Saturday, June 16, 2012

Comic Reviews for 6/13

Hello.  I have nothing witty or important to say this week.  Just getting right into the reviews.

Marvel Comics
Amazing Spider-Man #687:  "End of the Earths" has ended.

Dan Slott has done a damn good job over the past year of telling Spider-Man stories that haven't been told before.  "End of the Earths" was a tricky one, because it brought Peter out of his natural habitat.  And while the story was enjoyable, it didn't feel like a Spider-Man story.  Spidey has always been a street level hero, not a "save the entire world" hero.  "End of the Earths" ended up feeling like an Avengers story that happened to have Black Widow and Spider-Man in it.  "Spider-Island" worked so well because it was rooted in Spidey's past and involved a villain of his.  The Sinister Six haven't been exactly exclusive in who they fight recently.  Slott writes Spider-Man well, and the death is handled well enough.  But the rest doesn't feel like a Spider-Man story.  But Slott experimented with the character.  A lot of writers don't have the balls to go out there with the way Slott writes Spider-Man. With the Lizard coming back next issue, we will hopefully see more a Spider-Man story.

While some won't like the story, no one can argue that Stefano Caselli's artwork is great.  The action scenes look great, and the characters are expressive.  Caselli hit home the fact that Otto is now a monster and is nothing like he use to be.  The new Spider-Man uniform has displeased some, but I have enjoyed Caselli penciling it.  Part of me still wishes that this book would go down to once a month, which would let Slott and Caselli be the permanent team.  They work great together and Caselli is a perfect Spider-Man artist.

Amazing Spier-Man #687 gets 3.5/5.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Comic Reviews for 6/6

Well, it finally started.  Before Watchmen is upon us.  Avengers vs X-Men also continues, which is staring to have some problems.  The rest of the week was good, with a couple being slightly mediocre.  It was one of the bigger weeks, which sadly killed my wallet.  But enough bitching, let's get started.

DC Comics
Action Comics #10:  Time to go back to Clark Kent.

One of the best things about the New 52 is to tell stories writers couldn't before.  And adding in a new villain like Nimrod the Hunter is a good example of that.  He does seem a little similar to Kraven the Hunter, which just adds to my feeling that Grant Morrison is looking at Spider-Man as a way to modernize Superman.  Action Comics #10 is an interesting story, and an entertaining one at that, but it suffers in the plot development.  It's somewhat uneven.  Superman trying to help hamsters as a way of showing Superman can handle the small scale things?  Eh, not really.  The ending, with Kent being killed, works well, and puts the Superman mythos into an interesting situation.  Lois Lane and Jimmy Olson still haven't been developed to any likable degree.  They are just there in this book.

Rags Morales art, while better than it was, is still suffering a little big.  Character height varies, with Superman being taller than Wonder Woman, then suddenly shorter the next panel.  Faces seem stagnant from panel to panel, even if they are expressive.  Once Superman goes into action, the comic looks great.  The same for when the Daily Star is bombed near the end of the book.  The time has come for DC to start considering a different artist for Action Comics.  Morals hasn't been the worst artist, but it needs an artist who can be on time and consistent.

Action Comics #10 gets 3/5.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Comic Reviews for 5/30

Another small week.  Dear god I need these every once and a while.  Easier to see more movies :D.  It was a solid week overall, with many annuals coming out.  And a few of them are starting to realize what an annual is suppose to be.  But enough of me talking, let's get started.

Marvel Comics
Amazing Spider-Man Annual #39:  Spider-Man gets another annual, and it's a retread of old stories, yet still a sweet story.

Brian Reed has always had a great handle on Peter Parker.  He can write the dramatic with the humor and balance it well.  This annual is a good example of this.  Peter is erased form history and thinks life will be better without him.  What follows is the usual Peter finding out what it means to be Spider-Man and how much he means.  And yes, Uncle Ben appears.  Reed makes the story, one we have read countless times, seem fresh and interesting.  Everything is nicely tied up by the end of the story, which is what an annual should do.  It's a self contained story that old fans will love and new fans will will appreciate.  If this annual shows anything, it shows that Reed needs to have some input in the current Spider-Man titles.  Be it a back up or something.

Lee Garbett pencils a good Spider-Man book.  Most of the issue sees Peter outside of his costume, which works in Garbett's favor.  Characters are expressive, with the reader being able to see the confusion on ever character's face.  The classic panels look fantastic.  His artwork has a slight look like Oliver Copiel.  Garbett has a great future ahead of him at Marvel.

Amazing Spider-Man Annual #39 gets 3.5/5.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Comic Reviews for 5/23

Hello all!  My apologies for not posting reviews last week, but I went on vacation.  Read a ton of Gotham Central, Invincible, and Nova.  I'd call that a great vacation.  I wrote a column about Northstar and Kyle getting married over on Comic Book Therapy.  Click here to read that.  But let's get started with the reviews.

Marvel Comics
Astonishing X-Men #50:  This review is over on Comic Book Therapy. Click here for the review.

DC Comics
Aquaman #9:  Geoff Johns steals the spotlight this month from the gorgeous art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado.

