Monday, December 31, 2007
Hulk VS Fin Fang Foom One Shot -- This book really seems to capture the old style Marvel comics. A quick story in 22 pages with a big simple fight. Even the art seems to be Kirby-esque almost. So in that sense, it was a nice throwback to when I was young. And there were a few cute little jokes and one liners (the purple tights comment made me smile) that are typical of Peter David's work. Yet despite all this and my desire to like Peter David's work, I still felt pretty let down by this book. First up, it's advertised as a bigger special book that you pay extra for but the main story is still the standard 22 pages (with Fin's first appearance being reprinted to add pages). And really, the 22 pages aren't really all that special. You get a bit of a cool build up to the fight and then a pretty quick battle that's actually pretty disappointing. Though the Hulk keeps up the humour throughout. I hate to say it but despite the positives, I just can't recommend this book.
Freddy VS Jason VS Ash #3 -- Well, after I felt some disappointment with the last issue I'm happy to say I enjoyed this one. I still don't know if they are really using the Ash character to his potential but he has his moments. Maybe it's just that he has to share top billing here that's bothering me. Anyway, we get lots of cool hack and slashing, some story progression (yes, there is a story here), and a fairly cool cliff-hanger ending. The art was pretty good but seemed somewhat inconsistent at times, especially with Ash. This issue would make my recommended reading list but I guess the big question is whether the whole series will, and for that we'll have to wait and see. So far I think there's a little something for fans of all three and maybe something for non-fans who still know a little something about them.
So I guess that's it for this week. I did get some TPBs read though. Quickly...
Strangers in Paradise Volume 1 -- Loved it. Thought it was a great book.
Ex Machina Volume 1 -- Thought the writing was amazing and a great story, found the art somewhat distracting at times though. It was great for the most part but every once in a while it seemed as though the people he got to model for him were over-acting their parts and it came through in the characters' body language. Still an amazing book though.
Ghost World -- Fun and interesting. I'm glad I read it but I wouldn't push it on anyone else though. It's definitely for a certain type of reader.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Angel: After the Fall #2 -- The art still bothers me a bit in this book. Sometimes it's not getting the likenesses down and other times I think it's something else. One thing that kinda bugged me was how many big-breasted women with tiny waists were shown. I can almost understand it with Spike's situation but then there was Nina, the werewolf. The story is still interesting though I almost wanted to see a bit more progression. It almost seemed like things were slowed down so the issue could end on the latest big reveal. Though I didn't find it to be too much of a surprise. So it wasn't the strongest issue I've read but as an Angel fan, I'm still enjoying it. And they have matched the characters well. So it makes my recommended reading list but only for the Angel/Buffy fans out there.
Warbound #1 -- I was actually somewhat doubtful that this team could keep my interest but this first issue is pretty good. Pak does a great job of keeping me interested in them and having Kate back with SHIELD is interesting. She does seem to be the perfect match for this book given her history. I was only mildly surprised by the reveal at the end (well, the first "end") that it was the Leader behind things. I was actually more surprised to see him with the brace on his head. It almost seemed like another "Let's move some of our Ultimates ideas into the regular universe". But overall, I thought it was a solid enough story, good writing, and fine artwork. So I was pretty impressed by the first issue. It actually makes my recommended reading list for the time being.
Incredible Hulk/Herc #112 -- I'm still not sold on this idea of replacing the Hulk with Hercules. I find it to be a somewhat decent story and the character to be interesting enough but I'm not so sure it should be in the Hulk book. I'd probably be happier had they stopped the Hulk book altogether and given Herc is own mini-series or something. The writing is good and the art is okay (though inconsistent at times which I believe was due to the two artists listed in the credits). I don't think it makes my recommended reading list though, perhaps my "suggest you check it out for yourself" list. I'll keep with it for now but I can't seem myself going long-term with this book. Either bring the Hulk back or end this series for now.
She-Hulk #24 -- We get to see a bit more of She-Hulk's new life as well as the new Skrull that's tagging along with her. It may not have the over the top zanyness of Dan Slott's run but we knew that going in to Peter David's run. And I can respect that, to try and mimic Dan Slott's work just wouldn't work very well. I do seem to be enjoying this new direction and I'm curious to see where things are going with it which is almost to be expected from a Peter David story (that and that there will still be some comedy put in when possible/appropriate). And although the art doesn't blow me away, I think it's still pretty solid for the book. So it makes my recommended reading list but I know it's not for everyone. People looking for more of Dan Slott type stuff may have a hard time getting over the change but I do think it was necessary.
World of Warcraft #2 -- To summarize this book, the human kicks butt in the fight that was left over from last issue. Then he kicks butt in the arena fights. That's pretty much it. I'm pretty disappointed in this series. I'm not a World of Warcraft fan but I know there's more to the game (and the story behind the game) than what's being shown here. There are minor hints to that history in some parts but it's really not enough. So far, it's been your pretty typical "uber-human with no memory in a fantasy land". And the art really doesn't do it for me. Sometimes it may just be a style thing but other times it seems that the art doesn't match the story. There was one point where one of the spectators yelled out that a character was decapitated yet to me, the picture seemed to show him being slashed across the chest. I'm a bit of a completist so I tend to finish any mini-series I start but this one is borderline for me. So far, it just doesn't seem that interesting to me. So unfortunately, it doesn't make my recommended reading list. Though to be fair, I'm sure there are fans of the game or the genre that may enjoy this book so I wouldn't say to avoid at all costs or anything.
So that's it for this week. I also finished League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier but I don't have time for the review at the moment. I'm not even sure I'll ever really be able to review that book properly. At the moment, I'm feeling pretty disappointed in it. Maybe the more scholarly out there will enjoy it. And maybe it was just too "out there" for me but the book just became way too much of a chore to read. Maybe as I let it soak in and read more stuff on it (so I understand a bit more about some of the characters) I'll have a better outlook on it. But we'll have to wait and see. So up next I believe will be the first volume of Strangers in Paradise. Ex Machina is also on my pile of books to read and Ghost World should be coming my way in 2 days. ;)
Friday, December 14, 2007
Elephantmen: War Toys #1 -- Synopsis: Africa and China go to war with Europe, having been almost entirely wiped out by a virus, serving as the battlefield. And here we have the Elephantmen (MAPPO's "War Toys") entering the fight. The stories coming out of the Elephantmen universe continue to blow me away with some great writing and amazing art. Perhaps you could say that this issue spends a lot of time telling us what we already know about the Elephantmen in the narrative but you don't notice it too much with the events going on along with the narrative. This is a war story so be prepared for some graphic violence and some mature themes. The ending of this book really had me psyched for the next issue, I can't wait to see what comes next. This definitely makes my recommended reading list.
Captain Carrot and the Final Ark #3 -- Well, it seems the "Ark" is now fully understood. I was actually enjoying this issue more so than the previous two up until the end. Then I just felt let down. Yes, I understand it was meant to be a cliffhanger of sorts but this really didn't feel like an ending at all. Their planet is being flooded, some (including Pig Iron) are left behind presumably to die (especially Pig Iron), and the survivors are left in animal form on the main DC Earth with still human level intelligence (no way of talking though) and their powers (minus Captain Carrot himself who needs his magic carrots). And speaking of Captain Carrot, he's now part of Zatanna's act. Honestly, it's just too much left open and not enough closure for me. I guess it's been said on the DC boards that if there is enough demand they'll continue the story but this just seemed like a cheap tease to me. It was solicited as a 3 issue series and it didn't even seem to finish any sort of storyline. So no, it doesn't make my recommended reading list. And as someone who actually hoped to see Captain Carrot return I'm now saying he should disappear. Or if he does come back I'll probably stay away unless DC can convince me they'll handle it differently.
