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Archive for the ‘Owen K. Craig’ Category

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 »

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 »

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 »

MONDOcomics #89: January 12, 2011

Posted by Comics On January - 14 - 2011

Daredevil: Reborn #1
Andy Diggle (w), Davide Gianfelice (a), Matt Hollingsworth (c). Marvel Comics.

This book was going to have to impress the shit out of me to make me forget the shit that was Shadowland. There’s a lot of shit going around this book right now and it seems like that’s going to continue. This was an extremely underwealming performance from Diggle and Gianfelice. I’m especially dissapointed in the latter as I’m a fan of his work on DMZ and Northlanders. His work here is fine but it’s not as strong as either of works. It’s servicable, but it’s pretty boring and unispired.

Though, it would be hard to get inspired from this thin, uninteresting story. After the major fuckover of Matt Murdock’s character that Diggle helmed I was inclined to chalk it up to editorial interferance. This story, however, has puddle-deep depth and understanding of Matt. Fucking awful. It’s billed as this rebirth of Matt — okay, I’m down. In an opening scene, Matt takes a beating because he’s rejecting the cycle of violence around his life — cool, progress. Ten pages later he’s going to beat up a bunch of crooked cops. Great. Amazing. I’m glad that he got over all that shit in 10 pages. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #88: January 6, 2011

Posted by Comics On January - 6 - 2011

Superboy #3
Jeff Lemire (w), Pier Gallo (a), Jamie Grant (c). DC Comics.

Man, I love the title to this latest entry — “The New Adventures of Psionic Lad (Part One)”. I realize that I don’t really know what to expect with the Superboy series right now. The last two issues were all Parasite/Poison Ivy/Parasite Frogs/Phantom Stranger… which was revealed waaay back in August during that one Action Comics teaser story. The not knowing has got me charmed.

About the art — there’s something about it… it may just be the extraordinarily tight jeans on Superboy and the glasses, but its got me weirded out. Fortunately, the Lori Luthor character is gorgeously rendered, and when some armoured time cops jump through a portal it looks awesome. So things are balanced out.

I like the way the story skips back and for in the narrative — it’s a tricky thing to try and do, and usually I’m wary of that technique, but I think it was used properly here: it helps the flow of the issue, sprinkling the action and drama throughout the book that would otherwise have been relegated to the back of the story in an unbalanced deluge. It also helps that there’s some time travel involved, that always helps to justify these kinds of things. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics: Best of 2010: Owen’s Top 10

Posted by Comics On January - 2 - 2011

Honourable mentions: I wanted to point out a few books that are amazing, fantastic books that everyone should buy. The only thing is that these books didn’t ship enough issues to make me feel right about bumping some of the awesome books below off my top 10 list. Here are my honourable mentions…

Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine – This bimonthly miniseries has been a blast from the moment it started. This is going to be a must-buy hardcover for those that didn’t read it in issues.
The Jimmy Olsen backups from Action Comics – With only about 40 pages or so it’s hard for me to put it above some of the stuff on my list, but man do I love this stuff. If I get an ongoing (and I really want one) I would bet that this will make the top 10 next year.
Proof & Proof: Endangered – This is my new “recommend to everyone I talk to” title. If this series had released more issues this year it easily would’ve made my top 10. Probably my top 5.
Rasl – Sure, this book comes out at a snail’s pace, but it’s worth it. Jeff Smith’s storytelling is as good as it gets and with this level of quality I wouldn’t want to rush him.
Starman – You knew I had to get this in here somewhere. As MONDOcomics’ resident Starman obsessive it’s my duty to point out that there was a new issue this year. And it was great. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #87: December 30, 2010

Posted by Comics On December - 31 - 2010

Action Comics #896
Paul Cornell & Nick Spencer (w), Pete Woods & R.B. Silva (a), Brad Anderson & Dave McCaig (c), DC Comics.

I don’t want to give off the impression that I don’t like the main story here, or that it’s not worthy of praise. Cornell and Woods are doing great work. Making Lex Luthor the anti-hero of Action Comics is no easy task but they’re nailing it. Still, that’s not what I want to talk about here. What I am going completely utterly nuts for is the Jimmy Olsen backup story by Nick Spencer and R.B. Silva. Every time one of these stories comes out it is consistently fun, charming and laugh-out-loud funny.

