Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Best to Worst of Last Week

So I really only ended up missing one Best to Worse column, which is not bad at all. For the record last week Grendel was the best and I guess since I cancelled She-Hulk it has to be the worst. Not that She-Hulk is a poorly produced book; it is just that Peter David has not caught the right vibe on the book to bring me back into it. Ever since Dan Slott was either told to drag it into Civil War or decided it was a good idea the book lost its charm.

Action Comics #860 – My best writer of 2007 finished on an up note with this book. It has the feeling of a solid old time Legion of Super Heroes adventure and for a diehard old time Legion fan this book hits all the right buttons. Gary Frank is a top flight artist, but the garish faces on some of the characters is a little off-putting.
Brave and Bold #9 – Mark Waid is doing a masterful job of weaving so many player in and out of this book and tying the entire run together with the “Book of Destiny” that every issue is a great read. By having George Perez do the art work and you have the making of one of the best rendered super hero books on the market. This issue we got the Metal Men, Blackhawks, Atom, Hawkman and more.
Crossing Midnight #14 - Another really well done issue and the ending is the cliff hanger I have been waiting for as brother and sister finally meet again. I can not wait for next issue. This is a terrific series and deserves your patronage.
Uncle Sam and The Freedom Fighters #4 (of 8) - I wish DC would make this an ongoing series. That being said the whole “Red Bee” saga has been a roller coaster ride for me. First she was a waste of a character, then her new powers were very cool and now she wants to help the world by turning us all into part of her hive mind. Wonderful series.
Death of the New Gods #4 (of 8) – This was an excellent issue. Scott Free going off the deep end as his wife has died, Orion and Superman coming to a truce, Metron searching for the killer. This book feels like a bigger tie-in to Final Crisis then even Countdown. Now the killer’s face has been revealed to a couple people in the cast, I would also like to know who it is.
Batman #672 – The steroid Batmen return and Batman goes down in a fight and is apparently dying of a heart attack when Bat-Mite shows up. This Bane like Batmen have been floating in and out of Morrison’s run on this book and I think we are moving towards a resolution of that story line. Bat-Mite showing up was just very odd, but totally a Grant Morrison moment. Tony Daniels is doing a great job on the art and this title is in good hands at the moment.
Blue Beetle #22 - This issue is why I consider this to be one of the best series from 2007. We are starting an arc called Endgame – where it appears Jamie is trying to stop the Reach once and for all. John Rogers (writer) has Jamie’s voice down so well and the supporting cast is also great. Rafael Albuquerque (artist) appears to still be learning his craft and is weak on backgrounds at times, but he conveys the action and emotions of the story very well.
Proof #3 - Fast becoming one of my favorite series, my only disappointment was that I’m not getting enough of this book, the main story was only 16 pages, and then we had some additional background material and a nice 3 page foreshadowing of events to come. Grecian, Rossmo and Jenkins have a winner with this book and appear to love doing it.
Hellblazer #239 – What a really well done opening chapter into a major arc for John Constantine. He only appears in the last panel, but the sense of danger was built up very well and the bad guy was very bad and horrifying.
Crime Bible The Five Lessons of Blood #3 (of 5) - Another good issue as Renee is driven further down the path of evil as she learns the lesson of greed. Greg Rucka is writing a great story about the new “Question”. Also I’m enjoying a new artist for every chapter so far and this issue it was Matthew Clark providing a good job on the art side.
Legion of Super Heroes #37 - Nice start to Jim Shooter’s run on this book. We get a new danger, we have teams spread put, and we have Lighting Lad over his head trying to run the place. A lot going on for one book, well paced and reads very well. Welcome back Jim Shooter. Never heard of Francis Manapul before, but he does a terrific job on the art and the colors are brighter which I believe fit the Legion best.
Pax Romana #1 (of 4) – This is a cool concept, the Vatican in the future sends people back in time to create a new future. Looking forward to the rest of this and Jonathan Hickman states he has many stories to tell of Pax Romana if this series does well.
X-Men First Class #7 - Another wonderful issue that mixes the history of the X-Men while making its own additions along the way. Really nice touch showing Jean liked having “ultimate” power. Jeff Parker (writer) and Roger Cruz (artist) have a winning book.
Ultimate Spider-Man #117 - A fitting ending to the Green Goblin sage, Norman in a rage kills his son and then asks to be killed and Carol Danvers obliges. The best Spider-Man book on the market, but even though I have not followed for a long time and have followed it for a couple of years it is annoying to see how much life experience has piled up on someone still in high school.
Conan #47 - Strong issue and a good beginning for the new artist Tomas Giorello. This arc leads to the end of the current Conan series and it appears this will be the bridge between his days as a thief and moving to be a warrior.
