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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 #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 #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 #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 #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 #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 #22: September 30, 2009

Posted by Comics On October - 1 - 2009

asm607Amazing Spider-Man #607
Joe Kelly (w), Mike McKone & Adriana Melo (p), Mckone, Lanning, Justice, Smith and Benes (i). Marvel Comics.

Is Peter Parker the new Matt Murdock? Because he’s bedding women like my favourite horned crime fighter. I like it — there should be more casual sex in mainstream comics. What I also like about this book is that the story arcs have unique sizes and shapes month-to-month. They generally allow stories to stay no longer than they are welcome and ensure a crisp pace (obviously the publishing schedule helps too). However, I think this story could have used a bit more breathing room. For a crime story, the mysteries get resolved with lightening speed and it damages the impact of the climax. But you get an appearance from a hilarious-looking, “classic” Fantastic Four villain who uses mathematical equations to fight Spider-Man, which makes this book worth the cover price. — Miles Baker

Miles’ rating: 3.5 out of 5
Isaac’s rating: 3 out of 5

Blackest Night: Titans #2
For a full review of Blackest Night: Titans #2 and Green Lantern #46, scroll down to our Crossover Corner. You won’t be sorry for long. 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 »

MONDOcomics #10: July 8, 2009

Posted by Comics On July - 10 - 2009

Amazing Spider-Man Annual #36Amazing Spider-Man Annual #36
Marc Guggenheim (w), Pat Oliffe (p), Oliffe with Lanning (i), Antonio Fabela (c). Marvel Comics.

There’s a lot to love about this comic. It’s a “#36” first of all, which means it’s another instance of going to “original numbering” (which I’m a big fan of). I also like that at the end of a list of his Spider-Man-y accomplishments, Peter Parker thinks, “I even fought a Sentinel once.” I just love how proud he is of that, like Sentinels are the toughest things out there. And of course copious amounts of Ben Reilly! No, he’s not back or anything, but the spider-writers have gone out of their way for years to avoid even printing that name, and here I’m given a montage of Ben Reilly moments. I’m pretty sure everyone should like this comic, but I’m really biased. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 4 out of 5
Owen’s rating: 3 out of 5

Booster Gold #22Booster Gold #22
Dan Jurgens (w), Dan Jugens (a). DC Comics.

Booster Gold has settled into a great rhythm now. It’s doing what I think it should be doing and doing it well. Every month Booster has an awesome, wacky adventure set in a past period of DC history. If that sounds like fun to you, then you’ll have a blast (I know I do); if it doesn’t, then give this comic a skip. This month Booster mixes it with the Perez/Wolfman-era Teen Titans. – Owen Craig

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

MONDOcomics #8: June 24, 2009

Posted by Comics On June - 24 - 2009

astonishingAstonishing X-Men #30
Warren Ellis (w), Simone Bianchi (p), various. Marvel Comics.

If a team takes two years to put out six issues (I’m counting the announcement at San Diego Comicon 2007 as when the creators started work) you’d at least hope they’d be good. Bianchi is perhaps one of the worst artists to attempt to make a coming in the medium’s history. It’s not that he can’t draw — his figures are fine, even if they are making strange and goofy poses in every panel — it’s that he can’t compose a page. He’s trying really hard with these complicated layouts that fall dead flat. Why? Because there’s no fucking purpose to them. He’s losing out on emotive details because he’s adding angles and semi-circle panels. Then there is Ellis’ mishandling of the characters. He gets the occasional moment right, but then so many so wrong, like Wolverine saying that he’s “Old enough to spank the front o’ your brain with one o’ my claws, Summers.” “‘o”? Since when is Wolverine a character from Treasure fucking Island? If you liked Whedon’s run on Astonishing X-Men, pretend they cancelled the title. — Miles Baker Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #4: May 27, 2009 [UPDATED]

Posted by Comics On May - 29 - 2009

mar092530dThe Amazing Spider-Man #595
Joe Kelly (w), Phil Jimenez (p), Andy Lanning (i) Chris Chuckry (c). Marvel Comics.

