Category Archives: Quick shots

Short ‘reviews’ about all the comic books I read this week, that were not in my top 4.

Extended quick shots for week 28: Nick Fury and ACE another Dutch comic

A dynamic panel from Nick Fury.Agent of Shield, by Jim Steranko

A dynamic panel from Nick Fury.Agent of Shield, by Jim Steranko

5. Strange Tales #156-163 (Marvel comics, 1967)                                                     7
I keep on plowing through the trade paperback of Nick Fury. Agent of SHIELD. The stories in here are being told in 12 page installments, because the original issues were split between Nick Fury stories and Dr. Strange stories. Issue 156 finally wraps up the first big arc, in which Fury is after Baron Wolfgang von Strucker or the Head Hydra as he was mostly known around then. I was glad to see this long winded rat race come to an end, and welcomed some shorter stories. But sadly writing wasn’t Jim Steranko’s strong suit. Regrettably, the art also took a bit of a dip, when Steranko stopped inking himself. I know that Bill Everett is no slouch either, but it just doesn’t look the same. As far as I have read now, without his own inks Steranko sadly devolves into a Kirby clone (was it the times, or just Marvel’s house style?)
6. ACE #2 (DROP comics)                                                                                                       6.9
And now for a little Dutch flavor. ACE stands for Action Committee Extraordinary, a pan European security agency with national branches. This series shows the adventures of the ACE team designated to the Netherlands. After a zero issue and the number one issue, writer Gert-Jan van Oosten is still setting up the team and the characters, but in this issue we get a gleam of the overall plot direction of this series. In this issue, we follow new recruit John Rock, who can copy knowledge and skills of the people he’s close to. We see Rock get recruited and initiated in the agency. But his welcome turns violent as he gets to fight ACE’s local martial arts expert and gets off on the wrong foot with another new recruit, who seems to be having a secret agenda of his own. Reading this issue, it felt like Van Oosten’s love letter to the classic Chris Claremont X-men. We have a bit of a danger room analogue, a quite physical welcoming ordeal, a team consisting of members with exotic powers as well as exotic ethnicities, fun banter between the characters and of course there is a Madrox the Multiple Man analogue. I love how subtle he manages to get these references in there, without it standing in the way of telling his story. The series’ artist is Ranjit Dommisse, a guy clearly channeling J. Scott Cambell (though a bit more cartoony), I love the way he portrays his women and the visual style he manages to set forth throughout this series. However, I have some issues with his linework and the lack of details (both in faces and backgrounds). Still, this issue’s got a beautiful two page spread introducing all the characters and a wonderfully choreographed fight scene.

Only quick shots this week. Winner is Cloak and Dagger 2!


1. Spider Island: Cloak and Dagger #2
(Marvel comics)                                9.2
OMG Emma Rios draws the most disgusting spiders! And Nick Spencer is a genius writer: ‘You just unchain me here, and I’ll go ahead and make you look like the smartest man who ever got his nuts chopped off by a light dagger.Dagger has some attitude, I love it! Plus, smart writing (Spencer reminds me of my lessons in history), and Cloak and Dagger have never looked better. This was fucking awesome, it makes me want to curse, it was so good!


2. The Authority. Book 1: Relentless (tpb) (Wildstorm)                                 8.9
This, back in 2000, was what got me balls deep into comics. I was always reading X-men, but after the Grant Morrison run, my devotion of the comic book medium was wavering a bit. This series was the first thing to point me away from the stereotypical, mainstream comic books about capes and tights. But it’s not just from my personal reading experience that I think this is a majorly important comic book. Just like Miracle Man and Watchmen, this was one of those steps in deconstructing superheroes. In this case by showing a group of heroes who are pro-active about changing the world and a bit more radical than your average superhero. I think this is my favorite series of Warren Ellis written superhero stories, and the first time that artist Brian Hitch stepped up his game, to look as good as it gets.
3. Severed #3 (Image comics)                                                                                              8.9
On the first page of this excellent horror story set in the 1920’s, it suddenly struck me that Attila Futaki’s art reminds me of Windsor McKay’s art on the Little Nemo newspaper strip. This story is crafted extremely well, with the first couple of pages of the first issue showing a flash forward of the main character as an old man who’s missing an arm. Throughout the rest of the series where we follow him as a twelve-year-old, you are waiting for this boy to get his arm chopped of around every corner. Brilliant stuff, genuienly creepy. This is horror at it’s very best.

 4. Spontaneous #4 (Oni press)                                                                                         8.8
The plot about a mysterious string of spontaneous combustions stays very… …mysterious. However, this issue things take a turn as we learn that the cause of everything that´s going on lies closer to the main characters then they´d ever imagined. Once again beautifully drawn and very humanly written.
5. X-men Regenisis (Marvel comics)                                                                              7.8
This issue explains how the X-men get divided between the newly formed school of Wolverine in Westchester and the Cyclops led militarized mutant enclave of Utopia. I was shocked and perhaps a bit disappointed by Storm staying in Utopia, and shocked yet pleasantly surprised to see Emma heading for Westchester. …and then disappointed again by her staying.
6. Action Comics #2 (DC comics)                                                                                    7.5
The art looks rushed and badly inked. From the backup material, it becomes clear that it’s mostly the inks that are to blame. Because the pencils by Rags Morales look great. Otherwise a perfectly likable story of a vulnerable Superman and Lex Luthor who may be manipulated by a greater force.
7. Spider-Island Spider-Woman (Marvel comics)                                               7.4
Pretty solid art by Giusupe Gamuncoli, combined with a story by Fred Van Lente that very effectively portrays Jessica Drew as the insecure heroine that we have gotten to know over the years. In this one-shot she has to rescue Alicia Masters, the Thing’s blind girlfriend. Reed Richards wants Master’s blood to contain the basis for an antidote for what’s happening with the whole Spider-Island thing. In the course of the issue, of course she has to face down with the Thing and also, The Gypsy Moth?
8. The Authority. Book 3: Earth Inferno and other stories (tpb) (Wildstorm) 7.4
The cover of this trade credits Frank Quietly as artist before Chris Weston, inside however, the first half of the Earth Inferno story arc is drawn by Weston. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but, when you expect Quietly art, Weston is a bit of a letdown. I understand however, that this was the era that this title met a lot of misfortune. Still, I’d like the publisher to be more honest about the insides. Fun little book where writer Mark Millar explores the characters a bit more than his predecessor. Which doesn’t mean the scale of the action is less, this arc sees Earth trying to expunge all life. This also has two nice little one and done stories I had never read before!

