Sunday, November 29, 2009

Week's End - November 29th 2009

Week’s End is here, and with it a note that I’m taking another Month off from Month’s End, rather I’m just going to say the comic of the month and the most anticipated comic of next month. Month’s End is sort of tricky because often it feels like I’m recycling old Week’s End posts so I want to boil it down to just 2 key parts of the end of the Month and see how that works out.

Now with that said let’s move onto the comics.

Comic of the Week: Image United #1


I’ve stated in the past that some comics aren’t going to get the win just for a higher score. Image United is a good example of that as this week’s issue really blew me away with some gorgeous art and a lot of great character moments but at the same time the plot was very thin.

Though the thing plot was made up for as the characters where all written incredibly well and the artwork was absolutely gorgeous. A stunning view to the eyes and having each character drawn by their creator was such a brilliant idea.

While this issue was really something that Image fans will probably appreciate more then anyone else I still loved the hell out of it and for me it was the best comic this week.

Moments of the Week: Black Lantern Batman, DIE and Omega Spawn


Seeing Batman as a Black Lantern was absolutely awesome this week. It’s a damn shame he wasn’t a major player in the story because I really did love this moment and it was just so awesome seeing him. DC Direct, take note of this and make this figure with Blackest Night series 3.


Of course the awesome final 2 page spread that just left us all excited for more. Sure, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow are all sure to be back to normal pretty soon but I’m certain that Ice will stay dead or maybe even Donna Troy.

What really makes this moment work is the build up. We see all the heroes assembled to fight this great menace, you’ve got the heavy hitters like Superman and Wonder Woman, Nekron doesn’t stand a chance. Then we get thrown over a loop and they good guys are now the bad guys, with very few major heroes left to combat this threat. Awesome way to end the issue.


While this moment was spoiled a month ahead of time as well as with that awesome Jim Lee cover I still loved it. I’m dying to know why Al went bad and even more so I’m dying to see Jim and him go head to head. This moment just appealed to the Spawn fan in me in so many ways, I can’t wait for more next month.

Cover of the Week: Image United #1 Jim Lee variant


Santa, if you’re out there, this baby is at the top of my Christmas list. Seriously this cover is just so awesome in so many ways. For one Lee does a great job of putting in all the characters without making it feel cramped in any way.

Of course what really makes it work is how wicked Omega Spawn is, that evil laugh you can tell he’s chuckling as Ripclaw desperately tries to wound him but fails. It all just looks so great and seeing Lee draw all these characters again was so much fun, I love this cover.

Artists of the Week: Rob Liefeld, Erik Larsen, Jim Valentino, Marc Silvestri, Whilce Portacio and Todd McFarlane.


Making a rare exception here by giving 6 artists the spot rather then 1. But I give top billing to Rob Liefeld, yes that Rob Liefeld the same Liefeld who’s art usually brings me sorrow and anger but really impressed me with some incredible lay out work and solid work on his characters.

Though everyone impressed me. From Erik Larsen, to Todd McFarlane. Marc Silvestri even with his 2 pages of extra character art from outside the opening scene. It was all gorgeous looking stuff from all the artists and I loved every page of it.

Character of the Week: Nekron


Much as I loved the character work in Image United #1, I have to give it to Johns for revealing Nekron to be a serious badass who turns out to be a more major threat to the DCU then anyone figured. I wasn’t sure how this  villain would come across but Johns did a great job making him a total badass and making me want to see more of him.

Comic of the Month: Invincible #68


This month had plenty of good and great reads but I have to give it to Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley for really impressing me this month with a great way to start  back up with Invincible. Some jaw dropping moments and beautiful art made this one an easy choice.

Movie of the Month: Turtles Forever


I rarely get to go to the theater, but when I do I often review whatever movie I just saw. Now this one will probably be a rarity at the end of the month but it’s still something I want to try and what better movie to kick this off then a movie that really does feel like the end of an era.

If you missed my Turtles Forever review, to sum it up, it had some issues but deep down I still loved it and it really appealed to the TMNT fan in me. I really hope we get a DVD of this one real soon as it is a really great movie that no TMNT fan should miss.

Most Anticipated Comic for December: Angelus #1


While this series hasn’t been at the forefront of my radar, I still added it to the pull list as it’s Ron Marz and Stjepan Sejic the great team behind Witchblade. Though lately Witchblade hasn’t been quite as enjoyable as when I started reading, so I’m really excited to see them with this mini-series in hopes that they can recapture some of that magic while focusing on Dani and making her a more interesting character.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Blackest Night #5 review


Blackest Night started out very strong earlier this year but over the past 4 months the main series devolved into “Dead rise, people die, feel sad for dead people, rinse and repeat” and while it never got bad per say, it was just boring by it’s 4th month.

Now with the big baddie finally revealed and ready to take his vengeance upon the DCU it’s hard not to be hopeful that Johns can get Blackest Night’s main mini-series back on track. Let’s take a look and see if he did.

*happy 300th post, this blog is Sparta! I look forward to making many more for you all in the future.

Creative Team
Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Ivan Reis

Opening Comments: This is the first issue of the main mini series that feels absolutely important to the Blackest Night saga since issue #1. Finally we’re done with the same shtick and things are getting interesting again. Blackest Night #5 may not be a perfect read but it’s on it’s way to making Blackest Night an important and interesting event again.

Story Comments: Our opening scene with all the different corps members (red, blue, orange, green, Sinestro, star sapphires and Indigo) going to charge up was a nice scene. I read up that they all got together in Green Lantern this week so it makes sense that this issue would pick up from that.

This scene is pretty cool when seeing all the different Corps oaths but it’s made more comedic when Larfleeze doesn’t have one. I really like the character of Larfleeze, he’s so funny even when he’s so badass at times. Seeing him confused as he interacted with the others was a nice scene.

When we jump back to earth with Barry Allen and later Wally West (the two Flashes) fighting hordes of Black Lanterns and Nekron talking I liked this scene a lot two. Usually the dialogue between characters in Blackest Night varies from good to just plain annoying but here Johns really uses the dynamic between these two nicely and it actually has me hopeful for his upcoming Flash ongoing series.

Also we seriously need a Flash Corps. Just saying.

