Thursday, July 31, 2008

Comic of the month - July 2008

Here’s a new article that came to me yesterday, Comic of the Month.

What is it?

Well, the title says it all. I pick the #1 best comic of the month. Then I’ll quickly say why it has been given the title.

This was a tough one, Witchblade and Wolverine really tied for the win. Both where great, engaging stories with incredible art. Both really are fun to read over and over again. But in the end, only one can win, and the winner is…

Witchblade #119!

This was just an all around great story with amazing art and I had a great time reading it. It’s a done in one story, so there isn’t any frustrating cliff-hangers or anything, which was also great. I loved this issue and it is definitely comic of the month of July 2008. Check it out some time if you can still find it at your LCS.

Venom movie that has been in the works moving forward

Here's the link to the article

Venom movie moving forward

So Sony is looking to finally get their Venom film moving. They want the spin-off from Spider-man 3 to revitalize interest in the Spider-man franchise. No doubt to get people interested for the Spider-man 4 in the works.

As a fan of Venom, I would hope that this could work. I’m not familiar with the guy writing the script, but I can hope that he’d pull out something good from his brain. Venom is a very easy character to have fall into a boring cliché of “brooding anti-hero who’s pissed off at the world and hates everyone”. Several writers have fallen into that hole and once you do, it’s hard to dig out of it.

But if I look at this from a simple fan standpoint, this sounds awesome. Venom is one of my favorite Spider-villains and he does have potential. He’s one of the more interesting Spider-villains in Spidey’s rogue gallery. Venom: Lethal Protector and Knights of Vengeance where both great stories.

Also, if the movie does get greenlit and is in the works, it could revitalize interest in the character. Maybe we could finally see some prints of things like Lethal Protector and Knights of Vengeance put back into print. I’d sure buy them.

Their debating if Topher Grace should reprise his role as Eddie Brock…I myself think he could do the job, but I’m not sure if he should. He’s a great and competent actor, but sometimes even the best aren’t meant for everything. I would like to see a bigger taller guy if they could get one. But Grace really brought that snarky “I can do anything” attitude to Eddie Brock that was great about him.

If he can buff up and look more the part, then I’m all for it. Because Eddie Brock does become a big buff guy after he gets the symbiote.

As for the story? I’d like to see a retelling of Venom saving the underground city…but this time, maybe have it be a small town outside of New York. Say he washes up there after his fight with Spider-man in #3 and the woman he who was his love interest in Knights of Vengeance saves him. He stars buffing up after a bit and goes out to find Spider-man.

After he enters New York and the police find him, he has to run from the police (because Venom doesn’t kill. I don’t care what they say; he doesn’t like to kill innocent people. That’s how it should be, damnit) and after a few days of running and when he returns to the small town, it’s all going to be demolished because there is a huge amount of oil underneath it or something. Some drive to destroy the town that the evil company has to get to.

Venom takes on Spider-slayer bots, maybe even a villain hired by the company for protection. (For some reason Omega Red comes to mind. That would be cool, but he’s an X-villain…I’m not sure then. Maybe those guys from Knights of Vengeance…minus the alien crap). I think that story could work. Then again, I’m crazy.

Comic reviews for July 2008

July 2008 comic reivews

All right, so here’s my first batch of reviews. Most of which are from early in the month of July, such as Witchblade and Spawn, but I also got this weeks comics that where in my pullbox, Skaar and Wolverine.

Let me explain my reviewing system, real quick for you.

1 = Burn it. The worst kind of rating you can get. It means that the comic was complete trash and doesn’t deserve to exist.

2 = pass it. Not the worst, but either a bad, or simply boring and uninteresting comic, nothing to waste your money on.

3 = check it. Not strongly recommended, but it was good and enjoyable enough that I suggest you get it.

4 = Must read. A great read with awesome art that was great.

5 = Must have. Absolute greatness. Just pure and simple awesome. You cannot miss this comic.

Now let me point out that yes, that is IGN comics’ old rating system that they got rid of in September 2007. But I like that system more, I find it more efficient. So that’s while I’ll use. A combination of a “check it” system along with an “out of 5” system that matches.

Now I also have 4 Comment spots.

Opening comments: a quick thing to open my review, often not related so much to the story as to show my initial thoughts before I explain them more.

