Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Invincible Iron Man #11

Fraction checks in with some old Iron Man friends and foes in this one, with appearances from Henry Hellrung from The Order and War Machine. He also has a chilling scene with the Controller that came out of nowhere, but effectively so. I have no idea where that story with Maria Hill and the Controller is going, but there is a lot of potential there. I'm hoping we haven't seen the last of Hellrung too, as he's a neat character. I did kind of dig Tony's new look here, since his stache and curly hair were kind of definitive, it is easy to see how effective his current disguise could be. The confrontation with War Machine was pretty neat, although I hated seeing the Sean Chen-designed suit doing so badly in the fight. I don't have high hopes for the upcoming appearance of my favorite armor (the Silver Centurion). I'm really enjoying this storyline. With Osborne as such an effective antagonist, I really have the feeling that Tony is always 2 steps back and that he's going to have to plan for everything in order to win this one. I came onto Iron Man back during the first Armor Wars, and the battle with Firepower gave me the same feeling. If the hero is measured by his villains, then Stark is still the top dog in the Marvel U.

Salvador LaRocca's photo-style works well this issue, particularly on the Maria Hill scenes. When she jumps the fence and again with the Controller reveal, the art really set the mood. I'm not too fond of the armor design for Pepper Potts, but I'm not engaged in that story too much yet either. There is potential there.


Deadpool #8

Just how crazy is Deadpool supposed to be? He experiences multiple lapses with reality this issue, some funny, some not so much. I did really enjoy Deadpool's acquisition of Iron Man's chest plate. The whole sequence with him slowly being pulled up the staircase was amusing too. I'd say Daniel Way's jokes are working most of the time, but I wouldn't mind seeing a bit more straight-up action too. That said, Way has used Tiger Shark, Agent Bob, and now the Tbolts, so he's not being too skimpy with the fighting either.

I would have liked to have seen more Thunderbolts in this tie-in (since that's why I picked up this issue), but it seems that will happen more in the upcoming issues. I also think I know how this will end, at some point, Osborn is going to just pay Wade to stay away. He will eventually realize that DP won't give up, and that paying Wade is the easiest solution.

Paco Medina is a little too cartoony, but he gets the point across and he handles action well.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Dark Reign Files #1

TLDR. Actually I skimmed. There was too much disparity between characters I couldn't remember (like Black Air or Cobweb) and characters we clearly know what is up with like White Queen and Namor. I wanted Arcade and Batroc level villains, and I just couldn't power my way through to get to most of them.

It was an inspired choice to have the ratings done by Quasimodo. He's a neat old obscure character who we don't have to put a lot of stock in. The files have new information, but it is not like Osborn himself did it, so the main Marvel writers can use or ignore whatever they like.

Gotham Gazette #1

This was pretty decent. I used to really enjoy the issues of the bat-titles where we'd just check in on a bunch of Gotham related characters, and this does that trick well. I found it interesting that the part where I "missed" Batman the most was in the Vicki Vale story. She's so far removed and really focused on Bruce Wayne, I found myself more invested than I had been in the whole RIP thing. I've been fond of Spoiler since I first read her, so I liked her story too. Leslie Thompkins and the narrator don't really interest me, but Bullock's story seems like it could be fun. I will say that the Cavalier showing up is fun, but I can't remember if he's a full villain or if he is more a gray area. Didn't he get his back broken in Secret Six this month?

The art was top notch in this. Chris Cross was the leader of the pack with his work on Spoiler, but Jaime McKelvie and Guillem March both did really solid work too.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Adam: Legend of the Blue Marvel #1-5

This was hardly a world-changing limited series, but it was actually ok. I haven't been impressed with Kevin Grievoux on New Warriors at all, in fact, I think that comic is terrible, but he does a much better job here. He presents a fairly balanced view of the Avengers as they try to interact with the Blue Marvel, the first prominent black super-hero. JFK asked the Marvel to retire when his skin color became public knowledge, and he complied, living in obscurity until his arch-foe (and former best friend, of course) the Anti-Man shows up. The series has some interesting timelines that I'm not sure I totally understand, as characters' ages seem a bit off and there are some other small problems, but nothing awful. I enjoyed the Blue Marvel as a guy who did the "honorable" thing once, but now is going to do the right thing. The conflict in issue 5 where Sentry tries to project his own feelings onto the Marvel was well done, and that was a heck of a fight. I don't know that the Marvel U needs another Superman-level character retroactively added into its history, but there is potential with the Marvel for sure. There is an interesting conversation with fellow "outsider" in issue 4 that put the issue in an interesting light, showing how Namor viewed the foolishness of the surface world. I wouldn't mind seeing the Marvel show up in some capacity in another book like the Initiative or Mighty Avengers.

Matt Broome drew the issues and did a fine job, although he did make some interesting choices. I'm not a big fan of either of the Blue Marvel's costumes, with the one he ends with seeming especially like a Superman suit. He also draws some of the Avengers strangely, with Wonder Man's costume looking wrong throughout.



This was fantastic. I haven't enjoyed a trade as much as this one in quite some time. The story follows Prof. Bruttenholm as he sets out on one of the first BPRD missions, before it was even called the BPRD. He is accompanied by a doctor and a random gaggle of GIs, and the group of them stumbles onto a Nazi-failsafe endgame. The Nazis planned on launching a vampire-based attack on the world, a scorched Earth policy of mystical creatures. Those elements really hit towards the end of the book, and the GIs make capable stand-ins for our normal BPRD operatives. Where I thought the book really shined was the truly horrifying elements in the German insane asylum. The concepts and setting were fantastic, and the whole sequence with the escaped patient unfolded like a great horror movie. The mingling of the American and Russian forces developed really nicely, with the heads of the two organizations being particularly fascinating.

Paul Azaceta's art was unbelievable. I was scared reading the asylum sequences. I could practically feel the soldiers jump in the barn sequence. The demon-designs looked like the best of Mignola's work. I would love to see more from Azaceta dealing with this type of material, it was unbelievably well done.

Excellent (if I could go higher, I would)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Jersey Gods #1

This was actually kind of fun! I love the New Gods, and this is basically a look at those types of characters in their interaction with normal folks in New Jersey. There is something pretty amusing about this, since there was a lot of that initial contact in the early Kirby Fourth World books, but there was never an approach like this. The issue opens with a focus on a human woman, Zoe, and her struggles in her love life, and moves along to involve cosmic factions of New Gods-types and their complex confrontations putting Earth in the middle. The main heroes seem to be Barock (an Orion type who loves fighting and isn't the most handsome) and Helius. Helius is a pretty fun second banana more concerned with how he looks and what he's wearing than fighting the good fight, so he's not exactly Lightray. Zoe is initially drawn to him, but quickly realizes he's a bozo when he won't sully himself to help out his friend. So Zoe moves over to Barock. I think I read a preview where Zoe and Barock are married, so I know how this will end up, and it does seem like a fun premise. Glen Brunswick seems to be using a lot of classic comic elements that I enjoy.

The Mike Allred cover makes everything coming later look weaker by comparison, but by no means bad. Dan McDaid's art is almost a mix of his Kirby influence and what seems to be a Darwyn Cooke vibe. It's not as good as either of those guys, but I can see what he's going for. I like his character designs and he handles the action well enough too.

Fair (almost Good)

Captain America: Bicentennial Battles TPB

Ahh, Jack Kirby. Who else would have an insane asylum transplanted to a foreign dimension filled with "planetoids" each one inhabited by a fire-spouting demon? And have those inmates brainwash the Falcon into being their personal super-hero? Of course, Cap and a fast shooting Texan show up to help fight off the creatures AND the inmates. That story? Alamo II. I mean, the audacity to do that is just awesome. As always, Kirby's language feels like it has been badly translated, filled with unnecessary quotes, but also filled with the mad ideas and fast-hitting ideas that make his work so incredible. The opening story has Mister Buddha sending Cap on a trip through American history (and the future!) that is kind of difficult to get through, but I started loving the book again by the end. This must have been insane to follow monthly. Cap and Falcon are SHIELD operatives, but other than that, they do very little interacting with the rest of the Marvel U.

