Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Best to Worst of Last Week

Each week almost always brings some comics that really surprise you. Which is as it should be in what would be the point in reading them. This week the Return to Wonderland conclusion was the most surprising book. Zenoscope has been known for the good girl cover art more then anything else, but slowly they have gotten stronger story content going in their comics and the conclusion to Wonderland was excellent.

Grimm Fairy Tales Return to Wonderland #6 (of 6) - Writer – Raven Gregory, Story – Raven Gregory, Ralph Tedesco & Joe Tyler, Art – Daniel Lester, Colors Nei Ruffino. The ending to this story was excellent. Calie is burying her Mom and trying to cope with everything. Her and her brother can see the dead white rabbit that stalks them. Her grandfather shows up and reveals that Wonderland is a place of madness and that their family has to sacrifice someone to it to keep the real world from going too insane. She runs back home and finds her brother has killed their father and he has obviously gone insane, she sacrifices him to Wonderland and takes off. She discovers she is pregnant by her boy-friend and realizes the cycle is not over and she may have to return to Wonderland herself as her mother did to save her. It was an unexpected ending and the writing was poignant. Slowly the Grimm Fairy Tales stories are moving up and past their good girl artwork. That artwork is still evident, but the interiors had none of it. This mini-series was great and the ending was outstanding.
Locke & Key #1 – Writer Joe Hill, Art Gabriel Rodriquez, Colors Jay Fotos – First off
it was 32 pages of story and art, so $4 cover price was worth it. More importantly what a great start to this horror/mystery story. After reading the first issue I knew that I had to be back for issue #2 and find out what is going on. The premise is that a family suffers an attack by two psychotic fellow students of the older son Tyler. Dad is killed and Tyler beats the living crap out of the one attacker who insinuates that Tyler had asked him to do it. You get the feeling that it was a teen-ager saying that he wishes his Dad wasn’t around as he always gets on his case, but nothing with any real intent. Mom buries a hatchet in the other attacker’s head (who had apparently raped her). After the funeral they all move to Keyhouse, with a relative Duncan. The Dad had always told the Mom to take the family there if anything ever happened. The house is in Lovecraft, Massachusetts so you know this story is just beginning. Gabriel Rodriquez has a great style that is full of detail, great angle shots, is realistic from the sense that his characters are proportioned correctly, but not in the Alex Ross type of super realism. It is a wonderful style that conveyed the story perfectly. This was a great start to a new series from IDW.
Catwoman #76 - Writer Will Pfeifer, Pencils David Lopez, Inks Alvaro Lopez, Colors Jeromy Cox. Will Pfeifer has taken what appears to be an editorially mandated change and turned it into one heck of a story. Catwoman is stuck on the Savaltion Run planet and last issue believes she jumped through a portal to Earth. The issue opens with Selina escaping Batman trying to kill her with a gun. She then runs into another version of herself, who is a killer and a true villain. She also notices that she may have super powers. She finally figures out she is on an alternative world and then the reveal that she is in the thrall of some unknown machine that is feeding her this reality as it is killing her. The art as always was very well done; David and Alvaro Lopez deliver top quality and do it each and every month. They can do it all, action, emotions and beautiful women.
Brave and Bold #10 – Writer Mark Waid, Pencils George Perez, Inks Bob Wiacek, Colors Tom Smith. This has been a very good to excellent book 10 out of 10 times. Mark Waid is writing some of the best super hero team-ups out there and is almost daring himself to try any crazy team-up he can. At the same time he is pulling his entire run together with the “Book of Destiny”. This issue we get Superman and the Silent Knight and a cute twist on history relating the two. Also we get Aquaman and the Teen Titans from the silver age. Add in the best super hero artist in the business and you have a winning book. Hate to see George Perez move on to other projects, but Jerry Ordway is a solid replacement.
Death of the New Gods #6 (of 8) – Writer and Pencils Jim Starlin, Inks Art Thibery, Jeromy Cox – Colors. This is an excellent series and I think it has more to do with Final Crisis then almost any other book. Orion’s death was well done. Orion would go out as a warrior and watching him call out his enemy and then realize that is power was nothing compared to it, but he continued on. I loved the bit with Darkseid staring at a wall that is monitoring everything and simply says soon. Jim Starlin has been at the top of his game and I have been very happy to see his work again on a consistent basis.