There are a lot of great things about this comic, but maybe the best is the title page, where Harry Osborn and Peter Parker look up at Avengers Tower from Central Park. No, there’s no cool character flying to the tower itself or anything. And, yes, the architecture is a bit out there. Honestly, a pretty normal set-up scene, but it’s a perspective too few of us indulge in — looking up and seeing the world around us. It gives a whole new appreciation for the idea of a guy swinging around fifty stories up. It’s real and surreal at the same time, an amazing moment. There’s a cool Wolverine appearance and homage to Amazing Spider-Man #39 too, so go get it already. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Miles’ Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Owen’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5

avengers-initiative-24Avengers: The Initiative #24
Christos N. Gage (w), Huberto Ramos (a), José Marzan Jr. (i), Marvel Comics

I’ve been very frustrated with Marvel lately for continually putting Humberto Ramos on comics I like, from Mike Carey’s X-Men to Runaways and now on Avengers: the Initiative. It’s not that I don’t like a cartoony style; it’s that I don’t like a cartoony style when it’s expressionless, unclear and has a poor sense of anatomy. For an example of this have a look at the first splash page of this issue: I stared at this page for several minutes and I still don’t really understand what’s going on. Maybe the writing was good, I don’t know. I just know that I can’t stand to look at this artwork. Please, Marvel, please stop putting Ramos on books I like. It just makes me sad. — Owen Craig

Owen’s Rating: 2 out of 5

avengers-invaders-11Avengers/Invaders #11 (of 12)
Alex Ross and Jim Krueger (w), Steve Sadowski and Patrick Berkenkotter (p), Tom Mason (c). Marvel Comics.

There are moments in this book that are really sappy, but when they work they work. Like having WW2 era Bucky tell Iron Man “It’s too bad my Cap wasn’t around in your era. I think you two would have been great friends.” I’m a sucker for sweet odes to friendship, I guess? Wolverine yelling “Avengers Assemble” on the last page doesn’t do anything for me though. Could have something to do with how he prefaced it with a “know I’m not supposed to say this now in this time, but…” It’s really clunky writing, forcing bits you think sound cool together that don’t work. Bucky chronicling the adventure in a note pad is cute — a classic sidekick thing to do — but not the best representation to sell Bucky to modern audiences. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s Rating: 2.5 out of 5

tnbftankies02covcassadayBattlefields: The Tankies #2 of 3
Garth Ennis (w), Carlos Ezquerra (p), Hector Ezquerra (i), Tony Avina (c). Dynamite Entertainment.

So it seems I’ve been picking up a lot of Ennis’ work and the only reason for that is because it’s great. His characters are well-developed and show a lot of personality. With the creation of Battlefields, Ennis has really been able to create a niche for himself writing war comics. He pushes the preconceived notions that have developed over the years in terms of the weaponry and the tactics used in war. In this mini he explores and defies the once widely held belief that tanks were invincible weapons. Ezquerra’s art is fantastic and really matches Ennis’ edgy writing. — Sandra Yao

Sandra’s Rating: 4 out of 5

thehoodDark Reign: The Hood #1
Jeff Parker (w), Kyle Holtz (a), Frank Martin (c). Marvel Comics

I picked up the original Hood mini-series because Brian K. Vaughan wrote it. That was the only reason behind it. I liked it, not BKV’s strongest work but a good heist story with a cool concept. When Brian Michael Bendis gave the character a huge push in New Avengers I was surprised and disappointed that so few threads of the original mini-series were picked up. The Hood seemed like a totally different character. Well, not anymore. This is the sequel to The Hood and it’s a really good one so far. It settles you back into Parker Robbinson’s — The Hood’s — life, complete with supporting cast and the return of a character that I never thought I’d see again. So, if you read and enjoyed the first Hood I recommend reading this series. If you skipped BKV’s The Hood it’s worth going back, if only to read this. — Miles Baker

Miles’ Rating: 4 out of 5

ghost-rider-35Ghost Rider #35
Jason Aaron (w), Terry Moore (a), Marvel Comics

I still can’t believe it. Ghost Rider is fan-bloody-tastic. I know I’ve covered this territory before, but I’m still in shock. Moving on, this issue is gross, in the best possible way. An absolutely creepy new (right? I’ve never heard of her before, but correct me if I’m wrong) villain is introduced and madness ensues. Tony Moore draws the Hell out of it and Jason Aaron does what he does best: writes some kickass scenes. If you’ve ever said to yourself “Ghost Rider sucks, I’m not buying that” then just remember…I’ve said that too. — Owen Craig

Owen’s rating: 4 out of 5

gotham-gazetteGotham Gazette: Batman Alive? #1
Fabian Nicieza (w); Dustin Nguyen, Guillem March, Chriscross, Jamie McKelvie, Alex Konat and Mike McKenna (a); Guy Major and Guillem March (c). DC Comics.

