Monday, October 31, 2011

Batman #2 - Review

THE BAT AND THE OWLS


Bruce Wayne has been targeted by a group claiming to be the legendary Gotham society known as The Court of Owls. Wayne doesn't believe in the group and thinks that he knows the city better than anyone. But when an assassin comes calling who is just as skilled and powerful as he is, he might have to start rethinking how sure he really is about the old legend.

Written by Scott Snyder and drawn by Greg Capullo, Batman #2 is one of the best comics I've read in a while. This is exactly what I love about Batman. It's got the creepy Gotham City angle, some great scenes with Gordon, and a villain who can go toe-to-toe with the Dark Knight. The artwork by Capullo is so fun and dynamic that I wish it were also being done as an animated series. If someone is looking for an art style for the next Batman show, I'm throwing my hat in for Capullo's designs.

Snyder's new arc featuring The Court of Owls and Gotham City as Wayne's oldest friend are welcome additions to the Batman mythos. I'm interested to see how The Court attacks the other members of the Bat-Family and what its true goals are in bringing down Wayne and his cohorts. The dialogue was tight, even though there was a great deal of speaking in this issue, and the pace never let up between panels and pages.

Batman fans rejoice, this marks another 5/5 issue for one of the best ongoing titles since the DC relaunch. The Bat has returned to Gotham and to reader's hearts.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Spider Island - Retrospective

MY THOUGHTS ON THE SPIDER ISLAND EVENT

This week finished off the "Spider Island" event at Marvel Comics in which all of New York City is infected with Spider-Man's trademark superpowers. It soon leads to an infestation spanning multiple comic book titles and creating monsters that threaten to infect the entire world. After reading the event in most of the Marvel Comics titles that it tied with, I have to say that I enjoyed the event on the whole, but I'm more hopeful of what the ending might mean.

*SPOILERS!*

By the end of the event we have the return of Kaine, Peter Parker's clone, who will no doubt either become Scarlet Spider or a new Spider-Man character. I really do hope it's Scarlet Spider, because he's one of my favorite Marvel characters.

We also have Mary Jane confess her love for Peter Parker after fighting a battle only the two of them could win together. They understand each other even more now that she has had a taste of his powers and superhero life. In fact she could have kept her powers without mutating as quickly as everyone else because of their romantic history together.

I did like the team-up of Captain America and Venom in the last couple of issues. I'd really like to see these two work together more in the Marvel Universe, and I thought that Flash and Rogers reflected the new-age that Marvel is breaking into with their military characters.

*END SPOILERS*

So basically I'd recommend it when it comes out in trade. It might be cut together in a way that will be easier to read, but even some of the larger spreads that jump around are easy to figure out if you give them time. On average I'd give the event a 4/5. Which is pretty good for a story that spans multiple titles from various viewpoints.

Daredevil #5 - Review

HYDRA TAKES A.I.M.


Daredevil fights to protect a blind witness who may have stumbled upon an international terror scheme to connect some of the world's most dangerous organizations with loophole shipping to support their causes. As he faces dangers ranging from hit squads to human wrecking balls, Daredevil will have his hands full with agents of HYDRA and A.I.M.

Written by Mark Waid and drawn by Marcos Martin, this issue of Daredevil is proof that this may be one of the best series at Marvel Comics right now. To start, the cover is striking. Bryan Hitch has made an understated cover that says everything with a few colors and simple lines. It's one of those covers I'd love to have as a poster in my house.

Waid and Martin continue to be a perfect match for this title. The way that Waid writes his panels and the way that Martin conveys them feels like the method that Matt Murdock should have been depicted in all along. The subtle placement of a sound here or a panel there really makes a difference for original comic book storytelling.

This book gets a solid 5/5 from me this month. I can't believe how continuously good it's been. If you've ever been on the fence about Daredevil as a character now is the time to hop off and hit the ground running.

