This was a good week for comics; unfortunately for me it was a little rushed. Comics did not show until Thursday and the way I work things I have to have everything read and my comments/reviews done by Sunday. Add to that a company event on Saturday evening and some other projects that needed to get done with a large list of books and I was pressed to the wire.
Final Crisis #1 (of 7) – Writer Grant Morrison, Art JG Jones, Colors Alex Sinclair. There is no way that you can not compare DC’s big event to Marvel’s big event. As I freely admit I am more of a DC person when it comes to the big two, but let’s face it art is a big deal and JG Jones is an artist and a half and his work is perfect for a big event, while Lenil Yu’s is not. First chapter versus first chapter, Secret Invasion started up with a little more of bang to it then Final Crisis, did, but I like Final Crisis better already (no big surprise). First off JG Jones work is just excellent. He is more of a realistic bent to his art, but has beautiful rendering and gives us so much information into each panel as to be stunning. JG Jones has to be one of the top three comic book artists in the field today. There are so many very talented people, but George Perez, JG Jones and John Cassaday are the top three in my mind. The story itself was very well done. We start with Anthro the first boy and see Metron give him fire, which causes all sorts of havoc. We then skip ahead and see Detective Turpin (an old Jack Kirby character) find Orion almost dead in a dumpster. Orion wakes half crazed and states that “They did not die! He is in you all…” The Green Lantern’s are involved; the Monitors are involved, the Dark Side Club is on our Earth, Libra offering the villains the answer to their dreams, it goes on and on and on. This issue has 32 pages and Grant fills it to the brim with events. If I had a complaint about this issue is the death of the Martian Manhunter was given only a couple of panels. Libra is giving the Human Flame his desire to see J’onn J’onzz killed and he is marched out and then stab with a flaming spear thru his heart. For a character that has been around for so long this was a quick and inglorious death. Another element that I liked was the fact that this book is a series of events leading up to something and not a typical crisis brewing and all the heroes gather. If the first chapter is any indication we might have a great big event in the works. They are so rare for in continuity books, but I have high hopes for this one.
All Star Superman #11 – Writer Grant Morrison, Pencils Frank Quietly, Digital Inks and Colors Jamie Grant. I’m running out of adjectives and ways to describe how good this comic is. Issue after issue after issue this book has been a piece of art. I’m also positive that once it is put together as a complete set in the Absolute format, it will read even better as a whole. We still have one chapter left, but this is the best Superman story ever done. This issue we have Lex create a potion to make him super for 24 hours, Superman and his robots fight the Tyrant Sun and out smart the use of Red Sun radiation, Clark Kent rush in to deliver the story of Superman’s death and then drop over apparently dead. The final panel super Lex blows out the side of the daily planet and floating in air declares “Clark is the least of your worries”. The story works as a straight super-hero adventure, as homage to what has come before and as a re-imagining of the Superman mythos. The script is matched by what is Frank Quietly’s best work ever. Each page is stunning and I imagine the secondary market for his original art on this book will be sky high.
Daredevil #107 – Writers Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka, Artist Michael Lark and Stefano Gaudiano, Colors Matt Hollingsworth. The old Gotham Central creative team is back together for this arc on Daredevil and I loved this issue. Daredevil is still taking out his frustrations on the street thugs when Luke Cage comes by and tries to talk to him. Matt actually hits Luke and almost busts his hand. Matt takes off and Luke goes to Dakota. Luke is looking for someone to help stop an execution of a black man “Big” Ben Donovan, who has confessed to decapitating three children. We never get why Luke is involved or what he knows, but he wanted Matt to do his “lie detector” thing on “Big” Ben. As Matt is wrapped up in himself Dakota gets a recorded statement from Ben in hopes Matt can get a read off of it. She is mugged and told the let “Big” Ben die. Ultimately Matt does pick up the case and we have the start of our story. The art even seemed like it was stronger then normal this issue and it is always good with this art team. This is a great team and they really know how to do convincing and more street level type stories. I’m looking forward to the rest of the arc.
