End of an Era

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By the time this is posted, I will have read Action Comics 1000. However, by the time of writing this we are a day away. I have already voiced my opinions on Brian Michael Bendis and his unfortunate control over the entire Superman family. That said, as this new era for Superman begins I would like to look back at some of my favorite Superman stories of all time. I doubt that anything out of Bendis’ run comes close to challenging this list, but I might be surprised. I probably won’t. With that said, here we go.

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All Star Superman

This book is quite literally the best Superman book ever published and can challenge for best comic of all time. The animated movie failed to hit the mark (mostly because they cut 6 chapters of the book out entirely. It also is incredibly hard to translate Frank Quietly’s art into film. That isn’t really any fault of the film. This book is a master piece, that can’t really get its message across outside of the comic. That makes this book all the better. Look I could spend all day writing about this book. I really could, but give it a read for yourself if you haven’t. If you have, maybe read it once more to remind yourself the standards Bendis has in front of him.

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Action Comics 775

The inspiration for Superman vs the Elite, a surprisingly good adaption of the story. This book answers the age old question, why shouldn’t Superman kill? While several decades old at this point, the book is still relevant today. Especially with the likes of Man of Steel, Dawn of Justice, and Justice League mucking up the collective conscious of the character. This book shows us what happens if Superman does cross that line. Needless to say, it isn’t a pretty picture. Unlike the films, this book does a 180 and shows that all of this was masterfully choreographed to show why Superman does what he does. Why he is what he is. This book brings about one of my favorite things about Superman. He is inspired by people. While the non powered society looks at him as the beacon of hope, he sees that beacon right back at us. That is why he protects us. And that is why he doesn’t cross that line. A truly beautiful story.

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Superman Birthright

This book absolutely deserves to be in the running for best Superman story. It tops All Star as best on several of my friend’s list.  While this book is fantastic in its own right, it is what it does different that sets it apart from the rest. Much of the Superman mythos is defined by Jor El. It wasn’t until Birthright that Lara achieved the same level of reverence that Jor gets. Turning is mom from a spectator into a bad ass in her own right. Truly something that should have done decades ago.

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The Final Days of Superman

A new entry onto the list, and one that has now been written out with the Superman Reborn plotline. This book came out at the right time. Just before Rebirth, Superman was made the most relevant he ever was during the New 52. He was plagued by bad writing, and inconsistent approaches. Yet Peter Tomasi knew what he wanted to do, and made a modern day All Star. Any story that has Superman die apparently has to be made into film, and an animated adaptation of this is on its way already. This story is full of heart, character, and emotion. After years of languishing as a character, Tomasi finally gave him his own voice and readied readers for better times to come. I am still sad to see him go. He is almost single handedly responsible for the multiple years of success.

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Kingdom Come

This story is famous for a lot of reasons. It ended the 90’s hyper extremism. It is another fabulous book by Mark Waid. It is impeccably crafted by Alex Ross. It also asks the question of what happens in a world with Superman. What happens if he just gives up. That answer is nothing good. This book explores Clark as he attempts to come to sense with the changing world. It demonstrates just what Superman means to the world, and manages to do so without killing him. I always point this book out to people who like an ‘edgier Superman’. This is as close as you get, and he still never once crosses the line. This book is just a masterpiece from top to bottom. Especially good, as it showcases an insane amount of DC’s pantheon of heroes.

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My Top 10 Comic Couples

Inspired by the fantastic relationship that is being portrayed by Big Barda and Scott Free in Tom King and Mitch Gerads amazing Miracle Man run is my favorite comic couples. Also, another plug, if you like comics, you should be reading it. There are several favorite couples in comic books books. Everyone has a different one. To be clear, these are couples that are either hinted at, have happened, or interest presented in comic book form. These aren’t ships as much as they are the couples I love to see most. One of them will venture into ship territory, but I feel justified in the choice (stay tuned for that). Additionally a few characters will show up in multiple different relationships. I hope this will make sense for you all once you actually see them.

