Tag Archives: Comic Books

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: November 29 – December 5, 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 Batman Annual #2.

Writer:  Tom King

Artist:  Lee Weeks and Michael Lark

The cover of Batman Annual #2 reads “Date Nights | Last Rites” and it should be taken literally. Writer Tom King continues his engrossing exploration of the Batman/Catwoman relationship which has, recently, taken a turn toward marriage. This annual reframes the beginnings of the conflict between the two characters as a budding flirtation centered on the idea that they both fill in pieces for the other, that each fits in the other’s life.

It is a compelling premise and the “joke” at the center of it – that they cannot agree on when they actually first met – plays out effectively and fulfillingly throughout the issue.

Broken into two parts, the Date Night portion and the Last Rites section, this issue is remarkably satisfying and surprisingly affecting. If the Last Rites chapter represents the “true” history of Batman and Catwoman, there is much for which to root and much for which to despair.

Lee Weeks handles the Date Nights section and Michael Lark the Last Rites piece. Both are terrific pencilers and have very complimentary styles. Both hew closer to the realistic than the cartoon-ish and, in that, they are perfect for writer King whose most absurd tendencies as a plotter remain anchored in the real world. And Lark draws the cutest black kitten you are likely to ever see in a comic book.

King and collaborators continue to make Batman a must, must, must read. This annual was no exception to that rule.

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Filed under Batman, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Marvel Comics

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: November 22 – 28, 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 The Doomsday Clock #1.

Writer:  Geoff Johns

Artist:  Gary Frank

Perhaps it was inevitable, but it is also kind of gutsy: to revisit and write what amounts to a direct sequel of one of the most revered comic book narratives of all time. It was inevitable because, let us face it, there is money to be made. It is gutsy as Doomsday Clock will relentlessly be compared to Watchmen, the classic 1980s graphic novel and there is hardly any way to imagine that Doomsday Clock will not come up wanting.

I expected something different from this book. I expected it to be more of a DC Universe/Watchmen crossover than it actually is. Though Superman appears at the end of the book (and in remarkable fashion: Geoff Johns has had a terrific feel for this character for years), Doomsday Clock is very much chapter 13 of Watchmen and it plays exceedingly well.

Gary Frank is not aping the work of original artist Dave Gibbons here, but he is adopting the panel structure – of course – and is bringing to the book his top work. Frank is an artist whose best asset is the detail he puts into the page, the expressions, the stands of hair, the crumpled garbage in the streets. He is on point in Doomsday Clock and his gritty realism really works here.

I love what Johns did in continuing Alan Moore’s appropriation of DC properties. In Watchmen, Moore used facsimiles of the Charlton characters DC had just purchased. In Doomsday Clock, Johns creates the Marionette and the Mime, DC’s Punch and Julee simulacrums and the trick is pleasant and works.

The whole issue works and I read it three times this week. Each time, I was more deeply pulled into the story. I am sure I can dive in and feel the same way again.

Big event comics seem to rarely deliver on their promises these days. Doomsday Clock, at least for one issue, does.

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Filed under Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Geoff Johns, Marvel Comics, Superman, Weekly Comic Book Review

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: November 15 – 21, 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 The Batman Who Laughs #1.

Writer:  James Tynion IV

Artist:  Riley Rossmo

DC Metal rocks on this week with another tie-in issue featuring a dark Batman doing dark things.

James Tynion IV has made himself into a key Batman writer over the course of the past few years and he shows a talent for the macabre in this issue, the premise of which features a Batman who is not only the fusion of Batman and the Joker, but the mastermind behind much of the invasion of the DC Universe from the so-called Dark Multiverse. Evil and scary, Tynion’s “The Batman Who Laughs” is one hell of a creation and one that will, likely, live on beyond the end of the DC Metal event.

He is just too terrible (and I mean that in the very best way possible) not to.

I am not familiar with Riley Rossmo’s art. His style is somewhere nestled between heavy cartooning and comic book draftsmanship and is more than passable. While not spectacular, Rossmo gets the job done and creates some truly ugly panels, which is what this book needs.

If I have one complaint, it is that there is (and has been in other installments of this series) an awful lot of exposition and unveiling of master plans leading to crowded panels and overlapping art and text. Additionally, the font selected for The Batman Who Laughs when he speaks is actually hard to read.

Or I am getting old.

The Batman Who Laughs is a crazy book and a perfect ramping up to the next issue of DC Metal which I eagerly await!

