Friday, October 30, 2009

Blackest Night #4 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ivan Reis
Inkers: Oclair Albert and Joe Prado
Colorist: Alex Sinclair

Story – Gathering

After reading Green Lantern #46 a few weeks ago I really believed that Geoff Johns was ready to actually shift the story of Blackest Night from the neutral position it has been since the end of issue one into the next gear. But sadly after reading Blackest Night #4 it seems that all momentum that Johns built with that Green Lantern issue was thrown to the side a bit. Instead of moving the story forward this fourth issue of Blackest Night is more of the same that we have gotten in the first three issues: Slow, boring story with little to no plot progression.

And after reading Green Lantern #47 it is clear that Johns is falling into similar trappings that Brian Bendis fell under during Secret Invasion. In truth Blackest Night is nothing more than DC's version of Secret Invasion. Almost everything that is important to this event, if not everything, is happening in the main tie-in books of Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps. Hell, even the Batman and Titans mini-series revealed more about this event than this main series has so far in its four issues.

This supposed main series actually reads more like a tie-in. It reads like it should have been re-titled to be called Blackest Night: Earth and cut down to four or five issues. This whole issue focuses on what is going on Earth. At no point do we see how the rest of the galaxy is handling the Black Lantern situation along with the War of Lights that is going on.

Other than knowing that the Earth is in danger there is no real sense that this event will contain the darkest days of the whole universe. This continues to be an event all about Earth with no true difference to other events that we have seen DC do were in the end Superman comes in and beats the big bad.

Now while I am complaining a lot about the story I will give Johns credit for his solid writing of all the characters involved. Johns has a great handle of Barry, Mera, and Atom as well as the other of Earth's heroes he uses in this issue. Even Lex Luthor does get his own moment in this issue. It was all solid dialogue if this was a story and event that only affected the Earth.

But again this event is not taking place just on Earth. This is supposed to be an event that looks to shatter the whole universe in pieces. Even though Johns is providing solid dialogue with all of the characters there is just no clear plot progression. Even the ending felt like it was more of an ending for the second issue.

The real story of Blackest Night is actually being told in Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps. Green Lantern #47 had more plot progression in that one issue alone than these first four issues of Blackest Night. It is freaking amazing reading the clear discrepancy in the quality of storytelling between the two GL books and this series that is supposed to be able to stand alone without relying on other titles to help it.

I would even say that the Batman and Titans tie-in mini-series were much better told, and that we actually found out more about what the Black Lanterns are in those tie-ins. I was actually surprised that Batman (Dick Grayson) and Dove did not play a more important role in this issue as they both found out key information to helping the rest of the hero community on Earth.

Finally, the whole ending with Nekron showing himself to be the big bad to Barry at the end was just the ultimate 'meh' ending. Thanks to early spoilers on DC and Johns part the Nekron reveal wasn't much of a reveal, as it was expected to be coming into these last two issues. Honestly while having Nekron be revealed as the supposed big bad of the series that controls the Black Lantern Corps may hold more weight with older DC fans for me, as a casual DC reader, this does nothing to excite me. When I got to the end of this comic and saw Nekron appear I couldn't have cared less for a villain who, from what I've been told and read, is a D-list villain, at best.

I think what hurts this ending more is actually not that it was spoiled a few months ago or that I don't care about Nekron. What really hurts this reveal is that after four issues the Black Lanterns are boring villains. Johns just continues to hit the same note with the Black Lanterns that have made them very dull villains, and because they have dominated these four issues along with the two GL books and tie mini-series that this event needs more. And that is where the War of Lights would have helped this title much more as then maybe the Black Lanterns would not have become so dull by the midway point of this event.

Now the saving grace of this issue, and this whole event, is Ivan Reis phenomenal artwork. Even with a dull and slow story involving the Black Lanterns he continues to shine with all of his artwork. And a lot of credit must also go to his inkers Oclair Albert and Joe Prado and colorist Alex Sinclair for making the art look so great. Even though I couldn't have cared less about the Nekron reveal at the end Ivan Reis and his crew did a great job at least making him look like a bad ass at the end of the issue.

