Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #1, which was really good ("There will be no eating of teammates."), and G.I. Joe: Cobra #1-3. People who know me know that I don't just pick up and read a G.I. Joe comic. I've never been into them, and I was never even into the toys, really. But the guys on iFanboy really recommended this book, saying it doesn't feel like a Joe book at all. And it really doesn't. It's a lot more like a Queen and Country story. One of the guys (in the Hawaiian shirt) goes undercover, and it's an extremely good spy story so far. Cobra nor G.I. Joe (I believe) have never been mentioned in this book, but some of the characters have. VERY highly recommended!

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I can't believe Geoff Johns retconned your argument out of existence.

Recently, I decided to take some of my trades to work and read them during lunch, so this is what I have knocked out in the past 3 weeks.

Usagi Yojimbo The Complete Saga Vol.1 -  Usagi Yojimbo is one of those series I always love when I read it, but I've collected it sporadically at best, This time collects Issues 1-16 of volume 2 and 1-6 of volume 3. I thought this would take me quite a while to read, but I knocked out all of the nearly 600 pages in less than 2 weeks. Great Stuff.

The Bunker vol1 - Woof, I can't wait to continue this series. A group friends go to bury a time capsule, and discover a bunker. In that bunker they find letters addressed to them from their future selves that they are responsible for an apocalyptic event. Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov, whose work I've always enjoyed. 

Jew Gangster by Joe Kubert - A tale of a Jewish kid in Depression Era New York City becoming a gangster. Pretty straight forward, but still great, by a master storyteller.

Then at home I recently read Red Range by Joe R Lansdale and Sam Glanzman, they were 2 parts of the Vertigo Jonah Hex mini-series in the 90s. A reprint from IDW of the original series from Mojo Press. This is an ultra-violent Western book, that takes an unusual turn-for-the-Turok in it. Kind of a weird book, but I really liked. Then again I'm a huge Sam Glanzman fan.

I've read both Jew Gangster and Red Range, and really enjoyed them both; I'm one of the Kickstarter backers listed in the back of Red Range. (I've probably read all those Usagi issues, too, which are fabulous.)

I really liked The Bunker, too. Just this week I noticed that it was up to Vol. 4 in the collections! One of my libraries has them all. I intend to re-read Vol. 1 (it's been years now since I first read it) and the rest of them soon.

Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

The Bunker vol1 - Woof, I can't wait to continue this series. A group friends go to bury a time capsule, and discover a bunker. In that bunker they find letters addressed to them from their future selves that they are responsible for an apocalyptic event. Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov, whose work I've always enjoyed. 

“I can't believe Geoff Johns retconned your argument out of existence.”

It’s not so much that as he rendered it moot. Now it’s moot twice removed because there was no Parallax in the New 52 (or the DCnU or whatever you want to call it).

“I recently read Red Range by Joe R Lansdale and Sam Glanzman.”

I’m a Glanzman fan, too (and a Lansdale one as well). I pre-order Red Range and bought it when it shipped but haven’t read it yet.

I have read Jew Gangster, though. (I got it at Half Price Books.) As you say, it’s a great stoy by a master storyteller.

Umami
Ongoing series by Ken Niimura

Recently read the first issue of the latest Panel Syndicate series. I remember Niimura's cartooning from the Image series I Kill Giants he did with writer Joe Kelly. He has a very loose style, reminiscent of manga. The series is in black and white, and is the only Panel Syndicate series so far that uses conventional portrait oriented pages, like a standard comic book (the rest use a horizontal landscape format). Umami is about the adventures of two cooks in a sort of medieval kingdom. Which makes it a cartoon cooking fantasy story, I guess! The first installment is a satisfying 46-page chunk of story. And it's "name your price," so you can try it out for free if you want.

East of West Volume 6

Jonathan Hickman, writer; Nick Dragotta, artist; Frank Martin, colors

Image Comics, 2016

The conclusion to the second year of the Apocalypse (which is an odd thing to type). Two major events dominate the action. The first is a gathering of the Seven Tribes at Armistice (the site of the comet strike and the the great truce among the Tribes) called by the Prophet Ezra Orion, the first of the Chosen and carrier of the Message. Clearly this will mean nothing to you if you aren't already reading the book. The meeting devolves into a fight among the representatives of the Tribes, and then with the huge army of followers of the Message that have gathered at the site. Death's son Babylon is still being fed an apocalyptic vision of reality by Balloon, his AI companion (that's him on the cover). He finds himself beset by a group of Hunters. Death thought they were only tasked with finding his son, but they were in fact instructed to kill him. Babylon and his allies (which include a wild pig) defeat most of the Hunters, and Death finds them just in time to save the day. He is reunited with his son--which is awkward, to say the least--and convinced not to immediately disconnect Babylon from the AI. Instead he joins Babylon and Balloon on their adventures. This has interesting implications going forward, because Babylon will finally be receiving input about reality that is not mediated by the AI. Perhaps he will decide not to become the Beast of the Apocalypse after all.