Marvel Adventures: Hulk #6 -- I was actually somewhat disappointed in this issue. Not enough to give up on the series but I didn't enjoy it as much as some of the previous issues. I didn't find the artist was the right fit for this book though I didn't find it all that strong to suggest moving the art team to a more mature book either. And I found the writing somewhat missed its mark with all the jumping around in time and having the various characters narrating. It just seemed difficult to get into any of the story. It's still a pretty decent kids book but not quite as good as it has been. So it doesn't quite make my recommended reading list, it's more of a "suggest checking out if this sort of thing is your 'bag'" kinda thing.
Well that's it for now. I'll try to get those Zuda reviews done soon. But for now it's back to work. It's oddly quiet around the office as everyone else has gone off to the holiday lunch. No rest for the wicked I suppose.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Adventures of Maxy J Millionaire -- This story combines elements of a kid's story (the talking stuffed toy, the cartoon almost child-like art, etc. with very adult elements (the prostitute Maxy encounters for example). The 8 pages presented do a great job of getting the story moving and giving you an idea of what to expect. And it is a pretty clever idea with interesting characters. I'm just not sure it's something I'll be looking to read on a regular basis. Perhaps if it continues I'll wait until a good chunk is done before I decide for sure. But for now, though I think it's worth taking a look at it won't be getting my vote.
Araknid Kid -- Though the 8 pages don't really give us much of a backstory it's an intriguing intro to the character. Dropping the Araknid Kid straight in to battle is probably the best way to present this mute character who talks with pictures (reminding me of Artie from the X-Men). The art is solid with some pretty unique character designs. Though these 8 pages present a pretty standard story it's still enough to catch my interest somewhat. I'm a little unsure whether I could read a whole book or storyline with the Araknid Kid talking in pictures the whole time. I think it might be novel to start but it may get old at some point. So it's another book worth checking out but I don't think it will be getting my vote either.
Avaste Ye -- I have to be honest, this comic was coming in as the underdog right away as I typically can't seem to get in to strips with simple (I don't want to say "stickman") art. I know it sounds pretty bad of me to say that but I guess I'm just too much of a visual kind of guy and feel like I need something more. The story is at least pretty unique with the main character deciding to become a pirate and the jokes/punchlines had me chuckling slightly, which is more than I can say for similar webcomics I've seen of this style. I might recommend checking it out as well but it's not something I'd keep reading and it won't be getting my vote. Which is too bad, I'd really like to vote for someone coming from DrunkDuck. :)
Development Hell -- A webcomic for techies, these usually don't work for me. Yes, I work in the IT field. Yes, I've been in similar situations and laughed at the absurdity. But generally unless there's something unique to the characters the overnight gaming and stupid clients don't seem to be able to carry a cartoon. The art is pretty solid though is it just me or is the first and third panel on page 1 a copy/paste job along with the second panel on page 5? I'm sure this comic could find a niche and it's probably done better than many of the web comics with similar concepts but I have to say this is not one I'd go out of my way to recommend. And I won't be voting for it.
Frankie --Hmm... As someone with a bit of a liking for the classic monsters (Frankenstein's creature, Dracula, Mr Hyde, Phantom of the Opera, etc) I was intrigued with this one. And I was happy to see the creature referred to as the "monster" and not Frankenstein. Overall, it seems they have done their homework on this one and not going with the Hollywood-ized creature. The overall story and the tone that is set seems to be a decent continuation of the original novel. I'm not saying it lives up to the original but it's a good attempt. I don't know if I really feel that the art style matches the story yet the dark settings and the scene where the creature punishes the son are done extremely well. I don't know if this one is going to get my vote but I would like to see more and see where it's going from here. I don't know if I'd even recommend it, maybe just suggest checking it out, but for me (due to the above mentioned interest in the characters) it's something I might be interested in.
Ponbiki Z -- The art is a different style but I kinda like it and leaving it black and white probably fits. But I don't know how much I like the story. It didn't really strike me as unique or engrossing. Some of that may come from the way the story is told, the constant narration, even over details that are evident in the art, kinda detracts from it in my opinion. Though I suppose, given that it's the kid narrating then it could be argued that it makes sense. But from my perspective, it just made it less enjoyable to read. Overall, it's not something I'd recommend checking out and it won't be getting my vote.
Pray for Death -- This one had an interesting premise to me. A detective with a complex past being called in on the latest weird homicide. Right away I was intrigued to learn more about the past as well as the present. Are they connected? The art is interesting in its style and works pretty well for the story. The writing and dialogue is pretty solid and lets the story develop but my only gripe might be that the two stories could have been intertwined a bit more. What I mean is that you start off on page 1 with both, the killer's and detective's story presented. Then you don't see the killer again until page 3 in one panel. It made it a little unclear what was happening, whether these events were going on in parallel or were flashbacks to her previous case. I suppose you could do this intentionally but it didn't seem the best approach to me. Even when I got to the end I had to go back and re-read it to see the connection. It also seems that the victim's hair is red when you see her later but almost brownish at the beginning. That might just be me but it made me think it was two different couples. But enough nitpicking, I still think this could be an interesting story and the 8 page preview caught my attention. It's possible that after reading a bit more it's something I might recommend to others. So it may be getting my vote.
The Crooked Man -- This one seems to be a popular choice yet I didn't care for it. The art is pretty solid, the style fits the tone and setting of the story. But I just didn't get a good sense of the story from the 8 pages presented. I know I can't expect too much from 8 pages but after reading it I didn't have a sense of who the characters were. There was no connection made for me beyond maybe a little when the people turn their backs on the officer as he tries to save the man who has been shot. But that was short lived. I don't think I'd come back to read any more of this book so it won't be getting my vote. Which is too bad as it appears that a lot of work went in to it to research the time period (visually and storywise).
The Mundane Overrated Misadventures of Spudman -- I actually kinda liked this one. The art is solid. The characters look pretty unique and the facial expressions are great. I found myself smiling throughout and chuckling at parts. The story seems to be a pretty unique one that I haven't seen before and it makes me curious to see more. I can see it as a book that might not appeal to everyone but it looks like it could be a lot of fun. So it's something I might recommend and is a possible vote getter for me.
Word of Power -- This one seems to have some potential with the characters but there just wasn't enough story in the 8 pages to hook me. The art is solid manga style stuff and not the over the top stuff that I don't really care for. And it showed the story well. But from those 8 pages I got that this guy plays guitar in a subway, has the hots for a woman who comes by regularly (but can't get up the courage to talk to her), and spaces out from time to time with some visions of playing guitar in a huge concert. I just don't know if that's enough of a story to hook me. The write up talks about making friends with a reclusive composer who may be more than what he seems but not much more than that. I guess in some ways this is rather typical of manga with short chapters that only give you snippets of the story and keep you coming back to by the next part but in this case, I feel I need to see more before I'd vote for this one over the other stories or recommend it. So it won't be getting my vote either.
