Friday, September 30, 2011

Quick Comic Reviews - September 30th, 2011

Just a small update this week.  I probably won’t get everything each week on here, but I’ll do what I can.  My schedule changes at the end of October, so I might be able to do a bit more with this at that time.

aswest1All Star Western #1 – Written by Jimmy Palmiotti  and Justin Gray with Art by Moritat.  Jonah Hex is in Gotham and a lot of people were original concerned about this.  However, as Gotham emerges out of the frontier to be the blossoming city, plenty of bad things need rooted out and that’s where Hex comes in.  You can tell the love that Gray and Palmiotti have for this character.  The storyline involves Jonah Hex teamed up with Dr. Arkham (how clever) to find out who the Gotham Butcher is.  Of course, the Butcher is killing prostitutes, so nothing too utterly original here, but how many original stories can you have anymore.  Throwing Jonah Hex into this formulaic tale with Dr. Arkham is what makes it unique.  Plus seeing the “old” families of Gotham (Waynes, Cobblepots, Gates, etc.) gives it an interesting back story to play with.  And as for the art, I thoroughly enjoyed the art.  I loved the moody, thick black lines the artist used at times.  The grittiness of Jonah Hex came alive in the pencils.  Just great stuff.  Overall, I thought this was a very good first issue and worth picking up if this genre peaks your interest at all.

bhawks1Blackhawks #1 – Written by Mike Costa, Layouts by Graham Nolan, and Finished by Ken Lashley.  Welcome to the Blackhawks.  A team subsidized, apparently, by the U.N.  Yeah right.  A rag-tag crew of soldiers from different countries work together to solve problems through-out the world.  It just didn’t work for me on a lot of levels.  The characters seemed to lack any dimension and were just generally uninteresting.  We don’t really know much about them, what motivates them, or even what the hell their missions are.  We find out something about nanocites and it all comes off very flat.  I think DC would have been better served making this a World War II comic as an homage to the original Blackhawks.  Instead, they try to wrap it into today’s world, throw away any sense of realism and give us 1 dimensional characters that you won’t remember after you put the book down.  The artwork has potential, but the opening sequence seemed off and just never really recovered from the confusing open.  There was very little here that came across as entertaining or clever and this one is definitely not worth spending your money on.

savhawk1The Savage Hawkman #1 – Written by Tony S. Daniel and Art by Philip Tan. So Carter Hall tries to burn his wings connected to the Nth metal and WOOSH, the Nth metal gets mad and apparently implants itself in his body.  So now think black costume Spider-Man where he can summon the costume to come out at will.  And does that work?  Well, I don’t feel it gave me anything interesting here.  At the end of the issue, I’m assuming Carter is an alcoholic and a cryptologist and that’s about it.  We aren’t quite sure where the Nth metal came from and why this alien they find is after it.  I just didn’t find much of this terribly interesting, mainly because we never really get into Carter Hall’s character.  The artwork, however, is just fantastic as Philip Tan goes all out here.  The costume looks REALLY good though and it benefitted from that redesign.  However, we still didn’t get any good way to connect with Hall and that’s a shame.  I wanted to be more interested than I was.  I hope the next issue improves the story and it’s hard to judge this on one issue alone. However, I didn’t feel that this issue was all that good except for the amazing art of Tan.  So it has potential to be something, but for now, I would only consider it, but not a strong buy here.

ffirest1The Fury of Firestorm #1 – Plotted by Ethan Van Sciver & Gail Simone, Written by Gail Simone and Art by Yildiray Cinar.  So we have Firestorms in this one, Jason Rusch and Ronnie Raymond.  The plot involves some terrorists (what is this, every other issue of comics now?) and trying to recover something.  Apparently it was sent to Jason who then uses it and transforms him and Ronnie into Firestorms.  Two separate ones to be clear.  Both of the characters really dislike each other and we establish this early on.  So by the end of the issue they combine into on giant Firestorm called Fury.  That’s most of the issue.  What I didn’t like is how Jason seemed to know exactly what to do with his powers and they just start blasting each other and flying around.  Whatever happened to figuring out what you can do as a hero?  None of that here.  Maybe with stories so condensed now, Gail Simone didn’t have time to do that.  However, I think she could have managed it.  The art by Cinar is fairly decent, but I think he’s usually better than this.  My main problem was the coloring that was used.  It seems muted and washed in areas and I didn’t care for that.  The issue was decent enough, but not enough to convince me that the series is going to be good.  I’m on the fence about this one, so it’s just “meh” to me, not bad, but not all that good either.

