Comic Book Reviews of 1/27/14

Welcome to this weeks reviews of comic books. With this week being the last of the week, it seems that there were many more titles this week to choose from. This week will again be Marvel and DC.

1. The first book I read this week was The Superior Spider-Man 026. There are two story lines in this book and each one is written well. Spoiler: The first involves the Avengers who question Peter Parker and the second focuses on the battle between The Green Goblin and Hobgoblin for control of crime in the city. The Peter Parker surprise in the last book is also portrayed in this book.

This was a pretty strange comic but it’s not because of the writing. As I was reading the comic I noticed the art was inconsistent. When I tried to figure it out, I found out there were two teams of artists, inkers and colorers. The art work in this book is great in the battle scenes between Hobgoblin and The Green Goblin. It’s kind of bland in other scenes. As I’ve mentioned before, a truly great comic has both great art and great art. Books that transcend this pattern only rise above when the art or writing is do good it wouldn’t matter what the other feature did. This was not one of those books. I’m giving this a B. I loved the writing but the art threw me off.

2. Thunderbolts has never been my favorite comic but recently Charles Soule climbed on board and transformed the writing. Then Carlos Barberi started drawing the book and what was a book I passed up became a book I am interested in.

In the last issue of this comic Thaddeus Ross( A.K.A Red Hulk) hired Ghost Rider to create a spell to send Mercy, an assassin obsessed with death, to hell. The only problem is that the spell backfired and all but Electra and Punisher are sent to hell instead. Thunderbolts 021 picks up with them dealing with their predicament. So that I’m not giving anything away, let’s just say that the dialogue and banter in this book is great! Deadpool is hilarious and the solution in this book could not be better. This was a very fun issue. A+.

Guardians of the Galaxy 011.now takes us back a step from the last time we saw The Guardians meet up with X-men. It also explains the title of the crossover event. If you want a detailed explanation of the event check out my reviews last week.

I hold out high hopes for this 6 issue event which actually scares me because Battle of the Atom started out well and was ended without being satisfying. Still, this issue did a great job explaining the back story necessary to understand what you need to know.

The art is fine in this book but there was one plot device that has the potential to reduce the quality of the book. I’m giving this book a B. It was good but not as good as I hoped

4. Uncanny Xforce 017 is the conclusion of the Vendetta story line and one of the better mini crossover events that I’ve read over the last few months. The story has had mystery, action, some humor and lessons in morality. I’m not sure I loved the ending but it seems that it was a great way of ending Cable and X-force before the reboot begins

Everything in this book was good. The art, the pacing, the penciling. I enjoyed this series even if the dialogue seemed a little forced at times. A-

5. Inhumanity #2 finally puts a little traction into the story. Up until this point we’ve dealt with personal stories of each of the characters that have turned into Inhumans. This comic has been both good and frustrating at the same time because the story hasn’t moved along. In This issue we deal with the fact that the avengers have to ask The Inhumans to take responsibility for what is happening around the earth. The result is fun

While I enjoyed this comic book, I found it a bit annoying that this whole entire series leads up to a brand-new comic book that will start next month about Inhumans. I probably won’t read it

I also found it a little bit annoying that the art changed from page to page. When comic books have different artists with different styles, it can lead to dissonance on the page. The writing in the book is not bad, but again, it’s not great either. B-

6. I think Thor God of Thunder 018 might be the strangest comic book I’ve read since IDW’s Dinosaurs Attack. Honestly, this is one of the more difficult reviews to write because anything in this review could potentially become a spoiler.

I loved the way this comic book was written. It started in the middle, went to the the beginning and jumped to the end. The whole comic is a journey of discovery and we are learning about what happened to the characters as they are. It is humorous.

The art still remains wispy and ethereal and fits the comic perfectly. There are times when I love this comic and times I’m not sure I love it at all. I’m not always sure what to make of morally ambiguous superheroes and, at times, revels in that ambiguity. I’m giving this book a B.