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10. Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne

There is a lot to unpack with this relationship. Hank is famous for slapping his wife, and there were a ton more images of abuse on the web than their were of them being a happy couple. I am not here to defend abusers, or suggest that the couple was wrong in splitting up. Quite the contrary, I love this couple because they split up. Both are founding members of the Avengers and their relationship was a shining point in the initial Avengers run. You had this sweet super couple between two people with the technology to shrink. This later expanded as Pym graduated to Giant Man (he changes identities a lot). Yet overtime, Hank became more and more obsessed with his work. Eventually Pym inhales chemicals that give him schizophrenia. The pair marry in the 70’s. After being suspended of duty by Cap, Hank eventually strikes Jan in a fit of rage. This leads to the couple divorcing and Hank being expelled from the Avengers. And here lies Hank’s greatest failure. His marriage. It was not the creation of Ultron, it was the dissolution of his marriage. Janet represents Hank’s bearing. Without her, he quite frankly is nothing. She is his lightning rod, and only after she left, could Hank realize that. Janet made the right choice. Yet Hank isn’t a monster that many people generally consider him to be, he’s a brilliant man who doesn’t have anything. Reed as family and Stark has wealth. Pym, arguably a greater mind than both of them has nothing. He could save the world, but without Jan at his side he is nothing more than a broken man. In case 300 words didn’t make it apparent. I love Hank Pym. Top 3 favorite Marvel characters.

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9. Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon

There are two dominant loves in Dick Grayson’s life. Babs and Koriand’r (referred to as Starfire from here on out). While I like the Teen Titans, and I grew up and loved the animated show, The first couple is still my preferred relationship for Grayson. The orphaned ward of Bruce Wayne and the brilliant daughter of GCPD Chief Jim Gordon. Both donned a mask early on in their lives, and were forever thrust into Batman’s endless war on crime. Yet while Bruce sought solace in beating more criminals, the pair eventually found companionship with themselves. This only grew after the events of the Killing Joke. As Barbara embraced her new roll as Oracle, and kept constant vigil over the Knights of Gotham. This couple, as well as Bab’s paralysis have been undone since the beginning of the New 52. Replacing the love with melancholy and a bit of animosity. Fortunately Gail Simone gave us the wedding we all deserved in her Convergance book. So at least we have that.

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8. Oliver Queen and Dinah Lance

Why wouldn’t this show up on a top 10 couple list? This arguably should be further on the list, but it didn’t quite cut it with the competition. What else is there to say? Ollie and Dinah are perfect for each other, and despite barely interacting in the New 52. Ben Percy and Otto Schmidt rekindled their spark in Rebirth. One of the headlining plots in their run on Green Arrow is the deep love that the characters have for each other, and how that love was as intense on day one. They love each other, despite often not finding reasons to love themselves. They help each other get past their own issues and make them that much stronger together. They have had their fair shares of ups and downs. Yet through it all, they always come back together.

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7. Tim Drake and Stephanie Brown

One of the 90’s greatest power couples. Most kids growing up in the 90’s immediately found a connection with Tim Drake’s Robin. I was no exception. His budding romance with the Spoiler, captured my young heart. The couple stuck together through some of the worst moments in Gotham, like No Mans Land. Eventually Tim supported Steph through her pregnancy (Tim was not the father), and helped her come to the decision to put the baby up for adoption. The couple drifted apart, largely due to Steph faking her death in War Games. Yet the spark always remains. Steph was absent most of the New 52 (as was Tim’s personality). Yet recent events in James Tynion’s Detective Comics have revitalized that romantic spark. While the couple is currently on the rocks, they clearly care about each other.

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6. Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince

This is a shout out to the threads plotted in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. Both series’ showed off mutual attraction for one another. A smart move since Clark has Lois (I hate Clark and Diana, spoiler, that couple isn’t on the list). It not only helped serve as some character growth for the both of them, but also made for some humorous situations. Diana’s naivety paired well with Bruce’s surly attitude. The episode, ‘This Little Piggy’ should leave no one without at least a small support for this relationship, as Bruce turns Gotham upside down looking for Diana (she was transformed into a pig). Despite being utter filler, it is incredibly sweet and solidified this couple in my head from a young age.

