March 14, 2011

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Panel by Panel: February 2011 in Review

Here we are already at Pi Day in March, and I forgot to talk about my February reading habits. February saw me hit 100 things read that relate to comics, which is pretty awesome. That's a great way to start the year. What was not so awesome was not reading any mini-comics or zines. I need to change that here in March while there's still time left. This was a month dominated by Manga, as might have been obvious from my reviews.

You can find my complete 2011 reading list here
. Now let's look at what February had to offer...

Indie Books (6)
  1. Faker by Mike Carey and Jock
  2. 100% by Tony Consiglio
  3. Cthulhu Tales Vol 2 by Various
  4. The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects by Mike Mignola
  5. Peter Bagge's Other Lives by Peter Bagge
  6. Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards by Jim Ottaviani and Big Time Attic
Solid Six

I didn't read a lot of indie books in February--it was the first time in three months where Superhero books trumped them--but four of the six books were excellent and the other two (100% and Faker) weren't bad. It's always a good month when you're reading stories illustrated by Jock and Mike Mignola.

Put it on Your Purchase List: Cthulhu Tales, Amazing Screw-On Head, Other Lives, Bone Sharps.

Manga/Manhwa (19)

  1. 20th Century Boys Vol 3 by Naoki Urasawa
  2. One Piece Vol 4 by Eiichiro Oda
  3. One Piece Vol 5 by Eiichiro Oda
  4. Bleach Vol 7 by Tite Kubo
  5. Bleach Vol 8 by Tite Kubo
  6. Ranma 1/2 Vol 8 by Rumiko Takahashi (R)
  7. Ranma 1/2 Vol 9 by Rumiko Takahashi (R)
  8. Barefoot Gen Vol 10 by Keiji Nakazawa
  9. Ranma 1/2 Vol 10 by Rumiko Takahashi (R)
  10. Jormungand Vol 5 by Keitaro Takahashi
  11. Time and Again Vol 2 by JiUn Yun
  12. Cat Paradise Vol 3 by Yuji Iwahara
  13. After School Nightmare Vol 7 by Setona Mizushiro
  14. After School Nightmare Vol 8 by Setona Mizushiro
  15. After School Nightmare Vol 9 by Setona Mizushiro
  16. After School Nightmare Vol 10 by Setona Mizushiro
  17. Amnesia Labrinth Vol 1 by Nagaru Tanigawa and Natsumi Kohane (2011)
  18. Ranma 1/2 Vol 11 by Rumiko Takahashi
  19. Ranma 1/2 Vol 12 by Rumiko Takahashi
The Manga Mamba

I'm still reading quite a bit of manga vs everything else on my plate, but some of it is seeing where series go, rather than because I love the series. I tried Time and Again Volume Two, since the library had it, and I found the thing to be a confusing mess, well, again. The artwork is extremely sloppy (perhaps worse than in Vol 1) and it seems to be missing crucial panels that would help the story make at least some kind of sense. That's a manhwa I'd definitely advise you to avoid. After School Nightmare was the worst kind of downer--a series that crashes in the last book--so that was an afternoon in the bathtub that led to me almost drowning in frustration. Amnesia Labyrinth was a surprise hit, joining Jormungard on my unlikely favorites list that I'm sure I'll be talking about at the end of the year.

Cat Paradise keeps improving, Ranma keeps Ranma-ing, and of course 20th Century Boys is awesome and a must read for any comics fan, Western or Eastern. I even tossed Bleach into the mix, because life just isn't fun unless you're reading as many ongoing manga series as possible.

Put it on Your Purchase List: 20th Century Boys, Ranma 1/2, Jormungard, Amnesia Labrinth

Get It from the Library/Bargain Shelf: Bleach, One Piece, Barefoot Gen, Cat Paradise

Not Even at a Border's Closing: Time and Again, After School Nightmare

Superhero Stuff (12)

  1. New Avengers Vol 7 by Brian Michael Bendis and Others
  2. New Avengers Vol 8 by Brian Michael Bendis and Others
  3. New Avengers Vol 9 by Brian Michael Bendis and Others
  4. Green Lantern/Green Arrow Vol 1 by Denny O'Neil, Neal Adams, and Others
  5. Spider-Man Noir by David Hine, Fabrice Sapolsky, and Carmine di Giandomencio
  6. Batman The Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul by Grant Morrison, Paul Dini, Tony Daniel, and Others
  7. Irredeemable Vol 2 by Mark Waid and Peter Krause
  8. Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland
  9. Batman Joker's Asylum Vol 2 by Various Writers and Artists (2011)
  10. Essential Punisher Vol 1 by Various Writers and Artists
  11. Beyond! by Dwayne McDuffie and Scott Kollins
  12. Batman RIP by Grant Morrison and Tony Daniel with Others
Going Batty

Batman pops up a lot here in February, kind of like a groundhog. Unfortunately, Killing Joke doesn't actually read like a Batman story, and the more of Morrison's Batman 2.0 I read, the less I care for it. The Ra's book was particularly bad, but the only good part of RIP came from the Joker being smarter than Bats and being able to turn the tables on the arrogant bad guys. Otherwise, it was a muddled, overly obtuse mess. Speaking of messes, Secret Invasion is terrible. Glad I'm paying next to nothing to read it. I'm also glad Beyond was not McDuffie's last work, because it's easily the worst thing I've ever read from him. It's not a great sign when the Punisher was one of the better things you read. Not a great month for capes all around and making me start to be more selective again.

Put it on Your Purchase List: Batman: Joker's Asylum, Irredeemable

Get it from the Library/Bargain Shelf: Spider-Man Noir, Essential Punisher

Not Even at a Border's Closing: Morrison's Batman, Beyond!, just about anything Secret Invasion

Erased the Panels

For possibly the first time ever, a Doug Moench and Kelley Jones disappointed me. Batman: Haunted Gotham featured almost none of Jones's signature creative ideas, which is shocking given the topic at hand in the comic. It's a lot of straightforward panels, drawn badly because Jones's stock in trade is exaggeration and imaginative views of reality, not people talking to each other. Moench's script feels like it was a generic story that had Batman added to it. The plot doesn't have any really good twists or turns, and the dialog is unusually stiff. I gave up at the halfway point. Can't win 'em all.

So that was my February. How was yours? Tell me!