Saturday, August 30, 2008

Avengers Review

The strength of Secret Invasion has been in it's tie-ins and those have been mostly miss for me. I like having all the fill ins which is kind of cool but lately they have been focusing on events and characters that I don't care about. I figure that I'd review both of them since they are tie-ins and it would be a waste of time to treat them separately.

New Avengers #44: Between the two of them this was the better of the tie ins. I really liked this one since it does explain a hell of a lot more than any of the previous tie ins. It also answers the fundamental question of how the Skrulls managed to stay hidden and undetectable. Outside the last pages that explained this I really don't think this issue is worth a look. The worst part about the tie ins is the lack of plot advancement in Secret Invasion. Another thing that the tie ins fail to accomplish to is to get you to understand the Skrulls point of view. Going off all the interviews and the information that Marvel has put out this event should be a bit more complex than they made it. The experiment was really cool and I liked how they ran simulations to try to use Reed Richards own intelligence to create a great war plan but that puts a lot of plotholes about the extent of the Skrull intelligence. If they can cure Earth of all its problem then why in the blue hell do they need Richards to do their fucking job? This tie-in would have benefited if it had came out a bit earlier. The art is solid and at times really shines during the interrogation scene.

Art: BALLIN
OVERALL: SKIM IT









Mighty Avengers #17: This issue has a fundamental flaw of being of no relevance to anything. To sum it up, a Skrull who is currently stepping in for Pymn realizes that the plan won't work and attempts to explain that to his superior Skrull buddy who blows him off and tries to kill him without ever listenign to what he has to say or getting into any type of dialog. It doesn't make sense that this issue relates to invasion at all. To state again if the Skrulls did not manipulate events to there advantage then there is no relevancy of showing their actions during major events. This issue pretty much was terrible, there isn't anything of value here so don't bother.





Art: HIT AND QUIT IT
OVERALL: FORGET IT

Wolverine #68 Review

Writer: Mark Millar
Art: Steve McNiven

If you can buy into the world Millar is selling, then this story is very good. If you can't, it is still damn entertaining. Logan is still out there, doing his thing (which is not doing much), but Hawkeye was the real star of this issue. Peter Parker's kid is a real badass, as he brutally murders some villains. I just loved how brutal this issue was. The Kingpin scene was just excellent, as he let Daredevil and Punisher get slaughtered in a gladiatior-like arena. This scene fits the theme of this chaotic time, as the citizens are bloodthirsty. There is really no good in this world, and Millar does an excellent job conveying that. I do have a problem with how pathetic Logan is in this issue. I really liked the idea in issue 1, but there is really no progression as we are in issue 3. He won't fight, I get it. We are led to believe Spider-Bitch (don't like the name) is the leader of some resistance at first, which was cool. You can understand why Hawkeye would go after her. The way he stormed in and slaughtered people was just awesome. But what was really awesome was how Spider-Bitch killed Kingpin, and then Hawkeye, and took over the territory. The world Millar has created is really compelling, and you can totally see why someone would like to rise to the ranks. McNiven is just excellent. This is easily the best looking comic this week, as the level of detail is spectacular (especially that shot of Logan on the last page). I look forward to seeing Logan unleash in the next issue, as I would assume that is the character climax.

Art: Phenom
Story: GET IT

Friday, August 29, 2008

Daredevil #110 Review

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Michael Lark

I have enjoyed the current arc, but this was clearly the weakest issue of the bunch. Of course, since no one ever dies in comics, Becky decides to live after being shot. Yeah. Didn't see that coming. I really don't have a problem with the characters in this story, it was just that it felt too rushed. There needs to be a slightly drawn out conclusion to story arcs, and this one got resolved in the final 6 pages. Basically what happened was that Matt found a lackey, and beat him into submission until he spoke. He said that Donovan didn't decapitate the kids. Big shock there. Seriously. I hope you can sense my sarcasm. Bottom line: Donovan saw his son, and he decided to tell the truth. Ok? The booking was a little weak here, and I was definitely looking for more. I felt the first 2 chapters were very strong, and the last couple were just ok. Overall, I was fine with it. I am still a huge Brubaker fan, and loves the way he writes Matt. I felt that Michael Lark really captures the essense of Daredevil's hood. It really does feel gritty. I love the technical aspects of this story, but I felt that the resolution could have been better. It was told as well as it could have been told for that parameter, but I felt it could have been a blowaway story when I read it. This one will get lost in the shuffle.

