Weekly "What Have You Been Reading?" Thread 2-21-21
By - johnpisme
IDWs TMNT. In my opinion it's the best use of the teenage mutant ninja turtles franchise in history, I even enjoy it over the original Mirage run, as it feels like the characters and story have been refined through a bunch of so so story arcs and culminated into this wonderful melting pot.
TMNT IDW is one of my favorite comic runs of all time and if someone asked me why, I’d refer them to your comment. You just put into words the exact reasons why, as a lifelong TMNT fan, I enjoy it so much. It really does feel like the definitive Ninja Turtles story.
I dropped it at the beginning. I don't know but their origin story looks weird. They are mutated, then Rafael get lost and they don't know him, but when finally he gets found, they are like brothers and know each other since childhood. They don't remember their last lives and when I was reading I couldn't find logic in it.
You definetly need to read a couple of issues to get the origin. They are bothers from Japan who were killed in front of their father, then he is killed. Then they are reincarnated as turtles and their father a rat, then as turtles, fall into a puddle of ooze. Raph is taken from the group while they are still turtles and he mutates alone and the others are with their father as they become mutant turtles and rat.
How many volumes are you in. I dropped it after like issue 20-30 something
I have every issue up to date in digital form. I only have the first volume physical. Not much of a collector of stuff in my house but like to read them at work so my phone is the most convenient.
You thought it was great the whole way through?
I wasn’t a fan of the art. Too cartoony. I like the grittiness of the original better
I really enjoy most of the art, there are a few artist like Duncan whose art I don't really like to look at, but I try and treat it as a subjective form and not judge it. My favorite is Sofia Cambell. I really like enjoy her art style. I don't really like the Mirage run that much, which is silly because it's the foundation that the series is built on, but the story is never intriguing enough to pull me in. I am 34 though, so my first taste of the turtles was the 87 (I think that was the year) cartoon, and it was difficult to go back and read the source material, especially once Kevin and Peter stopped working together.
I read all of this. Stooped on the 4th trade I suppose.
School kids solving mysteries. If you liked John Allison's other work, Giant Days, you'll like this.
**Bang** *Vol. 1*
Philip Verge (who you might know from any of Kindt's other books) is a fiction writer but he reveals to the James Bond expy that somehow his stories are not really fiction, but accounts of what will happen in the future to the protagonists of these books. So the James Bond expy sets out to recruit these protagonists to stop the SPECTRE expy. There's an elderly mystery writer (Jessica Fletcher from Murder, She Wrote), a generic action hero with some limited powers (Bruce Willis type) and a female "Knight Rider" with a bit of Barbara Gordon Oracle. This volume was mostly introduction to the characters but I am excited to see where the idea develops in the future volumes.
**Batman: Broken City**
Decent story but Risso's art is a treat as always.
**Billionaire Island** *Vol. 1*
Fun book but it is hard not to get sad because it is very true.
**Freedom Fighters: Rise of a Nation**
The coolest thing about this book was the scary Nazi PlaSStic Man. Other than that, pretty mediocre.
TKO seems to have no presence at all as a publisher. I managed to completely miss a Jeff Lemire book (Sentient) which never happens since I am on top of things he puts out. Anyway this is Joshua Dysart's book for the publisher about a homeless person becoming an unlikely hero to investigate the murder of a runaway teenage girl. Good story with biting social critique, great art, great colors. So I'll keep checking more stuff from TKO.
**Kill Six Billion Demons**
Not for me.
**Hero Squared** *Omnibus*
Universe is destroyed but the Superman expy ends up in a parallel universe where he hopes to find his counterpart. However, in this universe he never become a superhero because he is a slacker. Typical Giffen & DeMatteis hilarity ensues. Some parts are overwritten. Some parts are overwritten and some plot points keep repeating, but overall it is a lot of fun. The psychiatrist office issue is as funny as anything these two have ever done.
The Steve Gerber issues area great. Very imaginative. I like how Gerber just completely leans into the magic stuff. The later stories by other writers are not that great and seem much more dated, which again highlights how good Gerber's writing was. Makes me wish I had gotten the complete collections with only the Gerber stuff instead of the omnibus instead.
**Project Superpowers** *Omnibus Vol. 1-3*
The first omnibus is genuinely great. The team manages to fit in so many public domain Golden Age superheroes while giving them unique personalities and also purpose in the overall narrative. You can skip the second and third volumes. The first one has the main story while the second one has the Black Terror series and the third one has a bunch of miniseries, both of which are tangential at best.
