Friday, September 30, 2011

CBR Review: Voodoo #1

I recently reviewed Voodoo #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "The third and final of the new DC Wildstorm books has landed and, like Grifter (and, to a degree, Stormwatch), Voodoo doesn’t bear much relation to her previous Wildstorm version beyond some superficialities. It seems that, in trying to make the Wildstorm characters fit into the DCU, their personalities and characters need to be jettisoned with only the names, looks, and a couple of other superficial similarities retained. This is not the Priscilla Kitaen from WildC.A.T.S. This is a new character that shares her name, appearance, and, strangely, her stripping job."

You can read the rest HERE!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sketch Reviews (September 29 2011)

And so ends the wild ride that was September Comics. If I'd gotten my comics yesterday, that would have also ended on the same day as the end of the wild ride that was September Baseball... and it was a pretty fucking wild ride last night, wasn't it? Both Wild Card spots determined, two collapses completed, a few insane comebacks (with Tampa Bay's being the most insane), and just a ton of excitement for those of us who care. Plus, earlier in the day, while I was at work, the Jays won their final game of the season. So: good day. Same with today and the final batch of September comics. As always, these are brief thoughts and anything I'm reviewing for CBR isn't mentioned.

Annihilators: Earthfall #1: Already more enjoyable than the first Annihilators mini, which I found to be a bit of a letdown. I loved the part where everyone was ganging up on Quasar for wanting them to take it easy because they're on Earth when he has no problem letting loose on 'alien' planets. To the rest, Earth is an alien planet, so suck it, kid! The promise of the return of the Magus also has me engaged. More than that, Tan Eng Huat's art has a rougher edge this time out, more reminiscent of his work pre-Annihilators and I dig that look more. The back-up story is a back-up story. [***1/2]

'Breed III #5: And, just like that, 'Breed III becomes Starlin's version of what Vengeance is for me. That final page seemed fairly obvious once Wyrd mentioned having gathered some allies, but that doesn't stop it from being a total geek out moment for this Starlin fan. Besides that, a really good sustained bit of action in this issue and done in a visually inventive manner a lot of the time. Maybe finally reading the first two 'Breed series has gotten me more into this book, but I'm really excited to read the final two issues now. [***1/2]

Captain America & Bucky #622: Entertaining. Gorgeous. Yup. [***1/4]

Journey into Mystery #628: Talk about art just killing a comic... I like the writing, but the art made this a chore to get through. It's the sort of art that causes my eyes to slide off the page and hope for it all to be over soon. Gillen brings it... Portacio takes it and dumps it in the toilet. [**1/4]

Justice League Dark #1: Some interesting bits. Some great art. Like a lot of #1s I've seen this month, nothing about this felt complete or like anything more than the barest of introductions. Which I guess is where we are now in comics. This was the first act of an hour-long TV pilot... and those tend to have five acts. But, what I liked I liked enough to bring me back next month. [**1/2]

Secret Avengers #17: Not as distinctive as last issue with the dialogue, but pretty damn entertaining. I've liked Kev Walker's work for a long time now and glad to see him as one of the artists for Ellis's run. Lots of fun little moments in this issue like the eyeball mood speedometer or the final page or Steve's "Oh hell" panel. Already looking forward to the next one. [***3/4]

The Ultimates #2: Wow. This was a wonderfully constructed little comic that pretty much told a complete story within the larger story and pulled off something big... in issue two. I liked the first issue, but felt a little underwhelmed at the same time. For all of the "You can do anything in the Ultimate universe" talk I heard, I wasn't seeing that. Well, here it is. Shit. And Esad Ribic continues to draw the hell out of this comic. Skipping this new Ultimate relaunch looks like a mistake right now, anyone who did that. [****1/2]

Holy Terror: I'll keep this brief: I wasn't offended. I didn't find much in here particularly offensive. I'm also pretty hard to offend. I found it cartoonish and ridiculous in a laughable way. I'm not offended mostly because there isn't anything here worth taking seriously enough to be offended. The story is rubbish and the dialogue is Miller at his worse. The art is stunning and gorgeous and worth studying. I haven't encountered a disconnect between amateurish writing and masterful art this large in quite some time -- maybe ever. So: writing [-**]; art [*****]

Later

CBR Review: Brilliant #1

I recently reviewed Brilliant #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Brilliant #1 isn’t really all that different from a lot of Brian Michael Bendis’ comics. There are lots of panels of talking, a quick pace, and a general sense that not as much happened as probably could have. However, what separates Brilliant from a lot of Bendis comics is that there aren’t decades of history behind the characters to act as shorthand. Here, he and artist Mark Bagley need to both introduce the characters and the plot, and tell the story in an engaging manner. They don’t succeed. The result is a comic that ends with a feeling of 'That’s it? Where’s the other half?'"

