The Weekly Round-Up #203 With Sex Criminals, Baltimore, Bloodshot & HARD Corps, Mind MGMT, Pretty Deadly, Star Wars & More

Best Comic of the Week:

Sex Criminals #2I am loving this new series.  Now that Suzie has met someone else with the same abilities to stop time while orgasming, we get to learn what Jon’s story is.  Him being a guy, it’s a little dirtier than her story.  We don’t get into as much depth here, but that’s mostly because this issue is not as long as the debut one.  We do get to see a little more of the framing sequence, which has the two lovers stopping time in a bank, and that story is getting more and more interesting.  Chip Zdarsky’s art and colours on this book are terrific.

Quick Takes:

Baltimore: The Infernal Train #2 – I’m really enjoying this current Baltimore mini-series, mostly I think because it’s longer than the last few appearances of this character, and therefore has a lot more going on.  Lord Baltimore has come face to face with the Inquisitor who has been chasing him, and the guy is pretty much completely insane now.  He’s not willing to help Baltimore deal with the Ancient Ones that are in town, and we learn their plan for the world.  Ben Stenbeck is killing the art on this series.

Bloodshot and HARD Corps #15 – I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to learn that Christos Gage and Joshua Dysart have fixed everything that was wrong with this book – these two are wonderful writers – as Bloodshot agrees to a mission with the HARD Corps crew after they rescue him from Toyo Harada.  The soft-relaunch of this title by Valiant was a very good move, and I’m probably going to stick with it for a while now.

The Bounce #6I’ve given The Bounce half a year, but this book is just not holding my interest.  I find that I don’t care about the characters, and that I’m still not entirely sure where Joe Casey is taking the book, and I don’t much care.  I think it’s time to bow out.

Daredevil #32 – As much as I usually enjoy Daredevil, I don’t understand some of Mark Waid’s decisions, like the one that told him to take what has been an excellent story about the Sons of the Serpent infiltrating New York City’s political infrastructure, and to switch it into a story that features the Legion of Monsters, including appearances by Frankenstein’s Monster and Satanna that don’t jibe with their more recent appearances in the Marvel Universe.  At the same time, the writing is very good, and Chris Samnee’s art is excellent.  And, of course, Marvel is cancelling and relaunching the title soon in an attempt at grabbing some cash, so my opinion doesn’t really matter.

FF #13 – A trio of Allreds have taken over this title, working from Matt Fraction’s plot or story outline, and things are getting slightly more chaotic.  The team take the children to hide in the Watcher’s house on the moon, after hitching a ride on the Impossible Man’s pants, while Doom plots with his peers, and the Red Ghosts of a number of different eras come calling.  I’m not sure where this series is going at all (except towards cancellation, and likely relaunch, like every other Marvel book is right now, it seems), but I’m still enjoying it.

Great Pacific #11 – This incredibly strange series is continuing at a good pace, as Chas Worthington enters aggressive negotiations with the dictator who rules an African nation, while we finally learn the story behind those weird glowing fish that have circling the bottom of the Pack for a few issues.  This is a good read, although it doesn’t really stand up to a lot of scrutiny.

Green Team #5Discovering last week that this book is being cancelled put a bit of a damper on the fun of this issue, but I still enjoyed it.  Commodore takes his team into space because he believes that a rival industrialist, who probably knows something about the super hero suits Commodore and his friends have been wearing, is misusing government funds to mine an asteroid.  Of course, things are a little more nefarious than that, and Icicle (who apparently doesn’t need to breathe air) is guarding the place.  I’ve enjoyed the character interactions in this title, and that continues to be the case, but I don’t really like the way that Art Baltazar and Franco write Icicle; I really liked him in the Pre-52.

Harbinger #17 – The circumstances of the team’s incarceration at the Harbinger Foundation is explained in detail here, but much of this issue feels like filler.  I like that one of the PRS kids introduced in the Harbinger Wars is getting some space in the book though.

Hawkeye #13 – Matt Fraction keeps circling around the same bits of story, Rashomon style, and it works, but the delays between issues have kind of been damaging the effectiveness of that approach.  David Aja’s art is brilliant, as always, and Grill’s funeral is touching.  This is a great, great series.

