Saturday, January 10, 2009

Comic Review for January 10th 2009

My pull box is heavy with lots of comics that need buying, but until either Friday or Tuesday I can’t buy much. But yesterday I was able to stop by the LCS, said hi to the guys, and picked up 3 comics in change I have left over from places like the movie, market, etc. Lucky for me, I bought 3 great comics.

Now I’m using a new scoring system in that I’m adding 2 separate scores for story and artwork that will ad up to the overall grade out of 5. It’s more an experiment and if I, or anyone else, don’t like it I may take it away.

Detective Comics #852

Written: Paul Dini

Art: Dustin Nguyen

Opening comments: It’s no secret that Heart of Hush was one of my favorite storylines of 2008 and I dare say it deserves awards both for the amazing story and amazing artwork. But its epilogue, following in January’s Faces of Evil trend takes place after R.I.P and leaves 2 very important questions left after Heart of Hush. Where do we go now? For the first part of this epilogue we see Hush’ revival and I must say, for how well Dini has a grip on the character, it was an excellent read.

Story Comments: As mentioned this entire issue is devoted to the revival of Hush following his epic fall at the end of Detective #850. It’s a great tale and Dini has some really great moments that come with some incredibly strong narration.

But my problem is that I really don’t want to spoil it, because to fully review it I would have to give you all the plot and I don’t want to spoil some of the better moments really, outside of the final one.

So I will be more general, if you don’t mind. Paul Dini obviously understands this character better then most would or probably ever have. He has Hush do such methodical and treacherous things to get his way into the world. From using an old “cougar” to get money or simply using his face to get what he wants.

I like how Dini uses the twist of Hush taking Bruce’s face and I find it rather brilliant. But at the same time, a little annoying that a villain will now hold this look forever. It’s a strange confliction I have over this, but if what happens come part 2 actually happens, I may not need to worry about that.

The narration as mentioned is superb. I always enjoy narration from the villain’s point of view, but something Dini does here just really sells it to me and makes me love this issue more for its strong and wicked narration.

I suppose all there really is to talk about now is the final moments of Hush’ capture at the hands of some thugs hired by Catwoman. A nice moment to close the first chapter on and I look forward to Catwoman’s tale that leads to this next time later in the month.

Paul Dini crafts a great story here, but I have to fault it where I can, what little action we get is just all right, nothing special and really it is a strange thing, someone so easily impersonating Bruce Wayne. It’s not bad really, I still quite enjoyed it and the dialog above all was superb. But overall, the story just doesn’t make Must Have material.

Art Comments: I absolutely love Dustin Nguyen’s artwork. So coming into this story I was excited just to see him at it again before Battle for the Cowl kicks in. His artwork here matches Dini’s writing in its incredible ability to tell the story and work well with every moment happening. It never looks like he got bored having to draw someone standing there talking, as if he was just happy to be drawing a head alone and was excited and that excitement and strength transcends onto the pages.

Final Comments: While the story itself is Must Read quality, the artwork is too good not to boost this up to a Must Have. If you don’t mind that Batman is MIA and no doubt will be for a very long time, and you can just enjoy a good story in general, I highly recommend this issue.

Writing: 4 out of 5

Art: 5 out of 5

Overall 5 out of 5

Must Have

Marvel Zombies 3 #4

Written: Fred Van Lente

Art: Kev Walker

Opening Comments: Marvel Zombies 3 is officially the best mini-series of 2008. Hate to spoil one of the awards from Year’s End but seriously, this was incredible. While not quite a Must Have for everyone, for anyone who can stomach their gore and likes it wicked you will love this series. But what of its final chapter? While a few things here and there bother me, it only proves how great a story MZ 3 was and leads in strong hopes for MZ4 later this year. Yes, you read that right. Marvel Zombies 4 late this year.

Story Comments: The final chapter doesn’t really open so much as shit goes down immediately. The zombies are closing in one Machine Man and just as Jocasta is getting back the zombies in A.R.M.O.R. are running wild. Things go from bad to worse in a matter of seconds and it’s a pretty heart pounding moment, one worthy to be compared to the housing up in the original Night of the Living Dead.

We then get a twist that Machine Man who seemed decimated at the end of last issue is just fine and that he was projecting a hologram of himself torn up and dying. It feels a little cheap I must admit, but he’s such great character, I would hate for him to die. Every line out of him is golden and Van Lente clearly understands/loves writing for this character.

By the time Machine Man is back and kicking ass and hating bubble gum it is obvious that this is as intense as it gets. From here to his confrontation with Morbius the Living Vambie (he seriously calls himself that) is about as intense as it gets.

Following this we see Machine Man and Jocasta meet up, they kiss ‘super happy ending’ as we can call it.

Then we see Black Bolt and Kingpin, our 2 big villains for this series. Fisk has eaten his wife and Doc Strange has given them Manna. This is no doubt to lead into 4, but it was a nice moment.

Then we have the final moments which lead into MZ4: Midnight Sons. There are still zombies loose in the 2 connecting dimensions and a team needs to go after them. Morbius, the real Morbius, plans to assemble the Midnight Sons. One of the greatest teams of all time in Marvel history, to me at least.

