Agents of Atlas #4
Jeff Parker (w), Gabriel Hardman (a), Elizabet Dismang (c). Marvel Comics.
Just when I thought I didn’t really dig this issue of Agents of Atlas, it has to pull out a final page that makes me go, “ah, that’s clever. Too bad the solicitation ruined this a few months ago.” But I guess that’s my fault for reading solicitations. I think praise should be given to Gabriel Hardman who works in two separate styles: one for the present and one for flashbacks. Both work really well but the flashback style reminds me a lot of Michael Lark, and I love Michael Lark, so I prefer it. It’s a good series, but you do have to read a wikipedia page to know what’s really going on for background, which is my problem with it, and why my rating isn’t higher. — Miles Baker
Miles’ Ranking: 3.5 out of 5
Alias Ultimate Edition vol 1
Brian Michael Bendis (w) , Michael Gaydos (a) . Marvel Comics.
The first time the word “fuck” ever appeared in a Marvel Comic was on page one, issue one of Alias. It was the bold statement that Alias was not going to be your regular, everyday, 7-11-friendly comic from Marvel. It was dark in tone and in art, adult in theme and content, and intelligent on every level. This collection handles the first half of what is one of my favourite series of all times. It centres on Jessica Jones, a former superhero turned private eye and how she intersects with the Marvel Universe. Along the way she encounters Captain America, becomes Daredevil’s bodygaurd, helps out Rick Jones, and begins dating Ant Man while flirting with Luke Cage. This was the beginning of a lot of story threads that are still being played out in the pages of the New Avengers. If you haven’t read this series, buy it today and you won’t be sorry. — Miles Baker
Miles’ Ranking: 5 out of 5
The Amazing Spider-Man #593
Mark Waid (w), Mike Mikone (p), Andy Lanning and Karl Kessel (i), Jeromy Cox (c). Marvel Comics.
This issue has the return of a Spider-man device that I have missed: just when Spidey thinks he’s defeated the bad guy, a whole new one shows up that is much scarier. We also get Peter being really nice to Aunt May, something else I have missed in the past. And a Spidey that’s more than a little mischevious and enjoying his powers for once. These are the reasons I don’t care that Peter made a deal with the devil to make it all happen. These comics are just so much better now. There’s also a little beefcake Peter on the first page for those of you out there that are into that. — Miles Baker
Miles’ Ranking: 4 out of 5
Isaac’s Ranking: 2.5 out of 5
Batman: Battle for the Cowl the Network #1
Fabian Nicieza (w), Don Kramer and J. Calafiore (p) . DC Comics
An incredibly busy comic results in a lot of cameos and very little actually gets accomplished. A handy roll call lists a lot of characters, many of which don’t actually appear, and that’s very emblematic of what’s wrong with this book. It’s a lack of focus. What’s important about the story is the interaction between Batgirl and Huntress, but without enough time devoted to them it becomes a case of “angry girl fights with level headed girl.” There are a couple of points where the art isn’t clearing things up and you need the dialogue to get it together. I have no problem with that, it’s common with golden age comics, but they also had the dialogue and captions to back up that kind of presentation. However, Batgirl hasn’t been written this much in character in years, so that’s a big plus. — Isaac Mills
Isaac’s Ranking: 2 out of 5
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #25
Doug Petrie (w), Geogres Jeanty (p), Andy Owens (i), Michelle Madsen (c). Dark Horse.
It’s funny, for all my excitement when “Buffy Season 8″ was first coming out it seems like it’s been a while since I’ve been genuinely psyched for an issue. Personally, I think it’s because it doesn’t feel like the plot has moved forward that much since the issues in the early teens. I liked this issue more than most of the Buffy issues of the last year, largely because it wrapped one of the subplots up (the long-standing Dawn plotline). The writing was witty and Georges Jeanty did some great creature-design work. It was a pretty good issue, but remember that Big Bad that was lurking around? I think it’s time to get back to him. — Owen K. Craig
Owen’s Ranking: 3 out of 5
Miles’ Ranking: 3 out of 5
Duane Swierczynski (w), Ariel Olivetti (a). Marvel Comics.
The character assassination of Bishop continues in the latest issue of Cable. For the last 18 months, Marvel has taken one of the very few strong African American characters they have and turned him into a disgusting child killer — oh, but he’s justified or some crap like that. Yeah, whatever. Couldn’t they have picked a different time traveling character for this? They have a lot of them. Anyway, this issue is a part of the “Messiah War” crossover and I loved the “Messiah Complex” crossover but this is nowhere near as good. So far the plot has barely advanced and I feel like this is going to be one of those crossovers that doesn’t matter. That said, I did like a few of the lines, I am still going to be following the series, and I think Olivetti is showing improvement as an artist. — Miles Baker
Miles’ Ranking: 2.5 out of 5.
