Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Comic Reviews for July 29th 2009

Oh what a busy busy week we’ve got here for you kids. We’ve got reviews today, a very special post tomorrow, and on Friday or Saturday we’ve got Solicit commentary coming and I may just try to get in my review for Green Lantern: First Flight somewhere in between. Yes we’ve got a very busy few days ahead. But for now let’s stop and sit down to read some comics.

Ultimatum: Spider-man Requiem #2

Written: Brian Bendis

Art: Stuart Immonen and Mark Bagley

Opening Comments: It’s strange, looking back all these years on Ultimate Spider-man, the series has evolved from a simple spin-off into one of the greatest comics I’ve ever read. It’s had everything, great characters ,great art and moments that have both excited the kid in us and pulled at our heart strings.

With the real final tale of Ultimate Spider-man’s prior volume here I can safely say that anyone who has ever been a fan of this comic or this character absolutely needs to buy this comic.

Story Comments: We see a recap of the destruction that Ultimatum had wrought. J. Jonah Jameson is in his office and typing away. Writing about Spider-man as he brings up an old story that is Spider-man’s first encounter with the Hulk. Most of it is Spider-man shouting clever puns while dodging military attacks and the Hulk.

A bus is caught in the middle and nearly falls off a bridge. Hulk saves it, feeling bad he is calm while Spider-man evacuates the bus. Spider-man talks to Bruce Banner after Hulk changes, but the army soon shows up and starts attacking. Banner changes back to Hulk, Hulk runs away and the army goes after him though Spider-man tells them not to and that he is a hero.

We see Jonah writing more of the Spider-man obituary as we see images of Spider-man around New York, fighting the Lizard and other villains and then him alongside the Ultimates. He tells New York to keep going on, as that is how Spider-man would have wanted it. The Ultimates are digging around the city and Cap finds Spider-man’s body. Iron Man flashes a light up to Spider-man’s face and he barely lifts an eyelid to show he is alive.

All things considered this book almost makes Ultimatum worth it. Sure the event itself was a pathetic excuse to kill off the big names and shake things up for the relaunch of the franchise but when books like this are the result it almost feels worth it.

Bendis did an absolutely amazing job, both on the main story of Jonah’s writing and the Hulk story. Both stories are great and the way Bendis uses the story of the Hulk in New York was great for showing how Spider-man interacts with other super heroes. It was great to see Spider-man find an understanding of Banner’s plight.

Though the main reason I bought the comic and why I loved it so much was of course the obituary as well as the final fate of Peter Parker, who I am very happy to say is alive and well. This seems to be a month of miraculous revivals.

While with the obituary Bendis relied heavily on the writing and we just got some nice art to go with them it still worked well. We got some great shots of Spider-man doing the hero thing and it fitted well with the narration by Jonah.

To say the least it was heart string tugging near the end. It was also great to see that Jonah has finally come to understand Spider-man, what he’s all about and what a great hero he was. If Jonah makes it into Ultimate Comics Spider-man I hope Bendis does something new with the character.

Sadly I can’t say a lot on this issue, the writing was top notch as usual with Bendis and Ultimate Spider-man and the comic itself was just all around greatness. If this really where the cap off to Ultimate Spider-man I would be very satisfied.

Art Comments: I shouldn’t even have to mention that Bagley’s artwork is incredible like always. Though really the star for me was Immonen, his final work for Ultimate Spider-man is just as gripping, powerful and emotional as I could have hoped to go alongside this powerful narration. The artwork here was incredible in every sense of the word.

Final Comments: There’s no reason I can’t see why you shouldn’t buy this comic. It’s amazing, it’s spectacular and sensational and everything else that has ever described Spider-man. Buy it as soon as you can, there are no excuses for this one.

Writing: 5 out of 5

Art: 5 out of 5

Overall: 5 out of 5

Must Have

Spawn #194

Written: Todd McFarlane

Art: Whilce Portacio

Opening Comments: My fears where realized, while not a bad issue this issue was just plain boring. Endgame has devolved from an exciting new turn for the Spawn series into a dull “wait for the trade” comic.

Story Comments: So someone is talking to an old man (riveting opening) about…something, it was too boring to even tell you what it’s about. We see other people talking to each other then more talking. Nothing really exciting or interesting to say the least. Long story short they keep talking and talking and talking. Someone gets killed…and then they talk some more.

