20 Jan 2008

Mini Reviews 20/1/2008

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: Chris Claremont
Art: Tom Grummett & Scott Hanna
Marvel $2.99

Matt T: All of my favourite Exiles have either left or been pushed to the background, and those left over are either from Earth 616 or I have no interest in. This book needs to pick up a bit really, and the new team has to bed in - the original had the alternate-Earth characters down to a fine art and had some really interesting stories, where as this reboot seems a little….flat. 5/10

Writer: Warren Ellis
Art: Ben Templesmith
Image $1.99

Matt C: Been a while since we last saw an issue of Fell and although the self-contained stories are always a bonus for those of us with crappy memories (!) you don’t need great recall to remember what an outstanding series this is. Ellis is rightly recognised as one of the industry’s finest writers and at any given time he seems to have numerous titles on the go, but even taking all those books into consideration I wouldn’t hesitate to say this is the best comic he’s currently working on. Detective Richard Fell is a splendid creation: his overriding sense of what’s right and wrong constantly puts him at odd with the laws he’s employed to enforce, but you find yourself agreeing with his methods every time. Templesmith just seems to get better and better, his unique art skilfully capturing the oppressive urban hellhole that is Snowtown. An exceptional comic. 9/10

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

Matt C: It was only a matter of time before the time-hopping Booster would attempt to save best buddy Ted Kord’s life, but following on from the events of last issue I was caught off guard by the resolution to this story. But even though I didn’t see it coming I’ve got a feeling that there may not be any permanence to this situation and tragedy will soon rear it’s ugly head again. 8/10

Writer: Kevin Grevioux
Art: Jon Malin & Victor Olazaba
Marvel $2.99

Matt T: Getting the Night Thrasher ‘mystery’ out of the way may actually help this book before it becomes a novelty, one-note comic. The team isn’t completely black and white in terms of their morals, and even though most of the former mutants have lost many of their more interesting personality traits the team as a whole hasn’t lost its character. 7/10

Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Art: David Dumeer
Oni Press $3.50

Matt C: I seem to have missed the boat on many of the post-apocalyptic comic books doing the rounds at the moment, not really through choice, more to do with the fact that I might not have been paying full attention! I’m glad I picked up on this title though since #2 builds on the promise of the debut issue. The characters are really starting to shine and I like the fact that I have no idea where this book is going. Wherever it does head though, I’m definitely along for the ride. 8/10

FLASH #236
Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Freddie E. Williams II
DC $2.99

Matt C: Flash is another one of those characters that I regularly try to get into but usually drift away from pretty quickly. After the mess DC made when Bart Allen briefly assumed the mantle I thought Waid bringing back Wally West would be the turning point for me. It’s bog standard superhero fare though, competently written but not strong enough to prevent me deserting the title yet again. At the end of the day I’m not really a 100% behind the whole Flash-with-kids thing. I’ll probably give the Speedster’s adventures another shot at some point in the future but for now, I’m done. 5/10

Writer: Matthew Sturges
Art: Tom Derenick & Wayne Faucher
DC $2.99

Matt T: I’ve worked out the problem with this book, and when it hits its peaks and troughs: Shadowpact really doesn’t work when it’s trying to be overly serious. There needs to be some fun in a book featuring a talking Chimp amongst it’s roster and, although there are some amusing moments in this issue, they are few and far between. 6/10

Writer: Dan Slott
Art: Steve McNiven & Dexter Vines
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: Whaddya know? This was a great read. Okay, so it is very “old school”, but after a year of endless soul-searching while May lay dying I can’t help but enjoy this back-to-basics approach. I feel kind of ashamed saying that after getting all worked up and ready to drop this book, but I can’t deny that there’s real quality here, from Slott’s snappy dialogue to McNiven and Vines highly detailed panels. I could sit around, sticking to my guns, and ignore this series while I continue to bitch and moan about One More Day, but then I’d be missing out on some damn fine comics! 8/10

