Monday, August 31, 2015

Countdown to QB50 2015: August

18 Days #2 (Graphic India)

  • Notable creators: Grant Morrison (writer)
  • This second issue jumps into the narrative of the superwar and features a show of respect from the good guys to the bad guys, some of whom turn out to be pretty okay, too.
  • Definitely a welcome issue for the project.
ARCHIE #1 (Archie)
  • Notable creators: Mark Waid (writer), Fiona Staples (artist)
  • I saw that my local shop had it available, so I decided to have a look at this Archie reboot.  The second issue was available at the time.  In hindsight I probably should have just gotten both.
  • Waid continues to look better than I've seen in him in years, after this and Strange Fruit.
  • Staples (Saga) somehow manages to charm without all the gross-out elements.  Imagine that!
  • Notable creators: Scott Snyder (writer)
  • Commissioner Batman (I had another name the last time I talked about it, but I think I like this one better) continues.
  • In much more interesting news, Superman stops by, and Alfred discusses how Bruce Wayne came back, and the unlikelihood, at this point, of resuming the crusade.
  • Pivotal issue.  Has nothing much to do with Commissioner Batman.
  • Notable creators: Patrick Gleason (writer/artist)
  • Damian's girlfriend, Nobody's daughter Maya, continues to prove to be excellent company for the errant Boy Wonder.
  • Talia returns from the dead.
  • Deathstroke shows up.
  • Seriously, could this series be any better?
  • Notable creators: Jeff Lemire (writer)
  • Bloodsquirt, Bloodshot's irritating figment of nanite imagination, surprisingly does an excellent job of moving the story along.
  • Like Wolverine before him, Bloodshot has a mysterious past.  This issue he allows someone to read the file that explains who he used to be.  Decides he doesn't want to know what it says.
  • Marvel never did figure out how to make Wolverine's past life as interesting as his post-Weapon X days.  This is probably a good decision.
CIVIL WAR #2, 3 (Marvel)
  • Notable creators: Charles Soule (writer), Leinil Francis Yu (artist)
  • I stand by the assertion I made previously that out of all the Secret Wars spin-offs/extensions of past arcs, Soule's Civil War is arguably the most significant.
  • Yes, the war continued.  No Captain America did not end up assassinated.  Yes, Spider-Man still has problems stemming from his decisions.  Infiltration is the name of the game on both sides,  
  • Then we discover a true game-changer, the presence of a character who did not previously make a Civil War impact: Black Panther.
Between Civil War and Star Wars: Lando, Soule was one of the August standouts, easily.  That was four solid issues from both series for Soule.  I used to dread his Marvel contract.  Now I am really, really happy.  He's doing excellent, relevant, subtle work with both series, and as far as I'm concerned significantly raised his profile.  He's poised to become a major force.

  • Notable creators: Jerry Ordway (artist), Craig Rousseau (artist)
  • This anthology title offers a number of stories, including the start of a new chapter in Ordway and Alex de Campi's Semiautomagic.
  • My main interest, however, was for Rousseau and Rick Woodall's Kyrra: Alien Jungle Girl, which I got to see in print for the first time, after discovering it digitally from comiXology.
DESCENDER #6 (Image)
  • Notable creators: Jeff Lemire (writer)
  • Hey, there he is again!  Lemire, along with Charles Soule and Paul Cornell, was a welcome repeat creator.
  • Dr. Quon's full story is detailed, as we discover more about Descender itself while he relates exactly how he stole the awesome breakthroughs in robotics that made his name (and cost him an arm).  
  • And we meet another Tim!
  • Notable creators: Chris Ryall (writer)
  • Dirk begins to make actual progress in his investigation.
  • (Somehow.)
  • Notable creators: Paul Cornell (writer)
  • The four Doctors in question are David Tennant (Tenth Doctor), Matt Smith (Eleventh Doctor) and Peter Capaldi (Twelfth Doctor). 
  • Wait, did I say four?  The fourth is John Hurt (War Doctor).
  • There are also a bunch of companions running around.  Fans will probably be able to identify them a lot better than I can.
  • Even for someone who doesn't have too much experience with the Doctor(s), this is a fun read.
  • Notable creators: Daniel H. Wilson (writer)
  • Evil mastermind (and one-time Mr. Terrific) Terry Sloan is assassinated!
  • Prime suspect: Superman!
  • (The other one.)
  • Notable creators: Bill Willingham (writer)
  • The final issue comes in the form of a collection, with the kind of ending Peter Jackson gave his Lord of the Rings.
  • As in, a lot of epilogues.
  • A little hard for someone who didn't actually, y'know, read the series to fully appreciate, but it's also a heck of a novelty.
  • I like novelties.

THE FUSE #13 (Image)
  • Notable creators: Antony Johnston (writer), Justin Greenwood (artist)
  • The series returns from hiatus for its "Perihelion" arc.
  • "Perihelion" means the space station is at its closest to the sun.
  • Which means everyone gets crazier than usual.
  • Which means plenty of crime for Klem and Marlene to investigate.  Yay!
  • Notable creators: Tim Seeley (writer), Tom King (writer)
  • Guest-stars Lex Luthor, erstwhile member of the Justice League and, oh, the guy who killed Dick Grayson during Forever Evil, which is the event that led to this innovative relaunch.
  • Yeah, even if I've failed to read this series regularly, there's no chance I was going to miss that.
  • Notable creators: Geoff Johns (writer)
  • "Darkseid War" continues!
  • The Mobius Chair won't tell Batman who the Anti-Monitor is.  The reader knows Anti-Monitor is Mobius.  
  • Superman and Lex Luthor have some nice quality time together.
  • Up next?  Darkseid versus Anti-Monitor!
  • Notable creators: J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Bruce Timm (writer)
  • To be clear, what I read here was the Wonder Woman one-shot, plus the first and third issues of the Gods and Monsters event itself.  
  • Wonder Woman emerges as the most likable of the alternate Big Three, and hailing from Jack Kirby's New Gods.
  • This could be seen as Timm's version of the complicated Man of Steel reality where Superman isn't automatically accepted as a bright shining superhero.  

