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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Weekly Comics for 1404.09

yes, we're blurry...
it's appropriate
Weekly Comics for 1404.09

Apparently, I am unable to finish my weekly comics lists posts during the week after I buy the comics. Here it is a week later,
..... uh, how about nearly three weeks later now as I write this text. If I do not get this written today, it WILL BE three weeks later. Yikes....
and I am just now finishing the comics for the ninth of April and have already bought and began the post for the comics from April 16th.... um, and the 23rd, and tomorrow is the 30th. Yikes...

I just posted last week's comic list yesterday on Thursday 1404.10.

I am endeavoring to be more on time since I am feeling better and taxes are done, which are the things that delayed me before. BUT that was not to be the case. I did not get caught up as the previous text indicates. I was in a tough programming course, plus work for my job, plus family stuff, plus.... there's so much. It's difficult to summarize. But I am back on track (I hope) with thoughts on the comics for the week of April 9th.

An exciting set of comics debuted this week with some tough choices. For fans of my T-shirt blog, I am big fan of Marvel's Iron Fist character who ranked 8th on my favorite Marvel non-Franchise superhero list as seen originally in T-shirt #119 but reprinted here in T-shirt #322: Curious George. My Iron Fist T-shirt won a spot early in my blog year at T-shirt #27.

After learning of the new comic and the upcoming Netflix TV show, I have been mulling the idea of re-visiting and expanding my original Iron Fist entry on the T-shirt blog, though this would require going back in time, adding news not released yet to a former entry, which seems kind of wrong. Also, I have additional Iron Fist ideas, which I would like to include.

Whether I will write new Iron Fist material here or in the T-shirts blog I have yet to decide.

Given how much I love the Iron Fist, the new Iron Fist - The Living Weapon would have been in the number one spot this week except the interior art is not quite as good as Romita Jr. or Greg Land and both of those comics have a strong stories and cliff hangers.

The cover is SUPER IMPRESSIVE as seen here. But it took third place because of the excellence of both Kick Ass and Mighty Avengers.

Those interested may wish to explore the following links. I apologize in advance for the intrusive ads. But there's some thoughtful consideration of the planned TV shows with Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, all of which culminate in a Defenders mini-series.



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


I started my weekly reading with Kick Ass because Kick Ass  volume three has kicked ass. It may be the best of the lot so far. I hesitate to make this claim about the righteousness of Kick Ass 3 categorically without re-reading the first two volumes of Kick Ass and watching both movies (one again and the second for the first time as I have not seen it), but I do not have time for that devotion right now. So, suffice it to say that I feel quite strongly that, without cogent arguments to the contrary, this Kick Ass is the best Kick Ass.

It's funny. I have a distinct memory of reviewing Kick Ass over on the T-shirt blog. And I did give it a mini-review in T-shirt #229 back on November 5th. But the memory comes from PLANS I had to review the previous issue, Kick Ass 3 #6, in an as yet unfinished blog entry from February 14th, a blog entry, coincidentally, that I have first on my list to complete if I were to ever catch up on the work here.

The exploration of the main characters, which are Kick Ass himself, Dave Lizewski, and Hit Girl, who is Mindy McCready, is one of the things that keep me coming back for more and prompted me to rank this issue so highly.

Two moments, both with lines from Hit Girl, were the best things about the comic. The first moment is the set of panels above, in which Hit Girl calls Kick Ass a pussy. Hilarious and awesome. And then there's the great bit below in which, foul-mouthed Hit Girl (Mindy), tells Kick Ass (Dave): "Let's not pat each other's dicks just yet..." AWESOME. Kind of brings everything into perspective, eh? If only we all had a Hit Girl to nail down a moment and makes us aware of out goofy tendency to make our own lives melodramatic. Then again, when you're busting a super assassin child out of prison and gearing up to slaughter the remaining mob bosses and soldiers, your life IS a bit melodramatic, I mean really.

I assumed every fun-loving comic geek has been enjoying the thrill ride that is Kick Ass since its inception several years ago (pre-movies), the John Romita Jr. art alone is reason enough dig deep and drink heartily if this beautiful comic book. And yet, a certain fellow at my local comic shop tells me that he does not read it and is not a big Mark Millar fan, citing some hearsay from the Internet comic gossip mill about some alleged shenanigans of Mark Millar in stealing the true and honest work of Grant Morrison. I have no idea whether this factoid is true or not, but it does not matter. I have been enjoying Kick Ass while ignorant of this gossip tidbit, and I will continue to enjoy Kick Ass, whether I choose to believe that Mark Millar is a thieving son of a bitch or not (I am not sure I believe it).

Nevertheless, whether the work of a credit stealing douche bag or not, the finer points of Kick Assthat I have cited are still valid and worth the time and attention of anyone interested in comic books, especially those offering some alternative to the standard superhero fare.

