Thursday, December 29, 2011

Reviews for Aquaman #4, Captain America #6, Secret Avengers #20 and more!

Holy crap this was a big week for comics.  My pull list topped out at 14 or 15, after digital comics of course.  Was a decent week, with a surprising amount of mediocre or bad comics.  But the good ones shined bright.  Here we go.

Marvel Comics
Alpha Flight #7:  It's almost the end of another Alpha Flight series.  And besides the goofy villain, the series continues to chug along at a great pace.

Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente add everyone's favorite mutant this month, but the issue doesn't focus on him that much. The issue is still about Alpha Flight and Wolverine just happens to be there.  The characterization is great, with some patented Pak/Van Lente humor thrown in.  What has bogged this series down is the goofy villain The Master.  Having aliens JUST invade Canada is a little awkward when you think about the scope of the plot.  The whole anti-unity machine is never properly explained, except that it will undo the the process.  

Dale Eaglesham continues to do some of his best pencil work.  The action scenes look great as well as the facial expressions.  What impresses the most is that he continues to do this great work without needing a fill in artist like he did with Fantastic Four.  And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that Eaglesham pencils some beautiful women.

Alpha Flight #7 gets 3.5/5.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Reviews for Batman #4, Daredevil #7, Wolverine & the X-Men #3 and a lot more!

It was a big week for comics this week.  Bought nine at the store and bought two digitally.  Hope you all have a great holiday weekend, and you all get some great comics.

DC Comics
Batman #4:  Scott Snyder continues his almost perfect run on Batman, giving us an inexperienced Dark Knight.

One of the most entertaining aspects of Snyder's Batman is that Bruce is still learning the ropes of what it means to be the protector of Gotham.  While he maybe experienced, he still seems a little green when it comes to how to handle the enemy.  And Talon takes full advantage of that in #4.  The final page brings up plenty of implications that will test Batman as a detective and strategist.  Snyder's inner monologue for Batman during the trip wire scene was brilliant, bringing order amongst the chaos.  Snyder even has a great hold on Dick Grayson.  Bruce's childhood is a time that we don't know much about, so it's always illuminating to see how Bruce became the person he is today, besides the day his parents were murdered by Joe Chill.

Greg Capullo continues to churn out beautiful looking comics.  The trip wire scene is the best example, as he makes Batman look so calm and collect amongst everything blowing up around him.  #4 is a quiet issue, with not much varying in background or scenes, but Capullo makes it all great to look at.

Batman #4 gets 5/5.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Reviews for Avengers: X-Sanction #1, Journey Into Mystery #632 and a lot more!

It was a relatively short week for comics.  It's a little more than a month after Fear Itself ended, and Marvel is already getting read for their next event.  Let's get started shall we?

Marvel Comics
Avengers: X-Sanction #1:  When buying this book, the comic shop owner said "Jeph Lobe gets about one out of four things right when writing."  Right now, this isn't looking like that one out of four.

Loeb writes a very barebones script.  While I can understand and respect writing a script that gives new readers as much info on the characters as possible, but this is a little extreme.  Jeff Parker has done a great job with the Red Hulk making him a relatable character, but I'm reminded of his horrible origin here.  But this is the first issue, so Loeb deserves a little slack.  He recaps what happened to Cable in Second Coming fairly quickly and sets up the nature of the miniseries well as well.  I just wish I knew more about what is going on.  The final panel doesn't hit home the way it should, and it's lazy writing.  While it is possible for writers to give us cliffhangers we know won't stick, they still need us to care for them (Zeb Wells in Avenging Spider-Man #2 is a good example).

On the plus side though, Ed McGuinness' art is brilliant.  The lines are crisp and the action is fluid.  Morray Hollowell's colors fit perfectly in this issue.  The issue is one big fight scene, which suits McGuinness' somewhat cartoony art.  The reader can feel that Cable is having a hard time of living at the moment, which looks great.  I'll probably continue reading this book just to see his art.

Avengers: X-Sanction #1 gets 3/5.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Reviews for Avenging Spider-Man #2, Animal Man #4, Venom #10 and a lot more!

Hello faithful readers!  I'm in information grab mode, trying to find out as much as I can bout the new Marvel event, Avengers vs X-Men.  All I know so far is the title is all we know, and I haven't heard about  a new volume of Nova.  And that's a crime.  Anyways, onto reviews!