The 8 page limit really is hampering some people. A lot of times you have to read the blurb beforehand (or after) to see what the story is going to be about. I'd rather the 8 pages do that. So for me, it's looking like it'll be a last minute decision between Adventures of Spudman and Pray for Death with Frankie and Araknid Kid just barely falling out of consideration. I have a couple more weeks to make up my mind. :)
Friday, December 07, 2007
And in case you missed it, the next Zuda competition is up. I'll try to write up some reviews for each of them at some point but overall I have to admit that I was somewhat disappointed with this crop of comics. I'd rather see more from the first set of competitors.
Buffy #9 -- Brian K. Vaughan's Faith storyline comes to an end. I really enjoyed this storyline. I didn't expect Faith and Buffy to be at such odds with each other but it made for a very compelling story. I don't really want to go into too much detail but everything just worked for me. And I find Vaughan continues to nail the character's in dialogue and attitude. He seems to have been a perfect choice for this book (which made sense after I read his Runaways series). As for the art, I was still somewhat disappointed with Faith's look but it seems to have improved with each issue (or maybe I'm just more used to it). But other than that, the art remains high quality stuff. I really can't say enough good about this book. Then there's the epilogue at the end. I had just recently looked back at the Fray TPB so it was fresh in my mind. Now it's not to say that people who haven't read Fray will be lost or anything but it was a definite nod to those who have (and I highly recommend that you do). Overall (and in keeping things short), this book continues to make my highly recommended reading list.
World War Hulk: Aftersmash -- I had pretty low expectations going into this book. Sure, Pak was writing it but I wasn't overwhelmed with his latest Incredible Hulk issue. So I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy this book. It had some interesting in depth stuff with various characters (Heroes for Hire, Tom Fowler, the Warbound) but I won't go into my Iron Man rant. And the art was pretty solid. I wouldn't consider it a "must read" for people who read World War Hulk but it seemed a better epilogue story than what we got in the Incredible Hulk book (which I suppose, to be fair, wasn't really an epilogue). So perhaps it doesn't quite make my "recommended" reading list but falls to a "suggested" reading list. Hmm.. Perhaps that's how I should rank books in the future; Recommended, suggested, take it or leave it, skip, and avoid at all cost. And I can play with stuff in between or for certain fanbases. But enough of that. Getting back to the review, one thing that I just had to laugh at (and BIG SPOILER coming up here) was Tom Fowler becoming the new Goliath. I mean really, kill off one Foster just to have another Foster step in to replace him? Are we even going to be able to tell them apart in the future? That just sums up some of the issues I have with comics as of late.
Ultimates 3 #1 -- I gotta admit, I was fairly disappointed with this book. Perhaps the shoes it had to fill were just too big or I had higher hopes for it but overall it didn't have much impact on me. First off I found the art fairly lacking. A lot of it had to do with the colouring, everything seemed to have the same fuzzy look where things just blurred into a big brown mess for me. For shots of the Ultimates sitting around the mansion I couldn't even distinguish the characters from the furniture and surroundings. I think they could have been a bit clearer here. And as the big finale comes up I had no clue what was going on, was that a magic bullet zipping around or what? And Valkyrie needs some serious support if you know what I mean. So yeah, the art didn't do it for me. Then there was the writing. Again, it just didn't seem to work. It seemed to rely on making the characters "bad-ass" and forcing "mature subject matter" in. Gratuitous shots of Tony and Natasha having sex, the "brother-sister" discussion with Cap (regarding Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch), Hawkeye's brooding comment about not calling him Clint (and threatening to kill anyone who does), Hank's overdose, etc... None of it really seemed natural and came off as forced. So by the time you get to the end and you get the big finale it just doesn't have much emotional impact on me despite the fact that it really should. I just think this was a poorly executed start. It may have been better to put the Ultimates in a more positive atmosphere and then pull the rug out. Now it just seems that there was no rug to begin with. It seems odd to me that the only thing I'm curious about is whether that doctor with the wood walking stick is who I think it is. And for an issue that seems to be pushing so many twists and turns that's probably not a good thing. Now I don't want to write off the entire series just yet and I'm hoping the story comes together better soon but for now, I have to say that this doesn't make my recommended reading list. It actually falls somewhere between suggested (as it may appeal to some) and "take it or leave it".
So that's it for this week. Have fun and drive safely. :)
Monday, December 03, 2007
Now I guess we wait and see what the next batch of competitors look like.
And just a quick comment on last week's Criminal Minds episode. I thought I'd chuckle at Frankie Muniz being the killer but I thought his performance was really good in the episode. What I did sorta chuckle at was a comic book creator having an agent who drove him around in a limo. :)
Friday, November 30, 2007
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
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
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
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
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.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Bayou -- Visually, this is an impressive book. The backgrounds are often minimal (if existant at all) but it conveys the story and the physical setting well. And it matches the timing of the story well. And speaking of the timing of the story, it seems a pretty bold move to start off the first book on Zuda in such a racially charged time in our history. The first 17 seems a good start to the story and the reader gets everything they need to know from it. I may actually keep an eye on this one. I can see why it got chosen to be an ongoing book.
Now for the competition books...
Alpha Monkey -- The art on this one is cartoon in style and very solid. In fact, I felt the art was the best thing about it. The story seemed rather weak. The quick little blurb in the beginning didn't really get my interest boiling over and it just jumped right in to a rather uninteresting battle against a giant chunk of cheese. It's not terrible but there's nothing really there to have me come back.
Battlefield Babysitter -- First up, I was happy to hear the main character chastise female characters for wearing skimpy and provocative clothing that makes no sense but then immediately having that character do a gratuitous butt shot (even if she does make mention of it being the last time for such a shot) seemed a little hypocritical. There was a few times where I felt things were rushed or not really as well written as they could have been and the 8 page limit may have been a factor in that. But it's not until the very last page that the title starts to make any sense. There just didn't seem to be all that much in those first 8 pages to really establish the story and hook me in. I might give it another shot should it continue but it would be on the fence until it proves itself.
Black Swan -- Meh. The art to start was somewhat interesting but the dialogue ("Bring it, B***h!") seemed to not match at all. Then the book suddenly changes and I thought there was an error on their site that redirected me to another book. Then it kinda jumps around and I just lost total interest. And the art (other than the old flashback stuff) just didn't seem all that great. Definitely not something I would keep reading. I just don't think they handled the 8 pages properly.
Dead in the Now -- More zombie madness huh? A very different style with dialogue and such merging with the art which took me a second to get used to. But really, there wasn't anything that made me want to read this. It's definitely not my cup of tea but it also didn't really establish enough in the 8 pages to make me think it's going to be worth reading.
High Moon -- If it wasn't for the weirdly placed splash page showing a werewolf I'd have no idea where they were going with this. I wish they would have handled that differently. It just seemed so out of place given the rest of the book. Though I like the art a lot and in just 8 pages it did catch my interest to a degree. This is another one I'd be on the fence on. I'd like to see slightly more before deciding for sure if it was worth reading.
Leprenomicon -- I must have missed something with this one. It seemed really out of nowhere and I just didn't feel there was anything that really caught my attention. I had no clue who the characters were or what they were talking about, and worse than that I found myself just not caring. The art isn't bad but not as good as some of the other competitors. But overall, there just wasn't anything in the 8 pages that made me want to read more.
Raining Cats and Dogs -- This one may actually edge the others out for my pick of the bunch. The opening dialogue, the really wonderful artwork (including great colouring), and the overall premise seem intriguing to me. Out of all the competitors I think this is the one that I want to see more of. The characters and story just seem unique and interesting. I may sign up just to vote for it. I have my doubts that it will win though, my tastes often don't match the comic book reading masses.
