2 Dec 2007

Mini Reviews 2/12/2007

SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN #41
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Art: Joe Quesada & Danny Miki
Marvel $3.99


Matt C: We all know where this much-delayed storyline is going, and I guess everyone’s pretty much decided whether it’s a good or bad thing, so we're left watching how it plays out. I’ve seen the reasons why Quesada hates the Peter/Mary-Jane marriage so much - and I can see where he’s coming from to a point - but I can’t say I’m particularly happy that it’s going to be dissolved. Still, I’m willing to see how it plays out even if I’m worried that it could be a huge mistake in the long run.
This kind-of Christmas Carol issue is a decent read if you ignore the long-term questions – Straczynski gives us some fascinating variations of Parker sans powers and Quesada seems to have upped his game again; his rendition of Mephisto is beautifully demonic. Even so, at the end of the day, watching a marriage come apart - no matter how it happens - is never pleasant to see. 6/10

Matt T: This issue seemed like a long slow torture for any Spidey fan to me, as Pete and MJ are soon bound to be no more. Like pulling a splinter out I just want it to be over quickly, and for Brand New Day to hit the shelves. The art is pretty, and some of the What Ifs are intriguing, but they really need to rap this up and hit with a stunning next issue before I go into my back catalogue to remember when a Spidey book was actually fun. 5/10


DOCK WALLOPER #1
Writers: Ed Burns & Jimmy Palmiotti
Art: Siju Thomas
Virgin $2.99


Matt C: I’m not sure how a feel about Ed Burns using this comic as a rather pricey way of pitching a potential movie. On one level it’s good thing because it highlights how highly regarded the medium is compared to a decade ago, but then again it also suggests that comics aren’t as important an artform as movies if the endgame of this project is a motion picture.

Whatever the motivations behind Dock Walloper, it’s actually a pretty good comic book. I’m a sucker for gangster tales and while there are only hints that this will go beyond genre clich├ęs, the characterization, colourful dialogue and noirish art will have me returning for the second issue. 7/10


COUNTDOWN #22
Writer: Paul Dini & Tony Bedard
Art: Carlos Magno & Rodney Ramos
DC $2.99


Matt T: Trying to pin down Countdown can be tricky, but there are a few improvements this issue, not just confined to that marvellous opening shot of Mary Marvel. The Jimmy Olsen story gets a bit grittier, and far better for it, getting the New Gods story back on the murder-mystery trail. There’s a random single page of Mr Mxyzptlk, which serves vary little purpose whatsoever, and a shocking final page involving Trickster and Piper. Better, and certainly in the realms of decent for a Countdown book. 7/10


SUB-MARINER #6
Writers: Matt Cherniss & Peter Johnson
Art: Phil Briones & Scott Hanna
Marvel $2.99


Matt C:This has been a solid mini-series whose portrayal of Namor has been far more majestic and therefore effective than recent appearances of the character in other titles (e.g. The Illuminati and, er…. well, The Illuminati). While I’m not completely convinced by how Namor decides to resolve the situation created by his wayward son, the final page made me a very happy man. 7/10


BLUE BEETLE #21
Writer: Justin Peniston
Art: Andy Kuhn
DC $2.99


Matt T: As the team on this issue were both guests, I was fully expecting this to be a real throw away, telling a story vaguely in continuity but generally of no consequence. I was pleasantly surprised in this case, with an old school Spidey-esque tale of a hero finding his feet, having to deal with a big scary super-villain and some emotional travails as well. Granted it does feel a little contrived in places, and the art wasn’t the best, but I’d prefer to see some more down to earth, smaller stories rather than the big alien-conspiracy everything has been building towards of late. 7/10


BLACK PANTHER #32
Writer: Reginald Hudlin
Art: Francis Portella & Andrea DiVito
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: This certainly a very different book than it was at the beginning of Hudlin’s run, which I tried and failed to get on with. The worthiness has been replaced by light-hearted fun, no doubt due to the temporary addition of The Thing and the Human Torch. It’s nice to see Hudlin playing with various Kirby creations like King Solomon’s Frogs and the Gangster Skrulls but I’ve got I feeling I’ll be dropping this once it ceases to be a Fantastic Four auxiliary title. 7/10


MOON KNIGHT ANNUAL #1
Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Art: Jeffe Palo
Marvel $3.99


Matt T: Normally I detest annuals. Nothing more than a shameless attempt to see if a new writer/artist has the chops for a crack at their own run, but us fans have to pay an extra $1 for the privilege. In time-honoured tradition, this was complete crap. With a story that was either written before hand or for something else, the title character barely showed up and was hardly present when he did. The predictable main tale was annoying, and the art below par. Still, at least it was short. 3/10

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