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5. Bruce and Selina

Yes, the first duplicate character showing up. How do you not love this duo? Especially with Tom King’s run on the characters, and their impending marriage. They have shared a dangerous attraction with each other for several decades now. One of the best stories showcasing their relationship was Hush, which is a masterpiece in its own right. Selina has always tread the line between good and bad, but always trends towards good when paired with Bruce. Tom King plays their relationship as a mutual partnership. They need each other to keep going. They love each other, while recognizing that they are equally hard to love. The couple always drifts away from each other. Sometimes it is due to Selina and sometimes it is because Bruce. While I am sure the couple won’t stay married for long, I will love every single second that they are together.

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4. Ted Kord and Barbara Gordon

This is a personal favorite of mine. Ted is my absolute favorite hero and my comic book idol. Barbara Gordon is the greatest Batgirl and one of my all time favorite heroes. They had an unlikely flirtation throughout the original Birds of Prey run. Both figuring out each others secret identities because they are smarty pants. When they became close, the couple naturally broke it off. Babs has always had Nightwing, listed above. They have a great deal in common, and would have made a very cute couple. For Ted, it remained unrequited. Barbara stuck around as his friend long after the rest of the hero community wrote him off as a joke. The last time we see this couple mentioned, is in the panel above. From Countdown to Infinite Crisis #1. If you haven’t read it, make sure you do. It’ll make you fall in love with Ted and break your heart.

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3. Archie Andrews and Veronica Lodge

Yes, this is my preferred ship for Riverdale’s lovable goof ball. Sure Betty is generally considered to be the better pair, but I don’t like him with the girl next door type. Having him step out of his shell and explore the often hilarious life of the fabulously wealthy. This always puts him in the cross hairs of Hiram Lodge, which make the Archie experience all the more enjoyable. Mark Waid’s seminal run on the title has only fleshed out Veronica more. Changing her from haughty heiress to down to Earth girl. Sure she is still very rich. Yet she is a much more relate-able character. One that I fell for, when I never had thought of Veronica in that way before. In the arc that introduces Cheryl Blossom we see Veronica show off all the good she learned from Archie and the gang. Call it perfect writing and great characterization. This book is one of my all time favorite books, and this is one of the reasons why. I have seen the first season of Riverdale, and somehow I got through it. I don’t intend on watching it again. This opinion is 100% formed by the comic books.

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2. Jean Grey and Scott Summers

I am a 90’s kid. Thus X-Men is deeply ingrained in my being. From the abundance of comic books (and so many shoulder pads). To the animated series, and the excellent theme song that accompanied it. What struck with me most of all of them was Scott and Jean. I always loved Cyclops. Still do. He is hands down my favorite Marvel character. I also have always have, and always will hate Wolverine. So this works not only to make a point for my favorite couple, but helps me debunk Jean and Wolverine. I will not spend this article defending Scott. He is a bit of a scoundrel, and I agree with none of it. But when I picture Jean or Scott, I always picture them together. That is how I choose to see them, and if Scott doesn’t have Jean in his life, Scott is always lesser to me. Also the fact that Scott exists as a hollow shell without Jean in so many different mediums, just shows his dedication to her. Why does Scott have to suffer so much? Can’t we just let him have something?

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1. Lois and Clark

Duh? Do I really need to explain this? They are the poster child for greatest comic book couple. The addition of Jonathan has only changed their dynamic for the better. Long live the Super-Family!

Ravingnerd’s Best of 2017: Best Reads

My nightly festivities got in the way of me getting this post out Yesterday, so you’ll have to figure out the best reads of 2017 today instead. I will be focused on individual series’ and not characters nor specific issues. Some have performed so well they have landed on the list with just a few issues. I have already spoken about several of these series’ in recent posts, so several of these should not be a surprise. So here we go!

There will be mild spoilers sprinkled throughout, so Black Alert is up!