One moment I didn’t like was that for some reason Jean takes Atom and Aquaman’s ex-wife (I’m sorry I can’t remember her name right now) into the ring of Black Lantern Damage. It was just really weird and I’m sure it will make sense in future issues but at the moment it was seriously out of place and annoying.

I did like seeing this series tie into things like the Blackest Night: Titans mini where the new Dove has the strange ability to kill Black Lanterns whenever they go after her. It’s nice to see that Blackest Night does have a fairly tight story where all the things like what happened to the Titans will come into play during the main mini-series.

Also it seems that thanks to the Flashes the Guardians are now free, I wonder if that will play into anything in a future issue of Blackest Night.

When all the Corps show up to destroy Scar, it was absolutely awesome. Easily one of the best moments of the week as it was really cool seeing Johns bring them in now rather then wait until next issue and say “well you got your Green Lantern in the opening, that’s all you need for this month”

Again Johns’ character writing is much better this time around when Hal and Barry meet up and when the Corps attack the Black Lantern power battery. I don’t know why the past few issues had so much useless and uninteresting dialogue as right now we can see that Johns knows how to write important and interesting dialogue as we see right here.

One thing that really confused me about this issue was that somehow the Lanterns attacking the power battery mad it stronger. What’s with that? How does that make sense and why? I don’t mind that it makes Nekron stronger at all, that’s a cool twist really but could you at least give us a quick comment as to why?

Then of course there’s the splash page that left everyone’s jaw dropping, even if only for a moment. Black Lantern Batman. This was a really cool moment and what made it even better was how Nekron uses Black Lantern Batman to create an emotional tether to all the heroes. A brilliant twist.

But then there comes my big complaint, after the tether is made, Nekron lets “Bruce Wayne” (even he uses quotes) to rest. What the hell was all that build up for if he’s not going to be a big villain or power in this story?

It’s the same problem I had with Abin Sur getting destroyed last month. Here we get all this build up to these people coming back as Black Lanterns and you’d think someone like Abin Sur would be a big deal and would make a big splash just as you would think Batman would.

Then they get killed off right away and it’s like wasting all that opportunity to have a cool villain for the story even if he won’t last beyond this storyline. It would be great to see Black Lantern Batman face Dick Grayson Batman and Abin Sur be a major player in this story but that’s been ruined now.

Maybe Johns wasn’t trying to milk the idea of these Black Lanterns but I still wish they would have had a bigger role in this then they did.

Then there’s that other jaw dropping splash page that ends our comic for us. I was expecting some major characters to die. Like I knew one Green Lantern would die (Kyle Rayner was not the one I figured but oh well) and I figured maybe one not so major DCU hero would die  but damn, this was epic.

Now we all know Superman, Wonder Woman and Kid Flash should be fine and back to normal by the end of this series but characters like Ice and Animal Man, probably won’t be so lucky and are probably going to stay dead which would make this final moment have a little more impact.

It was still a really awesome way to end this issue and left me excited to see what happens next month as it was just a really cool ending to what was a really great read.

Overall this was a great read and the most interesting issue of Blackest Night yet. Johns didn’t’ just get the ball rolling, he kicked that thing into overdrive and there’s no stopping it now!

Art Comments: Ivan Reis really does have his work cut out for him. Even when he turns in rushed art it still looks damn good. Though as I said it does at times look pretty rushed, a lot of the regular detail is not there but it’s still damn good looking and he really excels with some gorgeous splash pages.

Final Comments: While Blackest Night still isn’t back to Must Have territory for me this issue was a great step in the right direction for the series and if Johns can keep the momentum going we may just have the most exciting event comic ever.

Story Rating: 4 out of 5
Art rating: 5 out of 5
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
Must Read 

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Comics To Be Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving all!


Now I know in life we often have a lot to be thankful for, but one of those things that we should all be thankful for is comics! Comics have affected each and everyone of us here at the Revolution and I wanted to get all the guys together and have a Thanksgiving feast. Unfortunately that would cost way too much money, so I just asked them all what comics they are thankful for.

Jim

It is hard to narrow it down to a short list of books I am thankful for.  I read so many good books each month so I decided to skip over ones like Batman and Robin and Green Lantern.  I  went with 3 books and one studio that I am most thankful for this year.

Fantastic Four-the new team has revitalized this title for me.  I am thankful that Marvel is giving Hickman and Eaglesham a shot at this book.  What makes the FF stand out from other team books?  This team is a family.  The adventures are cosmic and filled with wonder but the main story always comes down to the family.

Booster Gold-Jurgens and Rapmund have given us a fun Booster series.  It floundered a little when the Johns/Katz writing team left but Jurgens stepped up and took charge.  I love the looks at the DC history.


Dynamite Entertainment-Alex Ross has managed to add a modern twist to classic Marvel storytelling.  The teams he is guiding at Marvel and Dynamite are producing some amazing work. The combination of Ross style art, traditional heroes, classic superhero stories, and modern day storytelling provides me with many hours of reading.

Invincible-What can be said about Kirkman’s masterpiece?  I was hooked from the start. Kirkman manages to surprise the reader and keep the stories fresh.  If you have not read this yet, pick up the collections and start at the beginning.  Some of the biggest surprises happen early in the series.

Andrenn

This year has had some great comics to be thankful for. Both old and new it’s been a great year to be a comic fan.

I’m definitely thankful for Jersey Gods which has just been an absolute stellar new ongoing series from Image. Everything about this comic has been great and I love it, especially it’s characters which the writer Glen Brunswick has done a great job of building up.

Jersey Gods has had lots of memorable characters from it’s main 2 characters Barock and Zoe to side characters like Helius. Brunswick is doing an awesome job of building up his own little universe and it’s been tons of fun to watch unfold.
Currently Jersey Gods is on it’s second story arc, The Abandoned. This story line has been really great for it’s little twists and continuing to use the relationship of Barock and Zoe where we really feel for them and get to see just how strong their love is. We also get Barock’s crazy mom which is tons of fun.


Dan McDaid’s art has also really grown on me as time goes by. His art has gotten better and better and now I can’t see anyone else drawing this series other then him.

