Thursday, June 4, 2009

Comic Reviews for June 4th 2009

Lots to review today. Instead of picking up Dark Avengers #5 I went out on a limb and picked up Secret Six #10, a comic I’ve heard nothing but praise for so I figured it was worth a shot since this is starting a new storyline. It seems my LCS is back on track with getting Spawn for me, thankfully, so hopefully no more problems like that in the future.

Batman and Robin #1

Written: Grant Morrison

Art: Frank Quietly

Opening Comments: With all the hype and excitement over this book I came into it with more of a standard hope for an enjoyable fun read. I wasn’t looking for Morrison to reinvent cool or reshape my love for comics, just a strong and enjoyable read. That’s what we got with this opening issue.

Story Comments: We have a blood-pumping opening with the new Batman and Robin taking down a new villain named Mr. Toad. Right away I have to compliment the new Batmobile, this is one of the best looking versions of the popular car since the one in the 1989 movie.

We get an interrogation scene similar to what Batman is all about with Mr. Toad being dangled from the Batmobile. Though I do think that Dick’s decision not to really hold Toad high above the city was weird, I know he’s a nice guy but that blindfold can only get you so far. If Dick is going to be accepted as Batman than he needs to step up and become the brutal legend that is the Dark Knight.

After this we see that Dick and Damian are moving out of the Wayne Manor and in to a Penthouse lair. I must admit I actually like the change in scenery, sure the Batcave had it’s charm but it’s nice to see our new Batman just going through the same motions Bruce did. A smart move on Morrison’s part.

We see the characters all interact and I loved every minute of it. Morrison has had some trouble in the past making characters sound in character at times but here he shines and really writes all these characters very well. I especially loved Damian. He can’t become Batman soon enough for me.

We get a typical Gordon flashing the Bat-signal, then nothing happening at first, scene. Though what really made this scene important was the later moment of Dick and Damian flying through the air, so awesome.

Up to this point I was enjoying the story, but not loving it as much. Then we see the chilling ending with the new villain Pyg and his menacing dolls. It felt like something right out of a horror movie and I loved it.

Though for as much as I enjoyed this issue, I did find some minor faults. The biggest of these was that Morrison clearly has a very large story to tell here but it feels like he condensed this first issue rather than set up a lot more. I’m not exactly ungrateful that we got a heavier focus on our new Dynamic Duo but I can’t deny that I was hoping for some more eye popping scenes as far as set up. Though the teaser at the end did well enough.

Overall I really did love this issue’s storyline.

Art Comments: I’m not the biggest fan of Frank Quietly and there is a reason for that…his style just…never really appealed to me. Something about how he really overdoes it when it comes to detail. I love detail as much as the next guy but at times it looks just plane weird and as if a suit is made out of recycled Dodge balls. Still he does a great job here and I can’t really find any flaws in his art.

Final Comments: While it wasn’t perfect, it was a very strong opening issue. Morrison got over some of his problems with Batman last time and has opened with what is looking to be the most prominent Bat-book in a long while.

Writing: 5 out of 5

Art: 5 out of 5

Overall: 5 out of 5

Must Have

Spawn #192

Written: Todd McFarlane

Art: Whilce Portacio

Opening Comments: McFarlane won me over last time with an awesome issue to start his tenure as series writer again. Sadly this issue isn’t quite as awesome as the last, but it’s still a strong read.

Story Comments: We open with the demon that Clown recruited a few issues back going to a nightclub looking for the big boss. After a few pages of useless chatter he gets taken out back and is attacked by what I assume are vampires. Things go sour for them as our Demon seems to have something special about him. After a badass scene and only one Vampire left, they go to see the boss. While this was a strong moment, it could have really done without the useless talking at first and just cut to the chase.

After that moment we cut back to Jim, finding that the Angel he stuck to the wall is gone. He finds her, bloody and babbling, only to be approached by the Freak. All right, I admit I’m not the biggest fan of Freak so I didn’t care that he’s showing up so much. But McFarlane does a good job of showing us Freak and sort of catching up Spawn Newbies to who he is.

What’s really interesting is that as Jim goes Spawn and attacks Freak, Freak actually seems to know a lot about the suit and everything. I know Freak nearly killed the Al Simmons Spawn a long while back but I never figured he knew this much. No doubt he learned a lot along his way back to earth.

