Tag Archives: X-men

Runners up, week 28: Literary cock thunder, mutant gay mariage and AVX…

2. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Century 2009 (Top Shelf Productions) 
The art by Kevin O´Neill looked better than last issue. Actually, both the writing and art in this were very strong, however I’m just not feeling it. Perhaps I’m oblivious to 90 percent of all the metatextual subliminal messages and symbolism. But there’s also the point that I didn’t particularly like the original two volumes of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; didn’t read the Black Dossier; and besides the League haven’t got the slightest idea about characters like Allan Quatermain or Orlando.  Good ending, to a good book, but I’m just not giddy about this. Also worth noting: Harry Potter shoots lightning from his cock.
Art: 8              Writing: 8       Overall: 8

3. Astonishing X-men #51 (Marvel comics)
I have a nostalgic soft spot for the X-men, and have fond memories of the wedding of Scott and Jean. So, despite all the hubbub surrounding Marvel’s mutant same sex marriage, I dove head first into Astonishing X-men, a series I haven’t read since Joss Whedon left. That being said I had no problem picking up the plot. This is a pretty good jumping on point, so congratulations on that go to Marvel and especially writer Margery Liu. If you’re a fan of weddings then this is for you, otherwise it’s just wrapping up the last story arc. It shows some hectic snippets of the wedding preparations, and of course the wedding of Canadian speedster North Star and lastly a cliffhanger that falls back on the last issue. Overall, I found this issue pretty mediocre: nothing good; nothing bad. Liu has the character voices down perfectly, but writing wise that’s all that stands out. I had high expectations of Mike Perkins on art, but this did not look like his work on Steven King’s The Stand adaptations. Frankly it looked a bit rushed (some of the faces look somewhat… …disfigured). But even rushed Perkins looks pretty good. Ending on a good note, I really liked the soft crayon-like colors.
Art:
7              Writing: 7.5    Overall: 7,3

4. Avengers VS X-men #6-7 (Marvel comics)
I was pretty much down with Marvel’s big summer block buster event… …until Matt Fraction got his hands on it. I’m loving the art by Olivier Coipel. It’s not his best work, but even on an off day, this guy is brilliant. Now Fraction though, that’s a whole other story. He seems to be ticking off all the same boxes he used on Fear Itself (remember Marvel’s last cluster fuck of an event?), alternative magical suits, bad characterizations, disjointed (and  too many) subplots… I can’t wait till the next writer takes over.
Art: 8.5           Writing: 6       Overall: 7.25

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More quick reviews: Walking Dead 90, X-reboot and a bunch more Image titles

As I’m busy once again I bring my reviews once more in a shorter form. I had a good week with the X-men relaunch and a bunch of Image comics. Enjoy:

 

1. Walking Dead #90 (Image comics)                                                                         8.8
Lots of character development, as some characters grow decidedly more towards each other (Rick and Andrea sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G…) and Rick and his son Carl finally have a good moment to express their feelings, while the guns-ablaze cliffhanger from last issue is diffused by… …words. Plus, Rick likes to kill people, it’s just easier than having to face people in an argument.

 

2. Wolverine and the X-men #1 (Marvel comics)                                               8.7
I see Doop! I see little Nightcrawlers (OMG they are BAMFS!!!), and prof X!!! OMG the whole school is a Danger Room! Not too keen on this latest version of Chris Bachalo’s art. But this was the most fun I’ve had with X-men in a great long while. And it’s also funny that it seems to me that when the rest of the Marvel Universe is interesting, the X-titles suck, and when the X-titles are great, I couldn’t give a damn about the rest of the 616 Marvel Universe (which is clearly presently the case).

3. Uncanny X-men #1 (Marvel comics)                                                                      8.7
This is some of superstar artist Carlos Pacheco’s best work since his return to Marvel. CyclopsX-men are ready and looking for a fight. If that weren’t enough Mr. Sinister activates the San Francisco Sleeping Celestial and flies of in its head, to start… …Sinister town? Great funny bits between Namor and Emma Frost! And I love Storm as the moral heart of the team, asking who in this team has never been known primarily as a super villain (and only her Hope Summers and Cyclops raising their hands).

4. Gladstone’s School For World Conquerors #6 (Image comics)        8.6
Holy shit, this was the best issue of this series so far. While the art was a bit inconsistent (especially the rendition of the adult adversary), in the story all the plot threads that got dangled in front of the reader earlier in the series get masterfully pulled together and the story reaches a dramatic crescendo as the kids lose some of their innocence and learn that the fights between superheroes and villains are staged.

5. La mano de destino #1 (Castle and Key Publications)                                  8.5
Great little first issue of a six issue miniseries about a Luchador (a masked Mexican wrestler) who’s working his way up the ranks to exact revenge on the ringmaster… Great, exciting Kirby-like art made to look very vintage!