Issue Rating
Story: 3.7/10 – While Geoff Johns provides some solid dialogue he does a poor job creating a story that is interesting. So far this has been a perfect example of good dialogue does not equal good story. Johns is making each passing issue of this main book more boring than the last.
Art: 9.6/10 – Ivan Reis continues to be providing this event some great artwork. His great artwork, with the help of his inkers and colorist, is able to breathe some life into what has been a dull and slow story.
Overall: 6.65/10 – Blackest Night #4 was yet another disappointing chapter in DC's big event. This event just continues to be one slow moving story with villains that have already become boring. Johns is going to need more than just the Nekron reveal in the last half of this event to make this a much more interesting story.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Previewing the Week’s Releases for 10/28/09

After some light weeks Marvel and DC seem to have decided to release almost all of their books in one week, or at least most of the comics on my pull list. With eleven titles this week this is probably the most comic books that I am getting in one week.

Batman #692 – Tony Daniel did not impress me with Battle for the Cowl. His work on that mini-series was very amateurish. Still I have been enjoyed the new direction of all the Batbooks and seeing Dick as Batman. And because of that I have a bit more positive outlook to Daniel's story arc that begins with this issue.

Blackest Night #4 – So far Blackest Night has been an utter failure in my eyes. While I have enjoyed the Green
Lantern and Green Lantern Corps tie-ins to this event Geoff Johns has made me less and less interested with each passing issue. And I hope that the Nekron reveal from a few months ago is not the big secret revealed here as I don't care about that character. Here's hoping Johns can turn things around in this make or break half-way point issue.

Blackest Night: Titans #3 – This mini-series has been surprisingly good. Though I know not much may happen in this issue I am still interested to see how this mini-series ends and how it
will be integrated into Blackest Night.

Fantastic Four #572 – Jonathan Hickman and Dale Eaglesham have been awesome so far on Fantastic Four. They have brought the fun back to the Fantastic Four. I can't wait to see what Hickman and Eaglesham have up their sleeves with the Reed Richards Corps and how the rest of the Fantastic Four will be involved in this storyline's finale.

Green Lantern #47 – The last issue of Green Lantern freaking rocked. It was the best issue of Blackest Night related material Geoff Johns has written so far for the event. Hopefully the momentum of that last issue will be carried over to this one, and Blackest Night #4.

Guardians of the Galaxy #19 – DnA have been doing a fantastic job on all things cosmic in the Marvel Universe. And Guardians of the Galaxy has been a role with the last few issues. This title just continues to be one of Marvel's best titles.

Nova #30 – See my comment for Guardians of the Galaxy. Great title that is among the best on the shelfs today.

Teen Titans #76 – Felicia Henderson did a solid job in her first issue of Teen Titans. It was nothing impressive but nothing horrible at the same time. Though I am not a big fan of yet another story with Raven and Trigon. Usually makes for a boring read this past decade.

Ultimate Comics Armor Wars #2 – The first issue was just a blast to read. Warren Ellis did a very good job nailing Ultimate Tony Stark's character and setting up a 007-like story in this mini-series. Expecting this to be a fun and fast paced read.

Ultimate Avengers #3 – Ultimate Comics Avengers has been a great read so far. Sure it may be more popcorn for the brain blockbuster movie than a deep and intricate story but it is one fun blockbuster comic. Miller just knows how to write a badass Captain America and love his version of Ultimate Red Skull. Can't wait to see where he takes the story next.

Wolverine: Weapon X #6 – While I am disappointed that Jon Garney is off this title I have to say Yanick Panquette is a great choice as an artist to follow up Garney's work. And the story that Jason Aaron looks to tell in this new story arc feels new ground for a character like Wolverine. Should be another fun entry into the Wolverine: Weapon X series.

