Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Week of February 16 in Review

Another huge week of books for me and I have to say that I’m now looking forward to the five week month of March so I have some weeks that are not killer. I have realized if I really reduce the hard covers that I get I can easily afford to still read a lot of the monthly titles. As I type this I’m about halfway through and it has been a very good week of comics.

A quick side note and a commentary, just by what it is, about our society and what passes for news. When I signed onto one of my e-mail accounts I see the Comcast home page. Today (Sunday) two of the top four headlines, “Asteriods on Collision Course?” and "Aubrey’s dress goes too far". Obviously these are stories of equal weight. I had no clue who Aubrey O’Day was but enjoyed her images on Google.

Wonder Woman #607 – Writers J. Michael Straczynski & Phil Hester, Pencils Don Kramer with Eduardo Pansica, Inks Owens, Parsons & Ferreira

What I Liked – I like this version of Wonder Woman. It has taken a few issues to come together but this Wonder Woman is one that I find I enjoy reading about. This issue she fights her way though some animated skeletons and a Minotaur, but her safe house and sisters are being killed by the bad guys. Still not 100% sure about the whole set up, but once we are through this one year storyline I hope she remains this Wonder Woman, She is more of a young woman learning the way of the world and not the old version of the character that has no real identity.

What I Didn’t Like – The publishing schedule has been erratic and the art team can’t make a deadline to save their soul, both hurt the flow of the story.

Justice League of America #54 – Writer James Robinson, Pencils Brett Booth, Inks Norm Rapmund

What I Liked – The issue was devoted to the newest incarnation of Eclipso and it was an effective build up of the menace that the JLA will have to face. It is the first JLA story in a long time that has my interest and saved me from canning this book off my list.

What I Didn’t Like – Brett Booth’s art is just off and weird in my opinion. The bodies are oddly elongated at times, the natives are running around in gym shorts and Eclipso is bare-chested for no reason.

Captain Wonder 3-D #1 – Writer Brain Haberlin, Art Phillip Tan

What I Liked – I loved the concept that the biggest super hero is a robot that needs a child to run it. The art that I could see was Tan’s best work ever; I can see why he has missed other deadlines as it looks like this has gotten his best effort. The story itself was wonderful as it was filled with the young boy’s enthusiasm and wonder as he is drawn into becoming his hero.

What I Didn’t Like – 3D comics don’t work for me and it is frustrating. Number one the new lights we are all almost forced to use suck for reading and trying to wear 3D goggles while trying to read the comic is next to impossible. It killed me on this comic as the story itself is a great one and I really want to follow it, but the 3D stuff is too problematic with glasses. I guess I need to get a pair of reading glasses and have them turned into 3D glasses.

Amazing Spider-Man #654.1 – Writer Dan Slott, Pencils Humberto Ramos, Inks Carlos Cuevas

What I Liked – It was a very good Venom story that sets up the new status quo for the character (being Flash Thompson) and does a lot of plotting and characterization. I had heard that John Jameson was going to be the new Venom in Rick Remender’s mini-series and I still think they may be true. Either way this was a great prelude to the new Venom series and certainly has me interested in getting more.

What I Didn’t Like – It was not even a Spider-Man story. The .1 initiative has been marketed by Marvel as a jumping on point for new readers. Well I’m not buying the .1 unless I get the books and so far these have been rock solid good one issue stories, but have offered very little for bringing in new readers. I don’t feel ripped off or anything because they have been $3 books that are entertaining, but I can understand if a casual fan feels ripped off or at least suckered by a false marketing pitch.

GI Joe Cobra #13 – Writers Mike Costa & Christos Gage, Art Chee & Antino Fuso

What I Liked – The entire story line with Chuckles was fantastic and this book was never suppose to be an ongoing, so they ended it with a heck of a bang. It was a Warren Ellis type of ending with a nuke putting the final touches on everyone dying. What I loved about this series is that it was a psychological drama as much as anything. I felt they were just scratching the surface of perception versus reality and what one needs to become to be a true double agent. Still I have been around comics long enough to know be happy with what we got and this series was very enjoyable.

What I Didn’t Like – The series ending. There goes my relationship with the GI Joe world of comics.

Brightest Day #20 – Writers Geoff Johns & Peter Tomasi, Art Ivan Reis & Joe Prado with Diverse Hands on Inks

What I Liked – I have enjoyed the Aquaman segments of this series and this issue was devoted to Aquaman. They have built up a good characterization for Aquaman, shown why he is one of the more powerful heroes and have established a great supporting cast and some interesting plotlines. Of course they kill him at the end of the issue. DC said dead is now dead, yet I know he is coming back by the end of the series. If he doesn’t come back they wasted a lot of energy building something they will be left unused.

What I Didn’t Like – The killing off (of course it will be said they were not dead, drawn into the white light or some garbage explanation) of all the characters we have invested almost one year in. Plus the entire series has been a treadmill with few real resolutions of anything.

