Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Age's End

A somewhat sad day is here, everyone. I’ve got bad-ish news for the future of New Age Comics with Andrenn. For the time I’m closing down the New Age. Now that’s not necessarily all of it, but in a sense I won’t be posting here regularly anymore.

For the past few weeks I’ve been writing both for this blog as well as the Comic Book Revolution website and I’ve been happy to do so for both. But the extra work is getting to me. It’s double the work and makes it harder on me to get out more reviews. So for now I won’t be posting here at the blog.

Now I’m not closing shop necessarily. I won’t post regularly but that doesn’t mean I’ll never post again. If I have a big important post at the Revolution then I’ll link it in a post here. Maybe every now and then I’ll make a post pointing to all of my latest reviews when I can.

In the end this all came down to priorities and while I’ve loved writing for you all for this past year and a half I can’t deny that the Revolution is where I should put more of my focus and work into. The Revolution gets more traffic and in the long run I feel really privileged to get to work along the others there.

I do feel bad about this. I didn’t want to close shop but at the same time this will make things easier on me. Then I can put more energy into doing reviews and hopefully get out reviews on a regular basis again.

If you want to see my regular posts, comic reviews, Solicit Commentary, Week’s End, New Age Ideas, New Age News and so much more then go click on the link below this. I have will be posting regularly at the Revolution all the comics I read. I’ll link posts from there whenever I can so anyone who follows my blog can find them.

My blog will also serve as an archive at the Revolution for my older posts and reviews. So if you ever want to find my older stuff then you can check the archives of the blog.

Before I finish this post I want to take a moment to thank everyone for reading. I’ve loved writing on this blog so much and I feel really thankful for every comment I ever got. Positive and negative, it all meant a lot to me and I am eternally grateful to you all. So thank you all so much for reading the New Age, I hope you’ll all follow me into the Revolution.

And don't worry, the New Age can never die.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Image Primer at The Weekly Crisis

One of the friends of the Revolution is The Weekly Crisis. I've admired their reviews from all the writers there for a while now and I owe Kirk a thanks for getting me into the reviewing business. After reading his blog for a few months I was inspired to start up my own and he made me aware of blogger and gave me some great advice and if not for that I wouldn't be working for the Revolution right now! 

So in December when he put out a call for Guest Posts I was eager to do so. We came up with an Image Primer and after a month or so of writing, re-writing, editing and patience it's up and it is awesome! Click the link to check it out at their site and let me know what you all thought of it!

Siege #2 Review

With a highly disappointing and boring first issue my hopes weren’t too high for the 2nd issue of Siege. Though deep down I still had some hope that Bendis could wine me over again and give me the over the top fun event comic I had been hoping for.

Creative Team
Writer: Brian Bendis
Artist: Olivier Coipel
Inker: Marc Morales
Colorist: Laura Martin

Story Rating: 5 out of 10
Art Rating: 7 out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 out of 10

Opening Comments: Siege #2 is more of what I wanted out of this event, over the top action and some fun moments. Sadly this was still far too thin a read and it seems like Bendis wasted this first half of Siege to set the stage for the real fun next time, and that’s sad to see.

Story Comments: This issue’s biggest flaw was definitely the lack of story and moving things forward. When you’ve only got 4 issues to tell your “everything changes” storyline you’ve got to actually do something with that precious time you have. There’s no room to just wait around and waste our time.

This is what’s confusing me about Siege, it seems like Bendis is writing this as some kind of 8 issue event. I mean honestly, does Siege feel half way over? Not at all. If anything it feels like I just read the first chapter of an 8 part storyline. Now I’m glad it’s not 8 issues but what’s the point of having 4 issues if you’re going to write it like it’s 8?

I almost wonder if Bendis wanted Siege to be much longer but Marvel told him to cut it down to 4. It sure as hell feels like it. I could easily mistake parts 1 and 2 for one issue of the event. This is a huge problem for any event. Even Blackest Night by it’s halfway mark felt like it had accomplished something.

I should address once more the flaw in Norman’s plan. Just one day attack Asgard and everyone will love you? I still can’t see the logic behind this. I know time and time again everyone points out that he’s crazy so there’s no need to explain it but…no…I refuse to accept that.

