Serials: The Flash #8, The New Deadwardians #2 and more

Here's the schedule this week:

Today: Last week's comics
Wednesday: Best of April 2012
Every other day: Free Comic Book day countdown

Daredevil #11
by Mark Waid and Marco Chechetto

I'm really impressed that Marco Chechetto drew through three comics in three weeks. You don't really see that anymore, ever.

I'm really disappointed, though, that he took a lot of shortcuts, outlined here from Caleb Mozzoccoco. Chechetto's images are very dynamic, especially when it comes to Spider-Man, and they're really fun to look at. The major scene in the finale of the three-part "Omega Effect" is Daredevil's attempt to save Cole, the Punisher's ward, from a life of murder, and the ending is a copout that doesn't lead to any definite conclusion except for the continuation of the status quo.

It was a fun ride, but the ending just doesn't cut it.

Flash #8
by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato

"You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension - a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into --"

--The Speed Force! This issue reminded me why I love comic books, and I'm pretty sure it's the one that Manapul and Booch have been waiting to tell -- the story of the Speed Force. Check it: it's a nexus of energy that, over time, accumulates energy. When that amount becomes excess, it lashes out to reality and creates time anomalies, dropping Panzer tanks in Mayan civilizations and the like. When Barry Allen became the Flash, he became connected to the Speed Force and, when he runs, he releases that energy!

It's such an amazing comic book idea. When he runs, the Flash is literally protecting space-time. I think it's a great metaphor for running too: running releases our pent-up energy.

I was so impressed with this issue, I tweeted to the team, and Manapul tweeted back!

Jealous? I love the tic they added to Hynes' dialogue, it reinforces how much the Speed Force has warped him. I was so impressed with this issue, visually and textually. I've been talking about how the writing will eventually catch with the art, and I think it's gotten to that point now: the two are telling the same story now, and it's such an exciting one.

The Goon #39
by Eric Powell and Dave Stewart

Here's the "all-parody" issue, in which Eric Powell jabs at the superhero genre in every. single. panel. It's a fun ride, and the material doesn't stop, because there's just so many things to make fun of in the genre.

If you've been following super-comics for the past few decade, you'll pretty much get every joke he makes. Eric Powell has an impassioned column after the 22 pages, and it's important: he talks about expanding the medium beyond superheroes, and breaks down a lot of arguments as to the relationship between superheroes and independent titles. Definitely worth your time.

The New Deadwardians #2
by Dan Abnett and I.N.J. Culbard

Man, check that cover! I love looking at it.

The mystery continues to unfold like a Sherlock Holmes story, and I'm really digging it. It's up to the sole detective of Scotland Yard, George Suttle, to uncover how a British Lord has been killed without the traditional methods that kill a vampire (note: in The New Deadwardians, the upper class have taken "the cure" and are now vampires, while the lower class are either mortal or "restless:" they've become zombies). There's some great world-building here, as well as some great characterization for Suttle, who shows some wariness to having taken the cure.

I'm also really impressed with how everyone has a different voice. The way they're written and drawn, you can really tell. (Example:)

Marvel's Secret Avengers #26
by Rick Remender and Gabriel Hardman

For a while, I've been complacently holding off on closing my subscription with Marvel. I originally signed up for the Captain America, when McNiven was working on it, but when he left, I decided to switch over to Secret Avengers, so I could have some foot in with the Avengers and keep a tab on them.

Hardman's cartooning is pretty excellent, and Remender knows what he's doing, but I don't really find the story compelling any more. There's nobody I can relate to.

The storyarc concludes here, and there's a great last page that hooks you in, but I'm not so interested anymore. Pretty sure I'm gonna ask for a refund today.

Follow chezkevin on rss | twitter

Mental detritus: 4-27-12

Hey party people! This will be the last you see of me for roughly a week, because, aside from some Free Comic Book Day things, I will be going on a planned break. Regular posts will continue on Monday May 7 or thereabouts. Until then, keep an eye on my twitter and whatnot.

