Monday, May 23, 2011

Reviews for Alpha Flight #0.1, Hawkeye: Blind Spot #4, Herc #3 and more!

Hello all.  Sorry for not posting reviews last week.  Was hectic, graduating college 'n such.  It was a decent week overall, so lets get started.

Marvel Comics
Alpha Flight #0.1:  I have always been a fan of teams and heroes outside the USA.  It's fun to see the affect of heroes on another country.  I was one of the fans of Captain Britain and MI13.  With Alpha Flight back from the dead, it's time for a new mini/ongoing.

Canada is having a new election, and many in the Great White North want to take the government back. Alpha Flight (sans North Star) is on the scene, helping stop problems around the country.  Rolling blackouts are sweeping the country, conveniently during a rally of the Unity Party.  Alpha Flight stops the problem, all the while with the future not looking good for Canada.'

Alpha Flight #0.1 does what a few of the .1 issues had a problem with, is bringing in new readers into a book that not a lot of people know about.  The book properly establishes all the characters and gives us their personalities and motives.  We see the problem that is facing Canada and what will be a problem in the new mini-series. It's also done with humor and drama, making this new volume of Alpha Flight seem very enticing.

Ben Oliver handles the art, and it looks really good.  The action is fluid and the panel transition is very smooth.  There is some questionable body designs, but it's nothing that doesn't happen in every comic book.  

Alpha Flight #0.1 gets 5/5

Marvel Comics
Amazing Spider-Man #660:  The last issue finally showed us the Sinister Six and what they are capable of.  They seem like a formidable team this time around.  But it's time for the FF to kick some butt.

The Sinister Six and FF throw down for much of this issue.  The portal that Doc Ock built messes with the original Fantastic Fours powers, but thankfully Spidey fixes the problem.  Peter also makes amends with Carlie.

Yep, that's a very short summary.  This is really because not much happens.  I'm a fan of Dan Slott and his Spider-Man run, finding almost every issue perfect.  But this issue leaves something to be desired.  The dialogue is good, but the plot spins its wheels.  This is probably because of Spider-Island coming up.

The art is also eh as well.  Mike McKone pencils most of the issue.  While usually good, his pencils look a tad rushed, and it's hard to tell which FF kid is which at some points.  Caselli pencils the Peter-Carlie scene, and he does his usual brilliance.

Amazing Spider-Man #660 gets 3/5

DC Comics
Batman #710:  While I love what is going on in Batman Inc, Tony Daniel's Batman has a special place in my pull list.  It's not as heavy and usually full of fun Batman stories.  This issue is a great example of that.

Two-Face has lost his coin and is going on a slight killing spree looking for it.  Falcone has the coin and is looking to take down Two-Face in the process.  Harvey's wife, previously thought dead, is back as well.  Dick and Catwoman try to convince Cat Girl to go to boarding school so that she can get out of the super thief business. Batman is also facing a public relations problem with the new Governor.

#710 is a fun issue that seems classic Batman to me.  It's fun to see Two-Face get out of his ways.  I'm not entirely sure he would go on a killing spree, but it's fun to read.  The Cat Girl angle is also fun to read with Dick seeming more like Bruce all the time.  It's fun to see the character develop.

Steve Scott fills in this month on art and does a good job overall.  There are a couple of problems with the characters seeming incredibly stiff.  Dick also looks inhumanly muscular in the double page spread.

Batman #710 gets 4/5

Marvel Comics
Deadpool MAX #8:  It's very sad to see this book ending in a few months.  And even though this book says Deadpool, he is absent this month in favor of focusing on Bob.

Bob gives us his long and troubled history as an agent and following love.  Not going to spoil you all, but it's something to read.  It's very sad but you find yourself laughing hysterically at what happens to him.  It reads like classic Bob while taking a whole new angle on the character.  While the plot isn't as outlandish as past issues, this works for the best.

The art as usual is insane.  But like the plot, the art tones it down a little this month.  There isn't as much visually going on, focusing more on characters.

Deadpool Max is one of the few books that needs to be read.  While mature readers only, it's one of the best books Marvel puts out.

Deadpool MAX #8 gets 5/5.

