Sunday, July 23, 2017

Reading Comics 205 "Trips from the past month"

Here's a rundown of what I've been reading lately, sort of a hodgepodge of new and slightly less new material (new titles in bold, slightly les new titles in italics):

Batman #23, 25, 26 (DC)
Tom King is still doing wonders in this title.  The first issue is the Swamp Thing issue, while the latter two are the beginning of "The War of Jokes and Riddles".  I was thwarted in my attempts to find a copy of #24 (the proposal issue) and Batman/Elmer Fudd, alas.

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #9 (DC)
Miller/Azzarello/Kubert finally delivered the conclusion of this story.  I like how the ending is basically that Batman is finally acknowledging that he can learn from someone else.  Seems like a metaphor, Miller's concession that it was okay for Azzarello to help out.

Codename: Baboushka #1, 3 (Image)
What with Atomic Blonde hitting screens soon (based on his Coldest City graphic novel), I figured it was time I had a look at another Antony Johnston spy comic.  It's good stuff.

Dark Days: The Forge (DC)
The title of this event and the manner of starting it are peculiar things that still elude me, but this particular piece struck me as pure Scott Snyder.  He may not be my favorite, but I'm glad he's finally getting to tell a DC event comic.

Earth 2 #24 (DC)
Funny to go back to the early days (relatively speaking) of Earth 2 and read the story where this reality's Superman first reveals his costume.  Also interesting to see the Thomas Wayne Batman in action.  That's honestly one of my favorite Earth 2 elements to this day.

Earth 2: World's End #7 (DC)
The weekly comic spinoff got crapped on ten ways to...Wednesday, I guess.  But it reads okay to me, every time I sample it.  Includes a nice nod to the "lost" Alan Scott gay storyline from Earth 2's early days.

The Flash #14 (DC)
It's, I don't know, hilarious or sad, but I was reminded recently that Josh Williamson worked on Captain Midnight, a Dark Horse comic that received a Free Comic Book Day back in Williamson's pre-DC days, and a collection I received from one of those crate companies a few years back.  I was not a fan.  I outright dismissed it both times.  So this is one of the more remarkable turnarounds I've experienced as a reader, because I remain a fan of Williamson's recent work.  I'm torn about rereading the Captain Midnight collection.  What if I dismissed it for all the wrong reasons?  What if I convince myself I like it now just because I now associate good things with Williamson?  Anyway, this issue begins a Rogues arc.

Green Valley #1, 2, 3 (Image)
Max Landis made a name for himself writing the movie Chronicle, but I became a fan reading Superman: American Alien.  I'm glad I got around to reading some of his original concept comic Green Valley, about knights being confronted with what as of the last issue I read seems to be a time-traveling dude from more or less the present with future tech he doesn't really understand. 

Justice League Dark #35 (DC)
Focuses mostly on Zatanna.  Honestly, if her main distinguishing feature weren't casting spells by speaking backwards, Zatanna would be so much bigger.  Also glimpsed: Frankenstein and the lead from I, Vampire, two relatively short-lived New 52 characters whose series I caught up on in their collections a few months back.  Also, Zatanna's Identity Crisis actions are coming back to haunt her in the Rebirth era.  That's cool.

Justice League #33 (DC)
Funny to see what's become of the concepts Geoff Johns was exploring in this issue: 1) the Doom Patrol, in a different incarnation, now stars in a Young Animal series, 2) Jessica Cruz now stars in Green Lanterns, and 3) Lex Luthor has continued his strange heroics in the pages of Action Comics.  Clearly fruitful ideas, Geoff!

Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #1 (DC)
Love that DC gave Williamson a soft event book.  He deserves it.  Also love that Max Lord is revealed as the villain on the last page.

King #1 (Jet City)
I really wish Joshua Hale Fialkov could enjoy greater exposure.  This thematic update of Kamandi, however, is probably not the best way to go about it, entertaining though it may be.

Monstress #1, 12 (Image)
This is one of those books I've heard and heard and heard about, and so I figured I should finally have a look at it.  The extra-length first issue was reprinted at $1.99, so I scooped that up, plus what's counted as the most recent issue for a few months now (returning from hiatus soon!).  Marjorie Liu actually kind of interests me more as a creator who like Gene Yang is bringing an international voice to the table.  Seems a lot like Saga, insofar as it includes random elements of mature material.

Saga #43 (Image)
Speaking of which!  This special twenty-five cent issue (it's Image's 25th anniversary, yo!) was practically a gimme on two scores: 1) the price, obviously, and 2) the price combined with the fact that I've been a faithful reader in the past, but've lapsed in recent years.  So here was my chance to catch up.  Again the series seems almost as interested in cheap shock tactics as decent storytelling, which is what bumped me off the bandwagon, the seeming increased inability to balance these instincts.  I guess at this point it seems necessary, the cheap shock tactics.  The tactics this issue, of all issues (!), where potential new readers might have no idea what they're in for, include what's apparently a flippant trip to an abortion clinic, which is such a galvanizing issue, where you'll either get people to love or hate you depending on your conclusions.  And what's become typical of Saga, it reaches different conclusions (probably) than what they initially seem.  So I don't really know if I should care about this series again...

Saucer State #1, 2 (IDW)
I could not have been happier when Paul Cornell announced that his short-lived Vertigo series Saucer Country was due for a revival at IDW.  So when I had a chance to scoop it up, I scooped it up.  Funny that artist Ryan Kelly seems to have somewhat changed his style since the last time he drew these characters, but colorist Adam Guzowski does what he can to keep thing fairly consistent.  The story itself remains intriguing, by the way!

Superman: Doomed #2 (DC)
I've been trying to track this down (not too hard, but y'know) for a while, so I'm glad I finally succeeded.  This update of Doomsday not only led to the short-lived Doomed series that saw an updated Alpha Centurion debut in the New 52 (!), but also featured Brainiac a relative handful of months before his big New 52 event, Convergence, which this issue, knowingly or otherwise, alludes to.  There were so many complaints about Superman in the New 52, but I think a lot of them were a result of previous complaints that just kept snowballing rather than had a real basis in the comics themselves.  This was good stuff.

Superman #33, 42 (DC)
Speaking of Gene Yang (a little earlier; feel free to scroll up a little!), the latter issue is one of his, while the former is Geoff Johns'.  I think this was an especially good time to be reading Superman, personally, and yeah, it was New 52 material.

Wonder Woman #1 (DC)
Greg Rucka got a lot of hate, surprisingly, for his Rebirth run.  I guess he was too ambitious.  He ruffled feathers by contradicting Brian Azzarello's New 52 run (even though it wasn't all that popular...until fans didn't much care for the Finch run that followed it).  I still want to get around to reading more of it.  It's funny that the origin story is being revisited so much lately. Just goes to prove how neglected the character has been.  If she were as popular as she is important, this would not be happening.