Friday, November 30, 2007

Weekly Comic Reviews for November 28th, 2007 -- SPOILERS

Well, I'll have to make this quick. Not only is my bus coming shortly but the more I stare at this computer screen the worse my headache gets courtesy of a trip to the optomotrist and all the crud she dropped in my eyes. So it's fortunate I only have 1 book to review this week, Freddy VS Jason Vs Ash #2.

Freddy VS Jason VS Ash #2 -- To be honest, I didn't care for this issue so much. Ash gets picked on by the young S-Mart employees and something about it just didn't seem like Ash to me. I know, he's not the most suave and such but something about his reaction to them and being suckered into buying a bunch of stuff for another young woman just seemed off. I didn't really feel like they were capturing the character for me. And after the high paced start to the story in the last issue it seemed rather slow here. Sure, Jason slaughters a few run of the mill girls thanks to some taunting from Freddy and a few others but it just didn't have the oomph of the first issue to it. Him slicing one girl in half just didn't have the "wow" factor after what he did the last issue. Though the charolers were pretty funny. The art was fairly solid for the most part though there were some panels that didn't work as well for me, either Ash was off or Jason was. I know it's got a quicker pace to it than the movies as we are already getting into some killing where as the movies typically start off with a bang and then get slow as they build up to the slaughter but this issue (and maybe it had a lot to do with Ash for me) just didn't carry the story so well. I may reserve judgement of whether it makes my recommended reading list until after I read the full series or at least the next issue but this issue didn't impress me. I'm sure the avid fans of each character or of the genre may enjoy it but I was slightly disappointed with this one. I just hope it was a small blip and I get right back into it with issue 3.

So that's it for this week. And now I'm off to run down my bus. :)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Weekly Comic Reviews for Nov. 21st, 2007 -- SPOILERS

A whopping three books for me this week. Plus, I was fortunate enough to pick up a copy of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier. Unfortunately though, I haven't had the time to read it yet. But it comes with 3D glasses and anything that comes with 3D glasses has to be good right? :) So as for the reviews we have Angel: After the Fall #1, The Incredible Hulk #111, and She-Hulk #23. So let's get down to it...

Angel: After the Fall #1 -- Without Joss writing it and with less hoopla surrounding it (let's face it, Buffy is much more well known than Angel) I wasn't sure what to expect here. But Joss is over-seeing it so I had high hopes. I don't want to get into too many details of where the characters are after the series finale (and not all of their situations are given in the first issue) but overall I liked it. Each character's reveal is a "wow" moment followed by 50 questions of how they got there. And you get the feeling that this is just the teaser and I can't wait to see what's coming next. So yeah, I think the story works and they nailed it. I don't think the dialogue and narrative match the Buffy series (especially with Vaughan's latest Faith arc succeeding on several levels) but it worked enough for me. The art I wasn't quite as big a fan of. I found they didn't really get the likeness of the main characters down and their big reveals were somewhat limitted by my wondering "Who is that???" But the art was solid enough in the storytelling and overall aspects of it. So in the end, yes, this does make my recommended reading list. And I hope Buffy/Angel fans pick it up quickly.

The Incredible Hulk #111 -- The end of an era (more about that spoiler later). Amadeus and his friends battle the small piece of the essence of Zom (released by Strange) who has taken over Iron Man's Hulkbuster armour. They spend a lot of time bad mouthing Strange and Stark for this and I can understand the hostility towards Strange, he did release the Zom thing, but I think it's somewhat misplaced on Stark in this instance at least. You could just as easily blame the Hulk for leaving the suit laying around after he imprisonned Stark. But Amadeus and friends are pretty single minded. As for the review, this issue seemed like total filler. Though it ties up a few loose ends (what happened with Zom and where Stark's armour went) even if nobody really cared too much about those ends and I don't think they really needed to be tied up even. We do get Amadeus re-stating over and over "Who is the real monster?" and such but with World War Hulk already ended, this seemed somewhat unnecessary and anti-climactic. It was a well written, well drawn story but one that doesn't necessarily have to be told. On the other hand, it does lead to where the book will be going next issue when it's re-titled "The Incredible Herc(ules)". So I guess for Herc fans or collectors who will be staying on it's a good lead in. Overall it just barely makes my recommended reading list. It's high quality comics telling that may have simply been wasted on filler for a bigger story that overshadowed it.

