G.I. Joe

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #241

406856_20170628141302_large

What kind of an asshole starts reading a series over two hundred issues in? This kind.

I was a big GI Joe fan as a kid. So I’ve wanted to read the comics for a while. But because IDW picked up the original numbering from the old Marvel days, there’s a lot of backreading to do. So I thought that too overwhelming. I tried reading the simpler titled G.I. Joe comics that IDW put out as part of Revolution, but they weren’t very good. And they’re coming to an end soon.

So whatever. I picked up #241 and gave it a spin. And surprise, surprise… I have no clue what’s happening. There’s characters trapped in other characters’ bodies. There’s Joes dressing up as COBRA. I don’t know. I’m baffled. So I’m not so sure it’s a great idea to keep reading from here. I’d have to start way back or keep reading the Revolution stuff to get my G.I. Joe fix. Not sure either option is all that enticing right now.

Batgirl

Batgirl #12

406948_20170628225804_large

Hey, now this was a pretty fun issue. I’m so glad to be done with the “Son Of The Penguin” storyline. This one was about Babs investigating a “ghost” in a pool at the local Y. Long story short – there was a girl trapped in another dimension trying to cross back over. It was kind of like an X-Files episode kind of issue. Y’know?

The art was really good on this one. The page of the girl materializing – first as protoplasm, then skeleton, then flesh – comes to mind. I kind of get the impression that this is just a one-and-done issue, but that’s fine with me. Bring on more like these!

#1 · The Vision

The Vision: Director’s Cut #1

405827_20170617135604_large

I first heard about this series late last year and immediately wanted to read it. But alas, I had heard too soon. All the early issues were sold out near me. So I just put the trade paperback on my Amazon wishlist and intended to get to it “someday.”┬áBut lucky for me we’re now getting Director’s Cut reprints of these early issues, so I finally have a good excuse to check them out.

This first two issues were straight up brilliant. So The Vision decides to make a family, move out to the suburbs and attempt to live a “normal” life. And that’s what this is about. It’s about a Synthezoid family dealing with the complex relationships that are a family; worrying about steady work and paying bills; the social hell that can be high school; the paralyzing anxiety of love and responsibility.

This is heavy stuff, y’all.

The Defenders

The Defenders #3

408511_20170713010236_large

Still great. Like seriously top-tier current Marvel comic right here.

The Defenders are still after Diamondback, but this issue offers plenty. The art is gorgeous as always. Check out the lighting on the panels of Black Cat and Diamondback talking. It’s stunning. The writing is also top notch. There’s so much personality oozing from each page. Like the confrontation with The Punisher and how he makes Luke think about not knowing Daredevil’s real name. Or the two-page spread of citizens telling the story of how Luke Cage and Diamondback grew up together as kids.

This is really just an excellent series. It’s being made by two guys who really know what they’re doing with these characters and this story. I absolutely love it.

Jean Grey

Jean Grey #4

408566_20170713175208_large

So good! I was worried that having this be a story featuring “the unworthy” Thor might throw me off. I haven’t been following his book. In my mind, the current Thor is Jane from the ongoing Avengers series. I had no idea was Son Of Odin has been up to y’know?

But this was great. Really great. The whole issue revolved around a bar room brawl. And Thor told a bunch of stories. And Jean quipped about how drunk he was. It sounds bad right? Nope. It was great.

Youngblood

Youngblood #3

youngblood_03-1

This series is still going strong. This issue was a bit confusing for me not knowing the history of the original Youngblood well enough. But it was still enjoyable. They’ve recruited another “Oldblood” and now the team is fleshed out further. There’s some in-fighting, and now Diehard (the president) knows that Badrock has been working with the reformed Youngblood. So there’s some more conflict there. All in all, a bit of a transitional issue, but still good.

X-Men

X-Men: Blue #6

406873_20170628222157_large

This finishes the first TPB, titled “Strangest.” I’ve raved and raved about how great X-Men: Blue is, so I won’t bother continuing other than to just reiterate that it’s one of my favorite current series right now. And easily the best X-book I’ve read in a long time.

That said, this last issue – it was my least favorite of the first six. The story felt like a bit of a one-shot involving another group of mutants, The Raksha. It wasn’t bad or anything but felt slightly tacked on to the story in the first five. But my real problem is this artwork. Oh my! This is bad. This series has had some great art but not in this issue. There’s a new artist here (well two… Ray-Anthony Height and Ramon Bachs) and I’m not digging it at all. I feel like it looks sloppy. And at times plain ugly.

Batman · TPB

Batman: Lovers & Madmen

167293_20090415131624_large

My wife has been urging me to read this one for MONTHS and so I finally decided it was time to do so. This collects a run of early issues of the Batman Confidential series from 2008 or so and (re)tells the story of Batman first encountering The Joker.

There’s some good stuff here, even as Michael Green (“the writer of TV’s Heroes”) rewrites history. In this version The Joker is a very good criminal with a bored death wish named Jack; Harley Quinn is a sympathetic bar waitress who’s in med school studying psychology; and so on. This isn’t cannon, but it’s still a very intriguing take on a familiar story.

The script is handled with a care for the characters – or rather their psyches. Batman may well be just as screwed up and broken on the inside as The Joker is. And as such this book examines closely their symbiotic relationship – something I’ve always appreciated (as in The Killing Joke or Long Halloween, or hell… The Lego Batman Movie).

The story is truly dark. There’s some rather haunting scenes: Bruce’s new girlfriend Lorna being stabbed by The Joker; Batman actually hiring a gang to kill The Joker; or maybe the cringiest – The Joker dressed as a clown, asking a young girl at the circus who to spray in the face (with what is unbeknownst to her, his toxin) – her, or her father.

I was on the fence with the art. It is fittingly dark and works well. Though there’s a bit over overdone line detail for my taste. And things are bit too… angular (?) for me. But the coloring was well done. I will say that some of the layouts confused me. One two-page spread had me baffled as I reread it numerous times before figuring out it was drawn clockwise.

Those few nitpicks aside, I thought this was basically pretty great.

X-Men

X-Men: Blue #5

405426_20170613203319_large

I really can’t get over how good this series continues to be. I mean, I know I sound like a broken record here, but it’s the closest a series has gotten me to feeling like I’m back reading the X-Men in the early 90’s. Which is great.

So now young Jimmy-Wolverine is part of the Blue team. Awesome!

And there was a big blowout with these other time-displaced mutants. And Jean Grey has encountered Miss Sinister, who is apparently collecting various time-displaced mutants from other worlds and turning them into her own little personal army.

This is good stuff.

The Avengers

The Avengers #9

407792_20170705135249_large

I have no idea how this ties into Secret Empire. And I don’t really care. I’ve not read any of SE, and really have no interest. But The Avengers have been on thin ice with me for a few issues now. I loved this series early on, but the change in tone has been jarring for me. And just being honest – I don’t care for the art style.

This issue was basically about Thor being displaced to another dimension and fighting to get home. It really just felt like a one-shot and didn’t do much to interest me. I may have to abandon this series if things don’t start picking up again soon.