Saturday, August 29, 2009

Weekly Comic Book Reviews for 8/26/09

Batman and Robin #3

Creative Team
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Frank Quietly
Colorist: Alex Sinclair

Story – Batman Reborn Part 3: Mommy Made of Nails

After a short delay we finally get the final chapter to Morrison and Quietly's first story arc of Batman and Robin. Batman and Robin #3 was a fun read. These are the type of stories that I expect from Morrison.

No other writer in Marvel or DC does high concepts like Morrison. Even though his stories tend to be a hit or miss his work in these first three issue are a nice reminder why Morrison is so highly praised for his off the wall ideas and storytelling. This issue is dark, funny, disturbing (mostly coming from Pyg's over the top bad guy personality) and sweat all in one.

Morrison does a great job with Dick and Damian's dynamic not being the typical Batman and Robin dynamic we are used to. These are two very different characters who see their roles as very different. For Dick he sees that in being Batman he needs to balance out the dark persona he has to show to the bad guys with some of the sense of humor he had as Robin and Nightwing or he will turn into a clone of Bruce. As for Damian we see him take the role of Robin more seriously than previous Robin's as he acts more darker and brooding since he sees Robin as a stepping
stone to becoming Batman. This leads to an interesting dynamic as Morrison shows that it is Batman who has to try and show Robin the lighter side of things than the other way around.

Also I like that Morrison is continue the storyline from his Batman RIP story with the new Batman and Robin taking down Le Bossu. Even though I have admitted to not being the biggest Batman RIP fan I am interested to see Morrison continue his Black Glove storyline as he didn't really finish it yet.

And what really helps Morrison's story is Quietly's artwork as it is just plain phenomenal. Quietly's artwork in this issue is something you won't find in any other comic as his style is very distinct with a great balance between the dark and humorous moments. Though it is to bad Quietly can't continue to be the ongoing artist in this series as Phillip Tan steps in next issue to take over the art duties. Good thing is he will return for what is said to be the Joker arc later in this series.

Issue Rating
Story: 9.3/10 – Morrison continues to tell a deep read that is very enjoyable to read. I like how he writes the new dynamic between Dick and Damian.
Art: 9/10 – As with the previous issues Quietly's artwork here is phenomenal. Quietly does a very good job being able to tell a story with his artwork alone.
Overall: 9.15/10 – Batman and Robin #3 was a spectacular read and a good way to cap off the first story arc of this title and begin the second arc. I am looking forward to seeing what Morrison has in store for the new Dynamic Duo with a new duo stepping on their turf.

Blackest Night Titans #1

Creative Team

Writer: J.T Krul
Artist: Ed Benes
Inkers: Rob Hunter, Jon Sibal, and JP Mayer
Colorist: Hi-Fi Design
Story – When Death Comes Knocking

Yep you read it right I picked up Blackest Night: Titans #1. As seen with my previews for this week I did not have this issue on my list of comics to get but when I went to my LCS and flipped through this issue I liked what I saw and decided to get it. And I got to say I am surprised that this was actually a good read. While it is not as good as the Blackest Night: Batman issue this was still a solid addition to Blackest Night and another case for the tie-ins to the event being better than the main book.

With all the characters involved in Blackest Night the Teen Titans is one group that it actually feels like they need to have a mini-series to tie into Blackest Night. They have had the most losses in their team members out of all the teams running around in the DC Universe. J.T. Krul definitely did a great job showing the rich Teen Titan history, both good and bad. His characterization of all the various Teen Titans members, past and present, were spot on.

Ed Benes excellent artwork helped Krul's story immensely in this issue. While Benes does overdue it with the model like poses of the female characters I liked how much emotion he brought into this issue through his artwork alone. The characters were all well designed and Benes was ab
le to capure the dark part of the story while not going overboard with making the issue feel too dark that it takes away from the story.

I especially liked how Krul wro
te Starfire and Beast Boy with each one providing an argument for Terra being considered either a villain or hero. I have always liked the Beast Boy and Terra relationship and it is nice to see a writer address the relationship. With Terra being back as a Black Lantern it should provide Beast Boy and Geo-Force, who had a non-speaking cameo in this issue, with plenty of drama as they are sure to be the center of this mini-series.

The other main part of this story involving Hawk and Dove was just as interesting. As we saw in Blackest Night #2 the original Hawk was revived as a Black Lantern while Dove was not. And in this issue we got another clue to why Dove is not brought back with the current Dove having a white aura that is unreadable. After thinking about this for a bit I am starting to think that this white aura that Dove had and the reason the original Dove was not brought back is not because of their heroic acts being unselfish but that they are characters in full control of their emotions from the time they were alive and when they died. And it would make sense that white would stand for serenity since that is what Dove stands for and it will be interesting how this concept affects what happens in the main series.

