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Posts tagged “David Finch

Weekly Comic Reviews – 9/3/2013

This week saw thirteen new 3D covered .1 issues released by DC. My readership of their output has dropped so heavily that I only bought one, and I’ll get to that a little later on. I want to let you guys know that when it comes to DC my views are a little shaded right now. I see everything through the dark haze of “clearly this isn’t meant for me” every time I crack a cover. DC published several dozen titles and I only actively enjoy about three of them. That number will drop when Williams and company leave Batwoman and I drop that like a hot potato. It would take a miracle for DC to put together a creative team for that book that would wash the bad taste of that decision out of my mouth. But hey, that’s just me speaking. Unfortunately I don’t have any Marvel comics to review for you this week, so you’re going to have to deal with a little negative energy.

jokerBATMAN 23.1 – The Joker
Written by: Andy Kubert
Art by:  Andy Clarke
Page Count: 32
U.S. Price: 3.99
The Joker has FOREVER been the face of EVIL in the DC Universe…but what led him on this devious path of treachery? Andy Kubert pens this early adventure showcasing the maniacal exploits of the Crown Prince of Gotham—The JOKER! 
The biggest fear I have had about these Villains Month issues, aside from the fact that they would drive speculators into the shops in droves thus giving me a headache that no amount of Advil could cure (a prediction that Wednesday proved to be true), was that they would be useless filler that negated all the hype and hooplah surrounding them. Surprise, surprise…that’s pretty much what you’re getting. This particular issue, focusing on the Joker and his attempts to raise a gorilla as a surrogate son and the hijinks that ensue, feels completely tone-deaf with regards to Snyder’s work on the title. Attempts to shed light on an abusive homelife in Joker’s early formative years do little to shock because the rest of the issue does little to capture our attention or feel substantial in any real way. Coming on the heels of the Death in the Family arc makes Kubert’s work here seem off-base and, at least to me, offensive. There was a chance here to tell a truly worthwhile Joker tale, one that people would remember. You know what people will remember about this issue? The stupid cover.
This issue is a joke. I’m not trying to be witty or make a pun; this issue is laughable. As a writer, you cannot let a gimmick overtake your work. In a few months, everyone will be mocking the entire Villains Month endeavor. I doubt a single positive step forward will come out of any story told in any of these gimmick issues. I am saddened that there is so little here to enjoy. I was hoping DC would prove me wrong. Whoops, there I go again.
Rating: 1 out of 5
Forever-Evil-1-cover-David-Finch-Crime-SyndicateFOREVER EVIL # 1
Written by: Geoff Johns
Art by: David Finch, Richard Friend
Page Count: 48
U.S. Price: 3.99
The first universe-wide event of The New 52 begins as FOREVER EVIL launches! The Justice League is DEAD! And the villains shall INHERIT the Earth! An epic tale of the world’s greatest super-villains starts here!
I made it through the first issue of Trinity War. Apparently that led to this. You don’t need to worry about catching up, the issue is fairly cut and dry in getting everyone up to speed. Lex Luthor opens the issue blackmailing another businessman like the greasy industrialist he is when he’s interrupted by the arrival of shadowy figures doing nefarious things. The issue then plays out as roughly thirty pages of showing us which villains are being broken out of which prisons until the Crime Syndicate led by Ultraman and Superwoman reveal that they have defeated the Justice League. It is as by the numbers as an event book can get. It reads like everything Geoff Johns has slapped onto a page in previous tent-pole titles and honestly the schtick is wearing thin on my nerves. There’s nothing fresh here, not in the writing nor in the artwork. David Finch’s dark linework portrays the sense of mood the title wants to inflict on the readers but feels rushed and without any real weight.
Compared to something like Infinity which took the time to build the world the event would unfold in, Forever Evil feels like watching a recorded TV show at 1.5x speed and being unable to tell if you’re missing the nuances or if they’re even there at all. This is a book for a very particular type of fan and the only thing I can say is that I honestly had hoped that type of fan went extinct with the end of the 90’s but seeing how copies of issue number one flew off the shelf on Wednesday it would appear they have not only survived but may in fact have multiplied. It was like that rolling wave of Zombies in World War Z except they were all asking for variant covers and extra bags and boards.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5
The Star Wars #1 by Doug Wheatley (Ultra Variant Cover)The Star Wars # 1 of 8
Writer:  J.W. Rinzler
Artist: Mike Mayhew
Cover Price: 3.99
Before Star Wars, there was The Star Wars! This is the authorized adaptation of George Lucas’s rough-draft screenplay of what would eventually become a motion picture that would change the world. Annikin Starkiller is the hero . . . Luke Skywalker is a wizened Jedi general . . . Han Solo is a big green alien . . . and the Sith . . . Well, the Sith are still the bad guys. High adventure and derring-do from longer ago, in a galaxy even further away!
Of all the books I picked up, this is the one that shone brightest. I know the company it keeps isn’t that elevated, but let me assure you that I was hesitant to even give this one a shot. I am glad I overrode my guttural instincts because this is a fun comic. Elements of what became Star Wars are definitely in the story here, names may be familiar but the story takes such a different turn that you can’t help but be fascinated how this eventually became the classic we all know and love. I will state for the record that based off of this, Lucas has had an interest in shoe-horning trade diplomacy into space pulp fantasy since the beginning, he simply had to wait until Episode I to get it on the screen. The backdrop of this series utilizes those elements in an interesting way and lets itself play out in a way consistent with the rest of the story. Honestly, reading this and comparing and contrasting story elements is quite a fun little experiment. It really gives you a look inside George Lucas’ head in a way most people only like to speculate.
Will Star Wars fans enjoy it? I believe so. I think those turned off by the later installments will find a great deal to like here. There is so much that is obviously pulled from the series that Lucas idolized in his youth and while it is certainly a rough outline of a story it seems to have molded into something worth reading. More happens in the first issue of this series than in the entirety of Episode I, so if that’s a bar you’re willing to set, go ahead and give it a read. You can’t possibly be let down.
Rating: 4 out of 5
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COMIC BOOK REVIEW – JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA (2013) # 1

PictureJUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #1
Geoff Johns (w) • David Finch (a)
The march toward TRINITY WAR begins with part one of “WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS”! Green Lantern! Green Arrow! Catwoman! Katana! Vibe! Hawkman! Stargirl! They aren’t the world’s greatest super heroes—they’re the most dangerous! But why does a team like the JLA need to exist? What is their ultimate mission? And who is pulling the strings? Plus: Find out why Martian Manhunter is the most dangerous of them all. Period. 40 pages • $3.99

I gave up on Johns’ nu52 version of the Justice League after the first arc. I think it did a lot of things right but unfortunately I just needed to cull something off my list and aside from the Avengers and X-Men I’m not much of a team book sort of person anymore and my interest in team books on the DC side of the equation has always been spotty. I’ll fade in an out with the Titans, the League, Birds of Prey, the Suicide Squad, and others based on lineups or writers.

The new JLA got me because of the lineup more than the writer. Johns’ name doesn’t mean guaranteed gold anymore than any other writer so it came down to an interesting grouping of characters. Green Arrow and Catwoman sold me on this book. That’s what it really comes down to. I’m not a huge Hawkman or Martian Manhunter fan, though they can be an interesting element in a good book and I know nothing about this new GL and only have a passing familiarity with Vibe or Katana. I’m essentially going into this as blind as I can. I figure that helps give me a clean slate when I say that I still don’t have much of a feeling about the book following the first issue.
Why am I still not sold? Because very little actually happens in the first issue. It’s a framed narrative with Steve Trevor, apparently this League’s handler, talking with Amanda Waller, who I still can’t get over being so damn thin, about what shape the League should take and why. Waller wants a response to the high and mighty Trinity-led League, who she thinks have lost perspective while lording over us in the satellite. Trevor wants…I’m still not entirely sure. Mostly he just doesn’t want it to be totally in Waller’s hands.
We are introduced to the characters who will be in this new League and it ends on a major cliffhanger. The last page kickstarts the real story and by proxy makes the rest of the issue seem like preamble. I really wish they could have condensed the setup somehow because it doesn’t feel like I got $3.99 worth of story. I think this is a problem with most modern comics, not just JLA, but many comics get around the price point issue and really deliver some bang for my buck. (Quick aside; best value of story for your money? Probably Jason Aaron’s THOR)
Could this eventually be a good series? I think the elements are there. Now that the setup is out of the way I’m sure it’ll grow with the next issue, but if you’re looking to be blown away by a debut issue, this isn’t the one to look at.

