Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Best to Worst of Last Week

This may be my last Best to Worst of Last week for around three weeks. At the very least there is a remote chance I will get it posted again; it will just not be on Tuesday, between the holidays and vacation we will see. We had a lot of really good books this week, mixed in with the regular okay books and so-so books also.

The blog itself has gotten very review intensive lately and I’m happy that we have been able to get the chance to spotlight certain books. Hopefully we will mix in some interviews, daily life material and I may get in an occasionally political viewpoint of mine, but the focus will always be comics.

Wormwood the Gentleman Corspe – One Shot - How freaking funny is Ben Templesmith (artist/writer), well he has a quiet issue where Wormwood saves the world by spending his money to keep the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse occupied. Also he gives himself a cameo in the bar as he is shown as an Eisner obsessed creator who is the chronicler of Wormwood’s life. Always great art and just a very, very funny story.
Green Lantern #25 – This issue was worth the wait. It was, almost a month late, but there was a heck of a lot going on in this book. First the artwork was outstanding. There were five to six beautiful two page and one page panels that were absolutely gorgeous. Johns revealed his entire idea on all the various corps that will be coming into play over the next couple of years and, and… revealed what that the black lantern will be raising the dead. It was not a perfect comic, but the scope Johns is trying for is so grand that he was brave to go for it and he got most of it.
Fantastic Four #552 - Just a great issue by Dwayne McDuffie (writer) and Paul Pelletier (artist). I absolutely loved the battle between the Thing and Dr. Doom and enjoyed Doom’s device to take out Reed Richards. The ending with a future FF coming to fight a future Dr. Doom was pure comic book magic. This is the best the FF has been in many years. These guys are making me upset that Millar and Hitch are taking this book over, they have done it right and I’m worried about what we will get.
Black Adam the Dark Age #5 (of 6) - This has been a terrific series and a strong portrait of a morally conflicted man who is desperate to try and save the one love of his life. Peter Tomasi makes you want to almost root for the bad guy, while never really letting us forget he is the bad guy. Doug Mahnke’s art is the best it has ever been on this book.
Bat Lash #1 (of 6) – A very good story with Bat Lash being aligned against the bad guys who is a robber baron type character and a corrupt sheriff willing to do anything to have the robber baron’s daughter. John Severin’s artwork is beautiful. I’m amazed at how strong his work still looks after all of these years.
Booster Gold #5 - This has developed into one of the better series being produced by DC. Each issue has a good story and each issue advancing the story of Michael Carter and Rip Hunter. Geoff Johns and Jeff Katz have been a good writing team and Norm Rapmund finishes over Dan Jurgens layouts look great.
Simon Dark #3 - Steve Niles and Scott Hampton have crafted an almost fairy tale like story set in the dark world of Gotham. Simon Dark is the innocent monster being chased by people who we know next to nothing about. A mixture of Edward Scissorhands, Frankenstein and a film noir movie.
Scalped #12 - Another winning issue as Dash Bad Horse learns in his dreams that he will have a hard road ahead. Jason Aaron is proving his writing skills on this book and I hope he doesn’t leave it anytime soon. John Paul Leon did a great job as a fill in artist and would be a welcome addition if the regular artist ever had to move on.
Neozoic #2 - Even better the second time around. I had a chance to read this before it came out a review can be seen here. Obviously I think this is a series that is very good and getting better, but also I have to say that the production values are also very high and the actual feel of the comic is of a quality product. Good job on all levels.
Potter’s Field #3 (of 3) – This was a nice ending to this first mini-series. John Doe manages to escape from his captors and turn the tables. The twist ending with the bad guy getting an unmarked grave was well done. All in all a successful introduction of a new character who has tons of potential for future stories.
Green Arrow Black Canary #3 - Another solid issue, this book is rapidly becoming one of my favorite series. Issue after issue it never lets up. Black Canary and company all managed to escape from the Amazons and then Connor gets shot. Cliff Chiang artwork just looks so clean and terrific on this book, that it makes Judd Winick’s story a great read.
Salvation Run #2 (of 7 ) - A strong issue in this series as Luthor gets dumped on the prison planet as well as a couple of members of the Suicide Squad. The double cross by Amanda Waller fits in perfectly with her character and the inherent violence on the world and within the group seems appropriate.
Crawl Space “XXXombies” #2 - Another great issue. You can tell Remender, Moore and Dwyer are having a lot of fun doing this book with the over the top premise of porn film stars amidst a Zombie outbreak.
Fables #68 - Good issue and a really nice build up to what appears to be the final chapter in the “good Prince” story arc. Even middle chapters for this series are enjoyable as they always add more context and advance the story.
Nightwing #139 - A good story that was more about Robin and the choices one has to make in life. This issue really showed the kinship between Tim and Dick.
Astounding Wolf-Man #4 - As with Invincible this book is growing slowly and each issue has another startling revelation. Wolf-Man is always what you expect and don’t expect, and a good read every issue. Jason Howard’s art is getting better with each issue.
After the Cape II #2 (of 3) - A very emotional story as Gravity’s wife dies and his sister-in-law lets him have it about what a failure he is in no uncertain terms. The art work is always a little iffy for me as it is black and white and the heavy spotting of black is sometimes obscuring what maybe weak art. Still I’m enjoying this series and feel the artist has real potential.
Walking Dead #45 - After the frenetic pace of the last two issues this was almost quiet. Rick survived the gut shot, and then one of the bad guys says he shot Michonne in the head. You know that is a lie as it is the bad guy trying to cover his screw up by letting her escape with the Governor.
