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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Comic Reviews: Week of Jan 27th

MARVEL:

Amazing Spider-Man #619:


This one should be picked up for the cover alone! Marcos Martin is an incredible artist, and I love how he’s been adapting the villains a little bit each issue. Mysterio looks almost the same, but there’s a slight change in his stature, one that makes him much more threatening. Again, Dan Slott moves between his three story lines, however, this read doesn’t feel as fluid as the last. But, I’m still curious as to what has happened to Aunt May. She’s turned from a sweet old lady into a crotchety old bitch. What I liked most in this issue was how Mysterio plays with Spider-Man’s biggest weakness: humanity. And I liked how, in the end, Peter was able to put all the pieces together. It looks like next issue is the last one with Mysterio, and I can’t wait to see what Peter does. Even I was pissed off at Mysterio while reading this. It’ll be nice to see Spider-Man pummel him.

Captain America Reborn #6:

So the series is over. And that thing you thought would happen did. I’m not quite sure how Steve Rogers returned because I was more distracted by the awful dialogue. I’m not a Brubaker fan, but I respect what he’s done for Captain America, and for the Marvel Universe. This issue, however, is peppered with corny, clich├ęd lines like “Let’s do it!” and “I will have my vengeance”, and lastly, “You insignificant gnat! How dare you!” While I love Bryan Hitch’s art (and his full and splash pages are phenomenal here!), it can’t make up for a poorly written conclusion. In the end, we’re introduced to a “new” Red Skull (sigh), and, more interestingly, a dismal future of the Marvel Universe that I think ties in with Siege. But we’ll have to wait and see. As for now, I’m curious to see how Brubaker will settle the issue of two Caps.

Spiderman Clone Saga #5: Oh, God, why am I still buying this?!? They didn’t get it right the first time, and they’re not succeeding the second time around either. At the end of the issue, I just didn’t care. I know I’ll buy the last issue because I want to see how this is concluded, but this proves that the Clone Saga was, and will continue to be, a bad idea.

Ultimate Enemy #1: Bendis writes this, and it’s a good issue not for its major plot line, but for how it introduces some other minor threads that I’m sure will be dealt with over the course of the series. It’s a promising issue, but it ends abruptly. What I like about the new Ultimate universe is that more attention is paid to the interconnectedness of the characters, so I’m sure when we find out who the “Enemy” is, the after effects will be felt through all the current Ultimate Comics out there. If you’re a fan of the Ultimate Universe, pick this up. It’s a fun read, and Rafa Sandoval does some pretty impressive art work, both in the single panels, and in the splash pages.


DC:

Superman Secret Origin #4:

Geoff Johns and Gary Frank together?! Buy this! Johns is retelling the origin of Superman because, I’m guessing, he wants to reestablish the status quo, as well as alter the timeline to make it more accessible to newer readers and newer writers. What we get here is the origin of the Parasite. It’s a bit . . . lazy . . . but it’s also pretty funny. One of my favorite things about the series is Frank’s art. In an interview in Wizard some months back, he talked about his character designs. Superman is, obviously, based on Christopher Reeve. Fans of the Superman movies or the Superman comics hold Reeve in their hearts for being the true embodiment of Superman and Clark. I can honestly (and a little sheepishly) say that when I saw the cover, I got a little teary-eyed. I loved Superman as a child, and I loved Christopher Reeve for what he represented. As he grew older, and even during his final years, I always saw him as Superman. Gary Frank also said, when creating Lois lane, that he felt she shouldn’t be buxom and sexy. Instead, he said she should have strong legs that can sneak her into a room, or help her storm out of one. We see that demonstrated in this issue, and Johns writes her as a strong lead, a great foil to Clark (and Lex for that matter), and one can see how she would be an award winning journalist. So, enough about Superman: Secret Origin. Go buy it. Johns is establishing a lucid world for new readers, and now would be the time to jump on board.