If you’re looking to get into Jersey Gods I recommend picking up the first collection then in January the 2nd collection and in February jumping on with #11 to read the series monthly. It’s one of the most fun reads I’ve had in a long time and I’m thankful I gave this series a shot earlier this year in February.

Jim hit the nail on the head about Invincible, but I wanted to at least mention it myself as I currently have been loving Invincible every month. Ever since the Invincible War this series has been getting better and better. I know a lot of people prefer to read this in collections, but with the Invincible Returns one shot in February I highly recommend you start on with Invincible there.

I am thankful for Streets of Gotham which has been an absolutely amazing series so far from Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen. Even Chris Yost during his little fill in arc did a good job. Not to mention this series is actually a pretty good one for filler arcs because the premise allows different tales that aren’t just focused on Batman and it works really well here.

Paul Dini has taken what  could have easily been a very boring and random series that has uninteresting stories and is just Batman going around fighting crime and he took that and he’s made something really special out of this series.

Dini has done it where he can tell a larger story issue to issue even by using different scenarios and characters from month to month which really is brilliant.

A good example of this is the building story of Hush impersonating Bruce Wayne and Zsasz using his newfound wealth but while these are all growing threats he is able to tell the story of a man who sells lairs to super villains and still make this one shot story just as interesting as the growing plots while still developing these other stories.

Also he seems to be trying to widen the view on Gotham. We’re not just seeing it through Batman’s eyes anymore we’re now seeing this on a more wide level. We’re seeing people like Abuse and how Firefly are all reacting to this new status quo and how some of them are even shaking it up.

The art by Nguyen has been excellent. While he’s had his problems, he’s been doing a good job of handling a more wide cast of characters and Dini is taking the artist out of his comfort zone and really pushing him to do great things.


Dini is taking a risk and not playing it safe by writing this series as your typical side comic that never does anything interesting or important. He’s making this a series that anyone who’s a long time fan of his work or a long time fan of Batman should check out to see a different view on Gotham city.

I’m not reading much Marvel nowadays but I am reading the reboot of Ultimate Spider-man and it’s been really good.

Now anyone who saw my review of issue #1 knows I was rather disappointed with it, but Bendis has easily mended that and is once again making this series one of the best comics out there on the shelves.

David Lafuente on art has been absolutely gorgeous as his characters all look great and he brings a new kind of energy to Ultimate Spider-man that really looks  great.

I really am starting to love this series again as Bendis has been doing great with building up our Ultimate Mysterio and also rebuilding our cast of characters as we see MJ coming back and being more interesting.

A lot has changed for Ultimate Spider-man but deep down it’s still one of the best books out there you should be reading.

I want to end on a mini-series. The recently concluded Dark Reign: Young Avengers which was just tons of fun to read and really great.

Now honestly this series mostly just served to introduce us to the Young Masters for their possible appearance later next year but I still loved the hell out of it as Paul Cornell did a great job taking what little he had to work with and making it work well.

I’m a huge Young Avengers fan and he really used the team and their dynamic incredibly well. Especially for Patriot who was just all kinds of awesome in this series as he finally manned up and smacked down Norman off his high horse.

If all the Dark Reign mini’s left you confused on what ones you should and should not read, since there has been a lot of them, I say definitely give this one a try as it’s got some great character work and absolutely gorgeous art work. Some of the best art I’ve seen all year really.

The TPB will be out soon and while I think it really deserves the Hardcover treatment it’s better then no collection at all. Check this out for sure as it was my favorite mini-series of this year.

Rokk

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, Andrenn rightfully posed the question “What comic books are you thankful for?”  That is a great question.  Despite the numerous problems that current day comic books may be struggling with the fact remains that there are some titles out there that I am truly thankful are being published. 

Now, this list of titles and writers that I am most thankful for from 2009 is absolutely not a “best of” list.  These are not the titles that I find are the hands down best titles that you can buy.  They are, in fact, simply the titles that I am most thankful for due to various reasons.

1.      Incredible Hercules: I am thankful that Marvel publishes this offbeat title.  This title is truly unique compared to the other titles in Marvel’s stable of comic books.  Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak have made Incredible Hercules an enjoyable adventure romp that possesses an incredible sense of humor. 


No matter what mood I might be in, Incredible Hercules always manages to elicit a chuckle from me and put a smile on my face.  Very few titles can get that response from me.  Incredible Hercules is able to do it each and every month. 

2.      The Marvels Project: One thing that I absolutely adore is the Golden Age of comic books.  Part of why I like the DCU so much is their deep Golden Age history that they are quite proud of and like to embrace.  Marvel, on the other hand, never had the same rich history. That was mainly due to the fact that Marvel largely ignored their Golden Age Timely Comics characters. 

Well, that has been changing as of late and The Marvels Project is a large part of that change in thinking over at the House of Ideas.  I am a fan of Ed Brubaker’s work and have been pleased with his handling of Marvel’s Golden Age in this title.  The idea to fully flesh out its Golden Age continuity will only serve to give Marvel’s 616 Universe more depth and texture.  I am looking forward to Marvel’s continued dedication to its Golden Age roots. 

I am certainly thankful for Marvel’s efforts to cultivate its Golden Age and to educate the modern reader on some truly classic Timely Comics characters.

3.      Ultimate Avengers: I am so thankful that Mark Millar has returned to save the Ultimate Universe in the wake of Jeph Loeb’s horrendous Ultimatum story.  I have been a fan of the Ultimate Universe since the very first day.  To be sure, the Ultimate Universe has had its ups and downs.  However, I have always thought that the Ultimate Universe titles had plenty of potential.  I certainly thought that the Ultimate Universe deserved better than the pathetic excuse for a story that Loeb gagged up in Ultimatum. 

Once Ultimatum concluded I thought for certain that the Ultimate Universe was as good as dead.  That could not be further from the truth.  Like a knight on a white horse, Millar rode back into the Ultimate Universe and instantly made the Ultimate Universe an exciting place once again. 

Ultimate Avengers is a young title, but it has already become an incredibly entertaining and exciting read.  When it comes to action and adventure it is tough to beat this summer blockbuster styled title. 

I am thankful that Millar has been able to work his magic in glossing over Ultimatum and attempting to return the Ultimate Universe back to its former glory.