**Stargirl by Geoff Johns**
Skip this if you've seen the TV show. They used pretty much the same story and added the JSA elements. Also, I liked the TV show more. It is interesting to see how quickly Johns went from writing this to co-writing JSA and becoming a mainstay at DC.
**Uber** *Vol. 1-5*
I am definitely late to the Uber party, but this is very entertaining. Don't know if I want to continue with Invasion as it currently sits incomplete. Avatar seems to be struggling as a publisher. When was the last time they published a new single issue? Just reprints of variant covers and some collected editions. Gillen doesn't own the series so he can't even shop it around elsewhere.
Some other good stuff that I don't have time to say much about:
* **Blackwood** *Vol. 2*
* **Blue in Green**
What's billionaire Island about? Seems like muh billionaires bad but funny
Billionaire Island is from Ahoy! Comics. Written by Mark Russel and drawn by Steve Pugh. If you have read their Flintstones or Second Coming books, this is a no-brainer. If you haven't, then you are really missing out.
Love Dysart and I have his TKO book but haven't read it yet. Good to hear nice things about Goodnight Paradise. I also picked up Sentient and read it all in one sitting. Tense, naturalistic, heartbreaking, endearing. Just great Lemire storytelling as usual. I highly recommend it.
**Complete Hate volume 3** by Peter Bagge. The last volume in the new HC slipcase collecting Hate Annual and a bunch of covers and short stories through the run. Bagge changes Buddy’s look *drastically* in the Hate Annual stories in the most baffling way, and it’s most surprising because I think it works? Turns this grunge teenager into popeye and just runs with it. Pretty fun. Anyway these stories peaked in Seattle, but the Jersey and Annual stories are also really good. Bagge says that people don’t want to read about grown up Buddy Bradley, but honestly I kind of do. These didn’t feel like a huge step down from the Jersey stories. Shit they aren’t really a *huge* step from the Seattle ones. Maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up with Buddy though. I guess for some people it would just be depressing
**Dorohedoro** volume 11 by Q Hayashida. These books are becoming difficult to read just because I’ve been struggling to remember some of the minor characters and plot points and it may be causing issues (where did Risu come from again?). However considering I’m 11 volumes in and I still mostly remember what’s going on despite starting a year ago and rereading nothing this series is remarkably clear. The ending to this volume though.. jeez.. I guess it’s about time but I’m excited to see how this moves everything forward
**Tintin in America** by Herge. This is some of the wildest shit I’ve ever read. So I’ve been reading a lot of the later Tintin stories just because that’s what my library has in those nice oversized editions, and this is the third Tintin, about 10 volumes before anything else I’ve read. It follows Tintin taking on some gangsters in Chicago, but the story jumps from Tintin getting himself into a situation, and then being saved by either dumb luck in a spectacular fashion, or saving himself in the dumbest way possible (“hoo boy it’s lucky I had a saw with me when I was kidnapped so I can SAW A HOLE THROUGH THE DOOR OF THE CAR”). The later stuff is certainly more cohesive and.. coherent, but this is some really fun adventure storytelling
**Love From The Shadows** by Gilbert Hernandez. Eh what a disappointment. The last two Fritz B-Movie books from Beto were really enjoyable, and the description online for this one was great, but it ended up being mostly boring
**Run Like Crazy, Run Like Hell** by Jacques Tardi. The last Manchette adaptation, and this one is great too. Everything is appropriately moody and it ends with some great violence. A big step up from *Like A Sniper Lining Up His Shot*, but *West Coast Blues* is still my favourite
**Complete Peanuts 1950-1952** by Charles Schultz. Finally read the first volume, and it’s really just okay. You wouldn’t know this is going to be the all-time best comic from these strips. The characters all blend together and have similar personalities, Lucy, Linus, and Sally aren’t in it until the end of this time period (or at all for Sally), and the cartooning is just generally weak.. as it turns out it’s hard to make a masterpiece from the start! So I definitely don’t recommend starting here, but as always it’s good to see how a thing that becomes phenomenal later starts out. Its good to see the growing pains. The essay and the interview at the back are also very interesting
- **Fortune and Glory** by Brian Michael Bendis. Pretty much the only early Bendis work I never read, because I wasn't really in to the whole auto-bio thing back then. I've since been converted by things like American Splendor and Lowlife. Gotta say, this is pretty great. A good amount of self-deprecation. An interesting look in to the quirks of Hollywood. I've never been big on Bendis's art, but the super thick lined cartoony style isn't too shabby for this type of work. I like how he just kind of played around with the paneling to mock dramatic effect. There was one sequence where he just reused the art in the panels. But there would be a couple things missing. Somebody lost a mustache for two panels, another person's hand wasn't inked in one, etc.
