Sunday, June 26, 2011

Attack Stack! 6/23/2011 - Reviews

Attack Stack Review for 6/23/2011

It's on like Donkey Kong!

And here come the reviews! This stack is huge because there was a name mixup at my local comic book store and I hadn't been getting my titles. Instead of never getting them, I got a flood of them all at once! Enjoy!

Starborn #7

Written By: Stan Lee & Chris Roberson
Drawn By: Khary Randolph
Published By: BOOM! Studios

Benjamin Warner and his shapeshifting bodyguard Tara are hunkered down in an abandoned building while a squadron of The Pride rain down attacks from them outside. Benjamin has just learned the nature of his father's legacy, and the news sends him into a downward spiral. Meanwhile, on Earth, The Witches of Arbor are looking for non-terrestrial technology that they've pinpointed to a woodland area. But when they find the source of the technology, not everything goes as smoothly as planned.

This has been one of my favorite BOOM! Studios titles, and Roberson's writing paired with Randolph's unique art style and pacing is a to-die-for match up. It's one of the best looking science fiction books out there, and I honestly wish more had this kind of color scheme and attitude to it.

As a single issue, it helps to know the story beforehand. It jumps in the middle of a big reveal and expects the reader to have been following along. Luckily, the inside cover brings anyone who hasn't been reading lately up to speed. I think this is a great way to keep readers who might have missed a few issues (raises hand) in the loop without having to try and hunt down past installments.

Overall I really enjoyed it, and I kept turning the pages until I sadly ran out of story to read. I can't wait to see where this epic is going and what will unfold in its wake.

Soldier Zero #9

Written By: Stan Lee, Dan Abnett, and Andy Lanning
Drawn By: Javier Pina and Ramon Bachs
Published By: BOOM! Studios

Stewart Trautmann and Kaylee have just escaped the clutches of the US Government and find themselves on the run in Washington State. They do their best to stay under the radar, but Trautmann's abilities as Soldier Zero keep telling him that something sinister is going on. After venturing out on a hunch, the two of them run into more than they bargained for.

This issue of Soldier Zero was kind of a bust. Nothing really happened to write home about and the characters did nothing but just regergatate the same lines over and over again. It seemed like the first five pages were over explanation of what had happened in the issue previous.

The artwork and pacing was pretty standard, and though it didn't razzle dazzle it did tell the story effectively.

The real thing I was excited about at the end was the possible inclusion of some aliens I saw in the latest issue of Starborn. I would love to see these two books do a crossover sometime. That is, if Soldier Zero can get its act together.

Incorruptible #17

Written By: Mark Waid
Drawn By: Marcio Takara
Published By: BOOM! Studios

Max Damage has been trying to make himself a new man after turning over a new leaf. With the Plutonian out of the picture as the world's hero, many are not ready to believe that Damage can step up to the plate or even be trusted. When he and his new partner, Alana Patel, the Plutonian's ex-girlfriend, get chased out of their safe house, the only choice they have is to seek refuge with a popular billionaire. But what is this older playboy hiding? And why are so many villains attracted to his house?

This issue of Incorruptible was fun to read on many levels. First and foremost, Max Damage is one of my favorite characters in comics right now. His story of deciding to become the world's greatest superhero after being it's biggest villain is a choice not easy to make by a character or a creator, but Waid is pulling it off.

I also am loving the addition of all of the strange supervillains that populate the world of Incorruptible and Irredeemable. After having seen it's not so clean cut heroes it's fun to see the even worse villains. One that seems to be a big problem for Max is a girl called Safe Word, who can control what people do with a little catch phrase.

Non-traditional superheroes seems to need its own genre in comic books, and I'd say that this title should be somewhere near the top of the list for prime examples of said genre. Thumbs up all around for this one.

Incorruptible #18

Written By: Mark Waid
Drawn By: Marcio Takara
Published By: BOOM! Studios

After fending off an attack at his new residence, Max Damage is challenged to fine ONE good man in Coalville. That man -- Mike Whelan, former district attorney. In the old days he and Max Damage were big enemies, but now Damage needs him to step up as he did and take control of the crumbling world. If the chaos that the Plutonian started is to be set right, men like Whelan need to take command of the local governments. However, Whelan isn't so quick to help his former adversary, and for good reason . . .

I luckily got both #17 and #18 of Incorruptible on the same day, so I didn't get to skip a beat when it came to connecting the two issues. It's books like these that can inspire people to make their own comics. The artwork in this book, which I honestly forgot to mention with the last issue, is very sleek and cool. The writing by Waid keeps the pace moving perfectly, and at no point was I not wanting more.

The violence was a bit more prevalent in this issue, and it's cool to see the district attorney character that's used in so many crime fighting comic books used in a different light. Whelan will no doubt be a big part of Damage's reform, though I don't have the heart to spoil it for people who haven't read the issue.

This universe that Waid is crafting is only getting better, and I suggest getting on the bandwagon before it gets too far ahead. Luckily, Waid is able to let you know how things have progressed through dialogue without shoving it in a reader's face. Kudos to him for that.

