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Marvel Comics Week of 7/28/19 Review

Introduction

Hello, and welcome to my review of Marvel comics for the week of 7/28/19. As you already know if you’ve read any of the other articles I’ve posted recently, these aren’t actually comics from that week. In fact, I’m also renegging on the promise that I wasn’t reviewing old books since one of the comics is Weapon X, which has been discontinued.

Oh well, best laid plans an all that. I will say that this is probably going to be the last of the articles with this format. I’m more or less caught up on all of the books at this point. Therefore, I want to start writing articles that take better advantage of the “Good, Bad, and Ugly” schtick that I refuse to let die. I’m confident that I will not break this promise.

Black Panther #12 and 13 by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jen Bartel, and Kris Anka

Black Panther….IN SPAAAAACE! Meh.

The Good (I enjoy Coates as a writer)

I’ve probably mentioned on the page in the past that Black Panther was one of my favorite Marvel heroes growing up. I was very excited for the movie and it ranks in my top 5 Marvel movies right now. When I heard that Ta-Nehisi Coates was going to be writing for the book a few years ago, I made it my mission to read it because I think he’s a smart and engaging speaker. Like many of my missions, I failed. I did not fail when they rebooted as part of Legacy.

The Bad (This story feels disjointed)

I must be missing something here. Because, I have no idea what is even happening in this book right now. Somehow, Black Panther and the other characters are in space. I know it was explained, but I still don’t understand it.

The Ugly (I don’t like this story)

As if that last entry wasn’t enough of a hint, not only is it disjointed, but I just don’t like this story very much. It might not be a story for me and that’s okay. I mean, it’s not like I’m going to stop reading the comic because of it, but I really wish they’d stop it with the space stuff already.

Amazing Spider-Man #24 by Nick Spencer, Clay Chapman, Gerardo Sandoval, and Ryan Ottley

Surprisingly, this was a scary issue.

The Good (Still Rolling after Hunted)

I worried that there might be a drop off in quality after such a good story as Hunted. However, this follow up story has started off with a bang. I like that they’re bringing everyone back from the semi-disaster that was “One Last Day” or whatever that story was called. Spidey isn’t my favorite Marvel book like it once was, but it is definitely climbing the charts.

The Bad (Mysterio and the Far From Home Elephant)

This might have been planned. It might have been happenstance. Either way, it feels a bit icky. Mysterio is in the new Spider-Man movie. He’s in this book, too, which released around the same time as the movie. I get that Marvel is a company and cross promotion is a thing, but I don’t have to be happy about it.

The Ugly (Mysterio’s End)

There were two books (maybe three because I didn’t finish all of Weapon X) that saw some very violent deaths for their characters. The Mysterio one is possibly not a true death and the other most likely is not either, but they were both shocking.

Weapon X (#22-27 RIP) by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, and Luca Pizzari

Why must all of Greg Pak’s book come to such an abrupt end?

The Good (Greg Pak is one of my favorite writers)

I have liked Greg Pak since the original Planet Hulk series. I’ve tried to read everything he’s written. Unlike some other fans, I even liked when he took over for Hulk and wrote Totally Awesome Hulk. It feels like fans might be holding that against him because his other titles since have met untimely ends. He’s also an unabashed librul on Twitter and neckbeards often aren’t.

The Bad (Deadpool)

While this was a more subdued version of Deadpool, I prefer the Ryan Reynolds version the best. A close second was the Merc with a Mouth from Secret Empire. The wisecracking, 4th wall breaking nonsense is just too much for me.

The Ugly (Too Real)

I feel like I’m saying this more and more about comics lately. I get that they are art and supposed to reflect the times, but it’s too much for me to handle sometimes. Maybe I’m just not a fan of reality right now. As if that isn’t the understatement of the year.

Immortal Hulk #17-19 by All Ewing and Joe Bennett

That is one ugly Abomination.

The Good (Abomination)

I don’t remember the specifics of each individual issue. However, I do remember that Abomination was introduced in this run and he is living up to his name in this title. I mean, just look at that mug in that cover up there. This continues to be the best Marvel book beyond a shadow of a doubt and this character helps cement that legacy.

The Good (Joe Fixit and Multiple Personality Disorder)

I always liked Hulk because of the MPD angle. I don’t suffer myself and I’m skeptical that it is actually as prevalent as it is made out to be. However, I’m fascinated by human psychology and this book is again proving itself to be a master class in that study.

The Good (Betty vs. Hulk)

So, a few episodes ago, Betty turned into a Hulk. She looks like a harpy almost, which could be read as slightly sexist, but I just now thought of that, so it’s probably a stretch. Evidently, she’s been hunting Hulk and she caught up to him. As I texted to Chris, simply “brutal”. Can’t wait to see where this book takes us.

The Verdict (Marvel Comics Week of 7/28/19 Entertained Me)

Hulk is probably the best comic book (that I’m reading). I’m sure there are others that you indy guys can point to that are better. However, I can’t wait to read the new Hulk every month. Spidey is very good, Black Panther is uneven and Weapon X is dead. I say again, because the more I say it, but Marvel Comics Week of 7/28/19 will be the last of this particular format, so look for the new format in a couple of weeks. Until then, make mine Marvel!

DC COmics Week of 7/21/19 Review

Introduction

I think I said in one of my previous articles that it would be the last time that I would include older comics in the review. So this isn’t technically DC Comics Week of 7/21/19. There might be some older books in here, but I am at the point where I’m caught up on the books that I read and it is the most recent books as of last month. Progress! If I’m going to get any more current, I have to get famous and have the companies send me preview books.

Superman #9, 11, 12 (“Unity Saga” by Brian Michael Bendis, Joe Prado and Ivan Reis)

My heavens, what has the House of El ever done to deserve all this hate?