The other shocking factor is how much of a shrew Sharon Carter is. She is constantly pestering Cap about retiring and how he needs to rest. I know Kirby didn't do that with all his ladies, so the choice to do it here with Sharon makes her pretty unlikable.

The art is as dynamic and crazy as all of Kirby's work. Strange devices are used all over, and every gun looks like an odd cylinder. Always fun.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Transformers: All Hail Megatron # 7&8

This book is really coming together. Most of my complaints about the early issues revolved around the use of too many damn humans that I didn't care about and my confusion on how this fits in with the greater story by Simon Furman. Well as the series has been progressing, those issues have all been resolved. At this point, we have all Transformers, all the time. The Autobots are finally the protagonists in their own series, and the best part is the neat mix of characters we're getting. I like Furman's writing on the other books, but McCarthy is correctly focusing on the core Gen 1 characters (although I do miss Brawn and Windbreaker and Jetfire) along with a few of the more important folks to come later like Perceptor, Blaster, and of course Kup. The ony two Autos I'm not familiar with are Drift and Roadbuster, I don't remember either of them, but I'm ok with a few new characters, especially with this much time spent on classics. Iron Hide gets a lot of focus in issue 7 and Sunstreaker gets the spotlight in issue 8. This finally resolves the traitor in the Autobots story too, with an interesting choice on who the traitor is. I was sure it was going to be Prowl because of how prominently he showed up in the flashbacks, but I'm glad to be wrong. The use of flashbacks here was nice since it gave us some classic Transformers battles, and I loved seeing the messed up Autobots trapped on Cybertron with a hapless Dirge (and another Decept I didn't recognize). The main conflict is right back where it should be in this title, and humans only show up to be ripped apart by Reflector or blasted from far away by the jets.

Guido Guidi's art is great. The Transformers all look perfect, and he's fantastic at slight modifications to make the characters look modern, but still based on the toys. The coloring is worth noting too, as the colors are noticably well done. The classic cartoon colors really pop on gloomy Cybertron. This book just officially made the jump to me grabbing it in TPB.


Guardians of the Galaxy #12

There we go, Guardians is back on the right track. DnA bring things back around in this issue, giving lots of the stuff we want from our Guardians. We get the return of TWO classic characters, the further development of Phyla into her own as a hero, and a great swerve at the end with Maelstrom and his boss. I almost can forgive issue 11 since the payoff to the story was so nice. I don't think it is a secret that Quasar returns in this issue, and I'm thrilled to see him. DnA are repopulating the Marvel Cosmic U with all so many characters, I think we're going to need at least one more space-book! Heck, isn't Darkhawk being elevated by them in the upcoming Ascension book? I loved how DnA had Quasar make multiple references to his history with Maelstrom, especially the arm-chopping. I remember reading that as a kid and being grossed out and disturbed by that. I'm looking forward to the book refocusing on War of Kings next issue, it should be great. This is the best book Marvel is publishing, and I honestly can't believe how much I'm loving the great mix of Marvel history (like Quasar, Project Pegasus, and Jack Flagg) and cutting edge new ideas (like Cosmo, War of Kings, and Groot!). Actually, now that I think about it, DnA sure like Mark Gruenwald's work don't they? Maybe it isn't so surprising that I love their books...

Wes Craig's art is inconsistent, with some pages looking fantastic, and others looking oddly cartoony. Overall, the book is fine. Craig does do a great job selling the big reveal on the last page.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Action Comics #875

I haven't read the Superman books in awhile, switching to trades around the time of the Legion of Super-Heroes story in Action Comics. I decided to drop in and try out the first issue in the new direction of the Super-books and I have to admit, I'm lost. I understand I've missed a lot, I guess Krypton came back, and Zod has sleeper agents all over Earth? It also seems Chris Kent is aging rapidly? I have no idea who Flamebird is, I guess she's a new character? Due to my time missed, I had a very hard time trying to connect with the story, and it is actually looking like I may stay away from the whole New Krypton situation. I'm going to try World of New Krypton 1 that I recently grabbed, but if I'm this disconnected, I can't imagine I'll be picking up these trades. I'm hoping the Legion story and the Brainiac stories are more self contained, because this one really lost me.

I seem to usually like Eddy Barrows art, and I like it again here, with his details always nice and sharp. The super-battle was well choreographed too, with a nice combo of superpowers used in neat ways. However, I really don't care for those weird battle suits Flamebird and Nightwing are wearing. They look vaguely steampunky and Nightwing looks way too much like Star Lord.


GI Joe: Origins #2

Larry Hama has a style I can't exactly define, kind of stilted and unrealistic, but awesome. I grew up loving it in GI Joe from Marvel, and he's using it again here. Duke, Heavy Duty/Roadblock, Hawk, and Scarlett don't talk like normal people, they talk like confident bad-asses who need to show off that confidence every time they speak. Their language inclues acronyms and slang no one I know would ever use, but that's what makes his GI Joe. I also love the way we're seeing Cobra Commander start Cobra from the ground up. Seeing his group of dissatisfied folks are a neat contrast to the robbers who break in on Snake Eyes. There is honor in some scum bags, but that honor was drilled in from a clear place. I like seeing the team forming up, and I dug Stalker's interaction with Snake Eyes' old commanding officer, I actually found myself wondering if he'd end up on the team too. It is interesting that out of the current team, only Hawk was ever one of my old favorites, yet I find myself really loving the book. (Actually, in the old days you knew if Stalker was leading a team, a cool story was about to break out.) Duke is actually becoming one of my faves. I loved that Snake Eyes isn't hopping around slicing and dicing yet, but he's actually kind of helpless and a non-factor in the story. IDW has a perfect set up here: they're delivering my dream GI Joe comic in the core title, and giving me backstory I didn't even realize I wanted in Cobra and Origins. I highly recommend this line to anyone who digs the concept of GI Joe.

Tom Feister's art is decent, but not great. I can recognize everyone and the action is clear, but he has big shoes to fill. Mike Zeck covers and Rod Whigam art from my childhood is almost unbeatable at this point, but I find myself missing it all the same. That said, Feister's art is clear and gets the job done.


I know who Batman is...

Click through for spoilers.

Captain America #48

Ed Brubaker writes darn consistent monthly titles. This issue wraps up the Man With No Face and evil scientist arc, with Bucky, Black Widow, and Namor all looking pretty damn awesome. Last issue I complained that Namor got the short end of the stick to make the plot points work, but Brubaker makes up for that here, as Namor gets some great dialogue, awesome fight scenes, and in fact really steals the show at one point. Winter Cap is a neat character, and I find myself really starting to like him. He's no Steve Rogers, but as Namor points out this issue, he's starting to sound like Rogers, which is a great thing. Black Widow adds a lot as a super-competent partner for Winter Cap, and I love her playfully hitting him. She's not a girlfriend who needs to be protected, she saved the freaking day in this! The Man With No Face was a neat villain, I enjoyed seeing how distraught he was seeing his doctor buddy going down, and as for the doctor, I always love villains like Ra's who think they are saving the world by killing billions. It's such a gloriously comic-book concept, I never tire of it. I am a tad disappointed we didn't get the Torch back though, I kind of thought that Brubaker was going to try to tip the death scales a little back in his favor. Let's face it, at this point he's killed Nomad, Banshee, and Captain freaking America, he could have tossed us a bone and given us a rebuilt robot, right?

