Author Archives: peterwg

Near Mint #2

Egads! Sorry folks I could have sworn I posted this at least three days ago but apparently I didn’t, so here is your incredibly late Near Mint #2 and here’s to hoping I can get #3 to you a bit quicker.

Marvel

All New X-men Special #1

No idea where Mike Costa’s story is going here. The current..err.. present …past… ok, the classic X-Men who are currently in the present due to all the “Children of the Atom” stuff, go for a day trip in NYC  (despite being alternatively divided and in other times during the main Atom story line.) They stumble upon an old school looking Doc Ock. The Superior “actual Ock” Spidey intervenes and we go on from there.  Potentially we’re just getting into more silly time displacement stuff, but combined with Kris Anka’s art, it all works in a wonderful sort of way. Hell, I just enjoy the idea of a past and present Ock (no matter what body he inhabits) interacting. For once, I’m happy that Parker isn’t around, if only for this potentially weird new interaction, even it was intended to be an X-Men story.

Superior Foes of Spider Man #4

I am super enjoying this run so far written by Nick Spencer and artwork by Steve Lieber. Especially when you go throwing in Iron Fist and Luke Cage team-up? FUCK YEAH! (Marvel, give them a damn book already). This is a group of struggling wannabe Sinister Sixers, led by Boomerang, hired out by the Chameleon from prison to carry out a personal vendetta against Silvermane. So far it has been my favorite Spider-related books with its compelling, smart writing and good sense of humor, just as Stan the Man intended. I really like Lieber’s pencils as much as Rosenberg’s colorings. This book fits together on all fronts.

Mighty Avengers #2

This book gets old school stamp of approval. Good standalone/continuing story by Al Ewing . A strange assortment of heroes—Luke Cage, Spectrum, Superor Spidey, Spider-Hero—all dealing with the Thanos threat via Proxima Midnight. Oh, and did I forget to mention Blue Marvel, The Watcher, Dr. Strange, a Big Lebowski reference, and, oh yeah, SHUMA-GORATH! I don’t love Greg Land’s work normally but with the fun Al Ewing is having, it’s hard not to enjoy.

Savage Wolverine #9

With Zeb Wells’ run on Savage Wolverine coming to an end last issue, Jock (one name like Prince) gives us: LOGAN IN SPAAACCCCEEE! Why is he there? Who kidnapped him and left him, er… somewhere not on Earth? Who the hell knows but I am excited to get there! With a look that smacks slightly of Ashley Wood’s work and a dynamic space story, it looks like Jock will put Wolverine to the test. Despite it generally being a revolving door of artists and writers, Savage has been the only Wolverine book I’ve given a crap about over the past year, and to me this is more of the good in a completely different direction.

Captain America: Living Legend 1 of 4

I don’t know what I enjoyed more about this issue: Diggle’s script, Adi Granov’s art, or the combined story for the two. We start with a classic Cap WWII story where Captain America’s actions butterfly-effect into the thawed out Cap’s present.  I don’t know exactly where this book came from or where it’s going, but that’s sort of the best part. With the hole left from the Dimension Z Captain arc missing from the Marvel Universe, this story fills the vacuum and then some. It almost reminds me of the Punisher book I mentioned last week, a story with unique standout art, and a story that understands the history of its character with caustic realism.

Honorable Mention:

Thunderbolts #16

Maybe it’s just because I like this team (I mean it does have Deadpool and Ol’ Skull Face Chest), but Thunderbolts has been working for me. I like that it’s basically a team of hired mercenaries whose moral compass is Flash Thompson. Either way, their continuing misadventures are feeling ripples of the Thanos takeover (spoiler?) and the “team” has to deal accordingly… I use the word team lightly. Always an interesting read for its broken team dynamic and a rotating cast of talents.

 

DC

Swamp Thing #24

Swamp Thing. Definitely one of my favorite 52s. I mean, one of the best ever comic book runs was what Moore did with this character, but I’ve really enjoyed the storytelling and especially art of the 52 Swamp Thing. Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette started this re-boot so damn strong but Rotworld Charles Soule has done well in his own right since he took the reigns for the green djinn. This issue specifically is pitched like one of the villain’s books, but it doesn’t feel like a tie-in or a throwaway.  The reveal of The Seeder’s identity (an obvious guess for any Swamp Thing diehards) is still a nice payoff that is building for a big showdown. Start reading this book. I command it.

Detective Comics #24

So we’re finally at a conclusion to this Wraith madness by John Layman, and while I’ve been enjoying the story, I think it is Jason Fabok’s work that keeps me reading. Mr. Fabok understands how to draw the bat with real drama, and especially knows how to draw all of his wonderful toys. Plus SPOILER ALERT (I mean, it’s on the cover), Bats gets all armored up to match guns and wits with Wraith. It is a pretty epic conclusion to the Wraith run in what has been a caustic and dark ride. Hard to talk about this issue without giving much away.