You can read the rest HERE!

Monday, September 26, 2011

CBR Review: Vengeance #3

I recently reviewed Vengeance #3 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Have you ever read a comic that felt like it was written exclusively for you? That the writer sat down, deeply considered your tastes and desires before putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard)? Now, obviously, that isn’t what actually happens, but that’s how Vengeance feels for me. With each issue, it feels more and more like Joe Casey is writing this comic book because it’s what I want to read. I’ve been a follower/fan of Casey’s writing since Cable #51 when he took for the much-heralded James Robinson only a few issues into Robinson’s run on the book, and have read almost everything Casey’s written. So, you can understand why a series that pulls together elements from all of his previous Marvel work (and I do mean all of it) would seem like it was written for an obsessive fan like me."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Captain America #3

I recently reviewed Captain America #3 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Call me crazy, but there's just something entertaining about Captain America fighting an android that's identical to him in every way except that it's 18-feet tall. In fact, Captain America #3 may be the most straight-up entertaining issue of Captain America in quite some time. Ever since Ed Brubaker took over the title years ago, it's been a great comic with thought-provoking characterization and intricate plots. Rarely, though, was it entertaining in that blockbuster movie sort of way. That's what this issue is: a giant fight that's fun to watch. It's a refreshing change of pace and something a little different for a title that's been locked in one type of story for a long time."

You can read the rest HERE!

Friday, September 23, 2011

CBR Review: Prison Pit Book 3

I recently reviewed Prison Pit Book 3 and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "It’s the end of summer, the return to school, the beginning of fall, and that means one thing in comics: Cannibal Fuckface is back for a bit more of the old ultraviolence in a new Prison Pit book! It may be a tradition that only continues for a few more years according to Johnny Ryan in an interview with Tim Callahan, but it’s become one of my favorites of September. It’s another hundred pages or so of mayhem and violence and crude humor and excellent storytelling and gross drawings. Prison Pit is everything sick and twisted that I love, but am often afraid to admit I love in the form of a comic."

You can read the rest HERE!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

CBR Review: Captain Atom #1

I recently reviewed Captain Atom #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "At this point, if all that’s separating the character from any other random superhero is his powers, there’s a problem. If the end of the issue is any indication, this could be the first step in the title becoming something different, but that doesn’t excuse beginning in such a broad, mediocre fashion. If the plan is to wind up at some different, new, exciting place, why not start there? This is meant to be the place to grab someone checking out the first issue and a vague sense that maybe it will become something more than just another superhero comic in a few issues isn’t a strong selling point."

You can read the rest HERE!

Sketch Reviews (September 22 2011)

The month keeps rolling on and I find myself looking forward to next week especially. Holy Terror!, people! Hell yes. This was a good week, though, so let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Avengers #17: Yeah, I bet Noh-Varr is really scared of Tony Stark's reaction to is hacking Stark's system and controlling all of his leftover armour to fight Nazi robot war machines. I get what Bendis was doing there, but... come on. Carol's bit of dialogue about rather fighting something big and scary than facing Stark after that made me roll my eyes. Tell Tony to settle the fuck down and learn to respect his betters. I do love how this cover had nothing to do with what happens in the comic. All in all, a good fight issue with some annoying parts for anyone who doesn't have their head shoved up Marvel's ass. [***1/2]

Batman #1: This was decent. I found the art distracting and a big detraction much of the time. Capullo is fine when he's drawing Batman and Harvey Bullock... the rest of the time, though, I had no idea how old any of his characters were... or if they were actually supposed to be different people instead of strange clones. The writing is fine. I like the cliffhanger. [***1/4]

