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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 #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 »

MONDOcomics #71: September 8-9, 2010

Posted by Comics On September - 10 - 2010

Adventure Comics #518
Paul Levitz, Jeff Lemire (w), Kevin Sharpe, Mahmud Asrar (p), Marlo Alquiza, John Dell (i),  Blond, Pete Pantazis (c). DC Comics.

I don’t know if this is an error from the writer or the artist, but the Legion of Superheroes main story is consistently focusing on the wrong moment. Most panels will have the faces be not quite dramatic enough to warrant a panel, or else the faces will have the wrong expression on them. Then there are the group shots, where every character has their own expression — great for showing us an artist’s range, not so great for communicating the kind of action we want in that page of art. The message of that page has to be “THIS IS AWESOME” but because we can see that not all the characters are in that moment the whole picture is diluted and less impressive for it. Yes, it’s more true to life, but it isn’t “comic book true to life”. It’s good to push the boundaries between those two, but unfortunately the creative team didn’t find the right balance this time out. The Atom back up is still cool, if a little loose with the continuity I’m aware of. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 3 out of 5

Amazing Spider-Man #641
Joe Quesada (w), Paolo Rivera, Joe Quesada, Danny Miki & Richard Isanove (a), Marvel Comics.

I just don’t have it in me to hate this comic as much as some other people do. I get it, “One More Day” was a travesty, I wouldn’t argue otherwise even for a moment. Did we really need to revisit it? Probably not. But did I find the scenes between Peter and MJ totally touching? Yes I did. Now maybe it’s only because I’m a romantic fool, but any scene of a couple realizing that they love each other yet they have to part ways hits me right here (I’m pointing to my heart). Sure, there are problems here. I’m not totally thrilled with the explanations of how all that stuff was undone during OMD, but the scenes of the now ex-couple were rather well done. At least I thought so. As I said, some seem to disagree. — Owen Craig.

Owen’s rating: 3.5 out of 5 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 #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 #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 #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 #53: May 5, 2010

Posted by Comics On May - 6 - 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #630
Zeb Wells (w), Chris Bachalo (p), Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza (i), Antonio Fabela (c). Marvel Comics.

One complaint you’ll hear about Spidey from non-fans is that he’s whiney. It’s not Spider-Man’s fault, it’s just really hard to write someone’s inner voice, particularly when they are thinking about themselves, and get it to come across as anything but whiney. What’s the solution? Well, if you’re Zeb Wells, you get Spidey to think about what joke he’s going to spring on the hapless bad guys in front of him – and the result is the funniest Spider-Man writing we’ve gotten in a while. Couple that with Bachalo’s pencils that run the gamut from cool to expressive to hilarious and we’ve got a winner. The last scene of the book is of a corporate tool antagonizing Dr. Curt Connors aka the Lizard (whom you also wouldn’t like when he’s angry) and I just kept yelling at the comic “No! You fool! Don’t you know what you’re doing?” He really didn’t, it looks like the Lizard got to eat him, but the important thing is the kind of reaction it got out of me. It was a good kind of yelling at my comic book. – Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 4.5 out of 5

Batman and Robin #12
Grant Morrison (w), Andy Clarke, Scott Hanna, Dustin Nguyen (a), Alex Sinclair (c). DC Comics.

Well, the art is a little static, but otherwise it’s a great book. We start off with Robin being remote-controlled to attack Batman by Slade Wilson (long time Dick Grayson enemy) so Batman kicks Robin and it hurts Slade. I didn’t expect that, but I liked it. Slade thinks he’s untouchable, that he can just walk up (via Robin) and kill Batman, and BOOM Slade’s in pain. (I think this is what pain feels like.) I’ve just realized that all the “moments” in this book are those “Cool moments” that Geoff Johns is always going for, but these ones are far more subversive and therefore work better. Man, if Ivan Reis was drawing this book… well, it’d be awesome. – Isaac Mills

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

MONDOcomics #49: April 7, 2010

Posted by Comics On April - 10 - 2010

Batman and Robin #11
Grant Morrison (w), Andy Clarke (p), Scott Hana (i), Alex Sinclair, Tony Avina (c). DC Comics.

I found this issue to be very unfocused, it has some great ideas of course, but they just aren’t fleshed out properly. The worst offender is Batman and his adventure exploring a part of the Batcave for clues about Bruce Wayne: not wanting to spoil any surprises for us readers we cut away before seeing just what cool thing Batman has found, then see Batman again after he’s gone through some costume tearing ordeal to get back to the surface. I would have liked to have seen that story! Instead most of the book follows Robin and Oberon Sexton team up for a forgettable fight scene that needed to be way better. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 2.5 out of 5

Buffy The Vampire Slayer #34
Brad Meltzer (w), Georges Jeanty (p), Andy Owens (i), Michelle Madsen (c), Dark Horse Comics

Meltzer is certainly doing better work on this comic than I’ve seen in quite some time, the only down side is that this title has lost so much momentum (and so much of my enthusiasm) that it would take nothing short of a miracle to make me care about this book again. Sure, the exposition in this issue and the storytelling employed were pretty neat but I just have a hard time giving it more than a shrug and a muttered “kind of cool”. Still, I had dropped this book for a while, so I guess the fact that I’m planning on riding it out to the end of the season speaks to the improvement at work here.  – Owen Craig

Owen’s rating: 3.5 out of 5 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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