Friday, February 29, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for Feb. 27th, 2008 -- SPOILERS

First up, some of the more observant of you may have noticed some links added to the right. I finally decided that I needed to give credit to a few blogs and other websites I check out on a regular basis. They aren't the only sites I visit as that list would be quite long but they're the ones I check out the most often. You may also notice that the links are, for the most part and especially the newest ones, comic book related. When I first started this blog I didn't plan on it being a comic book blog but as someone who isn't entirely comfortable with posting the details of my life for all to see my comic reviews seemed to be the only thing I would post about on a regular basis. That doesn't mean I won't post a rant or two about other stuff from time to time but for now, the links will center around comics.

But enough chit chat, let's get to the reviews. This week we have 4 to get through with She-Hulk #26, Elephantmen: War Toys #2, Freddy VS Jason VS Ash #5, and Mouse Guard Winter 1152 #3.

She-Hulk #26 -- First off, I like the bigger story that Peter David has going on here. She-Hulk's questioning her hero status and all. I find it engaging and interesting, and it's a good fit for the character. Unfortunately, I didn't like this sub-story quite as much. I can see how it fits into the overall story but it still seemed somewhat disappointing. In this particular book, I found myself connecting more emotionally with the throw away characters as they're the ones who are being hit the hardest in this book (with the guy's wife dying and being brought back only temporarily and all). Sure it hits She-Hulk and her new Skrull friend and ties into their story but somehow I just felt it missed the mark somewhat by being too hard on the throwaways. I also found She-Hulk losing her pants to be a little out of place here. The art seems to be hit or miss with me, with some fairly solid storytelling and action in places and some not so pretty art in others. And only some of this has to do with the fact that we get two pencillers (which I found more noticeable when they drew the throwaway guy as his appearance seemed inconsistent). In the end, I'm still eager to see where She-Hulk is going (and where she's been) but I felt this issue could have been a bit stronger. And I think the art needs a bit more polish to it. So perhaps it slides off my "recommended reading" list and into the something you might want to check out if you're looking for something to read.

Elephantmen: War Toys #2 -- I'm always really happy to find an Elephantmen book (whether it's War Toys or the regular series) waiting for me at my local comic shop. The downside comes the next day when I have to come up with a new way of saying how much I enjoy the book. The artwork has a distinctive style to it and there may have been one or two panels that I thought could have been clearer but overall it's really fantastic work. The story and the writing is where this book continues to excel. You feel a connection with every character as the story and emotions build. I don't really know what else to say. If you aren't reading this book then I think you're missing out on a great comic. It definitely makes my recommended reading list.

Freddy VS Jason VS Ash #5 -- This series has been hot and cold for me. Sometimes I find the art works, other times (like with this issue) I find it doesn't or at least it's inconsistent. Sometimes I find they nail Ash's character (which I thought was well done in this issue) and other times I find they don't. But perhaps what hurts this issue the most for me is that it falls into the 'penultimate issue curse' for me. It just seemed to be there to tie things up in preparation for the last issue. I found myself not really all that into it as I knew everything was just waiting to happen in the final issue and I found there wasn't really that much to draw me in. Overall, I'd be hard pressed to recommend this book based on this issue but I'm waiting to see how the series finishes off before making my final decision on it.

Mouse Guard Winter 1152 #3 -- The biggest drawback for this book, it's been 6 months between issues coming out. Right off the bat I needed more of a re-fresher to know where we're at in the story. I think that with the 3rd series, I'll be waiting for the TPB or hardcover collected version. The art remains beautiful. The settings and backgrounds are gorgeous. The scene with the bats is really amazing with the dark ominous setting. The story is intriguing and engaging. It really is a great book. I just think that for me, it would be better read as the whole story at once. So I definitely think it's worth checking out but possibly more enjoyable to read when it's done.

That's it for another week. On a personal note, I'm happy to report I have finished "inking" the last page of Divine Leap Chapter 2, Issue 3 and I'm over half way through lettering the issue. Much of the issue is already up on DrunkDuck (check the link to the right). One of these days I'd really like to improve my site on DrunkDuck with links to the chapters and issues as well as to the character page I had started. I just need to find the time. :)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for Feb. 20th, 2008 -- SPOILERS

I know I'm a little ahead this week as I normally don't post reviews until Friday. But yesterday was my father's birthday and since he decided to go hit golf balls with his buddies we have to get together for dinner tonight. And that pushed my comic run up a day. And if that makes no sense to you, just ignore it and skip to the reviews.

