Tagged: Chris Bachalo

Chris’ Comics: Uncanny X-men #600

UNCX2013600COVUncanny X-men #600

Brian Michael Bendis, Sara Pichelli, Mahmud Asrar, Stuart Immone, Kris Anka, Chris Bachalo, David Marquez, and Frazer Irving.

Marvel $5.99

If you want to know if Uncanny X-men is worth the $6, but also want a spoiler free review, then I’ll save you some time; it totally is. Granted it’s a tad pricey ( SIX BUCKS!!), the issue is well worth the money  if you are a fan of writer Brian Michael Bendis’ take on the X-men and want some closure from the last 3 years of X-comics.

If you want exact reasons as to why this book is worth your time, then I’ll give them to you, but beware, here lies spoilers.

The conclusion of the  long-running Revolution plot line in Uncanny X-men is brilliantly executed, as 2 long time creators says goodbye to one of Marvel’s most iconic franchises. Bendis and artist Chris Bachalo having Cyclops organizing a non-violent Million Mutant protest in Washington DC was a thing no one probably saw coming, and such an important moment for mainstream comics. Writers like Ryan North have been experimenting with non-violent methods to resolve super hero conflicts as of late, and it’s nice to see creators of this caliber follow suit. l. This may be the last issue of Uncanny X-men I’ll read after buying the book religiously for half a decade, so this relatively sweet moment made for a perfect ending of a run I’ve enjoyed for the most part.

1504366566587496519 That’s not to say the rest of the book isn’t brilliant. No, no, while the Bachalo and Bendis chapter is clearly my favorite, the rest of this comic is just as superb. Sara Pichelli kicks this issue off and tells a story that run  throughout the book, in which the X-men confront Beast about some of the reality-threatening nonsense he’s been pulling as of late. I love how diverse Pichelli’s X-Men look, especially the female characters, giving each X-Man a distinct look that most artists don’t consider that they draw them. It’s mostly talking head stuff, but the amount of emotion she gets from the character’s facial expressions is fantastic, and does and excellent job of selling Bendis’ dialogue. From there we have Kris Anka‘s , who pages are clean and sharp, making him a perfect fit for the comparatively light hearted story of reunion. Stuart Immonen‘s pages aren’t his best work, but it nice to see him come back to the All New X-men kids for a brief visit. which sets up the upcoming soft relaunch of the title. Mahmud Asrar‘s art is a tad uneven, but he manages to deliver on the anticipated Iceman sexuality story, making a a satisfying conclusion to that tale. I like how Bendis deals with Bobby coming out, giving it a bit of realistic edge. It’s far from perfect, uncannyxmen_600_pg15-x750but still really handled well, at least in my opinion. I feel bad about not discussing that segment more, but I feel there’s already enough said by people more qualified to. David Marquez swings by to help with the Beast confrontation and Frazier Irving wraps the issue up with some pages that are perfectly fine. But again, the biggest draw for me is  Bachalo’s final X-Men pages for the time being. Bachalo’s stuff is superb, cramming the pages with an army of mutants that he’s been associated with for the last few years.

Also worth nothing the inclusion of a old, I’m assuming rare solo Iceman story by Mary Jo Duffy and Georgr Perez. I’m not sure if it’s suppose to tie into the previously mentioned above Iceman tale, or just pad out the page count for this comic. Seeing Perez’s art is always welcomed though, and it’s a nice additional to the modern talents represented in this issue.

Uncanny X-Men 600 isn’t my favorite finale published this year, but it’s a strong ending to a pretty solid run of X-Men comics. Bendis gives the future creators plenty to work with, all while wrapping up his plot lines in a satisfying manner. Comics history should he kind to Bendis- he added a bunch of cool new toys to X-Men comics, touched upon some social commentary, and pulled off some Chris Claremont in his prime moments with a brilliant collection of amazing artists. I’ll be sad to see him go, and appreciate everything he’s done for Marvel’s mighty mutants.

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics: Mark & Eve & Alex & Scott & Emma Edition

Invincible_118Invincible #118

Robert Kirkman/Ryan Ottley/Jason Howard/Jean-Francois Beaulieu

Image $.25

CHRIS FACT: If you offer a comic that I have the SLIGHTEST interest in for under $1, I will buy it.

Invincible is a book I’ve read for a long time. Like 104 consecutive issues long. It was also a book that got a little too gross for my liking and jumped ship. But for a quarter, I was willing to pick it up and see what Mark and the gang were up to these days. For the record, Invincible 118 is definitely NOT the perfect jumping on point for new readers. There’s a 6 page recap of the series, and that’s HELLA intimidating if your new to the series. But if you’re a lapse reader like myself, it’s pretty good issue to jump back in on and not be too lost.

Robert Kirkman is still going strong on this book, mixing drama with some much needed but slightly juvenile humor, which is needed because this book gets GRIM in the last few pages. TRIGGER WARNING/SPOILERS: There’s a sexual violence discussion that while handled well, kind of comes out of nowhere if you’re not caught up on the book. I applaud Kirkman for taking some story telling risks and actually pulling it off, but I’m not sure if that’s going to win him any new readers.

Ryan Ottley, one of my favorite artists today and one of the things I miss most about the book, has started inking himself, and it’s a bit jarring. His art looks a little looser, and more Erik Larsen-esque. It’s not bad mind you, it’s just took me by surprise. On colors we have  Jean-Francois Beaulieu who uses a brighter palette than John Raunch did, but still isn’t on FC Plascencia level. In his and Raunch’s defense, it could be a printing issue, but without a digital copy of the book, it’s hard to say.

 

Invincible ends on a solid cliffhanger, hoping to keep anyone new to the series on. For me, it’s not enough to get to start buying the title again, but it was a nice to revisit the book. I applaud Invincible for being a super hero book where there’s some consequences for the cast’s actions because there’s no status quo, I just have no desire to stick around.

 

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_32_TextlessUncanny X-men 32

Brian Michael Bendis/ Chris Bachalo/Tim Townsend

Marvel $3.99

I’m sure Brian Michael Bendis isn’t the type of dude who googles his own name and reads reviews of his comics. Dude has better to do with his time. But man, it really does feel like Uncanny X-men 32 addresses all of my complaints with the book in a single done in one.

The end of AXIS is finally addressed in this book as Cyclops’ brother Havok joins the cast. Bendis’ take on Alex is fun, although you’ve have to be caught up on Rick Remender‘s runs on Uncanny Avengers and AXIS to understand why he’s currently the way he is. Alex acts as the stand in for the reader, and helps us get caught up on what went down at the end of the last issue and the beginning of this one. There’s a bit with Scott and Emma that made me MAD as of fan of those readers, but speaks of Bendis’ talents. He managed to get some strong emotions out of me with this comic, something he hasn’t done with this book in some time. Bendis has a pretty good track record with done and ones on this title, but this is easily one of his stronger issues on this run.

Chris Bachalo and his army of inkers provide to supply this book with some fine art (that cover is especially good), although the 2 different colors and some odd photoshopping when it comes to the background hurts it in places. It doesn’t ruin the book in any way, but it certainly pulled me out of the experience a few times. But when it’s good, it’s good, especially when it comes to that Scott and Emma confrontation. Again, a great scene that hurt me oh so much.

