Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Comic Reviews for November 5th 2008

A bit of a jam-packed week of comics. I figured it would be smaller then this, but I was wrong…so we’re going to blend the 2 styles of reviews. With Ultimatum, Marvel Zombies 3 and Scarlet Veronica get the full treatment, and Hulk and Venom getting the Open Fire! Review style.

Ultimatum #1

Written: Jeph Loeb

Art: David Finch

Opening comments: As time has gone on, Ultimatum has jumped around a bit in my head. First feared, then I didn’t care, now I care and look forward to seeing where these events play out. So much so that I’ve added the 3 tie-in books to my pull list to get the full scope of the Ultimatum. If the first issue is an indication of anything, this could be the Ultimate Universe’s strongest story ever.

Story comments: We have a fairly standard event comic opener; we see a lot of characters doing their thing. One thing to note is Reed Richards looking to propose marriage to Sue Storm, which is pretty epic. I’m sure the anti-Loeb fanboys will preach against this and call it a lack of creativity on Loeb’s part. But I for one am interested to see that, should Reed and Sue survive the Ultimatum, where this gets picked up.

We see a weak moment with Valkyre, just as Loeb fixed her come end of Ultimates 3, she’s back to being a fool. Making yet another joke to point out how she’s a slut by now. Call me crazy, but we don’t need to keep getting the message beaten into our heads that she is crazy about Thor and likes sex. We get it.

We get some funny and interesting moments, such as Iron Man and Cap’s discussion, and Hank Pym now dressing up in the Yellowjacket uniform Ultron made. We also get a semi-funny moment with Spider-man and friends. But really, it all kicks off with the flood that fills New York.

From here, it’s pure chaos. Now we’ve seen things like this in 616, but it’s as if this flood was the first bullet shot in a gun at the Ultimate Universe’s head. Showing that Loeb means business, and I got the message loud and clear as it’s already killed off a few X-men, and from the looks of it, the Human Torch.

We get a great moment with Sue Storm as she pushes away the flood but nearly kills herself doing it. A good lead in for the UFF tie in later this month.

The moment that shines brightest is a quick moment with Spider-man and Kitty Pryde. Loeb really hit a nice moment with their short discussion that echoed Ultimate Spider-man. I hope Spider-man plays stronger into Ultimatum than it seems he will.

The final moments of Charles Xavier calling the world’s heroes to stand up and take on Magneto was okay, it felt somewhat boring and typical, but lead into nicely where next issue will pick up and where the real action starts.

Overall, while I’m sure some people will dislike it as it still feels like a Loeb written story; I very much enjoyed the storyline to Ultimatum issue #1 and thought it was a very strong first chapter.

Art comments: I am a very big fan of David Finch; his work can range from capturing strong emotion to epic moments, such as New York flooding. If he where better at keeping a timely schedule I wouldn’t mind as much the delays. I think it’s asking for trouble to put out the first 2 issues in one month, as it seems there is already a delay in the book.

But that aside, his artwork here is great. He continues to do strong work, but really, if you’ve seen his work before then there isn’t much to say. He retains his amazing detail and continues to be a great artist that fits the story well.

Final Comments: While not a perfect read, it’s still great and worth the 4 dollars. Let the nay-sayers say nay, but Ultimatum #1 is still a great read and a strong start to what will hopefully be a great storyline. I highly recommend it.

4 out of 5

Must Read

Scarlet Veronica #1

Written: Robert Barry, Joe Shaw, Jason Moody

Art: Jason Moody

Opening comments: Looking back a few months ago I saw a book called Scarlet Veronica on the Newsarama forums, being promoted by one of the creators. I posted about it and got my copy today. It looked great, and you know what? It is! But I will have to break it down to more than a couple of sentences, I suppose.

Story comments: There isn’t too much for an overall story, it is the fairly simple opening issue where we see the characters, establish the main point to it and see the origin as it unfolds. Nothing too unusual or new here, but still nicely done to the point where it is neither boring nor uninteresting.

We get a nice opening that is kind of interesting but leaves more for a desire to be explained really.

The story of Veronica is something I’m sure we’ve all seen, new girl at school, doesn’t feel accepted, all of that. Her character isn’t overly fleshed out but what we do get is fairly nice and she is developed well enough for the rest of the series to continue with this character and me liking her.

The end is what really sinks in my enjoyment of the comic. A real wicked true horror comic ending with the dead rising, and Veronica going Scarlet to kick some ass. So overall, I liked the story to the opening issue despite the fact that it definitely caters to that “reads as a solid story easier when collected” but despite that, it is still a good read.

Art Comments: The art is…a tad odd, but nice. I’m a little confused over how to say this but…the art seems to switch back and forth from strong and nicely detailed in a really strong cartoony style that is both stylish and wicked to look at…and plainly simple and boring. As if the artist borrows from manga for quick panels and pages that are mostly dialog.

Though where the art shines is in the supernatural. Zombies look wicked awesome, Veronica is great and the main…villain? I’m not sure what he is just yet, is also great looking. This is where the artist really shines and makes me love the art here.

Final Comments: In the end, it’s a solid and enjoyable first issue. It leaves me excited to see where they go with this series and happy I decided to pick it up. If you can find it, I highly suggest you pick it up. But, for the sake that it is an issue #1 and plays into the simple developments, it gets a Check It.

3 out of 5

Check It.

Marvel Zombies 3 #2

Written: Fred Van Lente

Art: Kev Walker

Opening comments: While last month’s issue was somewhat weak thanks to being a simple opening issue with nothing too interesting going for it, #2 really kicks things off and is an incredible read. Seriously incredible.