Jim shows up at a bar looking for Sanchez. The bartender has the security take Jim out in the alley, Jim makes a joke about how this is so cliché (at least someone gets it) the security tries to kill Jim. Jim goes all Spawn and interrogates the man to find out about Sanchez.

We cut to the jail where Sam and Twitch find that Clown has escaped with his new vampire buddy.

And then we get more talking. Yay, because I missed reading walls of test that is absolutely boring and uninteresting. At the newspaper we get even more talking, with a hint of something interesting at the very end…but then we cut away for more goddamn talking.

We see the agent that Jim interrogated before seeing his wife and kid. His wife and him are estranged, Jim shows up and the man and Jim go out to talk when the house explodes with them still inside.

All right, I have to give McFarlane credit for an exciting ending that has me curious as to what happens next time. But really this entire issue was a gigantic snore fest. This issue of Spawn was literally padding and wasting time for next issue when something exciting actually happens. After such a great issue last time I was honestly expecting at least some excitement.

What we get here is a classic case of “writing for the trade” where a writer decides to write each issue rather than as a solo important story that moves along a grand story as just one chapter after the next that only really matter near the very end.

While Endgame has had it’s exciting moments this issue just stops all the momentum that’s been building the last few months and says “You know what? I don’t feel like really accomplishing anything or moving us anywhere. Lets just sit around and wait for something to happen” as that’s basically what this issue was.

To be fair, the one really good scene was Jim going all Spawn on that security guy but since that lasted all of one page I can’t really say it redeemed the comic in any way. If anything it frustrated me more that the whole comic was like that.

When it comes to comics it’s nice to see writers who actually try to balance out the personal life behind the cap and the stories of the hero himself but McFarlane just tosses that notion aside. Nothing but behind the scenes crap that just puts me to sleep.

I also think that while these scenes weren’t awful, they could have been cut down so much that it’s near painful to see McFarlane making such a simple mistake as flooding the pages with half pointless dialogue and a few interesting or important moments peppered in.

All around the story to this month’s issue was a total failure in my eyes.

Art Comments: I’ve made this point with great artists before so I’ll say it again. Even a great artist can’t always save a bad story. Portacio is an incredible artist but with only pictures of people talking and one moment of actually drawing Spawn his artwork was useless to the story. This might as well have been a novel.

Final Comments: This issue was really pushing a Burn It for me. It’s been a long time since I’ve given that score and for good reason, I only give that score to a comic that’s just a complete waste of paper. Still I can’t deny this issue had a moment here and there and the art was still good.

Still if you where thinking about reading Endgame, just wait for the collection books and save yourself the money.

Writing: 2 out of 5

Art: 3 out of 5

Overall: 2 out of 5

Pass It

Dark Reign: Young Avengers #3

Written: Paul Cornell

Art: Mark Brooks

Opening Comments: After a disappointing issue last time I was losing interest in this series. It seemed to be lacking the focus that it needed to tell a strong and gripping story so I was getting bored. Much to my surprise Cornell roped me, pulled me back in and has me hooked for more.

Story Comments: We see the two Young Avengers teams fighting side by side. Stature and Big Zero first as they take out Hydra helicopters. Big Zero wants to kill the men but Stature takes them out peacefully.

Patriot and Melter are fighting and Melter refuses to use his powers. Patriot says that’s good and that means he is a real hero. Enchantress, Hulkling and Wiccan are fighting together, she turns people to toads but Wiccan turns them back as she talks in a normal way. She says she randomly got these powers and that she’s done pretending to be an Asgardian. Hulking and Wiccan love her.

Executioner and Hawkeye are fighting alongside. Not much to say, they have a boring chat really. Speed and Coat of Arms are fighting alongside each other, Speed says he’s got a thing for her, Coat explains her origin.

Vision and Egghead are fighting alongside each other, Egghead thinks Vision is hitting on him. They talk about how Egghead’s programming is messed up and Vision is curious as to his origin. Egghead gets offended and thinks he’s a real person as the fight is over and they retreat.

The original team discuss who should be in or out. When it comes to Executioner Hawkeye reveals that he knows who she is and that he is trying to blackmail his way onto the team. Rather than scold him she just says she’ll think about letting him in. When the new team talk about being their kind of Avengers they all mock Melter for the idea but Coat of Arms and Enchantress aren’t amused.

