Well the first month is in the books and it appears DC has seen success with some titles. Quite a few got some good reviews while others weren’t so good and others managed to stir up quite a fuss. I expected to DC to make some missteps and even something controversial stuff but they upset a lot of people with Catwoman and Red Hood and the Outlaws in particular. Anyhoo here’s what I got and whether I’m keeping it.
I’m going to keep the following books as long as they stay interesting:
- Justice League
- Justice League International
- Justice League Dark
- Action Comics
- Swamp Thing
- All Star Western
- Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
- Green Lantern
- Wonder Woman
These are ones I’m reading the first story arc then making a decision:
- Demon Knights
- Red Lanterns
And finally books I gave a shot and didn’t really find entertaining:
- Men of War
- Red Hood and the Outlaws
I know I didn’t read a lot of titles, but these were the ones I was mainly interested in. All Star Western, Batwing, Supergirl, Swamp Thing, and Frankenstein were nice surprises. I’m also aware that I probably am missing out on a lot of other good stuff, but there also my wallet to think about. And who knows what DC is planning to launch in 2012… Secret Six please! And maybe a team up buddy book with Steph and Cass (which sounds pretty awesome now that I think about it).
It’s time for a post on a very different type of book that I picked up at the Small Press Expo. Chester 5000 XYV was by Jess Fink. This graphic novel is very different from what I usually read but I heard good things about it and it turned out to be entertaining. First of all to get it out of the way early Chester 5000 XYV (Chester) is basically an adult graphic novel, some might even call it porn. On the cover it says, “An erotic, robotic, Victorian romance. Get all your giggles out now! So this isn’t one for younger readers.
Also unique to Chester is that it has no words. It’s just pictures and sound effects from the actions of the characters. So any words/thoughts that you think the characters are saying or thinking are left up to the reader. Since there are no words there are no descriptions of the names or backgrounds of any of the characters.
But Jess has that covered. Here’s what she wrote on the back cover. “1885: an age of industrial revolution and sexual frustration. Pricilla is a woman with needs, and her inventor husband Robert is a little too busy with his experiments to keep her fully satisfied. Science to the rescue! With a few gears and springs, the proper appendages, a little lubrication, and a lot of love, Chester 5000 is born! He’s the perfect tool for the job… but what if Chester is more than a machine? What are the consequences of trying to engineer love?” With that said the basis of the story is covered and you can read on without the need for a script.
Anyway you have the jist of the story and as most love stories tend to do things get complicated for Pricilla, Chester, and Rob as you can imagine. There are some genuinely funny moments and despite the adult tone there is solid love story here with broken hearts and emotional tension. I don’t think you can relate to the story itself, but a lot of people may know what it’s like to experience the emotions the characters go through. I’m sure you all know how love and relationships can get, especially when you may be torn between two people or even cheating. Complex shit right?
Back to the art by Jess which happens to be very good. It’s all in black and white. She’s has a detailed cartoony style and doesn’t shy away from depicting the human anatomy. As for Chester 5000 he looks like a mix of steampunk style mechanics but more streamlined if that makes sense. I mean he pleasures a woman so he’s not all clunky and cumbersome. Jess really up and drew a complex robot, some pages also describe his various parts and …*ahem* how they work. It’s really imaginative.
It also occurred to me that if you’re going to do a book without words you’re art has to clearly express emotions, thoughts, and words. Readers have to detect all of that from the scenes, actions, and facial expressions. It sounds like a very difficult task but Fink doesn’t miss a beat. Yeah it’s an adult comic but I think it is one mature folks will enjoy reading. Hell maybe even couples will enjoy reading it. I recommend checking this out it’s a fun read.
You can read the Chester 5000 webcomic at www.jessfink.com/Chester5000XYZ/
When it comes to horror and comics I haven’t read much that really made me feel uneasy. I’m sure there is some good stuff out there and maybe I haven’t found it. But I have to give Terry Moore credit, issue 2 of Rachel Rising is very creepy and this is setting up to be one hell of a story. Issue 1 ended with a ton of questions and issue 2 doesn’t give away much either. Rachel is still trying to figure out what happened to her and she enlists the help of a family member to help her out.
