Wednesday, December 31, 2008
David Aja's art is awesome. The tournament moves looked fantastic. The Prince of Orphans powers looked quite awesome. His battle with the Steel Phoenix was intense, as was Steel Phoenix's brutal match with Tiger's Beautiful Daughter.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
As a two parter, it was entertaining. I think it is more of an attempt to get new readers for the Wolfman title carrying over from Invincible. I probably won't stick around, but I did enjoy the little team up, and it is always nice seeing Invincible be a reasonable guy and talk it out with a new buddy. Nothing Earth-shaking, but entertaining enough.
The art on both was good, as always. Jason Howard (Wolfman) has a style that actually looks pretty good with Ryan Ottley's Invincible-verse. The Guardians looked a little on the young side, but other than that everyone looked good. While I won't seek out Wolfman issues, I'll definitely look out for neat teamup issues and grab those.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Tony Akins ' art is fine, but again, is not quite as good as Mark Buckingham on Fables.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
John Byrne's art is always neat. He has an interesting take on Wonder Woman, making her a bit on the buff side for me, but she's definitely a powerhouse. Byrne's Superman is classic (which only makes sense). His Batman is great too. I've always loved his work, and it was great seeing him draw the icons of the DCU again. This is definitely worth picking up for folks who want a simple comic featuring lots of smashing. I like that kind of thing, so this book was fine by me.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Julian Lopez's art is really good througout. His Green Arrow looks awesome, and he even makes the conehead Martian Manhunter look almost ok. The book is high-action, and he handles that nicely too.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Goran Parlov doesn't get to do his comedy like he did in the Barracuda stories, but his artwork carries the story well. The Delta guys look great, and the scenes where they tangle with the Punisher are really exciting. The fake photos of Viet Nam from the book look great too, they carry the story as well as real photographs would.
Merry Christmas everyone (all 5 of you!)
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Patrick Scherberger's art is on the cartoony side, but it works in the story. It has a fun feel to it and the 90s era costumes on the characters look great. his Iron Man/Celestial armor is really quite neat.
Trevor Goring's art is interesting, kind of John Paul Leon-ish, or maybe Tommy Lee Edwards. It's heavy on the inks, so everything is gloomy, but that fit the material. His super-characters didn't look great, but on the right type of book (like Punisher or Moon Knight) he'd be fine. The barely there story didn't give him much to work with though.
Paulo Pantalena handles the art. I know What Ifs are usually the first work for pencillers, and it shows here. This was not a good looking comic. Heads are too big, faces look odd, and man, just bad. Avoid this book. Don't get me started on the backup as the Runaways become the New Avengers. I couldn't even make myself read it.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Joe Bennett has a neat style. I've liked his DC art for awhile, and it is strong again here. It is a little pin-upy, but the storytelling is good. Static's DCU costume looks good on that final splash page. In fact, I'd say his art elevates the book a bit.
Ariel Olivetti's artwork is an acquired taste. If you like his computery-looking huge dudes, there is more of that here. I like his X-Men too, with Wolverine's chops showing under his mask being a notable neat quirk. This book is skippable overall though, due to the confusion about how it fits in.
Travel Foreman's pencils are fine, but the flashbacks by Russ Heath were superb. I'm loving that even with this new team, the title remains as much about the history of the Iron Fist as it always has. The book is decent, and well worth grabbing from a dollar bin or as a discounted trade.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Philip Tan's art is serviceable. But that redesign of Vandal Savage is AWFUL, so if he's responsible for that, he loses points big time. Since I hate the character redesign AND I'm confused by the story, this is not getting a great rating. Seriously, look at that cover! That's Vandal Savage! Terrible.
Mike Norton's art is fine. I'd read he is trying to draw more in his "own style" and not copy Cliff Chiang as much, but I'm really not seeing too much a difference. He's fine, but not spectacular. There are some odd choices in this comic, as the selling point for a new creative team, I can't find much to bring me back next month. This book remains very skippable.
