Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Comic Reviews for July 22nd 2009

My apologies that Exploit-a-Spawn is being pushed to Friday morning. I wasn’t expecting to get comics today, and I always like to give the reviews at least one day to be at the top before posting something on Friday and I don’t want to either have the reviews push Exploit-a-Spawn down or the other way around.

So I got 2 comics today, Invincible and Green Lantern, both great reads. But I need to give a heavy SPOILER WARNING as in my review for Invincible I’m going to get very spoiler heavy so if you haven’t picked up this issue go out and get it now.

Now I’m sort of switching up my review styles, blending it with the style of the Revolution and my own style of reviews. I’ll give a synopsis of the story, though much less in detail then I would for my reviews at the Revolution and then do my normal thing. It’s become a bit harder to comment from moment to moment and summarize a story.

Invincible #64

Written: Robert Kirkman

Art: Ryan Ottley

Opening Comments: I can sum up this issue of Invincible easily with one sentence. Short and sweet but oh so worth it. This issue has a twist that NOBODY saw coming. I challenge anyone to honestly say “I so knew that was going to happen” even if you knew what would happen would happen later on, you wouldn’t think it would happen by this issue and so soon.

Story Comments: Last Chance to avoid those spoilers. Just warning you fairly that I really would hate to spoil this issue if you haven’t read it.

So the story is very simple, I’m going to sum it all up here. Invincible fights Conquest some more. Invincible is really brutal, but Conquest still has the upper hand when suddenly Eve wakes up, heals her body and blasts Conquest with such a powerful ray that it sears is skin off.

Invincible thinks Conquest is dead, even with his muscle exposed and blood pouring everywhere he’s still got a fight in him. Conquest breaks Invincible’s other hand, Invincible beats Conquest to death…with his head. If that isn’t the most badass way to kill someone I don’t know. Eve is alive then her and Invincible pass out, discovered by Cecil and the other heroes.

Now first off once again I love Conquest, he’s such an incredible villain. I almost wish he wasn’t dead. Almost. When you can keep fighting even after having your skin seared off, you are a true warrior. Conquest has proven to be the best villain Invincible has had yet.

I can’t deny that when I say this issue is short, it’s seriously short. It feels like half the comic almost. Sure there’s enough content to make it still feel worth it but I was expecting a bit more. Kirkman clearly had a point to make with the epic conclusion of the Conquest arc, I just wish he did more with it.

I can’t tell you how happy and shocked I am that Eve was alive. Sure we all figured she’d come back one way or another, after all there is the future version of Eve that talked to Mark several issues ago. If Eve where to stay dead permanently then we’d have a major continuity error.

Also of course there’s the old saying that death is nothing but a roadblock in comics. Sara Pezzini just survived a stab through the chest thanks to the Witchblade, and in the end I shouldn’t’ be too surprised that Eve survived being impaled by a fist. Besides I’ve never been too aware of just how capable are her powers. I knew she was strong, but never this strong.

Of course some fans may call this a cop out. For every reason it may be, after all Kirkman of all people has well proven to have more courage than most writers to kill off his creations. That means we can’t always expect the exact same thing from him every month and I think his choice of letting Eve live makes him even more courageous for switching so greatly so soon.

Also Eve was an important part of taking out Conquest. If she hadn’t greatly weakened him with that blast, I’m near certain he could have killed Invincible. So it wasn’t like she is just okay and nothing happens, her revival plays a key part in the Conquest story arc and that shakes things up even better. Cementing this as my favorite Invincible story arc of all time.

Of course how Eve survived is up in the air, left to be explained next time but hey she’s back and that’s great.

I loved how Invincible beats Conquest to death with his head. A lot of people complain about the gore, and I can’t deny that it can be a tad frustrating but I do not feel that neither the Kirkman or Ottley rely on the gore to tell their story. It was a brutal way for Invincible to kill Conquest but it got the job done.

Overall Kirkman did an impressive job here even though I was left wanting more, and not in the good way. Hopefully next issue he caps off the entire Invincible War aftermath well enough so all is explained and wrapped up.

Art Comments: If you are unaware how I feel about Ryan Ottley’s art allow me to put it in simple terms. Ottley has become one of the strongest, most incredible artists I have ever seen in comics since legends like Todd McFarlane and Marc Silvestri. His style is unique ,beautiful, amazing.