As we approach the end of Bendis’ Uncanny X-men run, it’s nice to see the writer continue to take the X-men in some interesting directions while writing some excellent comics. His run on Uncanny has been a little uneven in place, but issues like these overshadow the weaker issues. Uncanny X-men 32 may be the best yet, setting the up the end of  this volume of  UXM on a interesting foot.

 

 

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Toys Toys But With Comics: Teen Hi-jinks Edition.

Hey look at that, some reviews, but on time! We live such a brave new world!  Also this is totally not me trying to get as much writing done before the Super Bowl as possible, no no no.

 

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_30_TextlessUncanny X-men #30

Brian Michael Bendis/Chris Bachalo/An army of inkers

Marvel $3.99

 So here’s the thing. I know it’s in fashion to be a pretty pretty internet hate machine and smack talking big 2 comics to show your indie cred is a trend. But even with that being the case, I’ve tried avoiding going that route, and praise Cape Comics  when they do things right.

But man, it’s hard to stay positive when a comic is all kinds of bad, especially when a comics is disappointing enough to make me consider dropping the series.

I applaud  Brian Michael Bendis for taking some risks with Uncanny X-men with this current arc, despite it being drawn out like no one’s business. Last month’s cliffhangers were crazy, and there’s some follow up to it this time that would be really neat if they actually stuck. But between upcoming solicits, Bendis himself putting future covers online, and the decompression mentioned earlier, a lot of the impact of these events is lost. Also quick side note: this book was solicited as a book that deals with the repercussions of AXIS. This arc began during Original Sin, and is still going on. There’s zero crossover with AXIS (or OS come to think of it), and feels more like an issue of Doctor Who with all the timey whimey nonsense. I know Chris Claremont was a master of the long game and was also guilty of time travel shenanigans, but he did it early enough in the X-men history where it was still fresh. It feels cliche and tired here, nearly 30 years later.

 

This mostly talking heads issues wastes Chris Bachalo’s talents. Bachalo is a skilled and kinetic artist that gets to stretch his muscles a bit with some brief action scenes but it’s the kind of dialogue heavy issue that’s better served by a Kris Anka (who did a dope job on the cover). That being said, the book still looks good, but not good enough for me to recommend on visauls alone, especially with the inking and the coloring being all over the place.

Ultimately this book is the worst type of bad by just being boring. Bendis’ mutli-MccGuffin balancing act isn’t working out for my tastes, and if this ship doesn’t steer itself right with the next issue, I’m afraid my time with Uncanny X-men is done for the foreseeable future.

 

GalleryComics_1920x1080_20150121_GOTHAC_Cv4_5490db710bf4f8.47907702Gotham Academy #4

Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, Karl Kerschl, Msassyk/Serge Lapointe

 DC $2.99

Man that last review was kinda rough. Let’s focus on a good comic now, yes?

Gotham Academy #4 is a hoot. A hoot that involves one of the leads painting D&D monsters in art class, which I adore, and  I don’t even play Dungeons and or Dragons.

What I like about this book is aside from looking AMAZING month after month, is that is operates far enough outside of the DCU where it’s not affect by whatever crossover or event is going on that month, but is close enough to remind you that it’s still a Batman-related book. This month does that by giving 2 REALLY cool shout outs to the classic Batman: The Animated Series, as well as the monthly Bruce Wayne cameo.

Fun easter eggs aside, the book also effortless blends TEEN romance, school, and spooky mysteries, which are my favorite type of mysteries. It’s reminds me a lot of what Marvel was going for in the mid 2000s with The Runaways, which is a good look.  Combined with the gorgeous visuals, it reminds me more of a Japanese Role playing game than a Batman comic. It may not be for everyone, but it’s nice to see DC make an attempt to go after the same market who would also be reading something like Ms Marvel (aka people with great tastes).

 

Gotham Academy is a fantastic read month after month, and it really deserves more of an audience. Word on the street (Twitter street that is) is that sales for this book aren’t so hot, which is a shame because it’s a great little book that’s truly all ages. If you want something that’s fun and a visual delight, I can’t recommend this book enough.

 

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Troy’s Toys but with Comics: Seeing Purple Edition

Happy Whatever you’re celebrating Forbidden Planet Faithful! Let it be known that I’m writing this article instead of playing several Blizzard video games because I love you (and money).

Hawkeye_vs._Deadpool_Vol_1_3_TextlessHawkeye Vs Deadpool #3

Gerry Duggan/Matteo Lolli/Jacopo Camangni/Cristiane Peter

Marvel $3.99

If you’ve been reading this blog at any point over the last 2 years, you’ll know that I’m VERY protective of reading the Hawkeyes when not penned by Matt Fraction. Luckily for me, Hawkguy Clint Barton has been handled incredibly well over in the various Avengers books, and Hawkeye Kate Bishop has only appeared in Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie‘s excellent Young Avengers run.

Kate is also our narrator in this issue of Hawkeye Vs Deadpool and series writer Gerry Duggan absolutely nails her voice. Duggan balances Kate’s youth plus her relationship with Clint exceptionally well, with some nods to “recent” events over in the Fraction/Aja series. Her interactions with Deadpool are hilarious, and it’s fun to see Katie-Kate interact with the greater Marvel universe.  Duggan’s Deadpool is still a blast to read, and bouncing him off of Hawkeye Kate keeps the book fresh.

Art wise, the duo of Matteo Lolli & Jacopo Camagni remain a great fit for this title. Aside from the amount of teeth in Deadpool’s mouth being inconsistent, their expressive and clean art is perfect for this book’s kooky antics. They also capture modern NYC well, doing the city justice and making the some of the more modern reference work. They’re also great at capturing the humor in Duggan’s script, especially as seen on the final page of the book. Apparently Queen jokes are in fashion in comics this year.

Deadpool Vs Hawkeye continues to show what sort of fun one can have with a Marvel team up. Great visuals, solid jokes and good character work justify this book’s existence, and I would recommend it to anyone with any investment in the Hawkeyes and or Deadpool. AKA me.

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_29_TextlessUncanny X-men #29

Brian Michael Bendis/Chris Bachalo/ 5 inkers/2 colorists

Marvel $3.99

Ambitious best describes this incredibly dense issue of Uncanny X-men. Brian Michael Bendis is already balancing several plot lines with this current arc, and the addition of a few last minute Macguffins may take this book into a new direction. It’s a bold decision, especially when Bendis is balancing a number of plotlines with a large cast as is, but hopefully he can pull it off. Time will only tell.

Art wise, this book isn’t a mess per say, but having 2 different colorists work on the same penciler is jarring. Chris Bachalo usually looks best when he’s coloring his own work, so Antonio Fabela and Jose Villarrubia aren’t doing his much justice. One of their pallets are too light, maker the book look paler and more retro than it needs to be, while the other is much brighter, but does some weird inkless coloring with several characters hairs and fur. To be fair, that almost may be on one of the several inkers, it’s hard to place blame.

While the art is a bit inconstant, the stakes are certainly raised in the penultimate (I think) chapter of The Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier. Hopefully the story will stick it’s landing, because while the creative team has done some good work on this book, there’s still a chance that it’s gotten too bloated for it’s own good.

