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MONDOcomics #72: September 15, 2010

Posted by Comics On September - 17 - 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #643
Mark Waid (w), Paul Azaceta (a), Javier Rodriguez (c). Marvel Comics.

Web swinging around New York with a two-minute-old baby — that’s the action in this comic, and it kept me pretty on edge the whole time I was reading. That’s a pretty successful comic experience. Not only that, but the villain to hero ratio is excellently high without feeling forced. For example, your basic Legion of Doom will have a lot of villains hanging around, fighting for leadership but still being a relatively effective force against the good guys because… of bad writing. Usually, the way they’re presented, these bad guys can never work together. But in this issue of Amazing Dr. Octopus is in charge, everyone knows it, now lets get that Spider-Man. There’s also an interesting claustrophobic effect by how many eyes are glued to Spider-Man, physically and electronically, as he’s trying to hide away and make the change to Peter Parker. Last but not least I have to mention how much I love Azaceta’s drawings of Spidey swinging around, the physics look great and the angles are really cool. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 4 out of 5

Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine #3
Jason Aaron (w), Adam Kubert (p), Mark Roslan (i), Justin Ponsor (c), Marvel Comics.

I was going to wait for the trade on this one, but it’s just too damn much fun. I can’t wait. Jason Aaron continues to totally rock everything he does with what basically amounts to being the most epic interpretation of The Odd Couple ever. This issue continues to build Spider-Man and Wolverine’s friendship/rivalry/annoying each other while bringing the awesome. In this case awesome includes a new twist on “The Living Planet” and the use of a Phoenix Force gun. Come on, how is this anything less than completely awesome? I’m completely loving it and can assure I will NOT be waiting for the trade for issues 4-6. – Owen Craig.

Owen’s rating: 5 out of 5

Brightest Day #10
Geoff Johns & Peter J. Tomasi (w), Various (a), DC Comics.

Big step forward this issue. Not necessarily story-wise (but maybe that to?) but quality-wise. As I’ve said before, the best issues of this series are the ones that only focus on one or two of the plotlines. And the ones that aren’t Hawkworld. The vast majority of this issue is devoted to the Aquaman story and surprising no-one it makes for fun reading. — Owen Craig.

Owen’s rating: 4 out of 5

DC Universe: Legacies #5
Len Wein (w), Scott Kolins, George Perez, Walt Simonson (p), Scott Kolins, Scott Koblish, Walt Simonson (i), Mike Atiyeh, Allen Passalaqua (c). DC Comics.

My complaint from last issue, that they’ve stepped away from the narrative of Paul Lincoln growing up along with the DC timeline, has been somewhat rectified with his “man on the street” view of Crisis on Infinite Earths. It goes without saying that having George Perez on art is appropriate and awesome. But I’m saying it anyways. The back up story features the various space heroes, Adam Strange, Captain Comet, Tommy Tomorrow the Planeteer (Go Planet!), and Rick Starr (Space Ranger) which is necessarily a story chock full of cheesy fun. I’m especially glad that Adam Strange somehow did that thing he always does: just out of nowhere be Space Batman and come up with the solution to the problem when everyone else is clueless. Ooh, maybe I should have called him “Space MacGyver”, that would also have been accurate. – Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 4 out of 5

Hack/Slash: My First Maniac #4
Tim Seeley (w), Daniel Leister (a), Mark Englert (c), Image Comics.

Satirizing exploitation cinema is tricky business. Ignoring the sexual and violent sides of it seems to miss the point, but if you overdo it then your work ends up just looking exploitive itself. Walking that fine line is Hack/Slash, which I think pulls off what it’s attempting beautifully. Cassie Hack is an engaging character, and this miniseries does a great job of showing her off to new readers. This is not quite my first exposure to this series, but it’s close (I’ve read an issue here and there). I liked Cassie, I liked the world and I liked what Seeley does with the genre. I will definitely be back for more. — Owen Craig.

Owen’s rating: 4 out of 5

Morning Glories #2
Nick Spencer (w), Joe Eisma (a), Alex Sollazzo (c), Image Comics.

This series is great. Great great great great great. Not since The Unwritten and Chew (oh yeah, and Darkwing Duck) have I been so pumped after only two issues. I just love these characters. They’re so much fun that I can’t wait to have them tossed into more scenarios and see what they do. This is a winner. This is Image’s next hot new series, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that I got in on the ground floor. — Owen Craig.

Owen’s rating: 5 out of 5

Thunderbolts #148
Jeff Parker (w),  Declan Shalvey (a), Frank Martin & Fabio D’Auria (c). Marvel Comics.

You know, I’m starting to get into this series more and more. Maybe I’m just hoping to use this series to fill an Atlas-shaped hole in my heart. This series ties into the dreadful Shadowland crossover, but the connection is so tangential at the moment that Thunderbolts doesn’t carry the stink of it yet. Parker is finding his footing with this batch of violent wierdos, so the comedy quotient is rising. There are some great scenes with the inmate Thunderbolts dealing with the inmates in Gen Pop that are particularly well-handled. Also, I think Shalvey is a fine artist, and a bit more to my taste. Looking good, Thunderbolts, I’m glad I didn’t drop you. Yet. — Miles Baker

Miles’ rating: 4 out of 5

Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four #3
Christos Gage (w), Mario Alberti (a). Marvel Comics.