Rating: 2 & 3/4 Stars of 5 


Weekly Comic Reviews

I Do Not Actually Look Like Jesse Custer

Guys, this week was a killer. Probably the most major comic release date in a while. You have no idea how many people have been coming in asking about Batman Incorporated over the last few weeks. That final panel in Batman & Robin sold people in a way that I can’t really describe and I for one am thrilled that so many people are realizing how awesome Grant Morrison’s take on the Dark Knight truly is. The man knows what he’s doing. In Morrison we trust.

AVENGERS #7 3.99
BATMAN #704 2.99
BATMAN INCORPORATED #1 3.99
BATMAN THE RETURN #1 4.99
DEADPOOLMAX #2 (MR) 3.99
GREEN LANTERN #59 (BRIGHTEST DAY) 2.99
OSBORN #1 BIG (OF 4) 3.99
POWER GIRL #18 2.99
SIXTH GUN #6 3.99
SPIDER-GIRL #1 BIG 3.99
SUPERGIRL #58 2.99
SUPERIOR #2 (OF 6) (MR) 2.99
SUPERMAN #705 2.99
THUNDERBOLTS #150 4.99
X-23 #3 2.99
X-MEN #5 3.99

Now after a good long day of writing about prostitution in the middle ages for a history paper, I can tell you about how awesome a few of these books are.

BATMAN # 704

The weakest of the new Batman releases is the core title, which sadly seems like a middle of the road affair by Tony Daniel when compared to the amazing work done by Morrison and Finch in the other books released this week. Not to say that the book is horrible, it’s better than it has been recently, especially Daniel’s art which looks less rushed than I’m used to, but unfortunately the entirety of the book seems rather pedestrian when placed alongside the nearly pitch-perfect Batman Incorporated title. I think my main gripe with this title comes from the fact that it reads like a throwaway title from the late nineties or early two-thousands in it’s pacing, its art, and its choice of villainry.

The book suffers from feeling all too familiar to stories we already read but with minor tweaks. Unfortunately, the books that this seems derivitive of aren’t the best parts of Batman lore. I think that the book could stand to take a few more risks rather than settle into a comfort zone that’s so blatantly par for the course.

Then again, when Tony Daniel takes risks we get Catgirl, a character that I almost want to like out of the sheer absurdity of her existence. But then again, my tastes differ in certain areas from the general public so I won’t take a stand on that character until she’s had the chance to mature under another team of writers.

BATMAN INCORPORATED # 1

This book is everything you should want in a Batman title. Morrison manages to find the right balance of tone between the ridiculous, the macabre, the adventurous, and the outright fun. The book essentially turns into a globetrotting Bruce and Selina super-happy-fun action hour where Batman and Catwoman fly to Japan to begin preparations for that branch of the Batman Inc. plan to be put into motion but are sidetracked by a murder mystery and a cult of ninja assassins. There’s even some tentacle rape hentai jokes that seem all too appropriate coming from the mind of Grant Morrison.

The artwork on display here is robust and amazing. They really could not have found a better fit. Paquette’s Selina is as sexy as she’s ever been and the subtle touches he uses to portray Batman are astounding. It’s one of the best looking Batman books in a long time, rivaled only by Finch’s work in The Return which I’ll be discussing shortly.

