Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Comic Reviews for November 19th 2008

A week so packed that I just can’t fit all the reviews into one epic post. So, with a bit of a sad head for having to, I’m dividing up the Weekly Reviews here and posting half today and the other half tomorrow. Now Solicit Commentary is still coming, but it’s been pushed back to Thursday thanks to me splitting the reviews. Today for you we’ve got Spawn, Invincible, Uncanny X-men and Broken Trinity, tomorrow, a special Savage Dragon review, Batman: Cacophony Wolverine. So that’s all for now, lets get to the reviews.

Spawn #186

Written: Todd McFarlane, Brian Holguin

Art: Whilce Portacio

Opening Comments: I was very pleased with the opening chapter to Endgame at the end of October and was excited for more Spawn greatness. McFarlane is obviously returning to the book not just for fun, but to tell a great storyline here and 186 does continue a strong story with Endgame…but isn’t’ quite as good as 185.

Story comments: The opening with Violator, which you can find a preview of online, was a strong opening for the book as it continues off of last month’s shocking reveal of the death of Al Simmons. It’s been established that Simmons will indeed not be Spawn anymore, that rather Patient 47, or Jim as we can now call him, is the new Spawn. Where Violator fits into all of this I don’t know but the opening leaves for plenty of speculation and ideas for the fans.

Following the intro we get to know Jim and about him more. It’s a bit slow as we see the character struggle with thoughts and images swarming his head, but still, it’s a good issue in that it establishes the character of Jim well enough and makes him, for the moment at least, a likable guy who I don’t mind reading more of.

We get a man hiring a Hit-man for some reason…now see it’s stuff like this that kind of bugs me, some random moment that pieces together later on no doubt, but for the moment, is really out of place and random. At least the moments of last issue seemed to piece around Jim, this though…this could go anywhere, though I at least suspect it will lead to him eventually. I’m just not sure.

We see what seems to be a newly established character, Sara, Jim’s nurse. We see that she’s always been sad in her life and prayed for things to get better….an interesting and emotionally well done character, but if she doesn’t really have much to do with the future of the comic then I’m not too interested in her. Though I must admit, she is nicely fleshed out and I’d like to see her as a regular, possibly Jim’s love interest if all works out.

We continue then from last month’s suicide moment, not Al, but some random guy who blew his brains out after a bad call about Jim. We see some funny detective banter, but none of it feels too important right now.

Then we get what has to be a highlight for the Spawn series, seeing Angels again. It’s been a while since we saw an active Angel and I was more then happy to see that Spawn won’t be here on his lonesome. Though where this is all going with the Angels I’m not sure.

The final scene of Jim revealing that he had been listening to Sara talk about her pain through all the years, as she spoke to him thinking he was asleep, was really well done and hit a bit of a heart string, even if only for a second. And the cliff-hanger, which I won’t spoil, was very nice and left me excited for the next issue yet again.

I’ll be honest…I was really hoping for the new Spawn to be established by now…but when I think of Hine/Haberlin’s opening arc come the previous direction, Spawn didn’t really do anything until the third issue in, so I can be more forgiving and respect the issue for being a strong read nonetheless.

Art Comments: Whilce Portacio continues to turn in stunning artwork here. Though there are a few instances here and there that bug me, no artist is above the awkward moment from time to time, and they don’t hold back the art or stop me from enjoying it. Portacio does some strong work here, and the final page is incredibly wicked.

Final Comments: While I found last month’s issue to be a bit more exciting and interesting, this issue advances the plot very nicely, has some strong character moments and is, overall, a very good read with incredible artwork. I continue to enjoy Endgame and highly recommend it for anyone who is interested.

4 out of 5

Must Read

Uncanny X-men #504

Written: Matt Fraction

Art: Terry Dodson

Opening Comments: I haven’t held back the fact that I’ve been rather under whelmed with the new direction of X-comics. Wolverine and X-force are the only 2 I really like, and everything else has been rather poor, as I see it. Though I must admit I had some hopes for this issue after reading the preview online, and was glad to see Fraction handling the series on his own. So, with a bit of hesitance, I get Uncanny X-men a try…and while it’s far from perfect, it’s also far from bad.

