5 Oct 2008

Mini Reviews 5/10/2008

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.

Writer: Steve Niles

Art: Zid
Radical Comics $3.99

Matt C: It’s pretty clear that Radical are pulling out all the stops when it comes to producing a great
package: high quality paper that holds some stunning artwork, mostly coming from a bunch of names I’ve never heard of before. Of course gorgeous art alone can’t make a successful comic book experience – you need a decent story to wrap you up in, one that makes that art come alive. Fortunately Steve Niles’ script for the debut issue of City Of Dust is quite special indeed. It’s hardly original, with a protagonist in a totalitarian future where religion and fiction are banned who realises that this is not the way things should be (!), but it’s handled with enough style and intelligence that you don’t mind going down a somewhat familiar path once again. On top of that you get some deftly rendered futurescapes from Zid (who are these guys!), very Blade Runner but also very atmospheric and striking. All in all, an excellent opening act. 8/10

Matt T: I'm a bit of a
sucker for most things Steve Niles, as I think 30 Days of Night was an awesome concept carried out in a superb manner. City Of Dust is more on the sci-fi than horror slant, and although the first issue showed promise the central character was a little clich├ęd for my liking. We've all seen plenty of the hard-nosed-cop-who-doesn't-take-shit character, and the environment seems a little too similar to the film Equilibrium, but I trust Niles to deliver on his second issue. It's good to see Zid still on top of his game art-wise too. 7/10

Writer: Zeb Wells
Art: Angel Medina & Scott Hanna
Marvel $2.99

Andy H: The first two issues of this series made it clear who and what Eddie Brock was - a not very likeable person. I looked for the good but, no, Eddie is just not a nice guy. He's the type of chap that will blame everyone but himself for anything wrong in his life, which is obviously the basis of his hatred of Spider-Man. This issue brings us to the point where he and the symbiote 'get together' for the first time and Venom is born. The bonding is graphically depicted looking far more invasive and traumatic than before. Medina can fill a page with the symbiote without making it look like overkill and there is a great double spread which clearly shows this off. Zeb Wells hasn't set my world alight on Amazing Spider-Man but he really gets Eddie Brock. Even if you think Venom has been overused in the past, Dark Origin is a must read for fans of one of Spidey's greatest villains ever. 7/10

Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Art: Ariel Olivetti
Marvel $2.99

Matt T: The
plot thickens in Cable, as the ubiquitous Wolverine appearance, albeit short, brings about an X-Force and X-Men crossover. As the whole storyline kicked off in the pages of X-Men it was interesting to see it come full circle, especially as Bishop has gone through a fair few changes. The real pleasure in Cable is the relative simplicity of the story in spite of the seeming complexity of the time travel theme. The usual Terminator-style story has taken a backseat to a larger cast of characters, but it's no less thrilling. 8/10

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Ryan Bodenheim

Image £3.50

Matt C: “…Have you forgotten who I am?” says a character on the first page and I felt like saying, “Well, actually, yes I have”. Hickman’s output seems to be constantly hampered by delays and that’s no good for those of us with crap memories, especially when the likes of Red Mass For Mars and Pax Romana require a great deal more attention from the reader than the average spandex soap-operatics. This is still a great book, structured in a way that injects the proceedings with a palpable sense of foreboding, but if we have to wait another three or four months between the next issues I might just store them up and read them all in one go; Hickman’s work deserves full immersion, and you can’t really achieve that if you’re leaving whopping great gaps between chapters. 7/10

Writer: Matthew Sturges
Art: Tony Adkins
& Andrew Prepoy
DC/Vertigo $2.9

Matt T: Th
is quirky little book takes a different tack for a few pages, concentrating on a tragic love story instead of the usual bizarre tall tale. After the last five issues being far more unpredictable quality-wise, this feels like a typical filler issue, even though there's a degree of progression in the main storyline, but the backup stories tend to ruin any flow. 7/10

Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Art: Cafu
DC $2.99

Andy H: I'm always dipping in and ou
t of the JLA and because of this I don't really know too much about Vixen as a character. She seems interesting enough and has featured quite a lot with a plot involving her changing powers and her place in the JLA. With a story by G. Willow Wilson (Vertigo’s Air), Vixen returns to the homeland she left years ago after discovering the real killer of her mother is still alive. Her first encounter with the bad guys ends badly so where does it go from here and will I ever learn more if she doesn't survive? After the great start on Air I trust Wilson to make this worth my while and with the art of Cafu this makes a good read. 6/10

Writer: Dwayne McDuffie
Art: Ed Benes & Doug Mahnke
DC $3.99

Matt T: It's frequently entertaining when DC try to make a bit of sense of their utterly confusing continuity, and the latest issue of JLA attempts to sort out who, or what, gave Anima
l Man his powers. Needless to say the results aren't conclusive, and Vixen gets involved to try and sort out her equally confusing back-story. The issue is a similar to when Spider-Man randomly went all mystical, and got very confusing, so hopefully this reasonably entertaining first issue won't go all ‘new age’ on us. 7/10

Writer: Warren Ellis
Art: Ivan Rodriguez
Avatar $3.99

Matt C: We get to see Heavenside from an outsider’s perspective for this first chapter of Book Two, as we’re introduced to Sarah Berlin, a journalist/blogger from New York, sent to the city to research the Grinder scene. The title character doesn’t make an appearance here but his presence is felt pretty much everywhere, and while it lacks a certain kind of cerebral punch without him, I’m confident Ellis knows exactly where he’s going with this series. 7/10

Writer: Chris Claremont
Art: Paco Diaz Luque
Marvel $2.99

Matt T: A bit less annoying and confusing than usual, but this book still needs work. This issue is far too reliant on some clunky dialogue and, although the alternate Kitty Pryde is an interesting prospect, her back-story doesn't have anywhere near enough dramatic weight to make it interesting. 5/10

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