He really cuts loose in this issue especially with the pages of Conquest’s hand and head being shattered. His art is so amazing that the idea of him one day no longer drawing Invincible makes me sad. He is not only the series definitive artist, he has become one of the best artists Image has ever had.

Final Comments: If you aren’t reading Invincible, start reading as soon as you can. Go buy all the collection books if you have to, all the back issues, buy it all. It’s been a wild ride these past 64 issues and it’s looking to be better than ever.

Writing: 4 out of 5

Art: 5 out of 5

Overall: 4 out of 5

Must Read

Green Lantern #44

Written: Geoff Johns

Art: Doug Mahnke

Opening Comments: After hearing nothing but good things about Green Lantern, and worried I may miss a key part of Blackest Night I decided to pick up this week’s issue but even with that I’m not so sure. While it was a good read, with the revelation that the fight won’t be finished until Blackest Night #2 I felt a little confused.

Story Comments: We see the Martian Manhunter rise from his tomb on Mars, soon arriving and attacking Hal Jordan and Barry Allen at Bruce Wayne’s grave. Martian Manhunter mentions how they should be dead, how he wants to help them. He mentions how they both died, why they should be dead, getting into their heads.

Barry snaps Hal out of it. We see Scar, still imprisoning her fellow Guardians and talking about how what she’s doing is good. All the while we see the War of the Light going on. Hal and Barry are running from J’onn after he just lifted up a building (awesome!) and he’s hot on their tails.

J’onn shows up when Barry starts punching the hell out of him. It’s revealed to be a trick and that it was Hal that J’onn made Barry think was him. J’onn goes on about how there is no justice, tossing Hal aside and Barry falling into some odd green looking waste. John Stewart is thinking about what Fatality told him a few issues back when the Black Rings start attacking him, end of issue.

All right first off with the bad and what bugs me so much about this issue. While it was very well written, damn if It’s not frustrating that I picked this issue up for the fight that won’t even be finished in it. I appreciate that Johns seems to be trying to keep Blackest Night #2 the main book to read so he finishes the fight there, but why not just shrink some of the fight down instead for issue #2 if you’re going to finish it there anyways?

Also the last moment with John Stewart felt very random at the end, out of nowhere and out of place. This would have fit Green Lantern Corps or Blackest Night better than the main Green Lantern book. It seems so out of place and random as for how the issue should end.

Now as for the good, once again Johns nails the dialogue. Maybe it’s because he’s handling both Hal and Barry right now but both characters are great here. It’s nice to see Johns bringing Barry into this event and not making him feel forced or random. This issue along with his moments in Blackest Night #1 have been great.

I was very curious how the first real Black Lantern fight would go. Black Hand is only their Herald, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be getting his hands dirty as much as the other Black Lanterns. Though damn I absolutely loved this fight, everything about it was so great.

I especially liked how Johns has introduced us to the Black Lanterns here. They obviously keep not only their powers but their souls as well. As I’d figured, it would seem these are simply corrupted versions of the characters which really is a great twist. It gives a great spin on how these Black Lanterns will act and react to other heroes and villains.

My favorite moment had to be “I have the strength of Superman, why does everyone forget that?” I mean seriously. I had no idea Martian Manhunter was that strong. It was nice to see that Johns spotlighted that and showed just how formidable a foe he really is. While I’ve always like Martian Manhunter, I never thought that in death he could be even cooler.

Overall the writing was superb and Johns has me itching for Blackest Night #2 as I couldn’t be more excited to continue reading. That is of course a sign of a great writer.

Art Comments: Mahnke is one of DC’s best artists, easily. His style is unique and beautiful even if it isn’t bold and doesn’t stand out as much as some artists. He is often able to accomplish incredible visuals and his work on Green Lantern is no different.

I must admit he did have some odd moments, like with the lightning on Barry’s skin when he runs (what’s up with that anyway?) and Martian Manhunter himself does have one odd moment but most of the time it all looks absolutely stunning.

Final Comments: If you’re not reading Blackest Night then stop what you’re doing. Don’t even finish reading this review. Pray to the comic gods that Issue #1 is still at your Local Comic Shop and get Green Lantern #44 alongside it, you won’t regret it.

Writing: 5 out of 5

Art: 5 out of 5

Overall: 5 out of 5

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