13 Apr 2008

Mini Reviews 13/4/2008

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.


WOLVERINE #64
Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Ron Garney
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: Although not quite reaching the high notes of the previous issue the book is still in a far better shape than it has been for a long while, quite possibly even before the beginning of this current volume. Not sure what the long term plans are for the title following Millar’s 'Old Man Logan' story arc in a couple of issues time, but if Marvel are looking for a more permanent creative team I can’t think of anybody more suitable at the moment than Aaron and Garney. 8/10


BOOSTER GOLD #8
Writer: Geoff Johns & Steve Katz
Art: Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund
DC $2.99


Matt T: The Blue and Gold connection is still going strong in spite of the universe collapsing around them. Much like Countdown, only more fun and better written, the world is going to crap. The majority of the population are OMACs, with a few others, including Superman, remaining under the thrall of Max Lord. In spite of such obviously bleak times, there’s such a pleasantly breezy outlook it doesn’t get depressing. Johns and Katz bust out some cracking dialogue and there are layers of subplots to keep the book going for years. Great stuff . 9/10


FANTASTIC FOUR #556
Writer: Mark Millar
Art: Bryan Hitch & Andrew Currie
Marvel $2.99


Matt C: This isn’t improving. Whatever some may say to the contrary, Hitch’s work just isn’t up to his usual standard. The washed-out colour scheme may suit a more realism-based, “gritty” book, but this is Marvel’s First Family, we want bold primary colours that leap off the page! The art is just fairly good when you know deep down it should be astounding. As for the actual story……well, you get the feeling that Marvel’s made so much money off Millar’s work he’s pretty much allowed to do whatever the hell he wants, and current continuity be damned if it doesn’t fit in with the story he’s writing. How else do you explain the presence of the 40-strong group of heroes assembled by SHIELD to take out the rogue (and ludicrously powerful) robot, CAP, which includes the non-registered likes of Wolverine, Spider-Man and Hercules?! Coming from the guy who wrote Civil War, this is incredibly sloppy. I’m not sure even the prospect of Doom returning to the book in the next arc can keep me on board much longer. 4/10

Matt T: The wheels have come off, and the whole car has ground to a halt. The art really was awful in places, and it was something that, in the occasions that Millar gets self indulgent, I thought I could rely on. Apparently not, as in one panel Johnny Storm looks like he swallowed a bee! The pacing is seriously off in places, and with so much action happening off screen I’m left wondering why I need to see a control room filled with people telling me about something far more interesting happening elsewhere. Especially when half the Marvel U turns up, regardless of registered status, and gets their ass kicked without us seeing it. This might have passed muster in the Ultimate Universe, but not in the standard one, and not on one of the biggest books to boot. 4/10


DOKTOR SLEEPLESS #6
Writer: Warren Ellis
Art: Ivan Rodriguez
Avatar $3.99


Matt C: Sometimes I feel out of my depth with a Warren Ellis comic. The guy throws out so many ideas, so thick and fast, it’s often hard to keep up. Hard, but worth it. I have no idea where he’s headed with Doktor Sleepless but if the writing keeps at this high standard, you can guarantee I’m onboard all the way. 8/10


FX #2
Writer: Wayne Osborne
Art: John Byrne
IDW $3.99


Matt T: Once again, John Byrne doing a superhero comic will make me shell out the readies. The simple storyline of the first issue has disappeared for some more established longevity and a couple of new characters, but the core of a fun book is still there. One such character, a psychic high-schooler, was introduced and accepted into the fold a little too quickly for my liking, but overall if the central idea stays true this could be a winner. 8/10


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #556
Writer: Zeb Wells
Art: Chris Bachalo & Tim Townsend
Marvel $2.99


Matt T: Again, the cracks are appearing in ASM. The Mayan zombie statues plot, although better than the last arc, could easily have featured any other hero, so this doesn’t feel much like a Spidey story. The art is excellent, and very atmospheric, but I’m just not feeling it at the mo. Still, only another issue till the changeover. 6/10

Matt C: This is on its way to becoming my favourite arc of Brand New Day so far. Sure, there have been elements over the past three months’ worth of books that some may say are superior to what’s going on inside this current story, but what really makes it stand out for me is the synergy between the creative team, the feeling that the combination of each individuals work coming together is greater than the sum of its parts. Spidey should relocate to Alaska and Bachalo should get to draw all his adventures just so we can see our hero in a snowy backdrop every week! 8/10


CRIMINAL #2
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Sean Phillips
Marvel/Icon $3.50


Matt C: Criminal oozes with the confidence of two creators who have complete command of their subject matter. The protagonist of this story may be an utter scumbag but that doesn’t prevent you being riveted by his nihilistic escapades. Much as I love my weekly spandex fix, I completely agree with Brubaker’s comments in the back pages about the need to embrace diversity in the market. It’s essential for a healthy industry that books like Criminal exist, and the only way they can exist is if readers are willing to try something new. Listen folks: if you’ve tried Criminal and didn’t like it, fair enough, but if you haven’t picked up an issue you owe it to yourself and your hobby to give it a go. Yeah, so it may not feature capes and superpowers but it does contain some of the most compelling and provocative material currently on the stands. If it doesn’t work for you then at least you gave it a shot, but maybe, just maybe, you’ll find your new favourite comic. 9/10


