraught with all the villains dying in their first appearance, I thought this was a solid issue. And it has a great cliffhanger.

Dragon: Blood and Guts: this is the Dragon miniseries from Jason Pearson form back in the day. Solid. Still has the absolute best movie action sequence I've ever seen in a comic. Spectacular.

The Twelve: this collects all 12 issues of the series and the oneshot. Quite good. A little off here and there, but overall, a really solid riff on Watchmen with some of the Golden Age Marvel Universe characters.

Justice League of America #22: so fun. Finally this series seems to be back on track.

Mister Miracle #6: really good.

Ninjak vs. The Valiant Universe #1: yeah, I'm in.

Normandy Gold #5: solid ending

Old Man Hawkeye #1: not bad. I'll give it another.

Old Man Logan #33: fucking good.

Comics: 509

Trades: 16

Graphic Novels: 6

Omnibus: 9

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Elric The Dreaming City, and the first couple issues of Stormbringer: The splashes of the city are beautiful and delicate, the character stuff makes me feel the emotions of the characters. Titan's cleaned up reissue series of the PCR Elric stuff looks like garbage, presumably because there's a lot of trouble with those original pages. The Dreaming City is the only one that looks less bad, and while it's also the shortest, and probably the most expensive per page, it's fucking worth it.

Stormbringer specifically: You know that "we're not worthy" .gif of Wayne's World? It's that.

Screen Shot 2018-04-23 at 7.32.02 PM.png

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Detective Comics #979: This is pretty gripping. Tim's put in a harrowing situation, and things are really coming to a head. James Tynion's writing his best work here.

Batman Beyond #19: Good stuff.

Batgirl #22 (2016): The artwork was really good in this issue. Interesting set-up but I really don't like that Barbara's intelligence has over the years transformed into a super-power, so her brain overworks itself. It just feels like another cheap attempt to justify Barbara still in a role she grew out of twenty-five years ago.

Teen Titans #19 (2016): Meh. Not terrible, but every Titans run before this did this type of story so much better.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #43: Good

Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #303: Another very good issue.

The Savage Dragon #233: I've yet to read an emotionally heavy issue of this book (aside from the first few issues of the series and how that arc ends), so I hope the surprise death of a major character is properly addressed without any bullshit.

Trade Paperbacks: 11

Single Issues: 107

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Paradiso #2: ehhh...not really intriguing.

Phoenix Resurrection #3: pretty damned good.

Port of Earth #3: the shine is off this one too.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #18: pretty good.

She-Hulk #161: I'll give it one more, but the shine is off this one too.

Suicide Squad #33: fuck. This might be the best issue of the series. Loved it.

Sword of Ages #2: Terrible. Nothing going for it beyond fashion design.

Taarna #1: The first of these new Heavy metal comics that hit with me. Love Taarna from the movie so that helps.

The Mighty Crusaders #2: this was ok.

X-Men Blue #19: really fucking awesome.

X-Men Gold Annual #1: oof...hard to have this 30th anniversary of Excalibur special without interiors by Alan Davis. Otherwise, this was great.

Youngblood #8: ok, I'm out.

Comics: 521

Trades: 16

Graphic Novels: 6

Omnibus: 9

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All-New Wolverine #29: holy fuck this is so good.

Avengers #676:This is weird, but I like it.

Batman #39: Batman spent ten years not aging in an alternate dimension where he cheated on cattleman with Wonder Woman. I hope there's something important about this next issue. Otherwise, it just makes Batman look like a real asshole.

Belle Beast Hunter #1: terrible.

Champions #16: good, but this is kind of petering out.

Weirdworld Warriors of the Shadow Realm: yikes. This fantasy is far too twee for my liking. Even with Mike Ploog and painted John Buscemi art. No thanks.

Comics: 526

Trades: 17

Graphic Novels: 6

Omnibus: 9

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12 hours ago, Dread said:

Batman #39: Batman spent ten years not aging in an alternate dimension where he cheated on cattleman with Wonder Woman. I hope there's something important about this next issue. Otherwise, it just makes Batman look like a real asshole.

Awesome auto-correct there. :D

In the next issue they go out of their way to explain that nothing happened between Bruce and Diana, and to make the warrior guy they took the place of look like a lying jerk.

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7 hours ago, The Master said:

Awesome auto-correct there. :D

In the next issue they go out of their way to explain that nothing happened between Bruce and Diana, and to make the warrior guy they took the place of look like a lying jerk.

