Monday, November 17, 2008

Best to Worst of Last Week

I’m mixing things up a little this week by doing “Best to Worst” on Monday and “What I’m Getting Wednesday” on Tuesday. If I can complete all the work for Best to Worst by Sunday, then I think this will be the new normal order of things.

Some real highs and lows this week, but a lot of new books to try out and that is always a good thing. This week I cancelled a fair number of books that I tried out, but I also changed my thinking on mini-series and stared to multiply the price of the series times the number of issues. So a five part mini-series at $4 a book is a $20 commitment. After reading the book I ask myself if I paid $20 for this as a trade would I have been happy. If the answer is a no, then I cancel the book. Too often before I have let an okay first issue pull me in and then after reading the whole series I may have been mildly entertained, but not for what I paid to get in the door.

JSA Kingdom Come Special Superman – Writer/Artist – Alex Ross, Colors Alex Sinclair. Alex Ross should do a lot more pencil and ink work, this book looked terrific. It was more of a character study then anything else and was filling in the pieces on who this Superman is and what happened to him. The death of his Lois was very tragic and reminiscent of what Johns just put our Superman through with the death of his Dad. The end was very telling as we find out that Superman let Clark Kent die the day his Lois died. Now this was a $3.99 book for only 22 pages of story and art, but the back matter was worth the extra buck as Ross took us through his creative process as the writer, pencil and ink artists. I still prefer that stuff to be saved for collected editions and keep my monthly books at $2.99, but I felt like I got my monies worth.

I Kill Giants #5 (of 7) – Writer Joe Kelly, Artist JM Ken Niimura. This is an excellent series. This issue we find out that Barbara has started to skip school and her friend notices and draws the counselor’s attention to it. After searching for Barbara it is revealed that her Mother is dying from cancer and the counselor tells Barbara she can’t stop that giant. So we think we know what is happening but we find Barbara and her friend being beaten up by the school bully and suddenly out of the water a large creature appear that Barbara says is a Titan and they are unstoppable.

The Cleaners #1 (of 4) – Writers Mark Wheaton & Josh Fialkov, Art Rahsan Ekedal, Colors Jon Graef. This is a great beginning to a new series. These guys are the ones who come in and clean up the worst crime scenes imaginable. It starts with a hotel room that has blood splattered everywhere but no bodies, CSI has come and gone, but the hotel needs to make this go away and that is when The Cleaners are called in. The main character is a Doctor who knows a great deal about human and non-human remains and the toxic dangers involved with them. The next case involves a lot of mysteries as to what is going on. The scene has tons of blood and seems to be from hundreds of different people. This book sets the premise, gives some solid characterization for the main character and sets up the mystery on what this series will be about. Based on the way this story opened I’m looking forward to this being a series of mini-series.

Detective Comics #850 Writer Paul Dini, Pencils Dustin Nguyen, Inks Derek Fridolfs, Colors John Kalisz. – I guess thematically this played into “Rip”, but it really stood on its own and was very well done. The final showdown between Batman and Hush and we also learn the final elements of Hush’s origin. Batman with help from Dick Tim and Alfred stop Hush. With help from Dr. Midnight and Mr. Terrific Batman gets Selina her heart back. At the end of the issue Bruce goes to her room and confesses that he will always love her (thinking she was asleep) but she wasn’t. Then Bruce disappears and we see Selina vacationing on some island somewhere off the money she helped steal from Hush so he does not have his fortune to rely on in the future, so Catwoman gets her revenge. Not only this story line let me know Hush better then before, we also get a good definition of what Bruce and Selina’s relationship is. Again it was labeled RIP, but it was its own story.