Batman #677 – Writer Grant Morrison, Pencils Tony Daniels, Inks Sandru Florea, Colors Guy Major. This was part 2 of the RIP story line and it is becoming very clear that this will be a very hard take down of Batman. Furthermore you can tell that Grant has been setting-up this story line for awhile. I also believe that this is just a middle point of Grant’s story about Batman. This issue we see Batman is losing it as he overly violent with a criminal he has caught. His obsession with the Black Glove has Gordon a little worried as he cannot find any references to the Black Glove. We also glimpse an additional element of Batman’s takedown as Thomas and Martha Wayne’s reputations are also being attacked. You get the feeling that everything that is happening and Batman’s odd actions have all been choreographed to bring about his downfall. The end scene was brutal as the Bat Cave has been destroyed and Alfred has been attacked. Grant is setting up a definitive run on this book and I think he has been setting it up since his first issue. I remember not being enthralled with Grant’s take on the X-Men in the beginning, but then when I read it as a whole I think it is the best run on that book in decades (since Claremont/Byrne). This run on Batman maybe the same deal and the story is just getting started. RIP is a climax point, but I do not think it is the end point. This was another strong issue and I’m looking forward to how this plays out. A final point is Tony Daniels is doing a great job on the art and has really moved up his game.
Thor #9 – Writer J. Michael Straczynski, Pencils Oliver Copiel, Inks Mark Morales, Danny Miki & John Dell, Colors Laura Martin. Oliver Copiel is really hitting the high water mark of his career with his art on this book. It has a strong realistic style that he exaggerates enough to make his gods seem godlike, and people seem like people. He has it all with great page layouts and design, facial expression, lighter scenes when needed and darker scenes with heavy blacks. This issue JMS show us a smoother and more subtle Loki as she starts to prey upon the minds of the Asgardians. It works because some of what she says is true as she starts to poison the heart and soul of Balder. Loki is as deceptive and two-timing as ever and while no longer a man, the same evil resides within. I hope this series gets collected as 12 issue runs, then I will be getting the hard cover collection of this run of Thor. JMS has been hitting it out of the park lately with Thor and The Twelve both being top series.
Batman Gotham After Midnight #1 (of 12) – Writer Steve Niles, Art Kelly Jones, Colors Michelle Madsen. With Steve Niles (the busiest writer in comics?) you almost always expect some turn or twist that will take you down a horror/supernatural path. Add Kelly Jones as the artist and the feeling grows even more assured. This issue we see Batman take out a newly escaped Scarecrow and wonder why his M.O. has changed. We see a new police lieutenant take credit fro Batman’s work and find out she is politically connected. We see a mysterious character who shows up at midnight who states “and it begins”, Batman building a crazy machine, Batman shot down by machine guns from a bunch of thugs and that is just in issue #1. I’m not sure where we are going with this book yet, but I really enjoyed the opening act. It was great to see Kelly Jones’ moody, dark and exaggerated style on Batman again. I love the impossible long and voluminous cape, the Bat ears each two feet long, the impossibly muscles that only Kelly can pull off. This is the type of start I want for a 12 issue maxi-series.
Northlanders #6 – Writer Brian Wood, Art David Gianfelice, Colors Dave McCaig. This continues to be a well done series. The opening sequence is Sven hacking, decapitating and just flat out killing a large group of men who have attacked him. Enna, the girl he has taken up with, acts as Sven’s conscious and she helps him to realize that he needs to be part of something and that his people need to be united. A group of warriors came to Sven looking to help him overthrown Gorm, as the battle is about to begin he is warned that a group of Saxons have just landed on their shores. This is a great historical fiction adventure that gives you a sense of what it might have been like to have lived in those times. Highly recommended.
