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Offline Sam Wilson

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sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 6/6/07
« on: June 08, 2007, 05:33:25 am »
Wktf’s Reviews

Pretty light week, comic book wise.  In fact, one of the lightest weeks I’ve had in a long time.  Of note is the voluntary fate of Teth-Adam in Countdown #47 but I passed on reviewing that book as Paul Dini’s back on Detective (yay!) and I’m making that my DC book for this week.  But can anyone tell me why the art in Countdown is so consistently poor? This issue's art was downright terrible, especially the scenes with Black Adam and Mary Marvel.

The Lone Ranger #6
Dynamite Comics
Written by: Brett Matthews
Drawn by: Sergio Cariello
Cover and Art Direction: John Cassaday

This issue brings the first arc of this celebrated and critically acclaimed new series to a close.  Am I speaking hyperbole?  No, I’m not, for this series has received two Eisner 2007 nominations – best new series and best cover artist.  So congratulations to John Cassaday and the rest of the creative team.  Well deserved!

Though, I have to admit, this particular issue was the least impressive of the lot thus far.  And that includes the usually stunning covers to this book.  Our story thus far has been about the Lone Ranger’s brutal beginning.  Like other great heroes like Batman, Spider-Man, Daredevil and even Superman, The Lone Ranger was born out of pain and death.  We learn this issue that it was Butch Cavendish, a politician, who’d hired Black Bart to murder the troop of Texas Ranger that included John Reid, his father and brother.  Alive, badly wounded and left for dead, John was rescued and nursed back to health by Tonto, a canny and violent Native American who bears a striking resemblance to John Buscema’s Conan The Barbarian.  The first issues focused on Reid’s pain and evolution to donning the mask, acquiring the horse, forging the bullets and vowing to bring his family’s killers to justice.  The writing has been strong and full of emotion.  The art and colors beautiful.

With this issue Reid has raced to save his brother’s family from the deadly Black Bart who’s already killed the dead Rangers’ wives and children.  But it’s not until he gets to his sister-in-law’s house that he realizes the Bart has gone after him and Tonto, and that he’s left Tonto, a killer himself, alone against a trained killer.  The meeting between Reid and his brother’s widow, and his conversation with his nephew, both are heartfelt and honest.  The interplay between Tonto and Bart, what Bart doesn’t know about Tonto, and how Tonto is helping Reid realize his mission, is very well played.  The final confrontation between the Ranger and Bart is a tense one.  While Reid is resolute it’s Bart who’s the experienced killer.  How will it turn out?  Well, if that killer cover preview is any indication there WILL be an issue #7.  And it’s in his final moments with Bart that the Ranger figures out a key component to his credo.

So, the ending, well, ended.  And as good a story as this has been I must admit the ending felt a little anticlimactic but still satisfying enough.  Cavendish is still out there, a man of political power, but he’s got reason enough to be afraid now.  He’s an important part of The Lone Ranger mythos and I’m glad to see there’s a big opening for future confrontations between these two.  For those who haven’t picked up this series, the trade should be hitting pretty soon.  I think you’ll enjoy it.

Detective Comics #833
DC Comics
Written by:  Paul Dini
Drawn by: Don Kramer

Man, I hate when these two move off this book even for a few issues.  I know Dini’s busy with Countdown and all that but his teamwork with Kramer has made this book a must-read for me every month and it just has been a real drag when the title comes in and it’s been a different creative team.  I expected as much this week and was happily surprised to see their name in the cover credits.

This issue feature Zatanna and Lord knows these two have some serious history together.  Not on was Zatara, Z’s father, good friends with Thomas Wayne, he also trained the young Bruce Wayne to become and expert escape artist.  Bruce and Z struck up a friendship as children, thanks to their parents’ acquaintance with each other, and Bruce has even pondered if their friendship shouldn’t have been “closer.”  And then, of course, there’s the whole mind-wipe thing Z performed on Batman back in 2004, so central to Identity Crisis.  But now a good friend of hers is dead, Batman’s on the case, and he wants her to have a chance to help bring her friend’s killer to justice.