Trade Recommendation
Wolverine: Old Man Logan Hardcover – Even with the long wait between issues Old Man Logan was still one of the best Wolverine stories we have had in a very long time. Millar told a fantastic story of an old Logan who has given up his former ways only to go back to the ass kicker we all know and love. If that isn't reason enough to get this hardcover than just get it for Steve McNiven's gorgeous artwork as his artwork in this story was not short of amazing. Truly great stuff from the Miller/McNiven team.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Weekly Comic Book Reviews for 10/14/09

Batgirl #3

Creative Team
Writer: Bryan Q. Miller
Artist: Lee Garbett
Inkers: Trevor Scott and Sandra Hope
Colorist: Guy Major

Story – Batgirl Rising: Point of New Origin Part 3

Batgirl #3 is more or less the same as the previous two issues. Bryan Q. Miller is doing a solid job on the writing but it is just not impressive. And most of that falls on Stephanie as a character and not the writing of this series. After three issues it just does not feel that Stephanie as the new Batgirl is enough to carry an ongoing title.

Even inserting Barbara into the title in the mentor role hasn't helped. In many ways this series feels like a Birds of Prey re-launch but with just Batgirl in the group. But it just feels that Stephanie is not enough to keep this title from lasting more than a year since she feels like more of a supporting character than a star of her own book.

As a fan of these characters I think what this series needs is more of a supporting cast to make it more interesting as the Stephanie and Barbara dynamic isn't enough to carry this book. I think this title needs characters like Huntress and Misfit to play recurring roles on this series to give it something extra and keep it from going stale.

Now I will say that Miller does do a solid job with creating a nice master and student dynamic with Barbara and Stephanie. In many ways Stephanie is like how Barbara was in her early days of Batgirl. Miller does a good job paralleling the two characters in this issue, while showing how Barbara has changed.

With her battle with Scarecrow in this issue it is clear Stephanie has a long ways to go before being capable as a solo hero and Barbara should help her become her own character than just being known as Tim's girl. Though I think the whole candle ceremony thing was a bit much and should have just been Bruce and Dick's thing as it was special to the dynamic between Batman and the first Robin.

Issue Rating
Story: 6.6/10 – Miller provides some solid dialogue as he shows he understands both Stephanie and Barbara as characters. But supporting character feel of the star, Stephanie, makes the story feel very average.
Art: 6.7/10 – Lee Garnett again provides some solid artwork but nothing to impressive.
Overall: 6.65/10 – Batgirl #3 was an average read. While I would like to continue to read this series to see if Miller can make this a better read but with things like Realm or Kings and Siege coming up I am dropping this title. Still if you are a fan of Stephanie and Barbara this is the title for you as Miller has done a solid job setting up this title to improve with later storylines.

Blackest Night: Batman #3

Creative Team
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi

Artist: Adrian Syaf
Inker: Vicente Cifuentes
Colorist: Nei Ruffino

Story – Who Burns Who: Conclusion

In what has so far been the best story of Blackest Night, Peter Tomasi does an excellent job finishing up Blackest Night: Batman with this final issue. The thing that has been killing Blackest Night is that the story has been very thin with every ones reaction to the Black Lanterns has been "Oh no it's my dead friend. What do I do? They are about to kill us if we don't do something." That has been Blackest Night as a whole, save for Green Lantern #46, which has made the story a thin and boring read.

And while that theme is in this issue what really separates this issue and mini-series from Blackest Night is that we are actually seeing the emotional toll it takes on the characters, in this case Dick Grayson and Tim Drake. Tomasi perfectly nails how these characters would react to seeing their parents back alive. It is something that hasn't been shown in Blackest Night as all the characters reactions so far to the Black Lanterns has been the statement I said before.

I like how in the beginning Tim thought seeing his father again was his second shot at saving them and Dick tried to be the voice of reason telling Tim that they weren't his parents. Then when Dick looked into his father's eyes he let himself go in the moment just like Tim and was the twelve year old kid who performed in the circus with his parents again. This paralleling of Dick and Tim is a good reminder how similar these two brothers are and how their history is similar
to Bruce's tragic history with his parents.

