Top 5 Best Comics of September 2009

Boring introduction! I read 21 comics in September, and these were the best.

 

5. Green Lantern #46

Hey, Green Lantern is great again! We know Mahnke’s art is going to blow our minds, but Johns pulled his weight too, delivering the gore he’s so fond of. There was a lot of progression here, featuring a fight that’s been brewing for a long time. Sinestro and Mongul’s conclusion is not only drawn well, Johns gives each baddie a fun monologue, dripping with a bit of truth. Indeed, for a brief time, Johns made me believe that Mongul could actually win. Loud, bloody, and just the kind of cosmic fun that Johns wants you to have.

4. Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant Size

It all ends. It was the worth the wait, but for Millar’s part of it, this issue played out exactly how you’d expect, which would’ve been a dull experience, except for the reason we’re all here: Steve McNiven. Just about every panel in here is iconic, ready to be framed on your wall. No matter what silly cliché Millar wrote, McNiven made it sing. However, the writing’s not all bad. This issue pays great tribute to Wolverine’s character as a whole, blending his Western and Eastern ways together. So, even on that corny, Lone Wolf & Cub-inspired last page, I smiled.

3. Detective Comics #857

Another conclusion, what can I say? Those are usually great issues. Alright, Rucka’s opening Batwoman arc hasn’t had as much substance as I’d like, but something we can all agree on is the talent of Williams. We haven’t seen Kate’s origin yet, but she’s already a fully-developed character, mostly due to Williams himself. That continues here, of course, as Williams gets to render some dazzling stunts, with Kate jumping from plane to plane, kicking her way to Alice. Speaking of Alice, this issue delivers a twist with her that I didn’t see coming at all, and it was telegraphed, even on the cover. The twist works, not only to shock us, but as a brilliant window into Kate’s past.

Seventh Soldier’s Review

2. Dark Reign: The List – X-Men

I read most of these specials, and this is probably the only one that’s actually a one-shot. Fraction doesn’t conform. This isn’t about political nonsense or the status quo. Fraction gives us the simple tale of revenge, and it works very well. A great deal of that credit goes to Alan Davis. He makes this absurd, spandex-clad medium lyrical. Consider the scene at the end, with Namor, Osborn, and the Sentry. In Davis’ hands, this simple scene becomes a grand confrontation between legends. Superman and Luthor could easily replace Namor and Osborn, and Sentry’s inclusion is the icing on the cake.

1. Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Exodus

I, like many of you, wasn’t very impressed with this crossover. Fraction’s characterizations were still superb, but the plot seemed to contain nothing but buildup. Well, that all culminated with Exodus, and what a culmination. The epic battle between teams is there, with almost every character utilized. Deals with the devil, an old New Avengers callback, and a new status quo makes this the most explosive comic of the month, and the best too.

For more comic goodness, go here.

Bruce Castle’s Mini-Reviews

I’m down, but not out!

Blackest Night #2

I was right there with Lebeau on the first issue, and you can find a bigger, better review of this issue from him. Johns definitely decreased the needless exposition this time around, but it’s not enough. This event is still moving at a dead snail’s pace. He spends too much time relishing in ghastly, deceased heroes terrorizing live ones. However, you can still find scenes to enjoy here, especially if you’re already fond of Johns’ particular brand of fun. Nightmarish sharks devouring Atlanteans here, a two-page, vertical splash of a resurrected Spectre there. The most impressive element of Blackest Night so far has been the images rendered by Ivan Reis. He’s officially a superstar.

Grade: C+

The Boys #33

Why is John McCrea drawing this? Shouldn’t he be drawing Herogasm? I’m not complaining. Carlos Ezquerra’s art has been sloppy the last few issues, and while McCrea is no Darick Robertson, his work here, and especially on Herogasm, is more than satisfying. Although, he’s still not the right artist for the job. This is a dark, violent arc of The Boys, and McCrea’s images are too cartoony. Ennis’ writing, however, is still top-notch. This issue was a blast. Watching Butcher systematically take down the Boys-filtered Avengers was very entertaining. The fact that this arc is so action-heavy makes it all the more upsetting that Robertson is absent.

Grade: B-

Hellboy: The Wild Hunt #5

It’s nice to have Hellboy back. The reason for the delay was Duncan Fegredo’s, and the wait paid off. I re-read the previous four installments before this one, and Fegredo’s work is simply stunning. The Wild Hunt has featured a fight in just about every issue. It makes each chapter stand on its own as an episodic action series. Fegredo draws the hell out of the battle scenes, while Mignola crafts a menacing threat for Hellboy in the background.

