July Reads, 2014

eh.. sorry I'm late..
eh.. sorry I'm late..

wow, what a great month for comics!

read 16 issues this month, and this is what I thought of them.

and more importantly...

HAWKGUY'S BACK!!!

List items

  • Hawkeye #19

    This was the first issue of Hawkeye to come out in the last 4 months, but in all honesty it was totally worth the wait.

    Though the plot's been dangling for months about what happened to Hawkeye and his brother (who were last seen being shot point blank), this issue explains it not only right away but in a wonderful way that feels totally organic to both the story and the theme of the book.

    When it comes right down to it, this book's as much about storytelling as it is about the story itself, and this issue was one of the most well-executed examples of that approach in practice. Still one of the most satisfying books on the shelf, and this may be the best issue of the series.

    Hawkguy's back, babies

  • Uncanny Avengers #22

    This. This is how you do an epic and satisfying conclusion to an epic story that was, like, 17 issues in the making.

    This issue brings into focus everything the team's been facing for the majority of the series, concluding several plot-threads and still leaving the door open for a few more to come.

    Remender and Acuna bring their A-game to this issue, with every page packed with great character moments, pitch-perfect plot twists, and larger-than-life action sequences.

    And not only was it a satisfying conclusion, but with major developments for Wasp, Havok, Sunfire, and Rogue, it also made me more excited than ever to see what happens next for this book.

    Not just one of the best issues this month, but also one of the best Avengers stories I've read in years.

  • Wonder Woman #33

    First off, I'm just going to say that the Firstborn, the nameless one, whatever you call him, is the epic arch-nemesis that Wonder Woman has always deserved. And in this issue he's at his most viciously self-entitled, setting up everything she says to him for great, super-bad-ass defiance; just epic stuff.

    And of course Cliff Chiang returns for the art in this issue, who, along with great colors from Matthew Wilson, makes this also one of the best looking books I read this month.

  • Mighty Avengers #12

    The use of both Blue Marvel and Blade has so far already been enough to make this book feel like the secret history of the Marvel Universe, but as a tie-in to the Original Sin event, this latest arc reveals some of the most interesting connections yet to be established.

    As much as I'm excited to see how these revelations play out for the team in the present, I really think I would read a book just about Blade, Blue Marvel, and Luke Cage's dad set in the 70's.

    As usual Land's art stays mainly in the range between serviceable and stiff, but his mildly cinematic approach to layouts and pacing still works well enough for the story.

    Either way, still one of my favorite books out there.

  • Uncanny X-men (vol.3) #23 and #24

    while I was a bit disappointed with how little actually happened in issue #23, there were some great little moments between Cyclops and his team. And She-hulk's always a treat. And Kris Anka's art even more so.

    That said, issue #24 was pretty great. The only unsatisfying thing was wanting to see what happened next, which isn't much of a criticism. Great art, intriguing and entertaining character moments: really just a great issue all around.

    Probably you could just skip issue #23, but I wouldn't have wanted to miss anything about issue #24.

  • X-men (vol.4) #16 and #17

    Fairly satisfied with the conclusion to this arc and the arc in general.

    The art for most of issue #16 is a bit disappointing after the art we've seen in the first chapters of this story, sort of just seeming a bit sloppy or rushed, though there are a few nice looking pages with Psylocke's team in the jungle that really work.

    The art in the first half of issue #17 seemed rushed and lackluster as well, but the second half looked great.

    The conclusion was typical of Wood in that it was a bit anti-climatic, but the tension and character moments built through the issue still satisfied in the end.

    My only other criticism would be that they seemed to add a bunch of new members to the team for none of them to really be important to the story, which made it feel a bit more like fan-service than actually essential to the story itself. Likewise, Wood had done such a great job of establishing the Future as an intriguing new threat that it seemed a bit of a waste to have him ultimately undone so randomly, but as I say, I'm not really surprised given Wood's penchant for anti-climatic conclusions. For my part, I'm quite hoping we haven't seen the end of the Future just yet.

    Still, I've really enjoyed the entire run of Bloodline, overall, and it does make me a bit disappointed to see Wood go.

  • She-Hulk #6

    okay, strait-up, a lot of people are probably not going to like Ron Wimberly's art: it's pretty weird. Personally, I think it's pretty interesting, and especially refreshing for a such a mainstream book to go with, but it's not for everyone.