It’s hard to go wrong with so much packed into a book like this: something will grab your eye. The last page has a Dustin Nguyen version of the classic “leaping Batman in front of a bolt of lighting” and it’s hard to deny how great that is. The art in the Leslie Thompkins story is far too bright for Gotham, a problem Robin had before it was cancelled (just readying for the relaunch folks). The story from Vicki Vale’s perspective (art by Guillem March) should have been the whole focus of the comic, nicely showcasing the Bat-family with their new status quo while Vale is busy figuring out the double identity thing. Of course March’s artwork is beautiful. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5

green-lantern-41Green Lantern #41
Geoff Johns (w), Philip Tan & Eddy Barrows (p), Jonathan Glapion, Ruy José & Julio Ferreira (i), DC Comics

This is sad. Johns is telling a great story here but it’s a story I’ve found a little bit meandering since the Sinestro Corps War. In this chapter Johns finds his focus and really delivers an emotional punch that I thought worked beautifully, but the art slightly ruined it for me. I don’t know what was going on here, but I don’t think the penciller(s) is (are) to blame. I don’t know too much about the process of inking and colouring, but something happened to give the art in this issue an incredibly inconsistent feel. One panel the lines were clean and clear, the next they were sketchy and gritty and in some panels there was even a pastel-like style going on. Any of these are fine choices in their own right, but switching between them seemingly at random and a last page which featured ALL THREE STYLES ON ONE PAGE completely undercut what should have been a great last page. It’s a pity; this could’ve been a great issue. Ivan Reis and “The Blackest Night” can’t get here fast enough. — Owen Craig

Owen’s rating: 3 out of 5

igcityIgnition City #3 of 5
Warren Ellis (w), Gianluca Pagliarani (a), Chris Dreier (i), Digicore Studios (c). Avatar Press.

There is something to be said about Warren Ellis and his writing abilities. I’m a huge fan of his online series Freak Angels and have become a fan of this mini-series as well. He creates new worlds through the establishment of complex stories within new cities that you just want to explore. In this series, Mary Raven’s been asking some dangerous questions about the death of her father, Rock. She finds herself at the end of some smoking ray guns trying to keep herself from getting killed. I’m excited. There is one problem though, the art just doesn’t do the story justice. I actually had a hard time reading the last issue because the art bothered me so much. Nevertheless, the story matters more to me, so I still love the series. — Sandra Yao

Sandra’s Rating: 4 out of 5

hercules-129The Incredible Hercules #129
Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente (w), Ryan Stegman (p), Terry Pallot (i), Marvel Comics

If you like awesomeness then this book is for you. If hate kickass fight scenes, hilarious dialogue and amazing characters then maybe give this comic a pass. Because seriously, every issue of this comic is golden. This journey into Hades is taking the comic’s “fun with mythology” approach to new heights. If you’re not buying this comic then what is wrong with you? — Owen Craig

Owen’s rating: 4 out of 5

jsa-27Justice Society of America #27
Jerry Ordway (w+p), Bob Wiacek (i), Hi-Fi Design (c). DC Comics.

Now that Geoff Johns is off JSA, I was wondering whether or not I’d like to keep buying it. I don’t get Justice League, but two pages into this and I remembered I like these characters. That Atom-Smasher somehow imprinted himself on my heart (I hated this guy before) and now he’s centre stage, and for this issue trying to get on Bibbo Bibbowski’s good side, so that’s another blast from the past right there. Or it would be if I didn’t read all those Superman: Man of Steel trades recently. This book got a couple of laughs from me. In fact, it just got feelings out of me in general: worried about Stargirl being possessed, frustrated at Obsidian’s quiet recalcitrance, and understanding Hourman’s fear. This is a good comic, I hope Willingham can follow suit when he takes it over. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s Rating: 4 out of 5
Owen’s Rating: 2 out of 5

animal-man-1

The Last Days of Animal Man #1
Gerry Conway(w), Chris Batista(p), Dave Meikis (i), DC Comics

