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Posts Tagged ‘Invincible Iron Man’

The Stack-5/17+5/10 & FCBD

In new books, rants, reviews on May 19, 2017 at 12:12 am

It’s been a whole damn month, but I’m back, I’m tipsy, and I have OH so much to share with you from Free Comic Book Day up to this week’s picks. Strap on your crash helmets and pull up your Gallagher (TM) brand plastic tarps, and let’s get messy.

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That other week in comics: Holy shitballs Free Comic Book Day was awesome, the Allred clan serves up some quality quirk, and I continue smooching Image’s butt like they’re sending me original pages from The Maxx. But first, let us pay our respects to a tragically co-opted character:

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You’re in a better place now. One where Richard Spencer can’t get you.

Here comes the Free Comic Book Lightning Round!

Secret Empire/Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man (Nick Spencer, Andrea Sorrentino, VC’s Travis Lanham, Chip Zdarsky, Paulo Siqueira, Walden Wong, Cam Smith, Jay Leisten, Frank D’Armata-Marvel): The book’s first half, with haunting, gorgeously designed visuals, will no doubt split readers into two camps: those who think Nick Spencer and Marvel are trolling them, and those who come away with the realization that Mjolnir’s most terrifying aspect (and this has been beautifully extrapolated upon courtesy of Jason Aaron and the various Thor books of the last few years) is that ironclad conviction can be perceived as worthiness, and thus leads both good AND evil to power. But enough of that heavy stuff. Let’s talk about how Chip Zdarsky was born to write Peter Parker, and how this book’s Vulture zingers are the proof of that. Love the bold kineticism from the art team, too. There, we talked about it.

I Hate Image (Skottie Young, Jean-Francois Beaulieu, Nate Piekos-Image): Gert from I Hate Fairyland goes on a murderous rampage through Bitch Planet, Saga, The Walking Dead, Spawn, Paper Girls, and more, poking fun along the way. It is the greatest and I love it. I love it into little bitty widdle pieces.

X-O Manowar/Secret Weapons/Bloodshot Salvation (Matt Kindt, Cafu, Andrew Dalhouse, Dave Sharpe, Eric Heisserer, Raúl Allén, Patricia Martín, David Lafuente, Jeff Lemire, Juan José Ryp, Simon Bowland-Valiant): Like the whole Valiant line in general, not a bad one in the bunch, whether it’s watching a barbarian stab aliens, a young woman talk to birds, or nanites trying to understand human memories.

Boom! Studios 2017 Summer Blast (David Petersen, Sam Sykes, Selina Espiritu, Sarah Stern, Jim Campbell, Liz Prince, Amanda Kirk, Hannah Fisher-Boom!): All ages fun galore, from the always-amazing fantasy adventure of Mouse Guard to the manga-inspired culinary silliness of Brave Chef Brianna to the musical, Wawa hoagie-worshipping high jinks of Coady and the Creepies.

Big Brass Balls Award 2017 goes to:

Spongebob Freestyle Funnies, for dropping some truth about our dysfunctional relationship with Diamond Distribution. Savage.

Moving on to the picks of last week:

Bug! The Adventures of Forager #1 (Lee Allred, Michael Allred, Laura Allred, Nate Piekos-DC Young Animal): So this is what happens when the zany creator of classics like Madman gets his whole family involved with cherished characters from the mind of the one and only Jack Kirby. You get trippy dream worlds, jokes about Camus, all kinds of pop culture references, and the sort of high-energy heroics that are worthy of the source material. Young Animal does it again. Two antennae up.

The Fix #9 (Nick Spencer, Steve Lieber, Ryan Hill, Ironbark-Image): This comic consistently makes me literally (yes, I’m using it correctly here; If you mean figuratively, then fucking SAY figuratively) laugh out loud, and that is something that few books can do. Johnny the Homicidal Maniac did it. Dork did it. Now this does. There’s meth jokes and granny innuendo jokes and Hollywood jokes and BDSM jokes and it all lands every time. Oh, and there’s a cute dog. So you can always buy it for that.

