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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 #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 #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 #71: September 8-9, 2010

Posted by Comics On September - 10 - 2010

Adventure Comics #518
Paul Levitz, Jeff Lemire (w), Kevin Sharpe, Mahmud Asrar (p), Marlo Alquiza, John Dell (i),  Blond, Pete Pantazis (c). DC Comics.

I don’t know if this is an error from the writer or the artist, but the Legion of Superheroes main story is consistently focusing on the wrong moment. Most panels will have the faces be not quite dramatic enough to warrant a panel, or else the faces will have the wrong expression on them. Then there are the group shots, where every character has their own expression — great for showing us an artist’s range, not so great for communicating the kind of action we want in that page of art. The message of that page has to be “THIS IS AWESOME” but because we can see that not all the characters are in that moment the whole picture is diluted and less impressive for it. Yes, it’s more true to life, but it isn’t “comic book true to life”. It’s good to push the boundaries between those two, but unfortunately the creative team didn’t find the right balance this time out. The Atom back up is still cool, if a little loose with the continuity I’m aware of. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 3 out of 5

Amazing Spider-Man #641
Joe Quesada (w), Paolo Rivera, Joe Quesada, Danny Miki & Richard Isanove (a), Marvel Comics.

I just don’t have it in me to hate this comic as much as some other people do. I get it, “One More Day” was a travesty, I wouldn’t argue otherwise even for a moment. Did we really need to revisit it? Probably not. But did I find the scenes between Peter and MJ totally touching? Yes I did. Now maybe it’s only because I’m a romantic fool, but any scene of a couple realizing that they love each other yet they have to part ways hits me right here (I’m pointing to my heart). Sure, there are problems here. I’m not totally thrilled with the explanations of how all that stuff was undone during OMD, but the scenes of the now ex-couple were rather well done. At least I thought so. As I said, some seem to disagree. — Owen Craig.

Owen’s rating: 3.5 out of 5 Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #68: August 18, 2010

Posted by Comics On August - 20 - 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #640
Joe Quesada (w + p),  Paolo Rivera (a), Dany Miki (i), Richard Isanove (c). Marvel Comics.

Rivera is an amazing, amazing artist. Publishers, hold onto this man tight because he is taking lemons and making rocket fuel. The story and the script, however? Well, it’s a really mixed back. I think there are times when the script really works but the main story beats of this arc are dreadful and unimaginative. There’s a moment that mimics/quotes Peter Parker’s origin, when a regular thug comes back to hurt one of his loved ones. It’s exactly like the thief who killed Uncle Ben — but it’s layed on so thick that I couldn’t help but groan. It’s a groaner and I’m looking forward to it being a goner. — Miles Baker

Miles’ rating: 3 out of 5

Atlas #4
Jeff Parker (w), Gabriel Hardman (a), Elizabeth Breitweiser (c). Marvel Comics.

One thing I probably don’t stress enough about my love for Atlas —  I love it because it’s so fucking weird. You sit back and realize that this is a team of odd balls that have very strange adventures. And they all have crazy, dark secrets that Parker layers in slowly. This week we got a messed up, understated bit from The Uranian that I seriously love. I’ll give the series a more proper send off with next month’s (final-final) issue. — Miles Baker

Miles’ rating: 4 out of 5 Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #66: August 4, 2010

Posted by Comics On August - 7 - 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #639
Joe Quesada (w), Paolo Rivera, Joe Quesada, Danny Miki, Richard Isanove (a). Marvel Comics.

This is a great comic — in theory. Paolo Rivera is draws beautiful art, in fact everything good about this comic should be attributed to his art. Yes, most of the story was good, I think. I just can’t trust my judgement when the art is THIS good. However, there were a few parts that were so bad that the art was no longer able to keep me in a satisfied illusion. When Mary Jane and Peter have their heart to heart the conclusion amounts to “and so all of the stories that took place after this were all the same, the only difference that we will never have been technically married”. It’s just about the biggest punch in the face after “One More Day”. Or it would be until the last page where we’ve caught up to the moment in “One More Day” when Aunt May is about to die and just doesn’t. Oh, right! Spider-CPR! That would save Aunt May! So lame. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 3.5 out of 5

Brightest Day #7
Geoff Johns, Peter J. Tomasi (w), Ivan Reis, Patrick Gleason, Ardian Syaf, Scott Clark, Joe Prado (a), Vicente Cifuentes, David Beaty, Mark Irwin (i), Peter Steigerwald, John Starr (c). DC Comics.

