12 Dec 2010

Mini Reviews 12/12/2010

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.

Apologies for the lack of reviews here but unfortunately the courier company 'misplaced' half of the delivery to Paradox so we're still waiting for several books to arrive. Normal service will be resumed next week.

Writer: Chris Roberson
Art: Khary Randolph
Boom! Studios $3.99

Matt C: Of the three Boom! titles shepherded by Stan 'The Man' Lee this is easily the best and it's the only one that has me eager to pick up the next issue. A brilliant opening suggests the story's heading one way until it suddenly changes tack, hinting that something entirely different is on the agenda. Or is it? Blending fiction into reality is nothing new, and Starborn wouldn't win any awards for originality, but it's far less hackneyed than Soldier Zero and The Traveller, possessing a freshness that makes it not so easy to predict. There are shades of The Matrix in this opening episode, as a cubicle monkey realises the world around him isn't quite what it seems, but I imagine the similarities will end there. As with the other two titles it's difficult to tell exactly what level of input Stan had in the creation of the series (just the idea? story outlines?) but if I was a betting man I would lay odds that scribe Chris Roberson’s contribution is one of the key factors behind this debut issue’s success, the other being the lively, colourful artwork from Khary Randolph. My expectations weren't particularly high for Starborn, so I was surprised by how much I liked it - don't take that as faint praise though: this is a great first issue. 8/10

THOR #618
Writer: Matt Fraction
Art: Pasqual Ferry & Matt Hollingsworth
Marvel $3.99

Matt C: Since he’s plastered on the cover I won’t be spoiling anything by confirming Odin returns in this issue, but anybody who’s been reading Thor comics for a long enough time should already have known he’d be back sooner or later. Hopefully his appearance will inject a bit more life into the proceedings, because while it’s an enjoyable enough read it still lacks a certain something that would push it up a notch into the ‘essential’ category. Ferry’s art continues to impress, his clean, spirited illustrations blend the fantasy elements into the regular Marvel Universe well, while Hollingsworth’s palette, with it’s emphasis on bright blues and reds, marks him out as on of the most versatile colourists in the business. Fraction is slowly but surely getting to the hearts of these characters, and I continue to have confidence that this title will flourish into one of Marvel’s best. 7/10

Writer: Matz
Art:Luc Jacamon
Archaia $3.95

Matt C: A rather disappointing end to this otherwise excellent six-parter. Jacamon continues to deliver his usual slick, intricate artwork, while Matz delves deeper into the mind of the eponymous assassin, but the plot does meander about – an excursion to Montreal seems superfluous to the overall narrative – and when the conclusion comes it’s a bit of a letdown to find a complete lack of closure along with the words “To be continued in The Killer Volume Four”. On one hand, it’s great that there are more stories planned for this character, but on the other it’s rather annoying that this tale not only doesn’t get wrapped up, but actually comes to an abrupt halt leaving a whole heap of plot thread dangling. A quick web search seems to suggest that a further volume of The Killer hasn’t even been released in its native France at this point in time (Wikipedia has Modus Vivendi originally coming out back in 2007) so God only knows when we’ll see something that picks up where this issue left off. Considering the quality of this title, the sooner the better really. 7/10

Writer: Walter Simonson
Art: John Buscema, Tom Palmer & Eliot R. Brown
Marvel $1.00

Matt C: After the sci-fi fireworks of the last few issues, this one dials things down a fair bit, which is no surprise really considering the Avengers have disbanded. It's a Jarvis-centric issue tied in to X-Men crossover, Inferno, and unless you're a hardcore Jarvis fan (is there such a thing?) you'll probably feel this is a mildly entertaining but generally forgettable read. If you're familiar with Inferno you'll know it featured a lot of inanimate objects springing to demonic life and attacking the citizens of New York. Seeing Jarvis using his smarts and his umbrella (!) to battle various transformed devices, visiting his cantankerous (American) mother and finding himself in the midst of a blossoming romance is fun for a while but it's not long before you're pining for some proper superhero action. A certain shield-wielding hero makes an appearance (although not in the guise he's most familiar for), indicating that we won't have to wait around for the Avengers to reassemble, which, based on this evidence, is a good thing. 6/10

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