Saturday, November 19, 2005

The unwashed masses have spoken!

Lo, the call went out: Which superhero trade paperback should I buy? And verily, from their parents' basements, from the back rooms of the comic book stores where they play Magic: The Gathering, and from the comic book conventions where they were bidding on a cardboard cut-out of Xena, the answers came! And I heeded you, good readers! I heeded!!!

The nominees were:

When Stars Turn Cold - Amazing Spider-Man. I bought JMS's run until issue #500, but I grew bored with it. This is early in the run, I think, and if so, I've read it. His stories started out really strong, but I hear that recently he's gone off the rails.

Legion of Super-Heroes by Waid and Kitson. I have heard this is good, and I might get it, but I'm always wary about the Legion. It's a mess, isn't it?

Fantastic Four by Waid. Hmmm ... Another one I've heard good things about. I don't really like Wieringo's art all that much. And two votes against it. Oh, the discord!

Superman/Batman by Loeb and others. I actually think Loeb can be a decent writer, so this is a possibility. Not Turner's issues, though - blech. Does anyone think he's a good artist? Really?

Runaways by Vaughan and Alphona. This is one I missed from the beginning, so it might be time to pick up the trade.

New Frontier. Already have it. Good stuff.

X-Force by Milligan and Allred. Already have it. Excellent early stuff, and I dropped it just before they fought the Avengers. I may have to get those issues just to be a completist.

Top 10 and Tom Strong. Already have them, but they don't count. Not DC or Marvel (yes, I know they're technically DC, but they don't count).

Black Widow. Got them (all of the mini-series since Grayson/Jones). Like them a lot.

Deadpool and Agent X by Gail Simone. Very interesting. I have heard almost nothing about these issues. Surprising.

Young Avengers. The first six issues are out in trade, and it's another one that piques my interest. I know the art is gorgeous, but I'm still not sure about the whole Kang thing.

She-Hulk. I own both trades. Yes, I'm one of the ones Slott hates. Oh well. Screw him.

Formerly Known As The Justice League and I Can't Believe It's Not The Justice League. Excellent stuff. Already have them.

Dark Detective. Already have it. Not that great. Not bad, but not that great. Don't think it's out in trade yet.

Invincible. Doesn't count! I bought the first trade and liked it but was not blown away. I'm still trying to decide if I want to buy the next one. My Image superhero title of choice is Noble Causes.

Brubaker's first Captain America trade. As long as he's not whiny like he was in the Nieber/Cassaday run. I wasn't as angry about it as T. was, but he was kind of a whiner.

Teen Titans by Johns and McKone. Interesting. I have read barely anything by Johns, so I should probably read stuff by him before I rip him, like I tend to do. And I like McKone's art.

Adam Strange: Planet Heist. Waiting on this until Infinite Crisis is over. The guy at my comic book store is letting me borrow all the related issues and read them. That way I can bash them without spending good money on them!

Human Torch/Spider-Man by Slott and Templeton. I've been looking for this, and haven't found it yet.

New Thunderbolts by Nicieza. I do not like Nicieza. Isn't he just a hack? But if my good readers recommend it, I may have to at least take a look at it, just to see.

Mr. Majestic by Casey and McGuinness. It doesn't count, but I may check it out anyway. I like Casey and McGuinness, so it's a possibility.

Kinetic. But why? Why????

The Red Hood Saga. I have only read Pedro and Me, so I should read more Winnick, for the same reason I should read more Johns. I like Mahnke's art. And it's only ten dollars! Hmmm ...

Wolverine by Millar. I refuse to break my Millar boycott. I have principles!

The Golden Age. I assume that Jon is talking about the Robinson/Smith series. First, I have it. Second, it's from 11 years ago. Third, it's excellent.

Livewires by Warren and Mays. I own it. It's very good.

So I went to the comics shoppe and picked up ...

Batman: The Red Hood Saga, issues #635-641. Mahnke's art, "controversial" story, $9.99 for seven issues. I don't want to care about the cost, but that's good value. And I'm intrigued.

Fantastic Four HC, Vol. 1. Issues #60-502. Wow, that's a lot of issues. Stupid renumbering. 30 dollars for 14 issues, which is pretty good. And when Waid is on, he's good.

