23 Dec 2007

Mini Reviews 23/12/07

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.


EXILES #100
Writer: Chris Claremont
Art: Tom Grummett & Scott Hanna
Marvel $3.99

Matt T: As relatively entertaining as the Exiles/Excalibur crossover was, it’s far better to see the team back together in more familiar surroundings. The ‘Giant Size’ title is more than a touch misleading, as the second half of the book is simply a reprint of Exiles #1, but hopefully the new incarnation will get back to the dimension-hopping Quantum Leap-style elements that made the comic so enjoyable. 6/10


ANGEL: AFTER THE FALL #2
Writer: Brian Lynch
Art: Franco Urru
Marvel $3.99

Matt T: Not for a long time have I read a book where the art and writing are so unbalanced. The script and dialogue are excellent, but the art is consistently below par. The lack of detail undermines the story on a number of occasions, which spoils a number of the twists. I won’t drop it till the end of this arc, but a change of personnel in the art department is needed sooner rather than later. 7/10


SHE-HULK #24
Writer: Peter David
Art: Shawn Moll & Victor Olazaba
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: I really love the character but even I have to admit that I’m struggling to find reasons to stick with this title. David’s first two issues didn’t really hit the right notes for me so I was half expecting this to be my last copy of She-Hulk - fortunately he managed to rustle up just enough interesting character beats this time to keep me onboard, for now at least. 6/10


COUNTDOWN #19
Writer: Paul Dini w/ Tony Bedard
Art: Jesus Saiz & Rodney Ramos
DC $2.99

Matt C: A better issue, which - considering the quality of the last few instalments - isn’t saying much, but at least two of the three storylines given the spotlight here were entertaining. Olsen’s adventures – which started out with such promise – are getting a bit tiresome, but the Harley & Holly tale has become significantly more engaging in the last few weeks. As for the Piper and the Trickster…. I have absolutely no idea where their story is going, or whether it even has anything to do with the upcoming Final Crisis at all, but it remains the most readable aspect of the book even though it’s becoming increasingly bizarre. 6/10

Matt T: Too many of the stories are dragging along for my liking, and Jimmy Olsen’s bit is slowing to a crawl. Thank god Karate Kid didn’t turn up otherwise I might seriously have to consider ignoring the last 18 issues. With Piper and Trickster ticking along there might be just enough to keep me buying, but the Challengers will have to do something interesting soon. 6/10


INCREDIBLE HULK #112
Writers: Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente
Art: Khoi Pham
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: AKA The Incredible Herc, AKA another book where the title character doesn’t appear. But, ironically, even though the Green Goliath is nowhere to be seen I thought this was the best issue of Incredible Hulk for a long time. Pak & Van Lente have created a highly incongruous but wholly delightful double act by placing Hercules with super-genius Amadeus Cho – their repartee provides plenty of laughs and adding Ares to the mix is a brilliant move. I know next to nothing about artist Khoi Pham but based on the way he beautifully renders both the present day and Ancient Greece, he’s definitely someone to keep an eye on in the future.

Obviously the title character will return at some point in the not too distant future, but if the writers can keep this standard up I’ve got my fingers crossed that Herc and Amadeus get their own book. 9/10


THE DARKNESS #1
Writer: Phil Hester
Art: Michael Broussard & Ryan Winn
Top Cow $2.99

Matt T: I’m always worried when a new team hits something as well entrenched within it’s own universe as The Darkness, as they need to ‘get’ the characters pretty sharpish and satisfy fans of the old team. Phil Hester hits all the right notes, making Jackie Estacado his usually anti-heroic self. The art is suitably Silvestri-like without being a parody, and the story seems to be heading in the right direction. Good work all round. 9/10


THE MIGHTY AVENGERS #6
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Frank Cho
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: While my dissatisfaction with New Avengers abounds I’m not feeling anywhere near as negative about the (much-delayed) Mighty Avengers. Yet. This simply feels a lot more like an Avengers book, and Cho seems much more adept than Yu at making battle scenes flow. I’d recommend this a lot more highly if Bendis didn’t insist on keeping those damned thought bubbles interrupting the dialogue. It was a neat idea for maybe one or two issues, but now it just grates. I fully expect him to do something that’ll piss me right off sooner or later, but for now this book’s just about holding my attention. 6/10

Matt T: The thought bubbles really are starting to grate, but at least the Ultron story - which felt like it should have ended 10 issues ago - came to an end. Now Mighty and New seem to be somewhat in sync maybe they can get back to make one good Avengers book rather than two crap ones. 5/10


SHADOWPACT #20
Writer: Matthew Sturges
Art: Kieron Dwyer
DC $2.99

Matt T: With the B plot taking centre stage this week I was a little hesitant, but things certainly picked up and seem to be headed toward a decent looking story. There’s plenty going on, and a more fantasy-tinged tale rather than the recent gory detective story will be just what the book needs. 7/10


THE ORDER #6
Writer: Matt Fraction
Art: Bary Kitson, Mark Morales & Scott Koblish
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: Six issues in and I feel pretty confident in saying that this is the best team book I’m currently reading. What makes it stand out from the pack is the strength and depth of characterization on display. Fraction has created a fascinating group of emotionally dysfunctional individuals - most of whom should probably never have been given superpowers - and he weaves into his stories some smart observations on celebrity culture and media manipulation along with the requisite action. Great stuff. 8/10


WORLD WAR HULK AFTERSMASH: WARBOUND #1
Writer: Greg Pak
Art: Leonard Kirk, Rafa Sandoval & Roger Bonet
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: I’ve warmed to these characters over the last year or so, and I’m glad to see they haven’t been cast aside now World War Hulk is over. While it became very quickly obvious who the villain of the piece would turn out to be, there’s enough intriguing elements to suggest this mini will be worth seeing through to its conclusion. 7/10

1 comment:

Rob Nott said...

For what it’s worth I love the use of thought balloons in Mighty Avengers to counterpoint the dialogue. It’s one of the best ideas I’ve come across in comics for a long time and hope it remains a permanent feature of the title. I wouldn’t want it to be taken up in every Marvel title, but at present it gives Mighty Avengers a distinct ‘voice’. Generally speaking, quirky dialogue interests me more than plot does. Horses for courses and all that.