Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Written: Todd McFarlane and Brian Holguin
Art: Whilce Portacio
Opening Comments: Spawn Endgame has been an interesting storyline so far, 3 chapters in and everything seems to be nicely established for more action packed moments over the next few months. While we got some nice action here, it was more like showing off what we can expect in the coming chapters and while this issue was a good read, for how little we really got it was disappointing.
Story Comments: Our opening establishes yet another new character to Endgame. I must admit, it feels like Endgame is getting a little crowded, all these plot points that lead into our new Hellspawn. It’s obvious they will all converge at some point or another and everything will make sense soon, but still, for now it feels a little out of place and unnecessary to open with the Young Reporter character when last issue left off with the Ghost Rider wannabe attacking Jim.
Though I still have to admit that for a new character who comes out of the blue, he is introduced very nicely and given enough development to where I look forward to him taking center stage in next month’s issue. It was nice to see a “man on the street” type character that is developed enough to where he isn’t some random boring guy or another Joe the Plumber.
Though this issue really picks up when we return to Jim and his mysterious flame-headed attacker. I would have liked that this new villain be given a name or a codename or, hell, anything we could call him. But I didn’t see any name given so we’re just going to call him a Ghost Rider Wannabe.
So GRW threatens Jim to come with him peacefully or he has to make a mess of things. Sara gets knocked out by a mysterious figure and the hospital starts burning down which is where our Young Reporter gets called in to investigate the fire.
The dialog between GRW, the people who hired him, and Jim, is all priceless stuff and it makes me wish more that he where an actual important villain. But as it would seem he is what I like to call “hero fodder”
I’m sure anyone who has ever seen a movie like this, an anime, read other comics or scene it in any hero scenario can understand what I mean by that. In what I mean is that he is merely there to spout around like a badass for half the time, making him seem like a huge challenge, then when our hero pulls out the big guns he takes the Fodder down without even really trying. It’s a bit cliché, mostly in anime nowadays, but its classic and it works well to convey the opening moments of our new hero.
Unfortunately, we only see our new Spawn for all of 2 pages, and the second page is him covered in smoke. Though by now we do at least know what our new Spawn looks like, still, it would have been nice to see some fancy trick or at least a something other then his transformation being that which kills GRW.
The issue ends rather suddenly after Jim transforms back to Jim and it cuts there. This leads to my biggest problem with the issue, there really wasn’t much to it. Sure it wasn’t 20 pages of boredom, but really I was hoping for more then this by now. While I can be forgiving of the slow pace of how this first crisis was averted, I’m hoping we see more in the future chapters of Endgame then this every month.
So while this was another great issue and I myself was very much impressed, at the same time I have to be fair when I say that I was definitely disappointed at the lack of development.
Art Comments: Whilce Portacio is really making his mark in the book already. Usually it takes a while for an artist to become at home in the new book he’s on, and that’s always something I can forgive, but here he is seriously firing all cylinders and it looks incredible. Even the simplest expression or moment of dialog is beautifully drawn here. While I understand not everyone may like his style, as it is a definite change from what Haberlin brought prior to Endgame, the artwork here is great. Most notably on the new Spawn and GRW look great. Portacio is already in his element her and it looks great.
Final Comments: I personally enjoyed the hell out of this issue and found it to be incredibly well done. But at the same time, I recognize that there was a lot to be desired by the third chapter of Endgame and for that, I was disappointed severely. Still, it was a good read with incredible art and I still recommend anyone interested in it check it out and jump onboard soon, because all the formalities should be out of the way, it’s time to get dirty.
3 out of 5
Monday, December 29, 2008
Comic of the Week: Batman #683
While I will admit, this issue was kind of frustrating for the first half, by the second half in which Batman escapes, it was a truly great issue. It almost makes me want to buy Final Crisis! Almost…but I’ll stick to online spoilers. Now I will admit that last week wasn’t the best week in comics and this issue wasn’t mind blowingly well done, but I still liked it very much.
Moment of the Week: New Avengers #48
We saw this coming, I know, but man this was a great scene. Bendis is really doing a good job on New Avengers with the start of Dark Reign. I’m considering picking it up as this issue was filled with some good moments. Billy Tan’s artwork also seems to have greatly improved since his rather poor work on Uncanny X-men. Still, this story of Luke searching for his baby really has me on the edge of my seat.
Cover of the Week: Batman #683 by Alex Ross
Something very eerie about this cover makes it so damn good. I guess above all things it would have to be the crippled Barbara Gordon looking into the shadows and the Blood-stained smiling Joker head. Just very eerie and ominous. It captures a lot of the tone of what Batman has been over these past several years and for that, I have to seriously take note of this great cover by Ross.
Most Anticipated Comic of the Week: Wolverine #70
It’s going to be a couple of months until the next chapter of Old Man
So that’s all for this Week’s End, check back tomorrow for a review of Spawn #187 and come back Thursday for Year’s End.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Comic of the Week: Uncanny X-men #205
I’m sure there are some confused faces over this. After all, my appreciation for Fraction’s work on the book has been less then satisfied and I’ve overall shown very little interest in it. But this issue, from what I read about it online, was great! Fraction looks to finally be spreading his wings to tell a good storyline here, he hits some high notes with the X-characters and somewhat ties the book to X-force oddly enough, which was nice. Overall, I have to say I was impressed.
Moment of the Week: Invincible Iron Man #8
I’m not reading this book obviously, but I have to say that once again Fraction impresses with this little twist that Tony has the entire Super Human community in his head. It’s a little more complicated then that, so for a full explanation check out Rokk’s Comic Revolution and his review of the issue. I have to say this was impressive and it almost makes me re-think not reading this series…then I remember it’s a pointless reboot for the movie and I feel fine again.
Cover of the Week: Spider-man Noir #1 by Patrick Zircher
Patrick Zircher is an artist I’m not very familiar with, but his work on the Thor Ages of Thunder series was great and his covers for Spider-man Noir have also been great. He really catches this eerie dank and dark mood around Spidey as he descends from who knows where. It’s a simple, but at the same time, great cover.