Helen Killer #2 (of 4) – Created and Story by Andrew Kreisberg and Matthew Rice, Writer Andrew Kreisberg, Art Matthew Rice. What an opening panel. The first page is a full page splash of Helen (dressed appropriately for that time frame) kicking the head off and what we find out to be a dummy. We are immediately brought back into the series, just a perfect opening. This issue Helen goes off to be a secret service agent with Agent Blaylock. They arrive in the Pan American Exposition and get to work. Helen switches on here glasses and they allow her to see the aura’s of people. She tells Blaylock to stop the assassin, but he gets shots fired at the President. Helen has seen a black plume that represents such unbelievable evil she is almost compelled to follow it, as the glasses she wears give her powers, but fuel a growing hostility and darkness within her. Helen breaks into a robbery of some sort and gets into a heck of a fight and shows no mercy to her foes. The last panel it appears Helen has had a sword thrust thru her middle. Of course we know she survives, but I wander at what price. The artwork is great; Matthew uses the proper clothing, right cars, building, everything to put us in a time and place. Add to that his innate story telling sense and the book flows beautifully. The art is matched by the story and the wonderful way it works in historical fact with a fictional story. The recreation of McKinley’s assassination is melded into the overall story of Helen seamlessly and makes you feel like we just never heard of the fact that Helen Keller was there at the time. My only disappointment with the issue is that Lee and I did not get a pull quote for the back cover (kidding).
Green Lantern #31 – Writer Geoff Johns, Pencils Ivan Reis, Inks Oclair Albert, Colors Ranov Mayor. The secret origin of Hal Jordan continues with another fine issue. First off I have to say that Ivan Reis has gone from being a good artist to at times channeling Neal Adams (who is an art god). The double page spread of all the different GL’s as Hal is summoned to OA for training was drop dead gorgeous work. The actual issue was essentially Hal learning how to be a GL from Killowog and the set-up for getting Sinestro to Earth. Geoff Johns is doing a wonderful job of re-telling Hal’s origin and being so true to it, that you feel like he didn’t change a thing, yet he is weaving in his retro-con seamlessly. Geoff has had so many long and very good to great runs on books, but GL feels more and more like the book that will be mark as his seminal run.
Fables #73 – Writer Bill Willingham, Pencils Mark Buckingham, Inks Steve Leialoha, Andrew Pepoy & Mark Buckingham, Colors Lee Loughridge. You know a book is a great series when you know ever creators name in the credit box by heart. Although the extra inkers were a surprise and have been a recent trend in many, many comics. The war has started and this issue was a wonderful set-up. We see the airships run by Prince Charming, Fort Bravo run by Bigby, Site Zero with Briar Rose, Fabletown fortified and the Snow Queen and the Emperor conspiring against the attack. Having a huge complex story is a great thing especially since we have been leading up to for awhile, but to have it explained so well was magnificent. This is a book that I can’t wait for the next issue of and I know issue #75 should have some status quo changing events. WHY ARE WE NOT GETTING HARD COVER COLLECTIONS OF THIS BOOK! Actually I think the reason is that the trades sell so well, they don’t want to screw up a good thing.
Hercules #2 (of 5) – Radical is doing such a nice job on their two opening series and Hercules is my favorite right now. I love how we are being given a “realistic” view of the man Hercules. See my full review here.
Proof #8 – Writer Alexander Grecian, Art Riley Rossmo, Colors Fiona Staples. This book is just a fun book to read each and every issue. I also like that the stories arcs length seem to be what the story demands and not an artificial make every arc six issues to fit it into a trade. “The Company of Men” story line ends in three issues and it felt like the perfect length. I loved Proof going to the Colonel and just snapping his leg almost off. Autumn getting away and seeing her hatred of the group was also excellent. Riley’s artwork just gets better and better, his scene of the dinosaur crashing the party was great and only surpassed by his page of Proof breaking loose. The Lodge trapping the Colonel and his men was another nice touch. This is a first class series and the creators’ joy in producing this book is infectious to the reader.
