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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The series didn't really click until issues numbering in the thirties and forties. Gulacy left with issue #50 followed by a down period with Jim Craig on art.  Things picked up again when Mike Zeck took over the series and continued on through #100

Jeff of Earth-J said:

MASTER OF KUNG-FU: I read four more MoKF comics this weekend. So far it’s not really doing anything for me, but the Moench/Gulacy team has not yet hit its stride. The creative teams for the comics I read this weekend are as follows:



Unfollow, Vol. 3: Turn It Off
Rob Williams, writer; Mike Dowling, Simon Gane, Javier Pulido, artists; Quinton Winter, colorist
Vertigo, 2017

Williams and Dowling's social network thriller concludes in this volume. The first issue tells Akira's "origin story'--how he began the journey to the cult leader he eventually became. The second shows how billionaire Larry Ferrell (creator of the social network Headspace that is the driver of this whole story) lost his faith in humanity. And then we are back in the present, with 40 of the original 140 left alive. Rubinstein (the guy wearing the mask) is actively hunting them, but they are onto him as well. An AI of Akira (recently deceased) appears to his followers claiming to speak from the afterlife. And Ferrell--who is miraculously alive after all--decides he wants to keep his money, and calls the survivors to the Venezuelan jungle for an ambush. Violence and craziness ensues: among other things, it is established definitively that the mask speaks by itself (there was always some question about the mental state of the wearer before). There is a grand climax, followed by an epilogue that leaves only two of the 140 alive. One is headed off the grid, so there is hope. A strong conclusion to the series. The first two issues (the flashbacks) act like a lull in the action, but the final four are relentless.

The Wicked + The Divine Vol. 6: Imperial Phase, Part 2
Kieron Gillen, writer; Jamie McKelvie, artist; Matt Wilson, colourist; Clayton Cowles, letterer
Image Comics, 2018

Sakhmet is in hiding after her rampage in the previous collection, and a lot of the action initially revolves around finding her, and handling her when she is found. Dionysus gets a huge crowd into a hivemind to power the mysterious machine, only to find himself betrayed by Woden. Purely by accident Cassandra and Persephone find a secret room in Woden's lair. It turns out that Woden is not who they thought he was--also, the mysterious machine may not do anything. And Minerva is not who we thought she was, either. Like some of the gods, I didn't see that one coming. This collection contains an unusually diverse group of extras. There are several pages of variant art, and several process pieces (covering everything from writing to visual realization). I'm not sure enough happened in this volume; there was a lot of inconclusive action, and still far too many unresolved questions. But gorgeous to look at, as always.

“The series didn't really click until issues numbering in the thirties and forties.”

That’s what I have heard. This go ‘round I might stop with #28/G-S #4 (which is where the Epic collection leaves off). Last night I looked for the series I bought complete back in the ‘90s but I couldn’t find it. I also read G-S #2 which has been my favorite so far. It’s a 30-page story by Moench and Gulacy, inked by Jack Abel. Gulacy’s art looks very much like Jim Steranko’s early work to me. One page was unique, designed like a maze.I imaging David Caradine's voice in my head as I read the inner monologues.

Here's a question I'll throw out to anyone who care to respond. A few years ago (okay, 16), I bought the Moench/Gulacy MoKF series released under the Marel's "MAX" imprint, knowing I had the entire series and would read it "someday." My question is this: should I go ahead and read it now, or will it give too muc away? Will I enjoy it more later after haing read more of the original series?

THANOS: THE INFINITY SIBLINGS: This OGN bring non-linear storytelling to a new level. It takes place across several thousand years, with the main events spaced hundreds of years apart. Besides the titular “siblings” (Thanos and Eros), other main characters include Pip the troll, Kang the Conqueror and a new character called “Ghost.” It would be difficult to even try to follow this story in a linear fashion because it is written from so many different points of view. Arguable, Eros is the main character, but the scenes involving his character (sometimes versions of his character from two different eras interacting) would have to be read twice, howe ver sometimes they are often presented twice, with more “behind-the-scenes” information presented the second time through. And, of course, several integral scenes may not involve Eros at all. Best to just trust Jim Starlin to present the information you need when you need to know it. The art is by Alan Davis. Recommended.

THE PERFECT CRISIS

I’ve read Crisis on Infinite Earths through, beginning to end, a couple of times, but I’ve read issues #11-12 alone a half dozen times at least. It begins after the heroes think the crisis is over. Superman of Earth-2 wakes up and goes in to his work as the editor of the Daily Star, only to discover he’s really in the Daily Planet. but he’s not on Earth-1, either; not exactly. He and Superman of Earth-One soon learn that the Earth they are on is really an amalgam of the five different universes that survived the crisis. Suddenly, the Anti-Monitor reappears and the heroes have to defeat him all over again. In the aftermath, aspects of this new reality begin to gel.

But it’s not the post-Crisis reality we will soon come to know. It can’t be. For one thing, in the epilogue, Superman and Power-Girl are shown standing outside the Fortress of Solitude, something John’s Byrne’s superman would not have. Also, the crisis itself still “happened,” but the post-Crisis version of events couldn’t have unfolded in precisely the same way because, in this new universe, there always was only ever one<>/i< universe to begin with. The final pages of #12 take place in what Roy Thomas came to dub “post-Crisis flux time.” A much more straightforward view of the then-new DC universe would have been had by reading The History of the DC Universe two-issue series directly following CoIE #10. It took DC 25 years, but they finally got around to telling the post-Crisis version of crisis in 2010.