Jennifer Blood #1 – Writer Garth Ennis, Art Adriano Batista

What I Liked – This is almost a light hearted book about a wife and Mom who sidelines as a violent vigilante. I enjoyed this quite a bit, if nothing else from the absurdity of the story. This is a Mom who drugs her family so she can dress up in black leather, dark wig and then strapped on some guns to take out a bunch of bad guys. Her motivations for doing this have yet to be laid out, but the story has plenty of potential.

Side Note: Certain stories could only work as a comic book and this is one of them.

What I Didn’t Like – The art is a little on the cartoony side of things and my preference for this style of series would be for someone closer to the realistic side of things, but it is a minor quibble.

Thunderbolts #153 – Writer Jeff Parker, Pencils Kev Walker, Inks Jason Gorder

What I Liked – The group is just a lot of fun. Parker excels in taking essentially obscure characters and making them work as a group. If I can’t have Agents of Atlas anymore this will have to serve as my favorite Jeff Parker book. I just loved this issue when Ghost helped revive Moonstone and Songbird with mouth to mouth resuscitation, very funny stuff. Kev Walker’s quirky pencils fit the tone of this book, plus Kev is a strong layout artist and choreographs great fight scenes. Constant betrayals from inside the group make sure that we know the team consist of mainly bad guys.

What I Didn’t Like – Nothing really, a strong series.

Uncanny X-Force #5 – Writer Rick Remender, Pencils Esad Ribic, Inks John Lucas

What I Liked – It was sort of a Fantomex issue as we got into the strange life that he lives. I got the feeling a lot of this was playing off his established history, which I really know very little about. It appears the next menace for X-Force will be a group of alternative versions of various Marvel characters who are cyborgs. It was odd seeing Deadpool being sane, I actually find I like this version of the character.

What I Didn’t Like – Opena only was able to do four issues before needing to have a break from the book. Ribic is decent, but still I miss Opena.

Green Lantern #62 – Writer Geoff Johns, Pencils Doug Mahnke

What I Liked – I love Mahnke’s artwork and the guy is a pro who can deliver a monthly book. The actual story finally put some closure to the New Guardians storyline and yet never gave us New Guardians.

What I Didn’t Like – This arc felt like it was rather pointless and overly long to get us from Blackest Night to War of the Green Lanterns. These events need to have some meaning to the overall series for me to feel like this is some purposes to everything being done outside the eight series of action figures. Finally Hal Jordon almost doesn’t exist anymore and Johns actually recognized that this issue.

Fables #102 – Writer Bill Willingham, Pencils Mark Buckingham, Inks Steve Loialoha

What I Liked – The Dark Man is pushing in on Fly’s kingdom and the group has to fight back or else lose to the Dark Man. The Dark Man has been such a great adversary and how they won and then lost against him in issue #100 was great. Now they are putting together a strike team and dressing up as super heroes to feed on that mythology. This series has been and continues to be very good. It has been around so long and so consistent in its quality I think I take it for granite.

What I Didn’t Like – Nada.

Mighty Sampson #2 – Writer Jim Shooter & JC Vaughn, Art Patrick Olliffe

What I Liked – What a great cover by Raymond Swanland. The story itself is fast paced and engaging. Sampson is a straight forward guy and has a childlike innocence in his manner and bearing. Olliffe is inking himself or they are shooting from his pencils, either way the scratchy feel to his art works great with this story.

What I Didn’t Like – The dialogue seems a little stilted at times and I’m not sure if it is intentional to give us a different feeling for when we are or if it is just something that is off with the book.

Side Notes – The Gold Key books coming out from Dark Horse under Jim Shooter’s pen and direction are highly entertaining. The scheduling has been sporadic but all of the books are fun. I’m enjoying Sampson and Turok more than Dr. Solar and Magnus, but that is probably more of a “been there done that” with the latter two characters. I’m also surprised to see Jim Shooter with a co-writer on Sampson.

Cyclops #4 (of 8) – Writer Matz, Art Luc Jacamon

What I Liked – The concept and the story is just great. It is exploring the themes of private armies running war operations, reality television and what goes on beneath the surface. By setting it in 2054 it escapes making specific targets of anyone that maybe in existence today, yet like all good science fiction makes the future illustrate points about things that are wrong today. Given my political leanings which are somewhere in the Ron Paul category and firmly against the military industrial complex we have built, this book plays into my wheelhouse. Jacamon’s art always delivers the story and makes what could be a book that is overly dry have plenty of life. Of course the sex scenes keep things lively also. Doug Pistoia, our point of view character, is now in a very precarious situation and could lose everything.

What I Didn’t Like – That the hardcover version is only collection two issues of the series at a time, horrible way to have to keep it in my collection and as much as I love this stuff I will pass.
That wraps up this week. This was a very good week of comics with GI Joe Cobra and Cyclops being a couple of my absolute favorites.


  1. My first inclination was to just blame you for wasting 5 minutes of my life while I figured out who Aubrey O'Day is. Then I learned you live in a parallel universe where you're forced to use dim lighting. Or are you living in the Mole Man's kingdom? Hope it's not the dull one of the comic strip.

  2. The creative team (minus Gage) from Cobra will be doing a new Cobra book. They're just relaunching it. It'll still be AWESOME.