The second story is better and more shocking. It basically reads like an 8-page version of Cormac McCarthy's The Road, and since I like post-apocalyptic stories as much as the next guy, it was decent. I'm not sure what the problem was that caused the end of the world, I assume it was meant to be ambiguous. Kaare Andrews draws this story, and the atmosphere is pretty strong throughout. I did like the use of Armor as the narrator. It was an interesting twist seeing Wolvie in a position of weakness rather than as the bad ass.
I didn't bother with the script pages, so this was a 3.99 book with 16 pages of story. Great value there... UGH. If you want to read a "What If" where the current writer tells you what happens if the heroes lose in his main title, then pick this up.
Average (Poor for the price)
Sunday, December 21, 2008
On to Abe. Everyone knows what to expect from Mignola at this point, and this trade delivers. The trade opens with a neat little flashback of a old-time English agent stopping an evil cult using a magic dagger. The story then jumps to the 80s and Abe's first solo mission, where Dr. Bruttonholm is sending Abe and a small team of BPRD agents to recover both the dagger and the body of the cult-leader. As nothing is ever simple, the cultists rise from the dead as mummified beasties, and the BPRD flunkies are quickly dispatched. In fact, that is my one complaint about BPRD stories in general, I'd love to see a BPRD field agent or two who could actually survive. I guess Kate Spencer is sort of an agent like that, but it seems we need more. Abe quickly finds himself out of his element. He allies himself with a weird sea-witch in trying to stop the cult leader (a demon, of course) and his underlings. Abe is fairly competent throughout, but he almost wins through luck as much as skill. It is a nice glimpse into the formation of the #2 BPRD agent. I also think this reads better in trade, since not a lot happened over all, and waiting for the monthly it might have seemed slow.
The book is filled with great cutaway shots. Jason Shawn Alexander really has the look of a Hellboy-book down. Mention cattle mutilations? Insert a quick panel of a mutilated cow. Lepers? Cut from the main story to show some sick lepers. Mignola has always done things like that, and it looks great in this book.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Scot Eaton draws the present portion of the book, with a cast of all-stars drawing the flashbacks. He does a great job with the acolytes in particular. We've got John Romita Jr., Brandon Peterson, Billy Tan, and more drawing these memories. The book looks great.
The art is competently done, but man, putting pencil to paper to draw some of the stuff in this comic. I don't see how that couldn't mess a person up. I'll probably stick to Ennis' Punisher and more mainstream work, I'm just too wimpy for this title. (For most Avatar books in general, probably, but I am tempted to try Christos Gage's new title.)
Friday, December 19, 2008
With mutants all but extinct following the Scarlet Witch's "No more mutants" proclamation, the X-Men go crazy when they find out there has been a new mutant birth in Alaska. As they race to find the baby, they run afoul of a TON of classic X-Foes. Mr. Sinister, the Marauders, Lady Deathstrike, the Purifiers, and a new villain Predator X are all out to get the baby too. Add in an X-traitor and some huge additions to the Marauders (Gambit, Sunfire, Exodus, Mystique, and the Acolytes) and this story had all the villains you can handle. The trade collects issues from Uncanny, X-Men, X-Factor, and New X-Men, and important players from each book get their moment to shine. Madrox and Layla Miller travel to the future, Logan gets to put together his new X-Force team of scrappers, and Cable puts himself through the ringer for the future of mutants. Cyclops turns into a tough guy here, but we can kind of see why, since he feels that after Professor X's betrayals, the survival of mutantkind is in his hands. Mike Carey seems to have a fantastic feel for the X-universe, his chapters stand out as some of the best in the trade. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the New X-Men chapters too, I didn't know who any of the characters were at first, but Surge and Rockslide both come through as strong characters I'd love to see more of.
This book had some fantastic fights in it too, the final confrontation with the Marauders was fantastic, with Humberto Ramos' pencils making the fight electric. Scot Eaton drew the X-Factor issues, and his grimy future of mutantkind was horrific. Chris Bachalo's art was clear, which is sometimes a problem for him. This book was well put together from top to bottom, with the X-editors doing a great job to keep the story flowing continuously across multiple titles. The pull quote on the trade says "The best X-crossover in decades." I agree.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Roberto De La Torre's art is getting better. His action in particular is looking great, and the gloomy atmosphere in this comic is palpable. When Venom crashes into the Zeus to grab Songbird, and he's about to eat her, man, that was a well put together scene! This is a great comic, and I think once Diggle gets his own cast next issue, it may get even better.
