Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Reviews for August 6th 2008

Onto my next batch of reviews, for the first week of August 2008. I know I said that now all reviews will be weekly, and that statement is still true (I probably won’t be able to pick up the next few weeks of comics until the end of the month, again) but I had a good amount of cash on me this week so I decided to stop by the comic shop and pick up my comics. I had a few leftovers from July, Secret Invasion 4 and Detective Comics, but I also had 3 new comics for the week. So we’ll review those 3 comics now, I hope you enjoy.

Hulk #5

Written: Jeph Loeb

Art: Ed McGuinness

Opening comments: I was honestly expecting to hate this issue. After the huge disappointment #4 was, I figured the series was soon to be on my chopping block. I’m not afraid to admit it; I loved the first 3 issues, but King Sized Hulk and #4 where both crap. Luckily, #5, stupid as it is, is still a fun and enjoyable comic.

Story comments: The cover defines most of what happens in this issue. Rulk (Red Hulk) and Thor go toe to toe in a big old fashioned comic fight. If you like reading through old 60’s and 70’s fights, then you’ll love this. There really isn’t much more to it, there is some great dialogue on Rulk’s part, and Thor sounds like a babbling D&D nerd. Rulk gets to shine again by having some funny moments and sinister dialogue. It’s all in good fun and enjoyable.

The fight isn’t too brilliant. The moment where the fight takes to space is…hard to believe. Not being a big Thor fan, I’m not at all sure how the whole hammer magic works. But if Rulk says he can use it in space, damned if I don’t believe him. If you turn off your brain and just relax, it’s a fairly enjoyable fight. While not on the same level as some of the older Thor/Hulk fights, it still has its good and even cool moments.

After the rather pointless fight, we get a moment with Hulk acting like a hero! That’s right; Hulk does, or in this case, says, something heroic. Even if you didn’t pick up on it, his little comment on telling A-bomb not to help him and to save the city was something more I’d hope to hear from Green skin. Its obvious Loeb is starting to distinguish his Hulk from the classic one, and if that means a more dumbed down Hulk, I can live with that if I must.

I also would like to note that A-Bomb isn’t so much a villain, as he is a hero. He wants to help Green Hulk (It’s annoying that I have to refer to him as that…) rather than fight him. I don’t know if Loeb did that on purpose, but that was a good moment. It shows he’s starting to develop these characters through the story, even if in tiny moments like this, it still counts and is noteworthy.

The final page leaves me a little confused…how in the hell did Namor get there? Isn’t he in Latveria? Or…all the other places he seems to be nowadays? I know he’s a friend of the Hulk’s, so it’s nice to see him there again, but I’m just a little confused is all.

My biggest complaint about this issue is Thor. Where in the hell did he come from? Isn’t he out in the middle of nowhere looking for his God-buddies? I’m not reading Thor, so I wouldn’t know, but still…it’s something that should have been addressed here.

Art comments: I really don’t know what to say about Ed McGuinness’ art. I’m sure that you know what to expect, lots of fighting and not much else. He excels at big fight scenes, so if you’re a big McGuinness fan, you’ll love this. He does a great job, but it doesn’t really add much to the overall enjoyment level.

Final comments: It’s far from perfect, or even great. But I had a hard time not smiling, just enjoying myself while reading Hulk. It was a fun read with great art. If you’ve got an extra 3 bucks this month and want a good fight, Hulk #5 deserves a look.

3 out of 5

Check It

Detective Comics #847

Written: Paul Dini

Art: Dustin Nguyen

Opening comments: What a great issue. I was skeptical about this story, especially after the rather odd opening, but damned if this isn’t a great issue and what looks to be a great story. Of course, the R.I.P is still a complete load of crap, aside from another brief mentioning of Black Glove by Nightwing. But still, the “Heart of Hush” is looking to be the best Detective Comics storyline in a while.

Story comments: This issue had an odd opening. Hush shoots Batman through the back of the head, killing him. Then we switch to more back story and what Hush called “The Last Good Day.” Ironically, it wasn’t a very good day at all.

Having never read the opening Hush stories by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee, I was hoping Dini would do a good job of pulling me into the story as well as making me care about what’s going on in the past, and present. The back story to Hush is great, especially how it ties in to the Scarecrow, and the current story with Batman and Catwoman are very well done.

Hush aside, the Batman/Robin/Nightwing team up against some petty crooks was funny and well done. The Carpenter strikes again, along with….some punk Walrus guy. While not a memorable fight really, it had some funny banter with Robin and Nightwing. Batman comes in at the last second, has a brief word with his sons then just like that we’re done with Batman.

Now the best part of this issue is with Selina Kyle talking to Zatanna. There is a throw back to earlier issues where Zatanna tried to get Batman, and of course we get more jealousy from Selina. This is great. It’s always fun to see a hero’s past lover’s like this. Their interaction is well done, but I was a little sad at no Jezebel Jet jokes. One of the worst Lover’s Batman has had, and Zatanna can’t make up a joke for her? I’m disappointed in you, Dini.

All joking aside, this was a very strong issue with a great cliff-hanger. We get some great character moments, and the plot is starting to get fairly deep. While I have a feeling this may actually tie in more to the follow up to R.I.P, Battle for the Cowl, it is a great story on it’s own, tie-in or not.

Art comments: I’ve been hearing a lot of complaints as to Dustin Nguyen’s art. Many people say it doesn’t fit the style of Detective Comics, or a Batman comic for that matter. I definitely have to disagree. His style is wild, it stands out very nicely and he does a great job capturing these well written moments. My only valid complaint is how he draws the shots of Hush’s guns. Their like…squares, or something. It’s weird and it’s the only real complaint I can find about his art. He’s solid, does a great job and it fits the story and events well.

