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review 2017-05-15 00:32
So, yay!
Avengers (2016-) #7 - Mark Waid,Phil Noto,Alex Ross

When the Infamous Iron Man - and by this I mean Victor Von Doom, who dons Iron Man armor all the while doing things like taking out brilliant scientist who are amoral, or just flat out evil - tells the Avengers he needs them to work for them, well, they're all skeptical.   Except, oddly enough, Nadia Pym, who has taken up the mantle of The Wasp, and and who has a messed up childhood in which her scientific acumen saved her from having to kill anyone in the red room.   She might not like Von Doom personally - although she does get chummy with him - although I believe this is partly her not fully understanding what he'd done and partly her optimism, which is, at times naive.   (Even Von Doom concedes that she's naive, and I imagine it would hard to be anything but given how sheltered she was in Russia; coerced into her actions, yes, but she didn't see much of the world.  I also believe this is what allows her to not fully comprehend who Dr. Doom is: she hasn't witnessed, or been affected, by his past actions in a concrete way.   Her childhood could leave her cynical and wary of everyone, or her optimism could remain intact, partly by a willful ignorance of things like what Doom's done.   And on one hand, I love her childlike belief that people will be good, or at least that the good people will prevail, but on the other hand... I think willful ignorance has to play into this in some part, due to what she's been through.   I end up landing at 'but this allows her to deal with her own trauma and to be a hero,' so I'm okay with that.   The girl's been through enough that I'm not going to lash out at her for dealing with things the way she needs to.)

 

Anyway, Doom explains he needs them to explore something somewhere he can't go.   But where would that be?   A girl's camp, of course.   It would cause panic.  I also feel like Doom might be scared of your more typical teenage girls, so also in the future?   If Doom turns evil again, just hide the people he's targeting amongst teen girls.   Him being afraid of them, though, is hilarious.   Although I suspect that he could have done this on his own, despite his reasonable objections.   He could have, and would have, told himself that it was for the greater good and gone in despite his list of reasons this was a bad idea.     And the brilliant thing about this is I bought them all, hook, line and sinker.   I got so engrossed I didn't second guess things, and playing this off with humor helped me let down my shields.    

 

Dr. Doom has an ulterior motive and one that I didn't come close to guessing.   It's also something that makes me think the the might truly be good - or at the very least not villainous.   (His tactics put him strictly as an anti-hero, at least, and while I might root for The Punisher, I don't think of him as a good man.   He's more a fleshed out revenge fantasy, really.   And hey, I love it enough to be following the current series and I followed others, but he's not purely a hero, nor in my list of good characters.)

 

I'm really enjoying this run of Waid's.   And while the art on the first six issues was excellent from a technical standpoint, I wasn't digging it as much as I had other artists takes on this team.   I'm preferring Noto, particularly his take on Vision.   I started reading Avengers for my eye candy - Vision - so not enjoying him as much visually in the first six issue did impact some of my readings and reviews.  (And I think my friends know I have no problem calling out subpar work; this was not that.   It was simply a personality clash, mostly because I'm super picky about Vision.)

 

I'm eager to pick up more of this series.   I also did some research: it looks like Phil Noto is filling in for two issues, and then Del Mundo takes up the art duties again.   I know artists can get to the point where they need breaks, and I know this bothers some people.   I actually understand, and even can enjoy these breaks.   While I'd been hoping Noto would stay on just because I objectively enjoy his art more, I can't emphasize enough how good Del Mundo is, and I can't say I'm upset that he'll be coming back.   (I did more research: the majority of reviews seem to enjoy the art much more than I do.   Which goes right back to this being a 'me' thing.)

 

Love, love, love.   This issue in particular balanced the humor and suspense, and I feel like it revealed a lot about The Wasp.   Even though I knew how good hearted she was, this showed me she was even more optimistic and idealistic than I suspected.   And even if there's that element of naivety to make her that way, I quickly ended up deciding that this made me love her all the more.   I'd enjoy seeing more of Nadia taking a larger role in the Avengers, especially after this issue. 

