Friday, December 31, 2010

CBR Review: What If? #200

I recently reviewed What If? #200 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "The lead story poses the question 'What if Norman Osborn had won the siege of Asgard?' and bases his victory around Ares being killed before the attack because of his reluctance to support Osborn’s plans. With the Sentry not as weakened from his fight with the god of war, he isn’t as easily opposed by the heroes or mentally weakened enough to be killed. The Sentry hands Osborn his victory and the heroes that defeated Osborn soon find themselves dead. From there, it falls to Osborn’s former allies in the Cabal to try and stop him. Guggenheim follows the logic of the Sentry as unstoppable to its logical conclusion and delivers a fittingly grim story."

You can read the rest HERE!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sketch Reviews (December 30 2010)

A day behind... but good holidays. Though, for me, not really any holidays since wrestling and comics never stop. They never stop. So, we'll keep things brief...

Avengers #8: A necessary issue, but one that felt empty in many ways. It sets up next issue where the Illuminati stand revealed, but as a comic on its own, it doesn't hold up as much. [**3/4]

Captain America #613: This storyarc continues to hum along at a nice pace with action and intrigue. Really digging the art. Some very cool-looking pages here. [****]

Detective Comics #872: Good character work. Not sure I care that much about the Black Mirror yet, but the ending was creepy and has me wanting to see what happens next. Curious to see how the two stories connect. Digging the Francavilla art more than Jock's. [****]

Incognito: Bad Influences #2: This issue was an improvement over the first. The plot is heading in a direction that interests me. Zack Overkill not accepted in either world. Doesn't quite feel like the retread of the first series like the first issue was. [***3/4]

Scalped #44: Lucking into a win... what's funny is that before Nitz went to the casino, I was thinking about how he would and how it would go, which was pretty much how it went down. Another great character-based issue. I do love this comic. [****1/4]

Ultimate Comics Thor #3: Shit goes down. It's quick and brutal, especially the murder of Balder. Curious to see what this series will look like as a whole. [***1/4]


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

CBR Review: Red: Eyes Only #1

I recently reviewed Red: Eyes Only #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "It’s hard to know what to expect when an artist writes and draws a sequel or prequel to a comic he originally drew, especially when the writer of the original was Warren Ellis. Will the writing stand up to the original or will it come off as a lame vanity project? Thankfully, Red: Eyes Only manages to fit perfectly with the original series, showing that Hamner can not only capture the cynicism and nastiness of Ellis’ voice, but also the tender humanity that’s always there just below the surface. More than that, with colorist Val Staples, Hamner’s art has never looked better. He has written and drawn his best comic to date with Eyes Only."

You can read the rest HERE!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Splash Page Podcast Special Guest Episode 04

Merry Christmas, everyone! Today, we've got a special holiday treat for everyone: over four hours of Sean Witzke and I talking comics, music, movies, TV, and whatever else. There's some end of the year talk, some best of the year talk, something about Wonder Woman, and tons of jumping topics. And, it all begins with a special different bit of intro music.

You can download and listen to the Splash Page Podcast special guest episode 04 HERE!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

CBR Review: What If? Dark Reign #1

I recently reviewed What If? Dark Reign #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "One of the more enjoyable parts of the Marvel’s yearly What If? issues are the issues exploring the previous events or status quos, showing what could have happened if something changed. This year, Marvel has left those two issues until the end of the month with one focusing on Dark Reign this week and Siege next week. For the Dark Reign issue, the major difference rests on Clint Barton succeeding in killing Norman Osborn and the ramifications of that act. Disappointingly, the ramifications are barely shown in a large sense and Barton’s story is wrapped up via interference from an entirely new character that acts as little more than a poor attempt at mocking those on the right of the political spectrum."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Thor: Wolves of the North #1

I recently reviewed Thor: Wolves of the North #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "It’s another Thor comic, just in time to help finish out 2010. This one-shot functions in a similar way to an annual, delivering a story that isn’t essential, but is enjoyable enough. Focusing on a time where Thor helped a Viking village rid itself of the threat of Hela’s demon army, Wolves of the North has action and a little intrigued plus some stunning art by Mike Perkins and Dan Brown."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Superman/Batman #79

I recently reviewed Superman/Batman #79 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "It’s the return of the DC One Million versions of Superman and Batman (and Robin), versions of the heroes that I’m always surprised aren’t used more, neither appearing since the Hourman series that spun out of DC One Million and Grant Morrison’s run on JLA (unless you count Kal Kent showing up in All-Star Superman). You wouldn’t want to overuse the characters, but they haven’t been used at all, so Chris Roberson dusting them off for the first of a two-part story in Superman/Batman is a bit of a treat. And by pitting them against Epoch, the Lord of Time, they’re given a challenge that may be a little too much."

