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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I had no idea about that. How much earlier?

John Dunbar (the mod of maple) said:

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.

Flash #31-32

DC

Jensen, Venditti, and Booth

2.99@

When I caught wind that Wally West was back, I decided to download both of these issues onto my iPad and read them on the treadmill today. They weren't bad. They weren't spectacular, either. It seems that Barry Allen still doesn't have a personality, but the ladies in his life sure do. He is torn between Patty Spigot (his girlfriend) and Iris West (the girl he seems to hang out with a lot more than poor Patty). However, it seems that the more interesting character here is Future Flash (who looks just like Wally), who is coming back from the future to one-by-one kill off members of the Rogue's Gallery, plus a few more. Wally West is in here, but this version has black hair, which indicates a different lineage than the old style. Wally sure did come around to baseball in a hurry, after calling it boring compared to football and basketball. (I hate that comparison as a baseball fan. Sure, it can move a little slow, but it's not like it's golf, for crying out loud.)

These issues were okay. But not nearly as good as I wanted them to be. I don't think I'll be reading any more Flash under this creative team, but you never know what the future may hold.

Starlight #4

Image

Millar and Parlov

2.99

This has been a really enjoyable book. I started buying this one because of Goran Parlov's artwork, which I first became familiar with on his Fury Max book from Marvel. This is the story of a space hero who has come back to Earth, aged into his gray years, and is brought back into the action world. I hear this character being compared to Flash Gordon, but I see him a little more comparable to Adam Strange. Anyway, for this issue, Captain McQueen and his ragtag crew of a guy obsessed with 50's Earth culture (the radio frequencies just hit his planet), a pink-haired kid, and a couple of freedom fighters who just busted them out of jail all go to a land of fallen giants. I love how Parlov draws this planet. His art takes a sudden turn and looks a bit like Rick Geary, but only when he's drawing the planet itself--the trees and inhabitants. Millar employs one of his tropes here, but it's one that I really enjoy. It's when a character recalls several past adventures and you get to see one panel of each adventure. The Robot King, the Ice Apes, the Undersea Peril, the Plant-Masters... Each one could probably be its own issue or possibly even arc, but he gives you just enough so that you feel like you want more. I remember an issue of The Flash where he did this very effectively. One more thing about Parlov's art--it seems to be getting more and more simple, but that's not a bad thing. That's an artist who is taking some chances, and it pays off very well here.

The Goon: One For the Road

Dark Horse

Eric Powell

3.50

It wasn't until I started typing this that I realized this wasn't a regular issue of the series. I'm not sure why. Anyway, it's dedicated to Jack Davis, who is probably best known for his work on Mad Magazine. Davis also did the cover to this issue. It's been quite awhile since we've seen this title. It's refreshing sometimes to just read a story like this one, with Goon and Frankie going from bar to bar and clobbering people. One of said bars is full of "celebrities" whose names are altered slightly (a la Mad), there's a big chase (also drawn in the Mad Jack Davis style), and a giant gorilla. I loved the classic humorous twist at the end of the issue. If someone wanted a sample of a good, stand-alone issue of a Goon comic, this would be the perfect fit.

Outcast #1

Image

Kirkman and Azaceta

2.99

This is a story about an exorcist with a really rough (but easily related) past. That kind of undersells what could be a really good book. I quit reading Invincible and The Walking Dead a long while back, and I really wasn't looking for a new Kirkman book. But this one has been advertised for awhile and I kept thinking that it looked interesting. And I'm a fan of Paul Azaceta's artwork. This was a thick slab of a comic book for a great price. These characters are very believable--the down on himself schlub whose wife has left him (a dark reason is alluded to here), his sister who wants to take care of him, and his "exorcist mentor". There was a little confusion in some of the storytelling--I thought they were going back and forth in time, and it turned out that wasn't the case. But I would recommend everyone give this a try if you can get into any horror at all. Mark Sullivan, I'd highly recommend this one to you.

I read issue #32 recently, and for me that baseball scene was painful They committed one of those errors for me that just threw me out of the story. It is something sports movies do quite often. The guy calling the game on radio is also the stadium announcer, and that just never happens. On top of that we get the anachronism of the announcer guy actually having the press pass stuck in his fedora.

I wanted to give the new creative team a chance, but there is just something missing here. The story is decent enough, and I like that this new Flash is actually solving mysteries, but something is missing, and I can't quite put my finger on it. Not dropping it yet, but it is on a short leash.