Grendel Behold the Devil #4 (of 8) – By Matt Wagner – Easiest credits in comics. Normally middle chapters are an annoyance to me, but Wagner makes each chapter count and this is no exception. True we are still awaiting what is eating at Grendel and what thing or person is stalking him, but this issue continues the build up with plenty of action. There is a terrific scene where Grendel jumps out a window to avoid an explosion and then pulls himself back in. In the bloody aftermath he discovers footprints where nothing should have survived. They look like an animal print, not human. One of the best series on the market and Wagner is at the top of his game.
Shadowpact #22 – Writer Matthew Sturges, Art Phil Winslade. Nightmaster stays in Myrra, the dimension where he got his sword. I like this character a lot and as he has been the leader of Shadowpact, so I was very surprised to see him left behind. It was a very good issue and I thought the way they defeated the unbound make comic book sense (my term for something that inside a comic makes sense, but try to explain to someone who never reads a comic and they will think you are nuts). They had done so much with his character and the budding relationship with him and Enchantress was getting going and then poof, he is written out of the book.
Birds of Prey #115 – Writer Sean McKeever, Pencils Nicola Scott, Inks Doug Hazelwood, Colors Hi-Fi. This book seems to bring out the best in whoever is writing it, but I believe Sean is leaving this book soon. Still a great issue with Huntress and Zinda off on their own adventure and we get to see Zinda at her craziest best. We also have Babs baby sitting trying to work with Black Alice and Misfit to solve the mystery of the giant robot that blew up in Metropolis. The art by Nicola Scott is always well done and this book is always one of my favorite series from DC.
Batman Confidential #13 – Writer Tony Bedard, Pencils Rags Morales, Inks Mark Farmer, Colors ILL. This arc is about the return of the Wrath. Now this character appears familiar but I can not place this story line from Batman’s past. It is a very good story of a cop-killer who dresses in a very Batman like costume. Apparently he deduced Batman’s identity and beat the crap out of Alfred in days past. Now he has returned and we are in the time-line of when Dick had just taken changed from Robin into Nightwing. Tony has built in tons of great character bits and the beginning of a good story. This story is so interesting I need to reread the original story (I think it was an Annual or something). Rags art is beautiful as always and Mark Farmer’s inks give Rags work a different feel then Michael Bair’s inks do in Nightwing, I think I like Farmer’s inks a tad better on Rags’ pencils, either way we are choosing from great artwork.
Umbrella Academy Apocalypse Suite #6 (of 6) – Writer Gerard Way, Art Gabriel Ba, Colors Dave Stewart. This was a good ending to a good mini-series and we have the promise of a second series coming later this year. It was an all out action issue with the big slam bang finish you would have expected. The actual Academy building was destroyed by the Eiffel Tower apparently getting tossed into it and a chunk of the moon came crashing into earth and on and on. I’m still having a hard time remembering all of the characters names and missed the little panel on the inside cover telling us who is who. I have enjoyed this quirky little series and it was a fun change of pace, but the trade will be staying at the book store.
Invincible #48 – Writer Robert Kirkman, Art Ryan Ottley, Colors Bill Crabtree. Doc Seismic calls on some underground creatures that capture all the heroes of the world except Invincible and Atom Eve. They go to save the day and Invincible gets beaten and is left at the feet of Doc Seismic. After a lot of build up in the last couple of issues this action episode was a pleasant surprise. It also included some great character bits between Invincible and Atom Eve. One think with Kirkman is that you can never be sure where he is going 100%, as I was not expecting this type of issue as he has been building to #50 and that is one of Invincible’s charms. Ryan Ottley and Bill Crabtree do the artwork, which will certainly not be nominated for best super-hero art ever, but it is Invincible’s signature style now and I think the book would suffer without them.
Ultimate Human #2 (of 4) – Writer Warren Ellis, Art Cary Nord, Colors Dave Stewart. This is a very good mini-series. In this issue we get the obligatory battle between the Hulk and Iron Man. A nice battle, especially well done as it doesn’t last long and the armor ends up overloading due to the beating it took. It felt logical within the internal logic of a comic. We then cut to Tony saying he has cured Bruce of Iron Man and states his nanobots are speaking to Bruce’s nanobots and they will control him from changing. Which sets up how they will escape the Leader, who captures them at the end of this issue. Cary Nord’s art is good, but felt like it weakened as we got deeper into the issue. Also Cary is not much for doing any details or backgrounds, but his figure work is very powerful.
