Review: Irredeemable, Vol. 4

Irredeemable, Vol. 4Irredeemable, Vol. 4 by Mark Waid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Irredeemable volume 4 includes the Irredeemable Special (which wasn’t really all that special) and then continues on with the core story. The “Special” had some mildly interesting prequel stuff that focuses on Hornet, Kaiden, and Max Damage (of Waid’s other related series Incorruptible). And nope, I haven’t read that one yet. Some spoilery stuff to follow, but I’ll try and keep it to a minimum.

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The next part of the book picks up with what’s left of the team following their run in with Uncle Sam at the conclusion of the last collection. Desperation is really starting to set in and the reality that they’re fucked is becoming more and more apparent.

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Gil’s still dealing with what a dirty meat-socket his soon to be ex-wife is. Bette goes lookin’ for anybody that’s willing to overlook her shockingly selfish admission from the last book. Good luck with that.

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A brawl with the Plutonian does even more collateral damage than expected, somebody learns Modeus’ secret, the Survivor continues to act like a douche, and another member of the Paradigm bites the dust.

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Diego Barreto gives Peter Krause a break and handles the art chores in this one. Better? Nah, I actually like Krause better (and I’m not really a fan of him either). Still serviceable though. Paul Azaceta, Emma Rios, and Howard Chaykin all contributed about 5 or 6 pages to the “Special”. They were alright.

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I’m continuing to enjoy this title and it’s still a recommend. You know Waid’s holding my attention when the next volume marks the halfway point for the series and I’m still down. Diggin’ out volume 5 right now.
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Bitch Planet, Vol 1: Extraordinary Machine

Bitch Planet, Vol 1: Extraordinary Machine (Bitch Planet, #1-5)Bitch Planet, Vol 1: Extraordinary Machine by Kelly Sue DeConnick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

 

 

So, I loved the feminist slant, and I loved the in-your-face attitude of the comic. Especially the stuff about body image. LOVED IT!

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But as far as the actual plot went, I was a little disappointed.
Maybe because I’d read so much hype about this one? I’m just not sure.
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In dystopian future women are arrested and imprisoned for being non-compliant. Just about anything from being overweight to outspoken can result in incarceration on (what is commonly called) Bitch Planet.

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There’s lots of nudity in this, but it’s not the kind that pays service to drooling fanboys. It takes all the Women in Prison movies, embraces them, and then turns them on their ear.

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Even the obligatory sexy shower scene, gets a brand new twist.

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Although, the best part (to me) was reading all of the hilarious advertisements in the back of each issue. Make sure you don’t pass these up!
Spicy Cinnamon Taco douche…for the girl adventurer!

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And that’s where this volume shines. It was all the small things that it called BULLSHIT on, that made such a huge impact on the story. These are the things that women are told to worry about every day!
Does your vag really need to smell like some sort of a chemical flower? I’m gonna step out on a limb, and say…no.

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It deals with different body types, weight, color, and the general diversity in women, but it also deals with the attitudes towards women with…um, attitude. If you’re outspoken and opinionated does that make you a bitch? Yeah, maybe. shrugs
But is that a bad thing?
Again, going out on that limb to say…no.

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Alrighty, as far as the story?
A group of these Bitch Planet prisoners are going to compete in some sort of game, as the Female team. It’s apparently being done to add spice to this Olympic Gamesish competition (Of course, the deck is stacked against them, there’s a conspiracy with the higher ups in government, and public opinion is not in their favor.
But the ladies may be able to make a statement (and/or kill a bunch of people in charge) if they make it to the final round of the games.
I THINK.
Hopefully, I’ll get the opportunity to keep reading this one, and maybe by the next volume the main plot will be a little more defined.
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Overall, though, I thought the message in this was very cool. Recommended for boys and girls of all ages over 18.

I received a digital copy from NetGalley and the publishers.

