When I started this blog at the end of 2010, I was headed toward what I thought was the end of a very enjoyable period of reading comics that'd begun six years earlier. Instead, Flashpoint and the New 52 succeeded in sucking me back in. It's always a question of money. I walked away from comics in 1999 because I needed money for college. The intended 2011 break was because I was entering my worst financial period (and it just got worse and worse until finally...it got better). Now, it's because I will be entering a unique period of my life, dedicated to my sister and her baby. I don't know when I'll have comics money again. It's wise to walk away sooner rather than later, without that dangling period like I gave myself the last time, keeping the window open. The window is closed.
It sucks, in some ways, because I would love to read Dark Knight III in its individual installments. I would love to read Klaus from Grant Morrison. And there are other comics I won't have a chance to read, or haven't heard about yet, and...
So it's better to try and not think about that. This was a good year, a very good year, and it was one in which a lot of great stories ended. Which makes all this far more fitting than I could've imagined. If there has to be another moment to walk away, this is as good a moment as there can be.
All that being said, I made sure the last week was a good one, too.
18 DAYS #4 (Graphic India)
This issue is more or less an incredibly abbreviated version of the classic Bhagavad Gita, in which Arjuna and Krishna have an epic heart-to-heart. I've grown to appreciate how this Morrison project has opened up the Iliad of India. This is pretty much what I always hoped Shanower would've done with Age of Bronze (a project that is apparently indefinitely on hold). Shanower, left to his own devices, is far less interesting than the kind of liveliness he exhibited adapting Baum's material in Marvel's Oz series. Even if Morrison himself isn't writing 18 Days directly, his blueprint has proven invaluable, and the results have been continually and even increasingly impressive. I will try and keep tabs on this series, and hope to catch Morrison's other Graphic India project, Avatarex, at some point, too.
ATOMIC ROBO AND THE RING OF FIRE #2 (IDW)
The letters column humbles me as a fan of Robo. Clearly there are fans out there who are much more on top of Robo mythology...
BATMAN & ROBIN ETERNAL #1 (DC)
The debut of DC's lately weekly (scheduled for half a year) celebrates the Boy Wonder legacy, which as a long-time fan of Robin I'm very happy to see. There's also a "Robin War" crossover coming up, making this an excellent time for Robin fans in general. The story here seems to be clever even if at the same time a little clumsy, one of those "there's new information about the past that we're revealing now and it happens to be a deep, dark secret!" deals that's kind of trademark Snyder (see: Court of Owls, etc.). Dick Grayson is at the center of the action, both in flashback and in the present. Jason Todd and Tim Drake play support this issue, as does Harper Row, the apparent would-be Robin who instead became Bluebird. Stephanie Brown, who was Robin, will be part of the story. Left out so far is Damian Wayne (who will be a part of "Robin War"), as well as Duke Thomas (We Are Robin). The best part of this issue on the creative front is Tony Daniel returning to the Batman family.
BLOODSHOT REBORN #7 (Valiant)
I'm so, so glad I ended up catching up on The Valiant, because this follow-up has just been brilliant.
THE MISADVENTURES OF GRUMPY CAT (AND POKEY!) #1 (Dynamite)
Yeah. I read this. I love that an Internet star has finally managed to start branching out past their Internet roots. The meme of all memes has already become a Christmas movie, and now Grumpy Cat is a comic book star as well. This issue features three tales. In all of them Grumpy Cat is forced to be more than just, y'know, grumpy. Establishing a working fictional world turns out to be more entertaining than you might expect. I didn't previously have anymore interest in Grumpy Cat than the millions of casual Internet denizens who saw the endless memes, and theoretically this will be about as far as my experience will go, but I'm rooting for the idea. I'd love to see the Christmas movie at some point. Hopefully Grumpy has more staying power than poor Hoops & Yoyo, whose hilarious greeting cards seem to no longer be in stores, and whose own Christmas special joined the heaps and heaps of recent Christmas specials that apparently have no chance at all at becoming immortal in the same way as ones created half a century ago. But things can change, right?
HEROES: VENGEANCE #1 (Titan)
When Heroes debuted, I thought it was a horrible misfire. Ironically, I became a hopelessly devoted fan at the very same time everyone else walked away from it. So I'm glad Heroes Reborn is happening, and checking out this companion comic seemed like a good idea. It was. This issue, anyway, links superheroes with the masked stars of Mexican wrestling. One of the best things for fans of the original series who also happened to be comic book fans was the art of Tim Sale being featured in the visions of various characters, which I believe was later featured among the material DC published at that time. It's unlikely that Sale will pop up again. Or that Jack Black will show up and shout, "Nachooooo!"
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #1 (Marvel)
Brian Michael Bendis finally writes Tony Stark. I don't know why this took so long to happen. I mean, I know this technically happened during the many years Bendis wrote Avengers comics, but to have Bendis write Stark directly is kind of one of those dream creative matches. As I've remarked before, the movies so many people love probably wouldn't exist without the tone Bendis set in the comics, and that's especially true of Iron Man. So that's exactly what you can expect here. The best part is that this means there's finally, finally a readable Iron Man comic. As far as I can tell, this has never happened before. I mean, not completely. It's just, Marvel has never attempted to capitalize on the character's momentum, never tried, even in the wake of the huge success of the movies, to make him a true headlining act. How to make this sound better? Bendis is finally writing a Doctor Doom worthy of his considerable reputation, too. Do you need anymore reason to read this one?
STAR WARS: SHATTERED EMPIRE #2 (Marvel)
I appreciate the effort to make the Rebellion's victory less clear-cut, and the comparative restraint Marvel is showing in keeping the Empire around, but I think once again, the results are not exactly to my liking. I have all the faith in the world for The Force Awakens, but I guess I'm glad I won't be reading the rest of Shattered Empire. End of story.
STAR WARS: LANDO #5 (Marvel)
On the opposite side of the spectrum is the remarkable insight Charles Soule brought to Lando. So apparently I did end up missing an issue, but not so much of the storytelling. Poor Lobot ends up with his inevitable robotic lobotomy, but the logic of how and why it happens, and what it means to Mr. Calrissian, is flawless. This ended up being a true highlight of the year.
TELOS #1 (DC)
King and Pagulayan continue where they left off in Convergence, and I'm glad this happened. Telos is a second chance for DC to create a true star from the New 52 era after Pandora didn't quite pan out (I think they just waited too long to pull the trigger on her). To continue weaving Brainiac into the mythology is brilliant.
And...that's it, folks.