In comics this week:
  • The Flash #8 was very impressive. I enjoyed it so much, I had to pause before reading the next comic in my pile, simply because nothing could follow that without looking shoddy in comparison.
  • Chew usually comes out the same week as Flash, but they've been a bit behind schedule. Instead, the trade paperback for the latest storyarc is out, "Major League Chew"! Check it out!
  • I asked about the next issue of Atomic Robo: Real Science Adventures, because they haven't had any output since last month, and Jim the manager (of Comix Revolution) looked it up for me. It turns out that they're behind schedule as well, and the next issue is due for June 27, 2012! That's two months away!
  • Well, Chew and Atomic Robo, I still love you.

Today will be a fluffy post, just to recap a few of my interactions with comic books, outside of reading them. I urge you to take advantage of blogger's "lightbox view," which enables a smooth reading experience when you want to enlarge an image.

Here's the letter I wrote to Saga #2, in response to their reader survey. I felt weird sending in a single piece of paper, so I decided to do a doodle. That graph paper-y sheet on the left is my sketch of The Stalk, a half-spider half-nude-lady, using all her arms to be a one-woman band. I really hope they respond!

On Thursday I sold a bunch of my comic book trade paperbacks, to a local bookstore. The tpb's are located above, and they are, L to R:
  1. Defenders by Giffen, Dematteis and MacGuire premiere HC
  2. Ultimate Spider-Man vol. 11: Carnage
  3. The Flash: . . . geez what is that? Running out of Time? Man out of Time? Beats me. . . OK, amazon tells me it's Race against Time. Whatever.
  4. Action Philosophers vols. 1-3, by Fred van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey
I was offered $3 in cash, or $6 in store credit, so I used the latter to buy three Geronimo Stilton books for my baby cousin.

And, here's my wall-in-progress of comic book stuff and other things. It hasn't really changed from the first time I talked about it, but there are a few additions, which I describe here:
  1. I've added the four covers for the American Vampire storyarc, "Death Race." I was so unhappy with the story that I decided to cannibalize the issues, but the covers still rock hard.
  2. I've added the playbill cover for the Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark musical. I saw this when I visited my sister in New York, and boy did I enjoy it.
  3. Right below the playbill was my itinerary for C2E2. I was planning to go, but none of my friends were willing to, so I decided not to go. . .
  4. and to the right of that is the cover to the playbill for the New York Chinese Cultural Center, from when I visited my sister in New York two years ago, and we attended a recital of her friend's.

That's it for me this week. Find me on twitter, and, aside from some Free Comic Book Day things, I'll see you again in about 9 days.

Follow chezkevin on rss | twitter

Serials today: The Goon, Batman and more

Ever since I switched to paying with credit, I've been getting a frightening amount of comics every week. This week I'm getting the new Flash, the new Daredevil, the new Goon and the new The New Deadwardians. Last week I got quite a few things as well, so today I'm going to share them with you.

Batman #8
"Attack on Wayne Manor" by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion
"The Call" backup by Snyder, Tynion IV and Albuquerque

Last year I talked about how I wasn't ready yet for Scott Snyder's newer, more optimistic Gotham City and Bruce Wayne. Well, last week the digital freebie sold me on this issue, and now I am. I'm ready. My body is ready.

The first few pages are excellent in building a tone: Bruce Wayne thought he knew the city he grew up in, but he was in the shadows. He's literally in the dark of his mansion as he looks over Gotham City. Then, the Owl assassins attack Wayne Manor! It's a fast-paced, well-written siege scene that shows the Owls as a real threat. Great mood-building, great action, great comic. Check it out for yourself.

The Goon #38
by Eric Powell and Dave Stewart

So this issue is a biography of The Goon's aunt, the woman what raised him. You learn about her hopes and dreams, you learn about her struggles with men and with work. She becomes a real character, and that's because she is: real life intersects fiction as Eric Powell dedicates this to Betty Jean Wheeler, "the best grandma anyone could ask for." Personal comics can be powerful, and this one sure is.