What’s disappointing here is that no real emphasis was given to the alternate F.F. (Wolverine, Hulk, Ghost Rider and Spider-Man), but instead we rejoin the adventure just after they’ve got the regular F.F. back in the saddle, and then a bunch more odd circumstances have to be walked through before we get to the meat of the adventure: it’s Spider-Man, the Invisible Woman, She-Thing, and Ghost Rider (with special emphasis on those first two) vs. a mind controlled Mr. Fantastic, Human Torch, Thing, Hulk, and Wolverine. The story would have been better served just jumping in at page 6 or 7, giving the readers a short bit of exposition to catch us up, and then fleshing out the tricky scenario of not wanting to hurt their friends while trying to keep from getting flamed, clobbered, smashed, or Canadianed. The big solution to everything was Spidey kissing both She-Thing and Invisible Woman to shock people back to normal with heart break (making it really funny in that it also works on the Human Torch), but then they still have to figure out how to fix Hulk and Wolverine, which serves to dilute the effect of kissing as a battle technique, and makes the whole heart to heart afterwards between Spidey and Sue a weird wall of text. Don’t get me wrong, a great comic, it just could have been better. – Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 3.5 out of 5

The Unwritten #17
Mike Carey (w), Peter Gross (layouts), Ryan Kelly (finishes), Chris Chuckry & Jeanne McGee (c). Vertigo.

This issue earned The Unwritten its place as my favourite comic coming out right now. Fucking brilliant. It’s a choose your own adventure starring the mysterious Lizzie Hexam and is the most intriguing way of showing her backstory. Also, for a series all about narrative it’s really interesting to see Carey explore non-linear narrative. Ack! It’s so good. The narrative delivers what you want from it — your suspicions of characters become real based on your narrative choices. It’s an issue you want to read multiple times so you get to see the complete story. I’m extremely impressed. Well done. — Miles Baker

Miles’ rating: 5 out of 5

Web of Spider-Man #12
Fred Van Lente, Roger Stern (w), Pepe Larraz, Philippe Briones (a), Andres Mossa, Chris Sotomayor (c). Marvel Comics.

“There is no Peter. Only Zuul.” The first words out of Spider-Man’s mouth and it’s hilarious! The art’s pretty fun, but sometimes there’s a weird angle with the occasional huge chin. It’s a small thing, but something to keep in mind. The back up is a Dr. Octopus story we’ve all read before, his perspective on his origin, accelerated education and the ostracization that comes with it, blue collar father, obsession with his smother (I mean mother), etc. etc. They’ve de aged him a little bit, which may be a new wrinkle (it is to me at least) but hardly a wrinkle I like. Mostly I just like the title: “Arms Against a Sea of Troubles” — that’s Hamlet, right? – Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 3 out of 5

X-Factor #209
Peter David (w),  Emanuela Lupacchino (p), Pat Davidson (i), Matt Milla (c). Marvel Comics.

Hey, it’s a fun, fun issue of X-Factor. It’s been a long while since X-Factor was my favourite Marvel series. There’ve been some… rough patches. Some creative moves I wasn’t behind, some overly long stories, spotty artist here and there, and a general lack of focus to the series. This issue has the characters playing off each other to create some comedy gold. David’s taken a lot of parts that don’t seem like they’d fit together and is turning that tension into some great comedy. Heck, just having Wolfsbane back makes this feel more like X-Factor. Fingers crossed the series is on the up and up. — Miles Baker

Miles’ rating: 4 out of 5

8 Comments

  1. Caesar says:

    I really don’t get what the big deal is about Unwritten. It’s not BAD, by any definition of the word, but…I dunno. I picked up the first trade on the recommendation of, well, some of you guys who talk about it like you wish it was a person so you could make love to it. And it was okay but did not really grab me. Maybe it was the art, which I thought wasn’t that hot, or maybe the story had too many questions and not enough answers and I don’t like being that much in the dark for so long, or maybe the lead character was a bit too clueless and bland for me? I don’t know.

    I want to give it another chance because you guys won’t shut the hell up about it, but I can’t convince myself to do it. Does it get any better after the first trade?

  2. Owen says:

    I’d say of you’re not hip to its awesomeness from the first trade it’s probably just you. That’s okay, there are comics that everyone swears are the best thing ever that I don’t care for. So I’d say no, probably not worth giving it another shot. Most people seem to have loved it from the start.

  3. Caesar says:

    I don’t get it. :( Maybe my expectations were too high or something. Thanks for the words of wisdom Owen.

  4. Isaac says:

    those really were words of wisdom- that Owen and his skills.

    For my part, the choose your own adventure Unwritten demanded a lot from me in my leisure time, and I couldn’t put it down, but that was probably more due to my own need to fully assimilate all of the pieces of the comic puzzle, not because I was dazzled by it. It played to my weakness, and not in the good “guest appearance by Superboy” kind of way.

    But Unwritten is still pretty fantastic: the best issues are when they’re in the Nazi story (may have been a two parter) for being exactly what I want Unwritten to be and the stand alone issue set in a dark Winnie the Pooh kind of story for simply being an amazingly well crafted piece.

  5. Owen says:

    They were great words of wisdom…except I wrote “of” instead of “if” at the beginning. *Sigh*

    Anybody else reading Morning Glories? Anyone? You should be, it’s a lot of fun.

  6. Caesar says:

    I’ll keep an eye out for the Morning Glories trade.

  7. Miles says:

    I would like to echo Owen’s review of Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine. It’s a really, really fun book. Aaron really surprised me with this one. I knew he could do crime, but I didn’t know he could do broad sci-fi comedy. It’s amazing.

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MONDO is a non-profit, weekly, Toronto-based, online magazine that focuses on arts, culture, and humour. We’re interested in art of all kinds (music, theatre, visual art, film, comics, and video games) and the pop culture that we inhabit.The copyright on all MONDO magazine content belongs to the author. If you would like to pay them for more content, please do. To contact MONDO please email us at editor@mondomagazine.net

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