Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Justice League #1 (DCnU) - Review

The story starts five years ago in Gotham City as Batman encounters a strange creature on the rooftops. It's not long before the police label them both a threat, because in this new DC Universe super-heroes are just showing up, and they're not welcomed. After a tangle with the robotic creature, Batman is saved by Green Lantern Hal Jordan, who encounters Batman for the first time. The two of them investigate the incident further by traveling to Metropolis to question Superman, but find themselves outgunned. Written by Geoff Johns and drawn by artist Jim Lee, this new and bold take on Justice League showed us what it might be like if these heroes met for the first time in this new modern era of comics. Hal and Bruce are very cocky toward one another, and it seems as if it is the first time either of them have encountered another hero. They already know collectively that the general government and public doesn't trust them, but know that they're both on the same side. The strange thing is that they both have a basic fear of Superman -- which I honestly understand completely. If someone entered the fray of heroism and was basically indestructible it would probably put other heroes off a bit. The writing by Johns is what I've come to expect from him at this point -- brilliant. I was apprehensive about the DCnU and this book has made me realize that everything is going to be okay. It didn't hurt that Lee's awesome artwork was paired with John's story telling. I'm not sure how I feel about everyone being armored, but hopefully these costumes won't last forever. Why does Superman need armor? Green Lantern I can understand because it's a ring construct, and Batman needs protection, but Superman? Not really needed. Overall it was a great issue, and I'd recommend anyone interested in comics to pick it up. It's marking a brand new fictional universe in the comics medium, and it's most likely going to set the tone for the rest of them. This isn't the DC Universe where heroes are plainly accepted. From the looks of things these versions of Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, and the others are going to have to earn their respect and titles as if they had never existed before. Good luck Justice League, and God's speed. Well, I guess the Flash doesn't need it, but he hasn't shown up yet.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Uncanny X-Men #542 - 200th Review!


The Serpent has powered the Juggernaut with the magic of Asgard and he's even more unstoppable than he was before! As Cyclops uses various combinations of X-Men in an attempt to bring down the Juggernaut, Colossus, Kitty Pryde, and Colossus' sister visit the demon Cyttorak to inform him that his avatar, the Juggernaut, has betrayed him. In an attempt to give himself a new avatar, a new candidate is chosen, and it's going to spell trouble for the one wreaking havoc on San Francisco.

Written by Kieron Gillen and drawn by Greg Land, this Fear Itself tie-in issue of Uncanny X-Men #542 was just plain fun. It showcased a vast array of X-Men combining their powers in order to try and stop an unstoppable foe. It was really interesting to see plan after plan enacted on the Juggernaut with no end in sight to his mayhem. Even I started to feel how unstoppable he was through the pages. The writing was very well done, and the art was executed just as well. Although in the first book of this arc I wasn't very happy with how Cyclops looked it has since grown on me. Land has a very unique style and it's suiting this story so far.

I haven't really been into the whole Fear Itself event. That might be because I'm not a huge Thor fan, or because I feel like most of the Fear Itself issues of Marvel Comics are just being thrown out there just for the sake of being tied in. But this ongoing story with the Juggernaut stomping his way toward San Francisco has got me reconsidering my position on the latest Asgardian crisis.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Ultimates #1 - Review


Jonathan Hickman pens the first issue of The Ultimates new ongoing series, which is part of the Ultimate Marvel Universe. As Nick Fury tries to control the various situations developing around the globe, an unseen number of threats throw The Ultimates into a frenzy. Fury can only watch in a state of helplessness as the world looks to him for answers and Hawkeye, Thor, and Iron Man do their best to survive.

I've only recently gotten back into Marvel Comics, and I'm even more unfamiliar with the Ultimate Universe. I've read some of Ultimate Spider-Man and enjoyed it, and I have to say that I enjoyed this title as well. The art was spot on, the writing was very solid, and even though I've never read any of The Ultimates before I still understood the story and what was going on. When it comes to doing a brand new number one issue it's important to have a jumping on point for old and new readers and Hickman really pulled it off.

If anything I'm now more interested in the more contained Ultimate Universe than I am the huge and vast regular Marvel Universe. In fact if anyone knows any great Ultimate mini-series I should check out please let me know. I'll be catching up on Ultimate Spider-Man and The Ultimates until then.

