Sunday, May 27, 2012

Comic Reviews for 5/23

Hello all!  My apologies for not posting reviews last week, but I went on vacation.  Read a ton of Gotham Central, Invincible, and Nova.  I'd call that a great vacation.  I wrote a column about Northstar and Kyle getting married over on Comic Book Therapy.  Click here to read that.  But let's get started with the reviews.

Marvel Comics
Astonishing X-Men #50:  This review is over on Comic Book Therapy. Click here for the review.

DC Comics
Aquaman #9:  Geoff Johns steals the spotlight this month from the gorgeous art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado.

Johns story about the Others has been very rooted in the past.  A lesser writer would have difficult establishing an ambiguous team while keeping the present story moving along, but Johns keeps it balanced perfectly.  We get just enough information about the history of Aquaman and Black Manta that it keeps us interested in the story line going on now.  Johns also gives Arthur some character growth amongst the sprawling fight scenes.  It's clear that Aquaman use to be an angrier fellow, but his conversations with Ya'wara delve deeper into who he use to be.  It was easy to figure out why Arthur hates Shin, but Johns still makes the ending have some weight.  Johns has always been a writer who knows how to write towards an artists talents, and Aquaman has always been a great example of that.  Johns gives Reis just enough fight scenes to pencil without the fights seeming unnecessary or tagged on.

Ivan Reis and Joe Prado continue to dominate this book.  Their work on Blackest Night was some of the best of their career, but this is on a whole other level.  Characters have some expressive faces, but their eyes seem almost human.  They carry so much emotion, and in the case of Aquaman, pain.  It's clear he isn't happy about his past and he is desperately trying to change what happened.  The painted flashback scene work well and help establish the reader in the past in a quick manner.

Aquaman #9 gets 4/5.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Comic Reviews for 5/9

Damn it was a big week.  Can't believe I read all the comics on this week's pull list before work.  Comic Book Therapy has been generous and given me a few comics before their release date, so more Image books will be appearing on that site.  Let's get started.

Marvel Comics
Avenging Spider-Man #7:  Marvel's new team-up book continues with another great story.

Kathryn Immonen is becoming the up and coming writer at Marvel, and this issue is another great example of her talent.  It's funny, and perfectly captures Spider-Man in a short amount of time.  He's smart, afraid of strong women, and isn't afraid to keep cracking jokes when everything starts to go downhill.  I'm not too familiar with She-Hulk, but I'd read a book if Immonen wrote one.  Immonen gives readers a good hold on the character fast, and her interactions with Spidey are great.  The villain creates a very funny situation, but also one that gives Spider-Man a chance to uses his smarts.  The entire story doesn't reinvent comics, but Avenging Spider-Man has never been that.  It's been short fun stories.  These issues could use heartfelt moments like Avenging Spider-Man #5, but not everyone writes Spider-Man as perfectly as Zeb Wells.

The other Immonen, Stuart, pencils a beautiful comic.  His work seems to have just gotten better from Fear Itself.  As always, characters are expressive, even when they have masks on.  It's clear Spider-Man is making a cute face when She-Hulk gets her tail.  Any reader would start chuckling when that happened.  Action looks great, but this issue gives Immonen more face to draw then action. That's a great thing though, as his talking head panels are still a sight to behold.  Even if you're unsure of getting this book for the writing, pick it up for the art.  Immonen's art is helped by Wade Von Grawbadger's inks, and Matt Hollingsworth's colors.  It helps the characters pop off the page.  When the Egyptian god appears, the inks and colors help give the god an almost Cheshire cat (no pun intended) look.

Avenging Spider-Man #7 gets 4/5.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Comic Reviews for 5/2

It is time.  It's time for the release of "Avengers."  I have already seen it and it's a great flick.  Worth a viewing by anyone, even if you haven't seen the previous films or haven't been as into super hero movies as others.  "Avengers" is easily the best superhero movie of all time.  And no, "The Dark Knight" isn't a superhero movie.  It's a crime drama.  But I digress, let's get onto reviews.

DC Comics
Action Comics #9:  Alternate reality stories are a dime a dozen, but done right, can leave a lasting impression.

Morrison uses this issue to play a commentary on the comics industry and what publishers are doing to their characters in today's market.  It's very subtle in the beginning, but becomes very obvious as the issue goes on.  With "Avengers" coming out this week, this issue couldn't have been released at a better time.  Part of me is surprised DC allowed this to be published.  Morrison's story also pokes and prods at the fan base, saying they are as much to blame as DC is when it comes to the "brand" of Superman.  Dear god it's amazing to read.  It's a great story in it's own right, but Morrison goes one further and makes the issue entertaining even more.  These Supermen are genuinely different, and interesting at that.  With so many alternate reality stories floating around these days, it's really hard for one to stand out.  These stories need to "count" for fans to remember them.  While this story may not "count," it's one that comic fans should read.  When the issue starts, part of me thought that Morrison was going to be dealing with race, but that's thrown to the side quickly.

Gene Ha's pencils work a lot better in this issue than his recent Justice League issue.  The issue is much quieter, which is Ha's strong point.  Character's are very expressive.  There is some action, but it flows much better.  Jaws (not the shark) aren't as exaggerated, but they could still be toned down.  If only Rag Morales could be this good month in and month out.  Art Lyon's colors make Ha's pencils pop off the page.  Luthor's gun looks great, and the futuristic scenes have the right amount of reflection off the giant neon signs.

Action Comics #9 gets 4.5/5.