Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Quick Comic Book Reviews–August 29th, 2010

Well, there are a few titles from last week that I didn’t fit in, I’ll try to squeeze them in next week.  For the most part, all the major titles from last week were read and reviewed.  Hope you find today’s batch useful as well!

uncanxmen528Uncanny X-Men #528 – Written by Matt Fraction and Penciled by Whilce Portacio.  We start off visiting Nigeria where we have another new mutant who popped up.  This one apparently controls fire and ice, some I’m going to call her Icy Hot Analgesic Girl.  Good name, eh?  Anyway, Storm and Hope come in to save her after some local people are trying to kill her for what she accidentally did to the town.  We also take a look at what’s going on with Emma Frost hiding Sebastian Shaw in Utopia, Namor deals with his realm, and Kitty Pryde is still in ghost form looking to communicate with Colossus.  The issue isn’t badly written at all, but there’s just something missing.  It still doesn’t have a grand X-Men feel to it.  We kind of wander from one story to the next without one being our real focal point.  Then there was a weird scene with Nekra and Frenzy that I still can’t figure out why it is even in the book.  And the art… well, it’s better this issue, but part of me wonders if the inker didn’t help bail Whilce out on this one.  I still see a lot of shortcuts here.  Pages 6 and 8 have just a ton of white space for no apparent reason.  Readers aren’t paying for blank real estate here Portacio.  But it is better, but still not good by any stretch.  He also uses extreme close-ups of the eyes so that he has to draw less.  Really, just stop having him draw, he isn’t worth paying anymore because it’s clear he doesn’t care about what he’s doing for Marvel.  This issue is ok, mainly because I like the stuff with Hope and the Emma Frost stuff has some promise, but there’s nothing to rave about here.

fantfour583Fantastic Four #583 – Written by Jonathan Hickman and Art by Steve Epting.  We play witness to a fight breaking out in the former city of the High Evolutionary.  At the same time, Valeria Richards decides to embark on some mischievousness of her own and breaks into her Dad’s workspace where he’s been going back and forth meeting with the many Reed Richards of alternate universes.  Of course, Reed left himself a recording and answer system that tells her all about what’s going on.  What she sees on the other side frightens her to ask for help from none other than Victor Von Doom himself.  For the life of me, I don’t know why the whole thing with the High Evolutionary’s City was even in here, it didn’t make sense.  Hickman then leads us on a story with the League of Mister Fantastics (or the council or whatever you want to call it) that didn’t seem to make much sense.  The issue seemed strangely put together and it didn’t really fit a normal storytelling flow.  Sure we got a big reveal on the last two pages, but everything else before didn’t really have any rising drama to it.  I was just kind of bored and confused by the whole situation.  I’m not quite sure what to make of it.  The artwork by Epting is pretty good and he does capture some amazing facials, so that’s top quality stuff.  However, the story is just lacking and I think you could very well skip this issue and pick up next issue instead and probably come out ahead.  So our “Countdown to Casualty” is a bit of a miss this week, but I’m holding out hope that next issue is better.

glc52Green Lantern Corps #52 – Written by Tony Bedard and Penciled by Ardian Syaf.  We learn the fate of Boodikka in this issue and the Lanterns take it to Cyborg Superman and his Alpha Lanterns.  A titanic battle ensues in which the inhabitants of the planet Grenda rise-up for a cause.  That’s really about as much of a synopsis as one needs.  The pace of this issue is fast as we can see they’re trying to move the story along and give us a pretty good battle to boot.  I liked how Boodikka got the final laugh in this one.  It was a great scene to see!  Truly a fitting conclusion to this for now.  The issue works well with the parts it has set-up and makes you feel satisfied with the conclusion.  Unfortunately the issues leading up to this weren’t anything special.  This one feels like a decent bit of story and some pretty good artwork mixed together.  It helps that I’m a huge Green Lantern fan, but to most people, this issue was nothing to write home about.  I really like Cyborg Superman, but at the end of the day, this didn’t feel like it moved any particular plot along much.  The only good thing is figuring out what happened with the Alpha Lanterns.  That being said, a decent issue with some good artwork, but nothing you would feel sorry about not buying a few months down the road.

jlgl10Justice League: Generation Lost #10 – Written by Judd Winick and Penciled by Joe Bennett.  We are shown events from the Kingdom Come series from several years ago in a smaller form.  At least, this is the vision that Maxwell Lord has, so the White Ring or Entity wants him to stop this from ever occurring in our reality.  However, at the end of last episode Magog had been brought on to help Max, so we’re left to wonder and perhaps assume what is going on here.  We also find out that Skeets was able to find out about 4 dormant Checkmate cells came back online upon Lord’s return.  In fact, Skeets downloaded pretty much everything he could.  Fire & Ice have a heart warming-ish moment as well.  There is a very interesting scene where Batman starts realizing something is up with Max Lord and Power Girl is also starting to believe there’s a conspiracy.  Just as quickly as they put it all together, their memory of it all vanishes again.  The end of the issue reveals one of my favorite groups of all time.  I don’t want to spoil everything, but wow.  Ok, I just wrote a lot about this issue, but damn was it a great read!  Is Lord using Magog and planning to destroy him with the help of the Justice League?  Is Max trying to work against the White Lantern’s entity?  Will the other heroes ever remember Maxwell Lord?  So many questions and a great story every issue.  Judd Winick has hit his stride and made this a hit.  My only complaint is that the art was pretty bland.  Joe Bennett just didn’t do it for me.  He’s ok, but I never felt pulled in by it and there’s a scene with Max Lord saying “Ooh-rah,” that’s just plain bad.  But the writing is there and fantastic, the art varies from issue to issue because of the changing artists, but that doesn’t affect my end opinion.  You need to be buying this series, because it is flat out DC comics at it’s best!

aveng5The Avengers #5 – Written by Brian Michael Bendis and Penciled by John Romita Jr.  The Avengers left in our time are trying to figure out what exactly to do in all of the chaos.  It isn’t an easy task either, because of all the innocents involved from the past and future who are being sucked into our timeline.  Also, Thor tries to take Galactus down a few sizes, which is always a difficult task.  In the future Tony Stark learns the future version of himself attacked him.  Kang wants to keep putting groups together to defeat Ultron, but in the end, he’s unraveling time by doing it.  There are just some weird leaps in logic in this issue, but some might say that’s Bendis’ style.  When they get teleported back in time how do they take the place of themselves?  Would they be there alongside themselves?  Although, when you put it in terms of the “Groundhog Day” reference, it does make a tad bit of sense, just not much.  The story feels like it should take a few more steps forward than it did, but still not bad.  I just didn’t care for the explanations going on by Future Stark.  Not some of Bendis’ better writing, but I did think the issue was still entertaining.  Romita is Romita, I don’t need to say much else.  Despite being entertaining, it isn’t enough to make me recommend it to you unless you’ve been following this storyline, if so, you might as well.

