Sunday, November 30, 2008

Week's End

So the thanks have been given, lets give a little more thanks today as we take a look at the best of the best this week, with Week’s End.

Comic of the Week: Thor: Man of War one-shot

A pretty good week for comics this was, and Thor stood up and took that hammer to everyone’s face! While I’ll admit, the action was a little overbearing here compared to some of the better moments we got in Reign of Blood, I can’t help but still love this. The fights where all great, characters where great despite what few moments of dialogue we got and overall Fraction and Zircher told an absolutely great story. Though I doubt this will ever tie back in to the main ongoing Thor series, unless Fraction where to ever write it, the Ages of Thunder one-shot of series was still a great read and Man of War was a great concluding chapter for these must have tales.

Moment of the Week: Batman #681

As great as the overall action to this issue was, we got some good moments from all the comics this week, this final page to R.I.P just stood out the most to me as a reviewer/fan of Batman. We’ve seen that faithful night in Crime Alley revisited again and again, and somehow it never gets old. This last moment between Bruce and his father, speaking about Zorro and how Gotham needs their own Zorro was absolutely brilliantly well done and was a great ending for the series. Though there are still many questions left unanswered after R.I.P, this ending really felt like a true grand Batman story ending and I obviously enjoyed the hell out of it.

Cover of the Week: Northlanders #12 Massimo Carnevale

I’m not even buying this series, though I have shown interest, but this cover is absolutely stunning. I can’t really find a lot to say about it, but either way, I was very impressed when I saw this cover, the coloring and effect of it all, very well done by Massimo.

Most Anticipated Comic of the Week: Secret Invasion #8

I’m sure no one is surprised by this, but yes, the conclusion to SI still has my interest. I am not as frustrated with this delay as I was with other book delays such as R.I.P, mainly because every other issue has been right on time and worth the wait each month, at least as far as the artwork. I’m not really sure where we go with this, I have a feeling this will really just be more set up for Dark Reign then really ending anything. Still, it should be interesting, I’m getting all the Dark Reign one-shots just in case and I’m ready to see what Secret Invasion’s end brings. Expect it to be reviewed as soon as I can.

So there is Week’s End for you, I hope you had a good Thanksgiving weekend and that you, like I am, are now counting down the days until Winter Break starts. But until then I’m just fine with enjoyed the beginning of December, so I’ll see you all around tomorrow for Month’s End.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Andrenn's Pull List

The first edition of Andrenn’s Pull list was a smash hit as I’d hoped, and now we return to my pull box for some new additions/drops. Now we’re going a bit to the “maybe add/Maybe drop” with 2 items, but 2 others are firmly on the list now.

Batman and Detective Comics
To be removed after “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?”

DC doesn’t really have much to offer for me outside of Batman. While I’ve been somewhat interested in Superman over past storylines, the character himself is what pushed me away. The only franchise DC has left that truly kept my interest was Batman, and it looks to be shifting for the worst. While I’ll stay the course until February (that is if DC can get these comics out on time) I have no further interests invest in DC and their heroes. Outside of All Star Batman and Robin, for now, I am done with DC. Now the post-RIP stories all sound and look both interesting and well done, but really, I have no interest in Battle for the Cowl and what follows. Though if Dini and Nguyen team up again, I may poke my head in curiously, following February I’m done with Batman and his shenanigans.

Savage Dragon

Image comics is slowly becoming my new home for comic book entertainment, as I start finding it’s characters far more appealing then the “world altering” crap Marvel and DC fling each year. While I’m still faithful to Marvel, DC has lost me and Image is really grabbing my attention. Savage Dragon is officially back on the list, as I’ve mentioned a couple of times now, and looks to be one of those premier Image books that everyone invested in the future of Image United will want to check out. Though I’m not sure just where Savage Dragon goes, what with the world now going to turn against him, I can only hope it’s up to the skies.

Jersey Gods
I Am Interested in Adding It!

After reading a hilariously well done and cool looking preview in Invincible #55, I’m interested in this series. The art looks cool, though not exactly to my tastes. Still, if the ongoing series can capture the same greatness that few page preview had, I’m sold. Though I am waiting a bit, after the second or third solicit, if all sounds and looks good, this will be on the list.

Mighty Avengers

There are 3 reasons I am going to pick up Mighty Avengers.

1st, Dan Slot is involved and while I’m sad to see him leaving The Initiative, I look forward to seeing what he does with Mighty.

2nd, It looks to be a prominent post-SI comic, similar to others suck as Dark Avengers.

3rd, Vision and Stature look to be on the team! That right there is pure awesome. If this is true, I will read the series forever.

Now granted, I’m not exactly sure what to think. Bendis did a good job with the first set of stories and I’m interested to see where Slott goes post-SI, but really, I’m not even sure how this all will be. Marvel has been pretty tight-lipped about it, which is odd for them, and has got my scratching my head in curiosity. So while it’s on the list, I’ll reserve judgment if I’m excited for it or not.

Dark Avengers

Added mainly for Mike Deodato’s amazing art, but also for the fact that I’m very interested in just who these people are. While we see what looks like Ultra Girl in her new Marvel Girl persona, Venom or perhaps another symbiote, classic Hawkeye and Wolverine, who the hell Iron Patriot is remains beyond me. Either way, Dark Avengers is on the pull list and has my utmost attention as far as where we go when the Dark Reign comes.

And so ends Andrenn’s Pull List, I’m glad I was able to finish this up before I go, seeing as in about 2 hours I’ll be on the road. Again, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving today and overall a great week for anyone who doesn’t celebrate the holiday. Expect Week’s End when I return Sunday, but until then, enjoy the holiday and don’t fill up on stuffing, have some Turkey.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Comic Reviews for November 26th 2008

With tomorrow Thanksgiving, outside of a Week’s End Sunday, this is the last post for the week. As I’ll be on vacation. But before I pack my bags and head out, lets enjoy 3 comics I picked up my way home today.

Batman #681

Written: Grant Morrison
Art: Tony Daniel

Opening Comments: Delays are frustrating no matter what, and Batman’s epic R.I.P storyline has been rather hurt by delays. Despite this though, something about this issue was actually well done. And, while the ending left me more frustrated then I’d hoped it would be, oddly an enjoyable read.

Story Comments: The opening with Batman in thought, going over a moment in his mind with a dark monk was…it was strange, but it set the tone of this issue nicely. Though really, it felt rather boring in that it was trying to set a far more ominous tone then it does, really, the tone here is dark, but nothing too far away from how Dark the Dark Knight has gone before…if that makes any sense to anyone but me.

Following this we have the club of heroes saving Robin’s nearly fried ass. It was great to see these guys back again, as they where absolutely great in Batman: The Black Glove and that great streak continue. Seriously, DC, make these guys series regulars, or do one better, give them an ongoing series.

We soon get back to Batman, we see Hurt and Jezebel have buried him alive and soon when they return Joker goes rogue. Now I have to give compliments to the awesome way Joker was written here, Morrison has a great handling of the character and writes him amazingly well. Also, the reveal that the Bat-radia was more then meets the eye…I’ll be honest, that scene, pure hilarity as what looked like a crappy old radio was actually Batman’s trump card all along to saving himself. It was great. I also enjoyed Nightwing saving himself nicely.

Now the scene with Batman rising from the grave was very well done and it was great to see Bats again. For a story centered around him, we haven’t seen the Caped Crusader most of the story, as Zur En Arh has been in the way. He’s great here as Batman is back and doing everything we’d hoped he would. It’s almost redeeming of the rather annoying Zur En Arh twist.

