Saturday, July 31, 2010

Quick Comic Reviews – July 31st, 2010

Just a quick rundown of some things that are recent that I’ve been reading the past few weeks.  Maybe you’ll find this helpful if you’re looking to buy some of these new titles.

234214Shadowland #1 – So now we see what’s going on with the Daredevil after he’s taken a break in the Marvel Universe.  First off, he’s got a new costume which looks pretty appropriate and he’s taken of the Hand.  The heroes of the Marvel Universe are starting to worry about Matt Murdock’s state of mind as well.  In this issue we see Daredevil eventually square off with Bullseye and we see exactly what Murdock is now capable of.  The artwork is alright but inconsistent in spots.  The problem with the issue is the content seems to go way too fast.  For what you pay, you feel like you just got started and it is over.  But an interesting but not totally necessary issue.  Decent, not a buy for me.


234503Daredevil #508 – A bit stronger in story than in the first issue of Shadowland and fantastic artwork.  Wow, everything is so grim and moody and the artwork of Roberto De Le Torre is right on spot here.  I feel that perpetual rain and feeling of something foreboding in the air.  Excellent issue as things pick up a bit and we have a few plot twists involved and some questions to be answered.  We all know eventually Matt Murdock will pull free of this, but part of me likes him more as this dark vigilante who is maintaining the peace with an unwavering hand.  Definite Buy! 


Captain America #607 – First, I can’t tell whether the inker or the penciller is being way too lazy on some pages or what.  Sometimes Cap looks like he was drawn by an 8 year old and inked in by the same 8 year old.  I can’t figure it out.  Then some pages are very strong, so I’m not sure I get it.  The story was ok as we get more involved with Baron Zemo’s master manipulations.  Common fair, get tired of the Nazi stuff after awhile, but whatever.  Then we also get a back-up story involving Nomad.  This isn’t as strong a follow-up to the story in last issue, but it’s decent fair with good artwork and bright vivid colors.  If you’re a fan of the Young Allies, this is a must.  Otherwise, it is decent, but not quite there.

234649 The Avengers #3 – At first I wasn’t sure about John Romita as the artist for the Avengers.  I take it back, I’m starting to enjoy it.  He’s got kind of a sketchy style without being overly detailed and it’s the kind of artwork that’s sometimes missing in comics today.  Simple artwork, good crisp colors, with him and Bendis, it feels like a true Avengers comic.  The last few years the Avengers have been at the low point in their history and it’s nice to see we can get back to Heroes being Heroes again.  I really liked this issue for some reason.  It was fun, had a fast paced story and had a lot of good moments and the artwork did a splendid job.  If you like the old Avengers, I feel this is a must buy!

235306 The Flash #4 – So far, Geoff Johns is writing a pretty good series here.  This book is a bit quicker of a read then I would like.  You have a sequence that should only take up 2 pages take up several and it feels like that is probably just so they can have a reveal at the end.  That can be a problem now days with the main writers doing several stories every month in different titles.  In a way, you can’t blame them for it.  However, with the price of comics, I hate these lazy habits.  So other than that little rant, a decent story, some facts (or are they?) revealed and the story continues on.  Due to the several page gimmick though, we don’t feel like we got very far in the issue and that is disappointing.  Buy if you’re a Flash fan, otherwise you can probably skip it. 

232175 Young Allies #1 – I’m a sucke r for the newer Nomad and her sad story of being without a world and really, without a home.  Gravity is a character that really interests me and seeing just what exactly he is capable of.  Firestar has always been a solid character, so a chance at a new fun team title, I figure why not.  We see right away that they’re going to be dealing with those nasty Bastards of Evil.  A good first arch-team to face-off with.  We get an interesting new character in Toro and the now powerless Arana is back.  A decent little title with great artwork!  In fact, some very excellent artwork that has bright and bold colors and doesn’t feel dark and dreary.  Has some very interesting scenes in it and an interesting ending that makes me want to dive into the next one and see how they handle this!  Definite buy!



Thursday, July 29, 2010

Comic Review – Avengers Academy #2


I really liked the first issues of Avengers Academy, it started off well and the second issue continues to point in that direction as well.  We see how our young future Avengers react to the news that they are on the team simply because they are the biggest threat of the candidates to turn into super villains.  So our premise is set-up there.

The main negative of this issue is the artwork.  Some of it just seems sloppy and some of the facials and actions seem out of place or you just can’t even figure out what the hell they’re even doing.  I generally thought the artwork McKone did in Issue #1 was pretty good.  This issue he must have been rushed to finish things up or something because it wasn’t nearly as good as the first issue.  The first issue didn’t really have much in terms of fight sequences either and that’s where he really seems to struggle.