6. Northlanders #45 (Vertigo)                                                                                        8.5
The Icelandic Trilogy continues, with the second chapter being drawn by Declan Shalvey. I don’t think I have to say anything other than that. GO BUY IT!!!
7. Chew #17 (Image comics)                                                                                               8.5
A food fight gone horribly wrong, even more strange food powers and Chew’s partner Colby is a dick. I’m loving it!

8. Northlanders #44 (Vertigo)                                                                                            8
The story about the founding fathers of Iceland continues with an account of feuding families. This is such smart writing, it’s amazing. I really admire Brian Wood´s ability to write perfectly believable human emotion in a big story of historical events.

9. Ultimates #3 (Marvel comics)                                                                                        8
I wish they would have given the artist (Essad Ribic) more time on this, some pages are deep-fried comic book gold, while others look rushed and even unfinished. In this Nick Fury, Thor and the rest of the Ultimates get their asses handed to them some more and ultimately Thor goes on a suicide mission.

 

10. Chew #16 (Image comics)                                                                                                8
Chuckles abound as the strange writings in the sky draw attention off of the chicken prohibition and onto UFO research and Layman introduces us to another culinary gifted character, a voresophic, which gets really smart as long as he’s eating.

11. Uncanny X-men #544 (Marvel comics)                                                                 8
Good little ending, accentuating that Cyclops X-men will be something (or already are) something completely different then the good old X-men of yesteryear.

12. Pigs #2 (Image comics)                                                                                                  7.5
I´m not digging the art, it’s a bit too crude and empty for my tastes (it could have used some more details and refinement). On the other side, I am very much digging the story (about a Cuban-Soviet sleeper cell that was recently activated to execute their 1950’s protocol to assassinate the U.S. president). It’s the most interesting plot I’ve read in a long time. I loved the pages of the familia visiting the White Russian and inviting him to pick up arms and execute his part of the protocol. The sequence featured terribly tense dialogues, which clearly showed the different concerns of the parties (The White Russian having all but forgotten his original mission and trying to protect his family and the life that he has built up in the U.S. over the years really doesn’t want to join his Cuban buddies in their plans).

13. Extinction Seed #0 (GG Studio)                                                                             7.2
I have no idea what this was about, one part was set in the 1960´s, in another they were using laptops. Some characters are doing mysterious stuff in Berlin, coincidentally (or not?) another is heading for Berlin (and posing in bath all sexy), then there are two sexy girls tickling each other in a park while they are being observed. Oh, and a journalist (I guess) was writing about meteors. I guess this is supposed to be teasing, but to me it was confusing and incoherent. The art is good, high on the cheese cake, but a bit inconsistent in the linework. Now the coloring (by Alessia Nocera) however was fucking magnificent!

14. The Vault #2 (Image comics)                                                                                   6.5
The art in this is okay, although the facial expressions could have been much stronger. This issue has some clumsy, stiff and over-explanatory dialogues as the crew of explorers discuss whether or not to open their new mysterious archeological find (a sarcophagus with what looks like a vampire skeleton in it). What´s basically a great, original concept that could work in any storytelling medium is rendered impotent by horrible dialogues and the lack of any logic in the choices the characters make. In the end, the expressionless faces of the characters stand in the way of any of the drama and action coming across to the reader. On the positive side, the writing brings across a lot of atmosphere and the plot of this series is very thrilling.

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 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…

