17 Dec 2007

Mini Reviews 16/12/07

None of us have time to review all the comics we get every week as there are just too damn many of them! Instead, we try and provide a snapshot of the week's releases, mixing the good with the not so good.

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Ivan Reis, Ethan Van Sciver, Oclair Albert, Julio Ferreira
DC $4.99

Matt C: The Sinestro Corps War reaches its explosive conclusion and for once a multi-part crossover doesn’t end in disappointment for the reader. Sure, it’s not perfect: there are too many characters being used and – perhaps understandably – the likes of Wonder Woman and Superman are relegated to non-speaking roles, but overall this a hell of a lot of fun! I defy anyone who picks up this book not to be knocked out by the incredible art in the first five pages – both Reis and Van Sciver really excel themselves throughout the entire issue. The epilogue to the story may suggest that DC will be chasing the zombie dollar in 2009 (yes, they are planning that far ahead!) but I’ve got confidence that Geoff Johns knows what he’s doing. 8/10

Writer: Richard Starkings
Art: Moritat
Image $2.99

Matt C: Several months later than originally scheduled this mini finally reaches the shelves. The question is: was it worth the wait? Well, before I get to the answer let me start by commenting on the cover and saying how much of an absolute pleasure it is to see my good friend Boo Cook’s art gracing an American comic book. But as good as the cover is, judging by the “coming soon” section inside, the best is yet to come. Now, before I get carried away with fawning praise, let’s back to that earlier question: was it worth the wait? A resounding yes from me. We’ve seen flashbacks of the Elephantmen in battle in the regular series, but here we’re thrown right into the middle of their march across a plague-ravaged Europe. It’s a bleak but compulsive read, with Moritat’s black & white art fitting the tone perfectly. 8/10

Matt T: I was awaiting this book with baited breath as the premise sounded amazing, and the art extremely eye-catching. There were some great moments, but it seemed a little slow paced for a three issue arc, especially if the hinted at character turn is going to take place. I’m going to stick with it though, as the next few issues look excellent. 8/10

Writer: Keith Champagne
Art: Scott McDaniel & Andy Owens
DC $3.99

Matt T: This issue can be applauded for one element, if nothing else, in that it perfectly ties in with the main Countdown title. Any story in which Batman turns out to be a Green Lantern is fine by me, and the battle with Monarch at least establishes a small weakness in a character that was starting to look invincible. Still, I can’t shake the feeling that this is another shameless tie-in with little consequence to the main story. 7/10

Writer: Gail Simone
Art: Terry & Rachel Dodson
DC $2.99

Matt C: In the past I’ve tried to force myself to like Wonder Woman because I felt I should. It never worked. Now, though, things are different: thanks to Gail Simone I’m enjoying this book simply because it’s very good. At last! I may get lost at times since I’m generally unfamiliar with character’s mythology (there’s an Odin in the DC universe too?!) but the strength of the writing keeps me from feeling like I’m being left out of an exclusive party. 8/10

Writer: Chris Claremont
Art: Juan Santacruz & Cafu
Marvel $2.99

Matt T: At the end of this entertaining Exiles/Excalibur I was left wondering who the heck was on what team, and what the long term effects would be. The rejiggle could have been covered in a few issues in either book, but the slight shake up to the status quo at least brought about a decent battle or two. 6/10

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Lenil Yu
Marvel $2.99

Matt T: Well, the final page of last issue was a complete bust. Sorry for all of those hoping for a mass team-up and beat down (myself included), but this book is far too similar to the last issue, in that as series of annoying narrative panels get in the way of a good fight. The art is again hit-and-miss, with detail frequently going walk about, but the dialogue is decent and Bendis clearly has a good handle on Spidey. Still, the Hood story should finish sooner rather than later. 6/10