4.      R.E.B.E.L.S.: I am thankful that DC is publishing a title like R.E.B.E.L.S. that stands out from the rest of the super hero comic books that DC publishes.  Tony Bedard has worked the same kind of magic with some of DC’s lesser-known cosmic characters like DnA have done with Marvel’s cosmic characters.  Bedard has done a nice job with the old L.E.G.I.O.N. characters as well as with the Omega Men. 

What is particularly enjoyable is that Bedard deals with more than just the typical cosmic characters that you see in the DCU like Green Lanterns, Rannians, Thanagarians and Kryptonians.  Instead, Bedard takes the reader through the cosmic part of the DCU that is usually only ever seen in the pages of the Legion of Super Heroes. 

This leads me to my next point.  With DC determined to completely butcher the Legion of Super Heroes franchise, R.E.B.E.L.S. has served to satisfy my Legion itch.  Honestly, at this point, I would much rather read R.E.B.E.L.S. than a new Legion of Super Heroes title.  At least I get the feeling that DC is taking a relatively hands off approach concerning how Bedard handles R.E.B.E.L.S. compared to the Legion which is usually ripped apart by editorial decisions. 

R.E.B.E.L.S. is a distinctive and original comic book that sets itself apart from the rest of the super hero comic books that DC publishes.  I am thankful that DC decided to publish R.E.B.E.L.S. and that they appear committed to trying to grow this title’s readership.

5.      Flash: Rebirth: Okay, I know the majority of The Revolution’s followers are rolling their eyes at this point.  But, remember what I stated earlier: this is not a “Best of” list.  There is no doubt that Flash: Rebirth has had more than its share of defects from its slow pacing to its questionable plotting.   At no point would I ever claim that Flash: Rebirth has been an excellent title that is worthy of a “Best of” list. 

However, the fact remains that I am extremely thankful for Flash: Rebirth.  The reason is simple.  I am a huge Barry Allen fan and I am tremendously thankful that Johns and DC have brought back Barry Allen.  I am thankful that DC has given back to me my Flash. 

Yes, I know that Barry technically “returned” in Final Crisis #2 near the end of 2008.  But, Barry’s real return to the DCU has been during 2009 in both Flash: Rebirth and in Blackest Night.  This is probably what I am most thankful for out of everything that has happened in comics in 2009.

6.      Invincible: I am thankful for Invincible reminding me on a monthly basis what limitless creative potential that comic books free from editorial mandates possess.  Robert Kirkman has managed to make Invincible one of my all-time favorite comic books. 


Kirkman’s success on Invincible is not due to him being some incredibly talented writer.  Nor is this title’s success based on the fact that it stars an established character that legions of readers would support regardless of how bad the story might be.  Nor is Invincible’s success because Kirkman enjoys a huge hype machine broadcasting 24/7for him like many Marvel and DC titles do. 

No, Invincible is one of my all-time favorite comic books because it is pure fun to read and it is one of those titles where literally anything can happen at any moment.  The magic of Invincible is a combination of Kirkman’s wild and unchained imagination and the fact that Kirkman remains unfettered by the confines of editorial mandated stories on this title. 

Kirkman is lucky enough to be able to do whatever he wants with the story on Invincible.  The result is a story that while the plotting might become a bit wild and uncontrolled is still intensely entertaining and exciting.  Invincible has that same special ingredient that Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s Amazing Spider-Man possessed: heart.  To be sure, Invincible is one of those rare comic book titles that has plenty of heart.

7.      Irredeemable: I am thankful for this little gem of a title from Boom.  Mark Waid surprised many people with this tale of a Superman gone bad.  Waid is a writer often tied with more traditional super hero stories.  In the current age of comic books where “trendy” indie styled writers like Bendis or crime pulp style writers like Brubaker and “adult” styled writers like Ellis are dominating the market, Waid’s stock has plummeted. 

It is true that Waid may not be like the aforementioned writers, but make no mistake, Waid can write the hell out of a comic book.  And Irredeemable is proof positive of that.  I love that one of the most “adult” and “dark” comic books currently being published is penned by none other than Mark Waid.  I will openly admit that I never expected that Waid would be capable of cranking out a read like Irredeemable. 

Irredeemable is an intelligent read that offers the most fascinating take on question of “What if Superman was evil?” that I have ever read.  I am so thankful that Waid found the necessary inspiration and creative freedom at Boom that enabled him to create Irredeemable.

8.      Peter Tomasi: I am thankful for Peter Tomasi over at DC Comics.  I am glad that DC finally has someone other than Geoff Johns and Grant Morrison to carry the load in the DCU.  For a while, I was concerned for DC as it seemed that they were leaning far too heavily on Johns.  It is never a good idea for a comic book company to place all if its eggs in one basket. 


Tomasi’s blossoming into one of DC’s top tier writers, along with Johns and Morrison, means that DC will have more depth and flexibility with the creative decisions for the DCU.  Tomasi has shown that he has the creative chops to write strong dialogue and good character work.  Tomasi has also consistently displayed an excellent sense of the DCU’s continuity and the characters within the DCU.  

Tomasi should be ready to assume the mantle as DC’s top writer when Johns eventually moves on to the next stage of his writing career.

9.      Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning: I am thankful for Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning over at Marvel Comics.  DnA have managed to performs wonders and resurrect the 616 Universe’s moribund cosmic characters. 

I have always loved Marvel’s cosmic side of its universe.  It is chock full of great characters courtesy of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.  The Marvel cosmic characters have not been this interesting since the wonderful job that Jim Starlin did with them in the 1970’s.  

I never thought I would say this, but at this point, Marvel’s cosmic side of their universe is the most interesting part of the 616 Universe.  DnA consistently crank out entertaining reads on Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy.  DnA has also successfully pulled off a galactic big event in War of Kings and are now working on their second one with Realm of Kings.  Once underutilized characters like the Inhumans and the Shi’ar Imperial Guard have become relevant within the Marvel Universe. 

I am thankful for DnA injecting so much excitement into Marvel’s comics side of the Marvel Universe and giving readers some of the most entertaining comic books that Marvel currently publishes. 