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10. Super Sons was one of the longest awaited books of Rebirth. We sadly had to wait more than 6 months after Rebirth’s launch, until just after the first of the year, to get this book. Needless to say, this book has been every bit as good as we thought it would be. What isn’t to love? A team up with the lovable Jonathan Kent and almost as lovable Damian Wayne. What could go wrong? Well nothing really. Jonathan has the powers of Superman while Damian is a little jerk who is up for anything. This book is very similar to Tomasi’s Superman story. It features the perfect balance of light hearted humor and fun to add into the action. It helps that Damian and Jonathan balance each other out very well. Jorge Jimenez’ art is perfect for capturing the raw energy that both Sons’ have and it often feels like they could burst off the page.

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9. Grass Kings was Matt Kindt’s latest attempt to prove to the comic industry that he is one of the best writers in comics. Period. Together, with fantastic water colors from Tyler Jenkins, Matt is able to do what he does best. Write a compelling and fascinating mystery. Kindt’s name needs to be up there with Brubaker as one of the greatest mystery writers in all of comics. Books like Super Spy and Red Handed are some of the most brilliant reads out there. This time around, we get a newer kind of mystery from him. The Grass Kingdom is a land unto itself. It appears to exist outside of Federal jurisdiction, or at least that is how they operate. This, of course, hasn’t gone over with others. Including the villainous sheriff of the next county. The mystery in this book is three fold. What is the mystery behind the Grass Kingdom, why does it feel off? Who is responsible for the string of murders that have plagued the land for a decade? Biggest of all, who are we supposed to really trust? If you are looking for a thrilling and beautiful read, this is the perfect book for you.

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8. Star Trek: Mirror Broken is an odd duck as far as Star Wars comics goes. I generally shy away from IDW’s Trek line, as it normally bothers me more than anything else. This book, however, does not. Mirror Broken, as the name suggests, is set in Star Trek’s Mirror Universe. Seen in the shows throughout the series in TOS, DS9, and Enterprise. There is an established time line that details the fall of the Terran Empire (it’s fine, they were pretty terrible). Mirror Broken shows us the TNG crew for the first time in the Mirror Universe. Believe it or not, none of them are particularly likable. Noticeable differences include Borg augmented Data, Barkley with a spine, and a psychotic Wesley Crusher (no he still isn’t likable. Scott and David Tipton helm the book better than they have some of their previous Trek books, and the interiors by JK Woodward are nothing to scoff at. This is absolutely worth the read for Trek fan out there. We also get to see Captain Jellico, and even in the Mirror Universe, I just love him.

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7. X-O Manowar is easily the best book that you are not reading. Matt Kindt has taken the flagship Valiant property and turned it into a space opera epic for the generation. It Aric, Vandal with alien super armor. Has turned his back on Earth and his suit. Instead leading a simple life as a farmer on a foreign planet. When war comes, he is conscripted to fight. Yet he quickly realizes that he is in an army of ‘undesirables’ and that his unit is designed to fight until they die. The higher ups have no interest in their survival. It is up to Aric to not only win the day for his squad, but save as many people as he can. Heroes never seem to be able to escape being heroes, do they? The art by Tomas Giorello is also stunningly perfect. It is dynamic, and his wide shots of the alien landscapes range from beautiful to terrifying. This book should have made a lot more waves than it did, but you are hearing it from me. It is awesome. Valiant has also followed this up with Ninja K, another spin on one of their classic super heroes. With their feature film debut close at hand, these books should be must reads for anyone who is excited to see Valiant in film.

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6. Superman has been one of the best books on the shelf period. Peter J Tomasi is the hero we need, not the one we deserve. Having written almost 2 and a half years of the best Superman you could ever imagine. His secret? Having fun! Sure things can get dark, but he is always able to bring things back. Case in point with his “Road Trip” arc from early in the year. After dealing with Manchester Black in a very dark and serious arc before, the Kent family could really use a rest. And that is exactly what they got. Yet instead of flying, Clark decided to do things a little more by the book. He rented an RV. The 3 issue story arc features the Kent’s going to various different monuments and historical markers, and interacting with people along the way. Central to the story is Clark teaching Jonathan to be a good, kind person. It may sound odd to say, but I think the best Superman stories are the ones that don’t feature big, all out brawls. It is the ones that focus on the underlying humanity Clark has. It is why stories like Injustice and Batman VS Superman are so hard for me to get behind.

