Friday, February 10, 2012

Reviews for Deadpool #50, New Mutants #37, Scarlet Spider #2 and a lot more!

It was a very big pull list this week.  Took a chance on New Mutants, and that book has a new reader.  Batgirl is very close to being dropped.  Enough of me bitching (for now!), let's get to reviews.

DC Comics
Batgirl #6:  Gail Simone has always been a great writer over at DC.  So it pains me to say this, but what hell is going on with Batgirl?

Gail Simone has always been the master of characterization.  And while Batgirl #6 shows some of her prowess, it also shows some issues.  Gretel is a very interesting villain, but she is quickly swept away.  She could have stayed around of a while.  She is a lot more interesting than Mirror.  Batman says a very odd thing in the middle of battle.  While not odd for the character, the time and place doesn't fit with the rest of the scene.  Barbara's home life continues to be a pleasure to read.  And having half of the book be mediocre, and the other be good is very jarring.  It doesn't work well and hopefully Simone can change that in the coming months.  It is good to see Simone interact with the rest of the Bat family of books.

Ardian Syaf's art is a mix bag this month.  Some panels aren't as crisp and easy to follow as others.  Occasionally the action gets muddled, with the characters striking some odd poses.  These problems only happen near the end of the book, leaving the majority of the book looking pretty.  It's good superhero work overall though, and it's good to have the art be consistent even when the writing isn't.

Batgirl #6 gets 3.5/5.

Dark Horse
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #6:  My friends, we have the best issue of the season so far.

Andrew Chambliss has done a decent job so far during Season 9, but #6 shows off how much he knows about these characters.  Chambliss gives us plenty of time between Nikki (the slayer Spike killed in NYC) and Buffy figuring out what to do.  A lot of characters make appearances, and Chambliss has a great hold on all their voices.  Always good to see Robin again.  Spike especially gets some great panel time, especially near the end.  Now many are going to complain about the direction of this season, especially the ending of this particular issue.  It's an interesting take, and I'm not sure it's the final one.  There are plenty of issues left in this season for her decision to change or have something else happen.  Having Buffy go back to Spike feels natural and right with what's going on right now.  I'm much more interested in this season thanks to this issue.

George Jeanty also steps up his game this month.  The characters don't look as rush and look cleaner as a result.  The characters have so much emotion on their faces, making Chambliss' script hit home that much harder.  Having a month off to catch up did a lot of good for Jeanty.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #6 gets 4.5/5.

Marvel Comics
Captain America #8:  Ed Brubaker seems to be having a lot of fun with this current volume of Captain America.  It's certainly a lot different than the past one, but it's still just as fun for us readers.

With Steve Rogers out of commission for the most part, #8 gives the side cast of the Cap universe to shine.  Sharon Carter gets some great panels, considering she is mostly a reason for Cap to save someone or be his back up.  The entire plot, or volume for that matter, has a retro feel to it.  Everything has a strange science side, which works well.  Madame Hydra has been a very underwhelming villain, and it's funny to see Baron Zemo playing side kick.  One can assume that he has some other agenda, as Zemo is much smarter than this.  Brubaker continues to also bring back more threads from his Super Soldier mini series last year as well.  Which make me need to read that series all the more.

Alan Davis has been one of the main reasons to be reading this arc.  His pencils look fantastic, with the characters looking great even in talking head panels.  As much as I miss Steve McNiven, I wouldn't mind at all if Alan Davis never left this book.  His pencils fit the retro atmosphere of the book very well.  I have read a few reviews where people complained about hairstyles of characters, but I don't see anything wrong.

Captain America #8 gets 4.5/5.

Marvel Comics
Deadpool #50:  Deadpool reaches an historic issue. And with that comes a return to the great quality of what this book use to be.

Daniel Way seems to have found his grove back on Deadpool.  The humor is hitting more, the plot is much more interesting, and he isn't shoving character development down our throats.  It's not nearly as great as the Bullseye arc or his romp with the Thunderbolts, but Deadpool fans will enjoy it.  What worries me is that the thought of Deadpool dying is that it's going to be just a hollow tease.  That nothing will come of this.  I don't want this book to end, but having that dangle over his head for a while will be an interesting plot development for Deadpool.  The usual gang of Deadpool people make an appearance as well, which is always good to see.  

Carlos Barberi is back, and his pencils are what they usually are.  Some odd character models, but everything works for the most part.  Women characters could stand to be redrawn, but his models for women have always looked a little odd.  Credit needs to be given though, he is one of the few artists who draws Psylocke as Asian and Wolverine at his correct height.

