Friday, August 31, 2007

Weekly Comic Reviews for August 29th, 2007 -- SPOILERS

Well, only three books for me this week and one of them may have been one from last week that I forgot to pick up. So let's just get right to it shall we. The comics in question are: World War Hulk: X-Men #3 (of 3), Mice Templar #1, and Mouse Guard Winter 1152 #1 of 6. I also picked up volume 3 of the manga series "Monster" but haven't read it yet.

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

Update on that Running Room t-shirt rant

Just a quick update, I called the store yesterday (and on the weekend and on Monday) and fortunately they got some in (on Tuesday). I quickly made my way to the store and was fortunate enough to pick up a large. It was white but I didn't care at this point. They said they got two boxes in, one of large and one of smalls. Since the promotion ends on September 9th it's hard to say if they'll get more in if they run out of those (which they most definitely will).

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

Weekly Comic Reviews for August 22nd, 2007 -- SPOILERS to a minimum

Another really slow week for me with only one book. I also picked up the Buffy Omnibus #2 but since I'm still waiting on #1 I decided not to read it yet. But if you're really desperate to read something, I'll also have a short rant about the Saucony/Running Room/Vector cereal t-shirt promotion.

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

Weekly Comic Reviews for August 15, 2007

Only one book this week and I have to make it quick as I'm feeling slightly under the weather. I guess that means no more seeing my new nephew for a little while. :( Only one book this week and it was the Marvel Adventures Hulk.

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

Weekly Comic Reviews for August 9th, 2007 -- SPOILERS

Sorry for being so late, it's been one heck of a busy few days even after coming back from the family reunion in Nova Scotia. And since I'm up waiting to hear news concerning my sister-in-law (who is off to the hospital after having her water break) I figured I had a few minutes to post some quick reviews. So we have Omega Flight 5 and Incredible Hulk 109.

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

Weekly Comics Review for August 1st, 2007 -- SPOILERS

Well, I'm flying out for the family reunion tonight and still have lots to do so I'll have to be somewhat brief here. I have 4 books to review this week, World War Hulk #3, She-Hulk #20, New Avengers: Illuminati #4, and The Dark Tower #7.

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.