Most Anticipated Comic of the Week: Spawn #187
This was a pretty hard choice, this week looks to have more great comics coming and Spawn just happens to be at the top of my list. While other books like Batman and Savage Dragon all look great I have to give credit where I can and my credit here goes to Spawn for last month’s cliff-hanger has me itching for more. And I’ll say this now, by the end of #187, we need a new damn Spawn. Jim either transforms here, or I need to be fair and start faulting the book because 3 issues is as long as you can take to introduce a character properly. We’ve gotten the formalities out of the way, now it’s time for Jim to kick some ass.
So ends Week’s End. Check back either Thursday or Wednesday for our special Christmas post “Andrenn on Christmas” which is basically a bit about me talking about what Christmas is to me. And following that, a very special end of the year post. And so we end our Week’s End, I’ll see you all around, have a great weekend everybody.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Lee Bermejo
Story Comments: One thing right off the bat that helps make this book work is Azzarello deciding not to make the Joker our narrator. Some villains just don’t work as the narrator, and the Joker has always been one of those villains. Rather Jonny Frost tells our tale as he is tightly held under Joker’s grip.
It starts out nicely, as we get a good sweep of
One thing this book is not is tame, Azzarello doesn’t seem to hold back from really going wild with what he’s given and while there are some annoying restrictions here and there that do hinder the overall mature tone of this book, we never lose sight of just how powerful the story can get.
It’s oddly nice to see classic Bat-villains in this odd more realistic portrayal, my favorite of course being Killer Croc as he’s a bit of an odd character here. He’s still stupid old Croc, but at the same time, Azzarello really portrays this odd…I’m not even sure how to put it, but this primal perfection to Croc. Something about him just really stands out nicely and I like it.
I should say this before I get too far in the review; the only character that was missing from this book was Catwoman. I can understand if Azzarello wanted to leave her out, or if it was one of the editor’s decisions, but seeing as Azzarello so brilliantly re-invents some of these characters and how well he uses them, Catwoman would have fit in perfectly here. But oh well, perhaps if there is a second volume to this tale.
Now the overall story has a great build of beginning, middle and end. Jonny’s narration is strong through and through as he’s made out to the be typical every man, but not to the point where he’s so “every man” that he’s un-relatable. Azzarello creates a strange character here really. We see good and bad to Jonny, but when push comes to shove, Jonny is just what every man wants deep down. Power. To be on the in. We can deny it all we want, but deep down, no matter how good natured a man is, all he wants in life really is the sheer power and ability to be free, even if a law hangs above him.
Still, Jonny dissolves his likeable persona near the end of the book and by the time the book is over, his fate is oddly satisfying for me personally as he soon paints himself out to be far more malevolent then he realizes. It’s almost like looking in a mirror, seeing how deep you can go before you get a gun to your head.
But I’m jumping the gun here, the story overall has yet to be fully covered.
The most powerful of all the plots that go along with Joker’s little adventure is a confrontation with Two-Face. I’ll say this, I was disappointed that Azzarello didn’t do a lot with good ol’ Harvey Dent. I felt there was more that he could have done with the character and what we get here was a little disappointing. However, the way his hostile attitude effects Joker was hauntingly well done.
After Joker gets yet another skipped call from Dent, he burns down his bar in rage. We then see him shaking and crying as he hugs Harley in tears. It’s one of those…hauntingly humanizing moments. With some characters, you just can’t make them more human it can’t be done. So rather then trying to paint Joker as a giant sap and cry-baby, we see him as, deep down, there is a scrap of emotion. It’s not all giggles and it’s rare to actually see the Joker of all people crying. I dare say it’s brilliant again on Azarello’s part in how personal and well done it is, yet there is no dialogue to this moment.
Another well reinvented character here is the Penguin, who is never called by that name but rather his real name Abner. This I have a problem with in that while I, a bat-veteran, recognize it but I seriously doubt newbies to the Bat-franchise are going to pick up on this and wonder what Joker is doing talking to some fat midget. Still, looking past that, Abner is nicely done here and his interactions with Joker where great.
I’d have to say my favorite part is when the Riddler makes a cameo. His conversation with Joker, short as it is, is incredible. As they converse, you can almost see these two trying to figure the other out. Though the moment ends with a spark of genius for our Clown as he solves the Joker’s riddle in a very creepy way.
The overall tale of Joker trying to take back Gotham is a strong one as we see his grand face off with Two-Face and his cruel tactics are exactly what he’d do. Azzarello truly understands something about Joker that too many people forget, the Joker does not think, he merely acts. That is what’s so wild about this villain, he doesn’t look before leaping, he merely leaps and if it gets him in hot water then tough shit. And trust me, the Joker get close to the boiling point plenty of times.
The final face off with the Dark Knight was great, a strong cap-off for the book, but I must say the ending (which no I will not spoil) was anti-climactic as all hell. While Jonny’s final say on the whole mess fits nicely, I felt there was a few more pages needed to really bring the ending home. Still, a great story for what it is, characters are all done incredibly well and I must say, Azzarello spares no fancy juggling act for us to behold.
Art Comments: Lee Bermejo is an incredible artist that much is obvious right as you open this book. But his art seems to do an odd transition from penciled work to painted art. It’s an odd transition indeed and can seem so random at first. But now…not to be one of those guys that analyzes everything to death but I think I have a slight theory.
More then often the penciled artwork follows how Jonny sees the world. He views it in a more dirty and simplistic looking world where the colors don’t pop out as much. But then we get several moments that are more from Joker’s perspective in how he sees a luscious world of darkly painted beauty. Now it’s not always painted with Joker I know, but I’m just stating a possibility here.