Regression #1 (Cullen Bunn, Danny Luckert, Marie Enger-Image): I needed some more gross-out horror in my life. No, wait, that isn’t true at all. I don’t need it. I just like it. Because of chemical imbalances and an adolescence spent watching Troma films. Anyway, Regression delivers on that end, delving into the creepy world of hypnotherapy and past lives, and doing so with an art team that can deftly juxtapose bros at a cookout with bugs shooting out of corpses. Grab the popcorn!

Shade the Changing Girl #8 (Cecil Castellucci, Marley Zarcone, Ande Parks, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Saida Temofonte-DC Young Animal): The soul of an alien poet, set loose among the grimdark bustle of Gotham. This creative team has done something truly special, and they have more than earned the right to continue the Shade story. This is something that we’ll all be coming back to decipher, years down the road. It’s your teenage shadow talking to you, through that wild place inside that you rarely visit anymore.

Black Cloud #2 (Jason Latour, Ivan Brandon, Greg Hinkle, Matt Wilson, Dee Cunniffe, Aditya Bidikar-Image): There was some blowback on the first issue of this one, with cries of ‘too impenetrable’ rising above the usual critical din. Me, I love a good mystery, and I especially love when a story unfolds organically, without a visit from the condescending Exposition Fairy. This issue drops lots of hints through the dialogue, like the characters don’t even care that there’s an audience present, trying desperately to piece together their dilemma. I like that. Your mileage may vary. Bonus points for mocking Trump’s stupid red MAGA hats.

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Now then, THIS week in comics: Marvel cements those new legacy characters in place with feels, DC finally gives us some follow through on Geoff Johns and his nutty Watchmen idea, and #teammargaret gets a big old PLOT TWIST (cue air horn). But first, I just want to give a shout to my main man Rahzzah, who has two new and kick-ass covers out this week:

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Invincible Iron Man #7 (Brian Michael Bendis, Stefano Caselli, Marte Gracia, VC’s Clayton Cowles-Marvel): At last the cold, hard truth gets addressed: Riri is a kid, and has nearly zero experience fighting super villains. Her mind is elsewhere when she runs into Will O’ The Wisp, and she gets knocked out, saved only by the swift intervention of the Tony Stark AI. Now please understand, I love this book, but I’m hoping we soon see one of the supporting characters step in and just say what we’re all thinking: It is GROSSLY negligent to let this young woman act as Iron Man. Genius-level intellect is great, but it won’t help much when the punching starts. She has her whole life ahead of her, and Secret Empire is right up in her grill, and it won’t end well without better planning and a LOT more training. Do it, Bendis.

The Wild Storm #4 (Warren Ellis, Jon Davis-Hunt, Steve Buccellato, Simon Bowland-DC): Sure, there’s a lot going on in this issue, what with all the Covert Action Team stuff and the shooty and the boom-boom. But let’s fast-forward to Weatherman. He arrives on his space station and proceeds to dress down every subordinate within earshot, and it is just Ellis at his cranky best. The banter between he and Ms. Pennington is reminiscent of Spider Jerusalem and his ‘filthy assistants’ from the deservedly praised Transmetropolitan. And the art is just goddamn majestic. This crew makes the man-made downright picturesque.

Curse Words #5 (Charles Soule, Ryan Browne, Michael Garland, Michael Parkinson, Chris Crank-Image): Here we go. Wizord versus Ruby Stitch. The battle rages over Las Vegas, and our hero taps into the power of luck to recharge the magical batteries, so that he can. . . um. . . SPOILERS animate a fake Eiffel Tower. Yeah. That goes about as well as you’re thinking. Meanwhile, in flashback, we discover the scandalous truth about Margaret: she’s the daughter of these two, and for some reason none of them recall this fact. Ruby relents when Wizord concedes, and Sizzajee cuts her loose. So much drama! In pretty much unrelated news, the awesome Van Tour for this comic will NOT be coming to my shop, and it makes me incredibly sad. If you’re near any of the stops this Summer, do yourself a favor and check it out. It will be magical and beardy!

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #20 (Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi, Travis Lanham-Marvel): So Melissa Morbeck has devices that allow her to control animals, and is using them to frame Colleen while also framing Doctor Doom. It’s a villain scheme, so naturally it’s unnecessarily complex and therefore full of opportunities for thwarting. Guess what? That is exactly what happens. You knew that was going to happen, but think of how much we learned along the way. We found out that freshwater snail parasites kill a LOT of people, that there is a squirrel in New York named Li’l Busta, that helicopters are super noisy, and that EMPs make sounds when required by the drama of a story. Beat THAT, Bill Nye!