ivamp1I, Vampire #1– Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Art by Andrea Sorrentino. This is an interesting enough tale about Andrew, a vampire who apparently doesn’t like killing humans and seems to be the sire of Mary, Queen of Blood.  Mary is batshit crazy while Andrew plays the role of the good cop.  So they’ve been around about 400 years and are still meandering, having semi-deep conversations and the only thing I’m getting out of it is that Mary is a total flaming bitch and Andrew is such a nice guy that he must be Canadian.  So, while I like to get into the minds of characters, the first several pages read like this, “Blah blah blah Mary!”  “Blah blah blah Andrew!”  It did get much more interesting than that and I find it odd that this is a “part” of the current DC Universe.  Of course, not that this will affect any other comic in their line, but they’ll pretend it matters.  Really though, the artwork was very good, a lot of ambience and moodiness and such that you need to have here.  No complaints there.  I just wasn’t totally drawn into their conversation because it seems like such normal vampire fair.  But at least they appear to be traditional vampires, so they’ve got that going for them.  Yeah, I think this was a pretty decent comic that has some promise, so if you just dig those vampires, I think you might find this pretty good.  If not, you’ll probably just want to skip this one over.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Quick Comic Reviews - September 20th, 2011 Part 1

Last week I was so focused on the DC New 52 that I didn’t get to any Marvel titles.  Fear not, I’ll get those this week.  Or at least some.  So many titles, so little time!

262863Resurrection Man #1 – Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning and Art by Fernando Dagnino. I had recently read the first storyline of the original Resurrection Man series from DC which was also written by Abnett and Lanning and found it to be quite refreshing and exciting. So I was really looking forward to this reboot and I wasn’t disappointed. Resurrection Man dies a lot, so get used to it. However, every time he has different powers upon coming back to life. They’ve put a twist on it over the original series and there’s something out to get him. That’s as much as I’ll give away. But I’m a huge Abnett and Lanning fan and they hit this one out of the park. Dagnino also provides for some very fitting artwork that does a pretty good job of helping tell the overall story. Dark and moody at times and lots of rain, this tale was very interesting. I’m super interested in figuring out what will happen next. So far, probably the best of the New DC 52 and definitely a must buy as this series needs a good following to keep it going! I’m sure Abnett and Lanning has plenty of great surprises in store for us!

262859Grifter #1 – Written by Nathan Edmondson, Penciled by Cafu and Inked by Jason Gorder.  I’ve seen many steaming piles of turd in my lifetime.  This isn’t that good.  We pretty much get a semi-Gambit wannabe who is infected by Daemonites or something like that.  The story goes back and forth and makes no sense at times.  You have no idea if you’re in the past or present and that is a failure of the the writer and artist.  The art wasn’t awful, but everyone seemed really stiff.  We should get some sort of idea of what we’re dealing with.  This one meanders on in a steaming pile of goo and gives you nothing interesting.  Honestly, by the end of the issue, you could give two shits about if Grifter dies or not.  If we’re all lucky, they’ll kill him next issue and we’ll be done with this.  Sad, because I was really looking forward to a better series than this.  The best part of this issue is the cover.

262865Superboy #1Written by Scott Lobdell, Penciled by R.B. Silva and Inked by Rob Lean. How do I accurately describe this one?  Well, we get a Superboy project that gives us a Superboy with utterly no remorse and seems to be quite evil.  Now, this COULD be interesting if they take it the right way.  However, I didn’t feel that I particularly liked any of the characters in this book.  Really, I disliked about everything in this book except for the idea they planted at the very end.  The artwork was pretty good and that helped draw me in.  I thought with the previous Superboy we were just starting to see his personality really develop and now we’re given one completely devoid of all personality.  Quite a conundrum.  It COULD be good in the future, but it’ll definitely take some time.  That being said, I think you can probably skip this issue and wait until it becomes good.