Conan #49 – Writer Timothy Truman, Art Tomas Giorello, Colors Jose Villarrubia – This is a strong team on this book and I enjoying Conan again as much as I ever have in the past. Truman generates the right type of feeling for Conan with his few words and his actions. Tomas Giorello gets better with each issue depicting (in this issue) the aftermath of the battle as well as he did the battle last issue.

Iron Man #26 – Writers Daniel And Charles Knauf, Art Roberto De La Torre, Colors Dean White. Iron Man in his old armor confronts the Mandarin. This was a classic old time fight as the two go toe to toe, but Tony is hampered by having more limited capabilities. There is a great double page spread of Iron Man facing off against the Mandarin that was beautiful and classic stuff. The end of the story is Mandarin escapes with Maya, releases extremis enhance people to fight Tony and the virus is floating around in the air. Tony has Shield fire an impossible bomb that wipes out everything in a small radius and it ends with the cliff hanger that the bomb took Iron Man too, which is too stupid for words. Iron Man is in almost every Marvel book and Civil War and the Initiative centers on him, we know he is not dead. Also the Mandarin escapes and we almost have the same situation existing as it did when the book started. Still this book had a great battle with some wonderful art.
Superman / Batman #46 – Writer Michael Green & Mike Johnson, Pencils Shane Davis, Inks Matt Banning, Colors Alex Sinclair. In the middle of a multi-part story line a nice one and done issue that fits in as part of the story line, excellent story telling. As Superman and Batman are searching for Kryptonite, they find a new form that makes Superman act like a kid and be totally irresponsible. A nice touch is he sees his fellow JLA members as cartoon characters (ala Tiny Titans). What I thought was great was how self contained and how complete of a story this was, yet it was part of the greater story arc. Shane Davis gets better and better and he had a chance to stretch his artistic abilities by doing the dramatic stuff and the cartoon stuff.
Abyss #3 (of 4) – Writer – Kevin Rubio, Pencils Lucas Marangon, Inks – Nick Shhley, Colors Andrew Dalhouse. Each issue of this mini-series gets better and better. We have a great plot with a decent level of complexity, we have some action, some drama all played with a sense of humor. What I enjoy about the humor is that is situational (funny within the context of the story) without making fun of the characters themselves. You walk a fine line when you go for humor in a comic in that you make it so funny that it becomes a comedy and loses any dramatic tension you are trying to build. Abyss keeps you interested in the story and keeps you laughing as you read it.
Madame Mirage #5 (of 6) Writer Paul Dini, Art Kenneth Rocafort, Colors Imaginary Friends Studios – The best issue to date as Madam Mirage confronts Abraham in his own offices and then fight her way barely escaping with her life. Harper Temple goes back to lick her wounds and the imaging program that uses an over sexed version of her sister Angie starts to complain. It seems that the program is partially Angie and she is worried about her own artificial life. Next Harper tries to free her Dad from prison and is captured by the bad guys, setting up the finale of the first mini-series. The story is convoluted and trying to cram a lot into one issue, but I’m enjoying it. The artwork is solid and Kenneth can draw a great Madam Mirage, but when he tries to get fancy with his layouts the design of the page falls apart.
The Scream #4 (of 4) – Writer Peter David, Breakdowns Bart Sears, Finishes Randy Elliot, Colors Michelle Madsen. I enjoyed this series a lot. The Scream is a function of pheromones being generated by Danny. The government sponsored research to develop new ways of combating enemies and this process was tried on Danny who unleashed it (unknowingly) and escaped. Now with Sian (a report friend) Danny takes out another group of covert government types who were sent to kill or capture Danny. Danny has a monster that he can unleash, but it is a phantom that is generated by his pheromones. I hope that this continues as a series of mini-series because David left open many plot lines. I also hope Sears is off the book, as his style while over the top enough to help launch the Scream, is too garish at times for my taste.

Terror Inc #5 (of 5) – Writer David Lapham, Art Parick Zircher, Color June Chung. The art on this book is so gruesome, bloody and violent and it is ratcheted to an insane level. The story demands it and the artist delivers. The whole story is over the top, the character who can took other people’s body’s and attached them, the fight with his ex-girl friend of 1500 years ago, yet Lapham makes it all work and Zircher and Chung render some great art. Lapham told the biggest possible story you could with this character and that should be enough for this character. In other words, solid mini-series for those who think Ennis’ Punisher is a wimp book, but we don’t need more of this material. Good for a mini-series every once in a blue moon.
