Sunday, May 29, 2011

CBR Review: The Mighty Thor #2

I recently reviewed The Mighty Thor #2 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Getting to the end of The Mighty Thor #2, there’s a sense that, in past times of double-sized first issues, this is where the first issue of the series should have ended. You know, with the plot actually getting started. That this is the second issue makes much of what happens until the final pages seem aimless and meandering, like the comic is just floating through this world and maybe there will be a point to it all at some point. Maybe. It’s the same feeling Matt Fraction’s seven-part 'World Eaters' story with Pasqual Ferry had for much of it and, like that story, Fraction is accompanied by a skilled artist that, often, is the best thing about the comic, by far."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Kirby: Genesis #0

I recently reviewed Kirby: Genesis #0 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Kirby: Genesis reunites the Marvels duo of Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross, joined by artist Jack Herbert, to tell the story of a universe populated by the Jack Kirby characters not owned by Marvel and DC. Whether known like Captain Victory and the Silver Star, or barely anything more than a sketch and a name, Busiek and Ross are using them all, trying to tell a coherent story. This zero issue is a preview of the series along with some backmatter. Although, exactly what kind of comic this previews is anyone’s guess; it reads like a pseudo-retro mess."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Daken: Dark Wolverine #9.1

I recently reviewed Daken: Dark Wolverine #9.1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "New series writer Rob Williams comes aboard with this ‘point one’ issue, replacing the title’s only writers so far, Daniel Way and Marjorie Liu. Daken: Dark Wolverine (and its predecessor Dark Wolverine) has always had potential with a lead character that isn’t quite like any other at Marvel. Daken can occupy philosophical and poetic spaces before shifting into brutal violence. Unfortunately, finding a balance that approaches consistency has never been the book’s strong point, often falling into the habit of having Daken simply retread old Wolverine moments and actions. Williams makes it clear that that cycle will be ending, but not in this issue, which is a rather hollow and empty statement of intent."

You can read the rest HERE!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sketch Reviews (May 26 2011)

I mentioned this on Twitter on Tuesday, but I'm taking a break from my Random Thoughts feature at Comics Should be Good. It was a spur-of-the-Tuesday-morning decision, but one that's been coming for a while. I've done the weekly thing before and continue to -- and, if there's one thing I've learned: walk away for a time when you want. Why force it when it isn't fun? I'll come back when I want to, or maybe not. Who knows. (Oh, and this definitely applies to shit I'm doing for free. It's crass and cruel, but... well, money does make a difference.)

Saw Thor this week and enjoyed it. It was a bit of a strange movie, wasn't it? Most of the big 'twists' were things that are right out in the open in the comics. It was also a movie that wasn't really about who can hit things until they stop, though that played a part. For a movie about a big strong viking god, it was largely based around inner conflict and strength. Interesting approach. My inner fanboy couldn't get over some stupid things -- like the Frost Giants were more 'Andre the Giant' than 'actual fucking giants.' Shit that doesn't matter at all, but will always bug me because it bugs me. Something to ignore inside, I guess.

Yesterday, the two-issue Silver Surfer mini-series, "Parable," by Moebius and Stan Lee arrived in the mail. The only thing I have to say about that right now is how much I love the casualness of Moebius's Silver Surfer. He just sort of stands on his board like he's standing on a street corner, not giving a fuck. And that little hunch he has at the end of the story? Awesome.

Butcher Baker, the Righteous Maker #3: Loving Huddleston's art... Casey's writing less so. This feels more laboured than usual. Probably my fault for the expectations I built up. [***1/2]

Captain America #618: I kind of love how Gyrich is basically "Yeah, the Russians had no case for extradition, but I fucking hate superpeople, so I sent your boy wonder to the gulag. Fuck you, Captain America." How does that guy stay employed? Anyway, this story isn't really clicking with me. I'm curious about the ending, but ever since the end of "The Trial of Captain America," I haven't had my heart in it. Some great art. Love Butch Guice's first couple of pages in this issue. [***1/4]

Detective Comics #877: So, this was fine. Not great or excellent. Fine. Aside from that one-and-a-half issue of this run that I've really loved, I've been the guy standing around going "Hey, guys, this is an okay comic, but it's not as good as you're all saying!" while no one listens or cares. Nor should they. Like what you like. But, yeah, this was fine. [**3/4]

