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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 #63: July 14, 2010

Posted by Comics On July - 16 - 2010

Adventure Comics #516
Paul Levitz, Jeff Lemire (w), Kevin Sharpe, Mahmud Asrar (p), Marlo Alquiza, John Dell (i), Blond, Pete Pantazis (c). DC Comics.

The Legion story serves as a sort of last will send off to a character that died a few years ago — better late than never? Otherwise most of the story is also a reiteration of the Legion origin. There’s really nothing to write home about here. However, the Atom back up was really nice; gorgeous art playing with some of the crazy science fiction effects of the Atoms world, it’s very quickly paced (as opposed to the drawn out Legion first story), and in old school fashion ends on a cliff-hanger (Will the Atom get out of this one?). It’s good enough that I have to buy the next issue to see how it turns out — you’ve suckered me in again, comics! – Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 3 out of 5

Amazing Spider-Man #637
Joe Kelly (w), Various (a), Matt Hollingsworth (c), Marvel Comics.

Alright, I’ll lay it out here: this is probably a better story than I’m giving it credit for. In fact, I can see that it is. It’s engaging, it’s complex, but it’s not the kind of Spider-Man story I really get in to. Grim and gritty, filled with some sort of spider-mythology about the true “Spyder” or what-not. It’s not quite my cup of tea. Still, there’s a lot to appreciate here. The art is quite good, and I didn’t even notice that Lark didn’t draw the whole thing until I saw the credits later (looking back on it now it seems more evident, but I didn’t notice at the time). Everyone involved crafted a very cool follow-up to “Kraven’s Last Hunt”, unfortunately it’s not how I like my Spider-Man. – Owen Craig

Owen’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 #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 #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 #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 #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 Best of 2009: Miles’ Must Haves

Posted by Comics On January - 20 - 2010

Series of the Year — The Unwritten by Mike Carey and Peter Gross

When they announced this title and showed the image for the first issue I was interested. This was at the beginning of my whirlwind romance with Mike Carey in 2009. We met in a couple of X-Men titles in 2007 and 2008, and I always liked what he had going on between the panels. But this year it was magic — magic and Tommy Taylor and a whole lot of literary references. I’m not going to pretend that I get all of them but I get enough that it enriches the work. And even if I didn’t know any of them, I would still be interested in this concept and committed to the series because of its excellent execution. The pages of internet reaction to this story are genius and show how much flexibility Mike Carey has as a writer. And Peter Gross is doing a fantastic job with clear, effective art, and solid sequential sequences. This is Vertigo’s next Y: The Last Man, Preacher, or Sandman. It’s that good.

Writer of the Year — Mike Carey

So, uh, based on what I just said about Mike Carey (basically implying that I want his word babies), this category is a no-brainer. Besides The Unwritten, Carey is writing my current-favourite X-Men title, X-Men Legacy, where he is not only telling entertaining stories about today’s X-Men, he is also fixing old continuity and making X-Men — as a franchise and cohesive narrative — better. This was also the year I caught up on Crossing Midnight and God Save the Queen, so we had a great year together. He’s one of the industry’s best and I don’t think people give him nearly enough credit. 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 »

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