Hey, Mom! The Explanation.

Here's the permanent dedicated link to my first Hey, Mom! post and the explanation of the feature it contains.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Weekly Comics for 1405.14

Weekly Comics for 1405.14

I am cheating. I am using Superman: Doomed as a masthead for this blog entry and now, in late July, I have still not read it. That seems disingenuous, yes? But is is a very cool image and worth showing off.

I could leave the spoilers thing here, but I am not planning too many in this post. Though I guess there are some if you have not read these comics even in my brief remarks.

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

Given that it is a fun and a quick read, Afterlife with Archie is often going to take the top spot the week that it comes out. It continues to be a completely entertaining comic and an intriguing spin on the old Archie model.

I love these "slasher-film-esque" lingerie covers by Andrew Pepoy. Gorgeous Veronica cover here.

Issue five focuses on the Lodge butler Smithers and all he does to keep the Lodge family safe and sound. The story establishes how Smithers learned to be a great butler from his father, to be as his father advised "invisible."

Smithers is a great thread of continuity as he observes everything going on in the Lodge mansion, the refuge for the still living residents of Riverdale. Smithers observes the rather large cast, checking in with other students not often seen in the Archie stories. Smithers confronts a distraught Veronica, bemoaning that Archie went to Betty for solace for killing his zombified father and not to her.

Ultimately, Smithers helps after Archie convinces Mr. Lodge that they cannot stay in Lodge Manor until they are completely surrounded by zombies, who will find a way inside. As confirmation of his prediction, two zombies begin to climb through a heating vent. After they are dispatched, we learn that the zombies were Betty's parents.

This issue, which concludes book one of the series (due soon in a collected edition) show what's left of the gang escaping Lodge Manor, armed and ready to battle through hordes of zombies as they continue to fight for their survival in this dangerous new world.


After slipping in the rankings, The Walking Dead #127 soars to number two, just behind the Archie book, which simply wins due to the fun factor. The series jumps ahead two years after the recent "All Out War" saga, which concluded the issue before. I skimmed some of the reviews online. Some reviewers felt this issue was too mundane given the high-tension, violence, and action of the previous ten or so issues. But this is to be expected and long-time readers of comics should expect it.

But it's almost a rule in comics that there must be some down time after a big story arc. Historically in a book like X-Men, thinking specifically here of several arcs during Chris Claremont's long run, after the team has been in space fighting Brood and were believed dead for eight issues, that they have a picnic and play softball in the next. Do readers need to see them play softball? Actually, yes, they do. The down time is necessary to re-establish character and work on down time.

But it's not all down time. The issue opens with a new group of characters in a tight spot. The new characters are rescued by a band from the new Alexandria community. Lead by Jesus, a cavalry leads a huge horde of zombies away from the stranded new group and then invites them to speak with Rick and earn a place in their community.

After the opening gambit, and Adlard's gorgeous two-page spread of a horde of zombies so massive that it stretches out of sight in the distance, the reader is treated to life around the new community, where Rick and the others have settled into a sustainable living arrangement, growing food and under-going the business of re-establishing civilization.

As the double-sized issue winds down, we see Rick talk with a very grown up Carl, a move that surely is meant to match what will need to happen in the TV show, as the young boy wants to strike out on his own and go apprentice at Hilltop. In the final scene, we see Carl go into a cellar and talk to how he tried to convince his dad to let him go to Hilltop, the other community. On the last page, it is revealed that this "confidante" is an imprisoned Negan. The story concludes with Negan asking Carl: "Do you still want to kill me?" and Carl replies, "Yes, Negan. You know I do."

This is an excellent transitional issue, setting up much of what is needed for the next story arc. Many of the criticisms leveled against it by comic book reviewers online rob Kirkland of his agency, of his ability to tell different types of stories. After the constant action and what seems like a dragged out conflict in the "All Out War" saga, this tale and set up of a new story that will develop slowly but feed the desire to see how the survivors survive is a nice change of pace.


Fantastic Four #004 - It's no surprise that I am going to keep writing about and shilling for my favorite comic books.

If I have not made the point enough times on this blog, I established well on my T-shirt blog how much I love THE FANTASTIC FOUR.

