Thursday, January 20, 2011

Reviews for Deadpool MAX #4, Wolverine #5 and more

Hello all and welcome back.  A new semester has started, so I'm back to reviewing comics.  If you missed me over break, well you should have spoke up! (ok, not mad, was just to lazy to keep writing :) ).  I did get Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 #40, but I just started season 7 of the show, so I'm playing catch up. 

Batman #706:  With the current Batman story that Tony Daniel has been telling, I have been wondering why Bruce was needed in the first place.  He is capable, and certainly earns the respect of all of Bruce's side players.  But I digress. #706 is an enjoyable issue to this current arc, but does a couple of things wrong that keep this from being a perfect issue.

It might be me, but Sensei doesn't seem threatening.  Yeah, he took Lucius Fox and is threatening with his daughter, but for some reason he still doesn't seem like a threat.  I know Dick will kick his ass eventually (and that's not a comic readers foresight).  But the real entertainment of this issue is seeing Dick be Batman.  It seems more and more that the Batman persona is sinking into him.  The personality traits between Batman and Dick are starting to separate a little bit.  The cowl isn't a costume anymore, it's becoming a part of him.

What I did have trouble grasping around is why Batman is going to Catgirl for help.  Couldn't he have Catwoman just force it out?  It seems a tad risky to trust her (and Batman says it himself).  She seems more like a plot device (a whinny plot device), and that's fine.  There also seems to be a thread of Damian thinking Enigma is attractive, which could prove funny in future issues.  Not entirely sure we needed another addition to the rogues gallery, but who am I to speak ill of a character until she has been proven to be useful or not

Tony Daniel does a superior job this month on penciling.  The panels have a nice flow and all the fighting seems kinetic.  Batman blends into the shadows well, almost seeming like he isn't there.

Batman #706 gets 4/5

Brightest Day #18:  As faithful readers can tell, I have a love/hate relationship with "Brightest Day."  Most of the issues have been bland, but occasionally they are spectacular.  #18 falls somewhere in the middle, but mostly towards the good side.

The Hawkman and Hawkgirl story hasn't really clicked with me.  I don't know the mythos that well, and they seem a little to out there to be interesting.  The whole love storyline though has been interesting enough, and it finally comes to a close with this issue.  Carrol Ferris makes a nice cameo, and get's some good plot development that will no doubt affect a few books.  The finale is also nice as it shows part of the master plan of the White Ring. It's also a nice emotional ending that "Brightest Day" has needed, something to make it worthwhile and not a cash cow.

One thing that "Brightest Day" has always done great is the Boston Brand storyline.  His want to live has been perfectly shown and always carries the emotional depth it needs.  He doesn't appear much in this issue, but his presence is felt, and it will no doubt affect his relationship with Dove.  Speaking of Dove, where the hell is Hawk?  We haven't seen him for a long time

The art by the collective artists is great as usual, but the colorist put way to much pink on the pages.  I know they are on the planet of the Star Sapphires, but at a point this needs to change.  By the end of the issue I wasn't sure if I went color blind and was seeing pink because of that.  And it's not like it changes on the last few pages, which are whitewashed by......well white.  It's to big of a difference that is just bad to look at for extended periods of time.

Brightest Day #18 gets 3.5/5

Deadpool MAX #4:  Marvel's MAX line has become a necessity with this title.  I can't truly talk about this book, as it's fucked up in such a hilarious way.  The best part, it has all these subtle undertones about the character of Deadpool.

This months story is more about infiltrating a drug lords house dressed like Brad Pitt.  Once they realize he isn't Brad Pitt, Deadpool gets ambushed but is saved by Cable.  Cable is insane and "thinks" he is from the future.  Surprisingly, is that most of the book is directed towards Bob and his girlfriend.  Bob has had some good characterization the last few issues, and it continues in this one.  It's very nice considering the 606 version of Bob is a loser. 

David Lapham's dialogue is very reminiscent of Joe Kelly's dialogue in the 90's when Kelly had a long run with him.  He forgets the dual thought bubbles and relies on witty dialogue instead.  Kyle Baker's art is stunning and perfectly fits the insane nature of the book.  What was surprising was he broke the nudity barrier a little bit in this issue.  Even though it's a MAX book, it's nice to not throw in nudity for the sake of "Hey, this is an adult book, let's throw in a cooter or two!"  It's fun for shock value, but after that is destroys the legitimacy of the book.

Another fine quality the book has is the re-imagining of characters.  Last months Baron Zemo was a particular delight, and this month's view with Cable is also.  I'm really looking forward to a female Taskmaster.

Deadpool MAX #4 gets 5/5

Scarlet #4:  This series has been one of the biggest joys of the last few months.  Brian Michael Bendis has been doing some of his best writing here.  And as Scarlet's little social revolution comes to a high, things get more interesting.