The Boys: Butcher, Baker, Candlestickmaker #3: The engaged sap in me who absolutely adores his girlfriend was all warm and fuzzy inside for much of this issue. The guy who knows what's going to happen to Becky is filled with dread. [***3/4]

Daredevil #4: Marcos Martin did some great work here. Waid's writing just floats along, drawing you in without a hint of effort. A joy to read. [****]

The Red Wing #3: At this point, I'm more interested in where it ends and how it all holds together as this has an odd structure... I'm enjoying it... I do like the idea of an alternate reality travelling to our past to save itself. [***1/2]

Severed #2: I thought my shop had forgotten me last week with regards to this issue, but, according to Scott Snyder, this only shipped to the west coast last week. That means I get it this week instead of in another week or two. Last issue, I wondered if Sam was supposed to be a boy or girl. Glad that was purposeful to a degree. Still unsettling and engaging. Curious to know where this is going. [***1/2]

Ultimate Hawkeye #2: So... Hawkeye is a superhuman... and a former convicted killer... huh... I liked Sandoval's art more in this issue than last. But I also spent more time looking at it in a pdf of the issue, so that probably plays a role in my preference. An entertaining comic, but nothing special. [**3/4]

Wonder Woman #1: One of the first titles to get a 'definite buy' response from me. When I was in the shop today, Tim the Retailer told me that I was the first person he's spoken to this week that likes Cliff Chiang's art (he does, too). I was shocked at this. But, apparently, most superhero comics readers are blind fools. Not a home run issue; an intriguing start. More about mood than character -- with the beginnings of a plot. Effective and evocative. Good stuff. [****]

X-Men: Schism #4: Part of my problem is that I don't buy Wolverine taking this position. He's too pragmatic and too smart to get so pissed off over this position. Scott was fighting Sentinels when he was those kids' age, so how is this any different? Maybe it's that Logan's position isn't being presented as fully as it should. Right now, it comes off as simplistic. Hell, he's never had any problem with the younger students getting involved with bad guys before, what's changed? That one of them had to kill? He was in a snit before last issue, though. This seems like a case of those involved having an idea of where they wanted this to end and needing to come up with a reason to get there. It feels false. Hell, Scott bringing up how Logan blows off every class he's supposed to teach was my favourite line. It just doesn't add up. Beyond that, great art, and a nice rise of tension. That the argument between Scott and Logan basically came down to Jean was good. [***1/4]

Later

Unfinished: Living on the 86th Floor in the 21st Century

I began this a while ago and am sick of it sitting in my post list as a draft that continually gets a new date put on it so it stays at the top of the list. It will remain unfinished and I didn't feel like shelving it entirely. Maybe there's something worthwhile in here. Maybe not.

***

I didn't hate First Wave, but I didn't really like it either by the end. From the outset, things didn't seem quite right. Brian Azzarello taking some of the pulp licenses DC had and randomly throwing them together in a world that's a mixture of the past and present with maybe some non-existent future tossed in for good measure? Okay, they had me. But, as the preview material began coming out and even Azzarello was tossing around cliches like (and I'm paraphrasing from some interview he did before the series started) "Rags Morales is doing the best work of his career!" when, looking at the sketches, it was the same stuff as always. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate Morales's work. It has its place. A pulp world written by Azzarello just didn't seem it.

The Batman/Doc Savage Special comic that preceded First Wave wasn't good. When read with knowledge of the events of First Wave, it reads better. But, it's still not a good comic. Batman uses guns, but doesn't kill. Hell, does he even wound? Right from the getgo, it's the same fucking character except with a different Clark to talk down to and be a smartass around. You'd be amazed at how little making him younger and more apt to making mistakes changes the character. The only genuinely interesting scene is Bruce Wayne acting the drunk so he can piss off Doc Savage enough to get him to throw a punch. The one-shot introduced the Golden Tree as a threat and the idea that maybe Doc Savage and Batman don't hate one another. Phil Noto's art was pretty, but incapable of capturing the mood of Azzarello's writing.

