Bruce Castle Presents: Conan vs. Zombies! The Ultimate Showdown!

Ultimate Fantastic Four #59

Ultimate Fantastic Four #59 (***)

It’s depressing to read this book and write about it. This should’ve ended after Millar left. The story is average and the art is average. But I don’t blame the creative team much. This is another Ultimatum tie-in, but again you don’t have to read it. The only important thing that MIGHT happen next issue is that Johnny comes back. But who didn’t see that coming? This series is just wandering around waiting to die. The trigger is pulled next issue and sadly, I’ll be there.

Conan the Cimmerian #6

Conan the Cimmerian #6 (***1/2)

Wow! Not much happened, that’s a first for this book. This is one of those middle of the arc issues and for some reason, it’s taking place in the penultimate chapter. I don’t know why. It was still fine enough. Conan is back home. He sees his mom again. He spends some quality time with the girl he lost his virginity to. The stage is set for next issue. Even the Connacht story is mostly uneventful. Oh well, the writing and art is handled well enough that this didn’t bother me. And if I was reading this in trade, the fact that not much happened wouldn’t have even crossed my mind.

Walking Dead #56

Walking Dead #56 (****) SPOILERS!

Has it really been five years? Good job, Kirkman! Anyway, I called it. Maggie is alive, baby! I’m a little bumbed, but Kirkman made it work. That’s what this issue is about. What happens when people think Maggie is dead? Tensions rise between the new and old groups and we continue to explore Abraham’s character. The big reveal is something we pretty much guessed already. This issue isn’t bad of course, but I have to tell you something, right? Here, I’ll end on a positive note. The last issue came out three weeks ago! Keep the less than monthly schedule coming, Kirkman!

Bruce Castle Presents: Conan vs. Punisher!

Conan the Cimmerian #3

Conan the Cimmerian #3 (****)

Conan is Conan. Unless Grant Morrison or Alan Moore is writing the character, you have a general idea of what you’re getting in our favorite Cimmerian’s comic. But what kind of quality can you expect from this Conan book? It’s only the third issue, but I think this will be a great run. I’m already entertained which is a necessity in a Conan series, but I also think Truman is building to something. We get less of Connacht in this issue, but he’s still included. There has to be a reason for these stories right? I love the done in one tales as much as the next person, but I’d love to see an epic Conan story. As much as I enjoy Richard Corben’s style, it was nice to see more of Giorello’s art in this issue. It’s interesting, it’s fun, it’s bloody, it’s Conan!

Punisher #62 (****)

I’m going to get through this whole review without mentioning Ennis. Damn it! Ok, so this is still Ennis’ book. Maybe even Ennis’ character, but that doesn’t mean Greg Hurwitz is doing a bad job, far from it actually. After only two issues, Hurwitz has created an intriguing Punisher. He’s kind of a detective and seems more violent, or at least has a greater love of torture. As far as emotions go, he’s not nearly as human as Fraction’s version. He’s more like Ennis’ in that respect. He may even be less cold, but it’s hard to tell given the subject matter. We’re still close to the thirtieth anniversary of the death of Frank’s family. Last issue it seemed Hurwitz had a very generic take on the subject, but that’s changed. Campbell’s art still impresses.  His style fits the story like a glove and I love the widescreen view. I’m glad this series is still running smoothly. Oh, and be prepared for the ending, it’s a doozy!

Bruce Castle Presents: Tough Guys

Captain America #41 (****1/2)

I’m happy to report that this issue delivers the same excellence I’ve come to expect from Brubaker’s Captain America. As you may know if you visit this site often, my fellow reviewer Billy really loves this book. He already wrote a review of this issue complete with cool scans the day it came out. So, I don’t have too much to offer. All I’ll say is that I really enjoyed this issue. If you aren’t reading this series, you owe it to yourself to pick up the first trade. Be prepared, you may get hooked.