shaddaughters2Shadowland: Daughters of the Shadow #2 – Written by Jason Henderson and Art by Ivan Rodriguez.  Former Bounty Hunter Colleen Wing takes her place as leader of the Nail.  The Nail is a sect of female assassins for the hand.  We get a first hand taste of them right away in this issue as they rescue a truck full of girls headed towards being enslaved.  Colleen considers herself a Samurai, because unlike ninja, samurai adhere to codes and principles.  Colleen talks to Murdock and mentions once again that her mother used to lead the Nail.  Colleen intends to lead the Nail into an attack on a Massage Parlor that uses these enslaved women.  However, when the person behind the trafficking scheme is somebody her friend Tig is working for, things go south.  An interesting tale of trying to play a middle line when there’s not much of one to play.  She walks the thin line while the other female characters don’t subscribe to it.  Most of them are downright nasty, especially Black Lotus who doesn’t exactly see eye-to-eye with Colleen’s style.  It’s not excellently written or anything, but there is a fun kind of appeal to this.  The artwork isn’t great, kind of stiff in spots, the colors make this thing tolerable, but I have a feeling if everything wasn’t blended and gradiented out, it would look worse.  If you like “Kill Bill” type movies, this might be an enjoyable read, otherwise it has limited appeal.

legionsup5Legion of Super-Heroes #5 – Written by Paul Levitz and Penciled by Yildiray Cinar & Francis Portela.  A transport that was supposed to take Titan refugees to their new home, instead crashes on their camp. While the Legion is dealing with that, Earth Force shows up to perhaps vanquish what’s left of the refugees.  Meanwhile on Naltor, we see the search for the new wearer of the Green Lantern ring continue.  Earth-Man bails out his fellow leaguers as well and Brainiac disobeys an order.  Just a lot of interesting things going on with the main story being the Earth Force vs. Xeno’s story and Earth-Man’s part in it all.  Once again, a lot of characters to juggle, but Levitz handles with extremely well.  The only disappointing part was no Saturn Girl follow-up yet.  But with so much going on, it’s hard to get back to some things.  It makes me wish the issues were longer so we could find out more and slow the pace a tad.  On the plus side, we have Timber Wolf quite a bit in this issue and he’s been all but unseen in these first four issues.  Hopefully we see more of him going forward.  The Durlan sub-plot is also getting interesting and I want to know where that is going.  The art is pretty superb in this issue as well, so I found no problems with it.  The only issue I have anymore is that too many characters, not enough time for them all, which is almost a shame really.  Lots of interesting characters and pretty superb writing his made Legion a can’t miss monthly epic.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Comic Book Review–Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom #2


Script by Jim Shooter, Art by Roger Robinson, Colorist Wes Dzioba, Lettering by Blambot!, Cover Art by Michael Komarck.  Published by Dark Horse Comics.  Cover Price $3.50.

Doctor Solar finds out that not-so famous writer Whitmore Pickerel has inadvertently brought two of his creations to life.  So Solar has to make it clear to Whitmore to keep his creations under control.  At the same time, it’s clear this is an anomaly that it potentially created by the same incident that created Solar.

The good Doctor also talks to Doctor Malcolm Clarkson as he finally wants to return to his job and his normal life.  He also talks about the issue’s he’s having.  So Clarkson has to think of an idea to explain Solar’s disappearance.

In the meantime, Whitmore has issues with his two creations (Glowtorch and Leviathan) basically running him out of house and home.  Pickerel finds that he can undo that which he has created, but doesn’t want to just erase them out of existence.  Instead, our erstwhile writer sends them off to never bother him again.

Whitmore also has another great idea.  Create the perfect woman who can cater to his every need, so now he has a love slave.  She talks him into creating a perfect guardian to protect against Glowtorch and Leviathan, just in case they come back to kill him so they can’t be undone.  So Whitmore creates something, but this time it is from his unfettered dreams, and boy does Pickerel get scared of what has just been created.

Leviathan and Glowtorch pop back into the radar of Solar and he confronts them, but he ends up giving them money to leave town and never come back.  While he ends up paying for the damage he’s created, Pickerel’s latest creation seeks out the Doctor and pulls him towards the epicenter.  At the end of the issue, Doctor Solar now has to confront Moloch, an ancient Phoenician god who has the appearance of a minotaur.

Wrap-up:  Shooter’s writing is much stronger in this issue and he covers a lot of story in the pages he is given.  However, he isn’t quite up to par with his normal works quite yet and I’m not sure why.  With Solar I’m not sensing a whole lot of personality yet.  He just seems kind of bland. 

Doctor Clarkson almost plays the role of reason in Solar’s life.  I feel like he plays the role of what’s normally going on in Doctor Solar’s subconscious.  But yet again, we have almost no background on him, we have no idea if he has a family or anything else.  It’s like we have a painting but nobody bothered to paint the background in, so it’s just white.  Where’s the background here?

There’s a lot of good stuff here, but there’s not a whole lot of enjoyment.  It feels like everything is without a soul.  We don’t get a real sense for any of the characters, which is usually something Shooter is very strong with.  Unless this is done intentionally, maybe this is supposed to be emotionally devoid and disconnected.  Maybe Doctor Solar, in recreating 18 seconds, actually recreated the planet and it’s just kind of a fake world. That might explain for the disconnect, but it still just feels weird.

I think next issue would be a good time to start filling in the holes.  Let us see the dreams and feeling of Solar and the important people in his life.  Otherwise this whole thing has the feeling of being nothing more than a dream.  There are fun concepts here and the issue isn’t terrible, but it’s missing key ingredients.  It has to go to the next level and I hope it gets there soon.

On the other hand, the artwork is much improved.  Roger Robinson gives it a slight Mignola feel, but more detailed.  Everything looks pretty good in this issue.  The storytelling of Robinson is pretty strong, I can tell what’s going on with ease.  That’s the part of drawing that’s hard is making sure you’re getting the story across without making it difficult to see what’s going on.  So Roger Robinson is a vast improvement and makes this issue much more enjoyable.

Despite all of the issues with the writing, it’s still a pretty decent issue.  Not much above average, there’s definite room for improvement.  Let’s see if he can step it up a notch here and keep making it more interesting. Also the cover is excellent stuff, but we all know not to judge a book by it’s cover, no matter how great.

