Monday, February 04, 2013

2012 Comics In Review - Part 1

I wasn't counting on starting this post so late, but life in the boonies has a way of screwing things up. For those who are new to this series, it's real simple. I talk about each title I bought, who worked on it, maybe some highs and lows. The last day is a list day. Throw in some assorted nonsense in the opening paragraphs, and there you have it.

Amazing Spider-Man #677: I bought this because it was having a crossover with Daredevil. Dan Slott took an issue off so Mark Waid could write this, and Emma Rios drew it. The Black Spectre organization Daredevil had recently riled framed the Black Cat (and made her think Spidey set the cops on her) to try and put her in a position where she'd steal for them. Spidey tries to bring Daredevil in to help.

Angel & Faith #6-17: Christos Gage writes it. Rebekah Isaacs drew almost all of the issue, except for #10 (Chris Samnee), and #15 (Lee Garbett/David Lapham). First Drusilla shows up being sane, and Faith's dad shows up still being a loser. Angel left everyone feeling bad after that one. Then Giles' vain, formerly magic-proficient aunts showed up looking for protection. Then Willow showed up to berate Angel for poor choices. Pretty rich, coming from the Queen of Bad Choices. That lead them to Quor'toth, which also meant Connor showed up, considerably less annoying than usual. Whistler swiped all of Giles' magical artifacts as part of his asinine plan to save humanity, and then the Slayers found out Faith had been protecting Angel all this time. This just as Giles' corpse went missing.

High Points: Isaacs' art for certain. The characters look like the actors who portrayed them, but in a way that doesn't look photo-referenced. She doesn't sacrifice storytelling for accuracy, and she draws a good fight scene. I also enjoyed sane Dru, and her attempts to help Angel.

Low Points: I'm itching to see Whistler get his butt kicked, but in terms of things that actually happened, Angel's whole attitude during the Lorophage problem. This idea it's wrong if Faith and the other folks the Lorophage fed on aren't constantly rending their garments in agony over past mistakes. Of course, when Angel doesn't feel like crap about his misdeeds, he starts killing people or generally behaving terribly, so obviously that will be true of everyone else. Then the idea it's most important to get that piece of Giles' soul back, thus damning all these people to their traumas (not to mention the world to a crazy Drusilla). Angel never changes, always putting his shit ahead of everyone else. I can not wait for Spike to show up.

Atomic Robo and the Flying She-Devils of the Pacific #1-5: Scott Wegener and Brian Clevinger tell us about the time Robo found a whole world of different factions still fighting World War 2 in the Pacific, and how a international cast of lady aviators saved the West Coast from and earthquake bomb.

High Points: Wegener's designs on the jetpacks and other craft. Pete diatribe in issue #2 about how hard it is to get silverware for his bar, when all these mercs keep stealing it from him. Also, I like this reoccurring idea people of various Asian cultures think Robo is some supernatural being. Nick Filardi did some nice color work, especially that neon green for the earthquake bomb. It was so unusual compared to all the others colors, it emphasized the strangeness of the whole thing.

Low Points: Is there anyone who did steal or modify Tesla's lightning gun designs?

Atomic Robo Free Comic Book Day: Clevinger and Wegener again, bringing us the story of Dr. Dinosaur's team-up with Robo to stop the CERN facility from exploding, which would be bad. Then it turns out to be a trap, and they find themselves up against Futuresaurus Rex, a T-Rex grown in a timelike loop who evolved missile launchers.

Atomic Robo and The Ghost of Station X #5: More Clevinger and Wegener. Robo found out who had been trying to kill him, and it was another AI, named ALAN. As for why ALAN was trying to kill him, ALAN had plans to travel to space in such a way it would render Earth almost uninhabitable. But he predicted Robo would survive, give chase, and destroy ALAN. So best to destroy Robo first. Yeah, that didn't really work out for ALAN.

Atomic Robo Real Science Adventures #1-6: A bunch of smaller stories that wouldn't work as their own mini-series. Brian Clevinger wrote all of them, with assistance from the following artists: Ryan Cody, John Broglia, Chris Houghton, Guruhiru, Paul Maybury, Rob Reilly, Jin Clark, Zack Finfock, Erica Henderson, Xevi Benitez.

High Point: I really enjoyed the first 5 parts of "Leaping Metal Dragon". Robo's search for Bruce Lee, and his trials learning from him. Also, more Asian guys who thinks Robo's some sort of demon! Guruhiru did an excellent job with "Tesla's Electric Sky Schooner", though the story did leave me wondering how Tesla came to despise Ford and Lovecraft so much. Clevinger and Benitez on "Most Perfect Science Division", probably my love of anime showing through there. All the covers were really top-notch.

Low Point: Some of the stories were better than others. Some didn't make any sense to me at all. But mostly, I didn't like how they used the format. Splitting up two stories across six issues, each one getting 4 pages an issue wasn't a good call. It's too hard for the story to build and maintain momentum that way. It's a big part of why I'm considering going with the trade on the second round.

Avengers Solo #4, 5: Jen van Meter wrapped up her story about Hawkeye helping the women who were experimented on while being told it was a project sponsored by the Avengers. I wouldn't say they brought the unsavory practice to light, and the women still don't trust the other Avengers, but they at least trust Hawkeye. Roger Robinson mostly handled the art, except for two pages by Declan Shalvey. There was also a backup story about Giant Man Finesse and Striker taking on Alkhema by Jim McCann, Clayton Henry, and Karl Kesel. Turns out it was all a test of the two kids Pym whipped up. Except Finesse seems to be taking it as an opportunity to decipher the framework behind artificial intelligence. Great work, Pym.

Avengers Arena #1, 2: Arcade pits teen heroes against each other because he can, I suppose. Getting them to off each other will improve his rep, somehow. But if you can get them to kill themselves, what do you need a hired killer for? It's a real question whether Hopeless and Walker can keep the intrigue sufficiently high, and the gore factor sufficiently low that it won't end up driving me away. For the time being, so far so good.

Made it to the end of the A's. Not sure why it seems to work that way every year, but I always seem to buy more books at the front of the alphabet than at the back.

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