BALLIN'
SKIM IT

Thursday, August 28, 2008

DC Universe: Last Will and Testament Review

Conversion
Written by Brad Meltzer
Art and covers by Adam Kubert and John Dell


No matter how dark Meltzer's storylines are there is always a silver lining to them and this comic is no exception. The way he writes is very subtle and quiet, I imagine if it was a movie there will be no sound. I enjoyed how much of this was character driven. Geo-Force really worked as the central character of this issue. The premise was really interesting since in comics the big events happen and things the heroes get caught up in the flow and at the end of the day they reflect on what happened, but here it is different. The sky breaks one day, Clark says the end of the world is coming, so what do you do now? There isn't anything to punch, no giant group of villains asking for it, and there isn't thing for you to do. Geo-Force's storyline is compelling particularly his relationship with Deathstroke. It is a tough decision to decide to kill someone right before the rapture starts since pretty much everyone else is going to be dead along with you. One fundamental problem that some readers may have is where this issue fits in relation to Final Crisis and honestly it d
oesn't at all, doesn't fit into continuity in the slightest. I don't mind that since this issue was so well written. Seeing what the various characters do right before the world ends. There are a lot of little things that shine in this issue. You notice the change of Robin's demeanor when Nightwing enters into the picture. There is also Starfire who misinterpreted the situation pretty bad. The ending though was special because it really shows the hero mentality. A lot of things went into it making really good. The sky is pitch black and Hal Jordan glowing green flying. The dialogue is also nice as he says it doesn't matter what happens that they will do this again because they are meant to. It would have been easy to end on the scene with Geo-Force and Deathstroke but there has to be some hope and the Hal scene captures that hope. The art is solid nothing spectacular here and is disappointing since I imagined it would be like Kubert's Batman.

Art: HIT IT AND QUIT IT

OVERALL: OWN IT

Next up some New and Mighty Avengers

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1 Review [In 4-D]

"Superman Beyond"
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy

I didn't get it. That is the review there. It starts off simply enough with a flashforward then following up on the Final Crisis storyline in which Superman gets recruited by the Monitor lady to help save the universe from something. I enjoyed Morrison's vision of the Multiverse as a living entity and all part of the body. That was a very neat twisit. One minor thing is if Morrison continues to use German regulary he should have translations somewhere. I believe he is saying something important but I won't ever know. The issue makes sense at the end as you learn that the thing that attacked them is the Dark Monitor and Superman has to go toe to toe with it. This does deliever on what Morrison promised of expanding the scope of Final Crisis to include the Multiverse because Final Crisis has been contained within New Earth. The vampire Monitor moment threw me off and I felt bad for Nazi Superman whose cousin died over in the original Final Crisis and the he gets vamped so the lady monitor can do something. It still seems fuzzy to me for some reason even though I understood everything that happened within the issue to a certain extent. The book of infinity for example was a very difficult reading to understand what exactly it was saying. Superman saying Great Kyrpton every couple of words seemed was really campy and everytime he said that I couldn't help buy groan. I trust Morrison though so I believe he is capable of making this mini series great and the 3-D was pretty balling. Morrison has been hyping this up for a while now and states that this will bring to the Multiverse into the fold. I liked the use of Captain Marvel and the throwback to the Limbo that all superheroes go to when creators don't have stories for them. The last page was pretty awesome with Ultraman going fucking crazy holding the book and the Dark Monitor getting ready to waste everything.

Art: BALLIN (The 3-D was awesome but it felt like a cheap gimmick)
Story: GET IT

Next review is Meltzer's Last Will and Testment....

Quick Hits

JBL Award Winner- Lil Batman

Moon Knight #21- Batman R.I.P. ripoff, setup issue,
SKIM IT

Guardians of the Galaxy #4- Looks awesome, stories awesome, special comic,
OWN IT

X-Factor: Layla Miller #1- Took to long to come out, generic 1985 future, Messiah Complex needs resolution,
SKIM IT



Amazing Spider-man #568- Nothing original here, Eddie Brock's story ended during back in black, no need to keep him as Venom, New Ways to Die= Generic 1970 Spider-man, Anti-Venom=Carnage,
FUCK IT

Captain America #41- Flipping amazing,
OWN IT

Superman/Batman #51- Hypes true, funny story, Goshdarn Batman,
OWN IT

Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #1- Didn't get into it, Art's nice,
SKIM IT