The Good (This book is better than Action Comics right now)

As you probably know since you are all fans of comic books, DC Comics handed control of their most famous hero to Brian Michael Bendis last year. What you may not know if you aren’t a fan of this page is that I’m not a huge fan of Bendis. I’m not against him necessarily, I just don’t like his propensity for long exposition and the standard that he set for serializing comics into 6 part stories. With that being said, I have liked this book more than Action Comics lately.

The Bad (Why the Retcon?)

I’m not much of a fan of Superman, either. Again, I don’t actively dislike the character. I mean, how can you? He’s a boy scout who champions the virtues of America. However, the character is kind of lame and Zack Snyder kind of ruined Superman and DC for me and it is taking some time to purge myself of those very painful memories. Granted, I was always a bit biased against DC, but they have been doing good things with their comic books the past few years, so I was missing out.

The Ugly (Everyone Hates the House of El)

Now, I know I just spend a couple of paragraphs talking about the negatives of this book in the good and the bad section. I’m not a hater, though. I did enjoy this story as I read it. So, you can’t count me in the headline for this section. However, the Evil Justice League, Rogol, and Zod most definitely do not like Superman’s family and they will stop at nothing to destroy them.

Wonder Woman #73 (“Prisoner of a Dark Dimension” by Various)

Why is Wonder Woman always tied up? Uh, don’t Google that unless you want your preconceived notions about comics and kids utterly destroyed.

The Good (This is an interesting story)

I’m pretty sure this is a rehash of a story that has been told over and over in Wonder Woman. However, not being a DC fan as much as a Marvel fan, I haven’t read many of these stories in the past. With that being said, this was a good story that I enjoyed reading, even it it wasn’t Greg Rucka writing it. There’s your obligatory Rucka reference for 2GG Bingo.

The Bad (This is only a one shot)

This issue was obviously filler for some reason or another. That’s why I say that it is most likely a story that has already been told. Even so, I’d have liked to have explored this story more. Oh well, maybe in the future.

The Ugly (I like this creative team)

What, what? You liked the story. You liked the creative team. How is that ugly? Well, this team filled in for this one shot. Therefore, chances are they won’t be back next issue. I wish they were. Hear that, DC? If these guys don’t have a regular book, give them one!

Catwoman 11 and 12 (Joelle Jones and Fernando Blanco)

I think I like Catwoman more than either Batman title now. That’s saying a bit.

The Good (Joelle is Back!)

The last time I reviewed Catwoman, there was a one shot fill in issue not involving Joelle. That made me sad. Joelle is back writing for Catwoman again. That makes me happy. I like her writing style for this book and if she leaves, it will almost be a Rucka-like adjustment for me to get used to a new writer.

The Bad (Not Quite Deus Ex Machina)

One problem I have with the book is that while there is an ongoing story, each book has it’s own specific narrative. It’s not quite Deus ex Machina that she utilizes to accomplish these feats of daring and do-baddery, but it’s close. Things just wrap up entirely too quickly for my tastes. I wouldn’t mind a cliffhanger or two.

The Ugly (Movie Premiere)

Part of the narrative of issue 11 was a movie premiere. I’m sure that it has some bearing on the book or the character, but damned if I was able to find it. Just felt completely random and not related to the story one bit. Maybe those pages could have been used for more set up for the eventual heist.

Justice League Dark #11 and 12 (James Tynion IV and Alvaro Martinez)

This might be my favorite DC book right now.

The Good (This is better than Justice League)

I’m not a fan of whatever Scott Snyder is doing with Justice League right now. It’s a fine title, but it just doesn’t feel cohesive or well executed. I will keep reading in hopes that things change. I would much rather be reading this book, though.

The Bad (Nothing)

That’s not an exaggeration. I love everything about this book. As I wrote in my caption, it might be my favorite DC book right now.

The Ugly (Justice League Dark Chaos?)

Is that a double negative? Are they now the real Justice League and the other Justice League is what then? Yes, this is a reach. But, as I said, this book is very good and you should be reading it.

The Verdict (DC Comics Week of 7/21/19)

Overall, the comics that I read for this week are strong. DC is having a bit of a wobble since it is mostly a comics venture at this point and it can’t quite figure out how to make movies. That being said, I did like Aquaman and Shazam was quite a bit of fun. But, I digress.

Back to DC Comics Week of 7/21/19, it isn’t as strong as some previous weeks. But, it wasn’t bad, either. At this point, I’m not sure who I like more, DC or Marvel. Maybe neither, and I’m just becoming a fan of individual books instead of either company.

Spawn Road to 300 Review

Introduction

Spawn 300 kind of caught me by surprise. I knew it was imminent, but there have been delays. Now that I see the Spawn Road to 300 banner, I am excited. I will spare you all the story again of how Spawn is the first comic book that made me fall in love with comics. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it in every Spawn review and maybe several of the non Spawn comic articles that I’ve written. I only mention it now because I said it at dinner the other day when talking about the new books that I was going to read for this article.

My family all looked at me in that slightly concerned/slightly pitying way that normies have when I go off about comic books. I understand my wife’s reaction since she’s not into nerd stuff at all. But, my kids are all interested in comic books. Heck, my oldest is right about the age I was when I first started seriously collecting. So, it hurts a bit that they don’t understand. Nevertheless, I’m excited for the Spawn Road to 300. Join me on my review of

The Good (Uncle Todd is Back for Spawn Road to 300)

Uncle Todd is writing again! – I know that the comics community is a bit divided when it comes to Todd McFarlane as a comic creator. There’s not much dissension when it comes to his toys, but some just don’t like his writing. I suppose that I can see some of it, as one of the entries in the “Bad” section will show. Still, I’m glad that he’s back and engaged in the title that made him a household name for me.

Greg Capullo is back! – At some point over the last few months, I texted Chris to say that I really wanted Greg Capullo to be involved in issue #300 in some way. Chris responded that he would be surprised if he wasn’t. Sure enough, a few days later, Uncle Todd posted something on his social media that he and Capullo were working together again. Huzzah!

