Reviews for August 13th

My latest batch of reviews has been posted up on Comic Addiction.

Check the link to the right for reviewes of:

  • Fantastic Four #559
  • Secret Invasion #5

Ciao!

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My Stack o’ Comics for 28.5.08

This week was a heavy comic week, with some big titles and all around good fun. Pretty much the biggest title out this week was Final Crisis #1. DC’s event for the summer, Final Crisis was much hyped as the Crisis to end all Crisises (Crisisi?). So how does it stand up? Final Crisis suffers from the same thing many, many DC books suffer from – not being new-reader friendly. Like many books before it, Final Crisis assumes you have a working knowledge of who the New Gods are, and familiarity with obscure characters such as Anthro and Turpin. Furthermore, I think the book lacked the oomph of a first issue event book. It was very low-key, and even the major death taking place felt rushed and out of place. Don’t get me wrong, the book is wonderfully written, and beautifully drawn, it just has some problems.

Grant Morrison’s other offering this week was Batman #677, the second of part of the R.I.P. story-line. This issue just proves Morrinson’s genius. Without actually telling us anything, Morrison makes a suggestion as to the true identity of the Black Glove, and if that suggestion is true, then by god, I’m already saying this is the best Batman story I’ve ever read (taking the place of Arkham Asylum, another Morrison gem). The third DC offering I’ve got this week is Geoff Johns’ wonderful epic – Green Lantern. This is the one book DC does which caters to new readers. Like many others I jumped aboard the Green Lantern train with the Sinestro Corps, so having an arc focusing on the origin of Hal makes perfect sense. Johns also does a great job of integrating the new elements he’s incorporated into the Green Lantern mythos into the origin, so it actually feels like they’ve been there all along.

Moving on to the competition, Marvel saw a bevy of books hit today, with the X-books really hitting hard. First up, Uncanny X-Men #498. It really feels like this book is stalling, waiting for #500. This issue really isn’t all that different from the previous one – we’ve got Wolverine, Colossus and Nightcrawler in a long fight scene, and Cyclops and Emma wandering around hippie San-Francisco. X-Men: Legacy #212 came out this week, and this series continually gets better and better. This issue sees Gambit join up Xavier, and frankly I hope he becomes a permanent cast-member of the book, I love the little Cajun bastard. The flashback scenes are illustrated this time around by Mike Deodato, and they’re freakin’ gorgeous. We also got the fourth issue of X-Force, which continued the violence and mining concepts from the 90’s. Seriously, this title has brought back more 90’s concepts that I’ve ever seen in a single book not produced in the 90’s – we’ve got Bastion, Magus, Donald Pierce and now Archangel. The title has a great old-school feel, without being campy. And those drawings/paintings are amazing.
The real crown jewel of the X-Books this week was Giant Size X-Men #1, the issue that caps off the Whedon/Cassaday run. Their run was a glorious one, giving us some of the best X-moments in history. The final issue was great, but like Final Crisis, I felt it lacked a certain “oomph” to make it stand up to the rest of the series. There was also the matter of bringing all the Marvel heroes, just to make them stand around and do nothing, I didn’t see the point of that, really. Lastly, I’m kind of sad to see Kitty go, as I really like the character, hopefully she’ll be back sooner rather than later.

Daredevil #107 saw Ed Brubaker team up with none other than his old Gotham Central buddy – Greg Rucka. The result is a great issue, which may see Matt Murdock coming out of his long depression, and begin to do something a little other than just punch people. Luke Cage made a guest appearance, but only as a plot-introduction device, saw I thought that was kind of pointless. Moving from the streets of New York to the mightiest city of all – Thor #9 focuses on the Odinson’s Asgardian friends, mainly Balder and Loki. I really like JMS’s new take on the Asgardians, and his Loki is so deliciously evil, it’s astounding. Watching her manipulate all those around her is great, and as I said before, I want to be much deeper into this run, just to see how things develop from here.

Immortal Iron Fist #15 gives us a look at another of the Iron Fists. This time around it’s Bei Bang-Wen, also known as “The Perfect Strategy Mind”. I really liked how each of the different Iron Fists used Shao-Lao’s power in a different way, and Bei Bang-Wen may be the coolest use so far. While Danny, Orson and Wu-Ao Shi all used their power in an offensive manner, Bei uses it to boost his cerebral capacity, planning battles and making himself the ultimate strategist. The story itself is nice, following Bei’s arc of redemption, with some nice art, but nothing overly spectacular. There’s only one more issue before Brubaker and Fraction step off the title, which kind of sucks. Hopefully the new writer (the guy who does Cable whose name I don’t remember) will be just as good.

Ultimate Spider-Man #122 came out this week, and it’s another done-in-one issue, like last month’s. This time we focus on the Shocker and his life. I really gotta say that Bendis makes me feel kinda sorry for ol’ Herman. He’s really not had it easy, and Spider-Man continually beating on him isn’t helping. A great story, with spectacular art by Stuart Imonnen, but I’m ready for the next long arc, the Symbiote Wars! Another Spider-Man-centric book out was New Avengers #41, which showcases the Savage Land and its members. The story fills in the blanks happening since New Avengers #6 and now, with Ka-Zar, Sheena and the rest of the Savage Landers fighting back the Skrulls who have taken up in the Savage Land. Overall, I felt this issue was kind of pointless, as it didn’t really tell us anything new. I could’ve figured out on my own that the rogue SHIELD agents seen in the New Avenger’s first arc were Skrulls, so I didn’t really feel the need to have an entire issue devoted to it.

