Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Quickie Reviews (June 30 2010)

Another small week leading up to next week where Marvel unleashes every new project/mini they've got onto the unspecting masses. The books I've gotten that I'm not reviewing for CBR both showcase the writing of Ed Brubaker. Who doesn't like Ed Brubaker? (People with bad taste, that's who.)

Captain America #607: One issue into Butch Guice as the book's regular artist and he's already not drawing it, just doing the inks with the penciller, Mitch Breitweiser. Thankfully, Breitweiser is a pretty great artist and I don't mind Guice not being around. The art styles are definitely different with Breitweiser sketchier and more evocative in his line work. But it fits into the Captain America style. I'm digging Baron Zemo's slow breakdown of Captain America, while Brubaker makes good use of Cap's supporting cast. This is shaping up to be a good arc that actually puts James as Captain America at the centre a bit more. Previous stories didn't seem specific to him being Captain America, but this one does. Zemo wants to make sure his death occurs like it was originally thought to. I like it. Didn't read the back-up. [****]

Secret Avengers #2: A solid issue. Good chemistry between team members, some decent action, the slow reveal of what's going on works... but there also isn't anything great about the issue. Nothing that makes me stand up and take notice. It's all good/very good, but nothing that goes above and beyond. A slight step down from the first issue. I did like the various suits worn by team members on Mars, especially Moon Knight's. A solid issue. [***1/2]

That's it for this week.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Splash Page Podcast Episode 22

This week's episode is up. We talk the new Wonder Woman costume, some comics from last week, people hating us, and tons of topics in between. Do I really need to sell any of you on the podcast by this point? It all begins with "We're Hardcore" by Gord Downie and it ends with us saying goodbye. In between? COMICS!

You can download and listen to the Splash Page Podcast episode 22 HERE!

CBR Review: Bullet to the Head #1

I recently reviewed Bullet to the Head #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "For their first crime-noir book, Dynamite Entertainment has chosen to do the English translation of the French album Du Plomb dans la Tete with this week’s Bullet to the Head #1. Since this series is the breaking up of a single work into a serial story that it was never intended to be, the structure of this first issue is off a little, but holds together better than you would think with it divided into two parts: the lead-up and execution of a murder, and the immediate aftermath with the police. It’s hard to say what the larger picture is yet, but Colin Wilson’s art carries this issue with brilliant storytelling and art."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Joe the Barbarian #6

I recently reviewed Joe the Barbarian #6 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "In all honesty, Grant Morrison’s writing on Joe the Barbarian hasn’t entirely won me over yet. I like the interplay between the ‘real’ and ‘fake’ worlds that Joe inhabits as a result of complications with his diabetes, and that Morrison is letting his imagination run wild with the fantasy world, playing with conventions on the heroic quest story. However, something is lacking, something essential that captures me on an emotional level. Intellectually, I think the writing is very good, but emotionally, it doesn’t hit me on that gut level. Thankfully, intellectual appreciation for craft and Sean Murphy’s absolutely stunning art is more than enough for Joe the Barbarian #6 to be a strong comic."

You can read the rest HERE!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

CBR Review: Secret Warriors #17

I recently reviewed Secret Warriors #17 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "With writer Jonathan Hickman saying in interviews that he plans for Secret Warriors to last around 30 issues, the beginning of 'The Last Ride of the Howling Commandos' marks the beginning of the second half of the series, upping the ante a little by finally showing us what happens when Nick Fury sends Dum Dum and company into battle against Hydra. Hickman teases that story out somewhat by using a framing device to tell the story with Dum Dum and Sitwell answering questions to the UN Security Council, a technique that automatically raises numerous questions, few of which Hickman answers here."

You can read the rest HERE!

