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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 #69: August 25, 2010

Posted by Comics On August - 27 - 2010

Action Comics #892
Paul Cornell, Jeff Lemire (w), Pete Woods, Pere Pérez, Pier Gallo (a), Brad Anderson, Jamie Grant (c). DC Comics.

Notable for including a Superboy back up story. Both it and the Lex Luthor lead in have very sparse settings: an arctic one and, yes, rural Kansas. The Superboy story serves as more of a teaser to get us onboard for Suberboy #1 (as if there was ever any question – yes I’m on board), but it was just long enough page-wise to trick me into thinking it was more than an ad. But that’s really all it is. If they would admit to that, and had tightened it up a bit while keeping all the crazy stuff that happens, it would have been the greatest ad/backup ever. It’s meant to be insanely awesome with: a giant earth monster, mind controlled pink frogs, last-minute Teen Titan rescues, underground kidnappees surrounded by pig monsters and gargoyle fetuses (apparently), with a last minute prophecy of doom courtesy of the Phantom Stranger. But its pacing is just a hairs breadth wrong. I still like the Luthor main story; it has some great character moments from Luthor beyond hating Superman stuff, but again, a little bland looking. – Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 3 out of 5

Avengers #4
Brian Michael Bendis (w), John Romita Jr. (p), Klaus Janson (i), Dean White (c), Marvel Comics.

I’m not sure that much happened in this issue. There was some cool action (although I’m sorry to say that last issue’s cliffhanger doesn’t lead to much), but ultimately the story doesn’t go anywhere until the last few pages. Great cover, though! – Owen Craig

Owen’s rating: 3 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 #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 #47: March 25, 2010

Posted by Comics On March - 26 - 2010

The Amazing Spider-Man #626
Fred Van Lente (w), Michael Gaydos (a). Marvel Comics.

Let’s get the dumb stuff out of the way — you can’t have a group of thugs ignore a powerless Spider-Man because he “can’t be the real deal.” Just because he failed to hit you with web, if a guy shoots web at you from his wrists, then that is Spider-Man. And the Hood is hanging around this issue — I’m pretty sick of that guy. And since when does Tombstone bite people? On the good side, the art has some really cool Spidey pics, including a visual gag where he’s slowly sliding down a wall because his powers are kind of turning off. But the most important thing is Peter sits down with his roommate and apologizes for being a jerk. It’s always surprising how much I appreciate the inclusion of a well timed apology. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 3.5 out of 5

Avengers: The Initiative #34
Christos Gage (w), Jorge Molina (p), Andrew Hennessy (i), Edgar Delago (c). Marvel Comics.

Alright. I’m doing twice the amount of reviews I normally do and I want to do them in about an hour and I’m going to review them in alphabetical order. This is bad news for everyone (probably).  So, first up, I bought four Siege tie-ins this week and they were all infinitely more useful and interesting than the first two months of this crossover. With the events of Siege 3 there is a specific, important moment for all these series to tie into and it’s extremely helpful as a reader and presents a good nerd moment for the fan. This issue continues to weave a lot of first-person narration from a lot of different characters — perhaps too much — but as the concluding storyline for this series it’s appropriate. — Miles Baker

Miles’ rating: 3.5 out of 5. Crossover rating: A pleasant addition. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #39: January 27, 2009 – Updated

Posted by Comics On January - 31 - 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #619
Dan Slott (w), Marcos Martin (a), Javier Rodriguez (c). Marvel Comics.

There are a lot of mobster guys to keep track of here, but as far as problems go that’s minor. The interweaving of previous subplots (which aren’t all that removed from the main story) is masterful as we leap from Aunt May being sinister to old Mr. Negative. Spidey is lithe, fast and powerful. The jokes are funny. When Spider-Man thinks he killed a guy? Heart wrenching. This is really just a fantastic book. There’s a panel with a punch being thrown at the cyborg Silvermane and we see the distorted image of that punch reflected in the shining armour. That’s just a cool touch. – Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 4.5 out of 5

Atom and Hawkman #46
Geoff Johns (w), Ryan Sook, Fernando Pasarin (a), Hi-Fi (c). DC Comics.