She-Hulk #23 -- Absorbing Man seems to be a tough character to right properly. For one thing, writers seem to mis-interpret his powers. Peter David even has She-Hulk comment on whether he's truly "absorbing" anything. I just found it somewhat inconsistent here too. On the one hand you have him going back to not only absorbing the physical texture and such but when he touches a shark he even gets the "abilities" (large teeth, poor eye-sight, etc) but on the other hand he accidentally absorbs the properties of lego? There was a time where he couldn't control his powers as well but for a character that's been around for a while and has been shown to have mastered it, that seemed like a silly thing that was done only for the sake of adding humour (almost to Dan Slott's level). They even make a point of saying that he only loses control in the end by the shear amount of water pounding on him and entering his body. But once you get past the comic-geek nit-pickyness the issue is a fun story with plenty of humour and action. The twists and turns continue (and I was way off on who She-Hulk's partner was and now I just have more questions) and the over all story is an interesting one. So overall, I still like the direction Peter David is going with the series but I'm just not sure it will be for everyone. And the art is pretty solid in this issue. In the end it makes my recommended reading as I think it's something you have to read and decide for yourself if it's right for you.

So that's it for this week. Switching things up a bit, I posted the 200th page of Divine Leap this past Wednesday. The sad part is that I'm going through another "down" time for me where I'm falling behind working on it and questioning whether it's worth the effort. I have a few other comic ideas I'd like to pursue so that's also a factor in my thinking. And I don't think the Tablet is really working for me yet, I still feel that I need the physical page in front of me and all that. I'm still determined to at least finish chapter 2 (it's about 6 or 7 issues and I'm currently drawing issue 3, posting issue 2) so I have some time to decide what's going to happen.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Weekly Comic Reviews for November 14th, 2007 -- MAJOR SPOILERS

First up, I want to take a minute to thank David Gallaher, writer and co-creator of High Moon over at Zuda Comics, for not only taking the time to read my review but also for taking even more time to comment and pass along the creative decisions that went into creating those 8 pages. I think all comics (and I'm including web comics in that) can benefit from healthy discussions of what goes into making a good comic so to take the time to converse with his readers is a sign of a true professional in my opinion. I would also recommend checking out the High Moon blog to see the work that goes into creating the comic.

Now we move on to the reviews. It was a pretty busy week for me with World War Hulk #5, Mice Templar #2, Marvel Adventures Hulk #5, Captain Carrot and the Final Ark #2, and World of Warcraft #1. So let's get started...

World War Hulk #5 -- Of course this book went right to the top of my pile to be read first. And overall I was happy. In the end, the Hulk ended it as he always does. He doesn't become the cold-blooded killer that people want to see him as. He accomplishes what he wanted to do, to out the Illuminati to the world, but of course the Hulk can't have his happy ending like that. Now I won't go through a whole recap of the story and I'll try to just stick with a review. On the writing side of things I was happy with the overall story. I know some people were expecting more but as a Hulk fan, everything seemed to be tied up nicely and the story was "big" enough. I think I would have liked a few more lines of dialogue explaining a few things. Maybe have Tony or Reed say something about the energy all around the Hulk and Sentry as they fought. Or a little more about the satellite thing. And I could have used a bit more closure on Rick Jones' condition. But who knows, perhaps these are things to be left open for the next story to take over. On the art side, Romita and crew (especially the person doing the colours) really do a great job during the battle. You really get a sense of two unimaginably powerful beings taking out the city with their punches. It's only during the "quiet" scenes that I find Romita's art slightly more confusing as I try to differentiate Stark from Strange or Banner from Jones. In the end, I almost felt like I was reading the last true Hulk story. And as a life long Hulk fan I actually felt okay with that. It almost seemed like a fitting end to the character. Though in some ways I couldn't help but feel it echoed Thor's "demise" from a little while back (getting to a point where he had an insane amount of power only to have to give it up and go to "sleep") but that was probably just me. I think I've analyzed this story to death with each issue so I'll just say in the end, it makes my recommended reading list. I think it's a great example of a really good universe wide character story.