- **Mesmo Delivery** by Rafael Grampa. I think this is the first Grampa book I've read. He's got a really cartoony yet detailed style. It's like if you mixed Paul Pope and Geof Darrow or something. Very short story. Sort of Luther Strode-esque with crazy over-the-top violence. I appreciated the flashback sequence and weird paneling at the end. Gives it a bit of added mystery that we have to fill in. Who was the shipment for? Is this an offering to the devil? Etc., etc. Also just want to comment on the really solid production quality of this book. Despite it's thin size, it felt like I was holding something very sturdy. And I liked the folded book jacket bonus with the self-portrait instead of your typical author's photo. I wouldn't mind that on all comic trades. Imagine a Frank Miller self-portrait on the dust jacket of his books over the years, lol.
Lazarus- that’s been finished the first two vols. Not a huge rucka fan but Michael Lark is one of my favourite artist. Cool story.
Green Lantern Blackest night - still haven’t finished that whole run. It’s good generic cosmic superhero stories.
Flash (2016) catching up in the flash. Nothing special so far. Might not finish it.
I love Lazarus. Wish we didn't have such a long wait between issues.
**Perramus:The City and Oblivion**- all in one volume of an 80s comic drawn by Argentine master Alberto Breccia. Breccia is one of the boldest artist I have ever seen for a guy working in what I assume was considered commercial comics, and his art is especially abstract here, but it totally works. The story starts off white hot where you can feel the passion from the creators about current events, as a man with no name or history teams up with various other allegorical figures to fight a fascist regime of scary skull-people, but this was written over the course of a decade and it eventually becomes indulgent and kind of silly-the last part brings in Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Frank Sinatra and Fidel Castro during the hunt for a dead singer's teeth. Recommended if you like distinctive art or Latin American literature.
I read the first volume of this last week. It’s haunting, and feels so... angry. I quite liked it, and I’m sure I’ll read the second one this week sometime
I subscribed to Marvel Unlimited this week and decided to give House of M a go, seeing as I've never read it. Despite having a somewhat fervent dislike of event books, I enjoyed it quite a bit. It felt self-contained and I feel like it's written quite well, despite my being somewhat sceptical of Bendis' bigger scoped stories.
I got around to the original 12-issue Young Avengers run today and REALLY liked that. It's *also* a very "big" story - being centered around Kang in the first arc and the Kree & Skrull in the second arc - but it all feels very personal. I love the kids, and am probably gonna be reading the other Young Avengers books in the coming days.
Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 32 - 35
Black Science by Rick Remender Vols. 1-4 so far. It’s hard to put the books down they’re so intense! Full of cliff-hangers, heart, drama, pulpy sci-fi action, and a great sense of adventure. 10/10.
I'm about half-way through Sandman. It's just as great as I remember from my first read, years ago. This time, I've got the Annotated books for added detail. It's amazing how Gaiman expertly wove all the characters and stories into such an effective narrative; full of majesty and wonderful surprises. Taking a quick break to get into some Future State books and Rorschach. Also picked up a bunch of Clean Room, so I can't wait to dive into that too. Whew! So much comics!!
Just finished War of Jokes and Riddles. I know it's pretty divisive -- and probably deservedly so -- but damn did Janin just catapult himself up my list of favorite artists. Spectacular stuff, and some amazing splashes. The story was not terrible, but the extremely grim tone of King's run does wear on me. The villains are bitter and angry, Bruce is bitter and angry, Batman is bitter and angry. This is the main reason I'm so far behind in this series.
Also reading a bit of the Savage Sword of Conan Omni 1, which I really enjoy.
Got through the first half dozen issues of Ex Machina. Hasn't totally grabbed me yet but gonna keep on it due to the overwhelmingly positive reviews. I'm sure it picks up.
Finished the second PAD Hulk omnibus and Umbrella Academy book 3 this week, moving on to my first rereading of Starman in probably a decade.
Just finished the first Money Shot TPB by Tim Seeley, Sarah Beattie and Rebekah Isaacs. It’s like a combination of Marvel’s Exiles series from 2001 and Image’s Manhattan Projects...with lots of sex. It was pretty good.
Old Man Hawkeye. Shit's so good.
2012 Judge Dredd