You can read the rest HERE!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

CBR Review: Batman, Inc. #2

I recently reviewed Batman, Inc. #2 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Picking up where the first issue left off, Batman, Inc. #2 is just as fast-paced and energetic as the debut. With his chosen recruit for the position of Batman of Japan dead, Batman finds himself tasked with the job of stopping Lord Death Man from killing more people as Mr. Unknown’s replacement/protégé tries to prove himself worthy of taking up the mantle of the Bat. Plus, Catwoman has her own agenda as always and I’m betting it involves something shiny. This issue is a highly entertaining romp with good guys being good guys and a villain that luxuriates in villainy. Batman, Inc. is just flat-out good comics."

You can read the rest HERE!

Sketch Reviews (December 22 2010)

The guy at my shop remarked that it was a small week for me: six books. To be fair, I was planning to get eight, but the shop had no rack copies of Thunderstrike #2 and Wildcats #30. Those were for reviewing purposes, so I'm not too upset. So, with four books getting reviewed, that's only two purchased for reading purposes only... except, oh wait, one is X-Files/30 Days of Night #6, which I've been buying for Michelle. Ha. So, expect less than normal. And go read my review of III/IV by Ryan Adams & the Cardinals over at 411mania.

Secret Avengers #8: Last issue, they forgot to include any creators credits and they've done it again this issue. I'll rip off Graeme and say that, like the Avengers, the creators are secret. Really, it's the standard team of Brubaker, Deodato, and Beredo. It's a fine issue. The art has a sketchier quality and the colouring is a little overpowering. We're not in the territory of the Deodato/Beredo dynamic that happened near the end of Dark Avengers, but it's getting close. I'm really intrigued by what will happen when we get more about the Shadow Council. Good action superhero comic. [***1/4]

X-Files/30 Days of Night #6: I can't muster up the energy to care anymore. That's not a knock on the comic really. Michelle is really enjoying the series and that's all that matters to me. [N/R]


Monday, December 20, 2010

CBR Review: The Unwritten #20

I recently reviewed The Unwritten #20 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "The Unwritten is often at its best when it’s engaging with literature or literary figures directly. The issue about Rudyard Kipling and the discussion of Frankenstein in the early issues were some of the comic’s more interesting and thoughtful parts. With this story arc focusing on Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, it seemed like after a few stories focusing on the characters and the larger plot, which were enjoyable, that the book was returning to some literary discussion for an arc. Well, the literature geek in me has been a little disappointed so far, but this issue does show some promise towards the end where Tom Taylor enters into Moby-Dick."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Loki #2

I recently reviewed Loki #2 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "How many times have we seen Loki kill Balder, either directly or through someone else? There’s an interesting tie-in to the mythological roots of Thor and the Aesir when Marvel tells and retells the same stories from different perspectives, in different ways, but it’s also tedious. Loki brings about Ragnarök by killing Balder. That’s the way it happens and, in the past few years, it seems to have happened a lot. In fact, at least two current mini-series for Marvel have plots rooted in that act, including, unsurprisingly, Loki, where, in the second issue, he kills Balder. Why? Because he’s Loki and that’s what Loki does."

You can read the rest HERE!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

CBR Review: Thunderbolts #151

I recently reviewed Thunderbolts #151 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "A member of the group for over two iterations, the Ghost has been a central player in Thunderbolts and even showed up in Invincible Iron Man, but he’s always remained something of an enigma.I’ve never questioned that approach, since the character’s creepy exterior worked better knowing as little as possible about what lies beneath. With characters like this, there’s always the danger that too much information will spoil the mystique and take away some of the appeal. That doesn’t deter Jeff Parker and Kev Walker in Thunderbolts #151, where they have the Ghost tell his story to Moonstone and it serves to enhance the character, for the most part."

