Thursday, December 18, 2014

Weekly Comics for 1407.09

Weekly Comics for 1407.09

Isn't that some gorgeous art in the header? That's from the new DC title (well, it was new in July of 2014) Grayson. Read on, and I will share more.

Not much preamble. Catching up. Writing about July comics in November (it's almost December). Let's go. TIME GAP. TIME SHIFTS. Okay, I am still writing this one, and it is DECEMBER.

And it's still December. But I have struggled to keep my pace. I have to complete more than one of these a week if I am going to catch up.

RE: SPOILERS: I don't have to explain that you read at your own risk, right?

Grayson #1

Spy comics are big right now. Covert missions. Rogue operatives. A good mix of sex, action, and intrigue. Harkening back to the James Bond films. It's becoming the same kind of competitive market as film-making. Word on the street circulates that Image has a great spy-thriller on the works (Velvet), and so Marvel scurries around and launches Black Widow at the same time.

Sure, you could argue that this move both makes sense with its movie franchise as well as given it's success with The Winter Soldier. But still, the timing is not coincidental. And now, DC throws its hat in the ring with Grayson, after "killing" Dick Grayson, who had been publicly outed as Nightwing, the former Robin, he is believed dead (much like the Winter Soldier), so he can work as a covert spy on special missions.

It's an interesting comic, but surely, Dick Grayson will be Nightwing once again if only to renew a trademark or to support an upcoming appearance in a movie (as set up in the last Dark Knight film).

As a long time and very ardent Richard Grayson/ Robin/ Nightwing fan, you might expect me to be opposed to this kind of change. But change, trying new things, is what keeps these comics fresh and interesting. I am not an idiot fan boy who cannot see reason. So many comic books fans are stubbornly and stupidly set in their ways. If DC is not pumping comics exactly like those published in the 1960s or the 1980s, or whatever era formed their fondest memories and favorite stories, then they are unhappy. They resist change. They dislike change.

But we need change in comics. If a gang of creators are going to tell an episodic narrative that spans decades, then change is inevitable and necessary. Giving Dick Grayson a new role and a new comic is a very smart move on DC's part. It's like with anything in comics. It's temporary. Dick Grayson (or someone at least) will have to return to the Nightwing outfit soon if only to renew the trademark. What we get now, instead, is some interesting stories told in a new vein.

My greatest criticism of all the whole concept is keeping the secret from Alfred, the loyal butler and FAMILY MEMBER of the extended Batman family. Grayson spins out of Forever Evil, in which Dick Grayson's identity as Nightwing and the former Robin was outed to world. He was "killed" in that story line but brought back to life by Lex Luthor. Instead of trying to spin his identity and re-establish some kind of secret identity, Batman and Dick chose to keep the truth that Grayson is alive a secret and insert him into this spy network as a mole who reports back to Batman on a regular basis. Okay, fine. BUT keeping this a secret from ALFRED?? Blasphemy. It's a hard enough sell to comic fans that this secret would be kept from one-again-off-again great love of his life Barbara Gordon, let alone all the other close members of the extended Bat family, such as Tim Drake, Jason Todd, and others. But to keep the truth from Alfred violates the supposition long established in the DC universe, which is that Batman DOES NOT KEEP SECRETS FROM ALFRED. So in this sense, I am also an inflexible fan boy. Sure, there will be a reckoning and some great drama manufactured when Alfred finds out the truth. But it is manufactured drama and not legitimate. Furthermore, if I was writing it, I would have Alfred find out on his own and make it anti-climactic when Batman finally tells him, as if the Bat could keep any secrets from the Alfred! ABSURD!

I enjoyed Grayson #1. It would have taken top spot if I had not been so invested in The Winter Soldier: The Bitter March, which concluded this week.

As I mentioned earlier, I am a HUGE Richard Grayson/Nightwing/Robin fan and this alternative story for his ongoing biography works for me.

