Welcome back to The Weekly Haul, where we’re taking a look at what I picked up this past week at the comic shop! Starting this haul, I’ve added a quick rating system, something that you can look at and get the gist of my opinion on the issue without having to slog through my poorly-worded amateur thoughts. I spend some time thinking about what image to use for the scale — stars are SO played out, right? — and finally decided on a picture of the thing that strikes a chord with me for all the right reasons and with my wife for all the wrong reasons…THE LONG BOX.
Yeah, not that thrilling, I know, but hopefully visually helpful. So, it’s a typical scale from 1 to 5 long boxes. The added bonus of choosing the long box, by the way, is we can also add in the “point five” ratings with…
THE SHORT BOX! So much white cardboard, so much joy…
Anyway, in the break, I’ve been up to…you know…uh…nothing, but Remy has been busy with his Quite The Character Stand Up Comedy Shows. Check out some clips below from the most recent installment, with our very own Remy as host and whiny moisture farmer:
If you’re in the New York area, keep a look out on the interwebz for their next show.
Anyway, to the haul!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #58 –
Is it any surprise that we shouldn’t trust a huge, overly-polite, talking crocodile? Leatherhead showed his true colors at the end of last issue and, in this installment, our heroes try to save the not-so-evil Utroms from his wrath. It’s another strong issue from this series which has been one of the most solid and consistent reads out there.
GrizzlyShark #2 –
Listen, if you’re interested in anything resembling a meaningful plot with character development, look elsewhere. This book is fun and gruesome and over the top and, while I really enjoyed it, it also borders on one-note and repetitive. The art is fantastic Ottley-gore but for four dollars? The complete package just isn’t worth it.
Batman #51 –
And so ends the excellent run on Batman for Synder and Capullo. Whereas the last issue wrapped up the Gordon-BatMech storyline and brought Bruce back into the cowl, this issue is their epilogue/love letter to Gotham and its protector. We get to see familiar locales in the city — from Arkham to the rooftops to the Batcave — all for the purpose of reveling in Capullo’s amazing art. I’ve thought that their run had some very high highs and some very boring lows, but overall, Snyder and Capullo have made a lasting mark on the Bat.
Earth 2: Society #12 –
I’m not sure if this book is on its last legs with the upcoming DC Rebirth — in fact, the original JSA was featured on the back cover of this past month’s Previews — but there’s not much left to salvage. The heroes are all still very one dimensional and the great conflict set up in the story — the absence of any natural resources on their fake world — is just ridiculous. Really? Nothing? No resources whatsoever? In the resolution, Green Lantern gives up his ring to power the planet. Should we be upset? You mean that GL can’t just float around and not interact with anyone anymore? Oh no… I’ll give the book some points for Coello’s art, but the story is just a snoozer.
Legends of Tomorrow #3 –
Anthology books have it hard. On the positive, these types of comics get to feature characters and concepts that otherwise might not be able to support their own ongoing series. On the other hand, though, they’re the perfect setup for, what I call, the BoDeans effect. You may remember (or equally not remember the BoDeans, an alternative rock band from the ’80s and ’90s out of Wisconsin who didn’t attract much commercial success until their song, Closer to Free, was picked as the theme song for Party of Five.
I thought the song was great, but I could never find the single release and had to buy the whole (not great) album just for the one song that I wanted. All of this aside to explain that buying an $8 comic book for only one of the 4 stories just seems not worth it.
But, overall, this second issue isn’t all bad. Firestorm, written by creator Gerry Conway, is decent but gives more high-stakes when I really want more teenage drama. Metamorpho, a character that I’ve always found very interesting visually but never really followed his character, is handled by Aaron Lopresti. His art is fantastic but the story, which I guess is Metamorpho’s first introduction to the New 52, is fairly convoluted already, incorporating Kanjar Ro and aliens and all sorts of insanity.
The other two stories, though, I enjoyed a lot more. First, Metal Men does a great job injecting a TON of humanity into the robotic titular characters and cameos both Red Tornado and Robotman — a welcome addition to the story. (God, if you aren’t completely taken with Tin, you have no soul.) And Sugar and Spike? You know, the grown up versions of these guys?