Ha! I never noticed. Cattleman! Duh- duh duh duh DAAAAAHHHHHHHHH Mooooooo!

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The Infinity Gauntlet #1: So Thanos murders half the universe because he wants to impress Death? It felt massive in a way that event comics today don't, probably because Marvel wasn't scheduling events back to back to back at the time.
X-O Manowar by Matt Kindt v1: Aside from a couple strange uses of Earth slang, this is a well produced sci-fi war comic. Three issues (clocking in at roughly 70 pages of comic, with 30 odd pages of bonus material) for $10. I'm cooler on it now than I was when it came out, but it's still a pretty package. Tomas Giorello comes out swinging.
The Actual Comic Part Of The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen TPB From DC: Look, it's Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill. It will reward multiple readings and is immediately evocative. No one here will doubt the amount of quality entertainment per dollar. I'm discomforted by the period (racist) depictions of Chinese characters, and maybe Mr. Hyde, too? I'm certain there's other things I missed. And that's the famous catch with League, however earnestly Moore and O'Neill plead their case of "depiction isn't endorsement," it doesn't sit right. I'll return to the prose pieces and errata soonish.

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Damage #1: this didn't light my world on fire, but I'll give it another. It's basically DC's Red Hulk. But Red Hulk was already sort of Marvel's Hourman.

Days of Hate #1: oh lordy. I'm out.

Deadpool vs Old man Logan #4: fun.

Evolution #3: groooosssss. But awesome still. I'm liking this a lot.

Made Men #4,5: this is a good year for horror comics. Laughed out loud in issue four as well.

Pacific Rim Aftermath #1: dumb. I'm out.

Red Sonja #12: still really fun.

Spirits of Vengeance #4: ok.

Superman #39: this was cute. That's it.

The Further Adventures of Nick Wilson #1: you know, the washed up white guy superhero in his thirties having an existential crisis is a pretty tired trope, but I thought this was done well.

The Mighty Thor #703: this ain't going to end prettily.

The Punisher #220: fucking amazing. This is so fucking fun.

Weapon X #13: this was also fun.

X-Men Gold #20: I feel like this should have been a few pages longer. Felt pretty rushed and two moments of emotional intensity were kind of lost.

30 Days of Night #2: this is pretty good, but it's pretty much just the original series with a different art style. Since then, they've done a billion sequels so it makes sense (in movie logic) that they'd remake it. However, in comics, it doesn't.

Abbott #1: I really enjoyed this. I'll do another.

Action Comics #996: this was terrible. Just biding my time till 1000 at this point.

Avengers #677: this is really good. 

Backways #2: so right up my alley, that it's like a combination of three different things I have ideas for writing. Loving it.

Detective Comics #973: this kind of broke my heart. There's no way this doesn't end in sheer tragedy.

Dissonance #1: this is the third series I've tried by this wing of Top Cow that seems to be created by...South East Asian gaming people? It was by far the best. Not sure if I'll read more, but if the occasion grabs me, I may.

Comics: 548

Trades: 17

Graphic Novels: 6

Omnibus: 9

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Nightwing #44 (2016): This was a solid issue. After months of meandering, I'm starting to feel the book is back on track.

Spider-Man #239: Short but good.

Action Comics Special #1 (2018): Fun comics.

Batman #46 (2016): Ooookay.

 

Trade Paperbacks: 11

Single Issues: 111

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Spider-Man #240: An alright end to Bendis' work on Miles, and ostensibly Miles' story itself. It's actually so-so IMO, but not bad for what it is. Doesn't really feel like an ending.

Thor #706: Not really read this series but was curious to see how Jane's tenor ended. Pretty good.

Trade Paperbacks: 11

Single Issues: 113

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Thor #706 was the first issue of the Jane Foster Thor run I've read from start to finish, and holy hell it made me weepy.

Spoiler

Odinson's absolute resolve that Jane must live was brutal and honest and so heartbreaking. And I loved that she was able to hand him the pebble with ease, proving she's still worthy, while he nearly fell over the moment it hit his hand.

 

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Infinity Gauntlet 1: Never underestimate the motivational power of a dude's boner, y'all. It does feel pretty epic, though. 

Elric: The Dreaming City: Goddamn goddamn goddamn y'all. There's some places where it's clear they're doing the best they can with what they've got, but it's still pretty damn good. 

Harbingers War 2 Prelude: Raul Allen and Patricia Martin blow it out of the water. And this is their last issue with Valiant because they did not survive the DMG Entertainment takeover, sadly. Good luck, y'all. 

