Tuesday, August 31, 2010
I rarely pick up Punisher comics in anything but trade these days, but since I don't buy the collections of one-shots, I grabbed this one since Peter Milligan worked on it. It's got some neat ideas sprinkled through, but it didn't blow my mind.
The issue follows the path of an unhappily married accountant as he get wrapped up into the Punisher's dangerous world. After befriending (sort of) a femme fatale masseuse, he ends up taking to the world of gunplay and death better than he expected. The Punisher exists in this comic only as a force of nature to occasionally point different pieces of the story to different locations. The Punisher isn't the star here, he's just an executioner brought in to punch people's tickets. I liked how Milligan wrapped up the story, because it is the opposite of how most of these stories go. I suppose it is realistic, but I don't think we'll see a spin-off for Gun-Fighting Accountant any time soon.
Avatar's Juan Jose Ryp brings his ultraviolence to Marvel, and it works fine for a MAX book. His violence, gore, and mayhem are almost on a level with Geoff Darrow. I don't care for his faces as much, but I can deal with it to get these complicated set pieces.
Overall, 4.99 is a bit much for a book like this...
Monday, August 30, 2010
(Written by my 5-year old daughter)
Match is FUNNY. I think it is funny that he says "oooh, what shirt should I try?" Because none of them really match his color. It's kinda funny when Wonder Girl throws snowballs at Psimon. The Brainiac club better watch out for Superman. I like Saturn Girl. Is she a fairy. I think Brainiac 5's pet is kinda funny because he just leaves trails of himself. I REALLY like it when Match thinks Psimon is an ice cream cone and then he eats him. It's funny that that guy (Lightning Lad) is just like "uhhhh" that he's there. He doesn't care! That guy (Chameleon) is tapping saying "whatcha doin?"
Superman's Dad thinks Beppo is Superman, that is ridiculous. His father is just being crazy. I like the issues that have a lot of Superboy and Supergirl.
This comic was funny with Match in it.
You know what? I'm just going to list some of the things in this comic that made it the best I've read in weeks.
- Namor being a jerk
- Marvel Boy falling in love with a sea anemone
- A gorilla in a bubble helmet
- Namor punching a shark
- The line "We must have silence. Mr. Lao is sleeping" only Mr. Lau is a DRAGON
- Cool, wandering Hulk
- Gorilla Man as a sniper
- Upgrades to M-11 so that he can fight...
- Awesome M-21
And best of all, these crazy plot elements look fantastic, as drawn by Gabriel Hardman, Carlo Pagulayan, and Dan Panosian. Hardman's stuff in particular is stunning.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
I enjoyed the second story a lot more. The team sort of goes back its roots when hunting down Darwin. Making the whole story even better is the arrival of Longshot, who's unique power set and attitude make him a great addition to the team. With Siryn out of action and Rictor watching her, the team is a bit short-handed as they deal with the villain of the piece. I'm still interested in the odd aspects of Madrox's personality manifesting in his dupes, and there are some neat developments on that front too.
The art is much better in the closing chapters when Valentine De Landro takes over. I appreciate Stroman's style, but man, those people look weird!
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Beachhead and Tripwire handle some South American drug dealers right off the bat. I loved this one-off, it felt like an old issue of the Special Missions title. The Joes do more than battle Cobra.
Then Duke, Scarlett, and Bazooka head out to grab a scientist involved in Cobra's MASS device research. Things go poorly as the Joes are totally defeated. One of the three dies while the other two are left for dead by a lethal Cobra operative.
Meanwhile, Snake Eyes is recovering from his battle with a Cobra operative. He's in NYC hanging with the Hard Master. I never thought I'd see a story where Snake has to rebuild his confidence, so this was great. Dixon is really making Cobra into a dangerous group. Their low-level vipers are tough, but the named, boss snakes are big trouble.
Robert Atkins and SL Gallant do a great job with the art. The house style is a great, modern take on the classic uniforms. The characters look distinctive enough to resemble their toys, but they are updated nicely. This book is a hell of a ride.
Friday, August 27, 2010
In the present, Thor is smashing Martians while Spidey, Hawkeye, and Spider-Woman make friends with Killraven. I have to hope 'Raven wasn't riding Devil Dinosaur, since the dino lasts about two panels before meeting a grisly fate. In any case, I like seeing Killraven with the Avengers. I'm not sure if he's sticking around, but he might make an interesting addition to the Marvel U if he does.
In the future, Iron Man, Wolverine, Bucky Cap, and the terrible Captain Marvel Kid finally meet up with the next generation Avengers. There's something weird going on as we see that someone is controlling the puppetmaster. Maestro bosses around the Next Avengers, but someone else is bossing him around. I'm ok with the reveal, I just hope we're not in for a mindwipe or anything.
