Category Archives: Action Comics

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: August 22 – 28, 2018


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

Comics I Read Last Week:

CaptureThe best comic I read last week was Action Comics #1002

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Pat Gleason

I love Brian Michael Bendis, okay? Even when he is not at the absolute top of his game or when he is feeling out a new character. I would argue he is not quite comfortable with Superman just yet, but he is getting close and I am really enjoying the story he is weaving here. He is an incredible talent and the DC flagship character deserves him.

But the real star – so far – of this latest Action Comics run is penciller Pat Gleason. Wow. He has remade his style in Action as if he is aware (and I am sure he is) of how important this particular pairing on this particular title his. Eschewing what was becoming somewhat of a cartoony, though pleasing, take, Gleason has grounded this run of Action in a realism that benefits the character and the story Bendis is telling.

Superman is super in this short run and I hope he continues to be.

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Link’n’Blogs – 7.20.18: Superman’s Record Breaking Feat of Literature?


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I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as fun or thought provoking as I have.

It is now official and American literature scholars should pay attention: Comic books are a true form of literature, one of the purest forms of literature born in this country and feature the longest running American fictional character continuously in print. But do not believe me, believe the Guinness Book of World Records. Click the iconic cover to Action Comics #1 below for full details…

Action_Comics_1

 

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: April 18 – 24, 2018


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

Comics I Read Last Week:

The best comic I read last week was Action Comics #1000.

Capture

Writers: Brian Michael Bendis, Peter J. Tomasi, Paul Dini, Marv Wolfman, Dan Jurgens, Geoff Johns, Louise Simonson, Tom King, Scott Snyder and Brad Meltzer

Artists: Dan Jurgens, Jim Lee, Patrick Gleason, Curt Swan, Olivier Coipel, Clay Mann, Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, John Cassaday, Jerry Ordway, Tim Sale, Butch Guice, 

It would be all but impossible to choose the best story from Action Comics #1000. This landmark issue, celebrating Superman’s 80th year in continual publication, struck just the perfect balance between nostalgia and forward motion. This star-studded collection of creators each brought her or his A-game to the proceedings and each of the installments in the 80 page giant highlighted a different aspect of the Man of Steel – a different part of the whole that makes him the first and the best superhero of them all.

The best story may well be hard to identify, but my favorite is not. Give “Never Ending Battle” by Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason that distinction. Both clever tribute to era-after-era of Superman incarnations and a distillation of what makes the character tick, this story is moving and heroic. Patrick Gleason gives readers Superman after Superman from the original 1930s version to the Super Friends cartoon to the Frank Miller interpretation. “Never Ending Battle” is fascinating and fun.

The whole issue is. If you are a person who does not believe that Superman is an interesting character, think again. The prologue to Brian Michael Bendis’ upcoming run on the character is so full of potential that one can envision Superman on the top of the comic book sales charts.

Where it belongs.

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: September 27 – October 3, 2017


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

Comics I Read Last Week:

One

The best comic I read last week was Detective Comics #965.

Writer: James Tynion IV

Artist: Eddy Barrows

I love Eddy Barrows’ artwork. There is something about his verisimilitude, the manner of his panel composition, the loving way he renders characters that feels classic and new simultaneously. My assumption is the level of detail he puts in his work paints him into the slower end of artists (pun intended) but that is okay. That makes his pages all the more special.

“Special” is the right word for this issue. Kicking off a story arc entitled “A Lonely Place of Living” (a title which must make long-time Batman fans take notice), ridiculously underrated writer James Tynion IV tells the origin story of ridiculously underrated character Tim Drake – Red Robin. Red Robin has been “off the board” for months, the captive of the mysterious Mr. Oz, and is about to break big.

That the story (along with the latest issues of Action Comics) reveals the identity of Mr. Oz is not what makes the story special, nor is the science fiction heights for which the narrative reaches.

What makes it special is the treatment of Red Robin, the respect paid to the works of Wolfman, Perez and Aparo and the promise of a return that is both important and is woven into the fabric of the rebirthed DC Universe.

I am glad Tim Drake is back and I am glad his return is being handled by these particular creators. Drake, Tynion IV and Barrows are all superstars.

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: April 12 – 18, 2017


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.
Then I read them.
Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

COMICS I READ LAST WEEK

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The best comic I read last week was

Wonder Woman #20.

