Monday, December 27, 2010

The Week of Dec 22 in Review

When I read about Marvel’s next event I was fearful. I was scared it was going to drive me off the Marvel books I like right now by involving them in some convoluted mega cross-over. This event will change everything like every other event changed everything. I’m so tired of this it just drives me more and more to other companies and Vertigo material. Of course I read where DC is relooking their Vertigo contracts and they could impact that line. Comic sales are down, companies are hunkering down in some aspects and the outlook looks a little bleak. As a society we are going to have to learn to live within our means and that means some dramatic shifts in what we do and buy. Heck I’m contemplating bailing on most comics and Marvel is one target to drop the entire line based on this type of events, especially when they interrupt storylines I’m enjoying. Of course my other choice is to cut out all hard covers and trades and I would be spending less. Tough choices are ahead for me and our country as we have to decide what our true priorities are.

Legion of Super Heroes #8 – Writer Paul Levitz, Pencils Yilidray Cibar and Daniel HDR, Inks Wayne Faucher & Bob Wiacek

What I Liked – The Legion election. I have always enjoyed the aspect that the readers pick the leader and the writer has to deal with it. I have a strong feeling Levitz was not expecting who won and now he has to make some adjustments to what he was planning. It is the one book that actually accepted fan input and the election often drove plotlines in unexpected ways.

What I Didn’t Like – I’m still not back into this book yet and if it was not for my undying love for these characters I would have abandoned this series awhile ago. Slowly I’m starting to accept what is being done, but this is not going down as a great run at this point. At least this is a Legion I can live with and feel I know them a little.

Power Girl #19 - Writer Judd Winick, Art Sami Basri

What I Liked – I like Power Girl, I enjoyed her reminiscing about the JLI and thought her running the JSA was great. Basri’s art work is well done and is a plus for this book.

What I Didn’t Like – I dropped this book and jumped back in two months later. I’m still not onboard with this series either, but Winick is winning me over bit by bit. I’m not happy with the Max Lord game where they remember him and then forget him all over again. It is getting old and being dragged out way too long.

Fantastic Four #586 – Writer Jonathan Hickman, Pencils Steve Epting, Inks Rick Maygar

What I Liked – It feels like the long payoff is coming home soon. The idea that one of the FF is going to die adds a great element of the unknown and danger to this series where none has existed before. I’m guessing my favorite the Human Torch bites the dust as Hickman has not used him that often and he seems to have the least potential for future story lines. Working against that theory is Jonny has the most potential for growth and is the biggest blank slate, which could be appealing for a writer.

What I Didn’t Like – Epting’s art looked rushed and was not his best job, I’m guessing he is rushing to give himself extra time for next’s month big death issue. The use of Nu-Earth is annoying as I did not follow Millar’s run on the FF and skipped part of Hickman’s run so I’m a little lost on that part.

Cyclops #1 – Writer Matz, Art Luc Jacamon

What I Liked – The creators behind Killer, I will try anything with their names on it. A good start to a fantastic new series that explores what our world may look like in 2054. It focuses on how Wars and entertainment lines may blur, but there is a lot more to this series. Underneath the tag line there is ideas regarding nationality, education, employment, corporations and more. I’m all in on this book and can’t wait to read more.

What I Didn’t Like – The futuristic airplane was a little over the top, but it is a very minor quibble.

Secret Avengers #8 – Writer Ed Brubaker, Art Mike Deodato

What I Liked – I’m enjoying see Shang-Chi front and center in the MU again. I know there are issues with copyrights over Fu Manchu and this issue Ed cleverly renamed the Shang’s father to avoid that in the future. I just wish we could get a nice high quality reprint of the old Master of Kung Fu series. The overall story is a good one setting the Secret Avengers versus the Shadow Council and the art by Deodato is brilliant. I love his stuff and his camera angles and layouts are extremely dynamic, Mike is at the top of his game.

What I Didn’t Like – Sharon Carter as the typical damsel in distress. This is such an overused element in comics and Sharon is supposed to be a capable person but in the span of eight issues we have already seen her as more of a liability than anything else.

