Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Best to Worst of Last Week

This was a different kind of week of comics. Some fairly good books a couple of drops, but nothing was “blow me away” great. Of course as I type this I’m suffering from a Ravens lose as the Bengals beat us 27-20, still an entertaining game and you can’t turn the ball over 6 times and expect to win. I still think the Ravens can be 11-5 or 10-6, even with one of the tougher schedules in the league.

Daredevil Battlin’ Jack Murdock #4 (of 4) – Terrific ending for what appeared to be a throw away mini-series. At the end we learn Jack sleeps with this girl Josie, so Matt could have a half-sibling. The main part is how Jack knows he could win the fight but is ready to throw it to protect his son. Jack sees Matt with a black eye and puts it all together and realizes his son can take care of himself and decides to win the fight to reclaim a part of his soul that he sold. As he dies he laughs at the thought of these killers going after Matt, because he knows Matt can take them. Really well done and a great ending.
Action Philosophers #9 The Lighting Round – Wonderful end to one of the best comic series ever published. Entertaining and educational. Looking forward to Action Presidents.
Detective #836 – Really great two part story about the Scarecrow and his new low-tech approach to fear. Detective has really done a great job of reviving a multitude of Batman’s rogues gallery.
Exterminators #21 – This series gets better and better. The battle versus the Mayan Hissers is just one story going on among many. A highly recommended series from Vertigo.
Jonah Hex #23 – I don’t care if you hate DC, but if you like Westerns, like hard boiled morally ambiguous action heroes, this is the book for you.
30 Days of Night Red Snow #1 (of 3) – Ben Templesmith gives us a prequel to his and Steve Niles original series. Nazi and vampires work thanks the Ben’s writing and art. Can’t wait for next issue.
City of Others #4 (of 4) – The whole series is just the opening chapter in the story of Blud, a stone cold killer who comes to know what being alive means, know that he is an undead vampire. Steve Niles and Bernie Wrightson did a great job and I hope we see more of this story in the future.
Scalped #9 – This arc has been told in one issue stories that are focusing on individual characters. I assume it will all tie together in the end, but each issue has been well done and has a very cool vibe to them.
Faker #3 (of 6) – I almost dropped this book as the first issue made no sense and I think it will play out better as a graphic novel, but Mike Carey has some really wild stuff about memory going on here, ably supported by Jock.
Sorrow #1 (of 4)- Really good start to this series. The black and white art probably works better for this horror/ghost story. Four people ride into a town and crash their car. It appears that at least the driver should have died, but did not. The whole town is creepy and you not 100% sure what the heck is going on.
Strange Embrace #4 (of 8) – David Hines seminal work as writer and artist is so damn eerie and downright perverse, yet it contains to draw you in and you wonder about these characters and their lives. Well done and horrifying in a almost real way.
Hulk #110 – Very cool how Amadeus Cho figures out how the Hulk does not kill and that he won’t kill him either. The first issue of the regular series that added value to the WW Hulk mini-series.
Lobster Johnson #1 (of 5) – Starts off with a bang and never lets up. Mignola’s pulp noir world visits pre-WW II with this tale and it does a great ob. Has an almost Jules Verne feel to some of it.
Outsiders #50 – This issue starts the beginning of the new direction for the book. Curious to see why Batman has formed the Outsiders and is intent on making them Outlaws.
Atom #15 – Glad to see that he has split off from the “Search for Ray Palmer” story. Ryan is too new to get mired down into a cross-over story that could take 6 more months. Good issue and Atom is back on track.
Frank Frazetta’s Death Dealer #4 (of 6) – Good art, nice barbarian/medieval sword & sorcery saga all based on Frazetta’s painting.
Nightwing #136 - Good issue and the new Vigilante is interesting. This has been the best arc on Nightwing since Dixon left the book.
Black Canary Wedding Planner – For all my trepidations, this was just a plain old fun book. The whole marriage feels contrived, but the books surrounding it have all been solid entertainment.
Annihilation Conquest: The Wraith #3 (of 4) – I’m really getting a kick out of this character way more then I should. I just like that he seems to be able to kick almost anyone ass when he decided to really turn on his power.
Infinity Inc. #1 – Went in with low expectations and this book easily surpassed those. Curious to see where we are going as the first issue was dealing with the ex-members of Luthor’s Infinity Inc. group and how they are dealing with there apparent lose of powers.
Supergirl #21 – Essentially a filler issue, but since it had Karate Kid and one of Triplicate Girl’s bodies as guest stars I enjoyed it. It was really more of a Karate Kid story. I have figured out that Tony Bedard is DC’s pitch hit guy. We need a writer for “x” number of issues until the new team is ready and then Tony is writing it. He does a great group in adding a touch to the characters, finding their voices and still leaving the character ready for the new team.
Snakewoman Tales of the Snake Charmer #3 – This arc on the book is nowhere near as good as the first mini-series. I’m starting to fall off this book.
Madam Mirage #2 – Starting to get into this book, but the cartoon like boobs are just distracting. Voluptuous woman are one thing, this is just insane.
Uncanny X-Men #490 – Okay story, but Larocca’s photo references for these characters is annoying as they already had strong facial structures well established and it feels wrong.
She-Hulk #21 – An okay ending to Dan Slott’s run on this book. A little contrived, but it got the book back to a blank slate format to allow the new writer a chance to do what every they want.
Midnighter #11 – Fun to learn what Midnighter was before he was Midnighter, but I have forgotten exactly why he went on this quest/mission.
Metal Men #2 (of 8) – Not bad so far, but way over written. Sometimes when an artist is the writer he forgets to let the art convey the story.
Amazing Spider-Man #544 – The beginning of the “One More Day” storyline sets it up as Aunt May dying, but I still think it is about the break up with MJ. First issue was just boring. The emotional context for this series seems to be lost for me.
Countdown #34 – An okay issue, but still moving way too slow.
Steve Niles Strange Cases #1 – It did not work for me and I’m dropping the book. 16 pages for $2.50 did not please me either. The story was all set-up and the art a little too light in style (almost an animation) for the subject matter.
Star Trek Year Four #2 – This book is so much like the original series that is feels trite and outdated. Steve Conley’s art looks a little amateurish also. I dropped it.
White Tiger #6 (of 6) – Poor writing, so-so art, very forgettable.

