I've decided to just start a one-stop place where I can throw all of my reviews (of various and dubious quality) onto this site.I know I've done posts similar to this before on the main comics board, but I've decided to consolidate my humble opinions in one spot.

TONS of SPOILERS to follow!

Here's my first entry:

Flash Gordon #2

Jeff Parker, Evan 'Doc' Shaner, and Jordie Bellaire

Dynamite

3.99I liked this one a lot more than I did the previous issue. The last one bought itself one more in my book, based mostly on the artwork of Doc Shaner. Forget the 70's movie stuff, this is the story of a fun-loving and empty-headed adventurer and his two partners in an alien land. This book is pure fun. And it's from Dynamite. If not for the art by Shaner, I never would have given this a look. I am so glad I did. I hope they hold on to Shaner, because Parker and Bellaire are turning in their A-game as well.

Wonder Woman #31

Brian Azzarello and Goran Sudzuka

DC

2.99

Family and political drama comes to a head in the best darn run this title has ever seen, in my humble. I love that, as Azzarello brings his streak on this book to a close, he is starting to draw his storylines together. The sons of the Amazons are given their due in this issue, for one thing. I also like that, not only was Zola's son Zeke stolen from her in this issue, but that very thread is brought to an end before the pages run out. That's not to say that there is no cliffhanger. The big battle is just about to start.

Deadly Class #5

Rick Remender, Wes Craig, and Lee Loughridge

Image

3.50

Rick Remender treats us to his experience during a bad hallucinatory trip through the protagonist. The whole thing, which is first seen as the introductory sequence, which extends throughout the entire issue, shows the frightening experience of being on LSD, and is perfectly conveyed throughout the issue. The art by Wes Craig reminds me of Matt Wagner's Mage and more his Grendel. It's a refreshing style to revisit.

Trees #1

Warren Ellis and Jason Howard

Image

2.99

This is a sci-fi concept of aliens where we really don't see the actual aliens. The "trees" are these huge spaceships that have come down to form colonies (?) here on Earth, where they dispel their waste onto the planet periodically. That waste destroys everything around it. The aliens came in search of intelligent life, and they didn't deem us intelligent. It's a great concept, and I can't wait to see where Ellis takes us.

Saga #19

Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Image

2.99

Prince Robot's son is born (in his absence), Alana is working short-term as an actress on a sci-fi soap opera, Marko's face is all bandaged up for some reason, and life continues almost as normal (for awhile, anyway) for the Saga family of characters. This issue moves the story along nicely. This book somehow does a lot in each issue, but never seems overly wordy and heavy. I wish all comics had this characteristic in common.

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Oh, of course!

Here's something I read today:

Detective Comics #30-32

Manapul and Bucalletto

DC

3.99@

I read this one on high recommendation from a friend of mine. I really enjoyed this. First, I'll talk about the art. I think we all are familiar with Francis Manapul from his runs on Flash and Superboy a few years back. This is a little bit of a departure from that run (I was half-expecting for the credits to be embedded in the front splash page), but not too much. It's the same watercolor-looking artwork, and it really plays nicely on the page.

Now for the story: I think the Batman title seems to go from huge event story to huge event story. This title, however, is dealing with more of a regular old-timey mystery story. It reminds me of the Batman stories from the late 80's, when I first started reading comics. And issue #32 made me love Harvey Bullock, by the way. It's the story of one of Bruce Wayne's wealthy, philanthropic friends who is crossed by some drug lords. But it's an intriguing story. Bullock doesn't trust Bruce Wayne or Batman, Batman hates Bullock, and the big baddie in this story is the Squid. This is my first exposure to him, but he's shown to be a pretty formidable foe here.

I actually I just read these three issues last week. I think what this series benefits from (as well as their Flash) is with co-writer Brian Buccalletto also being the colorist, so he can really set the mood with his palette. The Flash was bright, and really vibrant. Here the colors are muted, and also darker, but not too dark or muddy which you get a lot of times.

