Comic Book Reviews for the week of 10/28/13

The books in this weeks blog are owned by Marvel, DC, and IDW. The copyrights belong to them. I am a fan with an opinion on comic books. Nothing more.

Before I begin this weeks list of books to review I wanted to address some new books that are coming out. As I was going through the preview books this week, I noticed that Marvel is releasing yet another X-men and Avenger book. DC is releasing Harley Quinn. And even though, I’m going to probably read all 3 books, I also find myself resentful that each Superhero has to be put in an Avenger book, an X-men book or a Batman title. I understand that those are the books that sell but I’m tired of old blood and want new ideas.

It has to be hard to try new things when you have a formula that works. My problem is that there are too many books where characters overlap and not all the stories are that original. For instance, if it’s an X-men book it’s about rescuing teens from parents that want to “cure” their mutant children. If it’s an Avenger story it’s about fighting aliens bent on world domination and if it’s a Batman story it’s most likely about a asylum patient that escapes and causes Gotham trouble. There has been great writing with variations on these themes but I’d like to see less team books and more books that celebrate each character.

I’m also tired of crossover events that lead into other crossover events. Most of the time when that happens, it feels like the companies don’t trust us enough to want to continue reading. It feels like we are getting suckered in. I don’t mind story lines with multiple issues but lately it seems like some of the crossover story lines are so tangential that I feel, as Macklemore so elegantly put it, “swindled and pimped.” But with that in mind, let’s move on to the reviews.

The first book I read this week was X-Men Battle of the Atom #2. This has been a crossover that, all in all, has been very good. There have been some major pacing issues with the book but it’s been enjoyable. I posited the last few weeks that this event could have been finished in 8 issues instead of ten. Last weeks cliffhanger was good. The idea that the future brotherhood was willing to rain down anti mutant weaponry on the original X-men team was a bit stunning. This issue deals with the aftermath of the attack. WARNING: THERE ARE SPOILERS NEXT. ****I like the idea that Xorn wants to not exist and that her existence would not have been necessary if Jean had not been plucked from her time period and remained dead. I also like the fact that the future is pretty dependent on Cyclops and Wolverine’s involvement with the Phoenix Force. It lends nicely as a transition to the trial of Jean Gray. **** What I didn’t like? The explanation that is given for why the original team can’t be sent back. I also wasn’t a big fan of the change in art work half way through the book. It changed and the change was a bit jarring

I think the X-men relationship with S.H.I. E.L.D should turn out to be interesting from now on too. The ending of this book was good but I think there could have been a much more concrete reason about why this event took place. I’m giving this issue a B.

While Battle of the Atom had the problem of being too long, Infinity has the problem of being too big. That being said the Infinity books( part 1-5, so far) have been nothing short of spectacular. The tie ins have not all been grand. In the last book we learned that Thanos has a anti matter bomb that he wants to use on earth to destroy it. In this book we learn more about his plans. This book also deals with the news that Thane( Thanos’ son) is now an inhuman and he has to come to terms with his powers. The book also is a great transition to what I imagine will be a pretty incredible final book.

The artwork in this book is pretty incredible. There is one page in the book where there are only two panels and the detail on that page is pretty intense. The writing is also very top notch. I only have one beef about this event. It is clearly transitioning into a new event called Inhumans. Based on what I’ve seen so far that event is looking even bigger than this one. I’m giving this book an A+.

Avengers Issue 22 Infinity. As much as I love this story arc, this issue didn’t seem to have much of a purpose. Each of the scenes covered conversations that the readers pretty much could have guessed that the heroes were having. I’m also not sure that the soap opera-ish love story was necessary. I am a gigantic fan of the Avengers books but this book didn’t live up to what I come to expect from this series. The colors weren’t as rich. The writing wasn’t as good. It wasn’t that it was a bad book, it wasn’t. It just wasn’t grea.B

Guardians of the Galaxy #008 Infinity is not a typical Guardians of the Galaxy book. By this I mean the coloring of this book is very Andy Warhol. Two shades of red and blue are used throughout the entire book. You’ll either love it or hate it and I wasn’t a very big fan of it. The writing is still top notch but the art work is still distracting enough that it takes away from the book.

The book takes place immediately after Infinity #5 and deals with the alien invasion that has captured the S.W.O.R.D outpost. Abigail Brand plays a big part of the book. There is some funny moments in the book but none as funny as Tony Stark’s comments about the go-go’s last week. This book deserves a B.

Superior Spider-Man #020 is not completely about what the cover implies. The interactions between the Black Cat and The Superior Spider Man are minimal and it’s not about them being lovers. This issue deals with Otto’s life now that Horizon Labs has been destroyed. It also continues to address all the ways that erasing Peter Parker from existence has had a negative effect on the every day life of Otto Octavius.

The book has started to show the unravelling of Otto Octavius as the last few issues have begun to do. The people around him have not figured out his ruse yet, but they’re getting closer.

I have enjoyed this comic immensely. The idea that a villain wants to be a hero better than the hero was sounds like a strange plot but the sheer audacity that Doc Ock brings to the character of Spider-Man has been fun. The humor that Peter Parker had has been missing but it continues to be a fun comic to read. There is nothing wrong with the art in this book at all. I’m giving this book an A.

