The last issue of X-Men didn’t impress me all that much. I’m finding Carey’s story to be a bit unoriginal and less than exciting. However, X-Men is still an above average read. I have a feeling that X-Men #192 is going to be a more interesting read than the last issue. Let’s find out.
Writer: Mike Carey
Penciler: Chris Bachalo
Inkers: Tim Townsend, Jamie Mendoza, Mark Irwin, Jon Sibal and Victor Olazaba
Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: The issue begins with Rogue attempting to give Sabertooth a shot. Sabertooth is chained to the wall. Sabertooth breaks his chains loose from the wall and we have a short brawl before Cannonball quickly takes down Sabertooth. Beast gives Sabertooth the shot and restates his opinion that he is against what they are doing to Sabertooth.
Beast then leaves the room and runs into Lady Mastermind in the hallway who is up from her hospital bed. We then cut over to Mystique and Cable in the main computer room searching for the Conquistador and discussing the future. Mystique is curious as to how she was remembered in history in Cable’s future. Cable tells her that her name is a generic term for traitor as Judas is now. Cable then mentions that he has found the Conquistador.
We conveniently shift over to the Conquistador where Sangre orders Serafina to drop the cloak. That he wants everyone to know that their executioners have arrived.
We slip back to Beast talking to Lady Mastermind. Lady Mastermind tells Beast that the last thing she remembered was being back at the Hellfire Club and then suddenly she woke up on a slab in some strange laboratory. Beast informs Lady Mastermind that she was unconscious for more than a year. That they found her in a private hospital where she was being held incognito by a person or organization named Pan.
We cut back to the Conquistador where U.S. Air Force fighter planes have arrived on the scene. Fuego and Ajuga destroy them in spectacular fashion. We then hop back to the X-Men mansion where Cyclops is yelling at Rogue for attempting to take Sabertooth out of their custody. Rogue tells Cyclops that Sabertooth has been injected with nano-sentinels and that Cable or Karma can activate them instantly if Sabertooth gets out of hand.
Cyclops states that he is opposed to injecting nano-sentinels into Sabertooth. Cyclops questions if Rogue has a viable strategy in attacking the Conquistador. Cable tells Cyclops that this is a combat situation and it is not the time to start overruling his own squad leader. Rogue reminds Cyclops that he said she could pick her own team which would be an independent strike force to handle stuff in the field while he guards the mansion. No arguments. No limits. Rogue says she has chosen her team and Cyclops has to live with it. Her team is comprised of Cable, Sabertooth, Karma, Lady Mastermind, Mystique, Iceman and Cannonball. They then take off in a Blackbird.
During the flight, Mystique thanks Rogue for having faith in her to add her to the team. Rogue says that it is just the opposite. That she doesn’t trust Mystique at all and if someone has to watch her then it should be Rogue. The Blackbird arrives in front of the Conquistador. The X-Men land and search the deck of the Conquistador for a door. Suddenly, the Children come out of the Conquistador and we have a big brawl. During the fight, Fuego reduced Iceman to nothing more than a puddle and some steam. The Children have the upper hand in the fight and Sangre tells Rogue that they have reached their destination. That Rogue can watch her X-Men being destroyed. We see the Conquistador hovering over the X-Men’s mansion. End of issue.
The Good: X-Men #192 was a solid read. It is basically the comic book equivalent to a Honda Civic. It is reliable. Has a good warranty. Is a sound ride and gets you where you want to go. Plus, it gives you just enough style that you don’t feel like a dork driving it. But, that is about it. You won’t confuse it with an STi or an EVO. You certainly wouldn’t compare it to an exotic Italian car. That is Carey’s X-Men. It is a solid, average and dependable read. You get a standard issue comic book story that isn’t going to disappoint you; however it also isn’t going to really impress you that much, either.
I like the Children and it was cool to see them in action. They all have interesting powers and nice character designs. I think the ending was good enough to get the reader excited for the next issue. I would imagine that we are in store for a massive brawl next issue.
I was surprised to see Iceman reduced to nothing more than steam and a puddle by Fuego. I can’t believe that Iceman is truly dead. My reason is that the scene was so quick and un-monumental and was treated like a mere afterthought. No way would Carey kill of Iceman in such a weak and lame manner. Iceman is one of the original X-Men. And original X-Men don’t go out like a bitch. So, I would think that we will see Iceman make a triumphant return.
The Bad: Carey continues to fail to impress me with his writing. I found X-Men #192 to be a very average and standard comic book story. It wasn’t terrible, but it certainly wasn’t anything remarkable. This story reads like your typical “paint by numbers” comic book story. I just feel like I have read this story several times before. I don’t really see where Carey is going with this story other than a big pointless brawl.
And I thought it was odd that Carey would make such a big deal out of Rogue leading her independent strike force that wouldn’t answer to Cyclops and then have the issue end with the Conquistador over the X-Men’s mansion. Since Cyclops is in charge of the team while guarding the mansion, then doesn’t that mean that Rogue and her team have to revert back to following Cyclops’ lead? I just thought the entire point of making Rogue the leader of this strike force meant that we would see them in action without the rest of the X-Men involved and that we’d see Rogue in the unusual spot as leader. However, by bringing the Conquistador back to the X-Men’s mansion, I see no other logical course than for Cyclops to resume control of the team and for the brawl to involve all the X-Men and not just the members on the strike force.
I like the Children and I think they are neat looking characters who have lots of potential. Unfortunately, Carey has failed to develop any of their characters at all. They are nothing more than your standard issue comic book villains bent on the destruction of all humankind.
The construction and plotting of this issue is choppy and it gives the story jerky feel to it. The dialogue is average at best. Unfortunately, once again, we are treated to a massive amount of “tough talk.” Carey writes everyone almost identical. Everyone seems to have a Doctorate in Tough Talk. It gets tired and old. Plus, it has the unfortunate character of making all the various X-Men seem rather one-dimensional. None of the characters are fully fleshed out or have much in the way of a unique personality. This also explains why Carey has failed to get me to buy into Rogue as this big shot leader of the strike force. Rogue just reads like Wolverine in drag.
Chris Bachalo’s artwork is clearly an acquired taste. And it is evidently a taste that I do not possess. Bachalo’s proportions are odd, however that is clearly his style and he is obviously doing it on purpose so I can’t really knock him for that. However, I can say that Bachalo clearly struggles to draw faces. Everyone has the exact same face and it is a rather basic and generic looking face on top of that. If it weren’t for the costumes, I’d never be able to tell anyone apart. I still haven’t been able to tell Iceman and Cannonball apart unless they are in costume. Bachalo also seems to struggle at conveying emotion through facial expressions. Everyone either has a generic expressionless look or a generic yelling look.
Now, I think Bachalo has talent, I just think this is absolutely the wrong title for his style of art. I think Bachalo would do great on an American manga-style comic book. Especially, if it is a fantasy based storyline. Bachalo’s simple and slightly cartoon-ish style is very dynamic and would fit that style of comic perfectly.
Overall: X-Men #192 just continues to miss the mark with me. This title continues to be a very ordinary read. I can totally understand why many readers would enjoy this title. If you like Carey’s writing and you like action and tough guy characters then you will certainly enjoy this story arc. And if you dig Bachalo’s style of art then this title will be a fun read for you. Unfortunately, neither gentleman has been able to impress me much with their efforts on this title.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
The last issue of X-Men didn’t impress me all that much. I’m finding Carey’s story to be a bit unoriginal and less than exciting. However, X-Men is still an above average read. I have a feeling that X-Men #192 is going to be a more interesting read than the last issue. Let’s find out.
Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters has run hot and cold with The Revolution. When Gray and Palmiotti stick to trying to deliver a quality comic book story with interesting characters and exciting fights then I love this title. However, I am thoroughly unimpressed with this title when Gray and Palmiotti get too cute in trying to imitate Hunter S. Thompson or stand on their soapboxes and get a bit too preachy. Therefore, Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #4 has the potential to be both really enjoyable and really lame all in the same issue. Let’s do this review.
Writers: Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: Daniel Acuna
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: This issue starts with The Black Condor kicking butt on the members of First Strike. During the fight, Human Bomb blasts Propaganda and kills him. Human Bomb threatens to kill the rest of First Strike if they don’t retreat. First Strike then decides to make a hasty retreat from the battle.
The Black Condor then tells the Freedom Fighters that the Human Bomb is a good fighter but that the rest of them are pretty unimpressive. Uncle Sam then breaks the news to Phantom Lady that her father has been murdered and was replaced by a machine. That this machine was forged from pan-dimensional alien technology. Uncle Sam explains that in the aftermath of the destruction of Bludhaven, a fetal probe pushed through a dimensional crack. Father Time discovered the astronaut fetus and started something called the Gonzo Project. He educated the machine and exposed it to all of recorded human history. That Father Time thinks that Gonzo is controllable, but the truth is that Gonzo is uncontrollable.