Wandering Sensei: Moderator Man said:

Flash #31-32

DC

Jensen, Venditti, and Booth

2.99@

When I caught wind that Wally West was back, I decided to download both of these issues onto my iPad and read them on the treadmill today. They weren't bad. They weren't spectacular, either. It seems that Barry Allen still doesn't have a personality, but the ladies in his life sure do. He is torn between Patty Spigot (his girlfriend) and Iris West (the girl he seems to hang out with a lot more than poor Patty). However, it seems that the more interesting character here is Future Flash (who looks just like Wally), who is coming back from the future to one-by-one kill off members of the Rogue's Gallery, plus a few more. Wally West is in here, but this version has black hair, which indicates a different lineage than the old style. Wally sure did come around to baseball in a hurry, after calling it boring compared to football and basketball. (I hate that comparison as a baseball fan. Sure, it can move a little slow, but it's not like it's golf, for crying out loud.)

These issues were okay. But not nearly as good as I wanted them to be. I don't think I'll be reading any more Flash under this creative team, but you never know what the future may hold.

Hahaha...yeah, that grated on me too. A long time ago, I had to just tell myself that most (but certainly not all) comics creators don't like sports and know very very little about them. I think it's safe to say that none of these creators have even been to a baseball game.

I remember reading a comic where someone was talking about a regular season baseball game--and this was long before there was any interleague play--where the Mets were playing the Red Sox. I can't remember anything else about that story. I'm pretty sure I even sent a letter to DC about this (hey, I was in high school at the time).

Earth 2 #24

Taylor, Barrows, Ferreira, and Pantazis

DC

2.99

First off, let me say that if I was Mr. Barrows, Ferreira, or Pantazis, I would be upset that the cover said that the art was by Nicola Scott and Trevor Scott. It was not, as the splash page admits. Personally, I think the art inside looks fantastic. We'll get to that later. The story: This is the first issue of this title I've picked up since #7. Needless to say, I had no idea what was going on. But a flip through to the last page, and I wanted to read this issue. This story is also part 4 of an arc (I have no idea how many issues total). But this is what I like to do. You can pick up the details if you just begin where you are.

The verdict: I loved this is. It starts off with Jay Garrick being interrogated by some kind of skeleton person. Flash Garrick actually pokes fun at this guy's appearance, which is actually pretty funny. Next up, we have Hawkgirl and Alan "Green Lantern" Scott berating and humiliating some Parademons, and it's kind of fun seeing the heroes actually having the upper hand mid-story. Next, we get E2Batman, Dr. Fate, Jimmy Olsen, and a young African American named Val (?) coming back from some other dimension with the body of Red Arrow in tow. It seems RA has perished in whatever adventure they were on. Batman blames young Val, because evidently Val has some great powers that could have saved his life. Jimmy Olsen goes after Bats to shame him, and does a pretty admirable job. I love this characterization of Jimmy Olsen, by the way. He's awesome. And there are some clues for this "new" reader about the E2Superman's reason for being an evil presence.

This issue was full of action, lots of details that held my interest, and while there were a lot of words, it flew right by. I am pretty unfamiliar with Tom Taylor's writing, but I do remember thinking at first that he was an obvious pseudonym for Mike Carey, because in Carey's The Unwritten, his protagonist is a "fictional" character by the name of Tommy Taylor. Imagine my surprise to find out this is an actual person. And a rather talented one at that.

The art, as I said above, is beautiful. I remember first becoming familiar with Eddy Barrows during Blackest Night. I liked it then, and he's only improved in the time between.

This issue has really captured my attention. I will buy #25 when it comes out. DC is starting to make some much better choices if its goal is to catch my interest. I like how DC now has this little pocket world (that they show each month) where they can do funky stuff like have these new young characters be the Justice Society--maybe? I don't know, actually--and Jimmy Olsen can tell off Thomas Wayne and refer to himself as a potential Robin. And now we have a young African American who looks like he's going to be the new E2Superman?

This is the Batman and Superman that I want to have a crossover with Batman/Superman! They did the one with Worlds' Finest, now let's see a crossover with Earth 2! Bruce and Clark meeting Thomas and Val? Only one issue, and my breath is already bated.

This was the most impressive thing I've read in awhile, because it was just pure fun.

Sorry, WS, just saw this.

Part 4 was released 3 weeks before part 3.  World's Finest was on time, Batman/Superman was about a month late.  Baffling that WF wasn't held back too.

Wandering Sensei: Moderator Man said:

I had no idea about that. How much earlier?

John Dunbar (the mod of maple) said:

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.

This morning I read Batman Eternal #11...

Batman Eternal #11

DC

Snyder, Fawkes, Layman, Tynion, Seeley, Bertram

2.99

This is my first issue of Batman Eternal. Everything I had read and heard about this issue was all raving about the art, which led them into a great little story. Well, I'm here to tell you that they're not wrong. I remember being at the shop the day this came out, and glancing at it with no intention of buying it, but being a bit put off by its cover. The scorpion woman from Grant Morrison's Batman run was on it, and she was fighting Batgirl. The character design put me off.

