What I’ve Been Reading (July 2020)

Another month, another “What I’ve Been Reading” (yeah, I renamed it). This time, the comics industry is properly restarted, which is nice… then DC did their distributor thing which makes re-ordering trades awkward (and screws over retailers)… and now we’re in the middle of event nonsense with DC’s Dark Nights: Death Metal and Marvel’s Empyre… so yeah, so my comic reading is still mostly trades, which is what these posts are about, essentially — older stuff I’m reading, usually in trade, which I give my very quick and casual opinions on (and I guess it’s also now also a general blog update thing), which is harder when Australian comic stores are having trouble getting some DC trades.

Oh yeah, I’m including manga I’m reading on this too now. I got back into reading manga late last year and have kept up with it fairly well. It’s sequential art, even if manga has different conventions to Western comics, so why not? Also, so I can have more non-superhero stuff on here, because it’d probably come off as kinda one-note if that’s all that was on here.

Anyway, here’s what I spent my time reading in July as I braced myself for uni to start again and the upcoming X of Swords crossover to begin, which I will be reading.

Continue reading “What I’ve Been Reading (July 2020)”

Passing the Baton — Who Should Write The Flash Next?

After finishing my “In the Hood” post about good candidates for the next writer of Red Hood, it occured to me that Joshua Williamson’s run on The Flash is also ending soon. In fact, a month sooner than Scott Lobdell’s Red Hood, so… yeah, I’m going to put together a wishlist for Comic Book Santa and hope he delivers!

Joshua Williamson’s run on The Flash began in 2016, with the advent of the DC Rebirth initiative. Initially promising an examination of the DCU and a return of the Flash characters lost as a result of the New 52, it instead became this strange holding pattern, as DC’s plans were delayed and changed, and other series influenced what Williamson could really do with the title. It also had this weird fixation with tearing down Barry Allen as a character by having him repeatedly fail, having characters call him out on his mistakes and just shitting on him in general… and then never really did anything with that. Barry just… kept making mistakes. I’m not the character’s biggest fan, and the guy barely has a personality, but it became very hard to read and I only recently hopped back on.

The series had two, almost barely related stories. One focused on the Speed Force and the wider Flash mythos, introducing new characters like Godspeed, Avery Ho and Paradox while heavily featuring Eobard Thawne’s return. The other was focused on the Rogues and turning them into generic villains as they and Barry finally stopped “playing around” and got serious about their jobs. The Speed Force-heavy stories were very hit-or-miss, but played with the mythos in some interesting ways, while the Rogues stories were… not good, being average at best.

With the DCU seemingly working out its kinks after the conclusion of Doomsday Clock, the advent of Dark Nights: Death Metal which seems to be leading into a big semi-reboot by working in elements of the cancelled Generations series, and Williamson’s final story, “Finish Line”, promising a return of the Flash Family proper, I’m going to look at some creators who I feel, unburdened by the need to reintroduce missing elements of Flash mythos, could write some entertaining Flash stories and why I think they could. Just like with “In the Hood”, I’ll be trying to keep these reasonable and probably avoid anyone who’s had a run on the title already, as much as Mark Waid or Geoff Johns returning would be fun.

Anyway, here we go.

Continue reading “Passing the Baton — Who Should Write The Flash Next?”

In the Hood — Who Should Be the Next Red Hood Writer?

Scott Lobdell’s run on Red Hood and the OutlawsRed Hood/Arsenal and Red Hood: Outlaw is coming to an end. For the majority of the 2010s, Lobdell has been the driving force behind the stories told with Jason Todd, the second Robin and then Red Hood. I can’t say I’m sad to see it end, because I’ve always felt that Lobdell took an interesting character and boiled him down to his lowest common denominator appeal — this is not helped by the likely reason behind Lobdell leaving.

For those who don’t know, Jason Todd was the second Robin and famously was killed by the Joker. He returned to life and took up the identity of the Red Hood and was a Batman villain because he couldn’t get over how Bruce Wayne never killed the Joker for all he’d done — clearly also tied to his own daddy issues with Bruce. He would also go on to menace Dick Grayson during his Batman tenor before the New 52 clumsily reintegrated him into the Bat-family, and he has since been primarily written as a largely generic anti-hero bad boy by Scott Lobdell. It has not been a good run for most people, and every fan of the character I know has welcomed this news and has been waiting for a change of writer for years.

I’m going to talk about who I feel should be handed the reins to Jason Todd’s character. Some will be obvious, some less so, but these are creators who I feel would do Jason Todd justice. These aren’t writers who I feel would really be replicating Lobdell’s style or even be the types to have him be aligned with the Bat-family, if they had a choice. These are just writers who I feel would do well with the character.

I want these to be at least somewhat reasonable, so I’m not going to throw, like, Brian Michael Bendis on here or something — these are creators who I could actually see writing a good Red Hood ongoing, and I’ll explain why. Continue reading “In the Hood — Who Should Be the Next Red Hood Writer?”

Falling Back Into Dragon Ball

When it comes to Shonen, everyone has their first love. Really, I think my first proper Shonen anime that I got really into was Naruto (of course), which happened during my teenage years (of course) when I was a big weeb (of course). But, really, my first proper one, from all the way back in my days as a child barbarian with no Fuzz to speak of, was Dragon Ball Z.

Thanks to COVID-19 putting the comic book industry on hold, and with me not being interested in the video games that haven’t been delayed, I decided to watch Dragon Ball Super. This awakened things in me…

I ended up watching all of Super, playing Xenoverse 2, playing FighterZ and watching Battle of GodsResurrection ‘F’ and Broly, and even reading some of the Super manga. Now I want to talk about Dragon Ball, because… well, I’m bored, and trying to limit going outside. But beyond that, this experience has exposed me to anime again in a big way, and it’s thanks to rediscovering something that I thought I’d moved on from.