Quick shots for week 31: Another bunch of number one issues

5. Rachel Rising #1 (Abstract Studio)                                                                            8.3
About a girl who wakes up from the dead without knowing that she’s deceased or remembering what happened. Very effective storytelling. The sparse use of dialogues show off Moore’s strengths. There’s a car sequence in here which didn’t look very good. The rest of the book is gorgeous, especially the opening sequence, which also introduces a mysterious female figure who looks on as Rachel rises. Which adds another mystifying layer to this story. Really curious as to what’s going on.
6. Flashpoint #4 (DC comics)                                                                                                 8
Nerdgasm! Cyborg, Flash and Batman’s dad stand around in the kitchen of the Marvel kids to get captain Thunder on board with their little invasion of the Amazonian occupied Brittain.  Kubert’s art is still improving and the writing is a marathon of kick-ass moments interwoven into a story that actually makes some sense. What more can you wish for? (Yeah, my ‘reviews’ are pretty much based on my personal taste instead of critical analysis…)
7. X-men Schism #2 (Marvel comics)                                                                                8
Great art. I have to wonder though, why Wolvie looks like an ogre? And later on Scott looks way too scrawny.  Plus on the writing side: Aaron makes Rogue sound even dumber than she’s normally portrayed, which is a shame for all the character development she has gone through under the pen of Mike Carey. “Selling organs to dire wraiths,” that’s classic!
8.  Zeke Deadwood, zombie lawman. With a hammer in my hand (SLG publishing)                                                                                                                                 8
A great little one-shot about a zombie lawman riding an undead horse, who enters a town where a mad judge has hung all citizens. Highpoint of this issue is the dramatic shootout between Zeke Deadwood and a robot sheriff in the Wild, Wild West. I picked this up on a whim, when it was recommended on the 11 O’clock Comics forum. I couldn’t be happier with it! Fun story and great looking art, check it out!
9. BPRD Hell on earth. Monsters #1 (Dark Horse comics)                                  8
Good stuff, I understood everything while this is the first BPRD issue I’ve ever read. Great art by Tyler Cook (on the cartoony side of things). First-rate story about Liz holing up in a trailer camp.
10.  Avengers #15 (Marvel comics)                                                                                     8
I’m really tired of the interview framing of the story, while it doesn’t fit a blockbuster event tie-in, it does allow for some great character development. And that is what we get this issue as Hawkeye, Miss Marvel and especially Spider-woman take center stage. Basically, this whole issue revolves around a kiss and it has some interesting quotes before and after to contextualize this development. Sounds dull? It really works very good, although I have to wonder if Bendis wouldn’t be better of writing this kind of stuff into a series like the Gillmore Girls instead of the Avengers.
11. Sweet tooth #27 (Vertigo)                                                                                                8
It looks like Gus bites the big one, though his journey is certainly interesting and looks very fascinating. Some time ago, I read a tweet by Jeff Lemire that he was painting some of his pages, well here’s the result. It looks wonderful, very dreamy and atmospheric and surreal; it shows a hint of Edvard Munch here and there. I can see that working on this got Lemire excited. But most of all, it’s exciting to see what happens next month, will the book be resolicited as Jepperd and co?
12. Ultimate fallout #1 (Marvel comics)                                                                     7.9
Perfect emotional beats, which feel a little cheap, but completely works. It made me choke up, while I’ve heard of people crying. Everyone is mourning for Peter and for Spider-man… Cliffhanger of Cap taking blame for the death of Peter before aunt May was a little lame. Great art by Bagley, which in some places looks more like his nineties style, which is not a bad thing to me.
13. Invincible #81 (Image comics)                                                                                   7.9
Art a little too loose for my taste, not bad but more Larsen-esk. Kirkman realistically writes how Invincible is dealing with the death of thousands in Las Vegas last issue, as well as a reformed (but mentally unstable) villain his obsession with Mark, especially this plot ends on a very strong note. This panel really invests in making Mark human, not just through his relations with normal people like William and his mother, but this time by digging into his mind and playing around with his guilt and insecurities.
14. Gates of Gotham #3 (DC comics)                                                                            7.8
An in-between issue, not a lot happens, the art a little worse than last time. Good squabbles between the different bat characters. The architect, the villain is becoming more interesting.
15. Punisher #1 (Marvel comics)                                                                                       7.5
Good new take on the Punisher which focuses more on the cops that are investigating the case which Frank is also looking into. If you like the movie Seven you’ll recognize the faces of detectives Somerset and Mills. I really liked Greg Rucka’s (the writer) work on Gotham Central, Detective Comics and Queen and Country. Somehow his Marvel stuff never capture’s my imagination the same way…
16.  Ultimate fallout #2 (Marvel comics)                                                                   7.4
Especially liked the Gabe Hartman pages, he changes his style to work better with the earlier ultimate Spider-man artists while staying true to his style. Liked the fallout of Pete’s death; the funeral and MJ’s uncovering of what happened. The Thor and ultimate X parts though, not so much…
17. Flashpoint: Canterbury Cricket #1 (DC comics)                                             7
Great cliché origin, some more insight into the British resistance, solid art, good writing. I hope we get to see more of this religion-based superhero. Maybe in Xombie? (-Oh, wait that great title will not be around after the DC reboot…)
18.  Ultimate Fallout #3 (Marvel comics)                                                                     7
Again the structure is really weird, I get that Marvel wants us to buy their comics. But promotional material should be free, this is very much a promo. Varying quality of art especially the Karen Grant and Kitty stories were good, it seems like Kitty, Bobby and Johnny are quitting the super-heroics, though I bet not for long…
19. Flashpoint: Wonder Woman and the Furies #2 (DC comics)           6.9
The conflict between Aquaman and Wonder Woman escalates. And Wonder Woman gets a new helmet as a reminder of ‘what the war has cost all of us’. This has a lot of the moments you’ve wanted to see, if you’ve read the Flashpoint main title. Solid writing by Abnett and Lanning, the art begins good but peters out at the end.
20. Batman. Gates of Gotham #4 (DC comics)                                                    6.9
Both art and writing take a sudden dip as the creative team gets a shake-up. This issue is written by Kyle Higgens and Ryan Parrot while original scribe Scot Snyder is acknowledged with a mere story credit. Art duties are split between Dustin Nguyen and Derec Donovan (original series artist Trevor McCarthy is nowhere to be seen), despite having two pencillers the art still looks rushed. Let’s just hope (although it’s very unlikely) that everything will turn back to normal next issue.
21. Flashpoint: Project Superman #2 (DC comics)                                6.9
Art a little better than last time, no probs with writing. But the design on subject zero is very bad. He looks like a giant from Dragonball Z or something… Story: we get to see the lab rat life that Kal has grown up in, in the Flashpoint Universe. General Lane is the only one who tries to connect with him on a human level and ultimately saves his life at a great price…
22. Robocop Terminator. Kill human #1 (Dynamite!)                                   6.5
Nothing too special about this one. It shows how a first issue does not work all too great. While the final cliffhanger has me intrigued over what will happen during the rest of the series (and fearing that it will be only action), the rest of the issue doesn’t intrigued me a bit, it just sets up the story for Robocop awaking in the future where Skynet has taken over… Great covers though…
23. Flashpoint: Deadman and the flying Graysons #2 (DC comics)       6
This is one of THOSE JT Krull issues. While there is nothing wrong with the story told, the dialogue is crude and feels to be laid down haphazardly. Art took a wrong turn since last issue (like most of the Flashpoint tie-ins)…