262855Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1 – Written by Jeff Lemire and Art by Alberto Ponticelli.  Jeff Lemire is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers and this is another good offering from him.  With that in mind, this introduction issue isn’t as much fun as his Flashpoint Frankenstein and the Creature Commandoes, but that’s because he has to re-introduce everyone with slightly different (or majorly) origins.  I liked that the Atom is involved here, but they’ve got a very “Hank Pym” system.  I really dig the artwork here, it has a certain feel that is just perfect for the series.  I didn’t really care for the “computer” that’s somewhat narrating for us, but I guess they were trying to think of a different way to explain things to us.  Overall, a pretty decent start, but definitely has a “not quite hitting it’s stride yet” feel. 

262915Fear Itself: Hulk vs. Dracula #1 – Written by Victor Gischler, Penciled by Ryan Stegman and Inked by Mike Babinski.  When I saw that this was an actual title Marvel was putting out, I winced.  When I saw it was written by Victor Gischler, I winced.  However, I think Victor has a certain fondness for Dracula and the whole vampire genre and it comes across pretty well here.  Faced with the hammer wielding Hulk landing in his backyard, Hulk threatens to smash everything in his path.  So now Dracula must figure out how the hell to beat a guy nobody else has done more than scratch.  This was an interesting way of keeping Dracula in the Marvel Universe and kept us up-to-date on his latest doings, which isn’t as bad as it might seem.  Ryan Stegman draws everything well enough, but I think the coloring is what makes this issue the most as far as art goes.  Deep colors and hues gave it a very rich feeling.  It isn’t particularly dark or brooding art and that works fine.  Overall, I thought the issue came across really well.  There are some plot points that I’m not sure where they’re going, but I’m willing to find out what they’re aiming towards.  Really, a pretty good issue, nothing spectacular here, but it feels like an interesting battle is being prepared.

262917Herc #7 – Written by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente, Penciled by June Brigman and Inked by Roy Richardson.  We see in this issue the repercussions that Spider Island has on ol’ Hercules.  So we have a web slinging Herc waxing poetically in this issue and giving us all sorts of campy fun.  Right away he breaks out into battle with the X-Men and it’s a good brawl that gives us a taste of Herc’s new powers.  We get plenty of background and the thoughts of Hercules in raw and unfiltered form.  Plus Herc gets put on the trail of the Jackal and encounters plenty of miscreants.  June Brigman has an old school style in this and it really makes for some campy fun.  It looked like a comic book should.  This issue will certainly have your Hercules senses tingling.  What a fantastic and fun romp that really makes this issue of Herc an absolute must buy!  I can’t see anyone not enjoying this issue!


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Quick Comic Reviews–September 10th, 2011 New DC 52 Part 2

Well, the first round of reviews was interesting and a bit of a mixed bag.  Let’s delve in the rest of this week’s New 52 from DC!  Don’t forget to vote for your favorite!

262271Justice League International #1 – Written by Dan Jurgens, Penciled by Aaron Lopresti and Inked by Matt Ryan.  There are people disappearing, there’s a line-up of super heroes being selected, Batman lurks, people are mad about the Justice League moving in the Hall of Justice.  There you have the issue in a nutshell.  Now keep in mind, it isn’t a bad nutshell, but just a nutshell.  The things I liked was Guy Gardner’s flat out refusal to join and Booster being back to his roots as a guy nobody else is willing to put much trust into.  Booster is forced into the lead role, Rocket Red is fun, and Godiva really seems to dig Booster.  Its hard to do much character development in this one, but I have a feeling we’ll see some as we go.  I really thought the art was very solid and fit in well with the team presented.  I wanted to like this issue a lot more as I was a big fan of JLI and Justice League Europe back in the day.  Dan just doesn’t have quite the biting wit of Giffen and company.  But this is a pretty good first issue, chock full of superheroes and issues that need to be resolved, so worth picking up, but don’t expect anything sensational.


