Friday, July 31, 2015

Weekly pulls for 07/29/2015

I find myself struggling this week to find things to ramble on about. There isn't too much exciting jumping at me from the comic book world, and honestly, my focus has been on gaming. With my summer break coming to a close, I am rushing to finish a few games that have been sitting on my shelf for the past year so that the collection doesn't continue to grow and remain not played. I mean, I just got to Bastion this past week and am sad it took so many years to give my attention to such a masterpiece.

Even though my focus has been elsewhere, I did acquire five books from my comic shop. I found myself overwhelmed with Doctor Who, a nice return from a series that was on hiatus and another piece from Secret Wars:

Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor #003
Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor #013
Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor #010
Sex Criminals #011 - Pick of the Week!
X-Men '92 #002

Again, I am starting to battle my desire to continue on with all of the Doctor Who titles, especially the Twelfth Doctor, but the review will reveal more about those ponderings. Remember to give the new episode of The Panel Scanners (found on iTunes!) a listen and until next time, happy reading!

X-Men '92 #002

Writers: Chris Sims & Chad Bowers
Artist: Scott Koblish
Colorist: Matt Milla

"Chapter Three: Those Who Help Themselves"
"Chapter Four: Love is a Battlefield"

Again, I am surprised how much I am enjoying this series along with many of the other Battleworld books that are being published by Marvel right now. These basically Elseworlds stories give an interesting insight as to what could have happened and what did happen in alternate universes during major events in Marvel history.

The way that this almost double sized book works is that the Shadow King is trying to mold the X-Men into nonviolent, obeying heroes that will make Westchester a peaceful place to be. Ironically, the Shadow King may have killed Professor X to get control over his X-Men, but we will let him ignore that. 

The first chapter focuses on Wolverine and how he is his own greatest enemy. The Shadow King shows Wolverine that every piece of violence, every choice he has made, is because he wants to attack himself and doesn't trust himself. Forcing introspection of Wolverine starts pushing him down the path of being a docile and nonviolent version of himself which allows for the Shadow King to want to keep him around.

The second chapter focuses on Gambit and Rogue. The fact that there is sexual tension between them bothers the Shadow King and he shows them how they can be together and not have the tension there. Of course this also allows for him to let them be part of his peaceful world.

During these two chapters there is a subplot that focuses on Jubilee find the Rej-X, the rejected mutants from the Shadow King's program. The X-Men that failed the Shadow King's assessment soon join the group (Beast at least), but it is a little unclear as to what their plan is. I am sure it will be a revolt.

As an epilogue we see the X-Force of the 90's find Professor X's body which is sure to bring them into the mix in the next issue. Each piece plays really well together and makes for a fun read. It almost reads like a 90's book but with a clearer goal. It isn't as convoluted as many of those books which is a great thing. I am actually quite enjoying the ride thus far and am looking forward to next month's addition.

Rating: 8/10

Sex Criminals #011

By: Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky


After quite the hiatus, Sex Criminals is back and definitely feels that same as it always has. A weird mix of sexuality, comedy, heist and mystery is played out between the covers clearly marked as mature. For those that do not know the premise, the two main character, Suzie and Jon, stop time when they have orgasms. Once they found each other and realized that they both had the same power, the started to use it to rob a bank that shut down Suzie's library. Of course this spiraled and more people with the same powers showed up, specifically the Sex Police. When we last left our duo, they had stolen files from the Sex Police that cataloged other people that had the same powers as Jon, Suzie and the police.

We open this issue with a story of another character that has the same powers, Doug D. Douglas. He seems to have the same kind of messed up life that all of the other characters have, but is a good guy overall. The duo go down to Miami to find Doug by using their powers, trying to show him that others are like him and that they should team up to go against the Sex Police. What they walk in on is...interesting and a tad perverse which fits with the overall ton of the issue.

During this time we see the head of the Sex Police seducing Jon's psychologist, trying to find things out about him. Things don't look good for Jon when she has an orgasm and time freezes, allowing her access to all of the doctor's notes.

Even though there is a lot of perverse things happening, it is no secret that this is an adult book and in all reality a fun read. It is very different than anything else out there and Matt Fraction does not disappoint. Every issue of this book looks into human nature and desire, while still entertaining the reader with exciting moments that don't always have to do with sex. If you are mature enough to handle a book that deals heavily with sex and regret, give this a shot.

Rating: 10/10 - Pick of the Week

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor #010

Writer: Robbie Morrison
Artists: Brian Williamson & Mariano Laclaustra
Colorist: Hi-Fi

"Gangland Part 2"

We last left Clara and the Doctor in Las Vegas dealing with gangs of both alien and human type. The Cybock Imperium had captured Clara and the Wolf Pack, trying to convince the Wolf Pack (through violence) to perform in their casino to try to take the last little power away from the other leading gang of the city. Of course the Wolf Pack and Clara argue against this and in timely fashion The Doctor and the enforcer of the other gang show up to save them moments before Clara is zapped with the Time Gun of Time Lord creation.

From this point the Cybock Imperium decide to show themselves and start fighting out in the open, destroying quite a few people and leading us back to the first page of the arc with The Doctor playing a weird version of Russian Roulette called Rassilon's Roulette that would force whomever got shot's timeline to vanish. There of course is a Doctor ploy and all works out okay. The book closes with cheesy one-liners from the Doctor that felt incredibly campy and forced, but I am sure would have felt slightly better on screen. 

