Archive for the ‘The Stack’ Category

September 5th, 2015  Posted at   The Stack
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Like a phoenix from the ashes, The Stack has been reborn!

The Stack

Part reading journal. Part cover gallery. All comics. The Stack is now a daily-ish gallery of comics art based on my reading habits, along with occasional knee-jerk reviews and snarky commentary — all delivered direct to your Facebook feed (provided you like the page, that is — and, honestly, why wouldn’t you?). Feel free to share the images and post your own thoughts and commentary — but most of all, enjoy the awesomeness that is comic books.

January 1st, 2012  Posted at   The Stack

Now that is more like it. As I mentioned last month, there was a mix-up in my comic order, resulting in me getting two months’ worth of books at once, so I had a lot of ground to make up. And make it up I did.

Here’s December:

Action Comics (Vol. 2) #1-3
All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold #12-13
Billy Tucci’s A Child is Born
DCU Holiday Special 2010
Green Lantern (Vol. 4) #2-3
Green Lantern Corps (Vol. 3) #2-3
Green Lantern: New Guardians #2-3
Green Lantern: The Animated Series #0
Red Lanterns #2-3
Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #1-2
Superboy (Vol. 3) #63-72
Supergirl (Vol. 4) #33-42
Superman (Vol. 3) #2-3
Team Superman #1
Tiny Titans #45-46
Young Justice (Vol. 2) #9-10
Young Justice #9-18
Young Justice in No Man’s Land #1
Batman Chronicles Vol. 6 trade paperback
Showcase Presents: Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 3 trade paperback

Total: 56 comics, 2 trades (Year total: 410 comics, 17 trades)

The Legion Showcase continued from last month, and I also started the second volume of Heroes, so more on that in the next installment.

But what a way to end the year, eh? The most productive month of the year, hands down. It was really nice to end the year on a high note — not just with reading a lot of books, but reading a lot of books that I truly enjoyed (more on that in a minute).

All said-and-done, the year-end total was 410 comics and 17 trades, not including any podcast-related reading. That averages out to roughly a book and a half per day. That’s not at all a bad rate.

So, as for the books from this month themselves… well, let’s start with the not-so-great. I’m a little sad to say I’ve just not been overly impressed with any of the “New 52” books. None of that I am reading are bad… they just aren’t great. A lot of it feels very much like business as usual, just with a new coat of paint that will wear off quickly.

The best is probably Grant Morrison’s ACTION COMICS. I actually went back and re-read the first issue before re-reading issues two and three, rather than just skimming it as I did the others. I actually wanted to re-read it. On the other hand, we all knew it would be among the cream of the crop and even given that, it still feels like something that will be far more enjoyable in trade form.

But, we’ll move on. I was dismayed to learn about the pending cancellations of TINY TITANS and ALL NEW BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD. Neither are surprising, especially the Batman book with the cartoon off-air now, but, still, both were solid reads pretty much month-in and month-out and I will miss them both.

“Johnny DC” titles traditionally don’t last more than a few years, which is unfortunate since, for some reason, it takes them a while to hit their strides. The good news is, the current YOUNG JUSTICE book is strong and the first issue (or is that “zeroth” issue?) of the Green Lantern book tying into the comic was fun, even though it felt like they were biding time. So, maybe there is hope.

On the reading project front, I got through just shy of a year’s worth of SUPERBOY, YOUNG JUSTICE and SUPERGIRL. SUPERBOY has been a little tepid, to be honest. Karl Kesel is doing Superboy through Kirby-vision goggles, which is fine… just not quite to my taste. And I can’t get into the Wildlands characters at all. But, Kesel still has a solid grip on the character and the book has taken a stiff upturn with the blockbuster “Evil Factory” storyline. Unfortunately, I know Kesel’s final departure is looming just around the corner. I can’t say I’m looking forward to that.

I haven’t been enjoying SUPERGIRL as much, but, as I recall, this is a bit of a lull period for the title. The last issue I read this month feature the return of Buzz, so things should start picking up soon as we hit the run-up to issue #50.

YOUNG JUSTICE is incredibly fun and very awesome. I can’t believe it took me so long to read this series. I’ve got one more issue, and then it will hit the “Sins of Youth” storyline, which I hope to be able to read in a concentrated dose over the period of a few days. Good times ahead!

Looking ahead to 2012, I have decided to keep going with The Stack. I should be able to wrap up the reading project by spring or early summer and plan to start another after that. I don’t know what that project will be. But, stay tuned!

December 1st, 2011  Posted at   The Stack

Due to a mix-up with my comic order, I didn’t get any new comics in November. So, unfortunately this month’s edition of The Stack is a bit different… or at least ostensibly shorter.

Here’s November:

Superboy (Vol. 3) #62
Supergirl (Vol. 4) #32
Supreme #1
Young Justice #8
Young Justice 80-Page Giant #1
Marvel Zombies, Vol. 2 trade paperback
Newsboy Legion by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby hardcover

Total: 5 comics, 2 trades (Year total: 354 comics, 15 trades)

I should get two months worth of new books with my next shipment, so next month’s edition should return to normal. On the bright side, with less new books to read, I was able to plow through the Newsboy Legion hardcover, which was awesome, as well as most of the third volume of SHOWCASE PRESENTS: LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES. I’ve only got a couple stories left in that volume, so I’ll include it on the next edition of The Stack.