For more of my Grayson love check out this:


Art by Mikel Janin and Jeromy Cox proves to be very attractive. The Seeley/King writing is also effective. Months later, as I am writing this blog entry in December, Grayson has continued to rank high each month and has sustained its level of excellence. The writers have not forgotten that Dick is a romantic hero and as such needs to have a love interest. In fact, spy thrillers, especially those int he James Bond vein, feature plenty of sex and eye candy. Grayson may not fulfill these designs in the same way as Bond films, but Dick does get laid, which surely increases sales.

One of the things I love about digging into one of my favorite subjects, comic books, is how many people are also writing online on the same subject (and with much faster turn around). I am always finding new blogs, like this one:


Also, given my lateness with these posts, I have struggled with remembering the comic books from this week in July when it's now December, let alone finding the actual issues in my not so orderly storage process. But then I have discovered that some of the other sites in which people reviewed the comics each week, much as I have been doing, such as the link below from Newsarama.

NEWSARAMA REVIEW WEEK OF JULY 9 2014 - Grayson, Daredevil, All New X-Men


Here's a few other round ups:



The ALL NEW X-MEN seemed to be one of the most popular comics from this week as I could find many reviews for it as listed below.

I love the art.

But I have been growing weary of the All New X-Men. My main problem is that I have been waiting for the series to end, for the teenagers who are out of place in time to return to their own time. (For those not in the know, the premise for the All New X-Men title instantiated when the present-day Beast brought to the current Marvel tableau present the teenaged versions of the original X-Men in the aftermath of the Phoenix saga in which the possessed Cyclops kills Charles Xavier.)
The premise seemed played out, and I felt it was long over due for these kids to go back to the past before they are too old to fit back into that time line. It's been two years OUR time though not two years in their time. Though, granted, time is unclear in comics as characters do not advance in age very much but each year of our time there also seems to be a Christmas in their time (and a summer, and a winter, and a school year, and a Baseball season, etc.).

The reviews are generally positive. I am enjoying the series, though it used to rank much higher. As you can see, in this week from July, it sank to ninth. Now that I realize that the kids are not going to go back to their own time (at least not soon and maybe never), then I am no longer bugged by this continuity anomaly, and I can just enjoy the stories and intriguing character mash ups.




CBResources - ALL NEW X-MEN #29 REVIEW


In the interests of brevity, and since I am writing this in December, I am not going to gush about titles like Daredevil, Fantastic Four, or even The Amazing Spider-Man: Learning to Crawl, about which I have previously gushed.

I am planning a more extended review of The Winter Soldier: The Bitter March, but with so many of these types of plans, I am not sure if this one will ever come to pass.

Weekly Comics for 1407.09

The Winter Soldier: The Bitter March #005
Grayson #1
Daredevil #005
The Walking Dead #129
Fantastic Four: Original Sin #7
Infinity Man and the Forever People #2
Justice League United #3
The Amazing Spider-Man: Learning to Crawl #01.3
All New X-Men #029
(FROM LAST WEEK) The New 52: Futures End #9
The New 52: Futures End #10
(FROM LAST WEEK) Batman Eternal #12
Batman Eternal #13
Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze #7
Batgirl #33
Spider-Man: 2099 #001
All New Invaders: Original Sin #7
Avengers: Original Sin  #32
Captain Marvel #005
Spread #1


Avengers Undercover#007
Batman: Detective Comics #33
World's Finest: Huntress and Power Girl #25
Great Pacific #16



- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1412.18 - 8:22

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Weekly Comics for 1407.02

Comics for 1407.02

It's November as I type this and address the issue of July comics. I am still in catch up mode. But I feel I must post sequentially or my blog is in disarray, which is different than regular array, which is a land in which I have been spending a lot of time: array land, IE. computer programming.

If you have ever checked out my blog, you know the drill. If this is your first time, I am going to write a bit about comic books and discuss the way I ranked the comics that were published this week in July because the ordering I place them in for reading has meaning for their quality and my interest.
And yet, given months of hindsight, I start my discussions with the comic that ranked fourth.

Lazarus #9

Lazarus is a great comic. As I have been writing, Image is kicking butt and taking names. This is another Image Comic that is part of the stable of strong, creator-owned projects being published by, arguably, the most innovative company in comics.