Green Lantern #24

Lantern and the Corps can be a sometime tricky book to write for: there’s a reason Marvel doesn’t have a Nova Corps book… yet. Since Geoff Johns left this book, it has some mighty shoes to fill, especially as the Green Lantern universe has been virtually ripped apart by the guardians acting like a bunch of blue turds, and the first lantern reaping havoc on Hal and the Lanterns (also the name of my favorite do-wop group.) Still, this issue has a great story by with the mighty Relic attacking the Corps for their light and is a compelling story with a heavy end.

Green Arrow #24

Let me just start by saying: Andrea Sorrentino fucking rocks. His work on I… Vampire was always amazing, but combined with Jeff Lemire’s takeover since issue #17, it’s been magic. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I am with the industry on this one, big time. Green Arrow’s recent run is one of DC’s best books, hands down. I was never a huge fan of the first 52 run by J.T. Krul and later Ann Nocenti… in fact, I thought it needed cancellation. But I’m glad that it’s survived, if only for its use with this team (or thanks to added popularity brought in by Arrow on the CW network (incidentally, sorta obvious with a character directly from the show now being in the comic as well, but what can you do). This book just rocks and, without giving too much away, if you ever liked Sorrentino’s art, it’s in top form here combined with Lemire’s script.  This book has also consistently kicked ass because you really can pick it up anywhere and enjoy it, which is hard to say with some of inconsistencies in DC continuity… but if you want a good read, start from issue #17 and on.

Forever Evil #2

Geoff Johns’ continual foray into the minds of the 52 Crime Syndicate has been short but solid. I don’t have an incredible amount to say about the art team of Finch, Friend, and Oback, aside that their combined effort is proficient and beautiful. Johns has a good approach to Crime Syndicate’s wavering team dynamics, that are reminiscent of the actual Justice League. Most importantly this week we get more Lex Luthor dealing with the recent events and additionally reintroducing to the 52-verse my other favorite Superman villain. Bad bye.

Honorable mention:  Action Comics #24

I won’t lie… I know I said I was doing this blog to perpetuate some of the positivity still out there but I struggled for a mention here and not for good reasons…. BUT I did still like, or rather don’t mind, the “Psi-war” going on in Action Comics. If anything, I liked this book specifically because it is a character attacking Superman on a more personal/psychic level, which I always thought was his real weakness (glowing green rocks from a dead home planet work too, I suppose.) I like the way this book does dissection of Superman’s psyche to amplify the pain and shame of his weird upbringings and past.

Recommended read:

Did I mention I had a BKV thing? Well with Private Eye #4 coming out yesterday he took over the Panel Syndicate Twitter feed and answered tweets from fans (even one from yours truly.) So go and read this book, get all of the others for free and then pay at least cover price for issue 4 to keep this book going. It should be a ten issue run but won’t be a five issue run without support!

Aw’right, that’s it for this week. Sorry about a late release here, as yesterday was new issue day, but I had a busy weekend full of women and wine. Hoping next week’s edition of Near Mint will come sooner. Feel free to reach out and let me know what you think: @peterwgacek


Near Mint

The internet is consumed with trolls, hate speak and just general nonsense, especially in nerd culture.  We all like to hate on who’s  being cast in what and what doesn’t work about the latest crossover. So instead of perpetuating the hyper negative bullshit, I decided to present my favorite top 5 new releases of the big two brands, in no particular order, each week to hopefully bring some balance to the force. Here we go:

DC

Justice League of America #7

Continuing villains month, Geoff Johns and Sterling Gates tackle Black Adam’s intricate backstory head on in a great read, especially if you’ve already been following the Shazaam adventures in the back of Justice League. Edgar Salazar’s drawings look fantastic and bring the fleshed out origin of Black Adam that might just have you questioning: who rocks the lightning bolt tights better?
Superman #23

Who knew the Parasite could be compelling? Well, with story and art by Aaron Kuder, it’s not surprising. Kuder brings a great European sensibility to his work, and the story is a surprisingly interesting look at the backstory of a character that usually comes off as one dimensional. The ending to this book alone is just sort of a wonderfully haunting reminder that great power, in the hands of the wrong sort of sociopath, can be a terrible, terrible thing.
Batman and Robin #23

Look, nobody likes to crap on Killer Croc more than me… I am always reminded of The Batman Animated Series episode “Almost Got ‘Em”  (http://youtu.be/fYgJ5oTccWY). But Tim Seeley and Francis Portela’s “Blood in the Water” is a great read. It takes Croc seriously and has the potential for a future Croc-centric story line that could develop in a lot of fun ways. Think of Killer Croc as the Aquaman of poo water. Finally, after a life of getting rejected by every girl for having a nasty case of epidermolytic hyperkeratosis, Waylon Jones might get his due.

Wonder Woman #23

Right now if you haven’t been reading Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman, then get to it. (http://www.amazon.com/Wonder-Woman-Vol-Blood-The/dp/140123562X) I for one have never been a huge Wonder Woman solo comic fan, but this book has been an awesome addition to the 52-verse. With guest artist ACO sitting in for the ride, the First Born book is more of the same magic. Forget Ares in Injustice: Gods Among Us- I would play as First Born all the time.