The art was great throughout, as the three pencillers are all great. Butch Guice, Luke Ross, and Steve Epting all do some pages and the feel never varies from the grim super-heroics we get from this title each month.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mighty Avengers #23

I see where you're going, Dan Slott. Nicely played. It is almost hard to talk about most of the issue after the big reveal at the end, but I'm not going to spoil it here. I will say I like the idea, and the parallel to the formation of the Avengers is a very clever. As to the bulk of the issue, wow, Iron Man is a read dick, isn't he? I love Iron Man, he's one of my favorites, but it is hard to like him when he comes off like such a jerk in this issue. Now sure, when he comes in and takes over from Pym, Pym immediately launches into a tirade that would probably hurt IM's feelings, but still. IM is so darn harsh to Pym, if Pym was as weak as Iron Man seems to believe, this would send him right down the drain. Fortunately, the purpose for Mighty these days is to make Pym a kick ass leader, and he steals the show again here. I loved how quickly US Agent and Herc left for Iron Man's leadership, but then how quickly they realized they made the wrong call. The actual method Pym and Cho used to take out Cthon was a lot of fun, since it follows the rules and lets the team defeat an immensely powerful foe. How great was Iron Man calmly noting that when you take out a reality shaper, the world goes back to normal. He wasn't even worried! I'm really enjoying the sparring between Cho and Pym in this book. They obviously are starting to respect each other, but they seem to be having fun trying to one-up each other too. It is a neat relationship I'm looking forward to seeing more from.

The actual line-up is starting to take form too. Hulk is out (as expected) and I'm not sure about Stature and Vision. At a guess, I'd say they're gone. It also looks like Iron Man will not be sticking around to follow Pym as leader. The team right now looks like Pym, Herc, Cho, US Agent, Jocasta, and Jarvis. Not a bad start, but I'd love one or two more members like Wonder Man or Falcon. Songbird would be a great fit too if she wasn't still in play in Thunderbolts.

Khoi Pham's art still fluctuates between nice tight pencils and more sketchy pages. I can't really tell why he switches around, but overall he's fine. I really liked the panel at the end with Pym surrounded by his friends, the variety of expressions on their faces was fantastic. Cho's grudging respect, Herc's open friendship, Jarvis looking pleased, and Jocasta's now-standard worried look. Overall, this is my Avengers title.


Punisher MAX #68

Duane Swierczynski's story of Frank Castle has some neat things going for it. Sine Punisher is drugged, it actually seems like the bozos he's going up against actually have a chance to take him out (even though we all know they won't). The story is pretty grimy, with a nice cast of unique villains. We get to see inside the heads of the villains a bit more this issue, and I am looking forward to seeing them all get capped. Except maybe the Viet Nam vet, he seems to not even really know what is going on around him. In any case, the villains are good enough for me to hate them and really be ready for Frank to start working his way through them. The setting is kind of fun too, sine we don't often see the Punisher operating in Philly. Frank is constantly annoyed that his last 6 hours are in Philly, a city without enough big-time criminals for him to go out in a blaze of glory with. That's a fun idea. While the story has some neat things going for it, it isn't without flaws. I'm a little confused between the mayor and his lawyer buddy, on exactly who is who. Then I'm also just not quite positive why the mayor is so worried about the Punisher in any case. I know the mayor's cousin was into a child slavery thing in part 1, but aren't there a lot of folks who know about it and would go to the press before the Punisher? The mayor probably didn't have anything to worry about if he hadn't gone and awoken Frank's anger.

The art this issue is my Michel Lacombe, a different artist than before I think. He handles the guns and shootouts pretty well. He handles the skeezy scenes pretty nicely too. Again, I'm having trouble telling some of the characters apart because of how similar they look. But overall, the art is fine.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Green Arrow & Black Canary #18

I just don't really care for this take on Green Arrow. A mystery villainess is killing off a bunch of GA villains I've never seen before (and I've been reading since Dixon wrote back in the 90s). The problem for me is that the dead guys seem more interesting than most of the villains who have showed up in the actual comic over the past few years! I do like Merlyn, but he's really coming across like a patsy in this story, which I'm fine with as long as the cliffhanger from this issue doesn't come through. I have long stated I hate it when new character are allowed to kill older character just to get them established, and we've got a lot of that going on here (unless they are all new, and then I apologize for the comment). I do know Brick was the main foe for Winnick's run, so while I don't like him, I don't like him being killed off this easily either. I'm pretty sure Count Vertigo works for Checkmate, doesn't he? I didn't think he was out villain-ing it up.

I'm also getting very weird vibes from the relationship between GA and Black Canary. They both seem only barely capable of being super-heroes. They are getting beaten, tricked, and are constantly one step behind everyone else in the comic (villains, cops, etc.). This is a weird comic that actually makes both of its leads look bad in how they relate to each other. If Count Vertigo really didn't commit a crime, and Green Arrow tortured him for info like that? Green Arrow needs to go to jail. Andrew Kreisberg is not really making me like or care for these heroes at all.

Mike Norton's art is fine, but it is not enough to save this story.


Batman: Battle for the Cowl #1

Yowch. Nightwing is now competent, but grumpy. The post-RIP stuff continues to come across poorly to me, as now even more folks are acting out of character. I also couldn't follow the text boxes, I'm unclear on which character was in the blue and yellow-oval batsuit chasing down the imposter Batman (was that Robin?) When did Damian get to be so "in" with all the Bat-folk? Didn't the Birds of Prey break up? Doesn't having Poison Ivy encourage Killer Croc to eat people make her a difficult sell as a protagonist in the upcoming Gotham Sirens? I'm also pretty annoyed that Black Mask is back again. He's been killed and come back about a half-dozen times at this point. Blowing up Arkham is getting pretty old too (but at least the Great White Shark was sprung, he even had some lines!) I've got to assume the military Batman is Jason Todd, but I am still annoyed he's even around, so I'm not happy to see him. This is a bad comic that seems to have no point. At one point I would have loved the idea of "the Network" a group of bat-allies doing their best. But I've got to think if Chuck Dixon and Doug Moench and Alan Grant were writing them, they probably would have been a lot more competent.

The art was very strange. Look at Robin's face on the cover. He looks surprised to be there! Catwoman also has a very strange expression, only Nightwing seems to realize he's on a comics cover. Tony Daniel is a very uneven artist, and that shows again here.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Super-Zombies #1

Wow. I have no idea what I just read. I understand the concept of starting a story in media res, but man, if you are going to know that, I need to know the players, you know? These are all new characters fighting other all new characters. Some of whom might be zombies, but I can't really tell from the art. Are all the heroes in this issue zombies? The flashbacks confused me, I couldn't tell when some pages took place if they didn't have something clearly cluing me in on when it was happening. Again, I get the feeling that Guggenheim and Gonzales were going for, things are moving fast, there are a lot of established relationships, etc. But I have absolutely no idea what happened in this issue! There is just way too much happening here, no point of view characters for the reader to identify with. Heck, I don't even know if there are any main characters? I should have a better concept of what the book is about after reading issue 1 of a 6 part series. I mean, I like super-heroes. Even the obscure new ones like Joe Phillips' Heretic, or Jonathan Peterson's Strikeback. I love zombies. But I don't like this.

Mel Rubi's art is nice in some pin-upy type shots, but his storytelling was pretty confusing. The designs for the heroes vary wildly, some seemed cool, while others were 90s-Image at its worst.


Cable #12

This is a book I'm enjoying more than I would think. It essentially only has two main characters, and it involves time travel. Both usually signify low-interest from me, but I'm actually liking the relationship between Hope and Cable. It is nice seeing how much Cable cares for his "daughter" after 5 years or so, and while Hope doesn't really act like a kid would (she's far too smart) she isn't acting like an adult either. Her frustration at Cable's expectations of mutant powers this issue was well done. There is nothing riveting about the overall story, but it is fun seeing these two wandering around the post-apocalyptic wasteland of the future Earth. There is a nice feeling of inevitable decay to the series.