The Massive #16 – Brian Wood takes the crew of the Kapital back to their core values with this issue, which starts off the new arc ‘Longship’.  Ninth Wave has traveled to Northern Europe to try to stop whaling again, and that means facing off against an old foe, a Norwegian politician and businessman who they butted heads against before the Crash.  Now, this guy has embraced a low-tech lifestyle, and some of Callum Israel’s crew believes that he should be left alone.  Callum, meanwhile, having problems with Mary, feels that he needs to stop this subsistence whaling, even though the whales taken were never endangered.  This is what I’d hope this book would be from the beginning.

Mind MGMT #16Lately, Matt Kindt has been using individual issues of this series to explore the backstory of some key characters who we have met before, or who he is positioning to be important to the story.  This issue, which on the surface is about a woman married to a writer who reached great fame and fortune by transcribing books he read as a youth from memory, and who is struggling from gaps in her memory, had a surprise ending that I did not see coming.  This title is always brilliant.

Nova #9 – Another good issue of Blue Beetle (I mean Nova), as Sam fights Thanos’s lackey, and ends up getting closer to Speedball and Justice.  Good, solid teen superhero stuff here.

Nowhere Men #6 – It’s such a shame that as this series has been heating up storywise, the delays between issues have been growing and growing.  This issue has the various plot-lines converging in a secret science base in the Arctic, where the various mutated astronauts are being sought after by Simon Grimshaw, the rival of the other World Corp founders, who also arrive there.  It’s a pretty tense issue, and very nicely drawn by Nate Bellegarde.  I hope this book gets back on a proper schedule, because I’ve really been enjoying it, and like it even more now that the story is adding up.

Pretty Deadly #1 – I read this book before all the nonsense about store owners ripping up copies of this comic to prove a point, and so my reading of it was not coloured by that sad need to create controversy among on-line reporters and the frustrations of blustery blowhard shop owners.  So, I enjoyed the book.  Sure, I can understand how some would criticize Kelly Sue DeConnick’s writing as being a little too full of ‘psycho-babble’, and it was a little hard to follow (I’m not sure where I stand on DeConnick’s writing), but the book was absolutely gorgeous.  Emma Rios’s art is amazing – moody and evocative, and perfect for setting the tone of the series.  This book reminded me a lot of Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta’s East of West, with a very similar feel, if not content-wise.  I want to give it a second read before the next issue comes out, to see if I can piece the story together a little better, but I’m definitely on board.  I really enjoyed DeConnick’s text-piece at the back of the book too.

Satellite Sam #4 I am really enjoying Matt Fraction and Howard Chaykin’s series about live television in the 50s, and the degrees of degeneracy demonstrated by the people who worked in it.  The mystery angle of this book is going nowhere, but the office politics are great fun.

Savage Wolverine #10 – Jock’s Wolverine story, set in the future, is visually very compelling.  The story isn’t all that unique, but it’s a good comic, and I applaud Marvel for finding a space for stories like this one, especially when they look this good.

Secret Avengers #10 – It’s being left to a lot of the secondary and tertiary books to deal with the ramifications of what has been happening in Infinity, and so we get this issue of Secret Avengers, where Nick Fury Jr., Iron Patriot, and a new character, a SHIELD tech who was transformed by the Terrigenesis Bomb, have to fight off Thanos’s nameless hordes.  This issue marks the Marvel debut of Ed Brisson, a writer I’ve admired a great deal in his indie work like Murder Book, Comeback, and Sheltered.  It’s a good enough issue, considering how editorially driven it has to be, and I hope it’s the start of lots of new work at Marvel for Brisson.

Star Wars Legacy #8 – Ania Solo and Jao Assam travel to Dac, the poisoned ocean world, in their effort to find Darth Wredd.  What they discover is something else, which is as big a threat to the Triumvirate as Wredd is.  This series is pretty solid, with great pacing.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #28I guess this is the last issue of this series, at least before Cataclysm and the inevitable relaunch that follows, and it’s a good one, as Miles finally gets back in form after his mother’s death and his retirement, leading a group of heroes up against Roxxon.  Miles learns that his dad is somehow connected to everything that has happened to him, and I hope that Brian Michael Bendis returns to this interesting sub-plot.  David Marquez’s art is lovely, but we already knew that.

