28 Dec 2008

Mini Reviews 28/12/08

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.

THOR #12
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Art: Olivier Coipel & Mark Morales
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: The grand scale of Loki’s machinations are finally revealed as he crosses space and time to position himself in the perfect
place to bring Asgard to its knees. And, just as the breadth of the God Of Mischief’s ambitions comes into focus, so to does Straczynksi’s immaculately crafted storytelling blaze into full intensity. I’ve said it before but it’s deserves repeating here: I firmly believe this to be Straczynski’s finest work in the comic book medium. Ditto for Coipel, whose art in this issue is nothing short of stunning.

While I’m here, it’s worth mentioning a bone of contention I have with Marvel’s handling of the Thunder God outside his own title. In my review last week of Thor: God-Size Special I won
dered whether Straczynski had been aware, or approved, of Matt Fraction’s inclusion of Hela and the Enchantress in his story before the former writer had had the chance to comment on both characters in his own work. On this evidence, obviously not. Where Fraction presented us with the Hela of yore - still ruling over Hel - Stracynski has her as Vegas Madam, running on a tiny portion of her former power but still up to her wicked ways. It fits in the context of the tale Straczynski has been telling so far, and of course completely contradicts Fraction's presentation of the character in the one-shot. Unacceptable really, and when you notice that editor Warren Simons and assistant editor Alejandro Arbona worked on both books, you wonder exactly what their job entails if not to manage some sort of continuity for Thor’s current status quo. That’s a criticism directed at Fraction, the aforementioned editors and Thor: God-Size Special - Stracysknksi, Copiel et al are blameless because Thor #12 is a magnificent piece of work. 10/10

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Billy Tan & Matt Banning
Marvel $2.99

Matt T:
Ok, so we're not into comic 38 of establishing that Norman Osborn is the evil genius that will be behind Dark Reign, and that he'll be twisting the knife into every hero he can. The very fact that the New Avengers will be back in exactly the same - or at least very close to the original - line up of Secret Invasion, fighting against a team of government sponsored Mighty Avengers, makes me think we're going to have yet another round of regurgitation till next summer. And if Bendis mucks up the good work Brubaker has done on Cap I swear I'll go to Marvel HQ and shove his 'witty banter' somewhere the sun don't shine. 6/10

Writer: Steve Niles
Art: Brandon Chng, Zid & Garrie Gastonny
Radical Publishing $2.99

t C: What happened with this book? Really impressive first issue, fairly good second, and then a sudden nosedive with the third. Maybe it was the artist switch and the resulting drop in visual quality, maybe I was tired or something, but this was a real chore getting through. There're even hints of unintentional hilarity creeping through with a character pulling off a mask to reveal himself as robot. I might flick through it again to check I’m not being unduly harsh, but the original pitch of a dystopian future where fiction and religion are banned seems to have taken a backseat in favour of a more horror-tinged detective tale, which isn’t really what I signed up for. 4/10

Writer: Jeph Loeb
David Finch & Danny Miki
Marvel $3.99

Matt T: I'm reading this book mostly out of morbid curiosity, mainly because it may well spell the end of the Ultimate Universe as we know it, and it'll more than likely make things more interesting than the series of 'Ultimate twist on old villain' we've been getting for a couple of years. The disaster and death is so widespread that it gets to the point, in the last few pages at least, where I'm somewhat desensitized to it, making me think that this will be a bloodbath that will spell the end for multiple titles. 7/10

NOVA #20
riter: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Art: Wellinton Alves, Geraldo Burges, Scott Hanna, Nelson Pereira & Anderson Silva
Marvel $2.99

C: I never really cared for the New Warriors so the remaining members getting together to reminisce over beer and pizza was never going to set my pulse racing. Infuriatingly this is another issue of one of my favourite books that just felt a bit, well, mediocre, and I’m coming to the conclusion that Nova only really soars when it’s let out of Earth’s atmosphere. The final page introduction of next issue’s guest star suggests a more cosmic flavour to the proceedings, so fingers crossed! 6/10

Writers: Stephen Baldwin, Andrew Cosby & Caleb Monroe
Art: Julian Totino Tedesco
Boom! Studios $3.99

Matt C: Putting Hollywood C-lister Stephen Baldwin’s name on the cover is a sure-fire way of getting the average comic book reader to ignore your book, but Boom! have been giving this a big promotional push so I thought I’d give the first issue the once over at the very least. It’s a readable if unoriginal (so far) thriller, with government agencies possibly involved in shady goings-on, but what it’s really lacking is that big-ass hook that will reel you in for the next issue. The final panel is obviously intended as a bit of a “No way!” moment, but to all intents and purposes it fails to generate the requisite excitement. Having said that, there is something there somewhere that has me curious to return for more, and the art has a certain freshness to it, so I may well have to give #2 a shot. 6/10

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Michael Lark & Stefano Gaudiano
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: Sometimes it’s really hard to sympathise with Matt Murdock – his wife’s stuck in a loony bin (due, in no small part, to his antics) so he used the opportunity to get jiggy with Dakota North, and when Mila’s parents are granted temporary custody of her, Matt puts his lawyer hat on and decides to fight them! Goddammit Murdock, learn to leave well enough alone! Ignoring the title character’s asshole tendencies, the story is still pretty juicy: Lady Bullseye and Master Izo are welcome additions to the cast, and the Lark/Gaudiano art combo continues to knock it out of the park. Now, if only Murdock can curb his desire to get his leg over anything in a skirt, we might start getting somewhere….! 7/10

Writer: Kevin Grevioux
Art: Reilly Brown
Marvel $2.99

Matt T: I'll admit it, I liked the twist last issue. The one other person I know who's reading this book spotted it a mile off, but I was either too thick or too engrossed in the story to notice. This issue goes back to type somewhat, but I'm enjoying the dystopian society and possible time-travel related implications, so I'm still happy I'm reading it and I can at least look forward to the next few issues with a certain naive optimism. 8/10

1 comment:

Matt Clark said...

Now, do I tell Matt T there's only one issue of New Warriors left, or shall I let it be a surprise?!