Every comic you've read in 2017


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Virgil and Two-Step were real fun.

America 6-7: Because I am secretly a masochist, I decided to check this series out again. Hoooooo boy. 6 was a weird little luchador diversion, the writing still is not fantastic but improving (they added Kelly Thompson, one of their workhorses, on as a cowriter for the Hawkeye bits, and it does seem to be helping a bit). There's some very painfully clear moments where the fill in artist takes over from Villalobos (including some damn embarassing background art.) This is the one where they accidentally published the 4chan letter mocking them.

7 is... hooo fucking boy. There are six fucking artists credited to this (and they're all amazing, but jesus christ, if you have to send an issue to six separate artists to get it out on time, that's not a good sign). I'm genuinely not sure if this was a stylistic choice, or literally that no one could get this out on time. Painfully exposition heavy issue, and with the tumblr-esque interjections it kinda made me want to claw my eyes out. There is also some Themyscira-ass knockoffs going on here. But hey! Lesbians! Coincidentally, no more letter page this issue.

I don't know how this series keeps going. But it does.

Thought Bubble Anthology 2017: Wonderful collection of comics, including from winners of the comics competition for all ages, alongside pros (protip: the Southern Bastards one is amazing). Very heartwarming.

Snotgirl 7: Hung and O'Malley are benefitting from the every other month schedule, I think; Hung's art seems a lot less rushed, and O'Malley gets a few more pages to do story/gags in. They seem to be finding their stride on both the Instagram/model and murder mystery sides.

Black Monday Murders 7: This shit is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s. Crazy stuff on the story front this issue, and gorgeous art. There we are.

Black Magick 8: Still keep trying to get into this. Still failing.

Crosswind 4: Cat Staggs is still embarassing, Gail finally figured out it's downtown Chicago (psst, try the Gold Coast, that's where it is). She dives into the socialization issues a bit this issue at least, so it's mildly interesting? IDK. This continues to be a thing that happens.

Lazarus X+66 3: Peeked my head in on this one, still pretty meh on it.

Southern Bastards 18: Shit is jumping off real quick, and we learn more about Roberta's childhood with some exquisite flashbacks as she tortures the shit out of Materhead. Brunner subs in for Aaron this time around.

Rat Queens Special: Orc Dave: Man, remember when I was interested in Rat Queens? Been a long while, and the shine's worn off hard. (My D+D game is more interesting, my dude.)

Descender 24: Christ this series continues to be goddamn gorgeous. Killer robot meets his Yoda. Alright. Looks like it's going to be at least an issue or two of diversion from the main story.

XO-Manowar 7: Ahem: KINDT AND CRAIN KINDT AND CRAIN KINDT AND CRAAAAAAAIN. Also thank god for recap pages. They're back to their stride with each other, and we are in for a good time.

Zines: 15

Single Issues: 277

Trades/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 94

Omnibuses: 4

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How would you think America's series could improve? Is it all down to Rivera's writing? Does she need a stronger editor or is she just wrong for the title? The way she writes America is so obnoxious, I'd be more into it if the character would shut up for a single page.

Batman: Hollywood Knight: Fun 3-part elseworlds where  Batman exists only as a 40s serial. 

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If this is the execution of her pitch, then yes, Rivera's writing is the problem. According to industry gossip, the scripts are crazy far behind, which doesn't help. More later. At bottom: America reads like an expertly crafted parody.

America Chavez sounds unrecognizable. Previously, she was a character of few words, now she sounds like she's forfuturereferenceonly's smurf account. The idea of filling in her history is a good one. The execution here is bad.

Edited by jim
Typing between Destiny strikes.
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Giselle & Beatrice: A European erotic dramedy (?) about a harried office worker who turns her sexually harassing boss into a woman and keeps him around as a maid and sex slave. Despite the stark premise it's take is humorous and has an appropriate ending. I really dunno what to think of this comic, but it was sure interesting to read.

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Detective Comics #965: Wonderful. Brilliant on every level. Writing, artwork, characterization and a genuine twist. This also kicks out that stupid fucking Zero Year Issue that tried to re-write Tim's origin into being a snot-nosed know-it-all. Tynion's killing it in this issue. A++ required reading for Tim Drake fans.

Batgirl #15 (2016): This was good. Dick and Bas' relationship has been such a sore point for the Didio era of DC Comics, so I was surprised to see them kiss for the first time in ten years (if we're counting that godawful Nightwing Annual #2 story's flashback). It's not perfect but Larson's story is decent for what it's going for.

