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Weekly Comic Reviews

I Do Not Actually Look Like Jesse Custer

As you can probably tell by the excessive and gratuitous swimsuit posts this week, it’s spring break for me and that’s the only excuse I have for these reviews going up a day later than usual. In my defense I don’t often have a lot of no-strings-attached free time and so I used that time wisely because I probably won’t have anything else like it until next year. But you don’t care about that, you just want the reviews:

THE PULL LIST 3:17:2010
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #625 2.99
AMERICAN VAMPIRE #1 (MR) 3.99
BATMAN #697 2.99
BOOSTER GOLD #30 2.99
BRONX KILL HC (MR) 19.99
CHOKER #2 (MR) 3.99
DARK AVENGERS #15 3.99
DEADPOOL MERC WITH A MOUTH #9 2.99
DOOMWAR #2 (OF 6) 3.99
GREEN ARROW #31 2.99
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #46 3.99
HULK #21 FOH 3.99
INCREDIBLE HULK #608 FOH 3.99
JOE THE BARBARIAN #3 2.99
PRELUDE TO DEADPOOL CORPS #3 (OF 5) 2.99
SIEGE #3 (OF 4) 3.99
SIEGE EMBEDDED #3 (OF 4) 3.99
SPIDER-WOMAN #7 3.99
SUPERGIRL #51 2.99
WONDER WOMAN CHRONICLES TP VOL 01 17.99
X-FACTOR FOREVER #1 3.99
X-MEN LEGACY #234 2.99

And now, your local news.


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN # 625

This issue didn’t make me want to strangle myself while jumping in front of a bus, so there’s the upside. That having been said, this issue did feature a pretty tremendous case of “Women in Refrigerators” syndrome, which I’m going to speak about in detail so if you don’t want the issue spoiled, go ahead and jump down to the next review.

Okay, if you’re still here that means you want to hear my rant about how the recently created character of Oksana who they made as a means to push the old Rhino into his new position on the other side of the law gets horrendously fridged in this particular issue. If you’ll remember my review of the issue dealing with the Rhino and his new girlfriend, you’ll recall how I thought that it was one of the smarter things they’ve done with the character and the story was genuinely touching on a character level. The pathos that the writer sought to evoke clearly rang true and I accepted what was presented with no resistance.

If I had known that they created the character only to blow her up violently a month down the road for the sole purpose of getting the Rhino back into his old role, I wouldn’t have enjoyed the issue as much. Why? Because what is the point of creating a new direction for a character if you don’t take the time to expand on it?

Did the conversation that made this issue basically go like this?

Marvel Guy 1: We’ve changed the Rhino into a good guy!
Marvel Guy 2: People liked it.
Marvel Guy 1: Oh, fuck…Let’s go back!
Marvel Guy 2: So we wrote an issue turning him into a good guy just so he can turn back?
Marvel Guy 1: That’s a bingo.
Marvel Guy 2: Why didn’t we just keep him evil from the get-go?
Marvel Guy 1: *silence*

So, yeah. Amazing Spider-Man entertained me for months simply to lure me into a false sense of security and then confound me to the point of anger.


AMERICAN VAMPIRE # 1

Guys and gals, Vertigo seemingly can’t put out a bad book. Here we get a dense book with two well written stories, each with their own style and voice but both adhering to the principle that the less we see of the monster, the more intimidating they are.

Seriously, the vampirism doesn’t appear until the last few panels of each story, and we’re left waiting for it throughout the whole of the issue while KNOWING that it will come. The book is called American Vampire, it’s not like when the vampires show up we’re going to be shocked. What we’re waiting for is indication of what kind of vampires they’ll be. The genre and the archetype have been so played with over the course of literary history that it’s anybody’s guess what the rules for this new series will be.

Stephen King’s segment gives us the feeling that maybe we’ll be seeing a more realistic take on the vampire. That perhaps the “burning up in the sun” aspect isn’t an eruption of flame but something that could be solved with some SPF 15.

Either way, the intro issue is definitely worth reading. This looks like it could be the next big Vertigo hit if everything plays out as planned.


BRONX KILL

The Vertigo Crime imprint has been churning out some great stuff. This issue was basically like porn for me, because as a writer and the son of a cop I can totally relate to the main character…a writer and the son of a cop. After that the similarities disappear but the book is quite enthralling, following a writer in the throes of developing a new novel having to deal with the disappearance of his wife.

If you’re a fan of noir at all you should be picking up every book put out by this imprint. The writers are all A-list talent in the genre and the stories are about as complex and well written as you will see in the medium. I’ll admit that the art in this particular volume wasn’t my cup of tea, but it served the story well and it’s not really bad art, it’s just not the style I tend to enjoy.

