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

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A couple of months ago, I signed up for a DC Infinite account, and I've been taking time to check out some runs I passed up as they were being published. Most recently I just read the latest Aquaman run, by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Robson Rocha (with fill-in artists here and there, all high quality). I liked it a lot more this time -- the first storyline, a five-part story where Arthur has amnesia, was a lot more satisfying read in a chunk rather than with a month between each issue. And the entire series hangs together well, at times offering awe-inspiring undersea mysticism, at other times a kind of hangout superhero book (there's a handful of issues set in Amnesty Bay that made me recall the William Messner-Loebs/Peter Gross Doctor Fate; both runs made great use of their neighborhood settings). And, of course, plenty of undersea intrigue and adventure. I emerged from the run a fan of the new Aqualad, a fan of Amnesty Bay and its inhabitants, and a fan of DeConnick and Rocha. Good stuff. 

Next up, I'll probably reacquaint myself with Checkmate (yes, they're in a box, but that takes a little effort) before checking out issue 1 of the new series.  

Scotland Bound, Charlie Brown - This is based on the storyboards of an un-produced animated special that Charles Schulz and Robert Melendez created. I actually really liked this. As the story implies Charlie Brown and a few of the gang travel to Scotland and get involved in an art and music festival. Of course they search for the Loch Ness Monster, eat some haggis, and Snoopy does Snoopy stuff. I actually found myself smiling a few times in this book. I recommend this.

INFINITE FRONTIER #1: I couldn't follow it. A hyper-continuity mess.

X-MEN LEGENDS #4: Before reading it a re-read #3 because I had no memory of it whatsoever. #3 is all set-up and #4 is all action. Nothing really happens, though, because it takes place between two decades old issues and cannot disrupt the status quo whatsoever. Walt Simonson's panel-to-panel continuity was enjoyable, but his wordy wife cluttered up the art with excessive word balloons. The end leads directly into X-Factor #43, the beginning of "The Judgement War," a story I wish Marvel would reprint (the two-part Authur Adams story from #41-42 as well).

WONDER WOMAN: BLACK & GOLD #1: Two of the five stories were better than the other three. An interesting mix of styles nonetheless. 

Manhunter #1-6 - This is the series co-written by John Ostrander and Kim Yale. Honestly, I never picked this up originally because I was always turned off by this version of the Manhunter costume. Issues 1-4 deal with a collector who want his mask. She hires an assassin named Dumas to get it for her. The assassin always kills his targets. Issue 5 is a one-shot, in which a member of the NYPD assists Manhunter and gets suspended, and almost fired because of it. Issue 6 actually goes into Suicide Squad Annual #1, which I don't have, so whatever.

I bought the entire run, 24 issues, from my LCS a few months ago. The bonus of buying the physical copies, I got the mask from issue number 1, which you won't get from digital copies.

Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage #1-4 -  An entry from the Black Label imprint. Jeff Lemire writes it, and Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz provide the art. I don't want to get into the story too much, but it was great. Loosely, Vic Sage experiences a couple of deaths in order to fight evil in the present. but it just doesn't work out the way he thinks it will. Very good!

THE SHIELD #1: It used to be I'd buy Rob Liefeld comics just to make fun of them. Then I decided I didn't want to be that guy, and stopped buying them all together. Then he teamed up with Robert  Kirkman to illustrate a series written specifically for him. Robert Kirkman is young enough to consider Rob Liefeld as part of his "Golden Age" but it doesn't seem to have had a detrimental effect on his output. Kirkman is reliable, with at least two well-written and long-running series under his belt, Invincible and The Walking Dead, so I decided to give Infinite a try. It lasted all of four issues before Liefeld bailed. 

I see Liefeld as the "anti-Kirby. He apparently has no work ethic whatsoever, yet Kirby never was compensated for his lifetime contributions the way Liefeld was. Back in the '90s, I chalked it up to youth and immaturity, but he's got to be pushing 50 now, and he has never sought to improve himself. It's frustrating that he continues to squander his talent. 

The Shield #1 is exactly what i have come to expect from Liefeld, all he he ever delivered. The entire issue is rendered in splash pages, double-page spreads and character-centric pages designed for the original art market.

Splash page: William Higgins, the original Shield

Double-page spread: the Mighty Crusaders

Pin-up: Splash of the daughter of the original Shield

Pages 5-17: Action sequence of Joe Higgins, the Shield's son fighting unknown assailants, rendered in Liefeld's signature style, including one full-page splash and one double-page spread.