 

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Red Hood and the Outlaws #11: shoe-horned a profound and dramatic end to this absolute non-starter of an arc. If things don't turn for the good next issue, I'm out.

Regression #2: fucking great. Just ordered the trade.

Secret Empire #4: still great.

The Sovereigns #2: really wondering why this Magnus sucks but the one with her own series does not.

Winnebago Graveyard #1: interesting slow burn first issue.

World Reader #3: interesting. But I'm out.

All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #4: not great.

Black Cloud #3: terrible. I'm out.

Brittania We Who Are About to Die #3: fucking great.

Captain America Steve Rogers #18: not strong. Definitely not as strong as the cover.

Crosswind #1: Fuckdiculously bad. See above. My only other comment is WHO THE FUCK GREENLIGHTS THIS SHIT? Cat Staggs doesn't have the clout to go without an editor, right? Garbage.

Darkness Visible #5: the worst issue of the bunch. Which is sad, it being the penultimate issue.

Godshaper #2: I spent the entirety of this issue wondering when it was going to end. Then I realized I think I felt the same about issue 1. So, I'm out.

Grass Kings #4: fantastic.

Iceman #2: another great fucking oneshot issue.

Invincible Iron Man #8: not the best issue, but it ended solidly.

Justice League of America #8: great.

Lobo/Roadrunner Special #1: there's something special about Lobo versus the Roadrunner. I have to ask if anybody else thought there was a nod to Wile E Coyote being in continuity with the version from Morrison's Animal Man? Maybe I wanted it to be, but I liked it.

Luke Cage #2: not the best. I'm done.

Normandy Gold #1: another Hard Case series, pretty great so far.

Suicide Squad #19: fucking fantastic.

Tekken #2: I guess I shouldn't be expecting a story. I'm out.

God Country #6: fucking beautiful.

Nightwing #23: ok, we can end this storyline now. Meandering...come on!

Plastic #3: fucking great. 

Rapture #2: pretty solid.

Red Sonja #6: ok, it's continuing. I love it.

Comics: 985

Trades: 28

Graphic Novels: 24

Omnibuses: 13

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21 hours ago, Donomark said:

How would you think America's series could improve? Is it all down to Rivera's writing? Does she need a stronger editor or is she just wrong for the title? The way she writes America is so obnoxious, I'd be more into it if the character would shut up for a single page.

I think whoever the initial editor was who pitched this to Rivera somehow absolutely missed the core of this character? (According to a Refinery29 interview, Moss reached out to her because he thought she'd be an amazing fit.) If true, everyone involved has somehow missed the entire goddamn point of America. 

Rivera should've also been given something else before a solo series. The issues where she had Kelly Thompson cowriting Hawkeye were slightly less awful.

But all she's written before this has been one YA novel that is very much for the tumblr crowd (and that I have not read and should not judge as such), and Wil Moss recruited her on the strength of that. Yes, America should've been given to a queer Latina. But man, maybe they should've given her more ramp up?

these issues have regularly had three or four artists, and given that Quinones could handle solos just fine before this, I have a feeling that gossip re: scripts being late might be true.

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Spider-Man by Erik Larsen and David Michelinie Omnibus: so I took a long tim to savor this seeing as this was the thing I hounded Marvel to publish since I started using Twitter. A true slice of 90s goodness. Larsen is THE definite Spider-Man artist for me, and these adventures are fun as fuck. From the new creations like Femme Fatales and Cardiac to the characterization of Sandman to the most 90s team-up ever: Spider-Man, Smart Hulk, Ghost Rider, ,Nova, Deathlok, Solo, Sleepwalker and the Fantastic Four. And of course it includes one of my favorite stories ever, the Wolverine team-up in MCP. Beautiful. Oh yeah, don't forget the Black Cat/Mary Jane cheesecake. Perfection. There's also the three issue miniseries Larsen did some writing and drawing on in the early 2000s that's really quite terrible and his very first Spider-Man issue from the mid-80s before departing to DC for a while. Plus, OHOTMU drawings, pinups, all of his crazy-ass Marvel cards, interviews, forewords and all sorts of BTS shit. Glorious.

Comics: 985

Trades: 28

Graphic Novels: 24

Omnibuses: 14

 
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Red Menace: Six-Issue mini from Wildstorm.

Set during the Red Scare of the 50s, it follows a patriotic crime fighter who reveals his identity at the behest of J. Edgar Hoover. He's suspected of being a communist, ridiculed, arrested and sent to Alcatraz, all while garnering a fan who wants to be a super hero as well and a plot to blow up the US with an A-Bomb. Pretty cool story delivered by one helluvan artist in Jerry friggin' Ordway, who makes a neat story into an awesome one.