The Dead Seas -- Honestly, the dialogue that the author uses to try and establish the story here just went in one ear and out the other. It just seemed right from the start to be a typical amateur book with nothing unique or different. There just didn't seem to be enough meat to this story for me to grab onto anything. The woman wearing the chaps with her underwear showing, that just made me shake my head. And her backstory just seemed your standard stuff. The art was pretty good but nothing as different or enjoyable as some of the other competitors. I wouldn't be looking to keep reading this one.
The Enders -- This one could have used an editor. The narration just hits with too much, too quickly. And it tends to seem repetitive as it has to go over some things a couple times. It made it seem like things just didn't flow as well as they could have. The art is okay but some panels seem a little cluttered and not as well laid out as they could have been. This is another one I wouldn't keep reading should it win the contest.
This American Strife -- The most "out there" of the first set of entries (you almost think they had to include at least one of these kinds of books). Sometimes there's a story that goes on for a couple pages and sometimes not. For me, it just didn't work. Nothing really seemed to click even the art seemed off. Some panels looked really nice and others I just thought were a mess. Perhaps it'll gather a cult following with people who "get it" but I won't be one of them. I would pass on this book.
So there you have my initial take on the books.
And on another note, it has been pointed out that Wizard Magazine will be changing their tagline to “The #1 Men’s Pop-Culture Magazine!” Hmm... so the supposed #1 magazine in comics isn't for women anymore? Honestly, I don't even know why I pick it up anymore. There was a time they had some fairly decent articles including stuff on independant books but that seems to have been a long time ago. Now an interview may have one or two interesting bits to it where they aren't simply kissing up to Joe Quesada and some articles give a small tidbit of behind the scenes info of interest. But other than that, my complaint list just keeps growing. Some of them include:
- Refusing to say something is bad even when they know otherwise. One example would be saying how great the Hulk was when Bruce Jones was writing only to admit later they thought it was bad but continued to push it so Marvel would be happy with them. And they've admitted that saying something bad about a comic goes against their goal of just having people buy comics.
- Taking their "movie news" stories straight from Ain't It Cool News or SuperHeroHype and not confirming any of it. It's pretty sad when their "movie scoops" are almost straight from rumours posted online that were debunked 3 weeks before the magazine hit the stands.
- Promoting the whole "comic book women have to be babes and are all about being sexy" thing. It just seems that now they have at least one article in each issue focussing on how great some artist is at drawing women's butts. Or who is the "hottest comic book movie babe". Hmm... I guess with this one their new tagline is appropriate.
So yeah, I suppose the real question is why I was still picking this up. I guess I just liked getting a bit of comic book news but really, spending the $8 and digging through all the crap for a nugget of interest just isn't worth it anymore.
Friday, October 26, 2007
What if? Featuring Planet Hulk #1 (of 1) -- There are 3 stories in this book though the third doesn't really warrant being called a "story", it's just a comedy bit tacked on at the end. First up, we have "What if the Hulk had died instead of Caiera?" and this is the main course of this book. As the planet is exploding the Hulk tosses Caiera into the atmosphere and dies himself. She crashes back down and then the fun begins. I'll avoid giving away the details of the book though it's pretty quick to summarize. And that's probably the biggest downfall of the story. It's just too short for what it contains. There's no battles or fighting, it's just slaughter until she decides to stop. And it ends with what's supposed to be a sad moment that just comes on too quickly. The story would have been much better served by having been expanded but I know there probably isn't the demand for a 2 issue what if book. The art succeeds despite the rushed nature of the story. But I guess the heroes should be happy that it was the Hulk that came back. The second story is "What if the Hulk's shuttle didn't go through the wormhole?" and it's a very different story to the first. Here, there is ample space to dedicate to the story. After sabotaging each other's plans they are forced to come to an agreement. And in the end, you get the fast forward to show how it all works out. It was a well done story and even left the door open for most stories to be told. Though it may be a disappointment for some hoping to see how this plan might fail, it actually is an interesting story of how it might work out. And the art is good on it too. The last story is just a one page cartoon depicting what would happen had Bruce Banner landed on Sakaar instead of the Hulk. It's predictable and only got a slight chuckle from me. So overall, it wasn't a bad issue and if you're a Hulk fan then it's worth picking up. If you're only a World War Hulk fan then not so much. But overall, it makes my recommended reading list.
She-Hulk #22 -- Peter David takes over the writing chores with a new artist as well. And if you've read my previous reviews of the series, you'll know I was pretty happy about this. I didn't like the art recently and thought Slott had jumped the shark in his last few issues. Unfortunately, I found this issue a little tough to get into at the start. Looking back it had an interesting start to it but throwing She-Hulk into the bounty hunter business seemed kinda weird and out of nowhere. Though there are a few months unaccounted for which I hope (and suspect) Mr David will go back over at some point. The art was a huge step up for me. It wasn't exceptional and had its flaws here and there but it wasn't distracting and did a good job of telling the story. Though the book had plenty of twists and turns, Peter David definitely isn't trying to be Dan Slott who sometimes seemed to have something extraordinary on every page. As he has said in interviews, he's trying to cater to those who did enjoy Slott's work while trying to make the book his own. While this first issue didn't blow me away it's kept me wanting to read this series which is all I was really hoping for. She-Hulk is back on my recommended reading list. I just hope Peter David can keep it there.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Elephantmen #11 -- I had been wondering why it was so long between issues and it turns out the artist had carpal tunnel syndrome which meant he had to take some time off. I'm glad to see he's back and I hope he remains healthy. As for this book, the art continues to be really beautiful stuff. The colouring in particularly really brings the art to life. And the writing continues to be strong. This issue still serves as a character piece and perhaps it doesn't move the current story along (the meteor crash landing) but it does show more of the histories of Dr Nikken and Serenghetti, and how their paths crossed. In Nikken's case, we have him standing before the UN where he stands proud of his accomplishments and places himself above them and their morals. And Serenghetti looks back on his life as an "Elephantmen" brings him "corpse markers" to sell. Both storylines add depth and are told in such a way that these two monsters almost seem human (Serenghetti more so than Nikken). This definitely makes my recommended reading list and I can't wait for more.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Runaways #28 -- First up, the time between issues is really hurting this book. With an abundance of new characters to get to know with weird names I find it hard to keep track with months between each issue. So I might be better off waiting for the TPB on this one. But after trying to bring up the previous issue in my mind (thanks to an okay recap at the beginning of this issue) I jumped into this comics. It's another very interesting and very funny ("He makes you do chores?", oh Molly, so young and so innocent) issue with some intriguing build up to something. I can't wait to see where this goes next. Unfortunately, I have to wait. Great writing, great art, what's not to love? So it makes my recommended reading list.
Marvel Adventures Hulk #4 -- Adequate art, decent storytelling, and definitely geared towards a not so fickle audience (ie, kids). I mean c'mon, Multiple Man diverting an avalanche like that? I know, I can't criticize the book for that and I'm not really. Just trying to be funny there. I'm just glad that Marvel is still trying to make comics that appeal to a younger audience. I got started in comics at a young age and I've been disappointed how North American comics weren't giving today's youngsters the same opportunity. So yeah, for a younger audience, I recommend Marvel Adventures Hulk.
