10 Jun 2012

Mini Reviews 10/06/2012

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: Simon Spurrier
Art: Jeffrey Edwards & Blond
BOOM! Studios $1.00

Stewart R: With a recent run of grade-A writing examples under his belt - X-Club, Crossed: Wish You Were Here - there was no chance in hell that I was going to miss picking up a copy of this new Si Spurrier comic and the wise $1.00 price point from the publisher sure does sweeten the deal!  Unsurprisingly for a comic titled in such a way, this is a post-apocalyptic tale that for this debut focuses purely on the relationship between two survivors, one a dark and brooding hero, the other his prime villainous nemesis who have been forced to team up in order to survive the invasion-holocaust and gain some sort of foothold in retaliation. There’s an interesting line in banter between the two cooperating enemies which highlights the turbulent history that they’ve shared yet borders upon playful camaraderie to suggest that they realise that the roles they formerly fulfilled no longer have a place in this new world.  Spurrier uses occasional flashbacks to show how Nox and the Red Reaper used to interact with each other and it certainly adds a boost to the character development that we see unfolding.  Edwards’ artwork is decent indeed demonstrating that he can capture a fine line in desolate landscapes as well as subtle character moments - a Nox smile is brilliantly half-hidden in close-up - and he’s certainly going to make this series attractive to look at.  All in all this is a fine first issue with a writer and artist clearly working well together and a publisher who’ve made a canny move with the cover price that should have everyone out there given this a try!  8/10

Writer: Matt Fraction
Art:John Romita Jr, Scott Hanna & Laura Martin
Marvel $3.99

James R: I've held off reviewing this title for the last few issues as it's been - for me - uninspiring stuff. In the previous instalments, I've not seen anything that's convinced me why Marvel's titans are fighting so incessantly - it's continued to be a punch-up for the sake of a punch-up. This month sees (at last!) a break from the norm as the Phoenix force arrives... but doesn't end up with who everyone was expecting. Without spoiling things for anyone, the force has been split up amongst five characters, and this could have some interesting implications for the Marvel Universe. It's a surprisingly hard book to review as there's a large part of me that's enjoying it (and it's regular release schedule) but at the same time, I can't help but feel it's a one-note read.  Ultimately, Marvel is a business, and wants as much of our money as possible, and just the phrase 'Avengers Vs. X-Men' is obviously going to grab the attention, but after five issues it's clear that this event could have been structured and sold in a far more ambitious and intelligent way. Still, the developments here will bring me back for sure next month, so I suppose it's mission: accomplished from the Marvel Architects this week. 7/10

Writer: China Mieville
Art: Mateus Santolouco, Tanya & Richard Horie
DC $2.99

James R: Dial H #1 made an immediate impression on me, and China Mieville showed he had a brilliant grasp of how comics worked. It's definitely more of the same with this issue, though now we see the novelist really letting rip and clearly having fun in the medium. Nelse continues to use the Dial H phone, but whereas in previous incarnations of this title, a writer would have been satisfied with one transformation per issue, Mieville goes wild treating us to five transformations on the first page alone! His creations are a mixture of the inventive, the creepy and the hilarious, and part of the fun is seeing what he's going to throw at us next. This book is more than a one-trick pony though, and the plot drives forward at a blistering pace. We're told more about the villain of the piece, Ex Nihilo, along with the affliction that's sending people in the city into mysterious comas. Mateus Santolouco continues to bring Mieville's plethora of heroes to life with aplomb too, and all told this is quickly developing into one of my favourite titles. A smart and refreshing read, and definitely the best book of DC's ‘Second Wave’. 9/10

