Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Quick-Fire Reviews: Week of 22nd July

Oh man I gotta cut down on how much I read each week. It's getting ridiculous and it consumes a lot of time. Which makes me glad that the reviews this week are relatively light content wise (though that doesn't stop there being a LOT to review).

Highlights this week include the heartbreaking conclusion to Captain Britain and MI13 (heartbreaking that it's ending, the ending itself is quite upbeat all things considered) and the first comic Hulk-related by Jeph Loeb that not only doesn't make me physically sick but is actually a bit above average. Oh and one of my favourite DC series.

Oh, and to help out, a quick key of ratings (which are very inconsistent I know).
Ordered best to worst:
Flippin' BUY IT!
Buy It!
Read It?

Sometime I'll use images for the rating, or just not bother rating at all. That's because I'm not funny, so just try and be intuitive to get the vibe I'm trying to give off about the comic.

CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI13 #15(end) by Paul Cornell and Leonard Kirk

Flippin' Moments (most comics have 5+): 11
Spotlight Flippin' Moment: The last page send-off, with a panel devoted to each character/pairing (dependant). Beautiful, impacting and a reminder of each character we won't see again simply because we all didn't buy the issues. You bastards... Including me... Damn my waiting for trades.

Art: Leonard Kirk has been the only artist I could ever imagine drawing MI13 and I'm so glad he made it to end, as this is beautiful art with next to no flaws. In fact I say next to none, it might well be none. This is art that was perfectly suited to its content.
Writing: Paul Cornell's writing will be mentioned a lot more in the coming days *cough*bestwriterstoptenconclusion*cough* but this is perhaps the best place to mention that his writing on this series has been up there with the best of the best of the best writers and that if he was on this series for another 15 issues it could have become Marvel's best written title and made him a comic writing star. For now we just have to hope that his work on DR:Young Avengers and Black Widow will help him rocket up the ranks. Stellar writing and a good pay-off to all the build up.
Rating: Flippin' BUY IT!

DARK WOLVERINE #76 by Daniel Way/Marjorie Liu and Giuseppe Camuncoli
Ugh I hate Yu's covers for this and Atlas. They just seem to take away from the inner quality. Shame too because he's not a bad artist.
Flippin' Moments: 6
Spotlight Flippin' Moment: The Thing getting so riled up by a combination of Daken's hormonal scent schtick and sexual goading that he SMASHES DAKEN FACE FIRST INTO THE GROUND. Reed's reaction face and Daken's fucked up face combined make for one of the best panels of the week.

Art: The art is something that has managed to catch me by surprise, looking brilliant and well suited whilst being someone I've never heard of before. It's like a new learning curve. *looks up Camuncoli* Okay the internet isn't much good for looking the person up, so I'll just say it's brilliant and leave it at that. If I add anything solid to the actual art in this issue, I find it captivating to see both Daken and Lester (yeah it's so casual that he's nor just Bullseye for once) in their casual clothing. It's something we don't seem to get in comics anymore, or at least when we do it's far too uptight. You know, suits and the like. As such this is AWESOME.
Writing: Way has been leaving me cold on Deadpool (save the latest issue) so the fact that Dark Wolverine is a jump back to the quality he had on his Ghost Rider run is more than a little pleasing. Still perhaps this is just the influence of co-writer/adorable lawyer Marjorie Liu, who really is onto a winner here and will hopefully keep on bringing in the quality. I expect that she'll have made Dark Wolverine into one of the ten best Marvel titles by the end of the year.
Downsides: WE GET IT DAKEN'S BI ALREADY! That and the fact that I can't even figure out who he's playing and what his angle is. Too much ambiguity hurts my brain.
Rating: Buy It!

HALO: HELLJUMPER #1 (OF 5) by Peter David and Eric Nguyen

Flippin' Moments: 5
Spotlight Flippin' Moment: The opening page. It's more atmospheric and interesting than the entire trilogy of Halo games (okay maybe not the first but shut up I'm on a train of thought). It could easily be a movie opening.)
Note: Someone pay Peter David to direct a Halo ODST film)

Art: The only thing I've seen of Nguyen before is his work on the Hulk vs. Hercules one-shot, so saying I see a progression in his artwork is a bit of a moot statement. I hear the dude's does work on the Heroes comics or whatever but the day I read one of those is the day I gouge out both my eyes and send them as a gift to my loved ones. The only way I can fault the art is to say that characters start to look the same after a while, but that's more because they're all identikit marine-looking types than a lack of artistic talent.
Writing: Peter David. He has become a greater character writer in his later years and it shows here, helping set apart our two protagonists from the pack (something that really needed to be done with how similar people look) and making us care about what happens to them. Quality throughout, though the pacing does suffer at a few points.
Downsides: I don't like Halo or its fanbase, but when I say it's awful nowadays it's no lie. This puts up a valiant effort to stand out against the Halo detriments. If this stands out it'll be a flippin' miracle. However in the face of general traits this will probably end up annoying me by the time issue 5 comes around.
Rating: Buy It!

IMMORTAL WEAPONS #01 (OF 5) by Jason Aaron, Duane Swierdydoodah, & More

Flippin' Moments: 15!
Spotlight Flippin' Moment: An eating contest between Fat Cobra and two GODS. AND COBRA WINS! Oh and it throws in a classic wenches line.