Friday, August 15, 2008

Action Comics #868 Review

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Gary Frank

Ok so I haven't done a review in like 2 or 3 weeks. Anyways, I love Geoff Johns and i absolutely love this Brainiac arc. It feels like such a big deal, and Johns (again) does a great job with his characters. Let me comment on that first. He writes a very good Superman, but he writes great supporting characters, particularly Ma and Pa Kent. You really feel their love for their son, and it really comes through. The scenes at the Daily Planet were great too with the various characters. Johns said he wants to reintroduce Supergirl to an extent, and I feel like he is starting to come through on that end. Johns, who is also a master plotter, puts in peices of the issue that is for future use. When Clark saw Kandor, that was a direct reference to his future Kandor story, which should be great as well. Brainiac comes off as a huge threat. He is a smart villain who will manipulate Superman to add to his knowledge. Superman gets an out for losing to Brainiac because he doesn't have his sun to give him his power, so he retains some heat there. I can't wait until the next issue, because the frightening Brainiac ship is coming for Earth. A part I loved, and credit goes to Gary Frank for this, is the look on Supergirl's face when she saw Brainiac. It is the same look in the last issue, when she said that Brainiac destroyed her home. Those little things make this issue near perfect for me, as well as this story.

OWN IT

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Batman #679 Review

"Miracle on Crime Alley"
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Tony Daniel and Sandu Florea


Batman has had one of the most amazing years in history, it has been so good that the Chinese have elected to insert him into the Chinese Calendar retroactively [year of the Batman]. It has been a while since the last issue came out but that doesn't hurt this issue. Sometimes well all the time, delays will kill any momentum a storyline has but this doesn't happen here. Instead we are treated to a fantastic issue that gets you extremely excited for the finale of this grand tale. Morrison has a way to create anticipation like no other writer can. He also manages to pull some of the most controversial things the Batman mythos will ever see. If this Thomas Wayne things then no one can ever say anything about DC not having balls. The Batman of Zur-En-Arrh is quite compelling as you learn the twist that he isn't a result of the Black Glove, this is Bruce's solution to a psycological attack. In other words the Black Glove failed to anticipate the degree to which Bruce prepared for such an attack. Even more omnious was a certain phrase the Zur-En-Arrh Batman said, this is what happens when you take Bruce Wayne out of the equation. This Batman is him in his purest form and you begin to understand the need for Bruce Wayne. At this point he is a loose canon cop on the edge and trutfully, I think he is going to break his one rule, he has to. The scene at Arkham was an amazing choice for the climax of the story. Morrison has been breaking down Batman and now we are getting ready to start the end game. Arkham has always had a place in the Batman/Joker dynamic and it is the logical ending point of the story. I do have some minor concerns which happens to be the Talia and Damien storyline. Morrison can get away with completely ignoring it as he is that talented of a writer and I just remembered that little bit of information when I told Sports God that Black Glove is Ra's Al Guhl [mark that down]. He is my guess for the true villain behind it all. After reading the scene with Gordon, I am legitmatiely worried about his safety. If you look at the track record, Morrison's run started with Gordon being gased by the Joker thrown off the building, promptly after that Gordon was shot by Lane, and now he is trapped in a rigged Wayne Manor. I hope that Gordon manages to come through but I got a feeling that Gordon's run is up. The Joker though, Morrison's Joker is just a beast. He is staright up up to no good and you know it. Tony Daniels has a panel where you see his eyes and you only see his eyes and you can see the crazy. This was an amazing issue and I just love what Morrison is doing, Batman on a budget, classy.

Art: PHENOM
Overall: OWN IT

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Detective Comics #847 Review

"The Last Good Day"
Written by: Paul Dini
Art by: Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs

I have always enjoyed Detective Comics. The opening scene was extremely entertaining, and the page layout with the blood gushing out of the fake Batman to serve as the river for the flashback was also really creative and inspired. That was a very good artistic choice and I really love the film noir look of this comic. Nguyen also manages to draw the creepiest looking mom, and Dini also manages to be somewhat convincing in making Hush a respectable villain. Seeing Tommy's childhood as it is manages to somewhat convince you that he could turn out to be such a villain. It is hard to believe Bruce caused this and Hush's logic seems a bit of a reach but Dini has to somehow add a backstory to make him a compelling villain. Having Crane around also leaves the possibility that Crane did something to make Hush act the way he is. Having him present in Tommy's past is a nice addition. I found the scene between Zatanna and Catwoman pretty funny. I like the idea of heroes going back their roots which include illegal card sharking to keep from getting rusty. I'm very curious to what Hush has planned with the boy. He seems to be a focal point so I'm guessing it is something big going on there. The only compliant I have is that I want to see some Batman perspective. I want to see things start getting intense really soon and Dini will probably start kicking things off next issue. This is a solid story and it is worth a mention for people who saw the Dark Knight and want to read some Batman. I highly recommend Dini's Detective Comics.