MIND MGMT #36/NEW MGMT #1 (Dark Horse)
  • Notable creators: Matt Kindt (writer/artist)
  • This coda to the MIND MGMT saga reads like a blueprint to how to avoid the huge mess the series unraveled.
  • And its lingering effects.
  • With a big happy, completely unambiguous ending!
MS. MARVEL #17 (Marvel)
  • Notable creators: G. Willow Wilson (writer)
  • Ms. Marvel meets Captain Marvel!
  • Not quite as awesome as the Wolverine team-up.
  • (Would that even be possible?)
PREZ #3 (DC)
  • Notable creators: Mark Russell (writer), Ben Caldwell
  • Corndog Girl begins building her presidential cabinet!
  • The blogger reaction to Prez I've read has been considerably less enthusiastic than mine has been.
  • For me, this thing is an instant classic, a portrait of our current political cynicism in a satire of what it could lead to.
SPIDER-VERSE #4 (Marvel)
  • Notable creators: Mike Costa (writer)
  • Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, together again at last!
  • Sort of!
  • Notable creators: Mike Johnson (writer)
  • Again, what could be a horrible gimmick continues to show considerable restraint.
  • Uhura (Star Sapphire; best quote of the issue: "Spock!  I need your help, not your analysis!)), Chekov (Blue Lantern), Gorn warrior (Red Lantern), Chang (Sinestro Corps), Romulan politican (Orange Lantern), and Bones (Indigo Tribe) are all inspired crossover choices.  
  • Sinestro shows up on the last page.  
  • Larfleeze is featured on the cover next issue.
  • Seriously.  Good fun!
STAR WARS #8 (Marvel)
  • Notable creators: Jason Aaron (writer), Stuart Immonen (artist)
  • Seriously, Immonen begins art duties on Star Wars, and you thought I wouldn't be there?
  • The big story in this Marvel series is the appearance of Sana Solo, the apparent wife of Han Solo.
  • Guess who vigorously denies that throughout this issue?
  • Immonen is a perfect fit, by the way.
STAR WARS: LANDO #2, 3 (Marvel)
  • Notable creators: Charles Soule (writer), Alex Maleev (artist)
  • By the second issue, we may know why Lobot is considerably less animated in The Empire Strikes Back than Soule presents him here.
  • The Emperor's Imperial Guard (the dudes in read) in action!
  • Chanath Cha continues his efforts to prove he's as awesome a bounty hunter as Boba Fett.
  • Lando discovers what the reader already knows: that Palpatine is steeped in Sith lore.
  • Notable creators: Gene Luen Yang (writer), John Romita, Jr. (artist)
  • This is it!  Lois Lane reveals Superman's secret identity to the world!
  • She does it so that Hordr can no longer bribe Superman.
  • It's a big, big moment, obviously.
  • In this continuity, it makes perfect sense.
  • Yang even makes a connection to Grant Morrison's Action Comics run.
  • Where, you'll remember, Superman himself briefly "killed" Clark Kent.
  • Probably will be endlessly debated.  But we already had a tidy wedding in previous continuity.  In this one, there are fewer certainties.  This is a good thing.  Allows the mythos to breathe.
THIS DAMNED BAND #1 (Dark Horse)
  • Notable creators: Paul Cornell (writer)
  • Seeing this listed in Previews originally, I didn't know how much I should be interested in it.  Besides Cornell...?
  • But it reminds me that I have a considerable history at this point reading comics that involve rock n' roll: Night Trippers, the Brian Wilson issue of Hawkeye, Mysterious Strangers, Comeback, even a Prince comic...
  • So this is kind of...destiny.
Cornell, meanwhile, more than earns being in the spotlight, between This Damned Band and Doctor Who: Four Doctors.  And I'm happy to see so much material from him.  From Captain Britain to Knight & Squire to Saucer Country to his Lex Luthor arc in Action Comics and even Demon Knights, Cornell carved out a considerable legacy for himself, and I always hoped he'd take his rightful place within the comics elite.  But wide success always eluded him, and he became the opposite of the famed British Invasion, in that he went back home.  Went all British.  Returned to one of his true loves, the very British but expanding Doctor Who.  I'm glad I've now had the opportunity to experience Cornell's Doctor interest first-hand, and to find something new from him, too.  Welcome back!

  • Notable creators: Mike Carey (writer)
  • I finally had the chance to read the conclusion to Carey's Unwritten saga.
  • To my mind, much more satisfying than Fables'.
  • Fables, in part, by the way, circled around to an allusion to Harry Potter.
  • Unwritten, meanwhile, was perhaps the most clever Harry allusion anyone's yet produced.
Four more months left in the year.  Miller and Azarello will be launching The Dark Knight III in November.  Gaiman's Sandman: Overture is ending.  Morrison is launching Klaus.  And I'm sure there are plenty of highlights yet remaining.  This has been a pretty good year.