Go buy this book. Try something new.



GREEN ARROW # 31

Okay, I actually have a lot to say about this particular direction for Green Arrow, but most of it seems dependent on the current status quo for Green Arrow sticking around for more than a few issues, but with the news breaking of a new # 1 for the character and the promise of a turn coming for the storyline that shifts gears pretty dramatically, all I can really comment on when it comes to this particular issue is what is contained within, with no thought given to anything that came before or what comes next.

The issue itself is kind of light. A lot of it seems derivative of the JLA special from last week and what’s left is just an extended inner monologue by Ollie as he wanders through the remains of Star City. The only real interesting part of the issue comes at the end, and I’m not going to spoil it. But the final few panels lead me to believe that the changes we’ve been promised prior to that new shiny # 1 issue, will hit hard next issue.

If nothing else, I give them kudos for ending on a cliffhanger that I honest to God did not see coming, which doesn’t happen often.


SIEGE # 3

BOOM! KRAAWWW! KRAKABOOM! SMASH! BOOOOOOM!

*Squee!!!*


X-FACTOR FOREVER # 1

Having read X-Men Forever by Claremont and not being all too impressed, I was hesitant to pick this one up, but unlike it’s counterpart, the X-Factor Forever series is reportedly a mini-series, which I take as an indicator that the story will be more focused and not as rambling and bumblefuck insane as Claremont’s series.

And the first issue packs in a LOT of info. I would have been lost if it weren’t for the fact that they printed a handy-dandy X-Factor saga time line and reference list in the back of the issue. It was a lifesaver, as it’s been quite a while since I’ve read the old X-Factor stuff.

The one thing I’ll say is that the mood seems consistent with the old series. Whereas Claremont now doesn’t seem anything like Claremont then, Louise Simonson writes some old-school X-Factor in the manner to which fans would be accustomed. I doubt that anybody in the customer base for this particular title could be disappointed in the slightest.

* * * * * * * * * *

So that’s it for this week. Sorry for such a light list, but like I said, it’s spring break and my reading schedule is somewhat off-key for the moment. Next week will supposedly be a bitch and a half, so I’ll try to live up to that with a hefty review section. Remember, if there’s anything in particular you want reviewed you can always shoot an e-mail, leave a comment, or let us know in the forum.

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Weekly Comic Reviews

I Do Not Actually Look Like Jesse Custer

So I’ve been battling a cold that’s primary affliction to my system has been a severe sense of apathy. I don’t think I’ve ever moved slower on a Wednesday than I did at work yesterday, but when the fever broke in the night I realized that I had a blog to update, and thus I started work on this week’s reviews, which will begin momentarily.

THE PULL LIST: 2-17-2010

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #621 GNTLT 2.99
BATMAN #696 2.99
BATMAN STREETS OF GOTHAM #9 3.99
BLACK WIDOW AND MARVEL GIRLS #4 (OF 4) 2.99
BLACK WIDOW DEADLY ORIGIN #4 (OF 4) 3.99
CAPTAIN AMERICA #603 3.99
CHASE VARIANT ONE SHOT IS ALL I NEED (ONE SHOT) 3.99
DAREDEVIL #505 2.99
DARK AVENGERS #14 SIEGE 3.99
DEADPOOL #19 2.99
DEADPOOL MERC WITH A MOUTH #8 2.99
DOOMWAR #1 (OF 6) 3.99
GREEN LANTERN #51 (BLACKEST NIGHT) 2.99
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #45 (BLACKEST NIGHT) 2.99
HULK #20 FOH 3.99
IGNITION CITY TP 19.99
INCORRUPTIBLE #3 3.99
INCREDIBLE HULK #607 FOH 3.99
JOE THE BARBARIAN #2 2.99
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #42 3.99
POWER GIRL #9 2.99
PSYLOCKE #4 (OF 4) 3.99
PUNISHER #14 2.99
SPIDER-WOMAN #6 2.99
STARMAN OMNIBUS VOL. 4 49.99
SUPERGIRL #50 (NOTE PRICE) 4.99
THOR BY DAN JURGENS & JOHN ROMITA JR TP VOL 02 24.99
UNCANNY X-MEN #521 2.99

And so, I begin:

Amazing Spider-Man 621

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN # 621

I feel like I’ve heaped sufficient praise on this book over the course of it’s “Gauntlet” storyline. This issue is worth picking up for Michael Lark’s art alone. That man could draw Daredevil making a sandwich for 32 pages and I’d buy two copies. (Grilled cheese variant?)

