Review: Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter Laughing Corpse #4

Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Laughing Corpse #4 (of 5)


If you’ve read more than thirty comics, you’re familiar with this type of issue. It’s a middle of an arc comic and it’s awful wordy. That’s a bit puzzling since this is part four of a five-part series. There aren’t any signs of things wrapping up soon so I guess they’ll be another mini? I hope so. I talked with Ron Lim about it and he said there’d be another series if this book sold. I really hope it has. It’s terrible when you can’t have a conclusion. I mean, I could purchase Hamilton’s actual books, but who wants to read something without pictures?

This issue is filled with talking heads. The test is always how entertaining those heads are. This was a decent issue. Sadly, due to the episodic nature of comics, I’m forced to admit that the writing here is mediocre. However, Ron Lim is there to save the day. Lim knows exactly how to draw this comic. Whether it’s the expressions or Anita’s movements, Lim nails it all. I only wish a better colorist were on this project. There are times when Joel Seguin made Anita look pale in one panel and tan in the next. It was a bit distracting, but this issue’s art is the undeniable star of the show.

Bruce Castle Presents: Anita Blake Likes Boys

Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Laughing Corpse #3 (of 5)

Anita Blake: The Laughing Corpse #3 (****)

Am I the only one reading this comic? Go read it if you haven’t read the books. I’m illiterate, but I like the the pretty pictures. And what pretty pictures they are. I love Ron Lim. He’s been drawing comics for how long? And yet his work still looks great. He captures Anita perfectly. I love her character. Hamilton is a talented writer. She should write more comics. Poor Anita! Everyone hates her in this story. Way to stand up for your principles girlfriend!

Large Cover of The Boys #25

Boys #25 (***)

This arc should be called “great covers with a mediocre story”. Seriously, doesn’t Darick Robertson draw awesome covers? I love the Wolverine hammer hands already, but now he has to hold that drink with them? Does anyone else get that “Xorn looking at the burger” feeling? Which is probably one of the best covers of all time and I hope you know that. It’s sad though. The last Boys arc was four issues and it was the best yet. This one is supposed to be super important, it’s six issues long, and it’s shaping up to be the worst Boys tale ever! C’mon, Ennis! You are better than this! Robertson, keep up the stellar work man!

Bruce Castle Presents: Marvel’s Multiverse!

Ultimatum #1 (of 5)

Ultimatum #1 (***1/2)

Jeph Loeb’s name is synonymous with good art. David Finch handles the art chores here and it’s nice to see him on interiors again. It’s even sweeter to see Finch return to the Ultimate U. But the art isn’t ever the problem in a Loeb comic is it? Well, maybe in that Liefield one. What? Liefield sucks. Anyway, I actually enjoyed this. It’s the set-up issue and that requires a big bang and it has to leave me wanting more. Ultimatum #1 accomplishes both of those. The characters are handled well, better than you might expect, and there are even a few deaths, maybe? It’s that maybe that bugs me a little. See, when I first read this issue I enjoyed it quite a bit, but after flipping through to write this review I had a few questions. That’s not a bad thing since this is the first issue, but one of these days I want to read a Loeb comic where everything is just spelled out. Oh well, at least this isn’t a murder mystery.

Invincible Iron Man #7

Invincible Iron Man #7 (****1/2)

Ah, the fun before the storm. Matt Fraction mentioned something about the next arc being a “Born Again” story. So naturally, this is the entertaining breather between arcs. But Fraction makes it more than that and proves once again why this book is so awesome. Spidey and Iron Man team up again! But this is a post-Civil War team up, are you interested yet? How about the fact that this issue references an old New Avengers story? With humorous results of course. You might also be pleased because Fraction doesn’t treat Tony like some kind of God like other titles do to their heroes. Iron Man is a flawed character. Anyway, the point is, though this appears to be an overdone concept, this issue is unique. Fraction continues to write the hell out of this book. 

Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Laughing Corpse #2 (of 5)

Anita Blake: The Laughing Corpse #2 (****)

It’s a little hard reviewing an adaptation of a book, especially since I haven’t read the book. I can say that if you have ever thought about reading Hamilton’s series, but either you don’t want to deal with all those words or you want to look at pretty pictures, you should give this book a shot. It’s an interesting take on the whole monster world (Vampires, zombies, ghouls, etc.) and it seems to be one of the more “girly” books that I read. Anita Blake is a badass chick that is actually a really interesting character. I’m not a Buffy fan so it’s possible that some of this stuff might feel familiar. On the other hand, if you like Buffy, it’s very possible that you’ll enjoy this. Lastly, I’ve always been a fan of Ron Lim’s art and he provides some fantastic visuals.

