The Revolution slept through Daredevil #94. It was pure filler and rather boring. I didn’t even bother to post a review for that issue. It appears that Brubaker gets back on track with Daredevil #95 as we get the beginning of the new story arc. I’m sure that the last issue was a mere hiccup and that Brubaker will return to form. Daredevil #95 should be a quality read. Let’s hit this review.
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artists: Lee Weeks & Stefano Gaudiano
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: We start in Ryker's Island Prison where we see Melvin Potter (The Gladiator) being cuffed by the prison guards. We see several dead inmates with buzz saw blades in their backs. Melvin exclaims that he didn’t do it.
We cut to Daredevil on his nightly patrol of Hell’s Kitchen. Daredevil is chasing down some robbers in a Ford Mustang. (We’ll touch on this subject later.) Daredevil thinks how Hell’s Kitchen has gotten totally out of hand ever since he was jailed. That while Matt was in jail, crime just erupted all over Hell’s Kitchen. Daredevil thinks how he has so much work to try and clean up Hell’s Kitchen once again.
Daredevil thinks how the series of crimes lately have patterned the format that the Kingpin made popular. You have one loud crime that gets a lot of attention but is really a pointless crime that ends up in nothing more than property damage that is designed to distract Daredevil and the police. Then while that distraction is going on, a second crime is being pulled off. And that second one is the serious crime. A big time robbery. And know one knows this second crime even happened until the robbers are long gone.
Tonight, Daredevil listened closely to the first crime to make sure it didn’t involve any getting hurt. It didn’t. Then Daredevil waited for the second crime. And that is why he is following the Ford Mustang full of robbers. The robbers shoot at Daredevil. Daredevil swoops down and causes the Mustang to crash. Daredevil then starts beating up the robbers.
Suddenly, one of the robbers, realizing that Daredevil has them beat, shoots the other robbers and then kills himself. Daredevil is stunned and can’t believe what just happened. Daredevil thinks how this is all wrong. That the whole world went mad when Daredevil was gone. Daredevil wonders if he was gone for that long.
We cut to the morning with Matt in bed with Milla. Matt gets a phone call from Foggy. Foggy tells Matt about the situation involving Melvin Potter. Matt says that they have to stay away from representing people who’ve publicly tried to kill Daredevil for a while. That Matt is trying to keep a low profile for a while.
We shift to Becky at the courthouse meeting up with one of her lawyer friends named Gus. Gus tells Becky how he is representing Melvin Potter and that he is completely over his head. Gus asks Becky for help with the case.
We hop back to the law offices of Nelson & Murdock. Matt tells Becky that she cannot help Gus with the Melvin Potter case. That he and Foggy have already decided not to work on that case. Becky retorts that she thought she was a partner and how can they decide anything without talking to her.
Matt says it was his decision. That with everything that has happened in his life in the past year and the way the government is looking into the affairs of masked vigilantes that he thought it was best to stay off the radar for now. Becky says if Foggy and Matt want to sit this one out then she will do it by herself. Becky says she isn’t budging on this one.
Becky says Melvin is an innocent man being set up. Becky asks Matt if the possible bad press is more important than that because it doesn’t seem to stop Daredevil from going out every single night.
Matt concedes and says Becky is right. Becky asks Matt to come with her to Bellevue where Melvin is being held for a psyche evaluation.
We cut to Matt and Becky meeting with Melvin at Bellevue. Melvin said he was at the prison shop on work detail. That some of the inmates were calling Melvin “tardo” and making other taunting comments. Melvin says he didn’t touch them. That Matt knows Melvin hates hurting people. That someone hit Melvin from behind and the next thing he knows, the guards are saying that he killed the inmates. That someone is setting Melvin up. Matt says that Melvin is telling the truth.
We shift to late that night with Daredevil on patrol. We see a man tailing Milla. The man gets on his cell phone and reports that he is following the wife and that she is seeing a shrink. The guy then comments to the person he is talking to that “Exactly, you could use that. I mean, I think.”
We cut back to Bellevue. A guard is leading Melvin and another inmate down a staircase. The other inmate keeps mocking Melvin. Melvin starts yelling “Leave me alone!” and breaks his handcuffs and then breaks the inmate’s neck. Melvin then head butts the guard and throws him down the steps.
Melvin then suddenly looks at his bloody hands with a shocked look on his face. Another guard enters the stairway and pulls his gun and yells at Melvin to put his hands up in the air. Melvin then exclaims that he didn’t do it. End of issue.
The Good: Daredevil #95 was a solid read. Brubaker always impresses me with his ability to deliver such technically sound issues each and every month. This issue moves along at a steady pace. Brubaker’s style usually calls for a measured pace as he slides the various players into pace.
Daredevil #95 is the set up issue for the new story arc and Brubaker handles the beginning of this story arc in his usual fashion. Brubaker never forces and rushes any of his story arcs. Everything is allowed to unfold organically as the various pieces suddenly come to gather.
Daredevil #95 is well plotted. Brubaker always has great vision when it comes to plotting story arcs. Combined that with Brubaker’s attention to detail and ability to keep the reader guessing and you get a nicely plotted story.
Brubaker serves up an enjoyable blend of action and dialogue in Daredevil #95. Brubaker isn’t shy about keeping the action to a minimum and delivering dialogue heavy issues. In this issue, Brubaker keeps things interesting by placing some action to keep this set up issue from being too boring.
As always, Brubaker delivers strong character development and quality dialogue. These usually go hand in hand. All the characters have nice external voices. The dialogue between Matt, Foggy and Becky was perfect. I have been in those types of meetings between partners and believe me, this dialogue was spot on. It was cool to see Becky stand up to Matt and Foggy. The big shot attorney usually railroads the other partners, especially any new partners. It was good for Becky to stand up for herself and her position and still do it in a respectful manner.
Brubaker gives us a Hell’s Kitchen much different than what we got near the end of Bendis’s run on this title. And that is a wise move. A crime free Hell’s Kitchen is just no fun. Plus, showing how quickly Hell’s Kitchen has spiraled out of control and descended into such a sea of violence shows what a huge impact Daredevil has on this community. And that while Matt was suffering from his own personal breakdown, the community of Hell’s Kitchen paid the price.
Brubaker is a stud crime fiction writer. I like his explanation of how the criminals were pulling off big heists by having another crime occur somewhere else that was just a noisy distraction. Brubaker always delivers a nice insight into the criminal mind. It is clear that Brubaker is at home when writing about hard boiled crime stories. This is another reason why I have never though that the Uncanny X-Men was a title best suited for Brubaker’s talents.
This plotline involving Melvin is rather curious. I have no idea where Brubaker is going with this one. Is Melvin insane? Is it some form of mind control? Brubaker certainly has gotten my interest with this plotline.
Brubaker also teases the reader with a new plotline when we see Milla being followed by a man while on her way to see her shrink. The reader is left wondering why the man was following Milla, who he was talking to on his cell phone and just how is the information that Milla is seeing a shrink going to be used against Matt? This is a neat little plotline that I’m sure Brubaker is going to develop into something larger and interesting.
Lark and Guadiano provide plenty of solid artwork. Their artwork is perfect for a title like Daredevil. This style of art meshes nicely with Brubaker’s tone and mood.
The Bad: Daredevil #95 was a bit slow and wasn’t anything all that great. However, that is understandable since it is the setup issue for the new story arc.
Now, the next thing I want to talk about isn’t really a negative, but is certainly isn’t a positive so I figured I’d put it here. What is the deal with the blatant product placement? I know that Marvel decided to bump up product placement in their comic books with the “Rush” mini-series centering on a character that drives a Pontiac Solstice. But, I didn’t think it was going to translate into product placement begin randomly inserted in all of Marvel’s titles.
Almost always, artists draw generic cars in comic books. I think the only comic that I read that draws realistic and detailed versions of existing cars is Initial D. Usually, in Marvel and DC comic books you just get a very general and generic looking vehicle.
Not in Daredevil #95. We get very detailed drawings of a Ford Mustang that most certainly takes center stage in the big action scene in this issue. The drawings of the Ford Mustang were faithfully accurate all the way down to the galloping pony logo on the grill of the Mustang. I guess I should be thankful that they didn’t actually mention the type of car like they do over on “Heroes” where Hiro constantly refers to his “blue Nissan Versa.”
With all of the product placement that you see on T.V. and in movies, I guess it was just a matter of time before it started appearing in comic books.
Overall: Daredevil #95 wasn’t anything amazing, but it was still a solid read. Brubaker has an interesting story arc in store for us. Daredevil, along with Ultimate Spider-Man and X-Factor, is one of the most dependable reads that Marvel publishes. With a new story arc starting with this issue, this is a great time for new readers to give this title a try. If you like crime stories and street level heroes then I don’t think you will be disappointed with Brubaker’s Daredevil.
Saturday, March 31, 2007
The Revolution slept through Daredevil #94. It was pure filler and rather boring. I didn’t even bother to post a review for that issue. It appears that Brubaker gets back on track with Daredevil #95 as we get the beginning of the new story arc. I’m sure that the last issue was a mere hiccup and that Brubaker will return to form. Daredevil #95 should be a quality read. Let’s hit this review.
Friday, March 30, 2007
Ultimate Spider-Man is a title that The Revolution always looks forward to reading. I know that many people think I just love to bash on Bendis. And that is completely not true. I loved Bendis’s run on Daredevil. And I think his run on Ultimate Spider-Man is one of the greatest runs on a single title in the history of comic books. I am confident that Ultimate Spider-Man #107 is going to be another good read. Let’s do this review.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Mark Bagley
Inker: Drew Hennessy
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: We begin with Kitty Pryde being introduced to Peter’s class. The teacher asks the class if they would like to ask Kitty any questions. All the students have a million questions for Kitty. She shows them her mutant powers. All the students think it is really cool. Except Liz, who is jealous. Liz tells Kitty that Kitty thinks she is better than the rest of them. That is why mutants call themselves Homo SUPERIOR.
Then Jessica Jones, from the school’s newspaper begins taking pictures of Kitty with her cell phone camera and asks her about her relationship with Spider-Man. Jessica asks if they are still dating or have broken up. Kitty can’t take it and phases through the wall and out into the hallway and runs out of the school.
Flash and Kong argue about who gets to ask Kitty out on a date. The teacher then yells at the class for making Kitty feel cheap and a freak and unloved.
We cut to Peter and Mary Jane walking by the high school’s football field. Kitty is sitting by herself in the bleachers. Mary Jane asks Peter if he had asked Kitty to transfer to their school. Peter says he didn’t. Peter then goes to talk to Kitty.
Kitty doesn’t want to talk to Peter. She yells at Peter for not breaking up with her in person. That she came to the hospital when Aunt May was injured and saw Peter kissing Mary Jane. Kitty says that she absolutely blasted Professor X for not erasing the knowledge that Peter is Spider-Man from Aunt May’s mind. That since that blowout, Professor X asked her politely to leave. So, now Kitty is living with her mom who moved eight blocks away from Peter’s high school.
Peter thanks Kitty for her concern about his secret identity, but he doesn’t want Aunt May to not know his secret identity. That sometimes you have to take responsibility when things happen. And that is what Peter is doing.
Peter then says how he thought Mary Jane was going to die. That in that moment he realized he had made a huge mistake. Kitty snaps that Peter is calling her a mistake. Kitty phases through the bleachers and leaves.
We see Mary Jane at the bottom of the bleachers watching the entire scene. MJ grabs her hand as it stats to shake and tremble and transform into a slightly clawish looking shape.
We cut to Peter sitting by Aunt May’s bedside at the hospital. Peter looks at the clock and thinks how he is not going to bother going to meet Daredevil at 8:00. But, curiosity gets the better of him and Peter gets into his Spider-Man costume and web slings across the town.
Spider-Man hides out on the building next to the rooftop where Daredevil is holding his meeting. Spider-Man sees Daredevil with Dr. Strange, Iron Fist, Shang-Chi and Moon Knight. Daredevil then sense Spider-Man, looks at him and motions for Spider-Man to come join them.
Spider-Man leaps over to the rooftop. Spider-Man says “Hi” to everyone. Spider-Man then tells Daredevil that he said he wanted to kill Kingpin. Spider-Man says he is not going to kill anyone. And if Daredevil and his group decide to go ahead and try to kill Kingpin then Spider-Man will go to Nick Fury and tell Nick about Daredevil’s little group and their plan to kill Kingpin.
Spider-Man then asks what is the plan other than killing Kingpin. Daredevil mentions that since Shang-Chi got exposed, that Kingpin is still missing his assassin bodyguard otherwise known as his “fist.”
Shang-Chi can’t do it since he has already been exposed. Iron Fist can’t do it since Kingpin knows him. Spider-Man can’t do it since Kingpin knows him. Dr. Strange can’t since he is on TV all the time and plus he isn’t enough of a tough guy to pose as an assassin bodyguard.
So, that leaves Moon Knight who readily agrees to do it. Dr. Strange says that he can give Moon Knight some enhancement spells o give Moon Knight a little boost in appearance and power. Once Moon Knight infiltrates Kingpin’s operation then they can break the back of Kingpin’s day to day operation.
We cut to Iron Fist telling Daredevil’s entire plan to infiltrate the Kingpin’s empire to someone off panel. Iron Fist wants to know if they have a deal since Iron Fist isn’t going to go back to prison for anyone. The person off panel turns out to be Kingpin who responds that if what Iron Fist says is true then they most certainly have a deal. End of issue.
The Good: Ultimate Spider-Man #107 was a solid read. It was certainly nothing great, but it was still better than average. Spider-Man #107 was pure set up for the new story arc involving the Ultimate Universe version of the Marvel Knights taking on the Kingpin.
Bendis is continuing his excellent plotting on this title. Taking center stage is the new story arc involving the Ultimate Marvel Knights taking on the Kingpin. But, we also have the plotline involving the love triangle between Kitty, Mary Jane and Peter. This plotline will probably simmer for a while until Bendis investigates it at more depth at some point in the future.
And Bendis also teases the writer with another plotline involving Mary Jane still suffering from the effects of the Oz serum. This should make for an interesting story arc at some point in the future.
And the best part is how effortlessly Bendis segue ways from one story arc to the next one. And how seamless the various plotlines are mixed into the story. It is a sign of a writer who is a strong plotter and that has a clear long term vision for his title.
The addition of Kitty Pryde to the mix at Peter’s high school should prove excellent fodder for lots of teen drama. Bendis knows how to stir the pot to keep Peter’s life exciting and having Kitty at his high school will definitely spice things up.
Bendis does an excellent job showing the different reactions by the students to having a celebrity mutant in their class. You get the anti-mutant reaction in Liz. Then you get the fawning sex starved reaction of the two jocks in Flash and Kong. Then you get the typical petty high school girl gossip mongering in Jessica Jones. Part of what makes Ultimate Spider-Man so great is Bendis’s excellent feel for the high school setting. Bendis does a great job capturing the various types of characters you see at just about every high school.
And the scene between Peter and Kitty was just nasty. Kitty really laid into Peter and let him have it. And, to be honest, Peter deserved it. He didn’t handle the situation with Kitty very well at all. And then Peter compounds his problems by using the word “mistake” as if Kitty and his relationship with her was just one huge mistake. Wow. That is not what a woman wants to hear after a guy dumps her for his old girlfriend.
The cool thing about all of this is how realistic it is. Peter is just a high school kid and still doesn’t know how to handle women or serious relationships. The way Peter handled the entire breakup with Kitty is pretty much how I handled my first couple of girlfriends. It is clumsy, dumb and awkward. But, it is all part of that learning experience.
I liked the teaser that Mary Jane is still showing signs of the Oz serum still in her system. This should make for a great story arc in the future. And what is Mary Jane going to transform into? The same Bigfoot type creature as before or something different?
This new story arc concerning Daredevil’s loose confederation of urban heroes taking on the Kingpin definitely has some potential. Kingpin is a great villain and Bendis has created a wonderful history between Kingpin and Spider-Man. The feud between the Ultimate versions of Spider-Man and Kingpin is even better than the feud between the 616 Spider-Man and Kingpin.
I dig the heroes that Bendis has assembled. Moon Knight, Spider-Man, Iron Fist, Shang-Chi and Daredevil are Marvel’s top urban based heroes. And even though Dr. Strange isn’t an urban hero, he has always been an off-beat hero who has always associated with these urban heroes. Dr. Strange also adds a little diversity in the style of hero and also gives this group some serious firepower.
Bendis creates some fantastic chemistry between the Marvel Knights. I dig how Spider-Man and Daredevil have no love lost for each other. I also like how crazy Bendis is writing Moon Knight.
The best part about this Ultimate Spider-Man #107 was the bomb that Bendis dropped on the reader. And Bendis has a real knack for delivering huge hook endings. This issue was no exception. We learn that Iron Fist is a traitor and divulges our heroes plan to Kingpin. I didn’t see that coming at all. I love it. This should definitely crank up the intensity on this story arc.
Now, for the record, I think that in the end Iron Fist will show that deep down inside he is a hero. I’m pretty sure that Iron Fist will eventually realize the mistake he made by partnering with Kingpin because of his fear of going back to jail. Of course, this could all be a part of our heroes' plan.
As always, Bendis crafts plenty of fine dialogue. Bendis is the master of the witty banter. Some people hate it. Others love it. I don’t like it on every title, but I do on this one. You just can’t have Spider-Man without snappy banter.
Plus, Bendis gives each character their own unique voice. Each character is well developed and a big reason for that is Bendis not writing generic dialogue for each character.
Bagley’s artwork is all right. I’m not a huge fan of his style, but it gets the job done and is still slightly better than average.
The Bad: The pacing of Ultimate Spider-Man #107 was a little slow as there wasn’t much action and we got mostly a bunch of dialogue heavy scenes with not much going on at all. But, as I said before, this issue was a set up issue for the new story arc, so I wasn’t all that surprised by the slow pace.
Overall: Ultimate Spider-Man #107 was a dependable read. It wasn’t great or anything out of the ordinary. But, it was still solid and certainly laid the foundation for what should be a rather exciting and action packed story arc. Bendis continues to make Ultimate Spider-Man Marvel’s most reliable read on the market. And the fact that Bendis has done it for so long is just incredible.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
It seems like forever since we got a Morrison and Kubert issue of Batman. Last issue of Batman didn’t count since it was an odd book style issue with no Kubert. So I am pretty psyched to read Batman #664. I enjoyed Morrison and Kubert’s first story arc on this title and expect more of the same. Anything will be more enjoyable than that dreadfully boring Grotesk story arc. I’m confident that Batman #664 is going to be a good read. Let’s hit this review.
Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciler: Andy Kubert
Inker: Jesse Delperdang
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin in Gibraltar with a ton of beaten up Man-Bat ninjas all over the place. Bruce, in his suit, gets a cell phone call from a woman telling him to meet her at La Flegere at 10:30 am tomorrow.
We cut to a hot black chick and her two big bodyguards on the top of a beautiful snow covered mountain ready to do some skiing. Right at 10:30, we see Bruce in his ski gear parachuting his way down onto the mountain top. The girl is named Jet.
Bruce gives Jet a “Blue Pennyworth” which is the rarest rose his butler grows. Jet then comments that Bruce is cool like James Bond. Bruce responds that he is much cooler than James Bond. Bruce then says he will race Jet back to the lodge.
Bruce and Jet start skiing down the mountain. We then see a man with a video camera in a small one man helicopter following them. Bruce takes one of his ski poles and throws it at the helicopter’s rotors and crashed the small flying machine. They ski over to the man to make sure he is ok. Jet comments that the guy was paparazzi.
We shift to Bruce and Jet at dinner that night. Bruce comments that his stunt earlier is going to further his bad boy imitation. Bruce jokes that the headline will be “Mad, bad and reckless—Gotham Playboy strikes again!”
Jet asks Bruce if he is okay. That Bruce looks sad. Bruce said he is fine. He just had a hell of a weekend. Jet says that her own father was assassinated because of what he believed in. That she understands Bruce’s loss of his own parents. Bruce replies that it was a long time again and that he got over it. But, his angry eyes suggest otherwise.
We hop over to Gotham City. We see Batman watching a couple of crooked cops talking to a pimp named DeShawn and his hookers. DeShawn says his hookers don’t want to service the cops. That one of them is totally out of control and keeps killing the girls. The cops respond if DeShawn wants to be responsible if the guy gets loose. That they need to pacify him.
Batman swoops in and takes out the crooked cops and pins DeShawn to the wall of a building. One of the hookers tells Batman that the cops have been having them service a monster on smack. Batman asks DeShawn how long he has been supplying hookers for the Gotham Police. One of the hookers says that the cops won’t talk. That the monster inside is one of their own. He is a cop.
Batman enters the building and finds a bunch of hookers tied up and killed. The smell of human blood and dead flesh is thick in the air. Batman finds steroid-type drugs. Batman then comes face to face with a huge guy who is wearing a costume similar to Bane’s costume. The two men begin brawling.
Batman thinks how this reminds him over the other cop who dressed like Batman and shot the Joker. Batman then begins thinking about the files in “the black casebook.” Batman realizes that this cop dressed like Bane is steroid enhanced. The cop gets the upper hand on Batman. Batman thinks that he has to stay conscious. Batman thinks about the black casebook. That everyone is in danger.
We then see the cop posing as Bane stomping on Batman’s back. Batman loses consciousness and the Bane imposter walk away.
The Good: Batman #664 was a good read. It is great to have Morrison and Kubert back on this title. After that pathetic Grotesk story arc, it was nice to get a quality read once again on Batman.
Morrison delivers a well paced issue. Batman #644 was a nice balance between drama and action. The story moves along briskly and did a good job capturing the reader’s attention from start to finish.
Morrison also serves up some quality dialogue. I have been impressed with Morrison’s take on Bruce Wayne and Batman. I separate the two because Morrison is one of the few writers to actually treat Bruce Wayne and Batman as two separate and well developed characters. Morrison gives Bruce Wayne plenty of spot on cocky playboy billionaire style dialogue. Bruce Wayne is a suave fellow who is always ready with a smooth line to deliver to the ladies.
On the other hand, Morrison gives Batman drastically different dialogue. Batman talks with an economy of words and is blunt and to the point. Morrison gives Batman a hint of anger as a constant undercurrent to his dialogue. I dig how drastically different Morrison crafts the dialogue from Bruce and for Batman.
Morrison has done an excellent job showing the schizophrenic world that Batman lives in. Most writers who have written Batman almost completely ignore the character of Bruce Wayne. Many previous writers barely even had Batman out of his costume and out and about as Bruce Wayne.
And on the rare occasions that previous writers had Bruce Wayne get any panel time, his character was often shown as this non-descript and very vanilla persona. Usually it was shown that Batman hated being Bruce Wayne and never felt comfortable as Bruce Wayne.
Morrison wisely junked that style of writing Batman. Bruce Wayne is a great character with plenty of potential and deserves panel time. A more intriguing and appealing Bruce Wayne only serves to make Batman a more complex character.
I love that Morrison shows Batman enjoying being Bruce Wayne. And why shouldn’t he? He is good looking and insanely rich. A man that works as hard as Batman does should absolutely be the same kind of man that also plays hard like Bruce Wayne should.
And Morrison certainly gives Bruce Wayne some quality panel time in Batman #664. I always enjoy Morrison’s Bruce Wayne scenes. I have to give major props to Morrison for pulling off a nice Lord Byron reference when Bruce joked that about the headline of the Gotham newspaper would read “Mad, bad and reckless—Gotham Playboy strikes again!”
Lord Byron was a total stud and my personal favorite poet of all time. Lady Caroline Lamb once wrote after meeting Lord Byron that he was “Bad, mad and dangerous to know.” I wonder how many readers spotted this Lord Byron homage.
And this was a subtle way of getting the reader to view Bruce Wayne’s character in a different light. Lord Byron was the bad boy of London’s high society. He was a wild man who lived life to its fullest. He was physically fit, boxed and was a strong swimmer. He also drank to excess and had sex to excess. This was a neat way to cast Bruce into the role of a modern day Lord Byron.
Of course, Morrison also took the obvious way of getting the reader to change their view of Bruce Wayne by having Jet compare Bruce with James Bond only to have Bruce comment that he is even cooler than James Bond. Plus, the skiing scene in the beginning of this issue reminded me of the skiing scene from “The Spy Who Loved Me.” That was an overt way for Morrison to get across this new image of Bruce Wayne as the ultimate thrill seeking, woman conquering billionaire playboy.
Of course, Morrison isn’t only about character development. We also got plenty of kick ass action. I love that Morrison has brought back the nasty side of Batman that disappeared under Robinson’s run on this title. Morrison’s Batman certainly doesn’t mind inflicting pain on those that he fights. I dig how efficient, quick and brutal Batman is in these fights.
Morrison unveils his new story arc which continues the plot that he touched on briefly at the beginning of his first story arc with the cop that impersonated Batman and shot the Joker. I’m glad that Morrison is exploring this plotline further. The idea of cops running around all hopped up on steroids and drugs and impersonating Batman and Bane is certainly different.
And what exactly is this black casebook that Batman keeps referencing in the final fight scene? Batman seems quite concerned over the files from the black casebook and what may be about to happen.
This issue was all about the setup. Morrison used this issue to transition from his last story arc and to get all the various players into place for this new story arc. Morrison has certainly piqued my interest in this new story arc.
Morrison needed this issue with a nice hook ending. We get this faux Bane “breaking” Batman’s back in a nod to the actions of the original Bane. The ending was certainly enough to get the reader excited about the next issue.
Andy Kubert did a solid job with the artwork. I have never been a huge Andy Kubert fan, but I certainly respect his talent. I still find Kubert’s art to be a bit inconsistent. Some of the small panels look a little weak and a bit sloppy. However, the one page splash shots are just fantastic looking.
The Bad: No complaints with this issue.
Overall: Batman #664 was a solid read. This issue had an enjoyable blend of quality writing and good artwork. Morrison and Kubert are a great team and it is great to have them back on this title. Morrison does a nice job kicking off this new story arc that has plenty of potential. I’d certainly recommend giving Batman a try.
Green Lantern is a title that The Revolution can always count on to be a quality read. Johns has done an amazing job on this title crafting some wildly entertaining storylines. We get a guest artist on this issue. Daniel Acuna replaced Ivan Reis. I dig Acuna’s artwork, but will certainly miss Reis’s always impressive artwork. Having said that, I am positive that Green Lantern #18 will be another great read. Let’s do this review.
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Daniel Acuna
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We start with Carol Ferris racing around in an airplane on her way to a meeting at Ferris Air. Carol thinks about her relationship with Hal Jordan. How there was so much tension when Hal first came to Ferris Air. Hal got to fly and Carol didn’t and she always wanted to be in the air. She thinks how they fell in love and then Parallax happened and she thought Hal died. Carol then married someone else.
Carol is about to land at Ferris Air when Star Sapphire crashes into the plane’s cockpit. Star Sapphire then transfers itself into Carol and flies out of the plane leaving the woman it first possessed in the cockpit of the crashing plane. Star Sapphire takes over Carol’s body and says it is time to find their love.
We cut to a bar on Edward’s Air Force Base. Hal and Cowgirl are having a beer with each other. Hal tells Cowgirl that General Stone is the only other person who knows that he is Green Lantern. Hal says he hasn’t told Rocket-Man, yet. Hal says he owes Rocket-Man an apology. Hal says that if he had been wearing his power ring then they wouldn’t have been captured in that camp for more than two minutes.
Cowgirl responds that Hal didn’t shoot them down or lock them in the camp. That he liked to the rush of flying without a safety net. Cowgirl says that she doesn’t blame Hal at all.
Cowgirl then says that she and Hal are a lot alike. Hal comments maybe too alive. Cowgirl retorts that the big bad super hero can’t be scared of her. Hal replies maybe a little.
Suddenly, Star Sapphire smashed through the window of the bar. Star Sapphire picks up Hal and gives him a kiss. Cowgirl then attacks Star Sapphire. Star Sapphire blasts Cowgirl. Hal then transforms into Green Lantern and shows that he digs the bondage scene as he puts Star Sapphire into shackles.
Green Lantern and Star Sapphire then take their fight up into the sky. Star Sapphire breaks free from Green Lantern’s ring and then senses Hal’s desire for Cowgirl. Star Sapphire leaves Carol’s body and possesses Cowgirl.
Green Lantern grabs Carol and saves her. Carol tells Hal that she knows what the Star Sapphire is. Sector 1416. They come from Sector 1416. The Zamarons and Sinestro.
Suddenly, Star Sapphire in Cowgirl’s body flies up to Green Lantern and asks him if he wants this body instead? End of story.
We get a Sinestro Corps back up story. We see Amon Sur on the planet Qward which is the center of the antimatter universe and the home of the Sinestro Corps. Amon enters the Archive Tower and meets Lyssa Drak of Talok IV. (Who looks like Shadow Lass from the Legion of Super Heroes. Even has a similar costume to the one that the Levitz era Shadow Lass wore.)
Lyssa is the keeper of the Book of Parallax. Lyssa tells Amon that he must sit in a Gear Lodge until he embraces his own fears and light his own ring. Only then will he find his chosen path of terror as others of the Sinestro Corps have.
Lyssa then tells Amon a story about Sinestro Corps member Despotellis who is the most terrifying member of the Corps. That he can turn entire planets into graveyards. Lyssa tells Amon that the story begins with a Green Lantern named Reemuz who was very dutiful and his tours in his sector would take him from his home planet for months at a time.
After being gone for ten months, Reemuz finally returns to his home planet only to find everyone in his city dead. Even his wife and children were dead. Reemuz’s power ring scans the area and finds no survivors. Reemuz then spies a yellow lantern. Reemuz grabs it since he knew the owner of it would have to return to it at some point to recharge.
Reemuz then began touring his planet. Everyone was dead. Suddenly, Reemuz grew tired and sick. Reemuz begins coughing up some yellow junk. Reemuz collapsed to the ground. As he drew his last breath, he finally saw the Sinestro Corp. member responsible for all the death. We see Despotellis fly out of Reemuz’s mouth. Despotellis is smaller than an ember. Despotellis is a sentient bio-virus. Despotellis uses his ring to carry his lantern away with him.
Amon then tells Lyssa that before he enters the Fear Lodge and chooses his own way that he would like for her to tell him another story. End of issue.
The Good: Johns does it again! Green Lantern #18 was another good read. It wasn’t quite to the insanely good level of the past several issues, but it was still a damn good issue. Johns is firing on all cylinders with Green Lantern and just can’t seem to miss. I am so impressed with the consistent level of quality writing that Johns keeps turning in on this title.
Green Lantern #18 was a well paced issue. Johns does a nice job mixing in plenty of action with the dialogue heavy scenes. This issue had a nice flow which made for an enjoyable read. Green Lantern #18 was well plotted and it is nice to see a writer who has a clear vision for his storyline and has such direction for his title. Johns manages to just roll in each new story arc with seamless transitions. The stories naturally unfold themselves with each and every issue.
As always, Johns delivers good dialogue. I like how Johns handles Hal’s character. The banter between Cowgirl and Hal was perfect for two aggressive adrenaline junkies. I can’t imagine how stable of a relationship these to characters would have with each other. They are so similar that I have a feeling that any relationship they would have together would burn intensely for a short time and then spin wildly out of control and crash spectacularly. It should be fun to watch!
The addition of Carol Ferris to the mix was a nice move. Nothing stirs the point with a potential new love interest like the ex-girlfriend making a big splash onto the scene. How will Carol’s return into Hal’s life impact his feelings for Cowgirl? How will they impact Carol’s feelings for her husband? This has all the makings of a nice love triangle that will have a lasting impact on everyone involved.
I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Star Sapphire. I dig the character and I have always loved the concept of Green Lantern’s girlfriend also being one of his greatest enemies. Johns raises the complexity of Star Sapphire by having the gem hop from Carol to Cowgirl in an attempt to see which one appeals more to Hal.
And finally, it looks like Johns is going to give us some insight into this new Star Sapphire. DC has had various versions of Star Sapphire dating all the way back to 1948 when the character made her first appearance. I’m curious to see how Johns is going to re-imagine Star Sapphire for this new DC Universe. It should be interesting.
I dig that Johns is taking the time to deal with Hal’s guilt over not wearing his power ring during the mission over Russia. Hal is continuing to beat himself up over not having the power ring and being able to break them out of the prison in just a couple of minutes. It is understandable that Hal blames himself for Rocket Man’s injury.
Johns uses this scene to show that regret and guilt are a reoccurring theme on this title. Hal has the regret and guilt over the events of Parallax and what he did to his teammates in the Green Lantern Corps. Now, Hal is doing the same with what happened to his fellow pilots on their mission.
Johns uses Hal’s guilt and regret to show that Hal is a true hero, but not perfect. Hal will make mistakes, but his heart of a true hero will not allow him to accept making any mistakes. This is why Hal continually pushes himself each and every day. And this is also why Hal is the greatest Green Lantern. He just can’t accept mistakes and will always be willing to shoulder the blame for anything that goes wrong under his watch whether it was his fault or not.
Johns gives us an excellent back up story. Normally, I can’t stand back up stories. They are usually time wasters and pure filler. Not in this case. Johns is using these back up stories to give the reader some valuable insight into the inner workings of the Sinestro Corps.
Now, obviously, you know I love Lyssa. I dig that Johns has a female from Talok IV make an appearance. And the fact that Lyssa is sporting a costume very reminiscent of the Levitz Era Shadow Lass is also pretty cool.
I love how Johns has set up the infrastructure of the Sinestro Corps. I dig that they follow the Book of Parallax and that Lyssa is the officially assigned keeper of that “holy” book. The Archive Tower on Qward is a pretty cool place to house the base of the Sinestro.
And the concept that every member of the Sinestro Corps first has to spend time in a Fear Lodge until the member embraces their own fear and lights their ring and then gains their unique method of instilling fear. That is a cool concept. It is reminiscent of Native America culture of a sweat lodge which is a method of connecting with the spiritual realm.
I’m impressed at how quickly Johns is able to establish nicely detailed customs for the Sinestro Corps. This insight to the Sinestro Corps and their customs just gets me even more interested in this group and the upcoming story arc involving them. I hope that Johns keeps the Sinestro Corps around for a good long time. It is such a cool concept. And after all, everything in the universe has to have its natural opposite. And now the Green Lantern Corps has its own.
And what a great character Johns delivers with Sinestro Corps member Despotellis! Fantastic. Despotellis is a really cool and creative character. The idea of a sentient bi-virus is wild. I dig how Despotellis takes out the entire planet and then traps the Green Lantern and easily takes him out. Despotellis is certainly going to be a serious force to be reckoned with.
Daniel Acuna does a great job as the fill-in artist. Normally, I don’t enjoy fill-in artists. And Ivan Reis is a tough act to follow. I adore Reis’s art so it is tough for me to enjoy anyone else filling Reis’s spot on this title. Acuna is no Reis, but Acuna is still a talented artist.
Acuna has an interesting and distinctive style. I understand that many people probably don’t dig his heavy lined and heavy painted style, but I like it. And man, can Acuna draw one lip smacking good version of Star Sapphire! And for the record, Carol as Star Sapphire is way hotter than Cowgirl as Star Sapphire.
The Bad: I will admit that having Carol display a Cowgirl style personality with her hot dogging in her airplane was a bit annoying. I mean, honestly, does everyone have to have that stud pilot adrenaline junkie attitude? One is enough. Two is a pushing it. But, Three? Just like the old TV show, three is simply a crowd.
Overall: Green Lantern #18 was another good read. Johns continues to impress with the high quality of work he is putting forth on this title. Green Lantern is certainly one of DC’s strongest titles on the market. I definitely recommend giving Green Lantern a try. Very few books can consistently put forth such well paced and plotted issues like you get in Green Lantern.
The Revolution has been impressed with the past several issues of 52. The writers have done a great job cranking up the intensity as we are almost at the end of this wonderful series. I just don’t see how it is possible that 52 #47 can be anything other than another good read. There is no way that the writers cough up an average issue this close to the end of 52. Let’s go ahead and hit the review.
Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka and Mark Waid
Pencils: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inks: Lorenzo Ruggiero
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: Week 47, Day 1: We start in Nanda Parbat. Tim Drake is sitting outside of a cave that has a giant rock being pushed into place to cover the cave’s entrance. One of the monks tells Tim that Bruce’s soul has been weighed down by experience and if Bruce survives the Thorgal Ordeal, then he will be changed. Bruce will spend the next seven days in darkness. Tim tells the Monk that he will use those days to practice his meditation techniques.
Week 47, Day 2: We shift to Wonder Woman talking with Tim. Wonder Woman comments on all the darkness and how they all lost their way and became more like the evil they set out to fight. Tim tells Wonder Woman how some weird cult had cut out Bruce’s personal demons. But, it just made Bruce worse, like the demons were all he had to protect him. So, they decided to come here to Nanda Parbat so Bruce could undergo an ordeal of spiritual purification. We cut to Bruce in the cave with an insane look on his face.
We zip to Gotham City. We see Whisper performing a human sacrifice. Whisper then reports to Bruno Mannheim and tells him that the sacrifice didn’t work. Bruno says that everything is ready but this last piece. That Intergang must have the twice-named daughter’s heart to rekindle his holy flames. Whisper responds that the Book of Crime cannot be wrong. That the prophecy is true and that they are simply interpreting the prophecy incorrectly. Bruno and Abbot then get into an argument blaming each other for Intergang’s problems catching Batwoman.
Suddenly, Whisper yells for them to shut up because she just figured out the prophecy. The twice-named daughter of Cain. One name is Batwoman and the other is Cain. That all they have to do if find a woman with the name of Cain living in Gotham.
Week 47, Day 3: We hop over to Oolong Island and see Dr. Magnus listening to the horrible screams from Black Adam as Sivana performs his experiments on Black Adam. Magnus sits in front of his large android he created. Magnus comments that he has made something horrible again. Magnus turns on the response-meter of the android and the android says “Crush. Raze. Trample.” Suddenly, miniature version of Mercury and Tin pop out of Magnus’ lab coat’s pockets and tell him to turn off the android. Magnus switched it off.
Week 47, Day 4: We shift to outer space where the two yellow aliens are watching Animal Man. They comment that they have upgraded Animal Man’s powers. That Animal Man can use the Sun-Eater’s abilities to get home in an instant. Animal Man flies toward the two aliens and suddenly, Buddy reaches the outer edge of Space B. It is a blank white dimension with a small black orb containing our entire universe inside of it. The two aliens tell Buddy that from here he can access any point in space or time in his universe. This is how the Sun-Eater travels the universe.
Buddy says he just wants to get home to his wife. Buddy looks into the orb containing the universe and sees his wide one month ahead of his personal timeline. He sees Ellen with another man. The man comments that he is glad Ellen put her grief behind her.
The Aliens tells Animal Man that their work is done and that they will return Buddy to his story.
Week 47, Day 5: We cut to Natasha in her new armor flying with Beast Boy. Natasha tells Beast Boy that she is not read to be a Teen Titan. That she and Steel are putting together a team of their own. That there are a lot of Everyman Project victims who could use their help.
The two heroes land at Steel’s warehouse. Natasha goes inside to tweak her armor. Beast Boy tells Steel that Natasha is turning into quite a young lady. Beast Boy mentions that Natasha told him that she and Steel were starting their own team. Steel then unveils a huge sign on the side of his warehouse that says “Steelworks: Solving problems the old-fashioned way with hard work, ingenuity and elbow grease.”
Kala from STAR Labs then approaches Steel and tells him that she quit her job with STAR Labs. Kala asks Steel if he is hiring. Kala then plants a huge kiss on Steel.
Week 47, Day 6: We shift to Renee Montoya in Vic Sage’s hat and trench coat. (Urrrp. I just threw up a little bit into my mouth.) She enters Kate Kane’s penthouse. The penthouse has been badly damaged from a massive fight and the window is blown out. Nightwing enters through the missing window and tells Renee that they took Kate and that they are going to get her back.
Week 47, Day 7: We see Wonder Woman appearing before Rama Kushina just like Ralph Dibny did a while back. Rama Kushina comments how when did Wonder Woman ever know guilt before know? Or doubt or regret? Or what it is to fail? When did Wonder Woman in all her perfection ever share the pains that mortals feel each day of their lives? Until Now. Rama Kushina then says “Welcome to the world, Wonder Woman. Here is wisdom.”
We cut to Tim sitting outside of the cave. Suddenly, we see the rock covering the entrance being pushed aside. Bruce steps outside of the cave with a smile on his face. End of story.
We get a two page back up story on the origin of the Teen Titans. End of issue.
The Good: Huh. I wasn’t expecting such an average issue with 52 #47. Having said that, there were some enjoyable parts to this issue. The writers did a nice job showing how Wonder Woman recovered from her personal crisis that culminated in her killing Maxwell Lord.
The scene with Rama Kushina really highlighted what a massive turning point in Wonder Woman’s character that event truly was. Prior to the events that led up to Infinite Crisis, Wonder Woman was the image of perfection. She was so separate from mortals and our world.
For the first time, Wonder Woman finally realizes what it is like to be mortal. And through that Wonder Woman gains wisdom about this mortal world. I really dig how the writers pulled off this revelation in Wonder Woman’s life. It certainly will help make Wonder Woman a more well rounded character that is easier for readers to relate to in some sort of fashion.
52 #47 also does a good job explaining how the annoying shiny happy Batman that Robinson gave us on his One Year Later storyline came into existence. Batman exiting the cave with a smile on his face explains that annoying new friendly look on life that Robinson’s Batman displayed.
I liked how the writers took Batman’s inner demons and showed how they were actually positive forces in Batman’s mind and helped to serve as protection. This was a great move to show how truly warped Batman is. I dig the twist that Batman’s demons that drive him to maniacally fight crime are actually all that keeps Batman from falling apart due to the grief of having lost his parents.
I liked Animal Man’s power upgrade that the two aliens gave him. Buddy is a great character and it is cool to see him get seriously bumped up in power. And you had to feel for poor Buddy when he saw his wife with another man. The only thing that has kept Buddy going through all of 52 has been his family.
I’m still unsure what important role the writers have for Buddy to play in the finale of 52. I just hope that Animal Man makes it out of 52 alive.
The new Steelworks was a good idea. I dig the old school flavor of Steelworks that they convey in their sign. It is great to see Natasha maturing as a character and finally understanding what her Uncle Johns has been trying to teach her during the events of 52.
The writers have really done a great job using 52 to develop a minor character like Natasha. I was never a fan of either Steel or Natasha prior to 52. However, the excellent handling of both characters has made me quite a fan of both of them. And that is the mark of good writing and is exactly what DC hoped 52 would achieve.
The scene with Will Magnus was interesting. I’m curious to learn more about this ominous android that he has created. I loved seeing the miniature versions of Tin and Mercury hiding out in the pockets of Magnus’s lab coat.
You know that Dr. Magnus is the x-factor in the Oolong Island plotline. Dr. Magnus and his Metal Men have to come through in the end as the true heroes that they are.
The Bad: 52 #47 was a slow and boring issue. Nothing happened in this issue. I’m totally shocked that the writers coughed up such a clunker of an issue so close to the end of this series. With only five issues remaining on 52, now is not the time to throw out a plodding, dull read. 52 #47 has zero pop to it. Nothing about this issue really got me excited. The writers better crank it up again if they are to deliver a satisfactory ending to this series.
Even though I liked the twist about Batman’s demons actually protecting him, for the most part, I found the Batman scenes to be largely useless and uninteresting. The main reason is because we know 52 has little to no impact on Batman.
Yeah, Robinson gave us a pussyfied version of Batman due to the events of 52, but that Robinson’s version of Batman was immediately discarded by both Dini and Morrison. Dini gives us the reliable cold and calculating detective genius over in Detective Comics. And Morrison gives us the playboy stud who is simmering with anger at all times and is prone to some serious violent tendencies.
So the scenes involving this “purification” of Bruce’s soul were largely pointless since Batman is still the same Batman that he has always been.
I just could care less about any plotline involving Batwoman, Renee Montoya and Intergang. Absolutely none of those characters appeal to me at all. I find Intergang to be too goofy to take seriously. And Batwoman is as unimpressive a character as you will find anywhere.
I mean, I don’t like Batgirl, but at least I can understand why readers like Cassandra Cain. I can’t even begin to understand why anyone would like this new Batwoman. And I certainly can’t understand why anyone would dig Renee Montoya as the Question. The only way this plotline resolves itself in a satisfactorily manner is if both Batwoman and Renee get killed at the end.
I found the artwork to be rather average. This is no surprise. At no point have I been impressed by the artwork on 52.
Overall: 52 #47 was a disappointing read. Not because it was terrible. No, it was an average issue with as many positives as negatives. It was disappointing because I had such high expectations. 52 has been such a good read over the past several issues and we are so close to the end that I really didn’t expect the writers to deliver such a pedestrian read with 52 #47. I’m sure this is a momentary hic-up and that 52 will return to form with the next issue.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Azzarello is doing a great job cranking out a dependable read on Deathblow. As a matter of fact, this is really the only title out of Wildstorm’s onslaught of new titles that really hooked my interest. I am confident that Deathblow #4 is going to be another well done issue. Let’s do this review.
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Carlos D’Anda
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Deathblow brutally kicking the crap out of a bunch of drug dealers while the talking dog watches him. We cut to General Ruckus talking to Ivana. Ivana tells the General that Deathblow’s mind has found a way to circumvent the reconditioning. That Deathblow was reconditioned to avoid violence. But, they didn’t expect that he would cast himself as a victim so that he could react to violence. Ivana says that mayhem seems to be an absolute necessity for Deathblow just like breathing or eating.
General Ruckus asks if Ivana knows if THEM (The Hidden Extreme Militia) has contacted Deathblow. Ivana says they have no proof of that having occurred. Ruckus says that Deathblow is a loose cannon and that they can’t have that. Ruckus instructs Ivana to tell the agents in place to “earn a vacation.” Ivana doesn’t think it is a wise idea to eliminated Deathblow, but General Ruckus doesn’t care about her opinion.
We cut back to Deathblow standing over all the brutally beaten criminals. Blood is covering Deathblow’s arms up to his elbows. Deathblow tells Mr. Jiminy, the talking dog, that what he just did was pretty cool. Mr. Jiminy isn’t too sure about that.
Suddenly, a part dinosaur and part man cyborg attacks Deathblow. The cyborg and Deathblow start brawling. Mr. Jiminy picks up a gun in his mouth and tosses it over to Deathblow. Deathblow grabs the gun and blows the cyborg’s head off. Mr. Jiminy then says “Are you O.K., Mike?” Deathblow asks what Mr. Jiminy just called him. The talking dog repeats “Mike.”
We shift to Deathblow waking up in his bed and seeing the strange black guy from last issue lying next to him. The guy tells Deathblow that they are coming for him. Deathblow asks who “they?” are. The guy responds that Deathblow knows who they are and that he just doesn’t recognize them for what they are.
The guy then rambles on that it is “us versus them.” And that no one wants Deathblow playing for the other side. The guy says that he is on Deathblow’s side. Deathblow then asks whose side is he on. The strange guy is surprised that Deathblow doesn’t know. The guy comments that they really did a number on Deathblow’s mind. The guy says that Deathblow can ignore him if he wants to, but that one funeral is enough for Deathblow.
We cut to Deathblow’s two children meeting with Ivana. Ivana tells the kids that General Ruckus has ordered them to “earn a vacation.”
We shift to Deathblow on his recliner drinking a beer and watching the New England Patriots football game. Chastity then walks over wearing a hot French Maid’s outfit and claims that she has some “cleaning” to do.
Chastity “accidentally” spills a glass of champagne across her boobs. She then says “oops, look what I did.” And crawls up on Deathblow’s lap and blocks his view of the TV. Deathblow pushes Chastity off him and she falls to the floor. Chastity then asks “Daddy” is he is gay. Deathblow responds that he isn’t gay. That he bet on the game.
We cut to Deathblow on the fire stair of his building talking with Mr. Jiminy. The talking dog says that Deathblow is lashing out against the world while at the same time he is looking for it to tell him what to do. Mr. Jiminy says that being his own man doesn’t work for Deathblow. That Deathblow is a guy who follows orders and without that his life doesn’t make sense. Mr. Jiminy then tells Deathblow that he can help Deathblow if he wants.
We shift to Deathblow’s "kids." Martha asks her brother what their “dad” is doing. The brother says that Deathblow is outside talking to a dog. Martha comments that Deathblow really has gone off the deep end. The brother then responds that the dog is talking back.
The siblings then go to their bed room and open up a toy chest full of weapons. They arm themselves with some major weapons. The sister comments how nice Aruba is around this time of year. The brother comments that he is all about Bangkok.
The Good: Deathblow #4 was another solid read. Azzarello continues to crank out quality reads and has gotten this new title off to a good start. Deathblow #4 was nicely paced. Azzarello continues to move the story along at a measure and steady pace. The reader isn’t bored, but certainly doesn’t feel rushed. Azzarello is doing a good job with the plotting. It is clear that Azzarello has a definite purpose and direction to this story. Azzarello manages to deliver a balanced issue with equal parts action scenes and dialogue heavy scenes.
Azzarello delivers some quality dialogue. Deathblow is beginning to be more and more developed with each issue. I felt that Deathblow was a bit too one-dimensional after the first and second issues. However, Azzarello has really put forth some effort over the last two issues to flesh out Deathblow’s personality more.
I really like how Azzarello is handling Deathblow’s character. Deathblow is so much more than just your stereotypical soldier of fortune violent themed character. Deathblow is coming across more and more complex with each issue. A large part of that is due to the brainwashing that the General Ruckus placed Deathblow under. The mental instability to Deathblow is what gives him more depth and keeps him from being your generic tough guy comic book character.
Azzarello is slowly giving the reader a few more tasty crumbs to nibble on with each issue. In this issue we get insight into General Ruckus’ plans for Deathblow. I dig the idea of taking one insanely dangerous man like Deathblow and programming him to run away whenever faced with violence.
We also learn about the existence of T.H.E.M. Evidently we have General Ruckus and his shady personnel on one side and the members of T.H.E.M. on the other side. I’m interested to learn more about T.H.E.M. and their objectives. Having said that, I’m also interested in learning more about General Ruckus and exactly what he is up to.
And then we have that weird guy who keeps appearing out of thin air and making cryptic statements to Deathblow. Just who is this guy? And which side is he working for? I gather that he isn’t on General Ruckus’s side. So, is he with T.H.E.M.? Or is he with another group. Or is he just his own person totally on his own?
I like this strange guy. He is pretty entertaining and definitely is a great literary tool for Azzarello to give cryptic hints about what has happened to Deathblow and what is in store for him in the future.
Despite all of these interesting tidbits that Azzarello gave the reader, my favorite two involved Deathblow’s “kids” and Mr. Jiminy. And Azzarello delivers both of those revelations at the very end to deliver a fantastic hook ending that grabs the reader’s attention and gets him excited to read the next issue.
Azzarello reveals that Deathblow’s “kids” are in fact highly trained assassins working for General Ruckus. It is pretty twisted to see these little kids pulling out all of these automatic weapons from a toy chest. I loved it. The fight between the kids and Deathblow should be very interesting. It definitely is going to help wake up Deathblow from this dream life he is currently living.
The second revelation is that the talking dog, Mr. Jiminy, is not a hallucination from Deathblow’s deluded mind. Mr. Jiminy actually can talk! That is wild. We have been left to wonder if Deathblow’s conversations with Mr. Jiminy weren’t all taking place in Deathblow’s mind. Well, we now have concrete proof that Mr. Jiminy really is a talking dog.
And that leads the reader to the obvious question of what the hell is Mr. Jiminy? An intelligent talking dog? Bizarre. And what are Mr. Jiminy’s plans for Deathblow. Mr. Jiminy makes the cryptic offer to Deathblow if Deathblow wants the help. I cannot wait to learn more about Mr. Jiminy, who he works for and what his plans are for Deathblow.
And what is the deal with the wild part dinosaur, part man cyborg that Deathblow battled? Who created that monster? I hope we find out a bit more about the source for that creature.
And all of these various plotlines are what makes Deathblow such an intriguing title. Azzarello has layered mystery upon mystery with characters coming from all different angles. The reader doesn’t know what is going to happen at the next moment. And you definitely don’t know who to trust or the motivations for most the of the characters.
Azzarello is also wise enough to make sure that me sprinkles in enough humor to keep Deathblow from being way too grim and gritty. This is a smart move that saves Deathblow from being too heavy handed and more of a parody than a serious title. Mr. Jiminy gets most of the best lines. His dialogue in the scene after Deathblow kills all the criminals was funny.
And the scene with Deathblow and Chastity was great. That was a funny scene well placed in the middle of the issue. Plus, it showed just how blindly focused Deathblow can get. It stresses how basic and no-nonsense Deathblow can be.
D’Anda’s provides more solid artwork on Deathblow #4. I’m not really crazy about D’Anda’s style of art, but it is a great match for this title. D’Anda’s style really fits the dark, gritty and creepy world of Deathblow.
The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.
Overall: Deathblow #4 was another quality read. Azzarello and D’Anda are a great team and have impressed me with their work on this title. Deathblow has been the most consistently good read out of all the new Wildstorm titles that were unleashed several months ago. I’d recommend giving Deathblow a chance unless you absolutely abhor darker themed titles with a good bit of violence.
ACTION COMICS #847
GREEN LANTERN #18
FANTASTIC FOUR #544
ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR #40
ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #107
ULTIMATE X-MEN #80
We have another good sized shipment of new comic books headed to the Bunker this week. I should be able to post reviews for most of these issues.
Which DC comic book am I most looking forward to reading? That is a really tough choice! All four titled from DC this week are excellent. 52 is steaming toward WW III. Action Comics is insanely good. Johns and Donner have done an amazing job on this title. Green Lantern has been a fantastic read. And Batman should be much better with Morrison back at the helm as writer.
I’m going to have to go with Action Comics #847. We have Kryptonians raining from the sky, Superman trapped in the Phantom Zone and Zod poised to reclaim his son from Lois. There is no doubt that Action Comics #847 should be an excellent read.
Which DC comic book am I least looking forward to reading? None. Like I said before, all of these titles are strong reads.
Which Marvel comic book am I most looking forward to reading? Ultimate Spider-Man #107. Bendis is money in the bank on this title. It is incredible what Bendis has accomplished on this title.
Which Marvel comic book am I least looking forward to reading? That would be Fantastic Four #544. First, you can’t have the Fantastic Four with out Reed, Susan, Johnny and Ben all together. Second, Black Panther and Storm were extremely questionable replacements for Reed and Susan.
I’ll try my best to start posting reviews as soon as possible. I hope everyone enjoys their new comic books for this week.
Posted by Rokk Krinn at 4:23 PM
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Ultimate Power has been a fun mini-series. Bendis quickly hooked me on this title with his well written story. And then the inevitable Marvel delay struck. The last issue of Ultimate Power came out in December of 2006. Here it is three months later and we are finally getting Ultimate Power #4. That type of huge delay just serves to kill any momentum that this mini-series managed to generate after the first three issues.
We are also getting a switch at the writer position. J. Michael Straczynski is now handling the writing duties. That doesn’t bode well for the chance of me enjoying Ultimate Power #4. I used to love JMS’ writing, but I have really been unimpressed with his work over the past six months to a year on Amazing Spider-Man, Fantastic Four and Squadron Supreme. Maybe JMS will return to form and crank out a well done issue. Let’s do this review.
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Penciler: Greg Land
Inker: Jay Leisten
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We start with Nick Fury stating that they will take the SHIELD helicarrier that will take the strike team to whoever can show them how to follow Reed into whichever dimensions the Squadron Supreme took him.
Spider-Man then points to Thor and asks him if his hammer, Mjolner, can take him anywhere he wants. Thor says yes including Asgard and Valhalla and the Nine Worlds. Spider-Man then tells Nick Fury that Thor could open up a dimensional portal and follow the Squadron Supreme and Reed.
All the assembled heroes are impressed that Spider-Man just showed up Nick Fury in coming up with a great plan. Nick stares at Spider-Man and says that once Thor opens up the portal then they use the helicarrier to take everyone to the other side. Spider-Man agrees. Nick then says then says that he was right to begin with. Spider-man agrees.
We shift to all the heroes assembled on the helicarrier. Thor uses Mjolner to open up a portal to the Squadron Supreme’s dimension. Thor and the hellicarier then fly into the portal.
We cut to the Squadron Supreme’s Earth. Hyperion is standing in space just outside the Earth’s atmosphere. Hyperion is using his super hearing to detect any unusual sound anywhere on Earth. We see Reed with Dr. Burbank trying to figure out a cure to plague that is destroying their Earth.
Reed states that the cellular structure of the spores is similar to the cellular structure of a spore he discovered on other extra-dimensional expeditions, but, it was a simple one-celled organism and biologically inert. Reed hypothesizes that as his probes passed through the inter-dimensional rift, the energies surrounding the probe interact somehow with the spores which hitchhiked onto the probe as it passed through them and sped up their evolutionary process once they arrive in the Squadron Supreme’s dimension.
So far tens of millions of people have died. Dr. Burbank states that he has always wondered what it must feel like to kill minions of people all at once. Dr. Burbank asks Reed what it feels like. Reed snaps on Dr. Burbank and grabs him. Dr. Burbank says “No touching” and triggers an electrical shock that leaps from his suit coat and shocks Reed.
Dr. Burbank then asks Reed how they can stop this mutated spore. Reed answers that he doesn’t know.
We cut to Thor and the helicarrier traveling through the inter-dimensional portal. Thor tells the helicarrier to prepare for arrival. We shift to Captain America (The Ultimate version is still alive and kicking.) asking Kitty Pryde if she has seen Nick Fury. That Nick isn’t responding to the page. Captain America tells Kitty to go find Nick.
We see Kitty going to a room where she last saw Nick Fury enter. Kitty phases just her face through the door and hears Nick having a discussion with an unknown person who is off panel. The unknown person asks if Reed still suspects nothing. Nick answers that Reed has no idea. That they are going to go get Reed and clean this up and get the hell out before any of this can bounce back on them.
Nick says that the important thing is that they make sure that Reed doesn’t get his hands on any of the probes. That Reed and his super genius would figure it out in two seconds. The off panel voice tells Nick to make sure that doesn’t happen. Nick responds that it won’t.
Nick then exits the room and bumps into Kitty. Kitty says that Captain America sent her to find him. Nick tells Kitty to come with him to the bridge. Kitty stares at the room as they walk away.
We cut to Power Princess approaching Hyperion outside of Earth’s atmosphere. Power Princess tells Hyperion to keep his eyes closed and listen to all the people below them on Earth. Power Princess asks Hyperion what he hears. Hyperion replies that he hears millions of people dying and asking the same question “Why?” Power Princess says that this is the question that the both of them have awaited. That now they can give the people the answer they have always known, but, needed to be told before they could truly understand it.
That all these people are dying because Hyperion could not protect them like he could and would if they would let him. Hyperion states that something in the entity that is attacking their Earth weakens his powers. That Hyperion can’t save everyone.
Power Princess replies that wouldn’t it be wise and right to save only those who will allow Hyperion to save them? Those who will let Hyperion do what is necessary to keep them safe. Those who listen to him. Who obey him. Who will love him like Power Princess loves him.
Suddenly, Hyperion opens his eyes and says that they are here and for Power Princess to alert the others. We cut to Thor and the helicarrier exiting the dimensional portal and arriving at the Squadron Supreme’s Earth. We see Hyperion flying straight for Thor in what appears to be the beginning of a clash of two Titans. End of issue.
The Good: Ultimate Power #4 was another solid read. I can’t believe that I actually enjoyed a JMS penned issue. It has been a long time since that happened. But, the fact is that JMS did a nice job with this issue and delivered an entertaining issue.
Ultimate Power #4 was a well plotted issue. JMS has a clear vision and direction for this story. JMS delivers this story at the proper pace. The issue moves at a nice steady pace as we witness the quiet just before the storm. Ultimate Power #4 was a necessary issue to give the reader more information on the probes and how they caused this cataclysmic event on the Squadron Supreme’s Earth. Plus, JMS laid the foundation for the next several issues that appear to have plenty of faced paced fighting in them.
JMS served up some well crafted dialogue. Each character has their own unique external voice. JMS did a great job with Nick Fury and Spider-Man in their scene in the beginning of this issue. JMS created some nice chemistry between the two characters and turned in some pretty funny banter between the two men. Given that JMS has been writing Amazing Spider-Man for quite some time, it is no surprise that JMS was able to write a nice Ultimate Spider-Man.
JMS delivered more strong dialogue in the excellent scene between Reed and Dr. Burbank. Again, JMS wrote Fantastic Four long enough that he has a good feel for Reed’s personality to write a nice Ultimate Reed Richards. Plus, JMS has always done a great job with Dr. Burbank’s character. Back when I was collecting JMS’s Squadron Supreme, I thought the only bright spot on that slow, preachy and PC title was JMS’s handling of Dr. Burbank. JMS developed Dr. Burbank into a wonderfully captivating character. And that continues in Ultimate Power #4 as we get treated with a delightfully twisted Dr. Burbank.
JMS also whipped up some great dialogue in the scene with Hyperion and Power Princess. I thought this was a very intriguing scene. Power Princess has always had some ulterior plan in mind for Hyperion. We have known for a while that Power Princess believes that Hyperion should be King of the Earth with Power Princess by his side as his Queen.
It appears that Power Princess believes that the events of Ultimate Power now presents the perfect time for her to try and manipulate Hyperion into making a move for power and control. This is an interesting plotline and it should be enjoyable seeing how the manipulative Power Princess is going to try and use the events in Ultimate Power for her own personal gain.
JMS certainly knows how to write both Hyperion and Power Princess. Both characters are well developed and interesting. I particularly love JMS’s Power Princess. That is my kind of woman.
JMS drops a huge bomb on reader with the revelation that Nick Fury and some mysterious person is actually behind the entire events of Ultimate Power. That Nick purposely tampered with Reed’s probes and caused this cataclysmic event on the Squadron Supreme's Earth. This short scene triggered numerous questions in the mind of the reader. Who is the mysterious person Nick was reporting to? Why did Nick tamper with Reed’s probes? What was the desired purpose of this mysterious plan? And will Reed Richards find out the truth?
Nick Fury has been written as a much more enigmatic and untrustworthy character than the 616 Nick Fury. The 616 Nick Fury is generally a stand up guy and a war hero who tries to do the right thing. The Ultimate Universe Nick Fury is a slippery snake of a character with many different layers of conspiracies and secret agendas. Nothing is ever as it seems when the Ultimate Universe Nick Fury is involved.
Nick Fury has a strange role in the Ultimate Universe. Nick heads up SHIELD and also heads up the Ultimates. The members of the Ultimates view Nick as a team member. Captain America definitely has a good relationship with Nick. However, Spider-Man has had a rocky relationship with Nick. And the Fantastic Four have had a neutral at best relationship with Nick.
If Nick’s mysterious plan is discovered then it should present a huge rift with the Fantastic Four and Fury. It would also destroy the new “friendship” between Nick and Spider-Man that has happened in the recent issues of Ultimate Spider-Man.
JMS ends this issue with a nice hook ending as we see the two powerhouses in Thor and Hyperion on a collision course with each other. This should be an awesome brawl! This should get almost any reader excited for the next issue.
Of course, loyal followers of The Revolution know that I’m going to praise the artwork in Ultimate Power #4. I love Greg Land’s style of art and Jay Leisten does a good job inking Land’s pencils. Land delivers a lush and absolutely beautiful looking comic book. I love the rich detail of his art. And Land’s Thor looks incredible.
The Bad: No complaints at all with the
Overall: Ultimate Power #4 is proof that when JMS doesn’t try to climb on his soapbox and get all preachy and PC that he is very capable of cranking out a quality read. Ultimate Power continues to be an enjoyable mini-series. The reader gets treated to a nice blend of strong writing and excellent artwork. I certainly recommend giving this mini-series a try or at least picking up the trade paperback whenever it is released.
Monday, March 26, 2007
The Revolution still hasn’t warmed up to Mike Carey’s X-Men. This title isn’t bad. Its problem is that it is decidedly average. Carey is doing a journeyman’s job on this title, but that isn’t enough for one of Marvel’s flagship titles. This is one of Marvel’s titles that has to be a better than average read. Can Carey finally get me interested on this title with X-Men #197? Maybe. Let’s do this review.
Writer: Mike Carey
Penciler: Chris Bachalo
Inker: Tim Townsend
Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 4.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with The X-Men arriving at Cable’s Island Haven of Providence in the Pacific Ocean. Cable instructs a medical team waiting for their arrival and that Rogue has been infected with a virus called Strain 88. Cable tells the rest of the X-Men to be as non-threatening as they can while here in Providence or else they will run into trouble. Lady Mastermind retorts if Cable is the Chief of Police. Cable tough guy talks her by saying he is also the judge, the jury and executioner.
Evidently, Providence is Cable’s model for a perfect democracy. Lady Mastermind decides to go find a shrink to help her with a problem she is having. Mystique and Iceman go to stay by Rogue’s bedside.
We cut to The Conquistador stationed above Providence where Sentinel and Cannonball are dealing with Sabertooth. Sabertooth is in a special containment unit. Sabertooth swears that when his healing factor deals with the little robots she shot him full of that he is going to gut the X-Men. Sentinel tells Cannonball that they need a way of dealing with Sabertooth permanently. Sentinel says that since Cable is the ultimate authority on Providence that Cable could make an executive decision and nobody else’s laws would apply.
We cut to Iceman and Mystique at Rogue’s bedside. Iceman tells Mystique that he doesn’t trust her. That Mystique is one of the most ruthless people he has ever met. That Mystique has tried to kill Rogue herself.
Mystique tells Iceman that he is right. That she is a dangerous person. Mystique then gets up close to Iceman and places her hand on him while explaining that her love for Rogue does make Mystique a paradox. Just like how Iceman is so cold to the touch, but houses such a fire inside of him.
We shift to Lady Mastermind enlisting the services of a hypnotherapist. The hypnotherapist hooks Lady Mastermind up to a machine to help place her in hypnosis. Lady Mastermind tells the therapist that she will project what she sees. So once she is in a trance, the therapist will se what she sees.
The therapist puts Lady Mastermind under hypnosis. Suddenly, both of them are in a land full of purple and pink crystals. There is a giant brick wall in front of them. This is where the parasite is hiding. Lady Mastermind blasts down the wall. Lady Mastermind is then attacked by the parasite. The parasite takes over Lady Mastermind’s body. We then get a one page shot of crackling energy around the Earth.
We cut to Cable in a giant meeting room in his office. Cable tells his assistant that he has been enjoying fighting powerful enemies once again. But, it could potentially be distracting from his longer-term goals. Suddenly, the alarm goes off in his office. Lady Mastermind is on a rampage.
We shift to Lady Mastermind controlled by the parasite demolishing everything in her path. Iceman and Mystique try and stop her. The parasite then decides that Mystique’s body is better to control and hops from Lady Mastermind and into Mystique’s body.
Cable shows up and asks for the parasite’s name. The parasite says that it is Ev Teel Urizen. That it is the proscribed, the anathema, the womb-weld. That the parasite is Mummudrai. Cable then blasts the parasite controlled Mystique. The parasite controlled Mystique then dismantles Cable’s gun. The parasite says that it did not come to fight. The parasite then says “Show, watch, listen.” We then get a one page splash shot of a bunch of random stuff that I’m not going to bother to describe just look at the pic.
The parasite then says the X-Men must know the pain, the journey, the seeking. That the parasite is looking for the Nest. That it smelled strong thoughts from strong thinkers from across the dark. That it smelled like the parasite. Cable asks why the parasite followed a psychic trail from the X-Men‘s telepaths all the way to the X-Mansion. The parasite responds that the strong thinkers must help it. Must keep it safe. Because the Hecatomb is coming to eat the world. We see the massive lightning storm crashing around Providence. End of issue.
The Good: X-Men #197 was a boring read. However, The Revolution’s Rule of Positivity must be followed. So, what did I enjoy about this issue? Hmm, good question. Well, we got some action and that always livens up even the most generic of reads.
I have to say that I’m starting to dig how Carey is handling Mystique’s characters. As a matter of fact, Mystique is the only character on this title that Carey has succeeding in creating anything that would be confused with an interesting and unique personality. Mystique keeps getting more and more intriguing with each issue.
And what is the deal with Mystique getting all close and personal with Iceman? Does Mystique have her eyes set on our resident snow man? This is actually pretty juicy. I think a little affair between Iceman and Mystique would prove to be rather wild. You would never imagine these two characters getting it on, but you never know. Sometimes total opposites attract.
The Bad: X-Men #197 was simply a dull read. Carey has failed to do much of anything on this title to get me excited about his run on X-Men. Once again, Carey shows his limitations. Carey is a journeyman writer who can put together a dependable read and do all the basics that are necessary to create a professional comic book. And if this wasn’t a big name title like X-Men then I probably wouldn’t complain so much.
Carey’s Ultimate Fantastic Four isn’t anything special to read, but it is serviceable. And Ultimate Fantastic Four isn’t one of Marvel’s flagship titles, so serviceable on a lower tier comic book like Ultimate Fantastic Four isn’t such a big deal.
I mean, I wouldn’t recommend anyone to run out and purchase Carey’s Ultimate Fantastic Four, but it isn’t’ so below average that I would stop collecting it myself. It is popcorn for the brain. Well, that doesn’t cut it on a big name title like X-Men. And that additional fact is that Carey has done a better job with Ultimate Fantastic Four than he has done on X-Men.
Carey continues to crank out rather ordinary reads each and every month. I don’t find anything at all to get excited about on X-Men. I could care less about the Sabertooth plotline. It bores me to tears. First, I’m just not a huge Sabertooth fan. I feel that he has been overused and I’m a bit sick of seeing him. Second, if I have to read about Sabertooth then I much prefer a villainous Sabertooth fighting the X-Men. Having Sabertooth a part of the X-Men no matter how unwilling or tenuous just doesn’t appeal to me on any level.
If anything it is just annoying me in the fact that if Sabertooth is such a massive threat to life and property then they should just lobotomize him, jail him or kill him. Take your pick of any of the three. But, carrying him around like a portable weapon of mass destruction to be used when the need arises is uninteresting.
We have already seen the villains used as a weapon for good theme already in Suicide Squad and Thunderbolts. And quite frankly, not only has it been done before, but done much better than what we are getting on this title with the Sabertooth plotline.
I have absolutely zero interest at all in this parasite from space plotline. In fact, it bored me to tears in this issue. Carey presents a poorly structured and plotted plotline. I found the parasite plotline not only uninteresting, but also unnecessarily confusing.
Now, there is good confusing and bad confusing. Good confusing is when you clearly understand what is going on but you just can’t figure out what it all means. Bad confusing is when you can’t figure what is ever going on let alone what it is supposed to mean.
For example, I love David Lynch. David Lynch movies are terribly confusing, but you always know what is happening. You just don’t know what it all means or stands for. But, David Lynch is talented and can properly deliver a cryptic and confusing story. Carey doesn’t properly deliver a cryptic story. This parasite plotline is poorly constructed and poorly delivered. It comes across disjointed and un-artfully presented.
Plus, this parasite plotline had some wretchedly boring dialogue. I think all of the parasite’s dialogue could have easily been replaced by “Blah, blah, blah” and it actually might have been more interesting. I felt like one of the kids on Charlie Brown where the adults always talk with that horn sounding “Mmwaah, mmwahh, mmwaaah” sound instead of actual words. That is what Carey was doing to me every time the parasite started talking.
Part of that is because I hate that generic random jibber jabber that writers use when constructing some mystical and deep space entity. All the fifty different names and descriptions that the parasite gave itself were just way too much. It doesn’t sound detailed or developed. It doesn’t make me think Carey possesses a vision for a detailed and unique imaginary world like J.R.R. Tolkein had. It just makes me think that Carey was taking huge bong hits while writing this dialogue. Seriously, the parasite talked like some of my fraternity brothers after about twenty bong hits.
Now, loyal Revolutionary Ilan has informed me that the parasite saying that it is a Mummudrai ties into the entire Cassandra Nova storyline from a while back. I confess total ignorance to this storyline since I took a break from reading Uncanny X-Men and X-Men from 1998-2005. I just couldn't stomach the lack of quality reads. I still bought the issues, I just bypassed reading them and filed them in a long box.
Having said that, any plotline that deals with Cassandra Nova and the Shi'ar most definately isn't going to get my interest in any shape or form.
All in all, Carey continues to make me believe that he has the perfect writing talents for one of those cheesy Sci Fi Channel original shows. That is exactly what I am reminded of each time I read the latest issue of X-Men.
Carey has also failed to perform any character development aside from the little bit that we have gotten on Mystique. Carey’s X-Men is the antithesis of David’s X-Factor in this respect. The characters are all as one-dimensional as possible. Everyone is a tough guy and engages in plenty of tough guy talk. Nobody has their own unique external voice. Everyone reads the same. The generic sounding dialogue doesn’t help matters any either.
Chris Bachalo’s art is just a hot mess. I know many people love Bachalo’s style of art. I am most certainly not one of those people. Bachalo appears to have gone to the Rob Liefeld school of art since it appears Bachalo is completely incapable of drawing hands or feet. And everyone has the same facial features.
And I’m not too sure that the reason that this issue is a confusing and disjointed read is all Carey’s fault. It could be that Bachalo’s art is what makes this story such a pain to try and follow. Sometimes, I can barely decipher what the hell is going on in some of Bachalo’s panels.
Also, I know that Bachalo was trying to be artsy and innovative with how he drew the parasite when it possessed people. But, it didn’t work for me. It looked a first grader with crayons attacked my comic book before I purchased it. Plus, it made the fight scene that much more of a chaotic mess.
Bachalo’s art is like Humberto Ramos’ art in that I just don’t think it is best suited for a title like the X-Men. Like Ramos, I think Bachalo would do better drawing art for a fantasy themed comic book or an American manga-styled comic book. Actually, the more I think about it the more I’m convinced that Bachalo’s art is much more suited for fantasy based themes than super hero based themes. After all, Bachalo already draws Sabertooth like some ogre and Iceman like an elf.
Overall: X-Men #197 was a below average read. I found this story to be dull and disjointed. Carey continues to fail to pull off any character development or well crafted dialogue. Bachalo’s artwork is a complete miss with me. Together that doesn’t add up to a comic book that I find particularly impressive. I’d recommend X-Men only if you are a huge X-Men junkie or if you are particularly fond of Carey or Bachalo.