My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness: Decided to reread this, and it's still a gut punch. The sequel comes out this summer, I want to say? 

Isola 2: Don't give a shit about the plot, but goddamn Kreschl's art is gorgeous. 

Sleepless 6: Well shit, that's a good plot twist to leave it at. Let's see where this goes. Also, Del Duca's doing amazing stuff with the art here. 

Southern Bastards 20: Fuuuuuuuuck. Great art from Latour, and the plot from Aaron is taking a hell of a twist. 

Prism Stalker 3: Sloane Leong continues to knock it out of the park. The art is gorgeous, and the general biopunk applied to military school hell/being trained by their colonizers leaves you with a hell of an impression. Sleeper hit, this. 

Proxima Centauri: Farel Darymple does an abstract space story about a kid searching for his brother, and it feels super stream of consciousness. Interesting format, intrigued to see where it goes. 

Monstress 16: Still gorgeous and creepy as fuck, kind of have a good sense of what's going on. 

I'm sure I missed something in here somewhere, if I did Jim will give me a nudge. 

Previews: 2
Single Issues: 72
Trades/Tankobon/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 40
Omnibuses: 1

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Jughead The Hunger #3: kind of dumb fun. I don't think this will be something I get in trade format. It's the only Archie horror I haven't done that for yet. 

Legion #1: I enjoyed this.

Marvel Two-In-One #2: I adored this. But, the real test is whether it's any good after Doom is gone.

Ninja-K #3: This was really fucking good. Silly retconning aside.

Phoenix Resurrection #4: good, but only in parts. Some really great moments here though.

Raven Daughter of Darkness #1: I liked this a lot. Pop Mhan is doing some very Colan-esque storytelling which is great because there's a surprise supporting character from a Wolfman Colan comic that I loved.

Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil #4: hahaha...Lemire has created probably the most compelling superhero universe in comics right now in a  low-key way. This is great.

Comics: 555

Trades: 17

Graphic Novels: 6

Omnibus: 9

 

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Hal Jordan and the Green Lanterns #44: Good ish

Detective Comics #980: ANNNNND this one got to me. In a big, real, personal way. I don't know if any run after Tynion's can measure up to this. He's doing things I never imagined current DC would allow anyone near doing.

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #22: Mediocre. This series went up and down and ends on a platitudinous note. I'm glad the Birds don't split up again.

The Incredible Hulk #716: Good ish.

Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #304: Pretty comic booky, but enjoyable.

 

Trade Paperbacks: 11

Single Issues: 118

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Marvel Super-Heroes #12-13, Captain Marvel #1-4, The Avengers #61 and 63-65, and Doctor Strange #172-178 and 180-183 by Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Gene Colan, John Buscema, Frank Giacoia, Paul Reinman, Vince Colleta, George Klein, Sam Grainger, Tom Palmer, Stan Goldberg, Art Simek, Sam Rosen, Irving Watanabe, Herb Cooper, and Jean Simek 

Three Marvel titles, three late '60s collaborations between Roy Thomas and Gene Colan, three different storytelling approaches. Stan Lee scripts Captain Mar-vell's first appearance, establishing the premise of a Kree soldier on an undercover mission to determine if Earth is a threat to the Empire. It had a lot of potential, particularly with a protagonist from an alien race that had been positioned as villains. Unfortunately, at least in the subsequent five issues I read, the book collapses underneath the weight of what a story in the Marvel Age of Comics was supposed to be. Everything that made Marvel fresh and exciting in 1961 was tired and worn by this point. Every issue, Mar-vell's commanding officer tries to give him so that he can take his girlfriend. Every issue, Mar-vell's girlfriend cries. Every issue, Mar-vell laments the irony that Earth's new hero could one day seal its doom. The military base setting was already covered in Iron Man and Hulk, and while the comic has the first appearance of Carol Danvers, she's a head of security in pearls instead of a uniform. It's a formulaic slog that even Colan's art doesn't even alleviate. The pages are still  and clearly him, but you can tell he wasn't fully invested in them; horror is his genre, not sci-fi. There being three inkers between the Marvel Super-Heroes and Captain Marvel issues does make for an interesting study of his art. Giacoia has a clean style that still retains the personality of Colan's work. Reinman tried to retain as much of Colan's shading as possible, and is one of his better inkers. Vince Colleta, of course, stripped Colan's work of all its detail and atmosphere.