Legion of Super-Heroes #42 – Writer Jim Shooter, Pencils Francis Manapul, Inks Livesay, Colors Jo Smith. It starts with mysterious new uniforms showing up and continues until we get Legionnaires being arrested all over the place. The middle of the book involves a great battle with a group of Legionnaires taking on the latest batch of destroyers. Since the destroyers adapt to any attack, the great way they continued to vary their fight was inventive and fun to read. It would make the old thinking man’s hero Adam Strange proud indeed. I have not heard officially from DC that Shooter is leaving, but that would be a crying shame as this book is rocking under his pen. He has crafted a great overall tale and still managed to incorporate sub plots, characterization and relationship building between members. Each issue has a lot to it.
Ultimate Spider-Man #122 – Writer Brian Bendis, Pencils Stuart Immonen, Inks Wade von Grawbadger, Colors Justin Ponsor. This was a terrific issue of Spider-Man. When Bendis writes Peter is a solo adventure it always works better. This issue Spider-Man gets beaten by a villain he has taken as a joke, the Shocker. Mary Jane happens to be hand when he is captured and gets Kitty to help and find Peter. While captured Peter learns the history of the Shocker and tells him he feels sorry for him and that just makes the Shocker madder. Peter is beaten up really badly and escapes by sure luck and really comes after the Shocker. Luckily Kitty and the police arrive and she stops Peter before he could really hurt the Shocker. Stuart Immonen’s art looked good and it was an all around well done issue.
Teen Titans #59 – Writer Sean McKeever, Pencils Eddy Barrows, Inks Ruy Rose, Colros Rod Reis. This arc with the Terror Titans has really kicked this series into a better place. This issue we see Robin, Wonder Girl and Blue Beetle get pulled into a trap set-up by Clock King. We also see that Clock King was selling these heroes to Boss Dark Side for his club fights. I love the way DC has incorporated the Dark Side Club and the reinvention of the New Gods into three or four titles already. The impact of what is happening in Final Crisis is not interfering with series, but the changes are being felt. The fight between Clock King and Robin was intense as we find out Clock King sees a few seconds into the future and can therefore know what Robin is about to do and counter it. This series is on a good upswing and working it way back up the charts.
X-Men First Class #12 – Writer Jeff Parker, Art Roger Cruz, Colors Val Staples. This was a good issue in this series. We got an issue that focused on Warren and we learn that being the Angel is not all it is cracked up to be. It was hammered over our heads a little bit too strongly, but the point is Warren has to hide his mutation more then the others. Roger Cruz’s art look great. He did a double panel spread of Warren at the Iguaçu Falls that was breath taking. Jeff Parker got plenty of humor in there and does a great job with making it so natural. Loved when Iceman insulted Marvel Girl and we got the little black smoke over her head. This book is a bright light in the midst of many darker books. It has an all age feeling to it, but is not talking down to anyone.
Caliber #2 (of 5) – Writer Sam Sakar, Art Garrie Gastonny, Colors Imaginary Friends Studios. One thing Radical comics understands very well is that comics is a visual medium first. The art is this book is rock solid and with the coloring and special effects added in, the book is a pleasure to look at. There is a two page spread where Arthur picks up the handgun that acts as Excalibur and he fires it, that is very cool. The thing is a laser in the land of six guns. The overall idea of re-telling the King Arthur story in the old west is a good idea, but the first book gave us the thought the wielder of the weapon will be stopping a World War and I assume that means the gun has to be handed down generation to generation, but I’ll worry about the longer story later. This issue we have jumped ahead a few years Arthur is a young man and his Uncle takes him back to where he grew up. He is surrounded by people named Kay there is a girl named Gwen, the only thing is the mystic is not named Merlin, but Whitefeather is close enough in analogy. In this issue in a rage of righteous indignation, after his friend Kay was shot down, Arthur grabs Excalibur and calls out Kay’s murderer. The man whips out his gun ad Arthur shoots and almost vaporizes the man. Whitefeather (the Shaman who has been looking for the person who should wield the weapon) helps Arthur escape the wrath of the local law. Where this story has played a little fast and loose is why Arthur is important and why they are so quick to call him a murderer after they didn’t care about the way Kay was shot down. I feel like the background and set-up has not been explained well enough. Also I find it hard to believe this is a five issue mini-series, I have to believe this is part one of an ongoing saga.