It's a heartfelt, heart-warming comic that brought a tear to my eye. Also, this:

The Punisher #10
by Greg Rucka and Maro Chechetto, with thanks to Mark Waid

Spider-Man and Hornhead take over the Punisher's book in this second part of "The Omega Effect."

Even silent, Punisher fills the page with his brooding, but Daredevil brings some optimism where he can, to Punisher's partner. The three respective superheroes of this comic book are strong enough to hold their own titles, and when you put them together, you get an even better sense of who they are.

The last panel is a little confusing: Daredevil is about to destroy the Omega Drive, but then he grunts and falls off the ledge. I believe this is because Alves shot him in the back to get at the Omega Drive herself, but it's ambiguous. What did you guys think?

Thief of Thieves #3
by Spencer and Martinbrough

Comic books are the synthesis of two things: the word and the image. This comic certainly has both: it's certainly a comic, but I'm not sure how far I want to go with that. The problem is that there are words and images, but the words aren't comprehensible. There's this weird scene where they're talking about lawsuits and arrests. Let me bring this to your attention: the reader has heretofore never been alerted as to any warrants, lawsuits, custody battles or arrests. It's a very confusing, odd scene because the mother's really angry, and the reader isn't informed sufficiently as to why.

It doesn't stop there. The comic seems to undergo some flashbacks in which Redmond is arrested, but there's no indication as to if it's a flashback or the present. It seems that it could be the present, because we just left Redmond in a glass window building in the present, yet it flashes forward to show his innocence.

They're small things, but captions go a long way. Issues 1 and 2 used title cards to introduce scenes, and I don't understand why issue 3 doesn't. In fact, there's a lot of things that I don't understand about this comic, and I'm disappointed that I spent the money on it. I'm dropping this title.

Ultimate Comics All-New Spider-Man #9
by Brian Bendis and David Marquez

Hey! Look at that: David Marquez takes over pencil and inks, and he's spot-on with Sarah Pichelli's style. Bendis continues his own writing style with a series of events that aren't connected. Things happen in this comic, but there's no narrative connection that ties the comic together. Without a narrative, the comic stands on moments, such as that cool panel where Miles' uncle takes on a Vulture costume and throws all these razor blades at the Scorpion. It's not the way I prefer to read my comics, but if it's the only way I can enjoy them, then, fine.

I'll leave you today with this amazing cliffhanger. That last row of panels just kills me:

Follow chezkevin on rss | twitter

Library trades for 3-23: Justice and Summer Blonde

It's a one-two trade review for today! Can you handle it?

by Kim Krueger, Doug Braithwaite and Alex Ross
collecting the twelve-issue miniseries
(Amazon, $25.86)

A while ago (ie, three years ago) I read the first and second volumes of this. DC made the terrible decision of releasing three four-issue collections, in hardcover. My library had the first volume, as well as the second volume -- if you're looking for a few more scans besides what today's post has to offer, check out those links there. In those three years, I never saw the third and final volume in my library, so I guess I've been deferring this story for a full 1086 days.

It hasn't aged well. Re-reading through this, I remembered the sane. Ralph Dibny stopping Clayface in the sewers, so that Green Arrow and Black Canary can raid Brainiac's place? Epic.

excitement I had, of the Justice League getting thematically overturned by their archnemeses. The likes of Scarecrow and Lex Luthor were working together to create a better world, while the superheroes were painted as gods who devoted their time to keep humanity from moving forward. It's a compelling, realistic take on superheroes, but devolves into a standard save-the-world scenario. Sure, there are beautiful splash pages of superheroes saving the world. That two-page spread of the Green Lantern Corps. hurling Brainiac's nukes into space? In

Trust me, I love seeing superheroes doing their thing. I've spent so many keyboard taps on it. But when you have a hook like you do in that first issue, I expect more. Justice provides some nice things to look at, and like with so many other Alex Ross works, you get new redesigns of classic superheroes. Justice will do for your superhero fix, but it does nothing to move the genre or the medium forward.