Maybe if something real had happened, like if the Asgardians where involved in a real incident but nothing has happened. Norman made up one event that killed a lot of people and just like that, bam, we’re invading Asgard. It’s just so inane and boring, like Bendis pulled a magic wand out of his ear and said “there, now Norman wants to attack Asgard and he did this and that”

I just can’t see any reasoning behind attacking gods. Unless you’re just bored. Is that it, Norman? You woke up one day, looked at your Gwen Stacy dressed hooker (Too soon to make a Gwen Stacy fetish joke? Everyone else is doing it.) and figured to yourself “I’m bored, lets go invade Asgard!” I mean I try again and again to understand it but I just can’t.

Now for the one part of this issue I honestly loved and that was the Sentry and Ares fight. Bendis handled Ares incredibly well here and I absolutely loved the fight, short and one-sided as it was. This is actually something that’s bugging me. Would a fight with the God of War really be that one sided? I’m sorry, but I’d think a god could put up a better fight then that.

I get that Sentry is super strong, really, I understand all that but it still feels so boring to have him be this super powerful. I mean come on, Ares is a damn god, you are telling me he couldn’t last at least a few minutes with Sentry, maybe do some real damage? He got in one shot and Sentry acted like he felt nothing.

Then there was how short the fight was, while I liked the fight scene, why was it so damn short? Bendis added a totally useless scene of the Avengers suiting up to kick ass but it was totally pointless. Trust me, Bendis, I wasn’t going to freak out if the Avengers showed up without showing the S.H.I.E.L.D. jet. It was a waste of page.

It would have been great to have more time devoted to the Sentry/Ares fight. Maybe, I don’t know, actually let Ares do something cool? Hurt Sentry? Just a little bit? I know it’s a crazy idea, how dare Sentry be proven he isn’t perfect. We’ve got to boast that Sentry is the most awesome guy in forever.

Then there was Ares’ death. I’ll admit it was a surprising moment and handled well, but there’s always the biggest flaw and that’s that Ares is a God. No point in killing off a character like that if he’s just going to come back. If this was Moonstone or Venom I may believe the character was dead but with Ares it is obvious he’ll be back.

Now here’s one question I have for Marvel: Why is it okay to show Sentry literally ripping Ares in half, showing his guts, spinal cord and other nasty bits spilling out as he’s torn up and show it all in graphic detail, but Moonstone can’t say the word “bitch”. I just don’t get it. It’s cool to show a brutal murder, but the word “bitch” oooh that’s the real taboo here.

I get why the F word and “Shit” are censored. But really, Moonstone can’t say “bitch”? We have to censor it? I just don’t get it. It makes no sense and if Marvel is going to boast this as some mature and real important event can’t you be a little adult and just say the word “bitch”? My eyes won’t catch fire if I read it. I’d rather my 13 year old son read the word “bitch” then see someone get ripped in half.

One thing that really confused me is how long it has taken the Avengers to get here. I’m sorry, this is a big event and the Avengers are just now showing up? At the very end? Really? I have my doubts they would take this long to act.

I’ve been pretty negative, but I will be totally honest when I say I did indeed enjoy this issue for the most part. It was miles ahead of it’s weak starting even if it was still frustrating. While it was painfully thin and rather dull deep down I still had a good time reading Siege for its fun over the top action.

Bendis indulges on the dumb fun of an event comic and it doesn’t get much dumber then this. Unless all the characters lose their ability to speak and are only able to move  by punching each other. But I still had a lot of fun with the action and how it all came together.

Is that any excuse for how stupid Siege is? Not at all and I’m not trying to act like it is. But in the long run an event comic is dumb and you can’t really expect anything else out of it but action and some fun moments. That’s been what event comics are about, and maybe every once in a blue moon it will have an actually interesting thought in it but that is indeed a rare moment for an event comic.