Double-page spread: Close-up shots of six of the crusaders taking a vote

Final splash: Shield's daughter and boy sidekick

The issue ends with the caption "THE END...?"

Captain Comics posted nine of this issue's 24 pages to This Week in Comics. (The page he coupldn't identify was the final-page splash sans copy.) 

THE UNITED STATES OF CAPTAIN AMERICA #1: This is the first Captain America comic books (one of the few, anyway) I have bought since the "Captain Hydra" arc a couple of years ago. After a lifetime of reading Captain America (at one time my favorite character) abd an unbroken run, I was just done. Despite this (five-issue) series unwieldy title, I decided to give it a try. 

Here's the plot: Steve Rogers is attacked in his home by someone wearing his costume who steals his shield. He calls the Falcon for help. At the scene of a train accident, they find a nineteen-year-old dressed in a homemade Captain America costume assisting. They learn that many people from all walks of life across the U.S.A. have donned the costume. (This particular one, Aaron Fischer is queer and rides the rails.) Cap and Falc resolve to find the shield. It's pretty good but a bit on the preachy side. I suspect future issues will be increasingly "writerly" as Captain America and the Falcon encounter other "Captain Americas" (or "Captains America" if you prefer). A back-up feature explores the background of the ersatz Captain America in more depth. 

THE MARVELS #3: For those of you who cannot reconcile Reed Richards' and Ben Grimm's service in WWII with current continuity, this issue is for you. Over the course of the past year or so, Marvel has been laying the groundwork for the continuity implant of Sin-Cong, a fictional country situated "hard on China's southern border, snuggled in next to Vietnam and Laos. Until such a time as Marvel adopts "real time" (which is to say never), it is to be understood that any older story, once set in WWII or Korea or Viet Nam is now relegated to Sin-Cong. In this issue, Reed and Ben are exploring the "Monster Belt" (a new explanation for Marvel's "monster phase" is no doubt forthcoming). This is one of the few new comics on the stands that actually looks like a classic comic book. The Marvels is also chock-full of "useful" trivia, such as the native language of the Deviants is Uskrit and that of the Shi-Ar is Yoruba.

STAR TREK: YEAR FIVE #21: Gettin' short!

INFINITE FRONTIER SECRET FILES: I haven't actually read this one yet. Frankly, I'm surprised I bought it at all considering how burned I felt last week after Infinite Frontier #1. It just speaks to how much I want to get into DC continuity again, if only they'd publish something as good as The Marvels. There is a new DC series I do plan to try later this month. Stay tuned.

80th ANNIVERSARY ISSUES: I've bought a couple of these so far, but the problem (for me) is that they deserve better than cardstock covers, yet aren't worth the hardcover price. Frankly, what I like best about the one-shots are the multiple covers, each one representing a decade. The hardcovers reprint them all, whereas if I were to buy the periodical, I'd have to choose my favorite. for that reason, I have taught myself to pass the softcover ones, but when the hardcovers are released I can't bring myself to buy them. This week saw the release of Green Arrow's 80th, but I didn't buy it.

I've read the Green Arrow 80th Anniversary. Special.  Larry O'Neil's tribute to his dad was well-done, very moving.

The rest of its OK, but nothing special.

SCOTLAND BOUND, CHARLIE BROWN:

Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

Scotland Bound, Charlie Brown - This is based on the storyboards of an un-produced animated special that Charles Schulz and Robert Melendez created. I actually really liked this. As the story implies Charlie Brown and a few of the gang travel to Scotland and get involved in an art and music festival. Of course they search for the Loch Ness Monster, eat some haggis, and Snoopy does Snoopy stuff. I actually found myself smiling a few times in this book. I recommend this.

I read this today based on Travis' recommendation (and the fact Tracy and I vacationed in Scotland a couple of years ago). I don't usually buy non-Schulz Peanuts material, but this one really has the feel of a TV special. (Schulz's name is listed three times on the cover and binding, but it is actually  written by Jason Cooper and drawn by Robert Pose.) Speaking of "non-Schulz Peanuts material," I highly recommend Peanuts: A Tribute to Charles M. Schulz advertised in the back of the book. 

In other Peanuts news (well, not "news," really; more of an update):

PEANUTS EVERY SUNDAY

Vol 8 (1986-1990) was solicited for October 2020 release but has not yet shipped.

Vol. 9 (1990-1995) has been solicited for September 2021 release. 

