Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Comic reviews for September 17th 2008

It was another medium week for comics for me. 3 counting Invincible #52 which I picked up today. I want to mention a quick thing about reviews now, see, guys at my LCS know I live Variants so every now and then if they can or remember, they give me a variant cover as to the regular one. It’s one of the nice things they do, anyway, I said that to mention how now whenever I get a variant as opposed to a regular cover copy I’ll show that by that being the cover I post of the comic I’m reviewing. Nothing too important, just wanted to quickly mention it.

The Amazing Spider-man #572

Written: Dan Slott

Art: John Romita Jr.

Opening comments: Last week’s issue was a huge drop in quality for ASM. I honestly came into this issue with low expectations, but then again, I’ve never liked Bullseye as it is. Outside of killing Elektra, I can’t think of one even tiny interesting thing Bullseye has done as a villain, I was especially happy when Warren Ellis crippled him, and saddened when Ellis undid the act. But luckily, Dan Slott doesn’t make the character of Bullseye our only focus here and keeps things interesting.

Story comments: Last issue was a manic mess of back and forth insanity. Nothing about it was entertaining really or worth a read even, but this issue veers away from that into a straight forward story again. Even though we cut to Norman in his old “Lab” we still see how it ties in to Bullseye attacking the Coffee Bean.

The opening moments of Norman in the Thunderbolts HQ is good, but with the revelation of Freak being kept under lock and key, things finally get interesting. Freak has been a fairly big waste of space through Spider-man, but Slott finally finds a use for the character. I have to say, it’s one of the more creative things I’ve ever seen used on such a sad excuse for a villain.

So we’re pretty much confirmed that Menace is Harry. While there is still some room for it turning out to be Lily or someone close to Harry, I’m pretty sure that the mask is off this Menace.

Also, we get a good moment from Peter comforting Lily, she comes close to…I’m guessing kissing him or something. It’s kind of funny in that old cartoon kind of way. I should note that Slott is finally making good use of the character Lily, this arc she seems to really be nicely fleshed out as a character.

So the Thunderbolt soldiers along with Bullseye attack the Coffee Bean in search of Spider-man. Slott puts his odd use of the Spider-tracer in his chest to good use this time around. While it sounded weird last week with Norman’s reasoning, the idea of having the soldiers have special weapons that actually target Spider-man’s chest…very cool, very nice touch.

Enter Anti-Venom, whom gets put to better use this time around than last issue. Seems he’s already wised up a bit with his aid of Spider-man. Slott is proving how well Anti-Venom can play the hero game, and I like this side to Eddie Brock. If Anti-Venom survives New Ways to Die (which, sadly, I don’t think he will) then there is major potential for him.

So the climax of the Spider-man/Bullseye fight is pretty creative. It’s the kind of thing you’d expect out of Spider-man. He doesn’t win his fights from throwing a bunch of punches or shooting the bad guys up, he uses creative ways that keeps him out of trouble and the villains in jail.

The final moments between Spider-man and Anti-Venom are, again, very well done. Little things like Spider-man saying “Bite me. (Unless of course, you’re still doing that.)” To Anti-venom for wanting an apology. These interactions really shine and boost the issue up more.

Then we cut to the set up for the final chapter in New Ways to Die. Norman is in full Goblin suit again, and the reaction from Radioactive Man and Songbird is priceless. We end with Venom getting tricked out in his old Scorpion duds ready to finish the fight next issue. Really, the look of Venom wearing the armor looks stupid as all hell, but I don’t’ mind it.

Slott really pulls through this issue and delivers a good read that sets up the final issue nicely.

Art comments: It would seem Romita Jr. is back to his A-game as well. I’m not sure if it was Slott’s messy script last issue, or Romita’s art skills really, but his art gets a huge boost here. Everything looks so much better than last time, especially Spider-man and Anti-Venom. Heads don’t change shape like usual, and hair stays where it’s supposed to. I’d dare say that his rendition of the Green Goblin rivals his father’s masterful work. Yes, Romita Jr. really does that amazing of a job here.

Final comments: I’m tempted not to give it a Must Have. Great as this issue is, it still leaves worried over the final issue. Slott has tied up most of the aspects to New Ways to die, all that’s really left is Menace and Anti-Venom. Now as to Anti-Venom’s death, for one, the BND “yearbook” in the December solicits has “Censored” under Anti-Venom. There is a good chance that will be revealed to say “R.I.P” and while I’m hoping he makes it through, I’m pretty sure this is the end for old Eddie Brock.

5 out of 5

Must Have

Broken Trinity #2

Written: Ron Marz

Art: Stjepan Sejic and Phil Hester

Opening comments: in the beginning of the month I said how the delay on Witchblade was no problem because it was so great. That a comic with such amazing art and character work is still great despite its delays and how much worth it is despite the month’s delay. Unfortunately, Broken Trinity is an event comic and I can’t be as lenient with it. So this issue definitely suffers already from the delay.

Story comments: This issue is mostly Jackie and Sara catching up. That’s the main focus of this issue, Jackie Estacado being back in town and visiting Sara and Hope. While it’s something we’ve been waiting for since First Born #3, it’s a little entertaining and that’s it. I do like the character work here with Jackie as he interacts with the infant.

It’s a fun moment and Dani’s entering it only makes it more enjoyable, but it’s flawed to say the least. It’s really something that should have happened in the pages of Witchblade, not a big summer event comic.

Skipping ahead a bit, things finally get interesting when we return to Frosty-er…Finn…or whatever in the hell hi name is. Truth be told, I couldn’t care less about this guy and Marz doesn’t do a very good job of bringing me into his character and making me care.

By the time all the characters, the Trinity of Top Cow included in this, show up, I think Marz makes one very important thing apparent: He understands these characters. I know it may sound odd, but when you look at how some writers write all their characters similar, in the sense that they all have the same manner of speech and how they interact al sounds the same, it’s refreshing to see how Marz gives each character their own unique voice in this comic. I’d love to see what he could do with a book like New Avengers or Justice League.

This issue all feels like the second half of issue #1, where #2 would pick up from here as the conflict builds. Marz didn’t seem to think Broken Trinity needs that much action in its first 2 issues, and with only 1 issue left, I’m figuring that Broken trinity will fall flat. Too bad, while this is an entertaining read, it’s also a fairly pointless read that fills the gaps to the conflict next issue.

Art comments: By now it should be no secret that I’m a huge Stjepan Sejic fan, he’s an amazing artist and I really enjoy his work. But Phil Hester’s break downs, which Sejic paints over, just really work beautifully. Hester reigns in some of the messier side to Sejic’s painted work, for one example being on baby Hope. She actually looks like a baby now, and thank Hester for it. Outside of that though, Hester doesn’t seem too apparent in these pages as much as Sejic is. That’s not a bad thing though, his job was known to be guy behind the scenes anyway.

Final Comments: While it’s a fairly okay read, with some great character work, what really makes this worth the while is the art. If not for the amazing art, I’d be tempted to give this a Pass It as it really isn’t all that interesting. Still a good read with some incredible art though, Check it out.

3 out of 5

Check It.

Invincible #52

Written: Robert Kirkman

Art: Ryan Ottley

Opening comments: I’ll get this out of the way fast, I have indeed read Invincible in the past. I started shortly after it had been around for a little over a year. What exact issue though, I can’t remember. A friend of mine had told me about it, said he enjoyed it, so I decided to check it out and I enjoyed it. For the last few years me and Invincible have had an on/off thing going. I eventually decided to leave for good after issue #41, it was just going way to slow and boring for me and I was tired of it. Though I came back last issue, and enjoyed it, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pick this issue up or not. But since last week all I’ve heard is nothing but love and praise for this issue. So I decided to check it out, and you know what? Invincible is finally back on the pull list.

Story Comments: Usually I’ve found Invincible to be a fairly stuffed comic each issue. With strong character moments and great action, while this issue has both, it’s a lot shorter than what I’m used to with Invincible.

The Mauler Twins are causing trouble in a missile silo and it’s up to Invinciboy (*chuckle*) to save the day. One thing I really liked here is what Kirkman does with these fairly throwaway villains, he doesn’t have them as the typical “rule the world” villains. No, he goes for the much more clever “control the world” plot. Something I found very fresh compared to what both DC and Marvel are putting out with their villains nowadays.

Well Kid Omni-Man shows up, and like a domino that hits the next one, everything goes wrong. A missile gets launched and Invincible has to go stop it, so Kid Omni-Man is left to stop the Mauler Brats and accidentally uh…kills them. Yeah, just like that, by “accident’ he kills them. I can understand that he doesn’t’ comprehend all his powers but…seriously? How did he not think flying through the guy would kill him? Eh, either way, it makes for some sweet sick moments.

Following this, the 2 super brothers have a heart to heart that is, again, incredibly well written from Kirkman. Characterization is spot on in this issue and Kirkman just does a great job with the dialog at the end of the issue. He’s really knocking it out of the park with this issue and I’m hoping this means Invincible will be back on a hot streak.

The final page of course leaves to be a big “OMG” moment. I won’t spoil it but I was surprised, to say the least, to hear that Mark isn’t as squeaky clean as he always tries to be. To see that sometimes his mind does ask the question “Why don’t I just kill them, they won’t cause trouble then?” and I have a good feeling that this will lead to big things down the line for Invincible.

Art comments: I would usually not have anything to say about Ryan Ottley’s work here. I would write off “He’s a solid artist who does a great job” but he does so much more than usual. I’m not sure if maybe he’s got a new inker or colorist or something, but his art really comes off as crisp and great this time around. I mean seriously, this looks to be some of his best work ever, it’s nothing short of stunning.

Final Comments: While Invincible is still at a somewhat slow pace, tackling sub-plot one story at a time, this issue marks a real return to form for Kirkman’s Image baby and has sold me on buying the book again. Also, I’m really digging the new suit, as much as I like the old one, I like this one easily as much.

5 out of 5

Must Have

So this week was a fairly strong week. I feel I may be getting too lenient with Must Have’s…but really there where some amazing reads this week. Nothing planned for tomorrow so check in Friday for the next Collection Spotlight.


Keith Gammage said...

I wouldn't put it past them making Menace Lily, especially if she almost kissed Peter.

Andrenn said...

Heh, the first girl Peter gets close to kissing since OMD...and she turns out to be perfect! *chuckle*