Johns story about the Others has been very rooted in the past.  A lesser writer would have difficult establishing an ambiguous team while keeping the present story moving along, but Johns keeps it balanced perfectly.  We get just enough information about the history of Aquaman and Black Manta that it keeps us interested in the story line going on now.  Johns also gives Arthur some character growth amongst the sprawling fight scenes.  It's clear that Aquaman use to be an angrier fellow, but his conversations with Ya'wara delve deeper into who he use to be.  It was easy to figure out why Arthur hates Shin, but Johns still makes the ending have some weight.  Johns has always been a writer who knows how to write towards an artists talents, and Aquaman has always been a great example of that.  Johns gives Reis just enough fight scenes to pencil without the fights seeming unnecessary or tagged on.

Ivan Reis and Joe Prado continue to dominate this book.  Their work on Blackest Night was some of the best of their career, but this is on a whole other level.  Characters have some expressive faces, but their eyes seem almost human.  They carry so much emotion, and in the case of Aquaman, pain.  It's clear he isn't happy about his past and he is desperately trying to change what happened.  The painted flashback scene work well and help establish the reader in the past in a quick manner.

Aquaman #9 gets 4/5.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Comic Reviews for 5/9

Damn it was a big week.  Can't believe I read all the comics on this week's pull list before work.  Comic Book Therapy has been generous and given me a few comics before their release date, so more Image books will be appearing on that site.  Let's get started.

Marvel Comics
Avenging Spider-Man #7:  Marvel's new team-up book continues with another great story.

Kathryn Immonen is becoming the up and coming writer at Marvel, and this issue is another great example of her talent.  It's funny, and perfectly captures Spider-Man in a short amount of time.  He's smart, afraid of strong women, and isn't afraid to keep cracking jokes when everything starts to go downhill.  I'm not too familiar with She-Hulk, but I'd read a book if Immonen wrote one.  Immonen gives readers a good hold on the character fast, and her interactions with Spidey are great.  The villain creates a very funny situation, but also one that gives Spider-Man a chance to uses his smarts.  The entire story doesn't reinvent comics, but Avenging Spider-Man has never been that.  It's been short fun stories.  These issues could use heartfelt moments like Avenging Spider-Man #5, but not everyone writes Spider-Man as perfectly as Zeb Wells.

The other Immonen, Stuart, pencils a beautiful comic.  His work seems to have just gotten better from Fear Itself.  As always, characters are expressive, even when they have masks on.  It's clear Spider-Man is making a cute face when She-Hulk gets her tail.  Any reader would start chuckling when that happened.  Action looks great, but this issue gives Immonen more face to draw then action. That's a great thing though, as his talking head panels are still a sight to behold.  Even if you're unsure of getting this book for the writing, pick it up for the art.  Immonen's art is helped by Wade Von Grawbadger's inks, and Matt Hollingsworth's colors.  It helps the characters pop off the page.  When the Egyptian god appears, the inks and colors help give the god an almost Cheshire cat (no pun intended) look.

Avenging Spider-Man #7 gets 4/5.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Comic Reviews for 5/2

It is time.  It's time for the release of "Avengers."  I have already seen it and it's a great flick.  Worth a viewing by anyone, even if you haven't seen the previous films or haven't been as into super hero movies as others.  "Avengers" is easily the best superhero movie of all time.  And no, "The Dark Knight" isn't a superhero movie.  It's a crime drama.  But I digress, let's get onto reviews.

DC Comics
Action Comics #9:  Alternate reality stories are a dime a dozen, but done right, can leave a lasting impression.

Morrison uses this issue to play a commentary on the comics industry and what publishers are doing to their characters in today's market.  It's very subtle in the beginning, but becomes very obvious as the issue goes on.  With "Avengers" coming out this week, this issue couldn't have been released at a better time.  Part of me is surprised DC allowed this to be published.  Morrison's story also pokes and prods at the fan base, saying they are as much to blame as DC is when it comes to the "brand" of Superman.  Dear god it's amazing to read.  It's a great story in it's own right, but Morrison goes one further and makes the issue entertaining even more.  These Supermen are genuinely different, and interesting at that.  With so many alternate reality stories floating around these days, it's really hard for one to stand out.  These stories need to "count" for fans to remember them.  While this story may not "count," it's one that comic fans should read.  When the issue starts, part of me thought that Morrison was going to be dealing with race, but that's thrown to the side quickly.

Gene Ha's pencils work a lot better in this issue than his recent Justice League issue.  The issue is much quieter, which is Ha's strong point.  Character's are very expressive.  There is some action, but it flows much better.  Jaws (not the shark) aren't as exaggerated, but they could still be toned down.  If only Rag Morales could be this good month in and month out.  Art Lyon's colors make Ha's pencils pop off the page.  Luthor's gun looks great, and the futuristic scenes have the right amount of reflection off the giant neon signs.

Action Comics #9 gets 4.5/5.

Monday, April 30, 2012

What will the after credits scene of "Avengers" mean to Marvel?

For those of you who have seen "Avengers," there is a mid credits scene that shows....well something.  Here is my article on Comic Book Therapy about the scene


I'll admit that the scene has no real connection to the plot and is more of a teaser than a huge reveal.