Homage Covers – I missed the homage covers from earlier in Spawn’s history and it’s haunted me ever since. Once upon a time, I had a fever dream that I could collect all of the previous comics in time for #300. Circumstances have prevented that, but I did pick up quite a few of them. Sadly, the homage covers remain on the to do list as many of them are expensive.

The Bad (Okay, I see what you mean…)

These books are too talky – On the Spawn Road to 300, things have gotten a bit bumpy. These two issues are way too talky for my tastes. I don’t come to Spawn for soliloquies and deep and meaningful conversations. Spawn is my guilty pleasure of ultraviolence and scantily clad angels and demons. But, I suppose I’ll give Uncle Todd a pass. It’s been a while since he’s been able to write.

This art. Oy! – When I first started to read Spawn again, I was actually intrigued by the art. I liked the dreamy quality that it added to the story. Since, though, there have been a few issues scattered in with the more realistic art and I got spoiled. That’s the main reason that I want Capullo back. His style defined this book in my opinion.

The Ugly (Comics are supposed to be a diversion)

This story is too real – I know that I’ve said this about a few books recently, but it is true. Look, I’m not going to go all Comicsgate on you (is that what Comicsgate was all about?), but I read comics to have fun and escape from reality. The books these days are feeling a little too real. Perhaps writers are using the books as their therapy. Who knows? But, I will be happy when it is all over and we can go back to space battles and other crazy stories.

The Verdict (Spawn Road to 300 is almost everything I want)

There are some bumps in this road, as I said earlier. Overall, though, the Spawn Road to 300 has been great and I can’t wait for the actual issue to arrive in 2 months. I just hope it is more of a traditional issue than the two 1000s that DC put out. It was nice to see different takes on the character, but I want to see something absolutely insane happen in Spawn 300. I got my wish about Capullo coming back for the issue, so maybe this one will come true, too.

Marvel Comics Week of 06/30/19 Review

Introduction

Note: While this is listed as the Marvel Comics Review for the Week of 06/30/19, the comics reviewed are actually from a few months ago. Some might be more recent, but I’m still catching up on my reading, so most will be older.

I think that this might be the last of the retro review articles for a couple of weeks. With the release of Core Set 2020, next week I am going to focus on Magic the Gathering. Then, hopefully, the week after, I will do some more recent comic reviews. The boys have gotten into Marvel Puzzle Quest recently, so I want to piggy back off that momentum plus the release of the new Spider-Man movie.

Tony Stark, Iron Man #7-9 (“Stark Realities” by Dan Slott and Valerio Schiti)

The Good (I Like Dan Slott)

I’ve been a fan of Dan Slott on Spider-Man and enjoy what he’s been doing with Fantastic Four, too. When I saw that he was writing the new Iron Man book, I figured I would continue collecting after issue 600. Admittedly, it’s been a mixed bag, but hopefully things will pick up soon.

The Bad (This Story is Kind of Meh)

I said that this title has been a mixed bag so far and it starts with the story. There’s some sort of virtual game or other program that Tony created that became very popular. Now, the thing has gone haywire and it trying to kill it’s users. It might have even crossed over into real life in some way or another. I’m just not interested.

The Ugly (Tony Alone is too Much)

I think I texted Chris when I first started reading this title and the new Avengers book that I liked Tony much more in the Avengers than in his own title. I don’t know if it is the writing or just because Tony by himself is too much. I like it better when he is reduced in his role because the writer has to pay attention to other characters.

Uncanny X-Men 18 (“Something Hellfire Club” by Matthew Rosenberg and Carlos Villa)

The Good (Mr. Sinister and Emma!)

Two of my favorite villains were in this issue and that kept me going through what is another uneven offering from the House of M. I was genuinely excited about this title when it was announced that they’d be doing away (?) with the X-Men color series and consolidating into a single Uncanny title (which is the only X-Men title that should exist in my oldbie opinion), but this one hasn’t grabbed me. Again, maybe it will get more exciting.

The Bad (What is this team?)

This is not my Uncanny X-Men. I can’t even remember who all is on this team. That’s how bad it is right now. I mean, you bring out the Z team for X-Men Fuschia, not Uncanny. Please, for the love of all that is holy, give me my Uncanny X-Men. I’ll even understand if Logan is off doing his own thing. As long as the rest are there.

The Ugly (How many times…?)

How many times are they going to do this extermination of the mutants story? They just did an extinction event and before that was the 187. Is that literally the only story that they have for these characters at this point? Just stop already.

Captain America #7-9 (“Captain of Nothing” by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Adam Kubert)

The Good (Cleaning Up after Secret Empire)

I’ve mentioned before. I wasn’t much of a Captain America fan until Brubaker somewhat redefined the character in the 90s. Then, the movie version became one of my favorite characters. Secret Empire did some damage to that fandom, but I did want to see how they were going to clean up after that. It was a bit messy at the end of the event. Now, though, I like the direction that things are going.

The Bad (The Aftermath is Bad)

This is to be expected. When you take one of the most popular characters and completely retcon them to be the opposite of what they were, things are bound to get bad. When that is compounded by what is actually happening around us, it approaches ugly. While they’ve done a good job of trying to fix things, it will take some time to get back to normal (if ever). God, I hate writing that.

The Ugly (Not Quite as depressing as Secret Empire)

This story isn’t quite as depressing as Secret Empire. However, with things the way they are in real life, things are still pretty ugly. I’m hoping that changes soon. It seems like I’m saying that a lot in these books. I can see now why Marvel hasn’t been as popular in the comics scene as in the movies.

Venom #12 and 14 (by Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman)

The Good (Love that Horror Vibe)

When Marvel relaunched after Secret Empire, there were two books that I enjoyed. One was expected (Hulk) and the other was a bit of a surprise (Venom). Both had a distinct horror vibe in common. I’m glad to see that they haven’t changed their minds about that for this book and Chris says that Hulk is still nailing it, too. Who knew? I’ve never been much of a horror book fan.