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Review: Secret Avengers, Vol. 3: God Level

Secret Avengers, Vol. 3: God LevelSecret Avengers, Vol. 3: God Level by Ales Kot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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God Level is where Kot wraps up his 3 volume run on Secret Avengers and really starts to get his weird-on. Usually that’s where I get off Ales’ crazy train. But not this time folks. Enjoyed the shit outta this title right up to the end.

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Funny that MODOK, a character I previously thought was oh-so-lame, ended up being one of the best parts of this book. Bunch of great moments including him drunk texting Deadpool, gettin’ all Rambo, and rockin’ out in an apron. Liking Snapper (heh) as well. Go figure. Who would’ve guessed a guy like me would end up diggin’ a dude named after a woman’s hoo-hoo? I would’ve appreciated a bit more Wade Wilson, but only because I think Ales really nails him.

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Some other highlights of volume 3 included Black Widow and Lady Bullseye on the run, Hawkeye taking out 17 hired guns all by his lonesome, Deadpool’s cameo, and the debriefing interviews at the end of the book.

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Much respect for Michael Walsh. The guy owned this series and deserves as much credit as Ales for gettin’ me hooked. He crushed whatever it was that Kot’s crazy-ass script called for. I’m guessing that he’s also personally responsible for some of the awesome “little” moments that made this book so damn good. Tradd Moore’s covers were pretty bangin’ too.

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This type of Avengers story might not be for everybody, but boy did it kill for me. Plenty of action with just enough kookiness and unconventional story-telling to make it fresh. Kot jumps around a bit while getting to where he’s going (linear just ain’t his thing) and it really worked here. Pair him up with a talented guy like Walsh and Marvel created a run that’s among the best that any Avengers title has seen in a while. Bravo boys, hate to see this joy-ride come to an end. Anybody that’s enjoying Fraction’s Hawkeye, Soule’s She-hulk, or Waid’s Daredevil should probably give this title a shot.

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The Faceless Ghost and Other Macabre Tales from Japan

Lafcadio Hearn’s “The Faceless Ghost” and Other Macabre Tales from Japan: A Graphic Novel by Sean Michael Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Received from Netgalley for review.)

It would be a mistake to go into this expecting spooky ghost stories. That really isn’t the intention, though some of these stories are eerie. Luckily, I had already read Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things, the source for most of these stories, so I knew what to expect. And I really liked Kwaidan, so I was happy at how much of the original phrasing was preserved. The art is very good, and it suits the stories nicely. Really good as a folklore source, but not really somewhere to look if you want something spooky.

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Review: Secret Avengers Vol. 2: The Labyrinth

Secret Avengers, Vol. 2: The LabyrinthSecret Avengers, Vol. 2: The Labyrinth by Ales Kot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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GIRL FIGHT!!! This book opens with a shirt tearin’, bra strippin’, throw down for the ages…Ok, so maybe there are no bras getting pulled off, but boy do Black Widow and Lady Bullseye have at it. There’s enough fish-hooks, eye-gouges, and hair pullin’ to put a smile on this old man’s face anyway. MODOK likey.

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Hawkeye goes lookin’ for an M.I.A. Agent Coulson and runs into a super-fan by the name of Wade Wilson. Some of my favorite moments in this one are Kot’s take on Deadpool. Ales doesn’t just do a good job with the Merc with a mouth, he crushes it. Over the top redonkulous 4th wall smashin’ fun and absolutely perfect.

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That’s not all….MORE MODOK!! He’s almost as funny as Wade and his evil plan is finally starting to take shape. Love him.

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Spider-woman goes on special assignment, Maria Hill does her best Nick Fury impression, and the real villain finally steps out of the shadows and into the light.

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Kot’s weirdo writing sensibilities and oddness really come through in this book. But not in the overly obscure manner that it does in some of his lesser known work. Definitely much easier to digest than his image title Zero.

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Michael Walsh’s art remains as amazing as it was in Volume 1. Scratch that, it’s even better. Mike manages to communicate so much emotion with his simple style. NO ONE has ever drawn the Ultimate Warrior so good. Mix in Matthew Wilson’s colors and BLAM!, great stuff. Tradd Moore’s covers rock too.

