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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 #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 #58: June 9, 2010

Posted by Comics On June - 11 - 2010

Avengers Academy #1
Christos Gage (w), Mike McKone (a), Jeremy Cox (c), Marvel Comics.

This issue has a lot in common with Avengers: Initiative. That’s a good thing. After all, the first issue of Avengers: Initiative got me very excited for the second and the same thing happens here. There’s a cool batch of new characters and a great twist at the end. In fact, the only thing that bugged me was the main character frequently commenting on how small her breasts were when McKone drew her with average-sized breasts (although I guess they are small by comic-book standards…). I totally dug this book and can’t wait for issue two. — Owen Craig

Owen’s rating: 4 out of 5

Batman #700
Grant Morrison (w), Tony Daniel, Frank Quitely, Scott Kolins, Andy Kubert, David Finch, Richard Friend (a), Ian Hannin, Alex Sinclair, Tony Avina, Brad Anderson, Peter Steigerwald (c). DC Comics.

Morrison continually impresses me with his legitimizing of the campy history of Batman — additionally it’s hard not to love the commentary divided between the three/four main Batman stories: the cheesy action packed science fiction of the fifty’s and sixties, the relatively “realistic” era of the 70’s and 80’s with Batman and Robin fighting against common criminals and uncommon intellectual challenges (with a great reference to the Dark Knight Returns using a gang of “mutants”, and a quick visual gag consisting of Batman shaving away his stubble on a roof top), the third story is a ruthless Damian Wayne Batman an easy reference to the antihero days of the 90s (and often contemporary era) as well as hinting to the very origins of “The Bat-Man” character, and finally the section denoting the possible futures for the legacy of the Batman mythos wherever it may turn. Ultimately, it is very clearly a Morrison work, so maybe it’s not your cup of tea, but if you’re an old school Batman fan, not just in it for the occasional movie (great as they are) but have read a Showcase Batman book or two, then you will want this book. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 4.5 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 #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 »

U is for The Ultimates

Posted by Comics On October - 26 - 2009

UltimatesbetterThe 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.

U is for The Ultimates Vol. 1 & 2
Written by Mark Millar
Art by Bryan Hitch
Marvel Comics, 2002

The Ultimates is the Avengers Redux.  When Marvel launched Ultimate Spider-Man ten years ago, they were seeking to modernize the hero, hoping to make it possible for new, younger readers to connect with the character.  And so, the Ultimate Universe was born.   Marvel quickly followed up their Spider-Man title with the Ultimate X-Men and the Ultimate Fantastic Four — each group redesigned to be more in tune with the 21st century, and not burdened with decades of continuity.  The Ultimates is no different.  Except, it’s mad brilliant.  It’s a team of super-powered heroes brought together by SHIELD to protect America’s interest in the burgeoning age of super-humans.  Ask yourself what would the American government, circa 2002, have done if it could deploy Captain America, Iron Man and Thor?  The answer is The Ultimates. Read the rest of this entry »

Comics I’ll Buy in September

Posted by Comics On June - 19 - 2009

Not that I want to think about September and the end of summer, but the solicitations for that month’s comics are out and I like to daydream about buying things.

From DC

WEDNESDAY COMICS #9-12 This is looking better and better! Check out this page by Joe Kubert! It ROCKS. Sargent Rocks.

BATMAN AND ROBIN #4 I think Phillip Tan is a very odd choice to fill in for Frank Quitely, but the first issue of Batman and Robin really impressed me so I have a feeling I’ll still be picking this up.

DETECTIVE COMICS #857 Still so pumped about this series. September’s issue will be the end of the first “arch.” I hope it’s a good one.

BATMAN: STREETS OF GOTHAM #4 The more I see of this series the more interested I get. Plus, I think Victor Zsasz is fucking scary and apparently I’m into that. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics Special: Captian America #600

Posted by Comics On June - 19 - 2009

captainamerica1

Well, it made the national papers: Captain America is back and here’s where you learn all about it. These juicy secrets where so powerful that our American cousins couldn’t wait until Wednesday to get them. There was a special comic shipment just for this enormous comic. But was it worth it? The MONDOcomics team will tell you.

Captain America #600
Main story: Ed Brubaker (w); Butch Guice, Howard Chaykin, Rafael Albuquerque, David Aja, Mitch Breitwiser (a).
Back-up stories: Alex Ross, Paul Dini, Roger Stern (w); Kalman Andrasofszky, Dale Eaglesham (a). Marvel Comics.

This is a really impressive comic because it weaves in about a dozen important characters and is still somehow manageable. Of course, the lengthened page count helps that out significantly: this is the heaviest saddle-stitched comic I’ve ever bought. Almost every single thread that Brubaker has touched on during his run comes into play in this issue, with one helluva kicker into the next storyline. One under-appreciated part of this comic and Captain America in general is how good the action is. Brubaker writes visceral action and has some great partners in this issue to bring it to life. In this issue, the Sharon fight and the Crossbones escape are two excellent pieces of violence. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #7: June 17, 2009

Posted by Comics On June - 19 - 2009

amazingspidermanfamilyAmazing Spider-Man Family #7
Roger Stern, Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz, Fred Hembeck (w), Val Semeiks, Sal Buscema, Fred Hembeck (a), Mike Getty (i), Andres Mossa, Bruno Hang, Antonio Fabela (c). Marvel Comics.