Story Comments: The opening moments with Jocasta and Machine Man are great. Machine Man is back to his wise-cracking badass self in no time and by the end of their first battle with the zombies it is quite obvious that Van Lente not only has a plan for this story but has a love for what he’s writing and is having a damn fun time writing it.

I enjoy the 2 characters reactions to each other, how they interact and how the both reminisce/criticize each other is all great.

We soon get a catch up on how the zombies have been in all of this. Turns out Kingpin survived Punisher shooting him up in Marvel Zombies vs. Evil Dead, and is now a Zombie himself. For all those wondering how, while I won’t spoil it, the reason that Van Lente gives is great and really well thought out.

We see that Kingpin retains his brilliant mind despite zombification and has forged alliances with those such as the Inhumans. So much that he had come up with a brilliant plan…human cloning! Yes, that’s right. Since all the humans are dead, they create clones to feed on.

It’s sick, twisted and disgusting to its core. And I love every minute of it! This is the kind of stuff you can only do with Marvel Zombies. This is the kind of stuff that sets this series so far apart from the norm, when it comes to Zombies.

The final moment of Machine Man seeing as the clones are mercilessly devoured alive is great. Seeing how he recalls how horribly treated robots have been, how these beings are disposed of on the slightest of whims and how deeply it effects him. It’s really great and Van Lente hits the heart strings hard with it.

The cliff-hanger was all right, but I’m more confused as to the cliff-hanger last issue. What happened here? Is Morbius not up to no good? I’m confused…why leave off one issue with one thing and not even touch upon it the next issue. Though it doesn’t ruin the issue or anything, I was just confused.

Art Comments: Kev Walker continues to stun with this issue. His art carries a very similar vibe to Scott Kollins in how rough and gritty it gets, yet it retains a strong comic look and doesn’t sacrifice character work for gore alone.

Speaking of gore, the scenes of gore here get just about as over the top as it can get. This is, quite simply put, insanity at its best. We see Jocasta swinging from intestines, a human getting ripped into several pieces. It’s pure bloody madness and Walker does an incredible job on it.

While at first I wasn’t sure about his art, it’s really shining and, dare I say, is much better then anything Sean Phillips did? Though Phillips also did an amazing job, Walker steals the show as far as Zombie artists are concerned.

Final Comments: Marvel Zombies 3 is looking to be the best of the series. I know that may be saying a lot on the fact that it’s only issue 2, but seeing as this is a 4 issue mini-series I feel it’s safe to say that Van Lente has a strong story in hand and Walker is just the artist to help tell that story.

5 out of 5

Must Have

Now onto our Open Fire! Reviews for this weekly batch of comic reviews.

Hulk #7

Written: Jeph Loeb

Art: Arthur Adams and Frank Cho

Another enjoyable issue of Hulk, this time with 2 artists sharing the spotlight. I hate to say it, but the comic suffers from being divided between the two Hulks. A solid story can’t be told this way, and it just makes the storytelling feel chopped up. Though I have to admit the first story with our original Hulk becoming Joe Fixit was great. I’m a fan of Joe Fixit so I’m more then happy to see the big grey jackass back in all his smart-mouthing glory.

The second story with the Lady Liberators taking on the Red Hulk was fairly boring. The fight is fairly one-sided despite 3 power house women taking the Red Hulk on. Though the dialog was kind of nice and overall this was okay.

The art is great, Adams and Cho both do incredible here and it really shines in boosting the book from what would have been a Pass It.

So in the end, Hulk #7 is an okay read with some incredible art.

3 out of 5

Check It

Venom: Dark Origin #4

Written: Zeb Wells

Art: Angel Medina

I’ll be honest…I had pretty high hopes that this would turn the comic around and be a great read. It looked to be heading somewhere interesting from the previews and the art was starting out strong enough. But shortly after those 6 or so pages, it deteriorates back to the mindless drivel this series continues to be.

We come close to exploring the origin of the symbiote race, but rather then go too far into that, we get Eddie talking to the symbiote about how unfair life is, then Venom beating up on Mary Jane.

Now the scene with MJ is…quite possibly, one of the worst scenes in Spider-man history. This is up there with the OMD decision moment as MJ just becomes totally out of character. It’s as if she is a rag doll here and just whimpered in a corner for 5 minutes. Now MJ has been captured time and time again, and she’s never quite acted like this. She just acts like a big baby and, while I could understand if this where some other character, with MJ, it makes no sense.

Angel Medina’s art has some okay moments, but by now it’s all ugly slop. MJ looks nothing like MJ, Venom keeps changing size and shape and, after a while, it just becomes one big eye-sore.

Despite how awful this issue was, I’ll pick up the final issue since I’m a completist. But really, don’t buy this comic. It’s not worth your time, let alone your money. Go out and buy the other comics I suggested because this is just pure mess awful.

1 out of 5

Burn It.

That’s it for reviews. Sorry to leave that on a negative note with how awful Dark Origin was, but hey, all the other comics where, for the most part, pretty good and I suggest you check them all out if you are interested and have yet to buy them.


Keith Gammage said...

Torch dead huh? That would indeed be a major shakeup.

Were any of the dead X-Men important ones, or just random B-listers?

Maybe they'll bring Torch back as a robot.

Andrenn said...

Judging by the March on Ultimatum stories, Torch is indeed dead and Starfire will be replacing him in the future. Thats just what I'm going off of though, Torch may somehow survive...but I'd be fine if he died.

I think Jubilee and Beast kicked the bucket. Angel is fine, and Nightcrawler no doubt teleported to safety.

jason said...

hey man, I'm Jason Moody- Artist on Scarlet Veronica. Thanks for the great review. I'd love to send you a Pre-press PDF of SV#2. Please email me at

Andrenn said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the review, and thank you very much.