The Bad (Another Retcon?)

I’m not sure if this is a retcon or I missed the notes, but it feels like they’ve changed the origin of the symbiote suit. There’s some weirdness in here that I can do without. It doesn’t make things not enjoyable. It just takes me out of the narrative a bit when they start in with the new stuff.

The Ugly (Eddie’s Family Past)

This doesn’t feel like something new, but it might be, too. There’s some story in #12 (I think) about Eddie’s father and the abuse that Eddie suffered. I don’t remember that from the original story way back when Venom was introduced, but it makes sense. Abuse in any form is ugly, but it does make the character a bit more well rounded.

The Verdict (Marvel Comics Week of 06/30/19 Review)

The books that I read this week were uneven. Tony Stark is not my cup of tea so far. Uncanny X-Men has a long way to go to become enjoyable for me. Both Captain America and Venom are very good and I will continue reading them to see if they can keep it up.

I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to read the first two books, but definitely check out Captain America and Venom. If nothing else, read Venom and Immortal Hulk. Those are probably the best two Marvel books out there right now. Until next time, Excelsior! (Old joke now made a bit melancholy thanks to Stan Lee passing away.)

DC Giant (Batman 1-6)

Introduction

This review is for the DC Giant (Batman 1-6) books. Yes, I realize that I am somewhat behind on my reviews. These books came out last year. However, I am getting caught up and my reviews next week should be of current books. So, that’s something for all of us to look forward to. For now, enjoy another blast from the past as we gear up for more modern content.

I don’t remember how I learned about the Wal*Mart exclusive DC Giant Batman books. Either Chris mentioned them to me or I saw a post on social media. While it doesn’t matter either way, I do like to give Chris credit when due. I do remember that when they first released, Chris wasn’t able to find them for the first few months. That was a mixed bag. I got to feel superior but I also couldn’t discuss the books. Overall, a net negative.

The Good (“Hush” by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee)

Somehow I missed this entire story the first time around. It’s not because I didn’t know about it. It was a very popular story at the time and I remember hearing about it and seeing the books on the shelves at the store. Jeph Loeb is one of my favorite writers and Jim Lee might be my favorite artist. It just doesn’t add up.

Nevertheless, I did miss it at the time and I’m sort of glad that I did. Being able to read such an engaging story for the first time is a treat. I am enjoying the intrigue and issue 5 introduced The Joker. I don’t like all Joker iterations, so I’m hoping that this is one of the better ones. FWIW, I really liked Tom King’s interpretation during the run up to the “wedding issue”. I look forward to finding out in the next issues.

The Good? (“Universe” by Brian Michael Bendis and Nick Derington)

I’m usually a fan of Brian Michael Bendis. I enjoyed his run on Ultimate Spider-Man. I have also more or less liked what he’s done with Action Comics and Superman. It feels like the move from Marvel to DC was a good one for him creatively. So, when I heard that he and Tom King were switching things up for the Giant books so that he would write Batman and Tom King would write Superman,it got me excited.

You may think that I’m setting this up for one of my old switcheroos. And, you’re correct. But, only partially correct. I’m not going to completely shred the story. It’s a decent story. It’s just that the pacing feels uneven, for lack of a better way to put it. The story bogged down especially in issue 5. Maybe it will get better going forward.

The Bad (“Nightwing” by Kyle Higgins, Eddy Barrows, and Eduardo Panscica )

I’ve never been a fan of Nightwing. Having grown up as a Marvel zombie, I didn’t have a particular affinity for any one Robin character. In fact, other than the old campy Batman TV show, I never liked Robin at all. I prefer my Batman to be alone. That’s weird, then, that I was all in for the Catwoman wedding. But, as ever, I digress.

This story hasn’t made me want to learn more about the character. I plug through the story because it’s in the book and I paid 5 dollars for it, so I might as well get my money’s worth. I just don’t see a scenario where I become a Nightwing fan from this particular story.

The Ugly (“Harley Quinn” by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Chad Hardin)

Unlike Nightwing, I actually like Harley Quinn as a character. However, like Joker, she can either be written really well or not so well. That’s not the problem with this particular story. The story is actually interesting. It’s just that in addition, Harley suffers from the Deadpool disease.

What do I mean by that? Well, in small doses, both characters are fine. They are enjoyable even. However, larger sample sizes such as entire books dedicated to the characters quickly become tiresome. They become parodies of themselves. Look, I understand that’s what they’re supposed to be. I just don’t like it.

The Verdict – DC Giant (Batman 1-6)

Overall, DC Giant (Batman 1-6) is solid and well worth the 5 dollars. There are two good Batman stories and the Nighthawk and Harley Quinn stories aren’t even that bad. It’s just that I’m not a fan of either of those characters, so I don’t pay as much attention to the stories. I just read without much enjoyment or comprehension.

I don’t know, other than eBay or another reseller, how you can obtain a copy of the books. Given the popularity of them, I assume that DC will figure out a way to compile them into a collection of some sort. You could always buy the trades for the stories. I will put a list at the end of this article. The only problem with that is that it could be cost prohibitive. Nevertheless, if they do reprint the books or collect them, I highly recommend picking them up as the value can’t be beat.

DC Comics Review (Week of 5/19/19)

Introduction

You will notice that the date is over a week ago. I meant to upload this article last week, but things got busy and then it was Memorial Day weekend, so things got lazy. So, I’m playing a bit of catch up this week. I wanted to drop in to Minecraft again this week to check out a couple of the mods that I used to use. However, some research shows that they might both be discontinued. So, there’s no rush there. On to my review of DC Comics for the week of 5/19/19. As mentioned in my other articles, I’m a bit behind. So, I will be reviewing Wonder Woman #66, Catwoman 7-9, and Justice League Dark #9. They are all close to the beginning of a new storyline in each book, so it should serve as a good place to pick them up.