Superior Spider-Man Team Up Special #1 Arms of the Octopus I’m not going to spend much time on this book because it’s supremely awful. The art is terrible and the writing seems lazy. The premise is that there is a gamma radiation scientist that is discredited when Bruce Banner and Emil Blonsky( The Abomination) turn into monsters making the study of gamma radiation a joke. In order to get access to the X-men( and their school because of the time machine) he creates robots of Doctor Octopus and Abomination( not realizing that Doc Ock is alive as Spider Man and Abomination was killed by the Red Hulk). Because the All New X-men think the villains are from the past( and unaware they are robots) they get Spidey and Bruce Banner involved.

I started this series because it has 3 of of my favorite titles in one book but it’s truly awful. D.

This week marks the week of my favorite guilty pleasure in comic books. Dinosaurs Attack! #4 is the most fun I’ve had reading a comic book in a while. It is the perfect, campy science fiction, B movie, MST3K experience in a comic book you could possibly hope to have. It’s bloody, disgusting, and intentionally so bad it will make you cheer on the dinosaurs. The premise: a scientist on a space station has devised a way of glimpsing into the past. During a press conference to introduce the technology something goes terribly wrong and dinosaurs come through the time stream to the present . The government sends the military against the dinosaurs and for two issues we are treated to mayhem that is awesome. In the last issue the scientist in charge is contacted telepathically by one of the dinosaurs and is given a way to defeat the dinosaurs.

This issue was no let down. The battle scenes are great. The art is perfect for the type of writing. A+

Green Lantern Annual 2 Lights Out Part 5 was the next book that I read. The book picks up with Relic and Kyle Ranier at the wall that surrounds the universe. Relic believes that the reservoir that contains the power behind the rings is behind the wall. There is a problem though. The wall seems inpenitrable( sp?). In the meantime, Hal Jordan has approached Guy Gardner, who is now a Red Lantern, asking the Red’s to attack Relic because their reserves are not just covered by a battery but by a river on Ysmault.

The book continues at this point. This has been a great Story Arc. The art, writing and pacing has been very well done. The consequences of the story line will be interesting. I am looking forward to where the Green Lantern books will go. A.

The next book that I read was Aquaman Annual #1. I have mixed feelings about this book. There is nothing wrong with the dialogue or the art but the villain is a bit of a cookie cutter outline of a generic villain who has the same beef that relic had with the lanterns. I’m giving this book a B. The villain’s cause is a bit too stereotypical for me.

The last book I read this week was Damien Son of Batman #1 of 4. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this comic book. The art is breathtaking, the coloring is perfect, even the paper seemed finer. Without giving anything away at all this book deals with whether Damian wants to do things like Batman or do things differently. This book is one of the best of the week. Highly recommended. A+

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Comic Book Reviews for the week of 10/21/13

As I mention each week, I own none of the rights to any of these books.  I am more of Comic book fanatic than anything.  The idea of being able to read a story that has visuals added to it has interested me since high school.  I started reading comic books at a store in my hometown.  Each week I saved the change from my school lunches and go every week to buy my books.  Back then books were $ .75.  My favorite comic books have always been Marvel and I lived for the third week of every month so I could read the adventures of Bruce Banner and his quest to separate himself from the Incredible Hulk.  

After I got out of high school I stopped reading for a few years.  When I picked things back up again, The Death of Superman was all the rage and Image Comics had just gotten started as a company so I was reading Spawn and The Savage Dragon.  That lasted for about a year because I was an unemployed college student living off of SSDI and couldn’t afford the expense.

Fast forward to 2012-2013 and I’m watching live action movies of the comic books I grew up reading and after watching The Dark Knight Rises I stop into Reader Copies in Anderson and I ask if there are any books I can start up after being away from reading for so long.  He suggested I wait for a few months until Marvel restarted a bunch of its titles.  So I did and now I’m here reading books and comment on them. 

This week seems to be divided into four camps for me.  Battle of The Atom( an X-men cross over event), Infinity( largely an Avengers cross over event), Lights Out( A Green Lantern cross over event) and Forever Evil( A Justice League Cross over event that spills into other books)

Before I begin to review books, I thought I’d tell all you collectors out there that Marvel released a second printing of Chapter 4 of Battle of the Atom with the wrong chapter number listed on the cover.  Marvel has not recalled the issue so there is no indication as to whether or not it will be a collector but it will be interesting to see what happens with the book.

Speaking of Battle of the Atom, the first book I read this week was Wolverine and the X-men #037 Battle of the Atom chapter 9.  As I mentioned last week the last two weeks of this crossover series has not been very good.  This series should have been a few weeks shorter and, as a result, it has become boring and readers are being treated to procrastination on behalf of the writers.  This week changed the pacing and began to answer questions that I had hoped to get two weeks ago.  In this issue we learn which of the Mutants from the future are actually the X-men of the future.  We also are beginning to see the reasons behind the future X-men’s insistence that the teen x-men be returned to their own time.   

The dialogue in this book was a lot of fun.  It even adds a nod to the readers who have agreed that having four teams of X-men has been confusing when one of the characters even says ‘this is confusing.’  However, the most enjoyable part of the comic book was the original Iceman talking to his older counterpart that looks a lot like an ice version of Gandalf and Dumbledore mixed together.

