Wednesday, August 20, 2014

New Comics Day

   A slim days at the comics shop this week. I picked up:

- Brain Boy #4 - Taking on a hive mind!

- Daredevil #7 - Invading Wakanda!

- Justice Inc. #1 - Couldn't pass up Doc Savage, The Shadow and The Avenger 
teaming up for the first time.

 - Multiversity #1 - Morrison runs wild on the DC Universe!

 - New Avengers #23 - the end of the world.

- Sensation Comics #1 - Wonder Woman faces the Batman's greatest foes!

   And that's it!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hulk #5

   Over the years, the Hulk has gone through quite a few changes - from the ever-loving' "Hulk Smash" phase to the intelligent Hulk to the grey (and morally challenged) Mr. Fixit, and, well, you get the idea.

   He's gone through another major change in this series, as the latest storyline started with Bruce Banner being shot - in the head.

   While transforming into the Hulk has restored his physical condition, his intellect was still badly damaged, so Tony Stark took the unusual step of using Extermis (the technical MacGuffin that can work wonders on the body, though with often-dire side effects)

   The effect has been to make the Hulk incredibly intelligent - perhaps more so than Banner. He embarks on a mysterious program, and it's not until late in the issue that his plan becomes evident - and it's one that may affect the entire Hulk family.

   Mark Bagley's art (with Andy Hennessy on inks).is excellent here, kicking off with several high-powered splash pages. He seems liberated by the fact that he only has to  draw one hero, instead of the usual army.

   I'm sorry to see Mark Waid step down as writer, but so far, Gerry Dugan is carrying the torch with no signs of faltering.

   So far, so good!

Grade: A-

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Fantastic Four #8

   Here's what I have to say about this series:

   Leonard Kirk and Scott Hanna are doing wonderful art here.

   I like the sense of history that writer James Robinson is tapping into.

   But... I really, really don't care for the story at all. We expect heroes to face adversity, to overcome challenges - that sort of thing - but what we've had here is (so far) eight issues of everything going as wrong as it possibly can for the Fantastic Four.

   There's still no indication of who's the villain of the piece, and for the story to work, everyone (including the Avengers, the legal system and the public in general) must act out of character.

    ("Thanks for saving the world a zillion times, FF, but the story requires us to treat you like crap.")

   So my final thought it, can we please get to the point?

   Thanks.

Grade: C

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Astro City #14

   I really like this series.

   That's because Astro City combines great artwork with thoughtful, personal stories.

   And this issue features something else I'm crazy about: robots!

   It takes us on a visit to the robot museum, which is run by a kindly little old lady named Ellie.

   Over her many years, she has rescued robots that were damaged in superhero fights - so we get to see snippets from fights aver the decades, including some new and unique heroes.

   But there's a mystery at work here, and we're just beginning to get a picture of the real story behind Ellie and her mechanical friends.

   As always, the focus is on interesting characters and clever stories, and writer Kurt Busiek is at the top of his game.

   The art is also terrific, from the amazing Alex Ross cover to the fantastic interior work by Brent Eric Anderson.

   That's what's difficult about reviewing Astro City - you quickly run out of superlatives!

    So I'll just say that it's a terrific comic - one of my all-time favorites!

Grade: A

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

All-New X-Men #30

   See, now, this is how you do a "let's take a breath and regroup" kinda issue.

   Writer Brian Michael Bendis is justly famous for his "let's talk it out" issues, and that's what All-New X-Men is all about this time around.

   It's fun, it's lighthearted, we get some insights into the characters, and it brings the focus on several different relationships.

   We see what the (young) Angel and X-23 are up to in a clever bit of business that allows artist Sara Pichelli to show her strengths.

   We catch a confrontation between (the young) Jean Grey and the (mature) Emma Frost in a psychic training session like no other.

   And Kitty Pryde is dating a hologram? Or is it Star-Lord?

   The issue is a bit off-beat - but mighty entertaining!

Grade: A-

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Batman #34

   In the wake of the successful (and long) "Year Zero" series, you might expect Batman to take a bit of a break with this issue - but you'd be wrong.

   It brings us back to the modern day and sets the Dark Knight against a monstrous killer who buries his victims in an already-filled graveyard.

   And other than attempting to provide us with a grim-and-gritty story of mass murder, this issue doesn't have much to offer.

   The art by Matteo Scalera is unique and interesting, but suffers by comparison to Greg Capullo's recent work on the title. There are some stunning splash pages, but is that really Gotham City that Batman is swinging over in that double-page splash? Looks awfully clean-cut and blocky to me.

   I tend to like issues when Batman gets to exercise his detective side, but we don't really see that here - he's trying to catch an unpredictable monster, but his solution is, frankly, silly.

   I guess I just don't understand this turn to dark, morbid stories that DC is pursuing. A few years ago this would have been a Vertigo title (page one shows a pet cat that has been drowned, for example).

   I'll pass.

Grade: C

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Original Sin #7 (of 8)

   Yep, that's old Nick Fury on the cover.

   As I've said in past reviews of the Original Sin series, it seems like the entire point of the series (other than generating spinoff series, of course) is to retire the original Nick Fury (that would be the one who's been appearing in Marvel's comics since the early '60s).

   Frankly, I didn't see anything in this issue to change my mind.

   It does give Nick some final moments of glory, as he fights against the Avengers in space. (Why? Please hold silly questions to the end of the post.)

   And yes, even aged (thanks to the fact that the supply of the Infinity formula that kept him young since World War II has run out), Fury is a fighting' fool, and he gets one last chance to strut his stuff before... well, whatever next issue holds.

   We also get to see some of the events that led up to the murder of Uatu the Watcher.

   It's all framed with stunning artwork by Mike Deodato, who combines creative layouts and powerful character deigns into an amazing comic.

   As for the story by Jason Aaron... hey, let's take those questions! Why are the Avengers and Fury fighting? I have no idea!

Grade: B+

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