Every comic you've read in 2015


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All-New X-Men vol.4

Catching up on this series after reading the first three vols, buying vol.4, realizing I hadda read Battle of the Atom first, buying and reading that, and putting this off for several months. It's still well written, but slow moving. I s'pose now I move onto Trial of Jean Grey.

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Fantastic Four Annual #4 (1966): The first post-FF #1 appearance of Jim Hammond, the original Human Torch. As a story, it's actually not too bad if fairly simple: the Mad Thinker and his angry mopey computer Quasimodo discovered and reanimated Hammond, duped him into being their servant, and sent him off to destroy the FF. After that, it's a full-length fight scene between Hammond and Johnny Storm, in which it becomes clear that the android Torch is far, FAR more powerful and skilled than Johnny. In the end Jim comes to his senses and sacrifices himself and so on and so forth. The behind the scenes story is what interests me: the rights to the original Torch were set to reverse to Carl Burgos, his creator, due to years of disuse by Marvel. So on the last possible month before those rights would have become available, Stan writes a story reintroducing the android, puts him on the cover, and then kills him at the end, for absolutely no reason other than to fuck over Burgos and keep the character, a character no one at Marvel was using, at Marvel. That said, Kirby kills the artwork. It's very pretty.

There's also a reprint of the gigantic battle between the Thing and the Hulk from FF #25 and 26, and that is tons of fun as well.

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The behind the scenes story is what interests me: the rights to the original Torch were set to reverse to Carl Burgos, his creator, due to years of disuse by Marvel. So on the last possible month before those rights would have become available, Stan writes a story reintroducing the android, puts him on the cover, and then kills him at the end, for absolutely no reason other than to fuck over Burgos and keep the character, a character no one at Marvel was using, at Marvel.

Jesus.

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Yeah, it was a dick move for sure. Lee was always bitter at the Golden Age stuff and even shows some contempt for Captain America in the very early Cap stuff he wrote.

Hammond is one of my favorite Marvel characters. He's Marvel's Superman in a lot of ways.

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If you've worked hard to create a legacy where YOU are the driving force and creative energy behind an entire universe, it makes sense. I'm not a Lee hater by any stretch, but he is far from ethical and ruthless. He did some shit to the guys he worked with back in the day. I can imagine there are other guys he didn't work with, like Burgos, who were equally, if not moreso spurned.

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That's just it. Stan loved (loves) being the center of attention, but it also makes him the guy everyone gets furious with whenever Goodman did something sleazy and he just had to stand there and take abuse. Stan didn't care if (for example) Jack got his artwork back, but Goodman was dead set against it, and so Stan's the guy on the receiving end of the industry's rage and all he can do is stammer and look miserable.

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Yeah Lee was basically a henchman for years while Goodman was in office. There's that story I think Romita tells where Lee would call people into his office, friends he and his wife knew well, to fire them and how he gained a very real hatedom for years because of that.

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Prophecy vol 1: A crossover miniseries from Dynamite with (put down your glass and swallow any drink you have in your mouth): Sherlock Holmes, Vampirella, Pantha, Dracula, Dracula's Daughter, Red Sonja, Ash from Army of Darkness, and Herbert West (the fucking Reanimator!) among others. Good lord. It's delightfully bonkers.

Red Sonja Vol 1 Queen of Plagues: Pretty good. Simone sold me on her ability to write this character in this trade. Not in the other series issues I read. This is badass. Same artist from Prophecy (Walter Goevani) whose work here is even better than it was there. Pretty fun.

Batman Eternal vol 1: Whoa. The first 21 issues are collected here. I haven't been the biggest fan of New 52 Batman (because most of it has sucked or been mediocre at best) but this is pretty fucking great. Not a fan of the Tim storyline, but everything else is fun, intense and genuinely interesting. I'm in for volume 2, for sure. I loved 52 and this might be DC's best modern weekly series.

Comics: 108

Graphic Novels: 7

Trade Paperbacks: 15

Omnibus: 2

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Atomic Legion: Fun Golden Age/Silver Age throwback. Not great, but fun. Always weird when an editor in chief publishes his own work, especially writing. Quesada can be like "I wanna draw that!" and you can say, "couldn't he give that job to a new artist?" Richardson greenlights his own series and publishes it? A little off.

