Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Comic Reviews for June 17th 2009

SUMMMMMMMER! It’s here. My first full day of summer also comes with lots of great comics to read. I skipped Marvel Zombies 4 #3 and left it in the pullbox for next time so I have some cash for Spawn next week. But eh, let’s get to the reviews!

Ultimate Spider-man: Requiem #1

Written: Brian Michael Bendis

Art: Mark Bagley and Stuart Immonen

Opening Comments: after shelving Ultimate Spider-man #133 in favor of this I had a lot of high hopes for this one shot and that it would be a great send off to one of the best books around. While this issue wasn’t at all what I had in mind, it was full of great moments and reminded me why I love the series so much.

Story Comments: We open with Jonah and the rest of the Daily Bugle guys who survived returning to the building. Jonah is in a state of depression, mentioning how is wife must be dead. Bendis starts off right away with a real heart string tugging opener and he makes me feel for Jonah which is rare for such an often annoying character. After a bit of discussion, Jonah sits down at a computer and reads a briefing on an old Spider-man story that was never run.

We switch to a while back, MJ is having an interview with Tony Stark for a school report (the best I ever did was meeting the guy who runs the local dairy farm) and they have a long discussion about why Tony is Iron Man. It’s all incredibly interesting really and makes me wonder why the hell this story had never been published before (Mark Bagley’s art shows that much) as they discuss terrorism, the fear that humans naturally have, it’s all really well done and one of the better super-hero/regular person exchanges I’ve seen in a long while.

Not surprisingly, things go bad. Madame Hydra and her goons show up. Peter hears about this on the news and soon comes in to save the day, saving MJ and helping Iron Man (who oddly enough is wearing his extremis armor) and it ends with a brief talk between the two and it’s well and interesting. Not as interesting as the previous one but still.

After this Jonah is filled in that Spider-man is dead and that JJJ is officially the writer of his obituary. While I was really enjoying this issue, that cliff-hanger was just way too easy. Only 2 issues and the first one doesn’t reveal anything or even hint at Spider-man’s fate which was a tad frustrating. Still I did like Jonah’s shocked look in that final panel.

Overall Bendis did a good job on opening up this final tale of Spider-man. I enjoyed the middle story a lot but really the best part was the opening with the guys at the Daily Bugle. I guess my main issue and the only real complaint I have that knocks the writing down a point is that we don’t really get anything as far as Spider-man fate, not even a hint, which would have been nice since now it’s all riding on the last issue come July. Still it was a great read nonetheless.

Art Comments: I love Bagley’s work, I really do, a huge fan of what he does. I don’t know when this art was drawn and I must say it’s not his best work. While he does a great job with the action, Immonen shines the most and even outshines the man who made the standard. While he’s yet to draw any big actions scenes in this issue, the emotion he conveys fits every single panel so perfectly that I must say this is Immonen’s best work so far on Ultimate Spider-man.

Final Comments: Despite how little it really revealed, Bendis has given us part one of what is looking to be an incredible 2 part ending to one of the best books out there. If you ever enjoyed Ultimate Spider-man than this is a book you must have.

Writing: 5 out of 5

Art: 4 out of 5

Overall: 5 out of 5

Must Have

Invincible #63

Written: Robert Kirkman

Art: Ryan Ottley

Opening Comments: I wanted to review this issue next for a simple reason: my frustrations with it. I was hoping Kirkman would give us another great read, and in the long run most of this issue was great…but there’s one thing that just really killed it (excuse the pun) for me.

Story comments: Atom Eve wakes up, freaking out that Mark’s in Danger and Cecil and her (later in the comic) have a talk and she soon heads out. Mark and Conquest continue with some mild back and forth, but really this isn’t a fight, it’s a slaughter. Conquest is just beating the tar out of Mark in every sense. That cover does not lie.

Oliver shows up and surprise, he gets the crap beaten out of him. Up to this point I don’t mind the powerhouse that is Conquest, if anything he’s the first real villain that Invincible has had in a long while. While I’m sure he’ll die by the end of this arc, actually hoping for it, at least he got to make the book exciting again.

Eve shows up to help Mark, Mark begs her to leave but she refuses and…bam, Conquest nails a hole through her stomach killing her. Now this is my big problem, not so much the death of Atom Eve but how obvious it was since Kirkman just couldn’t keep it under wraps. I was stressed over if she’d survive Invincible #60, but not here, here it was painfully obvious she would die so I slowly became desensitized and by the time it happened, I just don’t’ care.

