Thanks for stopping by. Nickel here, co-host of the Graphic Novice Comic Book Podcast. You might remember me from episodes like “Coffee and Comics: A Very Special Graphic Novice Engagement” and “Back to the Future Past”. If you’ve listened to our humble little podcast before, you know that I try to read a few comics every week. The life gods conspired against me in the days leading up to Episode 25, and as such, I never got the the chance to read the stack of books released July 16th, that I had set aside for the show. If you listen to episode 25 you will get to witness something rare around the old Graphic Novice studios… namely, long periods of silence from yours truly (Nickel). In an attempt to avoid having to remain completely silent, I have to decided to use the written (or typed) word to share my thoughts on a few of the books that I was unable to read in time for the show.
Amazing X-Men #9
At no point in recent memory was I thinking to myself, “Self, how come there aren’t more current comic book storylines with Wendigos?” And as such, “World War Wendigo” didn’t excite me that much, but having Craig Kyle and Chris Yost teaming up on an X-Men book again did excite me, so I was happy to see their names on the cover of Amazing X-Men #8, even if their first 5 part story was going to involve a Wendigo infestation. In X-Men #8, Wolverine heads back to Canada to visit his old Alpha Flight pals, Heather and James Hudson. Instead, he found Wendigos. In this issue, the rest of the Amazing X-Men team (Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Northstar, Rachel Grey, Iceman and Firestar) follow Wolverine to Canada after Rachel senses Logan’s fear, Alpha Flight members Puck and Talisman show up to help Logan, we are provided a broader picture of the outbreak, Captain America and Thor make very brief cameos, we’re introduced to a little girl named Amber who is stuck in the middle of the outbreak, Iceman and Firestar are used for comic relief, Talisman is set to save the day, and eventually we’re left with a last page cliffhanger, that leaves the reader guessing what will happen next. This issue did a nice job of setting up the rest of the story, and leaves the reader with a sense of anticipation for the rest of the arc. While its an unlikely choice for anyone’s book of the week, its an entertaining read, and a decent start to Kyle and Yost’s run. If you’re a fan X-Men books, I’d recommend picking up books 8 and 9.
What I liked: After writing at least two fairly long running x-men series, and working on various x-men television shows, Kyle and Yost have the voices and personalities of the x-men down. They’ve got a great cast, especially for the older x-men fans, and the story has been pretty enjoyable after two issues. Brandon, Manitoba being overrun by Wendigos, is also a nice little easter egg for Canadians familiar with the Canadian prairies and southern Manitoba.
What I didn’t like: It doesn’t feel like this series will tie-in with the events in other books very well, which is forgivable but definitely a little bit annoying. Once again, the reader is left to wonder how many places Wolverine can be in at the same time.
Hickman’s epic Avengers tale continues, with Captain America and the gang hurdling through time, gaining knowledge of their current situation from future versions of themselves and/or various other Marvel superheroes tied to the Avengers in one way or another. To understand these books, you should probably need to read the entire current New Avengers run, and most of the current Avengers books. However, to summarize in a very Graphic Novice manner, every so often an earth from another universe/dimension is set to collide with “our” earth (referred to as an incursion). The other earths are destroyed to save our earth. These “other earths” are not exact duplicates but variations of our earth, and the “New Avengers” (Dr. Strange, Iron Man, Black Panther, Namor, Reed Richards and Beast) are secretly doing whatever it takes to save our earth from perishing.
This book is an Original Sin tie-in and as such, Captain America has discovered a secret… that he has been deceived by the clandestine New Avengers, and mind wiped to stop him from hindering their plans. Cap is not all that pleased, but seems to be most upset with Tony Stark. In this issue, Captain America, Starbrand and Black Widow have jumped 5045 years into the future and have met up with Franklin Richards who is fairly cryptic at least in my mind, but does show them an Avengers planet construct. I assumed the earth was no more, but could be wrong. I find the current Avengers title fairly hard to follow. I feel like I’m missing out on half the book, because I cant keep the multiverse incursion plot straight in my head… But as challenging as I have found the story to follow, there is still enough here to keep the novice reader engaged. I have always enjoyed the concept of the New Avengers Illuminati, and would read these books just to keep up with that current storyline.
What I liked: These books always look nice, and the plot is moving along nicely. I’m excited about getting to the conclusion of the forward-only time traveling storyline, and it looks like the next book will have to at least start to wrap things up.
What I Didn’t Like: The concepts behind the story are tough to keep straight, and the overall story is quite difficult to follow. if youre like me, you read these books and question how much you are missing from a lack of knowledge of the subject material.
Buy/Borrow/Pass – Borrow
Boom Studios’ experimental imprint, BoomBox publishes this book out and its undoubtedly intended for younger readers than yours truly… but none the less, the art is great, and its a fun book to read. As a fan of comics in general, I like to have some of these books in my file, if only to make a Doc Thirst feel a little better about being a “My Little Pony” fan. Our band of Lumberjane Scouts are still trying to discover the mysteries of the forest surrounding their summer camp, and while out looking for the lighthouse from last issue, they encounter various plant life, talking Yetis, and a troop of mysterious boy scouts.
What I liked: The art is fun, the story is fun, and there I always make sure to check out the mix-tape playlist included at the end of each issue. The lumberjane scout characters are fun, and the book is light-hearted but still manages to keep you engaged in the story-line.
What I Didn’t Like: There isn’t a lot not to like, as long as you don’t mind reading material probably intended for a younger audience. If you can look beyond that, this is a fun book that is difficult to criticize. Buy/Borrow/Pass – Depends on what you’re looking for – Buy to read with your pre-teen daughter – Pass if you like hunting and UFC.
Sometimes when a book or movie is overhyped it becomes extremely difficult for it to live up to its hype. For me, the reverse is true concerning Grayson #1. No matter how I tried, I couldn’t muster up the negativity that reviewers like our friend Des Hassing provide over on musingsofageek.com. And, that’s not to say I don’t agree with just about everything he has to say, I just didn’t find the book that painful of a read. It felt a bit light and fluffy for a spy book, but other than that, it was moderately engaging with some aspects that might entice me to pick up the next issue.
Its possible that I don’t have the connection to the DC Universe to dislike this book enough, but its refreshingly different than every other DC book I read, and the underlying story could prove interesting. Without having very much knowledge of the Midnighter character, I thought he was an interesting add-on to the story and I would consider reading on just to see what they do with him.
What I liked: It was better than I thought it would be, The Midnighter appearance was good.
What I didn’t like: A lot of the intrigue seems like its already been revealed. Dick Grayson could have been anyone, and the entire book felt a little too light-hearted for the book I thought I was reading. I didn’t like the cover either.
Buy/Borrow/Pass: Pass (I will probably stick with it for a few more issues, but I wont recommend that course of action)
Detective Comics #33
As previously discussed in Graphic Novice Episode #21, I’m a pretty big fan of this particular Detective Comics story arc, and what the creative team has done with the book. I had started piling up issues of Detective Comics to read later, until this arc started, and my old pal VF jumped on board. This issue continued to deliver.
What I liked: The art, the story, pretty much everything about this book
What I didn’t like: having to wait for the next issue
Once again, this is just my recap of a few of the books I wasn’t able to discuss in episode 25. Please send all your hate mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.