Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Best to Worst of Last Week

Worse to best is what the Tampa Bay Rays did this year and I watched the last third of the final game tonight (Sunday as I type it, almost Monday and what a great game). Lee’s team lost, but is it a coincidence that both my daughters live in the area and Tampa Bay is having a great year, hmmm. Who knows?

On the comic book side of the ledger this was a very uneven week with a bunch of books I would have happily saved my money by not buying, plus a few gems.

Final Crisis Rogues Revenge #3 (of 3) – Writer Geoff Johns, Art Scott Kolins, Colors Dave McCaig. A great ending to this mini-series and it actually acted as a true tie-in to Final Crisis. The Rogues get their revenge in the only way they possible could by taking out the person who caused their problem to begin with. Kid Zoom (formerly Inertia) turns Zoom back to his state as a cripple. Then Kid Zoom is taken out by the Rogues. Libra is rejected again, but he warns them the first Flash they fought is back. This was a well done and thoroughly enjoyable mini-series that succeeds in standing on its own merits, following up on Bart’s run of the Flash, tying into Final Crisis and acting as a slight prelude for the return of Barry Allen.

Final Crisis Legion of Three Worlds #2 (of 5) – Writer Geoff Johns, Pencils George Perez, Inks Scott Koblish, Colors Hi-Fi. Issue #2 was already late, but as long as this has no direct impact on Final Crisis (other then being a thematic tie-in) I hope DC just lets George turns it out as his pace. This book needs to be in an oversized format as George puts so much detail into each and every panel I could spend a few hours just marveling at the artwork. The story itself is progressing nicely as the original Legion is gathering the troops and trying to determine the best plan of attack. Brianiac 5 with the help of the White Witch manages to pull the other two Legions to this universe and starts to explain what is going on. Superboy and his Legion are fighting a group of Legionaries and Superman looking to kill everybody. At the same time Mon-el is taking Rond Vidar’s body to OA (as Rond died helping the White Witch escape) and runs into Sodam Yat the last Guardian. This is a well done story with lots of moving parts and a huge cast and beautiful artwork, great stuff.

Roberts #2 (of 2) – Writer Justin Shady, Art Erik Rose. This was a great twisted and bizarre tale of two serial killers in a retirement home. The Boston Strangler and the Zodiac Killer are the two Roberts and once they get together a game is concocted to kill a resident of the home. Of course there is a game within a game, that the Boston Strangler has set-up the Zodiac Killer to be caught. The dialogue is fantastic and the story is just so well done that I can’t believe that I loved this story as much as I did given its odd premise. I also enjoyed the writer’s thank you(s) to people in the front of the book. I assume they will realize a trade, but if you want a very good off beat story “The Roberts” is a great place to find it.

Superman Batman vs Vampires & Werewolves #1 Of (6) – Writer Kevin Van hook, Art Tom Mandrake, Colors Nathan Eyring. I love Tom Mandrake’s artwork and his work looks better then ever. A dark tale fits perfectly with his style, that while dark is always clear and has great story telling. This seems like it could have been part of the Superman/Batman series but rolling it out as a mini-series is okay by me. This issue is more about Batman trying to resolve a mysterious death of a partially eaten man. Batman has also run into a vampire who was around the murder also. This was a good start to this series and with the inclusion of Wonder Woman it looks like it will include a wide array of the DCU heroes. Also, seeing the Vampire and Werewolf speaking together at the end points to a wide ranging conspiracy and added a nice touch to end the first issue.

Welcome to Hoxford #3 – by Ben Templesmith. The werewolves are loose in the prison and hunting down the prisoners. Ray (our central character) is crazed and off his meds and believes he is a god, so the werewolves don’t scare him at all and in fact he bites off the tongue of one of them. Crazed homicidal maniacs against werewolves, with one social worker mixed in and we have Ben Templesmith’s latest story. Ray is insanely amusing as his delusions allow him to battle back against these creatures that has the rest of the inmates running for tier lives. I’m a little frightened that this stuff exist in Ben’s mind.

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen Special #1 – Writer James Robinson, Pencils Jesus Merino, Leno Carvalho & Steve Scott, Inks Jesus Merino, Nelson Pereira & Kevin Stokes, Colors Lee Loughridge. This was an excellent story making the best use of Jimmy Olsen that I have seen in decades. Jimmy is a wasted character and because of continuity issues I have no idea how Jimmy can still be almost an intern and have had so many adventures. It does not matter as James Robinson introduces us to a Jimmy who is trying to show a little backbone and grow up. He follows a trial of clues and finds out someone very powerful has Superman in his sights and Jimmy is going to try and stop it and warn Superman. We have to ignore things like Jimmy riding out of an Arizona town trying desperately to warn Superman, when a side trip to buy a cell phone or hit an internet cafĂ© would make more sense, but it was an entertaining and well done special that brings in Codename Assassin as a villain for Superman.

