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Prattling Panels: 5/30/14

A new week, a new batch of comics to catch up on and review and even one I forgot to pick up last week so let’s get things going!

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Amazing X-Men #7
Written by Kathryn Immonen; Drawn by Paco Medina

Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends are back! ONE ISSUE ONLY AT CBGB! $6 cover, drinks half priced for ladies!

Well yeah Spider-Man stops by to see his old animated friends in a story that revolves around a school mascot being swapped with an alien baby. Goddamn do I love comics! This issue promises fun, and delivers it with exciting writing, fun situations, beautiful art, and again, just pure fun. Kathryn Immonen obviously is a fan of the animated series that starred these three as it feels like a much updated episode of that show and I so would have watched that is, if Paco Medina’s art is used as I think he does wonders here with making the art pop, show off the excitement of the action that goes one, and alien babies and goats. I love this series. 4/5

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Justice League Dark #31
Written by J.M. DeMatteis; Drawn by Andres Guinaldo and Mark Irwin

Nightmare Nurse’s origins are explained in this issue and its pretty good, anything where Zatanna is the main character for something works for me as she explores her past as the House of Mystery keeps moving along. The stuff with her past and Asa fighting off Zatanna and the JLD is really good work and features nice scripting by J.M. DeMatteis along with some really good art by Andres Guinaldo and Mark Irwin. The issue is good, but its for sure still trying to get its legs back after being stuck in Forever Evil limbo hell for what felt like the last goddamn decade. But none the less, I think this book is slowly but surely getting back on track. 3/5

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Dead Boy Detectives #6
Written by Toby Litt; Darwn by Mark Buckingham and Russ Braun

Ah a lovely little detour and a fun issue that’s pretty light. I will say if you are a fan of the Sandman universe and cats, this issue is very much for you. Much is expanded upon what was explored last issue and its pretty damn fun. Buckingham has help this time with Russ Braun and they both compliment each other as Litt’s writing and real understanding of the characters continues to shine through. This book is just pure enjoyment and I think a must read for any Sandman fan, also cause we don’t know when Overture will ever release its next issue. 4/5

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The Fuse #4
Written by Antony Johnston; Drawn by Justin Greenwood

Mysteries all abound as this book continues on and I’m not sure if this is a limited thing or its going to be a full Image ongoing but I’d like to see some more mysteries with this book after this one wraps up. Johnston truly loves detective stories and man he’s made one damn good one with many red herrings, but maybe a bit too many twists thrown in here for its own god as it kinda takes away some of the impact of the book, but not where it counts, thus still making this a worthwhile issue of a book that I think only serves to continue Image’s dominance as the best comic book company today. 4/5

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Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #5
Written by Zack Whedon; Drawn by Georges Jeanty

PENULTIMATE(!) issue of the story which has been a success as the endgame is put in place and picking up where last issue left off and man its exciting. Issue is mostly action with Georges Jeanty drawing some really exciting stuff, and at one point very violent. The issue progresses the story writing wise with Zack Whedon still being able to truly understand and get the characters right. Its honestly pretty great. I think this is the strongest Firefly/Serenity book out there given it continues from what we last seen in Serenity. I think this is a must read for all fans of the property. 4/5

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Guardians of the Galaxy #15
Written by Brian Michael Bendis; Drawn by Nick Bradshaw

Goddamn I haven’t a comic books lie this much in a while. What looks to be Captain Marvel’s official introduction into the Guardians of the Galaxy, isn’t the case as the Guardians are broken up and spread across various locations in the universe, and not one panel features Captain Marvel at all. Constant double page spreads to show each member in their own stage of torment is fine, the only real interesting one is Star-Lord and the rest isn’t too good as the stuff with Venom feels predictable as hell with who he encounters and well this kinda feels like its out of place, despite following up on what happened last issue. Its one the weaker issues of this book, despite nice art done by Nick Bradshaw. 2/5

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All-Star Western #31
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray; Drawn by Cliff Richards and Jose García-López

Well sad news this week, All-Star Western has been officially cancelled this week along with several other DC titles, including Batwing. I’m personally sad to see this book go as I find it an incredible read, something fun, exciting, full of adventure, and just damn great since the start. Palmiotti and Gray have been some the best writers Jonah Hex have had and I’m sad to see this end. Hopefully this isn’t the last time they saddle up with him.