7. There is nothing worse when reading a comic book than getting half way through it and finding out you’re not enjoying it. Except maybe when the book is double sized because it’s an annual. Green Lantern Corps Annual 2 was that book for me. It should have been better. With The Braid men shape shifting into Hal Jordan and telling the entire universe that the Corps has been threatening the universe by using their rings too much. Once that happened, the villains came out to fight. That is the jumping off point for the latest issue. Normally, this would be interesting but this book was, at best, confusing. The book goes from 90 years in the past to the present to 30 years ago so often, it’s hard to keep track of the story .

In addition, the art seemed mediocre. I seriously wanted to love this book and I’m very disappointed. C

8. Red Lanterns has never been my favorite comic book. Trying to find a hero amongst a bunch of aliens and humans that are powered by hate. This comic was different . I really enjoyed it. ***minor spoiler**** This issue takes place on earth and, believe it or not, this book does a lot to give us insights into each of the characters.

The artwork is also excellent. I’m giving this book an A.

9. I wish the writing in Damien Son of Batman 4 of 4had been better. It has had moments of brilliance but, in honesty , what has made the unanswered questions the book left behind, is the artwork. The penciling, shading, action, quality of the paper was all amazing but it ends there.

This is a brutally violent, bloody, and at times uncomfortable book to read. All in all, I’m not disappointed in the series as much as I am this issue. B-

Those are my thoughts for this week on my regular books that I tend to enjoy on a regular basis. I hope you enjoyed the read. See ya next week

Comic Book Reviews for the week of 12/20/14

Hi all and welcome to my weekly review of this weeks comics. This weeks reviews will focus primarily on Marvel books with a smattering of DC for good measure.

The first review for the month is All New X-men 022.Now. This month we were treated to two issues of this fine comic. The first ended the with the stereotypical religious zealot story line. Although there were twists in that story, none of them were particularly surprising. This issue on the other hand marks the beginning of a 6 issue cross over event with Guardians of the Galaxy in which Jean Grey is put on trial for all of her deeds throughout her life. The problem is that the only Jean Grey that is alive hasn’t done any of them yet.

Without giving anything away , this is an introduction to the story. Characters are being developed and the dialogue, although humorous at times, serves as a way of furthering our ability to understand the characters.

The action in this book was also very cool and unexpected, at least to me. I have very little idea why the villains in the story are present, although I think A certain Iron hero might have something to do with it( nothing was given away). At any rate, the writing was really good while the art could have been better. I expect this to be a good series after an All New X-men event that never really ended at all last time( BoA). All in all I think this comic deserves an A-

The second book I read deserves a better review than the one I can give it but probably not much better. X-Men 009 was much more confusing than it should have been. Long and Short Arkea is back upped the ante to get to the X-men. This has been a long and complex story line that at times makes sense and at times is beyond comprehension. At the risk of sounding sexist, these characters are just not interesting enough without the rest of the team . The interactions of these women are urgent enough to the story but aren’t that interesting to me.

The art in the book is very good. I especially like the coloring. However, when a comic has a story that doesn’t connect, it doesn’t matter if the art is stellar. This is the only X title I’ve read that hasn’t connected. B-

3. It seems that if you want to read an Avengers title these days, you have to be willing to read stories about different universes crashing into each other. The theory is that there are many, many different universe and there is one of you in each universe. When two of these universes collide, it’s called an incursion. When this happens a universe dies. Spoiler Alert: A.I.M is working on a device that pulls matter from the Negative Zone . Wait until you see what they pulled out.
Avengers 025 seems to pick up the New Avengers story line and continues it. The problem is that I’ve not seen much movement in the story line from when the story began.

In fairness, the writing in this book is well done and interesting. It’s intriguing to see where this is going to go. I am going to reserve my trepidation about this story until the next issue comes out.

The artwork is mostly great. Only one or two panels disappointed me. Most of the time this comic’s art is among the best of the week. This week doesn’t disappoint. A-

4. Marvel has very few books where the writing and art are exceptional. While there are good writers and artists respectively, Al Ewing and Greg Land have created a comic book that excel at both.

This book has a lot going on and while that was true, it was never confusing. The pacing in this book is great. The tension builds to a boiling point and also deflates leaving the readers incredibly satisfied.