StarStarStar out of 5.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Quick Comic Book Reviews–August 27th, 2010

Whew, I’m so close on getting caught-up with reviews.  Tomorrow will be the test as I’ve gotten quite a few more read, but can I get them all out?  Well find out.  Today enjoy a mix of good and bad and the logic defying.

titans27Titans #27 – Written by Eric Wallace and Art by Fabrizio Fiorentino & Cliff Richards.  Another journey into the land of Deathstroke’s Titans or his Anti-Titans, or his Villians for Hire, or… whatever you want to call it.  Deathstroke and his group are trying to break up a Bliss ring and Arsenal finds out that Bliss is made out of kids!  So it’s like soylent green with a buzz, awesome.  Osiris has more visions about his sister and of course, he simply has to bring her back.  Hasn’t the Black Marvel family learned anything?  Man are they obsessed with bringing people back from dead constantly.  It never leads to anything good.  We also have Arsenal dealing with his addictions, so we keep going back down that path.  So the question is, will he even be able to do the right thing in the end?  This is probably the best issue of the new Titans run with Deathstroke, but that doesn’t say a ton.  The addiction issues isn’t a bad story to tell, but we keep getting this with characters who have no redeeming qualities.  Well, we already have Secret Six and they do a much better job of dealing with these types of characters.  Wallace is still trying to find his groove and he’s getting closer, but it still needs a little seasoning.  So this is still not a book worth picking up, but it is slowly making improvements.

shadmoon2Shadowland: Moon Knight #2 – Written by Gregg Hurwitz and Penciled by Bong Dazo.  We see Moon Knight fighting his way through the fortress of Daredevil’s and he encounters Murdock.  Apparently Khonshu know the Beast that possesses Daredevil all too well.  Khonshu also knows exactly what will destroy the Beast, so Moon Knight has a pivotal role to play in the Shadowland saga.  Moon Knight returns home to find Marlene savagely beaten, which is even worse given that she’s pregnant.  She reveals that she was attacked by this new Shadow Knight.  All the while it looks like Khonshu is closer to getting exactly what he wants and that isn’t good news for our hero.  First off, Bong Dazo is awesome.  I just love his art and the feel he’s managed to bring to this title.  The story is worth telling and it is a great crossover title that is also bringing Moon Knight back to prominence.  This story is a bit less confusing than in last issue, so that will help any new readers.  Plus, Marvel always has a great review of what’s going on in their titles, which is something DC needs to do.  I read them just because I usually read so many issues and I want a brief refresher.  Hurwitz does a great job at tying several plots into one seamless offering.  He’s telling stories worth telling and you’ve got to love that.  One of the better titles I’ve read in awhile, so buy it!

jla49Justice League of America #49 – Written by James Robinson and Penciled by Pow Rodrix with Robson Rocha.  We join Donna Troy and Jade as they visit San Francisco.  They stop by what I’m guessing is Alcatraz, but anyway, they stop there to check up on the Shadow Thief.  Can you say eventual storyline there?  Anyway, some guy named Bogeyman wants to see them.  He apparently liked to get into children’s dreams and make them dream awful, rotten things.  But really, that’s about all of his powers.  Now, isn’t that what the Boogeyman is?  What the hell is a Bogey-man?  Is this Top Gun?  Do we have a Bogey?  Well, he invades the dreams of a grown-up Donna Troy and Jade somehow and knocks them out.  But all of this is just blah, blah, blah.  The Bogeyman was never a feared enemy of the Teen Titans like they seemed to make up completely.  And even if he was, he can’t really do anything besides give you scary dreams and now, apparently, make you fall asleep.  Why didn’t he ever do this to the guards watching him?  What the heck is going on?  This makes no sense whatsoever!  But hey, it’s better than any issue with Mark Bagley as the artist.  Gotta like that!  Oh, and the sub-plot with Batman and Supergirl isn’t bad at all.  Poor lonely Supergirl.  It’s just a mediocre story with huge gaps in logic, not worth picking up.

supergirl56Supergirl #56 – Written by Sterling Gates and Penciled by Jamal Igle. So we have Bizarrogirl and Supergirl rocketing through space, heading toward the infamous Bizarro World.  Supergirl is still upset about what she did during the whole New Krypton storyline and is trying to come to terms with it.  She feels responsible for the planet blowing up.  On Bizarro World we meet Bizarro Lex who is the smartest one on the planet, so he almost makes sense.  Some big machine that looks like some sort of space monster that is eating people and is from some “Godship”.  Bizarro soon shows up and explains the situation as best a Bizarro can.  The problem with Bizarro-centric things is that it can get old quick.  What is fun for half the issue, starts bogging down and getting annoying and old.  The worst part is, Bizarro-speak is hard for a writer to keep writing, especially if they’re trying to explain things.  You can lose your reader far too easily if you keep doing opposites on everything.  The artwork is alright, looks pretty decent, not the best artist they’ve put on this title, but it’s fine.  Overall, the issue is fun for awhile, but pretty mediocre and I can’t imagine three issues of this stuff, so you can probably just skip this.

avengacad4Avengers Academy #4 – Written by Christos Gage and Penciled by Mike McKone.  When last we left off, Hazmat, Veil and Mettle set-up a black-out at the raft to go kill Norman Osborn.  In this issue, we see the results, with Osborn finding a way to weasel his way out of yet another very bad situation.  We also learn some background information on Mettle.  Never would I have guessed that Mettle was just a surfer dude by nature.  We saw most of what happened during the black-out two issues ago in Thunderbolts, so there wasn’t a big surprise there, but there are still some good fight scenes.  I liked how they did the origin of Mettle, it was very fun and interesting.  The question is, if he isn’t a mutant, then how did this happen?  So far they’re hedging around giving us any of those answers, but I’m hoping that eventually we find out.  Gage provides another quality written issue and McKone’s work is still improving.  I really liked how he drew Osborn’s face,  He really does a very good job in this issue!  Once again, Avengers Academy is a winner and worthy of putting in your collection.

thor615Thor #615 – Written by Matt Fraction and Art by Pasqual Ferry.  This is the first issue written by Matt Fraction.  We start with a scientist explaining something to an “unknown” Asgardian about how the Universes are interconnected and eventually comes to the point that with Asgardian leaving it’s basic “plane of existence” it has left a void that has to be filled.  In this issue we get a sense that something is definitely coming to fill that void.  Alfheim gets invaded by some big mean nasties that I can’t recall ever seeing before.  Meanwhile, Thor deals with the mess Asgard is left in and the heroes therein and how they are coping with what happened.  Another interesting thing is that we see Thor talking to Donald Blake, kind of like how Ronald and Professor Stein always talked in Firestorm.  Now, my memory gets foggy quite a bit, but I don’t recall ever seeing this aspect before.  I always thought that Donald Blake was basically subdued into the subconscious and never took an active part.  So this is an interesting take on Thor by Matt Fraction.  I’m not quite sure that I care for that part as it doesn’t seem necessary to me.  But that’s only my opinion, you might quite like it.  The art is pretty well done, the inking isn’t quite as heavy I would like with the coloring style they used, but it isn’t bad either.  An ok first issue by Matt Fraction, this one is a pretty good read, but nothing phenomenal, not a must buy.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Quick Comic Book Reviews–August 25th, 2010

