4 Apr 2010

Mini Reviews 04/04/2010

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 Buscema Avengers Project.


BLACKEST NIGHT #8
Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Ivan Reis, Oclair Albert & Joe Prado
DC $3.99

Stewart R: So that's it, the curtain of the Blackest Night has been pulled back and we're letting the light of the Brightest Day in. But the question is, just how successful was this last issue at wrapping everything up and leaving the reader eager for more? I think the answer is probably 'fairly successful'. Rather than rely on an extended one-on-one scrap between Nekron and the Totem of Life, Johns thankfully utilises the huge cast at his disposal and brings things to a head with a decent note on the concept of life and choice. My big gripe is that there just isn't any point where I'm thinking that we might be walking into the Brightest Day with the heroes in a bad way and having sustained any great loss - there's just none of the tension that we enjoyed in the early stages. There are also points where Johns doesn't seem free to hold the focus on any one or two characters for more than a heartbeat and some of the more interesting points - Dove's apparent anti-Black Lantern powers for one - get badly overlooked. In order for DC to move forward with their big properties they needed Blackest Night to bring back the dead and the lost in one hit and this has done that job certainly, but it's probably at the detriment of what could have been one of the best comic events in years. 7/10


X-FORCE #25
Writers: Craig Kyle & Christopher Yost
Art: Clayton Crain
Marvel $2.99

Stewart R: We get two events based upon the idea of the dead returning from the grave to threaten all of life ending this week. Marvel's Necrosha effort has been a little lacklustre over the course, due mostly (I'm afraid to say) to Clayton Crain's art work which has bordered on the downright confusing from time to time and occasionally lacked the sense of grand scale that was needed. Thankfully he ups his game somewhat for the finale even if Cyclops looks like a girl in a couple of panels and the god-like Selene isn't as intimidating a presence as she could have been. Kyle and Yost appeared lost having to deal with a huge roster of characters when events were unfolding on Utopia, but as soon as they take things off to Genosha and just focus on X-Force again everything begins to fall back into place nicely. The last page seems to suggest that this was the last mission for this team lineup for now and I'll certainly be picking up further issues to see what the future holds for the mutant black-ops team as we head into the Second Coming event. 6/10


DETECTIVE COMICS #863
Writer: Greg Rucka
Art: Jock, Scot Kolins & Cully Hamner
DC $3.99

Matt C: What happened? Only a few months ago this was easily the best superhero book DC was publishing, and that’s not just me saying that, it was pretty much the consensus across the board. Now? Now, with J.H. Williams on a break from art duties, the current story juxtaposing Batwoman on the trail of a maniac with the Dark Knight hunting down a killer several years ago has felt a bit weak in comparison with what’s come before. Rucka’s attempt to have both storylines mirror each other doesn’t quite work as he perhaps hoped it would, but this month things go awry when Scott Kolins replaces Jock as artist halfway through the issue! It’s fair to say they’re not exactly stylistically similar, so it’s pretty jarring to say the least. What’s worse though, is that this is it with Rucka and Batwoman on Detective. They’re supposed to be moving over to a Batwoman ongoing with Williams, but I hear rumours that may no longer be happening. If that’s the case, this is a rather disheartening way to see a potentially classic run sputter to a standstill. 6/10

Tom P: This is the last we will see of Miss Kane ‘til July and that’s a real shame. This is the tenth issue in an incredible run from Rucka, who I think has been on tremendous form. From Williams III to Jock, along with the sometimes overlooked and less flashy back-up feature drawn by Hamner, the quality of the artwork in this comic has been a pleasure to see every month. I've enjoyed the ‘Cutter’ arc and how it’s mirrored Batman and Batwoman’s story, my only problem being how easy Batman was taken out by a knife-wielding maniac last issue. “I underestimated him.”? C'mon, with all your training you should be on it, Bats! This issue may not be one of the best but its still better than most; the current Detective Comics team have created something truly awesome. 8/10


INCORRUPTIBLE #4
Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Jean Diaz
Boom! Studios $3.99

Matt C: I’m not 100% convinced by Max Steel’s explanation of his ‘Damascus moment’ here, particularly when you consider he was about to unleash a death-plague on the human race, but if you set that aside there’s a lot to enjoy in Incorruptible. Steel’s relationship with former cop nemesis Armadale is complex and well realized, as is his now almost paternal bond with former squeeze, Jailbait. It works best when read alongside Irredeemable because then you get a broader understanding of the world the characters exist in. It helps that Diaz goes for comparable ‘look’ to Peter Krause’s art on Irredeemable – there’s obviously distinct differences in their styles but there’s also a similarity of sorts that helps the reader buy into the ‘shared universe’ of both titles. It’s good, but I just need a little more convincing on Steel’s conversion to superhero to fully invest in it. 7/10


FANTASTIC FOUR #577
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Dale Eaglesham
Marvel $2.99