We see the Angel girl isn’t completely braindead and attacks Freak, from the looks of it she may survive this and if she does I sense a partnership between her and Spawn. Assuming they survive who shows up for this issue’s cliffhanger, the big, the bad, the oh so Jaws-tastic Violator!

While I did enjoy this issue, it felt way too quick. McFarlane could have easily cut down all that chatter at the opening and saved us more room to actually get things going. Still this was a nice advancement of the plot.

Art Comments: Whilce Portacio is solid as ever 8 parts in to his run on Spawn. I’ve mentioned it enough for you all to know he does a great job, though my biggest compliments go to his Violator. The toothy overgrown gecko has never looked better.

Final Comments: While there was some disappointment with this issue I still thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it to anyone who’s looking to jump on with Endgame volume 1 coming out later this month as well.

Writing: 4 out of 5

Art: 5 out of 5

Overall: 4 out of 5

Must Read

Jersey Gods #5

Written: Glen Brunswick

Art: Dan McDaid

Opening Comments: I am not so sure how I feel after reading this issue…while it was a very satisfying conclusion, at the same time it felt very cramped and just a quick way to spruce up. Still I can’t deny I enjoyed it like I always have this series, though at the same time there where some problems I had with it.

Story Comments: Picking up where last issue left off we see Fusion and Union trying to stop the asteroid. The two fuse for all of a second and destroy it, which was a cool moment and I loved the way Fusion just flies off mocking Union as Union is weakened. It was just so deliciously evil of Fusion.

Zoe is still being held by the Chinese Mafia, after Barock and the others all get their bearings he gets some kind of psychic call from Zoe to save him. It was a nice touch by Brunswick to add this “their so perfect for each other that they can sense when the other is in danger” as it really adds a cool twist to their romance.

As expected Barock shows up in time and saves Zoe in what I can only call one of the funniest moments I’ve read in comics. Barock is cracking one liners and telling this hilarious joke about earth dating, and I’m not even sure if it was intentional! That is a sign of great character writing where you can’t tell if it’s on purpose or just some cool moment for the character.

From here we come to my favorite moment, after Barock and Zoe have a night of passion they have this hilarious dialogue from start to finish. This was undeniably what I love so much about this series, every panel these two are together is pure gold. We get hilarious references to Richard Donner’s Superman films and it was just comedic genius.

We get another solid moment of Barock saying why he’s on earth, turning it around and instead of being here for justice he confesses it’s for love. That was just a sweet and nice moment for me personally.

The final moments have Barock telling his friends he won’t be returning to Neborn and that he and Zoe are getting married (surprised, I’m sure) with Deltus staring down at them from his monitor seething evilly.

Overall I did love this issue, but at the same time it all felt like we had to resolve it lightning fast. I was hoping for at least a little more dramatic tension but oh well. I guess despite some of the rush to a happy ending, I can’t deny this was another solid and great read.

Art Comments: While McDaid has grown on me and I’ve come to love his work I can’t deny that he has some sore spots through this issue. His art never gets bad, but I can’t deny he had some weak spots here and there that hopefully wont’ show up again.

Final Comments: Despite being a cramped read with some weak art moments, I continue to love Jersey Gods and recommend it to anyone who loves fun, cool and interesting comics. Brunswick closed the nice arc nicely and left me feeling satisfied.

Writing: 5 out of 5

Art: 4 out of 5

Overall: 5 out of 5

Must Have

Mighty Avengers #25

Written: Dan Slott

Art: Stephen Segovia

Opening Comments: To say the least after reading this issue, I was very impressed. Maybe it’s because my expectations where fairly low for it or I figured it would be useless filler but Slott actually made what sounded like a boring waste of time into a pure awesome read.

Story Comments: Picking up from the threads of last issue where Jocasta had to sever ties of the Pym Pockets to the real world in order to stop H.A.M.M.E.R. from invading, Hank Pym is desperately trying to save his work and needs the help of Reed Richards who has a device made by Bill Foster (dead guy, he has yet to get better, will probably be fine by next year) which could save all his work.

What follows is what I can only describe as “the most childish bullshit you wouldn’t even see in High School” I mean seriously. It starts out as a civil conversation between Pym and Richards and ends with “It’s on, Bitch.” from Pym. We of course get plenty of funny jabs at the two’s prior mistakes as well. But wow, I know these guys are stubborn but…damn.

Following this the rest of the issue is set up for next time when the Avengers storm to Baxter Building. We see things like cloaking devices that they will use and other interesting moments.