Zombie Tales #1 – Three stories by three different groups. The War at Home Part 1 – Writer Joe R. Lansdale, Art Eduardo Barreto – I have not seen Eduardo’s art fro awhile and he did a great job with this story. Joe Lansdale makes no bones about it, that he is not writing an eight page story, but shorter bites of a longer Zombie tale (can’t help with the puns). The art saved this otherwise passable tale of a group of disabled vets trying to fight off Zombies. People Person – Writer Steve Niles, Art Daniel LaFrance. Steve did a great job of telling us a short Zombie tale that showed us love and devotion of a mother for her family that extended even after her death. Great macabre humor. The art was decent also and had a nice one page panel of a bizarre husband/wife reunion. Spring 2061 – Writer Kim Krizan, Art Jon Reed, Colors Pablo Quiligotti. Well this writer is no Chip Mosher or anything (that is a joke people), but she wrote a hell of a Zombie tale. I loved it. She puts us in a world where being a Zombie is the norm, humans are raised as a cattle and one woman wants to try and take back the world for humans. This story was full of pathos, a hero, macabre humor and more. I hope this is the beginning of this story because it is a really great twist on Zombie tales. I love BOOM for daring to do anthology books it is a pleasant change of pace to read in a market full of sameness.
Dan Dare #6 (of 7) – Writer Garth Ennis, Art Garry Eskine, Color A. Thiruneelakandan. This was another rock solid chapter in this little epic. It almost oozes it Britishness off each and every page. Dan Dare is the epitome of cool as he is about to be tortured but knows his troops are coming to save him. They stop the black hole menace, get back to their ships and launch the attack. Dan manages to dress down an Admiral and does with a live intercom to the troop’s amusement. This all sets-up the final showdown between Earth’s fleet and Mekon’s fleet and also between Dare and Mekon. This has been an entertaining ride and a great introduction to an old British character I never knew existed. I’m looking forward to the conclusion.
Sword #8 – Story, Illustrations, Book Design Jonathan Luna, Story, Script, Layouts Joshua Luna. This was a rather quiet issue as Dara and her friends make it to Nassau and begin their search for Zakros. We get a glimpse of Zakros and how he has and has not adjusted to living as a normal person. We see a glimpse of Dara’s past and her struggles in overcoming being crippled and that is about it. The last panel as Dara walks behind Zakros and he sees her in the mirror is a decent cliffhanger, but little happened in this chapter. I hope the series picks up as it has not been as strong as when it started. Also the weakness in the art is exaggerated in a story where nothing happens. There is no differentiation as to the shape of people’s faces and I laughed when Dara drew a picture of Zakros and it was the strongest drawing in the book. Still a good series, the pacing has just slowed down too much for my taste.
X-Men Legacy #212 – Writer Mike Carey, Present Day Sequence Pencils Scot Eaton, Inks John Dell and Andrew Hennessy, Colors Frank D’Armata, Flashback Sequences Art Mike Deodato, Colors Rain Beredo. I’m starting to get into this book a little bit more as it is obvious that Professor X has lost a good portion of his mind. He meets Gambit and has to read his mind to find out exactly who Gambit is and uses Gambit’s memories to fill in gaps in his memories. It is actually an interesting concept of what would your life look like if you relied on how every one else perceived you? You would have vastly different views of who you are in the same circumstance. At the same time Mike Carey has an overall story going on that involves Xavier’s childhood days and apparently genetic manipulation that has Mr. Sinestro involved. The art is decent, but the flashback artist is a much better artist. Also the styles are close enough as to make it harder to discern when we are switching from story present to past. I have a rant about the X-stuff that is building up in my mind that I may or may not post. Essentially it involves the fact that the X-verse has so much history it has made it impossible for any fan that leaves for a few years to come back into it.