Story comments: Me going more into the story and my thoughts on it. May or may not involve Spoilers. If the comic is good enough, then I won’t spoil it for you. If it’s good but there are certain spoilers I can use to show how good it is, then I’ll spoil things.

Art comments: Probably going to often be a lot shorter than the story comments. Sometimes not even a full paragraph at times. It all depends on if I liked or didn’t like the artist. But I find art in comics very important, so I will comment on that aspect.

Final comments: the final comments to wrap up my review of the comic and give my final thoughts on it all.

All right, now that I have that out of the way….first, I don’t have the images for covers to these comics. I will add images in later on, maybe even next time with my reviews, but for now, you’ll have to bare with me on this one.

Now let’s get into the comics!

Skaar: Son of Hulk #2

Written: Greg Pak

Art: Ron Garney

Opening comments: I would have liked to tell you that Skaar is a great comic that you shouldn’t miss out. That the story is both interesting and action packed, that the character is cool, that this is a comic that no one should miss. But alas….Pak doesn’t seem to want to do anything but give us some bland boring action with some brief dialogue that is only mildly interesting at the time.

Story comments: I’ll be surprised if I get in more than a paragraph of this review here. I don’t know what to say really. It was short, but so short and uninteresting; it hurt more than a 50 page comic about Pikachu and Jesus drinking the blood of a puppy. It just doesn’t seem to pull you in at all.

Though only thing worth mentioning is the princess character that was mentioned to show up next issue in the solicits. We only get a brief mention of her background, and that’s the only interesting or well done aspect of dialogue. Everything else is just bland action that doesn’t entertain like I’d hope.

To put it best, the fight scene in Hulk #3 was done better than this. It’s just Skaar chopping up dragons while Axeman babbles random insults. I wish that where a joke, I really do…but it’s not. We see Skaar go “Heh” at the beginning. Was that a hint that he can talk? Oh please let it be, that would be something that could finally save this fast falling comic.

The “To be continued” page was actually all right and left me curious as to what happens next time. But if Greg Pak doesn’t pick this up fast, it’s going to fall harder than a headless dragon.

There is also the back story aspect with Butch Guice doing the art there. The best way I can put it is boring and uninteresting. I’ll take the dragon fights over this crap.

Art comments: Ron Garney does a few good panels here and there. And the “to be continued” page is done very well. But for the most part, his art is rushed, muddy, and just plain not good to look at. While he did some great stuff last issue, this here is just a mess. Faces look like rocks bunched together, and nothing really looks appealing. Aside from the princess, everything looks bland.

Butch Guice does an all right job on his part. But really, the story is so bad that it’s hard to appreciate the art when it adds nothing to it.

Final comments: I know I sound pretty bitter, and that’s mainly because this comic was the comic I was most looking forward to this year. I was really hyped and excited for this. I’ve still got hope for Skaar: Son of Hulk and that issue #3 can turn this around. But from the looks of it there will be dark days for the Son of Hulk.

2 out of 5

Pass it

Spawn #180

Written: David Hine

Art: Brian Holguin

Opening comments: All right, things are really picking up now! The first couple of issues to lead into the final arc of Hine and Haberlin’s run have been fairly “meh” at their best. Nothing too great, though nothing too bad either. This is the first issue that really gets things rolling into an exciting direction.

Story comments: This story has 3 perspectives in it. Cyan’s, who is having horrifying vision of her mother bloody and cut up, Nyx and Mark while Nyx tries to help Al. Then we have Al (Spawn, for those who don’t know) in his mind facing his suit as it deceives him into going after Wanda (his ex-wife).

Cyan’s perspective isn’t really much to talk about. It’s all right at best, and she has some good quick moments. Cyan however was never meant to be a really compelling character, so her horrible visions aren’t much to care bout really when you’re more interested into how they tie to Spawn.

Mark gets in a great moment early on while Nyx is trying to heal Al. He says how he hated his brother, how bad things always flocked to Al, and that he wished Al had stayed dead. That’s a pretty powerful thing to say, and Hine makes it all seem real and does this incredibly well.

Finally, we have Spawn in his mind. In here, he is Al Simmons (Perhaps a sign that he hasn’t really lost his humanity like he keeps thinking?) and tries to fight off his suits aggression. This isn’t the first time his suit has been a pain in the ass, and I am glad Hine remembers that it’s a symbiote, not cotton.