As for the reviews, this week was a really busy week by my standards with 8 books coming out so let's get right to it shall we. And a warning that SPOILERS are throughout (especially in the Hulk review):

Hulk #2 -- If this book was written as some sort of alternate dimension book or just fan fiction I might be mildly okay with it. Yeah, I think it's crappy writing but at least the art is pretty. But as it stands, I think it's just ... very bad (that's not what I want to really say but I'm trying to be nice). There are so many things that just make me cringe in this book. The giant pistol that SHIELD has sitting around that seemingly can kill the Abomination. Iron Man standing around doing absolutely nothing while She-Hulk gets beat all over the SHIELD helicarrier. He even waited until she was knocked unconcious and almost killed before he put his mask back on. Oh, he did bark a couple orders but that's not Iron Man. Iron Man multitasks. He barks orders as he does other stuff (like throw on his mask and confront the monster taking down his ship). And why is he surprised that the Hulk's hands were red? We got the red description from the kid in Russia. And why does he even insist on calling this the Hulk considering Banner is still locked up? And Rick Jones is the new Abomination (or "A-bom" as he calls himself), really??? That makes no sense to me. I actually had to double check that there was some confirmation that this was Rick Jones and not just Blonsky with long hair. I really hope there are some extremely good answers for this because at the moment it makes me wonder if Loeb was just given carte blanche to do whatever he likes whether it made sense for the characters or not. And as for the theory that Samson is the new Hulk, this issue really seems to push that but it's pretty obvious and wouldn't make much sense to me either. But then again, maybe not making sense actually makes sense. So yeah, I'm not recommending this series. Maybe when it's all played out it'll redeem itself but for now I just have too many problems with it.

Ultimates 3 #3 -- Meh. That's pretty much how I felt about this issue. Yeah, we get some flashbacks and more icky talk about Quicksilver and the Scarlett Witch (I really do hope that Loeb turns it around and says that Logan wasn't actually watching them ... you know). The art was good. But overall, I just can't really put this book on my recommended reading list. It seems to be pushing certain things (Clint's obsession with getting someone to kill him and the Pietro/Wanda love connection) just for the sake of seeming "edgy" and more "mature". And I felt quite a bit of the book could have been cut out except they wanted to see more of Maduira draw "sexy" women. Only two more issues to go and I'm hoping they are an improvement over what we've seen so far.

Angel: After the Fall #4 -- I really think the art is holding this book back. Not only are likenesses and issue but the art in general was just lacking. Characters looked weird, not just in their likeness. And it's too bad because I'm really enjoying the story. The dialogue may be somewhat lacking at times but the overall story is really good. Yeah, it makes my recommended reading list but I wish it could be a bit better.

Incredible Hercules #114 -- I keep thinking that this book could show a turning point in the character of Ares back to being a villain. I mean, he's trying to kill Hercules, he's turning Avengers against Herc to try and get them to kill him, and he's beating up his teammates. But since he's in the Mighty Avengers and this is just a Hercules book I'm sure he'll remain the good guy. You would think that the Black Widow would eventually say something about him though. Anywho, I'm surprised to say I'm still rather enjoying this series. I didn't think a Hercules series could keep my attention. I don't know how long it'll last though and I'm eager to see the Hulk back (with Pak writing him). The art was pretty solid and you got a good sense of Hercules' insanity from the Hydra blood. Things don't look good at the end though with Amadeus seemingly being pushed over the edge with the injuries his little pup sustained. It's too bad, as I liked Amadeus as a good guy but I guess we'll have to wait and see where it goes. So yeah, this series is on my recommended reading list.

Runaways #29 -- This book's biggest problem continues to be the amount of time between issues and with this particular storyline, that's a bigger problem. With the Runaways having travelled back in time and meeting a number of characters (I think someone counted it to be 25 characters including the Runaways themselves in this particular issue) and all those characters being part of groups and subgroups and such a 4 month wait between issues can be problematic. Not only do I not remember where the Runaways left off after the last issue I don't remember all these extra characters. Yeah, the page at the beginning helps a bit but it can't cover everything. And maybe the problem would be solved if I just wait until all the issues are out or read the TPB but this is supposed to be a monthly comic, I shouldn't have to do that to enjoy it for what it's supposed to be. Having said that, after the initial headaches of figuring things out the issue was a solid continuation of the story and the characters. You get a lot of poignant moments (Molly is such a scene stealer) and some depth to what's going on. And the art is solid and reflects the story's setting well. So yeah, it makes my recommended reading list but perhaps you should wait for the TPB, there's no telling when the last issue will come out.

