Tag Archives: Comics

Spawn 300 End of the Road

Introduction

The Road to Spawn 300 was littered with pot holes and detours. However, we are finally here. And, I have to say, it was worth the wait. Both Chris and I were obviously excited when we heard that Greg Capullo was going to be back for this issue. We both grew up with him as the main artist.

We were both subsequently disappointed because we had somehow convinced ourselves that he was going to be the artist for longer than just the one issue. When we learned that wasn’t going to be the case, I think I suggested that Uncle Todd should sell his McGwire baseball to hire Capullo back as artist.

At least we get him for the next issue, too. Also, he is doing variant covers for the next two. Maybe there is now an open invitation to to covers whenever he wants. As I said to Chris, hope abounds. Now, for my review of Spawn 300. It isn’t exactly like the DC 1000 issues from last year. He invited some other big names to join him. However, the issue followed continuity instead of shorter vignettes. Even so, I will review each story individually like I did with those books.

Chapter 1 (Todd McFarlane and Greg Capullo)

The Spawn meter is back. What’s up with that? Oh well, like Chris said, Capullo’s art is going to ruin me for the return to the regular artist. Aside from McFarlane, Capullo’s art is the iconic style for Spawn. The story is just more creepy little girl kills her family nonsense, But, Violator shows up and there’s some gratuitous ultra violence at the end to remind us what Spawn’s all about.

Chapter 2 (Scott Snyder and Todd McFarlane)

I enjoyed the story from this chapter much more than the first one. It called back to a previous battle between the two antagonists and what happened when they “disappeared” from sight and into the shadows. This was probably my favorite story from the whole issue. Scott Snyder definitely shows that he’s a more seasoned writer than Uncle Todd in this one.

Chapter 3 (Todd McFarlane and Jason Shawn Alexander)

Another story that attempts to fill some of the gaps. This one is about the former Spawn enemies that he reanimated to fight on his side. As Chris texted, and I agree, the art style of Jason Shawn Alexander just doesn’t fit Spawn as much as we’d like. But, the story was decent and, unlike Chris, I’m going to keep collecting until the book isn’t produced anymore. In spite of being almost 30 years old under essentially the same creative control that whole time, it is still surprisingly fresh. I want to see where Uncle Todd takes us next.

Chapter 4 (Todd McFarlane and J. Scott Campbell)

The art of this chapter is great. J. Scott Campbell really nails the Spawn style. However, the story is lackluster. I just don’t give a crap about She-Spawn or her story. Alas, it looks like she is here to stay, at least for the next couple of issues, so I’ll have to get over that.

Chapter 5 (Todd McFarlane and Jerome Opena)

A teaser that does exactly that. No idea what it is or means, but I’m intrigued to learn more.

The Verdict

I like what Uncle Todd did with Spawn 300. It is a “historic” issue in that it tied the longest running creator owned comic book. It is also a nice round number that comic book nerds love. Instead of choosing to tell small vignettes as Detective and Action did with their historic 1000 issues, he continued continuity while also setting up future stories.

Overall, the strength of the writing is what we’ve come to expect from Spawn all these years. It is disheartening to be going back to Jason Shawn Alexander’s art after seeing the other interpretations of the Spawn style. Again, I like JSA’s art and I actually really enjoyed it for the Dark Horror storyline. However, it just doesn’t look like the Spawn that I remember from my reckless youth. Oh well, put it in the “get over it” bucket with She-Spawn and enjoy the ride. Here’s to another 300!

Marvel Comics September 2019 Review

Introduction

Welcome to my Marvel Comics September 2019 Review article. I mentioned in my previous article about DC Comics last month that it looks like Chris and I finally are on to something when it comes to predicting the doom and gloom of comic books. We have both been talking about it for at least 3 years. I will talk about it more in a couple of weeks when I finally get caught up with this month’s comics, but it is affecting my Marvel books more than my DC, it seems.