We get a nice moment with Jezebel Jet, a character I was more then relieved to find out was a villain all the time and her “love” with Bruce was as fake as we all figured it was. But this moment where Batman goes into her real origin, how he’s hurt her from it was….again, great. Though it is hard to redeem such an annoying character, these past wasted stories on her feeling worth it now just for that one moment of vulnerability and absolute hatred.

Now we see Robin on his way, and Joker on the loose. We then see…the death of the Joker? Yes, Daman runs over Joker who is in an ambulance, the ambulance falls of the bridge and explodes. Damian and Alfred of course where in the Batmobile at the time. It’s one of the stranger more random moments, but it was all right. Joker will not be missed as if he doesn’t die sooner or later, DC will have absolutely ruined the character and rung him dry like a wet cloth.

We then get the confrontation between Doc Hurt and Batman, it’s one hell of a face off. I won’t spoil it but come the end of it a helicopter goes down and explodes with these 2 on it. Ending the R.I.P part to R.I.P I suppose.

We get a great ending for Jezebel, attacked by Ninja-man-bats that, if we’re lucky, ripped her into so many pieces Banjo can’t put the puzzle back together even with Kazooie.

Then…we jump…6…months….later


I’m sorry, but an ending that so abruptly changes is so frustrating. Though the ending itself isn’t bad, if anything, it’s kind of cool, at the same time, it’s so frustrating that we jump 6 months later with the story between to be told next time along with Final Crisis. It’s just annoying.

Though I will give Morrison this much credit, the final page with Bruce walking out with his parents from seeing Zorro was excellent and a great way to cap off the storyline. Though really, R.I.P is just the beginning as it seems and I was a little disappointed with that. But still, despite the rather poor ending to R.I.P, the story itself was all right, this issue best of all, but the ending really killed any momentum following the Jezebel Jet attack. Still, a good read.

Art Comments: With some artists, delays are well worth it. While Tony Daniel is a great artist, and his work here continues to be strong, very well done, and overall great, it wasn’t worth such frustrating delays just for the final chapter. Despite this…I can look past a little more in the fact that he’d never been known as the most timely artist ever. So while the delay holds this issue back, the art is still great as ever.

Final Comments: While I’m sure had this all been on time nicely, I could score this a little higher, as it is a good ending for R.I.P but I also was frustrated by the time jump randomly at the end. Still, for what we get here, Batman R.I.P was a good read and it’s concluding chapter was good.

3 out of 5
Check It

Savage Dragon #141

Written and Art: Erik Larsen

Opening Comments: Larsen impressed me last time with his little Image Pals get together. Now we come to the conclusion of that storyline with the final fight with Solar Man, but also the lead in for the future of the title as far as Savage Dragon is concerned.

Story Comments: I immediately have to say I was disappointed to see nothing on the She-Dragon “WTF?!” moment of last issue. Such a “holy shit” moment and yet we get no follow up this issue? Rather disappointing.

Still, with what we do get here, mostly Savage Dragon and friends taking on Solar Man, the storyline here is solid. Rex (or Robot Guy as I called him in my last review) and Shadowhawk converge with Dragon and friends by issue’s end as the plot of Solar Man is nicely resolved.

We get another “oh shit!” moment involving Dragon’s daughter, what I can only figure is the missing wife plotline Solicits described, but we’ll have to wait for the next issue to find out…which I found…frustrating.

But I return to the main plot of the issue. Rex finds the source of Solar Man’s power, other heroes! I though this was a brilliant twist on Larsen’s part as to why Solar Man was so strong, he had detained other classic comic book heroes long ago and was using them to power him. Though when Rex frees them and Solar Man’s extra strength goes out the door, things end rather messily.

Dragon punches Solar-man’s head in half, literally, which leads to a big silent shock moment, followed by the classic heroes attacking the Image heroes suddenly. Luckily, before it gets to the point where things are looking stupid, common sense flies in as Rex saves the day. I thought this was a great moment and seeing all these classic heroes like classic Thor and Captain Freedom among heroes such as Spawn and Invincible, very cool, a little funny.

So by stories end when all is said and done, the public hates Dragon for killing Solar-man, despite Rex’ explanation. Things aren’t looking to good for him, but still, should be interesting. Overall, a great story with great moments.

Art Comments: It would seem my problems as of last issue are gone. Maybe Larsen simply needed to get on his feet for handling so many characters, maybe I was just seeing it wrong, but the art here greatly improves. Characters all look great, the strong detail is there again and the art is really great here. Sure, there is still the odd little moment from time to time, such as Dragon’s Daughter looking a bit odd, but outside of that, the art here is really great and every hero looks distinct and nicely done.

Final Comments: A strong issue, though lacking a bit thanks to unresolved plotlines. I feel that the Dragon is trying to juggle a little too much for his hands, and with any luck this won’t hold the book down in the future though. Still, a great issue, even if lacking a bit.

4 out of 5
Must Read

Thor: Man of War one-shot

Written: Matt Fraction
Art: Clay Mann, Patrick Zircher

Opening Comment: Before I actually review this issue, I should state my history with the God of Thunder. While my father was always a big Thor fan, I myself never cared for him despite a lot of the comic my father gave me as a child being that of Thor’s adventures. I simply didn’t like him, and didn’t care for JMS’ reboot of the character following Marvel’s Civil War.

But I’d heard such good things of the first Ages of Thunder one-shot by Matt Fraction. Curious, I decided to check out the sequel one-shot Reign of Blood and was greatly impressed. While I’m not necessarily a Thor fan yet, these one-shots are great. Man of War, the ending of the one-shot series, is a great ending to a great series.

Story comments: The story is divided into two parts, part 1 continues off where Reign of Blood left us off, part 2 continues from there and concludes the overall storyline.

Part 1 sees Thor and Valkyre going head to head after Odin sends her after him. The action here is all right, but ends soon when a monster gets in the way.

Now what makes these more action scene based stories so good is the narration. Fraction really captures the heart of the Thor series with how strong the narration is in detailing the story, and the visual representation matching the great narration.

The first part is all right, the action great and I must admit rather funny. It shows how immature Thor and friends where at a time and how ungodly they once where. It shows that Thor hasn’t always been this golden god of virtue and greatness, and was not above more violent tendencies that most heroes nowadays lack.

It leads in nicely to part 2 where Odin dawns the Destroyer armor and takes on Thor. Part 2 is much better and it is the superior to the 2 parts the comic is divided in to. Odin is great in his wise caring self, but he is still a warrior and it seems he needed remind his son this in one of the best fights all year. Though it is somewhat short, lasting only a few pages.

Still, despite the battles shortness, the sheer epic proportion captured in it is magnificent and really is exactly what a fight among Gods should be, epic blow to epic blow, no tricky punches here, it is simply weapon to weapon or weapon to face.

Though the action and narration are good, the final moments, following Thor’s defeat at his father’s hands are what really sell this and make it a great comic. We see Odin chew out Thor for his overbearing attitude and sentence him to a life as a humble healing man who helps others.

I found this end nice, and really, it feels like an origin story for Thor. As if explaining why he was so much kinder then other gods, after experiences like this, it would hard not to be more humbled despite your great power.

To sum it up, the story is a lot of action, strong narration, and a great conclusion. The Ages of Thunder one-shots have been great and absolute must-haves, even if you are not a big fan of Thor, as I am the same. If you missed out on these spectacular one-shots, do yourself a favor, pick up the Hardcover next year.

Art Comments: The art is all around good, Clay Mann does a great job for what he can do, though is not above the lazy panel here or there. It never holds back the storytelling and he does a good job of conveying action nicely. Patrick Zircher though is the real star as he conveys amazing detail to his artwork, strong character work and really brings to life the epic scale of the story and action.

Final Comments: Thor Man of War is a great read and a good stand alone issue if your really unable to find the previous one-shot. The storytelling is great, the characters are great, and it just may have made a new Thor fan. Either way, I loved this issue and give it my highest recommendation.

