Tag Archives: Brian Michael Bendis

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: June 27 – July 3, 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 Man of Steel #5.

Capture

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Adam Hughes

Adam Hughes in one tremendous artist. Among those artists who have trusted themselves enough to allow their styles to adapt over time and to specific content and characters, Hughes is the exemplar. His work in 2018 looks hardly similar to when he burst into the industry decades ago. He was always good but there is depth and gravitas in his approach that is impressive and most fitting Superman. GREAT to see his work  between the covers of a monthly.

Brian Michael Bendis has brought his unique, decompressed style to DC Comics and to Superman and I, for one, am loving it. He has created a story in Man of Steel that has high stakes, stakes that have been played out to almost genocidal effect already in the story. He is setting up a fascinating Metropolis, an intriguing family dynamic and an exciting Superman. There is more to be said about the character and Bendis is finding new areas to mine.

I am thankful for that and as impressed about Superman as I have been for a long time. Given that he has been handled by a series of talented creators recently, this is saying something.

Superman and Batman are recharged by their creators. Give them both a try. It is a great time to read the flagship characters!

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: February 21 – 27, 2018


Related Content from And There Came A Day:


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 Defenders #10

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Carlos Marquez

News broke last month that Marvel scribe Brian Michael Bendis – a towering talent who helped shape the better part of the last two decades of the Marvel Universe in terms of comics, movies and television – is jumping ship to DC Comics. I am excited about the potential of what Bendis will do in DC. However, this means that books I have enjoyed, like Defenders, are about to lose Bendis. Defenders, in fact, is not just losing Bendis, it is ending with this issue.

And what an end it is. Bendis wraps up his storylines and sets up new one for the four main characters (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist). He pens a love letter to each of them as well as to their sprawling supporting casts and does so seemingly effortlessly. He is a master at mixing solid comic book action with crackling dialogue with just enough real-world humanity to keep things grounded. Defenders has been a great example of this and I will miss it.

Carlos Marquez has been a frequent Bendis collaborator and he is a terrific artist. His work has impressed me and I cannot understand why he is not an industry superstar. Creative and kinetic, Marquez’s work jumps from panel-to-panel off the page and he has been a terrific partner for Bendis.

Perhaps they will end up at DC together…? One can hope!

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: July 26 – August 1, 2017


Related Content from And There Came A Day:

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:

 

OneTwo

The best comic I read last week was Infamous Iron Man #10

Writers: Brian Michael Bendis

Artists: Alex Maleev

The story of Victor Von Doom trying to reform himself and to make up for a lifetime of terrible deeds has been complex and compelling. The latest issue of Infamous Iron Man is, perhaps, the best yet.

Brian Michael Bendis has, somehow, slipped from top-line status at Marvel Comics and I don’t understand why. He’s handling terrific books in this one, Invincible Iron Man and Spider-Man and he is telling stories in each that are unlike much else on the market. Perhaps one can only be on top of the heap for so long, but if there is some kind of negative reaction to Bendis that is keeping people away from Infamous Iron Man, that is really unfortunate.

This is a terrific book and one that makes me believe that Marvel intends to keep Victor Von Doom squarely in the hero column.

They should. Doctor Doom has never been as compelling as he is here. This issue has some heartbreaking moments, some heartwarming moments, some confusing moments and a cliffhanger that really cooks.

It goes without saying that Alex Maleev, Bendis’ frequent collaborator, is a special artist. While I was not sure that his style was a perfect match for this book, the moodiness with which he renders his characters works very well here. I have found myself loving it more-and-more with each issue.

Infamous Iron Man is a terrific read. I only hope, as I mentioned last time I picked it, that it is not overwritten by the Generations soft re-boot of the Marvel universe.

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: March 29 – April 4, 2017


Related Content from And There Came A Day:


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

Infamous Iron Man #6.

 

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Alex Maleev 

 

This is my second week in a row selecting a Brian Michael Bendis penned book and that’s a good thing. Perhaps Bendis is back on his stride after hitting a recent slow patch.

