Once again, two weeks have passed since my last sojourn to the Local Comic Shop (LCS). Fall has finally arrived here in Upstate NY, witha cold rain earlier, and temperatures hovering in the low 40’s. So here I sit, watching Arizona come back against Colorado, a hot cuppa by my side. Let’s get to it!
*EDIT* I missed three issues, which are tagged on at the end..
Countdown #30, 29: We get the Palmer search party visiting Earth-15 and Earth-8, along with more fall out from the Wedding Crashers and the Flash Rogues. Back up stories are the origins of General Zod and the Penguin. Paul Dini (Duck Dodgers TV series, Batman) has taken over chief writing duties now, and while the pace is still a bit slow, is building up the ground work for the upcoming “Great Crisis.” Kieth Giffen directs the art superbly.
The Search for Ray Palmer-Crime Society: More or less a summary of the life of The Jokester, a hero of Earth-3. The Jokester, a heroic version of the Joker, is the father of Duela Dent, killed off by the Monitors a while back. Not sure there was much point to this, but it’s still a nice bit of back story to this alternate Earth. Sean McKeever could have done a better job of making the story relevant, more than just as back story. Jamal Igle does solid pencils on this book. Worth while only for completists or those unfamiliar with Earth-3 (like me).
Black Adam #3: I really like what Peter Tomasi (writer) and Doug Mahnke (art) are doing with Teth-Adam. This is one of the DCU’s “big guns” that is getting an in story revamp, a revamp with logical beginings, consequences, and endings. Story wise, this one picks up the action a bit, and gets some more pieces in place. The fight between Black Adam and Hawkman is worth while, more so with the banter back and forth. A solid miniseries so far, and I eagerly await the next installment, more so after the end page of this issue.
Tales of the Sinestro Corps-Cyborg Superman: Much like the Parallax one shot before, this is primarily for those who aren’t familiar with Hank Henshaw. The summary is good, but there aren’t any real revelations to be found. The last 7 pages are what current readers will be interested in, as it fills in some small gaps in Sinestro’s invasion of Earth. The art carries the slower moments of this issue, and Patrick Blaine deserves credit here.
Green Lantern Corps #16: Sinestro War part 7. The defense of Mogo continues, as the Guardians contemplate changes (already alluded to). Some bits and pieces of the “prophecy of the drakest night” are leaked, but not enough to get a real handle on it. Dave Gibbons has done an excellent job of giving depth and character to the non-Earth based Lanterns, and making them have importance. The art of Patrick Gleason and Angel Unzuetta works well with the story line, but gets a bit inconsistent at times. Still one of the best reads out there today.
Green Lantern #24: Geoff Johns continues to amaze me. Dove tailing off the end of GLC #16, Sinestro invades Earth. All four of the Earth Lanterns appear, and take a page from Chuck Norris’ movie characters. Ivan Reis’s art compliments John’s story telling nicely. This is perhaps the best read out there, as I can’t think of any other title that carries me along like this one.
Green Arrow/Black Canary #1: Well, following the fall out from the wedding, and more importantly, the wedding night, we have a conundrum. Now, the basic twist was obvious, but not the second one. I’m not sure Judd Winnick (writer) has a good grasp of the other DCU characters (particularly Hal Jordan), but he has done well with GA before. Cliff Chiang’s art is good, not great, but I did enjoy the Golden/Silver Age homage spread on the first two pages. This title may need a change of writers before too long, but the story itself intrigues me for now.
Booster Gold #3: Guest appearance by Jonah Hex, and a couple of others. Geoff Johns continues to make good with B-Lister Booster. This is the most surpisingly good series to debut in a long time. I’m not sure how well this series will carry on after the next crisis, but for now it’s a fun ride.
Suicide Squad #2: Lt. Flag is trapped in Skartaris with Rustam, while Amanda Waller gets pissy about Gen. Eiling. I’m both curious and dreading to see how John Ostrander handles the world of Skartaris. I was a huge fan of “The Warlord” back in the day when Mike Grell was scripting it and doing a lot of the art. What was done after he left was less than stellar IMO, and the recent try at a revamp just fell flat. Still, it should be an interesting journey to see how Rick Flag gets brought back into continuity and how he will be changed.