Khoi Pham's (he's solicited, but it didn't look like him. Pagulayan?) artwork looked more defined than his SI tie-ins, so it seems when he has time his art will be nice and clear. His panel of Osbourne's smirking face while he gloats in Avengers Tower was particularly good.
Charlie Adlard's art is just the same as it always is, solid. The cast is looking more diverse now, which helps differentiate his characters more. The man draws good exploding brains too!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Giusseppe Camuncoli draws the first issue, and I've always liked his style. He does big-jawed super-heroics, so that part of the story he handles well. His Magik is nowhere near as hot as the David Finch one on the cover, but I suppose that's to be expected. If you are a big X-Men or Magik fan, and want quantity over quality, this series is fine. But as I'm reading Brubaker and Carey's X-books, this just feels like filler.
Adriana Melo is a bit of a cheesecake style artist, I know I last saw his/her work on Birds of Prey. I'd like to see Ms. Marvel in costume a bit too. I want to like this comic. I want to collect it regularly. But I can't.
Paul Gulacy handles the art on every issue, and you should know already if you like him or not. Everyone has big eyes, the women have pointy chests, and everyone looks vaguely surprised. That said, his storytelling is solid, so I actually kind of like his art. I'd say this series is worth a value trade or a dollar bin purchase if you enjoy the periphery of the Marvel U. This feels like The Hood or that level of story, I'm sure someone will bring back these characters someday.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Tarantula has been pretty cool too. In fact, I'm shocked to say I think the character interesting me the least these days is my old favorite Deadshot. He's still well written, but he's being outshone by all the great characterization around him. I can't remember the name of the new ally of the six, but she seems to be supplying some super-strength. She rips off King Shark's arm, which I think is a bit of a recurring thing for him at this point. The villain horde is looking pretty tough to beat, especially with Junior himself and the surprise returning character we get at the end. Junior's attempt at a confession was great, I found myself wondering if he was really going to try to repent for a moment, then realized he couldn't, or if this is a regular thing for him. Good stuff.
Nicola Scott just nails this book. This was a mostly talking issue, but the confusion on Scandal's face as she tries to puzzle out and later handle Bane was hilarious.
Excellent (but worried for Bane!)
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Ryan Ottley's art is always great. The design of the new villain is ridiculous but great, like so many of the Invincible villains.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
3 wise hitmen from the East are trying to kill a mob baby, who is hiding in a racetrack stable. A hooker nicknamed "angel" tells her pimp, Shepherd, where to find them. Punisher is delivering the baby, and the wise men, the shepherd, and the actual parents are all criminals. Guess how this book ends? I will confess, the fate of the delivery-room babies does upset me a bit, but man, Punisher makes sure everyone involved gets what they deserve. Everyone!
Man, Jason Aaron is fantastic. He's written some great stuff in the past few months, and he's become one of my favorite writers this fast. I can't wait to check out his new Wolverine book.
Roland Boschi's art is on the muddy side. The world is a grimy, corrupt place even on Christmas. But he does a great job with the blood splatters and the headshots. His work reminds me a bit of Goran Parlov in a good way. The book had a real Punisher-feel to it because of that similarity. Really, it isn't that hard to make me love the Punisher.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Rafael Albuqurque does another smashing job on pencils. His work is a tad sketchy, but there is a real energy in his panel layouts. His facial expressions were amusing too, Wonder Girl's exasperation at her teammates looked great.
Derenick's art is still solid, and Hell looks pretty good. I just don't understand what's going on in that location!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I'm sick so I'm making this one short. It seems Batman 681 wasn't really the end of RIP after all, as we get Batman showing up being mind-copied by Simyan and Mokkari from Final Crisis. It just confuses me more, I don't understand how RIP could get all that hype if the real story is going to play out in Final Crisis?
