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TOPIC: What COMIC BOOKS have you been reading?

What COMIC BOOKS have you been reading? 26 Nov 2012 23:14 #138419

Apparently the previous thread with this title was locked? I have no idea why; apparently it was "too long", as if the BOOKS and BOARD GAMES ones aren't?

Anyway, inspired by Barnes writing about various mainstream comics, I decided to give modern mainstream comics another go, and have been mostly disappointed. The latest comic I completed was

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larocca

Specifically, the first hardcover, which includes everything up till the end of "World's Most Wanted", supposedly the best story in the run.

W T F this comic sucked. On so many levels. But primarily on two: plotholes and art. We'll start with the art, because it's easier to dismiss: the penciller & colorist go for a computer-generated maximum-realism look here, and it constantly hits the Uncanny Valley and just looks really weird because of it (obviously, not in a good way). Now, for the story...as I've said before, I'm not usually one to complain about plotholes. This is in part because I think it's a lazy criticism, and in part because I tend to just not pay attention to them or notice them. But in this case, I'd argue that there were plot holes that actively tore apart the drama of the story. I could go on and on, but here a few representative ones:

SPOILERS
In the first storyline, we witness a fight between Iron Man and Zeke Stane. In this fight, we sometimes view things from Iron Man's perspective. Iron Man says something like "if he keeps throwing out this much firepower, I'll die." Stane then blows Iron Man's head off, and it is revealed that it is just a robot. Sorry, but this completely deflates all emotional attachment to *anything* happen in the story, as it demonstrates that anything we're seeing might just be retracted by the author, so why should we care?

Similarly, in the "World's Most Wanted" storyline, Norman Osborn is depicted as having whatever power is necessary for the plot at any given time. At one point, he instantly fabricates a story about a passenger plane having a Skrull onboard, so that he can have it shot down seconds later, with no repercussions. And yet at another point, he captures Pepper Potts and her new armor, and cannot really do anything to her, nor take her armor, because of legal reasons. Frequently, actually, he is prevented from doing something for legal reasons: and yet, shooting down a passenger plane was no problem.

I will not go into how utterly stupid the entire conceit/premise of "World's Most Wanted" is, nor how it is entirely coincidence that Tony Stark's life is saved by Norman Osborn just as he forgets how to breathe.
END SPOILERS

I FINALLY picked up my copy of BUILDING STORIES, but I feel like I have to finish all these disappointing mainstream comics I got from the library before starting on that, which is something I've been looking forward to reading for over a decade. So next up is:

BATWOMAN: ELEGY by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III

I'm 5/7 done with this, but it's surprisingly good, and is actually the only good mainstream comic I've read in ages. That said, it's almost entirely good due to the art: the writing is nothing to write home about, maybe it's even bad? Maybe it's good? It's too hard to notice, because the story is completely engaging and thrilling purely due to the art alone. Barnes gave some of the later Batwoman comics a bad review when reading them on Comixology, and yeah: don't fucking read this on your iPad. I have zero problems being confused reading this in comic form: it simply requires slowing down your reading a bit. I literally cannot think of a previous superhero comic whose art does so much heavy lifting: and what I mean is not just that the art is pretty, but that the art does a LOT of the job of conveying MEANING in the story. For example: the art is drastically less showy and more conventional during the plainclothes scenes than during the Batwoman scenes, and PURELY through the art and layout, it is conveyed to us that being Batwoman is glamorous and thrilling, and that this is a major reason for her doing so. Very few superhero comics have ever portrayed superheroing as glamorously as these Batwoman comics. In the latest issue there was also a dead-on Batman Year One Mazzuchelli impression for the flashbacks.

Looking forward to finishing this, finishing some Hellboy comics, and some Iron Fist comics, so that I can FINALLY read Building Stories.
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Re: What COMIC BOOKS have you been reading? 26 Nov 2012 23:29 #138421

You know what's funny? I think the main reason I didn't like Batwoman was because so much of the book is RED. And I _hate_ red. That and the writing was crap, and the lesbian angle was written from a hetero male perspective, which made it seem fake.