Marvel Comics
Hawkeye: Blind Spot #4:  Faithful readers know how much I have loved Jim McCann's run with Hawkeye.  It's sad to see the ongoing end WAY to soon, and this mini-series is the cherry on top.  And thankfully the fourth issue keeps with the high standards of the past three issues.

Hawkeye can't see and has to fight Trickshot and Baron Zemo.  Taking a note from the Man Without Fear, he tries to remember where everyone is, with mostly success (and a couple of failures).  The fight continues, with the Avengers eventually coming to save the day.  Hawkeye's tumor is fixed though....with a donation from his brother.

It's a nice ending, and leaves Hawkeye in a better place than he started in the Heroic Age.  Jim McCan started with Hawkeye the confident idiot he can be sometimes, and made him more humble.  Hopefully something will come up very soon for McCann to write the character.

Paco Diaz has done an amazing job over the mini-series, and this issue continues it.  The faces are hyper expressive and the panels flow great.  Like McCann, I hope to see more of Diaz in the future.

Hawkeye: Blind Spot #4 gets 5/5

Marvel Comics
Herc #3: When a young title gets pulled into a company wide crossover event, even one with an established character, can be the doom of the series.  Surprisingly, Herc #3 isn't example of this.

Brooklyn is happy to have a new hero, but the recent break at the Raft (seen in Fear Itself #2) has sent a few villains towards the borough.  Herc makes quick work of them, until Ares son makes a guest appearance. And Hercules does the truly heroic thing and save the villains from being killed at the hands of the Warhawks.  As you might guess, this doesn't sit well with the citizens.

Herc #3 is a very strong issue.  It is filled with a lot more humor than the past two issues and will show people how this books is a lot like the old book.  Pak and Van Lente making this a more serious book, but that isn't a bad thing.  Hercules can't be funny all the time and expect to be taken as a serious super hero.  The girlfriend angle is a good choice as well.  While I do miss Amadeus Cho, the new girl is an ok substitute.  I expect we will see more of her after Fear Itself makes it way through the Marvel Universe.

Neil Edwards continues to improve his pencils on the book.  The body types are becoming more consistent and I like Herc's new outfit.  I'll miss his old over the top costume, but this one fits in more with the super heroes of New York.

Herc #3 gets 5/5

Marvel Comics
Heroes for Hire #7:  Heroes for Hire has been one of the books on the bubble for my pull list.  It has worked it's way off the endangered list by giving us two strong back to back issues.

Spider-Man continues to follow the truck that has been dealing drugs.  Paladin has a broken rib and has to take a cab, and Misty Knight feels useless being Control.  Spider-Man gets caught up in a massive fight, while Paladin gets belittled.  The final reveal has an old Spider-Man villain wanting revenge.

This issue is just hilarious.  DnA know how to write Spider-Man in a phenomenal way that rivals Dan Slott.  The Paladin cab ride thing was also a nice touch, and had me laughing out loud.  The numerous call backs to the first few issues was nice and shows how the book is back to the slow burn plot that made it a quick critical hit.  The plot is over the top, and the heroes seem to realize this, which adds to the humor.

What keeps #7 from getting a full 5 is the art.  The books needs Walker on pencils every issue.  Can this book please go back to shipping once a month so that Walker can do the book?  Seeley does a good job, and his art looks a lot like Walker's, but it doesn't have the same feel.  

Heroes for Hire #7 gets 4/5

Marvel Comics
Namor: The First Mutant Annual #1:  The first two issue of Escape from the Negative Zone were a blast to read.  Sadly this issue doesn't measure up to the first two, it's still fun to read.

Namor is going nuts since he hasn't seen water in quite some time.  He is destroying everything in sight, and Cyclops and Commander Rogers can't control him.  Namor fights Blastaar.  Dr. Nemesis finds a way to get out of the Negative Zone, but it takes Hope mimicking some of Namor's powers to lure him out of the Negative Zone.

James Asmus has done a great job during these annuals of writing funny, compelling stories.  But this issue lacks the actual Namor focus.  He is just a background player and a plot point.  I wouldn't have minded as much if this was a mini-series, but it's Namor's annual.  But the story ends on a fun note and leaves plenty of story for someone else to tell if they so desire.