Secret Avengers #13: Ah, the new character that pops up and makes some big point about something... wait, did he make a point? What was the fucking point? I especially love the convenient 'this new character you've never heard of is also an insanely powerful mutant who has never appeared before!' The minute they pulled out that twist, I was like "And this guy wastes his time in congress, banging his head against the idiocy of that system? Moron." It doesn't help that this comic has horribly mediocre shiny art. Is every issue of Spencer's Secret Avengers going to end with some bullshit speech that I wind up skipping after two sentences? [*1/2]

Strange Adventures #1: I'm amused that the review on CBR has links at the end to my reviews of the Jim Starlin-penned Strange Adventures mini-series. This was pretty hit or miss in every way you can imagine. Some good writing, some bad writing, some good art, some bad art. I was hoping for better. Even though I'm buying it when it comes out, I did partially get this to see the Spaceman teaser/first chapter bit. I dug it. Once you get a handle on the dialogue quirks and such, it's pretty easy to follow. I'm curious what Azzarello and Risso will do with that concept. Other quick bits: Denys Cowan art is always welcome, Juan Bobillo does some nice work, "Partners" was one of the stronger pieces overall, "All the Pretty Ponies" went nowhere, Jeff Lemire's "Ultra" story was good, "Refuse" was strange and had a nice horror element, and the two stories before Spaceman are better left forgotten. [**1/2]


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

CBR Review: Justice League of America #57

I recently reviewed Justice League of America #57 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "The contrast between the heroes and the villain in Justice League of America #57 makes for an interesting dynamic. As the Justice League regroup and plan to take on Eclipso on the moon, the villain advances his schemes in a big way by setting his eyes on his successor as the Vengeance of God, the Spectre. The heroes regrouping and strategizing gives the issue a down, transitory feeling that’s balanced out by Eclipso taking on the Spectre. Conceptually, it works quite well. The execution is where the issue falters."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Heroes for Hire #7

I recently reviewed Heroes for Hire #7 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Reading Heroes for Hire #7, I’m reminded of my youth and picking up random issues of Web of Spider-Man at the grocery store. This comic features Spider-Man in a loose team-up with Misty Knight and Paladin, taking on some faceless thugs with guns that happen to have Batroc the Leaper working with them. I don’t know about you, but that screams ‘third-tier Spider-Man comic from the 1990s’ to me, in good and bad ways."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: THUNDER Agents #7

I recently reviewed THUNDER Agents #7 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "In an interview with CBR recently, Nick Spencer discussed how the story arc beginning in T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #7 is different from the first arc and, boy, was he right. Unfortunately, the first issue of the new story is different in that it barely gets going before it ends, spending a large amount of the issue on a scene that doesn’t necessarily add a lot to the comic. It’s the sort of issue that you hit the end of and wonder where the comic went because you only started it around a minute and a half ago."

You can read the rest HERE!

Monday, May 23, 2011

CBR Review: The Outsiders #39

I recently reviewed The Outisders #39 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "The Outsiders #39 feels like a comic not of its time. I’m not entirely sure if that’s a compliment or not, because some parts of the comic work and others do not. As a basic concept, the idea of two groups of Outsiders fighting one another is a strong, classic concept. It reminds me of old annuals where superhero teams were split in two and forced to fight lest a cosmic foe destroy the Earth. Those were always fun comics and a chance to see how your favorite heroes measure up against one another in a fight. Bringing that idea to this issue of The Outsiders should have made for an entertaining comic, but it’s dismissed so quickly that the prospect of superheroes fighting one another is nothing more than a tease."

You can read the rest HERE!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sketch Reviews (May 19 2011)

[Last Thursday, Blogger decided to crash, so I couldn't do my usual Sketch Reviews. I just folded them into this week's batch, because I'm lazy like that.]