Separated into three stories, the first is a sweet recollection of how Aunt May met Uncle Ben, as told within the context of current continuity. It’s good to see they haven’t forgotten about Nathan Lubensky. In general, it was okay but the art is a little odd, like drawing the age on Aunt May was an after-thought. Of course I’m here for the Spider-Girl story, which keeps an excellent pacing while balancing classic action and drama. And the final story has Petey (little Peter Parker) meet Brother Voodoo, I guess.  I don’t know much about those guys — but the issue does have Fancy Dan! He’s fancy! — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 3 out of 5

BMSOG Cv1 dsBatman: Streets of Gotham #1
Paul Dini, Marc Andreyko (w), Dustin Nguyen, Georges Jeanty (p), Derek Fridolfs, Karl Story (i), John Kalisz, Nick Filardi (c). DC Comics.

One panel has a subtle grappling hook fall on down as Harley Quinn hails a taxi, the next panel she’s yanked into the air by the strong arm of Batman a rooftop away. The drops of humour — this time more litterally — are ever present in Dini’s writing, and I’m glad that’s so. The thing with Dini is that even though he has certain favourite storylines and characters he wants to use (like Hush, for instance) he still clearly plays ball and introduces new adventures to have, shifting things to the backburner as necessary. Not a juggling act everyone can do. I have to complain about the one bad guy punching an imprint of his name (“Abuse”) into another man’s head — I saw the Mythbusters that said that was impossible. I’d actually prefer if the guy used a laser or something to leave his calling card. Why would I rather believe a thug has a sophisticated laser in his pocket instead of the ability to punch words into peoples heads? There’s clearly something wrong with me. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 4 out of 5
Miles’ rating: 4 out of 5
Owen’s rating: 3.5 out of 5 Read the rest of this entry »

S is for Sleeper

Posted by Comics On June - 2 - 2009

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.

sleeper_outinthecoldS is for Sleeper
Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Sean Phillips.
Wildstorm, 2009

Sleeper is a noir style, crime-spy story, mixed with a dash of super-powered characters.  Tough to peg, but great to read.  Originally a mini-series, it was first collected in four trade paperbacks — and is being reprinted into two larger books this year.  Point Blank, the story’s prequel, is not essential to understanding Sleeper, but was just re-released and is also a good TPB to pick up.  The recent series Incognito, by the same creative team, has a very similar feel. If you have read and have enjoyed one of them, then I suggest checking out the others.

Sleeper has a very basic set up, but the story is all in the details.  Secret Agent Holden Carver is undercover, investigating a powerful criminal organization run by super-powered individuals.  The catch is, the man that placed him there — the only one that can redeem Carver’s reputation — is in a coma.

Secret Agent Carver used to work for International Operations, a shadowy government agency which is part police force, and part black-ops.   When Carver gained a super-human ability, his boss John Lynch decided that Carver was the perfect agent to investigate a growing pattern of criminal cohesion.  Carver — now equipped with the ability to feel no pain, and able to redirect any injury he does sustain into powerful electrical blasts — has his life “burnt”.  His former allies, friends, and lover think he has betrayed them, and joined the other side.  Carver finds himself deep undercover in a ruthless and vicious criminal enterprise run by the enigmatic villain Tao.  Staying alive with your former allies hunting you and your new allies being sadistic criminals is difficult enough, but when Lynch is attacked and falls into a coma, there seems to be no way out.  The plot twists and turns fast, and every time Carver thinks he can see his way clear, he is dragged back in.

Ed Brubaker is known for his work on Captain America, Daredevil, and Criminal — all of which have a noir-crime feel to them.  His writing never disappoints, and both his characters and their dialogue immerse you in the world he is creating.  Sean Philips’ art is equally amazing, perfectly accentuating Brubaker’s plots.  Everything has muted, dark tones, and yet each character is perfectly detailed — even if they are only a smile in the shadows.

Brubaker and Philips’ new series Incognito is the conceptual opposite to Sleeper: about a bad guy in witness protection. Both books shares a similar feel but explore good and evil and grey in different and exciting ways.  This is a dark and dangerous world, filled with edgy, doomed people, who forever struggle to succeed, only to have their hopes crash down around them.

Sleeper is a must-read for anyone who wants their comics to have a little bite.  This isn’t a world of super-heroes in spandex, and of good versus evil.  Sleeper is about having to make tough choices, where every decision seems to chip away at your soul.  While I would suggest trying to track down the original TPBs, I don’t think they are in print anymore — my copies were hard enough to find.  The new ‘two-volumes-in-one’ trade paperbacks will be released very soon, and will be one of the best reads you can hope for this year.