Still, I have to give
Final comments: Joker is a strangely brilliant tale, but it’s obviously not for everyone. I doubt anyone who is fairly new to Batman can really enjoy this as there’s a lot of things that more seasoned fans will appreciate and enjoy. Still, I can’t deny it was a good read and the art was great. So while everyone may not love it, I personally enjoyed the hell out of it and highly recommend to all interested.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
This could either be the most awesome issue of Invincible yet, or the most annoying erratic and stupidly done crossover in history. It’s a lot to take on for one man, but really, I think this is the book that will either make or break if Image United will be worth picking up. Kirkman is writing that as well, and we can figure this as a bit of a prelude to it, as is Savage Dragon’s Back In Blue arc. It’s a great idea, having all these great heroes in one oversized issue…but still, a part of me worries if Kirkman can really handle it. It could just be a poorly done shoddy story where every other page is a different hero and there’s no real character depth or interaction. Though I am holding out too much worry. Still, no matter what, I really look forward to this. Invincible has been a solid great read and it’s great to get to see Spawn, Savage Dragon, Witchblade and Shadowhawk in there…oh yeah, those other guys on the cover are good too I guess…
Killer of Demons #1
This looks interesting. I heard about this way back that the artist did a video interview with a Comic podcast. It looked good then. Still looks good now. It’s also got Yost on writing duties and that makes me a happy bunny. I’ll check it out, though I’m not sure, it definitely looks good.
I’ve decided to add this series to the pull list, as I debated in the last edition of Andrenn’s Pull List. It looks to be very well done, and I’m always looking for some new and interesting Indy comic. Even if most people don’t count Image as Indy anymore. I still do, but that’s my opinion.
Savage Dragon #146
The women on that cover look a lot like the woman at the end #142. Could they be tied to Dragon’s wife, and maybe it’s that Dragon takes up the badge to prove to his wife that he’s a good man? Eh, it’s a long shot but I’m taking it. Glad to see the Dragon back in his old threads. Blue looks good with green as they say.
Capullo…Is…BACK! YES! Well not an art yet but still, it’s great to see him doing a cover again. I was worried he’d never be doing another Spawn cover at this rate. But uh, the content of the solicit…doesn’t say too much, we know by now that Jim is indeed Spawn and that he’s new to all this insanity. I’m not sure where Spawn can really go from here though. Still, 190, 10 issues to go following that until 200! Spawn is looking better and better.
Finally, it’s about damn time this arc gets started. I’m pretty psyched to check this out, and for anyone wondering “who’s side am I on?” Sara. Sara needs to win. If Dani wins then…I just may drop the book. Sara is 10 times better then Dani. But uh, about the solicit in general, it all sounds very promising. You all know that Witchblade is currently my favorite book out on the shelves and that it’s been a constant joy for me. Also, that is one wicked image by Bachalo, very eerie and ominous…
So that’s all for Image comics, onto Marvel!
Ultimate Spider-man #132
Oh ho ho…MJ, Kitty, you silly geese. Fighting in the middle of Armageddon…what?! All right, color me interested. I’ll admit, this has been building for a while, the confrontation between these two. Though I’m not sure if Ultimatum is the best place for it, this still should be good. Bendis is flying high with Ultimate Spider-man and I’m hanging in for the ride.
I’ll believe that this issue is coming out when it’s in my hands. I mean no offense to the team on it, but damn, issue 5 was supposed to be out by then wasn’t it? I seriously hate delays…but oh well, I enjoyed the first issue of Ultimatum, and I feel I’ll enjoy the series more when it gets out on damn time. Good luck to #4 on getting out before 2010.
Spider-man Noir #4
If the roads aren’t ice tomorrow, I can’t wait to get down to the comic shop and pick up #1 of this series. (I wrote this yesterday) It looks awesome. Had I done Week’s End, this would have been my most anticipated comic. I’m seriously stoked for this series, it looks great. It’s sad to see it’s only 4 issues. Oh well! Here’s to hoping for a sequel! Unless it actually sucks somehow, in that case, bury it. But the preview looks good, so my hopes are indeed high.
Mighty Avengers #23
I’m very interested to see this opening arc. It looks to be good, the roster, while imperfect, has some characters I really like and overall this looks to be a good book. I’m still confused as hell over Scarlet Witch, but hey, it’s Marvel Comics, you can’t expect much without getting your head twisted off in the process.
Dark Avengers #3
Morgan Le Fay up to her old tricks, gotta love it. That’s an all right cover by Deodato, not as good as #2’s cover. Still, pretty good. I’m not really sure why Bendis is insisting an tying the New Avengers into this opening story. I’d much rather they stay far away from the Dark Avengers so I don’t have to read one book to understand the other. Still, looking forward to this next month.
Now there is 3 mini’s that tie into Dark Reign, but don’t interest me at all. 1 for Elektra, 1 for the Fantastic Four and New Avengers: The Reunion which I had hoped would be a one-shot…but anyway, I’ll be avoiding these series as they hold little to no interest for me.
Black Panther #2
Curiosity killed the cat and…damned if I’m not curious. I really hope this isn’t what it looks like, that T’Challa was given a cheap cop out death off screen by Dr. Doom. Now I’m pretty sure I’ll check this out to make sure he’s not dead, and if he is, I’ll avoid this series like the plague.
Secret Warriors #2
The preview for this in SI: Dark Reign looked great. And we’re getting covers by Jim Cheung which is awesome. I think I’m reconsidering my lack of interest in this series. If all looks well, I’ll check it out for sure.
Astonishing Tales #2
This series has me puzzled, if Marvel Comics Presents tanked so bad, why just make another anthology series? Why doesn’t Marvel just make a series, like this, but rather then several different stories in one book, a one-shot story every issue? I think that would work much better. But that’s just me…I may look into it as the art looks great from what I’ve seen in previews.
Wow, has it already almost been a year since this series debuted? Time sure flies. Well that’s a rather lack-luster cover again by Immonen. Glad to see he took the full 2 minutes before work started to do this. I kid I kid…but one thing I do notice from that cover is no Megan. I guess Cornell was just teasing us with her return, and that makes me a very sad bunny….or maybe she’s just MIA, I’ll have to read to find out.