The story is divided into two story lines. Tension between Luke Cage and Otto Octavius as Spider-man and what the rest of the Avengers find on the city of Attilan city which has fallen into the Hudson River( but hasn’t sunk yet). The book spends a lot of time questioning alliances but it is never preachy or annoying. I can not find anything wrong with this issue. A+

5. Avengers World 002 was a great comic book. Cannonball, Sunspot and Smasher have been kidnapped by A.I.M. Scientists and they have ulterior motives for it. The rest of the team has to find a way rescue them.

Everything about this comic was great. I have no arguments against it. A+

6. Origin II issue 2 is the continuation of the Origin story of Wolverine. If you have not read Marvel’s first Origin story, this is not a book for you because there is a lot of back story that will continue to be necessary for this series. In the first issue of this book we learned that James Hewlett( Wolverine) has befriended a pack of wolves that have taken him in. A Polar Bear has come down from the mountain and attacked the pack and James defends them and kills the bear. That is where this issue starts. Without giving anything away we are introduced to new characters( and some familiar) and new tension

This book has a very different feel from the first Origin 5 part mini series. In the last book everything was designed to transport you into an old west sort of time period including the lettering which helped along the cause even more.

Everything about this book feels different. While the book seems to take place in the same time period, it has a much more feral feel to it. It’s not bad, just different. I am enjoying this series but I don’t think it’s quite up to the standards of its predecessor. I’m giving this book a B.

7. Superior Spider-Man Team Up 009 is one of the most over written comics I’ve ever read. The dialogue is terrible. It tries to be witty and instead comes across as stupid. What makes it even worse is that the author knows it’s overwritten and makes fun of it by commenting on it in the dialogue

The art is good and the comic furthers along the story but the dialogue is so very distracting that it is a completely unenjoyable experience. I always want to like Spidey comics but I didn’t like this at all. C-

8. Cable and X-Force 019 Vendetta Part 3 is the next chapter of a crossover story about Hope, Cable, Bishop and Stryfe. Cable has had a vision that Hope is being pursued by Bishop. Bishop has gone through history chasing Hope trying to kill her because he believes that Armageddon can be avoided if she’s dead. At least he has felt that way in the past. He’s been reformed but Hope, Cable’s daughter, doesn’t know that. She goes after Bishop and before she can fight him, Stryfe, Cable’s evil clone from the future, kidnaps them both. Cable and X-Force confronts Uncanny X-force and blame each other for what has happened when Stryfe also kidnaps Cable . That is where this story picks up.

The action in this book is well paced and the story is very well written. The art is enjoyable and I look forward to the finale of this series. A.

9. I am completely torn on All New X-Factor 002. My biggest reason for being torn
Is that this comic has been authored by one of my favorite writers. Usually when Peter David writes something there is almost guarantee that you are getting a special comic

Where I don’t like the comic is the art. Each panel looks like each character was scribbled on the page. I’m also a little tired of A.I.M. Being the go to villain in most of the comics.

The writing is not bad, I’m just not thrilled yet. B-

10. Indestructible Hulk 018.INH is the continuing story of the Inhumanity saga. Bruce Banner has created a bomb to counteract the effects of the Terrigen Mists. The problem is that it has some unintended consequences that we read about in this issue.

I have not been a big fan of the Inhumanity stories so far. I think my problem seems to hinge on the fact that each book seems to focus on one person becoming an Inhuman instead of focusing on the much larger picture. When each of the stories are separate there seems to be a lack of cohesion and why it’s important that the effects of the Terrigen mists be reversed. Why is there no backlash? This comic has been full of quirky stories that occasionally feature the brutality of the Hulk. I would like much more of those stories. B-

11. I picked up Iron Man 020.INH for its inhumanity tie in. While Bruce Banner has been working on a way of counteracting the Terrigen mists, Tony Stark is working on creating a place for the Inhumans to stay. However, his plans are sidelined when he learns that Mandarin’s rings have gained sentience and have escaped looking to create a new Mandarin.

I liked this comic despite it sounding like a Lord of the Rings rip off. The art was impressive and the writing kept me engaged. I may have done the sevens withy he rings speaking with each other a bit differently as they were kind of hokey but other than that, I thought it was a fun comic. B.

