What I’m Reading Today: 3/4/2015

Hey everyone! Did you see the Age of Ultron trailer?

Just in case:

I’m sure we’ll be talking about it was more in the coming weeks. I certainly have some thoughts. But in the meantime, I have a lot of comics to read today, so let’s get to it!
Marvel Comics

Spider-Woman #5
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artists: Javier Rodriguez (pencils & colors), Alvaro Lopez (inks), VC’s Travis Lanham (letters)

I know we’re in the middle of the run and I have plenty of other stuff to write about, but I wanted to take some time for Spider-Woman, because I’ve been singing its praises, guardedly, for the last four months. The writing has been good! The art has been awful! But now there’s a new artist, and it’s soooo much better. There are still some aspects I don’t like (Jess seems really really young), but Hopeless’ is still writing it and it’s a kick. The new storyline is that Jess, five weeks after quitting the Avengers to help “normal” people, gets pulled into a case involving the disappearance of members of supervillains’ families. I happen to really like the new costume, and it’s great to see an updated Spider-Woman for a world that doesn’t really do spandex much anymore. There’s also a lot of vibrant, New-York-By-Night coloring happening, which seems to be the new norm for superhero books about Metropolitan women. That’s cool. This is a great issue to jump in on, it’s the start of a new arc (along with the appearance of Ben Urich), the art has improved, and the writing is still great. Jess is awesome, and I hope Hopeless gets to write her for a long time yet.

Favorite panel:

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 10.29.56 AM

All-New Hawkeye #1
Writers: Jeff Lemire
Artists: Ramón Pérez, Ian Herring (w/Perez, colors)

This is a good comic. It’s hard to fill the giant shoes of the previous Team Hawkeye (who are still finishing their last issue), but I think All-New Team Hawkeye has done well. The dialogue is still smart and snappy, the main art feels similar enough to Aja’s style, and the flashbacks are a thing of beauty, done in a watercolor style washed with purples and, later, reds. So this is Kate and Clint, on a special secret mission from SHIELD to find a super weapon. Usual! But also we get to see flashbacks to a time when Clint and Barney were with an abusive foster parent. Late in the book, the past and the present bleed into each other in a really cool way, that tells us more about Clint’s feelings towards Kate than a lot of words could. It’s just some fine storytelling. I wasn’t too worried about the direction of the book (I really like Lemire’s writing), but this solidifies it for me. It’s a great new direction that doesn’t leave the old one far behind. Hawkeye was a singular book, and All-New Hawkeye isn’t trying to re-invent the wheel, but also isn’t trying to rely to heavily on what’s come before. Looking forward to the future with this team. Bring on the Hawkguys.

Favorite panel:

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 10.40.50 AM

BOOM! Studios

Halogen #1 (of 4)
Writer: Josh Tierney
Artists: Afu Chan (art & letters), Shelly Chen (colors), Giannis Milonogiannis (character designs)

There’s a lot going on in Halogen, and it’s not always easy to follow. Roughly, there’s a city in space with an upside and a downside. The rich people live in the upside and the poor people live in the downside. Naturally. There’s some kind of mercenary adventurer named Rell who, for some reason that has something to do with tech and something to do with genetics, has a halo. Also there’s a dead god, and everyone (Rell’s info company and also some sort of official type security company?) are interested in retrieving the dead god. There seems to be a set up here for a lot of dichotomies: tech vs. genetics, science vs. faith, even men vs. women a little. Human vs. robot? Like I said, there’s a lot of story and world building packed into this issue. I’m into the setting, and am willing to see it out, though I wish I had less trouble following it. I’m not sure if it’s the dialogue or the art (which has a grainy scifi feel to it that I like). I’m really in the middle ground with this book, but enjoy the world enough to want to keep going.

Favorite panel:

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 11.44.32 AM

The Big Con Job #1 (of 4)
Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti and Matt Brady
Artists: Dominike “Domo” Stanton, Paul Little (colors), Jim Campbell (letters), Amanda Conner & Paul Mounts (cover)

I bought this book because BOOM! has been putting out great stuff I’ve really enjoyed and, from the description, it sounded like it’d be a fun, tongue-in-cheek look at conventions, comics, and the like. It’s not. It’s about some aging actors and tech people from old scifi shows. One kills himself, because he’s poor and unloved, and the rest meet up a few months later at a con with a new manager who suggests they rob San Diego Comic Con. This seems like such anin-joke comic, and I’m not in on the joke. There’s a scene early on that basically makes fun of fans who show up to panels for stuff they love, which left a sour taste in my mouth (particularly the panel where a feminist killjoy asks about the portrayal of women in the show). Every single main character is white and only one is a woman, and she’s drawn in a manner that is so disproportionate and ridiculous that it ruins every panel she’s in (even when they make fun of the fan ogling her, because she has been drawn to be ogled the entire 20 pages leading up to that). I’ve enjoyed Palmiotti’s writing on DC books, especially Harley Quinn, and I like sarcastic, meta humor about the industry, but wooboy am I not into this book.

Favorite panel:

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 12.10.14 PM

Image Comics

Descender #1
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artists: Dustin Nguyen, Steve Wands (letters, designs)

Speaking of Jeff Lemire, here’s a new scifi epic from Jeff Lemire! A decade after the galaxy is attacked by giant robots known as Harvesters, a little robot boy wakes up on a moon somewhere. He holds the key to the Harvesters, even though we don’t know why. The art is really lovely, and the world that Lemire has built is, completely unsurprisingly, already pretty rich and vivid. The style and the story remind me a little of Mass Effect, but that’s no bad thing. Essentially there’s a center of galactic politics and culture, it’s attacked, and the galaxy fractures. Anti-robot sentiment grows, the guy who built most of the AI falls into a spiral of self-loathing, and various groups jockey for power. This has the makings of a pretty good space opera. Also there’s a robot dog, and I love robot dogs.

Favorite panel:

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 2.27.29 PM

Also on my radar: Supreme: Blue Rose #7, Saga #26, Rat Queens #9, Hinterkind #16, Lady Killer #3, Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #19, Grayson #8, Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #4, Feathers #3, The Woods #11, Nameless #2, Cluster #2

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