Brightest Day #7 was the best first issue of a series ever. The white lantern goes ahead and tells everyone what they’re supposed to do to earn their lives back — it’s like when a game tells you your objective. As much as I enjoyed various cool Aquaman parts that happened in earlier issues, as much as I enjoyed Martian Manhunter mind melding with a dog (thanks for the reminder on that one, brother),  none of these things accomplish anything relevant to the Brightest Day story, whatever it is. There’s a two page spread just before the ending to quickly tell us the objectives of the remainder of the cast that they didn’t have enough time to get to through the course of the book, but the various objectives are pretty silly. Asking Captain Boomerang to throw a boomerang? Really? Geoff Johns better have been in a mean mood and laughing at us comic buyers at that moment, because I hope he didn’t write that to be taken seriously. – Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 3 out of 5 Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #64: July 21, 2010

Posted by Comics On July - 23 - 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #638
Joe Quesada (w), Paolo Rivera, Joe Quesada, Danny Miki, Richard Isanove (a). Marvel Comics.

Basically this is the sequel to “One More Day” that shows how Mephisto changed the past. It’s a pretty cool story so long as we forget that the heroes of the story ASKED for everything they’re getting here. And there’s also Quesada’s weird proclivity towards drawing the chunkiest Peter Parker ever. The inter-splicing of new scenes with the original Spider-Man Annual #21 (the wedding one) is super-cool, if at times a little jarring. There’s a surprisingly bad moment where the hero gets clocked in the head with a cement block. I don’t know about you, but given the option I would have dodged that. – Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 3.5 out of 5

Avengers #3
Brian Michael Bendis (w), John Romita Jr. (p), Klaus Janson (i), Dean White (c), Marvel Comics.

This book is still a blast to read, for sure. I certainly have my complaints about it, such as its slow pacing and Romita’s pencils not being in top form (or is it Janson’s inking? I’m not sure) but I still dig this book. However, this issue being almost entirely fight-scenes means that it’s not a particularly memorable (however fun) issue for me. – Owen Craig

Owen’s rating: 4 out of 5 Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #60: June 23, 2010

Posted by Comics On June - 25 - 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #635
Joe Kelly, J.M. DeMatteis, Stan Lee (w), Michael Lark, Stefano Gaudiano, Max Fiumara, Marcos Martin, Matt Southworth (a), Matt Hollingsworth, Fabio D’Auria (c). Marvel Comics.

Spoilers at the end, you’ve been warned. As much as I don’t like references to the Straczynski-era of Spider-Man stories, the use of the Ezekiel character (or at least his history) was very satisfying. In fact, while I’m talking about satisfying, how about the part where Spider-Man flying tackles Araña out of the way, calling her Spider-Girl because he doesn’t have the time (or, I suspect, the patience) to care about what she wants to be called. I’m biased though; I don’t particularly care for Araña. It’s pretty funny though. What isn’t satisfying is the degree of difficulty all the “Spyder” people are having fighting the Kraven group. It’s one thing to have Spider-Man be really sick and tired, not at the top of his game, but he’s teamed up with three other super powered spider people. I mean, during the one fight scene team Spider even outnumbers team Kraven! There’s a character death that was excellently done, assuming it’s Kaine who dies. If it was actually Spider-Man in that Spider-Man costume that was killed and he’s going to have to come back to life in some fashion next issue… well, that would suck. The book would have been better without the two back up stories: Max Fiumara’s art is too angular and rough, and the Stan Lee back up runs right up to my suspension of disbelief and spits in its eye. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 4 out of 5

American Vampire #4
Scott Snyder & Stephen King (w), Rafael Albuquerque (a), Dave McCaig (c). Vertigo.

