The Weekly Haul – 12/14/11 – What comics I picked up this week and why.

Is it really August since I last did this little exercise? It is indeed.

I’ll be on the road next week (Look out Cedar Rapids. Iowa!) so picked up a slightly larger stack of four-color fun than usual at Austin Books today to see me through two weeks worth of comics reading needs. So what came home with me:

  • Avengers Academy #23 – Enjoyed the early issues of this series, but at some point it lost my interest and dropped off my reading list. This issue introducing X-23 (whose own book was recently cancelled)  to the team seemed like a good point to give it another try.
  • Avengers Sanction #1 (Marvel): All I can say is that advertising works – only picked this up because of the one-page house ads in other Marvel titles recently – intrigued me enough to at least try the first issue.
  • Batgirl #4 (DC) – I wasn’t too impressed by the fits issue of this titles releaunch, and I had some problems seeing Barbara Gordon back in the cowl. I should have trusted writer Gail Simone. Things are headed in the right direction and this is back on my regular read list.
  • Batman: The Brave & The Bold #14 (DC) – A fun all-ages book that is in perfect keeping with the tone of the crazy, irreverent animated series. This is how the mainstream Batman books should be done.
  • Batman & Robin #4 (DC) I don’t really like this gritty scowling Batman of the New 52 DC relaunch and haven’t picked up any of the books on a regular basis; however a reviewer who I trust said that this book was doing great things with the Bruce Wayne / Damien Wayne – Batman / Robin father-son dynamic – so thought I’d give this issue a try.
  • Batwoman #4 (DC)- The most creative and stunning artwork and page layouts of any mainstream book at the moment. However that innovation does cause some occasional storytelling problems, and the plot isn’t exactly grabbing my attention. So this may be the last issue where the “oh pretty” factor wins out.
  • Demon Knights #4 (DC) – easily my favorite of the New 52 DC titles. Loving how my friend, Paul Cornell, is building a new team dynamic, and establishing the history of a new reality, while at the same time delivering a fun action packed book. And it’s got dragons! – Highly recommended.
  • Doctor Who #12 (IDW) – The last regular monthly Doctor Who from good friend, Tony Lee and it’s a silent Christmas issue with the Doctor and Santa fighting robots. Do I need to say more?
  • Ghost Rider #7 (Marvel): Always been something of a closet Ghost Rider fan (Heck I’ll even admit to enjoying the Nic Cage movie – and yes I even own a copy!), and one of the marvel characters on my “like to write one day” list*. This series is written by yet another friend Rob Williams, and introduces a new female Rider, but the concept doesn’t seem to have caught on and it all comes to an end in a couple of months, but in the mean time I’ve been enjoying this different take on the mythos of The Spirit of Vengance. (*If Marvel are looking for another Ghost Rider story – I’ll be happy to pitch my thoughts on something that links Johnny Blaze to the Western Ghost Rider of the past.)
  • Hawken #2 (IDW) – Gritty violent Western with great black & white artwork from the master of Westerns, Tim Truman.
  • Jingle Belle Gift-Wrapped (Top Cow / Image) – Another Christmas special, from one of my favorite writers/creators, Paul Dini. No other reason for picking it up beyond that simple fact.
  • Marvel Holiday Special (Marvel): These Christmas themed holiday specials are always something of a guilty pleasure. For the most part they feature innocuous, and occasionally trite, tales of favorite heroes spreading seasonal messages. Some years the will contain a real gem of a story.
  • Operation Broken Wings, 1936 (BOOM) – Translated reprint of a graphic novel originally published in France. Suffers a little from teh reduction in page size down to standard US comic book dimensions; but overall is strong, compelling espionage tale set in pre-war Germany. Well researched and very evocative of the era.
  • The Ray #1 (DC) – I’ve been looking forward to picking this book up since artist Jamal Igle first posted some sketches on his FaceBook account. Should be a fun read.
  • Star Wars: Agent of Empire: Iron Eclipse #1 (Dark Horse) – Easily wins the prize for longest title of the week. Simply put this Star Wars version of James Bond. – Written by John Ostrander, who for my money is consistently one of the best and most innovative of the SW comics writers.
  • Zorro Rides Again #6 (Dynamite) – Writer Matt Wagner’s respect and enthusiasm for the Zorro legend and mythos comes across on every page. This is a must read for any fan of the Fox.




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