262276Static Shock #1 – Written by Scott McDaniel and John Rozum, Penciled by Scott McDaniel and Inked by Jonathan Glapion and Le Beau Underwood.  This one was a bit confusing.  I felt that most of this was a bit hard to say what exactly was happening.  I agree that they need to have a Dakota-verse character still and this was the best character of the bunch.  However, the story just didn’t grab me and I was never really sure what was going on.  It just didn’t have a great flow to it.  Some guy puts on a suit he shouldn’t in STAR Labs and flies around and Static chases him, the guy ends up getting killed by mysterious bad guys who sniper him from miles away somehow.  We get a whole lot of Static flying around, a very brief look at his home life, and then more flying about.  While some of his background is revealed, it is still a tad confusing how he’s hooked up with Hardware in the first place.  I really liked the artwork and the vibrant colors in this issue.  However, if you’re going to target this character to a younger audience, you really need to make it a bit more accessible to kids.  They rated it for Teen for some unknown reason.  Nothing to see here folks.  Move along!  Move along.


262265Animal Man #1 – Written by Jeff Lemire, Penciled by Travel Foreman and Inked by Travel Foreman and Dan Green.  This comic has that old Vertigo feel where things are a bit “off” and the art is a bit more sketchy and a bit darker.  I do like the old goggles and orange A.  Why they had to change it to white, I have no idea, but I would prefer the orange.  Then again, I’m weird.  Speaking of things that are strange, welcome to Animal Man.  And what a fantastic voyage it is.  It opened with an “interview” of Buddy (Animal Man) Baker from a “magazine” which was about the only thing that annoyed me.  It read like a really boring and bland interview that celebrities give ALL the time.  It really just annoyed the crap out of me.  Other than that, the issue then gets off to an interesting start as Buddy has been spending much time doing things heroes should.  When he finally gets off his loafing butt and intervenes, he finds there’s much more about himself than meets the eye when he ends up bleeding from said eyes.  We soon learn about the Red.  I guess we have the Green for plants and the Red for animals and it is hinted that these two things will eventually give Swamp Thing and Animal Man a common bond.  I’m all for that!  The color here is very muted and the artwork isn’t for everyone.  I’m not a fan of artwork like what Travel Foreman does usually, but given the tone of the issue and overall feel, it works.  This is a really good issue that you should pick up if you like more adult themes in comics!


262278Swamp Thing #1 – Written by Scott Snyder and Art by Yanick Paquette.  Swamp Thing returns in grand glory.  Ignore the fact that the return of the Swamp Thing from Brightest Day ever happened, because technically it didn’t anyway.  We see mass outbreaks of birds and animals dropping dead (ah, true to life!) in groups.  We then meet Alec Holland as it were and Superman drops in on him for help.  There’s some other mysterious stuff going on and the Green is apparently not very pleased with Alec trying to live his life.  We get explained some of Alec, but there’s still a bit of mystery as to whether he’s even Swamp Thing or if he can control Swamp Thing or what.  I’m pretty interested in finding out though!  Scott Snyder puts a lot of thought into this character and makes a very interesting first issue.  Yanick Paquette’s artwork is fantastic and creates atmosphere in it.  So altogether we have a tremendous debut of a character that has had his fair share of changes.  If future issues are anything like this one, it will be one hell of a series.  Pick this one up!


262273Men of War #1Written by Ivan Brandon and Art by Tom Derenick.  Has anyone been hankering for some new adventures of Sgt. Rock?  Ok, well here’s how he became a Sergeant in the first place!  Modernized for today’s type of wars, this one just didn’t hit home for me.  I didn’t really feel like he was the Sgt. Rock kind of character in the first place, so that didn’t help him.  There’s too much yelling back and forth early on and it came off super lame. There are some scenes where you just can’t tell what exactly is going on either and I think I blame that on the art not making it clear who is who in the scenes.  Not that we had much time to set up any characters, but still it didn’t seem very clear.  Then we have super heroes fighting?  Ok, could we just leave the super heroes out of the war series?  Please!  Ugh!  The art was ok, but there were just times were I couldn’t tell what was going on clearly.  The second story is Written by Jonathan Vankin and Art by Phil Winslade.  This story gives me a bit of feeling like I used to get from The ‘Nam back in the day.  The characters grow a bit as the story develops and we get a good surprise at the end.  This homage to our modern day heroes overseas hits a bit more spot-on and saves this issue from being a waste.  I liked the story laid out about the Navy Seals and I hope there’s plenty more of them in the future.  Overall, an average issue that should have been better, but reinventing Sgt. Rock just didn’t work for me and made this one somewhat forgettable.


