Some Comic Reviews

April 29, 2017

Finally got caught up on my comic book subscriptions, so I figured I would write a few quick reviews.  Today’s issues include: Batman #21, Sex Criminals #18, My Little Pony: Legends of Magic #1, Hulk #4 and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Adaptation #1.

  • Batman #21.  Written by Tom King with art from Jason Fabok, this story essentially goes back to the major events of the DC: Rebirth one-shot where Batman is investigating the Watchmen button found in the Batcave when the pre-Flashpoint Reverse Flash arrives.  Other than a major fight between Batman and the Reverse Flash, not much really happens here and basically essentially it lays the groundwork for the rest of the investigation to occur over the next issues of the Flash and Batman.  Although the DC books have dropped various hints as to the mystery behind the Button, I’m glad they haven’t gone as seriously into until now, giving the Rebirth take on the characters a chance to get established before building up the big event.
  • Sex Criminals #18.  I’ve really enjoyed this series.  Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky have turned what seems like a silly, immature concept into something more.  This particular issue had a scene or two that reminded me of a conversation with an ex, where they are discussing some frustrations with each other.  Great issue, I definitely consider this series at times to be a major influence in my views on relationships.
  • My Little Pony: Legends of Magic #1.  This series is replacing the Friends Forever series and focus on the historical figures of the MLP universe.  This first story was focused on Starswirl the Bearded training Celestia and Luna in magic, which Luna struggling as Celestia taunts her.  Luna attempts some dangerous magic and Starswirl has to fix it.  This was solid, definitely was a bit of fresh air as it felt like the team-up element of Friends Forever was getting a bit more stretched and they were scrapping the bottom of the barrel.
  • Hulk #4.  Overall, I’ve liked this series.  One of the few non-Star Wars Marvel Comics that I’m still collecting.  Essentially, the story follows Jennifer Walters as she deals with the aftershocks of Civil War II, where she was nearly killed by Thanos and her cousin Bruce–aka the original Hulk–was killed by Hawkeye.  Focusing on Jennifer’s struggle to keep herself under control, the interesting aspect of this series has been how through four issues she has yet to transform.  Written by Mariko Tamaki with art by Nico Leon, this has been a fairly well done book.
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story #1.  I initially only collected this because it was a Star Wars book, but the first issue of the adaptation of the movie was fairly interesting.  It isn’t as direct as some adaptations, a few things rearranged for flow in print form and a couple of added bits–like Galen Erso and Bodhi Rook talking about the Death Star before Rook goes in search of Saw Guerrera.  Like the Star Wars prequels, the challenge of an adaptation like this is that most people already know the story, it is more important to make it worth reading.  And in that sense, I think it was a fairly well done attempt here.
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Been thinking about doing a recurring thing about comics lately.  I still get my newstands mailed to me every month, so might as well do some review type stuff.  Right now I’m collecting the following titles:

Marvel: Thor, Avengers, Uncanny Avengers, Hulk, Star Wars, Star Wars: Poe Dameron, and Star Wars: Doctor Aphra.  I’ve been cutting back on the Marvel a bit, mostly keeping the Star Wars titles.  I’ve really liked what Thor is doing lately and the first issue of Hulk was actually pretty decent.

DC: Batman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Scooby: Apocalypse, All-Star Batman, Batgirl, Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, and the Flash.   I’d collect more DC titles like Action Comics, Detective Comics, and Superman, but there have been some need to keep to a budget.  Scooby: Apocalypse is fascinating if only for the reimagining of the gang in a post-apocalyptic hell-scape.

Others (Image, Dynamite, IDW, Titan, etc.):  East of West, Sex Criminals, Doctor Who (4th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Doctors), My Little Pony, My Little Pony: Friends Forever, Insexts, and James Bond.  Kinda kicking myself for not collecting the Torchwood series, but probably should cut back the number of books.  A lot of these are just odd ball series I collect because I’m intrigued by the creative teams, etc.  I used to get the MLP stuff for my ex, but I actually do like reading them and it is one of better all ages books out there.  Might try to complete the run and collect the series at some point.