That’s a true shame. As you will see soon, I am almost 100% back to my Marvel zombie roots. I have 5 books in the “Great” column and 6 in the “good” and “decent” column combined. So, you can safely call me a mark or stan or just a zombie like I called myself and I will have no valid argument against it. I don’t care. I just think that Marvel is doing a great job with their books.

The Great (Too Many to List Individually/Marvel Comics September 2019 lineup is so strong)

I get that this is being a Doctor Strange fan, but I’m gonna miss you again Doc.

Doctor Strange 17 and 18 (Mark Waid, Barry Kitson, and Jesus Saiz)

I’m pretty sure this is probably the most controversial pick of my greats. People hate Mark Waid. I can’t blame them. He’s said some stupid things in his own defense. However, none of them are relevant to me because I’m not one of these Comicsgate (or whatever the hell that stupid thing is/was called) dingbats. I like how he writes and he has mostly done a good job with Strange. Stay mad, nerds.

The new Ghost Rider is fantastic.

Avengers 22 and 23 (Jason Aaron and Stefano Caselli)

Like Doctor Strange with the previous story, things got a little slow in Avengers when Jason Aaron was presenting the War of the Realms. However, the epilogue issue and these two have been as strong as the issues right after the Legacy reboot. This is an Avengers team that I hope lasts at least a couple of more years.

So glad we are back to old fashioned Spidey.

Amazing Spider-Man 27 and 28 (Nick Spencer and Kev Walker)

Okay, maybe this is the one “great” choice that would be considered most controversial. After all, this one contains two things that Comicsgate nerds hate, Nick Spencer and women. Yeah, I’m intentionally starting crap with a potentially dead “controversy”. Hey, I’m not above a little manufactured beef to goose readership. With all that being said, I love the all female Sinister Six (or whatever they’re calling themselves) and Spidey is the Spidey I remember.

Wasn’t sure about Absolute Carnage, but Chris assures me it’s good, so I’ll have to grab the trade.

Venom 17 (Donny Cates and Iban Coello)

Venom has consistently been my second favorite book behind Immortal Hulk. I’ve enjoyed the horror vibe that Donny Cates has brought. I wasn’t sure about the retcon (if that’s what it is) of the symbiote, but it has been an okay storyline. Also, the introduction of Eddie’s kid has helped to explain some of his back story. Overall, a solid book.

Simply amazing…

Immortal Hulk 22 (Al Ewing and Joe Bennett)

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, but there are two books that have been consistently great since both companies rebooted a couple of years ago. Justice League Dark for DC Comics and this one for Marvel. I’m running out of ways to praise this book. All comic books should be like this one.

The Good (Black Panther, Captain America, and Tony Stark, oh my?)

I am Iron Man?

Tony Stark Iron Man 15 (Dan Slott and Jim Zub)

This book is written by one of my favorite writer’s and drawn by one of my favorite artists. It’s just been too inconsistent. I don’ t like Tony by himself. Because I like the Tony Stark in Avengers so much more because there’s a buffer. I didn’t like the Tony as alcoholic storyline even if it was only virtual. But, this book does have potential. I hope they find it.

Gorgeous. I love Alex Ross covers.

Captain America 12 and 13 (Ta-Nehisi Coates and Adam Kubert)

I don’t know if it was intended, but putting Ta-Nehisis Coates on Captain America was a perfect troll move by Marvel. The story of America reckoning with Captain America after Hydra has mirrored reality, sometimes a bit too much for my tastes. That’s the only thing keeping this book from being great. I just can’t handle how real it is sometimes.

Maybe I need to be more open minded about this one.

Black Panther 14 and 15 (Ta Nehisi Coates and Daniel Acuna)

I waited quite a while to finally experience Ta-Nehisi Coates on Black Panther. I like the things he has to say. Black Panther has always been one of my favorite characters. However, this storyline of the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda just doesn’t speak to me. Maybe it isn’t for me. Even so, I do enjoy the book.

