Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Best to Worst of Last Week

January and February are usually quieter months in the retail world and it appears that the first January shipment is reflecting that mindset, or it could just be this was a weaker week for many books. Still this looks to be an exciting year in comics with BOOM looking to really make its mark, IDW has some aggressive plans with Star Trek, Image and Dark Horse have a lot of projects and DC and Marvel always have some big plans.

Jonah Hex #27 - Palmiotti and Gray keep coming up with great stories. In this issue a man who kills corrupt lawmen (Star Man) and Hex have a past. Hex saved his life as a young boy and now Hex is chasing him for the reward on his head. The ending was such a nice twist and these one and done stories are all terrific. Add to that the fantastic art of Jordi Bernet and you have a great book.
Countdown to Mystery #4 (of 8) – This has been a very good
mini-series so far as both features are really good stories. The Eclipso book has so much going on and now that poor Bruce Gordon is Eclipso again, I’m curious to see where it goes from here. The Dr. Fate saga is also well done and his slipping off the wagon makes sense as many alcoholics need multiple times stopping to make it work.
Strange Embrace #7 (of 8) - A really well done story, twisted and bizarre as all get out. The story of Anthony Corbeau is indeed a “strange embrace” and it never lets you go as it crawls into your brain. A “tour de force” by David Hines as writer and artist.
Countdown to Final Crisis #17 - Two good issues in a row! The entire Monarch / Monitors war is coming to a head. Mary Marvel gives up her powers. Kyle saves Ray from Bob the Monitor. Another strong issue of Countdown. I love it when stuff happens.
Northlanders #2 - A great second issue. Sven is a good character and the beginning of his quest to take back his inheritance has me hooked on this book so far. This issue we get swordplay and naked woman in 980 AD, what more could a Viking hope for.
Sorrow #3 (of 4) - Nice twist as to where this horror story is going. I did not see that the main girl would be the relative of a Native American who broke a spell that doomed this town. Plus great art by Francesco Francavilla.
Dynamo 5 #10 - A good quick and easy read. The characterization is great, the continuing sub plots are well done and the build up of a new danger is well done. Jay Faerber has fashioned a good super group comic with Dynamo 5. The co-creator and artist Mahmud Asrar does an okay job with the art, but I’m sensing the schedule is a little wearing as his art is light to absent in backgrounds and is not as strong as it once was, it feels rushed.
Thunderbolts #118 - A very strong issue and the story line is proceeding very well. A group of “unregistered” people allowed themselves to be captured to attack the Thunderbolts from the inside out. This is a really good story, but the delays between issues is a pace killer. Still Ellis is doing a very good job on this book.
North Wind #1 (of 4) - See Gwen’s and my review here. A good start to another post apocalyptic story. I find these after the world has ended stories usually interesting and it appears the writer Dave Digilio has the whole “North Wind” world mapped out. Alex Cal does a great job with the art, especially the wildlife.
Ultimate Human #1 (of 4) - A fun filled piece of fluff from Warren Ellis (writer) and Cary Nord (artist). Bruce wants to be cured and Tony tries to do it and triggers the transformation and now the Hulk is mad. The way it is written is ridiculous in the extreme as Tony is an impossible alcoholic genius and the Hulk is an ever adapting super human beast. Still as comic book entertainment and something to sit on a bookstore to sell the general public, it can work.
Atom #19 - A good issue, more impressive as it was a “fill-in” but done so well that I did not care if that it wasn’t the regular team. Great to see Jerry Ordway’s pencils again, hard to believe he is not working on a regular series. Keith Champagne turned in a good story on Atom saving friends from a weird underground race of humans.
Annihilation Conquest #3 (of 6) - A middle chapter in an overall story. Not that it was poorly done, it was good, but with middle chapters we have no real resolutions and are still building for climaxes to come.
End League #1 - An okay to start to this series. I will need some time to get to know the End League players and it is a rather negative world view (more so then even mine), but Remender has credit with me Mat Broome appears to be a solid artist. The first issue also suffered from a need to do a lot of set-up to get to the actual story to be told. Looking forward to see how this series grows.
