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!

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