If you pass on this one you will regret it later. This one is a home run in every sense of the damn word. Buy this book now!

 

BATMAN THE RETURN # 1

I was wary of this particular title. That apprehension faded after the first few pages where Grant Morrison gives us what equates to graphic poetry, telling the story from the perspective of the bat that crashed into Bruce’s life when he needed to find his avatar. David Finch’s artwork guided the narrative with masterful flow and tone, showing off some of his most brilliantly stylized work to date.

That the art is this good is not surprising, given the subject matter and how much Finch loves to work with shadows and the darkness, but the complexities of the narrative were surprising considering that this is essentially the jumping-on point for new readers and Morrison made no attempt to censor his sensibilities and gave us intricate mysterious plot threads as well as hyper-neo-noir technological action adventure with jetpacks and robotics intertwined with some nitty gritty fight scenes.

If you’re planning on reading any of this week’s bat titles I highly recommend that you start off with this one as it outlines the new status quo for Batman quite handily and works to assure us that the people working on every title are going to be working as a cohesive unit to tell what seems like a hell of a story and if this one-shot is any indication, they’ll be bringing their a-game every step of the way.

SPIDER-GIRL # 1

From Marvel we get the newly minted 616 version of Spider-Girl, formerly Arana, in her first solo title. The whole Young Allies thing didn’t seem to work out so well so I’m pensive about this title, but hopefully they’ll let it go long enough to deter fans from yelling at them for cancelling what amounts to their only major female-driven solo title. (Scarlet doesn’t count, guys.)

It’s off to a good start. Establishing the cast of characters and letting the new readers get to know Arana in case they haven’t followed her from her humble beginnings in the revamped Amazing Fantasy from a few years back. The storytelling style is sound and concise, but from someone like Tobin who has a pretty firm grasp on narrative technique this isn’t really a surprise. The plotline seems familiar, as most superhero books are bound to borrow from each other a bit, but the expression, through a “twitter”-esque thought balloon parade seems fresh enough to distinguish it from other similar go-arounds.

I’m hoping it will stick around long enough to take off, because the character really is an interesting one. I especially liked her when she was in Ms. Marvel, another title that I sorely miss.

***************************************************************

And now I go back to writing about whores. I guess this is what Frank Miller feels like all the time. A-ZING!!!!


Weekly Comic Reviews

I Do Not Actually Look Like Jesse Custer

Maybe I should just commit to doing these on Friday so they’ll technically be up on time. I doubt that’d work, as eventually I’d be moving to Saturday to force an adherance to the deadline and that would just be sad. So as it stands, these are a day late. So sue me, but don’t, because I’m broke.

ARRIVALS 03-31-2010
ADVENTURE COMICS #9 3.99
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #627 2.99
BLACKEST NIGHT #8 3.99
DARK WOLVERINE #84 SIEGE 2.99
DETECTIVE COMICS #863 3.99
FANTASTIC FOUR #577 2.99
GOTHAM CITY SIRENS #10 2.99
HACK SLASH SERIES #30  3.5
NEW MUTANTS #11 SIEGE 2.99
TRANSFORMERS ONGOING #5 3.99
WONDER WOMAN #42 2.99
X-MEN SECOND COMING #1 XSC 3.99

As you can see, it was kind of a short week, so I’m going to focus my energy on a select few titles, hoping to really drive my point home if possible.

BN8
BLACKEST NIGHT # 8

Finally this mother-trucker comes to a conclusion. I haven’t been the biggest proponent of this title, as I think that trying to shoehorn it into the company wide crossover niche has destroyed any and all subtlety and nuance that could have been present were it done as a crossover event in the GL books the way Sinestro Corps War was done.