Jaime McKelvie handles most of the art, and again, he doesn't have to do a lot with backgrounds, but his facial expressions were great. I loved the page showing the crashed spaceship. The feel of long-dead survivors was palpable.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Seven Block: An Experiment in Horror (1990)

I picked this up since I'm such a huge Chuck Dixon fan, but I had never heard of it. Turns out there is a reason for that. It's a pretty generic little story of experimentation on a couple of inmates and their "evolution" into super-men. This is the type of origin that we've seen before in many, many comics, and frankly would probably not get more than a page or two normally. It seems this story is set in a realistic world with no powers, so I can understand why the extra time is spent on fairly mundane material, but it is hardly riveting. The cover blurb advertises an experiment in horror, but there was very little actually scary in this one. I was kind of surprised there wasn't more to the story. This might have even turned more entertaining if there was more to the story, but it didn't seem to be continued anywhere anyway. This kind of holds up my opinion of much of the Eclipse line: it just isn't worth seeking out.

Jorge Zaffino has a scratchy style that works well in a horror story, but he doesn't get too many opportunities to scare. The one money shot of the most deformed experiment is so blurry and dark I couldn't get much more than a vibe of tentacles and grossness, not much actual fear for me.


Strange Adventures #1

Jim Starlin picks up right after Holy War, showing us how the cast from that series is doing. I really liked the methold of recap for this first issue. We have Sardath and other leaders of Rann debating the legality of Adam Strange's actions that banished his people to "New Rann" in Holy War. It was a great way to do an info dump that didn't feel like one. I don't really care for Prince Gavyn or Adam Strange when Starlin writes them. Gavyn is a generic energy caster with little to no personality (again, I thought he was a reincarnated Will Payton!) Strange is a kind of generic space hero who doesn't seem to have the bravado that I remember liking about the character. Starlin does a good job handling Hard Core Station and Captain Comet though. He's created a Star Wars-cantina like atmosphere where the cynical Comet is a great narrator. He's a fun character who has morals, but wishes he didn't. The Station-based parts of the book are definitely the highlight.

There is some sort of backup featuring Bizarro but I had no clue what was happening. I don't know who had taken Superman's form (Synnar?) and I don't understand what happened to Hawkman. Has he been removed from continuity or something? I find the whole concept of the Aberrant Six kind of threatening to some characters I used to enjoy.

Manuel Garcia supposedly did all the pencils in the lead story, but many of the pages really looked like inker Al Milgrom did the heavy lifting. They seemed to vary by locale though, so the effect wasn't too jarring. Starlin's pencils in the backup were fine, but I had more problems with the story than the art.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Maximum Dinobots #3

Why do the Dinobots spell their name with a "y?" It is pretty darn annoying. Simon Furman is continuing his ongoing battle for Earth story, with only a few autobots on the planet. Hot Rod, Sunstreaker, and the "dynobots" are joined by the monsterbots or some other weird named group I didn't recognize. I do like the use of Shockwave as a terrifying big bad, and Skorponok is suitably evil too, but I just can't get into this story too much. While we don't waste too much time on any humans, the main story just isn't that involving. With none of my favorites in any sort of role here, it is not surprising that I'm preferring All Hail Megatron to this title. This really feels like a housecleaning episode more than anything else. I'm also losing track of plot points, since I have no memory of Lazerbeak or Ravage showing up in IDW's catalogue of TF books. I am pleased to see that Soundwave may be coming though! I love that guy.

Nick Roche's art is acceptable, but I don't really like his take on Swoop. His robots are only ok, as the proportions seem a bit off. But his dinosaurs and the carnage they wreak look great.


Fantastic Four: Dark Reign #1

I think Jonathan Hickman is going to do a good job on Fantastic Four. He seems to be focusing on the Fantastic element first, with alien technology, crazy worlds, and driving exploration. He doesn't neglect to show the different personalities of the team, although he seems to have some nailed down better than others. I'm not sure I care for Sue Storm who just walks around berating her teammates in mother-hen mode. I did like Reed as a well-meaning genius who has to stop mundane tasks when he has an idea. That says it all, he can't focus on anything else, which is fun. The Torch and Thing don't do much but banter a bit in this one, and it seems fine. I am confused at Valeria's age though. It really seems like she's caught up to Franklin age-wise, did Millar do something in the main book? I'm waiting for the trade. The Dark Reign concept is only tangentially related at this point, but man, Osborn is a real jerk here once again, gleefully announcing that the FF are no longer Initiative sanctioned and he orders HAMMER to take them out. I'm really hating that guy.

Sean Chen is one of my favorites, and his work looks decent here. The inks seem a little dark in places though, so I'd bet this is not his usual inker.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Batman: Cacophony #3

Kevin Smith wraps up his Batman story getting to lay down some fairly important stuff. Batman is once again faced with the choice to let the Joker die, but of course Bats can't do it. What I liked was that Commssioner Gordon wanted the clown dead, as any rational person would. But leaving Joker alive does lead to an interesting sequence where Bats and Joker face off, and Joker is so doped up he's almost rational. Joker explains that he doesn't hate Batman because he's crazy, but that he's crazy because he hates Batman. He tells Batman that if Bats were dead, he'd happily go to an asylum for the rest of his days. Joker feels like he MUST kill Batman, it drives everything about him. I'm kind of surprised this kind of confrontation was handled in a fringe celebrity based mini, but what do I know?

A weird element to this exchange is the black-haired beard Joker is sporting after months in a coma. I always thought all his hair would be green? Also, since this is Smith, Joker mentions that he took a peek at Bats' "equipment" while he was changing. Ugh. I did enjoy the closing scenes with Onomonopeia. Too bad Kirkman beat Smith by a few weeks with Powerplex in Invincible!

Walt Flanagan makes some odd choices like that black beard, but his art is servicable. He's not someone I would seek out, but he's fine.


4-Year Old Reviews Tiny Titans #14

I like Inky on the cover. He doesn't look like he's going to spray. He looks happy because a heart is above his head. Why does he (Psimon) have shoes now? He always flew. I like that the bull has the same suit as Wonder Girl. I like unicorns. I like that Wonder Woman is on the page. I liked Cyborg's vacuum. I haven't seen Cyborg in awhile. They are saying spppllllll. She wants him to turn into a dog because she likes dogs. She wants to have a dog. I'm not scared of the mom who wants to cook them. Why do they have one eye? I like Alfred and Kroc's cakes. They sure didn't know that monster was so scary! I don't like anything about the monster.

This issue was fantastic and good.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Terror Titans #6

The series ends kind of the only way it could. The Terror Titans are defeated (one dies). Clock King loses, but lingers to fight another day. One of the brainwashed characters helps free the young captured heroes (in a nice swerve, it is not who you think). Sean McKeever tries to give plenty of characters some payback moments to redeem them and re-establish their street cred (like Aquagirl, Static, and Hardrock), but the whole series just seems odd. Static wraps up Desaad with little difficulty, and I still am not certain when this series takes place. Ravager was consistently "herself" througout, fighting for no higher cause and doing her own thing, so I'm not sure I could say she really learned anything or developed after 6 issues. The Terror Titans themselves have matured a bit, and seem to be still viable as a villain team, but I don't really know that anything huge happened for them either. I don't understand why this couldn't have been a 6 issue arc in Titans with some more recognizable characters, instead it seems destined for value bins as a vehicle for a slew of characters not a lot of people care about. I do like Ravager on teams though, she is a fun character. I just worry that the damage to many of the folks in this is greater than is worth it. I mean, Steel couldn't stop Clock King? Really?

Joe Bennett is solid once again here as he gets to draw a ton of combat. I do really like his take on Static, and his Aquagirl was pretty nice looking too.