Captain Carrot and the Final Ark #1 -- You're probably wondering why I bought this. Well, as a kid Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew was a favourite of mine. So it was mostly to relive some of my childhood and all that. The problem, this book doesn't bring back the good memories. I didn't realize what DC had done with the characters when they included a few pages of them in some Teen Titans books. Little Cheese murdered by teammate Alley-Kat-Abra because "cats hate mice"? Ugh! I gotta say, I know they are "parodying" the darker comics and all but I just can't get myself to like this spin on it. It's just another part of my childhood trampled on. Even though I see quite a few positive reviews of this book it doesn't make my recommended reading list. I'll admit, a lot of people might enjoy it but I'm just too hurt right now.
So that's it for this week... Or should I say last week. :)
Friday, October 05, 2007
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #7 -- The artwork was okay in this issue but I still don't like how Faith is drawn. Something about her just doesn't work for me. But I was able to look past it for the most part. The book continues to flow nicely and is well written. Vaughan is really doing a great job of storytelling as well as getting into the characters. This storyline reminds me of just how complex Faith is and how we still really haven't scratched the surface to this character. This series continues to make my recommended reading list.
The Walking Dead Volume 7 -- I'm glad that I decided to stick with the TPBs for this series as it seems rather slow moving. I don't know if I'd have the patience if I was having to only get a small snippet of the story every month (or longer due to the delays). But there are a few bursts of thrills and chills throughout this volume. A few characters continue their deterioration while others seem to be settling in to their new lives. But of course, just as things seem to be going quiet the crap hits the fan. Unfortunately, you have to wait for volume 8 to actually see the crap fly. The characterization and dialogue really draws you in to the story by making you feel for these survivors though it's this characterization and lengthy dialogue that also tends to slow things down a bit. So it's not all out zombie action but what I consider a well crafted story. I'm really eager to see what happens next. Unfortunately, it looks like I'll be waiting a while for volume 8 (currently scheduled for January I believe). So it makes my recommended reading list with the caveat that I don't consider it a typical zombie storyline, so if that's what you're looking for this isn't it.
Friday, September 21, 2007
These last two weeks have been pretty slow for me comic-wise. Last week was just Marvel Adventures Hulk (which I said that I wasn't going to buy anymore but with no other books I had to get something) and this week was World War Hulk. I also picked up two more volumes of the manga series Monster (haven't read them yet) and the Superman: Doomsday DVD (enjoyed it). So let's get to the reviews:
Marvel Adventures Hulk #3 -- So in this book we have Bruce run into one of his old colleagues who just happens to be the Radioactive Man. And of course he attempts to use Bruce for his own personal agenda (by soaking up Bruce's radiation). But in the end, even Radioactive Man can't deal with the energy of the Hulk. This is a kiddy book, no doubt about it. You can't really be too analytical with it and you have to dismiss the childish taunts that Rick uses to get the Hulk angry. But overall, it's not a bad comic for the younger audience. It kinda goes back to how the book used to be before comics became more adult and political. I would have liked a little more consistent and higher level art but overall it got the job done. I would only recommend this book to the younger audience or those that want to read a simple Hulk story.
World War Hulk #4 -- And now we move to the other end of the spectrum... Sorta. World War Hulk is supposed to be a simpler story than Civil War, with just a lot of smashing going on. Nonetheless, it is travelling the same path so it's not like it's entirely shallow. But you know what, I'm kinda tired of debating the whole Civil War thing so I'll leave it out of this review. The problem I had with this issue was that it was two stories that just didn't seem to have a nice connection. You start with the Dr Strange battle and as soon as that's over you're pretty much thrown into the gladiator fight (with a quick interlude by 4 people who argue that the Black Bolt, Tony, Reed, and Strange should be held accountable for their actions). It just didn't seem like a smart idea to have these two things in the same book because both seemed kinda rushed through and shoved together into the one book. I would have had one issue end with the 4 heroes captured and the next issue containing the gladiator fight (including the discussion as to why they supposedly deserve it). And Romita's art was actually a bit of a miss with me in this book. Some things he does amazingly well and then there are other panels where the Hulk's face looks distorted or "smooshed". And the Gladiator fight really didn't seem to have any oomph to it. I think he needed to play around a bit more with the panels and spread it out a little better. If the first half of the issue hadn't been taken up by the Strange fight, that might have helped. I anxiously await the next issue to see where all this is going though. I just hope it has a better payoff than Civil War. Despite the complaints, it still makes my recommended reading list. Though in typical fashion for a penultimate issue to a series, it's not the strongest of the bunch.
So that's it for this week. If I get a chance I may write up a review for Superman: Doomsday but the quick version of that is: I'm a bit of a stickler so the deviation from the comic was something that came up a lot for me but I was able to enjoy it a lot and thought it was rather well done. It does go on my recommended viewing list. And the Kevin Smith joke (an in-joke for the really big comic geeks out there) is darn funny.
Friday, September 07, 2007
Incredible Hulk #110 -- Wow! Pak decides to state with some conviction that despite what Millar and/or Bendis may have written elsewhere the Hulk has never killed an innocent on purpose or by accident (except for the time he was turned into a mindless savage by Doc Samson). Though there have been the self-defence deaths and killing in a war. As a Hulk fan I kinda like that. As Slott wrote in a She-Hulk book, Bruce Banner wouldn't have been allowing things to go on like that if the Hulk had killed. And all this was to prove that the Hulk is not a killer and won't kill Black Bolt, Reed, Tony, et al. Prove to who (those watching or the Hulk himself) is questionable I suppose. Now I know some comic readers will take Amadeus explanation of the no deaths and say what a load of BS but as a Hulk fan, I kinda like it. As much as the Hulk should be seen as a monster for me, I don't like the idea of him crossing that line. So although it seems somewhat shoe-horned in, I like it. So overall, I enjoyed the writing of this issue. It was well spread out with a lot happening (though it kinda doesn't feel that way until you go back and recap exactly everything that was laid out). Amadeus' plan for the Hulk (building a giant dome shield over his land in New Mexico) seems somewhat too simple and doesn't factor in some situations but I'm sure Amadeus was just giving the brief summary and not the itty bitty details. But overall, it's inline with the characters and the story and I enjoyed it. And the art, at times I had been critical of the Pak/Pagulayan team on Planet Hulk and said it seems rather choppy but this issue was nothing like that. It was a solid effort by both. It makes my recommended reading list.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #6 -- Woohoo! Faith! She's back and doing the dirty jobs that regular slayers don't want or can't do. Need a home of vampire children killed? Send in Faith. And we even get a Principal Wood appearance. At times, you really can hear Eliza Dushku's voice coming out of the page. Vaughan really nails the dialogue and expressions. The art isn't quite as impressive but solid enough to get the job done. And Faith's task, to take out an uber-slayer gone bad, well it had to happen. Not everyone who got the slayer power would be goody-goody and it doesn't help that there would be those out there to manipulate and make use of the slayers. And I suspect there's even more to the story. I was also happy that it wasn't entirely a Faith issue. The Buffy/Xander part, though short, was nice just to tie things in to the overall narrative. So yeah, this series still rocks for me and makes my recommended reading list. I almost forgot, the cover by Jo Chen is her best yet in my opinion. Simple but she nails Faith's look and attitude perfectly.