The Decent (World’s Greatest?, Too old for an anti-hero?, and The God of Thunder)

A cool call back to the original #12…

Fantastic Four 12 and 13 (Dan Slott and Sean Izaakse)

I got excited for the Fantastic Four to be coming back in their original form. However, as many of these comics have shown, be careful what you wish for. That’s not to say that the book is bad. Far from it. It has just suffered from the curse of high expectations. I do like that they called back to the original books with this cover, so maybe things will turn around. Hey, like I said, I’m not above shameless cross promotion.

Oh, poor Frank Castle. First his family is gunned down. Now, I might just be abandoning him.

The Punisher 14 (Matthew Rosenberg and Szymon Kudranski)

Like most disaffected teenage boys, I found solace in the story of Frank Castle. It was dark, gritty, angry, and full of guns going “pew, pew”. Like most disaffected teenage boys who grow up, I think I might be outgrowing Mr. Frank Castle. I just can’t get into his methods and his anger no longer resonates. Like Deadpool, he might need to grow up a bit for me to jump back on board.

God of Thunder and All-Father? Mjolnir’s Back? Should be good stuff. Well….

Thor 16 (Jason Aaron and Mike Del Mundo)

First, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I don’t like the art of this book. It just doesn’t work for me. Usually, I like Jason Aaron. I do like his Avengers. But, this book just doesn’t do it for me. I’m not sure entirely what it is missing, but Mjolnir wasn’t it. Like I said in a previous article, War of the Realms just seemed like an overly complicated way for him to get the hammer back. Maybe I was just bitter because I liked what Endgame did with the story.

The Verdict (Marvel Comics September 2019 is in good shape)

I can’t repeat how much I enjoyed the Marvel books for this month. Even the books that I didn’t enjoy that much were fun. Any one of the books can easily make the jump from decent to good or even to great with some TLC. Thanks for reading my Marvel Comics September 2019 review and come back in a couple of weeks for October!

DC Comics September 2019 Review

Introduction

Welcome to my comic book review for DC Comics September 2019. The comics are technically from my August DCBS order, so that makes this about a month late. Unlike past articles, I’m not going to fill this introduction will a lot of excuses and self deprecating humor. I will explain that the beginning of the school year has hit me harder than I expected, but I’m in a bit of a groove now. My hopes of making semi-regular posts by the end of the year looks quite promising.

So, Chris and I have been regularly talking about the demise of comics. Previously, as you surely know, we have been completely and utterly wrong. More recently, however, it seems as if we might be on to something. I noticed a couple of weeks ago that my DCBS order was very light. Upon research, I found that several books have been canceled and Chris confirmed that many others are being delayed. Peculiar, to say the least. Stay tuned to see if comics are indeed on the way to extinction.

The Great (Justice League Dark Remains, Batman is Back!)

Bane is breaking the Bat again, but in very different ways this time.

Batman 76 and 77 ( Tom King, Tony S. Daniel, and Mikel Janin)

Tom King clearly got too comfortable on Batman. Look, I get that not every issue can be fire, but the more recent issues have been the polar opposite of fire. It was all I could do to not just skip the issues entirely. City of Bane started to pick up until Chris texted me about these issues. I read 76, then texted him back about needing a break before reading 77. I’m glad I took one. Like Chris said, King knew he was on the way out and he is pulling no punches. Jesus.

Seriously, if you’re not reading this book, shame on you.

Justice League Dark 14 (James Tynion IV and Alvaro Marinez Bueno)

Regular readers of the page know that this is my favorite DC book and it isn’t even close. Broken Record Alert: (say it along with me, take a shot, shout BINGO!, whatever you do when a common phrase is uttered) Like Immortal Hulk for Marvel, there hasn’t been a bad issue of this book. It has just consistently brought the quality. I love the team. The stories have been entertaining. If all comics were like this and Hulk, Chris and I wouldn’t have to worry about their inevitable collapse.

