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Old 01-16-2013, 05:45 PM   #1
JewishHobbit
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Default Boughticus/Thoughticus - 1/16/13 (thank you Phaed!)

Five comics this week, one of which I wasn't expecting to get.

Batman #16 - This is a great issue, though I wish Two-Face, Riddler, and Penguin had a bigger role here. This arc has been great but I feel like it's lacking a bit in that we aren't seeing Joker's attempts on the Bat family in this title. I know that's happening in their own books but it would greatly help the core story if we saw that... or at least with Damian, as his actual son.

While I liked Court of Owls better than this arc I think it's been a good one. This issue has Batman at Arkham Asylum, ultimately leading to Batman getting "fried" in an electrical chair. The after story is what has me curious though. Joker shows Riddler, Two Face, and Penguin a bloody covered tray, which gets some reaction from them, but we don't see what's for dinner. This was interesting because we see that same bloody tray being shown to other members of the bat family in their own titles leading toward the Death of the Family conclusion next issue. I'm pretty stoked about it and am eager to see what's under the cover. My initial thought is either Alfred or Gordon's head but I feel like that's too obvious... besides the fact that all fandom would be outraged. If it's not that though, I have no idea... and that's got me excited!

Batman & Robin #16 - What this story looses in punch (as in we know nothing major will happen) it gains in beauty. Every issue Gleason draws just inches him closer and closer toward becoming one of my favorite artists. For as awesome as Capullo makes Joker look, Gleason blows him out of the water. My dream would be to see the man take a jump to Marvel and do some X-Men stories.

As for the issue itself, Damian is faced with the dilema of killing his father or be killed by him. Batman has been infected with the Joker gas and is all smiley and psychopathic. Watching Damian's reaction made the issue good but if anyone's been paying attention to the main Batman book you can surmise very easily that this isn't Bruce, and that proves true. Still, the issue was entertaining and I think the moment when Damian opts to die rather than kill his father in self-defense was a great one. Of course, Joker can't have that and he torments Damian by killing Bruce himself, which freaks Damian out. And it ends with him presenting Damian with the mysterious, bloody platter. So curious!

Daredevil #22 - My first official introduction to SpOck (as the hype has dubbed him) and I'm completely uninterested. The issue was good though and I really enjoyed seeing Stilt Man (a bit of a guilty pleasure). I'm not as hot on Samnee's art as some of the title's other artists but it does it's job.

But WOW what an ending!!! Matt and Foggy's had a falling out, seemingly due to Foggy's frustrations with Matt's mental issues and all that, but in this issue we learn that there's more to it. He was angry because at the time when he needed Matt the most, Matt was keeping secrets from him. Why does Foggy need Matt? To cope with the fact that he likely has CANCER!!!! Freaking what?! I don't really see Waid killing Foggy off but there could be some seriously good stories coming out of this. I am so glad I came back onto this book after a year of passing it up. Fantastic!

All New X-Men #6 - Immonen takes a break and is filled in by David Marquez, who does a decent job. Bendis does a decent job now that he's established the O5 staying in the present and is moving the story forward and I'm excited to see where it goes.

It's funny, after Cyclops I never really felt anyone could fit the role of Xavier. Everyone knew that Marvel was going to push Wolverine into that role and it never felt organic. The next best for most was Beast but that doesn't really seem to fit. I personally liked the idea of Cannonball or Moonstar but knew they'd never go that route due to neither of them being that big these days. For some odd reason I had never even CONSIDERED Kitty as a replacement... and yet, Bendis makes it feel effortless. She's been a headmistress since Wolverine & the X-Men started, and yet, even then I didn't consider her the next Xavier. It was the cover that really got me excited about the idea (Kitty sitting in a chair with the silhouette of Charles behind her) and Bendis gives us a great scene of Kitty teaching Jean how to control her young telepathic powers. It was really well done and I loved it.

Young Cyclops has an interesting little plot that leads into next issue with Mystique, which interests me, and we get the Young Warren/Angel meeting at last, which is simple but fun. All in all I really enjoyed this issue and it has me curious about this next issue. For all the questions and rants regarding Bendis' plan for this book, so far he's churning out gold. Maybe it's because I'm an X-Men fan first and foremost but I think this might be my favorite work that he's done to date.