The Reading Project also got stalled this month because of the lack of new books (I weave the two together, working in books from the Reading Project in between new books throughout the month). So, that should resume in December, as well.

I did realize I made a colossal blunder on that front, though, in that I left out the OUTSIDERS volume from the mid-90s that featured the Eradicator. I’m well past the end of that series now, so it’s too late to work it in. Ah well.

Anyway, that’s it for this edition. Please return next month as we resume our regular coverage.

November 1st, 2011  Posted at   The Stack

I did a bit of a double-take when typing the headline for this post. It’s hard to believe we’re through October already. It seems I just started this feature! It doesn’t seem like it was 10 months ago.

But, nonetheless, here’s October:

Action Comics (Vol. 2) #1
All New Batman: Brave and the Bold #11
DCU Halloween Special 2010
Golden Age #1-4
Green Lantern (Vol. 5) #1
Green Lantern Corps (Vol. 3) #1
Green Lantern: New Guardians #1
Red Lanterns #1
Secret Origins 80-Page Giant #1
Superboy (Vol. 3) #57-61, 1,000,000
Supergirl (Vol. 4) #26-31, 1,000,000
Superman (Vol. 3) #1
Tiny Titans #44
Young Justice #3-7, 1,000,000
Young Justice (Vol. 2) #8
Young Justice Secret Files #1
Absolute Justice hardcover
Batman Chronicles, Vol. 6 trade paperback

Total: 35 comics, 2 trades (Year total: 349 comics, 13 trades)

THE GOLDEN AGE was a series I picked up on a recommendation from Michael Bailey (of Takes of the Justice Society of America, From Crisis to Crisis and several other podcasts. While I was a bit bored with it for the first two issues, it turned out to be an excellent story. I highly recommend it. Just don’t get turned off for the slow start. It’s a lot of build up and character, but it pays off. Trust me.

I don’t have much else by way of commentary this month. But, since the DCnU has begun in earnest, I thought I’d offer some very brief thoughts on the first issues of the six DCnU titles I’m reading. I probably won’t continue this in future Stack installments. But, I thought some might be interested. Plus, it might be nice to have them saved for posterity. I wrote these throughout the preceding month, soon after reading each book.

ACTION COMICS (Vol. 2) #1: An entertaining and solid read. But then, we knew it would be. While I may not be a believer that a reboot was warranted and I certainly question the wisdom of taking this tack with Superman in 2011, I have not yet doubted Morrison. I know he will ultimately do right by the character.

GREEN LANTERN (Vol. 5) #1: Good, but an absolute failure. This issue reads like just another issue in Geoff Johns’ run. Good, yes, but newcomers would feel none of the emotional resonance of Hal being ringless and Sinestro (Sinestro!!) having a green ring. We get no back story, no history, no connection to our hero (who comes off as a deadbeat loser). I see what Johns is doing and it’s fine if you’ve been reading his run to this point… but it’s a failure in regards to The New 52.

RED LANTERNS #1: Less violent than I thought it would be, but… meh. It was rather dull, but at least, unlike the above-mentioned GREEN LANTERN (Vol. 4) #1, we got a proper introduction to the character for the uninitiated. I’m curious, though, how they plan on sustaining an ongoing title where the protagonist is based on hate and rage — yes, a villain — without turning him into a hero. (Prediction: They won’t.)

(Side thought: I wonder if they would not have been better off replacing this book with an LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT-type “Tales of the Corps” series, where the creative team (or rotating creative teams, if needed), could tell arcs featuring members of the various Corps. Fruitless naval-gazing, I guess.)

GREEN LANTERN CORPS (Vol. 3) #1: Overly-gruesome for a book rated T. (RED LANTERNS is rated T+ and had less blood and gore.) Other than that, though, I though it was a strong lead issue. A great basic primer to the concept of the Green Lantern Corps, as well as the two main characters of the book (Guy and John) for the new readers, without being tiring to the returning. The strongest of the opening issues for four GREEN LANTERN-related books.

SUPERMAN (Vol. 3) #1: It’s curious… this issue seemed to be dancing around, loudly proclaiming, “Look! We’re new! We’re neeeeeeeew!” While at the same time trying to throw in Easter eggs to placate the old readers and bide their time, waiting for Morrison to establish more of their playground. But looking at it more objectively… this seemed more like an introduction to Lois Lane (and Metropolis and Morgan Edge) than the titular character. I’m not sure why new readers and non-fans would care about the main character or want to pick up the second issue beyond, “It’s Superman.”

GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #1: Another failure, but not to the degree of GREEN LANTERN (Vol. 4) #1. We did get a recap of Kyle’s back-story, but we got no context for it. We got no explanation of the Green Lanterns Corps or the other colored Corps. Granted, we didn’t need a detailed explanation… but something would have been helpful. It was just a thin read, and what we did get… I don’t think it was enough to hook the new folks. As a first issue of this magnitude, it just needed to be more.