Green Lantern Corps #30 – Writer Peter Tomasi, Pencils Patrick Gleason, Inks Rebecca Buchan, Color Randy Mayor. So much is happening in the GL side of things that it is just amazing. Each issue of the corps has become a must read for any fan of GL. In this issue we get a guided tour of what the Star Sapphire corps will be all about. The visit by the Guardians and some GLs as escorts does not dissuade them from their plan of a purple corps powered by love. At the same time Kyle has gone rogue with a group of GLs trying to help protect the families of GL members from the Sinestro Corps. All of this prompts the Guardians to add yet another new law into their books that states “Physical relationships and love between Green Lanterns is to be forbidden within the corps.” This is a telling change and shows just how far the Guardians are going down the wrong path by trying to mandate emotions.

Nightwing #150 – Writer Peter Tomasi, Pencils Don Kramer, Inks Jay Leisten and Rodney Ramos, Colors Hi-Fi. Very cool issue as we see Dick Grayson channeling Bruce Wayne as he goes after Two-Face. Two-Face is one step ahead of Dick, but he never stops and even when Barbara stops in to help Dick is singe minded. At the end he stops Two-Face from spraying New York with acid from dirigibles. A terrific fight scene and Tomasi is moving Nightwing up a notch and to me he is the obvious choice to take over the role of Batman (I can only hope).

BPRD The Warning #5 (of 5) – Writers Mike Mignola & John Arcudi, Art Guy Davis, Colors Dave Stewart. Abe is subject to the warning from the man who has taken Liz. He shows Abe the world to come that is overrun by frogs and their monstrous war machines. He then shows Abe that he has turned Liz into his creature that has the power of fire to wipe away the frogs and everything else. The future looks very bleak indeed and Abe is wondering if he can stop it. This series has been building for years to a true climatic battle for Earth’s future and that climax appears now to be directly over the next horizon.
Action Comics #871 – Writer Geoff Johns, Art Pete Woods, Colors Brad Anderson. This book reads so well that it is just amazing. Johns has such a great feel for dialogue that the characters seems to speak to him From Lex’s Luthor and General Lang’s confrontation; to Superman, Supergirl and a gang of Kryptonians fighting Doomsday; to the introduction of the new Flamebird and Nightwing it all was just a great read. Also the difference between Superman and the Kryptonians is obvious as they killed Doomsday with an almost glee. This story line is intriguing and I’m looking forward to each new chapter and no matter how it ends, it feels like they have changed the status quo of Superman’s world forever.

City of Dust #2 (of 5) – Writer Steve Niles, Artists Zid, Garrie Gastonny & Brandon Chng. I’m a huge Steve Niles fan and Steve has crafted another great world for his main character Phillip Khrome. Set in a Judge Dredd type future Khrome is a police officer under suspicion as he did not turn in a book fast enough to a Gestapo like branch of the government. At the same time he is investigating a series of bizarre crimes that leave no trace of DNA. We also get to see that a group of supernatural looking monsters is out in the city hunting and killing people. Steve packs some much into each issue that this brief synopsis is not giving it enough credit. The artwork while good seemed a little weaker then the great artwork of issue #1, but is still heads and tails above most books.

Simon Dark #14 – Writer Steve Niles, Art Scott Hampton, Colors Daniel Vozzo. This issue we see the beginning of a new story arc and a new menace is on the horizon as people are being ripped apart. As this is something Simon could do there is suspicion around him, especially when one victim is someone Simon knew was a bad person. At the same time Simon and his “Dad” and have started to talk and it appears more of the curtain as to what and who Simon is will be drawn back. This is a wonderful fairy tale of a book that is every bit as violent as the original Grimm’s Fairly Tales.

Walking Dead #54 – Writer Robert Kirkman, Art Charles Adlard, Graytone Cliff Rathburn. This issue the old gang joins up with the new gang and heads out to try and get to Washington. The one scientist says he thinks he might be able to solve this mess of the Walking Dead if he can get to DC. The best part of this book was Abraham, who has now assumed the role of leader of the combined group. His argument on why Rick’s group needs to come with them and why they should not stay at the farmhouse was logical, compelling and passionate.