5 out of 5
Must Have

And so ends our reviews, I’m sorry there will be no Collection Spotlight Friday, maybe I can post the next edition of Andrenn’s Pull list tomorrow before I go. Either way, I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and for those who do not live in America, have a great week still. So until I get back, adios and goodnight.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Andrenn's Top 5 Current Comics.

To celebrate 100 posts here at New Age Comics with Andrenn, our 100th post is a very special one. One I’ve been bouncing around in my head for a while now. I know that when I review a comic, I’m not just saying my thoughts on it, I’m either suggesting you look into it or avoid it. That’s half the point of the reviews. But sometimes, in my reviews, it’s hard to suggest a series on the simple bias of that one issue .Sometimes I’d like to go into depth on the series as a whole, but I can’t really do that.

So what we have here is something more along those lines, in that I am giving my 5 favorite current comics. Now I had planned for this to be 10 but…I can’t seem to make up a solid 10 list. Don’t as why, I just can’t seem to…so rather then 10, I myself am simply doing 5. Though in the future when I do this again someday, it may be a solid 10.

Now I know other bloggers/reviewers have seen my blog, so before I go onto the list, I offer a chance for you all to say your top 10 favorite comics. It obviously doesn’t have to be 10, it can be 5 or if your pull list is small, 3 maybe. I’d like to see what are others favorite current comic books as well as I’m sure everyone’s list differs.

Now by “current comic book” I mean series that are currently being published. If they be ongoing or mini, but in my case, we’re going with ongoing series as the only rule is that they are currently being published this moment.

5: Ultimate Spider-man

Always a great read, I haven’t really checked in on the old web-head in a while, but for Ultimatum and the conclusion of the War of the Symbiotes arc I’m dropping in for a hello. This is one of those series that it’s hard to really fault, because over 120 issues, it’s still going as strong as ever and has yet to really lose it’s spark. That is not nothing, whereas brother and sister series UFF and UXM have lost a lot of what made them popular, Spidey keeps on rolling. While the book has suffered a bit with the loss of longtime artist Mark Bagley, Stuart Immonen is still a good replacement, despite my missing Bagley.

4: All Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder

Leave it to Frank Miller to tell a story that has a strange balance of grit and grime, with campy and insane. As a long time fan of Miller’s work, I’ve always loved this series. Though I do admit delays hurt, with some series it’s become an obvious thing to expect and to actually fault the series for the delays now would be ridiculous. Jim Lee is of course an amazing artist, even if he is the biggest factor to these delays, and his art is well worth every single delay as he brings Miller’s amazing scripts to life and helps tell a wicked fun story.

3: Invincible

There are very few new heroes in this day and age that really shine above the images set by Marvel and DC. Image Comics and Dark Horse both have some good ones, but as far as new characters of the new millennium, it’s hard to compete with Invincible. Always a character that has a strong blend of Spider-man like antics and Superman like strength, the character himself is great, but what is even better is how well Kirkman has built the world around him. It’s one thing to make a good character, it’s another to make everything around him as good, and doing so compliments the character and makes his world and him even better. Characters like Atom Eve and Rex Splosion are great and they really add to both Invincible and his world, making it more then just a lone hero and his challenges in life. It also brings back to the classic days of Marvel when heroes had to deal with their secret identity and a teenage life. While the world of Invincible and his character are great, the series has had some slow tendencies, and that’s the only thing that really holds the series back from being any higher on the list.

2: Spawn

I’m sure anyone who has read the blog long enough knows enough by now that I am a major Spawn fan. Though that’s not the only thing that puts the series so high on this list. Spawn has been on a rollercoaster ride up, yet never down, ever since issue #169 last year. David Hine started what has snowballed into an epic comic. Even with the change in writers/artist and totally new direction, Spawn has kept a building momentum of strong and well told stories. Even though Al Simmons is now gone, things look bright for Spawn and it’s hard not to recommend the series to anyone who is interested.

1: Witchblade

When I look at all the comics I have collected over the last few years, read over them and think back to the stories within the pages, only one comic has kept me as excited and happily reading every single month since I started reading it earlier this year. That book as you know by now is Witchblade. Ron Marz has told an incredible story with the characters, and Stjepan Sejic has done an amazing job on telling these stories with his stunningly beautiful art.

One thing I have never gotten to mention here about the book is the relationship between Sara/Gleason. Rarely have I ever seen such an organic and well told tale as theirs. Most writers follow a simple formula of

Issue 1: new character introduced

Issue 2: Protagonist and new character date

Issue 3: Protagonist and new character are in love and getting married.

I hate to say it but it’s true, there are very few well done relationships in comics and Sara/Gleason is one of them.

Now that aside, Marz and Sejic are an incredible team, even in issues where the action is little, Marz’ dialogue can shine and Sejic’s artwork can bring out the best in even 2 people talking. That is not nothing, that is something special and helps books the comic. Characters are all great, stories are fun and serious, with strong moments, overall, the best way I can describe Witchblade is an absolute must have awesome fun comic book.

So that’s all for tonight. I hope you enjoyed seeing my top 5 favorite books out right now, and maybe in the future seeing others top current comics.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Broken Trinity, a second look.

Sometimes, as a reviewer, I don’t feel I gave a comic a fair look or didn’t do it justice in my review of it. Though that doesn’t happen often, one of the few books I feel needs revisiting is Broken Trinity. As a now fan of these characters, I was pretty excited to see what this year’s story had in store for them, what epic event would take place, and who would be broken from the Trinity.

BT #1 was one of the first comics I reviewed way back in July, and for that, the book has a bit of a special place in my heart. So put on your Angel wings and strip on your shiny gauntlets, we’re about to get dark as we take a second look at Broken Trinity.

The overall story is simple, 2 new artifacts of the thirteen artifacts that will change the world (or something along those lines) has activated and found their hosts. The first being Finn, an Irish guy hired by Jackie Estacado to follow around and keep an eye on Sara Pezzini, bearer of the Witchblade. Sara, last year, gave birth to a child name Hope whom Jackie fathered. So Jackie wanted to make everything was okay, but Sara catches on to Finn, forcing him to turn down the job, only after the Curator gives him the Ice Stone. We also see a woman named Glorianna has collected the Ember stone, the Ice Stone’s opposite.

These set in motion the Darkness, Angelus, Witchblade, Ice guy and Fire chick (I’m improvising, here) all meeting outside the Curator’s shop. After a lengthy back and forth battle, with the help of Gleason and the Curator, the Angelus’ current host Celestine is behead and the Angelus force retreats. Fire Chick disappears and Finn goes off to discover what he was meant to do, for the moment, order returns and the storm is over.

That, in a nut-shell, is the plot of Broken Trinity. Now there is obviously more then that, as the Darkness tie-in explains why Jackie comes to New York, why he is so badly beaten and that the Angelus was after him which led them to the shop.

Now there are 2 more tie-ins I have yet to get, the Angelus one-shot, which I can only figure premiers later this week or soon, and the Witchblade tie-in, following the aftermath of Broke Trinity and having Sara think about Jackie, the father of her child and her feelings of him.

Addressing this for a moment, it would seem that, come BT #3, Sara has grown more attached to Jackie and fond of him, saving his life and seemingly enjoying his company. There’s obviously something Marz wants to go into with that, and it has some serious potential to be something that tugs at Sara and strengthens the emotional aspect to her character by building a stronger connection to Jackie.

Now really BT served as the launching pad for the characters of Fin and Glorianna, or as we will call them, Ice Guy and Fire Chick. Both characters have had some good moments, Marz giving them both enough time in the spot-light for them to be distinct characters, though really, where we go from here should be interesting. I’m far more interested in how the two seem to have a yin-yang thing going. Finn is good, not wanting to cause anyone harm, and Glorianna is more evil, wanting to change the world and make it over as she sees fit.

