Comic Book Reviews for the week of 11/25/13

1.  It has been a couple weeks since I read an All New X-Men book that I’ve really enjoyed so it was great to read All New X-men 019.  I have written in the past that I am not a big fan of themes that repeat themselves in the X-Men books.  The authors seem to find out necessary to pound discrimination of mutants into their fans heads.  This week was no break from that.  In addition, the script from this book seems to borrow from the news where intolerant Christians are  discriminating against lesbian waitresses.  This week a group of ill intentioned Christians play judge on mutants.  This really annoyed me.  It’s too easy to put all religious individuals into one pot and is an unfair stereotype.  Yes  there are individuals that are judgemental but not all are.  So if that bothers me, what did I like about the book?  I loved that the book started with action.  Too often the books start with dialogue and no action. 

Another reason?  The art in this book is better than usual.  I’m giving this book a B+.  The pacing and art in this book is tremendous and the surprise at the end of the book is also enjoyable.  Very well done!!!

2. There are times when art can make a book. Wolverine and the X-men Annual Infinity 001 was proof that you can’t judge a book by its cover. The quality of the art inside is much better inside than it’s cover. The coloring in this book makes the art even better.

This comic tells the story of Kid Gladiator, an alien who was banished to earth but tries to return to the Shi’ar imperial guard training school and his adventures there. This book did a very good job of showing the relationship between Kid Gladiator and his father. It was fun watching the hero of this comic book grow up and still stay a kid. I loved this book. A+

3. I don’t know how many people are reading Infinity Heist but I have really enjoyed this tie in. It has seemed an audacious plan to break into Stark Tower when Iron Man is fighting the builders and it has continued to be a fun series to read. The fact that one of the villains becomes a inhuman after the terragen bomb hits earth adds wrinkles to the story that make the story even more enjoyable. There are twists and extra layers added in this issue. I look forward to learning more as this series concludes. A

4. I have to admit that reading this run of the hulk has been interesting and most of the time confusing. Not because the stories are confusing but because I compare the hulk in today’s comic books to those of the 80’s and 90’s and I’m torn between whether or not I like this series. I am used to a Hulk that can’t be tamed and a marvel universe that tries desperately to control it. In the 80’s The West Coast Avengers spent numerous issues chasing after the beast and now he’s part of The Avengers. I suppose it’s a natural evolution that Bruce Banner would come to accept his Dr. Jekyll half but it was very fun watching him try to denounce him at every turn. Now he rents himself out as a force to be reckoned with in order that S.H.I.E.L.D can use Bruce Banner as a force of good. The Caveat: Bruce has to present them with an invention that can be used for the betterment of mankind each Friday. That is the jumping off part for the new storyline. Bruce is behind schedule because of his travels through history to stop the Chronarchists. Without giving anything away, this leads to some humorous moments in the book.

This was a good transitional story and Indestructible Hulk 016 is written as a story that is supposed to be an inhumanity event tie in. The event hasn’t been started yet so it has left a lot of questions that I’m sure will get answered soon. This wasn’t an A grade book but it wasn’t bad either.

The art in this book is worth mentioning in passing. It has never been incredible but on the other hand it’s not been terrible either. I’m giving this book a B.

5. For fans of The Superior Spider-Man, there seems to always be high anticipation of a Venom storyline. While Venom is not the bad ass he was in previous years, this was still a great way to introduce any new readers to the new Venom.

This issue ( The Superior Spider-Man 022 )divides it’s time between telling the story of the launching of Parker Industries and his conflict with Venom. Otto Octavius is unaware that Flash Thompson is Venom and able to control his symbiote and as a result it makes the confrontation more tense. There is no doubt in my mind about where this comic is headed and I can only hope that Dan Slott makes things difficult for Doctor Octopus because, in my estimation, he’s gotten away with too much without consequence. Each issue has teased that things will fall apart soon but the author has swerved away from that each issue.

The art is much better in this issue than in last. It should be fun to read this story line. B+

6. Uncanny Avengers 014 continues the story that Rick Remender has been telling for a while now about the Uncanny Avengers run in with the apocalypse twins . This issue focuses in on the tension between Rogue and Scarlet Witch and how Rogue threatens Scarlet Witch’s plans . There is really nothing wrong with this story except to say that the first few pages of the book seem confusing and out of place. B

7. One of the most difficult things about liking The Green Lanterns is that DC comics finds it necessary to link the three Green titles with the one Red title. The Red Lanterns are powered by Rage so none if the characters are that likable. The new creative team added Guy Gardner which has humanized the team, but I’m not convinced it’s enough.

