Sunday, November 16, 2008

Comic Book Reviews for the Week of Nov. 5, 2008 (Mini Series)

Adam: Legend of the Blue Marvel#1

The Blue Marvel. A new, ret-conned superhero that comes complete with his own ret-conned arch-nemesis, Anti-Man. His last fight with Anti-Man was June 4, 1962, so I’m assuming this takes place just days before the Fantastic Four show up on the scene and the Age of Marvels starts. But because of his race, he’s asked, by President Kennedy no less, to step down because the U.S. wouldn’t be able to handle a black superhero (hmm, this comic is released the same week that the first black President of the U.S. has been elected…eerie). I wonder what die hard Black Panther fans will think of this, or even thought of the introduction of Isaiah Bradley, a black man who preceded Steve Rogers as the first Captain America? BP has been regarded as THE first black (not African American, since he’s not American) superhero in the Marvel universe. This is an interesting premise, one that I hope is handled better than the convoluted mess that is the Sentry’s backstory.

Back to Brooklyn #2

I’ll say this for him, Garth Ennis is a consistently good writer. He may not always have a homerun like Preacher, Hellblazer or the Punisher, but he almost always gets a base hit. I think any fan of Ennis’ MAX Punisher series would enjoy this. My only gripe is with the artwork. It seems so stiff, and the characters are difficult to tell apart. I also don’t like the washed-out coloring.

Civil War: House of M #3

Another good issue, although I still think the title should be reversed (House of M: Civil War). Even though we know how the story is going to end, it’s interesting to see how the world got the way it was in House of M. I’ll have to go through my back issues, but did we see why Steve Rogers isn’t around but Bucky is? And I guess with the addition of Mimic to Bucky’s little strike force, not all mutants share Magneto’s, or even Xavier’s, views. Two more issues to go.

Marvel Zombies 3 #2

“Aw, snap! She’s a mannequin!”

Well, Fred Van Lente certainly has Kirkman’s fanboy disease. Portal? He’s using Portal in the series? He must be a Darkhawk fan. So this series looks like it actually takes place between the first two Marvel Zombie minis. I guess this’ll explain what happened while the other group was in space. The novelty of this has ALMOST worn off, but not quite, especially now that it’s robots vs. zombies!

Sub-Mariner: The Depths #3

This is still an engaging story, even though we haven’t seen more than bits and pieces of Namor. Maybe that’s why it’s probably the most compelling Sub-Mariner story I’ve read. I’ve never like the character; he seems so one-dimensional. Focusing on the submarine crew and the legend of Namor seems to be the way to go.

Terror Titans #2

Pretty decent, by-the-book mini here. We see the results of some 3rd-tier-hero fights, but not the fights themselves. Some of them would have been nice to see. I didn’t understand the Argent/Sapphire fight. From the art, it looked like Argent actually won. I’m wondering if Ravager is working on a little sting operation to prove herself to the Teen Titans.

Sandman: The Dream Hunters #1

This is an adaptation of a book that I haven’t read. I think I need to. This first issue was very well written (it’s a Sandman story by Gaiman, so why wouldn’t it be?) and beautifully illustrated by P. Craig Russell. It tells the story of a monk and a fox, how they meet, and what happens to them. Morpheus does not appear in the book, but it definitely fits in the Sandman mythos. I can’t wait for the next issue.

Ultimatum #1

Not the best first issue I’ve seen. I actually felt a greater sense of loss when Magneto blew up the Brooklyn (or was it the George Washington) Bridge in Ultimate X-Men. There was just too much going on to really make an impact. Jeph Loeb is just taking a hit from me lately. I don’t think he’s the right fit for the Ultimate universe. I will give him kudos, though, for being right on top of where all the titles are. As for David Finch, I can take him or leave him; it all depends on my mood. I liked him on Ascension and thought he was okay with Avengers and Ultimate X-Men, but I thought it was kind of ugly here. So, the book isn’t off to the greatest start, but I’ve got hope that it’ll get better.

Venom: Dark Origin #4

This has been a fascinating mini-series. We all thought we knew what we needed to know about Venom’s origin, right? I guess not. When telling a story like this for someone who has been around, what, 20 years, you can assume there’s going to be some retconning. What I’ve found, though, has been insignificant. When we first met Eddie’s wife in or around Amazing Spider-Man #375, she was white. Here she’s black. Big deal. In this issue we get to relive the classic being-pushed-in-front-of-the-subway-with-no-warning-from-his-spider-sense scene, but here it’s an elevated train, not the subway. Again, very minor. I was hoping we’d see the scene where Spidey’s crawling up a building and Eddie grabs his leg and tries to throw him off, but the MJ scene from the end of ASM #299 was extended instead. Good call. Zeb Wells is doing a superb job on this mini, and Angel Medina was made to draw Venom. But with the focus being on Eddie here, I wonder if he’s eventually going to get the suit back? I like Gargan as Venom, and Eddie as Anti-Venom (Corny!) is very neat. I’m looking forward to the conclusion next month.

Vixen: Return of the Lion

Meh. Dull story, beautiful art.

X-Men: Manifest Destiny #3

I feel like the Iceman story is just going over ground already covered when the White Queen took over his body for a while. He’s still got a villainous female putting him through the motions. The Graymalkin origin story was good. Having Yanick Paquette draw it was a good choice since he does the artwork on Young X-Men. I wonder, though, why Graymalkin wasn’t freed any of the other times the mansion was or grounds were destroyed? The Colossus story was pretty depressing, and as much as Wolverine tried to lighten things up, I think it was Santo who actually provided the comic relief. As depressing as it was, it was a story that needed to be told since Peter and Kitty were so close.

X-Men/Spider-Man #1

What we’ve got here is a decent throw-back story that seems to know its continuity. It’s not a bad story, and as I was getting to the end it looked like it was wrapping up as a one-shot and not a mini-series. But then a mystery villain (who is VERY mysterious for the time period) makes himself known, and we’ve got a good set-up for the next issue. Kudos to Gage. As for Mario Alberti, I’m disliking most of the art. When it doesn’t look like a Tim Sale clone, it’s just ugly. Except for the women, that is. He has a knack for drawing extremely gorgeous women. Go figure.

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