The art in this book is pretty decent.  I don’t have any major complaints.  One minor complaint I have but it’s with most Books is that when artists draw characters from overhead the characters seem to lose definition and look like they are scribbled on to the page.  That happens here.  On the whole this is a great book.  I give this book an A.

The second book I read this week was Secret Avengers 010 InfinityI have to admit I’m a bit torn about this book.  Normally when I read a Secret Avengers book, I’m expecting a James Bond story that is high on intrigue and political maneuvering and light on humor.  I like it that way.  This book is written closer to an episode of Marvel ‘s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, witty banter and some intrigue.  But that being said, this book does follow the story that has been developing in Mighty Avengers with Terragenesis bomb and the mist that fell to earth causing humans with latent inhuman genes to form a cocoon around themselves then emerge with superhero type powers.  Some of the people that emerge are villains and some heroes.  This book focuses on what would happen if you emerged from one of the cocoons and were forced to pick a side.  The story focuses on one character and her changing emotions.  The writing is well done and it examines the emotions of the character in an honest way.  I have not read an Avengers book with bad art so that is not the issue.  The tone of the book has changed this issue and I’m not sure I love it.  I’m giving this book a mild B.

Nova #009, Infinitywas one dark comic book. There are some minor spoilers in this review. In the last book one of Thanos’ henchmen came after Nova in order to kill him. My warning for this book is for anyone who has kids. This Nova is not the Ultimates Nova! There are very dark images in this book including what appears to be a villain that has taken a woman hostage and gagging her with an alien device that looks a lot like bondage gear.

The art in is the book is very good and I have no complaints there. Where I do have complaints is that while the characters in this book are in the Infinity event, the story seems very tangential and I am unaware of the importance of why it has any bearing on the event. The writing seems good but this issue has a feel of being an issue of kickass! where violence happens and is perpetuated by children. B-

Infinity Heist 002 was the next book I read. I wasn’t sure I would like this book because I wasn’t hot about the first book but I really was impressed. The art is absolutely amazing. So was the writing. In the first comic book we learn that there are a bunch of minor villains who decide that they are going to rob Tony Stark because he is in space fighting The Builders. A kink is thrown into the plans when one of them becomes Inhuman.

The writing in this book is insightful and tackles the idea of coming to terms with newfound powers and becoming part of something bigger than the characters are in the book. Very good book A+

Infinity Hunt 003. I decided that when I started reading Infinity that I would read the entire series and it’s tie ins. I did this because I think The various Avengers comics that I’ve read are usually top notch comics. This comic book, however, has made me question this decision. This book and Thunderbolts have been excruciating.

In this book, A completion between Superhero academies is interrupted when aliens attack Atlantis and the other academies. The instructors try to protect their students but the students decide they want to fight. SPOILER ALERT: they find their abilities are no match against the aliens. So why bother creating this story? It’s anti climatic.

My biggest issue with this comic happens when it’s revealed that one of the kids has Multiple Sclerosis and the other kids ask how he can fight. While it’s a legitimate question( having a disability I’d rather people ask me questions), the book has a very big opportunity to make this character even more heroic but they missed it

The book’s art is fine. Not great but not bad. C-

The last of the infinity crossovers I’m reading this week is Thunderbolts 017. Again, this comic book is infuriating. Thunderbolts has a newer creative team and the writing is awesome! However, the art sucks. I know there are better ways to say it but I’ve run out of ways to find kind things about this comic book. In a quick synopsis, The Thunderbolts are still attempting to fight the Paguro family, The thinker has been rendered dumb, and Deadpool finally finds pizza when the Terragenesis mist hits. If it wasn’t for the art this would be a great comic. A mild B

Superior Spider-Man Team Up 005 was a fun book to read. Since Otto Octavius became Spider-Man he has injected himself into situations where he had the ability to steal back his former team members( Doc Ock was the leader of the Sinister Six). In this issue we see them in action. But why would Sandman, Mysterio, Electro, Chameleon and Loki willingly do good? You’ll have to read this book to find out.

The art is really good in this issue. It’s a change from past issues. This art is much more deliberate. I have some issue with some of the dialogue. In some panels the dialogue seems fairly cliche. I’m giving this book an A-. The payoff was good. It could have been better but it was good.

Indestructible Hulk Agent of T.I.M.E issue 014 was the continuation of the Chronarchists storyline. Time criminals are mixing different time periods so that they can have ultimate control over time. In this issue, hulk visits the site of his origin at the time he was created. If The Hulk disrupts this event will he cease to exist?

I have two different things to day about this issue. The artist on this book draws his characters with the same emphasis that the Thunderbolts does( jagged lines and everybody has square jaws, including the women).

Also the writing in this book was good. I am interested to see the effect the ending of this book will have on the story moving forward. A.