First Wave itself was a clusterfuck. One of those big stories where a bunch of individuals all converge serparately on the same thing and wind up working together. There were moments where it worked. It started out intriguing enough with Doc Savage's father dead, his body being transported by the Blackhawks, the Spirit stopping the shipment... The fourth issue ended with a fantastic bit of first-person narration by Batman that's fantastic:
AT A YOUNG AGE[,] I DECIDED THAT FIGHTING CRIMINALS WOULD BE MY LIFE'S WORK. / I HAD -- HAVE -- MY REASON. / BUT AS I GET OLDER -- NOT OLD -- I'M BEGINNING TO LEARN THAT CRIMINALS AREN'T THE PROBLEM. / PEOPLE DO BAD THINGS. FOR WHATEVER REASON. / PEOPLE MAKE MISTAKES. / BUT THERE'S SOMETHING... THAT COMES TO LIGHT WITH TRUTH AT NIGHT. / THERE IS EVIL. / AND EVIL IS BIGGER THAN I AM. / I DON'T KNOW HOW TO FIGHT EVIL, BECAUSE I CAN'T HIT IT, SHOOT IT... / ...OR STOP IT. / I'M BEGINNING TO WONDER, AT THE ONSET OF WHAT I BLITHELY CALL "MY MISSION," IF I'LL BE ABLE TO BEAT IT. / IF EVIL'S WILL IS SO MUCH STRONGER THAN MINE. / AND WORSE THAN THAT... / I'M AFRAID OF IT. / OF ITS TEST OF WILLS. / "TAKE ME ON, BRUCE," EVIL SAYS. "YOU'RE GONNA LOSE." / MAYBE THAT'S ENOUGH, THOUGH... / JUST THE CHALLENGE.

But, there aren't too many moments like that to be found in First Wave. (The Avenger's soliloquy at the end of the second issue is pretty great, too. The two issue-ending bits of narration show off the planned three-issue structure that Azzarello had for this series and how Batman and the Avenger differ from one another.) It's a story that runs around in circles, eventually settling on villains that do things for completely mysterious reasons. Under the guise of 'ending war,' they do evil things that will somehow accomplish their goals. I've no idea how nor is one provided in the comic. Azzarello never gets around to the how. Just that tidal waves and bags of gold will do the job. Sounds like the old 'kill off most of the world and start anew' plot, but it's never addressed. Tonally, Azzarello's writing shifts from dark and insightful to light and nonsensical. He changes Ebony White to a woman and that does little to reform the character except make the dynamic with the Spirit weirder (and you'll note that doesn't reform the character in any way). There isn't a lot of the grit and darkness we associate with pulps. The adventure aspect never really takes off because of the convoluted and opaque threat. Rags Morales's art gets sloppier and less clean as the issues progress and buried under some glowing slick colouring.

What I did find interesting was Azzarello's take on Doc Savage, which continued over to Doc Savage #6-12. That run of issues was co-plotted with Ivan Brandon who also wrote the scripts. It tackles similar subject matter to First Wave: war. In this world, there was a long, drawn out conflict in the Middle East a few years previous that left it a wasteland of burning oil and black air. No one in, no one out. On the cover of the first issue of the run, above the logo is the phrase "WAR-TORN WASTELAND" and the plot considers mutated prophet children threatening to kill America if the blockade doesn't end, while Doc Savage goes in with his assistants/associates/whatever fancy term there is for those guys because a buddy they knew during the war (and supposedly died in the war) is in the Zone.

The use of the war intrigued me in how Azzarello constructed this world. Why the war? In blending the pulp world, which came about in the period after World War I and through World War II, with the modern world, a conflict in the Middle East made sense. A world that's used to war is the home of Doc Savage. It's where he came from and, if he's going to live in our time, the gap must be bridged. Part of what makes Savage work is that he's seen the worst in humanity and, instead of becoming a cynic and someone resigned to that reality, it spurred him on to help humanity rise above it. He's been to war and, now, fights to stop it from happening again.

***

Later

Friday, September 16, 2011

CBR Review: Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1

I recently reviewed Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "One of the stranger books to emerge in the new DCU, Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E., revives the Grant Morrison/Doug Mahnke update of the character from Seven Soldiers fresh on the heels of a Flashpoint mini-series. Writer of the Flashpoint mini, Jeff Lemire, sticks around, making this issue feel less like a new writer coming aboard and more like someone who has a solid handle on the characters and where they fit in the world."

