Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Comic reviews for September 24th 2008

A much bigger week for comics is here! Spawn, Ultimates, Batman, Hulk, the insanity! It’s all too much for one man to handle. Luckily, I only had 9 bucks on me as I was heading home, so I could only get 3 comics. I was originally going to get Ultimates, Spawn and Hulk, but to my surprise waiting for me in my pull box was All Star Batman #10. So I will happily read and review that for you instead. But don’t worry, Hulk #6 will be reviewed next week…as for that Skaar one shot, I doubt I’ll even read all of it, let alone review it.

The Ultimates 3 #5

Written: Jeph Loeb

Art: Joe Madureira and Christian Lichtner

Opening comments: I said everything needed be said on my previous thoughts of Ultimates. I was all ready to praise the art but hate the storyline…but damned if that slick Loeb didn’t do a hell of a job here.

Story comments: I usually don’t like having things spelled out to me as if I’m a child. But in the case of Ultimates 3, there was no time for some complex unraveling of the mystery. So in the manner of a few pages the story is retold through the eyes of the villain behind the villain. Ultron.

Everything fits together well and it all makes, for the most part, perfect sense. Ultron himself is a good villain here and I enjoyed his little rant on how much he loved the Slutty Witch and how much he hated the Ultimates.

Yes, unfortunately, the Slutty Witch is dead. I was actually hoping she’d survive, seeing as she was a fairly good character that I didn’t mind. Outside of sleeping with her brother, of course.

Cut to the Savage Land where the action is. Magneto continues to kick all levels of ass but soon gets taken down a notch. Overall, the fight scene comes together very nicely and I liked it more than the “everyone just randomly shows up and starts fighting” way I figured Loeb would take.

I of course have to talk about the major “Omigod” moment that is Captain America really is Black Panther. Shock. Gasp. Wheeze. Holy crap. Honestly, I don’t care. It will be explained come Ultimate Cap annual so I can wait to find out until then.

Now here’s the big shocker…Valkyre….actually…does something. I know, I was shocked too. Little miss “Oh, Thor!” actually does something. Since issue 1 it’s been obviously what she was supposed to be for this story: Thor’s girlfriend. That’s all she was meant to be…but I am happy to see Loeb realized how badass she can be and gives her a great moment. Finally making the character shine, even if only for a moment.

Of course, as much as I enjoyed this issue, the dialog isn’t without its cringe moments. Most notably ones such as “Yellow-Jerk” and “Then I guess that makes me- *rips off Yellow-Jerk’s head* -the Mother ****er!” Seriously, cringe worthy. Also, Hawkeye continues to be an ass-wipe as the other characters finally act as they should.

The death of Pietro was unexpected and fairly well done. Loeb could have handled it in a very cheesy “Waaaah!” way and he took the high road with this twist. It was very well done for that and the death of Pietro retains its shock for this.

The final page (with the Team, at least) is also good. Wasp continues to shine above the rest and has a great moment as telling off Captain America. Though Wolverine kind of ruins it with his “… I need a beer”

Overall, this issue was well written and really shines above the previous ones. But it almost feels as if a redemption for the series. Really, when you connect it all together, Ultimates 3 is actually pretty good and it reads well together. So I’m sure the Ultimates 3 haters will have a hard time believing this, but Loeb does a great job that is worthy of praise.

Art comments: Joe Madureira continues to knock this artwork out of the park and into the stratosphere. While the delays where annoying, they have always been worth it for this amazing artwork. He finally gets Wasp right, making her look like an Asian American finally. Also, weird perspectives are gone as everyone looks, for the most part, as they should. Job well done by Joe Mad.

Final Comments: Ultimates 3 does a good job of what it set out to do, get me excited for Ultimatum. Loeb has finally earned his wings as an Ultimates writer and shown he is both competent and knows what he’s doing. Bash him all you want, but I can’t deny this was a great read with incredible art.

4 out of 5

Must Read

Spawn #183

Written: David Hine and Todd McFarlane

Art: Brian Haberlin

Opening comments: I loved the last issue, that’s no secret, it was great. Had an incredible twist that really brought it home and made it a solid great issue with incredible art. But this time around…we stop to put the puzzle pieces in place for the final image, and it makes for a more boring read.

Story comments: I can sum the entire issue up easily. Moranna gets the symbiote, Cyan sees into the future and has Al summon Legion. That’s it. Nothing more and nothing less. While there are obviously some little details between, it was hardly enough to support a full issue.

But I must admit, the opening with Moranna was well done. I liked her introduction here and her interactions with other characters where great. Obviously Hine has spent his time working on the character and understanding everything about her before writing her, so she shines and is really great. Unfortunately, we don’t get nearly enough of her.

