Dean’s Picks

Best From The Past Week: Saga #18 – A couple of stand-bys stumbled this week (Black Science #3 and East of West #9) meaning that Saga was able to ghost-in for the goal at the back post.  It is tempting to say, “It wasn’t the most exciting issue of Saga ever.” but go back and read this issue again.  I mean, it just seems so effortless.  The story is fun, I like all the characters (even the “bad” ones), the dialog is super-smooth, the art is fantastic….  But the thing I love most is that Saga never makes me feel like a dummy for forgetting stuff.  With lots of comics, I pick them up and can’t remember what is going on with aspects of the plot.  It’s easy to say, “Well….Dean……sometimes you have to WORK for it, you whiner!”  Screw that…  Saga isn’t any less complex than other comics that leave readers in the dust sometimes – Brian K. Vaughn is just a better storyteller than those other writers.

Most Anticipated: Light week again…

1. Lazarus #6 – It was around this point (i.e. the sixth issue) that I started losing my grip on the plotlines of comics like East of West or Morning Glories.  It’s also around this point that I’ve lost interest in a lot of comics that I thought were awesome originally (Bedlam, Green Wake, Peter Panzerfaust, etc., etc…..).  But, I’m really stoked for this issue of Lazarus.  The biggest tribute I can give this series is that I can close my eyes and remember exactly what happened last issue, what I enjoyed about it and what I was looking forward to in THIS issue.  We are clearly headed to a point where Forever revolts against her “father” and the rest of Family Carlyle.  I doubt it’ll happen in this issue, but I’m sure the groundwork will continue to be laid.  Plus, I’m still enjoying this near-future, dystopian world.

2. Hinterkind #5 – This comic probably shouldn’t be this high on the list, but it’s a light week.  I wouldn’t say that I’m loving the story of Hinterkind yet and I’m not remotely attached to the characters.  I couldn’t even tell you their names.  BUT….I do love learning more about various post-apocalyptic worlds and I’m not through learning about this one.  I think what I’ve enjoyed about Hinterkind so far is that other than the protagonists, everyone seems to be a bad guy.

3. Trillium #6 – The problem with reading Jeff Lemire in single issues is that most of his stories have a single plot-twist toward the end.  He’s not quite M. Night Shyamalan, but it is the same sort of thing.  The thing is, the Lemire plot-twist hits about as hard as anything in comics.  It’s usually a total gut punch that is both touching and hurtful at the same time.  Given how many comics I’ve read in my life, I’m always impressed that Lemire can elicit a reaction from me, but he usually does.  We’re probably not quite at “gut punch” time with Trillium, but I am definitely bracing for it.

Honorable Mention – The Walking Dead: This silly TV show returns and so does the optimism that, “THIS TIME THEY’LL GET IT RIGHT!!!”  This series has taken a lot of bad steps and there’s no plausible reason for optimism, But with time, the horrors of the Governor fade into the rear view mirror and we can look forward to whatever comes after The Prison.  At the very least, it should be interesting to see a new status quo develop.  And then I see news that David Morrissey is returning for some scenes in this spring season of TWD.  It’ll probably be flashbacks, but still… It’s like the producers of the show are trolling the critical class: “Oh, you don’t like The Governor???  Well, 15 MILLION VIEWERS disagree with you!  And if you keep complaining, we’ll bring back Lori too!”

Hugo’s Pick

Best From The Past Week: Saga #18 – This is a great title. It’s not my favourite, but there are is an incredible amount of things that are downright excellent in this series, with this issue being rather spot on in terms of delivering. The characters are interesting and move in surprising places, the story is able to twist reader’s expectations and it just feature lovely art. This was the best thing I read this week, which makes the wait until the next issue all the more disappointing.

Most anticipated this week: 

1. Superior Foes of Spider-Man #8 – What, more fun from crooks and the genuinely entertaining misadventures they are in? Sign me up! Whether it is another issue focusing on another character or simply the continuation o how Fred Myers is trying to scam everyone, I highly suspect this should be as good as the previous issues. As long as Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber can deliver, I’ll stay on this title.

2. Swamp Thing #28 – I don’t know how Charles Soule will continue his tale of Alec Holland and his journey as the avatar of the green, but all I know is that I want to find out as soon as possible. This series has been really good with him as the writer, with some particularly great art by Jesus Saiz and Kano. Here’s hoping the new arc will end up being as excellent as the previous one.

3. Action Comics #28 – I have a lot of affection for the man of steel, yet his comics in the new 52 haven’t been all that great. I liked Morrison on this title, but it lacked a certain something which I believe Greg Pak is actually delivering: a sense of adventure. With Aaron Kuder bringing great art and with a sense of exploration, discovery and action, I believe this should be pretty good, making me happy that Superman is on my pull list once more.

4. Lazarus #6 – This is a very good title, but it brings its quality through nuances rather than with high action or high intrigue. It’s Greg Rucka and Michael Lark in a comfortable setting, telling a story they want to develop, which means it ought to be enjoyable. It’s not in my favourites, but it’s high quality stuff nonetheless.

5. Punisher #1 – Nathan Edmondson impressed me with his first issue of Black Widow. There was action, a good sense of pacing and a good handle on the character that made the story very enjoyable even if it had a flaw or too. Considering he might be able to do the same with Frank Castle, a character I enjoy tremendously at times, I am rather eager to see if he can work his magic with the vigilante with a skull logo.