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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 #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 #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 #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 Book of the Month for January 2010

Posted by Comics On February - 1 - 2010

Isaac’s Book of the Month

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

You know when you re-read something and you can grow to like it more, or like it less? Well, I’m not doing either one exactly – my appreciation of it is just kind of being refined. I’m noticing the silly things, like just how crazy this would be out of context- a tall cyborg of an old man yelling at someone that he’s a rat. That doesn’t happen in real life, but it is a “comic book scene”. And I’m a big fan of the “comic book scene”.

One technique used in abundance is the abrupt scene change whose caption is still relevant to that last panel- we read the line as both a continuation of the previous action and the start of what’s to come. It leads to some creative visuals (like where Carlie Cooper’s face should be we shift to a panel of Aunt May’s. Certainly just as effective as a “Meanwhile at the Hall of Justice” style scene shift.), and it’s an interesting signature. Be sure I’ll be paying attention to future works by Slott to see if this is something he abuses, but at this point it’s cool. 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 #38: January 20, 2009

Posted by Comics On January - 22 - 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #618
Dan Slott (w), Marcos Martin (a), Marvel Comics

It’s hard to say how I feel about this issue. I don’t quite know where Slott is going with this story yet, it was sort of all over the map: there was the stuff with Negative Man and Aunt May, the mob stuff, the Mysterio stuff… I know that Spider-Man is often a long-form book, but the other Gauntlet stories started with more of a bang than this. I don’t mean to imply that I didn’t like it, but I my feelings for this issue are a little wonky and will probably remain so until I read the second issue of this story. Something I am not unsure about, though, is Martin’s artwork. It rocks. — Owen Craig

Owen’s rating: 3 out of 5

Avengers Vs Atlas #1
Jeff Parker (w), Gabriel Hardman (a, main),  Takeshi Miyazawa (a, second) Elizabeth Breitweiser (c). Marvel Comics.

Hurray Atlas! Yay Hardman! This is one awesome-looking comic. And it’s really awesome that Parker skipped the part where the two hero teams fight each other and went right into working together. It’s refreshing and keeps the plot moving along to the important aspects of the story — namely, good jokes and big action. Really solid start to this series and this would be a great place to jump on the Atlas bandwagon. So jump! — Miles Baker

Miles’ rating: 4 out of 5 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 #20: September 16, 2009

Posted by Comics On September - 17 - 2009

agentsofaltas9Agents of Atlas #11
Jeff Parker (w), Dan Panosian and Gabriel Hardman (a), Elizabeth Dismang (c). Marvel Comics.

That felt a little rushed. Agents of Atlas quickly wraps up it’s “Terror of the Jade Claw” story in a tight little bow just in time for a two-part crossover with the X-Men next month. This story could have used a little more breathing room — it seemed like it should have been a four-part. I wouldn’t have minded a delay to let Hardman finish all the pencils because the switching between him and Panosian is disappointing. Panosian isn’t the worst, it’s just that he’s paired with someone who has different sensibilities and is also way better him. Sorry, man. That said, I am loving these characters and this book. I really hope that the X-Men crossover boosts sales because I don’t want this book to end. — Miles Baker

Miles’ rating: 3.5 out of 5

Theamz spidey Amazing Spider-Man #605
Fred Van Lente, Brian Reed (w), Javier Pulido, Luke Ross, Rick Magyar, Yanick Paquette, Mark Farmer (a), Javier Rodriguez, Rob Schwager, Nathan Fairbairn (c). Marvel Comics.

I guess Valentine’s Day has come early this year with this three part monster of an issue devoted to the loves and love life of Peter Parker. First is a look at what Mary Jane has been up to before her recent return to New York, and it’s a really satisfying story, a fun adventure with generally top notch art. It also dares to say that “there’s always tension in a relationship when the one partner is so much more successful than the other,” a key dynamic in the Mary Jane/Spider-Man relationship that was never successfully addressed. It kind of sucks that it couldn’t get addressed before Pete and MJ’s relationship got seriously retconned. But better late than never I guess. The rest of the issue has Peter dump Michelle Gonzales, even though another issue with them dealing with the fallout of the Chameleon’s matchmaking would have been amazing. At least this is how Peter would actually handle the situation, quickly and honestly, without really giving her a chance. And then checks out some online dating stuff. My hero. — Isaac Mills

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

MONDOcomics’ Books of the Month for July 2009

Posted by Comics On August - 4 - 2009

amazingspidey600Isaac’s Book of the Month

Amazing Spider-Man #600
Dan Slott (w), John Romita Jr. (p), Klaus Janson (i), Dean White (c). Marvel Comics.

What the guys creating Amazing Spider-Man have done so well in the past 19 months is to tell their stories while subtly introducing the threads of stories to come. The result creates stories that we actually care about. But it’s a delicate balance: if you wait too long, the audience will get sick of being strung along. Eventually, you have to provide some answers to pulse-pounding questions like “Who was that man in the shadows on page seven?”

In this context, the big thing Spider-Man #600 accomplishes is the resurgence of Doctor Octopus, with a complete adventure of Spidey versus Doc Ock, and then Octopus escaping, vowing his vengeance, and tantalizing us with his imminent return in the future. To contain all of that in a single issue is already something special. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #12: July 22, 2009

Posted by Comics On July - 23 - 2009

amazingspidey600The Amazing Spider-Man #600
Main story: Dan Slott (w), John Romita Jr. (p), Klaus Janson (i), Dean White (c).
Backup stories: Many, including Stan Lee, Marcos Martin, Mark Waid, Bob Gale, and many more. Marvel Comics.

For the amount of pages and sheer joy you get from this package you can’t knock it. That said, I’m going to knock it. I have some controversial views on John Romita Jr.’s artwork: I think it’s generally terrible. He’s admitted his style is “the deadline style” — whatever he gets out by deadline, that’s his style. This looks like the deadline was really tight. His work on The Eternals? Generally pretty good. But there are scenes in that comic and in this one where I swear Romita is bored. In particular the last page of this issue, where he achieved a character that looks more sleepy than sexy. Though, really, for me, it’s the good pages that make the bad ones so frustrating. But with an entertaining main story and some seriously great backup material you really can’t fault this title. Worth picking up. — Miles Baker

Miles’ rating: 5 out of 5
Owen’s rating: 3.5. out of 5

Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #2
For Owen’s review of Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #2 and Isaac’s review of Green Lantern #44, check out our Crossover Corner at the bottom of the page. Read the rest of this entry »

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