Along with an update of TV / movies / video games I've been playing, here's a brief comic update.
I've been re-reading Final Crisis, a controversial DC mini-series. Besides the fact that it's somewhat impenetrable because it's complicated, one of the other big problems with the book is it's almost impossible to know what order to read the issues in. Yes, there's a series Final Crisis 1-7 but there's also 2 critical issues, "Superman Beyond 1-2." Batman issues 682-683 detail the events for Batman between Final Crisis #2, and his reappearance in Final Crisis #7. Other crossovers seem to fit but not quite exactly. There are about 12 main issues to this series and DC would have done themselves a favor to just call them Final Crisis 1-12 and leave it that way. It's a jumble.
Blackest Night, the current DC mega-crossover finished this past week and I'm waiting for my DCBS order to come in this week. I'm eagerly awaiting the end of this series. Overall, this has been a great story, although in some ways the scope is more limited than I had originally expected. Ivan Reis is an amazing artist. The only disappointment here is that there are critical issues to the story that run in Green Lantern, and again, it's not intuitive when they occur in relation to the Blackest Night issues. Sometimes the Green Lantern issue occurs before the Blackest Night issue of the same month. Other times, it's afterwards.
Grant Morrison's Batman and Robin is great fun. This is "good" Grant Morrison (vs "bad" that wrote Final Crisis). I didn't think I'd like Dick Grayson as Batman. Now I'm disappointed Bruce Wayne is coming back.
Geoff Johns usually does no wrong in my mind, but The Flash: Rebirth was a little bit of a misfire for me. Ethan Van Sciver is also usually a great artist but I felt some of his issues towards the end left me a little disappointed. I re-read the issues all together, and the whole piece just didn't flow well for me.
I also re-read Planetary by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday recently. This is a superb comic. It's too bad there were so many delays along its publication. In re-reading it, I felt that there was not only a great sci-fi element and genre parody, but there is also a really sentimental story buried in there as well. Excellent.
The X-Men universe is supposed to have a "major shakeup" with its storyline coming up called Second Coming. Not sure if this will "change everything," but it probably won't. The Messiah War crossover between X-Force and Cable was fairly entertaining but ultimately didn't do anything. Hopefully this next crossover will be a little better. Fraction is finding his pacing on Uncanny X-Men and Greg Land's photo-realistic style hasn't been bothering me as much as usual.
Over my last vacation, I re-read Y: The Last Man. This was an excellent 60 issue run, start to finish. There's really no complaints here. This book would make for a great introductory story for anyone new to comics. It also shows comics are more than super-heroes. Originally I read the final volume so far after reading some of the original elements, but after reading everything together, it's just amazing. An all-time great story.
At a sale a while ago, I picked up the first two trade paperbacks of Daredevil by Frank Miller and Klaus Jansen. Classic stuff with DD, Bullseye, Elektra and the Kingpin. You see Miller's style evolve and the stories still hold up well today. I'm excited to pick up volume 3.
If you like standalone stories, Wolverine: Old Man Logan is an excellent one. Mark Millar's style gets old sometimes, but Steve McNiven's artwork is beautiful. It's a great Wolverine tragedy in a dystopian future. My only complaint would be that the last issue is a little gory. McNiven's work is terrific.
Finally, Captain America has been Reborn and the monthly series has resumed. Overall, I'm expecting a little more from this book. It's steady but not as exciting as it used to be. Maybe we've just been spoiled.