I wasn’t sure I’d pick this up, but beyond the fact that it’s Atom and Hawkman, it’s by Geoff Johns and Ryan Sook. That’s a great pedigree. For those who need the hint, Sook did the art on the Zatanna Seven Soldiers of Victory story, as well as Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth for this past summers Wednesday Comics production. And as beautiful as the Kamandi story was, it was done in a fairly static method, almost storybook style- and it’s really nice to see the alternative again. You know what else is nice to see? Ray Palmer the Atom being an awesome hero. Haven’t seen that for years. – Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 4 out of 5
Crossover rating: (Almost) Essential
Owen’s rating: 3.5 out of 5
Owen’s crossover rating: A pleasant addition Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics Special: Seige #1

Posted by Comics On January - 10 - 2010

Siege # 1
Brian Michael Bendis (w), Olivier Coipel (p), Mark Morales (i) Laura Martin (c). Marvel Comics.

Hey, remember Civil War, when Marvel was so public about the plot of the thing (even showing off the opening in previews) that by the time the first issue came out it was devoid of surprises? Well here we go again. I really don’t know what was supposed to grab my attention here. Was it the story? There’s nothing to see here that hasn’t been shown to us in every Marvel comic for a month. Was it the characterization? I’ve been reading (and enjoying) Dark Avengers for a year now and have seen plenty of Norman’s crazy, thanks. Was it the ending? Yeah… that’s not really anything. The brief intro to the fight scene was kinda cool, but an intro to a fight scene isn’t really anything to hang your hat on. I have high hopes for this event, but I think that this first issue was a misfire. The last thing I should be doing after the first issue of a major event is saying “yep, that’s exactly how I thought it would go.” – Owen Craig

Owen’s rating: 2.5 out of 5

I have to agree with Owen that this issue was pretty disappointing. Everything they said was going to happen happened, and nothing more. And because I had already read the first six pages of this story in preview form, the issue is only about 16 pages of new material. And that’s pretty light for an opening issue. There is a neat little transcript that becomes, essentially, a “deleted scene” from the comic, but there’s a terrible production mistake that just shows no one bothered to look at the soft proofs from the printer. That’s pretty embarrassing, guys and girls. [Note: I saw an interview where Bendis said it was a "printer mistake" and that "no one at Marvel screwed up" which is possible. But isn't it more fun to blame Marvel?] But, you know, it’s nicely drawn and stuff is happening, which is good. I just wish it was stuff I didn’t know about. — Miles Baker

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

MONDOcomics #34: December 23, 2009

Posted by Comics On December - 23 - 2009

Amazing Spider-Man #616Amazing Spider-Man #616
Fred Van Lente (w), Javier Pulido (a), Marvel Comics

Not as great an issue as the previous, it basically just ties everything up from what happened before. I shouldn’t be shocked, it’s a two parter, but the last issue felt so much more full. There’s a great line where Spidey betrays the trust of a little girl- it’s hilarious, trust me. Spider-Man was in a pretty good mood last issue, but that was before all the sadness and disillusionment that shows up here. Spidey says “Whoop!” when he gets surprised, and as someone who thinks that’s funny, approves. – Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 4 out of 5

Blackest Night JSA #1Blackest Night: JSA #1
James Robinson (w), Eddy Barrows, Marcos Marz (p), Julio Ferreira, Luciana Del Negro, Ruy Jose (i), DC Comics

For the most part, I’m impressed with Barrows art here, it GENERALLY avoids his crazy wormy lips he’s so fond of drawing. The panels that tell the back story of some of the soon to arrive Black Lanterns (Sandman, Dr. Midnight, and Mr. Terrific) are fantastic- probably drawn by Marz. I have to play continuity cop here: why are Superman of Earth 2 and the Psycho Pirate, two Black Lantern guys, wearing their regular costumes? Maybe I’m missing something. But who cares about that- Powergirl calls that Superman her uncle immediately after calling him her cousin. That hurts me. They’re cousins, F.Y.I. -Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 3 out of 5
Crossover rating: Take it or leave it Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #29: November 18, 2009

Posted by Comics On November - 22 - 2009

adv comicsAdventure Comics #4
Geoff Johns, Sterling Gates, Michael Shoemaker (w), Jerry Ordway, Clayton Henry (p), Bob Wiacek, Clayton Henry (i), Brian Buccellato, Brian Reber (c). DC Comics.

