Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Bryan Hitch
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Franklin telling Reed and Sue that he got separated from Val and that she is missing. We see Sue and Reed along with Reed's relatives searching the town for Val. The Thing and Johnny search the forest. Reed tells his cousin, Hamish, that Reed is a magnet for strange things like this.
Johnny then dives into the water. The Thing asks Deb how Johnny would know that Val is in the water. We get a bird's eye view and see that Thing and Deb are standing in between two giant footprints in the snow.
We shift to Johnny swimming in the water and arriving at an underground cave. Johnny comes out of the water and starts yelling for Val. Val comes running from the shadows and hugs Johnny. Johnny asks Val what happened. Val then gets a scared look and stammers that "It's right behind you."
We then see a bunch of giant tentacles reach out for Johnny and Val. Johnny blasts them and then notices, to his dismay, that the tentacles appear to be fireproof. Johnny grabs Val and then flies off with her.
We slide over to Reed, Sue, Hamish and some other locals arriving at Rhona's house. Sue knocks on the door and asks Rhona to come outside. Sue says that Rhona warned them that Franklin and Val where in danger. Sue asks if this has anything to do with Val being missing.
Rhona refuses to open the door and says that she is not allowed to talk to Reed and Sue. Sue then touched the front door and makes it invisible. We see Rhona standing there with a large black eye. Reed asks Hamish what the hell is going on here.
Suddenly, Thing and Deb come running onto the scene and exclaim that Johnny has figured out where Val is. We then see Johnny holding Val and flying out of a sewer grate. We then see a giant monster come busting out of the ground under Johnny. Reed tells Thing to attack the monster with something heavy. The Thing uses a VW Beetle to hit the monster. The small car has no effect on the monster. Ben bemoans the "crappy little cars" that Europeans drive.
Franklin flies over to Johnny and grabs Val from Johnny. Val tells Franklin that she knows that he loves how Val was wrong to venture into the forest. Johnny attacks the monster. The monster is impervious to Johnny's flames. Reed tells Johnny to melt the road under the monster in order to slow it down. Johnny does so and the monster begins to sink into the ground.
We cut to Franklin who tells Val that he has an idea. Franklin flies Val over to in front of the monster. Franklin calls out for the monster to come and get his "dream-girl." The monster chases Franklin and Val. Franklin says that he plans on leading it into the Fantasti-carrier which is the only thing around here big enough to hold the monster.
Franklin flies into the Fantasti-carrier and the monster follows them inside of it. Reed then quickly enters the Fantasti-carrier and pulls Franklin and Val out of it. Reed says that the Fantasti-carrier's dimensions are too unstable and will not hold the monster for more than another thirty seconds. We then see the monster bursting out of the carrier.
Sue creates a shield around her family. Sue then says that this ends now. Sue then says that she is going to hit the monster with the heaviest thing in the town. We then see Sue dropping the town's cathedral on top of the monster. The monster is knocked out.
The Thing then enters the scene and says that this is not over yet. The Thing then throws the city bus at the monster. Johnny comments how Ben always has to have the last word. Ben responds "Yep."
The townspeople are all upset and cry out how the Fantastic Four killed Korgo. The townspeople wonder aloud what they will do now. Reed asks Hamish what the townspeople are talking about. Hamish reveals that Korgo has watched over their town for almost two thousand years. That Korgo made their town a paradise. No one has died since then. All illnesses are immediately healed. There is no unemployment. All of this in return the townspeople offering a child of Korgo's choice as a sacrifice every twenty-five years on Christmas day.
Hamish reveals that Korgo selected Hamish's son, Angus, to be the sacrifice this year. Hamish then offered Val instead since her being a child of two super heroes laden with cosmic rays would make her more delicious. Korgo agreed. Hamish comments about what are the odds that the parish that he gets sent to has a monster watching over it. Hamish says that he is a magnet for strange things just like Reed.
Reed then punches Hamish. Deb tells the Thing that they are going to Deb's parents' house for Christmas next year.
We zip forward to "months later." Sue is reading a letter from Rhona. Rhona states how she heard that Reed built a special nature preserve for Korgo. Rhona says that all the townspeople left the town after the Fantastic Four left with Korgo. Rhona says that she is now married and that she is pregnant. Rhona continues that she is writing to let Sue know the difference they made in her life and to hopefully put a smile on Sue's face.
The Good: Fantastic Four #565 was another entertaining read. Millar continues to display a deft hand with the handling of this title. Fantastic Four #565 was a well paced read. Millar manages the flow of the story well as it starts off at a measured pace before all hell breaks loose in the middle of this issue and the pacing dramatically increases.
Fantastic Four #565 was also well plotted. Millar delivers a tightly plotted two-part story that moves with a purpose and a clear direction. This was a tightly plotted issue and the reader never got the impression that Millar was simply needlessly wasting time just to take up panel space. Millar also dialed up a pleasant blend of action and drama in this issue.
Fantastic Four #565 concludes what was a really entertaining two-issue monster tale. Sure, this two-issue story arc was basically a short filler story arc designed to burn time until the Masters of Doom story arc begins. However, the fact remains that this was still a good monster story.
I wish that all writers would put for this type of effort and would crank out short one or two issue filler story arc as entertaining as this one from Millar. It is perfectly acceptable and understandable for a writer to burn an issue or two with filler stories in between major story arcs. However, in doing so there is no reason that the filler story cannot be enjoyable. So kudos to Miller for entertaining me while he catches his breath in between major story arcs.
Millar understands that the Fantastic Four has to be written as a family instead of a classic super hero team. It is nice to see a writer adapt his style based on the title that he is writing. Millar does not write Fantastic Four like he does the Ultimates. It would be nice if certain other writers could develop this ability.
