Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Best to Worst of Last Week

I have to try and hold back again on my reviews as a few of them got too wordy this week. I probably need to use a book here and there as a spotlight review as often when I read a comic it brings to mind a more general them that I feel like commenting on and that causes the mini-review of a book to get too long. Still this is all a free form format, so I can break my own rules anytime I feel like it. Anyone who knows me understands that rules have always been a suggested guideline for me. Laws I think of us strong suggestions.

On the football front the Ravens appear to be an okay team this year, but 8-8 is the best this team can hope for. I find it amusing that our 18.5 point per game scoring average is not the talk of the town as it would have been under Billick. Our new head coach is still in the honeymoon stage with this town. The next two weeks we go to Indy and Miami, before the season I would have predicted a loss and a win, now it appears more likely to be a win and a loss.

Batman #680 – Writer Grant Morrison, Pencils Tony Daniel, Inks Sandru Florea, Colors Guy Major. This was a great lead up to the final chapter of RIP. More and more I can see how this long arc of Batman by Grant Morrison needs to be collected in a large oversized format collection, with at least 12 issues to a hard cover. In this issue we see Batman is still crazed and he still sees himself as the Batman of Zur-en-arrh and he is going to save his girl-friend Jezebel Jet. Bat-Mite we find out is a figment of Batman’s imagination run wild. The Black Glove is having a party to bet on the death of Batman. The Joker comes in to play his role and we find out Jezebel lives up to her name as she is actually another foe of Batman. Grant is putting Bruce though crap that no one could possible endure and it is becoming apparent that Bruce will give up everything and just leave behind the world after this series concludes. I expect in a year or two he will return, but this is causing Bruce to be shaken to his core. I really hope DC does the right thing and collects Grant’s run the right way.

Nightwing #149 – Writer Peter Tomasi, Pencils Don Kramer, Inks Jay Leisten, Colors Hi-Fi. This was a fantastic issue of Nightwing. The fear drug is playing with Nightwing’s mind and he is fighting what appears to be Batman’s rogue gallery, but they turn out to be Two Face’s henchmen. Nightwing has a showdown with Two Face as Two Face is holding a gun against the woman that Two Face asked Nightwing to protect. His senses dulled due to the drug Two Face blows Nightwing out of the building and kills the woman. Nightwing lost out to Two Face. Two Face (who also wanted her saved) kills the man who hired him to kill the woman and now wants to kill Nightwing for not stopping him from killing her.

Four Eyes #1 – Writer Joe Kelly, Art Max Fiumara, Colors Nestor Pereyra. This was a great opening to a new series. I’m in love for this first issue of this story and the premise is so simple and so odd yet it works. We are in the depression era of US history (the one form the 30’s not today’s) and dragons are captured and used to fight each other as an underground sport (bet Mike Vick would have loved this stuff). Our central character is a little boy Enrico whose father has recently been making good money for his family, but he refuses to talk about his job. On a rare day off they go to the beach and the father disappears and Enrico follows and sees his father killed by a dragon. His father had stolen a baby dragon for his employer who has the dragon fights. Enrico and his mother are forced to both work and do whatever to survive once their father is gone and then Enrico sneaks into a dragon fight. This is such an odd idea, but it really works and Max Fiumara’s art is perfect for this story. He is not a realistic artist, but he is not in the animation style either. He is very strong in story telling and making identifiable characters and draws a cool dragon. Joe Kelly is two for two with me as I’m enjoying “I Kill Giants” also.


Top Ten Season Two #1 (of 4) – Script and Layouts Zander Cannon with Kevin Cannon. Pencil and Inks Gene Ha, Colors Alex Sinclair. I was a little scared going into this series as Alan Moore had put an indelible stamp on the series. Still Zander Cannon and Gene Ha had been involved with the first series, so I had hopes and they were rewarded. This was a good opening to a new Top Ten adventure and as before the law offices of Necropolis have their hands full with strangled corpses showing up in their fountain, a new police commissioner and drug dealers. Gene Ha’s work looks different and I’m guessing that he has moved to all digital or something, his work is still strong but has a different feel to it. Not sure why Zander Cannon provides layouts for Ha, unless that is his preference. If you liked the Moore/Cannon/Ha Top Ten, this will feel like coming home.