Overall, I feel that this book has been the weakest of the bunch. I am not sure if it is because I have spent the least amount of time with this Doctor, or if the stories just aren't as grasping. I just find a lot of the things on the pages forced, the characters less likable, and the general concepts to be heavily cliche. The last line of the book made me look around embarrassed, not sure why it was forced in. This may be the issue that makes me cut down my Doctor Who pulls.

Rating 5/10 - Some good, mostly blah

Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor #013

Writer: Nick Abadzis
Pencils: Elena Casagrande
Inks: Di Meo
Colorist: Hi-Fi

"Spiral Staircase Part 1"

This new arc starts sort of in the middle of the past arc. The Doctor and Gabby are trying to figure out exactly what the device that transformed the former great actress, Dorothy Bell, into a younger, almost magical version of herself really is. In the previous issues the duo along with Gabby's friend Cindy have finally joined together with the team that was originally searching for the artifact, as well as with Vivian, Dorothy assistant. I know that is a lot to follow but hopefully it makes sense. 

After Dorothy's transformation, she seems to have an urge to enhance everything around her to make them better if not perfect. She takes flight while bringing Gabby along, to enhance the buildings around New York, specifically a wing to a hospital she was funding, then everything else that didn't seem quite right. During this, the other players in the story are trying to find her and figure out exactly what she has become and what to do about it. The Doctor, in true Doctor form, seemed to know what she was but kept choking on the information until the end of the book. The Doctor finally states that she has merged with a high end of alien tech and that it isn't a good thing, but he doesn't get the chance to explain why. During all of this a large ship is approaching Earth and seems to think very little of our home planet. The end pages show the ships approach and gives a hint as to what its reasoning for being there is. 

With the Tenth Doctor still being one of my favorites, I am still enjoying the stories told here. I think this and the Ninth Doctor books are the strongest. There doesn't seem to be any grasp at being campy but simply a desire to tell more stories about this Doctor. I hope the pace can continue.

Rating: 8/10

Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor #003

Writer: Cavan Scott
Artists: Blair Shedd with Rachell Stott
Colors: Anang Setyawan

"Weapons of Past Destruction Part 3"

This issue is the third part of a five part mini-series that shows the Doctor with Jack and Rose on a planet that is sort of like a flea market of illegal things encapsulated in a time bubble. This time bubble is under threat of being shut down because the Unon have shown up to stop the illegal activity and to put the cosmos back into proper order. The Unon have interest in the Doctor and the TARDIS, much as everyone else seems to have interest in getting their hands on a time machine.

During this, Jack and Rose get separated from the Doctor and are forced to believe that he was killed by the Unon. By no surprise to the reader, the Doctor is fine but in a sub-dimensional void talking to the Unon about what is going on. I am actually interested to see how everything plays out. 

This comic is a firm reminder as to what a shame it was that there was only one season with the Ninth Doctor. His personality is a bit more serious with overtones of comedy that he obviously uses so he doesn't punch someone in the face. Scott does a phenomenal job capturing that attitude with the way that the Doctor handles the aliens that are around him in this issue as well as with how he handles Rose and Jack. He is more concerned with what is happening to the planet with very little interest in his own survival. 

Rating: 8/10

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Weekly Pulls 07/22/2015

The past few weeks have been a fun time to be a comic book fan. We got the chance to see what the future holds with SDCC 2015, Secret Wars pushes forward guiding the future of Marvel comics, and we got the release of Ant-Man. I have to admit, going into the film I wasn't certain what to expect. Marvel Cinematic Universe hasn't really disappointed me since it really got rolling but Ant-Man wasn't something I was expecting, then again I felt the same about Guardians of the Galaxy. The movie itself was very enjoyable, plenty of Easter Eggs for those long time comic fans that look for that stuff, funny writing and a decent heist film all tied into a comic book movie. Simply because it felt so different from the other action films as of late, Ant-Man was pure joy to watch.

Now I wont say that the movie was perfect, I think it is hard to ever have a perfect film, but it was enjoyable and I would actually enjoy seeing it again. It gives me great hope for the plethora of Marvel movies pouring onto us in the coming years, as well as the television shows and whatever else the studio decides it wants to do. I hope that the future of the comics looks as bright after Secret Wars resets the universe...more on that in October I suppose.

This week I had a little bit of a heavier week with five books:

All-New Hawkeye #004 - Pick of the Week!
Fight Club 2 #003
Magneto #020
Spider-Woman #009
Uncanny X-Men #035

Each book has its merits and as always you can click on the link in this post to read a short blurb about each book. That is all for this week though, so until next week enjoy your comics and be sure to catch up on The Panel Scanners if you aren't already listening!

Uncanny X-Men #035

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Valerio Schiti
Color Art: Richard Isanove

I think that this final, Marvel Now numbered, issue of Uncanny X-Men was incredibly fitting for the series. Originally this was the place to go to learn about the mutant revolution, to see what Scott Summers had planned, but it quickly shifted to the new mutants that appeared in the book. This team (Goldballs, Hijack, Triage, Benjamin Deeds and the Stepford Sisters) broke free on their own after Scott shut down his school. This issue shows what happened to them after these events and it goes about how you would expect.

The team is actually pretty darn decent and they are able to catch some traction early, until someone slips up and people realize they are mutants. The normal prejudice that surrounds mutants rears its ugly head and proves that Scott's revolution really made no difference, and that the only safe place for mutants to be mutants is the Jean Grey School.