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Kot’s unusual storytelling won’t work for everyone, but for me, it’s spot on. Plenty of action as well. Throw in Walsh’s artwork and this book’s a lock for one of my all-time favorite Avenger titles. Read it!

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Review: Secret Avengers Vol. 1: Let’s Have a Problem

Secret Avengers, Vol. 1: Let's Have a ProblemSecret Avengers, Vol. 1: Let’s Have a Problem by Ales Kot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Yep, this is it. My favorite Avengers title in years and probably the BEST Secret Avengers stuff ever. Kot has that “Matt Fraction” thing down. Great action with just enough silly. This book starts off right after Nick Spenser’s run on Secret Avengers, but I don’t think you really need to read that run to enjoy this. Maybe just the 3rd volume (cuz it’s good).

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Ales’ team consists of Nick Fury, Black Widow, Spider-Woman, Phil Coulson, and a tag-a-long by the name of Clint Barton. Oh, yeah and the Mental/Mobil/Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing. He’s great and also a professional egoist. After this series I’m buying a M.O.D.O.K. t-shirt. He is awesome in this book. Maria Hill sparkles too and she really has her hands full with this crowd. That, and she gets hands on. Dig her.

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A.I.M. continues to make itself an annoyance to the gang in this collection, but there’s also a couple of new villains that show up to shit in our heroes cereal. A crazed poet and arms dealer named Artaud, a killing machine called “The Fury”, Lady Bullseye, and an artificially intelligent bomb by the name of Vladimir just to name a few. The quirkiness of this title is just so fun.

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Michael Walsh is the perfect illustrator for this one too. He’s got a “Matt Wagner” vibe that I love. Wonderfully drawn simple, but distinctive characters and backgrounds that nail it. Mike’s got a new fan in this guy. I’ll be hittin’ his shit up again down the road. Travis Moore, of “Luther Strode” fame, provides some sweet cover art as well. Money.

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Could’ve done without the Original Sin tie-in included at the end of the book. I get that it was collected since Ales wrote it and it wasn’t bad, just didn’t flow or really have anything to do with the rest of the story. And the art was meh.

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This kinda weirdness is usually not my thing, but Ales is able to sell me on it for some reason. I would imagine it’s sorta like folks that appreciate Grant Morrison’s uniqueness. I don’t, but I think Ales’ odd style is a bit more digestible to the blue collar comic fan than Grant’s. Odd without the obscure references and mind-boggling plot lines that Morrison typically baffles me with. A recommend to anyone that’s enjoying Fraction’s Hawkeye or is a fan of any of the characters. Kot and Walsh killed it.

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Review: Irredeemable Vol. 3

Irredeemable, Vol. 3Irredeemable, Vol. 3 by Mark Waid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Minor spoilery stuff for those that haven’t read up to this volume yet. What are you waitin’ for?

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Finally. The U.S. Government has had enough of the Plutonian’s rampage and is stepping in to do something about it. Yep, the same guys that fucked up the economy, social security, and continue to try and dilute the Constitution to the point of irrelevance are on it. And they’re not gonna fuck this up. Turns out they have a very unique weapon on standby for just such an emergency. This isn’t going to end well.

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Qubit gets his BDSM on and it actually leads to a little information as to what happened to Modeus before he went missing. Turns out Modeus might have actually earned that dangerous reputation, the clever shit. Certainly didn’t see that twist coming.

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A new hero is born. “The Survivor” is here and what a douche-bag he is. Could be the cure is as bad as the disease in this case. Hysterical that the media was about as impressed as I was at his “coming out” party. Toolbox.

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Gil and Bette finally have that sit down about allegations of her infidelity. I was wonderin’ how long Bette was gonna be able to put this one off. Nice guys finish last Gil. But there’s more to this than Bette just going on a trampage. She knows something you don’t know.