Though I do have one problem with this issue and that is that there is way too much going on. With the original Hawk's, Terra, Lillith, Donna's husband and son it seems that Krul is going to be juggling a lot as we will most likely see other dead Titan related characters return like the original Ravager and the recently deceased Kid/Red Devil. Krul is going to have to pick and choose which characters to return as Black Lanterns because if he doesn't this three issue mini-series may be dealing with the problem Geoff Johns is having in the main Blackest Night series with too many characters to juggle.

Issue Rating
Story: 7
.5/10 – J.T. Krul impressed me with his storytelling abilities. His strong character work in this issue was what sold me two pick up the rest of this mini-series.
Art: 8.2/10 – Ed Benes provided plenty of his solid artwork and he did an especially good job with giving plenty of emotion to this issue through his artwork.
Overall: 7.85/10 – Blackest Night: Titans #1 was a solid read and even though I was not originally going to pick up this mini-series Krul and Benes combined to tell a very good Blackest Night story that I will read the rest of this three issue mini-series.

The Flash: Rebirth #4

Creative Team
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ethan Van Sciver
Colorist: Brian Miller

Story – Flash Facts

Another Geoff Johns book released this week that showed signs of improvement and some actual plot progression. Unlike this week's issue of Green Lantern though we didn't get much development until the last half of the issue as the first part of the issue felt more like a recap
than an actual story. Though for his part Johns writing in this issue is the strongest it has been this whole mini-series.

While Barry still came off as having a one note personality what helped make this issue better than previous three is that Johns was able to balance the Barry scenes with scenes that involved the whole Flash family. And that has really been one of the biggest problems facing this mini-series, as well as Blackest Night. While this issue still has that "Barry is the greatest" theme going it is good to see that Johns did not forget that Wally was the one that took the Speed Force to the level it is at right now since he did things with the Speed Force no one before him did.

Also I liked that the characters weren't just mopping around like they have been for three issues and actually did something about the strange actions of the Speed Force. That is definitely one thing that made Professor Zoom's appearance even better as he was his appearance made the story move forward and had the heroes act like heroes, yeah I know weird concept right.

And the dramatic moment when Zoom appeared in Wally's house where his kids and Linda were was great as I was on the edge of my seat since I did not know if Johns would actually kill Wally's family in order to show Zoom is the badass he says he is. I glad Wally's family did not die as killing a main character's family members has become too much of a cliché in comics now in order to darken up the character(s). For the first time in this series I was actually rooting, in my head of course, for the heroes when Bart and Jay showed up to save Wally's kids as it was great to see them save their (extended) family.

I also liked the parallels Johns used with having both Wally and Barry run towards one another without the other knowing how close they were to one another. Along with the Zoom battle going
on this made the issue tenser and dramatic as both characters were thinking of what makes them get out of the Speed Force's is their loved ones. And it was great that it was Barry that helped Max find his lighting rod to get out of the Speed Force since it was the first time Barry did not act like a sad and depressed loner and showed a sign of hope.

With that said there were aspects of this issue that really keep it from being a home run. The first thing is that I
don't really like or understand the concept of Barry being the Speed Force. While it puts Barry above all the other Speedsters it makes the Speed Force an overly complicated concept that can become over convoluted. Because since all the Speedsters basically derive their powers from Barry does that mean how fast they can run depends on how powerful Barry is at that time? Also if Barry is the Speed Force were exactly does Barry get his powers? Does Barry's power level depend on his emotional state similar to how the Lantern power rings work? Or is it something else? While it is interesting if mishandled Johns can turn the Speed Force into a very convoluted power source.

The other thing I did not like about this issue is that the first half of the issue felt more like a recap than actually moving the story forward. A lot of Zoom's and Barry's dialogue at the beginning felt forced and unnecessary. And all of the dialogue made the first part of this issue boring that I almost stopped reading the issue halfway through because of Johns overuse of the dialogue.

Issue Rating
Story: 7.5/10 – Johns finally stepped up his game in this issue. While he still had some of the same problems from the previous issues this was a much better executed story than previously
Art: 9.2/10 – Ethan Van Sciver's art is as strong as it has always been. Sciver's art has really been the strength of this series and this was some of his best work as he finally was able to draw
some action that turned out great to look at.
Overall: 8.35/10 – Flash: Rebirth #4 was the strongest of this mini-series and is what saved this series from being classified as one of the worse stories of the year. Hopefully Geoff Johns can carry the momentum from this issue into the last two issue of this mini-series.

Green Lantern #45

Creative Team
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Doug Maghnke
Inkers: Christian Alamy, Doug Mahnke, and Tom Nguyen
Colorist: Randy Mayor

Story – Love Hurts

I have been one of the biggest critics to Geoff Johns recent work especially what he has been doing with Blackest Night. It is not that I am don't want to like Johns work, specifically Blackest Night, but just like Bendis and Brubaker in Marvel I hold Johns work at a higher standard than all other DC writers. Johns has done such a fantastic job for the past few years to get me into reading other DC books other than the Batman titles that the past few months of his work on Green Lantern and Blackest Night have just not been at the level I expect from him.

