Posts Tagged ‘Quick Hits’

Quick hits for 7/11

July 11, 2008

Amazing Spider-Man #565

More than 6 months in to the “3 time a month!” experiment, and this title is still humming along nicely.  I’m a little concerned about this arc, though.  Marc Guggenheim and Phil Jimenez only have 3 issues in which to tell their story about a new, probably supposed to be sexy but really isn’t, female version of Kraven and they spend the entirety of this chapter transferring Peter Parker’s famous luck to his new roommate.  It’s not that the issue is bad or predictable, it’s just that introducing a new villain who has taken on the mantle of one of Spidey’s deadliest old foes feels like it needs more room to breathe.

Of course, I could be worrying for nothing, because this issue was a lot of fun.  Kraven’s inner monologue could’ve been cheesy and grating, but it managed to provide some insight into the new character’s psyche while providing just enough exposition.  And the fight that opens the issue, guest-starring Daredevil, was a hoot.

Secret Invasion #4

Sadly, we’re pretty much at the same place halfway into this mini series that we were 2 issues ago.  Iron Man is still all screwed up.  Jarvis is still on the Helicarrier demanding S.H.I.E.L.D. surrender.  No one knows who to trust.  The Uber-Skrulls are still laying waste to New York.  Fortunately, the plot starts to move a bit faster this time out as we get to see what Nick Fury’s new Howling Commandos can do and Iron Man finally pulls his head out and starts thinking. 

The art this time out looks better than it has before; less rushed and a bit more detailed.  It’s clear both Bendis and Yu are having some fun here, but I can’t shake the feeling that feet are being dragged and that this really should’ve been 6 issues and not 8.  Still, it’s a fun, if nerve-wracking, read that so far is still living up to its status as a big summer event.

Quick hits for 7/3

July 3, 2008

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #16

I really wish I hadn’t read this interview with Joss Whedon before reading this issue, because what happens to Dawn would’ve had me rolling on the floor had I not expected it (and that picture of Joss might be one of the worst picture taken of any human being, ever).  In any case, this book suffers from first chapter syndrome where what you really want to see doesn’t even begin until the last two pages.  Still, it’s written by Whedon himself and I’ve got a soft/blind spot when it comes to the man so of course I enjoyed every page of it.  Karl Moline’s art is a step up from what we normally see in this book (not that regular artist Georges Jeanty is bad, of course) as his characters are more expressive and his setting feel a bit more lush.  So far I’ve loved every issue of this title and I’m not apologizing for it, Whedon-haters.

Angel: After the Fall #10

Even though the artist hasn’t changed, the art itself is much better this time around.  Nick Runge seems to be settling into Angel’s world in a way that Franco Urru never did, and thank God for that.  Everything else is still a bit of a mess, though.  There’s a lot going on in this issue and that crowds out what should’ve been a huge, game-changing revelation.  We readers knew about Angel’s secret all along, of course, but we only get a few pages of his gang’s reaction to the news.  Thinking in TV terms, this scene would’ve lasted at least 10 minutes (with the reveal coming right before a commercial break), but here the emotional resonance is stripped away because it’s all over so fast.  I can’t believe I’m complaining about too much happening in a single issue, but since I still don’t have a great handle on what happened in issue 9 I feel like the whole series is moving too fast after marking time for too long.

Quick hits for 6/27

June 27, 2008

Superman #677

I’ll cop to some increased expectations with this issue since it’s the first by new writer James Robinson.  While not a big name amongst fans, he’s produced some good, solid, sometimes great work.  I’m not sure if those expectations played a role, but I was let down by this issue.  I like seeing Superman and Green Lantern play fetch in space with Krypto the super dog as much as the next guy, but page after page of setting up Metropolis’ Science Crime Unit isn’t something I really needed.  When Atlas, this story’s villain, shows up, I didn’t care all that much, especially when his motivation for wanting to pummel Superman can be boiled down to “People like you better than they like me.”  Weak sauce, Mr. Robinson.  Renato Guedes is perfectly suited to this title, even if he does err on the sketchy side of line work.

New and Mighty Avengers

Two more stories about how the Skrulls replaced two of the Marvel U’s heroes, and I think I’ve had my fill of that crap.  Sure, it’s neat to see how they pulled it off and writer Brian Michael Bendis weaves Hank Pym and Jessica Drew into pre-existing storylines (like House of M) in a neat way, but I’ve almost stopped caring.  I’m actually more interested in how the Skrulls are able to hide themselves amongst other heroes and emulate the powers of the people they kidnap.  Somehow, throwing a pain-causing washcloth over someone’s face doesn’t seem like it’d do the trick.  I am a big fan of artists John Romita, Jr. and Jimmy Cheung and these issues did nothing to alter that.  I just wish they had something better to draw.  I also wish I hadn’t spent $6 on these inconsequential books.