Giant Sized Astonishing X-Men #1 – Writer Joss Whedon, Art John Cassaday, Colors Laura Martin. This book was killed by the large gap between issues. I almost didn’t even read the book. Then on top of that it was evident from the jump that Kitty Pryde is the one who is not making it back from this adventure and if I remember correctly she was in the beginning of Messiah Complex and then I believe just dropped out of that series. I guess that was an issue of the left and right hand not knowing what was going on at the same time. The main part of the story was okay, as Kitty is merged with a giant silver bullet that will destroyed the Earth when it hits. All of Earth’s heroes gather to stop it and the FF appears successful and then we find out they are all being duped into believing they are saving the world. I was never sure exactly why how they were being duped. Kitty saves the day by phasing this impossibly huge missile and allows it to just go through the earth. The collateral damage to all the electronics in a lot of buildings must have been enormous. Then we get an epilogue showing how everyone’s lives go on and we see a last shot of this missile just flying off into space with Kitty inside of it. I wonder what happens to the next planet she hits as this time around she was in mental contact with Emma to know when she was about to hit the Earth. One last note on the story, Joss Whedon shoots for cute little character moments, but totally missed on Spider-Man’s dialogue in my mind. The lines are okay, just felt wrong for the context. The art was gorgeous as always, John Cassaday’s work is always great looking, but I just think he works better with Ellis. I would love to see Ellis and Whedon’s scripts to see what direction is given as far as how the pages are laid out; as I believe one of Ellis’ gifts is to write to his artist’s strengths. Now someone please tell me that Cassaday is drawing Planetary #27!
Secret History of the Authority Hawksmoor #3 (of 6) – Write Mike Costa, Art Fiona Staples. This issue we really get to see a little bit more of what it means to “talk to cities”. I especially enjoyed the sequence where he goes back to a room that he can’t hear anything from and destroys the object that was blocking him. Jack is then attacked by someone who claims to have helped made Jack who he is. Jack goes after him only to find he has entered the giant robot that was defeated in issue #1. We also had a great opening sequence with Jack and Juliet, which served to give us the background on Jack. Fiona Staples art is progressing and getting better issue by issue. It is a very clean style that has an occasional sketchy quality to it that is very well done. I absolutely loved the expressions on Juliet’s face in various panels as it conveyed more then any amount of words could. This has been an enjoyable series that so far is delivering on what the title promises.
Firebreather #1 – Writer Phil Hester, Art Andy Kuhn, Colors Bill Crabtree. This is a “new” series that is picking up an old series that these creators did together. I missed that first series, so I walked in with some hesitation and was willing to drop this comic without much provocation. I got a big kick out of this book and I’m signed on for a few more issues at least. The premise was very easy to grasp (even if the actual idea was insane). A giant fire breathing dragon monster mated with a human woman and had a son. (How that mating occurred I don’t even know if I want to know.) The boy is now 16 years old and has enormous powers and wings, but still is human size. Dad and Mom have split and the United Nations has given Duncan’s Dad his own area of the Earth. It is a fun concept and especially amusing to see an orange skinned, four fingered, winged boy be accepted as just another guy in his community. The father tells him that he has to walk his own path as his monster blood will take him places his mother cannot go and his human blood will make him act in ways his father can’t understands. The art by Andy Kuhn has a lighter tone and is sparse in background detail, but tells the story very effectively. It appears to be a neat little take on a coming of age story.