But finally in the fourth Blackest Night related issue that Johns has written we get an actual story that is not a bunch of senseless action scenes with deaths that I could care less about. While there wasn't much plot progression in the overall story being told in Blackest Night what Johns
was able to do in this issue is finally makes this event feel like it has universe ramifications and not just another event that affects Earth and its heroes. This is really the first issue where I felt that the threat of the Black Lanterns is really a danger to the whole universe especially since there is a war that is spanning across the universe making the Black Lanterns arrival even less unwelcome to all the characters involved.

Also I am going to say this knowing I may piss of fans of these two characters but I believe the reason I liked this iss
ue more than the two Blackest Night issues and the other Green Lantern tie-in issue Johns wrote is because Hal and Barry weren't in it. While I like those two characters they aren't characters who have very dull personalities and when they are together they are even more dull which is what has hurt Blackest Night so far. Which is why this issue stands out as we get a bunch of different characters interact with one another with each having their own distinct personalities. If Johns wants to make me enjoy the main series more he needs to mix in characters like Sinestro, Attrocius, Gathet, Carol, and all of the different Lantern Corps along with presenting the War of Light to give the story more balance.

I also liked how Johns introduced the Black Lantern homeworld in this issue as a living planet just like Mogo. While this wasn't a big part of this issue it was a nice introduction at the beginning of the issue a good way to introduce more of to the Black Lanterns than just that they are characters risen from the dead. It should be interesting to see how Johns takes this plot line that he should pick up on in the main series.

As I said before the best thing about this issue was the involvement of the various characters that Johns has developed over the year. The stand outs of this issue were Sinestro and Carol. I have never seen these two fight before and their fight and back and forth dialogue was very
interesting. These are two characters that have a long history with Hal and it is an interesting argument they each share with their views of what roles they and all the other Lantern Corps have in the War of Light. Also it was interesting seeing that one of Sinestro's greatest love was Abin Sur's sister and makes me wonder if she is Soranik's mother or if it is another person.

And the interaction
of this character as well as all the various battles going on made the reveal of Abin Sur and the rest of the Black Lanterns rising across the universe more dramatic. With the constant hectic battles going on the appearance of the Black Lanterns should pose as an interesting challenge for all the Lantern Corps since they were in the middle of the War of Light and now they may have to put the war on the back burner to fight the Black Lanterns. The best of the Black Lantern attacks was when they went to where Larfleeze is and his reaction to the Black Lantern rings appearing in front of him.

Also I like that the Indigo Lanterns were mentioned as being the most mysterious of the Lantern Corps since they are the only ones yet to make an official appearance along with the other Lantern Corps. This adds more mystery to the Indigo Lanterns as we still do not know what position they will take in the War of Light and the battle against the Black Lanterns as well as the powers the Indigo rings have.

Issue Rating
Story: 8/10 – Johns does a very good job balancing the War of Light along with the threat presented by the appearance of the Black Lanterns that Blackest Night finally feels like the big event that has been advertised.
Art: 9/10 – Doug Mahnke art is incredible in this issue. Mahnke gives the War of Light and the Black Lantern reveal the big epic feel that Ivan Reis has given the main series.
Overall: 8.5/10 – Green Lantern #45 was a big step up from the first three issues of Blackest Night related comics that Geoff Johns has written. With this issue I am finally excited to see what happens next in the event as Johns has built a solid foundation to pick up on in Blackest Night #3.

Guardians of the Galaxy #17

Creative Team
Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Artist: Brad Walker
Inkers: Victoy Blazaba and Scott Hanna
Colorist: Jay David Ramos

Story – Adam Magnus

After a weak issue last month Guardians of the Galaxy returns to form with this issue that deals with the aftermath of War of Kings. With everything that went on in War of Kings DnA do an excellent job continuing the story as this issue is a natural progression of what went on in the event.

What is great about this issue, and all of DnA's work on Marvel's cosmic universe, is that this is a team that embraces having a large cast in their titles. Team books seems to be the hardest type of titles writers to write in the modern era of comics as they it is hard for them to juggle a cast of 7 to 10 main characters. Which is why I love this series and this issue as we do not only get the Guardians of the Galaxy but also the Inhumans play a big role in the issue as well.

And as always the thing that puts this issue above most books is the strong character work DnA do with the two teams involved in the story. Even characters like Phyla, who is the only character in this series that I have not liked, was well written as she could be seen as the antagonist of this issue with her confrontations with Medusa, what she did to Warlock, and her fight with Gamora.

While I had to make a quick trip to Wikipedia to understand the ending with the alternate future stuff with Adam Warlock I thought it was a cool twist DnA threw in at the end of the issue. With
the appearance of Adam Magnus along with what is happening in the aftermath of War of Kings the Marvel cosmic universe looks to get a lot more chaotic which translates to being fun for us.