Doctor Who - Let's Kill Hitler - Review


Doctor Who is back and they didn't keep any holds barred with this new episode, "Let's Kill Hitler." The episode introduces a new character, Mel, who grew up with Amy and Rory back in Leadworth. When Amy and Rory get ahold of the Doctor, Mel is just as eager to meet him and travel with him. But to their surprise she hijacks the Tardis and sends them on a mission to kill Hitler. And after a scuffle in Hitler's office with a strange robot, Mel reveals that there's a bit more to her than she led on.

This new episode of series six was just pure fun. It was the classic mix of story, science fiction, and camp that makes Doctor Who what it is. The writing was snappy, the acting very powerful, and the promise of more things to come left me and my friends drooling by the end of the episode. In short, it was far better than alot of other episodes I've seen this season.

One very cool new addition to the series was Matt Smith's wardrobe. He's added a heavy overcoat to his ensemble that gives him much more of a Doctor feel to him. Like David Tennant or Tom Baker before him, he just doesn't look right unless you've got him in a big old coat running around the universe.

I'm not going to give any spoilers away, which is funny because that's what the episode revolves around, so you'll have to see it yourself. All I can say is that there's a reason this show is growing in popularity and why I'm willing to sit down and watch the adventures of the mad Time Lord every week, month, or year, depending on when they decide to give us new stories. So cheers Who team on a job well done.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Big Two and Indie Publishers - Fan War

The War Between Indie and Big Two Publishers

Kenny Porter

In the world of comics there have always been two juggernauts that have held most of the sales and readership. They’ve created some of the most memorable characters from our childhoods and from our popular fiction, and they’ve remained the ultimate sign of accomplishment when a writer or artist is brought on to handle one or more of their characters. I’m referring of course to Marvel Comics and DC Comics, which hold strong to characters like Spider-Man, Batman, Captain America, and Superman. But there are other publishers, artists, and writers out there who put out their own material alongside the hero books of the Big Two. These independent publishers and creators have more freedom to put out stories ranging from drama to romantic horror without having to worry about fitting it into the grander scale of the Marvel or DC Universe. Lately, however, there’s been some tension from fans over the big two and indie books. So much so that it’s almost like a line has been drawn in the sand and no one can enjoy talking comics with anyone else. So I beg the question – can’t we all just read and get along?
I grew up on superhero comics. I can remember taking my allowance down to the local comic book shop and dropping dollars and quarters on back issues of The Untold Tales of Spider-Man or one-shots of Batman and Detective Comics. But at the same time I was reading heroes who weren’t part of Marvel or DC. I often bought issues of Spawn from Image Comics, who, for lack of a better word, were more “indie” than the big two. But still, it was a superhero story about a man who had gone to hell and come back to be reunited with the love of his life, defying odds and saving the innocent. All I knew were the pages and panels of heroes and villains, costumes and monsters, and tales of science fiction in deep space. Imagine my surprise when years later I stumble upon the world of Japanese manga and find that you can tell ANY kind of story in comic form. I suddenly realized that drama, slice-of-life, and any other genre I could think of could be converted to pages and panels. Someone who might not like superheroes doesn’t have to worry about not finding a comic for them, because there’s a whole world of other genres out there for them to delve into. This revelation has been slowly spreading, but instead of bringing readers together it seems to be driving them apart.
Most indie books deal with dramatic, comedic, or off-kilter subjects and characters when it comes to the superhero stories of Marvel and DC. A book like Not Simple by Natsume Ono deals with the journey of a young man from England walking across America trying to find his long lost sister. No monsters, no superheroes, and no science fiction twists. It’s simply a drama from cover to cover, and it’s wonderful that way. So how could something like this drive people apart? Well, I guess you could say that it’s like people who think that the only good music worth listening to is the kind that no one else has heard of before. The music snobs who believe that the best stuff is the thing that isn’t in the mainstream and doesn’t have to do with power pop, rock, rap, or popular country. They like the things that are being released on small labels and are being played in small gatherings with other people who enjoy that same type of music. The same can be said about the diehard fans of indie comics who think that the superhero and popular books are just for people who don’t know any better. But the people who read superhero books are no better. They think that without superpowers or monsters that comics would be boring and no fun to read. It’s a basic fear of something different, and that has always driven people apart.
Both types of publishing can give way to beautiful stories. So I’m not here to argue one side or the other. I enjoy any comic book that’s good. Period. I don’t care what it’s about as long as it’s good. I don’t always like horror movies, but I love when they’re done a certain way and they’re good to me. I’d never go see a Friday the 13th remake, but I’d watch John Carpenter’s The Thing until my DVD player caught fire. And the point I’m really trying to make is this – don’t bash it till you try it. I don’t like every single superhero book that Marvel and DC puts out, just like I don’t enjoy every original genre or concept that indie publishers and creators put on the shelves or in stores. It’s all about embracing the medium as it is. It’s something all on its own, a mixture of art and text, that really can’t be mimicked no matter how hard Hollywood and TV land try.
So next time you see someone reading the type of comic or graphic novel you don’t normally partake in, don’t judge, just embrace the fact that someone else is trying to keep comics alive.