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics: Of Foes and X-Men

The_Superior_Foes_of_Spider-Man_Vol_1_16_TextlessSuperior Foes Of Spider-Man #16

Nick Spencer/Steve Lieber/Rachelle Rosenberg

Marvel $3.99

It’s funny. I’ve been lamenting over the fact that SUP FOES is ending for months, but if this issue was the last one, I’ld be strangely okay with that.

It’s certainly not something I’m saying based on the book’s quality. Oh no, this issue is great, successfully capturing everything I love about this book in 20 pages. It’s more the fact that one of the Foes gets a win, and Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber have made this character so likable, you  cant help but be happy for them. Is this was the final issue Id be 1000% okay with that, despite the fact that said character has done some truly terrible things over the course of the series and would get getting away with a lot.

 

Of course, there’s an issue left and there’s still plenty of things that can go wrong. Spencer, Lieber and colorist Racelle Rosenberg introduce a number of elements that can still come back and bite this character in the ass. 2 of them justified, 1 of them a surprise of sorts, but great and welcomed none the less. Also given the fact that we’ve yet to see a proper appearance from Spider-Man himself in this book, I wouldn’t be surprised if he were too show up in the final issue.

 

But enough with speculation. This issue, much like every other issue of this series is great. The humor is second to none, and the return of a gag from a previous issue is just as funny this time around. The action piece when the poop the hands is surprisingly brutal, but successfully maintains the tone of the book. And then there’s ending. Smart, kinda cruel, but perfectly in line with the character’s actions. And you may find yourself wanting said character to get away with it, but we all know he won’t. It’s bittersweet in a way, but also something he’ll deserve.

 

There’s no question in my mind that this book will stick it’s landing. The real question is HOW it’s going to all go down, and if any of the Sinister Five are going to get away with it. I’m very excited to see it all plays out, and welcome this book’s end.

 

 

background (2)Uncanny X-Men #27

 Brian Michael Bendis/Chris Bachalo/ Tim Townsend

Marvel $3.99

Between the change in colorists that goes down halfway through this book and the most cliché of bad things to happen to S.H.I.E.L.D., I should by all means dislike this issue of Uncanny X-Men. However, even with those 2 massive flaws, this comic is really solid, continuing the book’s hot streak for nearly an entire year.

 

While Kris Anka has done great things with this book recently, Chris Bachalo is a perfect for Brian Michael Bendis’ script. Bendis writes a big action piece for this issue and crams a ton of characters into it, catering to Bachalo’s strengths. The end result shows just how in sync these 2 creators are, which works out in the reader’s favor.

 

Given the fact that he’s heavily featured on the beautiful illustrated cover, it comes as no surprise that Cyclops plays a big role in this issue (in addition to another X-man who definitely deserves more screen time) Bendis continues to handle the character well, although his intention at the end raise some questions. It’s the sort of drama the X-men became famous for in the 80s, with a hint of modern flair. It’s something I’m all about.

 

While Im less than thrilled that this arc proably stil has another chapter or two left before it’s over, I’m enjoying the ride. Uncanny X-men is far from perfect, but it’s definitely a fun read.

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Troy’s Toys but with Comics: Big week was big part1

Oh snap, it’s a two part review article for this week! I pulled a whopping 5 books , as well as a few trades, so expect ALL COMICS ALL THE TIME articles for the next 2 weeks. Yeah I know, that’s kind of business as usual for me, but I’m choosing to do that over word- vomiting over the release of TWO new Cyclops action figures, so pretend it’s special this time around.

I’ve divided the books up as the following: Comics that cost $5 and comics that don’t cost $5. We’ll be looking at the $5 books first (which unsurprisingly are both Marvel books), because…well because I said so dammit.

detail Hawkeye vs Deadpool #0

Gerry Duggan/Matteo Lolli/Cristiane Peter

Marvel $4.99

I’ll be honest, this  book was a tough sell for me when it was initially announced. I haven’t bought a straight-up Deadpool book in years, and I tend to be very weary of books starring Hawkeye not written by Matt Fraction or Ales Kot. The $5 price tag certainly did help things either, and I figured that is it was good, trade waiting it would be a valid option.

HOWEVER, after flipping through the first issue of said at the shop, I ended up liking what I saw and decided to take a chance on it. And you know what, I’m glad it did, but this book hit me in all the right ways. Gerry Duggan has proven he can tell a good Deadpool story plenty of times in the proper Deadpool series, and while Matteo Lolli is no David Aja, his art definitely works for this story.

 

4063285-hawkvsdp2014000_int2-page-002The plot summary is as following: it’s Halloween night, and Deadpool and some folk familiar to both books are out trick or treating in a certain Avenger’s building. One of Hawkguy’s tenants has got himself in some trouble, so now Wade and Clint have some super heroing to do. The only problem is that don’t necessary want to work together as bro,s bros.

That by the way, brings me to my sole issue with this comic. We’ve seen Deadpool and Hawkeye work together in the past, last year in A+X, and currently in Secret Avengers. I may be playing the role of TURBO NERD here, but there’s material currently being published ( Thunderbolts, Hawkeye, the just mentioned Secret Avengers) thatclashes with this book. Maybe it with all make sense once those stories are all told, but only time will tell.

Continuity-nerd-issues aside, the book itself is fun. Both Lolli and Duggan obviously have some experience with Deadpool with past works, so it’s no surprise that the Deadpool stuff is handled really well. A little head’s up though, this book is DEEP into the current events of the main Deadpool series, so you may be a little confused about a thing or two if you’re not caught up on it.

That being said,  the big surprise is how well the Hawkeye side of things are managed is handled. There are a lot of clever nods to Fraction/Aja’s run, including 2 double spreads that parody the 2 most celebrated issues of Hawkeye.

Obviously any encounter between Hawkeye and Deadpool should be humorous, and the jokes do not disappoint. Duggan knows how to handle mixing humor and action well, and the laughs land more than miss. Visually,  Lolli and color artist Cristiane Peter are great, giving the book a clean, bright look that reminds me a lot of the late and great Mike Wieringo’s work.

 

Ultimately, this book isn’t going to win any awards or redefine the medium, but it’s a fun read for fans of the characters. If you’ve been enjoying Hawkeye and/or Deadpool, you’re sure to enjoy this double sized debut. If you want this to be your entry book to both characters though, you may want to look elsewhere.

 

123px-Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_25_TextlessUncanny X-men #25

Brian Michael Bendis/Chris Bachalo/ Several Inkers

Marvel $4.99

I’ll be honest, this book can be summed up as a double sized issue where the X-men stand around and react to a retcon. That may not be your cup of tea, especially when you factor in that it’s $5 and there’s still a chapter in this arc to go.

That being said, if you don’t mind that sort of thing, it’s a compelling as hell issue. Chris Bachalo returns to draw the hell out of this issue, despite him not knowing how Kitty’s Pryde modern costume works at times, or Cyclops mask reappearing at random.

Uncanny_X-Men_25_Preview_2Those minor issues aside, the book looks great. The army of inkers complement Bachalo’s pencils and colors well, giving the book a crisp, bold, cohesive look. Cohesive and GREAT mind you, as Bachalo delivers some really powerfully scene, both emotionally and action wise. Also the way he colors Iceman is great, as it looks like actual ice.