Avengers #13: And the Oral History shows up in the present. I like how it merged into what Bendis is doing and is a clever way to discuss the events of Fear Itself. My only complaint is that it's coming too soon -- we haven't hit the present yet in that telling. Now, if it flowed right out of prose pieces into a story, that would have been much better. Still, a strong character issue. That first panel at the Asgardian banquet was great. And Chris Bachalo on art... hey, he makes it work. A strong issue. [****1/4]

Batman: Gates of Gotham #1: A decent story and inconsistent art. The colours really fluctuate here with some panels just looking like awful backgrounds for an animated series. I'm intrigued. [***]

Batman, Incorporated #6: I've said a lot about this comic between the podcast and Random Thoughts. So, yeah, I dug it, wonder about the tone of the art... [****]

Deadpool MAX #8: Bob's past isn't quite as fucked up/funny as Deadpool's, but still good. Nothing here is that surprising, but I do love how we keep getting a remixed version of the Marvel universe. And this version of Cable is awesome. The way that Baker draws this issue is looser and darker. I love the texture of the art by the end. [****1/4]

Journey into Mystery #623: Pencil crayons! [****]

Punishermax #13: Damn good comics right here. [****1/2]

Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates #4: The guy at my shop accidentally put this week's issue of Ultimate Spider-Man in my stack, because they look the goddamn same. I only noticed when he was ringing me up. Designs are cool and all, but if you can't tell what the fucking comic is... Still enjoying this mini, more than any of the previous ones. The Spider-Man stuff just kind of shows up and is dropped, which is odd. Gregory being the man behind it all was obvious and I'm glad Millar didn't even try to drag that out. Where the book goes from here is a bit of a question mark. [***3/4]

X-Men: Prelude to Schism #2: I'm getting Schism and enjoyed the first issue of this lead-in series enough that I figured I'd just stick with it. Oddly, this issue takes place within the first issue, but mostly before it. It would be weird if it actually moves backwards, ending with the reveal of the threat. Otherwise, this was a step down. The Magneto story was more heavy-handed and inorganic than the Xavier one last issue. The art wasn't as good. I'm curious to see what the broad shape of this series will be, though. Whatever, it's half over and the world is ending on Saturday anyway. You can't stop that, Cyclops. You can't stop God. [**3/4]


Monday, May 16, 2011

CBR Review: Total Recall #1

I recently reviewed Total Recall #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Philip K. Dick’s work is hot right now with numerous film and comics adaptations. With a remake of Total Recall, the adaptation of Dick’s short story 'We Can Remember it for You Wholesale,' in the works, a comic book sequel to the film is a natural idea. After Blade Runner, Total Recall is in a tight race with The Minority Report for the most well-known Dick-adapted movie and lends itself to a continuation as this issue shows. The first issue picks up where the film ended and is logical in how it proceeds, working on a conceptual level, but falling down on execution."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: New Avengers #12

I recently reviewed New Avengers #12 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "New Avengers #12 divides its time between the past and present like the other issues in this story arc, but this one skews heavily to the Howard Chaykin-drawn adventures of Nick Fury’s ‘Avengers’ squad the in 1950s with 15 of the 22 pages taken up by some Nazi-hunting excitement. The present scenes are purely there to advance that plot and serve a function, but this is an issue devoted to Brian Michael Bendis writing a giant action scene for Chaykin to draw, and I’m more than okay with that."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: The Unwritten #25

I recently reviewed The Unwritten #25 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Entering its third year, The Unwritten is in a good place. The larger plot is more apparent with Tom Taylor aware of the source of his ‘magic’ powers and his father’s plans for him. Not everything is 100% clear, but both the characters and the readers have a good idea of what’s going on. Issue 25 is the start of a two-part story that also feels like a transition issue. After Tom’s stay in Moby-Dick, this is an issue to catch up with the characters and make sure everyone knows what they should."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: 'Breed III #1

I recently reviewed 'Breed III #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Originally published as part of Malibu’s Bravura line in the ‘90s, ’Breed had two mini-series and then disappeared. Now, after including pages for a third in his recent art book, Starlin has returned to the title through Image, publishing collections of the first two series and adding a third, ’Breed III. Despite being a big Jim Starlin fan, I’ve somehow not read any of his ’Breed work, but the first issue is an easy to understand jumping-on point for new readers. In fact, one of the biggest flaws of the issue is how much space is devoted to pure exposition instead of simply telling the story directly."

You can read the rest HERE!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Splash Page Podcast Episode 50

This is the last episode of the Splash Page Podcast.