His frequent contributor, Alex Maleev, has never missed a step. Though I wondered if his intricate and realistic line work would be suited for an Iron Man title, I was foolish to be concerned: he’s been a terrific match for this book and his Vincent Cassell based Victor Von Doom is pretty cool.

Yes, Dr. Doom is all new, all different and is wearing a version of the Iron Man armor trying to redeem himself after a life of terrible acts. That’s a compelling set up that Bendis is paying off in this issue.

Given the rumor that the stalwarts of the Marvel Universe are about to return to the comics they used to headline, it’s likely this is all going to wrap up soon, and that’s too bad. Marvel has taken a few risks the last few months and what they’ve done with Iron Man has been my favorite of those risks. I’ll be sorry to see it all end.

If you’re a comic reader, do yourself a favor: buy this book in trade paperback. You won’t regret it, I promise!

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Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: October 29 – November 4, 2014

I am a comic book collector and happy to be sure. 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 3 comics last week (LIGHT WEEK!):   Batman Eternal #30, Justice League United Annual #1 and All New X-Men #33

The comic that most arrested my attention, that I thought was the best read of the week and that I most enjoyed was All New X-Men #33

All-New X-Men #33

Brian Michael Bendis, the writer of All New X-Men is one of the giants in the comics business today. His work with Spider-Man, the Avengers and on massive company-wide crossovers has defined Marvel Comics for the better part of the last two decades, and that’s a good thing. His writing is crisp, especially his dialogue, and he knows his characters wells and respects their varied histories.

The challenge with Bendis is that he is such a lover of language and character that his plots often take the back seat. Not so in this issue. While giving the spotlight to all of his X-Men, Bendis weaves a thrilling plot with high stakes for all the characters with big reveals and significant developments. His characterization remains crackling (nowhere more so than in the opening vignette featuring Ice Man) and his dialogue sounds as if it could actually be spoken by teenagers. That’s always refreshing.

Mahmud Asrar and Marte Garcia ably support the excellent writing with stunning visuals very much in line with the feel of the series. They give the reader wide-screen scope and intimate moments in equal measure.

Sometimes, issues of All New X-Men can feel like “filler” between events. Not this one. Great work here.

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Comic Creator Power Rankings – Installment Three

Periodically, The Junior Senator and I will collaborate on our own Comic Writer Power Rankings for the prior month. While he and I agree on a great many things (as the Emperor would say), there are some differences of opinion and, while we will collaborate monthly on the rankings, we’ll include our distinctive comments! In the process of building the list, we’re taking into account sales data as well. Some of these dudes move a lot of comics!

And here … we … go.

Honorable Mentions

Greg Pak

THE JUNIOR SENATOR SAYS: I really cannot get into Batman/Superman. It’s not just that the story is bad (which it is), but it doesn’t feel like Pak has a feel for what is interesting about these two heroes interacting. Strangely, his new run on Action Comics is actually much better, which makes it hard to understand the sub-par Batman/Superman.

I SAY: Finally someone is putting the ʺactionʺ in Action. Easy pun. Clearly hard to do. Pak is giving us the Superman we should have had throughout the New 52. I will echo The Junior Senator on the confusion of Batman/Superman, but I am still reading.

Brian K. Vaughn

THE JUNIOR SENATOR SAYS: Saga is, yet again, the best thing I read this month. Why aren’t you reading this yet?

I SAY: Back off, Junior Senator. Loan me the next trade.

Mike Allred

THE JUNIOR SENATOR SAYS: I can see why FF is going to be ending its run soon, but I hope Mike Allred gets another chance somewhere. This is still right up there with Hawkeye and Saga as the best union of writing and art.

I SAY: I am sorry to see FF end. I never picked up Allred’s X-Factor, but I can see why people raved about its tone. This comic has a terrific tone. It puts the “comic” in “comic book” in all the right ways.

Kieron Gillen

THE JUNIOR SENATOR SAYS: The second issue of this new series was good enough to keep me reading. Then again, I’m a sucker for the whole premise, so I’m an easy sell. So far, it’s much better than Gillen’s Iron Man, which I dropped very quickly.

