Report what comic books you have read today--and tell us a little something about it while you're here!

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I picked up several week's worth of comics this week. Since Thursday night I've read:
S.H.I.E.L.D. #4- This is a pretty awesome series. I wish it came out monthly though because I forget everything that happened in the issue before.
Young Allies #5- Wrapped up the first story arc. It was a decent story, I liked the characters involved but I think they should have started with maybe a 2 or 3 issue arc instead of a drawn out 5 issue one. Anyways I hear this is getting canceled after issue 6.
Taskmaster #2- This is a fun mini, if your a fan of the Taskmaster and probably if you're not as well. The art is a bit too scratchy looking for my tastes but it works for the story.
Return of Bruce Wayne #5- This may have been my favorite issue of the series so far. For the most part I've enjoyed this series, and am looking forward to the conclusion.
Sixth Gun #5- This is a great Western/Horror series from Oni Press. I don't read many non-superhero comics but this one hooked me. The first TPB is coming out in the next few months, I recommend it.


Alan M. said:
Mark Sullivan said:
Started Locke & Key Vol. 1: Welcome To Lovecraft by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez, which I'd been meaning to get to for awhile. Very enjoyable suspense/horror storytelling. Rodriquez's style is a bit on the cartoony YA side (some manga influence there, I think), but it works.

That one took me a while to get into, even though it is, as you say, enjoyable suspense/horror storytelling. I think the art had something to do with it. Even though I like the look of Rodriguez's art, it served as a barrier to entry for me at points, just because you expect a more muted, scratchy, and/or realistic style for horror.

The other night I read the second Madame Xanadu volume, Exodus Noir. The series continues to be excellent (there was one moment in the book that I felt was a little comic book cliché, but I can't remember what it was now, which shows how fleeting that moment was), but I have to say, I didn't enjoy the art as much. Not that there's anything wrong with Michael William Kaluta's art, of course, but I had become so enchanted by Amy Reeder Hadley's airy, manga-esque art in the first book, that Kaluta's was a surprising gear shift.


I think Rodriguez's art was my main barrier as well. But I got used to it before long, and by the end I stopped noticing it. I follow what you say about Kaluta, but it's funny, since he's the original artist associated with the character. I took it as a return to home ground for him, and it called to mind earlier Vertigo work, so I guess it gave me a kind of nostalgic glow. I do prefer Hadley though, so I'm glad she returned. I know the current arc (the final one, with one additional finale issue) has a different artist on each issue, so I look forward to seeing how that worked.

Lime Coke said:

Sixth Gun #5- This is a great Western/Horror series from Oni Press. I don't read many non-superhero comics but this one hooked me. The first TPB is coming out in the next few months, I recommend it.

I'd been hearing good things about this series, so I'm glad to get a firm recommendation. Hopefully in a few months I'll be able to afford the TPB!
Finished the first Locke & Key trade, great climax and finale. Sets up a lot of intriguing story possibilities...I did not anticipate the business with the spirit in the well working out as it did. I've already got the 2nd collection waiting, but I'll probably take a break before I get to it.

Issues #-3 - 4 of Scarab are set in a fictional North Carolina coastal town called Whitehaven. All of the men have committed suicide, with mysterious Dionysian fertility rites that called the movie The Wicker Man to mind. The Scarab investigates (in and out of costume) and finds a dying fertility god behind it. Apparently there is some connection to his wife, which ties into the larger storyline of him seeking her spirit while her body lies in the mysterious labyrinth. There's a letter column starting with the fourth issue. This storyline could work in Hellblazer, if not for the silly superhero costume.
I stopped in at a store I get to about once a month or so; upstairs, it offer all the new comics, trade paperbacks, statues, toys, T-shirts, etc., but downstairs, it has an honest-to-goodness bargain basement, with rows upon rows of old and not-so-old comics for $1, pulls three walls of shelves full of trade paperbacks and manga paperbacks at half-price. (I have to control myself when I go there.)