Oh, here's an example of the awful binding:

Can you see who that is in the middle? SPOILER: It's Lex. I know there's a lot of thematic strength in putting someone at the very center. But the book's gutter makes it an ordeal just to see who it is. That's a bad, glaring decision to make when it comes to this page.

Again: links for volume 1 (issues 1-4) and volume 2 (5-8).

Summer Blonde: Four Stories by Adrian Tomine
by Adrian Tomine
collecting material originally released in Drawn and Quarterly (I think? I returned the book already)

So I think the library removed the slipcase for this hardcover -- which is why I decided to scan both the front and back cover. Four Stories tells, well, four different stories of four different people in California's Bay Area. In one of them, a successful writer seeks to reconnect with an old friend, and in another, a socially awkward woman finds ways to fill the time after getting fired from her phone job. Each story is full and packs a punch to the gut. All the main characters feel real, and their struggles feel real.

My favorite story was the third, "Hawaiian Getaway," starring Hilary Chang, a recently-fired telephone service rep. She obtains the number for the pay phone across her complex, and spends her time prank-calling it, until it leads her to meet a guy. She struggles against her inability to communicate, and the story ends with her attending her grandma's funeral, and recalling a childhood memory. It's some powerful stuff.


Wednesday: The Goon, Batman, Ultimate Comics All-New Spider-Man and more.

Friday: I dunno. Whatever I feel like?

Follow chezkevin on rss | twitter

Digital goodies: 4-20-12

Whoa! Have you guys seen this? Local blogger extraordinaire (and by local I mean he's on the internet) David Brothers is going cold turkey on super-comics, because of the way they've treated their creators in the past. It's a huge decision to make, and his reasons make sense. Read it yourself.

In similar news, Chris Roberson is leaving DC/Vertigo for similar reasons. These things are important, aren't they? Creators' rights are important.

Anyways, enough chitchat. Here are some digital-only free comics that I looked at this past week. Freebies don't get much of attention, so I thought it'd be useful to talk about them. All links go to comiXology, because I have a comiXology account.


Batman: Night of the Owls Booklet -- The super-crossover in DC's Batman titles started this week. It's called "Night of the Owls," and this freebie convinced me to get a copy of Batman #8. The booklet itself contains a Snyder/Tynion IV/Albuquerque short story about Alfred summoning the Bat-family, which is also the back-up story for Batman #8. The booklet doesn't contain much else besides covers for all the titles tying in to "Night of the Owls."

Harley-Davidson Avengers #1 --  Is this what corporate comics have become? Has Captain America become the Tony the Tiger for Harley-Davidson? Are super-heroes corporate shills now?

Jeff Parker and Manuel Garcia attach their names to this sub-standard story of the Avengers riding motorcycles and punching supervillains -- and not even that, the issue ends on a cliffhanger and isn't self-contained. I'm incredibly confused as to who this is aiming towards. The story just isn't smart enough for adults, but if it were aimed at kids, why is the title tied to a motorcycle promotion? Is little Billy meant to read this comic, and then hand it off to his father to try to win a Harley-Davidson?


Top Shelf Digital Action Pack #1 -- Here's the real reason I did today's write-up. There's a lot of freebies on comiXology, but the only way you can read them now is if you add them to your library (it used to be you could instantly open the reader for the comic, without having to add it to your collection, but those days are gone). That ends up in a whole lotta junk in your library that you don't care about, but Top Shelf has condensed everything into one convenient pack. It's no longer junk, something you read once and never look at again -- it becomes this big collection that you care about. There are full excerpts from titles such as Infinite Kung Fu, From Hell, Superf*ckers and more.

There's more than super-comics out there, and this is a good example why.