Runaways HC Vol. 1. Issues #1-18. I was going to get the digests, but this is just a beautiful volume. And I figured I got lots of people saying it was good, so I'd trust them and get the whole thing.

Thanks for all your suggestions, people - I got some good ideas for the future. Of course, now I have to read the damned things!

Read More


Anonymous Iron Lungfish said...

"Runaways" lost me in the first volume, but I can't tell you why without spoiling The Big Twist. Anyway, it does start out good, at least.

11/19/2005 05:11:00 PM  
Blogger Douglas Wolk said...

Since I was the person who recommended Legion in the first place, I should offer a clarification: old-style Legion continuity (& cast size) were, yes, a mess--not quite of Hawkman/Phoenix proportions, but very hard to keep track of what was what without a scorecard. The Waid/Kitson book starts fresh, with the new #1, & bears roughly the same relationship to the old Legion that Ultimate Spider-Man does to the Clone Saga. Entirely straightforward.

11/19/2005 05:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Iron Lungfish said...

As someone who avoided the Legion for years precisely because it was such a mess, I can attest that you can jump on with the Waid run without getting bogged down in all the reboots and continuity glitches (I have no idea how faithful it is to previous Legion continuity, though, if that's a concern). It's also quite enjoyable and I can second it for the kind of Zam Pow Big Two superhero stuff you're looking for.

11/19/2005 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Thanks, Douglas. I took a look at it this week, and I've always been a fan of Kitson's art, so I may have to scoop it up.

11/19/2005 06:02:00 PM  
Blogger T. said...

"The Big Twist" is the reason I won't read Runaways either, just out of protest. I know it's pretty, but hey. Unfortunately, I can't discuss it without spoiling the hardcover...

11/19/2005 06:07:00 PM  
Anonymous The Ever-Lovin' Alex Freakin' W said...

Really? I'm confused as to how the 'Big Twist' really makes runaways objectionable. It wasn't that great a twist, but in the end the value of the content in the first volume didn't really hinge it. The series as a whole was just really, really good.

11/19/2005 08:33:00 PM  
Blogger T. said...

Oops, the word "pretty" in my last post should have been "petty."

And Alex, it's hard to discuss why the twist turned me off without spoiling the book for Greg, so I'll have to wait until he reviews it. I'll just say that the twist removed my favorite aspect of the book from the equation.

11/19/2005 08:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Iron Lungfish said...

I'll second T.'s implied complaint.

11/19/2005 08:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Eli said...

I thought the Runaways thing was kind of a twist-for-twist's-sake, but I've enjoyed the book since then. I'm a sucker for a well-executed teen team book.

You should pick up the X-Statix Avengers storyline, and not just to be a completist. I thought that the book's quality sagged some late in the run, but for the Avengers storyline, it was back in full force - amazing stuff. The Anarchist v. Captain America issue is one of my favorite comics of all time.

11/19/2005 10:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Iron Lungfish said...

The Milligan/Allred X-Force is just pretty damn amazing in general. It hit a low ebb with the editorially-neutered Princess Diana arc (why, baby Jesus, why?) but the last six issues are pretty damn wonderful.

When I re-read those issues I'm positive Milligan could do amazing things with X-Men if he were allowed to cut loose, but my sense of things is that the editorial vise has clamped down a lot tighter since the heady days of Morrison.

11/19/2005 11:08:00 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Lungfish - that's when I bailed on X-Statix (actually, it was after the "cure" issues, I think). I heard the Avengers issues were good, and then it went away. That's why I need to get it, but I don't want to buy the trade - I want the individual issues.

11/19/2005 11:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Nitz the Bloody said...

Can we just be out with The Big Twist and why it was such a turn-off? Because, while The Big Twist near the end of the first volume removed a paticular favorite aspect, it made for a great storyline.

Runaways Volume 1= teh roxx0rs. Best thing to come out of Marvel in years. Runaways Volume 2=not quite as good, given all the gratuitous guest stars, but still well worth reading.

11/20/2005 01:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Iron Lungfish said...

I would suggest that the necessary result of The Big Twist is part of the reason Volume 2 has been so relatively weak. Weaker characters have had to pick up the slack, basically, as much stronger ones were eliminated.

11/20/2005 01:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

For the record, Invincible doesn't get really good until one particular scene in the second TPB. You'll know it when you see it. Until I got there I thought the series was okay but very cookie cutter. After that scene, I was hooked. So if you get a chance, give the book another try.

