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MONDOcomics #96: March 2, 2011

Posted by Comics On March - 6 - 2011

Brightest Day #21
Geoff Johns, Peter J. Tomasi (w), Patrick Gleason, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado (p), Mark Irwin, Keith Champagne, Norm Rapmund, Christian Alamy (i), Peter Steigerwald, Nathan Eyring (c). DC Comics.

Someone reminded the writers of Brightest Day that it was close to wrapping up, so they had to actually do stuff with issues. There was definitely a lot of filler here — I bet this whole series could have been distilled into an excellent 12 issues (unquestionably so if they dropped some of the weaker story arcs — like the Hawkmen story at least!). That said, it wouldn’t be Brightest Day, and it really wouldn’t be Geoff Johns, without a bunch of epic splash pages.

There are three two-page and one single-page splash images making up the high points of the story. I can just imagine an orchestra conductor swinging wildly at these moments (uh, that’s if this story was a movie I guess… uh, with an orchestrated score), and like that conductor, I’m tired!

The big splash image, when used appropriately, is the high point of the issue — it’s what makes the comic make sense, but we’re zigzagging all along here. Read the rest of this entry »

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 #93: February 9, 2011

Posted by Comics On February - 11 - 2011

Batman and Robin #20
Peter J. Tomasi (w), Patrick Gleason (p), Mick Gray (i), Alex Sinclair (c). DC Comics.

The most recent stuff I can think of to attribute to Tomasi is his work on Green Lantern Corps, and it’s easy to take for granted what a fantastic job he did over there. Since the last million issues or so have been stuck in Blackest Night crossover mode, I forgot how he built on the past of Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner, and other fan favourite characters, growing them together in ways that can only please the fan base. I remember (now that I think about it) one story where Bolphunga the Unrelenting (an old Alan Moore character) showed up to duke it out with Guy Gardner. Great stuff.

Now he’s starting up his run on Batman and Robin and there are no real crossovers to deal with. Thanks to hindsight, it’s now obvious that this was going to be an amazing issue. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #92: February 2, 2011

Posted by Comics On February - 4 - 2011

Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #1
Paul Levitz, Keith Giffen (w), Keith Giffen (p), John Dell, Scott Koblish (i), Hi-Fi (c). DC Comics.

This whole book chronicles the rise and fall of a new Emerald Empress — wait, a new one? Whatever happened to the old one?

Having only really just gotten into Legion of Super-Heroes during the Mark Waid “Three-boot” or “Earth-Prime” Legion book, I sometimes forget that everything I know is wrong. I think it’s a credit to the creative team on the recent Legion book that I’m only just now thinking about this.

To help us readers they’ve included something pretty fun: Legion History The Board Game! Posted at the back of the book, it’s both chronology and whimsy, hitting the major beats of Legion history. A good one is “Ferro Lad sacrifices life to save Earth from Sun-Eater! His courage propels you one space.”

Here’s one that winks hard at the fandom: “Time Trapper killed by Infinite Man! Lose or gain a turn for this? The debate still rages.” Personally, if I landed on the space, I’d gain a turn. Everyone else can lose it. Read the rest of this entry »

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 #89: January 12, 2011

Posted by Comics On January - 14 - 2011

Daredevil: Reborn #1
Andy Diggle (w), Davide Gianfelice (a), Matt Hollingsworth (c). Marvel Comics.

This book was going to have to impress the shit out of me to make me forget the shit that was Shadowland. There’s a lot of shit going around this book right now and it seems like that’s going to continue. This was an extremely underwealming performance from Diggle and Gianfelice. I’m especially dissapointed in the latter as I’m a fan of his work on DMZ and Northlanders. His work here is fine but it’s not as strong as either of works. It’s servicable, but it’s pretty boring and unispired.

Though, it would be hard to get inspired from this thin, uninteresting story. After the major fuckover of Matt Murdock’s character that Diggle helmed I was inclined to chalk it up to editorial interferance. This story, however, has puddle-deep depth and understanding of Matt. Fucking awful. It’s billed as this rebirth of Matt — okay, I’m down. In an opening scene, Matt takes a beating because he’s rejecting the cycle of violence around his life — cool, progress. Ten pages later he’s going to beat up a bunch of crooked cops. Great. Amazing. I’m glad that he got over all that shit in 10 pages. Read the rest of this entry »

V is for Villains United

Posted by Comics On January - 12 - 2011

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.

V is for Villains United
Writen by Gail Simone
Art by Dale Eaglesham
DC Comics, 2005

Part of the Prelude to Infinite Crisis, which also included OMAC, Day of Vengeance, and The Rann-Thanagar War, this mini-series was the best read — both in terms of storytelling and art.  Written by Gail Simone, of Birds of Prey and Wonder Woman acclaim, and illustrated by Dale Eaglesham, whose works include The Justice Society of America and Steve Rogers: Super Soldier, the Villains United TPB has an amazing blend of edginess, humour, action and empathy – and this last quality is especially remarkable as the protagonists are a number of DC’s ‘D’ list villains.  And due to this title’s success, Gail Simone has continued the storyline in the monthly comic The Secret Six. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #88: January 6, 2011

Posted by Comics On January - 6 - 2011

Superboy #3
Jeff Lemire (w), Pier Gallo (a), Jamie Grant (c). DC Comics.