Art: BALLIN
Overall: GET IT


Final Crisis #3 Review

Written by: Grant Morrison
Art by: J.G. Jones

I find that a fundamental problem with reviewing Final Crisis is that there are unknown unknowns as well known unknowns. Morrison's writing style requires the reader to read the entire story to make a proper judgment thus no single issue can make or break as other speculate. It is all part of the larger picture because Morrison keeps things pretty close to the vest. That being said, I did not enjoy this issue as much as I enjoyed the first two. Morrison succeeded in crafting a lot of tension and anticipation for the moment when the Anti-Life equation is released upon the world and it seems anti-climatic as it was only the last couple of pages within the issue. The first two issues did a great job of providing a sense that whatever bad thing happened to any of the heroes, the Anti-Life equation was still to come. This issue almost devalues all that sense of anticipation and foreboding as the execution of the equation seems anti-climatic [a is that it kind of moment]. I understand that you don't need to show the villains prepping and painstakingly/continually point out to the reader that is how we do it [or show the process of the Skrulls replacing everybody including minor characters that people may or not care about even though I am perfectly willing to accept both Electra and Pyme as Skrulls without any backstory] and I also understand that the villain releasing the equation would not strike hard and fast because it is the most effective way. I can accept all logistical issues presented by such a method of execution [such as the fact the E-mail most likely came with an audio attachment that automatically downloaded onto your computer and opened up your default media player and played itself because such an evil plan requires such things as that. I can come to terms with the fact that the equation will somehow take over all of Earth even though it should primarily only affect the US/Europe while such countries like the Democratic Republic of the Kongo is fine because let's face it, when you look at the world map in the Halo 3 matchmaking lobby there are no dots in Africa but everyone in Tasmania has an X-Box 360 with Halo]. All those logistical problems are summed up by the simple fact a month will elapse since the equation has been unleashed and I assume that major networks will broadcast it because they are now controlled by Darkseid so that is no longer an issue. I sense that Morrison is trying to go for subtlety here because you don't need to see every character falling victim to the equation but it didn't stick. That moment the equation is unleashed should be the moment you see the world stop. This is where you get a different kind of broken hero where they no longer can inspire people to be their best and every symbol of hope and justice dies along with free will. Those are the implications of the release of this equation, this is what it means "the day evil wins." We don't see that. I believe this to be a very important theme and this scene at the end should be that but it isn't. Aside from that point, it is all good to demand the reader to think and not spell everything out but German? That is like challenging a handicap person to twister, just plain mean. I enjoyed seeing the old Legion of Doom headquarters which takes me back to the Super Friends days. Another key point is the Mary Marvel heel turn and based on what I know from Countdown, an educated guess is that Darkseid offered her a chance to be powerful again after waking up from her coma and being weak for a bit. I imagine there is a logical explanation there so it doesn't bug me too much. Morrison is a master storyteller and no matter what happens in the issue there is a thought process behind it. In my experience he just doesn't do stuff on a whim and there is something we don't know going on. I am really enjoying Final Crisis and after venting I think four will be a monster issue that will blow the lid off everything. J.G. Jones art is amazing and while it may not look as good as issue one did that just means it's still amazing.

Art: BALLIN
Overall: OWN IT

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Green Lantern #33 Review

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Ivan Reis

Geoff Johns is probably my favorite writer. Although I got some heat last time for giving the last GL a top score, I think that this Secret Origins arc has been worthwhile. It is clear that Johns is building towards his Blackest Night event next year, and is doing so methodically. He has been slowly putting in the seeds for this event throughout this arc, all the way from Abin Sur's delusions to Atrocius. Now for this issue, Johns continues to impress with how he handles characters. He really gets into his characters and understands them and it shows in his writing. His handling of Hal Jordan and (especially) Sinestro is damn impressive. Johns throws in new mysteries such as who is William Hand, and also spends time to fill in Hector Hammond's backstory. For all of us who has read all 33 issues of Johns' run, it is really nice to see the consistency and development in these characters. Ivan Reis provides some gorgeous art.

OWN IT