X-Men #40 - This is the book I wasn't planning on getting. I dropped the title after Gischler left but I knew Chamber was supposed to be in the last two issues so I thought I'd skim it. It seemed to focus quite heavily on him so I picked it up. The story wasn't anything to speak of really, just a group of X-Men going to help a new mutant... pretty typical right now... but the focus on Chamber made it better (for me) than it really was. He's always been one of my favorite characters and I like how he's gotten some focus lately between this and X-Men Legacy.

My pet peave of the issue? Pixie talking to Chamber like she's more experience. He's got a good ten years more experience at being an X-Man and should be teaching HER a thing or two. I don't mind too much though because she's been used a LOT more lately and he's a bit rusty at the X-Men game, so I guess it works to an extent.

While the story isnt anything to call home about it's only a two issue arc so I'll pick up next issue as well. With Chamber getting some scenes of late, Jubilee getting a staring gig in the upcoming X-Men book, Blink returning and getting quite a bit of focus prior to New Mutants getting canceled, and Monet having quite a following in X-Factor (which is nearing cancelation range) I'm hoping to hear about a Generation X reuinion in the next year or two.


Best and Worst of the Week

Best: All New X-Men #6 - There's just something about the Kitty/Jean scene that I absolutely loved in this book. Between that and Cyclops' joy ride leading into a confrontation with Mystique next issue, this issue just sucked me in. Loved it!

Worst: X-Men #40 - As I said, the story was pretty generic. If it didn't have Chamber in it it'd be utterly forgetable. It wasn't bad though. I did get a little annoyed though at the cover. I thought we were past that whole 'cover has nothing to do with the interior thing'? X-Men on the cover: Storm, Pixie, Colossus, Domino, and Psylocke. X-Men in the interior: Storm, Pixie, Chamber, Angel, and Iceman. Three of them aren't even in the issue. Oh well.

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Old 01-16-2013, 05:55 PM   #2
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Default Re: Boughticus/Thoughticus - 1/16/13 (thank you Phaed!)

And now with the bought/thought out of the way, I bought the second trade for Walking Dead. I bought the first trade last week and liked it, so now I'm going to go enjoy the second one!

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Old 01-16-2013, 06:56 PM   #3
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Default Re: Boughticus/Thoughticus - 1/16/13 (thank you Phaed!)

I have 2 words to describe New Avengers #2: IN and CREDIBLE.

This book is so f***ing good it's blowing my mind. I'm loving everything about it so far. I'm getting the same feel from the first 2 issues that I got from the entire run of Uncanny X-Force.



Also, the two appearances this week by Superior Spider-Man (or "SpOCK" as we like to call him round these parts) in Avenging Spider-Man and DD were terrific just based on dialogue alone. It's so entertaining seeing Ock talk while masquerading in a hijacked body. "The die is cast" made two appearances this week, three if you want to count Stilt-Man saying it. It's really funny when he spouts off in his own "voice" while heroes look at him crooked.

Peter's gonna be back. I'm having a blast so F all the haters.

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Old 01-16-2013, 07:58 PM   #4
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Default Re: Boughticus/Thoughticus - 1/16/13 (thank you Phaed!)

All New X-men #6: It continues to be my favourite Marvel Now book. The Good: Kitty Pryde continues to have some of the best characterization of any X-man. Jean Grey as the leader of the 05 is something that sounds amazing to my ears. Mystique is getting involved. New Angel being a lighthearted break from the drama. The meh: Now that we have two Cyclops' we also get two versions of Wolverine vs Cyclops-angst. I'm sick of it.

New Avengers #2: The story is hitting all the right notes. It's complicated enough to involve the smartest men (sigh) in the world, while still being morally complicated as well.

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Old 01-16-2013, 08:10 PM   #5
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Default Re: Boughticus/Thoughticus - 1/16/13 (thank you Phaed!)