 

Brian Michael Bendis isn’t a slouch either mind you, but your opinion on the script may be different from mine. I’m a fan of the retcons he’s introducing, but it’s bringing Xavier into some scorched earth territory. If you’re an Charles Xavier fan, you may have a bone or two to pick with these reveals, but I’m strictly on Team Cyclops Was Right, and am digging Bendis doing some new stuff here.

Again, at $5, this issue of Uncanny X-men comes down to a matter of taste. If you’ve been a fan Uncanny’s direction since the Bendis relaunch, you’ll probably like issue 25. If you’re only thinking of jumping aboard because Original Sin is on the cover, you can skip it.

 

 

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Review: Wolverine & The X-Men Volume 8

300px-Wolverine_and_the_X-Men_Vol_1_38Wolverine and the X-Men vol 8
Jason Aaron w/ Nick Bradshaw, Pepe Larraz, Todd Nauck and more
Marvel $14.99

Ever since Days of Future Past dropped a few weeks back, I’ve been reading a lot of older X-Men comics these days. The Chris Claremont era is considered by many as  the golden age of X-Men, and up until this summer, I had only read the Dark Phoenix Saga, Days of Future Past, and a bunch of stuff involving Arcade, because I’m the type of dude who likes Arcade. So I fired up the ol’ Marvel Digital App and decided to do some summer reading.

I’m definitely digging what Claremont, David Cockrum, John Byrne and Paul Smith have done with the X-Men and all the drama and high stake action that ensued. But there’s a lot fun and light hearted characters moments in those issues as well, which I really like. Which is why I think is one of the reasons I’ve really dug what Jason Aaron’s done on Wolverine and the X-Men.  Aaron’s chose to channel the more fun and insane of Claremont’s X-Men run, and it makes for a much more different and off beat type of X-Men that what I’m used to.

xmenDon’t get me wrong. The Grant Morrison run of New X-Men is still my favorite era of X-books, but that book was pretty dark most of the time. Unless your idea of fun is psychic affairs, which is only excusable if your name is Emma Frost. Which if it is, please contact me, I have about a dozen or so questions.  Aaron’s WaTXM was a book that wasn’t afraid to take chances, be it bring back and semi-redeem some terrible villains (terrible in the sense of both morality and quality!) or turn Wolverine into a clown in Frankenstein’s monster’s MURDER CIRCUS!

Also if you’re not down with a monster owning a Murder Circus, we can never be friends.

wolverine_3The  final volume of Aaron’s run tells 2 tales: the A plot involving the students of the Jean Grey Academy befriending two new students who are secretly spies reporting to Mystique. The B plot involves Wolverine investing the idea of SHIELD producing mutant hunting Sentinels, which brings him face to face with Cyclops, whom he hasn’t been on the best of terms with in forever, despite the fact that CYCLOPS WAS RIGHT! #biased. In addition to those stories, Aaron wraps up a few other lingering plot lines of the junior X-Men graduate into full fledge X-Men, in a cute story that MORE IMPORTANTLY involves Doop vs Nazi Bees. Or and there’s an Infinity tie in annual starring Kid Gladiator drawn by Nick Bradshaw that a fun done in one that really showcases how in sync theses 2 creators are with each other. Plus Kid Glad has run ins with Bruce Banner and Thor, which goes as exactly as you would hope it would.

Aaron’s scripts are also blessed by some fantastic artists in this final volume. The aforementioned Nick Bradshaw and Chris Bachalo swing by to draw a few pages, as do other returning artists like Ramon Perez and Tim Townsend, but the bulk of this trade is drawn by Pepe Larraz. Larraz’s art reminds me a lot of Alan Davis, only a little more looser and raw. I’m excited to see what he’s capable of in the future with more experience.

wolverine_xmen_1Since Aaron’s departure, Wolverine and the X-men was relaunched under Jason Latour, who’s working with Aaron on “Southern Bastards” for Image. Aside from writing that book, Aaron is still working on Thor: God of Thunder, the Original Sin maxi-event, and recently wrapped up his time with the X-men with the first arc of Amazing X-Men. I haven’t read the new series yeah, but Aaron’s going to be a hard act to follow up on. His run on Wolverine and the X-men was strange and wonderful, and Volume 8 is really a celebration of that. I’m hoping we get to see this side of Jason Aaron again sometime down the road.

 

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics Belated Edition part 2

wicked-and-divine-620x400The Wicked + The Divine #1

 Kieron Gillen/Jamie McKelvie/Matthew Wilson

Image, $3.50

Despite not being familiar with half the bands mentioned in the comic, I REALLY dug Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie’s 2 installments of Phonograms. And now that they’re done with their 14 issue run of Kate Bishop an her cosplay friends ( aka Young Avengers),  the pair have returned to Creator Owned Comics with Wicked + The Divine.

 

W+ t D is the tale of reincarnated gods and pop stars. So yeah it’s A LOT like Phonograms in a way, at least in concept.  Hey even Gillen admits that’s in his letter at the end of the issue, but the actual execution of the material makes all the difference. Unlike the casters that cling to the shadows in Phonograms, these gods are out there in public, letting the world know that they’re out there and operating on another level.

 

Jamie McKelvie and Matt Wilson are arguably 2 of my favorite artist/colorists working in comics today, and they are absolutely divine (HAR HAR) in this kick off issue. McKelvie’s line work is fabulous, and his facial expressions and the emotion he can get his characters to convey are all top notch, as usual. But it’s Matt Wilson who’s really upped his game here. Between the results of what happens when Luci snaps her fingers and how the character’s makeup and eye liner looks, it’s hard to name a colorist as skilled as Wilson working in comics today.

 

As for writer Kieron Gillen, he’s nothing short than brilliant. His dialogue is sharp, giving each of the characters a distinct voice that makes them stand out a bit. And while the plot is fairly straight forward, it’s incredibly engaging and ends on a solid cliffhanger. This is Gillen at his strongest, and it’s something that readers benefit from.

 

Wicked + The Divine is a stellar debut by one of the best creative teams with a working relationship in comics today. Anyone who loved Phonograms & Young Avengers, or was stupid enough to skip over them, needs to read this book immediately.

 

3898273-sex+criminals+02Sex Criminals #6

 Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky

Image $3.50

Sex Crims is back, in what is arguably the most Matt Fraction issue to date. What the means is that there’s a lot of self depreciation,  paranoia and some bleakness to this issue. Not exactly what you’re expecting from a sex comedy, but something that only helps the narrative and help flesh (HAR HAR 2) out the characters.

 

On the joys of Sex Crims that while it’s an extremely lewd funny book, it’s also incredibly honest and smart. This issue really shows that, as Jon, our male lead steps into the spotlight. Despite being a man who poops in plotted plants and freezes time every time he climaxes, he’s also a man suffering from most realistic difficulties, that help make his easier to sympathize with.

 

This issue isn’t all doom and gloom tho. While Chip  Zdarsky can sell the more dramatic bits of comic with the greatest of ease, he’s also a gifted cartoonist who can hide a ton of jokes hidden in the panels. At this weekend at Heroescon, Fraction described the process as MAD magazine esque and there’s no better description of it.The letter column remains something crucial to one’s enjoyment of Sex Criminals. It’s a fascinating look at what kind of community has been built around this book, and is something genuinely enjoyable.

I’m glad to have Sex Criminals back, and I’m curious as to what direction the book is taking with this volume seemingly focusing on Jon.

