27 Apr 2008

Mini Reviews 27/04/08

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: Paul Dini
Art: Tom Derenick & Wayne Daucher
DC $2.99

Matt C: Thank God that’s over! Admittedly Dini taking the scripting reigns on this issue rather than farming out to someone else results in some of the best dialogue of the series, but that’s small consolation for those of us who’ve (foolishly) spent a lot of time and money on this severely below par book. If the intended end result of this enterprise was to get the fanbase excited about the future of the DCU, it’s failed. Spectacularly. 5/10

Matt T: I was hoping for at least some kind of spectacular ending to the whole Countdown debacle, something to leave me with a slightly less bitter taste in my mouth. Instead, I got a quiet, dull and decidedly boring comic that once more pisses on a number of elements built up through the rest of the 51 issues, then ends with a slight fizzle. Praise the lord there’s no more, as DC seriously need to do a rethink. 2/10

Writer: Jim Starlin
Art: Jim Starlin & Art Thibert
DC $2.99

Matt C: Another second-rate series that for some unknown reason I decided to see through to the bitter end only to discover that the real conclusion to the story has already occurred in Countdown #2! Starlin has undoubtedly earned his stripes as a great sci-fi writer but that doesn’t excuse having Darkseid drone on for five excessively dull, exposition-heavy pages about how exquisitely evil he is. I’m assuming most of these characters are facing resurrection soon, otherwise it’s an inexcusable way to hammer the nail in the coffin on some of Kirby’s more eccentric creations. 4/10

DYNAMO 5 #12
Writer: Jay Faerber
Art: Mahmud A. Asrar & Ron Riley
Image $3.50

Matt T: I’m going to start getting boring, but I bloody love this book. It’s a damn good laugh, has plenty going on underneath the standard superheroics, and what looks like a solid plan for the future. This issue also rewards early readers, with a twist ending that’s been hinted at for the last ten or so issues. My only worry is if the team are moved off, or that the slightly B-list enemies aren’t bulked up by someone more interesting. 8/10

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Alex Maleev
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: Well slap me silly and call me Susan, I wasn’t expecting that!! Twelve issues in and finally a great issue of Mighty Avengers! Perhaps it’s telling that the Avengers barely feature, but this reminded me for the first time in ages what a great writer Bendis can be. Maybe it’s the pairing with the ever-excellent Maleev that fires up his creative mojo, but this is a gripping, atmospheric read that actually gets me quite excited about Secret Invasion. The slaphead look blatantly doesn’t suit Nick Fury and Maleev does render the grizzled old spy a little too youthfully, but other wise it’s thumbs up all round. 8/10

Matt T: A decent Mighty Avengers issue, that ironically doesn’t feature much of the Avengers. The noirish spy thriller is an excellent departure from the usual ‘fight something big for five issues’ theme that this comic has been going through. Hopefully this will bring about a new direction, rather than being just a single issue distraction. 8/10

Writer: Paul Cornell
Art: Mark Brooks & Jaime Mendoza
Marvel $2.99

Matt T: This series has been piecemeal and unpredictable, but this is the best issue by far. Vision and guest star Stature are actually moved along as characters, and origins revisited with a real impact on the future of the YA. The art strays a little too far into anime territory at times, but is otherwise perfectly acceptable. 7/10

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

Matt C: If it wasn’t for the fact that Olivier Coipel is such a damn fine artist I think I’d be completely gutted that Mark Djurdjevic isn’t on this title fulltime - some of his work in this issue is absolutely gobsmacking, particularly the exhilarating panels depicting Thor and Odin taking on the demonic Surtur. Stripping away the action elements, what you’re left with is two moving, expertly written reunions: the title character is reunited with his father, and Donald Blake pays a visit to his former sweetheart, Jane Foster. The settings couldn’t be more different, but Straczynski effectively draws out the common themes and emotions. If that wasn’t enough, we get to see Loki up to his old tricks again, along with some new insight into the roots of his malevolence. Outstanding. 9/10

Writer: Chris Claremont
Art: Robert Castro & Scott Hanna
Marvel $2.99

Matt T: I’m not quite sure what’s been happening with Exiles recently, but this is a poor issue and subsequently my last for the time being. With artwork that in places will only appeal to pre-pubescent boys and a story that skips and falls along with uneven pacing, it’s a real wonder what the intention was to drag the reader away from the usual Exiles fare. A disappointing issue from a book that used to be my favourite under-the-radar team book. 3/10

Writer: Joe Casey
Art: Tom Scioli
Image $2.99

Matt C: Hampered somewhat by delays - which have made this arc seem much longer than it probably has been - this book still frequently tickles the Kirby bone with its cosmic inventiveness and irreverent humour. Having said that, my enthusiasm for Godland has dipped recently (again, the delays have no doubt compounded that feeling) but I’ve been entertained enough by its outlandishness in the past to stick around for the foreseeable future. 6/10

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

Matt T: This feels like a standard FF book, purely for the reason that a whacking great deus ex machina turns up at the end. The art is quite attractive, and the story a relatively satisfying end to a decent arc, but this was certainly one of the weaker moments of the UFF’s run. An enjoyable but not stunning comic. 6/10

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Mike Choi
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: Following my initial reservations, I’ve now found myself warming to Mike Choi’s art – there are certain panels, certain facial expressions that capture something real, something truthful. Still, the hippy chic story still isn’t really doing it for me and my interest is mostly focused on the adventures of Logan, Kurt & Piotr in Russia. Readable, but could - and should - be a lot better. 6/10

Matt T: I’m going to do something utterly crazy for a reviewer, but here goes; admit I was wrong. Climb back onto your chairs people, it might never happen again, but Uncanny caught me off guard, and proved there might be more intelligence behind the 60’s throwback gimmick than I initially thought. The Wolverine/Colossus/Nightcrawler story is still far more interesting, but it’s a far cry from where I thought the book was going. 7/10

Writer: Matthew Sturges
Art: Phil Winslade
DC $2.99

Matt T: An intriguing team up of old and new members of the ’Pact makes for an entertaining issue, with the team facing up well against a genuine threat. The ye olde Shadowpact seem like a subtle nod to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and create a truly enjoyable dynamic. Good stuff. 8/10

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