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Monday, April 19, 2010 02:16 PM
(Last updated on Tuesday, April 20, 2010 09:06 AM)
The Take
 by Fëanor

Fëanor's (semi-)weekly comic book review post.

This post covers new releases from the week of 3/31, plus a Fletcher Hanks collection. Beware spoilers!

Back issues and old data
You Shall Die by Your Own Evil Creation!
I mentioned in my review of the first collection of the work of Fletcher Hanks, I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets, that I would definitely have to check out the second collection, and now I have! The last line of the book says that these two collections constitute the complete works of Fletcher Hanks, so I guess that's that. It's quite a body of work. This volume includes a straight text introduction that repeats and augments the information included in the comic-style afterword of the first volume, adding more biographical information and even some fascinating sketches by Hanks. It's an interesting introduction, but also unsettling. Knowing more about what a wretched person Hanks was leaves me even more uncomfortable about enjoying his work so much.

In a lot of ways this book is just more of the same stuff that we saw in the first book, except that some of these stories seem to lack the truly wild imagination of those included in the first volume, and more seem to stray from Hanks' standard plot structure (God-like hero discovers evil plan, allows evil plan to commence, then finally intervenes and punishes evil-doer with poetic justice). Which is not to say that this is a bad book, or that Hanks takes any sudden, shocking turns into entirely new story types. His heroes are still all God-like, and they still spend their time defeating incredibly dangerous and destructive villains in unlikely ways. This book is maybe not as wildly inventive or as thematically consistent as the first, but it's nearly as fun and full of nearly as many crazy ideas and insane, evocative images. I particularly enjoyed the Fantomah story in which an immortal Egyptian mummy super-scientist uses a ray to blind the people of the jungle, and then resurrects all the mummies on Earth and transmits them through the sky to come live in a new jungle empire for Ancient Egyptians. Another great Fantomah story sees her fighting fifth columnists by sending hordes of lions and tigers through the sky at parachutists, and then destroying the remaining grounded planes and soldiers with Godzilla-like lizard monsters. Hanks even mimics other popular comic books of the day by giving one of his heroes, Stardust the super-wizard, his own squad of child assistants (although considering Stardust's infinite abilities, they seem kind of superfluous).

Overall I'd say this book is definitely worth getting, especially if you own and enjoy the first book.
Thumbs Up

New releases
Blackest Night #8
Here it is at last, the crappy conclusion to a terrible miniseries. I mean, if your comic opens with your main character narrating, without any trace of irony, the words "The truth is, I am afraid of one thing. I'm afraid to get close to people," then you need to consider taking some writing classes. I mean, that shit is awful. I'll admit, I always enjoy an epic two-page spread featuring everybody fighting everybody, but it's happened so many times in this series it's beginning to lose its affect. And when Jordan uses the Entity's power to just magically turn all his buddies into White Lanterns (a term which I'm still uncomfortable with), it's pretty much literally a deus ex machina. I do like the way they reverse the usual ending of epic comic book stories like this one by having the heroes fix everything by bringing the villain back to life instead of by killing him. But the way the Anti-Monitor (once hyped up by Johns himself as the biggest and most terrifying villain of them all) just pops up at the very last minute, hangs out for a few panels, and then pops out again seems pretty ridiculous. And bringing almost all of the dead heroes back to life again in one nonsensical, inexplicable act of resurrection is rather lame - it's pretty much what Johns has been doing with all his Rebirth miniseries, but multiplied by ten and packed into one giant spread. And of course he closes things up with another gag-inducingly cheesy conversation between Barry and Hal.

I think this series has pretty much put me off Geoff Johns for good. He's just not a very good writer.
Thumbs Down

Incorruptible #4
This issue isn't as great as the previous one, but it's still pretty fun, with more insight into Max's motives and character, more development of his twisted relationship with Jailbait, and a fight with a giant robot (something I never say no to).
Thumbs Sideways

New Mutants #11
This one-shot story explains the deal Moonstar made with Hela during the events of... the last big X-Men multi-book series, whatever it was called. Turns out she's now a Valkyrie, but instead of ferrying human heroes to the afterlife, she shepherds the souls of the Gods themselves! Which means she has powers again, but at a pretty high price. It's a vaguely interesting story, but one-shots are always a bit boring, and there's not a lot very exciting or imaginative going on in this one.
Thumbs Sideways