How to explain why you should buy this book without giving away some killer (no pun intended) components of this story.  Very little is as it seems though I’m pleased to admit I picked up a few clues along the way that piqued suspicions that weren’t confirmed until nearly the end.  But, even together, Batman and Zatanna are in over their heads, and from a magician and prior crime victim named Ivar Loxias whom Batman had saved from a hit man just a few issues back.  Things quickly and unexpectedly go from bad to much, much worse (and Don Kramer takes the danger up about 10 notches with a single, brutal and shocking panel) as Loxias calmly and succinctly relays the details of the girl’s death to our heroes.  Why is he doing this?  Doesn’t he know they’ll come at him for this?  How can he be so confident?  What the hell is going on?   You’ll have to pick this one up to find out, and it’s continued to the next issue, too!  Dini and Kramer are at their storytelling best here.  For some classic detective work, shocking twists and life snuffing, grim danger, this is your book.  And it’s my pick of the week.

Daredevil: Battlin’ Jack Murdock #1 of 4
Marvel Comics
Written by: Zeb Wells
Drawn by: Carmine Di Giandomenico

This book is part of the new Marvel Knights cover dress series, like last week’s outstanding Silver Surfer: Requiem and Kaare Andrews’ Dark Arachknight Returns future Spider-Man story from several months ago.  This mini series is the story of Jack Murdock’s final fall and, apparently, the background story leading up to it.  This issue’s title is “Round One” in what’s clearly his last fight and, during the fight, Jack thinks back to the events that led him to this point.  I assume each issue will be another round in the fight leading up, eventually, as we all know, to the Fixer’s fight he doesn’t throw.  The one that leads to his murder and the beginning of Matt’s journey to becoming Daredevil.

First off, I think this book is hampered by telling a story that, maybe, didn’t need to be told.  I mean, if you’ve read Frank Miller’s DD run and, especially, his Man Without Fear series with John Romita, Jr., which I consider to be the definitive Daredevil origin story, you pretty much know everything you need to know about Jack Murdock.  A talented fighter who became a drunken bum, a loser who became mob muscle to get by, and a man who had a son with a woman named Maggie who eventually became a nun.  And, eventually, his murder drove that son to become Daredevil  Jack’s kind of a plot devise, like Uncle Ben for Spider-Man or Thomas and Martha Wayne for Batman.  Does he really need his own story, and does anyone really care?  I’ll admit I’m kind of interested, being a die-hard DD fan, but I don’t believe this story will enhance the Daredevil cannon any or provide any more depth to a character rich in depth already.

All that said, the story and art, especially, worked really well, and I’m not even familiar with either creator.  Di Giandomenico’s art is dark, gritty and bloody (especially that cover), as it should be given that this story is about low lifes in Manhattan’s west side Hell’s Kitchen.  The way he draws Jack’s hopelessness and unadulterated rage is really great.  His art reminds me of Scott Kollins’ art, which isn’t a bad thing, only with more detail and much darker.  Another highlight of this mini series is that the creators give us a look at early versions of some familiar characters created by Miller:  A young, attractive Josie (remember that bar window that always used to get smashed?), the preteen Turk and the lovely but obscurely shadowed Maggie.  Well’s story and script move pretty briskly and pull the reader along, though having Jack repeat how he has to be weak because Matt is weak got a little redundant.  All in all, I think this issue really worked overall, that is to say, if Jack Murdock’s story is one that interests you.  I couldn’t help feeling a really strong sense of despair and loss for Jack, even though he hasn’t yet reached the inevitable end coming in “Round Four,” and I’m always grateful when a writer and artist can bring me to sympathize with their main character.  So, while this may not add much to the tapestry of Daredevil mythology, I’m in.

