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Posts Tagged ‘Green Valley’

The Stack-6/14 & 6/21/17

In new books, reviews on June 22, 2017 at 11:49 pm

Bah-weep-Graaaaagnah wheep ni ni bong, everybody! So yeah, you COULD go and see YET ANOTHER pandering, garbled mess of a Transformers movie this weekend, OR you can hear me out for a minute and learn about all of the amazing comic books that came out recently, and spend your hard-earned energon on those instead, thus making the world a better place. If Transformers 5 had a poor showing at the box office, perhaps Hollywood would get the message that we’re tired of formulaic shit. With comics sales on the rise, perhaps we’ll just continue to get more of them, and their creators won’t need to rely on Patreon to make ends meet. Some win-win food for thought, free of charge.

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Let’s start with last week’s books, which I failed to cover in a timely fashion because, despite having played every single Persona game, I am still terrible at time management. More accurately, the little time I had left after playing Persona 5 for far too long was not managed well. I am merely mortal, folks, and my hobbies are many. Okay, before this goes from digression to full blown video game review, let’s get to the comics.

Cinema Purgatorio #10 (Alan Moore, Kevin O’Neill, Garth Ennis, Raulo Caceres, Max Brooks, Gabriel Andrade, Keiron Gillen, Nahuel Lopez, Christos Gage, Kurt Hathaway-Avatar Press): Look, I know the arguments. Many of you have Alan Moore burnout. They just announced a Watchmen reboot TV show. You’re tired of his name being used as comic book cool kid currency. Perhaps you don’t like just how often sexual assault shows up in his work. Just bear with me for a moment, and trust in your old pal Jared. He won’t steer you wrong, even when he talks in the third person like a total wanker. This book is REALLY good. All of the work in it is strong, and it contains one of my favorite Moore stories, which goes right up there with Promethea and Miracleman. We see from the point of view of the main character that they are trapped in a purgatory consisting of an old movie house, one which shows films that are familiar, but also bizarre. Moore uses this as his platform to dissect the malicious underbelly of Hollywood and other studios responsible for the cartoons, movies, and news reels of yesteryear. This latest installment is pure inspired brilliance. In it we’re subjected to a children’s film starring precocious, sleuthing scamps who, appropriately enough, are investigating a cursed cinema. The kids’ aunt mentions that movies played there skip, are missing frames, and that sometimes a hair will get caught in the gate of the projector. Soon after, those things happen to the very film these kids are IN, only from their perspective that manifests as time jumps and an otherworldly centipede demon. Things go from innocence to horror so quickly that it is genuinely jarring. You can say a lot about Alan Moore, but you cannot say that he has lost his ability to layer a unique story, and deliver it with real impact.

Winnebago Graveyard #1 (Steve Niles, Alison Sampson, Stephane Paitreau, Aditya Bidikar-Image): Steve Niles is one of comicdom’s great horror writers, responsible for fan favorites like 30 Days of Night and Criminal Macabre. In his latest, a miniseries about a family taking a road trip that goes horribly awry, he combines some of the great horror movie tropes like creepy carnivals and small town death cults into something uniquely unnerving. What really makes it all gel so well is the sketchy, atmospheric look of Alison Sampson’s artwork. I keep paging through and finding new details.

Secret Empire #4 (Nick Spencer, Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, Sunny Gho, Rod Reis, Joshua Cassara, Rachelle Rosenberg, VC’s Travis Lanham-Marvel): Just a quick word or two on this issue. There is some new, messed-up fusion of Hank Pym and Ultron that lives in Alaska, and it is my new favorite thing in the Marvel Universe. That is all.

Green Valley #9 (Max Landis, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cliff Rathburn, Jean-Francois Beaulieu, Pat Brosseau-Image): The exploits of the Knights of Kelodia come to an end in this oversized final issue, and it’s a surprisingly happy end for our heroes, having overcome a time-travelling criminal from the future and his pet dinosaurs. I’m eager to see more from everyone involved with this title. It was a beautifully constructed little crowd pleaser.