Max Fiumara does a slightly sub-standard job on pencils.  Some of the heads look to egg shaped and it detracts from the story.  The body sizes on characters shifts wildly.  This doesn't happen the whole time, but there are a few times where the read can't help but notice and it pulls you out of reading the book.

Namor: The First Mutant Annual #1 gets 3.5/5

Marvel Comics
Ultimate Comics Avengers vs New Ultimates #4:  Now that the book has finally been pulled into Death of Spider-Man, the story can get back to being.........well sadly average.

Spider-Man is shot and is still acting like a hero.  War Machine destroys the bridge and the chases begin again.  Nick Fury is captured as Spider-Man slinks away.  Most of the Ultimates have a discussion about what they think should happen to Danvers and Fury.  We learn who the person who has been pulling strings has been, and it's quite a shocker.  

I really wanted to like this issue, but I couldn't.  He has some great ideas and the big reveal near the end makes a lot of sense.  But the execution isn't smooth.  The Punisher has a very out of character burst.  Most of the issue is a talking head issue, and is interesting to read, but spins it's wheels till the end.  After reading this issue, the person who is running everything makes a lot of sense.  I reread some back issues of this book and you can see the seeds being sowed.  

One thing that isn't bad is the art.  Yu and Segovia are doing a great job.  The action looks chaotic as it should.  The talking head scenes look interesting and improve on the dialogue.  

Ultimate Comics Avengers vs New Ultimates #4 gets 2.5/5

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Thor Review

Paramount Pictures

It's the beginning of summer, so that means a new Marvel movie.  But what makes this movie better is it's another step towards the Avengers next summer.  Thor takes a lot of risks, and they all pay off.  Thor is a very well made movie that is entertaining all around.

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is an arrogant man (boy if you ask Odin).  While he respects his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins), but thinks he isn't securing their gates by attacking the Frost Giants.  Thor heads over to Jotunheim and starts a war between the Asgardians and the Frost Giants.  Enraged, Odin banishes Thor to Earth, and sends Mjolnir (Thor's hammer) with him.  Once he is worth, he can wield the hammer again.  While on Earth, Thor meets Jane Foster, an astrophysicist.  While on Earth, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is being the trickster he is, setting things in motion for him to become king.

The plot is very similar to J. Michael Straczynski's relaunch in 2007.  The film takes place after Iron Man 2, as the after credits scene from Iron Man 2 is put into this film.  It's a small thing like that helps solidify these movies as a real universe.  And much like Iron Man 2, this film has an agenda.  But it fixes the ham-fisted nature of Iron Man 2.  Hawkeye is introduced, but it feels natural to the story. There are slight references to The Incredible Hulk and the Iron Man series, which is fun to hear.  The after credits scene sets up next summer's The Avengers.  There aren't as many hints as in Iron Man 2, but this is probably for the best.

The plot is very solid overall.  It deconstructs the nature of Thor while having him adjust to human life so  they don't have to deal with that in The Avengers.  The scope is beyond huge, and thankfully the high concepts are explained in a way that the audience doesn't feel lost.

Chris Hemsworth is very likable and plays up the fish out of water part very well.  The comic relief he can occasionally bring is funny.  Natalie Portman isn't given a lot to work with, but she does a great job.  Her sudden infatuation with Thor reminds me of Thor: The Mighty Avenger.  And to everyone pointing out what happened between Thor and Sif, there is never a relationship established in the movie.  Tom Hiddleston plays Loki very well.  I liked how he is established as a powerful god, even though he isn't bulky as Thor.  As a personal preference, I wish the Warrior Three could have brought a little more comic relief.  Especially Volstagg.

I did notice a hick up or two with the special effects.  During the Jotunheim scene, it's fairly obvious there is a green screen at a couple of points.  I do wish the relationship between Thor and Jane could have been developed a little more.  It seems to amount to a little more than infatuation, but I'll make a full judgement on that after a second viewing

The real payoff with Thor though is an audience is willing to pay to see gods and magic.  If Thor failed, we might not see a Dr. Strange film or Nova film.  The writers of movies like those will need to watch Thor and find what was done right.  With the critical and commercial success of Thor, Dr. Strange will no doubt be fast tracked.

Overall, Thor gets 4.5/5

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Reviews for Fear Itself #2, Moon Knight #1 and more...