Iron Man #24 - Really well done, but the pacing on this story as with many Marvel books lately is too damn slow. Butch Guice’s artwork was well done and I’m enjoying the Knauf’s brother’s writing.
Authority Prime #3 (of 6) - This has been a good mini-series with a solid reason for a super-hero fight. The battles have been well done and now a common enemy has come forth in the nature of cloned versions of the old Stormwatch team. Gage (writer) is joined by Darrick Robertson who is doing terrific work right now and between his DC work and the boys must be drawing 18 plus books a year right now.
Countdown to Final Crisis #18 – This was one of the better issues of Countdown. We finally get the scoop on where Ray Palmer has been and then we ratchet up the anticipation with a good cliff-hanger. Now what hurt this issue was Ray was on this Earth for years and “Bob” the monitor could never find him. The overall construction of the “Final Crisis” seems very poorly planned out and Didio seems to have great ideas and then just does a poor job of structuring everything around it. If “Final Crisis” is indeed as contained as they are advertising that will be a good thing.
Daredevil #103 - A good story, but boy is this taking forever to get anywhere. Ed Brubaker needs to speed up his story telling. Lark / Azaceta & Gaudiano did another good job on the art.
Captain Marvel #2 (of 5) - A good issue. I’m starting to enjoy this series and once the mystery of why Marvel is reviewing this painting is revealed (I think he sees a skrull in it), then we will see why they revived him. Nice to see Lee Weeks pencils again.
Gotham Underground #3 (of 9) - This is a very enjoyable series. We have Bruce in disguise fighting Zsasz in jail, Robin and Oracle trying to figure out how all the pieces come together, Spoiler showing up and a new bad guy group. Frank Tieri (writer) and Jim Califore are doing a really nice job with this book.
Invincible Presents Atom Eve #1 (of 2 )- I love the idea of giving us Atom Eve’s back story as she becomes prominent in Invincible. The story itself is well told, but the art was all wrong for this book. The artist has the ability to tell a good story, but his “underground” type style does not lend itself to depicting Atom Eve as the beautiful women she is shown as on the cover and in Invincible.
Captain America #33 - Brubaker’s story is suffering from the same problem as his DD book, the story is taking forever to get anywhere. The battle between Bucky and Tony was going to only end one way with a stalemate. The floating arm was too much. Now Bucky is going to be the new Captain America and go after the Red Skrull which is fine, but we could have been here 4/5 issues ago. Still well written, just poorly paced saved in many ways by the solid art of Epting and Guice (on inks- wow).
Flash #235 – This has been a long arc reintroducing Wally back into the DCU and the story is good, but I think it was a mistake as far as a re-launch. Still Waid writes a good story and Freddie Williams is an appealing artist. That being said as much as I love Wally I was ready to move forward with Bart as the Flash.
Thor # 5 - So Snore actually has some stuff happen. We see Loki (as a girl now) played Thor to free the bad guys of Asgard and is in league with Dr. Doom. The book is well done, but it is building oh so slowly that a trade or hard cover collection maybe the way to go on this book.
Dan Dare #2 (of 7) - Good issue. I’m enjoying this story of Dan Dare coming out of retirement to save the day and the ultimate bad guy has many plans going on all at once. Gary Erskine’s art is stretched a little beyond his limits in my opinion as the monsters just don’t work on some level, but still a decent job.
Green Lantern #26 – This was a solid issue, but an epilogue to last issue and a prelude to the next story line. The Alpha Lanterns appears to have the power batteries actually implanted into them, so I guess they always stay charged.
Hulk vs. Fin Fang Foom One Shot - Wonderful old time story by Peter David (writer) and Jorge Lucas (pencils), Robert Campanella (inks) and Brad Anderson (colors). Read like a good old Marvel comic and had a cool battle between Hulk and Foom. What I did not like is it was 22 pages and $4 which was justified by a reprint of Fin Fang Foom in it.
X-Men #206 - I guess the how this series ends will make it or break it, but the series has gone on too long and we are not getting any resolution points along the way. Bachalo’s art looked better this issue and the coloring was also better, but the sense of urgency is gone.
Drafted #4 - A decent issue. Still getting used to artist Chris Lie’s work, it is decent and conveys the story, but is lacking in a strong sense of drama and at times is a little off. The overall story is a slow build, but we are developing the ongoing story and getting background on our main casts, so this book will take time to build, but writer Mark Powers is keeping me interested. Finally I believe this book will pay off the deeper we get into the series.
Teen Titans #54 - An okay opening arc from Sean McKeever, but the Titans still lack a solid direction. Still all said and done I like the first ending, the second ending not so much.
JLA Classified #49 - Excellent one and done about the way the heroes loved ones feel when they are fighting a major menace. Paulo Siqueira’s art is great and he should have a regular book. Nice story from Andew Kreisberg and nice to see some new names in DC writing credits.
JSA Classified #33 – Solid story about the Golden Age GL and how much of a hero he is. Really well done and heart warming story about his love for his daughter.