Kevin

Amazing Spider-Man


As the comic and the character that first got me into reading comics it is great for me to be able to say that I look forward to reading Amazing Spider-Man whenever it comes out. Ever since ASM #500 the quality of this title was just not the same with the introduction of all the mythical elements to Spider-Man’s origin and a specific storyline that will not be mentioned. But finally, since the American Son arc, this is a title I look forward to reading each week that I get it. And I actually like this three times a month release schedule this title now has as it allows for stories that are not so great to end quickly instead of taking up half the year and also I don’t have to wait too long finish up an arc that I am enjoying. So it’s the best of both worlds. Also it helps that this title probably released one of my best single issues I have read in a long time in Amazing Spider-Man #600. So as a life-long Spider-Man fan I am thankful that this title has returned to the quality it once had with some great writers in Slott, Kelly, Van Lente, Waid, and others leading the charge.

Marvel’s Cosmic Titles

Before DnA came on to take on the task to revive the cosmic corner of the Marvel Universe I was not very familiar with most of the cosmic characters. The only Marvel cosmic character I knew about was Nova because of New Warriors. But that all changed with Annihilation and its sequel Conquest. Right now Nova, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Realm of Kings are the comics I am most enjoying right now. DnA have done a wonderful job breathing life into a long forgotten corner of the Marvel Universe and get new readers, like myself, into characters that were small characters. And all that work DnA have been doing really paid off big with War of Kings. While not a big seller like most of Marvel and DC’s big events it was probably my favorite event book I have read from either company. Even with that huge event DnA just continue to move onto bigger things now that Realm of Kings has started. And how can I not be thankful to the guys who gave us a talking raccoon who can kick ass and make awesome jokes.

Daredevil

Like Spider-Man, Daredevil has been a character I have been reading since I was a kid, and though there was never anything wrong with the title last year, the title was just never as strong as it was in previous years. That changed this year with Brubaker bringing back the Hand. For a while, like the League of Assassin’s over in Batman, the Hand had become jokes within the Marvel Universe as they never reached that similar threat level they once had. But Brubaker was able to bring them back into being a serious organization to deal with as he introduced Lady Bullseye and Master Izo. Both characters have added a lot to the Daredevil mythos. It also helps that we finally got the return of Wilson Fisk. Along with the Hand and the return of the true Kingpin of Crime this title is at the top of my list for comics I first read whichever week it comes out. And with the new direction for Matt Murdock’s character I have no idea where Andy Diggle and Roberto De La Torre, which is awesome.

Joel


Ambush Bug:  Year None (I just love Ambush Bug. The first Ambush Bug mini series was the first series I ever bought at my first Comic Convention.)


Batman Battle for the Cowl (I liked the way Tony Daniels handled this series.  I thought he did a good job of essentially re-doing the Batman franchise)


The first 3 Batman and Robin  (Grant Morrison is awesome, well for the first few issues.  I love Frank Quietly's work as well.  I'm disappointed in the way this series has gone as of lately.)

Wednesday Comics   (It was a nice new way to read comics.)

Skrull Kill Krew  (Ryder kicks ass.  Plain and simple.)

Geoff John's Justice Society  (I was happy to see the Justice Society come back a few years ago and Geoff Johns did a good job of introducing the new Justice Society.)

Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader  (I buy anything that has to do with Batman and I enjoyed the one-shots)

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That’s all for this Thanksgiving, everyone. We hope you had a great time, got some laughs, ate lots of turkey and enjoyed spending time with your family. I want to end this on one last thing I’m thankful for, even though it’s not comics per say. I’m thankful for the chance to write for you all and to meet everyone of you, everyone here at the Revolution and other blogs and all the readers. I’m thankful for all this and I appreciate every moment of it.

Thank you all very much and have a great Thanksgiving. We hope to hear what comics you're thankful for this year.

-Andrenn

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Image United #1 Review


With so much hype around this one issue, I decided to give Image United the solo review treatment. I did pick up Blackest Night #5 but I’ll be posting that review on Friday as tomorrow I’ll be posting the Comics to be Thankful for here and at the Revolution.

But now to Image United, one of the most highly anticipated comics of the year for me!

Creative Team
Written: Robert Kirkman
Art: Todd McFarlane, Erik Larsen, Rob Liefeld, Jim Valentino, Marc Silvestri and Whilce Portacio

Opening Comments: Image United #1 does a good job of starting up the event and setting everything in place. Though it doesn’t do too much else. Still a good start to something that could be great.

Story Comments: Most of the story is just the various Image heroes doing their thing. We see Dragon and Youngblood team up against Overt-kill and we see Cyberforce take on some Savage Dragon villains like Mako and this is all the while Fortress is trying to get his bearings.

It’s a very simple set up really. Someone or something is behind all these villains attacking the world at the same time. Not exactly a brand new concept but for the most part it’s a good reason to get our heroes riled up and ready for a big fight.

One thing that excels here are the use of all these diverse characters. Kirkman does a great job of finding the characters and their distinct voices then bringing them to life properly and having them sound as we would expect them to.

I especially liked things like the nod that Savage Dragon hates teaming up with Youngblood since he’s a mature adult and they are very immature young heroes that are mostly glory hounds. There’s no secret that Dragon hates Youngblood so seeing him not want to work with them was great.

Another thing I liked was this twist for the character of Shadowhawk. How he wants to join Youngblood. It sort of reminds me how the original Shadowhawk was disappointed that he never joined a team and I can’t help but wonder if this was a little nod to that great hero.

I’m not too familiar with Cyberforce but what I have read up on them leads me to believe that Kirkman did a good job with them as well with the team dynamic they have going.

Really Kirkman did a good job with the 2 teams on this book. Youngblood was the usual brash overly excited group of young heroes they always have been and Cyberforce where fairly smart and interesting to watch. Especially when they discussed if they should act as the villains keep attacking.

Another thing about Shadowhawk that I liked was how Kirkman showed us the young somewhat nervous hero he is. Eddie is probably the youngest hero of the Image United heroes (Maybe he’s older then Fortress, I’m not sure really) so his nervousness at joining Youngblood really fit his character well.

