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Archive for the ‘Comics’ Category

MONDOcomics #96: March 2, 2011

Posted by Comics On March - 6 - 2011

Brightest Day #21
Geoff Johns, Peter J. Tomasi (w), Patrick Gleason, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado (p), Mark Irwin, Keith Champagne, Norm Rapmund, Christian Alamy (i), Peter Steigerwald, Nathan Eyring (c). DC Comics.

Someone reminded the writers of Brightest Day that it was close to wrapping up, so they had to actually do stuff with issues. There was definitely a lot of filler here — I bet this whole series could have been distilled into an excellent 12 issues (unquestionably so if they dropped some of the weaker story arcs — like the Hawkmen story at least!). That said, it wouldn’t be Brightest Day, and it really wouldn’t be Geoff Johns, without a bunch of epic splash pages.

There are three two-page and one single-page splash images making up the high points of the story. I can just imagine an orchestra conductor swinging wildly at these moments (uh, that’s if this story was a movie I guess… uh, with an orchestrated score), and like that conductor, I’m tired!

The big splash image, when used appropriately, is the high point of the issue — it’s what makes the comic make sense, but we’re zigzagging all along here. Read the rest of this entry »

X is for X-Factor

Posted by Comics On March - 2 - 2011

The Alpha Review

By Andrew Uys

I’ve heard that trade paperbacks — a run of comic issues collected into a graphic novel — are all the rage today. But which ones are worth your time? This column aims to put the spotlight on the spectacular trades — at least according to this writer. And just for fun, we will start with the letter “A,” and each subsequent review will follow with the next letter of the alphabet. While you might object to my taste or my opinion, I hope that this column will help save you time and money when you are next buying a trade paperback, as well as effort in alphabetizing.

X is for X-Factor Vol. 1: The Longest Night
Peter David (w), Ryan Sook and Dennis Calero (a). Marvel Comics, 2007.

The third”volume” of X-Factor, this series has a much darker, noir edge to both the storylines and the art style than the first two. Spinning directly out of the events of House of M and Decimation, the comic focuses on Jamie Madrox (Multiple Man) re-establishing the team as a private investigation agency. Returning members include Guido (Strong Man), and Rahne Sinclair (Wolfsbane). New additions to the roster are M (Monet), Siryn, a recently de-powered Rictor, and the enigmatic Layla Miller. And while the team’s primary focus is discovering the cause of the Decimation, the title’s more gritty, street-view perspective, makes this series a truly different read from other X-comics. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Denise Liu

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec, Vol.1:
Pterror over Paris & The Eiffel Tower Demon

Jacques Tardi (w+a), Fantagraphics, 2010 English translation.

Originally published as Adele et la Bete, and Le Demon de la Tour (1976, Sud-Orient).

Read if you like: mystery, adventure epics, dinosaurs, French fiction, anti-heroes, comparing the book to the movie, carriages careening off bridges.

It’s said that you can’t judge a book by its cover. I guess we all need to be reminded that ugly people also have worth, feelings, a soul yadda yadda, but the relation just doesn’t stick for me. As an ugly person, I am offended that anyone would even presume that I have a soul. Quit looking for my redeeming qualities!

Sincerely now, the quality of a book’s cover design is absolutely crucial to piquing my interest while I’m browsing for the next read. Is anyone else here a sucker for Chip Kidd’s work? He had nothing to do with this book but, it seems that from the other reviews I’ve read, one look at this cover might tip you off as to whether or not you’ll like the Adele Blanc-Sec stories. It’s an 18th-century French woman with a pistol taking on a charging pterodactyl, for crying out loud — either you’re already appreciating the parody of adventure comics, or you’re going home… or back to the uggies’ corner (totally not judging). Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #95: February 23, 2011

Posted by Comics On February - 25 - 2011

Amazing Spider-Man #655
Dan Slott (w), Marcos Martin (a), Muntsa Vicente (c), Marvel Comics.

I heard an interview with Dan Slott on World Balloon today in which he said that Amazing Spider-Man #655 was the best thing he had ever written. After reading it… fair enough, this is a phenomenal book. Starting out as a tribute to a recently-departed character the book evolves to become a monument to Peter’s guilt. It works very well and gives us a great sense of the weight that Peter is always carrying inside him. There are plenty of nods to the character’s long history, but not in a way that that I felt overwhelmed (despite only having read the book for the last couple of years). At the end, though, the character comes to a decision that makes the issue feel like it was building to something, rather than just wallowing.