Also I can't do a review of Guardians of the Galaxy without mentioning how awesome one of my favorite comic book characters was in this issue. Rocket Raccoon was as awesome as he always is and I loved his interaction with the Inhumans specifically Crystal as they talk about Maximus and Groot. And I loved how Maximus basically says the Groot doesn't say "I am Groot" but is actually talking but we are to dumb to understand him as he is a higher lifeform than us.

As for the artwork this was some of Brad Walkers strongest work to date. Walker is really a hit or miss artist on this title with how inconsistent his art is from issue to issue. But here Walker does a great job making this issue have an epic feel in the aftermath of War of Kings. Though he still had some inconsistencies in his art when it came to some character faces which I overlook because of the great action and ending he illustrated.

Issue Rating
Story: 8.7/10 – DnA continue to make Guardians of the Galaxy a blast to read and their strong characterization of the GOTG and Inhumans in the aftermath of War of Kings was great.
Art: 8/10 – This was some of Walkers best work thus far. He did a really great job with everything going on in this issue with only a few minor inconsistencies. Hopefully he can carry this quality into the next issue.
Overall: 8.35/10 – Guardians of the Galaxy #17 was a great read. With what happened at the end of this issue and all the problems falling out of War of Kings the Marvel cosmic universe
continues to get more and more interesting and fun.

Teen Titans #74

Creative Team
Writers: Bryan Q. Miller (main story); Sean McKeever (back-up story)
Artist: Joe Bennett (main story); Yildiray Cinar (back-up story)
Inkers: Jack Jadnson (main story); Julio Ferreira (back-up story)
Colorists: Rod Reis (main and back-up stories)

Story – Child's Play Part 3:….We All Fall Down (main story); Fresh Hell Part 3 (back-up story)

Bryan Q. Miller has been doing a great job with this story arc and this final issue did a great job finishing up this fill in story arc. And this arc was one of the strongest story arcs this series has had since Johns work before Infinite Crisis. For the first time the Teen Titans felt like the Teen Titans as they worked well as a team and not as a bunch of individuals trying to work together.

As has been the case with the first two parts of this story arc were Miller excelled at in this issue is his strong characterization of the members on the team. The only character I still do not like is Bombshell, but of course I have never liked the character in the first place so it did not hurt this issue. All the members of the team were given great moments to show off their power levels and how close they became.

This was especially shown with the death of Eddie/Red Devil. While I never liked Eddie it was great to see Miller give the character a heroic moment to die in and not just some lame death that characters of his level in the Teen Titans usually gets. It is the first time that I felt the character was a hero and I like that in his death the team came closer together as they realize the risks they take as an official team.

The Fearsome Five came off as a very strong and competent challenge for the Teen Titans to face. Miller did a very good job building up the members of the villainous group to be the threat they once were to the original team. I hope that we see this group again as there are plenty of story possibilities with this team of villains. And the ending with the Calculator makes it look like this story isn't over with yet and we will see him and the Fearsome Five again.

And the back-up by Sean McKeever was much stronger in this issue than the previous installments. Even Yildiray Cinar art was stronger in this issue. I love seeing finally kick some ass and hopefully this is a sign the back-up to Teen Titans is actually going somewhere.

Issue Rating
Story: 9/10 – Miller did a fantastic job with this filler arc. His strong characterization in this arc will make it tough for Felicia Henderson follow Miller's short run. Also McKeever's back-up story was very well written than the previous installments.
Art: 8/10 – Bennett and Cinar's artwork in the main and back-up stories, respectively, was well done and did a very good job carrying the action packed issue from both the stories in the issue.
Overall: 8.5/10 – Teen Titans #74 was a great read. This was definitely a step-up from the stories we were getting in this series from the past year or so. Henderson has some hard shoes to fill after this arc by Miller.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Previewing this Week’s Releases: 8/24/09 – 8/30/09

Batman and Robin #3 Morrison and Quietly have been doing a great job so far on this title. This is just a fun story were Morrison is being too extreme with his story ideas like he was in the later part of his run on Batman and in Final Crisis. Quietly's artwork adds to the fun of this story arc and I look forward to this issue.

Fantastic Four #570 I really want to read Fantastic Four on an ongoing basis. This is one of the comic books I grew up reading. But I just keep jumping in and out of this title for the past four years. I did like the initial Miller and Hitch arc but after that the delays hurt the series which made me drop it. Now I am hoping that Johnathan Hickman and Dale Eaglesham can make me pick this series on a ongoing basis again. I have like the few things that I have read of Hickman's and Eaglesham is one of my favorite artist so I believe this is a team that can give a solid read.

Flash: Rebirth #4 This has been one slow series that has been nothing but Geoff Johns
trying his hardest to try and convince everyone how Barry Allen is the greatest hero that has ever lived. And now that this series has gone from being a five issue mini-series to a six I am looking forward to this issue even less. But hey maybe Johns will be able to surprise me and provide an actual story that is not just more Barry Allen praising.

Green Lantern #45Yet another Geoff Johns series I am not looking forward to. I have really soured on all of Johns recent Green Lantern work. And other than the Green Lantern Corps tie-in and Blackest Night: Batman #1 I have not like Blackest Night so far. But from the looks of it we are finally going to get to the War of Lights part of Blackest Night so Johns may surprise me in giving a good read.

