Monday 30 January 2012

The hit and miss list {Comics}

I'm introducing comic books to Trollish Delver as they're a big part of my life, making up a large chunk of my weekly entertainment. I probably spend more time reading comics than watching TV; I really love them. 

Every few months or so I like to review my current pull-list to see what ongoing series I'm going to stick with and what I'll dump. If I haven't been enjoying a book for a few months then I tend to cut it from my stack to save time and money. It's a hard thing to do sometimes, but I'm finding that I can't afford the cost of physical comics. Of course, you can always go to Best Buy for an Ipad and by some of these comics digitally if you're that way inclined, but I don't really have that kind of money.

What I'm holding onto for dear life:

 Fewer mainstream comics are as fun and unique as Thunderbolts. This book is consistently entertaining, creative and all-round pulpy. The art is spot on, especially with Kev Walker at the helm. It's a great read and I highly recommend it.

DC has had a pretty rocky start with the new 52, but hits like Animal Man and Wonder Woman have proven the company has still got it. For me, Batman is the best thing they're putting out at the moment, with the excellent Scott Snyder penning each brilliant issue. Issue 5 was one of the best and most inventive comics in a long time and the current storyline is incredible.

Captain America
With Cap back in the game, Marvel did some re-jigging and created a new Captain America series, turning the previous series into Captain America & Bucky. Brubaker is still writing and while it's a little different from the gritty espionage-tinged stories of the past, it's still a great read. Plus, Cap is my favourite hero.

Captain America & Bucky
After Bucky escaped the Russian prison in the 'Gulag' storyline, Captain America became Captain America & Bucky. The transformation saw the action turn to Bucky's past, from the Second World War, through the Winter Soldier years and now into present day. Brubaker's handed the reigns over to Asmus while he concentrates on other projects, but it's still a great read.

For me, IDW stands out as a publisher who knows how to do licenses, and as well they should as they seem to have rights to all of them. Ghostbusters has recently launched an ongoing series and it's all kinds of awesome. If you love the movies and cartoons, there's no doubt you'll love this series. Amazing stuff.

Punisher Max
Sadly, this series will be ending soon, but the past year's story has been nothing short of legendary. We've seen Frank Castle's past exposed, his escape from prison and his life in the gutter. This is the Punisher at its best and the ending promises to be a big one as he faces off against the Kingpin.

In the aftermath of Fear Itself, the Avengers has a few new recruits. But Osbourne is stirring the media, turning people against the very heroes that saved the world from The Serpent. Even worse, he's got his hands on samples of all the Avengers' DNA and created his own super-powered army.

What I'm on the fence about:

Secret Avengers
Warren Ellis, you've ruined me for other writers. Ellis took over writing duties on this book over the last 6 months and it's been nothing short of amazing. For a book that had a rocky beginning, Ellis really distilled the Secret Avengers into its core components and wrote one-shot 'episodes' that had everything super-hero black-ops stories should. The thing is, Ellis has gone and Remender has arrived with a new team of Secret Avengers, led by Hawkeye instead of Steve Rogers. Herein lies the reason I'm now turned-off by this book. Remender had some rave reviews about his Uncanny X-Force and Venom has been doing well, so I'm giving this a chance.

What I'm dropping like it's hot:

Detective Comics Batman
Oh, Detective - where did you go wrong? Before the relaunch, this book was the bastion of everything that was great about comics. Of course, this was under Snyder's tenure, who turns everything to gold. Now, it's a shadow of its former self. I've just not been impressed with what used to be my favourite comic. This has to go.

Justice League America
Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, how have you not made this the best DC has to offer? JLA has been criticised for a limp start and although more characters have been introduced it's still not hitting the sweet spot. Darkseid is rising and I don't really care. Every issue someone makes a joke about Batman not having powers and every issue it isn't funny. It's not a terrible comic, or even a bad one. It's just not entertaining me, and that's why I'm dumping it for now.

The Ultimates 
Mark Millar created pure awesomeness with Ultimates volumes 1 and 2 but under a new writer volume 3 tanked. Volume 4 started out promising but I think it's dragging now and I don't really feel invested in the story. Like JLA, it's not a bad comic - it's pretty good. It's just not one I get excited about reading every month, which is my main criteria.


  1. Scott, we share a passion for comics, but not for the same ones. Last month I made the decision to cut way back on my comics buying. I had a sweet deal from Samurai Comics that got me the entire new 52 1st issues for $100. Some weren't too good, but it was a great deal overall.

    However, after a few months, I decided to cut them all: even the best which were Justice League, Green Lantern, Demon Knights, Shade.

    All my comic buying has shifted to Dynamite and Dark Horse.

    What I'm keeping is any Conan title--just finished Road of Kings, now starting King Conan--Phoenix on the Axe, any King Kull title, any Tarzan title (now being called Lord of the Jungle) and any Barsoomian title--bad news for me financially with Marvel and Dynamite both doing Barsoom series. Just those 4 are costing me more than I want to spend every month. I don't know how you can afford as many titles as you say you're keeping.

  2. I was a big Geoff Johns fan a few years ago. But his last two years output left much to be desired... I'll waiting for the spanish versions of the new DC comes (this month), but I'm not very interested in JLA. I would like to check Stormwatch & JLI.

    Thunderbolts is a very understimated series, I agree! And I love Captain America & The Punisher. Last 3 -4 years of that titles have been very good.

    But anyway, Invincible it's still the best superhero comic out there...

  3. I really enjoy reading your comic posts on Atroll and it's part of what inspired me to start writing my own.

    I currently spend around £30-40 a month on comics, but this will go down to around £20-30 after I cut some. I haven't factored in mini-series or events like Infestation 2 and Shattered Heroes as those will end fairly soon.

    I may bite the bullet and start getting some books in trade to cut down my weeklies even more. I really want to get into the more pulpy comics like Lord of the Jungle and The Spider, but right now there's no room in my budget.

  4. @Jose Invincible is one I've been meaning to pick up in trade actually. That and the new Daredevil run, which is amazing.

  5. +1.

    I'm pretty much in agreement with your assessment of the DC new 52. With one exception. Wonder Woman has consistently been a favorite of mine for years and this new version/run is - to me - the worst work DC has done with the character in a long time -- and my least favorite of the new 52.

  6. I abandoned the DC universe a long time ago for various reasons...of the 52, I do buy and enjoy All-Star Western, being a huge fan of Jonah Hex and the creative team of Gray and Palmiotti.

    Like Ken, I am a big fan of the Dark Horse Conan books.

    Vertigo is where I spend most of my dough - Fables, Northlanders, I-Zombie, and American Vampire. I buy Scalped in Trade.

    I also enjoy Brubaker's crime books released under the Marvel/ICON banner (Criminal and Incognito) and Walking Dead in Trade from Image.