DMZ #70 - Review

MATTY ROTH'S CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY


The war in New York City might be over and the DMZ series may be ending, but Matty Roth is only now owning up for what has transpired in the war between the U.S. and the Free States. As Roth visits a strange man in a very well-kept building in the city (considering the damages), he soon realizes that he's going to have to atone for the sins he's committed.

Written by Brian Wood and drawn by Riccardo Burchielli, "The Five Nations of New York" only has one more chapter after this installment before it ends. I'm going to be sad to see this series go, because it's been one of my favorites this past year, but I'm glad that it will have a definitive ending. Wood has been able to convey so much in every issue without over-explaining or filling the pages with unnecessary captions.

Burchielli's artwork is just as striking as it always is. I love the fact that this comic is printed on newsprint, so that it has that gritty feeling that many slick and glossy comics don't have anymore. It adds to the atmosphere of Burchielli's grim New York City post-war, and I couldn't imagine it done in any other way and working as well as it does in this story.

I'm going to give this issue a 5/5 for continuing to show readers that great comics don't need tights and superpowers to be important. In fact I'd go as far as to say that this might be one of the most important pieces of sequential art in recent years. Even though it isn't word for word what's happening to the country right now, it still shows the horror of what could happen if it were to get out of hand.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Incorruptible #23 - Review

MAX DAMAGE AND THE PLUTONIAN THROW DOWN!


Max Damage and The Plutonian have an epic battle outside of Coalville as The Plutonian demands to know where Alana is. As the entire world watches the former supervillain and former superhero duke it out, Max tells something to The Plutonian that no one will see coming.

Written by Mark Waid and drawn by Marcio Takara, this issue of Incorruptible was nothing short of awesome. It was a slug fest that's been in the works for a long time, and now that I know both of these character so well it really feels like a payoff to have the two of them duke it out over a vast landscape.

The writing by Waid in this issue is very subtle and scarce. It's mostly action, so the few words we do get are a bit more poignant. I really like that about this issue and it definitely made it a quick read. It showed how similar a hero and a villain really can be when it comes to their lives in the spotlight. The public is always willing to root for whoever is backing their horse.

The art by Takara was very fluid and fun. The panels had a very animated feel to them and I could easily fill in the gaps in the gutters as my eyes slid from one page to the next. I would be pleased if he continued drawing this title from now on, but I know that's something that's out of my power.

Overall I'm going to give this issue a 4.5/5 for being another incredible installment to a great series. It's the huge battle fans of Incorruptible and Irredeemable have been waiting for and it didn't disappoint. I can only hope they get to do it again sometime in the near future.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Red Hood and the Outlaws #2 - Review

TODD’S TRAINING REVEALED


Many readers know that I was gravely disappointed in the first issue of Red Hood and the Outlaws when it debuted in the New 52 by DC Comics. I was among the camp that it was playing too much on how sexy Starfire was, how nonchalant Arsenal was, and Todd’s overall personality and look.

I’m happy to say that I did enjoy the second issue a little bit better, but honestly not by much.

The team heads to China where Todd is preparing to enter into another dimension where he trained with Druca and the All Caste to learn their warrior ways and teachings. The overall story was enjoyable, but I’m still not sold on these incarnations of these characters.

Scott Lobdell’s writing is a bit clamored, and it feels like “wouldn’t this be cool if” storytelling instead of an actual solid plot. The artwork by Kenneth Rocafort was pretty decent, but there were a couple of pages where it was all thrown together and I couldn’t tell what was going on. That being said there was a great reveal of Starfire in a limo that sort of used the panel layouts that the new Captain America comic is using over at Marvel.