I SAY: I am sure he’s very good.  I got nothing here, though…

Brian Wood

THE JUNIOR SENATOR SAYS: I’m really not enjoying this ʺX-Womenʺ title as much as I did at the start, but it’s still good. I’m also hoping to pick up the TPB of Wood’s Star Wars run soon, about which I’ve heard good things.

I SAY: X-Men really didn’t work for me, but I bet his Star Wars swan song for Dark Horse is very good.

TEN: Dan Slott

 Slott

TITLES: Superior Spider-Man #22

DIAMOND DISTRIBUTORS SALES DATA:

Superior Spider-Man #8; Superior Spider-Man #10

THE JUNIOR SENATOR SAYS: Because My Friend wouldn’t stop bugging me, I returned to Superior Spider-Man. It’s good, but I still don’t love it. I’m hoping that Slott really takes this character he’s created into some new direction.

I SAY: What Slott is doing in this title is really impressive. I won’t say that I don’t miss Peter Parker, I will say that I don’t think about him that much because I am loving following Octo-Spidey. This is often the first book I read. That says something.

NINE: Peter Tomasi

 peter_tomasi

TITLES: Batman and Two-Face #25

DIAMOND DISTRIBUTORS SALES DATA:

Batman and … #26

THE JUNIOR SENATOR SAYS: Sounds like there’s another Batman book I should try out.

I SAY: I love Snyder and I love what he’s doing in Batman. But Tomasi’s Batman and … which has become something of a spiritual successor to The Brave and the Bold, might be the most exciting Bat-book out there.

EIGHT: Matt Fraction

 Matt Fraction

TITLES: Sex Criminals #3, Hawkeye #14

DIAMOND DISTRIBUTORS SALES DATA:

Hawkeye #42; Sex Criminals #109

THE JUNIOR SENATOR SAYS: What if instead of Agents of SHIELD, there were a TV show with the same tone as the Hawkeye comic? I imagine it’d be much more successful. It’s telling that my wife reads three comics, and Matt Fraction writes two of them.

I SAY: Fraction continues his anti-superhero superhero comic with Hawkeye and, monthly, it makes me sad that he’s not writing ALL the superhero comics. I want his take on Green Lantern. I want his take on Superman. Wait, it seems like I just want DC to steal him. Oh, and I read Sex Criminals #1… not exactly my cup of tea, but unlike anything I’d ever read before.

SEVEN: Jason Aaron

 Jason Aaron

TITLES: Thor #15; Amazing X-Men #1; Wolverine & the X-Men #38;vWolverine & the X-Men Annual #1

DIAMOND DISTRIBUTORS SALES DATA:

Amazing X-Men #3; Thor #39; Wolverine & X-Men #46; Annual #51

THE JUNIOR SENATOR SAYS: Amazing X-Men #1 was a great debut, and I can see why it is going to take the place of Wolverine & the X-Men in the near future. Still, both the Wolverine & the X-Men titles this month were very good, showing the wit and plotting that makes Aaron such a fun read.

I SAY: Aaron is really very, very good. His plotting is tight and his stories always have a payoff for the reader. That’s something that good comic writers remember: each issue needs a payoff. Aaron gets that and I often find myself resisting turning (digitally) right to the last page.

SIX: Mark Waid

 Mark Waid

TITLES: Daredevil #33; Indestructible Hulk #15; Indestructible Hulk #16

DIAMOND DISTRIBUTORS SALES DATA: Hulk #50; Hulk #55; Daredevil #62

THE JUNIOR SENATOR SAYS: Daredevil is as strong as ever, but Hulk hasn’t grabbed me as much lately–the conclusion of the time travel story was unsatisfying. My hope is that the upcoming reboot of Daredevil gets Waid the readership he deserves.

I SAY: Waid remains at the top of his game in Daredevil. The stakes feel high here and there is not a comic on the market which has writing better suited to its art (no matter who the artist might be).The Junior Senator is right on Hulk, which feels to me like there is too much editorial oversight in the last few issues. They left it to Waid to salvage something – anything – from Age of Ultron. Even Waid couldn’t do it.