Guardians of the Galaxy #17 The last issue of Guardians of the Galaxy wasn't as good as I was hoping. Still DnA have usually been money on this title and after what happened with War of Kings I look forward to seeing what DnA have in store for this title.

Nova #28 Nova has become one of my favorite titles since the beginning of the series as DnA have just made this title a lot of fun to read. I especially like that Richard is Nova Prime again and I'm sure this will be a fun issue with Richard going to save his little brother.

Teen Titans #74 – Bryan Q. Miller has been doing a great job with this arc. This is the first Teen Titans arc that I have enjoyed since the "Titans of Tomorrow….Today" arc. Hopefully Miller can deliver a great ending to a surprisingly enjoyable arc.

Scrubs Season Eight – Scrubs was a one of my favorite TV Shows and was a very underrated series. Though I will admit that season 5-7 wasn't the series best. But finally the series recovered in time for its final season, before its reboot to become Scrubs: Medical School, as this was one the shows best seasons since its third. A lot of great comedic and dramatic episode that saw a lot of evolution for all the characters that gave the show as a whole closure.

Smallville Season Eight – Still can't believe this show has been going on for eight seasons now. But season eight was the shows best season since the early ones that took place in high school. And for the first time in a long time I am actually looking forward to next season. Though I won't be getting this season on DVD until a bit later but if you're a Smallville fan this is a DVD to get this week.

Video Games
Batman: Arkham Asylum Even though I won't be getting this game until I get the PS3 Slim sometime next month this is still a video game that I look forward to playing. From all the gameplay footage and the demo I played at Best Buy this looks to be a great video game especially with the voices from the Batman: The Animated Series return to reprise their roles for this video game.

Dissidia Final Fantasy
I am a big Final Fantasy fan with VII, X, and XII being among my favorite video games. And once I heard that this will combine some of the biggest names from all the Final Fantasy video games, excluding XII and the upcoming XIII, this is a must buy for my PSP. I am sure to love this game and I think this should easily be a contender for video game of the year.

Legen-wait-for it-dary Comic Book Highlights of the Week 8/19/09

Cover of the Week: Daredevil #500
I just love this cover as it does a great job detailing Daredevil's history and the allies and enemies he has had in his career.

Amazing Spider-Man #603 Highlights
Just like how Chameleon as Peter shut Michelle up by basically saying "Hey, lets f***" without using the words.

Ouch!! Throwing Gwen in MJ's face, your messed up Chameleon.

Love the "Puny Flash." Chameleon is making Peter's life a lot harder upon his return from the acid bath.

Chameleon definitely knows that the Parker Luck isn't as bad as Peter thinks.

Saw this coming. Now we'll see how Peter can fix his life after Chameleon messed it up even more than it already was.

Batgirl #1 Highlights
I like that Dick is quick to figure out how the new Batgirl is and not just have him and Barbara run around like it is a big mystery of who Batgirl is.

Predictable. There was never a mystery of who would be Batgirl as I knew from the beginning Stephanie would be the new Batgirl since her return and her interactions with Tim before this issue.

Barbara knows there is no better stress reliever than beating up some dumbasses that try to mug her.

Stephanie going to college does make her more relatable as I have sat in class like this were I am as bored as heck and just drawing while a bunch of students are on there labtop probably on MySpace or Facebook.

Like the analysis Bryan Q. Miller made of why Cassandra wore the Batgirl costume in the first place.

Someone is in trouble.

Batman Streets of Gotham #3 Highlights
Love Zsavz death vision he had working throughout the Penguin Bar scene.

One group you do not want to mess with Mr. Elliot.

It looks like Damian does have a heart after all as he has a crush on Katana.

Like that we saw a quick conclusion to The Manhunter vs Jane Doe fight and it was not dragged out like I thought it would.

Daredevil #500 Highlights
Owlman is suffering from Wolverine envy and gets a sword slash to the back for his troubles.

Having Matt finally beat Lady Bullseye is great to see after all the hell she is responsible for putting Matt through the year.

Master Izo has quickly become one of my favorite characters and the fat joke to Kingpin cements that.

Being a double crossing snake always comes back to bite you on your ass which is something both Kingpin and Lady Bullseye learned here.

This is a good place to leave off for Brubaker on his run on Daredevil and an interesting place for Andy Diggle to pick up on when he starts his run.

Diggle had a nice handle with his back-up to this issue as it serves as a nice preview to his work on the Dark Reign: The List - Daredevil one-shot and to his run next issue.

See next image.

I liked all the cover/poster images Marvel packed into Daredevil #500 and these two were the standouts for this issue. This cover especially as it makes Daredevil look like Hellboy.

Wolverine: Weapon X #4
Dipping someone in a bunch of wine is one way of interrogating someone.

Not infront of the kids.