Still much as I try to hate how stupid Siege is I just can’t hold that against it. I’m not reading Siege for a thought provoking or interesting read. I read good comics like Ultimate Spider-man, Jersey Gods and Invincible for that kind of stuff. No there’s no need for any of that pesky good storytelling here. I just want dumb over the top action and like a fun dumb action movie it satisfies that desire.

Add in that it’s only 4 issues and it’s like getting to watch an abridged version of Die Hard and that is awesome. Sure I love Die Hard, but do I really give a damn about the story? No. I care about seeing one badass kill a bunch of other badasses because he’s top badass.

So overall this issue was weak, so very weak, but it’s a guilty pleasure of sorts.

Now about the ending, it was just dumb. Norman standing there as the shield is about to smack him across the face. I felt like I was in a theater watching a bad horror movie and shouting at the screen “Ruuuuun ya moron!” I mean seriously. It was so boring, Norman looks up and is about to get smacked with the shield. It’s only a slight improvement over the ever so exciting Captain America getting pissed as he gets up off his couch.

Because nothing says pissed off like standing up off your couch, children.

Art Comments: Coipel’s art was a big step up from his weak art last month. It’s still not as great as I was hoping for but I’ll admit it was a big step up for him as it seems he’s doing a better job of capturing the epic scale that Siege deserves. While his work definitely still looks rushed I still enjoyed it.

My big confusion was his reuse of panels. Just painfully lazy of him. He did it a couple of times, the scene with Steve Rogers giving a speech to the heroes one panel he’s looking at the right, then the next he’s looking at the left and it’s the same panel copied and pasted. Clever, Mr. Coipel, I almost missed it.

Usually I don’t mind an artist recycling panels if they do it in a clever way. Mike Deodato has usually been able to get away with it. But this here was just painfully lazy. Recycling the same panel 4 times on the final page especially was pathetic.

I’d like to think that when you’re handling a big event comic you should pride yourself on that work and try and add in that extra effort. Cutting little corners like this as well as his rushed art really took down what was solid art a lot for me.

Final Comments: We’re half way into siege and I still can’t really recommend it much. If you like me have that craving for dumb fun action then Siege is a good book for it. But other then that its pretty much a dumb event at it’s dumbest.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

January's Comics Reviewed

Finally I’m getting out some reviews for you all. Sorry these took so long, I have no excuse other then my own laziness. I got 3 comics today that I’ll review real soon. I’ll post a review of Siege #2 tomorrow and hopefully Wolverine: Weapon X #10 the next day. Hopefully being the key word here.

Another note before the reviews. I’m changing my review system. I’ve always used an out of 5 type system and while I’ve usually fond it effective I think an out of 10 system is definitely more precise. Since I’ve been using one for the Revolution now I think it’s time I use it for my reviews here as well. So from now on everything will have an Out of 10 rating.

Now onto the comics!

Jersey Gods #10
Written: Glen Brunswick
Art: Dan McDaid

Story Rating: 9 out of 10
Art Rating: 9 out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 out of 10

Opening Comments: Jersey Gods #10 was an excellent read and once again reminded me that Jersey Gods is easily one of the best comics out there each month. With strong pacing, great action and incredible character work Jersey Gods is easily a comic everyone should be reading and this issue reminded me of that.

Story  Comments: Brunswick succeeds on a lot of levels with Jersey Gods, but I think his highest success is the pacing of this arc. The Abandoned has done great for pacing a strong storyline and building up to an exciting conclusion. Something that not all writers can do really and Brunswick really blew me away with the pacing of this arc.

Of course as always the characters continue to be both fun and interesting to read every time. Brunswick never fails to make compelling and exciting characters and once again he utilized them very well here. I especially liked Helius in this issue. Brunswick gave us funny Helius as well as Helius suffering his first ever loss and it was handled very well.

As always the Barock and Zoe relationship develops nicely. In this issue they are hardly together until the very end but Brunswick still makes their relationship a pivotal part of the story and important as well as interesting. I love the way these 2 interact because it always feels general and real and it’s always interesting to read.

Brunswick has made 2 great new villains with LA and Maya. While both alone don’t seem like very big threats with Neboron technology it was exciting seeing how well they handled it and I hope we see them again as they really are exciting and interesting new villains.