Invincible #76 – Writer Robert Kirkman, Pencils Ryan Ottley, Inks Cliff Rathburn

What I Liked – I’m enjoying the battle scenes in this book. Kirkman never forgets the young fan in me that still enjoys a neat out and out super hero fight. He plays to the adult in me by showing the violence has repercussion either due to gore or a character dying. Ryan Ottley always does a great job with page after page of great art, he is not a Neal Adam’s realist and he is not too cartoony and at this point he is the artist for Invincible. I loved the twist of Thragg deciding to leave Mark and his Dad alive.

What I Didn’t Like – Zilch.

Larfreeze Christmas Special – Writer Geoff Johns, Art Brett Booth

What I Liked – The story, the art, the fun, the joy, the bizarreness. I loved it as a true special and playing with the Christmas themes with Larfreeze was excellent. This is the type of one shot that is worth it as the creative team pulled out all the stops with plenty of extras including Larfreeze’s Christmas cookie recipe. I have given up on getting the 80 page anthology Christmas specials as often they have one good story and a lot of other stuff which is forgettable. This hit the mark.

What I Didn’t Like – Nada.

Batman Inc #2 – Writer Grant Morrison, Pencils Yanick Paquette, Inks Michael Lacombe

What I Liked – The pace of the story is perfect. Each one of these recruiting trips could have taken a six issue arc and we would be waiting for years to see the group Batman is gathering. Instead in the span of two issues we already have a Japanese Batman starting the program. The portrayal of Catwoman is also done well as she was still trying to steal things while helping out Bruce.

What I Didn’t Like – The art is not working for me. The art is done well, but either the inking is too heavy or the coloring is off but it feels like one or the other is detracting from what is otherwise a great penciling job.

American Vampire #10 – Writer Scott Snyder, Art Mateus Santolouco

What I Liked – I love getting a focus on Pearl. I fell in love with this character in the first arc and have no qualms about wanting to see more of her story. In fact Scott keeps adding great characters and you want to know their stories as well as follow Skinner. That is a sign of a great series and one that has the foundation to last as long as Fables. It was a nice surprise to see Hattie back and being used as an experiment by a European Vampire. Hattie is rock solid as a scary bad guy. Pearl’s story gets interesting this issue also as I love seeing her being at times the demure girl friend but more than willing to show that she can kick ass with the best of them. The art was a revelation also as adding another artist to a book is always scary but Mateus did a fantastic job and is similar enough to Rafael to keep the feel of the book the same. His one scene of Hattie burning down the gas station was great.

What I Didn’t Like – Nothing. In fact it just leaves me wanting more. Heck Scott should spin off some one-shots or three part mini-series so we can see what is happening with Cash and other characters already. Maybe Scott could do story outlines and let other writers help do more stories on these characters.

Side Note: In the span of 10 issues Scott has already developed enough of a cast that cannot only maintain a core series but has great potential to expand the world he has created. It just shows the depth of his storytelling.

Chew #16 – Writer John Layman, Art Rob Guillory

What I Liked – The whole concept is fun and outlandish and yet we continue to get great stories and twists you never expected. I mean the alien flaming letters in the sky was out of left field, but in this series it works. The cartoon style artwork is also a blessing as scenes of Mother Cluckers changing over the years were just flat out funny.

What I Didn’t Like – It is all good.

Stuff of Legend Volume II – The Jungle Part 3 – Writers Mike Raicht & Brian Smith, Art Charles Paul Wilson III

What I Liked – I love this series. The story has the quality of being a fairy tale or a great children’s story, but has the edge of scariness that most sanitized children’s books no longer have. At the same time the scope of this story has an almost Homeresque quality to it. The quest that the toys are on is taking more twist and turns that I ever imagined. The art by Charles Paul Wilson continues to be astounding. Not only is the actual drawing great stuff, but the book reads great.

What I Don’t Like – I just need the publishing frequency to be faster. If I was rich I would sponsor this book.

A few quick notes, Uncanny X-Men failed in their limited try out. This issue too much of caption Fraction’s cuteness and Land’s opened mouth screaming people and oh so cute smiles. Outsiders was back to its horrible stuff, but I will hang in as Giffen was off this issue. Note to self, only buy Outsiders with Giffen drawing and co-plotting the book.

That wraps another week and next week look light in terms of number of books so maybe I will have a chance to make remarks on every book I read.

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