Lobster Johnson Iron Prometheus #5 (of 5 ) - A good little addition to the Mike Mignolverse cast of characters. I’m a little confused as to if Lobster Johnson was in fact compromised by the bad guy or not, but still a decent mini-series.
Uncanny X-Men #494 - This Messiah Complex series is okay I guess. Still the convoluted plot of Bishop is the traitor and wants to kill the baby, but the X-Men don’t know that, the Marauders get the baby back, Cable escapes and calls in Professor “X” and Cyclops sends “X-Force” on a mission (not sure what yet) and Madrox and Layla find young Bishop in the future. Oh and this all ends in three issues. I need a scorecard and a strong reason to care.
Vinyl Underground #4 - This is a decent book, but I’m still not completely sold on this group of occult detectives. They are just a little too lucky in the finale for my taste. Still let’s see how this book continues to build from here.
Countdown Lord Havok & The Extremists #3 (of 6) - I like that we are getting the origin stories of the “Extremists” but then killing Tracer after his origin, seems dumb or just another false death cliff hanger.
Teen Titans Year One #1 (of 6) - I was ready to cancel this book and I started to read it and it made me smile, but it felt it was directed for a young crowd and was too cartoonish, but the ending mystery drew me in. Batman is acting crazy and Robin needs to help figure it out. It is a little goofy, it is a little silly, it is too young, but it is well written and drawn. So I’ll give a lot of points to Amy Wolfram (writer) and Karl Kerschl, Serge Lapointe & Steph Peru (artists) for keeping on a book I was sure I would drop. It also benefited from weak competition this week.
Shark-Man #1 - As I was reading this I was ready to drop it as it was just introducing so much so fast, but then the main character is killed and I realize it was all set-up for his son to take over the “Shark-Man” mantle. So I want to see the next issue.
Doktor Sleepless #4 - Because it is Warren Ellis I’m giving him more rope then I would most writers. Also Ivan Rodriguez is a very clean and appealing artist, so that makes it easy to stay on this book and try to fathom what point or story Ellis is trying to tell. Right now he is throwing out a lot of stuff and I do not see how it all ties to together (if it does).
Wildstorm Revelations #1 (of 6) - An okay start to this series, but starting from Armageddon to this makes it feel like it is taking forever to have some sense of something actually happening.
Gravel #0 - This feels very much like a typical violent Warren Ellis type book, but it has enough of a story for me to want to see more.
Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Guilty Pleasures #7 (of 12) - Okay issue, after this series is over I will pass on any other Anita Blake books; this type of fiction is not to my taste, but it is interesting for one series.
Midnighter #15 - The series was about Midnighter trying to find his past and the first one he found was false. It was too much of a non-resolution and that crap ultimately hurt the Wolverine character to the point of making anything about it feel like bogus BS. I’m almost done with this series

Metal Men #5 (of 8) - A decent series, but it so densely written and telling three stories at once, that it really will be a better trade. If a series seems much better as a trade, I think that means as a series it really is a failure.
Detective Comics #840 - Dustin Nguyen’s art is a different look, but I have grown to enjoy, but the story was ludicrous. We had an eight issue cross-over to have Batman beat the crap out of Ras and then drug him and place him in Arkham. Waste of the whole Resurrection thing.
Supergirl #25 - She has her Kryptonian memories back and she is “changing” per Clark. She fights some guy Reactron who I have never heard about but apparently he does nuclear explosions well. Still the artwork is nice and even though it makes no strong sense I will continue to get this book.
Overman #2 (of 5) - Very convoluted and not making a lot of sense. Against my own better judgment I will give this book one more issue to pull a story out of this mess. Still the artwork is decent.

It just felt like an off week for comics. Also we had one of the bigger week in number of books last week and then a relatively modest week this week. Still there are always books that fall readily into my three categories. I think what we really need is another Raw Studio product that has Todd Farmer's name on it.

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