After the symbiote and Al exchange some great dialogue, Al succumbs to it’s wishes to kill Wanda and lets it posses his body, tricking his mind into thinking Wanda is the only reason his life was ruined. Retelling him of how she married his best friend and had his child. Even though I’m a longtime fan of Spawn, it still felt pretty interesting to hear this from the point of vie of the costume and it’s lies.

But just when I thought the costume was finally being awesome, it turns out to be Mammon pulling Spawn’s strings once again. It seems that Mammon is finally setting Spawn up for the final act of his insane play to try and conquer the world. What it has to do with killing Wanda, I haven’t the foggiest clue.

The final page here is great, as Cyan finally sees Spawn for what he is: A monster. I hate to say it, but I never cared for the “He’s the sad man, an angel” thing she had going. It’s about damn time she realize what Spawn is. This leads into a great cliffhanger for next issue.

Art comments: Recently, Haberlin has either been gone from the book (with guest artists such as Geroid Van Dyke and Mike Mayhew.) If he’s not gone from the book, then he’s got some new colorist or inker working on his art, giving it a bit of a different look then what I’m used to with his art.

Here, he’s finally back and in complete control of the art, it’s all done by him. While I didn’t mind the other people he was working with, or fill in artists, I’ve come to really love how his style is fitting this story. He does an amazing job here and has some awesome shots of Spawn and the Suit.

Final Comments: This was easily the best issue of Spawn in a while, since nearly a year ago with #169. The story and art come together perfectly and make a comic that is a Must Read for any Spawn fan.

4 out of 5

Must read

Broken Trinity #1

Written: Ron Marz

Art: Phil Hester and Stjepan Sejic

Opening comments: About 2 months ago I picked up the First Born TPB, and loved it. It was everything you could want in a compelling summer event and more. The follow up to First Born is Broken Trinity. With promises to shake the trinity of the Witchblade, Darkness and Angelus forever, and kill one of the three. While this issue suffers from first issue syndrome (or FIS) it still does a great job for a starting issue.

Story comments: As much as I enjoyed Broken Trinity #1, there really isn’t too much to say on it. We get a great opening with Vikings fighting some ice giant called the Winter King. At first I was left wondering what was going on, but by the end of the comic, it all makes sense (as much sense as a comic can make).

Then we see Sara Pezzini and her corner a guy who’s been following her. Turns out he’s a guy hired by Jackie Estacado (also known as the Darkness, as well as the father of Sara’s infant child) who wanted to make sure the two where safe. This aspect alone is interesting, and was a smart thing to do. It would make sense that Jackie would eventually try someway to know how his child is doing…but to bad that Sara soon caught on to her “guardian angel” and let out some of her Italian can of whoop-ass on him. Then again, that made for a great moment.

After this, the hired stalker is feeling down, but he’s in some antique shop and looking around. He’s upset that he got caught keeping an eye on Sara, so the shop-keeper gives him this blue jewel free of charge. As expected, the blue jewel is a new artifact that contains the powers of that Frost Giant from the opening.

After that, we see Sara talking to her partner Gleason (whom, despite the fact that they have an intimate relationship, she insists on always calling him “Detective Gleason” rather than just Gleason. Even at home! It’s a little odd really). They have a great dialogue going, as always. I’m not sure what it is, but something about how these 2 characters are together it almost always makes for a great moment.

After this, we see the half-witted stalker go all “icey” (yes, that’s right, icey. As in a new word to mean “becoming ice-like). Then we finish up the back-story of the 2 new artifacts which ends with the giant and some dragon killing each other. It’s a short, but cool fight. It ends up with in the present time, some girl finding the Ember Stone and becoming the dragon.

On the final page we see all three members of the Broken Trinity in different places. Jackie looking like he may be near Sara and Celestine like she’s in town too. So now all the pieces are on the board and set up for the show. While this was a great opening, it leaves you excited and ready for more.

Art comments: Phil Hester does the starting pencils and Stjepan Sejic paints over them. The final product? Simply amazing. The two work well together and Hester’s art is a good template for Sejic to pain over as it bares some similarities to Sejic’s character work as well. Everything looks great, even the simple moments like Sara and Gleason talking look well done.