Quick shots for week 41: Dinosaurs, zombies, reboots, boobies, X’s, cyborgs and conspiracies

5. Super Dinosaur #4 (Image comics)                                                                          8.4
Another solid issue. Action packed, great art, cool new gizmos. Really, this has anything any age of reader would want. My only problem is that I just can’t get over the fact that the main character is calling himself awesome all of the time. But I guess that will come around on him some time in the future.
6. The Walking Dead #89 (Image comics)                                                                    8
This issue of The Walking Dead is just like every other, a well written and beautifully drawn story about Rick Grimes and his group of survivors getting in (and hopefully out of) a pickle. There seems something weird about Charlie Adlard’s art this issue. It’s a bit looser or something, it’s like he’s stepped over to working digitally with a tablet or something. Ah, well it’s still solid art.
7. The Flash #1 (DC comics)                                                                                                     8
Great art, hit and miss writing, a sequential flow that didn’t work very well outside of the action scenes. The story of this first new installment of the Flash was pretty interesting and delivered an interesting cliffhanger. I dig the armored redesign and the illuminating speed lines on the uniform, but this is one of those redesigns I think will look worse when drawn by many other artists.
8. The Big Lie
(Image comics)                                                                                             7.5
Great, inventive and balsy concept about a scientist that has traveled back in time to save her husband from the World Trade Tower attacks of 9-11. There’s a lot of exposition here, with the main character talking to herself to explain what’s happening, which feels a bit too old school for me. Also, I was kind of bummed that this is only a one-shot, I would love to have seen more of this woman, trying to convince people of the coming doom with her footage of the attacks on her futuristic device (an Ipad). While I like the story and concept, I have to say that I find the time of release on the decennial commemoration of the attacks in poor taste. Especially since the story is told with a dark sense of irony, the book being introduced and closed by a panel of Uncle Sam joking about lies. I understand and appreciate the reasons to present a story which is a thinly veiled metaphor for all the warnings that were ignored by the Bush administration before the attacks, I just wish it could have been brought a bit more respectfully.
9. X-men Schism #5 (Marvel comics)                                                                            7.2
As great as the last issue was, as mediocre and forced this final issue was. I appreciate the (much needed) shift in status quo that the events in this series present the X-men. However, Wolverine and Cyclops continue to duke it out, while the super Sentinel attacks and ultimately the two veteran X-men are saved by the X-kids, that’s just so unnatural and contrived, I can’t believe I read it. I did like the little epilogue of Wolverine, Iceman and some kids leaving Utopia and heading back to Westchester. The art was regrettably subpar, I always like any Kubert, but in my opinion this issue represents the low point in the art of this series.
10. Stormwatch #2 (DC comics)                                                                                          7
Who are these Adam and Harry Tanner? I’ve never read any of the previous Stormwatch volumes, just the Authority spin-off. As much as I like the first issue, the writer and as much as I wanted to like this issue, it just wasn’t very good. The plot was unclear and the art looks rushed and inconsistent. Mayor bummer!
11. Tarot. Witch of the Black Rose #69 (Broadsword comics)                    6.7
A June issue I still had lying around, this made me feel uncomfortable on SO many levels. This was made worse by reading it with my wife next to me on the couch. Let’s just get this out of the way: I like boobies as much as the next men. But there’s a time and place for everything, and this book draws so much attention to the cheese cake, it draws attention away from other aspects of the book. Sadly, this may actually be a good thing, because otherwise there’s not much there. The art, while sexy was inconsistent, and artist Holly Golightly seems way more experienced in drawing hot chicks than guys. The story was not bad, but not very good either. We got treated to a big fight scene, which while fun was pretty standard, not withstanding a fun little twist at the end.
12. Terminator Robocop. Kill human #2 (Dynamite Entertainment)     6.5
Uhm, was Robocop ever this ‘human’, I know him mostly from the movies and cartoon series, but wasn’t he mentally more machine than human? In this issue he gets all emotional and curses like a Detroit sailor. This series offers the interesting concept of Murphy moving back in time to help Sarah and John Conner stop Skynet and thus apparently interfering with the movie continuity? I’m not entirely sure if the artist (PJ Holden) is suited for this book though. I think his raw, shadowy and edgy style would work better in a horror book than in this action packed sci-fi story.
13. X-men. Legacy #255 (Marvel comics)                                                                  5.9
I’m sad to see this book slowly going out with a whimper. It started strong with writer Mike Carey at the helm and spinning out of the Messiah Complex crossover. Yet, almost immediately the series was hampered by art that didn´t look quite as good as that in the other X-books. Add to that, that this initially was the X-book that stands apart from most of the continuity of the other X-books, while relying heavily on knowledge of earlier X-men continuity and it becomes apparent that this book was never destined to be a big seller. But over the last couple of issues even Carey has dropped the ball more and more. While I love the fact that we’re finally getting a rescue mission for the X-men that have been stuck in the far end of space for the last five years, I strongly doubt the execution could be more terrible. Characters act wildly inconsistent, the story lacks any kind of lackluster and the art is over rendered and incoherent. I want to see how this arc pans out, but I think I’ll be leaving this book, even though I have been a vocal supporter of it for so long…

Quick shots for week 39: Kirby Genesis, getting caught up with my MArvel and some more DC 1’s

A beautifull two page spread by Alex Ross and Jack Herbert, from Kirby Genesis #3, published by Dynamite Entertainment.

A beautifull two page spread by Alex Ross and Jack Herbert, from Kirby Genesis #3, published by Dynamite Entertainment.

5. Kirby Genesis #3 (Dynamite Entertainment)                                                      8.5
This feels like an action packed Saturday morning cartoon, complete with a giant toyline. There are like a hundred characters in the cartoon, so they can sell all kinds of cool action figures. If that doesn´t sound too good for you, let me just spell it out for you: This comic is excellent! There’s a bit much going on and there really are a lot of characters. But they are all extremely well designed, very distinct from one another, very original and just like this series, heaps and heaps of fun! Basically, this series tells the story of a normal, realistic world (not unlike ours), which in the span of a couple of hours gets bombarded with a whole bunch of superheroes and villains (all unused or license-free creations of legendary comic creator Jack Kirby). The whole world quickly goes ballistic, while we follow a kid named Kirby, who is looking for his girlfriend (who turned into some kind of power princess) and in doing so gets abducted by aliens, together with Sasquatch and subsequently delivered in the land beyond time… (come on, need I say more?)
6. Ultimates #2 (Marvel comics)                                                                                         8
Contrary to the first issue, this really felt like its own beast. This isn´t so much a new take on Millar and Hitch’s (or Hitlar as we know that duo on the millarworld forums) run on the Ultimates, but a good story by Jonathan Hickman about the Ultimates. This issue, things are jam-packed with action. And once again I appreciate the bold editorial choices that have been made to set the Ultimate universe apart from the 616-verse. [Spoiler:] All the Asgardian gods (except for Thor, it seems) get killed by the inhabitants of evil Reed Richard’s sphere society.
7. New Avengers Annual (Marvel comics)                                                              7.9
Interesting story about former Avenger Simon Williams (AKA Wonderman) trying to end the Avengers with his own team of superheroes. First target, the New Avengers, [spoilers], they go down relatively easy, which was kinda surprising. But of course they aren’t the big league Avengers, which are their next target. So, I’m curious to see how that will pan out. The art was interesting, not great but pretty good. I think what made the art by Gabriele Dell’Otto back on Secret War particularly impressive, was all the dark areas which hid a lot of details. This issue plays out in clear daylight and we see much more details, which diminishes the impact of his linework.
8. New Avengers #16 (Marvel comics)                                                                      7.5
Very well written story about how Daredevil gets to join the New Avengers. A cute tie-in to fear itself. Yet, again Bendis does this thing where the story is narrated through interview scenes. I can’t stand them! They work great however, especially in this issue. The art however ugh… I (really!) like Deodato a lot, but the coloring here is not helping him, it’s making it far too photorealistic. Plus the architecture and Nazi mech armors look computer generated, which doesn’t look good.
9. Green Lantern #1 (DC comics)                                                                                     7
Not enough action. I like the premiss of Hall Jordan without a ring, without a job and without money, and seeing Sinestro (of all people) with a green ring. Well played comedic bits. There´s just not enough action and that’s what the art team of Mahnke and Alamy do best, which is a shame. Will check out the second issue, but I’m still very cautious.
10. Fear Itself #6 (Marvel comics)                                                                                     7
Once again, the grade is pulled down big time through the writing. I don’t think I’ll be back for the next issue. The writing was a bit better, art a bit worse compared to earlier issues.