52 Aftermath The Four Horsemen #5 (of 6) – This series benefits from low expectations and a great writing job by Keith Giffen. I went into this series expecting to drop it, but have been pleasantly surprised by some of Giffen’s great character moments and the art by Oliffe has been well done. This has certainly not been an “important” series, but has been entertaining.
House of M Avengers #3 (of 5) - This was a good issue and is setting up a good confrontation between Luke and Thunderbird. It is fun to read alternative universe stories because you can actually have stuff happen.
Jack of Fables #18 - This issue fell flat for me as this issue was very much a middle chapter of a longer arc. Still even an okay issue of this series is good as this series continue to grow into a very good series.
Zombie Simon Garth #2 (of 4) - Kyle Hotz is having fun with his revival of “The Living Zombie” Simon Garth. Still it is his art that carry’s the book as many of his bits in the story are derivative of other horror movies and or comics.
Wildstorm Armageddon #1 - So all the other Armageddon books just were wasted lead-ins to this one which is a lead-in to a mini-series. I should be so aggravated as to not getting the mini-series, but my curiosity has the better of me know. Christos Gage delivered a good script and Talent Caldwell provided a good art job, but we still never get to know the secret of what caused the Armageddon and are now directed to a 6 part mini-series. Arghh!
Countdown to Adventure #5 (of 8) – Animal Man & Starfire on Earth find a cure for the plaque, Adam Strange is still in trouble on Rann and overall the story is only marginally entertaining. The Forerunner back up has started to lose me, especially considering her job was apparently not needed as Monarch in “Arena” gathered his own troops.
Ultimate Power #9 (of 9) – Pointless series and apparently all a set-up to move Princess Power into the Ultimate Universe I guess and get rid of Nick Fury for awhile. Greg Land does solid work and draws beautiful women with photo referenced faces, but still always solid art.
Countdown Arena #4 (of 4) – As just a pure fun and forgettable read, this book was okay, but it is suppose to be part of the overall structure of what is building up with countdown and Final Crisis. As a piece of the puzzle it made no sense, Monarch has Forerunner gathering members, but then he gathers members and he is so powerful why does he need an army.
Green Lantern Sinestro Corps Secret Files #1 – A lot of work went into this book and for people who are into the detailed history of characters or want to know who all the GLs are this is a well done book. For me it is not as important, but still okay to flip through and had a good origin of the grave keeper GL.
Giant-Sized Avengers #1 - An okay conglomeration of stories. Still nothing worth the $5 cover price. Also I get tired of Marvel adding extra $1 to the price tag and add a random reprint to justify it.

Amazing Spider-Man #545 – This was my easiest choice of the week and if you follow this blog at all this choice is not a surprise.

So no book got cancelled this week, but I did pretty much rake Amazing over the coals all week long. To change things a little I’m adding a little color to the groupings. The top group will be in red and these are books that I considered to be the best of the week and really excellent efforts on an individual series. The second grouping will be in green and this group is the books that were good and I’m glad I did not miss, but not “A” level. The final group is in blue and is not that these are bad books, it is just that they are the books that either I could have missed and would not have cared, a bad chapter in an otherwise fine series, a lousy book or one that hit the wrong week and looked meek by comparison.


  1. Ooooh, best to worst in blazing text color. I dig it.

  2. Glad you can dig it bro. I made Alien Pig Farm #2 for the entire year under Best of 2007 Mini-Series. Looking for more good stuff from you and the Raw Studios crew.

  3. Todd-

    Good to hear from you! Hope all is going well with the strike thing!


  4. Yeah, I saw the 07 mini post back when you posted...but I'm shy and didn't want to comment. But you do complete me.

  5. Todd - You scare me :) - LOL