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Weekly Geekly Reader 6-20-13


Superman Unchained 1 (DC)- Scott Snyder is starting his Superman comic off slowly although its ironically action packed. There’s a lot of stuff going on in this comic but none of it seems particularly new or fresh except for the beginning and end segments highlighting a mysterious new superbeing. Jim Lee’s art is what it has been the past few years; a cleaner less scratchy version of his earlier Wildstorm work, and for all the folderol and hype around this new title it seems oddly summary and preparatory, like getting to a dinner party early enough to watch them set the table but not getting anything to eat for awhile. I appreciate that Snyder’s style is more of a slow burn than a fireworks display and am willing to give this comic a chance but as far as the claims of this being a new almost-reboot of the new 52 Superman I just don’t see it as of yet. 3 and ½ human bombs out of 5








Batman 21 (Zero Year Part One)(DC)- I’ve always wondered why more writers and artists haven’t mined this particular part of the Batman mythos. Miller and Mazzuchelli’s Year One, Dixon and McFarlane’s Year Two and the Chris Nolan film Batman Begins all come to mind, and now this comic which tries to fill in some of the new 52’s version of Batman’s early years before he became the 110% confident badass we all know him as today. The story is mindful of continuity without being slavish to it, Capullo’s  art is always top-drawer and the inks by Danny Miki are adding a cleaner look to his pencils that sets this story apart from the rest of his Batman run. A promising start to what could be an interesting story  4 sleeveless Bat-shirts out of 5








Archer and Armstrong 10-(Valiant)- Area 51 Aliens! Dinosaurs! Catholic schoolgirl assassins!  Burly immortal drunks! Archer and Armstrong is one of my favorite monthlies because it is always equal parts fun, action, adventure and weirdness, and this issue is no exception as the boys , on a tip from Armstrong’s brother the Eternal Warrior, break into Area 51. Unfortunately Archer’s female opposite, also trained from childhood to be a master assassin, breaks in at the same time. Fred van Lente has the tone of this book down, light hearted adventure with strange bits thrown in for fun, and his script moves quickly and is infused with a lot of humor, and Pere Perez’s art is well suited to the tale, drawing  a wide variety of different places and things with a clean uncluttered style that reminds me of Chris Sprouse. Great comic, my favorite from all of the Valiant titles, and thats saying something as all of the new Valiant titles are solid comics. 4 grey aliens out of 5








Astro City 1-(DC)- Do you need reminding how masterful Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson can be when working on Astro City together? Or have you never taken a trip to Astro City before because you weren’t sure where to start? Well look no further friends, the answer to your vexing problems is here! Astro City 1 is a welcome return to the city of the Samaritan, Jack in the Box and the Hanged Man and we are reintroduced to the burgh and its environs by a pretty cool framing device that pays off in an unexpected way. Astro City is just good comics, plain and simple. Busiek is pretty much a master of the form and you can tell when he is allowed to play in his own big sandbox that the stories he comes up with are often better and more resonant than anything he did for the Big Two (and yes I am  including Marvels and his legendary run on Avengers with Geo. Perez...) and Anderson’s art has always been rock solid and his visual storytelling chops are second to none. I am glad the City is back. 4 Broken Men out of 5







Age of Ultron-(Marvel)- Oh Brian Michael Bendis. You and your wacky time bending antics. I remember from way back when when you and that nice Alex Maleev boy brought back my favorite Marvel character Daredevil back to prominence after he had languished for years in the shadow of the Miller/ Janson glory days. And you and that nice Mark Bagley making Spider Man fun again in the pages of Ultimate Spider-Man distilling that most iconic of Marvel heroes down to his essence and reinterpreting that to a new millennia, great stuff. One of my top ten comic book characters of all time Deena Pilgrim from Powers, is your creation and when you made all the fanboys gasp by disassembling the Avengers i said ,”Its about time someone did something with them.” and enjoyed every issue. Yeah through the House of M and the Secret Invasion and the Dark reign and the Siege, just about every big event you headed for Marvel I was there. But I am afraid now is when we must part ways old friend. This Age of Ultron thing. Especially the endings in issue 10: an out-of-the-blue appearance by a character in no way related to the rest of the story, a reveal that could’ve been made in Ultimate Spider-Man, and some vague talk about messing with the multiverse one too many times, something that Hickman is already writing about in a much more entertaining way in the pages of New Avengers to set the table for his big summer whoop-de-doo, Infinity. Mr. Bendis  its been a fun time but you lost me here. Everything about the Age of Ultron just reminded me of other better-told alternate history/time travel stories that we’ve seen over the years. This series had no discernable impact other than launching another Avengers spinoff title, Avengers AI and bringing back polybagging, one of the 90s crappier trends. Rating for the entire miniseries of 10 issues:2 Hank Pyms out of 5






Pacific Rim Tales from Year Zero- (Legendary) Continuing a trend of prequel-to-the-film comics that kind of “set the table” for summer blockbusters like the Star Trek Countdown to Darkness miniseries by Dynamite and the DC Man of Steel prequel comic,Pacific Rim: Tales from Year Zero explains some of the background of the world we will soon see in Guillermo Del Toro’s movie Pacific Rim.In that world giant robots are built to fight an invasion of giant monsters from beneath the sea, and in this comic we see the Jaeger robots being tested and built, how the invasion began and mankind’s response in kind, and we are introduced to some of the characters and the horrible costs each have paid in this conflict. The script is by Travis Beacham and five artists share the visual chores,Sean Chen, Pericles Junior,Yves Guichet,Chris Batista and Chris Shaw, but as the tale is told as an anthology in separate parts the diverse group of pencillers is an asset not a distraction. I have gone on record as saying that the film Pacific Rim is either going to be the best geek movie of the summer or its going to be a hot mess and whichever happens, I want in on opening day, This comic is a great way to get some of the flavor and background of the world of Pacific Rim before seeing it in the theater. 4 kaiju attacks out of 5




The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys 1- Gerard Way is known to most of the world as the frontman for the band My Chenical Romance and thats fine and all but I wish he would quit all that nonsense and write some more adventures of his comic book creations the Umbrella Academy, one of my favorite comics of the past decade. Way is back with a comics sequel to the MCR concept album Danger Days, in which a rock band of outsiders called  the Killjoys stood up to a monolithic corporate army to save the life of a young girl. In the new comic The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys that girl has grown into a teenager and some time has past since the fall of the Killjoys. Its okay if you don’t know all the backstory; much as he did in The Umbrella Academy Way shows he is pretty adept at universe building and much of what the reader needs to know comes from context and dialogue. Becky Cloonan’s art is amazing showing influences like Jamie Hewlett and shojo anime while giving visual life to Way’s story with her own style. A strong and intriguing first issue. 4 and ½ X masks out of 5