Will try to get the Book of the week and Runner Ups online tomorrow or the day after. Titles to be reviewed: Batwoman #1, Ultimate Spider-man #2, Sweet Tooth #25 and X-men Schism 4.

Quick shot reviews for week 38: If I read another first issue I’m gonna be sick…

A sweet two page sread of recess at Gladstone's school for World Conquerors, art by Armand Villavert.

A sweet two page sread of recess at Gladstone's school for World Conquerors, art by Armand Villavert.

 

5. Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors #1(Image comics)            8.7
After having read issues 2-4, this issue quickly and entertainingly explains why the school is named Gladstone’s. Besides that it does a pretty good job of introducing the students of this school for super villains: Kid Nefarious, Mummy Girl, Martian Jones, Ghost Girl and Skull Brother one and two (which we later learn will play a surprisingly important part in this story). Besides setting up the school (including such classes as explosives 101, extortion, oversized reptiles and home economics), and the characters, the story does a great job at unveiling a bit of the driving plot of the series: at the end of the issue we see a hero and villain meeting up in secret to arrange their next fight. The art is by Armand Villavert is beautiful, with sparse, delicate and highly stylized linework it reminds me a bit of the art by Corey Walker in the early issues of Invincible. The big difference being that Gladstone’s look a bit more playful. I think an extra round of applause should be reserved for Mr. Carlos Carrasco for his stark color combinations, which makes the art pop off of the page and makes the book stand out of the crowd.
6. The Vault #1 (Image comics)                                                                                             8
This had come out a couple of months back as well, but I hadn’t gotten around to it. The Vault tells the atmospheric and brooding story of an underwater treasure hunt. It reads very good, and feels like an excellent horror/thriller movie. But don’t worry, it doesn’t read like a movie pitch. It’s a well crafted comic which, I really dug. At first I was a little disappointed by what the treasure hunter team finds. But at the end, let’s just say I wasn’t anymore, and the horror/mystery vibe got amped up quite high. The art (quite photorealistic ) was a bit too standard for me, but that may be a personal taste thing. It fitted well with this story.
7. Demon Knights #1 (DC comics)                                                                                      8
Nothing wrong here, perfectly likeable book about DC characters both widely known (Etrigen, Madame Xanadu, Vandal Savage) and lesser known (the Shining Knight?). Looks good, reads even better. It takes place in the dark ages, I think it’s very interesting to see the early roots of the new DC.
8. Wonder Woman #1 (DC comics)                                                                                   8
Well, finally we’re back to a good Wonder Woman story. Great art by Cliff Chang. I don’t really know what else to say. Diana looks gorgeous, she gets involved in a murder plot against the unborn child of Zeus and thing are a quite dark. Good, clean fun, with a bit of a horror edge to it. Well worth your money.
9. Ultimate X-men #1 (Marvel comics)                                                                             8
I liked this mostly because of the characters, though the art (Paco Medina) and writing (Nick Spencer) didn’t hurt either. The characters of course are Karen Grant (aka Jean Grey), Angel (not Warren Worthington III), James Logan (little Wolverine) and firegirl (?) from Ultimate X and Johnny Storm, Bobby Drake and Kitty Pride from back in Ultimate Spider-man. Apparently Kitty is becoming ´the most feared and hated terrorist in the history of the United States´, which sounds very interesting. My only critique is that there was a bit too much going.
10. New Mutants #30 (Marvel comics)                                                                            8
Mephisto offers the team a deal to escape from Hell that seems so innocent I can’t imagine (but know there will be) a catch, while Dani Moonstar is defending Hel (notice how this one’s got only one ‘l’?), against the forces of the Fear Itself villain (the Serpent, right?). Great art by David Lafuente, especially the Dani scenes. This guy is so extremely good with expressions, it’s just a joy for the eye to watch the faces in this thing. The story by Abnett and Lanning is solid, fun and entertaining, though I’m still not sure they’ve got the newest recruit, Nathan Grey (aka X-man), pegged just yet.
11. Grifter #1 (DC comics)                                                                                                          8
I liked this despite never having read any Grifter prior to this. This is mainly due to the interesting plot, revolving around Grifter before he’s Grifter being abducted by telepathic space aliens (!?) while on his escape from a swindle. Unbeknownst to him, he’s missing 17 hours from his memory. Because of the abduction, his escape plan goes awry, he does escape from the aliens, but then is hunted by said aliens. Sounds a little out there, but it was really amusing to see that this wasn’t just another superhero story, but more of a science fiction mystery thriller.
12. Red Hood and the Outlaws #1 (DC comics)                                                     7.9
We get a very exploitative portrayal of Starfire, which I certainly notice (but have no problems with whatsoever). Beautiful art, okay story. I didn’t understand anything in the second half, other than Red Arrow and Starfire getting freaky together. But maybe that was the point as the last caption says: ‘to be explained’ instead of ‘to be continued’. So, at the least they have piqued my interest.
13. Pigs #1 (Image comics)                                                                                                     7.6
I really didn’t want to read another first issue, but this just looked so good. A stunning cover by Jock, followed by a conspiracy story about a second generation Cuban sleeper cell that’s gotten activated in the present and wants to overthrow the US government. The story switches between past and present and spans nearly 60 years. This is sure to be one of those rare books that’s rife with historic accuracy (the two authors must have done a ton of research) and political intrigue. The art wasn’t the strongest part of the book, but served its purpose well and got progressively better.
14. Star Trek #1 (IDW Publishing)                                                                                    7.5
Pretty standard Star Trek fare here, both story and art are pretty decent. This is a well told story about what looks like a psychic attack after the latest Star Trek movie. Get it if you’re a big Trekkie or really liked the last film (which both applies to me). Props are due to artist Stephen Molar, for really making the characters resemble their motion picture counterparts. If you’re not into Star Trek or the last movie, this is just ‘one of those comics’. It’s certainly not bad, not great either. But positively entertaining, just like many other comics.
15. Nightwing #1(DC comics)                                                                                7.5
This seems to be tying into the cliffhanger from Batman #1, it appears that somehow Dick Greyson has another alter ego besides Nightwing, which Gotham´s heroes don’t know about. Well written by Kyle Higgins, he’s got the relationship between Dick and Bruce down and writes Dick like a real person (eating cereal, grabbing his costume from the floor, facing his fears and insecurities etc). Now the art… it’s great in the action scenes, the rest though… …not so much. When people aren’t fighting they look stiff and indistinct, plus there are way too many two page spreads here.