Over at the T-shirt blog, I already reviewed the first three issues of Lazarus. Here's the LINKY stuff:

T-shirt #138 - My review of Lazarus#s 1 and 2

T-shirt #168 - MY LAZARUS #3 REVIEW

Months later, I am enjoying Lazarus #9 (in July). And today, in November, as I type this, Lazarus  #13 was released.

Okay, because my T-shirt blog is such a maze, I am just going to reprint the initial Lazarus review as it well defines the comic book's premise and once again makes the point about Image's bevy of great books, which has only grown in the months since August of 2013 when I wrote the review that follows.

Review of Lazarus

Another fantastic comic book that I want to recommend by singing its praises is Lazarus by Rucka and Lark.

I know I say that I am "a huge fan" of some thing quite often, but I really am a huge fan of Gotham Central from DC (2003-2006) that featured the last pairing of Rucka and Lark (and Ed Brubaker co-wrote the series with Rucka).

Image has been hitting it out of the park lately with some of the best comics in the business. I cannot possibly read everything being published even from the major companies, but I have added several excellent Image books to monthly orders, including Mind the GapSagaMaraCloneGreat PacificAmerica's Got PowersSatellite SamFataleTen GrandJupiter's Legacy, and now, also, Lazarus.

Lazarus is a great near future thriller about a world in which the wealth is even more consolidated in the hands of a very, very few. Here's the preface blurb: "The world now lies divided not amongst political or geographical boundaries but amongst financial ones. Wealth is power, and that power rests with only a handful of FAMILIES. The few who provide a service for their ruling Family are cared for. All others are waste. In each Family, there is one person given the best they can offer, training and technology and assets, every scientific advantage. This person is named their Family's sword and shield, their protector, their LAZARUS. In the Family Carlyle, the LAZARUS is called Forever. This is her story."

The first issue told a compelling story, only providing enough background on this new world to aid the immediate set of scenes. The same style of storytelling (less background, more direct mimesis) held true in the second issue. The first issue did come with a long afterword written by Rucka explaining how the book came to be; the second issue contained more letters but a short newsy bit on how current tech predicts what is being shown in LAZARUS.

Some of the vital stats help put the book into perspective along with startling imagery by Lark:
Los Angeles, Family: Carlyle
Population [Family]: 3 (2 permanent)
[Serf]: 322,274
[Waste]: 2,874,500 (estimated)

As an extrapolation of our current state of affairs, Lazarus is even more compelling, thought-provoking,. and worthy of discussion. Possibly Image is proving itself capable of better work than any of the other big name companies. This book is well worth your time.

Comic Book Resources on Lazarus

"Ultimately, Rucka wanted to emphasize that while "Lazarus" is a book set in a new and different world, the story really boils down to character.

"Look," Rucka said, "I don't like books that are polemics and I don't like reading something that feels like I'm being lectured to," Rucka said. "We talked about the economic divide and things like that, but the fact is, this is an adventure story, this is a story about a woman, it's about Forever Carlyle. Everything else is backdrop. Just the opportunity to do this story the way we want, how we want, man, I love it. I'm so excited. I'm so excited that we finally get to show people what we've been working on for so long. i really hope folks will dig it, I really do. I think Michael has done some of the best work of his career on issue one certainly and I am having a blast. That's what I've got to offer'"(Comic Book Resources on Lazarus, 2013).


"Lazarus by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark is (by the author’s own admission) “hard sci-fi” but it’s also as frightening as it is exciting. Frightening like the fear that comes with knowledge, the more you learn the more you know and the more you know the more you fear. Knowledge may be power but it’s also goddamn unsettling" (BLEEDING COOL ON LAZARUS, 2013).

DAMN Good Comics: Charles Skaggs on Lazarus
SPOILER ALERT! Don't read the next quote if you want to avoid it.

"This first issue opens with a demonstration of said resurrection ability as Forever is shot three times and left for dead, only to rise a minute or two later and swiftly kill all three of her attackers.  As Forever relays the details of what happened to her doctor James, we get our first glimpse inside her head with hints that she isn't entirely satisfied being her Family's protector against people who are only looking for something to eat" (DAMN Good Comics: Charles Skaggs on Lazarus, 2013).