Clone vol 1: Super badass. Crazily fast-paced and very interesting. Orphan Black fans will probably like it.

Down Set Fight: This is the most insane comic premise I may have ever come across. Crazy fun.

Comics: 108

Graphic Novels: 7

Trade Paperbacks: 18

Omnibus: 2

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Magneto vol 2 Reversals: On one hand, this is glorious. On the other, it is too hampered by continuity to be effective. The last volume ended off with quite the tease for the future. That is nowhere to be found in this volume. This volume builds to a finality that Magneto has led us all to,, then after the final reveal, the next issue jumps into a battle with the Uncanny Avengers all of a sudden involved. Like the man Len Wein says, "continuity anchors your best writer to your worst writer." That's what happened here.

Saga vol 4: I was ready to give this up last volume. My mind was changed again. This shit can be good.

Five Weapons vol 1: This is fucked. I don't even know what to say about this. This is about a mysterious private school (Morning Glories does it better) for young assassins (Deadly Class does it way better). Some of the writing is like they are direct translations of manga or anime. Not good. Stilted and awful.

Comics: 108

Graphic Novels: 7

Trade Paperbacks: 21

Omnibus: 2

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Widow: Made in Britian #1 - Continuing to go thru a box of randomness. This time the one comic by N-Studios. 1995. Bad art. Bad story. Bad comic.

Famous in 15 Minutes - Seems to be written by a teacher that is pissed off about the American public education system. Being formerly licensed in education, I get that. But after the initial bitching, it never turns that corner into anything but bitching. Which got annoying.

Spider-Man: The World's Greatest Superhero - Collects the stupid decimal numbered issues. I read this yesterday. I remember the middle story. I forget the first and third stories. So I would say rather forgettable.

Spider-Man: Family Ties - A mixed bag, which is to be expected in an anthology series like this. Two of the stories were really good and nothing was bad. Don't know why they put the Fear Itself tie-in in this trade as it doesn't really fit.

Spider-Man: Black Cat - A read this and thought "That was a good episode of Burn Notice". No idea how that popped into my head, but that is exactly what it is. I dug the art as well.

Comics: 3
Digital First Comics: 39
Graphic Novels: 1

Trades: 3 (14)

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Spider-Man: The Graphic Novels - A nice hardcover of four graphic novels.

Hooky - By far the best of the lot. I loved this. The art is amazing. At first I was bothered a little by the fact Spider-Man didn't seem to fit in the panels. Kinda like someone put some colorforms on top of the pages. But then I realized, he should seem out of place as Spider-Man should not be in the wacky world of alternate dimensions and magic. The sole reason I read this collection and I am glad I did.

Parallel Lives - Redundant. Don't know if the 'Mary Jane always knew' story was fleshed out when this was published, but I feel like I read most of this in some Marvel Tales reprints.

Spirits of the Earth - Nice art, but the story drags to the point of skimming the exposition dump at the end. Lots of people dying tho. Kinda feels weird in a Spider-Man book.

Fear Itself - A goofy and straightforward superhero action story. Could have been a Marvel Team-Up story really. Which, being my favorite series, is a good thing.

Comics: 3
Digital First Comics: 39
Graphic Novels: 1

Trades: 4 (14)(4)

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Constantine vol 1: This is the New 52 Constantine and it's pretty good, actually. Remarkably on point with the TV show. Kind of fun.

Dia de los Muertos: a GN collecting a bunch of Riley Rossmo's stories by different artists themed around the Mexican holiday. Not very good, unfortunately.

Superman vs. Muhammad Ali: I haven't read this since the eighties. This is terrible. Unreadable. A complete waste of paper and ink. Neal Adams' talent was squandered on this bullshit. Fuck this book.

Revival vol 2: I'm going to be looking at some serious mystery-solving in volume three if I'm going to read any more of this series.

Comics: 108

Graphic Novels: 9

Trade Paperbacks: 23

Omnibus: 2

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The Delinquents #1-4: a team-up between Quantum & Woody and Archer & Armstrong. Fun, funny rail-riding hobo action.