I admit I’ve never liked the Youngblood cast of characters. Though Kirkman did a pretty good job with them even if they still don’t appeal to me he at least presented them in a way that wasn’t as annoying as they have been in the past.

I did like the opening a lot. Kirkman wrote it sort of to give us our action and show that there is a major throw down ahead in the series but that while we’re not exactly getting that now we at least got a taste and it was really great seeing this.

Fortress is an interesting new character into the Image fold. We can assume he’s our “Main Character” of sorts but at the same time he still is there as just one piece of the puzzle and thankfully Kirkman doesn’t push the character at us so much that we lose focus of the other important heroes to this story.

And that’s where Kirkman excels most in this issue is giving all the characters a lot of moments and making them all feel important. No one feels like they where forced into the story and everyone’s moments felt important to the larger story.

Though Fortress may be our main hero in all of this, since clearly he’s tied to whatever is going on and is seeing visions of the future. We still feel like all the other heroes are important to the story and add a lot of depth to what otherwise was a somewhat thin read.

I really like the use of the Image villains here. Especially having Overt-kill be at least a somewhat credible threat. Sure he does get blown up by the end of the issue but seeing one of the best early Spawn villains get so much time and at least posing as somewhat of a major threat was really cool.

I also liked seeing Mako being attacked by Cyberforce. Rather then just having the heroes all fight their regular villains they are doing a good job of showing how the villains are going after everyone not just the heroes they personally hate and that was a nice touch.

Then of course there’s the new Jim Spawn meeting Al Simmons, or as he now goes, Omega Spawn. I must admit this was a really cool moment, seeing the 2 Spawns face to face but I’m not exactly sure how this is all going to work out. Al wants Jim to work for him but Jim already doesn’t seem too fond of Al.

We get a mention of the “unfaithful” husk that Jim is wearing. I’m wondering if this means that Jim is indeed wearing the K7 Leetha suit and that it left Al for some reason and this is all effecting Jim. It’s just a random theory that popped into my head but it seems that Omega Spawn is bitter that Jim is now Spawn.

We did get a nice moment between Dragon and his kids. I really like the characters of Malcolm and Angel so seeing them get a quick moment of wanting to help their father was nicely done.

Now the biggest issue Image United has to it is that really not much happens yet. Villains are attacking everywhere, our heroes are all in place and now the main villain has revealed himself and is looking for a new recruit who I have the funniest feeling won’t be so eager to join him. (It was mentioned that the 2 Spawns will fight in issue #2, something I’m really excited for)

Though really there’s not much else. Besides some great character moments this issue was a pretty thin read with not much bulk to it besides some good moments and handling of the characters.

Kirkman does a solid job with what he can do for a debut issue but sadly because this issue exists to set up the pieces he can’t really do much more. All the real major stuff starts next month and lets be honest this is typical of an event comic so I’m not really complaining much.

Still if Kirkman could have done a little more I think this issue would have been a more exciting read. Just a bit more to really push this issue into a level of excitement and intrigue. So far everything is set up and now the real fun begins next time and while this issue is a good start it leaves you wanting more both in the good and bad way.

Another big flaw is that it’s not exactly new reader friendly. If you’re not familiar with Shadowhawk, or Spawn, or Savage Dragon then you’re probably going to be confused as to who some of these characters are and their back story. While we didn’t need an entire reiteration of their histories a little bit of back story would have been nice for new readers probably.

Now there was also the Haunt back up. I don’t have too much to say on it other then it was a great 6 pages that really used the 2 characters and how they interact very well and also how we see their powers as they try to figure them out. For 6 pages this was a really great read and if you’re reading Haunt you’ll probably like this moment.

Overall the story is a solid and enjoyable read but that just barely misses the mark on becoming an absolute must read.

Art Comments: there’s a lot to say about the art of Image United what with 6 artists, all of them handling their own characters and creations.

First I want to say that Rob Liefeld did a great job on the layouts of this comic as the panels are all designed very nicely. Also while I may not be a big fan of his art, this was pretty good looking for Liefeld art. Still has some weird things like Diehard have an oddly sculpted ass but whatever. Still good art.

McFarlane did a great job both with the 2 Spawns and Overt-kill who looked absolutely awesome in this issue. He really adds that beautiful detail making for a great looking villain.

Larsen did his usual great job and while his style has changed the most over the years it still retains that classic greatness.

Silvestri continues to turn in gorgeous stuff as Cyberforce and Witchblade are very nicely drawn. My only complaint is Witchblade is only in the opening scene so Silvestri didn’t get to draw more of her.

Valentino turned in solid work though I don’t think this was his best. My biggest problem was he draw Shadowhawk only for 2 pages. I love the character so I was really disappointed that he showed up only 2 times.

Portacio turns in some solid work for Fortress. I really like the design of it all and he does a great job with the emotion the character is conveying through his frustration to try and help and make sense of everything.

Overall the art was absolutely gorgeous.

Final Comments: For me and other longtime Image fans this series is a must read. It’s got a great use of the characters we all loved growing up and is absolutely beautifully well drawn. Though if you’re not familiar with Image this issue isn’t exactly great for you. I say give it a read if you’re interested and you may find something fun.

Really this was a good start but Image United needs to make that extra break for greatness now that it’s all ready to go. If Kirkman and crew can really up the ante with next moth’s issue then Image United has ability to be one of the best Event comics out there.

Story Rating: 3 out of 5
Art Rating: 5 out of 5
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
Must Read 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Turtles Forever Review


Growing up I watched a lot of cartoons, Batman, Spider-man, though one carton captivated me as a child like no other. The title alone mystified me. I was familiar with the super heroes like Batman and Spider-man, but when I heard these 4 words I knew I had to find out more.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Now growing up I watched this show on VHS a lot. I loved this series as well as the live action films (well, the first 2 at least) and Turtles in Time for the Super Nintendo is one of my favorite games of all time. So to say the last the Turtles have had a big impact on me over the years.

I wanted to mention my history with the TMNT because I do find them to be an essential part of my childhood. The cartoon, movies, video games toys and comics all where things I have memories with and I love them all.

Now the 2003 series is something that some TMNT fans seem to scorn for it’s different design and more darker take on the TMNT. Rather then them being funny off the wall heroes. I personally liked it a lot, but after a few seasons I got bored with it and stopped watching.