Blue Beetle #27 – Writer Will Pfeifer, Pencils David Baldeon, Inks Steve Bird, Colors Guy Major. Will Pfeifer is a superior guest writer and my biggest complaint is I don’t see his name on enough DC books. He steps in and did a great date issue with Blue Beetle. This series is such a great series and it is nice to see Jamie’s progression from what do I do now to a hero who is ready to take on the bad guys. Having a magician for a girl friend does not hurt either. The menace was created by some rank amateur magicians who were ultimately defeated by Traci (Jamie’s girl friend). She defeated the kids while Beetle was trying to save a teacher from the monster’s grip and he could not do anything. That feeling of helplessness was new for Jamie as a hero and a revelation he did not like. The guest art was well done and similar enough in style to the regular artist so that it was not a jarring difference. This is a very good series from DC and is as good as Invincible was at the same time in its evolution.
Shadowpact #25 - Writer Matthew Sturges, Art Phil Winslade, Color Mike Atiyeh. This was a good last issue. The Shadowpact of the three different times all came together and figured out a plan to take out the Sun King. At the same time Danny’s brother sort of killed himself which gave turned Danny back into the Blue Devil but without any debt to the devil. This group was a bunch of “C” and “D” list characters but it was an entertaining read. I think that we often get caught up in everything needing to be an event or something along those lines and books that are just solid and entertaining fall by the wayside. Or it could be me just bemoaning the fates that not enough people enjoyed a book that I enjoyed.
Astounding Wolf-Man #6 – Writer Robert Kirkman, Art Jason Howard. I’m very glad to hear that this book is moving up to a monthly schedule as the series is stagnating. I’m not sure why, but Kirkman’s series have a way of being very slow building in the beginning and then taking off. I think Kirkman’s attention to laying the ground work and using all that he brings into a book is the reason why, but it works. This issue we see Wolf-Man’s daughter not adjusting to her new life, his wife apparently starting to stray, the Actioneers are kicking the crap out of him at the end of this issue. A major shift in where this series is going is promised for issue #7 and I believe Kirkman when he says it. So far this has been an entertaining series.
Uncanny X-Men #498 – Writer Ed Brubaker, Art Mike Choi, Colors Sonia Oback. I’m hanging around to issue #500, but I just read that we are moving into another “X-event” and Marvel is about to drain my love of these characters right out of me. This issue we spend half of it learning how the person who is changing San Francisco into a hippie world started the process. She says her name is Martinque and I’m not sure if I’m supposed to know who she is or not. I have no clue how anyone new to the x-world is suppose to get into one of their books as they rely so heavily on what has happened before. The end of this part of the story is Cyclops and Emma are about to face off against Angel, Iceman, Hepizah and Warpath who are under control of the “Goddess” of San Francisco. The other part of the book is easier as it has Colossus, Wolverine and Nightcrawler being captured by the Russians and being tortured to find out what happen to all of their mutants. After a dramatic and daring escape they run into Omega Red. You don’t even need to know anything about Omega Red, as they show him to be very dangerous in the course of the story.
Resurrection #5 – Writer Marc Guggenheim, Art David Dumeer. This book needs to pick up the pace a little. The whole guy being stuck in the space ship for three issues is already old. In a book where we do not know any of the characters and we have a new setting, we need to see real story progress in each and every issue. If you are writing an episodic fiction story, that story needs to move faster in each chapter when you are monthly then if you were able to deliver the experience in weekly bites. Also the art work by David Dumeer is feeling a little rushed. After a few issues I’m used to seeing a little more growth in how an artist works and Dumeer’s layouts are very generic and tell the story, but are not adding to it. I think an inker may allow Dumeer more time to add more into his art. Overall I think the series is a good premise, but it is starting to lose my interest due to the slow pacing.
JSA Classified #38 – Writer Mike Barr, Art Shawn Martinbrough, Colors Allen Passalaqua. The last arc before this book is cancelled is another Wildcat story. I love Wildcat, but I wish they would just give him his own series. Shawn’s artwork was the high point of this book as his dark noir style fits well for a street fighter like Ted Grant. My only complaint was he drew him a little too young. The actual story was a modest little thing where Ted investigates something that seems off in the fight game. The last arc was Ted looking into a gym and this is too similar and it seems the only handle writers can get on Ted. At least the last arc explored who Ted is and this is just a simple adventure, not bad, just nothing special either.