You can read the rest HERE!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

CBR Review: Grifter #1

I recently reviewed Grifter #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "The second of the Wildstorm titles to pop up in the DC relaunch, a Grifter solo book made some sense in that it takes the most popular member of the WildC.A.T.S. and sets him on his own adventures. A cool mercenary-type guy travelling the world, shooting things, blowing stuff up, and being a badass sounds like a fun, entertaining comic, especially with Nathan Edmondson writing and CAFU on art. What Grifter #1 is, in fact, is a strange, puzzling mess of a book that’s a square one reboot of the character. All that remains is his name, his look, and a small part of his past, so don’t expect the Cole Cash you remember."

You can read the rest HERE!

Sketch Reviews (September 15 2011)

I've been rereading Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell in preparation for the release of 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami next month; at the same time, I've been in a bit of a David Bowie mood lately having gotten a few more of his albums. So, it made sense that I'd eventually put Diamond Dogs on to create a little mental synergy or some other stupid term. The Nineteen Eighty-Four-related songs are ones I like, but... they don't really seem to have a lot to do with the book, do they, besides a few phrases here and there... The one that comes closest is "Big Brother" and it has some odd moments that make you go "What the fuck is he singing about?" Ah well. The songs sound awesome...

Batwoman #1: Finally! For the art alone, this should be the top-selling DC #1 for September. Of course, it won't be, but... [****1/4]

Criminal: The Last of the Innocent #4: Is Britt Black meant to be Encyclopedia Brown all grown up? I sure hope so. Not at all the comic I expected. Richards continues to do horrible things and it all works out fine. Who saw that coming? Maybe I should have... I'm looking forward to whatever Fatale turns out to be. [****]

Daredevil #3: Another great-looking comic! A lot of this seemed to be Waid giving Rivera a chance to show off before Waid came back towards the end with the court case. That scene in the bar to end the issue was pretty amusing. I like how the opening arc was only three issues, too. Probably a necessity for Rivera (though maybe not, I don't know), but effective and economical. Definitely sticking with this book. [****]

Fear Itself #6: Is it just me or does Odin shift his personality and mood like twelve times in this issue? He has more mood swings than you'd think possible. Then again, he's senile old man, so he's probably just confused much of the time... Looking at the promo image for the Mighty that was release today, I have to wonder: why no weapon for Steve? Who builds a bunch of mystical god-killer weapons and doesn't build one for the supposed best fighter/tactical mind in the Avengers? Tony "I won Civil War" Stark, that's who! It will all be over soon, my children... [**]

Journey into Mystery #627: My favourite part is the teaser for the next issue at that promises it "on sale 9/14/2011" aka yesterday. Oops. A pretty good issue that felt substantial by detailing a bunch of stuff we didn't know while, at the same time, not actually advancing the story one bit really. Clever bit of storytelling by Gillen. That's how tie-ins are supposed to work, right? [***1/2]

Scalped #52: Now, that's an ending! And a comic! I really do like this new paper they're using. And Nitz's nicknames for his agents are... well, funny... more than anything, this new arc has me wondering where it all goes. I surely do love this comic. [****]

Later

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

CBR Review: New Avengers #16

I recently reviewed New Avengers #16 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Within the context of those opening pages, much of this issue is overshadowed by that debate, whether intentional or not. What makes someone an Avenger? They’re on the Avengers! It’s an argument that’s completely true, but feels wrong somehow to longtime readers. Looking at the descriptors for various Avengers provided on those opening pages, it’s clear that the Avengers has always been a ‘take all comers and see what happens’ sort of team; more than that, it’s been a place for people to get a chance to redeem themselves, something that plays heavily into Daredevil’s reemergence post-Shadowland."

