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Sorry about the delays but working three jobs makes it so comic book reading has become a very precious commodity that I just don't have time for these days.  There's a shit-ton of great titles the last two weeks so let's get to them.

Walking Dead #50:  If you own this book, fold out the wrap around cause this might be my favorite cover they've ever done in this series.  Not only is the cover great but it completely sets up exactly what's going to happen in the issue.  I can't really describe a whole lot because it's a very simple issue:  Carl's inner thoughts for the past few years being vocalized in a series of pleads and scorns towards his dad.  It is so powerful to hear these thoughts coming from such a young character, to see how their world has affected even those who are shielded from the outside world (at least as much as they can).  You really just gotta read it for yourself because I can't do this issue justice, best series, best writer, best everything. 
Grade:  A+


Captain America #39:  I'm really loving this arc, to the point that I get upset when I don't just get to find out who's the new Captain America.  Is it a resurrected Steve, is it a Clone, is it some other douche?  This issue by itself was a little bit of more of the same, a necessary furthering of the plot with the 3rd wing candidate narrowly escaping a fake assassination attempt, and Bucky trying to piece everything together.  We see no Red Skull in this issue which makes me think that something big's coming very soon.  Linda Carter slipped from her restraints and kicked the shit out of Sin which made me a very happy man as I've never liked her.  Solid continuation issue but no new knowledge so I'm kinda left without.
Grade:  B


New Avengers #42:  So I didn't start reading the New Avengers series until the 20s so a lot of what was revealed in this issue, I either don't know or don't care about.  Apparently there was a break-out of a lot of baddies and she caused it, and some other shit.  I don't know, I guess I didn't really need an entire issue explaining how the Skrulls got to her.  That being said, I did find this issue fairly entertaining and the art was pretty fucking spectacular, especially the spread they had showing a timeline of Jessica's life.  I'm kinda growing tired (prolly due to my ADD) of the pace of Secret Invasion and was really wanting some big reveals but I do feel like the issues Bendis are putting out are solid and he's not shitting all over past issue by just saying, Oh they were a skrull so none of that mattered.  Instead he's interweaving all of these new stories and reveals within the past to make it believeable and solid.
Grade:  B-


Runaways #30:  Thank fucking God.  Fuck Joss Whedon, fuck him and his douchy schedule and his crooked tight-lipped smile, fuck him and his holier than thou attitude.  When he first took on Runaways, it was in my top 5 continuing series.  I was excited because I loved his run on Astonishing and have heard nothing but great things about his work (I don't watch or read buffy because I have sex on a regular basis and feel like it would be conflicting ideals).  Then started their trip to the past.  I gave it it's shot, and the first couple issues were actually acceptable, not BKV quality, but not shit.  Then came the delays.  Issues were taking 2 and 3 months to come out because he was too busy devising 4 alternative covers for his new Angel book.  The issues came out so far apart that I don't even know who the fuck is in this issue, had no idea that Chase had gone solo, no idea that a war was taking place nor did I know of any of the players in the war.  If I was reading this in trades I probably would've enjoyed it more just because I'd know what the fuck was going on but as it is Fuck Joss Whedon!  Equilibrium has been reestablished for Tony Moore's run which, when turning to the last page and seeing the cover art for the 3rd Runaways series, makes me really, really really nervous.  The art looks hokey and like they're trying to capture the younger crowd.  What made this book great wasn't the action, it was the characters and how they dealt with the cards they were given.  They didn't ask for their plight, and they had very little to do with how they formed, but their consciouses led them to strike back at what they saw as wrong and that was fun.  I really hope all that isn't forgotten on Tony Moore, but I am going to proceed with extreme caution.
Grade:  D


