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The Master

Every comic you've read in 2019

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Again, to catch up on writing at some point:

Livewire vol 1: Vita Ayala basically gets her shot at writing Not The X-Men that also relies on knowledge of recent Valiant material that I honestly have not followed. But hey, it’s Valiant’s first book following one of their black female heroes, and they got a very good black female writer to do it. Good on them, tbh. Allèn and Martìn do gorgeous art, unsurprisingly. 

Xena 1: Another Ayala book, good one shot about children paying for the sins of their parents, also something with Discord and Xena and Gabrielle being gay as hell. That’s honestly all I remember. 

About Betty’s Boob: The artist deserves most of the credit here, tbh - this is largely a silent story, and there are times where it feels like it goes a bit too over the top in what’s going on (which I attribute mostly to the writer), but god if it isn’t gorgeous to look at. 

FCBD

-Dear Justice League: Gustavo Duarte doing the Justice League answering kids’ questions is an incredible thing that I’m surprised hasn’t been done as a general concept sooner. Definitely getting this when it comes out. 

-Kodansha: Good range in this sampler; a library manga that I’ve honestly forgotten at the time that I’m writing this, classic Cardcaptor Sakura in time for the collectors edition release, and Little Witch Atelier, which is gorgeous and intriguing. Apparently the artist has done cover work for DC and Marvel, which is the only thing they think is worth mentioning about her. Also the next person to describe something as Ghibli-esque as lazy shorthand gets the back of mine. 

--Vertical: Kino’s Journey, oh my. 

Trades/Tankobon: 19
Single Issues: 30

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Didn't read a lot due to the move. Trying to get back into it.

Peek a Boo #5: this won't be the best horror comic of the year, but it was fun as fuck, and way better than The Hills Have Eyes which it totally steals from.

Saga Valta 1: a GN that wasn't worth reading.

Stellar #1: plodding.

Teenage Wasteland #1:not very good.

The Life of Captain Marvel #1: also not very good.

  • Comics: 105
  • Trades: 10
  • Graphic Novels: 2
  • Omnibus: 3

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Batman #70: Bleh

Batman and the Outsiders #1 (2019): This was good. I don't like the modern new 52/Rebirth voice for Cassandra, in how she speaks in broken language. It probably makes sense, but before she just spoke slowly in ellipses. Now reads like an attempt to make her cuter by sounding dumber, and really bothers me. That being said, this was solid and I like the roster of this team. 

Single Issues: 167

Trade Paperbacks: 6

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9 hours ago, The Master said:

Batman #71: What is this mess?

King's been playing with himself for months now. The book's become super pretentious, and this attempt to "break" Batman doesn't land as believable or suspenseful compared to the last couple of times it's happened (Morrison with RIP and making him believe his father was alive and evil, Scott Snyder with the Court of Owls). I'll say this, the man knows how to write for his artists. But you read Batman being driven to such anger that he clocks Tim Drake in the face and you don't buy it for a second.

Spider-Man: Life Story #3: I love this series. It's dark, depressing and compelling. Pretty much exactly how I love my Spider-Man.

James Bond: 007 #1-#7: I love the various Dynamite Comic Bond runs, and this current series with the re-imagining of Odd Job is my favorite yet. Greg Pak has written an intriguing, fun character who bounces off of Bond nicely in a way that I'd love for this to be put on the big screen as a film. Tons of fun, these issues.

Single Issues: 176

Trade Paperbacks: 6

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The X-Files Case Files Hoot Goes There #1: fucking solid.

Weapon H #5: Marvel's most consistent new character. From the Weapon X run and this series, this is great.

X-Men Gold #32: not the best

X-Men Red #6: same as above

A Walk Through Hell #3: not bad, but not as good as the previous issues. I'm out.

Bedtime Games #2: not bad at all.

Buffy De Mentia/Mara Celtic Shamaness/Yuppies Rednecks and Lesbian Bitches from Mars/Naughty Knotty: all Eros graphic novels. The Naughty Knotty is by far the best as a collection of Wally Wood's sleazy strips. Good shit.

  • Comics: 111
  • Trades: 10
  • Graphic Novels: 6
  • Omnibus: 3

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Batgirl #35 (2019): Babs vs the Terrible Trio. Good issue.

Batman Beyond #32 (2019): Good.