I thought the story has been good, and I like the introduction of the new characters. I also enjoy the adversarial relationship between Bullock and Bruce Wayne.

Yeah, every review I had read on the current run said something akin to "this is nothing special."

Sometimes "not special" can be pretty refreshing. In a day when it feels like every storyline has to be earth-shattering, this is a welcome kind of story. I also like that The Squid isn't insane. He's just a thuggish drug dealer and human trafficker.

Worlds' Finest #20

DC

Levitz, Silva, McDaniel, Weems, and Winn

2.99

I read part two of the Batman/Superman-Worlds' Finest crossover, "First Contact". This one wasn't bad. I still like the interaction between Batman and Huntress. The relationship between Power Girl and Superman isn't quite as compelling, but it's still there. The writing here is by Paul Levitz, and it's good. He has a grasp on all of the characters that does make them interesting and likeable.

The art is by R.B. Silva, and if this is the same Silva that drew the Jimmy Olsen one-shot (which started as a bunch of back-ups) a few years ago, then his style has changed pretty dramatically in the interim. Although it's not on the cover, the insides of the book says that the layouts are by Scott McDaniel. It's possible that this had an affect on the appearance of the art if he took to McDaniel's look.

Batman Earth One

DC

Johns and Frank

22.99 (cover)

This was a re-imagined version of Batman Year One, essentially. But this comparison may undersell what is a fantastic OGN. Martha Wayne's connections with Arkham Asylum, a far more badass Alfred, and an agonized Commissioner Gordon all round out the story of a cocky newbie crimefighter dressed as a bat. 

This seems to be Harvey Bullock week for me, as he is a featured character in this book (as he has been in Detective Comics for the past three months). At first I thought his younger, more fit persona in this book was just the Earth One way, but it's explained at the end of this issue. He's not totally made over, as it turns out.

Barbara Gordon is kidnapped and it's up to the untrusted new guy on the scene, Batman, as well as the uneasy partnership of Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock to find her.

The art is what we've come to expect out of Gary Frank from his run in the Superman titles of the pre-Nu52. It's awesome, realistic, and gritty. And I also like the fact that we can see Batman's eyes. Not that I would always want this to be the case, but it really works for this book.

Really well-presented story here.


Wandering Sensei: Moderator Man said:

Yeah, every review I had read on the current run said something akin to "this is nothing special."

Sometimes "not special" can be pretty refreshing. In a day when it feels like every storyline has to be earth-shattering, this is a welcome kind of story. I also like that The Squid isn't insane. He's just a thuggish drug dealer and human trafficker.

In practice, I think most of us developed our affection for most features reading their bread-and-butter stories. Consequently, I'm inclined to contend that they're the good stuff. That's a bit ideological, but I don't believe in looking down on stories I actually enjoyed, like the Golden Age Batman stories I read in reprints as a kid, in favour of ground-breaking, attention-getting stuff that I didn't, like Batman: The Killing Joke.

Wandering Sensei: Moderator Man said:

Did Al Ewing used to be an inker or something like that? I know I've seen that name before, but Grand Comic Book Database only shows his writing dating back to 2012.


There's a page on him at Wikipedia that lists stuff he's done.

Yesterday I read a book that is now ten (!) years old: The Authority: Human On the Inside.

I remember thinking when this came out in hardcover years ago (mine was a softcover) that it was sure to be pretty good. It was written by Hollywood director John Ridley (although thinking back, I'm pretty sure I thought they were talking about Ridley Scott at the time...) and drawn by one of my favorite artists who doesn't get credit for being the type of artist he is, Ben Oliver.

I should have known that a self-contained story of this size couldn't really have the payoffs I was hoping for. What we have here is a story about a charismatic new member of the team, intended to take over for the incapacitated Jack Hawksmore, and the havoc he ends up wreaking on the team. The message in the end is well done, but nothing really new.

Still, as a book that I got for only a couple bucks in an Instocktrades.com clearance sale, it was worth the first hour of my morning to read it yesterday.