 

300px-Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_22Uncanny X-Men #22

Brian Michael Bendis, Chris Bachalo, Tim Townsend

Marvel $3.99

 

Gah. This issue comes so close to be a perfect end to the X-Men Vs SHIELD arc, but it hampered by a guest colorist who’s style is lighter than what we usually get with Chris Bachalo. It clashes with Bachalo & Tim Townsend’s (and like 4 other dudes) heavy black style, and does not compliment it as well as it should.

 

It’s a real shame, because everything else about this issue is great. We finally get some answers to some long brewing questions, and 2 other characters get a nice return to form. It’s a rewarding book for long time readers, and it definitely sets up the potential for some cool stories for the future.

 

As for the reveal as to who has been sending Sentinels after Cyclops’ renegade X-Men, it works in terms of the actual identity. The execution is a bit lacking, as the motive for said villains is a tad lacking. Of course Brian Michael Bendis could be planning to touch upon that in a future issue, it’s just a little weak at this moment.

 

Overall the X-Men Vs SHIELD story arc was a fun little romp.  Nothing ground breaking, but a fun story that looked great and read well. A shame about the colors in that final issue, but overall a good time.

 

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Troy’s Toys but with Comics: Better never than later

Think I may have messed up that intro title.

 

BELATED REVIEW:

Lumberjanes_002_coverALumberjanes #2

Noelle Stevenson/Grace Ellis, Brooke Allen

BOOM! BOX $3.99

Let me start off this review by congratulating team Lumberjanes, as the series has gone from being an 8 mini series to a on-going! Lumberjanes is a great and important book for a number of reasons, and I’m glad BOOM! is giving the book and it’s fan the support it deserves.

Last week’s second issue is a another stellar comic, this time involving the girls going on a canoeing trip. Obviously things do not go according to plan, and more animals with 3 eyes may or may not show up (spoilers, they do) and the girls stumble upon a good ol’ fashion spooky woods mystery. It’s a ton of fun, and the book looks gorgeous. A lot of the humor, as well as the character building is expressed in the art without much exposition, letting the Brooke Allen‘s pencils do the talking. I’m 100% okay with this, as Allen’s art is super expressive, capturing the girl’s personalities and actions perfectly. Maarta Laiho‘s color art is excellent, and really captures the nature and feel of nature. Noelle Stevenson  & Grace Ellis are fantastic as well, as the dialogue and spoken humor are a hoot.

The all female created, LBGT  and all aged friendly Lumberjanes is arguably one of the most important books out in the market, not to mention one of the strongest. I’m glad it’s found an audience, and I certain hope it grows with each and every issue.

Saga_19-1Saga #19

Brian K Vaughan/Fiona Staples

Image $2.99

Yay, Saga‘s back. Boo, Saga’s last page is brutal.

Saga continues to be the textbook definition of perfection is comics. From cover to cover, Fiona Staples and Brian K Vaughan continue to do everything right. It looks greats, the dialogue is fresh and crisp (no one uses profanity like BKV folks, and the plot moves at an impressive rate. It’s mind blowing on how much BKV and Staples can cram into 20 pages, especially when they’re introducing new characters into the cast.

And the last 2 pages. Just….man. Without going into details, Vaughn and Staples change the game on the readers. They managed to completely changed the mood of the book with 10 words, and not by the traditional comics means of death of destruction. It hurts y’all, it’s hurt something fierce.

TLDR: Saga continues to be the best, although sometimes it can be a jerk while doing so.

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_21_TextlessUncanny X-men #21

Brian Micahel Bendis, Chris Bachaelo, Tim Townsend

Marvel, $3.99

The current arc of UXM is titled X-Men vs SHIELD. If’ you’re keeping up on the title, you’re probably expecting things to play out a certain way. 3 issues into this arc, I can safely say that they’re not going to, and the book is stronger for it.

Several plot lines are coming together and the results are interesting. That’s a compliment mind you, as the book has never been better, and a certain X-man needing some redemption in my eyes comes through, while another one makes his triumphant return. Brian Michael Bendis‘ handling of these characters is impressive, and his dialogue and script on this book has never been better.

I’ve spoken highly of Chris Bachalo before in the past, but it’s usually about his art. While it’s great here, his coloring is really impressive this issue. The various uses of reds, greys, and greens are fantastic, and what really won me over was the 3rd last place. The shade of blue Bachalo uses for the sky is beautiful  and it shows off how he’s grown as a colorist.

Uncanny X-men has been stellar for months, and the book is probably the strongest it’s ever been in years. Bendis and Bachalo are an excellent creative team, and I’m really digging the direction the book has taken during their run.

 

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics : Uncanny Sex Marvels

Once again, I am extremely too proud of that title.

Books what shipped this week that you may dig!:

Buffy the Vampire Slays Season 10 #1

Witcher #1

Animal Man #29

Superman Unchained #6

Wonder Woman #29

American Vampire Second Cycle #1

Bad Ass #3

Samurai Jack #6

Fuse #2

Lazarus #7

Rocket Girl #4

Daredevil Vol 4 #1

Iron Man #23.Now

Thor God of Thunder #20

Adventure Time #26

Sixth Gun #39

WWE Superstars #3

Shadowman #15

X-O Manowar #23

REVIEWS!

 

 

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_19.NOW_TextlessUncanny X-Men 19.NOW

Brian Michael Bendis/ Chris Bachalo/ Tim Townsend

Marvel $3.99

FACT: That pet variant is both frightening and terrifying, stay the fresh hell away from it.

It’s UMX Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. (part 1), despite the fact that neither group appear on panel together at any given point. THAT BENDIS DECOMPRESSION LYFE Y’ALL!

What we get is the reveal of Dazzler’s fate (it’s super icky!), S.H.I.E.L.D. grilling a former X-man, and Scott’s team versus a whole bunch of new Sentinels! Which is still a fun read, don’t get me wrong, but has nothing to do with that cover. Chris Bachalo and his army of inkers are all in fine form, with some really cool Sentinel redesigns, some sick looking spells from Magik, and what is probably an intentional horrible new costume for Goldballs. Yes he’s a thing. Yes, that name is definitely intentionally horrible.

Bendis and company don’t do anything ground-breaking with this issue, but they seem to be setting up a fun little story that will hopefully wrap up several yet to be addressed plot points the book has set up in it’s first year. It’s off to a good start, I just hope it delivers, as this book has been on a hot streak as of late and I’d hate to see it end with this arc.

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-10.09.55-PM-424x400Sex Criminals #5

Matt Fraction/Chip Zdarsky

Image, $3.50

This issue starts off with a MATURE READERS ONLY recap poem. And with that, I officially forgive Matt and Chip for the delays the book has been facing.

Issue 5 officially wraps up the first volume of Sex Crim, changing the book’s status quo a bit. Nothing too big though, as this book is called Sex Criminals for a reason after all.

Also the whole “pooping in the plant thing” is explained, which I was surprised that it would be at all. Had it pegged as a one-note gag at best, but there’s a deeper meaning behind it. “Deeper” is a relative term by the way.

