24 Mar 2008

Mini Reviews 24/3/2008

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.


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #554
Writer: Bob Gale
Art: Phil Jimenez, Andy Lanning & Danny Miki
Marvel $2.99


Matt T: The cracks are starting to show in the multi-team initiative that Marvel put on Amazing, with more interesting plots being discarded due to time restraints. This month’s effort is definitely on the weaker side, with the Freak character looking like it would be more at home in Hellboy, not a mainstream Marvel book. Hopefully some stability will be introduced before the series starts to suffer. 6/10


JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #19
Writer: Alan Burnett
Art: Ed Benes, Sandra Hope & Ruy José
DC $2.99


Matt T: In the absence of a (decent) issue of the Ultimates, few comics do blockbuster battles better than the JLA. In spite of the slightly predictable nature of the story, it’s great to see old foes dragged back into current continuity and the newer characters being given time to shine. The art is impressive when needed, and subtle elsewhere. 8/10

Matt C: Being DC’s flagship title, this is the kind of comic I think I should get, and while I’ve enjoyed it in past incarnations it hasn’t really clicked since its most recent relaunch. The last few issues seem to have amounted to nothing more than a wild goose chase loosely linked to Salvation Run and it just felt boring, superfluous and an utter waste of what is arguably the most iconic superteam in comic book history. 4/10


DARKNESS VS EVA: DAUGHTER OF DRACULA #1
Writer: Leah Moore & John Reppion
Art: Edgar Salazar & Romulo Fajardo Jr
Image/Top Cow/
Dynamite Entertainment $3.50


Matt T: Yet another one of those team-ups for the hell of it, but as I’m a shameless Darkness fan I thought it’d be worth a punt. Fortunately the Darkness is the one good thing about it, as Eva sounds utterly ludicrous, speaking in a ‘ye olde’ dialect without any real depth to the character. The artwork is nice, but it’s not really one I’ll be getting again. 4/10


THOR #7
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Art: Marko Djurdjevic & Danny Miki
Marvel $2.99


Matt C: Thor recovers from unleashing his full power by indulging in the Odinsleep and, in the netherworld state between life and death, he comes face to face with his departed father. Usually I’d grumble that Copiel is on a break from art duties, but not this time thanks to Marko Djurdjevic's epically detailed panels. Majestic stuff. 8/10


FX #1
Writer: Wayne Osbourne
Art: John Byrne
IDW $3.99


Matt T: I’ll admit it, I’ve been waiting a while for this purely to see John Byrne doing a old-school superhero book. And what’s not to like about a character who can replicate a power by playing? Become an aeroplane by making a ‘neoooowwww’ noise and spreading arms out? Check! A gun by pointing fingers and shouting ‘budda budda budda’? Double check! A healthy dose of mindless fun that makes you want to go outside and play like a seven year old. 9/10


WAR IS HELL: THE FIRST FLIGHT OF THE PHANTOM EAGLE #1
Writer: Garth Ennis
Art: Howard Chaykin
Marvel/Max $3.99


Matt C: A war comic by Ennis is always something that’ll find its way onto my pile as the man is one of the few contemporary writers who can craft compelling stories in the genre. Wasn’t won over by this issue though – the tone was rather erratic, almost (unintentionally?) comical in places and the central character didn’t really assert his dominance in the story. Chaykin’s art fit the setting and time period very well, with some authentically rendered aerial battles and convincing “stiff-upper-lip” character designs, but I don’t think I’ll be back for more. 5/10


CAPTAIN AMERICA #36
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Butch Guice & Mike Perkins
Marvel $2.99


Matt T: So far, so good. The action is spot on and there’s plenty of intrigue and some thrilling set pieces. Granted the last page reveal is one of those that a few people will see coming, but if Brubaker has proven anything over the last 30 odd issues it’s that he knows how to pull the rug from under you once you think you’ve got him pegged. 9/10


BOHDA TE
Writer: Jamie Smart
Art: Jamie Smart
SLG Publishing $3.50


Matt C: More inspired lunacy from the mind of Jamie Smart, creator of Bear and Ubu Bubu. If you’re already familiar with Smart’s work then you’ll have an inkling of what to expect, but if you’ve not yet had the chance to sample it and the idea of a giant turd monster leaving a path of destruction in its wake and a weaponized monkey with Tourette’s shouting “Bum conkers!” appeals to your sensibilities then you’d be a fool to miss this. 8/10