Overall I’m giving this book a chance because I want it to be awesome. I love Roy Harper and Jason Todd and I really think they make a great set of partners. I’m not thrilled about Starfire’s inclusion, because she really doesn’t fit the archetype that the other two characters do. I’m going to give this issue a 3/5 for being better than the first one, but it still doesn’t meet my expectations of a Batman-related comic book.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Severed #1 - Review

A RAZOR SHARP NEW SERIES


When 12-year-old Jack Garron runs away from home in 1916 he plans on riding the rails as a hobo and meeting up with his father to travel the country. What he doesn't plan on is the nightmare that's waiting for him down the road. Because a strange man named Mister Porter who works for General Electric has adopted an orphan to apprentice as an electrician, and a joke about having razor sharp teeth behind his pearly whites might be more than a jest.

Written by Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft, with artwork by Attila Futaki, Severed #1 is a haunting and delightfully twisted American tale of a boy destined to meet a monster. The cleverness and likability of Mister Porter and his savage cannibalistic side complement each other and honestly caused chills to run down my spine. It's always the smooth talkers who will eat you alive.

The writing is tight, lean, and the story moves at an incredibly enjoyable pace. The artwork has the dull tones and atmosphere of the early 1900's, and even though I've never read a comic by Futaki I'm now a big fan. The paired writing and artwork made me just as hungry for another issue as Mister Porter is hungry for . . . well, you'll find out.

I'm going to give this new title from Image Comics a 5/5 for tackling the horror genre so well it makes me wish there were more like it in mainstream comics. For being one of Snyder's few creator-owned comics, it's just as good as any of his work at DC.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Strange Talent of Luther Strode #1 - Review

SUPER TEENS GET BRUTAL


Luther Strode is a high school student who is sick of being pushed around, having a rail-thin body, and never getting the girl. But when he orders an exercise guide from the back of a comic book, he finds himself gaining strange strength and abilities. Abilities that lead him into a series of violent encounters and make him the interest of a sinister mustachioed man.

The Strange Talent of Luther Strode is a new series written by Justin Jordan and drawn by Tradd Moore, and I couldn't be more enthusiastic about it. It takes the Spider-Man concept of a high school nerd gaining superpowers and pushes it into a hyper-violent and twisted existence that makes you root for the hero and cringe every time he draws blood.

Jordan's writing is very tight and lean. It moves fast and has wonderful pacing. Moore's artwork has a very clean look to it, but it isn't afraid to get down and dirty when it comes to close-ups and gore.

It's great to see a new creative team taking the young superhero genre in a different direction. Sometimes I think that every story has been told in every possible way, and then books like this come along and remind me that there's a reason we can visit them time and time again.

I'm going to give this first issue a strong 4.5/5 for being classic and innovative at the same time. I'll be anxiously reading each issue in the six part series as it's released. Kudos to Jordan and Moore's new take on an American comic book pastime.

Batman: Year One (Blu Ray) - Review

THE SEMINAL WORK COMES TO LIFE


Based on one of the most important Batman graphic novels in the history of comics, Batman: Year One is the animated retelling of Frank Miller's vision of the Dark Knight's first year under the cowl. Bruce Wayne has returned from his twelve year journey of training just as Lieutenant James Gordon is just getting transferred to Gotham City. Both of them can see the rot and disease that has taken hold of the streets and police force, and they're the only two willing to stand up to it. As Gordon realizes the depth of the GCPD's corruption, he soon finds another ally in Wayne's masked alter-ego.

If there were a more faithful adaptation of Year One I wouldn't believe it existed. The story is so well preserved in this animated interpretation that I didn't notice a single thing out of place about it. The artwork is faithful to the original designs of David Mazzucchelli while adding it's own movement and style. It feels more like a film that would be in theaters, rather than just being a direct-to-video release.

Bryan Cranston's portrayal of Gordon is nothing short of astounding. I could feel the pain and anguish of Gordon every time Cranston spoke. If Gary Oldman weren't playing him in the new films, I feel that Cranston would be.

Ben McKenzie's role as Bruce Wayne/Batman has a well placed haunted feel to it. When he confronts mobsters in the guise of Batman, you can feel the supernatural element to his speech. Even though Batman is rarely in the film, every second he's on screen feels eternal and powerful.