Deadpool #50 gets 4/5.

DC Comics
Green Lantern #6:  Thank you god, this is the Green Lantern series that I fell in love with.  Geoff Johns gives Hal a good day, then immediately bad.

In a few short panels, Geoff Johns gives Hal some great character development.  We are starting to see some slight changed in who he is and where he wants to go.  His sudden relationship with Carol is progressing at a natural feel and doesn't feel forced.  The ending left me very excited for next month.  But the Sinestro side of the story didn't work as well.  The issue seems like a transition between the first and second arc, more of a down time.  So having Sinestro, Starstorm, and Lyssa start duking it out doesn't feel right.  Hal's side makes up for this part of the story, but not all of it.  Johns teases a lot for what's coming in the future of the book, and it all looks promising.  One page got my confidence back in this book.

Mike Choi fills in on art this month, and while his pencils are good, they aren't on the level of Doug Mahnke.  His soft pencils give Hal an almost teenager look.  Had to double check to make sure it wasn't a flashback after I finished the issue.  But they do fit well for this quieter issue.  Choi's pencils don't work as well in the action scenes, but they do look great in the foreshadowing scene.  

Green Lantern #6 gets 4/5.

Marvel Comics
The Incredible Hulk #5:  Much like the rest of this series, the writing is good, but the art is not.  I sound like a broken record with this book.

Jason Aaron has a lot of good ideas going on here.  Having a certain big name Marvel character wielding an admimantium chainsaw?  Brilliant.  A monkey throwing radioactive poop?  Even better.  And while he has some crazy ideas, there are also a few good character moments.  The Igor in the MAD group being related to the Igor of Frankenstein was a nice twist.  Banner also gets some development that could lead to his redemption.  But that brings up the question of how much of this is he doing on his own.  The Hulk himself could do with some more depth, but that might come after this arc is over.  How Banner and the Hulk are separated is interesting, even with it going in the face of the epilogue of Fear Itself #7.

Whilce Portacio's pencils just flat out suck.  I don't like being that blunt, but I have gotten to a point where I'm starting to lose patience with his pencils.  The big Hulked out characters look good, but all the human characters look bad.  Even when there isn't action going on, they don't look good.  I hope that some other penciler will come onto this book soon.  Please Marvel.

The Incredible Hulk #5 gets 3/5.

Marvel Comics
Journey Into Mystery #634:  Kieron Gillen continues to write one of the best Marvel books.  It's one of the few books I get excited about each week and can't wait until the next issue.

The ending of this issue left me afraid.  Please Gillen, don't do what you could potentially do.  Thank you.  Journey Into Mystery #634 is Gillen's usual great characterization with drama and wit perfectly blended.  Leah is a tad meaner than usual, but it doesn't hold back the issue.  I would have liked Daimon Hellstorm to be featured more, considering this is somewhat of a team up arc.  The Nightmare sections are fun to read, including Loki's forth wall breaking (which should happen more often).  The plot is also quickly explained, in a such a fashion I couldn't believe that it was possible to describe what was going on that fast.  A lesser writer would have left something out.

Richard Elsons continues to be a great fit on Journey Into Mystery.  His pencils are clean, and his characters expressive.  The Nightmare scenes look fantastic.  Dead Thor is creepy looking.  The lines are very thin, but work well with the creepy atmosphere.

Journey Into Mystery #634 gets 5/5.

Marvel Comics
New Mutants #37:  I read a lot of X-books already, but the cover of New Mutants #37 hooked me. Glad I bought this issue.  I'm hooked on these Mutants.

Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have always been one of my favorite pairs of writers.  I knew they were writing this book for some time, but I never stopped to pick it up.  I will be from now on.  Magma's date with Mephisto is great, and their version of Mephisto fits well with what Kieron Gillen has done with him in Journey Into Mystery and Thor.  Being a new reader, I got a great feel for all the characters and how they interact with each other very fast.  The jokes about who is in hell never got old, and DnA give Mephisto a surprising amount of depth in a few panels.  I don't really have any clue where the book is going from here, being a new reader, but I will still be back next month.

David Lopez did a great job on the short lived series Hawkeye and Mockingbird, and his pencils continue to look great here.  His characters are very expressive, even if his interpretation of Hell isn't all that new.  Seeing Mephisto not realize how hot the sauce was really funny, as was the tiny skull and crossbones above it as he drank it.

New Mutants #37 gets 4/5.