2 GUNS #5
Writer: Steven Grant
Art: Mat Santolouco
Boom! Studios $3.99

Matt C: The delays harmed the momentum somewhat but overall this has been an energetic piece of crime fiction, brought to life by some strong characterizations. I’ll probably have to go back and read the whole mini in one go to get a proper handle on the various twists and double-crosses, but while 2 Guns may win no points for originality it makes up for that with its charisma and intelligence. If there’s one problem I have with the issue it’s this: surely getting shot in the leg hurts quite a bit?! 7/10

Writer: Joss Whedon & Brian Lynch
Art: Franco Urru
IDW $3.99

Matt T: Ok, the art is improving. The detail is getting better, making the big reveal panels a little more decipherable. The stories have plenty of plot threads happening at once, somehow managing to juggle them all without losing focus, and if Joss Whedon is reliable for one thing it’s that killer last moment, and this issue has a hum-dinger. 7/10

Writer: Will Pfeifer
Art: David Lopez & Alvaro Lopez
DC $2.99

Matt C: I was a bit disappointed to see this title was going to get drawn into the whole Countdown/Salvation Run storyline as I think it always works better without much tampering from the rest of the DC Universe (bar the occasional, necessary, appearance of Batman). I’m pleased to find that Pfeifer makes it a thoroughly accessible read for those with little-to-no familiarity to the criminal-snatching shenanigans going on in other books. The final page is a winner but would have been far more effective if we hadn’t seen something similar in the last issue of Countdown. 8/10

Writer: Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente
Art: Khoi Pham & Paul Neary
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: This doesn’t quite scale the heights the previous issue managed but it’s a damn sight more entertaining than Leob’s Hulk #1. The art takes a bit of a knock this time – as much as I like Paul Neary, his inks seem too loose for Khoi Pham’s pencils, and I much preferred it last issue when Pham was handling the art chores alone. Not a major criticism though and I continue to be a fan of this witty, action-packed mix of Greek mythology, contemporary super-heroics and boy geniuses. 7/10

Writer: Paul Dini & Tony Bedard
Art: Pete Woods, Tom Derenick & Wayne Faucher
DC $2.99

Matt T: Where the hell are Piper and Trickster? The most interesting story by far has been unjustly absent for a few weeks and the whole book suffers for it. I don’t care about OMAC, the Amazons seem to affect nothing in the main storyline, and only the Challenger’s battle for survival is of real interest, but that’s saying something. Bring back Piper and Trickster. Please. 5/10

Writer: Craig Kyle & Chris Yost
Art: Humberto Ramos & Carlos Cuevas w/ Dave Meikis
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: The penultimate chapter of Messiah Complex ends up being the weakest. Sinister’s demise made little sense to me: I’m not clued into Rogue’s current condition – does she now have some sort of death-touch? – but that aside, I felt Mystique got the upper hand way too easily. The fight scenes were a bit of a confusing mess and although I do like Ramos’s work, it’s too dissimilar from the more realistic art on the other books to give a firm sense of continuity. This doesn’t bode particularly well for the conclusion but as the whole crossover has been rather up and down I’ll reserve judgement for now. 4/10


Tim Knight said...

FLASH #236: I've been a Flash fan from way back, but lost interest when Bart assumed the mantle, only coming back with the news that wally was resuming his rightful role. But you've nailed it on the head - this run has been very lacklustre so far and very mundane; the kids are just a nuisance gimmick that haven't engaged me yet. I'm willing to give it a bit longer - because it's Wally West - but it'd better pick up soon. The Flash is already slipping down my "reading order", I'd hate to see it fall off the bottom again so soon!

Anonymous said...

FLASH# 236: I couldn't agree more! I've been a Flash fan since the early eighties when Barry Allen was still the Scarlet Speedster and although I am glad Wally West is back I am very disappointed with the current run. Having the kids around just does not feel right, I can't get any feeling for them! Although I usually like what Mark Waid does I feel that this current run lacks any real momentum or direction. I will carry on getting it in the hope that it improves sooner rather than later!