Thursday, September 17, 2009

Comic Reviews for September 17th 2009

5 comics this week and a lot to write about. So forgive me for the delay. Also I got my copy of Batman: Mad Love and I’ve been reading it a lot today. I may have a Collection Spotlight in the near future for it. Now to this week’s comics!

The Amazing Spider-man #605
Written: Fred Van Lente and Brian Reed
Art: Javier Pulido, Luke Ross and Yanick Paquette

Opening Comments:
Red Headed Stranger won me over back to Spider-man and it seems like the epilogue will be the story arcs best. With a dollar increase and 3 great stories it feels good to be a spider-fan again.

Story Comments: We have 3 chapters so I’ll tackle them each one at a time. Chapter 1 is my favorite as it shows us what MJ has been up to prior to Aunt May’s Wedding. Basically she gets in a mess when her prior boyfriend was using MGH and the dealer crashes a party to keep him quiet.

What works best is Van Lente’s handle on MJ as a character. We see flashbacks of her and Peter arguing about him being Spider-man and it’s all nice but what really makes it work for me is how he builds up this idea that MJ left Peter and that she had her own personal reasons rather then the devil made her do it.

I also liked the moment where MJ has a choice to save her loser boyfriend or not. She remembers one of her fights with Peter and it’s really a powerful emotional moment and I absolutely loved it. As a fan of both these characters it was amazingly well done.

This story has a great ending and all around it was my favorite and it impressed me with how Van Lente handled character work and the mild action. My only complaint for it was the villain Alice was very cheesy and dumb.

The 2nd story is basically a prelude to October’s story with Raptor along with Peter breaking up with Michelle. Not much I can say about it. Liked the throw about Peter wondering what’s up with Felicia since she comes back next time but not a lot to say. Damn fine ending though, I loved that part. It was great.

The 3rd story is great as it is full of great humor but still some action to keep things at a fun balance. Basically it’s Peter trying to find a new girl with Harry’s help and it’s absolutely hilarious. We get some Side Spider-man action but all around I absolutely loved the comedy here.

Spider-man is a character that can be balanced nicely with comedy and action so all 3 stories did an amazing job at that making this a solid and great read.

Art Comments: I was surprised at how much I loved the art this time around. Pulido was my favorite as his style feels similar to Marcos Martin while still being unique on it’s own. Though Ross did a great job as well and much to my surprise Paquette did an amazing job. This has to be the best I’ve seen from his art in a long while and it looks absolutely amazing.

Final Comments: A great read well worth the 3.99 price tag. Spider-man fans looking to finally enjoy Spider-man should not miss this great one-shot.

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

Batman and Robin #4
Written: Grant Morrison
Art: Phillip Tan

Opening Comments: After finally winning me over I was very excited to see what Morrison would do with this new arc. Even more I was excited to see Tan’s art that I was sure would be great. While the art is great the story is undeniably a bit of a step back from last issue.

Story Comments: This issue basically introduces us to Red Hood and Scarlet. An all right intro but we don’t get much else. If this wasn’t a 2.99 comic I’d probably be annoyed but it just fits the bill well enough to pass as far as the story is concerned in length.

Not too much to say as far as the story itself. Red Hood is up to crap and Batman and Robin show up at the end. Though I do have some major complaints with continuity.

Morrison seems to be ignoring Streets of Gotham pretty much totally with Lucius Fox complaining about Bruce Wayne missing still. Last time I checked “Bruce” has been rather busy as far as Streets of Gotham is concerned. Maybe this takes place before that issue of Streets of Gotham but I highly doubt.

It’s idiotic that Morrison thinks he can play in his own little world and not show respect for continuity so blatantly and act like there is no problem with it. It’s very frustrating and jarring for someone who is reading Streets of Gotham like myself.

Still the story was all right, good character work and all right action. I did feel it cut a little too close.

Art Comments: Can I ask everyone a very simple question, did Phillip Tan beat you all up when you where in elementary school so you just have a natural hate for his art? I have yet to see one positive remark about Phillip Tan’s amazing art on this issue. Sure it’s not perfect but…what the hell?