Mighty Avengers #009

Did I see coming the revelation of the identity of Ronin in the Mighty Avengers? Of course not. Early theories (as this story has been in development since 2005) proved false, and then new twists were introduced. Originally, Ronin was Maya Lopez and later Clint Barton (Hawkeye). I had a theory at some point that Ronin was secretly Daredevil. Adding a new spin, upon the release of the Mighty Avengers last year, one of these new "Mighty" Avengers was a character named "Spider Hero," who was clearly NOT Spider-Man or any of the associated spider people (clones) or characters. Farther along in the series, this Spider Hero donned the old Ronin togs left behind by Clint Barton. In this issue, his identity is revealed as BLADE, which is a nice twist, and a character that deserves to become on of the legion of ten thousand characters (or so it seems) who have been at one time or other "an avenger."

Apparently, not everyone is a Greg Land fan. I was about to begin my usual raving about the gorgeous art of Greg Land, and why The Mighty Avengers, at least in terms of art, is my favorite Avengers book, but again, my source at the geek land that it is the local comic shop, Fanfare, tells me that some people think Land's art looks traced. HARDLY. Greg Land's art is GORGEGOUS, and much better than New Avengers artists like Simon Bianchi as I discussed in my T-shirt blog post on ROBIN from February LINKED HERE.

As I stated then, I much prefer The Mighty Avengers and only read New Avengers over Mighty that week because Doctor Strange happened to be on the cover. Otherwise, The Mighty Avengers is outperforming most of the other Avengers books, especially in terms of art.

Mighty Avengers #009 opens with Ronin dispatching some "Ninja Were-Snakes" (and as I would point out so does the narration: "yes, Ninja Were-Snakes."). Unfortunately, in the process of battling the Were-Snakes, Ronin's apartment is blown to bits. Meanwhile, the story of the Blue Marvel's son from another dimension continues. Like the the Sentry, THE BLUE MARVEL is another retconned character just recently created (2008) and yet back-filled through the history of Marvel Comics as if he really had existed in hero form since the 1950s. I like this kind of retcon. After all, not everything that can be done and should be done with Marvel history was conceived by Jack Kirby and crew back in the day. I like these additions. They add complexity to an already complex universe.

More back story is supplied for The Blue Marvel's family and his two sons and how one of the sons (Kevin) ended up in another dimension. Great stuff and good story telling by Al Ewing, Greg Land, and the entire art/production team. The main story resolves (with the help of She-Hulk) but the conflict between the Blue Marvel and his son Max will continue. The story has me hooked.

Meanwhile, though the cover shows Ronin revealing his identity to the rest of the Mighty Avengers, in the actual story he reveals himself to the readers but the Avengers are not there. I do not like these kinds of lures. Covers should match contents. So, demerits for cover fraud, but overall a great issue, though worthy of the second spot this week after the excellent Kick Ass issue.

Iron Fist - The Living Weapon #001

As I mentioned earlier in this blog entry, I am a huge Iron Fist fan. I am careful about how often I say that I am a "huge fan." Ranking Iron Fist eighth on a list of Marvel's non-Franchise heroes constitutes enough "hugeness" for me to apply the term "huge" to my fandom.

As I wrote about in my post for T-shirt #27 over on my T-shirt blog, I very much loved the series called The Immortal Iron Fist, created by Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Travis Foreman, and David Aja in 2006-2009. And since I am a fan of previous incarnations of the Iron Fist, primarily the Chris Claremont and John Byrne stuff of the late 1970s, I received news of a new Iron Fist book with a mix of trepidation, dread, and excitement. Surely, Marvel is setting up its properties for the debut of the Netflix shows, which may start with either the Iron Fist or Daredevil programs.

I was not completely disappointed. I have my criticisms of the book, but in general, I liked it. I will not claim that I am in awe of the art on this book. It's not my favourite, but it is very good. But the overall effect of the book is quite excellent, and I am eager for the next issue, which may be released soon as I am three weeks late with this posting.

The cover is impressive. The story starts with a well-worn trope of Daniel Rand (aka The Iron Fist) being interviewed by an unseen interviewer, in this case a journalist, and he retells his origin story as a choice between "life and death." The art here transitions to the multi-dot look of the old four color process of the comics of the 1970s (and before) in which Iron Fist first debuted. The origin moves through the sacrifice of Rand's father in the avalanche in the Himalayas. The story then reverts to the present and we see the young journalist who has fallen for our hero during the interview, and later he takes her home and beds her. Meanwhile, the narration delivers Rand's inner thoughts: he "can't feel the heat" and he's "one cold, dead thing imitating another."

Unable to sleep, Rand returns to his memories and thinks through the rest of his origin for the reader's benefit.

As you can see here, the Kaare Kyle Andrews art is not my preference if my preferences are Greg Land and John Romita Jr. as noted above. The work is more expressionistic than suits my tastes, bordering on the territory of the previously disparaged Simon Bianchi or Leinil Francis Yu, neither of whom are my taste. As a writer/artist, Kaare Kyle Andrews would not make the top of my list with such excellent candidates as Frank Miller, Matt Wagner, Walt Simonson, and George Pérez, but this first issue of the new Iron Fist is serviceable and enjoyable. Best known for his work on Astonishing X-Men  for Marvel with writer Warren Ellis, Andrews has many short term credits and not a lot of extensive experience. Many of the art effects he created work well enough, such as a silhouette sequence on page 11 (not pictured). But the overall effect of skewed figured not anatomically accurate and heavily inked, heavily colored pastiche grows a bit tiresome after a while.

