Monday, February 28, 2011

CBR Review: Captain America #615

I recently reviewed Captain America #615 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "'The Trial of Captain America' concludes in a somewhat abrupt fashion after spending much of the issue on James Barnes trying to rescue the Falcon and Black Widow from Sin after escaping from custody. While there’s a nice balance between the action and courtroom scenes, the ending is ultimately unsatisfying, not simply the twist cliffhanger on the final page, but the pages leading up to it. Unfortunately, the final courtroom scene undermines the issue and ends the story arc on a sour note."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: X-Men Legacy #245

I recently reviewed X-Men Legacy #245 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Last month, 'Age of X' began with a prologue/anthology Alpha issue that, reading X-Men Legacy #245 (the first proper chapter of the story), wasn’t as necessary as it seemed on first glance. While the Alpha issue provided some backstory for some of these alternate X-Men characters, Mike Carey writes both a highly entertaining and easy to follow introduction to the 'Age of X' world and story. Longtime X-fans and those new to the characters can both read this issue without difficulties since Carey does such a good job of establishing this new world and story. It’s not simply a fun exercise in seeing how familiar characters are different, like far too many alternate reality stories."

You can read the rest HERE!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Splash Page Podcast Episode 42

We are back... three days later. In this week's episode, we discuss: Charlie Sheen; Steve Wacker, Marvel's "all ages" line, and the comics that hooked us as kids; Iron Man 2.0 #1 and Invincible Iron Man #501; manga; some reader questions; Scott Snyder's American Vampire #12 and Detective Comics #874; lightning round questions; and finish things up with a talk about punctuality. And, it all begins with "We're Hardcore" by Gord Downie.

You can download and listen to the Splash Page Podcast episode 42 HERE!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

CBR Review: Iron Man 2.0 #1

I recently reviewed Iron Man 2.0 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "It’s telling that the new War Machine coming is called Iron Man 2.0, because it doesn’t read like a War Machine comic; It reads like an Iron Man knockoff book. Besides shunting James Rhodes back into military service, there isn’t a lot that separates this first issue from your typical Iron Man comic. Even Rhodes himself doesn’t make much of an impression and that’s rarely been in the case in the past. There’s a dull, muted tone to this debut issue, one that makes it a fairly forgettable one, which is a surprise given Nick Spencer’s habit of delivering strong, bold first issues."

You can read the rest HERE!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

CBR Review: Incorruptible #15

I recently reviewed Incorruptible #15 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "With the Plutonian finally defeated, the impact of his actions still linger across both Irredeemable and Incorruptible with the two becoming more intertwined than they were initially. Incorruptible spent most of its first year being influenced by but not crossing over with Incorruptible, something that’s changed in recent months with the introduction of Alana Patel, the Plutonian’s former girlfriend, to the supporting cast, and last issue’s cliffhanging of the remaining members of the Paradigm showing up in Coalville to take in Max Damage. After seeing the two books exist parallel to one another, them coming together more, especially after Incorruptible had the time to establish itself, is a nice treat for readers of both."

You can read the rest HERE!

Sketch Reviews (February 23 2011)

A big week for me with a lot of new comics, so let's get to it.

Avengers #10: Some rougher art for a lot of this issue. Much thicker lines. Deadlines are a bitch, I imagine. I'm enjoying this arc and liked Stark's little speech to Steve Rogers. But, this isn't clicking the way I'd like yet. It feels too all over the place, too slowly paced. After the balls out craziness of the first arc, this one isn't as exciting. As well, the Spider-Man/Protector scene seemed so forced. Just stunk of effort. [**1/2] (Also, this issue contained Heroes for Hire #1 and I couldn't make my way through it. I just don't care.)