Here are my (relatively) brief opinions on the Dragon Ball Super anime, Dragon Ball Super manga and Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ and Dragon Ball Super: Broly movies, in the order I was exposed to them.

(Heads up: I watched everything with English audio, but I’m not getting into the performances because, well, they’re all good and I don’t have much to say beyond that). Continue reading “Falling Back Into Dragon Ball”

Hanging with the HiX-Men, Part 18 — X-Men #6

Hanging with the HiX-Men is a series of reviews of Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men comics, sometimes spotlighting a specific scene or moment, followed by my opinion on any X-news. It’s what happens when a long-time X-Men fan has his love for the franchise reinvigorated by a beloved writer who has written some of his favourite comics. With that in mind… Welcome to the HiX-Men, hope you survive the experience (and graphics).

Continue reading “Hanging with the HiX-Men, Part 18 — X-Men #6”

My Thoughts on Dawn of X Wave 1

With a new year comes a new wave of Dawn of X. The Dawn of X relaunch came about from the status quo set up by Jonathan Hickman in House of X and Powers of X, exploring whatever Hickman didn’t want to in his core X-Men book. I’m still looking at that series over in Hanging with the HiX-Men, but what about the other titles?

I have been reading them, but I was unsure about how I’d tackle them. Whether they’d be part of Hanging with the HiX-Men or even if I would cover certain series. Eventually that snowballed into me just being very, very late with Hanging with the HiX-Men and I decided that briefer looks at all of the series would be for the best.

With the second wave of Dawn of X titles about to begin with Wolverine and the first six issues of the current series having been released, now is a good time to give my thoughts on the first wave. I’ve read all currently released issues of each of these series, six each, which is a more than fair amount of issues to gauge the series’ quality and form a founded opinion. Unlike my regular reviews, this will be much more informal, but I wanted to get these thoughts out quick.

With that in mind, here are my thoughts on Excalibur, Fallen Angels, Marauders, New Mutants and X-Force.

Continue reading “My Thoughts on Dawn of X Wave 1”

Hanging with the HiX-Men, Part 16 — X-Men #4

Hanging with the HiX-Men is a series of reviews of Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men comics, sometimes spotlighting a specific scene or moment, followed by my opinion on any X-news. It’s what happens when a long-time X-Men fan has his love for the franchise reinvigorated by a beloved writer who has written some of his favourite comics. With that in mind… Welcome to the HiX-Men, hope you survive the experience (and graphics).

Continue reading “Hanging with the HiX-Men, Part 16 — X-Men #4”

Hanging with the HiX-Men, Part 15 — X-Men #3

Hanging with the HiX-Men is a series of reviews of Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men comics, sometimes spotlighting a specific scene or moment, followed by my opinion on any X-news. It’s what happens when a long-time X-Men fan has his love for the franchise reinvigorated by a beloved writer who has written some of his favourite comics. With that in mind… Welcome to the HiX-Men, hope you survive the experience (and graphics).

Continue reading “Hanging with the HiX-Men, Part 15 — X-Men #3”

The Best Comic Book Runs of the 2010s

As we near the end of the 2010s, for my final look back at the decade in comics, I’m going to be looking at the best comic runs of the 2010s. This decade had some of the best and worst comic series, but I’m here to celebrate the best runs. The 2010s had a lot of good runs that were somewhat unappreciated, that I feel deserve acknowledgement. This is the decade that I got into comics, so I followed a lot of these when they were ongoing. Yet, there is enough distance from most of these runs — most of which are complete — that I feel comfortable judging them as a whole.

For comic runs, the amount of creators and issues varies, but the general idea should be obvious — a bunch of comics where at least one creator has a big presence in the creative process. To qualify for this list, the run needs to have had most of its issues released in the 2010s. That means Grant Morrison’s Batman and Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern, both of which started in the mid-2000s but ended in the 2010s, are out, but Jonathan Hickman’s Fantastic Four, which started in 2009 and ended in the 2010s, is allowed on. Essentially, the runs will have started in the 2010s, with a small handful of exceptions that had very few issues in the previous decade. The key part of it is that this is “runs” as opposed to a series — I’ll be copying a bit of CBR’s rules and say that miniseries do not count as “runs”, unless it’s a group of miniseries in some way; this is for the the best runs on a comic, not sprints. But it can be one ongoing series, something that had multiple series, or just a specific chunk of a series for whatever reason (maybe the creative team lost the artist or something). To keep things manageable, I’ll be focusing on writers and pencillers — not that inkers, colourists and letterers aren’t important, but it’s hard enough to get every artist down for some runs, and I’ll probably miss some, that this is just the compromise I have to make.

Anyway, with all the rules out of the way, let’s get on with it. Here, arbitrarily ranked, are the best comic runs of the 2010s!

(That I read).

Continue reading “The Best Comic Book Runs of the 2010s”

The Best Comic Book Story Arcs of the 2010s

As I’ve made clear in previous posts, the 2010s were a good time for comics. I’ve looked at the best comic runs, but now I’m taking it a step down and going into the best comic arcs. These aren’t entire series — unless it’s a miniseries or an ongoing that was cut short — or runs, but arcs. Naming these is a bit weird because some writers don’t really name their arcs, but luckily trades exist, and you can usually tell when something is an arc.

To qualify, the first issue of the arc needs to have been released in the 2010s. That limits my options enough while setting strict rules. Hopefully this makes it fair. Also, this is more of a superhero comic thing, so be warned if that bugs you.

Anyway, get your six (most likely) bag and boards ready, because we’re going to be looking at the best comic book story arcs of the 2010s!

Continue reading “The Best Comic Book Story Arcs of the 2010s”