Ultimate Human #2 -- After some Hulk action we're treated to a brief Iron Man versus Hulk. And then some talky-talky between Bruce and Tony, and the Leader and his men. Then it's time for the main storyline to take over with the Leader's plan being executed. Overall, I enjoyed this issue. It had some cool moments in the fight and the "talky-talky" parts were really interesting for someone who wants to really get in to the characters' heads and see what makes them tick. This take on the Hulk (in his Ultimate form) is a very interesting one and a departure from the 616 Hulk. That's not a bad thing, I kinda like seeing other takes on the character. So yeah, it makes my recommended reading list.

World of Warcraft #4 -- What I liked about this issue: The art didn't bother me quite as much as usual though there were a few panels where I had to spend a bit more time figuring out what was going on. And it was interesting to add depth to one of the main characters. But on the other hand, it felt a little odd. The two main characters just happen to show up just as the elves and humans are about to be ambushed and come up with the plan to ambush the orcs back. And the other elf just happens to show up in time to start following that guy who's chasing the main human character. It just seemed rather convenient how things fell into place. And now they have a new mission to go on. It almost seems to be playing out like a game, finish one mission, get the next. Overall I thought the issue was okay but it didn't blow me away or anything. I don't think it makes my recommended reading list but it may be worth checking out.

World War Hulk Aftersmash Warbound #3 -- I'm actually enjoying this series. I know it's not hugely successful or popular but I kinda liked the characters from Planet Hulk and it's great to see them being developed further as now they can be explored more fully in their own book. The art isn't overwhelmingly great but it tells the story well. And it's an interesting story at that. I'm not quite sure what the Leader's full story here, why he's dying and such, so I'm hoping that gets cleared up at some point. I know it's not for everyone as it mostly deals with second or third tier characters from the Incredible Hulk (characters that most people would barely know if at all) but I really do think it's well done. So it makes my recommended reading list.

Whew! That's it for this week and what a week it was.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for February 13th, 2008 -- SPOILERS

Only two books this week and only one was a regular one. So let's get down to reviewing Marvel Adventures Hulk #8 and The Spirit #13 (which actually came out at least a week ago).

Marvel Adventures Hulk #8 -- I'm still enjoying this series for what it is, a lighter take on the character that makes him available to a younger audience. And with the Hulk out of commission in the regular universe and the Jeph Loeb book delayed it's all I have of the character for the moment. So yeah, the book continues to succeed in just being a fun book to read and not take too seriously. Ignore continuity, don't worry about making the character or story mature, and throw in a lesson to the kiddies. Yet it still holds true to the characters. The art continues to be okay and match the target audience. Sure, there are some panels where the Hulk's hands tend to look too small or the panel of Namor with a squinty face, it took me a while before it dawned on me who he reminded me of but now I remember, it's Jeff Dunham's puppet Walter (feel free to look him up on google or youtube). Anyhow, it's still a fun read so it makes my recommended reading list. Though I know the more "mature" readers out there might not get much out of it.

The Spirit #13 -- I know I tried this series out a while back and gave it up but when I heard the writer was leaving with issue 12 and issue 13 was going to be an assortment of creators doing short stories I decided to pick them up. Unfortunately I missed issue 12 though. :) Issue 13 was a fun enough read and harkens back to the classic Eisner short stories. They're simple stories that just flow instead of looking to bombard the reader with over the top muscles/action/whatever else. So it was a fun book to read. Overall it actually makes my recommended reading list.

So that's it for another week of not many comics. I also "finished" Strangers in Paradise. I say "finished" because I skipped over the Molly and Poo stuff. I do plan on going back to reading it but I heard it wasn't important for the Katchoo/Francine story and it felt like it was just getting in the way of the story I wanted to read. I also polished off another volume of Ex Machina (volume 5 to be exact). Both, Strangers in Paradise and Ex Machina, also make my recommended reading list. This weekend is going to be a busy one with my aunt and uncle coming for a visit and me wanting to finish off issue 3 of Divine Leap (somewhat unlikely but I have high hopes).

