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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 Special: Chaos War #1

Posted by Comics On October - 8 - 2010

Chaos War #1
Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente (w), Khoi Pham, Reilly Brown (p), Tom Palmer, Terry Pallot (i), Sunny Gho, Val Staples (c). Marvel Comics.

I haven’t been reading the latest Hercules stuff, but I applaud this book on getting me up to speed easily enough. I also applaud the early use of a classic Star Wars reference. I don’t applaud having a classic villain, Nightmare, getting graphically killed as a way to help establish the rep of the “Chaos King” who’s the bad guy this time around. I know you can argue he did that to gain some nightmare powers or something… but unless it figures into the story later (and I will think an apology really loud in that case), they didn’t need to do it. Pham’s art was good at times, but for the most part it looks like every character was on the losing end of a fight, their faces were blotchy and crazy. The threat is far better than the more mainstream crossovers Marvel has been putting out lately- “the end-of-existence” versus “arbitrary-war-with-Asgard-that-started-the-exact-same-way-as-Civil War”. 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 #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 #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 #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 #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 #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’ Book of the Month for September 2009

Posted by Comics On October - 6 - 2009

detectivecomics857Sandra’s Book of the Month

Detective Comics #857
Greg Rucka (w), J.H. Williams III (a), Dave Stewart (c). DC Comics.

When I was looking through my pile to decide what I was going to choose for the Book of the Month there was only one title that really stood out, and that was this month’s issue of Detective Comics. The thing about this series that really makes it outstanding is the beauty and the intricacy of the art. Williams and Stewart create some of the most dynamic and bold art that I’ve ever seen, in this or any other series. Williams’ pencil lines are detailed and add a great flow to the story, especially with the insane use of all those dynamic panels. Combined with Stewart’s painting style and use of colours it just makes me all giddy and happy to be reading.  There hasn’t been an issue in this four-part arc that hasn’t made me rave about the series, so it only seemed appropriate for this to be my pick for the month. — Sandra Yao 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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