Spirit #14 – Writers Sergio Aragones & Mark Evanier, Pencils Mike Ploog, Inks Mark Farmer, Colors Dave Stewart. Stylistically this issue was a huge shift away from Darwyn Cooke and it took a few pages into it to get used to it. Since I’m a Mike Ploog fan it worked out fine, because he has a fluid feel to his work that actually suits the Spirit better then Cooke and both are master story tellers. The overall story was not as strong as Darwyn’s stories, but was a nice murder mystery. Nice to see Mike Ploog’s art work again.
Loveless #22 – Writer Brian Azzarello, Artist Daniel Zezelj, Colors Patricia Mulhill – Two escape prisoners are chained to each other and on the run from the law. One is white and one is black and there dislike of each other is palatable. They stumble onto the cave where Wes Cutter died and was buried and proceed to kill each other. The over riding narrative is Wes’ ghost or spirit or something talking about life and death and whether heaven is waiting for us or not. The time it is set in is 1927 and I not sure if that is even relevant to the story being told. I almost get the feeling that the whole point of this series is that people around Blackwater are just mean and cruel. The art work was excellent and fit the mood of the story perfectly. Loveless was a very different western and this follow up is also on the odd side. Still I enjoyed reading this issue.
Checkmate #23 – Writer Greg Rucka & Eric Trautmann, Pencils Joe Bennett, Inks Jack Jadson, Colors Santiago Arcas – The beginning of the Castling arc, which pays off on the long ago placing of pawn 502 inside of Kobra. I was shocked to see Checkmate pull in Superman to help extract the pawn as it was a little “deus ex machine” for this book. Ultimately I like how this story is playing out as Kobra has a plan to turn eight million people into weapons against the world. Pawn 502 paid with his life to get the information to Checkmate.
Perhapanauts Annual #1 – Writer – Todd Dezago, Art Craig Rousseau, Colors – Rico Renzi. I had never followed the Perhapanuats before, but I think the guys from Proof were fans of this material as I can see a ton of inspiration being drawn form this series to Proof. As an introduction book it was almost successful. After reading it I have a good foundation for who the group is and what their reason for being is and some insight in the character’s personalities. The art is solid and conveys the story well, but the actual story was building up to a crescendo and then the ending was there and wrapped up in zero time. The conclusion to this adventure left me flat. Ultimately the book did its job as I want to try out the ongoing series. The other flaw I saw in the writing was a tendency to over explain stuff, but I’m guessing that was a function of trying to introduce new readers. In reviewing the credits, what I missed was seeing anyone listed as an editor. I think that many independent books hurt themselves but not having an editor. I find many creators do not want to hear any negative remarks about their books and don’t reign in personal excesses and an editor could be a help with making their work better.
Countdown to Final Crisis #10 – Head Writer Paul Dini with Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti, Story Consultant Keith Giffen, Art Scott Kolins, Colors Tom Chu. This issue had some nice moments in it that I really enjoyed and none more then Mary Marvel getting her regular powers back. As much as the black outfit played to some schoolboy fantasies about Mary, she belongs on the side of light and it was good to see her back in the white costume with her powers restored by the gods. It was also a nice idea that the gods were being held captive on Apokolips. The ending with Brother Eye taking over Apololips was also a stunner out of left field move, but I’m still tired of OMACs. Scott Kolins work had a different feel to it with moments of brilliance and moments of looking rushed. All in all I always like Scott’s work. Also this book must be a b***h to draw with so many characters running around in it.
Grimm Fairy Tales #21 – Story – Ralph Tedesco & Joe Tyler, Writer - Raven Gregory, Art Eric J., Colors Nei Ruffino. I have to laugh at myself as I read this book because it is so centered on the good girl art, that the fact that it is often a decent one and done story could be missed. As a male fan of comics, I can’t say that I mind the “t&a” aspect of the series. I’m also amazed how many solid artists who can draw women this well Zenoscope finds. Eric J. and Nei Ruffino put a lot of Marvel and DC art work to shame with the quality of their work. The actual story is more or less an origin story for Belinda. I wonder if we will get Sela’s origin in the near term future. A very solid issue in a series that I often enjoy more then I ever thought I would.