The Scarlet Thought Bubbles (that's what I'm calling them, or STB for short) don't appear as much as they have in this issue, which to me is a little bit of a downer.  They have had some of the best writing and actually moved the plot along.  In this issue though, the STBs aren't just used by Scarlet.  A detective in the Portland police office uses them as well, which might mean big things for her in the future.  But back to Scarlet, this month the STBs are only used to say, "I think this will happen."  Well la-di-fucking-da it happens.  It's not entertaining and is kind of annoying.  The appearance of Scarlet's mother was interesting and will no doubt have affects on how far Scarlet goes with this thing.  It could seem like a rebel teenager who straightens up when life actually bitch slaps them and they realize they were acting like spoiled assholes.  Or it could reinforce her social ideals.  Either way, it will be interesting.

Surprisingly, Scarlet takes a back seat in her own book this month, as the majority of the issue focuses on the police force and how they are reacting to this social movment.  It's a nice thing to see in a time when WikiLeaks is causing people to protest about what is free speech.

Alex Maleev steps up his game this month and makes the book even better looking than it has.  With the way he colors things, it can be hard to figure out who is who in some scenes.  Thankfully in the flash mob scene, he makes the police one color and the mob red.  Even when they intermingle, it's easy to pick out one from the other. 

Scarlet #4 gets 4/5.

Superior #4: Mark Millar's new creator owned comic has been his best in my opinion.  While it is a superhero version of "Big," it has had enough differences to make it very interesting and blast to read.

One thing that has been present in the back of my mind during this book is that I feel like something bad is going to happen.  Maybe it's just me, but the whole kid in the big world thing just leaves me like something bad is going to happen.  And with the everything going well, it's going to make it that much better in the payoff.  Seeing the ramifications of Simon not being at home is nice, and it grounds the story a little bit.  The bully sub plot probably wasn't needed in this book, as is Chris/Superior's involvement with the President.  It could be Simon's innocence to the world, but it doesn't seem right for a super hero to work with the government during a war.  While Captain America use to, he doesn't anymore as he is the top dog and the security is according to him.  It's a small flaw that doesn't bring down the book by any means, and it still makes me want to read #5 ASAP.  Another thing that has me puzzled is the news anchor Maddie Knox.  She is either there to have her life changed by Superior, or Superior has sex with her and the after coitus scene will be hysterical.

Leinil Yu has been drawing a beautiful book.  Not to say his "Ultimate Comics Avengers" work was sub par, this is just on another level.  Especially his penciling on eyes.  They are very expressive and convey a lot more than eyes usually do in comics.  There is an innocence in Superior's eyes that isn't there in the actor who plays Superior in the movies.  It's a very subtle touch that I didn't notice till the second read through. 

Superior #4 gets 4/5

Wolverine #5:  Wolverine in hell has been the best thing to happen to him for a while.  Much like "World's Most Wanted" with Tony Stark, "Wolverine Goes to Hell" has deconstructed the character in such a way that it reshows to readers not only who Wolverine is, but who Logan is as well.  The cliff hanger at the end of last months issue is shown in a great way and will no doubt affect him for months.

The one weakness to the whole arc is why the hell it is happening in the first place.  This month's back up feature somewhat explores it, but all we know is Logan did something bad and they are seeking vengeance.  Oh, and Mystique helped.  It's not enough to go on, but the ending seems like these people will be around for a while.  What kept this issue from getting a perfect score was the ending.  We have seen this time and time again and it's getting boring.  Jason Aaron is a talented writer, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt on what he has planned.  But a berserk Wolverine attacking people again is as old as Peter Parker having to chose between girls and eight legged mooks.

The backup feature is solid as usual, but I was puzzled by Wolverine being stumped by Mystique dressed as his girlfriend Melita.  Can't he tell that her scent is different?  That has been a common thing with Wolverine and Mystique over the years.  This is a nice pay off from "Wolverine: Weapon X" #10.  

Renato Guedes does a good job at portraying hell.  Some of his panels are a tad stagnant.  I would love to see a Ghost Rider book drawn by him, as he draws the character with such motion and fluidity.  It's borderline beautiful to see the character's flame head move with the wind and seem so natural.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Walt Disney World and Marvel

So I just got back from a five day trip to Walt Disney World, and had a great time.  As a personal interest, I looked around for anything Marvel to see how Disney was promoting their new acquisition.  It's Disney, so of course they probably have milked every property dry.

Wait, there is nothing to be seen anywhere in the park?  Well this is no good.

Soon after Marvel bought Disney, there were a lot of Marvel things around the parks.  Nothing big, but some comics and shirts.  During my five day stay (where I visited every park and a good number of hotels), I saw a grand total of two shops that sold Marvel stuff.  One was the gift shop at Port Orleans Riverside.  The second was at the Villains and Vogue on the street that leads down to the Tower of Terror at the Disney Hollywood Studios.  Seriously, that's it?

Both of the shops had Marvel comics, which was kind of surprising.  And a fairly recent/good selection.  Villains in Vogue had a good selection of trade paperbacks too.

Now I don't know if it's the contract with Universal that keeps them from advertising Marvel characters, but this is ridiculous.  They can't do a little more?  I remember seeing some Marvel t-shirts that were really cool.

I will admit that I might have missed a few, as one day I was somewhat recovering from the Woody's and Buzz's 5K.  What is funny is that while Islands of Adventure totes having a great comic book shop, the Disney stores have more recent comics and is more organized.