The thing that they really did well in this film is focus on the fact that it's not a story about Batman, but more a story about Gordon and his relationship with Batman. It's about two people who are willing to stand against all of the corruption in the world and find a brotherhood where they're united against a common enemy -- Gotham's underbelly.

I give this animated adaptation 5/5 stars. In fact I can't wait to show many of my friends and family this Batman film that I think surpasses many of the live-action adaptations. Then again, Batman Begins is practically a live-action version of Year One, but with some modifications. Still, Year One will always hold a special place in my heart as a powerful comic book, and now the film does too.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sweet Tooth: Out of the Deep Woods - Review

AN APOCALYPTIC FAIRY TALE


Civilization has ended. A harsh plague has killed off most of the major population and it's just a matter of time before any of the survivors suffer the same fate. But there's one thing no one counted on during this time of turmoil -- hybrids. Young people who are half human and half animal. Gus, a young boy who is part deer and has antlers growing out of his head, has spent his whole life in the woods with his father in their cabin. But as Gus' father gets more and more ill as the days pass, Gus might end up breaking the most important rule his father taught him. Gus might leave the woods.

Written and illustrated by Jeff Lemire, Sweet Tooth is a series I'm kicking myself over. I should have been reading this a long time ago. The writing is tight, lean and authentic. I could hear Gus' voice every time I read one of his word balloons or captions. The pacing of the story keeps the pages turning and the panel layouts are simple but very effective.

The artwork itself has a very unique style to it. It's clean and rough at the same time. All of the colors are washed out and dull, the way that the end of the world would probably feel. The interesting use of line gives the characters an uncanny ability to express emotion, and the close-ups of Gus' eyes are always very striking.

I'm going to give this first collected trade paperback a 5/5 for being a very original and mesmerizing title. It's great for fans of innovative storytelling in comics, and it's another gem that might have been overlooked by regular comic book readers. Vertigo has once again proven it's one of the leaders of some of the world's most powerful comics.

Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka Vol. 1 - Review

ASTRO BOY'S UNIVERSE GETS UPGRADED


One of the world's most popular and beloved robots, Mont Blanc, is murdered in the mountains of Switzerland during a large fire. His head is found with as strange set of horns sticking out of his decapitated head. He was one of the most powerful artificial life forms on the planet, and he's just the first in a series of grizzly murders across the globe. Gesicht, a Europol detective, is recruited to solve the mysteries. But as one of the world's greatest robotic detectives, he's also on the murderer's hit list.

Based on the classic Astro Boy manga series by Osamu Tezuka, Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka is a beautifully concocted story and piece of visual art. The series combines the artistic power of Naoki Urasawa and the guidance of Tezuka's son, Makoto Tezuka. The artwork, though simple, is very stunning and vivid. There are panels that feel as if they're moving right on the page, and those images come often in the first volume.

The story is a slow burn, taking time to develop and build on the universe as well as the characters. It gives readers the chance to form bonds with the robots that are on the villain's list to be killed, and it makes it more powerful every time it's announced that he's acquired another victim. Gesicht's ability to have nightmares and a strange sense of self makes him a complicated character, and some underlying problem in his subconscious is tormenting him. I often forgot that he was mechanical, and it seems that people in this world also feel that way. It's one of the few science fiction stories I've seen where artificial people are just as cared about in the public eye as flesh and blood humans.

I give this first volume an astounding 5/5 for adding more depth to one of the most famous manga series ever produced. Tezuka, the godfather of manga, would be proud.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Unwritten #30 - Review

THE TINKER RETURNS!


Tom Taylor has found his long-lost half-brother, but his estranged family member has magically become The Tinker! The golden-age comic book character that Taylor's father tried to destroy back in the 1940's. As Taylor battles against the old superhero, Richie discovers that every person Taylor was ever associated with is being murdered, and fast. Taylor is tired of running, and it's time for him to start fighting back.

