Thursday, January 7, 2010

Event Comics Reviews - January 7th 2009

3 event comics in one post, too much epico for you all too handle! And for me as well! Yeah, I’ve got a lot of comics to review from both this week and a prior week, so we’re going to cut this up into multiple parts. Tackling the 3 event comics today, I’ll try to get all the other comics into one post by tomorrow but if I can’t, I’ll post half one day and half the next.

But now onto the comics, today we’re tackling 3 major event comics from the 3 companies I love.

Siege #1
Written: Brian Bendis
Art: Olivier Coipel

Opening Comments: My expectations weren’t too high with Siege, I expected an epic and fun start to things just like with Secret Invasion. Sadly my already low expectations where not fulfilled and Siege turned out to have a painfully thin and weak start to the event.

Story Comments: It’s amazing when I look at how weak this issue was. Here Bendis started Secret Invasion off with a bang, making it feel like something that was trembling all through the Marvel Universe. Then Siege just sort of whispers to start it’s major event.

When you’ve got 4 issues to fill, a slow boring start is not the smart way to grab readers! Maybe Bendis wants to do some kind of build up, but you have to have a little payoff by the end of the first chapter if you’re going to use build up.

Another big fault is Bendis has such a small scope so far in Siege. This issue really just focuses on Norman and his Avengers. No one else. We see a few other characters but that’s not until near the end and even then it just felt like such a small storyline. If anything this issue felt like a below average issue of Dark Avengers really.

With an event that’s supposed to cover the entire Marvel U, or at least a good chunk of it, it would be wise to show more then just a small amount of characters. Really this is something obvious that I shouldn’t have to say, any good event knows to cover more then just one team of characters.

Beyond that the use of characters wasn’t all that great either. We see Norman Osborn being an idiot and then his Avengers being idiots along with him. He makes deals to clear them of all charges after the siege, a good idea but not when you’re sending them into a death trap like fighting gods!

Also I still don’t get Osborn’s direction here as to why he wants to take down Asgard. He says it’s a threat, but it’s not. It hasn’t done a damn thing wrong and yet he thinks it should be attacked? Call me crazy if that’s not poking the sleeping beast that isn’t doing a damn thing to you.

Bendis has done a really good job of showing a more calculated and clever Norman Osborn then beyond his Green Goblin persona. That Norman is a smart man who can do smart things and he generally sees himself as a hero and that’s all fine. But then you kind of ruin that whole idea when you make him do the most stupid thing of all time.

I g uses it’s something about cementing his place of power but if anything attacking Asgard is a bigger threat to it then anything else. No one likes being known as the guy who went to war with whatever country. You think any politician who has ever went to war was generally proud of it? (besides Dick Cheney but he doesn’t have a heart so it doesn’t count) no! It’s a bad move and it makes you look bad!

I was expecting Bendis to give us a feasible reason finally as to why Norman wants Asgard gone. Maybe if we see the Asgardians getting pushy or bossy to the town not far from them or something like that, but no. He’s just doing it because he’s an idiot.

Then there’s the set up with the recreation of Civil War, this time at Soldier Field. While I don’t mind it necessarily, I sort of wish something more interesting would happen rather then just “Oh look thanks to one of them we can attack the rest of them” Isn’t that…I hate to put it this way, racist? If one person of another race does something bad it’s okay to attack all of them?

When Thor shows up things get a little better. We get some solid action…for all of 2 pages. Literally, he shows up for 2 pages and then he’s taken down like that. Lovely. So glad Thor contributed so much to the story, Bendis! Thank you!

This event even fails to have any decent action for crying out loud! Even Secret Invasion, failure as it was, had some superb action and was lots of fun to look at. Bendis just seems to be rushing everything nad it’s annoying as all hell. I know he’s only got 4 issues to tell this story, but I think he could have made much better use of this issue.

Then there’s the final page, what a joke. Steve Roger gets angry! Oooh, I’m so shocked and horrified. Compare it to Secret Invasion’s final page of the first issue and it you would swear this was written by someone else.

As a matter of fact, this doesn’t really feel like a Bendis comic. None of his charming witty dialogue is here. There are no interesting or fun character moments and there is no epic and awesome action. It’s just a by the basics boring read and I feel this could have been written by anyone.

Now in the sake of fairness this issue wasn’t horrible. There was nothing about it that made it an awful read, nothing that made it worthy of a Burn It but it never really ascends from mediocrity. It just feels fine being plain and boring and doesn’t dare try to do anything, making a very  boring read.