The Wicked + The Divine 455 (Kieron Gillen, André Araújo, Matthew Wilson, Clayton Cowles, Dee Cunniffe-Image): Kieron asks a lot of his audience. You have to know all this stuff about gods and mythology, and then all this other stuff about pop stars and usually some obscure Britpop junk, and NOW he wants you to recall your Roman history. Jeez, dude. Remember Julius Caesar? Well, according to the conceit of this comic, he’s actually Lucifer, and he wants nothing less than to deny his destiny and be the Emperor of Rome. It does not end well for him. Don’t worry, Ananke will fix it, and keep the history books just the way we remember them. You know, IF we had read them, and not doodled phalluses in them instead.

Quick news update: This November, DC is going to release Doomsday Clock, which will tell the story that Geoff Johns initially envisioned about the role that the Watchmen play in this newly reborn universe. If it is true that it is stand-alone, was inspired by the current zeitgeist, and gives us more than the recent lenticular Flashfest known as ‘The Button’ did, then I’ll gladly pick it up. Though it’s Alan Moore blasphemy of the highest order, I’m curious to see what Johns has in mind, and what it says about the ‘grim and gritty’ era finally meeting its maker at this particular publisher. To be continued.

Well, I hope that somewhat made up for my extended absence. As always, thank you for reading, and for reading this blog. You can follow my silly ass on Twitter at @rabbit11comics , and on Instagram at rabbit11comics. Feel free to comment and share, be sure to support your local shops, be good, and I’ll see you in seven.

No, seriously. This will be weekly again.

 

 

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The Stack-4/19/17

In new books, rants, reviews on April 20, 2017 at 11:16 am

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This week in comics: Event season approaches (so that we can all complain about fatigue instead of just, I don’t know, NOT BUYING THOSE BOOKS), Warren Ellis hits us with his writing stick twice in one week, and Image launches some dark number ones (that Garth Ennis kind of dark). But first, I need to clear something up in the new Cave Carson, since it’s all pixelated out:

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Really? You’re going to censor some wang? In a MATURE READERS book? Can we please get past this Puritanical fear of nudity, particularly the double standard of male nudity?

This was a monster Wednesday, not just in terms of quantity, but also quality. I cannot remember the last time I tore through a stack with such ecstatic abandon AND felt so satisfied at the conclusion. This is the week that you should take your family member or friend who is on the fence about comics to your local shop, give them the grand tour, put a floppy in their hands that aligns with their interests, and expand our ranks with fresh blood gently coax them into a lifelong love affair with the medium.

Injection #12 (Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey, Jordie Bellaire, Fonografiks-Image): The mighty Warren Ellis has a unique skill set in the world of comics, and this is one of those titles where he employs every last razor-sharp tool in his kit. There’s a big, mad idea, wrapped in a teased-out mystery, populated with haggard reimagined archetypes who do not suffer fools gladly, demanding sandwiches and spitting cruel, dry humor as they get down to the business of crafting the future. Brigid Roth is investigating a bizarre stone ring out on a Cornish moor, and its link to the faery world. In this issue there is a genuinely creepy exchange between her and a local professor, as well as a jar containing what could be the sorcerous penis of Rasputin. Enjoy.

The Wild Storm #3 (Warren Ellis, Jon Davis-Hunt, Steve Buccellato, Simon Bowland-DC): There’s a wonderful synergy that can be achieved between the typically dichotomous. You can go on about theoretical science and corporate espionage, and still get in action sequences that blow your damn doors off, and Ellis has been able to achieve this when paired with artists up to the challenge, giants like John Cassaday, Bryan Hitch, and now Jon Davis-Hunt (fresh off of the sadly cancelled Clean Room). Things go boom and ratatattat, but we also get a brilliant four page sequence (featuring a much beloved character from Authority) showing a curious young woman apparently traveling from place to place via electronic screens on devices like phones and billboards. I love the way Ellis is weaving together his version of the Wildstorm universe, and these twenty four issues will go by way too fast.