Rand battles ninja, which is hardly surprising for a first issue. But then things spiral out of control too quickly.
Rand Tower is destroyed, and then some undead ninja comes for the girl, presumably the journalist he slept with, and his Iron Fist power doe snot manifest when he needs it. Though he manages to defeat the "zombie robot that almost cut [the girl] into sushi," but then there's a small man delivering Rand a message to "get back to K'un Lun," the secret city in the Himalyas: "HOME."

As I wrote, not blown away, But I am invested enough to read the next issue.


The Walking Dead #125

Since I started this entry, the "All Out War" saga has played out as The Walking Dead issue #126 has already been published. Since the start of "All Out War," The Walking Dead has dropped from the top of my stack each week when it came out to fourth this week and fifth in the post for two weeks from this date.

The Negan story has building for some time. I am not going to go research for how long, but it's been a while. Somehow, Kirkman and crew kicked it into gear and for a couple of months have been releasing two issues a month as they unspool this "All Out War" story arc.

If you were a reader of my T-shirt blog, you may recall that I reviewed issue 115 in the post for T-shirt #206. I had two posts specifically about The Walking Dead on my T-shirt blog: T-shirt #325 and T-shirt #10.

MAJOR SPOILER ALERT! Especially if you watch the TV show, you may want to stop reading now.

I really like what Kirkman is doing with The Walking Dead and his long term plans for what a world looks like five years after and ten years after a zombie apocalypse. The recent story has focused on how the living humans are the much more frightening enemy than the shambling,  gore-eating zombies. Negan is a mad dictator who keeps sex slaves and rules his roost with violence and fear. Though Rick is hardly as noble as a Superman, he is the noble alternative to the way absolute power corrupts as represented by Negan. Early in the conflict, Negan asserted his dominance by beating to death the character of Glen, a fan favorite, with his barbed wire bat that ha named Lucille (a B.B. King reference). Since then, Rick and his band of merry survivors have been working to undermine Negan's army and eventually went to war, as represented by the title of the story arc.

Issue 125 is the penultimate issue of the war story and the final conflict that will ensue. Issue 126 has already been released since I started this entry, and I will review it in a subsequent comic book post.

In this issue, the Rick camp is recovering from an attack Negan made on their group with infected weapons, arrows and other piercing weapons tainted with zombie blood, so that even the wounded would eventually be casualties when the infected blood kills them and transforms them into zombies. There was some question as to whether Rick was infected, but since he was shot by an arrow fired by Dwight, their inside man in Negan's camp, this is the proof we needed that he (Dwight) will really ultimately betray Negan.

The climax of the issue has Rick make a final plea to Negan that they can end the war by all working together as they should have done from the start, rather than one camp trying to exploit and dictate to the other. Rick makes an impassioned and inspiring speech over many pages about how they can rebuild civilization. He actually seems to convince Negan that he's right. And just when it seems that Negan will lay down his bat and cease hostilities, Rick cuts his throat!

This is just the kind of surprise Kirkman is known for and the pay off that makes the whole long saga worthwhile. Even so, despite the excellent cliff hanger, as you will see in comics for 1404.23, there were too many good comics and the next issue (126) ranked fifth that week.

Still, The Walking Dead is definitely one of the top ten of comics being currently published.


As for the rest of the comics not covered in the previous mini-reviews, I have not actually read them all yet, even though these comics were released three weeks ago. I made it through Secret Avengers before adding to the stack with the next week's comics. I did go back an unearth Batman Eternal #1 since the ninth, and I did clear some of the back log, so Astro City #11 and Great Pacific #14 both got read.

I am starting to tire of the All New X-Men and ready for the kids to go back to their own time, though I doubt this is planned for any time soon. I was pleased with the Nightcrawler issue and Iron Man remains consistently one of Marvel's best books, even if I am not prioritizing it each week. I am also enjoying Superman/Wonder Woman  mainly due to the romance aspect. I have always liked the idea of Superman and Wonder Woman being romantically involved, and I am pleased to see the New 52 taking this direction and moving Superman away from the expected Lois Lane story line.

COMICS FOR 1404.09

Kick Ass 3 - #7
Mighty Avengers #009
Iron Fist - The Living Weapon #001
The Walking Dead #125
All-New X-Men #025
Nightcrawler #001
Iron Man #024
Superman/Wonder Woman #7
Secret Avengers  #002
Captain Marvel #002
All New Ultimates #001
Avengers Undercover #002
Batgirl #30
Batman Eternal #1
Avengers AI #011
Flash Gordon #1
Magnus Robot Fighter #1
Magnus Robot Fighter #2
Thunderbolts #24
Daredevil #1.50


World's Finest - Huntress and Power Girl #22
Astro City #11
Great Pacific #14


East of West - Volume Two

Locus #639, Vol. 72, issue 04

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1405.01 - 18:29