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.

DC Comics
Batman #10:  The mother of all Batman issues.

Scott Snyder delivers a great issue about how Batman figured out the Court.  It delivers on ever little hint or nudge that Snyder gave us during his almost year long run.  And while a lot of small things are discussed, the reader is given enough hints that they remember every little thing.  Nothing is worse for an issue than the writer referencing an old issue and the reader having to stop and read the old issue again to understand what's going on.  But the big reveal is...well you should really read it.  I wasn't aware of the character's older history in the pre-Flashpoint continuity, but it's hard to NOT love what Snyder is doing here.  It's easy for your jaw to hit the floor once the reveal hits.  "Night of the Owls" has been a complete success, and I'm happy that Snyder is going to be on Batman for a while.  A few of DC titles are considered "must reads," but Batman needs to be read by anyone who calls themselves a comic fan.

Greg Capullo pencils another knock-out issue, but when hasn't he?  Some might notice the way the unnamed character looks, and I thought that way back when the character appeared for the first time.  While Capullo has always penciled Bruce getting his ass kicked well, this book is filled more with quieter scenes.  He nails the reactions, and fills the unnamed character with plenty of insanity.  And it's not in his facial expressions, it's all in the eyes.  Capullo also fills the backgrounds with plenty of detail. I have said this before, but it's stunning how much detail Capullo puts into each scene without sacrificing the look and feel of the comic.  He should clear some shelf space for awards.

Batman #10 gets 5/5.

DC Comics
Before Watchmen Silk Spectre #1:  This review is on Comic Book Therapy. Click here for that review

Dark Horse Comics
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #10:  Thank god this arc is over.

Andrew Chambliss has been doing a good job on Season 9, so it's hard to nail down what happened here.  The Buffy-bot angle was a weird story point, that is thankfully worked out here.  The robot angle needed to be worked away, and sadly it didn't work out well.  The introspective conversation....with herself works some times, but does fall a little flat in points.  Spike's leaving is written well, and it makes the reader look forward to his miniseries.  But by the end of the issue, it's hard to not feel a sense of excitement for the character.  For once there seems to be a sense of hope in Buffy's future.  With Season 9 half over, it would be nice to see some sort of prize at the end of the race.  While Simone seems to be the big bad for the Season, she is much like Adam in Season 4.  Doesn't appear much and is barley a threat.  With the first season half over, Chambliss must have something up his sleeve to salvage the Season.

Scott Allie was not the right choice for this book.  Whenever a book has characters that have to look like actors who played them, you need to be very spot on with small facial features.  And Allie misses those.  Characters don't look anything like the actors that play them.  They frequently look stiff and uncomfortable in the scene they are in.  Once Spike gets his bumpy face on, barely anything changes.  The Buffy-bot and Buffy barely look alike, and they are suppose to be the same person!  I'm glad that George Jeanty will be back next month on art.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #10 gets 3/5.

Marvel Comics
Captain America #13:  Sometimes we just need a fun comic.

Ed Brubaker doesn't reinvent the wheel with this issue of Captain America.  But he doesn't have too.  It's classic Captain America action.  It deals with politics, Cap being a bad ass, and a pinch of action thrown in.  It's a great combination for a good read.  We know the final page has to be a fake out, but it doesn't make it any less tense.  The issue barely ties into the overall HYDRA plot line that this new volume has been dealing with, but it's nice to see Brubaker continue the trend.  Gyrich isn't as likable as other Cap villains, where their idealistic plan makes them look like an radical idiot.  Cap is clearly in the right here, and he knows it.  But it does make him look at America in a different light, and it will no doubt affect him going on with his fight against HYDRA.

Patch Zircher's art continues to suit a Captain America book really well.  The action scenes look better than the last couple of issues, flowing more fluidly.  Characters aren't exactly the most expressive people in the world, but the reader can understand their emotions well enough.  His artwork is along the same vein of Mike Deodato.  The characters are very muscular, and aren't the best with expressing themselves, but it looks great for a superhero book.  While not the extremes that Deodato can go too, Zircher's artwork lets the characters be more expressive.

