Archive for the ‘Vertigo’ Category

Ahhhh, looks like a very good week for quality books. Some good stuff from the indies and Vertigo as well as an offering from Jeff Parker. Doesn’t get much better than this. Here’s what I’ll be buying come Wednesday:

Brave and the Bold #35
Chew #12
Daredevil #508 (Andy Diggle and if it is not BETTER than Shadowland #1, adios DD)
Daytripper #8
Doctor Who Magazine #423 (I need my Doctor Who fix dammit)
Gorilla Man #1 (Jeff Parker)
Hack/Slash: My First Maniac #2
Mystery Society #2
REBELS #18
The Unwritten #15

So, what are you getting this week?

J.

Blerg…too many damn comics for me this week. I need to do something about this in the near future. This will be the last chance some of these titles will be getting unless they impress me more than they have been lately. Here’s what I’ll be buying on Wednesday:

American Vampire #4
Fantastic Four #580 (Jonathan Hickman, Last Chance)
Gantz Vol 11
Green Lantern Corps #49 (Last Chance)
Joe The Barbarian #6
Power Girl #13 (No Amanda Conner = Last Chance)
Sea Bear and Grizzly Shark #1
Secret Warriors #17 (Jonathan Hickman, Last Chance)
Superman #700
Thunderbolts #145 (Jeff Parker)
X-Factor #206 (Peter David)
Zatanna #2 (Last Chance)

So, anything you almost ready to drop? Also, what are you getting this week?

J.

Rating System:
**** : Excellent
*** : Good
** : Fair
* : Poor
Zero : Horse Shit

Daytripper #7
By Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon

This book was my biggest disappointment of the week, you know I have been loving this series since it first hit the shelves last year. Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba have been doing outstanding work on the series up this point. So why my disappointment with this issue? Well, for the first time the story felt forced and contrived to me. One of the joys of Daytripper up to now is how ‘real’ the stories have felt, everything about Bras and the people around him play out just like they would in the real world with you and me, Bras is just an average guy living a completely normal life. Yet, there is a magical quality about the things that happen to Bras, and not only because he dies at the end of every issue, but everything up to point where he dies has such a familiar and natural flow to it. One of the strongest elements of Daytripper is that Bras is a nice guy that everyone can relate too, the stuff that happens to him could happen to any one of us and many of the situations that Moon and Ba create in the series have occurred in my life. The excitement of falling for a beautiful women on vacation, stressing about work, living in the shadow of your more talented parents, or your first kiss as a kid while away on a family trip. When I am reading Daytripper it feels like I am staring into a mirror and reflecting on past memories of situations I have found myself in during my life. There is something about the character of Bras that is both fascinating and familiar to me at the same time.

This issue is really the second half of a story that started in the last issue. In issue #6 a major plane crash in Sao Paulo, Brazil, turns Bras life upside down and changes him forever. The crash affects him in two ways, Bras believes his friend and coworker, Jorge, was on the ill fated flight and is most likely dead, and to make matters worse Bras job as the obituary writer at the local newspaper places him in the position of having to write dozens of obituaries for people on the flight. It’s almost too much for him to handle, but he finds the courage to honor the dead from the crash by writing beautiful obits while still struggling with the pain of not knowing what has happened to his friend Jorge. The last issue ended with Bras finally getting a call from Jorge, letting him know he is still alive, but not coming back to his job or his former life. Bras attempts to drive to Rio to see his friend, but dies in a car crash on the way there.

The events in this issue take place five years after the plane crash and Jorge’s disappearance. The strength Bras found after the crash has finally allowed him to finish writing the novel he had been working on for years. The novel is well received and Bras has become famous as a result, but he is still troubled by not knowing what has happen to Jorge. Bras finally gets a clue to his friends whereabouts when a postcard arrives from a hotel halfway across Brazil. Despite the protests of his wife who feels Bras should just leave Jorge alone, Bras still feels he owes it to Jorge to find him and at least speak to him about why he has abandoned everything in his life. It doesn’t take long for Bras to find Jorge, living like a hermit on the beach. Unfortunately for Bras, Jorge has completely broken with reality and the meeting Bras after all of these years sends him into a psychotic rage, killing Bras with a knife and then killing himself.

I guess my disappointment with this issue is Bras just isn’t the nice guy that I remember from other issues, he’s famous now, but has become distant and cynical because of it. He is dismissive of his wife’s concerns and seems rather selfish in his pursuit of Jorge. I found myself agreeing with Bras wife that he should just let the matter drop and let Jorge go. There are flashbacks in this issue showing the first time Bras and Jorge meet and those scenes show the fun loving younger days of chasing women and big dreams for the future. Contrasting those flashbacks with the finally meeting between the two just seems forced to me. Jorge’s actions at the end of the story just doesn’t make any sense to me, nothing that I have seen in previous issues would lead me to believe that Jorge would act the way he did.

I don’t mind that Bras was murdered, he was killed rather brutally in the first issue and I don’t even mind that his dead was senseless, most of his deaths have been. I guess it was just the fact that it was his best friend that killed him this time around, and it bothered the shit out of me. For the first time in the series I actually felt manipulated by Moon and Ba. There was none of the subtlety and natural flow of events from other issues, it was heavy handed and in the end Bras death at the end of an issue didn’t fill me with a sense of wonder, it just pissed me off.

Rating: **½

Chew #11
By John Layman and Rob Guillory

John Layman and Rob Guillory kick off the ‘Just Desserts’ story arc in fine fashion. Tony and John have to investigate the murder of man who is found with a Grey-Tailed Pygmy stuffed down his throat and it just gets crazier from there. What I like most about this issue is for once Tony has a good day. Tony’s boss isn’t giving him a hard time anymore (thanks to a little timely ‘intervention’ from John), he solves the crime and gets the girl! I’m sure John Layman has some nasty stuff in store for Tony in the future, but for now it’s cool to see Tony having his day in the sun.

Rating: ***½

The Invincible Iron Man #27
By Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca

Well it looks like Tony Stark is finally going to stop pissing and moaning and start kicking some ass. The Hammer girls finally put their plan in motion to take Stark Industries place as the primary weapons supplier to the US government, although the plan is a little silly since Stark Industries is kind of broke right now and Tony doesn’t seem very interested in selling weapons anymore. As cool as it is to see Tony finally fart out his armor to do something other than open crates and fly to business meetings, it’s Pepper Potts that really shines in this issue. She makes it clear to Tony that she is not interested in just being his helper, but she wants her armor back! It’s nice seeing Tony squirm around under Pepper’s unrelenting pressure and finally giving in. Oh and War Machine is back to help Tony out, I think. Hopefully, Iron Man and War Machine will put ‘Detroit Steel’ out of it’s misery in the next issue.

Rating: ***

SHIELD #2
By Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver

This issue makes me sad, not because it is bad (it’s actually quite good), but it just shows how badly Hickman’s Fantastic Four is spinning out of control right now. I wish Hickman would show some of the focus he is showing here in this book on the Fantastic Four. So what is the story in this issue? Beats the hell out of me, I’m still not sure what we are suppose to be seeing here, but finding out is going to be pretty damn cool. My vote for best new hero of the year has to go to Leonardo Da Vinci, the guy is a complete bad ass, sporting mechanical wings and a groovy Jesus beard. How could you not love this guy? This is just one of those stories where the plot takes a back seat to the shear coolness of the characters and the world they exist in. More please!

Rating: ***½

Avengers Academy #1
By Christos Gage and Mike McKone

I decided to pick this book up and wasn’t disappointed. In case you have no idea what this book is about, think New Mutants only the kids are mostly dysfunctional assholes. I like that Christos Gage didn’t go the pussy route and make them a bunch of cute kids. Gage is creating that season of Real World, where not only does everyone hate each other, but they have superpowers to do something about it. Any bets on how soon before Hazmat irradiates someone for leaving the toilet seat up? This looks like a book that has the potential to be a lot of fun, and the twist at the end made me laugh. I thought the upcoming cross-over with the Thunderbolts was a strange choice, but after the reveal at the end of this issue they may have more in common than I had at first thought.

Rating: ***

Some decent stuff this week. It’s defiantly a step up from last week where I only bought two books. Here’s what I’ll be buying this Wednesday:

Chew #11
Daytripper #7
Daredevil #507 (Finally!)
Doom Patrol #11
SHIELD #2 (Jonathan Hickman)
Unwritten #14

I’ll also be picking up 20th Century Boys Vol 5 since I still have some catching up to do on that title.

What is everyone else getting?

J.

Ut-oh…either nothing really good is coming out his week or I’m starting to hate comics for reals. That’s OK though because the new Invincible is on the comic racks and all is right with the world. Here is my (very) short list of what I’m buying on Thursday:

I Zombie #2
Invincible #72

Looks like I’ll be able to catch up on my 20th Century Boys reading with all of that unspent money I’ll have and I’ll give Red Hood: Lost Days #1 a flip through to see if it peaks my interest. Also, don’t forget that comics will be released on THURSDAY this week in the U.S. As I have said before, if you come in on Wednesday this week your retailer will surely laugh at you as soon as you walk out the door in disappointment. I, of course, would never do such a thing. Most likely I will just laugh in your face as soon as you walked IN the door and then mock you by making crying noises as you walk out in shame. That’s just how I roll.

Anywho…what are you buying this week?

J.

Rating System:
**** : Excellent
*** : Good
** : Fair
* : Poor
Zero : Horse Shit

Zatanna #1

I was really looking forward to this book, I’ve always been a fan of Zatanna, not just that she is sexy as hell in a top hat and fishnet stockings, I like her personality and powerset. With Dr. Strange seemingly reduced to guest-star status in the Marvel universe I was looking to Zatanna to fill my magic superhero fix for the time being.

After reading the first issue of Paul Dini and Stephane Roux comic I might just wait for Dr. Strange’s return to a mainstream book. The first issue finds Zatanna performing in her nightly magic show, after the show she is contacted by a local police detective to help in the investigation of some occult murders and by the end of the comic is taking a hot bubble bath. And that’s pretty much it story wise…OK, I am not being very fair, Zatanna agrees to help and pretty quickly figures out who is behind the murders and goes to confront the bad guy involved. The comic was a pretty quick read and there just wasn’t a whole lot of meat to the story. I don’t know if years of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ has left me jaded to the whole demons in suits running a criminal enterprise storyline, but the whole story DID feel like an episode of Buffy, minus the sharp dialog and likable characters. Dini tries hard to make Zatanna a wisecracking bad-ass, but his efforts mostly fall flat. Only the scene with Zatanna crashing the bad guy party has some life to it, but it was to little, too late to help the story. Dini seems to spend too much time trying to write one-liners and not enough time on plot, which seems to move too haphazardly at times.

The art by Stephane Roux was fine, if uneven at times, unfortunately, J.H. Williams III doing the art here would not have saved this very average story. However, this was the first issue, so I will give Zatanna at least one more issue before I bail.

Rating: **

Atlas #1

Ok, first off I actually did enjoy this issue, let me just get that out of the way before I make a few complaints here. Jeff Parker is the ‘Man” as far as writing super group books are concerned, I think he is the best in the biz right now at writing funny, exciting dialog and smart, well structured battles. It this group dynamic that I enjoy so much in a Jeff Parker book that left me wanting in this first issue of the Atlas relaunch.

The majority of this first comic focus mostly on one character, 3-D Man. Is there anything wrong with 3-D Man? No, not really, Parker does a fine job of writing the back-story to fill in the history of Delroy Garret. I don’t know if I find him a very compelling character just yet, I am sure in the future I will enjoy this new member of Atlas (well, not yet, but he will be). I guess my question is why even add 3-D Man to the team, does Atlas even need another member right now? I think Atlas was perfectly balanced as it was, and I do think the spending so much time bring Delroy into the fold took a bit of wind out of the sails of this relaunch. I really wanted a full book with the whole team involved in some action on the behalf of the Atlas Foundation, that is where the Atlas really shines, the whole group working together to get themselves out of a jam or working to do good, while seeming so bad. Atlas does show up at the end of the book as a team, but it is only for a few pages and it served to remind me just how much I wanted to see them throughout the whole book. I wish that Jeff Parker would have switched the page count on the stories, giving 3-D man the backup story and keep our group on heroes active in the main story. The book ends with some filler that wasn’t much to look at, a written history of 3-D that wasn’t really needed.

Gabriel Hardman’s art is starting to grow on me, I really like his rough style, but I do wish they would lighten up on colors, the pages get very dark at times, making it hard to see what is going on.

I really did like this book a lot, and I enjoyed 3-D Man’s story, I just think that 3-D man could have waited a couple of issues at make his appearance. I wanted to see my Agents back in action, not relegated to the back up story in their own book.

Rating: ***

The Invincible Iron Man #26

Tony Stark continues to perform rehab on himself and his company in this latest issue. Thankfully there is only a brief appearance by the Hammer Girls and their somewhat tired story in this issue and it concentrates on Tony trying to make right with some of the people he screwed over back in the day. It is interesting that Fraction isn’t giving Tony the easy way out on this deal, so far Tony hasn’t had much luck getting forgiveness from his former friends and allies. In some cases Tony actually makes things worse for himself by being a little too honest about being such an arrogant asshole in the past. Tony Stark actually talks himself out of some of the good will he was getting from Maria Hill as he tries to explain why he still may need someone there to make sure he doesn’t spin out of control again. In another case Tony goes back to an old employee that he humiliated and fired some time back, Fraction does a great job here writing Carson Wyche, the wronged employee, he doesn’t scream or rage at his old boss, hell he doesn’t even seem that mad anymore, but he is a broken man, resigned to his fate. Watching Tony try at makes amends to a man that really couldn’t give a shit one way or another anymore was painful to watch.

Another gem in this book was the return of one of my favorite Iron Man villains, Spymaster. It’s nice to see him back, but what is up with that costume? I know he is an asshole, but do you really have to put two giant pink sphincters on either side of his head? I wonder if Tony has any idea so many of his old enemies are piling up, getting in line for a chance to take a shot at him.

One thing about this book that did bug me was the art, or the reusing of some of the panels from the last issue and some of the panels that are recycled from within the same issue. I know it isn’t uncommon for artist to reuse some of their work to save time, but it was done a lot in this issue and enough that it started to bug me after awhile. Almost two full pages of the Detroit Steel panels from last issue where reused here in issue #26. The Tony/Hill conversation reuses many of the same panels from different angles and zooms.

Artwork nitpicks aside, this was an enjoyable issue that left me wondering just how long Fraction is going to let Tony twist in the wind before he lets him have his redemption. I just hope it doesn’t happen too fast, I am taking a bit of pleasure in Tony pain right now. Sometimes heroes are at their best when they are taking their lumps.

Rating: ***½

American Vampire #3

My favorite book of the week. I really like how Scott Snyder and Stephen King are shaping up their vampire mythology here. The European Vampires vs. The American Vampires is turning into a far more enjoyable story that I would have thought at first. Even though there are only two American Vampires they have the advantage in this battle due to the fact they are very different from their European cousins. My favorite scene in the book was the Euro Vamp’s attempting to figure out just what hell they can do to take down Skinner Sweet. I also liked the fact that there are no good guys or bad guys in this story so far. It’s tempting to make Sweet the good guy here, but Stephen King makes it very clear that he is a vicious killing machine that is more than willing to kill everyone in his path, whether it be for revenge, hunger or just because he is a total asshole. Even Pearl, the innocent victim in the first two book takes to killing rather quickly and makes you wonder if she was all that innocent to begin with.

I know some people don’t like Rafael Albuquerque’s art, but I think it fits the mood of the book very well, and anyone who can take Kid Rock and make him scary looking gets two thumbs up from me.

I never thought I would be putting a vampire book back into my top five list, but it is starting to look that way. I will reserve judgment on this title until after King leaves the book and see if still maintains it’s level of quality.

Rating: ***½

Title: American Vampire #3
Writers: Scott Snyder (Main Story) and Stephen King (Back-up)
Artist: Rafael Alburquerque
Colours: Dave McCaig
Price: $3.99

I believe the very first issue of American Vampire drew quite a bit of interest because of the fact that Stephen King’s name was attached to the story line as a co-author. As far as marketing another vampire book in this already flooded market of blood thirsty tales it was a smart business move to attach a noted name to the title as it made American Vampire stand out from the crowd. Once I had read the first issue I was extremely impressed by the writing and art, more so with Scott Synder’s story line than Stephen King’s to be honest. After saying all of that this series is certainly shaping up to become something great.

The creative team has added interesting twists to the Vampire mythology that hooked me big time. The two main characters, Pearl and Skinner Sweet both have strong personalities and are quite likable, which gave the story a nice flow. I, as a reader, instantly became invested in both of them, and I imagined that if Kid Rock was a vampire he would be Skinner, Skinner Sweet is the ultimate American Badass…pun intended folks.

Issues 1 & 2 set up the story line and did the introductions and issue number 3 ramps up the action. Pearl is trying to deal with the idea that she has become a vampire. She is also out for vengeance against those who made her. I really don’t like spoilers so I am going to try and not give too much of the plot away. Pearl also meets up with old friends and gets scrappy with a couple old foes. We are left right on the edge of a cliff-hanger and wanting more, which for any writer, is a good thing.

The second story focusing on Skinner Sweet takes us back to the reading of the non-fictional novel “Bad Blood” in which the events and stories surrounding the out-law vampire have been allegedly documented. Sweet has returned from the grave and is also looking for a tall glass of revenge. But Sweet is not the only one who is out for blood, so are the stodgy old European Aristocratic vampires and its Sweet’s blood they are craving. Will Skinner meet his demise at the hands of the European vampires? Can an alliance be made? One thing is for sure, there is more blood in store.

The art in this series is done by Rafael Albuquerque and is well suited for this tale. What I like the most is how he illustrates the transition of the vampires in their more human form to full fledged predator. There is a lot of blood in this comic but it is justified and fitting. This issue is filled with action from beginning to end and has a real pulp fiction type feel to it. The writing as well as the art fit like hand in glove. If you haven’t been reading American Vampire than I would say you’re missing out. This comic is well worth the Canadian cover price, and that’s saying something. So give this one a chance, happy reading y’all!

Title: Deadpool #23
Writer: Daniel Way
Pencils: Carlo Barberi
Inks: Juan Vlasco
Colours: Marte Gracia
Price: $2.99

Deadpool comics are like drinking beer. The experience can be a lot of fun and you find yourself craving it, but too much of a good thing can get you sick. And that was my issue for the longest time when it came to Deadpool. I had a mild addiction to purchasing this comic, but then it got to a point of silly that wasn’t acceptable even for a Deadpool comic

I have ALWAYS had a love affair with Mr. Wilson which is why I feel so passionately about all of this. But ever since the release of the Marvel movie Wolverine: Origins which came out last year… or the year before… (I can’t remember, that’s how much of an epic fail it was to me) I have felt that the comic book shelves have been over run with too much Deadpool and it has swelled to viral proportions. At one point in time you couldn’t buy anything Marvel that didn’t have DP in it. Not to mention the sheer amount of various Deadpool titles that came out. Marvel took one of my favourite characters and turned him into a joke… literally. So I decided that Wade and I needed a trail separation, things were rocky between us for so many months so I just needed some time for myself, you know to see what other fish were in the comic book sea.

After saying all that, Wade and I did manage to finally reconcile our differences and find each other again with the release of Deadpool #23 which hit our LCS yesterday. This issue was reminiscent of the Joe Kelly Deadpool, which made me fall in love with DP in the first place.

In this issue we find our hero channel surfing just chilling, and all of a sudden he comes across a live news feed from a Las Vegas night club and casino. In this news report Deadpool gets “dissed” on public television and then gets pissed. You know Deadpool isn’t having any of that guff, so it’s viva Las Vegas for Wade as he heads down there to clear his good name and maybe disrupt things just a little. After all he is the “Merc with the Mouth.”

I absolutely loved everything about this issue; it was “laugh out loud” stuff. I don’t really want to give away any spoilers so am not going to recant the entire plot. However, I will say that Daniel Way made good use of some past characters that may be considered either friend or a foe, you be the judge. The villain Grizzly was hilarious; it’s a dude in a bear suite, c’mon. There is a really cute Elton John reference written in the book as well so look out for that. Barberi’s art is very slick and I think it suites the comic well. A lot of nice panels, action packed and executed nicely. The colourist Garcia did a super job with this issue and it certainly added to Barberi’s illustrations. To sum up, like the song says, Reunited and it feels so good. I am on board for next months issue. I say pick it up.

-Cami Berardi (Variant Girl)