Saturday, December 7, 2013
Perhaps that's because of the fact that the mutation-based origin for the powers of the team members belongs in the category of sci-fi (or SF, if you prefer).
Whatever the reason, what it comes down to is this: I'm not crazy about the storyline playing out in the new Amazing X-Men comic.
I'm all for the ultimate aim of the story, which is (apparently) to restore Nightcrawler to the team (and the land of the living).
And certainly the art by Ed McGuinness is outstanding.
But the story takes members of the team (including the overworked Wolverine and Storm) through a mysterious portal, and some of them land in Hell (apparently), while others are in Heaven (also apparently).
I don't mind visiting alien worlds or alternate dimensions, but the afterlife is a place that gets stomped on regularly in comics, and to treat it as just another challenge for our heroes to face seems to diminish the concept.
Or maybe it's just that the whole thing seems silly.
So far, the art has been the only reason to pick this one up - and while it's nice, that's not enough for me.
Friday, December 6, 2013
This is a phenomenal series, and as much as I'd like to see an issue ever month, it's well worth the wait between stories.
This is a terrific "done in one" issue by writer and artist Mike Mignola, which follows our hero as he encounters a man trying to save his soul after making a bad bargain with a devil.
It's a short, clever story set in a dark, gruesome place - lots of horror and lots of fun - a mix this title excels at.
The art, of course, is exceptional - it's a real delight to see Mignola back at work here.
Hellboy is consistently one of the best books around - what more do you need to know? If you're not buying this series, you're missing one of the best.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
There have been some very good series based on the concept, but they never really caught on.
But never one to let a good idea go to waste, Marvel is back to try again with Inhumanity, a comics event that will wind through most of Marvel's titles in some form or another.
Here's the basic concept: the Inhumans are a race of mortals who were genetically tampered with by an alien race some 25,000 years ago.
The advanced race ultimately decided to tamper with its own genetic code using the Terrigen Mist, which has been the McGuffin in more than one story.
In the wake of the events in Infinity, Black Bolt has unleashed the mist on the world (via a most dramatic method) and, as a result, has revealed a vast number of Inhumans who were living among normal humans.
For mysterious reasons, this process has unhinged the Inhuman known as Karnak, who faces the Avengers - and the Royal Family.
With a strong story (as always) by Jonathan Hickman and wonderful art by Olivier Coipel and Mark Morales, it's a compelling start to the event.
Whether it will put the concept over the top and into its own title, only time will tell.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Your pal Chuck is on the go at the moment, but here's what I plan to pick up at the comics shop today (descriptions are just my guess about what to expect):
- Amazing X-Men #2 - Nightcrawler returns! Maybe!
- Earth 2 #18 - Is that really (Earth-2's) Superman?
- Fox #2 - The first issue was fun!
- Green Lantern #26 - This series is struggling in a big way.
- Guardians of the Galaxy #9 - More Infinity aftermath, I assume.
- Hawken Melee #1 - Truman western action (I hope). (EDIT: Nope, this is a different Hawken.)
- Hellboy in Hell #5 - Terrific series!
- Inhumanity #1 - Is this actually coming out or was it delayed? (EDIT: It came out - I was misinformed. Sorry.)
- Iron Man #19 - Another series that's struggling.
- Shadow Now #3 - Can the Shadow manage to fight crime in the modern world?
- Triple Helix #3 - A fun version of classic Marvel concepts. Sorta.
- Young Avengers #13 - Near the end.
And that's it!
But there are exceptions, including the stacks of Harvey's "kid" comics I read.
Those issues are almost impossible to track down because I've long since forgotten the issue numbers and the covers for most of those titles have nothing to do with the stories inside - so if I can't remember the cover or specifics about the story,who knows which issue I read?
(In my defense, it's been 50 years or more since I read many of them. Yes, I'm old.)
But I have great affection for those comics, including all the titles featuring Richie Rich, Casper, Hot Stuff, Spooky, Little Lotta, Sad Sack, Little Dot, and yes, even Wendy the Good Little Witch.
The art was delightful in its purity, and the stories straightforward and sweet. Each issue featured a mix of longer stories and one-page gags.
And even when the stories covered well-trod ground, they were fun. This issue features Wendy changing her personality when she gets a bump on her noggin. She becomes wicked and torments her aunts. Of course, it's all resolved when... oh, surely you can guess.
Even in 1967, that was a old bit - but it's a story any kid would enjoy.
Are there any comics out there like this today - something aimed at young readers, something to spark their imagination and tickle their funny bone?
The closest thing I can think of are the comics based on animated features, but even those seem to cater to older readers, not children. Perhaps My Little Pony?
I hope there's something out there - kids need a good starting point, a service Harvey provided for decades. A shame they're not around anymore.
(End of rant. Told you I was old.)
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
In All-New Fathom, we catch up with Aspen Matthews as she - well, doesn't do much of anything, aside from visit an institute devoted to bridging the gap between humanity and the underwater race known as The Blue.
Which is surprising, because a mysterious force is wreaking havoc on the world's oceans, and gigantic walls of ice are lowering the temperature of the oceans and affecting the animals in a deadly fashion.
While Aspen idles, the powerful Killian investigates the source of the problem - the mysterious Vana. The question is, does she know what she's doing - and what reason could she have for causing so much destruction?
The story by David Wohl doesn't give us a lot to work with here, as characters and events are moved into place, but the art by Cory Smith and Alex Konat is quite good, with good character designs and layouts - although the action sequences are slim until the end of the comic.
With the characters and the menace set, next issue holds lots of promise, as long as it builds on the foundation provided with this issue.
Monday, December 2, 2013
But the sad fact of the matter is, the writing for this comic has been nothing but average since it was rebooted as part of the "New 52."
The art has been another matter - it's been quite good, and this issue flourishes under the pencils of the always-outstanding Chris Sprouse and Francis Manapul.
But the story - oy, where to start?
Following the "Zero Year" format (wherein comics not selling so well try to tap into the Batman magic), here we have a story about Barry Allen before he gains his super-speed. He's doing a police internship (or something along those lines) in Gotham City (of all places), where he helps with the investigation into a mysterious new drug.
The story's great moments has to do with a budding romance (one the present-day conics have virtually done away with, sadly). But the adventures of a non-powered, average guy like Barry just doesn't make for compelling comics.
I keep supporting this comic, despite its shortcomings - but I keep wishing it would live up to its potential, and so far, I've been disappointed every single time.
Maybe next issue.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
We see the effect of the secret group known as the Illuminati on the Black Panther and Namor, as their uneasy alliance (forged to save the planet) may have cost them both what they hold most dear.
Dr. Strange is forced to confront his own failure and the price he may have to pay.
Black Bolt has also sacrificed because of his crucial decision (one that will reverberate into the next Inhumans-based event series).
Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic and the Beast are three of the most intelligent humans on the planet - but they are confronted with the possibility of even greater, more mind-staggering menaces than the world-smashing one they've just defeated.
So despite the elation at stopping the twin cosmic menaces that were threatening the universe, this is not exactly a feel-good conclusion - but it is one that sets up many conflicts for future issues, and sets the stage for more drama between the members of the team.
I admit that I've been enjoying this series a lot, even though it's been deadly serious from start to finish - but the group is dealing with some mind-bending, world-shaking menaces - and you never know what to expect next.