New Comics Review (9-29-07)

Woo hoo!  More or less on time for this effort.  Amazing what having no social engagements can do for stuff like this!

Countdown #32,31:  The weekly series continues.  All sorts of fun vignettes to enjoy here.  From various party crashers, to the ongoing stroies of Mary Marvel, Jimmy Olsen, and the Flash Rogues.  I’m some what amazed that DC has been able to keep the pace on this going, more so after 52, their first weekly series.  This is a testament to the writers and editors, who have to be on very strict deadlines.

Countdown to Adventure #2:  More fallout from the space faring tro’s journey home.  Animal Man, Starfire, and Adam Strange must continue to confront things they thought in their past.  The Monarch and Forerunner story arc continues as well, further defining and expanding the Multiverse of the DCU, this time they meet up with JLAxis.

52 Aftermath-The Four Horsemen #2:  The four Apokalyptian entities beging to fully adjust to their new surroundings, and taking over Bialya.  Wonder Woman joins Supes and Bats in the desert, while Snapper Carr listens in.  Not sure if this will tie in with the next crisis, or if it’s just to tie up a loose end from 52.  An intriguing read so far.

Green Arrow and Black Canary-Wedding Special:  So the “day” has finally arrived.  The best page is the collection of other heroes and heroines making their “predictions” on how long it will last, or merely expressing their disbelief that it was happening at all.  A big prelude to Green Arrow/Black Canary #1, the end of this issue is obviusly the set up for the new series.  And what a whopper it is! 

Tales of the Sinestro Corps-Parallax:  Or, What goes on inside Kyle Rayner’s head.  The combination of Ron Marz (writer) and Adrianna Melo (pencils) work well in presenting a very dialogue heavy story.  While not a critical or key issue in the Sinestro War story arc, it is enlightening in many ways.  A solid read if a bit more back story dependent than usual.

Green Arrow-Year One #5:  Ollie goes on the offensive against China White and her thugs.  I still think this series was dragged on an issue or two too long, with one issue to go.  Still, it’s a good read, more so for those who aren’t familiar with Oliver Queen and Green Arrow. 

Justice League of America #13: Dwayne McDuffie gets into his run on the series full swing with this issue.  For anyone who ever watched “Superfriends” on TV, or the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited series on TV, this series will have appeal to you.  Be warned, this is not your fondly remembered “Legion of Doom.”  Lex has a plan, and has gathered useful villains to aid him, not just the common dregs. 

Countdown to Mystery #1: Finally we get to find out what happened to the Helemt of Fate, and who will become the new Dr.Fate!  This issue is primarily set up, but it does recap several previous related one shots and scenes from 52, so is worth it for that alone, mroe so if you missed those earlier issues.  There are a couple of interesting twists as well to be found here. 

Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #1:  The begining of a new 8 issue miniseries featuring the iconic Uncle Sam and his band of heroes.  I’m unclear as to where the creative team of Palmiotti and Gray (Jonah Hex) are taking this.  Issue #2 should hopefully clear up some things and get to the heart of the story.

Wonder Woman Annual (2007):  A wrap up to the Amazon’s Attack story arc.  While a good read, it’s not all that.  The second story, titled appropriately enough “Backstory” is also good, but not spectacular.  Allan Heinberg does an OK job on the scripts, but it just lacks a certain degree of oomph the series needs. 

Flash #232:  More of the “Wild Wests.”  While Mark Waid’s writing is up to par, there’s something about Daniel Arcuna’s art that bugs me.  It’s not the pencils and inks, but the colors that get me.  While the watercolor look may be ok once in a while, on a regular basis I find it distracting.  The cover work is solid, but the panels leave me wanting.

Shadowpact #17:  DC’s “premier” mystic team face more challenges and adjustments as the new age of magic settles into form.  The new story arc opens with new faces signing up, at least for now.  Matt Sturges does a solid script, and because he’s using the Phantom Stranger as his narrator, he gets bonus points.  Doug Brathwiate’s art is solid, but I think he’s trying to be too much like Alex Ross with the painted look.  Not that he pales in comparison or anything, just that I’d like too see something a bit more defining from him.

Checkmate #18:  Shake ups inside Checkmate begin here.  Waller and Faraday may have just bitten off more than they bargained for.  I like Greg Rucka’s style of writing for this series, as it brings out more of the characters while maintaining the action level at an acceptable pace.  Joe Bennett compliments Rucks with his pencils, giving Checkmate the right “feel.”

The Spirit #10:  I so love this series, it’s one I eagerly look forward to.  Darwyn Cooke and J.Bone have such a solid handle on Eisner’s character, that it compares very well with Eisner’s original works.  The two current creators pull very few, if any punches, and this issue is no exception, taking on “talk TV” and TV pundits.  This one is definitely wortha pick up, just for the satire and parodies, even if you never get another issue.

All Star Batman and Robin #7:  The latest from creators Frank Miller and Jim Lee.  While I have enjoyed Miller’s take on the Dark Knight, sometimes his takes on other characters can be a bit too jarring.  I’m not sure I’m sold on his take on Black Canary, or any of the other DC characters.  Still, the focus is on Bats and Robin, which Miller handles very well.  And naturally, Jim Lee’s art is among the industry’s best.