Uncanny Avengers 013
Was alright. The premise of the Uncanny Avengers is that humanity and mutants need to work together so in order for that to happen a team is created that combines the Avengers and the X-men. The only problem is that the team is divided and The Apocalypse Twins have attacked the Uncanny Avengers exploiting that weakness. In addition, Scarlet Witch is preparing a spell that will rapture all mutants to a planet full of nothing but mutants. In this issue we see the team fight against the Four Horsemen of Death which are avatars of family and friends of the Avenger, except evil. While the writing is fine and the action is definitely there, the book itself seems to be a transitional book to the showdown between Rogue and Scarlet Witch. Instead of being a book where the action moves along the story, this books seems to be snapshots of action that will lead to something. I don’t think I’m saying it right but I’m not sure the purpose of the story. B

Red Lanterns 24 is a decent book in a great story arc. The biggest difficulty with giving the Red Lanterns their own book is that most of the characters are genuinely despicable. Although I’ve only been reading the lantern books for a year, I’ve not enjoyed Gardner as a character in any way. In the last episode we found out that Bleez learned Guy’s secret that Hal placed him in the Red Lanterns to learn if they were a threat to the other corps. Guy tries to convince the crew that he isn’t a traitor when Hal shows up looking to get help from the reds in destroying Relic. Meanwhile, Atrocitus and Dex Starr are searching for Guy and Kyle Ranier appears to absorb Atrocitus Red power to help Relic. Charles Soule wrote a good book here but it’s hard to make despicable characters enjoyable. I give this book a B for giving it a good shot

Larfleeze #4 continues to be as strange as the previous books. A couple of books ago, another alien laid claim to Larfleezes Butler . In addition, the orange corps was released from being imprisoned in Larfleeze’s ring and now they want revenge.

This book has very strange art. It reminds me of the art when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was still black and White. It’s like a cross between that and a Timothy Burton animated feature. A little bit if Steampunk mixed in. I have been torn in this book. While the Red Lanterns are despicable and unlikable, Larfleeze is despicable and endearing at the same time. The art in this book is annoying but it also is perfect for the book. I shouldn’t like this book but I find myself laughing out loud while reading it. A-

Aquaman #24 is where Aquaman learns who his ancestors really are. The answer might shock you. The truth of me reviewing this book is that I’ve not read this entire story arc so I’m at a bit of a disadvantage. I can piece things together but instead I want to review this comic for its art. I like the penciling in this book. Everything is as it should be. The detail is great and unlike some books, the artist does as well in darker shots as he does in lighter shots. A.

Justice League 24 is a great comic. The artwork with Ultraman and Black Adam is pretty amazing. The story here is also very good. We learn about the origin of Ultraman in this issue. And this has been my only beef about the book. Within the origin story the of villains in Earth 3 there are changes that are minute that seem too easy. For instance Jor El is Jor il. Too easy. I know they are parallel universes but I think the changes could have been more creative that a single letter change. I did like the changes in Jimmy Olsen though. I really liked this comic book. A.

Justice League Dark 24 was another book I know nothing about but it is part of the Forever Evil story. It did a very good job of explaining how Pandora’s Box lead to this story arc. I think that the thing I liked most about this book was the theological discussion the book posed. What if every time we are evil toward another person demons grow in size and power. This discussion lead to a page in the book that had the best art I saw all week in a book. The page has no panels and you’ll know it when you see it. A-.

The last book I read this week was Velvet #1. I absolutely loved this book. The story is about a woman named Velvet who works for a clandestine spy agency during the 1970’s. She learns that one of her former lovers/co workers has been murdered and another of her friends is being blamed for it. She doesn’t believe it and her investigation into it gets her into trouble.

This comic is expertly written and worth reading. The art compliments the book. It feels like the beginning of a pulp fiction book. Easily the best book of the week. A+

Comic Book Grades for 10/16/13

Once again, it’s important to remind you that I don’t own any of the copyrights on these books.  I am simply a fan that likes to share my love of comic books with others.  There are times when I’m super excited and other times when I’m not.  I also try to keep the blog mostly spoiler free but the nature of reviews is to look at the content that is in the book so it’s impossible to be completely spoiler free.  With that in mind, lets get started.

The first entry this week for me was Uncanny X-men 013 Battle of the Atom.  I like to start this review saying something positive.  In Past issues of this book the art has tried to be almost impressionistic.  The characters were drawn in a way that most of them seemed ethereal and too abstract to be enjoyable.  That is no longer the case.  The artwork in this issue seems a lot better than it has been in the past.  I actually enjoyed looking at this book.  That being said, it might be one of the only things I loved about the book.  As I mentioned in the last review for Battle of the Atom, there doesn’t seem to be a clear direction to a series that is already 80% done.  We already know that a bunch of X-men teams from the present and future want to send the original x-men team back to their time period.  The problem is we don’t understand why.  We also know that the present day X-men know that one of the two teams from the future are impostors of sorts.  ****Spolier****  But we don’t understand why they are attacking the other teams.  That is a problem for me.    This is also one of the first issues of the Crossover event that I couldn’t keep up with the characters.  I found the continuity between panels, and the skipping from team to team, confusing and annoying.  I think I like the wrinkle at the end of this issue but I’m waiting to see how it resolves itself.  I’m giving this weeks chapter a B-