Friday, June 25, 2010

CBR Review: Incorruptible #7

I recently reviewed Incorruptible #7 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Despite a strong start, Incorruptible has started to lag a little in recent issues. Designed as a complementary book to Irredeemable, it follows former villain Max Damage as he attempts to be a hero in a world where the greatest hero of all, the Plutonian, has turned evil. Its focus is narrower than the main book, but for the past couple of issues, this one included, it doesn’t quite have the same dynamic energy that it began with. It still has a solid hook and some good ideas, but there isn’t the sense of urgency that it had originally."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Ultimate Comics Avengers 2 #4

I recently reviewed Ultimate Comics Avengers 2 #4 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Despite the tease of last issue’s confrontation between the Avengers and Ghost Rider, this issue scales things back a bit to give the origin of Ultimate Ghost Rider and provide some behind-the-scenes stuff with the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. While the issue begins with the Punisher and Ghost Rider mixing it up a little, the rest of the issue indulges in some of the pedestrian attempts at maturity that sometimes afflict Mark Millar’s writing that are really nothing than scenes stolen from movies or laughable attempts at making characters 'edgy.'"

You can read the rest HERE!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

CBR Review: Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #3

I recently reviewed Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #3 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "While Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne tells an essential story in Grant Morrison’s extensive, multi-series run on the character, it’s begun more as an art showcase than anything else with Chris Sprouse and Frazier Irving on the first two issues and, now, Yanick Paquette on the third issue, delivering the best art of his career. Some may remember Paquette as a cheesecake artist whose work was a little sloppy and lacking in fluidity, but he’s definitely grown over the years. For Morrison fans, he’s barely recognizable as the artist who did Seven Soldiers: Bulleteer, using thicker, heavier, more angular lines. Frankly, his work on this issue blew me away."

You can read the rest HERE!

Quickie Reviews (June 16/23 2010)

Since I only got one book last week that I wasn't reviewing for CBR, I carried it over to this week where I've again only got one non-CBR review book. It should have been two, but there were no rack copies of Thunderbolts at my shop.

DV8: Gods and Monsters #3: I discussed this a little on the podcast. It's a fine issue and I like what Wood does with Powerhaus here, but the lack of plot development is a little worrying. I am really beginning to dig on Rebekah Isaacs's art. I liked it at first, but it's really growing on me. [***1/2]

Avengers #2: Shit, Bendis has gone crazy. In a good way. This issue is just cool ideas and unexpected shit popping up to take the story in a new direction. Plus, John Romita, Jr. draws the hell out of this issue. He even makes that Protector costume bearable. The two-page spread of possible futures is fantastic. I could look at it for hours. Really, really enjoyable issue. Nice to see that the quality hasn't dropped off from the first issue. The back-up "Oral History of the Avengers" was all kinds of meh, including the drawing Art Adams provided where the middle shot of Captain America has him looking like a fat guy. But, damn, Bendis is writing some good superhero comics right now. [****]

That's it for this week... and last week.

Best of 2010: Halfway Mark

Since it's about that time, here is my top ten books halfway into 2010...

1. Daytripper: Each issue somehow grabs me more than the previous.
2. Scalped: Man, every year this book just can't grab the top spot. The consistent #2 book it seems.
3. Punishermax: Jason Aaron proves that someone can do the Punisher after Ennis.
4. Demo Vol. 2: Wood and Cloonan return for a lovely little addition.
5. Secret Warriors: Hickman reaches the halfway point of this novel and I'm loving it.
6. The Boys: Others may not be on board still, but I dug the origin issues and "The Innocents."
7. Supergod: Only three issues so far, but, man, what a series. This one definitely may rise higher depending on the final two issues.
8. Irredeemable: Still bold and interesting.
9. Morrison's Batman stuff: Solid and always something I look forward to.
10. Spider-Man: Fever: Odds are, this will get pushed out by the end of the year, but it was a fun, wacky series.

Some honourable mentions/books that look like contenders:

* S.H.I.E.L.D.: Only two issues so far, but both were very good. If Hickman and Weaver keep this up, this will definitely make the top ten.
* Sparta, U.S.A.: Thematic companion/sequel to Young Liars. We'll see how it finishes.
* The Unwritten: The first year got weaker in the second half, but this book has made a bit of a comeback quality-wise.
* The Bendis Avengers stuff: The first issues of both Avengers and New Avengers were quite strong, as were the final issues of Dark Avengers and New Avengers. If Bendis keeps that up, maybe these books will crack the top ten. (Having Romita and Immonen doesn't hurt...)
* Captain America: Always a contender. Always.

