18 Jan 2009

Mini Reviews 18/01/09

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.

This week also sees the next instalment of Matt C's Byrne FF project.

Writer: Grant M
Art: JG Jones, Carlos Pacheco, Doug Manke, Marco Rudy, Christian Alamy & Jesus Merino

DC $3.99

Matt C: While there are several moments I got a kick out of during the course of this issue, as before the series continues to be plagued by disjointedness, with Morrison not appearing to make much effort in creating a reader-friendly book. It’s not helped this time around by the number of artists pitching in – there’s a lot of good work on display but it lends the proceedings an increased air of inconsistency. Final Crisis seems to playing out in it’s own little bubble; it feels untethered from the rest of the DC Universe, and the overall impression is that anything occurring within these pages will have no impact outside of them. That also applies to the “shocking” final page, which – when you take a step back and really think about it – should have been one of the most gobsmacking moments in recent comics history. Instead, it merely elicits a “meh”. DC are doing themselves no favours at the moment. 4/10

Matt T: The madness of Morrison is starting to make a touch more sense, even if he juggles plotlines with often infuriating jumps to and fro. There are still elements that confuse, and the out-of-continuity bigger moments lose the majority of their impact by having been told elsewhere weeks or even months before. The seventh issue should bring a few of the looser storylines together, like the fate of one of the major stars and how fast the Flashes can go as, once again, they're having to go 'faster than they've ever gone before.' 7/10

Writer: C.B. Cebulski
Penciller: Giuseppe Camuncoli & Jesse Delperdang
Marvel $3.99

Stewart R: The second issue of this mini is a great X-read. All of the main players are here as the Darkchilde turns up on the mutant's doorstep willing to tear anyone a
new hole to get her Soul Sword back. This is predominantly an action issue with plenty of delicious thwak, shraak and shlokery present to sate the appetites of those who like a good mutant-related dust-up. Cebulski does a great job with the continuity, making sure that the experiences that Pixie, Mercury and Rockslide shared in Limbo previously count for something here, while also addressing the apparent tensions between the old X-guard of Colossus, Nightcrawler and Cyclops. I'd personally like to see an ongoing title emerge from what the creators are doing here, but with Young X-Men getting canned we'll have to wait and see. 8/10

Writer: Joe Hill
Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
IDW $3.99

Andy H: I've been rea
lly looking forward to this comic. Were my expectations too high? Would I be disappointed? No and no! This was a great read. It had love, loss, murder and mystery. If you read the first series you will want to read this. Joe Hill once again delivers a well-crafted and paced story. The glorious art of Gabriel Rodriguez moves from charming to sinister capturing the feel of the story in every panel. The bad guy from the first series is back and a professor recognises him as a student that disappeared 20 years ago. So we now learn a little more about the mysterious Luke/Zack (but not much) and his connection to the Locke family (who return next issue). I loved this book so much it would be rude not to give it 10/10

Writer: Matthew Sturges
Art: Luca Rossi
DC/Vertigo $2.99

Matt T: You have to get into a different mindset in order to read House Of
Mystery, preparing yourself for a smidge of madness, some intertwining plotlines that may not actually intertwine for another couple of issues, and an ending that may make no sense at all. Of course with this accepted there's plenty of fun to be had in between, especially when one of the house's inhabitants tells their own story of woe. This issue has so much going on it started to make my head spin, but the Universal Monsters-themed secondary story is a cracking read. 7/10

Writer: Dan Jurgens
Art: Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund
DC $2.99

Matt T: As ever Booster keeps the time-travel tinged japes a-going, but there's a far more serious tone this time ro
und. With the setting in WWI that isn't much of a surprise, and the majority of the action is dealt with in a sombre manner. The path ahead looks to be extremely similar as the mysterious Egyptian Knife drags the title character through some significant historical events. A well written, great looking comic that is heading in a new direction, which I hope won't spoil the funnier aspects. 8/10

Matt C: Time-hopping through the ages attempting to locate a 4,500 year-old Egyptian knife
that has changed history for the worse, Booster winds up in the middle of No Man’s Land in the Great War, facing off against the legendary Enemy Ace. Jurgens is impressing far more with his art than his scripting – the story’s readable enough, but only in a throwaway kind of way. The buzz I used to get when Johns and Katz were at the reins has failed to return, so unless this arc receives a sudden jolt of brilliance, Booster Gold is going to get knocked off the pull-list. 6/10