Captain America #13 gets 4/5.

Marvel Comics
Deadpool #56:  "Deadool: Reborn" started so well.

Daniel Way can write a funny Deadpool.  Look to the first year of this book to see what I mean.  But I'm not sure why he hasn't caught on that the double voices talking all the time is gold.  Yes, they can be very funny some times, but sometimes they are annoying as all hell.  I look at Way's script for #56 and think of it this way:  if the voices barely talked, this issue would have been better.  Sometimes it's good to let the artist do what they do well and let them pencil the scene.  These scenes would have shown Deadpool actually growing a little bit instead of the voices destroying the moment.  Way sets up a funny issue, with the always great Taskmaster.  But the voices destroy the moment AGAIN.  Part of me hopes the rumors of Way leaving the title and someone taking over the book are true.

Shawn Crystal's art does help the issue though.  His wacky style of pencils help make the punchlines hit.  The action looks great while still keeping with the style he is going for.  Crystal has made a few stints on Deadpool in the past, and he would be a great long term artist.  Adding the sound effects in the scenery is a nice addition to the scene.

Deadpool #56 gets 3/5.

Marvel Comics
Fantastic Four #607:  Just another tick closer to Jonathan Hickman.

Hickman hasn't dealt with the Black Panther, a staple of the Fantastic Four.  And of course he gives it his own little touch.  He surprisingly touches upon the "Doom War" mini-event and everything that has happened since while not keeping people in the dark.  As someone who didn't read the event, or the Black Panther series that followed it, this was a nice touch.  The plot is a tad long, as Hickman requires multiple pages to give the reader a general understanding.  It does lead into a great battle, and what looks to be an interesting issue next month, but for now it's just ok.  But the scene that works the most is the conversation between Reed and T'Challa.  To see Reed act as if he knows what's wrong and then suddenly have it turned on his head is great to see.  To often Reed is written as the all mighty person who knows every little thing.

Breakdowns usually never look good.  It's hard to have one artist pencil the majority of the issue and then have someone come in and pencil over those again.  But Fantastic Four #607 looks good.  Great even.  Guiseppe Camuncoli does the breakdowns, and Karl Kesel does the finishes.  The book has an almost Walter Simson look to them. Occasionally Camuncoli's style of pencils poke through, looking at some character's teeth for instance.  But otherwise this book has a look all to it's own.  These two should consider doing this more often.

Fantastic Four #607 gets 4/5.

DC Comics
Green Lantern #10:  "The Secret of the Indigo Tribe" ends with a.....well a dud.

Geoff Johns has set up this arc in great fashion.  We learned a lot about the Indigo tribe and their mysterious ways.  But there are numerous problems in this issue.  Quite often Sinestro or Hal talk about how their rings have no energy left.  Then they use the rings.  And after the big ending, the destruction of the Indigo Tribe, it's surprising that Johns quickly overturns that.  It ends up making the last issue slightly worthless.  Yes, Black Hand is coming back soon, and that should bring nothing but excitement to fans of the Green Lantern, but for now, "The Secret of the Indigo Tribe" didn't turn out to be what they hoped.  It's a rare misstep in the long run of Johns, and it's one that we can easily overlook.  With the solicits out for September, and Johns taking this book into a different direction, it's easy to forget about this somewhat bland arc.

While the writing was eh, the art is stunning as always.  Dough Mahnke continues to pencil Lantern Corps in great fashion.  He really sells the horror that Hal and Sinestro are feeling during the chase scenes.  The aliens are quite detailed, considering Mahnke never misses a month.  Even when wearing masks, the characters are expressive.  Mahnke nails the final few pages, where Black Hand turns back into a Black Lantern.  It's hits the reader hard, and it's quite bloody.  Mahnke's art on this book has become hard to review, as he consistently does a stand up job every month.

Green Lantern #10 gets 3/5.

Marvel Comics
The Incredible Hulk #9:  Can Pasqual Ferry stay on this book forever?