City of Dust #1 (of 5) – See my full review here. I have never heard of the artist Zid before and I have never heard of any of the artist Radical continues to find. Zid’s work is brilliant and Niles has crafted an excellent story. This series looks to be a winner.

Sparks #4 (of 6) – Writer Christopher Folino, Art JM Ringuet. – This issue Sparks learns who was behind the death of his parents and is given a chance to go after that person with the help of two people who have a limited super power. We see that Ian is still hung up on his old girl friend in graphic ways. At the end the attack seems to go well as the building blows up at the end and it appears the bad guy is killed. What you constantly forget, as you are so absorbed in the story, is that Ian is telling the story and we have a current timeline going on at the same time. This is a great story and I’m really looking forward to seeing how it all ends, but you just know it can’t be good for Sparks. JM Ringuet seems more confident with every issue and his work gets better and better.

Creature Feature #1 (of 2) – This was a wonderful book and very enjoyable as it delivered exactly what they said it would, 3 ½ great stories giving us classic “B” horror movie stories. A lot of fun and you get more “bang for your buck” then 90% of the comics on the market. See my full review here.

Challenger Deep #2 (of 4) – Story Andrew Crosby and Andy Schmidt, Script Andy Schmidt, Art Chee, Colors Andrew Dalhouse. This story is structured very well. The first issue was set-up the situation. A nuclear sub is trapped too far down on top of the Mariana trench and enough methane gas to destroy the world if ignited. The second issue starts the countdown clock on how long before the nukes detonate and introduce the team that is going to try and save the sub. Add in some good interpersonal conflicts and you have a highly tense situation building with both the actual danger and within the team. I have overly simplified the story, but this book is packing in tons of information fast and doing it well. This issue ends with 17 minutes till the explosion and the rescue team just made it to the sub.

House of Mystery #6 – Writer Matthew Sturges, Art Tony Akins, Inks for 3 Pages Andrew Pepoy, Colors Alex Wald. This issue was structurally different from the first five as we were essentially given Ann’s origin story. Ann was a pirate queen in some other world and was betrayed by a lover. Ann dispatched her lover in a cold and gruesome way. There was a lot more to the story then that but it was really well done. The second half was about the House’s staff planning an escape from the House of Mystery. Vertigo has a strong line up with books like HOM, Scalped, Fables, Hellblazer, Northlanders and Madam Xandu, best Vertigo has been in a long time from an overall standpoint.

Trinity #18 – Front Story Writer Kurt Busiek, Pencils Mark Bagley, Inks Art Thibert, Colors Peter Pantazis, Back-Up Kurt Busiek & Fabian Nicieza, Art Scott McDaniel & Andy Owens, Colors Allen Passalaqua. Everything has changed. The DCU is radically different as we see that the main group handling everything is the JSI (Justice Society International), Lois Lane is hard edge and domineering TV anchor for a news/opinion show. What is interesting is that the world is not necessarily a bad place based on what we are seeing. The back up focuses on a bad guy that was used in an old Batman story, who is now alive (as the Joker killed him) and respectable, but he remembers the old reality. This issue was all about giving us a look at the new world view, now that the Trinity has been replaced.

No Hero #1 (of 7) – Writer Warren Ellis, Art Juan Jose Ryp, Color Digikore Studios. This appears to be another exploration by Warren Ellis of what is a super hero or what would a super hero act like in the real world. I find it amusing that as with Black Summer the super hero group consist of seven people, what is so magical about the number seven with these groups. We start off this issue with the group Front Line being down three members and the senior member of the group goes to check out a vigilante who has been stopping street crime trying to get the attention of the Front Line as he wants to be a super hero. Between the Authority and Black Summer, Ellis will have to be careful to not repeat the same theme, and I trust that he won’t, but this certainly had the feel of the super hero as a celebrity which has been over done in comics. This issue was good opening and a nice introduction to the newest member of the Front Line.

Sub-Mariner Depths #2 (of 5) – Writer Peter Milligan, Art Esad Ribic. This is shaping up to be an excellent story and the art by Ribic is serving the story very well. On top of that the book is wrapped in a fantastic cover. This issue the scientist who is trying to disprove Atlantis and the existence of Namor is slowing coming to the conclusion that something does exist in these extreme depths. Whether it is a man with wings on his feet or something else he is not sure, but he knows he has to find out. In pursuit of that he is taking actions which seem to be less rationale.