I think I’ll be dropping this book after this opening arc. And it’s hard to say why exactly. I’m just not digging it but it’s not a bad comic. It’s pretty good, I just don’t feel it’s as special as the rest of Vertigo’s line (well, what I buy of the line). I also want it to be more brutal — more violence, more nudity, more horror. The best thing about it is the art, and it looks a bit like Albuquerque is rushing in this issue. Now, let this be clear, rushed Albuquerque is better than most professional artists. But I still think he’s trimming corners in backgrounds and a few other places. I’ll get the next one. See what happens after. — Miles Baker

Miles’s rating: 3.5 out of 5 Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #59: June 16, 2010

Posted by Comics On June - 18 - 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #633
Zeb Wells (w), Chris Bachalo, Emma Rios (p), Emma Rios, Townsend, Mendoza, Olazaba, Irwin, Bachalo (i), Antonio Fabela (c). Marvel Comics.

Big time Spidey week folks — so how’d it go? Well, the two-week break between issues of the “Shed” story arc isn’t doing this issue any favours. After a certain amount of time you want to be on to the next thing, which they sort of did by shipping Amazing Spider-Man #634 this week, but it really further undercuts the impact of 633. It’s no surprise that Spidey will make it through the issue, but they kind of beat us over the head with the fact by having two books right away. A very clever trick had the Lizard look at the world with eyes that could see beyond animalistic savagery, leading to a great quiet moment when he looks up at a plane and says “That… that is not a bird.” It’s a very different end to a Lizard story, but I am let down that crazy serums were involved to get that new world view. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 3 out of 5

Amazing Spider-Man #634
Joe Kelly, J.M. DeMatteis, Stan Lee (w), Michael Lark, Stefano Gaudiano, Max Fiumara, Marcos Martin (a), Matt Hollingsworth, Fabio D’Auria (c). DC Comics.

This is the start of the much-hyped, long-awaited “Grim Hunt” story. First off, the main story looks gorgeous. The opening has a stylish cinematic feel before leading into the prose introduction to the story, an introduction eschewing the “Bugle Girl” blog style trappings that I’m pretty sure we’ve all grown tired of. The story was okay, but it didn’t stand out as anything amazing. Opening up with a bloodied Kaine at Peter Parkers doorstep would have been cool, except for the time Venom did the same thing (of course that’s a complaint from someone who enjoys that Peter is suffering from a cold because of it being a familiar Spidey hurdle…) and most of the narration was supplied by a typically cryptic Madame Web. The back up stories were not worth the extra dollar price increase, though I will enjoy seeing where Stan Lee goes with his in next weeks installment, his intro just didn’t leave any impression. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 3 out of 5 Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #53: May 5, 2010

Posted by Comics On May - 6 - 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #630
Zeb Wells (w), Chris Bachalo (p), Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza (i), Antonio Fabela (c). Marvel Comics.

One complaint you’ll hear about Spidey from non-fans is that he’s whiney. It’s not Spider-Man’s fault, it’s just really hard to write someone’s inner voice, particularly when they are thinking about themselves, and get it to come across as anything but whiney. What’s the solution? Well, if you’re Zeb Wells, you get Spidey to think about what joke he’s going to spring on the hapless bad guys in front of him – and the result is the funniest Spider-Man writing we’ve gotten in a while. Couple that with Bachalo’s pencils that run the gamut from cool to expressive to hilarious and we’ve got a winner. The last scene of the book is of a corporate tool antagonizing Dr. Curt Connors aka the Lizard (whom you also wouldn’t like when he’s angry) and I just kept yelling at the comic “No! You fool! Don’t you know what you’re doing?” He really didn’t, it looks like the Lizard got to eat him, but the important thing is the kind of reaction it got out of me. It was a good kind of yelling at my comic book. – Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 4.5 out of 5

Batman and Robin #12
Grant Morrison (w), Andy Clarke, Scott Hanna, Dustin Nguyen (a), Alex Sinclair (c). DC Comics.