New Avengers #2: First and foremost: Thank you, Jonathan Hickman, for making Captain America act like Captain America. I was very wary of an Illuminati with Cap on it because the secret society thing just isn't really him. But Cap standing up and shaming the crap out of the rest of the Illuminati when they approached the suggestion of offing other Earths to save their own told me all I need to know: he's there, on this iteration of the Illuminati, to prevent exactly the sort of shady bulls*** the previous version got into. Of course T'challa and Reed start immediately scheming behind Cap's back, but that's fine because it's true to their characters. Cap taking it upon himself to act as the moral check on this ridiculously powerful secret cabal is true to his, and it was important for Hickman to show that early on rather than just let it appear like Cap is okay with these morally questionable jerks pulling the whole world's strings in secret. I'm now officially ready to enjoy this series, and it's giving me plenty to enjoy so far. Even Reed's science lesson was kind of cool.

Daredevil #22: I wasn't interested enough in Doc Ock as Spidey (but not really because Peter's still in there anyway) to pick up Superior Spider-Man, but I liked this issue. The funny thing about drastic, outlandish character changes like the "SpOck" thing is that, while it may suck for longtime fans and render that character's series unreadable, it's often kind of cool to see it play out from afar, so to speak, in other series. This issue is a great case in point. I don't care about SpOck, but it was definitely fun to see Daredevil be totally bewildered by Spider-Man's sudden change in personality, in spite of all the physical details being right. Ock's attempt to wisecrack after Daredevil called him on it was funny for its awfulness. Chris Samnee's art makes it all look phenomenal as well; he's definitely in his element when it comes to depicting the movements and energy of living dynamos like Daredevil and Spider-Man. The ending of this issue was a nice character moment, especially since Waid framed it as if Matt was going to buy flowers or something to make up with Kirsten when, in fact, the relationship he was going to salvage was his vastly more important bromance with Foggy. Although, for real, that cheesecake sounds horrifying.

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Old 01-16-2013, 08:27 PM   #6
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New Avengers #2: First and foremost: Thank you, Jonathan Hickman, for making Captain America act like Captain America. I was very wary of an Illuminati with Cap on it because the secret society thing just isn't really him. But Cap standing up and shaming the crap out of the rest of the Illuminati when they approached the suggestion of offing other Earths to save their own told me all I need to know: he's there, on this iteration of the Illuminati, to prevent exactly the sort of shady bulls*** the previous version got into. Of course T'challa and Reed start immediately scheming behind Cap's back, but that's fine because it's true to their characters. Cap taking it upon himself to act as the moral check on this ridiculously powerful secret cabal is true to his, and it was important for Hickman to show that early on rather than just let it appear like Cap is okay with these morally questionable jerks pulling the whole world's strings in secret. I'm now officially ready to enjoy this series, and it's giving me plenty to enjoy so far. Even Reed's science lesson was kind of cool.

Daredevil #22: I wasn't interested enough in Doc Ock as Spidey (but not really because Peter's still in there anyway) to pick up Superior Spider-Man, but I liked this issue. The funny thing about drastic, outlandish character changes like the "SpOck" thing is that, while it may suck for longtime fans and render that character's series unreadable, it's often kind of cool to see it play out from afar, so to speak, in other series. This issue is a great case in point. I don't care about SpOck, but it was definitely fun to see Daredevil be totally bewildered by Spider-Man's sudden change in personality, in spite of all the physical details being right. Ock's attempt to wisecrack after Daredevil called him on it was funny for its awfulness. Chris Samnee's art makes it all look phenomenal as well; he's definitely in his element when it comes to depicting the movements and energy of living dynamos like Daredevil and Spider-Man. The ending of this issue was a nice character moment, especially since Waid framed it as if Matt was going to buy flowers or something to make up with Kirsten when, in fact, the relationship he was going to salvage was his vastly more important bromance with Foggy. Although, for real, that cheesecake sounds horrifying.
Totally agree with you on all your NA points but are you still getting Avenging Spider-Man or did you drop it because of the change? Because what you saw in DD was more of the same there but with the X-Men involved and even better because SpOCK solved a crisis with his own demented train of thought.