You can read the rest HERE!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

CBR Review: Men of War #1

I recently reviewed Men of War #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Originally title 'Sgt. Rock and the Men of War,' it’s fairly apparent early on in Men of War #1 why the title was changed: there’s no Sgt. Rock in this comic. Instead, the book stars Corporal Joseph Rock, grandson of the famous Sgt. Rock, and a respected soldier who’s doing his best to make sure he doesn’t reach the rank of sergeant. It’s one of the rare books of DC relaunch that doesn’t star a superhero, although superpowered individuals do play a role. More a military book in the new DCU than a superhero book, it offers up something different while maintaining ties to traditional fare."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Moon Knight #5

I recently reviewed Moon Knight #5 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Do you ever wonder about the tone of a comic? I’ve been sitting here thinking about Moon Knight and what tone Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev are going for. In considering tone and comics, I’ve come to the conclusion that most comics are horrible at conveying anything between serious and goofy. It seems that comics exist at those two poles with anything in between read by most as existing at one of those extremes. After five issues, it’s become apparent that Moon Knight is somewhere in between. Could it, in fact, be a dramedy, a book that fluctuates between serious and comedic explicitly, while maintaining a generally less-than-serious undertone?"

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: The Boys #58

I recently reviewed The Boys #58 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "That first page reveals one of Russ Braun’s great strengths as an artist. He captures Hughie’s reaction perfectly. It’s not the na├»ve disgust that he once exhibited often; It’s more tired. It’s a reaction that says 'When will I be done with these freaks?' The covers look as if they were drawn at full size and inserted into the page and, in the details, reveal that they’re supposed to stem from earlier in the 20th century. They're artifacts of superhero erotica with men wearing handlebar mustaches and ‘Superman’ lifting an early automobile."

You can read the rest HERE!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

CBR Review: Stormwatch #1

I recently reviewed Stormwatch #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "If you didn’t have some knowledge of Stormwatch or, better yet, The Authority heading into this issue, it’s not a good introduction. On the first page, we’re alerted that one of the central plots actually stems from Superman #1, which doesn’t come out until September 28, a puzzling way to begin a new first issue. From there, there’s no proper introduction to the concept of the team or its members beyond brief one-sentence descriptors. The recruitment of Apollo seems like a plot tailor-made to introduce the team and its mandate, especially since Apollo seemingly wants nothing to do with groups like the Justice League. What sets this superhuman team apart from any others? It’s a little more secret apparently and... no, that’s it."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: The Big Lie #1

I recently reviewed The Big Lie #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Sandra Stratton is a physicist who travels back in time to save her husband Carl from perishing in the attacks, only she arrives an hour before the attacks instead of several days as planned. Armed with an iPad full of data, she tries to convince him and his business associates that they must evacuate the towers. Their skepticism at her arrival and the information she brings is more than understandable, but what ensues is farcical with a back-and-forth debate over the evidence that she presents. What starts as them questioning that such an attack could even happen becomes a drawn myriad of arguments that put the blame for the attacks at the feet of numerous government agencies and individuals."

You can read the rest HERE!

Sketch Reviews (September 8 2011)

Big week. One of the biggest in recent memory with all of the various #1s coming out. It helps that, for the first proper week of DC's relaunch, half of the comics I'm buying from said relaunch came out. Gives it that bigger feel than it might have had if things skewed towards the third or fourth week of the month. Random chance, I suppose. Let's get to it...

Action Comics #1: An entertaining comic. Pretty basic, actually (and, by that, I mean simple/straight forward). Still not the biggest Rags Morales fan, but some pages were really nice (others not so much). Definitely an interpretation of Superman that suits me just fine. I'm glad this is one of the first week books and second Brian Hibbs in thinking this would have been the right book to kick off the relaunch. [****]

Animal Man #1: The art is a bit hit or miss at times; the writing is spot-on. Normally, I don't really like dream sequences. Something about them seems cheap and lazy. I liked this one; it added to the horror of the book. That Lemire shifts so effortlessly between domestic bickering, slightly comedic superhero bullshit, gravely serious, loving, and horror is pretty amazing. This issue cycles through a lot of different tones without any ever feeling 'wrong' or inconsistent. This was a comic I decided to pick up more as a hunch, a guess that it would suit my tastes, and, so far, it does. [****]

Casanova: Avaritia #1: It has returned. Is it everything I hoped for? No. Is it a disappointment? No. It falls somewhere between all of that. It's been a long time since the end of the second volume (the exact time is in the issue) and it's hard to see this book completely clearly. It feels like Casanova and looks like Casanova... but, it's not the Casanova I remember. Then again, I'm not the guy who read it originally. Hard to account for how both of us changed since then. I liked a lot of it. But: the montage of alternate realities is a better idea than it plays out; that bit at the end with 'Ott' was a little too corny; and... actually, that's it. Yeah. Yeah, I liked it. [***1/2]

