Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Best to Worst of Last Week

This was a very strong week with a lot of books contending for the number one spot on my list. Also a surprising week in football as the Giants made it to the Super Bowl, unfortunately they look to make it there only to lose to the Patriots. The Ravens found a new head coach in an nice move by taking someone new to be a Head Coach as opposed to the normal retreads many teams try. I hope John Harbaugh has a long history here with the Ravens.

Fell #9 – Damn but this book only know how to hit home runs every time out. Ellis writes a great hostage situation that Fell injects himself into. The talk between Fell and the person taking hostages was great. The situation is resolved in a totally unexpected manner. Ellis is at his best. Ben Templesmith just floors me with his art. So many panels and so much crammed into each one.
Grendel Behold the Devil #3 (of 8) - – I love Matt Wagner’s work and the Hunter Rose
Grendel is such an ultra-cool bad guy that reading his stories is always a joy. This issue we find that it is not Argent that is stalking Grendel and we see that even Hunter Rose can be rattled by the unease that someone is watching him.
Penance Relentless #4 (of 5) - The title relentless describes the actions of Penance to an absolute “T”. He goes to battle Dr. Doom so he can get to Nitro. He sets up Doom so that if he beats him, Doom is exposed to the US for illegal actions that would allow his country to be invaded. Doom gives in to save his country and allows Penance to have Nitro. We end with Penance confronting Nitro. Add to this story the lush artwork of Paul Gulacy and you have a terrific issue.
Dominion #4 (of 5) - The action continues to build to the final issue as a CDC team makes it into the city. Officer Urbanski saves the day yet again from a super powered homeless alcoholic. With the threat of the city being nuked the team of doctors has 30 hours to cure the alien infection. We end with Officer Urbanski apparently getting the alien virus that creates super powered individuals whom all seem to go haywire. Michael Alan Nelson (writer) and Tim Hamilton (artist) are producing a top notch mini-series.
Umbrella Academy Apocalypse Suite #5 (of 6) - This quirky off kilter book continues to impress. Boy 5 is my favorite as his old age is hidden by being trapped as a boy. The mysteries surrounding him continue to grow. Vanya comes home this issue and kills poor Pogo (just cruel to kill the old chimp that way), so no one is safe in this book. I look forward to more stories about the Umbrella Academy after the first arc is over.
Atomic Robo #4 (of 6) - This book is flat out fun. This issue the Egyptian storyline is the framing device for a flashback to a “Top Secret” mission to Mars. Robo is asked to go as he does not need the same requirements a human would need, but boredom is still an issue. Anyway there is a great joke and payback between Stephen Hawking and Robo that is not to be missed. Adventure, story, characterization and wonderful artwork make this a “not to be missed” series. GOOD NEWS a second Atomic Robo series has already been announced.
Booster Gold #6 - This series continues to be one of DC’s biggest surprises. The book has solid story telling, very good super hero art and is light hearted, yet still tells powerful stories. For this episode how can you not smile seeing Booster and Blue Beetle together again.
Sword #4 - We are only 4 issues into the book and the book is moving at an incredible pace. Dara is starting to learn more and more about the sword’s powers. The series started with a bang and has not let up since then. Weaving in back story without the use of flashback as Dara and we start to piece together what the sword is and who her father was.
Strange Embrace #8 (of 8) - Alex is really quite the bastard and proves it this issue by killing Sukumar, who was the audience while he told the story of Anthony Corbeau. As I assumed no one made it out with a happy ending and I was sadden that Sukumar died. A very dark book about people who were all very tortured souls.
American Virgin #22 - It will be nice it they “allow” Adam to finally consummate the relation with his wife and end the book’s title being about him. Sad to see this book go Steven Seagle (writer) and Becky Cloonan (main artist) have done a great job. Series like this should be commissioned as trades only to see if they generate more success. Hate to see this series end.
Robin #170 - Nice start by Chuck Dixon and Chris Batista with an assist from Jamal Igle. In one issue Chuck Dixon brings back a cast member from his run, introduces a new foe for Robin and sets up a good arc. The artwork was strong and I like that Batista draws Tim like a 16/17 old should look as opposed to a the much shorter and almost middle school Robin that we had been seeing.
Immortal Iron Fist #12 - Decent issue, but this story is really dragging out too long and we have way too many storylines going on at once. Every time I read this book I think, I should get it as a trade.
Fear Agent #18 - As always a great comic. I love Jerome Opena’s art and Marsden’s colors are excellent. Remender is telling more of a straight story about Heath and he is less the drunken screw-up. Still a great book, just some change and growth in the central character.
Cemetery Blues #1 - This was a fun book. Two erstwhile monster hunters are taking orders from a ghost to track down his enemies. Both Mort and Falstaff enjoy drinking and seem to be somewhat slacker monster hunters. The story by Ryan Rubio and Thomas Boatwright is light hearted, especially considering the subject manner. Rubio’s script is well done and Thomas Boatwright’s art has the right touch of whimsy for the characters and yet is rich in background and details.