But what about Lazarus #9?

Don't just believe me, read these reviews. Like me, these reviewers are continually impressed with Lazarus and #9 is not exception as it shares another flashback of young Forever in training as well as the current story arc about Forever protecting the family from a terrorist named Angel. The "black nerd" review is very short (though that's a great name for a blog); the Hypergeeky review is much more in depth.

LAZARUS #9 review - black nerd


The upshot here is that if you like comics and you are not reading Lazarus, you're really missing out. The first collected Lazarus would make a nice December holiday gift.
I am thankful for Lazarus and all the great comic being published, as I am writing this blog post on Thanksgiving Day 2014.

RE: SPOILERS: I don't have to explain that you read at your own risk, right?

I went a bit nuts with the cover gallery.

Moon Knight #005

Moon Knight took the top spot this week because the last issue (with the fungus - see WEEKLY LIST FOR 1406.04). The Pop Matters review makes all sorts of movie comparisons for this issue, but I thought it felt very much like Blade Runner because of the multi-story building much like the old Bradbury hotel in L.A. used for the final conflict in that film.

The reviews for this issue of Moon Knight are all positive, but I really like this remark from the Coliseum review:

The Ellis/Shalvey/Bellaire triumvirate run on Moon Knight has been an eclectic mesh of genre hunting and visual story-telling, almost like a sub rosa Planetary arc planted in the marvel universe. As you may know, Ellis’s creator owned series Planetary was based on the idea of the world’s collective 20th century fiction (and sometimes 19th century fiction) as a sort of “secret history” to the world with the main characters acting as archeologists, dredging up our fictional past and analyzing it under a the poppiest of pop-culture lenses – comics. Those characters goal was to discover their secret history. Moon Knight is that secret history.




Original Sin: What is the Unseen? #5 of 8


Original Sin takes third. I am skipping over Ultimate Spider-Man as I have written a lot about that comic, and I will surely have more to share at the end of the story arc (which just came to pass in November).

The development of this story and how it re-frames the original Nick Fury in the Marvel Universe has been brilliant. The creators of this series smartly evolved Fury from his super spy roots from the 1960s Strange Tales days to a self-appointed protector of the planet earth, which includes watching the Watcher.

The issue ends a cryptic remark by aged Fury that it's "his turn" to die.

The Deodato art continues to be moody and perfectly suited to this story.

At this point, I loved where this was going, and of course writing this post months in the future (November), I know what happens. We will get there when we get there. But check out the very good review and this gorgeous art.

Green Arrow #33

The other comic I am very keen promote is Green Arrow. I have promoted this one many times before (see category to the right in the list and some posts on the T-shirt blog). By the time I am writing this post, the Lemire/Sorrentino run has ended but not before putting a stamp on the book that rivals all the Grell stuff and the Neal Adams stuff (the two best periods from this book's past). The exploration of Oliver Queen's past and his family is very well done. And though the comic has moved on to match better the Arrow TV show, it's still decent though not nearly as good as this creative team's work.




As for the rest, I loved that Jet Black and the Falcon slept together in the pages of Captain America, especially since Remender had made overtures that Cap and Jet were drawing closer.

Apparently, this plot point caused a firestorm of controversy for people who believed that Jet Black was a child. Does she look like a child???

Falcon-Jet scene in ‘Captain America’ #22 sparks calls for Remender’s firing

Some reactionary readers claimed that Sam Wilson committed statutory rape! Ridiculous. If anything, Jet Black used Sam for sex given the way the story was written. If anything, it seems to me a case of flying off the handle at best and at worst a form of racism as I suspect that the claims would not be made if Jet Black had slept with a white man. Oh, and SEXISM because let's not believe that a woman can make confident and adult decisions about her sex life. Let's assume that she MUST be over-powered by a man. I have to stop writing about this issue because it's making me furiously angry.

In any case, STUPIDITY abounds. This is a prime example of why I do not read comic boards and participate with idiotic online fans.

