The Krypton Awards

 

Having read ALL of the New 52 comics to date, I figured I was well-placed to present some awards based on the first six months of the relaunch. 

It’s going to be subjective as hell, but what random blog isn’t?

And apologies for the terrible name I’m giving these awards.  Haha. 

Without further ado …

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DC New 52 – One Sentence Reviews, Part 23

Having recovered from the medication-induced frenzy of giving practically everything a four or higher last week, I’ve turned the spotlight on this week’s New 52 comics.

As usual, each comic is scored out of five and at the end I have a cumulative leader board to show which are consistently excellent, which are on the rise, and which are circling the drain (excluding reviewed one-shots and mini-series). 

Warning, there could be spoilers ahead (although I try to avoid them).

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DC New 52 – One Sentence Reviews, Part 15

Having become a dad for the second time 11 days ago and spending a lot of time trying to make sure my two-and-a-half-year-old son doesn’t feel like his parents have just upgraded and don’t love him anymore, time for comics has been extremely limited … kind of like sleep.

So that’s my excuse for this being a few days late, and a forewarning that Part 16 is likely to be late too.

Without further ado here are some one sentence reviews.

Each comic is scored out of five and at the end I have a cumulative leader board (averaging the scores of each title) to show which are consistently excellent, which are on the rise, and which are circling the drain.

I have also reviewed the mini-series and one-shot issues (although I almost left out Batman – Leviathan Strikes! since it is set outside the New 52 continuity) but they aren’t included in the leaderboard.

Warning, there could be spoilers ahead (although I try to avoid them).

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4 DC reviews in 5 or less sentences each.

Sorry on the lack of full reviews, and lack of images even in this post.  I just want to get in a few reviews here, but don’t have the energy with the holiday hustle to do a full review for each comic.  So instead I’ll be doing short paragraph reviews for the following issue 4s: Batman, Birds of Prey, Green Lantern Corps, and Nightwing.

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DC New 52 – One Sentence Reviews, Part 3

By now you should know the drill … I provide one sentence reviews of each of the New 52 titles.  Each is scored out of five and at the end I’m going to have a cumulative leader board (averaging the scores of each title) to show which are consistently excellent, which are on the rise, and which are circling the drain.

In Part 3, I take a look at the batch of DC comics that became available on 21 September.

There could be spoilers ahead (although I try to avoid them).

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NewU Reviews: Week 3 of the DC Relaunch

Batman #1

We’ve now seen most of the DC Relaunch, gotten a pretty good idea of what’s being offered.  We’re seen the good sides (some excellent creative teams, diversity of characters and genres) and the bad sides (some fairly sexist portrayals of women, very few books aimed at younger readers), and gotten to sample a bit of everything.  Just like the last two weeks, I’m going to provide short reviews for each of this week’s books, give some super meaningful awards like Must Read Book of the Week, and then clue you all in on what I’ll be following next week.  Read on…

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Foilball’s Review Roundup #56 – Previously Reviewed by read/RANTERS!

Action Comics #869 (*****): Another solid chapter in the reinvention of Brainiac arc.

Bruce Castle (*****)
DC Lebeau (Liked it!)

All-Star Superman #12 (*****): So much needs to be said about this book, and I plan to, just as soon as I get my copies of the rest of the series back from Mandy. Expect a Series Review of this masterpiece by the end of the month.

Seventh Soldier (A+)
Bruce Castle (*****)

The Amazing Spider-Man #572 (****): On par with the rest of the arc, but not even close to the ultimate Bullseye vs Spider-Man fight that Slott promised us. Too much hype, dude.

Bruce Castle (****1/2)

Birds of Prey #122 (**): I didn’t read it so much as look at the pretty pictures… and vomit.

DC Lebeau (Hated it!)

Captain Britain and MI:13 #5 (****): Blade, you son of a bitch!

Seventh Soldier (B+)

Daredevil #111 (****): I like her. And I definitely liked this. Matt Murdock. What a bastard.

Bruce Castle (****)
DC Lebeau (Liked it!)

Fables #76 (***): Holy Lord, how much did I hate reading this issue of Fables? Sure, I know Willingham is a hardcore Republican, but some of the dialogue in this issue almost made my head explode. Really, Snow White? Is that how you justify all this death? And this cliché anti-tech speech? LAME. Also, no one talks like this on their cell phone. Can we stop writing crap like this? Please? Question: what does it say about me that I agree with Geppetto?

Desiato (***)

Hulk #6 (****1/2): AWESOME!!!

Bruce Castle (*****)

The Punisher #62 (***): Even without comparing this to Ennis’ take on the character, I would still hate it. And it’s not that I hate all other versions of the Punisher, because I think Fraction’s version is great (until the plot started to suck ass).

Bruce Castle (****)

Robin #178 (***1/2): Okay. Fine. Meh. BLAH. It wasn’t bad, how about that?

DC Lebeau (Liked it!)

Superman #680 (***): OH. MY, GOD. Could Superman be a bigger @$$hole? I do not like this book, but it’s not awful. Not yet.

DC Lebeau (Liked it!)

Ultimate Fantastic Four/Ultimate X-Men Annual #1 (**): Way worse than the last issue. UGH.

Bruce Castle (****)

Ultimate Spider-Man #126 (****): I liked it. Plus, it made me nostalgic for a time when Nick Fury ran S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Ultimates were badass.

Bruce Castle (***)

Uncanny X-Men #502 (**): STAB MY EYES!!!

Bruce Castle (**)

The Walking Dead #52 (***1/2): Okay, with a side of losing interest fast.

Bruce Castle (****)

War Heroes #2 (**): I thought about scanning the penis page… but that would be crude. Get it?

Bruce Castle (***1/2)

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.

Review: Birds of Prey #117

Sean McKeever, why must you confound me so? Your abysmal run on Teen Titans is unreadable, and that’s putting it kindly, yet your Birds of Prey has been a complete joy! Did Simone leave a plot outline to follow? Did Johns throw you to the wolves? Is that the difference? Am I close?

Anyway, enough whining, regardless of your track record on other books, this one’s a clear winner. In lieu of a proper review, I’ll instead list the Top Five reasons why I love Birds of Prey.

Number 5: It’s funny!

 

 

Number 4: Inadequately vague sexual innuendo!

SHOW ME YOUR HANDS! SHOW ME YOUR HANDS!

Number 3: The best in cheesy villains!

He shoots bullets from his mind? Tenacious D fans give thanks and rejoice!

Number 2: The charmingly disarming Misfit!

 

I know you didn’t create her, McKeever, but you’re doing a bang-up job writing her nonetheless. Thank you, Sean!

And the Number 1 reason why I love Birds of Prey: These girls are seriously tough!

 

These aren’t your basic dudes masquerading as women, these are fully realized female ass-kickers! This is due in large part to Simone’s contributions to the book, but McKeever excels here as well.

Hey Mandy, why aren’t you reading this book?

Foilball’s Review Roundup #4

Rating System:

5 Stars: WARNING: Best of the Best!
4 Stars: Almost Perfect.
3 Stars: Adequate.
2 Stars: Lots of Bad.
1 Star: Return It.

Action Comics #862 (*****):

action862

Wow, five stars for a DC book!?! Ever since we ditched the Kubert brother and Dick Donner and picked up Gary Frank, this book has been on my “first read” list. Okay, confession: I hate the Legion of Superheroes. Hate them. Their weirdo costumes. Their lame names. The stupid United Federation of Planets Starfleet Academy BS… BLARGH. But this… the way Johns writes them… just, WOW. I am now convinced, more than ever, that Geoff Johns could write just about any DC book. Ever. He is just that godly. Ok, enough gushing. Check out this panel. Oh Brainiac, don’t be jealous. Other people can be smart too, it doesn’t make you dumb. Chlorophyll Kid is it? I died laughing. And what a spectacular last page. Earth Man, you just got your ass kicked! Seriously, this arc has been a fantastic read. Highly recommended.

Birds of Prey #115 (****):

bop115

This issue of Birds is as good as McKeever’s Titans was bad. It’s hard to believe the same guy writes both books. And what’s even more astonishing is how well he blends comedy and suspense… in the same very same issue! The plot for this episode splits in two directions. First, we have the introduction of another teen sidekick in Black Alice. Misfit doesn’t take kindly to this goth chick horning in on her action and decides to take matters into her own hands. She confronts Black Alice and hilarity ensues. What I like best about the sequence leading up to that last page I showed you, is that it feels so real. So reminiscent of what it was actually like to get jealous of a sibling eating up a parent’s attention. This is “teen sensibility” is very surprising, given that Teen Titans, a book filled with teens and even has the word “Teen” in it’s fricking title… is so horrendously mediocre. The second half of the book concerns itself mainly with Huntress and Lady Blackhawk and their search for some old school shark themed villain from LB’s past. McKeever not so subtly implies that Shark-Guy used to routinely drug LB and force her to dress up as “Shark Queen” and perform any number of depraved acts. During the pursuit, the girls end up underwater and the Huntress almost drowns. Reading this scene, I was actually afraid for Helena’s well being. Which from a hardened critic like me, is a pretty nifty compliment. And the dialogue didn’t feel cheesy at all. Not at all like that melodramatic garbage Winick wrote in Green Arrow/Black Canary from a few months ago. I’m on this book for as long as it remains above average. As soon as it veers off toward Titans territory…

Black Panther Annual #1 (*):

bpann1

I don’t even understand why this comic exists? I love me some alternate history stories, but this one is too ridiculous. The assumption that Thor or Silver Surfer would get involved in Earth’s politics in the way that is portrayed in this book is ludicrous. In fact, almost all of the heroes in this book act out of character. I usually like Hudlin, and I have enjoyed the Black Panther ride (the infinite golden frogs story being the lone exception) as much as anything else I read, but this book really rubbed me the wrong way. I couldn’t figure out why until I reached the part where Luke Cage is revealed to be the future president of the United States. Oh, that’s what’s wrong here. The entire issue plays like a what if? tale. “What if Africa became the dominant socio-political sphere and overthrew the United States and the European Union? And what if that happened in a superhero book?” Well, obviously we would get peace on Earth and good will toward man, right? How presumptuous. I commend what you’re trying to do here Hudlin, but to me, it is just as inherently racist to assume that the world would be a more civilized place if it was run by Africa, as it is to assume the same about the US or the EU. Yes, in our reality, loads of westerners wrongly believe that the white man is the ultimate civilizing force. And they are ignorant and racist. The more educated among us know that and we know that assuming the opposite is wrong as well. And really, it doesn’t actually take that big a leap in logic to get to this revelation. I’m not the smartest guy I know and even I got there! Why can’t this utopian dream that Hudlin has envisioned come about as a result of Western and Southern cooperation? Isn’t that a nobler paradise to dream of?

Quick Picks:

Conan #48 (***): Kurt Busiek has left the building; I think I may follow him out. The story was fine, it just wasn’t engrossing the way I’ve come to expect.

Checkmate #23 (****): And so begins the final arc of Greg Rucka’s stupendous Checkmate. This one started with a bang and I’m sure the loudest one is still forthcoming. I’m not sure I’ll read this once, Rucka leaves. We’ll just have to ait and see.

The Order #8 (***): FINALLY… the plot. Too little too late here. Ugh, Stane? Really? REALLY?!

The Programme #8 (**): Last issue was cool, this issue was confusing. I like the art style, but it’s heavy shadows really makes it hard to get into the story.

The Ultimates 3 #3 (**): I was actually entertained when I read this. Loeb’s shameless retconning aside, this was an epically bad read in that good way. Unlike the last few issues that were in that bad way. One thing though, Jeph, overtly calling attention to the incest… not working for ya’ here.

The Zombie: Simon Garth #4 (***): This installment of the Simon Garth saga manages to re-tell the exact same story as the last one, with less gore and less likable characters. The art may actually be better, seeing as how the artist is also the writer this time, it’s not hard to imagine that he tried a bit harder. Really, only for those that like zombies.

Ultimate Iron Man II #3 (**): What happened? The first mini series was so good! Why is this one so boring?