I’m sure those who have liked the book so far will go absolutely apeshit over this issue as well. I mean, it’s got everything that they expect out of the event in great quantity, so why wouldn’t they love it. For those of us who have been along for the ride wondering if the bizarre plot twists and deviations from established characterization would somehow make sense when the arc came to a close, unfortunately we get no such payoff.

I think that is my problem with this whole event. I know Geoff Johns can write the hell out of Green Lantern. The monthly title has consistently shown that from the very moment he relaunched it with that shiny # 1 a few years back. That much is not up for debate, he’ll be seen as the definitive Green Lantern writer of the last twenty-five years hands down, simply because he’s elevated the character to a place where he’s more of a flagship character than Superman, if you look at sales and interest.

The problem with Blackest Night is that it tries to use the elements that make Geoff Johns such a good writer but the end product is rushed and mangled due to the restraints of containing the bulk of the story to a single book. It’s the same problem that happened back with Infinite Crisis. If you read the collected edition of that book, nothing makes any sense because key bits are in other books. The same thing feels like it happened here. I feel like with a book like this, cohesion is key, and they could have either made GL and GLC official parts of the story, and allowed Geoff to weave the narrative across the mini-series as well as the two ongoings, thus giving the narrative some space to breathe and flow organically.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. With this issue, I feel like everything was abrupt and oddly presented, and aside from the “wow factor” that comes with some amazing spash page and a few resurrected heroes, the final issue, much like the rest of the series, seems to fall just a little bit flat.

X-Men Second Coming
X-MEN SECOND COMING # 1

Time for another x-event. It’s been a while since Messiah Complex, but a lot has happened since then and it feels like it’s all been leading to this. I have to say that I wish it would have gotten here sooner because so much of the X-books in the last few years has felt like repeated filler. Like they were treading water getting ready for this event. Does it measure up?

Not really.

I think my main problem with the book had to do with Finch’s art, which compared to his prior work on New Avengers and Moon Knight looks like it was just plain rushed. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks he made the art so shoddy as a middle finger to Marvel as he hopped on the bus over to DC, but I think most of it was honestly a stylistic choice, though one that I don’t agree with.

I’ve been reading the x-books up to this point and I still didn’t quite get parts of the book. I didn’t know who the hell the smiley faced mercenaries were, and the reveal at the end didn’t seem like much of a shocker having read the X-Force series.

Maybe it’s just off to a slow start, as I wasn’t impressed, but things need to pick up soon if this is going to measure up to Messiah Complex, as I straight up loved that crossover.

***

That’s it for this week. Next week should be a bigger week, and I’ll hopefully have the reviews up on an actual Thursday this time around. Until then…


Flipside Post : The WORST Comics of 2009

I kicked the blog off with a rundown of 2009’s best storyarcs, an entry that was hard as hell to write because honestly there were tons of good books last year and while I wanted to showcase only a chosen few, I didn’t want to leave out anything that needed to be showcased. On the other side of the coin, we have today’s entry, a look at 2009’s most abysmal outings. My criteria for this list is not quite as exclusive as the “best of” list, because sometimes you don’t need a story to be finished to realize it’s a piece of shit. Usually if it’s three issues in and you’d still rather pluck out your own pubic hairs with a rusty pair of tweezers, it won’t change by the end of the arc.

So here we go!

Magneto looks bored...must have read ULTIMATUM
1. ULTIMATUM (Marvel)

It started in ’08 but it ran through the first chunk of ’09 and as far as I can tell, I swear to God, Jeph Loeb is a sleeper agent, placed in the Marvel offices by DC to destroy their publishing lineup from the inside. It’s like a retarded 24 plot played out in slow motion so every mind-numbing detail can be drawn in until the mind can’t handle it anymore.

I’m not going to go after the book for being dumb. I mean, it’s an event book and nobody can make an event book NOT dumb. (I’m looking at you Geoff Johns.) My main problem with the book is that it is so sloppily written, and so disjointed that as a reader you sometimes don’t even know how bad it truly is until you go back and re-read the pages over again trying to figure out exactly what the hell you missed that led you to be so confused.