What puts this issue over the top, though, and what makes it one of my favourite issues of Amazing Spider-Man EVER (I’m not exaggerating) is Marcos Martin’s artwork. It perfectly captures the melancholy feel of the story while at the same time feeling lush and beautiful. The opening sequence shows how even a place as familiar as one’s home can suddenly feel sad and lonely after the loss of a loved one. In fact, the sequence reminds me quite a lot of Chris Ware’s work, another artist that can bring out the sadness of everyday rooms. There’s one double-page spread that I expect is going to get most of the attention from this issue, and with good reason. You’ll know it when you see it, since it’s jaw-dropping. I keep turning back to look at it again and again. Read the rest of this entry »

Brecht Evens’ Night Animals Reviewed

Posted by Comics On February - 25 - 2011

Night Animals
Brecht Evens (w + a). Top Shelf

By Georgia Webber

It’s difficult to review something that you love. The constant worry is that your gushing and incessant use of the words “brilliance,” “genius,” and “orgasmic” will make the reader think that someone is paying you for your writing—and we can’t have people thinking that writers get paid. Especially not when they’re reviewing books released by fat-cat publishing houses with an anti-consumer agenda and the pocket book to pay for it. Please. Is there nothing sacred?

Well, actually, there is. It’s art. And not just art of any kind—it’s good art.*

That feeling you get when you see something that completely speaks to you, works that grab you by the heartstrings and say “you’re alive!”—priceless. And by priceless, I mean that it transcends our fictitious game of hot potato, passing around money like it would scald us if we kept it for too long, not that it shouldn’t be paid for; there’s a difference.

So good art is for each of us to define. Who can tell you which books grabbed your heartstrings and which tried to grope your bra straps but you? Why should you take my advice? Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #94: February 16, 2011

Posted by Comics On February - 18 - 2011

Amazing Spider-Man #654.1
Dan Slott (w), Humberto Ramos (p), Carlos Cuevas (i), Edgar Delgado (c). Marvel Comics.

There’s a problem in mainstream comics — not many people are buying them.

Marvel and DC need more readers. Flat out. So, here we are with yet another halfhearted attempt to gather attention. Instead of trying to gather press attention, or make new characters, or reach out to any kind of person who wasn’t already buying comics, we get another effort that remains entirely in the fan base. I sure didn’t see any articles about this comic that weren’t on a site that’s dedicated to comics, did you? Did they honestly expect someone on the street to hear about this “Point One” project, think “I would like to buy a comic” and then actively seek out a comic that has more complicated numbering than usual?

And, on top of all that, in this issue, if they were looking for a comic about Spider -Man then they would be picking up the wrong comic. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #93: February 9, 2011

Posted by Comics On February - 11 - 2011

Batman and Robin #20
Peter J. Tomasi (w), Patrick Gleason (p), Mick Gray (i), Alex Sinclair (c). DC Comics.

The most recent stuff I can think of to attribute to Tomasi is his work on Green Lantern Corps, and it’s easy to take for granted what a fantastic job he did over there. Since the last million issues or so have been stuck in Blackest Night crossover mode, I forgot how he built on the past of Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner, and other fan favourite characters, growing them together in ways that can only please the fan base. I remember (now that I think about it) one story where Bolphunga the Unrelenting (an old Alan Moore character) showed up to duke it out with Guy Gardner. Great stuff.

Now he’s starting up his run on Batman and Robin and there are no real crossovers to deal with. Thanks to hindsight, it’s now obvious that this was going to be an amazing issue. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #92: February 2, 2011

Posted by Comics On February - 4 - 2011

Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #1
Paul Levitz, Keith Giffen (w), Keith Giffen (p), John Dell, Scott Koblish (i), Hi-Fi (c). DC Comics.

This whole book chronicles the rise and fall of a new Emerald Empress — wait, a new one? Whatever happened to the old one?

Having only really just gotten into Legion of Super-Heroes during the Mark Waid “Three-boot” or “Earth-Prime” Legion book, I sometimes forget that everything I know is wrong. I think it’s a credit to the creative team on the recent Legion book that I’m only just now thinking about this.

To help us readers they’ve included something pretty fun: Legion History The Board Game! Posted at the back of the book, it’s both chronology and whimsy, hitting the major beats of Legion history. A good one is “Ferro Lad sacrifices life to save Earth from Sun-Eater! His courage propels you one space.”