Their both done nicely, Finn being more comedic in his lack of knowing what to do and Glorianna seeming to have everything mapped out as to what she will do. Though the ending of Broken Trinity left me confused, it seems Angelus kills Glorianna, and then we see her at the end, in some lava filled area, just fine. I was a tad confused, is she dead or alive? I can only guess she’s alive.

Now as for my complaints about Angelus’ “death” this, as I explained in last week’s reviews, was not really a death. Sure, Celestine is dead, but Angelus will simply move on and get a new host. To but it simply, Angelus can go through hosts like sharks do teeth. Just because you break some of a shark’s jaw, it still had another row to bite you with.

I found Celestine’s death rather unimportant, and for how major the death was made out to be, and how epic it was all boasted, really, it’s not that big a deal. She wasn’t that well fleshed out for a character and she didn’t really do much besides be the Angelus’ host. No one was emotionally invested in this character, as she was an unimportant throwaway villain.

So, overall, the Trinity still isn’t broken, it’s just temporarily missing a member. But Angelus will be back so there’s no real point in calling it Broken.

Now I want to address Stjepan Sejic’s artwork, teaming up with Phil Hester who did the layouts for this book.

Hester does an amazing job here for layouts, as some of the scenes, though no doubt mostly great on Sejic’s part, have some great layouts in panel work and overall, it really looks great. The artwork here is as usual stunningly beautiful and while it didn’t make up for the frustrating delays and rather poor ending, it still really enhanced the reading experience and made every panel a beautiful sight to see.

The artwork is crisp, beautiful and Sejic’s best work yet, the explosive battle scenes really shine, but as always, he makes even the most calm and personal moments enjoyable to see. It’s truly a spectacular sight for artwork and Marz’ already solid script is beautifully brought to life.

While the ending was disappointing in how it doesn’t really accomplish breaking the Trinity, I still enjoyed the story as a whole. Characters where all great, even the new ones, and it’s always great to get more Witchblade. While I had hoped for more, at the same time, you can only do so much. So for what it is, and what it does, Broken Trinity is a great solid read when you read all 3 issues as a whole and I suggest you check out the HC or TPB when they come out later next year. I know I will, as I enjoyed the stories here and look forward, even more so, to War of the Witchblade next year.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Week's End

With a long week behind us and a shorter week ahead, let us stop, rest, and enjoy Week’s End.

Comic of the Week: Invincible #55

It was great to see the Nolan/Allen plot finally wrapped up, and in as much an epic crazy way as possible. Also great to see the reveal of the Viltrumites weaknesses. Add that to the advancement of Mark and Eve’s relationship and we have one solid comic. While not the best issue so far of the series, 55 did a great job, had some awesome art and as a fan of the series I had a great time reading it.

Moment of the Week: Invincible #55

Great funny opening page for the book, was hilarious how clueless Mark was and that Eve had to make the first move there. Still, this has helped show the tone of the relationship. Their serious, but not to the point where there is too much invested in this where it would be devastating if the other was lost. It’s obvious that Kirkman isn’t spending too much time on the relationship, but still showing the fans that it is important. Very nicely done.

Cover of the Week: X-men Legacy #218 by Mike Deodato

Always an artist for great expression and wicked images, Deodato does a great job here showing us the angry enraged Wolverine and calm as always Professor X. The colors look great and the shadow effects with the bars and Wolverine’s claws all look great, making this a great cover.

Most Anticipated Comic of the Week: Savage Dragon #141

Larsen hooked me back on with #140, a spur of the moment buy for me, and damned if I’m not back on. The preview looks great, seems his art must have been having a funky period last issue as the art looks back up to speed. I look forward to seeing the resolving of this plot and no doubt the furthering of the others.

And so ends Week’s End, get ready, put on your helmets and pillow suits as we’re getting ready for the 100th post here. Very exciting. But until I see you again, have a great weekend.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Solicit Commentary: Marvel and DC February 2009

Taking a page from last month’s Solicits Commentary (which is now the official name for this, for anyone who may have wondered) we’re doing 2 in one, DC and Marvel, rather then the two having their separate posts. Now look back to last Friday’s posts if you missed the Solicit Commentary on Image Comics solicitations for February 2009.

DC Solicits for February 2009
Marvel Solicits for February 2009

Batman #686 and Detective Comics #853

I put these 2 together since, and let’s am honest here; it’s the same story just with 2 different comics that link it. Now I myself here am really excited to see this storyline. A few months back Kirk Warren convinced me to check it out and since I mulled it over, I’ve been pretty excited to see what we get. I’m mostly happy to see Andy Kubert back on Batman. With only 2 issues, I’m hoping his art can keep up more solid then it eventually did with his work on Batman with Morrison, after a bit, I felt the quality drop there. But with only 2 issues it should go well. Also, this is my first time reading a Neil Gaiman comic since way back when he wrote that issue for Spawn.

Batman: Heart of Hush HC

Heart of Hush was a great storyline, Dini’s best work on the Detective Comics yet and I wouldn’t pass up having that masterpiece storyline on my book shelf for anything in the world. Well…maybe money, but you get my point, the storyline was great.

Practically nothing to say about DC. I’m sad to see series like Robin, Nightwing, Blue Beetle and Birds of Prey all being canceled. All poor decisions on DC’s part and this will probably bite them in one way or other.

But my only grudges pushed aside, let’s move onto Marvel.

Captain America #47

This sounds and looks great. I left Captain America for the 2nd time earlier this year; the Red Skull storyline just wasn’t doing it for me. But I may return come January to see what New Cap is up to. Though really, this whole idea of the Winter Solider aspect to Bucky getting back to him doesn’t really bother me much. I feel the best supporting character is Black Widow anyway…might as well call the Series Captain America and the Black Widow….actually that would be awesome. Marvel, make it happen.

Spider-man Noir #3

I continue to be excited for this series, and disappointed at the same time that it’s only 4 issues long. With any luck we’ll get a sequel series if its hero survives issue #4. David Hine looks to be telling an epic storyline, and judging from the preview of X-men Noir, this is the only Noir book I’ll be picking up. Also, just to comment, that cover is amazingly awesome.

Captain Britain and the MI13 #10

I’ve been considering picking this series up for a while, the return of Megan is the big reason but also, I have a bit of a history with the Cap. The whole Blade/Spitfire thing has really interested me and I’m glad to see it come to light more. But…man, that cover is such a waste of Immonen’s incredibly talents. So boring and simple, I would hope for better from him. Still, I’m gonna find a good jumping on point for this series soon.

Uncanny X-men #506

So by now we’re still with Emma in Scott’s head, or something like that…huh. I’m interested in Uncanny X-men, but I’m still not 100% sure about this. With any luck the storyline will pick up by chapter 2, either way, Dodson's art is enough to stick around.

X-force #12

With Clayton Crain back on art duties and a new arc starting up, plus Domino now a member of the team, I’ll probably use #12 to get back into X-force. Though it looks more like just continuing from the events of the first arc, somewhat like the current arc is doing, I still look forward to seeing what story is told here.

X-men and Spider-man #4

As mentioned in Andrenn’s Pull List earlier this month, I’m starting this series with issue #2. I’m not sure what to think about this storyline with Sinister taking on Spider-man and the X-men, but it should be interesting at the very least. Though truth is told, the only issue I’m really excited for or want to check out is #3.

Now to quickly mention on the Dark Reign stuff.

It’s all pretty much tightly under wraps still, but from the looks of it Dark Avengers is one of the premiere comics. I’ll be adding that to my pull list, along with Mighty Avengers for the sake that it’s Dan Slott and the Avengers, can’t go wrong. Everything else doesn’t interest me, outside of a few things I’m just going to mention here real quickly.