Marvel Comics
Scarlet Spider #2:  With this, the Spider-Man section of Marvel is officially the most constantly entertaining family of books on the market.

Chris Yost finishes his first arc rather fast.  While some won't like it, you can't blame the guy for not padding out the opening arc.  As a reader, we know who Kaine is, his past, and what this books is going to be like.  Xiuhcoatl is thrown out of the picture rather fast.  Would have been nice to see more of him, as he seems like a rather daunting villain.  What Yost does perfectly is show us WHY this book isn't like Avenging or Amazing Spider-Man.  Yost uses Kaine's past in a more effective way than the first issue.  Kaine does take his mask off....a lot.  Not the smartest idea for a Spidey person.  

Ryan Stegman was born to pencil a Spider-Man book.  Kaine has so much motion flowing through him as he bounces around the page.  I look at a book like Scarlet Spider and know it's going to be a pain in the ass to review in the future, as I'm going to run out of adjectives to use to describe his pencils.  I do wish Kaine didn't look so much like Flash, but that's a small gripe when his pencils are fantastic.  He has a bright future ahead at the House of Ideas.

Scarlet Spider #2 gets 4/5.

Marvel Comics
Secret Avengers #22:  Finally, Secret Avengers has a constant writer.  This book has greatly needed it.  And Rick Remender has one hell of an opening.  

Remender starts off his run with one hell of a high concept.  I little more detail into what the Secret Avengers are fighting would have been good, but I'm sure Remender will explain in time.  The characters are equally distinguished, all having their own voice.  He gives each character a nice small moment for new readers to understand who these characters are.  The top moment had to be Captain Britain's entrance and his subsequence shutting up from Hawkeye.  Given there was just a .1 issue, this issue the surprising better jumping on point for new readers.  It introduces everyone instead of just Captain America's and Hawkeye's past history.

Gabriel Hardman's time as a story boarder in Hollywood shows.  The panels flow like a film.  Readers will be spoiled by how fluid his action scenes work.  His work on Hulk was good, but it looks like he is going to raise the bar on his pencils.  I haven't read Betrayal of the Planet of the Apes, so I don't know how is pencils look on that.

Secret Avengers #22 gets 4/5.

Marvel Comics
Venom #13.1:  Another Marvel mini-event is here, and it looks to be more enjoyable than most.

Rob Williams did a great job on Ghost Rider, at least character wise.  He balances the plot well, and also gives some depth to the mirror villains of our four heroes.  His new Ghost Rider gets the most time, and Alejandra gets some good character development, even if she isn't going to be around much longer.  Venom is a little out of character, but it's nothing big.  The way the mirror images control the original is a little shallow, as it takes one tiny aspect of these very deep character and amplifies that.  It's not terrible, but could have been better.  Overall, Williams does a good job handling characters that he has never written before.

Lee Garbett's pencils suit the demonic look of the book well.  Flash's face peeling off looks great.  He even draws the Venom symbiote well.  The weird brain looking counterpart to the Red Hulk looks funky, in a good way.  X-23 looks very similar to the way Tony Moore penciled her in Venom #13, which is good, considering we have a new artist each issue.

Venom #13.1 gets 3.5/5.

Marvel Comics
Wolverine & the X-Men #5:  It's official, Wolverine & the X-Men is the X-book to beat, and one of the best at Marvel in general.

Jason Aaron has a lot going on in this issue, and he balances it well.  Between a biology class, a board meeting, and getting us hooked for the next issue, Aaron balances it all perfectly.  We are given enough for each scene, without one plot thread bogging down the rest.  The majority of it is focused on Kitty and her Brood pregnancy.  Aaron peppers some amazing character moments throughout this tightly packed book.  Easily the best is Kitty's quick call to Colossus.  It says so much about the character and the situation, even when almost nothing is said.  Broo even gets a nice character moment, and will no doubt have a few more before this short arc is over with.  Amongst the drama, Aaron has plenty of one liners for the expansive cast.  Every character is given one chance to give the reader a smirk.  

Nick Bradshaw is penciling one hell of a book here.  He has an amazing attention to detail, and seems to have improved on making his characters not looking like preteens every time.  Kitty's and an unnamed mutant's (don't want to ruin the joke) veins look great.  As much as I love Chris Bachalo's work on Wolverine & the X-Men, part of me wishes that Bradshaw would stick around on the book.  Or come on every other arc.

Wolverine & the X-Men #5 gets 4.5/5.

Old Comics
The Mighty Thor gets 4/5
Uncanny X-Force #21 gets 4/5.

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