Friday, December 11, 2009

Weekly Comic Book Reviews for 12/9/09

Amazing Spider-Man #614

Creative Team
Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Paul Azaceta
Colorist: Dave Stewart

Story – Power to the People Part Three

After two average episodes Mark Waid steps up and delivers a very entertaining ending to this Electro story arc. Though the last issue improved on the first issue this final issue of this arc was a huge improvement over the first two issue of this arc. Though this is not Waid's strongest effort on Amazing Spider-Man it was a solid ending.

What I liked was that Waid was able to show Electro is much more powerful than he was before. Electro has been a villain with some nice potential that I have felt has never been tapped into. Even with his powers he was still nothing more than a street punk trying to get a little money by stealing which does not fit with the supposed unlimited power he has. But Waid changed that a bit by tapping into some of the characters potential by giving him a bigger scope.

I am going to say that I would have liked it if this "power to the people" thing sticks for Electro. It felt a little forced to make Electro bigger and did not fit with his previous portrayals.

Still, this new development for Electro did lead to a very entertaining fight between Spider-Man and Electro in the Daily Bugle. The only thing is that I still am not digging Kraven's wife and
daughter gathering Spider-Man's Rogues Gallery together.

The fight itself was good but what made it better was seeing Bennett and JJJ in there fighting and Bennett trying to get JJJ killed only for it to backfire on him. It was a good interaction between the two characters that has been a long time coming.

And with what happened to the Daily Bugle at the end of this issue I kind of wonder what will happen to the Daily Bugle now. The newspaper has been a mainstay within the Marvel Universe for a while now though over the past few years the Frontline has taken that position. But with the Daily Bugle now gone I will be interested in seeing what happens with Betty Brand as well as how this affects the Frontline.

The other problem I had with this issue, and arc, is the art by Paul Azaceta. If this was a Daredevil or Punisher book his art may fit but his art just does not fit well with Spider-Man. The issue felt like flat at times with the art though this is more about his style not being a fit for this title than the art itself.

Issue Rating
Story: 8.6/10 – Waid turned in some enjoyable dialogue and he did a great job with the
interaction between Bennett and JJJ.
Art: 6/10 – Azaceta provide okay artwork but his art is just not a good fit with a title like Amazing Spider-Man.
Overall: 7.3/10 – Amazing Spider-Man #614 was a fun read. If you have been enjoying the last few arcs on this title than you will enjoy this issue, but if you haven't than you might. Personally I liked this arc and can't wait to see what the Spidey Brain Trust has in store with this Gauntlet over arching story arc.

Batgirl #5

Creative Team
Writer: Bryan Q. Miller
Artist: Lee Garbett
Inkers: Sandra Hope and Oliver Miller
Colorists: Guy Major

Story – Batgirl Rising: Core Requirements Part One

Even though I said I was dropping Batgirl after the last issue did not 'wow' me I forgot to tell my LCS to take it off my pull list and I did not realize I bought Batgirl #5 until I got home. That is what I get for being in a rush. Oh well!

With that said I have to say Bryan Miller did a great job with this issue as he turned in his best issue of Batgirl so far, which I know is not saying much but it is. This was the first issue of this young series which was fun to read. Miller keep this issue moving at a great pace with no awkward transitions or scenes that felt out of place as in the first arc. Miller is quickly proving to be one of the bright young talents at DC and DC better not let Miller get away from them like they have in the past with other up-in-coming writers as he has done good work on this title and his short stint on Teen Titans.

I think a big reason this issue was a success was that we finally saw what Dick's reaction was to Barbara letting Stephanie be Batgirl. The two have always had an interesting relationship and I am not surprised that Dick snapped at Barbara for doing this behind his back as he has a lot going on with having to deal with so many problems in his first few months as the new Batman. Having, as Damian put it, an unexperienced and not well trained person under the cowl like Stephanie is not something Dick can deal with now as it is just another thing he has to worry about. It will be interesting to see were Miller takes this new rift between Dick and Barbara.

Also I enjoyed seeing Damian and Stephanie paired up together. Their interactions throughout the issue were great and I loved how Damian basically pointed out why Steph should not be under the cowl. It was a good moment for Steph as she was able to defend why she wears the cowl and why she should be the new Batgirl. Like with Dick and Barbara, I hope that we see Damian and Stephanie interact more in future issues of this series as they have a fun little relationship.

Besides that Miller did a solid job writing both Barbara and Stephanie's characters. This was the first issue where it felt like I was reading the proper versions of these two characters. They did not sound awkward as they did in the first arc of this series. Instead both were more confident and in line with previous portrayal's of each character.

The only thing I did not like about this issue was the weak ending that we got. The ending felt way to forced almost as if Miller ran out of pages to write a whole issue and just quickly threw together a cliffhanger at the end. It almost felt like a non-ending with how rushed it looked.

Issue Rating
Story: 8/10 – Miller provided some great dialogue in this issue and I hope he continues that with all future issues of this series.
Art: 7.3/10 – Lee Garbett's artwork was okay. There were some inconsistent looking panels but overall the art look good but it was just not great.
Overall: 7.65/10 – Batgirl #5 was a solid issue and convinced me to stick around for at least one more story arc. If you'd been enjoying this series so far than you will probably love this issue.