Well we’ll come to the end of this book when it comes, but right now, we focus on the now and right now is pretty damn good with Jonah Hex and Tallulah Black getting in a bar brawl and making up (and out and more) on said bar . Its pretty fun and leads to what looks to be an entertaining story of someone impersonating Jonah Hex. Cliff Richards’ art really draws action very well and his sense of atmosphere is very good.

The Madame .44 picks up a little steam from the ending of last month and she’s put into an interesting situation coming into a demonic world to escape the cave in she was in last week and while the story lacks a bit given the main story here, I’m curious to see where it goes. Also Jose García-López’s art really works and gives Madame .44 a good look as well as how weird and set up the demonic world is.

I hate more people didn’t pick this up enough to avoid the chopping block, but that’s life sometimes for your favorite books. Enjoy it while you can man! 4.5/5

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Deadpool #29
Written by Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn; Drawn by John Lucas

First off, shout out to Arkansas artist, John Lucas for getting this! WOOOO!

Alright brief celebratory shout out to my state done, this is a tie-in to Original Sin as if you couldn’t tell and while I’m waiting for the whole event to wrap up before I read it, this works well on its own while tying in what’s going on in that book. This issue is going for true, serious drama which, drama has existed in Deadpool book not never this straightforward to be honest, but its bringing darker parts of Wade’s life to the forefront and its handled well here by Duggan and Posehn. Lucas’ art is really good here and matches the tone of this book and promises great set up as Deadpool time travels and enlists Dazzler’s help to stop Dracula and his forces after he and his new wife have to deal with them after their honeymoon. I’m excited. 4/5

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Dexter Down Under #4
Written by Jeff Lindsay; Drawn by Dalibor Talajic

PENULTIMATE(!) issue of the miniseries is purely good and helps tie things together for the book as Dexter and Shawna are now in the World’s Most Dangerous Game and she even gets a little glimpse into Dexter’s Dark Avenger as he saves them in self defense against someone Grigsby sent after them. Dalibor’s art is the best here as we see Shawna and Dexter try to survive and his character work is good. Jeff Lindsay really is making this book and story work and I’m glad he knew a story of this limited a focus works better as a comic book miniseries. Looking forward to how the whole things ends next month. 4/5

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Deadly Class #5
Written by Rick Remender; Drawn by Wes Craig

More drug fueled adventures courtesy of Rick Remender and Wes Craig’s trippy as fuck art. Marcus is still heavily under the influence of the acid sheets he ate and man its screwing with him, even more so when he and Billy carry out kiling Billys dad. The issue is filled with gruesome violence, laughs, and plenty of heart as Marcus and Billy really seem to bond after killing Billy’s dad. Craig’s art has been a standout ever since the book’s debut and more so in the last two issues with acid trips abound and when he and Maria are about to give Marcus a night he’ll never forget which leads to Chico chasing after Marcus in a stunning action sequence. The book is really shaping up as one the best on the stands right now and one that’s consistently entertaining, though I’m ready for more of the school stuff, given that’s what it revolves around. A couple detouring trips are fun and all but hey maybe that’s just me. This isn’t hurting the book at all. 4.5/5

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Winter Soldier: The Bitter March #4
Written by Rick Remender; Drawn by Roland Boschi

PENULTIMATE(!) issue of the miniseries picks right up from last issue and man the Drain is such a great villain here using ones doubt and fears against themselves. He’s very creepy and effective, especially in the opening while straddling along Winter Soldier to himself mid-air via jet pack, I seriously love old time spy era stories and gadgets. Flashback with Cap in the issue is very effective and used damn good. The truth is truly the most effective weapon. The explorations of Bucky is honestly great and the real highlight of the issue along with the excellent work of Roland Boschi who totally fits any story that would take place in the 1960s. Give this guy an ongoing regular book! 4/5

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Nightwing #30
Written by Tim Seeley and Tom King; Drawn by Various

Well that SUCKED! This is not Nightwing’s finale, that’s really more so with the actual series writer Kyle Higgins on #29. This is Grayson #0, the new spy book featuring Dick Grayson that’s set for release in July disguised as a final issue of one the best books DC has recently had.