Secret Warriors #1

I doubt I’ll check this out. I don’t really care for the characters and I’ve never even heard of the writer. The only reasons I could think to check this out are the facts that it’s one of those big prominent post-SI comics and that Stefano Caselli is on art. That right there saddens me, Caselli leaving Avengers: The Initiative, he did an amazing job and really brought the book to a high level, it’s sad to see him go. But if the previews for this look good, I may check this out, even if just to see his art.

Black Panther #1

Anyone else getting tired of bull shit reboots? Seriously. Now I like the Black Panther, but last time I checked he wasn’t a chick. What the hell is up with this? I wouldn’t mind so much of I knew what the hell happened to T’Challa or something. Is that Storm? For the life of me, I can’t tell what the hell is going on here. I doubt I’ll check this out, but it does, at the very least, have my interest.

Ultimate Spider-man #131

Been a while since Spider-man tangled with the Hulk and this should be good. I’m not sure what to think of all the supporting cast in danger, outside of Mary Jane, I don’t care if anyone else really dies-well Kitty, but…outside of MJ and Kitty, they can all drown for all I care. Still…all this Ultimatum hoopla

Ultimate Fantastic Four #60

Pretty excited to see the finale to this series. I left when Millar left as the series to me became like a bad parody of the regular FF. I’ve still got some high hopes that at least Reed Sue and Ben live. Torch…meh, couldn’t really care. Always hated both the regular and ultimate version of the Human Torch so I’m fine with him dying. Also, solid cover by McGuiness, not perfect or anything, but nicely done.

Ultimate X-men #100

Another good cover by McGuiness, and again, another series that looks to be leaving before it would have overstayed its welcome. I’m not sure what to think of how the Ultimatum affects the X-men. The only ones I don’t want dying are Jean and Rogue, and from the looks of it, Rogue will probably die. And Jean…well she’s just a walking time bomb.

Hulk #10

By now everyone knows my thoughts on Loeb’s Hulk series, and I’m interested to see this story. It’s nice to see that both Hulks will be meeting again, as the book is a lot less entertaining with it being divided up. It’s also great to see McGuiness back in the art chair. But…I do have 3 problems with the Defenders. 1) Namor. He’s everywhere nowadays and it’s getting insane, he’s becoming the next Wolverine. 2) Doctor Strange, it feels like a bit of a cop out to have him randomly show up and work with Hulk when last year his leaving the New Avengers was for good reasons. I wish he’d stayed far away from the spotlight and 3) Silver Surfer, isn’t he on Sakaar right now? Eh, either way, I still look forward to this storyline.

The Stand HC

I decided to wait for this rather then read the series, just because as much as I love the talent behind it, I prefer to wait on comics like this as I have been with the Dark Tower books. Though if this is as good as everyone says, I may just have to get the comic.

Mighty Avengers HC

Collecting the first 11 issues is pretty epic; I look forward to picking this up for sure, since I can have both stories in one solid HC for a nice price. I missed out on getting both these stories in HC as the TPB’s are out now, I think I’ll just wait for this before I pick either up.

So that’s it for the Solicit Commentary. Sorry that it’s a bit later then usual, but don’t expect it to be delayed often. Come back tomorrow and check out The Week’s End.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Collection Spotlight: New Avengers: Illuminati

Illuminati, a word that for some means nothing, and others, means an entity of others to fear. A secret society that runs the world, pulling its strings. But not all cases are the same, here we have New Avengers: Illuminati, telling the tales of the 5 of the most powerful men in the Marvel universe as they form together to keep their world safe. Iron Man, Black Bolt, Mr. Fantastic, Namor, Dr. Strange. They are the illuminati, and this is a review, of their tales.

(Sometimes I just can’t resist a weird opening)

Written: Brian Michael Bendis and Brian Reed

Art: Jim Cheung

Story comments: Right off the bat I have a problem with this collection book. It doesn’t have the Illuminati one-shot tale pre-Civil War. If we’re going to get a book about the Illuminati, why not include all their stories of their gatherings? Sure, it doesn’t hold this book back, but it would have been a nice touch on Marvel’s part to add it.

Now since this is made up of 5 stories, we’re going to take on each one at a time. No, not Comic Report Card style, but still it will make this a little easier both to write and read.

Chapter 1

This story is one of the 2 Secret Invasion Infiltration chapters that are important to the Invasion itself. That alone makes the chapters relevant, but this one takes place way back when during the Kree/Skrull war. Having a good knowledge of the Marvel Universe is necessary for this series, as all through it, important things are mentioned here and there, that Marvel newbies wouldn’t pick up on.

While the opening moments are great, the Illuminati waltzing into the Skrull throne room and kicking ass, what follows is all right. Their capture/torture is over as soon as it begins and really outside of some good character moments, this was just an okay opening chapter. Nothing too special really like we see later on in the book.

Chapter 2

This is where things pick up a bit more. We deal with what has always been an issue in the Marvel Universe, the Infinity Gauntlet. We see the Illuminati hunt down each Infinity gem and assemble them, as to keep them out of villainous hands. We get some hilarious moments, such as Iron Man sickened that a She-Hulk villain got a hold of a gem, but really the story overall is more entertaining then the first chapter.

Characters are nicely done, Namor and Reed Richard’s bickering is spot-on with their characters. Iron Man is great, but doesn’t have a lot of memorable liens. That mainly comes from Namor, who is just an absolute jackass through and through.

The climax was…well, anti-climactic. And from there comes my biggest problem with the Illuminati book, with only one chapter per story, you can’t really tell too much of an interesting story, because it has to be wrapped up in one issue! Sure, It’s nice that it isn’t a 6 chapter story, dragged out slowly bit by bit, but there could have been some really fantastic stuff here if they’d been allowed a 3 or so issue storyline.

Still, the climax is all right and resolves the issue for the day, and leaves it open for something else to come off from this. Though really I was disappointed in how much of a quick fix the ending was.

Chapter 3

Probably the strangest of the 5 chapters here is chapter 3, as we take on…ugh…the Beyonder. Always a character I see as “one-hit” really. Sure, he was great for a time, told a really cool story and it was great to see him that one time. But really, after Secret Wars, he kind of became an annoyance.

Now I will grant that Bendis and Reed, despite how odd the story is, tell a good story nonetheless. I was confused by the lack of Iron Man, but at the same time, it didn’t take away from the story here.

The idea that Beyonder is making his own personal world in the stars to interact with is…well that’s about where the weird starts at least. From here, it just keeps spinning to the point where we have Iron Women, Dr. Strange sleeping with Clea and Night Nurse and Namor wanting to destroy the surface world or, whatever crazy things the Beyonder makes happen.

While this never becomes so strange to the point where it’s incoherent, it is still a bit annoying.

We finally get the Beyonder’s Origin; apparently he’s a mutant Inhuman. This was a nice twist and it’s interesting to find this out about him, it doesn’t really go anywhere, and just has Black bolt/Namor talking him down and getting out of the universe.

Overall, not a bad chapter in anyway, it has some funny and cool moments and some really explosive stuff written for Cheung’s art, but outside of that, not too great.

Chapter 4

Easily my favorite chapter, and simply for the opening. Now I’m sure everyone’s got a select group of friends they hang around with, you talk about stuff in your life, relationships if you’re close enough. This can lead to some hilarious moments for you, I’m sure, and that kind of hilarious buddy/buddy talk is captured in the opening as the men of the Illuminati discuss their love lives.

The dialog here is spot on as the characters all sound like themselves, but more grounded as they talk. This isn’t a bunch of super heroes talking; it’s a bunch of guys. Regular guys like you and your buddies. Having laugh out loud moments, even if they don’t point out how laugh out loud it is.