Art Comments: While the story failed I had high hopes that the art could save Siege from being a total waste of paper. Sadly even that failed. Now I was not a fan of Coipel’s art on House of M. It was rushed, muddy, just really weak stuff.

Then I saw his stuff on Thor, and it was absolutely gorgeous. So when I heard he’d be doing an event comic, I was excited just to see him get to really cut loose! Sadly that doesn’t happen here. His art once again looks very rushed, even if it’s not muddy anymore.

There are some moments of greatness, like the shots of Thor and Asgard as well as the Dark Avengers as they approach Asgard. But often characters look weird. Norman and Sentry at times have thick foreheads that make them look like the Frankenstein monster!

The art never gets horrible but compared to what I expected it’s just okay. I’m hopeful this was just Coipel having a one issue problem and that he’ll be back up to speed as the event progresses.

Final Comments: Because I’m a sucker for these events I’ll keep reading Siege in hopes it gets better. But if you’re not really into Marvel events or aren’t interested I recommend you go buy a better Bendis book, like Ultimate Spider-man. So far this is a very weak start to what could turn out to be a very mediocre event.

Story Rating: 2 out of 5
Art Rating: 3 out of 5
Overall Rating: 2 out of 5
Pass It

Blackest Night #6
Written: Geoff Johns
Art: Ivan Reis

Opening Comments: With Blackest Night hitting a one month delay at least Johns ended it off with an exciting cliff-hanger. Sadly though this issue doesn’t really do much else, but what it does do is still fun as all hell to read.

Story Comments: So this issue is pretty much just the recruitment of the earth heroes into the various Corps really. Sure we get a little bit of fighting the Black Lantern Super Heroes but not much else really.

Still Johns tells a simple issue but still adds a lot of character and personality to it to keep it from being a boring read. We get lots of great dialogue moments and little bits here and there that really are lots of fun to read.

Though as I said, not much else really happens. For one, Nekron shows up for about one panel. He’s supposedly our big bad villain but he’s on the comic for all of one damn panel. He just walks off saying he’s hungry. Wow. Real intimidating badass here folks.

Also Johns failed to fully utilize the black lantern super heroes. We got a nice scene between Wonder Woman and Mera but that was about it. Seems the heroes turned evil don’t really change much. Just more fodder for the Corps members to attack them and that’s not very exciting.

The 2nd half of this comic is dedicated to showing the recruitment of the new Corps members, Barry Allen to Blue Lanterns, Wonder Woman to the Star Saphires, Mera to the Red Lanterns, The Atom to the Indigo tribe, Scarecrow as a Sinestro Corps, Lex Luthor as an Orange Lantern and Ganthet becomes a Green Lantern. It was all fun to see but it felt more or less like fluffing the comic up really.

Also I despise that Wonder Woman has to wear that idiotic Star Saphire costume. It’s stupid enough when on Carol Ferris (star right on her privates, people, how does no one see that as a moronic design?) but it looks even worse on Wonder Woman and it’s just frustrating to see.

Still it was nice of Johns to finally explain why he was focusing on characters like Mera, the Atom and Barry Allen and giving them a larger role in the series then just as super heroes fighting the Black Lanterns. It boosts them as more important to the story and I liked that.

Also that final 2 page spread just left me grinning. I especially loved seeing Scarecrow as a Sinestro Corps member. All of it was just so awesome and I really loved it as it left me pumped and excited for more next month.

Overall the story wasn’t mind blowing and it was very simple, but it was a fun read and that was nice.

Art Comments: Reis is doing pretty well even in the face of a delay. He really nails certain scenes with the characters and I especially loved the 2 page spread. Just all around some really solid and good art.

Final Comments: Blackest Night is looking up, but with only 2 parts left it’s time for Johns to really start firing the big guns. It’s time for Nekron’s end game to begin and time for the epic clash we’ve all been waiting for. For now though this was still a fun build up to it.

Story Rating: 3 out of 5
Art Rating: 4 out of 5
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5
Check It

Image United #2
Written: Robert Kirkman
Art: Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Jim Valentino, Rob Liefeld, Marc Silvestri and Whilce Portacio

Opening Comments: After an enjoyable first issue I was really excited to see what Kirkman does next in Image United. Sadly this issue is more of the same but even with that strike against it we’ve got a fun read with gorgeous art.

Story Comments: So as I said this is pretty much more of the same, villains attack, heroes fight villains. In between are lots of character moments, most of the solid and some of them are great.