Irredeemable #26

Written By: Mark Waid
Drawn By: Peter Krause
Published By: BOOM! Studios

The Plutonian is fighting his way through the strange asylum he's been locked away in, all the while using his brute force and dastardly cunning to defeat foes and gain allies. Meanwhile, Kaiden is talking to the nearly dead body of Scylla, whom she had immense feelings for. A collar around her neck prevents her from using her powers, but for some strange reason, she's able to summon the nearly dead ghost of Scylla in order to make contact with him. His wishes, however, are not what she expected.

I have to admit that I was a little behind as far as the Irredeemable story line goes, but luckily Waid is able to keep you up to speed without forcing it on you, which he also does well in Incorruptible. Reading this book I can't help but hope that the Plutonian will escape and continue to wreak havoc on the universe. I love the Superman-like character turned bad, and Plutonian is by far my favorite example. Watching him travel through the strange stages of the insane asylum, located in the depths of a star, is both visually and mentally stimulating.

That's also thanks to Peter Krause's artwork, which never fails to impress. His art direction is always solid, and makes me glad that I've added this to my pull list permanently. I really wish he would do more books, but, alas, it is hard to spread artwork around like that.

My big hope with this book is that it gets out into the mainstream a bit more. I'd love for this universe to be expanded upon with many titles written by Waid and even some other writers. If anyone has been thinking about getting into this book, go and get issue #1 or the first trade paper back and you'll be hooked like I am.

The Unwritten #26

Written By: Mike Carey
Drawn By: Peter Gross
Published By: Vertigo

Tom Taylor, Richard Savoy, and Elizabeth Hexam have been captured and put on auction while looking for Tom's father's journal and personal notes about Tom's birth. All of the world's biggest media elites and wealthy individuals with money to burn have showed up in order to try and get a piece of the action. Among the bidders are some people who don't really belong, some stranger than others, and what do memories of a water tank and stories being read to a young Tom have to do with his birth?

The Unwritten is one of my favorite ongoing series right now. It takes the Harry Potter craze and puts it in the hands of a more mature writing team and audience. Carey and Gross have crafted a comic book that works on both the action and literary level, making it a treat for English majors and anyone who loves a good amalgamation of classic literature.

This issue in particular starts to reveal the inner workings of the mystery behind Tom's powers, knowledge, and birth, which is keeping me on the edge of my seat. I don't want this series to end, but I do hope that it does have a definitive ending and that it isn't drawn out.

Speaking of drawing, Gross' artwork is wonderful. The use of line is a mixture between that animated and heavily detailed style that only comic books can pull off. If I had the opportunity I'd work on a book with Gross in a heartbeat. The pacing and visuals are so well done that I was at the end of the issue before I even knew it. Thumbs up all around for this installment and for this series as a whole.

X-Men #13

Written By: Christopher Yost
Drawn By: Paco Medina
Published By: Marvel

The Evolutionaries have returned to find the leader of Mutantkind, and they've found him -- the Magneto of the past! While the X-Men in the present try to fend off the small army that the Evolutionaries brought with them, the other group of Evolutionaries recruiting the young Magneto is planning to try to exterminate the human race. However, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver aren't too keen on the idea of all of humanity dying, and give a tip to the younger Cyclops in order to try and prevent it. The key to the destruction of Mankind and the proliferation of Mutantkind? A single mutant, tucked away in an insane asylum.

There was a great deal of action in this issue of X-Men, but it didn't take away from the overall story. The artwork was really well done, and the pacing of the panels and story was well executed. It's getting a little complicated with the time travel aspect, but being a fan of Doctor Who I'm used to complicated story lines.

I am interested to see how the Magneto of the present will eventually try to deal with his younger self. Since he's become a core part of the X-Men since they built Utopia, the idea of him having to face his old ideals with his new ones is ripe for story, and I can only pray it's a part of the coming arc.

The Evolutionaries themselves are an interesting group of characters. The fact that they were designed to help pick the dominant version of the species gives them that classic science fiction edge of putting logic over emotion as evolved beings. I'm not sure if they've shown up in any comics previous to this (I'm thinking not), but it does serve as a good tool to present the chance for the X-Men to find out what it would be like to be the primary species on Earth.

Overall it was a pretty good issue. I've really loved this new series and I hope that it continues for awhile. Not just because I have a subscription through Marvel.

DMZ #66

Written By: Brian Wood
Drawn By: Riccardo Burchielli
Published By: Vertigo

Zee has been traversing the nearly abandoned and war-torn New York City, thinking about her meeting with Matty Roth and how he changed her life. So much has happened over the years, and Zee can't help but blame her first encounter with Matty for changing her already hectic life. As she walks the empty streets, she sees another person who is injured, calling out for help. She thinks about her duty, the oath she took, and how it'd all be for nothing if she didn't do something.

Though this book is mostly a collection of flashbacks, it's character driven story shows just how much DMZ can do with any story line. I'm really sad that it's eventually going to end, but luckily we'll have a definitive ending for an incredible comic book series.

This issue in and of itself does paint a much broader picture of how Zee thinks and feels about the war and the city. Her relationship with Matty defined the rest of her time in New York City, and she's seen so much violence that it's really affected her character. The artwork, pacing, and writing just makes it all the better.

If you haven't been reading DMZ, now is the time to go snag those back issues or trade paperbacks and get caught up. I can only imagine how powerful the ending is going to be. Or, in classic Brian Wood fashion, maybe a more subtle ending.

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