One thing I hear is that he’s following Frank Quitely. I find it sad when an artist’s quality is only compared to the guy he’s following. Maybe if his art here was bad I can understand the comparison but I find his art here works incredibly well and fits the book amazingly.

His art is dark and has a specific mood that hits home for a Batman comic. Also the detail is amazing and he balances a good handle on emotions with great action. So I see no reason for all the Tan hate. His art was beautiful and the coloring was just as great.

Final Comments: With some all right story and some amazing art I can give this a fair recommendation. Still a good chance to read this title if you aren’t.

Writing: 3 out of 5
Art: 4 out of 5
Overall: 3 out of 5
Check It

Blackest Night #3
Written: Geoff Johns
Art: Ivan Reis

Opening Comments: After 2 solid issues I hate to say it but Blackest Night is spinning it’s wheels and I’m getting bored. We got some mild developments but me thinks this series is a little too long giving Johns an excuse to move at a snails pace.

Story Comments: Nothing. Happens. People Fight. People die. People come back from the grave. End of issue.

Now to be fair we do get a sliver of development that the Indigo Tribe has finally arrived. They explain some thing about the history of the universe and we do get a new insight into the Black Lanterns thankfully.

Still not much else I can really say. A lot of annoying walls of text and half of it being absolutely pointless and frustrating to have to read through. This easily could have been cut down as half of it is saying a lot with nothing.

My least favorite aspect though was the death of Gen, the girl who helps Jason turn in to Firestorm. I’m not too familiar with the characters so I can’t say I give a damn that she’s dead. But in the opening of this issue it’s revealed she wants to marry Jason. I called that she was going to die by the end of the issue and I was right.

Killing characters needlessly off is one thing. It seems to be all Blackest Night is doing after all. But giving me such a predictable death then trying to shock me and make me feel bad was just pathetic of Johns. Poor foreshadowing killed any emotional impact this may have had for me.

Overall this was still an okay issue though as far as the story is concerned. Solid action and at least half of it had some important moments so while it’s a big step down, it’s not too big a step.

Art Comments: Reis delivers strong work as always. Not much I can say. We get good detail and strong art.

Final Comments: Blackest Night is definitely faltering a bit and Johns is going to have to work fast to save this event from mediocrity.

Writing: 3 out of 5
Art: 4 out of 5
Overall: 3 out of 5
Check It

Streets of Gotham #4

Written: Paul Dini
Art: Dustin Nguyen

Opening Comments: Oddly enough this issue has little to do with Zsasz despite him being on the over and seemingly about to fight Batman. Instead we talk about a completely new and oddly interesting character. Building this issue into a surprising gem of the week.

Story Comments: so the entire issue is about the Broker. A new guy who deals out old buildings and amusement park places to villains. He’s been doing so for years and just now do we finally see him. I don’t mind since he’s a great new addition.

This issue basically explains his “origin” and leads to him confronting Batman at the end. It’s all done incredibly well and paced nicely as well. I especially loved his narration and how he acts around Zsasz and how he insists not to ask what Zsasz is doing.

It’s an odd little story in that it lacks any major action and Batman himself only shows up for 2 or so pages but it works amazingly well and is a very effective story.

I loved a lot of the little moments but my favorite part had to be Robin sitting around reading a real estate book as a men bleeds just feet near him. It’s more subtle comedy in his reaction and it’s a great little moment.

All around though it was a great story with great little moments all through it.

Art comments: Nguyen has had a couple of issues the last few chapters of Streets of Gotham but this time he was solid. Not quite perfect spot on but the shading worked much better and this was great art.

Final Comments: If you’re not buying Streets of Gotham then do so soon. It’s the most unique of the Batman Reborn experiences and fans of Gotham should not miss out on this at all.

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

I’m going to do an Open Fire! Review on this week’s Mighty Avengers #29

Mighty Avengers #29
Written: Dan Slott
Art: Koi Pham

It’s bad. Very bad. Poor dialogue. Ugly as all hell art and a pace that makes me want to go and read Secret Invasion for a faster plotline. This book has devolved into mediocrity and I’m dying to drop it, but am going to try and stick to it a little longer.

Writing: 2 out of 5
Art: 1 out of 5
Overall: 2 out of 5
Pass It

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