The scenes with Cyan are confusing and strange, to say the least. All the purpose they really serve is to get Al to use Legion, which makes little to no sense. But then enters Legion, only a few of them, ready to take on Moranna.

I don’t mind how short and fairly boring this issue was, it still had its good moments and was an all right read, despite how short it was. It obviously was only to put everything where it needs be for the final showdown next issue.

Art comments: Brian Haberlin continues to do great here, but I feel he was a tad rushed in certain spots, most notably the final few pages. But up to those, he does a great job, especially on Moranna.

Final comments: I wish I had more to say about this issue of Spawn. It was good, but not too good. I’d give it a Pass It if I weren’t more understanding of the situation. It’s a good issue but leaves a lot to be desired for the finale.

3 out of 5

Check It

All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #10

Written: Frank Miller

Art: Jim Lee

Opening comments: Since I enjoyed giving a different opinion about Ultimates 3, I think I should share the same with All Star Batman. Now I won’t go into the whole thing, as I will eventually write up a full post about it, but for the most part I love this series. I understand that pretty much everyone hates it, but I am in the minority of people who both enjoy and look forward to every issue. Of course I’m a huge Frank Miller fan so that may have something to do with it, but beside that, I just enjoy the series in general and have loved it.

Story comments: My only frustration to this issue comes in not the delay, no, by now you’d be crazy not to expect delays on the title. My frustration comes in that we get…all of 3 or 4 pages of Batman. Maybe 5 or so. Really this issue is all about Jim Gordon, a character I’m sure needs no introduction.

It’s no surprise that Frank Miller gives this character a great voice with some of the strongest narration of the series. Gordon has always been a strong aspect to the Batman franchise, and his All Star persona doesn’t ruin it. If anything, Gordon hasn’t been this well written in a long time, not since No Man’s Land really.

Though what short bits we get of Batman are, as I’d expect, great. Batman’s narration dips slightly poetic to his usual hard boiled self. Since Batman hardly gets any regular dialog in these issues, the large moments of narration certainly help reprise the fact that this is indeed Batman’s comic, not Gordon’s.

Batgirl finally returns since her fist appearance in #6, and Miller continues to sore with her character. She embodies youth, excitement and happiness so well, yet also is responsible and more level headed then most adults I know of. He creates a truly unique character in Batgirl here and I really enjoyed it. I hope this isn’t the last time Barbara puts on that suit and saves arcades.

Similar to this week’s Spawn, there really isn’t too much to talk about here. Black Canary’s moment was great and I liked seeing her again, but it’s really all narration only and that bogs it down a bit. While it’s a good scene and again, Miller hits a high note with her character, I felt myself wondering if it would ever end. Though luckily it does end shortly after I grew bored with it.

The final moments where Gordon breaks down and calls Sara is, again, very well done. Always nice to see one of the greatest Batman stories getting referenced in the form of Sara, a one night stand that Jim had in Batman: Year One, whom he would later take as his lover. I don’t always like off hand references, but Miller does this well enough so that I don’t mind it.

This issue, Batman lacking as it was, was great and I really felt that Miller stripped away the campy super hero antics that had been going on these past few issues and takes the Batman series back to it’s darker roots with this, similar to how he had done with DKR all those years ago.

Art comments: a lot of people ask the question “Is Jim Lee’s great art worth all these annoying delays?” and in all honesty, I’m not so sure. As big of a fan as I am of his, I don’t appreciate the snail’s pace he seems to draw this book. Such a master artist, one would hope for a better schedule. At the same time…I can be a bit more understanding thanks to things like the DCU MMO coming out, and the fact that he is constantly at conventions, for the fans.

His work here is, as usual, brilliant and really adds to the book’s strong storytelling and dialog. But as great as it is, I want his great Batman damnit, not just his great Jim Gordon and Batgirl. With the hopeful return of the Dynamic Duo next issue, let’s hope Miller gives Lee more chances to shine.

Final comments: Truly worth the wait is the best way to describe this issue. Miller has hit a high point in the All Star Batman comic that I haven’t seen since issue #5. With any luck, he can keep the same strengths strong next issue.

4 out of 5

Must Read


So thats it for today. Tomorrow I post the first edition of Andrenn's Game Shelf, featuring Megaman 9! And Friday, we close September's Collection Spotlight with the Halo Graphic Novel. You may have noticed I dropped making a banner for the weekly reviews, was really just a waste of time and since I only have Paint, I can't make anything good. So while I may do them again one day, for now, their gone.


Keith Gammage said...

Good reviews, your Spawn reviews are always interesting as I don't know anyone else who reviews it.

Andrenn said...

Thank you, I've had a long history with Spawn so I'll always review it. I know not many people seem to review it either, so I enjoy getting the reviews out there at least. I know IGN looked like they where starting to review it but...that never caught on, for some reason.