She-Hulk #21 -- Dan Slott's last book and I'm kinda happy it's over. Don't get me wrong, I loved this series to start but I think it's been going slightly downhill. And this issue just rubbed me the wrong way throughout. It's Slott's attempt at poking fun at continuity issues while making an explanation (albeit an incredibly silly one) for them. The explanation: Reed Richards of Earth-A (not the regular or "616" Marvel Universe, this Reed actually looks like the Thing) created a device to teleport regular people to Earth-B (the regular or 616 Marvel Universe) while giving them the appearance and powers of Earth-B heroes and villains. It was a sort of vacation (kinda like Total Recall if you've seen it). So the She-Hulk that slept with Juggernaut? That wasn't the 616 She-Hulk it was the Jennifer Walters from Earth-A on vacation as She-Hulk. And then you get Reed saying he actually wants to take out the nanites that Tony injected She-Hulk with but saying they're permanent. What? They were temporarily turned off by Amadeus who said he could permanently wipe them out. Tony temporarily deactivated them for World War Hulk. But now Reed says that they are permament??? That just seems weird. And the entire idea that Reed is okay going behind Tony's back to remove them doesn't seem to fit either. But in the end, he does figure out a way and we get She-Hulk back to her normal self. Okay, this review is becoming a bit of a mess (just like the book felt for me) so I'll say this, this issue does not make my recommended reading list. Though the best line I think was when the geeks said something like "Two Star Trek references in a row? Wow, this is like some sort of Peter David book" and the second geek saying "I wish." I'm with that second geek, I do wish and eagerly await Peter David and the new artist taking over this book.
White Tiger #6 -- Well, this series finally comes to an end. I was wondering when we'd get to see an end to it. Personally, reading this series has made my head spin at times so I had to read over the recap of the story a few times to get things straight before jumping into this issue. We start off with the Lizard making his quick appearance and then after a brief setup we get down to business with the White Tiger being joined by Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Spidey, and Black Widow. At least we see a bit now why some of these characters appeared earlier in the series, it was to give them a bit of a history with the White Tiger before this get together. Though the earlier encounters still seem forced and out of place. Again, this issue just doesn't seem to be as polished as it could be. We get quick jumps in location and shots of a guy chopping of another guy's head without any clear reason why we are seeing it. I'm sure there's something I'm missing in a few scenes but it just doesn't seem to be as worked out as it could be. And the art is okay to look at but kinda misses the mark in some places. There is one panel that has the White Tiger jumping over a guy but the way it's done (with her greyed out a bit while in mid-leap but solid in front of him) it looks like she's jumped in front of him (given that she's drawn solid at that point you figure that's where the action has ended) yet the next panel has her kicking him in the back. And when the second artist takes over things get a little weird. Luke Cage seems to change to some skinny black guy. Some of the layouts also don't work where the artist seems to break from a traditional left to right, top to bottom way of laying the page out and all you get is tiny little arrows between the panels (which I missed on my first couple readings of that page) to show you that it's changed. Overall, this series and the character have a lot of potential as the character is an interesting one with a distinct history and personality, but it just wasn't executed as well as it could have been. I have to say that the series doesn't really make my recommended reading list though I do hope to see more from both, the character and the writer. She got a lot of good characterization done, I just don't think the storytelling was as strong as it could have been.
Last but not least, I was fortunate enough to meet Olivier Coipel, artist of House of M and Thor, at my local comic shop on Sunday. It was really cool. I got to chat with him for quite a bit (probably too long for his liking). He was a really really nice guy and I got this sketch from him which I absolutely love:
Friday, August 31, 2007
WWH: X-Men #3 -- Fans of the X-Men may have been better off looking away because the Hulk goes through them like he used to go through the Avengers. Sure, a few of them get some shots in here and there but for the most part, the Hulk totally dismantles all the X-teams. It's even kinda sad how Nightcrawler's last ditch effort of flying the blackhawk into him just seems pointless at this stage of the story. If nothing else stopped him then there's not much that will do. Fans hoping for Wolverine to save the day will be disappointed as he puts up even less of a showing than before. And as for Juggernaut, that's where things get interesting. Basically selling his soul to try and stop the Hulk and leaving the X-Men with the line (though I'm paraphrasing) "Don't come looking for me, you won't like what you'll find", it's signs of an interesting future to that character. Now the debate rages on, did the Hulk "stop" Juggernaut? I say "who cares?" It was just a really cool fight to watch. Two of the biggest, strongest, powerhouses in the Marvel Universe going toe to toe, punch for punch, and doing what they do best. I didn't feel the least bit cheated in how that fight ended either. And as for the ending to the story, yeah, for a moment I did almost seem disappointed but on the other hand, I liked it. For me, it's not about the Hulk smashing people, it's about making sure those who have wronged him and those close to him are made to suffer in the same way they've made others suffer. And for Xavier, he's already suffering. That's why he was willing to surrender and face the penalty for his actions, he already feels the guilt of it and has seen what his actions have led to. He's already living that hell. There's nothing more the Hulk needs to do to him than what's already been done. So yeah, the writing was pretty solid and this was a great series to go along with the whole WWH storyline. Not essential reading for the main story but a nice sidebar. And the art was solid with a lot of great action. It definitely makes my recommended reading list.
Mice Templar #1 -- As much as I want to avoid bringing the Mouse Guard into this, there are some common issues I have with reading both stories. And these may be just my issues so take them as you will. I seem to have a tough time differentiating characters in both these books. I think part of it is the mice aspect, it's just harder for me to find characteristics I can recognize to differentiate one from the other. And then there are the names, "Steve", "Tony", "Bruce", etc are easy for me to pick out and attach to a character. "Deishun", "Karic", "Leito"? Not so much. Now they make more sense than "Tony", "Steve", "Bruce", etc. so there's no real way around it but it's still an issue for me. But getting beyond my issues, after reading the book twice to try and manage all the characters and map out their relations, I think I got a handle on it. The story is pretty quick to move along with a lot happening in this first issue (a flashback history lesson of the Templar, a spider attack, a rat attack, and a bunch of stuff to make the main character stand out as someone special). It's enough to pique some interest even if the whole "finding the one mouse and he being blessed by the gods" thing seems a little .... I don't know the right word but "off" seems to be right for me. But the story was strong enough to make me care about these mice and feel for them. The art was pretty solid and fit the tone of the book. It does make my recommended reading list as something you should probably check out. And I get the feeling it'll only take the one issue before you know whether you're into the series or not.
Mouse Guard Winter 1152 #1 -- I was a little worried that I'd have some trouble with the characters here. I know I had trouble keeping track of them in the last series and it's been a little while since I read that. Fortunately, I didn't find it too bad. I may not have connected them with the previous story but this issue sets out the characters pretty well by itself. You see right away the different personalities of the mice. The art is beautiful in this book. I'm not sure if it's just me or if it's actually improved from the last series but it's really amazing. The settings are beautifully drawn and coloured. It's almost worth it for the pictures alone. And the story is yet again, a slow moving one but it's engrossing enough to keep you interested. For fans of the first series, it's pretty clear you should pick this book up. For people who didn't read the first series, you may want to check it out to see what all the talk is about. It may not be for you but it's worth taking a peak into. It also makes my recommended reading list.
