Thursday, November 20, 2008

Comic Reviews for November 20th 2008

Normally I don’t like to post things on Thursday after a review, for the sake that I like letting the reviews stay at the top for a day or 2, but I don’t mind since today we’re dividing up the 7 comics I picked up. Last night I reviewed 4, the 4 I did where the newer ones from this week’s batch, today we’re looking at 3 comics from last week. I was walking the isles of my comic store yesterday and noticed Spawn, Witchblade and Invincible on the cover to Savage Dragon…so with a curious mind, I checked out one of the founding Image comics that I haven’t read in years.

Batman: Cacophony #1

Written: Kevin Smith

Art: Walter Flanagan

Opening Comments: Hollywood and comics seem to get along more and more as the new Millennium goes on. Though the movies are often a hit, sometimes when directors/actors get involved as writers, it either doesn’t work out, or delays hurt what could be a good thing. Kevin Smith is no stranger to comics, but he’s also no stranger to delays. While I remain at ease that the first 2 issues are done and scripted, at the same time, I wasn’t all that sure about Cacophony. But with issue #1 read, I can safely say this is a very special and very cool, comic.

Story Comments: The opening with Deadshot going to kill the Joker was very nice, a strong opening. The dialog between Deadshot and Joker is strong and very nicely done, whereas when Onny (Onomatopoeia as his full name is) shows up the action is solid. Though really this is just the opening for the story and it doesn’t outshine the rest of the issue, which was nice.

The scene of Joker pulling down his pants and “assuming the position” to a tree has already sparked some mild controversy. I myself couldn’t care less about it. The way I see it is as a bad joke or something. He was trying to get laughs. While I found it rather tasteless, at the same time, not bad to the point where I really minded it.

Now we get to the highlight of this issue, for me, Batman taking on…well I can’t really even spell the villain’s name right now, but some nut covered in cuts who stabbed a couple in there bed and was about to kill their children.

Batman’s reaction was…quite possibly, some of the best writing the character has gotten as far as inner-monologue in years. We see how heart wrenching it is for him to see more children orphaned by Gorham’s mad men, and for Batman, it’s the exact thing you’d expect to see from him.

Following this, we see more of Joker’s antics to try and take back Gotham. While I feel this is where the book got rather “meh” and was more or less okay, with a funny as all hell ending, it was an all right moment. Seeing Joker take on the issue of Joker Venom now as a drug was kind of nice, and it’s obvious one of the key parts to this story, but really I’m more interested in whatever Onny is up to.

So to wrap this part up, the story is strong with excellent writing, a great blend of action and dark humor, and this looks to be a promising story.

Art Comments: Flanagan turns in solid artwork, but nothing that stands out really. It’s all nicely done, with the occasional awkward moment when Batman looks out of place or Joker looks far too creepy. And really, Joker is the biggest problem. While in general he looks fine, Flanagan insists on some crazy emotions from the clown prince of crime, and it really looks out of place, as if he was trying to impress us with his range of emotion. Really though, despite these complaints, the art is all right and tells a story well enough.

Final Comments: While the artwork doesn’t really stand out or add much to the storyline, the story itself is fairly brilliant and well done. To the point where I must say that I am very impressed with what Smith has on the table. Should everything go well and no delays plague the book, we just may have a real treasure on our hands here.

5 out of 5

Must Have

Savage Dragon #140

Written and Art: Erik Larsen

Opening Comments: Savage Dragon is just one of the many books I picked up years ago when I started getting into comics, alongside Spawn, Witchblade and Shadowhawk. While Spawn was the only book I really stuck to, I still like all these characters, and have come to be a fan of Invincible as well. So when I saw all these characters uniting as they no doubt will again come Image United in 2009, I, as a loyal Image fan, couldn’t help but see how the old Dragon was doing. I have to say, I’m impressed, and Savage Dragon has made it officially back onto the pull list for the first time in nearly 10 years.

Story Comments: There are a few plots going on right now, She-Dragon, Dimension-X, Savage Dragon vs. Solar Man and some Robot Guy and Shadowhawk. For the sake of ease, let’s focus on the 2 main plots, Dragon/the Image crew against Solar Man, and Shadowhawk/Robot guy.

The story which has Dragon tacking down Solar-Man is absolutely great. Something about seeing the Image Crew, all born from the 90’s, characters that are strongly based off of flaws, imperfections, more stronger characteristics then the typical hero, against a basic Superman level character. It’s great, and while this isn’t the first time it’s been done, it’s always something great to see.

For one, as a fan of Spawn Witchblade Invincible and Shadowhawk, it was great to see them all in the same comic together. Let’s face it, the chances of Invincible showing up in Spawn are little to none, and I doubt Shadowhawk is going to pop by for a hello to Witchblade. But what we get here feels more like a prelude to what Image United will be. All these classic Image heroes united against a single foe. It’s very cool and as a long Image fan, hard not to love.