Written by Mike Carey and drawn by Peter Gross, this issue of The Unwritten finished the arc dealing with Taylor's father and the woman he fell in love with. The writing in this issue was just as good as it has been, and so was the art. I don't know if I can say as many good things about it as it deserves. So I'm going to focus on the overall direction of the book.

The story is still developing in a wonderfully paced fashion. Taylor is learning about his origins while still moving the plot and dealing with the villains. Every issue builds toward the confrontation that Taylor will eventually have with the people that have been tormenting him. It's a series that I'm really enjoying, but that I know will eventually end. It's not a story that can go on forever, and that's a good thing.

I give this issue a 4/5 for being a great addition to the overall story. Vertigo has been putting out some really quality books lately and The Unwritten is at the forefront of it.

Avenging Spider-Man - Preview

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS


Writer Zeb Wells and artist Joe Maduerira are teaming up to bring you a new Spider-Man title from Marvel. Avenging Spider-Man is going to be a new series where Peter Parker will team up with other members of The Avengers or other Marvel Characters to take on foes in New York City and around the world.

The free preview that Marvel sent out this week includes a teaser where Spidey and Red Hulk head to New York City from an Avengers mission to take on a group of goblins who are attacking marathon runners and Mayor Jameson during an event on the Staten Island bridge.

The artwork by Maduerira is breathtaking. It holds tons of movement, emotion and flare. Wells' writing is witty and tight, bringing the Spider-Man that readers have loved since the beginning. The mixture art and writing on this title is going to be insanely fun, and if you can find the free preview issue in stores you should pick it up.

It's also been released that this title will have a download code in every issue that will allow readers to have a digital copy of each issue they buy on the Marvel Comics App. This new addition to the comic book industry will allow readers to have two secured copies of the titles that they buy. I've been talking about this with other creators for years and I think it's about time that the big two, and every publisher, jumped on the bandwagon.

The official series will start in November of this year.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The New York Five - Review

FRIENDS AND NYC ARE FOREVER


In Brain Wood’s sequel to the comic book series The New York Four we find Lona, Merrisa, Ren, and Riley where the first story had left off. The four of them are sharing an apartment as they attend NYU and are leaning to adjust to being freshmen and young people in the most famous city in the world. But between relationships, family, and dark secrets, it’s only a matter of time before their picture perfect lives come crashing down on them. Somewhere, at the heart of their plight, is a homeless girl named Olive, who has some secrets of her own.

Ryan Kelly’s black and white art in this book is nothing short of brilliant. Every page pops in high contrast inks and the girls in The New York Five look and feel like real people you’d meet in a coffee shop or band venue. The locations, which are all real New York spots, are drawn in breathtaking detail and are as much a part of the story as the characters are.

Wood has thrown us into war with DMZ and shown us the dark side of superpowers in Demo, but in The New York Five he reminds us how powerful everyday struggles in our youth can be and how they can define us for a lifetime. It’s a shame that more series like this aren’t as popular as the superhero comics that dominate the market. In fact, this has the taste of manga-influenced storytelling in the black and white scheme and pacing of the story. I can’t say that it was intentional, but it does make it a bonus for people who do enjoy manga and slice-of-life comics.

I give this collection a 4.5/5 for its beautiful artwork, complex characters, and great narrative. The cover and color scheme also really pops, and would look great on someone’s wall if it were ever turned into a poster or print.

La Quinta Camera *The Fifth Room* - Review

ROOMMATES MOVING ON


Massimo, Luca, Cele, and Al have been sharing the same five bedroom apartment for years. They've always sublet the fifth room to exchange students who are looking to study in Italy, and they've maintained a happy medium with each other as they've shared their space. But times change. New people arrive in their lives and the birth of a baby might split the four of them up for good.

