Thursday, August 20, 2009

Comic Reviews - August 20th 2009

Apologies for late reviews, a few hours walking around in the sun drained my reviewing powers. So much so that I’m going to do 2 Open Fire! Reviews for the final 2 reviews. Also check back tomorrow for Solicit Commentary, also delayed thanks to the heat. It’s totally not my fault.

Invincible #65
Written: Robert Kirkman
Art: Ryan Ottley

Opening Comments: closing the excellent Conquest story arc, Kirkman gives us a deeper more personal and character driven read than what we’ve had for the last few months which makes this a great read with one major flaw still.

Story Comments: Our opening between Mark and Eve basically explains what needed explaining from last time with finding out that Eve’s powers usually have a mental block, but when she feels severe trauma they go into override which I admit is a nice explanation and it does answer any questions I may have had about it.

Mark’s mom has a heartfelt moment about how she wishes she hadn’t pushed him to be a hero. It was a touching and powerful moment for a mother to her son. It doesn’t end well but at the same time it was a great moment and I also liked Mark seeing Conquest’s body. It makes sense that he’d want to see it.

When we get to Rex’ funeral it was the most powerful moment of the entire comic. Especially when Eve tries to say something but she breaks into tears. It wasn’t a moment I really can say I saw coming and it was incredibly well done. Kirkman really moved me with this scene and made me feel for Eve and her sorrow over losing Rex.

We do get an odd moment where as Mark and Eve later get ready to have sex when she zaps his suit to the floor it’s all Technicolor and with rocks and flowers growing around it. An odd twist to show that Eve’s powers aren’t really working right now. Leaves me wondering what’s going to happen to her for her character.

We get some other developments with Langstrom and some guy being controlled by evil Cthulu wannabes. These have both been developing a bit but I honestly couldn’t care about them right now as for now they are throwaway moments.

We get one frustrating development, Conquest is alive and Cecil is holding him captive deep underground so that he can tell him all about the Viltrumite empire. Honestly I have mixed feelings about this, I partially like this but at the same time I find it hard to believe Conquest can heal somehow even with this kind of technology.

We end with Invincible admitting that he will no longer hesitate to kill someone if they threaten his family or his loved ones. An interesting development but to be honest we sort of saw this one coming since #52 last year so I’m not too surprised by this.

For as much as I did enjoy this issue it has one major flaw and that’s that Kirkman gives us more questions then answers. That really hurts an epilogue type story making it a lot weaker since I can not trust Kirkman to just give us a satisfying conclusion to it all. We have more plots developing and we don’t get any real major closure except for that Eve is alive, everything else is still up in the air.

Art Comments: Ottley was his usual impressiveness, but he had some weird moments. Especially with Eve’s lips. One moment their normal size the next it’s as if collagen was zapped into them. It looks really weird, still he really succeeds at showing us some intense moments like when Eve is crying or Mark’s mother is yelling at him, it’s intense and beautifully well done.

Final Comments: While this issue was undeniably not a satisfying conclusion to the awesome Conquest story arc it was still a great read with strong art. Invincible fans should be pleased.

Writing: 4 out of 5
Art: 4 out of 5
Overall: 4 out of 5
Must Read

Batman: Streets of Gotham #3
Written: Paul Dini
Art: Dustin Nguyen

Opening Comments: After such a strong issue last time I was really excited to see how Dini could follow up on Hush taking Bruce Wayne’s place. While this issue is another excellent read it isn’t without one oddity, still this series is looking to be the best of all the Batman Reborn books.

Story Comments: We get an update on how Hush is spending the Wayne fortune to help Gotham City. It’s funny seeing how he’s doing all these kind things to try and make him more untouchable but that doesn’t stop Batman and Robin from kicking him around a bit. I loved the confrontation, especially how Dini continues to write Damian as the over eager violent brat that he is.

When we switch to the Penguin is where I started really enjoying this issue as this where I see the strongest aspect to Streets of Gotham, the character work. Every character that Dini writes has a unique and enjoyable part of them to read that makes them great and makes each character important to the story even if they only get a few pages.

Penguin’s narration was absolutely amazing, I never expected it to be this good. It was really great stuff and we get a good insight into Penguin. Sure we get one too many bird references but for the Penguin I can tolerate them as they work perfectly with his important Narration.

Another character that shocked me at how well he was handled was Zsasz who I honestly have never liked. He’s been a very bland random villain who, while he’s had a few good moments, has been very bland compared to most of Batman’s rogues. Here however we get a F***ed up look into his mind as he sees everyone he meets as dead and brutally slaughtered in red vision. It’s creepy as all hell and even haunting, making him a much more chilling villain than he’s ever been.

When we switch to Hush returning to his old home he’s confronted by Dick and Damian with the Outsiders and some members of the JLA which was a nice twist. They are a board of people Hush has to approve all his spending through, which was absolutely great and a nice twist to keep Hush on a leash without taking him off the board.

It ends with a funny moment of Damian crushing on Katana and the issue ends with Zsasz having killed his tailor and now dressed up all fancy. It was hard not to smile at how Zsasz has become a more credible threat finally and for once I’m actually excited to read about his character next month.