5 Quick Reviews for today, but this is a rarity as all five are winners today!  And that’s not an easy feat, but I was surprised with these issues.  You might want to grab some of these for sure!

secaveng5Secret Avengers #5 – Written by Ed Brubaker and Art by David Aja, Michael Lark & Stefano Guadiano.  At the end of last issue we had a reveal of what appeared to be Nick Fury in Shadow Council garb.  This issue we have the back story behind it.  Steve Rogers confronts Nick Fury about what’s going on and Fury realizes who, or what, this really is.  So we get introduced to Max Fury, an LMD who develop intelligence thanks to the Zodiac Key.  The whole issue is really just a big backstory drop for what I assume are the bigger things to come.  It does an excellent job of piecing this story together for us without becoming too overbearing.  So it’s a pretty good little story and the artwork of the combined artists works out pretty well too. In fact, I really liked the art in this one.  An issue worthy of reading, but maybe not as much if you don’t like a lot of exposition and backstory.

hulk25Hulk #25 – Written by Jeff Parker and Art by Gabriel Hardman.  In this issue we deal with the Red Hulk or… Thunderhulk Ross?  In it, Banner reveals that M.O.D.O.K. and Leader released an Endgame Scenario entitled “Scorched Earth” where a bunch of certain things all happen at once that are very bad.  Apparently, it’s time for that endgame and Steve Rogers has to enlist Thunderhulk.  So they send him off on a mission and Iron Man mistakes him for an enemy still.  So he has the same lines of communication most of us have at our jobs.  The creative change in this title was much needed.  Parker seems to know how to handle the characters better and make the story more interesting.  Gabriel Hardman also provides a nice change of pace art style that makes the whole thing seem more serious.  I am a big fan of these changes, because Hulk has become a ridiculously terrible title in the past year or so.  However, I think Jeff Parker has watched too much Babylon 5 where then President Clark turned all the defense systems against Earth in what was know as… Scorched Earth.  But it was still ok, despite ripping that stuff off, most people wouldn’t even realize this anyway.  So better artwork, better ingredients.  Papa John’s?  Oh, there’s also a bonus back-up story starring A-Bomb (aka Rick Jones) which is ok and takes on the lighter side of the character.  Written by Jeff Parker and Art by Mark Robinson.  Just a fun little continuing tale.  The art is pretty fun and bright and vivid, decent stuff.  Nothing amazing, but a good addition.  No, Hulk is better and might be worth looking into as a good change of pace, this was certainly an entertaining issue.

FLSv2_Cv5_ds.inddThe Flash #5 – Written by Geoff Johns and Art by Francis Manapul.  The Rogues versus The Renegades (aka Future Rogues).  Flash is trying his best to prevent the breaking off a giant mirror that could unleash the Mirror Lords.  We’re pretty much told that it would be an absolutely terrible idea.  The Top tries to assist in getting this fight stopped and letting his Renegades know that they should not arrest the Flash.  This issue ends with a series of twists that I did not see coming at all.  The last several pages are full of “oh crap” moments that were outstanding.  Add that to Manapul’s amazing artwork and this is nothing short of a winner.  I love the Rogues and Renegades battling it out.  We also get some shout-outs to the whole Rogue Wars from a few years back as well.  Just really outstanding stuff and so much stuff that I want to talk about, but I can’t because the spoilers involved would ruin it for you all.  Go, run, ZOOM out and buy this issue quick before it’s gone.  You’ve been warned.

deadpool27Deadpool #27 – Written by Daniel Way and Penciled by Carlo Barberi.  Deadpool just wants to buy a burrito with some gold, but the man at the counter refuses to take it.  In walks some other people there, dressed up uniforms.  All hell breaks loose and these guys regenerate.  The whole world goes crazy and eventually Steve Rogers and his Secret Avengers show up to the rescue.  Well, I guess it’s a rescue, but anyway, things get really messed up.  Such is an issue of Deadpool.  But Daniel Way knows how to write for the absurd and this issue is no different.  Full of hilarious moments and great artwork.  I laughed a LOT at this issue.  His interaction with Steve Rogers was some of the funniest Deadpool stuff I’ve seen in a long time.  Deadpool just wants to be a hero and next issue he just might get his chance.  If it’s anywhere near as funny as this issue, it’ll be a winner for sure.  Another great comic and worth picking up if you enjoy a good laugh out of your otherwise serious Marvel comics.

boostgold36Booster Gold #36 – Written by Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis and Art by Pat Olliffe.  While Booster, Barda and Miracle are taking care of the Planet Pounder, Blue Beetle is having some one-on-one time with the Queen.  When he finds out he’s about to be wed due to his indiscretions he rebukes it.  Barda and Miracle ditch Booster and Booster has to go back and pick-up Blue Beetle on his own.  When he goes back he find that Ted (Blue Beetle) has been turned into a chipmunk.  Then the Darkstars come and arrest them.  Hilarity ensues!  Man, what a great issue as Booster and Beetle have some classic conversations.  Skeets has to try and play hero, to limited success.  We meet a young Brainiac 5 and get a look at who’s on a slave ship during the Invasion storyline from years back.  So Giffen and DeMatteis keep the humor high in this story and the issue moved by so quickly I was kind of sad when it was done.  It leaves you waiting for next issue so you can see how they’re going to get out of this one.  Giffen even makes sure we understand we’re having a Laurel & Hardy moment when Booster says, “well here’s ANOTHER fine mess you’ve gotten me into.”  Oliver Hardy made that line famous and it is still a funny line to this day when applied properly.  The artwork by Pat Olliffe is pretty good.  He’s a bit more of a blocky penciller it seems, but he has a fine grasp of storytelling through comics.  And what the heck kind of name is Estrogina?  Wow, you’ve just gotta check this one out, it’s great stuff!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Quick Comic Book Reviews–August 24th, 2010

10, count em, 10 titles all reviewed today!  One of my biggest posts EVER!  Will it be epic?  What will I think of the awesome titles in today’s edition?

newmut17New Mutants #17 – Written by Zeb Wells and Art by Leonard Kirk.  Illyana gets a vision that Pixie has been kidnapped and teleports the team to Limbo.  A move that everyone would clearly be thrilled with.  In Limbo they have more time to get ready for taking care of Ulysses and rescuing poor Pixie.  The mutant/demon hybrids are ready for battle with the New Mutants and it’s only a matter of time before they jump into action.  Some of the stuff that happened in Limbo was a little confusing.  I guess Limbo is like that.  However, the story continued to move forward with some decent characterization going on.  It was a pretty interesting issue of a good storyline.  The artwork continues to be very well done as Leonard Kirk is becoming one of my favorite artists.  A pretty decent issue, the only problem was that it didn’t feel like it was really moving the story along much, but I think maybe that’s because it started as kind of a flashback, giving it the feeling that nothing happened.  So being a pretty good issue, it’s worth checking out if you haven’t yet, but it isn’t a super spectacular issue if that’s what you’re looking for.