One of the lingering questions is that some people seem to recognize Rachel and some don’t. Also no one seems to acknowledge that she has been missing for a few days. I’m also wondering if Rachel has some sort of power connected to the dead. Something strange happens in a morgue when Rachel gets upset and yells. This book is filled with some really great moments and definitely has a slow burn as far giving away details and the story is all the creepier for it.
If that wasn’t enough there’s an even eerier scene involving a young girl and what may be a ghost or something. Who knows what it is. Anyway I don’t want to spoil anymore but suffice to say this comic is amazing after only 2 issues. It’s genuinely scary good stuff.
Of course Terry Moore is on top of his game as far as the art. It’s in black and white and that helps the atmosphere of the book. The black pages also add a nice touch that wouldn’t be there if the pages were white. I never knew Moore had this in him. Rachel Rising is a completely different direction from Echo and Strangers in Paradise.
I’m going to go ahead and say that Rachel Rising is a must read book. Buy it!
Okay this is going to be really short because issue 15 and 16 have sort of been filler stories, but they have been filler stories worth reading. The book opens with some fellow heroes describing Wolverine via those head shots that have been popping up in the Avengers books. Jump to the snowy wilderness where Logan is running with wolves again in attempt to forget his recent actions.
Well it turns out even when he tries to forget himself he stumbles upon a particularly brutal club and ends up becoming the hero once again. There a nice internal conversation Logan has with himself as he tries to figure out his purpose and the why’s and how’s of life. It’s not a scene you’d normally associate with Logan, but it was a lovely character building moment.
What I really enjoyed was the big 2 page spread where his friends appear and show their support and basically that he is loved. I wasn’t expecting this story to end this way. In fact I was expecting Logan to work through his problems on his own, so it was a welcome surprise. I also loved the classic reaction from Logan after seeing all this, which was a funny moment.
Aaron is proving to be a writer who can accurately depict a lot of different facets to Wolverine. He’s good at making him a badass killer, he’s great at putting him through all kinds of nastiness and violence, and he’s also good at fleshing out Logan in quieter moments.Normally these filler stories are mediocre at best, but this one was worth reading.
I’m late with this one because my shop was sold out of this title last week but I managed to get a first printing this week and I think I’ll be reading Supergirl again. Michael Green put together a great introductory script that kind of mirrors Supergirl’s debut under Loeb and Turner years ago. There’s a nice twist to this story though as Kara seems to have detailed knowledge of her life on Krypton but not exactly how she ended up on Earth. The story reads really fast but you get the jist of what’s going on.
There is some secretive group out to capture her and obviously they fail when the sun rises and Kara gets the power boost from the sun. It’s good to see some action in a Supergirl comic though and thought the battle was a nice way for her to be introduced to Earth. I imagine this experience will drive the character and affect future stories down the road.
Mahmud Asrar and the art team did a solid job. Supergirl has been portrayed as a teen before, but to me she looks more like a young adult in this book. Most of the book is Kara struggling with her would be captors so it’s a lot of fight scenes, but they are drawn beautifully. My favorite scene was the 2 pages where Kara has fallen to her knees and succumbed to the bombardment of sound.
I think DC has a version of Supergirl that anyone can enjoy especially young female readers. I think this book hit the mark and hopefully will get better in the coming issues. I’m eager to see her introduction into the DC Universe.
I decided I’d give All-Star Western a shot when I was in the shop and it turned out to be a good book. This had all the makings of good western story guns, fighting, violence, cowboy accents, and the cherry on top is it takes places in Gotham. It was really neat to see this story mention characters from the Gates of Gotham comic that recently ended.
Anyway Jonah Hex travels to Gotham City in the 1880s to help capture a serial killer. I’m not familiar with Jonah Hex but when he arrived in Gotham violence and death follows. He’s a very calculating character that seems to have tunnel vision on his goal. He’s paired with Dr. Amadeus Arkham who is working with Hex to solve the murders and also attempting to get inside Hex’s head to understand him much better. They make quite an interesting team.
