Thursday, September 3, 2009

Comic Reviews - September 3rd 2009

Apologies for the delayed comic reviews, I was busy all day yesterday after I got home and even as I speak I’m still busy. But I know that I need to get these reviews done for today since tomorrow I’ll be posting my review of Batman: Arkham Asylum. With only 2 comics to review this week there isn’t a lot to say but still 2 good reads.

Ultimate Comics Spider-man #2
Written: Brian Bendis
Art: David Lafuente

Opening Comments: After a disappointing debut issue I was hopeful that Bendis could finally win me over with chapter 2 of the latest installment of Ultimate Spider-man. While the art was top notch and some of the best art that the series has seen in years I must admit that with zero answers Bendis had started Ultimate spider-man off on the wrong foot and that he needed to work fast to save the series from oblivion. Luckily it seems that while answers are probably never going to come, at least we can still get a solid fun read.

Story Comments: the highlight of this issue are the villains the Bombshells, a mother daughter team that when they are next to each other have explosive powers. Bendis works fast at giving them a unique and fun voice that makes them great additions of the villain cast, even if they are a bit on the silly side.

That was the high point, everything else? Middle of the road to annoying. Let’s get all the bad points out of the way first thing so I can mention how frustrating they where. My biggest complaint is MJ. Sure she gets more then one page, but only one page of actual dialogue and what we get seems to point that MJ is now a shy little girl afraid of everything and even some human contact.

Now I could understand if they explained the Ultimatum changed MJ, made her a different person and that she was now reserved and afraid of the world. If they explained it I could understand, after all disasters can have those kinds of effects on people. In fact it could be a great psychological character twist. But there is the problem, they don’t explain it. For all we know MJ is just feeling shy for no reason. Since she gets no page time we have no way of knowing why she’s acting this way and it’s very frustrating that once such an important character to the comic is now shoved aside for no real reason.

Kong for whatever reason has been changed and again, this is not explained why. I hate the redesign of Punk Kong as it is, but at least explain why he’s this way. I would think that Bendis is aware by now of storytelling 101 and that you can’t just change a character dramatically and not explain it. That’s a basic idea and seeing Bendis gloss over these things is incredibly frustrating.

I continued to be creeped out and dislike the Peter/Gwen relationship, but what bugs me even more is that Bendis is trying to play them off as a really cute and sweet couple when really it just seems so forced. Nothing about this relationship feels general and interesting. It’s just like 2 best friends saying their a couple so they don’t look lonely or something.

Also I hated the cliff-hanger, it’s just Johnny Storm waking up. How exciting. Maybe next time we can end with Mysterio sleeping in his lair or Spider-man and Gwen napping in a web. It’s just so thrilling after all.

Now for some positives, I really dig Ultimate Mysterio. His dialogue is, while not overly exciting, still pretty good and Bendis is fleshing him out as a more credible threat then the 616 version ever was. I’m hopeful that he’ll stick around as a main villain through the series.

This is a problem that Ultimate Spider-man has always had but the pacing is weak as all hell. Not only are we not getting any damn answers as to why there where such critical changes to the characters but this story is moving at a snail’s pace. I’m not even sure what the opening arc’s objective is. Bendis is really taking too much time to try and hook the readers in and is losing me.

As I mentioned I love the Bombshells, their so wacky and funny that they work so well with Bendis’ style of humor. While it was annoying trying to understand what Lori, the daughter was saying through all the censorship I still really liked the characters. I’m hopeful that they show up from time to time even if they aren’t real threats.

My 2nd favorite moment is Kitty suffering from discrimination for being a mutant. Everyone is against her but Kong it seems and it’s really sad but at the same time interesting to read. Bendis does a good job of making us feel bad for Kitty and wishing we could throw a wall of French fries back at flash. Also Kitty’s reaction to getting detention for using her powers was a frustrating moment for her and the reader, proving that the old Mutant Discrimination can still be compelling as ever for readers.

We get our usual serving of Bendis speak, nothing new here but as usual it works much better in Ultimate Spider-man than it ever did in comics like New or Mighty Avengers. If anything his writing here is some of his most solid dialogue ever. Though again the dialogue between Peter/Gwen felt awkward and forced.

Still for as negative as I was in this review I can’t deny that this issue showed signs of improvement for the new volume of Ultimate Spider-man and Bendis has convinced me to stick along a bit longer and see what happens next.

Art Comments: Lafuente continues to impress as Ultimate Comics Spider-man is now one of the best looking comics on the market. While I mentioned previously that his manga inspired art may not click well with some readers I think that now he’s moved beyond the obvious inspiration and his gorgeous art is great enough to handle it’s own and not bother people who don’t like manga influence in their comics.

Final Comments: Ultimate Comics Spider-man has a lot against it, but somehow it manages to overcome it’s problems and still be a fun read with incredible artwork that I give recommendations for. Just don’t expect any answers anytime soon sadly.

Writing: 3 out of 5
Art: 5 out of 5
Overall: 4 out of 5
Must Read

Jersey Gods #7
Written: Glen Brunswick
Art: Dan McDaid

Opening Comments: Jersey Gods has been strong series over the last several months and the latest issue is no different. Well, sadly it is a bit weaker then previous installments but it’s still a strong and enjoyable read.

Story Comments: the plot takes place with Barock and Helius enjoying their new jobs as fashion models for Delia. They are in Paris and Zoe is enjoying herself. Barock stops some terrorists and Zoe goes on about how he’s the most perfect man ever to exist in the history of men.

I really liked the first few pages that we mostly see in the preview, this was definitely the highlight of the comic and the most fun I had reading it. We got some good blend of Super Hero and Romantic Comedy, it was great and Brunswick continues to have a good grasp on things.

The one weak point to this comic is the conversation Barock has with Delia. It’s a rather pointless moment and while Brunswick tries hard to make it funny, it just doesn’t do anything for me. It’s the one moment in the comic that I was relived to be over and while we did get some glimpses of comedy in there for the most part it was just weird and felt very out of place. That’s saying a lot for a character as weird as Delia.

Things pick up again when the villain strike and we get an awesome fight. Again Brunswick throws in little bits of comedy that keep the tension light enough to make for a fun read while also keeping the action strong enough to keep me reading and not get bored with it.

I must admit I despised the cliff-hanger, mostly because it makes us think Zoe is dead when we know damn well she’s just fine thanks to the solicits. It’s a dumb cliff-hanger that everyone knows won’t mean anything since Zoe will survive.

Still this issue was a solid read, good dialogue and a fairly enjoyable pace. While not quite as great as this series has been so far, I definitely can say I enjoyed this issue.

Art Comments: Dan McDaid by now has reached a certain level of quality to where he still has some odd moments but by now he fits so well with the comic and captures great emotion along with doing the action well to where I have no real major complaints with his art.

Final Comments: While not quite as good as what I’ve come to expect from this series I still dug this issue of Jersey Gods as it was a fun read that continues to balance action and comedy brilliantly.

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

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