Some upcoming books that seem like possible contenders:

* ACME Novelty Library #20: Chris Ware. Yeah.
* Casanova: Actually, probably not since I don't do reprints really, but still: Casanova!
* The Playwright: I've had the PDF for a while for reviewing purposes and haven't read it yet, but anything Eddie Campbell does could be top ten list worthy.
* Parker: The Outfit: I really loved The Hunter, so this one seems like a natural fit.

How about everyone else?

The Splash Page Podcast Episode 21

In this week's episode, Tim and I count down our top ten comics of 2010 to date, checking in at the halfway mark to see what's good. We overlap quite a bit, but the only spot we agree on completely is the number one book of the year so far. After that, we discuss this week's comics for the rest of the episode basically. It's just comics this week as we manage to stay on point. If you like podcasts like this, you'll like this podcast. Plus, "We're Hardcore" by Gord Downie to kick things off.

You can download and listen to the Splash Page Podcast episode 21 HERE!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

CBR Review: Azrael #9

I recently reviewed Azrael #9 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Ending his run on the book, Fabian Nicieza concludes the two-part story surrounding the eighth deadly sin, faith. That one idea is striking in its originality and simplicity, but this issue doesn’t follow up on the potential there because of the need to have the story completed in this issue. Azrael’s acceptance of his new role as the embodiment of the eighth deadly sin and his rejection of it is too quick. This seems like a story that was meant to be longer and more drawn out, but was rushed because of the creative team change."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Dark Wolverine #87

I recently reviewed Dark Wolverine #87 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Situated between a crossover with Wolverine Origins and another with Frankencastle, this issue is an interlude of sorts with Daken in Rome, stewing about his father cutting out his wrist claws, which were covered with the Muramasa blade, the only weapon that can kill Logan. What ensues is 22 pages of empty words and vague hints at what Daken is thinking despite him narrating the issue. A woman pickpockets him and he nearly kills her before stopping, seeing it as an exercise in power. After, we get that same scene played out in a much longer, tedious fashion."

You can read the rest HERE!

Monday, June 21, 2010

CBR Review: Joker's Asylum II: Mad Hatter #1

I recently reviewed Joker's Asylum II: Mad Hatter #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "While five-week mini-events like 'Joker’s Asylum II' are pretty hit or miss with me, there’s usually one book that jumps out as worth giving a look. For everyone, it’s often a different book. For my fellow reviewer Tim Callahan, it was the Harley Quinn one-shot because of Joe Quinones’ art and, for me, it was the Mad Hatter issue because of Bill Sienkiewicz. Unfortunately, Sienkiewicz doesn’t do the art by himself here, inking/finishing Keith Giffen’s pencils/layouts, but the finished product is interesting and appealing. Throw in some pretty good writing by Landry Walker and you’ve got a nice comic that acts as a quintessential Mad Hatter story."

You can read the rest HERE!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

CBR Review: The Boys #43

I recently reviewed The Boys #43 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "I’m pretty sure that, right now, ‘Wee’ Hughie is my favorite superhero. Though his superpowers are only some advanced strength/durability as part of his job with the Boys, he’s definitely got the makings of a top-rate hero, something he demonstrates in The Boys #43. Hughie has always been the point-of-view character with a strong conscious and sense of right and wrong, but, in this issue, he takes things a little further, acting in a manner that could not only piss off his boss, Butcher, but also get him killed. But, that’s what makes Hughie so great: he does it anyway."

You can read the rest HERE!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

CBR Review: New Avengers #1

I recently reviewed New Avengers #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "And, now, the beginning of 'The Heroic Age' is complete with the relaunch of New Avengers this week. Since New Avengers was the title that most represented the direction of Marvel for the past five years, its relaunch suggests that not everything that came before is being put aside as Bendis continues to write about an Avengers squad with Luke Cage at the center of things. Together with Stuart Immonen, Bendis delivers a really good first issue that transitions into the new status quo while picking up on some plot points set up in the previous volume of the title."