Hellblazer Presents Chas The Knowledge #4 (of 5) – Writer Simon Oliver, Art Goran Sudzuka, Colors Matt Hollingsworth. This issue the series goes where it had to go. Chas gets hold of John and John is coming back to save the day. Chas even asks John if he can start to take care of stuff and John blows him off. The issue ends after a series of events leave John too far away from home and Chas will have to take this demon down on his own.

Manhunter #35 – Writer Marc Andreyko, Art Michael Gaydos & Carlos Magno, Colors Jose Villarrubia. This continues to be a strong series. I have enjoyed the ability of the writer to keep the various sub-plots moving forward each issue as he also manages to move the main story line to its conclusion. This is a great way of telling a continuing series as it allows each story line to build up and ultimately the sub plot should be the main story arc. Kate certainly put a huge dent in Vesetech’s plans, but also has put the Suicide Squad in extreme danger.

Beyond Wonderland #2 (of 6) – Story Raven Gregory, Joe Brusha & Ralph Tedesco, Writer Raven Gregory, Art Dan Leister, Colors Nei Ruffino. For some reason this material is bringing out the best stories from Zenoscope. This issue we see Callie is troubled over her boy-friend apparently leaving her. We know that Callie’s brother (now the Mad Hatter) has captured him and appears to kill him this issue. Callie has a friend who helps her out and she is also killed by the Mad Hatter. Callie is still in our world and pregnant, but it looks like she is going to have to go to Wonderland and try to set things right.

Tor #6 (of 6) – By Joe Kubert with a coloring assist of Pete Carlsson. I was sort of shocked that Joe ended this story without Tor making it back to his tribe. This would be an easy story to pick up for the next mini-series as this one ends with Tor and his woman making it out of the hidden land that Tor found his way into. Unfortunately the “adopted” son died during the trek over the mountains. Joe Kubert is one of the great ones and this mini-series validates that Joe still is.

Jonah Hex #36 – Writer Justin Gray & Jimmy PalmiottiArt Rafa Garres. This issue was entertaining as all Jonah Hex tales are, but I had an issue with it. This issue was to explain why Jonah Hex wears a confederate uniform and in all my reading of Jonah Hex before it was not a big deal that he wore the uniform, he just did. They did clarify that Jonah is not a racist and he hates everyone, but the insinuation that if someone was a Confederate solider and was proud of being part of the CSA makes you a racist was annoying. I’m tired of certain elements constantly trying to rewrite history, the Civil War was not fought over just slavery and the insinuation however subtle that all Confederates are racist is insulting. Also the war was over 140 years ago, stop trying to make an anti-hero politically correct. Oh and there reason why he wears the uniform was lame and insulting also.

Doktor Sleepless #9 – Writer Warren Ellis, Art Ivan Rodriguez, Color Andrew Dalhouse. This issue we jump ahead two months after the end of last issue and join a writer / cultural blogger who has been assigned the task of getting the “true story” of what has been happening in Heavenside. This was a nice way for us to see the effect of what Doktor Sleepless campaign has created to date. Also it was one of those issues of a series where we never even see the main character. This issue pulled me in right away and I’m curious to find out along with our POV character what is going on in Heavenside now.

Woverine Origins #28 – Writer Daniel Way, Art Mike Deodato, Colors Rain Beredo. Actually from last week, but after reading a positive review and then realizing this was a prologue to a story line I’m forced to get since I buy X-Men Legacy I picked it up this week. The artwork is excellent and Mike Deaodato work since he changed styles really works well on darker tone books like Thunderbolts and this story. Hard to believe he is the same artist from Wonder Woman days. The actually story itself I’m not sure about. I dropped this book a year and half ago and I can say after reading this issue I’m happy that I did. It still appears to be what it was back then. A tease that the true past of Wolverine will be revealed, but adding more mysteries or unresolved hints of stories then any true reveals. Wolverine now has a son who was perverted and trained by Romulus (who I had to look up to see how this retro-con uber bad guy was all about). We find out that (RETRO-CON) Wolverine was an agent of Romulus and was set-up to be recruited by the X-Men. After reading the wiki entry the story makes even less sense. On top of that do I really want to have the history of the X-Men so twisted by constant retro-cons? The answer is no. This would be a good What If story, but as a “true” event in the MU, not so much.

