Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Quick Comic Reviews - The Defenders Volume 2

Ottawa Comiccon is shaping up to be better than last year, at least in terms of the guests being invited (in my opinion of course). I'm definitely looking forward to it. But as for the review...

The Defenders Volume 2 -- I really enjoy the way Matt Fraction writes the characters in this series. He makes them all very interesting to me. My problem though is that I find when comics start going on about universal threats with Celestials, time/universe travelling, and god machines my eyes just seem to start to glaze over. And I found that this series fell into the usual "tie it up in a nice little bow so we never have to think about this again" that these sorts of events often fall into. It felt like quite a bit of a letdown for me. I'm sure if I could get past my own issues with this sort of story it might be really good, but I can't so I was pretty let down with this volume. Maybe a good series to read if you're really into Dr Strange or, to a lesser degree, Iron Fist but not something I'd really recommend to too many people. And it's too bad given how well the characters themselves read.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Quick Comic Reviews -- Fables Volume 18: Cubs in Toyland

Still fighting off this cold but I seem to be getting a little better each day. Hope I didn't just jinx it.

Fables Volume 18: Cubs in Toyland - I still had the disappointment of Werewolves of the Heartland in my head going into this volume. Fortunately, this volume is so much better. It's a better story and much better told than Werewolves. It's definitely not a cheery tale but if you've been reading Fables then you'll know to expect stories like this. While some series are letting me down as they get up around the 100 issue mark, Fables seems to just keep being great (for the most part). Definitely still recommend picking this series up if you aren't already.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Quick Comic Reviews - Wonder Woman Volume 2

Still battling that cold but it seems to be getting better. Hope I didn't jinx it by saying that...

Wonder Woman Volume 2: Guts -- I have to say that I wasn't as pleased with this volume as I was the first one. I thought it was a solid story but just didn't work for me as well as the first six issues did. Some parts read a little weird or choppy (not sure if it was the dialogue or the art or a combination that was the issue). I do like that they kept the mythological angle as a big part of this story, it had me looking a few things up as it's been a while since I've looked at that stuff. So having said all that, I think it's still a very solid series from the DC 52 relaunch but I don't think it's enough to hold my interest beyond these first two volumes.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Quick Comic Reviews - Invincible Volume 17: What's Happening

I've sort of felt something coming on for the last few days and I think today it has revealed itself as a cold with the possibility of becoming a full on "man cold." It's mostly hitting my chest at the moment with a touch of nasal issues. But on that lovely note...

Invincible Volume 17: What's Happening -- Well, I was happy that we got to see what happened with Robot and Monster Girl in that other dimension even if it did seem to interrupt the other stuff going on. There was a fair amount of juggling going on here, jumping between the flashbacks which covered 700 years and the current ongoing invasion as well as some other stuff (like Invincible's condition after what happened in the last volume and Bulletproof's stuff). It worked okay for the most part but there were a few times I had to go back to see if I missed something or how we transitioned from one time/place to another. Maybe that was the cold but I don't think so. But we get a lot of superhero fighting, a lot of character development and emotional moments, and we eventually get back to the volume 16 stuff (but just at the end) so what more could I ask for? In the end, a pretty solid volume of Invincible and I'm eager to see what's in store for volume 18 (which will have issue 100, I hear it's a big one).

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Quick Comic Reviews - Werewolves of the Heartland

Making my way through my "to read" pile that grew way too large over the Christmas holidays and continues to grow. I may have to cut myself off from buying any more books until I get it down to a manageable size... Oh, who am I kidding.

Fables: Werewolves of the Heartland -- As a side story I can see why this was put out separate from the regular Fables book. Though, a few issues dedicated to Bigby isn't really unheard of. Story wise, it's an interesting book. It's well written (for the most part) and definitely keeps your attention. But a few things seem a little out of place or just don't tie in quite as well with the rest of the story. It just could have been a bit tighter. And in terms of art, it's solid for the most part but there are a few areas where it's a little inconsistent or just not as clear in terms of storytelling as it could be. I know this will sound cruel but it sort of had the feel of a side series that you don't really put your A-team on. And considering this was a story that got released in hardcover as a special I just thought it could have been a bit more polished. If you're reading Fables already you'll (most likely) want to read this, but you could wait for a softcover at least. If you aren't reading Fables, this probably isn't the book for you.