Something I really like about Sex Crim is that is requires re-reads. These are due to Chip Zdarsky putting a ton of work into his panels, and hiding all sorts of disgusting and awesome jokes everywhere. Do they further the narrative? No. Did I laugh out loud several times reading this issue? Yes. Maus this book ain’t, and it never claimed to be. Issue 5 feels a little slow in terms of development, but it’s definitely a book worth buying. The hiatus until June may kill me (HYPERBOLE!)

portrait_incredible (1)Captain Marvel #2

G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

On paper, this opening pages of Ms Marvel sound like a horror book. A mysterious fog blows into Jersey City and a young girl becomes a shape shifting freak as black helicopters circle Manhattan. It’s not until a transformation gag kicks in 4 pages deep does the book remind us this is a spandex affair.

That’s not a bad thing by the way. After an incredibly strong debut issue, Wilson, Alphona and friends deliver a great follow up issue, as Kamala tries to figure out what exactly she’s turned into, and springs into action for the first time. Also family drama. It’s an fun read, with some really clever use of faith interwoven into the narrative. Plus some “be careful for what you wish for” type stuff, going back to my opening statement about how this book feels kind of feels like a horror title in the beginning.

With gorgeous visuals from Adrian Alphona and Ian Herring and some incredibly endearing dialogue from G. Willow Wilson (and a sharp cover by Jamie McKelve), Ms Marvel is shaping up to be a can’t miss title from the House of Ideas.  With Saga on hiatus on May, this may be THE book to be reading in 2014.

 

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Troy’s Toys, only with Comics: Deviants and Devils

sketch1363126429539THIS WEEK IN RANT: I really wish FOX (and to a lesser extent Sony) would stop riding the coattails of Marvel Studios whenever they announced something. I’m sure we’re all excited about that new Guardians of the Galaxy (starring Bert Macklin, Agent of S.P.A.C.E.!) trailer, and man, FOX has no business releasing that Fantastic Four casting announcing (I‘m cool with the new Human Torch BTW, but the rest of that cast? Ehhhh, not so much. Just like the old, also awful, F4 movies! ). Nor did Sony, attempting to get some attention with  revealing the new Harry Osborn Goblin ( Sony’s now 0-2 in the department by the way). At this point, studious need to get on Disney/Marvel’s level , or just the rights go back to them. (Art Source: Dunno, Googled)

BOOKS YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN THIS WEEK:

Strain the Fall #8

Animal Man #28

Justice League #28

Wonder Woman #28

Fables #138

Bad Ass #2

Undertow #1

Amazing X-Men #4

Marvel Knights Hulk #3

Adventure Time #25

Quantum & Woody #8

 

REVIEWS:

uxm17Uncanny X-men #17

Brian Michael Bendis/ Chris Bachalo/ Tim Townsend

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

DID YOU KNOW: There are 2 snow-themed covered X-men theme books this week! Both are really neat, and house some really awesome comics instead of them , but I only bought Uncanny X-men, so you’re gonna have to deal with me talking about that today. Unnecessary intro over.

What I like about Uncanny’s  penciler/colorist Chris Bachalo is that he’s always evolving as an artist and not afraid to try something new with his art. This issue of UXM has the majority of the pages of the panel drawn diagonal, occasionally bleeding into the accompanying pages. Aside from looking great (thanks to the help of  3 inkers), it helps express the sense of confusion and panic the X-kids are giving off, which makes a ton of sense with the scenario they’re currently facing.

And props for Bendis, Bachalo and company for setting this book in an relativity new environment seldom used in the Marvel Universe. The plot is nothing new for an X-Men book, but new characters in a newish environment makes it really fresh, and for a fun read, especially for those of us who read the previous volume of Uncanny X-men. Bachalo really goes above and beyond with the background colors of this book, helping to hammer across the alien feel and look of the environment.

A fun read with a new mystery introduced and the possibility of a cast member leaving the book for the foreseeable future, Uncanny has really surpassed All New in terms of quality. It’s another done in one that has me really pleased with the direction this book has taken as of late.

3592047-daredevil_36_coverDaredevil #36

Mark Waid/Chris Samnee/Javier Rodriguez

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages

Page six of the final issue of the third volume of Daredevil may be my favorite page of the year. Oh sure we’re only in February, but Chris Samnee gives me things I didn’t know I wanted, and now am a little sad that I probably won’t be getting again anytime soon.

For the most part, this is another great issue of Daredevil. It looks great, has some clever bits in it, wraps up most of the remaining plot lines of volume 3 and sets things up nicely for the 4th volume of Daredevil (with the same creative team, no worries there.). This status quo is really changed for ol’ Hornhead, and if anyone can pull off what’s in store for DD, it’s Waid, Samnee, and Rodriguez.

I do have a problem with how easily everything was wrapped up with Daredevil’s current opponents though. The 5 page fight scene, while looking great, seems a bit rush from a narrative stand point. I would have preferred the book taking a month off if it meant this book had a few extra pages to work with.

That being said, it’s a solid ending to the 3rd volume of this series. Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, Javier Rodriguez and a few other creative-type folks have been telling some fantastic stories over the past 2 years, and I’m really excited too see what they’ll be doing come volume 4 (even though it’s going to cost a dollar more to do so).

 

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: A Return to Form

DID YOU KNOW: Apartment hunting in New York City is THE PITS FPNYC Faithful.

My personal problems aside, it was a really good week for comics! Shall I give you the details of the goodness? I think I shall!

UNCX2013016-71482-1-15891-300x461Uncanny X-men #16

Brian Michael Bendis/ Chris Bachalo. Tim Townsend and others

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

Several weeks ago, Marvel announced Magneto would be getting his own on-going series in 2014, which means that first volume will be out in time for Days of Future Past. Snark aside, Cullen Bunn was named as the head writer of said series, meaning Brian Michael Bendis and friends would have to write Erik out of Uncanny somehow.

This is the exit issue, and DAMN, it’s a impressive goodbye. An excellent done in one, we get to see Magneto unleashed, lashing his frustrations out on Madipoor, as Bendis resolves a few plot lines while setting up Magneto’s new series. It’s a lot to juggle, but Bendis manages to balance all of the plot lines and the result is arguably the most bad ass Magneto seen in some time.  This is the bar scene from X-Men First Class spread across 20 pages, and the results are glorious.

magneto-1Uncanny is at it’s best when Chris Bachalo is drawing and coloring it, and this issue is no different, if not the best. Bachalo does some really neat things with the classic Magneto wave, even if Mags is look more Walter White than Jack Kirby these days. And his choice for setting scenes with certain colors that dominant each one is a good look. It’s another great issue for this creative team, who seem flawless with these last few stories.

dd35_bgDaredevil #35

Mark Waid/Chris Samnee/Javier Rodriguez

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages

Speaking of flawless, Chris Samnee returns to Daredevil this month, and he’s brought Elektra with him. Elektra is a character I’ve never really cared for when Frank Miller isn’t around, but Samnee draws her with a certain energy and composure that’s so good, it’s hard to not like her. Samnee’s skill doesn’t stop at her though, as there’s an extraordinary display of how Daredevil’s powers work that I’ve attached to show how powerful of a storyteller Samnee is. And with Javier Rodriguez back on colors, this book remains as beautiful as ever.

bsae-1-16-13-11And with this being the next to last issue of Daredevil volume 3,  Mark Waid goes all out with twists, raising the stakes more than ever. There’s also a HUGE shout out to Brian Bendis/Alex Makeev‘s legendary run, that leads to one hell of a cliffhanger. It sets the stage nicely for the upcoming volume 4, which promises a number of changes for Daredevil, all while proving how good this creative team is together.