Astonishing X-Men #25:  I used to absolutely love Warren Ellis.  I was enthralled by many of his off the wall, crazy independent stuff (Desolation Jones, which I'm still waiting for, Planetary was great, as is Fell), but all that changed last year at Comic Con.  I stood in line early in the morning to get tickets to stand in line to attend his signing.  Later in the day I finally got to meet him and he treated each one of us like we were a chore, like he'd rather be someplace else, like he was the greatest thing since sliced bread.  I get it, doing signings at cons you run into a lot of pathetic douches who have thought up numerous continuity flaws with your work that you have to answer over and over.   But that's your fucking job, that's what you do.  You think Lou Ferrigno is crying into his milky nipples that he can still make a living simply by signing photos from a short-running show 30 fucking years ago?  No, he's lapping it up (another milk joke, check that pic out, it's grosser than Chris Angel's popularity).  With that all being said, this issue was alright at best.  I am definitely bringing all of my newfound dislike into reading this book and I find so much of Ellis's pretention within the dialogue that I want to puke.  That doesn't mean that I'm not interested in the story being woven.  I am a huge proponent of Bianchi, I like his art and I feel like it fits pretty well in this book, with this writer.  I'm not too worried with seeming like an unintelligent reader, but did you see how many word bubbles are in this goddamn thing?  You're not writing another failed novel there Warren, I have ADD so keep the shit going.  I was excited to check out the new uniforms Cy talked about, only to find that everyone is dressed like the kids from ET, tech vests included.  Hoping that this issue was so talky-talky for the sake of setting up some good stuff, but I'm not gonna give him the benefit of the doubt, as I'm still waiting for Desolation Jones #8, the bimonthly epic that comes out every few years, douche.
Grade:  C+

Another take from Adam:
The sad thing about a change in talent for a book as hotly anticipated and critically acclaimed as "Astonishing" is that any review of the first works by the new author or artist will invariably 1) be compared to the talent and story arcs that came before, and 2) have more to do with the artist's body of work as a whole rather than the specific issue at hand.  These trappings are especially obvious when the new talent is Warren Ellis, the oft-polarizing author behind "Black Summer", "Transmetropolitan", and "Global Frequency"--just to name a few.Warren Ellis works best when his characters interact in a world populated with Ellis' own well-researched backdrops and set-pieces:  most of the action in "Planetary" seemed to take place on the thumbnail of a giant, as though there were larger mysteries to the universe--and indeed the "multiverse"--than Planetary would ever understand; "Global Frequency" was a swan song about a time populated by well-funded technological demons that spewed from the bowels of nefarious CIA subcommittee meetings.
What will Ellis' contribution to "Astonishing" be?  Too soon to tell.  But he's off to a bad start.  To parrot Dave's review, Warren Ellis writes characters who are so driven by purpose and carry such uncompromising visions of themselves that they sometimes seem incapable of talking about much else.  Emma Frost and Cyclops' morning discussion wasn't about their relationship, or the changes in the team--they simply talked about themselves at length, as though their sleep cycles were infinitely more fascinating than, say, being superheroes.  Armor harbors self-doubt, sure, but it manifests itself as a tedious discussion of her own codename--should she change it or stick with "Armor"?
The self-doubt that Cyclops carried as he led the team, the bitter tension between Emma Frost and everyone else, and the loss that the reader felt when Kitty Pride drifted out into nothingness--these things have all melted away and been replaced with a group of people who just like to hear themselves talk.  Talking was never Ellis' strong suit, and if he doesn't stick to his talents and draw these characters into a conflict, rather than their morning coffee, "Astonishing X-Men" is going to lose the well-deserved luster it had during the previous 24 issues.


Batman #678:  Ummmm, ok.  What the fuck is a bat-radia?  Can anyone tell me, because the research I've attempted on the internet has just left me with more questions.  The best analysis of this issue I could find was from geniusboyfiremelon.  But you know what?  I don't want to have to do research on Batman issues that came out 21 fucking years before I was born!  This is why DC is slipping behind Marvel.  Because marvel has easily accessible big events that people can just pick up the main title and follow, with very little to no background.  DC announces they are going to shake up all of the Bruce Wayne/Batman mythos, resulting in Bruce no longer being Batman, send out issue checklists to every comic book store in the country and Grant Morrison references a bunch of hit that I've never read, and completely alienates me from reading the issue because I'm so confused that I'm getting frustrated.  Not even gonna grade this book, and I'm done reading this arc.  Fuck off DC.


Immortal Iron Fist #16:  It's the end of an era.  The writing team of Fraction and Brubaker (more fraction than brubaker) and art by David Aja has commenced.  I love this book, every single issue has had great characterization and shitloads of action.  The art has fit perfectly with the feel of the book.  The last arc just ended and this new issue sets up the next one, only thing is, it's being written and drawn by a new creative team.  If Fraction was really so confident in Swierczynski then why did he set up the first issue in the new arc?  Why didn't he let him do whatever he wanted?  That doesn't take away from this issue, though, because it's fantastic.  Great look at the inner workings of Danny's mind and what he hopes to accomplish.  This was a great fucking run and I wish it wasn't over.  I'd say that I'm looking forward to the new team a little more than Tony Moore's cartoonish-abortionist rendition on Runaways.
Grade:  A

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