This issue shows us Batman's thoughts as he remembers his old days as a crimefighter. It is kind of fun seeing fun-Robin again, and Alfred is well written throughout. I don't have any clue what is going on with Batwoman though. I thought she was retconned away? I suppose I'm ok with her being brought back though, and with the incorporation of the wacky 60s adventures back into canon.
Lee Garbett pencils this issue, and he's very close to Tony Daniel in style. I guess I see why DC wanted a similar artist, but I would have thought they'd go with a bigger name. Oh, and Alex Ross' cover is pretty darn garish, huh?
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
JG Jones and Carlos Pacheco knock this thing out of the park. Pacheco is perfect to handle the super-combat, the heroes' assault on Bludhaven looks tremendous. Frankenstein leading the charge with Black Adam looked tremendous. Most of the New God material is drawn by JG Jones, and he keeps up the same haunting, horrific style he's had all along. The gods of Apokolips look SCARY. Simyan and Mokkari are especially disturbing. Darkseid looks great, and the scene where we find out his master plan is haunting.
I won't lie and say I understand everything happening in this issue, but I know I loved it. There's wall to wall action and the consequences for the heroes seem dire. The big moments like Black Adam vs. Mary Marvel are handled as well as the smal ones, like Wonder Woman staring at her mask, possibly about to break her anti-life programming. This is a well-put together comic. The ONLY thing holding it back at this point are the terrible delays.
I don't recognize Eric Nguyen's name as the penciller, but his work is ok. It might be scanned straight from pencils, it has that soft feel. It seems like the creative team is having fun with this one. I think I'll probably pick up the rest of the issues at conventions this summer. It's almost worth just planning on the trade, I may do that depending on the price.
The issue ends with Wally reaching out to the silly new goateed Spectre, asking for him to save Linda. The Spectre promises it is Linda's time to die, but I don't believe it. I can't imagine that in this age of depressing comics, the powers that be at DC really think it is the right move to kill the Flash's wife. But what do I know. Alan Burnett's story is pretty by the numbers, but it is too long. This should have wrapped up an issue or two ago. With only one issue to go, this era of the Flash is ending with a whimper.
Carlo Barberi's art is fine, but not good enough to raise the quality of the issue.
- This sucks. Geoff Johns is leaving JSA. I'm not sure I'll stick with the book, I suppose it depends on the creative team. Johns says he's focusing on Blackest Night, Flash, and Superman. I'd also be willing to bet there's a Legion of Super Heroes relaunch on the horizon.
- We don't know much about Andy Diggle's new Thunderbolts plans, but we do have the lineup starting to form. Irredeemable Ant-Man, Ghost, Headsman, Paladin, Black Widow II are confirmed for now. The leading guesses for the last two are Scourge or Crossbones and Nuke. That's one helluva team! Don't drop this book, people!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I'm loving Mike Carey's take on the X-Men. This second trade features the dismantling of Rogue's strikeforce. We've got one corruption, multiple traitors, and Rogue herself still totally out of it. This whole trade is basically the Iceman and Cannonball show. It's neat seeing these two B-listers getting to headline a story. There's a fair amount of other X-Men (both classic and New), and it seems Carey is a big fan of White Queen, she does a lot. The story follows Rogue's strike team as they are ambushed by the Marauders. The classic Marauders are there, but they've added Sunfire, Random, Gambit, Exodus, and the acolytes, making them one heck of a team. It seems Random and Gambit are not pleased about working with Sinister, but they're doing it for some secret reason (probably Messiah Complex related). Carey spends a lot of time building up Iceman, both personally in his relationship with Mystique, and powers-wise as he amps Bobby's abilities through the roof. He's got to be a top 10 mutant now. I'm really pleased the X-books are so good. I'm way behind as I work through these trades, but it seems like it is a good time to be an X-fan.