Come back soon, for more wordy reviews of the top four books I read this week. In no particular order: Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors #5, Batman #1, Ultimate Spider-man #1 and Criminal. Last of the innocents #4. 

Quick shots for week 37: Space fights, money laundering and vampire whacking!

5. The Mighty Thor #4 (Marvel comics)                                                                   8.7
This issue Thor is packing the funny: ‘Aye, Omnipotence has its down side’. And we get to see that rarest of things in all Marvel comics: a glimpse inside the head of Galactus! Buy this issue for great all-out action between Galactus and Silver Surfer on one side and Thor, Odin and nine other Asgarians on the other. This is how a fight of cosmic proportions is executed, there are high stakes (they are fighting over an object that could sate Galactus´ hunger and thus save untold billions of lives throughout the universe), holes in big purple heads and blows that launch opponents through solar systems. And it’s all drawn really pretty by Oliver Coipiel, who went all out on the designs for Asgardian space suits.
6. The Rinse #1 (BOOM Studios)                                                                                      8.6
A crime series about high finance and low-down greed. Think the criminal part of Ed Brubaker’s and Sean Philips’ Criminal, combined with the procedural stuff from television’s The Wire and that makes for one hell of an interesting and original crime comic. We follow a hustler who’s very good at laundering money. In this issue he gets involved in a high stakes operation as well as, quite surprisingly, the law. The art felt a little like Sean Philips lite, which isn’t really a bad thing. The story was very good. Can’t wait to learn where this is going.
7. Batwing #1 (DC comics)                                                                                                 8.5
I think this is the second issue with Ben Oliver art I’ve ever seen, and I’m pretty sure I have become of fan of this guy. I picked this up because this spins out of Batman Inc., which I have loved thus far. This first issue, written by Judd Winnick, really is surprisingly good. We follow this guy that has gotten Batman Inc. support in an African country. He works for the police in his day job, which provides him with opportunities to tie his day and night work together. And that’s just what happens in this issue as he stumbles upon the work of one Massacre. Massacre seemingly likes to decapitate and dismember people and build structures with different body parts (hey, to each their own…). So, be warned this is pretty nasty, graphic, bloody stuff.
8. OMAC #1 (DC comics)                                                                                                       8.2
Read this because of all the buzz it got on the Eleven O´Clock Comics podcast, and while I get the cause of the enthusiasm, I just don’t share it. That may be because I’m not such a big Kirby fan as they are, or because I’ve never read any OMAC prior to this. Basically, this introduces OMAC as a kind of mind controlled super strong robot/cyborg Mohawk Smurf, that breaks into the Cadmus laboratory to hack into the mainframe. In doing so he reconnects his ‘master’ with the Cadmus database. It’s a fine comic, especially the art is very strong. Keith Giffen, channels Jack Kirby, while staying through to his own style and puts more details in his pencils than I think I’ve ever seen him do. This results in great dynamic art and exquisitely detailed backgrounds. What was visually most appealing to me is the coloring by Hi Fi studios. The dialogue was okay, but the flow of the story and especially the action was great. It’s just not really my cup of tea. I will pick up the second issue, but I´m still on the fence about continuing after that.
9. The Mighty Thor #5 (Marvel comics)                                                                       8
What happened this issue??? Well, things get VERY epic as Odin and Galactus knock each other out. Galactus got on his feet again, Odin didn’t. Then there’s also Volstag who’s preparing for war with the citizens of Broxton, Oklahoma. And Thor is jealous that Sif is riding on the Silver Surfer’s board… The art was a little worse for wear and Oliver Coipiel (maybe my favorite current artist) got an art assist from Khoi Pham, who is a great artist in his own right and can change his style well enough to match Coipiel, but it’s just not as good as Coipiel firing on all cylinders.
10. Sanguis #0 (DROP comics)                                                                                        7.7
Wow. That was good, that was very good. This short prequel flows like a motherfucker, has some strong Humberto Ramos inspired art, exquisite, rough and moody colors as well as strong, confident inks. This sets up the story for what we can expect in the following issues, a priest with a magical medallion, a hot chick vampire hunter, vampires (of course) and balls-to-the-wall action! I was bummed that the rest of the series will play out in current times and not in the ‘40’s, like this issue. A minor critique is that the inks on the last story page stood out a bit compared to the rest of the issue. That doesn’t spoil the book though, I’m excited to read on and curious as to what I’ll find in future issues.
11. Sanguis #1 (DROP comics)                                                                                          7.7
This again was very good. You get the feeling it’s written in English by a non-native, (which it is of course) however this does not take away from the experience, or the story (which is very intriguing) and makes me very curious for next issue, which is written in Dutch. In this issue we follow Father Fred as he heads out to Switzerland to fulfill the dying wish of his friend bishop Van der Steen. Here he meets the Frauenknecht family who is secretly tasked with the protection of the ‘best guarded secret inside and outside the church.’ A secret that goes back hundreds of years and currently hangs around the neck of the attractive young Frauenknecht daughter, Eve. What this issue lacks in action (especially compared to last issue), it makes up for in flow and smart story telling techniques. The art takes a weird turn this issue, it’s just as good as last issue (though again it looks like the inking is a tad inconsistent here and there with varying line thicknesses), but is different stylistically. While last issue it reminded me of Humberto Ramos topped off with some beautifully rough inks and colors, this issue the colors had a bit of a less rough texture. The pencils however, are still reminiscent of Ramos. Nevertheless, I get a stronger Tony Moore-vibe, with a bit of a Declan Shalvey edge to it… What makes this issue particularly strong though is the acting of father Fred. The grief over the loss of his friend, as well as the amazement of heading out to Switzerland for who-knows-what, are written very clearly all over his face.
12. Sanguis #2 (DROP comics)                                                                                         7.6
I loved the backmatter explaining a little about the artistic process of Dimitri Jansma. I really like to see artist evolve (or just change it up a bit), and that’s just what you get when you read Sanguis. Visually, every issue subtly distinguishes itself from its predecessor. Though I personally enjoyed the styles of the first two issue better (this issue showcased some adventurous color choices in certain panels), this looks top notch too. I especially liked the big splash page of people outside of a silhouetted house. It looks very peaceful, which I guess is exactly what it’s supposed to convey. In this issue writer Gert-Jan van Oosten continues to show his skills as a storyteller. Sanguis #2 flows really good, and in only two and a half issues Van Oosten has created a richly detailed world, which I really want to know more about. In this issue main character Fred Siebelink meets two centuries old, Sanguis warriors (aka holy vampire and werewolf hunters). Just as they’re starting to get acquainted, all hell breaks loose as they are attacked by a coalition of (weirdly familiar) werewolves and vampires. Enter one kick-ass action scene. My only nitpick of this series is that I want to know more about the Sanguis and the world they live in, I understand the need to keep some things a mystery. But I think that when we learn a bit more, readers will be vested in this world more strongly. Understandably, that might not be possible in the format they have for Sanguis. But maybe a future issue could have a prose peace, offering some sweet revelations or something. Come on DROP comics, the people demand more Sanguis!
13. Herc #6.1 (Marvel comics)                                                                                          7.5
Good jumping-on point and cute story about Hermes being ordered by Zeus to find the depowered, former god Hercules who has pillaged the legendary weapons cache of Ares, to continue his journey as a superhero. Fun issue, but that’s a given with Fred van Lente and Greg Pak writing Herc. Not so keen on the Mike Grell art though…
14. The Living Corpse. Exhumed #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)                   7
I bought this because of the super sexy (though really misogynist) cover. Sadly, (well, maybe not) things didn’t get so steamy (rapey) on the inside of the book. The art looked fine, though I was inked a bit too stiff if you ask me. Story-wise it was a fun, action packed issue of The Living Corpse fighting vampires. Also, a good cliffhanger revealing the villain of this book.
15. Static Shock #1 (DC comics)                                                                                     6.2
After having read (and loved) John Rozum’s latest volume of Xombi, I had high expectations for this series. Sadly they weren’t met. They didn’t even come close. The first half felt like a bad nineties comic (everything, from character designs, to buildings, looks like nineties Spider-man). Early on this issue is nothing but horrible dialogues, combined with mediocre art. In the end the quality picks up a little but not enough for me to stay interested. This issue sees Static working as an intern at Star Labs, having moved to New York. Unbeknownst to him, he becomes involved in an incomprehensible criminal plot, which ultimately (SPOILERS) seems to cost him an arm. Hence the name of the next chapter: ‘Disarmed’. (Really??? DC doesn’t think that’s a little on the nose?) I will be back, but only to see how they handle this mutilation…