Tom P: "Great. Just what we need... Another Stupid City." Johnny Storm may have had it with all the cities the FF keep discovering lately, from subterranean metropolises to the lost tribes of Atlantis, but I can't wait for the final chapter in the next issue of this four-part arc, intriguing titled 'The Cult Of Annihilus' (careful how you say that kids!). I love what Hickman’s been doing with the FF after the disappointing and muddled Millar/Hitch run - high concept sci-fi with a great old school feeling. You can tell he's building towards something. I have no clue what that could be, but I get the feeling it's going to be big. I also enjoy the ‘Fan Mail' page which has had a good mix of opinions that are always welcome. Cool stuff, now let’s see if Hickman can wrap it up in style. 8/10


DRAGON AGE #1
Writers: Orson Scott Card & Aaron Johnston
Art: Mark Robinson & Jason P.Martin
IDW $3.99

Stewart R: I've never played the Bioware game that this is based upon, and doubt I'll get chance anytime soon, so I can just judge this as a comic rather than a translation and to be honest it's a pretty interesting start. Admittedly there's nothing terribly new here with templars and mages forming the backbone of the cast and another unknown and powerful threat that makes itself known briefly, but Card and Johnston deliver an emotion-fuelled read of forbidden love that pushes things along and introduces us to this world of steel and sorcery. Mark Robinson impressed me with his previous work on Skrull Kill Krew and his dynamic, morphing style is a perfect fit to bring blood and fire magics to the page. Promising start and IDW can guarantee another $3.99 from me next month. 7/10


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #627
Writer: Roger Stern
Art: Lee Weeks
Marvel $2.99

Stewart R: Veteran comic writer Roger Stern gets a crack at ASM this week and while I was quite weary of a powerhouse like Juggernaut appearing within the pages of this comic it actually turns out to be a great read. Stern gives us an issue which, for the most part, is post-event as Spider-Man plays detective and tries to find out just who or what could spark-out Cain Marko in full armoured mode. It's a side to our hero that I've always liked and I think is often overlooked. Recently the writers have been portraying Peter Parker as something of a clueless idiot and it's refreshing to get back to a point where he can use the great intellect he has at his disposal. Lee Weeks' artwork is also a delight for the eyes and while we get the next two issues of the run with his pencils and inks guiding us I'd quite happily have him back on a regular basis. The issue ends on a pretty cool reveal which will no doubt have some scrambling to Wikipedia to learn more - I read Annihilation Conquest: Star Lord so have some idea already - and I'm certainly looking forward to finding out just where Stern is leading with this. 8/10


AVENGERS #258
Writer: Roger Stern
Art: John Buscema & Tom Palmer
Marvel $0.65

Matt C: Another one of those ‘in between’ issues: the Avengers ponder the carnage wrought by Terminus, argue with their government liaison, and Hercules gives Firelord a bollocking for causing Spider-Man grief and flattening various sections of New York. While this part of the book is rather light on the action front, it’s still good fun, but it’s not quite as engrossing as Captain Marvel’s continued exploits in outer space with Nebula and her band of pirates. Buscsma draws a great Skrull and the explosive conclusion here suggests the rest of the team will be jetting out to the Andromeda Galaxy to look for their colleague pretty soon. 7/10

5 comments:

Tom P said...

Just read this on JH Williams III's blog.

As of this weekend Greg Rucka, who I’ve enjoyed working with very much, has announced his intentions to leave DC Comics, and in turn leave Batwoman behind. I was afraid something like this was going to occur but held out hope that it wouldn’t happen. That DC and Greg could come to some sort of agreement, apparently not going to happen. So what does this mean for Batwoman and the project I’ve spent a decent amount of time and thought on? I don’t know. I do know that DC is firmly committed to this character from what I hear from them. So where does all of this leave us? I believe DC will want the character to continue somehow. In what form? I’m not sure, but she’ll be back, I’m sure of it. This character has too much potential to just go by the wayside. So we should be hearing some sort of news at the appropriate time I assume.

Sad SAD news.

Justin said...

So disappointing about Detective...

*Sigh*

Matt C said...

Gutted.

Way to go, DC.

Anonymous said...

I'm probably the only person here who's pleased with the announcement by Rucka. Not because I don't want him to write Batwoman in Detective (I loved it when it started out, but agree that the loss of Williams on art was a big blow) but because I love Queen & Country even more, and apparently he's going to switch back to that project. So, for me anyway, the loss is outweighed by a bigger win.

- Rob N

Matt T said...

Blackest Night was a bit of a dissappointment for me, but as I've been impressed for the most part I'm not too unhappy that the conclusion was a touch....limp. Loved Incorruptible. X-men is heading in the right direction, and the art is superb. And as much as I think James Robinson is a stunning writer for the most part, I'm concerned about the future of the JLA. Rise and Fall is a bit off for me, too dark and turning Ollie into a martyr for the cause.

Anywho, there be my 2 cents. :-)