Sub-Mariner: The Depths #1-5

When Peter Milligan is on, he can write the heck out of anything. This series has him doing his best kind of work. A non-continuity story about a scientist who debunks myths, Namor hasn't really been in the series. Sure, there is a "Sub-Mariner" a mythic, almost elemental guardian of lost Atlantis, but he has no dialogue and his main impact is through the reactions of the other characters. The sub of "deep" men set out to follow up on a lost expedition to find Atlantis, but the Sub-Mariner found them. Randolph Stein is the debunker and leader of this sub, but the other crew have the wisdom to fear the deep. Stein is slowly going insane as the series progresses, because each of his carefully constructed scientific beliefs is being destroyed. I was a little shocked at just how far Stein goes in the end, but I shouldn't be, because he's been committing heinous and shady acts the whole series. This was a fascinating series, and it in no way needed to involve a Marvel character called the Sub-Mariner. This could be an excellent movie or novel and it wouldn't have needed to have a comic character in it, so if you approach the book just looking for a well-told horror story, you'll love it.

Esaad Ribic's painting looks haunting and emotional throughout. His most riveting pieces are set in the deep dark, with the weak lights of the subs gleaming out, occasionally shining on something or someone moving in the depths.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Invincible #60

The Invincible War! Complete in one issue! Robert Kirkman does his best work in his Image books. This issue picks up with Angstrom Levy sending 20 evil duplicates of Invincible to attack the Image Universe. Every super-hero in the publisher's stable shows up to start trying to take them down. I loved the frenetic nature of the issue. Invincible himself barely gets more panel time than the regular cast in this one, and there is even time for some quick cuts to more obscure guests like Pitt, Cyberforce, and Youngblood. I really dug the use of the Global Guardians and the Teen Team in this one, as we see a few members of both team sacrifice themselves for their team. I won't ruin who the deaths are, but I find myself REALLY hoping that at least one of them isn't permanent. I loved Robot's reaction to a team-member's sacrifice in particular. And I swear, the Immortal never comes out of these things well, does he? What a painful life that guy has. The final charge at Levy was great too, with Kid Omni Man, Invincible, and Bulletproof seeming to be the last men standing. I'm familiar with all these characters, so the stakes seemed high and the danger great. This really could have been a summer-long crossover, which was the feel I know Kirkman was going for.

The issue is another game changer for the ongoing series. It seems the world is pretty well devastated at the conclusion, and the world blames Invincible. I don't think things will go post-apocalyptic, but it could get rough. Levy is still around, although further disfigured, and we get some new villains too. The heroes only killed 12 of the 20 evil Invincibles, and the other 8 are still around, banished in another dimension, we could easily see them again. The weird surgeons are also taking a more active role, and they want Levy to work for them now. Very interesting.

Ryan Ottley is fantastic. I loved his take on Youngblood (Shaft charging forward with an arrow nocked was great). His Wolf-Man was tremendous too, he had a great take on the character. He draws many of his ladies sort of similarly, which works well on the Cyberforce ladies, but not quite as great on Witchblade.


GI Joe: Cobra #1

IDW is doing a great job with their GI Joe stuff. This series is from Chuckles' point of view as he goes undercover to join Cobra. We get a nice little flashback to see Chuckles wash out of the Joe program as he's set up to become a merc and be picked up by Cobra. I really liked the take that Chuckles had been in meetings with Scarlett, Heavy Duty, and the rest, but now he's outside that world. He does get to see them briefly here, but only for a second. Chuckles is the star with Jinx being used as his contact to Hawk. Hawk once again comes across like a jerk here, but a capable one. He's not fooling around in this version of the comic. I loved some of the casual bits of dialogue here, like when Chuckles resigns himself to having to kill all the folks at his shady meeting. It was even better how he'd have loved to get a little payback on Duke. Christos Gage continues to do no wrong, he can handle Joes as well as super heroes.

The art was a little grittier than the other two Joe books, but it totally works for the series. Antonio Fuso is new to me, but I actually picked up his cover, I found it more striking than Howard Chaykin's.


Wow. Tremendous News! Goon vs. Dethklok!


I couldn't be more psyched about this!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Secret Warriors #2

I'm not sure I care for the core concept that Nick Fury's entire time as Director of SHIELD was secretly run by Hydra. It smacks of those "Everything You Know is Wrong!" type stories that can often be damaging to old stories. That said, Hickman seems to be honoring a lot of old stories here, bringing in old characters and referencing old stories from back in the Steranko days. Strucker is calling in all the old leaders of SHIELD, from the classic to the modern and he seems to be respecting the current status quos for each. I do have a problem with the main Secret Warriors team. They are too young. I understand they are supposed to be uninitiated and free of outside influence, but having a team where the field leader is 19 just doesn't fit in with a spy book. I think Black Widow or someone like that would make a lot more sense. I also wonder where all of Fury's trusted sidekicks are. Gabe, Dum Dum, the Contessa, Clay Quartermain, the Gaffer, I'd like to see any and all of these folks show up helping Fury with his personal quest. (What happened to Gail Runciter? Was she killed in Fury vs. SHIELD? There are a ton of good agents out there available for use). Phobos does have some odd predictions for the Secret Warriors in this issue, and I'm actually hoping they come true sooner rather than later so the title can focus on some more established spies. Ooh, what about Dominic Fortune! Fantomex! Surely the Spymaster has to show up sometime. So many possibilities. I'm still determining if I'll pick up this trade yet. One more issue should decide it for me.

Caselli's take on Baron Strucker and the Satan's Claw is fantastic. I miss Caselli on The Initiative, as he has a great style for action and his over the top facial expressions work well when he has to bring the drama.


Atomic Robo TPB

I get it. Atomic Robo is basically Hellboy. He's got the Action Scientists to mirror BPRD. He's going his running Nazi villains. He's got the big gun. He's got the workmanlike attitude. You could probably plop Hellboy into this story with little to no difficulty. That said, I LIKE Hellboy, so getting more of that material is not a bad thing. Brian Cleavenger's story is a fun one, and it packs and amazing amount into 6 issues. We get a slew of Robo's missions, from space travel, ant smashing, zombie smashing, to 2 encounters with his arch-nemesis. Robo has some great dialogue throughout the series, my favorite being how quickly he beats his main foe since he always announces his weaknesses, that was some fun stuff. I also loved the throwaway gag that the Action Scientists of the 1980s was the GI Joe team. They are clearly visible in one flashback, and that's a fun gag. I will say that including so many time jumps between the story made part of the book difficult to read. I got a little confused around issues 2 & 3 when I wasn't sure where one story ended and another began. Nothing I couldn't plow through, but worth noting. Things did seem to clear up by issue 4. I do really enjoy the time spent developing the Action Scientists. I appreciate the work to make them more than generic back-up, a problem that does happen in the BPRD stories from Mignola.

The art by Scott Wegener was decent, but he is much better drawing Robo than he is normal humans. His style is Mignola-influenced, but more for ambiance and setting than for how he draws people. The Robo design itself is a neat one with the lead character having no mouth.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Solomon Grundy #1

As a writer, Scott Kolins is a hell of an artist. I hate to be harsh to one of my all-time favorite pencillers, but this story was just ok. I really don't know who was clamoring for a story about evil, murdering Grundy, frankly I just want to see him get smashed around. I do like that Alan Scott has no pity for the monster too, frankly, no one should pity him, he's an evil evil murderer that kills again in this issue. The whole appeal has to be seeing Grundy go up against other DC characters like Etrigan this issue and it looks like another big-time villain next issue. In that respect, it will be a great opportunity for Kolins to show off his artistic chops. I just can't get too interested in the overall plot because I don't care. I will give credit for Etrigan's rhymes though, they were well done. I may check in on this again later, but I'm not seeing anything that has me riveted enough to commit to the trade right now.