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Old 01-16-2013, 08:33 PM   #7
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Default Re: Boughticus/Thoughticus - 1/16/13 (thank you Phaed!)

I wasn't sure if I'd pick up Avenging, but I did end up buying it because the art was good and I figured I'm buying a SpOck issue anyway with Daredevil. Haven't read it yet, though.

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Old 01-17-2013, 05:35 AM   #8
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Default Re: Boughticus/Thoughticus - 1/16/13 (thank you Phaed!)

All New X-Men #6- Another solid issue, but I felt like this was kind of a set up issue for what's coming in the future. We get some Cyclops/Wolverine and Kitty Pryde/Jean Grey action in this issue. I'm loving this issue, but I think it's time for it to move on. It's done a great job of putting the Original Five into modern times but now it's time to have them actually doing something here instead of just hanging out at the school. It's time for this series to change it up a bit.

Batgirl #16- Out of all the Bat-books this might be my least favorite. I'm not feeling this tie-in at all. Also, I don't feel that Simone has a good handle on James Gordon Jr. It seems like he is more outgoing and cunning in this series as opposed to the cold and calculating character that we saw in Detective Comics. So yeah, just not really feeling this series much, which is a bummer, because I think this was the tie-in that everyone was looking forward to the most.

Batman #16- This, on the other hand, was just fantastic. I'm a huge Snyder fanboy and pretty much love everything that he does but this issue was even better than I thought it'd be. I feel like he's just completely knocking it out of the park with this series. So, after a relatively quiet issue #15, #16 unveils the labyrinth that Joker has spent a lot of time working on and holy **** is it ****ed up. The "tapestry" that Joker has put together for Batman is particularly holy **** worthy. And in this issue, Batman ****ing PUNCHES A HORSE IN THE FACE and then, in an ultimate **** you, rides that same horse. Craziness. Oh, and Capullo's art is just absolutely perfect for this title. He's been awesome throughout but he took it to a completely different level in this issue. He may just be my favorite Batman artist EVER. Anyway, #17 is the conclusion to the arc and the cliffhanger that this issue left on is going to make the wait for it ****ing unbearable.

Batman and Robin #16- This issue was fun but didn't live up to the awesome-ness of the previous issue. Robin goes up against the Joker-ized Batman. I was a little upset the Gleason didn't spread his wings a little more in this issue like he did in the previous issue. In my opinion, Gleason was the only other artist on the Bat-books who drew a Joker as creepy as Capullo's, and issue #15 highlighted it. This issue was a little less ambitious and it was disappointing. But yeah, overall a solid issue that ties in nicely with the main title.

Captain America #3- I'm really starting to enjoy this title. Cap is stuck in Dimension Z trying to stay alive with his pseudo "son." But anyway, this issue works it way up to a pretty crazy conclusion. I know a lot of people don't like JRJr's art, but I'm really enjoying it on this title.

Daredevil #22- I ****ing love Mark Waid. This issue was an awesome team-up book featuring the Superior Spider-Man. It was cool seeing Daredevil trying to figure out what the **** was going on with Spidey, but he's unable to figure out what's going on because biologically, SpOck is still Peter Parker. Anyway, after the fun team-up, the story gets back to the character relationships that make this title so much fun. It leads to a real bummer of an ending. Can't wait to see how it shakes out.

Indestructible Hulk #3- Again, I love Mark Waid so much. This title is super great and it's one of my favorites from the NOW banner. This issue introduces the supporting cast and they all seem like fun characters. The concept behind this series is just so much fun and leads to endless possibilities. The trick that SHIELD pulls here was pretty obvious, but still fun nonetheless. Yu's art is great here and I'm really going to miss him when he goes on a break. But yeah, awesomeness ensues here.

New Avengers #2- This is a great title. One of the best things that's here is that we see that Captain America isn't just an evil Illuminati character. I felt like it was completely out of character for him to join the Illuminati, but in one issue, Hickman made it obvious why he would join: Captain America joined the team to make sure that the team keeps it's humanity and morals and don't make stupid decisions that could hurt innocent people while serving the "greater good." This is gonna be a fun title and anything Hickman writes is gold.