Detective Comics #874: Isn't it nice when half of a new comic is really the back-up strip you should have got last month? (Last time I harp on that, I swear...) The James Jr. stuff was the most intriguing part of the first issue of Scott Snyder's run for me and I'm glad to get some about it. The dialogue between the father and son was great -- and we've got Francesco Francavilla on art! It was a nice surprise to see him also getting the chance to draw Batman and Red Robin in action. That second story felt a little tacked on (maybe it was planned as the back-up for the next regular issue, though...), but was pleasant enough. A solid issue that has me intrigued about the future of the book. [***1/2]

Gødland #34: Only three more issues left... I loved Nickelhead's scene with the Tormentor. Scioli seemed to be working the pages more than usual, too. Trying different things. A really strong issue. [****]

Loki #3: I'm surprised at how much I'm digging on this series. I expected to get the first issue to review and then not care about what happened next. Aguirre-Sacasa's writing is a little overwrought at times, but the art of Fiumara, Lacombe, and Villarrubia is superb. Absolutely gorgeous. It was cool to see such a large amount of time devoted to the reaction to the death of Balder. For all of the times that guy dies, I'm not sure he's gotten as good a send-off as he receives here. Really looking forward to the final issue. [***3/4]

New Mutants #22: I'll be discussing this and X-Men Legacy #245 with Kelly in the second Age of X Dialogues. I enjoyed the two issues, the first one more. This one seemed a little more mechanical... though it did hint at some things that are intriguing about the larger Age of X world. These two issues have convinced me that starting with Age of X Alpha #1 like they did was definitely the wrong way to go. [***1/4]

Scalped #46: More than any other issue, RM Guéra just knocked me on my ass. His best work yet. And Jason was good, too. [****1/4]

Secret Avengers #10: A decent issue. You could see Will Conrad in the art more than ever, especially in some of the faces. I want to like this comic more than I do. It's a fine action superhero book... just not a lot there. [**3/4]

Thor #620: This comic reminded me of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask with the giants. They look the same. I like the idea and can see why Fraction would go there, but those designs just kill it. Who wants to see those generic creatures fighting when it could be Thor and the rest of the Aesir? Baffling choice. [***]

Who is Jake Ellis? #2: A good issue. Still intriguing with really cool art. I get the feeling, though, that this is one of those comics that I'll like, read once as a whole, and never look at again. Just a feeling. Why must my mind go to the negative like that? I enjoyed this issue! Lots of intrigue! I'm intrigued! [***1/2]


The Splash Page Podcast Episode 41

After a couple of failed attempts to record a podcast, Tim and I have barely made it under the wire before new comics day. In this episode, we discuss: random talk, Paul Auster and other book talk, Amazing Spider-Man #654.1, Deadpool MAX #5, school talk, The Social Network & Inception, Superman: Doomsday and lots more on Superman, porn, SHIELD #6, Stan Lee's lying ways, boring talk, and how Tim loves Knight and Squire. And it all begins with "We're Hardcore" by Gord Downie.

You can download and listen to the Splash Page Podcast episode 41 HERE!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

CBR Review: The Boys #51

I recently reviewed The Boys #51 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "After last month’s issue of The Boys showed the original interaction between the Boys and the Seven that resulted in the dissolution of the CIA group, this month’s issue begins to put the two groups back on track for a head-on collision as Butcher heads to Washington to ensure that his team is left to its own devices. At the same time, Vought-American begins running scenarios to determine what the outcome of a Boys/Seven conflict would be and if they can live with the results. It’s an issue focused on the behind-the-scenes politics at play on both sides of the conflict, one that reminds the reader that there’s always more at stake than a simple conflict between the Boys and the Seven."

You can read the rest HERE!

Monday, February 21, 2011

CBR Review: Soldier Zero #5

I recently reviewed Soldier Zero #5 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Solider Zero #5 is not just the beginning of the book’s second story arc, it’s also the debut of its new writing team of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. Picking up where Paul Cornell left off, the writing duo has its work cut out for them after Cornell established a strong voice for this book and how the characters interact, even leaving the fourth issue with a big cliffhanger. Last issue ended with Stewart/Soldier being set up for the death of a police officer that the enemy ‘Soldier’ was possessing and, here, he has to deal with the fallout from that in addition to the collateral damage done during the fight like the disintegrated arm of his brother. It’s an issue of the writers finding their footing and beginning to set things up for the new story, resulting in a scattered issue."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Wolverine #6

I recently reviewed Wolverine #6 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "There are two central conflicts explored here: Logan against the demons in his body, and the conflict of everyone else over what to do about Logan. The inner conflict is the least interesting of the two, playing out in a pretty typical fashion. Watching the various characters argue and bicker over what they should do about a possessed Wolverine is much more entertaining and drives the issue. Aaron makes sure to give every character their own position with Cyclops acting as the middle ground between all sides. He wants to let Logan fight his own battle and not simply resort to putting him down like a dog, but he also knows that that has to be an option. Everyone else seems to either fall on the ‘let him be’ or ‘kill him now’ side. Scott is one who tries to find that balance between his emotions and his rationale mind."