I wish that the final issue hadn't felt so...predictable. I have enjoyed Bendis' run on X-Men as a whole and it is a shame that this issue sort of petered out to be a story that we have all heard. I hope that issue #600 is solid and is a nice farewell to this universe's version of the X-Men. I will miss them and am interested to see what the All-New All-Different world holds for one of my favorite teams.

Rating: 7/10

Spider-Woman #009

Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Penciler and Colorist: Javier Rodriguez
Inker: Alvaro Lopez

I think this may be the longest I have held onto a Hopeless written book. For some reason, his writing seems to fit the attitude and personality of Jessica Drew. She is a bit "trendy", has an attitude but is still enjoyable to see get into mischief.

This week's issue has Jessica, Ben Urich and Roger go off on a road trip to try to close old case files that Ben pulled out at the end of the last issue. It is presented in an interesting way where a page or two sums up a full case with a snip from the case file at the top of the page. Roger is just causing problems throughout and Jessica is a tad annoyed he is even along for the trip.

After two trips the team ends up in a wild west resort that has something weird going on where the villain there is more than ready for Jessica. He quickly takes her down and leaves he to be "questioned" in the worst way possible at the end of the book. I believe that #010 is Hopeless' last issue with this book and I intend to see it to the end. This wasn't the best issue, but it still had some moments of fun.

Rating: 6/10

Magneto #020

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Paul Davidson
Colorist: Paul Mounts

It is no secret that Magneto's days are numbered. At the end of the last issue, he was pushing himself to the limit, trying to fight back the incursion with the help of his daughter, Polaris, who just seemed to show up out of no where. This issue shows why Magneto decided to keep Briar around and why exactly Polaris showed up to the final showdown to help her father that she really did not have a great relationship with in the first place.

There are some great moment in the book that show that even an person that can be perceived as evil such as Magneto, can have a strange following of acolytes that will stand by him till the very end. That when things get so big, people will do whatever they can to save those that they care about, even if it means your own death. The majority of the book is an internal monologue given by the protagonist, explaining his reasoning for sacrificing himself in the end, which is written so well that it makes him feel like a real person and not a fictional character. Bunn has done such an incredible job making Magneto feel relate-able and just pure interesting.

Next issue is the last, the incursion is here and we will see if Magneto goes through with his sacrifice and if it makes any difference. I am sad to see that Bunn's run with this book is coming to a close, but it was a phenomenal ride.

Rating: 8.5/10 

Fight Club 2 #003

Writer: Chuck Palahniuk
Artist: Cameron Stewart
Colorist: Dave Stewart

Project Mayhem seems to be rolling ahead full force this issue and Sebastian really doesn't seem to have the control that he thinks he does. Perhaps it has something to do with the lack of taking his pills currently, or the fact that Tyler just keeps getting more powerful. This issue deals a lot with what Tyler has been setting up on Sebastian's downtime. Not really pushing forward the story with Sebastian's kid, but showing the environment that he is trapped in.

This issue is really starting to feel like a Palahniuk piece of writing. It is a little confusing at first glance and it requires you to go back and see what is actually happening within the tale. That said, it is still intriguing and I am definitely becoming attached to Sebastian more, wanting him to finally defeat his inner demon and split personality: Tyler. I don't think it is going to end withou a ton of bloodshed in the end.

Rating: 8/10 (A little uneven at parts)

All-New Hawkeye #004

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Ramon Perez
Colors: Ian Herring

"Wunderkammer: Part Four of Five"

Jeff Lemire had some incredibly huge shoes to fill when he jumped on the Hawkeye book after Matt Fractions amazing run, but he is doing a great job. The continued dual story telling of Clint and Barney as kids running side-by-side with Kate and Clint today dealing with the experiment kids from the Hydra base is done very well. It shows how Clint grew to the man that he is today and why he ends up differently from his brother, giving a great back story that I honestly didn't know too well considering I hadn't really cared for the character before Fraction. 

This issue contained a lot more about the past than the current day. The top 2/3 of the page told the past while single, long stretched panels filled the bottom which showed what was going on in Clint's apartment (there is no dialogue there, only in the past). Ramon Perez's art fills the page and tells such a great story that dialogue isn't always needed, the script is just felt. I cling to this book much like I did to the Fraction Hawkeye. Do yourself a favor and pick it up if you enjoy comics at all, you wont regret it. 

Rating: 10/10 Pick of the Week!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Weekly Pulls for 07/15/2015

This week was a relatively small week for comics for me. That isn't saying that the books that I grabbed weren't good (they really were quite good), but the quantity was small. I really want to try to get back down to this magic number of no more than four or five books a week so that I stop getting all of the stories mixed and matched in my mind. I also find that I enjoy each book less if there are too many of them. I ran into this dilemma while retroactively reading the original Secret Wars. Even though there were a lot of good things in it, and some bad of course, it felt like just another story that really was pointless. I think I will delve deeper into that in the future.

Anyhow, I have also been a tad distracted with Harper Lee's book Go Set a Watchman released this week. I started to read it and am still not sure how I feel about it as a whole. I will probably finish it by this weekend and will probably post something on social media that isn't related to comics and is just more of a personal place.

Okay, as I said I only picked up three books this week which were as follows:

Hawkeye #22 My pick of the week
Letter 44 #18
Silver Surfer #13

Like last time, if you want to read some thoughts and light reviews on any of those books just go ahead and click the link that is embedded. I really have little else to share other than Ant-Man comes out tomorrow and I will definitely see it this weekend. Perhaps I will do a review of sorts once it has some time to settle in my mind. Until next week then my friends, happy reading.

