The Haul – January 21st, 2015

The Weekly Haul Header
Welcome to the first installment of The Weekly Haul for 2015!  Yeah, sure, we’re actually at the third Wednesday of the year, and okay, it’s been a few months since we’ve done a Haul, but…ummm…I don’t know.   Thanksgiving turkey coma?  Holidays wrapping paper industrial accident?

Whatever excuse you’ll take, I’ll sell.  Let’s get right to it, shall we?

IDW
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #42 –
TMNT 42
This series just keeps getting better.  Take all the good classic stuff from the original series, the goofy stuff from the Archie series (my favorite and original gateway into reading comics), the fun stuff from the modern TMNT stuff, blend it all together with smart writing and clean art and you get this stuff.

We’ve reached the beginning of the huge battle between Krang’s forces (with their Technodrome) and the uneasy alliance between Donatello and Shredder.  Plus, Splinter, Hob, and the new Mutanimals!  Plus Fugitoid is meek and Baxter is a prick!  And a big satisfying twist!  Can you tell I love this stuff???

Zombies vs. Robots (Hundred Penny Press) #1 –
ZVR HPP
I’ve never read this series before, but that’s what the Hundred Penny Press reprint issues are for, right?  Honestly, I don’t think that I’ve ever passed one of these HPP issues up.    That being said, I don’t know what it is that I just read.  I was expecting a dumb mash-up of two things that sci-fi and comics people know well.  I got a blending of, not properties, but concepts.  The issue skips around between overt goofy comedy, then a Full Metal Jacket war story, then a “smart zombie” riff, ending with some dark comedy.  From what I see, this book is pretty critically acclaimed but I’m just a little too dumb for it?

Dark Horse
ElfQuest: The Original Quest (1 For 1 Edition) #1 –
Screenshot 2015-01-21 22.21.04
Another dollar issue!!!  ElfQuest is another series I’ve never read, but at least I’ve heard of this before.  This series is supposed to be excellent and the creators, Wendy and Richard Pini (who have been working on these characters since 1978, making it the longest running independent title EVER), have the whole thing up on their websiteFOR FREE.  Amazing.

I don’t know if this kind of story is really in my wheelhouse.  It feels similar to Bone (which I really enjoyed and, if I was to guess, had some inspiration from here), but it’s much heavier on the dramatics and light on the humor.  Not that this is bad in the slightest bit — it’s actually a really great set up for a good fantasy/tribal story — it’s just not my thing.

Image
Jupiter’s Legacy #5 –

Jupiters Legacy 5
Millar and Quitely’s opus to the imagined generational conflict between superheroes — something we’ve seen before but not to this level of excellence — continues this week and reaches the implied midpoint of the full story.  Unable to hide anymore once their son is attacked (and the fact that his name is Jason just speaks to me), Chloe and Hutch reveal themselves, standing their ground and proving their newly-found maturity.  This is a great coming of age story, a great superhero story, a great morality story — it’s all good all around.

The Wicked + The Divine #7 –
The Wicked and the Divine 7
Our point-of-view character of Sarah further has to deal with her “fame-by-association” in a really nice sequence where she attends a God-Con (essentially) as a panelist, ducking autographs, getting annoyed by fandom.  The art by McKelvie really shines (as usual) and Gillen’s writing, though I’m not always the biggest fan, is so remarkable here, with each member of this ever growing cast (and we get 1 more God reveal at the end of this issue) having such a well defined voice and personality.

DC
Earth 2: World’s End #16 –
Earth 2 Worlds End 16
Superman’s sacrifice at the end of the last issue ends up paying off for the remaining heroes of Earth 2 as his poisoned DNA (don’t quite understand that but okay comic science) releases the Avatar of the Red (Yolanda Montez) and destroys all the Parademon factories.  Also, Helena Wayne maybe is saved from Darkseid’s influence?  And then there’s a scary baby at the end???!!!  Anyway, this weekly series continues to be much more successful for me compared with Futures End as it only has to deal with a single story and seems to move forward each week, even at its slowest moments.

Justice League #38 –
Justice League 38
While we’re reading about the destruction of Earth 2 (going on “currently”) and the lousy future 5 years from now (in Future’s End), Justice League shows us that the current Earth 1 DC heroes also can’t catch a break.  The Amazo virus, which takes away the powers of metahumans and gives powers to normal humans (right before killing them) has been released globally and the Trinity (is DC still calling Superman/Batman/WW that?) and Lex Luthor are humanity’s only hope.

Only…Batman is now infected.

BatmanFacepalm
And, of course, things get continue to get worse, Lex is untrustworthy and manipulative, Superman has a Super-temper tantrum, medicine in comics continues to prove to be insane (Kryptonians make antibodies the same way that humans do?), and we get more hero vs. hero coming up next issue.

It’s not a bad story, it just doesn’t feel fresh.  There’s just SO much going on with the future of the DCU that this story also just feels small in comparison.  The art by Jason Fabok, though?  REALLY good.

The New 52: Future’s End #38 –
Futures End 38
Oh, this thing.  I don’t know why I’m still reading this one other than the old “I’ve made it this far and I can’t stop now” excuse.  It continues to switch rapid-fire between four different stories, making it nearly impossible to move forward through the plot fasting than a teeny tiny bit each issue.