The second book I read this week was Avengers #21 Infinity.  As we learned last week, Captain America sued for peace by sending Thor to negotiate with the builders.  However, it wasn’t his intention to be peaceful.  He attacked them.  SPOILER:  ***In this issue we learn more of each side’s strategy on how to win against the other side.  In addition we see some battles with both sides taking heavy casualties.***  I really liked this issue.  Where as I found the Battle of the Atom to be confusing, at the beginning of each Avengers book, they list the characters that will be in the issue and put their pics above their names.  There is nothing to complain about in this issue.  The action in the book moves things along, and the writing is superb.  A+

The next book that I read this week was New Avengers #11. This book is another infinity book and yet it manages to mold both the infinity story line and the New Avengers storyline together with ease. The premise is what would happen if an earth from a different universe collided with our earth. Would you save one by destroying the other? The builders appear in this issue but without giving anything away they aren’t quite the same. This book focuses pretty heavily on Thanos and his Cull Obsidian and who they attack. Once again, the art is amazing. In fact? The first panel after the recap of the previous issue may be one of my favorite beginnings to any book. It’s a gorgeous drawing. The writing is top notch as well. A+

The next book that I read was Avengers Assemble 020 Infinity Tie in. Most of the time tie ins annoy me because they don’t have anything to do with the original story arc. This book annoyed me for a different reason. In one of the past issues of infinity we learn that black bolt destroys his home( a floating city above earth) with a terragenesis bomb. Ther residue from that bomb caused humans with latent inhuman traits to transform into cocoons and come out of their shells with powers. In this issue we learn more about what that means for earth. What bothers me is that they tried to do it in a comedic way. The difficulty doing it that way is that none of the other books have been comic relief stories so this story seems out of place even though it follows the plot. It’s not that the writing is bad. It’s just a bit corny B-.

Green Lantern New Guardians #24 Lights Out Part 3 was a different kind of book. It wasn’t bad, it was just unusual.. In the last installment of Lights out Oa is destroyed. Jordan decides that the remaining lanterns need to go to Ysamalt ( the home planet of the Red Lanterns) because the red lanterns don’t rely on batteries to power their rings. His reading is that the Red Lanterns might be able to find a way of sustaining power to the ring. Kyle Ranier has different plans in mind. That is all I can say before giving too much away . This is an unusual comic book in that Kyle goes through some pretty rough stuff to reach the understanding of what needs to be done to help the lanterns. The book almost feels like a kabuki theater scene in some of the panels. I’m giving this issue a Bas it’s not quite as good as the other two chapters.

The next book I read was The Superior Spider-Man #019.. In the last issue we learn about what happens when Spider Man 2099 travels into the past to save his grandfather from being killed by The Superior Spider Man. We also learn that one of the lab techs has been traveling back in time and has learned some secrets that are about to come out because the machine is threatening to destroy Horizon Labs when it breaks. Will Horizon Labs survive? If you are a Peter Parker purist you may like the ending of this book. The twists in this book are a lot of fun. The writing is again top notch. I’m not always a fan of the art here but this is a great book. A

Fantastic Four 013 is the last book that Matt Fraction is working on for a while and it’s a bit confusing. Doctor Doom, Kang and Annihilus all make appearances. In addition we get a chance to move along the whole dying plot line. My problem with the book is it seems to start a new story line by dropping us in on it instead of easing us into it. I have never been a big fan of that strategy. This books writing was ok it was just difficult to follow. The book doesn’t have the same mystique to it when I read it 20-30 years ago. B.

The Indestructible Hulk Special 001 is part 2 of The Arms of the Octopus. I gotta say I’m not a big fan of this story. The biggest reason is that this series should have a tangible effect on the Battle of The Atom Storyline and it hasn’t. In addition, the art isn’t very good. There are plot twists that are interesting and at least one panel that got me to laugh but, beyond that, I’m not a huge fan. B-

Cable and X-force #015 was the next comic I read and it has continued to be cool. Months ago I was ready to give them up but I bought a damaged copy of an old issue that convinced me to stick with it. In this issue Cable and Hope work together to stop a disaster and Domino and her new lover, Collosus, try to stave off another disaster. While this is happening Forge is working on a way to map out Cable’s vision by mapping his brain using technology. Forge is also helping cable defuse his situation. When each of those two missions intersect, problems ensue. The writing in this book is fun to read. Especially the dialogue between Collosus and Domino. The art is also very cool. The surprises in this book are worth the read. This book gets an A.

Guardians of the Galaxy 007. When I first picked up this title a few months ago I didn’t know what to expect and, truthfully, I only picked it up to get a line on the characters before Marvel released the movie. This is one of a handful of comics that continues to be one of my favorite. The biggest reason I enjoy it is that it doesn’t always take itself seriously. It has moments where it does but not all the time which can be very refreshing. This book deals with the ongoing story of why Angela, a displaced being from another galaxy, has appeared in earths orbit. In this issue we learn about who she is and why she’s here. There are some interesting twists on the tales these beings tell their children about earth. This issue also has one of the best conversations between two characters in a comic I’ve read. It made me laugh out loud. Great book A+.