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review 2017-05-13 00:52
Duggan's last issue
Uncanny Avengers (2015-) #23 - Gerry Duggan,Pepe Larraz,Ryan Stegman

Gerry Duggan is leaving this series, and Jim Zub is going to continue starting with issue 24.   This is bittersweet for me: I loved Zub's Glitterbomb, but Duggan has been one of the consistent must read authors for me in the Marvel stable of writers.   I fell in love with his Deadpool runs, and have suggested people start with them when reading Deadpool.   (Despite his long history, I can't emphasize how much Duggan managed to balance the political satire, outright zaniness, with emotionally fueled storylines that made me care about the character and what was happening to him.   Other writers tended to focus more on the first two, which was fun, but felt like it was treading water after a while; only Duggan made me want to stay on board with this character for the long haul because of his creating a family for Wade Wilson, and giving him a reason to really try to be better.   It hurt more when he failed on occasion, but I felt more.)

 

So, I was going to talk about last issue, especially as this issue referenced a big smooch that I didn't remember.  I'm not sure how - this never happens to me - but I managed to, um, not read last issue, which is why I didn't remember that.   It's fairly big as it wasn't between two characters I expected, so I'm eager to figure out what happened.  I'm also slightly embarrassed.  I never do this, dammit, and I'm anal about reading in order.  I must have put this in my 'read' comics pile and then forgot to double check.   This is the first time this has happened in years, so I don't usually have to double check myself.   On the other hand, this might be a good thing: I have another Uncanny Avengers that Duggan wrote, and hey, it's new to me!   (Which makes my anger at myself over this mistake more forgivable.   I'm actually stoked to read this and have been putting it off for a while, to be honest.   Duggan, if you've forgotten, is the comic book author who was absolutely fucking fine with punching a nazi in the face.   And my love for him, like, doubled when I saw these tweets.  So, yes, a last Uncanny Avengers written by him is a Big Thing for me, and kept me on board with Deadpool AND got me to buy the first Guardians of the Galaxy when Secret Empire was giving me reasons to look over my Marvel list and what I might cut down on buying.)

 

Between Rogue and Deadpool and Beast figuring out why Wonder Man is back, and Synapse trying to help Cable, and figuring out who Stryfe is, there's enough here to overcome my initial hesitancy when I realized I'd messed up early on.   I didn't really have the energy to search for issue #22, and plowed ahead.  I felt like I'd missed a little, but overall, this story stood up on it's own: there's Rogue's continued ability to fly - and the implication that she's still as strong as Wonder Man - and Cable's story that I ended up getting very quickly engrossed in this issue and forgetting that I needed to go back eventually. 

 

Lovely.   Even thought I felt this wasn't quite as much as a goodbye as some final issues were, I'm kind of glad: it made me feel that things would continue on as normal next month.   And hey, I have Duggan on Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy to look forward to in the future!

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review 2017-05-12 01:10
Love, love, love, love so much!
Transformers: Lost Light #5 - Jack Lawrence,James Lamar Roberts

Well, isn't this a trip.   We finally figure out what Rung's purpose is, and although I've been taking incredibly wild stabs in the deepest dark, I've been incredibly... wrong.   Each and every time.   At some point, I would just guess ridiculous things because I knew they were wrong, but it's not like I was ever going to stumble upon the truth.   Much like what's going on with Bee in Robots in Disguise, I figured Rung's Purpose was just something I wouldn't be told forever.   (Although after James Roberts stringing us along with Brainstorm's briefcase, I should have known this would be revealed eventually.  And y'know, Bee was revealed eventually, too.)

 

And I was giddy for this reveal: Roberts does string his readers along, but successfully.   He gives us enough answers to sate us, at least temporarily, all the while planting new mysteries and questions, just as compelling, if not more compelling, than the last questions.   

 

I'm now waiting to see what will happen between Cyclonus, Tailgate, and Whirl.   And while it may not have the implications of Rung's Purpose, while it may be a small thing relatively, I care enough about the characters for this to have inflated importance.   (And let's not forget that Roberts is a master of balancing Big Deals with Small Moments; he makes us care about the small things just as much as the big things, because we care about all the characters and sometimes they care more about the small moments than the big ones.   Multiple reasons are given for this: they care about the people the small things are happening to more than anything in the universe, or the small things are happening to them and make them have huge feelings that the big moments don't make them feel.   I'd argue, though, that Roberts is telling us the small moments are at least as important as the big ones, and that the More Than Meets the Eye issue that states the theory that it's the journey to find the Knights of Cybertron that's the real purpose backs this up.   It's about the time you spend with the people you care about that's the real point of life.)