Hey everyone.  I'm done with college now, so that means more reviews!  Sorry for not posting reviews the past few weeks, but I had a 20 page, a 5 page, and a 7 page paper to write as well as a ton of other stuff.  The past few weeks were really good, with Marvel spoiling us by publishing two issues of Uncanny X-Force.  Action Comics #900 came out and was decent.  Brightest Day #24  But this week was a blast.  One of my favorite weeks of the year so far, comics wise.  Well here we go!

Marvel Comics
Deadpool #36:  It seems that the Deadpool hating has come to an end, as the books have been trimmed down.  But the original Deadpool ongoing is still around and it's still one of the best reads each week it comes out.

Deadpool decides to come home from his space-capades.  While he was gone though, all of his "friends" wanted to kill him.  Deadpool comes home to find this out from Bob, who was the person that told their ring leader, Macho Gomez, that the Merc with a Mouth is back.  Naturally, Macho gets the group together to take down Deadpool.  The group is Weasel, Macho Gomez, Blind Al, Taskmaster, Big Bertha, and Sluggo.  Insanity ensues, with bullets flying everywhere.  Deadpool survives and decides he needs better friends.

What I love about Daniel Way's Deadpool is the occasional one and done like this where Deadpool looks at himself and what he has become.  It doesn't bog down the funny book, but it's somber enough.  Deadpool can't be hilarious all the time.  A psychotic character like him needs to have an issue like this.  The last time we had an issue like this, Deadpool went down the road to become a hero.  Personally, I think Deadpool became the hero he set out to be.  He has saved a lot of people since he went out to become a hero.  Look at what he did with the X-Men on Utopia.  The cover for next month doesn't look promising for finding a friend, but it will no doubt lead to funny things.

When I saw that Sheldon Vella was the penciler for this issue, I was ecstatic.  I loved the last issue he did on Deadpool and think he natural fit for the feel of the book.  His art is slightly over the top while still grounded.  It's what Deadpool is.  Marvel needs to assign him Deadpool for good.

Overall, Deadpool #36 gets 5/5

 Marvel Comics
Deadpool Annual #1:  Last months Amazing Spider-Man Annual #38 started the Identity Wars arc by John Layman.  I enjoyed the first part of the arc, and I must say I enjoyed the second part just as much.

Deadpool has been having the time of his life with his alternate reality counterpart.  Turns out that his counterpart isn't his counterpart.  In this universe, Wade Wilson is the equivalent of Doctor Doom, called Death Mask.  Deadpool thinks up an extravagant plan to kill Death Mask while tricking Spider-Man (dressed as the Amazing Spider).  Deadpool pulls the ol' switchero an takes the place of his counterpart, just like Spider-Man did in his annual.  And we also learn a good amount about why the Hulk hasn't appeared yet in the two annuals.

Like I said last month, Layman makes a very believable universe.  It's funny to see what Deadpool could have become if he got treated instead of going into Weapon X.  I have always like the way Spider-Man and Deadpool have played off of each other, only if they are handled by a talented writer.  While I liked Daniel Way's arc with Spider-Man, the humor was hit or miss.  This issue was all hit.

Juan Doe does a good job on penciler.  What takes it down from a great is the hiccups in head structure.  There are far to many head problems with Spider-Man, where his head is suddenly an odd shape.  His work is good overall though.  The fight scenes are kinetic.

Overall, Deadpool Annual #1 gets 4/5

Marvel Comics
Fear Itself #2:  My review of Fear Itself #1 could be summed up in one word: amazing.  And that word is going to stay over to this month.  If anything, this issue is better than #1.  Minor spoilers ahead

America is being attacked.  Many citizens are getting diseases and dying, while the hammers make their way down to Earth.  The Worthy are making themselves known.  Juggernaut, Titania, and Hulk get their hammers.  The Absorbing Man is known to get a hammer, as said by Titania.  Commander Rogers is starting to send out the Avengers where they are needed.  But as more and more Worthy grab their hammers, are the Avengers going to be out-powered?