But the insides--wow! It looks like something that you might see in a European comic. The women are curvy, the eyes are exaggerated, and the whole thing takes on a very expressive quality. And the character design of the scorpion lady on the cover...well, Ian Bertram (the artist) makes it work.

The story here was confusing to me, but I expected that when I picked it up starting with #11. That's fine. I know what a Batman comic is, and I also love coming into a story in the middle.

I wish I knew which of the writers above was responsible for this story. It involved El Guacho, Batgirl, Scorpion Lady (not her real name...), Alfred, his daughter (yup), a mourning Catwoman, and a Latino soap opera actor.

Another thing about the artist--when Catwoman is visiting a cemetery in the rain, it takes on a very Edward Gorey look. I liked that.

I bought issues 11 and 12, so I will read the next one, knowing full well that #12 was not drawn by the same guy. That's okay, though. I'm intrigued enough by this funky story to follow it into another issue.

Much like Earth 2 #24, I found this issue to be just plain fun. That will bring me back for the next one every time.

All Star (OGN)

Jesse Lonergan

NBM Comics Lit

13.99 cover

This story follows a few weeks in the life of Carl Carter, a hometown baseball hero in a town of 1,112 people in the year 1998. He is the most popular guy in school, he doesn't really try, and he can get away with a lot more than anyone else can. He's a likeable guy; everyone loves him.

After making a really poor decision with his friend, he starts to deal with how differently he is treated than everyone else. I don't want to give away too much, because this is such a pleasure of a read. I will say, however, that I like the way it didn't end with a full resolution. This is a very realistic comic, and that's a very real thing.

The art--man, how do I describe the art? It's a simple style, but it is incredibly expressive. The way Lonergan draws facial expressions conveys emotions from the very subtle to the explosive. Perhaps most impressive to me is how he draws the guys playing baseball. Baseball has a lot of abnormal poses in it--from the pitcher getting ready to throw, to someone catching a ball, to the batters' various stances. He really nails this. It looks like he sat in the bleachers over a whole week and just sketched the players in their various movements. The way he shows the movement of the bat, hitting the ball, the grounders skipping across the infield, and the ball hitting the glove right in the pocket...it's all shown with such style and grace that you can hear it.

I was reminded of Sean Murphy's Off-Road while reading this--the buddies, the rural setting, the tightly-wound fathers. I'd say the story is better in All Star, but it's pretty close in the sense of story and situation setting.

Highly recommended. I'm looking at you, Travis Herrick. After reading The Flash's painful baseball scene last week, this was a refreshing summer surprise.

Red Skull Incarnate

Pak and Kolak

Marvel

15.99 cover

I'll keep this short and sweet. I read this today in response to hearing about Avengers/X-Men Axis. I have had this for awhile, but I hadn't read it. But the fact that it was written by Greg Pak put it on the fast track. This was a good book. It just goes to show the prelude to the Red Skull. It shows his psyche and his childhood/adolescence, which explains what made him who he is today. He has been ruthless for years. Early on, we do get a hint of a potential good person in there somewhere, but it doesn't last very long.

The art by Mirko Kolak is really nice. It is realistic without being photo-referenced. I was really impressed with the curl in Johann's lip that would appear whenever he was about to mess with someone.

Well-done all around. This is an eerie portrait of a nasty villain.

WS said:

Highly recommended. I'm looking at you, Travis Herrick. After reading The Flash's painful baseball scene last week, this was a refreshing summer surprise.

Ha! I have actually read this. I thought I had posted something about it, but I guess not. I read around the same time that I read Friday Night Lights and there are a number of corollaries between the two.

I thought it was a really good book, and I was going to recommend it to you since I know you are a baseball fan.

You are right about the art, and it is perfect for this book.

Off-topic:

What I would like to see in a sport story is one of the guy who is an awesome player at a small town school, and then arrives at college and realizes just how much better others are. (A bit of a downer I know, but I think it would be interesting to explore). There is a local radio guy who was the best basketball player at his school at a small town in Wisconsin, and he dominated other teams. He actually imagined he just might be able to make the NBA. Then he went to college and couldn't even make the practice team for Liberty.

A downer, yes, but definitely worth exploring. I think it's a pretty common theme to athletes all across high school sports.

It might also be interesting to do a parallel story or two...like a college version of the same thing. A guy who is awesome in college, but them hits the pros and bottoms out. I also think it's pretty interesting when a guy who makes a big splash at the college level enters the pros and has to stick with it for five years or so before he does anything substantial.

Definite potential!

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