Story Comments: The stories here are all interesting, though none too interesting yet. First I’ll talk about the one I was most interested in, Colossus in how he’s dealing with Kitty’s death. Now I for one was saddened by her death as much as the next X-fan, but time has gone on and I’ve moved on.

Fraction does a good job of getting the right voice and reaction from our steal skinned hero. His rather depressive attitude is the result of her death finally really sinking deeper then just sadness, its’ become heart break and Fraction handles it well enough. Though the veering plots of someone whom Colossus fears…I didn’t really care much, if at all, about it.

Next, the plot I wasn’t even expecting, Beast and Angel going to some doctor to help against the Genocide on mutants. The slow growing death of their race…while it makes sense, we’ve already see Beast go to everyone else, I doubt this storyline will really go anywhere. Though if it does somehow lead to a break through of the genetic genocide, then hopefully it will be more worth it then I’m making it out to be. Though I won’t hold my breath, you can all hope if you wish to.

The Doctor himself is a fairly funny character and I feel Fraction hit a high note as far as good comedic moments with him. Though I don’t exactly like him, he’s funny, witty, and damn cool. Though I doubt I’ll really care, he’s good, for now.

Finally the second thing I was interested in, Emma going to the Hotel of Scott’s mind…now…luckily this wasn’t quite as I’d figured it to be. We still got shots of X-women in torn clothes and revealing outfits, no doubt for the sake of showing off Dodson’s talents, but it doesn’t distract from the story, and some funny little jokes here and there.

We see that Jean has taught Scott how to make a black box in his mind, one which evens a telepath as strong as Emma cannot access. I thought this was a good idea by Fraction, and I loved Emma’s shocked reaction when she learned that Jean taught Scott how to do it.

The cliff-hanger was nice, but was simply more fodder for the “Mutant’s suck” campaign that has filled the X-comics for ages. I’m far more interested in seeing where Emma goes and how Colossus is, but this should be an interesting story.

Fraction has toned down a lot of the sex humor that plagued the SFX arc and the humor here feels more real and funny. Characters have much better voices then they did last time, and in general, I found this to be a solid read…but just that, nothing too great or all that interesting. Though I hope that by part 2 of lovelorn things pick up more. Still, credit is due here despite my hesitation and Fraction did a good job here.

Art Comments: I am indeed a big fan of Dodson’s strong artwork, not just for his incredibly sexy women. His art carries a strong style that is easy to point out in a crowd and really stands strong. His art here continues to impress me as he usually does and yes, for anyone wondering, the women are all very good looking. Breasts abound in some pages, and I have to say, it’s damn hilarious. Also of course though expressions are nicely done, character work is excellent and overall, I really love his work here and it is easily worth the “just okay” story.

Final comments: While it has a little bit to go before I can recommend it beyond suggesting you check it out, I still enjoyed it and have decided to stick with it for now. Though I’m not sure just where this storyline will go, it seems to have something important to tell, so I’ll read on.

3 out of 5

Check It

Broken Trinity #3

Written: Ron Marz

Art: Stjepan Sejic, Phil Hester

Opening Comments: I was so excited for Broken Trinity earlier this year…First Born was incredibly well done and showed that just because Top Cow doesn’t have an epic cast as big as Marvel or DC to be affected by it’s events, that an event with it’s big characters can still be as good, and in some cases, better then what Marvel and DC have to offer as event comics. But Broken Trinity, the follow up to First Born, can only be described as an incredible let-down of epic proportions. Now I don’t have a lot to say actually, because really, there isn’t a lot to comment on, but I figured I’d still do a regular review rather then an Open Fire! Review.

Story Comments: The Angelus shows up, Fire and Ice fight, Angelus gets her head chopped of, end of story. That’s the issue, in a nut-shell. Though we get some obvious moments that aren’t just that, those are all you need to know about the events of Broken Trinity #3, and seeing as this issue was delayed a damn month, it’s obviously not worth the wait or time spent in it.

Now to be fair, Marz continues to write the characters amazingly well, but as a story as a whole, Broken Trinity was such a huge let-down. Angelus isn’t really even dead, so the Trinity isn’t even broken! It was just…shifted for a bit, and Angelus will be back, so there is no point to calling it “Broken” Trinity when the Trinity is far from broken, it’s exactly the same.