Incorruptible #21 - Review


Mark Waid's fantastic series about a supervillain turned hero has kept me on the edge of my seat since I started reading it back in March. The story has always gripped my eyes with wonderful art, dialogue, and character development. This issue still had many of those aspects, but wasn't anything to really write home about.

Max Damage is building some sort of project in Coalville while the villains that were terrorizing the city are now held up in a church somewhere in town. Safeword has become a new hero, Hate Crime, and is paling around with Alana Patel as they look for Max. Meanwhile, a villain from the Plutonian's past is taking out villains left and right, and it looks as if its next target is Mr. Damage himself.

Although the basic premise is pretty intriguing this issue was pretty much just an introduction to the next story arc. It's a part of storytelling that readers and writers just have to accept is there, so I'm sure that it'll be expanded upon more in the next few issues. The cover and artwork were still stunning, and the writing was still top notch, but it just wasn't one of those stand alone issues that make you writhe with excitement.

That doesn't mean I'm not going to keep reading. In fact, I'm more interested to see how this next arc is going to affect the superhero world that Waid has built at BOOM! Studios.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 - Review


When I had originally heard that Kevin Eastman, one of the original creators of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was coming back to relaunch his comic book series I was interested to see what would come of it. After picking up the first issue and reading it without looking up from cover to cover, I can tell you that it was the best thing that's happened to the franchise in years. Instead of trying to tie any continuity from any of the past mediums of the series, Eastman re-introduces the heroes in a half shell by throwing the reader in the middle of an intense battle and then having flashbacks to the NEW origin story. That's right. The original creator has updated the origin, and it's actually panning out to be better than the original.

Many people aren't aware that the Turtles originated as a very violent comic book. In fact, in the first issue the group kills Shredder. That's right. The original comic book has Shredder dead by the end of the first issue. This new series doesn't have Shredder (not yet at least), but it does have some nods to characters that will show up down the road.

The artwork by Dan Duncan is top notch. It has the exact feel that you'd expect from a gritty street level story about mutants fighting street gangs. Because that's who the Turtles really are - perpetrators of street justice. Sure they fight other mutants and super villains from time to time, but the real core of the green four is that they're trying to save neighborhoods from crime and violence. All of the tone and emotion is carried through very well in the characters and backgrounds, and being the artist in charge of the new origins for some of pop culture's favorite heroes is no easy task.

I really think this might end up being my definitive version of these characters. Out of all of the comics I read today, this was by far the best one. If you're a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan, this book has the version many of us have been begging for year after year, but no studio or TV channel will answer. Well done Mr. Eastman, well done. This title is currently being published by IDW and just debuted today. Go and get a copy, you won't regret it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Daredevil: Yellow - Review


This new edition of Daredevil: Yellow is one of the colored themed series done by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, famous for their work on Batman: The Long Halloween and Batman: Dark Victory. The story follows Matt Murdock as he writes a series of letters to his dead lover Karen, looking for a way to express his feelings and become the man without fear once again. It follows his origin story up to the point where he meets some of his first friends and enemies in the Marvel Universe, and takes him through his first most trying feats as Daredevil. The color yellow is used not only in his original costume, but also as a metaphor for the fears and doubts that he has in taking a costumed crime-fighting motif past the boundaries of avenging his dead father or winning the heart of the girl he loves.

I've been meaning to read this for a long time, but until they re-released this series it was pretty hard to find. Tim Sale's artwork is nothing short of astounding. I've always loved his style, ever since I saw it in the paintings and text work on Heroes. He has a way of making pages feel like their moving and that characters are emoting so well that I forget that it's only on a two-dimensional page. When it's combined with Jeph Loeb's writing, it's almost unfair how well they can tell a story. Loeb paints Daredevil as not just someone who goes out because it's the good heroic thing to do, but because he knows that he has the opportunity to right wrongs that can't be fixed in his courtroom. As Murdock puts it, there's a difference between law and justice.