You can read the rest HERE!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

CBR Review: Amazing Spider-Man #654.1

I recently reviewed Amazing Spider-Man #654.1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "We get our first glimpses of Flash Thompson, Super Spy, as he uses the Venom symbiote to help take down an international terrorist group. Slott does a good job of playing up the idea that Flash would have a lot of fun with his new gig and that his handlers wouldn’t be so enthused about sending in an amateur like him, especially when he’s got an alien symbiote attached to him that has a strong craving for human flesh much of the time. The idea that he can only wear the symbiote for 48 hours or less and only on a maximum of 20 missions could lead to some interesting plot points further down the road. The dynamic set up here is a good one, albeit with few surprises. It’s pretty ‘by the book’ when it comes to this sort of story."

You can read the rest HERE!

Sketch Reviews (February 16 2011)

Three comics I was going to get today weren't available. Two were pushed back and the other my shop got shorted on. Yay Team Comics. Let's do this...

Deadpool MAX #5: The remixed Marvel Universe continues as we get the Taskmaster. I'm surprised they didn't change the name to the Taskmistress... but I'm glad they didn't. Too easy, son. Instead, she has the best boy scouts troop ever with some of the biggest laughs coming at those poor, doomed kids' expenses. "MEDICINE TASTES YUCKY." The best badge, of course, is the one showing a foot kicking someone in the groin. Baker's art is at its busiest and most melodramatic here and it's just lovely. I do love this comic. [****1/4]

Jennifer Blood #1: I get what Ennis is going for, but it's not landing too well yet. It's amusing but not funny. The art actively works against things by looking like it wasn't printed properly with fuzzy lines and garrish colours. Go from Tim Bradstreet's badass cover to the amateurish-looking art on the inside and die a little inside. [**1/4]

SHIELD #6: I need to reread these six issues to see how well they hold together, because, right now, it just feels like a lot of throwing shit out and hoping that historical names impress me. They don't. The last page reveal? Whatever, man. Actually do something with all of this and we'll see what I think. Maybe it seems better as a whole. We'll see. [**1/2]


Monday, February 14, 2011

CBR Review: T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #4

I recently reviewed T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #4 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "The slow introduction of the new T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents continues with this issue as we meet the new Dynamo, a former special forces op who’s fallen on hard times after a private gig went south. He’s crude and obviously jaded by his experiences. And, if you believe the tease at the end of issue three, he’s also a spy for Spider. With that knowledge looming over this issue, there’s a sense of dread as Dynamo is sent in to rescue NoMan from Spider. The tension is increased by Nick Spencer’s expert pacing, jumping between three locations/times until the big cliffhanger at the end of the issue. It’s an issue of building suspense that pulls it off completely."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Punishermax #10

I recently reviewed Punishermax #10 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "The last time an issue of Punishermax came out was July 28. It’s been a long wait as Steve Dillon handled the art for Ultimate Comics Avengers 3 with Marvel allowing the book to slip from the schedule to ensure that Dillon could be the only one drawing it. It’s a move that was most definitely welcomed. The book continues its 'Bullseye' story where the eponymous character is as much defined by Jason Aaron’s skewed take on him as he is by Steve Dillon’s ability to give this raving psychopath a strangely innocent face. It’s disarming and something that not many artists could pull off. It’s been a hard wait for a new issue of this comic, but completely worth it."

You can read the rest HERE!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

CBR Review: Ultimate Captain America #2

I recently reviewed Ultimate Captain America #2 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Sometimes, it’s hard to know what to make of Ultimate Captain America as a character. He will shift from being a xenophobic jerk to a sensitive, decent guy between panels often. There isn’t the sense of genuine valor and humility that the regular version of the character has, this one more brash and eager to fight. While the Marvel Universe Steve Rogers comes off as the idealization of America, this one is more reflective of its negative aspects. Some would call his shifts in character ‘complex,’ but they come off as disjointed in Ultimate Captain America #2. It reads like Jason Aaron is trying to be both faithful to previous portrayals of the character and not be limited by them. It doesn’t work."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: SpongeBob Comics #1

I recently reviewed SpongeBob Comics #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "SpongeBob Comics #1 was one of the books I was looking forward to most this week. I’m a bit of a fan of the property and was excited to see how it translates into the world of comics. The results are mixed at times, but the overall experience is an enjoyable one. The approach taken for SpongeBob Comics is that of an anthology with a few short stories, a few one-page gags, a pin-up, and even some behind the scenes stuff about SpongeBob SquarePants creator Steve Hillenburg’s pre-SpongeBob comic The Intertidal Zone. It’s 32 pages of content plus the back and inside-front covers!"

