Tuesday, January 27, 2015

2014 Comics In Review - Part 1

We'll get to proper reviews of the stuff I got in the mail - some of which is in here - next week. For now, you know how this goes. Go through roughly a quarter of the new stuff I bought in the last year each day, talk about who worked on the books, what the major plot arcs were, hit some some high and low points.

Atomic Robo Free Comic Book Day 2014: It's a quick little story by Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener about a college kid who goes snooping around and finds some eggs belonging to the Yonkers Devil, necessitating Robo and his action scientists step in to save her. As far as their FCBD offerings go, not the strongest, maybe because the Yonkers Devil isn't interesting as an antagonist. It's a big dumb animal, no personality.

Atomic Robo - The Knights of the Golden Circle #1-5: OK, here's the good stuff. Robo is blown back into the 19th century by the conclusion to the mini-series we'll get to next, and teams up with a federal marshal and Doc Holliday to stop a plot by an old enemy of his to to conquer at least a portion of America with primitive cyborgs. Oh, and Robo's power source is about to run dry.

High point: This series had me the moment Robo started wearing a Man with No Name-style poncho (as seen at left), which was pretty much at the very beginning. But also the fact that gun-toting goons are no real threat to him, that it's the limits of his fuel supply. Also, I thought Jeff Powell's lettering did a good job showing those moments where he was getting run down in his dialogue bubbles. Doc constantly trying to find some way out, or to ditch the marshal, and the marshal constantly ruining his plans.

Low point: Umm, I wanted to see more of Robo's everyday life in the Old West?

Atomic Robo - The Savage Sword of Dr. Dinosaur #5: Turns out Dr. Dinosaur did build a time bomb, though he didn't succeed in completely wiping out humanity. The magma worm appearing helped, as did Bernard helping free the magma people from Dr. D's. control. Pity he couldn't stay with his silicate organism wife. The whole, "I need food and water" thing ruins so many relationships.

Avengers Undercover #1-10: Follow up to Avengers Arena, as the survivors try to cope not only with what Arcade put them through, but the fact he posted it all online for the world to see and dissect. Then they get suckered into killing Arcade on video, then busted out of SHIELD custody by Zemo's crew. They tried to rehab their image by playing along, hoping to figure out Zemo's scheme and call in reinforcements, only to learn calling in reinforcements is what Zemo wanted all along, so he could steal a Helicarrier. But he was at least partially thwarted by Cammi, who was working with a not-dead Arcade. Hmm, considering Zemo still had the Helicarrier, maybe "thwarted" is too strong a word. Written by Dennis Hopeless, Kev Walker drew 5 of the first 7 issues, Tim Green II drew 3 issues, and Tigh Walker drew 2 of the last 3. Jean-Francois did some great work on the colors, especially when combined with Kev Walker's art.

High point: Cammi didn't die, and got to smackdown everybody. Arcade didn't die. Kev Walker's art. The idea of the series. The kids struggling to deal with what happened, and with everyone judging and analyzing them. Their attempt to try and salvage it with a con, which doesn't work because they don't have the experience at it, and they tried it on the fly, so the plan wasn't clear to everyone.

Low point: The rushed ending, for certain. Things had to move too fast the last 3 issues. Also Green didn't do his strongest work, which was disappointing as I've liked his work a lot in the past. There was also the ludicrousness of SHIELD arresting the kids for "killing" Arcade, considering all the heroes - like Wolverine - who kill with no repercussions. Necessary for the story, but it doesn't hold up in the larger framework of the Marvel Universe. Also, I still can't take Constrictor seriously as a major player among the villains.

Captain Marvel #1-10: Kelly Sue DeConnick tries again with Carol Danvers, this time taking her into space, where she helps a planet of refugees from Infinity, then deals with her cat not being a cat. Recently, she's helped interstellar rock star Lila Cheney get out of an arranged marriage, and received some news from home. David Lopez drew most of it, Marcio Takara the rest, except for a 9-page segment in issue 10 drawn by Laura Braga. Lee Loughridge's colors worked very well at creating a mood.

High point: Lopez' art. I still haven't seen him on a series I've really loved, but this is the best one so far, and he does some great work with body language and facial expressions. He draws maybe the best evil, shit-eating grin I've ever seen. That sort of totally arrogant look that makes you want to mash the person's face into unrecognizable pulp. Or maybe I just have anger issues. The last few issues have been good. The quick snapshots of different peoples and places across the universe, Carol's diplomacy involving a lot of punching.

Low point: I'd really like it if DeConnick stopped opening these books with six issue arcs. They're always too slow and too long, when they need to be short and punchy to grab attention.

Daredevil #35, 36: The last two issues of the prior volume of the book, as Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, and Javier Rodriguez bring Matt's battle against the Sons of the Serpent to a head, as they try to make him get one of their members off, or risk being disbarred when its revealed he lied about not being Daredevil. So Matt went into court and copped to it, effectively unmaking their sword. And then he moved back to San Francisco, because he could still practice law there, and make money to pay for Foggy's cancer treatments. But we'll get to that tomorrow.

All right, that's day one, and look at that, we actually got past the As! I'm not sure I've managed that in years.


SallyP said...

Daredevil really has been phenomenal.

CalvinPitt said...

Yes it has, but will that be enough to earn it the coveted Best Ongoing for a 4th consecutive year? Tune in Saturday to find out!

Ugh, now I feel dirty.