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MONDOcomics #88: January 6, 2011

Posted by Comics On January - 6 - 2011

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

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

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

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

MONDOcomics #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 #85: December 15, 2010

Posted by Miles On December - 17 - 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 week we plug Fear Agent a lot even though no issues of that book were released. Enjoy.

Amazing Spider-Man #650
Dan Slott (w), Humberto Ramos, Neil Edwards (p) Cuevos, Damon, Olazaba, Scott Hanna (i), Edgar Delgado, Morry Hollowell (c). Marvel Comics.

At the conclusion of the last issue Spidey was at the mercy of the Hobgoblin’s sonic attack! A pretty decent cliff-hanger, with a fun resolution for this issue’s start. It’s not often that you can call an escape from certain death “fun.” It can be cool and exciting (and of course that element is present here as well). In this case, the unfortunately named Bella Fishbach blasts out some Lady Gaga that cancels out the sonic attack — if you like Gaga, then it’s an awesome shout out, if you don’t then you get the Spider-Man line “Can I have the nausea-inducing laughter back?” There’s something for everyone!

While it’s pertinent — the “background sound effects”, the laughter attack and the Lady Gaga are really crammed into the panels — I can see someone skimming through and missing those details entirely. I would have preferred an all pervasive background of “HA HA”’s (which, to be fair, they do for one panel, so maybe that’s good enough) to then get cut through by a loud jagged edged sound balloon to house and draw attention to the saving Gaga. It could be this was an aesthetic choice rather than a forgotten detail thrown in after the fact… but still, Ramos needs to include space for his art to be taken over a bit. This is, after all, a fused media of art and words. Read the rest of this entry »

Advance Review: Skullkickers #1 & 2

Posted by Comics On September - 20 - 2010

Skullkickers #1 & 2
Jim Zubkavich (w), Edwin Huang & Chris Stevens (a), Misty Coats (c). Image.

I’m going to get this out of the way — Jim Zubkavich is a buddy of mine. And the last couple weeks have been amazing for him. His new series from Image is getting buzz. Big buzz. A second printing before release?! That’s big buzz and good orders. That’s awesome.

It’s also awesome for a very selfish reason—it put the pressure off me. If I didn’t like Skullkickers I wasn’t obligated to review it. It’s not like the book needs to coverage.

That said, I think this is a good book that you should buy it, so I’m adding my voice to the many others who have already praised Skullkickers.

Fantasy. Action. Comedy. That’s all you need to know. If you like two of those three things than this is the book for you (though, chances are if you’re on this site than all three are your bag). For me, it’s an easier sell. I love fantasy comedy and there’s not enough of it in the world. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #72: September 15, 2010

Posted by Comics On September - 17 - 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #643
Mark Waid (w), Paul Azaceta (a), Javier Rodriguez (c). Marvel Comics.

Web swinging around New York with a two-minute-old baby — that’s the action in this comic, and it kept me pretty on edge the whole time I was reading. That’s a pretty successful comic experience. Not only that, but the villain to hero ratio is excellently high without feeling forced. For example, your basic Legion of Doom will have a lot of villains hanging around, fighting for leadership but still being a relatively effective force against the good guys because… of bad writing. Usually, the way they’re presented, these bad guys can never work together. But in this issue of Amazing Dr. Octopus is in charge, everyone knows it, now lets get that Spider-Man. There’s also an interesting claustrophobic effect by how many eyes are glued to Spider-Man, physically and electronically, as he’s trying to hide away and make the change to Peter Parker. Last but not least I have to mention how much I love Azaceta’s drawings of Spidey swinging around, the physics look great and the angles are really cool. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 4 out of 5

Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine #3
Jason Aaron (w), Adam Kubert (p), Mark Roslan (i), Justin Ponsor (c), Marvel Comics.

I was going to wait for the trade on this one, but it’s just too damn much fun. I can’t wait. Jason Aaron continues to totally rock everything he does with what basically amounts to being the most epic interpretation of The Odd Couple ever. This issue continues to build Spider-Man and Wolverine’s friendship/rivalry/annoying each other while bringing the awesome. In this case awesome includes a new twist on “The Living Planet” and the use of a Phoenix Force gun. Come on, how is this anything less than completely awesome? I’m completely loving it and can assure I will NOT be waiting for the trade for issues 4-6. – Owen Craig.

Owen’s rating: 5 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 #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 #60: June 23, 2010

Posted by Comics On June - 25 - 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #635
Joe Kelly, J.M. DeMatteis, Stan Lee (w), Michael Lark, Stefano Gaudiano, Max Fiumara, Marcos Martin, Matt Southworth (a), Matt Hollingsworth, Fabio D’Auria (c). Marvel Comics.