Sam Wilson’s Reviews

Nothing to say this week, not even a pick, well, maybe Danger Girls: Body Shots or Birds of Prey.  Foxy ass kicking is awesome.  Of course with that being said, let’s get on to the reviews…

Birds of Prey #107
DC Comics
Written by: Gail Simone
Drawn by: Nicola Scott and Doug Hazlewood
Cover by: Stephane Roux

Since issue 100 big changes have hit our favorite gun-toting, mini skirt wearing kung fu kicking cape and mask wearing foxy chica super heroes. Black Canary (sniff) is with the Justice League, Big Barda, Manhunter, Judomaster (huh) Huntress and Lady Blackhawk (still a fox) round out the roster now, with a strange little girl who is kinda like an annoying combination of bizzaro and bat-mite who can teleport and dresses like a cheap Halloween version of batgirl. Barbara went toe-to-toe with the government and lost, so now the girls have to do dirty work for the government and Barbara’s long time nemesis, Spy Smasher (boo, to *****y to be a fox). It’s all good though, because right now it is our girls vs. The Secret Six, round two…

So far things are not going so good.  Hawkgirl got taken out by scandal.  Big Barda and Knockout are in a stalemate, Spy Smasher and Deadshot are in the same bind and Huntress has failed to scratch Catman’s eyes out (so far).  Bizzaro Bat-Mite has somehow teleported into the fray, the Russians are getting pissed off and Tora (Ice) has just woken up and is pretty pissed off.  Barbara feels she let the team get out of her hands and I personally wish Black Canary was still around.  Anyway, issue 107 our battle reaches it, well, odd conclusion.  Huntress and Catman see each other on a different level and Spy Smasher really let’s her inner-bitch shine through. Man, I hope she gets her ass spanked but good, I seriously hate her.  Bah.

Only one more issue of Gail, but the book is in good hands with Sean Mckeever (I know the guy, he’s cool, we both went to school in Wisconsin).  They way things have been set up, well, Gail is definitely burning out, not fading away so check out this final arc from the girl who put the KICK in ASS KICKING.  Word.  By Gail, see you on Wonder Woman, but the girls and I will miss you…

Ms. Marvel #16
Marvel Comics
Written by: Brian Reed
Drawn by: Aaron Lopresti
Cover by: Greg Horn

Carol Danvers has gone through a lot of rough times in the Marvel U. She started out as an Air Force Pilot, and then a CIA agent having served with both Nick Fury and Wolverine. She was also the Lover of the original Captain Marvel, and through her association with him her DNA was altered so she was more “Kree-like” and became Ms. Marvel. She eventually joined up with the Avengers and became a strong hero in her own right. This all came crashing down during a fight with the Rogue, who was a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants at the time. During the battle Rogue’s power went a little haywire and she ended up permanently absorbing Carol’s psyche and her powers. Carol was restored to herself with the aid of Professor X, but was powerless. She regained superpowers while under capture of the Brood and became immensely powerful at one point, but eventually powered down to a point where she had similar powers as she first had as Ms. Marvel, but at a higher power level. Stronger than ever before, Carol had her ups and downs, a battle with alcoholism during her time with the post-Hero Returns Avengers had her on her own for a bit, but now she is back with the New Avengers stronger than ever, and more sure of herself than she’s ever been. Recently Ms. Marvel has become Tony Stark’s #1 ally in the Civil War, and the powers at be at Marvel are working hard to make Carol Danvers the MU’s top female super hero.

Last issue continued Carol’s new fight against AIM, and more action with her SHIELD special ops team. As you may recall a few issues ago Carol and Co. took out a AIM cell who used a deadly genetic bomb to really make a mess of things in Indiana, well, the bomb is still out there and SHIELD deputy director Maria Hill wants it, so she strong arms Carol into going after it. To make things interesting, a foxy mad scientist by the name of Monica also wants the so-called g-bomb, MODOK wants the bomb so he can maybe cure a debilitating disease he recently acquired and yet another AIM splinter group wants the bomb so they can make AIM proper 21st century terrorists. In issue 16 MODOK has taken over Wonder Man’s mind, and has him gong toe to toe with our hero, meanwhile Carol’s new publicist digs up some dirt on Carol’s new seemingly perfect regular guy boyfriend, and Carol’s new team finally get combat tested.  Yay!

Ms. Marvel is moving ahead swimmingly, the art is fantastic and the story, while hokey at times still has some snap to it, a style all to itself. Carol has had more than her fair share of ups and downs in the Marvel U and its great to finally see her get some ups, so word, check this book out. I highly recommend it.

Omega Flight #4 (of 5)
Marvel Comics
Written by: Michael Avon Oeming
Drawn by: Scott Kolins

Just before the “Civil War” story arc in New Avengers, some type of energy being showed up on Earth and kicked a whole lot of super-hero a$#, killing most of the Canadian Super-team “Alpha Flight” when it made its meteoric first impression on Earth. The story arc was quite honestly very forgettable and a thud of a tale in what can otherwise be considered one of Marvel’s consistently best titles both story and art wise. Either way, what happened, happened and now the Civil War is over and Canada has lost most of its heros, so what to do? Go to Tony Stark for help, that’s what…

Omega Flight opens with a rash of supervillany afoot in Canada. Registration hasn’t really done much for supervilliany in the US, and even though Registration has been a fact of life in Canada for quite some time, things are a little less crowded over there so US villains decide to take advantage of the situation and jump the border to cause some mayhem. This pisses off a lot of prominent Canadians, and who scramble around trying to reassemble Alpha Flight. The only ones left are Walter Langowski (Sasquatch) and Talisman (the daughter of Shaman). Two isn’t really a team, so reluctantly they go to Stark to beef up the ranks (and partially because they blame him for the whole mess in the first place). What they get from stark is USAgent (John Walker, the pshycho who took over for cap during the Gruewald run on “Captain America back in the ‘80’s, he went crazy and started killing people but I guess that is neither here nor there), Julia Carpenter, aka Spider Woman 2 aka Arachnae, and Beta Ray Bill (he doesn’t show up in the first issue, but he’s on the cover). Huh, that’s what I say. Anyway the Wrecking Crew minus the Absorbing Man shows up because Canada is, well, Canada and they think they will have a free license to kick ass there, which they do, taking on Sasquatch alone and then dragging him to their hideout in the Canadian Wilderness.  Meanwhile, the catalyst for bringing our heroes has happened, Talisman agrees to join the team, and USAgent and Arachnae are in toe, as is Michael Pointer (gasp), that all powerful guy from New Avengers who destroyed the original Alpha Flight.  Apparently he feels really guilty and wants to make penance, and the Canadian government is okay with that (even though Talisman isn’t).  To add insult to injury he has to wear the Guardian suit to keep his power in check.  Oy vey.  It is all moot though because once the team finds out where Sasquatch is, they take off after him and leave the “new Guardian” behind so they can go kick some ass.  Turns out the Wrecking Crew caught wind of some ancient Inuit magic, which is somehow connected to Beta Ray Bill and wouldn’t you know it, soon they mix it up setting things up for a future beat down of huge proportions…

I will say I started out skeptical with this series, but now I like it. The art is pretty neat, different, but I like it.  They’ve taken with the Beta Ray Bill character, liberties I don’t really care for but I’ll put them aside (for now).  Gotta love the wrecking crew and USAgent is the Marvel U’s Guy Garner, but a bigger a-hoe so what is not to love?  Check this book out, it’s different but good.

Offline Sam Wilson

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Re: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 6/6/07
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2007, 05:33:42 am »
Dawg’s Reviews

Boy, the pull was rather sparse this week.  I decided to pick up a couple of trades and a couple of books I normally wouldn’t just to fill that silent void that was left at the LCS.
I do plan on reviewing a book I normally wouldn’t though.  Who says life can’t be spicy?
I also was going to review Iron Man, but after reading it I don’t even know what to say this morning. The issue needs to have a “scene selection” menu to cut to the good stuff.

Avengers: The Initiative #3
Marvel Comics
Written by: Dan Slott
Drawn by: Stefano Caselli

I’ll first start by saying that this was the best issue of this title yet and I loved it.

In the wake of the disaster in Stamford, that led to Marvel’s Civil War, registered,  super-powered  heroes are being trained the right way by veterans of the game.  These veterans include Yellowjacket,  Gauntlet,   and  War Machine.

Last issue, the young recruits went on their first mission and it lead them into battle against Hydra.  They did extremely well, especially the young hero known as Komodo. In fact, she did so well that she is held aside at the start of this issue and was told that she was ready to be inserted into a real mission that would be taking place against some rogue, unregistered supers.

That’s exactly what happens although not how komodo envisioned it. The mission is to seek out and de-power members of the sinister syndicate as well as the hero whom is battling them. My favorite wall-crawler Spider-Man. Needless to say, Spidey is a bit much for the saltiest of veterans to take down, let alone a green horn like Komodo….

Meanwhile, Hank McCoy and Dani Moonstar have been brought in to train another Initiative recruit name Trauma. Trauma has the ability to take ones deepest fears and convert them into a very powerful illusion. This is something that Dani has a lot of experience with and after teaching the young recruit a lesson, he agrees to let her train him.

This series is on POINT!  It is so fast paced and I am actually starting to care about these characters as a fresh entry point into the Marvel Universe.  There’s not a whole lot really to review about this book, other than to say I think this may be the only place so far since Civil War ended that I have seen anything mentioned about this grandeur that Reed Richards and Tony Stark promised. Every where else in the Marvel Universe there’s barely a whisper of the “Bold New World” that Stark’s side was fighting for.

I like it and it reminds me a lot of the “New Warriors” with a little “Gen13” in there.

This book is my pick of the week.

Uncanny X-Men #487
Marvel Comics
Written by: Ed Brubaker
Drawn by: Salvador Larroca

It’s hard to believe that I have been with Uncanny X-Men for 285 issues.  I have seen a lot of stuff come and go in that time and a lot of evolution in the series. Many people have been drinking some Haterade over these characters for the past few years and in truth I have sipped from that glass myself.

There’s still hope my friends. The X-men are back from space and a 12 part “epic”. They have Ed Brubaker writing them and I’m feeling good.  I was not really into the whole trip to space. Actually in all of my 285 issues, I have never really liked the X-Men in space.  I Think the only good X-Men in space story was when my beloved Jean destroyed herself to save the galaxy…

‘scuse me…  I need a tissue…

Okay…

So Bru’s got the team back on earth.  Professor X has his powers back and they may even be stronger.  A few team members are still in space, but that’s never permanent. What we do have is a bunch of Killings happening in what used to be the Morlock tunnels. Not only that… but we have Morlocks…  When’s the last time you can say you saw Masque?

Instantly I was taken back to the classic “Mutant Massacre”and I feel like something is seriously “Bru”ing… get it?

This is where Bru’s magic lies. This series doesn’t have as much magic as Daredevil or Captain America, but I can honestly say that I felt it in this issue.  If not for Larroca’s mediocre storytelling, this book would have been incredible. I think this title needs someone who can draw a graphic story from panel to panel to compliment Bru and when that happens I think the X-Men can again rise from whatever funk they have been in lately.

Brubaker is setting up drama they way that he has become famous for: Slowly, with lots of new sub plots developing. 

Strom even pays a visit, which made me realize that I think that the X-Men miss her and need her more often than they have had her.

For the first time since my main man Alan Davis left, I am again hopeful for Marvel’s merry mutants.  Here’s hoping that my patience will pay off. I have faith in Brubaker, now all I need is to not see pencils from Tan or Larroca on this title ever again and I can look forward to this book for another 285 issues…

WORD!

Offline masigl4179

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Re: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 6/6/07
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2007, 04:28:18 pm »
17. 30 Days of Night: Eben & Stella #2- Ok, I'm not sure what's going on. The thing is I think it's because of the art not necessarily the story.  Seems like there is some kind of back story that I'm not getting.
16. The sadhu#8- I like the concept but I'm not sure it was that well executed. I also think that has a lot to do more with the "stagnant" art more so than anything else. I see next month that Ron Marz is coming on the title for a while, so we'll see what happens with an established comic book writer at the helm
15. The All-New Atom#12- I almost forgot why I bought this comic until I came unto the end  The Search for Ray Palmer. Somewhere along the line in all the weirdness I lost track of that. Man, I really, really felt that Jia storyline from the last 3 issues.
14. Outsiders#48- I wasn't feeling this issue but then I never really feel any of Judd Winick's issues throughout this Checkmate/Outsiders crossover. However, I don't really think it was Winick's problem I blame the artist this issue because there was so much going on and it was all over the place that I couldn't follow the story.
13. Supergirl#18-Ok, this was decent, because last issue's story was kind of iffy, but this was a solidly (?) interesting story. I really like the Countdown connection as well with Dark Angel trying to run a Donna Troy on Supergirl.
12. Uncanny X-men#487-I'm not sure if Ed Brubaker is gonna be able to pull off this kind of story but I did like how he brought Storm back and I like the line she said about being a temporary member of the Fantastic Four and Queen of Wakanda. Overall, I understand the general direction that Marvel is trying to pull all the X-teams in, I'm just not sure how it is going to work out.
11. Ms. Marvel#16- Ok, once again yet another cool issue of Ms. Marvel. A solid story with a very interesting moment with Wonder Man and Ms. Marvel kissing one another. Yeah, I think they make a good couple. I can dig it.
10. Supernatural Origins#2-Ok, I'm feeling this story and this concept. If you're a fan of the CW show Supernatural, this comic is basically a prequel that shows the journey of the boys father John Winchester from civilian to Supernatural hunter. This is the kind of premise that could go on indefinitely.
9. Midnighter#8-I think Christos Gage is the break out comic book writer of 2007 takes to his work on Stormwatch PHD, and I although I was never really a fan of John Paul Leon's work back in the Milestone days I do feel a wave of nostalgia. In any event, the story this issue was decent but I thought it was more funny than anything else.
8. Buffy: The Vampire Slayer#4- I think Joss Whedon got kind lazy on the dialogue on this one. I felt like this issue was one big catchphrase, still it's Joss Whedon writing Buffy and I have to admit that counts for a lot.
7. Iron Man#18- I'm really starting to like the only or maybe just one of the few books where Tony Stark doesn't come off as dick. Seriously, even Dum Dum Dugan came to his defense this issue and I felt bad that Tony ended up having to kill his friend Sal before he defeated the enemy. Also, I like how slowly but surely, the original Mandarin has worked his way back into this series.
6. Black Summer#0- Ok, this was a strangely interesting comic from the disturbing mind of Warren Ellis. Basically, a superhero gets pissed off with George Bush misleading the country about the war in Iraq so he decides to go to the office and whack him. Now, I've got to read the 1st issue to find out what's next.
5. Countdown#47-Well, Mary Marvel is on the cover, but I certainly didn't see her return to the Marvel coming about the way it did. Basically, I thought Black Adam would just give her a piece of his power like he did with his family but no Black Adam flipped the switch and just gave her all of his powers! Then he tells her "If you see your brother, tell him I'm sorry"
4. Punisher #48- Not a lot of Punisher action this issue, but I have to applaud this title and in particular this storyline Widowmaker for its gritty reality. Man, this story makes everyone look ugly. It should be concluded next issue, with the appearance of to my knowledge 2nd female Punisher.
3. Detective Comics#833- Now this was a damn good detective story and I can wait to read next issue to see how it ends. This is an example of the kind of stories that Paul Dini should be writing on Countdown, not that crap that was in the first issue. Do yourself check this issue out and see if you can figure out how it's gonna end.
2. Jack of Fables#11- At last the long awaited conclusion of the story of how Jack turned the Snow Queen Lumi into the evil bitch we see today. I have to admit it was original and I didn't really see it coming, but it only proves to show how much of a bastard Jack really is. I'm starting to feel Jack of Fables a lot more than Fables right now...
1.New Warriors#1- I'm really proud of Kevin Grevioux, the brother from Howard University that co-wrote, produced(?), and starred in the Underworld movies as Raze because he definitely his this first issue of New Warriors out of the ball park. First of all, I like that he's using depowered characters from the Xavier Institute. If you ever read the first issue of New Mutants that debuted sometime after 2000 you'll know who the female character is, and the male is an old standby from Grant Morrison's run on New X-men, who also was an Exile for a short period. Last but not least, I love that last page. I hope the reveal of the main character is true, because I thought his death was one of the greatest missteps of the whole Civil War.