The re-release has a great presentation and cover, and I suggest picking this up if you've ever been a fan of some Marvel's B-list characters. I'm a huge fan of what Mark Waid is doing with Daredevil right now, but I'm glad to see that other people are willing to put in the time to explore a character that I don't think gets enough attention from the public. People often write him off as just being "the blind superhero," but most of his characterization has little to do with his handicap. Or, in the case of his heightened senses, agility, and stamina, lack thereof.

I'll soon be doing reviews on their other themed books in this series, Spiderman: Blue and Hulk: Gray, which I have high hopes for.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

X-Men: Schism #3 - Review


The Schism event continues in the third part of five as the Hellfire Club attacks the gala event that the X-Men are attending. When they quickly dispatch of Emma Frost, Iceman, Magneto, Namor, and Colossus, Wolverine and Cyclops race to try and make it in time. Idie, the young girl that Wolverine has been looking after, is the only one left in a position to do something about it, but wants an order. Wolverine and Cyclops argue over the telepathic wavelengths over what she should do, and her actions form an even bigger rift between Logan and Scott.

Written by Jason Aaron and drawn by Daniel Acuna, this issue of X-Men: Schism was okay, not great. It was a basic race-for-the-clock story with very little development until the end concerning the rift growing between the X-Men's two biggest characters, Wolverine and Cyclops. If anything it was just a classic party attack scene in superhero stories with an added flashback to explain why the kids leading the Hellfire Club are so crazy.

It isn't a bad issue though. There are some cool moments where the Hellfire Club uses the X-Men's weaknesses against them, and the ending had a promising look at a new kind of sentinel. The artwork was much better and more steady this time around, and the issue was a quick read. But it's getting a little crazy how everyone can use telepathy now, even when Emma Frost is knocked out. It's almost like every mutant can speak to each other through thoughts without any help now. I know there were other telepaths around helping out, but come on.

Overall I'm going to stick with this series until it ends. It has a good premise and the potential to do something interesting with the story. However, the whole thing with the sentinels attacking has taken place "off camera" so to speak. I was really hoping for a classic huge mutant versus robot battle like my fond childhood memories of X-Men. But hey, different strokes for different folks.

I wonder if I would have felt different about this series if I had read it as a complete trade and not as separate issues? Oh well, I guess we'll never know. Until then I'll keep reading them and reviewing them.

Captain America #2 - Review


Steve Rogers had the funeral of his former ally Peggy Carter interrupted by super HYDRA agents and he wants answers. He and Nick Fury plan a raid on a HYDRA facility in order to recapture a strange power that was once wielded by a very powerful ally back in WWII, but find that the tech has already been moved. Even more trouble arises as a larger than life villain from Cap's past returns to wreak havoc on him.

Written by Ed Brubaker and drawn by Steve McNiven, this next issue of the new ongoing Captain America title is continuing to impress me. Like the new Daredevil title by Mark Waid, this series has great writing, wonderful art, and makes the main and side characters feel real and fleshed out.

I've only recently gotten into Captain America since the movie, but what I've been discovering about him in the comics is only making me enjoy him more. Although I did enjoy the Super Soldier Steve Rogers costume with the large white star and wings, it's good to see him back in his classic duds as he takes on HYDRA.

There's some great change-ups in the panel pacing and snappy dialogue from Brubaker. It's good to see them take a character that's been around so long and still make him relevant and interesting today. If you enjoyed the movie you'll love this new ongoing series. It's only two issues in, so it's not to late to grab a back issue of the first and pick this one up with it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Detective Comics #881 - Review


In the last issue of Detective Comics in this run, Batman (Dick Grayson) races to try and save Barbara Gordon from her sociopathic brother James, who has put her in a surefire death trap. As Batman struggles to locate her, James reveals his twisted plan to turn Gotham's next generation of children into sadistic sociopaths just like himself and The Joker. His plan -- spike the city's supply of popular baby formula with a reverse engineered medication that will actually encourage mental illness. It's up to Batman to finally put down the black sheep of the Gordon family once and for all. But Commissioner Gordon isn't going to sit this one out.

