2 Mar 2008

Mini Reviews 2/3/2008

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.

Writer: Mark Millar
Art: John Romita Jr. & Tom Palmer
Marvel/Icon $2.99

Matt C: I wasn’t sure what to expect from Kick-Ass as I hadn’t seen much in the way of plot details prior to its release. Romaita Jr.’s art is always a major draw, and while Millar’s flair for hyperbole and controversy doesn’t always equate to great work he has been responsible for some genuinely good reads in his time, so it’s always worth giving his new books a look. The concept of superheroes in the “real world” isn’t exactly original but Millar’s take on it shows a lot of potential. The pop-culture-referencing dialogue was a bit too much and felt very forced, but overall this was a pleasant surprise. Nice to see the name and address of a familiar comic shop in the back pages too! 7/10

Matt T: As ever with any hyped up book the results never quite live up to expectations. Still, this was a bloody good read and ignoring the Millar default pop-culture banter I really enjoyed it. Granted it’s a bit bleak in places, but there’s a humour and optimism to it that I really enjoyed. 8/10

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Butch Guice & Mike Perkins
Marvel $2.99

Matt T: God I love this comic. It’s got everything a fanboy would want, and the spine of a strong plot throughout. Not to mention great characters and intrigue that rewards long-term readers. What don’t I like? It doesn’t come out every day! 10/10

Writer: Garth Ennis
Art: Gary Erskine
Virgin $2.99

Matt T: I may be in a minority for sticking with this book which, in all honesty, has been all over the place recently, but this was a decent issue. The double-crossings come back into play and Dare finally looks like getting himself airborne. There are still some annoying bits to get over, but hopefully it’ll find a definite direction and stick to it. 6/10

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Art: Olivier Coipel
& Marl Morales
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: A superb issue, possibly my favourite yet. The interaction between the local townsfolk and the Asgardians is beautifully written, perfectly illustrating the sense of awe and wonder the Gods evoke. Straczynski’s making all the right moves here and he’s given the book a very distinctive feel that makes it stick out in the regular Marvel Universe. As for Copiel’s art? Utterly gobsmacking, expertly flitting between epic action sequences and smaller, human moments. An all-round winner. 9/10

Writer: James Kuhoric
Art: Jason Craig
Wildstorm $2.99

Matt T: It’s still, mad, bad and bloody as hell, and I love it! Sorry, that was my necessary pull-quote of the week, but I really do enjoy this book. It’s stupid, gruesome fun and the character voices are pretty consistent with the films. Jason doesn’t come across partcularly well without creepy music behind him, but Ash and Freddy are spot on. 9/10

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Sean Phillips
Marvel/Icon $3.50

Matt C: Back for a second volume, and I’ve got my fingers crossed tight, hoping this book survives – it’s too damn good to disappear from the shelves! This issue has a self-contained tale so it’s a great chance to get a taste of the kind of quality Brubaker and Phillips are pouring into the stories they’re telling. The inclusion of insightful back-up features should seal the deal – this is an excellent package and if you have any interest in the crime genre you need to be picking up Criminal! 8/10

Writer: Richard Starkings
Art: Moritat
Image $2.99

Matt T: After being a little confused by the first issue, and reading around the subject a little, I really enjoyed this. Although part of a larger universe, a far smaller story was told in superbly taught, thrilling fashion. 8/10

Writer: David Lapham
Art: Tony Harris
Marvel $3.99

Matt T: I tried to resist the urge to think that this book was unnecessary but, after two issues, I have to relent. It’s pointless. There’s little insight or even a new twist on the early years of Spidey and, shy of a few slightly different character designs, it’s all been done before. 4/10

Writers: Ales Ross & Jim Krueger
Art: Carlos Paul
Dynamite Entertainment $3.50

Matt T: I’m liking this book, maybe not as much as The Twelve, but I do like it. Introducing the characters gradually does allow them more space to breathe, and the Black Terror looks like an excellent addition to the group. Still, I get the feeling I should be on Wikipedia finding out who the hell most of these guys are. 8/10