I could have lauded other books, but I at least show their covers in the upcoming. This was a difficult week to rank as really any of the first thirteen comics could have been in the top five positions. Thor  is definitely ranked very low here given its quality as is Clone and Uber. These comics take a lower position because I do not think they will be quick reads, and I like to get the quick reads out of the way first. Iron Fist continues to plummet because I think the art is horrid.

Aquaman and the Others #4, Black Widow #008, Captain America #022, and Superman Unchained #7 are all basically interchangeable, though in hindsight, I think Black Widow wins out. Or maybe, I am just over fond of female characters.

Comics for 1407.02

Moon Knight #005
Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man #003
Original Sin: What is the Unseen? #5 of 8
Lazarus #9
Green Arrow #33
Aquaman and the Others #4
Black Widow #008
Captain America #022
Superman Unchained #7
Iron Fist: the Living Weapon #004
Clone #18
Uber #15
Thor: God of Thunder: The Last Days of Midgard: Epilogue #024
The New 52: Futures End #9
Batman Eternal #13
The Punisher #008
Daredevil: Road Warrior #0.1
Legendary Star Lord #001


The New Warriors #007
Earth Two #25
Green Lantern #33
Batman/Superman #12
Superman: Action Comics: Superdoom - Chapter 1


So, sue me. I like looking at all this cover art, especially when I am writing about July comics of 2014 in late November of 2014.




- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1411.27 - 10:04

Friday, November 21, 2014

Weekly Comics for 1406.25

Weekly Comics for 1406.25

I told myself that I wasn't going to buy Robert Kirkman's Outcast. Not that I have anything against Kirkman. I love The Walking Dead, but I am trying to cut down on my monthly comic purchases, not add to them. Also, I did not know ANYTHING about it. I avoided the previews. I didn't read up on the imminent release of this new Kirkman book.

But then, I don't know what happened, as I did buy it and read it. Look at that list below, hardly a "light" week. Often I am more inclined to pick up a book that I didn't order on a light week. And I have told myself I am saving some books for the trade editions, such as The Fade Out, East of West, and Fatale, so I had it in my mind to "maybe" read Outcast in trade.

But then, I bought Outcast anyway. I will tell you what I think farther down the page. (And yes, it's distance, so it's FARther not FURther. FURTHER is not for DISTANCES of any kind.) (Yes, I am a grammar serial killer. Don't make these mistakes because I will find you, and it will not be pretty.)

Okay, so it's November not June or even close to June. I am trying to catch up on these blogs and it's bloody November. Actually, it's snowy November, like 16 inches of snow and drifting. This is more intense than last January, and it's not even officially WINTER yet. This is unofficially "Global Warming at its finest" as we used to say around the Neahtawanta. Thank you Bob Russell. I still hear you. (For what I mean by that comment, see this HERE.)

So, I am still catching up, and it's snowy out there, so that means curling up with some comic books, and we have some doozies here.

RE: SPOILERS: I don't have to explain that you read at your own risk, right?

It was supposed to be Superman #32 that was the most anticipated comic for this week. And it was, though in hindsight, it's not the best of the week. Superman #32 takes the top spot as I was eagerly awaiting the coming of John Romita Jr. to DC and the Superman title, after months, arguably years of Superman floundering as one of the least interesting books I buy (along with Action Comics) falling out of my top reads and finding its place among multiple other issues in the back log. Then, when I do get around to reading them, I read a bunch while watching football, pouring through an issue every few minutes. And then I think, why did I spend $3.99 for the opportunity to flip through that book in no more than five minutes and possibly much fewer? (Yes, FEWER, this is like the FARTHER AND FURTHER thing in the text above. Really. I will find you. Don't make me stop this car.)

So, it was not going to be Outcast that broke away from the pack. As you can see, originally, I ranked Outcast at thirteenth out of twenty-three comics, two of which fell immediately into the back log (and where Avengers Undercover still is and recent issues of Batman Eternal is).

So back to Supes in a minute, first, let me tell you about Outcast.


It's not the best Image book on the market. Doesn't have to be. It's Kirkman, It will sell.

It's about exorcism, sort of. That's good. So now zombies, exactly.