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5. Doomsday Clock. Do I really need to say more? The long awaited resolution to the Rebirth premise is finally at hand. Only 2 issues in, the story is more glorious than anyone could have imagined. Rather than deep diving into the Watchmen/DC Crossover, we take things a step back and find out how things have been going in the Watchmen universe. Not well. Rorschach’s journal told the world the truth of Ozymandias’ deeds, and united the world against him. Sadly, this also brought back the animosity between nations that Adrian had desperately been trying to avoid. We get a chance to see several fan favorite characters again plus the addition of a few new ones. The story has yet to really get going, but Geoff Johns knows what he is doing. What makes this series exceptional is Gary Frank’s art. Instead of relying on modern comic art methods, Frank is doing things differently. Gone are the overdone splash pages, or large comic images, and in its place are traditional 9 panels. This does not diminish Frank’s gorgeous art at all, it instills it. Every single frame can be poured over, and new readings will find new insights. Plus the classic feel to the book, is the perfect presentation for the Watchmen event we have all been waiting for. I know there are several people out there burned out on Watchmen due either to the film, Before Watchmen, or any number of other things. If you are one of those people, I get it. I was too. But the opening of this series should have everything you need to get you hooked in seconds. Trust me, and take the plunge.

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4. Batman by Tom King has been an interesting book to figure out. At the start of its launch, it just seemed off. While everyone was positively abuzz about King taking over the title. Yet the book released to an underwhelming presence. In comparison to the other fantastic launches the rest of the Rebirth line had, Batman got lost. Yet 2017 is truly the year of Tom King. With his story arc “The War of Jokes and Riddles” and “Super Friends”, King has successfully made Batman one of the hottest books on he shelf again. Featuring the brilliance Mikel Janin on art, the War of Jokes and Riddles was the Batman epic of the year. Focusing on an untold story from early in Batman’s tenure, similar to Scott Snyder’s year zero. Joker, who is unable to laugh, is desperately trying to find something ‘funny’. On the other side is the Riddler, who’s motives are to kill Batman, thus answering the ultimate Riddle. In the process the villains of Gotham draw a line down the middle, and enter into a messy and bloody conflict. The messy conflict sees Batman do something we don’t normally see him do. There are a number of surprises and fantastic moments sprinkled in across the way that I won’t spoil. Tom King follows this dramatic and dark story arc with one of the most fun two part stories I have ever read. In “Superfriends” Clark, Lois, Bruce, and Selina go on a double date. The issue is to delightful to spoil, so go get on it.

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3. Archie’s “Over the Edge” and “Heart of Riverdale” broke my heart this year, and deserves a high spot on this list. Mark Waid has a way of weaving comedy and tragedy into the same book, and has never shied away from pulling any emotion punches with this book. These arcs cranked those emotions up to a ten. I after nearly every issue I was left devastated and near tears. Yet this wasn’t due just to the darkness and tragedy that Waid just threw in my face. It was also due to how well he was writing the characters. They were as devastated as I. Yet how did they handle these dilemma’s? They bought guns to appease their vengeance. Just kidding! If you wanted that, go watch Riverdale. As for me, I will stick to the heartwarming melancholy that I get on a monthly basis from this book. Pete Woods’ art highlighted the energy and emotion of the Over the Edge arc. Audrey Mok took over for the Heart of Riverdale arc, and here sweet and personal style is perfectly suited for the subject material. Warning before you read, not everyone makes it out of this one alright. So bring tissues.