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Spider-Man: The Manga by Ryoichi Ikegami

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In 1970, Marvel licensed out Spider-Man to Japan for the purposes of publishing a manga version of their most famous superhero. The book was commissioned to mangaka Ryochi Ikegami, he of Crying Freeman fame. It consisted of 33 chapters between January of 1970 and September of 1971. Eventually it was translated for the US in the early 2000s, but the translations stopped before the end of the series for reasons I might guess.

The series starts of fairly rudimentary. Yu Komori is the Japanese Peter Parker, a science geek who gets bitten by  radioactive spider in much the same way Nicholas Hammond did. He has an Aunt, he goes to High School and there's a J. Jonah Jameson stand-in and newspaper. He starts off fighting versions of Electro, The Lizard, Kangaroo and Mysterio.

Once the manga gets through those first few arcs, the book falls into a deeply realistic and gritty tone that it never gets away from. Suddenly, Yu goes from battling the Lizard to a simple Vietnam Vet with a handgun who kidnaps him and his friends and hijacks an airplane. A woman who has the power to freeze people to death simply commits suicide before Spider-Man can lay a glove on her. A witch who has the power to turn people into lustful, animalistic beasts with a glance from her eyes turns out to have zero control over her abilities. Further still is Yu's point of view, which is constantly battling an inner darkness that he knows full well could turn him into an Irredeemable-esque super villain the moment he feels like it. It's a real inner battle that is the strongest successor to Ditko's Peter Parker I've ever seen.

I loved this. It was moody, atmospheric, and brutally realistic. By the second half of the series, Yu is barely suiting up as Spider-Man anymore. Storylines conclude with bad endings, and the conventions of the Spider-Man mythos pretty much evaporate. It becomes a story about a young man with powers who keeps running into dark reflections of himself and sees him struggle to contend with them without losing himself. It's not very superhero-y by the end, in fact it's downright nihilistic and depressing. Very much like Evangelion's transition from basic giant robot fare into pure insanity by series' end. There's not really a conclusive, definitive end to the series, but the ride was fun all the way. This is a manga, so in the last arc or two there is an increase in rougher content like sexual assault, but it doesn't impede the story like later series would after the 70s. Highly recommended. 

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Batman and the Outsiders HC vol. 1: collects Batman and the Outsiders (1983) #1-13, plus The New Teen Titans #37 and material from The Brave and the Bold #200.

After Lucius Fox manages to get himself kidnapped by a hostile foreign power and the JLA are forbidden to do anything about it lest they create an international incident, Batman has a temper tantrum, quits the League, and forms his own team and it'll have candy and presents and Firestorm's not invited. Who is invited instead are a couple of established characters that DC weren't really doing anything with (Black Lightning and Metamorpho), and some new characters that range from mildly interesting (Katana) to wasted potential (Halo) to the dictionary definition of utter uselessness (Geo-Force). Mike W. Barr, the Bat-writer in the early-to-mid 80s, has a tough time reconciling the brooding loner Batman he'd been working on with the guy training and leading a team of people with varying degrees of experience, but for the most part it comes out well enough. Jim Aparo is as Jim Aparo as he always is, even if he's not quite at the top of his game.

Overall this is pretty typical Bronze Age, just pre-Crisis DC stuff. Stories are generally quick, no more than two parts. There's a crossover with the Titans where it's driven home how much more interesting Terra was than her brother Geo-Force. The Dick and Bruce relationship is pretty much destroyed at this point, and that's almost entirely on Dick's end; Batman is barely aware that Robin is so angry. (Hence why Dick is so angry.) The actual story isn't memorable, but the characterization is interesting. There's also a fucking phenomenal Christmas issue that's seriously one of the best Batman stories I've ever read.

Also, Metamorpho is totally Ben Grimm with the serial numbers filed off.

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35 minutes ago, Dan said:

Mike W. Barr, the Bat-writer in the early-to-mid 80s, has a tough time reconciling the brooding loner Batman he'd been working on with the guy training and leading a team of people with varying degrees of experience, but for the most part it comes out well enough.

Barr's Batman is forever interesting because it's so contradictory. His Detective Comics run with Alan Davis sees him vacillate between the do-gooder super hero established up to the 80s, and nearly beating the Joker to death for messing with Catwoman. Robin was written straight up like Burt Ward (this was 1987, I.E. Post-Crisis Jason Todd), but Barr has him get riddled with bullets by the Mad Hatter. I think his take is generally sound, but it was funny in BATO where Batman would jerk his team around by interacting with them as both Batman and Bruce Wayne as separate personas. 