I really thought Christos Gage continued to bring solid writing into this.  He always seems to write good stories with a decent amount of action and character development.  This issue really focuses on Finesse and her thoughts.  We really see an interesting window open and a future subplot of Taskmaster possibly being her father.  But that’s not confirmed nor hinted at.

As with most issues of Avengers: The Initiative, the newer characters are the key with the older, experienced Avengers taking mostly a backseat.  Gage does a good job of using them to enhance our new recruits.  Mettle is a very interesting character that I’m really starting to like.  No Speedball this issue though, I expected him to be a very pivotal character. 

Gage doesn’t do super complicated stories or anything groundbreaking.  He just provides us with good solid comics and I think that’s why I like him so much.  The only thing in this story that I didn’t care for was going back over Quicksilver’s background, but for new readers I do think it is important so I can’t really take anything away from that.  In fact, I hope that garners it new readers because they find it easy enough to jump right into when so many of the comics now days make it hard for you to jump in the middle of. 

Overall, a very solid 2nd issue.  Nothing amazing, but a good read nonetheless.  A deduction for the poor artwork in this issue though.

3 out of 5 stars.  Star White Icon Star White IconStar White Icon


Comic Book Review – Doctor Solar: Man of the Atom #1 (Dark Horse)


I need to preface this by saying that one of my favorite writer/creators I’ve ever read is Jim Shooter.  Jim Shooter is the current writer for Doctor Solar: Man of the Atom, Magnus Robot Fighter, and Turok Son of Stone.  These are all old Gold Key Comics titles that are being revived once again.  The last time we saw these three titles together were in the dying days of Acclaim Comics which had bought out Valiant Comics.  Jim Shooter made Valiant successful before he was ousted in a bit of controversy.  It was never quite the same after he left because they lost his vision and focus.  He founded a few other comic companies each with great storylines and feel but as the comic industry went spiraling into decline, they too, vanished.

When Dark Horse announced they were bringing back these Gold Key characters back under the supervision of Jim Shooter, I was somewhat excited.  The only thing I didn’t like was that there was no “shared universe” for these characters like we saw in Valiant.  Jim Shooter is at his best when he can tie things together into one universe.  So, while I was happy to see these characters revived, I still have reservations.  However, with Shooter’s writing, I know the stories will at least be solid.

So here we are, diving into the first issue of the rebirth and hopefully being of a wonderful new era for this character.  So how does it pan out?  It has a bit of action to jump into things before we start getting some explanations.  So that’s typical fare now days to kind of jump start into things.  I don’t always like that though as it seems to pull us away from the character and their motivations.  But I see it for what it is.

The issue gets stronger as it goes along.  We find out Doctor Solar was exposed to a nuclear incident involving a black hole as well.  Not very many major twists on his origins, which is fine.  We don’t have to relearn much about him and no sense in reinventing the wheel.  But we found out that he himself has create a quantum event that is creating abnormalities in our reality.  So we have the premise set and we see some of those abnormalities introducing themselves.

My gripe with the comic is the art.  I did not enjoy Dennis Calero’s artwork at all.  His characters are very stiff and not at all fluid.  The action sequences are abysmal at best and I can’t figure out exactly what’s going on in half of them.  Jim Shooter has a way of getting artists to become better storytellers, but I don’t think he had a lot of time here.  From an interview I read, some of the early pages were rushed and Jim never saw them so they could get those pages out early for previews.  I could tell from those interviews that he wasn’t quite pleased with them.  There are some decent pages, but nothing great.  I hope Jim Shooter can bring him around to being a better storyteller, but I don’t know if he can improve Calero’s style much.  His characters, especially the character Vanguard, aren’t drawn very realistically at all.  The only thing people seem to like about his artwork is his “shading”, so that’s all I need to know there.  I hope they either switch artists or he improves quickly because he’s dragging this issue down.

Oh, and this is a 48 page spectacular!  What does that mean?  Well we get a reprint of the original Doctor Solar published by Gold Key.  I had read this recently and is a decent enough story.  A bit outdated, but fun stuff anyway.  For $3.50 you’re getting two stories, so that definitely makes it worthwhile, especially if you never read the original series.

Overall, a good buy for the price.  The story is a little disjointed but builds up well towards the end.  The artwork isn’t very good though and draws away from the storytelling that SHOULD be going on. 

3 out of 5 stars (the bonus feature helps it out)!  Star White IconStar White IconStar White Icon