Foilball’s Review Roundup #2

Rating System:

5 Stars: WARNING: May Cause Head Explosion.
4 Stars: A first read!
3 Stars: Read it when you can.
2 Stars: Give it away when you’re done.
1 Star: BURN IT!

Gravel #1 (***1/2)


Gravel is the story of William Gravel, Combat Magician. His previous exploits can be found in the various Strange Kiss/Killings trades by Warren Ellis and Mike Wolfer. The basic premise of the character and the ongoing series is this: There are 7 Major Magicians in England and there are 7 Minor Magician Detectives. Gravel is one of the Minor ones. Believing Gravel to be dead, a new magician was promoted to the Minor 7. Now, a rogue element within this fraternity is causing all kinds of havoc and conjuring up some nasty shit, like this. Is that a lizard penis? Anyway, I wanted to do a full review of this issue, but it’s basically just a lot of set-up and new reader stuff. This is fine. I’ve always loved the Gravel character, but hated what Ellis has done with him previously. Hated is a strong word, I guess I was disappointed that he hasn’t come up with anything more interesting than zombies and deep throat alien women. Okay, the body orchard idea was pretty cool. Anyway again, I’m super excited that we’re finally getting an ongoing Gravel book and Mike Wolfer isn’t doing the art (apologies to Wolfer). The first issue holds a ton of promise and I love the new artist. If you like SAS badasses mixed with magic, or you’re just an Ellis whore like me, Gravel may be right up your alley.

Iron Man #26 (****)


The great thing about the Knaufs current run on the book is that they have the good sense to treat the character like the hero he is. Iron Man is getting shit on all across the Marvel Universe; it’s nice that there still exists a place for the “heroic” Tony Stark. The book reads much like a Tom Clancy novel. It’s also reminiscent of the tone of the current Captain America series, both in art and plotting. The current storyline finally came to a head in the last issue, it’s been building slowly since issue 13 or 14 I believe (maybe earlier), with IM confronting the Mandarin in his lair. Most of the book is just straight up beatdowns between the rivals, De La Torre is impressive here as always, then ends with a BOOM and a cliffhanger that although involves IM heavily, is surprisingly more about the moral decision that one of the minor characters makes. And at its core, that’s what this book has in spades. Character development. Dum Dum has never before been this three-dimensional. Take this scene with Dugan and Maria Hill… simultaneously paying off multiple subplots: Stark’s perceived irrational behavior, Hill’s inability to cope with being second in command and Dugan’s unwavering loyalty, not to the man, but to the job. I like these guys because they don’t condescend to the lowly comic reader. They treat us with respect and turn out high quality stuff every month.  

Kick-Ass #1 (***1/2)


I wanted to hate this comic. The amount of “back-patting” by Millar and Co. has been sickening. And stamping the cover with “THE GREATEST SUPERHERO BOOK OF ALL TIME IS FINALLY HERE!” was like a punch in the face… no pun intended. So then I read it. First few pages are wall to wall narration. But, it’s entertaining narration. The kind you would find in a movie. The comic reads like a film. Cool, I love movies. Moving on, we see the kid go through the process of deciding and then becoming a real life superhero. So far, so okay. Not great yet. Then, right toward the end we get this page right after our hero is stabbed in the ribs when he tries to stop a gang of graffiti ruffians.  It was the first caption that reached out and grabbed me by the Johnson. “Others”? Okay, maybe Millar really does have something cool up his sleeve? Could this be… not only is this a commentary on comics and the real life desire for stardom, but it might also be working on a lower level, establishing an entire new universe of superheroes, delving unself-consciously into the genre it’s aping? And if that’s so, then this isn’t just another pessimistic deconstruction of the superhero, maybe it’s something more… reflecting on comics and then re-reflecting on itself, a double post-modern interpretation but in a positive light? I have no idea if anything I just wrote is comprehensible, but I’m excited as all hell for issue 2!  

Wildstorm Revelations #4 (*****)


This entire series has been excellent so far. The banter alone is worth the 6 bucks a month. It makes me wish this was an ongoing series and not just a filler mini till the next BIG EVENT book comes out. I love these characters. This is the book Birds of Prey wishes it was. Seriously, if you guys aren’t reading this, you’re missing out. Sure it’s filled to the brim with continuity, but the characters are so endearing and funny, you don’t even need to pay attention to the plot (which is also great) to enjoy this book. And I love that Nemesis, the book’s main bad girl, doesn’t have to run around naked all the time to be awesome. These two panels crack me up. Gage and Beatty’s ability to find the mundane humor in the fantastic truly excels in this book filled with sarcastic anti-heroes. Highly recommended.

Wolverine Origins #22 (****)


I have a love hate relationship with this book. Sometimes I feel that Dillon is the wrong guy for the job here. Other times, I can’t imagine anyone else drawing shit like this. This and the last arc have been truly a breath of fresh air. I hated all that Wolverine’s son bullshit from earlier. This book gets 4 stars just for the way Daniel Way writes Deadpool. There are a number, and I mean a NUMBER, of great comedic setups in this and the last issue, I don’t want to spoil them, so pick them up. You won’t be disappointed. My only complaint? The Bianchi cover, while artistically excellent, doesn’t fit the tone of this arc at all. Meh, minor nitpick.