This is a huge problem if you let it be known and act like it may not happen. If we didn’t know this was going to happen then bam, I’d be shocked like any other Invincible Reader’s who don’t have the Internet. But since Kirkman spoiled the fun, I get no emotional impact. I don’t get to be surprised or horrified and that really ruins the whole enjoyment of a comic if that emotional level is taken away from me.

I will say this though, I did love the final few pages. Conquest tasting Eve’s blood and saying “delicious” made me want to ram a chainsaw down his throat it was so sadistic. I loved it. Invincible’s final line (also spoiled thanks to Kirkman, thanks so much) was a great way to end the issue and promise a beat down like no other with the next issue.

So while the death and how it was spoiled left a foul taste in my mouth and really ruined the rest of the issue, the rest was still a good enough read.

Art comments: Ryan Ottley is slowly becoming one of my favorite artists in the business, seriously he’s incredible. Every panel, every page, no matter how big or small, is absolutely gorgeously, and in some cases horrendous but still…this is his best work yet.

Final Comments: When all is said and done, my frustrations will subside and in the end this was still another solid issue of Invincible. Maybe next time Kirkman feels like doing something shocking though, he can keep it to himself.

Writing: 3 out of 5

Art: 5 out of 5

Overall: 3 out of 5

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Dark Reign: Young Avengers #2

Written: Paul Cornell

Art: Mark Brooks

Opening Comments: After a stellar first issue, Cornell somewhat turns the fire down a bit only to get things ready to fry next month. Still he gives us another great issue even if it’s not as great as it’s opening chapter.

Story Comments: Picking up where last issue left off, a fight breaks out only to be stopped by Enchantress 2 pages or so later. We get a run down of why the Young Avengers are there (and a hilarious moment when Billy tried to find the other Young Avengers) until Coat of Arms explains herself. Up to this point I was enjoying the issue, the dialogue was fairly well done though…not without an odd moment here and there.

We see Coat of Arms recollecting a meeting with Norman Osborne which was just plain crazy when we see that she’s done paintings of him killing Gwen Stacy and….ugh, it gave me the shivers. Coat of Arms explains that somehow that inspired her (I still don’t understand) to get a group to make a new Young Avengers team.

We see the teams both disband and Patriot as given the new team a choice to earn their name as Young Avengers. Enchantress uses a spell to make her teammates agree and soon her and Melter go to bed after Melter wants to run away. I must admit I really like the new Enchantress, how she so badly wants to be a Young Avenger is funny really.

The final scene is Executioner talking to his mom who is…Princess Python…huh. An interesting reveal but not one I found to be worthy of a cliff-hanger like this was. What this means for the team or story I have no clue so I was left with a big “that’s it?” when I closed the comic.

I can’t deny this issue was a lot shorter than I’d hoped and not too much really happens. The fight was interesting, the character work was great but really this issue just moves things along nicely in order for things to pick up next time which left me a little disappointed, though still satisfied with what was still a strong read.

Art Comments: Brooks’ style continues to work incredibly well with this crazy wild storyline and the characters all look great. Though there is one moment when the original YA are sitting around watching TV, they all look like similar blobs just with different skin and hair and clothes. It was odd and the art wasn’t perfect, not his best work like what he pulled off last time and some moments where a tad frustrating and the art didn’t help.

Final Comments: I’m still excited for more next time, but at the same time as much as I’m enjoying this series, this issue is undeniably a step down from last time. Still if you’ve ever liked the Young Avengers than this is series you shouldn’t miss out on.

Writing: 4 out of 5

Art: 4 out of 5

Overall: 4 out of 5

Must Read

Batman: Streets of Gotham #1

Written: Paul Dini

Art: Dustin Nguyen

Opening Comments: While my hopes weren’t too high for this book, I was hoping for a strong debut issue of what could be a really great spin-off. Sadly what I got instead was a comic that while it has some great moments definitely has a disjointed feeling.

Story Comments: We open with a sad Jim Gordon on the scene of a would-be crime. Gordon goes in just to find out it’s Harley Quinn who meant no harm, which I found to be a funny and good way to open the issue but it goes darker when Batman and Robin scold Quinn.