I do feel bad for She-Hulk. After the entertaining but pointless Offenders arc, Ben Urich, Peter Parker, Doc Samson, and She-Hulk head out to a gamma base to see who is behind Bruce Banner's abduction. It turns out MODOK and Rulk are working together, and after Doc Samson inexplicably turns evil (after an odd Hulk-like transformation), it's a battle royal. She-Hulk just gets pummeled around the book; she's really not doing much these days. I'd be more worried about the Doc Samson transformation if I thought it was going to stick. I do like the idea of Rick Jones being A-Bomb for a while. It's amusing seeing Rick enjoying his time in the "strongest there is" club, but how does Marlo feel about this?
Ed McGuiness' art is awesome. The Offenders look tremendous. McGuiness gets to do a wonderful version of Psycho-Man, too. Hell, a good 2/3 of the reason I read this book is exciting artwork. Do not read this for high character development; buy this trade because you want to see the classic Defenders fight their opposites in over-the-top style.
I assume things get more complicated (and more logical) as this title crosses over with Greg Pak and Jeff Parker in the upcoming World War Hulks trade. I'm looking forward to it. Oh, and that title? I don't buy it for a second. Bruce Banner will be able to Hulk Out again by the end of the next trade.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
I'm still not a fan of this many dueling dialogue boxes. Too many people are narrating and thinking their way through this story. I think Hourman even gets some in-head time. It just gets confusing! I do like some of the odd interplay that the Starheart is forcing. Having the Starheart be "new" to existence and so eager for experiences is a cool take on a fairly repetitive villain.
Mark Bagley continues to amuse me with his great takes on Wildcat and the rest of the JSA. He's a natural fit on the JLA characters, but his JSA look a tad off. I'm also not a huge fan of the Jade/Obsidian hybrid that shows up at the end, but is should be short-lived.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Peter David tells a good yarn, but at times, this feels like he's checking off boxes. There are a lot of people who have to get killed off to make Roland's ka-tet go it alone, so there is a lot of killing, very quickly. When the story has a bit of time to breathe, like when the slow mutants kill Cuthbert's father, I really like this stuff. The idea of tides of villains wearing away at the noble gunslingers is quite moving. I start to care less when the aforementioned guards just wander around killing 3 or 4 heroes with little to no effort. Hell, the same crew kills most of the population of Gilead. I might have cared more if the guards had received a big death, but they're gunned down on the street by Roland's crew with little effort. I will say that I'm looking forward to Roland getting his hands on Marten and Goodman Farson.
Richard Isanove picks up for Jae Lee without missing a beat. Everyone looks spot-on. I loved the transformation Aileen has as she joins up with the ka-tet. It explains some of those pesky King inconsistencies from the novels too.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
I'm also embarrassed to say that I was totally surprised by Cyborg Superman's reasoning for kidnapping Ganthet. He wants Ganthet to turn the Alpha Lanterns back to their old selves, hoping that the treatment will also turn Cyborg Supes into a mortal. See, I forgot that Cyborg Superman made himself an Alpha Lantern, so that's a pretty big plot point that breezed right by me. Boy is my face red!
I continue to be saddened at the body count in Green Lantern Corps. Between Peter Tomasi's wholesale slaughter and the handful of GLs getting pasted in this story, the mortality rate of Lanterns must be at least 50%. What a ridiculously dangerous job! Why would anyone ever want that gig?
Ardian Syaf's pencils are nice, but I don't like how all the male characters have so much stubble. I also wonder what a crazier artist might have done with a planet full of unique robots? Imagine if Mike Allred had drawn Grenda's machine population!
Monday, August 23, 2010
This issue focuses on Hazmat, one of the more villainous-leaning students at the Avengers Academy. (I'm still thinking Veil and Reptil are good, Finesse, Stryker, and Hazmat are bad, and Mettle is in the middle.) Hazmat seems fairly spoiled; she's actually not very likable, regardless of how rough her origin was. She's actually similar to Rogue in a lot of ways, but I don't see the inherent goodness there.
While on a Scared Straight visit to the Raft (with Cage wearing a weird uniform), there are some great moments. I love the villains who get a few moments to shine. Ghost, Moonstone, and especially Juggernaut are awesome. I'm surprised to see Crossbones given a Bullseye-level of respect, he always worked best for me as an unstoppable thug more than anything else. There should be some great moments during this Thunderbolts crossover as the kids interact with more big names.
Gage isn't neglecting the experienced heroes either. Speedball is still struggling with his past. Iron Fist is still "trying to be Asian." And Valkyrie has a lot to teach the young ladies! Talk about good timing, if Tigra arrives one panel later, things would have veered into MAX territory!