Spider-man and Human Torch in…uh…a bunch of Spanish words I can’t type well. Something about the dead.
This looks, uh…interesting. I’ll check it out mainly for the great Juan Doe artwork.
I’m officially jumping on come #600 whenever the hell it comes out. I have been curious about this series for a while, and I’m hoping this reboot does a good job of getting me onboard. Not much to really say, an incredible cover by Djurdjevic as always.
War of Kings #1
I’m not sure if I’ll be getting this or not, half me of me is excited and wants to check it out, the other half remembers how dragged out Annihilation: Conquest became and thinks otherwise…I’m not sure. So far, all answers point to no, but if it looks good, then maybe I’ll look into it.
Uncanny X-men #507
All I really care about is the Scott/Emma divide. This plot, overall, doesn’t interest me much if at all really. Still, last months issue was well done and I have some hopes that the series will keep a good streak through the next few months. And hey, even if the story starts to suck, there’s always the shoulder of Terry Dodson’s amazingly beautiful art to cry on.
Messiah War Prologue
I think I’ll get this storyline. It’s got 2 writers I trust, an artist who I know is great and from an interview late last week, it really sounds great. But here’s my one problem…it’s only part 2 to trilogies, I hate it when you reveal that there’s a 3rd act because really, you know that even come part 2’s end, there’s more to tell and that rather ruins it. Still…Messiah Complex was pure awesome in a can and hopefully Messiah War will be too.
That’s one hell of a cover by McNiven. This storyline has been great and overall, Wolverine is a special comic right now that’s really been hitting a strong story. But then comes the delays, oh god the delays, another goddamn 2 months before this issue…*sigh* it makes me rethink this series as a whole really. But I’m sticking it out, since it is so damn good after all.
After reading the preview for Incognito, I’m hooked. Brubaker and Phillips look like they’ll be hitting all the right high notes with this series and I’m really interested to see it. For all those interested, I suggest you check it out as well, the preview was great and I have high hopes for this series.
I’ve yet to pick up Long Road Home, but I will soon and following that I’ll buy Treachery when it comes out. This series has become one of the greatest adaptation comics in a very long time, so it’s no surprise that I love it. Though I feel it’s best to wait for the HC so I can read it all as a whole book, rather then month to month.
Skaar Son of Hulk volume 1 HC
I may pick this up. I was more then disappointed with Pak’s poor pacing and Garney’s scratch artwork in this series. But maybe it’s just one of those books that reads better collected, like Runaways. I guess we’ll find out come March.
So that’s it for today kiddies, I hoped you enjoyed our lesson. Come back Friday for Collection Spotlight and check in soon for a very special Christmas post. What is it? Well I’m wondering the same thing too because I’ve yet to come up with an idea…but it will be soon! Adios for now.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Secret Invasion #8
Written: Brian Bendis
Art: Lienel Yu
There are so many ways to put “pointless” on a comic. Secret Invasion is an event that looked to truly crack open Marvel and break it’s universe from the very ground they stand on. Unfortunately, the event itself is pointless and that is never made more obvious then it’s 8th chapter.
For one, this could have been so easily shortened to 6 issues and worked much better. But it wasn’t, so I can’t fault it for what it wasn’t when it was set as this.
The events are told through narration, which, as one would figure, is just to take up space and try and put things simple. Rather then letting the art tell the story, Bendis insecurely writes with a bland and poor narrative.
The event of Wasp’s death was all right, but it was as close as we get to highlights. This entire issue was an example of how not to tell an event. If your event only relies on that it has a great ending on the final page, but the event itself has little to really do with the ending so much, then don’t tell that event and give us 8 issues of story that actually matters to us.
Though I must mention the art, Yu turned in the work of his life here and it was incredibly impressive from issues 1-8 it was solid greatness. Though sadly, it does nothing to free me from the disappointment that was Secret Invasion.
But at least it’s over and Dark Reign can come in and hopefully clean up this mess of an event .Bendis has already started Dark Reign on a weak note just as Secret Invasion ended on one. While SI wasn’t poorly written, for what we got, which was very little, it was highly disappointing.
2 out of 5
Written: Grant Morrison
Art: Lee Garbett
This issue was very strange, even for Grant Morrison. Though I’ll admit, I didn’t hate it as much as some people seem. A lot of people didn’t like the jarring storytelling, and while I’ll admit, it’s odd, at the same time, it does a good job of putting Batman’s history in perspective.
While seeing things like Joker as more a prankster and the original Batwoman are all very strange and in today’s Batman continuity, they stick out like a sore thumb, Morrison still does an all right job going over these lower points in the Dark Knight’s career. This was definitely the worst time to be a Batman fan, and Morrison puts that into perspective really, even if it doesn’t seem so at first.
The fact that this is tying into Final Crisis I found interesting. Final Crisis is an all right event to me personally, but as a tie-in, this is doing an all right job to tell Batman’s struggle under DarkSied’s minions.
The art here is nice, but it’s nothing too special. It’s typical DC artwork to put it simple. It doesn’t stand out much, if it all like other artists such as Dustin Nguyen, but it’s still nicely done and helps convey the story well enough.
Overall, an all right read, jarring for sure, but for what it is, passable.
3 out of 5
Marvel Zombies 3 #3
Written: Fred Van Lente
Art: Kev Walker
Marvel Zombies 3 is easily one of the stranger yet better mini-series that Marvel has chosen to debut this year. Van Lente clearly has a love for this series and it’s characters and he’s really pouring his best into it to tell a strong story that everyone who is a fun of the series will love even if 2 turned you away.
The overall plot here is nice, but I must admit, it’s not quite as good as last issue. Last issue had some great moments and, even better, the character dialogue between Machine Man and Jocasta was absolutely amazing there and since the two are not together this issue it is a bit weaker.