Writer: Greg Rucka

Artist: Bilquis Evely

 

Great sadness this week: writer Greg Rucka is leaving Wonder Woman in a few issues. That is certainly unfortunate as, as I have mentioned on more than one occasion in this The Best Sequential Art feature, Rucka is doing truly great things on this title. His grasp of Diana both in and out of her super hero costume is truly, well, wonderful. The narrative he has tied together in these first 20 issues comparing Wonder Woman’s early adventures to her contemporary ones has been seamless, thematically compelling and strong. Wonder Woman, in her 75th anniversary year, deserved greatness. In Rucka, she has received it.

Bilquis Evely will also be leaving the title and, while I am not familiar with her replacement, it is difficult to think that her successor can achieve anything like she has. I have compared her work to Dave Gibbons’ art in the past and that is intended to be one of the highest comparisons I can draw. Her lines are smooth, her action sequences direct and to-the-point and her character work stunning. She is the kind of artist to follow from book-to-book.

Wonder Woman has been terrific. I am excited to see where Rucka ends these narratives and so sad to see him go.

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: March 8 – 14, 2017


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.
Then I read them.
Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

COMICS I READ LAST WEEK

TwoOne

The best comic I read last week was Action Comics #975.


Writer: Dan Jurgens

Artist: Doug Mahnke

 

I think I loved this comic because it was clever, fun and had a terrific reveal at its conclusion. One of the mysteries that is the backbone of the DC Rebirth-ed universe is the mystery of Superman and this issue (along with interlocking issues of Superman) goes a long way to solving it.

Dan Jurgens is an underrated writer. He is like the baseball player who hits for average and drills the occasional home run. You forget how good he is because he’s so consistent. His work, especially as he handles two parents who are searching for their lost son, is terrific. I love that he was part of the great Superman stories of the 1990s and is part of great Superman stories now.

I have written before about the terrific talents of artist Doug Mahnke and those talents are on great display in this issue. He treats readers to solid panel work throughout but the real magic of the issue is a series of splash pages of some of Superman’s greatest adversaries. Excellent work.

I am really liking the old/new Superman and this story keeps me guessing in a very satisfying way.

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: December 14 – 20, 2016


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 6 comics last week: Wonder Woman #12, Poe Dameron #9, Spider-Man #10, Star Trek Boldly Go #3, Action Comics #969 and Detective Comics #946.

The best comic I read last week was Wonder Woman #12.

wonder-woman-12

 

 

Wonder Woman has been a consistently great read since the DC Rebirth initiative unfolded this past summer. It has cleverly told stories on two separate tracks: one taking place in the present and one playing out in the past. They are related stories, most notably tied together by a strong and familiar supporting cast including Steve Trevor, Barbara Minerva (the Cheetah) and a nicely redesigned Etta Candy. They are also linked by a very well written Wonder Woman – a character that writer Greg Rucka knows well from a celebrated run he had on the title years ago.

He has returned to re-define Wonder Woman in this new DC continuity and he was the absolute perfect choice to handle the title.

I’ve been more partial to the “origin” story playing out in the even numbered issues of this book. Told with a definite sweetness and, well, wonder, this origin arc is both updated and familiar. Using the well worn framework and plot points, Rucka recounts Diana’s first contact with “Man’s World” in a compelling and wide-eyed fashion. Wonder Woman is perfectly portrayed. She’s awestruck by all she encounters. She’s loving and friendly. And she tries to avoid violence at every turn which is a core element of her character (take that, United Nations). She is readily connected to her supporting cast and the reveal of the “big bad” at the end of the issue – a big bad which ties this story to the one taking place in the present – was very well delivered.

Rucka knows what he is doing and DC would be wise to avoid interference in his work and tie him to the title for a very long time.

Unfortunately, I read that artist Nicola Scott is leaving the title after this first arc and that is truly as shame. Her work is really incredible and she seems perfectly suited to draw Wonder Woman. Her Diana is striking and commanding while still approachable and compassionate. Scott draws Wonder Woman with a restrained power and a definite grace. Losing her will be significant for the book. There are not many who approach this level of mastery of and connection to a character.

Wonder Woman is a terrific book. Hopefully it can maintain this quality into next year, Wonder Woman’s 76th and, perhaps, biggest yet as the Gal Gadot film opens in the summer. If the film makers can come to striking the tone set in this book, they will be well on their way to delivering a great movie.

 

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