Final comments: If you, like me, left Detective Comics after the poor “Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul” storyline, I highly recommend you come back for Heart of Hush. It’s looking to be Dini’s best Detective Comics story ever.

4 out of 5

Must Read

Venom: Dark Origin #1

Written: Zeb Wells

Art: Angel Medina

Opening comments: Here is a comic I was skeptical about. As big a Venom fan I am, do we really need a retelling of his origin? It’s fairly simple and easy. Nothing too convoluted or messy. Nothing that needs a Year One style reinventing of it. But for whatever their reason, Dark Origin #1 seems to be a weak start to what could be a strong story.

Story comments: This issue suffers badly from first-issue-itis. But unlike most first issues that suffer from this, it doesn’t even have a solid set up for the plot. What is the plot even? Is there supposed to be some conflict building? I can’t tell for a damn. From what I’m guessing, this is just Eddie Brock being an ass-hole. Nothing noteworthy, that’s for sure folks.

All right, to delve into this more. We see 3 versions of Eddie Brock. The first being a young Eddie who is just developing his journalistic skills at a young age, but is also developing poor social habits and signs of being mentally unstable. His quiet father and rude sister don’t seem to help this, and it’s a good opening. Similar to Skaar #1 though, just when things seem to be getting interesting, we jump in time!

So now we are at Eddie’s days in high school. He’s the typical loser who has a crush, gets picked on and hurt by jocks, everything Peter Parker seemingly was early on. If Wells meant to do this, or if it’s just a coincidence, I can’t tell. It doesn’t make me much interested in what’s going on. We get a great moment of Eddie’s teacher talking to a class about journalism, how powerful it is and all. It was great to see where Eddie’s real fascination with journalism began and I enjoyed it. For the few brief pages it happens, and then we get another time skip.

I understand that Wells is trying to rush as forward as he can to the Sin-Eater storyline next issue then Eddie getting the symbiote so that we have some time for Venom in issues 3, 4 and 5, but still, that doesn’t take away from how frustrating it is to jump at such random moments.

Anyway, now we’re at Eddie right before the college years. His admission has a slight snag, so he rushes to a pay phone. This leads to a brief, very odd, conflict that feels pointless and just makes me want to smack the still young Brock upside the head. By now we’re obviously shown that Eddie is losing it. He’s a thin string holding up a box of bricks, soon going to snap.

Then after Eddie insanely drags some poor random girl around town, they almost get mugged and then get saved by Spider-man! Wow, Spider-man actually shows up. I know he’s on the cover but, I didn’t expect him to show up. Anyway, after Spider-man saves the day, when the girl comes to, she didn’t know Spider-man saved them and Eddie takes the credit for it. Giving another creepy smile like earlier on in this issue.

I just want to bring up one thing…if next issue has the Sin-Eater plot, then where the hell does Anne Weying com in? You know Eddie’s wife? The one who killed herself a while back after seeing a black costumed Spider-man? She was around, if I recall correctly, before the whole Sin-Eater mess. Is she being retconned or something? Why? She was a good character!

Ugh…anyway, all in all, this issue was boring, with some brief interesting moments at best. While I have a good feeling this series will pick up steam as time goes on, for an opening issue, this is incredibly weak and not worth your money.

Art comments: Angel Medina is a great artist, his work on Spawn and Sensation Spider-man where both great, but here, he has no room to shine. If a writer wants the artist to do well, he himself must write in the moments for the art to shine. Wells doesn’t give Medina any room to shine, even the moment with Spider-man, he’s in about…I’d say 4 panels, then gone.

Final comments: If you where looking for a great Venom comic, go read Lethal Protector or Knights of Vengeance. This comic may say Venom on the title, but it’s more Eddie Brock’s tale than Venom’s. Even the hardcore big time Venom fan like me will probably be bored with it.

2 out of 5

Pass It

So that’s it for this week, expect part 2 to the AvP Omnibus collection Spotlight. Also, look back to my last post to see Why I Buy Comics. That’s all for now folks, thanks for reading.


greg said...

Hmm. The review for Detective has me intrigued. I had dropped the book despite my love for it due to the constant tie-ins, but I'm desperately missing my Batman stories written by Dini. I think I'm gonna pick up all the issues I've missed out on, despite the tie-ins. (sighs) we'll see...

Andrenn said...

Hey Greg, thanks for the comment!

Detective Comics was great. I can understand your leaving it, the tie-ins have been ridiculous. But you don't have to read R.I.P to understand this story, as it would seem. DC just slapped on that R.I.P logo to get more attention. This is a solo story and completely follows it's own events.

That, and it was easily best comic of the week. I may have only gotten 3 comics that week, but that doesn't change how great this issue was. If you can still find #846 from last month, pick that one up too, it was pretty good.

greg said...

Well, I picked up the last two recent Detective stuff and I dunno, it just didn't click for me. It was well written, yes, and I liked the art, but I think I spoiled myself with all this Image stuff I've been reading, heh. Maybe I just don't find Hush interesting. I dunno. And I usually love Dini's writing. Usually when ppl dislike an issue, I end up LOVING it. So I dunno if I'm going to continue reading.

Andrenn said...

You may want to give it another issue or so, this arc is really just launching by now, with the first 2 issues out of the way the big parts of the story should be coming together hopefully. I have a feeling this will be a strong arc.