The Good (Aquaman might be great, same with Catwoman, Wonder Woman and Justice League are inconsistent)

This book is dangerously close to cracking the great section. Who would have ever thunk it?

Aquaman 51 (Kelly Sue DeConnick and Robson Rocha)

I enjoyed Aquaman right after the Rebirth. Things got a bit slow right before the 50th issue. I know that comics cares about round numbers and that they usually have a bit of a lull before the big numbers. Still, I would have liked for the consistency to be there. I’m telling you, if this keeps up, Aquaman will be up there soon.

Maybe I will be able to get over myself and move Cats up there, too.

Catwoman 14 (Ram V and Mirka Andolfo)

I got into Catwoman after the big wedding fiasco mainly to show my support for the controversial ending. I fell in love with the book because I liked the way that Joelle Jones handled the character. She did a good job. I’m not as big a fan of Ram V’s version, but it is still okay. this latest issue was very good. If I can ever get over my Joelle bias, perhaps there will be multiple books in the great section.

Are things starting to turn around?

Justice League 29 and 30 (Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, and Bruno Redondo)

I was pretty down on Justice League for a while there. I just couldn’t get into what Snyder was trying to do. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy Snyder as a writer, but I just wasn’t in to the whole source wall story. That might be changing. It appears that there is finally going to be a payoff for all of that with the Justice League/Legion of Doom War.

Another book that suffers from some inconsistency.

Wonder Woman 76 and 77 (G. Willow Wilson and Lee Garbett)

As part of my comics reading, I have been keeping up on the DC Giants that used to have Walmart exclusivity, but no longer do. Speaking of the Giants, I’m going to do a review of the latest issues sometime this week (hopefully Saturday). As far as this book is concerned, it’s been up and down. Right now, it is up. Hopefully they can continue.

The Decent (Honestly, I could do without Action and Detective Comics)

A cornerstone of DC Comics with one of the superstars of writing = meh.

Action Comics 1014 (Brian Michael Bendis and Szymon Kudranski)

I was excited when I heard that Bendis was coming to DC. I was slightly less excited when I learned that he was going to retool Superman. Superman is probably my least favorite superhero. However, I gave it a chance and the initial limited series was good. Some of the follow up was decent, too. Then came Leviathan. I had no use for that story. This one is better than that, but they sold it on the Red Cloud, who is barely even in the book.

Tynion left. Boo.

Detective Comics 1009 and 1010 (Peter J. Tomasi and Christian Duce)

I was upset when Tynion left this title. Still haven’t gotten over it. I just can’t get into what Tomasi is trying to do with this title. Seeing Mr. Freeze on the cover of this one was exciting. However, similar to Action Comics, he’s barely even in the book. Maybe that will change as it seems like they are setting something up. I hope so because this used to be my favorite book.

The Verdict (DC Comics September 2019 is more good than bad)

As I just said in the title, DC Comics September 2019 is more good than bad. Certainly, it is better than some recent months. Batman is great, which could go either way when Tom King departs. Justice League Dark will be good until Tynion eventually leaves like he always does. I would make a missing dad joke here, but I don’t see how they are funny.

The rest of the books ping pong between good and decent from month to month. Aquaman and Catwoman are threatening “great” status. Wonder Woman could get there, too, with a few good months. The real bummer is that their two marquee titles are not very good at all. I haven’t read Marvel yet, so I can’t compare the two companies this article. Look for that in my Marvel review on Friday.

Spawn 299 (Spawn Road to 300)

Introduction

Once upon a time, I had a dream to collect all of the Spawn books up to 300 before 300 released. Given that the release schedule of the book has been spotty recently, that might still happen. Since we are already at Spawn 299, however, things look bleak for my modest attempt to have a full run of Spawn right now.

