Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Best and Worst of Last Week

I’m trying to limit my commentary which means the Quick Hit section will be changing to include fewer books. I find that this column gets to long and I went to Best/Worst to shorten it and then I noticed I was starting to comment on every book. I have to curb my need to remark on every book. Often a book comes out and it was a good episode of the book, but really needs no commentary. If I really love it or hate it will make the best or worst list. Still I want to leave the option to make remarks on books that I think have some merit for commentary, like with the Authority the Lost Year #3, now issue #4 of that book could be good, but if some surprising cool thing or bad thing did not happen, then I need to leave it alone.


Realm of Kings One-Shot – Writer Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, Art Leonardo Manco and framing sequence Mahmud Asrar, Colors Bruno Hang. This issue gave us a great menace that has potential to allow this series to grow beyond just the cosmic side of the Universe and if they want it could lead to a major showdown with all of Earth’s heroes. The short story is Quasar enters “The Fault” which is the rift in time and space created at the end of the War of Kings. When he enters the Fault he crosses over in another universe and runs into an alternative version of the Avengers. In this reality the Avengers have given themselves up to a Cthulhu type creature. (A quick side note it is amazing how often Lovecraft themes stray into comics and I often wonder how many have read the source material.) As they have drained this Universe they are in need of a fresh place to exploit and have decided to use Quasar as a guide. Quasar escapes and we are not sure if it is our Quasar or the bad guys version who makes it to Earth, since he has the red eyes as all the evil Avengers did. The story has more elements then what I have mentioned, but with Manco's terrific art on the heart of the story it looks as good and these evil Avengers have a creepy vibe to them. All in all I hope this story line is followed in at least GOTG. I have a feeling that the Realm of Kings is going to build up to a major mini-series next year as many of these story lines have kicked off and then gone into mini-series which lead up to the main story after those series are over.

Invincible #68 - Writer Robert Kirkman, Pencils Ryan Ottley, Inks Cliff Rathburn, Colors FCO Plascencia. In order to understand one of my main reasons for liking this book is we only have to start with the first page. We see Invincible trying to clean up some site that was destroyed when his doppelgangers wrecked a lot of the planet. He has braces on various body parts, which are obviously casts for a super hero as he is still recovering from his battle with Conquest. Everything that had happened in the last eight issues or so, were being reflected in the splash panel opening the book. Invincible is them attacked by Dinosaurus, a talking thinking Dinosaur creature, that we find out is just a teen-age kid who claims he is not controlling the transformations. The character is at once ridiculous and also a cool little one off menace. In a short four page fight Kirkman gives us a character we could see again and he could be a bad or good guy. What he did was show was Mark (Invincible) Grayson’s dark side as Mark was contemplating killing Dinosaurus when he was human. From there we see Mark suffering through meeting Eve’s parents. Those scenes were great human interest pieces filled with humor and show the growing relationship with Mark and Eve. We see Mark and Eve out selling Invincible as a service so Mark can make money on his own now that he is no longer government funded. See my full review here.


Punisher #11 - Writer Rick Remender, Art Tony Moore, Colors Dan Brown. I love having fun with characters and having humor in many books is a good thing. Hercules from Marvel does a great job with humor and Power Girl from DC is a book where humor is sprinkled throughout the book and it works well. Even books like the Giffen/Dematteis JLA did a good job with humor. Humor can be found in all sorts of books and situations and you can have a funny page on page one and a serious encounter by page three and it can work, but it has to be within the context of the character and still show the character some respect. The FrankenCastle story is a joke, but it is on us. The Punisher at its core is an over the top concept, but you have to approach the character with some respect. Frank is human and does what he does because he believes that killing the bad guys is the only way to stop them. Given what happened to him we can at a minimum understand why he believes what he does is right. Maybe we also have a secret fantasy that his way is the right way because we see miscarriages of justice occur in our legal system and want to forget that we rather err on the side of caution to protect people then kill everyone and let God sort it out. See my full review here.


Adventure Comics #4 – I understand the charm in trying to have a self referential work, but this was just too cute. I’d rather have had more of Conner Kent as opposed to Superboy Prime on Earth Prime. The Legion of Super Heroes back up feature is the only thing that saved this book from being a worst of book. I loved the whole set-up of the former White Witch and Blok, plus the Wildfire / Dawnstar relationship was well defined.