So the three books go three for three this week. A good week of comics for me.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
So I'm somewhat happy to have gotten my free t-shirt. And as my sister-in-law says, once again I learn the lesson of not buying cereal just for the free prize inside.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Astonishing X-Men #22 -- Why oh why can't this book come out on a monthly basis? I know it shouldn't be rushed but I hate the waiting. And with each new issue comes the relief of finally being able to read it and the pain of knowing you're going to have to wait a while to see what's next. And talk about a cliff hanger ending... Though I'm guessing it's a trick and though everything seems to be leading to the obvious conclusion of who's not coming back, it's actually someone else. I don't want to say who I think that someone else is and I think it might be a bit of a disappointment for some fans but I guess we'll have to wait and see. But as for this book, what can I say? Beautiful artwork, Cassaday really produces here. Excellent writing and dialogue, but what did you expect me to say. I'm still excited from having read the issue and in so much pain from having to wait for issue 23. It definitely makes my recommended reading list.
As for the rant, I'll try to keep it short. A while back I picked up a box of Vector cereal. They were having a promotion where you got a free t-shirt, one of those fancy shmancy shirts, not a regular t-shirt. Since I like those fancy shmancy shirts and was up for the idea of trying the cereal I decided why not. Well, I'm not a big fan of the cereal but it wasn't that bad so oh well, no real harm done there. I figured that there was a Running Room not so far away so I tossed the form you use to mail away for it and just kept the main coupon. But after a couple months of repeatedly visitting the store I have yet to be able to redeem my free t-shirt. Most of the times I'm met with "Nope, got none" but other times I'm met with "Only have mediums and smalls" (or just smalls) and I need a large. One rather humourous exchange had me asking "Hi, I was wondering if you had any of these t-shirts in large?" (while showing the coupon of course) The reply I got back, "Yep, but we only have smalls and mediums." *sigh*
When I went in yesterday I was told they had none and that they don't know when they will be getting any more shirts in but "if" they do, and I mean "if", it will have to be soon because the offer expires in September. So there's no guarantee that they will be betting any more before the offer is ended. And a message on the company website says that the response exceeded their expectations and that they will be trying to make sure everyone gets their shirt before the deadline. But to me, it's not looking that promising. So yep, I'm not particularly happy at the moment. I always hate it when companies do these sorts of promotions and then say "Oops, response exceeded demand. Too bad for you. Hope you enjoyed the cereal." It always seems to have an air of underhandedness to it and I sometimes wonder if it wouldn't be more fair for the company to extend the deadline a bit. I know, they do put their little disclaimer saying that supplies are limitted but that still has an air about it to me.
So I'll continue to pop by on occasion and annoy the hell out of the staff there with constantly asking if they have the shirts. And all this for a $30-40 t-shirt. But I guess it's becoming more and more a matter of principle for me. I bought the Vector cereal with the promise of a shirt and I want my shirt darn it!
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Marvel Adventures Hulk #2 -- First up, the art in this book was okay I suppose but at times, I had trouble recognizing characters and figuring out who was who. And the writing didn't really inspire me either. I suppose I was just hoping for too much because perhaps the idea of the Hulk gaining the Multiple Man's powers and spawning off Hulk after Hulk will appeal to the younger audience. But I kinda wonder if the talk of kinetic energy or multiple aspects of a person's personality was really appropriate for the book. But that might just be me underestimating the young audiences of today. But in the end, the book missed the mark for me and it'll probably be the last Marvel Adventures Hulk book I pick up. And on a side note, it was weird seeing the Multiple Man as an established character while the Hulk is brand new. Anywho, it unfortunately doesn't make my recommended reading list even though I hope the book is a success so Marvel can continue to try to attract young readers into picking up some comics.
So that's it for this week, short and simple. And now, I'm back to bed with the hope that I can keep my lunch down. :)
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Incredible Hulk #109 -- Artist Carlo Pagulayan returns to the book and does an admirable job with this issue. There are quite a few twists and turns, people working to help the Hulk and then working to stop the Hulk. And the Hulk refusing to accept the help from the humans. Was it for their protection or what? We get to see a few snippits from behind the scenes with the obedience disks and the Hulk's arena that he's building. Overall though, the story seems somewhat disjoint jumping through time and having the Hulk keep disappearing to go do the stuff we see in the main WWH book. It's not terrible but it's also not a really engrossing book either. I guess I was slightly disappointed with it but it still makes my recommended reading list especially for Hulk fans and those who are eating WWH up.
Omega Flight #5 -- I'm so thankful this series is over. It is over right? I couldn't really tell from this book. Because in the end, Talisman leaves to be with her people, Sasquatch leaves, Beta Ray Bill is locked in that demon dimension, US Agent seemingly goes off to fight the bad guys on his own in Canada, and Arachne stands around watching Michael Pointer train as the new Guardian. Hardly a team building series when the team never really forms and goes their own way in the end. I was somewhat okay with this issue up until the ending and then it was like "Why the heck did I bother reading this series???" The art wasn't as bad as it has been in other issues but Beta Ray still looked off and for some reason he magically got his helmet back for his big final shot even though he didn't have it when he entered that dimension. Oh, and last I heard those who try wielding Wrecker's crowbar don't get the benefits of its power and the Wrecker can actually take over the minds of those who try to wield it... But I haven't followed the Wrecking Crew too well so maybe that changed or something. Anyway, this series was a waste of time and money for me and it definitely doesn't make my recommended reading list.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
World War Hulk #3 -- Now some may say that the army really didn't pose much of a threat to the Hulk and his allies but I still disagree. Look at what the superheroes have done to the Hulk, not much. With the adamantium laced weapons the army was at least dealing out a little punishment. Granted, once Dr Strange's little attempt at talking with Banner failed then it was back to "Hulk smash" but I felt they did put up a little bit of a fight. Perhaps I would have liked more, more bombs, more weapons, etc... but it's only a 5 issue series and the focus needs to return to the superheroes. I liked that we saw Banner and his interaction with Strange was really cool. Some people may wonder how Hulk was able to hurt Strange's physical body but I figure where magic's involved, who knows? I love how the Warbound are coming into the picture more and more, that it's not just the Hulk pounding the heroes but his allies who can better match them in the various areas (technology, magic, etc). I wasn't as thrilled with the ending of this issue as I was with previous ones, mostly because I don't really know enough about Dr Strange to understand exactly what he did. But overall, the characters remain on key and the smashing continues. I'm highly recommending this series.
She-Hulk #20 -- Well, Slott's leaving the book after the next issue so it was time to tie up all the loose ends he had going on. And it was a lot. So in a convenient little twist, we get the majority of She-Hulk's storylines wrapped up thanks to a whole host of flashback scenes. Taken on its own this book would have been highly confusing and frustrating for a newcomer to the series. For someone who has been reading the series, it's good that they finally tie some things up and explain what we've missed. And yet we get the cliffhanger ending leading to bigger things to come. So for fans of the series, it's probably a must read. For non-fans, you might be better avoiding it and picking up where Slott leaves off. The art continues to be a letdown for me. And last but not least, poor Awesome Andy. I'll miss him. So it's recommended for fans of the series but maybe not so much for someone who hasn't been reading it.