Written by Scott Snyder and drawn by Jock and Francesco Francavilla, this last issue of Detective Comics was a great sendoff to the Dick Grayson Batman. The writing was spot on, James Gordon was scary as hell, and Barbara Gordon got to show off just how much of an ass-kicker she still is. Even Commissioner Gordon got his chance to shine, and not in the usual backseat way that many writers do with the character.

The artwork in this issue was fantastic. Both Jock and Francavilla have been my favorite artists on this title, and pairing them together really worked. The color palettes were the beautiful purples, oranges, and blacks that I've come to love in these last few issues, and the style of storytelling was more like a horror movie than a superhero epic this time around. It was welcomed, as James Gordon feels like a talkative Michael Myers. In fact there's a very similar scene from Halloween that could be a direct reference, but I can't be sure. Either way, it worked.

So that's it. That's the end of my favorite Batman team. Let's hope that Snyder gets to continue his magic on the main Batman title, and that someone keeps the tradition of grittier stories for Detective Comics. It's always been my favorite in the sense that it does treat it more like crime noir and less like a superhero romp. When this collection comes out in trades you better pick it up. I mean it. Do it.

Daredevil #2 - Review


Daredevil is just getting into being back on patrol when Captain America's shield comes flying out of nowhere. Cap tells Daredevil that he's a wanted criminal and that he's been given ample time to turn himself in. Daredevil pleads with Cap to give him a chance to prove his innocence, treating it more like a case in the courtroom than a rooftop superhero battle. Cap reluctantly agrees, but remembers that Daredevil is someone he's trusted in the past. Meanwhile, Daredevil must find out who it is who is threatening every lawyer in town, and he's not ready for what he discovers.

Written by Mark Waid and drawn by Paolo Rivera, this issue of Daredevil was just as good as the first one in this run. Watching Daredevil and Captain America duke it out was a delight, and really proved how skilled each of them are. Right off the bat they take each other's weapons and battle each other. After watching them utilize an enemy's tools in mid-battle, I can say that I'm glad that they're two of my favorite mainstream superheroes.

The writing in this issue sucked me in deep, and that's no surprise, it always seems to happen when Waid takes on classic characters. The artwork was also wonderfully paced and penciled. A mixture of details and simple lines that gives it that authentic superhero feel that only comic books can deliver.

This is really shaping up to be a great title, and if you've been on the fence about Daredevil now is the time to get into him. Matt Murdock may not be the most powerful guy in the Marvel Universe, but he's definitely a strong character. If this arc continues to explore his life as a lawyer and as Daredevil the way it has been then I think it's going to really surprise some people who have given up on the man without fear. So here comes Daredevil! Evil beware.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes - Season One Review


Tony Stark has finally realized that he can't save the world by himself, and when a gigantic amount of rogues escape from the high security prisons in the Marvel Universe, it's up to him and his new found allies to rally together to try and bring them down. With the help of Thor, Ant Man, Wasp, The Hulk, and later members Captain America, Hawkeye, and Black Panther, they hope to return the villains to their holding cells before any real damage can be done. However, deep in the shadows of the other realms, Loki has a plan stirring that only he could orchestrate. A plan so well crafted that even the newly formed Avengers couldn't do anything to stop him. Throw in the constant attacks from HYDRA and a slew of new super villains and you've got one busy team of superheroes.

Written and produced by Christopher Yost, The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes is an animated show following the early stages of the team's creation. It has an interesting mix of continuity from the movies and from the comic books, but mostly follows the original characters and art influences of Jack Kirby. In fact, there are some beautiful art pieces with signature Kirby style dots and lines that made me want to freeze frame the episodes and put them as desktop images on my computer.

The stories, though they might not seem like it at first, are always connected to other things going on in the Marvel universe. There's wonderful cameos by many fan favorites like The Fantastic Four and Wolverine, but the way that the whole series ties together is its strength. And those story lines help build the characters and make them both real and cheer-worthy. In fact the character that I found myself rooting for the most in the show as The Hulk, who is just trying to prove that he's not the monster that the US Military has made him out to be. There are some great moments when he's reassured by Cap that he's the true definition of a hero, and often gets annoyed with how Thor is always acting like they're old buddies.