Matt Fraction does a superb job of instilling the reader with fear throughout the book.  While things felt bad at the end of #1, things feel downright sad at the end of this issue.  The feeling gradually goes as the Worthy grab their hammers, and it's surprising the way you feel at the end.  And as you reread #2, it becomes more clear that this isn't going to an easy battle for the Avengers.  There are some plot points hinted at, such as the Hulk still being a hero as he is controlled by the hammer.  We also learn some history of the Serpent, who gets some great character development without appearing that much.  If something scares Odin, then we should be scared.

Stuart Immonen pencils a beautiful book.  I went through the book again, not reading the text, and I still understood what was going on.  His art is that great.  The faces are incredibly real and it's a pleasure to just marvel at what he has done.  Immonen did a great job in his past assignments (New Avengers, Ultimate Spider-Man), but this is on another level.  The final splash page is truly terrifying and actually hit with the weight that Fraction intended too.  As a jaded comic reader, this is something that doesn't happen often.

Fear Itself #2 gets 5/5

Marvel Comics
Herc #2:  After reading Herc #1, I saw a ton of potential.  It reminded me of Hawkeye & Mockingbird and S.W.O.R.D.; books that are great but could end soon because no one bought them.  After reading #2, I think that Herc has the chance to stay around.

Hercules continues to battle the Hobgoblin, using his history to stave off the villain.  Hercules makes an announcement to the people of Brooklyn that he is their new protector.  The Kingpin takes notice of this, and makes a visit.  And being the conniving son of a bitch he is, he helps Hercules to gain his trust.  While Hercules isn't the smartest bulb in the bunch, he doesn't trust him right away.  But Herc is the new hero of Brooklyn, with what seems to be a new girlfriend.  A big twist ending will have to wait though.  Fear Itself is coming next month.

Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente can't be praised enough for the writing of this issue.  It's funny without forcing the humor down the readers throat.  Herc really seems like a hero in these books.  He is a hero who is trying to find his place in the Marvel Universe, and he just naturally makes one in Brooklyn.  His initial suspicion of the Kingpin shows how far the character has come from his oafish ways.  I'm very interested to see him have a stable girlfriend.  The ladies man Hercules is going to have a hard time keeping a steady girlfriend, which will lead to funny things.

Neal Edwards has come a long way from his Fantastic Four days.  His penciling has improved greatly, but he still has a few things to fix.  At one point, Rhea's chest disappears completely.  And why hasn't the Hobgoblin adopted his more gargoyle-y appearance that we have seen in Amazing Spider-Man?  These are a few minor complaints for an overall good issue from Edwards.  It's clear he has improved his work, and I look forward to him improving even further.

Herc #2 gets 4/5.

Marvel Comics
Heroes for Hire #6:  The last few months have not been pleasant for Heroes for Hire.  The book lost the fun that made it the top of my pull list.  I was on the verge of not buying #6, but decided to give it a shot when I went into the comic shop.  I'm so glad I did.

Paladin and Misty are trying to make Heroes for Hire the well respected institution it use to be.  While Paladin is trying to stop a drug deal, he is interrupted from Spider-Man.  Paladin is obviously feeling jealous that Spider-Man is a more well known hero than him, and doesn't want help.  Misty wants his help.  Paladin keeps going with the drug deal, but gets sidetracked and loses the truck.  Time for the Web Slinger to take over.

DnA have seemed to find the grove they developed in the first three issues.  There is a tiny bit of humor thrown in.  Paladin's attraction to Misty seems genuine, as does her attraction to him.  It seems completely real, and is surprisingly refreshing in comic books.  Spider-Man's appearance seems normal and DnA write the character very well.  While it seems easy to write Spider-Man, as he is an everyman.  But many writers can have a hard time writing his humor and balancing his need to do the right thing.  DnA have found a great way to balance this.

#6 is a return to form no doubt due to Brad Walker returning to the book.  His art is just stellar.  The panels have a great flow that should be shown to new artists.  The faces on characters are fantastic (look at Misty on page 8, final panel).  And Walker does something that is rather hard, he makes Batroc the Leaper look menacing.  The guy is a joke amongst most heroes, but he kicks Paladin's ass and it doesn't seem out of place.  He looks strong and able to fight amongst the best of them.

Overall, Heroes for Hire #6 gets 5/5.