The Terminator: 2029 #1
I wasn't a big fan of Dark Horse's other recent Terminator comic book series, but this one had Zack Whedon's name on it, so I gave it a shot. I was not disappointed. Whedon wisely focuses on characters and relationships (because those are what make good stories, people!) and introduces us to a funny and interesting group of folks, including one that any Terminator fan will recognize immediately: Kyle Reese. I love that Reese tells one of his really depressing and terrifying stories, like the ones he's always telling in the first movie, and somebody finally calls him out on it: "Your stories suck." But the comic's not all people talking - after all, it wouldn't be Terminator without a bit of good, old-fashioned ultra-violence. So there's shooting and killing and a huge machine invasion, not to mention the historic and deadly first meeting between humans and the T-800 series of Terminators. This is a fine comic right here - a worthy continuation of the Terminator saga - and I'm looking forward to the next issue.
Thumbs Up
Tagged (?): Blackest Night (Not), Comic books (Not), Geoff Johns (Not), Kieron Gillen (Not), Mark Waid (Not), Robots (Not), Terminator (Not), The Take (Not)
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Wednesday, March 3, 2010 04:06 PM
The Take
 by Fëanor

Fëanor's (semi-)weekly comic book review post.

This post covers new releases from the week of 2/24. Beware spoilers!

New releases
Batman and Robin #9
I seriously love this story arc. We open up this issue with the other shoe dropping on Batwoman's death. Turns out she killed herself on purpose, so Batman could drag her out and resurrect her in the Lazarus Pit! Crazy. She is seriously bad-ass. I love the banter between Batman, the Knight, and Squire. "At least we all grew up normal," Dick says. Riiiight. I love crazy clone Batman's insane dialog and twisted, nightmarish versions of Bruce Wayne's memories. I also love how Alfred and a crippled Damian manage to hold their own against him for a bit, using an elevator, a computer mouse, some gasoline, and electricity. "Stepping in gasoline was your biggest mistake." Ha! Batman jumping on a suborbital experimental craft so he can get back to Gotham in time, then swinging in to save Damian in the nick of time in an image that mirrors the cover of Detective Comics #27 = fabulous. Then he and Batwoman get to share a double-punch takeout of evil Batman. Sadly, Dick doesn't know Batwoman likes the ladies and makes a pass at her. Poor Dick. It's hilarious when Squire and Knight show up and get to do their own double-punch takeout of another criminal kingpin, who hopes they won't tell his "missus aboot the lasses." Heh. Then we finish up with the lead-in to the next storyline: "Bruce is still alive and we have to find him!" Awesome. Long live Grant Morrison!
Thumbs Up

Blackest Night #7
This opens with a bit of an interesting moment: Nekron asking one of the Guardians why he vowed to guard the universe, and him answering, "I do not remember." That's probably a large part of the Guardians' problem right there. Sadly, this scene is followed by a lot of pointless back-and-forth and bickering. The Black Hand makes a speech, Luthor goes berserk briefly, and there's lots of poor dialog. Then there's an impressive moment when all the armies of all the Corps suddenly show up in orbit over Earth in a big two-page spread. I'm curious about whoever is trapped inside the Black Lantern power battery - could it be the Anti-Monitor maybe? But the big reveal of this issue is that the Guardians secretly buried on Earth The Entity - the first life in the universe, and the embodiment of the White Light, just as Parallax is the embodiment of the Yellow Light. Nekron digs it up to kill it, but then Sinestro jumps in and becomes the White Lantern (or the Honky Lantern, as I like to call him), which is rather an interesting turn of events. Is he going to pull a Norman Osborn and save the universe so he can take it over? I don't know. All I know is, there's only one more issue of this thing left, thank God.
Thumbs Sideways

Captain Swing and the Electrical Pirates of Cindery Island #1
Warren Ellis' new, crazily-titled Avatar series is here! It's set in an alternate-history version of London, 1830 (well, a secret-history version of London, 1830, if the narrative text is to be believed), where there's a conspiracy involving magistrates and Bow Street Runners; Bobbies are being horribly killed, possibly by Spring-Heeled Jack; and a guy named Captain Swing, who's mastered electricity and electrogravitics, is flying around the skies in a boat covered in lightning. Needless to say, I freaking love this comic. I even love the narration; it provides historical context, but not in a dry way - it's loaded with personality and humor. The dialog is excellent, too, my favorite line being the following: "The future is whatever in this world I have decided not to kill." Looking forward to seeing where this one goes next.
Thumbs Up