Phantom Lady still doesn’t believe Uncle Sam. Phantom Lady then uses her black light bands to manipulate space-time by folding dimensions and using them as doors. Basically, teleportation. Human Bomb says he needs his meds from S.H.A.D.E.’s laboratories or else he will explode in seven hours.
We cut over to S.H.A.D.E. headquarters where Father Time is dressing down the remaining members of First Strike. As punishment for retreating, Father Time snaps off one of Chief Justice’s fingers. Father Time then demotes Chief Justice as team leader and introduces the new team leader: Americommando. There are also two more new members: Railgun and Barracuda. Spin Doctor makes some smart assed comment to Americommando who responds by crushing Spin Doctor’s head to a pulp.
We shift to the home of Emma Glenn. There are two government agents outside Emma’s house conducting surveillance on Emma. Phantom Lady and Doll Man suddenly teleport into her kitchen. Doll Man tells Emma to come with them. That she is in danger. Emma says that she has a house and a job. She can’t just leave. Phantom Lady responds that they will bring the house with them. We then see the entire house suddenly vanish.
We shift to the S.H.A.D.E. research laboratory where Phantom Lady, Human Bomb and Firebrand suddenly appear. Phantom Lady informs all the scientists and technicians to immediately leave the building. Phantom Lady then teleports the entire laboratory to “The Heartland” where the Freedom Fighters are hiding out. Uncle Sam explains that the Heartland is a moment forever locked in time at the height of this country’s beauty. (Eh, I’d estimate that to probably be around 1900.) That they are safe from their enemies here.
We shift to Doll Man and Emma hugging each other. Yes, that is right; Doll Man is his normal height. I guess the Heartland is able to make him normal again. Doll Man is thrilled to finally be able to hold Emma.
We cut to Air Force One, where the new President of the United States, Gonzo, is talking about his plan to have S.H.A.D.E. operatives infiltrate on of Qurac’s nuclear plants and trigger a meltdown. That this will slow the nuclear arms race and turn the Qurac people against their government. Suddenly, we see a Gamera sized, no I’d say a Godzilla sizes Uncle Sam standing before Air Force One. Uncle Sam grabs the plane. Phantom Lady then teleports inside of Air Force One. She confronts Gonzo and uses her bands to discover that Gonzo is indeed a robot and not her father.
Uncle Sam sets Air Force One on the ground and the door opens and Gonzo throws a bloodied and beaten Phantom Lady out of the plane. Uncle Sam tells Gonzo that his reign of terror is over. Gonzo disagrees. Suddenly, the newly re-structured First Strike appears and Ammericomando tells the Freedom Fighters they have two choices: suicide or death. End of issue. End of issue.
The Good: Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #4 was a pretty good issue. The pacing was just right. It moved along briskly, but didn’t feel choppy or rushed. All in all, this was a rather action packed issue. Gray and Palmiotti certainly have the talent for delivering fast paced action that hooks the reader at the beginning of the issue and leaves them wanting more at the end of the issue. The dialogue was a bit hit or miss. I think that Gray and Palmiotti craft some solid dialogue when it comes to our heroes. I dig the banter between the Freedom Fighters and think that there is nice chemistry between these characters. They are really starting to gel as a team.
As always, Human Bomb is the man. He has been my favorite character since the beginning of Battle for Bludhaven. The man in black doesn’t hesitate to kill bad guys. I liked his simple solution to getting First Strike to retreat. He used his powers to set an example and then threatened to do the same to the remaining members. Human Bomb is probably the most powerful member of the group, but it is his feelings of isolation, lack of confidence and instability with his powers that makes him such an appealing character.
I like this new Black Condor. I always thought that the Black Condor was a pretty lame character. Basically, he is just a dude that flies. No big deal. However, this new Black Condor is clearly benefiting from a big power upgrade. I like that he is super strong and fast to go along with his ability to fly. Add to that one seriously nasty attitude and you have a recipe of the team’s official ass-kicker with a mean streak. Every super team needs one.
I’m glad we are seeing more of Uncle Sam in action. I like his ambiguous magical based powers. I love this character and am happy that he is finally being represented as one of the big players in the DCU. I know we have the holy trinity of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. As well as the next level of big named heroes from the JSA and JLA. However, Uncle Sam is a huge name with a long history. He first appeared in 1940 which is the same year as Green Lantern and the Flash and one before Wonder Woman. Uncle Sam definitely deserves a prominent role in this new DCU.
The Heartland is a great idea. This is a neat concept that will serve as the ideal base of operations for the Freedom Fighters.
The Bad: It is really simple. When Gray and Palmiotti focus on delivering an action based super hero story then we are treated with an entertaining issue. When Gray and Palmiotti start getting too cute and veer off on post 9/11 political diatribe then the quality of the story suffers greatly. Political commentary really isn’t Gray and Palmiotti’s strong point. Plus, I don’t see that their stories come across as political parodies. To me, to be a true political parody means that you parody all sides in politics.
Take South Park for example. They parody virtually every group in the political spectrum. However, Gray and Palmiotti only parody the George Bush conservatives while making the liberal viewpoint the “correct” and “proper” viewpoint of the heroes. That isn’t parody. That is propaganda. And propaganda is something that has never interested me. I don’t dig Bush and his cronies, however even if I agree with the particular view point that the propaganda is trying to push, I still have zero interest in it. I like my stories more complex and gray.
I’m also disappointed about the de-evolution of Father Time’s character. In Battle for Bludhaven, Father Time was a bad-assed character who was rather complex. He was more like Nick Fury in personality. He followed his orders and his only objective was to serve his government regardless of how nasty the job that was given to him. However, in the past couple of issues, Father Time has become more of a parody of a baseless villain. He certainly is very stereotypical and uninteresting in this issue. And he was just so outlandish in his dialogue and actions while addressing First Strike. Gray and Palmiotti write him in such an over the top bad guy that I expected him to start laughing “Mwa-hahahaha. I am so eeeevil.” while twirling his moustache. It is too bad that Gray and Palmiotti have taken a complex and interesting character and made him a cartoon-ish base villain.
Gonzo’s dialogue was also way too goofy and outlandish for me to take seriously. I know he is a villain, but Gray and Palmiotti just play him way to over the top for me to really buy into this character. Gonzo comes across as a poorly done parody and I’m not too sure if I’m supposed to take him seriously or not. And that isn’t a good thing. If the reader cannot take the main villain seriously, then it dampens the impact and effectiveness of the entire story. Comic book stories are only as good as the villain.
Overall: Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #4 was a pretty good read. Gray and Palmiotti know how to deliver a fun and exciting read. If you don’t mind putting up with some of the silly over the top dialogue and rather one-sided political commentary, then I think you will enjoy this title. Gray and Palmiotti have succeeded in making the Freedom Fighters a cast of very appealing characters. I wouldn’t mind seeing DC make this title an ongoing monthly title.
It is time to review The Revolution’s all-time favorite title. It has been a long time since this title was anything that would be confused with a quality read. Even though I’m quite confident that the story to Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #23 will once again be rather pedestrian, I am thrilled to see that Barry Kitson has returned to the art duties. If nothing else, this should at least be a nice looking issue. Let’s hit this review and find out.
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciler: Barry Kitson
Inker: Mick Gray
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: The issue begins with Supergirl waking up on Krypton. She thinks she has woken up from her dream about the Legion. Suddenly, the Legionnaires appear and Supergirl realizes that it was never a dream.
We shift to Element Lad and Triplicate Girl searching through the underground of Metropolis for any remaining traces of the robot rebellion. To speed up the search, Triplicate Girl splits into three and starts searching. One of her dupes stays with Element Lad while the other two dupes go off together. The Triplicate Girl’s two dupes run across a kid who has the same plant growth powers of Chlorophyll Kid. Triplicate Girl tells him to come with her and join the Legion. The kid goes and gets his stuff and a shadowy figure appears and whispers to him to not forget the part he is supposed to play. The plant boy says he won’t let down his boss. The two Triplicate Girl dupes and the new version of Chlorophyll Kid meet up with Element Lad and the third Triplicate Girl dupe. To their surprise, Element Lad and the third Triplicate Girl are playing tonsil hockey.
We cut back to the Legionnaires with Supergirl. Supergirl is upset. Cosmic Boy tells her that this was all his plan. That a team of Legionnaires consisting of Light Lass, Brainiac 5, Saturn Girl, Supergirl and Cosmic Boy took off for a “mission.” Cosmic Boy had Brainiac use some Kryptonite to weaken her so they could give her a tranquilizer shot to knock her out. Cosmic Boy was concerned that Supergirl’s grand delusion made her a danger to everyone around her. Cosmic Boy reveals that they are on the planet Rokyn, where the City of Kandor was enlarged and placed because Rokyn is similar to what Krypton was like. That the Kandorans have agreed to reeducate Supergirl.