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2. Batman: White Knight by Sean Murphy is easily the second best book of the year. Originally slated as the 4th arc of Scott Snyder’s All Star Batman, DC wisely gave Murphy free reign of this book. Set in an alternate universe, where the Joker eventually goes sane. As Jack Napier, he not only sees the lunacy of his actions, but the havoc that Batman has reeked across Gotham. He sets out trying to not only fix the broken and corrupt political system of the city, but to stop Batman himself. With Alfred clinging for life with an illness that Bruce cannot cure, he has gotten more and more savage. This story helps beg the question, what is Batman without Alfred? If the death of his parents broke an 8 year old Bruce, what would the death of his caretaker, friend, mentor, and surrogate parent do to him? The answer is nothing good. On top of this brilliant premise is the twist that has propelled the 3 issues of the series out so far so high up this list. There are two Harley Quinn’s. The original Harley is Harleen Qunizell, who legitimately fell in love with Jack (Joker) and was driven away at the height of his madness. Taking his place is a manic woman obsessed with Joker’s madness. The original wears her jumpsuit she debuted in, while the new favors a look more like her appearance in Suicide Squad. As a reader the devolution of Harley in comics has long been a point of contention with me. Seeing my issues with the character addressed so quickly and effortlessly was not something I had expected, but I loved it. This book still has another 5 issues to go, and Sean Murphy has barely cracked the surface of what he is going to do.

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1.  Mister Miracle is without a doubt, the best series of the year, and is Tom King and Mitch Gerads at their finest. This series clocks in at just 5 issues of its 12 issue run, and has been a smash hit since day one. The story so far sees the titular hero thrust into a war between the New Gods and the forces of Darkseid. While it is made clear early on that absolutely nothing is at it seems, the curtain has yet to be pulled back to reveal the full extent of what is happening. The war has taken several turns so far, including the death of High Father. This has led to Orion becoming the new leader of New Genesis. Most recently he ordered the death of Mister Miracle under the accusation that he was corrupted by the Anti Life Equation (he may be, we don’t know). The book has managed to nail down a very dramatic and action packed story, and sneak in brilliant moments of comedy and heartwarming tenderness as well. Something Tom King has proven very deft at. Gerads art is a credit to this book. Able to pull off a captivating and brilliant read every issue, while also making things fuzzy enough to make the reader confused an unnerved. This is well worth a pick up if you haven’t gotten to read it yet.

Top of the Stack

Hey everyone! This post is delayed mostly because there really weren’t that many great books that came out this week. Normally I could go on and on about books like Action and Detective, but they both had sub par issues this week. I figure there is enough negativity in the world right now, so I won’t critique these books. Instead I will focus the few books this week that I liked. So with that done, I’ll get to it!

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Mister Miracle #5

This book is hands down the best book on the shelf. Period. Tom King is able to embrace the bombastic and wild style that Jack Kirby brought to his books. In doing so, he is able to nail down the New Gods in a way few have since their creation. Mitch Gerads art is also perfect for the book. Able to make a page feel warm, yet unsettling. Heart warming, yet creepy. By sticking close to a 9 panel per page layout, the book has a classic feel to it which helps to add to both the overall enjoyment. Additionally it helps him sow seeds of distress that remind the readers that there is something sinister we haven’t seen yet. This issue is the best of the series so far. I have longed to get an issue that is just Scott and Barda exploring their relationship, and we get it in this one. I have long loved their love for each other, and this issue has it all. It has Barda, who is as strong as Wonder Woman, be more vulnerable then we have ever seen her. She spends the book with a smile on her face, but a heavy heart. The execution of Scott weighing heavy on her mind. Scott is much more relaxed, and seemingly at peace with the decision. We see them spend the last two days together. They do everything from enjoy a carnival, to eating at a diner, and some creative love scenes. With the book far from issue 12, we knew Scott wasn’t headed for the chair this early. The issues conclusion left one of the most dangerous women in the universe on a quest to protect her husband from a neurotic Orion. Yet sadly, I have to wait another 30 days to read the next part of it.

