30 Nov 2008

Mini Reviews 30/11/2008

While we may not always have the time to review all the comics we get every week, we do try and provide a snapshot of the latest releases, mixing the good with the not so good.


CAPTAIN AMERICA #44
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Luke Ross, Fabio Laguna & Rick Magyar
Marvel $2.99


Matt C: What’s this? A less-than-glowing review of Captain America?! I think the score at the end of this review should be taken as relative to previous issues of the book rather than comparing it to any of the other titles below - its still unarguably an exceptional series, it’s just that this new three-parter didn’t really stand a chance of matching up to the brilliance of the long-running Red Skull/Death Of Captain America storyline. I’m probably being overly harsh and unfair, so take all this with a pinch of salt, because I’m bound to be raving about the book sooner rather than later. 7/10


PROOF #14
Writer: Alexander Grecian
Art: Riley Rossmo
Image $3.50


Matt C: Recently I’ve been getting a little frustrated with Proof, not in a bad way, I just felt that the main story wasn’t getting the page count it deserved. I completely understand and admire the creators desire to fill up their book with back-up stories, articles etc, but with the last few issues, just as things start to get rolling, I found myself hitting “To be continued”. This month Proof hogs the majority of the book for himself, and I was much more satisfied with the amount pages he was allocated. Hey, if I didn’t enjoy his adventures so much I wouldn’t complain!! I love the way Grecian and Rossmo are creating their own mythology by interpreting various legends to fit into the world they’ve created, and you can tell that a hell of a lot of research has gone into making it all work. Rossmo continues to evolve as an artist of note and the two splash pages in the middle of the issue are very special indeed. 8/10


THOR: MAN OF WAR #1
Writer: Matt Fraction
Art: Clay Mann, Victor Olazaba & Patrick Zircher
Marvel $3.99


Matt C: Stupendous stuff. Fraction’s trilogy of one-shots make an excellent companion piece to Straczynski’s current run on the main title: there we see Thor as the wise, powerful ruler of New Asgard; here we’re shown a younger god: arrogant, brash, selfish and in dire need of a dose of humility. Odin attempts to get others to nudge his wayward offspring back in the right direction but when all else fails it’s time for the father to teach his son a few lessons. The art is powerful and majestic, with Mann just pipping Zircher in the awe-inspiring-imagery stakes. An absolutely essential purchase for Thunder God fans everywhere. 9/10


UNKNOWN SOLDIER #2
Writer: Joshua Dysart
Art: Alberto Ponticelli
DC/Vertigo $2.99


Matt C: Doctor Moses Lwanga continues his transformation into the Unknown Soldier as the series begins to exhibits signs of enormous potential. Quite brutal in places but not afraid to tackle real-world issues and do so in a way that doesn’t feel crass or exploitative. Enlightening but uncomfortable reading. One to watch for 2009. 8/10


TRANSHUMAN #4
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: JM Ringuet
Image $3.50


Matt C: Perhaps a little too dry overall but it’s still been an entertaining mini, intelligently put together with many truthful observations about the human condition. Ringuet does great work with a succession of mostly talking heads (this is a very talky book!) and while not in the same league as Hickman's Pax Romana it’s substantial enough to require a wider audience in trade paperback form. 7/10


NOVA #19
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Art: Wellinton Alves, Geraldo Broges, Scott Hanna & Nelson Pereira
Marvel $2.99


Matt C: I’m loath to admit it, as it's been one of my favourite books for a while, but I do believe the quality of Nova has dipped slightly over the last few months. That’s not to say it’s suddenly gone crap - or anything of the sort - I’ve just had the nagging feeling that there’s been something missing. Perhaps it’s the separation of Nova and Worldmind, and the entertaining dynamic they bought to the book when the super-computer was downloaded into Richard Ryder’s brain? Or maybe the title character works better with space-bound adventures than he does on Earth? Whatever the reason, I have no doubt it'll pick up again, and at the very least the way events are unfolding in this issue is more than enough to sustain my interest. 7/10


GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #7
Writer: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Art: Paul Pelletier & Rick Magyar
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: While I may not be getting the same buzz I used to from Nova, I think Guardians Of the Galaxy is coming pretty damn close to replacing it as my favourite space book from DnA (which, by default, would make it my favourite space book on the stands). This is probably the best issue so far, a nigh-on perfect mix of humour, action and intrigue, all delivered at a breakneck pace. The characters are colourful and distinctive and the combination of Pelletier’s pencils, Magyar’s inks and Quintana’s colours guarantees some exceptional cosmic imagery. 9/10


SUPERMAN #682
Art: James Robinson
Art: Renato Guedes & Wilson Magalhares
DC $2.99


Matt C: I’ve not been particularly impressed with the New Krypton storyline so far; the various tie-in books haven’t appealed to me and even the formerly great Action Comics seems to have taken a nose-dive with its most recent issue. I wasn’t expecting much from this instalment and so was taken by surprise when it turned out to be the best chapter of the story yet. Not quite up to the standard it should be, but the Kryptonians violently displaying how they were never going to integrate with human society happens a little sooner than I anticipated, providing a solidly entertaining read. 7/10


INCREDIBLE HERCULES #123
Writers: Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente
Art: Clayton Henry & Dalva Espin
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: This book seems to inhabit it’s own unique pocket of the Marvel Universe right now, and when Pak & Van Lente hit all the right notes (as they do on a regular basis) there are very few other places that are as downright fun to visit. The writers have found the perfect balance between Greek mythology and modern day superheroics and deliver it with an enormously creative blend of mirth and mayhem. 8/10

3 comments:

Ian said...

Come on guys, is no-one going to review Batman?!! I'm dying to know the Paradox point of view.....

Matt C said...

I gave up on Morrison's run on Batman fairly early on through general frustration with his storytelling techniques (great ideas but satisfying conclusions were absent).

I considered reviewing the latest headline-grabbing issue but thought it wouldn't be fair to come to it right at the end of long story arc.

Would did you think though?

Ian said...

Having not been to Paradox to pick up my copy yet I can only comment having read online scans of about 70% of the issue. So I'm reserving full judgement until I've read it properly (on paper!) but my initial thought is: hang on where's the rest of it?! It does seem to have stopped rather abruptly and it feels like there should have either been another issue or this should have been double sized. It just doesn't feel like a conclusion.