Daredevil Noir #2 of 4
Alexander Irvine (w), Tomm Coker (a), Daniel Freedman (c). Marvel Comics
The first time I heard of this, I thought, “If Daredevil was any more noir, there’d be nothing but shadows to look at.” Set in the Prohibition era, Hell’s Kitchen is in middle of a war between the King Pin and Orville Halloran, and Daredevil is tangled within the mess. To make matters worse, a mysterious third party Bullseye appears to stir up some trouble. Oh, did I forget to mention the alluringly mysterious Eliza? If there’s anything I love more about Daredevil than Daredevil himself, it’s his uncanny ability to have some of the sexiest encounters with the leading ladies. There’s just nothing that beats a good ol’ fashioned, slightly racy hand-to-face interaction between a blind man and a beautiful lady. It gives me shivers.
My only problem is that Daredevil is already very noir. It seems that the only difference between this and the regular storyline is that he’s in the 1930s and with a new costume, equipped with a sleeveless shirt and fancy dinner gloves. That being said, the art is absolutely stunning and definitely works with the theme. It’s worth a gander, even if it’s just for the art or the hunky Daredevil. — Sandra Yao
Sandra’s Ranking: 3.5 out of 5
Daniel Way (w), Paco Medina (p), Juan Vlasco (i), Marte Gracia (c). Marvel Comics.
In this issue, Norman Osborn decides to send out Dark Hawkeye (a.k.a. Bullseye) after Deadpool after discovering, in a very hilarious way, that he somehow survived his encounter with the Thunderbolts. I’ve never really ever been disappointed with an issue of Deadpool… well, there was that Thunderbolts crossover, but we’ll forget that for now. Deadpool’s new assignment in this issue leads us to raise a few eyebrows, but it showcases the fact that he isn’t the typical “good guy”. Way has really brought some life into Deadpool and this time shows that although he’s been known to mingle with the supes, he still leads a mercenary life. The story does however take a little too long for Deadpool to actually fight Hawkeye, but in the end leaves you wanting more. It’s very frustrating, but it works.
The art is great. The team of Medina, Vlasco, and Gracia have really been able to create a style that works with the dialogue. In typical Deadpool fashion, he stands in an epic pose, while saying something ridiculous like, “This besmirchment will not stand!” This series is still fairly new and, with the new Wolverine movie, I’m sure Deadpool will become even more popular. He’s always the choice for a good laugh. — Sandra Yao
Sandra’s Ranking: 3.5 out of 5
Flash Rebirth #2 (OF 5)
Geoff Johns (w), Ethan Van Sciver (a). DC Comics.
When Hal Jordan returned in the Green Lantern: Rebirth series, it was the first step in a major revitalization of the franchise. It’s a revitalization that the Flash never needed… until they decided to revitalize him anyway. As Barry thinks in the issue, “Before I came back everything was fine.” What we’re given is a story driven by the addition of a new element, Barry, and how all the older figures react to it. It’s brilliantly done, adding a great deal of fun detail to Barry’s life with a mystery that’s just kicking into gear. The cliffhanger is an old school cherry on top. Highly recommended. — Isaac Mills
Isaac’s Ranking: 4 out of 5
The Invincible Iron Man #13
Matt Fraction (w), Salvador Larroca (a). Marvel Comics
Once more, Matt Fraction has done something I didn’t think was possible: he has made me like Maria Hill. This was a supporting character I hated. She drove me crazy, but with this issue I found myself cheering her on. So there you have it, a perfect microcosm of what Fraction is doing here: he’s doing the impossible. He’s taking aspects of comics that I don’t usually care for and making them into something awesome. — Owen K. Craig
Owen’s Ranking: 4 out of 5
Mark Waid (w), Peter Krause (a), Andrew Dalhouse (c). Boom Studios
It’s always a good sign when I don’t realize that I’ve finished the issue, keep flipping for more, and realize that I’m reading the preview for another comic. Mark Waid really did a good job setting up the premise of this series in the first issue by simply asking the question: What if the world’s greatest superhero, became its greatest villain?