You can read the rest HERE!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Splash Page Podcast Episode 20

Hey, another Tuesday night episode of the Splash Page Podcast! That looks like the way things will be done for the next few weeks as well, so get used to it. This week, Tim and I do our usual talking about non-comics stuff, books from last week, and other comics-related tangents. I try and sell Tim on Gravel, while he doesn't like translated works of literature. He's evil and sneaky like that. Plus, "We're Hardcore" by Gord Downie! YAY!

You can download and listen to the Splash Page Podcast episode 20 HERE!

CBR Review: The Unwritten #14

I recently reviewed The Unwritten #14 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "The countdown to the release of the new Tommy Taylor book has reached 24 hours and with the buzz at its height in public, things are nothing but tension behind the scenes. The issue begins with a funny scene of a critic reading the book, not really written by Wilson Taylor, and reacting with anger and despair at the horrid writing. He rhymes off clichés before noting that trashing it in writing could lead to problems and he isn’t going to praise it -— so what’s he to do? Why, toss the book in the garbage! If things are bad for critics, they’re worse for Tom Taylor and his small group as Lizzie goes solo and Savoy has been bitten by and enslaved by Count Ambrosio, the enemy of Tommy Taylor made real. With the organization opposing Wilson Taylor lurking about, things are especially tense."

You can read the rest HERE!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Book Group: Ode to Kirihito (Chapters 1-7)

Tim O'Neil had the idea to read a common book and discuss it -- in comments sections or on our own blogs -- choosing Ode to Kirihito by Osamu Tezuka as the (first?) selection. He's already written about the first seven chapters and I'm almost a week late with this post. I just finished the seventh chapter of the book having read bits and pieces of it at random times over the last week.

Unlike Tim, this is my second time reading the book. I bought it just after Christmas in 2006 when it was released by Vertical since I read so much praise for it and, having never read any manga before, figured it would be a good place to start. (As of right now, it's only one of two manga books I own. Not because I didn't enjoy both quite a bit, simply because I'm still geared towards North American comics. I don't have enough time/money to buy/read all of the books I want from that group, so going outside of it doesn't happen much. Not a good reason, but it's my reason.) I believe I read it all in a single night. Just ploughed through it and, as a result, didn't retain a whole lot about it. I remembered bits and pieces. The story of a doctor and a strange disease that turns people into dogs, perhaps?

Tim's idea to do a little 'book group' on it was the perfect chance to reread it, especially since I just brought it back from my parents' place last month with some other stuff in my ongoing quest to have all of my books in one location. Nice coincidence, no?

The plot: there is a disease (Monmow Disease) that turns people into dog-like creatures before eventually killing them. The epnymous Kirihito is sent to the remote village where this disease occurs to study it and see what causes it, if it's contageous, etc. There, he contracts the disease, but discovers its source and manages to halt its progress, so he appear dog-like, but shows no signs of decay or the disease advancing. Meanwhile, his friend and fellow doctor was sent to South Africa where they have an identical disease. The hospital administrator is convinced that the disease is contageous, but all signs point to it being endemic. He's more concerned with advancing his career and being 'right' than the truth. He sent Kirihito to the village to get the disease and prove his point, which has resulted in Kirihito being enslaved by a rich man who takes out his self-loathing on others. Ultimately, he escapes with another prisoner and that's where we end basically.

