Friday, January 23, 2009

Comic Reviews for January 23rd 2009

3 comics, 3 reviews. You at your computer. Sit, read, enjoy!

Also for anyone who has noticed, yes, we will be doing polls every now and then. Expect most of them to be 10 days long usually. Our current one is on if you think Batman is really dead. I have my doubts, but we’ll leave the opinions to the polls. If you have any future Poll ideas or suggestions, feel free to let me know and I may make a poll on your suggestion.

Now onto the reviews!

Mighty Avengers #21
Written: Dan Slott
Art: Koi Pham

Opening Comments: Dan Slott sets to accomplish a lot in his first issue of his run on Mighty Avengers. Rarely does a new run on a book make a 4 dollar price tag worth it, but it seems that Slott has done one of those rare instances of actually making it more worth then what it costs. Coming off one of the best new books of the millennium, The Initiative, it’s hard to image this wouldn’t be awesome on some level.

Story Comments: The opening with Vision and Stature was a great way to kick things off. The tone is light hearted to an extent in that it shows us their relationship, we get a couple of quick sweet/funny moments, and then things get rolling.
My biggest problem with this story right away is an “end of the world” plot Slott cooked up involving magic and crazy shit. I like end of the world stuff, but this is rather over doing it! The only reason we see these disasters is to show that the other Avengers can’t handle this and that we need the Mighty Avengers to do so.
The scene where Jarvis and Herc catch up was nice. Though I felt it dragged a little and the comedy wasn’t really working like Slott wanted it to. I also didn’t really like his showing the other teams in that they seem to be dying, or at least being injured bad, I think he overdid it with the magical deaths and that was frustrating for me.
This issue has a lot going for it, we see many things but the most important is Scarlet Witch assembling heroes to work for hank Pym. We see Hulk, Iron Man, U.S Agent, it’s nicely done. A rather rag-tag team when you’ve got U.S Agent and Herc on board, but still nicely done.
Another majority of the book is spent with Hank Pym speaking with Herc and Jarvis, as well as Jocasta. Now I want to mention the Hank/Jocasta developing relationship. It’s an interesting idea on Slott’s part to try and create a new relationship off an old one’s base, but at the same time, a tad creepy nonetheless.
We see Pym go from cowering scientist to team leader in a short span. I felt Slott would have been better off developing Hank’s new role through this 3 part story arc really rather then him just accepting it right off the bat.
Then we come to the main villain/cause of all this nonsense. It’s more magically tied and that explains no doubt why the Scarlet Witch is involved. I like Marvel, Marvel has some cool magic stuff from time to time but I don’t really care for how Slott uses the villain here and I found it incredibly boring for an opening story arc villain. Then again, so was naked female Ultron.
The end of the comic is what sinks it nicely together. Hank and Wanda meet up finally as she’s gotten the heroes, now he need only take the reigns. Slott writes a good Scarlet Witch to say the least and I admit I really hope she’s a regular cast member and on board for a long time.
Now the final page where the Avengers as assembled was pure greatness. Writing and art, this was a powerful splash page and it brought this issue perfectly to a close and to lead into the next.
Overall it’s a strong opening to what will hopefully be a strong run as far as the writing is concerned. Slott clearly loves writing these characters as each as their own affectionate touch and it works out very nicely. While this arc doesn’t really look all that great on the fact that we already know Cthon, the main villain, will lose, it’s still a nice opener to what will hopefully be a great comic.

Art Comments: Koi Pham is a mixed bag artist, like John Romita Jr. in that sense. Give him the right story, characters and writer and he can draw an amazing story and hit every ball out of the park. Give him a bland story and the story matches the art. So was the case during Secret Invasion.
Here his art is energetic, much cleaner and it’s damn near stunning in some cases. While he still seems insistent on adding too many lines under the eyes at times that doesn’t change that this is some seriously great stuff. Better then his Incredible Hercules work a year back.