Justice League of Anerica #008. This book really helped me understand the Forever Evil Storyline. It focuses is on what happens to the Justice League of America and gives us a glimpse of each of the characters and what motivates them. I really liked this comic. Very well written and did a great job of fleshing out each character for readers that may not understand each character( like me). A+

Letter 44 #1. This comic asks the question what if you were the incoming president and the night before your inauguration you received a letter from the outgoing president saying that NASA had discovered that there was a mining colony being built between Jupiter and Mars and a mission was sent to learn more about it? It is an intriguing idea and the comic does not disappoint . The art is really good and the characters are solid. I can’t wait to see where this goes.

Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion #1. Before I write my thoughts on this comic book, I have to admit I know nothing about the villain that originally caused all the damage in this book. Grodd and the Crime Syndicate have caused catastrophic damage and may have actually moved the moon out of its orbit. The rogues, villains in this universe, are not happy with the destruction and when the crime syndicate come calling all Hell breaks loose. This was a fine comic but in all honesty it didn’t seem to do more than paint a picture that has already been painted. With an entire month devoted to this kind of destruction, you would think that DC could move the story along. I didn’t hate the book but I’m kind of indifferent to it. B-

Batman Superman #4 This concludes the earth 2 storyline and I have to say I’m a bit relieved mostly because I get a bit confused by it. Since I’m not entirely sure what happened I think it best to say that it’s really unfair to grade it. The art style continues to annoy me because it seems that the expressions on the characters don’t reveal anything,”. It’s just an okay book

The X-Files Season 10 #5. I am more impressed with the writing in this book than I am the art. Each of the books is written with the same mystique of the show. This issue concludes The Believers Story arc. In the previous issue Mulder is shot. This picks up from that point. The acolytes are still searching for Mulder’s baby. And there are some fun twists to the story. Grade A-.

That concludes this weeks list. See ya next week

Comic Book grades continued for 10/9/13

The seventh book I read this week was Green Lantern Corp #24 chapter 2 of Lights Out. Although I would really like to see a few one up stories, this story arc has been extremely satisfying. In the first issue of this story line Relic has attacked Oa and destroyed the green lantern’s power supply, which in turn is killing the planet. In this issue John Stewart and Hal Jordan deal with this news and start working on a way to combat Relic. I only have one gripe about this issue. In most panels the artwork and coloring is done in dark green hues. In others the hues are bright and sometimes they clash. Other than that this is a nearly perfect chapter.

Book #8 this week is Batman #24 Zero year. This was a great comic. A few months ago I read that Scott Snyder was going to be doing a story arc that would be a reboot of Batman by re-imagining his origin story. Because I had never read any of The Batman books, this gave me an excuse to start. The story focuses on Bruce Wayne returning to Gotham after a long absence( people believed he was dead). He is still dealing with the death of his parents. When he returns, the Red Hood Gang is causing all sorts of problems and Bruce Wayne decides to take them on as The Bat( Batman). In this issue we learn a lot. We learn who the Red Hood leader is, we see the birth of a villain and the beginnings of another. I have read two books that were written by Scott Snyder( this and The Wake) and both books are great movie script quality books. I really like the art in this book when the panels are drawn in darker hues. I’m not sure the lighter hued panels are as good. Great Book. A.

Book #9 Superman Wonder Woman #1. This book is about the secret relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman and how one wants to keep it secret and the other wants it to be public. It’s also about a incident that causes Wonder Woman to believe that her boyfriend needs to learn how to fight. Also, a major villain, that has had some luck with beating the living crap out of Superman, returns. This is a really good book. The art is not as spectacular as Superman Unchained but it is amazing still. A.

Book #10 is Forever Evil Arkham War #1. Rather than attempt to reiterate what has happened in Forever Evil so far, I’m just going to state that in some of the villain books last month we learned that when the Justice League died, The Penguin set himself up as a crime boss and is allowing other villains to control quadrants of Gotham City. There are two insane asylums in Gotham( Blackgate and Arkham). Bane wants to control the crime syndicate in Gotham and is making strides to do that. This book starts the story in a very dark and creepy way. The visuals in this book are disturbing but the story is compelling. B+.

I have to admit that I’m at a severe loss with rating this book. Having never read this book in the past, I can’t give a definitive answer as to whether or not this was a great book. The book is Suicide Squad #24. I picked it up because it’s a chapter in the Forever Evil saga. Near as I can tell this book is about about Amanda Waller, an employee of A.R.G.U.S., who employs patients at Belle Reve, an institution for Supervillains, to do deadly missions for her, and in order to keep them in line, she implants their brains with bombs. The only problem she’s having is that her original team has decided to work for the crime syndicate and now she needs to find a new team before her old friends cause more problems. The book does an alright job of introducing the premise of Suicide Squad and sets up a story within the Forever Evil storyline but there are questions I have that seem like plot holes for me. For instance, is Amanda a villain too? If so, why is she fine and her old team members not exploding for betraying her? B- it was ok but the intrigue didn’t keep me bolted to what was happening

The second to last book I read is Coffin Hill #1. Every once and a while a new book comes a long that I choose to check out and then leave behind. This is one of those books. Not because it deals with witchcraft and dark evil but also because it confused the hell out of me. As far as I can tell this book is about a young woman who comes from a long line of witches that came from Salem who is also a cop who was injured hunting a serial killer who also likes to do blood sacrifices in the woods. The writing is scattered, uneven and overblown. C-

The last book I read this week was Image Comics Three #1. This is an interesting book although very violent and at times difficult to read. The premise is to examine Grecian society from the view point of the slaves. It’ll be interesting to see where this series goes. The first issue is setting up the conflict and it does a good job but the slave that dies in the book isn’t that likable. I’m anxious to read issue 2 B.