Bug! The Adventures of Forager #2 (Lee Allred, Michael Allred, Laura Allred, Nate Piekos of Blambot-DC/Young Animal): The Allred family are unique in the comics world for many reasons, but after reading another issue of Bug! two things stand out most to me: They have a genuine reverence for the classics, and they communicate that love with a carefree, adventurous spirit that you can’t help but smile at. If I didn’t hate garbage words like ‘wholesome’ so much, I’d use it to describe this. It’s fun but never too cheesy. It’s like your dad showing you his comic collection, if your dad had a brief flirtation with psychedelics and a proper love of Jack Kirby. Set in World War Two, this month’s journey has appearances from The Losers, Sandman, Blue Beetle, and lots of abominable snowmen.

Bitch Planet Triple Feature #1 (Cheryl Lynn Eaton, Maria Fröhlich, Andrew Aydin, Joanna Estep, Conley Lyons, Craig Yeung, Marco D’Alfonso-Image): One thing I believe that we need a lot more of in comics are rebellious political voices. I mean that. Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro’s Bitch Planet has been leading the charge, telling the story of a prison planet exclusively for women who will not submit to the will of men, and doing it with a middle finger planted firmly in your face the whole time. The Triple Feature lets some other creative teams add to this world, showing what perceived transgressions can get a woman, in an already bad set of circumstances, with the deck stacked against her, arrested, banished, and confined. Each tale is disturbingly familiar, but ends in a defiant awakening for the main character. And just like in the core title, there are some really thought-provoking essays included at the end.

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Moving on to the current week. It just MIGHT be my favorite of 2017 so far. It was a magical rainbow of genre, tone, and nudity, like a swinger party sponsored by Skittles. Now that that awkward simile is out of my system, let’s take a look at the highlights.

Shirtless Bear-Fighter #1 (Jody Leheup, Sebastian Girner, Nil Vendrell, Mike Spicer, Dave Lanphear-Image): The following sentence is entirely true: This comic book is about a man with a huge dong who loves flapjacks and punching bears. If that doesn’t sell you on the book, I don’t think anything will. Inspired lunacy in the spirit of recent Image greats like Chew and God Hates Astronauts.

Nick Fury #3 (James Robinson, Aco, Hugo Petrus, Rachelle Rosenberg, Travis Lanham-Marvel): This book is an absolute work of art. I obsessively study each issue, because they are a perfect storm of story and art, form and flash. It’s a straightforward spy thriller at its core, but that simple framework allows the penciller, inker, and colorist to craft a mesmerizing sensory overload on each page. It’s bold, and it’s enchanting, like the man himself.

Royal City #4 (Jeff Lemire, Steve Wands-Image): This was a gut punch right in the feels. If you too are a struggling creative person who bailed on your hometown as soon as you possibly could, and are now staring down the barrel of forty, trying to formulate a plan for your third act, you will probably weep like a baby after reading this.

God Country #6 (Donny Cates, Geoff Shaw, Jason Wordie, Dee Cunniffe, John J. Hill-Image): Speaking of crying, in this final issue Donny Cates and company totally stick the landing in this tale of fathers and sons and giant magic swords. It beautifully conveys how precious and brief human lives are, and how they transcend and become immortal through story and memory, though not in a saccharine way. These characters are Texas boys, after all.

The Mighty Thor #20 (Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, Matthew Wilson, Valerio Schiti, Veronica Gandini, VC’s Joe Sabino-Marvel): Now let’s stop being mopey and move on to– ah crap, time for more crying. SPOILERS Jane, trying to explain herself to the Odinson, collapses on the ground, possibly succumbing at last to her cancer, and it occurs just as the realm of Nidavellir is attacked, with Muspelheim Firefly Riders burning a camp of elf refugees. Volstagg of the Warriors Three has children with him during the attack, and they die in his arms. In a daze, he goes to Old Asgard and discovers the hammer of Ultimate Thor, calling to him. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new War Thor. SHIT IS ON.