39 minutes ago, Dan said:

Also, Metamorpho is totally Ben Grimm with the serial numbers filed off.

TOTALLY

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Royal City #4: loving this, not sure where it's going or why. But loving this. Tonally, it's lovely. 

Secret Empire Brave New World #2: not good.

Shirtless Bear-Fighter! #1: I mean, I want to know who to talk to about stealing my life story, but otherwise, I kind of liked it.

Swordquest #1: Now that I've read more than the zero issue, I am pretty confident this is shaping up to be something special. Weird that an Atari-fan-based comic is going to be one of my favorites of the year.

The Mighty Thor #20: uhm, wow. Holy fuck.

Wonder Woman Tasmanian Devil Special #1: pretty terrible.

A Fractured Mind #1: Red Circle Comics is still publishing, man. Wow. Not sure why.

Archie #21: This was way more intense than I thought it would be.

Black Hammer #10: liked.

Highlander The American Dream #5: ends with a fizzle.

Killbox Chicago #1: no thanks.

Rock Candy Mountain #2: yeah, more no thanks.

Spencer & Locke #3: this is delightful. I mean, truly fucked up, but delightful.

Superman #25: Ok, can we move past this stuff now please? Feels like this has been the longest story arc ever.

The Normals #2: still intrigued.

US Avengers #7: the European team doesn't get named in this issue, but I love them and need a series with them stat.

Comics: 1001

Trades: 28

Graphic Novels: 24

Omnibuses: 14

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Superman #32 (2016): The second part of a Deathstroke fill-in story by James Bonny. It's...fine, but really basic and not as insightful as it thinks it is. It comes off as though it's making some grand statement about Superman never being one to kill as though it's the first story to do so. The dialogue is pretty blah, and I don't care how much danger Lois Lane is in, Superman would never be one to contemplate ripping someone's head off. It's an inconsequential two-parter with decent Tyler Kirkman art but it's not worth taking very seriously.

Batman #32 (2016): Is it over yet?

Tom King is a good writer (he penned the amazeballs Elmer Fudd story earlier this year), but his Batman run feels the most like it belongs back in the new 52. This entire Jokes and Riddles storyline always rang false, having the villains team up against each other. The Riddler would never be viewed as so charismatic as to make that work, or really be that much a threat to the Joker. He's pissing off Joker left and right in this story, and I love the Riddler but he's the wrong villain for that. Ra's Al Ghul, Two-Face, maybe even Penguin would make more sense. Riddler's innately a geek who's sense of ego screws him over in every facet of his life, sooner or later. This revisionist take of him as this handsome killer character reminds me of Tony Daniel's weirdo version back when Dick was Batman. Mike Janin's artwork is good on its own but looks very weird with these characters. Batman's drawn pretty much like Batffleck from the movies, which admittedly doesn't beget good will to me. Dumbest of all is this whole "Bat"/"Cat" thing he has Bruce and Selina say to each other. This isn't the worst story ever, but it's been a turn-off for me since the beginning, and keeps King's Batman run as one I find overrated compared to Snyder's efforts or Tynion's Detective Comics.

Harley and Ivy meet Betty and Veronica: I found this fun. Paul Dini writes a classic, old-school Archie with modern, Waid-era artwork, which is amusing.

Nightwing #30 (2016): S'okay.

Bane CONQUEST: Still good.

Batman-White Knight #1: I thought this was interesting. Sean Murphy has an intriguing story he wants to tell, with enough B:TAS Easter eggs sprinkled throughout to keep things fun.

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Batman Year 100: I read this about four or five years ago, then bought the trade and had it sit on my shelf unopened until tonight. This is a cool-ass comic book. Paul Pope knows what kind of story he wants to tell and just goes for it. The only problem is that the plot is a bit hard to follow. Ultimately you get what's going on but it does not hold the reader's hand through any of the four parts. A story taking place in 2039, there's barely any remaining vestiges of the classic Batman franchise save for Gordon's grandson and a "Robin" of sorts. Of all the future Batman tales...Batman Beyond, Dark Knight Returns, etc...I think this is the boldest because it's a finite tale told from the ground up. Batman is purely mythic, and it's intentionally vague whether this is an immortal Bruce Wayne or someone continuing the mantle, which was really effective. Take away all the trappings of the classic stuff and break Batman down to his purest elements, fighting a corrupt federal government in a Police-State Gotham, and this is one of the best and most underrated Elseworlds Batman stories in years. It deserved the two Eisners Pope won for it.