Bruce Castle Presents: F-Bombs In Comics? No!

Anita Blake: The Laughing Corpse #1 (****)

I was wondering what that “Mature Content” thing was about. There’s an F-word word in here. Is it just me, or is that pretty unusual for a Marvel book? Not a MAX book or an Icon book, but a regular Marvel book, that isn’t something you see often, is it? It’s not even that necessary. So, why did they put that in? Or if it’ll be imperative later, why isn’t it a MAX book or something? Oh well, I still love this stuff and I’m happy it got another series. No, I haven’t read the original Anita Blake books. Why would I want to read something without pictures? Especially if those pictures are provided by the talented Ron Lim (or Bret Booth on the first series), are you crazy? This stuff is thoroughly entertaining. Although I do have another complaint, why is this book 4 bucks? It has the usual 22 pages, so why do I have to spend an extra dollar? Boo Marvel!

Boys #23 (Cover B - Casaday)

Boys #23 (****1/2)

So, we’re done with the heavy political arc. What does Ennis have for us now? Comedy! Oh, and story too. Romance! Gruesome death! Sex in a public restroom! And did I mention the laughs?! I love this series! Ennis and Robertson are at the top of their game here. The series keeps getting better and better. I know that’s hard to believe because last arc was so awesome, but this has a good chance. Big stuff is supposed to happen soon, which explains the cool Cassaday variant. Seriously folks, you will laugh out loud when you read this issue!

Bruce Castle Presents: American Icons

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

Action Comics #867– This is part two of the Brainiac arc from Geoff Johns and Gary Frank. Frank is still knocking the artistic ball out of the park. We’re still getting that old school sci-fi feel to the book and he even gets to draw Supergirl this time. The emotion his characters convey is astounding! It still seems like a simple story to me, but it’s simple and sweet. Perhaps I’ve been reading too many books that feel like you’re standing at ground zero in some major disaster. I’m looking at you Final Crisis. It’s nice to get a simpler tale filled with seemingly real characters that emote and communicate while still having the time to unfold a story. We get a bit less humor in this issue and more action. It’s a fair trade, but I do admit I certainly do enjoy some humor in my comics. There are a few pages without dialogue, but the issue ends on a cliffhanger. The story is being told a bit slowly, and at first I contemplated whether the content was worth the price of admission. But after reviewing it I found more than enough moments that informed me, more than enough stunning panels, and more than enough enjoyment. I definitely enjoyed this book.

3 and a half stars

Captain America White #0

I’d like to first if I may, comment on this issue’s content and price. It’s a bit odd to see an issue 0 priced at 3 bucks. In fact, this book was originally supposed to be priced at 4 bucks with more packed in there. I currently hold in my hands an issue that contains 17 pages of story and 15 pages of an interview with Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale and some original sketches of the book’s covers for all 6 issues. We get about 5 or so pages less than a usual 3 buck comic and actually one page more than we get in the one dollar Conan issue 0. But we also get 15 pages of “extras”. So just to inform you guys, if you’re looking for story in here you may be a bit disappointed. If you like reading interviews and looking at sketches, then you’ll be all good. As far as the actual story in here, it was pretty standard stuff. It was a decent origin setup and actually covered a lot of time at least in what little pages there were. I thought that most of the series was going to be about this stuff. So it gives me hope that maybe we’ll get quite a lot of good stuff in a full-size issue. The very last page of this comic was a bit disappointing. It seems issue 1 isn’t coming out until winter. So why the heck are we getting this like 4 months or so ahead? That was a bit weird to me. Tim Sale’s art looked pretty good. It’s still his usual unique style, but it looks aged and fits well with this 40s yarn. Jeph Loeb’s writing isn’t as bad as people may expect either. It was a more than adequate book and I actually did enjoy the interview stuff. Still, it seems a bit too pricey.