bop5Birds of Prey #5 – Written by Gail Simone and Penciled by Alvin Lee & Adriana Melo.  So we start off the issue with a set of shocking revelations about Savant as he was about to throw Oracle off a bridge.  Huntress is really pissed about Black Canary running off and having to let the Penguin go.  So Black Canary heads off with White Canary to Bangkok.  Meanwhile, Hank Hall heals up as does Lady Blackhawk.  Lady Blackhawk isn’t about to taking any of the news lying down either.  We end the issue with a “shocking” revelation?  Anyway, there’s plenty of subplots going on here and the main plot is a little confusing.  Yeah, she killed all the brothers of White Canary, but really Shiva is the one who set-up Black Canary in the first issue, so now she has to ally herself with White Canary.  Come again?  I guess I don’t understand exactly why Shiva is important, so that doesn’t help.  Because of that and the lack of an explanation behind the motivation of Canary, I only feel this is an average issue.  Plus the art fluctuates in this issue and isn’t as good as it has been in previous issues.  I’m not sure if it’s Lee or Melo because last issue it was Melo teaming up with yet another artist.  So who needs whom here?  I have no idea.  I’m just confused about the whole damned thing.  It’s ok for what it is, but damn it’s a tad confusing, but I have to say, Huntress is awesome in these issues.

jlgl9Justice League: Generation Lost #9 – Written by Judd Winick and Penciled by Fernando Dagnino.  Fire is face-to-face with Max Lord and Max has to do what he needs to.  So what does he do?  He mind controls her.  A huge battle breaks out and the team has to come back together as they have to fight one of their own… and Max Lord as well.  This issue gives us a nice face-to-face confrontation with Max Lord and the Justice League in their former home.  We also get to see the damage taken by Rocket Red who still manages to bring moments of levity to the issue.  Another great issue of storytelling, but the artwork was a little limp here.  I’m just not a big fan of how Dagnino draws his faces.  From a storytelling perspective, he does a fine job.  But some of the visuals just aren’t up to par with some of the other art in this series.  Still a solid buy if ever there was one.

tmvanpoint2Time Masters: Vanishing Point #2 – Written by and Layouts done by Dan Jurgens and Finished Art by Norm Rapmund & Rodney Ramos.  Rip Hunter is faced with figuring out where and when he is and get back to everyone else so they can track down Bruce Wayne.  However, he’s hooked up with a guy who looks like he’s straight from a Conan novel.  Meanwhile, the rest of the team gets themselves involved in a fight that they might have been better staying out of.  Supernova also tries to figure out what’s going on with the Vanishing Point.  Plus some other bad guys plot some naughty stuff.  So this was a typical job of Dan Jurgens telling his stories.  Nothing too spectacular, but easily enjoyable.  Honestly, it really had nothing to do with Bruce Wayne at the end of the day.  It almost seems like that’s merely a subplot of what they’re doing here.  If you’re looking for them to be getting clues about Bruce Wayne, etc., then steer clear.  If you just want a decent Dan Jurgens story with some pretty good artwork, then it might be worth checking out.

xfact209X-Factor #209 – Written by Peter David and Penciled by Emanuela Lupacchino.  So Lady Sif has taken off with Pip to Las Vegas.  Madrox feels bad about it and heads off to Vegas to confront Lady Sif.  So off he heads to Las Vegas with his team.  Come to think of it, with THAT team, it might be really a bad idea, as Madrox soon has to find out.  What a totally fun issue though!  This has a lot of funny and entertaining things going on.  I love Shatterstar trying to throw-down with the fake pirates and being in utter disdain of them.  And didn’t anyone stop to think that Longshot in Vegas would be a completely terrible idea?  I love it!  The interaction and personalities of the group is what really makes this comic work.  It isn’t just a mutant title, it’s much more than that and is really top notch work by Peter David.  Emanuela provides some very nice artwork as well.  It isn’t overly detailed and it manages to capture each character quite nicely.  A fantastic issue and worth picking up and checking out!

uncxmen507Uncanny X-Men #507 – Written by Matt Fraction and Penciled by Whilce Portacio with Leonard Kirk.  The Five Lights saga continues on as the X-Men race to find the new mutants that showed up and usher in a new age of mutants.  They try and track down a brand new mutant who’s power manifest, speeding everything about himself until he seemingly vanishes into thin air.  Then it’s up to Hope to come in and pull him together using her unknown, but beneficial powers.  There’s a whole series of crap involving Emma Frost in here that’s just… boring.  I could care less about her character and Whilce can’t draw her anymore apparently.  In fact, I’m guessing Whilce just phoned it in on this issue too and they had to get Leonard Kirk to come in and save the mess.  Fraction keeps writing Emma like the ice queen that she is, but the way he writes the other characters opining for her attention is lame.  This storyline has potential, but they need to drive away from Emma for awhile and get a real artist.  Like I’ve said, I usually enjoy Portacio’s artwork, but this seems like a job he’s doing for a little extra cash and could give a crap about how the art looks.  It really shows here.  So just an issue you can probably pass on for now.

shadghost1Shadowland: Ghost Rider #1 – Written by Rob Williams and Art by Clayton Crain.  Ghost Rider is summoned by Kingpin in previous issues of Shadowland.  Now Kingpin wants to talk to Ghost Rider who is not very impressed by Wilson Fisk.  Fisk informs him that if he wants to be free from the Hand magic Kingpin used to summon him, then he must destroy the Hand at their seat of power.  Sounds easy enough to Ghost Rider, but we all know it’s never that easy.  Things don’t go quite as planned (do they ever?) and Ghost Rider has to make some “changes”.  Wow, the art was breath-taking in this issue.  Clayton Crain’s art alone makes this worth reading.  And the story isn’t too bad, but a few times I questioned if some of those things Ghost Rider would really say.  Other than that, a beautiful and great issue.  Not much else to say here.  I would highly recommend this to anybody who wants a good Ghost Rider story with amazing artwork!