I'm not as down on the Fraction Iron Man as you, I thought it was alright. Not great, but for a mainstream potboiler it had a couple of OK moments and it was an easy read. I stopped reading Most Wanted though, because it really was fucking stupid. I do not like anything to do with that whole Norman Osborn thing, I think that is one of the lamest and most preposterous things Marvel has ever cooked up. Probably because...you know...wh...what? Yeah. Bendis was behind so much of it.

Need to finish that Iron Fist book...wasn't too crazy about it, but only three issues in.

I've been reading a lot of Marvel...Brubaker Cap, gonna finish that off reading your old unwieldy omnibus. Fraction's Mighty Thor, which is an OK potboiler like his Iron Man, but not anything more than that. Hawkeye miniseries (more Fraction) is pretty cute. Very loose, off-the-cuff. Definitely taking a nip from Waid's Daredevil, I think. Captain Marvel sucks. Don't know why it's gotten so much praise. Makes me think of Sucker Punch. T

he new Jason Aaron Thor series from the Marvel NOW! stuff _may_ be great. The first issue is awesome. Starts off with a dead Native American god turning up in the river. Goes through three different ages in Thor's life. Awesome art, grim tone. Waid Hulk from that same line, eh. Got the Cap and FF issues, we'll see how they go.


On the DC front...Penguin: Pain and Prejudice...can't decide if I think it's really great...or terrible. But I love that it's a Penguin story.

New Deadwardians got pretty interesting, I think I'd recommend it.


Post-Morrison Batman & Robin, by Tomasi...I read ten issues of this crap?
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Re: What COMIC BOOKS have you been reading? 26 Nov 2012 23:40 #138422

As you might guess from my avatar and posting name, I'm a big Iron Man fan. I went into Invincible Iron Man with high hopes, buying each individual issue as it came out. Matt Fraction impressed me with his run on Immortal Iron Fist, though maybe his co-writer Ed Brubaker deserves most of the credit after all. Anyway, I thought that the first six issues were okay, and made for a nice starting point for the rare new fan pulled in by the first movie. But the artwork was iffy, especially in those many panels where Stark looked like he had chipmunk cheeks.

The team-up issue with Spider-man was forgettable, because it was an unremarkable story marred by the awkwardness of the implications of One More Day for all the heroes that knew Spider-man.

Then that damned World's Most Wanted story derailed the comic, as big crossover events often do. It was incredibly irritating to see Iron Man afraid of a villain that was so completely inferior to him in every respect, especially intelligence. This was bullshit editorially-mandated event that artificially elevated Normon Osborn to a world-class menace without merit. It was almost as painful as watching Doctor Octopus give the Hulk as hard time. Fortunately Peter David revisited that matchup and had Hulk defeat Doc Ock with a single flick of the finger:



And then Invincible Iron Man became unbearable, when Fraction wrote Namor as a generic evil mastermind sometime around issue #12. I bailed after that and never looked back.

I enjoyed Batwoman: Elegy, except that I couldn't take Alice seriously as a villain. Nothing from her origin convinced me that she could have posed a credible threat, and her costume was unbearable. But I really like Greg Rucka's writing in general, and I love artwork from J.H. Williams III, so it was still an enjoyable read. The local library had the deluxe hardcover trade, which was a treat to read.
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Re: What COMIC BOOKS have you been reading? 26 Nov 2012 23:51 #138424

The last thing I checked out from the library and read was volume #7 of Scalped. Still excellent.

More recently, I picked up volume #4 of the Essential Captain America. Despite the black/white format, this was a nice nostalgic trip through one of the best Cap runs. I used to have at least half these issues, but it was still fun reading them all together. I just wish that it had ended two issues sooner, so I could have skipped that horrible Snap Wilson retcon. Otherwise it was great, featuring guest appearances from the original X-Men and several Avengers and SHIELD agents. This also covered the first stretch when Cap seriously stopped being Cap and became Nomad, after a Watergate-like incident happened in the Marvel Universe.

After a lengthy period of not buying comics and focusing on stuff related to my house, I broke down and decided to buy the whole Gulacy run on Master of Kung Fu, plus fill in the gaps of my Grimjack collection. No single online seller offered every issue that I wanted, so I ended up splitting my order up with three different sites. I have already gotten two of my deliveries, but am waiting for the third so I can read everything in order.