Booster Gold #14 – Writer Rick Remender, Pencils Patrick Olliffe, Inks Jerry Ordway, Colors Hi-Fi. It is a shame that Rick Remender was on this book for only two issues as he immediately zeroed in on what makes Booster work this time around. In two issues he crafted a great time travel story and introduced a ton of elements that could be used in future stories. DC needs to find Remender a book and let him run. He is doing tons off great work at Dark Horse and elsewhere and is obviously comfortable in the DC, using him to run out the Atom series and as a fill-in writer is a disservice to him and the fans.

Anna Mercury #4 (of 5) – Writer Warren Ellis, Art Facundo Percio. This was a strong issue of this series as we got to see Anna Mercury in her “real” life as Anna Britton. The contrast between how she is in our world and the role she plays as Anna Mercury in New Ataraxia was very cool. In the real world she comes across as a normal working person who exudes self confidence in what she knows and her abilities, but is very normal. Once she turns herself into Anna Mercury and is shot over into New Ataraxia she is basically a super human with limitations. This issue she goes back earlier then expected to New Ataraxia since the doomsday weapon she thought she destroyed wasn’t and she gets captured. This book is planned as a series of mini-series and I will be onboard for the next adventure.

Fallen Angel #31 – Writer Peter David, Art JK Woodward. The City of Life is a city inhabited by one man Nimrod, who is responsible for the Tower of Babel and his penance is an eternity in the City of Life. The object they need is a sword at the top of the tower. When Angel, Jude and Mariah get to the sword a fight breaks out between them over who should have it. We cut back to Nimrod and he has a knowing look, so you have to assume the sword is making them fight each other and the test to see if they are worthy maybe their ability not to kill each other. Fallen Angel has been a very good to at times excellent series during this arc.

Fables #78 – Writer Bill Willingham, Pencils Mark Buckingham, Inks Andrew Pepoy, Colors Lee Lougbridge. This book is doing a slow build as to a new growing menace that is forming. Geppetto talks about it this issue, that his sorcerers were powered by many other sources of dark magic that had been locked away at great cost to him and his armies. These powers are now being reawakened. Baba Yaga is loose, the witching cloak destroyed, a Mr. Dark has been set loose. The final bit of gathering darkness was Boy Blue loosing his arm in order to save his life. You are starting to get the feeling that while the Empire was a bad thing, toppling it without putting your own power into play maybe a worse situation. It is also different in that right now we do not have a central character as a focus point and we are watching the formation of what will be.

Batman Confidential #23 – Writer Andrew Kreisberg, Pencils Scott McDaniel, Inks Andy Owens, Colors I.L.L. This arc is well done, I think every writer wants to do a Joker story and this writer picked a good subject of what happens after the Joker is arrested for the first time. Since it is the first time the police have no idea what they are dealing with and think of him as more of a clown then anything else. This issue the officer whose wife killed herself due to what the Joker did is back to drinking. The Joker manages to kill the judge presiding over his case by getting a peanut in the judge’s drink kicking in his allergies.

Neozoic #7 (of 8) – Writer Paul Ens, Art J. Korim, Colors Jessie Lam. This is the first time I have seen this book say it is a mini-series. On one hand I’m upset as this world has so much potential and I want to see more then eight issues worth of stories. On the other hand if that means the product is re-tooled and comes out as a series of mini-series, but monthly, then that could be a good thing. This issue ends as Lilli is coming home to take back the city in front of a pack of dinosaurs.

Superman Batman vs Vampires and Werewolves #3 (of 6) – Writer Kevin VanHook, Art Tom Mandrake, Colors Nathan Eyring. This series continues to entertain as we see Batman is facing off against the un-dead and some sort of war between Vampires and Werewolves. While Superman is in the book, so is Green Arrow and Jason Blood this issue, so it is really a Batman story co-staring a lot of other DCU super heroes. I come into this series thinking it was a poor idea, but I have enjoyed it to date and Tom Mandrake’s art is perfect for this story.