Red Lanterns #25 picks up where “Lights out” leaves off. In exchange for the Red Lanterns help, Guy Gardner asks for his team to have its own sector in space. That sector includes earth. This means that the Red Lanterns are now the protectors of earth. You would think that would give the team a chance to start off with a bang by going to earth. Instead , they try something else. This is a decision I don’t understand . I’m giving this book a B-. This book rarely ever does anything that surprises me and when it does, it’s usually not a good one. C+

8. Prior to reviewing Larfleeze #5 I read one other review to see what they liked. It didn’t help me make any decisions. I’ve found myself with mixed feelings about this book since I started it. It’s had a few really good issues that made me laugh very hard but it has also had moments that left me feeling unsatisfied. When a series only has 5 issues that should not be happening . One of the problems I’ve had with this book is not loving the art even though the art is perfect for the tone of each story.

In this issue Larfleeze has been taken prisoner by the rest of the orange lantern team who are deciding what to do with him and Stargrave is still trying to escape back to his master. There is absolutely nothing spectacular about this issue. I’m giving this a C-.

9. In the last issue of X-Files Season 10, Scully’s run in with The Acolytes caused her to rejoin the FBI and work with Mulder. In issue 6 of this book, the pair are given an open case that went cold because a bunch of missing tourists in Martha’s Vineyard are exhibiting symptoms of the previous case.

As I’ve mentioned in the past , the writing on this book is nearly perfect . The same creepy qualities of the tv show are present here and it feels like the readers of this comic book are being treated to another episode. The art might not be perfect here but the book is very enjoyable. B+

Comic Reviews of 11/13/13

Welcome to this weeks reviews of the comic books that I lovingly read each week. This week I’ll be reviewing some of my favorite titles in hopes that they live up to the high expectations I have of them.
All New X-Men 018 is the first book I read this week. It picks up immediately after Battle of the Atom. The original team has lost the ability to return to their past and now they have to deal with the knowledge they have of their future. Each of the mutants has an opportunity to have a conversation within themselves and some have conversations with each other about their future changes.

The majority of the book focuses on Jean and some of the hostilities the other mutants. This book is a transition book between two stories. It’s not particularly powerful but it does a good job addressing the ironies that the X-men are living out. The art work and writing are solid even if there are one or two moments that seemed a bit cliche. B+

Comic book reviews for 11/13/13

The first book I read this week was an Image title. I mostly picked it up in hopes that I will eventually find an Image title that doesn’t have a black cloud of darkness surrounding it. I Still have only found two titles that, while they are darker, are not eerie and a third I’m interested in reading to see where it goes.

The first book I read was Manifest Destiny #1. It’s the story of Lewis and Clark and their trek across America before it was America and what they find. Without giving anything away, it’s strange.

This book is not my cup of tea. I can never quite justify the violence and darkness in image books. It always seems gratuitous. The same is true here although it’s not as gratuitous as Zero.

I can’t really give the book A bad grade. The artwork is good and the writing is solid. I just wish the violence was not above and beyond what’s necessary for the story

The second book I read this week was All New X-men 018. This weeks installment of the series is the aftermath of The Battle of the Atom. The original x-men are stuck in the present and can’t return to their time. Kitty Pryde, who stuck up for the original team( and befriended Jean) feels betrayed by his teammates so she and the the original team decide to flee and take up with cyclops.

Meanwhile each of the team members have internal conflicts about what they’ve seen and are figuring out what it means for them. Jean has begun feeling some resentment from some of the other mutants

This wasn’t a bad issue but it was pretty devoid of action. This seems to be setting up another storyline. I liked the conversations that the different team members have but I’m not sure I believe that Kitty Pryde was upset enough to leave her team

I also find myself glad that the x-men can finally begin moving forward and train for their present circumstance rather than focusing on being out of place. I’m giving this book a B.

Superior Spider Man 021 was not the best of the series for me. Now, don’t get me wrong, this was still a good issue but I’m ready for Otto Octavius to finally get his. In most of the past issues we have seen Otto weasel his way out of being found out, and without giving things away , he does it again. I guess I could be missing the point but I’d really like to see a storyline where Otto is in trouble he can’t get out of. At the end of the book they tease a potential storyline that could spell real problems for him but it’s not coming fast enough.

As far as the art goes in this book, it was not quite as good as it usually is. I’m giving this book a B this week .