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: November 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:

OneTwo

 The best comic I read last week was Mister Miracle #4.

Writer:  Tom King

Artist:  Mitch Gerads

We are four-for-four with Mister Miracle being a Pick of the Week and, unless something highly unforeseen occurs, I think we can pencil this book in for the next eight issues as well.

What most surprises me about my reaction to King and Gerads’ Mister Miracle is that my fervent devotion to it cuts against a feeling I typically have about art. There is far more going on in Mister Miracle than I understand. In fact, there is much to decode here and, as a consumer of the comic, I am being asked to decode it.

That normally drives me nuts.

Not in this book. I read it three times last week and marveled at the art, at the structure, at the writing. I also marveled at how little I understand what is going on and how much I love it.

Now that the series is a fourth done, I will re-read the first issues in order to see what I learn. No doubt it will be much.

Mister Miracle is the best comic out right now. I do not think that is in dispute. I am glad I got in on the ground floor. It is not too late for you to jump on, too!

 

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: September November 1 – 7, 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:

One

The best comic I read last week was Captain America #695.

Storytellers:  Mark Waid and Chris Samnee

Do you like your superheroes heroic?

Do you like your Captain American non-Nazi flavored?

Do you like your comic books to read like four-color fantasies?

Then Captain America is the book for you.

Captain America #695 (I LOVE that Marvel Comics has returned to their old numbering… DC Comics, the ball is in your court) marks two returns: the first is the return of Cap to something heroic and special, a character whose patriotism, heroism and wholesomeness are not weaknesses but great strengths. It also heralds the return of the Waid/Samnee creative team and, as previously noted on their tremendous Daredevil run, I wish they could do all the comics.

They credit themselves as storytellers and it is difficult, in terms of writing and plotting, to determine where Waid ends and Samnee begins, but the fluid, cartoon art – a perfect fit for Captain America – is all Samnee. His Cap is tall, broad, square jawed and stunning. He is the perfect counterpart to the story Samnee and Waid are telling: a story about a man who, for about two minutes, questions his place in the modern world and just as quickly puts those questions aside.

His place is in the spotlight, standing up for what is right, taking down what is wrong.

Man, we need THIS VERSION of Captain America in our lives.

I am so thankful Waid and Samnee are delivering it!

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Thor | Ragnarok – A Movie Review (Spoiler Free)


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RagnarokThor | Ragnarok’s director Taika Waititi’s imagination seems to have been given free reign by the higher ups at Marvel Studios and the resultant movie, wisely, breaks with much of the formulas of previous Marvel films. The Marvel movies are typically very good and certainly make money hand-over-fist, but their patterns were beginning to calcify. The stories were beginning to be all too predictable. The plots repetitive.

Giving creative people freedom to explore what these characters may become and allowing these creators to make changes to them is a bold and good impulse. While trying to be too bold with Marvel characters may have cost Edgar Wright, the original  director of Ant-Man his job might have, seen through the lens of James Gunn’s unpredicatble success with The Guardians of the Galaxy led to Waititi’s Thor | Ragnarok. Choosing talented people and letting them make the movies they envision may be the new Marvel method.

If so, bravo Marvel. Keep movies like this one coming. 

Thor | Ragnarok is one of the zaniest, craziest, over-the-top movies I have seen in quite a while. Evoking for me memories of the off-the-wall insanity of The Lego Movie and the first Despicable Me (the writers/directors of those had to be altered in some fashion, right?), Thor | Ragnarok plays like some kind of  joyous, Technicolor LSD trip, juiced up on steroids.

The basic plot of the titular hero attempting to stop”the end of everything” on his home world Asgard is not stunningly original. The execution, however, is anything but boring and the over 2 hour running time of the movie flies by before one can catch one’s breath from laughter.

There is a lot of fun being had in Thor | Ragnarok. The returning assemble is clearly having a lot more fun than the did in the relatively deary last entry Thor: The Dark World (possibly the low-water mark for Marvel Studios) and the additions to the cast are winning and delightfully entertaining.

Tessa Thompson, as Valkyrie, is a wonderful creation. As removed from her comic book origins as any character in a Marvel Studios movie has been, Thompson captures the audience with a Han Solo like bravado and a strength of performance so natural that the question of whether she can stand toe-to-toe with the ever lovable Chris Hemsworth never arises in the audience’s mind. Her Valkyrie may be the first original lead character in a Marvel Studios film and, if she is any indication of where these movies can go if they jettison the source material with a little more freedom, more power to them.