Mike McKone is tremendous. I love his Juggernaut design. The Cage costume looks a little weird, but I'm pretty sure that's a carry over from the Thunderbolts title.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
This story goes over ground that is becoming familiar. Matt Fraction started telling these ancient Thor stories a couple years ago, but Milligan does a great job continuing that feeling in this one-shot. Thor is so mad at his fellow Asgardians that he has exiled himself to live among humans. He's actually happy living as Tor, with a good woman and adopted son. And he can scratch his warrior's itch by smashing raiders' heads when they are foolish enough to attack his adopted town. Of course, things have to go bad, and Balder seeks out Thor to get him to help Asgard take on Surtur one more time. Thor does his duty, but he's struck at how the gods are so stagnant, going through the motions of immortality, but doing the same things over and over.
I love how Milligan plays this idea up at the end of the comic; he states that this view of the gods is shared by any immortal who spends extended time with mortals. How neat is that? It's a glimpse into the personality of Thor, Herc, Venus, and many more "hero" gods in the Marvel Universe.
Everyone knows how it ends when gods mix with mortals, but this was well done.
I really enjoyed Michael Suayan's art. He has an almost Gene Ha-ish level of detail going on, and his alternate costumes for Thor looked awesome. Thor's cape has never looked so neat, either; there is a real weight to it, making it quite impressive.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
I'm a big Peter Milligan fan, and I love his high concept here, but I sort of lose interest in the execution. Setting a slew of Greek tragedies in the underworld of London is a neat idea, the problem is that none of the leads are particularly likable. I'm showing my lack of knowledge on tragedies, but the problem here is that I really don't care who lives and dies in this story. The only guy who seems solid enough to worry about is the cop, and his death seems to be pre-ordained. The lead is pretty annoying, yet everyone in the book seems to like him or want to be around him, and I just don't get it. Eddie seems like an ineffective crybaby.
Again, I love the idea of setting Greek stories on a famous street with the same name, but this just doesn't grab me.
Davide Gianfelice gets to draw a lot of topless ladies. Too bad so many of them are decaying monster chests. The art is fine, and I understand there are no real heroes in this story, but even the lead characters don't exactly jump off the page. I had a difficult time picking out the stars when there are so many secondary characters with similar looks.
Friday, August 20, 2010
The actual conflict is still relatively weak, even after the revelation of the surprise villain. The ghost-ish monsters are generic and unimportant to the narrative; it's no better than opening a series with ninjas or robots. The ghosts just exist to give the rest of the team someone to fight. Now, they look wonderful, of course, since Stuart Immonen is drawing them, but they are awfully generic.
With a team this large, someone has be relegated to the background. Hawkeye and Mockingbird have barely been members of this team. In fact, if Jewel is going to suit up again, I wonder if the happy couple might be better off getting transferred to the Avengers title full-time.
So, while the plot is not that interesting, Bendis is doing a nice job with character moments and Immonen is rocking the art. Good enough for "Fair."
Thursday, August 19, 2010
I mean, when there needs to be a double splash page filled with dialogue and diagrams explaining the new "origin" for Thanagar? Too complicated. I just can't make myself care about this new complicated middle world. Factor in (SPOILER) that Hawkwoman's Mother is the big bad reveal, and I just don't care. Have we ever seen this lady before? Is she important somehow and my DC knowledge just doesn't cover it? I'm confused!
The Hawks are not a difficult concpet. They hit people with large metal objects. Sometimes the objects are blunt, sometimes sharp. I don't need the Hawks becoming deities to weird lion men and lizard men and bird men. Am I alone here? Or is this missing the mark?
The art was fine, but wow, I am seriously underwhelmed.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente split up the dream team, with Hercules and Kid Zeus heading off one way and Amadeus Cho in another. Hercules and Zeus are quickly misled into backing the wrong horse when they throw in with the Dark Elves of Asgardian myth. The best part is that in order to make it work, Hercules allows himself to be disguised as the Mighty Thor. This leads to some awesome moments where Herc gets to act like his normal doofy self, but he can blame it on Thor. Naturally, Thor hears about this and disguises himself as Herc. There are some fantastic moments in this story. Herc's skill in the sack actually gets him a big win; he does it without fighting. In fact, I'm not sure he effectively fights anyone in this whole trade.
Meanwhile, Amadeus is searching out the man who killed his family. More importantly, he believes his sister is still alive and he wants to find her too. His story is lead by a book about the heroic journey and with a role-playing game. The thinly-veiled D&D references are great, I love hearing how Cho wasted his youth playing Excello role-playing games. The story wraps up nicely too, and again, Cho wins not through his skill or his brains, but with a pretty neat way to deal with his foe.
The art throughout is fun. I'm glad Reilly Brown has hit on a new regular gig, he's too good to be out of Marvel's regular stable. His Thor, Herc, and dark elves all looked tremendous.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
I'm pleased that Damon Lindeloff introduced a She-Hulk to the Ultimate U, and I like that it is a surprise person even more. It makes a lot of sense to get this person some powers and let her into the punching portion of the Hulk's universe. The actual battle between Hulk and Wolverine isn't so much a battle as a butt-kicking. When the Hulk gets going, Wolverine never really stands a chance.