Iron Fist #15 – Writer Matt Fraction, Pencils Khari Evans, Inks Victor Olazaba & Jelena Kevic Djurdjevic, Colors Paul Mounts. This issue almost caused me to cancel this book. Matt Fraction is beloved by a certain segment of comic fandom, but for me he seems to be better as a co-writer. This issue he seems to fall in love with his own cleverness as he tells the tales of Iron Fist Bei Bang-Wen. The story is Bei thinks he is smart, he screws up and cost a lot of lives, he loses his powers, he meets up with an Indian (from India) super hero who has a similar history, they escape from the colonial British jails (timeframe around 1840s), help Indian guy get his country right, gets his powers back and goes home. The writer seems to be in love with some phrases and his cleverness, for me it is a waste of paper. Fraction seems to break along generational lines and I think I’m in the wrong generation and I just don’t “get it”. I think I get it and he is not that good yet to be able to pull off some of his ideas on his own yet. They say artist need years to really hit their stride and I think writers often take years to become great writers. Geoff Johns has been a good writer, who recently I think has gotten even better. Morrison is doing his best work ever in the last few years. Fraction maybe a good or great writer in the future, but for me he is not there yet. Only my love for the character of Iron Fist has caused me to hang on for another issue or two.
New Avengers #41 – Writer Brian Bendis, Art Billy Tan, Colors Justin Ponsor. This issue we get a little background on the fact that the bad Shield group from the first arc on New Avengers were skrulls. It is also set-up up that Shanna could be a skrull. This issue did not work for me. First off the layouts were occasionally confusing as was the dialogue between Spider-Man, Ka-Zar and Shanna. I was enjoying the opening segments of Secret Invasion, now there are so many back stories to be filled in and this issue seems to also tie into the actual current continuity of the main mini-series. I have a bias as I’m no longer a huge Marvel fan and I know that can shade my opinions, but the last two background chapters have not been as strong and the series itself maybe in jeopardy as far as being even a good popcorn movie. The next chapter of the main mini-series is out next week, but the grade for Secret Invasion at this point is a C.
Action Comics #865 – Writer Geoff Johns, Art Jesus Merino, Colors Hi-Fi. This issue gave us some details on the Terrible Toyman and appeared to be rectifying or retro-conning some older story that I’m not familiar with. I believe DC had made Toyman into a pedophile and I think this story was trying to say it was a robot that did the horrible deed. I think Toyman is such a lame character that I could have cared less about the retro-con, but at least it allows him to be a more palatable villain in the future. Nice art job but Jesus, especially as he mixed up his styles nicely for the flashback sequences.
Perhapanauts #2 – Cancelled. For me this book had many problems, chief among them it was almost impossible to get into as a new reader. I felt so overwhelmed with the amount of new characters and situations that I had to try and grasp that I ended up only skim reading this issue. I feel like that Proof has drawn a lot of inspiration from this book, but is doing it better. Hopefully the fans of the original series are enjoying it, but I just felt like this book was too dense for a new reader to jump in and if I can’t get comfortable in a couple of issues I have to move on.
Salem Queen of Thorns #1 (of 4) – Cancelled. It pains me to have to pull the plug on a book from BOOM as I think so highly of that group, but this story was just not working for me. The whole Puritan setting and the heavy use of Christian mythology just did not work for me.
I decided on Final Crisis #1 for a few reasons. First the art was gorgeous and full of detail, second it was a more subtle beginning to a big “event” type of book, yet when you examine it in detail it was so packed full of information as to be unreal. Finally it delivered value, Marvel and DC are charging $3.99 for their event books, but we get 10 more pages of art and story with DC. In some ways it was a Grant Morrison week for me with Final Crisis, All Star Superman and Batman all being in the top books section.
I always think of my three sections as loved it, liked it and could have missed it and would not have cared if I did.