But unfortunately, this is a case of “the opening outshines the rest of the story” as when things buckle down and get serious, taking on the issue of Marvel Boy, its hard not to lose interest. Sure, the scenes with the Illuminati talking to him, trying to persuade him, are all nice and done well with good dialogue, but it’s hard to follow such a hilarious and spot-on opening like this chapter had.

Overall, a great chapter with some strong moments, both funny and serious, and I’d recommend this book for this chapter alone.

Chapter 5

A very exciting read with a more relevant story to tell, this story takes place after the events of Civil War and rather puts the Illuminati in a no-win situation. On one hand, the Skrulls are here because of them, on the other, they can’t just sit around and play the blame game all day.

My only real complaint with this chapter is that it echoes of lot of the “I don’t trust any of you!” stuff that the Infiltration was filled with, and it’s all rather old. Though the action is where the issue shines, as the opening assembling of the Illuminati is nice, when the action picks up it’s all very exciting, fast paced, and very well done.

This chapter was a wicked read, and it almost chimes in the “end of the Illuminati” as they no longer trust each other, therefore there are no more Illuminati. It’s very well done and overall a great ending for the book.

Art Comments: I am a huge fan of Jim Cheung, and of all the artists Marvel has in their stalls, he’s my favorite. If not for his issues with timeliness, he’d be golden, as others would be. His style is truly unique and one of a kind, no emulations can be accepted and his work here is incredible. Sure, his stuff on Young Avengers/New Avengers has been good, but something about Bendis/Reed’s strong writing team brings out the best in Cheung and he turns in absolute gold.

Characters look great a big bombastic page spreads shine bright as even the most subtle of details is incredibly well done. The action is intense and strong and expressions are spot-on with the words and emotions of the moments. Cheung truly does a masterful job here.

Closing Comments: While there are some slow moments here and there, and the opening was a tad weak for the overall book itself, Illuminati is an incredible read that any seasoned Marvel fan will love. Though if you’re relatively new to the Marvel Universe, you may want to spend an hour on Wiki catching up on terms such as Beyonder, Marvel Boy, Kree and Infinity gems, outside of that setback, this is an absolute must have with strong characters and incredible artwork.

Must Buy

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Comic Reviews for November 20th 2008

Normally I don’t like to post things on Thursday after a review, for the sake that I like letting the reviews stay at the top for a day or 2, but I don’t mind since today we’re dividing up the 7 comics I picked up. Last night I reviewed 4, the 4 I did where the newer ones from this week’s batch, today we’re looking at 3 comics from last week. I was walking the isles of my comic store yesterday and noticed Spawn, Witchblade and Invincible on the cover to Savage Dragon…so with a curious mind, I checked out one of the founding Image comics that I haven’t read in years.

Batman: Cacophony #1

Written: Kevin Smith

Art: Walter Flanagan

Opening Comments: Hollywood and comics seem to get along more and more as the new Millennium goes on. Though the movies are often a hit, sometimes when directors/actors get involved as writers, it either doesn’t work out, or delays hurt what could be a good thing. Kevin Smith is no stranger to comics, but he’s also no stranger to delays. While I remain at ease that the first 2 issues are done and scripted, at the same time, I wasn’t all that sure about Cacophony. But with issue #1 read, I can safely say this is a very special and very cool, comic.

Story Comments: The opening with Deadshot going to kill the Joker was very nice, a strong opening. The dialog between Deadshot and Joker is strong and very nicely done, whereas when Onny (Onomatopoeia as his full name is) shows up the action is solid. Though really this is just the opening for the story and it doesn’t outshine the rest of the issue, which was nice.

The scene of Joker pulling down his pants and “assuming the position” to a tree has already sparked some mild controversy. I myself couldn’t care less about it. The way I see it is as a bad joke or something. He was trying to get laughs. While I found it rather tasteless, at the same time, not bad to the point where I really minded it.

Now we get to the highlight of this issue, for me, Batman taking on…well I can’t really even spell the villain’s name right now, but some nut covered in cuts who stabbed a couple in there bed and was about to kill their children.

Batman’s reaction was…quite possibly, some of the best writing the character has gotten as far as inner-monologue in years. We see how heart wrenching it is for him to see more children orphaned by Gorham’s mad men, and for Batman, it’s the exact thing you’d expect to see from him.

Following this, we see more of Joker’s antics to try and take back Gotham. While I feel this is where the book got rather “meh” and was more or less okay, with a funny as all hell ending, it was an all right moment. Seeing Joker take on the issue of Joker Venom now as a drug was kind of nice, and it’s obvious one of the key parts to this story, but really I’m more interested in whatever Onny is up to.

So to wrap this part up, the story is strong with excellent writing, a great blend of action and dark humor, and this looks to be a promising story.

Art Comments: Flanagan turns in solid artwork, but nothing that stands out really. It’s all nicely done, with the occasional awkward moment when Batman looks out of place or Joker looks far too creepy. And really, Joker is the biggest problem. While in general he looks fine, Flanagan insists on some crazy emotions from the clown prince of crime, and it really looks out of place, as if he was trying to impress us with his range of emotion. Really though, despite these complaints, the art is all right and tells a story well enough.

Final Comments: While the artwork doesn’t really stand out or add much to the storyline, the story itself is fairly brilliant and well done. To the point where I must say that I am very impressed with what Smith has on the table. Should everything go well and no delays plague the book, we just may have a real treasure on our hands here.

5 out of 5

Must Have

Savage Dragon #140

Written and Art: Erik Larsen

Opening Comments: Savage Dragon is just one of the many books I picked up years ago when I started getting into comics, alongside Spawn, Witchblade and Shadowhawk. While Spawn was the only book I really stuck to, I still like all these characters, and have come to be a fan of Invincible as well. So when I saw all these characters uniting as they no doubt will again come Image United in 2009, I, as a loyal Image fan, couldn’t help but see how the old Dragon was doing. I have to say, I’m impressed, and Savage Dragon has made it officially back onto the pull list for the first time in nearly 10 years.

Story Comments: There are a few plots going on right now, She-Dragon, Dimension-X, Savage Dragon vs. Solar Man and some Robot Guy and Shadowhawk. For the sake of ease, let’s focus on the 2 main plots, Dragon/the Image crew against Solar Man, and Shadowhawk/Robot guy.

The story which has Dragon tacking down Solar-Man is absolutely great. Something about seeing the Image Crew, all born from the 90’s, characters that are strongly based off of flaws, imperfections, more stronger characteristics then the typical hero, against a basic Superman level character. It’s great, and while this isn’t the first time it’s been done, it’s always something great to see.

For one, as a fan of Spawn Witchblade Invincible and Shadowhawk, it was great to see them all in the same comic together. Let’s face it, the chances of Invincible showing up in Spawn are little to none, and I doubt Shadowhawk is going to pop by for a hello to Witchblade. But what we get here feels more like a prelude to what Image United will be. All these classic Image heroes united against a single foe. It’s very cool and as a long Image fan, hard not to love.

The character of Solar-Man is peculiar, he’s basically Superman with a bad attitude. He’s far more vicious then most heroes when it comes to villains at least, and I think he makes a great villain.

The character writing here is good, everyone sounds similar to how they should. Though really, the best cameo here is Shadowhawk, he’s great. It makes me wonder…where in the hell is a new Shadowhawk series? He’s such a great character, yet he doesn’t have his own series anymore? It’s a damn shame. But still, seeing him again in Savage Dragon was great and his dialogue shined above all others.

As the fight itself draws to a conclusion, to be concluded next month, this part of the story alone was enough to hook me back into the series.