You can read the rest HERE!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

CBR Review: What If? Spider-Man #1

I recently reviewed What If? Spider-Man #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "There are certain stories in comics that everyone needs to recognize as antiquated and more than just a little stupid. One that always bugs me is the ‘superhero kills someone and just. Cannot. STOP!’ story. That story is a lazy, overly simplistic attempt at a morality play that doesn’t actually say anything worth saying. It’s treating killing like potato chips: you can’t stop at just one! It argues that there’s an innate psychopath within the hero that’s kept in check simply by the good grace that he hasn’t killed someone in self-defense and then realized, much to his shock, he enjoyed it. More than enjoying it, he must do it again to satisfy that hunger deep down inside, because, screw you all, killing must done en masse from now on! That’s pretty much all What If? Spider-Man #1 is about. Been there, hated it then."

You can read the rest HERE!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sketch Reviews (December 15 2010)

Oddly mixed couple of days. Having the toughest time finding a copy of the new Ryan Adams album III/IV after my pre-order was delayed. Normally, I'd wait it out, but, in the same order was a gift for Michelle for Christmas, so I wasn't inclined to wait and hope it would arrive by Monday (when we're doing our Christmas stuff as she leaves town on Tuesday morning and I remain in town until the morning of the 27th since I have to work on the 26th). Stopped at a record store on the way back from getting comics, but they didn't have a copy. I did pick up the "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat 3-disc DVD sets for $12 each, though. Stopped by another comics shop to see if they had anything good and the new books weren't out yet... and they had no Hellblazer trades. None. Fuck that noise. So, tonight, Michelle and I may hit a few stores to see if I can find the album... otherwise, Dr. Disc said they may have copies on Friday. I'm just annoyed at since I pre-ordered it over two weeks ago and that seems like plenty of time to ensure that I would get a copy on the day it comes out. Apparently not. Ah well. Comics.

The Boys: Highland Laddie #5: Oh come on, Ennis, just get them back together, you bastard! [***1/4]

Deadpool MAX #3: Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Racists are stupid. And, goddamn, Kyle Baker is killing it on this book. The opening pages are a stunning use of juxtaposition between text and images as Baker runs through a variety of styles, drawing upon pictures and other art, fitting it all into a coherent visual presentation. Yes, I like this comic. [****]


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

CBR Review: First Wave #5

I recently reviewed First Wave #5 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "It’s difficult to retain enthusiasm for a comic that’s plagued by schedule difficulties and has that lateness also show in the final product. As this series has progressed, Rags Morales’ art has progressively, inch by inch, little by little, become rougher and less what it looked like at the beginning of the series. So far, the drop in quality hasn’t hurt the comic too much, but, in this issue, it’s very noticeable and, coupled with the weakest script of the series thus far, First Wave #5 is the low point in what was meant to be the center of the launch of this pulp-oriented line for DC."

You can read the rest HERE!

Monday, December 13, 2010

CBR Review: Thor the Mighty Avenger #7

I recently reviewed Thor the Mighty Avenger #7 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "'One more to go after this.' That is the thought that I couldn’t help but have when I finished Thor the Mighty Avenger #7. 'One more to go after this.' It’s the wrong thought to have when finishing a comic like this. The more fitting thought is 'That was a pretty great comic,' and to enjoy that sensation a little bit before reflecting on the cancellation of the series. Look on the bright side and all that, because it’s hard not to when you’re dealing with Thor the Mighty Avenger, an upbeat, enthusiastic, joyful, touching, and entertaining comic that’s one part action series and one part sitcom."

You can read the rest HERE!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

CBR Review: T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #2

I recently reviewed T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #2 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "After an impressive debut issue, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #2 begins to introduce us to the new team of superpowered agents, beginning with the new Lightning, a disgraced Kenyan runner. Joining Nick Spencer and CAFU is ChrisCross for the scenes showing us the new Lightning’s past and what led him to accepting an offer where he’ll get superpowers, put his life in danger, and still wind up dead inside of a year no matter what. At the same time, we learn more about the people behind the scenes, Colleen and Toby, as they rebuild the team and prepare an assault on Spider."