Gleason gets to do something other then bleed, which was nice but really when Gleason has to save the day, you know something’s wrong with a story. I, for the life of me, couldn’t tell who the villain here is. One minute it’s Fire girl, the next it’s Angelus, then fire girl again, then Angelus, it’s so frustrating.

While the character of Finn was a nice addition to the Top Cow Universe, his introduction does not make the waste of paper that is Broken Trinity worth it. While the story itself is not bad, for so little it really did and so much it promised, it’s a huge let down.

Art Comments: I love Sejic’s gorgeous painted artwork, but no matter what, it just isn’t worth what a waste of time BT has been. It’s good looking, but not redeeming of the poor storyline.

Final Comments: While not Burn It bad, I can’t suggest Broken Trinity to anyone thinking it would be a strong story with serious character repercussions. I myself am more excited now for War of the Witchblade, a story that is sounding ten times better then Broken Trinity is. With any luck, BT will be swept under the rug. As it just isn’t worth your time or money.

2 out of 5

Pass It

Invincible #55

Written: Robert Kirkman

Art: Ryan Ottley

Opening Comments: Invincible is soon becoming one of my favorite books on the market, never a dull moment for the book now, Kirkman has a stricter plan for it as I can see and I’m loving it. Though this issue did veer a bit into the “meh” zone, and felt far too done-in-one for my liking, it continues to show how great the series has become with it’s passing of landmark #50.

Story Comments: The opening is great, I am very much supportive of the Mark/Eve relationship, and it’s nice to see how serious they’ve gotten as a couple. It’s easily become the most interesting aspect to the comic as it’s something all us fans have long been waiting for to happen.

But the majority of the issue, well really ,the main story itself, is of Invincible’s father Omni-Man and Allen the alien trying to escape their imprisonment. The narration here is fun and quirky, where the action is the signature erratic violence the series has become well known for. It’s getting hard not to love Invincible for this, but at the same time ,this issue felt rather forced in that it told the story, but didn’t do much else.

Sure, Allen and Omni-Man’s banter was kind of nice, and the fighting was excellent, but nothing really stood out to me to make this issue much better then the last. Still, I must admit that the revelation of the Vilturumite race was excellently done. Something that I wasn’t expecting and kind of hit me in the “WTF?” area of my brain.

Though really, there isn’t a lot to say here. Though it was nice to have the Omni-man plot resolved, I find myself more curious about what Mark and Eve have planned and the future of Invincible himself. The plotline of the couple is far more interesting, no matter what.

Still, I definitely enjoyed the issue, and the ending was great. While not perfect, it continues to be a great read and leaves me excited and ready for more.

Art Comments: Ottley is still an amazing an artist as ever, though I will admit that his work here does seem a little less crisp and stunning as previous issues. Though the scene of Allen and Omni-man punching a man so hard in the head that his brains pop out….perfect, absolutely perfect.

Final Comments: While not as good as the storyline going on right now with Invincible and Eve, still a great comic and an enjoyable read for me as a fan of the series. If you’re a fan of Invincible I suggest you pick it up, and if you’re interested, this may be a good place to start seeing as this seems to be the beginning of something totally new. Though overall, while I didn’t like it as much as I hoped, I still really loved it in the end and I highly recommend it.

4 out of 5

Must Read

So end’s the first half of this week’s reviews. Tomorrow come back as we review the final 3 of the 7 books I bought from my pull-box. I hope you all enjoyed the reviews and maybe might go and check out some of the comics I liked…and stay away from the one I didn’t like.


Keith Gammage said...

'While it’s far from perfect, it’s also far from bad' pretty much sums up Uncanny since they moved to SF.

Andrenn said...

I think the last storyline was more a weak opening for the new direction than Lovelorn is. This storyline feels more interesting and character work more spot-on.

Greg said...

I see you didn't pick up Hine's Brave and the Bold this week. ;)

Andrenn said...

I know, I'm terrible. But I'm getting Spider-man Noir, so maybe only 5 punches to the gut instead of 10? XD