Monday, January 31, 2011

The Week of January 26 in Review

Fear Itself, Flashpoint, Age of X, War of the Green Lanterns, all the big events have been announced and are still being rolled out or whatever. So far from what I have read and heard Age of X should be a solid event. It is very focused and basically contained with eight books over three months. It has the advantage of being the only one that actually has an issue out and that I have read and enjoyed. Otherwise I will be sucked into reading the main book of these events, but I will avoid most of the ancillary stuff as it just becomes too much and is usually boring. I avoided almost every side book with Shadowland and read Incredible Hulks without bothering with Chaos War and it worked out fine. I just wish the companies would focus on quality series Amazing Spider-Man and Detective are two really entertaining books right now just on their own merits. We don’t need events, we need solid stories.

Fantastic Four #587 – Writer Jonathan Hickman, Pencils Steve Epting, Inks Magyar, Perkins and Epting

What I Liked – Matthew did a full blown review already, so I will just add that the “death” felt totally like a comic book death where the hero will eventually come back, but the emotional impact and heroic moment came through loud and clear. The Torch went out in a blaze of glory, leaving empty hearts behind. The bottom line is the FF is back on my list and Hickman is starting to hit a groove with this book.

What I Didn’t Like – The book has way too many moving parts and some plotlines I don’t care about. I worry that Hickman too often writes for the last page of a story and that makes the rest of the story all buildup.

Age of X- Alpha – Writer Mike Carey – Artist – Various

What I Liked – We are dropped right into the deep end of this story with limited explanation of how we got here and the back stories of Basilisk (Cyclops), Cannonball & Husk, Wolverine and Magneto set the stage for what is too come. It should be a fun alternative reality story and it is only six chapters and done in three months, an event I can get behind.

What I Didn’t Like – Some weak art in certain segments.

Spawn #201 – Writers Will Carlton and Todd McFarlane, Art – Szymon Kudranski

First off, why am I reading Spawn? Rusty from my comic store told me to read it.

What I Liked – The story and the art work. I have never cared about this series, but the main character is now Jim Downing and he is the new Spawn. The premise is he has no clue about his background and apparently has some healing powers. We are dropped in to him doing some sort of Oprah type of show and learning some of his recent background at the same time. The book has a great dark vibe to it with some great stylistic art setting the mood and tone of the book.

What I Didn’t Like – It is Spawn, but hey I’m back next issue. The writer was very text heavy, but was portraying a talk show for half the book, but still needs to lighten up on dialogue, some panels could barely get any art in them.

Detective Comics #873 – Writer - Scott Snyder, Art – Jock

What I Liked – The pace of the story was great. I love how the book moves with the grace of a trapeze artist. In fact the touches of Dick remembering what his parents taught him as he was escaping the Black Mirror were perfect. The part where he woke up to find his legs missing was another great touch and his realizing it was a nightmare was also well done. I loved Batman flying after the bad guy in a jet pack it balances the keeping of Batman as a real character with the fantastic in perfect harmony.

What I Didn’t Like – The bad guy turning into Venon / Manbat. It was too over the top of an ending for me. I was fine with the old guy being just the malevolent human he was, his being super powered was almost against type. Also this book is the only one I miss the backup feature on. I know we get to see the rest of the story, but this book was working great with the backup.

Side Note: I have heard some people complain that Dick is being portrayed as too much of a novice, forgetting all the years he was a successful crime fighter on his own. I think Daniels has gone too far, but I think Scott is doing a good job showing Dick is settling into the role of Detective and in that area he is still learning, but ultimately he still beats the bad guy. Detective is easily my favorite bat book and one of my favorite series, period.

Scalped #45 – Writer Jason Aaron, Art RM Guera

What I Liked – The beginning of a new arc and there are always a new twist or turn. This issue we see Red Crow’s position of tribal chieftain is an elected office and he is being challenged by his old mentor. At the same time Dash is being brought in as Red Crow is grooming him to take over his business. The tensions are mounting all over the place and you know that violence and bloodshed are going to erupt. This series is back on track again as one of the best series on the stands.

What I Didn’t Like – Nada

JSA #47 – Writer Marc Guggenheim, Art Scott Kolins

What I Liked – This is a really good story and I constantly want to know what happens next. We have a fair number of moving parts but Marc is keeping the story straight and all the plates are spinning. Dr. Chaos is the main bad guy is at once hokey and menacing at the same time. A fine line to walk, but Marc is doing it. Mr. Terrific appears to have betrayed his teammates to try and find some cure for his loss of intelligence and how that plays out looks to be a good plotline.

What I Didn’t Like – The “Fraction captions” as we get a caption box introducing everybody with snappy phrases, it comes across as stupid. I’m also still having issues with the art, I get the feeling it is all generated with computer tools and it is still not working for me yet.

Uncanny X-Force #4 – Writer Rick Remender, Art Jerome Opena

What I Liked – The art, the story, the action, the ending. It was a terrific opening story arc and the ending was the icing on the cake. All the heroes are debating whether to kill the child who will probably become Apocalypse. As the heroes are arguing or being too heroic, Fantomex shoots him in the head and bang the kid is dead. It just worked so well on this book. Opena’s art continues to astound as his realistic but gritty style just suits this book to a “T” and a round of applause for color artist Dean White in making a great art job even better.

What I Didn’t Like – It got a little wonky with Fantomex’s illusions power, but not a big deal at all.

New Avengers #8 – Writer – Brian Bendis, Art Daniel Acuna

What I Liked – Luke Cage and Jessica Jones are the heart and soul of this group. This issue was almost a super hero sit-com as Luke and Jessica debated her coming onto the team and back to being a super hero.

What I Didn’t Like – Acuna’s art is uneven and feels over processed (if that makes any sense). The $4 price tag, especially when the extra is some crap oral history of the Avengers. Squirrel Girl was not in the book.

American Vampire #11 – Writer Scott Snyder, Art Mateus Santolouco

What I Liked – In a two issue arc that felt like it was done to gave the regular artist extra time, it read like it was always meant to be the next story arc. Plus I love Pearl so much that I’m glad to see she got some solo spotlight intention. It was also a nice set up that Hattie was months behind Pearl. Heck this storyline is so good I could just follow a book about Pearl and Hattie. The art work was also well done. Mateus is maintaining the look and feel of the book while making each page his own.

What I Didn’t Like – Zilch

That is a wrap for this week. This week I didn’t type up anything until after I had read everything. Inevitably that causes me to write less then I would want to, as I usually have an opinion about every book. This week was terrific as we got issues of Detective, Scalped and American Vampire. All three are already setting the bar for top series of 2011.

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