Matt C: Okay, maybe now I’ll drop this book. I mean, if I’m that desperate to get rid of my money maybe I should just give it to charity. That would make me feel a lot better about myself than I do after reading New Avengers. Oh, where did all go wrong? Bendis is a good writer: he nails Ultimate Spider-Man every issue but when he tries to transplant the teen-speak “witticisms” across to this book he just gets it totally wrong. “I want a pony.”. Are you f***ing kidding me?! Yu’s art compounds the problems I have with the title. Half the time it’s difficult to figure exactly what’s going on: witness the disappearance of The Hood halfway through the issue – it’s not immediately obvious if he’s teleported out of there , or if Dr Strange has zapped him, or if he’s just disintegrated! And the fight scenes….! They don’t even look like fight scenes, they just look like a bunch of super-types jumping up and down in a room! If anyone sees me walking out of Paradox with another issue of New Avengers in my hand I give them full permission to kick my ass. Because, really, I’ve got to stop doing this to myself!! 2/10

Writer: Tom Pinchuk
Art: Kate Glasheen
Arhaia Studio Press $3.50

Matt C: I don’t know quite what to make of this. Fed up with her husband’s infidelities, 18 years ago Hera cast a spell on Zeus causing him to spend a single night getting jiggy with every inanimate object he came across. Now the offspring from his one night of uncontrollable rutting are all grown up and an embarrassed Zeus wants them wiped out. Only in comics, man! I really wanted to like this but beyond the initial off-the-wall premise the plotting is pretty slight and the hallucinatory art didn’t grab me. 5/10

Writer: Kevin Grevioux
Art: Paco Medina & Juan Vlasco
Marvel $2.99

Matt T: With one of the main draws of this book - in Night Thrasher’s identity - revealed, it’ll be interesting to see how it goes on from here. I’ve been enjoying catching up with depowered mutants and watching them annoy the authorities, but there’s been no real gathering dark clouds on the horizon. The art is great, and the characters well represented, but the next story needs to pick up the pace. 7/10

Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Art: Wellington Alves & Nelson Pereira
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: If you’re not picking this up then you’re missing one of the very best books Marvel are currently be putting out. I never had any previous attachment to the title character so it’s a shock to find myself praising his current series so highly, but what else can I do? It’s that good. Seriously, how can you not love a cosmic tale set amongst a community who reside in the severed head of a Celestial where the chief of security is a talking Russian dog named Cosmo? 8/10

Writer: Peter David
Art: Scot Eaton & John Dell
Marvel $2.99

Matt T: One of the big issues I have with these major crossovers is that the title characters in the individual books may not appear. There’s barely a few pages of Madrox and Layla, with most of story dedicated to the newly formed X-Force and Cable in a throwdown against Lady Deathstrike. This is far too piecemeal for my liking, and even though Eaton does an excellent job on the art there’s not enough movement on any of the stories. 5/10

Writers: Geoff Johns & Jeff Katz
Art: Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund
DC $2.99

Matt C: Booster winds up in the midst of the events depicted in Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke and seeing how that’s my favourite Batman story ever I was slightly nervous that Johns and Katz might be tempted by a bit of retconning. Fortunately they’re wise enough to know that some things need to be left well alone! I was impressed by the concept of solidified time and I like how our hero still holds out hope that he can go back and save Ted Kord’s life. We’ll have to wait and see how that pans out but for the moment this continues to be an entertaining series. 7/10

Writer: Paul Dini w/ Adam Beechen
Art: Howard Porter & Art Thibert
DC $2.99

Matt T: This felt like a real filler issue, as each of the stories seem to take a little down time before the final push for the end. Piper and Trickster are ticking along, Jimmy Olsen’s powers kick in once more, and I still couldn’t care less about Karate Kid and Una. The next few issues need to pick things up, and move along a few of the slower stories. 5/10

Writers: Peter Brandvold & Sergio Aragones
Art: John Severin
DC $2.99

Matt C: DC dusts off another of its Western heroes for this six issue mini-series and while the art from industry veteran John Severin is very impressive, overall this was just a little too formulaic for my liking. Certainly fans of the character should check it out but for everyone else there’s nothing here that you won’t have seen before. 6/10

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