My biggest problem, aside from how much I hate Kyle Higgins isn’t even involved, is how this just is a zero issue for a new book. This is like a very uninspired backdoor pilot for a spinoff of a successful TV show. Dick’s fallout from Forever Evil, faking his death and whatnot. New 52 Dr. Leslie Tomkins and Helen Bertinelli here as they will most likely play into the Grayson series, but really the only highlight is Dick and Bruce’s fight in the Batcave with Javier Garron’s art perfectly capturing a style most likely to Chris Burnham’s as Dick and Bruce work off issues from Forever Evil and Batman Inc. That’s it.

The issue is a mismash of a lot of things going on to try and connect into a straight narrative but I feel like they really drop the ball. I’m looking to hoping Grayson could work, but man this glorified preview is just meh and I’m not impressed. 2/5

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Trees #1
Written by Warren Ellis; Drawn by Jason Howard

One of two Image debuts this week, Warren Ellis gives us an interesting set up for a new sci-fi book by offering more questions than it does answers at the moment. In what I assume to be the near future, ten years ago aliens came and well are more just looming over us where these “Trees” are there and they often empty the trash I guess I’ll say and it really hurts humans. Warren Ellis as I said is best when he does his own stuff, as much as I like his current Moon Knight and some of his superhero stuff. Jason Howard’s art is a nice treat to look at since he gives the book a true distinct look.

The book is heavy on some exposition but its world building is exceptional with its wide scope, which hopefully will be focused on characters soon as the first issue pretty much lacks in that aspect. We get characters, but again with this, I do feel it is more important to world build in order to set things up well and let the book get comfortable. I’m looking forward to what’s to come from this. 4.5/5

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Fantastic Four #5
Written by James Robinson; Drawn by Leonard Kirk and Various

The Fantastic Four goes to trail with She-Hulk as legal counsel. Its okay. I was a little let down by this as I’ve been kinda feeling with this whole run so far. We get an all-star artist issue here too with many of them drawing flashbacks to the Fantastic Four’s history and they work well, the trail stuff in the present and even with Doom and Reed and Sue’s daughter. Fantastic Four has done good, but form that good comes bad, but you know I’m still wanting to enjoy a current Fantastic Four book, but if the next issue isn’t wowing me, I’m dropping this book. 3/5

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The Flash #31
Written by Robert Venditti and Van Jensen; Drawn by Brett Booth

Flash was pretty good, though not really as strong as last issue. What’s going on with both Flash now and future is really good, I think a little more so with future Flash and how he deals with Mirror Master. Mirror Master is just honestly a great villain and I look forward to any chance he and Flash have to mix it up. Bret Booth’s art is really good with the Mirror Master and Future Flash story, though I’m not usually a fan of his art. His layouts are really good, but some his work in the panels, could use a little more work. In a book where the impossible has to look possible, its meh. He does superspeed very well though.

The biggest problem is Wally West and how I just don’t give a shit about his angsty teenager trope right here in a lazy way to characterize him in this new continuity. I knew we might not get our old Wally, but hell I’d take a slightly less interesting one over this bullshit. I’m over this trope, but like many things, it can work well in the hands of the right writer, but here not so much. Getting a boy involved with sports does not make one necessarily open up, Iris. This is mishandling at its worst. But in the present, Flash stuff is still good, and Barry is an effective hero. Maybe we can make Wally a character? 3/5

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Aquaman #31
Written by Jeff Parker; Drawn by Paul Pelletier and Sean Parsons

Aquaman and Swamp Thing have a crossover. Why haven’t I thought of this before? Why hasn’t this happened before? Now I do read Swamp Thing, but its one those series I’m reading strictly in trades but given how strong I found this issue, I will check out the next issue of the book when it comes cause I have this thing about completion with some books.

But what about THIS issue? Its good. Aquaman travels down to Louisiana with Ya’wara to talk to Swamp Thing about his meddling in ocean business so like any hero meet up, there’s a misunderstanding and it leads to a fight. Ahhh that old chestnut of comics past and really, future. Its as old as villainous monologues, but I have to credit Jeff Parker’s writing for not making this feel forced or stale, it just feel good. Its some nice back and forth between the two. Parker writes Swamp Thing as well as he does Aquaman, but Charles Soule, current Swamp Thing writer, does have a better handle on the character. This is the highlight of the book.