I’ve seen a lot of comments (not about these six titles, but others) that said, in not so many words, the second issue was better. A hopeful thought, but not exactly a good thing when DC was putting a lot of bank on this slate of number ones. I can’t help but wonder if many of them simply didn’t suffer from too many cooks in the kitchen. We shall see, I guess.

Oh! I didn’t talk about the reading project. Hmm… maybe that’s because there’s simply not much to say. It’s progressing and I’m enjoying the titles across the line. Early 1999 was a strong time for the Superman Family titles (odd since the four Superman books themselves, to the best of my recollection, were pretty lukewarm).

I’ve also decided to add in Mark Waid’s run LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES (Vol. 5) when that comes up. Since I’ll be transitioning and following Superboy into TEEN TITANS (Vol. 3), at least to the end of Geoff Johns’s run… and Waid’s Legion kind of spins from that, courtesy of the TEEN TITANS/LEGION SPECIAL, it should be a natural extension, even if it’s not strictly Superman Family, despite Kara Zor-El joining the team in the last third.

October 1st, 2011  Posted at   The Stack

It was a bit of a lighter month this time. At least it was on the surface. Anyway, let’s just get into it, eh? Here’s September:

Action Comics #904
All New Batman: Brave and the Bold #11
Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search For Swamp Thing #3
JLA: World Without Grown-Ups #1-2
Green Lantern Corps (Vol. 2) #63
Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #13
Resurrection Man #16-17
Showcase Presents: Justice League of America Vol. 4 trade paperback
Steel #51-52
Superboy (Vol. 3) #52-56
Supergirl (Vol. 4) #22-25
Supergirl (Vol. 5) #67
Superman #714
Superman/Batman #87
Superman Beyond #0
Tiny Titans #43
Young Justice #1-2
Young Justice: The Secret #1
War of the Green Lanterns: Aftermath #2

Total: 29 comics, 1 trade (Year total: 314 comics, 11 trades)

SHOWCASE PRESENTS: JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol. 4 was actually started last month, but finished this. To be honest, I was let down by this volume. It’s mostly comprised of Denny O’Neil-written stories and, sadly, he’s never been my choice writer. It’s nothing against his ability, he (by his own admission) just doesn’t “get” the characters I’m most into. And conversely, the characters he does get, I’m not into as much. Still, it was nice to read the earliest appearances of the Earth-2 Superman.

Coincidentally, I also started the ABSOLUTE JUSTICE hardcover this month. I read the series when it came out in single issues. The art was beautiful, but the pacing was horribly slow. I thought reading it “all at once” would improve that. It really hasn’t. The art is still great, though.

Despite the tepid stories, all this JLA-reading has me really psyched for Charlie Niemeyer and Isaac Frisbie’s Podcast of Justice, coming soon to an iTunes near you. Gotta love the JLA, even in bad stories!

As for the Reading Project front, in September I bid farewell to STEEL and kicked off YOUNG JUSTICE, which is a title I’ve not read more than a couple issues of (around the time of “Our Worlds at War,” as I recall). I’m only two issues in and I’m really enjoying it. It’s the type of writing Peter David is great at. I have a feeling it’s going to be a really fun read.

I think I’m about halfway through the project now. I’ve enjoyed it, but future reading projects will be smaller in scope. (And one final note: The RESURRECTION MAN issues listed above were part of the project, as they were parts one and three of a three-part story with an issue SUPERGIRL).

As you can see, I closed out the post-Crisis DCU this month. It seems odd to say I read the last issues… since I really didn’t. There’s still lots of material from that era to read. As I’m sure others have said, most books went out with a whimper. None of the books I read had any real finality to them and the four Super-related ones were utterly unimpressive. The two Green Lantern titles were nice notes to end on, but hardly what they deserved. Even though it was forced, I liked that GREEN LANTERN: EMERALD WARRIORS went out with a one-punch gag, as that’s such a seminal moment in Guy Gardner’s history (and really, Batman and the post-Crisis DCU as a whole).

But on a more positive note, ALL-NEW BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD was another knock-out. This is seriously the best Johnny DC title since Mark Millar’s run on SUPERMAN ADVENTURES. It doesn’t exactly carry the tone of the cartoon, but, man Sholly Fisch is telling some good stories. Issue #10 was real heart-tugger at the end.

SUPERMAN BEYOND #0 was also quite enjoyable. It reminded me quite a bit of the tone of the DCAU stuff without being slavish to it, you know? We haven’t gotten a Superman story like this in the “regular” books for ages. Here we have a Superman who’s inspiring. Here we have a Superman who’s witty without being campy. Here we have a Superman who, while trying to find his place, does so without being a full-on mopey, “woe-is-me,” sad sack. If this issue leads to an ongoing series (which I’m guessing is the intention… why else number it a #0?), and can retain the spirit and tone of this issue, I am definitely interested.

But that’s it for September. My order from DCBS is in transit as I type this, so I’ll be getting my first issues of ACTION COMICS (*sigh* Vol. 2) and SUPERMAN (Vol. 3) next week and will include them in October edition of The Stack. Wish me luck.