Monday, August 10, 2009

Comic Reviews: August 5th Releases

Another week, another mixed bag. Marvel's Dark Reign storyline is a great idea, but so many of the books involved are treading water as events unfold that I'm suffering DR Fatigue. If regular crossover events are going to be sales drivers, the big two need to be careful to prevent this. Of course, since DC's big events are so badly marketed and executed, they probably won't feel any difference - unless DC Zombies, whoops, I mean Blackest Night starts to go south.

Here's the rundown:

The Mighty #7
There are too many of these "real-world" rogue superhero books going right now (see my reviews of two more in the indie section), and few of them have the impact of the obvious inspiration, Miracleman. This is one of the better ones, and after catching up on the previous few issues, I'm eagerly anticipating more. The Johnson covers help, too.

Jonah Hex #46
The best book DC is publishing, IMO. Palmiotti is doing great work on the title, although this, the 3rd part of a rare multipart Hex story, is let down a bit by the artist's storytelling skills, which makes the plot seem more convoluted than it really is. The whole thing will probably read better in a trade.

Justice League: Cry For Justice #2
Much online griping about this book, primarily the supposedly "out of character" portrayals of the top DC icons. My view is that the core books are the ones that dropped the ball and that this is closer in spirit to who these people are (ie, not the whining pussies they have morphed into in the monthlies). The art is nice, the story is going somewhere and you don't need a copy of "Who's Who in the DC Universe" at the ready when you read it, three things you can't say about most of DC's lackluster output.

The Hangman #1
DC is obviously trying to re-launch the Red Circle heroes with some real juice, employing fan-fave Straczynski as writer and Bill Sienkiewicz as inker, but sadly, this is an epic fail. Highly reminiscent of a plethora of origins that have come before it, the best thing I can say is that it is a serviceable comic that does not bode well for the Red Circle relaunch, especially as lesser talents are creating the rest.

Dead Romeo #5
If someone can tell me why I'm still reading this, let me know. Once I realized this revenge story of a reanimated hair metal band frontman wasn't Jesse "Blaze" Snider (son of Twisted Sister frontman Dee) working out his daddy issues, I lost interest. Only one issue to go before it grinds to a boring conclusion.

Amazing Spider-man #601
Cute and well illustrated issue featuring two short stories, one by Waid and another by Bendis. The Waid piece is a typical "that goofy Peter"story, with the slight twist that Parker bangs his room-mate after a drunken party, and has apparently blacked out so he can't remember where he promised to meet MJ, who showed up in #600. What a hero! The Bendis story is nothing more than a set-up for Jessica Jones' return to costumed adventuring. Well done, but overall this feels like it's moving pretty slowly.

Hulk #13
Tom Palmer should never, ever ink Ed McGuinness. As usual, barely anything happens. Norman Osbourne almost in last panel.

Ghost Rider: Heaven's On Fire
I really enjoyed the last GR run, which ended with the devil taking over heaven, which seems to me like a bigger story than Norman Osbourne taking over SHEILD, but what do I know? This picks up where that left off, and is another solid effort, including the return of Son Of Satan. NOTE: I would be happier to pay $2.99 instead of $3.99 and not get the umpteenth reprint of old Ploog GR stories that are looking to be the regular back up feature of this book!

Deadpool: Merc With A Mouth #2
No one is happier than I to see multiple Deadpool books on the shelves, although I am not feeling them all. The main book is great and I'm happy to say this one is a close second. Top mayhem and carnage with old skool Marvel humor, largely provided by the Zombie Deadpool head.

Captain America Reborn #2
I like all the talent involved here, but this is hardly a testament to their talents. Again, don't bore us, get to the chorus! Norman Osbourne in last panel.

Destroyer #5
Great mini-series from Kirkman wraps up in style, neatly sidestepping an ending that had been telegraphed since issue 1. Kirkman is at his best here, writing a refreshing take on the trad superhero story. It's a skill much needed in more writers, and the proof is that the most popular writers are able to do it well. Kirkman beats Bendis at his own game here.

Zodiac #2
Artist Nathan Fox apparently thinks he is Paul Pope and that Paul Pope's style is appropriate for a superhero/crime book. He is wrong.

War Machine #8
I really enjoy this gritty take on Iron Man's loose cannon counterpart, and this issue is no exception. Great pacing, art and storytelling, and an interesting take on WM. Although I'm troubled by the appearance of Norman O in the last panel, which is apparently how you cliffhang a Marvel book this week.

Astro City: The Dark Age Book Three #4
I typically enjoy an Astro City story, but this one has gotten away from Kurt & Brent. Looking forward to this mini ending and the re-launch of the regular monthly series. Hopefully we won't find that Busiek is burnt out, as this used to be one of the most enjoyable books published in the genre.

Irredeemable #5
Feels like the wheels have come off this book, which started as another take on the "good guy turned bad" theme. I initially had high hopes, thinking Waid's formidable background working on mainstream books would inform some new twists. It now feels hackneyed and stereotypical, and I'm not confident there are better days ahead, especially as this issue is touted as a "great jumping-on point", which it really isn't.

Absolution #1
Yet another "good guy turns bad" story, this time from writer Christos Gage. I find Gage's work elsewhere fairly pedestrian, so I was curious to see if he would cut loose here. The reality is less than I hoped, but this is still a promising start, with subtler overtones than the other books mining the same ground. Looking forward to issue two.

Chew #3
You should be reading this book, it's a gas. Not a huge fan of Guillory's art, but the package works and every issue so far has felt fresh - maybe not such a big deal considering this is issue three, but considering how many books blow their load in issue one, this is cause for celebration.

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