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The Plutonian continues to impress with just how much of a malicious degenerate he really is. Yep, he’s hit an all-time low in this one kiddies. He’s takin’ to the handicapped. And how about those adoptive parents. Crazy shit.

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I continue to enjoy this series more with each volume. Peter Krause’s artwork remains consistent and, while I won’t be seeking out other titles based solely on his work, it’s respectable. Waid ends this collection on a cool little cliffhanger. On to volume 4. This title’s got legs.

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Review: Secret Avengers Vol. 3: How to MA.I.M. a Mockingbird

Secret Avengers Vol. 3: How To Maim A MockingbirdSecret Avengers Vol. 3: How To Maim A Mockingbird by Nick Spencer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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In preparation for Ales Kot’s run on Secret Avengers, I thought I should pick up the last volume of Nick Spenser’s run since Ales co-wrote the issues collected. It shows. Kot’s quirky fingerprints are all over this bitch.

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This volume seems like something of a lead in for Ales’ 3 volume stint on the team. It puts most of the pieces in place so he can hit the ground running with Secret Avengers Vol 1: Let’s Have a Problem. Really loved MODOK’s introduction in this one. The back and forth between him and Maria Hill was ridiculous throughout. I think Ales does a really good job of riding the line between cornball and serious with this book. That’s tough to pull off for anyone in my opinion. Taskmaster’s also good for a few laughs. Hawkeye, Nick Fury (“Sam Jackson” Fury that is), and Black Widow are all pretty much by the numbers. I think I prefer Nick as an agent as opposed to the SHIELD director. Hawkeye’s true to form and appears to be taken right from his own current, super-popular solo title. Most of the book, as the title implies, focuses on Mockingbird. Not a fan of hers, but the rest of the ensemble cast gets enough face-time while taking on A.I.M. to make up for it.

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The art was decent. Never a fan of Butch Guice or Luke Ross. Not my brand. But whatever, it certainly didn’t suck.

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This collection (along with Anne and Chris’ reviews of the first book) is pretty much a guarantee that Ales’ 3 volume run on the Secret Avengers that follows this is gonna kick some ass. I’d say pick up this book if you’re plannin’ on reading those collections. It doesn’t seem like you need to read Spenser’s 2 previous volumes to get the idea as to what’s going on here (I didn’t) and it’s a good preface to Kot’s take on the team. Now I’m even more fuckin’ stoked to keep on with this title. Bring it.

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Review: Irredeemable Vol. 2

Irredeemable, Vol. 2Irredeemable, Vol. 2 by Mark Waid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Waid wastes no time kickin’ it up a notch in the second collection. This is where Irredeemable really starts to gain some depth. Mark starts to flesh out his characters and even manages to throw in a few surprises for this jaded comic geek. Loved the twist towards the end. Should’ve seen that one comin’.

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Vol. 2 reveals which straw finally broke the camel’s back for the Plutonian. He really goes off the deep end in this one kids. As if annihilating cities was enough, he starts in with a psychological warfare campaign that speaks to just how shit-house rat crazy he’s become.

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What’s left of Paradigm takes a field trip the Plutonian’s crib. Should have called him the Stalkenator. And if that’s not weird enough, how’s about a day-care of death too. It’s like the Fortress of Solitude on bath-salts. Freak.

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Volt gets an origin story in this one. Pretty fun. You’re also gonna find out why he’s stuck manglin’ his midget with his right hand from here on out. No more “strangers” for him.

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Peter Krause’s art is consistent. Again, not my favorite in terms of style or panache’, but certainly functional. It’s growing on me and it definitely hasn’t taken away from my overall enjoyment of the series so far.

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Great 2nd volume. So far among the best stuff I’ve read by Mark Waid and absolutely worth checking out. For those of you that enjoyed the carnage of the first book. Plenty more to enjoy here. This collection adds in one dismemberment, a few more dead kids, and a fetish alert that’s probably gonna leave you one satisfied customer.

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