This was just one sick battle. The whole fight was beautifully choreographed and I wish we could get more fights that are as fun as this one was.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Weekly Comic Book Reviews for 8/19/09

Before starting this week's reviews I got to mention the biggest news of the week: The PS3 Slim. Finally after months of rumors that the system would come out Sony finally unveiled the 120GB PS3 Slim at GamesCon. Even better the system will be $299. To say I am excited about this would be an understatement. I am freaking psyched about this as I am finally able to afford getting a next gen system. I'm already thinking off what games I should get when I buy the PS3 Slim next month, though hopefully I won't have to get into too many fights to get one. :) Right now I know I am going to get Madden 10 and Batman: Arkham Asylum and if any of you have some suggestion for some great games on the PS3 let me know.

Also be sure to catch my reviews for Batgirl #1 and Daredevil #500 that I will be posting later this week over at Rokk's Comic Book Revolution. Alright time to get to this week's reviews.

Amazing Spider-Man #603

Creative Team
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Robert Atkins
Inker: Victor Olazaba
Colorist: Jeromy Cox

Story – Red-Headed Stranger: Deconstructing Peter

After two issues of a
verage issues in this "Red-Headed Stranger" arc Van Lente finally picks things up with a great third part to this story arc. Amazing Spider-Man #603 is the best issue so far in this story arc that has so far been average.

While it felt as though Chameleon was able to get away with BS his way through acting like Peter Parker to easily it was a lot of fun seeing how he was able to mess Peter's life up more than it already was. From doing it with Michele to calling Flash puny to showing MJ a picture of Gwen it was all great way to mess with Peter's life in a subtle way for Van Lente give this series more drama in Peter's life when he beats Chameleon and returns to his life. The best part was how he pointed out that Peter hangs around a bunch of gorgeous woman. It is something we have all noticed and it was nice seeing someone outside of Peter's circle pointing this out.

Though I wish that we would finally get to see an actual Peter and MJ meeting. So far Van Lente has been able to get away with having the two actually having a conversation but I hope we see them have a conversation in person so that we can get an answer to the question left unanswered.

Still Van Lente did a nice job with the meeting between "Peter" and MJ in this issue as we see that not all things were pleasant in that relation. It actually makes me wonder even more what happened between the two and if MJ really does know Peter is Spider-Man.

As for the art in this issue, it was some solid artwork provided by Robert Atkins. It was nothing spectacular but for a talking heads issue it was still good artwork. Though I wish Amazing Spider-Man could get one artist working on an arc instead of changing in each issue.

Issue Rating

Story: 8.4/10 – Fred Van Lente did a great with having Chameleon live Peter's life and mess Peter's life up even more. The developments in this issue should lead to some interesting conversation for Peter once he takes his life back from Chameleon.
Art: 7.8/10 – Atkins provided some solid artwork for an issue that was mostly talking heads.
Overall: 8.2/10 – Amazing Spider-Man #602 was a step up from the average issues that we have gotten so far from "The Red-Headed Stranger." Look forward to seeing how Spider-Man and Chameleon's confrontation ends in the next issue.

Batman: Streets of Gotham #3

Creative Team
Writers: Paul Dini (main story); Marc Andreyko (back-up)
Artists: Dustin Nguyen (main story); George Jeanty (back-up)
Inkers: Derek Fridolfs (main story); Karl Story and Jack Purcell (back-up)
Colorists: John Kalisz (main story); Nick Filardi (back-up)

Story – Hush Money (main story); Under My Skin (back-up)

Paul Dini continues to show why Batman: Streets of Gotham is currently the strongest out of the Bat-titles right now. Even though this third issue isn't as strong as the second issue of this series overall Dini has been doing a fantastic job with what life without Bruce around actually looks like.

What is most enjoyable about this issue, and this series so far, is that we get to see how much the deck is stacked against Dick Grayson as his transition into being Batman is being met with plenty of challenges. Though I h
aven't been the biggest fan of Hush, Loeb's Hush story was good but didn't like the Heart of Hush story arc, I like the new role of him posing as Bruce Wayne as it gives Dick a more personal challenge to face as he sees some stealing his father's identity right in front of him. I loved how Dr. Elliot used some of the Wayne fortune to buy the factory that turned Joker into what he is, and as Elliot told Batman and Robin, it does a nice job giving a middle finger to the Wayne legacy.

I didn't really like that Dick used his allies to intimidate Dr. Elliot to stop messing with his father legacy. It just to easy for Elliot to call Dick out on his bluff as it is hard to believe that all of the superheroes would rotate shifts just to keep an eye on what Elliot does as Bruce Wayne.

Still what I did like about this is we see the difference between Dick and Bruce as Batman as Dick has always been seen as the second most trusted hero in the DCU next to Superman. So it is in-character, and it is unsurprising, that unlike Bruce that Dick would call in his friends from the superhero community for some help. Though I wish we would have seen Dick interact a bit with some of the heroes he called in as we have yet to really see him interact with them since becoming Batman.