Still, for what we get here it was nicely done. The plot advances very nicely, and everything is set up perfectly to wrap up next issue. It’s fairly simple, Machine Man is near death, Jocasta is walking into a hell-hole of zombie infestation, and it’s now or never, someone’s gotta step up and save the day. And Machine Man would do it, but he seems to be missing his lower half…and his face.
A great issue, but not quite as good as last issue. Still, I’m really enjoying this series and I highly recommend it to anyone interested.
4 out of 5
Broken Trinity: Witchblade
Written: Ron Marz
Art: Nelson Blake 2 (whatever the 2 means)
Despite my disappointment over the ending to Broken Trinity, I was psyched to check out the fallout one-shot starring Sara Pezzini. However, there’s little, if practically nothing to say here.
Sara has a sex dream about Jackie, she meets him the next day in cemetery, they have 2 hot kisses but that’s it and he’s on his way. Jackie kills a man who was involved a job where a young girl died and Sara says she has no idea who did it even though she knows it was him.
Oh sure, it was all right, as always, Marz was born to write these characters as the dialogue was nice. But really, it was all very pointless and uninteresting compared to what we’ve seen prior.
Still, while I was disappointed with how little we get, I should say that it was still an enjoyable read to the point where as a fan I liked it, but as a reviewer, it was certainly disappointing.
The art here is nice, but nothing too spectacular, with no action or really all that interesting of scenes, there’s little to nothing to say about the art.
Overall, while not all that bad, a rather boring read. I don’t recommend it.
2 out of 5
Written: Jeph Loeb
Art: Arthur Adams and Frank Cho
Last issue was a fairly all right read, I was more then happy to see Joe Fixit back in town, but it seems just as things are sticking good they get poor.
The Vegas venture is the highlight here as Moon Knight is awesome, Sentry is handled nicely and overall, it’s not too bad. It could have been a lot better if we got more though, but we get so little of it that I was disappointed here. And right now, this is the thing, Hulk being divided between the two Hulks is a far weaker experience.
The second story involving She-hulk and friends as also nice, but again, we get so little it’s just not enough. We get so little that really it begs to be a full solid issue.
So really, I can’t comment much. While I personally enjoyed this issue, I can’t deny that this issue was far weaker for being divided, despite the absolutely gorgeous artwork. Adams and Cho turn in more great work, and it makes the price worth the read that the art goes with. But in the end, I can’t suggest this arc of Hulk. I suggest you wait until February, when the book will hopefully return to a better story.
2 out of 5
So ends our first round of Open Fire! Reviews. My soldiers need to go reload their guns and we need to clean up the mess from all these bloodied books. So check back tomorrow for the end of our epic Open Fire Reviews where we end with all the leftover comics form November.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Now before we get started, I have a quick announcement, for now, Collection Spotlight is bi-weekly. I can’t keep up with a weekly series like that right now, so for now, it’s bi-weekly. Expect it to come back next week and will follow this new schedule for a while until the busy storm calms. I’m really sorry about this, but again, really busy here.
So yeah, again apologies for the delays, everything should be running smoothly form now on! Hopefully…now onto the reviews!
Secret Invasion: Dark Reign
Written: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Alex Maleev
Opening Comments: I was fairly excited for this, Bendis and Maleev both seem to bring out the best in each other and the Dark Reign concept is a fairly strong one. This one-shot is crucial for giving us the overall tone of Marvel’s latest status quo and really setting the grounds for the latest generation of stories.
So for that, I don’t think it was wrong to hold this issue to a higher standard then I usually do for comics, and expect more out of it then what we got.
Story Comments: The opening moments following Emma’s nightmare of Kitty’s death, and the Evil Illuminati’s gathering, was all right. I feel Bendis only handles a handful of the Marvel universe truly well. Everyone else just acts as he sees fit, not following past developments. That is never clearer then here when it comes to Namor and Loki.
Namor is the worst, which is odd when you consider how well he was written in 2007’s Illuminati mini. Loki is…definitely not quite as I’d hoped she’d be. She’s more the stereo typical bitch of a god here and though she has very few lines, those lines stick out like a sore thumb.
Speaking of sticking out where one does not belong, the Hood…I understand he is currently playing an important role in the Marvel Universe with his gatherings of several villains, but really, I’ve never once felt that he is deserving to be in league with Dr. Doom or Loki. His dialogue of course sticks out, he talks like an absolute idiot and it grates on my nerves 1 time too many. If he’s not saying a pointless curse word, he’s just sounding like an idiot in general. He’s an inexperienced villain newbie that Bendis picked out of a hat, and say what you want, he needs to get the hell away from the Evil Illuminati because he has no place there.
Then we have Dr. Doom, a character I feel Bendis has always excelled at and is a personal favorite character of mine. Bendis continues his streak, as Doom is great here, every line out of him is priceless and pure Doom. Though it’s not all perfect, Bendis still hits a high-note here.
Emma was all right, but really, there is little to say on her. I feel there was much needed explanation as to her previous alliances, and rather then at least giving us a taste, she just randomly shows up even if not wanting to be there. I found it odd, and again, it poorly stuck out to me.
Now we get to the meeting, I feel that this mixed bag of characters was handled poorly in that really Osborn dominates the conversation, but he doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. He just gives a basic premise “behave and work under my tab and everything’s good” and that was it really. For how long this dragged out
Though it’s not poorly written ,some moments are nice, I felt Bendis really failed to capture these unique voices or really go anywhere with this. It was a short, simple and rather uninteresting read.
Though some of the promises as well bothered me. While I liked that Dr. Doom gets his home back and Namor and Emma are off the hook, Loki’s promise confused the hell out of me and The Hood and his gang registering was fairly stupid to me.
The revelation that
The scene in which
Overall, the storyline was all right, the good moments where there and it still wasn’t awful. But really, outside of some good moments, this one-shot failed to set Dark Reign for me and was highly disappointing.