Saga #9- What else is there to say about this title? It's just ****ing great. From the incredible writing of Brian K. Vaughn to the amazing art of Fiona Staples, this title is just hitting on all cylinders. This issue features The Will showing he's not a total ******** and actually kind of a good guy and we learn more about Marko's ex-girlfriend/fiance. This is one of the most consistent titles on the market and may just be BKV's masterpiece.

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Old 01-17-2013, 09:24 AM   #9
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Default Re: Boughticus/Thoughticus - 1/16/13 (thank you Phaed!)

That's a good deal of asterisks

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Old 01-17-2013, 10:19 AM   #10
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Default Re: Boughticus/Thoughticus - 1/16/13 (thank you Phaed!)

Good thing they shield your eyes from my dirty words.

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Old 01-17-2013, 10:23 AM   #11
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Default Re: Boughticus/Thoughticus - 1/16/13 (thank you Phaed!)

Yeah, I know. I can't handle that ****.

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Old 01-17-2013, 10:38 AM   #12
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Default Re: Boughticus/Thoughticus - 1/16/13 (thank you Phaed!)

Haha.

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Old 01-17-2013, 11:34 AM   #13
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Default Re: Boughticus/Thoughticus - 1/16/13 (thank you Phaed!)

Wolverine Max #3. This new series has been fairly meh. I find it riddled with continuity problems -- they claim that Logan's flirtation with Mariko was 150 years ago and Sabes was there at the time. Unless these flashbacks turn out to be something else this book is more like an alternate reality book than 616 canon, but it wasn't solicited that way. Also in the first issue Logan's legs got bit clear off. I was under the impression that the Adamantium would make that impossible... but I suppose the writer used the cheat sheets instead of doing the actual homework. If these little problems don't clear up I will be dropping the book at the arc's end (I hate to leave a title dangling unless it is especially horrid).

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Old 01-17-2013, 03:00 PM   #14
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Default Re: Boughticus/Thoughticus - 1/16/13 (thank you Phaed!)

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Good thing they shield your eyes from my dirty words.
I love dirty words. Keem em coming, Weez. I see them as like, your signature style. Like, I'll see a whole string of asterisks and know I'm reading a WeeZiTe post.

Totally agree with you about BATMAN. The Joker's tapestry was so creepy and the labrynth was really sweet too. I can't wait to see how this ends. And Yes, Capullo's Batman is amazing. He was born to draw him. All his time on Spawn was getting him ready .

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Old 01-17-2013, 06:10 PM   #15
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Default Re: Boughticus/Thoughticus - 1/16/13 (thank you Phaed!)

Captain Marvel #9: Another issue without Dexter Soy = another issue I can comfortably buy. This one was pretty good. Carol's really growing on me. I saw her as basically a female Hal Jordan--irritatingly over-the-top Type-A personality, pilot, riding a wave of totally undeserved appreciation that glosses over some major character defects thanks to retcons--but she's only kind of like that. There's a bit more to her, which makes her engaging. This issue is a nice slice-of-life story that takes us through a typically non-typical day for Carol, and it winds up being a lot of fun. Granted, some stuff goes over my head since I can't read the series regularly; I still have no idea who the old bag, Tracy, is, for one thing. Andrade's art is pretty abstract--it looks like Carol's eyes are trying to crawl around to the sides of her head sometimes, for example--but he's at least consistent and his figures and layouts look a bit more professional than some kid with a tablet and Photoshop, which places him miles beyond Soy. I would definitely keep reading if he were on pencils, although I'd be really excited if Jamie McKelvie switched from covers to interiors on this series. But alas, it looks like Soy's back next month.

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Old 01-17-2013, 06:13 PM   #16
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Default Re: Boughticus/Thoughticus - 1/16/13 (thank you Phaed!)

I've never really loved JRJR's art but it really works on cap and the current arc...very Kirby feel in that book and it's quite pleasant.