Art: Ohohohoho what a clever trick. Have Aja do the good old style white-space cover for the variant and I'll believe the art has gone back to being the perfect style suited to these kung-fu stories. Rather than deliver on the hope the cover placed in me it decided to have some artists that are competent yet bland as shit. This is an issue I had with later parts of Immortal Iron Fist and the fact that sort of mediocre art carried over fills me with sadness.
Writing: Jason Aaron writes Fat Cobra's past brilliantly, which isn't actually that hard considering how easy and fun the character is but I digress. This might well be the best handling of him yet, enhanced by this story being entirely about him and developing a character we've only seen the basics of till this point. Swierczynski's back-up story... Is pretty bad. A great moment with Iron Fist's hands on fire but that's pretty much it as points of interest go.
Downsides: The art, the fact that Swierczynski just can't write as well as his predecessors (something that I SHOULD stop attacking him over) and that's about it.
Rating: Buy It!

MS. MARVEL #42 by Brian Reed and Sana Takeda

Flippin' Moments: 5/6 (unsure about one)
Spotlight Flippin' Moment: A double page spread of the two Ms. Marvels facing off against each other. Beautiful and accompanied by some short but sweet words by Carol Danvers.

Art: Where have I heard that name before? Sana Takeda... Sounds like it'd connected to some minor contro- OH! The Heroes for Hire cover controversy! Whilst essentially an overblown thing about a very dodgy cover and the age rating of the comic (personally I find it unimportant) it brought some infamy to Heroes for Hire just prior to cancellation. We can only hope Takeda isn't here to do the same thing, for a world without Ms. Marvel is a sad one indeed, especially with art that's this amazing. The whole issue is basically combat so it's easy to see how well suited her art is to action. I don't know how well it holds up to standing around and talking but the faces are expressive enough and with poses this variable I can only assume it'd work out fine.
Writing: Ms. Marvel's writing has always been great. This hasn't changed. Even in an issue of just fighting it manages to fit in some brilliant lines. If a day comes where Brian Reed isn't writing this comic there will be a slight tinge of misery in the air of a select group of comic fans... Just sayin' is all.
Downsides: It IS just combat. Which is understandably limiting. Other than that it shares one trait with DC's Batman & Robin: you can't tell if you get your money's worth because it's over so soon.
Rating: Buy It! (I'm far too kind today...)

POWER GIRL #3 by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner

Flippin' Moments: 9
Spotlight Flippin' Moment: Power Girl taking down The Humanite monkey bloke by throwing him into what I'm pretty sure is a massive vat of acid, and immediately realising how brutal what she's done is and doing what she can to help (mainly to try and save the entirety of.... wherever).

Art: Amanda Conner is another artist I know next to nothing about (I'm really not up on artists it seems) outside of the fact that her work on these first three issues of Power Girl are up there with some of the best comics about (with the exceptions of the truly amazing like Williams' Detective Comics work of course). I honestly think this is the sort of comic I could buy even with crappy writing if Conner sticks on the title.
Writing: Thankfully the writing is as great as the art. It has some slight blips on the route from beginning to end but as a complete package this is a thrilling conclusion to this small opening arc. If the next arc matches this in the slightest it could build itself up to being one of the best DC titles running at the present.
Downsides: .... Kinda felt like it solved the last issue's cliffhanger too easily.
Rating: Flippin' BUY IT!

ALL NEW SAVAGE SHE-HULK #4 (OF 4) by Fred Van Lente, Peter Vale, Gabriel Guzman, Michael Ryan and Leonard Kirk

Flippin' Moments: 8
Spotlight Flippin' Moment: The page where we get to see Lyra access her Gamma-Trance of calmness, wherein she is FUCKING AWESOME. This is one of the most kick-ass moments of the miniseries and a true sign that Van Lente can come up with cool ideas.

Art: I've beaten the too many cooks drum on comics before, but this might be the only time where that works out fine. The art for the main story (oh yeah, you get a back-up you lucky bastards) is brilliant from start to finish and supplies me with everything I could ask for (which as a ridiculous fan of the mini makes it more than acceptable for anyone else.. or something). The back-up story is drawn by Leonard Kirk, who is still being awesome off of the coattails of MI13. You get some brilliant stuff, particularly when Scorpion (the latest one) absorbs some symbiote matter and upgrades temporarily in a very pretty and awesome moment.
Writing: Fred Van Lente. Honestly if you heard me sticking my tongue up his arse any more you'd develop a fetish for the stuff, so all I'll say is that this rounds out the mini perfectly and leaves me desperately wanting for the Incredible Hulk back-up stories (the first of which I'll be reviewing this week as a delayed FTP text review. two issue 600s in one week would have been too much).
Downsides: None. Probably.
Rating: Flippin' BUY IT!

Wait... Have I been nice to ALL the comics I've reviewed this week?... I've lost my touch. Join me soon enough for the much belated 3-part Top Ten Writers and the FTP text review tomorrow. Now I sleep, perchance to dream of Lyra.

1 comment:

  1. That page from Dark Wolverine looks awesome. I havent been picking this up since it went all "dark" but i've heard good things from you and other people and Im seriously considering it now.