262266Batgirl #1 – Written by Gail Simone, Penciled by Ardian Syaf and Inked by Vicente Cifuentes.  We get introduced to Barbara Gordon and for some reason, the happenings in “the Killing Joke” actually happened, but she was only paralyzed for a few years.  So we have continuity that isn’t continuity?  Anyway, she is actually a pretty interesting character and I really like how her costume was done.  She isn’t infallible and she has to move forward past some things.  So in the first issue we see some growth of character.  We also get a decent amount of action and a mysterious villain that I thought was well done.  There was a lot to like in this issue and is definitely a solid #1 and it looks like this could be a great series.  Excellent art, great writer, it just works, worth picking up!


262267Batwing #1 – Written by Judd Winick and Art by Ben Oliver.  This is one of those titles that I didn’t have any expectations for.  It looked like it might even be rather awful.  I stand corrected.  First off, the artwork in this book is magnificent and the coloring by Brian Reber is fantastic as well.  It all came together into a perfect conglomeration.  The story told here is about Batwing and mainly his background working with the local law enforcement and his juggling the two things.  But there’s a lot more than that going on.  There’s an interesting mystery mixed in with everything.  Keep in mind, this issue is a tad gruesome in spots, so it isn’t for kids.  For the rest of you, this is a grand introduction to a character I really had no interest in at first and is a title worth checking out!


262269Green Arrow #1 -  Written by J.T. Krul, Penciled by Dan Jurgens and Inked by George Perez.  First off, let me admit one thing.  I’m a huge fan of Dan Jurgens’ art.  He does a simply fantastic job with this issue and does a great job of storytelling with his pencils.  But teaming him with George Perez to ink those beautiful pencils produces and even better result.  I was really liking the art in this one.  The Arrow himself feels a tad more like Batman than Green Arrow.  Maybe even a tad Tony Stark-ish.  But what really made me annoyed was the “Oracle”-like team he had running things.  I didn’t feel they really added much to the story and detracted from what could have been a stronger character.  But in this issue, Green Arrow fights a bunch of bad guys who do bad things, yadda yadda.  His own company complains about him ad nauseam.  You get the picture.  A decent enough issue, but not much of a hook.  Despite the great artwork, my overall feel from this issue was that it was simply ok, nothing great, just kind of average and that’s not what you want to do in your number 1 issues.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Quick Comic Book Reviews–9/9/2011

That’s right, I’m back and in time for the New 52!  I figured if DC could start over again, I could as well.  Take the poll on the left hand side and vote on the best of the New 52 this week!  So now, let’s cover what I thought of some of the initial issues to hit the stores!

262105Action Comics #1 – Written by Grant Morrison, Penciled by Rags Morales, Inked by Rick Bryant.  I was not a fan of most of Grant Morrison’s latest stuff, however, in the rebirth of Superman, we are treated to an amazingly fun and surprisingly non-convoluted (for Morrison anyway) story!  We’re given a look at a young Superman learning how to use his powers for good.  The “powers-that-be” in Metropolis are not very pleased with this vigilante leaping about, sticking his nose into things that they don’t want him in.  We get to see him test his powers and actually LEAP.  So there’s some tribute to the original version of Superman.  Plus his powers haven’t quite peaked yet, so this makes it even more interesting.  Morrison is able to get you wrapped up in Superman and make him fun again.  You might even be able to call this run “Superman: Year One.”  My only problem was the artwork.  Usually I really like the work of Rags Morales, but I’m not sure if it’s his fault or the inker’s.  However, there are times where I have no idea if I’m looking at a young Superman or an OLD Superman.  The shadowed scenes early on really make you think he’s older than he is.  That would be my main nitpick with it.  But a great introductory issue!  This is a definite MUST buy if you ever wanted to get into a potential extremely enjoyable Superman story!