Wonder Woman #13: This issue is a tich inconsistent, and certainly a bit of an uneven read. J.Torres’ script wanders a bit at times, and lacks a degree of cohesion making it seem slap dashed together. Julian Lopez’s art works well for me, though he could do a bit better job on WW’s Diana Prince persona images. New story arc should begin with issue 14, so I’m more than willing to see what Torres can do with a fresh start, rather than tying up a few more loose ends.
Simon Dark #1: I’m not sure that this character is “ready for prime time.” I feel that he’s better suited to a back up role in the Batman titles rather than his own series. Steve Hiles does a solid job with the script, but he doesn’t have a whole lot to work with. Scott Hampton’s art style lends itself very well to the subject matter, if a bit too dark for my tastes, as some details and impact get lost on the “grittyness.” This is primarily a back story issue, with a bit of story set up, so I’ll get #2, just to see if it’s going anywhere.
Batman Confidential #10: The conclusion of the origin of the Joker. I know I’m in something of a minority that actually like this title, but it just appeals to me. I like how Michael Green handles the characters, from the major players to the bystanders. Denys Cowan’s art at times distracts me, as it often has an “unfinished” or “rough” look to it. Now this may be due to John Floyd’s inks, but I suspect it’s Cowan mainly responsible. Still a good read.
Jonah Hex #24: I’ve said it before, but the team of Palmiotti and Gray do an excellent job with this title. This is the “Special Halloween Issue,” with guest stars Bat Lash and El Diablo (with a cover date of December 07!). While a bit of a deparure from the usual Jonah Hex fare, it’s still very much a Hex tale. A great read for any fan of Westerns.
The Vinyl Underground #1: I forget in what issue I read the preview for this. Heck, it might have been in Previews catalog. Still, I was intrigued by this brief snippet I read to pick up the first issue. If anyone reading has seen the BBC series Torchwood on TV, this comic is in that vein. Si Spencer scripts an odd but entertaining story, giving us all the basic background info on the characters, but without stunting the pace or having an actual story basis. Simon Gane’s art lends itself very well to Spencer’s script. It has a very 2000AD feel to the story and art, so much so I wouldn’t have been surprised to find this in one of 2000AD’s publications. Much like Vertigo’s DMZ title, this one is off the beaten path a bit, and that makes it all the more interesting.
Star Wars-Dark Times #5: A dual prupose issue, where one story arc comes to an end, and another is set up to begin. As this is one of two SW titles I get (Knights of the Old Republic the other), I rate it highly. This series is filling in some of the gaps between Episode III and A New Hope, some not all, at least so far. My one hope is that they will use other characters from the DH lines that “survived” the end of the Clone Wars, as some of them are extremely well written.
Conan #44: The conclusion of the Rogues in the House story arc. While Kurt Busiek wrote this title so well, it was a bit unfair for his follow up Timothy Truman. Truman IMO has done a more than good job with the character of Conan. While not in the same league as Busiek or Roy Thomas, it’s not that far off. Cary Nord’s style I find captures just the right “pulp fantasy” feel for the title. Outside of GL and GLC, this is the best title to get.
Drafted- Preview, #1,2: I picked up the preview and the first two issues (#2 just came out) based on some message board posts. I was not disappointed. Something of a dpearture for Devil’s Due Publishing (DDP), as it’s an original series, not a liscensed property, like GI Joe, Sheena, or Transformers. Mark Powers creates a very engaging story line, one where you don’t need the preview to get what’s going on. Chris Lie’s art is a perfect fit for this title, giving it a solid modern and relaistic feel. Gonna have to add this to my pull list next time.