Oh cool, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Jeff of Earth-J said:

SCOTLAND BOUND, CHARLIE BROWN:

Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

Scotland Bound, Charlie Brown - This is based on the storyboards of an un-produced animated special that Charles Schulz and Robert Melendez created. I actually really liked this. As the story implies Charlie Brown and a few of the gang travel to Scotland and get involved in an art and music festival. Of course they search for the Loch Ness Monster, eat some haggis, and Snoopy does Snoopy stuff. I actually found myself smiling a few times in this book. I recommend this.

I read this today based on Travis' recommendation (and the fact Tracy and I vacationed in Scotland a couple of years ago). I don't usually buy non-Schulz Peanuts material, but this one really has the feel of a TV special. (Schulz's name is listed three times on the cover and binding, but it is actually  written by Jason Cooper and drawn by Robert Pose.) Speaking of "non-Schulz Peanuts material," I highly recommend Peanuts: A Tribute to Charles M. Schulz advertised in the back of the book. 

In other Peanuts news (well, not "news," really; more of an update):

PEANUTS EVERY SUNDAY

Vol 8 (1986-1990) was solicited for October 2020 release but has not yet shipped.

Vol. 9 (1990-1995) has been solicited for September 2021 release. 

FIRE POWER #13: This is the beginning of a new storyline, but it is not necessarily a good jumping on point for new readers. But you're in luck! A tpb of #1-12 also shipped yesterday, so read that, then then, and don't let it happen again. 

SKYBOUND X #1: I read about this one "This Week in Comics" and decided to give it a try, then I flipped through it and decided not to.

GREEN LANTERN #4: Although Sojourner Mullein, my new favorite Green Lantern, is prominently featured, I decided to drop this series. Plenty of bang, but too many bucks.

SERIAL #5: Another done-in-one that is not really a done-in-one. I don't know how Terry Moore does it every month.

HEY KIDS! COMICS! V2 #3: ...

THE WRONG EARTH: NIGHT & DAY #5: Dragonflyman is from Earth Alpha, Dragonfly from Earth Omega.  In the first series they were trapped on each other's Earths, this one brings them together. So far, this series has not been as groundbreaking as the first... until now. This issue introduces Man-Dragonfly of Earth Zeta (not to mention Nightsting, the grown up Stinger). Because this is an AHOY! comic, there are  three short text pieces at the end. I'm going to go on record as saying Matt Brady, the only non-fiction writer, is my favorite. 

IMMORTAL HULK #48: This series is winding down; #50 will be the last. #48 serves as a nice little transition/intro to the finale. I'm curious to see what Marvel is going to do with the Hulk next. After this series, there's no going back. 

STAR TREK: YEAR FIVE #22: Speaking of winding down, you'd think from the cover that this is the last issue, but it's not

Really since like Monday:

Manhuinter #7-24 - I ended up really liking this series.  I loved the scene with Manhunter making fun of Dr. Alchemy for misusing this Philosopher's Stone, rightly so, as we on this board have done before. I admire their restraint from using Batman until issue 17. It had a satisfactory ending.

Finally, of note, there were several issue with no letters column, because they didn't get enough to run one. Back in those days that was a definite sign of sales.

Usagi Yojimbo Origins vol 1 - This did include Usagi's origin which I don't recall ever reading before. Plus, other significant issues from the early days of the series. I always enjoy Usagi Yojimbo's adventures when I read them, but for whatever reason I don't stick around that long. This was really fun.

The Delicacy - This is the story of two brothers who inherit an estate from some relatives. One decides he will farm the land, and the other will open a restaurant in London. Early on the place sees a lot of trouble, and just can't stay busy. The farmer discovers some new mushrooms that they introduce into their menu. All of a sudden, business is booming. 

The restaurateur wants to expand as quickly as possible, and earn a fortune.  The farmer, just wants to farm, and honestly spend time with his brother. Were the mushrooms come from is a mystery, and they wonder how they will grow more. Plus, the brothers have different ideas on how they want to live their lives.

I really liked this one as well. The art took a while to get used to, and it certainly won't be to everyone's taste. I think the story makes up for it. I liked this one so much, I read it all in one day, and its over 300  pages.

I hadn't been to my LCS in a while, so I'm currently in the middle of reading 4 weeks worth of comics...

LONE WOLF & CUB: Inspired by The Mandalorian, I started a comprehensive re-read of Lone Wolf & Cub, but I may have to put it on hold until a get a new eyeglasses prescription.

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