Marvel
All-New X-Factor #20 –
All-New X-Factor 20
Well, another day, another tertiary X-book cancelled, right?  This series just never clicked for me and Peter David’s writing, while good, was just never that excellent character-driven Peter David stuff.  I don’t like the Danger/Cypher relationship.  I don’t like the introspective, non-“self”-saying Warlock.  And the big reveal as to the real story with Harrison Stone, the CEO of Serval?  Especially in context of Secret Wars coming up?  A complete non-player in the big scope of things to come.

All-New X-Men #42 –
All-New X-Men 35
A slow, Bendis-esque issue, mostly used to get the team back together.  It also utilizes the story structure that I have grown to hate the most — show what’s happening now, flashback to show how we got here for the whole issue, and then end where we began.  In this issue in particular, we see the ending cliffhanger on page 4 first.  I like the story, but this issue is a bust for me.

Amazing Spider-Man #13 –
Amazing Spider-Man 13
A word of advice that they don’t mention in the book itself — if you’re reading all the tie-ins to Spider-Verse this week?  Read those first.  Otherwise, this issue will spoilerize you a bit.

Anyway, the story is still fun and the character interactions are interesting.  But what Slott does best here is juggle a lot of “the same” character in a TON of different places/realities in all different combinations of attack teams with different goals — and he keeps it making sense.  I’m loving the webbing out of this story.

Legendary Star-Lord #8 –
Legendary Star-Lord 8
One of my favorite things in X-Men comics happened in the pages of this issue — Lockheed getting protective of Kitty and giving nasty looks to a boyfriend.  I never get tired of that.

But what I AM getting tired of is Kitty’s characterization in this book.  I get Star-Lord as the lovable schlub.  I bought the romantic interest between the two of them.  But Kitty is smart.  She’s not one to act like a teenager (at least anymore) and jump to conclusions about people.  And I really don’t buy her as suddenly abandoning her “professorship” with the time-displaced X-Men to become a thief in space.

Magneto #14 –
Magneto 14
Magneto again contemplates his role in the survival and/or destruction of mutants, this time with a focus on the destruction of Genosha by Cassandra Nova back in 2001 and the just-ended events of AXIS in which the Red Skull used the island nation for, what were essentially, mutant concentration camps.  It’s depressing to see Magneto at a low point like this, desperate for survival in using MGH to enhance his powers, but the introspective nature of the issue is interesting.  When Magneto plays the “troubled” villain/hero is when I tend to like him the best and this issue does just that.

Scarlet Spiders #3 –
Scarlet Spiders 3
Our team of three Peter Parker Spider-clones — Ben Reilly, Kaine, and the Ultimate Universe Spider-Woman Jessica Drew — continue their battle against Jennix, one of the big bads in this Spider-Verse thing.  He’s a real campy, cheesy villain and, to be honest, not that scary or threatening at all.  In fact, while most of Spider-Verse has been successful because of the constant deaths of alternate Spideys, this series tie-in hasn’t because our three leads are all fairly important.

Until one dies in this issue.

It doesn’t make this series much better (and you could probably guess which one bites it), but it’s a decent look into the past and motivations of the character.

Spider-Verse #2 –
Spider-Verse 2
Have I mentioned that I’m really loving Spider-Verse???  Alternate reality stories have always been a soft spot for me and, although I’m not the most versed in Spider-Man mythos, this story has been fun to follow.  This issue follows the trend of short bits of backstory on some of the alternate Spideys.  We don’t get “every Spider-Man EVER” as advertised, but this issue has some quick hits on Anansi (the trickster Spider god) and Spider UK, Punk/Anarchist Spider-Man (especially good story), Mexican Spider-Man, and video game Spider-Man from the Marvel v. Capcom games (seriously.).  The last story in the issue, the one that teases “every Spider-Man EVER”, doesn’t live up to the hype but it does give us what some fans have been asking for — a Spidey exactly the same as the “real” Spidey…except he still has an intact marriage.  It’s not said to who, but Slott is certainly enjoying dangling that carrot in our faces.

Spider-Verse Team-Up #3 –
Spider-Verse Team-Up 3
Two stories here.  The first is directly influential to the main plotline of Spider-Verse, with a strike team going to help sway an enemy to become an ally (I’m being purposefully mysterious).  It’s a good story and I would think that, if you were just reading Amazing Spider-Man, you’d feel like you missed out on something if you didn’t get this side tale.  The second, featuring May “Mayday” Parker, the Spider-Girl from the MC2 universe, is dripping with family angst and the sense of self-worth and failure.  If you’re into that DRAMA, then go for it.  I’m also guessing that Spider-Girl fans are going to dig it, since it’s written by Tom DeFalco with art by Ron Frenz, the original creators of the character.

Wolverines #3 –
Wolverines 3
I have no idea what I just read.  First of all, this girl on the cover is Fantomelle.  I thought that, for sure, since there’s already a female Fantomex girl with connections to Wolverine that we were getting a renamed Cluster.  But no.  But yes because she’s basically the same — a thief, super-agile, kind-hearted, and with a telepathic link (though to a wolf with Cable’s eye instead E.V.A.).

And then there’s a boyfriend that appears — completely unnamed.  I was trying to figure out if this was Fantomex out of costume or Gambit or someone that we know already.  Would make sense to give us some kind of link to the main characters in this story because  this whole issue is such a sharp turn from the previous issues.  But no.  He’s tossed out a window.

And then a fish zombie attacks them.  No name.

And then someone comes in a saves them.  Dark haired, Psylocke-era X-Force costume, but with a gun.  So no?

People really like Soule, right?  For me — no.

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What did you all read this week?  Leave your opinions and short reviews in the comment section below and join in the conversation!

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