We switch from there to nighttime with a young prostitute (I already have an issue with the art, which I will be bringing up about this moment) who is on her first night. A man starts talking to her, then beats up her Pimp and brands the name “Abuse” on his forehead making it sound like that is his name. I’m not sure where this is going, it may be a new vigilante in town.

From there we see Firefly narrating about where he’s been since Battle for the Cowl. Dini handless the narration well enough but I’ve never really cared for Firefly so I got bored pretty fast. Though I suppose fans of the character will enjoy it.

We then see Damian Wayne talking to Thomas Elliot in his cell where Dick has him held captive. The two are playing chess (the most obvious thing to do nowadays with 2 brilliant characters) and have a very interesting discussion that sadly gets cut short. This was easily the best moment of the issue and I was sad to see it cut short so soon.

We see Firefly’s plan in full circle as Gotham is in flames, Batman and Robin do what they can but by the end we see how far the fire is spreading and that it’s pretty massive. This was an all right cliff-hanger and leads in to next issue well.

My biggest problem with this series is how disjointed and random each moment feels, even as some of them fit together it’s still frustrating to see how we jump from scene to scene with no real important moment and just a few okay moments. It made this a harder read for me even though I did still enjoy most of it.

The Manhunter back up, not much to say on it really. We’re introduced to her new status quo and it’s nicely done, I enjoyed it and I wouldn’t mind reading more next month.

Art Comments: Nguyen is an awesome artist really. I continue to love his work but I mentioned earlier I do have on problem: the young prostitute. I can accept that women at young ages get into this business, it’s a fact, but this girl looks like she’s 4 years old! She should be in a Barney TV show not Gotham City. It’s the only flaw I find in his art but man…it’s just so creepy and weird.

Final Comments: Despite my complaints it was a solid debut issue and anyone who doesn’t want the insanity of Batman and Robin may want to check this out.

Writing: 3 out of 5

Art: 4 out of 5

Overall: 3 out of 5

Check It

Mighty Avengers #26

Written: Dan Slott

Art: Stephen Segovia

Opening Comments: After a great issue last time I was really excited to see how Slott closed the case of Avengers vs. Fantastic Four. Much to my delight this issue was filled with tons of great moments and a few cool twists making it the best issue yet of Slott’s Mighty Avengers.

Story Comments: With the Avengers on their way out to distract the FF, we see Cassie catch up just in time for Jocasta to scold her about what a brat she’s being (ZING! Give the robot girl a prize) and for Jocasta and Hank to kiss later only to be caught by Jarvis (do not want!) so Slott opens the issue well and gets things going right from there.

Just as Reed gets Sue and the kids out he discovers it’s Pym messing with his lab, not the Skrulls. Pym is in but Stature is missing, she went with Sue to warn her about what Pym is doing. This was a great twist from Slott and I really felt it worked for Cassie’s character, though I am worried if she’s going to be booted off the team now.

Pym and Mr. Fantastic confront in what Reed calls the Zeno room. A really weird hall type room that makes it impossible to reach Reed who has the device that Hank wants. A smart idea by Slott to try and shake things up rather than just having the device in some vault.

Vision and Herc’s disguises are no longer useful and they give up the disguise.

Pym pulls out some sonic device which overrides the Zeno Room nad activates the device that Pym wants. Sending Reed and Pym flying through dimensions, Pym shows Reed something that stuns him and he gives Pym the device.

One moment I found odd was Jarvis confronting Jocasta about her relationship with Hank, the way she theorizes it (and this was just plain crazy on Slott’s end but at the same time brilliant) she sees that since Hank created A.I. that she is in a sense…kissing god. It’s so insane yet a great moment still.

After they get back to the HQ, Jocasta uses her body as a final piece to get the machine working so they can have a new base. I love the other Avengers reactions as t first I was thinking the same thing but Pym explains there is a reason and that it will be revealed next time, leaving me excited for more next month.

Slott has written his best issue yet as just about every page of this issue was greatness and I loved every minute of reading it.

Art Comments: Segovia continues to fit the book incredibly well, though he is not without problems. Some close ups didn’t fit and he did get a little too rough at times where it got a tad jarring. The coloring continues to work well at least. This was a good issue but with some troubled art every so often.

Final comments: While it has some minor issues, I really can see beyond them as Slott is really telling a great story and the best Avengers comic out on the stands right now. This is a must have for anyone who loves Avengers.

Writing: 5 out of 5

Art: 4 out of 5

Overall: 5 out of 5

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