    That said, this is already becoming one of the more intriguing She-Hulk stories I've read (and I've read me some good She-Hulk stories); conspiracy is a theme that fits the character well, and I'm already feeling like this could be one of the character's most memorable stories.

    If your looking for something a little different, this story seems a decent place to look.

  • All-new X-factor #10 and #11

    Both of these issues were quite satisfying.

    Issue #10 sees the new character, Georgia, getting acquainted with her father/new villain, Momento Mori, and we see some of the interpersonal drama of the team start to effect some great twists in the plot.

    Issue #11 continues the story bringing the focus back to how actually cool Gambit can be, and makes great use of Quicksilver's abilities in moving the story both logically and quickly. David's always been the definitive Quicksilver scribe in my mind, and one of the few writers that seems to appreciate what a big game-changer he can be. It's nice to see both Gambit and Danger receive this amount of consideration as well, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if he ends up being my favorite writer for both of them as well.

    Given what this series consistently brings to the table, in story, characterization, and rich, flavorful art, it's looking pretty likely.

  • Cyclops #3

    Surprisingly (to me), I'm still loving this book.

    The way the plot points have been paced in the first few issues really made me feel like it would be at least another issue or two before they were really dealt with, but this book keeps chugging along with each issue feeling like the next logical chapter.

    And, to my mind, some of the nicest looking art at marvel.

    Just very smooth and organic on all fronts.

  • Storm #1

    this series is off to a strong start right out of the gate with a wonderful, character-driven little Storm story and some of the most pleasing art of any book I read this month.

    While we do get a bit of her role with the X-men established here, the characters are used well and sparingly, and as much for context as anything. I suppose if Storm's to have her own book it makes sense she'd have some X-men in her supporting cast. Beast's role as Storm's strait-man in this issue works especially well to take Storm herself, so often in the strait-man role, and color her as more dynamic and dimensional than we often get to see her.

    Really wasn't sure what to think of this book in theory, but Storm's always been a favorite, and the art looked nice, so I gave it a chance.

    And with this issue I'm pretty happy I did.

  • New Avengers Annual (vol.3) #1

    Sort of picked this up on a whim after dropping the current New Avengers book last month and still being interested in a decent Dr.Strange story, which is what this is.

    Actually, I can't say I've ever read a better solo-Dr.Strange story, though admittedly I haven't read very many.

    Marco Rudy's art was strange, but strange in a way that really suited the story. It reminded me a bit of J.H. Williams III when he did Promethea (which certainly seems appropriate in itself), but in many ways much darker and more primal (which again really fit the tone of the story).

    Very interesting art and a great story, if you're interested in Dr.Strange at all, I would definitely recommend checking this issue out.

  • 100th Anniversary Special: the Avengers #1

    man, what a long, awkward title.. I wonder if all marvel books will be titled so confusingly in the future..

    This story's set in the future, ostensibly 25 years from now, which I guess is like 8 years of Marvel time, though it looks like it could be set 100 years in the future either way.

    The only remaining Avengers are Rogue, Dr.Strange, Beta-Ray Bill, and Tony Stark's disembodied brain, inhabiting a war-torn Earth that looks like something out of an old Heavy Metal story.

    Actually, the art was a big draw for me on this one, and it really does read just like an issue of Heavy Metal (that happens to have some marvel characters in it): not an especially deep or profound story, but fun to read because of the art.

    If you like Heavy Metal, I'd certainly recommend it.

  • Wolverine & the X-men (vol.2) #6

    As much as I've enjoyed this series so far, for it's nice character moments, fun sense of absurdity, and wonderful art, I was a bit disappointed with the conclusion of this arc.

    While what I assume are Asrar's pages at the end of the book look pretty solid, the pages done by other artists are somewhat jarring in comparison to both previous chapters and each other, making for a somewhat confusingly told finale. Maybe I might not have noticed, but the plot of the book has become increasingly confusing anyway, and not really any less so in this issue, despite being the conclusion.

    The issue did still deliver with some good comical moments and character developments, but the confusing plot and hard-to-follow art makes me feel this issue was probably the weakest of the series so far.

    I'll pick up the next issue to see where the story goes in the second arc, because I have been really enjoying the book overall, but this issue was pretty disappointing, especially as a finale.