Check out this entry for T-shirt #344 - Fantastic Four, which contains a lengthy review of the first new issue of this current run of the Fantastic Four comic book, plus a ton of Fantastic Four content and a collection of links for all of my previous Fantastic Four content on the T-shirt blog. Lest I forget, there was some Fantastic Four content on this blog. In fact, it was my first blog entry here at SENSE OF DOUBT:

THE “New and Improved” INVISIBLE WOMAN: Does she look like she needs protecting?

So, with this week, I come to the fourth issue of the current issues of Fantastic Four, better known as The World's Greatest Comic Magazine.

Here we have a return of the Frightful Four, who attacked Ben Grimm and a powerless Johnny Storm. Though Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman arrive, the battle goes poorly, especially without the Human Torch. The Thing gets clobbered by a new Bulldozer, a woman, the original's daughter, who has donned the gear and has a bad attitude for all things Fantastic. Just in time, the FF crew -- She-Hulk, Ant Man, and Ms. Thing -- show up and lend a hand. Turns out the whole thing was a lure. Unable to resist attacking Johnny when powerless, Reed Richards engineered a lure for the Frightful Four's vanity, knowing they would be beaten and captured.

Though this issue is not the best of the lot so far, it's a crucial story for what's to come, and the final scene sets up the next story. As the Fantastic Four return to the Baxter Building after bagging the Frightful Four, they find themselves locked out of their home, their children re-located to a "safe" location, and the team served with papers to appear in court.

More to come as it appears that issue #5 came out two weeks later!


Didn't I just write about Justice League United  #0? Indeed, see COMICS FOR 1404.23.
My comments for Justice League United  #1 are much the same. Jeff Lemire and Mike McKone. These two creators together will get me to buy the book no matter what it is. Start a comic with a throw down between Lobo and Hawkman? Love it. Adam Strange fully outfitted and featured in a full page spread taking flight: awesome. And best of all, some great stuff with Martian Manhunter, ending in another full page spread in which the alien blasts apart a giant monster once it's made of wood (as its composition kept changing). Strong writing, beautiful art, some of my favorite characters. Already, this title has catapulted above where I rank either of the other Justice League comics.

Looking forward to more!


As for the rest, given that I am writing two months later, many of these were forgettable. The various Avengers books at Marvel are such a mish-mash of story upon story upon story without resolution that I have no idea what these dealt with. I did like Avengers #29, despite Leinil Yu's art. Good Doctor Strange stuff. And as I write this, two months later, it seems like Joaquin Phoenix may play the good doctor in the forthcoming movie. If nothing else, Frank Cho's cover for Avengers #29 grabbed me.

I am liking Starlight #3 as a rumination on what happens when John Carter (the source on which this character and story is based) gets old and can't quite do what he used to do and yet still gives his all to save the other world where he's more than a hero, he's a savior. Millar writes deftly enough, and Parlov's Moebius style art is beautiful.

Lastly, I would like to confess my weakness for weekly episodic narrative. The New 52: Future's End series at DC has just enough of the right elements to capture my attention. The cast is better than the previous 52 weekly that ran from 2006-2007. With Firestorm, Grifter, Frankenstein, Batman Beyond, Mister Terrific, Robin, Lois Lane, and more, this series has just the right cast to keep my interest enough to buy a weekly comic book. I like the premise of stories set five years in the future with some serious and disturbing outcomes having befallen the big name heroes, such as Superman, Batman, and Green Arrow. Slated to run weekly for a year, 52 issues, ending in March of 2015, at first, I was not ordering the comic, expecting to give it up at some point, but with the last month's order, I decided to pre-order the issues. This is not the kind of comic every one will embrace, even the most hardcore comic readers will shy away from this due to lack of interest and/or lack of commitment to a weekly comic. And yet with Azzarello, Lemire, Giffen, and Jurgens writing and a bevy of artists including Zircher, Merino, Jurgens, Lopresti, and others, the book has some quality names behind it. It's worth the price of admission.


Afterlife with Archie #5
The Walking Dead  #127
Fantastic Four #004
Justice League United  #1
All-New X-Men #027
Avengers (Original Sin) #29
New Avengers #018
Uber #13
Starlight #3
Stray Bullets: Killers #3
Iron Man #025
Secret Avengers #003
Batgirl #31
Captain Marvel #003
Captain America #020
Superman: Doomed #1 (one shot)
Superman/Wonder Woman #8
The New 52: Future's End #1
The New 52: Future's End #2
Batman Eternal #6
Fables #140

Avengers Undercover #004

Locus  Issue 640 Vol. 72 No. 5

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1407.27 - 9:34
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