Nevertheless, I have a clear unbroken streak for the last 20 or 25 books and I am actually pretty close to a full run if I could just bring myself to buy a few books at 20 dollars or more. Alas, I am not prepared to do that. So, once again, it looks bleak for our hero. Join me, then, for my review of Spawn 299.

The Great (Spawn has been around for a long time)

Homage Covers – Remember those books I mentioned earlier for 20 dollars or more? Most of them are the original Homage covers from the mid 200s of the series. I did not collect at that time. Therefore, I missed all of those covers. The prices prevent me from pulling the trigger on those books. This time, I decided not to take the chance. Once I realized that Uncle Todd announced homage covers for these books, I made sure to order them all. In fact, issue 300 got me in a way that few other comics have. I ordered 4 or 5 of the different variant covers. That never happens to me.

I swear! This is the first time!

Getting Close to 300 – I mean, 299 is only one less after all. This book represents my teenage rebellion. It brings me back to a simpler time when I had no worries. Spawn is a part of me. It has been for almost 30 years. I’ve been there since the beginning. Reaching this milestone is an incredible experience as evidenced by my crazy variant purchases on the big 300.

The Good (Spawn 299 takes the book back to its roots)

Heaven/Hell War – This book is about a man. A man who was betrayed in life and then again in afterlife. Surrounding that main narrative is a war between Heaven and Hell. Sometimes, this story gets tiresome. Given the “real world” implications made by recent issues, I will take the Heaven/Hell war.

News Anchors – An Uncle Todd specialty. The names of the news organizations might have changed, but the faces have more or less remained the same. I hardly ever read these panels, but they are comforting in a way that I can’t completely explain.

Except this guy. He’s crazy.

The Decent (The inconsistencies are still there in Spawn 299)

Jason Shawn Alexander’s Art – I’ve said it before. I will say it again. I liked JSA as a change up from the hyper realistic art that we are used to seeing in Spawn. However, as the main art, I’m not a fan.

Melodramatic much? I’m not the same angry 13 year old who fell in love with the ultraviolence of Spawn. I’m now an angry 43 year old man who just can’t take the hormonal mood swings of a perpetually adolescent story line.

The Verdict (Spawn 299 is what you’d expect)

I have no idea what Uncle Todd has planned for Spawn 300. Well, that’s not entirely true. I do know that he has some of the talent that has worked on the book in the past to come back and write/draw for the book. What got me most excited is that Capullo has decided to saddle up for at least one book.

Everything that makes Spawn great is still there. Everything that makes Spawn mediocre is still there. It’s all the same book that it always has been and most likely always will be. I will be sure to be there until the end whenever that happens.

DC Comics August 2019 Review

Introduction

I went with a slightly different format for the last review article and it worked out well for me. I will continue to use that format in this article for DC Comics August 2019. The reason for the change is that I rarely have anything bad to say about the comics and there is almost never any ugly. I did stick with the meter of the list, though, with The Great, The Good, and the Decent.

I will say one thing about DC Comics right now. For a while there, I was enjoying them more than Marvel books. That has changed. I found only two books that I’d consider great, one good, and the rest were barely in the decent pile. I mean, that can all change and hopefully it does. Because I’m enjoying the DC Giant books more than the current books.

The Great (DC better hope that James Tynion IV doesn’t jump ship any time soon)

Justice League #27 and 28 (James Tynion IV and Javier Fernandez)

I was getting a bit sick of Scott Snyder on Justice League. He had a pretty good run, but it was just getting stale. I’m not sure if I really just like the Year of the Villain stories or Tynion, but I also like Justice League Dark, so there’s some evidence for the latter.

Justice League Dark #13 (James Tynion IV, Daniel Sampere, Mark Buckingham)

This has consistently been my favorite DC comic since it was released a little over a year ago. I never expected to enjoy it as much as I have. Just like Immortal Hulk for Marvel, it has been a good book without a bad issue the entire time. Even if other books falter, I’m convinced this one will keep me into DC until they get it back together eventually.