See ya next week all!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for Feb. 6th, 2008 -- SPOILERS

It's rather sad that I almost forgot to do my reviews for this week. What's really sad is that I only have one review to do but it's for Buffy #11.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #11 -- Okay, so here are the spoilers. Buffy has a heart to heart with Xander, Buffy has a heart to heart with Satsu, and Buffy has a fist to fist with the new "Big Bad". It's a fairly dialogue heavy book to start with but if you're as in to Buffy dialogue as I am you'll be okay with that. A little bit of it feels like re-hashing some of Buffy's insecurities and depression from season 7 but considering what she's going through, it's still solid character building stuff. But the new bad guy on the scene, he really makes his presence felt. Some people on other forums have wondered what could be a threat to Buffy, her army of slayers, and Willow (and throw in Xander as well) but this guy seems to be building something. He's obviously a physical threat to Buffy herself but it's his planning on top of that and his teaming up of various factions that could be his biggest threat to Buffy and her army... And Willow... And Xander. And that tease as to the big reveal of who it is was just so perfect for me. Yeah, it's kinda corny I guess but in some way perhaps that's what made me think the reveal may actually happen. Artistically, I'm not sure it was the strongest issue so far but it was solid. Overall, although they label this as a standalone issue I don't really see it as such. It seems to me to be an important moving forward point in a bigger story and I can't wait to see more of it. It definitely makes my recommended reading list. One thing I did kinda wonder about was the cover. Maybe it's just me but the cover seemed to be a cheaper quality (paper quality I mean, not artistic quality because even though I prefer Jo Chen's covers I thought Jon Foster's cover was pretty good here) but again, it could just be me.

So yeah, that's all I have for this week. But in case you were wondering, I still have plenty of comic reading on the go. I'm currently working my way through the fifth digest of Strangers in Paradise and the 3rd Buffy Omnibus. I also finished off volume 4 of Ex Machina. And I have some more Ex Machina volumes coming in shortly (hopefully today) along with the first volume of Y: The Last Man which I decided to pick up after all the talk about it's recent conclusion (I don't actually know how it ended and don't spoil it for me). So that's enough to keep me busy for now, not to mention the webcomics scene and such.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for Jan 30th, 2008 -- spoiler and REVIEW free!

Yep, this week's reviews will not only be spoiler free but also review free. What do I mean by that? Well, I actually had no books come out for me this week. Kinda sad really. But I do have some reading material so don't feel bad for me. I have the latest Wizard Magazine as well as my Strangers in Paradise pocket books and Ex Machina TPBs. Not to mention a few webcomics.

Which brings me to the point of this posting. Since I have no printed comics to review I figured I might as well take this opportunity to list off a few webcomics I check out. No lengthy reviews or anything, just a quick list in case you're looking for something to read. Unfortunately I pretty much stick to two locations for webcomics at the moment so you'll notice they're all either DrunkDuck or Zuda comics. So here goes (in alphabetical order):

Araknid Kid -- Originally appearing on Zuda Comics, the story of the "mysterious stranger" who talks in pictures continues on SugarySerials:

Basketcase -- A fun daily comic though it's not always politically correct or "opinion free".

Battlefield Babysitter -- Another comic originally appearing on Zuda, the adventures of the superhero babysitter continue (albeit slowly) at

Bayou -- The first winner (without going through a competition) on Zuda and a very engaging story.

Blip -- An entertaining story about K and the forces that suround her.

High Moon -- Another Zuda winner dealing with Werewolves in the Old West. Interesting premise and beautifully drawn.

Locoma -- Living toys battle Mr Advertising. Fun stuff and pretty (various mediums are explored for the art).

Nuclear Neal -- Just caught this one today when I saw it featured on the DrunkDuck main page. Seems like an interesting idea and distinct art.

ZomBen -- Ben gets the powers of a Zombie and decides to become a superhero. How can an idea like that miss? And it's got cool art.

So yeah, just because I didn't have any comics to pick up this week I still have plenty of reading material. Plus, having a bit more extra time could mean more time for me to write/draw... Or just goof off. :)