Hey, Mom! The Explanation.

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

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 http://www.orbitaloperations.com.

++ writing most mornings at http://morning.computer + logging at http://endless.systems

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

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Weekly Comics for 1406.18

Weekly Comics for 1406.18

Yes, I am still here. Still catching up, but I am making a dent. Snow day today at all area schools, which just begs to be filled with some comic books!

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

I have been waiting to catch up to the week that The Wicked and the Divine #1 came out. I am a bit slow on the uptake. Kieron Gillen did not really emerge from the pack of all comic creators for me until he began his Uber series at Avatar, which I have praised before on these pages. Okay, Uber or Young Avengers, I am not sure which came out first. But the anticipation for The Wicked and the Divine really began with Young Avengers, illustrated by Jamie McKelvie, who also did not emerge from the pack of all artists so that I noticed his work until I checked out his beautiful art in the hard cover graphic novel X-Men Season One, written by Dennis Hopeless.

I had been reading comics that Gillen had written for a while, such as Uncanny X-Men, Thor, and Iron Man. But I had missed Phonogram, which means I had also missed McKelvie for a bit. I actually think I first noticed McKelvie in his snarky exchanges with Warren Ellis and how both are active on THIS IS MY JAM, where I am also active as gmrstudios, before I actually saw his art work in a comic. Funny that. Social media first; comics second. I now own Phonogram though I have not read it yet. Still, as a fan of The Young Avengers, I was excited for Gillen and McKelvie's The Wicked and the Divine #1, so it's no surprise that it hits the top of stack for the week.

The Wicked and the Divine has continued to excel in the months since June (remember I am writing this in November of 2014). I cannot do much better than these reviews, so check them out. Or better yet, just go get the recent issues, or the first volume collected edition due out November 25th, which as of this writing is next Tuesday.


COMIC BOOK RESOURCES REVIEW - The Wicked and the Divine #1

COMICS ALLIANCE REVIEW - The Wicked and the Divine #1

I continue to enjoy the Original Sin series. Jason Aaron is another of these great new-ish writers in comics, along with Gillen, Hickman, Fraction, and others. And as I have mentioned before, having Deodato on art for this book is going to consistently catapult it to the top of my stack. It would have taken first place this week if not for The Wicked and the Divine.

Other good old Marvel Comics that are not going to get much text from me here also take top slots with Daredevil ranking next at third as it has been consistently excellent, Thor: God of Thunder takes fifth only because I have really been loving Alex + Ada, and Uncanny X-Men takes seventh only because an Image trifecta ranks at number one (The Wicked and the Divine), four (Alex + Ada), and then the WONDERFUL Sex Criminals at sixth. I still say that despite all the grousing by comic book fans for all kinds of reasons that are usually ill-conceived, soured by grapes, and often just nonsensical, BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS is one of the very best (top five) comic book writers working today. And if we factor out some good writers who are not producing with frequency (Warren Ellis) or consistent longevity (so many to choose from), and then we factor up Bendis' impact on the comic world in the last ten-plus years, he's far and away the Hank Aaron of comics: first ballot Hall of Famer. He's consistent, he has longevity, and he's changed the game: PERIOD.

Okay, I will add a bit more on the brilliance of Daredevil even though it is NOT written by Bendis, whom I was just touting. But it is written by the equally talented Mark Waid, who I was touting in the previous post. Just check this out, though it's as much about the brilliance of Chris Samnee as it is due to Waid in the pages shown below. Still, the team, the comic, Daredevil, has been consistently one of Marvel's best if not its single best superhero comic in publication. I have gone on about the awesomeness of Daredevil before, but in case you missed it, see the following:


and if you drill back to that posted linked above, you will find my other links from the T-Shirt blog about the awesomeness that is Old Horned Head.

Alex + Ada #7

Though as you can see, I am an ardent supporter of DC and Marvel, I also buy a fair number of Image Comics. In fact, my budget does not even allow me to buy all the Image Comics I would like to have. I am acquiring some via trade paperbacks, such as Fatale (which will be reviewed here at some point in the future) and East of West. I have been proclaiming quite loudly in the comic book store for over a year that Image Comics is arguably putting out the best line of comics. Though Marvel and DC have many solid titles, and though other companies like Dark Horse, IDW, Avatar, Dynamite, and even Archie are putting out some decent work, no company has more winners across its line than Image. And one of these winners is Alex + Ada.

Loving Alex + Ada takes some adjustment as it comes from one of the Luna Brothers, a team whose work I have been critical of, though I have bought and read it all. I taught Ultra in my last women's studies class, and I was critical online of both Girls and The Sword. But here Jonathan Luna has dumped a brother and teamed with the marvelous Sara Vaughn, whose sensibility is stamped all over this work. The result is a comic that has been slowly creeping up my stack, such that in the most recent purchase (remember this is November, so 1411.12), Alex + Ada ranked third.

Alex + Ada is about a robot (Ada, a female companion robot, see pictures below) who gains sentience and we watch as she discovers the world for the first time as a sentient being. The story unspools naturally and without extra exposition or encumbrances of heavy narrative. It's brilliant and beautiful.

These reviews tell the story much better than I, and if you don't mind spoilers, check them out, or just go buy the current set of Alex + Ada issues. Volume one of the trade paperback came out in July, and the second volume is due in March.

comic book resources review Alex + Ada #7




Sex Criminals #6

Another Image comic that I have been enjoying (as have many of the smart readers in the comic shop) is Sex Criminals. It's a story of two people who can make time stop after they have sex. They use this power to steal money to try to keep a library open where one of the main characters, Susie, works. But things get complicated...

Again, these reviews spell out what happened in issue #6 well enough, but you would be better off to go buy the comics. This is great stuff. Definitely, some of the best writing of Fraction's career so far.




Comics for 1406.18

The Wicked and the Divine #1
Original Sin (#4 of 8)
Daredevil #004
Alex + Ada #7
Thor: God of Thunder #023
Sex Criminals #6
Uncanny X-Men #022
Nova: Original Sin #18
The New 52: Future's End #6
The New 52: Future's End #7
Avengers World #008
Avengers: Original Sin #31
Silver Surfer #003
Iron Man #028
The Punisher #007


Wonder Woman #32
Batman Eternal #9
Batman Eternal #10
Red Sonja #10
Fables #141
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Ten #4


Locus Issue # 641 Vol. 72 No. 6


- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1411.18 - 19:18