You can read the rest HERE!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Splash Page Podcast Episode 38 (aka the Joe Casey Episode!)

In this week's episode, we have a special treat as the one and only Joe Casey joins us. After many technical difficulties, we got things recording and proceeded to talk at length about many, many topics. Hopefully, we don't talk over one another too much. Among the things discussed: Intros, Butcher Baker, writing corporate characters, Adventures of Superman, Uncanny X-Men, Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance, the craft, the internet and the audience, writing mini-series for Marvel and DC as ongoings, compression/decompression, the work and the reader, Gødland and sticking the ending, frustrations from cancellations, Wildstorm, blowback from interviews, passion for comics, comics vs. TV, actual talk about Butcher Baker, writing about comics, Dreadstar, more writing about comics but in a different way, classic comics, current comics, recapturing old comics, comics Casey is digging right now, too much talk about Doc Savage, Joe Casey thinks this podcast is too long, and one final teaser for an upcoming work. And it all begins, as usual, with "We're Hardcore" by Gord Downie!

You can download and listen to the Splash Page Podcast episode 38 (aka the Joe Casey Episode) HERE!

Friday, December 10, 2010

CBR Review: Halcyon #2

I recently reviewed Halcyon #2 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "The first issue of Halcyon showed promise and potential but seemed more like a teaser issue than a first issue meant to hook you. The second issue steps up to fill that role in a more satisfying way, though not perfectly. Picking up a month after the first issue, the world is now free of crime and major aggression, leaving superheroes in an interesting and unexpected position. The approach to the series is a smart one, but the characters still lack the necessary depth for us to care about them."

You can read the rest HERE!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

CBR Review: Thor #618

I recently reviewed Thor #618 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Matt Fraction and Pasqual Ferry’s tenure on Thor so far has been a slow burn of varying success. This issue continues the slow, spacious pacing that’s characterized the series so far with more success. Maybe it’s growing more accustomed to the style and pace of the series, maybe it’s Fraction and Ferry becoming more adept at executing it, but this issue is an improvement over what’s come before while still maintaining its relaxed rhythm and expansive two-page spreads. Part of the success is that the build-up to the Asgardians’ confrontation with the World Eaters finally feels like it’s building to that confrontation as refugees of the Nine Realms arrive on Earth with news of what’s coming."

You can read the rest HERE!

Sketch Reviews (December 8 2010)

A pretty regular week for me. I did pick up another half-priced Marvel collection at my shop as they had a whole new selection. Was tempted by Marvel Boy, but since no one has ever told me if they corrected the double-page layout printing problems from the trade, I didn't want to chance it. Instead, I got Astonishing X-Men: Ghost Box in hardcover. Haven't read it yet (though I do have the first issue or two, so I have read part of it) but I will say that I'm a little annoyed at how the actual issues of the Ghost Box mini-series had the scripts in the back and this hardcover has zero bonus features. Would it have killed Marvel to include the scripts that were in the singles? Not a big problem or anything, but still irks me. Especially after the last trade I got, Man without Fear had such fantastic bonus material from Miller's scripts/plots, sketches, a Marvel Age article... Ah well. On to comics!

New Avengers #7: A very fun and entertaining issue. Bendis does a good job giving us a breather and focusing on the team getting settled. Luke's weird 'morals' being trashed by everyone was good. Spider-Man freaking out about Victoria Hand was another good scene -- and that he can't get paid (think about it: TWO Avengers paycheques Peter Parker isn't getting...) is a nice touch. The babysitter search was a great mix of one-liners, obscure characters, and Stuart Immonen nailing every single fucking panel. The final page was funny, too. This felt like the capstone to a lot of Bendis's work so far in a few ways. I loved it. [****1/2]

What If? Wolverine: Father #1: Unlike past years when I didn't have the money, this year, I'm buying every What If? issue. I love the book, but have been choosey in the past (I think last year's batch mostly got read in .pdf form... when Marvel still gave reviewers .pdfs). I didn't like last week's issue and this one is an improvement, but still left me cold. The ending is that dark What If? sort of ending that's always good, though. Greg Tocchini's art leaves me with much more mixed feelings. It's both appealing and not. Rough yet fluid. The sort of art that you don't love or hate right away -- you don't know why it compels you but it does. The back-up strip had the odd joke or two that landed, but most didn't. [**1/2]