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: New Avengers #9

I recently reviewed New Avengers #9 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "It’s always a welcome sight to open a comic and find Howard Chaykin’s art gracing its pages. With Mike Deodato, Chaykin draws part of New Avengers #9, showing some of Nick Fury’s activities in the late ‘50s as a Nazi hunter. Because, let’s face it, ‘Nick Fury, Nazi Hunter’ is a comic book everyone would buy in an instant, especially if Chaykin was providing the art. The contrasting styles of art lend a conflict to the comic, an interplay that makes it a more dynamic read. Unfortunately, it’s also a set-up issue where Bendis’s writing feels empty and mechanical. This is a necessary comic for its story arc, but not one that works entirely on its own."

You can read the rest HERE!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

CBR Review: Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates #1

I recently reviewed Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Ignore the cover with its big 'Death of Spider-Man' banner and the action shot of Nick Fury’s Avengers fighting against the Ultimates, because neither apply to this comic yet. Picking up where Ultimate Comics Avengers 3 left off, this series could have easily been called 'Ultimate Comics Avengers 4' and looks to be not just a culmination of the plot threads begun in the first Ultimate Comics Avengers series, but also some of the ideas and character bits first seen in The Ultimates. It’s a slow start to the big concluding story/half of a big crossover, but that quiet way of easing into the story is very effective, giving a steady rise as the comic goes on until it hits the cliffhanger finish."

You can read the rest HERE!

The Splash Page Podcast Episode 40

Welcome to another episode of the Splash Page Podcast. In this week's episode, Tim and I discuss: death at Marvel, most consistently good and bad Marvel titles, Wolverine 5.1, Marvel crossovers, some Thor talk, back to Wolverine 5.1, teenagers and the Ultimate books, $2.99 vs. $3.99, who dominated 2010's sales charts, the business side of things, positive/negative criticisms, best of whatever lists, Garth Ennis's writing, and SpongeBob Comics #1. There's also lots of looking things up online and a couple of swear words that get bleeped out. And it all starts with "We're Hardcore" by Gord Downie.

You can download and listen to the Splash Page Podcast episode 40 HERE!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Sketch Reviews (February 9 2011)

Read my comics later than usual this week, because I was at work today. This week, I became a full-time employee at the company I was a temp worker at through a job agency. It was meant to be a temporary part-time sick leave fill-in gig and, now, I'll be working two more days a week in addition to my marathon weekend shift. This was the only week that I'm working Wednesday, though, my regular days being Tuesday and Thursday going forward (which means that I'll be moving Random Thoughts! to either Monday or Friday most likely...). So, things are extra brief as I try to get as much done before going to sleep tonight...

Casanova: Gula #2: I haven't (re)read this. But I do love the use of yellow on the first page. [N/A]

Doc Savage #11: I read this comic and get the feeling that I'm not catching everything. But, HOLY FUCK did Nic Klein bring it for the two pages of fight at the end of the book. Spectacular art. The best art I saw this week period. Those two pages are MOTHERFUCKING COMICS. [****]

Incognito: Bad Influences #3: It casts about, hoping to find some meaning, hoping to find something... though, wait, is Steve Ditko a pulp hero now? [***1/4]

Secret Warriors #24: Who cares, they're all dead now anyway. [***1/4]

The Unwritten #22: My eyes glazed over at some point and I pushed on to the end. Art was nice. The possible future scene was amusing. The rest was eye-glazing. [**1/2]

Wolverine #5.1: Tim and I will discuss this on the podcast this week. But, I enjoyed this comic. For a comic where the artist was 'TBD' originally, they sure got someone all kinds of awesome. [***3/4]