Plastic #3 (Doug Wagner, Daniel Hillyard, Laura Martin, Ed Dukeshire-Image): Okay, we need to have a brief discussion about this book, since we’re in Downerland at the moment. I think it may have crossed a line. I know how that sounds. It is, after all, a book about a guy brutally killing others who have wronged his sex doll. But wow, there is some absolutely repugnant sexual assault in this issue. And while the woman involved survives it, and even asks to join Edwyn on his bloody quest for revenge, it just feels like too much. It feels lurid, and too easily dismissed. If you’ve read it too and want to exchange notes, please do so, because this one really bugs me.

Crosswind #1 (Cat Staggs, Gail Simone, Simon Bowland-Image): And that brings us to Gail Simone’s newest book, in what I’m ashamed to say is my worst segue ever. It too involves a woman who, while not physically attacked, is harassed and belittled to the point where it will fill you with rage just reading about it. But then the twist hits, and you get the suspicion that all this is building to what can only be described as Grade A motherfucking comeuppance. SPOILERS It would appear that this browbeaten housewife has just switched bodies with a man so stone cold that he shot his childhood friend dead just to keep his boss happy. It’s the ‘Freaky Friday’ body swap trope, but I’m completely confident that there’s much more in store than just a couple of fish out of water.

Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #1 (Chip Zdarsky, Adam Kubert, Jordie Bellaire-Marvel): Let’s end back on a fun and silly note, shall we? Cool. So even if you only possess a passing knowledge of modern Marvel comics, you know that there are a buttload of Spider-People running around, including multiple versions of Spider-Man. Among them of course is the original Peter Parker, primarily over in The Amazing Spider-Man. That’s where all the drama happens, and that’s fine, but too often it feels like something is missing. That something is Spidey’s trademark wisecracks, quips, and put downs. Where did they go? Fear not, because Chip Zdarsky is here with a new Spectacular title, chock full of web-swinging and joke-slinging, and plenty of verbal and physical sparring with folks like The Human Torch, Ant-Man, and Ironheart. It’s goofy and gleeful, and I suspect it is exactly what folks will be looking for after going to see Homecoming next month.

Okay, it’s time for me to shoosh my face and get some sleep. Thanks for reading comics, and for reading this. Feel free to comment, share, and follow me on various social media spots at the links below. Don’t forget to support your local shops, be good, and I’ll see you crazy kids in seven.

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The Stack-3/8/17

In new books on March 9, 2017 at 8:31 pm

. . . Aaaaaaaaaaand I’m back!

Sorry to all three of my regular readers, but i sorely needed a vacation. Not from comics, mind you, but from day-to-day life in general. Sometimes you lose perspective, and get in a rut so deep that your wheels just spin without purpose, and you angrily kick up mud at everything around you, losing any interest in forward momentum. Yep, according to my lazy-ass metaphor, sometimes you turn into a jeep.

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And you watch helplessly as your leader heroically drives off to his doom.

But now it’s time to get back to the things I love, hopefully with some renewed purpose and enthusiasm. First I’d like to quickly touch on a few of the more noteworthy books I missed in the last two weeks. I feel kind of guilty, taking my already brief one-paragraph nonsense and chopping it into rapid-fire nuggets (I’m capable of long form reviews, I swear), but since I’m not getting paid for this and you’re all probably just skimming it anyway, we’ll zip right past my insecurities and get the hell on with it.

Letter 44 #30 (Charles Soule, Alberto Jiménez Alburquerque, Dan Jackson, Crank!-Oni Press): The human race tries to put on a brave face and go out with some dignity, and we witness the inevitable heroic sacrifice. NO, I’m not crying. There’s something in my eye. Shut up.