If you were a fan of shows like Justice League or Justice League: Unlimited, then you'll love the ensemble cast and cameos in this show. It has the same level of maturity that the Bruce Timm DC Universe TV shows and films have, and just like those pieces is both kid friendly while appealing to all audiences. A second season is in the works, and the last episode leaves it open for a very popular story line to take place once it returns. The movie may not be coming out until next summer, but you can watch The Avengers assemble right now on DVD or Netflix.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

American Vampire #17 - Review


Skinner Sweet and a handful of soldiers have fought their way through the Japanese and a mess of vampires when they find themselves in an even bigger dung heap -- a huge dirty bomb of infected blood ready to be dropped on America. The soldiers call in an air strike and the group tries to fight their way out in time. But can they make it out of the blast range before they're killed by the enemy? Or each other?

Written by Scott Snyder and drawn by Rafael Albuquerque, issue #17 of American Vampire was a fun and very quick read. I had only read the first trade paperback of the series, so I wasn't really up to speed about what was going on. It didn't change the fact that it was still a really fun issue and that the artwork played well with the concept of big war movies combined with gothic horror. It's also fun to see Skinner Sweet throughout the various decades, doing dastardly things and loving them more and more.

The issue as a whole could be pretty confusing to start off on, but if you've been reading this series at least sporadically you should understand the basic concepts of what is going on in terms of regular vampires and American vampires.

Not too much more to say except that it was a great issue, but I expect nothing less from a now Eisner Award winning series. Congratulations Mr. Snyder, you earned it!

Fables #107 - Review


General Mirant has chosen his city and new empire, but is at a loss when it comes to ruling it. Due to Briar Rose's spell, the city is now locked with Sleeping Beauty, who slumbers on a slab in the middle of town. By crowning hordes of young men as newly appointed princes, Mirant hopes to have one of them kiss her and wake the city and its inhabitants. Just as he starts to devise a new plan in order to wake her, a group of goblins sneak in and wreck his entire plan. But it's a whole different ball game when the goblins discover a shocking surprise about Sleeping Beauty.

Written by Bill Willingham and drawn by Terry Moore, this issue of Fables was good, but not great. It had an interesting story and the artwork was good, but it just didn't have anything to make it stand out or give it any pizazz. I'm a much bigger fan of Fables when they're in the Mundy World and not in the homelands, so that might be part of it. It might also be that I'm on a jumping on point way after the last issue that I was on.

Overall it's not a bad issue, and I would still pick it up. Just don't expect the same level of mischief and adventure you usually get in an issue or installment of this series. Then again, you can't be on target all the time, can you?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Mighty Thor #4 - Review


Thor has gone to battle in space against The Silver Surfer and Galactus, who is trying to eat the Seed of the 9 Realms. Odin and his warriors stand tall, but it's going to take more than regular combat to best two beings of such power. As the two of them face off using their influences in the natural and unnatural worlds, Thor and The Silver Surfer enter a slug fest over the fate of Asgard. But young Loki has other plans on winning the battle against Galactus, and has made a trade of Sif's hair for three ominous gifts.

Written by Matt Fraction and drawn by Olivier Coipel, this was the very first issue of The Might Thor that I had ever read. In fact, I had never read ANY Thor up to this point. He had been a character that I had no interest in until the trailer for The Avengers and the new animated series done by Christopher Yost. I figured I should familiarize myself with the Thunderer and get to know his background. After buying this issue I can confirm that I'll be looking into him more. Fraction writes a very fun adventure that clashes the cosmic with the Norse Gods. And Coipel's depiction of the two different worlds meeting is a wonderful tribute to Norse and Science Fiction culture alike. I especially liked that all of The Silver Surfer's dialogue had the signature Jack Kirby crackle of dots all around the word balloons. It's little touches like those that can make something great turn into something wonderful.

This series was recommended to me by a friend and I'm glad he said something about it. I've been looking for more Marvel characters to sink my teeth into, and I think I just found another. If anyone has any other suggestions, I'm all ears.

Steve Rogers in The Avengers Movie


The pictures speak for themselves. I love that it's a mixture of the cloth suit from the beginning and the padded suit he had at the end of the first movie. It looks so badass I want to steal it, wear it, and pummel injustice with it. AVENGERS . . . ASSEMBLE!!!

Incorruptible #20 - Review


Max Damage has been taken hostage and literally strung up for target practice. As his former employer, Belamy, keeps putting Max to sleep and then waking him up in order to shoot at his knee caps and arms, Max tries to fight the mental warfare that's being waged on him. Belamy tries to use Max's logic against him, forcing him to confront his silly ideas of becoming a hero in a world that is eating itself. Meanwhile, Alana and Safeword try and get Armadale's help, but discover that he's fallen off the wagon and is drunker than a skunk. Max has no way out of this situation, but an old ally might be able to lend him a trigger finger.