Grade: B+

Ultimate Comics: Avengers #1

Off the heels of the biggest event in the Ultimate Universe’s history, at the start of a brand new status quo, is this issue exposition-heavy? @*&# NO!!! In true, Millar style, he kicks this series off in summer blockbuster fashion, featuring an extended fight scene, and a last-page shock to punch you in the face! As I mentioned with The Boys, if a comic is action-heavy, you have to provide pretty pictures. Well, Carlos Pacheco, in his glorious return to Marvel interiors, is just the man to provide such pictures. He handles all of the action, including some tricky helicopter scenes, with professional ease. Looking for pure, pop bliss? You got it!

Grade: A-

The Walking Dead #64

Dale’s situation provides a wickedly funny beginning. Then we get a typical and sentimental revelation from Dale’s lover, Andrea. I say typical because we’ve seen a lot of it in The Walking Dead, but it is a natural reaction to grief, and we’ve sure seen plenty of that in this series. The rest of the issue is mostly spent planting seeds for future events that culminate in a tremendously badass moment for Rick. Another enjoyable issue, for sure, but this is mid-arc. So, it does suffer from the necessary plot-building.

Grade: B

Uncanny X-Men #514

We’re two issues away from this crossover’s conclusion, and I don’t think it’s the event anyone was really expecting. This isn’t mindless Dark Avenger-on-X-Men action. No, with Matt Fraction at the helm, we’re getting a highly developed and well thought-out story that presents realistic situations for these characters to deal with. The downside to all that is that we’ve had more set-up than payoff, but with an oversized, Mike Deodato-drawn conclusion in the near future, I’m sure we’ll get the carnage that we crave soon enough.

Grade: B

For more comic goodness, go here.

Review: Dark Avengers #7

Writing: Well, if you’ve been waiting for some action, here it is. Although, the fight may not be what you think, but fighting isn’t the point. It hasn’t been the point in anything Fraction’s written. What Fraction presents is a series of events that are logical, while entertaining, of course. Every move the characters make feels organic, and that, if nothing else, is the strength of this crossover.

Art: The word is that Luke Ross was a last-minute addition, since Deodato had been tapped to draw the conclusion, Exodus. Ross was probably rushed here, but, to his credit, it doesn’t really show. Those who just saw his work in Captain America will get a different look here, paying homage to Deadato while doing his own thing. It would’ve been nice if Ross wasn’t rushed, and Deodato had rendered the issue as planned, but I guess Tom Brevoort, the editor, didn’t have anyone left in his bullpen to draw the last special.

Final Word: Fraction is dealing with over a dozen players here, and he pulls it off with ease. And, don’t worry. Thanks to Fraction’s witty introductions, and those handy-dandy recaps that Marvel provides, you won’t be lost, even if you haven’t picked up the first two parts. We’re halfway through this crossover now, and the tension is percolating. I can’t wait to see the payoff.

Grade: B+

For more comic goodness, go here.

Review: Uncanny X-Men #513

Writing: We’re two issues into Marvel’s only mega-crossover of the summer! And both issues are filled with setup? Yes, that’s right. Two issues and eight dollars later, Fraction is still moving the pieces into position. Fraction introduces the Dark X-Men in this issue, and there are two surprises in the lineup. The details of Norman and Emma’s deal occupy most of this issue’s page count, but Fraction does introduce two threats near the end.

Art: Terry Dodson’s art is most welcome after four issues of staring at Land’s models pose. Unfortunately, Dodson’s strongsuit is cheesecake and splash pages, and with all of the material that Fraction crams into this issue, there’s not much room for any of that. Emma Frost and Dagger look pretty though. Everything is drawn fine, but this issue just doesn’t contain the striking visuals that I know Terry Dodson is capable of.

Final Word: Fraction offers plenty of clever twists & turns that still feel realistic, but with so little actual action going on, this issue was a somewhat boring reading experience. I hope that once Fraction finally finishes setting things up, the payoff will be worth it.

Grade: C+

For more comic goodness, go here.

Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia #1

 

The Writing: Fraction puts on his Claremont hat, going back to a theme that has been done to death. “Let’s make the X-Men about intolerance.” A fine message, for sure, but it’s all been done before in the X-Men. That said, Fraction is still writing better-than-the-rest here. He packs this issue full of cleverness. So, you get your money’s worth, but a lot of this stuff feels a bit unnecessary, and it all could’ve fit in a regular issue. But no, these X-Men events have to be oversized and feature Marc Silvestri art.