Comics I’ll Buy in August

Posted by Comics On May - 26 - 2009

By Miles Baker

The advance solicitations for books from Wildstorm, Vertigo, DC and Marvel are out now. Here’s most of what I’ll be buying that month.

From DC/Wildstorm/Vertigo:

WEDNESDAY COMICS #5-8
This still looks really impressive. Huge talent and a unique format. I hope it’s good because my expectations are high.

BATMAN AND ROBIN #3
I’ve promised some good friends I will at least try this opening arc. I’m excited for it.

DETECTIVE COMICS #856
Man, the cover for this looks so awesome. I’m so pumped for this series.

THE SPIRIT BOOK TWO TPB
Actually, I already have this in hardcover, but if I didn’t I’d be totally buying this. If you want to see how The Spirit should have been adapted for the big screen you should read Darwyn Cooke’s take on the character, which wrapped up last year.

SLEEPER SEASON TWO TPB
I’m so pumped for this to come out. Sleeper is one of my favourite comics of all time. It’s about a spy in deep cover named Holden Carver. He’s infiltrated a super-villain crime syndicate, getting pretty high up, when his handler — the only one who knows he’s an undercover operative — gets shot and is put in a coma. Carver is left out in the cold and desperately wants back. It basically asks whether a good guy who does terrible things in the name of good still gets to be a good guy. This volume concludes the Sleeper story and it’s one helluva ending.

AIR #12
I’m thinking of bumping this from a “wait for the trade” to a monthly pick up. Hmm… undetermined.

THE UNWRITTEN #4
The first issue of this came out last week and it was good as I was hoping it would be. This could be the start of Vertigo’s new flagship title.

YOUNG LIARS #18
Tear. This is the last issue of Vertigo’s craziest series. Rock, alien spiders, transvestites, post-modernism: what’s not to love?

From Marvel:

DARK X-MEN: THE BEGINNING #3 (of 3)
I’ll make the final call on this purchase after I’ve seen some previews, but I really like that Jae Lee cover.

ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #1
Ultimate Spider-Man was a consistently great title, and this new re-start could prove to be as great. From what I’ve seen, I also really like David LaFuente’s art. I’ll give at least this first issue a shot.

UNCANNY X-MEN #514 and DARK AVENGERS #8
Matt Fraction’s Utopia crossover interests me even if it will probably result in the current Uncanny storyline (which I am enjoying quite a bit) being disrupted.

X-FACTOR #47
I’m so glad I stuck with this series through the rough times, because Peter David has hit his stride again. A great balance of misery and humour, and I’m excited to see how this “Cortex” storyline wraps up.

X-FORCE #18
I’ll buy this as long as Mike Choi does the art for it. It has good writing, but the regular series artist really turns me off.

X-MEN LEGACY #227
Mike Carey didn’t let me down with the first year of X-Men Legacy, so I don’t know why he’d start doing it now.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE DEATH OF CAPTAIN AMERICA OMNIBUS HC
Killing Captain America was the best thing Captain America ever did.

PUNISHER: WAR ZONE TPB
The team behind Preacher takes on Marvel’s most gun-happy character. And there are a lot of gun-happy characters in the Marvel U. This is a purchase based entirely on who is making it rather than what is in it.

REBORN #2 (of 5)
Secret project of mystery is still being written by Ed Brubaker, so I’m  still going to buy it.

THE MARVELS PROJECT #1 (of 8)
Yeah, I have a deep man-love for Brubaker, and considering this re-teams him with Steve Epting, I can’t wait.

THUNDERBOLTS #135
I don’t usually buy Thunderbolts, but Nick Fury is on the cover of this comic and I really like Nick Fury. So… yeah… I’m weak.

DAREDEVIL #500
It seems like only a year ago that Daredevil was celebrating #100 — oh, wait, that was only a year ago. I’m not a big fan of this combining new and original numbering to manufacture an anniversary issue. However, I am a big fan of Daredevil and this looks like it will conclude the amazing “Return of the King” storyline.

RUNAWAYS #13
I’m so happy that I’ll be back to buying Runaways again. I met Kathryn Immonen briefly at TCAF and got the feeling she’s really excited about the book.

SECRET WARRIORS #7
This title gets better with every issue. Marvel was right to hype Jonathan Hickman as their new star.

MIGHTY AVENGERS #28
“Guest-starring the YOUNG AVENGERS!” Yay! I love those kids.

NEW AVENGERS #56
Just when I think I’m out, they pull be back in with a far superior interior artist.

DARK REIGN: THE HOOD #4 (of 5)
If this series is half as good as the original Brian K. Vaughan series, then it will still be pretty damn good.

DARK REIGN: MISTER NEGATIVE #3 (of 3)
Damn those attractive Jae Lee covers!

MYSTIC COMICS #1 70
This is written and drawn by David Lapham so it’s pretty much a no brainer that I’ll pick this one up.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #601-3

Even though issue 601 has a gross cover by J. Scott Campbell, I’m really excited for the return of Mary Jane in the Amazing Spider-Man comics. They’ve been teasing her arrival for over a year now and I’m curious to see what the payoff will be.

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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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