Batman and Robin #7: I had no idea what the hell was happening for three quarters of this issue. There are characters I’ve never read about, and dialogue that felt, at times, very labored. I don’t like the “quick-fix” that’s shown in regards to Damien, and I’m not quite sure I buy Dick Grayson’s motivation in trying to bring Batman back from the dead. But, it’s Grant Morrison so I guess it’s not supposed to make a whole lot of sense. And on top of that, it’s Batman, and it features the return of Katherine Kane whom I believe was last seen in DC’s weekly series, 52. I’m glad DC took a chance on making a new Batman series without Bruce Wayne. Batman and Robin is definitely worth a read.

Superman #696:

I’m not going to bash James Robinson’s writing anymore because there’s no point to it. What I will focus on, instead, is Bernard Chang’s art in this issue. It’s sharp and gritty, and it reminds me of Lenil Yu’s art in Bendis’ New Avengers series (pre Secret Invasion). I just wish he was working on a series that would give him better exposure.

Green Lantern #50: I remember that I almost gave up reading the new Green Lantern series around issue #17. Johns was writing about the Star Sapphires, and I really didn’t care. Now, however, I’m glad I didn’t. There’s not much more praise I can heap on Geoff Johns. He knows how to write a tight, gripping story, and he doesn’t forsake a single character in this issue. The true hero of Green Lantern #50, however, is Doug Mahnke. Mahnke did some work on Morrison’s Superman: 3-D limited, as well as finishing the last two issues of Final Crisis. The writers and artists of the Green Lantern world (Green Lantern & Green Lantern Corps) should be celebrated for their consistently excellent work. I don’t know what to say except if you’re not reading Green Lantern, you’re missing out. Go out and read this series -- you won’t be disappointed.

MISC:

Irredeemable #9 (Boom): This issue mostly sets up what’s going to happen in the future. There’s some neat illustrations of the Plutonian when he’s a child (and the fright that appears constantly on his mother’s face), and Peter Krause should be commended for his work. The series is still running a bit flat, but I trust Mark Waid has a plan, and that in the end, all the readers will be rewarded.

The Walking Dead #69 (Image):

Recently, The Walking Dead was picked up by AMC (the wonderful channel that runs Mad Men) and I think it’s deserved. Kirkman has continuously pushed his characters to their limits, and seen them through some pretty horrific stuff. The preview for issue #70 shows a uniformed Rick strolling the zombie-free streets of a suburban neighborhood. But, seeing as how we’re counting down to issue #100, I’m sure that this is all part of Robert Kirkman’s big plan. And I can’t wait to see where it’s going. Read The Walking Dead.

Kick-Ass #8 (Icon): Mark Millar really pisses me off sometimes. He’s pretty full of himself, and he’s kind of a pervert. But he can write a hell of a story. John Romita perfectly captures the coarse and bloody world Millar has created, and you can see (and feel) the satisfaction of some of the more gory blows that take place. Just to give two quick ones: a man’s testicles are shot off, then he’s slammed in the head with a meat cleaver. Brutal, but beautiful. At the end of the issue we get a big “END OF BOOK ONE”, so we know there’s more coming. The problem is that Millar is so erratic with his work, we don’t know when we’ll see it. I hope soon because this series has lived up to it’s hype, and I hope the movie does it justice.

Buck Rogers #8 (Dynamite): Good, but not great. The best things about this issue, really, were the Green Hornet preview (written by Kevin Smith and illustrated by Jonathan Lau) and the preview for Garth Ennis’ The Boys. I like the short, two-part arc, but the story was a bit too Supervillain-esque. A group of underworld dwellers have their hands on some nuclear weapons and they want to shoot them off (using “Old Faithful” as a propellant) in order to block out the sun so they can return to the surface, free of the suns painful ultraviolet radiation. Whew! Again, not sure if I’m going to hang on here or just let it go. I could use the extra $3.50.

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