One little gem I picked up was The Cartoonist, a collection of a comic strip of the same name that used to grace the pages of the late, lamented Amazing Heroes, written and drawn by Teri S. Wood.


Unlike the cover above, the strip was black-and-white line art. It featured the two characters you see above: a young lady named Silver and Wood's avatar -- her signature, rendered in such a way that it was a very expressive face. Basically, in each strip, the two of them would invite a comics character to join them and make fun. Here's a little more about it here.

The Cartoonist was cute and breezy, much like Amazing Heroes itself, and I was glad to be reacquainted with it.
Stumptown 2,3,and 4, I really enjoyed them and yes I know I'm way behind in reading comics. Now if I can just get around to ordering the last 4 issues of Sixth Gun I'll be happy. Over the weekend I went through my Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects and Three Thieves Tower of Treasure. I'm now anxiously awaiting my Rocketeer Complete HC which should hopefully show up this week or next.


Chuck Armstrong said:
Stumptown 2,3,and 4, I really enjoyed them and yes I know I'm way behind in reading comics. Now if I can just get around to ordering the last 4 issues of Sixth Gun I'll be happy. Over the weekend I went through my Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects and Three Thieves Tower of Treasure. I'm now anxiously awaiting my Rocketeer Complete HC which should hopefully show up this week or next.

Oh man, that Rocketeer material is great.

I myself read a Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos Marvel Masterworks Book, and I enjoyed that more than I thought I would. I agree with Dick Ayres, that Frank Ray did a dynamite job inking his pencils.
Another thing I got from that comics shop was an old miniseries from 2003, Captain America: What Price Glory. Written by Bruce Jones, penciled by Steve Rude, inked by Mike Royer.

I didn't like it. The Steve Rude art was amazing -- in places, he seemed to be channeling his inner Jim Steranko -- but the story seemed kind of off-kilter, placing Steve Rogers in an Against All Odds knockoff fake film noir.
As I mentioned over in my "Embarrassment of Riches" thread, I recently read three books.

Umbrella Academy vol. 1: Apocalypse Suite was a lot of fun. I didn't really know anything about this series, but I seem to recall Chris and Doc speaking well of the series, so I happily gave it a try. The art, the story, all of it was just a blast. "It all came from an atomic flying elbow" indeed.

The Last Temptation was an excellent little Halloween story, and I have nothing to say about it beyond that.

Kick-Ass was...hm. I watched the movie last week, read the book this week, and they're similar, but not the same, in an odd way. It's like...if the comic was the "true story", the movie was the Hollywood-ized interpretation of that story — happier ending, things work out better for the characters, there's less overall pathetic-ness — and I honestly can't decide which, if either, I liked better. (Or even if I liked them at all, really.)
"Kick-Ass was...hm."

As Roger Ebert wrote, "Kick-Ass" (the movie) really debunked the whole idea of costumed crime-fighters. The message seemed to be: why bother learning martial arts, or training your body to "physical perfection," when you can just get a gun and shoot the bad guys a la Dirty Harry?

I found the movie's gleeful reveling in gore and pandering to the audience's blood lust to be a bit disturbing -- but I'm probably not in the demographic the movie was aimed at.
I've got a very Halloween reading list this weekend. Started American Vampire Vol. 1 (just noticed it doesn't have a subtitle, which is unusual). I like it so far, but I'm not crazy about it. This may be a case of my expectations being too high; lots of people seem to really love the book. Rafael Albuquerque's art is a good fit, generally, but I wish he didn't overdo the gore. The American vampires look really feral, which I guess is part of the point, but it also seems a bit over the top. It is a genuinely original take on vampires, so I'll be following it with interest for that reason alone.