Now on to the shorter reviews...

Mice Templar #2 -- Well, with only two mice in this book my inability to quickly identify them from each other wasn't much of a factor. This issue serves to fill in more of the back story of the Mice Templar and the mythology while getting the new Templar's training started. It was almost done in such the usual fashion that I didn't really focus on the differences between this and similar stories. But there was still enough there to catch my attention. Though there were times where I felt the storytelling was lacking, as the mice seemed to go quickly from talking to sobbing or something else. The abruptness of it sometimes made me wonder if there was a third mouse with them. The art is fairly unique and not always to my liking but the final sequence as the two mice confront an army of red ants was effective and gave me shivers. So overall I recommend checking out this series.

Marvel Adventures Hulk #5 -- So now we get Bruce Banner meeting Dr Strange. It's a simple, fun story that can appeal to a wide range of age ranges. The jokes (such as Dr Strange lamenting when his "Wardrobe of Nar Na" is destroyed) make you chuckle and it's not overly slapstick. It's definitely not for readers looking for the "mature" stories of the regular Marvel universe but it serves up decent stories for those looking for a simpler time. The art seems to be improving though it's not always a constant quality. Sometimes it feels like they are using Dale Keown drawings as reference and other times it seems to have an Adam Kubert feel to it. It almost felt like the artist hasn't found his own style yet. But it makes my recommending reading list for anyone looking for a simple Hulk story without the extra baggage of the years of continuity and such. For those happy with Marvel as is, you'll probably want to pass.

Captain Carrot and the Final Ark #2 -- Well, I guess I spoke too soon in my last review as the previous story with Alley-Kat-Abra killing Little Cheese seems to be retconned as an evil doppleganger of her doing the murder. Somehow, this actually makes me happy. I guess I just didn't like the whole "teammate betraying the team" thing. I'm still not sure this series is working for me though. It just doesn't seem as fun as the original series seemed to be for me but then again, I was young at the time. So unfortunately it doesn't make my recommending reading list just yet. Though I will see how the third issue pans out.

World of Warcraft #1 -- I was hesitant about picking this book up. I don't play the game and know only bits and pieces of the established history and such. But I figured I'd check it out anyways. The "good" news is that you don't really have to be a fan of the game to pick up what's going on. Though this may turn off fans of the game as I understand there's a pretty rich history that is somewhat ignored or changed (though I'm only reporting what I've been told second hand here). Overall, the story doesn't seem all that strong. It's a pretty standard story and so far it doesn't really reflect the vastness of games such as World of Warcraft. And the art I found was a bit of a turn off when it came to the blood elf. It was too many boob and butt shots for me. And there seemed to be times where the dialogue balloons were pointing at the wrong person (one instance was when one character transformed into a bear and the balloon pointed at him yet it seemed to be the blood elf talking). Honestly, I was hoping for something a little better. This just seems like your typical "let's rush a comic out" kinda thing. I'll be on the fence when the next issue comes out (though I'll probably pick it up just to see) but so far, it doesn't make my recommended reading list.

So that's it for me for another week. Have a good one!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Weekly Comics Reviews for Nov. 7th, 2007 -- MAJOR SPOILERS

Ok, I'm feeling a little under the weather at the moment, I have a cold and my head is in a fog, so the reviews will probably be a little short this week. We have 4 books to review, Astonishing X-Men #23, Buffy #8, Freddy VS Jason VS Ash #1, and New Avengers: Illuminati #5.

Astonishing X-Men #23 -- Instead of going with the slow moving penultimate issue to a storyline, Joss switches gears about half way through this issue to create an explosive buildup to what I can only hope to be a grand finale. This issue really had me cheering on each and every member of the X-Men. It just made them so cool. Cyclops' plan and the flashback was great. The art was spot on. I'm going to be sorry to see this end. I don't think any team of writer and artist will be able to follow this up, at least for me. This issue and the series in general definitely makes my recommended reading list. I'm absolutely loving it.