I guess I’ll be lowering the number of books I’ll be reading the following weeks as I’m busy with both work and internship as well as having just cracked open the original book version of Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.

Quick shots for week 36: Three Dutch comics vs three US comics

5. Ultimate Hawkeye #1 (Marvel comics)                                                                 7.8
This feels like an extra shot of Jonathan Hickman’s Ultimate goodness. Good art, I only felt it wasn’t distinctive enough for my taste. Very well woven into the story of last week’s Ultimates #1, curious to see where this goes. This kind of portrays Hawkeye as the operative most likely to one day follow in Nick Fury’s footsteps as head of SHIELD. And I can totally dig that.
6. Invincible #82 (Image comics)                                                                                    7.6
Good issue, although I’m not thrilled by the Ryan Otley art, which was still good, but not as great as much of his run on this series. Also, it was fairly inconsistent. I’m still on the fence on the coloring, which is getting progressively more painterly over the last couple of issues. The story though, I really like. It’s showcasing Robert Kirkman’s ability to throw everything around. Sure Invincible is still a superhero, but everything around that is becoming different than it has been and Mark being a superhero may be history soon too. In this issue he starts questioning the aggressive approach and tells Cecil Steadman, superhero liaison at the Pentagon, how he wants to try talking instead of hitting, more often. Which I really want him to try. Peace man!
7. Captain Roffa #1 (Windmill comics)                                                                         7.4
Very fun comic produced in my old ‘hood, especially liked the art. The concept is basically Captain Marvel but as a local Rotterdam superhero. The two stories by Johan de Neef is executed very well. A bit too gag-like for my taste, but still very entertaining. But as said: mayor props go out to Boykoesh, this young artist I met at Breda yesterday. He does some great cartoony and extremely dynamic stuff, which gives the book an action packed feeling. His art is topped with very confident, clean line-work and beautiful greytones. Also, this guy does some distinctive personalities and facial expressions: There are a couple B-list Dutch celebrities in there (Tatjana Simic and Marijke Helwegen) and while depicting them very cartoony, he retains their distinctive facial features. Recommended for everyone who loves Rotterdam (look for such Rotterdam celebs as Erasmus, Bokito as well as the Euromast, and both Sparta and Feyenoord jerseys), or a tongue-in-cheek superhero parody.
8. Batgirl #1 (DC comics)                                                                                                           7
Oh, so that’s how they explain away the paralysis. I for one have no problem at all with this explanation for Barbara walking again. While it doesn’t happen often, some people do regain the use of their legs, after severe spinal cord injury. Plus, the reboot has shortened the time that she’s spent in the chair and it’s also implied that she’s still not totally comfortable on her legs. Having gotten that out of the way, there’s nothing keeping me interested here. Until……we see Barbara freeze up when she gets a gun pointed at her. She’s afraid of being crippled again. Interesting, a superhero afraid of guns… Still wondering about the new DC timeline though…
9. ACE #1 (DROP comics)                                                                                                       6.8
Compared to the zero issue, the art has improved a lot. In this issue Ranjit shows a bold, confident line, which I like a lot better. Writing-wise there are big improvements too, basically the blockbuster movie continues. The ACE team (Action Committee Extraordinary), with all kind of sexy recruits and mysterious superpowers (a multiple man, good fighting guy, a healer, a telepath etc) investigating and taking action against a really bad guy and his corporation. This hits on all the notes, funny, action, sexy… Some minor things though, the lettering in the word balloons fits a little too tight. Also, sometimes things are happening off panel and it’s not entirely clear what’s happening… Still I am very impressed with this early foray into independent comics publishing. If every issue keeps getting better as much as it did between issues zero and one, this will end up as a damned good comic and a strong product for DROP comics to show their skills. This also has me very interested in the rest of their titles.
10. ACE #0 (DROP comics)                                                                                                    6.3
Back in 2009, this was one of the fist comics out of the Dutch DROP comics studio by Gert-Jan van Oosten and his talented collaborators, and it kinda feels like that. ACE has a very interesting premise of an anti terrorist strike force with superhuman abilities. This basically reads like a big blockbuster movie filled with action (…duh…), car chases, sexy women and a funny bit every now and then. While it was very entertaining, and I liked the art by Ranjit Domisse (think of J. Scott Cambell) and the layouts, I thought the inks and dialogues where a bit rough. Hopefully this will get better. A refreshing detail is that this story plays out in the Netherlands, so expect to see a lot of Dutch scenery.

Part one of my all DC extravaganza: Flashpoint tie-ins, Justice League 1 and random stuff

Holy shit, I read more books this week then I had planned. I was so excited for the finale of Flashpoint and the opening chapter of the new DC Universe I tried to get caught up on all my DC reading. I scoured every corner of the house for DC comics I hadn’t read and went through almost all of them. I almost succeeded, I just have a couple of the retroactive issues, two issues of Action Comics, one issue of Green Lantern and one JLA issue left that I’ll get to eventually. I did get around to reading all the Flashpoint tie-ins I follow. Since it’s such a big week I’ll only post the quick shot reviews today, tomorrow will be the rest consisting of (in no particular order): Flashpoint 5, Flashpoint. The Outsider 2 & 3, Batman. Gates of Gotham 5 and Flashpoint. Batman. Knight of Vengeance 2 & 3.

Quick shots for week 35:

Panel from Red Robin #25, published by DC comics. Red Robin no more?

Panel from Red Robin #25, published by DC comics. Red Robin no more?