Colan's three issue stint being randomly assigned to The Avengers happens to coincide with major changes for Hawkeye. Not only does he take over the identity of Goliath, but elements of his past and family are revealed. As opposed to the repetitive endurance test of Captain Marvel, you breeze through these comics. The character bits with Hawkeye are squeezed between one action set piece after another: Black Panther's experimental plane is about to crash, then Hawkeye's fighting a giant monster, then the Avengers get back together to go up to a space station blasting cities on the Earth, then the Swordsman breaks into Avengers Mansion. As a side effect, most of the characters are written in a similar voice with few distinct characteristics, but as an action book, it does its job. Colan likewise turns in superhero battles with a touch of his grandeur, though like Captain Marvel they lack the inspiration of Colan at his best. The exception is Avengers #65, where an opening splash page of Swordsman leaping through a billboard is followed by a sequence of him jumping down to the street below across two pages. Such a simple movement would take a page at most, a few panels really, but only Colan would think to give it the weight of a double page spread and be allowed to get away with it.

And then there's Doctor Strange, and it's a title that gives Colan a canvas to paint with his full artistic vision. After a couple issues of typical square and rectangular panels, they become rhombuses, they take on irregular shapes, they dissolve into each other. Rather than the efficient grids of superhero storytelling, his layouts flow with spontaneous life. While the swirls, smoke, and darkness of Colan's dimensions are not as striking as the bizarre designs of Ditko's, touches such as the realism brought to the Eye of Agamotto continue the otherworldliness. Doctor Strange #180 is one of my favorite comics drawn by Colan: splash page encounters with Eternity, POV shots, Strange and Clea walking through New York in the snow, anachronistic dinosaurs and warriors ripped from the past as a threat by Nightmare...so many varied threads and all gorgeously rendered by Colan. His artwork stands out even more next to a crossover issue of Avengers in the middle. While John Buscema is a good superhero artist and his work has its own tells, his style is very much a piece with the majority of superhero artists of the era. The only artist who draws like Gene Colan is Gene Colan. Storywise, the issues suffer from the same problem as the classic Ditko run, in that Doctor Strange is a stubbornly one-dimensional character. While there are gestures toward Strange's loss of his hands and the loneliness of being the Sorcerer Supreme, he really only exists to defeat demonic threats with a deus ex machina bit of magic after a few issues of dueling. Like the premise of Captain Marvel, the idea of Clea being stuck on Earth is largely untapped, and a ridiculous 1600s fear of magic in 1968 swipes the much more successful metaphor of the X-Men. Unlike Captain Marvel, Colan's artistry is so incredible that the scripts are greatly beside the point. 

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The Passenger vol 1: a euro style graphic novel and it's not good.

Vinegar Teeth #1: ooof...I don't need a side of goofy with my horror comics, thanks.

X-Men Blue #20: so fucking good.

X-Men Blue Annual #1: a Venom crossover arc is not something I would have expected, but I'm in pretty hard. Not a huge fan of the art here, but a fun story already.

Justice League of America #23: decent.

Ringside #14: really solid storytelling here.

Suicide Squad #34: not as good as the last issue but still good.

The Demon Hell is Earth #3: fun.

All-New Wolverine #30: so fucking awesome.

Avengers #678: solid.

Detective Comics Annual #1: an origin story for Clayface. Pretty damned good.

Dread Gods #3: I always need more Tom Raney in my life.

Hungry Ghosts #1: Teeeeerrrrrrible.

Incredible Hulk #712: really fun

Invincible Iron Man #596: loved this.

JLA Doom Patrol Special #1: this is someone furiously jerking off to Grant Morrison fanfic.

Jean Grey #11: cool ending.

Moon Knight #191: really fun.

Motherlands #1: this didn't light me on fire, but it's Spurrier so I'll give it another issue.

 

Comics: 573

Trades: 17

Graphic Novels: 7

Omnibus: 9

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Batman Arkham - HUGO STRANGE: A collection of Hugo Strange appearance (but not every appearance) throughout the character's history, same as the Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze collections. Honestly I enjoyed each and every story save for the final one which was the conclusion to the recent Monster Men story from DC Rebirth. Hugo Strange is one of my favorite Bat-Villains because he perfectly captures that old-school mad scientist vibe that can be used in noir-ish, moody mysteries. The ongoing thread of him knowing Batman's identity evolves throughout the decades in new and interesting ways. Devin Grayson's four-parter in Gotham Knights is my favorite take on the idea, and was always a classic to my mind since I first read it as it was coming out in 2000.

Trade Paperbacks: 12

Single Issues: 118

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