New Avengers annual #1: Okay, that ending is bullshit. The follow-up hasn't even been solicited, so why release this now? So it can sit in people's boxes until the second half of the story eventually comes out whenever? This was nothing pressing about this comic that it couldn't have waited for the Avengers annual to be ready. Beyond that, it left me a little cold. I just didn't believe it. Wonder Man gets together a group of losers and rejects and they take down Luke Cage's band of Avengers? Maybe if they seemed helped more by the surprise element... It was a fair fight and, somehow, those idiots won? I don't buy it. Hell, I don't even buy Wonder Man's rationale completely. Seeing Dell'otto's art coloured by someone else is interesting, though. [**1/2]

O.M.A.C. #1: Tim talking this up made me give it a look. I like Giffen's art, just not enough to get past this script that was so fucking obvious and didn't really have any meat on it. [**]

Swamp Thing #1: Was a little on the fence over this one, too. It's an interesting set up that didn't quite grab me completely. Part of the problem is the obvious horror feel this book is going for and that doesn't really play to Paquette's strengths as an artist. His line work is too clean and smooth to really convey the horror that's happening. There's a disconnect there, at least for me. Otherwise, the art is gorgeous (just not horrific) If anything, this issue felt only partially done. It ends on a good cliffhanger, but left me wanting more. Not in the 'I want to see what happens next month' way, in the 'Is that all?' way. [***]

Wolverine: Debt of Death #1: Goddamn, David Aja puts on a show here with Bettie Breitweiser (who is quickly becoming one of my favourite colourists). David Lapham's writing services the art more than anything and that's pretty much what you want from an Aja-drawn one shot, right? Lots of action, lots of mood, lots of crazy page layouts... it's a great-looking comic. [***3/4]

Later

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Splash Page Returns in When Words Collide

In this week's When Words Collide column at CBR, Tim Callahan and I discuss Flashpoint and the DC relaunch. It's the return of the Splash Page, going back to our back-and-forth text conversation roots. Go check it out.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

CBR Review: Journey into Mystery #626.1

I recently reviewed Journey into Mystery #626.1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Open Journey into Mystery #626.1 and you’ll see an editor’s note on the first page: 'This issue takes place between panels 4 and 5 on page 21 of Journey into Mystery #622. In case you were wondering.' That and the fact that this issue isn’t written by the series' regular writer, Kieron Gillen, gives a pretty good idea of how much this comic relates to the actual series. Then again, why a comic that began six months ago needs a ‘jumping on’ point is beyond me. For regular readers of the title, nothing new happens here and, for new readers, little that relates to what’s actually happening in “Journey into Mystery” is shown. This is a mediocre, unnecessary comic."

You can read the rest HERE!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Sketch Reviews (September 1 2011)

I don't know why, but it's very busy outside in the city of Windsor today. Lots of cars on the road, lots of people on the sidewalks, lots of people on the bus, even lots of people in my comic shop (okay, like, five other people -- but, considering I'm often the only one in there when I show up on Thursday, that's a lot of people). It's also incredibly hot and humid. Now, I am inside with the AC on, my slushy mug mostly full, David Bowie on the stero, and this week's comics read. Now, to discuss them...

Butcher Baker, the Righteous Maker #6: Liked the way the flashback scene was presented and Huddleston's depiction of the generals was great. The amount of style changes he uses in a single issue... Wait, what religion is Jihad Jones? [****]

Deadpool MAX #11: Goddamn, that's fucked up. I love Kyle Baker even if he isn't trying. [***3/4]

The Mighty Thor #5: Aside from that ending that is funny for all the wrong reasons, another entertaining issue. Odin headbutting Galactus is awesome in that way that even I can appreciate it -- and it looked damn cool. [***1/2]

Secret Avengers #16: A cross between Global Frequency and Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E.. I rather like how this issue ended and the way that Steve dealt with it. Thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable. McKelvie handled the action quite well, choosing some fantastic angles (like when Steve shoots his gun at us). Lovely done-in-one that also manages to fit into the larger narrative of the book so far. Pretty much what I was hoping for. [****]

Later