7. Red Robin #25 (DC comics)                                                                                                8
This issue actually took me some time to read, which is good. It had interesting, action packed (while maybe a bit over the top) twists and turns (for instance Tim Drake, aka Red Robin, seemingly gets stabbed trough the heart by Cassandra Kane, aka the Black Bat. But later it gets revealed it was all a trick with a foldable katana, and a pack of blood). And after that the story continues for a while, depicting the break up with Tam Fox and Tim’s brand own Batcave. Plus, we get a set-up for some sweet revenge on Captain Boomerang in the next issue.
8. Red Robin #26 (DC comics)                                                                                                8
Okay so he didn’t have the stones to kill his father’s murderer, Captain Boomerang. Nothing unexpected there, but since it was the last issue before the relaunch I had that feeling that anything could happen. Sadly it didn’t, but we still got an entertaining story, though. Tim sets Boomerang up, so that his own choices will be his demise. But then he can’t go through with it, he wants to pull the trigger himself, but then he can’t go through with THAT either! The only minor irk about this one, was the dialogue of Dick-Batman, who felt a little too silver age Bruce-Batman for me. Bruce himself was spot on though… A good last issue.
9. Power Girl #25 (DC comics)                                                                                          7.9
First issue I read of this series, and it seems that all the raves about this book were deserved. Fun, quirky writing, telling an interesting story about a Muslim metahuman who gets wrongly detained at Guantanamo and escapes to visit his dying father. Power Girl literally fights up a storm, there are fun dialogues, smart, sharp references to real world politics and vibrant dynamic art. I will definitely be on the lookout for any Power Girl trades, and if they decide to give her a new series with the right creative team I will be very tempted to start picking it up.
10. Red Robin #24 (DC comics)                                                                                        7.8
Okay, I missed some issues since I last read this title and am pretty much lost now. Tim is involved in a murder tournament and he’s trying to protect someone. This gets him caught and he ends up prisoner of a hot chick who wants to mate with him before killing him… Good art, hot cliffhanger!
11. Flashpoint. Wonder Woman and the Furies #3 (DC comics)           7.7
It’s a good thing, to see the events of other tie-ins play out in this one (most notably the Atlantean-Amazonean war, which is also covered in Emperor Aquaman, and the deployment of the nuke on New Thymiscria from the Hall Jordan series). That creates the feeling of a much stronger shared universe, instead of this just being a couple of money grab books. Art is pretty good, I especially liked the sharp inks by Jose Aviles. This fills in a couple of holes that were left out of the culmination of the war in Emperor Aquaman, though overall it tells more or less the same story.
12. Justice League #1 (DC comics)                                                                                 7.7
I’m glad they dropped America from their name, seems fair. Now this was… …interesting. I liked the colors, which were really strong. I liked the opening sequence and the last splash of the new Superman (his new suit looks kinda regal and official, like he’s the emissary of Krypton), the rest of the art? Mehh… I initially didn’t like the cocky, reckless Hall Jordan, but as a caricature I understand that he makes interactions in a team interesting. I WAS excited though, to learn that Darkseid appears to be the first big villain. Overall, this feels more like a Brave and the Bold adventure, and not really like the first issue of the flagship team book of the new DC.
13. Batman. The Dark Knight #2 (DC comics)                                                     7.5
What can I say? I’m a sucker for David Finch art. Good art, okay story, not digging the subplots about the monster preying on the homeless though… Uhm… …is Bats driving another Batmobile in this series then in other books?
14. Batman. The Dark Knight #3 (DC comics)                                                     7.5
I like that Juno was stealing the Batmobile.  Other than that, this was just an okay issue. Great art once more. Read very fast though. Oh, and did I mention Etrigen the Demon? He’s in here too and he doesn’t speak in rhyme for once, which makes him just a bit more bearable than normal.
15. Flashpoint. Citizen Cold #3 (DC comics)                                                          7.4
Hmmm, this series didn’t feel very satisfying. Other than that it explains why we won’t see Citizen Cold show up in the Flashpoint finale it, just like Deadman and the Flying Greysons, this feels utterly pointless. Sorry for possible spoilers, but Cold goes back to finish the rogues after Iris West takes him in and figures out his real identity as well as his secret. Then he meets with her once more and wants to leave America with her, but is stopped by the Pied Piper, who told Iris that Cold killed Wally West. They fight, Cold gets killed, that’s it. I seriously doubt the potential of this series becoming an interesting collected edition. Still, the art was a little better than the previous issue.
16. Flashpoint Citizen Cold #2 (DC comics)                                                            7.2
The art quality varied a little here and there, as did the story. I like the concept of Cold as a hero, picking off everyone who may uncover his secret, but I feel Scott Kolins (both the writer and artist, although he is mostly known as an artist) has some more growth in him as a writer or storyteller. Especially in the action scenes where Cold is fighting the rest of the Rogues, I felt the action was very unclear.
17. Batman. The Dark Knight #4 (DC comics)                                                     7.2
The dialogues in this felt jarring and unnatural. Art was spot-on, especially the last splash-page reveal, where we see hordes of demons getting ready to attack batman, who can’t see them. This one went by to fast too. I’m starting to think that David Finch should just stick with pencils and turn away from the keyboard. I really believe in creative growth, but I think that’s a venture better undertaken in more independent or lower tier books.
19. Flashpoint. Project Superman #3 (DC comics)                                           6.7
Another one that actually ties into the main story, Kal El has grown some balls and it seems like he’ll join the fight in Flashpoint #5. The story of this series was okay, the art was pretty good, except for the design of villain Subject zero, which tainted the pages he appears on with the manga-esque.
18. Flashpoint. Hall Jordan #2
(DC comics)                                                           6.3
I always thought it silly that the reader could see Wonder Woman’s invisible plains, but if even Hall Jordan can see them from his jet fighter, then how about renaming them slightly transparent planes? Oh, but wait, two pages later he can’t see them, huh? This felt like a really fast issue, art was okay, nice layouts, but otherwise nothing special. The writing was very cliché and stiff. Basically Hall fights a kind of Amazonian Dragon monster that is attacking Ferris Industry. After that, he tells Carol everything is going to be okay and that he’s gonna pilot the atomic bomb during the invasion of New Thymiscria. Yeah, that’s EXACTLY what I would say…
20. Wonder Woman #614 (DC comics)                                                                      6.2
I wanted to check how they wrapped this train wreck up. I started on the J. Michael Strazinski issues, which I liked well enough, and stopped reading when editorial reared its ugly head and got Phil Hester involved with the writing (nothing against Hester, I just can’t stand it when stories are so obviously jumbled around). This issue, has not so great art. The first half of the story is action packed and kind of erases the weird world Diana had been living in the last 14 issues. The second half was a reunion on good old Thymiscria and involved some heavy-handed meta commentary about changes on the Horizon and Wonder Woman meeting such changes head-on.
21. Flashpoint. Hall Jordan #3 (DC comics)                                                           6.2
Carol to Hall: ‘ …have you thought of the repercussions—the thousands of deaths that will lie on your conscience? No father would wish that upon his son.’ That is SO weird to say, when you are not his father and you weren’t talking about anything even remotely related to his father… Well, the last page looked heart breakingly beautiful but the dialogues in this issue were very forced again. This had a great two page spread of jet fighters attacking New Themyscira, but I don’t recommend picking this up unless you really want everything out of Flashpoint or everything related to Green Lantern.
22. Static Shock special #1 (DC comics)                                                                    5.9
I had forgotten that this was DC’s Dwayne McDuffie memorial issues, that withstanding: What were they thinking? I have never read Static Shock before, so maybe I’m missing all kinds of things here. But to me this did not read like a good comic. Notwithstanding the art, this remained somewhat enjoyable, but the last page ups the heavy-handed writing infinitely: ’I will never let evil go standing. Taking it out wherever I find it. I am the legacy.’ The two page McDuffie tribute with John Paul Leone art, totally made up for the 21 pages prior.
23. Batman. The Dark Knight #5 (DC comics)                                                     5.7
Such a shame. I had really wanted this title to be a success. But it seems that the editorial ruckus at DC, combined with David Finch still finding his feet as a writer, have worked against this book. This feels like the conclusion of a story that was intended to be stretched over more issues. Both art (not by Finch) and writing took a bad dip. Critical things were left out of the story, like how Batman and Etrigen defeated demon mistress Blaze, how Etrigen got his rhyme back, or how Batman hooked up with the car thief from earlier in the series.