Follow chezkevin on rss | twitter

Oh, and before I forget, here's another list of some comics I wanted to index for myself. You can ignore this.

Trades, serials for today: Saga, America's Got Powers, I Kill Giants and more

I haven't been able to check my gmail in 3 days, so you'll forgive me if I haven't blogged in a while.

The time has been very useful to me -- I get to actually be alone with my thoughts, instead of putting them in the public and then be alone with them, after no one's commented.

Here's a look at the stuff I'm reading. These are actual photos because I don't feel like finding the scans online. Variety is the spice of life, eh?

Saga #2, by Brian k. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
America's Got Powers #1, by Jonathan Ross and Bryan Hitch
Avenging Spider-Man #6, by Zeb Wells, Mark Waid and Marco Chechetto
Saga introduces a new bounty hunter, who leaves just as quickly as she came. Nothing really moves forward in the comic, because our unlikely trio are still in deadly peril, but Vaughan's dialogue almost makes the issue worthwhile. It's Fiona's designs that clinch it. The end of the issue solicits a reader survey, and I'm interested in doing this. Anybody else on board?

America's Got Powers: Bryan Hitch is insane. Ross takes a lot of time to build a small world that we're already familiar with, and I'm wondering if the page economy could have been improved. But, Image is doing something different and I'm willing to support it for an issue or two.

Avenging Spider-Man: Leave it to Zeb to nail down three different voices here. You get the idea of who Daredevil is, Spider-Man as well as Punisher and his ally Punisherette. Give them to Chechetto and you get some crazy good super-comics with some crazy good layouts.

I could have spent my money on something else. I could have gotten a milkshake instead. I'm glad I got comics.

But now I want a milkshake.

I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly and JM Ken Niimura
Transmetropolitan vol. 1: Back on the Streets, by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson
Welcome to Tranquility: One Foot in the Grave, by Gail Simone and Horacio Domingues
I Kill Giants has some great cartooning in the way of Niimura. Fifth grader Barbara Thorson tries to escape her home life by creating an imaginary world, and with the help of her friend and the school psychologist, she learns that she's stronger than she thinks she is. It's a story that's all-too-rare in comic books, and I'm glad to read it.

Transmetropolitan contains the three-issue debut of the Vertigo comic, and it's a great thesis statement for the series: Spider Jerusalem returns after a five-year hiatus to journalism, and he learns again how messed up the world is. It's a great, darkly humorous piece of cyberpunk. I'll read the next volume if my library has it.

One Foot in the Grave is Gail Simone's continuation of the Wildstorm comic, and it's a bit weaker in its dependence on soap-opera-style dark pasts. With less vintage flashbacks than the first, the story here is still a story, but not one I'll fondly remember.

Follow chezkevin on rss | twitter

Serials for today: Avenging Spider-Man, Chew and more

Avenging Spider-Man #5
by Zeb Wells and Leinil Yu

When I read the previews, it sounded like Zeb and Leinil had something to say about the industry: Captain America used to draw WWII comics! And I was right: the issue's a dedication to Joe Simon, co-creator of Cap himself.

Zeb writes something of a fraternity of Avengers, in which everybody likes to rib around with each other -- beating up the bad guys is merely a formality to these guys. The meat of the issue is Peter Parker fawning over Captain America, because he realized that Cap was a "nerd," just like him. What follows is something like a little dog jumping around to impress the bigger dog. It's sweet and shows a side that super comics doesn't show a lot. Zeb has a knack for character writing, and this is a team-up story that'll be a good team-up story years from now, no matter Spidey's status quo.

One nitpick: here's a shield scene from Leinil:

It's not very good. I can see where the shield starts, but where does it go? Who does it hit first? Is this a quantum shield, that exists simultaneously across different space?

What I'm trying to say is, the shield goes from point a to point b, and the art does a poor job of showing how it gets there.