Humberto Ramos isn't my favorite artist, his exaggerated features can be distracting. But there is no doubt his energy is off the charts. He draws great combat and sometimes his huge eyed faces really work to sell a dramatic moment. Mike Choi draws the epilogue, and I'm really impressed by his art. The detail is incredible. Mystique's red hair and blue skin look really fantastic, and Beast's lion form actually looks neat.
Paco Medina's art is serviceable. He's not a spectacular artist, so actually, he's probably a perfect fit for this book.
Leonard Kirk returns to pencil this issue, and it's nice to have him back. He's got the characters all down, and his Meggan looks fantastic. I don't care for Black Knight's bulbous helmet or jeans, but maybe he'll get back in his armor at some point. Blade looks great, this could finally be the time the great character from the movies gets similar treatment in the comics.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Guido Guidi's art looks great. He's done some small tweaks to the designs of the Autobots. He's given Blurr massive jets on his back that bulk up the character, and Perceptor has a small targeting lens over one eye. Neat tweaks modernize the characters without ruining their classic looks. Too bad the movie wasn't more like this. I'll probably pick up the book in monthly format now, since I don't want to buy issues that feature too many humans, but if this keeps up featuring mostly Transformers, I'll keep picking it up.
However, the art is another story. I'm not a fan of Steve Uy's art. I don't like the soft pencil-look or the washed out colors we get here. All of the faces he draws are oddly puffy and small-eyed, to the point it detracts from the story. If series regular Stefano Caselli drew this, I could have easily bumped it up a grade. As it is, I kind of had to force myself to read it. So a decent story bogged down by art that isn't my style makes this comic nowhere near as good as a regular issue of the Initiative.
Young Liars should be the headliner of Vertigo. (Maybe #2 after Fables.) If you are looking for the madness of Preacher but not finding it, check this book out. I'm following it in trades and loving it! Honestly, I can barely do a description justice, that's how full of crazy and interesting ideas this title is. Be warned, there is a fair amount of mature material here, the perversion of the villains is pretty expansively portrayed.
Lapham's art is still kinetic and fascinating. I've loved his work since his Valiant days. He's one of the best writer-artists in the business, and I don't think anyone else could channel this crazy story the way he can.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Why the heck don't we see more out of Ryan Sook? He's a great artist, and his work in this issue is stellar. His turned heroes look horrifying when viewed out of the bunker, and I also liked his take on Cheetah. Her facial expressions practically oozed personality.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
The story is solid, and better than the last few stories, but still not quite what I look for in a She-Hulk comic. (My perfect She-Hulk comic would be like the tiny prison story that Slott and Pelletier did at the end of their first volume. Super-bads and fun She-Hulk kicking butt.)
GG Studios handles the art again this issue, but last issue's penciller, Vincenzo Cucca is credited as an inker this time. A few panels really stick out that he spent a lot of time on, as the characters look the same as last month, but some the pages look a little less detailed. It seems Cucca likes Valkrie, as she usually is one of the most rendered characters every time she appears. In general, the art is a bit uneven in this one.
This issue has more great War Machine action, with him using all sorts of weaponry to blow the Skrulls out of the sky. Suzi Endo is a pretty fun sidekick, and having her operate from orbit in a War Machine-based satellite is a pretty cool idea. The main thrust of this story is to drill in how Rhodey is a man of principles. As far as core concepts go, it's not Earth-shattering, but I think it is strong enough for me to follow him into his new ongoing series. Heck, I bought the awful 90s series where he was in the alien parasite armor, so of course I'll read his new one in his cool suit. As I've said before, I hope we get the gigantic evil War Machine showing up fairly soon. Christos Gage really set up Rhodey as a great hero in these few issues, these are some great Marvel comics.
Sean Chen's artwork is out of this world. He is one of my favorite artists to start with, but he draws Iron Man better than almost everyone else. I'd say only Bob Layton can give him a run for the money drawing shell-head (or War Machine, of course).
Friday, December 5, 2008
Wellington Alves' art is solid. He's no Paul Pelletier, but who is? He does a good job on Darkhawk especially, he looks pretty cool here. Just look at that list. Project Pegasus, Sepent Society, Darkhawk, Death's Head, Fin Fang Foom, add in Quasar and Director Gruenwald, and man, this is my perfect comic.