Wonder Woman #66

The Good (Funny, Thoughtful Introduction to the storyline)

The story opens with a funny conversation between three mythical creatures that I get the impression I should know. Having not kept up with my comics reading, I don’t. Still, it gets things going pretty quickly. Titans are involved, which means that Wonder Woman has to get Giganta involved. This leads to a touching moment between the two women. Uh, yeah, get your minds out of the gutter, perverts. They talk out their feelings, nothing gets resolved, so I guess that will be a recurring issue in the coming, um, issues.

The Bad (I Miss Greg Rucka)

Having not grown up with DC Comics in my life very much, the only Wonder Woman I really know is Greg Rucka. I enjoy his version of the character very much. Sure, this one might be good and I might eventually even grow to like it. But, it won’t be Greg Rucka. Guess I can look forward to his story in Wonder Woman 1000, whenever that’s going to happen.

The Ugly (Um, That Pegasus Wants to What?!)

Now, perverts, you are free to let your mind wander back to the gutter. I’m pretty sure you’ll arrive at the same place I did. Yeah, that’s a bit weird, even for a comic that got it’s start because the creator had a tie up fetish.

Catwoman 7-9

First, a Note: Issues 7 and 8 were written by Joelle Jones. Issue 9 was written by Ram V. Therefore, I got the hair brained scheme to split the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and give one for each writer.

The Good (Great Voice and Is Selina auditioning for the next Ocean’s movie?)

Joelle Jones writes very well for Catwoman. She is a strong independent woman who don’t need no man, as evidenced by her leaving Bruce at the alter. *spoiler alert* It comes through in her interactions without going too over the top. Though, I’m sure Incels will find her a bit too much for their delicate sensibilities.

I’m not sure if Ram V is male or female. I’m not even sure if the V is supposed to be a “Vee” or a “5”. If only we had access to technology to figure these things out. Oh well, I may never know. In either case, Cats didn’t quite have the same bite in this issue. Still, it was a great homage to the Ocean’s movies. It might have been the Italian job, but I’ve never seen that one.

The Bad (Too much punchy in Issue 8 and “Cha Cha Cha” isn’t quite “Darkseid is”)

I think I might have complained about not enough punchy in X-23. For me, there was a bit too much in issue 8. Honestly, I’m just quibbling for the sake of quibbling, but if I had to change anything about the two Joelle issues, it would be this.

Issue 9 was called something Cha Cha, so while Cats was laying out the plan, every third panel was “Cha Cha Cha”. If you read Miracle Man, you know that Tom King sprinkled “Darkseid is” throughout the book, at least as far as I read. “Cha Cha Cha” doesn’t quite have the same gravitas.

The Ugly (Come Back Joelle and This story could have gone on longer)

Is Joelle off Catwoman? Did she just take a break? I don’t know, but I want more. I started reading Catwoman issue one after I learned that they were doing a solo series. Heck, I started to like it more than Bats at the time and that’s saying something. Well, hopefully there’s more to come.

While I’ve not always been a fan of the “Bendisization” of comics, this one issue arc felt like it could have at least been 2. The conclusion felt a little rushed. That makes me believe that the Joelle break was only for a few issues. Again, without access to that earlier discussed technology, we may never know.

Justice League Dark 9

The Good (Better than Justice League?)

My interest in justice League came as the result of a recommendation, I think. i do remember liking the book better than the Justice League book at the time. I can’t make that comparison now. Justice League review will probably come next month and I can make the comparison there. This book is still very good. James Tynion IV is one of my favorite writers and i was bummed when he left Detective.

The Bad (Missed the previous issue)

This happened with X-23, too. The reason I had to start with part 2 of this story is because I couldn’t find issue 8. Must have been part of the DCBS order that I missed payment on and it never got shipped. That made it a bit difficult to follow the story, but filling in that issue will hopefully help.

The Ugly (Bobo Messed Things Up Big Time)

One of the things I certainly missed by missing issue 8 is that it seems that Bobo really screwed things up. This is causing a sort of Armageddon of epic proportions across many realms. Oops.

The Verdict (DC Comics is still doing good things)

Having not been a fan of DC Comics growing up, there has been a bit of a learning curve with the characters. I’m glad that I got into them again during the Rebirth so that learning curve was a bit less steep. You may notice that my review for DC Comics for the week of 5/19/19 only contains 3 comics instead of the 5 I included in my Marvel review. That’s because I was also going to do Action Comics 1000 and Detective Comics 1000.

When I started to read Action 1000, I got the idea to do a review of each of the mini stories included in the book. I figured I would do the same for Detective 1000. So, those books are getting their own article separate from this DC Comics for the week of 5/19/19 article. Look for those later in the week in between my planned Minecraft content.

The three books that I read were all good. There aren’t any that I would consider cutting like I thought of doing with Doctor Strange I think? I won’t because Strange is one of my favorite characters. But, this is a DC Comics review, so stick to the subject. I will keep up with these three books as long as they keep producing them and look for more reviews in the future.

Marvel Comics Reviews (Week of 5/19/19)

Introduction

I mentioned in my previous article that I’m catching up on comics from the last six months. I think I might have said that I hadn’t read a comic in that time. That’s not entirely true. I read The Immortal Hulk and a few of the DC Giants that are available at Wal*Mart.

Now, I can also say that I’ve read some Marvel titles. X-23, Doctor Strange, Avengers, and The Immortal Hulk are all included in this review. I’ve been planning this relaunch of the web page again for a few months and I’m finally out of school again. In addition, I didn’t get a class first summer session. I should be able to get some momentum going before summer 2 starts. As always, no promises, but hopefully things get rolling.

X-23 (Issues 7, 9, 10)

You may notice that Issue 8 is not among the ones read for this review. I’ve had some…difficulty…in keeping up with my pull list.