Having read the first seven chapters, I'm struck by the odd tension between the story and the art/depiction of characters. Monmow Disease lends itself to commentary on what it means to be human. Is Kirihito less a man because of his appearance? No, because he still thinks the same and has the same personality basically. It's a commentary on racism, especially when highlighting the conditions in South Africa at the time of Apartheid or even the treatment of Dr. Urabe when he visits. It's a pretty clear analogy, but it's undercut somewhat by Tezuka's art, which depicts characters in the most stereotypical manner possible. Black characters have big ears, big noses, big lips, are coloured in with dark ink, while a Chinese character speaks with a stunted speech pattern. I'm not sure what to make of it. Tezuka does draw most characters as caricatures in some way or another as many cartoonists do. They highlight certain physical features as shorthand, but it's unsettling for a book that is meant to argue that physical superficialities don't determine what it means to be human to show characters in such a light. It's hard to reconcile the two.

Otherwise, I've found it an interesting and compelling read. None of the characters are entirely pure or good. Even Kirihito has some big flaws, mostly pride and thinking himself superior at first. The disease teaches him humility in some areas, while also strengthening his resolve and pride in who he is. Watching him resist being labelled a dog or a freak, insisting he is a man is pretty much all he does for the second half of this section. I believe we have more of that in store for the rest of the book.

Except, of course, he wasn't seen as a man really even before he contracted Monmow since his boss sent him off to be a test subject without his knowledge. Monmow is an analogy, a tool to get at these ideas, but they were there before, too. The head doctor doesn't see patients or his fellow doctors as people, they are pieces that he can manipulate and dominate. Patients are problems to be solved so he can gain recognition. Doctors are lackeys to do his dirty work for him and agree with him.

Urabe, similarly, has issues with seeing people as equals and treating them with respect. To Kirihito, they are friends, but, behind his back, he hits on his fiancee, even raping her. He does this because of her appearance, because she isn't completely human to him either. While he acts as a counterpoint to the racisim in South Africa and the head doctor's behaviour, a scene late in this section where he tries to force himself on Kirihito's fiancee (who hasn't given up on finding him) shows that he doesn't truly recognise her as an equal, merely a sexual object.

Tezuka's art varies greatly in parts. For a large amount of the art, he does it in a very loose, minimalist cartoony style, but he also shifts at times to more detailed, fully rendered drawings. Lots of cross-hatching and detail. Landscapes get a lot of detail and line work, while most interactions are done in the cartoony style. He's very adept at using a small number of lines to get across what a character is thinking/feeling. Some of the layouts are a little iffy, but they may read better in the right-to-left originals than they do here. Though, I'm not sure how the basic layouts would be affected by a flip... The shift between the two styles can be quite arresting at times. Tezuka uses the shift to great effect, pushing you forward with the energetic, simplified art and, then, BAM! stopping you dead with these gorgeous, lovingly rendered pictures. Is his art in other books like this or was it something confined to this, I wonder...

I'm definitely interested in seeing what comes next. While it's a big, thick book, it's a brisk read. If you haven't picked this up or, like me, don't really know manga, this is a good book to start with. Very easy to get into and follow.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

CBR Review: Robert E. Howard's Hawks of Outremer #1

I recently reviewed Robert E. Howard's Hawks of Outremer #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Unlike other adaptations of Robert E. Howard works, Hawks of Outremer isn’t set in some distant or fantastic setting. It takes place in 1190 AD and deals with the Crusades. Despite this difference, BOOM! picked a solid enough property for adaptation since the period in question was a time of violence and bloodshed, something this first issue has plenty of thanks to its protagonist, Cormac Fitzgeoffrey, a Gaelic warrior that’s out to avenge the deaths of his friends."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Spider-Man: Fever #3

I recently reviewed Spider-Man: Fever #3 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "McCarthy’s sense of humor comes through strongly in this issue with some funny jokes about a magic wand saving the day, Dr. Strange confused over the magical enchantment 'Harrah-Harrah!' needing to be said backwards to break a spell despite it being a palindrome, or Spider-Man’s confusion at what happened when he finally wakes up. Despite the stakes, he keeps thing light at the right moments to remind us that this is just a fun adventure story. There’s a genuine feeling of old school superheroics here, a sense of heightened emotions of all kind, not just the dark ones. If the danger is big, so must the laughs!"

You can read the rest HERE!