Spoilers at the end, you’ve been warned. As much as I don’t like references to the Straczynski-era of Spider-Man stories, the use of the Ezekiel character (or at least his history) was very satisfying. In fact, while I’m talking about satisfying, how about the part where Spider-Man flying tackles Araña out of the way, calling her Spider-Girl because he doesn’t have the time (or, I suspect, the patience) to care about what she wants to be called. I’m biased though; I don’t particularly care for Araña. It’s pretty funny though. What isn’t satisfying is the degree of difficulty all the “Spyder” people are having fighting the Kraven group. It’s one thing to have Spider-Man be really sick and tired, not at the top of his game, but he’s teamed up with three other super powered spider people. I mean, during the one fight scene team Spider even outnumbers team Kraven! There’s a character death that was excellently done, assuming it’s Kaine who dies. If it was actually Spider-Man in that Spider-Man costume that was killed and he’s going to have to come back to life in some fashion next issue… well, that would suck. The book would have been better without the two back up stories: Max Fiumara’s art is too angular and rough, and the Stan Lee back up runs right up to my suspension of disbelief and spits in its eye. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 4 out of 5

American Vampire #4
Scott Snyder & Stephen King (w), Rafael Albuquerque (a), Dave McCaig (c). Vertigo.

I think I’ll be dropping this book after this opening arc. And it’s hard to say why exactly. I’m just not digging it but it’s not a bad comic. It’s pretty good, I just don’t feel it’s as special as the rest of Vertigo’s line (well, what I buy of the line). I also want it to be more brutal — more violence, more nudity, more horror. The best thing about it is the art, and it looks a bit like Albuquerque is rushing in this issue. Now, let this be clear, rushed Albuquerque is better than most professional artists. But I still think he’s trimming corners in backgrounds and a few other places. I’ll get the next one. See what happens after. — Miles Baker

Miles’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 »

MONDOcomics #44: March 3, 2010

Posted by Comics On March - 5 - 2010

Adventure Comics #8
Sterling Gates, James Robinson, Eric Trautmann (w), Travis Moore, Julian Lopez, Pier Gallo (p), Julio Ferreira, Bit, Pier Gallo (i), Pete Pantazis, Blond (c). DC Comics.

Uh, well, this is the first issue of Adventure Comics post Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul, and it starts with a Legion of Superheroes story. This is what I expected so far. What I didn’t expect was that there would be three stories, all mini-prologues to the new Superman crossover.  As much as I like Superman, I get his stuff in trade, so this issue offers me nothing to get excited about. Well, besides having Superboy in the second prologue of course. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 2.5 out of 5

The Amazing Spider-Man #623
Mark Waid, Tom Peyer (w), Paul Azaceta (a), Andres Mossa (c). Marvel Comics.

During the “what’s been going on in the storyline thus far” part of the book there’s an interesting line touting the new Vulture as having real wings. This grates me because it assumes an environment where character doesn’t matter, only the checklist of fantastic powers they may have. The recent Web of Spider-Man story which featured the original Vulture had him create a device to break someone else out of prison only to kill him by dropping him from hundreds of feet in the air. It’s his twisted mind that makes him a villain — this new Vulture has barely said two sentences (to be fair his mouth isn’t really designed for speaking) he just doesn’t leave much of an impression. This whole “Gauntlet” storyline is completely overblown, it doesn’t feel like he’s getting hammered from all sides, which is fine by me, great even — except Spider-Man keeps telling me how much he’s getting hammered by all sides. When Mayor Jameson is accused of a scandal Spider-Man actually thinks “dear lady luck: how many more directions can you keep hammering me from?” Spider-Man is self absorbed, but I can’t believe he’s THAT self absorbed. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 3 out of 5 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 Books of the Month for October 2009

Posted by Comics On November - 4 - 2009

superboyIsaac’s Book

Adventure Comics #3
Geoff Johns, Michael Shoemaker (w), Francis Manapul, Clayton Henry (a), Brian Buccellato, Brian Reber (c). DC Comics.

Take the first “act” of the first story — Superboy is in chemistry class talking with an eccentric classmate, while surrounded by eccentric classmates. What is this? Sky High is surrounded by flying kids who shoot laser beams from their eyes? No, I don’t mean eccentric in that way.

I say “eccentric” only in that these background drawings are nuanced characters in and of themselves; any of them could be having a conversation with Superboy and I’d want to read it (disregarding my rabid Superboy fanboyism that would make me read anything with him in it). He’s talking to a well intentioned mad-scientist-to-be, but there’s Lori in the background sleeping away (that one’s obvious since she has a name and everything already), the girl beside Lori who is amazed at the chemical reaction she’s just created, the guy with the chemistry teacher who is scratching his head with a good-natured “Well, I didn’t get it the last time, but sure, explain it again” expression on his face, and in the far back a student reaching for a beaker high up on a shelf above her head while chewing gum in class (aha, another rebel) — I get the feeling that if Superboy walked up to any of them in the next panel, asked “ ‘sup?” we’d have a fun story, with conflicting wants and points of view and EVERYTHING! 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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