"Stay Angry" is a lot like "Wolverine's Revenge."  We have a set formula for what will happen each issue, and then we go right onto the next issue, with little to no connection.  This can be fun, like this issue, but readers want a little more than that.  What Aaron does in #9 is a fun issue.  Seeing the Hulk back a squid will never get old.  Plus, the flip on the Banner/Hulk formula makes for an interesting read, even though it is very similar to the original formula.  But we are two issues into "Stay Angry" already and I'm already getting a little tired of the formula.  We still have no clue as to what Banner is doing to Hulk.  A slight indication would be nice.  The good thing about these barely connected issues is that it gives Aaron plenty of chances to think up some crazy ideas.  Like a ship made out of crab.

Pasqual Ferry's art is worth the price of admission alone.  His pencils flow, much like the water around Atlantis.  Ferry isn't the person I'd think of when it comes to a Hulk book, but he draws him well.  He has the girth that the Hulk needs (that Dillion missed last month).  All of the kooky creations that Aaron think up are brought to life by Ferry.  During his tenure on Thor, his pencils occasionally had a sketchy quality, which could take away form the book, but that is absent here.  Maybe it's that Ferry had a lot of time to pencil, but either way it looks beautiful.  After seeing this, I'd love to read a Namor book penciled by Ferry.

The Incredible Hulk #9 gets 4/5.

Image Comics
Invincible #92:  This review is over on Comic Book Therapy.  Click here for that review.

Image Comics
Mind the Gap #2:  This review is over on Comic Book Therapy.  Click here for that review

Marvel Comics
Scarlet Spider #6:  Goodbye Ryan Stegman.  We shall miss you.

Chris Yost delves deeper into Houston and how they feel about their new superhero.  It's great to read, and really helps sell Houston as a city that needs a superhero.  Yost also delves more into the supporting cast.  A Spider-book is nothing without it's supporting cast, and Yost has set up every caracter masterfully.  Then he ties the book into the "Grim Hunt" storyline from a couple of years ago.  A lesser writer would have had a hard time of bringing this in, but Yost weaves the backstory in so that new readers can understand perfectly.  Yost gives does some great character work with Kaine.  It's subtle, and shows the reader that Kaine is slowly looking at Spider-Man's way of thinking.  And with the four epilogues show, Yost has a lot planned for the future of this series.

Ryan Stegman.  The man owns this book.  The huge fight scene is brutal, hard hitting, and looks fantastic.  He nails the quieter moments as well, giving each character plenty of personality in their faces.  Some of the panels look a tad rushed, but even rushed the pages look great.  Not sure if I have ever said that about a penciler before.  I have have said plenty of times before, but Stegman was born to pencil a Spider-Man book.  But his work on Fantastic Four will be great no doubt.

Scarlet Spider #6 gets 4.5/5.

Marvel Comics
Spider-Men #1:  This review is over on Comic Book Therapy.  Click here for that review

Marvel Comics
The Mighty Thor #15:  Well that was an interesting ending.

Matt Fraction's run on Thor has been nothing but interesting.  The high concepts are always great to read and see.  And that's on display here.  But the ending is a little....well off.  The goth kid that was included in #14 was out of place and seemed odd, but now we see the payoff.  In keeping with Fraciton's sense of humor, it makes sense.  Of course a metal god who was on the front of a high school goth band would save the day.  The ending throws the tone off for the entire arc, even if it's a kooky and fun one.  The Donal Blake and Enchantress B-plot is working out well, and leaves me wanting to see more of the duo.

Pepe Larraz's art continues to be great on The Mighty Thor.  It mimics Pasqual Ferry's style of pencils, but Larraz can get an issue done on time.  I remember not liking his pencils when he started on this book, but they have grown on me as the months have gone on.  His pencils suit the quirky humor of Fraction's script.  The weird dream demons look great, and their swarming of the truck was one of the best panels in the book.

The Mighty Thor #15 get 3.5/5.

Old Comics
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #11 gets 4.5/5.

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