Well, the art is a little static, but otherwise it’s a great book. We start off with Robin being remote-controlled to attack Batman by Slade Wilson (long time Dick Grayson enemy) so Batman kicks Robin and it hurts Slade. I didn’t expect that, but I liked it. Slade thinks he’s untouchable, that he can just walk up (via Robin) and kill Batman, and BOOM Slade’s in pain. (I think this is what pain feels like.) I’ve just realized that all the “moments” in this book are those “Cool moments” that Geoff Johns is always going for, but these ones are far more subversive and therefore work better. Man, if Ivan Reis was drawing this book… well, it’d be awesome. – Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 3.5 out of 5 Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #52: April 28, 2010

Posted by Comics On April - 30 - 2010

Wow! One whole year of MONDOcomics! How are we going to celebrate? More reviews, of course!

Amazing Spider-Man #629
Roger Stern, Zeb Wells (w), Lee Weeks, Chris Bachalo (a), Dean White, Matt Hollingsworth (c). Marvel Comics.

And here’s part three of what could have been a really good two-part story. Last week I complained that it was little more than an extended fight scene, this week it’s little more than exposition about Juggernaut and this new Captain Universe’s back-story (with a beautifully illustrated Spider-Man providing window dressing and little else). If this issue was re-cut with the previous, it would have been a great book, as it stands it doesn’t work. Zeb Wells treats us to a back-story that serves as a prologue to the upcoming Lizard story arc which should have been covered in that particular issue of Web of Spider-Man. I’m sorry to complain about it, but I was so impressed by the first issue of the story, and they just let me down here. – Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 2.5 out of 5

Captain America #605
Ed Brubaker (w), Luke Ross (p), Butch Guice (i), Dean White (c). Marvel Comics.

And so end the first arc after the return of Steve Rogers — oh, except he’s not here. Because Siege will be reveal what happens to Steve Rogers and Brubaker couldn’t ruin the ending of Siege four months ago (that was a job for the Marvel solicitations department) he ran a good, but dramatically odd arc in Captain America. The Cap from the 50’s story is good, but I can’t shake that after all this time looking for Steve there should be more fallout. And I’m sure it’s coming, it just makes these issues feel a bit like filler. But, know what, even when Captain America isn’t amazing, it’s still really damn good. — Miles Baker

Miles’ rating: 3.5 out of 5 Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #48: March 31, 2010

Posted by Comics On April - 2 - 2010

Adventure Comics #9
James Robinson, Sterling Gates, Eric Trautmann (w), Travis Moore, Eduardo Pansica, Pier Gallo (p), Julio Ferreira, Eber Ferreira, Pier Gallo (i), Pete Pantazis, Blond (c). DC Comics.

Travis Moore is fantastic — I don’t know that I’ve ever seen his stuff before, but it’s great, very reminiscent of Francis Manapul’s work on the last Legion of Superheroes comic. All of the stories contained here have a great advantage over the previous conglomerate that was Adventure Comics #8 — these stories aren’t a “Prelude” to the coming attraction. The idea of a prelude has become drawn out and increasingly pointless, exhibit ‘A’ being the previous issue. This comic just drops us directly into the action. There’s even an editor’s note that I should read Superman #698 before reading this book — nope! Just jumping right in, thanks. This was a fun book, with some cool moments from some of my favourite characters. I’ve even got to tip my hat to Supergirl for not letting Superboy get bashed embarrassingly in the back of the head by a Brainiac robot. Would have been even better if he was just paying attention to his surroundings, but I’ll take what I can get. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 3.5 out of 5

The Amazing Spider-Man # 627
Roger Stern (w), Lee Weeks (a), Dean White (c). Marvel Comics

I had a real debate with myself about this issue. On the one hand, Stern brings an old-fashioned sensibility to this issue that is really incongruous with Amazing Spider-Man these days; on the other hand, Stern writes a really fun issue and I don’t care. Spider-Man taking a page to stop a random mugging on his way to solve the big mystery is really endearing, especially when he thinks “Okay, back to work. Think, Parker…” as he swings away. It’s so awesome and heroic. I love Parker’s references to all the different times he’s met or fought the Juggernaut, and the recent events in his life. It’s nice to pretend that Parker’s life makes any kind of cohesive sense.  Plus Lee Weeks is a great artist and I love to see his work. — Miles Baker

Miles’ rating: 3.5 out of 5 Read the rest of this entry »

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