The character of Solar-Man is peculiar, he’s basically Superman with a bad attitude. He’s far more vicious then most heroes when it comes to villains at least, and I think he makes a great villain.

The character writing here is good, everyone sounds similar to how they should. Though really, the best cameo here is Shadowhawk, he’s great. It makes me wonder…where in the hell is a new Shadowhawk series? He’s such a great character, yet he doesn’t have his own series anymore? It’s a damn shame. But still, seeing him again in Savage Dragon was great and his dialogue shined above all others.

As the fight itself draws to a conclusion, to be concluded next month, this part of the story alone was enough to hook me back into the series.

But now we come to Robot Guy and Shadowhawk, who as I explain just a sentence ago, was great in this issue. I’m not at all sure who the robot guy is…my memory of the SD series is rather fuzzy. But this was a great side-plot that looks to be converging with the main plot either next time or soon on the book. The dialogue with these 2 great, and really, Larsen tells a fun story here.

To sum it up, the story, while not perfect, a little odd in some places, and confusing in others, was still damn good and it was great to see all these characters together again.

Art Comments: It really has been a long time since I last read Savage Dragon, as, for the life of me; I don’t remember the art to look like…this. I seem to recall Larsen’s artwork being sharper then this, and with stronger detail. Now don’t get me wrong ,the art here continues to be great, though it seems…well, as if the art took 2 steps back and is doing good there still. Larsen’s character work was much stronger then this, as was his emotional range, here, I’m just not feeling it.

Granted, it’s still great art, action is strong and outside of some odd faces from time to time, character work is still good. Maybe it’s just because I’m so used to seeing all these characters in very set images as it is, that seeing them in a different style feels odd to me. Either way, I still like the art and enjoy it, but I did feel rather confused when I compare it to previous Larsen interiors. But either way, the art is still good.

Final Comments: As a longtime Image fan, I absolutely loved this issue, but as a reader in general, I saw the faults and can’t let it off just for how much fun it was to read. So for me, what is a Must Have, for others, I can see that they may not see it as quite so essential. But still, as a reviewer, I see the good and the bad, and the good still outweighs the bad, and the bad isn’t really all that bad anyway.

4 out of 5

Must Read

Wolverine #69

Written: Mark Millar

Art: Steve McNiven

Opening Comments: It’s no secret that I loved this issue from the online scans I saw online and the spoilers I’d read. But now that I have the comic in my hand, how do I feel after reading it fully? Well for one last week wasn’t as great a week for comics, so Wolverine still stands as a strong read. And while others comics where great, something about Old Man Logan feels very special and very cool.

Story Comments: This issue has one small problem, and it’s the only thing I can point out that holds it back. It’s fairly erratic in it’s pacing, getting things done as soon as they can and moving on to the next moment, only to move on yet again to set everything up for the next issue. Now I won’t go as in depth here, so this review will be shorter, but outside of the solid ending, this was a bit frustrating.

But at the same time, Millar uses this issue to build more of the world around our heroes, we’ve moved on from Spider-bitch and her problems, now we’re more focused on Logan and Hawkeye back to the mission of doing their delivery and getting home.

I think it’s safe to say that Millar has actually fleshed out the character of Old Man Logan himself very nicely, in that this man truly does love his family life, even if he’s regressing back to Wolverine. I do however sense a bad omen in this…it’s as if Millar is making the perfect scene to kill off the family, have Logan go berserk and kill their killers…it’s sad, but it just seems to perfect to deny.

But all in all, the story here, while annoyingly erratic, was well written, a great read, and I overall enjoyed it.

Art Comments: very few artists are really worth long delays. Steve McNiven is one of them. But at the same time, while his art here is great and worth the delays, I still wish him where timelier. Though when I move on past that, this is easily the work of his career. Civil War was good, but Old Man Logan is proving to be absolutely stunning.

Final Comments: As I mentioned above, Old Man Logan is turning out to be something very special. Something we don’t see every day, a special story where the writer has invested a lot of his heart into writing it, and the artist, despite delay, has poured the best he can do into it. No matter how you spin it, this is an absolute must have for anyone.

5 out of 5

Must Have

And so concludes the 2nd half of these weeks’ comic reviews. I hope you enjoyed them, expect Savage Dragon as a new addition to the review batch, and that’s all for this evening. Until I see you tomorrow, have a great Thursday.


ChrisP_comicnerd said...

OMG DUDE! I loved that issue of batman! Walter Flanagan + Kevin Smith = AMAZING! Cacophony is a great series of comics...I have only read the first 3, but what I read was great!


Andrenn said...

I heard that Flanagan is an actor in Hollywood that popularly worked with Smith. Now outside of Clerks, I haven't seen a lot of Smith's work, so the only actor I've associated him with is Seth Rogan. But hey, Flanagan and Smith are apparently old friends, so yeah, they made a good team.