At the heart of the story is of course a murder mystery that may involve some secret elite club of the rich and powerful. So the story has potential to become very interesting and more than likely more violent. Palmiotti and Grey get off to a strong start and I could see this title appealing to a lot of people.
Moritat draws has a really detailed style that suits this type of setting where small details really make the book come to life. The recurring skulls within the pages were a nice touch, especially the skull in the clouds over Gotham on the first page. Something like that really sets the tone of what readers should expect. It’s like death is hovering over the city as Hex arrives by train. Overall this was a fun read. I wasn’t expecting to like it this much. I think I’ll be sticking with it.
I didn’t know what to expect exactly from JL Dark. I guess I was expecting some traditional magic stories with a bit of a supernatural element mixed in. I mean the characters that will be featured in this title are very diverse. But I have to say Milligan’s story lives up to the title; this opening plot is dark in tone and nature. Bizarre and cool are 2 words that come to mind. There is one scene in particular where the Cyborg, Diana, and Superman show up and it’s a real “wtf” moment as they try to battle Enchantress. It’s almost like X-Files, comics, magic, mysticism, and supernatural elements all mixed in to create a really wild opening story.
Anyway some crazy things are going on across the world and the usual superheroes don’t understand how to handle it. So that’s where the Zatanna, Madam Xanadu, Deadman, Constantine, and Shade come in. They haven’t met up by issues end but you can tell Milligan has set that up down the road. I’m only familiar with Zatanna and Deadman in this book. Constantine I know a little bit but not enough to be knowledgeable. I’m looking forward to finding out more about Madam Xanadu and Shade down the road.
I know some folks were worried about Zatanna’s new look but I think she looks pretty decent. She’s wearing a lot more clothes than some other female characters that debuted this month.
The art within the book was pretty decent. I think Mikel Janin has a style that is borderline photo realistic. It reminds me a bit of Adi Granov’s work. The scene of Constantine falling out of the sky was done really well. I think the coloring could be a bit more vibrant, but maybe it’s meant to reflect the bleak mood of the book.
I was scrolling through Marvel’s solicitations for the month of December and the X-Men books sound like they’re going to be fantastic. Generation Hope #14, Uncanny X-Men #3, X-Men #22, and Wolverine and The X-Men #3 all have exciting teasers post-schisim.
Uncanny X-Force #19 really stands out as the solicitation reads, “The aftermath of The Dark Angel Saga! A member lost! New members gained! An Avenger discovers the secret of X-Force! Fantomex and Ultimaton must allow the world’s most powerful weapon to leave their care. Elizabeth Braddock must say goodbye to the man she loves. New friends must stand and make a suicide march. Next generation superstar artist Robbi Rodriguez joins Rick Remender to break your heart.” Sounds intense doesn’t it? The last time Marvel broke hearts in the X-Men universe they killed Nightcrawler. My guess is Warren doesn’t survive this amazing story arc or it could be Fantomex. Or both!
I’m also excited for X-23 #18 & 19. Looks like Hellion will make an appearance and I’ve been waiting for him to pop back into the book. Otherwise it doesn’t sound like your average X-23 story. Looks like Laura is babysitting the Richards kids.
Speaking of Laura I posted earlier that she will be joining the Avengers Academy #23 book. The solicitation isn’t clear if it’s for one story arc or permanently. I’m a big fan of Laura but I’m wary of buying this because she’ll be in it. I am curious what her role will be though.
Astonishing X-Men #40 should be explaining that Cyclops and Storm kiss teaser image that was shown not long ago. That should be an interesting story to check out.
Oddly enough though the Avenger titles didn’t seem to wow me as they usually do. The Punisher #6 has a particularly violent cover for that month, although I’m sure Frank has a good reason for shooting those guys.
Avenging Spider-Man with Zeb Wells and Joe Mad should be worth buying. I haven’t been reading any Spider-Man books for a long time. I think this is the book to pull me back in.
Here’s a link to the list at CBR if you want to see them yourself. http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=34595