Silver Surfer #13

Writer: Dan Slott & Michael Allred
Artist: Laura Allred

"The Death of Everything That Ever Was or Ever Will Be"

In the past I have referred to Slott's run on Silver Surfer as almost a Doctor Who type story and this issue continues to push me into that school of thought. Dawn and The Surfer have decided to return to Earth after all of their adventures but want to stop back by all of the places that they have visited so far to say hello to all of their friends. It was a nice refresher as to where the story has taken us while we all know that Earth is currently wrecked (see Secret Wars). I was actually questioning the timing of the book considering there is no real Earth but this issue really showed when the adventure was happening; right before the final incursion.

The moments where The Surfer and Dawn get pushed away from the Earth to miss its destruction to try to race back in time to survive (which wont work considering there is no past because there is no existence) was done very well. The relationship that has been weaved between the two main characters shows brightly during this moment and makes me want to see them survive. 

The book ends with a lot of questions floating around as to what exactly The Surfer and Dawn can do while hiding in a bit of nothingness. Will they ever enter Battleworld or is this where they will end their days with the Marvel Universe? Will they be two of the characters that remember the past or is Marvel not going to allow anyone to remember what once was? Only time will tell but I will definitely be here to read it.

Rating: 8.5/10

Letter 44 #18

Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque

Letter 44 has been a roller coaster of great storytelling, strangely placed flashbacks and interesting looks into human nature. I have to admit there was a little while there where I wasn't sure where the book was going or if it was meant to run for as long as possible. I recently read a post for Charles Soule that the book is to run 35 issues and that we have reached a little over the halfway point. With that said, there is a lot of time for a lot more to happen.

This issue was not a letdown by any stretch of the imagination. There was a push forward with what exactly the aliens are and an interesting look as to how the humans that are dealing with them will handle them. The war on Earth is finally petering down while they prepare for the asteroid that is rocketing toward the planet, but there is a catch there, only the US knows it is coming which is bound to lead to problems as foreshadowed at the end of the issue.

While standing in the middle of this tale, I understand the purpose of the flashbacks and feel that they were handled really well once all is said and done. Looking forward I am excited to see how everything resolves and if there is even a chance that Earth will still be standing. Soule has surprised me so many times with this book that I can honestly say that I will still be here, reading issue 35 please with the final piece.

Rating: 9/10

Hawkeye #22

Writers: Matt Fraction & David Aja
Artist: Matt Hollingsworth

"This is How it Ends"

It is no secret that I have loved this book for the entirety of its run. I have never really had a care for the character before this but it will be hard for me not to want to continue to follow either Hawkeye into the future. Even with the book being riddled with publishing delays, I still grasped for more and i have to say, the ending did not disappoint.

We last left Clint in his apartment building, defending it against the jumpsuits trying to stop them from taking it. This issue showed the last stand of defense and everything that the powerless super hero had been fighting for. There are amazing page spreads of great bits of archery, witty comments from both Kate and Clint, and an incredibly moment with Lucky the Pizza Dog. I really don't want to spoil anything other than that. It is full of action and definitely keeps pace with the whole series. All I can say is pick it up if you like a good story. You really need to start from the beginning though, I know I am rereading this the first chance I get (Saturday looks good).

Rating: 10/10 Pick of the Week!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Weekly Pulls for 7/08/2015

Well another week has passed so that means there were more comics to be had. On Wednesday I posted a twitter pic (follow me if you want @philthec) of all of the books that I grabbed this week which was a hefty few. I was worried that this would happen when Secret Wars started to pick up and more titles were released together and I was not wrong. I hope that more books start to fizzle a bit so that I can focus on a smaller number of books to give better and faster responses to my readers.

That said, I don't want to make excuses. I really try to get this thing up by Thursday if at all possible but know that, as I have said before, my real life will take priority over the blog and if things get too overwhelming again the blog may suffer. I will try to always keep my readers (you guys) updated if that were to happen and I will try my best to not just fall off of the face of the Earth like I did last time.

Anyhow, I have changed my format again a bit. It is a lot closer to how I was doing it before, but rather than posting eight times on social media and flooding everyone's timelines, I have decided to include links to reviews of the books on my pull page (this one) so that folks can access the reviews they actually care about. I also included a numeric rating (take it with a grain of salt, it is opinion) at the bottom of the reviews. I will also be making a pick of the week, will label it here, and then again next to the rating on the final review.

Okay, enough of that jibbering. The main reason you are here is because of comics, she here are the pulls:

Age of Apocalypse #1
The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #2 - Pick of the week!
Black Science #16
Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor #14
Inferno #3
Spider Island #1
Spider-Verse #3

As always, feel free to leave comments on this post or any of the reviews. Let me know if you have recommendations for how to make the site better, things you would like to see in reviews or if there is something that I am not reading that you feel like I should be! I love reading new stuff and I love chatting with my readers. Well, until next time all, be sure to listen to The Panel Scanners (now on iTunes!) and happy reading!

Spider-Verse #3

Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: Andre Araujo
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg

What do you get when you toss a bunch of Spider-Men from different dimensions together when they aren't certain as to why they are there? Mass confusion on the part of the Spider-Men. In all reality, this book should be called Spider-Gwen considering it is focused on her point of view for the majority of the book. I am not saying that is a bad thing, I enjoy Spider-Gwen, but I was sort of hoping for a perspective from another Spider-Man that we don't get to hear from often.