Of course the action is where the art shines; as Sejic goes all out for how detailed he gets with the dragon and ice giant. It leads into one page of pure greatness. Very well done. I cannot praise the art enough.

Final comments: While the story was good enough to get a “Check It”, the art was so amazing that it pushes this into a Must read. If you want to get into the Top Cow universe, this is a great book to start with. I highly recommend it.

4 out of 5

Must read

Wolverine #67

Written: Mark Millar

Art: Steve McNiven

Opening comments: Old Man Logan is finally getting interesting. While Skaar Son of Hulk may be sinking by it’s second issue, Old Man Logan is finally rising up and getting good. I wasn’t too impressed by last issue, as I found it far too slow and weak of an opening, but this issue finally drew me in.

Story comments: A lot happens this issue. We get a brief glimpse into the past with the night the heroes died, we see an entire city unearthed by Moloids and we see a gang called The Ghost Riders. Yeah, no joke. It’s a bunch of punk badass wanabe thugs on flaming cycles. Makes me wish Johnny Blaze would have come out and opened up a can of Vengeance on their asses.

That’s basically the first half of the book for you. Nothing too interesting really, though it was great to see a blind Hawkeye massacre those Ghost-Brats. The conversation following is interesting and very well done. It was great to see Hawkeye curse out Logan for being such a pansy. I feel like doing the same really.

After this all right half of the book, we get to the really interesting and good part. After Logan recounts the night the heroes died, we see a flash of villains like Sinister, Omega Red and Saber tooth tearing him apart. Hawkeye mentions something that wasn’t really important, but it leads to the 2 passing through the area where the heroes died. We see Thor’s hammer on display and other oddities.

What is really funny is Ultron 8. the second I saw him I thought he was going to attack the buggy, but it turns out that…oddly enough, he’s a nice guy? What? I thought the heroes won? So why is Ultron’s eighth version so nice? Color me confused on that one…But anyway, it leads to letting us know that Peter Parker had some kids. His youngest daughter…married…Hawkeye….what? Wasn’t he like, in his 30’s by the time she was born?

Pedophilic archer’s aside, this leads into the character I was most excited about seeing: spider-bitch. Yes, you read that right. Spider-bitch. I think that sums it all up perfectly. She’s Peter Parker’s granddaughter and she’s Spider-bitch. I don’t think anything I say after this can top why I enjoyed this comic.

Art comments: Usually, I’m not a big fan of Steve McNiven. Last issue his art was a problem thanks to weird angles and a lack of anything interesting to draw. Here he really shines and does some amazing stuff. This is probably his best stuff since his earlier Civil War art.

Maybe we could chalk up McNiven’s disappointing art last issue to the script not holding anything interesting. McNiven really does a great job here and if he can keep this level of greatness going, then I won’t mind a month or two delay.

Final comments: Definitely pick this issue up. If you got #66 and didn’t like this story, come back for the second chapter, it’s exactly what this story needed to get things rolling. While I’m only giving it a Check It for not being quite enough and leaving me wanting more, not in the good way, I still enjoyed it and suggest you pick it up.

3 out of 5

Check It

Witchblade #119

Written: Ron Marz

Art: Stjepan Sejic

Opening comments: Last issue blew me away and turned me into a Witchblade fan. But I was a little worried if Marz could keep his hot streak going with this stand-alone tale of Aphrodite (whichever number she is). I don’t want to blindly praise this book because then I will sound like a fanboy or something, but this really was an amazing read.

Story comments: This is 2 things, both a fight with Aphrodite, as well as Sara recounting the events to the police (though obviously not mentioning the Witchblade) as a flashback. The way she describes it is both professional, but kind of fun to read the differences in how she explains it, and how we see it really happens.

The fight is written well enough to be seen as more as a simple brawl with the two punching at each other. Marz shows how each action is important and it’s obvious that he and Sejic understand each other, because the art helps this become a great fight scene that is both fun to watch and read.

After Sara’s recap, she says how it isn’t fair that someone in the department is out after her, seeming to always trying to get her fired for this or that. I find this interesting too, but we don’t get much more than a passing mention of it to her superior.

After this, we get a lead in to next issues story, of should Dani (the other bearer of the Witchblade) keep the Witchblade. She’s been hurt badly after last issue’s betrayal but a guy she thought she was falling in love with, so it should be nice to see how she is after all that mess of almost getting killed.