Alex & Ada vol 1: This is the story of a man who is bought a female android by his grandmother who wishes she was more human-like and how he goes about doing that. Imagine a sci fi film directed by Zach Braff, and that's what this is. The first reason why I'll never read more or speak of it again. Snooooooze!

Comics: 112

Graphic Novels: 9

Trade Paperbacks: 24

Omnibus: 2

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Bloodshot vol 4: Bloodshot joins H.A.R.D. Corps to go against Harada. It's awesome.

Frank Frazetta's Thunda: Fun Frazetta jungle comics from the early fifties. It's nowhere near his painted stuff, but man, it's almost like if Wrightson was trying to ape Bill Everett's Golden Age style. Amazing.

The Deep: The vanishing Island #2,3: Funny end to this mini. Interesting all ages pulp fun. Totally ripe for a movie.

Comics: 114

Graphic Novels: 10

Trade Paperbacks: 25

Omnibus: 2

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Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) by Howard Mackie - Does not feel like a reboot/reset at all. #1 feels like it could have been #442. Nothing was bad, but I read these one week ago and only have a faint impression that they left. I was enjoying the Peter/Randy/Gloria/Jill Stacy scenes and wanted more. Naturally, change in writers and there of those people are never seen again.

Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) by J. Michael Straczynski - I feel I've read this run the most out of any Spider-Man run. Well, that is not remotely true, but it feels like it. What really stuck me this go around was the lack of classic Spider-Man villains & supporting cast. I'm not really a fan of Spider-Man being in the mystical realms, but it was something new.

My main issue is that this felt like a lot of step-up and no ability to follow thru. Looking over at the pile, there are ten trades setting up for what is paid off in The Other. A redefined set of powers and a new direction you can take the character. And then Civil War happens and everything else get forgotten for the rest of the run.

And randomly, #50 is one of my favorite Spider-Man issues.

Comics: 38
Digital First Comics: 40
Graphic Novels: 1

Trades: 18 (114)(4)

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Dark Engine vol 1: Sci fi/horror/fantasy story that combines dragons, time travel and barbarians. Goddamn, it's so good and gross and fucked up. Love it.

X vol 4: Dark shit, but still fun.

Ant-Man #2: Nick Spencer is continuing his Superior Foes of S-M magic here. The bits with Grizzly are delightful. Thankfully it moved away from asshole Iron Man to become its own thing.

Arkham Manor #4: Still good.

Cluster #1: There's a lot of "space jail" stories going on in comics right now. This doesn't have enough for me to be interested in it.

Colder The Bad Seed #4: Jesus this is some sick shit.

Creature Cops #1: Hrrrmmm...I'll give it one more issue. I liked it, but it didn't set me on fire.

Danger Club #6: this books i back after like 2 years. What a wild return.

Darth Vader #1: I'm not sure how all of these comics are fitting into the continuity but they're good so far. Larrocca's art is amazing on this book.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes #3: I like the art more than the story, but it's still fun.

Deanna of the Dead #1: an awful erotic horror comic. The art is Corben-esque though, so it had that going for it.

Death Vigil #6: Still good, but not as fun as previous issues.

Comics: 124

Graphic Novels: 10

Trade Paperbacks: 27

Omnibus: 2

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Divinity #1: The Russians sent a genius into space and he came back a...God? Not sure if this is in the regular Valiant continuity, but it's a beautiful first issue.

Effigy #1: Cop drama featuring former child star of a kids sci fi show. Not great. Amazing premise. Not the best execution.

G.I. Joe #5: So great. Loving this.

G.I. Joe Snake Eyes Agent of Cobra #1: This appears to be in continuity with the Joe series above (Tomax is in charge, Baroness second in charge) and features Snake Eyes springing Destro from government custody. More told from Destro's perspective. It's pretty great.

God is Dead #28: still super fun.

Hellboy and the BPRD #3: Maleev is the king. Love this book.

Doctor Spektor Master of the Occult vol 1: this is of the Mark Waid run recently. I loved the art in the first two issues by Neil Edwards, but then the art (and the story) takes a major step down with issues 3 and 4. They try to crossover with the three other Gold Key guys who cover three different genres and time periods and, while fun-sounding, it doesn't really work.

Comics: 130

Graphic Novels: 10

Trade Paperbacks: 28

Omnibus: 2

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