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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 #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 #67: August 13, 2010

Posted by Miles On August - 13 - 2010

Adventure Comics #517
Paul Levitz, Jeff Lemire (w), Kevin Sharpe, Marlo Alquiza, Mahmud Asrar, John Dell(a), Blond, Pete Pantazis (c). DC Comics.

It’s the same format as the last issue, an “early days” Legion of Super Heroes story with an Atom backup. The Legion story focuses on Saturn Girl and on her desire to be as good as the boys on the team, whose powers are more offensive compared to her telepathy. They avoid the obvious solutions to the story, like having the problem become something only her telepathy could solve, one or both of the guys admitting to trying to keep up with her, etc etc. This would be a nice change, except it means Saturn Girl looks really bad, like how she thinks as she’s working out: “those two crazy legionnaire boys… must have been exercising since they were toddlers to get those bodies” and then we never get to see the boys be that impressive, or work to deserve that kind of praise. The whole story is Saturn Girl being dead weight and vowing to not be dead weight. And then, because she’s a silly girl I guess, she sleeps with Cosmic Boy and erases his memory of it. It was an insulting story is what I’m saying.  The Atom backup I can praise for answering some super science questions his powers bring up… of course they did it in a way that raises MORE questions, but they’re trying. A lot of pretty lame flashbacks happened though. If I had to choose between seeing little Ray Palmer win at a science fair with some shadowy hints that his smart uncle is evil, or between seeing the Atom fight through germs and fly through electrical current, well I’d rather see the latter part. At least, let me read that part when it’s an Atom story in front of me! – Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 2 out of 5

Booster Gold #35
Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis (w), Chris Batista, Rich Perrotta, Patt Olliffe (a), Hi-Fi (c). DC Comics.

We get some validation from the JLI era characters in this issue — Blue Beetle recognizes Booster Gold as from the future (as opposed to being a goof that can’t tell when someone is years older than they should be) and Big Barda says something nice about Booster and Beetle. Of course since it’s Giffen and DeMatteis writing that’s just like patting yourself on the back. Wouldn’t it be amazing if Dan Didio wrote this book? Now that’d be a pat on the back. The asides that take place with random characters seem out of place within a modern sensibility, but are familiar to those who have read comics for over a decade. The biggest weakness in the book, as far as I’m concerned, is the bad guy. He just doesn’t manage to come across as much of a threat, and that’s even with a device to blow up the planet they’re on. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 3 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 #61: June 30, 2010

Posted by Comics On July - 1 - 2010

Action Comics #890
Paul Cornell (w), Pete Woods (a), Brad Anderson (c). DC Comics.

I’m not sure what it is about Lex Luthor that I’m a fan of.  I am a sucker for the smart guys, but it may also be the fact that he is an underdog against Superman. Whatever the reason, I’m glad to see he’s got a starring role in the new Action Comics run. I’m a little surprised at the art – Luthor has looked both fat and fit in his time, but I’ve never seen quite so much variation within a single book. And no, Luthor isn’t experimenting with the Nutty Professors formula. The story is pretty cool: Luthor gets kidnapped and acts like it’s no big deal and is only marginally surprised by the appearance of his true captor at the end. What a guy. – Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 3/5

Bram Stoker’s Death Ship #2
Gary Gerani (w), Stuart Sayger (a), Dom Regan (c), IDW Publishing.

I’m still not sure that this is a story that needs to be told, but Gerani is stepping up his characterizations this issue, I especially liked the captain’s dream sequence. As with last issue, though, the real draw is Sayger’s art. It continues to be gorgeous work, adding a creepy, otherworldly quality to the book. If you’re an art enthusiast then this book is a must-buy. – Owen Craig

Owen’s rating: 3.5 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 #45: March 10, 2010

Posted by Comics On March - 12 - 2010

The Amazing Spider-Man #624
Mark Waid with Tom Peyer (w), Paul Azaceta with Javier Rodriguez (a), Andres Mossa (c). Marvel Comics.