I bought Fearless Defenders 011 thinking it was an infinity book and found out it has nothing to do with the series. I rarely buy a book that I have no history with unless it’s a reboot or an origin story but I was treated to a book that may have the best art I’ve ever seen in a book. Will Sliney provides a level of detail that I’ve only seen by Greg Land. It’s simply stunning. In addition, even though I’ve only read one other of this series, the writing was done in a way that made it very easy to figure out what was happening. I’m not a big fan of the lesbian storyline in this book( mostly because this book could be kid friendly) but beyond that I’m giving this book an A+

Green Lantern Corps #25 is a Zero Year book. This just means that that the story focuses on the origin story of one of it’s heroes. Recently, DC decided to make this book about John Stewart. Although most people are not thrilled by this decision, I think writing a Zero Year book about a lesser loved character was a great idea. It really has fleshed John Stewart out and helped out the title. The only issue I’ve had with the Zero Year story is that all the heroes got started because of a storm in Gotham.

The book takes place during the same storm that has affected the rest of Gotham. A bunch of Marines are asked to go to the stadium in Gotham to evacuate the survivors of the storm because the stadium can’t withstand the force of it. When they get inside they are met by Anarky.

The writing in this book is good enough but not great. B.

Batman #25 might be my favorite book of the week. In this book, Bruce Wayne has dealt with Edward Nygma and now a new villain has popped up doing some pretty chilling things.

The writing in this book is really well done. It is not as often as I’d like that a comic book is written with more than comic book tension but real tension. I love that. I also love, love, love the twist in this book. It was a surprise I didn’t see coming.

The art is excellent but not perfect. I really enjoyed reading this book. A- for the continuity error

I’m not going to spend too much time on The Superior Foes of Spider-Man 005 because it wasn’t my favorite comic. I want to go on record by saying that I have enjoyed reading this comic in the past but it has always seemed that this book doesn’t know what it wants to accomplish. In most if the books the focus of the book has been on the ineptness of the Sinister Six. It has been full of humor and never takes itself seriously. Until this week when the book did a 180 and became too serious. It was bloody( in one scene) and about the badness of the team. The change was too abrupt

My biggest issue of the book is in it’s title. The book sets itself up as a Spider-man Book but he has really only been a part of the first issue. C

Moving forward I’ve decided to only review the books that are my favorites. Although I read many other books, I’ve only found a smaller list of books that I’m invested in. It’s also very time consuming writing these reviews by myself. I’ll continue this blog as long as I can but to create a more enjoyable experience for myself, I’ve decided to review fewer books

Comic Book reviews for the week of 11/3/13

Welcome everyone to my Comic Book Reviews for this week. I welcome comments on any of the reviews I write here. This week is very different for me. I don’t normally spend a lot of time reading DC books. I’m not sure why but I have always enjoyed Marvel books a bit more. This week I only have two Marvel books and the majority of what I’m reading is DC this week.

A number of months ago DC began a story arc that examined the origin of Batman. They called it Batman Zero year. It was so well received that DC has created a Zero year book for a bunch of their titles. Most of what you’ll read in this blog reviews those books. However, I’m going to start with my Marvel reads.

The first book I read this week is Mighty Avengers 003. As many of you have read in my past reviews, I think this book has to the potential to be one of the best books in the Marvel Universe. A lot of this has to do with the pencil work of Greg Land. The detail in each of his drawing is leaps and bounds above most artists. That coupled with Frank D’Armata’s coloring makes for an intriguing book to look at and the writing is usually matching in quality.

As we saw in one of the other chapters of Infinity, Thanos has sent his minions to numerous cities in hopes of destroying earth. In New York, a Octopus-Like creature called Shuma-Gorath has come out of the ground and has attacked the Mighty Avengers. In addition, Doctor Strange continues to be controlled by The Ebony Maw.

The best part of this issue was the arrival of The Blue Marvel. The worst part: what I called the Oscar speech given at the end. When you read the last two or three pages imagine dramatic music playing in the background. I’m going to give this book an A-. With the exception of the speech at the end, this was a very enjoyable book

The second book I read this week was Amazing X-men 001. Prior to saying anything about this book, I need to ask one very simple question: Why does Marvel need another X-men comic?

I picked up this book because of the promise of the return of Nightcrawler. I was first introduced to this character by watching the X-men cartoon while I was in college. I found it intriguing that Marvel chose to have a character that had openly Christian beliefs. In some ways , that makes Nightcrawler one of the more intriguing characters in the Marvel universe. But did that warrant needing a new book?