Can I be honest and say that I liked their story the best? Now young adults, Sugar and Spike are private investigators, helping sort out crimes that the superheroes can’t or don’t want to themselves. In the first issue, they helped recover some of Batman’s costumes from Killer Moth, last issue they helped Superman recover some Kryptonite from Superman Island:
and in this issue, they track down some shapeshifting aliens, one of which Wonder Woman nearly married when she was young. Giffen’s writing is great and, though our leading characters could have equally been just new to the universe without being the grown-up versions of a humor comic from the ’50s and ’60s, he gives them a ton of characterization. The best part, by far and way, is the art by Bilquis Evely with colors by Ivan Plascencia. Just gorgeous.
So, 2 decent stories and 2 above average stories for $8. What do you think of that value? Eh, right?
All-New All-Different Avengers #9 –
Fresh off her appearance in the Free Comic Book Day Avengers title, the new Wasp (though there is already the old Wasp hanging around, most recently in All-New Wolverine) and Hank Pym’s daughter, Nadia, finds the team, saves the day (how convenient), and then goes off with Jarvis to find her father. Meanwhile, the rest of the team is still dealing with a Vision who is not in control of himself and prepare for what seems to be a crossover with Nova’s title. It’s all fine and I’m all for more young characters in a team book, but is Nadia needed when we’ve got the original Wasp in comic book limbo? Plus another crossover? I really like Waid’s writing and Asrar’s art is also great, but I’d appreciate some non-crossover stuff before we just completely into Civil War 2.
All-New X-Men #9 –
Wow. I am…well…wow. Reading Hopeless’ books is such a roller coaster. I’m never sure if it’s going to be terrible or fantastic. This issue is absolutely, without a doubt, the latter. Hopeless shows his respect of X-Men history in his deft handling of Evan’s birthday party, showing his past upbringing and his mental state, giving the reader both some excellent characterization and some great X-character cameos in the first half of the issue. Evan and Beast do some more time traveling (are we done pretending that time travel was really a problem and the characters had to stop or the world will end?) and we are set to do some more Apocalypse history building.
Black Panther #2 –
Coates and Stelfreeze’s second issue is a slight step downward from their debut, which was a fantastic and interesting foray into a character that I never had much connection with before. Here, they continue to make T’Challa’s mental state of great importance, having to balance between ruler, brother, son, and citizen, but the focus gets a bit less clear towards the end, when we get some type of reveal about the not-dead/not-alive former Queen Shuri. Coates has been clear that things will make sense as we read on — and I’m okay with that (hell, I stuck with Morning Glories for 30+ issues) — but in a world where BP is finally getting both literal and figurative screen time, I wonder if some more straight-forwardness wouldn’t be the worst thing.
Darth Vader #20 –
As if the previous issues didn’t feel slow enough, this installment really slows down the action in the main part of the book, though Gillen’s writing of the Emperor is actually quite good. It’s more character maneuvering than plot progression or action, but it’s a nice change in direction as Vader starts cleaning up his loose ends. There’s a Beetee and Triple-Zero backup too, with art by Mike Norton; fans of the bloodthirsty droids will enjoy it, I’m sure, but these guys just don’t do it for me.
Deadpool #11 –
Wow. What a non-end of an end that was. After all the build up — since before Axis, actually — Deadpool finally learns the truth about his parents’ fate. And what does he do? Nothing. Just. Wow.
Web Warriors #7 –
Now HERE’S a fun book. Off the loss of a few main characters in the previous arc, this issue brings back Hobart Brown, the Spider-Punk of Earth-138 and also brings back, fresh off the pages of 1993’s What The–?! #26…
Spider-Ham 2099! (God, I love this book.) The story is a blast and the art by David Baldeon is incredible. BUT WAIT. The last page reveal? Marvel is officially bringing back the Mega Morphs.
The Mega Morphs, you say? What? Yeah, these guys:
Is nothing off limits?
What was in your haul this past week? Any toy lines you want back in comics continuity? Leave a comment below and join the conversation!