This issue catered to me in numerous ways. It had Black Cat, who I effing love. It had Mr. Negative, who I honestly believe is one of the better additions to Spidey’s rogues gallery that we’ve seen in the last few years. Honestly, it was just a good Spider-Man comic. And while the previous few issues have felt decisively like old-school Spidey, this one feels frighteningly modern, and I think alot of that comes from Michael Lark’s artwork. While not overly realistic, the tones are muddied and contrasting as opposed to the clean cut-and-dry work of the last few issues. I like both styles, and the art definately worked for this story, but the change is a litle jarring when held up to what had come before. The saving grace comes in the form of the writing, which doesn’t shift tone nearly as radically and keeps the story on course.

Again, I really only have good things to say about this series at this point, and if you’re not picking it up I think you’re probably just still bitter over the One More Day angle. We get it, you feel slighted, but at this point you’re just denying yourself some quality entertainment with a character you claimed to love.

Chase Variant
CHASE VARIANT ONE SHOT

Rich Johnston is basically what would happen if I went around shouting a bunch of stuff I heard and considered it hard journalism. I won’t deny that the man gets his shit right every so often, as the man does have some sweet hookups and his site is a go-to for many people. I consider him and people like him to be the reason that Wizard has lost it’s relevance to the comic community and that in itself sort of makes him relevant.

Does any of that qualify him to write a comic book?

I don’t know. If it does, I’m hoping someone at Image calls me because I’ve got a great pitch about a Texas ranger who fights ronin-Samurai in a post-apocalyptic California with the help of a cat named Asshole. (Seriously, call me.)

I don’t know if he’s ever written anything outside of an editorial before this book, but if he’s a newbie he didn’t do too bad for his opening shot. If nothing else, the book has a pretty cool framing device, with unseen hands dealing magic-style dueling cards that shape the flow of the narrative. Such a framing device would be especially interesting in an ongoing series, where it could be explained in detail, but as it is not an ongoing and simply a one-and-done sort of deal, part of me wonders what their purpose was. Though that’s just me contemplating what could be or should have been and not what is.

As far as what the book is, I would say that Chase Variant is decent but it feels like an anachronism. A sort of throwback to the 90’s Image that I never really got into. There’s no character development or plot that runs beyond a few lines of dialogue, but there is some well-developed imagery and the potential for impressive worldbuilding. Environment and aesthetic over true content, honestly.

That doesn’t mean that it’s rubbish, because at least the book feels like it moves forward given it’s limited frame of existence. It’s not like it treads water trying to stay afloat. The book may not be the best thing ever written, but none of the effort was phoned in and it feels genuine, which is more than can be said for some books.

Merc With A Mouth 8
DEADPOOL : MERC WITH A MOUTH # 8

I’ve gotta nominate this one for turnaround book of the month, because the last issue to hit stands was downright atrocious. I was literally floored by how asinine that book was. This issue on the other hand seems to work well to regain focus and present a singular path for the book that I hope isn’t lost next month for some reason nobody can explain to me.

Instead of disjointed mini-sodes with a hodge-podge of different artists breaking up the flow, we get Deadpool and co. sucked into the Marvel Zombies universe where Deadpool goes all Tom Savini on a bunch of undead superheroes. The art is clean, crisp, and fits the tone preented by the writing and the jokes don’t completely suck the life out of the book.

Thank god, I was afraid I was going to have to drop this book. And how damned ironic would it be if after clinging to Cable and Deadpool because I didn’t want to see DP’s only book get cancelled would it be for me to be able to drop a Deadpool book and not be concerned because he has two other books I could read? I’d love to go back to the 90’s and drop that bombshell on someone. The look on their face would be priceless.

SUPERGIRL # 50

I’m glad that we have a Supergirl book that isn’t a horrible trainwreck. The current team has been doing a bang up job with the character, and though I’m not a big fan of the huge line-wide crossovers the Superman family seems to be enduring until the end of time, this book has been doing the best with what it’s been given from the get-go. The character development they’ve been working with Kara and Lana is refreshing, as both of them have drastically needed to be refocused for quite some time.

This issue feels like a good old fashioned Superman story to me. I mean, replace Supergirl with Clark and you would swear that this story belonged in one of those Black and White SHOWCASE books. Giant wasps? Lazer beams! GANGBUSTER?!?!?!

Yeah, epic.

The backup story is short and essentially unnecessary, but the tone was on the money and I’m sure putting Helen Slater’s name on the book bumped sales by a fair margin, though what size that margin is could be anybody’s guess. Either way, the total package was worth the extra dollar on the price tag.

Uncanny 521
UNCANNY X-MEN # 521

If all they had printed in this book was that final page, I still would have loved it. I won’t spoil it, but they made me a very happy nerd.

Very very happy nerd.

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

And I’m done for this week. Check back next time, when maybe I’ll review a comic that totally sucks. It’s kind of odd when I don’t read anything that makes me wanna hurl.