Friday, September 25, 2009

Weekly Comic Book Reviews for 9/23/09

I will be posting Amazing Spider-Man #606 and Guardians of the Galaxy #18 reviews over at Rokk's Comic Book Revolution later this week were so be sure to catch them there. Onto this week's reviews.

Fantastic Four #571

Creative Team
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Dale Eaglesham
Colorist: Paul Mounts

Story – Solve Everything Part 2

I love the first issue of Hickman and Eaglesham's run on the Fantastic Four and this issue continues the momentum from the first issue as they combine to deliver another fantastic (pun slightly intended) issue. One of the things many writers have forgotten about the Fantastic Four is that they aren't a typical superhero team. This team is more about the grand adventures the group has in locations that can only be seen in a reader's imagination. And many writers have forgotten this Fantastic Four has not been the same since Waid and Wieringo's run on this title. But Hickman and Eaglesham are able to tap into this aspect of the Fantastic Four and show why when done right this is one of the most fun comics on the market.

What I love about what Hickman is doing is that he is exploring more of what makes Reed Richard's tick as we see him deal with the decision of leaving his family to join The Council to help all universes or stay in his universe with his family. For a man like Reed that likes to be able to solve all the world's problems this is one of the hardest decisions he can make since he wants to
help make all worlds a better place but at his heart is a family man. And it was great to see the exploration of these ideas especially all of Reed's conversations with his other versions from the other universes. Hickman allows his imagination run wild in these scenes which is great to see as it is something not normally done anymore by comic book writers.

Also I really enjoyed how Hickman broke down the relationship between Reed and Susan. Out of all the couples in comics this is the strongest relationship we have. Hickman does a nice job showing that no matter what Reed and Susan know each other better than anyone else so they know when something is off with the other one. The conversation the two have in this issue makes Reed's choice even more interesting as we see how conflicted Reed really is without him telling Susan everything.

I also did enjoy the scene between Johnny and Franklin. I love that Hickman continues the sub-plot that Dan Slott set-up in the Spider-Man/Human Torch mini-series by showing Franklin as a fan of Spider-Man which pisses his Uncle Johnny off. The banter between the two was spot on and injects some much needed comedy to a very high concept issue.

Eaglesham's artwork in this issue was phenomenal. It was even better than his work on the first issue he did on this series. Though I wish Eaglesham would tone down the muscular look he is giving the 616 Reed there is no doubt his artwork is phenomenal. I love how Eaglesham portrays the different Reeds and all the different worlds. His artwork does a wonderful job bringing Hickman's story to life.

Issue Rating
Story: 9.1/10 – Hickman again delivers a strong issue. He has a great understanding what
makes each character in this title great especially Reed.
Art: 9.7/10 – Eaglesham's artwork is great yet again. He does an excellent job bringing Hickman's wild story to life.
Overall: 9.4/10 – Fantastic Four #571 was another phenomenal read. This title is quickly becoming one of the best comics on the market. If you haven't read these first two issues of Hickman and Eaglesham's run I highly recommend picking them up as you will not want to miss out on what should be a awesome run.

Nova #29

Creative Team
Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Artist: Kevin Sharpe
Inker: Nelson Pereira
Colorist: Bruno Hang

Story – Starstalker

Since the beginning of this series Nova has been one of the most consistently entertaining comics I get each month and this issue is no different. DnA continue to do a great job developing Richard Rider as a A-list superhero who no matter the situation is able to handle everything that comes with being Nova Prime.

What is fun to see is how Richard interacts with the new Nova Corps members as everyone in the new corps are still rookies. Even though the group he takes with him on the mission to
survey the aftermath of War of Kings have some experience they are still rookies to the Nova powers. And it is great to see Richard being shown to be a great leader as he continues to have the aura that has earned him the respect of those around him.

And I like that we are seeing Robbie becoming much more mature and trusting with what his brother has to do. At first Robbie was a very annoying character who I thought would die in the last story arc but now I am starting to like the character. It is nice to see him tell the other Nova Corp members in the control to trust that Richard knows what he is doing.

I liked the ending of this issue as it came to a surprise with how quickly everything happened. It is clear DnA have a wealth of stories to tell spinning out of War of Kings and this issue is a perfect example of some of the great ideas they have in store for Marvel's cosmic characters heading into Realm of Kings.

Issue Rating
Story: 8.5/10 – DnA continue to make this a fun read as they have a strong grasp of all the characters involved in the story.
Art: 7.8/10 – Kevin Sharpe's artwork did a very good job with the cosmic environment for the story. The only thing keeping the art from being great is some minor inconsistencies.
Overall: 8.15/10 – Nova #29 was another fun read. With everything that has happened with War of Kings and the aftermath of the event this is a great time to jump onto Nova, as well as Guardians of the Galaxy, as the stories are only going to get better.

Superman: Secret Origins #1

Creative Team
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Gary Frank
Inker: Jon Sibal
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Story – Book One: The Boy of Steel

Originally I was not going to pick up this mini-series but after being convinced by my LCS to read it I must say I am glad I picked it up. Just as the work Johns and Frank's did in the Brainiac arc last year the team combined to tell a great Superman story.

Before I continue I will say that this issue, and most likely the entire series, does not add anything to Superman's origin. The truth is Superman's origin isn't anything new and an origin that does not need to be retold. Superman's origin is one of the simplest origins in comics and is the one most fans and the general public knows.