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Port of Earth #2

I am a sucker for a good sci fi story, and this is one of them. The story follows an Earth that made contact with an alien consortium in the not so distant future. The aliens were not after peace, or war, or anything like that. They needed an intergalactic gas station. Their ships are powered by water, and Earth has an abundant supply of it. So an agreement was made. They give us some advanced tech while we let their ships fill up. Not enough to hurt the environment, just enough to get them to the next stop. The story is set several years after this bureaucratic first contact.  The story follows two agents of the Earth Security Agency. Tasked to guard the facility from unauthorized humans, or escaping alien entities. This issue picks up with them hot in pursuit of an escaped alien. A powerful being from a race the humans have not had the displeasure of meeting. Zack Kaplan is weaving threads of sci-fi, action, and alien horror. All excellently drawn by Andrea Mutti. If the story keeps up this way, Image will have another hit on its hands. I am hoping that this book finds an audience, as it truly is one of the best Science Fiction stories I have read in a long time.

Sadly, that’s about it for this week. I hope you will check these books out, if you haven’t  already. In the mean time, what are you reading?

On The Stack

It’s Wednesday, and before I get my stack of new books, I’m here to detail the best books of the week before.

5. Ghost Rider #1 was a rather brilliant book, I have already sung the praises of this first issue, and will let you read it here. That being said, it was definitely one of the best things from last weeks stack.

4. Aquaman #29 continues what writer Jeff Parker has been doing with Aquaman. When Johns left it was easy to thing Aquaman could fall by the wayside, and become a forgettable title. Yet Jeff Parker has managed to spin an impressive yarn about a more human Aquaman ever since stepping in. It is a thrill to see, and this issue proves that Parker has a lot more going on.

3. The Wake #7 made me realize I missed the book since the last issue. Murphey’s art stole the show, as we see our characters caught by the villainous government. What’s fascinating about this book is once the plot shifted, it feels like the government and people are the bad guys. The Merfolk are no longer the primary villains, though they are there. I am excited and fascinated to see where this book goes as it heads towards its conclusion 3 issues from now.

2. Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion #6. Rogues Rebellion was the tie in that could. While much of Forever Evil has been stellar, the Rouges centered limited series was the best tie in of the bunch. It perfectly grasped the concept of the Rogues, and seeing them embark on their own small heroic journey of sorts was excellent. Seeing where they go without Captain Cold and Heatwave (who’s dead?) will be interesting. Seeing if Mirror Master can continue to lead the team will be fascinating as well.

1. Afterlife with Archie #4 was one of the most emotional books I have ever read. In just a few short pages, we are forced to feel immense sorrow as Archie not only loses his dog (who has heartbreaking internal dialogue) but also as he realizes that he can’t save everyone. This book continues to thrill at every turn, and this issue made the book feel all the more real.

In other news, I was extremely underwhelmed by Silver Surfer #1. The art was excellent, but the story was forgettable and slow. I hope it can pick up from a poor first issue, as I need to see Allred’s art on a monthly basis.

Until the next time,

Rn

Live and Let Die

Now that I’ve spent some time covering why all I got out of reading and blogging, lets discuss some current events. Today’s topic in particular are the announced titles being cancelled from DC and the impending launches to go with it.

We already knew that Teen Titans was getting scrubbed, yet there was more shocking news of cancellations to go along with that. The most shocking and perhaps most horrifying to comic fans is the cancellation of Nightwing. One of DC’s most consistent and better sold books, something is definitely going on with the character to drive the cancellation of his book. Either he’s changing face and name to try to protect himself after Forever Evil or he isn’t making it out of Forever Evil (but I’ll discuss more on that at a later date).

The other books were predictable. Both Stormwatch and Suicide Squad had been given new creative teams to avert looming cancellation. Unfortunately for them, the quality of each just wasn’t enough (even though the recent Suicide Squad has been sensational). Superman Unchained too seems to be getting ended all too soon.

What’s more important is the titles taking their place. Aquaman and the Others, Secret Origins, Sinestro, JLU, and Batman Eternal are not only staffed with great creative teams, but bring together some of the best concepts of the New 52. I will personally be giving all a shot, and titles like Batman Eternal and Sinestro are most likely getting added to my pull list permanently.