Again, Kolins' art is fantastic. His hyper-detailed style is perfect for this issue. He draws some mean looking gators, and his Etrigan is fantastic.


Nightwing: Freefall TPB

It's easy to disregard the Bat-books these days, even though they used to be my favorite. I'd say there were a couple years where Nightwing was one of my favorite character, back when Dixon was writing him. Those days arrived again in this first trade by Peter Tomasi. Tomasi immediately starts rounding out Dick Grayson in some neat ways. He gives him a new job, city, girlfriend, and hobby almost instantly, and each of these things immediately establishes how much better adjusted Dick is than Batman. I enjoyed the great relationship and teasing that Nightwing and Robin enjoyed while attacking the Al Ghul installation, again, Nightwing seems like the guy who deserves a cool sidekick. Tomasi did a fantastic job showing how Nightwing interacts with the greater DCU. Superman, the JSA, Flash, and more all show up and are well handled. Superman even poses for a picture with a beat cop! And Flash and Nightwing just sit around and eat dinner and have some beers. This book had everything I want from a DCU hero. Good villains, both new and established and a well-adjusted hero who loves what he does. The main grave-robbing story was interesting, most especially because of how it concludes. Superman mentions a UN charter that meta-bodies must be housed in a special mausoleum under the JLA HQ in DC. Surely Tomasi couldn't have been laying seeds for Blackest Night, could he? I mean, it isn't like he writes Green Lantern Corps too, right (in fact, he does, and I'm sure those bodies will be a factor soon).

The art switches between Rags Morales and Don Kramer, and I don't think you could ask for better artists. I hope Rags was pleased at getting to draw a more normal story, since I know he thought Identity Crisis was unnecessarily upsetting. If you are a fan of solid super-heroics, pick up this trade.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Agents of Atlas TPB

As expected, I loved this book. Jeff Parker weaves a tale that embraces the weirdness of the Marvel Universe and still is a rocking action story in its own right. Gorilla Man is my favorite new (to me) character in quite some time. I loved his sense of humor and even his general interactions with his teammates. His concerns about the space-toilet on Marvel Boy's spaceship was fantastic, down to his ominous comment about how if it didn't work, it wasn't his fault. Marvel Boy was pretty interesting, I liked how Parker got him back into continuity after my only exposure to him as a villain in Mark Gruenwald's Quasar. Namora was enjoyable too, even if she was pretty much Namorita with a dash of Namor's pretentiousness. Venus was neat, I loved how she changed her hair color because she didn't want two blondes on the team. I had read about her in old Champions issues, and Parker explains that history in one of his excellent backup features. Jimmy Woo was always a neat character, and this really picked him up per his status quo in Jim Steranko's old Strange Tales when the Yellow Claw was a major foil for SHIELD. The relationship with the Human Robot was pretty fun too.

Parker does a great job with Derek Khanata, the SHIELD handler for the team. Well, in fact he is about to be a new Director of SHIELD here, he just falls in with the team. I know I've seen him around the Marvel U a bit in the past few months, and I hope we get more of him. I'm hoping Parker is using him in the ongoing Agents series now, with HAMMER replacing SHIELD, I don't think there is a place for a principled guy like Khanata.

The story itself was a ton of fun. One thing I loved was how there was never a tremendous sense of urgency like there is in most stories. The team basically just meandered along until they arrived at Atlas and Jimmy was able to achieve his destiny. The whole concept behind Yellow Claw's fascination with Woo was original too. I was a tad surprised that Parker threw out all those Atlas-related ideas so shortly, surely some of them could have been story arcs in a regular title.

Leonard Kirk's art was great. He's one of my favorite artists, and he has established a fantastic look for the series. Gorilla Man looked like a real gorilla! I do think Venus should have kept her topless look though, the "see-through" wasn't quite as titillating.


Wolverine Origins#33

I still don't like what this series has established, with master manipulator Romulus having been involved in every aspect of Wolverine's life. However, I am ok with the revelations this issue, showing that Romulus upgraded Wolverine in the Weapon X project to make him a super-hero killer. That's a neat concept. I'm also coming around to the fact that after Wolverine came into the presence of Charles Xavier, he has been his own man since Romulus couldn't affect Logan in proximity to such a powerful telepath. There are some neat ideas there. This issue lays most of that down in expository dialogue and flashbacks as Logan and Nick Fury talk about the events of this series in a bar. It also seems early seeds from this story are bearing fruit, as Cyclops is pretty angry about Daken wearing Wolverine's costume in the New Avengers. He heads out with a team (including Nightcrawler, Armor, and Colossus) with the Masamura blade to take out Daken once and for all. Although it seems Daken is planning that and is trying to get the blade himself. This confrontation could be pretty cool, especially since we haven't seen other characters taking on Daken too much at this point. I think I heard this book will essentially become Daken's when Wolverine: Weapon X starts, and I think that is a good move. Daniel Way has never been my favorite, but he has been moving the story along in a more brisk fashion the last few months. There is potential in exploring Daken's expanded role in the Marvel U.

Dougie Braithwaite draws this issue and it looks great. He returns to a pencil style rather than the painted look he had been using recently. I like both styles and everyone looks good here. His take on the Dark Avengers is strong.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Young X-Men #10 & 11

I can respect what Marc Guggenheim tried to do in this book, but I think he had a rough sell from the start. The team is too much of a mix of favorites from different eras. You've got Mirage and Sunspot from the New Mutants. Anole, Rockslide, and Dust from New X-Men. And new character Graymalkin, Cypher, and Ink. Overall it is just not a cohesive enough team to be that interesting. I'm reminded of Jay Faerber's take on the New Warriors from a few years ago, that motley team failed to find an audience too. These two issues focus on Dust as she is slowly dying from her battle with Magma earlier in the series. Beast can't help, but Donald Pierce can. I do like the odd relationship Pierce and Dust have established, even with Pierce hating her as a mutant, he appreciates her visits. In return for helping him escape, he will save her. The X-Men of course get in the way, and that's where Dust has a choice to make, how far will she go to help Pierce and save herself? Issue 11 has a lot of future-pages with only 4 surviving mutants (Wolverine, a solid White Queen, Graymalkin, and Anole) being killed off by a mystery character. I don't see the significance of this story, but I presume it will be explained in issue 12.

The art by Rafa Sandoval is fine in both issues. The future art by Daniel Acuna is of course much better. Acuna has a great take on the four characters. His future Wolverine has a neat new costume, and I loved his thicker, older take on White Queen. The X-books always seem to lend themselves to strong alternate future stories.

Issue #10 - Average
Issue #11 - Fair (based on Acuna's art)

Youngblood #7 & 8

If Rob Liefeld is taking over, leaving Joe Casey and Derec Donovan's Youngblood story with no home, I will drop this comic. I've loved Casey's celebrity take on Youngblood since this volume started. The book has a really odd mix of supporting characters and villains, with no normal comic villains since everyone involved seems to know they are having to live up to celebrity expectations. This unique approach seems to be threatened by the backup this issue, where Liefeld has Barack Obama setting up a new Youngblood team made up of characters currently on the run in Casey's story. Liefeld's team is basically a throwback to the original lineup. I liked Liefeld back in the day (I think I have a complete run of Youngblood comics over the years, I'm sad to say), but compared to Casey's unique take, I'm not sure I can go back again. Casey has such a unique take and such weird teams, I don't want to lose it. With Spacehunter (a Martian Manhunter homage?) returning, I think Casey will get at least one more issue, but I'm worried. It also seems this book is going to 3.99. I'm not going to stick with this title if that is a permanent change.