Anyhow, this issue explains (lightly) as to why Osborn is interested in the Spiders and seems to actually want to help them (which is not likely). Gwen, being that she is Gwen, doesn't trust him and goes off on her own to visit her own grave (weird I know) which is where this story started off anyhow. There is a quick introduction to another Spider at the end (last page surprise page, as stated before that I am not always a huge fan of), and the book ends. I didn't feel like a lot was accomplished in this issue but I really hope that it does pick back up considering I had a pretty good time reading the original Spider-Verse story arc.

Rating: 6/10

Spider Island #1

Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Paco Diaz
Colorist: Frank D'Armata

"Part One: Altered States"

This is one interesting "What if?" style book. What if the cure for the Spider-virus was not ever released and it mutated, gaining control over all of the supers and humans on the planet other than a few people that somehow did not get infected? I mean, the first page of the book is a Spiderized Carol Danvers. The main character is actually Flash Thompson as Agent Venom because his symbiote was able to protect him from the virus and Spider-Man is MIA due to earlier events (explained in this issue).

As always, this first issue is setting everything up for what is to come, and the premise here is that Flash and the few rebels he leads, learns there may be a cure and decide to go after it even if it ends up to be a trap. There are some cool moments with other superheroes that were unfortunate enough to become infected and it leads to a definite confrontation between Flash and other Spider-Heroes in the next issue. 

As far as setups go, this wasn't a terrible issue. I enjoy Agent Venom and am happy to see him still used. That said, Spider Island the first time around was a little shakey for me and I hope that this doesn't fall flat as well.

I do want to mention that there is an added story tacked to the back of this issue that is focused on Mayday Parker that is written by Tom Defalco and Ron Frenz. It isn't bad but it just feels like it was added in last minute to ramp up the price of the issue.

Rating: 7/10

Inferno #3

Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist: Javier Garron
Colors: Chris Sotomayor

This title was the first of the Secret Wars books I picked up and wasn't exactly certain how it would play out. I have never been SUPER into Hopeless' work in the past and was nervous that he would chop this book up. Then again, the original Inferno story arc was odd within itself. So, how could it get much stranger?

I am actually surprised to the degree that I am enjoying this book. I have always enjoyed Colossus and Domino as a couple and there is a lot of play there. I also really enjoyed Madelyne Pryor as a crazy clone of Jean Grey that gained demon powers, even if it seemed insane at the time. So the fact that this book has these things it has my interest. I also like the immense chaos that is circling the whole book and that there really doesn't seem to be any downtime for anyone. There is cool use of a demonized Nightcrawler and nods to a lot of X-Men that haven't been used in years. I caught myself smiling a bit while reading this issue.

My problem is, and always has been with Hopeless, is he relies too often on the last page reveal. The "OH MAN!" moment at the end of a book where you are supposed to be drawn to jump into the next book. I can sum this issue up pretty quickly due to that because that is the main reason for the issue, to show the surprise at the end (which I will not ruin): Colossus has to relax, Domino helps, Magik wrecks the X-Men, surprise. That is it. There are great page spreads, but the writing is just somewhat goofy and predictable. I will stick around till the end, but I hope the surprise is worth it.

Rating: 4/10

Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor #14

Writers: Al Ewing & Rob Williams
Artist: Simon Fraser
Colorist: Gary Caldwell

"The Comfort of the Good Part 1"

This ride with the Matt Smith iteration of the Doctor has been interesting. I find myself oddly drawn to the book each month, even though I have REALLY considered dropping the Doctor Who titles as of late. There is something about the emotion angst that Ewing and Williams are putting the Doctor through in this tale, that makes me want to see how it all turns out. I mean, I know the things will work out in some way for the Doctor, but what about his companions Alice, Jones and ARC? What is the endgame for them all? Also, how does he mend his relationship with the TARDIS?

Well, some of these things are dealt with in this issue. Jones, the guy who is destined to be a rock god, vanished at the end of the last issue when the Doctor pretended to be a god and pushed the Entity (where ARC originates) away and somehow Jones was taken with it. This issue focuses heavily on ARC trying to communicate with Jones through its connection with the Entity to convince him to come back to them after the TARDIS abandoned them. The TARDIS' role in a Time Lord's life is explained a bit more and it really does make sense that the ship would abandon the failing Doctor.

The issue ties up neatly with the main characters back together (some changed due to events) and with them all standing before the TARDIS and a new player to the story. I am interested but am a tad weary as to how exactly this will all make sense. Then again, time is a wibbly wobbly thing, isn't it?

Rating: 7/10

Black Science #16

Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Matteo Scalera
Colors: Moreno Dinisio

Oh boy, this book really knows how to ramp it up. During my time away I have had my ups and downs with this title and even at one point considered dropping it purely based on how convoluted and drawn out it seemed to be getting, but Remender always seems to know how to tie things together and make you set down an issue with your jaw agape.

After 16 issues, it is no surprise that the characters start to grow on you and you get nervous when a gun is pressed against the back of their heads, or, I don't know, one of the main characters shoots the old man guide that has been present through the last 7 issues in the back of the head just because he wanted to try to save everyone (this happened in issue #15). That is the beauty of Black Science, you never know which character is going to snap and when.

The last handful of issues have really focused on Rebecca and Grant's relationship and the fact that Grant just wants to back away from it and be with his family. Also, there is some weird drive behind Rebecca that makes her REALLY want to jump to other worlds within the Multi-verse Onion that the book takes place in. This issue finally has answers, mistakes are made by main characters and a major villain from an earlier arc reappears. I am chomping at the bit for more...and of course the book is now on hiatus until November....right.