thund148Thunderbolts #148 – Written by Jeff Parker and Art by Declan Shalvey.  Shadowland crossover time!  We get a little look at life on the Raft with the Bolts while Cage is out dealing with Daredevil.  That means the tower they usually go to is off limits and they have to eat with the general populace and that provides for some interesting moments.  Luke eventually calls them in to help with freeing people on the underground of the castle, the Underhand.  So now I know where Underdog came from.  But anyway, the group is brought in mainly because it seems Luke wants to help an old friend out.  Ninja mayhem ensues.  So a pretty good story here as we find out what life is somewhat like for the Bolts and we also get some background time with Luke as well.  Just a pretty well written issue as they’ve all been so far since Parker took over with this new Thunderbolts team.  The crossover aspect works, because now we’re seeing another side of Shadowland that we haven’t really explored much yet.  Next issue should be really fun!  The artwork seemed a tad off at times and there were just some scenes where it felt like he drew things weird and then didn’t bother fixing it later.  But really a great issue and next issue has lots of potential so run and grab a copy for yourself.

steverog3Steve Rogers: Super Soldier #3 – Written by Ed Brubaker and Art by Dale Eaglesham.  Machinesmith has captured Steve Rogers and removed the super solider serum from him.  So now Steve has to deal with being depowered and in a tight situation.  Can he find aid in the robot that thought it was Erskine’s wife?  A pretty solid issue here as we get some good flashbacks to Steve growing up.  Not many issues tell about him as that scrawny runt we first saw, but this issue actually talks about it.  It helps us relate to him more.  The best part is that all the training her underwent, that you can’t take away.  I still don’t see how removing the serum would make him scrawny again.  If you sucked the steriods out of Jose Canseco, would he automatically get smaller?  I’m gonna put my money on “hell no” and call it a win.  Other than that gap in logic, it wasn’t too bad at all.  The artwork was neither here nor there.  It certainly wasn’t fantastic, but I’ve seen a lot worse the past few months.  So this is a pretty decent issue, but not quite something I would necessarily say you should buy.

grlantern57Green Lantern #57 – Written by Geoff Johns and Penciled by Doug Mahnke.  So Hector has seemingly eaten the Orange Lantern and boy is Larfleeze freaking out.  But Hector bolts to find Carol who is in Vegas.  So Hal totes Larfleeze along with him to Vegas.  Do you see how this could be a bad idea?  Two of the worst people in comics to take on Vegas trips go there in comics this month, go figure.  Carol has to hunt down The Predator entity to restore the Sapphire battery.  But Carol disagrees and thinks there may be another way.  Anyway, the Predator possesses a human with an obsession with a waitress at a Casino.  Then Larfleeze arrives and everything quickly goes downhill.  A much better issue with some interesting points being made in this one.  Larfleeze does his best to give us some good comic relief and Mahnke’s artwork is actually pretty spot-on this issue.  He also seemed to reduce the shine on Hal’s outfit, so maybe he heard my complaints.  Yeah right!  So the hunt for the Entities goes on I guess.  But this was a pretty good issue with some pivotal moments that are must read, so grab this issue!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Funny Thing About Paul Azaceta

What could be more disgusting than Paul Azaceta ruining another comic?

Apparently I’m not the only one who hates the new artwork for Spider-Man.  I was checking out my site statistics and saw how one person found my site.  They searched for “paul azaceta terrible” to get to my page.  So I am not alone in this world.  Yes my friends, he is terrible.  But fear not, after this storyline is done it looks like there will be a different artist and maybe we can actually ENJOY Spidey again.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Quick Comic Book Reviews - August 22nd, 2010

This installment, we find a hidden gem and a horrible new title that will make you throw-up in your mouth a little bit.  Brightest Day finally has another solid issue and me and Paul Azateca throw down in a knock down, drag out, battle royale for the ages.

bright10Brightest Day #10 – Written by Geoff Johns and Peter J. Tomasi with Art by Ivan Reis, Scott Clark and Joe Prado.  This issue focuses on Firestorm and Aquaman’s stoylines.  Professor Stein finds out that something big is going on with Firestorm and reveals it to Jason and Ronnie.  Could Firestorm recreate the Big Bang?  Then we are off on a hunt for Aqualad.  Black Manta wants to find his son and he’s racing with Aquaman to get to him.  Manta’s son starts learning the truth about his father from the man he thought was his father.  This issue is smart in that it focuses on two stories and makes sure we understand them.  Unlike last issue’s Martian Manhunter story, this one makes some sort of sense.  I particularly like the Aqualad storyline and him finding out who his father is.  It’ll be interesting to see how much Aquaman trusts Mera from here on out.  The artwork is better than usual and consistent through-out.  Definitely one of the best Brightest Day issues.  This one is actually worth checking out!

daken1Daken: Dark Wolverine #1 – Written by Dan Way & Marjorie Liu and Penciled by Giuseppe Camuncoli.  We start with a flashback that Daken has about his father, good ol’ Wolvie.  Then we’re off to Milan where Daken is attending a fashion show and being a total douchebag like usual.  He has a person there designing his new costume which is a take on the old Wolverine outfit.  We also learn of a mysterious man who is giving Daken orders.  There were times in the Dark Avengers that I really liked Daken and how he manipulated things.  However, he’s really being portrayed as a man with no redeeming qualities and it’s hard for a reader to get into a character like this.  The story wasn’t very interesting and didn’t feel like it actually advanced anything.  We had a brief interlude with a mystery man and the information revealed means nothing if you haven’t read the new issue of Wolverine.  I really liked the artwork here, but that was the only redeeming quality of this issue.  When you think about it, that’s very much like Daken himself.  Oh, you also get a bonus history section about Daken which could be helpful to new readers.  Overall, skip this issue unless you have to have a number one, because this issue is forgettable at best and I hope the writers have some ideas on how to make Daken a character we might be able to identify with.

thanos4Thanos Imperative #4 – Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning with Art by Miguel Sepulveda.  Drax has disintegrated Thanos while in the Cancerverse.  This could have huge ramifications as the Avatar of Death is needed to save our universe.  Lord Mar-Vell traverse our universe looking for an anomaly to make sure our universe doesn’t introduce death into his.  Nova and friends make sure that he doesn’t kill the anomaly that is Namorita.  So the events unfold in epic fashion.  There is a lot going on, but not too much and everything happens at a brisk pace, really engaging the reader.  Some people are probably sick of Thanos, but I still find some enjoyment with him.  Plus any comic with the Guardian of the Galaxy earns bonus points with me.  But Abnett and Lanning really paint a picture of a universe that is nothing but a nightmare and it trying to expand has our whole universe going nuts.  There are some very interesting moments in this issue!  The artwork is pretty good stuff in this issue and I can tell what’s going on here and who everyone is.  I had a complaint about that in past issues as they made it hard to understand what was going on in the story with the artwork.  But a very good issue, if you want to try a “cosmic” storyline, this is definitely one to check-out!