2 stars

Invincible Iron Man #3– I think I’m really warming up to this now. The first issue was a bit shaky and the second issue was really good, but I think I’m really starting to love this stuff. The story is a bit weak. We’ve seen the AIM splinter groups quite a lot and the villains aren’t all that menacing, but there is still a lot to love. It really feels like a true Iron Man book. The dialogue is snappy and the characters are all handled with care. We may not agree with their actions or beliefs, but we understand them. I think Fraction is doing a great job grasping the tone of the highly successful Favreau movie, while still telling his own story in his own style. This is the perfect book for those who either love Iron Man or found yourself enjoying the movie and feel like stumbling into your local comic shop ready for some stories about the Golden Avenger.

3 and a half stars

Iron Man Legacy of Doom #4

And so ends the tale that was old-school, zany, well-written, well-drawn, and above all else fun! I loved the first two Doomquest arcs. They are probably two of the best Iron Man stories in my opinion. I feel that Iron Man and Dr. Doom are two of the best Marvel characters and it was fantastic to see them together involved in a great story. I was hoping that this story would live up to its predecessors and would be able to stand proudly adjacent to that Doomquest hardcover on my shelf. I think that mission was accomplished. The only complaint I have about this book was the somewhat goofy villain, but then I remembered that this is an old-school tale and we tend to forget there was a lot of zany villains in our superheroes’ past. He still serves as a device to get the two armor glad individuals to stand together and fight side by side against overwhelming odds. These two iconic characters are treated with the best of care and their most admirable qualities truly shine. We are reminded of Doom’s moral code and how at times he isn’t that bad of a guy. And it’s always awesome to see a bad ass fighting on the side of the angels. We also see Tony, a character who is at times morally compromised especially as of late, demonstrate an act of true nobility despite being doubted. I’m a big fan of Iron Man and it’s nice to see him act like a hero again.

4 stars

Review: Anita Blake #12


Yes I’m a guy and I’m reading Anita Blake. Get over it. I’ve actually enjoyed this series a lot. I had never read the books before because I’m illiterate, but I remember I saw the first issue and Brett Booth’s art looked great. I like Ron LIm a lot too because of his work on Thanos, like in Infinity Gauntlet. So this comic looks good at least.

I enjoy the story too. I’ve never watched Buffy or read the comics, but I’d guess if you like that you’d probably at least enjoy this a bit. So this is the big conclusion. Lots of action, lots of gore, lots of fun! The story wraps up too. I would have probably preferred something on a deeper level than what we got. But the ending works fine. To me this series is just a lot of laughs and some good times. It’s got some serious stuff too. And it’s always cool to see girls kicking ass! I like the Anita Blake universe.

I was also happy that on the last page we see a preview for a new Anita Blake series starting in October. Unless a zombie bites my head off, I’ll most likely be picking up the next series as well.

3 out of 4 stars

Review: Iron Man Legacy of Doom #3


Dr. Doom with Excalibur? Bring it!!!!

The issue begins with Iron Man trying to fight Doom and getting his booty kicked by the good doctor and his shiny new blade. Tony then uses his brain, Dr. Doom of course is insulting Iron Man and then gets electrocuted by his own time platform and Iron Man’s full power. Dr. D is steaming after that, but regenerates because of the Excalibur shard in his armor. Tony takes off while Doom is down.

We then see some scientists talking about the satellite Iron Man was repairing in the first issue. They say that space is bulging as if something really big was pushing stars out of the way. We then see Tony land in a forest to recharge when he sees Merlin. Well, at least the mental projection of him. Merlin informs Tony that he needs to stop Doom from collecting the other half of Arthur’s power. The sword of Excalibur makes you invincible, the scabbard makes you invulnerable. That’s right, they are two different things. Merlin tells Iron Man where the scabbard is and tells him that he has to use his brain as well as his eyes.

Doom uses an enchantment to find the scabbard. We then see those scientists gathered around again, they say that something supposedly from another dimension is heading right for Scotland! Which of course is where we see Iron Man and Dr. Doom next.

All of a sudden, the two characters are trapped in a mystical arena filled with mirrors. They need to break one of the mirrors to gain the scabbard, but which one?! Doom arrogantly smashes the closest mirror. Stone warriors begin beating on them both. Another mirror gets broken, this time enchanted water emerges, a tribute to the lady of the lake. Iron Man blasts the water to turn it to steam. The steam is corrosive. Tony fixes that with a microwave pulse that gets rid of the steam and depletes his armor’s power.

Iron Man then figures out the right mirror to break. Doom sees it too and even with no power, Iron Man gets there first and grabs the scabbard. Doom says to give it to him quickly before…too late! Tony’s armor transforms giving us some new armor yay!!!! Dr. Doom then says “You’ve killed us. You’ve killed us all.” A giant Sauron-like eye then appears. Apparently joining the sword and scabbard would have been the only thing to stop this. Is Doom a good guy now? Did Tony just destroy the universe? Will my questions ever stop? Will they?

I loved the first two Doomquest installments and I’m having a lot of fun with this one too. This is old school comics with some continuity, some new armors, some Arthurian mythology, and of course some awesome moments from two of my favorite characters, Iron Man and Dr. Doom. This is the best Iron Man title out right now.

3 and a half stars out of four

Foilball’s Review Roundup #22 – Iron Man Edition!

I haven’t been feeling right since the near flooding of my street last week, hence the no Origin Stories or Planetary Series Review (or if you follow my other blog, no new Invulnerable pages). Add to the not-rightness the fact that I waited till the last minute to complete a couple of work projects, means I’m stressed and more than a little tired. I don’t want your pity, I just thought it would be thoughtful of me to explain my laziness and the down and dirtiness that will soon follow this epic paragraph of the whine.

The Invincible Iron Man #1 (*)

Not a good couple weeks for Iron Man… in the comics at least. Obviously, the movie has been doing tremendous business at the box office. Well, Marvel was prepared this time. Released during the movie’s fist week at the B.O., The Invincible Iron Man is meant to hook new readers stumbling into their local comic store, high off their asses on movie adaptation. Good news for those folks, especially if they liked the movie, this comic has more in common, continuity-wise, with the movie than it does with the post-Civil War Marvel Universe. I don’t normally consider myself a continuity stickler (shit, I know a lot of stuff but that doesn’t mean I don’t welcome change, mo-fo!), but I hated this book. This book has nothing to do with the current depiction of Tony Stark in the pages of Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. or the Avengers books. Sure, sometimes it’s nice to have multiple POVs on a character, but in this instance its way too jarring. There seems to be a pattern forming here… Punisher War Journal is trash compared to the MAX Punisher as well. Isn’t Fraction writing that pile? Other stuffs that sucked:

1) Suicide bombers using Stark-Tech… this is not a new idea.
2) Tony Stark sleeping with hot chicks… not too bad, its way worse in “Viva”.
3) Tony Stark considers having a drink in his caption boxes… WHA?!?!
4) Dum-Dum is alive and not a Skrull… ok, ok. I can let this one go.
5) Yet another AIM splinter group… KILL ME NOW!
6) Jim Rhodes wearing the wrong armor… ARGH!!!!
7) Pepper Potts… too forced. Matt Fraction Ihateyoudie.
8] Matt Fraction, you are not Warren Ellis.

The only idea in this book that wasn’t stainy was Stane. Him, I like.

Iron Man: Legacy of Doom #2 (***)

Oh, God… what happened? The first issue was so much fun! Oh, that’s because Doom was actually in that one! WTF Michelinie?!? I don’t give a flying monkey shit about Iron Man fighting his lamely rendered demon father! I want witty/funny/entertaining/awesome Doom/Stark banter! Fix please! Less FAIL!

Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas #1 (**)

…which brings us to the disaster that is Viva Las Vegas. Wait, disaster is too harsh. The art is great, isn’t it? You know, the dark haired tattooed beauty on the cover reminds of a girl I know… maybe I’ll give the book to her and tell her Adi Granov used one of her pin-ups as photo reference. Heh. Anyway, we’re in Vegas and Tony has lots of sex. WOOO. And then some lizards attack and Pepper Potts is acting all lame and lo and behold, Fin Fang Foom is the villain of this piece. Don’t care. Hmm, now that I think about it (really, really hard I might add), Viva feels like Invincible’s issue 0. UGH. UGH, I said!

Marvel, why do you blow so hard? At least Viva is a mini, so I won’t have to put up with Favreau’s writing every month, but why oh why did you put Invincible in regular continuity? Why not simply publish that Ultimate Iron Man ongoing? God knows you’ve been dying to! I guess I could just stop buying it… nah.