New Avengers Illuminati #4 -- I'm a little confused with how this issue ties together. First up, the cover depicts the love interests for the members of the Illuminati. Yet, other than Sue Storm, they don't appear in the book and Sue is just at the very end. They are mentioned in the beginning with a prologue that makes the Illuminati look like a bunch of clueless men who rant about how they will never understand women. Well, except for Namor it seems. Kinda weird having him be the smart one in the bunch. And Black Bolt's little hand gesture of shooting himself in the head when talking about Medusa seems really odd and out of character to me. But I'm sure it made a few readers (and Bendis) chuckle. But the prologue makes me hate the Illuminati even more to be honest. And then we have them visitting Marvel Boy. And to be honest, I got kinda bored of it. The whole time I was wondering how this ties in with the Young Avengers/Runaways series where Tony Stark and SHIELD okayed a program where a former villain brainwashes Marvel Boy to turn him into a mindless soldier for taking on the anti-registration side. Yeah, that was a great way to convince him not to continue his war against Earth. So again, I'm disappointed by how an Illuminati book doesn't really fit together and I dislike the characterizations. At this point, I just want Reed, Tony, Strange, Black Bolt, and Xavier (and maybe Namor to a lesser degree) locked up for being idiots and thinking they should control the world because they know what's best. Doom must be wondering how he's been given the label of "villain" all this time. I can't really recommend this series and I kinda wish it was never made.
Dark Tower #7 -- A strong ending to the series. Though it continues to feel like I'm just getting snapshots or part of the story this issue holds it together well. As I've said, the art has been hit or miss with me and it's a hit here. And just as everything is getting tied up nicely the big twist hits and we're reminded that the story is to be continued in the next volume. The ending really made me interested in what happens next. I really thought that this was going to be it for me but I guess we'll see how I feel in February. And overall, I think I'd put the series on my recommended reading list though you might be better off reading the novel. Though this gives those of us not interested in reading it a quick runthrough of the story.
So with that, I'm off to Nova Scotia. Reviews for next week will be delayed until the weekend.
Friday, July 27, 2007
And speaking of waiting, I'm heading off to Nova Scotia next week, Thursday to be exact. I'm hoping to pick up my comics on Wednesday after work but that might mean I won't have a chance to post my reviews of them. So if you don't hear from me next week you'll have to wait until the following week (it may be Friday, I don't get back until the following Thursday).
So back to the reviews of this week, I picked up The Incredible Hulk #108, Buffy the Vampire Slayer #5, Elephantmen #10, and Stephen Colbert's Tek Jansen. Yeah, Tek Jansen came out a couple weeks back but I missed it so I had to wait for the re-order.
The Incredible Hulk #108 -- The theme for this week definitely seemed to be character pieces. With this issue we have Rick Jones (the Hulk's first "friend" or human contact) and Miek (the Hulk's first "friend" or contact on Sakaar) going over their respective personal histories and seeing how they mirror each other. There seem to be a few inconsistencies with the main World War Hulk title or maybe I'm just remembering it incorrectly. I am pretty tired so maybe it's best for me to wait and go over the books again before going through those. Taking this book on its own, I found it well drawn for the most part (it wasn't Gary Frank drawing it), well written, but a real slowdown from the Planet Hulk and World War Hulk pace that we seem to be becoming accustomed to with the Hulk books. And again, the Hulk does not really feature very prominently in this book, at least not in the present, most of the flashbacks have the Hulk but are more about Rick or Miek. We see how each wants to help the Hulk and how each one has a different approach to doing so. And in the end, they go their separate ways to achieve that. And also, we get to see a bit more about Miek. I was getting worried about his story but what he says and does in this issue actually makes me feel better. I know some people were really let down by this issue but not so much for me. But I guess I knew this wasn't going to be a continuation of the Hulk smash stuff that's going on everywhere else, this would be the behind the scenes character book. So yeah, it makes my recommended reading list. But non-Hulk fans may be disappointed. And Hulk fans may be a little turned off by another "let's have Rick Jones narrate his Hulk story again."
Buffy the Vampire Slayer #5 -- Something about this issue just seemed off to me. Perhaps I was just tired and the time shifting nature of it had my brain trying to do leaps when it just wanted to go to sleep. And perhaps I just need to re-read it (I know I did re-read a few pages as I went through it last night). But in the end, I just didn't connect with this Buffy stand-in as much as I probably should have. I kept having the feeling I was being taken out of her story and not really getting the full effect of it. Perhaps that was intentional, that we really don't know anything about her but then the snippets we do see are already too much. So maybe it wasn't about connecting with her and the last page is supposed to make that more clear, or maybe I'm just trying to hard to make up for what this issue seemed to lack for me. With the time shifting and a few choppy moments (suddenly she goes from standing in a cave to lying naked with a slug on her? Where did that come from?) I just felt that the story wasn't flowing as it should. I don't know what would have improved it, making it two issues instead of one, less time shifting and more character moments, or a better all around flow to it. I just don't know. Even the art, it was a fill in artist and I'm not a huge fan of Jeantry at times but I found his issues 1-4 slightly more solid than this artist and I'm looking forward to his return with issue 6 (the start of the Faith arc). So for me, the book just wasn't as good as it could have been. It's like I can see where they were going and I want to get out and push it along to get there but for me, it just didn't seem to have the legs. So, although I will be putting it on my recommended reading list it's mostly because it's a Buffy book and because if you work at it, you can get a very good story out of it. But I think it requires too much work on the reader's part to really deserve a place at the top of my list.
Elephantmen #10 -- How funny. I've been saying this book has maybe focused too much on character stories and sure enough, the latest issue comes out with the last two character pieces. And what do we get? Well after having two issues tease us with a comet landing on earth we get... a character piece about Obadiah Horn. We get more flashbacks to his Mappo days and such. We get more about his views on humans and where he fits (or doesn't fit). And in seeing those we view how he sees humans as living up to everything Mappo said about them (well, except for Sahara). Don't get me wrong, it's well written, it's nicely drawn, and it's nice to see more of Horn and what he stands for and all that but I'm still yearning for a bit more of an overall story to this series. And looking at the solicit for issue 11, it doesn't look like the series will be moving away as it looks like we'll get character stories about Nikken (scientist and creator of the Elephantmen) and Serengheti ("Businessman" who hates the Elephantmen) so I guess I should just get used to it. I still can't get myself to take it off my recommended reading list but be aware that those who have felt the series hasn't really been moving anywhere and is just overrun by character pieces, this issue is no different. It's a solid piece, but still just a piece and we have yet to be shown any of the bigger picture.
Stephen Colbert's Tek Jansen #1 -- Moving away from the character pieces we'll now discuss Tek Jansen. People who don't watch the Colbert Report should probably just walk away now. Those who do watch the show probably know that Stephen Colbert plays a character on that show who in turn creates the character of Tek Jansen and written a book about him (not published) and had several animated shorts created. And now he has a 5-issue comic series. It's just goofball humour with in-jokes for all the sci-fi/comic/fantasy geeks out there. But it was enough to have me chuckling. You could almost hear Colbert's voice as you were reading Tek Jansen's lines. You could almost see his facial expressions. Though again, this is coming from someone who watches his show. The art is cartoonish to match the overall feel of the book and works well with it. Even the follow up story is a solid fun read. Though it's definitely for people with a certain sense of humour. I mean, if you don't chuckle as Tek Jansen boasts about his sexual exploits and thinks he's doing women a favour by sleeping with them (or just telling them he would sleep with him if he had the time) then maybe this isn't the book for you. Because that's what it's meant to be, it's the over the top Stephen Colbert character creating an even more over the top character in Tek Jansen. So yeah, it does make my recommended reading list but probably only for those who watch the Colbert Report or have at least seen a bit of Colbert and know/appreciate his humour.
So that's it for now. Perhaps I'll get the chance to post my review of Monster Volume 2 this weekend but I may be a little busy getting things ready for my vacation. WOOHOO! VACATION!!! :)