So overall, while it’s annoying that the third in a series doesn’t really even conclude and needs to be continued with a now confirmed 4, Marvel Zombies 3 was still a great series and #4, while a little fast to splash everything done and together, was nicely done. I must admit it wasn’t perfect on the story and the final chapter was a bit rushed. But still, for what it was, great writing.

Art Comments: I really loved the hell out of Kev Walker’s art for Marvel Zombies 3, and I really hope he returns for #4. My only real problem here comes in that he somewhat overdoes it with the rotted look of Kingpin’s body and the figures still retain a blocky look from time to time. It still looks great, but it was undeniably annoying from time to time. Still, great art nonetheless.

Final Comments: As much as I loved this series fair is fair here and I can’t let my bias cloud the fact that while it was a great issue, it wasn’t quite perfect. It was undeniably flawed, though still great. But if you where at all interested in this series and skipped it, do yourself a big favor, pick up the HC later this year.

Writing: 4 out of 5

Art: 4 out of 5

Overall: 4 out of 5

Must Read

Batman #684

Written: Denny O’Neil

Art: Guillem March

Opening Comments: Denny O’Neil is one of my favorite Bat-writers of all time. He’s easily one of the most recognizable names in the Batman fandom and he’s clearly made his stamp on comics. His story involving Last Rites titled “the last days of Gotham” has been an interesting story. With an incredible opening issue, but the second and final chapter proves that while this is a good read, at the same time, it’s filler.

Story Comments: Our opening with Nightwing getting his ass saved from being cooked is rather funny. It isn’t too often that the hero gets saved by the victim, let alone gets a “ride” home. The fact that Nightwing too k a ride in a pizza van just makes me chuckle and it’s that kinds of funny twist that O’Neil brings that you don’t’ see every other day in comics nowadays.

The scene with Nightwing blaming himself and acting like he’s an idiot was frustrating. Nightwing is a good hero, he knows what he’s doing, and he’s not some lame punk hero starting out. So I felt his reaction was rather done poorly.

Though the scene where he sees the bat-signal and goes to Gordon was another odd moment. Their both pretty much just bashing on Nightwing for not being Batman when he’s all they have. It’s odd to see Nightwing taking such a beating so quickly, makes me wonder if O’Neil has some kind of grudge against him.

Despite a somewhat weak opening 2 scenes, things pick up much better when Nightwing meets up with Millicent Mayne, our stories’ narrator. As I mentioned in my review of Detective #851, she’s a great character and an even better narrator. Which is why I was disappointed she wasn’t as in the spotlight as she was last time. O’Neil has clearly crafted a great character that could really stand out in the Batman mythos in future storylines, but it looks like she’s be stuck as filler-girl.

When the action starts up again and Nightwing goes head to head with the Two-Face impersonator is when the streak of the story going better continues. The action is pure greatness. The Two-Face wannabe was an all right villain in that he was a bit crazy in his own right really and overall the action was strong and it went well along with some of the narration we got.

The final 2 pages of Gordon and the Bullock, with Mayne’s narration were nice. O’Neil wraps up the Last Days of Gotham story very well. But I feel he had a few more pages of Nightwing and Millicent’s conversation he didn’t get to write and that was disappointing. Judging of the narration, I’m sure it would have been a great read.

I really loved the writing here, honestly, as a big fan of O’Neil’s work how could I not? But still, I can’t deny that it’s all rather pointless and that the first half with Nightwing getting beaten down verbally was rather poor. Had we at least gotten a flashback of batman, even just 1 or 2 pages, it would have really boosted things. But still, this is nicely done, even if not perfect.

Art Comments: As much as I like March’s artwork, I do have one major problem with it. For some reason he chooses to dark out Millicent’s eyes every scene we see her face in. He didn’t do it last time, and he drew her eyes beautifully, so I was confused why he decided not to do so this issue.

Still, the artwork here is nicely done, very stylish and I love it when DC goes for someone who doesn’t fit the bill of “90’s will never die” DC artwork. Though it’s not perfect and does have some MEH moments, I still really liked the artwork and hope March returns to Batman someday.

Final Comments: Big fans of O’Neil’s will probably love this issue, but also be disappointed. If you’re not too familiar with his work, I doubt you could care less. But still it was a good issue and I liked it, but Last Days of Gotham, no matter how much I enjoy it, is undeniably filler that doesn’t really do anything important or interesting.

Writing: 3 out of 5

Art: 4 out of 5

Overall: 3 out of 5

Check It

And so ends another edition of reviews. Check back tomorrow for Week’s End and a few more things throughout the week, I’m looking to be back and coming back big as I know I’ve been really busy lately but things are calming down a bit more and I should be able to post more often. So I hope you all enjoyed the reviews, adios.


Greg said...

Does Harvey appear in that issue at all or is it just the impostor? I do have the previous issue though.

Andrenn said...

Two-Face is MIA for the second chapter. Which I forgot to mention, as it was disappointing seeing as how well O'Neil handled him in Detective #851.