Quick Shots for week 34: My good taste? I left it in the nineties

5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 (IDW Publishing)                                       8
This kinda feels like an ultimate take on the Turtles, a new continuity with all kinds of references to what’s happened in the old books. Basically we see the Turtles sans Raphael and Splinter fight this new cat guy, we flashback to a part of their secret origin were we learn of April O’Neill an intern at Stock Gen Research who thinks she’s working on bio-engineering meat. but we soon learn a thing or two about a super-soldier mutagen, from a phone call between the revamped Baxter Stockman and the mysterious general Krang. And we see Ralph eating out of dumpsters and getting ready to open a can of whoop-ass to help another familiar face. Spot on characterization: Michelangelo, after kicking a thug in the crotch: ‘Sorry, no baby gangstas for you dude.’
6. Spontaneous #3 (Oni press)                                                                                              8
This series is taking very interesting twists and turns, although the writing was a little choppy in parts of this issue. Sometimes I didn’t get what the characters were referring to or what happened in a sequence. The reporter, Emily, shares her conspiracy theory with Melvin who’s obviously struck by why he hadn’t thought of it. To top it off we learn that both Melvin and his late father fit into the conspiracy. What really makes this interesting is the relationship triangle between Melvin, Emily and Melvin’s nerdy assistance buddy who is boiling with jealousy for the relationship between Melvin and Emily, while it’s also clear that Melvin is treating the poor guy really bad (in reaction to these things the nerd guy is looking to pay Melvin back) also great is the relation between Melvin and Emily, this weirdly upbeat reporter chick who might be into him a little and thinks that everything that’s happened is cool and fun, while Melvin might very well be too but he is too busy with his own thing and much too serious about it, to see or act upon what’s happening between them.
7. Flashpoint: The Outsider #1 (DC comics)                                                            7.8
It seems that Ifanboy is right. This issue was surprisingly good compared to the rest of the Flashpoint tie-ins (of which I’ve enjoyed a big part).
8. Batman Inc. #8 (DC comics)                                                                                        7.5
Hmmm…. That was weird. At first I was bummed that I saw no Chris Burnum art. After that I’m not sure what I felt. The digital art in this issue varies wildly from panel to panel, some are downright terrible, some are beautiful and some are unintelligible. I really didn’t like the panel that looks like the people were copied out of a computer game, especially those with the plain clothes investors… This issue finally addresses the long neglected idea of Barbara Gordon as a digital Batgirl in Bruce’s Internet 3.0. It’s interesting and could have many more good stories in them (hopefully it’ll stick after the reboot).
9. SHAM comics #1 (Zombie Marge Comix Group)                                                 7.5
A great satire series where golden age comics fallen into public domain are textually re-imagined into sometimes hilarious, sometimes a bit uninspired funnies. I really like the first story about BOZO (Binary Over-Zealous Obliterator) the retro robot. A dope fueled demented killer robot with a Frisbee bolted to his head, who apparently is not programmed to swing THAT way! After the first story the novelty wore off though, and not every story was a winner. Overall it was good for a couple of chuckles and just for reading something else entirely. This issue also contained a story by artist Basil Wolverton which was pretty to look at, which featured erect trees with condoms on them. I think one issue of this was enough for me though…
10. X-men #16 (Marvel comics)                                                                                         7.2
I really want to love this series, but it’s just not letting me. Ghisler writes a great Spider-man though, to Franklin Richards, about debunking the stories about the Bermuda Triangle: ´A good debunking puts hair on your chest.´
11. X-men Legacy #254 (Marvel comics)                                                                        7
They´re in space finally, I´m wishing this series was better.
12. Crossed. Psychopath #3 (Avatar Press)                                                                 7
Really great cover by Matt Martin. The Crossed (extremely sadistic zombie-esque creatures) in this series have a thing for wearing other people’s faces (ala Leatherface). There’s one Crossed woman here though, who wears a cock on her crotch, held together by barbwire… I’m just saying: That’s the kind of story we’re talking about. Story: Survivers picked up a psycho, who is a worse threat then the Crossed, in this one he divides the group. Kills his male companion, and rapes and mutilates the female, while they are sheltering from the Crossed, which he has lead to them. Talking about the deviant… Yep, this was revolting… Boy, this is actually hard to read, it’s so gruesome.
13. Caligula #3 (Avatar Press)                                                                                            6.9
Wow, just wow. Between this and Crossed. Psychopath I’m starting to question David Lapham’s sanity. This was, just so fucking weird. Caligula is portrayed as much more than a mad emperor. He’s immortal and the guy that wants to kill him for revenge, instead gets fucked in the ass by his talking demon horse Incitatus. However, this issue his luck seems to be turning (if only a little).
14. Crossed. Psychopath #2 (Avatar Press)                                                             6.7
Panels framed by the splashes of blood of a minivan driving children over. This makes me uncomfortable reading it next to my wife on the couch…
15. Crossed. Psychopath #4 (Avatar Press)                                                             6.7
Okay, that was it, I felt kinda sick after this although I have to admit it’s easier to take over the top scenes like Crossed swimming in a pool of blood filled by children thrown in a wood chipper, than the rape scene from last issue. I like weird and nasty just as much as the next guy, but this is just too much for me.
16. The Infinite #1 (Image comics)                                                                                  6.5
This one? Also not for me, it’s certainly geared at a certain audience and that’s not me. Impressive how Kirkman and Liefeld have made the most nineties comic ever, though.

For next week, I’m going to try two extra early reviews for Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1. Also, I’ll be digging out all the DC stuff I hadn’t got around to reading in a while, so expect a DC heavy week.

Quick shots week 33: Screams are the best sauce!

Panel from Gladstone's school or World Conquerors #4, published by Image comics, art by Armand Villavert.

Panel from Gladstone's school or World Conquerors #4, published by Image comics, art by Armand Villavert.

5. Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors #4 (Image comics)         8.5
This is my favorite new series out of Image this year, and it continues strong. The opening pages are full of action, while the rest is both sugary sweet (finally the romance between Mummy Girl and kid Nefarious kicks in) and funny. With great linework and exceptional colors, this is a beautiful book. The kids visit Mummy Girl and her dad Thoth to study for the mystical relics exam. But to do that, they first have to fight through a swarm of Ammut’s Stone Guardians of the Dead. This is a great all ages superhero book. If you’re not reading it, you really should check it out. This issue had me cracking up, when asked about comic books, Mummy girl suddenly sets of on a rant (for a preview see image below).