Then the scene were Dick and Tim come face to face to the ones responsible for the deaths of their parents was great as it is a very different way of having characters reach an emotional breaking point as Dick and Tim were filled with rage. It is much different to how other Blackest Night titles have used to make the characters reach their emotional breaking point.

Adrian Syaf helped make these scenes especially more powerful with his artwork. He showed a great range to illustrate emotion in the scenes with Dick and Tim seeing their parents. This is the first time I am exposed to his Syaf's artwork and he impressed me very much. I hope I see his artwork on something like Batman again as he has a good style to fit with Batman.

It was cool seeing Etrigan involved in this issue as Dick had Deadman go get him for back-up. It was an effective plan and shows that Dick knew that the situation he and Tim were in was not something they could get out of alone. Also we got to learn that there are certain magical creatures that don't register on the Black Lantern radars. Hopefully this means Etrigan plays an integral role in taking down Black Lanterns but he probably won't from how Geoff Johns has been telling the Blackest Night story and the characters he is using.

Also it was good to see Dick take up more of an aggressive approach with Damian as he made Damian listen to him and not try to act on his own. It is a good way to show the master/student relationship the two are having with Dick finally taking the role of the master while trying to make the cocky student, Damian, listen to his instructions.

It was also interesting to see that the Black Lanterns can't see people unless they have some emotion as they could not see Dick and Tim in front of them since they froze themselves. It adds another wrinkle to the Black Lanterns concept as works similarly to how infrared vision works as they need people to show some sort of feelings in order to see them or else they don't see those people, even if they are in front of them. I hope that this means that Batman will play a bigger role in Blackest Night as it would be good to see how Dick as Batman handles the first big Crisis as Batman and stands side-by-side with Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Flash.

Issue Rating
Story: 9/10 – Tomasi again shows why he should be helming a Batman title as he writes the best version of Dick Grayson and the entire Batfamily. I am hopeful DC wakes up and sees how great a story he wrote here, and with his Nightwing work, and actually gives him a one of the Batman titles starring Dick Grayson as Batman to write.
Art: 8.5/10 – Adrian Syaf provided some great artwork in this mini-series. He did a great job with all the action and the wide range of emotion that the characters in this issue showed.
Overall: 8.75/10 – Blackest Night: Batman #3 was a great issue and ending to this mini-series. This mini-series has so far been the best story from Blackest Night and I hope that with what was learned of the Black Lanterns is used soon in the main series and it is not pushed to the side. If you are looking for a fun action packed story with some emotional depth than I recommend picking up Blackest Night: Batman as it is a solid three issue mini-series by Tomasi and Syaf.

Green Lantern Corps #41

Creative Team
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Inkers: Rebecca Buchman, Keith Champagne and Tom Nguyen

Colorists: Randy Mayor and Gabe Eltaeb

Story – Hungry Heart

In another Tomasi written Blackest Night tie-in Green Lantern Corps #41 continues the current battle between the Green Lanterns and the Black Lanterns on Oa. For the most part Tomasi presents a very well told story. Still there seemed something off about this issue.

Before I get into that I will admit the thing that Tomasi effectively presents here is the chaos that the Black Lanterns appearance has on the War of Lights. In many ways Tomasi shows why the stars of Blackest Night should not be the heroes on Earth but the various Lantern Corps especially the characters we have gotten to know through GL and GLC titles like Kyle, Guy, Killowog, Arisa, and Soranik. Even if we have seen a lot of battles with the Black Lanterns already happen in Blackest Night it feels like the Black Lanterns pose much more of a threat when battling one of the members from one the Lantern Corps.

And similar to what he did in this week's Blackest Night: Batman issue the thing he nailed in this issue is the emotional toll the dead rising from the grave as Black Lanterns. It was great how we were shown Guy, Killowag, and Arisa each overcoming their own battles with the Black Lanterns. It drives home why they are part of the Green Lantern Corps as they push through anything that is thrown at them and have the willpower to overcome even their dead loved ones.