Loveless #21 - This felt like the last issue but I see that #22 is being solicited by DC, but set in 1927. This issue was an explosive finale as Ruth Cutter burned down the town of Blackwater. A very different tale of the old West.
Countdown Search for Ray Palmer Red Son - This was a well written story of the Red Son world of Superman. One of the first adventures that felt like it gave you a good sense of this world where Superman was raised as Stalin’s protégée. The art was weak, but overall the best of the Search for Palmer stories.
Suicide Squad Raise the Flag #4 (of 8) - A breather issue where we see the new status quo get set and a shocking revelation that Rick Flagg is not really Rick Flagg.
Streets of Glory #3 (of 6) - Garth Ennis’ tale of the old west continues and I’m slowly coming to really appreciate the central character “Joe Dunn” as the typical hard bitten western hero, who would never see himself as a hero. Mike Wolfer’s art is a little stiff at times, but all in all is well done and has great detail.
Wonder Woman #15 - The scope of the first arc is too big and it feels like Gail is trying to accomplish too much right out of the gate. Still her taking on this character at this time is difficult and I will cut Gail some slack. Her portrayal of Diane as a warrior and a more compassionate warrior is really well done. Also with Terry and Rachael Dodson on the art, it is hard to complain as all the women in this look great.
Nova #9 - Decent issue, a little heavy on the dog jokes and Cosmos is very derivative of WE3’s dog. Still a good issue and Nova now is now back into the mix of Annihilation Conquest as he is off to the Phalanx homeworld with Gamora right behind him.
Fallen Angel #22 - I really enjoyed the young boy coming to Bette Noire and the overlapping of the real story, with how he remembered it showing as a different art style. Very effective and also set up what appears to be a battle for control of the city.
JLA Classified #48 - Mike Barr wrote a great two part that had the feel of a silver age JLA story. A very enjoyable issue.
Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Ion – An enjoyable issue. Ron Marz told a good story of Kyle passing the torch onto the new Ion. It also built on the team of the four earthmen Green lantern. The artist was new to me and I thought he was very strong.
Grimm Fairy Tales #19 – Another solid good girl cover by Al Rios and a good story inside. We still have the underlying battle between Sela and Belinda, but the Rapunzle story took center stage.
Superman Confidential #10 - Nice ending to Superman’s first meeting with the New Gods. Although the whole fast and loose continuity in the Confidential books still is confusing.
Abyss #2 (of 4) - This issue was a lot of fun and had some really good lines in it. The humor is mixed in well with the nefarious plot line. It has a tongue in cheek quality yet is still getting a dramatic storyline across.
Green Lantern Corps #19 - An Epilogue catching us up with many of the GLs who fought during the war, an okay issue, but really not advancing the story.
Stormwatch Armageddon – A decent issue because it advanced the regular Stormwatch story line a little, but still pointless, although it had the first hint of what may have caused the disaster.
Nexus the Origin - Nice recap of the history of Nexus. Not sure if I’m really back to being into the character or not, but this issue reminded me of what I liked about the cosmic avenger.
Countdown to Final Crisis #20 - This issue was actually pretty blah. Again nothing is really happening, who the heck wanted the OMAC(s) back and essentially the issue lacks any pizzazz. My disappointment is even greater after the series had picked up a little.
Chronicles of Wormwood Last Enemy Graphic Novel – Garth Ennis’ hatred of the Catholic Church is dripping over every page. A shock jock book, that tries to have a heart and a happy ending for Wormwood (the anti-Christ). The art work was much weaker then the original mini-series artist. I enjoyed some parts of it, but it was just shock for shock sakes, which is becoming too much of Ennis’ work. He is a better writer then that.
Killing Girl #5 (of 5) - Talk about a book that went off the rails. I loved this book at first, but comics are a visual medium and Tony Cypress’ art looks really poor. Now it could be he is aping Frank Espinosa’s style or he could be working too fast, but it is inconsistent and garish at times. The coloring is just a slopped on mess also. The story is not as sharp as it once was and became too over the top in its conclusion.
X-Factor #26 - This chapter was the weakest so far. This dynamic group of hunters and bad asses called X-Force run off and act like a CSI group. This are the hunters and killers of the X-Men and we watch them “yawn” search for clues. Scott and Professor “X” argue and Jamie and Layla get captured in the future. Really did not even feel like an X-Factor book at all. One other really stupid thing was Cable fighting with a baby as a Kevlar vest.
Countdown Arena #2 (of 4) - A waste of a series. We have way too many characters being thrown on page after page and a lack of any internal logic to this book. If Monarch is so powerful why does he need anyone else to fight with him? Also no explanation from DC has been forthcoming as to how Captain Atom become so powerful and became such a megalomaniac.
New Avengers #37 – This was a waste of paper. A pointless battle, horrible dialogue, a timeline that has me confused (Spider-Man is still in his black costume) and the Hood is just plain annoying. Then we end with the Hood freeing everybody. Brian Bendis at his worst (group books) aided by the scratchy line work of Lenil Yu, whose work does not fit a super hero book.
Gen 13 #15 - Dropping this book. I have never really invested in the characters and while this issue’s artwork is fantastic, the book has no hook for me. Well written and good art, but just not holding my interest.
Engineer #1 (of 4) - Well produced and well drawn, but what the heck was going on? I have no idea and the little bit of the concept that registered with me was not to my liking. Cancelled.

Two books bite the dust this week. One was a mini-series and one an ongoing book. Both books are not badly produced books, it is just neither book was keeping my interest. Gen 13 got a long ride due to Gail Simone and even though Simon Oliver is a good writer the characters never really become anyone I cared about. Engineer was just an idea that I could not grasp or the writer was not conveying the idea well enough. Almost a new age / LSD trip that I did not want to take.

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