Here’s one that winks hard at the fandom: “Time Trapper killed by Infinite Man! Lose or gain a turn for this? The debate still rages.” Personally, if I landed on the space, I’d gain a turn. Everyone else can lose it. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #91: January 26, 2011

Posted by Comics On January - 28 - 2011

Captain America #614
Ed Brubaker (w); Butch Guice (p); Stefano Gaudiano with Morales, Palmer, Magyar & Guice (i); Bettie Breitweiser with Sotomayor, Ramos & Martin (c). Marvel Comics.

I got the second omnibus of Brubaker’s Captain America run for Christmas and devoured it before Boxing Day was over. I’d read it all before, but never in a straight read though. Beyond the fantastic characters and exciting action, I was shocked how tight the plotting was. When you read it collected, you see that Brubaker doesn’t forget a single thread. He’s tracking the plot and all the players.

In the last couple years, I feel people taken for granted just how amazing this book is. Couple years ago, people couldn’t stop saying nice things about Brubaker’s Cap run, now, I feel occationally there’s a “yep, still good” review and that’s it. But that’s not enough — this is as good as any iconic run on a superhero. Brubaker’s Daredevil might live in Frank Miller’s run for the rest of time, but every writer to handle Captain America after this will live in Brubaker’s shadow. When he leaves they might as well just retire the character (not that they will). Read the rest of this entry »

By Denise Liu

Reid Fleming: World’s Toughest Milkman, vol. 1
David Boswell (w+a). IDW, 2010.

Read if you like: slapstick, Comix, complete obscenity, local authors, anti-heroes

As a retail industry worker, I have, at least once a day, the fanciful wish to act like an utter asshole and get away with it. Disposing of — not dispensing — pleasantries. Saying and doing exactly what’s on your mind, employment be damned. The incredible torment that Reid Fleming doles out makes him my hero. He is a jerk that makes his own trouble and yet always beats the odds. I think that it is precisely the recurring improbabilities of Reid’s world that creates an astonishing and delightfully violent atmosphere, where no one gets (permanently) hurt and we do the same song-and-dance only a little differently each time.

The Jist: A hell-bent, chain-smoking alcoholic milkman with superhuman strength terrorizes everyone on his route. Dumping milk into a customer’s live fish tank, or crashing his truck almost constantly is the least he can do to give his supervisor, Mr. Crabbe, an aneurism. Both bully and hero (depending on the colour of your collar), Reid Fleming is a most peculiar and endearing jack-ass. Volume One is a collection of several individual books and strips originally published since 1978 (Deep Sea Comics, Eclipse, Dark Horse), including full-colour covers from each. Remember when dialogue text was hand-written neatly? Yeah. Read the rest of this entry »

W is for The Wednesday Conspiracy

Posted by Comics On January - 24 - 2011

The Alpha Review

By Andrew Uys

I’ve heard that trade paperbacks — a run of comic issues collected into a graphic novel — are all the rage today. But which ones are worth your time? This column aims to put the spotlight on the spectacular trades — at least according to this writer. And just for fun, we will start with the letter “A,” and each subsequent review will follow with the next letter of the alphabet. While you might object to my taste or my opinion, I hope that this column will help save you time and money when you are next buying a trade paperback, as well as effort in alphabetizing.

W is for The Wednesday Conspiracy
Written and Illustrated by Sergio Bleda. Dark Horse, 2010

Originally published in Europe by Strip Art Features in 2005, this TPB is the first of the three volumes to be published in North America. A gripping, edgy, dark story, with sharp and angular art, I especially enjoyed the depth and complexity that Sergio brought to his characters. It makes their numerous and gruesome deaths have that much more impact. And in this story, no one is “safe” in the traditional manner that causes comic readers to never really worry (or believe) that the protagonists will actually succumb to their peril and perish. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #90: January 19, 2010

Posted by Comics On January - 21 - 2011

The Amazing Spider-Man #652
Dan Slott, Fred Van Lente (w), Stefano Caselli, Reilly Brown, Victor Olazaba (a), Edgar Delgado, Andres Mossa (c). Marvel Comics.

I caught up on a backlog of comics this week, and even just among this week’s particular haul there are a bunch of books I could talk about now. There’s Sinestro’s awesomeness over in Green Lantern Corps, the singularly beautiful painted panels in Legion of Super-Heroes, or hey — an issue of Brightest Day I actually liked! But I’m just drawn to this Spidey issue.

It could have something to do with the art. While I’ve been singing the praises of the improvements from Humberto Ramos in the last story arc over his work in the past, there simply is no contest between Ramos and Caselli. The second page in particular (not counting the recap page) has so much expression to it, the story tells itself without words. Though they help. And Caselli accomplishes a rare feet- making each character unique. It’s not just palette swaps and hair style changes. Read the rest of this entry »

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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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