Single Issues: 178

Trade Paperbacks: 6

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Miles Morales: Spider-Man (vol.2) #4-#6: I wasn't crazy about the first couple of issues of Saladin Ahmed's run, but I checked back in and then doubled back to the last couple of ones to catch up. I'm liking the series much more now. It's perfectly paced from issue to issue, balancing Miles' school life with his Spidey life well. Bendis always tended to swallow up his Spider-Men with one overarching story, so I've barely seen subplots develop, unlike with Ahmed where we get douchey Vice Principal JJ-esque character, and Miles' girlfriend. I'm still reeling from the artwork by Javier Gorron. Miles and Ganke have to be...seventeen now? Maybe that makes sense, but I still have no idea when this massive time skip would've occurred. I think the plots and stories are good, Ahmed's dialogue is hit or miss. He's constant with current NY dialect, and there are times that the art doesn't translate the emotional intent of the lingo in ways I find believable, making the slang appear a bit much. I know Ahmed's a NY native so I don't doubt the accuracy, but it doesn't read as seamless, and also doesn't sound like Bendis' characters. After nine years, Miles and Ganke all of a sudden talk like they're right out of MTV. I think Jason Reynolds was a bit better with that in his Miles novel. But I'm liking the current run a lot more now than I did in the beginning.

Single Issues: 181

Trade Paperbacks: 6

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Heroes in Crisis #9: An annoying montage of characters misdiagnosing their personal problems while King fails to justify the bullshit from the previous issue makes this probably the weakest story he's ever written.

Doomsday Clock #9: This story will certainly be better in the trade. I love the confronting the many origins and revisions of Superman. The last several issues have kept me mightily intrigued.

Detective Comics Annual #2 (2019): I'm not generally a great fan of Batman Year Two, but this was a solid little story with witty writing and good artwork. Recommended.

Batman: The Last Knight of Earth #1: This surprised me. There's a huge bait and switch going from the promotion of this story to the actual opening pages of it, and it kept me interested all the way through.

Amazing Spider-Man #822-#823: Really interesting end to the Hunted storyline. #822 had me so excited for the next issue, and I thought the story concluded logically. It's a good sequel to both Last Hunt and Grim Hunt, and hopefully ends Kraven's storyline once and for all, for real this time. This was the most serious I've read in ASM in a long, long time. Spencer really has brought back a maturity to this title that's been missing for well over a decade.

Immortal Hulk #17-#18: FUGGIN' AWESOME

Single Issues: 189

Trade Paperbacks: 6

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More catch up, going to try to write these up soon: 

Astro City 50: Support group for the aftermath of another major event in Astro City. A solid one shot, I don’t feel compelled to read more tbh, but still a good read 

The Amazing Spider-Man 801: A sweet one shot about a man growing up and how his life intersects with Spider Man’s. But also brings up a bunch of questions unintentionally about how/if Peter ages. 

War of the Realms War Scrolls 2: A Dr Strange and Daredevil/Fisk story that are solid but that I honestly don’t give a shit about. I’m here for the Loki and Wiccan at a drag brunch and reckoning with Wiccan’s future and Loki’s past, and their intersection. Would love to see an ongoing with Billy and Teddy. 

Shipwreck (tpb): Warren Ellis weirdness as a miniseries, with Phil Hester providing amazing art even as he was dealing with macular degeneration. Good solid read, I will probably not remember this towards the end of the year tbh. 

By Chance or Providence (original b+w edition): Becky Cloonan does amazing gothic vaguely fantasy stories, and I continue to boggle at how fucking good she is. 

What Is Left: One: Shortbox is probably one of the best publishers for short zine type comics today. Two: Rosemary Valero-O’Connell is a talent I really need to pay attention to. Short sci fi comic about the survivor of a spaceship explosion experiencing the memories of the donor that provided the energy to keep the ship going. Gorgeous pastel color palette and amazing art, and just an atmospheric plot. Keeping this in my purse to lend out to people bc it’s that good. 

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me: First fucking Second is doing publishing work that no one else seems to be thinking of (possibly bc it has Macmillan money behind it), but is right in the area that needs to be targeted - YA, queers, lesbians. This is a YA book about dealing with your first fuckboi (boi here being gender neutral bc it’s a lesbian, either way it’s someone who’s bad for you), and figuring out how to deal with that as a person. It captures that feeling absolutely gorgeously with Tamaki’s writing and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell’s  art. The way the entire book is colored (black, white, or pastel pink) and the atmosphere that Rosemary does with the art here is astounding. This is one of those “I need to lend this out to everyone I know” books. 

Are You Listening: This comes out this fall, and I will need to get this when it comes out, bc the ARC we got at this point does not have full color work, and that is only going to add to this book’s impact. I was frustrated with the marketing person who invoked Ghibli, but the magic it invokes, both on the road trip and the ever so slight fantasy element to the larger plot, absolutely fit that description. It’s about two young women facing loss of a parent and confronting the truth about the abuse she’s been through, and the unintentional and life changing road trip they end up taking together. Tillie Walden continues to be a voice to watch, and First Second continues to be one of my favorite publishers. 