This second issue was a long time coming and definitely does not disappoint. We start to slowly uncover the mystery and story behind the Plutonian. The focus is on his love life with a woman named Alana Patel. The storyline mirrors that of Lois Lane and Superman, which I think is something Waid is trying to do. The Plutonian is very much like Superman, but unlike him, the Plutonian kills babies when he’s mad. Although the story focuses on the relationship and its role in the Plutonian’s fall from grace, you also get a glimpse of one of his archenemies and are left with a taste of what is to come.
The art is really great as well, and does an effective job in contrasting the bright past with the dark present. Overall, this is a solid start for what is starting to become my favourite 2009 series. — Sandra Yao
Sandra’s Ranking: 4.5 out of 5
Jersey Gods #4
Glen Brunswick (w), Dan McDaid (a) . Dark Horse Comics
This book is awesome. The characters are fun, the fights are crazy and I can’t wait to see what happens next, but as it goes on I’m getting tired of the main character being off-planet so much. I want to see more of his relationship with the female lead. The battle the titular Gods have got going on is neat and all (it takes an interesting turn this issue), but I think keeping him apart from his romantic interest for the bulk of the first storyline was not the best move. I’m assigning the book 4 out of 5, as I really enjoyed this issue a lot, but we need to see the two leads together again. Soon. — Owen K. Craig
Owen’s Ranking: 4 out of 5
Marvel Zombies 4 #2 of 4
Fred Van Lente (w), Kev Walker (a), Jean-Francois Beaulieu (c). Marvel Comics
I’ve never read any of the previous Marvel Zombies series, so this run has been my first exposure and it’s been great. I know I’m holding gold, when there are non-stop laughs and page turning moments that keep me wanting more. The severed head of Zombie Deadpool is on the loose thanks to Marvel zombie Simon Garth and is being delivered to Black Talon. Black Talon decides to sell the head to The Hood, who despite the advice of his henchmen wishes to make the purchase. If that wasn’t enough, the new Midnight Sons come head to head with The Hood’s own monstrous team, The Night Shift in a pretty epic battle. It’s a big convoluted mess of over-the-top action, fun, gore, and zombies, with some definite twists and turns that keep the storyline moving. — Sandra Yao
Sandra’s Ranking: 4 out of 5
New Mutants #1
Zeb Wells (w), Diogenes Neves (p). Marvel Comics
Though I don’t take it personally when the cover artist isn’t the same as the interior (I’ve met some guys that just didn’t get it), I do feel lied to by this cover. It’s the classic New Mutants line up wearing some iconic uniforms, and I’m pretty sure the kid next to Warlock is dead. That being the case, I was excited to see how they’d bring him back and get everyone together for their new adventure. Instead, Cannonball is “too cool” and yells at the Young X-Men for not liking Magik. Look Magik, I don’t care if you were with the New Mutants back in the day, if you eat a piece of a person’s soul you lose your free pass. At least pretend to be nice. Asking for help while acting suspicious doesn’t make me like you or the comic. It is a great cover though… — Isaac Mills
Isaac’s Ranking: 2.5 out of 5
Power Girl #1
Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti (w), Amanda Conner (a). DC Comics
Amanda Conner makes everything better. I tend to be more of a writer-focused comic fan, but she is one of the few artists that can get me to buy anything she draws. In a business that is filled with way to many artists who just draw generic sexy female forms (artists who are eerily popular, by the way. Ugh) it’s great to see an artist who gives these (still sexy) females a personality. Conner’s characters are expressive, distinct, and emote beautifully. I’m not normally a Power Girl fan, but the story itself is quite good. Gray and Palmiotti are setting up a life outside of superheroing for Power Girl, and an old villain returns. I’m interested to see where the story goes, but there’s no doubt about it… I wouldn’t have bought the comic in the first place if it weren’t for Amanda Conner. — Owen K. Craig
Owen’s Ranking: 3 out of 5
Sandra’s Ranking: 3 out of 5
Superman: World of New Krypton #3
James Robinson and Greg Rucka (w), Pete Woods (a). DC Comics
The first issue of this new Superman book (or maxiseries, I guess) caught my attention. I was intrigued by the idea of not only getting a glimpse into the way of life on Krypton, but also getting to see Superman have to deal with his own perceptions of their way of life. The second issue built on that nicely. But now… the third issue didn’t do a whole lot for me. There was a logical conclusion to the incident at the end of issue 2 (which nicely demonstrated why Superman is more than just a guy with powers), a fairly uneventful fight and a cliff-hanger that is not at all surprising if you’ve seen the cover of issue 3 online. I like this series, and I’m going to keep buying it, but this issue was a bit of a letdown. — Owen K. Craig
Owen’s Ranking: 2 out of 5
Sandra’s Ranking: 4 out of 5