Holy shit, that were a lot of comics. I’m dialing it down next week but expect a review of Red Skull Incarnate #2 and some more Chew…

Runners up week 28: Xombie 4, Mystery Men 2, X-men Schism 1

2. Xombie #4

Frasier Irving's cover to DC's Xombie #4

Frasier Irving's cover to DC's Xombie #4

The current volume of this DC series is the only one I have ever read. Beyond these four issues I have no inkling about this character. But I am loving the hell out of this. This fourth issue has a very striking cover with an image of a giant skull with a fortress on top of it, flying through the clouds. I thought the image was somehow symbolic for what happens in the issue, but as it turns out, the skull fortress is actually a mayor plot point. That’s one of the great things about this series, big and high concepts visualized through gorgeous art and told through near flawless storytelling. While the first three issues had many great action scenes and a high whacky-ideas-per-page-ratio, this one dials down the action to make place for exposition. While the number of big idea takes a drop, the size of them are still pretty fugging huge. Still, that’s one of the reasons this issue was slightly less good (yet still great) compared to the three issues before. The art however is so great I’d eat it up even if it was an issue long conversation between two characters in the same room…
Art: 9     Writing: 7            Overall: 8

3. Mystery Men #2
While I have never really been into the pulp heroes of the early twentieth century, this book  keeps me really enthralled. The story revolves around two masked heroes, the Operative and the Revenant that seem to be placed into Marvels history during the nineteen thirties. Both men are researching the murder of a Broadway actress, to at least one of them the investigation is very personal, for the victim was his lover and the culprit, as is revealed in this issue, has a personal connection too. I have not read any other works by writer David Liss but I would easily believe that this is not his first work in the pulp hero genre. The pulpy noir atmosphere complemented with rich historic details really gives this book a unique feel. The series artist Patrick Zircher adds to this with his moody art style that I can best describe as a blending of Gabriel Hardman and John Cassaday. This guy really has a knack for intense and dynamic action scenes, both though page layout as well as his spectacular panel compositions.
Art: 8.5  Writing: 7            Overall: 7.8

4. X-men Schism #1
At the core of my comic book reading habit I admittedly am a X-fan. After my first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle comics it was the X-men that got me hooked on comics. And while my tastes since then have more and more deviated to other heroes, other genres and even other publishers I will always be curious as to the status quo of the X-men. After having left the books for some time, I have been fully onboard again for some time now. And the idea of a good old fashioned brawl between different factions of the X-men has me giddy, just like the good old days! So at least to me, this mini-series provides a very interesting concept. While all the hype is focusing on Wolverine versus Cyclops, near the end of this issue it seems that the classic friction between Storm and Cyclops will be the catalyst for the upcoming schism. I had expected more of the art and liked Pacheco’s .1 issue from a couple of weeks ago much better. Though I can see that this version of his style is more compatible with his followers on this series Frank Cho and Daniel Acuna. The story? One mutant pisses of all of the world’s leaders and does so in the name of all mutants. In reaction anti mutant hostility rises to an all-time high, which is why Cyclops gets ready for war, while Storm argues for a more peaceful approach. It’s told quite effectively and really plays on the emotions on the various characters and their relationships to one another.
Art: 7.8 Writing: 7.8        Overall: 7.8