Friday, December 22, 2006

Thor Says: The Best of 2006 in Comics v.1

A year of crisis, a year of reboots. And I’m not just talking about my personal life. This is the best year to get back into comics. Continuities are cleaned up; storylines are brassy new, and our heroes learn how to be heroes again. And oh, all Civil War titles will have to be runners-up for now since shipping is always delayed. Heh.

Epic, cinemascope storytelling. Taking root in the universe-spanning Crisis on Infinite Earths and the more recent crime drama Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis redefines taking a plunge with blind Juggernaut momentum. Johns and Jimenez take us from a nuclear detonation in Bludhaven to the imploding Rann galactica to a universe-bending portal powered by Black Adam and Power Girl among others. We might not always get it (instantly) but we are definitely swept away. By the palpable desperation of Superman. By the sheer bravado of the speedsters and the GL corps. By the sacrifice of a teenager in love.

Runners-up CIVIL WAR: Frontline (Marvel), RUNAWAYS: Parental Guidance (Marvel), TEEN TITANS: Titans Around the World (DC)

Best Book 52
A weekly comic by Mark Waid, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Geoff Johns. Cover by J.G. Jones. And there's no hype to live up to. Just writers telling stories and artists sketching the missing year between I.C. and the One Year Later jump all DC titles took before IC wrapped up. What was a gamble is now an extraordinary triumph of affected storytelling. And it lives up to its promise. Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman are not missed. At all. Instead we get to root for C-listers Renee Montoya, The Question, Steel, Booster Gold and Skeets, and almost forgotten fan favorites Animal Man and Adam Strange. And Lobo. The lost in space crew, the Black Adam family, the mysterious Batwoman, and Lex Corp.'s Infinity Inc. are all about to collide next year, and I'm guessing it will soon be time for JSA #1's opening panel World War III.

Runners-up FABLES (Vertigo), THE ULTIMATES 2 (Marvel), ASTONISHING X-MEN (Marvel),
Y: The Last Man (Vertigo)

Best Hero IRON MAN
Because right now, he is both hero and villain and there's no one remotely more interesting in the Marvel Universe than this recovering alcoholic corporate mogul who cannot survive outside his armor. And Iron Man
beating up Captain America, that's the sweetest. Turn around or not at the end of CW, he is the necessary catalyst that is changing the Marvel Universe.


Friday, December 15, 2006


Haven’t posted in a while, been real busy and Thor’s been bugging to catch up on my reading but today is a special day. Forget the deadlines, forget Sentry (the TBP I’ve been reading for two days now) – it’s comics day! Four X-titles were released: two of my favorite series and two limited runs.

X23: Target X
Writers: Kyle and Yost
Art by: Mike Choi and Sonia Oback

“What was X23?”

“She was a weapon.”

X23 was first introduced in Xmen Evolution then she next appeared in Quezada’s NY where she was a mysterious prostituted young woman with hardly any lines. Then came “X23” where Kyle and Yost told the heart wrenching story of her origin. In this limited run, they tell the story of the two years between the destruction of the FACILITY and the time she appeared in New York. The art was AWESOME – very realistic but not in the slutty Greg Land way. There was the obligatory flashback but it was not a cut-and-paste thing – Kyle and Yost added new snippets from X23’s training and how Dr. Sarah Kinney was beginning to care for her “daughter.” The last panel showed who was interrogating X23 and that will make you want to wish for a time machine this Xmas and fast forward to next month. Here’s hoping there’ll be no delays.

New X-Men: Mercury Falling

Writers: Craig Kyle and Chris Yost

Penciler: Paco Medina

“Tell me, is that a genuine emotion?” – Emma Frost to X23

New X-men after M-day has been brutal. Forty of de-powered students murdered in a terrorist attack and three students were assasinated. During the aftermath of M-day, Wolverine called her to come to the Mansion. I think Logan believed that after the tragedy she should not be alone. Emma thought allowing Laura to stay in the Mansion with other kids is a disaster waiting to happen. The new story arch begins with Emma’s doubts. Emma – being the bitch with good intentions - asked X23 to leave but X23 has made friends - she helps eavesdrop on their teachers, she has a crush on Julian, and well, she saved their assess too. She is the closest thing to becoming a teen-ager with the New X-men. In her first “girl-talk-in-a-coffee-shop” experience, true to form, the coffee shop was attacked and blown up by armed men. This has a very interesting twist in the end of the fighting and explosions. I have been told to drop some of my Xmen titles… this will not be one of them

X-men: Phoenix Warsong

Writer: Greg Pak

Pencils: Tyler Kirkham

“My little death machines.” – Emma on the Cuckoos

Cool cover! Zombies! Celeste giving new flesh to the Zombies! Celeste blasting the Zombies! Emma lobotomizing Celeste to block out the Phoenix! Stupid X-men for believing Dr. Sublime’s massive interactive databank of recording powered by an automated response program! Mr. Pak is ruining the story! Still the adrenaline high was worth it.

X-Factor: Multiple Issues

Writer: Peter David

Pencils: Pablo Raimondi

“X-Factor – putting the “fun” in “dysfunctional.” - Rictor

This is my favorite book. Stories about dysfunctional relationships and persons always draw me in (I think that’s why I love listening to Aimee Mann). Also, X-Factor reminds of Angel Investigations which I miss. I have forgotten about Monet, Syrin, Rictor, Guido, Rahne, and Jaime before I picked up this new run. They have always been practically second stringers – rarely taking the spotlight in the X-men titles until Peter David. David adding Layla Miller to the mix was genius.

Issue 14 does not have a single panel of heroes fighting their arch enemies (The few panels where Monet was hitting Jaime because a duplicate seduced her a few nights before while Jaime slept with Syrin don't count. Oh and by the way, I would hit him too.) There were three pages of male-bonding in a bar, four pages of Guido explaining to the wife of the man he killed that he was used by the Singularity, three pages of Jaime talking to a shrink…. You get the picture but the dialogue was priceless (especially the male-bonding part).

The art is better too – the coloring still maintains the feel and character of the book but the pencils are far better.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

52 Week Thirty

52 #30
Written by Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid; Breakdowns by Keith Giffen; Art by various; Backup features by Waid and various; Covers by J.G. Jones

The Ah-Hah: First, a moment of silence for this week's Ginebra bilog-inspired cover.


Batwoman: I'm Batwoman.
Nightwing: Definitely not a Batgirl.

Heh. The Bat Family takes center stage, and it's a stage filled with Bat flirting and hornyness. This time we meet a self-conscious Batwoman who knows her ass is being watched by Buttwing while she kicked, um, assess; quite far from the grim Batdyke that Montoya knows. The Bat banter hasn't been this fun me get back to you on that.

And now for the good, sad part. Charlie really is dying. I'm still hoping for an ex machina stunt here because I love this guy. I love the Question and Montoya tandem. They are my heroes of the year. In the middle of all the Bat madness is a quiet slice of consciously restrained writing. Much like a sigh.

The Uh-huh: Batman has gone Bat crazy after IC and appears to have successfully killed his inner batness, which doesn't really amount to anything because we all know what happens one year later. And we all know that he IS psycho anyway. Quite unnecessary, but still nice to know. ****