I appreciate that Millar continues to employ some nice humor in each issue. The Thing definitely had me chuckling in this issue. To be sure, Millar has given us some dark and serious stories during his run. But, Millar has managed to inject enough humor into his stories in order to keep them grounded.
It must be pointed out that the humor has been used judiciously, properly and consistent with the personalities of the various characters. Millar is not just forcing snappy and witty banter into scenes thereby making them seem awkward and making the characters come across totally out of character. The humor is done with restraint and organically flows from the story. It would be nice if certain other writers could figure out how to do this.
Bryan Hitch treats the reader to some flat out incredible artwork. Fantastic Four #565 is a wonderful looking issue. Hitch manages to take Millar's story and make in grand in scope. Hitch is the master of cinematic artwork.
The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.
Overall: Fantastic Four #565 was another fine read. Millar and Hitch continue to be tacos in the bank with this title. I would certainly recommend giving Fantastic Four a try. It does not matter if you have ever read the Fantastic Four or not. Millar is not getting bogged down in continuity and is making his run on this title quite accessible. Fantastic Four is a nicely balanced title that offers readers good character work, well crafted stories and exciting action.
Continuing the fun from the first episode the second episode of The Spectacular Spider-Man gives us the origin of this universes Spider-Man villain Electro. Though this was a fun episode too watch I was a bit disappointed with the pace of this episode compared to the previous one. The fight between Spider-Man and Electro just did not have the same type of energy as Spider-Man's fight with the Enforcers and Vulture from the last episode. I actually found Spider-Man's quips to be one of the only things that keep me entertained through their fight, though for some reason in the second and concluding fight scene we did not get that many quips from our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. But I guess this is because of the wild nature of Electro's powers but it just felt the end of the fight to be to quick and convenient.
The only other thing that I found to get tired was the constant ring on Peter's phone when his curfew was up. The first few times was nice and somewhat funny but the last time it happened I was saying "please don't let this be a recurring joke in this series."
Now the rest of the episode that dealt with the things outside of the Spider-Man and Electro stuff I thought was well done as we some nice interaction with Peter and his supporting cast. Even though Peter and Liz are now good friends in the comics and in their Ultimate Universe counterparts originally Liz was the popular cheerleader who was Peter's high school crush and never gave him the light of day until the end of their senior year of high school. I'm glad that the creators behind the series went back to their original relationship for this series. Though it was odd that they have made Liz of Hispanic descent (Mexican or Cuban?) instead of being Caucasion as she is in all her comic book versions. It may take a while to get used to Liz ascent as the her voice actress seems to be forcing the ascent a bit.
Also it is interesting to see that Gwen looks to have a crush on our young Peter Parker and that while Peter may not realize this it seems that Eddie knows. It should be interesting to see where this goes with it looking like Liz might have gotten a small crush on Peter at the end of the episode. I did find it funny how during their last tutoring session Peter basically just repeated what Dr. Connor's said earlier in the episode.
I do wonder if that lizard formula that got the jolt from Electro's attack at the lab will contribute to Dr. Connor's transformation into The Lizard.
Overall this was an average episode involving Electro and hopefully the next villain gives us a much more fast paced fight sequence(s) in the next episode just as we got in the first episode.
Episode Rating - 7.3/10
Monday, March 30, 2009
Captain America #48
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artists: Butch Guice, Luke Ross, & Steve Epting
Story - Old Friends and Enemies Part 3 of 3
What can I say about Captain America that I haven't already said before. Brubaker continues to make Captain America the rock of my pull list. And if he proved one thing with these past two 3-issue arcs is that there is still a lot of Bucky's past we do not know about which should lead to some great a stories in the future. Though I wished Dr. Chin and the Trench Coat man would have made it through this story as they could have been a nice addition to Bucky's Rogue list. This issue was filled with plenty of great action that gives this issue a much faster pace than previous issues.
I really like the relationship between Bucky and Namor as Namor acts as a perfect foil to Bucky. And it is interesting seeing a different side to Namor as we see how he interacts with one of the few people in the Marvel Universe he considers a friend.
I also got to give credit to editor Tom Breevoort for being able to find a group of artist that are able to maintain a consistent look to Captain America. I really did not now this issue was done by three different artist and I cannot say that about any other title than Captain America that is able to pull this off. Guice, Ross, and Epting combined for a great issue as they give this book a great dark espionage feel.
Story: 9/10 - Brubaker continues to kick all sorts of ass with Captain America and I can't wait to see what he has in store for Bucky as we get close to issue #50 and #600(?).
Art: 8.5/10 - Only Captain America can pull off having an artist by committee and still maintain the great look it has always had.
Overall: 8.75/10 - At this point I do not care if Steve ever comes back as Bucky has become a great Captain America and I can't recommend this title enough for those who have yet to give this title a shot.
Guardians of the Galaxy #12
Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Artist: Wes Craig
Colorist: Wil Quintana
Story - Sacrifice
I have to say that the cover to this issue is badass. Though this two part story has been a bit meh I will say that it is interesting to see were DnA set up Phyla. I'm glad that Wendell has the Quasar Bands back, though more them later, since I never liked Phyla as Quasar. Even though DnA wont be picking up on what the deal Phyla made to be the new Avatar of Death it should lead to some interesting stories after War of Kings as it looks like after that event the Guardians will be involved in another war.
Though I did not enjoy Wes Craig's artwork in the last issue I thought he did a much more impressive job with his artwork in this issue. I especially liked how he drew Moondragon and when Phyla escaped Moondragon by ripping through his guts. That was just a awesome scene.
Story: 6/10 - Though it had its cool moments this, and the last, issue felt nothing more than DnA trying to buy time until the War of Kings tie-in.