12. I probably going to take some crap for this but I started reading Green Lantern because of the Ryan Reynolds version of the movie. It wasn’t very good( although it deserves more credit than it got) but it left me with enough interest to read the comics. I didn’t know when I picked up the first series that I would need to read 5 titles. Of those five titles New Guardians is one of my least favorite. Don’t get me wrong, Kyle Ranier has become a vital part of the Green Lantern universe but he has not played a direct part of the current story since Lights Out. With Hal Jordan thinking that Kyle is dead, Kyle has been having adventures all his own. With the remaining guardians and Carol Farris in tow they have had some very strange adventures. I don’t mind strange but silly, I mind. This was plain silly. The art was also distracting from the story. I keep hoping he’ll get back to the rest of the lanterns but just like Baz and Sinestro, they’re doesn’t seem to be any returning and that’s a shame. B-

13. I read Black Widow #2 on my phone so I’m not too qualified to talk about the art in this one. However, it has been really cool to read a comic book about an Avenger where the stories are not affected by the rest of the team. This is pure spy craft with great writing, plenty of action and intrigue. A

I have other comics that I’ve read this week but these are my regular reads. I hope that you enjoyed the reviews. If you want to leave comments or criticisms feel free. Only request. No profanity

Comic Reviews for the week of 1/13/14

1. The second week of comic books has gotten underway and already comic book runs are ending. The first book I read this week was Fantastic Four Finale 016. The old , highly technical, highly confusing writing is back. To be honest, I’m torn about this issue. Everything about this issue started out well. The art was good and the writing was decent but then the halfway point of the book happened and the art changed and so did the quality of the writing

In a month the new writing team will start a new fantastic four comic book and what I got from the end of this run was that they had no idea how to end it. The writing was lazy and so was the art work. C-

2. Last week Cable and X-Force started a 4 part series called Vendetta which, from I can gather, is about Cable and Hope trying to kill Bishop who has gone through time to kill Hope. In last weeks issue we learned that before Hope and Cable get a chance to do this, Stryfe kidnaps both Bishop and Hope. Uncanny X-Force 016 picks up where that issue left off.

I am a disadvantage with this issue because I don’t read Uncanny X-Force, however, there is a fairly big twist in this story that made me think “oh that’s kinda cool”. While the writing in this book was good, I wasn’t too impressed with the art. I think my biggest beef is how they drew Cable, pudgy with no neck. I am a big fan of Cable and X-Force( at least for the last 5-6 months). This was a decent chapter but wasn’t as visually appealing as other books . B.

3. In my time returning to comic books there has only been one comic book event that has had a huge continuing impact on the Marvel Universe. That event is A vs X. The impact is still being felt. As we have already learned Magneto has been helping recruit new mutants after the resurgence of mutants in society to be a part of Cyclops school for Mutants. We have also learned that Magneto is concerned that Cyclops’ broken powers will create more problems than they’re worth and has brought his concerns to S.H.I.E.L.D( I hate typing that acronym). This issue of Uncanny X-men #016 focuses on Magneto. The biggest reason for this: he’s getting his own comic.

Despite the shameless plug, the writing in this book is very well done. We learn a lot about the Madripoor story and there are some significant plot twists that, while being expected to some extent, are well placed and will be interesting to see how they play out. I have never been a huge fan of the art in this book but I am very happy it has improved over time. I’m giving this book a B+

4. Amazing X-men 003 almost lives up to its name. The art work is, if not amazing, pretty darn close. And it’s not just the art but the coloring too. The shading in this book is great.

This book has great action. Although very silly, the idea of pirates sailing the seven seas( say that fast five times) of purgatory is fun. I really only have two problems with this issue. One of them has to do with the dialogue in this book. Beast is one of the smartest mutants in the X-universe yet his dialogue in this book was beyond cheesy. My second problem: there seems to be a rule in comics that if you’re smart, you can’t possibly believe in God. In this case: Beast . I find that annoying. I still really liked this book but I can’t give it a A because the writing isn’t near as good as the art. B.