One thing I wasn’t expecting was the possible Rushmore/Lurella relationship. Rushmore is a great character and he does have a connection to Lurella since they are from the same city but I didn’t expect her to care for him. This is an interesting new dynamic and I really hope that we see more of it when Rushmore pulls through.

Brunswick shines most here with his ability to balance the comedy and action along with the drama. Most writers can only focus on one aspect, first action then maybe a bit of drama at the end. Brunswick blends these 3 aspects of a story beautifully and it makes a really great conclusion to the arc.

My best example is how in this issue we got a fight scene, a death and a hilarious moment as Helius seduces Maya. It’s all there, a full package in one comic and that’s more then most readers could hope for but Brusnwick did it and it was great. All 3 emotional points where hit excellently but never did it feel like one messed with the other and it worked amazingly well.

The fact that Brunswick can transition from Helius singing a Justin Timberlake song, to an intense fight, to a dramatic death is masterful writing and it’s sadly something we don’t see enough of today in comics. This is a really personal story and the reader really feels emotional investment here. It’s powerful writing and the sign of a really good writer when he affects the reader like that on so many levels.

Any writer can just randomly kill off a character for shock value and then try to make the readers feel bad about it. It’s easy really and it happens all the time but to just hit that one note is so boring and overplayed. Rarely is a death given any real emotion behind it. A character just gets their heart ripped out and we’re done with it. Readers can’t give a damn of Iron Man’s girlfriend gets shot if she’s dead and we move on like nothing ever happened.

Brunswick succeeds in making me feel bad for Hector as he dies. Sure he was a nefarious guy but deep down he was just mad at a father he never knew. He came to terms with his anger and finally got to see his father for the real man that he was only to be struck down. It’s tragic in the way that most deaths in comics can only hope to be and it really hits you in the heart to see that.

Helius’ reaction adds a new layer of pain to it as well. It’s one thing to kill off a character then expect the audience to simply feel the emotional ramifications, but when we see the characters affected by it then that’s the real accomplishment. Helius’ final words about the son he never knew where touching and heart breaking.

Action is another important aspect to this issue and the action was great. I especially loved McDaid’s layouts as he really went outside the box and it paid off. I love unique panel lay outs and it was great here as he really gave us a fun look on the action while it retained its intenseness.

The ending was both a great ending for the story arc and a hook ending to excite me for next issue. Brunswick has been building to Barock’s relationship with Zoe getting to the next level and him doing something major like this. It’s really exciting to see how she’ll react next time and Brunswick has set up a perfect hook ending, exciting me for more but still leaving me satisfied with what I read.

Art Comments: Much as I loved the story I also loved the art for this issue. McDaid has grown so much over the past 10 issues of Jersey Gods and his art at this point is purely excellent and great stuff. It’s some of the best art I’ve seen from him and he handled everything so amazingly well, the comedy, the action, the emotion is all there and it all looks gorgeous with McDaid’s unique style.

Final Comments: If you’re not reading Jersey Gods you owe it to yourself to check this series out. It’s got everything, amazing pacing, great characters, fun comedy, great action and real emotion as well as great art. This is easily one of the best comics out there and this was another amazing issue. Brunswick and McDaid did an amazing job here as they have been doing with this series.

Streets of Gotham #8
Creative Team
Writer: Mike Benson
Art: Dustin Nguyen

Story Rating: 5 out of 10
Art Rating: 7 out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 out of 10

Opening Comments: DC really pissed me off with this sudden Dini swap for Mike Benson for yet ANOTHER 2 month filler. Just as Dini comes back he’s gone like that. It’s total bullshit and I don’t care if it’s DC or Dini’s fault, it’s no excuse and if you’re going to have your own goddamn ongoing series, write your series!

Now to be perfectly honest this issue was still a solid and enjoyable read. Benson gives us a clever interesting mystery and he puts in some great moments here and there. But for one this felt like such a bland fill in, like this could have been any random issue of Batman. It didn’t feel like it fit the Streets of Gotham series at all. At least with Chris Yost’s fill in it focused on other parts of Gotham and was more interesting.