Art Comments: Alex Maleev took some getting used to for me, but after a while, I came to appreciate and love his artwork. His work here though is…disappointing, to put it simple. I feel Maleev was experimenting a bit too much here as his style changes into a bit of an awkward one. It’s still good most of the time, but most notably The Hood and Namor look awful. Again, they poorly stick out and it’s saddening to see Maleev’s art like this. Still, the art is all right, nothing too special as far as what Maleev is capable of. Just all right.
Final Comments: Overall, SI: Dark Reign is a comic that has a lot going for it, a lot of potential but it never cashes in on it. It has a lot to offer, but more just gives us the bare of what it can and tells us to wait for more, which is very disappointing. Still, a good read and the art had some nice moments, so if you’re interested in it, check it out, if not, pass it.
3 out of 5
Written: Ron Marz
Art: Stjepan Sejic
Opening Comments: Witchblade is, as I mentioned prior, my favorite comic on the stands right now and this arc does not change that. Though I will admit, compared to the upcoming War between Sara and Dani, this feels more like a filler to hold our attention until then. Granted, filler is rarely this entertaining.
Story comments: the opening, continuing off of last issue where Sara and the reporter discovered a young group of Jewish kids making a golem to protect them was a good opening. Sara acts as she should and overall it was well written, it continues things moving nicely, but is somewhat pointless really.
The most interesting and, as far as characters are concerned, well done scene for me here was with Dani. 2 issues ago she became the head teacher of a dance studio and we pick up with her meeting up with her student Finch at a coffee house.
This moment, where Finch explains her past, her issues and her problems, I felt Marz really humanizes this moment and makes it feel very organic and it was incredibly well done in how sublte and realistic it was played out between these 2 characters, and the final moment where they kiss…well I don’t want to sound like an ass but…
I SO CALLED IT! HA! I was getting a lesbian vibe from this girl, and I was RIGHT! HA!
*straightens self* but uhm, moving beyond that little gloat moment, this scene was handled with care and appreciation for both characters by Marz and was done incredibly well. It really shined to me as a reader.
So we soon return to Sara and the crime of the Jewish Community murders. It’s strange, I find myself more torn over if Sara belongs there. She seems to be getting in the way, in that no matter what she does here, she’s being demonized by the figure head leader. Still, her reaction to the Jewish boys death was great, and it really hit the heart strings.
The ending was all right, it doesn’t really fit quite with the cover like it seems. Still, a nice cliff-hanger to a good issue.
Art Comments: Do I even have to say how amazing this artwork is? Even though there is little to no real action here, Sejic’s art just comes alive beautifully. Every panel is gorgeous to look at and it continues to be beautiful artwork even with some of the more gruesome images.
Final Comments: I felt last issue was a bit better, but this was still a fairly good issue. I would give it a Check It if not for the fact that it was nicely done, character work was excellent and Dani and Finch’s scene was brilliantly done on Marz’ part. So really, I gotta give it a Must Read, it was great.
4 out of 5
Detective Comics #851
Written: Denny O’Neil
Art: Guillem March
Opening Comments: There are some things that, when you really think about it, are good to be excited about. Denny O’Neil returning to Batman is one of those things that every Bat-fan should be giddy about. The man is pure legend when it comes to the Dark Knight and his fanbase, so imagine my excitement to see him back for Last Rites. While I wasn’t 100% sure if he could pull it off, he absolutely blew me away with this amazingly well written issue.
Story Comments: The story in itself is split in two, really, we have our narrator going over her past and how it effects her current status, and how she ties to Gotham, and Nightwing going on to take down Two-Face and screwing up horribly. It’s a great contrast and how they tie together is perfect.
Millicent Mayne is our main character really, a woman who was deemed
The narration is absolutely great, not one box of narration is not worth reading and tells an amazing story. Most writers use narration to simply take up reading space and try to strengthen the length of a book, though the narration itself isn’t much or anything special and it drags on and is pointless for the reader. O’Neil doesn’t just nicely introduce this character, he makes her a great and well fleshed out character to the point that I hope she holds a stronger role in future storylines.
Though the overall plot of Two-Face is nice as well. Always a character I’ve enjoyed seeing, Harvey Dent is great here as O’Neil has a real knack for the character. The scene where
Nightwing was nicely done, and overall his actions all fit the character perfectly. The characters here where all great and, as one would expect form a legend as O’Neil, are handled well.
My only real complaint was the ending, it was fairly pointless to me. Nightwing is in hot water, nothing we’re unfamiliar with. I feel it was a poor attempt to keep me on the edge of my seat, and while I am, it’s to see more greatness from O’Neil, not over Nightwing.
Still, a great story by O’Neil, incredibly well written and overall, he does an amazing job here.
Art Comments: I’m not at all familiar with March or previous work that he’s done, but from what I’ve seen here, it’s impressive. The artwork here isn’t too special when you compare it to Dustin Nguyen or other strong Batman artists, but still, his art is very nice. It has a strong style to it and is told very well. He does a great job of adding to O’Neil’s great writing and overall the scenes are great, he captures strong emotion and his work here, overall, was great.
Final Comments: Overall, it was an incredible read, and the art here tells a good story. So I personally enjoyed the hell out of it, it was a great story for Last Rites and any Batman fan will appreciate O’Neil’s great storyline and character work here and the strong style of art works nicely as well. So to conclude, it was an incredible read.
5 out of 5
Written: Robert Kirkman
Art: Ryan Ottley
Opening Comments: Another favorite of mine right now, Kirkman is really hitting all the right notes with Invincible and while this issue continues that streak, unfortunately, it suffers from having too much on it’s plate to feel like a solid story.
Story Comments: The opening with Mark and Eve was nice, again, Kirkman really is doing a great job with the handling of their relationship. It’s not bullet proof of course, but what we’re getting here is very nicely done and this opening was more greatness from that mostly. Though I do admit, Oliver’s interruption wasn’t as funny as it seemed he was going for it.