The Flash: Rebirth #6
Finally, after even longer than it took Captain America, the Flash is done getting reborn! This issue opens with a pretty exciting and emotionally effective action sequence, spanning across enormous amounts of time and space, in which Reverse Flash is finally captured and there's a parade. Then there's a whole bunch of rather confusing jump-cuts to various other settings and characters. I didn't really follow what all of that was about, except that clearly Johns is planting seeds for future story arcs. The scene between Barry and Iris is a little corny, but mostly works, and I really enjoy the final scene at Justice League HQ with Barry showing up late, as usual. On the whole, not a bad miniseries.
Thumbs Up

Gravel #17
This issue opens by reminding us that Gravel isn't exactly a nice guy, as he recruits into his Minor Seven a woman who uses "blonde magic" to kill a bunch of guys in really horrible ways, despite the fact that some of them, at least, don't really seem to deserve it. Meanwhile, some dude who doesn't like Gravel very much makes some kind of hideous magic machine out of bone and guts and kills a bunch of people in a church, apparently just to get Gravel's attention. Which is interesting. It's nice to see a larger story arc developing again!
Thumbs Sideways

Irredeemable #11
Some of Bette Noir's secrets have come out, and they're definitely interesting, but it sounds like she's still holding back some further, even more terrible secret, and I'm curious to know what it is. It looks like Qubit screwed up as far as Encanta is concerned and she got whisked away somehow. I'm not sure what that's about. The sequence in the home of Tony's first foster family is twisted in the extreme. The idea that they haven't spoken a single word aloud for years and years, just because they were afraid Tony would hear them, is mind-blowing. I continue to burn through each issue of this comic as quickly as I can read it, and I'm always disappointed when I run out of pages. Nice work, Mr. Waid!
Thumbs Up

The Marvels Project #6
Brubaker starts rewriting Toro's origin story in this issue. I'm intrigued as to how that's going to turn out; I suspect it will make a lot more sense than the original version - the Human Torch just randomly stumbling upon a kid with a weird ability at a traveling circus. And hey, look, an evil (well, more evil) Sub-Mariner! Meanwhile, the actual Sub-Mariner makes his move, and it's destructive in the extreme! The disaster brings out all the heroes, including a lot of dudes I don't recognize at all. Cool! Of course, the arrival of Captain America is the most exciting moment. It's great to see the core of the old-school Invaders standing together in the final panel, even if they're not all buddies yet.
Thumbs Up

New Avengers #62
This issue brings to an end the latest story arc and takes us up to the start of the events of Siege, also connecting back up to things we saw in what I think was the New Avengers Annual. When I got to the end and realized we'd just caught up with the present, it was hard not to see this whole story arc as just filler. I mean, all it does is fill in some blanks and reveal where certain characters were at certain times. Plus we get to see certain characters meet the returned Steve Rogers for the first time. Which is fun and all, and there's some great art and some fun action. It's also pretty funny that Luke Cage came back to the hideout just to get his kid's favorite binky, and it's great to see Cap say "Avengers assemble!" just like old times. But yeah, bit of an anticlimax and a letdown here.
Thumbs Sideways

Scalped #35
This is a one-shot focusing entirely on a poor, elderly couple trying to scrape out a living at the edge of the rez. It teeters on the edge of melodrama, especially when the jet crashes at the end, but the strong art and Aaron's excellent writing save it from falling over. Instead, it turns out to be another powerful and emotionally effective issue of one of the best comic series on the stands.
Thumbs Up

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine #3
Speaking of comics that are just filler, this issue feels like a bunch of people repeating the same information over and over, adding a few small details on each repeat, but ultimately not really getting anywhere. It's just repetitive and dull. The Major is still way over-sexualized, constantly standing around pouting with a hand on her hips, and there's another of those weird panels where somebody's expression is way more dramatic than it has any right to be given the circumstances (this time it's the Major instead of Sisko). I did enjoy that classic moment when Odo walked into the bar and yelled, "Quaaaark!" and I'm still curious as to what the solution to the mystery is, but mostly I'm just getting tired of this series.
Thumbs Sideways