Coat of Arms is trying to paint but something seems to be stifling her creativity. Executioner meets with his mom, gets angry at her and she lets him know she’s giving him unlimited funds and tells her stupid brat of a son that she loves him. Norman Osborn is watching on camera and says it’s time to call some of these Young Avengers.

While it seems that the series finally has more direction with the old and new teams trying to work together the real story seems to be how Norman Osborn will handle these teams and what he plans to do about them .Exactly what that is I don’t know, but I’m excited to find out.

Cornell does a much better job this time around with the character work on our heroes. While he did a great job of giving them all distinct personalities in the first issue here he does a much better job of using those unique characters and does a great job with the established Young Avengers as well.

I didn’t like how Enchantress’ origin is still up in the air, as during the meeting she reveals she was lying to Hulkling and Wiccan. I’m getting rather confused and annoyed with this.

Melter was great once again, he didn’t get as much time but still what moments we did see him once again showed a case of a good guy in a bad situation. I feel really bad for him and I hope he comes out of this series okay.

I can’t tell if I loved or hated the Vision/Egghead moment. One moment Egghead seems to be…god, how can I even put this…attracted to Vision, the next he’s being overtly homophobic. It was confusing to say the least, but at the same time damned hilarious. I can’t deny I was laughing a bit on the inside at the idea of a robot being homophobic, that’s about the last thing you’d expect from a robot.

I also liked how he seemed offended at being called a robot. Egghead is a very interesting character who I hope is more prominent in the following two issues as it seems he has something really big about him to reveal.

The characters where all handled incredibly well, I especially liked Hawkeye’s reaction to Executioner’s blackmailing her. I also liked how the team rallied around her rather then getting upset and not caring about how upset she was over this. Cornell understands that by now the YA are more than a team, their a family.

Overall this was a great issue that finally has me excited to be reading this book. It may not be perfect, some kinks still to work out but I have a good feeling for the future 2 issues of this series.

Art Comments: Brooks was continuously good here. I can’t deny he had a weird moment with coloring but that’s about it really. I have no real complaints with the artwork.

Final Comments: While it may not be the most imperative Dark Reign book, the new Young Avengers mini is definitely turning into something that Young Avengers fans shouldn’t miss out on.

Writing: 4 out of 5

Art: 5 out of 5

Overall: 4 out of 5

Must Read

Marvel Zombies 4 #4

Written: Fred Van Lente

Art: Kev Walker

Opening Comments: I’m going to drop the synopsis part for this review as I’m getting worn down. I can tell you that while this issue didn’t make me love this “meh” mini-series, it was still a satisfying conclusion to it.

Story Comments: My favorite moment I have to say was the final showdown where Man-thing rises from his grave and stops the last bit of zombie virus mutation from stopping the cloud from being incased into a host. It was the most epic thing I have seen in a while, and reminds me why I love Man-Thing.

The best part about this issue and really this whole mini-series wasn’t the plot at all. It was the characters, just about each character was great here and incredibly well done. Whereas the plot itself was rather mediocre.

Morbius had to be the best of them and his conclusion that he is not a real monster for having convictions and morals was awesome. I also loved how Hellstrom helped Jennifer get Dormammu out of her body.

The sexual humor with Dormammu tempting Hellstrom with Patsy was funny. I especially laughed at the “let’s slip into something comfortable, like me” that right there is a classic definition of being so bad it’s good. It’s just so random also for a horror/super hero comic to say something like that.

I also loved the ending with Simon Garth being locked up as the host for the zombie virus forever and that rather than killing the Zombie Deadpool head, he took off the mask, pretended he killed him and let Zombie Deadpool float away to find his happiness. It was almost touching to be honest.

Overall this was a well written issue for it’s characters but not much else. The plot was still boring and mediocre.

Art Comments: Not much I can say on Kev Walker, he does a great job of illustrating this madness.

Final Comments: If you’re craving some crazy over the top zombie action with good character moments and great art than this is the book for you. But I suggest you wait for the hardcover which comes out in October.

Writing: 3 out of 5

Art: 4 out of 5

Overall: 3 out of 5

Check It

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