Now the best scene, hands down, of this issue, was Invincible catching up with his old friend Amber. She starts talking about her father dying, and how recently her new boyfriend hit her. And when I say hit her, I don’t mean he smack her or he simply punched her, the bastard did some serious damage. It’s sickening.
Kirkman hits the perfect emotional note here. Invincible reacts just how I, and I’m sure a lot of other fans of the series, reacted, pissed off. Call me crazy if there’ some shit you don’t let slip by, and this is that for sure. His reaction is pure greatness, but for all the fuss the cover gives, making it seem like Invincible will indeed kill Amber’s ass-boyfriend, it was done and over within the span of a page or so, and I found that incredibly disappointing. A lot of emotional investment, and we get so little for it.
The scene with Kid-Omni-Man against the giant robot was nice. Nothing too special and it didn’t stand out too much, but it was nice seeing how Oliver works on his own.
Mark and Eve’s meeting up was, again, great. Though now I think I need to make the point that this issue was 3 different things that, while they merged nicely at the end, felt all random and out of place for telling a full story. It feels disjointed and randomly thrown together. And the ending doesn’t help much, as though it somewhat resolves the story of them being watched, at the same time, it was very random as far as an ending is concerned and really leaves off on a note that feels like there was more to tell.
The storyline was in no way poor here, but the way it was all thrown together really holds it back from being any better. So while I quite enjoyed this issue, at the same time, it was undeniably randomly put together and for that, a weaker issue.
Art Comments: I hate to say it, but it’s same good art same old. Ottley doesn’t get as many chances to shine or do much special as he has the last few issues. Outside of Amber’s wound, his art doesn’t stand out too much. Still, he capture emotion in his own great way and his art was still well done.
Final Comments: Another solid good issue of Invincible, though not as good as I was hoping for and the tension that the cover created wasn’t followed up well inside. Still, a good issue.
3 out of 5
Now I know I already reviewed issue #2 of Scarlet Veronica, I got to read an advanced copy weeks prior to it's release yesterday. But since it's out this week, I thought it fair to repost my review of it.
Scarlet Veronica #2
Written: Robert Barry, Joe Shaw, Jason Moody
Art: Jason Moody
Open Comments: Every so often I dip my head into the pool of Indy comics outside of Spawn and Invincible, and sometimes I find books I regret, other times I find treasures that I enjoy and can’t get enough of. Scarlet Veronica has easily became a little treasure with a strong pacing and good story and some wicked stylish art.
Story Comments: We start out right from where issue #1 left off where Veronica kicked a corpse back to his grave. From here we get an introduction to the next character of story….Death! Yes, Death is a character here. We’ve seen the image of Death personified in many, many, many comics before, and just like usual, the character of Death is great. I like how Death seems to not be the cut-throat “I know what to do so I just do it” kind of character, but that he takes in his surroundings and sees what is going on. This was a nice little addition and made the opening part to this issue nice.
We see a fairly clean done ending for just how Veronica has her powers, and I feel that there is a hint somewhere in the dialogue between her and Death that may foreshadow the series ending.
Overall this moment was nice and was a great opening for the comic. It was the only really talkative moment through the comic as following this is mostly high-paced action, as I’d hoped. And before I continue to the rest of the comic, I have to say there is a nice balance here. There is enough dialogue and character moments to further flesh out the character of Veronica, but the action here is solid stuff and very well done.
After a bit of back and forth with Veronica and her friend, we see the action set in and, what I won’t spoil how we get here, ends up with Scarlet Veronica going toe to toe with Santa Clause…well, a zombie dressed as old Saint Nicholas, at least. It’s one of those oddly ridiculous things that are funny and weird at the same time.
Throughout the action of Veronica taking on a few monstrous creatures, she has quick lines like “have I been naughty or Nice? Definitely Naughty” which are kind of funny and quick. With characters like Spider-man, stuff like this is easy to over-do in an attempt to be funny, but here with Scarlet Veronica, it doesn’t overdo it to the point of forced comedy that just irritates.
The action is quick and very nicely done, though I was a tad disappointed to see Veronica get knocked around, every new hero needs to get their feet sturdy before they can run so I’m hoping this isn’t a trend, as in a preview for what I’m guessing is issue #3, we see her kick some major monster ass.
The issue ends with a great cliff-hanger that has me excited for more of Veronica next month. Though I won’t spoil it like I usually do here, both as courtesy and because I really think that you should check this series out for yourself and see it for yourself. So to wrap up the story comments, great issue, great moments and solid action.
Art comments: Last time my complaints weren’t big but they where still there about the art. The art seemed to lean too much on easily done expressions and didn’t really convey a lot of emotion for that. But luckily it seems that is more remedied here. Sure, we still get the cheesy Manga face from time to time, but it’s nowhere near as big or even all that bad here.
Moody’s art style focuses much more this time on the heavy stylized work we saw bits and pieces of last issue, and the art dominates that way here in issue #2. Everything looks much wicked and like a lot more heart was put into it, though the art was fine last issue, I get the feeling that the artist had a real fun time drawing some of the scenes and expressions that we see here. Yes, there are some pretty good expressions, most of them coming form Veronica. Her wicked face by far looks the best.
To sum the art up, it’s damn good and the monsters look great, as does Veronica, and I look forward to seeing more of this art next month as well.
Final Comments: While I really did love this issue of Scarlet Veronica, there was something missing…that factor that just slams it in my head and keeps it there. To put it simple, it’s not quite at a Must Have level yet. Still, if anyone is interested, I recommend it for anyone who is a little tired of either the long running Marvel/DC comics or even long running Indy comics and looking for something fresh and exciting, Scarlet Veronica is definitely the perfect book right now for you.
4 Out of 5
Savage Dragon #142
Written: Erik Larsen
Art: Erik Larsen
Opening Comments: Every comic can suffer from multiple plot issues, rarely is it something that merges nicely, and Savage Dragon suffers badly from too much to tell with too little time.
