Tuesday, 25 April 2017

April 2017's Pull List

So April is over. I have to admit that it's felt like a very short month, although that was probably helped by my last post being a few days late.

It's probably also been helped by the fact that I've been snowed under at work and in life, making me grateful that my pull list has been so short (although I'd never have a problem if it were bigger).

Titans #11 was the first comic for this month, which saw an end to the series second arc, Made in Manhattan, with the Titans facing off against the Fearsome Five to save a captured Nightwing and Flash. Now, I keep going back and forth on Titans as a series, with some issues feeling a bit bland while others come across to me as really compelling reads. However, issue 10 felt a bit more of the former because, while did enjoy the action sequences, particularly for Omen and Bumblebee, the story didn't seem to be particularly memorable save for the surprise revelation in the aftermath. Now this I was not expecting and leaves me in two minds about how I feel about; on the plus side it feels like a good reason to bring the Duncan's into the team full time, but on the downside, it feels like an unneeded plot twist. I'm still enjoying Brett Booth's art meanwhile as, though it's not perfect, it looks like the style best suited to displaying these characters. To be honest, I'm convinced that it's getting to read these classic characters which keeps me coming back while, all in all, it's still a fun book. And with the Lazaras contract now around the corner, I am looking forward to the future of this book, good or bad.

Next was Copperhead #12, which saw Clara deal with the fallout coming from the mayor's death while continuing to hunt his killer as her past slowly catches up with her. Unfortunately, this series, which had so much promise back when it started and had me hooked from the moment when I reviewed the first issue, just seems to have run out of steam after returning from its hiatus. The story now feels a little convoluted, not helped by the inclusion of the Ford character, and the pace just feels like it's ground to a halt. Also, both Clara and Boo no longer read as they did previously and while this might have to do with their changed dynamic I don't think so and it kinda hurt this issue. A final nail of he coffin though is Drew Moss' art which doesn't sit right with me, with places looking a bit rushed. Of course, this is all my opinion but I didn't enjoy this issue and neither the story nor the cliffhanger ending gripped me. What makes it even worse is hat I lost 8 pages to a preview for another book, meaning I bought a $3.99 book and got $2.99 worth of pages, not something I can stand. I'm not sure I care about this series at this point anymore and so will give it until the end of the arc (as I've budgeted for that) to turn me around but, as of right now, I think Copperhead is heading off my pull list.

Third on the list was Black Science #30 which returns it's focus to Grant McKay who attempts to make a daring escape from his prison in the wake of the Zirite invasion. Now, I've got to admit that the previous issue didn't grip me like most Black Science issues do. However, this installment more than made up for any concerns I had last time around. Despite a slow start, the pace built up as McKay attempted to evade possession, right up until the shock twist at the end which I didn't see (but maybe should have seen) coming. I think the thing I like about Black Science is McKay himself because, while he's an absolute dick, I can't help but cheer for him as he goes from one mistake to another. Actually, the other thing I like is the art and here is no exception, especially when I read that Matteo Scalara had a broken arm when he drew this. I'm stunned that it's this good and it gives me a whole new level of respect for this guy. All in all, I love Black Science and up until this point has got to be my favourite book of the monthings, as well as the best on my pull list. As always, bring on the next issue.
And finally (because the Lazarus sourcebook got delayed for a week, i hope) was Daredevil #19, which saw the man without fear in an unfamiliar bar with some very familiar patterns as he attempted to escape the thrall of the Purple Man. Once again, this series went from strength to strength in this issue after i was originally unimpressed enough to drop it. This arc in particular is fantastic and Charles Soule is putting together quite a captivating story. I thought this issue felt a little like filler compared to others but much like issue 10 of the volume 4 (Waid/Samnee's second run), I really loved how it gave a look at the inner workings of Matt's mind. Meanwhile the art, this issue by Marc Laming, was beautiful and I love it's clean and more colourful look. I have to admit it was a little jarring to see a contrast to prior issues but it didn't put me off any and seeing all the different Daredevils was a real highlight. I can see how this story is going to end (and not because it's a flashback) but I'm loving this as a read. It's just a shame that Marvel have to go a make it a two issue a month book in the near future but, for now, this is definitely a highlight read each month.

And that's April comics done. I've got to admit that April had a nice varied array of quality; from the brilliant to the not so good. However, May is next up and along new installments of the better books on my pull list, I'm expecting good things from the Lazarus Contract.

Hopefully, it'll live up to my expectations.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

March 2017's Pull List

I'm running a little bit late with this post, due to the unavoidable problems of Quarter end (work), Month end (again work) and my son's birthday (a genuine pleasure) all ending up being around the same time.

It also didn't help that March was a bumper month with six comics being released (Black Science got pushed back until April), meaning that I had more to read and, as a consequence, more to say.

So, let's not stand on ceremony. Let us begin.