Letter 44 #32 (Charles Soule, Langdon Foss, Dan Jackson, Crank!-Oni Press): Telling a story about alien life is an enormously difficult task, which I suppose is why so many stories just make them essentially humans that are a different color or part insect or something. Charles Soule is up to the challenge of making his visitors something beyond that in Letter 44: tentacled, featureless beings responsible for entire galaxies of techno-organic creation, with behavior, drives, and hubris that is immediately recognizable, so that we may see just enough of ourselves in them to empathize with their plight. We finally see the event that led to everything in this series, crafted with such mind-melting detail and color that I truly believe that this issue needs some awards heaped upon it.

God Country #4 (Donny Cates, Geoff Shaw, Jason Wordie, John J. Hill-Image): Emmett has taken his huge talking sword and charged into an aspect of Hell in order to rescue his granddaughter from Balegrim, a powerful being who wants the sword returned to his father. Meanwhile, his son and his daughter-in-law, besieged by the undead, have the kind of argument about faith you can only have when confronted with the impossible. This book is raw emotion and southern swagger, and it is going to not only put Donny Cates on the map, it is going to add a new country to it, adjacent to Jason Aaron’s, I would think.

Redneck #1 (Donny Cates, Lisandro Estherren, Dee Cunniffe, Joe Sabrino-Image): It’s a Donny Cates double feature! What we have here is a family of restless vampires, laying low on the outskirts of an east Texas town, doing a poor job of avoiding getting hunted by the local god-fearing populace. What really made this stand out, apart from Lisandro Estherren’s gritty, brooding artwork, is the turn it takes at the end, communicating the panic one experiences when they get blind drunk and wake to discover that they have torn their life down, and have no recollection of it whatsoever. This one is going to be quite a ride.

Black Hammer #8 (Jeff Lemire, Dean Ormston, Dave Stewart, Todd Klein-Dark Horse): This issue is just jam-packed with tragedy. There are lots of folks out there who are fond of the whole ‘comics will break your heart’ quote, and this right here is a prime example of a story doing just that (though that old chestnut is more about things like creators getting shit on, and how stigmatized the medium is, even to this day). Gail continues to reflect and break down, Lucy investigates the mystery around the town of Rockwood, Mark continues his flirtations, and the ending . . . HOLY SHIT the ending.

Plastic #1 (Doug Wagner, Daniel Hillyard, Laura Martin, Ed Dukeshire-Image): Sometimes a comic comes along and immediately achieves a certain infamy. You will lend it to your friends as a dare, something to test their limits and talk about later. This is one of those comics. It is SO fucked up. If you too are attracted to things of that sort, I highly recommend getting a copy.

Invincible Iron Man #6 (Brian Michael Bendis, Stefano Caselli, Marte Gracia, VC’s Clayton Cowles-Marvel): Perhaps up to this point you’re still not sure if you are interested in Riri Williams, the super-genius teen who is stepping into Tony Stark’s rocket-powered shoes. I’ll tell you right now, after this issue, you will adore her. You know, unless you’re some hateful, stuck-in-the-past grognard. The way she views Tony’s collection of armor with total fangirl reverence, her banter with everyone around her, her desire to genuinely do good in the world . . . if you don’t connect with that, why the hell are you reading superhero comics in the first place? Also in this issue: The Bendis finally addresses what is to become of Latveria now that Doom has abandoned it, and the Champions make an offer.

Royal City #2 (Jeff Lemire, Steve Wands-Image): Apparently it’s the Warren Ellis, Donny Cates, AND Jeff Lemire double feature this week! Getting back to recommending books to people you know-If someone in your life is addicted to TV dramas, THIS is the book you give them. There’s tons of family tension, a crumbling marriage, debt to local criminals that gets someone roughed up, dealing with middle age and burnout, and just a hint of metaphysical mystery to chew on and speculate about. AND a mixtape list, for all us aging hipsters, as well as the fact that it’s only on issue two, and thus easy to catch up on.

Fighting the ol’ OCD beast can be a challenge for most comic book readers, but it’s a fight worth participating in, and I’ll gladly tell you why, free of charge.