Friday, June 11, 2010

CBR Review: Captain America #606

I recently reviewed Captain America #606 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "With Captain America #606, Butch Guice takes over as the regular artist of the book, a move that’s been a long time coming. He’s been working on the book and character for a while now, inking during the Steve Epting/Mike Perkins era, providing pencils for the odd issues, and, most recently, inking/finishing Bryan Hitch’s art in Captain America: Reborn. He kicks things off in grand style in this issue, delivering dynamic layouts and movements in a similar style to Epting and Perkins with elements of Steranko and Chaykin thrown in for good measure."

You can read the rest HERE!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

CBR Review: Ultimate Comics Avengers 2 #3

I recently reviewed Ultimate Comics Avengers 2 #3 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "With the team in place, Millar dives into how they interact with one another, including the Punisher refusing to go after the Ghost Rider, saying 'Why should I protect the government’s rich friends? These punks probably just got what they deserved,' setting this Punisher apart from the regular one somewhat. Despite using some existing code names and back stories, Millar seems intent on making the Ultimate Avengers its own group that only uses the regular characters as jumping off points. That gives the book a fresher feeling than it might otherwise have."

You can read the rest HERE!

The Comment That Made My Day (June 10, 2010)

Left today on my Judging (DC's July) Books by Their Covers post from over a year ago on Comics Should be Good by "Dubai-Guy":

Chad, can you please show me what covers you have drawn for any of the comic companies? Or if you earn money drawing covers for many of the 'major' comic book companies, while perhaps being a father and a husband? Or perhaps while paying the bills? You see, those who cannot do covers, criticise or complain....and for the record you have complained about artists, covers..and those who cannot..well you know how the old adage goes..or is that too blah blah blah or boring for you? see; maybe you cannot draw or maybe you are lacking in the bedroom department...who knows what your insecurities are?...Please note, you may go burn in hades....or I am stating that wrong? Please do let me know....take care chad dear...

NB ....and let me say again....chad CANNOT DRAW!!! That means he has NO TALENT!!! That means he cannot render something useful for a cover and actually work 14 hours in a day drawing a cover, earning actual hard-earned money!.....since chad cannot draw and probably feels really bad and upset about that fact, and insecure, he complains.... you sweety-pie...please burn....

I honestly do love comments like these. And, for the record, I haven't drawn a comic cover since I was 13 or 14. And the ones I drew then were awful.

CBR Review: Batman #700

I recently reviewed Batman #700 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "The first of three $4.99 DC anniversary issues for the month of June, Batman #700 does not get the celebration going as much as you’d like. The quality of the actual comic presented here is higher than two-and-half stars, but the overall package of Batman #700 is sorely lacking. For your five dollars, you get 31 pages of story, seven pin-ups, and four pages of 'Secrets of the Batcave.' You barely cross the halfway mark as noted by the staples before the actual comic ends and you’re left with the ‘bonus’ material. ‘Bonus,’ of course, is a highly malleable and subject term. The packaging of this book left a poor taste in my mouth, as it will for many others."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Predators #1

I recently reviewed Predators #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Predators #1 begins a four-issue mini-series prequel to the upcoming movie of the same name, offering two opening chapters featuring characters from the film. The lead 14-page story, 'Welcome to the Jungle,' is a violent story of hunter and prey, while the 6-page second story provides some insight on Royce, the mercenary that Adrian Brody plays in the film."

You can read the rest HERE!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Quickie Reviews (June 9 2010)

I've got things to do before heading out tonight with Michelle, so we'll keep this brief... as always.