Thursday, December 02, 2010

CBR Review: Supergod #5

I recently reviewed Supergod #5 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "It’s difficult to think about Supergod #5 completely on its own, divorced from the four issues that preceded it. The conclusion of the story -- one long monologue delivered by Simon Reddin, a British scientist who worked on their post-human program -- relies so much on following through with ideas set up previously. With all of the post-human creations loose and converging in India where Krishna has remade India, 90% of its population is killed in order to save the country, and that leads to the apocalyptic scenario we’ve seen in the background of Reddin’s communications. More than that, the point is to see how Ellis’s conception of these post-human creations plays out. What insights into their thinking are we given and what does that mean for superhero comics?"

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Bring the Thunder #1

I recently reviewed Bring the Thunder #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "This week, Dynamite launches something of an anomaly in comics: an original concept Alex Ross-overseen comic. Ross is usually known for delivering his unique take on existing characters at Marvel, DC, and, recently, with Project: Superpowers and its updating of public domain Golden Age heroes. Bring the Thunder is a new concept by Ross with Jai Nitz co-plotting and handling the scripting duties. Surprisingly, it doesn’t read like your stereotypical ‘Alex Ross superhero comic,’ which is either a good or bad thing depending on your opinion of Ross’s work usually. This debut issue is an interesting beginning, but a little too vague in its presentation of the central concept to act as a proper introduction."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: What If? Iron Man: Demon in an Armor #1

I recently reviewed What If? Iron Man: Demon in an Armor #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "December has arrived, which means we’re treated to another month of What If? comics from Marvel, beginning with Iron Man: Demon in an Armor #1, which asks the question 'What if Tony Stark had become Doctor Doom?' It’s a shame that David Michelinie and Bob Layton take just about the dullest route possible in exploring that question, delivering a story that never goes anywhere interesting. To read an issue of What If? that is so unimaginative always stings, because this a comic where you can literally have the characters be anything and the writers choose to do the most basic of role reversals with a humdrum confrontation at the end that means nothing."

You can read the rest HERE!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

CBR Review: Wolverine: The Best There Is #1

I recently reviewed Wolverine: The Best There Is #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "The cover to Wolverine: The Best There Is #1 has a big warning: 'Parental Advisory! Not for kids!' with ‘not’ underlined. An early preview for this issue has almost two pages completely censored for being ‘too violent.’ And, yet, there’s something desperate and sad about the attempts to convince people that this Wolverine title is ‘extreme’ and ‘disturbing’ when so many measures are taken inside to keep it tame enough, because, obviously, a Wolverine comic can’t be too ‘mature.’ I mean, they even censor the word ‘ass.’ How ‘unsuitable’ can a comic that censors the word ‘ass’ be?"

You can read the rest HERE!

Sketch Reviews (December 1 2010)

A rather small week all things considered. Bought seven comics, reviewing four of them. By the way, Dreadstar December has begun with a couple of posts and I've also put up another edition of Guess the Real Spoiler! So, um, yeah, Comics Should be Good is where the action is these days, apparently. Since I've got books a day before most of you, I'll keep things vague and short...

The Boys #49: Huh, didn't except to see any of what went down with the Boys and the Seven years ago until next issue. As well, the High is batshit insane. Really looking forward to next month's issue fifty. And Russ Braun? Anyone who still bitches about Darick Robertson not being the book isn't looking at this art. It's not as good, I'll admit, but it's a very close second. He's adapted his style to suit the book so well. Remarkable work. [****]

RASL #9: I'll be honest with you, I don't really remember what happened last issue. Or the issue before that. Great expansive, open art, though. I should really do a reread. [***1/2]

Thor: For Asgard #5: Huh. Not what I expected really. Not sure how I feel about this. I do like how Rodi continues to advance the idea of fate and how it works for the Aesir. Bianchi is still humming along nicely. The final page has two panels that kind of made me cringe, but that's it. Curious to see how this ends -- and if it can stick the landing. [***1/2]