In Young Avengers Presents #5, Stature takes center stage, for the second time (she was a key part of the Vision’s issue last month). This really is an expertly crafted tale, that comes closest to the original take on the characters.

Lastly, Marvel 1985 (for which I wrote a long review over at Comic Addiction, check it out Here), is a beautiful book. Both from an art and story perspective. It really talks to comic fan at heart, and Millar clearly has a lot of love for the medium.

That’s all for this week, see you in seven.

My Stack o’ Comics for 21.5.08

“My Stack o’ Comics for…” is a new feature I want to start here, where I’ll list the comics I got this week, and talk a little about each. These are sorta reviews, but they’re not really in-depth reviews, more like general opinions. If you’re looking for reviews, then I have some good news – I’m back on reviewing comics (!!), since Silver Bullet Comics died, my new home is Comic Addiction. My first batch of reviews has already been sent in, so expect those to go live on the site soon!

So, let’s get started.

First up, Justice Society of America #15. This book is the latest in the long-winded Kingdom Come seqeul by Geoff Johns and Alex Ross. It’s really getting kind of tiring, I could’ve swore they’ve been doing this for 10-15 issues, so imagine my suprise when I realized it’s only been 6. I’m ready to get this over with and move on to other stories. This horse has been beaten, throughly. That’s it for DC, I’m a Marvel guy.

Ultimate X-Men #94, wow, what a great issue. My opinions may be skewed as we’re coming out of the hated Kirkman run, but I thought this issue was superb. Great ultimate twists on existing concepts (Banshee, which is not a person, but a drug akin to MGH or Kick), some great character moments, and a kick-ass new team (well, two kick-ass new teams, actually). Mark Brooks’ art kicks major ass! Elsewhere in the Ultimate U. we’ve got Ultimate Fantastic Four #54. The story really hasn’t kicked off yet, as the issue spends most of its time setting up the various plot threads that will run through this arc, the art’s not as good as it could be, the
book desperately needs an inker to step things up a bit.

An issue of the “regular” Fantastic Four (#557) hit this week, as well. Honestly, I don’t get the hype around this book. Sure, it’s Millar and Hitch, but the book is not Ultimates. So far, I have yet to be blown away. I found the “Giant Robot” story to be pretty lame, the one good thing were the aftermath scenes, those were very well written. And that last page, whoowee, what a last page.

We’ve got 2 Avengers book this week. Mighty Avengers #14 took a look at the Sentry and how he fits into Secret Invasion. The Sentry is one complicated character to get a handle on, due to an extremely convoluted back story, but once you get into the groove of things, it’s pretty entertaining. It seems Sentry still has role to play in Secret Invasion, and not what people expect (i.e., I blink and everything is fixed). Over at Camp Hammond things aren’t so bright. This week only proves that Avengers: The Initiative really depends on its creative teams. We’ve had several issues with fill-in artist Steve Uy, and the quality of the book always dropped when he showed up. This week (#13), however, has Dan Slott handing the writing chores over to Christos N. Gage. The result is boring, uninspired, and a complete waste of time.

Marvel’s mutants got two books this week, X-Factor #31 and X-Men: Divided We Stand #2. Both were depressing. X-Factor showed us the very bleak Mutant Town being blown to bits, things aren’t looking up for the members of X-Factor, as their home seems headed for the crapper. Divided We Stand showcased some characters revving up for things to come, we’ve got things like the return of Magik, Havok in prison, Beast closing up shop at the Mansion and several other stories, if this is a look of things to come – I’m on board.

Lastly, some solo books. The latest installment of Brubaker’s masterpiece came out. I’m talking about Captain America #38 of course. This book is just epic. For over 3 years Brubaker has masterfully weaved an ongoing storyline that just works perfectly. I’m not to crazy about the real identity of “Other Cap”, but I’m willing to take it, “In Brubaker we trust”. Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. #29 hit, and while it was good, it didn’t even come close to last issue, which was the single best Iron Man issue I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Invincible Iron Man #1, which came out a couple of weeks ago, was also better. Lastly, Amazing Spider-Man #560. I must say that since the beginning of Brand New Day, Paper Doll is the only one of the new villains that even comes close to Spidey’s classic villains. Mr. Negative was close, but there’s a certain creepy charm to Paper Doll, and I hope they expand on her beyond the stalker-aspect she seems to be showing in this arc. And that last page is one hell of whopper, if only it would have been drawn better, it would be the perfect last page.

Best book of the stack would go to Ultimate X-Men #94 and I gotta say I am absolutley psyched to give it that honor, the book has been sucking for far too long. Worst of the bunch goes to Justice Society of America #15, this book is for die-hard DC fans, which I am not.

See you next week.