Messy Layouts

I'm pretty sure there is only one person in the world that can make sense of my initial page layouts and I hope one day to find him/her.
I'm already thinking that this page is going to take quite a while due to several issues like:

  • Need to focus on the backgrounds a bit more to establish the scene fully. And the backgrounds are a little more complicated than I usually do and also new to me (have to design more of the house layout to make sense while still working with previous shots I've done, taking the shortcut earlier can really suck sometimes).
  • Lots of dialogue with a lot of visuals, always makes things interesting to figure out.
  • And by "visuals" I mean the combination of backgrounds, a number of characters, and emotion (facial and body language) all needing to have a presence.
Which reminds me of the time that I was having a "discussion" with a guy on a message board about how long it takes to draw a page. He was arguing every page takes the same amount of time and that anyone who can't match Jack Kirby's output (which he put at 2-3 pages per day) was just lazy. I was trying to take the other side on both counts. Of course, he was a doctor/surgeon, company CEO, and close personal friend of George Perez (it was surprising to see a surgeon and company CEO have so much time to post on every thread in a Heroclix forum, but that's beside the point) so of course I was wrong on all counts. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Quick Comic Reviews - The Incredible Hulk Volume 2 (2013 edition)

Incredible Hulk Vol 2 by Jason Aaron and a host of artists -- I haven't been a huge fan of Jason Aaron's run on the Hulk. The first volume was a miss for me for the most part. The story of Doom separating the Hulk and Banner just seemed weak and silly to me and Banner's personality switch after (the idea seeming to be that he's an insane madman without the Hulk) just didn't work for me. He's been split from the Hulk before and despite being a bit of a jerk he wasn't like this (though perhaps it was how Doom split them this time that made the difference). And the art in the first volume was a bit of a mess. I'm only saying this because this volume continues this story so I didn't have high hopes. I will say the art is better, or at least more consistent in this volume (the artists tend to at least be able to complete a whole issue before someone else takes over). There were a few parts where the story seemed jumpy, I'm not sure if that was the writing or the art just not telling the story. But once I was able to put all that behind me the story did have its moments. There was a decent amount of humour and seriousness mixed in. The Doombots (whether it was Bruce blasting them away or their doubts about Doom himself) were fun to read. And Banner's comment about Doom using a chainsaw to cut his head open was a bit on the nose for me. So it was a more enjoyable read than I expected. And it had a very solid ending. Of course, with all the Marvel NOW stuff being thrown around I already knew how this situation was going to play out. I need to figure out some way to filter the comic news.

So in the end, it was a somewhat interesting run on the Hulk. I guess I have to give them props for trying. But it definitely wasn't my favourite. I'm eager to give Mark Waid's run a go though (before too much of it gets spoiled for me).

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Quick Comic Reviews - Angel and Faith Volume 2: Daddy Issues

Angel and Faith Volume 2: Daddy Issues -- This series seems to work a lot more for me than the Buffy season 9 series. Overall, there's a direction, a purpose for the story and the characters that just connects with me a lot more than the Buffy series. But enough of the comparisons. On its own I'd say this series is pretty good. Not overwhelming but it has its moments. There are the usual character moments, the banter between Angel and Faith (and others), and a good flow to the story. The art isn't spectacular but it's pretty solid. Though I think there were a few times where some visual clues could have been a bit better. There were a few times where I had to flip back and search back through panels to find things I missed and that took me out of the reading a bit. But it wasn't a huge deal. While I think I'm done with the Buffy series, there's a good chance I'll be sticking with this one to see where it goes.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Quick Comic Reviews - Scalped Volume 10: Trail's End

Scalped Volume 10: Trail's End -- Scalped has been an amazing series and it really ends with a bang (several in fact). Okay, bad pun. It ends really well. Aaron and Guera are on top of their game here. This series has had plenty of twists and turns, complex characters who have really grown in different ways over the 10 volumes, and some extremely tense moments. This volume has all that thrown in to a tight package. I'm so glad I decided to try out this series, it has been great from start to end. Give it a year or two and I'm definitely going to have to do a Scalped re-read.