Lindeloff plays around with timelines, flashbacks, and stream-of-consciousness narration, but the outcome of this fight is never really in doubt. This is a trade where the details read better than the big fight.
Leinil Francis Yu does a nice job. Everyone has seen that panel of Hulk ripping Wolverine in half (adamantium what?), and it does look good. I love Hulk's ridiculous Eastern garb too. It's fun seeing the big green galoot in something besides purple pants. The She-Hulk design is pretty good too, although there is only so much you can do with a 7 foot tall, green, nearly naked lady.
DnA can typically do no wrong with me, and this is no exception. The Authority is basically reduced to two characters, Swift and Midnighter. I expect Midnighter, but it is awesome seeing Swift get a headlining role while the rest of the team suffers. Apollo is in exile above the smog clouds, only able to come down for brief periods before getting sick. Hawksmoor is a paranoid wreck of his former self, and the Engineer is just a tough normal chick. The Authority was never a big team, so leaves them short handed during the end of the world. A lot of the book just deals with survival, but DnA bring in other Wildstorm characters to make things interesting. The Establishment makes an ominous appearance, while Stormwatch shows up in a much more trustworthy way. I loved seeing the Authority and Stormwatch put aside their differences to try and save London, with Battalion and Hawksmoor's conversation being a highlight.
Simon Coleby does a nice job drawing the wreckage of a destroyed London. The team members look pretty good too, when the Engineer gets her moment late in the trade, Coleby makes her look spectacular, even though it's something Authority readers should be familiar with.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Why did no one tell me how good these issues are? I like Will Pfiefer's stuff, but John Arcudi and the other creators who picked up the Sub Diego plot did a fantastic job with it. This is the coolest Aquaman has ever been! His supporting cast is great, the villains are classic, and there's barely an Atlantean politician in sight!
And the art is wonderful. Pat Gleason, Andy Clarke, Chris Batista, Leonard Kirke, Freddie Williams II, these are top notch artists. This run is a bargain bin gem, folks!
Issues 21 & 22 - Pfiefer's re-imagining of the Eel as a much more potent villain. Patrick Gleason on art. KEEP
Issues 23 & 24 - John Ostrander shows how the Navy base is getting by under the sea. Chris Batista pencils. KEEP
Issues 25 - John Arcudi takes over and puts a nice stamp on Sub Diego. KEEP
Issues 26 & 27 - Ocean Master! And he actually wins (for awhile). KEEP
Issues 28 & 29 - Arcudi introduces fish-cop Malrey and writes the tough-lovingest Martian Manhunter ever! KEEP
Issues 30 & 31 - Marc Guggenheim and Andy Clarke do a great little mystery in two parts. Undersea serial killer! KEEP
Issues 32-34 - Arcudi starts planting some subplots with new love interests, Koryak (Aquaman's son), Tempest, Mera, and Black Manta. KEEP
Issue 35 - In a shocking turn, the OMAC that appears for the Infinite Crisis tie-in is an integral character. Good, shocking developments. KEEP
Issues 36-39 - Infinite Crisis rushes in and makes a mess of everything. Arcudi has to tie up all his plot threads and run off stage before One Year Later. It ended badly, but this was a great run!
Sorry folks, I'm KEEPING every issue of the Sub Diego saga! Great stuff!
It isn't bad. In fact, I enjoyed the story of the dark god of the small Scottish town quite a bit. Sure, it stinks that Reed Richards can't really trust anyone at this point, but it is an original idea that shined a nice spotlight on the Richards kids. The story also let Millar show a caring, familial side to the Human Torch that really makes sense. I also dug Ben Grimm's most recent bout with heartbreak. The guy can't win, but having him lose because of Spidey, DD, and the gang was a new twist.
I'm less enthused about the Master of Doom portions of this collection, I just never bought him as a worse villain than doom. Killing alternate universes is kind of old hat at this point, isn't it? By the time the team had powered up to take him on, I was ready for Doom to come back.
Bryan Hitch draws most of the issues, but he seems to drift away by the end too. I think this was just a project that never inspired the blockbuster team like some of their other runs. The megalodons that eat Doom looked awesome, as did the elder God. I was grossed out by the dead Watcher too. I have to say I never loved the designs on the actual FF. Hitch's work is typically awesome, and this was merely decent.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Those closest to the stars are wandering around in a bronze age world of purple aliens. It seems the Trinity ended up there somehow and taught these weirdos their values. It's nice knowing that they did their thing even in this weird place, but it's weird reading a whole series where the exciting stuff already happened. The stars of the book just sit around listening to stories!
Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza do a better job with the straight up super-heroics. I'm not really interested in seeing the DCU characters representing different Tarot cards, but I do like seeing dead characters like Tomorrow Woman and Triumph. The alternate world is fun because so many of the relationships are shaken up. (I'm betting Space Ranger is Martian Manhunter).