Man, I love the title to this latest entry — “The New Adventures of Psionic Lad (Part One)”. I realize that I don’t really know what to expect with the Superboy series right now. The last two issues were all Parasite/Poison Ivy/Parasite Frogs/Phantom Stranger… which was revealed waaay back in August during that one Action Comics teaser story. The not knowing has got me charmed.

About the art — there’s something about it… it may just be the extraordinarily tight jeans on Superboy and the glasses, but its got me weirded out. Fortunately, the Lori Luthor character is gorgeously rendered, and when some armoured time cops jump through a portal it looks awesome. So things are balanced out.

I like the way the story skips back and for in the narrative — it’s a tricky thing to try and do, and usually I’m wary of that technique, but I think it was used properly here: it helps the flow of the issue, sprinkling the action and drama throughout the book that would otherwise have been relegated to the back of the story in an unbalanced deluge. It also helps that there’s some time travel involved, that always helps to justify these kinds of things. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #87: December 30, 2010

Posted by Comics On December - 31 - 2010

Action Comics #896
Paul Cornell & Nick Spencer (w), Pete Woods & R.B. Silva (a), Brad Anderson & Dave McCaig (c), DC Comics.

I don’t want to give off the impression that I don’t like the main story here, or that it’s not worthy of praise. Cornell and Woods are doing great work. Making Lex Luthor the anti-hero of Action Comics is no easy task but they’re nailing it. Still, that’s not what I want to talk about here. What I am going completely utterly nuts for is the Jimmy Olsen backup story by Nick Spencer and R.B. Silva. Every time one of these stories comes out it is consistently fun, charming and laugh-out-loud funny.

Spencer has shown great skill at structuring a story for these ten-page installments, keeping things moving briskly while still allowing for great character moments and a well-defined story. This issue sees Jimmy participating in a bachelor auction for charity and then the date that follows. It’s all predictably hilarious but what makes it for me is the growing cast Spencer has introduced. Jimmy’s new nemesis Sebastien, Jimmy’s ex-girlfriend Chloe (yes, THAT Chloe) and a new character by the name of Maggie all show up and make compelling foils for our hero. But Jimmy is the star here and Spencer never forgets that. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #86: December 22, 2011

Posted by Comics On December - 25 - 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 Miles and Owen love Image Comics and Isaac gets into the Christmas spirit. Enjoy.

Chew #16
John Layman (w), Rob Guillory (a), Image Comics.

Every time an issue of Chew comes out I am reminded of why I love this book so much (I’m also reminded of how happy I am that I switched to issues.) In some ways it reminds me of Preacher: it’s rather dark, can be fairly gross at times and is very, very funny. But, like Preacher, amidst all of this is a great story that keeps the focus on its epic plot and its engaging characters.

This issue gave us a great sense of the scope that this comic is covering. In a fantastic first few pages we’re given our first hints of the tragic past that lead to the world we’re exploring. Guillory’s artwork is on full display and it is spectacular. His attention to detail and top-notch character work make for a rich and expressive comic that is a lot of fun to go back to. I keep looking at his panels again and again noticing something new each time.

Layman’s plotting on this book is meticulous. Seriously, this book is juggling so many plot threads at once while still managing to keep each issue as a rewarding experience in its own right. I don’t know how he does it. This issue alone gives us flashbacks, new characters, new plots and developments on old plots. And it’s great. Extremely great. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #84: December 8, 2010

Posted by Comics On December - 10 - 2010

Booster Gold #39
Giffen, DeMatteis (w), Batista, Perrotta (a), Hi-Fi (c). DC Comics.

I didn’t expect Booster Gold to be my favourite book this week. It’s supposed to be solid; it’s not supposed to tug at my heart strings like my heart is some kind of marionette here to amuse you.

I really like the use of space in this book — there’s a gag near the beginning with the little orphan Rani, a girl from the future, having accidentally trapped herself in a sort of metal cocoon, thanks to some super suits magnetic powers. When that cocoon image is on the page, it’s a huge panel almost two thirds of the page, drawn in a skewed angle. It’s a very dramatic/action packed visual for something that amounts to a bit of domestic humour. That plus the “harmless” explosion two pages later — these are visual perks for the benefit of the spicing up the comic. It’s a sort of pacing “answer” to the question of jazzing up a scene of domesticity. Read the rest of this entry »

Jonah Hex Reviewed

Posted by film On October - 28 - 2010

Jonah Hex
Directed by Jimmy Hayward
Warner Brothers, 2010

By Miles Baker

This DVD has some errors on the cover. It says, “Based on the legendary DC Comics Character.” First, it’s missing the word “Loosely;” and, second, Jonah Hex is hardly “legendary.” He’s third-tier at best. I’m not saying Jonah Hex comics are bad — I’m just saying he’s not a well-known character.

So, based on those two lies, why was this movie made? He’s not that famous even in the comics world, so there’s not much of a fan base. And why would you alienate that small fan base by making a movie that only shares a passing resemblance to the source material? Despite a short-lived Vertigo mini-series, the Jonah Hex stories are straight-up Westerns.  So why was this movie made as a cross between Wild, Wild West, Ghost Rider, and Pushing Daises? Also, all those things weren’t terribly successful — why would you emulate them? Read the rest of this entry »

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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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