I’m not sure I loved this book. It’s not that the book was bad, it was that I found the writing a bit disjointed. The book starts with Nightcrawler but transfers to a “Saved by the Bell” episode of the X-men. Again, you will need to read the book to fully understand but it seems that this book was trying to read like a sitcom. I understand that this was an introduction to a 5-part story but I can only hope it gets better . I’m giving this book a weak B.

Green Lantern #25 begins where Lights Out Chapter 5 left off. At the end of that story arc we found that a few of the current Green lanterns are abandoning their rings because they believe that any use of the rings could deplete the emotional spectrum. In order to keep the Corps going, Hal Jordan( who doesn’t know Kyle Ranier is not dead), comes up with a solution to keeping the corps going and preserving the emotional spectrum. Without giving anything away Carol Ferris is not happy with the solution.

Because revealing anything more about the plot would cause you to know too much and ruin the book for my readers, I want to talk about the art in this book. I’ve come to enjoy this book and been relatively impressed with the artwork. However,this week the artwork in this book is just not as impressive as usual. In addition, the idea that Hal Jordan has to regulate the emotional spectrum seems unenforcable. While I don’t think this was a bad issue, it wasn’t my favorite. I’m giving this issue a B.

Superman Unchained 4 is the next chapter in what may be one of the best, yet most frustrating, titles on the market. There is nothing about this book to be upset with except that the release dates are very sporadic and the plot is interrupted by the fact that you really have to go back and read past issues to keep up with what is happening here. What you need to know in this issue is that a villain named Ascension caused a plane to crash with Lois Lane on it and Superman is nowhere in sight. Jimmy Olsen is being held captive by Lex Luthor and Supernan is fighting Ascension’s robots. While all three of these things may seem like spoilers each of these instances have plenty more details to them that I am not revealing.

In this issue, Scott Williams draws artwork that rivals that of Greg Land. It is simply astounding and even the frames in the beginning that seem to be poorly drawn are explained as time goes on so that the artwork is always appropriate. The writing is also excellent. Lex Luthor is awesome as a villain that plays opposite a Dudley Do-Right hero in Jimmy Olsen. There is nothing about this book, except for its lack of consistency in release dates, to complain about. That is the only reason I’m not giving this book an A+. A-

Batman Superman 5 did something I’ve not seen before. The book was written so you had to read it across the page instead of from top to bottom. I guess I should have noticed it from the cover but I didn’t catch it until I opened it to the first page. While the gimmick works in this issue, I wouldn’t want to read each comic this way. The only question with the format was why did it need to be read that way?

There are things about this issue I liked and things I wasn’t that thrilled about. I’ll start with what I liked. In previous issues the artwork was obscure and it was difficult for me to enjoy it because every issue looked like I was watching the book through the lens of a lava lamp. Not anymore. I’m fact, I was very impressed with the imagery. There were a few times where it was a little hard to follow, but, for the most part it was excellent. What I didn’t like: how the Toymaster was written. When I read a comic book I want to like the bad guy. I want to be able to revel in the fact that the bad guy is deliciously bad. In this issue all I saw was a petulant child. There was nothing fun about him. The dilemma in the story was interesting enough, and the cliffhanger was too but I’m not loving this issue’s villain. I’m giving this book a B+.

The Movement #6 is one of those comics you want to love but end up liking. The basic problem with the book is that the book has dropped us into a conflict and has introduced us to characters but we don’t know anything more than they come from a poor part of town and each has unique powers. But beyond that there has been no major character development. This issue took some strides toward rectifying that but it still has a long way to go.

This book deals with the aftermath of The Movement allowing their prisoners to go free. It also focuses on the Cornea Killer and the tricks he has up his sleeve. And lastly vVirtue gets to be a priest.

I didn’t think the book was necessarily bad. The art is fine and the writing is getting there. What the writers have not figured out yet is how to add depth to a story about children trying to be heroes. B-

Forever Evil #3
is a continuation of the storyline where the evil counterparts of today’s heroes have come through Pandora’s box from Earth 3 and destroyed the different Justice League teams. In the last issue we learned that Batman is alive. In this issue we learn that one of his friends is in danger and he plans on helping. We also learn more about which villains are rising against the earth thirders.

Although I don’t know a lot about the characters in the DC universe, I have read enough of Green Lantern to know that anything Geoff Johns puts his name on is great. The writing is great and the art is also impressive. A.

Green Arrow #25 Zero Year. I picked up this book because it was a Zero Year book but also because I watch Arrow on TV and was told the show and the book don’t line up. But as I was reading this comic I was surprised that the book( with some subtle differences) seemed to try to line up with the show more than I had heard.