The Good (Mariko Tamaki is one of my favorite writers)

I don’t remember when I was introduced to Mariko Tamaki. I think it might have been during her run on She-Hulk (which was just Hulk at the time because Bruce was “dead”) and the book was amazing. It dealt with death, mourning, and PTSD. When Marvel reshuffled the deck again and killed the newly-minted She Hulk title, I thought Tamaki was out of my life. A random search while sorting titles showed that she was, in fact, still writing. I have been a fan of the X-23 character since her appearance in Logan. While this isn’t quite that, I will read anything that Tamaki writes.

The Bad (That missing Issue 8 is haunting me)

This isn’t the only issue that I’m missing. It might not even be the most important. As I said, I’ve missed a couple of months of my DCBS pull list, so the Midtown order to fill all of them is going to be huge. But, this is the most relevant to this particular discussion.

The Ugly (Where’s the Pew Pew?)

Mariko Tamaki does it all. She writes complex characters around simple and easy to follow, but still compelling, plots. One thing that this book hadn’t had was the old punchy, punchy. I don’t demand a lot of that from my comics, but I was missing it in this series until she delivered in issue 10.

Doctor Strange (Issues 6-11 “The Two Doctors”)

I really wanted to like this story. But, I just don’t.

The Good (Mark Waid is still writing it)

This is going to sound weird with what I’m about to say, but I do like Mark Waid as a writer. I think there has been some Comicsgate nonsense surrounding him, but I don’t care about that. In my experience, he does a good job. Also, I enjoyed the first story in the rebooted Doctor Strange book about him losing his magic and trying to find it again.

The Bad (This Story Just Isn’t All That Compelling)

With all of that being said, I’m not into this story at all. I was initially interested in the “2 Doctors” story, but that resolved too quickly. I don’t care about who the second doctor turned out being. I’m not all that bothered by the fate of the doc’s demon friend. I just didn’t care enough to even finish these issues.

The Ugly (The Story is Also Confusing)

I mean, they can’t all be winners. On top of not being all that interesting, this story is confusing. Generally speaking, you should be able to drop into a new story and more or less know what is happening. That wasn’t the case here. Admittedly, I did skip the first issue. Even so, I went back and read them in order and stopped after the second reading of the second issue.

Avengers (14-17 “Something Something Dracula”)

The Good (When Good, this book is great)

There have been some panels in this book that have made me want to applaud. When Tony and T’Challa are both trying to deal with their vampire massacre in their own way. New Ghost Rider dealing with the aftermath of his freak out. The big reveal at the end of Issue 17, even though I saw it coming a mile away. Marvel is treating one of their marquee books very well.

The Bad (What is this Story?)

It has been interesting and fun. Also, it’s nice to see Blade and New Ghost Rider get some love in the book. But, I have no idea where this story came from. Sure, I’ve missed the lead in issues, so maybe there was some build up, but it seems completely random.

The Ugly (Everyone Sounds Like Tony)

When I started reading the rebooted Avengers book, I said to Chris that I liked Tony more in this book than his standalone book. I do like Tony Stark, Iron Man, but too much Tony is too much. I don’t exactly get that feeling here, but his snark is rubbing off on the other characters every now and then.

Amazing Spider Man (The Hunted)

Starting here on recommendation by Chris.

The Good (Nick Spencer is writing)

Noticing a theme here? I enjoy the art of comics, but I’m a frustrated writer myself. I associate more with them than the artists. Again, I think that some comic fans might be off Nick Spencer since Secret Empire. I understand why they did what they did there, but I can also understand why people feel cheated by it. Even so, I still like Spencer and was excited to see him writing Spider-Man.

The Bad (Kraven Clones?)

Now, this wasn’t a huge plot point. Okay, that’s not true. It is a big plot point. However, it didn’t take long to resolve. Even so, as soon as I saw clones in a Spider-Man book, I rolled my eyes.

The Ugly (Showdown)

Kraven was dead (spoiler alert). He’s not any more (spoiler alert?) He’s very mad about not being dead. And, he seems to be coming for Spidey (Spoiler Alert!) I, for one, hope that this is a big one.

The Immortal Hulk (The Entire Series)

Drop everything and read this book. Seriously, don’t even read this review. Just read the book.

The Good (Everything)

Okay, you’re still reading the review instead of reading the book. I guess that means that I need to explain myself and why I’m breaking the routine to only talk about how good the book is. Perhaps you read that I wrote in my Spawn review this week that this book is probably the only perfect book right now. So, let me explain why.

I seriously cannot find anything wrong with this book. And, I was a skeptic. Chris will text me periodically that some book or another in the series is starting to spike in price. So, it’s understood if I was skeptical. It would seem that Marvel wasn’t sure what they had with this book and have produced low print runs as a result.

The story has tinkered with some of Hulk’s most basic mythology. Even now, I do cringe a bit when I read that headline. So far, though, it has only added to the appeal of the character for me. The horror element of the comic fits well with the Hulk character and the Jekyll and Hyde dynamic that makes Hulk so endearing is there in prime form.

The art is varied and fits the theme. In one of my favorite issues, they had 3 or 4 different pencillers working on different parts of the story based on who was telling that part of the story. It was a nice touch and kept things fresh for what ultimately was just a “we’ve seen the Hulk, why don’t you believe us” type issue.

Now, we are getting into some more familiar Hulk themes, which is welcome, as well. Loss, trauma, mourning, etc. It hasn’t been handled with the deft hand of She Hulk from a few years ago yet, but there is time to grow into that. Even so, I hope they keep the horror element of the book as they go forward.

The Verdict (Marvel is in an okay place right now)

Marvel was hurting for a while there. It seemed like they had no idea what they wanted to do after Secret Empire. They rebooted (but didn’t reboot) with Legacy after they had just rebooted not that long ago. Then, there was talk of another potential reboot. I suggested at the time that they just take the tact of DC and let it ride for a while. Even though they are releasing far too many books a month (and seemingly increasing that monthly), their core of heroes is in good hands. They just need to keep on keeping on and hopefully the lull in movies for a bit will allow them to focus on the books.