Comic Book Grades for 10/9/13

Prior to all my comic book grades I need to remind readers of this blog that I don’t hold any copyrights on any of these books.  In addition I have not communicated with Marvel, DC or Image Comics.  The opinions that are in this blog are my own.  In addition, I want everyone to know that I am a huge fan of comic books.  I took a lot of time off from reading them( 20 years) and I don’t always understand what is going on in the books because I’m missing a lot of back story.  Lastly, while I try to leave this blog spoiler free, it’s impossible to do this completely because the nature of any review is to review the info that is already there.

The first book I read this week is X-men #006 Battle of the Atom Chapter 7.  One of the biggest problems that Marvel has with its books is that their books seem to divided into 3 camps.  There are X-men books, Avengers’ books and Spider-Man books.  Almost every comic book that Marvel has released can fit neatly into one of those 3 camps.  As a result, many of the Superheroes are used too much and can be cumbersome to read because they are everywhere.  The irony of X-men as a comic book is that it primarily deals with the women in the X-men universe and that is not represented in the title of the book.  In addition, none of them are that compelling as characters, with the exception of Jubilee who is balancing being a single mom of a mutant baby and a Superhero.  Luckily, this book can focus on other things because it is one of the chapters in the ongoing Battle of the Atom saga.  Rather than trying to explain the entire saga again, I’ll just say that in this issue we learn that the team of mutants that came from the future have ulterior motives( we aren’t sure what yet) and there are two reunions in the story that are interesting that could have interesting repercussions for the future.  Other than that, I thought this chapter came too late.  Although I’ve enjoyed this story arc very much, my patience is wearing a bit thin.  This story arc could be done by now and the author is waiting too long to reveal the end game.  While the writing is not bad at all, it does seem unnecessary.  I’m giving this issue a B because the writing is not bad in this chapter, just a bit frustrating.

The second book I read this week is Infinity Part 4 of 6 and again this is one of the best books I’ve read.  In past books we have been confronted with a race of aliens that have a branch called The Builders.  Their primary job:  to build new civilizations based on their form of life after the old civilizations have been destroyed.  These builders have been wreaking havoc throughout the universe, and through extrapolation, the Avengers determine that these builders are coming to earth to destroy it.  To stave off the invasion, The Avengers take the fight to outer space so that the builders can’t make it to earth.  A huge battle ensues and Captain America determines that the Avengers can’t win the fight.  So he communicates with the Builders to let them know they will sue for peace.  While the battle is ongoing in space, Thanos, a Supervillain, finds out that Black Bolt knows where one of the Infinity gems is and has attacked the Inhumans demanding that each family sacrifices each child under a certain age as a blood sacrifice to him until Black Bolt no only reveals where the gem is but reveals where Thanos’ son is so Thanos can kill him.  In addition, Thanos has sent his henchmen down to earth to wreak additional havoc.  This book focuses on the emissary Captain America sends to sue for peace( Thor) and the impact the fight between Black Bolt and Thanos has on the rest of society.  While Battle of the Atom has pacing issues, I don’t think this story does.  Some of the story tie-ins are a little unnecessary, but the rest of the series seems to be putting the right emphasis on moving the story along.  I also think the artwork in the Avengers and Infinity Books is top notch.  I’m not sure I’m big on making Thanos look like an evil Moses with the child sacrifice story line but I’m really enjoying this Marvel event.  A.

The third book I read is The Fearless Defenders #10, Infinity tie in.  I have not always been very happy with the infinity tie ins but this one made me happy.  Most of the tie ins have only dealt with the original story as a side note or in ways that lack any cohesion or talent.  This book takes place immediately following the events in Infinity 4.. Cocoons are popping up all over New York.  Why?  You’ll have to read Infinity 4 to find out.  Caroline Lefay wants to gather them up.  She’s a Fangirl of Thanos.  A new Defender is added to the group.  The writing in this issue was very well done.  It did a very good job of introducing Ren and I enjoyed that they were true to the characters maturity level.  They didn’t try to make her too mature or immature.  The art was good too.  If you enjoy the witty banter found in older issues of The Amazing Spider-Man, you should love this book. A.    

Book number 4 was Superior Spider-Man Team up 004, Infinity Tie in.  I have to say, I almost didn’t pick up this issue.  Issue 3 left me with such a sour taste in my mouth that I found it difficult to read.  The biggest problem with this book is that it is linked to The Mighty Avengers.  That book has one of the best, if not the best, artists I’ve ever seen in a comic book.  The art in this book is so dramatically different, and nowhere near as good (and the characters are drawn so differently), that it distracts from the story.  The writing in this book is fine, kind of.  I like the introduction of a potential new villain named Fulmina, and I liked the conversations that Superior Spider-man is having with her, I just wish it was in a different book and not during the infinity storyline.  I like the twist at the end of the book.  All in all I want to give this a B-.  Its an improvement over the last issue but it still needs work.