I love Animal Man. So if any of you are wondering who this book is aimed at, look no further. The big question, though, is how did this Animal Man fan like the book? Honestly, quite a lot. Conway does a great job with the character of an aging Buddy Baker, an intriguing new villain is introduced and Conway takes the time to set up the future world of Buddy Baker before he marches in the future DCU guest stars (a wise move). The art is great, clean and detailed, and the Brian Bolland cover is amazing. My only real complaint is the cliffhanger. We’ve seen it. Many times. In fact, we just saw an almost identical cover in last month’s Superman (not that that’s Conway’s fault). I loved the book, but nothing about that ending has me chomping at the bit for the next issue. But honestly, fans of superhero stories should be checking this out. — Owen Craig

Owen’s rating: 3.5 out of 5

literals-2The Literals #2
Bill Willingham & Matthew Sturges (w), Mark Buckingham (p), Andrew Pepoy (i), Vertigo Comics

Now this is more like it. Just when I was feeling ready to give up on this storyline an issue comes along and nails down what should have been nailed down many issues ago. After parts 1-5 wasted time making jokes about storytelling and genre while portraying the Fables-verse characters mucking about outside their respective books this issue does what I’ve been waiting for: all of that PLUS progressing the plot. Toss in Mark Buckingham’s art and you’ve got yourself a solid book. Bravo, gents. Now bring it home in the final three parts. — Owen Craig

Owen’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5

northlandersNorthlanders #17
Brian Wood (w), Vasilis Lolos (a), Dave McCaig (c). Vertigo

If you’ve been looking for a new series to pick up, you could do a lot worse than Northlanders and this issue in particular. As an introduction to the series, this issue is pretty much perfect because it has all the elements that make Northlanders great. The entire issue is about two men fighting in a circle as a ritual. The captions explain the practice while giving you inside into the men desperately trying to stay alive and kill their opponent. The fight is gruesome and realistically portrays how hard it would be to kill a man with an axe or a sword. But what makes the issue more than an illustrated text book is how well the characters are written. They don’t speak a lot in the issue, but the details that Wood gives about their lives are interesting and makes the whole thing so very human.

Miles’ Rating: 4 out of 5

nova-25Nova #25
Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (w), Kevin Sharpe (p), Jeffrey Huet and Nelson Pereira (i) Bruno Hang (c). Marvel Comics.

I didn’t even realize this was an issue #25 until after I’d read it: they don’t make a big deal about it which is refreshing. Of course, Nova has always been about telling a good story, so I shouldn’t be surprised that Abnett and Lanning eschewed faux anniversary conventions. This issue has Richard Rider find out what’s wrong with Worldmind and how to fix it. Awesome, so now it’ll be, what? Another two issues before everything is resolved and the next story arc can happen? Oh, wait, they solve the problem in this issue too? That’s good pacing. They also answer the question about whether Rider will lose his sanity upon regaining the incredible power of the Nova force: “Nah, you seem to cope okay.” That’s pretty funny.  — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s Rating: 4 out of 5

runawaysRunaways #10
Christopher Yost and James Asmus (w), Sara Pichelli and Emma Rios (a), Christina Strain (c). Marvel Comics

Yay, the Runaways are back! It’s been a rough couple of years for my favourite comic teens: Whedon’s came out incredibly slow, then Terry Moore just missed the mark completely. He wrote them as dumber than they all were and that was the biggest piss off as a fan. When you know your characters are smarter than they are being written. Well, thankfully, the smart has returned to Runaways and they’re celebrating with two stories in issue 10. The lead story is definitely the stronger of the two, plus we get to see new series artist Sara Pichelli take a first crack at drawing the kids – she does a wonderful job. She reminds me of original series artist Adrian Alphona in a really good way. The second story is fun, but doesn’t flow as well. There are parts where  I wasn’t sure what was happening. However, Asmus writes the kids well — just the way nature intended. — Miles Baker

Miles Rating: 4 out of 5
Owen’s Rating: 4 out of 5

short-halloweenSpider-Man: The Short Halloween #1
Bill Hader and Seth Meyers (w), Kevin Maguire (a), Dean White (c). Marvel Comics.