Thor #607
I love Thor as a character, but I didn't like the writing on this book when JMS was on it, so I've been avoiding it. But I noticed that this issue was starting a new story arc, tied into Siege, and that my man Kieron Gillen was now on writing duties, so I picked it up. And what the hell do you know - it's fantastic! Heimdall trapped in his room, condemned to see invaders coming to destroy Asgard, but unable to do anything about it? Amazing. Epic. Mythical! The dialog in general is excellent, and I like the characterization of Volstagg and his cop friends. It's also pretty funny seeing them try to use YouTube. And hey, Agent_M makes a cameo at the end! Well, his Twitter feed does, sort of. I like the idea of people adding Asgard banners to their "chatter" icons, and the posters in the style of Shepard Fairey's Obama poster, with the image of Thor and "WRONG" written across the bottom, are inspired. Good stuff! Guess I'm collecting another series now. Sigh.
Thumbs Up
Tagged (?): Avengers (Not), Batman (Not), Blackest Night (Not), Brian Michael Bendis (Not), Captain America (Not), Comic books (Not), Ed Brubaker (Not), Flash (Not), Geoff Johns (Not), Grant Morrison (Not), Gravel (Not), Green Lantern (Not), Jason Aaron (Not), Mark Waid (Not), Scalped (Not), Siege (Not), Star Trek (Not), The Take (Not), Thor (Not), Warren Ellis (Not)
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Monday, March 1, 2010 12:23 PM
Recyclotron
 by Fëanor

Fëanor pours the entire internet into the Recyclotron, and only the best links come out the other end for you to enjoy.



Tagged (?): Art (Not), Books (Not), Celebrities (Not), Comic books (Not), Flash (Not), Geoff Johns (Not), Joss Whedon (Not), LEGO (Not), Links (Not), Lists (Not), Lovecraft (Not), Movies (Not), Music (Not), News (Not), Recyclotron (Not), Star Wars (Not), Tattoos (Not), Toys (Not), Tron (Not), Vampires (Not), Video (Not), Video games (Not), Wonderland (Not), Zelda (Not)
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010 01:26 PM
The Take
 by Fëanor

Fëanor's (semi-)weekly comic book review post.

This post covers new releases from the week of 2/17. Beware spoilers!

New releases
Captain America #603
The image of crazy Cap smiling over his shoulder with Bucky's old uniform on a dummy in the background is a very disturbing one. Meanwhile, the real Cap's poor planning gets both him and Falcon in trouble. Pretty fun stuff. Unfortunately, the Nomad backup story is still terrible. Really poor, melodramatic, unsubtle writing.
Thumbs Sideways

Dark Avengers #14
Bendis' clumsy, confusing Sentry-as-angry-God-or-maybe-something-else-entirely storyline continues and gets, if possible, even worse. We open with Osborn and Hand having a lengthy and mostly boring and repetitive conversation about Osborn's mental health, where they do a lot of posturing and all that really changes is that Osborn agrees to see a therapist (although whether he actually will is still in question). Also, Hand shoots Moonstone with a laser gun for having too much sex. Then suddenly Bendis remembers that the Sentry was destroying the world, and we get back to that whole thing. But all Osborn has to do to stop him is to mention that various big Marvel heroes would probably kill him if he tried to destroy the world, so he agrees not to. Um, what? The Sentry/The Void/Galactus/junkie wacko/the God of Abraham just backs down after a feeble death threat? Can you say ridiculous? Can you say anticlimax? After all that back and forth about what the Sentry really is and what his true origin really is, basically the only thing that changed is that now Osborn wants Bullseye to be ready to kill Lindy. Which, admittedly, is kind of an interesting threat to have hanging over the rest of the story. But what a dumb story! What terrible dialog! What atrocious misuse of characters! What a waste of pages!
Thumbs Down

Green Lantern #51
The crazy, over-the-top, multi-colored back-and-forth that is Blackest Night continues. Johns' dialog here leaves something to be desired, as usual. It feels like he's trying to cram too much into each line, as if every sentence has to state (and restate, over and over) in relatively obvious fashion everything he wants to say about that character and his relationship with whatever character he's talking to. Larfleeze is greedy, so every line he says has to be about that! And so on.

In a rather unlikely twist, Jordan's gambit works perfectly and Parallax does indeed de-Black Lantern the Spectre. But the non-zombie Spectre isn't terribly helpful to the good guys, and it sounds like the now-freed Parallax has been taken over by some other power and will cause more trouble later. So maybe not such a great plan after all. There's an interesting and slightly silly moment where Atrocitus nearly succeeds in recruiting the Spectre to his Corps (is everybody going to be turned every different color possible before this thing is over?). Then the Spectre reveals that there is indeed some embodiment of the force of Rage somewhere in the universe, but that he's not it. Hmm. Food for thought! The final page is pretty impressive and ominous, but Blackest Night as a whole continues to not really do it for me. Which is not to say I'm likely to be able to resist buying the books, but still.
Thumbs Sideways

Incorruptible #3
I've been waiting for Incorruptible to step things up and really grab me the way Irredeemable did, and in this issue it happened. Awesome!