For what it's worth, I was very impressed by the detailed listings at mycomicshop.com, and they delivered more quickly than the other two despite my selection of the free shipping option there. On the downside, they refuse to deliver the first order to any given customer to any address other than the billing address for the debit/credit card used to pay. Fortunately I got home less than an hour after delivery (I was only away from home for about an hour that day), so the cardboard box didn't get wet or stolen or anything.
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Re: What COMIC BOOKS have you been reading? 27 Nov 2012 00:00 #138426

Yeah, Scalped was a great series. I've read them all as of about four months ago and had a great time with them. There were several times it seemed to cliche and macho to me but all in all it's a series worth reading.

Just recently I read all of League 1910, 1969 and 2009 and I forgot how good Moore is. The temptation is to say it's not that great because it's not his best work but the problem with that is the series is better, by far, than anything else I read this year. It is a fucking awesome dark work and may very well end the entire League series. What shocked me the most was that even though I read 1910 and 1969 when the came out how much better they seemed when I could read them all together. I think they deserve to be read and judged that way. It is a stellar series and has showen my why it is that despite all the other stuff that comes out Moore is still consistently the best comics writer on the planet. His versatility and range are undeniably amazing.
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Re: What COMIC BOOKS have you been reading? 27 Nov 2012 00:11 #138428

JonJacob wrote:
Just recently I read all of League 1910, 1969 and 2009 and I forgot how could Moore is. The temptation is to say it's not that great because it's not his best work but the problem with that is the series is better, by far, than anything else I read this year. It is a fucking awesome dark work and may very well end the entire League series. What shocked me the most was that even though I read 1910 and 1969 when the came out how much better they seemed when I could read them all together. I think they deserve to be read and judged that way. It is a stellar series and has showen my why it is that despite all the other stuff that comes out Moore is still consistently the best comics writer on the planet. His versatility and range are undeniably amazing.

I read both 1910 and 1969 earlier this year, courtesy of the public library. Glad I didn't pay money for them. On a superficial level, I was bored by both, and to the extent that there were any deeper themes or concepts, I was unable to perceive or appreciate them. I have been a big fan of Alan Moore for a long time, but definitely disappointed by his recent work, especially Neonomicon. Without getting into spoilers, I will just say that Neonomicon was a continuation of his excellent two-parter, The Courtyard. It's Moore's take on the Cthulhu Mythos, only the Neonomicon wallows heavily in rape and gore, and then ends awkwardly with a lame twist ending. I did buy each issue though, because there were flashes of brilliance in the first two issues.
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Re: What COMIC BOOKS have you been reading? 27 Nov 2012 00:37 #138430

I probably preferred Necronomicon over The Courtyard but in general I wouldn't reccomend them to anyone. Both are allright. The bizzare sex stuff did nothing for me one way or the other. Just another story element as I am impossible to shock in that way. Especially after Lost Girls which I adored. I generally just look at those types of situations and try to think what else they can stand for and ignore the fact that I am personally a pretty prudish guy.

But League as other things to reccomend it, mainly Kevin O'Neill who is probably my favorite comic artist still working today. No magazine cover bullshit hyper realism the guy has an actual discernable style which is unfortunately fucking rare in comics.

Man do I ever miss Seth Fisher. That guy had an awesome future and we were robbed when he passed away.

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Re: What COMIC BOOKS have you been reading? 27 Nov 2012 01:03 #138434