New Avengers #35: Uhhhh, I’m lost I think here. Last time I read NA, it was about finding out that Elektra was a Skrull, and what to do about it. Now it’s suddenly about a new criminal syndicate, and ends with symbiotes over running NYC. This is just more evidence of crappy editing at Marvel, and near complete disregard for continuity. Brian Bendis completely loses me with this issue, and coupled with Lenil Yu’s art, was a near disaster IMO. This was one of the redeeming titles for Marvel for me, but this issue sucked. Bad. *EDIT* This is actually issue #35, as I apparently missed #34, which I did get and is reviewed below. BTW, It didn’t help much…
Ghost Rider #16: OK, here’s a title that’s redeeming for Marvel. Since the relauch of GR, and Johnny Blaze as GR, I’ve enjoyed this little thrill ride. Daniel Way handles the character and story line well, limiting involvement with other Marvel characters and story arcs. A smart move with all the continuity problems abounding in various Marvel titles. The latest additions to the story look to play a major role in upcoming story arcs. If you like tales of redemption, and of “fighting fire with fire,” pick this series up.
Wolverine Annual (07): A solid Wolverine story, even if he isn’t the main focus. This story by Greg Hurwitz gives us Logan at both his best and his worst, with out the usual crap that has become associated with Wolverine. Marcelo Frusin’s art works extremely well, a sort of blend of the old “Marvel Way” and “edgier” styles of today. If you want to see Wolverine as he should be, pick this one up, more so if you remember Wolverine in the 70’s and 80’s.
World War Hulk: Frontline #5: This issue is a bit slower than previous ones. I still find it to be the most enjoyable tie series to either Civil War or World War Hulk. While this issue gets a bit more personal, the secondary story of Danny Granville is a bit more poignant, wrapping up the mystery of ARCH-E. The usual back up of “War is Heck,” an homage to Fred Hembeck’s strips, is humorous as usual. I still fear that this title, which should be an ongoing series, will have all its potential wasted.
Civil War Chronicles #4: Reprints Civil War Frontline #5, Fantastic Four #538, Civil War #3. The best reason to get this series is if you missed any of the tie in from other titles (such as FF), and/or want to read the “complete” story in chronological order. I thought that CW was mediocre when it came out, though it is a bit better in “order” with the tie in issues all together. Worth while if you missed the original series.
Judge Dredd Megazone #263: Being the only 2000AD publication I can get (with out spending a huge chunk of cash), this is my Judge Dredd fix. Of course you get more than just the comics in this mag, with interviews and reviews. This magazine has more in common with Heavy Metal than it does with traditional comics. Still, you get a good sampling of 2000AD characters and creators. If you have ever been curious about our English cousins and what they can create, or want to see where guys like Alan Moore, Garth Ennis, and Carlos Ezquierra got their starts, grab a copy. It may seem a bit pricey, but it’ll be worth while.
*EDIT* Three additional reviews..
New Avengers #34: The above review was actually for #35. Even with getting issue #34, it didn’t change my thoughts on #35. It would have been far better if these two issues had been reversed, so that the villain’s story came first. If anything, this reinforces my point about crappy editing and editorial control.
Captain America: The Chosen #2: I have very little idea where this story is supposed to fit into the Marvel U. Then again, continuity is more by accident than plan at Marvel right now. Even so, this is an intriguing story, one which may have a profund effect on the Marvel U, or it could just end up being some sort of political diatribe in six issues. I’m hoping that we’re just getting a look at the next Cap. But so far the art by Mitch Breitweiser is solid, in tune with the older styles of the 70’s and 80’s, not overly stylized, and realistic enough to connect with. David Morrell’s story is good to this point, but everything will hinge on how it all ends up.
Wolverine Origins #17: Continuing the story of Cap and Logan back in WW2, while Logan reminisces at Cap’s memorial. A different artist would have made these tales a bit more emphatic. Not that Steve Dillon’s art is bad, just that it doesn’t convey the right tone or feel for the subject matter. Daniel Way scripts a good, if apocryphal story, but buys in too much to the whole mind meddling too much, and again, tends to ignore established continuity and story lines (ie Nick Fury).
No trades or collections this time around. I’ll probably get volume 3 of Cerebus my next visit, as I should be done with volume 2 by then. Volume 4 of the 52 collection should also be out by then as well. So until next time…