Gravel #6 – Writer/Script – Warren Ellis, Script Mike Wolfer, Art Oscar Jimenez, Color Juanmar. I was almost ready to drop this book as it become the some formula ever issue and this issue it changes up and keeps me interested. Gravel has unwitting inherited Royston’s home and acolytes (the last of the minor seven he killed). As he tries to decide what to do with his new wealth he calls up the last of the minor seven and offers a truce and wants to set up a meeting as opposed to continuing the war. I’m back in on this series.

Fall of Cthulhu Godwar #3 (of 4) - Writer Michael Alan Nelson, Art Mark Dos Santos, Colors Renato Faccinia and Digikore Studios. While the format has been changed to a series of mini-series, this is really one long ongoing series that has always had one central theme and that was Arkham gathering his army to fight the elder gods. This issue we see Arkham and his misfit crew and forced recruits arrive at a city and I’m guessing this is where the fight starts. The series itself is very good, but the art while competent does not match the dark nature of the story and for me has muted my enjoyment of this series.

Hybrid #3 (of 4) – Writer Peter Kwong, Pencils Pablo Churin, Inks Mary Catoia, Colors Shiping Lee Studio. This has been a great little horror series. Our group of college students, who went on vacation, have been split up. Three captured by modern day pirates and one of a ship with a strange mutated beast that is actually fishing for humans. This series has solid artwork and a strong script that is giving us a monster movie type story, but with plenty of underlying themes and ideas that make the monster have a reason for being what it is as opposed to a mindless menace. An entertaining series that is worth your time to seek out.
Wolverine #69 – Writer Mark Millar, Pencils Steve McNiven, Inks Dexter Vines, Colors Morry Hollowell. A long wait between issue and this issue nothing happens. Wolverine saves Hawkeye, rides into a crater, fights some mole man flunkies and gets to a bar in Des Moines, Iowa and gets pissed off. Hawkeye asks what happened to make him this way and Wolverine says to sit down and I’ll tell you. I mean this issue was just stretched out storytelling at is worst and all set-up for the only reason I’m been reading so far and that is to see what reasoning Millar cooked up that would make Wolverine act against his nature.

Brit #9 – Writer Bruce Brown, Breakdowns Andy Kuhn, Pencil and Inks Nate Bellegarde, Colors FCO Plascencia. Well the announcement has been made that Brit is ending with issue #12 and I can understand why. To me the series started off too slow and the lag time between issues hurt the book. Strangely enough I think the series was just coming on strong recently and I have enjoyed it more then ever. This issue as Brit and friends are trying to fight an alternative Earth foe and we find out it is another Brit.

Trinity #24 – Front Story Writer Kurt Busiek, Pencils Mark Bagley, Inks Art Thibert, Colors Pete Pantazis, Back-Up Writers Kurt Busiek & Fabian Nicieza, Art Tom Derenick & Wayne Faucher, Colors Allen Passalaqua. – This issue the JSI members start to realize the world is wrong. The back up shows Despero and Kanjar Ro maybe teaming up and headed toward Earth. The problem with Trinity is that it is not what it was advertised to be. This is not about Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, but about what they mean to the multi-verse and that story is a story about the entire JLA. So fans have to be upset when the book they were buying no longer has the big three in it. That’s why they were sold on trying the book out.

Manhunter #36 – Writer Marc Andreyko, Art Michael Gaydos, Colors Jose Villarrubia. Manhunter’s case wraps up as she switches from super hero to lawyer and starts a lawsuit to take down a major corporation called Vesetech, which has tentacles everywhere. She is filing a class action lawsuit and does a press conference to level all of her charges against this mega-corporation. By doing what she knows to be the right thing she has made an enemy of Amanda Waller and lost her backing from DEO and Mr. Bones. A shame this series will not survive, but it was always on life support and this story and art team was not going to generate new readers, especially without doing a new #1.

