Author Topic: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 9/06/07  (Read 2637 times)

Offline Sam Wilson

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sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 9/06/07
« on: September 07, 2007, 09:34:08 am »
Wktf’s Reviews

Captain America: The Chosen #1
Marvel Comics
Written by: David Morrell
Drawn by: Mitch Breitweiser

Branded with the Marvel Knights masthead this title, like Spider-Man: Reign and Silver Surfer: Requiem, is designed to tell the final tale of Captain America.  Of course, now that Cap’s been killed in his own book Marvel has now labeled this as an “out of continuity” story.  My understanding, though, is that this story had been in the works even before the Civil War events that led to Cap’s murder.  And the name attached to the story, David Morrell, alone makes this series worth exploring.  The best-selling and award winning Morrell has been called the father of all modern action novels as a result of his premier 1972 novel “First Blood,” the book that inspired the movie and made John Rambo a modern action icon.  He seems like an inspired choice for this Captain America title.

Our story focuses on Lieutenant Newman who’s part of a lost crew of soldiers fighting in what appears to be present day Afghanistan.  He’s been fighting for long months, seen many men killed, has left his wife and newly born son at home, and is experiencing the beginning pangs of ambivalence and even despair.  Moving in and out of destroyed homes on battle strewn and deserted streets, fired at from above and all sides, Newman isn’t even sure who the enemy is vs. who the people are he’s supposed to protect.  Known for delivering intrigue and action in his fiction, Morrell gives us plenty of both to spare.  And Breitweiser, aided in a major way by Brian Reber’s colors, gives us a stark and grim setting for our tale.  Captain America is absent through most of this first part, in fact it’s not exactly clear that he’s even there at all, but his presence looms large when Newman’s needs, and those of his trapped men, are at their most dire.

There’s a definite mystery in this tale that unfolds toward the end and especially on the very last panel.  Part of that mystery concerns Newman and the state of his psyche, the other part focuses squarely on Captain America and his link to this man.  This issue, despite the action, appears to be a set up issue that just gets the plot going before you get to the last page.  So, I’m still scratching my head a bit as to where this is going.  But that’s all right.  While this issue did not explode off the page like I expected, I’m hooked enough to keep reading.

Amazing Spider-Man #544
Marvel Comics
Written by: J. Michael Straczynski
Drawn by: Joe Quesada

Marvel has billed the “One More Day” arc, of which this is the first installment, as “the most talked-about and controversial comic event of the year.”  Marvel EIC and series artist Joe Quesada has said that this year is the year of Spider-Man and this series is supposed to pay off that statement.  Certainly, this has been a rotten year for Marvel’s flagship character.  He’s been manipulated by Tony Stark (from Peter’s perspective) to chose the wrong side in Civil War, exposed his identity to the world, then on the run from the law and super villains as a fugitive and now has his Aunt May, after taking a bullet intended for him, lying comatose and dying as of the last ASM arc (proving, again, Stark’s turncoat nature to Peter as he’d promised to protect Peter’s loved ones if he revealed his identity).  Still, this year has felt more like the year of Captain America with his death, or the Hulk for World War Hulk, or Thor for the Clor events in Civil War and his spectacular return issue which was the top selling issue of that month, or even Iron Man for rising to the level of supremely powerful jackass of the Marvel Universe. Are Spider-Man’s troubles really THE comics event of the year?

This issue gives no indication that any of the OMD rumors, whether about May or MJ, will bear out.  That said, it’s a strong beginning with the face-off between Peter and Stark that’s been looming for months.  Responsibility may be the word most closely associated with Spider-Man, but that responsibility came about through the guilt he felt over Uncle Ben’s death.  Peter’s guilt over Aunt May’s taking the bullet meant for him is overwhelming, and his need to come up with cash he doesn’t have to get her help is a theme that goes all the way back to Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.  So, Quesada’s talk about returning Spidey to his roots seems to be taking place with these themes at least.  And the desperation with which he goes after the one man he knows with a “bottomless checkbook” brings him into conflict with Iron Man.  But it’s their dialogue, more than the conflict itself, that’s the high point of tension in this story.  Peter must stabilize May to look for a cure her doctor, a Spider-Man sympathizer in another strong JMS scene, has already told him simply cannot come.

I’ve never been a big fan of Quesada’s art, even his run of Daredevil.  Too cartoony for me.  But he really turns in some fantastic work here and his involvement as this title’s artist shows how important he at least thinks it is.  JMS gets all the characters perfectly, from Peter’s guilt and desperation to MJ’s supporting nature to Tony Stark’s anger and cold rationalization of his role, offset by the pain he feels for Aunt May’s plight which actually humanizes him again for the first time since Happy Hogan’s death.  I also loved the cover, which is a retro-throw back to Marvel’s covers of the 60s and 70s.  I can’t really tell where this arc is going as far as its impact on the primary characters in Spider-Man’s life but this issue was a great launching point for whatever’s coming next.

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

This is the little mini series that could.  It had a few strikes against it in that it was telling a story that, for the most part, had already been told and, maybe, didn’t need to be retold.  Also it focuses on a character that never really got a whole lot of attention in the 40+ years of Daredevil comics, except in the Miller/JR JR “Man Without Fear,” other than being a plot device to propel the hero’s origin story.  Yet, despite all that, this series has delivered the goods by offering credible, sympathetic characters, caught up and forced together in an environment that seems to conspire against them, and art that wonderfully captures the dark, gritty and desperate streets of New York’s Hell’s Kitchen as well as the woefully pained (and even beaten and bloody) expressions on our characters’ faces.  Retelling the story of Battlin’ Jack Murdock during the four rounds of his last boxing match also creates a certain inexorable velocity and tension to this tale as it careens to its final, inevitable conclusion with this issue.

The two major twists in this series come to a head in this issue.  We already know Battlin’ Jack’s been told by The Fixer to throw the fight, that he wants to perform and win for his son, and that he’s murdered at the end for winning.  All that said, here we discover the nature and depth of the relationship between Jack and Josie, the barkeep Frank Miller made famous, and another reason why Jack felt compelled to win this fight.  In addition, we learn something of a revelation Jack experiences in the last minutes of his life that gives him not only strength but also hope and even a glimmer of some potential retaliation The Fixer may find coming.  Despite the series’ dark nature, and the dark tone the Daredevil series has taking since Miller’s hands touched in the late ‘70s, here we see a man rediscover his pride and dignity, even in his final moments.  It’s actually an impressive, powerful story.

Di Giandomenico is new to me as an artist, and his style is similar to Scott Kollins’ art, but his work here is just great.  Brutal, painful, dirty, bloody and raw.  Wells has created a story and characters that stand up to the pantheon Miller developed, and a series that should stand right next to Born Again, Man Without Fear and the other tales that are the best of Miller’s work.  What a pleasant surprise this series was, and this issue is my pick of the week.

Sam Wilson’s Reviews

The Incredible Hulk #110
Marvel Comics
Written by: Greg Pak
Drawn by: Carlo Pagulayan
Cover by: Gary Frank

Thus far in World War Hulk (deep breath): The Hulk was shot in space by the Illuminati, he crash landed on a planet where he was forced to fight in bloody gladiatorial games, he smashed everyone, became the new emperor, took a wife, only to have it all taken away by a nuclear explosion caused by the ship he came in on. Pissed, and really, really strong the Hulk and a few of the surviving gladiators, known as “the Warbound”, get on a ship and head back to earth to make them pay. The Hulk starts with Black Bolt, and moves on through Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, Dr. Strange and Thunderbolt Ross. He beats all of them mercilessly, and sticks to his mantra of “never stop making them pay”. Meanwhile, Amadeus Cho, the 7th smartest person on Earth decides to help out the Hulk and has assembled a small group of heroes (Hercules and Angel amongst others) and other people who are down with the cause. Last we saw Hulk, he was building a coliseum in Madison Square Garden (WWH #2), which we soon found out was to be used to force the Illuminati and others to fight in gladiatorial games like he was forced to fight in.  Yeah, the Hulk and his warbound plan on crossing lines they have no intention on coming back from, and thus far no one seems up to the task of stopping them. 

In issue 110 Amadeus Cho is off on a mission of mercy, he has convinced the powers that be that he alone can stop the Hulk and has decided to travel into the belly of the Beast to do so.  The rest of his hastily assembled Army stands divided, The Angel is a little sour of getting Shanghaied for this whole ordeal, but Hercules and Namora are game.  Anyway, this issue features no ass kicking (yup), rather features young Amadeus and his absolute belief that he knows the Hulk the best and the Hulk isn’t a killer, even though young Amadeus may just get himself killed trying to prove that, and so it goes…

Not your typical WWH issue, no extreme violence or ass kickery, but possibly some important character development.  The story aint over yet, and the end, let’s just say the anticipation of the ending has me nervous to say the least.  However it goes down, it ain’t going to go well for someone…

Y the Last Man #58
DC/Vertigo Comics
Written by: Brian K. Vaughn
Drawn by: Pia Guerra and Jose Marzan Jr.
Cover by: Massimo Carnevale

It’s been awhile since I reviewed “Y”, but since the series is winding down to a close I figure I’d give everyone an update on one of the most overlooked books on the shelf.  For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, Y the Last Man is this century's Preacher for DC/Vertigo. It’s epic, engrossing, and suspenseful and has a definite conclusion, but will definitely go for as long as it has to before it gets there. In a nutshell, “Y” is about Yorick brown, the last man on Earth. See, there was this huge plague, and it killed all male creatures on Earth, except for Yorick and his pet monkey, Ampersand. Yorick isn’t your average Joe though, his mom was a congresswoman, and after the plague she was the highest member of the United States government left alive so she then became the President. After the plague hit (the men died within days) Yorick carefully made his way to DC to figure things out. His mother promptly sent him on a mission to save mankind (no pressure) with Agent 355, a highly trained operative of the US Government who belongs to an agency called “the Culper Ring”. No idea what they’re about, but they’re mysterious. So Yorick makes his way cross-country with Agent 355 to a Dr. Leslie Mann in San Francisco, the Earth’s foremost expert on human cloning, only all her research gets destroyed. She has back up research in Japan, so off they go in hopes to save humanity. Along the way they have run into by Amazons, crazed right-wingers, the Israeli’s and Pirates (yes, Pirates). No one said saving the world would be easy…

Recently Yorick and crew finally made it to Paris, he was reunited with his girlfriend Beth only to find out she had planned to break up with him just before the plague hit.  Yeah, I didn’t see that one coming either.  Anyway, issue 58 opens with Yorick tracking down Agent 355 and them finally coming to terms with their feelings for each other.  Meanwhile, Beth, Beth and Hero (Yorick’s sister) are captured by the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) and about to be tortured until they give up Yorick.  Luckily, they find out 355’s location and are hot on the trail, which leads us to an ending which will have long term fans feeling all kinds of powerful emotions (yes, its that shocking).

Possibly the greatest Vertigo series since Garth Ennis’s “Preacher” is coming to an end, and if this is any indication of the last two issues I can confidently say I have no idea what is in store for Yorick and crew, which is why this comic is so good.  Pick it up already, or check out of the dozen or so trades that are out collecting the series, the first one would be a good place to start.  I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.   

Offline Sam Wilson

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Re: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 9/06/07
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2007, 09:34:37 am »
Dawg’s Reviews

The Dawg was MIA last week under the heavy deadline squash, but he’s back this week with a lot of mixed feelings about this week of comics. World War Hulk continues to smash its way into our hearts and Spider-Man begins the much touted One More Day. My brothers in arms are reviewing those books as I settle into an X-related corner for my two books this week.

Uncanny X-Men #490
Marvel Comics
Written by: Ed Brubaker
Drawn by: Salvador Larroca

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I have a love hate relationship with this book.  I love this book because I have 285 issues of this title in the closet in a long box. We have seen many peaks and valleys together and I think with Brubaker at the helm we are on our way up one of those peaks. Brubaker is a solid story teller no matter what book he is on. While I don’t think this book has yet reached the level of gold that Captain America, Daredevil, or even Iron Fist has, it still is good reading.

So that’s what I love… the X-men, the history of this book, and Brubaker’s talent…

Now the fiery hate…

Salvador Larroca’s art in my eyes just does not cut the mustard. It feels like watered down, stale, rushed, art, and that I don’t like in my comic books at all… Some people love his art. I do not and it’s hard for me to like what he is doing on the Flagship X-book when so many greats have come before him at the drawing table. I feel no emotion from the character renderings what so ever and to me that bogs down the flow of Brubaker’s script. It’s a shame too, because the current storyline could really shine if it had the chance.

So what is happening to our current roster of Uncanny’s?  A few issues back the underground mutant community of Morlock’s came back into the lives of the X-Men in a big way. Masque, the grotesque mutant with the power to alter other’s appearances, is leading a small cadre of disgruntled Morlocks on a terror spree.

A small group of X-men (Storm included) coupled with the mutant “Skids” ( who has been spying on the Morlocks for SHIELD) investigates and looks to take Masque and his terror squad down.

Most of the Morlocks have lost their powers during M Day and their powers were pretty much all the disfigured mutants had.

Before they lost their powers however a mutant sage scribed all of the possible futures for mutant kind and one of which is for the team lead by Masque to bring a better mutant future through his current track.

The X-Men of course battle Masque and his crew, believing that the future is not something that relies so heavily on fate.

Meanwhile Xavier and Nightcrawler are trying to track down Magneto, but have to stray off course when a mental distress signal from Storm unlike any he has ever felt before overtakes him.

So two out of three X-Books have evil mutants seeking out prophesized materials regarding the fates of mutants.  I wonder if something is building here??

Like I said Uncanny is a GOOD book right now. I miss the days when it was GREAT and for three years straight we saw Marc Silvestri pencils and when his run was done, was followed by that Jim Lee guy…

I think Bru is on the right track with the stories… we just have to get him a superstar story teller of an artist.

Wolverine #57
Marvel Comics
Written by: Marc Guggenheim
Drawn by: Howard Chaykin

So, Jeph Loeb out and welcome back Marc Guggenheim. If you all will tap your memory banks, you will remember that Guggenheim was the writer on the arc just before Loeb’s and knocked our socks off with his Civil War related stories. He’s back and he’s brought Howard Chaykin with him for an arc that vows to take Wolverine to a place we haven’t seen him before… DEATH and BEYOND.

What that means I don’t know, but he did such a good job last time, I’m on board to find out.

So we start out this arc back in World War 1 and Logan is doing his thing and killing enemy soldiers left and right along side his fellow soldiers. These friendly soldiers start dropping like flies however as the mustard gas starts to fill their lungs. Logan in a seemingly “rookie” moment, thinks to himself… Gee I smelled that stuff awhile ago, but didn’t think anything of it… and continues to not feel it’s effect as he straps a couple of bayonet’s to his wrists and slashes away at the gas masked enemy soldier now surrounding him.

Cut to the present day where Wolvie is hot on the tail of some run of the mill terrorists that have duped him into thinking they have Tony Stark kidnapped and are going to kill him. Wolvie muses that only he gets to kill Stark and sets out to save him.

Along the quest to get to the Helicarrier to Save Stark Wolvie does what he always does… hammers the bad guys with tooth and claw and beserker fury.

He and his blue and foxy Atlantean companion that some of you will remember from Guggenheim’s last arc start to realize that perhaps the terrorists, now identifiable as Scimitar, are not so “run of the mill”…

One of which during combat drops a bomb down wolverines throat…

Yep… don’t ask how he swallows a bomb, cuz I don’t know…

KABOOM, out blows every organ, bone, etc, that Logan has…

Of course his body repairs, but it seems his consciousness is floating around elsewhere…

Thus begins the next run of the Goog!

I’m looking forward to this exploration as one of my favorite issues of Goog’s last run was when Wolvie mused about the times he’s knocked on death’s door…

Should be fun and that’s why it’s my pick of the week.

Sunjata

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Re: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 9/06/07
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2007, 10:09:50 am »
Read Amazing Spider-Man #544 last night and I agree that it was a great kick off to the story.  Both the writing and art is top notch.  I hope the rest of the tale can live up to the first chapter. 

Offline JLI Jesse

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Re: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 9/06/07
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2007, 08:44:08 pm »
Read Amazing Spider-Man #544 last night and I agree that it was a great kick off to the story.  Both the writing and art is top notch.  I hope the rest of the tale can live up to the first chapter. 

See, I have the exact opposite reaction.  I thought the story basically just set up things we all already knew.  If I went straight in with issue 2, I would have had no problem figuring it out and really wouldn't have missed much.

Joe Q's heroes, like Iron Man and Spider-Man, look good but his regular faces look down right bizarre.

Offline masigl4179

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Re: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 9/06/07
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2007, 02:31:23 pm »
11 books 10 picks for the week

10. Countdown 34-Overall, it was decent. I'm too the point where I really won't complain about this title anymore. I'm just ready to figure out what's going on.

9. Uncanny X-men#490-I like the story but it may be going on a bit too long; hopefully we can finally conclude this tale of the morlocks next issue. As always I really enjoyed the Endangered Species. It's actually starting to turn into a mini tour of the marvel mutant universe.

8. Outsiders#50- Ok, after the Five of a Kind miniseries and this last issue of Outsiders I'm starting to think DC has me caught up in a sales ploy. Stop trying to sell me the product and just give it me some content. I guess I'm going to have to wait until Batman and the Outsiders#1 next month

7. The Boys#9-10- Ok, I liked the ending of issue 9(i.e. Batman and Robin having a 3some with Catwoman) a lot more than issue 10 because I really didn't care about Hughie solving the murder but the death of Tek-Knight was just a little bit much for me. Oh well on to Moscow next month!

6. Black Canary: Wedding Planner#1- I have to admit it was cute. I'm really starting to warm up to the idea of Black Canary and Green Arrow getting married.

5. Amazing Spiderman#544- Ok, we're finally to the epic One More Day storyline. This is Straczynski's last story arc and Joe Quesada's on the art but I have to admit I'm surprised that this isn't going to issue#550 and Quesada's art used to be a lot tighter. Still the fact that Peter Parker whupped Tony Stark's ass and made him face up to the fact that he ruined his life was good enough for me!

4. New Warriors#4-I'm digging this title and the fact that a team member died this issue would have hit me a lot harder if I hadn't already peeped it in previews. Also, I'm happy to see Angel Beak's baby moma from back in New X-men

3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #6-I dig it. Seriously, I'm digging Faith having her own story arc with Giles. It makes sense for them to send her on the dirty deeds missions, of course this time she'll have to kill a rogue slayer. Oh, I like the My Fair Lady angle as well.

2. She-Hulk#21-I dig it. Over Dan Slott's run She-Hulk has really grown on me. In fact I'm ready to go buy volume 1 of She Hulk in trade. Alas, this is Dan Slott's last issue and I have to admit that he went out on a high note. I love that we finally learned the answer to whether or not She-Hulk slept with Juggernaut.

1. Incredible Hulk#110-This is one of the best issues of World War Hulk. I really like Amadeus Cho explanation about the Hulk's brain and how he sees the mathematics of every object around him. This issue was a lot better than I expected