Atomic Robo: Real Science Adventures #1
by various

Five stories! Four pages each! I love anthologies; if you don't like a story, there's four more you can look at. This issue is the platonic ideal of serialized fiction: you're meant to get a full reading experience from one piece, and that's what three of the five stories do. The other two are the first of six-parters, and tell their own self-contained stories.

I'm not sure if I can recommend this to people unfamiliar with the characters of Atomic Robo, but here's a velociraptor cackling as he hijacks a lab in India:

I like Atomic Robo, and if it so happens that you're curious, you can check out the preview.

Chew #25
by John Layman and Rob Guillory

It's the conclusion to "Major League Chew"! And it's a doozy. Amelia takes over the issue, but we still manage to see what every other side character is up to. She does some top-notch sleuthing to save Tony, and it's a sight to see.

Here's a page about Amelia. I think it speaks for itself about the quirky world that Chew's built and what a joy it is to read. If you like good comics, give Chew a try.

Secret Avengers #24
by Rick Remender and Gabriel Hardman

The Secret Avengers make a bigger mess as they try to rescue a mutant's son from the Adaptoids in their own world. Beast gets shot in the chest, both he and Hawkeye are captured, Valkyrie and Black Widow are besieged by Adaptoids, and Captain Britain and the Human Torch (the android version) don't know what to do.

It's a per-diker-ment that's compounded with a killer cliffhanger. Remender's telling an exciting storyline with Marvel characters, and Hardman's drawing it intensely. Check out this one panel here:

It's less than an inch tall, and occupies less than an eighth of the comic page. Look at the detail! There's more detail here than there are in some whole pages in comic books. It's crazy.

Follow chezkevin on rss | twitter

Library trades today: Ultimate Spider-Man: Ultimatum and Welcome to Tranquility

The clerk at the library was so awful last weekend. He literally opened up his phone to check the time, as I handed him my books to check out. Where has the courtesy gone?

Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 22: Ultimatum
by Brian Bendis, David LaFuente and Stuart Immonen
collecting Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #3 and Ultimate Spider-Man #'s 129-133
(Amazon, out of print)

This paperback contains the final annual and the final issues of Ultimate Spider-Man before any reboot nonsense. There are two stories: in the annual, Mary and Peter's relationship moves forward in that awkward way that teenage relationships do, and a "Mysterio" is hinted at. The payoff for his introduction isn't in this trade, so that hurts the reading experience for this trade.

The second story is the five-part "Ultimatum," as Peter tries to save New York from Magneto's tidal wave, and teams up with the Hulk to save it. Here's a super-sweet spread from Immonen and friends:

Ultimate J. Jonah Jameson realizes that he made a mistake about Spider-Man: as NYC is engulfed in the tsunami, he types one last article, on the goodness of Spider-Man. Immonen and Bendis make a nice send-off for Ultimate Peter, and there's a small interview with Bendis that wraps up his run on Ultimate Spider-Man. Plus, the final page is a thank you page to everyone involved, including you, the reader!

The finality of these sentiments are a little weakened in retrospect, because any well-read Spider-fan knows that there was a whole new volume of Ultimate Peter, from Bendis and LaFuente, before Peter actually died. I'm sure it read pretty dramatic at the time, but to really enjoy this, you're gonna have to wipe your brain of some spider-history, that I don't think is worth doing. This volume is only for completists, or people who don't know better.

Welcome to Tranquility
by Gail Simone and Neil Googe
collecting Wildstorm's Welcome to Tranquility #'s 1-6, plus Worldstorm #1
(Amazon, out of print)

Here's a little gem that you haven't heard of. Simone excels at building the world of Tranquility, a retirement community for silver-age-esque superheroes. The first issue introduces a murder mystery that unravels a lot of problems simmering under the skin of Tranquility, and it results in a clash of generations and of superheroes. Rose-colored flashbacks are told alongside a less optimistic present that challenges a few of the ideas that are embedded in super-comics. If you take the time to learn about Tranquility and its inhabitants, you won't regret it.