Clean Room #16 (Gail Simone, Walter Geovani, Quinton Winter, Todd Klein, Jenny Frison-DC/Vertigo): It’s on like Donkey Kong. Demonic forces have infiltrated our world, and are ready to push humanity over the edge. Astrid and her organization are mobilizing, ready to kick said demonic forces in the taint.

The Old Guard #1 (Greg Rucka, Leandro Fernández, Daniela Miwa, Jodi Wynne-Image): Four weary immortals offer their services as mercenaries and get tricked into revealing their nature. This one’s off to a very promising start.

Savage Things #1 (Justin Jordan, Ibrahim Moustafa, Jordan Boyd, Josh Reed, John Paul Leon-DC/Vertigo): Children with sociopathic traits are recruited by an organization within the United States to be remorseless killers that will be unleashed on the nation’s enemies. What could possibly go wrong?

Royal City #1 (Jeff Lemire, Steve Wands-Image): The story of a dysfunctional family, the city they grew up in, and the loss that has manifested itself in different ways. I love the feel of this comic, and the way Lemire tells its story. I hope it sticks around for the long haul.

DC Rebirth update: I have read a few more titles in this new lineup recently, and I find I’m still not connecting with any of this stuff. At this point I’m honestly not sure if I’m just bringing in weird preconceived notion baggage, or if these books are really just mostly stale and bland throwbacks, but either way it’s not for me. I never want to be one of those people who dismisses a whole publisher’s worth of books for no reason (I still won’t touch Zenescope, who proudly just slap big ol’ titties on public domain fairy tales and call it a day, but I consider that sort of lazy exploitation a good reason), so I’ll still give one a read here and there, but in my opinion the really worthwhile comics in their arsenal are over at Vertigo and Young Animal.

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Redline #1 (Neal Holman, Clayton McCormack, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Crank!-Oni Press): I have no doubt only become MORE persnickety over the years about the execution of narrative, feeling that the HOW of storytelling makes all the difference when it seems like that old chestnut about there only being three (or maybe seven) basic stories is mostly true. So it was exciting to see this Science Fiction story approach its subject matter almost entirely from the point of view of a few US military agents stationed on Mars (ostensibly as a peacekeeping force). The exposition is as much in the repartee and shit-talking between Coyle and his team as it is in the art team’s gritty visuals. It comes across, speaking in the inevitable TV and movie comparisons, like Generation Kill meets Aliens, keeping us as entertained as we are intrigued.

Green Valley #6 (Max Landis, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cliff Rathburn, Jean-Francois Beaulieu, Pat Brosseau-Image): The issue where Max Landis essentially points out how dumb the plot to Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits is.

The Wicked + The Divine #27 (Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, Clayton Cowles, Dee Cunniffe-Image): This issue contains a very interesting experiment using eight-panel pages and color coding on those panels to differentiate scene breaks. I want to see more of this, please. Also, Dionysus tries to battle The Great Darkness with a series of experimental raves, because OF COURSE he does.

Copperhead #11 (Jay Faerber, Drew Moss, Ron Riley, Thomas Mauer, Scott Godlewski-Image): It has returned! Co-creator Scott Godlewski has passed the art torch to Drew Moss for now, who does a great job filling those big, Budroxifinicus-sized shoes. Speaking of everyone’s favorite wiseass, he drops a significant bomb on everyone at the conclusion of this issue.

Jessica Jones #6 (Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos, Matt Hollingsworth, VC’s Cory Petit, David Mack-Marvel): Man is this issue good! I really don’t know why people give Bendis so much shit–He keeps proving how adept he is at superhero storytelling, whether it’s dialogue, action, or drama, and the end to this first arc showcases that perfectly. AND it starts off with a flashback where Jessica (then known as Jewel) beats down Doctor Octopus and tells him that he has no dick, so there’s that. One of Marvel’s best right now.

I think that about wraps things up for this week. Join me next time, when there will be a new Bitch Planet, Kill or Be Killed, Manifest Destiny, God Country, Head Lopper, Injection, Spider-Man, The Mighty Thor, Ether, Batwoman (Oh yeah, I DID like that one), The Wild Storm, and more! In addition, I feel it’s time to drop a piece about working the retailer side of things, too, so keep an eye out for that.