Matt C: This book isn’t really clicking for me at the moment. For a start the characters aren’t particularly well fleshed out and it’s not always easy to discern their motivations, which makes it a little difficult to figure what’s going on. The art was okay but the washed-out colour scheme didn’t do it any favours, making everything look a little too humdrum. I really want to like this book because I like the idea of utilizing these Golden Age heroes, but the next issue will have to pull something special out of the hat to prevent me from dropping it. 5/10

Writer: Paul Dini w/ Adam Beechen
Art: Tom Derenick & Wayne Faucher
DC $2.99

Matt T: Please end. Just bloody end. I want to know what happens, but at the moment it’s like a very confusing car crash you can’t look away from. There are slight improvements, but only very, very slight, so I’m hoping the last few books will rescue something. 3/10

Writer: John Rogers
Art: Rafael Albuquerque
DC $2.99

Matt T: It’s extremely gratifying when you’re rewarded for having read a comic for a year or two, and whatever has been built towards exceeds your expectations. Blue Beetle is a steady, reliable book, but this issue turned it up a notch. A superb blockbuster ending with some real potential for an explosive conclusion. 9/10

Writer: Robert Kirkman
Art: Sean Phillips
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: They need to knock all this on the head now – the novelty factors worn off and it does feel like they’re flogging a dead horse. I know this series has always had its tongue slightly in its cheek but you do expect a little believability in the characters’ actions. I just didn’t swallow the way Giant Man et al didn’t exhibit any psychological effects following years of rampant cannibalism – surely that would mess with your head just a tad?! You would’ve thought so, but these guys snapped back into their old heroic selves way too easily once the hunger stopped. 4/10

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

Matt T: After a running start, it does feel a little like the Warriors are treading water. I like the majority of the characters, but after getting rid of the initial mystery of who Night Thrasher was it seems this book is missing something. 6/10

Writer: Christos Gage
Art: Ben Oliver &Jose Villarrubia
Marvel $2.99

Matt T: Ah, one shots. Or ‘money spinners’ as they’re otherwise known. As the standard T’bolts story is going so well I don’t see the point of this, although Swordsman makes a bit more sense. Still, it could have been handled a long time ago in the standard run. 5/10

Writer: Alexander Grecian
Art: Riley Rossmo
Image $2.99

Matt C: This comic gets progressively better and it’s a testament to the strength of the premise that the supporting cast can hold up the story themselves in the absence of the title character. Watching a fairy give birth is both a repellent and hilarious experience and it juxtaposed nicely with Elvis Chestnut’s and El Chupacabra beating the crap out of each other. The world Grecian and Rossmo have created in this book is a place I’m finding myself more and more eager to visit each month. 8/10

Writer: Mike Carey
Art: Tyler Kirkham & Sal Regla
Marvel $2.99

Matt T: The whole Cosmic Cube story line has potential, but I’m getting a little annoyed at the arrogance of Reed Richards. I know the characterisations are supposed to be more ‘realistic’ in the Ultimate universe, but he comes across as a real prick. I’m hoping there will be an about-face, otherwise I might stick with the 616 FF only. 6/10

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

Matt T: Along with Piper being royally shafted over in Countdown, the art in this book is one of my permanent gripes at the moment. The detail isn’t there and the action scenes aren’t that great. The story is still superb though, and it’s very faithful to the universe that came before it. 7/10

Writer: David Petersen
Art: David Petersen
Archaia Studios Press $3.50

Matt C: This is easily one of the best looking books out there at the moment and the Tolkienesque adventures of brave little rodents are always a joy to behold. The experience would no doubt be further improved if Archaia’s release schedule wasn’t so erratic and unreliable because then I might stand a better chance of remembering what happened in the last issue! 8/10

Writer: Mike Carey
Art: John Romita Jr, Klaus Janson, Scott Eaton & John Dell
Marvel $2.99

Matt T: A crazy visit inside Prof X’s mind is certainly nice to look at, but I find myself wondering what it takes for someone to die in the Marvel Universe? Honestly, the guy was shot in the head! Anyway, plenty of nice art and a good reveal at the end, with some extremely pleasant trips down memory lane. 7/10

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