The opening image is of a mad scientist dangling a woman over a bucket full of slime and tentacles and saying, "Now, you might feel a pinch." That's hilarious right there. As the comic goes on, the bickering, dysfunctional trio of Max Damage, Jailbait, and Lieutenant Armadale really starts to gel as a group of characters. Jailbait in particular is really starting to come into her own. "You let me fight the Hentai Brothers in a cage match because you said it was hot! And I won! And it was hot!" Ha! There are plenty of intriguing references like that to the mysterious backgrounds of these characters - like Dr. Origin's line about Max being his "only success." The next page is priceless: Max and Jailbait walking away from a huge explosion as Jailbait asks, "Where's Origin?" and Max answers, "You ask an awful lot of questions." I also love Jailbait trying to grab the TV remote control from Max; the sad peak into Armadale's past; and the deeply disturbing look at the event that made Max change sides. He was actually tired of life and of other people enjoying it, and was about to kill a bunch of people when the Plutonian showed up and did it for him! Wow. Excellent stuff.
Thumbs Up

Joe the Barbarian #2
This is a wildly imaginative story, weaving drunkenly along the edge between reality and fantasy. We continue to stumble back and forth between Joe's "real" world and a dangerous, explosive, frenetic fantasy world populated by fantastic, large-as-life, animated versions of his toys and his pet mouse. There's a war going on there between good and evil - between Lord Arc and the forces of light and King Death and the forces of darkness. It might be that Joe is the prophesied savior, and that the mouse-warrior Jack is protecting him from the Nazgul-like servants of an ultimate evil. Or it might be that Joe just really needs to get to the kitchen and have some soda. It's pretty amazing stuff, and Sean Murphy's insanely creative art is just as important to the story as Grant Morrison's wonderful, carefully portioned, bombastic-in-just-the-right-way dialog, which is constantly referencing the weird jargon and history of this fantasy world in a clever and subtle way that draws us in, and is more intriguing and entertaining than confusing or off-putting. I'm hooked!
Thumbs Up
Tagged (?): Avengers (Not), Blackest Night (Not), Brian Michael Bendis (Not), Captain America (Not), Comic books (Not), Ed Brubaker (Not), Geoff Johns (Not), Grant Morrison (Not), Green Lantern (Not), Mark Waid (Not), Siege (Not), The Take (Not)
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Wednesday, February 3, 2010 11:28 AM
The Take
 by Fëanor

Fëanor's (semi-)weekly comic book review post.

This post covers new releases from the week of 1/27. Beware spoilers!

New releases
Batman and Robin #7
Once again Grant Morrison tosses us into the middle of a story that's already in progress, and doesn't slow down for one moment to let us catch up. We're left breathless and floundering, expected to figure out what's going on all by ourselves. I love it!! The action is insanely fast-paced, with Batman defusing bombs, saving kids, and leaping onto the back of motorcycles in mid-air, all in a totally matter-of-fact manner, like he does it every day - because he does do it every day. We get a quick, fun glimpse of the British supervillain prison, meet warring gangs of super criminals, stumble into a haunted mine, and Batman decodes a domino game into a tunnel map. There's a quick Batwoman crossover, an unfortunate panel where Batwoman and Batman get their dialog swapped by mistake (oops), and then we discover the terrible lengths Dick has gone to to get Bruce back. He thinks he's doing the right thing, and indeed it makes perfect sense character-wise that he would do this, but of course we know Bruce would never have wanted it, and nothing good can come of it. Which just makes it all the more awesome as a plot development. The final page promises us Batman vs. Batman in the next installment. I can't wait!
Thumbs Up

Captain America: Reborn #6
Finally, this miniseries comes to an end, well after comics have begun coming out set after its events. But that's okay, it was worth the wait. This is a fantastically fun and exciting final issue, from Dr. Pym's hilarious first line ("And that's how a real scientist punches... you hacks."), to Steve's terrifying and breathtaking final vision of a future overrun with War of the Worlds-style alien invaders. Steve beating the crap out of the Red Skull in his mind is also so bad-ass I was practically pumping my fist in the air while I read it. "There's a reason you never win... it's 'cause I never let you!" But seriously, how many things can Sharon screw up? She was brainwashed into shooting Steve in the first place; it's her fault he got lost in time; and in this issue she tries to take out the Skull and mistakenly turns him into a far more powerful and destructive giant version of himself. Somebody lock her up!

