New Comics Review (9-7-07)

As usual, a week late.  But this time I had “legitimate” excuses!  The Scottish Games at the Altamont Fiar Grounds was over the holiday weekend, which was followed by work, and getting my daughter ready for a new school year.  This instalment does not include this weeks releases, which I won’t be getting until next week. 

Countdown #36, 35: OK, I admit it.  This series is dragging a bit.  But what did you expect from a weekly series?  The Mary Marvel story line is coming into focus, as is the search for Ray Palmer.  Back ups on the origins of Parallax and Deathstroke are nice summaries.

Countdown to Adventure #1: Adam Strange, Animal Man, and Starfire return in an eight issue miniseries.  This Adam Beechen scripted series starts off well enough IMO.  There’s a lot of set up in this issue, but the Monarch and Forerunner story line gives plenty of action.  The team up of the three heroes from 52 should be interesting and how it ties in with the upcoming “Final Crisis.”

52 Aftermath: The Four Horsemen #1: The four super baddies created on Oolong Island by the assembly of evil geniuses return to Khandaq and Bialya.  Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman begin their investigations, with a very uncomfortable Bruce Wayne needing a save.  This six issue series should have plenty to offer, more so with Kieth Giffen scripting.

Amazons Attack! #6:  The conclusion of the Amazon war.  The allied Amazons and Banta get a raw deal here, but not undeservedly.  Athena delivers a harsh sentence upon her “failed” subjects.  The last two pages of this issue make it all worth while, and leave us wondering about a whole slew of other issues.  What’s in those two pages you ask?  Buy it and find out.  I won’t spoil the surprise!

Wonder Woman #12: WW returns to her Diana Prince, agent of DMA, persona, following her saving Nemesis from the Stygian Hornets.  J. Torres takes over scripting duties from Jodi Picault who had a terriffic run.  The issue is a bit slow, but is more about tying up some loose ends from other story arcs, such as where is Sarge Steel.

Five of a Kind: Wonder Woman and Grace: I picked up the rest of the “try outs” for Batman’s new Outsider team, after reading the Martian Manhunter-Thunder issue.  These are interesting one shots, as each issue is a test for one or more characters.  Some pass, some fail.  This has been well handled, especially from an editorial POV, as each issue has a different writer.  This issue ties up a loose end from the Amazon war, and we get a bit of insight not only into Wonder Woman, but Grace as well.

Five of a Kind: Nightwing and Captain Boomerang jr: This one had had a slightly unexpected ending.  The big thing here is what Batman does, or more to the point, doesn’t do.  A tie in story from the Crisis Aftermath series Battle for Bludhaven, leaves Nightwing in an unenvuable position. 

Five of a Kind: Katana and Shazam: Talk about harsh testing processes.  Poor Katana has to die to even get to the test!  This issue has a bit more set up for the future than others, which featured more back story tie ins, and loose ends from older stories. 

Five of a Kind: Metamorpho and Aquaman:  OK, let’s be clear about something.  While this issue features Aquaman, it is not Arthur Curry.  I’m not up on my Aquaman lore, so I have no idea who this kid is, and like Batman says, “You are no Aquaman.”  I find all of this a titch confusing, as I know that the “real” Aquaman is somehow involved in this.  Add to this the whole secretive thing that Batman has going (at Nightwing’s request), leaves me wondering just what is not being said.  Guess I’ll have to start reading the Outsiders now..

Green Lantern Corps #15: Another installment in the best story arc out there, the Sinestro War.  The planet sized GL, Mogo, is besieged, and the Corps is riding to the rescue.  This issue is non-stop action from beging to end.  From the battle for Mogo, to the chambers of the Guardians, to the “Lost Lanterns” on Qward, it’s a doozey of a roller coaster.  Dave Gibbons does a masterful job of pacing the action, and leaving us wanting more.

Birds of Prey #109: I don’t get this title, but was curious because the cover featured Green Arrow, and was about Dinah’s decision whether or not to accept GA’s proposal of marriage.  It’s quite obvious that I’m missing alot from the other stories involved, but that’s OK, as I won’t be adding this one to my pull list.

Green Arrow: Year One #4:  I think that this series is being dragged out a bit too much.  While slated for 6 issues, it could have been done in four.  This issue more than the others is not advancing the story all that much, and a lot of it could have been cut out.  Even though the depth of story is nice and all, there’s just too much extraneous stuff, such as fever/drug dreams, and some unnecessary conversation.  For most people I’d say wait for the TBP of this to come out.