Story Comments: Benson gives us a by the numbers Batman mystery. Nothing new or interesting about it. Someone is killing people in Gotham and Batman’s got to solve the mystery. We’ve seen it all before and we’ve seen it done better as well. Even if it was solid read it wasn’t one worthy of this series.

But to point out the good, my favorite moment was between Batman and his first suspect. A nice change of the cliché “I’m a suspect so I’m a total jerk” moment we often get. For once one of these random suspects acted like a real human being rather then being a stock jackass. Benson really impressed me with that and I really wish we’d see this more often from writers today.

It was interesting seeing Benson tackle the idea of the dirty side of nightlife in Gotham. So often sex is like a joke in comics. No one can handle sex seriously, it’s always casual or funny and never do you see the darker nastier side to sex and seeing Benson address that here was interesting.

It was also nice to see him being straight forward about it. Yeah there’s some crazy shit out there. People who’d want to sleep with a woman if she looks like the Joker (Or Batgirl…just saying…) and it was nice to see that acknowledged. It’s not pretty but it was just nice seeing it for once.

As far as mysteries are concerned this one is at least decent and I did like seeing it develop. Benson may have given us a basic mystery but it’s still an interesting one and he handles the trail of clues very nicely and it all evolves well.

Picking the biggest flaw of this issue of Streets of Gotham was real easy. It can be summed up in 2 words.

Paul. Dini.

Where the hell was he? This is his 2nd break from the series. Now while he was on Detective Comics he took a break I recall but that was different, that was an established series. This is his very own ongoing series. DC gave him his own comic book, all for him, and he still can’t write it. That’s bullshit.

This series has been sold as a Paul Dini comic. That’s one of the big hooks, that Paul Dini is writing his own Batman ongoing series. A place for all his fans like me to read his great stories. What’s the point of me reading this series if the guy I’m reading it for isn’t writing it often?

What’s even worse is this is exactly after a one month return. One goddamn month. At least last time he got out 4 issues rather then just 1. This is just lazy at this point. Like he’s not even trying anymore. He just writes this series when he feels like it I guess and that is wrong to the fans.

I’m a huge Paul Dini fan, I love his work. His run on Detective Comics was legendary to me, his work for Batman: the Animated Series is undefeated as far as cartoons are concerned, the Graphic Novel Mad Love is one of my top Batman books. So when I buy Streets of Gotham, I wanted my damn Paul Dini or I won’t be reading the series.

You don’t get your own ongoing series to simply not write it. That’s like getting a house and only living in it a couple of days a week. It’s stupid and frustrating. Now beyond how pissed I am at no Paul Dini for another 2 months there was more to this issue then just no Paul Dini.

Has Mike Benson read any Batman lately? Does he know Dick Grayson is under the cowl at all? Or that Dick is a nice guy? Or that he doesn’t act exactly like Bruce? I guess not since this issue read like a basic issue of Batman with Bruce under the cowl. There was absolutely nothing that could tell me this was Dick Grayson and not Bruce Wayne.

This issue is just so basic and by the numbers mostly. It’s a very basic mystery and while it is at least well done it’s just so bland compared to the more exciting and interesting Batman stories we’ve gotten before. While a murder mystery is always a good time for a Batman story it’s been done to death and there has to be something more then just a guy killing people in Gotham to justify it being a Batman story nowadays.

We’ve been here before folks and we’ve been here with better writing and a more interesting plot set up. I know Batman is a detective before an avenger but that doesn’t mean we can just throw any bland boring mystery story at him and it will stick and make for an exciting read. There has to be more substance to it then that.

On top of all that Benson makes a rather mediocre killer. He’s just some random criminal killer. That’s awesome. Maybe next we can have a killer of only cops, or hell if you want to be really clever just a random serial killer. That’s unique and exciting after all.

Why the hell did this have to be 2 parts again? Nothing about this feels important or interesting enough to warrant a 2 part storyline. This could have easily been a done in one storyline and it would have been much better for it.

Also DC, I propose a deal. Next time Dini says he can’t make it for this month’s issue of Streets of Gotham, just delay it a month. Yeah! I would much rather go 1 month with no Streets of Gotham then 2 months with Streets of Gotham not written by Dini and as bland filler.

