Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Comic Book Reviews for the Week of Oct. 8, 2008

Cream of the Crop

Deadpool #3

An unforeseen double-cross in the first issue was followed by an expected double-cross in the last issue, and this issue we get a very unexpected sort-of-double-cross. This issue had less of the funny and more of Deadpool kicking Skrull ass. We learn his true purpose for being where he is, and ultimately why he allowed the Skrulls to use his genetic material. He’s pretty devious for a guy who’s nothing but a smart ass who kills really well.

Fallen Angel #30

For a book with such religious overtones, it’s about time we get to the big question. I think David handles this very well. Jude’s question to his mother isn’t answered, but at least she tells him why. And in an issue devoted to faith, Lee and Jude make the ultimate leap of faith (with a much more convincing outcome than in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). And there goes Black Mariah following. Will something different happen to her because she fell rather than believed and leaped? I guess we’ll find out next issue.

Ender’s Game: Battle School #1

I can’t remember if it was my freshman or sophomore year of college, but for one semester I took a class called Sci-Fi and Fantasy. We read books, we wrote stories, and we watched movies. It was awesome. Because of that class I read Frankenstein, Wizard of Earthsea, Brave New World, Stranger in a Strange Land, Dune, and Ender’s Game. Out of the three books in that list whose stories continued on into other books, the future of Ender Wiggin was the only one I was concerned with. I followed him through Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind. I haven’t read any of the short stories or Shadow books, but I’ve been meaning to. I think after finishing this comic, I may have to go back and reread the series. From what I can remember, this comic is pretty faithful to the book. Since it has been about a decade since I read the book, I can’t call forth any details, but the comic is ringing true for me. This is going to be a book I’ll be looking forward to every month.

Green Lantern #35

Great writing, beautiful art…yet I can’t help feeling that I was cheated a bit. Johns gave us a seven-part origin story, which updated and tweaked Hal’s origin to account for current happenings while setting the stage for The Blackest Night. That’s okay, I have not problem with that, but that’s seven months not knowing what Hal is doing NOW. Couldn’t this have been a mini-series, or at least trimmed down and made into back-up stories or used as flashbacks while telling a current story? I’m okay with Johns replacing Legion with Atrocitus and totally removing Hal’s DUI and prison sentence (Emerald Dawn I and II), but rather than moving Hal forward, we’re taking a look back. Still, it was a great story.

Green Lantern Corps #29

This series is just as good as the main Green Lantern book. With this, we’ve got all the Earth GLs taken care of (I think…John is still a member of the Justice League, right?). As with Hal’s GL book, this is setting us up for The Blackest Night, but at least with this one we’re moving forward instead of reinventing the past. Guy and Tora explore their relationship. A new Star Sapphire (Pink Lantern) is born, thus leading me to believe that Tora might be recruited as Batman was recruited by the Yellow Lanterns. We’ve also got the Lantern who talks to the dead following a giant cosmic hand around the galaxy. The giant hand has got to be Chronos, but I can’t remember what happened to him after the JLA/Avengers crossover, which was supposed to be in continuity. I think he’s showing up in Trinity, so I wonder how that’s going to fit in if at all.

Invincible Iron Man #6

While still a good issue, after the past five GREAT issues, this was a bit of a let-down. Tony using various past armors to help him save the day has been done before. He’s a super genius, a futurist, and this is his fallback plan that he has to go to every time something big comes up? C’mon, man, think of something new!

Marvel Zombies 3 #1

And I thought they mined all the stories they could out of this. So they first showed up in the Ultimate Universe, the 616 Black Panther traveled there I believe, and now the zombies are traveling to the 616 world. I liked seeing Florida’s Initiative team, as well as the A.R.M.O.R. crew. I stopped reading Darkhawk somewhere in the early teens of the series, but I recognize Portal. That’s one good thing about the Initiative, a lot of obscure characters are showing up, if only to be cannon fodder (poor Siege and Conquistador). Right now it looks like Morbius is going to be the Black Panther of this series. It’ll be interesting to see how far this reaches out into the 616 universe. Consider me hooked.

Dark Tower: Treachery #2

And now we’ve got a female gunslinger, or at least a girl who wants to be a gunslinger. I think that’s totally new. I don’t remember any mention of her in the books. Another great and beautiful issue, if not somewhat slow. Other than introducing Aileen and showing us her skill and having Steven stop his fellow gunslinger from bleeding to death, nothing happened. It seems like we’re being set up for what might happen in the next issue.