Anyhow, if you enjoy a crazy ride with characters that have personalities, science, and multiverse confusion give Black Science a go. If you like your books to have neat endings in every issue or three, this is not the book for you. For me, well, I am really happy I have been sticking around for the ride. I can't wait to see where this book is going to take me.

Rating: 9/10

The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #2

Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Adam Kubert
Inker: John Dell
Colorist: Justin Ponsor

"Part 2: 'Because I Said So, That's Why.'"

Sadly I was still on my hiatus when the first issue of this series dropped so I didn't get to express my initial shock as to how good it really was. Dan Slott constantly surprises me with his Spider-Man stories, and I know that isn't always a popular opinion. This look into Peter Parker's life if he had still had a child, was still married to Mary Jane and also gave up being Spider-Man to protect his family, is beyond interesting.

The last issue left us with the fact that Spidey allowed for Venom to die to better protect his family and that he had given up the suit. This issue moves us a bit further into the timeline where Peter is still working for J.Jonah but is paid to not release his photos of superhero fights rather than to sell them to the paper to run. The world is controlled by a villain called Regent who has stolen the powers of all the other heroes he has defeated to make himself more powerful. Lastly, the Parker's girl, Annie, is showing that she has powers herself and is trying to hide them so that Regent doesn't come after her.

There are some really nice nods to old Spider-Man stories during the book and even a Power Pack reference during a school scene. I really don't want to ruin the whole thing, but it looks like Spidey should be back in full swing (get it??? Puns...oye) in the next issue. 

Rating: 9/10 - Pick of the Week!

Age of Apocalypse #1

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist: Gerardo Sandoval
Colorist: David Curiel

"Sticks and Stones..."

It is no secret that one of my favorite story arcs from the 90's is Age of Apocalypse. I feel that a lot of readers from that time frame have a level of fond memories attached to that book. So when I heard that there was to be a Secret Wars tie-in, I was thrilled and quickly added it to my pull list. 

This first issue did an interesting job setting up the world that the rest of the tale is going to take place. The Four Horsemen are around and of course the X-Men are stationed away from them, leading their rebellion. For some reason, everyone is interested in Doug Ramsey (also known as Cypher) but he doesn't even understand why. The focus on Cypher is really the focal point in this issue. Everyone seems to want him but there is no real answer to be had unless you read between the lines; he can translate what the humans want and plan to do to deal with the mutants.

This book isn't perfect, but Sandoval does a nice job reflecting the darkness that is the world in which it takes place and the characters still have the draw that you would want. I also have an incredibly fond spot for Cypher and was pleased to see him used in the book. If you have a level of nostalgia for the original series or just dig the X-Men, give this book a go. If you want something incredibly riveting out the gate, maybe look elsewhere. 

Rating: 7/10

Thursday, July 2, 2015

New books for 07/01/2015

Well Secret Wars is just chugging along isn't it? I love how before an event has even come to fruition we are beginning to hear about the fallout of the overall event. Marvel is priding itself by pouring the list of new books that will launch after Secret Wars to try to entice the readers to hang on for the I really am not sure what is going to happen considering there are people that still have memories of the old world hanging in the Battleworld which could lead to continuity still having a bearing on the All-New All-Different World that is right around the corner. I suppose we will see. I do know there are a few titles that are grabbing my attention simply due to the team working on the book. If you want to see all of the (currently) announced titles you can read an article and see the cover art here.

Now that I have looked ahead to the future, I suppose it is time to look at the now. Yesterday I grabbed a pretty decent sized stack of books to read through, and the seven titles are as follows:

The Amazing Spider-Man #19.1
Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor #9
Giant-Size Little AvsX Marvel #2
Letter 44 #17
The Spire #1
Secret Wars #4
X-Tinction Agenda #2

Well, I suppose that is enough rambling for now...on to the brief reviews of this week's pulls!

Amazing Spider-Man #19.1

This is part four of Gerry Conway's current run on a side story of Spider-Man. I think it is a nice nudge to remind us what Conway can do in the Spider-verse considering he is going to be on the Carnage book come October. The story he is telling is actually more focused on Yuri Watanabe (or Wraith) and how she is being duped by Mr. Negative to do his bidding and to find out her secret identity. As always, Spider-Man is trying to be helpful but can't quite figure out what to do to help his friend and continues to question her methods throughout the issue. There is a nice nod to one of Spider-Man's more ridiculous group of enemies, The Circus of Crime, that shows even the most silly enemies can be a problem. This tale of manipulation and uncertainty has been a fun ride so far and I look forward to the conclusion next month. If you haven't read a Spidey book in a while or just are not a fan of Dan Slott's work (even though you should give it a chance), Conway's interpretation of the webslinger here is quite good and worth a read. (8 out of 10)

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor #9

Again, I am struggling with the Doctor Who books simply because I am SWAMPED with them. There are four different Doctors with four different books telling different stories that begin to get confused in my mind because even if each Doctor has their own voice and attitude, they are still the Doctor. Regardless, I am still not that familiar with the Peter Capaldi, Twelfth Doctor in the real world which makes a comic version a little harder to get into. His and Clara's stories have not been weak really, but the last arc was a tad shakey and I am not certain about this new arc, dealing with aliens in Las Vegas with the Wolf Pack. The book opens up with a VERY Doctor Who feeling intro that then, after the splash page, goes back to what lead up to the opening pages. Sadly, even once you get through the issue, you still aren't certain exactly how the Doctor got into the place that he was at the beginning of the book but that should be answered in the next issue. For now I am hanging on to the Doctor Who books but may have to cut the cord really soon. (5 out of 10)