This issue is amazing — set on “Earth Prime” (ostensibly our Earth) Superboy Prime reads this very comic — Adventure Comics #4, and immediately rushes off to a comic store to get #5, because he has to know what happens to himself! As with anything that includes Superboy Prime they poke a lot of fun at us comic nerds, but this is kind of the first instance of the joke working and being funny (as opposed to insulting to the core audience). In fact, it’s really funny. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 4.5 out of 5

ASM612Amazing Spider-Man #612
Main story: Mark Waid (w), Paul Azaceta (a), Dave Stewart (c).
Backup story: Joe Kelly, JM Ken Niimura (a). Marvel Comics

Good start, story that Marvel has been advertising the hell out of for months and months. It got my hopes up, for sure. I’ve been a little iffy on Spider-Man’s adventures recently, but this did a lot to win me over. Though, one thing that is just driving me nuts (and maybe it’s just me), can Peter Parker just get with Nora already? She’s awesome and hilarious and totally into Peter. Do her! — Miles Baker

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

MONDOcomics #24: October 14, 2009

Posted by Comics On October - 17 - 2009

superboyAdventure Comics #3
Geoff Johns, Michael Shoemaker (w), Francis Manapul, Clayton Henry (a), Brian Buccellato, Brian Reber (c). DC Comics.

I don’t need to tell you that the art is gorgeous in this book; however, what is interesting is that Manapul is finally given some art duties that don’t revolve entirely around an idyllic country setting — instead we’re given some time on (and under) the streets of Paris, France. The story was a little light: the beginning featured cameos by Superboy’s old rogues gallery making a goofy appearance courtesy of Krypto the Superdog and his weird attempt at helpfulness, before settling into reconnecting Superboy and the previous Robin. I enjoyed seeing those old villains show up, and I’ll refrain from drawing a picture of just how happy Superboy finally saying “tactile telekinesis” made me. The interaction between Superboy and Red Robin was really well done — it addresses who they are now after everything they’ve been through, and they come through supporting each other. It was really sweet. Plus, there’s a fun Legion backup with everyone’s favourite odd couple — Sun Boy and Polar Boy! — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 4 out of 5

blackest batmanBlackest Night: Batman #3
Peter J. Tomasi (w), Ardian Syaf (p), Vicente Cifuentes (i), Nei Ruffino (c). DC Comics.

The gritted teeth, then slow pull back to Batman inside a crashing Batplane with shattered glass and debris all around is beautiful, as well as a slow build up to the surprise that the Black Lantern Flying Graysons have constructed a circus tent (and small apartment) where a cemetery was. All in a fiendish plan to enrage Batman and Red Robin before killing them. It seems way too elaborate for a bunch of zombies to pull off, but then again, why am I surprised that Batman’s enemies are constructing an elaborate death trap? It’s kind of how things are done. Deadman goes to get help from Jason Blood, who says, “I am not joining in this current calamity.” Which I found funny, like when the X-Men pretty much said “Civil War? We’ve got our own problems thanks.” Not like that stopped Wolverine.  As the first of these Blackest Night tie-ins to finish up, I was curious how it would work. Staying alive is as far as it goes, which isn’t bad at all. However: that’s not how the REAL Batman would have handled it. — Isaac Mills

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

MONDOcomics #23: October 7, 2009

Posted by Comics On October - 9 - 2009

amazingspiderman608Amazing Spider-Man #608
Marc Guggenheim (w), Marco Checchetto, Luke Ross and Rick Magyar (a), Fabio D’Auria (c). Marvel Comics.

Finally moving out of the debacle that was the last two issues, we have here a fine comic indeed. Weird that the first page of story, set in the past, has Ben Reilly meet up with Dr. Ryder (the soon to be villain) and it’s pretty hard to tell the two apart. Weird because Ben is already a clone of Peter Parker, so really that’s three people who are hard to tell apart. Otherwise the art is really cool, but I’m biased because of a cool pin up of the Scarlet Spider. Cool action, cool story, classic Spidey failing at detective work, and cool cliffhanger — go buy it! — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 4 out of 5

astonishingxmen31Astonishing X-Men #31
Warren Ellis (w), Phil Jimenez (p), Andy Landing (i), Frank D’Armata (c). Marvel Comics.

I was looking forward to dropping this series until they announced that Phil Jimenez would be taking over. Apparently I’m a big enough fan of him to keep buying this series that I once loved with my whole heart. I have to learn that it’s not the same thing as it was for the first 24 issues. It’s Ellis’ book and he brings all the Ellis with him — which means uneven character development and lots of science talk. It’s hard to tell if I like this issue more than the last six because Ellis is writing it better or that I can stand to look at the art for more than 3 second. I think it’s both, but maybe it’s too early to tell. — Miles Baker

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

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