Sunday, May 23, 2010

Yesterday's comic books reviewed... today!

The term 'fanboy' irks me. Nearly all comic book fans use it to describe themselves, and for the life of me I can't understand why. It started out as a pejorative term, and comic book fans using it themselves does not empower them or the term. It would be like a black person using the N-word to describe themselves. It's a nasty word, and using it to describe yourself does not take away it's ugliness. Much like the N-word, we as a culture should banish the use of the term 'fanboy', as it is a term created by detractors to belittle us.

X-FACTOR: OVERTIME (Marvel, 2009; Hardcover)
Collects X-Factor (Vol. 3) Nos. 46-50 and X-Factor Special: Layla Miller (cover dates October, 2008- December, 2009).
Man, my loyalty to both all things X-title related and to Peter David's writing is fast becoming tenuous. This has it's moments, but the series seems to be losing its way. At least they finally reveal the story behind Layla Miller.


X-FORCE VOL. 3: NOT FORGOTTEN (Marvel, 2009; Hardcover)
Collects X-Force (Vol. 3) Nos. 12, 13, 17-19 (cover dates April- November, 2009
On one hand, I dislike this series because it has heroes doing things that are completely unheroic. On the other hand, this is such a fun, super violent read with beautiful artwork by Clayton Crain and Mike Choi that I can't help but love it. Omitting Issues 14-16 and only including them in the Cable Messiah War hardcover ticks me off. I have no desire to read stuff with Cable in it and feel like I have been shorted in the story department.


Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) Nos. 1-8 and Peter Parker, Spider-Man Nos. 1-8 (cover dates on both series: January- August, 1999).
These were an awesome garage sale find just two blocks from my house. These issues came out during my sabbatical from comics, so I missed out on this relaunch. Both are written by the underrated Howard Mackie and ASM was drawn by John Byrne, while PPSM was drawn by John Romita, Jr. I was delighted to see Morbius the Living Vampire pop up unexpectedly in the latter series. These issues had a relatively low print run due to the comic market crash of the mid-to-late '90s, and to find them in such exquisite shape for so cheap was the icing on the cake. They look like the guy bought them off of the shelf the day of release, read them once, and then bagged and boarded them. He had like 5 or 6 long boxes but I had much of what he was offering. Fun reads for dirt cheap= a winner.


SHOWCASE PRESENTS: THE HOUSE OF SECRETS VOL. 2 (DC, 2009)
Collects The House of Secrets Nos. 99-119 (cover dates August, 1972- May, 1974)
Another fine collection of old school Gothic Horror stories with solid writing and artwork. Alfredo Alcala's artwork is genuinely creepy and I can't get enough of it. Nestor Redondo is also very good, as are most of the other contributing artists. You can't go wrong with these black and white phone books in terms of sheer dollar per dollar entertainment value...nearly 500 pages for $17.99 MSRP.
AVENGERS/ X-MEN: UTOPIA (Marvel, 2009; Hardcover)
Collects Dark Avengers Nos. 7, 8, Dark X-Men: The Beginning Nos. 1-3, Dark X-Men: The Confession, Dark Avengers/ Uncanny X-Men: Exodus, Dark Avengers/ Uncanny X-Men: Utopia, Uncanny X-Men Nos. 513, 514, X-Men: Legacy Nos. 226, 227 and material from Dark Reign: The Cabal (cover dates June- November, 2009).
Times like these I hate buying my comic books in collected editions. My completist OCD compels me to continue my Uncanny X-Men and X-Men: Legacy runs, so I got sucked into this uber-retarded Dark Reign storyline. If I were a floppy (single issue) buyer, I would've only bought those 4 issues rather than this fat oversized hardcover, not caring whether the overall story made sense or not. Crossovers suck. SPOILERS The whole Norman Osborn running the show concept sucks so bad and is so unbelievable that I can't believe that it ever saw print. Comic books are not realistic, nor do I expect them to be, but there has to be a certain level of believability involved. Norman Osborn was the Green Goblin, for chrissakes! The Government would never give him control of an organization like H.A.M.M.E.R. Compounding this suckiness is the fact that he has his 'Dark' Avengers and 'Dark' X-Men....uggghhhhh. Horrible.




MARVEL MASTERWORKS: ATLAS ERA BLACK KNIGHT/ YELLOW CLAW VOL. 1 (Marvel, 2009; Hardcover)
Collects Black Knight Nos. 1-5 and Yellow Claw Nos. 1-4 (cover dates May, 1955- April, 1957).
The absolutely stunning artwork by Joe Maneely on most of the Black Knight issues and the first issue of Yellow Claw makes this an eye candy feast. Jack Kirby takes over Yellow Claw after the first issue, and his artwork seems more in line with his '60s style than on his Golden Age stuff like Captain America and the Sandman. I also put Bill Everett's cover to Yellow Claw #3 in this blog because it is so stunning. I mean, look at all of that detail! These stories are above average for the era in terms of quality and are fun reads. There is an in depth article about the life of Joe Maneely in the back of the book that is wonderful. There are several images from the plethora of other titles that he did, and I want to read them all! My wallet groans at the prospect at purchasing all of these Masterworks, but they are so worth it. I can't wait to get to the Menace volume in my queue to read Maneely's Frankenstein. My backlog is totally out of control...this book came out in September of 2009 and I just got to it and finished it.





AVENGERS/ INVADERS (Marvel, 2009; Hardcover)
Collects Avengers/ Invaders Nos. 1-12 (cover dates July, 2008- August, 2009)
This was a decent read, but something about it seems to be lacking... I am not sure if it is the story, the artwork, or the pacing, but this title never seemed to get out of third gear. I didn't throw this book at the wall in disgust when I finished it, nor did I scoop my jaw up from the floor when I was done.




SPIDER-MAN: RETURN OF THE BLACK CAT (Marvel, 2010; Hardcover)
Collects Amazing Spider-Man Nos. 606-611 and material from Web of Spider-Man No. 1 (cover dates November, 2009- January, 2010).
Another solid batch of issues, with the exception of Issue 611. Deadpool sucks, and is the worst of Rob Liefeld's terrible creations. The Mike McKone goodness in the other issues balances out the suckiness that is Issue 611.

SPIDER-MAN: THE GAUNTLET VOL. 1- ELECTRO & SANDMAN (Marvel, 2010; Hardcover) 
Collects Amazing Spider-Man Nos. 612-616, Dark Reign: The List- Amazing Spider-Man and material from Web of Spider-Man No. 2 (cover dates January- February, 2010).
It's nice to see some of the OG Spider-Man villains back in the game. Electro has been upgraded, and so has Sandman, and it all leads up to... what? I'm intrigued by The Gauntlet thus far.

SPIDER-MAN: THE GAUNTLET VOL. 2- RHINO & MYSTERIO (Marvel, 2010; Hardcover)
Collects Amazing Spider-Man Nos. 617-621 and material from Web of Spider-Man Nos. 3, 4 (cover dates February- April, 2010).
OK, The Gauntlet rocks. These are THE best Mysterio stories since Amazing Spider-Man #66-67, I kid you not. Dan Slott and Marcos Martin knocked this one right out of the park. I have finally figured out why ASM has been resonating with me since the 'reboot' some 70-odd issues ago, and that is the fact that there is actual joy in this title. Sure, Peter Parker gets knocked upside the head by life, but he never gets as morose as he did during J. Michael Straczinski's run. There is joy in this title, and there is joy to be had in reading this title, and that is something that has been missing from many Marvel titles for far too long. Hopefully the forthcoming Heroic Age will rectify this.

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