Welcome to Tranquility had a sequel! We'll read this next week.

This Wednesday: Secret Avengers, Chew and others.

See you there!

Follow chezkevin on rss | twitter

Avengers vs X-Men #1: The Unsolicited Opinion

I spent a good part of my Wednesday looking up Avengers vs X-Men reviews. I have a few of my own opinions, but first, here's a conglomerate of some comics journalists:

Comic Book Resource's Kelly Thompson is a little unhappy with the Avengers' lack of taking a position, but forgives the comic and gives it a 4/5 star rating:
There are a lot of quality creators involved in "Avengers Vs. X-Men," enough that I find myself intrigued even though the concept is not one I'm wild about. This first issue was a good example of the creative talent managing to rise above the concept and leaves me hopeful they'll be able to bring something even more interesting to the table as the series progresses.
Newsarama's Michael Doran seems more interested in saying that the comic book is a comic book, and doesn't bring up its quality as a comic book. He concludes by saying that the comic book issue is to catch up non-readers who haven't been following every little preview:
Again, the issue is a perfectly competent piece of graphic fiction. It probably plays best with those who haven’t followed all the advance publicity and thus don’t know all the story beats already, which is maybe the point.
I'm pretty fond of Comicsalliance's write-up, from Andrew Wheeler. It's not a qualitative evaluation of it, but it's a funny summary that pokes fun at it:
Iron Man tells the President that he has "run the math" fifty ways on the "energy signature" they found on Nova's uniform and it definitely means the Phoenix Force is coming to get them. That's math you can take to the White House! Math, you may recall, was also crucial to the Civil War crossover, when Reed Richards used math to prove that the plot was necessary. Math is there for those times when having The Watcher turn up and say, "It is so" just doesn't have the narrative authority you need.
And then there's Comicvine. It's a great community, with a lot of different minds coming together to talk about a shared love. But they give high ratings like a hooker gives handjobs. Tony Guerrero rated it a 5/5:
This is the beginning of Marvel's huge event. Keep in mind that the high score given to this comic reflects the nature of the issue and what it represents. AVENGERS VS. X-MEN is going to be a blast to read.
That's just silly. Why judge a comic book on what it will be? Does hype make a comic book better? A comic book ought to be judged on what it is: the first issue should be judged by the first issue, not by how the second issue is predicted to be. Comic book readers, myself included, have this tendency to hope for the next issue to be better than the one they just read, no matter how bad it was. "There's always the next issue," they say. That's absurd. A bad comic book issue is a bad comic book issue, regardless of the next issue.

I don't mean to say that Avengers vs X-Men #1 is a bad comic book issue. It has the mighty Marvel hype machine behind it, and it's going to sell whether it's awful or not. It's going to be one of 2012's biggest comic books, and of all the comic books out there, it's going to get into an amazing number of hands.

And because of that, this comic book needs to be an example of Marvel's best stuff. They need to put their best foot forward, and in that sense, this comic book issue, even if it isn't a bad comic book issue, was a disappointment. Here's why.

The splash pages don't work. The second and third page has this huge spread of a phoenix raptor taking over two pages. It doesn't look big at all. The credits overshadow the village, so there's a poor sense of scale. As a two-page spread, it's disposable and could've been used better.

In terms of the writing, very little new information is conveyed beyond what was already in the previews. If you haven't followed the previews, I don't think this will be a concern. For everyone else, ie, me, it will be.

Check out this shot of Cap landing on the mutant island Utopia. Why is the Captain hitching up his pants? Aren't they tights? Why isn't he facing Cyclops? Would he rather stare wistfully at the ocean while discussing policy with the herald of the mutant community?

I love John Romita Jr. I hold his work on Amazing Spider-Man, with JMS, very close to my heart. But he has strengths and weaknesses like every other artist. Romita Jr. works great with motion, action, but a talking scene for him is absurd. The argument between Cyclops and Cap is very weak, because they have to rely on these silly finger-pointing motions to spice up the panels. Romita Jr. is renowned for his speed, but maybe he should have taken some more time on these pages.

