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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
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