Monday, October 14, 2013

Double Stuf Pull List: September 25 and October 2, 2013

Lots of comics to get through from a couple weeks ago, so only the best (and the best at being the worst) will get a lot of attention.


-Guardians of the Galaxy #6 (Brian Michael Bendis, Sara Pichelli, Olivier Coipel)
This isn't a good issue.  It's not a particularly bad one either, but it's just not good.
Some notes I made while reading the latest GotG:
  • Thought Gamora's redesign was to lower sexploitation, but she's fighting Angela; so that's a dumb idea.
  • They gave the previous Star-Lord helmet to Tony Stark?  Really?
  • Drax's speech pattern, his lack of knowledge of the blue area of the Moon, and not realizing Thanos is close by is all sorts of wrong. 
Okay, I lied this is a bad issue, at least from a story and continuity standpoint.
Gamora is the one that is fully clothed.  Angela is the one fighting scantily clad on the Moon.

-Uncanny Avengers #12 (Rick Remender, Salvador Larroca)
Larroca taking over art duties is not what I would call ideal.  A weaker entry in a story that overall I enjoy.

-Deadpool #17 (Brian Posehn, Gerry Duggan, Declan Shalvey)
North Korean prison camp hijinks continue to be illustrated marvelously in this issue.  One of Jake's big complaints about Marvel comics is that whenever Captain America shows up he's an asshole.  We're treated to a counterpoint within these pages as Cap's memories of WWII motivate him to act in a truly heroic fashion resulting in the line, "This can't be a an Avengers mission, but it must be a job for Captain America."

-A+X #12 (Christos Gage, David Williams, Justin Jordan, Angel Unzueta)
Part 1 is a nostalgia trip of Beast and Wonder Man's friendship, and part 2 is Captain America and Jubilee fighting a sunken U-boat full of Nazi vampires.  Rekindled bromance and good old fashioned vampire slaying/Nazi punching fusion.  These concepts either resonate with you or they don't.

-Avengers #20 (Jonathan Hickman, Leinil Francis Yu)
Space Operatic elements manage to keep me enthralled even as the plot and general direction of the story lose steam and direction.

-Nova #8 (Zeb Wells, Paco Medina)
A rebirth for the New Warriors might be on the horizon if Nova can manage to not get killed by a super creepy chick that sleeps in the guts of weird space cows.  It seems Nova has moved firmly into rad superhero stories territory.  Ok, I might be riding on a high brought on by the mention of the original Nova (a favorite character of mine), still the trajectory of this series into downright fun superheroics.

-Iron Man #16 (Kieron Gillen, Carlo Pagulayan)
A big ol meh if you ask me


-Justice League #23.4: Secret Society #1 (Geoff Johns, Sterling Gates, Szymon Kudranski)
Someone probably thought this was a clever story that needed to be told.  I am not that person.

-Action Comics #23.4: Metallo #1 (Sholly Fisch, Steve Pugh)
While not as bad as the Cyborg Superman entry, Metallo's story is still boring and incredibly forgettable.

-Aquaman #23.2: Ocean Master #1 (Geoff Johns, Tony Bedard, Geraldo Borges)
Any subtlety or nuance in Ocean Master's character that was present in the Justice League/Aquaman crossover "Throne of Atlantis" has been thrown out the window.  Nothing else is of note as this issue continues the disappointing, but not wholly unanticipated trend, of being another sub-par entry in the gimmick that was Villains' Month. 

-Action Comics #24 (Scott Lobdell, Tyler Kirkham)
The Psycho Pirate is back.  That's cool.  This is part 2 of a crossover that started in Superman?  That is significantly less cool, in fact that might be the exact opposite of cool.  There's a month of one-shot sidestories without Superman, and then when it's time for a "real" issue it's part 2 of a story taking place in a different comic book?  Nah, I'm cool.


-Saga #14 (Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples)
Flying space sharks get hunted with a telescoping lance, and Lying Cat shares a scene with Sophie (formerly Slave Girl) that could warm even the coldest of hearts.  Stuff is kept relatively mundane, but even so Fiona Staples manages to flex her artistic might; it's just channeled into emotions and facial reactions as opposed to fantastical settings.

-East of West #6 (Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta, Frank Martin)
A Judge Dredd/Punisher/Texas Rangers mashup?  Oh hell yeah.  The issue seems like an aside that isn't all that important, however the awesome western elements more than make up for that.  Have I mentioned how amazing the artistic design of East of West is?  Because from a design standpoint it continues to be a nearly flawless comic.


-G.I. Joe #8 (Fred Van Lente, Steve Kurth) 
Shipwreck shoots boats full of androids trying to suicide bomb the statue of liberty with a bazooka.  blah blah blah... Destro is full on crazy supervillain and has androids (of the same design as the combat ones shot by Shipwreck) dressed in maid and butler outfits as he uses failed underlings as clay discs for his routine skeet shooting.  Can someone explain to me why there isn't a G.I. Joe cartoon on my television right now?


-Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin volume 3 (Yoshikazu Yasuhiko)
Like the two previous volumes, there is some stiff translation and different interpretations of certain iconic(memetic) lines that hold this release back somewhat.  The rest of the book more than makes up for this slight misstep, and really, Yas is such a skilled visual storyteller that the book could get by without a hint of dialog (note: I still like the words because they add a depth and insight into the characters).  Volume 3 takes its subtitle from Ramba Ral, a veteran enemy officer sent to Earth to destroy the ship and its inexperienced crew that make up the main cast.  I don't want to go into the gritty details because you either have an understanding of what great twists and turns the story takes at this point, or you don't know and I'm not going to be the asshole to spoil a 34 year old cartoon for you.  Most Gundam aficionados count Ramba Ral as a fan favorite though, and I'm no different.  There's a buttload of deep thematic elements tied to Ramba Ral that I could discuss at length, however there's also the old takeaway that war is hell.  It's worth noting again that Yas makes this hellish war look oh so good.

Please excuse my bad scanner marring otherwise beautiful art (also as a heads up only a handful of pages have full color)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

2013-14 NHL jersey rankings

Thanks to the fun lockout last season, this is the second time I'm doing this list in 2013! There have been a few uniform changes for this season, mostly for the better. My initial thoughts on most teams' uniform sets are in the old article linked above, and this article focuses mainly on changes for the 2013-14 season. Let's take a looksie.

30. Chicago Blackhawks

Uniforms unchanged from last season. Still as culturally insensitive as ever, but people still gush over them because it's an Original Six team.

29. Anaheim Ducks

Uniforms unchanged from last season. Still too much black for a Southern California team and still too boring of a logo. Luckily the team has officially declared the "Webbed D" crest is the team's primary logo, and the wordmark appearing on their home sweater is only the secondary logo. Makes no difference for this season, but hopefully it's a hint that the vastly superior third jersey will replace the home uni next season. Apparently Anaheim will be wearing a throwback Mighty Ducks jersey for at least one game this year: the more eggplant we see, the better.

28. Columbus Blue Jackets

Uniforms unchanged from last season. There are only a few clubs still using the design relic of the '90s that is the "full sleeve shoulder yoke." It seems only a matter of time before the Blue Jackets' jackets get a facelift.

27. Florida Panthers

The blue third jersey (which I actually liked!) is retired. Still needs a better primary logo, and they still get deducted points for calling themselves "Florida" when they're not the only NHL club in Florida.

26. Winnipeg Jets

Uniforms unchanged from last season. Still as boring as ever. It's only a matter of time until a "throwback" third jersey based on the classic Winnipeg sweater is introduced, and it eventually becomes the primary jersey: just like what happened with the Oilers, Sabres and Islanders.