FIVE: Robert Kirkman

 robert kirkman

TITLES: Walking Dead #116; Walking Dead #117

DIAMOND DISTRIBUTORS SALES DATA: Walking Dead #14; Walking Dead #15

THE JUNIOR SENATOR SAYS: The big double-shipping event “All Out War” has begun, and it’s off to a good start. It’s early, but I hope the action that is surely coming doesn’t take away from the character moments that make this series so good.

I SAY: I know, I know, I know. I gotta be reading this. I oughta be.

FOUR: Brian Michael Bendis

Bendis 

TITLES: All-New X-Men #18; Uncanny X-Men #14; All-New X-Men #19

DIAMOND DISTRIBUTORS SALES DATA:

All-New X-Men #7; All-New X-Men #11; Uncanny X-Men #16

THE JUNIOR SENATOR SAYS: With the Battle of the Atom event over, Uncanny and All-New X-Men are more similar than ever. Bendis is good, and they’re both entertaining enough, but I can’t help but wonder how the quality would be improved if he weren’t writing so many titles/issues each month. Of course, as long as suckers like me buy them, there’s no reason for that to change.

I SAY: Ah, can we get to some developments? Some propulsion? Some forward motion? I love Bendis-Talk, but there has been so much – too much – of it lately. The Junior Senator has asked if there is now a difference between Uncanny and All New. I don’t readily see one. And the new costumes? They make me miss Quitely’s leathers.

THREE: Geoff Johns

 geoff johns

TITLES: Forever Evil #3; Aquaman #25

DIAMOND DISTRIBUTORS SALES DATA: Forever Evil #5; Aquaman #38

THE JUNIOR SENATOR SAYS: If I’d won the Mega Millions, I would’ve added Johns’ work to my pull list. But since I didn’t…

I SAY: I care about Aquaman. I really do. That’s all due to Johns. Forever Evil is a company-wide cross-over that doesn’t feature the company’s heroes and is exciting and keeping me guessing. What Johns is doing mining DC’s history and turning concepts on their ears is really cool.

TWO: Johnathan Hickman

 johnathan hickman

TITLES: East of West #7; Avengers #23; Infinity #6; New Avengers #12

DIAMOND DISTRIBUTORS SALES DATA: Infinity #6; Avengers #15; New Avengers #10; East of West #63

THE JUNIOR SENATOR SAYS: Infinity (what a perfect name for a Marvel event) finally ended, and Hickman did his best to tie them all together. There are some good points for him to build off of for the future, but I was still left scratching my head at a couple points in that last issue. As My Friend likes to say, I may simply not be smart enough.

I SAY: With Infinity over, I look forward to, perhaps, a less sprawling and more accessible Avengers. I am not at all sure I’ll get that, but I can say that, when these titles slow down and the focus is on character, I see the Avengers I want to read. When it’s all wide-screen action, I get lost in the details. But I keep buying. And I keep thinking this is all very cool.

ONE: Scott Snyder

 scott snyder

TITLES: Superman Unchained #4; Batman #25; The Wake #5

DIAMOND DISTRIBUTORS SALES DATA: Batman #1; Superman Unchained #4;

THE JUNIOR SENATOR SAYS: Snyder is always strong, but this was a very good month for his titles. In particular, the huge turn in The Wake makes me very excited for the second half of that series.

I SAY: I am in love with The Wake. Though I may not understand everything that’s going on, I can sense the board strokes, I can make out the forest through the trees in a way that I never can with Hickman. Snyder knows how to engage in comics! Oh, and did I not mention Superman Unchained and Batman? Simply put: they are the best comics DC is currently publishing. These are the best comics anyone is publishing in my opinion. I’ve said it before, and I stand by it: Snyder is my number one guy.

That’s it for now! See you next time!

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Comic Creator Power Rankings – Second Edition

Each month, The Junior Senator and I will collaborate on our own Comic Writer Power Rankings for the prior month. This is our October Edition and it’s published on his terrific blog Socratic Review. That’s a blog everyone should add to their readers.

While he and I agree on a great many things (as the Emperor would say), there are some differences of opinion and, while we will collaborate monthly on the rankings, we’ll include our distinctive comments! In the process of building the list, we’re taking into account sales data as well. Some of these dudes move a lot of comics!

And here … we … go.

Find this month’s edition HERE.

Marvel-v-DC

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