TALES OF ASGARD: #127-128 feature a two-part look at Ragnarok presented as a vision of Volla the prophetess. Reportedly, Jack Kirby’s intention was to have these events ractually come to pass, then to introduce a cast of “new gods” to take the place of the Aesir. Issue #128 even uses the term “new race of gods.” Which brings me up to…

This special is where I first read the “Tales of Asgard” stories from #129-136. #129-133 dealt with Harokin who had won a seat in Valhalla. #134-136 was about Fafnir the dragon. These stories were no doubt chosen because Walt Simonson had just done (or was about to do) a story in which a Viking follower of Thor assisted him in his battle against Fafnir.

If you have a copy handy, check out the first two panels of page two of #129 and tell me that doesn’t look exactly like the scene from Star Wars (The Empire Strikes Back) in which Han Solo is encased in carbonite.

The second story collects the five-issue miniseries "The Last Resort," written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, illustrated by Giancarlo Caracuzzo. As the title implies, it's about a zombie outbreak at an island resort. It's a small island, so the resort is pretty much the only thing on it. The story opens with the scene of the infection, although it's not clear what it means until much later. The narrative takes its time with the backstories of the survivors on the island, inter-cutting them with the present disaster in ways that are frequently confusing. There are only a few direct chronological cues. Many of the survivors arrive via an emergency aircraft landing, with some others by boat (including the two scientists responsible for the infection, again not immediately clear). This is a classic modern scientific zombie story: the cause is an infection, and the survivors are taken completely by surprise. It is also incredibly bleak, with every survival ploy answered by a fresh disaster. I expected more of Palmiotti & Gray. They crafted some memorable characters, but the concept is derivative, and it's just not entertaining to watch them all get killed off. The Darwyn Cooke covers are fun, but completely contrary to the dark tone of the series.

Mark Sullivan (Vertiginous Mod) said:

Zomnibus Vol. 2

IDW Publishing, 2011

Continuing with the IDW omnibus horror collections I picked up at HeroesCon a couple of years ago: the Halloween season seemed a good time to finally dip into them. Got to love the title! Didn't see how I could go wrong at $5, so I bought both volumes on the same day.

"Everybody's Dead" (written by Brian Lynch, art by Dave Crosland, colors by Leonard O'Grady) is the five-issue miniseries that opens the collection. Most of the action takes place at a Halloween party hosted by a questionable college fraternity. The second page has the caption "This is the story of the last, best night on Earth," so Spoiler Alert: things do not turn out well. This is a real B-movie story, with fairly stereotypical character types: the nerd, the jock, an older guy who has been an eternal college student, and so on. Crosland draws the series in a simple cartoon style, prioritizing energy over detail. The cause of the zombie outbreak is unusual. What looks like some sort of meteor strike turns out to be a bomb, possibly military in origin. That is one story thread that remains unresolved at the end, but the action covers for it unless you really stop to think about it.

Having read Mimi Pond's recent graphic novel The Customer is Always Wrong, I went back and read the first installment, Over Easy. It handles the characters better than the sequel (granted, the sequel assumes, in part, many readers will know the characters, because, it's a sequel), but I found the second part more affecting.

This weekend I read The Bunker Vol. 1-3, which leaves just one more volume in the series. I plan to write a blog entry on the whole thing. But I will say that there are still plenty of open questions at the end of the third volume. Anxious to see how they are resolved.

Mark Sullivan (Vertiginous Mod) said:

I really liked The Bunker, too. Just this week I noticed that it was up to Vol. 4 in the collections! One of my libraries has them all. I intend to re-read Vol. 1 (it's been years now since I first read it) and the rest of them soon.

Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

The Bunker vol1 - Woof, I can't wait to continue this series. A group friends go to bury a time capsule, and discover a bunker. In that bunker they find letters addressed to them from their future selves that they are responsible for an apocalyptic event. Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov, whose work I've always enjoyed. 

I spoke with Mimi when the book came out. She'd always thought of them as one book, but the realities of publishing made her split it up.

I really liked them both, but if I were pressed, I think the first speaks to me more; I love books where you seen an impromptu family being built, and she really makes it seem like a magical time and place.



JD DeLuzio said:

Having read Mimi Pond's recent graphic novel The Customer is Always Wrong, I went back and read the first installment, Over Easy. It handles the characters better than the sequel (granted, the sequel assumes, in part, many readers will know the characters, because, it's a sequel), but I found the second part more affecting.

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