Supergirl breaks down and asks Cosmic Boy to stay with her. Supergirl says that she thought Cosmic Boy was starting to fall in love with her. Cos explains that his feelings for her was just a product of the Zeta radiation that sent her through time. It made his powers fluctuate and he mistook that for him having a crush on her. Cos explains that they all love Supergirl and that he had no choice but to try and get her emotionally stable. That he had to do this on Rokyn where she would be powerless. The Kryptonian scientists take Supergirl with them to begin giving her treatment. Saturn Girl then less Cosmic Boy that she feels like they are being watched, and indeed, we see someone watching them through the wall.
We cut to Talok VIII, where Shadow Lass defeats her brother Grev for the mantle of Shadow Champion of Talok. We shift forward to a big feast in celebration of Shadow Lass’ victory. There Shrinking Violet suggests that Shadow Lass should run for Legion Leader.
We shift back to Rokyn, where the Kryptonian scientists confer that Supergirl is a little slow (Hahaha! Ain’t that the truth. Poor Superbarbie.) Suddenly, the alarm goes off and Cosmic Boy, Light Lass, Brainiac 5 and Saturn Girl rush to investigate. Suddenly, the Legionnaires are attacked by various super powered teens including Jeyra Entinn, the Titanian that tried to frame Chameleon Boy (Yeah, that’s right. I used it. It is better than just Chameleon.) a few issues back. The Legionnaires begins brawling with the super powered villains. Jeyra commands her teammates to put the Legionnaires down so they can get what they came for and leave. One of the villains has ice powers like Polar Boy. Suddenly, Saturn Girl tells Cosmic Boy that she hears someone desperately calling for help. We then see the phantom form of Mon-El!!! End of issue.
The Good: Finally, for the first time in 23 issues I actually cheered while reading this title. I absolutely loved this ending. Fantastic. I’m a huge fan of Mon-El and I cannot wait for his long overdue re-appearance in the DCU. I just hope that he is brought back as Mon-El instead of M’Onel or Valor. Then my dreams will be fully answered. At any rate, it is just great to see Mon-El in the pages of the Legion of Super Heroes once again. Mon-El is a classic Legionnaire who is very important in counter-balancing the little red S. Back in the old days, Superboy tended to overshadow almost all of the Legionnaires. However, the presence of Mon-El always prevented Superboy from totally stealing the title. For some reason, I have never viewed Superboy or Supergirl as real Legionnaires. They are just honorary Legionnaires. However, Mon-El is a true old school Legionnaire. And the fact that the Legion has a true Legionnaire that is probably more powerful that Superboy or Supergirl always made me happy.
Plus, Daxamites are just cool. Once Mon-El had Brainy cure his lead poisoning you suddenly had a serious ass-kicker with pretty much no weaknesses. Now that Mon-El is returning, I’m curious to see how closely DC will tie Mon-El with Superman and Kryptonians. The original Crisis junked Mon-El’s ties with Superman and Kryptonians. I hope that DC takes advantage of this latest Crisis to re-establish this part of Mon-El’s past.
It was also great to see more old characters starting to pop up in this title. Chlorophyll Kid is the latest to appear. I always liked his character and thought he had a pretty cool power. I like the twist that he is infiltrating the Legion as a spy for some unknown Boss. There is a good chance that Chlorophyll Kid is somehow connected to the same group as Jeyra and Polar Boy. This new Legion of Super Villains is definitely interesting. I can’t wait to learn more about this group. This is the first plotline in a long time that has gotten my attention.
I was also thrilled to see the return of Barry Kitson to this title. Kitson’s artwork is desperately needed on a title that usually delivers very pedestrian stories. Kitson’s art was fantastic as always. I love how Kitson draws the Legion. DC needs to make sure Kitson never leaves this title.
The Bad: Supergirl and the Legion of Superheroes #23 was slow. And boring. Honestly, if you removed the final three pages of this issue, you are left with a very dull and meandering comic book. It is absolutely stunning how very little has actually happened since the One Year Later storyline began. I have never seen a title so horribly stuck in neutral as Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes. Luckily, the final three pages finally gave this title some kind of direction.
Not surprisingly, this issue was dominated by the Supergirl plotline. Even though she has her own title, Waid somehow feels she is worthy of the entire spotlight in this title. The problem is that it is extremely hard to confuse her character with anything remotely resembling an interesting and well developed character. Supergirl is as insipid, vacuous and one-dimensional of a character that I have seen in a long time. Just putting a blonde in a mini-skirt and slapping the red “S” on her chest isn’t enough for me to find her fascinating.
The scenes surrounding Supergirl’s plotline were slow and boring. It is the same old tired discussion that we have been given in each and every issue since she first appeared. I am so tired of it. Either cure her and have her regain all her memories or get rid of her. Either way, this plotline needs to actually move forward. And the dialogue in these scenes were just brutal. Talk about being horrendously cheesy. I felt like I was watching a telenovas. And that is most definitely not a compliment.
I am hoping that the final three pages of this issue finally give this title something that resembles a purpose and direction. This story on this title has stumbled around like a blind man in a desert for too many issues. Now that Waid has resumed the full writing duties with this issue, I’m hoping that he will finally give this title the attention that it deserves. It seems like ever since the beginning of 52, that Waid has just mailed it in on this title.
Overall: Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #23 was more of the same boring pointless writing however, the last three pages give me hope. I think that this title may actually be turning the corner. For the first time in a while, I’m actually excited for the next issue of Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes. I just hope Waid can deliver.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
The Revolution thought that Trials of Shazam #2 was not as good as the first issue. I am worried about Winick’s newly re-imagined world of magic and how the current incarnations of the ancient gods are going to be presented. Winick tends to try and be too trendy and I’m afraid trying to make Shazam really modern may not be the best route to take. Let’s go ahead and hit this review.
Writer: Judd Winick
Artist: Howard Porter
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: This issue begins with Freddy using one of Zareb’s magic rods to blow up the magical creature that was attacking them. Zareb and Freddy then proceed on Freddy’s mission and take extra precautions since the attack my the monster is clear proof that someone knows Freddy is seeking the powers of Shazam and that they want to stop Freddy from succeeding.
We shift to a meeting of the Counsel of Merlin. They discuss their failed attempt to kill Freddy with the aforementioned monster. They discuss how if Freddy fails in his mission then the power of Shazam will be theirs. More specifically, a girl named Sabina, who is a part of the Counsel will inherit the powers of Shazam and will serve the wishes of the Counsel of Merlin.
Zally then asks Freddy how he first became Captain Marvel, Jr. Freddy tells her how he was fishing with his grandfather. Freddy was a big time jock back then since he wasn’t crippled. Anyway, Captain Marvel and Captain Nazi were fighting near where they were fishing. Captain Marvel punched Captain Nazi into near their boat. Freddy’s grandfather saved Captain Nazi from drowning and Captain Nazi re-paid Freddy’s grandfather’s kindness by killing him and then crippling Freddy. Then Captain Marvel granted Freddy a portion of his powers.
Zally asks Freddy why he wants his powers back. Freddy says that he is needed. That Captain Marvel needs him. That Freddy owes him. Zally asks Freddy why he feels he owes a man who punched a bad guy over to their boat and caused his grandfather to be killed and himself crippled. Freddy said that he hates Captain Marvel for what he did to him. That his only family was killed. That he will never forgive Captain Marvel for that. That Captain Marvel made him an orphan and a cripple, but he also made him a hero. And now he needs Freddy to be that champion. And Freddy concludes that a champion is exactly what he is.
Zally is happy to hear Freddy’s strong answer. She is done with his tattoo and informs Freddy that it will only be visible when he is in his enchanted form. Zally then wishes Freddy good luck with his trials.
We shift to Freddy and Zareb walking down the street. Zareb asks Freddy what a Costellon Goblin is. Freddy spouts out this long detailed question. Freddy then asks how in the world he knew that answer. Zareb responds that Freddy now has the wisdom of Solomon. That Zallman is Yiddish for Solomon. Freddy retorts that the god Solomon is a woman is a tattoo artists in New York? Zareb responds that Zally is a modern era’s new shape for an old god. And that Freddy has officially passed his first test. End of issue.
The Good: Trials of Shazam #3 was an average read. The only scene that I really enjoyed was when Freddy told Zally his origin. Winick does a nice job adding some depth and conflict to Freddy’s character. I like Freddy’s divergent view of Captain Marvel: both hero and tormentor. It is understandable that Freddy could never forgive the man who led to him losing his only family and to becoming a cripple. At the same time, Captain Marvel did make Freddy a hero and is a force for good on this planet. This is a wonderfully complex twist on the rather traditional and one-dimensional relationship between Billy and Freddy.
One of the biggest weaknesses of the Captain Marvel Family is that it is too simple, too silly and just too old school for the modern comic book reader. Yes, I know there are plenty of long time Captain Marvel fans who love the old simple stories and characters. But, the fact is, Captain Marvel has never had much commercial success with modern fans. When was the last time Captain Marvel had a strong selling title or was relevant in the DCU? Captain Marvel desperately needed to be updated and made more appealing to the modern age comic book reader. I think Winick does a nice job updating the relationship between Billy and Freddy by making it much more intricate and compelling.
I enjoyed Porter’s artwork. I don’t think it was as good as his work on the first two issues, but it was still nice. Porter’s heavy painted and static art creates a very unique look. It is understandable if some people just can’t get into his style. Personally, I like the unique look and think it gives this title a very bold and distinctive look.
The Bad: There is an alarming trend on this title. Each issue has been slightly worse than the preceding issue. That does not bode well for the remainder of this maxi-series. I thought Winick came out strong with the first issue and then followed it up with two rather pedestrian issues.
The pacing of this issue was slow. Plus, it was rather boring. You had an unexciting generic fight at the very beginning. Then you had the obligatory scene where the bad guys are introduced. Then the rest of the issue centered on Zally giving Freddy a tattoo. Just terribly uninteresting and boring. On top of that, the dialogue was stiff and very average. Winick hasn’t been able to really develop much personality in any of the characters.
When Winick first revealed in the last issue that the ancient gods have been changed to suit the modern age of magic; I got a little worried. Winick is a very trendy writer and when you get too trendy you tend to create stories that are a bit cheesy and don’t stand the test of time. Well, Trials of Shazam #3 pretty much proved that my fears were not unwarranted. Winick is going to be in a rush to replace the image of the ancient gods who were all white men with much more modern and P.C. versions. Zally is an excellent example of this plan. Here Winick delivers a “new” version of the ancient god Solomon in the shape of a large female tattoo artist in New York City. This is vintage Winick. Attempt to make something very trendy and “hip.”
The only problem is that in a year or two, this is going to look really tacky. I mean it is already a bit cheesy as it is. First off, tattoos are so played out. They went from cool and trendy to overexposed and unoriginal in the mid to late 90’s with everyone and their grandmother running out to get a “hip” tattoo. On their arm if they were a dude or on the small of their back if they were a chick. So, I think Zally is already a bit cheesy. But, in a couple of years, this is going to look really dated.
A good example is Fate. Dr. Fate is a design and character that pretty much stands the test of time. Yes, he will never be on the cutting edge of what is hot and trendy, however, he works in any decade whether it is the 1940’s, 1980’s or the 2000’s. A classic look and design always works no matter what is hot and trendy. However, when DC junked the classic Dr. Fate and then “blessed” us with Fate, we got treated to a character that was much more modern and trendy than Dr. Fate. Initially, he was viewed as much cooler and more modern than the "stuffy" old Dr. Fate. However, after a couple of years passed, and trends changed, Fate just seemed really dated. He was clearly a product of the mid 1990’s and was unable to exist outside of his era. Honestly, don’t you just groan when you look at this lame Image Comics style character? That is the weakness of making characters too modern and trendy to fit what is currently popular versus using a classic design that is successful regardless of what the current trends may be.
This version of the ancient gods that Winick is creating simply will not stand the test of time. I can only imagine what other really modern and trendy appearances the other gods will have. Let me guess, someone has to be a biker, there probably will be some ghetto thugged out version, and maybe a blind homeless person. I’m sure that the majority of the new versions of the ancient gods will be P.C. In a couple of years, they will look goofy and cheesy and DC will probably want to revert to the more classic design of the world of magic and the ancient gods.
Sticking with the classic design is always best. Yeah, I know the classic design of the ancient gods have them all as white males, but c’mon, these are the Greek and Roman gods. Last time I checked, they were all white people. Could you imagine a comic book writer re-imaging Native American gods or African gods as whites or Asians? I think not. It is ok that the ancient gods are all white males. That is a symbol of the era and the culture. I mean is there a reader out there who would enjoy this story more if the ancient gods were made artificially racially diverse? I know that if Winick re-imaging some of them as Hispanics it wouldn’t make me like them any more than I normally would. Not everything needs to be re-imagined, modernizes and made P.C. I have a terrible feeling that this new world of magic and these new versions of the ancient gods are going to be viewed as terribly lame after a couple of years pass.
And the fact that Winick had to give Freddy the Wisdom of Solomon via a mystical tattoo is pretty lame. A tattooed Captain Marvel is something that I really never thought was necessary.
Overall: Trials of Shazam #3 is an omen that the rest of this maxi-series may end up being one seriously lame read. I really hope that Winick focuses more on fleshing out Freddy’s character and making him a more well rounded and interesting personality rather than on focusing on how trendy and modern he can make the magical world of Shazam. I’m sure that long-time Captain Marvel fans absolutely hate this title. I still think that Winick may still be able to make Captain Marvel more appealing to the average modern age comic book reader. And three issues into a twelve issue maxi-series is too early to pronounce this title a failure. However, Winick has certainly started off unimpressively and really needs to put forth his best effort to pull this off and make Trials of Shazam a great read and a cool version of Captain Marvel for the current DCU.
Friday, October 27, 2006
As always, Ed Brubaker delivers a quality read each and every month on this title. The fact that Daredevil is one of the few Marvel titles not bogged down in lousy Civil War tie-in stories is much appreciated. I’m sure that Daredevil #90 is going to be another solid read. Let’s do this review.
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Michael Lark
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: The issue begins with Matt on a train wondering why Lily reminds him so much of Karen Page. We then go back to yesterday. Matt arrives at a village near Libson. Dakota North tracked Lennox and Lily to this location. There is a mansion that is deeded in Lucca’s name. Matt slips into his Daredevil costume and goes to the mansion. When Daredevil enters the mansion, he finds Lennox shot to death in his bed. He had been dead for at least an hour.
Daredevil then catches Lily’s scent. He jumps out the window and lands in front of a car trying to leave the mansion. The driver is Tombstone and he has Lilly in the passenger seat. Tombstone gets out of the car and starts brawling with Daredevil. Lily jumps out of the car and hits Tombstone. Tombstone responds by pimp slapping Lily. Tombstone then takes down Daredevil. Tombstone takes Lily back to his car and drives off with her.
We cut back to present time with Matt on a train to Paris. He was able to track down Tombstone’s trail to Paris. Once in Paris, Matt slips into the Daredevil costume and starts beating up the local criminals asking for any information concerning Tombstone. Finally, one criminal tells Daredevil that there is a shopkeeper who trades in weapons who knows Tombstone.
We shift to Daredevil smacking around the aforementioned shopkeeper demanding information on where Tombstone is hiding out. The shopkeeper says that a woman called on behalf of Tombstone and that he is supposed to meet Tombstone to supply him with a gun tomorrow afternoon. The shopkeeper then says that Tombstone works for the woman.
We cut to Lilly talking to Tombstone. Lilly tells Tombstone to never touch her again. That he was way to rough in that scene back at the mansion with Daredevil. Lily tells Tombstone to be ready because he knows that Matt will be showing up soon enough.
Lilly then goes to her bedroom where we see the Matador in her bed. The two start kissing. The Matador tells Lilly that her scent reminds him of his mother. The Matador asks her how this could be. Lilly responds that a woman has to have her secrets. End of issue.
The Good: Daredevil #90 was another good read. Brubaker is doing a masterful job of weaving this mystery that Matt is so desperately trying to solve. This issue is nicely paced. It is Brubaker’s trademark steady and measured pace as he methodically unfolds this murder mystery before the reader. Brubaker’s setting for this story only serves to give it a more rich and textured feel. Having this story set in Europe gives this story a much more adventurous feel to it rather than having it set in New York like 95% of all comic books. It is a nice change of pace to see Daredevil outside of Hell’s Kitchen.
As always, Brubaker delivers well crafted dialogue. Brubaker is one of the few writers that can give the reader a dialogue heavy issue with little action and still make it an absolutely gripping and entertaining read.
Brubaker threw a huge curve ball at the reader by having Lennox killed. This is a great technique that gets the reader to share Matt’s frustration for not being able to get our long standing questions answered by Lennox.
Of course, Brubaker wasn’t done with the surprises for the reader. Brubaker hits the reader with a big twist at the end of this issue with the revelation that Lilly is the mastermind behind all of the recent events. Lilly had Lennox killed. Lilly hired Tombstone. And to top it off, Lilly has seduced the Matador into doing her bidding. Clearly, Lilly has some type of pheromone based power that induces men to smell whatever their greatest desire is and to transfer those strong emotions on to Lilly as their object of desire. It certainly can’t be her looks. She looks like a dude. Lilly has the potential to be one nasty villainess. I am interested to learn more about her character and just what exactly she has against Matt Murdock.
Tombstone is your standard issue Daredevil villain. He isn't anything incredible, but I like his character. He has a neat look and provides plenty of entertainment value when it comes to a nasty street brawl.
Daredevil #90 is vintage Brubaker. Deliver the story in a tension filled steady pace and spring several surprises on the reader and then leave them with more questions at the end of the issue than they had when they started reading the issue. Well done.
Lark and Gaudiano do a nice job with the art on this issue. This is a good example of artwork that I would detest on a majority of titles, but absolutely love it on Daredevil. This style just fits the tone and mood of Brubaker’s story perfectly.
The Bad: No complaints with this issue.
Overall: Daredevil #90 keeps the ball rolling as we get deeper and deeper into this mystery where we seem to be getting more answers than questions. Daredevil is certainly one of the best titles that Marvel is currently publishing. If you like fast paced and action packed comic books, then you probably won’t enjoy this title. However, if you like great character development and a well crafted and steadily paced mystery, then give this title a try.
Last issue was pretty damn good for a Civil War tie-in issue. Actually, it may have been the best one so far. And to think it didn’t involve any Tom Leher show tunes about Werner von Braun or any other Nazi references. Coincidence? I think not. Anyway, we are “treated” to yet another Civil War tie-in issue with Captain America #23. Can Brubaker deliver another readable Civil War tie-in issue? Let’s find out
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Mike Perkins
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10.
Synopsis: The issue begins with Bucky breaking into a S.H.I.E.L.D. base. Bucky locates a Nick Fury Life Model Decoy and deactivates it. Bucky radios Nick Fury and a hologram of Nick Fury appears from Bucky’s communicator. Nick tells Bucky to inject the nano-trojan into the L.M.D. Nick explains how S.H.I.E.L.D. has been using the Fury L.M.D. to make it look like he is still on their payroll. Nick says that the nano-trojan will allow him to access the Fury L.M.D. and gain any information that the L.M.D. receives.
Nick and Bucky then descend into the same tired, boring and hackneyed discussion about the Civil War that the readers have had pounded into their skulls in every single Civil War tie-in issue. You know the drill.
Bucky then access the S.H.I.E.L.D. computers and discovers that they were monitoring Lukin with their satellites. That Lukin paid a visit to Dr. Doom last week. Bucky laments that while heroes like Iron Man and Captain America are busy fighting each other, that big time evil criminals like Lukin are getting away with murder.
Bucky then exits the S.H.I.E.L.D. base. Unfortunately, outside the base, Bucky crosses paths with some S.H.I.E.L.D. cape-killers’ (I have to chuckle every time I see that stupid name for the S.H.I.E.L.D. soldiers.) And it is official. We have a brawl. Bucky kicks some ass and takes out all of the cape-killers. Bucky then steals one of the cape-killer’s helmet to take back to Fury so they can figure a way to be able to deactivate their armor.
We cut to Dr. Doom’s castle in Latveria. Doom is meeting with the Red Skull. Doom tells the Red Skull that his people found everything and more what Red Skull said Doom would find at a dig site in Germany. Red Skull asks Doom if he now believes that he lived in Eisendorf 500 years ago as the Baron of Iron. Doom replies that he believes something even better. That someday in his future he will be the Baron of Iron. Doom holds some strange device and tells the Skull that he showed Doom a glimpse of his life to come. Doom says that Red Skull more than earned his fee. Doom says that the device will be delivered to Kronas’ labs at the Red Skull’s home base. That the device will be food for one use only. Red Skull retorts that that will be all he needs to ensure that this Civil War is just the beginning of his enemy’s suffering. End of issue.
The Good: Captain America #23 was a slightly above average read. The parts of this issue that concentrated on the extremely interesting Red Skull/Lukin plotline were great. The parts of this issue that concentrated on the same old tired regurgitated Civil War blah blah that we have read over and over again in every single Civil War tie-in issue were not terribly interesting.
Captain America #23 was nicely paced. As always, Brubaker delivered quality dialogue. I prefer Bucky as the quiet Winter Soldier rather than the chatty patty version that we got in this issue. However, it was great to see Bucky in action. Brubaker has made Bucky a serious ass-kicker and gotten me to love a character that I had always thought was pretty lame. The fight scene between Bucky and the Cape-killers was sweet. Brubaker never misses a chance to show the reader what a bad-ass Bucky truly is.
I dig Bucky working in the shadows on behalf of Nick Fury. Bucky needs to remain a wildcard. I don’t really want to see him operating out in the open. Nor do I want to see him working for a specific team or the government. I like him as a covert operative who is totally unpredictable. He listens to the beat of his own drum and does what he thinks is right and not what some government tells him is right.
The team of Bucky and Nick Fury is a very interesting dynamic and I’m curious to see what impact they have on the events in Civil War. It is always great to see Nick Fury. Fury is a cool character and Brubaker definitely knows how to write his character. Hopefully, after Civil War is over, Nick Fury will play a more prominent role in the Marvel Universe. If nothing else, since Brubaker is so good at writing Nick Fury, I hope we see more of Fury in the pages of Captain America.
The final two pages of this issue were great. This was really the only part of this issue that wasn’t filler. Brubaker is doing a great job with the Red Skull. I have no idea what diabolical plan Red Skull has in mind, but if he is enlisting the help of Doctor Doom, then it certainly is going to be huge.
Perkins is a great fill-in artist for Epting. Perkins’ style is a great match for Brubaker’s story. Rarely am I happy when the fill-in artists appears on a title. Happily, that isn’t the case when Perkins makes an appearance. He delivers quality artwork.
The Bad: Like I said before, the parts that concentrated on the tired Civil War plotline were boring and uninteresting. It was the exact same dialogue that we have read countless times before in every other Civil War tie-in issue. Marvel must think that their readers are totally retarded since Marvel feels the need to re-explain the entire anti-registration belief over and over in every tie-in issue. Hey, Marvel, I understood it the first time. It really isn’t all that creative or complex. Each time a character starts in on this tired and often repeated diatribe about the Registration Act, my eyes roll into my head and I slip into a fugue state. Invariably, I wake up several minutes later on the floor with foam coming out of my mouth. Thanks, Marvel!
Another problem I had with the Civil War plotline is that Bucky’s monologue concerning the events of Civil War made him came across more of a whiner than the bad-ass that Brubaker has been writing him in past issues. That seriously lessened my interest in the scenes dealing with the Civil War events.
Honestly, Captain America #23 and the last issue have read like nothing more than pure filler. Brubaker does a nice job trying to cover the fact that these issues are just filler by teasing the readers with two pages of plotline at the ends of both Captain America #22 and #23 concerning the Red Skull.
Overall: Captain America #23 was a slightly above average read and wasn’t too bad compared to your average Civil War tie-in issue that we have gotten on some of the other titles. Having said that, I cannot wait for Civil War to end so it can continue on with Brubaker’s intriguing plotline involving Lukin and the Red Skull. Right now Civil War is just getting in the way of Brubaker’s wonderful story that he was weaving on this title.
The Revolution has never been shy about expressing our displeasure with Bendis’ Civil War tie-in issues. This has been a string of extremely unimpressive and boring issues. Seriously, Civil War cannot end quickly enough just so we can go back to getting actual Avengers related storylines in their own title. It seems like it has been forever since we got anything that could be remotely confused with an entertaining story in the New Avengers. I predict that we will get plenty more of the standard Nazi references toward the pro-registration side. I predict that Iron Man will act more like Iron Dick Cheney than Tony Stark. Blah, blah, blah. It will be more of the same garbage that we have gotten over and over in ever Civil War title. Let’s go ahead and do the review of one of the most predictable storylines ever.
Writer: Brain Michael Bendis
Penciler: Adi Granov
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: This issue begins with a mopey Sentry sitting on the moon trying to collect his thoughts. Sentry thinks about how he is powerful enough to end the Civil War immediately. That he could kill all of them. However, the Sentry questions whether he should be fighting on his friends. He is also disappointed with himself for running away when called upon by Tony Stark to help end this Civil War.
Suddenly, the Inhumans appear and attack The Sentry. The Inhumans don’t take kindly to humans hanging around their area. The Sentry suddenly remembers that the Inhumans live on the moon. The Sentry tells them that this was an unintentional mistake. Crystal then tells Sentry that the Black Bolt wants to meet with him.
We shift to the Black Bolt’s throne room in Attilan. Medusa asks Sentry why he is here. He tells her that this was a mistake. That he was simply trying to find a place to be alone and to think. Medusa then invites Sentry to be their guest at dinner and tell them all about the Civil War on Earth.
We cut to the dinner scene. The Sentry has finished telling the Inhumans about the Civil War. Medusa then tells Sentry that he can stay the night. The Sentry accepts the invitation.
We shift to The Sentry in his guest quarters. Crystal enters the room. Crystal asks Sentry if they knew each other at some point in the past. Sentry tells Crystal that they were lovers. Crystal tells him that she can’t remember any of it. The two then start kissing. The Sentry tells Crystal that he is married. Crystal responds “But…Only on Earth, right?” (Hey, nice logic! I like this woman!)
Suddenly, Iron Man appears in Sentry’s room and tells him that it is time for him to go home. That the pro-registration side needs him. The Sentry says that he doesn’t want to fight his friends. Also that the only way to stop Captain America is going to be to kill him and The Sentry doesn’t want to kill him. Iron Man says that they can stop Captain America without killing him. Iron Man says that he hates all of this as well. That it is hard on Iron Man, too. That everyday he thinks about sitting alone in a room with a bottle of Johnny Walker Black and forget all of this. Iron Man tells Sentry that the world needs heroes like him.
The Inhumans then enter the room and tell Iron Man that he is trespassing. Iron Man apologizes and says that he is just here to get Sentry. Iron Man assures the Inhumans that the Civil War will not come to their doorstep. Iron Man and Sentry leave. One of the Inhumans who can see the future tells Medusa that the heroes of Earth are not ready for what happens next. End of issue.
The Good: Zzzzzzz, huh, what? Oh, I’m sorry. I fell asleep reading New Avengers #24. I guess it is time for the comments, huh? Ok, what did I enjoy about this issue? Well, we had no references to Stalin, Hitler or the Nazi Party. We got no comparisons to the Holocaust or the Institution of Slavery. We got no lame Tom Leher show tunes. I think that is cause for celebration when reading a Civil War-tie in issue. Other than that, there wasn’t too much about the story that I was really impressed with.
Now, the artwork is a totally different story. I was psyched to see my boy Pasqual Ferry throwing down the artwork for this issue. I am a new fan of Ferry’s art and I thought he delivered a wonderful looking issue. The beautiful artwork is the only thing that kept my interest while reading New Avengers #24.
The Bad: New Avengers #24 can be summed up in one word: BORING. This issue was a real snoozer. It was slow, uninteresting and a total waste of time. New Avengers #24 was the very epitome of a filler issue. Bendis is clearly focusing most of his energy over on Ultimate Power and Ultimate Spider-Man and is totally mailing it in on the New Avengers. This issue really reflected the impression that Bendis put absolutely no effort at all into writing New Avengers #24.
This issue was so unnecessary. Absolutely nothing happened. Zero plotlines were developed or introduced. It wasn’t even a good character study. Bendis presents one of the most mopey and uninteresting versions of the Sentry. I dig how Jenkins writes The Sentry. I can’t say I’m particularly impressed with how Bendis writes The Sentry.
It wasn’t that New Avengers #24 was horrible or abysmally written. It was just totally and completely pointless and a waste of paper. I would have preferred that Marvel just suspend publishing of the New Avengers during the Civil War mini-series rather then have them foist these useless Civil War tie-in issues on readers.
Overall: New Avengers #24 continues the trend of dull and meaningless Civil War tie-in issues. New Avengers has been stuck in neutral ever since the start of the Civil War mini-series. Unfortunately, it looks like we are still due several more pure filler issues. I can’t wait for the New Avengers to return to telling interesting story arcs involving the Avengers. Unless you are a die-hard Bendis fan or a die-hard Civil War fan, I’d recommend waiting on buying the New Avengers until the Civil War has ended.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Bendis deserves plenty of praise for his work on Ultimate Spider-Man. The Clone Sage story arc has been nothing short of brilliant. I absolutely love the story that Bendis is weaving over the past several issues. Bendis has the reader totally stunned and completely unknowing of what is going to happen next. This title is a blast to read and I fully expect Ultimate Spider-Man #101 to be another fantastic read. Let’s hit this review.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Mark Bagley
Inker: Drew Hennessy
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: This issue begins with Carnage/Gwen Stacy attacking Nick Fury’s spider slayer warrior drones. Nick radios the Tinkerer back at the Triskellion and orders Tinkerer to figure out how to take out Carnage. The Tinkerer responds that the drones were designed to take down Peter Parker not other types of metahumans. The Tinkerer instructs the drones to open fire. Richard Parker tells Peter to not move Aunt May. Peter leaves May with Richard and jumps out of the house and demands to know what Nick Fury is doing. Peter tells Nick that his Aunt is having a heart attack. Nick responds that Peter is under arrest. The drones blast Peter a couple of times. Nick tells Peter to stay down.
Suddenly, the Fantastic Four appear on the scene. Carnage and the Thing start fighting. Sue rushes into the house to help Aunt May while Reed locks grapples with Carnage. Sue places a force shield around Richard and Aunt May and walks out of the house with them. Sue tells Peter that she is taking May to a hospital and that Richard is coming with her.
The Tinkerer radios Nick Fury and tells him that he has got the correct power signature on Carnage and is ready to take it out. Fury gives him the order and the drones blast carnage. There is a big explosion and when the smoke clears we see a naked Gwen Stacy. Gwen then passes out. Nick then tells Peter that he is under arrest. That Peter no longer gets to be Spider-Man. That Peter is at the center of the biggest genetic disaster since the Hulk. That they have to clean it up now. That Peter didn’t do anything himself. That is was all the work of Peter’s clones.
We cut to Oscorp where Peter’s clone is talking to MJ. The clone tells Mary Jane that he injected a substance called “Oz” inside of her. Oz is what made Doctor Otto Doctor Octopus. It turned Norman Osborn into the Green Goblin. That it was inside the spider that bit Peter. The clone says that now MJ can’t get hurt. That they can now be happy together. Suddenly, MJ transforms into a giant red demon Bigfoot looking creature. End of issue.
The Good: Ultimate Spider-Man #101 was another excellent read! Bendis just keeps the ball rolling in this issue. I am really impressed how Bendis has been able to deliver so many wonderfully entertaining issues in a row with this Clone Saga story arc. The story just keeps getting better and better with each issue.
Ultimate Spider-Man #101 was nicely paced. The battle scene was frenetic and the entire flow of the story was charged with nervous energy that had the reader quickly turning each page in anticipation of what was going to happen next. Bendis manages to suck the reader into the story. The tension spills off the pages and grips the reader.
As always, Bendis serves up some well crafted dialogue. This has always been one of the biggest strengths of this title and this issue is no exception. The strong dialogue makes this issue enjoyable to read and gives the story a nice flow.
Bendis is really piling it onto poor Peter Parker. His father has returned. Gwen Stacy returns and then turns into Carnage. Aunt May denounces Peter and then has a hear attack. Nick Fury tells Peter that he is the biggest genetic disaster since the Hulk and can no longer be Spider-Man and is now under arrest. All hell is breaking loose and Peter is being overwhelmed by an avalanche of events far out of his control. Bendis does such a delightful job of putting Peter is seemingly hopeless situations in order to show of Peter’s true heroism and his ability to overcome anything that is thrown at him. The bigger the test, the bigger the hero Peter becomes at the end of it all.
The final scene was an excellent hook that makes the reader eager to read the next issue. The clone injected Mary Jane full of the Oz serum. Nothing good can come from that. And then the final double page splash shot at the very end was shocking. I mean, seeing Mary Jane transform into a monstrous red demonic Bigfoot-esque creature was definitely something I was not expecting to see! I loved it. Bendis just keeps cranking up the insanity on this title. The reader simply never knows what is going to happen next on this title. Bendis is weaving a story where absolutely anything and everything can happen at any moment.
Bagley’s art is slightly above average. I’ve never been a big fan of his style. However, Bagley does enough to deliver art that does its job and doesn’t get in the way of Bendis’ story.
The Bad: No complaints at all.
Overall: Ultimate Spider-Man #101 was a fantastic read. Bendis is working his magic with the Clone Saga and this is definitely one of the most entertaining comic books on the market. I’m surprised at how Bendis has been able to take one of the worse story arcs from the 616 universe and transform it into on of the best story arcs in the Ultimate Universe. I can’t recommend this title enough. If you enjoy a that old school style Peter Parker before he grew up and got married then you will love Bendis’ Ultimate Spider-Man.
So far these new Wildstorm titles have garnered a rather unimpressive 0-2-2 record here at the Revolution. Deathblow #1 is the next title up to bat for Wildstorm. Now, I enjoyed the original Deathblow series back in 1993. But, that was a long time ago and Deathblow was a typical Image title. You had a bad-assed character with a generic “tough” name and the emphasis was more on the art than on the writing. Now, I’m not all that familiar with Brian Azzarello. I have not read much written by him. I’m also not familiar with Carlos D’Anda. So, it should be interesting to see if Deathblow #1 can finally register a title in the win column for Wildstorm. Let’s hit this review.
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Carlos D’Anda
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: The issue begins with some unknown person (Deathblow) locked in a cell and being tortured by some a professional interrogator.
We then cut to the Pentagon which apparently has luxury condos inside of it. We see a nice large bathroom where a hot black woman is taking a bubble bath. Also in the bathroom, is General Ruckus who is sitting on the toilet. The General finishes his “business” at the same time as a not so hot looking white chick enters the room. Her name is Ivana and she has a metal hand that, evidently, can vibrate. The General confirms with Ivana that International Operations is sure about their intelligence information. The General then orders the strike and says it is time to bring their boy home.
We cut to some military attack helicopters in Hindu Kush. The helicopters launch missiles at a prison camp. We cut to inside the prison. A couple of prisoners are debating who the soldiers are coming to free. The American soldiers tromp past the various cells looking for their target. The soldiers get into a small firefight and end up blowing up one of the prison cells. Unfortunately, that was the cell that house the American that they were sent to rescue. The soldiers comment how they can’t go back empty handed.
We shift to the man who was torturing a prisoner (Deathblow). Suddenly, Deathblow frees himself and takes out the guard who is with the professional interrogator. The interrogator then yells out to the American soldiers that he is Petrus Komar, the Captain of Intelligence for the militia. That if they save him and take him to America he will tell them everything he knows. But, before the American soldiers can get him out of the cell, Deathblow kills Komar in a particularly brutal fashion.
Deathblow then identifies himself as Michael Cray, an American black ops specialist who has been presumed dead for six years. Codename: Deathblow. Deathblow asks for one of the soldier’s guns. Deathblow then blasts off the lock on the cell door and in the process accidentally shoots one of the American soldiers. (Huh?)
We cut to Gitmo, where General Ruckus is questioning Deathblow. The General says that he doesn’t believe Deathblow’s entire story and that the General needs to know the truth. Ivana enters the cell and mentions how Deathblow isn’t a prisoner of war and that this isn’t a prisoner of war camp. The General agrees that Gitmo is a Detention Center and then leaves Ivana to “question” Deathblow. We see Ivana whip out a particularly nasty looking razor knife. End of issue.
The Good: Deathblow #1 was a slightly above average read. The pacing is well done. Azzarello doesn’t waste anytime getting this story moving. We quickly establish all the major players and reveal that Deathblow is still alive and get him back into the custody of the American military all by the end of the issue. Azzarello seems to have a definite story in mind and appears to have a tightly plotted story arc. I also like that Azzarello isn’t taking much time to set up his story. The fast pace of this issue was much welcomed after the other much more slower paced stories in Wildstorm’s other new titles.
Deathblow #1 also provides the reader with plenty of action. Out of all of the new Wildstorm titles, this issue had the most action. The dialogue was solid. Nothing great, but certainly nothing bad. Just good solid comic book dialogue. It certainly had plenty of “tough” talk, but then Deathblow is the type of title that is naturally going to have a lot of “tough” talk.
D’Anda’s artwork is dark and gritty. While, I would not really like his art on other titles, it definitely works well on Deathblow. D’Anda’s style compliments Azzarello’s story and brings to life Deathblow’s dirty and violent world.
The Bad: Deathblow #1 delivers a standard story that you would expect in a soldier of fortune style comic book. And this isn’t a negative, it just isn’t a positive. The issue is that there really doesn’t seem to be anything particularly new or interesting in this story. General Ruckus is such a “paint by numbers” villain. Ruckus is your stereotypical bad guy that you see over and over again in numerous mercenary and military based comic books. The entire feel of this story had a very “been there, done that” feel to it.
Ivana’s character comes across more like a bad reject from a James Bond movie. Maybe I will like her more once Azzarello gets a chance to develop her further, but I wasn’t that interested by her character in this issue.
Deathblow is Deathblow. He is your standard issue tough guy black ops specialist. Maybe my memories are clouded by time, but I recall Deathblow’s character more complex in the original series. He was dying of cancer and seemed to be a much more interesting personality. Azzarello’s Deathblow reads like any other military tough guy that you see in numerous comic books. Again, hopefully, Azzarello can flesh out Deathblow into a more fully developed character rather than a one note tough guy that the old Image was overpopulated with in the 1990’s.
Another concern is that if this title become too dark, violent and grim then it may begin to become more of a parody than a serious comic book. Hopefully, Azzarello will be able to sprinkle in some humor in order to show the reader that he isn’t taking himself or his story too seriously.
Overall: Deathblow #1 is what it is. This is a standard mercenary/soldier of fortune comic book that is going to center on gritty dialogue and plenty of violence and action. And that isn’t a bad thing. However, I hope that it ends up having a bit more to offer than just that. Having said that, if you dig military black ops ass-kickers and comic books with plenty of violence then you will certainly enjoy Deathblow.
The art was good enough and the writing just good enough that I’ll come back for the second issue. Deathblow #1 wasn’t quite good enough to register Wildstorm their elusive first win here at the Revolution. This issue was another draw. So now Wildstorm stands at 0-2-3.
The Revolution is psyched to read Action Comics #844. This issue debuts an all-new creative team. Johns and Donner assume the writing chores while Adam Kubert takes over the art duties. With an all-star line-up like this, how in the world can Action Comics #844 not be a great read? Let’s go ahead and do this review.
Writer: Geoff Johns & Richard Donner
Artist: Adam Kubert
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 10 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
We cut to the Daily Planet where Perry White is chewing out Jimmy Olsen and Clark Kent. Clark suddenly hears cries for help. Clark rushes out of the office claiming he forgot a dental appointment. Clark hops into his super suit and races off to intercept what looks to be a falling asteroid. Superman is eventually able to catch and stop the object. It turns out to be a small space pod and inside of it is a human looking boy.
We shift to the Department of Metahuman Affairs East Coast lab. Sarge Steel asks Superman if he knows where the kid came from. Superman says he doesn’t know. Suddenly, we see the boy pick up a massive entertainment system with a TV in it in order to get a block that rolled underneath it. The boy then starts speaking Kryptonese. We zip forward to Superman sitting with the boy talking to him in Kryptonese. The boy tells Superman that he doesn’t know where he is from and he doesn’t know his own name, either.
We shift forward to Sarge Steel informing Superman that he is taking some DNA samples and will expose them to Kryptonite to verify if the boy is Kryptonian or not. Sarge Steel assures that the boy will stay in this lab and be comfortable, but that it is time to let the boy sleep. Superman tucks the boy into bed. The boy asks Superman to stay with him. Superman promises to stay until he falls asleep and to be back tomorrow before the boy wakes up.
We cut to the Daily Planet. Superman stops in on Lois Lane (who is sporting the ugliest hair cut I have ever scene. Lady looks like a dude! Since when did Lois become a boring middle aged soccer mom?) Superman tells her about the young boy and that he may be Kryptonian. Superman then says that this would have been him if he had crash landed in Metropolis instead of Smallville. That he would have gown up in a lab being tested and dissected.
We shift to the next morning with Superman flying to the lab. When he arrives at the lab he finds it totally cleaned out and completely empty. Superman is officially pissed.
We cut to the Department of Metahuman Affairs headquarters in the Pentagon. The scientists inform Sarge Steel that they thing the boys space ship appeared out of hyperspace. Suddenly, Sarge’s assistant buzzes him and tells him that he has a visitor. We hear some pounding noises as the steel door buckles and is smashed open. A pissed off Superman enters the lab. He crushes the soldiers’ guns and picks Sarge Steel off the ground and demands to know where the boy is being kept.
We shift to Lex Luthor reading Lois Lane’s article about the spaceship landing of a Kryptonian boy. Lex comments how “Opportunity strikes.”
We cut to an armed convoy transporting the boy. They are suddenly attacked by a masked figure who takes out the soldiers and frees the boy.
We shift to the Kent farm in Smallville. Clark arrives at their door with the boy in his arms. He asks his parents to tell him how they forged documents and raised a boy from the sky as their own. Clark says he needs to do that now. End of issue.
The Good: Hot damn! Action Comics #844 was one hell of an issue. This was an awesome read! It did more than meet my expectations. This issue completely exceeded my expectations. Action Comics #844 was fantastic!
I have never been a huge Superman fan and only started collected Superman and Action Comics with the One Year Later storyline because I’m a big fan of both Johns and Busiek. I figured that if any writers could get be to like the big red S it would be these guys. Up to this point, both Johns and Busiek have done a nice job on Superman and Action Comics. Having said that, I thought the last story arc on Action Comics by Busiek and Nicieza was rather pedestrian. John and Donners have certainly cranked up the intensity on this title.
Donners and Johns deliver the most interesting version of Superman that I have ever read. I love this Superman. My biggest complaint with Superman’s character is that his personality has always been so bland and white-bread. However, Donners and Johns give us a much more fleshed out and textured Superman.
The scene with Superman at the Fortress of Solitude was excellent. This scene introduced the feelings of loneliness that you get in the first Superman movie and in Smallville. That Superman isn’t human and that his purpose on Earth is much more than just living as a human.
And speaking of the Fortress of Solitude, I’m glad that DC is using Donnors’ vision of the Fortress from the original Superman movie and subsequently in Smallville. I’m also glad to see the Jor-El computer simulation from the original Superman movie and Smallville appear in the comic. For my generation this is the definitive version of the Fortress of Solitude. I like that DC is finally starting to effectively integrate the Superman movie and Smallville with the comic book in order to create one cohesive vision.
The scene with Superman talking to the boy was touching. You could feel Superman’s emotion as he bonded with this Kryptonian boy. The bond that only exists between people of the same culture. This was a powerful scene that re-enforced the fact that even though Superman loves Earth and admires humans, he is not one of us. And that Superman so desperately wishes that there were more Kryptonians around him.
The scene with Superman and Lois was also powerful. It showed the introspective side of Superman. How he got so lucky to be found and raised by kind people like the Kents who view him as their son. That he could have easily been like this boy and been nothing more than a lab rat of the government.
The scene with Superman snapping on Sarge Steel. Seeing the unbridled fury and anger from such a straight laced character was awesome. Sometimes, I think Superman is written as too much of a goody two shoes. A bit too much of a wuss. It was nice to see Superman act like he has a set of cajones. It was nice to see some anger and attitude from his character. This scene was probably my favorite of the issue.
Lastly, the scene at the very end with the Kents re-enforces that because Clark was found and raised by good people like the Kents that he has the enormous capacity for love and compassion. This was a short but sweet scene.
All of these various scenes helped to create a much more appealing Superman that was very engaging and easy for the reader to identify with. And, that is what I have always thought was Superman’s Achilles heel. He was never a character that engaged my interest or that I could identify with. Donners and Johns certainly solved that problem with this issue.
This new plotline with a boy who may possibly be from Krypton is fantastic! I am totally hooked and cannot wait to see where Donners and Johns go with this plotline. I think this has plenty of potential and should be one exciting ride.
The pacing of Action Comics #844 was perfect. This issue had a nice flow to it and was well constructed. The dialogue was well written and made this issue enjoyable to read.
The Bad: Lois looks butt ugly.
Overall: Action Comics #844 was an incredible read. I cannot praise this issue enough. Donners and Johns craft one exciting story that has definitely hooked me. The artwork is good enough that it doesn’t get in the way of a great story. This is an excellent time for new readers to hop onto this title. Even if you aren’t a long time Superman fan, I think you will enjoy Action Comics. If you liked the first Superman movie, then you’ll dig this title.
Last issue was a solid read. Nothing great, but certainly not bad. Hopefully, 52 #25 will be a more entertaining read. I can’t believe that we are almost at the halfway point in way has been a wonderful title. And so far, this title has shipped on time every single week. I know that we still have the second half of this title to go, but almost everybody out there thought that DC would never be able to pull off 52 on time each and every week. All right, let’s hit this review.
Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka and Mark Waid
Penciler: Phil Jimenez
Inker: Andy Lanning
Art Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Week 25, Day 1: The issue starts in Gotham City with a meeting between Bruno Mannheim, the leader of Intergang, and the various crime bosses of Gotham. Bruno tells the bosses to either affiliate with Intergang or die. Bruno then kills the bosses who decide not to join Intergang. We learn that Bruno has ties to the occult and has become an apostle of evil. An evangelist of crime.
Week 25, Day 3: We see a large demon rampaging on Halloween night. Captain Marvel, Jr. and Mary Marvel are struggling to stop the demon. Suddenly, the Black Marvel Family shows up on the scene. Osiris and Black Adam take down the demon. Captain Marvel, Jr. then tells Mary Marvel that he intends to find out who Osiris is.
We cut to Ralph Dibny and Dr. Fate’s helmet somewhere in the netherworld. Dr. Fate’s helmet shows various souls being tortured for eternity since they abused magic. The last person Dr. Fate’s helmet shows Ralph is Felix Faust. Faust’s soul has been turned to stone. Ralph understands that this is the punishment for people who abuse magic. For people who think they can beat the devil. Ralph tells the helmet that he has had enough show and tell and is ready for Fate to help him get his wife back.
We shift to New York City. Icicle and Tigress just pulled off a heist. Infinity Inc. show up to stop them. The newest member of Infinity Inc. who replaced Trajectory takes down Icicle and Tigress. We shift to Alan Scott walking away from the fight scene. Alan meets up with Mr. Terrific. Alan tells Mr. Terrific that he is the new White King for Checkmate and he wants Mr. Terrific to be his White Bishop.
Week 25, Day 4: We shift to Oolong Island where Dr. Magnus is telling Professor Morrow that he is not some insane scientist and he won’t help build a plutonium robot for Intergang. We see Bruno Mannheim arrive on the island. Mannheim is greeted by an alien looking creature named Chang Tzu. Mannheim asks him if he has a solution to the problem in Kahndaq. Chang Tzu says that he has weapons so terrible that they have been called the Four Horsemen. End of story.
We then get a two page back-up story about Nightwing. End of issue.
The Good: 52 #25 was another solid read. We finally got some valuable and much needed insight into Intergang. Mannheim is a standard issue villain, but I dig the multi-faceted structured of Intergang. The unusual combination of regular crime bosses with the occult and alien creatures is a pretty interesting mix. At first, I wasn’t that impressed with Intergang. However, the more I learn about them, the more interesting of a criminal organization they become.
This issue ends with a nice hook. We get the introduction of a new character in Chang Tzu. We have no idea if he is an alien with a Chinese name or if he is one of the Great 10 and is some hybrid human/alien mixture. I’m betting he is the product of the Chinese metahuman program and has been infused with alien technology or biology. Either way, I think he is a pretty neat character and I’m looking forward to learning more about him.
The writers then dangle the threat of some brand new weapons in the form of the Four Horsemen. No, I don’t mean Arn Anderson, Ole Anderson, Tully Blanchard and Ric Flair. Evidently, we are going to be treated to some new characters. At any rate, this was a good ending that got me interested in the next issue. There is no doubt that the entire Intergang plotline is finally becoming more and more interesting as it is starting to combine several of the various plotlines.
The scene with Dr. Fate’s helmet and Ralph was well done. The writers are being slow and deliberate with this plotline by just giving the reader small teasers with each issue. I am enjoying the slow and steady build up of what is undoubtedly going to be a very exciting plotline.
The writers are continuing to pull of a wonderful job of balancing the various plotlines and by slowly dovetailing certain plotlines together. Plus, the writers continue to give the readers answers that sprout even more questions. 52 is impressively structured and that is what makes it so much fun to read.
The Bad: While I don’t mind a slow and deliberate pace, 52 #25 was a bit too slow. Other than learning about Bruno Mannheim and the introduction of Chang Tzu at the end, this issue did little more than tread water. The scene with Black Adam was largely uneventful and rather pointless. Yeah, the Marvel Family knows about the Black Marvel Family, but that could have been done in a much more meaningful and interesting manner.
The scene with Alan Scott and Mr. Terrific was boring and merely told us what we already know. I know that we have to see the foundations of the new Checkmate being laid, but this scene isn’t very interesting when you have already known about all this from reading Checkmate.
The Infinity Inc. scene was also rather pointless and boring. Sure it showed off the new member, but that is about it.
I thought that the dialogue for this issue was unusually weak. It felt very standard at some parts and rather cheesy in other parts. One line was particularly weird. After defeating the demon, Osiris tells the bystanders “Happy Halloween, Judeo-Christians!” Now, I know that the roots of Halloween may stem from Judeo-Christian faiths; however, it is really a secular holiday that is celebrated by pretty much everyone. I mean, all Americans regardless of your faith or lack of faith celebrate Halloween. As a matter of fact, it is usually the really religious types that refuse to celebrate Halloween. So, I think that just saying “Happy Halloween, Americans” would have been much more appropriate and made a lot more sense.
The artwork was very unimpressive. The mishmash of 4 pencilers and 4 inkers was horrible and created a terribly schizophrenic look to this comic book.
Overall: 52 #25 was a solid read. The art was a little worse than usual and the story was slower and didn’t really give the reader anything new to chew on other than the very last page of this issue. All in all, I am still enjoying this title.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Action Comics #844
Supergirl and The Legion of Super Heroes #23
Trials of Shazam #3
Uncle Sam and The Freedom Fighters #4
Captain America #23
New Avengers #24
Ultimate Spider-Man #101
We have a large shipment of comic books headed to the Bunker today! This is a pretty big week full of some potentially great reads. First up is DC. Which DC comic am I most looking forward to reading? That one is real easy: Action Comics #844. C’mon, you have the dream team combination of Richard Donner and Geoff Johns! What more could you ask for on a Superman title? This should be a great issue.
Which DC title am I least looking forward to reading? Supergirl and The Legion of Super Heroes #23. This title hasn’t been a good read in forever. I seriously doubt that this issue will buck that trend.
Which Marvel title am I most looking forward to reading? That is tough. Either Brubaker title would be a good choice. However, I’m going to go with Ultimate Spider-Man #101. Bendis has been kicking so much ass on this title. The past several issues have been insanely good. Seriously, Bendis is really delivering something special on Ultimate Spider-Man. Bendis’ run on this title is officially hitting legendary status. This run on Ultimate Spider-Man is one of the greatest runs on a single title by any modern comic book writer. I cannot wait to read this issue.
Which Marvel title am I least looking forward to reading. That is easy. I just finished praising Bendis and now I’m going to slam him. New Avengers #24. The Civil War tie-in issues on the New Avengers have been abysmal. The only thing constructive to do with Bendis’ New Avengers Civil War tie-in issues is to use them for toilet paper. These issues have been poorly written, have advanced zero Avengers’ related plotlines and have been a total waste of time and money. I cannot wait for these Civil War tie-in issues to end so I can once again get entertaining Avengers related stories in the New Avengers title.
12 issues for The Revolution to attempt to review. I love all the followers of the Revolution and will try my best to post reviews for as many issues as possible. However, me having time to hit reviews on all 12 issues is pretty slim. As always, reviews should start rolling in by Thursday.
Posted by Rokk Krinn at 10:56 AM