As I said an unusual week of books, but all in all entertaining. Two cuts from my list and the end of two mini-series, one ending made the top of the list and one made the bottom. A nice touch of symmetry.


  1. Even though I've never read a whole lot of Spiderman, it makes me sad that they might be splitting up Peter Parker and Mary Jane. He's been one of Mike's favorite characters for years, and I always thought it was cool that at least one popular hero had a lasting, fairly healthy relationship. It just won't be the same if they really do have them split up.

  2. If they split I'm guessing they'll get back together but I agree. It may be old school, the idea of a long lasting relationship, but I find it comforting. Do I really need comfort in my comic books? Uh...yeah...in some of them I do.

  3. I spent a lot of time talking with Steve Conley at the Comic-con this weekend. He's been doing sketches for me for the past 2 years. He's really a nice guy. We talked at length about the new Star Trek book. I thought issue 2 was much better than issue 1. He explained that he's following the script he's given. As a writer himself, he doesn't want to rewrite the script or be too pushy. He's made some suggestions, when things were really "off". We both thought the ending of issue 2 was a little too quickly resolved, leaving the reader a bit confused as to who's on what side. They allowed him to open up a bit on that grenade two-page spread. He said he had a real tough time getting Spock to look right lobing the grenade at McCoy. I'm not sure if it's called out in the script or not, but I like how each scene is a different camera shot. He could easily take the cheap way out and just do the same talking heads, but changing the perspective keeps the eye entertained. Seeing the original inks in black and white - you can appreciate more how good he is. In the first issue especially, he wasn't sure how the colorist was going to fill stuff in. So, he's putting in more blacks to keep his contrasts in, but still leaving room for the colorist to do his thing. It is a more simplified style, but the storytelling is good. I think the script is where a lot of the problems are cropping up. But it will probably get better as they work together more. He's a huge Trekkie himself. I had him draw me a quick sketch of Spock trapped inside a Mego toy blister card. It's cool, maybe I'll get him to ink it next year or at SPXPO.

    Oh, Gordon Purcell is pencilling the third issue, not Steve.

  4. Arielle - I have a healthy relationship - I can be Mike's hero.

    Todd - I took great comfort from Alien Pig Farm.

    Matt - Thanks for the insights into that book. I'm still dropping it, but nice to know what's going on.

  5. Jim,

    Thanks for the review. Sorry it wasn't your cup of tea.

    Just to clear up what Matthew said...

    Nothing in the scripts, in my mind, has ever been "off" (I've passed along the odd uber-trekker nitpicks but that's just me. :) ) and as I mentioned to Matthew, I think Dave Tischman has a real sense of the original series and captures it well. Every issue is another attempt to make sure I serve the script a bit better and send along the best possible art to Len O'Grady to color.

    Thanks again for trying the book and for sharing your thoughts.

    Best wishes!

    -- Steve

  6. Steve - I enjoyed Astounding Space Stories (I beleive that was the title), but this book actually feels just like the TV show from the sixties and for me that just lacks something. I think it needed to be given a more modern edge. Hope the book does well.

  7. Haha, I didn't segue very well in my comment - Mike likes Spiderman for whatever myriad reasons Mike likes Spiderman - I was simply commenting on an aspect of the character that *I* appreciated.

    That being said, I'll still let Mike know that you've offered to be his hero. He may require that you dress in a costume and wisecrack while fighting mutant villains before he'll take you up on it, though. =D

  8. Airielle - I could do that.