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Casual Comics Hot Comic Book Picks of the Week – September 3, 2014 AND September 10, 2014

How far behind is it possible for me to be on comic books? But, my new-found lack of time is a both good and bad for this blog.

The bad? I’m way behind on weekly picks and just updating here in general. The good? That was kind of the purpose of this blog in the first place – trying to give people a peek at the world of comics from someone who is just a “casual” fan. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say that this is the best thing that could have happened to the Casual Comics Guy. 

So, while I sit at Buffalo Wild Wings, watching the Buccaneers lose a painful football game, I’m going to look through the comics from next week and last week to tell you what I’ll be looking for if I finally manage to get to a comic shop this coming week.

Last week

I’m kind of cheating and only including last week for one thing – my retroactive OFFICIAL Casual Comics Hot Pick of the Week.

Hawkeye vs. Deadpool #0 (of 4)

Hawkeye vs. Deadpool #0 (of 4)

A limited series is always just what the doctor ordered for a casual comic book fan. The fact that this one features Hawkeye (whose current book I love) and Deadpool (who is usually good for a laugh) makes this the only book from last week I’d dig through a back issue bin to find. 

One question – if this is #0 (of 4) will the last issue be #3 or #4. If the answer is that there will be five books (0, 1, 2, 3, and 4), it should be “of 5”. But then you would think they would say “of 5”, which would make you think the last issue was #5. 

They kind of painted themselves into a corner, logic-wise, with the numbering. 

I should also probably mention Original Sin #8, but I stopped caring about that title at #6. Actually, that’s not true. I stopped caring at #2, but Marvel got $16 more bucks out of me before I stopped buying with issue #6.

The last time I was this disappointed was… well about 10 minutes ago when I saw Logan Mankins hurt himself in the Bucs game. See… I CAN multi-task.

Original Sin #8. By: Jason Aaron, Mike Deodato, Julian Totino Tedesco. Marvel Comics. Sure to be terrible.

This Week

Dicks End Of Time #4

Dicks End Of Time #4. By: Garth Ennis, John McCrea. Avatar Press.

Last I checked in with Warren Ellis was Rover Red Charliewhich I really liked. I even thought he nailed the ending of that book. It might have been my favorite mini-series of the last two years. 

So, find me a comic with Ellis’ name on it and the following description, and I’ll even go out looking for the back issues:

“The Boys from Belfast continue their trip through the annals of history as they romp through time screwing up the world for just about everyone. Garth Ennis and John McCrea leave no insult unslung as they attempt to offend every comics reader one page at a time. Don’t miss this latest wallowing in the gutter with Dougie and Ivor, the Dicks.

Available with Regular, Offensive, and Classic Moment Incentive covers by McCrea”

Teen Dog #1 

Teen Dog #1. By: Jake Lawerence. BOOM Studios.

Odds of this being the worst purchase I’ll make? Extremely likely. But how can I resist this solicit: 

Teen Dog is John Hughes meets ’90s Nickelodeon cartoons, two of our absolute favorite things. It’s a totally awesome adventure that stars the canine that spun out of Jake Lawrence’s web comic Time Cowboy and kickflipped his way into our hearts.

How was your high school experience? Teen Dog is high school if it didn’t totally blow, and instead totally ruled the most. Teen angst and whimsical adventures collide in this new series reminiscent of Doug, Saved By the Bell, and Kim Possible.

Admittedly, that’s a lot of name-checking, but they’er pretty good names to check.

Six Million Dollar Man Season 6 #6

Six Million Dollar Man Season 6 #6. By: James Kuhoric, Juan Antonio Ramirez, Alex Ross. Dynamite Entertainment.

Wow… Good for you. You made it six issues! Looks like Jamie and Oscar are in this issue, too! Nostalgia!!

 Fantastic Four #10

Fantastic Four #10. By: James Robinson, Derliz Santacruz, Leonard Kirk. Marvel Comics.