Giant-Size Little AvsX Marvel #2

I have to preface this by saying that I love Scottie Young and that was the main reason I picked this and the first issue up in the first place. His art makes me smile and he has surprised me in the past with some amazing story telling (Rocket Raccoon). This title is just silly. It is meant to be silly. It contains kid versions of the X-Men and the Avengers who happen to go to school together and are members of opposite clubs. Two new kids move into town and the two clubs begin to fight over who gets to hang out with the new kids. Nothing is really accomplished other than some grand, and silly, fights. There is no real meat in this book, but there isn't meant to be. The art is fun and pulls you in which makes it worth having in your collection. If you want a book that really has no true meaning other than fun, give this a go. (8 out of 10 for fun!)

Letter 44 #17

I do not remember if I ever did a review on any of these books, but this is Charles Soule's project out of Oni Press. The title is about the President of the United States dealing with political corruption, war, and aliens. The story is split between the issues that President Blades has to deal with on Earth and what a crew of scientists are dealing with in space while handling the new alien entities that have shown up. They are not certain what the aliens want, but there are weird things occurring. It is really hard to talk about this book without having major spoilers. I will say that the split in the story in this issue is the President trying to figure out the fastest way to end World War III so that he can focus more on the aliens, while the scientists are trying to beg the aliens to help them stop an asteroid before it hits the Earth. There is a lot of story here and it is very difficult to not recommend this book. Don't get me wrong, through the current seventeen issue run there have been some pretty long lulls that forced me to wonder where the book was going and if it would continue to have legs for the long haul, but Seole continues to impress. If you want a book that isn't a superhero book, give this a go. (8 out of 10)

The Spire #1

I was so unbelievably excited when I heard this book announced. Simon Spurrier and Jeff Stokely working together on a book again after their amazing run on Six-Gun Gorilla? Yes please! Of course, this book isn't the same thing at all, but you can tell that the two are at it again. This first issue is setting up the pieces of the world that the remaining seven issues will explore. The Spire itself seems to be where most people live to stay out of the wastelands. There are two clear cut types of people, the normal folks and the mutated folks (called many different things in the title). I am not even sure if mutated is the right word, perhaps just different. The main character has long, string-like extremities that pour out of her back. This setup issue did a nice job making me want more of what The Spire actually is. Why is everything so dark? Where is the story taking me? Stokely's art pulls me in with every frame and Spurrier is a master at making me become connected to characters quickly. I was uncertain if this title would be anywhere close to as good as their last project until the final few pages where I stopped and stared, mad that I had to wait another month before the story continued. I am excited to keep reading this book. (9 out of 10)

Secret Wars #4

This issue marks the halfway point of the current Marvel event and I must say that it has been enjoyable. The concepts of Doctor Doom being god and slamming together the remaining worlds after the Beyonders caused incursions has been interesting to say the least. Doom basically saved everyone but there is always the question of what is the endgame. Starting in the last issue we saw that there were members from the Ultimate and the 616 universes that retained their memories due to being in a ship of sorts. They had been held by Doctor Strange, uncertain what the ships contained and what to do with them. This issue deals with the Cabal and these heroes confronting one another and Doctor Doom, although briefly. There is quite a twist focused on Scott Summers as well as Mr. Fantastic and Doom. There is a new level of uncertainty in Battleworld as of this issue and I am excited to see where Hickman is going to take this roller coaster in the next four issues. (9 out of 10)

X-Tinction Agenda #2

When I decided to actually buy into Secret Wars, I decided to grab a few X-books that tied in to see what was going on in the Battleworlds considering there is a chance there will be repercussions in the All-New All-Different Marvel world and I want to know what the future holds for the X-Men considering they have been the titles I have been following for as long as I can remember. This title shows a tear between the mutant nation. There are a group of potentially infected mutants living on Genosha that want a cure and feel that the other group of mutants living at the school can help cure with the help of Triage (one of the newer mutants that can heal). Rachel is the baroness of this Battleworld and has put a complete quarantine on Genosha and Havok and his team feels it is wrong. At the end of the last issue we saw his team attacking the school to try to kidnap Triage and bring him back to Genosha to heal his friends. This issue focuses on the fight and how impressive mutants that are desperate can be. Of course, the end of the issue contains a twist that is a bit surprising but draws the reader into wanting to know what is coming. I have to admit, I do not regret giving this book a go. (8 out of 10)

Well, that is all I have this week (which is quite a lot). I am trying to decide if I want to try to do more detailed reviews or not in the coming weeks. Please give me feedback so I know what my readers are looking for in my blurbs! As always, don't forget to jump onto iTunes and give The Panel Scanners a search and a listen! Seriously, we put a lot of time and love into the podcast and try to really have fun with it. Well, until next week, enjoy your comics!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

I am back! Weekly pulls and opinions for 6/24/2015 is incredibly hard to believe that I haven't made a post in nearly two years. I was really enjoying doing this blog paired with doing the podcast (The Panel Scanners), but life just appeared and stole away my time. That didn't mean I stopped reading comics; on the contrary I probably have read more comics in the past two years than I read while I was originally doing the blog. In that time, I have narrowed down the books that I intend to review, intend to streamline my posts (one a week instead of upwards of 15), and continue to try to share thoughts and speak to my readers more consistently.