Heroes Aren't Hard to Find (the biggest comic shop in town) is hosting a discussion group on the first two The Walking Dead collections and the first episode of the TV adaptation. So I reread the first one today, and I'm glad I did. I had forgotten many of the details, so I'll be better prepared to compare with the first TV episode tomorrow. Kirkman wrote an introduction to this volume, which clearly lays out his approach to the material, and he has been consistent about doing what he said he was going to do. Tony Moore was the original artist (after this arc he continued to do covers), and it was a bit jarring returning to his style after all these years with Charlie Adlard at the helm. My copy is signed by Kirkman & Moore, which I'd forgotten! I think it was at the 2008 Heroes Con. I distinctly remember meeting Kirkman (very nice guy), but have only a vague memory of Moore.
American Vampire definitely grew on me as it went, although it's still far from being my favorite current Vertigo title. These opening issues do a good job setting up lots of potential story lines. The revelation of Abi's daughter Felicia on the final page is especially intriguing. On the whole I enjoyed Snyder's 1925 Hollywood story more than King's 1880 origin backup story, but together they laid the groundwork for the series. The script and uncolored art pages in the back of the collection really show the different illustration techniques employed for the two stories. There's a much sharper distinction between the crisp inks used for Pearl's story and the ink wash used for Skinner's story when they are seen uncolored. Snyder's Afterward promises to continue to explore the origin story, but the book has dropped the main story plus backup format, at least for now.

The Walking Dead Vol. 2 introduced Charlie Adlard as artist. I remember disliking the change at first, but looking at it now I think he is a better match than Tony Moore. Moore's style was more cartoony; his characters look like caricatures compared to Adlard's. A more realistic style allows for a believability, especially in facial expressions, that serves this character-driven story well. These issues find the band dealing with Shane's death, then staying at Hershel's farm for awhile, finally discovering the prison that would dominate the story for a long stretch. There are several shocking violent events, including the first loss of a core character to zombie attack. I was struck by how talky many of these pages were. The characters are all just coming to grips with the situation, and they talk a lot more in the beginning of the series than they would later. This collection also contains a thoughtful Afterward by Simon Pegg (co-author and star of the film Shaun of the Dead) about how zombie stories work.
Decided to stake out a table at the local(ish) Borders and spend some time with some comics. I read:

Amazing Spider-Man #645, the penultimate issue of Mark Waid's "Origin of the Species" storyline. Boy howdy, does this issue show how scary Spider-Man can be when he puts his mind to it.

Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier #3. This is not a new point, but I like the way that Brubaker showed in this issue that, even if you take the "super" out of him, Steve Rogers is one hell of a soldier.

Supergirl #56, part three or four or something of the Bizarrogirl storyline, has Kara going to Bizarro World. Not a lot to say about this comic; it doesn't explore anything deep or new, but it's fun.

X-Factor #210. I was torn on whether to read this one, as I stopped X-Factor at issue number...203, I think, and I wasn't sure I wanted to jump into the middle of an unfamiliar storyline. But I'm glad I did, even though only three or so of the main characters were in it, as it was a nice revisit to a favorite title.

Shadowland: Spider-Man. I've (obviously) not followed any of Shadowland except through what Ive read on various comics news sites, but this one-shot was written by Dan Slott, so I figured it was more going to be connected with Amazing Spider-Man anyway. I was right with that assessment, and as a little one-off story of Spidey and Shang Chi fighting Mr. Negative, it stood well enough on its own without having had read any Shadowland.

Deadpool vol. 1: Secret Invasion (collecting the first five issues of the current series). For a long time I rolled my eyes at him, but I'm finding Deadpool to be a goofy-fun character, and I enjoyed this. (It also provided a bit of justification for some of the end of Secret Invasion, so points there, too.) Deadpool using his unpredictable insanity to defeat Skrulls, and his laziness to defeat zombies; how can you go wrong? :)

Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D. (collecting the seven-issue run of the Bendis/Maleev series). I feel this might have been better as the start of a longer-running series; as is, it was good on the action/quasi-espionage stuff, and did a good job of seeing where Jessica was at post-Secret Invasion, but lingered a bit too long on setting up emotional conflicts that would have better paid off if explored over a longer time.

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