Justice Society of America #19 –Story Geoff Johns and Alex Ross, Writer Geoff Johns, Pencils Dale Eaglesham, Inks Nathan Massengill, Earth-2 Sequence Jerry Ordway, Colors Hi-Fi. I love Dale Eaglesham’s art, but the first thing I noticed (after the Ordway pages) was that the art did not feel as strong as it once did, so I’m blaming or crediting the prior inker with a lot of what I liked. We have too many stories going on in the JLA. The first story is Power Girl and her being stranded on what has to be Earth 2. Next up we have hints of why Starman is back in our time and he says it is better if he is crazy as he is not sure he can do what he needs to do and be sane. We have David Reid now reborn as Magag and the Kingdom Come Superman none too happy about the whole deal. Then we have a Black Adam story line starting up as he is following signs from his dead wife. Then we have the JSA splitting into two camps over whether Gog is a good thing or a bad thing. Don’t get me wrong, I love the JSA, but I want the book to have more focus and to actually get to the end of the Kingdom Come story line. Also I think the cast is way too large and no one gets the screen time that I would like to see (at least not in 24 pages every month).

Dynamo 5 #17 – Writer Jay Faerber, Art Mahmud Asrar, Colors Ron Riley. Scatterbrain goes into Maddie’s mind to help her out of a coma and we get a nice origin story and learn more about who Maddie is and what she is all about. It was a very nice touch to see how Maddie would hold herself responsible for deaths of others when Captain Dynamo would save her over stopping a menace first. Ultimately Scatterbrain helps her get past her guilt and brings her out of her coma. The artist Asrar is getting better, but I still think his development would be sped up if he did not ink his own work. As he has a Marvel project coming out soon I’m worried this book may lose him for the bigger bucks and glory at Marvel.

Fables #77 - Writer Bill Willingham, Pencils Mark Buckingham, Inks Andrew Pepov, Colors Lee Loughridge. Oh look its Fafhrd and Gray Mouser, oh I mean Freddy and Mouse, such a obvious homage to those two characters, I’m surprised they did not just get permission to use them as if they were sued it would be a win by the owner of those characters. This issue was pure set-up as we jump from story to story to story as Bill Willingham sets up the next 75 issues of the series (per his article). The end of the war has left a lot of Fable worlds in chaos and the new order in Fabletown is still trying to get settled.

Ghost Rider #28 – Writer Jason Aaron, Art Tan Eng Huat, Colors Jose Villarrubia. This was another decent issue of the series that has to be the biggest surprise for me this year. Looks like Danny now has some Ghost Rider powers and the Blaze versus Ketch showdown is about to begin. What was extremely funny to me was the fact that in order to understand the convoluted history of the Ghost Rider Marvel added a bunch of pages to the back to explain it all. It is still so convoluted I’m not sure I really care, but they charged me an extra dollar to explained this crap, that was just wrong.

Booster Gold #13 – Writer Rick Remender, Pencils Patrick Olliffe, Inks Jerry Ordway, Colors Hi-Fi. Starro is looking to take over the world and starts with Rip Hunter. Using the time machine Starro takes over by starting in the Middle Ages. Booster and his sister stop that and block the past, but Starro goes to future and takes over the world. One thing about Booster Gold, with time traveling stories it is always hard to describe the plots. The creative team is certainly having fun and Rick Remender needs a regular writing assignment in the DCU. Patrick Olliffe’s work looks even better under Jerry Ordway’s inks, which enhances Patrick’s work without over powering it.

Trinity #20 – Front Story Writer Kurt Busiek, Pencils Mark Bagley, Inks Art Thibert, Colors Pete Pantazis, Back-Up Writers Kurt Busiek & Fabian Nicieza, Art Tom Derencik and Wayne Faucher, Colors Allen Passalaqua. This issue is another one where we see the how the world has changed. Our POV (point of view) character is Firestorm and he is trying to figure out what when wrong and when. He traces a key turning point to the JSA going public as opposed to disappearing during the McCarthy communist witch hunts of the fifties. Now Firestorm is trying to find someone to help him fix things. The back up shows Krona using some Controllers to try and wake the soul of the Universe so he can commune with it. This is the first back up that I felt was a little silly and trending water as Krona is so powerful what does he need with any minions no matter how powerful.