For those of you unfamiliar with the reference, the title’s a take on Batman: The Long Halloween, a story which I rather enjoy. That’s just the start of some of the fun comic type references you find in this book. When a couple of guys dressed as the Green Goblin and Dr. Octopus get into a fight with the REAL Spider-Man you get such moments as “Hey Spider-Man, read any good books lately?” before tipping over a bookcase which doesn’t come near Spidey. And then there’s Doc Ock swearing revenge when Spider-Man leaves (he’s really in character). It’s supposed to be pretty goofy — and yeah it is — but it’s a sweet adventure where a villain decides he’s a hero and a bumbling Spider-Guy finds redemption (to a degree) with his friends. I was thinking how it’d be cool to see Kevin Maguire do a Spider-Man comic, but that he’d be wasted with the full face mask — I should have trusted him to know his strengths, the final panel is an unmasked Spidey with a simple smile. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5

SM Cv688 dsSuperman #688
James Robinson (w), Renato Guedes (p), José Wilson Magalhâes (i), DC Comics

If anyone has been saying to themselves “where is that James Robinson who wrote Starman, I want to read more of his work” then look no further. I, too, have been reading Robinson’s latest DC work, hoping that some of it would live up to the greatness that is his Starman run. After some pretty decent (but not spectacular) issues over the last year his work on Superman has broken through and reached the heights I’ve been waiting for. This issue is terrific. It won’t be for everyone, it is a quiet issue after all. There’s not much in the way of fights (although there are some), but there is some well-written character interaction, some philosophy from the guards of a secret door and a quiet moment for Mon-El as he comes to an important decision. I would call that a winning issue. — Owen Craig

Owen’s rating: 4.5 out of 5

teen-titans-71Teen Titans #71
Sean McKeever (w), Yildiray Cinar (p), Julio Ferreira (i), Rod Reis (c). DC Comics.

This issue follows Ravager and the fallout from the “Death Trap” storyline that I didn’t like. It’s a back and forth of her deciding whether or not to stick around with the team, even though she actively dislikes the leader. The indecision and ultimately Ravager’s leaving is all pretty standard fair, however a showdown with another member, Bombshell, to see whether she will stick by the team shows an interesting depth to Ravager’s character — she’s, at least, protective of her “friends.” The art is a big improvement in this issue over the last few. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s Rating: 2.5 out of 5

wonderwomanWonder Woman #32
Gail Simone (w), Aaron Lopresti (a), Matt Ryan (i). DC Comics.

So I’ve been reading Wonder Woman, not because I’m on love with the series, but more because I don’t want to stop until this story arc is finished. There is something about it that keeps me from being able to completely relate to her as character. Maybe it’s just me. Regardless, the story has been consistently picking up and it’s great to see Wonder Woman kick some serious Genocide ass. She comes to terms with the duty that she has as a protector of the human species, but keeps intact the essence of who she is at the same time. It’s a complicated balance and constant struggle, but she’s doing her best. — Sandra Yao

Sandra’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5

x-forceX-Force #15
Christopher Yost and Craig Kyle (w), Clayton Crain (a). Marvel Comics

Thankfully, this issue finally moves the plot a little. However, even though the plot has moved, the writing seems unable to raise the stakes at all. I don’t feel any danger for Hope or Thunderbird while they’re captives of Stryfe. The writers haven’t given me a reason not to think that they both won’t be skipping out of there in a couple issues’ time completely unscathed. And someone really needs to give me a reason to care about Bishop’s plan, it’s infuriating that no one has really bothered to explain it (perhaps they did in that Bishop mini-series, but if they wanted anyone to buy it they wouldn’t have put Larry Stroman on the art). Also, can someone tell me what Cable’s powers are? He’s a revolving door of mutant abilities. On the upside, there’s a really good last page that makes me want to read the next issue. — Miles Baker

Miles Rating: 2.5 out of 5

xmen224_cov_100X-Men Legacy #224
Mike Carey (w), Scott Eaton (p), Andrew Hennessy (i), Brian Reber (c). Marvel Comics

The end of the “Salvage” arch brings about some interesting changes to Rogue and Danger, two characters who never really interested me before but do now. This arch really served as the “pass the torch between Xavier and Rogue as the lead of X-Men Legacy and served that job well. Carey writes both characters with intelligence and pathos and an amazing comprehension of where they come from. He seems to know everything about the X-Men, even the terrible stuff. The biggest weakness of this issue (and really the whole arc) is that Carey’s Shiar villains weren’t very compelling. They’re drugged up space pirates, and while that sounds cool it isn’t. I feel they had no resonance with the characters. However, it’s still a solid series and I’m looking forward to what Carey will do with next. — Miles Baker

Miles Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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