Donovan's art is as unique as always. I love his cartoony style that somehow stays pretty realistic. His designs for the new government Youngblood is pretty cool, with Sentinel's helmet being particularly cool. Liefeld's story is odder, with Obama looking as strange as he does in all his comic appearances. Liefield doesn't have enough of a photo-realistic style to make the commander in chief look normal.


Tangent: Superman's Reign #12

The series ends as it lived, ok, but not fantastic. It seems the spotlight is on random New Earth characters and now that they're involved they make fairly short work of the Tangent Superman and his allies. I don't really think this series deserved 12 issues, it was pretty padded at the end. I'm also puzzled by the backups in issues 1-11, I got the impression it was a big setup of the Nightwing organization, or did that all take place before issue #1? It may have been obvious, but I missed it somehow. I was also surprised by the fairly high body-count for Tangent characters. Some are just captured, but Batman and a few others died as the series went on too. Very strange. I enjoyed the original Tangent Universe, but this return to the characters hasn't ever been that strong. I just don't think the ideas are strong enough to be worth looking at repeatedly. This conclusion really felt like a by-the-numbers ending where Batman's plan allows everything to be cleaned up on schedule. Overall, I will be passing on the TPB of this one.

Carlos Magno's art is weird here. Some panels almost looked like Pat Oliffe, especially the action sequences, and that is a good thing. Other parts were very sketchy and harder to follow. Magno's ladies weren't quite as endowed as his ladies in Countdown, so it seems he is lowering those cheesecake tendencies.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Guardians of the Galaxy #11

Well, they can't all be winners. DnA miss the mark this issue, with an issue spent focused on two characters who actually seem less interesting after reading this issue. The new Quasar hasn't been too interesting and this is no different. She's pining after an even less interesting character, Moondragon. Drax the Destroyer is usually pretty fun, but he spends most of the issue explaining the whole Marvel U avatar concept to Quasar. The problem is, when Drax explains it, it doesn't seem as fun as it used to in Gruenwald's Quasar or in the Inifinity Gauntlet. The talking actually makes it seem LESS fun. Maelstrom shows up as the villain, and again, I haven't seen him since the long-running Quasar series, but he seemed a whole lot less scary here, more crazy. The problem boils down to less interesting conflicts starring lesser character against leser baddies. I suppose after 10 excellent issues I can give DnA a break, but I'm worried part of of this story in issue 12 will be just as bad. Hopefully after that we'll get back to Star-Lord, Rocket, and the cool part of this team.

The art by Wesley Craig is pretty sparse. There are few backgrounds and some of the shots have no details of the main characters, which is an odd choice. He also makes Maelstrom less intimidating by making him a hopping little dude, not the imposing Eternal I thought he was in the old days. Brad Walker was a better fit for this title, so let's hope the change isn't permanent.


She-Hulk #38

Well, the Peter David run on She-Hulk is cancelled, with Jennifer Walters going back to the old status quo of having no outstanding record and returning to the hero game with the Lady Liberators. I'm not as clear on her lawyer-status and if she has been disbarred, but I suppose that is pretty easy to clean up at some point. David keeps Jazinda in the picture, letting her escape the government and head off at the end of the issue, with her never really explaining her feelings for She-Hulk. Incidentally, She-Hulk's obliviousness to Jaz's feelings was an amusing element for some months now, that was pretty good since usually the unrequited love character is the target of the protagonist rather than the other way around. One thing David did really well in these issues was his handling of the Lady Liberators. The idea of She-Hulk forming a pro-active team of lady heroes is awesome, and the interactions of the main four characters was always entertaining. Even with Valkrie and Thundra's similar outlooks, they were different enough to stand out. I'd love to see more of this team, maybe even adding in a few more characters like Photon, Ms. Marvel, or Tigra. I know my 4 year old daughter would love to see more of this concept. Surely if a cheesecake artist drew it, that type of book could sell? I think it is a great concept to follow up on. As far as this series goes, David ends the comic on a meta-note, with unseen shadowy figures "cancelling the Book" referring to supporting character Mallory Book. David was never a perfect fit on this title, but his run was decent enough. Let's hope the new gray She-Hulk doesn't replace Jennifer for the long haul, since she remains one of my favorite characters in the Marvel U.

Steven Scott would have been a good artist to have the last few months, as his storytelling is clear and everyone looks pretty good. I bought a MA: Avengers page from Scott last year, I'll have to see if he has any She-Hulk pages available in Charlotte this year.


New Avengers: The Reunion #1

Jim McCann is doing a good thing for us here. Mockingbird and Hawkeye (I won't call him Ronin) are a fun couple. I enjoy the hound-dog tenacity Hawkshows through the issue when he just won't leave Mockingbird alone. It's a nice interaction, because clearly Mockingbird doesn't REALLY want to be alone, she keeps going through the motions of pushing him away, but I've got to think she likes having the help. I was impressed with the simple things that seemed to trigger Mockingbird's flashbacks. It would make sense that something like an alarm going off would be as likely to trigger a flashback as being mobbed by baddies. Hawkeye is portrayed well throughout too. I loved the interaction with Winter Cap, with Hawkeye respecting the suit, but being a little unsure on the guy wearing it. I loved Hawk mentioning that he could have been Cap if he chose to do it, which was a great dig on Winter Cap. I also liked how dismissive he was of Winter Cap's opinions since Cap was a sleeper agent for most of his life. The main thing I liked about the issue is that Hawkeye was as much an archer as anything else here. I HATE that Ronin suit, it makes 0 sense for the character, so the faster we get Clint back in purple, the better. This series could be setting up that kind of return to greatness for the character. I've always had a soft spot for this couple, I was so upset as they worked through their Phantom Rider problems back in the day. I'm pleased to see them headlining together again.

David Lopez draws people with such sad, tired eyes. I don't mind too much, since these heroes would be run down, but I hope he doesn't overdo it. I like Mockingbird's new costume ok, but I prefer her old one. That old mask was awesome and I loved her big sleeves. I was pleased to see her using the battle-staves again.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Booster Gold #17

Dangit, I really want to like this comic. It stars a character from "my" era of the DCU in Booster Gold. It is written and drawn by Dan Jurgens, one of my favorite creators. It even has good guest stars and brought back Goldstar from the original series. And yet this book underwhelms me every month. Ever since Geoff Johns left around issue 12, this book has been kind of meandering along. I'm just not interested in the time-dagger story. The mystery/energy villain isn't very interesting, although his rant this issue did add a little depth to the character. This issue had Booster show up at the scene of a confrontation earlier in the series (when the Flashes helped him take on Super Nova) but not enough time has passed to make this really feel like a classic confrontation. I'm not even that keen on the idea that Booster will be teaming up with himself. I assume Rip will mind-wipe past-Booster after this adventure to explain why our present Booster doesn't remember it, but that plot device renders most of the stories we're getting kind of pointless. I think this book should remain a team up book, with Booster visiting different eras and having adventures there, but I wonder if it would be better if he stayed a bit longer so we could get more characterization from the guest stars. Barry Allen was pretty boring this issue, which goes along with my opinion of the character (and explains why I'm worried about Flash: Rebirth). The strongest parts of the first 12 issues were Booster's interactions with Skeets and Blue Beetle, without those guys to bounce off, Booster just isn't as neat a character.

Jurgens' art is as solid as always. I will continue to pick up this book because it has the elements I want from my DC comics, even if the execution isn't up to what I had hoped.