This is another recent favorite of mine. I think the current run of FF is one of my favorite for Marvel’s first family in a looooooong time. I gotta get some of these back issues, too. I still love the red outfits. Hope the story is still good. 

 

Showcase Captain Carrot And His Amazing Zoo Crew TPB

Showcase Captain Carrot And His Amazing Zoo Crew TPB. By: Roy Thomas, Scott Shaw. DC Comics.

For once in the history of Casual Comics Picks DC Comics finally nails down the Official Casual Comics Hot Pick of the Week – even if they had to dig into the vaults to do it.

Captain Carrot is one of my favorite DC characters of all time. i might have some of these issues in a longbox or pile of comics somewhere, but most of my run of Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew is likely to be missing.  Thank you, DC Comics, for finally compiling an old series that actually deserves to be seen again.

Filled with terrible puns, great comic action, and even more terrible puns, I can’t wait to revisit the world of Captain Carrot in Gnu York (get it..? Gnu York…) And, for a book filled with awful jokes and cartoon animal superheroes, this excerpt from the Wikipedia entry reminds my why, in general, I can’t take DC Comics:

The various members of the Zoo Crew lived on a parallel Earth that, during DC’s pre-Crisis multiverse system, was named “Earth-C.” Earth-C consisted of a world where various anthropomorphized talking animals existed; the series featured many animal-themed pun names for real-world aspects.

Did they really have to try and figure out how this figured into normal DC continuity? I mean, DC also publishes Scooby Doo, Where Are You? Did they try and squeeze that into the “multi-verse” somewhere?

OK, that’s enough bitterness. Let’s see if I can find an old page from Captain Carrot to end this post on a high note.

 

 Have a great week, all. Don’t forget to visit your local comic book shop. 

 

Cheers!

– CCG

 

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Casual Comic Guy Picks: Hot Comic Books of the Week (April 23, 2014)

Another week closer to summer. Another week closer to the NFL football draft. How to kill the time? Why with comic books, obviously! So what hot new comics should you be looking for this week? Don’t ask me, I’m just a casual comics guy.

But if you don’t read comics very often and need something to kill some time and (maybe) help you get back into comics, maybe you want to look at one of these… Because this week, in the immortal words of Devo, I’ve got something for everybody.

 

Duffman Adventures #1

Duffman Adventures #1. By: Matt Groening, Mike Rote. Bongo Comics.

To be honest, I’ve never read a Simpsons title in my life. Not even the obvious, “Radioactive Man” series. Read the rest of this entry

Casual Comics Review Double Down – Fantastic Four #1 and Loki: Agent of Asgard #2

I liked the Double Down format so well, I thought I’d give it another go with some recent comics you may have missed – Fantastic Four #1 and Loki: Agent of Asgard #2.

Since diving back into the world of comics, the Marvel titles I’ve bought have been a mixed bag –  New AvengersAvengers AI, and Guardians of the Galaxy have all given me major headaches. A combination of thick continuity and a too-dark outlook on the Marvel Universe made me question my commitment to being a casual comics fan.

Recently, though, I’ve picked up many Marvel titles that have restored my faith in the current editorial direction. I adored She-Hulk #1 and have high hopes for Ms. Marvel after a good looking and well-told origin story in the first issue of the new run.

So what has Marvel delivered over the last two weeks? Let’s start with a classic team – The Fantastic Four.

Fantasic Four #1 (2014) – STORY BY: James Robinson ART BY: Leonard Kirk, Karl Kesel COLORS BY: Jesus Aburtov Marvel Comics

The FF is embarking on a new adventure with a new #1 and a storyline called, “The Fall of the Fantastic Four”. Even the title seemed like a downer. But, I was pleasantly surprised by the new series.

The book begins, as too many Marvel titles do, with a character recounting how the upcoming story is the darkest days of (humanity/mutants/the team in question). This time, it’s Sue Storm writing a letter to her daughter regarding the, well, impending fall of the Fantastic Four.

Marvel may want to send a memo to their writing staff, letting them know that this storytelling technique is a bit played-out.