I liked the meeting between Black Mask and Zsasz. I love seeing how Zsasz saw the people in Penguin's place as a bunch of dead bodies. It reaffirms him as a deadly character especially since it has been a while since I read a story with him in it. I will be interested to see how Dick as Batman handles the threat of Zsasz in the next issue as it will be one of his first test against the Batman rogue gallery.

Still I can't say I am enjoying Black Mask involvement in the gang war. I just don't find the character to be
very interesting. Even though Dini tried his best to make Black Mask sound like a credible villain I just have never liked the character and find him to be on the lower end of Batman's rogue gallery.

Also while Dustin Nguyen does a good job giving this series a dark and gritty feel that Batman should have I am just not a fan of his work. At times the art comes of as a bit flat. And I just don't like how Nguyen draws Black Mask as he looks. Also he draws Damian to look a bit to much like Tim as Damian looks like he 16 or 17 and not 12 as he should be.

The Manhunter back-up continues to be average though this issues back-up was much better than the previous two installments. There really isn't anything wrong with the story but I did like the horror movie chase feel Andreyko gave to the confrontation between Kate and Jane Doe. What hurt the story was Jeanty's artwork as it was really inconsistent at times with some facial expressions that just did not look right.

Issue Rating
Story: 8.5/10 – Dini continues to tell a great story as he does a nice job balancing the troubles Dick is facing both personally and as Batman.
Art: 7.5/10 – While not a fan of Nguyen artwork he continues to do a good job showing how Gotham continues to take a dark turn without Bruce around.
Overall: 8/10 – Batman: Streets of Gotham #3 was another great read. Though I had a couple problems with the issue overall this was still a very well written issue that continues to make this series the best title out of the current Batbooks.

Wolverine: Weapon X #4

Creative Team
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Ron Garney
Colorist: Jason Keith

Story – The Adamantium Men Part 4

Wow! Just wow! I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a Wolverine as much as I enjoyed Wolverine: Weapon X #4. This was just a fun issue to read. Jason Aaron and Ron Garney are just kicking ass with this series. Reading issues like this one is want reminds me why Wolverine is such the big star he is now.

The great thing that Aaron has been able to do in this first arc is to build up a new threat for Wolverine to face that is a great addition to what has become a very small rogue's gallery for one of comics most famous characters. Chief Executive is just your typical evil CEO that Aaron does a great job making you hate the character because he is evil and not because he is dull like many new villains come off when a writer wants to introduce someone new to a heroes rogue gallery. And the Adamantium Men are also a great addition as his henchmen and challenge for Wolverine.

What I also liked about this issue is the addition of Maverick and HAMMER into the story. HAMMER actually doesn't come off as evil bastards that work for Norman but just people doing their jobs to protect the country. And it was cool how Maverick used one of the agents to get information in order to help out Wolverine.

Were this issue kicks ass is the fight between Wolverine and one of the Adamantim Men. The fight between the two was just plain awesome that was beautifully drawn by Ron Garney. Wolverine and the guy he was fighting come off as complete badasses. Garney does a heck of a job telling the story with his artwork alone during the fight as it is just one brutal fight.

Issue Rating
Story: 9.6/10 – Aaron just knows how to write a great Wolverine story. He does an excellent job building a new threat for him to face that actually come off as viable villains for Wolverine to face.
Art: 9/10 – This was some of the best work I've seen from Garney. His artwork for the fight we get in this issue was just plain awesome.
Overall: 9.3/10 – Wolverine: Weapon X #4 was just a spectacular read. If you have not given this series a try I definitely recommend getting it as this is a comic that is a blast to read.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Previewing this Week’s Releases: 8/17/09 – 8/23/09

Amazing Spider-Man #603 – The last issue was better than the first part of The Red Headed Stranger. Van Lente did a good job with the return of the Chameleon and I am interested to see what Chameleon wants, how "Peter's" meeting goes with MJ, and how Peter escaped getting an acid bath.
Batgirl #1 – It is a bit weird that DC waited this long to finally release the first issue of this new Batgirl series with most Bat-titles already having three issue out already in the Batman: Reborn storyline. Also DC has made it pretty obvious who is going to be Batgirl. Still I am going to give this first issue a shot to see if Bryan Q. Miller can provide a solid story as he has done with his recent work on Teen Titans.
Batman: Streets of Gotham #3 – So far Streets of Gotham has been the strongest Batbook since Dick Grayson has taken over the mantle. Dini has done a great job balancing out the action and drama in the first two issues. He has really stacked the deck against Dick with having to deal with Thomas Elliot (Hush) posing as Bruce Wayne, the gang war, a mysterious vigilante, and having to deal with Damien. With all of this series this is the issue I am most looking forward to reading this week.
Daredevil #500 – So far Brubaker has done a very good job with this "Return of the King" arc brings back Wilson Fisk (Kingpin) to the Marvel Universe after being gone for about a year. And with this issue being the last issue in Brubaker's run I expect him to deliver an excellent ending to this story arc before Andy Diggle takes over this title.
Wolverine: Weapon X #4 – Jason Aaron and Ron Garney have done a great job with the only solo book Logan is starring in now. Aaron has given this series an old school feel as he has returned Wolverine to his roots and living up to the "the best at what he does" that Wolverine hasn't really been living up to since becoming Marvel's most overexposed superhero.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Legen-wait-for it-dary Comic Book Highlights of the Week 8/12/09