Batman Annual #26: Another issue I picked up on a whim.  This one features Ra’s Al Ghul, who it appears will be making a comeback.  It’s clear to me that this is setting up the return of The Demon’s Head in the regulat Batman and Detective issues, but provides some interesting background info on Ra’s Al Ghul.  I just hope they handle it all in the right manner.

The Spirit #9:  I really enjoy Darwyn Cooke’s handling of this series.  It’s such an enjoyable read that I eagerly look forward to new isseues.  J. Bone’s art perfectly compliments the Cooke scripts, and gives it the perfect feel and pacing.  This issue goes back into the past and origin of our intrepid hero, and much like a 30’s serial, leaves us with a good cliff hanger of an ending.

Vampirella Quarterly Summer 2007 #1: It’s probably been 15-20 years sinceI picked up a copy of Vampirella of any sort.  I admit I got suckered in by the cover by Segovia, which had Vampi and the Blood Red Queen in skimpy outfits diving through a window.  Even so, it’s not a bad story IMO.  Now, as I’m way out of touch on current story lines, I expected to be lost on much of what was going on.  Not really I discovered.  Sure, some of the character set up and interaction was dependent upon previous issues, but not so much that it either wasn’t explained or readilly obvious.  I think I’ll have to check out what’s up with these titles..

Conan #43: Rogues in the House part 3.  While Timothy Truman’s run has not been as incredible as Kurt Busiek’s, it has been solid, and continues with this issue.  Though certainly slow at times, the story advances well enough, and the art, by Tomas Giorello, is again a seemless compliment to the script.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #19: The band gets back together.  Everything that has been going on, from Zayne’s flight from the Jedi, to Camper’s history converges on Adascorp’s flag ship.  The tandem of John Jackson Miller (scripts) and Bong Dazo (art) have carried this title well.  I find it has the right Star Wars feel to it, but set in a much earlier time than the movies. 

World War Hulk: X-Men #3: The conclusion of this miniseries.  I’m almost sorry I bothered with it.  The previous two issue at least had some solid fight scenes, and carried themselves with the moral stands by both the Hulk and the X-Men.  The ending of this series left a lot to be desired.  This is so obviously a Straczynski inspired ending, that it all but ruined the entire storyline.  But at least, unlike most Straczynski endings, this one made a degree of sense.

Avengers: The Initiative #5: I think I’ll be dropping this title very soon.  Dan Slott’s scripts are all over the place.  It’s not just from issue to issue, but like in this one, from page to page.  Continuity at Marvel is dead.

World War Hulk: Gamma Files: A waste of money for anyone familiar with the main characters involved in the WWH story line.  For those who are either fairly new to Marvel comics (less than 10 years), or those who only just started reading Marvel comics, this is a worthwhile pick up for the background information.  Other than that, it’s a money grab aimed at completists.

World War Hulk: Gamma Corps #2: Somehow I missed #1, not that it matters much.  The basic concept is that a bunch of normal people who lives have been adversely effected by the Hulk, are given super powers and teamed together to take him out.  Your basic revenge story.  And it’s not all that engaging honestly.  The characters are stereotypical, from the mother who lost a child to the child who was born with defects due to the Hulk, to the ex-con to the preacher turned vigilante.  It’s a weak story line, with weak characters and weak execution.  Of all the WWH miniseries’, this one has to be the worst of the lot by far.

In addition to these regular issues, I grabbed two trades as well.  First off is the DC/2000AD publication of Judge Dredd: Judgment Day.  This collection of John Wagner and Garth Ennis storied from 2000AD and Judge Dredd Megazine is one of Ennis’ better works.  I have yet to sit down and read this one, as I’ve been reading my other trade pick up.  In addition to my Judge Dredd fix, I decided to get Cerebus Vol. 1.  This TBP reprints Cerebus the Aardvark #1-25 from Dave Sim and Aardvark-Vanaheim.  For those unfamiliar with the Earth-pig born Cerebus, it’s part parody, part satire, part commentary, and a whole lot of fun to read.  Take your typical aardvark, anthropomorphize him, give him the personality of Conan, and set him loose in a world that features cities run by rip offs of Groucho Marx, Red Sonja, Margaret Thatcher, and the Pope.  Add in a touch of Monty Python, Dave Allen, and Roger Corman, mix well, and publish.  Such is the recipe for one of independent comics icons.

Hopefully, I’ll not be as late next time!

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