7 Dec 2008

Mini Reviews 7/12/2008

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.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Lenil Francis Yu & Mark Morales
Marvel $3.99

Matt C: Is that it? I mean, really, is that it?! Un-fucking-believable! In his Cup O’ Joe feature following the story Quesada mentions that Bendis first came to him with this idea around five years ago. Five years?!? And this is the best he could come up with?! Great high concept squandered by a writer who failed to grasp the enormity of what he had to play with, instead reducing it to ridiculously banal fisticuffs. Bendis’ take on Thor is laughable, his dialogue clumsily out of step with the way the character is presented in his own title, and the major character death here is even more meaningless than Hawkeye’s “demise” way back when the writer began shitting on the Avengers. And that last page? Oh, come on! I don’t want to get into spoilers, but that’s just utterly stupid. Again, Dark Reign sounds like an interesting concept, but if Bendis is steering that ship there’s no way in hell I’m paying for the journey. 1/10

Matt T: I'll admit it, I took a really deep breath before reading this. Mainly because I've been petrified the ending is going to be as much of a fuckshow as Civil War. Instead it just kind of.... happened. So now the premise behind Dark Reign has been revealed, and I'm a little baffled but mostly underwhelmed for the future of Marvel’s big events. Secret Invasion simply presented a series of poor creative decisions that culminated in the occasional interesting idea that usually got buried in the mire of confusion and crap. The last issue wasn't a disaster, nor was it anything beyond what I expected. It's just a shame that I'm now not looking forward to Dark Reign as a result, and I'm seriously considering not bothering with it at all. 5/10

Writers: Geoff Johns & Alex Ross
Art: Dale Eaglesham, Jerry Ordway, Bob Wiacek & Nathan Massengill
DC $2.99

Matt C: Following the generally high quality of the preceding three weeks’ one-shots, this penultimate chapter of the ‘One World, Under Gog’ storyline was a real disappointment. After such a slow build up, events seemed to occur far too rapidly in this issue, never allowing much of chance for any real impact to be felt. Art’s not up to its best either, and I’m not really sure who did what as there are no credits in the book (had to check the DC website for the details above). All in all, it’s caused me to lower my expectations considerably for the finale. 5/10

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Art: Jay Anacleto
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: There’s no way this way ever going to replicate the impact of the seminal original series, and initially it looked like it wasn’t even going to try anything new, or even something a little different; instead it gave the impression that it would simply be covering old ground by kicking things off during the same timeframe as the first mini (between issues #1 & #2, to be exact). Luckily it seems that is just Busiek’s way of easing us back into Phil Sheldon’s world and re-familiarizing us with the character. It’s an approach that works, and by the time we’ve shifted forward in several years, as well as reminding us why Sheldon offered such a unique perspective on the Marvel Universe in the first place, Busiek also seems to be pushing this series in an entirely different direction. Anacleto is no Alex Ross, but he does bring a similar sense of realism to the proceedings and has you believing the property is in capable hands. I’m very excited to see how this plays out. 8/10

Writer: Phil Hester
Art: Jorge Lucas
Image/Top Cow $2.99

Matt T: I kind of see what Hester's getting at in The Darkness, but I can't help thinking he's taken too much of a jump from what made the relaunch good to start with. Gone is the intrigue, murky double-crossing and tension, replaced with a below-par crime story. And I really couldn't care less if some green-haired bint from another comic has turned up. Just give Jackie his powers back and get an artist better suited to the comic on the case. Please. 5/10

Writer: Fred Van Lente
Art: Dennis Calero
Marvel $3.99

Matt C: Stick the word “noir” in the title of your comic and at the very least you’ll grab my attention thanks to all the images and associations it conjuress up in my mind. Add the word “X-Men” and you’ve got a book I’m eager to check out. So, does it live up to the potential of both two words combined? Comes pretty close, that’s for sure. Van Lente nails the hardboiled patter of the era (the 1930s I’m guessing, or a close approximation) and Calero brings the murky underworld to grim life. The art’s possibly a bit too murky on occasion, sometimes making it difficult to figure out who’s who, and what’s happening, but in general it’s nice work and Van Lente’s utilization of familiar names in a different setting is often surprising but always intriguing. A promising debut. 7/10

Writer & Art: David Petersen
Archaia Studio Press $3.50

Matt C: Archaia’s problems have been well documented elsewhere so I’m not going to moan about lateness, instead I’ll simply say how much of pleasure it is to have this book back on the shelves. Petersen has created a vibrant and authentic world and gives the impression that there’s a rich history still to be tapped into. It helps that his art is absolutely exquisite: it’s colourful, dynamic and the semi-realistic look lends it a surprising emotional power. Wonderful. 8/10

Writer: Duane Swieczynski
Art: Ariel Olivetti
Marvel $2.99

Matt T: I bloody love this comic. For such a small title there are so many big, clever ideas that I wondering why it isn't on everyone's pull-list every month. Bishop is getting more devious, but somehow still remains sympathetic, and Cable is the conflicted soldier he always was, but is steadily becoming more of an emotional whole rather than a bemuscled behemoth with no conscience. The time travel is used intelligently, and for once a Wolverine guest appearance doesn't ruin things. Awesome work all round. 9/10

Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Roland Boschi
Marvel MAX $3.99

Matt C: After the grim realism of recent issues of Punisher MAX, anything that takes Frank Castle and pushes him into a more OTT environment kind of jars. Although I’m a huge fan of Aaron’s work, his approach here felt a bit off, too reliant on a more clich├ęd interpretation of the character. There are a few nice touches here and there but this is not really a necessary purchase for fans of either the “explicit content” Punisher or Jason Aaron. 6/10

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Sean Phillips
Marvel/Icon $3.50

Matt C: Another month, another issue of Criminal, and another challenge in the form of coming up with new ways to describe how unquestionably brilliant the book is. Brubaker and Phillips have honed their craft to perfection on this title and you’d be hard-pressed to locate any moments that aren’t essential to the plot no matter how small or inconsequential they may initially seem. If you know the genre, you know these things usually end in tears, but that knowledge won’t hamper your enjoyment as it’s all about how you get to the denouement, and the twists and turns that take you there. Criminal is on a hiatus now as the creators focus on their Incognito mini (straight onto the pull-list!) but I’m already eagerly awaiting its return. 9/10

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit unsure what to say about S.I I may re- read the whole thing just to make up my mind, it's kind of like the x files it had such a build up I don't think it could ever live up to the hype. It's not the worst thing I've ever read but you want an event like that to blow you away, sadly it did not. I'm still going to read Dark Reign, hopefully it will be like A Brand New Day (crap setup, good pay off.) Or so I hope.