Michael Barnes wrote:
You know what's funny? I think the main reason I didn't like Batwoman was because so much of the book is RED. And I _hate_ red. That and the writing was crap, and the lesbian angle was written from a hetero male perspective, which made it seem fake.
Ha! Funny about the red, it is *ridiculously* red. Was the stuff you were reading the JH Williams-written stuff, or the earlier Greg Rucka-written stories (which is what I'm currently reading)? The writing has yet to be bad enough that I actually notice it being bad, for me; it's just a kind of generic superhero story, but so far I'm totally engaged, thanks to the really cool action scenes and, honestly, everything. Don't think I'll be buying it for myself, though.
Michael Barnes wrote:
I'm not as down on the Fraction Iron Man as you, I thought it was alright. Not great, but for a mainstream potboiler it had a couple of OK moments and it was an easy read. I stopped reading Most Wanted though, because it really was fucking stupid. I do not like anything to do with that whole Norman Osborn thing, I think that is one of the lamest and most preposterous things Marvel has ever cooked up. Probably because...you know...wh...what? Yeah. Bendis was behind so much of it.
About Bendis: that new Uncanny X-Men reboot from him has gotten good reviews even from Bendis-haters. Something to keep an eye on, 'cause I think he has it in him to be good, though I highly doubt X-Men is the place where we'll see that.

But Iron Man: wow, it's a bad sign when both you and Shellhead *with the Iron Man avatar* were down on World's Most Wanted, considering all the good I'd heard about it, but yeah, it "really was fucking stupid". Really the most idiotic suicide plan ever, from supposedly one of the smartest people on earth? I don't think I ever, ever want to see a genius superhero spend 12 issues convinced that suicide is preferable to actually trying to come up with a plan to stop a villain, especially a villain so far from Thanos-style omnipotence as Norman Osborn is here. Seriously, Pepper Potts, Maria whatserface, and the Black Widow have the ability to get in his facility and wreck some shit up, but Iron Man's plan is to kill himself while running away?

It was also obnoxious just to be reading something which SO heavily depends on outside crossovers and event comics: Civil War AND Secret Invasion AND Dark Reign. No thanks, don't think I'll do THAT again.
Michael Barnes wrote:
Penguin: Pain and Prejudice
WTF
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Re: What COMIC BOOKS have you been reading? 27 Nov 2012 18:07 #138469

I just finished volume 2 of Simonson's Thor, and while I did enjoy it I found it to be sort of a burden to read. It's incredibly wordy, and it moved much slower for me than other comics. I still really liked it though, and the artwork was terrific. It just involved more reading than I was prepared for.

I've been plowing through Usagi Yojimbo. I just started book six, and I've loved every minute of it.
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Re: What COMIC BOOKS have you been reading? 27 Nov 2012 18:29 #138475

dragonstout wrote:
About Bendis: that new Uncanny X-Men reboot from him has gotten good reviews even from Bendis-haters. Something to keep an eye on, 'cause I think he has it in him to be good, though I highly doubt X-Men is the place where we'll see that.

But Iron Man: wow, it's a bad sign when both you and Shellhead *with the Iron Man avatar* were down on World's Most Wanted, considering all the good I'd heard about it, but yeah, it "really was fucking stupid". Really the most idiotic suicide plan ever, from supposedly one of the smartest people on earth? I don't think I ever, ever want to see a genius superhero spend 12 issues convinced that suicide is preferable to actually trying to come up with a plan to stop a villain, especially a villain so far from Thanos-style omnipotence as Norman Osborn is here. Seriously, Pepper Potts, Maria whatserface, and the Black Widow have the ability to get in his facility and wreck some shit up, but Iron Man's plan is to kill himself while running away?

I did catch a preview of the Bendis X-Men, and it was actually good. And I normally can't stand Bendis, especially when he is writing a team book.

Funny you should mention Thanos, because Iron Man was the first hero to ever go up against him. That just makes it all the more ludicrous that Iron Man was so worried about Norman Osborn. As an Avenger, Stark has actually gotten killed at least twice (Avengers #132 & #177), but that didn't cause him to run away and contemplate suicide. And he routinely fights Mandarin, a villain who is significantly more impressive than Norman Osborn in every conceivable way. Really, until Osborn got his big promotion from Quesada and Bendis, he was a small-time loser who was simply obsessed with revenge against Spider-man.
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Re: What COMIC BOOKS have you been reading? 27 Nov 2012 22:03 #138489

Umm...yeah...that All-New X-Men book is _great_, even if it does follow on from AvX...and is Bendis. I really liked it a lot, great set-up and a pretty original concept involving the ORIGINAL X-Men. Definitely will follow it. At least until some company-wide crossover fucks it up.