Star Wars- Knights of the Old Republic #20:  Now that the band is more or less back together, things heat up on the Arkanian flag ship.  John Jackson Miller does an admirable job in not only holding tru to Star Wars “canon,” but does an excellent job in expanding that lore.  Any SW fan who is interested in the “before times” of the SW universe would find this series extremely enjoyable, as I do.

Army>at<Love #7:  Rick Veitch has found a solid satyrical story, and characters galore to populate it.  Right from issue 1, this series has been thought provoking, and just a little strange at times.  Still, for those looking for a “mature” (it does get juvenile at points), and intellectually thought provoking read, pick this one up. 

The Programme #3:  A very interesting series, bringing recent history and current events together with a super science twist.  Peter Milligan does a superb job of scripting the series, and CP Smith’s art is right in tune with the subject matter.  However, they need a new colorist for this series, as the almost monochrome panel colors are not carrying the story or the art properly.  A new colorist and this title will reach a wider audience.

Scalped #9:  This series is a gritty look not only at the sitiation on Native American “Reservations,” but into small time organized crime as well.  I do wish I had more knowledge of the spiritual and mystical aspects of the story, as I know I’m missing something here.  The team of Jason Aaron (scripts), and RM Guera (art) are producing one of the better series on the market today.  Though if you only like superheros, this will not be a title for you.

Avengers Classic #4:  Reprinting Avengers #4, the Return of Captain America.  As I’ve said previously, this series is worth the reprint alone.  Dwayne McDuffie scripts a solid back up story revolving around Cap and Gabe Jones, but Micahel Oeming’s art is not worthy of the script, characters, or anything else.  The hyper-stylized art actually adversely effects the story, distracting from a solid script and plotting.

Captain America #30:  If there weren’t so many continuity problems with Marvel, this would be an even better story than it is (even if it’s predicated on Cap dying!).  Ed Brubaker is growing on me as a writer, but I’m not over the death of Cap just yet.  Still, the story lines of the Falcon, Sharon Carter, and Bucky are intriguing enough to keep me reading.  Now if we can just get rid of Brevoort and Quesada, and start over, things will be just swell!

Sub-Mariner #4: Again, forgetting continuity problems, this one is a fun read.  Watching Namor take out Venom (or is it Carnage?  I forget), was worth while, as was our aquatic Prince meeting up with Sue Storm again.  With two issues left in this miniseries, it’s building up to a very hectic and dramatic ending.

Avengers- The Initiative #6:  I was going to drop this title, but some message board posts encouraged me to pick it up anyway.  I may just see this current story thorugh if it ends quickly enough.  If it drags out too long, I’ll drop it anyway,and read the boards for the conclusion.  I just don’t care for the characters, or the main story, but this little attempted murder mystery may hold me for a few more issues.

World War Hulk-Frontline #4:  The best WWH tie in, just as it was the best tie in to Civil War.  I really wish Marvel would make this title a regular ongoing series, as it has so much potential and terrific characters.  Between the Frontline staffers and the Costume Division back up stories, this is perhaps the best read of any Marvel title, not just in terms of being a WWH tie in.

World War Hulk #4:  The end is almost here.  And  I think I’m more than ready for it to end.  This would probably have been better, much like Civil War, if Marvel wouldn’t be so political, and obviusly so in the scripts and plots.  This is not going to end well, though teh Sentry’s overcoming his agoraphobia to enter the fray amy have some hope of a solid ending.

World War Hulk-Gamma Corps #3: Ummm, yeah.  What’s the purpose of this series again?  It’s not that the scripts or art are bad, they’re pretty good, but you can’t make peanutbutter pancakes out of sludge.  The whole concept of this series is fatally flawed, and it’s just not carrying through.  Would have been better served as a back up story in the main WWH title, or in the regular Hulk title.

Civil War Chronicles #3:  This one reprints Frontline #2-4.  For getting in essence three issues for $4.99 (where each individual one cost $2.99), it is a bit of a deal.  And if you missed CW when it first ran, these are excellent pick ups.

Penance-Relentless:  This one may be coming out a bit too late to properly gel with the end of Civil War, but it’s not a bad read.  I’m not sold on the Thunderbolts (Marvel’s answer to the Suicide Squad), and I’m definitely not feeling Norman Osbourne as the head of it.  But the journey of Robbie Baldwin (formerly of the New Warriors) is intriguing, and I’m curious to see how it plays out.

Mystic Arcan-Scarlet Witch:  I really couldn’t care less about the Ian McNee story.  I get these for the stories featuring the title characters (previously Magik and Black Knight).  The Scarlet Witch story is an interesting bit of retcon to continuity, but enjoyable none the less.  Plus it’s nice to see C-List villains like Damballah back on the scene.

Judge Dredd Megazine Meg 262:  I’m surprised that the 2000AD writers didn’t sneak in a Messerschmit reference in this issue.  Or if they did, I missed it.  As this is the only Brit comic magazine I can get currently on a regular basis, I look forward to it when it comes in.  As an anthology magazine, with stories from a variety of writers, artists, and featuring various characters, it offers up a wider variety of stuff than traditional comics.  In addition, you get a different take on some industry related things, such as movies, and different takes on other writers and artists.  This issue is interesting in that it has a brief bio of Garth Ennis, as well as a bit of history on British comics.

No new TBPs or collections this time around.  I have yet to finish reading Cerebus-High Society, so once I’m done with that, I’ll get the next volume.  Also the LCS didn’t have volume 3 of the 52 TPBs, so I’ll be cruising for that as well.

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