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Dark Avengers #184 ,Avengers #1 and #2 & New Avengers #1, Swamp Thing Volume 1: Raise Them Bones, Animal Man Volume 1: The Hunt, The End Times of Bran And Ben #1, Star Wars #1 (Dark Horse: 2013), and Avengers Arena #1
Hello there internet people, its your good buddy, RU, back from a way too long hiatus to discuss my favorite thing in this whole world (that doesn’t involve actually doing anything) – comic books! Its been a while since I talked to you all, and in that time I have tried out some creators, books, and ideas that for whatever reason I had dismissed as something I would not have liked. Hoping against hope that, this time, they would work for me.
Some failed and some did not.
Lets get started.
Dark Avengers #184 – Yes, this book has been on my pull list ever since it was called Thunderbolts, and yes this was the one Jeff Parker book I grew to really enjoy, but I never knew if that was because of Jeff Parker or because I really like the characters that made up the Thunderbolts (I’ll talk about this new volume in a future episode) so I kept reading past the time that the characters I knew left the book. What did I learn from that experiment; that I do not care for Jeff Parker or these Dark Avengers. Even with Moonstone still there I found myself not interested at all in the fate of this team or the resolution of the story. Other than Clor, I don’t know who these doppelgangers are and after the whole time-jumping storyline from Thunderbolts, I am burnt out on Parker alternate reality stories. There is nothing in this comic for me: -1 for the pull list.
Avengers #1 and#2 & New Avengers #1 – Hickman; I have never gotten the hype. It seems that every Hickman book I have read, with the exception of some of his Ultimate Comics stuff, is the exact same book. No, strike that, Avengers #1 was not the same as any other Hickman book, it was the same as Giant Sized X-Men #1 with a little bit of Avengers #1 (1963) thrown in – the Hulk is possessed by an evil god…no, its not Loki (maybe). Either way, the point still stands; reading a Hickman comic feels like I am re-reading a comic I have already read and, usually, that book I already read is one I didn’t like. Avengers wins out over New Avengers based solely on the cast – its about damn time Cannonball and Sunspot got were called up to the majors – but even with that, Avengers has been regulated to the “wait for trade” list. New Avengers, on the other hand, has no redeeming qualities. It is a $4 tease with that gives the readers no real reason to ‘tune in’ for #2. The issue reeks of “it will take 20 issues for any of this to make sense” and I don’t have the energy for that level of decompression. Neither book survives the monthly pull list: -2 (total -3).
Swamp Thing Volume 1: Raise Them Bones – Ok, I think anyone who has watched enough of these knows that I love me some Scott Snyder and Swamp Thing has always been one of those books that I like well enough to keep picking up. No, the reason this book is in this episode is that I read it in spite of the Jeff Lemire Animal Man crossover that eventually happens. I had put off this corner of the New 52 because of Lemire, but the library had both this and Animal Man Volume 1, so I figured what could it hurt. Good call. Of course, Swamp Thing was good, a bit slow, but damn if it wasn’t worth it, and that’s all I needed for me to risk….
Animal Man Volume 1: The Hunt – I do not like Jeff Lemire. Essex County, Superboy, Sweet Tooth, and The Nobody – I have tried and disliked them all. Lemire seems to write in this hipster style that I am either too old or not cool enough to get. Up to Animal Man, I had yet to enjoy any of his books, and that is still mostly true. Animal Man was good enough for me to keep reading the trades from the library for as long as I have to so that I can enjoy and fully understand Swamp Thing. I will not spend money on Lemire, yet, and unfortunately for Swamp Thing, that means I will continue to get those trades from the library as well, I can’t stand not having a full story on my shelves but with a baby I can’t waste money on books I don’t like for the sake of completeness. +/- 0 for the pull list (total -3)
The End Times of Bran And Ben #1 (of 4) – One of my rules was to trade wait any new limited series, but my buddy Royal Nonesuch wrote such a good review of this issue that I had to go out and buy it – good decision! Still, going to trade wait the other three issues, but this was a whole boatload of awesome fun. A completely new and funny take on what might be the Apocalypse and how the left behind deal with it, especially since, by definition, most of them would be secular and not really believe in The Rapture. James Asmus, Jim Festante, and Rem Broo have a real winner on their hands, and I look forward to the rest of the story collected. Not sure if this is the beginning of a multi volume tale or a stand alone 4 issues, but either way – The End Times has been added to my “wait for trade” list.
Star Wars #1 (Dark Horse: 2013): This comics breaks so many of my rules: A new #1 that I do not wait for trade and a Star Wars story set in the original trilogy. I need to cut back on monthlies and I never really enjoy stories that take place inside other stories when I know what is going to happen. What made me pick this up; Brian Wood. After DMZ and Northlanders I will pick up anything this man writes in some format or another. Take away the fact that this is right after the destruction of the first Death Star, meaning the readers know way more than the characters and we know what is going to happen, this is a really good comic. Wood turns Leia into a badass and Luke isn’t as whiney. If you can get past knowing how the whole thing ends, read this book. I for one am waiting for trade, with the rest of my Star Wars books, but if it wasn’t for my anal need to match formats, this would be on the monthly … screw it +1 for the pull list (total -2).
Avengers Arena #1 – Morbid curiosity won out with this comic. I had to see Arcade and Darkhawk be made into the major players I always knew they could be. As with New Avengers and End Times, a link to a longer review of this comic in the description of this on you tube or in the text portions of the Outhousers' article. Briefly, this book ruled! The internet crybabies can bitch and moan all they want (and they did, for like 5 years before the book ever came out) but this comic, and issues 2 and 3, was fantastic. Drama, suspense, a mystery that can be understood, mixed with subtle humor and homages makes for an entertaining and emotional read. This is not for everyone; if you refused to see Hunger Games because it was a rip off of a Japanese movie (that itself is a rip off, but it gets a pass because its Japanese) don’t bother. If you are, or want to be, the stereotypical tumblr teen-age girl who takes fiction way to seriously, don’t bother. If you can’t see past your own dogma / perceived political slights; get a life and don’t bother. But, if you want something that entertains you by making you feel something, if you are looking for a new super-hero concept, if you just want something good to read while maintaining your main stream cred – give this book a read. I know, you know, and everyone knows that what is going on is not at all what the book says is going on, pick it up and enjoy the ride. My theory is that Arcade has an Infinity Gem, but that’s probably wrong.
Ok, next time will be some new trades, Thunderbolts, The Black Beetle #0, Aquaman, and others. Till the, later peeps.
Many people say that Hickman's best works are his independent stuff. I haven't read much from him, anyway, but I wasn't planning on picking up any of those Avenger titles so thanks for confirming me in my decision.
I'm interested in Avengers Arena only because of the characters, the idea of constant deaths doesn't really impress me as a narrative device.