Book number 5 is Avengers A.I #004.  I have stuck with this book but, in all honesty, I’m not that invested in it.  This book focuses on the aftermath of Age of Ultron.  The United States is being attacked by an Artificial Intelligence named Dimitrios.  When Vision, Hank Pym, is asked to confront Dimitrios, he discovers there are a multitude of Artificial Intelligence beings and Dimitrios has asked Vision to protect them from S.H.I.E.L.D.  My gripe with this comic has to do with the miniscule part of the aftermath that this book chooses to focus on.  In Age of Ultron we not only see immense devastation, we also deal with a rip in time and space.  Although the devastation was handled through time travel, this book has not addressed the time rip or the effects on the psyches of the heroes that were a part of that event.  I’m giving this book a B-.  Its not terrible, but it’snot great either.

My sixth book was Thor God of Thunder #014.  This was a great book and part 2 of The Accursed story line.  In the last issue, we learned that Malekith, a evil dark elf, has been freed from prison and is terrorizing his people.  Thor wants to help but the Asgardians have been forbidden to intervene without help from other races.  The help he gets is a rag tag bunch too.  This was a very fun comic.  Everything from the art to the penciling to the plot was perfect.  A+

 

Those are my Marvel pics for the week.  I’ll post the DC and image later

 

Marty

 

 

 

 

Comic book grades for 10/2/13

Prior to giving you my grades for this week I wanted to explain that I have no ownership of Marvel, DC or Dark Horse copyrights and all I am is a HUGE fan of comics. In addition, there are spoilers throughout these reviews that don’t reveal too much but reveal enough to give you a pretty good idea of what you are getting into with these books.  I ALWAYS encourage people to include comments and, in addition, if you want to add reviews please feel free.

I started this week with All New X-men #17, Battle of the Atom chapter 6.  I am giving this issue a B.  While this comic story arc has been almost perfect, I have two gripes about this chapter.  What we know about this story so far is that Beast has watched Cyclops lose control of his powers and practically start a uprising between mutants and humans.  He reasons that if he goes into the past and talks to the original X-Men he can bring them into the present get cyclops to act more responsibly.  What he didn’t count on was that they’d want to stay.

During a battle where the original X-Men are fighting, younger Cyclops dies causing the older Cyclops to disappear.  Luckily one of the newer recruits brings Cyclops back from the dead and both versions of the mutant are saved.  As a result of this development the present day X-men decided it’s time to send the original team back in time but before they do another team of mutants appears from the future and warns the original X-Men that if they don’t go back to their place in time there could be dire consequences. 

Jean Gray, who is already dead in the present comes from the past and decides she doesn’t want to go back because it will ultimately result in her death.  She and the younger Cyclops away and seek asylum from the present day Cyclops.  Just as he is about to help the younger mutants the future and present day X-men try to stop them.

Magick, another mutant, travels with young Iceman and young Beast to the future and determines that the future x-men that traveled into the past to warn the original X-Men are nothing but imposters, or so we think.  We meet another team that calls themselves the x-men.

In the current comic we don’t learn much that has to do with why the future is dependent on the original team going back to its own timeline.  However, we are learning that each team in this story bears responsibility in its outcome.

What are my gripes?  There is a side story in this issue with Dazzler that seems more of a distraction to the story than part of it.  This, and the art work being inconsistent in a few frames of the book caused me to give it a B.

The second book I read this week is also an All New X-Men book.  All New X-men Special 001.  I am also giving this book a B.  My reason:  I’m a little annoyed that Marvel would do two crossover stories with the same team at the same time.  Never mind asking the obvious question.  With all the drama of Battle of the Atom how would they have time to have a day away from it?  The premise:  Doc Ock is back as himself and Spiderman( who is also Doc Ock) can’t figure out how and the X-men are thrust in the middle of it.  There will be three Special books.  One for X-Men, one for Spidey and one for the Hulk.  I didn’t love the art in this book and it looks like Marvel is creating yet another time travel story.  It was a good but not great book

The third book I read this week is Mighty Avengers #002.  In my time reading comic books I have very rarely come across artists as good as Greg Land.  His art work is near impeccable.  This is an infinity crossover story with The Blue Marvel and the Watcher thrown in. Rather than spoil the plot, I’ll just say that it picks up where the last ish left off.  With one very large surprise at the end of the book.  If only most books were as good.  A+

Book number 4 was Infinity The Hunt #002.  B-.  This book, while being better than the last installment is still not that great.  The premise is that a friendly competition between schools is interrupted when Atlantis is destroyed by an alien invasion.  This book examines what happens at the other schools.  Although there are a lot of battles in this book it seems there are too many multiple scenes of professors telling their students to get inside to a safe place.  The art isn’t great either. 

The fifth book I read was Thunderbolts 016.    B-.  There are some who’d say that the art work in this book is perfect for the tone of the book but I think that’s my biggest problem with the book.  It has taken some of the biggest bad asses in Marvel and turned them into laughable jokes.  The art work reflects us not taking it seriously.  I read this because it was listed as an Infinity crossover book but it has very little to do with it.  It has more to do with Punisher’s desire to take out the Paguro family.  I might skip the next Infinity chapter with them in it.  The writing I’d decent.  The art sucks