Shadowpact #21 - The adventures that split the two teams has now come back together and it looks like the unbound are going to be major trouble for the Shadowpact. Looking forward to next issue.
Resurrection #2 - This post apocalyptic tale is building up our cast slowly but surely. I like how the story is unfolding on both a large scale as to how Earth has survived as well as small scale in how our cast survived.
Countdown to Final Crisis #15 - Another decent issue as we learn what Ray has been up to, see the Kyle, Donna and Jason have some assertiveness and check in on Brother Eye.
Checkmate #22 - This was a strong issue showing how tough the newest Mademoiselle Marie is and how she earned her name.
Birds of Prey #114 - Sean McKeever is did a better this issue/ He already has a good handle on the characters. BOP seems to bring out the best in the writers. Oracle is trying to get some questions answered and pushing Misfit hard, Huntress and Zinda go drinking, Zinda runs into an old foe (who is also young) from WWII, lots of plot and character building. Nicole Scott and Doug Hazelwood do a nice job with the art.
Flash #236 - I read that Waid felt like he does not know what fans want today, but on Brave and Bold I love what he is doing, on Flash I think the choice of the odd aliens was the only problem. His interaction between characters and building of the family was terrific and I think the first arc really set the stage for this character for years to come.
Stranded #1 - Mike Carey gives us a sci-fi sage where a race of people have hidden as humans on Earth and even they do not know they are aliens. As the stranded are being killed one agent who is aware of who she is fights back and is trying to save them. A solid premise to start off this book with decent art by Siddharth Kotian.
Fallen Angel #23 - The “Red Horse” is coming to Bete Noire and is poised to take over the city. Angel is fighting them off, but it is not going very well for her as Mal is apparently betraying her. This is a good series and Peter David really seems to be enjoying writing this book.
Two Guns #5 (of 5) - This book had twists and turns galore and was always a fast paced and entertaining read. Get the trade and treat yourself to one of the best buddy movies yet to be made into a movie.
Justice League of America #17 - The first story by Alan Burnett (writer) and Ed Benes (art) is about a group of villains looking for the JLA to give them sanctuary from the Suicide Squad gathering up all the bad guys. Second feature Dwayne McDuffie and Jon Boy Meyer are examining what is going on with Vixen’s powers. Both were well done, but too short in a book that has so many characters to focus on.
Graveslinger #3 (of 4) - Frank Timmons (Graveslinger) ends up taking up the rancher’s (who was killed) fight. A few brave souls join to help him and as the battle begins the undead that Frank is chasing show up.
Catwoman #75 - Catwoman is on the prison world and while the story itself is an okay adventure, interrupting the normal flow of her comic for this just doesn’t work 100%.
76#1 (of 8) - This is a double feature book. Both features had some interesting set-up, but I will need another issue to determine how far I want to go on this series. The Jack Karma series by B. Clay Moore (writer) and Ed Tadem (artist) was all set-up, having a sixties Kung Fu hero decide to make a comeback to clean up unfinished business. “Cool” the second series is by writer Seth Peck and artist Tigh Walker was about a girl whose boy-friend gets killed in a drug deal and she takes off with the drugs and money and now has bad guys after her.
Incredible Hercules #113 - Hercules fights Wonder Man and Ares as Amadeus Cho tries to manipulate Hercules into attacking Shield. This has some nice elements to it with flashing back to Hercules early life and his 12 labors, but ultimately it is not yet really drawing me in. The art work by Khoi Pham and Paul Neary is well done. It will be funny if I drop the Hulk and keep on this book.
New X-Men #46 – This is the penultimate chapter to Messiah Complex, perhaps Messiah Confusing Overly Complex Morass may have been a better title, but unwieldy. Humberto Ramos is not the best artist stylistically for this type of book, they needed Geroge Perez, so when you are portraying 120 different characters it still works. The entire story has really fallen off the rails and I find I could care less about any of it. The amount of characters killed seemed high, but since they never stay dead it does not matter. I’m hanging around for a little while after this is over, but except for X-Factor I maybe X free from current continuity books. The last time the X-Men were really cool was Morrison’s run on the book.
Wildstorm Revelations #2 (of 6) - This is a decent series in writing and art, but still is going nowhere. We still have no idea of what is causing the oncoming Armageddon and are doing yet another tour of the Wildstorm Universe. First Captain Atom toured the WU, then the Armageddon series and now this book.
Programme #7 (of 12) - The Soviet and US Super-Soliders finally get into a fight and yet the art is so darkly colored it is hard to discern who is who. This may read better as a trade but I have to say that instead of getting more interested I’m losing interest.

No one got canned and I even added two series that I picked up on a whim (Stranded and 76). An excellent week for books with pictures.

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