In this blog I have a tendency to dump all over collectors, and collectibles. My point of view is simple: Comic books are an interactive storytelling experience, so to merely regard them as art objects or sources of revenue is crass and hurtful. To attain things merely to attain them, to just engage in an empty Capitalist ritual, is no way to live one’s life. Don’t just give in to being a completionist. Don’t fill in a run of books just to have a complete run. If you don’t like where a story is going, or what is happening to the characters, or you feel that the current roster of creators are a bunch of hacks, then just STOP BUYING THAT BOOK. Fight the urge. Send a clearer impression to your local retailers and the publishers. You vote with your dollar. There’s a giant pool of talent and ideas out there, and our comics should be good ones, so support those that are, and help give the axe to those that are lacking.

I bring this up again and again not only because I constantly see these bad habits, or because people tend to talk a good game about improving the comic book landscape but then let great works die from poor sales, but also because it’s event time again. This week saw the release of Marvel’s Secret Empire #0, and the Batman/Flash Watchmen button crossover with its (FACEPALM) lenticular variant cover, and there’s more stuff like this in the pipe. Now I’ve read these, and actually enjoyed them, but they aren’t essential. Fans love to whine and bitch about ‘event fatigue’, but no one is making you participate. We know the deal by now: There will be core books and spin-offs and crossovers, all built around some neat idea that cannot possibly be sustained throughout this many titles. If you’re not interested, or if you don’t want to move outside of your current list of weeklies, then don’t feel pressured to buy them. Simple. Writers have become quite adept at the unenviable and difficult task of writing a story that stays within its own borders while also massaging in the event material. You’ll be just fine, I assure you.

Well, that’s all for now. Feel free to share my ramblings with others, comment and share your picks, and as always, thank you for reading, and for reading this. Be good, support your local brick and mortar shops, and I’ll see you in seven.

The Stack-1/18/17

In new books on January 19, 2017 at 1:34 pm

Two weird comics things cross my mind as I type this: I get nervous whenever it feels like the 90s are creeping back in, and right now it must really seem like I have a strong anti-Rebirth bias going on. Allow me to briefly address this.

So the 90s thing. Some of you may be too young to remember, or weren’t into comics back then, but the 90s almost killed the comics business. To oversimplify, I’ll just say that there was a shift toward gimmicky collectability. Every new book had to have a ton of variant covers, and these covers were often foil-embossed or encased in a special polybag. Everything was marketed as a collector’s item, one that’s sure to increase in value (even though we printed millions of them) in no time flat. People who saw comics as an investment swooped in. Home shopping networks got in on the insanity. A bubble formed, and soon popped. Companies went belly-up. Marvel had to sell off movie rights to avoid sinking. It was a dark time, and I never want to see it happen again. So yeah, when I see Image doing 25th anniversary variants in that same style I chuckle, but it’s a nervous chuckle. When I see Valiant comics with send-away variant coupons tucked inside, my eyes roll so hard that the sockets sigh. PLEASE, comic book industry: let’s not do this shit all over again.

Now, a few words about DC’s Rebirth. The entire conceit behind this relaunch did not exactly fill me with confidence from the start. I’m not big on taking steps backward. I really fucking despise nostalgia. I don’t want any ‘good ol’ days’ crap. I don’t need it. The past is what it was, and we’re eternally in the present, where things are always changing, always moving forward. It shouldn’t be a scary prospect; it should be EXCITING. That’s what I want in my comics. Show me something new, bring in a new perspective–just EXCITE ME again. I don’t want to live in a feedback loop where each successive iteration has a slightly more pungent degradation to it. Is that what Rebirth actually IS? I can’t say that it is, entirely. I’ve tried a few of the titles so far: The Rebirth Special, All-Star Batman, Batman, and The Hellblazer. I am a fan of the creators involved, but these really did nothing for me. Still, in the interest of fairness, now that the first trade paperbacks are arriving, I’ll be trying a bunch more to see if any stand out. Top of the list is Rucka’s Wonder Woman, and I’ve heard good things about Green Arrow. I’m looking forward to the new Batwoman, too. So expect a follow up, and maybe, JUST MAYBE, some Rebirth stuff will get added to the stack.