There's a ton of Dark Reign material hitting the web, and I'm here to help you sort through it with what you really want to know.
Here's the ones I'm buying.
- Mighty Avengers - written by Dan Slott with Khoi Pham on art will feature Iron Man, Hulk, Hank Pym, Jocasta, Hercules, Scarlet Witch, Vision, and Stature. I predict this book will be awesome.
- New Avengers - written by Brian Michael Bendis with Billy Tan on art will feature Winter Cap, Spidey, Wolverine, Ronin, Spider-Woman, and Ms. Marvel. That's a pretty good lineup, maybe we'll get Mockingbird too. I think this book actually has some potential, I'm buying it.
- War Machine - written by Greg Pak with Leonardo Manco on art. The creative team says it all, plus he fights Ares in issue 3!
- Avengers: The Initiative - written by Christos Gage with Humberto Ramos on art (at least to start). I don't know what's going on after the first story, but they fight Clor, so I have high hopes! I'm sure this will be excellent.
- Thunderbolts - written by Andy Diggle with Roberto De La Torre on art, this will feature Black Widow II, The Ghost, and a host of bad ass looking characters doing something. I don't know much, but I know I'll collect it.
- Agents of Atlas - written by Jeff Parker with art by Carlo Pagulayan, I'll be getting this in trade, just like the last Agents series. I'm hoping Parker can still do his own thing and not get too bogged down in the overall Marvel U.
- Dark Avengers - written by Brian Michael Bendis with Mike Deodato on art, this seems to be Norman Osbourne's evil Avengers lineup. We've got a lot of mystery players, here's my take on who they are: Iron Patriot (Osbourne), Ms. Marvel (Moonstone), Wolverine (Daken), Spider-Man (Venom), Ares and Sentry. I love those two powerhouses being added to the team. If this is 2.99 an issue, I'll collect it.
I'll be passing on:
- Deadpool - written by Daniel Way with Paco Medina on art, even with Bob, Agent of Hydra returning, I just can't do it. Way writes Origins...
- Wolverine Origins - written by Daniel Way with Doug Braithwaite on art. Not a Way fan, sorry.
- Ms. Marvel - written by Brian Reed with various artists, Carol will be out to get the CIA. I'll be passing because while Reed seems to have decent high concepts, I usually don't like his execution.
- Secret Warriors - written by Jonathan Hickman w/ Bendis with Stefano Caselli on art. I'm passing because I think this will be 3.99, and I actually don't really like the real jerk Fury has turned into. I may be convinced to buy it by a 2.99 price tag and fantastic reviews.
- Black Panther - written by Reggie Hudlin with Ken Lashley on art. Well, a female Black Panther would keep me away. As would Reggie Hudlin's writing. Lashley is decent but not great. I have many reasons to skip this.
- Punisher - written by Rick Remender with Jerome Opena on art. I haven't loved Remender's work, and while I like the concept of Punisher trying to take out Osbourne's administration, I just don't care for the Punisher in the whole super-hero context.
- Monthlies: 5, maybe 6 (if Dark Avengers is 2.99)
- Trades: 1
- Skips: 6
Thursday, December 4, 2008
However, the Dark Reign idea is a good one, and it puts our heroes in underdog roles, where they fit in better. The core concepts for the Avengers titles look strong, and I like the return of various characters to the Marvel U with clean slates. Hank Pym can be a major player, Mockingbird is a great character to bring back, and even Dum Dum and the Contessa could end up improved if they are used correctly. The setup for the Marvel U is a nice one. The list of registered super-humans is now in the hands of the Green Goblin. That's an exciting idea! (I guess I was wrong to be pro-reg after all!)
Leinil Yu's art was fine. He works better with an inker, and you see it again here. His characters look fine. He's not my favorite artist, but he gets the job done. On its own, this issue only gets a Fair, because it concludes a horribly boring series. But it keeps the Fair rating because of where it leaves the Marvel Universe.