The Art: Silvestri is Silvestri. I’m not too fond of his work, but he’s a god to some. And, to be fair, he rendered one of the best X-Men tales ever, “Here Comes Tomorrow.” The problem here is that Silvestri needed four additional artists to provide the crowd for Fraction’s script. So, needless to say, all the additional pencilers create a slightly jarring reading experience, and a few continuity mistakes along the way. Also, and this is the problem with nearly every artist Fraction works with, Silvestri renders the action scenes well, but struggles with some of the quieter moments.

Final Word: The last page of this issue is supposed to have a big impact, but it’s already been spoiled. This is Marvel’s only crossover this summer, and, thankfully, it’s completely in Fraction’s hands. As a huge Fraction fan, I couldn’t be happier. However, this special, while good from a technical standpoint, doesn’t provide an interesting enough premise, and, really, isn’t very entertaining.

Grade: C+

For more comic goodness, go here.

Review: Dark Avengers #4

(***)

I have good news and bad news. I’ve always been one to take the bad news first. That way, you leave things on a positive note.

The Bad: There are so many, but a lot of them are little things. I’ll do my best to keep it brief. The characters are handled poorly, particularly the ones Bendis doesn’t know how to handle, like Noh-Varr. I don’t think he’d ever say, “I’ve got my hands full!” There’s also a “joke” where Noh doesn’t know what eBay is. This is the guy who learned everything about Earth, why wouldn’t he know what eBay is? Or why couldn’t he tell that Ms. Marvel (Moonstone) was hitting on him? He’s already had two loves. Also, Morgana Le Fay continues to be written horribly. She’s a lovesick bitch who dies again in this issue! What is that, four times now? That of course brings up the whole time nonsense, something a writer should never use unless it’s very clear and very necessary. This was neither. There’s even a moment in this issue where Doom talks about not screwing time up, and then by the end, Doom himself seemed to have done quite a bit of time-screwing.

The Good: My god, the art is beautiful. I mean, Deodato has always been good, but this is ridiculous, even his page layouts are getting more dynamic. As I’m sure you all know, Bendis loves his splash-pages. There’s about six or so, in here. Even though we’re wasting six of the 22 pages in a four-dollar comic, you probably won’t complain much because Deodato’s renderings are so gorgeous. You can get wallpaper from this issue here. It should also be mentioned that Rain Beredo’s coloring adds tremendously, as well.

Final Word: There are some good moments. The last page is pretty cool. Then again, it’s mostly Mike Deodato that makes it cool. The writing isn’t terrible, but there were certainly a lot of mistakes. The first arc concludes, an arc that probably should have been an issue or two less. This issue should probably be about two stars, but I’m a sucker for the art. I do like the characters, despite Bendis’ occasional mishandling, and I am interested in where things are going. I’ll probably stick around until the end of Fraction’s upcoming arc, and then we’ll see. For the rest of you, proceed with caution.

July 2009 Solicitations

Wow! This July will apparently be the best month for comics ever! Check it out!

REBORN #1 (of 5)
Written by ED BRUBAKER
Penciled by BRYAN HITCH
50/50 Covers by BRYAN HITCH & ALEX ROSS
Variant Cover by JOHN CASSADAY
Solicit to be revealed soon
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

Is Steve Rogers coming back? That seems too obvious, but then again, Marvel and DC aren’t usually subtle about these things.

UNCANNY X-MEN #513
Written by MATT FRACTION
Pencils & Cover by TERRY DODSON
Variant Cover by SIMONE BIANCHI
“UTOPIA: CHAPTER 2”
WHO ARE THE DARK X-MEN? He has his own Avengers team and now Norman Osborn has his own X-Men team. The other shoe has finally dropped and Emma Frost has betrayed Cyclops and the rest of the X-Men. And that’s just one of the huge surprises in “UTOPIA”.  Is that Namor? Cloak and Dagger? Professor X?!  The thing that you aren’t ready for is that Osborn is right.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

DARK AVENGERS #7
Written by MATT FRACTION
Pencils & Cover by MIKE DEODATO
Variant Cover by SIMONE BIANCHI
“UTOPIA: Chapter 3”
The DARK AVENGERS/UNCANNY X-MEN crossover continues!
San Francisco teeters on the brink of absolute chaos and the X-Men keep getting in the way of Norman’s vision of law and order.  So Norman takes his game to the next level: who are the DARK X-MEN?  And will Norman’s Avengers play nice with Norman’s X-Men?  Here’s a hint: no.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

Ok, so it may not be the most exciting Marvel summer event, but it is the first crossover helmed by Matt Fraction, one of my favorite writers. And it appears that the whole thing will be written by Matt Fraction himself. No Bendis here!