Final Comments: Mighty Avengers might as well have gotten a new #1 start as this feels like a completely different book then the thought bubble infested Mighty Avengers prior to this. Slott has given a strong start, despite some faults here and there, that I enjoyed greatly as both an Avengers fan, and comic fan in general.

Writing: 4 out of 5
Art: 4 out of 5

Overall: 4 out of 5

Must Read

Dark Avengers #1
Written: Brian Bendis
Art: Mike Deodato Jr.

Opening Comments: Bendis knows how to start off something with a bang. He’s one of those writers who just knows exactly what to do to grab your attention and keep you staring until the comic falls out of your hands. Dark Avengers is a great start to something that has enough potential to be one of the best new books of 2009.

Story Comments: the story to issue #1 of Dark Avengers is fairly simple really. It assembles the team for their upcoming mission that starts as of #2. To some that may sound boring, after all the action here is little to none really and it’s just Norman going around and recruiting people.
The main plot of Dark Avengers first arc, outside of their assembling, seems to be the villain Morgan Le Fay. She was a great plot from Mighty Avengers that I’m glad to see Bendis returning to. Though really there isn’t much I can say on her, at least not yet.

From start to finish Bendis seems to use issue #1 as the perfect place for anyone interested to get on board and check out this book. We see every single member of the Dark Avengers as their revealed, Hawkeye as Bullseye, Venom as Spider-man, Moonstone as Ms. Marvel, Osborn as Iron Patriot and Daken as Wolverine. That along with 3 power hitters such as Noh-Var, Ares and Sentry makes one hell of a wicked strong team.
Though really what is so nice about this issue isn’t the team assembling, but how they assemble. Bendis writes all these characters very nicely and it’s refreshing when compared to his often frustrating attempt at pop culture jokes and poor humor. Here he demonstrates a powerful diverse character group. No one sounds the same or has the annoying back and forth talk that is so dragged that I have to check where the word balloons begin to see who it is talking.
I also liked the scene of Dr. Doom being dropped off at Latveria. We get somewhat of an homage to the Iron Man movie when one of the soldiers enthusiastically asks if they can take a picture with him. Doom’s stone response is priceless and it’s stuff like that which reminds me why he’s such a great character and even more so that Bendis writes him so amazingly well.
Overall each moment of an Avenger joining was great. Even the character of Daken was handled nicely where he isn’t his usually annoying self as seen in Wolverine: Origins. Characters all have great moments, my favorite being how Bendis handles Ares. He makes Ares seem like a smart brute, in that he doesn’t blindly support Osborn but still has his idiot moments, such as complimenting the new Ms. Marvel.
This issue was stuffed with plenty of great moments I could go on about, but really lets wrap it up with the final reveal that Iron Patriot is indeed Osborn. It was something we all saw coming, and I’m not disappointed at all. If anything, I’m just more excited to see how Osborn feels being a super hero.
To sum up this opening issue, Dark Avengers #1 was pure greatness. While not 100% perfect, as some moments did drag a bit such as the Ms. Marvel/Osborn confrontation it was still a great read. I can’t deny that maybe not everyone will love it, but for anyone interested they should know that it was, to say the least, a great opening issue.

Art Comments: Mike Deodato turned in the work of his career with his run with Warren Ellis on Thunderbolts. I doubt anything in the future will top that, at least not soon, and Dark Avengers keeps that true. We do get a few odd moments such as Venom looking really creepy with his neck and Ms. Marvel looking a little off but still he turns in great work as I’d hoped. The shadowy mood to the art is creepy at times, such as in Venom’s cell, but works perfectly either setting of dark or light. He turns in a great job here for art and I look forward to what he does in the series future.

Final Comments: I’m not sure everyone will love Dark Avengers. Despite a great start and some great art, not everyone loves the Avengers franchise and I doubt this would ever change their minds. Still, for me personally it was an incredible start, really. But now what’s crucial is if Bendis starts strong, and continues strong. If so, then we’ve got New Book of the Year material. If not, well, at least we got an awesome start.