Daytripper #7: "Haunting." I don't know what else to say. [****1/2]

Gravel #19: Always glad for another issue of this series. Not sure why Gravel just let the Scottish fuck who confesses to the sort of horrible misuse of magic that Gravel hates go -- other than it suits the plot. But, the service it does to the plot is pretty good by the end there. Gravel has made some enemies... and it looks like his allies are pretty shit. There's, what, two issues left in this arc? Looking forward to that. Don't know if the series continues after since Ellis only mentioned three seven-issue arcs... [***1/2]

Punishermax #8: A masterpiece of an issue. It serves the larger story, while functioning as its own piece with a complete beginning, middle, and end, tying together three narrative threads. The second page where Bullseye says "Who's up for a day at the park?" made me go "oh no..." And that ending was amazing. The Kingpin left alone with his 'power,' Bullseye learning that some experiences can't be replicated, and Frank crossing a line... fuck me, Jason Aaron writes a good comic and Steve Dillon drawing it is gravy. [****1/2]

S.H.I.E.L.D. #2: The first issue didn't wow me as much as everyone else, but this one knocked me on my ass. Dustin Waver somehow upped his game since the first issue, while Hickman is just charging ahead, hoping we'll all catch up in due time... the most confident storytelling from a Marvel book in god knows how long... Another great book in a very strong week for comics. [****1/2]

That's all. Later.

The Splash Page Podcast Episode 19

The 19th episode of the Splash Page Podcast is finally up. Tim and I spend a lot of time not talking comics before we spend a lot of time talking comics. There are movies, books, TV shows discussed before we deal with some of last week's comics, Grant Morrison, how bad colouring is in comics these days, and how DC should include us on their list of people to send books to for review. Because they really should. We're awesome. Plus, "We're Hardcore" by Gord Downie. Because we're hardcore, too. Hardcore awesome.

You can download and listen to the Splash Page Podcast episode 19 HERE!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

CBR Review: FreakAngels Vol. 4

I recently reviewed FreakAngels Vol. 4 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "This volume picks up six years ago with the twelve FreakAngels on the run from the authorities because of their powers. Right away, Paul Duffield shows off his skill by making each member of the group look six years younger, often with different hair styles and looks, while still making each identifiable immediately. Ellis focuses here on Mark, the only FreakAngel we haven’t met yet since he was exiled from the group shortly after these events. We’ve heard about him and it’s almost shocking to see him take the lead in their efforts to escape and send a message to their pursuers. The idea is that a show of force big enough will scare them off and leave the group in peace."

You can read the rest HERE!

Friday, June 04, 2010

CBR Review: Greek Street #12

I recently reviewed Greek Street #12 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "After the surprising conclusion to the second story arc of Greek Street, the book is taking a little breather for three issues with 'Ajax' and artist Werther Dell’Edera stepping in for Davide Gianfelice. Not only does this issue feature a new artist, it steps away from the cast of the first 11 issues entirely, focusing on Alex, a British soldier, jumping between him back at home and his stint in Afghanistan. Haunted by visions of dead soldier in a Spartan helmet, Alex hasn’t been the same since his return."

You can read the rest HERE!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

CBR Review: Irredeemable #14

I recently reviewed Irredeemable #14 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "The first year of Irredeemable was a revelation. The title began as a simple ‘Superman gone wrong’ story, albeit one done with a lot of skill, and it quickly became something more. A rumination on power and those we trust with it, it soon becoming apparent that the Plutonian, the Superman-esque hero turned evil, isn’t the only one failing to live up to his or her status as a protector of mankind. The most recent and shocking was Bette Noir who failed to provide the means to stop the Plutonian when he first went rogue because it would have meant revealing the night they spent together to her husband. That choice cost millions their lives."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: The Thanos Imperative #1

I recently reviewed The Thanos Imperative #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "After last week’s prelude, The Thanos Imperative gets its proper start with this week’s first issue. The latest in the series of events that have marked Marvel’s cosmic books, this one is unique in its putting of Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy on hold, becoming the only Marvel cosmic book for the next six months. It’s a smart move as it puts all of the emphasis on this one story, but that also raises the pressure and expectations for writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. Like much of their work for the cosmic line, the duo delivers here with a surprising, action-packed issue that sets the stakes high and presents a seemingly unstoppable foe."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Vengeance of the Moon Knight #9

I recently reviewed Vengeance of the Moon Knight #9 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "As a fan of his work for Avatar Press, news of Juan Jose Ryp doing some work for Marvel, beginning with Vengeance of the Moon Knight #9, caught my attention and made me give the book a look to see how Ryp’s style translates over to Marvel. After all, his work for Avatar has often had extreme violence, horrific images, nudity, and pretty much anything else that you can’t stick in a Marvel superhero book, even one that bears a ‘parental advisory' label. He has demonstrated himself capable of superhero art on Black Summer and No Hero with Warren Ellis, but how does he fare with Moon Knight teaming up with Spider-Man to take down the Sandman?"