Buffy #8 -- Two Joss Whedon books in one week? It's even better than being my birthday. We continue along with the Faith storyline (with a little bit more Buffy woven in with this issue) and Vaughan continues to hit it out of the park. The characters, the dialogue, the story, it's all great. The art was a bit of an issue with me. Sometimes I felt Faith and the other slayer weren't quite as recognizable as they could have been. His rendition of Faith still seems to be somewhat hit or miss with me. But that's part of the problem of trying to do a real life person's likeness continually in comics. I guess I should be happy he's not doing the Greg Land approach. :) So overall, this comic still ranks very high on my recommended reading list.

Freddy VS Jason VS Ash #1 -- I didn't have very high hopes for this series. I figured that it would be pretty brainless and a simple mash up. Which I was prepared to regret because the idea of Freddy VS Jason by themselves I find interesting. One of the few things I did like about the movie was they touched on Jason's nightmares and Freddy's exploitation of them. And this book seems to be continuing that. Though I'm not quite sure how much of it is Freddy and how much is the Necronomicon. The scene between Freddy and Jason's mother alone was also enough to give me nightmares. :) The art was decent enough but there were a few points where I thought it could have been stronger. Overall it tells the story well and they do a good job on the three main characters but there were a few points where it wasn't as clear what was happening as it could have been. It made some panels almost wasted as you had to wait for a few more to see what was happening (such as Freddy's face coming out of a door, a scene extended over a few panels). Issue 1 tentatively makes my recommended reading list with a special note that it really is intended for gore audiences with some level of sex and violence involved. I just hope that the story is strong enough to carry the series.

New Avengers: Illuminati #5 -- And the poop hits the fan, the Skrull invasion is officially on. I was slightly confused by the start of this book when Namor asks if it's Captain America's body in the bag since he was there when that body was lowered into the Arctic. Unless he believed Tony deceived them or went and got it again. But I didn't see Black Bolt being a Skrull until that moment he spoke. My first thought was "Crap! That means the Hulk beat up a Skrull???" But then again, if the Skrull had replaced Black Bolt a while back then perhaps it just makes sense for the Hulk to beat him up. But that leaves the obvious question, how long has Black Bolt been a Skrull and where is he? So I have to give Bendis props for that, it was quite the twist. I'm left wondering though what that means for stories such as Silent War or other books Black Bolt appeared in. If I had written those stories and now been told that I wasn't writing Black Bolt but a Skrull I'd be a little bit irked by it. I wasn't a big fan of how this issue ended though. It seems they just ran out of pages and said "Oops, that's it. We don't trust one another." It just seemed too abrupt. But I have to say that despite my dislike of pushing the Illuminati into Marvel history this one issue by itself got me at least a little bit interested in the Skrull storylines. And the art was pretty solid. So going on this issue alone, it makes my recommended reading list. I'm cuious to see where this goes yet somewhat concerned as well.

So that's it for this week. See you all next week when I'll hopefully be cold free.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Weekly Comic Reviews for October 31st, 2007 -- Only minor SPOILERS

Happy Post-Halloween everyone! Yet again, I had no kids come trick r treating this year so I'm left with some twizzlers, nibs, and raisins all to myself. And it was a slow week for me with only Mouse Guard Winter 1152 #2. So let's jump to it shall we.

Mouse Guard Winter 1152 #2 -- The art continues to be strong. No surprise there. The real strength is the settings and backgrounds. I'm really blown away by them. The amount of detail and just the all around beautiful work is really amazing. The writing in this issue is great as the team gets separated and Celanawe gives us his own character analysis of the other Guardsmice. And it really is an interesting bit of dialogue. My only real complaint is that perhaps, as with a lot of books nowadays, I'd be better off waiting for the collected version of this story. It takes a while for each issue to come out and the way the story is spread out I don't really get the feeling of reading an issue, rather I feel like I'm just getting a portion of the story before having to wait for it to continue. But that may just be me, I still like having an issue tell a story, even if it's part of a bigger story I like having that closure upon finishing an issue. And I didn't feel it here. Not that it's going to stop me from continuing with this book. It makes my recommended reading list.

And just a follow up to that rant about Wizard Magazine, the latest Wizard wasn't quite as bad as I was expecting, despite their change of promo line. It still didn't blow me away or anything but there was a few tidbits of info that I was interested in. Like the interview with Sam Raimi. So I guess some level of credit has to be given though I'm a long way from recommending this magazine to others on a regular basis.