There's no apocalypse. Wouldn't Kirkman love to know how he's pigeon-holed here? Right.

Great art by Paul Azaceta. Moody and creepy.

I was really surprised. But don't believe me. Believe these people.






Do I really need to say much more? Can I say anything of relevance that these people at those links did not write? Hardly. This book has remained consistently good (and on schedule) since June.

Superman #32

So after all the anticipation, though good, Superman #32 was not great. Sadly. Because I wanted it to be great. But it's only good. I love John Romita, Jr. He's embracing some Kirby roots both in his art and in his jump to DC (something Kirby did as well, though for different reasons, I presume).

There's little WOW factor here.

The art is great (though the NERDIST accuses Romita of drawing the same face on all his characters), and the story is decent, helmed by a very good writer (Geoff Johns), but ultimately, not great, and since June, it doesn't live up to the DC marketing hype and has not received much hype since.




Comics for 1406.25

Superman #32
Fantastic Four (Original Sin) #6
Aquaman #32
Savage Hulk #001
New Avengers #020
Batman: Zero Year: Final Act #32
Hulk vs. Iron Man Original Sin #1
Amazing Spider-Man #003
Justice League #31
The New 52: Futures End #8
Deadly Class - 1987 - #6
Stray Bullets: Killers #4
Outcast #1 ("Darkness Surrounds Him")
Saga #20
Ms. Marvel #005
Guardians of the Galaxy #016
Flash #32
Trees #2
New Avengers Annual #001
New Warriors #006
Uncanny Avengers #021


Batman Eternal #12
Avengers Undercover #006



Changing it up a little by putting comments after.

So Outcast #1 ("Darkness Surrounds Him") emerges as the top comic from this week, and so I cheat and put it at the top of the cover gallery to follow. Maybe it seems the best of the lot because it was a new title, a first issue, or maybe it really is the best story and material of this week from June.

I cheat with my Fantastic Four cover in the gallery below, sharing a double comic for the sake of resolution, which provides a preview of Fantastic Four #7. I am LOVING Robinson and Kirk's run on my beloved Fantastic Four. The team is falling apart, which is always an interesting tale with this group that has not been told quite in this way before.

Of course, Aquaman. I have spoken of my love for Aquaman quite a bit before. Likewise, I have gone on at length about the Batman comic in previous blogs, so much so that Batman earned his own category (see SIDEBAR MENU). The wrap up of the Zero Year Riddler story was very excellent as has most of the Batman work from the venerable DC lately.

Stray Bullets is ripe for a future review. I loved the run of this comic back back in the '90s. This new run continues the excellence. The earlier Stray Bullets volumes would make nice Christmas (or Hanukkah) gifts for the discerning reader.

Also, as I have already mentioned, Saga is due for a full review somewhere in my bloggy world. It's part of that Image dominant excellence I was nattering on about in the previous blog post.

And Trees. You all know I love Warren Ellis. Warren (whom I think of as a friend of sorts since he's kind enough to include us all in his life) has introduced me to many amazing things, and he inspires me to want to do something more amazing and satisfying than this blog, which is just like exercise for the main event. But Trees #1 bamboozled me. Thus, I dropped Trees #2 to nearly last place only because I did not know how to think about it or what it was. Later, when Trees #3 comes out, I have to re-read the previous two issues, which I did twice before the whole thing congealed. Now, Trees ranks much higher as you will see when I get closer to the present with these blog posts.

Warren's recent weirdnesses live at the following.

The link to share is

++ writing most mornings at + logging at

Lastly, to justify my "science fiction" category, I want to share that I am reading Ray Kurzweil's The Sungularity is Near (finally). This also relates to the previous comment about Bob Russell and the post HERE. Anyway, I am also a fan of Cory Doctorow, and in Kurzweil's book he mentions a Doctorow book I did not know about, and I thought I either had read them all or knew the ones I had yet to read. The book is called usr/bin/god, which is a title reference I know "get" due to my work in Unix/Linux. However, the book never happened and Kurzweil was referencing it before it was published. All that exists is an EXCERPT, there at that link.

'Nuff said.



- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1411.21 - 8:44