Also, the Blob eats the Wasp. That’s just wrong.

He'll Be Hungry Again In An Hour


Giant Size Disappointment
2. Wolverine : Old Man Logan (Marvel)

I’m probably gonna catch flak for this one but people, this shit was sub-par and the publishing delays only made it worse. The fact that the “epic conclusion” was a veritible anti-climactic letdown is all you really need to look at in order to see what a throwaway piece of tripe this storyline really is. Aside from some nice art, this whole thing was a wash, no matter what the sales say. People buy dumb shit all the time. Don’t believe me? Go talk to the guy who invented the “Snuggee.”

The truly sad thing is, everybody ate this thing up like it was the best thing since sliced bread when Jason Aaron’s excellent Weapon X book doesn’t get nearly the credit it deserves. That book utilizes the continuity of Wolverine without being confusing, moves at a breakneck pace and is worth every penny while still managing to come out on a monthly basis. Old Man Logan was an uninspired and unoriginal idea that people went nuts over for a reason that eludes me entirely.

Gonna Party Like It's 1994!
3. Image United (Image)

Let’s take everything that drove me away from comics in the 90’s and put it in a single book. That’ll work right? *facepalm*

Google : Facepalm
4. Female Force : Stephanie Meyer (Bluewater Comics)

I would say that my hatred of the Twilight phenomenon is completely rational. After all, how any sane person would look at the success of such a lazy and contrived series and still manage to think that our society hasn’t sunk into an irrepairable cavern of stupidity that is only 15 degrees off “Idiocracy” is completely beyond me. The fact that someone decided it would be a good idea to publish a comic book biography of the woman responsible for this crime against humanity simply edges me toward clawing my own brain out with an olive fork.

The fact that the book exists is enough to qualify it on sheer “WTF-factor” alone, but the book having art so bad that it borders on the laughable earns it a legitimate spot on the list. Not to mention that Stephanie Meyer is essentially the most boring person this side of John Kerry and thus the book itself is nothing short of a chore to read even if you never look at the art.

Comics Alliance basically said everything I ever could in the review they posted back when the book was released on shelves. The only difference is they still have the energy to mock the book whereas I can only shake my head and try not to vomit.

Let's hope this doesn't last forever...
5. X-Men Forever (Marvel)

This should have been excellent, but then I remembered that Chris Claremont hasn’t written anything of any quality since the 80’s and by then it was too late. I had already added the book to my pull and was damned to read what may be one of the most effortlessly tired books in the Marvel publishing line.

The problem with the book is that it wants us to get all nostalgic for the days of Claremont and Byrne but the Claremont we all fell in love with is gone and what remains is a madman who is following up on his own work in such a manner that it’s hard to tell that the same person who wrote all those classic stories is able to give us such a winded and uninteresting take on the X-Men.

This one takes the coveted biggest disappointment award for 2009. Such a tragedy.

NOOOOOOOO JOE!
6. G.I. Joe – Origins (IDW)

Like X-Men Forever, this one makes the list out of disappointment. Larry Hama writing a GI Joe origin story from scratch? Yes please! Wait… What the hell is going on here? What am I reading? MAKE IT STOP! WHY LARRY?!?! WHY?!?!

Yes, the former master of the Joes has turned in one of the sloppiest and mind-boggling Joe stories of all time. Considering that Hama is the man who made GI Joe what it is today, for him to do such a disservice to the franchise by delivering such a bland and cliche outing in the Origins book, it’s like watching your childhood hero bang a tranny hooker on the hood of your car. You’re willing to put up with a lot, given that he’s your hero and all, but this is JUST. GOING. TOO. FAR!

****

And there are others; Green Arrow/Black Canary continued the downward spiral for both characters, Superman didn’t even have Superman and seemed like the title had died but continued on only out of habit, Justice League of America languished in mediocrity, and there are others that fit the bill just as badly. The above are the ones that really stand out as the losers of ’09.