Moon Knight #23 – Writer Mike Benson, Art Mark Texeria, Layouts Javier Saltares, Colors Dan Brown. Thunderbolts leader Norman Osborn is ticked that his team could not bring in Marc Spector, so he sets up this low level group of bad guys and sets them out against Spector’s few friends. Moon Knight shows up and appears to be winning the day. As Moon Knight is chasing down one of the bad guys he falls into the Thunderbolts trap.

Atomic Robo Dogs of War #3 (of 5) – Writer Brian Clevinger, Art Scott Wegner, Colors Ronda Pattison. This series is always a blast and Robo attacking the train the Nazi bad guys is on and running into another good guy spy was amusing. It was all a trap and Robo fell right into it. The one problem I’m having is that I enjoyed the last series more then this one. I did not want to see his old WWII adventures for the entire series and the Nazis as the bad guys has gotten old for me. We could have started in WWII, moved onto the Pacific front. Korea, Viet Nam and even Iraq.

Robin #179 – Writer Fabian Nicieza, Art Freddie Williams II, Colors Guy Majors. Things are basically getting out of hand as Robin can’t contain all that is going on in the city and in his own life. The General is back and closer to Robin’s age and stature now. We have a new Lynx and the gangs going out of control. The Gotham PD up in arms over two of their own being arrested (essentially by Robin) and we add in , Spoiler, riots and Red Robin and Tim is over his head.

Conan The Cimmerian #4 – Writer Tim Truman, Artists Tomas Giorello (Flash backs Richard Corben), Colors Jose Villarrubia. Another decent issue and Conan fighting back the demonically raised creatures was some great battle scenes, but this long arc to start the second third of Conan’s life has been too long already. Also it is about Conan back in Cimmerian not moving forward to the next phase. Also it has these constant flashbacks to his grandfather’s adventures, which I guess will tie into the main story eventually. If I wasn’t a Conan fan, this story would have driven me away from this book.

Epilogue #2 – Writer Steve Niles, Art Kyle Hotz, Colors Tom Smith. The story of a man turned into a Vampire who is now hunting down the killers of his family is well done. As he is a “good guy” so he tried to not kill any people, but found the only way to maintain full strength was a fresh kill and for that he preys on criminals. A vampire tale, revenge fantasy and a vigilante book all in one.

Guardians of the Galaxy #6 – Writers Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, Pencils Paul Pelletier, Inks Rick Magyar, Colors Guru eFX. A great job by the writer of doing a Secret Invasion cross-over, without getting into it too deep and still making it tied to the Invasion enough. Drax kills everyone for a few seconds to find the skrulls and we find out they are a pacifist element looking to escape the Skrull Empire.

Stormwatch PHD #15 – Writer Ian Edginton, Pencils Leandro Fernandez, Inks Francisco Paronzini, Colors Carrie Strachan. This issue was setting up the next adventure as a member of the Establishment is helped out by Stormwatch. As much as I have followed the WU, I have never been immersed in it deeply enough to have the “oh cool” type reaction when a long forgotten character raises their head. Although I did read the Establishment series I only remember it for the art by Charles Aldard. Still the big monster that is awaking to wipe out the rest of the Earth looks to be a very cool menace.

Grimm Fairy Tales #31 – Story David Seidman, Ralph Tedesco & Joe Brusha, Writers Ralph Tedesco & David Seidman, Current Story Art Dave Hoover, Colors Garry Henderson, Pinocchio Story Art David Seidman. Who knew Pinocchio was such a bastard. I have to go read the original fairy tale someday, but in GFT we know everyone can go bad. The current storyline is about a quite boy who is dealing with tragedy of losing his mother and may have killed his teacher, much to his father’s worry. The Pinocchio tale is what the boy is reading and we find the puppet has taken to killing some of his tormentors. The artwork on the Pinocchio portion seem to be a mixture of photos, computerized effects and some other artwork, it was wildly different from the current storyline and I’m still debating if I liked it or not.

Flash #245 – Writer Alan Burnett, Pencils Carlos Barberi, IUnks Drew Geraci, Rebecca Buchman, Walden Wong & Jacob Eguren, Colors Tanya and Richard Horie. This book really feels like it is just trending water. Plus having bees, no matter how nasty, is just not the strongest menace in the world to have to fight. I’m not sure what DC is doing with Wally, but it seems like they went through a lot of trouble to set up his return and then have wasted it. The Flash franchise is in need of a do over and DC’s go to guy Johns has Flash: Rebirth set for next year.