The Good (A Surprise Here)

Aquaman #50 (Kelly Sue Deconnick and Robson Rocha)

I liked Aquaman after the Rebirth. The whole “the king is dead, long live the king” story was interesting to me. I wasn’t sure that they’d be able to keep it going after that, but this has been a solid title. If you told me that I’d prefer Aquaman over Batman, I’d have called you a filthy liar! But, it is I who was lying to myself the whole time.

The Decent (Quite a Hodge Podge of Inconsistency)

Catwoman #13 (Joelle Jones et al)

Normally, I’m a fan of Joelle Jones’ Catwoman, but the last few issues have fallen a bit flat for me. Things seem to be spicing up a bit now that we are in the Year of the Villain banner, so I hope the momentum keeps building for the next few months.

Action Comics #1013 and Superman #13 (Brian Michael Bendis, Szymon Kudranski, Brandon Peterson, Ivan Reis)

It was a big deal when BMB went from Marvel to DC. DC gave him their defining super hero and titles. For a while, I was impressed. However, things have gotten a bit disjointed with the two Superman books. I’m starting to remember why I didn’t like this hero very much growing up.

Detective Comics 1007 and 1008 (Peter J. Tomasi et al)

When James Tynion IV was writing this book, it was one of my favorites. Since Tomasi has taken over, it has been okay, but nowhere near as much fun or as interesting. These two stories revolved around a cult of Spectre and the Joker? All I have written here is *sigh*. I guess that about says it all.

Batman #74 (Tom King and Mike Janin)

Of all the books that have fallen off, this one’s drop has been most precipitous. I remember raving about Batman and salivating for each new issue to come out. Things started to go sour for most fans with the big #50 reveal, but I was still invested. Chris started to fall off somewhere in the 60s. I’m now almost completely out, but things look to change with the “City of Bane” story, so I’m hoping.

The Verdict (Hoping for Big Things from YOTV)

I haven’t been much of an event guy recently. I’m still burned out from Secret Empire. However, the way that DC is handling this Year of the Villain thing has me intrigued. It seems as if they are using it to shake up some of the creative teams. That’s a good thing because the books have been getting stale.

The stories, too, have been really good. I said earlier that I’m back to being a Marvel zombie and looking forward to more of their titles recently. That could change if the payoff from this Year of the Villain is anything close to the set up. DC Comics August 2019 could prove to be a turning point in many of the books.

Marvel Comics August 2019

Introduction

I think I wrote in my last article that it was going to be the final one written in that format. So, i present to you my review of Marvel Comics for August 2019. The comics are actually from last month, but that’s more recent than the first reviews. So, as I’ve said a few times, unless I get famous and they start sending me reviewer copies, this is as recent as I get.

I’ve also reconfigured “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly”. I still have 3 categories, but I’ve renamed them. If you’ve been reading this whole time, you know why. If not, allow me to explain quickly. I’m sure this will be a standard note at the top of future articles.

I’m a reviewer who tries to find the good in creative things. You might think this is dishonest. Sometimes people think that positive reviews are simply to get in good with companies for free stuff. While I wouldn’t turn down free stuff, that’s not my motive. I’m a frustrated self-published writer, so I try to encourage creativity whenever possible.

The Great (I Have a Feeling These May Not Change Much)

Amazing Spider-Man #25 and 26 (Zeb Wells, Keaton Patti, Nick Spencer, Kev Walker, Humberto Ramos, Ryan Ottley, Todd Nauck): I was worried that the book might suffer after what was a really good story in “Hunted”. However, the follow up story has been excellent, as well. I wasn’t too sure about Mysterio because it felt like cross promotion in the worst way. I’m glad to be wrong. The Mysterio story has been interesting. Also, they are introducing (? They’re new to me) the Sinister She Six and MJ’s and Spidey’s relationship are no longer on the rocks. All in all, a solid book.