The Stand: Captain Trips #2

I really hope that the TV movie hasn’t ruined me on this. I’ve already got character faces in my mind: Gary Sinese as Stu, Rob Lowe as Nick, Dr. Kelso from Scrubs as Frannie’s dad, Jamie Sheridan as the Walkin’ Dude, the guy who played Parker Lewis from Parker Lewis Can’t Lose as Harold, the dad from Alf as one of the scientists at the CDC, Dauber from Coach as Tom (M-O-O-N, that spells Dauber), Molly Ringwald as Frannie, and Ed Harris as the General who keeps watching the monitors. Oh, and Kareem Abdul Jabar…can’t forget him. Some of the casting choices never sat right with me. I always envisioned Stu as younger than Sinese (I think I’m spelling his name wrong, but I’m too tired to check), and I didn’t like Parker Lewis as Harold. So far I’m okay with the portrayals here. Perkins is doing a great job visually differentiating all of the cast member from each other. Aguirre-Sacasa is doing a good job so far at chopping the massive novel up, and it looks like the script is lifted straight from the book. I thought this issue ended in a weird place though, rather abruptly. But that’s minor. This is my favorite book, and as long as Aguirre-Sacasa stays true to the story, I think I’ll probably geek out with every issue. BUT (all caps, what could it mean?), this week in his Lying in the Gutters gossip column at, Rich Johnston mentioned that King would be moving his comics from Marvel to…Del Rey? Does that sound right? It’s a publishing company, but I didn’t realize they were in the comic book business. We’ll see how that goes, and how that’ll affect the two books already at Marvel.

Trinity #19

This book has really gotten a lot better since it started. And I love alternate reality stories. I love getting glimpses of how this “new” world is different yet the same. It looks like Busiek is working on something massive here, and I’m glad I’m along for the ride. The back-up story was pretty good. I like how it brought up Invasion, tying it to both realities. It looks like this artist is taking the place of Tarot, who has moved up into the main story.

X-Men: Magneto – Testament #2

I have one complaint and one complaint only about this issue. At the beginning, when Max’s father takes his book away, I thought it was a picture of a boy he was looking at. If it weren’t for his father’s comment about it always being a girl and then me noticing the pig-tails, I never would have thought that was Magda, or that she was a she. Other than that, this was another powerful story from Greg Pak. It’s sort of nice to see that I haven’t been totally desensitized to this type of violence. It lets me know that I’m not a total robot. Max and his family’s flight from Germany as the Nazis raid homes and businesses was heart-wrenching. I don’t know if this story will make Magneto any more sympathetic, but it’s very interesting to see what this mutant figurehead witnessed and lived through as a boy, and we see why he is so militant about not being persecuted again.


Crossed #1

I went back and forth on where to put this, Cream of the Crop or Leftovers. It’s a very well-written and well-illustrated book, but are there really more zombie stories to tell? And essentially, isn’t that what the Crossed are? I’m going to stick with it and see where Ennis takes us, but I’m just wondering if it’s an excuse for him to just be ultra-violent and deviant. I think I prefer Ennis when he’s working with a more realistic storyline such as his war books or The Punisher. Even Preacher with it’s religious overtones was still grounded in reality. With this book, it seems like he was trying to be Warren Ellis.

Dead of Night: Devil-Slayer #2

That’s a pretty big change of tone from last issue. We go from a pretty standard war story to a horror show in an eye blink. Everything seemed to work pretty well. We met Isaac last issue, so his appearing out of nowhere to save the day isn’t a stretch. And Bloodstone’s methods make sense. Never let it be said that demons aren’t smart or can’t take advantage of a situation. I guess the big question is why the name Bloodstone? Will Elsa (is that her name?) be showing up at some point?

Presidential Material: Barack Obama & Presidential Material: John McCain

These are decent biographies of both of the 2008 major-party Presidential candidates. McCain’s book focused on his military service legacy and record, which seems to be lousy with destroyed planes. Obama’s is more of a full biography (which should be easier since there are fewer years to go through), beginning with his birth in Hawaii. These books should not be used by fence-sitters as decision makers for who they will vote for in the election. It’s useful for anyone who wants to know a general backstory on the two, and that’s it.