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Old 01-17-2013, 07:08 PM   #17
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Default Re: Boughticus/Thoughticus - 1/16/13 (thank you Phaed!)

A lot of folks correctly predicted that Dean White's colors were going to make a huge difference - they were spot on. Marvel needs to keep these 2 connected at the hip for the rest of their careers.

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Old 01-18-2013, 09:29 PM   #18
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Default Re: Boughticus/Thoughticus - 1/16/13 (thank you Phaed!)

And I just read the issue....good lord JRJR draws the weirdest looking kids. They all look like they have 50lb heads.

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Old 01-18-2013, 09:32 PM   #19
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Default Re: Boughticus/Thoughticus - 1/16/13 (thank you Phaed!)

Haha, yeah, it's awesome. Good ol' JR Jr.

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Old 01-19-2013, 01:24 AM   #20
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Exclamation Re: Boughticus/Thoughticus - 1/16/13 (thank you Phaed!)

Into the middle of January, and quite a mix this time around.

DREAD'S BOUGHT/THOUGHT FOR 1/16/13:

SAGA #9: It should be no surprise by now how good "Saga" by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples is. It has made the "best of 2012" lists for many comic book critics online and in print (if any), including mine. Every issue continues to expand upon the unique (and fearlessly "adult") space universe which has been crafted last year, as well as continues to expand upon the characters therein. Regardless of the wild and bizarre designs for many of the aliens, Vaughan's script never gets lost in "techno-babble" for long and keeps dialogue down to earth and comprehensible. In fact, this issue shifts the focus away from the two lead characters (Marko and Alana) and still manages to succeed.

Picking up from the previous issue, readers were introduced to Gwendolyn, who was the women Marko was engaged to before he became a prisoner of war and ultimately fell for a woman of the warring class. She ends up forming an alliance of circumstance with The Will, who had been hired to assassinate Marko, Alana, and their half-breed daughter, Hazel. Things haven't gone well for Will; his lover The Stalk was murdered in the chase by a rival for the target, and he's currently obsessed with liberating a child sex slave from a porno planet. Aided by Will's "lying cat" (which does what the name suggests), the two wind up liberating the child before heading off on their quest together against the protagonists. The Will has quickly become a "dark horse" character in the series - an antagonist readers genuinely enjoy - and Gwendolyn seems to compliment him well. It may be predictable that the two may wind up as lovers themselves, but it wouldn't altogether be a bad thing.

As always, Fiona Staples' artwork is exceptional. While this is a series that is never shy about graphic violence and nudity (male or female), it isn't taken to extremes that it becomes uncomfortable. Many details may be familiar for us earthlings, but retain a new flair or twist to their design. Some many be delightfully bizarre (the Stalk) while others are simply crudely hilarious (the fetish guards on the sex planet). Too many comics seem to be uneasy about these things, either going to far or not far enough, while this series gets this detail properly in the middle.

The first issue of Saga for 2013 begins the same as the last issue of the series of 2012 ended -excellent. Is it any surprise that virtually every issue of this series has seen a reprint, and the $10 trade of the first six issues is selling like Italian ices during the summer? Anyone who hasn't given this great new series a try should make it a belated new year's resolution to do so.

ARCHER & ARMSTRONG #6: Fred Van Lente's excellent reboot of an old Valiant Comics property continues along its course of high octane action and hilarious dialogue without missing a beat. New artist Emanuella Lupacchino joins him in introducing a new character to the fold in Kay McHenry, a spokeswoman for a nefarious corporation in Zorn Capital. She winds up making enemies of "The One Percent", who are murderous bankers in bear or bull masks, and may just end becoming the latest figure to embody the earth. This is perfect timing for Archer and Armstrong, as they're busy fleeing from Armstrong's immortal slayer of a brother for accidentally killing the last one. While most of the issue focuses on Kay, it still has the usual flair for crossing humor and mythology that Van Lenta honed during his many years co-writing INCREDIBLE HERCULES. While the $3.99 per issue price may be a turn off for some, the story itself is moving at a faster pace than many "big two" books so one really does get a bang for their four bucks.