Venom#16 (Donnie Cates and Juan Gedeon): This has probably been my second favorite ongoing Marvel book behind the new Hulk. They have done a slight retcon on the origin of the suit. Again, I’m not positive about that. However, that retcon has added a bit of a horror element to the book that is appealing. Plus, the “new” Venom with the dichotomy of Lethal Protector is awesome as far as I’m concerned.

The Immortal Hulk #20 and 21 (Al Ewing and Joe Bennett): Truth be told, this book is the main reason that I decided to rework the format of reviews for the page. I couldn’t ever think of a bad thing to say about the book, let alone ugly. Like I texted to Chris, this and Justice League Dark have just been solid books since the relaunches and I don’t think there has been a bad issue with these teams. Keep up the great work.

The Good (Avengers and Dead Mutants)

Uncanny X-Men 21 and 22 (Matthew Rosenberg and Salvador Larroca): Chris and I were texting about books that we have been enjoying lately and I mentioned this one was getting good again. He replied, “I might be wrong, but I thought they killed it.” FFS, sure enough, he’s right. Well, add this one to the pile with Weapon X of books that died right as they were getting good.

Avengers #21 (Jason Aaron and Jason Masters): I haven’t enjoyed the Avengers comic book as much as I have the movies. I will say that I’ve enjoyed Tony Stark in the Avengers book more than his solo book. But, more on that later. This issue was some clean up from War of the Realms. This is the first “event” that I didn’t read in quite some time, but Chris said it wasn’t that good, so I’m glad I missed it. With that being said, this issue was a bit slow, but it was a nice set up for what’s to come.

The Decent (This Would Make for an Odd Team Up Issue)

The Punisher #13 (Matthew Rosenberg and Szymon Kudranski): I have never been a huge fan of the Punisher. Oh, sure, when I was a teenager, he and Deadpool were the anti heroes that I needed. Now, however, it’s just more of the same. I will say that I enjoyed the part where the Punisher took it to the cops that thought he was doing right. An interesting take on current events.

Thor #15 (Jason Aaron and Mike Del Mundo): I texted Chris after reading this issue to say that War of Realms seemed like an overly complicated way to get Mjolnir back to Thor. Sure, that’s a big deal and all, but did they really need to do a whole event? I got the idea just from this issue. Oh well, what’s done is done.

Tony Stark, Iron Man #14 (Dan Slott, Jim Zub, Valerio Schiti): Tony Stark by himself is insufferable. I don’t mind him in the Avengers book, but I just can’t stand this version of Tony Stark. I do like the story of him not being sure if he’s real or not, but I don’t know how long they can keep it going.

Doctor Strange #16 (Mark Waid, Barry Kitson, and Scott Koblish): Normally I am a fan of both Doctor Strange and Mark Waid. However, this issue just fell a bit flat for me. It revolves around a Pyrrhic victory. Or, is it a Faustian bargain? Either way, the issue was fine, but doesn’t make me want to keep reading.

The Verdict (Overall Marvel Comics August 2019 was a good month)

I was going to do a “Forgettables” section, too, with Absolute Carnage. I obviously haven’t read it yet, but I’m not a fan of just retelling the same stories over and over again. That’s why I’m glad that recent reboots have gone out of their way to not have origin stories. Also, hopefully the reboots are done for a while.

But, I digress. I then learned that the Venom team was going to work on Absolute Carnage and that changed my mind. As mentioned above, I enjoy the Venom book very much. So, I will at least give Absolute Carnage the old 2 issue try to see if they can capture that same magic.

As far as Marvel Comics August 2019, these books overall were entertaining. The last four in the decent category have been uneven overall, but I have enjoyed them all on some level. Many of the books I’m reading seem to be getting cut from the lineup, so what i fear is that I’m no longer the target audience. Don’t ever grow up, kids. It’s a trap.

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.)