Trades/Tankobon: 23
Single Issues: 34

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Young Justice #6 (2019): Good. Interesting revelation on Connor's family. Glad the Gemworld stuff seems to be over with. YJ's appeal was always the classic superteen/teenager with normal life balance, so the extraterrestrial stuff doesn't appeal to me. Team books also need to balance the many characters, and these new heroes need more introductions. But the book is still good.

The Green Lantern #8: I loved this because Morrison was doing a tribute song to the Hard Traveling Heroes era, while also indulging in his propensity for continuity porn. Liam Sharp's a great artist any day, but his Buscema/Neal Adams influence/homages were a delight. I want this team to do a GA/GL book from now on.

Batman #72 (2019): Marginally better than last issue, but this title has been up its own ass for too long.

Black Cat #1 (2019): S'alright. This was one of those times where Felicia Hardy and Selina Kyle are hardly differentiated from each other. I liked the artwork once she changed into her BC costume.

Single Issues: 193

Trade Paperbacks: 6

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Has anybody read The Walking Dead #192? I skimmed it and the events therein might get me to give it another try.

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Detective Comics #450: "The Cape and Cowl Death-Trap!"

This issue from Elliott S! Maggin and Walt Simonson was the basis for the B:TAS episode "The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy", which Maggin returned to script for. The original issue is little more than a short story filled with ads. The basic premise is the same: Batman frightens a fat crook for information, said crook hires Jeremy Wormwood, expert assassin to retrieve Batman's cape and cowl for revenge, Wormwood traps Batman in a Wax Museum, forcing Batman to resign the items. Wormwood returns to the crook and in exchange for the explanation why the guy wants the cape and cowl he gives up the identity of the criminal who hired him to assassinate a judge. Crook turns out to be Batman in disguise, and after a brief scuffle is handed over to Gordon and the police. 

The animated adaptation is pretty much the exact same, only with logical expansions. Instead of the murder of a judge, Josiah Wormwood stole barrier bonds from a courier. We see Batman kidnap (in front of a room full of people which was pretty cool) Wormwood's previous contact Josek, and Wormwood attempts an initial trap involving a holographic hostage and a train. The comic had 70's Walt Simonson who's artwork is good in spots, and a bit too rough in other spots. The episode has a great performance from Bud Cort, some terrific dialogue and delivery by Kevin Conroy, and cool direction let down only by the limp and slow animation. I like the episode better, but the comic is classic 70s era Detective Comics where Batman's moniker was often "The Dread Batman!"

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The Invisible Lesbian: by Ocean, then known as Oceanerosemarie, Murielle Magelin and Sandrine Revel.

An adaptation of French comedienne Ocean's one-woman show, the story chronicles her life and adulthood as a femme woman struggling to achieve romance with other lesbians. At first she's barely believed to be gay because she isn't butch, then she struggles to find and connect with other women, then she runs the gamut of different relationships. Light, humorous story with nice artwork that only loses points with her most significant relationship ending off-panel and the story finishing at a brick wall more than a screeching halt. It was jarring how abrupt everything simply ended.

Interestingly enough, though the story and aforementioned performance are all about the trials and tribulations of a femme gay woman, Ocean last year transitioned to a man. A follow-up performance/comic would be interesting as a continuation to the story told here.

Punisher MAX: Happy Ending: One-shot mainly featuring a middle-aged nobody derping into the world of the Punisher. More interesting than it initially seemed.

Single Issues: 195

Trade Paperbacks: 7

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Superman #12 (2019): Okay

Wonder Twins #5: Good

Batman and the Outsiders #2 (2019): I don't really see the interest in all these new characters when reader of this book come for the four mains. This issue read like the distracted boyfriend meme.

Amazing Spider-Man #824: Not much happens in this issue until the shock ending, but the writing was so good it didn't matter. I want Spencer to have a Slott-length run on this title, it feels so right. 

I will say I'm not big on Ryan Ottley's artwork. It's too cartoony to take totally serious, and this is a dark sequel to Kraven's Last Hunt. It was a bit distracting.

Immortal Hulk #19: OOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMGGGGGGGGGGG

Single Issues: 200

Trade Paperbacks: 7

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Infinity - The event Hickman did years ago. I have a fondness for this, as it's the only event (aside from the original Spider-Verse) I followed as it was coming out, so far. I didn't read all of the tie-ins though, so I only got part of the story. With this complete set of the Hickman-written stuff...I still don't get it beyond the broadest of strokes, but I respect how hardcore scifi this was. Let's see somebody try to make a movie out of this, hah. Mostly dug the art, with Yu and Opeña, and Cheung, Weaver, and Deodato all complementing each other in different ways. Only nitpick is that the former group draw faces and bodies really oddly from time to time, which was really distracting.