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Avengers: The Origin #3

I recently reviewed Avengers: The Origin #3 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "For a book telling a story that only required one issue the first time (or seven pages in the hands of Ralph Macchio and Walt Simonson as in the story from Avengers #300 reprinted in this week’s Avengers Prime #1), Avengers: The Origin is managing to find plenty of interesting points to draw out and focus upon. The latest issue, though, doesn’t have quite as many as previous issues, but it does have Joe Casey showing that if Marvel wants to bring back Hank Pym as Ant-Man, he is the man to tackle that book."

You can read the rest HERE!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

CBR Review: Avengers Prime #1

I recently reviewed Avengers Prime #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "With the end of 'Dark Reign' and the beginning of 'The Heroic Age,' Marvel is placing an emphasis on a ‘back to basics’ approach, which, for the Avengers, means the trio of Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor. The only problem is that, for the past five years, those three guys haven’t exactly been on the same page, Iron Man in particular has been in conflict with both Cap and Thor, so, while the regular 'Heroic Age' books are pressing forward with all parties at peace and friendly, Avengers Prime -- a five-issue bi-monthly series -- will show how that friendship is renewed."

You can read the rest HERE!

Quickie Reviews (June 2 2010)

Yes, yes, comics a day early for me, but not so much for you. So, I'll probably spoil things here... I'll try not to. But, if you want to take a chance at being spoiled, I'm once again doing my Guess the Real Spoiler! game at Comics Should be Good.

Demo vol. 2 #5: Another great issue. More writing-focused than previous issues with a lot more narrative captions. Not sure it works completely, but that's only because it needs more than one reading. Wood mentions that he changed the ending slightly and it works a lot better because of it. When the issue began, I was expecting something else, but this was better. Becky Cloonan is amazing as always. [****1/2]

The Great Ten #8: The origin of the Shaolin Robot is pretty cool. I don't know if that's Tony Bedard or Grant Morrison -- either way, it may be my favourite origin of a team member. The revelation of the traitor isn't surprising, but there's a very interesting moment near the end. With a lot of fighting, Scott McDaniel is at home. A shame this book is ending an issue early, because it's been rather solid, especially in the second half of its run. [***1/2]

Nemesis: The Imposters #4: Okay, what? Not exactly conclusive, but that points to the idea that maybe we'll get more of Ivan Brandon writing the character, which I'm up for, of course. I'm interested to see how this will read as a whole, especially with Escape. Not a fan of Cliff Richards's work here as much. Too soft and relies on the colouring a bit too much. Maybe doing the pencils and inks for the series took its toll. I did like the final page quite a bit. [***1/2]

Sparta, U.S.A. #4: Just when you thought shit couldn't get crazier... Lapham is just balls out insane on this book. The perfect follow-up to Young Liars. Johnny Timmons is still inconsistent, but I dig his art. The final page of this book, too, is absolutely brilliant. [****]

There, kept things pretty general, didn't I?

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

CBR Review: Scalped #38

I recently reviewed Scalped #38 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "I sometimes have a debate with myself regarding Scalped and what sort of stories I like best: the one-off issues or the multi-issue story arcs? Both have their advantage, obviously. The one-off issues can focus on one or two characters and shed some light on an unknown event or part of the larger story, while the story arcs can push a lot of characters and plots forward, often changing things in unexpected and dramatic ways. So, which is better? Then, it hit me: whichever one I just read. Which brings us to 'Family Tradition,' the one-off story presented in Scalped #38, and it is yet another brilliant issue of the series."

You can read the rest HERE!