Our opening scene was my favorite as it was between the two Spawns and it was drawn beautifully by Todd McFarlane. Basically Al and Jim go head to head and Jim soon finds that the former Spawn is more powerful then he expected. The scene is really effective in showing that Al is indeed much stronger now and it’s more effective for it.

Though I’ll admit so far his dialogue is rather cheesy. Typical “I want to rule the world, bwah ha ha ha” style stuff and while that’s not necessarily bad I think Kirkman should play to the character’s strengths more and have him come off as more intimidating then just saying he’s really strong. Al can do a damn good job of putting the fear into someone, but that was lacking here. Still a great scene to kick off this issue and I still enjoyed it.

One thing we’re seeing from the villains is that they are getting absolutely ruthless. Attacking hospitals even and stopping at nothing to cause chaos. In most event comics you see villains attack typical places like a big park or a wide open area or a big city area, but the scene in the hospital was more powerful for seeing the villains really trying to do some serious damage.

Also we got a really nice scene with Die-hard. I’m not familiar with the character but his little love confession to Vogue was a really nice scene and it made me feel for the character, even if only a little bit.

One thing that is really cool is we’re seeing more then just the main cast of heroes like Savage Dragon and Spawn. We’re seeing Mighty Man, and the new hero Barricade, and other things and it’s really great seeing these characters get some time in the sun as well as the main cast of heroes and getting to see them all drawn by their creators and interact nicely.

Kirkman really has a love for these characters as well as a solid understanding for them as we see them all interact well and it’s all handled well. Also I must admit there was one line from Savage Dragon “Omega Spawn, that sounds threatening” that made me facepalm. That line just…wow.

So yeah the dialogue isn’t perfect either. While for the most part it’s solid and well done there are a couple of lines here and there that stand out or bug me and I think had Kirkman read over it a bit more maybe he would have realized what cheesy lines must have been writing at the time.

Still the dialogue never goes into horrendous or boring to read. It never drones on and on like it has in Blackest Night and Kirkman really does his best to keep things interesting even when really he’s just telling the same thing of heroes fighting villains.

I did love the scenes with Shadowhawk again. I really wish Kirkman would write the new ongoing series that is in the works, he had a great voice for the character in making Eddie sound young and fun without making him sound like an idiot though.

I was rather disappointed that Witchblade again didn’t really get a lot of page time. She showed up in a couple of pages and got a few lines but hasn’t really contributed as much as the other heroes have and that is disappointing since I really like Sara and was hopeful she’d do more by now.

I loved the scene with Cyberforce and the new character Barricade. It was awesome seeing them interact and Kirkman did a great job of helping show off the new hero and making him a fairly likeable guy as he now seems to be working with Cyberforce and I’m looking forward to seeing more of him through Image United.

One major complaint I had was how little Fortress showed up. He was literally on page for all of a few panels here and there before he was forgotten. I thought this guy was supposed to be our big hero who is our view into the Image world so why does he get all of a few panels?

I figure Kirkman wanted to focus more on the expanding Image Universe rather then just Fortress and that’s fine but I wish we could have seen a bit more of him then just what little we did since he’s supposed to play a big role in this story.

One thing I loved was how well Kirkman is showing the devastation and insanity going on all over the world. Most events just imply the world is under attack and that everyone is in trouble, but Image United is doing a damn good job of showing it and showing all these heroes around the world fighting off the villains and it was really effective in showing what a huge crisis this is.

I did like the ending a lot, it was an exciting way to end it but I’m hopeful that by next issue Kirkman can finally kick this event into high gear.

Overall this was a really fun read, but sadly it really is just more of the same from Kirkman. Villains attack, heroes fight back, rinse and repeat and if not for the great character moments this would be a very thin read.

There’s also the Bloodstrike back up. It’s exactly what you’d expect, Liefeld at his Liefeld-iest. Gore, stupid dialogue and annoying ramblings as well as lots of comments that make no sense and have no context at all. It’s Liefeld, after all. Though it was a decent enough back up to the enjoyable story.

Art Comments: Once again the Image Founders impress me with their skill here. Though I was most impressed by Todd McFarlane, everyone did a great job. Especially Jim Valentino and Marc Silvestri. Sadly Portacio didn’t really have anything to draw but oh well. And again even Liefeld did well. Image United continues to be a gorgeous looking comic.

Final Comments: This book is still something that the long time Image fans like myself will enjoy most. We recognize these characters and the moments they have resonate more with us thanks to our history with them. Still if you’re looking for a beautifully illustrated and fun read then Image United is the place to be.

Story Rating: 3 out of 5
Art Rating: 5 out of 5
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5
 Check It 

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