DC Comics
Action Comics #4:  Since I started reading comics years ago, I have always wanted a great Superman story to be told.  Yes there are older ones in trades, but I'd love one in monthly form.  Sadly, Action Comics still isn't that.

I'm a big Grant Morrison fan.  I have never read a bad issue from the guy.  But something is wrong with Action Comics.  Morrison can't seem to get the transitions down from panel to panel.  Scenes are all over the place and bogging what is, at heart, a very interesting story.  Morrison has created an interesting villain, and is doing some great character work with the Superman family.  Lex Luthor in particular.  His work on Clark/Superman isn't his best, but it's still damn entertaining.  Steel's entrance is forced, but ok.  The ending will peak the interest of long time Superman fans, and it brought a slight smile to my face when I realized what the future will hold for Action Comics. I still can't shake the feeling that Morrison is looking at Spider-Man as new inspiration for Superman.  Each issue he seems more and more like the wall crawler.  Anyone else notice this?

Rags Morales pencils the entire issue this month.  This keeps the issue having a consistent look, but Morales' pencils still need some work.  The book is one big action scene, and Morales makes the fights look great.  His face work needs to be worked on.  It looks very rushed.  Much like Morrison's script, Morales can't seem to transition from panel to panel well, but that might be more Morrison's fault then his.  

Action Comics #4 gets 3.5/5.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Marvel Subscriptions Need an Overhaul

As you many notice in each week's reviews, I always have a section of Old Comics.  The reason for this is I'm a subscriber through Marvel.  I pay around 50% less to get my comics through the mail.  Awesome right?  Well I'm getting to the point with them where I'd rather pay the full price then wait almost two months to get a comic.
I had to wait almost a month and a half to finish Spider-Island (Marvel Comics)

Now before I talk about how this program needs to be changed, it is a great deal.  I can't deny I like getting two books for the price of one.  I'm still a subscriber for a good chunk of my Marvel books (although that number has slowly been dwindling).  In this tough economy, it's easy to sacrifice getting the books on time to have the price be really low.  It's even better with a book like Amazing Spider-Man which is released multiple times a month.

When I started, just with the Amazing Spider-Man, I got books the day they were released or the day after.  This went on for a few months, then books became late.  A week or two isn't that bad.  But then it became a month.  Now it's on average a month and a half to a two months.  This is just unacceptable.  The only thing I can think of that keeps these comics from getting to my house on time is the fact that Marvel charges so little.  They can't be making much money on this, and must be taking a loss of some kind to ship these books.  My suspicions were confirmed when my long time subscription to Deadpool was cut short because the book din't sell as well anymore.  Same with Venom at issue #3.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Reviews for Angel & Faith #4, Herc #10, Uncharted #1 and more!

Hello all. It was a fifth week month this past week, so not a big week release wise.  DC didn't even sell one of the new 52 books.  But it was a surprisingly strong week for the books.  Not one book sold got under a 3.5.  Lets get to it.

Dark Horse
Angel & Faith #4:  Like the recent split in X-Men books, the new Buffyverse book is surprisingly a lot better than the original book.

Christos Gage keeps upping the ante every month, and writing these character in a way that rivals Joss Whedon.  When reading this book, or Buffy, I always hear the actors saying the dialogue in my head.  In the Buffy books, I sometimes question the dialogue (not in issues written by Joss), but I have never done that here.  It's pitch perfect to the characters.  Pearl and Nash could go for some deeper characterization, but I'll let it go with the rest of the issue so great.  Gage even captures the essence of the old show in the hard decisions that Angel is willing to to make, something that Buffy doesn't necessarily want to do sometimes.  The tease near the end is great and long time Buffy watchers/readers will get a kick out of it.  And the more I think about the tease, it makes a lot of sense for Angel.  Makes me that much more excited for next month.

Rebekah Isaacs is another reason this books is firing on all cylinders.  The fights look great, even at their most hectic.  But the real treasure is that nothing looks photo referenced.  She seems to have figured out how to draw these characters perfectly like their actor counterparts.  Even grimaces look exactly like their actors, which I just find stunning.  I love Phil Noto's work (who is penciling a fill in issue next month), but I'll be missing Isaacs' work.

Angel & Faith #4 gets 4.5/5