Skyward - Bought the two volumes out so far, since there was a sale. I can see why it's been nominated for an Eisner, even if I kinda doubt it'd win. The storytelling is solid, the world is fleshed out despite the out-there premise. I really dig the protagonist, she's a ton of fun. Love the art by Lee Garbett, he does a lot of good character work, especially in relation to the wacky low-gravity stuff. Antonio Fabela's colors are gorgeous, they really help set the tone.

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Silver Surfer: Black #1: The writing was okay but the art was super cool

Spider-Man: Life Story #4: I've loved every issue of this mini and #4 was no exception, especially as a fan of the Clone Saga.

On 6/12/2019 at 4:43 PM, The Master said:

Skims through Immortal Hulk #19... what the hell?!

THIS SERIES MAN

Single Issues: 202

Trade Paperbacks: 7

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Really slowed down on my comics reading lately.

Locke & Key vol 1 Welcome to Lovecraft: wanted to do a reread of this for a while until I get to the new stuff I haven't read yet. A very solid little weird supernatural horror comic.

Beauty and the Beast: a late 80s graphic novel featuring the amazing art of Jordi Bernet. Definite influence on Sin City here. It's undeniable.

Bone Parish #1: I don't remember much from this read-through, to be honest. So, I think I'll drop it. Lots of stuff to catch up on.

Brittania Lost Eagles of Rome #1: not lighting me on fire. I'm out.

Brothers Dracul #4: still great. Good stuff.

DC's Beach Blanket Bad Guys Summer Special #1: I almost skipped this. But how often have you read an anthology comic where every story is good? Fucking rare. This might be the best one shot of the year. Lots of different styles of story here. All are interesting.

 

  • Comics: 115
  • Trades: 11
  • Graphic Novels: 7
  • Omnibus: 3

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Started reading Superman: Year One #1, in which Clark saves Lana from a gang rape. Nope. Done. Out. Don't need Frank Miller's shit in my life, and whoever approved that at DC can rightly fuck off, too.

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Teen Titans #31 (2019): A big fight issue with Lobo, but one done well. I forget how overwhelming powerful Lobo is, and he's a total bastard in this. Taking a bounty for his own daughter. Solid first part to a two parter.

Batman #73 (2019): Pretentious comic book is pretentious.

Nightwing #61 (2019): This was a good issue with solid writing and art, but it promised to be the conclusion of the story, and Dick's still "Ric". WTH?!

James Bond: 007 #8: Great issue!

Miles Morales: Spider-Man #7: Okay issue. I wasn't loving the two extra artists though. And IDK why Miles would even think of going near Uncle Aaron again after everything that guy has done.

Single Issues: 207

Trade Paperbacks: 7

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Land of the Lustrous v8: This feels like it’s building towards a conclusion, or at least escalating even more. This is becoming full existential horror on a level I was not expecting, and Ichikawa just continues to do an amazing job on the art work. Looking forward to seeing what happens in v9.

Trades/Tankobon: 24
Single Issues: 34

 

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Detective Comics #1006: There was a real 90s feel to this issue. Kyle Holtz has a very Kelly Jones-esque style to his art, and Tomasi's writing was a bit looser. His Batman sounded like something out of the 80s, but I dug it. Simple story, part one of who knows how many, but I liked it more than the last few issues.

Batman Beyond #33 (2019): Really good issue. This is a story that could've been in the original animated series had it gone on long enough.

Action Comics #1012: I'm fading out of this storyline. It's too involved for me to keep hold, and I really do not like Simon Kudranski's artwork.

Amazing Spider-Man #825: Awesome issue. I love how Spencer uses Mysterio as a psuedo tie-in to the upcoming movie, but he is only a means to an end. Brilliant.

Single Issues: 211

Trade Paperbacks: 7

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Avengers Spotlight #31-34 (only the US Agent stories): This 32-page, four-part story tells the tale of a xenophobic man who's killing migrants as they cross the Mexico / US border. His victims include children. Despite this, the underfunded local police aren't too keen on stopping him. After all, illegal crossings are down we're told. When John Walker (US Agents) is ordered to the border to investigate, he uncovers the truth and tussles with his own less-than-woke beliefs about migrants.

For a story published in 1990, it is shockingly relevant in 2019. Possibly more relevant than it was in 1990. It doesn't shy away from presenting the killer's thoughts, too. We're in his head for at least half the story, even up 'til the end, and it is a very real, very uncomfortable place to be. His hatred of products made out of the USA, and his rage at anyone that's other than him, is all-too real; what's presented on the page I've heard spoken throughout the years and have very much seen on Twitter as recently as today. And that's beyond depressing.

The creative team also takes some time to develop Walker. His violent tendencies are not ignored, nor are his long-held beliefs. Though it would have been nice to see the latter developed a touch more, what we got was more than enough to help you understand where he's coming from.

Marvel has never collected these issues, so you'll have to go back-issue-diving for the singles, but it's absolutely worth it.

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