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The Master

Every comic you've read in 2018

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Sidekick: By J. Michael Straczynski and Tom Mandrake: 12-part series about a kid sidekick who becomes a loser after his mentor and partner is assassinated. But as his life is turned around by one of their femme fatale villains, all is not as it seems as dark revelations bubble out from the surface of the past!

JMS is a good writer. He's done a lot of things people don't like, but on a technical level I think he's really very good. This is a story that's almost typical in a post-2000s Image era. The whole deconstructing sidekicks and shredding the squeaky-clean image was done back during Miracleman, and has been redone with The Boys, the Pro, and honestly even DC with Post-Crisis Jason Todd and Roy Harper. So this story comes off way less introspective and original than it thinks it is. That said, this is some of the most solid Tom Mandrake art I've ever seen, and that kept me reading. I kind of like how much of the plot consists of the Catwoman-analogue being pretty much unstoppable. The ending is also interesting, but at the same time - for me - it reads like I've seen all this before. Every story's worth telling if it tries to be original, I guess, but while this wasn't bad it's really late to the party in terms of subversiveness. 

Trade Paperbacks: 13

Single Issues: 118

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Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider #18 : I don't think I knew Quentin Beck had a daughter. This was a solid comic book ish.

Batman #47 (2016): Tony Daniel's artwork was good, but this three parter was so whatever for me. 

Harley Loves Joker #1-#2: By Paul Dini and Bret Blevins. This was a pretty decent two-parter. It's basically a one-off but seems to share continuity with the animated series as well as Paul Dini's Detective Comics run. The Wonderland Gang from that era returns, but Dr. Dorian from the B:TAS episode "Tyger Tyger" is included in a flashback, and the designs are all from the animated series. Part 2 has Harley go against the current cotton-candy designed version of her in her mind, arguing about her own agency and love of the Joker. There are so many Harley comics and appearances out there and have been for a while, but this is a rare one that felt like it was worth my time.

 

Trade Paperbacks: 13

Single Issues: 122

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Mystik U #2: I see where they're going with this. It's kind of a TV miniseries. Hogwarts in the DCU but more sophisticated. Interesting. 

Old Man Logan #34: consistently so good.

Phoenix Resurrection The Return of Jean Grey #5: interesting ending. Interested to check out X-Men Red

Songs for the Dead #1: no thanks.

Tales of Suspense #101: I'm digging this.

The Beautiful Death #5: why the fuck did I pick this up? Weird place to start. Not a particularly good story. But I had zero invested. So...whatever.

The Realm #5: fun.

The Silencer #1: cool start. I'm in for an other.

Tarot Witch of the Black Rose #1, 2: I gave these a spin because 1, it's Jim Balent and 2, it's so long-running, I thought there must be something to it. Nope. 

Armstrong and the Vault of Spirits #1: Really fun.

Avengers #679: really good.

Batman #40: this was ok. I'm not sure why this story needed to be told. 

Daredevil #598: solid.

Comics: 587

Trades: 17

Graphic Novels: 7

Omnibus: 9

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Detective Comics #981: With a great misleading cover, Tynion ends his run which was in many ways definitive. Beautiful artwork, great characterization as always, and a happy ending. My only hope is that this won't get squandered away and ruined by future writers, but I'm looking forward to Bryan Edward Hill. Nevertheless, this was the best Batman Family comic since Gates of Gotham back in 2011, as it was the only run that genuinely cared about the Bat Family.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #45: I find these are usually quick reads, but this was a busy issue. I'm hoping Guy's turn to the Darkstars is  a trick because it was such a drop-of-the-hat decision that I couldn't buy it any other way. Ethan Van Sciver's artwork brings be back to the days of 2010.

Batgirl #23: Hope Larson's run comes to a quiet close, announced by no one but predicted by everyone, if everyone only means me. It's a decent issue. Honestly her era was very average, with my favorite story being the 4-part Nightwing team-up, and even that wasn't the best. Larson's a competent writer, but she never seemed to feel comfortable writing Batgirl. Eventually she began chasing the original Burnside run, and everything just felt very lukewarm. It's nowhere near bad, the Gail Simone run is still one of the worst comic runs ever, but coming after Brendan Fletcher and Babs Tarr, this just never matched that and suffered as a result because it was constantly trying to be that. I contend that aside the Team Burnside, no one knows what to do with Barbara Gordon despite insisting that she has to be Batgirl. Practically every single story post-new 52 is her trying to "find" herself, which, as said by Gail Simone herself, is a sexist cliche for female characters.

The Incredible Hulk #717: Greg Pak's Amadeus Cho run comes to an end, having started in Totally Awesome Hulk three years ago. Not being much of a Hulk reader, I thoroughly enjoyed this run. Ammy's a fun protagonist, and honestly the Civil War II tie-ins involving him and the fallout from Bruce Banner's death were some of the most compelling Marvel Comics I've read in a while. Like Kamala Khan and Miles Morales, Amadeus is a great legacy character who's difference really makes him worthy to keep around. The actual ending the World War Hulk II read a tiny bit rushed, (I wish we saw the three months of prison he went through in a panel), but it's all fine in the end.

Trade Paperbacks: 13

Single Issues: 126

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Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #2: solid. 

Iceman #10: not sure where this fits into continuity based on what's going on over in All-New Wolverine, but this was decent. The worst issue of the run so far.

Infinity Countdown Adam Warlock #1: not as good as I'd hoped. I have found little to enjoy in Allred's recent work, but it never has to do with the art.

Iron Fist #77: ok, I'm out. This was completely unremarkable.

Mother Panic/Batman Special #1: more Morrison fanfic wankfest.

Rogue & Gambit #2: fun. Interesting take on the old Quicksilver in therapy issue. Couples therapy where one of them can't remember when they first kissed because they were mind-controlled at the time. Loved it.

She-Hulk #162: pretty much a slide in quality in this book, but there's only one more.

Spirits of Vengeance #5: had I knew this series was coming beforehand this would have been a huge disappointment. But I was surprised when it debuted, so it just sucks overall.

Swamp Thing Winter Special #1: beautiful. I don't usually like Kelley Jones' art, but his work on the silent Len Wein issue included here was pretty beautiful.

Shadow Batman #5: not very good.

Twister Romance #1: holy shit, this was terrible. Officially a "fuck this book."

VS #1: Ivan Brandon writes Esad Ribic into doing a future gladiators in space book and it's so much Metal Hurling worship, that all my alarm bells are going off. Loved it.

X-Men Gold #21: really good.

X-Men Red #1: I loved this.

Young Monster In Love #1: this was ok. Some stories better than  others. None of them were great.

Comics: 602

Trades: 17

Graphic Novels: 7

Omnibus: 9

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2 hours ago, Venneh said:

What do you have against Twisted Romance, @Dread?

Just purely obnoxious storytelling, terrible art and an excessive amount of pages.

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