Though one moment that caught my eye was U.S. Agent and Quicksilver meeting with an agent of their new associates (I refuse to say that silly acronym) and it was actually really interesting and cool. Though it probably won’t amount to much until a later issue.

We see Vison and Stature informed of why Hank is so insistent on saving his lab which was a nice moment and we get some mild flirtation between Cho and Stature. I admit I despise the idea of Slott going for the cheap Teenage Love Triangle that may happen but hopefully it’s just going to be Cho making a fool out of himself or something funny along those lines.

We end with The Thing going toe to toe with the Red Hulk, which is Hercules in disguise as the others plan to infiltrate the Baxter Building.

While this issue had it’s flaws, mostly in the childish debate between the two big brains and just some weird character moments, I was very impressed. Sure it’s not high quality stuff but for a typical super hero book Slott really did well and finally won me over into loving this series.

Art Comments: I was excited to see Segovia’s name on the art talent for this book. He is an incredible artist and that continues to be apparent with his great work here. I loved how his rough style was like a more refined Lienel Yu and the coloring was spectacular. My only real complaint was Jocasta, her breasts look like they could be launched from a submarine. Despite that one funny complaint I have no complaints for Segovia’s art. Maybe if Pham moves on one day then Segovia could be the series regular artist.

Final Comments: Despite some flaws here and there I really did enjoy this issue and can finally give Mighty Avengers a high recommendation.

Writing: 4 out of 5

Art: 5 out of 5

Overall: 4 out of 5

Must read

Secret Six #10

Written: Gail Simone

Art: Nicola Scott

Opening Comments: 2 things convinced me to pick this up, that absolutely incredible cover for one. Second being that it’s been called the ‘spiritual successor of Elli’s Thunderbolts’ and since I loved that series I really wanted to check this out. With a new story arc, I had high hopes for an awesome read. While I was not fully disappointed, I did not understand all of it either and that hurt my enjoyment.

Story Comments: We open with a very horrific massacre over a young slave woman who refuses to pick at a wall with her axe as she smells deadly gas. In order to make her obey the boss man has his assistant slaughter the others until she agrees to obey. A very freaky way to start off but it got me in the right mood.

From there Bane has a nightmare and after getting up to use the bathroom is greeted by Scandal Savage (awesome name by the way) and they have a light discussion that ends up with them in bed. Though it’s just her comforting him for the night, which was a nice scene that made me like these characters.

Following this 2 members of the team are met by the same 2 men at the opening of the issue. This scene had some nice moments (Deadshot needs his own ongoing series) but it dragged a little and didn’t really suck me in or interest me.

From here the team is on an airplane and their job is to guard some giant…block? Coffin maybe? Hell if I know. Well none to surprisingly the plane is attacked, it goes down, and the team takes out all the attacking soldiers with one casualty thanks to Deadshot. It was an exciting and awesome way to lead in to the closure of the issue which will pick up nicely next time.

Overall I did enjoy this issue, but without anything like a recap page or character names being given to us I was a little lost. Still I did enjoy most of it and I had a good time reading it.

Art: Nicola Scott is a strong artist though I can’t deny there where some off moments but they where tiny really. The art here really compliments the good storytelling and helped me enjoy it even more.

Final Comments: while it didn’t dazzle and stun me like I was hoping, this was a very enjoyable read and I’ll be checking out the next issue as well to see if I’m won over or not. Still I did like what I read even though I was hoping for a little more.

Writing: 4 out of 5

Art: 4 out of 5

Overall: 4 out of 5

Must Read

Now let’s finish up with a quick Open Fire! Review of Invincible #62. I was going to include Witchblade #127 but you all know I loved that comic by now.

Invincible #62

Written: Robert Kirkman

Art: Ryan Ottley

I can sum this issue up as “good but not much else”. Really it was a perfect “fight” issue and it doesn’t try or need to be anything else. We got tons of incredible action, all beautifully done by Ottley, few but nice scenes of dialogue and a freaky surprise ending that I won’t spoil. Even if I where to try and do a regular review of this I wouldn’t have much else to say other than enjoyable and well done. It isn’t anything amazing or all that great, but still an enjoyable read.

Writing: 3 out of 5

Art: 4 out of 5

Overall: 3 out of 5

Check It


BrikHed said...

you were too kind to Spawn - I give Batman & Robin 4 out of 5

Andrenn said...

Looking back, I think Spawn may have deserved a Check It. I still loved the art and I didn't find the story bad, but yeah, very short issue and that sucks.