Robin #171 – Writer Chuck Dixon, Pencils Chris Batista, Inks Cam Smith and Rick Ketcham, Colors Guy Major. Chuck Dixon is building up this book with a wide cast of characters. We have Violet as a new vigilante, Spoiler in the shadows, personal issues with Zoanne and his friend Ives. This issue we move along some of the plot points and see Robin work with Alfred to try and deduce Violet’s pattern of operations. Overall the series just feels right under Chuck Dixon’s pen. Another note I like that in all the Bat books the relationship between Bruce, Dick and Tim are positive again.
Justice League of America #18 – Sanctuary by Writer Alan Burnett, Pencils Ed Benes, Inks Sandra Hope with Ed Benes, Colors Peter Pantazis. Breaking the JLA into two stories seems to be a little lame, as with a huge cast telling a story in even 22 pages is a pain. Still this story was about the JLA granting sanctuary to a group of villains trying to escape being sent to the prison planet. It was a decent issue and Ed Benes is proving himself to be a top notch artists. The backup story was Meanwhile, Back at Owl Creek Bridge by Writer Dwayne McDuffie, Pencils Jon Boy Meyers, Inks Mark Irwin, Colors Pete Pantazis. This story was about the Red Tornado and his decision to get back into a body, as there is a danger it could fail and he may die. The art was okay but was more on the cartoony side and paled compared to Ed Benes. The story was yet another story where the Red Tornado struggles with what is life, very melodramatic and has been done to death.
Mighty Avengers #9 – Writer Brian Bendis, Pencils Mark Bagley, Inks Danny Miki, Crime Lab Studios, Allen Martinez & Victor Olazaba, Art for pages 2-4 Mark Djurdjevic, Colors Justin Ponsor – If Bendis wanted to write Iron Man why doesn’t he just say so and I’m sure Quesada will let him have that book. This is the second arc of this new series and again it seems to focus heavily on Iron Man as he, Doom and Sentry are thrown back in time. One nice thing was Mark Bagley being given three double page spreads to show a fight scene between the Avengers and the Doombots, very nice. Otherwise the story was Avengers attack Doom, time machine blows up and three guys are lost in time.
Drafted #5 – Writer Mark Powers, Art Chris Lie, Colors Joseph Baker. The war moves forward. This issue we see more of the aliens who have come to Earth and train us to help in their fight. We also see the “worms” that destroyed their planet and are now in the process of attacking Earth. This series is starting to loss me a little bit. The internal logic is breaking down as to why they need our help and if these worms are the true threat and how did they find Earth. Another plot point that continues to bug me is why they choose some of the people they did as defenders. I’m not ready to dump this series yet, but it needs to start explaining what is going on a little better and soon.
Flash #237 – Writer Keith Champagne, Pencils Koi Turnbull, Inks Art Thibert, Colors Tanya and Richard Horie. Loved the opening panel with Wally yawning in the morning the way I sometimes do, so big a small bird could fly in your mouth. The actual issue was a total fill-in issue that was about the kids learning how to cooperate better in a field test. A nice one and done story, but what this book shows is that having a wife and a family does not have to be boring it can be exciting and you can say things you can’t with other super-hero books. One simple line from Wally shows what being a parent does to your world view when he says “Nothing’s quite as cool unless you share it with your kids.” So can Marvel please explain to me again why married Spider-Man is a bore, because marriages are boring or unimaginative writing?
Batman and the Outsiders #4 – Writer Chuck Dixon, Pencils Julian Lopez, Inks Bit, Colors Marta Martinez. This series is taking way too long to come together and I was close to dropping this book, but this issue saved it till issue #5. Green Arrow apparently shows up during the mission and was a non-rooster invitee. The problem is the mission. Everything is ill-defined; they are stopping this guy from launching some genetically enhanced material into outer space. What the bad guy is doing and why it is so bad has not been made clear to me. What is holding me in is Chuck Dixon, solid art and a cast of characters that for the most part I enjoy. Let’s see if Chuck can make this work.