What helped these battles out was Patrick Gleason's great artwork. He continues to do a great job on this title and making each battle feel epic and bounce of the page. And the scene with the
Black Lantern children was effectively creepy.

Also I am interested to see were Tomasi takes Kyle and Soranik's relationship after their battle with Black Lantern Jade. It looks like Kyle may be in the dog house after Blackest Night is over.

Now the thing that keeps this issue from being great is that it suffers from the pitfall that has made Blackest Night into a boring read which is that the Black Lanterns are dull and uninteresting villains. This isn't really the fault of Tomasi but more the execution in which the Black Lanterns are presented. Other than being different dead characters all the Black Lanterns are the same. There isn't much of a difference from the dead heroes, villains, and characters loved ones coming back as Black Lanterns. They all have the same personality.

And this is very bad for Blackest Night as we haven't even reached the midway point of the event and the main villains of the series are already becoming stale. It makes me question the choice of making the event eight issues long even more. With how Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps are proving to be important tie-ins to Blackest Night I think the main series should only have been issue long as there isn't enough material to justify eight issues.

Issue Rating
Story: 7.4/10 – Tomasi continues to do a superior job in telling the Blackest Night story than what Johns has been doing over in the main Blackest Night book. With that said the story suffers from the main villains of the story, the Black Lanterns, being dull and uninteresting characters.
Art: 8.2/10 – Gleason along with his inking crew, Rebecca Buchman, Keith Champagne and Tom Nguyen, and colorists, Randy Mayor and Gabe Eltaeb, do a great job presenting the chaotic feel
of the Black Lanterns presence in the War of Lights, which had already thrown the universe into chaos.
Overall: 7.8/10 – Green Lantern Corps #41 was a very good read though it suffers from the main villains of the event being very boring. It would have been better if we could have seen other Lantern Corps members involved in this issue other than just the Green and Black Lanterns.

The Marvels Project #3

Creative Team
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Steve Epting
Colorist: Dave Stewart

Story – Chapter 3

In what has been the surprise of the year, Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting continue to tell a very enjoyable and intricate story of the origins of the Marvel Universe. The reason I choose to pick up this mini-series was only because of me being a big fan of Brubaker and Epting's work, specifically Captain America. But I did not expect to enjoy reading the beginning of the hero age in the Marvel Universe as much as I have been.

The big factor that is making The Marvels Project such a wonderful read is that Brubaker and Epting aren't telling a parody story of the early age of the universe that is now filled with super powered individuals. Most of the time that is where most writers do, they try too hard to imitate the way people spoke during that time period making it hard to take the story seriously making it feel like a parody of that time period.

But Brubaker and Epting aren't necessarily trying to imitate the time period. Instead they are taking a serious look at the 1940s and how people acted in a time of uncertainty and fear due to the war and the first super powered individuals appearing out of nowhere. It is really an amazing look as Brubaker nails the tone of that era in our history making this story feel like an extension of the story that he was telling in Captain America.

Brubaker is able to show both the wonder and fear in the people's eyes as they witness the first battle between super powered individuals in Namor and the first Human Torch. That is where Eptings fantastic artwork comes into play as his artwork perfectly captures the mood of the time period and also making the battle between Namor and Human Torch feel like an epic showdown. Even though we have seen similar and even bigger fights happen in both the Marvel and DC Universe this battle feels like it has more of an importance as it is the first recorded battle between two super powered individuals.

And the tone of the time period is not the only thing that Brubaker nails but also all the dialogue in the various scenes we get. Whether it be Human Torch, Namor, Angel, Nick and his crew or the people on the streets all of the dialogue has a natural flow to it. Nothing feels like it being forced in for dramatic effect. It is just great character with the development of the early stages of what shaped what we know now as the Marvel Universe.