Authority The Lost Year #3 (of 12) – I was worried that I would not be able to get into this story, but after three issues it has really gotten my interest. We are suckered into thinking we are on our own Earth or something but the twist is they are on an Earth that is ruled by Cthulhu. The Authority’s power is not as great as they supposedly should not exist in this reality. Will they try to save the world or just escape from it.
Brave and Bold #29

Cowboy Ninja Vikings #2 – The second issue was good, but the single color tone being an almost pink did not work like the light blue did last time. I’m enjoying this madcap adventure and love Riley Rossmo’s artwork. The art seems to be even more glorious given the larger golden age size canvas. I don’t know if it would work better for everyone, but I’m hoping more people try this size more often. As a four issue mini-series I think this will be a blast, as a long term ongoing series I don’t know if the gimmick of the triplets last forever and what type of world would need to build to keep Duncan entertaining. Some concepts lend themselves to unlimited storylines, this concept seems limited to a few adventures, but I’m in for the long haul and willing to be proved wrong.

Dark Avengers #11 – This was a strong issue where we get to see the Molecule Man show off his power. Of course there is no team, just people that he has created to be his friends. I’m curious to see where this goes, especially as I’m unfamiliar with the Molecule Man’s current history, he seems mentally unstable, but has godlike power, so where has he been? Even though I have enjoyed the last two issues of this book the Dark Reign concept needs to end, it has more then run its course. It appears Siege will be the end of the concept, but even Siege is too far away and the Siege series runs till April.

Farscape Ongoing #1 – Just a continuation from the last mini-series. As a fan of the show I can only tell you they have captured the essence of that show and continued on with it. If you were a Farscape fan and you are not getting this book, you are making a mistake.

Flash Rebirth #5 (of 6) - Lots of new costumes, bigger boobs for Liberty Belle and some more time travel confusion, but I liked it more then I have. It is doing some good ground work in setting the foundation for who Barry is and giving us the full Flash family type of stuff. In trying to rebuild the Flash franchise Johns is breaking some eggs and it is a little messy, but the ultimate outcome maybe very good, the next issue should give us a final answer.

Irredeemable #8 - Writer Mark Waid, Art Peter Krause, Colors Andrew Dalhouse. For seven issues we have been learning about the Plutonian and all the secrets behind what have driven him over the edge. We learned about his super hearing allowing him to hear the jeers as well as the cheers, the whispers about him thought to be behind his back. This was a nice little thing to throw out there because everybody is ripped behind their back by acquaintances and co-workers. Often it is in fun, but it maybe mean spirited and if we heard all these things it might eat away at us.We learned that his girl friend rejected him. He had hidden his secret identity away from her and when he finally revealed who he was, she freaked out and walked away. We have been trained to expect the girl to swoon and love that it is the hero, but in real life the reaction was more natural. She had been falling in love with a façade and not a real person, the trust had been broken. She was not going to jump into bed and be happy after finding out the man she loved, was not who she thought he was. Michael Corleone’s wife was not too happy either once she found out he never stopped being part of the family. We learned how his sense of duty and his super senses never allowed him to get a moment’s rest. I know when I’m constantly pushed that I start to lose perspective on things and something small can make me angrier then it should. See my full review here

Realm of Kings Inhumans #1 (of 5) - This was a good start to this series. Medusa is carrying on as Queen, but refuses to accept Black Bolt is dead. She also is holding the position in place until her and Black Bolt’s son is ready to be King, so she is accepting of her role. The duality is well played. We also get to see why there are advantages to the Inhumans ruling and we get a glimpse of the Blastarr issue on one of the rim worlds. DnA have given us a better galactic empire then any other Marvel writer has done. It has the politics, the action and the character development all in one great package. Two minor quibbles, one seeing Maximus covet the crown has been done to death and the $4 price tag, guarantee to keep some readers away.

Supergirl #47 – This was totally a story about Supergirl’s mother Alura. She is given a lot of depth of character as both a person and someone who is the acting ruler of New Krypton. We see how much see loves her deceased husband and what she has to do regardless of that love to do what she thinks is best to protect New Krypton. The story revolves around the trial of Reactron and his trial is used to gives us the various insights into Alura’s character. After reading this issue I could enjoy a New World of Krypton series, but New Krypton needs to be moved to a new solar system.

That wraps up this week. Tomorrow a ton of new books come out and I hope to have time to at least put up a Blackest Night #5 review.

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