Anyhow, I am going to try this new format for my weekly pulls in where I will name the books that I actually purchased, give a quick blurb about the book and then a general feeling about if the title is worth the time or not. Let me know if this format works well...

Pulls for 6/24/2015:
Doctor Who: New Adventures of the Tenth Doctor #12
Fight Club 2 #2
Uncanny Avengers #5
X-Men '92 #1

Doctor Who: New Adventures of the Tenth Doctor #12
For anyone who is listening to the podcast still, they know how I have been feeling about the Doctor Who books as of late. Considering there are four different comics following four different doctors it is becoming difficult to differentiate at times. That said, Nick Abadzis is telling an interesting story dealing with the temporary concept that is life and the struggle that people go through to prolong it. The Doctor, along with his companion Gabby and her friend Cindy, seem to want to level the world out and do what is best for everyone while trying to keep balance. Abadzis makes the characters feel real and gives you a chance to really try to connect with them. I am not certain where he is taking it, but I intend to stay along for the ride. If you enjoy David Tennant as the doctor, this story feels right, but not perfect. (7 out of 10)

Fight Club 2 #2
When I heard that the sequel to Fight Club was going to be a graphic novel, I got a little concerned. Chuck Palahniuk is a dark and mentally straining writer that, at times, gets so dark that the imagination does a better job painting the picture than a picture ever could. I have always found that to be a fault in the film versions of his books, I always pictured it more vividly (if that makes sense). That said, Fight Club 2 has been an incredibly interesting look into two unstable people trying to live as "normal". The comic takes place ten years after the fist story. Sebastian is now married to Maria and they have had a child together. Of course, Maria is beginning to get bored with the idea of being "normal" and she starts to not medicate her husband properly so that his split personality Tyler can return so she may have an affair with him. Of course, this is not a good idea considering that Tyler becomes the dominate personality and Sebastian doesn't ever remember what happens when Tyler is in control. I really do not want to spoil anything else from this issue, I'll delve into the plot more when issue three comes out next month. Just remember how unstable this couple is and that there is now a child involved. (9 out of 10)

Uncanny Avengers #5
Uncanny Avengers was originally launched after AvX to show regular heroes working together with mutants to show that everyone could co-exist. The book started off great and could arguable be called the best Avengers or X-book at the time. Well, since then a lot has happened and the book just feels too uneven and convoluted to even enjoy to follow. After Infinity, the book took a new direction with a new team that was mostly focused on Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. They learned that Magneto probably was not their father, which led them to Counter-Earth (the High Evolutionary's Earth) to find their real father. After learning that they supposedly discarded imperfections of the High Evolutionary, everything goes a little crazy. Members of the team are separated, they ultimately fight the High Evolutionary together and are able to return home. During this, Vision has a bunch of children (no joke) with Eden, another android (I think), and has to choose between a life with her or his Avenger friends. Vision also learns some information about Wanda and Pietro that he hints at being a big deal and would shatter his ex-wife but the information is never divulged. I set the issue down in a confused state, wondering what happened to the story that Remender started telling back in volume one. I guess it may not matter anyhow. All of this stuff will probably be rewritten in Secret Wars (5 out of 10. Only read if you have read all of the other issues.)

X-Men '92 #1
This is the one Secret Wars book I grabbed this week and I wont lie, I was not expecting a ton. There was a bit of nostalgia of grabbing a book that had the art style of a 90's X-book and the 90's cartoon team on the cover (even if Jubilee was included). After being shocked at the $4.99 cover price and purchasing it anyway hoping that it wasn't a complete waste, I was pleasantly surprised. Let me start by saying, this is by no stretch the best book I have read in a long time. It definitely is not. It opens with the X-Men playing Laser Tag because the world has been at peace for the last few months with no villains in sight due to the X-Men winning the Westchester Wars. Of course, this doesn't last when rogue Sentinels come after the X-Men which they quickly dispose of. There are many, cheesy jokes tossed around and a lot of nods to Jubilee being treated like a little kid (as the books did in the early 90's as well as the show), which brought a smile to my face. With a surprising twist, the Baron of this part of Battleworld (...I will explain Barons in a Secret War review if you are confused), is Robert Kelly and he actually supports the X-Men! Kelly irons out the aggression of Sentinels still attacking and tells the team about an area that is being used to help "evil" mutants exist in the regular world after the war. Of course the X-Men want to check this out which leads them into the second half of the book. The twist at the end isn't super surprising but it is enjoyable and it leads into a continuation that will, sadly, seem to focus around Jubilee. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised at the story told and it really felt like a 90's comic. I know the 90's weren't the best time for comics, but in '92 I was seven years old, so I may have enjoyed this with a little bit of nostalgia glasses equipped. (7 out of 10. Fun, but not for everyone).

Well, that covers the four books from this week. I hope the new format is acceptable. I know it is a wall of text but it should be easy to find the little blurb about the book you actually care about if you want to read. I also want to mention that The Panel Scanners podcast is now available on iTunes for free! If you want to give it a listen, the seven or eight most recent episodes seem to be available. I intend to try to figure out what happened to the back catalog but it was a big enough struggle for Darren to even get the podcast up in the first place. Hell, the last few episodes were probably the best ones anyhow. We are finally finding a groove!

That is all for this week! Please leave a comment if you have any questions about ANY books that have been released this week for I should have answers. I am really happy to be back and I hope that you all are happy to have me back! Well, until next week, happy reading comic book fans!