5. Secret Avengers 014 is the 3rd part of a 5 part story where the rest of The Secret Avengers have to go in and rescue Mockingbird, a team member who was left behind on A.I.M island when her memory was wiped. Andrew Forson, the head of the agency is working to turn her. M.O.D.O.K.( another acronym I hate typing) wants to kill Andrew and asks Maria for help. This issue continues that story line.

Lately , this comic has annoyed me. Mostly because the coloring has attempted to make this an Art Deco type of experience. It is a distraction from a great story line. If the art direction changes, I will love this idea.

6. Superior Spider-Man 26 may not only be one of the best comics of the week, it may also be one of the best for the series. I have been waiting for weeks for this series to come to a head.

The story that lead up to this moment revolves around Venom arriving in New York City and Otto Octavius attacking him. Because Otto Octavius has erased Peter Parker’s memories, he forgets that Flash Thompson is supposed to be Spidey’s best friend. Otto, in an attempt to harness the Venom symbiote, creates prosthetic legs for flash. During the operation Otto tries to harness the Symbiote but, instead, is possessed by it. That is where this issue starts. With out giving anything away, there is plenty of action, intrigue and plot twists. The art is also very impressive. I thought one of the plot twists happened too quickly but, nonetheless, this is an A+ comic.

7. I’m usually not a big fan of Nova but I gotta say, I really liked Nova 012. It’s hard to, at least in my opinion, to make a whiny teen age boy enjoyable but the writer Gerry Duggan, has managed to make this an enjoyable book. It’s a bit corny in scenes but never over the top. It has been interesting to watch Nova learn about his powers and make naive choices in trying to help people in attempts to be a hero. The art is great and also great. This was a book well worth reading. I’m giving this book an A.

8. Last week the Braidmen caused all sorts of problems for The Green Lantern Corps when they announced to the universe that the rings they wear are slowly destroying the universe . As a result all sorts of enemies are coming out of the woodwork to take them on.

This comic book has a lot going for it. What I appreciate the most is that this story line hasn’t been precipitated by a huge DC event. The story with in the GL universe seems to stay in it and I have been very appreciative of that. The writing is very good in this issue and I’m looking forward to seeing where this story will take us. Although it’s not as good as other books this week, it is a very good book. A-

9. I originally picked up Superman Wonder Woman because Doomsday was going to be in it and The Death of Superman in the 90’s was one of the most memorable series of my comic reading history. And as much as I’ve enjoyed the comic it has been more about the secret relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman. Superman Wonder Woman 4 continues along those lines with some mysteries and surprises . There is very little action is this book because it serves as a book to further the plot along. There is nothing wrong with the book but there is nothing spectacular about it either. B-

10. When I go see a movie with Tom Clancy’s character of Jack Ryan, I don’t expect a comic book to be better than a movie but Velvet 3 was better than the new Jack Ryan movie.

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog entries, I like the escapism of comic books. This is the biggest reason I don’t normally read Image Comics. In my experience, Image tends to have a darkness to them that is beyond uncomfortable. But this in amazing comic filled with intrigue. A Spy has been killed and his secretary has been framed for the murder . Except she didn’t do it and she’s not your ordinary secretary. The series takes place in the 70’s. Everything about this comic book is incredible. The writing is taut and has the feel of a great spy novel and the art pulls you into the story. Another A+.

Those are my thoughts on the comics I read this week. I always welcome comments. Thanks for reading

Comic reviews for the week of 1/6/14

1. It’s a new year and it’s time to start with a new blog entry. It’s only appropriate that we start with a new title. I’m not sure why Marvel feels they need to add a new Avengers title but they did. Avengers World #1 begins with S.H.I.E.L.D and the Avengers making peace and trying to work together. In order to not give anything else away, I will just say the story requires the team to investigate something mysterious.

I found myself enjoying the writing in this book but at the same time I was a bit annoyed that the book tended to jump around a lot, making it a little hard to follow. The art seemed inconsistent to me. While it was good on the close up shots, it was not great on views of characters from a distance. This book was a premiere issue that spun off directly from the Infinity storyline so it’s not for new readers which begs the question as to why they needed a new title. All in all I give this book a grade of B.