As I said, Dick is being a total dick and it’s not like him. While some may defend that it’s him playing the role of Batman, we’ve seen him be much nicer to the police then this. The whole hook of this new Dynamic Duo is that we’ve got a nice upbeat and happy Batman and a Dark and cynical Robin. Even though Dick is playing Batman he still has the Nightwing personality deep down.

This issue just reeked of filler and nothing important happening. It’s just bland shit 101 as far as Batman is concerned. Benson plays everything by the numbers for your typical generic Batman story and it’s frustrating as all hell to see from what has been an excellent series so far.

Art Comments: I did like that DC kept Nguyen on the art to keep at least one thing consistent. Even if the stories are by different writers with the same artist still on board it helps keep the series with an at least somewhat familiar feel. But even this was far from Nguyen’s best work.

I know it’s not much else, but that is a damn fine cover by Nguyen. Easily his best cover yet for this series and that’s saying a lot because he’s a great cover artist. I love how the colors contrast and I especially loved his homage to The Dark Knight Returns, such an excellent cover.

While I liked Nguyen’s art I can tell it was very rushed. There’s a heavier use of shadows and it’s the sign of an artist forced to rush and gloss over more detail. This whole issue just looked way too dark and gloomy, the colors really where way too toned down and it got annoying.

Final Comments: If you’ve been wanting to read Streets of Gotham, I think you may want to consider collection waiting or something. That or whenever Dini decides to write the comic again. This issue was just bland and mediocre in every sense of the word. Nothing like the Streets of Gotham I’ve been enjoying and nothing worth your time and money.

Mighty Avengers #33
Creative Team
Writer: Dan Slott
Art: Koi Pham

Story Rating: 8 out of 10
Art Rating: 7 out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Opening Comments: Mighty Avengers is really hitting it’s stride here as Slott really is letting loose and giving us a really fun story arc with great character work and epic action the likes of which  the Avengers haven’t seen in too long. While I’m not one to criticize what Bendis has done over at New Avengers, this is easily the first book in a long time that felt like a real Avengers book.

Story Comments: Slott really excels with giving us a fun read here and really impressing me with the action. When it comes to a team book you want that perfect blend of utilizing all the teammates along with giving us solid action and giving us a fun read and Slott is really impressing me with how he handles Mighty Avengers. This feels like the comic he was born to write.

Seeing the contrasts of Norman as leader of the Dark Avengers and Wasp as leader of the Mighty Avengers is really clever. Seeing how Norman is over confident and refuses to let his ego be damaged is hilarious. Norman is definitely an ego-maniac at times and Slott really gets the character well and exploits his ego well.

Seeing Wasp really step up as leader is great. Slott has done a lot for the character of Hank Pym in his year of writing Mighty Avengers and he’s really revitalized the character to a major part of the Marvel Universe and the way he takes on Norman and asses the situation really fits the character well.

The way they interact is just so fascinating. Wasp is clearly the smarter man. He’s the experienced hero who has actually saved the world time and time again and you can just tell he’s ahead of Norman on everything. It was really cool seeing them argue and Slott really made them play off each other well. If I didn’t know both titles where ending in a couple of months I’d hope for another Mighty/Dark team up in the future.

One thing where Slott really does well is how he handles both teams. While not necessarily perfect with continuity (last I checked Bullseye hates Daken) it was just great seeing these 2 teams interact. Especially seeing the Mighty Avengers and how the Dark Avengers reacted to them each time.

Slott really handles a team book well here. So many times a team book will only focus on 2 or 3 of a 5 to 6 member team and it’s so annoying. While I understand it’s tricky to handle so many characters for a writer, I can totally understand, the whole point of a team book is to focus on a large group of characters. That means usually spotlighting the whole team.

This is where Slott really impresses me as he’s really good at handling the full roster. Making sure every character gets a moment and shows up and is important to the story and has their moment and you care about them. Even characters I don’t like such as US Agent and Quicksilver are spotlighted nicely and it really is nice to see Slott put forth that extra effort to make this fee like a team book and focus on all his heroes.