SCREAMLAND #2
Writer: Harold Sipe
Art: Hector Casanova
Image $2.99


Matt T: Something a bit different from most comics out there, and a thoroughly refreshing breath of fresh air. Frankenstein’s history is delved into, and another addition to the film almost made, but there’s more going on under the surface than is immediately obvious here. Great characters, kooky art and a superb future. 9/10


DOCK WALLOPER #3
Writers: Ed Burns & Jimmy Palmiotti
Art: Siju Thomas
Virgin Comics $2.99


Matt C: The initial promise this series showed appears to have evaporated and any uniqueness has been pushed aside in favour genre tropes. Where there were hints in the first issue that certain elements would move the book into more (interesting) fantastical territory, these seem to have been lost in favour of a hackneyed story of a guy working his way up the ladder in a criminal empire. It just so happens that this guy has one massive hand! Two issues left, maybe there’ll be a surprise out of the leftfield, but as it stands, if Ed Burns wants to use this book as a blueprint for a proposed feature film, I’d imagine he’s looking at disappointment in the long run. 5/10


JENNA JAMESON’S SHADOWHUNTER #2
Writers: Jenna Jameson & Christina Z
Art: Mukesh Singh
Virgin $2.99


Matt T: Yes, I know I’m going to get stick for this book. By all means, let the Carry On-grade innuendoes roll on in. This book, once again, looks amazing. The art of Mukesh Singh will hopefully get him on some big - and more coherent - titles in the future, as trying to make sense of this one is bloody hard! It’s a mess, but there is a story under there somewhere. It’s just not one I’m willing to stick with. 7/10


NOVA #12
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Art: Paul Pelletier & Rick Magyar
Marvel $2.99


Matt C: The challenge here continues to be trying to convince people they need to be reading this book. I’ve had a couple of people tell me that my relentless championing of Nova has worked: they tried it, they liked it, and they came back for more. That’s good, but not good enough. Saying you’ve no interest in the character isn't going to cut it as an excuse anymore! Neither did I a couple of years ago, but look at me now: a fully-fledged fan who will go so far as to say this isn’t just one of the best comics Marvel is currently publishing, it’s on of the best books anyone is publishing, period. 9/10


HALLOWEEN: NIGHTDANCE #3
Writer: Stefan Hutchinson
Art: Tim Seeley & Elizabeth John
Devil’s Due $3.50


Matt T: There’s still a sense of the original Halloween movie inside this book, with the panels echoing the cinematography. No teenagers are spared, Michael Myers is left as an enigma and the majority of the story is left to silent, atmospheric artwork. A recommended read for any fan of the films. 9/10


COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS #3
Writer: Paul Dini w/ Sean McKeever
Art: Freddie Williams II
DC $2.99


Matt C: This title’s frequency, it’s connection with various other books, and it’s position as the lead-in series to this year’s major event, Final Crisis, has ensured Countdown has been at the very centre of the DC Universe for the past year. Just a shame it’s been, for the most part, a bit crap. Which possibly explains why my interest in the DCU as a whole (discounting the individual titles I enjoy) has diminished so much. Looking at recent sales charts, I wonder if I’m not alone. 4/10

Matt T: Oh dear. It’s all gone up the creek again. With a major foe (Darkseid) turning up and undoing twenty issues worth of good work on Mary Marvel, the final fight has been locked in. After accidentally knocking out his best mate, the fate of world is left to…Jimmy Olsen???? Really?? This has just gone too far. It’s gone into the realms of self-parody, aping all of those random Golden Age books where Jimmy got married to a gorilla, or eaten by cannibals. It makes no sense, and is just annoying. Still, only two more to go!!. 4/10


JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #14
Writers: Geoff Johns & Alex Ross
Art: Dale Eaglesham & Prentis Rollins
DC $2.99


Matt C: The characterizations are strong, the artwork is crisp and powerful, but there just isn’t enough momentum behind the story. Being mostly unfamiliar with the JSA before this volume started I have to say that Johns has done an excellent job of getting me up to speed with who’s who, but this arc really needs to shift up a gear. Readable, but not something that sits on the top of the pile anymore. 6/10

1 comment:

Justin Boatwright said...

Good point about the coloring in Fantastic Four. I think Hitch's art looks fine in and of itself but when comparing it to Wieringo's work on the title (which I will forever compare all future FF artist's to) it doesn't pop off the page and have that level of vibrancy that it should.

I'm also with you on a lot of Warren Ellis recent output going way over my head. I got the first few issues of Doktor Sleepless but from one issue to the next couldn't really remember what had happened or what the point was. Speaking of his Avatar books, what happened to the end of Black Summer? I think there are still two issues to go but I don't think they've even been solicited yet. I was actually liking that one.

Good stuff as always gentlemen.