Batman/Superman #9

DC

Pak and Lee

3.99

This was part three of four in the crossover with Worlds' Finest. This was a good issue. Greg Pak and Jae Lee are really just a team supreme. I love the fact that the pre-Nu52 Toyman (the kid version) is still intact. The way he helps Superman out is very cool. He essentially makes Superman a suit to keep him from absorbing too much of the sun's energy (because it's been causing him problems). The mask was pretty eerie; clearly designed by Jae Lee. At the end of the issue, they believe they have found a portal back to Huntress and Power Girl's home (Earth 2).

Worlds' Finest

DC

Levitz, Silva, and Weems

2.99

And this is part four. I have nothing against R.B. Silva's art style. The switch between Jae Lee's art and this, however, is just plain jarring. This is especially true since the last page of Batman/Superman #9 and the first page of Worlds' Finest #21 are essentially the same image, just drawn by wildly different artists. The barren, burned out wreckage of palaces and spires in Earth 2 in the former, and then a much more cartoon-like regular city with some smoke in the background in WF. I know nothing of Earth 2's new (?) Superman (didn't the first one die in Earth 2 #1?), but he shows up along with a giant guy who tries to attack them. I think this has something to do with the attacks that took place in that same issue of Earth 2? I have to admit I was pretty confused, but I didn't do any rereading to try to figure out, because quite frankly I was bored with this issue and I wanted it to be over ASAP. In the end, Helena and Kara lost out on their chance to go back to Earth 2 because of a snafu on Helena's part. It's a hell hole anyway; so at least they have that.

You just made me remember Part 4 came out before Part 3, I need to go back and re-read entire thing to see how I like it.

The Wicked + The Divine

Gillen and McKelvie

Image

3.50

In this day and age, if Image puts it out, I feel like it's always worth it to give it a one-issue try. More often than not, I am pleasantly surprised. I've also been known to give the first $9.99 volume a shot (see the recent Manifest Destiny). Well, I am glad I didn't get the first full volume on this one and went with the individual issue instead.

This really screamed of something that is good, but not for me. I was half-expecting this, because I experienced something similar with this same team's Young Avengers. I went in with a very open mind, though, because Gillen is the writer of Iron Man and many other things I've read and enjoyed. But no...didn't work for me this time around.

The jist: There are some gods who, every hundred years or so (a little less this time around), live for exactly two years, and then they die. These gods are from across a dappling of pantheons, but not the "biggies" of Western culture--the Norse, Greek, and Roman gods are not part of it, as far as I can tell with my layman's knowledge of such things. They say clever things. They are led by Luci(fer), who is a female embodiment of, well, Lucifer. The story is about what happens when Lucifer is brought to trial for murder, and then is framed for a separate murder that she actually didn't commit.

The art is what you'd expect from McKelvie. He has a very clean line, and his faces remind me of Steve Dillon. So it's not a bad looking book at all.

As I said, I can tell this is good. But I wasn't sad when it was over. I'm good with letting this one go on without me. I have plenty to read in the meantime!

Mighty Avengers #11

Ewing and Land

Marvel

3.99

Al Ewing and Greg Land are the creators behind this beauty.

Let me get the art out of the way first. Greg Land's artwork is awesome throughout 95% of this book. There were one (maybe two) shots that looked like they were photo-referenced (or photo-traced). Other than that, this was a huge improvement over Land's work over the past ten years. He seems to have been working on improving his craft more recently, and it looks much more like early Land.

This story makes the most out of being an Original Sin crossover. Luke Cage learns some things about his father's past as a crime fighter in his own right, along with a feisty reporter back in the early 1970's. Also thrown into the mix: Blue Marvel and Blade.

What I love about this series is that it paints a very cool portrait of a little corner of the Marvel Universe. It is a far more human story than anything we get out of all of the other Avengers titles. For the first time ever, I feel invested in the lives of Luke Cage, Blade, and I've been introduced to Blue Marvel, who (I know I've said this before) is one of my new favorite characters in any comic.

This book is fantastic on all fronts.

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