Art: 7.4/10 - Craig's art in this issue was much better in this issue as he was given much more to do in terms of spreads.
Overall: 6.7/10 - Even though this mini-arc wasn't that I great I am looking forward to seeing the Guardians team up with the Starjammers in the War of Kings tie-ins.
Writer: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Adrea Divito
Colorist: Bruno Hang
Story - End of Story
This was kind of a weird issue as it ties into what happened in this weeks Guardians of the Galaxy issue (see above). As you can tell from the cover Richard is given the Quasar Bands by Wendell and becomes the new Quasar. Though it is cool to Richard become the Quasar since he is a much more interesting character and it should be interesting to see how he wields his new powers when he goes up against the Worldmind's Nova Corps.
Though this issue was not boring I still found it to be a much more average issue when compared to previous issues as it felt I was reading more of a filler issue that sets up the next story arc than an end of an arc. And I don't really know how I feel romance between Richard and Dr. Necter since I don't know were DnA are going to take this relationship.
Story: 7.2/10 - DnA do a nice job with this issue though this was much more of an average read than previous issues.
Art: 7.7/10 - Andrea Divito still gives this title a nice clean look but there were a few noticeable inconsistencies in this issue than his previous ones.
Overall: 7.45/10 - Though this was an average issue Nova still is one of the best titles on the market and with Nova being involved with War of Kings next issue we should see a lot of explosions in the next few issues.
Oracle: The Cure #1
Writer: Kevin Vanhook
Artist: Julian Lopez & Fernando Pasrin
Inkers: Bit and HI-FI's David Bryant
Story- Home again, home again
Barbara Gordon has always been a weird character for me because just like Dick Grayson I did not start reading comics until after Dick became Nightwing and Barbara became Oracle. And even though I have been able to read a lot of the back issues of Dick and Barbara's time as Robin and Batgirl (respectively) for me these two characters are much better off as Nightwing and Oracle. Through those identities they have been able to become their own superheroes that don't live in the shadows of Bruce when they were his partners. So for me I actually would prefer that the cure mentioned in the title of this mini-series actually refer to Wendy and not Barbara as she has had plenty of chances in the past to walk but has chosen not to.
While Kevin Vanhook did a good job with the writing I didn't find anything special about it. Still I am interested to see what happens with Oracle and he Calculator doing battle yet again with this time both going after what is left of the Anti-Life Equation from Final Crisis.
Story: 7/10 - With this being my first exposure to his writing I found Vahook to do a nice job with the writing.
Art: 7.8/10 - Julian Lopez and Fernando Pasarin did a good job with the art though I could have done without the shower scene since it felt like it was just thrown in there for nothing more than fanservice.
Overall: 7.4/10 - This was a nice start to this mini-series and I am glad that while it has some connection to Battle for the Cowl it is it's own story with a minor connection to the big Bat-event.
It is Monday morning and I am in need of plenty of Café Bustelo to get my rusty brain functioning enough so that I can at least pretend to be productive at work. So, I figured that since my mind is struggling with putting words together that it was time to just look at some pretty pictures.
And whose art should we stare at? Why, the King himself, Jack Kirby. It just does not get any better than Kirby. I could only imagine what his art would look like if he was currently in his prime and benefiting from the advancements in coloring.
We all know that Kirby can draw Sci Fi, but can he draw Fantasy? Hell yeah, he can.
Kirby knows dinosaurs!
I always love staring at Kirby Tech!
Who doesn't want a giant pet cricket?
Kirby knows how to convey a scene on a grand scale.
I would love to have this one made into a giant poster to hang on my office wall.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Writers: James Robinson
Pencils: Renato Guedes
Inks: Jose Wilson Magalhaes
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with the old "Look up in the sky. It's a bird. No, it's a plane. No, it's Superman." routine. Actually, it is Mon-El. We flashback to "before" with Superman talking with Mon-El outside the Fortress of Solitude. Mon-El is happy to be free from the Phantom Zone and is still unsure of what he wants to do first with his newfound freedom. Superman then asks Mon-El to stay in Metropolis and take over Superman's role as Metropolis's protector.
We cut to "now" with Atlas in a diner in Metropolis. We learn that Atlas has been living underneath Metropolis in the sewers. Atlas calls them quite the wonder. Atlas felt that in order to better understand Metropolis that the best place to start was with the city's foundations. (Wow. Taking quite a literal approach.) We see John Henry Irons walk past the diner.
We then shift back to "before" at Ironworks. Superman visits John and mentions how John did a fine job filling in for Superman back when Superman "died." Superman says that he knows that John rarely dons his armor anymore and has become more of Metropolis's anti-Luthor. However, Superman says that he would appreciate it if John would look out for Mon-El. John replies that while Superman is gone that Steel will be back in force.
We then slide over to "before" on the roof of the Daily Planet building. Jimmy Olsen is meeting with Superman. Jimmy is bummed that his best pal, Superman, is leaving Earth. Jimmy says he is going to miss not being able to use his watch to call Superman in case of an emergency. Superman replies that Jimmy did not need Superman's help during his adventures chronicled in Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen Special #1. Jimmy replies that maybe it is time that he manned up. Superman responds that Jimmy did that long ago. Superman then tells Jimmy to be on the roof tomorrow at the same time. Superman flies off.
We cut to "before" with the Guardian meeting with Superman at the Science Police Headquarters. Superman states how with the Guardian now leading the SP that they are now much more than just a glorified clean-up crew that mops up behind Superman. Superman says that this is a good thing since Superman has to leave for a while. The head of the SP asks Superman to please bring back the Kryptonians who murdered the SP officers. Superman promises to do so.
Superman then asks for a favor from the Guardian. Superman asks the Guardian to give a friend of his a secret identity so that he might better learn of Earth and its ways.