Issue Rating
Story: 9.3/10 – Brubaker continues to do a great job building the origins of the Marvel Universe and making me care for characters I had very little knowledge of before this mini-series.
Art: 9/10 – Eptings artwork is continues to be incredible. His artwork for the Namor vs Human Torch scene was especially well done as the inking and coloring for the scene make it stand out from every other scene in the issue.
Overall: 9.15/10 – The Marvels Project #3 was another great read. This mini-series continues to be one of the best written comic book on the market. Brubaker and Epting continue to build a wonderful tale of the beginning of the Marvel Universe. I highly recommend picking up this mini-series when it comes out in trade paperback format as it will read even better in TPB form than in individual issues.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Previewing the Week’s Releases: 10/12/09 – 10/18/09

Batgirl #3 This new title starring Stephanie Brown as the titular character hasn't been bad but it hasn't been good either, it has just been average. Still with Batman and Robin supposedly appearing in this issue maybe Miller can save this series from being cut from my pull list.

Batman #691 I have actually been enjoying the latest Judd Winnick run on Batman. While it hasn't blown me away this is still a solid story with Dick Grayson growing into the role of Batman. And with a Batman vs. Two-Face to wrap things up for this storyline I'm interested to see conclusion of this story.

Blackest Night: Batman #3 Tomasi has done a great job so far on this Batman tie-in to Blackest Night. Even though I have not been a big fan of Blackest Night this Tomasi has done such a great job that I look forward to reading this issue as he writes the best version of Dick Grayson and the current Batfamily.

Green Lantern Corps #41 So far the tie-ins have been doing a much better job with the
Blackest Night story than the main series has. And Tomasi delivered a great issue in GLC #40. So I fully expect this issue to be another solid issue.

Red Robin #5 The only thing that is keeping me from dropping this series is that I am a big fan of Tim Drake's character. Chris Yost just has not impressed me so far in this title. I am still hopeful that Yost can turn things around on this title.

The Marvels Project #3 Brubaker is really taking a slow and methodical approach to this mini-series which I has made this a very enjoyable read so far. This is really the first time I am reading a comic that actually takes place in this time period of Marvel's history and not just some flashback from an ongoing series. So I look forward to seeing what Brubaker and Epting do with this story, even if we know how it ends.

Video Games
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves I just started playing the first Uncharted video game and suffice to say I've love the game so far. And from the trailers for Uncharted 2 and early reviews this looks like not only a great game but also visually one of the best looking games that have come out. Will probably have to wait for Christmas to get this game but it looks forward to the day I get my hands on it. Highly recommend this series for anyone that has not played the first game yet.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Legen-wait-for it-dary Comic Book Highlights of the Week 10/7/09

Cover of the Week: X-Babies #1
This is another Skottie Young cover that he knocks out of the park. This cover makes me wish I got this issue. Really like the chibi look of all of the characters.

Batman and Robin #5 Highlights
What happened to being able to fight blindfolded Damian? See this is why Robin should always listen to Batman.

So Jason finally decides to stop dye his hair. Somehow it makes him even less interesting than he was before which isn't saying much now.

Got to admit Flamingo is a cool new villain Morrison has created.

Batman Annual #27 Highlights
Good to see that Dick's gymnastic background has not been forgotten. Damian can learn a thing or two.

Love the Little Gotham back-up. The spread by Dustin Nguyen is just awesome.

This is not something you want to wake up to.

Nice extra to for this annual. Gives us some more information of the new Batmobile.

Daredevil #501 Highlights
This is one of the best single pages I have seen. Just an awesome job by Robert De La Torre.

Interesting approach Wilson Fisk is taking to get back on top of the crime world. Hopefully his rise to being the Kingpin of Crime comes sooner than later.

Nice comparison to Batman. Definitely felt as though Andy Diggle was channeling his inner Frank Miller in this scene.

The punch heard around the world.

All hail Daredevil.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #3
Ah, got to love the drama that comes with every high school relationship.

Giant spiders attacking the city. This would be the final straw for me and I would move out of the city with all the crazy stuff that happens in NYC every day.