shadpowerm2Shadowland: Power Man #2 – Written by Fred Van Lente and Penciled by Mahmud Asrar.  The new Power Man continues his fight with Luke Cage.  We also get some background into his character this issue and see him and his family and what happened to his father.  A mysterious person sends out their forces to attack the new Power Man.  Suddenly there’s bad 70’s Harlem bad guys flying around.  Names like Cheshire, Cockroach Hamilton and Mr. Fish.  These guys are the Rivals, a group that Luke Cage belonged to long ago.  Wow, what a power packed issue.  No pun intended!  Okay, well, it was intended, but live with it folks.  I like finding out more about the new Power Man’s background.  Boy is this kid powerful!  There is also a great feel of these 1970’s Harlem style bad guys that is just fun and amusing.  I hope to see more of them in the future, but not so much that they should come back often.  I think this comic has the makings of a great series.  Mahmud Asrar’s art continues to improve this issue, even though it was pretty weak out of the gate.  I really liked it much better.  He still has a few rough spots, but it does not detract from the comic.  He just has to get to the point where his artwork ADDS value to the story a little more and he’ll be great.  I’m expecting big things out of this and strongly believe you should all pick-up and support this exciting new comic!

amazspid643The Amazing Spider-Man #643 – Written by Mark Waid and Art by Paul Azaceta.  Spidey rescues the baby from the clutches of the nefarious Doc Ock.  But now what?  Spidey has to figure out what the heck he’s going to do and the choices aren’t as easy as he had hoped.  Especially with Electro and Sandman joining the fray.  The story is fun, a little over-the-top, but yuck on the artwork.  Azaceta needs to be replaced and soon.  I can’t stand his art and he’s ruining what might be a really fun story.  At this point, all he does is show the weakness in this story because now you’re not feeling the story properly.  Then again, maybe this whole story is supposed to border on the ludicrous and the ridiculous artwork is supposed to augment that.  If so, poor choice, because it looks like amateur night.  If a new reader picked up this issue, what would they think?  That’s how Marvel should view one of it’s top line comics.  If nothing else, keep using Paolo Rivera who does a great old school feel style.  I just can’t recommend this due to the awful artwork.

youngallies4Young Allies #4 – Written by Sean McKeever and Penciled by David Baldeon.  Nomad and Arana are being held captive by the Bastards of Evil.  If that wasn’t bad enough, they are about to be executed on live TV.  Now it’s up to Gravity, Toro and Firestar to save the two before things get really messy.  That’s the basic premise of this issue and it’s very well executed.  Some people might frown on a couple of overtones here so far.  First, he blew up Ground Zero with a nuclear character and now he has his heroes with sacks over their heads about to be executed terrorist style.  So it is very possible you could be offended by this.  The Bastards are just rotten people and you really want to see them get their tails whipped permanently.  There is another character at the end that is behind all of this and I’m hoping we get a good explanation for all the damage that is being caused.  I have faith in McKeever, because so far this has been interesting.  The artwork is pretty great as always.  A pretty decent issue and a super-team that is still in its fledgling stages, might be worth checking out.

incredhulks612The Incredible Hulks #612 – Written by Greg Pak and Penciled by Tom Raney.  So the World War Hulks is now over and we see how the “Hulk Family” is handling things.  Betty Banner seems to be having trouble coping with it and Bruce pushes just the wrong buttons to cause some chaos to ensue.  An amusing little story in this one.  It summarizes all the members of the “Hulk Family” pretty well.  But it comes off a tad lame at times.  The problem I’ve had with Hulk for awhile is you never know if the comic is taking itself seriously or not.  It always plays this half-tongue-in-cheek style that’s hard to get a feel for.  Sometimes I wish they would take it a little more seriously, but all these Hulks, it’s hard to take them very seriously at this point.  So, while I want to like it, it isn’t easy.  Then we have the back-up (or is it the main) story of Dark Son.  Written by Greg Pak and Scott Reed with Pencils by Brian Ching.  We’re further introduced to Hulk’s other son, Hiro-Kala.  Hiro has gotten rid of the Old Power and used the Worldmind of the planet K’ai.  He manipulates it for some unknown reason as they are hurtling to who knows where.  I’m guessing Earth, but I could be wrong.  The whole story is a tad confusing and I feel like I’ve missed something with this story.  Honestly, it just isn’t very interesting.  Maybe I would have to go back and read the Planet Hulk saga to appreciate.  Then again, maybe I’m not missing anything.  Either way, the art here is very good and better than Tom Raney’s in the first half.  I guess the issue is ok, but I’m just not interested and I’m not sure if it would hold anyone else’s interest either.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Quick Comic Book Reviews - August 20th, 2010

amazingspidey642The Amazing Spider-Man #642 – Written by Mark Waid and Art by Paul Azaceta.  Finally, One Moment in Time is done and we go on with our lives.  Now we have “Origin of the Species: Part 1”.  This episode finds our wall-crawler adapting to life without any money and running into several humorous moments because of it.  Meanwhile, tons of supervillians gather at the behest of some unknown bad guy who wants an “item” of some sort and he’s willing to pay a lot for it.  You have guys ranging from Morbius to Sandman and Electro.  Why they would line-up for this, I’m not sure, but whatever.  Must seem like an easy job.  But this seems to have stolen the old “Rat Race” movie thing of beating everyone else to the object, because boy do they scramble.  It seems a bit out-of-character because I don’t think Mysterio has ever scrambled before in his life.  We eventually find out who the mystery man is and what he’s after and it’s really pretty good stuff.  Mark Waid writes a pretty decent Spidey tale, aside from the villians running out the door to try and outwit each other.  But my big gripe is the awful artwork by Paul Azaceta.  He single-handedly turns this otherwise good issue into utter crap.  He makes Spidey look fat in half his drawings.  He can do decent storytelling with his art, but the fact that everything he does draw looks like junk doesn’t help matters.  A fat Spider-Man?  Really?  Fanatics you can pick this up, but the rest of you skip this until they get a new artist.

glew2Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #2 – Written by Peter J. Tomasi and Penciled by Fernando Pasarin.  So Guy Gardner is off to uncharted territory, but not without some help from friends.  Arisa and Kilowog decide they’re going with and off we go.  But first, we need to make a detour, and that detour is spoiled by the arrival of a nasty person.  We also find out that Arisa still believes Sodam Yot is alive after he sacrificed himself.  There is also an introduction of Zardor of Kralok which is probably setting up for future issues.  So we have all this stuff going on in the second issue and it’s not bad at all.  Arisa’s dream is downright creepy.  It’s interesting to see how Kilowog is coping with everything that has happened.  So this issue has a lot of good stuff going on.  Guy’s side journey ends up making total sense for his character and give us a reason to see some of my favorite Lantern Corps color.  The end of the issue totally is given away by the cover too.  I hate when companies do this, but it doesn’t totally ruin the issue.  The issue is solid and the artwork is fine.  Really, just a good issue that could go either way for you.  I’m a huge Green Lantern Corps fan, so I really like it, but if you aren’t you might want to skip it, newer readers might enjoy this though.

