23 Jan 2012

Mini Reviews 22/01/2012 *EXTRA!!*

While we may not always have the time to review all the comics we get every week, may get struck down with illness of a weekend and may also be subject to untimely powercuts, we do try and provide a snapshot of the latest releases, mixing the good with the not so good. Some of these things may have happened to Stewart R this weekend but he still got some reading and reviewing done... Better late than never!

Writer: Mark Millar
Art: Leinel Yu, Gerry Alanguilan & Sunny Gho
Marvel Icon $4.99

Stewart R: Things get wrapped up in a bumper 36 pages of action as young Simon Pooni must decide whether to sell his soul in order to save the world from the transformed Sharpie and demonic monkey, Ormon. There’s destruction and carnage aplenty as the evil duo unleash their fury upon the city and I dare say that this is possibly Leinel Yu’s very best work to date. The sense of scope and scale is phenomenal and there are some terrific set-piece moments that should look truly breathtaking whenever we happen to have a live-action movie arrive in cinemas. Millar spent the last 6 issues setting all of the pieces up which allows this issue to clip along at a faster pace as it heads towards it’s grand finale. As a writer, Millar likes to play clever whenever he can and while the hook here is kinda signposted from a long way out I don’t think we could’ve asked for anything else considering the strength of the title as a whole. The only single criticism I have is that despite the level of death that descends upon the city streets, there’s no mention of the human casualties in Millar’s ‘summing up’; he shows us the global fallout of Superior's actions around the world but the loss of lives in the city don't register. It’s almost as if he’s too blinkered with what he wants from his ending to see that his vision slightly tarnishes what could have been a perfect end note. The nod to Christopher Reeve and Richard Donner though is a nice touch and over the course this has possibly been both creators’ finest work to date. Well worth the money and a 9/10 despite the one flaw.

Writer: Scott Snyder
Art: Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion & FCO
DC $2.99

Stewart R: Wow! Just when you think that Snyder and Capullo can’t give you any better a Bat-book they show up with this month’s effort! Bruce’s investigation has found him at the mercy of the Court of Owls whose very existence in Gotham threatens to unravel everything our hero has been fighting for all these long years, as well as the Caped Crusader’s mind! The majority of the issue follows Bruce’s struggles throughout the mysterious labyrinth as he tries to comprehend just how his mysterious captors have operated under his very nose for years and years. Capullo does a fantastic job of capturing Bruce’s tired and frayed psyche as his usually strong resolve begins to fail him and the hallucinations grow stronger and more dangerous. The creators take a masterful step in playing with the layout which brings the reader further into Bruce’s desperation and highlights how close to madness poor Bats is. Add in a neat look at Commissioner Gordon’s belief in what the Bat-signal stands for and represents, and you have a top class comic on your hands. 9/10

Writer: Zeb Wells
Art: Joe Madureira & Ferran Daniel
Marvel $3.99

Stewart R: Having fumed at the rather sparse offering in #1 I will say that the three issue first arc has been pretty good fun despite the inflated pricing. Zeb Wells clearly understands the webbed wonder and, despite having had the powerful Red Hulk in tow, it’s left to Spider-Man to save the day and bring peace to Subterranea. From this issue it’s now clearer just what this series is aiming to do and that’s show just where our wise-cracking hero fits into the wider Marvel Universe. Wells shows that despite his great powers, it IS his willingness to shoulder his great responsibilities that makes him the courageous man who can win against near-insurmountable odds. I’ll admit that it has been good to see Madureira take up his pencils and inks to bring us some comic book entertainment again and I’m glad now that I saw this arc through to the end. That said, at nearly four dollars and a change of artist ahead I will be saying goodbye to Avenging Spider-Man here. 8/10

Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Fernando Pasarin, Scott Hanna & Gabe Eltaeb
DC $2.99

Stewart R: So, so good! With John Stewart and a few others in the hands of the Keepers and having been ‘enlightened’ by the arrival of the Martian Manhunter’s appearance during an interrogation, Guy Gardner knows he needs to start thinking outside of the box. And so begins his mission to recruit the Mean Machine, a bunch of veteran Lanterns renowned for stepping very close to the line and bringing the pain whenever it’s needed. I love how Tomasi’s writing seems to thrive when he’s expanding on the ranks of the various Corps and the grizzled warriors he brings to the table here are a true pleasure, especially when sizing up to the regular faces of the Green Lantern Corps. Across the current books focusing on the Lanterns there’s the growing feeling that the Guardians are perilously close to being too destructive a force in the galaxy and Tomasi offers up a huge wedge of evidence to support that view aided well by Fernando Pasarin’s luscious art. Be it the telepathic story reveal across a double page-spread or the action-packed attack on the pirate ship, Pasarin is undoubtedly on top of his game and I can’t wait to see what action he gets to dish out as the arc reaches its conclusion next month! 9/10

Writer: Kyle Higgins
Art: Eddie Barrows, Paulo Siqueira, Eber Ferreira & Rod Reis
DC $2.99

Stewart R: Another reasonable effort from all involved here as Dick continues to investigate the mystery surrounding Haly’s Circus and just why the whole enterprise has been left in his hands. Rather than barrel on with the main drive of that story Higgins elects to give us a brief diversion as one of the circus folk ends up in a spot of demonic trouble thanks to an old flame and of course Nightwing happens to be on hand to deal with the mess. When the ritual action-sequence arrives it’s handled with style by Barrows as Dick finds himself in quite the David vs Goliath battle and I certainly can’t fault what we’ve had from a visual standpoint as this series has gone on. Higgins is clearly giving Dick his own voice and I’ve enjoyed his work with the romantic angle he’s been tackling. For me though, the big problem is what this is following on from - it doesn’t feel that ‘this’ Dick that we’re reading about is the one who was, until recently, Batman. I understand why Higgins has taken Nightwing away from Gotham in order to make the role change clear, distinctive and allow Grayson to stand on his own, but then too many damn questions are surfacing as to why a street-level crime-fighter is now doing his heroism thing all over the country. Even in this issue Higgins has to make a nod to that ongoing problem and it is a touch distracting. I’ll be picking up #6 to see where the tasty reveal leads, but after that I’m sadly going to be dropping this book. 7/10

1 comment:

Joe T said...

Glad to see you enjoyed Avenging Spider-Man in the end Stewart. Whilst the change in artist is enjoying, may I recomend you DON'T drop Avenging just yet? Issue 6 crosses over with Daredevil and Punisher, and Joe Mad will return for another arc later in the year, pressumably issue 7 or so.

& I forgot to write up my review for Nightwing on the other review post, so I'll put it here. Surprised you're not a massive fan of it, I think it's great. I can't quite put my finger on what it is, but Higgins is writing an old school superhero book, that takes Dick back to his roots. I would actually be more than happy if Dick stays on the road a bit longer, as I'm enjoying the whole travelling circus hero aspect, and I think it really fits the character. I'm suprised it hasn't been done before now. The artwork is quite nice too, and the reveal at the end was one I hadn't seen coming. I agree though that you wouldn't really believe this is a character that was Batman a few months back, though I did feel that in the first issue or 2. Still, I'd give it an 8/10, just out of shear enjoyment. One of the better New 52 & one I look forward to reading