Titans #7 – Writer Judd Winick, Pencils Julian Lopez, Inks Bit, Colors Edgar Delgado. The art is helping a lot in allowing me to continue on this book. Also the story is better then the first arc. This issue Jericho shows up and is stuck in Match’s body. The Titans try to help up, but Match breaks loose and is kicking everyone’s a**. Finally they get Jericho out and discover he is the bad guy. The lights go out and when they come back on Jericho appears to be gone, but has obviously taken over one of the Titans. A good solid super-hero adventure and a good cliff hanger to bring us back for issue #8.

Grimm Fairy Tales #32 – Writers Ralph Tedesco & David Seidman, Modern Day Art Dave Hoover, Past Art David Seidman, Colors Garry Henderson & Nei Ruffino. This was not a bad ending to this story. We find out that the Pinocchio from the old days is the same boy from today. This book has always been an odd book on my list because it does have flaws, but the good girl artwork and quick reading stories have made it a good change of pace book, but lately I have been thinking of dropping it. Now I see where it will be crossing over into 1001 Arabian Nights series that I have already dropped. I should drop this series, but I not going to yet and I have no solid reason for why.

Green Arrow Black Canary #14 – Writer Judd Winick, Pencils Mike Norton, Inks Wayne Faucher, Colors David Baron. The JLA and Dr. Midnight check out Connor and declare him okay, he just now heals quickly and can tolerate a lot of pain. Ollie takes him home and finds out Connor can no longer shoot an arrow at all and was worse then a novice at it. As Ollie contemplates what this development means, Connor disappears and beats the crap out of some drug dealers. Ollie and Connor talk and realize that Connor has to build a new life and what that will be no one knows and so ends Judd Winick’s run on Green Arrow and Black Canary, adding in the GA run Judd was apparently on GA for five years. What I walked away from is that someone does not want the second generation heroes being front and center and now Green (Connor) Arrow will not be the second Green Arrow. All the work to make Connor, Kyle and Wally the new Flash, GL and GA has been wiped away and I think DC is poorer for it.

Last Reign : Kings of War #1 (of 5) – Out of a bunch of new series that came out I almost kept this one on my list, but the story was so derivative of many others that I never got pulled into the story. The artwork was decent, but the color palette was too light for this type of story and that was the final negative that caused me to drop this series also. Cancelled.

Sir Apropos of Nothing #1 (of 5) – Writer Peter David, Art Robin Riggs.Cancelled. Nothing was wrong with this book per say and the art in fact was very good, it was just the type of story the Peter wanted to achieve was not something that I enjoy. It is a tongue in check adventure story that missed the mark for my taste.

Galveston #1 (of 4) – This was supposed to be by Tom Peyer and Mark Rahner with art by Greg Scott. Tom and Mark are listed as plotters only and Greg Scott only did 8 pages. Something happened here and I don’t know what but the book falls apart in my opinion and the art after Scott is rough. Shame as I loved the premise. Cancelled.

Dreamer #1 – This appears to be a cute teen-age chick flick. I was pretty sure this was not up my alley, but gave it a whirl. Cancelled.

My recommendation of this week for the book not enough of you have probably tried is The Cleaners from Dark Horse. This book has an interesting premise, a well written story, great characterization and some very solid artwork from what is a new talent. It is only a four issue mini-series so to try it out you are not making a huge commitment and I guarantee it is better then many of the Marvel and DC super hero mini-series on the stands.


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  2. My favorite last week was Fables. Just when we thought things were settled down, everything gets worse! And I can't wait for a Baba Yaga/Frau Tottenkinder rematch!

  3. Vaneta - I liked Fables also and it is building up nicely again. We needed a new problem to be dealt with and this looks to be a good one as it can be happening on many worlds.

  4. I am now really excited for Nightwing #50