10 Feb 2008

Mini Reviews 10/2/2008

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 weeks' releases, mixing the good with the not so good.


ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST #4
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Art: Tom Raney & Scott Hanna
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: As the body count rises it’s becoming clear that pretty much any character can buy the farm in this series and, - although cosmic characters do have a tendency to return from the dead - it does lend a real sense of urgency to the proceedings. I was initially unsure about the new incarnation of Warlock but I’ve found myself warming to him as the story develops. The cliffhanger reinforces the idea that only a handful of players in this galactic conflict are in it for altruistic reasons and I’ve got my fingers crossed that the series’ momentum can carry through to the conclusion. 8/10


UNCANNY X-MEN #495
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Mike Choi
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: An epilogue of sorts to Messiah Complex and an issue in which not a heck of a lot happens. I’ve never found the Scott Summers/Emma Frost relationship that exciting so an issue where the focus is almost entirely on them is bound to drag. Mike Choi’s a new name to me, and first impressions are that his art is pretty… perhaps a little too pretty for my tastes. Whether it’s down to him, or colourist Sonia Oback – or a combination of both – I’m not sure, but skin tones in particular have something akin to porcelain sheen to them which I didn’t really care for. Bar an interesting conversation between Cyclops and Iron Man it all felt like filler, but the teaser for the next issue’s story looks promising. 6/10

Matt T: I’m normally a fan of the quieter issues post big events, but this one was a little flat. The Frost/Summers union was explained a little better, and the conversation between Iron Man and Cyclops hints and bigger things for the future. Not so sure about the next story though, I’m normally immediately turned off by the kitschy time travel arcs. In general a filler which could have been interspersed by a little more action. 5/10


THE TWELVE #2
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Art: Chris Weston & Garry Leach
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: The twelve forgotten heroes begin to their period of adjustment to the modern age, some coping with the time-shift a lot better than others. It’s not yet clear whether the murderer will be one of the group or someone else entirely, but there are at least hints of potential candidates. Weston’s retroesque art suits the characters well and Straczynski gives what are essentially third-rate archetypes real depth. 8/10

Matt T: It's nice to see some real emotional emphasis being put on the characters, and each of them have something of an identity already. As there's no shadowy foe as yet the focus is on the group adjusting and it's being treated with real skill by JMS. Long may it continue. 9/10


MOON KNIGHT #15
Writer: Mike Benson
Art: Mark Texeira
Marvel $2.99

Matt T: I preferred Moon Knight when the character was an on-the-edge psycho, rather than a complete and total card-carrying nut job. The writer seems to be fully prepared to crank up the gory killings and push the character into mentalist territory. For me this loses some of the interest, as someone fighting with their inner demons is far more interesting than a bloke carving out people’s eyes with a corkscrew. Seriously. 6/10


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #549
Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Art: Salvador Larroca
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: Not bad at all. Both the art and writing segue nicely from the previous arc and this issue is generally a lot of fun. Not exactly sure what the score is with Jackpot but surprisingly I don’t hate the idea of MJ in a mask. Still got those niggling doubts in the back of my mind, but I’m staying on board for now. 7/10

Matt T: Well, it's bloody good fun! There are a fair few obvious wink-wink-nudges to the pre-runined continuity, but generally I'm liking it. And I'd like to know a bit more about Jackpot, as opposed to just wanting her to go away! So all in all, I've almost completely forgotten about BND. Almost. 7/10


CLANDESTINE #1
Writer: Alan Davis
Art: Alan Davis & Mark Farmer
Marvel $2.99

Matt T: Fortunately being unfamiliar with the Clan doesn’t matter much, as this first issue establishes the family well. I’m loving the various personalities on offer, and the fact that many of costumes haven’t been updated since the eighties, which is a true sign of an artist who loves the originals. The shadowy organisation in the background looks to provide an intriguing opponent, and the Clan coming together to face down a major foe should make for an exciting finale. 9/10


UBU BUBU #1
Writer: Jamie Smart
Art: Jamie Smart
SLG $3.50

Matt C: After Bear ended a while back (hopefully to return at some point) I’ve been eagerly awaiting more anarchic mayhem from the mind of Jamie Smart. Ubu Bubu doesn’t disappoint with its lunatic mishmash of evil daemons, creative swearing and cute kittens. Don’t expect much in the way of narrative logic, just sit back and enjoy the insane ride into a world of demented genius. 8/10


COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS #12
Writer: Paul Dini
Art: Jesus Saiz & Tom Derenick
DC $2.99

Matt T: First of all, Piper and (part of) Trickster are back! The scene is only brief, but it explains why there’s been no inclusion for the past few issues. I still don’t care about far too much of this book, and the appearance of Darkseid is a little too rushed in my opinion, and instead of building to a conclusion it seems one is being created hastily in the last ten issues. By all means prove me wrong DC, but I get the feeling the end of Countdown will be a mess. 4/10


THE DARKNESS #2
Writer: Phil Hester
Art: Michael Broussard
Top Cow $2.99

Matt T: As a dyed-in-the-wool Darkness fan I was a bit unsure about where this story was headed after the first issue, but #2 really establishes the main plot, a meaty backup and some clever twists and turns. The character, and his powers, have really evolved and taken on some clever traits, and the first few pages give an impression of his lonliness, in spite of the close-to-godlike powers. A super read and my new fave comic. 10/10

3 comments:

Matt C said...

I'm going to have to go back and look at the first Clandestine series - it's so long since I read it I can't remember a thing about it. I've got a feeling I may not even have all the issues - I know Davis left the book quite early on and it was taken up by another writer, only to be cancelled pretty swiftly after that. I will be looking in the bargain bins at Bristol Expo '08, as I'm sure will be many others (including you, Matt T!).

Matt T said...

Hell yes, the list is ever growing and the original run of Clan will be on it. There seemed to be a couple of unsucessful revivals, but this incarnation appears to be true to the originals.

Andy H said...

Of course, if you didn't already know, the original Davis run is coming out in a neat hard cover soon. I believe it contains his 8 issue run plus the 2-part Clandestine / X-Men crossover. I know I'll be treating myself to one of these and would recommend you should as well!