CAPTAIN AMERICA #601
Written by ED BRUBAKER
Pencils and Cover by GENE COLAN
70th Anniversary Variant by MARKO DJURDJEVIC
*Black & White Variant Also Available!
A special double-sized issue featuring art by the legendary Gene Colan! Bucky and Nick Fury uncover a lost tale from Cap and Bucky’s days in WW2 – a tale of horror and war and brothers-in-arms.
48 PGS./Rated A …$3.99

Again, not a big event, but Gentleman Gene Colan returns! That’s cool, right? And, though the book does cost 3.99, it’s double-sized. So, that’s also cool, right?

 

INCREDIBLE HULK #600
Written by JEPH LOEB
Penciled by ED MCGUINNESS
Cover by ALEX ROSS
50/50 Variant Cover by ED MCGUINNESS
Variant Cover by TIM SALE
WHO IS THE RED HULK?! 
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN IS GOING TO TRY AND FIND OUT! 
GREEN HULK!  RED HULK!  SPIDEY!  SECRETS REVEALED!
A STORY SO BIG IT CAN BARELY BE CONTAINED IN THE INCREDIBLE 600TH ISSUE OF HULK!  ALL THIS AND A STARTLING SURPRISE ENDING TO TOP ALL THE OTHER SHOCKING SURPRISES THIS HULK BOOK IS KNOWN FOR!
The chart-topping team of Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness bring you a 600th-issue celebration guest starring your friendly Neighborhood Web-Head as the original Incredible series returns!  Plus, back-up story by Fred Van Lente featuring the Savage She-Hulk! And representing the first issue of the Loeb/Sale HULK: GRAY series,
104 PGS./38 All-New Pages & Reprints/Rated A …$4.99

Will we actually find out who Rulk is? I’m guessing it’s this dude.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #600
Written by DAN SLOTT, STAN LEE & THE REST OF SPIDEY’S WEB-HEADS
Pencils by JOHN ROMITA JR., MARCOS MARTIN, MARIO ALBERTI & MORE!
50/50 Wraparound Cover by JOHN ROMITA JR.
50/50 Cover by ALEX ROSS
Variant Cover by JOHN ROMITA SR.
Wraparound Variant Cover by JOE QUESADA
The greatest Marvel super hero of all celebrates his 600th issue with the biggest all-original issue of Amazing Spider-Man EVER! This one’s got it all! The return of Doctor Octopus, Daredevil, a wedding you never predicted, and the return of one of the most important people in Peter Parker’s life in a giant-sized lead story by Dan Slott and John Romita Jr.  Doc’s back in town, but it’s only a prelude to darker days ahead as Spidey unknowingly prepares for a gauntlet he can’t even see coming.
On top of all that, witness the return of one of Spider-man’s creators, Smilin’ Stan Lee (along with Masticatin’ Marcos Martin) as he presents a story of unbridled passion, drama and angst as Spidey reflects over his many, many years of adventures.
But that ain’t all…as the rest of the Spidey Web-Heads bring you several short features showcasing some rarely explored aspects of both Spidey and Pete’s life, drawn by some of the greatest artists in comics. Plus, several other surprises and NO REPRINTS! 104 pages of goodness brought to you by some of the best creators that have ever worked on Spidey!
104 PGS./All-New/Rated A …$4.99

Yes, Marvel renumbers to get your money.

ULTIMATUM #5 (of 5)
Written by JEPH LOEB
Pencils & Cover by DAVID FINCH
Variant Cover by ED MCGUINNESS
Sketch Variant by ED MCGUINNESS
Gatefold Variant by DAVID FINCH
Fallen Heroes Variant by OLIVIER COIPEL
Is this what the end of the world looks like? You better believe it!!

As only Emmy & Eisner award-winning writer Jeph Loeb and superstar artist David Finch can deliver, it’s an apocalyptic conclusion where every, and we mean EVERY, score is settled! The Ultimate heroes have faced their final judgment…and when the dust settles will they be found wanting? If you can handle the growing body count, stick around as ALL is answered in this explosive series finale that will shock fans for years to come!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

Yes, it was solicited back in May. Yes, a lot of people hate it. But it is a big event. Will it finally conclude?

BLACKEST NIGHT #1
Written by Geoff Johns
Art and cover by Ivan Reis & Oclair Albert
Variant cover by Ethan Van Sciver
Sketch variant cover by Ivan Reis & Oclair Albert
Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis raise the dead in the most anticipated comics story of the year! Throughout the decades, death has plagued the DC Universe and taken the lives of heroes and villains alike. But to what end? As the War of Light rages on, the prophecy of the Blackest Night descends upon us, with Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps at the center of it all.
Don’t miss this 8-issue epic taking the DCU beyond the grave!
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with three covers. For every 25 copies of the Standard Edition (with a cover by Ivan Reis & Oclair Albert), retailers may order one copy of the Variant Edition (with a cover by Ethan Van Sciver). For every 250 copies of the Standard Edition, retailers may order one copy of the Sketch Variant Edition (with a cover by Ivan Reis & Oclair Albert). Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale July 15 • 1 of 8 • 48 pg, FC, $3.99 US

Really, it’s the biggest event of this summer. My only problem so far is that Arthur Curry appears to be among the dead. But he came back in Final Crisis, damn it!

 

 

GREEN LANTERN #43
Written by Geoff Johns
Art and cover by Doug Mahnke & Christian Alamy
Variant cover by Rodolfo Migliari
The official prologue to BLACKEST NIGHT starts here as the first Black Lantern is born! Black Hand has been an enemy of Hal Jordan since Hal’s early days as a Green Lantern. But even Black Hand is unaware of the true power he holds that will connect him to the Blackest Night! Discover this villain’s connection to death and the Black Lantern Corps!
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers. For every 25 copies of the Standard Edition (with a cover by Doug Mahnke & Christian Alamy), retailers may order one copy of the Variant Edition (with a cover by Rodolfo Migliari). Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale July 8 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

GREEN LANTERN #44
Written by Geoff Johns
Art and cover by Doug Mahnke & Christian Alamy
Variant cover by Rodolfo Migliari
“Blackest Night” continues! As Hal Jordan and Barry Allen investigate a bizarre crime in Gotham City, they come face to face with one of their oldest allies – J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter! But their old friend is not there for reunions; he’s come for much more. Meanwhile, Sinestro seeks to rebuild his army and take his revenge on the being who would usurp it – Mongul!
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers. For every 25 copies of the Standard Edition (with a cover by Doug Mahnke & Christian Alamy), retailers may order one copy of the Variant Edition (with a cover by Rodolfo Migliari). Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale July 22 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Doug Mahnke, one of my favorite artists, has found a home at Green Lantern, one of my favorite comics!

BATMAN AND ROBIN #2
Written by Grant Morrison
Art and cover by Frank Quitely
Variant cover by Andy Kubert
“Batman Reborn” continues with the reteaming of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, WE3, New X-Men)! In a blazing Gotham City police department, the new Batman and Robin face the bizarre, fighting freakshow that is the Circus of Strange and find that they don’t make as good a team as Batman had hoped! Meanwhile, the mysterious Sasha escapes from Professor Pyg and vows vengeance on the people who killed her father.
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers. For every 25 copies of the Standard Edition (with a cover by Frank Quitely), retailers may order one copy of the Variant Edition (with a cover by Andy Kubert). Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale July 1 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Yeah, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely are just about the best creative team in comics. This will be AWESOME!

DETECTIVE COMICS #855
Written by Greg Rucka
Art by JH Williams III; co-feature art by Cully Hamner
Cover by JH Williams III
“Elegy” part 2 of 4 by Greg Rucka and JH Williams III! Batwoman captures her enemy, a madwoman known only as Alice who sees her life as a fairy tale and everyone around her as expendable extras – including Kate! But when the tables are turned, Batwoman finds herself in a hallucination slamming the present into a collision with the past, and the hints of a threat that will claim the lives of every man, woman and child in Gotham City.
And in the all-new co-feature starring the Question, Montoya’s quest to find a missing young girl turns deadly.
On sale July 29 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US

Greg Rucka+Batwoman+Renee Montoya+JH Williams III+Dave Stewart+Cully Hammer=BUY THIS BOOK!

THE FLASH: REBIRTH #4
Written by Geoff Johns
Art and covers by Ethan Van Sciver
Barry Allen left a legacy that thrived after his death. Now his return threatens it all. What secrets does Barry hold inside him about the fate of the Flash Family? What destiny awaits Wally and his twins? What murderous force targets Bart Allen? And what does it truly mean to be a speedster?
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers. For every 25 copies of the Standard Edition (with a cover by Ethan Van Sciver), retailers may order one copy of the Variant Edition (with a cover by Ethan Van Sciver). Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale July 22 • 4 of 5 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

I wasn’t too impressed with the first issue, but this is probably the best Sciver has ever looked. And hey, I do love Barry Allen.

WEDNESDAY COMICS #1-4
In July, DC Comics gives a fresh twist to a grand comics tradition with WEDNESDAY COMICS, a new, weekly 12-issue series by some of the greatest names in comics today!
WEDNESDAY COMICS is unique in modern comics history: Reinventing the classic weekly newspaper comics section, it is a 16-page weekly that unfolds to a sprawling 28” x 20” tabloid-sized reading experience bursting with mind-blowing color, action and excitement, with each feature on its own 14” x 20” page.
Spearheaded by DCU Editorial Art Director Mark Chiarello, whose past editing credits include BATMAN BLACK & WHITE, DC: THE NEW FRONTIER and SOLO, each page of WEDNESDAY COMICS spotlights the continuing adventures of DC heroes, including:

  • BATMAN, WEDNESDAY COMICS’ weekly cover feature, by the Eisner Award-winning 100 BULLETS team of writer Brian Azzarello and artist Eduardo Risso
  • ADAM STRANGE, by writer/artist Paul Pope (BATMAN: YEAR 100)
  • METAMORPHO, written by New York Times best-selling writer Neil Gaiman with art by Eisner Award-winner Michael Allred (Madman)
  • THE DEMON AND CATWOMAN, written by Walter Simonson (Thor, MANHUNTER) with art by famed DC cover artist Brian Stelfreeze
  • DEADMAN, written by Dave Bullock and Vinton Heuck, art by Dave Bullock
  • KAMANDI, written by Dave Gibbons (WATCHMEN, GREEN LANTERN CORPS) with art by Ryan Sook (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, ARKHAM ASYLUM: LIVING HELL)
  • SUPERMAN, written by John Arcudi (The Mask) with art by Lee Bermejo (JOKER)
  • WONDER WOMAN, written and illustrated by Ben Caldwell (Dare Detectives)
  • GREEN LANTERN, written by Kurt Busiek (TRINITY, ASTRO CITY) with art by Joe Quiñones (TEEN TITANS GO!)
  • TEEN TITANS, written by Eddie Berganza with art by Sean Galloway
  • SUPERGIRL, written by Jimmy Palmiotti (JONAH HEX) with art by Amanda Conner (POWER GIRL)
  • HAWKMAN, written and illustrated by Kyle Baker (PLASTIC MAN, Special Forces)
  • SGT. ROCK, written by Adam Kubert (SUPERMAN: LAST SON), ilustrated by legendary comics artist Joe Kubert
  • THE FLASH, written by Karl Kerschl (TEEN TITANS YEAR ONE, THE FLASH: THE FASTEST MAN ALIVE) and Brenden Fletcher, illustrated by Karl Kerschl
  • METAL MEN, written by Dan DiDio with art by Ian Churchill (SUPERGIRL)

WEDNESDAY COMICS will arrive in stores folded twice to 7” x 10”, with the first issue set to reach stores on July 8.
Issue #1 on sale July 8; Issue #2 on sale July 15; Issue #3 on sale July 22; Issue #4 on sale July 29 • 1-4 of 12 • 7” x 10”, 16 pg, FC, $3.99 US

This is original, and it feature’s some of the medium’s top creators. It’s fantastic!

So, comics in July will kick ass! From Marvel: The likely return of Steve Rogers, a Dark Avengers/X-Men crossover, the end of Ultimatum, and renumbering up the ass. From DC: Wednesday Comics, Flash: Rebirth, Blackest Night, and some phenomenal Batman books. Will DC finally beat Marvel this year? Or at least in July? Maybe?

Review: New Avengers #50

(***)

I don’t want to spoil anything because I want to warn you. The New Avengers do not fight the Dark Avengers in this issue. So if that was the reason why you were going to buy this issue, you can save your fin. If you’re still willing to throw down your cash, at least you won’t be as disappointed when the big promised fight doesn’t come.

I’d like to say that something even better than the predictable Avengers vs. Avengers battle occurs in this issue, but that would be lying, and lies make baby Jesus cry. The fact is, you still get something you’ve seen before and it’s still very much in the spirit of Dark Reign, so you shouldn’t be too disappointed. What makes the “big fight” unique, is the guest artists, Bryan Hitch, Steve McNiven, David Aja, and more. These artists pencil a page featuring a character that they’ve drawn before or will draw soon. It’s a nice technique that makes a forgettable fight memorable.

This of course brings me to the main artist, Billy Tan. I’ve never thought that Tan, despite his recent improvement, was good enough to handle such an important Marvel title, and his art looks even uglier here. It’s possible that he was rushed, but whatever the reason, the art looks bad, especially when it’s next to the renderings of some of the most talented artists working today. What’s worse than its actual appearance, are the several repeated panels throughout the book. Not only does Billy Tan’s art look poor, but this book makes Tan seem lazy as well.

Overall, for the five dollars you spend to purchase this book, you’ll get a mixed bag. The art ranges from bad to great and so does the writing. A lot of Bendis’ jokes fall flat. And even though Bendis tried to throw us a curve ball, the end result proved much more annoying than what was actually promised. However, even though the comic has its flaws, I couldn’t help but feel all warm and fuzzy at the end. I’m not the biggest Hawkeye fan, but I couldn’t help but jump with glee when it came to this book’s last couple of pages. It’s a pleasing finale that promises good things to come.

Review: Dark Avengers #2

Dark Avengers #2 (Choi Variant Cover Edition)

(*)

Because I review comics, every now and then I check out what others have to say about the books I read, especially if they have the ability to peruse them before I do. A sterling derivation for this is Line of Fire Reviews. A reviewer there I greatly admire, Paul Brian McCoy, has pointed out some devastating errors in this comic and I have to say, he’s right. You can find his review here. Because Mr. McCoy already did a great job criticizing this comic, using tools like research and logic (Tools I’m not fond of utilizing), I’ll take a moment to present an abridged version of my review. It stinks.

This comic is written for a 12-year-old, which is fine, as long as it has a Marvel Adventures tag somewhere on the cover. This, however, does not. In fact, it’s trying to be the edgy, macabre, and wickedly humorous  romp that Ellis’ Thunderbolts was. I’m faced with a conundrum. I adore Deodato’s art and fancy half of the Dark Avengers’ roster. Conversely, this comic contains repetitive nonsense like  “Gagagoo! Gadapoo!”, time paradoxes, and the De-evolution of Morgana Le Fay, she’s an enraged scorned crazy-girl! Women, can’t live with ’em, eh Bendis? So, do I continue reading this book with my brain turned off, or do I face the sad truth that Ellis’ Thunderbolts are long gone? I think it’s time to leave the party before the drunk shoots somebody.

Review: Dark Avengers #1 – Spoilers!

Dark Avengers #1 (Variant Cover Edition)

(***1/2)

I was going to start with my opinion of Bendis and my struggle to drop his titles, but that’s not fair to you. This is a spoiler review because well, it’ll make things interesting. If you’re half as frustrated as I am about all the “mysteries” in Marvel right now (Who is the Black Panther? Who are the New Avengers? Who cares?) then you’re pretty upset. So, let’s get things out of the way.

Dark Avengers:

Iron Patriot=Norman Osborn

Captain Marvel=Noh-Varr

Sentry=Blonde Crazy Dude

Ms. Marvel=Moonstone

Ares=Big Jerky God

Wolverine=Daken (Or Dokken as I like to call him)

Hawkeye=Bullseye

Spider-Man=Mac Gargan

Is any of that shocking? If you’ve been paying attention, probably not. I was upset about this issue’s price tag of 3.99. I assumed I’d only get the usual 20-22 pages, but you get about ten more. That’s cool. Bendis also packs this issue with a lot of words (Shocking I know) and there are often nine panels on a page. Sadly, this is still mostly set-up. Who the team is, how did they get there, and who’s the villain of this arc are all answered here. Oh right, this is a spoilers review. The villain will be Morgana Le Fay. It’s an odd choice, but Bendis is a fanboy writer. He loves the old Micheline/Layton/Romita Doomquest story (And so do I) so he’ll continue writing about it. That’s the reason for the characters on this team. He loves the way other writers handled them.

Mike Deodato’s art is pretty spectacular. Sure, it’s gritty at times (Because that’s what the book is trying to be), but honestly, it’s the best his work has ever looked. A few years ago I didn’t think Deodato could handle a mainstream flagship spandex title, but I’m glad he proved me wrong. If you enjoyed his art on Ellis’ Thunderbolts, you’ll love it here. It looks similar, but better. Practice makes perfect.

I read somewhere that Bendis was upset about the cost of comics today. That’s the reason for his excessive wordiness. If that’s true, then I’m sure he dislikes the four dollar price as well. It took me quite a while to read this comic and that makes me happy. The art looks fantastic and I enjoy the characters on the team. But again, not much happened here. I know Bendis is great when it comes to details, but he often fails to tell overall good stories. I hope that changes.

Review: Secret Invasion #8 – Spoilers!

It’s finally over. Ok, so I could just bash the hell out of this, but I don’t want to. I’ve been doing that since about issue two when everyone loved this book. Now it seems most people are on the same page as I am. Dclebeau just wrote a pretty good lengthy review that points out a lot of the faults that I would have. So if you want his negativity, go here. If you want my negativity on previous issues, go here, here, or here. But as for this issue, I’m going to keep it positive.

I know what you’re thinking. What nice thing can I say other than I like the art? Well, I do like the art, but everyone has said that already, including me. Um, Tony went old school. That was cool. That can’t be all I liked, right? Let me flip through my book here. Wasp dies? Don’t care. Norman kills the Skrull Queen? Um, yeah that’s kind of…uh, I liked Ellis’ Thunderbolts? Iron Man finds all the people who were captured (And doesn’t get credit for it). Well, I guess I’m glad they’re alive. So, yay? Luke Cage’s baby is missing and that isn’t resolved? That’s kind of…lame? Don’t care. Don’t care. Thor gives Tony more shit and Bucky gives him the dreaded silent treatment. Why Marvel why? Can’t they all just get along? I have to live with their ten panel team-up in a book I didn’t like? Damn you! Shit this is getting negative, isn’t it? Ok here we go. They kick Tony, a hero, out and bring Osborn, a pumpkin bomb throwing monster, in? You suck, faceless Marvel president! I like that though. It shows the crazy things people do when they’re scared. Well, I already knew that, I’ve lived in America for the last eight years, but kids may not know that. But I do like the idea of villains in control. So maybe Marvel comics will be cool if you can get past their new 3.99 price tag? Maybe, I guess I’m done talking about this issue, but while you’re here, I’ll talk about those new Dark Reign books I’m interested in.

Dark Reign

How can I not buy this? So what do you guys think of this Evil Illuminati or Evilnati as I’m sure it will soon be called? Or if you take the Illumin as illuminate, would you then use the antonym? Would that be darken? Darkenati? Whatever floats your boat I guess. So what do you think of the members? Loki? I liked him before Stracynski gave him an operation. The Hood? Yeah, I do like him and hey I like Dormammu as well. Emma Frost? Love her, but I guess I am one of the many who hopes she isn’t evil. She’s had to fight that lack of trust for eight years! Give the lady a break Bendis! Namor? So he continues to go both ways? Way to be a turncoat fish boy. And what evil alliance would be complete without Doom and Stormin’ Norman? I approve of these baddies.

Large Cover of New Avengers #48

I wish I could quit this book, but I’m too far down the rabbit hole. So Spider-Man is back in the old blue and red. That’s fine. Wolverine is back. I see they still have to make this team as popular as possible. Captain America? More popularity? That’s ok. Bucky on a team will be interesting. Will he have to lead? Luke Cage? Cage on a Bendis team? No way! And Ronin? Will this still be Clint or will he be too busy lovin’ his girl now that she’s back? I still think Daredevil will be on a Bendis team at some point. So what do you think of this new team? It’s even more street than before! At least the last team had magic. Can these guys handle a cosmic baddie? Or even a flying one?

I heard Fraction talk about this a long time ago. Iron Man’s “Born Again” arc. It’s eight issues I believe. The first seven issues of this series have been pretty fantastic. I hope that will continue. Maybe after this, Tony will at long last cease to be Marvel’s whipping boy. It could happen. Please?

Large Cover of Punisher #1 (50/50 Variant)

“Just when I thought I was out, they pull be back in”. I love Frank, but I was just about to break up with him. Ennis and Fraction left the building. Punisher MAX not only decreased in quality but will also cost 3.99 soon. So I was just about to leave until I saw this cover. The villains control everything? Bring in the Punisher! And hey, this book isn’t 3.99! Yet.

Large Cover of Dark Avengers #2

Damn it! I can’t find a good picture of New Avengers #50, but you all saw it, right? Plus it would be weird to put a New Avengers cover for Dark Avengers. I only bring it up because you can really get a good idea of what the line-ups will be. Oh, first I should add that it looks like Ms. Marvel and Spider-Woman will be on the New Avengers. So they do have some women and one member that can deal with flying or cosmic threats. That’s a little better. For the Dark Avengers you have Iron Patriot (Osborn?), Marvel Boy (Yay!), Ares (Yay!), Sentry (So once again, the New Avengers should totally get their asses kicked when they face this team), Black Suit (Venom, but no teeth and less bulky. New host?), Hawkeye (Should be Bullseye which would be cool), Daken (If you’ve seen the cover of NA #50 and you know what Daken’s claws look like, you could confirm this too. That middle claw is clearly below his knuckles), Ms. Marvel classic suit (Moonstone probably). So what do you think of this team? I’m a big fan. Again, I love villain books, so this should be a blast. Oh and I also loved Ellis’ Thunderbolts run and we have Deodato back. Can Bendis fill Ellis’ shoes? Probably not, but it’s still worth a look.

So please let me know what you guys think! And again, doesn’t that new four buck price suck?!