SHADOWPACT #23
Writer: Matthew Sturges
Art: Phil Winslade & Mike Atiyeh
DC $2.99


Matt T: In equal measures Shadowpact can be complete madness and bloody entertaining, making it a frustrating read at times. This issue brings it back a touch, and there are no real clues as to what the conclusion of the Blue Devil sub-plot will be. It would be nice to have a more reliable rota though, as it can be hard to invest in a character if they’re out the next month. 7/10


IRON MAN #27
Writers: Daniel & Charles Knauf
Art: Carlo Pagulayan & Jeffrey Huet
Marvel $2.99


Matt C: I always get the feeling that this book is overlooked by a lot of readers who would probably love it if they gave it a try. Maybe it’s down to the title character’s general ubiquity in the Marvel Universe and his unflattering portrayal in other books that turns people off his own title? Listen up folks, this sharp mix of espionage, politics and superheroics may not quite be up on the same level as Captain America, but it’s not that far behind and certainly requires a lot more attention than it seems to be getting. 8/10


ANGEL: AFTER THE FALL #5
Writer: Joss Whedon & Brian Lynch
Art: Franco Urru
IDW $3.99


Matt T: Grrr. Still don’t like the art. Having pivotal scenes involving well-known characters that you can’t recognise is bloody annoying, and the lack of detail doesn’t hugely aid the action scenes. The dialogue still feels right though, and the twists in the story keep coming thick and fast. 7/10


COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS #6
Writer: Paul Din w/ Adam Beechen
Art: Mike Norton & Jimmy Palmiotti
DC $2.99


Matt C: Holy crap! Did I just enjoy reading an issue of Countdown?!? While my esteemed colleague, Matt T, has been far more supportive of this title than me, I’ve still be following it out of some irrational desire to see it through to its conclusion, even though it’s regularly the worst comic I read each week. This issue however, worked, probably due to the singular voice narrating the entire story rather than the usual situation where a bunch of C-list characters act with a total disregard for logic and never achieve anything of any real consequence. There was an actual sense of threat here, coupled with an air of futility as impending doom approached. It obviously won’t win any “Best Single Issue” awards, but after what we’ve been subjected to in recent weeks with this series, it stands out like a shining diamond in a pile of shit. 7/10

Matt T: As the book I usually rag on, I’m taking a different tag this week, and listing the stuff that Countdown did right in #6………………………………………… right, now that’s over and done with, onto what’s bad: the narration made no sense in the overall story being told, unless it’s being employed as a compression tool. The fact that the virus stroryline is either taking place on an alternate Earth or is completely out of continuity makes me care even less, and elements that were interesting have been discarded in favour of confusing sci-fi fare. I’m hoping the last five issues will be killer, but I’ve been saying that for so long I’m boring myself. 2/10

2 comments:

Andy H said...

Amazing Spider-Man: Well I've said it before and I'll say it again 'This is not one comic!' Come on Marvel you've got, what, four creative teams on Spidey? Well whatever you want to call it that's four different titles, so please stop taking us for mugs.

If you are already getting the creative teams to sit down and plan the year ahead they can write the different titles to fit within that plan and the readers can read the titles (creative teams) that appeal to them. It's not rocket science (or magic) it's common sense. So, while the whole Spidey three times a month may have been a good idea you may as well give us three titles a month and carry on as before. Hey, if it ain't broke....

On a different note, War is Hell #1. Loved it. Can't wait to see where it goes and learn more about Karl Kaufmann. Howard Chaykin has been a busy fella of late and his art really works on this title. Yay!

Matt C said...

Bob Gale's three issues this month have been very disappointing, especially coming off the back of Guggenhiem's highly enjoyable debut arc, and I can understand how it'd make pre-ordering difficult from a retailer perspective.

Be interesting to see the reception for Zeb Wells' introductory issues next month. After that, do you get every issue to complete your collection or just the ones your prefered creators are working on? Decisions, decisions!