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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Comic Reviews: Weeks of July 28, Aug 4 & 11

DC:

Superman: The Last Family of Krypton #1: Why does DC feel the need to include Ma and Pa Kent in almost every story about an alternate world of Superman? This time, the entire El family is survives the trip to Earth, and they go on to become a rich and powerful family -- but they need to send their son to live with humans? And DC seems intent on daddy issues because this book is chock full of 'em. You can see where this is going because the story always ends the same way, with Superman becoming the Superman we know: a good person with a good heart and good morals. Yawn. This is why Superman is struggling to keep readers interested. DC never tries anything new (although Straczynski and Cornell are trying -- and doing well if you ask me). If you folks want to read what I think is the best Superman Elseworlds story, pick up "Superman: Speeding Bullets." THAT, my friends, is a good Elseworlds. This is canned and predictable and disappointing.

Action Comics #891: Paul Cornell's Superman story (starring Lex Luthor) is a surprisingly well written tale. Read below for a greater description on what is easily one of the best things to come out of the Superman in the past few years.

Batman: The Widening Gyre #6: Whereas I enjoyed the mystery revealed in Grant Morrison's Batman story (where the Joker was posing as the British detective Sexton), the final page of Kevin Smith's Batman story made me angry. Batman is the world's greatest detective and he couldn't figure out this mystery? I don't buy it, and neither should you.

Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #1: There's a lot going on with Guy Gardner, and for fans of the character, Emerald Warriors is the comic for you. Guy is front and center, and the rest of the corps takes a supporting role. There's a bigger mystery here, but if you're not familiar with what's happen in the GL Universe in the past two years, this story wouldn't make sense. Tomasi is taking tips from Geoff Johns in terms of creating rather than answering questions and this series may get frustrating after a while. But Peter J. Tomasi is easily one the best writers on staff at DC, so I would keep an eye on Emerald Warriors. Green Lantern has the most interesting band of supporting characters, and the story will make good use of them.

Marvel:

Ultimate Spider-Man #13: Painful to read, frustrating to watch, and incredibly written. This is the best story to come out of Vol. 2 of Ultimate Spider-Man. Plus, Mark Millar needs to see how a cliff hanger is done. The final page of this issue gave me goosebumps. It must get boring to read continuously positive reveiws, but Bendis keeps continuously writing incredible stories.

Ultimate Avengers 2 #6: It's great that this series wraps up just as Ultimate Avengers 3 begins because it's like seeing one piece of shit connected to another. Ultimate Avengers 2 was just an awful story. Millar wants to take the badasses of the Ultimate Universe and show what happens when you make them heroes. They play by their own rules. They do what they want. And they get the job done. (Cue AC/DC and shots of things exploding.) I enjoyed The Ultimates 1 and 2, so it's painful to see how far Millar has fallen. I asked my comic shop guy about this. He seems to think that when Millar is under pressure to turn in a story on time, he turns in mediocrity. So, we should give him no deadline? I don't think so. Millar wants to be a loose cannon, and right now he's soaring on his ego. But Ultimate Avengers 2 doesn't do anything to add to what was once an impressive resume. And if you thought this series was bad . . .

Ultimate Avengers 3 #1: . . . pick up Ultimate Avengers 3 #1. Mark Millar's idea of an Ultimate Avengers comic is to create an "ultimate" take on a 616 character, then have them create a NEW team to fight a new problem. The issue here, however, is that the problem has already been introduced in X-Men #1. Vampires. (Pause for crickets.) Plus, Steve Dillon's pencils are nowhere near as engaging as Leinil Yu's. The one positive is that we can look forward to another train wreck over the next six months. If they're not good, at least they're entertaining in their awfulness.

Misc:

Murderland #1
(Image -- Scott & Hahn): Violent, and hella entertaining, Murderland surprised me. First, David Hahn's art is incredibly clean and really off sets the violence. Stephen Scott's story is deep, introduces a new type of superhero, and creates a brand new mythos. What impressed me most about Murderland is that I had no idea what it was about (and still don't fully). It seemd like a spy story until the last six pages. Then, it became something completely different and that was when I became hooked. If every issue is this impressive, I'll continue to follow the series. I'm curious to see where this goes, so I know I'll be picking up issue #2 of Murderland.


Driver for the Dead #1 (Radical Comics -- Heffernan & Manco): at $4.99, Driver for the Dead is pricey, but is both story and art. The main concept is this: Alabaster Graves drives a special hearse, and his purpose is to bury bodies that have been cursed, infected, or vampiricized. And it introduces one of the coolest villains: Fallow. Fallow is a cowboy-zombie-demon. 'Nuff said. I was pleasantly surprised by Driver for the Dead. I recommend spending the $4.99 on this. It's worth the price.

Bannen's Book of the Weeks:

Action Comics #891: The thing that makes Action Comics so good is that for once, a writer has tried to do something different with Superman. This time, he's been removed completely from the comic. It's now "Lex Luthor's Action Comics" and I couldn't be happier. It's not so much Luthor pining about killing Superman. It's more about Luthor's quest for the ultimate weapon -- the black lantern -- and the lengths he'll go to get it. This is far more entertaining than any Superman story, and seeing as how in 9 issues, Action Comics will reach #900, I think this is all part of some big plan. I hope the end result of this story is as entertaining as its beginnings. Thank You, Paul Cornell, for injecting life into this stale universe.

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