Secret Six #2

Not a bad issue. Catman travels to Gotham to keep Batman occupied while the rest of the team infiltrates Alcatraz in order to break out Tarantula. The team runs into trouble in the form of Mammoth, and Catman matches Batman just about punch for punch. Catman sure has come a long way since his appearance the Archer’s Quest storyline that ran in the Green Arrow series.

Walking Dead #53

Oooh, the book gets a reprieve. I don’t like that it was so easy for Rick to find so many friendlies so quickly. But I think it was necessary. He and Michone now have a connection. He and Dale have a connection. And assuming he’s not lying, a new character may just be able to tell us what happened. It was a decent issue, a touching issue that wasn’t nearly as sappy as it could have been. And it took a little longer to read than usual, so bonus.

X-Men: Manifest Destiny #2

Not a bad issue, this. I’m not moving into the CotC pile mainly because I’m not fully up on all the goings on, such as the history between Iceman and Raven, but I’m not turned away by it, so that’s good. And damn, another Dan Panosian story where I don’t want to throw up after looking at it. This is how it works, kids. You’re crap when you start out, but you practice, and you hone your craft, and once you stop trying to be Rob Liefeld and find your own style, you start getting more appreciation from critical nonartists like myself. The Emma story was good too, but how many times have we seen variations of it? Rogue, Magneto, Wolverine…the first two villains before joining the X-Men, Magneto later returning to his roots, and Wolverine a cold-blooded killer and loner before finding a family like the X-Men. But really, with Emma, how many readers have been saying the exact same thing about her that she was thinking?

X-Men: Original Sin #1

Good opening, good enough to know who Daken is if you haven’t read Wolverine: Origins. I’m still not up enough on the X-verse to know why Xavier is out of the picture. While it doesn’t look like I’d need to be expertly versed on recent happenings, I think I’ll wait for the trade of this. I’m slowly revisiting and catching up on the X-verse by starting at the very beginning, and I’m almost to the Mutant Massacre, so I’ve still got a lot of books to read. I would imagine, though, that this would be a great read for X-fans.


13 Chambers #1

This book actually had a lot of potential, but it fell way short. The plot was very interesting, but there were just too many holes. There were a lot of scene shifts with too little explanations. There’s apparently a follow-up book in the works, but the creators needed to give us more story in this one rather than expecting us to come back for more.

Ferryman #1

The beginning of this book was promising. I thought it was going to be a tongue-in-cheek shoot-‘em-up type of book, but like the move Shoot ‘Em Up, it didn’t know when to just stop. The narration was annoying and the action was improbable. The sketchy art didn’t help either.

Listening to: Shinedown - Save Me
via FoxyTunes


Thea said...

Totally agree with you on Deadpool--WOW.

I saw the Ender's Game issue, but was wary about picking it up--I love the book, and (besides King) have been burned by comic adaptations almost unanimously...but I'm thinking I'll pick up the issue this week.

I'm really pleased with Marvel Zombies--I loved the first arc, the crossover with Army of Darkness, but the second arc was pretty weak sauce (well, it was ok, just kind of...blah). I was wary about this third arc, but am definitely hooked!

RE: The Stand 2:Some of the casting choices never sat right with me.

No kidding. Molly Ringwald!?!??!?! Oh lord, her Frannie drives me nuts. Maybe in her good years, but by the miniseries...well, it's bad news. The writer, Aguirre-Sacasa, frequents my local store--according to one of the guys that works there, he says that he is determined NOT to mess with the text at all. It's perfection as is--and that's pretty relieving.

I just read about King switching over to Del Ray for The Talisman...I'm not really psyched about this. Del Ray's adaptations are...well...lacking, in my opinion. The art is subpar, the writing is lifted from the text but lifeless. I dunno. I love The Talisman, but I'm wary.

Rob Rosenblatt said...

I didn't even know Del Rey had published comics before. I'm hoping that because it's King, they'll be able to get a top-notch artist and a guy like Peter David or Aguirre-Sacasa to adapt the story.

And Aguiree-Sacasa shows us that even if you don't mess with the text, it still takes a skilled writer to plot and pace something from a meaty work that's going to be chopped up and trimmed to fit a smaller format. I think he's doing an excellent job so far.