262268Detective Comics #1 – Written and Penciled by Tony Daniels and Inked by Ryan Winn.  Tony Daniels tackles a classic character and takes on a huge workload by pulling double duty with this one.  The results are surprisingly good.  The idea here seems to be to introduce the Joker as one of the more disturbing villains in the Batman world and really does a fine job of it.  We aren’t given an origin story, but we’re given a dark look at Batman’s main bad guy.  Daniel’s artwork gives me flashback to Frank Miller’s version of Batman with the short ears.  He is able to capture a dark mood and does a good job of storytelling.  We get the gist of Batman being the outlaw who is trust by Commissioner Gordon, but nobody else in the police force it seems.  You get the usual gadgets, doo-dads, Batcave and Alfred in here.  Nothing truly groundbreaking, but with an overall tone and forboding sense in the issue.  A tad gruesome in spots, it has a certain Frank Miller (back when he wasn’t a hack) tone to it that works well and makes for an entertaining first issue.  The last page is a bit of a shocker as well.  This one is worth picking up if you like good Batman stories.


262277Stormwatch #1 – Written by Paul Cornell and Art by Miguel Sepulveda. Wow, Stormwatch was one of the best comics ever written by Wildstorm.  I fear that may be just a sad distant memoir now if this first issue is any indication.  Talk about trying to introduce too many characters and giving us nothing more than a confusing mess.  I would try to explain the story, however I’m not really sure what it is.  Mix in a mediocre job by Miguel Sepulveda who just doesn’t draw a “gritty” enough style to bring this comic to life.  In fact, Jack Hawksmoor looks just plain awful in this.  He’s an awkward enough character, but this just didn’t do it.  Overall, the worst of the bunch I’ve read by far.  I’m hoping that this is an aberration, but until it improves, just avoid buying it.  I’m predicting (praying for?) a quick cancellation here!


262274O.M.A.C. #1 – Written by Dan Didio and Keith Giffen.  Most people remember the OMACs from Infinite Crisis and the havoc they caused.  This one is more closely related to the Buddy Blank OMAC that was created by Jack Kirby.  Think of this as a tribute or homage to Jack Kirby.  A lot of people will automatically hate this issue just because they hate anything that Dan Didio does.  What he and Giffen do here isn’t groundbreaking, but it is FUN.  And really, this is a throwback comic to the kind of comics I used to read when I was a kid.  For that, I’m thankful for this comic.  Giffen’s artwork is pretty spot on as any Kirby tribute can be.  To me it has the wonderfully weird feel that you used to get out of those comics.  The best thing here is delved into right at the end.  You can feel like you’ve taken the bait and here’s the hook.  At the end you wonder what was going on exactly and what’s going to happen to the main character next.  The only quibbles I have is that we only get about 20 pages of story, which makes character development really hard for writers.  An extra 2 pages could have made a fun story even better.  I really liked this issue and think it is worth picking up if you aren’t too nitpicky about every comic being deeply intellectual and just being plain fun.


262270Hawk & Dove #1 – Written by Sterling Gates and Art by Rob Liefeld.  Oh, how I used to love the old Hawk & Dove series that Liefeld worked on.  Oh, how I wanted this to be anything like that.  Sadly, this issue just felt forced.  Liefeld’s artwork was probably the brightest spot of all.  Of course, his version of Deadman was actually quite awful I felt.  Oh, and there are people with pouches!  Go figure.  And then he drew a scene of people overreacting to a video that would have induced most to laughter.  A lot of grimacing faces that Rob loves to draw show up here almost ad nauseam as well.  So we end up getting some nonsensical villain out there who we really forget is a threat immediately thereafter and, most likely, don’t give a rat’s ass about.  Then we get background on Hawk to explain who he is and how he got his powers.  That just seems to go on a tad too long and the conversation just reads painfully.  By the end of the issue I didn’t care about any of the characters and couldn’t care less if they all blew up.  Heck, they could have made this issue taste like bacon and it still would have been blech.  Good return for Liefeld to DC, sadly it was wasted on this stinker.  Skip it, you certainly won’t miss anything, nor will you likely ever care unless they get a better writer for it.

I’ll be back soon with more titles from this weeks super slate of issues!