Story Comments: We have several things going on here, Megaman is after Dragon for killing Solar-man, Malcolm is still in Dimension X, crazy shit is going on for Dragon’s daughter, Dragon goes from thinking to being tossed like a punching bag, and in the middle of it all is a confusing mess of a story.
Though still, as random and poorly connected it all is, the writing isn’t bad. Larsen clearly loves these characters and telling their stories. But he’s really dug himself into a hole with all these different twisting plots.
Dragon himself is great here, he is the main focus mostly and I’m thankful for that as he is the best part of this messy issue. His fight with Megaman, while odd, was still very nicely done.
Chris Robinson was great, for the full 5 minutes we got him.
Though glossing over some other little moments, the comic’s ending is the main point to talk about. A woman named Helen tries to seduce Dragon, and he starts to give in a bit, though doesn’t full do so, until she freaks out, punches him and goes all monster like. Saying Dragon failed a test.
If this is seriously how Larsen ends the plot about Dragon searching for his wife, then wow, what a major cop-out. To have such a random moment of weakness have his wife go against him and never come back, that just…wow…as a fan of the series, the possibility alone is frustrating.
So honestly, it’s not bad, but I have to be fair here and for what we got here, it was written well but put together very poorly.
Art Comments: Larsen’s art is, as always great. The only thing that doesn’t really fit is Megaman. He looks like Solar Man without the cape and different colors really. Still, for how divided the story is, at least the art looks great.
Final Comments: While I personally, as a fan of this series, enjoyed it, I have to be serious and honest here and for what it was, Savage Dragon was poorly put together and for that, it greatly suffers and unless your reading the series, I don’t suggest you check this issue out.
2 out of 5
And so ends our epic reviews. But the epic reviewing has only begun. Starting tomorrow through the weekend will be Open Fire Reviews that cover all the comics I’ve missed since the second week of November. So don’t go thinking I’ll disappear again, stick around soon for more reviews, and I just wanted to say, it’s great to be back.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Now similar to Solicit Commentary, I’m going to talk about the various announced comics this day, coming through the following months. Now I know the ending to SI #8, even if I can’t get down to the shop…but expect it, along with various other comics, reviewed in the near future. I know I’ve fallen far behind.
Secret Invasion: Dark Reign
Damn it, damn it, damn it…I had hoped this wasn’t true, but it seems to be. Emma Frost is back to being evil. After all that development as a good guy, she’s evil just like that…but…looking beyond that major problem of mine, this looks to be good, Bendis and Maleev often = Instant Gold so I’ve got some high hopes for this. It looks to be interesting. For one, it’s great to see Dr. Doom doing something prominent like this again; he hasn’t been up to anything overly important for a while, so it’s great to see him at the front lines of Dark Reign.
Dark Reign: New Nation
This looks to be a simple “Here’s who’s in it, here is what their doing, this is what you need to know” but still good. I’m getting it despite being a big promo book, mostly for my interest in…Ronin and Mockingbird? What? I know Mockingbird is alive again, which makes me incredibly happy, but why is Clint still Ronin? I’m getting confused here…oh well; I guess this is a part of the New Avengers:
Invincible Iron Man
I’m not getting this, as the first arc didn’t draw me in much, but this still does look good. If things look good, I may check it out as Iron Man’s Status has shifted greatly come post-Invasion, seems everyone hates the old Shell head. It’s funny, Captain
That’s an incredible cover by Marko Djurdjevic, it’s a shame that he’s off as the series main cover artist as I’m sure he could turn in more amazing work. Oh well. Issue #20 sounds great and I really look forward to it, the fallout story with the new roster has my curiosity, mostly in that Vision and Stature are confirmed now and that makes me happy. Glad to also see Hulk as an Avenger again, it’s been too long. Overall, I’m really looking forward to this new generation of the Mighty Avengers, looks to be exciting.
So New Cap is now an Avenger eh? I’m sure everyone saw this coming, he’s against the Registration act so who better to go with then the unregistered? We also see what looks to be Luke Cage in desperate search for the baby, which is something that has me concerned as I’d really hate for a the cop-out dead baby ending like what Captain America did a few months prior. Still, the new roster looks good and I may check this out, I’m glad to see Spider-Woman is alive but I’m surprised to see her in the New Avengers, I figured she’d stay low until her debut series later next year, which I greatly look forward to. Overall, I’m not sure if I’ll be picking up New Avengers or not, it all depends really.
Secret Invasion: Requiem
I’m sad to see the Wasp go, she was a great character despite Bendis’ constant misuse of her. Hopefully Dan Slott can do her justice in the Requiem one-shot, and do a good job of putting this founding Avenger to rest.
The roster confuses the hell out of me, brown suit Wolverine, Black suit Spider-man, Hawkeye while Ronin is around, just what the hell is going on here? It’s a roster put together by Norman Osborn, which spells trouble…I think the Wolverine is Daken judging by the odd way his claws pop out, no idea about Spider-man and the others though. It looks to be picking up on Morgan Le Fay/Dr. Doom love affair plot prior to Secret Invasion, which I’m glad to see, and with Doom at the forefront of the Reign, this should hopefully have a reunion for the two. Overall, it looks really good and I’m pretty psyched to check it out, also, Deodato on art = Win.
Uncanny X-men Annual #2
As I stated earlier, I’m pretty pissed at Emma being evil again. I felt that all her development as a good character was very well done and that it seems to be rather unfair to just make her evil again. If the Dark Reign one-shot doesn’t sell me on it this month, maybe this will.
I’m considering getting this more….but still not sold on it, Nick’s reaction come SI #8 confused me so I’m not really sure if I want this or not, since he’s pretty much a solid jackass now. Really though, I’ll leave it to the previews to dominate if I check this out or not.
So that’s my Commentary on Dark Reign, expect reviews of these comics, at least most of them, in the future of New Age Comics.