Batgirl #4 (of 6) – Writer Adam Beechen, Pencil Jim Califiore, Inks Jack Purcell, Colors Nathan Eyring. The idea that Batgirl is trying to redeem herself I guess works if you have always enjoyed this character, but I never cared for her and this series is not moving me any closer to caring about her. It is apparent that DC is trying to bring her back into the Bat family, but I question if she fits. She and her “sisters” Ravager and Marque are fighting Deathstroke and a school of female assassins trained by Cain. Deathstroke decides this operation is not working and blows it up. Ravager and Marque take off and Batgirl is left with a few clues as to what Cain is up to. She figures out he is going to kill Oracle and Batgirl takes off for Platinum Flats. It was all a little too quick and easy and playing into Batgirl trying to save the first Batgirl.

Chronicles of Dr Herbert West #1 (of 6) – Writers Joe Brusha & Ralph Tedesco, Art Jason Craig & Alex Medellin Machain, Colors Thomas Mason, Nei Ruffino & Garry Henderson. This was an okay start to this series. I was very iffy about continuing this series, but part 1 was all set-up as West develops a reanimation serum, but it restores a crazed being and not true life. The story was good enough to make me want to check out issue #2, but I’m not sold on this series at all.

Titans #6 – Writer Judd Winick, Pencils Julian Lopez, Inks Prentis Rollins and Bit, Colors Edgar Delgado. A weak start to what was a franchise title for DC years ago, but at least we are past the first arc and we now have Raven back as herself after she almost killed everyone as her ever self. Why is it when a female character goes ever that get sexier? Anyway I will hang onto this book a little longer as my love for the characters is greater then my common sense.

Casey Blue Beyond Tomorrow #6 (of 6) – Writer B. Clay Moore, Pencils Carlo Barberi, Inks Jacob Eguren, Colors Wildstorm FX. The bottom line on this series is that I have to say that it failed to deliver. I like a lot of the concepts and the art work, but it read like the first six issues of an ongoing series and not a true self contained mini-series. Even as an ongoing I may be dropping it, but this book left us with too many questions about her and not enough established to have us looking for the next mini-series. After investing six months and my $18 I want more of a complete story and not just the bare bones beginning of a much longer story.

Mighty Avengers #19 – Writer Brian Bendis, Pencils Khoi Pham, Inks Danny Miki and Allen Martinez, Colors Dean White and Paul Mounts. Pretty much a waste of paper and this issue rehashes a lot of what the Captain Marvel mini-series had talked about before and then ends with the skrull Captain Marvel and the Morrison Captain Marvel meeting at the end. A “Mighty Avengers” book without a single Avenger in it and something that did not really enhance the Secret Invasion story.

Air #3 – Writer G. Willow Wilson, Art M. K. Perker, Colors Chris Chuckry. I continued this series because Gwen enjoyed it, but it still is not really connecting with me. The whole country that was forgotten was an interesting intellectual concept, but the characters have not grabbed me enough to draw me in. I will buy this for Gwen, but I’m done reviewing this book for awhile, unless it gets my interest again.

Ultimate Origins #5 (of 5) – Writer Brian Bendis, Art Butch Guice, Colors Justin Ponsor. The artwork by Butch Guice was nice, but this issue was more about setting up the “event” they have coming up then wrapping up and tying in more things. It sealed the deal that I could care less about Ultimatum and I will continue to only pick up Ultimate Spider-Man. The actual issue was a disappointment and Rick Jones as the Watcher’s herald was odd and somewhat lame.

Astonishing X-Men #27 – Warren is certainly throwing out some interesting scientific concepts, but that is not enough. The characters are out of character and the dialogue is stilted. We are suppose to snicker at the implied bestiality because of Hank and Agent Brand’s sexcapades. Simone Bianchi strange poses and muted dark artwork is almost unreadable. In addition the actual story telling is poor. Cancelled.

Brave and Bold #18 – A waste of paper and a bad story. I would have cancelled this book except that this was a two issue story by the creative team on the book.

Batman and the Outsiders #12 – Cancelled. I gave this book a year and nothing ever happened. The book never had any reason or direction.

Looking over my list I think that the only reason I did not cancel Chronicles of Dr Herbert West is that it rose high enough on a rough week for comics. An off week is going to occur every once in a while and my being sick as a dog did not help my viewpoint.

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