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.


Greg said...

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is a great PS3 game. The sequel, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, comes out on Oct. 13.

Kevin said...

@Greg: Uncharted is the game my friends keep telling me to get so I may have to get it, or at least rent it, to see if it is as good as people say. Thanks for the recommendation.