11/20/2005 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger ninjawookie said...

Kinetic is great because of 2 things -

1.the protagonists relationship with his mother

2. Warren Pleece who drew Deadenders should really be working more

It's actually a little emo, but Brian Wood is pretty emo so whatevs.

+that Allan Heingberg is so hot right now.

Sweet you pikced up the red hood book! I lent my friend Death in the Family, and said comic book, he thought death in the family was pretty gross, and the whole joker getting diplomatic immunity by taking over an arab nation was a major stinker.

We all thought it was going to be Jean Paul Valley, before his id. was revealed. Man were we disapointed, but then red hoods a pretty cool idea, and it wouldn't of been so bad had it not been for HUSH, and i started coming round to the idea.

Batman needs new villains, now if only they let Darwyn Cooke do his run on Detective like he was supposed to and introduce a whole batch of newbies.

All the ones from the early 90s had no staying power, except maybe for black mask right now, and Bane is so over.

11/20/2005 10:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Legion - Yes, it's always a mess. I think you'd have to get Alan Moore to write it and Walt Simonson to draw it for me to pick up a Legion book.

Deadpool and Agent X - I've heard good things about this run as well, but I don't think there are any collections. At least not any consistent collections of the entire run.

Young Avengers - Just fyi, the first collection is only out in hardcover.

She-Hulk - I'm mystified why you think Slott hates you for buying the collections. He made some jokes about it, but that's all I took them as.

Invincible - Just finished the fifth trade and still good. I second the previous comment that it gets better as it goes on. But Kirkman's real standout book is Walking Dead.

Captain America - Also not out in softcover yet.

Teen Titans - Buy Johns' Flash run instead. It's better than any of his other Marvel or DC stuff.

Adam Strange - Has nothing at all to do with Infinite Crisis. Is a stand-alone miniseries with a satisfying ending if you disregard the two pages at the end that were tacked on to lead into Rann/Thanagar War. Also, very very good. Only time I've ever cared about a story with Adam Strange ever.

Mr. Majestic by Casey - Isn't this collection out of print?

Kinetic - Decent. I was surprised DC collected it, so I gave it a shot.

-Ralf Haring

11/20/2005 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger T. said...

Slott has been vocal on several message boards about how the "wait for the trade" mentality hurts books and the industry as a whole. He feels pretty strongly on the subject. I've only bought his work in trades anyway.

11/20/2005 12:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Andrew Hickey said...

Really, you *don't* need to read more Winnick or Johns. Not if you like decent writing, anyway...

11/20/2005 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger joncormier said...

Chalk up another - didn't do the research moment - for Mr. Cormier. I simply looked at the publication date on a book site and it had 2005 so I figured it was a recent story. Ah well. I still haven't read it.

11/21/2005 11:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spider-Man/Human Torch is only out in the $8 mini-digest format Marvel is so fond of, I believe. That's probably why you can't find the trade.

11/21/2005 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Anonymous - I can't even find the digest format on the Human Torch/Spidey book. It will turn up at some point, I'm sure. I can wait.

11/21/2005 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

Teen Titans: I really don't like Johns' writing; in my experience, he veers from brain-numbingly dull to absolutely awful. TT is firmly in the former camp, but his Flash work isn't too bad. But you'd probably still be better off not bothering. I still can't believe that he's DC's main writer nowadays.

Legion: Never read a Legion book before I read Legion Lost, but I had no trouble following that (essentially Star Trek Voyager with the Legion... only good). No chance of it getting collected now that the new series is so popular though.

Deadpool/Agent X: I think there's at least one trade of Agent X, and one of Simone's last Deadpool arc that led into it, but I could be wrong. Either way, the issues should be easy to get.

11/21/2005 04:23:00 PM  
Anonymous daniel apodaca said...

The quality of the Deadpool/Agent X stuff really depends on your sense of humor.

Do you like Chandler Bing? Are you a fan of lazily sarcastic characters that exude nasal tones?

If so, then go for it. You'll have a ball. And the gratuitous T&A will keep you guiltily masturbating for months.

11/21/2005 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

Suffice to say, Daniel is quite wrong.

Well, he's right about the art, but not the writing. ;)

11/21/2005 06:34:00 PM  
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