Spawn Review (Week of 5/19/19)

Editor’s Note: I haven’t read comics in about six months. Since the only non-Marvel, non-DC book that I consistently collect is Spawn, I will include all of the back issues that I missed in that time. This review covers #289-294. Going forward, I should be able to branch out and include more books in this section of reviews.

Introduction

I have been a fan of Spawn since the beginning. I have discussed on more than one occasion that I remember going into the comic book store as a spry young teenager to see the fresh new #1 comic books from Image. You must understand that this wasn’t at a time when Marvel and DC were rebooting their books every other year and I wasn’t as much of an independent connoisseur as I am these days. That’s not to say that I’m much of one right now. Simply that I knew nothing about them back then. So, these number one books felt special. Hell, they were special to me.

Many of those books are now dead due to their creators not being able to keep up with the rigorous demands of self imposed deadlines or just not being very good. One, in particular, has stood the test of time and kept Image afloat at a time when comic book companies haven’t exactly had the best time of it. That little comic that could is Spawn. I have to admit that I was a bit worried coming back to Spawn after all this time, but those worries are unfounded as you will soon read.

Besides, we are getting Homage covers again. What a time to be alive.

The Good (Spawn is Still Pretty Good)

Spawn is Still Fresh: Sure, it shows some of the wear and tear of any comic book that has been around for over 25 years. But, let’s save the not so good for those sections. This is all about why you should be reading Spawn right now. The book is still telling great stories quite well. The Dark Horror arc is when I started reading again and it kept me interested enough to keep the book on my pull list in spite of some of the judgy looks and comments I got from my LGS clerk at the time. But, that store is out of business now, so who got the last laugh?

I haven’t been as excited about the latest story. That’s more my issue with the inclusion of the current occupant of the white house in the story. I have taken great strides to even forget that he exists. I understand that I might do so to my detriment, but ignorance is bliss as they say. The rest of the story has been fine, I guess.

Honestly, that hair is the most unrealistic thing about this whole story.

Spawn is Including Current Events: That’s not to say that I consider the inclusion of current events as a bad thing. Sure, we’ve had to see the BLotUS in our beloved pages. But I suppose that’s the price to pay for a comic that likes to dabble in real life for inspiration. And, honestly, he’s played a small role in the story. It’s just my issue that I have with the man and his methods. Your mileage, as always, will vary. The current events have gone miles to keeping the story going and fresh. See the previous comment.

The Bad (There are Inconsistencies in Art)

Two Different Artists: Initially, I liked the odd art of Spawn. It was different from what we are used to seeing out of the book. In my experience, it was always a hyper realistic art style. The dream like quality of the fuzzed borders and muted colors were a nice change. However, another has been bringing a more traditional Spawn art style to the book. It has ruined me for Jason Shawn Alexander’s art. However, that all looks to change as Chris texted me the other day to say that Uncle Todd is going to get together with Greg Capullo on a Spawn project. I’m hoping it is an extended run on the main book. But, we will see. Whatever it is, I’m all over it.

The left is what I consider the more traditional style of art for the book while the right is the the the more “fuzzy” art, so to speak. Both definitely have their advantages and disadvantages. I’m just saying that, for my money, I prefer the left. And, this is my article after all.

The Ugly (In Spite of it All, Spawn Feels Dated)

Spawn Feels A Bit Dated: In spite of all of the changes and attempts to keep it fresh, the book is showing its age as I said earlier. The ultraviolence and swearing feels like it is from a different era. As comic fans have shown, there is still an audience for this type of book, but it doesn’t help the stated goal of trying to expand the audience. Sure, you might argue, maybe that’s not a necessary or realistic goal. Realistic? I’m not sure. Necessary? It sure is. Comics and comic book fans are on the endangered list. Okay, I’m done arguing with myself for now.

The Verdict (While Flawed, Spawn is Worth Your Time)

Is the book perfect? No, but few books are. I would argue that right now, Hulk is a perfect book. Batman, when Tom King isn’t writing filler for in between his big and inspired stories, is a perfect book. Other than that, every book has flaws. Spawns are forgivable. The art style is inconsistent. You can argue that isn’t all bad. And, I sort of did. Also, the overall style of the book makes it feel like it is from a different time and speaks more to teenage me than current adult me. Again, we sort of argued that wasn’t all bad.

In spite of these flaws, you should definitely pick up this book. It is still very entertaining and well worth your time. If you can, get started with the Dark Horror storyline and read through. Besides, 300 is only around the corner and you definitely want to get your hands on that. For me, it’s actually more exciting than Detective Comics or Action 1000.

USFL Distant Replay (Take 2)

Introduction (Welcome Back to the USFL)

You may be awaiting my reaction to the NFL Conference Championship Games. The honest truth is that I have none. I didn’t watch either game. I know enough about the outcomes to know that the Super Bowl is again a contest that I have little interest in watching, so the annual Lucas-Mullen anti-Super Bowl party can go off without a hitch. Besides there are other football leagues, like the USFL. Wait, what? Didn’t they fold over 30 years ago? Read on, faithful friends!

Instead, I’m going to take some time to announce a project that I’ve been thinking about reviving. It’s something that I messed around with back in the dark ages of the internet. It is football related. It notoriously happened in the spring. Yes, if those easy clues (and the dead give away in the title) weren’t enough of an indication, I will spell it out. I’m bringing back the USFL.

Spring football? It’ll never work. And it didn’t. But, this time it will.

Why the USFL?

I don’t want to be that a-hole, but let’s face it. I’m that a-hole. Why not the USFL? Other than the AFL, it was the most legitimate football league other than the NFL. Sure, it had problems. Big problems as I’m learning by listening to the audiobook, Football for a Buck by Jeff Perlman. But, as commissioner and limited demigod of the league, I can avoid all of those problems and write my own narrative of the league.

While I don’t have a definitive “This was my introduction to the USFL” like Perlman, I did know about the league as a kid. I have vague memories of certain players and teams, if not actual games. It was an oddity from my youth similar to the World Basketball League.