But now we come to Robot Guy and Shadowhawk, who as I explain just a sentence ago, was great in this issue. I’m not at all sure who the robot guy is…my memory of the SD series is rather fuzzy. But this was a great side-plot that looks to be converging with the main plot either next time or soon on the book. The dialogue with these 2 great, and really, Larsen tells a fun story here.

To sum it up, the story, while not perfect, a little odd in some places, and confusing in others, was still damn good and it was great to see all these characters together again.

Art Comments: It really has been a long time since I last read Savage Dragon, as, for the life of me; I don’t remember the art to look like…this. I seem to recall Larsen’s artwork being sharper then this, and with stronger detail. Now don’t get me wrong ,the art here continues to be great, though it seems…well, as if the art took 2 steps back and is doing good there still. Larsen’s character work was much stronger then this, as was his emotional range, here, I’m just not feeling it.

Granted, it’s still great art, action is strong and outside of some odd faces from time to time, character work is still good. Maybe it’s just because I’m so used to seeing all these characters in very set images as it is, that seeing them in a different style feels odd to me. Either way, I still like the art and enjoy it, but I did feel rather confused when I compare it to previous Larsen interiors. But either way, the art is still good.

Final Comments: As a longtime Image fan, I absolutely loved this issue, but as a reader in general, I saw the faults and can’t let it off just for how much fun it was to read. So for me, what is a Must Have, for others, I can see that they may not see it as quite so essential. But still, as a reviewer, I see the good and the bad, and the good still outweighs the bad, and the bad isn’t really all that bad anyway.

4 out of 5

Must Read

Wolverine #69

Written: Mark Millar

Art: Steve McNiven

Opening Comments: It’s no secret that I loved this issue from the online scans I saw online and the spoilers I’d read. But now that I have the comic in my hand, how do I feel after reading it fully? Well for one last week wasn’t as great a week for comics, so Wolverine still stands as a strong read. And while others comics where great, something about Old Man Logan feels very special and very cool.

Story Comments: This issue has one small problem, and it’s the only thing I can point out that holds it back. It’s fairly erratic in it’s pacing, getting things done as soon as they can and moving on to the next moment, only to move on yet again to set everything up for the next issue. Now I won’t go as in depth here, so this review will be shorter, but outside of the solid ending, this was a bit frustrating.

But at the same time, Millar uses this issue to build more of the world around our heroes, we’ve moved on from Spider-bitch and her problems, now we’re more focused on Logan and Hawkeye back to the mission of doing their delivery and getting home.

I think it’s safe to say that Millar has actually fleshed out the character of Old Man Logan himself very nicely, in that this man truly does love his family life, even if he’s regressing back to Wolverine. I do however sense a bad omen in this…it’s as if Millar is making the perfect scene to kill off the family, have Logan go berserk and kill their killers…it’s sad, but it just seems to perfect to deny.

But all in all, the story here, while annoyingly erratic, was well written, a great read, and I overall enjoyed it.

Art Comments: very few artists are really worth long delays. Steve McNiven is one of them. But at the same time, while his art here is great and worth the delays, I still wish him where timelier. Though when I move on past that, this is easily the work of his career. Civil War was good, but Old Man Logan is proving to be absolutely stunning.

Final Comments: As I mentioned above, Old Man Logan is turning out to be something very special. Something we don’t see every day, a special story where the writer has invested a lot of his heart into writing it, and the artist, despite delay, has poured the best he can do into it. No matter how you spin it, this is an absolute must have for anyone.

5 out of 5

Must Have

And so concludes the 2nd half of these weeks’ comic reviews. I hope you enjoyed them, expect Savage Dragon as a new addition to the review batch, and that’s all for this evening. Until I see you tomorrow, have a great Thursday.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Comic Reviews for November 19th 2008

A week so packed that I just can’t fit all the reviews into one epic post. So, with a bit of a sad head for having to, I’m dividing up the Weekly Reviews here and posting half today and the other half tomorrow. Now Solicit Commentary is still coming, but it’s been pushed back to Thursday thanks to me splitting the reviews. Today for you we’ve got Spawn, Invincible, Uncanny X-men and Broken Trinity, tomorrow, a special Savage Dragon review, Batman: Cacophony Wolverine. So that’s all for now, lets get to the reviews.

Spawn #186

Written: Todd McFarlane, Brian Holguin

Art: Whilce Portacio

Opening Comments: I was very pleased with the opening chapter to Endgame at the end of October and was excited for more Spawn greatness. McFarlane is obviously returning to the book not just for fun, but to tell a great storyline here and 186 does continue a strong story with Endgame…but isn’t’ quite as good as 185.

Story comments: The opening with Violator, which you can find a preview of online, was a strong opening for the book as it continues off of last month’s shocking reveal of the death of Al Simmons. It’s been established that Simmons will indeed not be Spawn anymore, that rather Patient 47, or Jim as we can now call him, is the new Spawn. Where Violator fits into all of this I don’t know but the opening leaves for plenty of speculation and ideas for the fans.

Following the intro we get to know Jim and about him more. It’s a bit slow as we see the character struggle with thoughts and images swarming his head, but still, it’s a good issue in that it establishes the character of Jim well enough and makes him, for the moment at least, a likable guy who I don’t mind reading more of.

We get a man hiring a Hit-man for some reason…now see it’s stuff like this that kind of bugs me, some random moment that pieces together later on no doubt, but for the moment, is really out of place and random. At least the moments of last issue seemed to piece around Jim, this though…this could go anywhere, though I at least suspect it will lead to him eventually. I’m just not sure.

We see what seems to be a newly established character, Sara, Jim’s nurse. We see that she’s always been sad in her life and prayed for things to get better….an interesting and emotionally well done character, but if she doesn’t really have much to do with the future of the comic then I’m not too interested in her. Though I must admit, she is nicely fleshed out and I’d like to see her as a regular, possibly Jim’s love interest if all works out.

We continue then from last month’s suicide moment, not Al, but some random guy who blew his brains out after a bad call about Jim. We see some funny detective banter, but none of it feels too important right now.

Then we get what has to be a highlight for the Spawn series, seeing Angels again. It’s been a while since we saw an active Angel and I was more then happy to see that Spawn won’t be here on his lonesome. Though where this is all going with the Angels I’m not sure.

The final scene of Jim revealing that he had been listening to Sara talk about her pain through all the years, as she spoke to him thinking he was asleep, was really well done and hit a bit of a heart string, even if only for a second. And the cliff-hanger, which I won’t spoil, was very nice and left me excited for the next issue yet again.

I’ll be honest…I was really hoping for the new Spawn to be established by now…but when I think of Hine/Haberlin’s opening arc come the previous direction, Spawn didn’t really do anything until the third issue in, so I can be more forgiving and respect the issue for being a strong read nonetheless.

Art Comments: Whilce Portacio continues to turn in stunning artwork here. Though there are a few instances here and there that bug me, no artist is above the awkward moment from time to time, and they don’t hold back the art or stop me from enjoying it. Portacio does some strong work here, and the final page is incredibly wicked.

Final Comments: While I found last month’s issue to be a bit more exciting and interesting, this issue advances the plot very nicely, has some strong character moments and is, overall, a very good read with incredible artwork. I continue to enjoy Endgame and highly recommend it for anyone who is interested.

4 out of 5

Must Read

Uncanny X-men #504

Written: Matt Fraction

Art: Terry Dodson

Opening Comments: I haven’t held back the fact that I’ve been rather under whelmed with the new direction of X-comics. Wolverine and X-force are the only 2 I really like, and everything else has been rather poor, as I see it. Though I must admit I had some hopes for this issue after reading the preview online, and was glad to see Fraction handling the series on his own. So, with a bit of hesitance, I get Uncanny X-men a try…and while it’s far from perfect, it’s also far from bad.