2. The idea behind All New X-Factor #1 would have been a novel if Image Comics hadn’t come up with a portion of the idea two months ago with Protectors Inc. . Serval Industries, a corporation, has decided to put together a team of Super heroes to deal with crime. Where the Image Title and Marvel diverge is that there is crime to fight. The team is Gambit, Polaris, and Quicksilver. The team is sent on a mission.

Here is my issue with this issue. Marvel has decided to start a new comic without giving collectors and new readers a chance to understand its characters. Instead they throw us into situations where we must rely on past issues of back story to get us through the story. In addition, although each of the characters are introduced, there was no transition between the introduction of the characters and the action sequences so the mission happens too abruptly. All in all this book deserves a B. The book is drawn well and despite the transitional problems it’s not a poorly written book.

3. Whereas the other books I reviewed required a certain amount of back story to be enjoyable, Marvel is banking on the fact that most people who start reading this book will have seen Avengers and recognize Black Widow. Black Widow # 1 may be the best book I’ve read in the last month. Everything you need to know to understand this book is in the inside introduction.

This is an excellent comic and there is nothing I find objectionable about it. The artwork is stellar and gives the book an almost pulp fiction feel. In addition, the book shys away from being just another Avengers comic by allowing the reader to partake in missions to erase her history. This is an A+ comic

4. Cable and X-Force 018 was another very strong comic for this series. It took Dennis Hopeless a while to find his stride as the writer of this comic but once he did he created a compelling and extremely interesting comic book. The artists and colorers have also created art that sets the mood up very well on this comic. I am not a big fan of cross over events but I think this one should be fun. Vendetta part one examines the relationship between Cable, Hope, Stryfe , Bishop, and the rest of Uncanny X-Force. In order to not give give anything else away let’s just say the last half of this comic is great. The cliffhanger leaves us clamoring for more which will be revealed in the next issue of Uncanny X-Force. I highly recommend picking this comic up. It’s excellent. A.

5. I’m not going to spend too much time on Avengers A.I 008.Now because it’s not been my favorite series. But since I just saw the movie “her”, I thought I’d make a quick comment. Recently, there seems to be an attempt to personalize technology and make it more human. Siri talks to you. People text more than talk. This book seems to heighten that debate by asking whether or not artificial intelligences have rights. In this book, we begin to see the dangers of humanizing technology and what the dangers can be. The plot plays off of this debate and is a very soft version of Cell by Stephen King. While the writing in this book is good, I hate the art. Its plain and inexpressive. B-

6. Infinity Heist 004 would seem as if it’s a month late since infinity ended at least a month ago but it all makes sense ending where it did. That is really all I can say without any spoilers. Last issue left us with a swerve in the story in that we find one of the villains, blizzard, is really an inhuman and is having second thoughts about stealing Tony Stark’s suits. We also find out that there are ulterior motives for stealing those suits

Although I’m glad to see this series come to an end, I have to say I enjoyed it. I wasn’t sure how the ending would work itself out but after reading it, I don’t see how it could end any other way. The art in this book was also really good. A-

7. Green Lantern 27 may be in strong competition for the best book of the week. This book is a game changer. Without giving anything away, The Braidmen( a terrible name for a team of villains, do something that will make life difficult for the corps for a very long time.

This is a great book. The writing is tight and paced perfectly and the art does not disappoint. I am really looking forward to where this new story goes! A+

8. In the last panel of the previous issue of The Movement the writers promised that everything would come to a head. This issue was going to be my last but The Movement 8 may have finally delivered on its promise. There is a lot of excellent action in this issue and the author may have decided to shy away from the stereotypical storyline of bad cop vs. poor person. The author has also begun connecting the book to the rest of the DC universe. I hated the ending dialogue in the book but beyond that it’s nice to see some maturity added to the title. B.

9. If I was to pick one sleeper hit this last year, I’d say that Letter 44 is that book. The essence of the story is that a new president is elected and on his first day he learns of the existence of aliens and there are astronauts in space exploring the discovery. The book is only on issue 3 but it hooks the reader in. It does a great job showing how an incoming president can have his presidency defined by knowledge he can’t share and also focus on the astronauts. I wouldn’t say the art is spectacular( it is different though) but the writing is great. A-

Those are my thoughts on my favorites of the week. Thanks for reading.