If you’ve never heard of the World Basketball League, look it up.
That was dysfunction at its finest.

I certainly never considered that I’d be the one to attempt to simulate the league not once, but twice. Then, the internet came along. I learned about a computer game that would simulate football games like the old electric football games. I saw that a fan web page had put together rosters for the 1983, 1984, and maybe even 1985 USFL teams.

During its first iteration, the USFL Distant Replay only made it through the 1983 season, but it was quite an endeavor. Having learned some HTML (yeah, this was a while ago), I put together a web page for the main league and all of the teams. I don’t know that I will be able to maintain that level of dedication, but I want to give the league another go.

Why Now?

I don’t want to get predictable, so I won’t respond with “Why Not Now?” Except, I sort of already did, didn’t I? But, rest assured that I didn’t want to do that. It’s just that I’m a dad. The dad jokes sort of come with the territory. I can’t help myself.

My personal all time favorite.

Just like the why the USFL, the why now isn’t terribly complicated. I noticed a few months ago on social media that Dave Koch sports was having a sale on their football game. I also picked up their hockey and basketball game, too. I haven’t yet spent money on the baseball or golf games.

Well, I used the football game to play around with a theory that I heard that the Patriots would be just as good or better with Aaron Rodgers but that Tom Brady wouldn’t make the Packers any better. I’m not sure how much I believe, but it did speak to my irrational Patriots hate, so I went along. Results were inconclusive. Playing the game brought up the memories of my misadventures with the USFL. The game has rosters available for the league. I heard about a book written about the USFL that I’m currently listening to while I do my night job. It just all sort of fell into place.

Okay, I’m Sold

That’s probably not true. I’m a terrible salesman, confirmed by my job working in sales at a local TV and appliance store. Still, I hope there is some interest in the league still and my attempts to not only bring it back, but allow it to flourish into a viable little brother to the NFL. As I said, I won’t be able to dedicate nearly as much time as I did before. Still, it should be a fun time and stay tuned for the launch of the USFL Distant Replay (take 2) sometime soon!

Completely Ignorant 2019 NFL Conference Championship Preview

Introduction

A few years ago, to fill in some of the dead time, I started talking about college and professional football on the page. I hadn’t watched the NFL with any regularity for several years at that point. So, I came up with a gimmick of the “Completely Ignorant” NFL pundit. I actually used the gimmick earlier in the season for a picks column through week 7 or 8. Then, the realities of life reduced my picks to clicking team logos on a FanDuel screen. Pardon my French, but c’est la vie. Oh well, on with my Completely Ignorant 2019 NFL Conference Championship preview.

I’m going to do this a bit differently. Having spent the better part of two hours last night listening to podcasts, I am no closer to knowing with any certainty who is going to win these games. Therefore, I’m going to rate each potential Super Bowl match up on a rigorous scale that I’ve developed. Each possibility will be given from 0 to 10 “Eff the Pats”. For reference, last year’s Super Bowl that forced me to root for the Eagles was 10 “Eff the Pats”. Also, in all honesty, I was rooting for the meteor last year.

2019 NFL Conference Championship Crystal Ball (Pats vs. Rams)

Don’t get me started on this TB12 nonsense…

I rank this one 8 “Eff the Pats”, always 5 from the actual Pats and 3 from the Rams. First, we’ve seen this matchup before. Sure, it was almost 20 years ago, but it was the start of this Patriots dynasty and the start of my slow descent into madness. It is well documented in text and on this site, so I won’t go into it unless this is the reality that we end up living in after tomorrow. What you might wonder is why 3 for the Rams? I just fear that they could become the new Pats with a “genius” head coach and an unproven quarterback. I’d rather put that off for as long as possible.

2019 NFL Conference Championship Crystal Ball (Pats vs. Saints)

I mean, seriously, this picture makes him look like he’s about to say “Aw shucks” or he just said it.

I give this one the requisite 5 “Eff the Pats”. If the Patriots have to make the Super Bowl again, at least give us a matchup that we haven’t ever seen before. Plus, I like the Saints. Drew Brees is the original underdog quarterback, but he never quite got to the annoying saturation point of “humble” Tom Brady. And, Sean Payton was once the hot new replacement for “genius” Bill Belichick, but that never materialized either. The Saints are sort of an alternate universe where the Patriots don’t become the bane of society. Finally, as black and actual gold, they become a good surrogate for my Steelers.

2019 NFL Conference Championship Crystal Ball (Chiefs vs. Rams)

Then there’s this guy who looks like he should be a lawyer for some shady Silicon Valley start up that’s been accused of rampant sexual misconduct.

I give this one the aforementioned 3 “Eff the Pats” for the Rams alone. The good part of this is that the Patriots are nowhere to be seen. There’s no chance of them somehow stumbling into another Super Bowl victory by a last second field goal in the “most exciting” Super Bowl ever. I love this version of the Chiefs and are meh about the Rams. If the Rams win the game, I can worry about their potential dynasty later.

2019 NFL Conference Championship Crystal Ball (Chiefs vs. Saints)

And the real MVP this year, Mahomes is already on one name status for me. Bring it home!

This one gets zero “Eff the Pats”. I can rest assured in the fact that neither the old Pats nor the new version will have any chance to build on nor start their narrative as the most successful franchise in NFL history. Either Mahomes or Brees is okay by me as the face of the league for the offseason. This is just the feel good story that I need for the next 6 months before the NFL season starts up again. With how feel good has been performing lately, that means there is no chance of it happening.

The Verdict

Overall, this year isn’t as objectionable as last year. I had to root against two teams last year and they both won. This year, I just have to put all of my bad mojo into the Patriots bucket. Done and done. I won’t be watching either of these games as it looks like I will be digging out from under a foot and a half of snow and maybe even playing in it for some of the time. All of you who are watching, enjoy it and give a few extra “Eff the Pats” for me.