super huge comic book post ahead…

continue reading at your own risk!

i was asked recently about what comics i read on a regular basis, and when i considered pointing the questioner to this blog i realized i had last discussed my pull list over two years ago.

obviously, my list has changed since then – series cancellations alone have made for quite a bit of shuffling. that, and limited series are limited – so what i was reading then, i’m definitely not reading now. if a book was that late, i’d drop it like a rock.

so, once again ignoring one-shots, and for that very small group who care, i’d like to present my biennial pull list description. one change from last time is that i’m not providing hyperlinks to descriptive or home pages for each title – it’s way too much work, and y’all should be able to cut-and-paste into Google.

ongoing titles:

The Amazing Spider-Girl – sadly, i won’t be reading this title much longer. as this week sees the release of issue #29 and with issue #30, it has been cancelled. there’s really not much more that i can say about this book other than that i will miss it.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season Eight
– not as strong a title as it was in the first couple story arcs, this is still a very worthwhile title to pick up. the art is consistently good (especially when Georges Jeanty is doing the pencils), and new in-canon Buffy stories cover a lot of sins.

Captain America – who would have though this book would still be so good after the death of Captain America? in three months, we’ll be marking the second anniversary Steve Rogers’ death, and Ed Brubaker is still doing one of the best writing jobs in comics every month.

Captain Britain and MI:13
– the “replacement” for my beloved New Excalibur, this is arguably the best team book on the stands right now. far superior to the current list of Avengers titles or DC’s Justice League book, it even beats out Geoff Johns’ stellar run on JSA.

Dark Avengers – the newest Avengers title, this centers around Norman Osborn’s new team of Avengers – who are almost all unregenerate villains. only one issue in, i may or may not keep pulling this book. at $4/copy, it needs to be really damned good to stay on my list.

Deadpool – i have been waiting for this book for ages. Deadpool has shared a title with Cable for years – and i can’t stand Cable. i can’t pick up a Cable title without having to deal with the “created by Rob Liefeld” baggage. petty, i know. but still. Deadpool, however, is one of my favourite characters – not least because he’s the craziest mofo in comics. i think he’s even more insane than Jamie Braddock. by the way, everyone go see the new Wolverine movie – just to create buzz in favour of a Deadpool flick. Ryan Reynolds? genius.

The Flash – i have no idea what’s going on with this title. with all of the spin off from Final Crisis to come (including Flash: Rebirth, which will bring Barry Allen back to the DCU after nearly a quarter-century of dead-ness), i don’t know if this book will even exist in a couple months. i’ll also admit to not caring too much – i’m still a bit cheesed off over the editorially mandated whacking of Bart Allen (who is alive again, i know. but he’s also a kid again. and in the future).

Gen¹³ – i’m mostly buying this one out of historical loyalty to the concept and characters. now that the Wildstorm imprint has made it through another world-reshaping event, i may drop it if it doesn’t turn around and get goofy again. but not bad goofy; it’s been that far too much lately.

G.I. Joe – a new title from IDW Publishing, this is a complete reboot of the franchise. Larry Hama isn’t writing it, but he is writing the companion G.I. Joe: Origins title. only one issue in, this is another “wait and see” book.

Ghost Rider – while not as gloriously insane as it once was (zombie nurses featured in an earlier arc of this series), it’s still pretty good. these days, the book is more of a cosmic struggle between the forces of heaven and hell than a 1970s biker flick – and it works. not quite the “popcorn” book it used to be, but still fun.

Green Lantern Corps – two words: Blackest Night. summer, 2009.

Hack/Slash – this is not a T&A book. ok, ok, it is. but that’s not the point. don’t think “slasher movie with scantily clad girls,” think “buddy flick where one buddy is a scantily clad girl and the other is a giant ugly freak.” consistently good, and almost always rises above its T&A image.

The Incredible Hercules – now this is a buddy flick. smartass teenage super-genius (8th smartest person in the world) and a dimwitted drunken demigod travel the world fighting evil, drinking a lot (well, Herc does) and schmoozing women (again, mostly Herc). great, funny book.

Invincible Iron Man – the book that redeemed crypto-fascist Tony Stark for me. great writing, has a lot of the feel of the blockbuster film of last summer.

Jonah Hex – done-in-one western. consistently the best book on the stands. think Man With No Name – and lots of facial scar tissue. if you decide to buy anything on this list – buy this book. today, if possible.

Justice League of America – Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman with their hangers-on. Supes is going on a long sabbatical to “New Krypton” and Bats is mostly dead, so i have no clue what’s going to happen to this book.

Justice Society of America – DC’s “legacy team” of young and old superheroes, this has been both very good and maddeningly slow lately. we’ll have to see what the new creative team is going to do with it, since Geoff Johns is off the book in April.

The Mighty Avengers – a.k.a. the Neo-Con Avengers. this book has a new creative team and new line-up, so i’m withholding judgement. but at least Marvel’s leaving the price at $2.99.

The New Avengers – a.k.a. the Hippie Avengers. also having a creative change – but i’m looking forward to Stuart Immonen’s art. this one’s been jacked up to $4/book – except the next issue, which is $5! it better stay good if i’m going to keep getting it.

Punisher – a replacement (really, just a re-titling with a new number one) for the Punisher: War Zone title, this is Frank Castle vs. the new status quo of “Dark Reign.” good so far.

Scalped – great, great book – but gut-wrenchingly dark and bloody. it’s a crime drama centered on the crooked dealings of a tribal chief and his casino. great book – but not for the weak of stomach.

She-Hulk – another cancelled title. i’m going to miss this most of all, i think. last issue will be #38.

Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose – now this is a T&A book. probably the worst comic available for purchase today. as pointed out by Chris Sims over at the ISB, each new issue seems to be the worst issue ever. so why do i buy it? it’s possibly the funniest book on the stands. with lines like, “You have to get out of here! Your vagina is haunted!” how can i turn it away? hilarious, train-wreck bad writing. Jim Balent’s art is pretty darn good, though, if insanely unrealistic and sexist. if you like stupid, you’ll love this.

Thor – plodding right along (and i do mean plodding), each issue of this makes it worth the wait. gorgeous art and Asgardian political machinations. now if only something would happen!

Ultimate Spider-Man – soon to be cancelled and restarted with new numbering in the wake of Ultimatum, this is where Stuart Immonen is leaving from. rumour has it that after Ultimatum, Peter Parker won’t be the star of the book anymore. i’m crossing my fingers that this won’t suck after the reboot.

War Machine – this replaced Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. in Marvel’s line up. good so far, but i’m not sure where this is going. can Rhodey carry a book on his own?

Witchblade – i am amazed i’m still enjoying this. i thought, with the Witchblade leaving Sara Pezzini, that i’d drop it. but it didn’t completely leave her, and her interaction with the new (half-)bearer has made for some good stories.

Wonder Woman – Gail Simone is still doing a bang-up job here. i think that her run will be ranked alongside Perez’s in the future. really, really good. hopefully the Final Crisis aftermath won’t ruin it.

miniseries/other:

Angel: After the Fall – this is actually a “maxiseries” and technically over. the title will be changing names and focus to point up the end of the “After the Fall” story arc. i’m dropping it in a couple issues.

Avengers/Invaders – this is a fun title. but it has suffered from some delays. best if you’re an Invaders fan, really.

Back To Brooklyn – bloody crime drama. the first issue was a little weak, but it’s turned into a fun little book. it’s a popcorn action comic with lots of shotgun killings. wait for the trade at this point.

B.P.R.D.: The Black Goddess – i don’t really think of this as a miniseries, as the all the B.P.R.D. books share a common, continuously changing storyline. it’s just Dark Horse starts each story arc with a new number one and a new subtitle after the colon.

El Diablo – El Diablo is sort of a DC counterpart to Marvel’s Ghost Rider. but he’s a lot meaner. the last issue of this book had the current El Diablo trying to kill the Freedom Fighters – which is a pretty cruddy thing to do.

Galveston – pitched as a semi-historical look at the relationship between Jean Lafitte and Jim Bowie, this is mostly Bowie and Lafitte drinking, talking about women, and getting beat up. skip it; i’m just too much of a completist (and former resident of the titular town) to drop the book.

Ghost Whisperer – licensed from the television show. oddly, i don’t like the show but do like the comic. i have no clue why.

The Haunted Tank – great, great book. a modern version of the old Haunted Tank feature from G.I. Combat, the premise is that the ghost of Major General J.E.B. “Jeb” Stuart watches over his descendants in the cavalry – since cavalry is now armoured cavalry, that means tanks. so what happens when a Confederate ghost shows up to protect a multi-racial tank crew led by his descendant – who is a proud African-American? hilarity, that’s what.

Hellboy: The Wild Hunt – like the B.P.R.D. books, the Hellboy books are one long story with new subtitles and number one issues for each chapter. unlike the B.P.R.D. books, each story stands much better on its own. this one is excellent so far.

Hexed – the story of a magical sneak-thief. delightful thus far – but it’s only one issue in.

Mercy Sparx – demon gets sent to Earth to rein in renegade angels. she didn’t believe Earth existed until she was forced to come here.

Phonogram: The Singles Club – Jamie McKelvie art. i’ve gushed about this one before. go buy it now. pick up the first series in trade while you’re at it. and make sure you get a copy of his Suburban Glamour, too.

Sheena, Queen of the Jungle: Dark Rising – standard modern-day jungle adventure. nothing super-special, but it does have jungle-dwelling cyborg Nazis.

Shrapnel: Aristea Rising – i picked this one up on a whim, and really liked it. published by Radical Comics (like last year’s Caliber: First Canon of Justice), it’s got very nice art and a somewhat predictable story.

Solomon Kane – current Dark Horse treatment of Robert E. Howard’s Puritan hero, it’s very true to Howard’s original works in feel. wait for the trade (it’s almost over), but if you like Howard, you should like this.

Storming Paradise – somewhat delayed story that goes from the premise that the Manhattan Project was a failure. not particularly inspired artistically or in its writing, but still an interesting examination of what might-have-been.

Transformers: All Hail Megatron – unabashedly goofy Transformers tale from IDW, this one’s for fans of the franchise only. the art’s o.k., the writing less-so, but still fun.

Trinity – DC Comics’ latest weekly 52-issue epic, this is a far better work than Countdown (which preceded it). it examines how essential Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are to the DC mythos – and what might have taken their place if they weren’t there.

The Twelve – wow. lots and lots of delays. but worth the wait; The Twelve takes twelve forgotten heroes of the Marvel universe’s WWII era and transplants them in the present (by way of a Nazi suspended animation project). there’s a murder mystery (a la Watchmen) and lots of interesting “lost in time” character work.

Ultimatum – current Ultimate Marvel crossover series. very fun so far, but looks like it’s going to hose Ultimate Spider-Man, the best Ultimate book and best Spider-book on the stands. reserving judgment for the aftermath.

Wolverine: Manifest Destiny – i’m not a big Wolverine fan (overexposure is a killer), but this has been a great ride. set in San Francisco, this is a kung-fu flick in four colours. only one issue left, so pick up the trade.

and that’s that. whew. it’s really not as many books as it looks like – i know some guys that pick up this many books a week, and this is my theoretical monthly list. i say “theoretical” because with delays, it’s usually quite a bit less than this.

quote of the day:

“Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” – Oscar Wilde

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