Quick Picks:


  • Authority Prime #5 (****): Christos Gage proves again how immense his talent is. It’s almost better than when Ellis was writing it.
  • Batman #674 (**): I’ve liked almost everything Morrison has done on Batman, but this issue is just too weird. Replacement Batmen? WTG?
  • Batman and the Outsiders #4 (***): Another solid issue from Dixon, but not mind-popping like the first three. Oh, and what the hell was this?
  • Daredevil #105 (****): Great end to a meaningful chapter in Matt Murdock’s life. I hope this doesn’t mean Brubaker’s tossing Mila into continuity hell.
  • House of M: Avengers (*****): A great message wrapped inside a great story: Standing up for what you believe, even if that means going up against the powers that be. The message that Mark Millar bungled in Civil War, Gage gets right. 


  • Invincible #48 (**): I guess I’m just losing my patience with all things Kirkman, because absolutely nothing of significance happened in this issue. Sure a bad guy attacked, but what about some sub-plot movement? Hell, what about some main plot movement?
  • Justice Society of America #13 (****): The cover alone gets this one a good review. Superman talking to Superman. And a giant head.
  • Ultimate X-Men #91 (***): Wow, if Kirkman wrote more like this one, maybe they wouldn’t cancel all his books!


Tomorrow or later today, I’ll throw up a review for The Incredible Hercules. Stay tuned.


6 thoughts on “Foilball’s Review Roundup #2

  1. Issue 13 of JSA is the last issue of that series I’ll be getting for a while. I know it’s blasphemy, but I really didn’t like Kingdom Come very much, so all this stuff about Gog and Magog immediately makes me tune out. I’ll pick it up again when I see an arc that interests me.

  2. Okay, I am a huge Kirkman fan in general, so I read most things he writes. I read Invincible in volumes, and can’t wait for the 9th one to come out. My comic store was sold out of Kick-Ass or else I would have gotten it. Ultimate X-Men was awesome and Wolverine: Origins was CRAP.
    I am a huge Deadpool fan. My love for Skrulls is second only to Deadpool. I literally made myself a Deadpool belt with the pouches. I wore a Deadpool outfit to prom. Way’s writing of Deadpool is horrible. Horrendous. It makes me sick. Dillon’s art always makes me sick. I read the first 15 issues of Wolverine: Origins, mostly because I could and I liked Way enough to cancel out Dillon (whose art I have hated forever). I stopped reading after 15 because I had to cut down a lot on comics and Dillon made me stop. Deadpool made me pick it up again. It was just plain bad. Reasons? Let’s ignore that I hate Dillon’s art and move straight on to the writing. Deadpool is an idiot, I won’t deny that. But he is a capable idiot. Yes, he says stupid things, acts stupidly, but he is not stupid. Unless Way writes in the reason why he acts like he is actually retarded (which Deadpool is not), I will have no reason to like this. Deadpool acts stupid for many reasons. One of which is he is crazy, the other of which is he wants people to laugh at him. When he says stupid pop-culture references and everything else, he does that because he wants to distract people, most of the time, and the others, he wants to have fun. In this, he has lost his mind and just acts stupid. He acts semi-competent, has stupid plans that somehow work and is acting retarded. /Rant
    That issue was crap. Bianchi is the only thing saving it. I like the cover because it has nothing to do with what’s inside, and that is good for me.

  3. hahaha, man, you hated it so much! awesome. i think, while it wasn’t exactly the way Fabian writes him, it was still a version of deadpool that was close enough for me. yeah, he does a lot of stupid shit in here, but everything he did had a method behind the madness. i don’t see anything as random. the piano, grabbing the knife as a fake out, the rope device… all of it was planned and all that shit DID throw wolverine off his game. maybe he didn’t tell as many jokes or make as many pop refs as when Fabian writes him, but i think it still worked. the scene toward the end when he looks at himself in the mirror with that sad face and then quickly put on his mask and does a joke? that was brilliant. the sad face was deadpool being honest with himself for a split second… it’s definitely something Fabian would write/has written… i don’t know, it fits to me. sorry you didn’t like it, but don’t worry, we still got 3 more issues of this! HAH!

  4. No, see Deadpool was just crazy. Seeing Wolverine with forks and spoons as his claws? That’s normal for him? Ye, he planned a whole elaborate plot to get Wolverine pissed at him or something, but he is being stupid throughout the entire thing and is not Deadpool-sane. Deadpool-sane is different from sane, in that it is how Deadpool normally acts. He was not Deadpool-sane. The issue also was even worse, just because it came out the same day as C&D 50, the end of Deadpool’s series. 3 more issues? I hate it so freakin’ much. I really don’t want to read it, but I am going to because it is Deadpool and I hate it so much more because it has Deadpool and doesn’t use Deadpool (if that makes sense).

  5. yeah, i get why it bugs you. you are fanatical about the character, much the way i am about Cap. totally get it. it works for me, but if he was my favorite favorite, i would probably be just as picky and protective, i know i am about Cap.

    dude, buying it just cause makes total sense to me. i feel ya man. you have to cus of your love for deadpool, but then it disappoints you and you end up hating yourself… possibly even cutting a little.

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