Writer: Mark Waid

Art: Barry Kitson & Mark Farmer
Marvel $

Matt C: Apparently the release of this book caused a bit of a sales frenzy over in the States; in Blighty it hasn’t generated quite same level of interest but still seems to have some people frothing over what is essentially a publicity stunt. The back-up story featuring soon-to-be-President Obama is fluff, nothing more, nothing less. Certainly not worth the ludicrous prices some idiots are forking out for it on eBay (Credit crunch? What credit crunch?). Bypassing all that, let’s look at the main feature, a Betty
Brant-centric tale where she attempts to play matchmaker for Peter Parker. All I can really say about it is that it was “nice”. Nothing really objectionable about it, but definitely not up to the standard of Waid’s previous two-parter, and rather forgettable all told. Let’s hope those eBay purchasers get more out of it than I did then, with the money they’re paying for it! 6/10

Stewart R: This issue
will forever be known as the 'Obama issue’ despite the fact that the main story centres on someone more worthy of the attention (in the Spider-Man Universe that is - 'Yes We Can!' and all that, woo and indeed hoo!). I'm now used to the interlude stories that appear in this ongoing Spider-Man title before we get treated to the 5-issue, heavy-hitting runs, and Waid's effort is solid enough. Betty Brant has been a continuous presence since the BND reset button was pushed and Waid takes the time to address her position, and predicament, since the shake-up at the Bugle took place. It's also nice to have a playful reminder of why Peter is currently without a girlfriend but can always do the right thing for his friends when it counts. Kitson's artwork is always a mixture of decent action-splashes and panels that look like they were rushed to the presses, and this is no exception to that rule.

The back up story on the other hand is, to be frank, a waste of the extra dollar slapped onto the cover price. Admittedly it's better than having another Agents of Atlas or Wizard of Oz preview, but the whole thing is an unnecessary nod to a man who is yet to actually do anything apart from win a giant popularity contest, Spider-Man fan or not. The artwork is decent but I can only think that Marvel have pulled out a sneaky attempt at raking in the dollars and the newsprint this week. So, for the main story 6/10, but the backup with its shameful Presidential-elect bum kissing gets 2/10

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Pete Woods, Renato Guedes & Wilson Magalhaes
DC $2.99

Matt C: Considering it was blowing the competition out of the waters several months ago it’s a shame to report that Action Comics his plummeted into the realm of mediocre. John’s still has a good
handle on the Man Of Steel, but the whole New Krypton thing isn’t clicking with me, and the art pales in comparison to the exceptional work Gary Frank was turning out during the Brainiac arc. With Superman leaving the title very soon, this is yet another DC book that I’ll be turning my back on. 5/10

Writer: Daniel Way
Penciller: Paco Medina
Marvel $2.99

Stewart R: This book just doesn't let up. Great stories, great humour, great artwork. It also seems that ASM #583 isn't the only book this week that deals with dating issues as the Merc With A Mouth starts thinking about getting to know the ladies better in his own unique way, all the while having the fearsome Tiger Shark after his head… literally! The inner-dialogue that Way bes
tows upon Deadpool is comedy gold, especially when it transfers into what he actually says mid-fight and at an inappropriate moment. Paco Medina is also showing himself to be one of the most consistent artists Marvel have in their canon. Six issues, superb quality, no delays (to my knowledge) and the creators know exactly how to sell us Deadpool's specific kind of crazy. Keep it coming. 9/10

Matt T: Even though it's based around a nutcase, Deadpool is a pretty consistent read and in Paco Medina the book has an artist who can reflect the insanity without completely alienating the reader. This issue has a big fight feel to it, as the equally insane Tiger Shark seems intent of making Deadpool even uglier then he was before by eating various parts of him. Of course there's lots of entertaining banter along the way, and a certain Hydra soldier who throws like a girl also shows up. A fun, if unspectacular, read. 8/10

Writer: John Byrne
Art: John Byrne
Marvel $0.50

Matt C: A regular working joe – a typical 9 to 5 average nobody – has the power to change to change reality with a thought, but wanders through life without even an inkling of his extraordinary abilities. A chance to visit New York means we get to see the FF through this guy’s eyes - a different perspective of Marvel’s First Family - before a global calamity manifests itself (which the average joe may or may not be responsible for), providing an opportunity for all four spring into action. All this and a very satisfying spacebound cliffhanger. Byrne’s art impresses again with its level of detail in each panel, from two-storey home-life to city-flattening carnage. 8/10

1 comment:

Matt Clark said...

No new Book Of The Week for me this week, as nothing really sprang out (bar FF #234, but that came out nearly 30 years ago!) so I'm keeping Iron Man up there for the second week running.

I've got a feeling Solomon Kane #4 might have made the grade, but when I got home I realised that I'd somehow missed out #3, so I need to get that before opening up the latest issue.

Sometimes these things just slip through the cracks!