Justice League #23

This Secret Society read might be a little confusing if you aren’t super familiar with the comings and goings of Earth 2 (or what’s been going on in the DC world), but the Geoff Johns and  Sterling Gates writing team tackling Earth 2 stories? It works. I don’t know if it’s Kudranski’s art or Kalisz’s colors, but it looks flipping great.

Honorable Mention

Green Lantern #23

This book is a straightforward New 52 Sinestro backstory book. It follows a lot of the past Sinestro trials while cutting quickly to the more current Lantern continuity. Dale Eaglesham has a great realism in his work that brings Matt Kindt ‘s retelling to a more compelling and fascinating level. The art adds a layer that prevents this book from reading as just another fill-in during the villain takeover.

Marvel

Trial of the Punisher Part 1

This book is a power house. Marc Guggenheim’s story is a caustic, realistic look at what would happen if the Punisher were put through the legal system. It’s not always easy/pleasant to read legal scenes, but with Leinil Francis Yu’s awesome pencils with the appropriately matched colors of Sunny Cho, your attention will not waver. It’s a riveting gritty approach to a character that can be really hard to write anything new for (or to try to forget all those years of white Go-Go boots), but Guggenheim shows that  he remembers and understands what it’s like for Ol’ skull face chest (that nickname will take off… give it time.)
Young Avengers #10

The Kieron Gillen and wonderful Jamie McKelvie/Mike Norton artistic team have been consistently rocking this comic. For a team I never fully gave a crap about, the weird awareness and quirkiness in this book reminds me of how Deadpool comic should feel. Having a young Loki over no Loki is Loki enough for me, and with the curtain constantly being drawn on who’s manipulating whom, this comic continues to offer a teen drama soap among supes that is far more clever and compelling than some of the grown up Avengers. Much like DC’s Earth 2 stuff, though you might have to start from the beginning with this book to fully understand what the hell is even going on.

Wolverine and the X-Men #36

Not a book I normally dig but it’s continuing children of the atom- nuff said. P.S. Marvel, stop making alternate X-Men teams… No but for real. Stop.

Superior Spider-Man Team Up #3

Say what you will about Doc Ock’s “Superior” Spidey  arc (though apparently Parker will be back soon), what first drew me into this book (aside from Paolo and Joe River’s cover) was Michael Del Mundo’s epic art. The stylistic art and colors of the first panel alone show a motion and look that has a cool blend of artistic styles with full-on awesome.  My interest was kept beyond the pretty pictures, though, with the complexity of Robert Rodi’s story. Dealing with this Octo-Spidey can be a difficult task but I like Rodi’s smart approach to the character and appreciate the added twist in the end from a new persona with big potential (oh man read this story just to get my pun… you won’t thank me.)

Deadpool #17

I love Brian and Gerry, sincerely I do. I even listen to their Nerd Poker D&D podcast (No judgments) but their Deadpool run hasn’t completely impressed me. I am a stickler when it comes to the Merc with a Mouth, he’s the Bugs Bunny of the Marvel Universe with guns… Ok I just described Howard the Duck, but, either way, over the past 5 or so issues, Brian and Gerry have kept me going. I really liked their silly 70’s arc team-up spoof with Iron Fist and Powerman. This current run (The Good the Bad and the Ugly) with a Cap/Wolvie team-up, based on a Korean weapon X program, has all the right ingredients for things to get weird. Also Declan Shalvey’s work on this run gives a great look to the pages.

Honorable Mention:

Nova #8
What can I say, I’ve always liked A Man–er… kid called Nova. Especially when drawn in by an awesome cover of a young Sam Alexander in Thanos’ excellent grasp. This book has surprised me since its inception, and continues to keep my interest with Wells/Medina’s teenage Spidey-esque approach to the Nova helm. Though this theme has gotten a bit redundant amongst some of Marvel’s creations, I still dig the approach a ton here. And besides, any book that has the Watcher (even with his silly almond-eyed look) and hints at a New Warriors comeback, I am in.

Recommended read:
So I’ve got a Brian K. Vaughn thing bad.. . He will be in this section a ton, but if you’re not familiar and you want to try something recent of his (without leaving your couch!) head over to panlsyndicate.com and download Private Eye. This book is full-on awesome with some big concepts and a dynamic world. It is “pay what you like”, so feel like paying normal cover price? Pay it. Feel like supporting an awesome story? Double that! Feel like being a cheapskate, or just want your first taste to be free? Don’t pay a cent.  Just get it. It’s swell.

 

That’s all for my first installment— hopefully I’ll be able to get this out quicker and on the regular if folks enjoy reading it… and don’t forget the following adage, per Adam Scott:

“Nerd culture is mainstream now, so when you use the term ‘nerd’ derogatorily, you’re the one out of the zeitgeist.” (Thanks Parks and Recreation)

Feel free to hate on me @peterwgacek in the twitterverse