Willow Creek #0 – Created By Denny Williams, Josh Medors & Christian Beranek, Story by Denny Williams & Christian Beranek, Art Josh Medors. The credits in comics have become more like movie credits as you need a scorecard to know all the players. This was a 75 cent zero issue, that only contained 5 pages of the actual feature and the rest was advertising other Zenoscope books. I did not get my monies worth, but I liked the five pages enough to hang with the series. An investigator looking for Big Foot (he is Proof over at Image) is last heard screaming for help via a walkie-talkie. Cut to the last panel and we see a werewolf creature with huge fangs and a bloody tongue starting out at us. Nice opening segment and the art was strong. The art reminded me of Ben Templesmith a little bit, but not like they were copying Ben, just some line work similarities.
Immortal Iron Fist : Orson Randall and The Green Mist of Death – Writer Matt Fraction, Art Nick Dragotta, Mike and Laura Allred, Russ Heath, Lewis LaRosa, Stefano Gaudiano & Matt Hollingsworth and Mitch Breitweiser – Note includes colors with this artists grouping as different chapters different artists. Trying to retro-con a “golden age” hero and then turning him into a poor man’s Doc Savage is just lame. The book had some beautiful artwork, but Orson Randall and his Confederates of the Curious is just simple minded. The constant trying to be hokey and imitative of golden age stuff came across as boring or just bad writing. Fantastic Comics took true golden age heroes and made new adventures of those characters and that was a “golden age” done right, this was lame and uninspired. The story had little meaning to the regular Iron Fist story line, but the story was made better by the art, that was inspired in some chapters and merely very good in other chapters. I do not like the “Golden Age” adventures of Orson Randall, but the art kept it from being a total waste.
Ultimates #3 (of 5) – Writer – Jeph Loeb, Art Joe Madureira, Digital Paints Christian Lichtner. I’m actually starting to not hate this book. It is not really that good of a story. Basically this issue Wolverine shows up and tells the Avengers that maybe he was the father of the Scarlet Witch as he was doing her Mom when Magneto showed up and tossed his a** out the window. Then later Wolverine is with the Brotherhood and is suppose to kill Wanda, stabs Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch pulls dinosaurs from the past in to kill Wolverine. To find her body the Avengers split up and half fly to the Savage Land and the other half stay home. The home team sees Iron Man fly in and announce the bullet was made by Stark Enterprises, and then he reveals himself as an android and tries to kill the wasp. Plus they keep highlighting the love of Pietro and Wanda and it feels creepy just typing about brother/sister love (I hear banjoes). Still the story actually flows in a madcap way and Joe. M. has some incredible artwork in this book. The colors are done right as opposed to that washed out special effect they did in issue #1. Of course if this book was drawn by a less talented artist and/or a normal color production was used on it, the book would tank. Strip away the look and you have this really inane story that has little logic to it.
Ghosting #5 (of 5) – Writer Fred Van Lente, Art Charles Carvalho, Colors Tom Smith. Well I followed this book to the bitter end and I should not have bothered. One thing that really annoyed me is that Maggie (our main heroine) has blonde streaks in her hair for about the first three pages and then they disappear. The art suffered from a drop in quality after the first three pages also. The characters at times looked half drawn and if not for the coloring, they would have been indistinguishable blobs. The actual story had a logical wrap up to a supernatural menace and I think the overall story itself was not that bad, the art really dragged it down. Finally this could have been four parts and been a tighter book.
Atlantis Rising #4 (of 5) – Writer Scott O. Brown, Art Tim Irwin, Colors Andrew Elder – I try to give a lot of leeway to smaller press books and I even interviewed the writer Scott O.
Brown about this series and his writing. I will complete this series, but bottom line this book has gone off the rails. I’m blaming the artist and colorist as the book is hard to read. The anatomy is often extremely skewed and not in a comic book way in a “I can’t draw way”, from panel to panel you are not even sure if it is the same character and the coloring is so dark and muddied as to further blur what is actually happening. The overall story of Atlantis and the surface world fighting is still clear, but the side stories have become confused in my mind. Platinum Studios has really failed to impress and often been underwhelming. When BOOM, Red 5 and some others publishers have a new series I can often order issue #1 without knowing much else as they make strong decisions on what they will publish. Platinum Studios comes across as just a few steps above a group of young friends making up their own comics.