After reading this issue I couldn’t help but wonder what fellow MONDOreviewer Isaac Mills thought of it. I believe that man loves Spider-Man more than I will ever love anything. Here the titular does the wrong thing, for the right reason, with good reason, but it blows up in Peter’s face. It’s classic Spider-Man, but did Peter go too far? I could see Isaac falling either way on the issue. It’s an interesting question and I think the creative team doesn’t have an answer for us, and I like that. It’s a point of debate and there aren’t any right answers, and that’s how I like my comics. – Miles Baker

Miles’ rating: 4 out of 5

Batgirl #8
Bryan Q. Miller (w), Talent Caldwell, Yvel Guichet, John Stanisci (a), Guy Majoy (c). DC Comics.

The art is really bad in this book, no two ways about it, and it only gets worse when the second art team take over the last few pages. They may not have had all of Caldwell’s early pages to know how to emulate it, but I’m sure he’s done earlier issues, his style can’t come as too much of a surprise. They cram a lot of story in this single book, and as always, I prefer that to the alternative. That said, Red Robin’s sudden acceptance of the new Batgirl could have used some more inner monologue explanation on his part. Having Batgirl always think “Onward and upward” was pretty annoying, by the way. – Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 2.5 out of 5 Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #43: February 24, 2010 [UPDATED]

Posted by Comics On February - 27 - 2010

The Amazing Spider-Man #622
Fred Van Lente, Greg Weisman (w), Joe Quinones, Luke Ross (a), Rob Schwager (c). Marvel Comics.

I was really happy with the characterization of Black Cat in the previous issue, so naturally they go ahead and mess it up here. I freely admit that this will sound nerdy, but here it is: she sold a vial of Spidey’s radioactive crazy power blood to some vampire fetishists. That’s insane, right? Other than the fact that the premise to kick off the adventure is, you know, insane, the rest of the story is pretty good. They play with a bunch of vampire conventions while poking fun at Twilight fans, and Morbius returning is handled really well. The bad guy dies in a classic “Spider-Man’s fault but not really” scenario, a long time strategy for keeping Spidey’s gloves bloodless — I kind of thought we’d moved beyond that kind of device, but okay, we’re playing things up 70s style. There’s an okay Flash Thompson back up, I just wish they hadn’t narrated the story as “going through the stages of grief backwards” it’s a clumsy and annoying way of telling it. An okay filler issue, but way too expensive. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 3 out of 5

Avengers The Initiative #33
Christos Gage (w), Jorge Molina (p), Vicotr Olazaba (i), Edgar Delagado (c). Marvel Comics.

I’m going to level with you — I haven’t read this series post-Secret Invasion. Besides this issue and the one I reviewed last month, I mean. And in the meantime a lot has happened and I’m pretty lost now. I’m glad stuff happened, but I’m finding it hard to break back in.  Most of the characters I really liked are gone, and the ones I don’t know have taken centre stage. But the issue is well executed so I can’t pan it, but I’m not moved to extol its virtues either. — Miles Baker

Miles’ rating: 2.5 out of 5. Crossover rating: take it or leave it. 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 Best of 2009: Sandra’s Selects

Posted by Comics On January - 19 - 2010

Series of the Year (which also happens to be new) Chew

My favourite series of the year were all new ones, so I have amalgamated both Series of the Year and New Series of the Year into one category. There is no end to how much I can rave about how much I love this series. This series centres around FDA agent Tony Chu and his uncanny ability to capture psychic impressions from things he eats. My only regret is not having been able to get my hands on the first issue earlier. The story is unique and the art is quirky — two things that make any series a great one. John Layman and Rob Guillory make a serious duo. Everyone should be taking a bite out of this one.

Writer of the Year — Ed Brubaker (Incognito, Criminal: Sinners, Daredevil, Captain America: Reborn, Captain America, The Marvels Project)

Why Ed Brubaker? Why not? This man has been the mastermind behind most of my favourite series of the year and consistently writes good stories with great characters. I cannot help but love a man that brings me such joy. 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 »

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