Mark Bagley and the crew on the backups are all pretty good. I sort of wish they were all drawing less hairy purple aliens though.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
And I have no clue what is happening. I guess there is some series that takes place way in the past, before the Star Wars movies. Knights of the Old Republic? There are a ton of Boba Fett guys running around doing something, and there are Jedi in it, but that's about all I can figure out. The whole first half of this book makes absolutely no sense to me. Perhaps people can follow this, but I sure can't. I don't understand why the leads are important or what they're doing. To be honest, I quit reading it about halfway through. The art is too cartoony for a Star Wars story too.
The second story holds up much better. This one is pulled from Star Wars Dark Times, and it features a smuggling crew dealing with Darth Vader. See, that's a high concept I can instantly understand! It's a nice, quick little story with these guys caught up with Vader and some clones. I think I'll read more of this series. Not too bad at all. The art is fantastic too, Darth looks awesome!
So overall, the last bit of story saves the rating on this.
Friday, August 13, 2010
This book is SO good. Keith Giffen and JM DeMatteis are still bringing the funny, but they also know just how sad the underlying situation is for Booster. Blue Beetle is too smart to miss that Booster is from the future, but he figures Booster is just back to have a good time. Booster (and the reader) knows better, and that's what changes the scene from a comedy to a tragedy.
I think it is hilarious that we're seeing Darkstars. These guys are a footnote in the DCU, but they look pretty important here.
And how great is it seeing Mr. Miracle and Barda looking this cool? I mean, doesn't this make it seem like these characters need a new ongoing?
Chris Batista rocks the art in this. His clean pencils look perfect, and his Barda is both powerful and sleek. Pat Oliffe steps in nicely for the last few pages.
In all seriousness, this is the best book on the stands.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Winick's first solo issue isn't bad. The plot is still fairly slow as the team breaks into Checkmate, but we see Max Lord's ultimate destiny (and Magog's) in a nice tie to Brightest Day. He's got the voice down for the new Rocket Red, and I enjoyed the conversation with Fire and Ice, they are not the close friends they used to be; too much time has passed. Booster Gold as the new leader is a nice touch, especially since no one agreed to it.
It was amusing seeing a "cree-ok" type sound effect. Winick loves that sound effect and uses it all the time. That's always an indicator that he worked on a book. So Winick is doing well, I'm sticking with the book.
Joe Bennett's Blue Beetle looks the best, but he does a nice job with Fire and Ice too. Rocket Red is pretty nicely designed, his suit's powers look great. I do have to say that Booster Gold's goggles look too large and he's not exactly on-model with his own book.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
I love that Kirkman continues to have his folks be reasonable. Sure, Rick lost it last issue, but Douglas still wants him on the job. It's great; these guys actually act as if they're surviving at the end of the world! Douglas and Rick both have issues, I really hope they don't destroy each other.
I enjoyed seeing Abraham backing up Rick (and Andrea to some extent) but it sure is interesting seeing Michonne be so hard on him. She's been where he is, I suppose that gives her a unique perspective on his situation. A situation that Carl is now aware of...
Charlie Adlard deserves a ton of credit for turning out these issues so fast too. There isn't a ton of action for him, there is a lot of "acting" in each of these issues and they all look great. I'm a tad unclear on who the tattooed folks are that hear the motorcycles. Are those Community people we haven't seen yet? Or was that the biker gang from last issue? Is another invasion imminent?
This is one of those fun old Marvel issues where Bullpenners got to show up as comic characters. Gerry Conway and Len Wein get to ride along with the Beast as he takes on the Juggernaut. Steve Gerber has used this odd little town a few times now, mostly in Defenders. He clearly likes it, even though it gets a bit smashed up during the Juggernaut's rampage.
It's interesting, Juggernaut is almost a supernatural villain here, powered by his helmet. My default is to think of him as an X-villain, so I forget that he could take on Dr. Strange in a totally logical conflict. Most of the issue consists of Juggernaut chasing Beast through the town. I loved the sequence where Beast tries to swim and get away, but Juggs' magic helmet helps him float. I will never understand why Beast thought it was a good idea to go hide out at a party, he must have known that would put all those civilians in danger. Beast does win in a neat way though, since this is right after his transformation into the blue Beast, when he reveals himself as a monster, Juggs is so frightened Beast is able to knock his helmet off. It would only work once, but it is a believable way for the Beast to win that fight.
Bob Brown draws one wide Juggernaut and one horrific Beast. Beast isn't a smiling ape-man here, he's a fanged monster. It's an interesting look, but I think I prefer George Perez's amiable goofball.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
These two issues are sea-based, as the Spectre gets amnesia and links up with the zombie crew of Captain Fear. Fear is actually a pretty solid guy, but he is carrying around the souls of his crew around on a ghost ship, always seeking revenge on the evil Baron Hemlocke. Most of issue 40 deals with Fear's history (although there is a great revenge sequence with Spectre killing some human traffickers). Issue 41 is filled with awesome stuff too, like a ghost ship battle in the streets of New York. Who would even think of that?