The very first book I ever reviewed on this site was one by Natsume Ono called not simple, which blew my mind and made me want to write and produce my own comics. In the case of La Quinta Camera, I feel the same way. Ono has an ability to showcase expression through her simple yet elegant drawing style and through narratives that seem to be random and haphazard, but actually have very deep connectivity. Her characters are incredibly developed and within one book you feel as if you've known the four men in the apartment for their entire lives.

Different exchange students bring different perspectives onto the various characters, and it's reassuring to see that, no matter where you're from, you can always find family in those around you. The moments where the characters realize that they're not alone, that roommates can be just as important as brothers, cousins, and even fathers, it makes you think about the relationships you have with your friends and how important they truly are.

This book gets a 4.5/5 and I highly recommend it. If there's one thing about Ono's manga, it's that anyone can pick up her slice-of-life stories and find deep meaning in them. If you're on the fence about trying manga, Ono is the writer/artist you should invest in before you make the wrong decision.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Red Lanterns #2 - Review

SPOILS OF RAGE


On a planet with harsh invaders, in a war they shouldn't be involved in, two soldiers make a dire mistake and take a young girl's family from her. Atrocitus finds purpose in his rage as a Red Lantern again, and decides to intervene on the girl's behalf. But how can rage and killing stop injustice in the universe? Atrocitus has a tough decision to make. A decision that could put his life in jeopardy.

Written by Peter Milligan and penciled by Ed Benes, Red Lanterns #2 was very similar to the first issue. In fact, it was nearly the same setup as the first one. Atrocitus is standing over the body of Krona while supposedly flashing back to an event where a family is killed in front of a lone survivor. I can understand what Milligan is leading up to, but it's so slow burning and repetitive that it's getting old quick. I feel like this issue should have been skipped and the decision to increase the intelligence of other Red Lanterns should have been done now instead of later.

The art was pretty good. Nothing fantastic. It is a bit of a downside that Red Lanterns can't really create constructs as much as Green Lanterns do, but we still haven't gotten any great Red Lantern scenes where they're really utilizing their powers.

I'm on board with this series because I think Atrocitus is a really cool character, but I'm not sold on this story so far. I'm going to give this one a 3/5 for being interesting, but it's basically the same issue as the first.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Action Comics #2 - Review

SUPERMAN BACK TO HIS ROOTS


If there's anyone besides Bruce Timm who could make me love Superman again, it's Grant Morrison. In Action Comics #2, Superman finds himself being tortured by Lex Luthor and the U.S. Government in a secret facility. Luthor is determined to find out what makes Superman tick, and he's getting a bit of information from a mysterious outside source. Superman offers them a chance to let him go, and when they don't comply he makes his own exit. But what's waiting for him in a recovered rocket and who is supplying the people of Earth information about Krypton?

Written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Rags Morales, this issue was definitely action-packed. Morrison's new take on the younger Superman has him back to his vulnerable state. Instead of being the hero who can't be harmed, Superman has regained his mortal side in Morrison's new run. He's more like the Hercules he was in the 1940's than the unstoppable superhero he's been for the past few decades. This is making him much more human and makes his feats much more inspiring.

Morales is crafting a series where you can feel every hit and movement on the page, and with a title like Action Comics it's a must. The way he draws the fledgling Superman battling off the U.S. Army and taking bullets makes you want to don a cape and start flying. It's a take on the character that was desperately needed, and I think it's going to become another quintessential part of the character's literary history.

I give this book a 4.5/5 for being another awe-inspiring revamp of the original superhero.

Swamp Thing #2 - Review

HOLLAND'S PAST AND DESTINY REVEALED


Dr. Alec Holland has been summoned by a Swamp Thing who was once a WWII fighter pilot and is told the story of how Swamp Things come to be. Not only does he learn that The Green chooses people based on a difference in their DNA, but that he was never actually Swamp Thing. He had a mental connection to the one that was created, but he never truly became the spirit of vengeance for the plant world that he should have been. Meanwhile, the rot that is infecting and trying to destroy human life is coming for Dr. Holland, and it's coming with axes, broken glass, and creepy zombified people with their heads twisted backwards.