 

I’ve collected others but there have been a few cuts of late.  Some were series that just came to their own conclusions–Darth Vader, Han Solo, A-Force, etc.–and others that just have lost me or had to be dropped for budget reasons.

The biggest one that’s lost me is Captain America.  I collected that book for a long time.  First there was Ed Brubakers run with the character and his spin-off work with the Winter Soldier, which was fantastic.  He did an amazing job of bringing the spy noir quality back to the character and much of his influence has been felt in the Winter Soldier and Civil War movies.  After that, the title was followed up with Rick Remender taking over as writer.  He brought it more to a traditional superhero story and played a lot more with the “Man Out of Time” aspect of the character.  That period also featured Sam Wilson becoming Captain America and a more team dynamic.

Which brings us to the present.  After the “Secret Wars” event, Remender concluded his work at Marvel and the Captain America title was turned over to a new writer, Nick Spencer.  Sam Wilson was still Cap, as Steve Rogers had been aged after his encounter with a supervillain called the Nail.  This led to a more interesting take on the character that started out with Sam Wilson trying to take a more socially aware approach.  This involved intervening when a number of illegal immigrants were being abducted by members of a terrorist group called Sons of Serpent.  His actions put him at odds with Steve Rogers who is a high ranking member of SHIELD and he finds himself a bit more on his own.  Then the events of Avengers: Standoff! unfold and Steve Rogers is restored to his younger self and we go straight into the secret agent of Hydra nonsense.

The basic premise of Avengers: Standoff! was that somebody leaked the existence of a SHIELD black site, called Pleasant Hill.  At work there was a sentient cosmic cube in the form of a little girl calling itself Kobik who is essentially brainwashing and altering villains to live peacefully in the idyllic little town.  When all the heroes go to investigate she loses control and the villains revolt, led by Baron Zemo.  As events unfold, elderly Steve Rogers finds himself face to face with Crossbones who begins to beat him to death.  At this point Kobik intervenes and restores Rogers’ youth and strength.  Later it is revealed that the Red Skull has made contact with Kobik and when she restored his youth, he is altered to believe he has always been a Hydra operative in service of the Red Skull.

Even before the obnoxius Deus Ex Machina aspects of Kobik and the Red Skull having Professor X’s mental abilities–a completely different storyline that annoys me–the storyline has fallen off the rails.  Steve Rogers would trust Sam Wilson.  He would trust his friend.  This is before Kobik and the Red Skull did their thing.  Rogers would trust the judgement of his friend.  He would not come down on his friend in the ways he did.  Not even Old Man Rogers would do that.  If he was not going to trust his friend and back him up, why give him the Shield?

So yeah, that’s why I stopped reading Captain America.  For something trying to be socially conscious in its own way, it does not seem will to push things like it should.

Also got my second round of CGC signature series books back  They are as follows:

Fantastic Four #46: signed by Stan Lee, graded at a 5.0.  Came back a bit higher of a grade than I thought it would.  First appearance of Black Bolt, King of the Inhumans.

Fantastic Four #66: signed by Stan Lee, graded at a 7.5.  Hoped for a wee bit higher.  First part of the two part story that Adam Warlock appears in.  Gives his origin.

Fantastic Four #67: Signed by Stan Lee, graded at a 6.5.  Hoped for a bit higher here too, but still a nice book.  Second part of the first Adam Warlock story and his first brief appearance.

Thor #165:  signed by Stan Lee, graded at a 7.0.  First full appearance of Adam Warlock.

Thor #193:  I had gotten this signed at NYCC in 2015, by Gerry Conway and John Romita Sr.  Last issue of Thor that Stan Lee worked on in his original run on the character.  In 2016, I got Stan Lee to sign it.  Came back at a 9.4.

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