There are things I love about this book and things I absolutely hated. What I loved about the book was that it picks up where Batman Zero year left off. The Riddler has caused a city wide blackout in Gotham and bad guys are popping up everywhere. Oliver Queen has returned to Seattle and learns his mother has left for Gotham to help the residents during the blackout. He goes after her. That is the extent of the plot I’ll reveal here.

The book does a very good job of linking it to Batman and it also does a great job of beginning to set up the relationship between Green Arrow and Batman

My issue with this book is with the art. The art in this book is too experimental. Especially the scenes in Gotham. It was distracting and actually took away from my enjoyment of the book. I’m also not a big fan of the format of telling too distinct stories that could be intertwined. This was a interesting book but not my favorite. B.

I have mixed feelings about Superman Action Comics #25 Zero Year. While there really isn’t anything much to criticize about this book, I’m not sure I like the rewrite of Superman’s back story. I was always lead to believe that Clark Kent was raised to be a good man. That he was unselfish. That’s not the brash, selfish character that was represented here. And as much as I know this is a rewrite, there’s something nice about knowing that some of our heroes remain heroic. I’m still giving this an A- but I’ve grown tired of the insistence on killing our heroes( if only figuratively).

Batman Detective Comics #25. This is another Zero Year book and start where the others started, during a Superstorm in Gotham. This was an excellent book that tells the story of Comissioner Gordon before he became the head of the Gotham Police Department. This is a superbly written story that in hope will only get better. The art is great and the flashlight story is fun to read. This is an A+ book

Batwing #25 Zero year. I don’t know if I’d have written this book this way. The book tells of two young kids( one who becomes batwing) and another who becomes a villain because he is bullied. Here is my problem with the book. There is no doubt in my mind that bullying can lead to villainy but sometimes these stories add to the problem rather than subtract from it. Stories like these can lead to stereotypes but it can also give permission to people who are bullied to feel like lashing out is justifiable.

It was an ok book. B-

The last book I read was Protectors,Inc. #1. This book is an Joe’s Comic( a division of Image Comics) and it has an interesting premise. During WWII something feel from the sky that caused one of the soldiers to become a Superhero. In the United States heroes began popping up everywhere but instead of working as heroes they act as corporation and make appearances to drum up tourism for the area they are in.

The only downside to this first issue is that it doesn’t do a good job telling it’s reader where the comic is headed. Everything else is good about it. It’s gritty but it’s not overwhelmingly graphic. I’ll probably read a second issue to see where it’s headed. I’m giving this issue a B.

That’s my reviews for this week. Next week is a larger week. I’ll try to have things up by Saturday

Review of Messiah: Origin

A couple of weeks ago I was approached by a friend who asked me if I would like to take a look at a graphic novel and give my opinion of it in my blog. I agreed without knowing anything about it because it is for a friend. I want to make it very clear no money changed hands and I’m doing this for a friend.

This is not the type of graphic novel that I usually spend time reading and reviewing but that doesn’t make it any less worthwhile in picking up. The Graphic novel that I read is called Messiah: Origin. It is a collaboration of Mark Arey, Kai Carpenter and Matt Dorff.

The premise of the Graphic Novel is to retell the story of the birth of Christ in graphic form. What makes this book different than others? The author explains that the story is told through the words of the scriptures without trying to add words at all. It is translated from the original Greek. Another interesting fact is that the author was actually clergy in the Greek Orthodox Church. And lastly, the book presents the story by jumping from each of the Gospels in chronological order that the story is told in.

The book is divided into 13 chapters that start with John 1:1 as a prologue and continues with the announcement of John the Baptist being born, Jesus being born, and each of the principal characters in the story are also represented in the book.

It would be inappropriate for me to criticize the writing of this book because the writing is excerpts from The Bible

The art work in this graphic novel is great. Each panel looks like an oil painting. There is really nothing wrong with it at all.

What my closest friends know about me is that I like to write Christmas devotionals each year. It was comforting to look at the story and put visuals to each of the happenings in the story instead of trying to imagine it all. Although each of the panels is just a representation of what the story might have been like, there is never a time where it is disrespectful or out of place

The artwork is at it’s finest when showing the angels. It doesn’t show the angels as precious moment babies, instead it shows them as warriors.

While there were times I wished that the book was more interactive( speech bubbles and more art work that showed a sense of movement), I also understand that this book was not an attempt at entertaining its audience but to educate them and be a visual study guide for the Biblical story.

If you have family that is interested in learning more about The Bible and appreciates art, I’d recommend it. The book was published by Zondervan and it’s list price is $19.99. I really enjoyed reading this