Wednesday, October 1, 2014

New Comics Day

   Here's what I picked up at the comics shop today:
- Batman '66 & Green Hornet #5 - This has been fun.
- Death of Wolverine #3 - Well crafted, but grim.
- Fantastic Four Annual #1 - Looks like a regular issue of the series to me, not an Annual. (Looks at price tag.) Oh, I see the difference.
- Gotham Academy #1 - That is one wild school.
- Guardians 3000 #1 - Hey, it's the real Guardians of the Galaxy.
- Justice League #34 - Checking in on the team.
- Miracleman #11 - Shapechangers.
- Silver Surfer #6 - An eating tour of the universe.
- Star-Lord #4 - Fighting Thanos.
- Thor #1 - There's something different about Thor.

- Usagi Yojimbo Senso #3 - Is it a War of the Worlds?
- Wonder Woman #34 - The end is near.
   And that's it! 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Justice, Inc. #2

   This mash-up of three of the most famous pulp heroes is a bit of an odd mix.

   The story is still being sorted out, but Justice, Inc. features a (somewhat) new origin for The Avenger - one that incorporates The Shadow and Doc Savage.

   We also get some glimpses into the origins of The Shadow, a meeting between Docs past and present, and a quick meeting between a powerful enemy - and Howard Hughes.

   Writer Michael Uslan seems to be having fun working with these icons, and artist Giovanni Timpano is doing a good job capturing the time period (the '30s) and the likenesses of the heroes. His work only suffers in comparison to the amazing cover by Alex Ross.

   Two issues in, and we're still getting the team together - but so far, it's been entertaining to see these different heroes back in action.

Grade: B+


Monday, September 29, 2014

Alien Legion: Uncivil War #4 (of 4)

   Here's the book that (happily) will not die.

   Alien Legion started life as an Epic Comic in the '80s, and has bounced around since then, finally landing at Titan Comics (which is happily preparing to reprint numerous collections of past stories).

   Created by Carl Potts, Alan Zelenetz and Frank Cirocco, it followed the battles and adventures by a rag-tag band of assorted aliens, gathered into a French Foreign Legion-style organization.

   This mini-series (which wraps up with this issue) is in the capable hands of writer Chuck Dixon, who is simply the best action / adventure writer in comics today (my simple rule is: if he writes it, I buy it).

   The art is by the frenetic Larry Stroman, inked by none other than original creator Carl Potts, and offers a powerful and chaotic battle.

   With all that said, it would be tough to start this story with this final issue - you might be better served to wait for the collection coming in a few months. With this issue you're getting the final part of an against-all-odds space battle that has the Legion up against a powerful opponent - and the life of a planet is on the line.

   It's great to see this series back in action, and hopefully this is just the beginning of a new series of stories!

Grade: A-


Sunday, September 28, 2014

All-New Invaders #10

   There are a couple of interesting things about this issue of the All-New Invaders.

   For one, it actually makes reference to the conflict going on right now between Captain America's faction of the Avengers and the Illuminati, which includes Namor.

   It's just a fleeting mention, but kudos for not just ignoring the conflict.

   The other thing I'm enjoying is the focus on characters and concepts from some of Marvel's most interesting comics in the '70s - including Deathlok and War of the Worlds (which was teased years ago at the end of the "Death of Captain America" series). And oh, that last panel.

   It's also bringing in characters from the original Invaders series and giving them a modern twist.

   Writer James Robinson does his best work when he's dealing with this kind of sweeping comics history, and this is building nicely. I also like the artwork by Steve Pugh, a classic comics style with strong, clean storytelling.

   This series hasn't quite clicked yet - there have been some great moments, and a few lackluster ones  - but you get the sense that it's almost there. Hopefully!

Grade: B+


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Saga #23

   It's the curse of most comics that any long-time reader generally knows where it's all going.

   Good guys fight bad guys, there are setbacks, but the good guys will always win.

   But when you read Saga, you just don't know where it may go next, as this issue demonstrates.

   The couple at the heart of the series are having marital difficulties, and Alana has turned Marko away - which makes things even more tense when a murderous renegade robot turns up on their doorstep.

   And if that all sounds crazed - well, that's part of writer Brian K. Vaughn's appeal. He weaves fascinating characters, potent emotions and exotic locations (and occupations) into an amazing portrait of a strange reality, with intense conflicts and unexpected twists.

   And that's not to discount the wonderful art by Fiona Staples - a vivid and unique painting style that's just as surprising as the script.

  This is one of those series where I keep running out of adjectives. It's not for everyone - it's very adult in content and sometimes offensive - but it's a sharp, clever story with great twists and turns - highly recommended!

Grade: A-



Friday, September 26, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy #19

   OK, I get it - writer Brian Michael Bendis likes to take his time when he's telling a story.

   But I'm throwing the BS flag on this Guardians of the Galaxy story.

   After waiting years to find out how Star-Lord and Thanos survived the conclusion of the Thanos Imperative story (and if Nova survived), we finally have Peter Quill telling us what happened (the story started last issue), and by the end of this issue, we still don't know what happened!

   Granted, he's not done telling the story yet. Will it take another issue, three more issues? Who knows?

   But the whole thing so far, told with powerful art by Ed McGuinness, just seems to be running in place, and doesn't fit with the previous event series.

   We're getting lots of fighting, more guest stars (this in a universe that was collapsing), and an improbable explanation of how the Cancerverse works - it was supposed to be a universe filled with death, and now it's being sold as something else.

   There are plenty of stories out there that call for a slow, deliberate pace, but this one feels like it's just dragging things out to fill up a collection. Prove me wrong, Marvel!

Grade: C+


Thursday, September 25, 2014

New Avengers #24

   In recent issues I've worried that the members of the Illuminati  (the New Avengers) were in danger of becoming the greatest villains in the Marvel universe.

   But as this issue shows, there are others who deserve the title more.

   The problem is cosmic in nature, as alternate Earths threaten to crash into "our" Earth. The only alternative is to destroy the invading planet.

   Things get critical when that Earth is found to be inhabited. The heroes find they can't commit genocide - even to preserve their own people - and only Namor the Sub-Mariner is willing to destroy the other Earth.

    To continue destroying those other Earths he was forced to find new allies - truly evil creatures who revel in the destruction.

   This latest issue takes us eight months into the future, to see the grim results of Namor's decision - and what happens when he tries to "fix" his mistake.

   It takes grim and gritty to a new level (at least for an Avengers comic), and it's setting up some serious confrontations - and we also get a glimpse, for the first time, of what's behind it all.

   It's another powerful story by Jonathan Hickman, and excellent art by Valerio Schiti (though I must admit his depiction of Thanos doesn't quite work for me).

  This epic tale continues to build, and while it's not a story for kids, it's one that promises a big pay-off - eventually.

Grade: A-