Mera’s investigation into the attempted assassinations and it leads her into the Underrealm where she does come face-to-face with them. That’s good stuff, the Triton Base stuff, its eh. Not really engaging, like the art by Paul Pelletier and Sean Parsons. I think they work well together on their own parts. Aquaman is constantly entertaining and that is most certain. 4/5

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Ms. Marvel #4
Written by G. Willow Wilson; Drawn by Adrian Alphona

Goddamn it I love this book. Kamala Khan has quickly become one the absolute best characters. She truly cares and it a person who’s taking her powers to heart and is gonna make then really work. She’s truly becoming a hero with this issue after coming to terms with them and its ever so entertaining with how the last issue left off. Kamala is the perfect person to take up the mantle of Ms. Marvel. She’s true and kind of hear and Wilson truly is writing a little bit of herself into the character, obviously being Muslim and what not, but as to what a good person she is. Its a fantastic character piece that is heightened by Alphona’s art which continues to have a lot of fun with the art here and he does distinct character designs well as well as the cool action stuff and makes anytime Kamala uses her powers very cool. Its truly captivating stuff and I love it! 4.5/5

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Southern Bastards #2
Written by Jason Aaron; Drawn by Jason Latour

Man Southern Bastards really became a winner with this new issue. Earl Tubbs gets more insight and man he’s a great character to really follow. He’s got a history truly worth following here and in the upcoming issues and in discovering Aaron is from the Alabama area, this adds a little more to the book. I can feel his love and care for something like this come through, and relatable given how I come from a small town too. Latour’s art and coloring really continues giving this book an excellent, gritty feel that’s as down and dirty as the aforementioned Coach Boss who debut her and makes his presence known, quick! His south is vivid and really full of life. This book is purely exciting and I’m loving it! 5/5

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Batman #31
Written by Scott Snyder; Drawn by Greg Capullo

Holy fucking hell this book. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo keep really outdoing themselves with “Best thing ever each issue”. I’m not gonna say what it is right away, but I’ll get to it. First, Riddler is still very much in control over Gotham and enjoying every bit of it. He’s even letting people come up with the new month names as Zero Year reaches its first calendar year. That’s sweet of him right? What a guy!

Batman attempts to distract Riddler by challenging him to the Riddle Challenge in order to track down where he is in Gotham and this leads to a spectacular fight scene where Batman is dumped down below via trap door and fights a couple of lions. This fight is masterly done by Greg Capullo as he shows again his cinematic style of drawing and set up with dynamic panel work and capturing everything so beautifully, even Batman spitting fire at a lion, the best thing ever this week, and never makes everything feel so chaotic, messy, or overstuffed. His drawing allows for the great writing Scott Snyder has put forth so shine!

Snyder has taken Riddler and Batman to some their finest points in the 75 year history of the franchise and I for one find it exciting as Zero Year is reaching its endgame here with only two issues left now. This issue is just gorgeous and crackling with spectacular writing! 5/5

BOOK OF THE WEEK!
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C.O.W.L. #1
Written by Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel; Drawn by Rod Reis

Based upon the short film by Kyle Higgins himself and collaborator Alec Siegel, The League, not to be confused with the FXX fantasy football comedy of the same name, comes C.O.W.L. (Chicago Organized Workers League), a story about unionized superheroes in 1960s Chicago.

I love that idea. Higgins and Siegel really care for this idea and you can really feel their love for this here. C.O.W.L. is a great set up that has some real fun to it and made it fun to read twice. Yeah only book I really felt to pick up again this week cause its so damn good. C.O.W.L. feels more like a police department than it does something like the Avengers or Justice League. The hero stuff, especially in the opening sequence is really damn good. Their is s areal down to earth feel to the characters and how we can see and relate to them and how the people of Chicago can feel safe around them. The Chicago setting, this and Watch Dogs makes Chicago have the best damn week to forget about the Cubs, is great, also not shocking given Kyle Higgins, but it works. A real interesting story than were it to be set in New York City.

Rod Reis’ art is great here and really gives the book a distinct look to it. He can goddamn draw and make it work! His paint-style art helps sell the book as an exciting adventure in the 1960s and he draws a vibrant, alive Chicago and makes some the more 60s like designs work. His stuff when the heroes are at work and powers in use is good too. Reis is a huge factor as to why this book works so well for me.

C.O.W.L. takes a different look and approach to superhero team books right now and a shakeup to that dynamic is always welcomed, especially if its this goddamn good. Pick up C.O.W.L. #1, right now! 5/5

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