Writing: 4 out of 5
Art: 5 out of 5

Overall: 5 out of 5

Must Have

Spawn #188

Written: Todd McFarlane and Brian Holguin
Art: Whilce Portacio

Opening Comments: How long can you keep fans interested while dangling a piece of cheese on a string at them? Todd McFarlane seems to think that 4 issues of rather monotone build up and suspense can justify this new direction. I’d like to compare Spawn Endgame to Mighty Avengers #21. In one issue Slott has given us our heroes, our villains, our set up and things are looking good. 4 issues into Spawn and I’m still grasping at thin unreachable straws.

Story Comments: I won’t go into as much detail as I usually do as Spawn was once again a fairly thin read with not much weight to it.
Now through the issue Jim sees himself becoming Spawn more and more. First it’s just his hand, then he starts having visions of the Ghost Rider Wannabe he killed last issue. It’s some interesting developments and it leads into Jim fully becoming Spawn at the end of the issue.
Now before this we get a few interesting moments. Jim’s new doctor speaking with his old one was a great moment as Holguin knocked the telephone moment out of the park and it was a cool moment to read. Though really I think it’s just saying that Jim’s doctors where originally a bunch of attention starved pricks.
The best part of this issue was that Sara was alive and that Jim is currently living with her. Holguin has made a solid relationship for these two, even if it doesn’t become romantic any time soon. Their discussion is the best part of this issue as something about these two talking feels very realistic and solid. It made for an even better read, and I hope this becomes the main relationship of the series even as Jim becomes Spawn.
A moment where Clown speaks to some long forgotten soldier of Hell was more annoying build up. The dialogue was far too cryptic here as it will only make sense when all is revealing about Endgame, I’m sure.
When we catch up with the police on the man who blew his brains out as of Endgame chapter 1, the dialogue is at least better. Holguin knows how to create well rounded characters on their mere discussion and it’s rather nice to see him handling these characters with such strong emotion to the dialogue.
Now the cliff-hanger…it was nice to see Spawn, but by now we should have had Spawn at least in the middle of the issue. I’m not even sure how our new Spawn ties to the reporter, which by the way was a moment that felt very throwaway. I’m not sure how any of this will really connect anymore.
The story here was all right, it was never bad really, but it was more monopolizing time spent building up to something that feels like it will never come. We finally see Spawn at the end of this issue, I’m glad for that, but to be honest if I was one of the many people who jumped on with Endgame, or an old Spawn Fan who jumped back on, I’d probably jump off by now.

Art Comments: Jin Han is gone, sadly. I really liked his coloring as it worked well with Portacio’s incredible art. But I can’t deny that Jay Fotos does a great job as well. Either way the art here continues to be strong and solid work that is worthy of the Spawn title. It doesn’t redeem the slow pacing but still, it’s damn good. The final scene with our new Spawn was promising, in that I’m really hoping this is what we get every issue. A great looking really wicked and cool Spawn as Portacio ends the issue with. The art here continues to be pure greatness.

Final Comments: Spawn Endgame is quickly becoming the biggest waste of cash since Secret Invasion. I can stand waiting, I’m a patient guy, but you can only keep me waiting for so long. Still, things look to be FINALLY going somewhere and I can’t deny that this issue wasn’t poorly written, just slow. Still a good read even if I’m losing my patience here.

Writing: 3 out of 5
Art: 4 out of 5

Overall: 3 out of 5

Check It

And so ends the reviews. Hopefully with a trimmed down pull list I can keep up with my comics more easily now. So you all on Sunday for Week’s End. Expect some X-factor love in it.


BrikHed said...

fairly nice on Spawn --- expected a hatchet job

Andrenn said...

You expected me to tear it to shreds? Save that for 189 if it sucks :D