Written by Mark Waid and drawn by Marcio Takara, this issue of Incorruptible gave us something we haven't seen yet, which is Max Damage actually taking lots of real physical damage. He finds himself in a position he had probably put tons of heroes and innocents in before, and tries to hold strong as someone explains that his whole existence is a joke. It has a fair amount of action, but this is really a character issue that defines who Max Damage has become as a person.

The artwork by Takara is just as cool as his last issue. The use of line and panel pacing makes his a detailed but very cartooned version of the characters. In fact, I have the B Cover to this issue, the one with Safeword as a shadow with Damage faded behind it on a yellow backdrop. I won't lie, I want it as a poster for my house. In fact the whole issue has great images that are frame worthy, like a certain former sidekick riding in on a badass motorcycle.

All in all this is still one of my favorite comic book series going on right now. Waid is crafting his own heroes and villains for a new era of comic book readers. What that era or age will be called I have no idea, but lets hope we get more deep characters like the ones Waid is crafting at BOOM! Studios.

The Amazing Spider-Man #666 : Prelude to Spider Island - Review


Spider-Man has been insanely busy recently, what with being on multiple superhero teams, patrolling on his own, working at Horizon Labs, and trying to have a relationship with his girlfriend. But the Jackal has something more troublesome up his furry sleeve for Peter Parker than a conflicting schedule. An outbreak of bedbugs have been biting citizens of New York City and giving them spider powers, and Jackal plans to use them to web the city into his control. After training in the Way of the Spider martial arts and finally mastering his new skills, does Peter have what it takes to take on a legion of himself?

Written by Dan Slott and drawn by Steffano Caselli, this issue of The Amazing Spider-Man was one of the best I've read in a while. Even though it's leading into an event series it still rings true to what the modern Spider-Man is all about -- being there for people. His determination to help anyone in need and be there when it counts shines brightly through this issue, and I'm pumped to see where it takes us with the rest of the event.

The artwork by Caselli is wonderful. He draws Spider-Man the way I would picture him in real life. His use of line and laying out panels gives it a realistic but still comic book vibe that really plays well on the characters in this series.

For an issue that's numbered 666, I can't say too many great things about it. I never thought I'd be actually excited about a Marvel event, but Slott has convinced me that I can be. It also helps that this issue paves the way for all the crossing titles that will be dealing with the outbreak of Spider-People in the near future, instead of just dumping it on all of the other characters like it's no big deal.

X-Men: Schism #2 - Review


In the next installment of Jason Aaaron's X-Men: Schism the sentinels are being deployed all across the world to hunt down the mutant menace and save humanity. The only problem that their creators didn't count on was saving humanity from the sentinels. Many of the giant robots have been in storage for a decade and are crashing left and right or attacking humans as soon as they're activated. The X-Men, Avengers, and any other Marvel hero are on the case as they try and stop any collateral damage from the hulking machines. Meanwhile, the Hellfire Club is preparing to make its move against the mutants, and Wolverine doesn't agree with Cyclops' strategy in order to deal with it all.

The writing on this issue wasn't as strong as the first, but that might be due to the fact that it's a bridge to what is to come in the following issues. It still had some great moments, like when Wolverine insists on calling Steve Rogers and letting him know some vital information, which is then stopped by Cyclops and leads to a huge argument. That might also be my new found love for Captain America seeping in, but it was still a cool little cameo. The other aspects of the story, including the faces behind the Hellfire Club, was pretty interesting. It's a much different take on the group than the original members, and it'll be a fresh shake up as an X-Men group of villains.

This story had art done by Frank Cho and it wasn't the greatest I've ever seen. It had some beautiful moments, but for the most part it looked as if it couldn't decide whether to make the characters cartoony or realistic on the page. The panels in terms of pacing were still very good, they just didn't seem very consistent and didn't draw me in.

Overall there were some parts that dragged on a bit, and the art wasn't that great, but I'm not giving up on this title just yet. If you consider how much this is going to affect X-Men titles down the road, it's important to know what the cause of all the new books is going to be.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Red Robin #25 - Review


Tim Drake has been chained to the wall by the villainous Promise, but he's in for more than he bargained for. Instead of the usual banter and threat to be killed, Promise instead turns Drake over to a Daughter of Acheron -- a half sister of Ra's al Ghul. She has something completely different than killing in mind, and it's procreating. She plans to rape Tim Drake and raise his child as one of the worthy to take over Ghul's legacy. Luckily for Drake, Black Bat (Cassandra Cain) had been following him. The Batman Inc. network is triumphant again, but there's an even more creepy villain waiting in the shadows to take Drake under his wing.