We then shift to "now" at the SP Headquarters with the Guardian assembling his SP officers to go deal with Rampage who is running amok in Metropolis. Guardian tells the SP officers that without the "big guy" in town that they will have to pick up the slack. Suddenly, the head of the SP informs Guardian that the new "big guy" is already engaging Rampage.
We cut to Mon-El brawling with Rampage. Mon-El picks up Rampage and flies her a mile into the air and then throws her back toward the ground. The massive impact knocks out Rampage. Guardian and Steel then arrive on the scene. Guardian asks Mon-El if he had no idea that Rampage would survive being dropped from a mile up in the air. Guardian says that Mon-El was not thinking about the possibility that any bystanders would get hurt if she had landed on them.
Steel checks on Rampage and says that Rampage is still alive. Guardian says that is a good thing otherwise he would be arresting Mon-El instead of recruiting Mon-El. (Ha. Well, you could try arresting Mon-El.) Mon-El says that he is a very quick learner and that soon Guardian will be happy that Mon-El is here. The heroes then take to the sky. We then cut to General Lane watching the scene from his headquarters.
We shift to Guardian introducing Mon-El as "Jonathon Kent" to the other SP officers. Guardian says that Jonathon is from England and was a boy wonder with Interpol. One of the SP officers makes some wise crack about Jonathon's hair.
We cut to Billi Harper giving Jonathon a tour of the SP Headquarters. Billi reveals that she just transferred to the SP because she is the grand-daughter of Jim Harper who the current Guardian was cloned from. Billi's first name is actually Jamie but she is using her middle name since her first name is too close to the Guardian's name. Billi says that she still has not revealed all of this to the Guardian, yet. Billi then asks Jonathon to keep it a secret, please. (Wow that was incredibly naïve and trusting to unload that much personal information to "the new guy" at the office.)
The Good: Superman #686 was an average read. My favorite aspect of this new direction of Superman is that Mon-El is going to be one of the main characters of this title while Superman is gone. Mon-El has always been one of my favorite Legionnaires. The main reason for that is that when I was a little kid I hated Superboy. And when I read through my uncle's collection of old back-issues of the Legion; Mon-El was one of the few Legionnaires who could slap Superboy around. Eh, the strange reasons that we become attached to certain characters.
Anyway, Mon-El a logical replacement for Superman. Mon-El does lack experience but he has all of Superman's powers without the weakness to Kryptonite. I dig that Mon-El assumed the identity of Jonathon Kent. I like that DC is further fleshing out of the long relationship between Mon-El and Superman. And this move of Mon-El assuming the Kent name continues the theme of Mon-El being Superman's "brother."
I enjoyed seeing Jimmy man up in his scene with Superman. Jimmy had a chance to shine in his one-shot special and it was cool seeing Jimmy tackle an adventure without having to rely on the big red S to save his bacon at some point. Seeing Superman giving Jimmy his props was nice.
Renato Guedes and Jose Wilson Magalhaes combine to deliver some solid artwork in this issue. The fight scene between Mon-El and Rampage was quite dynamic and nicely done.
The Bad: Superman #686 had many defects that lead it to being a decidedly average read. The structure of this issue was far too formulaic and repetitive. Having to sit through a series of scenes in which Superman visits the various heroes and makes his request that they guard Metropolis in his absence was boring. This structure for this story was methodical to a fault. And this format made Superman #686 a very dull read. Robinson basically burns an entire issue by giving the reader more set-up than we probably needed for this new direction of Superman.
The quality of writing on Superman #686 was not up to the high standard that I expect from Robinson. The dialogue was generic. The characters move through the scenes like soulless automatons. The character work was practically non-existent. Mon-El was as colorless as possible. This is by far the most boring version of Mon-El that I have ever read. The Guardian acts like nothing more than a stereotypical cop. I got the strong impression that Robinson simply did not put forth that much effort into this issue.
Robinson gives us what appears to be the obligatory romance between Billi and Mon-El. This scene did not work for me at all. It made no sense that Billi would spill her guts and tell Mon-El all her secrets upon first meeting him. This made the scene seem rushed and forced. It was as if Robinson simply had to cram this background information about Billi somewhere into this issue and that this scene was a matter of necessity rather than logical storytelling.
I am a bit mystified over the secret identity that Robinson has chosen for Mon-El. Making Mon-El an SP officer does not seem to be the smartest decision. It would make more sense to choose a job that would allow Mon-El to easily leave in the event of an emergency. By making Mon-El an SP officer, it makes it much harder for him to ditch his Jonathan Kent persona and slip into costume and deal with the threat as the super hero Mon-El. Also, by placing Mon-el in a job that requires him to fight also increases the odds that his powers will be inadvertently exposed. Won't his fellow officers be curious when Mon-El never suffers as much as a scratch no matter how large the threat?
The scene with Atlas seemed relatively useless and appeared to only serve the purpose of burning up some panel time. The plotline involving Atlas has been creaking along and I have rapidly lost interest in it. Robinson needs to do something purposeful with Atlas and in short order.
Overall: Superman #686 was a pedestrian read. This certainly was not an exciting start to this new direction for this title. At this point, I cannot say that I am all that excited about the new directions for both Action Comics and Superman. Both Rucka and Robinson need to give me more effort than what we have gotten the past two weeks. Otherwise, Action Comics and Superman will join the other DC titles that I am dropping including Teen Titans, Titans, Detective Comics and Batman.
I would only recommend Superman #686 to loyal fans of Mon-El and the Guardian. For everyone else, I would recommend skipping this issue. It is not worth your hard earned money. And nothing happens in this issue that will prevent you from enjoying the upcoming direction for this title.
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Paulo Siqueira
Inker: Amilton Santos
Colorist: Jeromy Cox
Story - Marked
It's been a while since The Spot's last appearance. The Spot has always been one of Spider-Man's more goofier villains. Though even with that The Spot's powers have always gave him the potential to be much more of a threat. I think The Spot from the 90s Spider-Man cartoon showed that the character can be a very powerful foe. But for some reason the comic book version has never been given the chance to shine, well that is until this issue of Amazing Spider-Man by Fred Van Lente who has done some great work with the other Marvel titles he's been writing.
Van Lente really turned up The Spot's powers in this issue and it was pretty cool seeing him use his powers in order to kill all of the Russian thugs. And the fight between Spider-Man and The Spot was really well done even though it was a bit short. Paulo Siqueira did a nice job with all of the action stuff with my favorite images in the issue being when The Spot uses his powers to have Spider-Man punch himself and at the end when Spider-Man was hanging on his web at the end of the issue and scared the living day lights out of some thug. The one thing I found his work to be an odd combination of Dodson and Jimenez Spider-Man work. I did find it funny that the bad guy in this issue kind of look like Oliver Queen from the DCU with a longer.
Now maybe my favorite moment(s) of this issue, and maybe this week in comics, was when Spider-Man tried to copy Christian Bale's Batman voice from The Dark Knight (though the film wasn't directly mentioned just Bale). I cracked up in his first attempt at trying to use the voice to intimidate the Russian thug than coughing right after wards. It was just a damn funny scene right up there when Spider-Man punched himself in the face. And it was awesome when he used it again at the end and actually making it work without coughing right afterwards that will be in my Legen--wait for it-dary Comic Book Highlights of the Week on Wednesday.
The only thing I had a problem with in this issue was the use of the Russian thugs as the bad guys for this issue. I would have much rather preferred seeing Mr. Negative have some sort of involvement with the plot since the character seems to have been forgotten. I kind of just want that characters involvement in ASM to be over since it is the only storyline left over from the start of Brand New Day. But this is only a minor complaint that does not take away from my enjoyment of this issue.
Story: 8.2/10 - Fred Van Lente did a great job with his first issue on Amazing Spider-Man and I hope he does another issue, maybe even a whole story arc, later on since his writing perfectly fits a title like Amazing Spider-Man.
Art: 8/10 - Though Paulo Siqueira's artwork had a few odd panels overall I found his art to be a nice fit for ASM.
Overall: 8.1/10 - This was a nice one-and-done issue and I am really excited for the next few months of ASM issues.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Writer: Greg Rucka
Pencils: Eddy Barrows
Inks: Ruy Jose and Julio Ferreira
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin in Sydney, Australia where we see David Carter, the CEO of Empire Communications Network, on the phone. Carter orders that his newspapers lead with the story that all of the Kryptonians are all a threat to Earth. And that includes Superman. Carter orders that they can make up the facts if necessary in order to smear Superman.
Suddenly, Nightwing busts onto the scene and punches Carter through the floor. Carter comes flying back up through the hole in the floor and blasts into Nightwing. We see that Nightwing and Flamebird are wearing suits of armor with helmets. Carter spits "Stupid humans." Carter says that they do not know who or what Carter really is.
Carter punches Flamebird. Carter and Nightwing start brawling. Carter says that Nightwing's armor allows him to pack a nice punch for a human. Carter rips off the power pack on the back of Nightwing's armor thinking that it will disable Nightwing's abilities.
Nightwing says that Carter's real name is "Tor-An" and that they know who Carter is. Carter says that he has spent eighteen months hiding among the humans. That his cover was perfect. That there was no way Nightwing could know his identity. Tor-An asks who Nightwing really is. Nightwing says "A hero." in Kryptonian.
Flamebird and Nightwing then team-up and take out Tor-An. Flamebird then uses some gun device to shrink and trap Tor-An inside of it. Nightwing then tends to Flamebird who is bleeding and lost her helmet during the fight. We learn that Flamebird is Thara. (The security officer for the El family that we met in Superman #681). We see two news helicopters arriving on the scene. The two heroes then fly off before the new helicopters get close up footage of them.
We cut to Metropolis where Lois Lane is watching the news video of Nightwing and Flamebird in Sydney. Lois says nothing and stares intently at the screen.
We shift to Project 7734 where General Lane is being informed about Nightwing and Flamebird's sighting over Sydney. Lane is told that the picture quality of the still shot of Flamebird with her helmet off is not good enough for them to run through their facial recognition system. Lane orders his officers to get him all the information that they can about Nightwing and Flamebird.
We cut to Zod meeting with Ursa. Zod says that it was Thara who abducted Lor-Zod from the Phantom Zone. And if Lor-Zod told Thara about what he learned while in the Phantom Zone then Thara must now know all about General Zod's sleepers. Zod says that the placement of the sleepers was Ursa's job and that nothing can jeopardize the sleepers' missions. Zod say that he will not be defeated by Earth a second time.
Ursa tells Zod that she will take care of it. Ursa tells Zod to keep his faith. Ursa asks when has she ever failed him. Zod replies "Never. But, there is always a first time." Zod then asks Ursa if she remembers Thara Ak-Var's parents. Ursa replies that she remembers how they died.
We shift to the Fortress of Solitude where Nightwing and Thara are hanging out. We learn that Nightwing is Lor-Zod or, as he prefers, Christopher. We see Thara imprisoning Tor-An in one of the crystals. (I think that is where he is imprisoned.) Thara mentions how their armor hides their identities and makes it appear that the armor gives them their powers. This way nobody knows that they are Kryptonian. Clearly, Chris is smitten by Thara. Chris exits the room to go change out of his damaged armor.
Chris then passes out in Thara's arms. Suddenly, Ursa enters the scene. Ursa points her gun at Thara and says "You've saved me the trouble of making you to kneel for your execution."
The Good: Action Comics #875 was a terribly ordinary read. Still, there were some positive aspects to this issue. Rucka does deliver a soundly plotted and paced issue. Rucka has a clear direction in mind and unfolds the story in a straight-forward and methodical manner. The pacing is enjoyable as Rucka delivers a nice balance of action and dialogue heavy scenes and never lets the story lag.
Rucka presents to the reader a clear mission statement with the new direction of Action Comics. General Zod placed sleeper agents across the globe. Evidently, the purpose of these sleeper agents is to spread hatred of the Kryptonians, especially Superman and Supergirl, among the humans. Rucka even show a list of all the remaining sleeper agents so the reader has a clear understanding of the upcoming tasks for our heroes. And our heroes face a two-prong attack as they have Zod gunning for them on one side and General Lane gunning for them on the other side.
Action Comics #875 is a simple and straight-forward read. And, often, that is a good route to take with an issue that debuts a brand new direction for a title. Action Comics #875 is easily consumed and should be fairly new reader friendly. Rucka does his best to give the reader all the background information that is necessary to enjoy this story.
I liked the scene with Zod and Ursa. I found this to be the most interesting scene in the entire issue. Rucka delivers a pretty bad-assed Zod. I dig how Ursa comments about her having never failed Zod before and Zod coldly retorting that there is always a first time. That was a great moment. Rucka also uses this scene to set up conflict between Ak-Var and Zod by referencing how Ak-Var's parents served under Zod. The fact that Ursa remembers how Ak-Var's parents died suggesting that Ursa or Zod might have killed them.
Rucka ends Action Comics #875 with a solid hook ending as we witness another sudden growth spurt by Chris coupled with Ursa's dramatic entrance. Next issue should certainly give us some exciting action.
Eddy Barrows, Ruy Jose and Julio Ferreira of a fine job with the artwork in this issue. I always enjoy Barrows' artwork and this issue is not exception. Barrows is equally adept at drawing action scenes as he is drawing dramatic scenes.
The Bad: Action Comics #875 is an issue that gives the reader the feeling that Rucka just phoned this one in. The dialogue is decidedly average and at times it is a bit wooden. The character work is mediocre. The various characters are nothing more than your typical generic super hero characters. None of the characters ever display much of a unique or interesting personality. There is relatively no chemistry at all between the various characters. And the little chemistry that we get is forced.
Rucka wastes no time in revealing the identities of Nightwing and Flamebird. Fans of Christopher Kent will certainly be happy to see his return. Unfortunately, I have never been interested in Chris Kent at all. And, of course, we get the generic and obligatory love interest between Thara and Chris. This only adds to the predictable and uncreative feel to this issue. And this love sick puppy version of Chris that Rucka gives us in this issue does nothing to increase my interest in Chris' character.
I also found Chris' mysterious and dramatic growth spurts completely dull. We just dealt with this exact same dilemma with Wally West's children going through the exact same thing over on Flash. I did not find this to be that interesting of a plot hook over in Flash and I find it even less interesting the second time around with Superman's "kid" experiencing the same problem. I cannot believe that Rucka is already recycling this same theme so soon after getting it over on Flash. This seems to be lazy writing and just adds to the stale and uncreative feeling that the overall story on Action Comics #875 gives the reader.
Action Comics #875 was a very mechanical standard issue comic book that had a paint-by-numbers feel to it. There is nothing at all unique, different or particularly interesting about this new direction for Action Comics. The reader gets the general feeling that we have seen all of this before. Rucka's story simply lacks any soul or creativity. There is very little that gets the reader excited. Action Comics #875 is an issue that the reader can sleepwalk their way through and not miss anything.
Overall: Action Comics #875 was an unimpressive start to the new direction for this title. Having said that, this issue was incredibly new reader friendly and that is always a wise move when kicking off a brand new direction for a title. If you are a fan of Chris Kent or just love simple and straightforward super hero stories then you might want to check out Action Comics #875.
However, if you are a reader who is tired of the stale and recycled themes that we often get from Marvel and DC then I would recommend that you avoid Action Comics #875. The fact is that this title is simply far too ordinary for me to urge you to spend your hard earned money on it. There are other much more creative and interesting titles on the market that are more deserving of your money.
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Michael Lark & Stefano Gaudiano
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth
Story - The Return of the King: Part 1
After the excellent issue of Daredevil that we got a few weeks ago "The Return of the King" looked to be one of the stories that may be going under the radar of some readers with all the different crossovers going on in other books that have replaced this year having an actual company wide crossover this year. And after reading this issue I can say that this story arc of the Wilson's return as the Kingpin to the Marvel Universe looks to be just as strong as any story we will be getting this year.
The opening scene with Wilson literally going underground and announcing he is back to a bunch of gangsters at a sewer club was very well done and shows kind of how long Wilson has been away from the Marvel Universe overall picture. At one point Kingpin was one of the biggest bad guys in the Marvel U, think Norman's current role. But to see him now and how low he had to go to announce his return shows that if Wilson wants to return as the Kingpin of Crime he has his work cut out for him, that is if he survives this story arc.
And as I said in my previous review, I really like how Brubaker is drawing many parrallels between Wilson and Matt. Throughout the issue Matt continuously finds a way to make his life more miserable, intentional or not, by pushing those closest to him (Dakota and Foggy) away with his actions. Brubaker does an excellent job just showing how desperate Matt as a character has become that it is believable that were he is know, with all the crap he is dealing with between Milla's parents, Dakota, and Lady Bullseye and the Hand, that a partnership with his mortal enemy isn't so far fetched. It will be interesting to see were Brubaker takes the Matt and Wilson relationship from this point and if they truly can work together to defeat/kill Lady Bullseye and the Hand.
Even though this issue had a dark tone to it I continue to enjoy the Matt and Master Izo relationship. It is a fun little relationship that brings some humor to an otherwise dark story. It will be interesting to see what Master Izo's reaction is to Matt teaming up with a former enemy. Maybe he'll give Matt some old adage of "keep your friends close, and your enemies closer," just to get under Matt's skin.
While I am not a fan of Lark it seems that the one issue break he got did him and Gaudino some good as his art has improved and doesn't look as rough as the previous few issues he has done. A lot of his art reminds me of Aja's art from the last issue of Daredevil. I hope Brubaker gives Lark and Gaudino more action to illustrate in the next issue as I just want to see Wilson bust some skulls when he fights the Hand.
Story: 9.2/10 - Brubaker does a wonderful job with creating a situation were it is believable that two people that hated each others guts as much as Matt and Wilson are now "forced" to team up to take down a greater enemy.
Art: 7.7/10 - Lark and Gaudino do an impressive job with the art and continues the gritty feel this title should always have.
Overall: 8.45/10 - This was just another great issue of Daredevil and if you have drop this series in the past I recommend picking this series up again as it is in what could be a epic story that may go under the rater to some readers.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
With The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series now being shown on Disney XD and it being a while since I have seen the first season I thought it would be fun to review the episodes from the first season. I will be reviewing one episode a week until the premier of the second season were I will be reviewing the new episodes. Also I know that the second season has been shown over in Canada and other countries but I ask all of those who have seen the second season to please not be a dick about it and ruin it for the rest of us here at the states that have yet to seen the second season by giving spoilers about the new season. It is just not cool and we all want to enjoy the new episodes as they come. Thank you!
"Survival of the Fittest"
It may be because Spider-man is one of the few characters in comics that allows a writer have a light or dark tone, many times both, to the stories but I have always found that with every new Spider-Man cartoon it is a rule that the opening theme songs has to be catchy. Even though Batman, X-Men, Superman and the JLA have had their own succesful cartoons none of them have had an opening theme that gets stuck in the viewers head. The only other cartoon that has had a catchy theme song was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon from the 80s/90s. For some reason I have always found myself humming the opening theme song of the Spider-Man cartoons, especially the one for Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, and the opening theme of The Spectacular Spider is no different.
Weisman, Cook, and the rest of the crew on this show seem to have mix a lot of the different Spider-Man continuities together to make this show. Though this show looks to be heavily be influenced by the Lee/Ditko/Romita Sr. era Weisman and crew also seem to take some of the elements from Ultimate Spider-Man and the Spider-Man films by having many of the characters that Peter didn't meet until college like Gwen and Harry actually be his childhood friends. Maybe the biggest change is to Gwen since she is portrayed as more of a science nerd, a little similar to Ultimate MJ, that is more of Peter's intellectual equal, far removed from the beauty queen look she had in the comics. And just like with Wolverine and the X-Men it is a good move by the creator's of this show that they start with Peter already being Spider-Man for already a few months now since most, if not all, those who will watch this show will know Peter's origin already from either the comics, movies, and previous cartoons.
What else is interesting from this first episode is just the magnitude of characters from Spider-Man's history appear in this episode alone. We get most of Peter's supporting cast in Gwen Stacy, Harry Osborn, Liz Allen, Flash Thompson, Kong (created in USM), Randy Robbinson, Sally Avril (alterego of the hero Bluebird), J Jonah Jameson and the Daily Bugle staff. Then we are also introduced to a lot of many of Spider-Man's rogue galleries persona's before they are turned into villains: Norman Osborn, Doc Ock, Flint Marko, Eddie Brock (who is more similar to his USM version), and Dr. Connors. That is a lot of characters in one single episode, and may have missed a few, and the only real major character we do not see in this episode is MJ. On the villains side it is interesting to see how all of these characters we know are big Spider-Man villains are before they become part of Spider-Man's Rogue's Gallery.
Now just like many Spider-Man fans I was taken aback by the simplistic character designs this series had and quickly questioned how good this series would be. But after seeing this first episode I realize that the creators of this show decided to make the designs simple in order to put all their budget, which is always low for a cartoon, to the fight sequences. And from the looks of it they made a wise choice as all the fight scenes have are fast paced with a lot of energy that you would expect from a fight involving Spider-Man and his foes. Just like the early Stan Lee/Steve Ditko Amazing Spider-Man and and Brian Bendis/Mark Bagley Ultimate Spider-Man it makes more sense that a teenage Peter Parker would focus more on the speed and agility in conjunction with his Spider-Sense than using just relying on raw power. It is what made Spider-Man's fight with the Enforcers and Vulture that much more fun to watch.
Overall this was a good start for a show and I like that the creators of the show are using each episode to build on the over-arching story of the show similar to the 90s series. And though this show is aimed at kids it has plenty of action and character work that long time Spider-Man fans will also love.
Episode Rating - 8.4/10
That is why this member of the Revolution gets upset when a new writer does not seem to get it. In the last issue, Fraction seems to have begun to define his niche on this title. Summer blockbuster fun action flicks. So in this issue, I am looking for a not-too serious story that is fun. Let's see how he does.
Writer: Matt Fraction
Pencils: Terry Dodson
Inks: Rachel Dodson
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: The Beast is explaining to Angel, Dr. Nemesis, Madison Jeffries, and Dr. Takiguchi how he thought this meeting of the minds would be dignified. Maybe they would wear ties. And discuss the heart of science. As we see the big picture, the side of the building they are in is torn off and Marvel's new version of Godzilla is holding the missing part of the building. Dr. Nemesis points out that they are going to die on an island without a tie or their dignity.
Back at the base, the scientists are trying to find any weapons that could stop the monster known as Leviathan. Dr. Takiguchi says that they have nothing that can stop him. Angel starts to take his uniform off.
Peter and Emma start fighting their way through the bad guys in an attempt to get to the man with tattoos. He threatens to kill Emma himself.
Angel reveals that he is back in his Archangel form. The Beast wants to question him. Why did he not tell Beast that he changed back into Archangel. Archangel says they will talk later.
Peter, in his human form, attacks the tattooed man. Peter punches him. The man takes a broken bottle and hits Peter in the face.
Peter's battle parallels Archangel's battle. The man wounds Peter in the face at the same time as Archangel is wounding Leviathan's face. At the end, Archangel flies into Leviathan's throat and out the back of his head. Peter defeats the tattooed man. He takes him by the throat and askes what he sees. The tattooed man sees loss. On his chest are images of Peter and Kitty. Peter drops him. Emma hugs him.
Now that Leviathan is defeated, the scientists prepare to head home. Archangel has reverted back into Angel.
Back in the states, Peter decides to get a tattoo. He keeps repeating the name he called Kitty, Katya.
Scott Summers is meeting with the mayor. She reports an upswing in anti-mutant hate crimes. Pro-human groups are flooding into the area. They have watched Scott turn an old military base into an embassy for mutants. It looks like the X-Men are building a militia. Scott says no. He is not building a militia. He is building an army.
Sebastian Shaw is locking up in the X-Men's brig. Emma goes to talk to him. Despite all the crimes Shaw has committed, she wants to talk to him about his role in the slaughter at Genosha. He built the Sentinels who were responsible for the murder of 16 million mutants. He breaths on the window and writes "Namor".
Emma says that Shaw is right. Prince Namor is the first mutant. Namor wants Shaw to go away. Emma uses her powers to make Shaw forget everything except for the mutants he has killed.
The Beast approaches Angel. He wants to know why Angel is keeping secrets from him. Angel says he can't tell him. Angel flies away.
As the process begins, the machine explodes. The High Evolutionary cries "Erik". The man comes out of the wreckage and says "No. Magneto..."
The Good: Another action packed story in the vein of the last issue. Fraction is managing to keep the action flowing. The parallels between Colossus' fight and Angel's battle with Leviathan were interesting.
The mystery is being built up of what Angel is hiding from the Beast. Hank is showing that he is worried about his old friend.
Based on the conversation between the mayor and Scott, it sounds like a war is being set up. With the pro-human forces accumulating, I wonder if this means another round of Sentinels are on their way.
I liked the small tie-in to the Norman Osborn storyline. Namor has requested a favor of Emma. In keeping with her character, she uses her powers to help Namor and punish Shaw at the same time. Emma is one of the few characters who would mentally torture another person and still be true to herself.
I liked the final pages with Magneto and the High Evolutionary. I have always enjoyed both characters. Until we see where this storyline goes, I will withhold judgement.
Like usual, the Dodsons turned in another good art job.
The Bad: I don't like the militant Scott. He is not even trying to hide it. In the past, Scott was the level headed one who fought for peace. Now it seems like he is trying to instigate a war. He has turned into Cable.
Overall: The art continues to be good on this title. Fraction seems to have found his footing with the recent issues. He will have to be careful. X-Men fans expect big things from this book and Fraction will have to prove that he can deliver. He appears to be looking back at the Claremont issues for inspiration. Fraction's stories do not match up to Claremont's stories but Fraction is going in a better direction now.
"Life and Revenge! Ishida, the Ultimate Choice"
How many more times do we have to hear the backstory of the Kariya and Bounts? I understand that since this is a filler arc the writers of the Bleach anime need to give the viewer as much information as possible of these villains in order to make them credible for this filler arc. Still it just feels that they are trying to stretch this arc longer than it should be. This episode would have been better off with this since we have already seen this enough over this 40+ episode arc.
While Kariya's backstory hurt the first part of this episode the rest of the episode with Uryu and Kariya fight was very well done. I would have preferred it that the Uryu vs Kariya take up the whole episode since this was better than the last few episodes we have gotten. It was very cool to see that Uryu was able to learn from his fight against Yoshio and has finally mastered the Quincy item. Uryu is one of the strongest characters in the series and it was good to see that even though he does not have his powers back he is still able to use an item that still gives him a handicap and show off how strong he really is. It will be interesting to see how Uryu does get his powers back
Though I kind of wonder with the amount of spirit particles Kariya has absorb in this episode and the amount he will probably absorb in his fight against Ichigo in the next episode if he will overload like Koga did when he fought Hitsugaya. Overall this was a good episode that would have been better off without having to revisit Kariya's backstory again. I look forward to Ichigo vs Kariya but am looking forward even more to this filler arc to be over and Bleach to get back to the material in the manga.
Episode Rating - 7.6/10
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Yet another bromance!
Does this lead towards what we saw in the cover for Amazing Spider-Man #598?
So why is it that all of the Madrox clones have to jump on Pym to kill him? Wouldn't it only take one or two and the rest blow up SHIELD and the other heroes? Oh Loeb you are such a wise man.
All I can expect about the next issue is to give it another rating of Loeb-it.
Whether as the king of the Kree Empire or one of Emma Frost soldiers Black Bolt is still a badass.
I am glad Millar has Logan actually find happiness in the life he has built with his wife and kids instead of complaining about what happened in the past, which is what other writers would have had him do.
Meet Emma Frost husband: Doctor Doom!
Pym Falls is both creepy and awesome at the same time.
See now that is a cool statue and befitting the Red Skull.
I hope Hawkeye isn't dead and used the supersoldier syrum on himself before handing over the case full of them. I think that would be an awesome twist.