19 Oct 2008

Mini Reviews 19/10/2008

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.

Due to work commitments Matt T is off this week, so Matt C's flying solo!

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

Matt C: A nice twist takes us down a path we perhaps weren’t expecting, but I’ve read enough stuff by DnA now to know never to try and second guess them. Still has more energy and inventiveness than the vast majority of team books on the market but I’ll be kind of glad when they get back to business without any ties to any company-wide crossovers. 7/10

Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Pat Olliffe & Jerry Ordway
DC $2.99

Matt C: A rather uninspiring opening to Rick Remender’s guest slot as Starro takes control of Rip Hunter putting the entire space-time continuum in jeopardy. This book’s currently treading water as we wait for Dan Jurgens to take over as permanent writer, and I’m only sticking around to see if he can match the wittiness that Johns & Katz brought to the book initially, otherwise I’m done with it. 5/10

Writer: Gregg Hurwitz
Art: Laurence Campbell
Marvel MAX $2.99

Matt C: Gregg Hurwitz has done an amazing thing here, following on from an acclaimed, and some may say definitive, take on the character with his own successful spin on Frank Castle: obviously familiar, but with enough personal tweaks to validate the continuing existence of this title. If you thought Ennis’ work on The Punisher was hard-edged and bleak you may be surprised to find the current writer taking one step further into the dark void of Castle’s heart. In addition to that you get some exceptional work from Campbell, gritty and emotionally powerful thanks to his ability to throw out some unnerving and disturbing imagery. If you’ve got the stomach for it, this is highly recommended. 8/10

Writer: Matt Wagner
Art: Francesco Francavilla
Dynamite Entertainment $3.50

Matt C: This introductory ‘Year One’ arc has been slightly slowly paced but it has offered the reader some good old-fashioned thrills, with Wagner displaying his obvious fondness for the character and Francavilla lending the series an authentic Latin flavour. I plan to continue following the adventures of El Zorro but I’ve got a feeling it’ll be in trade-only form as I reckon the stories will work more effectively consumed in a single burst. 7/10

Writer: Dan Slott
Art: John Romita Jr & Klaus Janson
Marvel $3.99

Matt C: As often happens with things, the journey was more enjoyable than the destination. That’s not to say this conclusion of the New Ways To Die arc didn’t provide plenty to admire, but rather that the build-up was more successfully managed. Art has been absolutely fantastic though – no surprise there – and Slott continues to nail the characterizations for the most part. Overall, it seems pretty clear that this title is back on track after the One More Day debacle. The Stephen Colbert back-up story will fly over the heads of most folk that live outside the US, and did feel more than a tad pointless. 7/10

Writer: Wayne Chinsang/Justin Shady
Art: Erik Rose
Image/Shadowline $5.99

Matt C: The second, and final, part of this prestige format mini doesn’t quite knock it out of the park the way the first issue did but it’s still a fascinating, disconcerting and darkly humorous fictional look into the minds of two of the most notorious serial killers of the 20th century. It’s more about character interaction than any physically-generated excitement, but that’s understandable when you’re dealing with a couple of past-their-prime sociopaths. This of course means Erik Rose has to work a little harder since most of the time he’s effectively stuck with a lot of talking head shots, but his use of expressions brings both of the Roberts to life, giving Robert Sprunger in particular subtle hints of a devious mind working behind a pair of aging eyes. 8/10

Writer: Matt Fraction & Ed Brubaker
Art: Greg Land & Jay Leisten
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: There were several moments during this issue where I wondered whether my decision to jump ship after this arc was a good one, because those moments were true ‘X-Men moments' which reminded me instantly why the characters remain so popular and why I fell in love with them in the first place. Not sure it was quite enough for me to avoid dropping the title, but then I seem to recall numerous times in the past where I’ve proclaimed my intentions to strike it from my pull-list only to pick it up the next month. Will this be my last issue of Uncanny for the time being? Watch this space I guess. 6/10

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