inviciron30The Invincible Iron Man #30 – Written by Matt Fraction and Art by Salvador Larroca.  We start off with Tony driving away with Sasha Hammer from last issue.  But Tony’s interests are anything but romantic.  Tony is trying to figure out what the Hammer women are up to with their current expansion of business.  The trip doesn’t end exactly as planned for anybody.  There’s a weird sexual tension created by Sasha Hammer the whole time as well.  We also get to see the test driving of the new Stark Resilient car.  But Detroit Steel also plans on launching a new application that launches, the giant phallic symbols of DOOM!  Ah yes, be prepared for a scene for giant flying penises on their way to destroy Tony Stark for the cover of next issue.  I hate the design of those things and I often wonder if that’s completely intentional.  The story has an interesting pace and everything is building, then it calms down, and then we get the climatic conclusion of the issue when things go crazy again.  Matt Fraction continues to do an excellent job with his run on Iron Man.  Salvador provides some very good artwork that’s got a realistic feel without being too realistic.  His facial work is some of the best, so it’s easy to tell who the characters are, and that’s important.  So pick up this issue because this is one of the better comics out there today.

thor614Thor #614 – Written by Kieron Gillen and Pencils by Doug Braithwaite.  The climatic conclusion to the Hel versus Disir in Hell saga concludes with this issue and it was worth it.  Part 4 of “The Fine Print” joins our hero Thor calling out the name of the Disir who cannot ignore when their name is called.  So off they go to try and kill Thor.  The Eir-Gram sword is still trapped when Thor calls for them, so will he be able to withdraw it and finish off the Disir and save Hel from a fate worse than Death itself.  To me, this is a great Thor story.  Plenty of drama and the conclusion to it all is pretty amazing stuff.  The way Thor is able to take care of this made sense and was a total “well duh, you’re pretty smart their Thor,” moment.  Kieron is able to capture the mythological aspect of the Thor title well.  Some might be looking more for a super-hero type encounter, but this is something else.  It all is very interesting and well done and it doesn’t feel like the same old stuff people might get bored with.  The artwork is a little sketchier than Salvador Larroca’s but it reminds me a little of his work.  It isn’t quite as polished, but I really thought it was quite good.  There’s a great moment in this comic as we see Asgard and Balder is standing over the map.  On the map is scribbled “Scan of Map of Asgard?”  So apparently nobody put that scan in at all and didn’t manage to erase the words the penciller put in.  Oops!  So look for that little Easter egg.  This is worth picking up!

x231X-23 #1 – Written by Marjorie Liu and Art by Will Conrad.  This issue deals with X-23 the dilemmas of her being involved with the X-Force project that everyone now knows about.  Her involvement seems counter productive to getting rid of the idea of her being reversing her descent into a killing machine.  So now things have to be dealt with and Laura isn’t having an easy time of it all.  So this issue mainly deals with feelings and that may not appeal to everyone.  I’m not sure where this title is going to go, but for a first issue this is just ok.  At the end they do include a history of X-23 which was really interesting and helpful to me, as I had not known much about X-23 prior to this issue.  Will Conrad’s art isn’t very good though.  I don’t care for how he draws Laura and half of the other characters.  His characters look very robotic and the main facial expression is a glare.  Everything just seems a little off with Conrad’s art and it’s enough to turn me off from this issue.  A good issue to pick-up for a history of X-23, but the artwork will really detract from what would otherwise be a solid issue.

x-men3X-Men #3 – Written by Victor Gischler and Penciled by Paco Medina.  Namor has recovered the head, Storm and Gambit have the body.  Dracula is alive again and the ramifications could be huge.  Wolverine is sent out to find Jubilee and rescue her from the big bad vamps.  So we flash back and forth between Wolvie’s journey and the conversation the X-Men have with Dracula.  This is probably the best issue of the series so far.  Wolverine’s battles seem a tad random, but the stuff at the end was very good.  I like the interaction Xarus and his Royal Court with Jubilee.  I felt that Dracula acted like he probably should.  Paco Medina’s artwork really shined in this issue and has improved quite a bit.  I think he improved enough to where his art makes this issue better than it might be otherwise.  I didn’t like his work in th first issue, but here it looks like he’s adapting to the X-Men well.  I’m still not completely sold on the storyline, but the story here was okay.  Still, not a X-Men title that I particularly like, but this one was actually ok.  If you want to see what’s going on with the “Curse of the X-Men” storyline, this would be the issue to check out, but still slightly skippable. 

xmenleg239X-Men: Legacy #239 – Written by Mike Carey and Penciled by Clay Mann.  While in India the X-Men run into a new Mutant on the run and a Sentinel close behind.  Of course, we aren’t quite sure that she IS a Mutant, we’re just assuming that the Sentinel is after one.  Paras also has to deal with his future bride who he has never met before.  Gotta love pre-arranged weddings!  Our new character Luisa also has some interesting secrets that start to unravel here as well.  So our story is a pretty decent one.  There’s lots of action and interesting things going on here to keep the reader compelled and that’s always a good thing.  Magneto and Rogue are still bickering as Rogue completely does not trust Magneto.  I like Paras’ pre-arranged wedding and having to deal with that and the interactions with his parents.  The art work is not quite there yet.  I see some styling of an early Whilce Portacio here, but Whilce was better at having his drawings tell a story.  Clay is not quite there yet.  The first few pages are very confusing and I had to go back and look at them several times just to tell what the hell was going on.  That’s not a good thing when a reader has to do that.  If he can just work on his facial details and storytelling through his art, he has the potential to be a very good artist.  An okay issue, but nothing too special, you can probably skip it.

zat5Zatanna #5 – Written by Paul Dini and Penciled by Chad Hardin.  We have fire demons trying to take out Zatanna as we saw in last issue.  She also has to deal with her Cousin Zach feeling underappreciated by her and she promises to make his show tonight.  Well, those are always famous last words when you’re a busy magician who’s wanted by the Great Mammon.  We get introduced to our big bad demon of hell and also find out what his game is.  And since we’re in Vegas, things all kind of just make sense here.  So a trap is set and Zatanna has troubles resisting this one!  Another pretty fantastic issue as I love the way Zatanna deals with the fire demons.  Is she lucky? Sure, but it was still ingenious.  Mammon’s motivation seems to be somewhat logical.  As logical as something in this series will ever be I guess.  Zach’s disappointment is pretty interesting as well.  The final several pages are just fantastic stuff that you don’t want to miss.  Chad Hardin’s pencils are solid, nothing wrong there at all.  Paul Dini continues to make an underrated character into a solid hit for me.  I’ve said it before, I never thought I would like this character, but Dini has made me a fan.  That has to count for something.  Pick up an issue and get instantly hooked!