Tuesday, February 08, 2011

CBR Review: Batman: Odyssey #6

I recently reviewed Batman: Odyssey #6 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Batman: Odyssey may not make a lot of sense (or any, depending on who you ask), but it’s about as compelling and engaging a superhero comic as you’re going to find these days. It’s crazy and nonsensical, shifting from one scene to the next, characters spouting out random bits of gibberish and there not being much to let you know what, if any of it, matters. Characters drift in and out, returning issues later for reasons not always explained. So much of what’s going on seems to be happening inside Bruce Wayne’s head and he doesn’t always feel like sharing. Still, there’s something appealing about that weird craziness, of a superhero comic going full tilt, not slowing down, and not apologizing for its singular vision that you either get or don’t."

You can read the rest HERE!

Monday, February 07, 2011

CBR Review: Wolverine: The Best There Is #3

I recently reviewed Wolverine: The Best There Is #3 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "In theory, an over-the-top Wolverine comic that revels in a little bit of the old ultraviolent sounds like a great idea. Of Marvel’s heroes, Wolverine lends himself to a big, nasty violent comic that’s full of blood and gore and messed up stuff happening on every page. In practice, it’s a dreadful bore. Charlie Huston writes the title almost as if the mandate was 'What would a Garth Ennis Wolverine comic be like?' except without grasping Ennis’ style of writing beyond the most superficial elements. A deformed child? A strange villain? Offbeat bad guys? All there, none of it working to cohere into an entertaining comic."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Ultimate Comics Thor #4

I recently reviewed Ultimate Comics Thor #4 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "And, so, at the end, we arrive back at the beginning. Ultimate Comics Thor ends where The Ultimates began and that actually detracts from this comic. It’s three issues of build-up and politicking and battle and reworked Asgardians winding up as unseen backstory for comics that clearly didn’t have any of this as a subtext. Normally, when a writer goes back and develops a ‘prequel’ like this, it’s meant to deepen the original, to imbue it with meaning, but Ultimate Comics Thor doesn’t do that. If anything, it retroactively makes the use of Thor in The Ultimates disappointing, because it could have used the backstory Hickman has crafted to enrich the character and, especially, the second volume where Loki appeared."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Thor: For Asgard #6

I recently reviewed Thor: For Asgard #6 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Is there an issue seven coming out next month that was previously unadvertised? With the end of Thor: For Asgard, the actual problems set forth at the beginning of the series haven’t been resolved. Instead, they’re still there and the focus has shifted to something else entirely. By the end, Asgard still faces Ragnarök, Odin is still on quests, Balder is still dead, a threat still exists, and there are more people to keep alive with Valhalla now empty. At the same time, an effort is put forth to suggest that something has been accomplished, that the state of Asgard is better here than it was at the beginning of the series, that a victory has been won, and there’s validity in that argument."

You can read the rest HERE!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

The Splash Page Podcast Episode 39

After an extended absence, Tim and I have finally returned. We took some time away because of various reasons including illness, no time, little desire... basically, we wanted to come back when we both really wanted to do some podcasting. That means giving it 100% and that's what you get with this episode. In this episode, we discuss: our discussions about comics with other people, definitive runs, Invincible Iron Man #500.1 & 500, the X-franchise, Abhay's Superman story, Heroes for Hire, getting to the stuff that matters in stories, Ultimate Comics Avengers, artists Tim hates more than Larroca and Bagley, Moby-Dick, Noh-Varr, and Garth Ennis's Punisher. And it all begins with "We're Hardcore" by Gord Downie.

You can download and listen to the Splash Page Podcast episode 39 HERE!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

CBR Review: Invincible Iron Man #500.1

I recently reviewed Invincible Iron Man #500.1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "The first of Marvel’s ‘.1’ initiative comics hit the stands this week with Invincible Iron Man #500.1, a supposed ‘easy jumping on point’ for new and old readers alike. So, with that in mind, the one question I’ve decided to ask myself after reading any of these ‘.1’ issues, whether it’s a book I currently read on a regular basis or not, is 'Does this comic make me want to buy the next issue?' Because, let’s be honest, more than other comics, that’s the stated goal here. You’re supposed to buy a ‘.1’ issue and, then, want to keep reading that title. The entire reason for these comics is so that people can pick them up and start adding that title to their pull list."

You can read the rest HERE!