It's a great moment when Steve calls Bucky Captain America, and they head out to fight the Skull together. Bucky: "Does shooting still count as fighting?" Steve: "It does today." Bucky: "Then we're good to go."

Oh, and looks like Sin will be the new Red Skull. That's a nice touch. But yeah, that apocalyptic vision of Steve's is very cool. I'm looking forward to seeing where Brubaker goes next with this.
Thumbs Up

Green Lantern #50
Oh, Green Lantern. I wish I could quit you. But as usual, I was suckered in by the blurbs on the cover. "50th ISSUE!" "PARALLAX REBIRTH." "Oh crap, I can't miss that!" But really, I could have. Sure, there are some fun scenes - zombie Aquaman tries to torture Mera with their zombie son, and she just says, "I never wanted children," and vomits blood all over them. Atrocitus responds, "Earthwoman, I have nothing to say but - welcome to the Red Lantern Corps." Uh, I think that turned him on. I also love Luthor getting all maniacal and excited about his new ring. Crazy Scarecrow getting all crazy is fun, too. But most of the dialog is, as usual with Johns, quite bad; the Jordan/Ferris relationship just isn't doing anything for me; and freeing Parallax to fight the zombie Spectre is such an obviously terrible idea it's ridiculous.
Thumbs Sideways

Irredeemable #10
The only problem with this comic is that it doesn't have enough pages. I need to know what happens next!! Charybdis is getting creepier by the minute, taking the monumentally tasteless step of hitting on his dead brother's girlfriend while they're going together to retrieve his body. And hey, where'd that dead body get to, anyhow?? I remain curious about, and intrigued by, the big demon guy, not to mention Bette Noir's little secret. And hey, we finally got a glimpse of some of Tony's childhood trauma and got an idea of what's going on in his head. Good stuff.
Thumbs Up

New Avengers #61
Bendis is so uneven! Some days I can't stand his dialog, and other days it's just hilarious. This comic must have been written on one of his hilarious days. The conversation between Spider-Woman and Spider-Man is really a lot of fun. I was also amused by the one supervillain making the classic mistake of gloating and trying to take a picture of the heroes getting defeated with his iPhone, while the other supervillain keeps saying, "C'mon man, quit it, this is what always gets us in trouble!" And indeed, it does. The thing with the bullet bouncing off both shields, a girder, the iPhone, and then hitting the dude in the neck is priceless. It also helps that artists Stuart Immonen, Daniel Acuña, and Dave McCaig filled this thing with gorgeous artwork.
Thumbs Up

Superman: Secret Origin #4
I couldn't remember if I'd dropped this book or was still reading it, but I decided to pick it up anyway. I'm glad I did, because this issue was fun. Gary Frank turns in his usual great art (Lois is hot in that skirt). There's a classic Superman vs. mutated monster fight in the streets of Metropolis; Superman has a great bonding moment with Jimmy on top of the Daily Planet building; the Jimmy Olsen/Lois Lane team comes together; and Luthor officially declares war on Superman and The Daily Planet. Awesome!
Thumbs Up
Tagged (?): Avengers (Not), Batman (Not), Brian Michael Bendis (Not), Captain America (Not), Comic books (Not), Ed Brubaker (Not), Geoff Johns (Not), Grant Morrison (Not), Green Lantern (Not), Mark Waid (Not), Siege (Not), Superman (Not), The Take (Not)
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Saturday, January 16, 2010 09:42 AM
(Last updated on Saturday, January 16, 2010 09:43 AM)
The Take
 by Fëanor

Fëanor's (semi-)weekly comic book review post.

This post covers new releases from the weeks of 1/6 and 1/13. Beware spoilers!