It had lots of clever moments and some great character work but it was failing to keep me interested after a while.

The 2007 CG movie was a good movie. But the plot sucked. The whole thing about some ancient guy and his stone warrior brothers was garbage. All the parts with the TMNT getting back together though was awesome and the CG was great.

Overall the TMNT have sort of fallen into the backdrop of my life. I don’t have any DVD’s of the cartoon that I watch regularly. I own the movies on VHS but aside from that and some comics I’ve sort of shelved the Turtles as I’ve grown up.

So while the TMNT mean a lot to me, I haven’t been all that interested in them for a while. The purchasing of them from Nickelodeon has me worried about the future of the TMNT but at the same time I think Nick is smart enough to use a popular property like this when they have one.

I wanted to give you all my own little history with the TMNT as I must admit when I first heard of Turtles Forever a few days back I jumped for joy at the sound of it. Sure the old cartoon was never perfect but seeing those turtles I grew up with meeting the current Turtles of today? Absolutely awesome.

But it gets even better, 2003 Shredder is back. He was awesome and one thing I loved about the cartoon. All this together got me pretty excited for watching this Saturday night!

Then my DVR gave me a big middle finger and messed up the recording.

So I had to watch it on Youtube. Not as epic but hey I’m not complaining. Much.

So Turtles Forever, how was it?

Pretty damn good.

Now lets talk about the movie’s biggest fault and that’s how they handle the original cartoon TMNT. I understand they where super goofy and compared to the Mirage and 2003 Turtles may come off as really silly but this was just downright overkill.

I didn’t mind them being goofy and joking and funny. That was all good, but they never really buckled down and got serious even when they said they where going to. In the old cartoon, insane as stuff got, they where still badass heroes.


Here they are the kid versions of the Turtles. They get scared of big bad guys and run with their tails between their legs and rarely do anything. Now I can understand that they may not be great at handling 2003 Shredder alone since he’s pretty bad, but they could have at least tried.

Honestly this was parody of them more. It took their goofy nature and dialed it up to 11. Now most of the time I didn’t mind this. I can take that my childhood had a goofy and funny cartoon that was hilarious more then badass. I leave that stuff to Batman and Spider-man. But the writers didn’t even try to diversify this team.

In the old cartoon the Turtles, while all somewhat similar, where at least a bit different. Here they all just feel like pallet swaps of each other and it was really annoying.

Other then that I did like seeing the 80’s cartoon Turtles still. It was fun seeing this more kid friendly goofy side of the Turtles and Shredder as they interacted with the 2003 versions. If they’d  toned down the stupid a little bit though it would have been much better.

I wanted to address the voice actors because this movie had a nice crew of voice actors.

Now looking at the old cartoon’s original voice actors and the 2003 cartoon’s voice actors I can say I prefer the 2003 voice actors much more. They sound more distinct and different for one. Also characters like Leonardo and Raphael sound much more like I would think they would sound from reading the comics.

I know 4Kids entertainment gets a lot of flack for things like their dubs of anime and all that but when it came to the voice actors of this movie they did a good job. With the exception of one voice.

Leonardo from the 80’s Cartoon…my favorite Turtle…is stuck with Dan Green. A damn good voice actor, but someone with a very deep voice that sounds nothing like I would think Leo to sound like. While I could take the Shredder not sounding like James Avery, this was just a horrible choice of voice actor for a character. If anything he should have been given Raphael.

Now the voice actors for the Mirage Turtles (more on them later) where all done very nicely. I especially liked Jason Griffith as Leonardo who really did a great job with the casual yet intense lines. Especially the final line. Also the voice for Raphael was deep and grittier, much more like what I would think Raph would sound like.

So for the most part the voice acting was great.

Animation was great as well. They really did a great job of animating the faces and just making a really great looking movie. Especially the world of the Mirage Turtles. It all looked great.

Now for the story. Most of it is just build up really for the final act in the world of Turtles Prime (the Mirage Turtles) and it does a great job of slowly building. We get a nice explanation as to why the 80’s Turtles are there and it all comes together nicely.

We also get 2003 Shredder back in all his glory and it was really cool seeing him flick bumbling 80’s Shredder aside. I also liked that Kerai was an important character to the story. Though she was the only background character that had any impact.

April and Casey appear but it’s more of them just making a cameo and having a few random lines thrown in to show us that they are still around. Really just a waste of their characters as I really like the 2003 versions of these characters and wanted to see more of them as well as 80’s April.

The story of all these multi-verses and how they all revolve around the Turtles all works really well and while lets face it, it’s some pretty crazy stuff, the story does an excellent job of building it all up and making it seem realistic for the Turtles at least, even if nowhere near realistic in real life.

When we see all these different dimensions I did like seeing little cameos of things like the live action TMNT and other little Easter Eggs for all the long time fans out there.

We get lots of cameos from characters like Bebop and Rocksteady as well as seeing animated versions of Tokka and Rahzar from the 2nd live action film so there’s really a lot of little goodies for the longtime fans out there to recognize and enjoy in this film and I really loved that they did that.

It all does a great job of building and building and building up to our epic final confrontation in Turtles Prime.

Now the final act in  Turtles Prime is absolutely awesome. For one the fight with Shredder is great, but what really  makes this all so amazing is getting to see the Mirage Turtles in animation form.

Now I haven’t read all the Mirage comics from the early days of the TMNT but what I have read is absolutely awesome. It was all badass and honestly I couldn’t believe that someone took these badass heroes and turned them into the fun loving goofy heroes of my childhood.

The designs of the Mirage Turtles are perfectly taken from the original comic and implanted into animation beautifully. Also we get things like Leo narrating and we even get a few quotes from the original first issue of the comic such as “It seems the Shredder…has been shredded!” which lets face it, cheesy as that was, is still awesome.


This is the part that honestly felt like a love letter to TMNT fans. Every moment and line with the Mirage Turtles was absolutely awesome. They are just so fearless and badass. Taking on a gigantic Shredder, jumping right on his face and not worrying at all, making Shredder of course freak out.