So that’s April. But what about May? Well, if you are clever (and I am) you can begin to project what May looks like. Most the aforementioned titles are coming in to replace books like Green Team, Vibe, Katana, and Dark Knight. Though the New 52 is not set on the “52”, they will need to launch at least a few new titles to get close to their normal 47-50. One of which is Future’s End, which inexplicably starts in the end of Stormwatch. Another title we can be sure to see is a relaunch of the Teen Titans. I’m positive DC will try to push a new team and title as soon as possible. Nightwing’s end would suggest that another Bat title isn’t far away either.

Looking at context clues from the last few months and April’s solicitations, two characters could be poised to take center stage. Lex Luthor and Wonder Woman. With Lex’s impending status as leader of the Justice League and his presence in the upcoming Superman arc, Luthor seems set to get his own title. It seemed likely long before April, and the recent round of solicits only indicate greater plans for the worlds super-man. Wonder Woman too will be all over the place. And while it is hard to believe that she’ll have a book outside of her own and Superman/Wonder Woman, it shouldn’t. Superman is the star of no less than 4 books a time, and Batman’s in pretty much everything. It would only make sense for her to have a greater presence in the DCU. With the world in shambles, Wonder Woman could be just the character needed to help rebuild the universe and inspire heroes, gods, and mortals alike. I could easily see Wonder Woman in a title focused on the Greek Pantheon or as the leader of her own team (I mean, Aquaman’s doing it).

And as always there is my normal wish list of DC books. Cyborg, Captain Marvel, Steel, Milestone, and relaunched Wildstorm book are all on my personal wishlist for various reasons.

So what’s next? Any bold new predictions for the future of the DC Universe?

Until the next time,

Rn

 

Evaluating an Event

In my return to the land of the living late last week, I discussed where I have been what helped get me back into the industry. One major aspects of my fall from monthly reading of comics were the continuous events going on. At the time my pull list consisted of multiple Marvel titles, including Uncanny X-Men, X-(Wo)Men, New Avengers, Avengers and others. Then Marvel launched Infinity. At the same time, they launched into Battle of the Atom. Both of those events consumed all the titles listed above, trying to keep track of where the story was in each title would have forced me to read other titles. Rather than do that, I found myself distancing myself from each of those titles. While I am normally not a stranger to events, I ignored both of these thanks in part to them taking place simultaneously. Not only that, the event Inhumanity launched almost immediately after that. The over saturation of events forced me to back away from some of my favorite titles.

Yet, the real reason I found myself dropping the books was due to the lack of consequences. We knew well before Infinity was over that it would lead right to Inhumanity. We didn’t have to worry about real consequences of a “cosmic” event like Infinity. Earth would survive and so would all of our heroes. The sense of drama was dramatically lost in the shuffle, and while Hickman is masterful at large frame plot lines, he couldn’t quite write in the stakes to this book. Additionally, having the aftermath and fallout of an event be another event seems like a terrible idea. Rather than do that, a title should go back to its roots and feature the individual character or characters of each of the books reeling from the drama.

While controversial, I will plug in Forever Evil. Much like Marvel, DC is no stranger to events. While Forever Evil is far reaching and more expansive then it needs to be, the core of the event feels like it has real stakes. We have no idea how the world will be saved, and in addition to that, we know that the world will have to be different. Dick Greyson has been outed as Nightwing, Cyborg lost most of the rest of his humanity, Captain Cold was made human again, and so much more. There are real consequences for characters of varying importance. I have had a chance to talk with numerous consumers who have said as much. Since I started work at my local comic book store, the event that has gotten the best reception has been Forever Evil. While we normally sell more DC books than Marvel, customers that pick up Marvel almost exclusively have begun to pick up Forever Evil.\

While I admit I am personally biased, a fact frequent readers know well, there is a clear problem with the saturation of events in the comic industry. Both Marvel and DC are guilty of perpetuating extremely long event series and forcing too many writers to sacrifice their stories so that they can tie in with an event. Hopefully we are at an end of it. Hopefully The All-New Marvel now will have the ability to grow on its own post Inhumanity and hopefully DC will truly explore the consequences of Forever Evil.

Now I ask you all, have you been finding modern event comics as uneventful as I have?

Until the next time,

Rn