This is ostensibly part of a greater story running through the Spectre, but it works just fine on its own.
Tom Mandrake's art is chilling and effective. Issue 40's deaths are particularly nice, as the Spectre manifests as a giant wave, a squid, a horde of piranha, and a sperm whale. He actually eats a guy and then digests him with stomach acid! These books have an old-timey horror-comic feel, but they look modern and striking. Spectre is a great book!
Monday, August 9, 2010
I love how quickly Both Vril Dox and Braniac 2 have to re-assess their situation after the original Brainiac starts making things difficult on Colu. The few moments we see of the leaders of Colu are pretty entertaining. They are dealing with their greatest (and most evil) citizen, so it makes sense they'd be quaking like they are.
My one complaint is that there just aren't enough pages for the actual REBELS to get much page time.
Claude St. Aubin is still doing a bang up job following in Andy Clarke's footsteps. He's kept things looking consistent, but I have to admit he did make this book his own.
I tried to pick up this book and start reading late at night, but after reading the first issue, I couldn't tackle all those charts and maps. I can appreciate how much work Jonathan Hickman spent setting up this title, but I couldn't do it. So I sat down earlier in the day and plowed through them; I recognized a lot of names from previous runs of SHIELD, and I LOVED that Hickman refers to the Deltite Affair. (For those who don't know, that's talking about the Nick Fury vs. SHIELD limited series from the early 90's.) I can totally understand Fury being pretty darn careful after that story.
I also had a misconception about what this book was about. I thought it was about the Caterpillars, Fury's team of fresh-faced heroes as they get some experience. And that is here. But there is a ton more. This first trade has whole issues dedicated to Hydra and the Howling Commandos. SHIELD mainstays like the Contessa De Fontaine, Gabe Jones, and Dum Dum Dugan all get panel time. Hickman is weaving a complicated tale using a ton of elements of SHIELD's history.
I'm not sure how I feel about the huge revelation from issue 1. Fury discovers that Hydra is so big, so long-term in its thinking, that they control governments, criminal groups (like AIM and the Secret Empire), and SHIELD. That's right, Hydra has run SHIELD, sending them after certain targets and generally manipulating Fury. Doesn't that sort of ruin some old stories?
I love how Fury creates such loyalty in his troops. Not only did over a thousand walk out on HAMMER when SHIELD went down, but Fury gets even more HAMMER folks to throw in with him here. Hickman has created a story with enormous scope. We've got the old guard and the new guard of SHIELD in the same book. The Contessa is important. This book is huge. In fact, it's about as huge a Marvel story as I've ever seen.
Stefano Caselli's artwork is great. The Caterpillars have great expressions, although I wouldn't mind some more distinctive costumes on Quake and Stonewall. I also love how the original Howlers still look so good, that Infinity Formula is good stuff.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Phil Norwood's art is very cool with the movie properties, but his futuristic design is pretty funny. It may be space, but everyone has very early-90s designs.
Issue 0 - So damn talky I couldn't even make myself read it! The black & white artwork is decent, but the many, many boxes of dialogue from two human pilots just takes away from the coolness of the Aliens and Predators. - SELL
Issue 1 - This is better than issue 0, but still, awfully wordy. The book gets better when the Predators start killing people, but there is still something off. I think what bothers me is that having the Predators "seed" the Aliens kind of makes the Aliens less cool. Plus, I want some space marines! - SELL I guess
Issue 2-4 - More of the same from issue 1, in fact, barely anything changes except that we get some more time with future cannon fodder. I will admit that once the creatures get down to the killing, things get a lot more interesting. Even then, too many people live! SELL
This is ok, and if I were a bigger fan of movie property comics, I'd be keeping these. For me, I need this space for super-hero comics.
Summary: SELL 0, 1, 2, 3, 4
15 bucks plus shipping and this could be yours!
Saturday, August 7, 2010
This is a character piece, so while there is a puke man, government conspiracies, and shooting, the driving force of this story is people. Four college freshman friends each have problems, some more than others. One is an extortionist, a hacker, a himbo, and a jock. There's all sorts of weirdness as they interact with their puke-friend. He remembers everything they do, but he thinks it was him doing everything in his memories, leading to some odd situations.
In the end, the story resolves pretty badly for the leads. In fact, of the four friends (plus one), I'd say MAYBE one gets a happy ending. Fortunately, it is probably the most well-adjusted. I'm not sure I can give this a high recommendation... it is a fairly gross story. It is self-contained, and easy to read in one sitting. But there are better, more stimulating Vertigo books out there.
Jock's art is nice, of course, and he gets to play around with some pretty crazy stuff. His realistic style works well in the setting.
