Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July Comic Reviews

I’m as surprised to be writing this as surprised as you must be to be reading this. I was sure I was going to be dropped with how my box was filling, but I found some spare cash and was able to get down to the LCS and pick up 4 comics, 2 from this week, 2 from prior weeks.

So I’ve also dropped a bit more, Wolverine: Weapon X is officially off the list sadly. Though I guess I can keep trade waiting it for now and it’s fine.

But hey it’s the 4th of July and to celebrate the first comic we’re reviewing today is Captain America: Reborn #1 since the sentinel of Liberty fits perfectly with such a big day in America.

Captain America: Reborn #1

Written: Ed Brubaker

Art: Bryan Hitch and Butch Guice

Opening Comments: It seems that the return of Captain America has been getting a lot of mixed reviews. Some love it, others thing it’s a weak start. I seem to fall somewhere in the middle as I was very entertained but I was hoping for a lot more.

Story Comments: We open with an awesome scene of Cap leading the army on D-Day and it just sets the perfect tone for the book. We’re getting narration from someone unseen, I’m going to assume it’s Sharon Carter. Though wow this was such a great way to open the comic, it reminds me why I personally like Cap in the first place.

The Narration basically sums up the events up to this point and it does a good job of recapping the death of Captain America, making this book nicely available for new readers. When we switch to Bucky Cap and Black Widow invading a H.A.M.M.E.R facility which is a nice scene to give us some good action.

We switch to Sharon, Falcon, Vision and Wasp (Hank Pym version) all talking. Sharon confesses that she’s the one that delivered the killing blow to Steve. We then go over how Red Skull was using Sharon in an odd machine for his evil plots and how she thwarted it. Again, a nice recap.

We find out it was Doom-tech and that it’s being held by H.A.M.M.E.R. so that’s why Bucky and Black Widow are invading the new hellicarier to get it. We find out that Bucky and Natasha met up with Nick Fury prior to this.

Bucky and Black Widow are looking for the machine when Ares and Venom ambush them. A cool scene promising for an excellent brawl next time.

We finally get an explanation as to is Steve alive or not, turns out he is, but he’s stuck in Time and Space. It’s an interesting and creative twist. Sure I would have liked some more realistic attempt at bringing Steve back but it’s comics, the most realistic we’ve ever gotten is guys swinging on webs.

The final scene shows Cap jumping through time and space and being freaked out by it. A nice scene to show just how this is affecting him and it leaves off with an all right cliff-hanger, but nothing too exciting.

Overall Brubaker did a fairly good job here. The characters all had something to say and it was never boring reading about them and this issue set up the series very well. But there in lies the problem, it only sets the series up. This easily could have been a 0 issue as nothing really happens as far as accomplishing things or really getting them going. As I’d feared, we just get the set up and not much else.

I do really like how Brubaker is pulling in some really familiar faces like Hank Pym and the Vision, it was smart of him to do that then just go with the most obvious of faces like Reed Richards. Brubaker has a great hold on all these characters.

Though really things won’t get going until next issue and that’s a shame as I was hoping for a lot more.

Art Comments: I’ve mentioned often in the past that I am not a really big fan of Bryan Hitch’s artwork. It’s not that I find it bad, just not all that appealing to me personally in my taste in artwork. He’s awesome but he simply doesn’t fit what I like.

Even with that aside, the artwork here was absolutely incredible. I really recommend this book just for the art alone. While there where some ugly spots here and there, I can’t deny it, Hitch still did a really great job on this issue. The best parts of course whenever Cap was on page.

I also really like some of the panel lay outs and page designs. It was very cool stuff.

Final Comments: Reborn is not something I recommend for every body. If you’re a hardcore Captain America fan you’ll probably love it, and if you’ve wanted to get into Captain America for a while like myself then this is a pretty good place to start thanks to the excellent recaps. That along with great art makes this a worthwhile read.

Writing: 3 out of 5

Art: 4 out of 5

Overall: 3 out of 5

Check It

Savage Dragon #150

Written and Art: Erik Larsen and Various Others

Opening Comments: Wow, just…wow…this is a comic, really? I could have sworn I picked up a new TPB (see Week’s End tomorrow for more on that) but wow this was a really good issue. For the sake of time, I’ll only go over the main issue of Savage Dragon, and briefly mention the other stories that where packed into this awesome comic.

