Meaningless Awards of the Week- 7/25/07

Publisher of the Week- Other

As far as I’m concerned, there are only three comic book publishers: Marvel, DC, and everyone else. Most of the comics I buy are published by Marvel and DC, which makes sense since most of the comics period are published by Marvel and DC. This was an extremely odd week, though. Between IDW, Dark Horse and Image, I bought six comics that weren’t from the Big Two, which is more than I bought from either of the Big Two. Not only that, but those six comics were of a much higher quality than anything published by Marvel or DC.

Invincible 44Invincible #44 did a great job of advancing the two main plots going on right now: Mark’s relationship with Eve and the impending Viltrumite invasion. It would be too easy to see Mark and Eve together right away, so I’m glad Robert Kirkman found a way to keep them apart a little bit longer. The meat and potatoes of the issue is a confrontation between Invincible and Viltrumite (the first female we’ve seen thus far). They have a chat about the pros and cons of the Viltrumite occupation, and the Viltrumite actually makes a very interesting point that the Earth won’t be able to support life in a few hundred years the way we’re going anyway, so why not let the Viltrumites come in and make those last few hundred years a little more prosperous? In the end, Invincible is faced with a question he doesn’t have the answer to: can he take on a Viltrumite one-on-one? Looks like next issue we’ll be finding out.

Grendel: Behold The Devil #0 was one of our Books of Doom this week, so I’ve already shared my appropriately brief thoughts on the issue. The price was certainly right on this one.

Fear Agent: The Last Goodbye #2 reminds us all that zombies aren’t the only way to have an apocalypse. Heath Hudson and a few others are the only humans left alive, holed up in an underground bunker, while two warring alien races use Earth as their battlefield. With the paranoia, death lurking around every corner and the human instinct of survival, Fear Agent is everything I love about zombie stories wrapped up in an entirely different genre. Cool beans. Oh, and Tony Moore’s artwork is frickin’ sweet as hell.

Fallen Angel #18 continues the team-up with Shi that began lat issue. I was surprised to see the return of artists J.K. Woodward, as I thought he had moved on from the title, and I was really excited by Kristian Donaldson’s work on the series a few issues back. I love that Li is a prick to Shi throughout the entire issue really for no good reason at all, yet somehow she’s still incredibly likeable. That’s the magic of Peter David, I guess.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer #5 was the last issue written by series creator Joss Whedon (for a while, at least), so it was a bit of a bittersweet issue for me. The single-issue story was a departure for the series, as it was the story of a brand new character that doesn’t interact with any established characters (although Giles, Andrew and Vi do make appearances). I think it’d be pretty cool if Buffy took on a Tales of the Slayers theme for the series. Buffy’s great and all, but there’s a literally a world full of Slayers at Whedon’s disposal now, so he might as well utilize them.

The Walking Dead 39Finally, there’s The Walking Dead #39, which by no surprise was my favorite issue of the week. Kirkman always leaves me guessing with this series, and I don’t realize how invested I get in these characters until something horrible happens to one of them (poor Dale!). It’s gotten to the point in this series where even minor victories like the gang escaping the armed thugs at Wal-Mart are cause to celebrate, so when Laurie and Rick have a perfectly healthy baby girl, it seems like about the best thing that’s ever happened to these characters.

Worst Publisher of the Week- DC

I got five DC comics this week, and I think I only really enjoyed one of them. That issue was Superman #665, the origin of Jimmy Olson. Doesn’t sound very interesting, does it? Well, when the make Jimmy’s origin the subplot in a fun Superman adventure, it ends up pretty good. What else would you expect from Kurt Busiek, though?

Supergirl & The Legion of Superheroes and Teen Titans have been suffering drastically since they lost Mark Waid and Geoff Johns, respectively) as writers. I really enjoyed Tony Bedard’s run of Exiles, but so far his S&LOSH hasn’t been very good. He’s ditched the enormous team aspect of the LOSH in favor of a group of three characters I care nothing about. Dennis Calero’s style isn’t suited well for this book, either; he’s much better on a title like X-Factor. On the other hand, Teen Titans is in fill-in mode right now, so hopefully it will improve with next month’s #50. Anything’s got to be better than an Amazons Attack crossover, right?

Countdown 40That leaves the awful Batman #666, which I only picked up because it was our other Book of Doom, and Countdown #40. I actually thought this was one of the better issues of Countdown. While the series has been admittedly disappointing so far, I have this nagging feeling that it’s going to get really sweet any issue now, just like 52 did. I really hope that’s the case, because otherwise I’m going to feel pretty stupid for not dropping this book.

Other Publisher of the Week- Marvel

Might as well just do the last one too, right?

This was a big X-week. X-Men: First Class #2 surprisingly turned out to be part of a two-parter. I never really thought Jeff Parker would write a multi-part story, as this series seems to be aimed at the kiddies. In fact, it’s essentially Marvel Adventures: X-Men. I might not have ever given the title a chance if they’d gone ahead and called it that, so I’m glad they didn’t. Cable & Deadpool #43 is the first issue after Cable died. It ends with Deadpool getting his head chopped off by Wolverine. It’d be great if the next issue was & #44. Deadpool is the only reason I read this title, so I think it’s actually gotten better since the character with top billing kicked the bucket. I’ll take Bob, Agent of Hydra over Nathan Dayspring Summer Askani’son any day of the week. X-Men #201 continues the “X-men get their asses kicked” story from last issue. Now it’s down to just Iceman and Cannonball versus the Marauders. As much as I like those two characters, I don’t like their odds. I’m at a loss as to who’s going to swoop in and eventually save the day, because I doubt those two are going to do it. Also, Endangered Species continues to be boring. Except for the return of Dark Beast…that was pretty sweet.

Iron Fist #7 was a Tales of the Iron Fists type story about the one and only female Iron Fist. I liked the third-person storyteller/narrator in the story. I reminds me of the narration in Dark Tower, where the storyteller is like a character himself. This issue was a little disappointing, though, because I was expecting the start of Mortal Kombat, which would have been awesome. Got to wait until next issue, though.

Amazing 542Amazing Spider-Man #542 seemed to be the end of the Back in Black storyline, although it says it was only part 4 of 5. I’m guessing the next issue will be more of an epilogue, considering everything major seems to go down this issue. Peter kicked the crap out of the Kingpin in a very brutally and nicely drawn sequence (Ron Garney does not get the accolades he deserves), but we knew it wasn’t going to end with the Kingpin’s death since this takes place before the Daredevil arc where he’s released from prison. This was a decent resolution concerning the whole “every villain knows Spider-Man’s secret identity” thing that came about as a result of Civil War. There’s no way to completely undo that, but a “hurt my family and I’ll hurt you worse” threat is about as believable an explanation we could have gotten.