Friday, August 6, 2010
These two issues, the Birds are trying to reign in Thorn, the Metropolis vigilante suffering from split-personality disorder. I appreciate that Simone has the Birds and Thorn go up against the 100. The Metropolis villain group that is always tied to Thorn, so I liked seeing her get some sort of closure dealing with the villains. The Birds are never really in danger; these two issues are much more about the redemption of the Huntress as she joins the team. It is true, Oracle can be one manipulative lady. The entire trip around the country dealing with these vigilantes was a process to calm Huntress down and sell her on a kinder, gentler path. We know it worked, but it is interesting seeing it happen.
The best scene has to be when Black Canary shows a cop a name on her cell phone. Imagine trying to tough talk someone and they show you they have Superman on speed-dial!
Ed Benes draws everyone in these issues like a stripper. Including the male characters. Everyone is posing and standing around showing off their best assets, it's pretty funny. And Thorn's outfit is the worst. She looks like she's about to burst out of her costume in about four different places.
I just started watching Deadwood, so this is perfect timing for me as the entire issue takes place in the old West. The Six are re-cast as gun-toting toughies with various roles in an old West setting. Deadshot is a bounty hunter, Catman is a trapper, Scandal is a sherriff (with Bane as deputy), and Jeannette is a whore. Of course, Ragdoll is an insane puppeteer. What else could he be? Even in these new roles, the true characteristics of the cast shine through. In fact, I'm a little shocked at how well the Six work in this setting. The bad guys of the piece are Slade Wilson and Ragdoll's sister. I like it, because she's been about the worst villain in the whole series so far.
There is something going on with alternate lives, but I can't exactly figure out what. Are the Six bouncing through alternate lifetimes trying to be heroes? I'm not complaining, this set up has given Simone some of her best deviant-dialogue in months. Rag Doll's puppet show is almost enough to make this book MAX on its own!
Jim Calafiore must have had a great time working on this. Deadshot and Jeannette knock boots in a bathtub (less romantic than it sounds!) and Ragdoll's puppet shows are great (starring Joker and Harley). Calafiore always does a nice job with action, and he does so again here. He's no Nicola Scott, but he's a solid artist for the title.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
I don't like Blade being ok with all these "good" vampires. My Blade sticks every bloodsucker he sees, well, except for his teammates like Spitfire or Hannibal King. In this issue, he goes to a vampire bar and is downright pleasant. What happened to "You ain't nothin to me but another. Dead. Vampire." I know Cornell's Blade is more well adjusted than Wesley Snipes, but still!
Taken as a whole, this was a decent issue, but I loved all the interplay on the MI13 team, so no Black Knight, Captain Britain, or Meggan lowers my interest just a tad. I do hope we see the team again somewhere soon.
Elena Casagrande's pencils are fine. She gets the story across, although sometimes the characters' faces are a tad odd looking. I'd be curious to see her work with someone inking and tightening up her pencils.
I'm also pleased that Mock's Mom didn't actually die last issue. It's unnecessary to kill off folks when you can get the same dramatic effect giving them a serious injury. Nicely played. I also love how Dominic Fortune is sort of an alternate partner for Mockingbird. She's fine with bolting out with Dominic on the "serious" missions and leaving Hawkeye out of it. How great was it seeing the three of them trying to work together? And with Dominic starting to come around and liking Hawkeye, the whole team dynamic is coming along nicely.
Bonus points to McCann for tackling Hawkeye's code against killing head-on. Dominic Fortune recognizes how out of character Hawk's vendetta against Norman Osborn was; I can't wait to see how that gets resolved.
David Lopez's art is stunning. Hawkeye's hair is awesome. Mockingbird's assault gear is cool and boosts her powers nicely. And Lopez always makes sure that the leads are smiling during their fights. They love this stuff! When Hawkeye is drawing his swords for robot-fighting duty, he actually seems happy to do it!
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Seven issues in, and we're finally getting some clues about what the returned characters are supposed to be doing during the Brightest Day. After heroically eating a cheeseburger (maybe I have what it takes to be a hero myself, eh?) Deadman kicks off a series of visions for all the returnees. It seems each character has something to accomplish.
Martian Manunter has to burn down the Star City forest (although he doesn't seem keen on the idea). I figure this will bring back Swamp Thing.
I'm wondering if Nekron is still active in the third voice in Firestorm; Jason and Ronnie have to learn from each other to stop him.
Hawkman and Hawkgirl have to deal with that silly new animal world they're trapped on.
Aquaman needs to find the new Aqualad.
Captain Boomerang needs to try and kill Dove.
Jade needs to help Obsidian stop Eclispo.
Osiris needs to bring back Isis (and I'd bet Black Adam).
Max Lord needs to kill Magog!!!!
The Reverse Flash already finished his mission, bringing back Barry Allen. His reward is a return to life.
Hawk needs to save Dove.
