Monday, December 20, 2010

The Week of December 15 in Review

Christmas is only a week away as I type the beginning of this post. What that means is less time to do the post justice. Therefore it maybe a little brief regarding the plus and minus of the books and it might be a thinner week in what gets chosen or heck even read.

Next Men #1 – Writer/Artist John Byrne

What I Liked – It was fun seeing all of these characters again and the way John did it allowed me to remember bits and pieces of the whole story. The art was some of the best stuff from Byrne I have seen in a long time. There have been times where I thought Byrne had become a shadow of his former self, but this book was well done.

What I Didn’t Like – Dreams within dreams within dreams. What is real and what is not real was overdone. At this point I have no clue what of the original series was real and therefore why should I trust the ending of this issue. I will give it a couple of issues but if I invest time in something I want to be able to eventually know the “truth” or the reality of the character involved.

Mouse Guard The Black Axe #1 (of 6) – Writer/Artist David Petersen

What I Liked – It is all David Petersen. Tales of the Mouse Guard was a nice diversion and some of the material was very good, but Petersen brings his creation to life better than anyone else. The opening chapter in The Black Axe saga was a good one. I enjoyed the ability of a mouse being able to talk to the other animals. Petersen imbues the mice with such humanity that you forget that they are mice at all.

What I Didn’t Like – Zilch, an excellent book the way it is.

Batman #705 – Writer/Artist Tony Daniel

What I Liked – Tony’s pencil work is very strong and the art looked very good.

What I Didn’t Like – Way too much is going on and way too much explanation of everything that is going on. Then we got Enigma – shades of Cat Girl. What is Tony doing? This book is reading more like Batman Odyssey with each issue. Tony, as he did on his last arc, is trying to tell too many stories at the same time. We have the Beholder mask; we have Sensei coming back from the dead, I-Ching showing up and Riddler acting like a criminal again with his daughter? I think Tony has some good ideas, but he needs a stronger editor to rein him in and/or a co-writer to help him understand how to tell a story better.

Black Panther The Man Without Fear #513 – Writer David Liss, Art Francesco Francavilla

What I Liked – Francavilla did a nice job and his dark palette for colors keeps this book having a solid noir look. It is nice to see Francesco all of sudden getting some attention by Marvel and DC. I’m also happy to see David Liss at the helm of a book as I loved his Phantom Reporter story he did a while back for Marvel. Overall I thought the first issue roped me in enough to want to come back for the next issue.

What I Didn’t Like – David Liss got mired down in way too much exposition trying to explain why the heck the Black Panther was doing what he is doing. He even went so far as to explain why Storm will not be showing up. I never followed what has been happening with the Black Panther for a few years at Marvel so some catch up was nice but the book suffered from setting up why the Panther was doing this, where Matt went (already explained) and giving us a new villain and explaining all of his background. I’m willing to stick around but after this issue no more foundation work, let’s just get into the story.

Proof Endangered #1 – Writer Alex Grecian, Artist Riley Rossmo

What I Liked – I enjoyed seeing Proof again and I enjoy the Riley Rossmo art work. His scratchy almost gritty pencil work is always full of energy.

What I Didn’t Like – Somehow this series lost me along the way and I found this issue had too much going on. I believe hard core fans of the book are being rewarded with plenty of characters they know well, but for me I found it a little dense trying to get into this next chapter of Proof. I have enough affection for the series to continue on, but creators have to remember most readers don’t just follow just their comic.

Amazing Spider-Man #650 – Writer Dan Slott, Pencils Humberto Ramos, Inks Three People

What I Liked – I like that I like reading Spider-Man again. I’m slowly adjusting to the new reality after OMD and my not reading the book until Big Time. I’m okay if Peter is single, I believe his new girl friend needs to know his secret identity to get it over with, I like how Black Cat is being used and the newest Hobgoblin is a solid bad guy. The book is just a very good comic to read again.

What I Didn’t Like – Ramos’ work feels rushed and having three inkers seems to prove my point. Ramos always had a loose almost cartoony style but his slick layouts and great action scenes made up for any shortcomings in realism. This issue felt rushed and we are only three issues into the Big Time story. Hopefully the next issue was given more time and after that I believe we switch over to a different pencil artist for the next arc.

Uncanny X-Force #3 – Writer Rick Remender, Art Jerome Opena

What I Liked – Jerome Opena’s art gets better and better. He has a strong realistic style with an incredible amount of detail and line work. His layouts, panel design and storytelling ability is also excellent. Ever since I first saw his work on Fear Agent I have seen nothing but his work going from very good to great. The story is also well done. We got a two or three page background on the four horsemen and some great battle scenes. In what was a classic middle chapter book you were captivated by the plot moving forward and the additional background material. Remender is writing one of Marvel’s top books. I was wondering when he might break thru as he has had tons of great stories with Image and Dark Horse, but nothing from Marvel that was going to put him on the map. This has done it.

What I Didn’t Like – It was just fine the way it was.

As I said this is a short post for me this week (as compared to my other week in review posts). I had plenty more to say about other books but Christmas gets very busy and I had to watch the Ravens game (WE WON!). I cut the list down to books that get my attention in both bad and good ways. I will probably have a few other posts coming up, but the next two weeks maybe a little abbreviated for the week in review as work and home are busy during the holidays.

1 comment:

  1. One of the things that made Next Men so awesome was its crazy, unconventional storytelling. I haven't seen that from Byrne in forever. I thought it was the best thing he has done in years!

    Funny side note: he gave up Next Men when the crash happened in the 90's. Claimed creator-owned books couldn't be supported. (because he wasn't making the $ he used to.)

    Now after years of doing other people's characters he is back to his own and being extremely experimental. He's playing with storytelling. He did "this is not the real world" a long time before The Matrix." I'm really curious where he takes it.