Terror Titans #1 (of 6) – Writer Sean McKeever, Pencils Joe Bennett, Inks Jack Jadson, Colors Rod Reis. I actually enjoyed this book and was unsure if I would. I think Ravager is a good character as she is definitely many shades of gray and you can never be sure if she is one the side of the angels or the bad guys. This issue she seeks out Clock King and his Terror Titans and she signs on to train the Terror Titans. These Titans job is to take out younger super heroes and send them to the Dark Side Club. A good beginning for this series.

Supergirl #34 – Writer Sterling Gates, Pencils Jamal Igle, Inks Keith Champagne, Colors Nei Ruffino. I’m actually hopeful that this series now actually has a direction. Sterling Gates comes in (and I have to think with Geoff Johns helping a little) and sets up a new status quo for Supergirl. He builds on what has gone before enough to acknowledge it, but without worrying too much about it. Takes continuity bits from other Superman comics and sets up Kara in a new life. It is a nice set-up as Lana Lang is also brought back into the continuity. Lana Lang comes back as a business reporter and Kara poses as her niece Linda Lang. It only took almost three years but it looks like someone is finally getting Supergirl and doing the book right.


Vixen Return of the Lion #1 (of 5) – Writer G. Willow Wilson, Artist Cafu, Colors Santiago Arcas. Every once in a while it seems like a publisher falls in love with a new writer and starts to push their projects. G. Willow Wilson is DC’s flavor of the months and I did not read the graphic novel Cario, but I read and dropped the Vertigo series Air, so her name on this story left me less then giddy. The artist is a new name to me and using Halle Berry for his Vixen template actually worked as the artist did not go too photo realistic in his rendering of Vixen. The photo shopped backgrounds worked for this story and the actual story was a decent start. The premise is Vixen goes back to Africa to hunt down the killer of her mother. What is a little confusing is that her powers are back to what they used to be and not screwed up as they are in current JLA continuity. All in all a decent start to this mini-series, the big gaffe is having her about to be killed at the end. This has become a comic book cliché that has no dramatic value since the series is about Vixen, the title character will not be killed in it. The ending loses any impact and is laughable.

El Diablo #2 (of 6) – Writer Jai Nitz, Pencils Phil Hester, Inks Ane Parks, Colors Guy Major. This issue is good enough for me to decide and keep on with the series. This issue is all about the new El Diablo learning about the curse that he has now inherited and how it works or doesn’t work as the case maybe. At this point El Diablo is coming across as a mix of Ghost Rider and the Spectre, but what is unique is the man who is El Diablo is a gang banger who is learning new rules.

Authority #3 – Writer Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, Art Simon Coleby. Colors Carrier Strachan. This issue was well done. Midnighter goes after the bad guy and his group and while he beats him, this character cannot be killed. Midnighter has to accept that he can’t stop this guy and then the bad guy tells Midnighter they will stay away from the Carrier. We still have yet to see what happened to the Doctor and Jenny Quantum.

Justice League of America #25 – Writer Dwayne McDuffie, Pencils Ed Benes, Doug Mahnke, Darrick Robertson, Shane Davis, Ian Churchill, Ivan Reis, Inks Ed Benes, Christian Almay, Darrick Robertson, Rob Stull, Ian Churchill, Joe Prado, Colors Pete Pantazis. This book should be called Vixen, co-starring the Justice League. The overlapping story of Red Tornado and then Vixen’s story of why her powers of messed up was poorly done. This issue we see Red Tornado’s story ending and it is very anti-climatic. At least he is taking a leave of absence and he can stop dominating the focal point of this book. Vixen’s story with the lying God inside her totem is also boring. How can anything be revealed if everything this being says is a lie? I’m almost ready to drop this book. For an oversized anniversary issue there was very little special about it.

This week I had no favorite coming into to ranking the books for this week and that always makes this post difficult as you are ranking very different books against each other. Still I find this post actually clarifies my own opinions on certain stories.


  1. Surprised you didn't mention Don Kramer's art on that issue of Nightwing. I was really impressed.

  2. Vaneta - It was amazing. Kramer and Morales are a great art team for that book.

  3. Hi Jim,

    Thanks for the great review on City of Dust. Glad you really like it. Like this new publisher feature you are doing too.

  4. Gianluca,

    I'm having fun with the publisher post too, Radical is coming up hopefully this month.