Of course I did love seeing all the specific moments with the reality punching that was going on. I can tell Slott had tons of fun writing this issue with all the crazy things he did like splitting the Sentry and the Void and making the Symbiote go after people. It was really crazy and really cool at the same time.

I was surprised to see him acknowledge prior continuity with the Vision being Iron Lad’s old Armor along with Vision’s old memories imprinted into it. I never expected a mention of it and seeing Slott spotlight that and use it for his story was great. I especially loved seeing how torn Stature was over what was going on.

I did like seeing Wasp give control of the team over to Herc. Ever since Incredible Herc the character has been taken from his mediocre status as one of the blandest Marvel heroes and has been turned into an excellent character and his inclusion in Mighty Avengers has been great so seeing him step up here and keep the fight up was awesome.

I love how Slott is so good at setting up future storylines. Mighty Avengers has been a building epic story rather then just story arc to story arc and that really shined here with his continuing building plots such as building up the epic return of Ultron in a couple of months.

It was great seeing Slott utilize Norman’s dual personality problem. So far I think this is the first time it’s been utilized outside of Dark Avengers and seeing Norman battle with his inner Goblin was really cool and it shows just how mentally weakened he’s become over the past year.

This issue was a solid and enjoyable read and while not perfect it was one of Slott’s best issues yet of the title. Slott is really hitting a new high with this story and really showing off what a great Avengers writer he is and he is telling easily the best arc yet of his run so far.

Sadly not everything was great with this issue. While it was a fun read I didn’t like everything about it. For one as I mentioned there was some continuity problems with Bullseye and Daken not liking each other. They hate it each other, it’s been shown often in Dark Wolverine so seeing them chat on the field like this just felt odd.

I hated the ending and how Norman just gets a magic sword and makes it all go away. I know it fits into Loki furthering his own agenda to make Norman look good and for that it is clever but at the same time it just feels so lazy. This was a really epic battle and to end it with just one stab like that just felt so lack luster and boring.

Slott is a very creative writer and he knows how to make an epic final battle. Looking back at Avengers: The Initiative, he did an amazing job with the final battle against KIA during the KIA arc. It was an epic final confrontation that had a really intense fight and it was great so I know he can do better then this.

I wasn’t too sure of what to think about the final page with Wasp finally finding out it was Loki. While it was clever and the series has been building to this moment I just don’t know what to do now. Is Wasp going after Loki? What’s going to happen next? It’s far too up in the air at this point.

Art Comments: Pham’s art was definitely his best yet. I’m not sure if it’s the inker or colorist but something about his art this month was really top notch and definitely his best yet for the series. While Pham has had a lot of issues in the past with muddy artwork here it seems he’s giving 110% and it looks great. He really captures the action well and he gives us a really epic scope of the battle and he handles it all amazingly well.

While for the most part Pham’s art was great he still had some issues. Something about the way he draws a wide open mouth that looks so odd. I’m not sure but it always looks really weird to me and this issue still had that along with some other odd little moments here and there.

Final Comments: This was a solid fun issue with an enjoyable resolution to the current plot as well as leading into the next issue well. Slott is doing a good job with this series and for anyone looking for a fun Avengers title this is definitely the book for you.

So I’m going to wrap things up with a quick review of Witchblade #134, which would get a longer review if it actually did much but it’s a short issue so it gets a short review.

Witchblade #134
Written: Ron Marz
Art: Stjepan Sejic

Story Rating: 7 out of 10
Art Rating: 8 out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Opening Comments: As I said prior, this is a very short issue. It really just serves to familiarize us with the characters and set up the fight to happen next issue. Nothing more and nothing les, still it makes for an enjoyable read.

Story Comments: Most of this issue is just set up, which one should expect really when you’ve got a 3 part arc. All the meat will happen next month and for now we get a taster of what it’s going to be like, so I can’t say I’m sad to see how thin this issue was on actual plot developments.

We get a nice introduction to Cyber Data for anyone not familiar with Top Cow history like myself. Marz told it in a way that felt like a real discussion even if it was just covering up back story it was still nice at how he presented it.