 

 

 

All-New_X-Men_Vol_1_21_TextlessAll New X-men #21

Brian Michael Bendis/Brandon Peterson/Brent Anderson/Israel Silva

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

Here’s some irony for you. Last issue I slammed ANX for throwing in a guest artist who’s style really didn’t mesh the lead artist on this issue. Here this happens again, and this time it’s wonderful.

In my defense, and with no disrespect to said artist, it’s Brent Anderson this time around, adding another chapter to the legendary X-story “God loves, Man kills.” that ties directly to the story Bendis is telling. It’s a neat flashblack, and having Anderson draw it only makes it cooler to long term X-men fans.

Brandon Peterson handles the rest of the book, and it looks great. A tad dark, but it takes place in one of those secret remote evil bases so that makes sense. He works well with the action heavy script, and overall did a good job filling in for Stuart Immonen.

All New was nothing special this month, but it’s still a solid comic. The current arc’s purpose was to introduce X-23 onto the team and it did just that, nothing more, nothing less. It was a fun little arc, and….it’s back to crossovers next week. Whelp.

 

 

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: Top 5 for 2013 part 1

Happy post-whatever you celebrated/are celebrating “dear” reader. The Santa-man was pretty good to me this year, which was nice because Christmas is expensive y’all.

So yeah, it’s the final week of 2013, and my video game cup run overfloweth. Which means time to crap out one of those best-of lists. I’ve usually done such for action figures and toys, but it’s been a pretty lackluster year for me and toys. Let’s just say that Armored Red Power Ranger was the best toy to drop, kay?

 

2013 for comics however, was great. Super great in fact. I could have easily made this a top 10 and coasted on a list for like 4 weeks. You should expect a runner’s up list at some point though. Because lazy. Anyways, let’s get show on the road.

 

jul1309615) Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake

by Natasha Allegri (Boom Studios) and a whole bunch of rad people.

Boom Studios is doing all-ages comics right with their Cartoon Network/Cartoon Hangover books, successfully merging indie & webcomics talent with popular properties. And honestly, from a quality standpoint Regular Show, Adventure Time or Bravest Warriors could have taken this spot, but I connected with the Fionna & Cake in ways I haven’t with those titles. And given the success of this book and the popularity of Fionna and Cake, I’m probably not the only one.

7dd7fd82a640bbc00cfddffff5c1efa3It’s all thanks to animator Natasha Allegri, who you may know from her recent and super successful Bee and PuppyCat Kickstarter. Aside from creating the pair, she handles writer/artist duties on the main stories in this mini  and her work is phenomenal. Not unlike Saga, her layouts are more like a children’s storybook than a comic books, and the range of emotion she displays in her characters is fantastic. I know saying “So cute!” may sound like I’m doing this book a huge disservice, but I swear it’s not, despite wanting to hug several of the cast member. Just flip through the book and look at the thing Allegri does with Cake the Cat’s expression and form to be amazed. It’s also legitimately hilarious and sweet, a credit to Allegri’s talent.  That’s not to saying that the the back-up comics aren’t also fantastic, it’s just Natasha is playing on a whole different level here with the main plot, which involves a diminutive flame prince, some boys, and evil ice queen and a prince who is both lumpy and from space . The end result is a fantastic bunch of comics, which is a win for everyone.

A simple thing like changing the gender of the cast usually doesn’t end in results like these, but Natasha is damn good, and does more than just tell stories that are all “THEY’RE GIRLS SO LOL BOYS, FLOWERS AND SHIT”. The source material is very progressive and so is this comic, to the surprise of no one I imagine. Which is just another reason why it’s the BEST mini-series in 2013, at least to me.

all-new-x-men-covers4) All New X-men/Uncanny X-men

Brian Michael Bendis, Stuart Immonen, Chris Bachalo and others (Marvel Comics)

On paper, All New X-men sounds like a hot mess (despite the guarantee that X-books will always sell) . Taking the original Kirby/Lee era X-men and dragging them to the modern Marvel era sounds lazy, and at best maybe good for a few issues before the continuity baggage ways the book down. I had my reservations going into this book, aside from the art because Stuart Immonen and Chris Bachalo always delivers.

And then I was proven wrong. So very wrong, and that’s fine, because that’s okay.

UNCANNYXMEN1Teaser_cropWe don’t get New Avengers-era Bendis/Immonen here. It’s Ultimate Spider-Man level quality here, only thing time set in the 616 with the entire X-universe at it’s disposable. Which means heavy on the Kitty Pryde and the snark, which I am so okay with. It means Stuart Immonen being the best at what he does, which is draw the living hell out of the Marvel Universe.  It also means Brian Michael Bendis has a whole bunch of new toys to play which, some of which are the best that Marvel has to offer. It also means we get Uncanny X-men, which sees Chris Bachalo and Bendis take on Cyclops, his renegade X-men and a whole slew of new mutants, and it’s GREAT.

For the most part, Marvel NOW! was a huge success for Marvel by shaking things up creatively. None have benefitted better than the X-men under Bendis, which is true because Hawkeye and Daredevil weren’t rebooted. These books are giant love letters to the likes of Kirby, Claremont, Cockrum, Byrne and a few dudes who have the last name Lee, without being clever rehashes. They’re loud, funny and over-dramatic, like any good X-book. And under Immonen, Bachalo and the occasional guest artist, they’re some of the best looking books coming out from Marvel. They’re a ton a fun to read, and I’m geniunely excited to see where Bendis and company take their characters next.

 

That wraps up part 1. Expect Part 2, aka “The Matt Fraction Power Hour” to go live within a day or 2.

 

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: The one where I met Warren Ellis

photo (8)First and foremost, a big thank you to Warren Ellis for coming out to past Friday (as seen here with my friend Sean). It was the first time in FOREVER since he’s had a signing in NYC, and it was super-great to meet one of my favorite writers. I picked up his Avengers OGN too , so expect to see a review on that quite soon, but today shall be dedicated to what dropped this past Wednesday.

 

 

xme14Uncanny X-men #14

Brian Michael Bendis/ Chris Bachalo

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

Let’s start off this review by noting that the solicit for this issue has nothing to do with what was actually published. And that’s a great thing because this is by far the best issue of Brian Bendis’ run on Uncanny X-men to date. The plot focuses on Benjamin Deeds, one of the new mutants to pop up post-AvX, and Emma Frost, who decides to take the young male under his wing.

At first this book feels like Bendis and Chris Bachalo riffing on “The Graduate”, but that’s slowly disproven once the pair hit up Atlantic City and hijinks ensue. Bendis is on-point with this issue, as we get a ton of development with young Benjamin, fleshing out one of the newest X-men, in addition to getting to see a side of Emma Frost we haven’t gotten to seen in awhile. Bachalo and his plethora of inkers are great as usual, and the training montage in the beginning of the book looks fantastic. This was a strong month for what’s usually the weaker of the 2 Bendis X-books, and I hope this sort of quality sticks around.

Sex Criminals #3

sexcriminals3-coverMatt Fraction/ Chip Zdarsky

Image, $3.50, 20 pages

I always feel a little weird when googling Sex Criminals images….

