Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wednesday Notes: Reviewing the Stuff on my Pull List

I’ve mentioned this before, but in case you missed it, I’ve been working on a new short story for my girls.  However, I’ve belatedly come to realize that it’s not gonna be ready in time for my older daughter Hannah’s birthday later this month.  So I think what I’m gonna do is get the first part ready—essentially, Act I of the larger piece—and polish it a bit, and havethat for her birthday, and that’ll hopefully give me enough time to finish the rest of it by Christmas, hopefully without turning the writing process into a mindless slog.  But right now I feel like the intro needs some more work, and I’ve still got to plot out the development of Act II…

In any event, you folks aren’t gonna see any of this until the whole thing is finished, and even then, probably not until the start of 2014.  Unless, that is, you feel like test-reading Act I for me.  
If you are interested in being a test-reader, drop me a note in the comments or via email, and maybe we’ll see what we can do.
One of the reasons I stopped trying to draft the new story in such a hurry is that I got to a point where I had three weeks worth of comics piling up that I hadn’t read yet.  After working on the stack, here’re my thoughts, for whatever they’re worth:
Thanos is legitimately scary this time.
Greg Rucka’s Lazarus is the best, most important comic on the shelves today.  Yeah, I like Saga a lot, too, but for my money, Lazarus is a little more on-point and relevant to what’s happening in the today these days.  Lots and lots of comics try to be relevant, but Lazarus is that rare comic that absolutely succeeds.  I mean, there is A LOT to like in Lazarus, and

On the flipside, Jonathan Hickman’s Infinity / Avengers / New Avengers crossover event is the exact opposite of Lazarus.  Infinity is absolutely an escapist space opera starring Thanos and the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.  Told on an epic scale—in both senses of the word—the story has become a three-headed behemoth involving nearly everyone on the Avengers’ side (as opposed to the mutant side) of the Marvel Universe.  What makes it work, though, is that there’s enough story to support all those characters and enough space to give the sprawling scope of the thing a chance to develop and breath.  

I don’t typically go in for Event Comics, but this one is both fascinating and beautiful, and it succeeds simultaneously at 1) making the Avengers look human, 2) making Thanos legitimately terrifying, and 3) being both consistently weird and fascinating at the same time.  Hell, even the Inhumans come off looking good in this book, and that’s no small feat.

I’m digging Infinity.  For my money, Marvel hasn’t done anything this sprawlingly ambitious and successful since the Earth X / Universe X / Paradise X trilogy.

Earth X also worked on a epic scale.
I’m ready for the end of Brian Wood’s run on Conan the Barbarian.  I don’t know what’s up with Wood these days, but his Conan is entirely too emo for me.  It’s hard to believe that this is the same guy who wrote The Couriers.

Tim Truman’s King Conan, on the other hand, is the authentic barbarian.  I’ve been loving “The Hour of the Dragon.”

I’ve been reading a fair amount of IDW’s stuff lately.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is still pretty good, but they built up the current “City Fall” arc with quite a bit of hype, but so far it feels more like set-up than pay-off.  I’m not sure where they’re going with it yet, but I personally would like to see a little more insane ninja action pretty soon.  

City Fall is a great idea, but they
haven't paid it off yet.
Meanwhile, G.I. Joe and G.I. Joe: Cobra Files have both been decent, more character-driven stories than I’d have expected, but neither has blown me away in the past few issues after very promising starts.  I guess I’m still on board to find out where Cobra Files in particular is headed, but it occurs to me that the story might not actually be headed much of any place at all.  And both books have been a little heavy on the soap opera melodrama lately.

Finally, last week I decided to check out Brian Michael Bendis’s X-Men event, Battle of the Atom, and so far at least, I think I’m glad I did.  Bendis started his run on All-New X-Men by making the dubious decision to bring the five original X-Men forward in time from when they were teenagers in the 1960s to the present day—a time when Jean Grey is dead, Cyclops is reviled as a mutant terrorist, and the rest of the mutant populace of the Marvel Universe is split between rival factions headed by either Cyclops or Wolverine.  That storyline didn’t grab me, but the new one actually makes it make some sense by upping the ante.  So now, not only are the original X-Men back from the past as teenagers, but we also have X-Men from the future in the present day as mature adults.  All of which leads to total chaos.

X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Bendis has turned this on its head by using an older Shadowcat haunted by
the ghost of her friend Logan, who's missing in the current future-team.
To be fair, though, the X-Men have a strong tradition of time travel.  And this storyline in particular makes some sense given that Fox is bringing Days of Future Past to theaters next year, and this story echoes that one strongly, especially in its use of a mature Kitty Pride as a central character.


  1. Test-reader, volunteering for duty.

    If you're digging Infinity, I think you'll like Avengers Assemble #19. ;)

    1. Awesome. Alright, I'll send you something when I have something to send.

  2. Whoops, I meant Avengers #19 that came out today. :P