Skaar: Son of Hulk #8

I'm back for a random issue partly to check in, but mostly to see Ron Lim draw the Silver Surfer. Sure, this incarnation is the Silver Savage, but I still love seeing Lim handle the character again. It seems the Red King is back alive and now assisting Skaar in destroying Axeman Bone. I'm still confused by all the alien factions and characters in this title. So Axeman Bone and the Red King's daughter are villains, but the Red King is good? Or are Skaar and Red King both bad guys now, as Caiera's voiceover text theorizes. It certainly seems like Skaar is pretty darn evil here, not giving a whit for any slaves or victims dealing with the fallout of his violence. Silver Surfer is also pretty quick to try and help them for a guy who kills whole planets at a time. It is neat seeing the Death's Head robots here, I wonder if they are linked up to the bots back at Project Pegasus on Earth? I'd say this is Greg Pak in the middle of his ranges, this isn't as bad as War Song, but it is not as good as Planet Hulk either. I'm not sure what the upcoming Skaar event is, but it seems it may be World War Hulk only with an evil Hulk.

Ron Lim was one of my first favorites. He draws THE Silver Surfer for me, so I loved his take on the character.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Walking Dead #59

Every time Walking Dead comes out, it is the first comic I read. Today I read it while waiting in line at a drive-thru for lunch. I will re-read it in a more relaxed setting, but on first read this was another strong issue. Morgan is not a well man, although I totally understand where he's coming from. He seems like he's really trying to be sane, but seeing Carl and Rick in such similar circumstances to what he and his son went through would be agonizing. The contrast of Rick and Morgan is made very clear when they have to flee their first herd, as Morgan is panicking and yelling while Rick calmly determines the best escape. I love Abraham's actions to try and save Carl too. Abraham is such an interesting character, so unlikable one issue, but now I'm really growing fond of the big maniac. The best thing about this issue is that the dead are the main threat. It is easy to dismiss the single roaming and wandering zombies, but when Rick sees his first herd, we know the cast is in trouble again. I can't recommend this series enough for zombie fans, or any fan of survival horror.

Charlie Adlard draws this issue again, conveying the mood as perfectly as he always does. It's hard finding new things to say about such a consistent, solid artist.


Nova #22

Ahh, you tricky little World Mind. So Richard Rider's worries about the World Mind seem to be well-founded. The newest recruits are having a constant stream of endorphins pumped into their brains to keep them excited about serving unquestioningly in the Nova corps, since it seems the World Mind grew tired of Richard Rider's second guessing. What's awesome is that after multiple issues of wondering if the strain of the Nova Force drove Rich insane, it turns out it drove the World Mind over the edge instead. What a neat concept! I loved the little bit with Richard's dad having to drive him to Project Pegasus since he lost his powers. I love that Richard has such a normal life! Project Pegasus seems like it will remain very important in this book, which is great since it is such a unique location with such fun folks involved. I have seen the promo shot of Richard in Quasar's old suit, so I'm betting those two team up soon. I'm predicting Wendell Vaughn will soon be the voice Richard hears while zooming around space.

Andrea DeVito is a good pick for this book. His John Byrne-influenced pencils work equally well on humanoids and aliens, so I think he's a good fit. DeVito's action panels used to seem a bit static, but his newer work is more kinetic and its looking good. This is a top notch creative team, making this what might be my favorite comic every month. (This, Guardians, and Secret Six are probably my top 3.)


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

War of Kings #1

Raise your hand if you are surprised that I loved Abnett & Lanning's newest star-spanning series. No one? Good. I honestly can't believe I'm loving a book starring the Inhumans like this. Marvel's cosmic corner has morphed into a tremendously interesting place these days, with X-Men and Inhumans adding to neat folks like Ronan the Accuser and the Shi'ar Imperial Guard. The Guard looked absolutely devastating here. Their attack on the Kree was so efficient, the series protagonists ended up looking like bozos. I hoped Black Bolt and Ronan would get some moves in, since they get some play as always ready for action, but they got blasted pretty badly too. This fits all the necessary beats of an opening chapter, we've got bit players like Mentor getting speaking roles. We've got Gladiator offering his POV followed by his ruthlessness in combat. But most importantly, the good guys seem genuinely out-matched at this point. The Imperial Guard is a copy of the Legion of Super-Heroes, but bad, and that is one formidable group to try and take out. I can't wait to see where the series goes, because you know Black Bolt is going to serve some revenge to that punk Vulcan. The Skrulls messed with the wrong guy, and now the Shi'ar will be in the same boat. I'm also excited to see where the Guardians fit in to all of this. That issue ships this week though, so I won't have to wait long. I can't imagine waiting for the trade on this. (I grabbed the Ron Lim variant, of course.)

Paul Pelletier's pencils are tremendous. He draws clear, colorful action that mixes emotion and drama perfectly. He remains one of my favorite pencillers.


R.E.B.E.L.S. #1

I'm a pretty big fan of Tony Bedard's writing, and his best work was his Negation series from Crossgen, so I had some high hopes for this book. It ended up being ok, but just ok. I read the original L.E.G.I.O.N. and R.E.B.E.L.S. books so I really dug the old characters and interactions in that title. Starting this off with just Dox didn't have me quite as hooked as those old issues did. I also found it odd that the main villains here were a couple of bounty hunters that no one without a degree in DCU Space would even recognize. There is very little background given for them and I'm not sure I care, even with me recognizing their races. I'll be sticking with the book for a few issues, since I do have high hopes that things will pick up when Dox actually has folks to interact with, but for now, I was not tremendously impressed.

Andy Clarke's art, however, was top notch. The book looked fantastic, I can't believe I haven't seen this guy before. He goes a tad happy with the crosshatching, but his detail is awesome. He actually raises the rating a grade for me.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Green Lantern #38

Ok. I'm coming around. If the different corps actually have different power sets, then this whole war of light thing may not be as bad as I'd feared. It seems only the yellow and green rings can actually create constructs. The Red Lanterns yell "hraarggh" and puke acid, and the blue lanterns can boost the power of a GL. So basically the BL's are turbo boosters for the GLs, and I'll admit that is an interesting concept. We didnt' have to suffer too long as Hal does overcome his rage with the help of a Blue Lantern ring, but unfortunately that leaves Hal pretty confused at the close of this issue too, as half his uniform is blue and the other is green, so what exactly is he? Geoff Johns spends a lot of time on Carol Ferris this issue too, as it seems she will be signing up with the new Star Sapphires. I have no issue with that, since that is a long-standing part of her character. One note, who calls themselves Cowgirl out of uniform and on her boyfriend's phone to an ex-girlfriend? Crazy.

I will admit to being amused at the ginourmous chests the Star Sapphire's are sporting, I'd figure Guy Gardner would be up for a team-up any day of the week. The Origins and Omens backup didn't really have too much new information, but I'm more certain than ever that Katma Tui, Jade, and possibly more dead GL-exes will be showing up in Blackest Night. The Controllers serving as the bosses for the Orange Lanterns is a good idea too, since we know they are cosmic manipulators and it fits their character.

I dig Ivan Reis' art. Sure, the women look all sexxed up, but he handles the aliens and action well. Hal looked pretty cool as he shook off the rage effect of the Red Lanterns, so the art in this one was pretty good.


Reign in Hell #8

So Blaze is the queen of hell now, right? Sargon, a guy I don't know, died. Everyone else seems to be roughly where they were at the beginning of this story. This one was a confusing read from start to finish. Why was this story told? Who was the real lead? The protagonists were too ineffective and tangental to the main plot, so what was the point? Did we really lose Shadowpact for this? I suppose there is potential in the twist that the "real" Lobo is back, but what does that mean about 52 and the other Main Man appearances over the years? It seemed like all the human characters had really bad attitudes, I don't remember Doctor Occult being quite this grumpy. I will admit I liked the role Zauriel played as a heavy hitter for Heaven, but that was one of the few things that really stood out to me. Who was that guy who offered to help Blue Devil out of Hell? Was Zauriel kneeling to Blaze? Who were those other guys with Blaze at the end? This book leaves me with more questions than answers, and they are actually questions I'm not sure I care enough to find out the answer.

Tom Derenick's pencils never really mingled with Bill Sienkewicz's inks. I'll look forward to their next separate projects, since I do like each of them on their own.