In this episode, Tim and I discuss: some last episode random talk, Thor: Worldengine and Ultimate Comics Thor, Flashpoint #1, Daredevil: Reborn and Andy Diggle, Journey into Mystery #623, iZombie #12, some more random talk, New Avengers #12, Wanted, Batman, Incorporated #6, some more random talk, Irredeemable, and we end with the LIGHTNING ROUND!

And, harkening back to our first episode, there's no "We're Hardcore" this time, because, obviously, we're not hardcore anymore. Instead, you get a new bit of intro music, some intro music to the lightning round, and something to exit by.

You can download and listen to the Splash Page Podcast episode 50 HERE!

Monday, May 09, 2011

CBR Review: Irredeemable #25

I recently reviewed Irredeemable #25 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "During its first year, Irredeemable constantly surprised in its slow reveals about the Superman-esque Plutonian and his fall from grace. At first, it was surprising that such a wholesome and beloved hero could become a mass murderer that left the world shattered. Then, as we learned more about the Plutonian and his past, it was surprising that he had managed to not snap quicker. That shift was surprising and drove the series to a degree. But, since resolving the Plutonian threat on Earth, the book has fallen off the radar of many. Like so many good books, I think it’s simply taken for granted. Issue 25 is another good issue in a comic that has managed to maintain a high level of quality for, now, over two years."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Jennifer Blood #3

I recently reviewed Jennifer Blood #3 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Three issues in and Garth Ennis’s latest comic, Jennifer Blood, is looking like a rare misfire. Too light and empty to be read seriously, not funny or biting enough to be read as a comedy, it falls somewhere between in the land of mediocrity. The idea of a housewife acting a violent, Punisher-esque vigilante at night has potential, but, so far, Ennis hasn’t tapped into it. The only thing that makes this issue an improvement at all over the first two is Adriano Batista not drawing the whole thing with Marcos Marz stepping in to finish drawing the comic."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: The Boys #54

I recently reviewed The Boys #54 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Anyone who complains that comics only take two minutes to read will not have that problem with the latest issue of The Boys. The best word to describe this issue is ‘infodump,’ with Garth Ennis having Mallory lay out a large picture of his role in the birth and growth of the CIA after World War 2 as it relates to the rise of superheroes courtesy of Vought-American. It a lot of text to slough through and, if you love this sort of thing, it’s a great read. If you don’t, this may be the most frustrating issue of The Boys to date."

You can read the rest HERE!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

The Splash Page Podcast Episode 49

In this week's podcast, Tim and I discuss: some random talk, the Ultimate line with a quick tangent to discuss Secret Avengers #12.1, the sheer number of Flashpoint comics in June, X-Men: Prelude to Schism #1, the art on Captain America and Superboy, fill-in artists in great runs, reading scripts, Kirby: Genesis, creating new stuff, Fear Itself #2, Moon Knight #1, random movie talk, self-centred crap, negative criticism, and end with the LIGHTNING ROUND! And, it all begins, possibly for the last time, with "We're Hardcore" by Gord Downie.

You can download and listen to the Splash Page Podcast episode 49 HERE!

Friday, May 06, 2011

CBR Review: X-Men: Prelude to Schism #1

I recnetly reviewed X-Men: Prelude to Schism #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Lead-in mini-series to events are always dicey, especially when they’re not done by the creative team handling the event book. There’s no telling how much the prologue book actually relates to the main book, how many details will actually connect, and if there’s really any point in picking it up until the event begins. It was with that mindset that I approached the first issue of X-Men: Prelude to Schism, where Paul Jenkins begins a four-issue mini that will, presumably, set-up the Jason Aaron-written X-Men event. And Jenkins has a good approach in this first issue, focusing on the emotional impact of what’s coming and the connections between characters instead of the plot itself."

You can read the rest HERE!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Sketch Reviews (May 5 2011)

Well, the Jays got destroyed this afternoon. Price pitched a great game and, in the top of the ninth, I stopped wanting the Jays to make the comeback and win because it's the team I cheer for and shifted to wanting the Jays to win just to stick it to the Rays' manager who took Price out of the game with two outs because the Jays managed to score a run that wasn't Price's fault in any way. John MacDonald got on base because of a throwing error by the shortstop that left him at second. He got to third off a sacrifice fly and scored on a groundout. It should have been three outs. I so wanted the Jays to win just to stick it to Maddison, the Rays' manager. You know you're making odd calls when fans of the opposing team sit out and go "That's stupid!"