This issue read a little too fast for me and even as set up I know Marz could have added a little more to it I think and if he head it would have no doubt gotten a higher rating. But he sticks to the basics of set up.

I did like the little personal moments Sara had with Dani’s mother and Gleason but other then that there wasn’t much to say on this issue. It was a solid read but not much else really. The characters where all handled well and it did a strong job of setting up the story arc.

I feel bad that I don’t have much to say but that’s just my honest opinion. It was a short issue, it was a solid fun read and I can’t really find anything else to say.

Art Comments: No surprise that Sejic continues to impress me. I really like his version of Aphrodite and I loved the final page and how he captured Sara and Aphrodite’s shocked looks so well. This issue looked great.

Final Comments: A solid start to an arc that I hope will impress. Sadly there wasn’t’ too much here though even though it still made a good read. Definitely left me wanting more in the bad way, as I felt there was a bit more that could have been added to it. Still worth a read.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Week Begins - February 1st 2010

It’s been too long since a new The Week Begins! So here’s one. Now I’ve only got one comic this week but I thought what the hell I should at least mention 2 other comics that have come onto my radar.

Now as for my reviews, I wrote them up Friday but have been lazy. Finals and a 3 day weekend will do that to you, shooting to post them tomorrow.

Siege #2
Written: Brian Bendis
Art: Olivier Coipel

Despite such a weak start to Siege I am rather hopeful that Bendis can turn this around. Its already looking much better from the preview. Bendis has a key 4 month window to tell this event and if he fails to make the main series big fun and over the top action then this event is a failure in my eyes.

But it’s definitely looking up. Both story and art really impressed me from the preview and if this is any sign as to what Bendis will be doing with the rest of the issue then hopefully he can turn this around and do better after such a weak start to this event. I remain hopeful.

Wolverine: Weapon X #10
Written: Jason Aaron
Art: CP Smith

Ever drop a series and really wish you hadn’t? yeah, that’s me with Weapon X. I really wish I’d stuck with this series but at the time I just couldn’t afford it, so after the 1st great issue I had to drop it. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this series and want to read it again.

So with a one-shot I figure no time is better then now to at least get my fix even if I won’t be adding the series again to my pull list any time soon.  This issue sounds great. Logan’s got a messed up love life but I’m a sucker for chaotic romance stories like his love life so this should be tons of fun to read.

My only real draw is the art. It looks damn good to be honest. Moody, dark, great for a dark and over the top violent Wolverine story. But for what’s supposed to be Logan reflecting on past loves it just seems out of place. I hope that Smith can still fit the story because of this one’s on the shelves when I get to the LCS no way I’m passing it up.

Ultimate Comics X #1
Written: Jeph Loeb
Art: Arthur Adams

You know what is really bugging me nowadays? I keep finding all these comics I’d love to read, the Flash, Green Lantern, Dark Avengers, but I only want to read them for the art. I mean it looks so gorgeous, how could anyone pass up 22 pages of great art like Dough Mahnke, Francis Manupal or in this case, Art Adams each month?

I would love to pick up Ultimate X, but only because I know it’s going to look great. I couldn’t care less about the story. About this emo-looking Wolverine or whatever happens in to him. Maybe it could turn out to be a really cool series, but I don’t care, I just want to look at the pretty pictures.

Now I don’t usually do this but since I missed a Week I thought I really should give you guys a little something extra, so I’m going to comment on 2 comics from last week as well.

Witchblade #134
Written: Ron Marz
Art: Stjepan Sejic

I decided to wait a week to pick up this issue since it was the only thing waiting for me at the LCS. But I am really excited to check this one out since Marz really blew me away in late 2008 when Sara and Aphrodite fought. Not much to say other then I hope this issue is as good as the last time they met.

Green Lantern #50
Written: Geoff Johns
Art: Doug Mahnke

I know what happens in this issue. It’s awesome. But for some reason I still want to pick it up. Partially because it’s an anniversary issue, but even more so because what I know about it is so awesome I want to read it for myself. If this one is on the stands at the LCS I’ll definitely pick it up.