Story Comments: We recap just how Overlord ties in to the current status quo of Savage Dragon. We find out the suit was responsible for the explosion in #145, then we see later and find out that it was being remote controlled by 2 of Dragon’s old foes. A great twist to start off.

When another villain shows up, he steals the armor for some apparently old character from Dragon’s past. We see him acquire the armor then kick all kinds of ass.

I must say that through the whole of this story Larsen does an incredible job of fleshing out the new Overlord. First time I’m ever seeing him and I like him a lot. I hope he’s the main presence in the series from now on so we can see more of him really soon.

We see Dragon’s kids caught up about Dragon losing his original body which was a nice twist on things and I can tell Larsen is really building this plotline into something really big to happen. As to what though I’m not all that sure.

We find out where Dart went from last issue from her fight with Dragon, Daredevil found her in the sewers and saved her. She doesn’t remember anything. Much to my surprise, DD and Dart are building a relationship, already having had sex and from the looks of it growing really close. This is a very cool twist on things from Larsen and he’s making me like Daredevil finally which I thought was impossible.

When Dragon meets the new Overlord they have a great discussion. While I do think that there where some moments that dragged just a bit, this was really top notch writing from Larsen as he continues to build the greatness of our new Overlord and his offer to Save Dragon was great. I loved how they referenced the first Spider-man movie, hilarious. It ends of course in a fight and Dragon is seemingly vaporized, his DNA left for Overlord to make an army with.

Seems Dart is still her evil self, she kills one of the Wise Guys (thank god, can she kill the rest now please? I hate them.) but cleans up and everything seems fine. Another great twist that should be interesting to see develop.

Overall I’d say check out this issue for the awesome storyline alone. Larsen has had some weak plots even with great characters over the last few issues but wow he did a really great job here.

The story about Vanguard, not much to say on it really, fairly entertaining. We soon catch up with the Thunder God invading Mr. Glum’s house, only for Glum to find that he and the Thunder God form an unlikely alliance. Another nice interesting short story. The best of these short stories is a hilarious few paged G-man/Savage Dragon team up.

We see the absolutely crazy origin of Daredevil. I don’t even know how else to describe it other than insane. We end the issue with the origin of Savage Dragon, and boy is it something. Savage Dragon, prior to this, was a violent murderous emperor who kills a girl just by having sex with her and wants to wipe out all of earth. It goes against his people’s religion, so they wipe his mind and drop him on earth. A nice addition to this awesome comic.

Art Comments: Larsen is great here but really every artist turns in a great job and its an awesome looking issue.

Final Comments: for 6 dollars you can get 100 packed pages of greatness that I give a very high recommendation.

Writing: 5 out of 5

Art: 5 out of 5

Overall: 5 out of 5

Must Have

Now let’s end with two Open Fire! Reviews both of 2 awesome horror comics.

Marvel Zombies 4 #3

Written: Fred Van Lente

Art: Kev Walker

A fairly enjoyable read is the best way to describe this issue. We move the plot along nicely and we get some really great character moments but this issue was still just fairly enjoyable. I’m just not feeling the real major excitement in this series that I have in prior series, and while there is obviously suspense I just can’t help but not worry as much.

I do enjoy the characters and Man-Thing was awesome in here but sadly it looks like he may have bit the bucket. Zombie Deadpool was continuously funny.

Kev Walker’s art was great, he really fits this book perfectly and I hope he and Van Lente collaborate again some time.

Overall though it’s just a good read. Really by now you should just wait for the collection if you’re interested.

Writing: 3 out of 5

Art: 4 out of 5

Overall: 3 out of 5

Check It

Scarlet Veronica #4

Written: Robert Barry, Jason Moody, Josh Ruggles

Art: Jason Moody

I think the best way to describe Scarlet Veronica is an awesome Indy Horror film. Sure it lacks the big Hollywood flash and effect, and it may not be all that amazing but it doesn’t need any of that to be an awesome story. It’s got great characters, stylish art and some really cool action.

My only real complaint with this issue is 2 characters I liked died (won’t spoil who) but hey, it’s comics, maybe they’ll return.

The story caps off very nicely but leaves lots of room for the second series to continue the fun.

Veronica’s character has developed nicely along the way and by now she’s become a great character and she has lots of great moments. The action also is really stellar.

While it may be a little late, if you can, I highly recommend you pick up this entire series if you like horror and good crazy fun.

Writing: 4 out of 5

Art: 4 out of 5

Overall: 4 out of 5

Must Read

So that’s all from me, happy 4th of July everyone!

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