This is all just so awesome and it really is the highlight of the movie and the whole reason you should see it. Even if you never read the Mirage comics or  are familiar with these versions of the Turtles it was awesomeness. So much that I think the Mirage Turltes deserve their own animated series or film.

Of course the ending is a great way to cap off this movie. We have our Turtles go separate ways back to their dimension then the Mirage Turtles contemplate getting a slice of pizza. Then Leo delivers that great line and we fade to seeing the original creators, David Eastman and Peter Laird having finished the comic, going out for pizza and mentioning how they hope the comic sells well.

A brilliant way to end the movie.

Overall I really did enjoy the hell out of this movie. Even if it treated my childhood heroes like they where the little kids version of the Turtles (which they sort of where) I still loved it mostly for that awesome final act.

Longtime fans of the Turtles and young kids can watch this movie together and both can enjoy it even if for different reasons. While you may not like seeing the 80’s Turtles be more or less kids, everything else is golden making for a must see experience.

Now so far there isn’t any DVD announcements but when one comes out you can bet I’ll be picking it up. If you haven’t seen this movie definitely check it out as it’s greatness for TMNT fans of all ages.

Score: 8 Turtles out of 10 

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Week Begins - November 23rd 2009

Only 2 comics coming out this week but their both pretty big comics this week. Both event comics.

Image United #1 *Most Anticipated*
Written: Robert Kirkman
Art: Todd McFarlane, Erik Larsen, Mar Silvestri, Jim Valentino, Whilce Portacio and Rob Liefeld


Growing up as a child of the 90’s Image comics was a major part of my comic book life. They have grown over the years into a company I’ve come to expect great things from. While their more recent comics like Invincible and Jersey Gods are all great, I never forgot about the awesome debut titles.

Now the only classic Image titles I’ve read into much where Spawn, Savage Dragon and Witchblade. I know plenty about Youngblood and Cyberforce even if they never interested me and I have a lot of nostalgia for these characters and their creators.

So with this comic comes plenty of nostalgia, but I’m also very excited to check this out. The story sounds awesome with the heroes of the Image-verse trying to come together to stop our big villain, Al Simmons Spawn.

I am coming into this issue with a bit of trepidation mind you. Not to mention the fact that this series has already hit a delay (big surprise) and I am trying not to be too excited so that my hopes get dashed. But at the same time it’s hard not to be itching with excitement to read and see the gorgeous art that lies in wait for me. Let’s hope Kirkman can deliver.

Blackest Night #5
Written: Geoff Johns
Art: Ivan Reis


With last issue being a rather dull “lets just stand around and talk about what we should do” kind of issue I’m losing interest in Blackest Night at warp speed. Johns started out with 2 great strong issues but since #3 it just feels like we’re running in place.

Johns clearly has big things in mind with Nekron so I’m really hopeful that he can utilize the lord of the Black Lanterns well as his debut at the end of last issue was absolutely awesome. If he is as badass as he looked there then I may not mind the wait.

So we’ve reached the halfway point and are entering the second half of Blackest Night. Up until this point it’s been “Dead rise, people get upset, hearts get ripped out” but now it’s time for something new. With Nekron here lets hope Johns can kick this event back into high gear.

Green Lantern #48
Written: Geoff Johns
Art: Doug Mahnke


Honestly I’m more tempted to just pick this up instead of Blackest Night #5 this week, it would for sure be a more interesting read no doubt and probably will be ten times more worth the price then whatever running in place game may take place in Blackest Night #5.

I’m mostly kidding but still, we all know this issue will probably be better then Blackest Night this week.

This issue deals with things like the Blue Lanterns and Atrocitus and Larfleeze duking it out over the Orange Power Battery. It sounds absolutely awesome. If I somehow can afford an extra pick up at the LCS I really want to pick this issue up.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Week's End - November 22nd 2009

With this edition of Week’s End comes again some spoilers for Invincible #68, again, if you have not read that issue yet I highly advise you avoid this post like the plague.

Comic of the Week: Invincible #68


Not too hard of a choice, Kirkman and Ottley delivered the goods on returning to one of the best comics out there. This month’s Invincible really blew me away and was just all around greatness. Of course what really elevated it was being stuffed with great character work, tons of fun moments and awesome art.

Moment of the Week: Eve is Pregnant! And Conquest lives!


Eve being pregnant is a pretty big twist for the Invincible series. If Kirkman can actually do something with this and avoid the most annoying of super hero clich├ęs I think it could be a brilliant move.


CONQUEST! Yes! I am so glad to see Conquest back in action. Hopefully he’s going to be a major role during the Viltrumite war since it seems he’s going home to prepare his pals to invade. That’s just my guess though.

Cover of the Week: Mighty Avengers #31 by Marko Djurdjevic


No surprise that he’s back for another round of cover of the week. This guys work consistently blows me away and while this cover is no exception I’ve got a bit of extra reasons why it’s my favorite this week.

He fits a lot of Avengers onto the image but at the same time it doesn’t feel like they all got  clumped together. It all fits nicely really. Also he uses a good amount of Avengers from all 3 teams, New, Mighty and Initiative.

Then there’s the coloring, I just love it. It looks like the Avengers are standing in a hellish battlefield as the smoke clears and they stand victorious. Very cool image and it’s just beautifully complimented by the colors. Just all around a great cover.

Artist of the Week: Ryan Ottley


Ottley mainly wins this for his great return to Invincible. Much as I loved Walker’s art on his run, Ottley really blew me away with his art here on Invincible as it looked absolutely awesome.

“Whoa” of the Week: Nice Outfits


There’s been a lot of mixed reaction from fans on the new costumes here. While Liberty Belle’s looks downright stupid I really like Wally’s. I think it’s much better then Barry’s as it’s more dynamic and eye catching and overall just looks cooler. Of course Wally’s daughter as the new Impulse confuses me but whatever. Point is I like this twist and it makes the 2 Flash’ more distinguishable. I still like Wally more but you get the point.

Collection of the Week: Destroyer HC


I love me some good old fashioned violence and it doesn’t look like anything can compete with Destroyer. Everything I’ve heard about this mini-series sounds awesome and I can’t wait to get myself a copy and read all the insane over the top goodness that Kirkman and Walker have created.