Bruce Castle Presents: Garth Ennis Gets Political!

The Boys #21 (****1/2): The Boys just keeps getting better. I originally picked this book up because of Ennis. I stayed on board because it was a fun anti-superhero book with some laughs, entertainment, and some good character drama. During the last arc of The Boys, everything improved and we actually got some genuine romance from this cynical book. With this arc, Ennis shows that he is indeed a great writer. The laughs and the character development take a bit of a backseat in this arc. Though both of those elements are still present, they are pushed into the background to showcase the book’s political objective. I’m sure quite a few people dislike the new direction, but thankfully I’m not one of those people. I think it’s great that the story is getting more epic and I can enjoy some politics in my comics. This issue is probably the best issue of The Boys so far. It covers a single event in great detail brilliantly. Bravo Garth.

Crossed #0 (****): There are many stories that would be horrendous if placed in the wrong hands. Just look at that startling cover and I think you’ll know what I’m talking about. Thankfully, I think Garth Ennis will have the skills necessary to keep this away from the typical gore fest realm. With America’s economy in the currently atrocious state that it’s in and the ever climbing gas prices, I’m always thankful when I can get my money’s worth. This issue is only one dollar and for that you get 11 pages of actual story. This isn’t a preview. This is the beginning of the tale. This is the “outbreak” if you will, where everything goes to hell. This was advertised as the most deplorable Ennis book ever and I suppose it does deliver. Although honestly I was expecting something a bit more gruesome, but we’re only 11 pages into the story and I’m pretty desensitized to violence. My main complaint with this issue was that it was advertised as a different kind of zombie story with normal humans as the zombies instead of the undead. At this point I can’t really tell the difference. But I’m more than willing to overlook that because again, it’s only 11 pages and I thoroughly enjoyed the social commentary mixed in with the gore. For those of you who enjoy George Romero’s zombie films or comics such as Walking Dead, you should definitely through down the dollar to give this a try.

Foilball’s Review Roundup #43 – Wildstorm Trumps Secret Invasion?

Crossed #0 (***1/2)

Hmm, zombies by Ennis? Couldn’t be worse than Black Gas by Ellis, right? For the money, it’s worth checking out if you’re an Ennis fan. If you’re not, I still wouldn’t bother with this book since you probably won’t like it. It is very much you’re standard Ennis book.

Gravel #3 (****)

How much of this is Wolfer and how much of this is Ellis? I tell you what, there are parts of this that don’t read like Ellis at all, and I have to admit, those are my favorite parts. Kudos to you Mile Wolfer. You took the Combat Magician concept and raised the bar. The art by Oscar Jimenez is brilliant, especially for an Avatar book. Mystery and Magic– I’m on for the ride.

Number of the Beast #8 (****1/2)

This series is the first of the big summer minis to conclude and it completely exceeded my expectations. AND! It ended on a decidedly high note, although the Wildstorm Universe has probably never been so messed up. It wasn’t as enjoyable as Wildstorm Revelations, but it was enjoyable enough. AND! It was also consistently more entertaining than Secret Invasion. AND! I’m uber excited about World’s End, and more than that, I’m excited about Wildstorm again! AND! The High tossing Eidolon into what I hope is space was pretty fricking awesome as far as final pages go. LOOK!

Quick Hits:
Black Panther #39 (****1/2): This is not a Black Panther story. This is some editor calling up Aaron and asking him if he has any cool sci-fi alien stories on the back burner and Aaron responding, “Sure do, bro!” It’s really good, and I loved it, but this is better than any Black Panther story has any right to be. Just saying.
Green Lantern Corps #26 (***1/2): A decent end to a messy story. I don’t know if I like the “Thano-fication” of Mongul, but I definitely don’t like what happens to him in the end. It’s almost like the last 10 issues have been a big waste of time.
Justice League of America #23 (***): It wasn’t a particularly bad story, I just didn’t care. I think I’m dropping this book. It’s not interesting anymore and it’s definitely not the flagship title it used to be. Hmm, maybe that’s because the roster currently includes every stainer you could possibly imagine: Red Arrow? Vixen? Red Tornado? Black Lightning? Enough already. I want the Big Seven! This isn’t the fricking Defenders!
Skaar: Son of Hulk #2 (****): This series is going to be EPIC! I expected the fight inside to last two, maybe three pages max. I figured anything more than that and it would get boring. Nope. Wrong on both counts. And then we get a back-up story too?! Greg Pak, you spoil us.
Superman #678 (***1/2): Better, much better than last time, but Superman still feels kind of “off”. I like the Atlas character’s origin story. I’m also looking forward to next issue’s fight. Should be fun, at least.
Trinity #8-9 (*): Someone stole The Joker’s laugh? HUH?!? God, I can’t believe it’s actually gotten dumber.
Ultimate Spider-Man #124 (***): More flashback nonsense. YUCK.
X-Men Legacy #214 (***1/2): The lamest issue in an otherwise solid arc. I don’t know how I feel about “Miss Sinister” yet, but I’m definitely sticking around to find out.

Foilball’s Review Roundup #33 – THE MEDIOCRES!

As promised, The Mediocres. These books weren’t great and they weren’t bad. They were workman like in their execution, filled with substance but lacking the style to put them over the top.

Batman and the Outsiders #8 (***): This issue does a fine job of wrapping up the last 7 issues worth of story without actually introducing anything new or exciting. It’s a good job, but boring.

Birds of Prey #119 (***): And, Tony Bedard is back. Okay, this was not as bad as I expected. And, Scott is still doing the art, so it’s not a total loss. The following series of panels made me laugh, and not in that good way…

Black Panther #37 (**1/2): It’s mostly filler, but the back and forth between Panther and Killmonger is semi-interesting. Next issue promises to be an all-out slugfest, but… I don’t know if I care about the Panther’s solo adventures anymore. Seems to me like Hudlin is finally running out of ideas. When he first relaunched the book, it seemed to hold so much promise. Instead of rising to the level of exciting political intrigue that Captain America has, it’s slowly fallen into petty soap opera drama. It’s just not compelling. I think after the Secret Invasion tie-in issues, I will be dropping this book.

Green Lantern #32 (***): Compared with the rest of the issues in the arc, which I loved, I was very disappointed in this issue. Not much happened. Sinestro was cool, and that Yoda shit he did with Hal’s plane was very cool, but it felt… mediocre, especially for a Johns book. I’m sure this will be the exception and next issue will see the return of the level of quality we as GL fans are used to. Oh, one more thing. This entire arc is making me so sad for Hal. Like, Carol Ferris is so awesome! A part of me has to believe that another reason for this trip down “Origin Lane” is to reintroduce the Hal/Carol love story… for future reference, of course. Maybe we’ll see more of this after “Blackest Night”? I hope so.

Guardians of the Galaxy #2 (***): Great cover. And that’s about it. Everything else is middle of the road. Vance Astro? GAWD, I’ve always hated him. They should just cap his ass and take the shield. I like the modern reintroduction of the Universal Church of Truth, but I don’t like the characterizations of the leads. Warlock doesn’t feel like Warlock, Drax doesn’t feel like Drax, etc… just about the only character that even acts/sounds like they did in Annihilation is the fricking Raccoon. It hasn’t been outright terrible, so I’ll stick with it for now and see how I feel in a couple of months.

No Hero #0 (***): Too early to tell… this could be great, but there is also the possibility that it’s just a retread of Black Summer or The Order or even Kick-Ass. When he’s on, Ellis is the man. When he’s off? You get weird shit like Anna Mercury and Strange Kiss. Oh, but I do like all the backmatter in this one. Thanks! Oh, and the art is still amazing!

Number of the Beast #6 (***): All the cards have finally been flipped (well, all the cards we know about)! Tons of exposition in this one… no wonder it read so slow. This is the nature of the beast so I can’t fault the writer too much. He’d asked so many questions in the preceding five issues that it was inevitable that he’d have to slow down and catch us all up. Like Green Lantern, I’m sure the next issue will pick right back up.

Ultimate Spider-Man #123 (***1/2): There were parts of this I really liked. I loved how Bendis kept changing “listeners” on us. “Oh, what happened to that nice old man?” Um, Venom ate him, dummy. SWEET! The problem I have with this book is that the way Bendis chose to frame this story actually robs it of any suspense. Because it’s told in flashback, we know Venom gets away safely from Silver Sable and her Wildpack. Everything else still works on a technical level, and what he tried to do was a nice experiment in storytelling, but I’m just not that excited to read the next issue. So, fail?

Ultimate X-Men #95 (**1/2): Whoa… shit just got TOO weird. Cyclops flying? WHA! Rogue knows Vindicator? Like, KNOWS knows? It’s gotta be Gambit, right? Because of the purple energy blasts… but, man, that would be stupid. Northstar dead? Colossus gonna go all roid-ragin’ now? I really liked the new direction that the last issue set up, but I feel like we’re moving too fast and heading in too many different directions. Slow down, man. You’re no Grant Morrison.

I’ll be back Tuesday with The Gooders. Monday, hopefully we’ll have our Series Review of Planetary #9 up, and if we don’t then, sorry.