3 Aug 2008

Mini Reviews 3/8/2008

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.

THOR #10
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Art: Olivier Coipel, Mark Morales, Allen Martinez & Victor Olazaba
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: This book may be experiencing some delays, and the plot doesn’t exactly move at a brisk pace, but I’m not bothered when the character work is of such a high standard. We all know what Loki’s up to, but her guile and shrewdness ensures neither Thor or Balder have any justifiable reason (beyond gut instinct) to openly distrust her. Coipel’s art continues to astonish, his use of space in certain panels speaking volumes of the distance Loki has created between the two old friends. Outstanding, as always. 9/10

Writer: Will Pfeifer
Art: David Lopez & Alvaro Lopez
DC $2.99

Matt C: Best cover of the week, without a doubt! One more issue to go for this great little book, and while I’m gutted I won’t get my monthly fix of Selina’s adventures any more (until the inevitable relaunch, whenever that may be) I hope the talent involved will flourish elsewhere. Pfeifer’s insightful writing kept me involved since he took the reigns from Ed Brubaker, and David Lopez’s strong, expressive linework has brought the characters wonderfully to life. 8/10

Writer: Mark Millar
Art: Steve McNiven & Dexter Vines
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: A lot less heavy on the Unforgiven referencing, but still a riveting look into a possible future for the ol’ canucklehead. Millar has wisely kept the leash on Logan so far which helps ratchet up the tension as we await the unavoidable moment when all hell breaks loose. Appearances from familiar faces (or at least, familiar names!) add to the fun, and I’m inclined to think this is the best art I’ve seen from McNiven so far. 8/10

Writer: Matthew Sturges
Art: Rafael Albuquerque
DC $2.99

Matt T: I’m not sure if the writer of Blue Beetle (whose name is Sturges and not Rogers as the cover indicates!) is trying to hit every Mexican cliché he can think of here, but it certainly comes across like that. In an issue that starts with illegal immigrants and ends with a wrestling match, there’s actually a decent story fighting to get out. There’s a few plot threads heading into the realms of interesting that should keep me buying for a few more issues, especially when there’s no indication of the madness occurring in the rest of the DCU rearing it’s ugly head. 7/10

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Kenneth Rocafort
Image/Top Cow $3.99

Matt C: By default, this is the best thing I’ve read from Top Cow’s Pilot Season in that it’s the only one I’ve read! I like the idea behind the enterprise but it’s kind of costly at $3.99 a pop especially when there’s no certainty you’ll ever get to read a second issue. Grumbling aside, Jonathan Hickman’s name on a book pretty much guarantee’s a purchase by me based on his output in the last year. I’ve got to say though, this didn’t really excite in the way Pax Romana, Red Mass From Mars and Transhuman have. The story involves huge galactic empires waging a secret, aeons old war, with Earth pushing its way into joining one of those empires, skipping the usual procedures to get one of their men into the alien Special Forces unit. The writing’s solid, as is the art, but it’s not quite enough for me to get especially excited – I’d probably pick up the second issue (if there is one) but I’m not holding my breath. 6/10

Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Jefte Palo
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: Aaron joins the book for a brief stint as guest-writer, putting the African nation of Wakanda into the Skrull’s sights, and by doing so he turns in what’s possibly my favourite single issue of the multi-book crossover so far. The pacing is perfect, and while a lot of Secret Invasion itself feels rather threat-free, there’s a definite sense of foreboding in this book. Palo’s shadowy art meshes flawlessly with the tone and there are moments that compare favourably to Frank Miller’s work on 300. You don’t need to be overly familiar with Black Panther’s current continuity to enjoy this book so I’d recommend this to any fans of great art and great writing, and anyone who's been feeling that Marvel’s mega-event for 2008 has been lacking an epic quality. 8/10

DYNAMO 5 #15
Writer: Jay Faerber
Art: Mahmud A Asrar & Ron Riley
Image $3.50

Matt T: I’ll admit it, the last few issues of Dynamo 5 have probably been the weakest. With the team broken up, the story has been ambling along somewhat, but fortunately things get back on track this month. The main story of who is left to protect Tower City is answered by the mysterious Vigil (who I’m hoping has some massive reveal behind her true identity) and Scrap. The secondary plot of Gage using his mind reading powers during a football game, and the possible moral implications, is one of those clichéd story lines that the likes of the X-Men were doing 20 years ago. Still, the central tale is keeping me interested and has a promising future. 8/10

Writer: Ivory Madison
Art: Cliff Richards, Norm Rapmund & Rebecca Buchman
DC $2.99

Matt C: I gave the first issue a thumbs up but since then it’s gone steadily down hill to the point where I was buying it because I was thinking, I’ve got this far I might as well see it through until the end. Dumb, comic-booking collecting rationale – I should know better! I apologise to anyone who read my initial positive comments and felt compelled to try this out. I will endeavour not to make the same mistake again! 3/10

Writers: Joe Kelly, Zeb Wells & Marc Guggenheim
Art: Chris Bachalo, Tim Townsend, Patrick Olliffe, Serge Lapointe & Marcos Martin
Marvel $3.99

Matt C: I intended steering clear of this assuming it was going to be a case of Marvel pumping out superfluous material to fleece Spidey fans, but as it turns out this was worth the money. The highlight, taking up half the book, barely features the wallcrawler, instead focusing on the “resurrection” of Hammerhead. Kelly’s beguiling script coupled with some sumptuous art from Bachalo (effective rendered in mostly black and white) has me excited about the character’s rerun later this year. The other two tales are a little less essential but taken as a whole this is a worthwhile package for current readers of Amazing Spider-Man. 7/10

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