Cate Blanchett gives a delicious performance as Hela, the primary antagonist of the movie. Rumor has it that she took the movie on the urging of her young son who wanted to see his mom in a Marvel movie and she should thank him if that is true. She has more fun destroying things and people throughout the movie and is more fun to watch doing it than the majority of Marvel villains. Though her motivation and plot is no more complex than most of the other evils Marvel heroes have faced in this vast movie mythology, her performance forgives that failure utterly.

And Jeff Goldblum is all anyone could want him to be and more. There is no “top” he will not soar over and each scene he is in seems more ridiculous and terrific than the last. Though few will be clamoring for a Grandmaster movie, I imagine we will see much more of Goldblum in Marvel Studios movies to come. I eagerly await that.

Outside of the strong and winning performance by Hemsworth, the rest of the returning Thor Players seem to know they are in something special, too. Tom Hiddleston remains the best of the Marvel antagonists and his Loki continues to engage and surprise. The Warriors Three are here and more than adequate with the little they are allowed to do. It was said that Anthony Hopkins turned down reprising his role as Odin until he read and loved the script. Though his part is small, it is great to see him here having fun and providing the gravitas that only he can. Idris Elba’s Heimdhal might be the most heroic character in the movie and I would loved to have seen more of him. He and Hemsworth have an easy chemistry and they are great to watch together.

Cameos (and extended cameos) abound here. The Hulk is featured and Mark Ruffalo is just what we want him to be. And the Hulk is more than we could have hoped for. Marvel has finally figured this character out and while he might never headline a movie, if they can continue to hew closely to this arc, fans should be happy. Benedict Cumberbatch shows up as Doctor Strange and, while it was nice to see him, his scenes actually do very little to advance the plot of the movie. They might, in fact, be the only place where Thor | Ragnarok slips into fan service. As a fan, I was okay with this… The other cameos are so spoiler-y they cannot be mentioned but an audiences will be delighted by them.

Taika Waititi makes very few missteps here. His choices are bold, bright and fun. However, the movie is not perfect. Karl Urban’s Skurge is, unfortunately, never fully realized. And, while the antics of the movie are fun and amusing and the stakes seem high enough for a superhero movie like this one, I fear there is not a lot of heart at the center of Thor | Ragnarok. Perhaps there does not have to be. After all, this is a big budget, big action entertainment. Maybe it does not need to be more than that. The movie delivers everywhere it should. There may have been the potential to deliver just a little more. May have.

Thor | Ragnarok plays something like a mix of Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers and that is a great tone to strike. It is grand. It is a Jack “King” Kirby comic book played out before one’s eyes. It is a terrific two hours at the movies.

It is, as the Hulk might say, a smash.

THOR | RAGNAROK receives FOUR and a HALF AIR CRAZY CAMEOS out of a possible FIVE.

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Filed under Avengers, Comic Book Movies, Comic Books, Marvel Movies, Movie Review, Movies, Thor

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: September October 25 – 31, 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:

 

One

The best comic I read last week was Flash #33.

Writer: Joshua Williamson

Artist: Howard Porter

It is wonderful to see pencils by Howard Porter. One of the unsung heroes of DC Comics Grant Morrison written JLA, Porter dropped out of the comics scene for quite a while due to health issues. In the last few years, he has emerged with a slightly altered style but with no less command of the page. His work now evokes his prior JLA lines, but is more sleek and confident and he is the perfect artist for The Flash, a book I have not regularly read of late but picked up this month because of its tie-in to DC Metal with this, the first issue of a crossover with Justice League.

“Bats out of Hell” is a terrific title for this arc and writer Joshua Williamson illustrates just why he is on the rise at DC. Tying all but seamlessly into the Dark Nights one-shots and the parent DC Metal book, this issue of The Flash feels like an important but not critical read.

That is something of a difficult line to walk, writing a book that must have its own energy and tension while not making it so critical to the main book that readers feel they must buy it to understand the overall proceedings. This is something DC promised to avoid and, with the first issue, it seems Williamson means to deliver on that promise. His opening chapter is fine, tight, appropriately focused on the Flash (a character he writes very, very well) and sets up the Justice League follow up quite nicely.

If you are enjoying DC Metal (and I very much am), you will want to pick up this crossover.

It is so good, frankly, it may inspire me to begin reading The Flash anew!

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