The thing with Norman Osborn just makes me mad...and seeing Tony Stark COWING in front of him? Seriously? It's the fucking GREEN GOBLIN. Like Shell said, he's an obsessed loser. Not some mastermind ultra-villain.

Marvel NOW! Captain America is practically unreadable. Fucking nonsense. I guess Remender decided that he wanted to put Cap in a Fear Agent story or something. Cap as a SF hero? Cap making a clumsy sex joke to Agent 13? Come the fuck on. Good thing I'm in the middle of reading the best Cap run of all time, the Brubaker stuff. That just goes from strength to strength.

As for Simonson Thor- if you think it's a burden to read, you should try reading them from the Omnibus! You have to remember, those stories weren't really mean to be read all in one sitting or anything like that. I'll read one or two at a time and come back later. They are wordy. But compare that to most newer Marvel stuff, which you can read in ten minutes.

Yeah, the Penguin series...it's not bad. Oh, it is though. I dunno. There's some GREAT stuff in it, and some really stupid stuff. It's awesome when it's showing how ruthless and SCARY Penguin is as a cruel, brutal gangster. It's not so awesome when it folds in this silly love story that's a rip on the Ben Grimm "the chick is blind and can't see him" thing. Some unnecessary gore, some on-the-nose flashback stuff, and a weird vascillation between gritty, grim, realistic Penguin and robot-making wack-wacker don't help.

I found a pile of Groo. Haven't read those in decades. I had a HUGE stack of them in the bathroom vanity when I was a kid. Regular bathroom reading. As soon as I looked at one of the issues, I felt like I had to go.
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Re: What COMIC BOOKS have you been reading? 27 Nov 2012 22:55 #138495

Okay, Bat-school time: can someone who's more into Batman than me please explain, pre-Burton, what the concept & appeal of the Penguin was? Not a rhetorical question, genuinely interested. Beyond the fact that he was used in the TV show and the movie, what is the reason for his surviving over decades as a beloved Batman villain? I don't really see his appeal in the animated series (he just has a couple of gimmicks, umbrellas and birds, that make no sense together, as well as some similarly incongruous upper-class thing), and the Burton version seems dramatically different from any prior Penguin.
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Re: What COMIC BOOKS have you been reading? 27 Nov 2012 23:00 #138496

Kind of like the Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL, the Penguin is an "Original Six" villian. There's always some affection for the originals, even if they're total losers [see, again, the Toronto Maple Leafs]. His first appearance pre-dates the attack on Pearl Harbor, so he's been a Bat baddie since the dawn of time. Everything about him is pretty classic Golden Age/early Silver Age goofiness. The TV show solidified his standing in the pantheon, but he was always kind of a sideshow/bit-player compared to, say, the Joker. Just a gangster with physical deformities and a The Simpsons' Mr. Burns vibe....
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Re: What COMIC BOOKS have you been reading? 27 Nov 2012 23:24 #138498

I've always loved Penguin. It's a combination of things. One, is that he's truly pathetic. He's a stubby little fat guy. Two, is the whole top hat and monocle thing, which imparts a sense of taste, class, and dignity. I guess. Three is that like Justin said, he's one of the old-time Batman villains.

I think the best Penguin ever, actually, may be in Arkham City. If only because they switched him up from an Edward G. Robinson/Little Caesar caricature to a snarling Cockney thug (voiced by Nolan North). This Penguin book sort of carries on more from that interpretation. Sometimes.

One of the short films I made many ages ago had Penguin in it. We did full makeup and costume for a friend of mine, he looked freaking amazing. He was counseling Riddler about that character's woeful sex life. I didn't write it, don't look at me that way.
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Re: What COMIC BOOKS have you been reading? 27 Nov 2012 23:39 #138500

Sometimes a comic book character remains appealing simply because of a distinctive appearance. Like Starfire, from the Teen Titans, or the Human Torch. Penguin has got an interesting appearance that suits the timeless feel of Gotham City. He looks like a hybrid of FDR and the Monopoly Man, more or less. And then there is the umbrella gimmick which is so odd compared to the usual gun or raygun that it's a bit endearing.
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