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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 #48: March 31, 2010

Posted by Comics On April - 2 - 2010

Adventure Comics #9
James Robinson, Sterling Gates, Eric Trautmann (w), Travis Moore, Eduardo Pansica, Pier Gallo (p), Julio Ferreira, Eber Ferreira, Pier Gallo (i), Pete Pantazis, Blond (c). DC Comics.

Travis Moore is fantastic — I don’t know that I’ve ever seen his stuff before, but it’s great, very reminiscent of Francis Manapul’s work on the last Legion of Superheroes comic. All of the stories contained here have a great advantage over the previous conglomerate that was Adventure Comics #8 — these stories aren’t a “Prelude” to the coming attraction. The idea of a prelude has become drawn out and increasingly pointless, exhibit ‘A’ being the previous issue. This comic just drops us directly into the action. There’s even an editor’s note that I should read Superman #698 before reading this book — nope! Just jumping right in, thanks. This was a fun book, with some cool moments from some of my favourite characters. I’ve even got to tip my hat to Supergirl for not letting Superboy get bashed embarrassingly in the back of the head by a Brainiac robot. Would have been even better if he was just paying attention to his surroundings, but I’ll take what I can get. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 3.5 out of 5

The Amazing Spider-Man # 627
Roger Stern (w), Lee Weeks (a), Dean White (c). Marvel Comics

I had a real debate with myself about this issue. On the one hand, Stern brings an old-fashioned sensibility to this issue that is really incongruous with Amazing Spider-Man these days; on the other hand, Stern writes a really fun issue and I don’t care. Spider-Man taking a page to stop a random mugging on his way to solve the big mystery is really endearing, especially when he thinks “Okay, back to work. Think, Parker…” as he swings away. It’s so awesome and heroic. I love Parker’s references to all the different times he’s met or fought the Juggernaut, and the recent events in his life. It’s nice to pretend that Parker’s life makes any kind of cohesive sense.  Plus Lee Weeks is a great artist and I love to see his work. — Miles Baker

Miles’ 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 #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 Book of the Month for January 2010

Posted by Comics On February - 1 - 2010

Isaac’s Book of the Month

Amazing Spider-Man #619
Dan Slott (w), Marcos Martin (a), Javier Rodriguez (c), Marvel Comics

You know when you re-read something and you can grow to like it more, or like it less? Well, I’m not doing either one exactly – my appreciation of it is just kind of being refined. I’m noticing the silly things, like just how crazy this would be out of context- a tall cyborg of an old man yelling at someone that he’s a rat. That doesn’t happen in real life, but it is a “comic book scene”. And I’m a big fan of the “comic book scene”.

One technique used in abundance is the abrupt scene change whose caption is still relevant to that last panel- we read the line as both a continuation of the previous action and the start of what’s to come. It leads to some creative visuals (like where Carlie Cooper’s face should be we shift to a panel of Aunt May’s. Certainly just as effective as a “Meanwhile at the Hall of Justice” style scene shift.), and it’s an interesting signature. Be sure I’ll be paying attention to future works by Slott to see if this is something he abuses, but at this point it’s cool. 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 #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 #23: October 7, 2009

Posted by Comics On October - 9 - 2009

amazingspiderman608Amazing Spider-Man #608
Marc Guggenheim (w), Marco Checchetto, Luke Ross and Rick Magyar (a), Fabio D’Auria (c). Marvel Comics.

Finally moving out of the debacle that was the last two issues, we have here a fine comic indeed. Weird that the first page of story, set in the past, has Ben Reilly meet up with Dr. Ryder (the soon to be villain) and it’s pretty hard to tell the two apart. Weird because Ben is already a clone of Peter Parker, so really that’s three people who are hard to tell apart. Otherwise the art is really cool, but I’m biased because of a cool pin up of the Scarlet Spider. Cool action, cool story, classic Spidey failing at detective work, and cool cliffhanger — go buy it! — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 4 out of 5

astonishingxmen31Astonishing X-Men #31
Warren Ellis (w), Phil Jimenez (p), Andy Landing (i), Frank D’Armata (c). Marvel Comics.

I was looking forward to dropping this series until they announced that Phil Jimenez would be taking over. Apparently I’m a big enough fan of him to keep buying this series that I once loved with my whole heart. I have to learn that it’s not the same thing as it was for the first 24 issues. It’s Ellis’ book and he brings all the Ellis with him — which means uneven character development and lots of science talk. It’s hard to tell if I like this issue more than the last six because Ellis is writing it better or that I can stand to look at the art for more than 3 second. I think it’s both, but maybe it’s too early to tell. — Miles Baker

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

MONDOcomics #18: September 2, 2009

Posted by Comics On September - 3 - 2009

AgentsAtlas10Agents of Atlas #10
Jeff Parker (w), Gabriel Hardman & Paul Rivoche (a), Elizabeth Dismang (c). Marvel Comics

This is the difference that good art can make. Last issue, where I didn’t like the art at all, got a 3 out of 5. It’s still the same strong characters, same great situation, same great giant gorilla but with good art it’s just so much better. Although, I feel like more happened in this issue, so perhaps that’s also why the scale is tipped. Anyway, it’s a great series that teetering on the edge of cancellation — buy this book, people. It’s got everything you like in it: robots, dragons, sexy demi-gods, spies, talking apes, and a minority character in the central role. It’s everything comics should be. — Miles Baker

Miles’ rating: 4.5 out of 5

buffy_28Buffy the Vampire Slayer #28
Jane Espenson (w), Georges Jeanty (p), Andy Owens (i), Michelle Madsen (c). Dark Horse.