Incredible Hercules #114 – Writers Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente, Pencils Khoi Pham, Inks Paul Neary, Colors Stephane Peru. This book is a drop from my list. I tried to follow it and take an active interest in this story, but ultimately I was never interested in a Hercules series. Marvel did a nice job trying to draw you into this series, but it is about Amadeus Cho and Hercules and I just can’t get that worked up about them. The writing has been good and to their credit with flashing back to the Hercules myths it almost kept me into the story. The art has also been strong and I would look forward to seeing Pham and Neary on any other project, but it is about Cho going after Sheild and Hercules versus Ares and it is not why I was buying this book. Planet Hulk got me back into reading the Hulk and WW Hulk had some interesting moments and I want to see more of the repercussions of WW Hulk and how it impacted Bruce, but we got Incredible Hercules and Red Hulk and me skipping both after a short try out. I actually feel cheated as I was again interested in the Hulk and this stuff derailed my interest.
Superman Confidential #12 – Writer B. Clay Moore, Pencils Phil Hester, Insk Andre Parks, Colors Pere Pantazis.
This story is about why Superman got Jimmy Olsen a signal watch. Personally Jimmy was so annoying and getting himself so far over his head I can’t believe Superman enabled the kid so much. The story was well done, the art by Hester and Parks was very nice, but I realized that I’m not as big a Superman fan as I am of Batman and I have enough material with Superman in it. Also I signed up for the book because of the Cooke/Sale team on the Kryptonite arc that started the series. All which led me to cutting this book from my list.
Wildstorm Revelations #4 (of 6) – Writers Scott Beatty & Christos Gage, Art Wes Craig, Colors Jonny Rench.
This book has dragged on and on and on. First we had all those Armageddon books, now this series and next up Number of the Beast another mini-series. This stuff is going nowhere and I’m sick and tired of it. I kept reading and reading hoping that something happens, BUT IT NEVER DOES. I want to follow the Wildstorm Universe, but this stuff is killing it. I have to drop this book and I’m not bothering with Number of the Beast. One thing I will miss is Wes Craig’s art. He has a fine line, a nice fluid feel to his art and his art has great energy.
Hulk #2 – Writer Jeph Loeb, Pencils Ed McGuiness, Inks Dexter Vines, Colors Jason Keith. The first issue was a waste of paper and to be fair this issue got a little better, but I’m done with it. In this issue the perspective of size of the “Red Hulk” went up and down like a yo-yo. In one panel his hands were big enough to actually pick up She-Hulk like a rag doll. Then he can pick up a jet fighter by wrapping his hands around the nose cone of a plane. Other times he seemed maybe twice up a normal person’s size. This book is all about the mystery as apparently this Hulk wiped out all of Shield’s files on the Hulk (they don’t have offsite back-up?) and is going after all of these other gamma spawned monsters. For me, I liked where we were going with the Hulk before and this direction is a bad tangent. Also I’m sick of Iron Man being everywhere in every Marvel book. Third I’m tired of endless mysteries only being slowly revealed in absence of just telling a good damn story. Plus all the double panel spreads make this book a two minute read at best. One thing I will say is that I’m not an Ed McGuiness fan, but this book plays to his artist strengths and he does what he does well. If it gets raves and everyone tells me I missed the best Hulk story ever I can always get the trade. Cancelled.
The Programme #8 (of 12) – Writer – Peter Milligan, art CP Smith – This book went off the tracks, into the woods and crashed and burned. I keep trying to appreciate this book, but the story started to add in a race war and well as the cold war themes and fifty different characters who are all indistinguishable from each other due to heavy handed coloring. I thought long and hard saying only four more issue to go, but then said the heck with it. It is too much of a morass and just seemed to take a detour this issue that no longer kept me interested.

In dropping five titles this week I think part of it has to be that my patience has worn thin. Having “mysteries” that you reveal just a little here and there is masquerading for story telling(Hulk/Wildstorm Revelations). Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying the king of that stuff, the TV show Lost, but even that show gives you some reveals every once in awhile. Still even “bad” books have a level of professionalism and quality in them and I applaud the creators’ efforts, but have to damn the story telling. Also with a list that is as overwhelming large as mine culling it every week is a necessary evil.


  1. As a side note - they already did Sela's origin. She had a brother, I vaguely remember the issue.

    The art on Atlantis rising is terrible. I think the basic story idea had potential but I can't read it with the artwork being the way it is.

  2. Yeah ... they did Sela's origin (well, sort of). Her and her brother stumbled across a "witches" house and the witch kept her and set her brother free. She became the student of the asian man first seen in the Miss Muffet story and was set with this task. More of Sela's origin will be fleshed out through Belinda ... and of course, through the special stories in the collected works.