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

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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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The Weekly Haul – 8/3/11 – What comics I picked up this week and why.

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Haven’t done this since February, but it’s about time I got back to doing it. So with out any acclaim or fanfare whatsoever, a look at what made it into the stack of four-color fun I bought home from Austin Books this week.

Elric: The Balance Lost #2 (BOOM!) – Interested to see where Chris Roberson is taking the Michael Moorcock multiverse concepts and characters. He shows a real understanding of them here.

Essential Amazing Spider-Man #1 (Marvel) – I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t have a complete run of the classic Lee/Ditko Spider-Man issues in my comics library. That oversight has now been rectified thanks to the reissue of this first Essentials volume.

Heroes For Hire #10 (Marvel) – This is the book closest to the classic Marvel action I used to love. Just superheroes teaming up to catch the bad guys – it’s that simple, and its so much fun.

House of Mystery #40 (DC/Vertigo) – Just a couple of months left for this innovative and thought provoking series by my buddy, Matt Sturges. I’ve been there since before issue #1, and I’ll be there to the end.

The Infinite #1 (Image) – I normally wouldn’t have touched this with a cattle prod due to the name on the art credits, Rob Liefeld. But I heard writer Robert Kirkman (He of “The Walking Dead” fame) talking about the book, the time-travel premise, and his ideas for it on a recent podcast, and he sold me enough to pick up the first issue.

Punisher #1 (Marvel) – I really don’t like The Punisher as a character or as a concept, yet I picked the first issue of his new series up. Why? Simply because Greg Rucka is writing it, and none do urban, gritty thrillers any better. Let’s see if one of my favorite writers can change my mind about Frank Castle?

Rachel Rising #1 (Abstract) – A new series from talented Terry Moore.  Do I need say any more?

Red Skull Incarnate #2 (Marvel) – Stunningly designed and evocative covers, a well scripted story by Greg Pak examining the psyche of one of the Marvel Universe’s most perverse bad guys, all interwoven with the rise of Nazi influence in Germany during the 1930s equals one of the most intriguing “superhero” books on the stands at the moment.

Retro-Active (DC Comics) – Lumping these books together as one. I’m really enjoying these nostalgia themed books from DC using classic writers and artists. In fact I’m enjoying them more than the current mainstream DC Universe books. This week picked up 1980s era Flash, Batman, and Wonder Woman books. And the best part of these books – the newsprint pages. They look, feel, and smell like a comic book should. Way better than the modern slick glossy pages.

Superman #714  (DC Comics)- The end of an era as this is the last issue of the current Superman title that started the whole super-hero thing off back in the 1930s/40s. I’d have picked it up anyway as I’m really been enjoying Chris Roberson’s take on the Man of Steel, and he had me picking up the Superman books on a regular basis for the first time in years. It’s a shame DC didn’t carry his vision over to the new DCU relaunch next month.

Zorro Rides Again #1 (Dynamite) – With my penchant for pulp style generational heroes, Zorro has always been among my list of favorites. Over the years some of the comics series have been hits, and some definite misses. But I give each new one a try. Let’s see how this one pans out.