Friday, September 21, 2007

Weekly Comic Reviews for Sept 19th, 2007 SPOILERS

I know, I missed posting reviews last week. It's been a tough couple weeks for me but I won't go into it. So instead, I'll just apologize and move on. :)

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

Weekly Comic Reviews for September 5th, 2007 -- SPOILERS

A somewhat busy week for me comic-wise (and a very stressful week work-wise but that's another story). Sure, I only got 4 regular books (Incredible Hulk 110, Buffy #6, She-Hulk #21, and White Tiger #6) but I also got the Buffy Omnibus Volume 1 which means I have that to read as well as Volume 2. I've been making my way through Volume 1 but haven't finished it just yet. So let's get to the reviews...

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: