Posts Tagged ‘Matt Fraction’

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: ***

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: ***

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

Rating System:
**** : Excellent
*** : Good
** : Fair
* : Poor
Zero : Horseshit

Brightest Day #1
By: Geoff Johns, Peter Tomasi, Ivan Reis, Patrick Gleason, Ardian Syaf, Scott Clark, Joe Prado

This was the ultimate impulse buy of the week for me. I had already picked up three other books and was still wandering around, I really wanted a fourth book to round out the week. “Finding everything you are looking for?” asked the guy running the store for the third time. He was a young kid who I don’t see often on Thursdays. I guess he wasn’t use to seeing me wander around aimlessly like Jen, the nice lady who usually works the store on Thursday. “Just looking for something new and exciting.” was my response. “What about Brightest Day, you get a free white ring when you buy the issue.” To be honest, the whole ring thing set sail for me a long time ago, and I told myself no more ‘events’ this year. But I didn’t want to be rude to the guy, so I looked over at the display set up next the register and picked up a copy, it was a nice looking book, took a quick look at the back and noticed no filler, all for $2.99. So I say, “What the Hell.” I paid for my comics and went on my way.

So how was it? The first thing that stood out was the artwork, Ivan Reis, Pat Gleason, Ardian Syaf, Scott Clark, Joe Prado (Christ, that’s a lot of artists!) turned out a beautifully drawn book here. But beyond the art I honestly didn’t feel any love for this comic. I mean all the elements are there for this to be an awesome book. I just feel like I have been here before with Geoff Johns, he is writing a mystery dealing with 12 characters, heroes and villains, that were resurrected at the end of Blackest Night. By the end of the issue I found myself thinking “ I don’t give a shit.” I just spent the last year following the Blackest Night event, a story that was nothing but characters being brought back to life (or unlife), sure they were evil and what not, but after seeing just about every major and minor hero and villain in DC universe coming back to cause trouble, I was just having a hard time caring as to why this bunch is running around again. After reading this book, it feels like Blackest Night all over again, not in the sense that it was the same story, but the storytelling and the structure of the book felt very familiar to me. Johns was creating a lot of cool individual moments here that were not adding much to the overall story in the long run. Black Manta shows up for the big reveal at the end of the issue left me cold, I knew this was a cool geek moment by Johns that was suppose to get me all hot and bothered for the next issue. Instead I was left thinking what did this have to do with anything related to the ‘Big Mystery’, I guess it’s a case of once bitten, twice shy, Johns jerked me around so much in Blackest Night that I have become automatically suspicious of anything he does story-wise.

I can’t quite put my finger on why it is this book felt so lifeless for me. Perhaps it was seeing Hal Jordan and Sinestro still hanging around bickering like kids, long after they should have parted ways. Maybe it was the fact I have just never been a fan of many of the characters the Johns has chosen to focus on here, Aquaman, Deadman, Firestorm, J’onn J’onzz and the Hawks have never been big draws for me as a comic reader. Or it could be that there is too many characters being dealt with here, some of the characters get as little as two pages of face time in this book, certain scenes feel rushed or incomplete, perhaps fewer characters would have allowed Johns to focus more on the core story. I have a bad feeling that unlike Blackest Night the readers will be forced to buy the crossovers to get the complete story here and if that is the case I will be taking a pass on this one. I am really feeling “event” fatigue at this point and I am more than happy to spend my money on ‘smaller’ stories was focused plots, good characters that I care about and writer that just want to create a likable story and not the next big, world shattering event.

Rating: **

Doomwar #3 (of 6)
By Jonathan Maberry and Scot Eaton

I know this book is two weeks old, but I was surprised to see it on the shelf this week during my visit to my LCS. I am loving this series so far and I know this is a tough story to following along with if you miss a issue, so picking this one up was a no brainer.

First thing I noticed was the cover by JRJR was his best effort so far, and by that I mean the least sucky and the easiest on the eyes. Sorry Romita Jr. fans, but this a far from his best artwork. Opening the comic up finds T’Challa and his forces back in tentative control of Wakanda. Unfortunately, Dr. Doom was able to defeat the final lock on the vault containing Wakanda’s supply of Vibranium and has made off will every last bit of the valuable metal. After two fast paced issues filled with action, writer Jonathan Maberry slows things down quite a bit in this issue. The story breaks down into two parts, T’Challa enlisting the help of the Fantastic Four to help him find the stolen Vibranium and the second part being a flashback revealing how Dr. Doom managed to delete the final lock on the vault that was suppose to keep guys like Doom out. The storyline with T’Challa and the Fantastic Four is pretty standard stuff, I never realized what a crutch Mr. Fantastic has become in the Marvel U, this was the second book this week I read with a hero calling on Reed to help solve a problem for them. I think Reed Richards needs to start screening his calls or he will never get any quality time with the wife and kids. The second part of the story dealing with Doom is by far the meatier part of the book. Maberry expands Doom from a evil super-villain who wants to conquer the world for selfish reasons, to a true believer, who really believes what he is doing is the best thing for the Earth in the long run. This mini-series is still the best thing Marvel is putting out this year and if you are not reading this series yet… well, I would tell you start reading it, but you really need to start it from the beginning to understand and get the full impact of the story. So for you late comers, wait for the trade.

Rating: ***½

Fantastic Four #578
By Jonathan Hickman and Dale Eaglesham

This is part four of of the ‘Prime Elements’ storyline from Jonathan Hickman and he is still piling it on in terms of creating a epic storyline with no mercy for the casual reader. I couldn’t even begin to summarize the story so far, there is no way to put what’s happening here in a nutshell. I would venture to say a person just picking up this issue to give it a look through would be scratching their head as to what is going on, and I would not blame them in the least if they put this book back on the shelf and moved on to something else. But for those of us who have been following along from the start you could call this a Johnny Storm issue. Poor Johnny has a “Looking for Mr. Goodbar’ moment with a woman he meets in a bar that leads him to make a rather rash decision that could spell disaster for him and everyone in the Baxter building. Oh, and for those keeping track, the fourth civilization is revealed and the war of the four cities begins. I liked this issue overall and it was nice to see The Human Torch get the spotlight for change. I am starting to worry a bit that Hickman might start losing people if he introduces any more plot elements into the story.

Rating: ***

Invincible Iron Man #25
By Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca

An over-sized issue to kick off the post ‘Siege’ era for Matt Fraction’s Iron Man book. I am happy to say the extra pages contain no filler, just a whole bunch of story dealing with Tony Stark attempting to rebuild his life, rebuild his company and repair a lot of burned bridges. There is a whole bunch of stuff happening here in this book, so don’t be surprised if you have to read this one a few times to absorb everything that happens in this comic. At times it feels like there might be too much ground being covered here. Tony has a lot of stuff on his plate and at times the story seems to rush through certain scenes leaving me unsatisfied. I wanted less of the Hammer girls, a story that quite frankly feels a bit rehashed and not very original, and more of Tony mending relationships with Pepper Potts and Thor. Tony has a scene with Mr. Fantastic (to the rescue again!) where they talk about everything that is happening with Stark’s body and the aftereffects of the Extremis armor, but the one thing they don’t talk about is what happened during the ‘Civil War’. Tony starts to head down that road and Mr. Fantastic, instead of talking with Tony about what happened, simply says, “Well what’s done is done and what’s now is now.” Really? That’s all Reed has to say on the subject? He should have just handed Tony one of those picture’s of the kitten dangling from a string, with the caption “Hang in there!” on it. I liked most of what Fraction was doing here, but I just wanted more of the personal stuff with Tony and less of the Hammer girls and Detroit Steel.

Rating ***

Thunderbolts #143
By Jeff Parker and Miguel Sepulveda

This issue marks the end of Norman Osborn’s version of the Thunderbolts. A lot of action and not to much talking, the whole issue is one long pitch battle. The Mighty Avengers taking on Scourge, Mr. X, and Grizzly for control of the Spear of Odin. Ghost, Paladin and Ant-Man also do what they can, pitching in to help make sure Osborn never gets his hands on the Spear. Nothing earth shattering or really surprising happens here. Everyone that should get their asses kicked get them kicked pretty good, villains that should get a second chance get one and Norman doesn’t get his spear. There are a couple of good moments, Ant-Man gets the chance to rub the yellow off his belly and Mr. X gets the beat down of a lifetime from Quicksilver. The book ends with Luke Cage taking over the Thunderbolts and talking about bringing villains up, instead of bringing them down, at least I think it was Luke Cage. Did I mention the art was pretty bad in this issue? I wonder if the editors at Marvel looked at that last splash page and told Miguel Sepulveda, ”Hum, why don’t you put a name tag on his jacket, just to make sure.” I am looking forward to Jeff Parker’s continuing run on Thunderbolts and this was a pretty satisfying end to this current incarnation of the Thunderbolts.

Rating: ***


Rating System:
**** : Excellent
*** : Good
** : Fair
* : Poor
Zero : Horseshit

Title: Power Girl #10
By: Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Amanda Conner

Comics do not get more fun or much better than Power Girl. Lots of action, lots of humor and lots of great character moments. This book has not faltered once. But if it’s one thing that I learned from the last episode of Star Trek: TNG it’s that all good things…something, something. Really, just go buy this damn book already if you haven’t. The current creative team who have been with the book from the beginning will be leaving after issue #12 so enjoy it why it lasts. Can Power Girl haz an Eizner Pleez?

Rating: ****

Title: Secret Warriors #14
By: Jonathan Hickman and Sefano Caselli

I have been having some problems with this title as of late. For one, since Caselli’s return to art chores on this book he has changed up his style a bit and not for the better imo. The coloring isn’t helping any either. My biggest problem though comes in the form of the story. Hickman can usually do no wrong in my eyes but this last storyline has been taking forever to get anywhere. There have been too many flashbacks as of late that are focusing on way too many characters. Having it be SHIELD vs. HYDRA is one thing but when you also throw in LEVIATHAN it almost becomes too much for this title to handle. I’ll give credit to Hickman though. His Overall story is very ambitious but having this book only come out once a month is not going to cut it. If there was a way for this comic to come out biweekly during the summer (like Marvel Comics used to do with some titles) to help quicken up the pace of the story I think that would help out tremendously. Unfortunately that probably won’t happen. I’ll give this title a couple more issues to get something going before I decide whether or not to drop it.

Rating: **½

Title: Green Lantern #52
By: Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke

This issue is basically Blackest Night #7.5. Lot of stuff thrown into this issue: The origins of Ion and Parallax are revealed, the rainbow lantern corps try to defend Coast City while attempting to take the planet Xanshi off the playing board and then you have the “rebirth” of Thaal Sinestro. One thing that hasn’t been doing it for me in these last few stories of Blackest Night is that Nekron is really turning out to be nothing special. He is the equivalent of Nero (from the latest Star Trek film) and I think we can all agree that that is not a good thing. Doug Mahnke continues to kill on art in this book and helps it gain an extra star rating.

Rating: ***

Title: Uncanny X-Men #522
By: Matt Fraction and Whilce Portacio

I haven’t read an issue of Uncanny since the whole Utopia storyline and I really have no idea what had been going on in this book lately (so I was kinda lost). All I DO know is that this issue marked the return of Kitty Pryde so I figured I would give it a go. Blerg…how can Matt Fraction write Iron Man so right while his writing on Uncanny is almost unbearable. This was a pretty tough book to get through and I didn’t even bother with the Phil Jimenez back up story since the combination of shitty art with craptastic writing would have surely done me in. But everyone rejoice! Magneto has brought back our precious Kitty Pryde and all is good…except for the writing…and the characterizations…and the art. This book gets one star alone for it NOT being drawn by Greg Land.

Rating: *½

Title: Thunderbolts #142
By: Jeff Parker and Wellinton Alves

Ah, time to cleanse the palette with a Jeff Parker comic. I must say that out of all of the Siege tie-ins I am enjoying this one the most. You have the T-Bolts breaking into the Asgardian’s weapon vault trying to get their hands on the Spear of Odin for Osborn. You then have the Mighty Avengers showing up to stop them. And then you have Amadeus Cho taking out Mr. X in brilliant fashion while you have the U.S. Agent kicking some major buttocks and out Captain America-ing Captain America. On top of all that the T-Bolts start getting their shit together and come off quite bad ass. This was every bit an awesome issue of Mighty Avengers as it was the Thunderbolts. What’s it going to take to get Jeff Parker on an Avengers book already? Get Bendis out of there. Oh and speaking of which…

Rating: ***

Title: New Avengers #63
By: Brian Bendis and Mike McKone

THE ONLY saving grace of this title has been Stuart Immonen’s art. You take that away and replace him with the boring, static art of Mike McKone and there is no longer a reason to torture yourself reading it. This issue’s “cool and witty” dialog is suicide inducing. Bendis is the master of writing pages upon pages of dialogue with little to no substance all the while not moving the story forward. This issue is a perfect example of “sideways” storytelling (much like Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk). The only thing worse than reading this comic would be reading CBR’s review for it (and other Bendis titles). Praising mediocrity seems to be their specialty.

Rating: ½*

Title: Nemesis #1
By: Mark Millar and Steve McNiven

What do you get when you mix an uninspiring idea with passable art while adding a story that seems to be written by a 15 year old sociopath? Well, you get a comic that makes Kick-Ass look like shit. Spoiler: Kick-Ass didn’t really need any help to look like shit…and neither did this comic.

Rating: Zero

It’s been too long since I last wrote a review for this blog. I have actually been working more lately as well as being busier than usual and that’s why things on the blog have been a bit sparse. I am going to try my damnedest to remedy that fact in the next couple of days. I will be doing more of these capsule reviews in the future and until I can come up with a definite CCW style rating system this will have to do for now:

Rating System:
**** : Excellent
*** : Good
** : Fair
* : Poor
Zero : Horseshit

Title: Invincible Iron Man #24
By: Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca

Though this was yet another solid issue of IIM, I do have to say that this issue kinda felt like the story was just going through the motions and that’s because we all know pretty much know how the story ends already. We learned of Ghost’s fate in last week’s Thunderbolts and we also know that Tony Stark will indeed become Iron Man again so he can join the Avengers for a new #1 issue in May. None the less Fraction’s story still managed to hold my interest up until the final “twist” reveal at the end.

The first 24 issue of Matt Fraction’s Invincible Iron have been all about “fixing” Tony Stark after Brian Bendis and Mark Millar did a great job a breaking the character. The story of Stark’s redemption, while still not entirely finished, has taken over 2 years to tell (If that is not a sign of the amount of damage the other writer’s inflicted on him I don’t know what is). Fraction took his time to tell the story he wanted without taking any shortcuts all the while raising the profiles and fleshing out the characters of Maria Hill and Pepper Potts making them, in my opinion, two of the best female heroes that Marvel has to offer.

As for that “twist” ending: It seems that when Stark rebooted himself with the information on the flash drive he was missing some memories. Turns out that Tony had last backed up his brain just before the time of the Marvel Civil War. You know, write about the same time that those aforementioned writers began to ruin him. Very well played Mr. Fraction. Well played indeed.

Rating: ***½

Title: New Ultimates #1
By: Jeph Loeb and Frank Cho

Blerg…I would like to start off by saying that most people may find this book “entertaining”. As you all know, I am not most people. The one question you are all wanting to know the answer to is “After the critically acclaimed Ultimate X #1 can lighting strike twice in as many months for Jeph Loeb?” Well, I am here to tell you that the answer is a resounding “No“. For the record I thought (with the exception of Art Adams’ art) that Mutant X #1 was a tired, clichéd, boring ass comic. I actually liked it better when it was known as “Superman’s Origin Story”…but I digress.

Though not as painful to read as Ultimates 3 this issue seems to be every bit as useless. My first of two major complaints is that there is an inner monologue (which belongs to Tony Stark) that runs through the WHOLE issue. Loeb did this same thing for a few issues in Hulk recently. The monologue is painfully boring (it’s all about how Stark feels sorry for himself) and at times interrupts what little flow this issue has. The Ultimates version of Tony Stark has always been a self centered prick. Why would I start feeling sorry for him now?

The second major problem I have is that no less than 3 female characters in this comic are treated as sexual objects. And when you want to drive home the point that these women are to ONLY be seen as sexual objects you get Frank Cho to draw them, right? I know Jeph Loeb likes to play to his artists strength’s but this is a bit much. The three female characters I am referring to are:

1. Hela, who will let Thor leave Vahalla only if he impregnates her. There is even a sweet panel where they show her getting almost completely undressed for the fanboys Thor.

2. Zarda, whose only dialogue in this issue consists of her telling Stave Rogers that she wants to fuck him.

3. Carol Danvers, who is the head of S.H.I.E.L.D and is portrayed at the beginning of the book as the only person who will stand up to Tony Stark’s bullshit…which is all apparently all a ruse since we see her half naked in Stark’s bed at the end of the issue.

Ya, I know, this shit is getting really fucking old but you know what? I’ll stop talking about it when Marvel stops pulling this shit. But I’m sure we should just overlook this kinda stuff now that they have a book coming out called Girls Comics. Hypocrites.


Title: Ultimate Avengers #5
By: Mark Millar and Carlos Pacheco

Marvel: Mark, I don’t think your version of the Red Skull is evil enough.
M.M.: Really? Him not being a complete psychopath and killing everyone he sees isn’t enough?
Marvel: Nah, seems a bit bland. Can you, you know, take it up a notch?
M.M.: Well, I guess I could throw in a story from his past where he makes a woman choose between her having to kill her husband with a pair of scissors or the Red Skull shooting her infant child.
Marvel: Ummm..that sounds alright. Could you include a panel where you SHOW the Red Skull pressing the gun against the baby’s head?
M.M.: Errr…sure. I’ll go one even better. I’ll have the woman kill her husband with the scissors and then I’ll just have the Skull throw her baby out of an open window to add insult to injury. Hell, I’ll even add a panel of an exterior shot of the building that shows a small red splotch on the ground where the baby landed.
Marvel: I like where this is going. I mean…I REALLY, REALLY like it…but it’s still not enough. Does he have any henchmen with him?
M.M.: I guess he could. Why?
Marvel: Well, we need to drive home the point that he is a nasty fuck.
M.M.: Even more so? Huh…well, I guess I could allude to him and his henchmen gang raping the woman all night.
Marvel: Brilliant. That’s why we pay you the big bucks.
M.M.: Ah, stop. You’re making me blush.

Rating: *

Title: Prelude to Deadpool Corps #1
By: Victor Gishler and Rob Liefeld

Holy shit. The awful writing combined with the Rob Liefeld art make this issue comparable to Onslaught Reborn. I am dead serious, it‘s that sad. You would think with Deadpool being in this comic you may get a laugh of two, right? Nope. Not even close. I will say though that people should read this comic because it is a textbook example of how not to do a comic.

Trees died in order for this comic to see print and that is the fucking saddest thing of all.

Rating: Zero


Hey, everyone. As we have just watched another year pass us by, and prepare to enter a brand spanking new one with youthful optimism of what 2010 could possibly bring in terms of the comic book realm, I felt that it was only fitting that I pay homage to my top three books of 2009.

These are the books that I personally felt represented some of the best efforts in writing and artistic composition. Now, hold up here before you boys and gals get all riled up. I just want to say, this is an opinion piece, and thus we will all have different choices as to what our favourite books were for 2009. Comics, after all, are a very personal thing, I venture to say that what we read in some way is a reflection of the kind of person we are. In the same way that the music we listen to represents apart of who we are so do our literary choices, whether they are novels or graphic novels.

All of us find a kinship with either a character or team of characters for what ever reason, but what makes us fall in love with these super clad bad asses is the creative driving force behind them. In most cases this is what makes or breaks a character for us fanboys and girls. I am sure all of us have experienced the tremendous disappointment of picking up a comic based on one of our favourite characters only to find out the writer has totally fucked it up. Or the writing is simply meh, and the art is what’s actually fucked up. Whatever the combination it only spells bad news bears for us comic book fans that have dished out our hard earned money to watch our beloved character ruined in print. We suffer through bad runs and pray that the comic book gods will come and save us from the injustice of bad storytelling. Unfortunately, we are at the mercy of such titans as Marvel and DC; we put our collective faith forward that the right creative team will save the day, as it were. Our patience is tested time after time, but there is usually always a light at the end of the tunnel and eventually the right people take pen to paper and we feel certain jubilation again.

I am not sure if you will find my picks for 2009 to be predictable or surprising at all. So, here they are none the less and not any particular order short and sweet.

The Invincible Iron Man
Written by: Matt Fraction
Art by: Salvador Larroca
Published by: Marvel

I must preface this by saying that I was never a huge Iron Man fan. I have always enjoyed the character, but I truly found affection for the cocky Mr. Stark once Matt Fraction and company took to the helm. The way in which Fraction writes not only Stark’s character but all the supporting characters as well is what got me hooked. There is cohesiveness to the story line that never seemed to be there before, for me, in an Iron Man comic. Fraction gave us, the readers, Tony Stark at his most vulnerable; he gave us strength in characters such as Pepper Potts that we have not seen before. He made us care about Maria Hill, and all this was accomplished by intricate character development on his part and bottom line good story telling. Matt Fraction has turned me into an Iron Man fan, and this is a run that I would recommend to anyone. If you have not been keeping up with the singles, then honestly get the trades when they come out you won’t regret it. Fraction has hit it out of the park on this one.

Written by: Robert Kirkman
Pencils by: Corey Walker/Ryan Ottley
Inker: Cliff Rathburn
Colors: FCO Plascenia
Published by: Image

What can I say about Invincible except, thank you Jose for introducing it to me one of the best comics ever!!! Yes you read that right…EVER! This comic came as a recommendation from Jose to me one night, and I took his advice and went out and bought the first trade. After reading it, I promptly went out and bought every other trade that I could until it brought me up to current. Robert Kirkman set out to tell the story of a superhero and he did it in spades. Robert Kirkman is a craftsman of relationships; he knows how to write them, he knows how to create them in his work. I have a fangirl crush on Mark Grayson; sooo would love to have him as my boyfriend. This is how fantastically the comic is written, you actually begin to feel emotional about what happens to them. Kirkman gets you invested in the Invincible universe as it were. Corey Walker was the original artist and co-creator of Invincible but soon gave up the reigns to a young artist named Ryan Ottley. Ryan Ottley can be compared to a highly ranked rookie in the sports world who is given a chance to prove himself and turns out to be a phenomenon of sorts. Not only do you have the pleasure of reading the obvious talent of Kirkman’s words but Ottley’s art is just as breath taking and pivotal to the story telling experience. If you have not been reading Invincible then you really should, once again, pick it up in trades.

If you want to start 2010 off with something that is hot, try Invincible, Kirkman and Ottley, how can you go wrong? I think the only way you could go wrong is if Hollywood got involved and tried to make a movie out of it. I hope they never do because that way my Invincible will forever remain pure.

Detective Comics: Batwoman
Written by: Greg Rucka
Art by: J.H Williams III
Colors: Dave Stewart
Published by: DC

My final fav for 2009 is Detective Comics: Batwoman. I know this book has some of the “heterosexual” fanboys all in a tizzy these days but I fucking love it! Again, I was never a big Detective Comics reader, but when I herd that Greg Rucka and J.H Williams III were going to be working on this title with Batwoman as the head liner, it was a no brainier that I would be buying it. We often hear that male comic book writers are unable to fully grasp the female voice. But Mr. Rucka must be in touch with his feminine side because he speaks for us females beautifully. I love the fact that Batwoman is openly lesbian and it is not portrayed in a raunchy perverted fashion. Batwoman’s sexual preference is simply apart of Kate Kane the character and is integrated maturely into the storyline. Rucka did such an amazing job with Wonder Woman that I am not surprised about the work he is accomplishing in Detective Comics currently. As for the art, well if you are at all familiar with J.H Williams, then I don’t think I can articulate how wonderful it is. If you are not familiar with his work I can only suggest that the next time you’re in your local comic shop pick up a copy of Detective Comics: Batwoman and you’ll see for yourself. This comic is breath taking and superbly written, there is really not much more I can say except it receives high praise all around.

The thing about comics that I love, and have always loved, is the fantasy and the idea of good vs. evil. The inner battle we all fight, the injustices we are exposed to in the real world. These are all themes that play out in the pages of a comic book. As I prepare to move forward in 2010, I do so firmly with comics in hand. I wish all the fanboys and girls out there a very happy new year, keep reading, keep watching CCW, and keep an open mind. It’s the only way to grow.

Cami/Variant Girl

This One’s For You Saar

Posted: October 2, 2009 in Marvel
Tags: ,

Courtesy of Matt Fraction’s website, the NEW trade dress for Invincible Iron Man. In other words, this is what the book is gonna look like once World’s Most Wanted is finished:

Invincible Iron Man #20 Cover

Invincible Iron Man #20 Cover

Kind of an interesting look if you ask me, but…

Invincible Iron Man #21

Invincible Iron Man #21

While I liked the Fantastic Four redesign, I’m not that crazy about this one.  Perhaps it will grow on me.

What do YOU guys think?  And how about you, Saar?