This weeks highlights took a bit longer than expected as it was a huge week with getting 10 titles this week alone. But I finally found time to get all the images together and here are this weeks comic book highlights:

Cover of the Week: Incredible Hercules #132 (Djurdjevic 70th Anniversary Variant)
While I would have liked to have seen Djurdjevic draw an epic image of Hercules in the Thor costume there is still no doubt that as always Djurdjevic alternate cover here gives Thor an epic larger than life look the character should have.

Adventure Comics #1 Highlights
Being dead helps you realize that living in a farm in Kansas is so bad. Better than the alternative.

I'm guessing this final image picks up from the Legion of Three Worlds mini. Though interesting the back-up story itself was dull.

Amazing Spider-Man #602 Highlights
Welcome to Chameleon's museum of human faces. Enjoy your visit.

Chameleon has never looked more badass than he did in this issue. It was both awesome and creepy what he did with the people after he took their faces.

No issue of Amazing Spider-Man is complete without JJJ screaming at someone.

Bump, Bump, Bump! Let's see how Van Lente explains Peter surviving after being dipped in acid.

Batman #689 Highlights
Even though I have been enjoying Dick Grayson as the new Batman could the writers and artists team on the Batbooks stop making him smile everytime he puts on the cowl, please.

Check out the bottom left corner. Looks like the Daily Bugle published their first edition in the DCU. Nice little easter egg inserted by Mark Bagley who has largely been known for his Amazing and Ultimate Spider-Man work.

Wow, will you look at that Bruce actually being a kid. Who would have thought we would see that.

Let's see how Dick does in his first real challange against one of Bruce's old Rogues in the next issue.

Blackest Night #2 Highlights
Like with Martian Manhunter Aquaman really benefits from being a Black Lantern as he has never look like more of a badass than he does in his new Black Lantern look. I say he keeps the look when he is eventual revived, as a non-zombie that is.

This was the only interesting thing, on the story side of things, that was actually of any interest in this whole issue.

Having been watching all of Shark Week last week I totally dug this image of Aquaman summoning sharks, and other sea creatures, to kill all the Atlantian soldiers.

Flash Fact: Hal and Barry have dull personalities. Let the hate mail commence.

This should have honestly happened in the first issue not in one small panel towards the end of the second issue.

Oh no! The zombie Justice League. Just means we are going to get more senseless gore and death in the next issue and very little plot progression. YEEEEEEEAAHH! Not!

Blackest Night: Batman #1 Highlights
Definitely not the way you want to meet your grandparents for the first time.

This is actually more plot progression than we got in the main book of Blackest Night. And it is only a tie-in mini-series. It brings up the question if your soul must pass on to be brought back as Deadman soul is certainly not part of the Black Lantern version of the character.

Just love the fact that the Ventriloquist created Scarface using his ring.

Great way to summarize everything that has happened in Dick's life and what lead him to become Batman.

Just love the shadows of the dead covering the Batsignal.

Green Lantern Corps #39 Highlights
Does this just make it official that Saranik will be a casualty of Blackest Night.

Hopefully this means Guy will join the Red Lanterns as we have way to many Green Lanterns from Earth.

See if we would have gotten an image like this in Blackest Night #2 than I would have liked it more as we see how big the event is with this image alone. Just another case for Tomasi doing a better job than Johns over the past few months with the Green Lantern stories.

Its never good to see your ex again. Especially when they are a half dead zombie being controlled by a Black Lantern ring.

Red Robin #3 Highlights
Oh my god! I still don't believe that you have not gone crazy Tim. Could you actually show us some evidence of Bruce being alive and not just thinking you found it.

The Marvels Project #1 Highlights
A fantastic splash image of the "future" Marvel superheroes.

You do not mess with Namor.

And also do not mess with the first Human Torch because just by touching him you will be set on fire.

Ultimate Comics Avengers #1 Highlights
You really want to know what happened in the ten minutes you've been gone: Jeph Loeb happened.

The image speaks for itself.

Just doing what ever needs to be done to get the mission over with.

I betting a lot of guys, me included, would like to get the number of Tony's therapist as he/she gives Tony a great recommendation to get over his depression.

Ultimate Red Skull is hardcore with how easily he kicked the crap out of Captain America.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1 Highlights
Six months does wonders for a city that was under water not to long ago.

Will you look at that the cops actually being nice to Spider-Man. Never thought I see that happen.

Again, this is just wrong.

Love Ultimate Mysterio's redesign. So much cooler than the fishbowl costume of his 616-counterpart.