The third issue of Fraction/Zdarsky’s mature readers only series continues to be a laugh riot from cover to cover, which is exactly what I need from this book. I don’t think there’s another book out there that actually makes me as excited to read both the recap page and the letter column like Sex Criminals does.  That’s not to say the rest of the book is a bore, because that’s not the case at all. Chip and Matt do a fantastic job of telling an all-too human story about sex and dating, despite the crazy time-freezing/sex police plot elements.

Anyone familiar with Fraction’s Casanova series knows that the dude loves music and that sort of passion sometimes bleeds into the narrative. It happens twice in this issue of Sex Criminals, the 2nd time leading to the comics musical number of the year. It’s hilarious and even a little bit sexy thanks to Zdarsky’s amazing art.

I’d probably go as far as to claim Sex Criminals is probably the most emotional comic not called Saga being published these days. This is the comic perfect for 2013, combining indie comic style with mainstream presentation and hype. It’s also probably my favorite book being published thanks to this amazing 3rd issue, so there’s that.

Daredevil  #33

 

Mark Waid/Chris Samnee/Jason Copland

 

$2.99, Marvel, 20 pages

 

Daredevil_33_CoverDaredevil has been going strong for awhile, so when something slips up, it hits twice as hard. Jason Copland, who’s not a bad artist, is certainly not on the same level as Chris Samnee, the guy he’s filling in for, and it certainly shows in this issue. The art doesn’t feel as polished as his work on “Kill All Monsters”, feeling rough and unfinished in some parts. To be fair, it may not be all on Copland, and there could be editorial things factoring in here.

That being said, Mark Waid still continues to be the modern legend we all know him as. The book’s script is fine, and it raises a question or two about the mental state of this post-Shadowland Daredevil, which has been an on and off again subplot ever since Waid relaunched the series.

Again, this isn’t a bad issue, but I’ve been spoiled by the bar Waid, Samnee and Javier Rodriguez have set. So unless you’re a Mike Allred level talent filling in, I’m bound to be disappointed when that level isn’t met.

Longshot_Saves_the_Marvel_Universe_Vol_1_2_TextlessLongshot Saves the Marvel Universe

Christopher Hastings/Jacopo Caramagna

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages

Really wish I knew what was up with my borders getting all messed up with this article.

The 2nd issue of Longshot’s mini, raises the stakes a bit, and it way more action packed than issue 1. Hastings being good at writing cool action pieces is no surprise, given what’s happened over the years with Doctor McNinja, and the book continues to deliver with the trademark over the top humor he’s know for. Caramamagna’s visuals are a treat too, as his art continues to be very fluid, and animated. It’s great to see a self-contained, light-hearted mini series not tied into major events coming out from Marvel, something that’s becoming rarer and rarer over the years.   It’s definitely worth reading if you want a fun read without having to know every bit of detail of a character.

 

 

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I have bought some comi-SHUT UP HAWKEYE’S BACK!

This is where my usually hilarious intro paragraph goes, but I don’t got the time for that today. Hawk-talk time is now!

 

HAWKEYE2012013_COVHawkeye #13

Matt Fraction/ David Aja

Marvel Comics, $2.99, 20 pages

David $%$#ing Aja y’all.

As someone who’s given up drawing some time ago, I can only imagine the frustration that results in reading this issue/series if you want to draw comics for a living. David Aja, who’s almost reinvented himself for this book, returns after a brief hiatus, and shows us why this title won an Eisner and a Harvey for art in the same year. Using 9 panel pages (his idea, as I’ve asked  him as such  on the Twitter), Aja and Fraction finally reveal what Clint Barton’s been up to after the events in issue 9, filling in some the blanks and raising new questions. There’s some emotional stuff going down, as Clint’s life seems to be falling apart around him, due to the choices (both good and bad) that’s he’s made throughout the series.

Matt Fraction also does his share of heavy lifting in a relatively action free issue. His dialogue is pitch perfect, as you can tell his Hawkguy is obviously going through a rough patch, and Clint knows things aren’t going to get better anytime soon. Fraction’s Hawkeye is a very human one, despite rolling with the Avengers and 2 of his super powered exes showing up. Hawkguy’s little corner of the Marvel Universe is very dark right now, and it’s fascinating to see how Clint is going to get himself back on his feet. Marvel’s best book not-named Daredevil continues to amaze, and I cannot stress how great of a read it is.

 

a_x_13_cover_by_davidyardin-d6d1pajA+X #13

Gerry Duggan/David Yardin & Howard Chaykin

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

Once again I’m talking about A+X and once again Cyclops is featured in the title. Look I bought other issues without Cyclops in them. Like 5 of them. So I’m only semi-bias. #prspin

A+X #13 is a weird read, and I mean that in a good way. Instead of there being 2 done in one stories, we get a done in one by the legendary Howard Chaykin, and then the first chapter of a 6 part story by Duggan and Yardin. Duggan’s tale revolves around a really obscure early 2000s Alan Davis (or Claremont. I forget) X-storyline involving Skrulls, and is injected with the humor he’s known for from his current run on Deadpool. He doesn’t shy away from the fact that Cyclops and Cap still hate each other, so if you want to see a story where Cyclops attacks Captain America with a frying pan, this is the book. David Yardin handles the art duties, and it’s not the best drawn book out there, but it’s solid. It’s very Neal Adams’ influenced, and his Cyclops is actually really solid, so I imagine with only improves over time. The 2 enemies forced to work together story is nothing new, but it can be fun when used right. Hopefully this will be one of those stories, because the 1st chapter implies that it has the right tools to be.

The Emma Frost/ Black Widow Chaykin B-story is a little bit risque, and actually super funny at times. It’s weird seeing Chaykin’s art in color after reading Satellite Sam, but Edgar Delgado does some really interesting stuff with it, and I dig it, particularly when it comes to the coloring of Emma and Widow’s lips. Which sounds weird I know, but it really stands outs to me. It’s not an incredibly deep read, but it’s fun, which is all I ask for. Your mileage may vary with this book, but as someone who like the majority if the characters and creators involved, I liked it.

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_13Uncanny X-men #13

Brian Michael Bendis & Chris Bachalo

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

There is a plethora of X-man on X-man violence in this book, and I am okay with this. It means Chris Bachalo can flex some creative muscles and go H.A.M. with the fight scenes, and he does. Big Swords, mutant powers and falling Deadpools make for a great throwdown, and the half-dozen inkers assigned to Bachalo work much better this time around. He’s probably one of the best “Widescreen” artists working in comics now, as his fights scenes are kinetic as hell, especially with Magik in particular.

That’s not to say that Bendis doesn’t contribute anything, because he does, as the last few pages unofficially tie-in both into Age of Ultron and this week’s Superior Spider-Man quite nicely. It leads to a nice little twist, which explains/spoils some stuff that’s been solicited as of late. I’m also really digging of the unexplained “History” related to the future X-men, which will hopefully be delve into more sometime down the line, because these little teases are KILLING me. And once again Bendis and Bachalo end the book with a final page that is beyond badass. Battle of the Atom continues to be everything I love about the X-men crammed into a super fun event.

And that wraps us this Marvel heavy week. Next time, I hope you like creator owned books, because I’m tired of yelling at y’all to support them. That and hell of  a pair debut on Wednesday.

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