Annihilators #3: I'm not sure if I really like this comic. The lead story is fine -- I liked the second issue's portion quite a bit. The second one has left me cold until this issue. I don't know. One issue left and, if that was just the end of the first arc, I think I'd stop there anyway. It's a fine comic, just not one that connects with me. [***]

Fear Itself #2: Um... we're still in set-up mode? What bugs me is that this tried to have a 'everything is falling apart' feel to it and it never lands for me. The final pages are good, but, fuck, this felt like where the first issue should have ended. Seriously, two issues in and the prologue feels more useless, the first issue feels like a prologue, and the second issue feels like the first... [***1/4]

Moon Knight #1: Wow, I like Alex Maleev's art a lot more here than I did on Spider-Woman and Scarlet. More crazy energy, less focus on photorealism, and the colouring doesn't have that same neon glow. It's a fine first issue. It introduces the concept well enough. Nothing here that blows my mind beyond some great art. [***1/2]

Wolverine #8: Missed it when it first came out, but my shop ordered me a copy. I don't know why, but that this story came down to the men trying to kill Logan while the women try to save him makes me laugh. So did the different rooms inside Logan's head. Him surviving for the sole purpose of wanting revenge is a decent idea, I guess. Undecided if I'll continue with this book. I really just popped in for what looked like an interesting storyarc -- and it has been. I guess we'll see. [***3/4]

Weapons of the Metabaron: I really should have got this last week, but my retailer forgot that it had come in. He called me later on Thursday last week to tell me that he'd forgotten in case I wanted it right away. It's an okay book. I shouldn't be surprised/amused that Travis Charest's name is the biggest on the cover -- then again, I'm buying this for Jodorowsky, so... The story is straightforward and incomplete: the Metabaron gathers weapons to defeat an enemy and kills everything in his way through intelligence, skill, and awesome technology. Not a mind-blowing book. I dunno. Jog wrote a good review of it, while Tim told me that he didn't actually read it, he just looked at the pictures. Personally, I preferred the Janjetov pages... [***1/4]


Monday, May 02, 2011

CBR Review: Age of X Universe #2

I recently reviewed Age of X Universe #2 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "The reveal in X-Men Legacy #247 of the truth behind the 'Age of X' universe made this two-issue mini-series seem more superfluous and unnecessary than these add-on comics usually are. With the entire world merely a mental construct taking place in the minds of those who were on Utopia when a part of Legion’s psyche lashed out against Professor X and Dr. Nemesis, a series focusing on characters that weren’t on Utopia loses its appeal pretty quickly. It doesn’t help that this issue contains an odd change of heart for this alternate group of Avengers that doesn’t seem logical and also undermines the intelligence of the mutants we’re supposed to be rooting for."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: New Mutants #24

I recently reviewed New Mutants #24 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "After the nature of the 'Age of X' reality was revealed in X-Men Legacy #247, New Mutants #24 was left to wrap it all up. Considering that all that remained was eliminating the part of Legion’s mind that had created this mental illusion, there didn’t actually seem to be much that needed resolving and, so, the finale to this story is padded out with a pointless fight that has no repercussions or, honestly, anything at stake. It’s a shallow, anti-climactic ending that leaves the entire story as a disappointment, ultimately."

You can read the rest HERE!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

CBR Review: Secret Avengers #12.1

I recently reviewed Secret Avengers #12.1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "In the same week that Ed Brubaker departed Secret Avengers with issue 12, Nick Spencer comes aboard with artist Scot Eaton on this ‘point one’ issue. Brubaker’s time on the title was so centered around the Shadow Council that it was hard to picture what this group was about, besides standing against the Shadow Council. That difficulty shows as Spencer places the group in the middle of a weak ‘torn from the headlines’ sort of story that would remind many of the ‘inspired by real events’ episodes of Law & Order. The Secret Avengers don’t get much of a chance to define themselves or show what their purpose is, necessarily."

You can read the rest HERE!