My first read for the month was Titans #9, which saw the team encounter the Fearsome Five in their non-powered glory as they rescue Bumblebee before investigate the company they work for in order to protect their friends. Once again, as with the series' first arc, this issue seemed to make up for the opening instalment with my really enjoying the rather secret agent/heist turn the story went to as the Titans looked into Meta Solutions. I also really liked seeing the Fearsome Five turn up in this series, having originally been introduced to (some of) them in the old Teen Titans cartoon (yes, I watched it). These two things, along with my growing love of Brett Booth's art style certainly makes me glad I came back to this book and gave it a second chance.

Speaking of second chances, Copperhead #11 was next, which saw the return of this sci-Fi western series after a hefty hiatus with the sheriff beginning a new case after the murder of the town's Mayor, while also being distracted by the appearance of an old 'friend' and his news of an old 'enemy'. This was a comic which I had been toying with dropping due to its delay and this issue didn't seem to dissuade me from doing this. The problem I had with it was down to its delay, because I couldn't remember what had happened previously leaving me a little confused with current circumstances. It did all start to come back to me slowly but this wasn't enough to keep me engrossed in the issue and one major character seemed to play against type in my opinion, further turning me off the book. All in all, it probably didn't read as badly as I've implied but it wasn't great and was a weaker book of the month, to which we'll see if the next issue can amend this.

Next came Trinity #7, which is (at present) my last issue of this series as it took focus away from the big three to focus on their respective nemesis (Nemesi?); Lex Luthor, Ra's Al Ghul and Circe as they are drawn to a mysterious and dangerous force. Now for me, this was a book of two halves, with the opening pages giving us the introduction of Ra's and Lex which felt very interesting, completely drawing me in and intriguing with some good writing and cool art. However, on the flip side of the coin the Circe intro and it's following fight scene didn't really catch me, with the fight actually feeling shoe horned in instead of better story. The art though kept it's quality from the first half, overall looking dark, moody and fitting the characters. I did like the idea though, and it intrigued me for what what it's setting up but, sadly, I don't think enough to stop me cutting this book.

Thankfully, we went from bad to good with the next comic as Daredevil #18  delivered another great issue as it continued the tale of how Matt got his secret identity back in the bottle, as the arrival of the purple children spelt the return of the Purple Man. Now, while I had gripes with the start of the run, Soule has managed to turn it around as this story feels more like the kind of DD story I like. The return of the Purple Man, one of my favourite Marvel villains adds to this enjoyment. Meanwhile, Garney's art again looks great, and he manages to homage Samnee's style so well to keep in tone with the period it is meant to be set in, while still effortlessly going back to his own. With this he's really earning my love. All in all I'm totally engrossed in this story and am so glad I gave the book a second chance.

The next issue in my pile was Lazarus #26 and to this, all I can say is 'Finally!!!!' Although, my enjoyment might have been hampered a little by the gap between this issue and the last (I couldn't remember what happened and had to read the recap. God bless recaps, right DC!!! ), this issue saw Forever return to action to take on the Lazarus Smey, while Johanna took steps to help her sister on the homefront. Now, despite the need to remind myself of the lead up, this is of little consequence as all I had to say about this issue by  it's end is 'Wow.' This book is still so gorgeous; so beautifully drawn, so well written and so great in it's symbiosis of the two. Rucka really is a master as I loved the atmosphere and intrigue he's laced into this issue, with the scene between Micheal and Johanna really hooking me (if I needed it). Meanwhile, Lark's place is once again cemented with that final fight scene which was just brutal and shocking and ended in a way I didn't see it coming (although maybe I should have). This was by far the best book of the month and, while it's a shame there while now be a break before it returns, no creative more deserves a break and I'll totally be getting the Lazarus mini while I wait for this great series to return fully.

And so, that left me with Titans Annual #1 to finish out my pull list, which turned out to be another book of two halves as it saw Donna, Wally, Garth and Dick forced to work with their opposite numbers in the Justice League after finding themselves in an unknown location.With this annual, I found the first half felt very hard to get into, although I'm unsure why. While the reoccurring 'My Lord' gag regarding Aquaman was cute, the story just didn't seem to go anywhere. Fortunately, the second half improved and that was when the action really got started. That said, the thing I enjoyed most about this second was not so much the action but more the dynamic of the Titans as a revelation for Donna really showed their close-knit team which I enjoyed seeing as  well as the various teacher/student dynamics. All in all, I thought this was a largely forgettable issue which, while hinting at the overall big bad from the main series, offered very little else to Titans as a collection. I don't think it was quite a waste of my money, but pretty close. That said, my love of the Titans characters might mean this instalment doesn't hurt the series as a whole for me.

And that's March done. All in all, I thought it was a good month, especially thanks to the powerhouse comics of Daredevil and Lazarus. Now on to April, which sees my pull list down to five comics for the month. Hopefully, I can be a little more on time jotting down my thoughts for those.