The good thing is that this is the only weakness of this issue. Johns does a solid job telling Clark's origin and presenting it in a very intriguing way that both Superman fans and non Superman fans, like me, to enjoy this mini-series. The greatest complement I can pay to this issue is that it very much feels like what Bendis and Bagley did with Spider-Man's origin in Ultimate Spider-Man. And the truth is after reading this issue I wouldn't mind it if after this mini-series Johns and DC Entertainment somehow used this to launch their own Ultimate Universe. Something like this is very much needed to get new readers into the DCU just like the Ultimate Universe did to re-invigorate the Marvel 616-Universe.

What also helped to make this a great read is that at no time does Johns try to make it feel like this is the first time the reader is reading Superman's origin. Instead he is just trying to make Superman's origin fit in with what has happened in today's world, like Ultimate Spider-Man did to Peter's origin. This is not the campy version of Clark's origin instead we see a Clark who is vulnerable and yet to have the confidence he has in the current DCU as Superman one of the greatest heroes ever.

And even though he does have these amazing powers this issue grounds Clark's origin much more and makes him much more relatable than the God like figure he becomes in the future. What helped this story more was Clark's interaction with Lana. It is fun seeing Clark's early relationship with Lana before Lois ever came into the picture and both characters have some nice chemistry.

The same goes for the interaction between Clark and Lex though for different reason. It is interesting to see the two meet and how they don't even know what the future holds with one another and how their lives will be in the future.

What really sold me with this series though is Gary Frank's artwork. His artwork in this issue is just plain phenomenal. He does a great job with all of the various emotional expressions of the characters in this issue. I also love the Clark vs. the Tornado where we see Clark save Lana in his first time using his super flight.

Issue Rating
Story: 8.2/10 – Johns does a very good job retelling Superman's origin and grounding the character as he is still a confused teenager trying to figure out who he is.
Art: 9/10 – Frank's artwork is phenomenal. Frank is my favorite Superman artist. This is how a Superman book should look like.
Overall: 8.6/10 – Superman: Secret Origins #1 was a great read. Johns and Frank combine to tell a fun story about what Clark was like before becoming Superman. Even though I am not a fan of Superman Johns and Frank have me very interested in reading the history of the character. I highly recommend picking up this mini-series even if you are not a Superman fan.

Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant-Size #1

Creative Team
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Steve McNiven
Inkers: Dexter Vines and Mark Morales
Colorist: Morry Hollowell

Story – Old Man Logan: Conclusion

After a long delay the conclusion of "Old Man Logan" is here and what an ending it was. Even with all the delays this was well worth the ending that we got here. Millar and McNiven combined to give us a kick-ass ending.

The only negative this issue has other than the long delay is the $4.99 price tag Marvel placed on this issue. But that is more about what Marvel did as this supposed Giant-Size issue didn't have many good extras since the extras was basically a collection of all the covers for this story arc and some sketches. They were very lame extras for the price this issue had and would have preferred it if the whole page count was more of a continuation of Wolverine vs. Hulk since the fights seemed shorter than it should have been.

With that out of the way I must say I enjoyed the hell out of this issue. This was just a spectacular ending to this epic story Millar has been telling. What I liked that Millar did most in this issue is that he kept all the dialogue to the minimum. He knew that he had to let McNiven tell the story with his artwork. And man no one tells a story like McNiven. His artwork is just phenomenal and just an example why it is worth the wait to let a great artist to take his time with the artwork. McNiven is one of the only artist in the industry I am willing to wait to get an issue/series with his artwork as his artwork is just phenomenal with how much detail he puts in his art.

As for the story Millar told in this issue I like that he decided to end the story with Wolverine vs. Hulk. Even though the story of both these characters fighting one another has been told before I must say this is the best fight I have seen the two participate in. The fighting was just brutal and seeing Wolverine kill each member of Hulk's incest created family was incredible and not for the squeamish. It was fantastic thing to see as it is not something seen in comics often. It showed us the Wolverine that is the best at what he does and not the PC version of the character we have often gotten lately in the X-titles and New Avengers.

I also like that Millar had Hulk be the one responsible to bring back the Wolverine side of Logan. Wolverine's origin will forever be tied with the Hulk as he made his first appearance back Incredible Hulk #180. And having Logan take the last surviving member of Hulk's family to raise for himself brings everything full circles as we see one of his greatest enemies baby and turn him into a force for good to fight side by side with.

And much credit to Millar for the ending. While the whole riding into the sunset is a bit of a cliché it is one of the harder endings for a writer to pull of successfully. But Millar pulls it off as Logan sets of to bring the law back to a lawless country. Hopefully if Marvel ever comes back to the Old Man Logan world it is Millar and McNiven as the creative team for the sequel as it would be hard for any creative team to follow-up what has been done with this world they created.

Issue Rating
Story: 10/10 – Millar does a great job with all the dialogue and it is great to see a writer know when to allow an artist to tell the story. Millar did a fantastic job giving us the best fight between Wolverine and Hulk we have ever had.
Art: 10/10 – McNiven's artwork was just breathtaking. His artwork brings the story to life and no one does epic stories like McNiven.
Overall: 10/10 – Wolverine: Old Man Logan #1 was a phenomenal read. I love the world Millar and McNiven has created as being very rich and detailed. I highly recommend picking up this story when it comes out in hardcover next month.