DAREDEVIL #22: Mark Waid and artist Chris Samnee once again unite for another issue of this Eisner winning ongoing series. While this issue continues the long term subplot between Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson from previous issues, it is very much a loose crossover with "Superior Spider-Man". The wall-crawler has been sicced onto Daredevil's trail by the concerned D.A. Kristen McDuffie, only this isn't your father's Spider-Man; it is Dr. Octopus in Spidey's body. Thus, he almost blows his secret attacking Murdock in broad daylight and talking like a Republic Serial villain. Fortunately, the Stilt-Man turns up to help our heroes patch up. Samnee's art is as terrific as ever and as always, Waid's voice for Murdock practically writes itself. A major secret about Foggy is revealed at the end of the issue, and while it risks soap opera melodrama, it almost seems mundane compared to many comic book tropes. Daredevil continues to be one of the shining jewels of Marvel Comics' current collection; too few superhero comics are as smart and witty as well as beautifully drawn as this.

DARK AVENGERS #185: Jeff Parker and Neil Edwards continue to play with parallel universes for their wacky cast of ex-cons, current cons and former super soldiers. They've been sent to another universe where the city (if not the world) has been divided and ruled in chunks by Iron Man, Namor, Ben Grimm and Dr. Strange. There are a lot of neat ideas here but there seems to be less heart here since the cast has changed so many times; part of this frankly seems like an exercise to get John Walker back to being U.S. Agent again. Aside for he and Moondragon, the others are just there, and while this may be a niche plot some people like, "CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS" it isn't. My enthusiasm for this book has been slowly fading for a while, and if Marvel doesn't do the mercy of axing it soon I wonder how long I will linger. It's not bad, but the issues that truly dazzle me have become fewer and farther between.

INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK #3: While nowhere near as good as DAREDEVIL, Mark Waid's reboot of the Hulk's core book continues to chug along like a big green locomotive with art by Lenil Yu. Banner and Maria Hill go about recruiting the technicians for his new lab at SHIELD, who are mostly a cabal of down and out eggheads or eccentrics. In the meantime, the Hulk is aimed at a random AIM project to revive the Quintronic Man. The last page is hilarious and Waid is doing a good job of lining his ducks in a row while providing a fair "fight of the month" for Hulk fans. I'm not sure Yu's style is best for the Hulk so I will be interested in the next artist who comes along; he's good but I guess I see him more at home on projects like the street squad of NEW AVENGERS fighting ninjas or WOLVERINE. Marvel did want the Hulk to shift into a status quo which was vaguely closer to the film franchise, and Waid managed to do it in a way which still made sense. It does seem to have a predictable formula right now, and hopefully that changes and grows more nuanced over time, as DD did.

VENOM #30: Cullen Bunn ends his latest arc on this title, and I must say it's better than his first. Thony Silas and Roger Robinson share the art for this issue, with a whopping four inkers and two colorists in tow. When the creative team for a comic reads like a starting line up for a football team, it's obvious there was some rush to meet deadline. Regardless, Venom and Valkyrie were seeking to save reporter Katy Kiernan as well as some other poor schmucks from the U-Foes and their gang of criminal henchmen as they experiment on random alien technology they stumbled upon. Unfortunately for them, while they may have defeated Thompson, the Venom symbiote (and possibly now a demon) take over and proceed to clean house. It's a formula which even Rick Remender used a lot, but has become part of the character - the monstrous loss of control. Valkyrie and Katy seem to handle it well, but Flash himself may be cracking up as he has an imagined conversation with symbiote crafted duplicates of them as he decides to settle into Philly for a while. While the demonic angle is a bit weird, at least Bunn continues the notion that Remender did with this series - that it wasn't exactly the symbiote which was unstable, it's Flash, which naturally can be a dangerous combination now that he's got super powers. While Bunn is clearly not quite hitting pitches at the level that Remender was, this second arc has been a welcome improvement and the cliffhanger with Toxin (Eddie Brock) looks to be nasty for future issues. While SCARLET SPIDER is the better ASM spin off right now, I still enjoy this.

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