Written by Fabian Nicieza and drawn by Marcus To, this issue of Red Robin made me realize something about Tim Drake that I hadn't really taken into account before. Everyone knows that Drake has been the most inventive and quick learner in the Bat-Family. In fact, Bruce Wayne gave control of the company to Drake in case he had died, and he's still running most of it to this day. The majority knows, villains and heroes alike, that Drake is going to be a big player in the Meta-Human world when he grows up. His path will probably decide whether it's good or evil that triumphs in the end. Thank God he's on our side. But much like Batman's villains are a reflection of him, Red Robin's villains are what he could grow up to be. Drake has had just as much training as the assassins he's battling, and just as much intelligence as the creepy men pulling the strings from the shadows. It's Drake's intellect and detective skills that make him a great character, and Nicieza is playing that up very well.

The art in this issue is pretty standard, but it's also well done. There's a great use of line and composition that screams classic superhero genre. The panel pacing is just as crisp as it always is, and I actually found myself wishing I had the next issue on my stack and ready to read. I'm sad that this title is going to be going away soon, but we'll still get to see Drake in the new Teen Titans book in the DCnU.

Detective Comics #880 - Review


The Joker has broken out of Arkham and Batman (Dick Grayson) is hot on his trail. However, tragedy has already struck Commsissoner Gordon, who finds his ex-wife with a face full of Joker Toxin in the bathtub of her hotel room. As Barbara and Red Robin try to piece together the crime scene, Batman goes after the Joker in the city's sewers. There the Joker asks for the real Batman to come back, knowing that it's one of the former Robins behind the cowl. After a short battle, the Joker reveals some horrifying news about the former Mrs. Gordon's attack, and a whole new world of hurt is about to descend on the Bat-Family.

Written by Scott Snyder and drawn by Jock, this issue of Detective Comics was one of the best that I've ever read. I feel like I say that with each and everyone that I read, but Snyder's run has been so damn good that I can't help but say it. The tone of this story was more like a horror movie than a superhero comic book, and that's why it's so effective in telling this story line. The Joker is just as terrifying as he ever is, but the fact that he's able to just "know" and "always does" as Gordon puts it is even more creepy. We don't ever take the time as readers to step back and think, "you know what, the Joker WOULD know where I was, no matter where I went." It's just one of the mysterious things about him. And the fact that he knew right off the bat that it wasn't Bruce under the cowl is a bit of an indication that he knows more than he lets on.

The artwork by Jock was, as always, stunning. The writing and panel pacing combined with the very dark colors used for the book were engrossing and beautiful while also a bit scary. Even the cover, with the smiling Joker dissolving into bats, gives the sense of horror more than spectacle. This run that Snyder and Jock have been doing is just the sort of thing I look for in a Batman title.

Uncanny X-Men #541 (Fear Itself Tie-In) - Review


This issue of Uncanny X-Men is the "Fear Itself" tie-in that pits the X-Men against the Juggernaut who has been picked as one of the Worthy to carry a Hammer from The Serpent. Scott Summers is trying to take the most tactical route to deal with the Juggernaut, and hopes to use the age-old method of removing his helmet in order to stop him with a psychic attack. With a whole legion of X-Men waiting to stand in his way, the Juggernaut is determined to level San Francisco and spread his war against "sin." But when Hope flies in with all of the mutants powers at her side, Summers is sure that they've saved San Francisco. That is, until they realize that the Juggernaut has a whole new bag of tricks up his sleeve.

Written by Kieron Gillen and drawn by Greg Land, this issue was an obvious add-on for the "Fear Itself" event. It was a good issue, with some fun action and great Juggernaut scenes, but it's just one of those event tie-ins that doesn't really go anywhere. I can understand the appeal of doing events and crossing over characters, but it's starting to get a little old. That being said, I'm still a huge fan of anything with the Juggernaut in it, and the issue as a whole was pretty good, it's just not something that can really stand on its own.

Overall it's worth picking up if you're following "Fear Itself" or if you're a Juggernaut fan, and it's worth skipping if you want to wait for the event to be over with.