Marvel Comics
Invincible Iron Man #503: This issue is one of the classic reasons that events can mess up writers.  They have a great arc going on and then they need to write into the big event.  I feel like this is the problem with Invincible Iron Man #503.

Tony is in a difficult situation with Doc Ock.  He needs to disable the bomb while not pissing Ock off.  While we learn a little bit of the history between Tony and Ock, Pepper isn't done saving the day against Electro and Sandman.  But Otto reveals a trick up his sleeve and everything is done.

It's fairly obvious that this arc got in the way of Fear Itself.  The first two issues were really good, and the finale looked to be really good.  But then the plot just gets pulled out from under us.  Fraction does a decent job keeping the issue filled with developments, some that will no doubt come to head after the big crossover.  This is the second book this week that has had it's overall story interrupted by Fear Itself.  That other book was Herc.  But that story actually came naturally and the story didn't have to forsake so much to be put on the back burner.  With Fraction actually writing both Fear Itself and Invincible Iron Man, I'd suspect this would have been easier.

Larroca does his usual decent job.  The action scenes look good while the talking head panels leave something to desire.

Overall, Invincible Iron Man #503 gets 3.5/5.

Marvel Comics
The Mighty Thor #1:  Relaunches are a tough thing to justify in comics.  But what makes it easier is a movie coming out.  It makes it easier for fans of the film to jump into the comics.  With The Mighty Thor #1 though, this trend breaks.

Picking up fairly soon after Thor #621, the Asgardians have sent a team down into the World Tree to see what is going on.  Thor and Sif find a seed that has given Thor a particular problem.  The townsfolk of Broxton are going about their everyday lives.  Meanwhile in space, the Silver Surfer senses the seed from the World Tree.  Thinking it would be a good source of energy for his master, Galactus.

Unlike most relaunches, this one doesn't sacrifice story at all.  Every relaunch I have read usually dials down past story lines for a year or so to accommodate new readers.  The Mighty Thor doesn't skip a beat, feeling like a natural continuation of Fraction's time on Thor.  This places a lot on new readers, which I feel could be off putting.  This book is great for long time readers of comics, as it is a great time to jump on the book.  Much like the last arc for Thor, this issue starts out very strong, with the scope being massive.  With this arc taking place before Fear Itself, it's kind of limited with how much development we can have.  Thor has to be in the place he is at the beginning of Fear Itself.  Fraction is a great writer, so he will no doubt handle it well.

Olivier Coipel returns to the book, and his penciling is better than ever.  The multiple double page spreads look amazing, and you can stare at them forever.  The big work like creatures look awesome.  I'm curious to see the description that Fraction gave Coipel.  Did he give him detailed descriptions or just let Coipel go nuts.  I'm hoping for the second.  All of his characters have their own personality, with no two looking the same.

Overall, The Mighty Thor gets 4.5/5

Marvel Comics
Moon Knight #1:  I have been avid Moon Knight fan for a while.  I loved the last two ongoings that have come out.  While Vengeance of the Moon Knight was eh, it was kinda fun.  But with the news that Bendis and Maleev were going to be the team on a new Moon Knight ongoing, I was ecstatic.  And #1 lives up to my lofty expectations.

Marc Spector has moved out to LA, selling his old Moon Knight stories as a TV show.  It's been hugely successful, making Spector rather rich.  When he leaves the party, he finds himself visited by Spider-Man, Captain America, and Wolverine.  They say he needs to keep LA in check, with all the super heroes over in New York City.  Moon Knight stops a deal between Mr. Hyde and.....someone.  They have massive powers and wanted what Hyde had in his Ultron.

Pill popper Marc Spector can be interesting, but seeing Spector somewhat be sane is a nice change of pace.  The last panel isn't really surprising due to the massive advertising campaign.  It's still a great read, and a lot of that is due to Bendins.  It has a Daredevil-y feel to it, which is good.  But it doesn't stick to the Daredevil format.  It has it's own voice and Marc Spector isn't a super powered person like Matt Murdock.  

Alex Maleev changes his style up for this book.  It's a lot looser than Daredevil and Scarlet.  This really suits action scenes, with the fight between Moon Knight and Hyde flowing like a dream.  The few reviews I have read of #1 have put people on the fence with his art.  I like it, and look forward to what else he has up his sleeve.  