Thanks for reading, and comment below so I don’t feel so alone in this world!

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And Happy Birthday, Freddie Prinze, Jr.!

The Stack-2/8/17

In new books on February 9, 2017 at 11:16 am

It’s weird out there, folks. Not in a good way. Not in the way that Austin, Texas is known for. Not in the way that club kids or Burners enjoy. No, more like when there’s a black storm on the periphery of your town, and you feel dread in your guts. You know that fucker wants to come for you, and throw tornadoes at the ground, making unidentifiable detritus of everything you know and love. Weird like THAT.

I know, I know. I’m here for comic book reviews, and I just pooped darkness onto this post before it even had a chance to begin. But stay with me. In times like these, you need some solace or you’ll go mad. Here’s where the comics come in. Reading them voraciously, drinking in every beautiful panel–it’s a weekly ritual that helps to keep me from getting too close to the precipice. I don’t COMPLETELY have my head up my ass; obviously the support and love I get from those close to me is the what means the most. But my books, along with the myriad other hobbies I engage in, come in a close second. They connect me to all of these people outside of my immediate sphere, people who have big ideas, and stories to share, and images in their heads that they needed to get onto paper.

Having unburdened myself of that, let’s get to the weekly highlights.

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Green Valley #5 (Max Landis, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cliff Rathburn, Jean-Francois Beaulieu, Pat Brosseau-Image): This is a comic I’ve been raving about since its first issue, and the primary reason for that is how well it doles out its mysteries. It always messes with your expectations, even the ones it worked to establish in previous installments. There’s plenty more of that this month, along with an amazing dinosaur battle (the tension and excitement created is wonderful; Max is not at all afraid to truly jeopardize his characters), and the musical stylings of 80s sensation and singer-songwriter Eddie Money.

Alters #4 (Paul Jenkins, Leila Leiz, Tamra Bonvillain, Ryane Hill, Brian Stelfreeze-Aftershock): This issue feels like a true crystallized mission statement. Charlie, newly transitioned from male to female and from human to superhuman, is starting to connect with a community that understands and supports those changes, and it has given her the courage to come out to the world as Chalice in a television broadcast. She assuages fears, takes down the haters, and offers up her powers in the service of anyone out there who needs a hero. Then, of course, the baddies show up and threaten to undo it all.

The Wicked + The Divine #26 (Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, Clayton Cowles, Dee Cunniffe-Image): The gods have made themselves known to the world again, and now the Great Darkness follows, threatening to destroy everything. It’s time to unleash the superpowers… for SOME of the Pantheon. This isn’t The Avengers, and things just aren’t that simple. What we’re seeing is a collection of capricious deities in the bodies of very flawed, very conflicted mortals. Some want to fight, some want to study the enemy further before taking action, and some just want anarchy. Despite what prophecies might say, sometimes your champions just do not give a shit.

Jessica Jones #5 (Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos, Matt Hollingsworth, VC’s Cory Petit, David Mack, Jay Fosgitt-Marvel): And now we get to the jaw-dropper of the week. One thing I adore about the genre of Detective Fiction is the escalation factor. It always begins with a case, and quickly swells into conflicts and conspiracy WAY beyond the protagonist’s wheelhouse. That’s precisely what we have here, and it involves a recent, massive crossover event in the Marvel universe. It also threatens to turn Jessica against her superhero friends. A big nod to this art team is in order, too; they convey noir atmosphere on each and every page.

Okay, I started dark, so let’s head to the light. Let’s spread the word about all the good things we still enjoy, whether they’re comic books or not. Let’s encourage the creative people who make it possible, and put some money in their pockets for all of their hard work (I’m looking at YOU, pirates). And as always, let’s get it from local shops unless we have no other option. Thanks for reading.

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FUCK the bozos!