Funny way to find out the spiders aren't real.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Weekly Comic Book Reviews for 10/7/09

Batman Annual #27

Creative Team
Writer: Fabian Nicieza; Derek Fridolfs; Mandy McMurray
Artists: J. Calafiore; Dustin Nguyen; Kelley Jones
Inker: Mark McKenna
Colorists: Nathan Eyring; Michelle Madsen

Story – The Eighth Deadly Sin; Off Rogue Racing; Darker than Blood

It has been a while since the Batman Annuals have delivered. These annuals haven't been completely horrible they have been forgettable stories. And this annual is no different.

I am going to admit that I have never been a big fan of Azrael. Just something about the character has never clicked with me and I don't really care about his return. While Fabian Nicieza tries his best to make the character interesting I just don't see his return as a big deal and still unusure if this new Azrael can carry the series.

What I did like about the story is Nicieza continuing the development of Dick and Damian's relationship as he builds upon what Morrison, Dini, and Winnick have been doing with the new Batman and Robin. This was actually the first time we see the two go on an undercover mission together and Dick teaching Damian some detective skills. It was good that Nicieza picked up on the development of the new dynamic duo as we see Damian slowly growing respect for Dick.

Also it is interesting to see the different approach Dick has with his willingly working with the
Gotham City Police Department which is the opposite approach Bruce used to take in his undercover mission. It continues to show that while we have been seeing Dick adopt a much darker and direct approach in his transformation to fully adopt his new role as Batman he still has much more people skills and is willing to work with others to catch the bad guy.

Now the real reason to get this issue, for me anyway, is the Lil'Gotham back-up story. While it was only one spread page Derek Fridolfs and Dustin Nguyen it was still a very fun little, pun intended, story that could be a fun mini-series by the two. The race between Batman and all his villains had a very funny ending and I can't wait to see more of this concept.

Also I was surprised that I did end up enjoying the second back-up that involving Barbara solving a case with a mysterious killer. The story was something I was expecting from The Oracle: The Cure mini-series as it does more of an effective job using Barbara's skills and showing how she is just as capable by herself as when she working with others.

Issue Rating
Story: 7/10 – While the stories individually weren't that great put together this is was a nice collection of three stories with each writer doing a nice job developing the two part story.
Art: 7.4/10 – The art for this issue was average with Dustin Nguyen artwork for the Lil'Gotham story as being the stand out with its unique style.
Overall: 7.2/10 – Batman Annual #27 was a good issue to start this two part story that will conclude in Detective Comics Annual next week. While the main story involving Azrael didn't really interest me in getting the new ongoing series involving the character I did like seeing the
development of the new dynamic duo and the Lil'Gotham story in this issue that made this issue from being a complete loss.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #3

Creative Team
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Lafuente
Colorist: Justin Ponsor

Story – The New World According to Peter Parker

After two issues of dodging the question of what exactly happened between Peter and MJ after Ultimatum we finally get some answers in this issue. Though Bendis does dodge the actual reason for the break-up he does a fantastic job as usual writing the two characters and showing that it was MJ that ended the relationship.

Even though it is annoying getting the Bendis speak pop-up in the New Avengers it is really at home here on Ultimate Spider-Man. This title has always been more about being a character driven title than just being about Peter's adventures as Spider-Man so Bendis is quick writing makes this a very fun title to read. The argument between Peter and MJ was just perfect way to show the drama that is a high school romance. And even though MJ does come off as a bit bitchy in that scene Bendis does an effective job using that scene along with an earlier scene in MJ's news club at school to show that she is a strong independent character even without Peter in the room by her side.

Also, while not as good as the fight Spider-Man had with the Bombshells in the last issue his fight with Mysterio in this issue was fun especially when Spider-Man faced off against the fake skyscraper size spiders. The way he discovered that the spiders were fake was hilarious. And I am really enjoying this version of Mysterio and Bendis did a great job reimaging the character for the Ultimate Universe. It shows when done right writers can make old characters that have been around for a long time into distinct characters in another universe that is just as interesting if not more in a new universe.

