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MONDOcomics #93: February 9, 2011

Posted by Comics On February - 11 - 2011

Batman and Robin #20
Peter J. Tomasi (w), Patrick Gleason (p), Mick Gray (i), Alex Sinclair (c). DC Comics.

The most recent stuff I can think of to attribute to Tomasi is his work on Green Lantern Corps, and it’s easy to take for granted what a fantastic job he did over there. Since the last million issues or so have been stuck in Blackest Night crossover mode, I forgot how he built on the past of Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner, and other fan favourite characters, growing them together in ways that can only please the fan base. I remember (now that I think about it) one story where Bolphunga the Unrelenting (an old Alan Moore character) showed up to duke it out with Guy Gardner. Great stuff.

Now he’s starting up his run on Batman and Robin and there are no real crossovers to deal with. Thanks to hindsight, it’s now obvious that this was going to be an amazing issue. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics: Best of 2010: Owen’s Top 10

Posted by Comics On January - 2 - 2011

Honourable mentions: I wanted to point out a few books that are amazing, fantastic books that everyone should buy. The only thing is that these books didn’t ship enough issues to make me feel right about bumping some of the awesome books below off my top 10 list. Here are my honourable mentions…

Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine – This bimonthly miniseries has been a blast from the moment it started. This is going to be a must-buy hardcover for those that didn’t read it in issues.
The Jimmy Olsen backups from Action Comics – With only about 40 pages or so it’s hard for me to put it above some of the stuff on my list, but man do I love this stuff. If I get an ongoing (and I really want one) I would bet that this will make the top 10 next year.
Proof & Proof: Endangered – This is my new “recommend to everyone I talk to” title. If this series had released more issues this year it easily would’ve made my top 10. Probably my top 5.
Rasl – Sure, this book comes out at a snail’s pace, but it’s worth it. Jeff Smith’s storytelling is as good as it gets and with this level of quality I wouldn’t want to rush him.
Starman – You knew I had to get this in here somewhere. As MONDOcomics’ resident Starman obsessive it’s my duty to point out that there was a new issue this year. And it was great. 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 #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 #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 #58: June 9, 2010

Posted by Comics On June - 11 - 2010

Avengers Academy #1
Christos Gage (w), Mike McKone (a), Jeremy Cox (c), Marvel Comics.

This issue has a lot in common with Avengers: Initiative. That’s a good thing. After all, the first issue of Avengers: Initiative got me very excited for the second and the same thing happens here. There’s a cool batch of new characters and a great twist at the end. In fact, the only thing that bugged me was the main character frequently commenting on how small her breasts were when McKone drew her with average-sized breasts (although I guess they are small by comic-book standards…). I totally dug this book and can’t wait for issue two. — Owen Craig

Owen’s rating: 4 out of 5

Batman #700
Grant Morrison (w), Tony Daniel, Frank Quitely, Scott Kolins, Andy Kubert, David Finch, Richard Friend (a), Ian Hannin, Alex Sinclair, Tony Avina, Brad Anderson, Peter Steigerwald (c). DC Comics.

Morrison continually impresses me with his legitimizing of the campy history of Batman — additionally it’s hard not to love the commentary divided between the three/four main Batman stories: the cheesy action packed science fiction of the fifty’s and sixties, the relatively “realistic” era of the 70’s and 80’s with Batman and Robin fighting against common criminals and uncommon intellectual challenges (with a great reference to the Dark Knight Returns using a gang of “mutants”, and a quick visual gag consisting of Batman shaving away his stubble on a roof top), the third story is a ruthless Damian Wayne Batman an easy reference to the antihero days of the 90s (and often contemporary era) as well as hinting to the very origins of “The Bat-Man” character, and finally the section denoting the possible futures for the legacy of the Batman mythos wherever it may turn. Ultimately, it is very clearly a Morrison work, so maybe it’s not your cup of tea, but if you’re an old school Batman fan, not just in it for the occasional movie (great as they are) but have read a Showcase Batman book or two, then you will want this book. — Isaac Mills

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

MONDOcomics #45: March 10, 2010

Posted by Comics On March - 12 - 2010

The Amazing Spider-Man #624
Mark Waid with Tom Peyer (w), Paul Azaceta with Javier Rodriguez (a), Andres Mossa (c). Marvel Comics.

After reading this issue I couldn’t help but wonder what fellow MONDOreviewer Isaac Mills thought of it. I believe that man loves Spider-Man more than I will ever love anything. Here the titular does the wrong thing, for the right reason, with good reason, but it blows up in Peter’s face. It’s classic Spider-Man, but did Peter go too far? I could see Isaac falling either way on the issue. It’s an interesting question and I think the creative team doesn’t have an answer for us, and I like that. It’s a point of debate and there aren’t any right answers, and that’s how I like my comics. – Miles Baker

Miles’ rating: 4 out of 5

Batgirl #8
Bryan Q. Miller (w), Talent Caldwell, Yvel Guichet, John Stanisci (a), Guy Majoy (c). DC Comics.

The art is really bad in this book, no two ways about it, and it only gets worse when the second art team take over the last few pages. They may not have had all of Caldwell’s early pages to know how to emulate it, but I’m sure he’s done earlier issues, his style can’t come as too much of a surprise. They cram a lot of story in this single book, and as always, I prefer that to the alternative. That said, Red Robin’s sudden acceptance of the new Batgirl could have used some more inner monologue explanation on his part. Having Batgirl always think “Onward and upward” was pretty annoying, by the way. – Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 2.5 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 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 #29: November 18, 2009

Posted by Comics On November - 22 - 2009

adv comicsAdventure Comics #4
Geoff Johns, Sterling Gates, Michael Shoemaker (w), Jerry Ordway, Clayton Henry (p), Bob Wiacek, Clayton Henry (i), Brian Buccellato, Brian Reber (c). DC Comics.

This issue is amazing — set on “Earth Prime” (ostensibly our Earth) Superboy Prime reads this very comic — Adventure Comics #4, and immediately rushes off to a comic store to get #5, because he has to know what happens to himself! As with anything that includes Superboy Prime they poke a lot of fun at us comic nerds, but this is kind of the first instance of the joke working and being funny (as opposed to insulting to the core audience). In fact, it’s really funny. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 4.5 out of 5

ASM612Amazing Spider-Man #612
Main story: Mark Waid (w), Paul Azaceta (a), Dave Stewart (c).
Backup story: Joe Kelly, JM Ken Niimura (a). Marvel Comics

Good start, story that Marvel has been advertising the hell out of for months and months. It got my hopes up, for sure. I’ve been a little iffy on Spider-Man’s adventures recently, but this did a lot to win me over. Though, one thing that is just driving me nuts (and maybe it’s just me), can Peter Parker just get with Nora already? She’s awesome and hilarious and totally into Peter. Do her! — Miles Baker

Miles’ rating: 4 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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