But to wrap up on the story comments, great, great, great issue! Though it might hurt if your not familiar with Witchblade at all, go Wikipedia it or something, this is a fantastic issue.

Art comments: It’s hard to believe that Stjepan Sejic is a fairly new artist. Only having been in the business for a couple of years, by the detail and crisp beauty of his art, one would think he’s a veteran artist.

Now, I’m not too familiar with Witchblade, but Sejic draws this one moment where the Witchblade gives Sara a helmet like visor to see Aphrodite despite her cloaking device. I don’t know if Marz described how it should look, or if Sejic thought it would look good this certain, way, but looks cool as all hell. While some fans may complain that the scantily clad barely clothed aspect of Witchblade is missing, I think that the trade for amazing art is easily worth it. So don’t worry son, it’s still a great comic. (Note, the Andrenn Insanity blog knows that comics aren’t just for boys and that girls like comics too.)

Final comments: Rarely does a writer and artist work so well together that the single aspect of the team alone warrants a Must Have. That along with the great and enjoyable story makes this an easy Must Have for anyone who likes a great comic with amazing art.

Out of 5, a 5

Must Have.

So, that’s it for my first batch of comic reviews. I hope you enjoyed them. Comic reviews will probably be either bi-weekly or tri-weekly at times. But if I can ever keep a weekly schedule, I’ll do my best to do so.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My thoughts on the new team for Spawn

Well, this is my first official “regular” post. Having gotten the introductions out of the way, I wanted to open up with something that was really important to me as a long time comic fan. Spawn. I’ve been a big fan since 1999, when I and an old friend saw the Spawn movie at his house. Ever since that faithful day, I’ve been a fan of the Hellspawn known as Al Simmons.

After seeing the movie, I took a bike ride to my local shop and got tons of Image comics, all for easy prices, and fell in love with characters like Spawn, Savage Dragon and of course, Shadowhawk. While Image’s popularity has died down over the years, and they’ve become more of a launching pad for new creators to make it big and get their names out their, I have yet to forget what made them famous in the first place.

That being said, this is me saying my thoughts on the new team for Spawn, starting with #185 in December (don’t listen to the solicit, it’s 2 months ahead). It will be the return of Spawn creator Todd McFarlane as well as former long term writer Brian Holguin. Also, image founder (one of them at least) Whilce Portacio is drawing the comic.

First, I’ll admit that I wasn’t very faithful in this. I was negative off the bat. Todd isn’t known for timeliness, but at least with Brian Holguin, he’ll hopefully be able to do so. Todd is more like the co-writer, where the stories may be his ideas, but Brian writes the scripts.

Now, as the time has slowly passed, after teaser images and artwork has been released…I’ve been made into a believer. I’m excited for this. Portacio’s art is looking great with ever new piece we see and it’s gotten me excited. I think Portacio can do a great job on this and am looking forward to seeing his fully inked and colored pages.

But just as I am excited, I can’t help but feel sad…David Hine and Brian Haberlin have been doing an amazing job on the comic ever since #169, they’ve been on a hot streak. Just as the two are hitting their stride, they have to come in for a landing. It’s too bad, because Hine really loves the fans and talks with us often on the forums.

Funny thing, I got my name in the Spawn letters page, Hine spelled my name wrong and apologized to me for it on the forum. He really cares about interacting with the fans and I love it when creators really care about their audience. Several writers and artists don’t seem to spend any real time talking to the fans or engaging them as much as Hine has. It’s going to be sad to see him go, but I’ll no doubt follow his other works as they come up. He’s an amazing writer.

But what of the art? Well, at first I wasn’t too thrilled about Brian Haberlin’s art. It looks very realistic (in a sense) and the computer added effects are obvious. But still, when he puts his best work in, it’s really amazing and great stuff. His best work yet has been his art for #169, he really shined there and I then started to really adjust and enjoy his style on the book. He fits the tone that Hine sets and they make a great team.

But, family comes first, as they say. Haberlin is not only leaving Spawn, but he’s leaving the EIC chair at TMP. It’s sad to see him go, he’s done some great stuff in his tenure and I’ll miss having him around on the forums. He does great stuff both as an artist, and as an editor, so I hope he’ll come back to comics someday. But at the same time, I can understand that he wants more time with his family.