I also really liked how Bendis continues to seamlessly add more characters to Peter's supporting cast. In other titles having another big hero join the title of another big hero would usually feel forced somehow in this issue it only feels right that Johnny would join the cast of this book. Like Bendis did when he added Kitty to the supporting cast something about having Johnny around just feels like a perfect fit. Having him around should make things even more difficult for Peter which should lead to some fun character interactions.

Also the short scene between Peter and Sue Storm was great. It is one of those scenes were less is more as Bendis uses minimal dialogue to make what happens in the last page even more effective. Also it leaves the door open for the other Fantastic Four members to be recurring characters in this title.

David LaFuente's artwork was again spectacular in this issue. I continue to enjoy the anime/manga feel he gives this title. It gives this title a distinct look that separates itself from all the other titles on the market. His artwork gives Bendis story a lot of energy and does a great job with the facial expressions of the characters.

Issue Rating
Story: 9.2/10 – As has always been the strength of this title Bendis does a great job with handling all of the characters in this title and gives us some fun dialogue while also inserting some good action into the issue.
Art: 9.2/10 – LaFuente's artwork continues to be spectacular as he gives this issue a lot of energy in both the action and talking heads part of the issue.
Overall: 9.2/10 – Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #3 was another great issue. This is one of the most enjoyable comics on the market. I highly recommend picking this series up either on an individual issue or trade paperback as it will read well in either form.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Previewing the Week’s Releases: 10/7/09

Batman and Robin #5Morrison has been doing a great job so far on this title. I've never been a big fan of Red Hood but I am interested to see what Morrison can do with the character

Batman Annual #27 I've never been a fan of Azrael so I could care less about the characters return. And originally I wasn't going to get this annual but after seeing images for the Lil'Gotham back-up I am going to get this, and the Detective Annual, just for the back-up story alone.

Daredevil #501 With Matt becoming the new leader of The Hand Andy Diggle has been given an interesting place to begin his run. It should be interesting seeing were this title goes with the new direction.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #3 Cover price aside Ultimate Comics Spider-Man has been one of the most enjoyable series I get each month. Bendis has really returned this title to the brilliance it once had and I can't wait to see what happens with Mysterio and a few other things.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Legen-wait-for it-dary Comic Book Highlights of the Week for 9/30/09

After a a couple weeks of not being posted the "Legen-wait for it-dary Comic Book Highlights of the Week" are back.

Cover of the Week: Amazing Spider-Man #607
Do I need to give a reason for this cover being this week's cover of the week. It's another great J. Scott Campbell cover. Nuff said.

Amazing Spider-Man #607 Highlights
Even Peter gets lucky every once and a while.

That couple should burn those sheets.

Nice job slipping the tongue while giving Black Cat CPR Peter. Very subtle.

How many times have we seen this kiss happen since it happened in the movie.

Blackest Night: Titans #2 Highlights
Never let a zombie bite you. That is Zombie 101. Hasn't Donna ever watched a zombie movie?

When will DC let Starfire move on from her old relationship with Dick. I think I need to write a whole post about this topic. It is getting freaking annoying and makes me hate Starfire now, which is sad since she used to be one of my favorite Titans.

So we have had Black Lantern JLA now we have Black Lantern Titans. All we need is Black Lantern versions of the JSA, Outsiders, and Shadow Pact and we will have our new protectors of the world.

Green Lantern #46 Highlights
Always knew Hal was a cheapscape. The Guardians don't even pay minimum wage.

Was not expecting to see these two powering the Violet Lanterns.

You do not interfere in Sinestro's fights.

This is why Sinestro is such a badass. You do not mess with this guy.

Teen Titans #75 Highlights
Why isn't Raven ever chased by a cute bunny or something when she re-appears in a Titans book? That is what Raven must be asking herself.

Ah the good old days. Note to DC: Please release a Teen Titans Omnibus from Marv Wolfman and George Perez's run on Teen Titans.

Wolverine: Weapon X #5 Highlights
Will you look at that sunset. Such a beautiful day to die.

Reminds me of Shark Week. Those eyes are freaking hypnotic with how much killer intent it has.

This is the worse way to die.