As a casual fan, though, I really enjoyed this issue. I can set aside the bummer opening pages. Really, every FF storyline since the 60s has had the threat of the team breaking up / dying. So the prelude, while unnecessary, isn’t really that “dark”. In the good old days, they would’ve just splashed it on the cover and dug right into the story.

Like so… two pages saved.

Here are a few things I like about the first issue of the new Fantastic Four:

The team – It’s been too long since I’ve seen a Fantastic Four Series that features the actual Fantastic Four – Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Johnny Storm, and yer ever lovin’ Uncle Benji. Welcome home guys. It’s great to have you here.

The costumes – I’m not sure if this is the first time the Fantastic Four are wearing these red uniforms, but I really like them. I’m sure I’ll want them to get back to the classic blues at some point, but the reds are really popping off the page in this issue.

Love the red uniforms, team…

The story – The first issue was pretty dang easy for a casual comics fan. I’m familiar enough with the broader Marvel Universe that I understand that Reed’s running some kind of educational facility in the Baxter Building. I like to think of it as the nerd academy vs. Xavier’s jock institute. So, the interlude with the kiddies running around was the deepest dig into current continuity, and it didn’t strain the brain too hard.

Robinson also does an excellent job, pacing the action and adventure with the team interludes and personal moments. Fantastic Four #1 is very well written. We even get a proper “It’s Clobberin’ Time!”

The art

No additional commentary needed.

This is exactly what I was hoping for when I picked up Fantastic Four #1.

Will I buy the next issue? AB-SO-LUTELY. Lock it in.

So, after reading this, I was pretty hyped for Loki: Agent of Asgard #2. It was one of my hot picks for last week, you may recall. Like many, I quite enjoy Tom Hiddleston’s portrayal of the immortal trickster in the movies. I read the solicit:

“Loki vs. Lorelei! It’s the battle of the Asgardian younger siblings–from the casinos of Monte Carlo to a speed date in New York! Loki goes speed dating. We should have mentioned that earlier, really.”

Loki Agent of Asgard #2 by: Al Ewing and Lee Garbett. Marvel Comics.

How can you go wrong with that? It’s almost like Marvel had a roadmap to make it go wrong and followed it to the letter. But, it all begins and ends with the title being almost entirely impenetrable for casual readers.

I would’ve thought that with Loki’s relative popularity in the movie universe, Marvel might try a title that casual readers can “get”. I was shocked to open the book and find a page-long recap of the previous developments leading up to this issue. It’s only issue #2 after all. There was a bunch of nonsensical (to me) backstory about Loki dying, coming back to life as a kid, and redeeming himself.

That might seem pretty straightforward, but that’s not all. The original Loki then returns, kills the reincarnated version of himself, and takes his own place, but has to pretend to be the good version in order to wipe out his old bad deeds… Or something like that… I’ve read it three times, and I’m still not sure I’m getting it.

I’m a pretty bright guy (no matter what you might hear), and I shouldn’t still be struggling with the basic timeline of a character like Loki in the SECOND issue of a title.

Once I got into the book, I thought the story was witty. The art was gorgeous, as well. I’ve never really noticed the “coloring” on a book, so Nolan Woodard should be commended for making me sit up and take notice on the wonders a colorist can work on a bok.

But I’m just plain lost.  I liked the meat of the story, but I couldn’t make heads-nor-tails of where the story was coming from or where it’s heading based on this issue.

Will I buy the next issue? To be honest, I’ll probably read the next one (or two) at the comic shop to see if it’s making any more sense before investing another three bucks on another issue.

So, once again, Marvel is proving to be a mixed bag. It makes me even more nervous about diving back into the DC Universe. Here’s the deal, if they ever put out a new Doctor Fate title, it’ll be time for me to take that plunge. Until then, I’m still trying to get my footing on this side of the great divide. Luckily, I’m finding quite a few titles outside the big two that are more accessible.

Cheers!

– CCG