Conan #2 (****)

It’s a little funny that the first story from this new Conan series isn’t about Conan. It’s about Conan’s grandfather, Connacht. You may remember him from Conan Vol. 0: Born on the Battlefield. If not, then I recommend you read it. Not to understand this issue, but because I liked that story. In addition to Conan, the regular artist, Tomas Giorello, takes a backseat to give Richard Corben a moment to shine. If you’re familiar with Heavy Metal at all, you may know Corben’s work. Corben’s simplistic and gory style fits the tale of Connocht incredibly well. This issue was very good and it’s nice to read about Conan’s relatives. It looks like Corben will be involved with the next three Conan issues at least. Are they building to something? Will Conan meet the present Connacht? I don’t know, but I’m eager to find out!

 

Punisher #61 (***1/2)

No more Tim Bradstreet covers. I forgot to mention that in my review of the last issue. Bradstreet’s covers were the unsung hero of Ennis’ run. Trying to move on was the definite theme in my feelings for this issue. I tried very hard not to compare this issue to Ennis’ work. I tried to keep an open mind, but it was hard. Still, even with that hindrance, I enjoyed this issue. The art in this series was always overshadowed by the writing, but it really was quite good. This issue’s artist, Laurence Campbell, continues to give the book that cinematic feeling. His widescreen panels were very impressive. That, coupled with Hurwitz’ western styled story, made me feel like I was watching a Clint Eastwood movie. My main complaint is that Hurwitz doesn’t seem to know how to handle Frank yet. Punisher’s narrative seemed a bit off. Hurwitz is still new to the character though. I’m confident that in time, he may write some great Punisher stories. It looks like the future of this series won’t be as bleak as I once thought.

Bruce Castle Presents: Will it be Sword, Shield, or Gun?

 4 stars = Stop reading review and go buy now!!!!
3 and a half stars = Great issue and make room on your trade shelf someday soon
3 stars = Recommended and maybe even trade worthy
2 and a half stars = Recommended
2 stars= Not the best, not the worst, not recommended
1 and a half star = Terrible issue and vocalize your disgust at your next social event
1 star = Awful awful awful and you may want to consider dropping this title
0 stars = Next con you attend where the writer and/or artist are present you should throw this issue in their face
 

 

Conan The Cimmerian #1– Man this book is great! It even has awesome covers from Joe Kubert and Frank Cho! I like the pretty woman on Cho’s cover, but Conan is holding an axe so I had to show the titular sword in Kubert’s cover. This again features the creative team of Timothy Truman and Tomas Giorello with some Richard Corben thrown in! This issue isn’t as cheap as issue 0, but we still get 40 pages for 3 bucks which is awesome. Oh and just some more props to the issue 0, the events in that issue actually gets mentioned in here! This issue includes some bloody action, humor, and an intriguing tale that left me pumped up and wanting more!

4 stars

Captain America #40– I’ve heard some people trash Steve Epting’s art before, but it really shines here. There is a lot of fighting in this issue and it is drawn in dynamic and engaging fashion with a wonderfully written ongoing narrative accompanying the art. The characters are again written with much care and the dialogue between the villains is especially astounding. The last page reveal was both startling and unpredictable. This issue was remarkable!

4 stars

Punisher #59This proves that an issue with no action can be more fascinating than a book that has a fight on every page. This also proves again why Ennis is the best Punisher writer. When Punisher is written poorly (as he often is), he is a Dirty Harry knockoff spouting one liners and shooting holes into bad guys, but when Ennis writes him, he can have an entire issue that is without action that leaves you astonished. Ennis is not just finishing an arc, he’s finishing his entire run on Punisher. He ties things together that were mentioned 40 issues ago. Planning is one of the most admirable qualities in a writer. Just as Brubaker mentioned that Dr. Doom device in the aforementioned Captain America issue, Ennis mentions something from the early stages of this series. This issue left me much sadder than that FC Requiem, not because of its subject matter, but because we only get one more phenomenal Ennis Punisher issue before he closes the curtain on a fantastic run.

4 stars

Foilball’s Review Roundup #34 – THE GOODERS!

And now, The Gooders. These books were the cream of the crop, or as close to it as this bunch got.

1985 #2 (****): I’m really liking where this is headed. See, you can’t call me a Millar hater! Some of his stuff is utter garbage, and some of it, when he puts the research and thought in, turns out quite fantastic. Here’s hoping I’m right about this one.

Conan the Cimmerian #0 (****): Bruce Castle’s review of this was spot on. It was a very, very, VERY good sword and sandal read. Unfortunately, I think I’m done with Conan for now… or, I may pick up the first issue when it ships! I just don’t know!

Daredevil #108 (****): It just keeps getting better! Dear Greg Rucka, please never leave. No more brooding! No more Mila! No more Emo!

Fantastic Four #558 (****1/2): This was really good. Really, really good. I can see clearly now what Millar is doing and I love it. The interweaving of the subplots over multiple 4-part story arcs is finally starting to pay off. I haven’t been this excited about reading Fantastic Four since JMS first took over the book. I know I was harsh on the first couple of these, but now that the engine is revving up toward max RPMs, I couldn’t be happier. I just hope he doesn’t blow his load too soon. But, I still think the Galactus suit was a lame idea. OH! Almost forgot, little Val is a genius!

Ghost Rider # 24 (****): Love the new artist. Love the new direction. If this is what we can expect from the rest of Aaron’s Ghost Rider run, I think I can finally put myself safely in the “on board” column. It was touch and go there for a while with a couple of stinkers mixed in with the gooders, but this issue has restored my faith… for now! Ha-Hah, you just never know! Next month I could be bashing it again! Help, I’m in an abusive relationship and I can’t get out!*

Iron Fist #16 (*****): Terrific series finale, bravo to all involved, especially Matt Fraction. I can’t wait for the “Heroes For Hire” relaunch this fall… wait, what? Not cancelled? New creative team? Get OUT of here!

Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. #30 (****): Still not the Knaufs, but adequate. Actually, more than adequate. This Moore guys is doing a bang-up fill-in! Overkill Mind! Star Squad! Paladin messing up Iron Man’s fascist face! YES! YES! YES!

The Punisher #58 (*****): Every month I get a little sad. New Punisher issue only serves to remind me of its imminent cancellation. Well, pretty much, right? I like the new guy, his Foolkiller was good, but no one’s ever going to top Garth Ennis. Oh, I should say something about this issue. It was really good, as usual. They always are. Sad face.

Thunderbolts #121 (*****): OH GOOD GOD! This was epic. And now it’s over. Forever. I don’t care that this book shipped once a quarter, it was totally worth it. But, I don’t think Ellis is leaving because of lateness, I think he’s just done. Is that true? Does anybody know? I’m seriously asking a serious question here…

X-Factor #32 (****1/2): In this issue, Madrox tells Cooper to get stuffed and finally takes responsibility as the father of Theressa’s baby… and just like that, *POOF*, X-Factor is a 4-5 Star book again. Why? Because we’re back to focusing on the drama, baby, and not the action. Yay! Thank you, Peter David. I don’t know what happened to you or why you had to phone the past 6 months in, but I’m glad you’re back. Now, if only I could say the same thing about She-Hulk. UGH!

Young Avengers Presents: Hawkeye #6 (****): This was easily the best of the series. Fraction is just on fire this month (although his Punisher still sucks ass). I loved how much of a dick Clint is when he makes Kate cry. Ha-Ha! But then, it was just Clint teaching her a lesson all along! Oh snap! Shit, I wish Clint had his own team book or something. He works well as mentor/father figure… FUCK, why isn’t he leading the New Avengers? He’s got the attitude, the skill and the experience. Maybe that’s one of the changes Bendis has lined up for after Secret Invasion? I hope so. I’ve always loved me some Hawkeye. Oh, and when the hell is Young Avengers Volume 2 coming out? These characters are way cooler than the Titans and those shitters have two books, both equally shitty!

Hmm, got surly there at the end. Ah, well. Tomorrow, Planetary Series Review (honest) and on Wednesday, maybe a Spoiler Re view… if something cool comes out.

 

*That one was for VsRealms.

Review: Conan: The Cimmerian & Skaar: Son of Hulk!

Well, I guess I’m really slow on this one. Desiato and Billy already reviewed this. This makes my review near obsolete. But damn it, I’m going to review it anyway! I actually have to thank Billy on this one. His opening paragraph on his review is what hooked me, when he compared this to Conan. I have always loved Conan and….well, more on that in a bit.

This issue was awesome! A coming of age story with monsters, dragons, and gore oh my! I didn’t pick up this issue when it came out. It had sold out at my local comic shop. Thankfully, a friend of mine is an employee there and he had set aside a copy for himself but decided he didn’t really want it. Well, luckily when I went to pick up my copy of the Planet Hulk HC, he asked if I had picked up Skaar yet. He said a kid came in earlier and wanted a copy and he considered giving it to him, but that kid isn’t friends with the guy and I am so ha ha little kid! Ok, maybe too much barbarian reading today has turned me into a jerk.

Sorry to bore you guys with that story, but it seemed apropos of this review. This issue was indeed very good. I do however, have two complaints. One is that (I never thought I’d say this) Pak packed too much into this issue. I love the fact that I definitely got my money’s worth, but it seems that more stories could have been told about Skaar growing up. I guess this is a minor complaint, but it still seems a valid one to me. I suppose that maybe Pak had wanted to, but if this is indeed a maxi-series, perhaps Pak has too much story to tell to dwell on kid Skaar, oh well.

The other complaint is Garney’s pencils. His art seems to have gotten worse since the last arc of Wolverine he just did! Oh well, I heard in an interview that Garney admitted himself that the pencils were very rushed. He thought that he didn’t have a good enough feel for the character yet and that his art will improve. I can buy that, I mean most every art style changes over time, whether it be comic or cartoon. So I guess these aren’t really complaints, since there seem to be valid explanations, I guess they’re more observations. Anyway, great first issue and I hope Pak can keep it up. This definitely seems more like Planet Hulk than World War Hulk which to me is a good thing.

3 and a half stars

By Crom! I must read more Conan! I once heard a story about Robert E. Howard and his creation of Conan. I heard that when he was writing the story, that he actually imagined Conan standing over him with a battle axe forcing him to write about Conan more! That’s kind of how I feel right now. I have always loved Conan. My father has all 275 of the first series of Conan comics. I started to collect the new dark horse comic myself. Sadly, I quit reading it a little while after Busiek left in an attempt to cut back on my comics. But it seems the mighty Cimmerian could not lie dormant in my mind forever and I fear he is now forcing me to read all of his comics with his fierce barbaric rage!

This is the preview issue of the new Conan the Cimmerian comic. This is no mere promotional tool. There was actually a lot of effort put into this issue. For a five minute read, this packs a surprising amount of punch! This does an extremely good job of adapting Robert E. Howard’s poem, Cimmeria. Truman and Giorello do an outstanding job telling a simple, yet poignant story. The images of Howard’s typewriter are subtle, yet make it clear that the focus of the series will be the continuing respect towards Conan’s creator.This story has a short yet memorably gory action sequence with severed hands and extremely colorful red blood. The art is top notch and there are beautiful splash pages of moments in the previous series. This issue features 16 pages of awesome for only a buck! Inside there is a look at the first issue that features Frank Cho cover art with Joe Kubert doing a variant. If this issue is any indication of the series’ worth, I see many a fun Conan adventures in my future. By Crom! Buy this issue!

4 stars

This was a barbaric day for me indeed! Long will I remember the day I conquered Conan the Cimmerian #0, Skaar Son of Hulk #1, and the Planet Hulk HC! I’ll leave you fellow barbarians with a quote of wisdom.

“Conan! What is best in life?”

“To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women.”