Writer: Kieron Gillen 
Art: Richard Elson & Ifiansyah Noor
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: This month Loki and Leah travel to the British Isles to get involved in some Otherworldy business with Captain Britain and monstrous mechanical gods. What helps this title stand head and shoulders over that other current Asgardian-based comic is its brilliant sense of humour. Although it’s not exactly a comedy book, the language Gillen employs means Journey Into Mystery has a firm comedic backbone with which to hold up the more serious aspects of Loki’s consistently imaginative escapades. Elson shows he has a good handle on creating sweeping mythological vistas on the page, the only distraction being his figures are occasionally a bit too ‘shiny’. That minor niggle aside, this remains one of the best, if not the best, titles Marvel are currently publishing. 8/10

Writer: Grant Morrison
Art: Rages Morales, Rick Bryant & Brad Anderson
DC $3.99

James R: After the first arc of the relaunched Action Comics there seemed to be an air of disappointment amongst readers. I think a lot of people either expected - or hoped for - a comic that was for all intents and purposes All Star Superman volume two. Others seemed to feel it was a little too by-the-mumbers for a writer of Grant Morrison's obvious talents. I thought it was a fine read, but over the last two issues there has been a sense that Morrison is really hitting his stride. Following last month's alternative universe 'Superman as marketing demon' story, this month we're treated to a masterful display as Morrison introduces us to a villain in the shape of Nimrod the Hunter, and shows us both the dynamics of the Justice League and Superman's life as Clark Kent. It's a fat-free read that demonstrates that Morrison has a better understanding of Superman than any other mainstream writer at present, and I was amazed when I realised that ten issues is easily the longest time I've read an ongoing Superman title for. I can't see that streak being broken as long as Morrison is on this book - it's great to see that the Man of Steel has finally got a solid title. 8/10


Living Tribunal said...

See and that's the problem with these events (i.e: AvX) they insult our intelligence year-in-and-year-out and we continue to support this kind of bad writing. Did it bother anyone else that Tony miraculously build armor/weaponry that could split the Pheonix force? Is anyone bothered by the fact that this was absolutely nothing more than a plot device to advance the idea of dividing and distributing the Pheonix force to the X-Men. If the intended market for this kind of drivel was 10 year old boys I can understand omitting any explanation, and just moving ahead with pulling the plot device of this kind out of the writer's hind quarters to advance the story to where he wants it to go. For the rest of us this is just bad writing. I think 5 issues in I am done with this year's version of "Fears Itself," (Fear Itself 2.0?)

Matt Clark said...

I felt this was the weakest issue of AvX so far but I'd be lying if I say I won't see it through until the end.

I still hold out hope that one day they'll get one of these events right...

walkeri said...

Is it just me or doe's it seem that these days Marvel can only get to make a profit by having an event comic every year and double ship every month most of their $3.99 titles,if we take away the event comics and the double shipping I have a feeling DC would be kicking the crap out of Marvel each month.
So why do Marvel feel the need for an event comic every year,it can't be to tell a fantastic story judging from the last few event comics,is it because we the fan's like Marvel say demanded it (god I hate Marvel's marketing department ,still using the same old lines they used in the 70's),no it's just so they can pay these so called hot shot writer's and artist's their wages to keep their over inflated ego's afloat,and why is it Marvel can never answer my simple question ,which is what makes a Marvel $3.99 comic better than a $2.99, I can never get an answer on that one and at least DC give us more pages for our money.
Well that's enough moaning from me and I love the reviews guys and like James I'm loving Dial H but I'm also so looking forward to the 4 new tilts DC have coming out in September, I can't believe they are bringing back Amethyst Princess Of Gemworld (yes I like girls comics as well).

Andy C said...

Got to agree on the cost difference between DC and Marvel, however the gap seems to be narrowing with DC increasing the price of Batman, Detective, Watchmen etc, and some of Marvel's titles being $2.99 (Winter Soldier, Age of Apocalypse, Scarlet Spider etc). Marvel events always seem to be poorly received but strongly subscribed - that's the addictive quality of comics! Sales will ultimately mean more to a corporation than reviews. If they suck, stop buying them!!! Easier said than done....