Thunderbolts #121

My favorite Marvel title loses it’s creative team with this issue, so I’m more than a little bummed.  The one-liners flow freely and are often good for at least a smile.  After a big dustup pits team members against each other, the status quo is maintained in a way that felt a little cheap simply because it came out of nowhere.  Not the resolution I wanted or expected, but these are company owned characters so I’m not sure how much leeway Warren Ellis had.  I will say this about the man, he knows how to write a suitable crazy Norman Osborn.  Mike Deodato leans way too heavily on the photo-referencing crutch, as Robbie Baldwin transforms in this issue from regular looking guy to Edward Norton doppelganger.  In all, a somewhat underperforming ending to what was a satisfying, at times thrilling, yearlong run.

Quick Hit reviews, part the second

June 20, 2008

 Amazing Spider-Man #563

I didn’t much care for Bob Gale’s first few issues of the Spider-relaunch, but it’s this issue cemented my dislike of his stuff.  The plot is interesting enough (bookie who takes bets on super-fights gets in trouble) but it’s Gale’s Spider-Man who I’ve found I can’t stand.  He’s a just a jerk for the majority of the story, and that’s not the Webhead I grew up with.  Threatening to destroy a bar after the bar owner/bartender just saved you from a big brawl is just classless.  I know old people are annoying, but Spidey is just plain mean to the bookie’s father and the result is off-putting.  I could talk more about the narrative’s unrealized potential, but I’ve spent too much time on this issue already.  Oh, and Mike Mckone’s art is usually nice to look at, but he seems to have lost a step since his days on Exiles.

Wolverine #66

The Civil War team is back together!  Wait….Civil War sucked and shipped late.  So…woo hoo?

I’m being prematurely snarky, of course, since there’s really nothing wrong with this issue (aside from the horribly stilted faux frontier dialect).  The “Old Man Logan” story is off to a nice start, though I’m concerned that the glacial pacing of this chapter could signal boredom ahead.  Sure, I want to know all about this bleak future world that pacifist Logan lives in, but I’m not sure I have the patience to get there (at least until the trade hits stands).  Mark Millar’s last foray into Wolverine’s world was made of testosterone and awesome, so I’m cautiously optimistic.  I can’t say anything about Steve McNiven’s work that hasn’t already been said.  It’s pretty and wonderful and detailed and I’m sure the man craps rainbows.

Punisher #58

I make no secret of my love for Garth Ennis’ take on the Punisher, and I’m not about to go back on that now.  Ennis moves the story along nicely here as Frank stares down a team of Delta commandoes and almost gets away when things go pear shaped.  Goran Parlov is probably the perfect artist to match Ennis’ tone, and it’ll be his style that I most associate with Ennis’ epic run when it ends in 2 months.  The main reason I bring this up is to point out that this story is quite obviously padded so it can last 6 issues.  There are 4 or 5 pages in the middle of this book dedicated to “reprinting” pictures from a fake book about Vietnam.  We get snapshots of helicopters and the Valley Forge firebase and Frank Castle loading a machine gun so we don’t forget he was there and none of it does a damn thing to advance the plot or give us insight into anything.  Drove me nuts, those pages did.

Quick Hit reviews

June 19, 2008

I’m going to limit myself to one paragraph for each of these:

Ex Machina #37

This book publishes so sporadically I completely forgot what was going on in it. That’s a shame, too, because it’s a damn fine read as an obsessed fan from the Mayor’s days as a superhero tries to ruin the Republican Convention using the city as her canvas. Usually I’ll find some part of a book like this tedious (be it the rote superheroics or the backroom political drama), but that’s never been the case here thanks to Brian K. Vaughn’s talent. Tony Harris’ art is just plain pretty. I love the book, but the schedule stops me from embracing it completely.

Angel: After the Fall #9

The art on this book just plain sucks. Usually I can look past that because I’m more of a story/dialogue guy and the art is just icing on the cake, but I just can’t overlook or forgive the eye-raping perpetrated here. I’m not going to waste my time looking up who drew this mess, but I can’t think of a single issue that’s had art that I would classify as passable (except for the John Byrne drawn short story a few issues ago). Aside from that, this series brings new definition to the term “uneven.” It started strong, but that past few story-driven issues (as opposed to the 3 issues devoted to catching up with characters not named Angel) have wasted the goodwill generated there. What could and should have been as good as Buffy Season 8 has turned into a jumbled, confusing, awkward mess.

Guardians of the Galaxy #2

This comic features a talking raccoon whose best friend is a miniature tree god. At one point said raccoon straps a fish bowl style space helmet on his head and uses large firearms to blow overgrown tapeworms to Kingdom Come. In space. Why do you hate fun, people not reading this comic? Why?

Justice League of America #22

Like everyone else, I had high hopes when Dwayne McDuffie took over this title. Like everyone else, I’ve been so let down by it that disappointed seems to weak a word. Most blame this on DC editorial so I will too, especially when we’re treated to glimpses of what could have been. Moments like Black Canary’s smackdown of Vixen and McDuffie’s use of inner monologues from different characters show us how good this could be if the big events written by others would just stay out of his way. Ed Benes is still trying to figure out how to draw a woman’s rear end in every panel, but he’s toned it down so that the focus is now on his relatively solid work and not his spine-wrenching anatomy.