This past weekend I re-read Crisis on Infinite Earths #11-12 immediately followed by DC Universe Legacies #5-6. It didn’t fit together as a cohesive story quite as well as I had hoped, but I think I discovered a “shorthand” version to approach the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” as it happened in the DCU. Cutting to the chase, CoIE #11 reads very well when immediately followed by Legacies #6. (Similarly, Legacies #5 serves as a good lead-in to CoIE #12.) Ideally, CoIE (#1-10 or #1-12) should be followed by the entire Legacies series.

I was reading through the hardcover edition of The History of the DC Universe over the weekend. This version has 14 essays (with illustrations) and a fold-out poster of 53 characters drawn by 53 artists (56 characters by 55 artists including two spot illustrations). It’s saddening to think how many of those essayists and artists are no longer with us.

I initially was going to post a comparison of Crisis on Infinite Earths to Flashpoint as a discussion of its own. Would anyone reading this be interested in such a discussion?

CAPTAIN AMERICA #700: I read only one new comic book last night. First I read the “new” back-up by Mark waid and Jack Kirby, then I read the main story, then I read the back-up again. What Waid has done is to take random pages from various Cap stories from Tales of Suspense, strip them of dialogue and narration, then assemble them into a new story. The results are interesting. I’ve often thought about doing such a thing. The story doesn’t really fit into continuity, but that’s not really the point. The main story resolves the “Cap in the near future” plot in a way I found to be most satisfying.

Clean Room Vol. 3: Waiting for the Stars to Fall
Gail Simone, writer; Walter Geovani, artist; Sanya Anwar, guest artist (Issue #15); Quinton Winter, colorist
Vertigo Comics, 2017

The big conclusion to what Gail Simone calls Season One of the series. Astrid Mueller has spent her life preparing to defend reality from the alien incursion she saw through as a child, and now the end has come. She finds the Clean Room's alien technology used against her and her lieutenant Chloe. There are two extremely creepy villains in this arc: a redneck psychopath, and an alien baby who is spearheading the invasion. The invasion is thwarted--courtesy of two unlikely allies--and Astrid deliberately tears down the cult she had built, now that it has performed its true function. A very satisfying conclusion, one which would certainly work as a series conclusion. But in January 2017 Simone tweeted that she was already working on Season Two (although I have not seen any publication announcements). It will be interesting to see where it goes, since most of the dangling plot threads were resolved in this collection. Jon Davis-Hunt (who illustrated the first two volumes, although not listed as co-creator) was absent from the artist credits here. Anwar's issue looks deliberately contrasting, but when Geovani takes over the main story there is no visual shock; the look is visually compatible, if not directly modeled on Davis-Hunt (who did create the visual models of all of the main characters).

Nailbiter Vol. 6: The Bloody Truth
Joshua Williamson, story; Mike Henderson, art; Adam Guzowski, colors; John J. Hill, letters & book design
Image Comics, 2017

The saga of the Buckaroo Butchers comes to an end. The final collection answers all of the lingering questions, many of which had been hinted at for some time. There is a reason why the town has produced so many serial killers, and it is tied in to the mysterious network of underground tunnels. The identity of the mysterious Master is revealed. And the story finds a plausible way to reunite all of the major characters: FBI agents Nicholas Finch and Abigail Barker; Sheriff Sharon Crane and her daughter Alice; and of course Edward Charles Warren, the titular Nailbiter, as well as the most recent Buckaroo Butcher. After a literally explosive climax (the whole town is destroyed in a series of underground explosions), there are a few pages of epilogue showing how the remaining characters have gotten on with their lives. All but one, and his reappearance gives the final scenes a classic horror movie jump scare. Well done.

This sounds like what is being done with the Star Trek New Visions series.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

What Waid has done is to take random pages from various Cap stories from Tales of Suspense, strip them of dialogue and narration, then assemble them into a new story. The results are interesting. I’ve often thought about doing such a thing. 

UNCANNY X-MEN #455-459:

I skipped three issues not drawn by Alan Davis; here is the last five-issue storyline in this run. Betsy Braddock returns from the “dead” in this one. No big deal for me because I don’t think I read the one where she died. Maybe I did, I don’t know. In any case, there are very few X-Men who have died and haven’t come back, so it’s no big shock. This one also takes place in the Savage Land, so there’s that. I had one other X-Men project I was going to read after X-Men Forever and this run, but I’m not sure I’m still in the mood. Anyone up for Astonishing X-Men by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday?

I've been meaning to read Cullen Bunn & Tyler Crook's Dark Horse series Harrow County for some time. Over the weekend I read the first two collections (Issues #1-8). Bit of a slow burn, but I will be reading more. Beautiful watercolor and gouache painted coloring.  

I've been reading the 80 Years of Action Comics hardcover. I'm still in the Golden Age, but it's clear that this is a really well put-together collection, with treats like an unpublished Siegel/Shuster story and a new Levitz/Adams story included, as well as a lot of text pieces about the importance of Superman & Action Comics from different perspectives. I'm looking forward to a companion volume for Detective Comics. This is a worthy heir to one of my favorite books as a kid, Superman: From the Thirties to the Seventies. 

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