Look at this panel of Thor:

Dang, Thor. You really care about avenging don't you? In fact, you must care so much that -- agh! I spilled my coffee!

Glaagh! I stubbed my toe!

Huarrghh! I burnt my toast!

. . . yeah. Look at this last picture of Magneto.
from Avengers vs X-Men #1, by Bendis, Romita Jr, Hanna

Erik, what are you looking at?

Erik, are you there? Erik???

Dammit Erik look me in the eyes!

So there's a lot to complain about, but, there are no ads. There's about 36 pages of story, as well as an added Infinite #1 digital issue if you have a device that's Marvel AR-capable. The art may not be the highest quality, but the value is. I'll complain about the comic book, but Avengers vs X-Men #1 is worth a look for yourself. High-profile work is important for the comic book community, and I think that's why the comics journalists have rated this issue so highly. For everything else, there's dumb bloggers.

Buy this issue digital: comiXology | Marvel

Follow chezkevin on rss | twitter

Best sound effect ever?

Spider-Man punches Al Gore in the face. Don't ask.

This is from this week's Amazing Spider-Man #683, with Dan Slott and Stefano Caselli, in stores now.

Dan Slott, you've done this before as well: Amazing Spider-Man #569, with John Romita Jr. No idea if it's intentional, but thanks!

Follow chezkevin on rss | twitter

Serials for today: Ultimate Comics Spider-Man and Batwoman

Ultimate Comics All-New Spider-Man #8
by Brian Bendis, Sara Pichelli, Justin Ponsor
cover by Kaare Andrews

Kaare Andrews has been doing a lot of these hyper-realistic covers for the Ultimate line, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. During 2008, he had an amazing cover run of The Incredible Hulk (#34 -#54, see here), where he experimented with tons of dif
ferent styles, and these don't allow him to do that.

Anyways, the issue: I feel like this is one of the first, to be a "full" issue. I liked it, and I felt like the story was worth the pages it was printed on. Bendis manages to tell a classic Spidey melodrama that Stan and Steve themselves built up: It's this incredible rush to jump around and be Spider-Man, but the secret identity can cause a lot of grief in your life. That's the same dilemma that Miles faces, and it still works today.

Bendis continues to hint at what makes Miles so different too: he just doesn't know how to be a super hero! Here he defeats the Ring while captured in the Ring's. . . rings. Miles, you definitely win the award for Most Awkward Super Guy 2012.

Thief of Thieves #2
by Kirkman, Spencer, Martinbrough

Lots of flashbacks in this issue, but they all serve to flesh out the character Redmond, and I don't feel cheated. The last page is killer, and for the price point of $2.99, the title has enough goodwill for me to keep up with the third.

Batwoman #1
by J.H. Williams III

So I got this totally on impulse, expecting that the art would be spectacular. I've read his work before on Batman with Grant Morrison, and I was impressed enough with the layouts and two-page spreads to give this a try.

There's a small kidnapping mystery that's set up, but the twentieth page doesn't work as a hook, at all. It feels like the script was 22 pages, and they decided to chop off the last two pages: there's no "cliffhanger" feeling at all, which is a shame, because I'd really rather read this title in serials, because the two-page spreads are better read that way.

Again with the art: there's a lot going on in the two-page spreads, and the coloring doesn't help much. Objects blend in together, and it doesn't make for an enjoyable read. The scan actually looks better than the paper version, because the contrast is a bit higher. And, I'd rather not read this title digitally, because the spreads are the kind of things that you have to hold in your hand.

So, to summarize: a lot of factors imply I should read Batwoman in a format I'd rather not, so, I'm just gonna save the trouble and not pick this up at all. If any of you want to convince me otherwise, light up the comments.

Follow chezkevin on rss | twitter
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Stats a-go-go