The Batman Chronicles #11: Included in the Year 100 trade, a short story pitting the original Detective Comics #27 Batman story in pre-WWII Nazi occupied space where Batman is a Jewish man whose parents were killed because they were Jewish. Short but solid story. Paul Pope needs to come back to this character.

Iron Fist #73: Danny feeds Shou-Lao the Undying a live cow. That...what? Otherwise another good issue. This book could use some downtime. It's starting to get exhausting seeing Danny get his butt kicked every issue.

Spider-Man #17 (2016): Nice to see Miles win a fight for once.

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Victor Lavalle's Destroyer #2: ok, wasn't blown away by the first issue but this is awesome. Can't wait for more. Love getting in on the ground floor of Lavalle prose and comics wise because if there's going to be a horror resurgence in pop culture, I think this guy is going to spearhead it.

WMD #1: kind of good. Interested in the rest of the crossover.

X-Men Gold #6: this was solid.

'Namwolf #3: solid. 

Action Comics #982: LOVING this.

All_New GOTG Annual: love that the Guardians have to try and pull off an impossible heist to try and destroy the force field around earth. Perfect tie-in to SE for the series. Also, MU introduction to the movie version of Yondu.

Bank Shot #1: Nooope!

Batman/Elmer Fudd #1: well, if that wasn't one of the best single issues of the year...

Batman/Shadow #3: ok. Weird, but all right.

Comics: 1010

Trades: 28

Graphic Novels: 24

Omnibuses: 14

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Punisher: The Platoon #1: Ennis and Parlov doing a Punisher 'Nam story? Yes please!

Jessica Jones #13: The Purple Man is back and he has his eyes set on Danielle. Lots of Bendis-style dialogue here, but it's restrained. And the ending: oh boy!

Detective Comics #965: I won't spoil the ending, but it's so awesome to see that character back.

Batman: The Dawnbreaker: Decent Elseworlds-like oneshot, but it doesn't compel me to read the others or the Metal miniseries.

Defenders #5: This book is so good.

Batman: White Night #1: This is excellent! A sane Joker takes on Batman and the GCPD to save the city.

Comics: 441

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Gyo, volumes one and two: Preceded by the sickening stench of death, sea creatures crawl onto land and quickly make surface-dwellers their prey. When the fish detach from their unnatural legs, that's when the real horror begins.

Initially I picked this up thinking it was a comedy (or horror comedy), because of an image Harrison Chute posted on his Twitter feed. (It was of a shark bursting through a door. As a standalone page, it drew mental comparisons to Land Shark / Candygram.) But this is far from hilarious. The first volume perfectly sets up the drama, slowly building to the inevitable cliffhanger. Along the way, we're given a possible explanation for the events (and supporting evidence upon a reread), but no definitive answers ever come. This is a major plus because we're not following someone in the government, sciences, or media; we're following a young adult who's stumbled upon this madness. If it were the former, the story would be about containing the horrors with military might. But because we're following a civilian, he is beyond powerless, as most of us would be. Though Tadashi is a flawed character, he's a good gateway character into this world, what with him being a normal person. Sadly, Kaori, his girlfriend, is a mess. All. She. Does. Is. Whine! It's annoying the first time she does it. By the tenth one wonders why Tadashi stays with her; she's more simpering child than adult. I think it's magnified because there are only four characters throughout these two volumes.

By the time we reach the second volume, a month has passed and the world has forever changed. The pace is much faster -- almost too fast at times -- but when the mainland is overrun with walking sea creatures and literally everyone is running for their lives, the story cannot stop to reflect on the nature of humankind, the horrors we visit upon ourselves, and how they come back to haunt us. By the end, volume two becomes a little too wacky (think Fury Road in some of its weirdness), but the body horror elements are ramped up to Cronenberg levels. (Hell, I would love to see him take a stab at adapting this into a Walking Dead-like program, as the ending leaves a lot of room for further stories.)

Junji Ito's linework captures the realism of the creatures and world, but isn't afraid to dive into the utter horror of what's come ashore and its toll on humankind. He also captures the little horrors so well; seeing the floating bag again made me gasp, and when the professor saw the casing, well, my heart raced.

The two bonus stories are unrelated to the main tale, but both are worth the read. The first is an odd, almost humorous look at how far we're willing to go to protect our homes. The second gave me chills, and that's all I'll say about it.

Comics: 441
Manga: 2

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