Scott Snyder's run on Swamp Thing is reminding me why I love the comics medium so much. His writing for this series is so good I feel like I can't do it justice. I was completely sucked in from the first page to the last. The new direction that he's taking Dr. Holland and the Swamp Thing mythology on is exciting and is leaving me thirsty for more.

Yanick Paquette's artwork is phenomenal in this issue. I've never wanted to buy actual page art from a comic before, but I would love to have a reprint of this issue taken apart and displayed page-by-page in a poster frame. From the opening scene with the fighter pilot to the spread where the rot is killing people on the main street of a small town, it's all wonderful and great eye candy.

This comic gets a solid 5/5 with no hesitation. I feel sorry for people who are afraid to stray away from conventional comic books and won't take the chance on other genres and titles, even from the big publishers. Snyder and Paquette are making my first Wednesday of the month a whole lot brighter.

Animal Man #2 - Review

DIVE INTO THE RED


Maxine Baker is no stranger to superpowers or strange things happening in her home, after all, her dad is Animal Man. But now dead animals are coming to Maxine to warn her about an evil force that threatens The Red -- the web of life that ties all things that have ever lived. Her father, Buddy Baker, is covered in tattoos revealing the map of The Red. If they're going to stop everything on Earth from being killed by a monstrous force hiding in the planet's wildlife, they're going to have to travel into the veins of life itself and destroy it before it destroys all of us.

Written by Jeff Lemire and drawn by Travel Foreman, Animal Man #2 is just as good as the first issue in this new series. Lemire knocks it out of the park with very creepy twists and turns that continue to bleed this title's genre between superhero and horror. Baker and his daughter are both going on a frightening journey that has to do with their powers, and it's the fear of what might happen to them and their family that propels the story forward.

Foreman's art compliments the story very nicely. I was confused at first by the darkness all over Baker's body, but when it lit up red to reveal the markings I was thrilled by the idea. I also find the villains excellently drawn and executed. They're the type of monsters you worry about hiding in plain sight and hunting you down when you least expect it.

This is one of my favorite titles at DC Comics right now and it's only proven itself further with this new issue. I give it 5/5 for continuing an awesome story arc, having complex characters, and being an original and fresh story in the comic book medium.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Official "Avengers" Photo


You can tell they're being invaded by aliens because they're looking up. ;)

Saturn Apartments Vol. 1 - Review

A SCI-FI NINE-TO-FIVE


In this manga written and illustrated by Hisae Iwaoka and released by Viz Media's Sig Ikki line of books, the Earth has been turned into a huge nature reserve and humanity lives in a ring around the planet. The lower class lives in the lower levels and the upper class lives in the upper levels, but one group of people are privileged to travel between them and all the other floors between -- window washers.

The newest member of the team, Mitsu, is the son of a veteran window washer who had an accident and fell off the ring. He's anxious about joining the existing crew and has his doubts about how his father died. As he learns to make a living and get to know his co-workers, he'll have to learn to do things for himself and find a reason to fill his father's shoes as a bringer of light to a mechanical world.

This was a beautiful start to a very touching series. It always amazes me that it can be so much fun to read about menial jobs in a futuristic setting. In this world window washing is one of the most expensive services in the world, and it's also one of the most dangerous. The writing and artwork are both very lighthearted, but Iwaoka does a great job of conveying emotion through the characters and the epic scale of the backgrounds.

There were a couple of times that the translation was a little rough, especially in the thought balloons, which we don't really use anymore in American comics. But it doesn't take away from the simple and poignant dialogue and the pace of the story.

I give this volume a 4/5 for being a wonderful start to a promising series. It's a manga that I'll be sticking with and seeing out till the end.