Story Comments: The stories here are all interesting, though none too interesting yet. First I’ll talk about the one I was most interested in, Colossus in how he’s dealing with Kitty’s death. Now I for one was saddened by her death as much as the next X-fan, but time has gone on and I’ve moved on.

Fraction does a good job of getting the right voice and reaction from our steal skinned hero. His rather depressive attitude is the result of her death finally really sinking deeper then just sadness, its’ become heart break and Fraction handles it well enough. Though the veering plots of someone whom Colossus fears…I didn’t really care much, if at all, about it.

Next, the plot I wasn’t even expecting, Beast and Angel going to some doctor to help against the Genocide on mutants. The slow growing death of their race…while it makes sense, we’ve already see Beast go to everyone else, I doubt this storyline will really go anywhere. Though if it does somehow lead to a break through of the genetic genocide, then hopefully it will be more worth it then I’m making it out to be. Though I won’t hold my breath, you can all hope if you wish to.

The Doctor himself is a fairly funny character and I feel Fraction hit a high note as far as good comedic moments with him. Though I don’t exactly like him, he’s funny, witty, and damn cool. Though I doubt I’ll really care, he’s good, for now.

Finally the second thing I was interested in, Emma going to the Hotel of Scott’s mind…now…luckily this wasn’t quite as I’d figured it to be. We still got shots of X-women in torn clothes and revealing outfits, no doubt for the sake of showing off Dodson’s talents, but it doesn’t distract from the story, and some funny little jokes here and there.

We see that Jean has taught Scott how to make a black box in his mind, one which evens a telepath as strong as Emma cannot access. I thought this was a good idea by Fraction, and I loved Emma’s shocked reaction when she learned that Jean taught Scott how to do it.

The cliff-hanger was nice, but was simply more fodder for the “Mutant’s suck” campaign that has filled the X-comics for ages. I’m far more interested in seeing where Emma goes and how Colossus is, but this should be an interesting story.

Fraction has toned down a lot of the sex humor that plagued the SFX arc and the humor here feels more real and funny. Characters have much better voices then they did last time, and in general, I found this to be a solid read…but just that, nothing too great or all that interesting. Though I hope that by part 2 of lovelorn things pick up more. Still, credit is due here despite my hesitation and Fraction did a good job here.

Art Comments: I am indeed a big fan of Dodson’s strong artwork, not just for his incredibly sexy women. His art carries a strong style that is easy to point out in a crowd and really stands strong. His art here continues to impress me as he usually does and yes, for anyone wondering, the women are all very good looking. Breasts abound in some pages, and I have to say, it’s damn hilarious. Also of course though expressions are nicely done, character work is excellent and overall, I really love his work here and it is easily worth the “just okay” story.

Final comments: While it has a little bit to go before I can recommend it beyond suggesting you check it out, I still enjoyed it and have decided to stick with it for now. Though I’m not sure just where this storyline will go, it seems to have something important to tell, so I’ll read on.

3 out of 5

Check It

Broken Trinity #3

Written: Ron Marz

Art: Stjepan Sejic, Phil Hester

Opening Comments: I was so excited for Broken Trinity earlier this year…First Born was incredibly well done and showed that just because Top Cow doesn’t have an epic cast as big as Marvel or DC to be affected by it’s events, that an event with it’s big characters can still be as good, and in some cases, better then what Marvel and DC have to offer as event comics. But Broken Trinity, the follow up to First Born, can only be described as an incredible let-down of epic proportions. Now I don’t have a lot to say actually, because really, there isn’t a lot to comment on, but I figured I’d still do a regular review rather then an Open Fire! Review.

Story Comments: The Angelus shows up, Fire and Ice fight, Angelus gets her head chopped of, end of story. That’s the issue, in a nut-shell. Though we get some obvious moments that aren’t just that, those are all you need to know about the events of Broken Trinity #3, and seeing as this issue was delayed a damn month, it’s obviously not worth the wait or time spent in it.

Now to be fair, Marz continues to write the characters amazingly well, but as a story as a whole, Broken Trinity was such a huge let-down. Angelus isn’t really even dead, so the Trinity isn’t even broken! It was just…shifted for a bit, and Angelus will be back, so there is no point to calling it “Broken” Trinity when the Trinity is far from broken, it’s exactly the same.

Gleason gets to do something other then bleed, which was nice but really when Gleason has to save the day, you know something’s wrong with a story. I, for the life of me, couldn’t tell who the villain here is. One minute it’s Fire girl, the next it’s Angelus, then fire girl again, then Angelus, it’s so frustrating.

While the character of Finn was a nice addition to the Top Cow Universe, his introduction does not make the waste of paper that is Broken Trinity worth it. While the story itself is not bad, for so little it really did and so much it promised, it’s a huge let down.

Art Comments: I love Sejic’s gorgeous painted artwork, but no matter what, it just isn’t worth what a waste of time BT has been. It’s good looking, but not redeeming of the poor storyline.

Final Comments: While not Burn It bad, I can’t suggest Broken Trinity to anyone thinking it would be a strong story with serious character repercussions. I myself am more excited now for War of the Witchblade, a story that is sounding ten times better then Broken Trinity is. With any luck, BT will be swept under the rug. As it just isn’t worth your time or money.

2 out of 5

Pass It

Invincible #55

Written: Robert Kirkman

Art: Ryan Ottley

Opening Comments: Invincible is soon becoming one of my favorite books on the market, never a dull moment for the book now, Kirkman has a stricter plan for it as I can see and I’m loving it. Though this issue did veer a bit into the “meh” zone, and felt far too done-in-one for my liking, it continues to show how great the series has become with it’s passing of landmark #50.

Story Comments: The opening is great, I am very much supportive of the Mark/Eve relationship, and it’s nice to see how serious they’ve gotten as a couple. It’s easily become the most interesting aspect to the comic as it’s something all us fans have long been waiting for to happen.

But the majority of the issue, well really ,the main story itself, is of Invincible’s father Omni-Man and Allen the alien trying to escape their imprisonment. The narration here is fun and quirky, where the action is the signature erratic violence the series has become well known for. It’s getting hard not to love Invincible for this, but at the same time ,this issue felt rather forced in that it told the story, but didn’t do much else.

Sure, Allen and Omni-Man’s banter was kind of nice, and the fighting was excellent, but nothing really stood out to me to make this issue much better then the last. Still, I must admit that the revelation of the Vilturumite race was excellently done. Something that I wasn’t expecting and kind of hit me in the “WTF?” area of my brain.

Though really, there isn’t a lot to say here. Though it was nice to have the Omni-man plot resolved, I find myself more curious about what Mark and Eve have planned and the future of Invincible himself. The plotline of the couple is far more interesting, no matter what.

Still, I definitely enjoyed the issue, and the ending was great. While not perfect, it continues to be a great read and leaves me excited and ready for more.

Art Comments: Ottley is still an amazing an artist as ever, though I will admit that his work here does seem a little less crisp and stunning as previous issues. Though the scene of Allen and Omni-man punching a man so hard in the head that his brains pop out….perfect, absolutely perfect.

Final Comments: While not as good as the storyline going on right now with Invincible and Eve, still a great comic and an enjoyable read for me as a fan of the series. If you’re a fan of Invincible I suggest you pick it up, and if you’re interested, this may be a good place to start seeing as this seems to be the beginning of something totally new. Though overall, while I didn’t like it as much as I hoped, I still really loved it in the end and I highly recommend it.

4 out of 5

Must Read

So end’s the first half of this week’s reviews. Tomorrow come back as we review the final 3 of the 7 books I bought from my pull-box. I hope you all enjoyed the reviews and maybe might go and check out some of the comics I liked…and stay away from the one I didn’t like.