And now, on to this week’s Wednesday warrior treasure trove:

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Curse Words #1 (Charles Soule, Ryan Browne, Jordan Boyd, Michael Parkinson, Chris Crank, Shawn Depasquale-Image): I’ve been eagerly anticipating this book since I was fortunate enough to get an ashcan edition of it last year at the Retailer Summit. This is a story about a badass wizard that is sent to our world to prepare it for the coming of a dark overlord named Sizzajee. What happens instead is that the wizard falls in love with how free we are, and decides to be a spellcaster-for-hire while flirting with being a good guy for once in his life. There are of course hefty repercussions. I have absolutely no idea if this is true at all, but Curse Words feels like Ryan Browne, known for zany, free-form comics like God Hates Astronauts, took lawyer (no, seriously) and writer Charles Soule out for beer and convinced him to take a step sideways from things like Letter 44 and just get magically twisted. And now, thanks to that collaboration (however it actually happened), we have talking koala bears (#teammargaret), pop stars who want to literally go platinum, and hogtaurs. If that isn’t worth four bucks a month, I don’t know what is.

Invincible Iron Man #3 (Brian Michael Bendis, Stefano Caselli, Marte Gracia, VC’s Clayton Cowles-Marvel): The torch has been passed to Riri Williams, and now it’s time for the ladies to be in charge. Control of Stark’s company has been given to his birth mother, Amanda Armstrong, and she plans on doing all she can to improve the world, backed up by Mary Jane and Friday, the AI construct. Showing Riri the ropes of the often deadly world of superhero-ing is none other than Pepper Potts, though she may be a little too late. The haters can keep on hating, become the truth is that this book is awesome. If you truly don’t understand the importance of legacy in superhero fiction, perhaps it’s time to move on to something else. I just now tried to come up with an example of something exceptionally boring and consistent, but I can’t. Life is change. The sooner we all accept that, the better.

Black Hammer Giant-Sized Annual (Jeff Lemire, Dean Ormston, Nate Powell, Dave Stewart, Matt Kindt, Sharlene Kindt, Dustin Nguyen, Ray Fawkes, Emi Lenox, Michael Allred, Todd Klein-Dark Horse): Colonel Weird is without a doubt one of the most tragic figures in comic books today, and this annual is all about another of his mind-bending journeys through the Para-Zone, where he encounters a strange entity that has touched the lives of every member of his team at some point. Featuring stories by an impressive lineup of art luminaries, it manages to be beautifully heartbreaking in that way that only stories about being helpless in the presence of fate can be.

Kill or Be Killed #5 (Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Elizabeth Breitweiser-Image): Speaking of fate, it is also the narrative throughline of this issue as well. Dylan continues down the path of murderous vigilante, trying to justify his actions as he prepares for each new target, springing to action when a heartless white-collar criminal serendipitously crosses paths with him. It all goes pear-shaped in a hurry, and he suddenly realizes, “The world is nothing but chaos… and chaos will fuck us all eventually”. Poetry. As is Sean Phillips’s art on… well, EVERYTHING he does. I’m constantly fascinated with his line work, and use of shadow. It’s like he’s simply recording these events in the world’s most impressive sketchbook.

Generation Zero #6 (Fred Van Lente, Diego Bernard, Javier Pulido, Andrew Dalhouse, David Baron, Dave Sharpe-Valiant): I have really been digging what Van Lente has been doing in this book. There’s a sort of junior A-Team vibe with psiots who escaped from the corporate forces looking to exploit their powers. There’s a little bit of The Prisoner in the way this mysterious town of Rook is presented, with its Cornermen and mind-control beverages. Despite me using those reference points, the book really has coalesced into its own thing, and it’s deeply intriguing and still a lot of fun. Observations that I had about this issue: Gamete, the psychic fetus who controls the body of her brain-dead mother, is just about the most unsettling character I’ve ever seen. That psychotic, wide-eyed stare freaks me out every time I see it. Bonus points for the Settlers of Catan reference. I love the Heroscape idea, and how it gives an opportunity to explore other art styles and genres within the pages of what is at its core a superhero comic.

That wraps things up for now. As always, feel free to share your thoughts and picks in the comments, and make sure you support your local shop.