So, it seems that anyone who succeeds in their mission will get to stay alive with that LIFE RETURNED designation. I'm actually interested in all of these stories except for the Hawks. I love how Aquaman totally doesn't care that Mera was an assassin, he's right, they've been through too much together for that to make a difference now. I can't wait for Black Adam and Isis to return. I'm worried about Magog, I don't hate him as much as everyone else.
The art is pretty solid throughout. I loved how the one page had quick hits of returnees, each drawn by the artist of their ongoing series. How great did Eclipso look?
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
As for plot movement, the four stars sort of float around the robot planet, but there isn't a ton of story movement. Hopefully things pick up next issue.
Ardian Syaf's art has that DC house style down, but I'm not sure I like it. Kyle Rayner and John Stewart are sporting some tough-guy stubble, but it sort of looks wrong on both of them. And I love seeing what sort of fun creations Kyle manifests with his ring. In this issue he makes a missile, samurai armor, a swat team door-buster, and a stretcher. Nothing crazy or pop-culture enough!
James Robinson has formed up a unique cast of leads by merging the JLA and JSA. NightBats, Donna Troy, Jesse Quick, Hourman, Jade, Mr. America and Mr. Miracle II are a strike force trying to get to the center of a green city on the Moon. Somehow the Starheart is controlling Alan Scott, and tons of heroes and villains all over the DCU are going crazy. So is it just me, or does one of those names not belong with the others. I'll call it now, James Robinson is going to kill off Mr. America during this storyline. He just doesn't belong with that team. Robinson does a nice job with NightBats and Donna Troy. His Mr. Miracle II is fun, but then, Shilo is a great character. His JSAers are far more generic. They don't come across anywhere near as well. Obsidian has a decent role, although I'm unhappy to see him being mentally controlled yet again. That guy can't win.
Mark Bagley continues his solid run on the stars of the DCU. Batman looks great, and his Mr. Miracle II is cool and current looking. I like Obsidian's look these days too. Hopefully he'll stick around after this story.
Monday, August 2, 2010
My first try is Marve Super-Heroes #4. And actually, it is a really good choice. It's got recognizable characters in Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and even Black Widow. There are those mysterious new folks (to a first time reader) like Nova and Vision. There is a great guest-star in Kraven the Hunter, who is funny, unique, and most importantly, feels established. And best of all, Deadpool. Deadpool goes unnamed through the whole issue, although I'm not sure why. They call him Wade Wilson and other stuff, but maybe you can't say "Dead" in an all-ages book?
There is the start of a sub-plot with Namor, the Blonde Phantom, and Invisible Woman. All good for creating that "look how big and expansive comics are" feeling. There are plenty of strings here for my nephews to start tugging on as they explore comics.
Paul Tobin has this book set up nicely. It's got a Marvel feel and yet kids can still enjoy it.
Ronan Cliquet's pencils are sharp, the colors are bright, and the characters look on-model. This is about as good as I can hope for in hooking my nephews.
The Mimic story is fun, but wasn't as heroic as I'd hope for the character. Weapon Omega also comes across as a patsy. Osborn's manipulation of Daken is well played, and I loved the odd face off with Mystique. (Has anyone written Mystique as well as Jason Aaron?) Cloak and Dagger go along for the greater good, but that just makes me question why they ditched Osborn as easily as they did. It was never an easy decision for them to join up with him. Dark Beast is another story, it sure looks like he may end up with more control than Osborn.
The best segment in this mini-series is "The One That Got Away" featuring Aurora. When Norman Osborn tries to reign in her two personalities, he finds out things are just a bit more complicated. Aurora is a neat character, and in the speedster-poor Marvel U, I wish we could see more of her. I don't want to see all these new personalities coming back anytime soon, but I'd love to see some of the personality quirks she talks about show up in either of her two "prime" personalities. I always like seeing Alpha Flight characters, so having Aurora show up so tough her was nice.
Overall, the mini-series is probably unnecessary, but there are enough nice moments to make it worthy as part of a greater trade.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Carey does line up an interesting face-off with Rogue and the fake Ms. Marvel (Moonstone). Both characters have a ton of history with the real Ms. Marvel, so it is interesting seeing them facing off with the original totally left out of the equation. I also love that at least for a bit, Rogue got some of her old powers back. By absorbing strength and invulnerability from Ares, she almost seemed like her old self. I love bricks, so I hope we see more of that "classic" Rogue in the book.
There's a ton of characters wandering around these scenes that I have absolutely no clue about. Ariel, Onyxx, Trance... I don't know any of these people. Trance actually has an important part; she's the macguffin that drives the story, but I know nothing about any of them.
Dustin Weaver does a nice job on the art, he's solid. I'm particularly amused that he had Rogue's costume rip so she's running around with her bra showing for the whole story. I suppose that is more realistic than what we usually see when lady heroes' outfits rip!