Art by Armand Villavert, from Gladstone's School for World Conquerors (Image comics).

Art by Armand Villavert, from Gladstone's School for World Conquerors (Image comics).

For a one minute overview of the first issue of the series check out this Comic Minute.
6. The Walking Dead #88 (Image comics)                                                              8.5
Aaaaaaaaaand the situation with Carl and especially Rick’s reactions gets more complicated! It seems both Carl’s memories, as well as his emotions got damaged by his recent trauma capitis. Meanwhile Rick seems to be fleeing from his own emotions. Solid art, just as always, and an intriguing story combining both strong emotional dialogues as well as some set-up to move the plot forward: It seems not everybody is glad with Rick’s group at their settlement.
7. BPRD. Hell on Earth. Monsters #2 (Dark Horse comics)                         8.5
Great, great art… Liz is still stuck in a trailer park filled with weird religious fanatics (as opposed to the normal ones) who want her dead, and almost every time she seems to get a break, it falls through… Plus, we also get a sneak peek of the cataclysms that Hellboy is causing/dealing with in Hellboy the Fury. Plus, we have two short departures to BPRD headquarters, where one of the big guns suddenly has a ‘critical malfunction’. Really amazing storytelling, only feels a little short.
8. Moon Knight #3 (Marvel comics)                                                                        8.3
The series as a whole (and especially the art) keeps improving. It’s a well executed comic, it just doesn’t excite me. We see how Marc Spector got his new tech expert and how he immodestly outed himself as a madman to him. We also see him trying to get together with Echo and we learn who’s hired to go after him, the Night Shift: do we know these guys?
9. X-men Schism #3 (Marvel comics)                                                                         8.2
Jason Aaron handles the X-men great. Things come to a boiling point between Cyclops and Wolverine, when Cyclops sends an untrained kid into battle against the Hellfire club (who have just defeated Emma, Colossus, Iceman, Namor and Magneto). I’m with Wolverine on this one…
10. Ultimate Fallout #5 (Marvel comics)                                                                      8
Well written stories, I especially liked the dialogues by Nick Spencer in the Quicksilver story… The Nick Fury story by Hickman has me all giddy for his upcoming run on the Ultimates, it looks to be reminiscent of the Millar and Hitch run, which is one of my all-time favorite story arcs.
11. Flashpoint: Frankenstein and the Creatures of the unknown #3 (DC comics) 8
Okay, so we’ll see everybody from the miniseries fight in the Flashpoint finale… Great little story with a silver age twist that stands well on its own. A shame the previous issue had some art problems, this series seems a good introduction to next month’s Frankenstein: Agent of Shade
12. Moon Knight #4 (Marvel comics)                                                                              8
This series just doesn’t grab me. While last issue Maleev’s art was up to snuff with his Daredevil stuff, this issue took a little step back, especially in the fight scenes. I love Maya Lopez, it’s great to see her again, I also love Mark Spector sitting around listening to his imaginary Wolverine, Spider-man and Captain America, it’s well written, the story is just not getting me. This was the last issue for me…
13. Ultimate Fallout #6 (Marvel comics)                                                                  7.8
I like Gwen and her new look, weird that it makes her look way older though… Very well written coping of the situation by May and Gwen. Art by Bagley looks more than ever like his nineties stuff and although I’ve never been a big fan of it, I’m loving this. In the last few pages it gets a little less good, plus I never expected to see Nick Fury cry. Let alone the Ultimate one… Misleading cover though, Cap is not featured in this issue and there’s only one line referencing the fact he quit SHIELD.
14. New Mutants #29 (Marvel comics)                                                                       7.7
Great story of Dani trying to get in touch with Hella to look for help with all the Fear Itself stuff, but instead she’s being summoned by Hella… The rest of the team is back in SF, oddly not fighting the Juggernaut. That was a little weird. Also, X-man is now part of the team and is just standing around, while he is apparently suddenly very passionate about his new team mates. Great art by David Lafuente, really reminiscent of JRjr drawing the New Mutants back in the eighties, I liked his Ultimate Spidey stuff better, but it looks like he’ still finding his bearings on the characters and settings, I think this will be beautiful next issue.
15. Flashpoint: Emperor Aquaman #3 (DC comics)                                       7.7
Solid art, don’t understand the need for the flashbacks… Hate, hate, hate, though it’s entertaining, things feel a little too convenient… And again with the empty helmet with hair, flying through the sky… Of all the gore and guts that are displayed in comics, why the hell is DC shying away from depicting the decapitation of Merra?
16. New Mutants #28 (Marvel comics)                                                                      7.5
Dani Moonstar invites an outside psychiatrist to attend to her teammates, in doing so, she has to explain concepts like Nate Grey and his relation to Hope Summers. I just love the way writers Abnett and Lanning boldly embrace decades of convoluted X-history. This is an in-between issue, but a very good one. Art was okay, a little too manga-ish for my taste but fits the book well.
17. X-men legacy #253 (Marvel comics)                                                                   7.5
Weird art inconsistencies were the art actually got better for a couple of panels, but then dropped in beautifulness again… Finally Rogue, Magneto and Gambit are going after the lost space X-men…
18. Captain America #2 (Marvel comics)                                                                 7.2
Enough with this Heroic Age shit. First we get Daredevil in daylight and now a Brubaker penned Cap that’s not dark and gritty? The banners are gone, but this feels like the same old Cap we knew before Brubaker came onboard. Mcniven’s art wasn’t as good as last issue. Weirdly, this book is trying to combine Inception with the Captain America movie. I mean, REALLY???
19. Flashpoint: Deadman & the Flying Graysons #3 (DC comics)          7
It seems rather pointless having this story concluded, the Amazons were after the Helmet of Faith, but didn’t get it. Deadman died and Dick joined the resistance… So I guess we’ll see Dicktor Faith and Deadman in the last issue of Flashpoint… It was entertaining though and better than last issue. Art-wise, some panels were great while other were rather rough…
20. X-men #15.1 (Marvel comics)                                                                                  6.8
The writing in this is just so corny. Cyclops: “Vengeance is on back order. But we just got a fresh shipment of get lost.” Or what about a demon who threatens: “…or you will still be awake when we feed on your intestines. Screams are the best sauce.” While the art was pretty good, the story seemed pretty pointless. Introduction of hopeless situation, enter Ghostrider, fight, fight, fight, twist after battle, X-men walk away… No character growth, emotional beats, forward moving of an overarching plot, nothing of the like…
21. Batman #713 (DC comics)                                                                                           6.5
I picked this up because of the solicit text: “Over the years, Dick Grayson has worn several guises: First, he was Robin the Boy Wonder, then Nightwing, and finally Batman. But now that Bruce Wayne has donned the cape and cowl once again, Dick finds himself at an identity crossroads.” This lead me to believe, this issue would get into the post-reboot changes. Turns out it didn’t, nor did the story relate even a little bit to the solicit text… Art was good, story felt kind off stocky…