So, onto #185….it’s basically another reboot for the series. Returning it to the superhero roots that started the franchise. I can’t help but feel excited for that. While I enjoyed Spawn as a horror comic, Spawn works best as a tormented Anti-hero. He just does. It’s great. It’s why most people love Spawn. It’s what they know him for.

If there’s one key aspect I’m worried about over all things, its Nyx…Hine brought back Nyx and made her into my all time favorite Spawn character. She’s just plain great. Her relationship with Spawn has been incredibly well written, and the whole “she loves him, but he doesn’t want to love” aspect, very well done. Its obvious Nyx wants to help Spawn and cares about him, but he’s just too torn up from past tragedies to let anyone in. It’s sad, but it makes sense if you’d know what he’s done.

But from what I can guess, Nyx is either going to bite the dust, or disappear. From my guess, Hine is totally wrapping up everything him, and Holguin from the past, have done with Spawn with this final arc. While my fingers are crossed for Nyx to remain in spawn come December, I won’t be too shocked if she’s cut out.

Well, that’s all I really have to say. While I’m looking forward to #185, I’m still going to enjoy Hine/Haberlin’s final issues. If you want to start getting into Spawn, you may want to wait a few months for the next reboot, because right now it’s in the middle of the final wrap up arc, and the gloves are off. Expect full reviews from Spawn #180 and beyond, here at the Andrenn Insanity blog.

Andrenn Strikes!

Hey there everyone

My name is Andrenn. This is my comic review blog. This isn't me talking about life, or rambling about politics or whatnot. This will be me talking about and reviewing comics. I'll be talking about movies, and every once in a blue moon, video games.
Now let me start this off by saying that the main reason I'm making a blog is because I have an opinion, and if I don't get it out there, I keep thinking it to myself but have no one to tell. Because when I do tell these things in real life, it's never done well enough as when I write it down.

The banner is 2 of my favorite covers done by Clayton Crain. I have both covers signed by him as well, I'm a big fan.

Anyway, about my blog...what to expect. I will review comics, though not always on a weekly basis. Unfortunately, money is a little tight so I can't go to the shops weekly.

Along with reviews, 2 things I will do for sure are Comic Report Cards, where I look back at a comic that may have recently ended, or is a few years old. I'll review it, as well as talk either praise or trash it. That along with a spotlight of some of the current books you can pick up at your local comic shop or bookstore. We'll be starting that one off with Aliens Vs. Predators Omnibus volume 1.

Now, let me explain a bit about me to get formalities and such out of the way.

I'm Andrenn, I enjoy life. I enjoy comics and reading them as well as reviewing them. Every now and then I sit down at the couch and watch reruns of Batman the Animated Series and Spin City. I attend conventions at a local city, I have some signed comics and somewhat rare variants. I've been into comics, on a more serious basis, for the last 2 years. Up until then I was more or less just buying Spawn currently and whatever random comics interested me.

I don't read many DC comics nowadays, but I've been trying to get more into their comics, so expect some random DC comic reviews in the future. But for the most part, it's Marvel and some Image comics.

Speaking of Image, the 2 main ongoing titles of theirs that I will be reviewing is Spawn and Witchblade...and I may start getting back into Invincible since I've heard it's returning to greatness.

As for Marvel...well, I'm reading Secret Invasion, as well as some of the tie-ins, Old Man Logan, will be reading the New Ways to Die arc in Amazing Spider-man, and I pick up several other comics.

As for what movies I like. I mostly enjoy horror/suspense films. Action, drama (kind of), comedy, There is probably a few I'm forgetting, but in general, I enjoy movies.

Posts won't always be on schedule, if there will be a regular ongoing schedule, but I will try and keep tight about things when I can.

All right, I've probably dragged this on long enough, so time to wrap up. I'd like to thank Kirk Warren of the Weekly Crisis (Awesome blog, check it out sometime) for both being inspiration to do this blog, and giving me the link and knowledge of how to get started.

So, that's it. I'll start to post some reviews soon, and our first Comic Report Card is on Young Avengers Presents.

Now let me quickly warn you. I do not always see every little spelling error or grammar problem. While I'm writing these up in Microsoft Word to be careful, if I miss something and don't notice it, I apologize.

So that's all for now, thanks for stopping by