Spencer has shown great skill at structuring a story for these ten-page installments, keeping things moving briskly while still allowing for great character moments and a well-defined story. This issue sees Jimmy participating in a bachelor auction for charity and then the date that follows. It’s all predictably hilarious but what makes it for me is the growing cast Spencer has introduced. Jimmy’s new nemesis Sebastien, Jimmy’s ex-girlfriend Chloe (yes, THAT Chloe) and a new character by the name of Maggie all show up and make compelling foils for our hero. But Jimmy is the star here and Spencer never forgets that. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #86: December 22, 2011

Posted by Comics On December - 25 - 2010

Hey, MONDO readers. We’re keeping up with our new format for MONDOcomics because it’s awesome. In case you missed it, every week the writers of MONDOcomics pick a book or two that they want to talk about that week. It might be a rave, it might be a hit piece, it could even be a giant tangent — writers call. This Miles and Owen love Image Comics and Isaac gets into the Christmas spirit. Enjoy.

Chew #16
John Layman (w), Rob Guillory (a), Image Comics.

Every time an issue of Chew comes out I am reminded of why I love this book so much (I’m also reminded of how happy I am that I switched to issues.) In some ways it reminds me of Preacher: it’s rather dark, can be fairly gross at times and is very, very funny. But, like Preacher, amidst all of this is a great story that keeps the focus on its epic plot and its engaging characters.

This issue gave us a great sense of the scope that this comic is covering. In a fantastic first few pages we’re given our first hints of the tragic past that lead to the world we’re exploring. Guillory’s artwork is on full display and it is spectacular. His attention to detail and top-notch character work make for a rich and expressive comic that is a lot of fun to go back to. I keep looking at his panels again and again noticing something new each time.

Layman’s plotting on this book is meticulous. Seriously, this book is juggling so many plot threads at once while still managing to keep each issue as a rewarding experience in its own right. I don’t know how he does it. This issue alone gives us flashbacks, new characters, new plots and developments on old plots. And it’s great. Extremely great. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #85: December 15, 2010

Posted by Miles On December - 17 - 2010

Hey, MONDO readers. We’re keeping up with our new format for MONDOcomics because it’s awesome. In case you missed it, every week the writers of MONDOcomics pick a book or two that they want to talk about that week. It might be a rave, it might be a hit piece, it could even be a giant tangent — writers call. This week we plug Fear Agent a lot even though no issues of that book were released. Enjoy.

Amazing Spider-Man #650
Dan Slott (w), Humberto Ramos, Neil Edwards (p) Cuevos, Damon, Olazaba, Scott Hanna (i), Edgar Delgado, Morry Hollowell (c). Marvel Comics.

At the conclusion of the last issue Spidey was at the mercy of the Hobgoblin’s sonic attack! A pretty decent cliff-hanger, with a fun resolution for this issue’s start. It’s not often that you can call an escape from certain death “fun.” It can be cool and exciting (and of course that element is present here as well). In this case, the unfortunately named Bella Fishbach blasts out some Lady Gaga that cancels out the sonic attack — if you like Gaga, then it’s an awesome shout out, if you don’t then you get the Spider-Man line “Can I have the nausea-inducing laughter back?” There’s something for everyone!

While it’s pertinent — the “background sound effects”, the laughter attack and the Lady Gaga are really crammed into the panels — I can see someone skimming through and missing those details entirely. I would have preferred an all pervasive background of “HA HA”’s (which, to be fair, they do for one panel, so maybe that’s good enough) to then get cut through by a loud jagged edged sound balloon to house and draw attention to the saving Gaga. It could be this was an aesthetic choice rather than a forgotten detail thrown in after the fact… but still, Ramos needs to include space for his art to be taken over a bit. This is, after all, a fused media of art and words. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #84: December 8, 2010

Posted by Comics On December - 10 - 2010

Booster Gold #39
Giffen, DeMatteis (w), Batista, Perrotta (a), Hi-Fi (c). DC Comics.

I didn’t expect Booster Gold to be my favourite book this week. It’s supposed to be solid; it’s not supposed to tug at my heart strings like my heart is some kind of marionette here to amuse you.

I really like the use of space in this book — there’s a gag near the beginning with the little orphan Rani, a girl from the future, having accidentally trapped herself in a sort of metal cocoon, thanks to some super suits magnetic powers. When that cocoon image is on the page, it’s a huge panel almost two thirds of the page, drawn in a skewed angle. It’s a very dramatic/action packed visual for something that amounts to a bit of domestic humour. That plus the “harmless” explosion two pages later — these are visual perks for the benefit of the spicing up the comic. It’s a sort of pacing “answer” to the question of jazzing up a scene of domesticity. 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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