Uncanny Avengers #13 – There’s not much to say – the Apocalypse Twins are moving their plan into motion, Wanda has her own plan, and the rest of the team is wandering around trying to find each other and get things done.  The book is not bad, but this story is starting to feel a little long in the tooth.  The best part might be playing Captain America as a straight-man for all the humourous scenes (of which there aren’t many).

The Unwritten #54 – I have not liked the Fables storyline that has taken over this book for the last five issues, and while I’m happy to see it end, it’s left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth.  At least, unlike the previous issues, our Tom Taylor was featured in this story, but the ending effectively negates everything that has happened in this arc, and leads us right back to where we were.  Except that this title is cancelled, and set to relaunch in three months for the final push towards the end of Mike Carey and Peter Gross’s story.  I’d have prefered that they’d skipped this arc, which was obviously just a ploy to attract new readers who like Fables, and get on with the show.  I’ll pick up the first issue of the next series, but if it’s like these last five, I’m probably done, and that’s disappointing, as I was loving this book about seven months ago.

Velvet #1Ed Brubaker writing, Steve Epting drawing, and Bettie Breitweiser colouring.  Do you need any other reasons to check out this new Image series?  In it, Brubaker does for the spy genre what he has already done for crime comics (Criminal) and horror comics (Fatale).  He introduces us to Velvet Templeton, the secretary to the director of a top-secret British black ops organization.  When the issue begins, one of the organization’s top field agents is killed.  Velvet has had relations with him in the past, and when she feels that the agent responsible for investigating his death is on the wrong path, she begins to look into things on her own.  At this point, it becomes abundantly clear that there is a lot more to Velvet than there appears on the surface.  Basically, Brubaker is exploring characters like Miss Moneypenny in the James Bond stories, but making her infinitely more interesting than the spies she works with.  This is a very solid debut, with great art by Epting and Breitweiser.  It’s strange how much Velvet looks like Nick Fury’s girlfriend, but I’ll leave that alone.

Wasteland #49 – Marcus comes face to face with his father (or does he?) well the faction that has been plotting against him try to adapt to the chaos that has gripped the city so they don’t completely lose out.  Antony Johnston is moving the story along pretty quickly, and Justin Greenwood is allowing it to happen; he’s not my favourite of the artists who have been on this book, but he is quick enough that it can stick to its monthly schedule again, and I guess I can’t be mad at that.

Wolverine and the X-Men #37 – Here’s one thing I haven’t really been able to understand about the Battle of the Atom cross-over, at least in its second half:  if the modern-day X-Men can be split into two camps, Logan’s and Scott Summers’s, why would one group of Future X-Men automatically be evil because the other one is good?  Xorn and Xavier’s team is now being referred to as the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, which is a little hard to swallow with people like Hank McCoy and Molly Hayes on the team.  Anyway, at this point, things are really just a big fight between Future Bad X-Men and Future Good X-Men, Current X-Men (including the Uncanny team), and Past X-Men.  Time’s broken, and I guess that’s why Maria Hill doesn’t remember the whole arm of SHIELD that she’s recent set the Hulk to working for, but no one else seems to care.  Giuseppe Camuncoli does a great job of keeping all the different characters looking their different ages, and Jason Aaron manages to keep a lot of balls in the air as we head into the big finale next week.

Young Avengers #11Things are getting really serious in the fight against Mother.  Now she has Teddy captured, and is flanked by a bunch of the Young Avengers’ exes.  Loki’s plan involves his rapid aging, as well as Billy’s, and the team spends most of the issue getting ready for the big fight that is to come.  What’s always made this series special is the strength of Kieron Gillen’s characterizations, and this issue is mostly character-driven, and therefore terrific.

Books I Would Have Bought if They Weren’t $4:

All Star Western #24

Indestructible Hulk #14

Infinity Hunt #3

Iron Man #17

Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #5

Bargain Comic:

Deadpool #14 – There is no worse villain in the Marvel Universe than the White Man, who is used to getting his way.  Another very funny issue, as a threat from the 70s returns, causing Deadpool to once again team up with the Heroes for Hire, and stick it to the man.


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