Comic Book Catch Up

Haven’t written about my comic book obsession for a while.  I’m still reading and buying every week.  In fact, I have so many regular titles that I pick up that I’m almost embarrassingly not reading any proper books at the moment, and I’m just catching up on comic books.  Anyway…here’s a quick post to keep you up to date on what I’m reading and why.  Not that too many of you care about that…but hey, at least I’m blogging.

And for those that are true believers, but are behind on their reading, this post contains some spoilers if you are not up to date.

Stuff I’m reading (in no particular order):

  • Morning Glories – I’ve mentioned this one on the blog before.  One of my favorite titles out there.  It’s got a “LOST” type of quality to it, while still existing in its own universe and feeling completely fresh.  My only criticism is that it takes them a LONG time to get back to individual stories and the overall plot is moving VERY slowly.  I enjoy the slow-burn quality, and that makes the major moments feel even BIGGER when they finally do happen…but man it’s slow.  (Then again, we all said the same thing about “LOST” from time to time…)
  • The Unwritten – This is one of the few books that seems to deliver EVERY time.  I really don’t know why I haven’t been trying harder to turn others on to this title.  It’s brilliant.  Takes place in a semi-Harry-Potter-ish world, but it’s like if the kid who played Harry grew up only to discover that the Potter movies/books weren’t just stories, but were actually his autobiography, and now he’s got to deal with that here in the 21st century.  It’s literate, it’s at times WAY more brutal and dramatic than you expect out of a comic book, and it’s an engaging story that doesn’t let you down.  Plus, lots of people say “fuck” in it, all the time.  So there’s something for the kids, too!
  • Batman – I drifted away from Batman under the Grant Morrison helm.  Scott Snyder has been running the main title ever since the DC Comics re-launch (if you missed it, DC relaunched EVERY title in their arsenal.  Superman, Batman, etc, etc…all back to Issue #1—though most of them don’t really feel like full re-starts).  I’m going to put this as simply as I can.  Scott Snyder has saved Batman.  The “Court of Owls” arc he’s got going is a masterwork, and I am overjoyed every time I hold a new issue in my hands, and literally pissed off every time it ends and I’ve got to wait another MONTH for the next amazing issue.
  • Batman & Robin – Almost as good as Batman (the main title).  Seems to be more focused on the relationship/workings of Batman and the present Robin, Bruce’s son Damian Wayne.  Also does not seem to follow the same time-line or be impacted by the same events as the main title, so it has to stand on its own two feet, in its own continuity.  It works way better than it sounds like it should.
  • Thief of Thieves – Relatively new title.  It’s cinematic and has a little bit of an “Oceans 11” vibe (the good one with the Rat Pack, not the remake crap).  Haven’t QUITE fallen in love with it, but I think I’ll get there.
  • Captain America & Bucky/Winter Soldier – Those are two different books.  Cap & Bucky is okay.  Winter Soldier is a lot better.  I’ve honestly felt VERY let down by the Captain America franchise ever since the “Fear Itself” fiasco that Marvel released.  Marvel just doesn’t do very good crossover events, and the Cap titles suffered badly.  I’m still reading (though I’ve dropped the “Captain America” main title), but it’s nowhere near as engaging, even though it’s the same writer, whose style I adore.  Marvel really screwed over their BEST title with the craptacular crossover of the past year.  That’s a shame.  “Fear Itself” had a TON of potential that it just BLEW around issue #3.  It’s so bad that it hasn’t ended and they’re still releasing a “Fear Itself” based title trying to retro-fit the bullshit they created.
  • Locke & Key – Written by the brilliant Joe Hill, who has quickly become one of my favorite authors.  (Check out his non-comic book novels “Heart Shaped Box” and “Horns,” both of which will stick with you a while.)  Locke & Key is engaging, a little scary, and altogether spellbinding.  I must confess that I’m “trade-chasing” on this one (I’m buying it in bound–or “trade”–form once major arcs come to a conclusion) because I got in too late to start collecting single-issues…but it’s wonderful.
  • Fatale – Only a few issues in, and it’s one of the creepiest, most mysterious, haunting tales on stands.  I don’t even know how to describe it…  A pulp-novel that has a foot—or maybe entire LEG—in the occult?  That’s kind of close.  Whatever the hell it is, it’s genius.
  • Justice League – I seem to be in the minority in how much I’m enjoying Justice League in the reboot.  We just ended the first major story where they more or less “got the band together” and I thought it was fun, though there were moments where I think the criticism that it’s out of step with the characters is valid.  (IE – Batman ripping the apparent DECAL off his shirt and taking off his mask to do very un-Batman-like things to save Superman–wtf?)  Still, I think there’s a TON o potential here, and I look forward to seeing where it goes.
  • Justice League International – Just when I was about to drop this title, they released the last issue, which was PHENOMENAL.  They killed one of my favorite characters on the team, but rather than make me want to stop reading, it made me think, “But…they can’t do that!  What are they going to do next?!?  I have to keep reading this!”  When a writer can kill off a guy you like, but still keep you on their side, it’s a title worth reading.
  • The Flash – Haven’t been enjoying The Flash quite as much as I was pre-Flashpoint, but it’s still good.  I think it just had to find its feet again after the reboot.  It’s getting stronger, and I think it’ll be back on my “favorites” list soon.  Because, hey…it’s the goddamn FLASH.
  • iZombie – Fun, silly, creepy, ridiculously entertaining book that could also be called, “I was a 20-something zombie, and I loved it.”  Trade-chasing on this one as well…but it’s well worth the chase.
  • Detective Comics – It’s another Batman title, and “Detective” was the one I KEPT reading even when I gave up on the main title for a little while.  (Scott Snyder was writing Detective Comics while Morrison was butchering the main title.  DC made a VERY smart move when they moved him over to the main title.)  Detective is falling a little short for me, post reboot.  They threw the Joker into the first issue (which is what we all WANT to see, of course), but then he immediately disappeared after literally having his face ripped off, and we haven’t gotten back to that.  HOW DO YOU NOT GET BACK TO THAT?!?!?!?!?  Instead, we’ve gotten a crappy love story that somehow involved the Penguin.  I literally felt like I hadn’t been reading the book during the last issue, because I just kept thinking, “How did we get HERE?  Where’s the damn JOKER?!?”  Might drop it soon if they don’t get back to…well…anything that made me like the first issue.
  • Action Comics – Probably best of the Superman titles, though the whole Superman series seems disjointed and hard to follow…  Oh wait.  Grant Morrison’s writing it.  That explains it.
  • Superman – See above, but remove “probably the best…”  Which is a shame, since this title is actually CALLED “Superman.”
  • No Place Like Home – Something that seems to be vaguely based on the Wizard of Oz (maybe?), but definitely has something darker lurking beneath the surface.  It’s only on issue #1…and I’ve GOT to read issue #2 and find out what the hell is going on.

…and I’m reading a few more titles on and off.  But those are the MAIN ones.  Hope that wasn’t too boring to those of you who foolishly think comics are for kids.  Seriously.  You’re very, very wrong about that.


Current Listening:

  • Heartless Bastards – “Arrow” — It has grown on me quite a bit, and I think it might be headed to the top ten for the year, if it’s not careful.