Alright, way better than last issue but we’re not out of the woods yet. Maybe this is just really fanboy of me: but shit keeps happening in this book that I don’t like and don’t think would happen if this property was still on TV. I’m not talking about the lesbian thing — I’m fine with that. But I’m not fine with a Xander/Dawn pairing. That’s just slash fiction to me. Also bad: shit keeps happening in this comic that they don’t really explain. Like, in particular for this issue, the Slayers stop using the magic that’s inside them. So for the seven years where Buffy would complain that she was thrust into this world of violence and danger that she couldn’t turn her back on she could have just turned her back on it the whole time? That’s kinda balls. Big hairy balls. They can turn it off? Since when? However, Jeanty’s art rebounds this issue and Espenson does provide some nice character moments. Still, this series has lost its luster. — Miles Baker

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

MONDOcomics #15: August 12, 2009 [UPDATED]

Posted by Comics On August - 15 - 2009

actioncomics880Action Comics #880
Greg Rucka & James Robinson (w), Julian Lopez (p), Bit, (i), DC Comics

For everyone complaining about how intertwined the Super-books are right now, “Codename: Patriot” looks like it only going to make things worse. Up to this point, as connected as the books were, they all had a particular star: Action had Nightwing and Flamebird, Superman had Mon-El, etc. This issue brings everyone together. It also finally gets Superman back in costume. If you haven’t been picking up everything, though (And this is one of the few times you’ll hear me say this), wait for the trade.

On a separate note, I’m a big fan of DC adding back-ups to certain books. Captain Atom isn’t my favorite among them, but it’s a fun, if slightly confusing, story so far. And it’s always a treat to see more from characters who can’t support their own books. — James O’Connor

James’ rating: 3 out of 5

Adventure Comics #1Adventure Comics #1
Geoff Johns (w), Francis Manapul (a), DC Comics

This is the Geoff Johns that I go nuts for. Oh sure, there is an appeal to the creepy, limb-severing, over-the-top stuff too, but I really like the introspective stuff full of quiet moments and careful character work. I’ve never cared too much for Superboy as a character. In fact, my first real introduction to him was when he was being killed off, but Johns’ skills are on display here, because I’m immediately hooked. Not only that, but Manapul’s art skills really step up an already great story. His landscapes are gorgeous and his character work is fantastic. This is a great book and I can’t wait for more. Also Krypto is there. This is great stuff, top notch. — Owen Craig

Owen’s rating: 4.5 out of 5
Isaac’s rating: 4 out of 5 Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #14: August 5, 2009

Posted by Comics On August - 6 - 2009

asm601Amazing Spider-Man #601
Mark Waid (w), Mario Alberti (a), Andres Mossa (c). Marvel Comics.

There’s a lot of weird stuff going on with this issue. It’s ALMOST the first time Mary Jane has made her reappearance, but they couldn’t really give us the actual conversation between that meeting except in a brief flashback. Much like her first appearance, it’s an event that can’t possibly live up to it’s own hype. The drunken hook up with Michelle Gonzales, who Peter Parker doesn’t generally get along with, let alone anything else, is the kind of stuff that Peter would be torturing himself about later, but he’s so completely thrown for a loop by Mary Jane that he doesn’t focus on it at all. Kind of out of character — he’s supposed to worry about the consequences of all his actions! I didn’t say it was healthy, just that that’s in his character. And am I the only one disturbed by the use of the word “deets”? A sweet back-up by Bendis and Quesada is a nice surprise. Really, I wouldn’t have expected it. — Isaac Mills

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

AgentsofAtlasAgents of Atlas #9
Jeff Parker (w), Dan Panosian (a), Elizabeth Dismang (c). Marvel Comics.

Oh, apparently I missed an issue of Agents of Atlas while I was on vacation. No matter, at least there’s a recap page so that I’m not totally lost on this issue. Thanks, Marvel, I’ll go back and pick up the other one because you weren’t jerks about picking up every issue. Anyway, I wasn’t totally taken with this issue of Agents of Atlas, largely based on the art. I looked up Panosian, mistaking him for a newcomer to comics, and was shocked to learn that he has a 20-year career under his belt. Probably not the best sign. It’s inconsistent and overly lined. But I like the direction the title is following; there’s some nice pay off to some flashbacks introduced in the first issues of the series. — Miles Baker

Miles’ rating: 3 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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