Overall, Moon Knight #1 gets 5/5

Marvel Comics
Uncanny X-Force #8: Uncanny X-Force has been the best book that Marvel has been putting out.  It's been blazingly fun to watch Rick Remender dissect what it means to be a hero while being funny and memorable.

What makes #8 extra good is that it is steeped in Marvel continuity, but still very accessible.  When the villain appeared, the Shadow King, I didn't know who he was.  I had never heard of him or his power set.  But his powers and back story are quickly discussed.  It's all exhibition, but never feels like it.  As you might have noticed, I haven't given a summary.  This is one of those comics that needs to be read to fully understand and appreciate.  And this is all due to Rick Remender.  Uncanny X-Force would have fallen apart under the reign of a lesser writer.  Every issue has some point to make about super heroes and their nature in the world.  Are the really helping anyone?  Should they really be controlled by Deathloks?  It's incredibly interesting and every issue leaves a lasting affect in a different way.

When Billy Tan was on New Avengers, I wasn't a big fan of his work.  The body designs were all over the place and the faces didn't look good at all.  But in between penciling Thor and now this book, his art has VASTLY improved.  The body designs are consistent, and even the talking head panels look great.  I reread the issue a couple of times, focusing on the art, and I fell more and more in love with it each time.  I'm happy that Billy Tan will be on the next issue.

Side note, Uncanny X-Force is still the only book that has gotten a 5/5 from me each month.  It's the only book that has done that in my time reviewing.

Overall, Uncanny X-Force #8 gets 5/5

Monday, May 2, 2011

Comic Books Board

The other day at Boston Comic Con, I get a flyer about a new website.  I checked it out and I'm liking it.  Sorry if this seems like ad spam, but it isn't.  The website is  Check it out.  I'll be responding to posts on it.  My screen name is red15sox on the site

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Boston Comic Con 2011

Another year, another Boston Comic Con.  This year the promoters went all fucking out and it was a blast. I went on Sunday, May 1st, the second day of the Con.

There were plenty of vendors, all who wanted to give you the best experience.  Almost every vendor was having a 50% off sale on comics.  I jumped at this and got Invincible Iron Man #5-7 of the current volume. Even better, many of the vendors had deals on the blank cover variants.  While a great price (many were around $1.00), many of the artists were charging WAY to much for sketches.  There were also a great selection of t-shirts.  And not just comic book t-shirts, but t-shirts for almost any type of nerd.  A friend of mine bought a shirt with Angel as a puppet, and I was rather tempted to get a Mutant Enemy shirt.  Midtown Comics had some great shirts, with their exclusive Iron Fist and Future Foundation shirts.  I caved and got the Iron Fist shirt.

Unlike last year, I never felt cramped in the vendors area.  Last year suffered from a small convention area, so it was impossible at some points to walk through the vendors area.  With this year's being in the Hynes Convention Center, the area was spread out, and the people running the Con smartly put the headliners in a different section.  This kept the eventually long lines free from interfering with people trying to shop through the vendors

The list of writers and artists were great.  The legendary Joe Kubert made an appearance, and was kind as ever.  J. Scott Campbell showed rather late, but apologized to everyone and stopped to chat with everyone giving autographs.  Frank Quietly surprisingly never had a line, which I took advantage of.  Art Adams couldn't resist telling a joke with anyone around.  Other included Frank Cho, Khoi Pham, Christos Gage, Neal Adams, Tim Sale, Adam Hughes, J.G. Jones, and Ryan Ottley to name a few.

There were a couple of panels on the day I went, but no news was announced.  Joe Kubert answered questions in one panel.  While it didn't bring the event down by any means, some announcements would be welcomed at next years.

As I said before, some of the artists were charging WAY TO FUCKING MUCH for sketches.  J. Scott Campbell, who is a great artist, was charging $200 for a blank cover sketch.  Are you serious?  He would do a small square sketch, but was charging $50.  Still to much.  All the other artist were charging around $50 for a blank cover sketch, or even less.  Ok, that I can understand, as their time is valuable.  Sketches were going for $20, which I think is completely reasonable.

Overall though, Boston Comic Con 2011 is a huge success and it's a step in the right direction for making Comic Cons in Boston a major event.