 

And while there's action, and near death situations, the way this is framed - starting with Skids worried about Rung and ending with the reveal about Rung - it makes it all about him.   Yeah, what he does is a Big Deal.   But we don't start with that; we start with a friend worried about Rung's mental state.   How he feels is just as important as his purpose in life.   No, more important.   And that's why it starts with that scene.   

 

I can't even fully parse this issue.  I never can with these issues, partly because I know Roberts seeds each issue with something further off, sometimes years in advance.   There's also so much crammed in here, it takes multiple rereads to fully appreciate everything in here.   Still, the first reads are always fun at the very least, and Roberts clever one-liners always make me giggle out loud, usually in public.   

 

And while the art is incredible, I have to be honest, the art isn't the 'why' I come to this.   (This has been proven by multiple artists on Roberts' series, and miniseries.   It doesn't matter who's doing the art; I will buy it if Roberts writes.)  While this is still my favorite Transformers series, along with it's predecessor, More Than Meets the Eye, it currently ties with Black Bolt.   (Which is unprecedented.   Also, MTMtE was also written by Roberts, but with a different artist.)  

 

I'm already anticipating the next issue. 

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review 2017-05-12 00:51
Loving this new team
Suicide Squad (2016-) #17 - Rob Williams,Tomeu Morey,Tony Daniel,Sandu Florea

And when I say 'new team' I mean they added a new team member, and boy, does he change the dynamics.   Not so much between the already established characters, but the dynamics of the team itself.   It doesn't just change it for the characters themselves, but for the reader as well: General Zod is not only a massive power player, but he brings a little bit of that 'fuck you' attitude as well.   The question is not if he will escape the Suicide Squad, but rather when.   Until then, Harley Quinn will most likely remain impressed by not only his willingness to jump into dangerous situations, and his instability, but his gusto.   He's not just willing to dive into a suicidal situation, but he relishes the chance - at least for his people.   It doesn't matter that everyone keeps telling him Kryptonians are dead, because he seems to be deluded into thinking they are not, or will somehow make a resurgence. 

 

And how can he help them if the Kryptonian bomb implanted in his head goes off?  Knowing this, he very reluctantly complies with Waller and her team, all the while letting everyone know just how reluctant he is.   

 

And I don't know why, but Tony Daniel's artwork is speaking to me more than Jim Lee's at least on this book.   Don't get me wrong, Lee is a true master of this art form, but I'm enjoying Daniel's artwork more, possibly because it feels less busy to me.   As intricate as Lee can go, it can distract me from the way the words and art work together.   This is something that I read hoping for a lot of action, and this feels  more streamlined artistically to me.   And that works better in this series.  I had no complaints while Lee was illustrating, and I would have none if he continued most likely.   It's only in retrospect that I see that this works better for me. 

 

As always, I'm looking forward to the next issue. 

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review 2017-05-05 23:20
Yaaaaay!
Tongues of Serpents - Naomi Novik

It took me two months to read this, because comics, depression, anxiety, and the fact that for a huge chunk of this comic everyone gets really hot.   And I'm not talking sexy, here.   No robot dragons.   Just a whole lot of sweating and thirst.   And I mean, obviously hyperbole, but jeebus, I needed something to happen!   Much like in her other books, Novik brings on the action fast and furious when it comes time for all that, but jeebus the first half of this book. 

 

And all my whining is highly unfair: I still love Temeraire, and I love how views the world.   They were, in fairness, trying to find something very precious they had lost, and while I found it boring, I still wanted to spend more time with these characters. 

 

And as always, the ending saved this from a lower star rating.   Enough happens between the characters to make this a very, very. very long character study of them all and how they get along.  Enough happens to certain characters that I loved them for that I was willing to overlook some of the faults in this novel - like the long, boring journey's where, like, nothing happens.  

 

Enough happens in the ending to set up the next book.   But, jeebus.   I need a break.   Oh, look, the Transformers/GI Joe crossover.   The one that I've been sitting on because I'm not very fond of the series, but new Transformers stuff so you know I'm going to read it.  I need at least that before I start on this series again.

 

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