While I’ll admit it was an odd choice for Dini for Hush to be put on a leash, and it did feel out of nowhere, for the most part I did like the twist and for the most part I loved this story as Dini is really hitting his stride. Even though the plot itself doesn’t have a lot it’s more the character work that makes this book so amazing.

Art Comments: Nguyen is a great artist and he fits the comic well but he still has a few random problems. Mostly with Black Mask still looking goofy, though not as bad, and once again there was some odd shading. But his art was definitely better than last time and I especially loved his version of the Penguin, he did a great job of showing the somber sad man looking in the mirror but as his narration went on he did a great job of showing us that Penguin is still the confident guy he’s always been. So overall Ngueyn did a solid job here.

Final Comments:in Despite some minor art issues this is undeniably the best issue yet of the young series. Dini is excelling with character work even with the plot not being all that long or exciting. It’s undeniably an incredible read that Batman fans shouldn’t miss out on.

Writing: 5 out of 5
Art: 4 out of 5
Overall: 5 out of 5
Must Have

Witchblade #129
Written: Ron Marz
Art: Stjepan Sejic

Opening Comments: As things have been going on the War of the Witchblades arc has become weaker and weaker, it seems Marz finally buckled things down and gave us the action epic that we where promised and it makes this issue a lot more enjoyable for it.

Story Comments: We pick up with the 2 people in Sara and Dani’s life, not much I can really say, just catching up with the supporting cast is all it really is. When Dani arrives at a fortress Sara has made of a bridge is where things get good.

We see that since Sara has the dark half of the Witchblade she’s able to summon Darkness demons which was cool. Though just when the battle gets heated the Angelus show up to back up Dani, a nice twist and development from last issue. The fight starts out with some strong dialogue.

The action is really great here, lots of big clash moments and it’s all handled smoothly and it moves along nicely even though it doesn’t flood the comic and we get plenty of good dialogue moments between the two warring Witchblades.

Sara wins the fight and absorbs Dani’s half of the Witchblade, she then kills Dani as her demon pal tells her to do so. Now I really don’t see any chance of Dani surviving this, unless the Angelus heals her or Sara does it I’m pretty sure Dani is dead. Truth be told I’m not exactly complaining.

Overall this issue was a little bit of a short read but I still enjoyed it a lot. Marz finally gave us a lot of solid dialogue and character work along with awesome action to go with it which is what made this issue so much of an enjoyable read. Still even with that I was a little disappointed by how short the fight did become, still it was a good fight.

Art Comments: Sejic is always an amazing artist and it’s no surprise that his gorgeous work looks great both with the more personal moments between characters and the best part had to be how he really got to give us some cool intense action.

Final Comments: While finally the issue we’ve been waiting for with the story arc almost over that does hurt this issue. Still we get some great development and fin action making this a worthwhile enjoyable read.

Writing: 4 out of 5
Art: 5 out of 5
Overall: 4 out of 5
Must Read

Onto the Open Fire! Reviews. For those who forgot, Open Fire! Reviews are basically more condensed and shorter reviews that are usually a few paragraphs at most. Basically me saying the bare essentials of the comic, the good the bad, and finally ending with my usual recommendation system.

The Amazing Spider-man #603
Written: Fred Van Lente
Art: Robert Atkins

After a last issue’s big ending I was excited to see how Van Lente would use the twist. Oddly enough Peter doesn’t even show up until the final page, making the entire comic all about the Chameleon and his crazy machinations to play Peter for a day and get close to do his job of helping some terrorists.

Van Lente writes a chilling Chameleoon as it is but what makes it better is how Chameleon really messes around with the people in Peter’s life. Being a jerk to MJ, seducing Michelle (and her now loving Peter, which should be a fun twist on things) and calling the now crippled Flash puny. It was sick yet at the same time so bold that I loved it.

My only real major complaints where that the points with Jonah as mayor continue to be boring as all hell and the twist that Peter somehow survived an acid bath thanks to his webbing just really doesn’t make much sense. Though I do give Van Lente points for poking fun at Fox News’ “Obama is a socialist” crap. That had me in stitches.

The art was all right, not as good as Barry Kitson or Mario Alberti but it was done well enough to work with the plot. But the art itself was just so-so. Overall in the long run this issue wasn’t too much better than the last one but it was at least an enjoyable read and the Red Headed Stranger arc is a very enjoyable story so far.

Writing: 3 out of 5
Art: 3 out of 5
Overall: 3 out of 5
Check It

The Mighty Avengers #28
Written: Dan Slott and Christos Gage
Art: Koi Pham

I’d have to describe this issue as okay but not much else. Some okay character work and mediocre art make this issue of Mighty Avengers a rather bland read. The fight we where promised doesn’t really happen, Scarlet Witch just sort of smacks the Young Avengers around for a page and then Ronin shows up at the end.

Pham’s art was a mixed bag this time around, while near the end he started doing a good job other moments where really muddy and weak. I’m hopeful that he’ll be replaced and put somewhere different where maybe his art can be used better because it’s not working for me here.

I did like some moments with the Unspoken part of the plot and we got some great moments with US Agent but that’s about it. This issue wasn’t too strong even though it wasn’t too bad. I don’t give it much of a recommendation unless you’re a big Avengers fan.

Writing: 3 out of 5
Art: 2 out of 5
Overall: 3 out of 5
Check It

No comments: