Author Topic: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 11/6/08  (Read 2974 times)

Offline Sam Wilson

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sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 11/6/08
« on: November 06, 2008, 03:25:52 pm »
Dawg’s Reviews

Not much in the way of reviews this week Mighty Readers. In fact, The Dawg only has two. But I wanted to take a brief moment to editorialize and recommend a book, that I am not even reviewing this week. As most everyone knows, this is the week that Aspen Comics has released the Michael Turner Tribute book. The proceeds go to charity, which in my mind far outweight the 8.99 price tag. This book is FULL of content and is truly touching.  So many of his friends and colleagues chime in with a piece of art, or a passage about Mike. It is incredibly moving to read these passages and if you were a fan of Mike’s art, or comic books at all, then this issue is more than worth the pick-up.

Amazing Spider-Man #576
Marvel Comics
Written by: Joe Kelly
Drawn by: Chris Bachalo

An old foe from Spidey’s past has received a bit of a makeover… a “Face-lift” so to speak. The two bit hood Hammerhead is suddenly tougher, smarter, and more cunning than he has ever been and it is all courtesy of the new villain Mr. Negative.

Last issue Spidey found his way into the middle of a brewing war between street gang kids and Hammerhead trying to bring them into Mr. Negative’s fold. Spider-Man took a beating like we’ve never seen before at the fists and noggin of Hammerhead. Battered and crumpled, with a dislocated jaw, Spider-Man still launched into a bevy of smart-ass quips only to have them sound like mumbling as he lay broken on the ground.

This issue takes right off where last week left us. Spidey needs to escape in a hurry or he won’t make it for long. Hammerhead and his newly “implanted toughness” enjoys his new role as Mr. Negative’s enforcer.

Peter does manage to escape and rescue a couple of the kids while he is at it. In a scene that would make anyone appreciate modern medicine, Pete decided to pop his own jaw back into place “Lethal Weapon” style.  It works and Pete can’t believe it. He has just enough energy to web his mask on his face so the children won’t peek who he is after he passes out.

He awakes hours later to discover the kids picked his pockets… (Seriously they are tights… where are the pockets?) And he goes home to try and recover.

Pete recovers and heads out for round two, trying to track the two young gang members he saved with hopes they will lead him to Hammerhead. Eventually that is exactly what happens and the two face off yet again. This time however Spider-Man is much more informed on his opponent and eventually gives Hammerhead a return beat down.

The long and short of it folks, is that One More Day is over and selfishly I am really enjoying Spider-Man again. I look forward to reading this comic three times each month and I am in that familiar category of fans who absolutely hate what Joe Q did with continuity and the marriage, but I am really enjoying most of what has come after, Joe Kelly is a bright addition to the Spidey stable of writers and Chris Bachalo is meant to draw Spider-Man. I guess it’s more fun as a Spider-Man fan to hang on for the ride, hoping that someday, One More Day will be resolved in a manner that I don’t detest. The new Creators have done a top-notch job in telling enjoyable Spider-Man stories. As a fan… I can appreciate enjoyable stories of the characters I love so much.

Invincible Iron Man #7
Marvel Comics
Written by: Mat Fraction
Drawn by: Salvador Larroca

If my last review didn’t have enough wall crawling in it for you, guess who comes to Tony Town in this issue? … YEP! You guessed it… Peter Parker.

In an epilogue to the “five Nightmares” arc, Ben Urich who is running the only honest newspaper in town is hot for a scoop of the recent events at Stark Industries and the super terrorist attacks of Zeke Stane. He wants that amazing story that no other paper will get in lieu of not wanting to get their hands dirty.

Ben enlists Peter to be his wingman and get the picture that will blow the story out of the water, with a visual so powerful that it will say more than any printed words on a page.

This of course leads us on a tale where Spider-Man follows Tony as he cleans up the mess from the last six issues. Something else to note and I was very interested to see how this would go down, was the interaction between Tony and Pete, as well as Tony and Spider-Man considering this is the first time they have met up since One More Day. I think Fraction handles this very well as he takes Quesada’s retcon and makes the very best of it, to the point where it works.  Tony seems bitter that Pete left being his right hand man at Stark, to take pictures for Front Line. Tony also seems adamant about getting Spider-Man to register and get “legal” so it somehow works within the context of the story. (you can point out many questions if you focus on this too long… so don’t)

Spidey sees that Tony seems incredible worn out and the usual sureness that Tony exudes is diminished. That troubles Spidey a lot as he knows a very different Tony. The two end up at one of the sites that were destroyed by Stane, after they run around cleaning up the aftermath of the attacks elsewhere first. They discuss a few things and “catch up” while each holding their ground which harkens us back to a bit of the “Civil War” argument.

The two part ways and Spidey looks back long enough to see a shot that Peter Parker reveals to Ben Urich that IS the picture that will blow the story out of the water, with a visual so powerful that it will say more than any printed words on a page.

This was an incredibly well done issue from start to finish. I thought that Fraction wrote a story that was very real and shows how heavy the crown Stark wears must feel on his head through Spider-Man’s eyes. The only downside to the way it was presented through Spidey’s perspective was that it felt a bit more like an issue of Spider-Man. Either way, it was a great read, with great visuals, and it was definitely good to see Tony and Peter/Spidey interacting again. These two were pretty tight before and Civil War changed that and One More Day confused that even more… This is easily my pick of the week.

Sam Wilson’s Reviews

Ultimatum #1 (of 5)
Marvel Comics
Written by: Jeph Loeb
Drawn by: Dave Finch

10 or so years ago when “Ultimate Spider-Man” first burst on the scene people raised an eyebrow. They did more than that actually, many feared a reinvention and didn’t want to see or hear anything about a possible new Marvel Universe.  Tears were shed, LCS buys were bitched at and the powers that be at Marvel were cursed upon, heavily.  Until of course the unexpected happened, the “Ultimate Spider-Man” was the best thing that had happened to Peter Parker in years.  The books that followed were equally strong, “Ultimate X-men”, “Ultimate Fantastic Four”, “The Ultimates”, all were indeed fairly awesome and had the creative juice to back them up.  Warren Ellis, Bendis, Mark Millar, Bryan Hitch, Adam Kubert, each of those books had strong creative teams and for awhile provided a fresh and unhindered look at our favorite characters, free of years of baggage that was honestly weighing them down.  Yeah, Nick Fury was black and Dr. Doom had hooves, but whatever.  Things were good and got better.  Dave Finch and Greg Land did stints on Ultimate X-Men and Ultimate FF, Bendis and Bagley stayed on Spider-Man for over 100 issues, even the Ultimate Annuals were pretty good.  Of course nothing good lasts forever.  Shorty after Land left FF the book took a severe turn for the lame.  Loeb and Madureira on the Ultimates wasn’t nearly it was cracked up to be.  “Ultimate Power” started strong, but I would have rather seen “Ultimate Power” finish in its own continuity than the attempted crossover, which resulted in the loss of one of the coolest characters in the Ultimate U.  There was the fairly awesome Ultimate Extinction trilogy, and Ultimate Origins was pretty good but those were the only two positive surrounded by a few years of meh.   As far as “Ultimatum”, we are promised a whole new “thing” (whatever that may be) for the Ultimate U, and with Dave Finch and Jeph Loeb on the case things are defiantly looking up (yes, Finch is one of my favorites, no secret there).  So how is it?

Honestly, its pretty damn good.  First off, it’s beautiful.  I know personally that Dave Finch put a lot of time into this book and it looks fantastic. Yes, art alone doesn’t make a comic book but with Ultimatum it comes damn close.  Most of the major players are featured in this issue and they never looked better (his Ben Grimm is awesome and his Valkyrie is just hot).  As far as the story goes its most just set up, but it was pretty damn cool.  The red dot thing shows up from “Ultimate Origins” and then several simultaneous catastrophic world events happen, Reed Richards flips out big time and a major Ultimate U baddie seems to be behind it all (if you’ve seen any of the preview covers you know who).  Yeah, it’s on and seeing how this plays out is indeed going to be sweet…

This is the kind of book you want to rebuy in oversized hardcover format.  Finch is sharper than he’s ever been and I’ll forgive Loeb for Red Hulk if he keeps things at this pace.  Buying this book without being down with the Ultimate U would be a source of confusion for most, events in this book pick up where a lot of recent events in the Ultimate U left off, but whatever.  “Ultimatum” lives up to the event hype around it.  Word.

Wktf’s Reviews

Daredevil & Captain America: Dead on Arrival
Marvel Comics
Written by: Tito Faraci
Translation by: Alexandra Hain-Cole
Drawn by: Claudio Villa
Adaptation: Larry Hama
Cover by: Claudio Villa

There was some low level hype concerning this book recently.  A one-shot by “two of Europe's top creators,” and published here in North America for the first time.  I have to admit to being a little confused by the credits.  I mean, if we have a writer, a translator to put the story into English, and an artist, then exactly what is veteran comics pro Larry Hama’s role in adapting this book?  What does that even mean?

People are disappearing and presumed dead in New York City.  For reasons that aren’t exactly clear the NYPD has sought out Daredevil to investigate these crimes for them.  But the cops aren’t the only ones looking for help on this one.  Nick Fury has discovered that one of DD’s former foes may in fact be up and around and causing some trouble.  What makes this so bizarre is that this foe is Death-Stalker, a villain probably most famous for being in Frank Miller’s very first DD story way in 1979, DD #158, where Death-Stalker died a pretty grizzly death.  Because of his ability to be in two time zones at once, he could behave like The Vision, phasing in and out at will.  Problem was, back then, he phased in while passing through a tomb stone and having this large solid object stuck in his midsection killed him.  Fury’s concerned that this man may be the dead Death-Stalker but flash forwarded to our time from the past, and is worried that any space/time continuum disruption could end our reality.  So who does he put on this case to track Death-Stalker down?  Yep, Captain America.

Let me just cut to the chase, though.  This book is pretty awful.  The writing is a bit stilted, the art’s nothing special and a major part of the plot is rehashed from what Stan Lee and Gene Colan created back in 1968 in Daredevil #43, frankly, with a better story, script and art.  Back then DD was exposed to a form of radiation that caused him to lose his mind.  He and Cap were supposed to box at a charity event and DD went after Cap full force.  Here, Death-Stalker exposes DD to a drug that does basically the same thing and, when DD and Cap cross paths in their investigations, Cap finds he has to defend himself against a crazy Daredevil.  Eh, seriously, don’t even bother.  If I could return this book I’d do it.  Overall, just a poorly written, lame story with middle of the road art.  It also carries a “Mature Content” warning and I can’t figure out why.  Pass.

Sub-Mariner: The Depths #3 (of 5)
Marvel Comics
Written by: Peter Milligan
Art by: Esad Ribic
Cover by: Esad Ribic

I love this series.  Namor has yet to make his presence truly, definitively known (other than on the covers) and, yet, his presence has filled all three of these issues.  Marvel’s latest (well, as of the last few years) reimagining of their Marvel Knights line has been used to tell beautifully rendered alternative universe type tales of major Marvel characters, such as what Kaare Andrews did with Spider-Man: Reign and JMS and Esad Ribic (artist on this book, as well) did with Silver Surfer: Requiem.  This book is slightly different than those other offerings but, even so, I’d love to see Marvel put these fully painted tales together in an oversized HC, maybe call it Tales of the Marvel Knights or something.  But, I’m getting a little off the subject.

How is this Sub-Mariner story a different tact than the other books I mentioned?  Well, it seems more grounded in today’s reality.  Or, more specifically, in the past reality circa FF #1 when we were concerned with beating the Commies to space or, in this case, to the legendary sunken city of Atlantis.  This issue, in fact, confirms this story takes place in the 1960s.  In the first issue we learned that eccentric adventurer Captain Marlowe disappeared deep underwater, near the Marianas Trench, while leading an expedition.  The rescue team asks scientist and legend debunker Professor Randolph Stein to accompany them, for the crew fear the legend of the cruel and ruthless Namor, and Stein is only too eager to debunk yet another legend.  That said, deep underwater where Ribic’s paints make the darkness seem palpable, the crew becomes fearful and even Stein begins to have his doubts.  So much so at the end of both the second and this most recent issue he dared to venture outside the submarine in a one-man pod for the proof he craves.  This issue the crew’s fear becomes far more intense, with good reason as they discover murdered men in the station on the floor of the Marianas Trench, and even Stein has moments where he must question his own sanity.  In fact, even the skeptic Stein seems ready to admit there’s something else down there with them, and what they find in this sea station begins to offer him proof.  Something he doesn’t understand, but desperately seeks to understand, is down there with him. 

I’ve commented already that this story is shaping up to make the perfect Sub-Mariner movie script, and the tension has built to a near frustrating point with this issue.  Milligan and Ribic have pushed this tease with great skill and I suspect our mysterious protagonist will make an appearance next issue.  He almost has to.  The character development, the pacing, the slowly creeping fear, and the nearly overpowering sense of isolation of the crushing black ocean depth all feel grandly cinematic.  Once again, this issue really ratchets up the tension, largely a function of Ribic’s thick, rich paints.  Let me tell you, this ocean is black as it gets.  The illumination of the vessels and the sea station under the water is just plain eerie.   For those who don’t like Namor or have a preconception of what a Sub-Mariner story is supposed to be, I urge you to pick up this book and give it a spin.  This is the strongest offering of the re-imagined Marvel Knights imprint and I’d hate for readers to miss it simply because they don’t want to read another Sub-Mariner story.

JSA #20
DC Comics
Story by: Geoff Johns and Alex Ross
Written by Geoff Johns
Drawn by: Dale Eaglesham
Cover by: Alex Ross
Variant Cover by: Dale Eaglesham

Kind of like coming into the middle of a television serial, like The Sopranos or Weeds, it would be pretty tough picking up this book cold at this point.  But for those who’ve been reading it, JSA has been one of the best comic books on the market today.  Geoff Johns is an absolute master at filling this book almost with more heroes than you can fit on one page much less into a whole story, but still giving every character his or her own voice and developing characters and creating interpersonal relationships that don’t confuse the reader.  This book is a really great accomplishment for possibly the best writer in all of comics.

Okay, to the story.  Most people know that several months ago the Superman from Kingdom Come, or Earth-22, stepped through a black hole created by Starman shortly after the destruction of his world.  If you’ve read Kingdom Come, and who hasn’t by now, you know this Superman’s nemesis on his world was Mangog.  But Mangog is an emissary of his own god, named Gog, and Gog has appeared on Earth.  A seemingly benevolent, compassionate and all powerful (he’s brought the dead to life) god, thus far Gog’s attempted to do little more than create peace and relief where there is suffering.  Recognizing that Power Girl is not of this Earth, he also nonchalantly transported her to Earth-2 where The Justice Society Infinity are the reigning super team, complete with their own Power Girl.  Thought a spy of some kind, the JSI and especially the Earth-2 Power Girl, furious at her cousin Superman’s disappearance (remember his death at the end of Infinite Crisis?) and her perception that this Power Girl is trying to replace her, go on a vicious attack against Karen.  JSA battles JSI in an issue free of both Gog and Mangog, but “One World Under Gog” promises to pick up next issue.

This story provides a new critical plot wrinkle while also neatly summarizing the events from Krona’s (remember him from JLA/Avengers?) creation of the Multiverse, to the Crisis on Infinite Earths that that ended the Multiverse, to Infinite Crisis where its rebirth, including Earth-2, was triggered.  The plot wrinkle is subtle but important and may well cause members of the JSA to play into Gog’s hands.  I also wonder if this story will play into Final Crisis, given these characters’ ties to the prior Crises as well as the Final Crisis promotional art that features the Kingdom Come Superman.  Regardless, if you haven’t been reading this series you should pick up the trades starting with the Kingdom Come’s Superman’s appearance.  I guarantee you a thoroughly enjoyable, fun, layered and intelligently written set of stories you’ll be glad you bought.

Offline Open palm

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Re: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 11/6/08
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2008, 05:01:26 pm »
They better finally kill or severely cripple Ultimate Magneto in "Ultimatum". It's ridiculous how they've let him get away with so much mass murder.
Do you prefer a hero who will confirm your deepest fears? Or a hero who will inspire faith in humanity and goodness?

Offline masigl4179

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Re: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 11/6/08
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2008, 02:44:48 pm »
23 books, 22 picks for Wednesday October 29  & Wednesday November 5
22.Justice Society of America#20- Honestly I don’t care about this whole Justice Society Infinity saga….It’s the least interesting part of this Kingdom Come/52 Multiverse sage.
21.Teen Titans#64- I just wasn’t satisfied in learning that the mystery villain was Aries Bastard son and Cassie Ferguson’s nephew.
20. Secret Invasion: X-men#3- This was actually pretty decent but it just keeps getting lost in the entire Secret Invasion minutia.
19. She-Hulk#34- While I find the concept of She-Hulk teaming up with all these female powerhouses interesting it just feels like filler to me.
18. Marvel Zombies 3#2- I didn’t like this as much as the first issue but I feel like this is the middle issue where were set the pace for the rest of the f*cked up stuff that’s about to happen in this story.
17. Justice League of America#26- It was ok…I’m just getting weary of all these Elseworlds stories and yes I know the cover says not an elseworlds. Still the highlight of this story is that Vixen takes the spotlight. I’m happy that Dwayne McDuffie has really had a chance to make this character shine.
16. House of Mystery#7-I’m still not sure how long I’m going to stick with this title but this current story called Love Stories for Dead People has my attention.
15. The Immortal Iron Fist#19- I dig Iron Fist and I dig this story about He who kills the Iron Fist but I ain’t really feeling the art.
14. Superman#681- This is part of the New Krypton story arc that has reinvigorated a lot of my interest in the Superman franchise. For the time being I’ve decided that I’m willing to follow this story where it leads me. This issue sets up the return of Doomsday.
13. New Warriors#17- Sadly, this volume of New Warriors(the 4th) is coming to an end with issue 20, but I’m following it to an end. It’s sad this title is ending because I’m just now feeling that Kevin Grevioux is fleshing out his characters so I really know who everyone is. I’m also really feeling this story where the New Warriors are trapped in a future where Tony Stark has basically taken over America.
12. Secret Invasion: Thor#2-3- I’m not the biggest fan of Thor but I have to admit I was really feeling his Secret Invasion tie-in because it was full of action.
11. Avengers : the Initiative#18- All I can say is that I’ve really become a fan of this title of the past year going from a casual to a devoted reader.  The current story arc ties into Secret Invasion and shows members of the Initiative joining up with the Skrull Kill Krew going a on a Skrull killing spree.
10. Legion of Superheroes#47- I hear that this is another title that’s coming to an end around issue 50 and I have to admit that although it can be very soap operatic at times I genuinely enjoy some of the plot twist like Brainiac 5 being in a relationship with Dream Girl even though she is dead.
9. Jack of Fables#27- Although Jack of Fables is not as good as Fables it’s definitely craved out a unique niche for itself with its cast of characters. I’ve really enjoyed the Turning Pages story about the origin of the Page Sisters. I was surprised when one of them seemingly died in this issue but I guess I need to see what’s next.
8. Spike: After the Fall#40- I have to admit that this was surprisingly better than I thought it was going to be. The ending where Spike failed to save a supporting cast member of this miniseries was surprisingly poignant. Do yourself a favor and check it out.
7. Vixen: Return of the Lion#2- This is a good miniseries. I’m really enjoying this story about Vixen going home to Africa trying to kill the man who killed her mother.
6.  Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns- My one complaint about this book was that I don’t even really see how the rise of the Red Lanterns really ties into Final Crisis. Other than that this was a really good set-up introducing the Red Lantern Corps and just how dangerous they are. Man, I thought the Sinestro Corps were tough.
5. Nova#18- Man Nova is just a joy to read. Dan Abnett & Dan Lanning aka DNA have really done a good job branching the character out on his own. However at the end of this it looks like Rich Rider may not be the last Nova any longer.
4. Terror Titans#2- I’m really feeling this title the way I use to feel Teen Titans because there is an air of Danger. Seriously you never know who is going to get it in this title.
3. The Boys#24- This wasn’t the best issue of The Boys but I like it because it was funny and it moves the story along the way. I’m really looking forward to meeting the G-men now that we got to met G-Wiz, G-force, whatever they call themselves this issue.
2. No Hero#2- This book is typical Warren Ellis insanity and I love it. It really begs an answer to the question “ How much do you want to be a Super Human?” I love the part right before the main character Joshua takes the pill and the doctor asks him “How badly do you want to be Superhuman? Knowing that this one capsule can and will change you mentally & physically”
1. Final Crisis: Resist- This issues is a jewel!  Now that I figured out what Final Crisis is about( Darkseid wants to make Earth the new Apokolips) we get to see how he goes about taking over the planet one person at time. Things are really desperate but Checkmate( my main man Mr. Terrific, The black King, the Thinker, Snapper Carr and Dr. Minerva)  are still standing. This is the kind of Checkmate story that I love to read and this is the kind of story that will go into the annals of history.