New releases (1/6)
B.P.R.D.: King of Fear #1
As per usual when picking up an issue of B.P.R.D., I felt a little lost at the beginning of this comic, like I'd forgotten some important plot details. But only a little. Even though it's not good for our heroes, I rather like the plot twist of the military withdrawing its support from B.P.R.D. and insisting on handling things its own way. That seems realistic, especially considering all the crazy crap B.P.R.D. has asked them to do. It's good to see Kate hanging out with her boyfriend again, and the Lobster's riddle-spewing ghost is both amusing and disturbing. And of course I loved seeing the link back to an earlier part of the Hellboy story. But what has happened to the Lobster and poor Johann now? Guess I'll have to wait and see. Anyway, another intriguing episode in the saga of the Hellboyverse.
Thumbs Up

Blackest Night #6
I really want to stop collecting this series! But something always draws me back in. This time it was the promise on the cover of "NEW GUARDIANS." Also, a quick flip through the book revealed that a whole bunch of random superheroes were getting rings, and that intrigued me. And, to be honest, there is some cool stuff in here. It's genuinely funny when Larfleez interrupts Sinestro's serious speech about tactics to point out that he wants the kill shot, too. It's cool when Barry grabs onto a chain of willpower and drags Hal along while he dashes two seconds into the future and outruns the black rings. The ring duplicating, deputizing thing is a bit gimmicky and hard to believe, but I loved the idea of Luthor getting an orange ring and Scarecrow getting a yellow ring - that's just perfect. Sadly, the other pairings of characters with rings don't work as well. The power of love overcoming the power of the black ring and turning Wonder Woman into a Whore Lantern, for instance. Yuck. And apparently the indigo ring comes with free language lessons, a staff, a loincloth, and body paint? Still, I have to admit, there are cool ideas here. It's hard to resist the concept of a huge ring war where every damn superhero and villain gets a magic ring and jumps into the fight.

After the main story, there's a cover gallery in the back advertising a bunch of upcoming Blackest Night tie-in issues, none of which really interest me. I don't quite get the numbering on them, either. Starman #81? The Question #37? Did they just make up those numbers or what? And why and how are there going to be so many tie-ins, anyway? I thought this series was finally almost over! How can it just go on and on?!
Thumbs Sideways

Siege #1
Speaking of epic, flagship, universe-changing miniseries, here's Marvel's new one. I'm not familiar with the name of penciler Olivier Coipel, but I rather like his work here, especially the two-page spread set in Asgard where Loki shows up to warn Balder about what's coming. There's an impressive vision of the city plus a creative panel layout. That full-page pic of the Avengers flying toward Asgard with Ares on the nose of a jet is also super hot. The comic is also pretty fun story-wise, especially now that I've mostly gotten over the lame plot device of Loki and Osborn manipulating Volstagg into creating another Stamford event. I like the way everybody but Osborn is pretty freaked out about going up against the Gods. I liked it when Thor shows up and gets into the fight, although I would have preferred to see more of Thor vs. Sentry (talk about a clash of the Titans!). And it's great having Cap jump up with his fist shaking in rage in that last panel. There's a transcript in the back of a longer version of Osborn's conversation about the siege with his Avengers which is kind of amusing, although my copy of it is a little messed up; the dialog on the third page is just a reprint of the dialog on the first page. You'd think Marvel would have paid a little closer attention to stuff like that on such an important comic, but whatever.

This is an okay start for Siege. I'll stick with it for now, see how it goes.
Thumbs Sideways

Siege: Embedded #1
I wasn't planning on picking up this tie-in comic, but... well, you know me. Sometimes I just can't resist. Anyway, this thing is actually pretty interesting. There's a character named Todd Keller who's clearly a parody of Glenn Beck (and perhaps Bill O'Reilly, to a lesser extent). Really the whole thing is about the media, about news-reporting intrigue, and about how political forces can shape how people view them by controlling who tells the story and how. It's rather clever.
Thumbs Sideways

New Mutants #9
Good lord I love this comic. The opening, with a portal to hell opening and a bad-ass commando group stepping out - wow. I also like Doug, and I like the scene of reconciliation between him and Amara. But best of all is Magik's story of time travel and Lovecraftian doom. Yay! I can't wait to read more of this storyline.
Thumbs Up

New releases (1/13)
Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War #1
Despite the fact that I've given up on both the Aliens and Predator miniseries being put out by Dark Horse at the moment, I still couldn't resist giving the company's Aliens vs. Predator series a try, especially since it's written by a guy named Randy Stradley whom I just started following on Twitter (he does these little known Star Wars facts on there that are pretty funny). The comic doesn't waste time and jumps right into the action and the killing. A ship lands in the middle of a mining colony and out come the Aliens! The twist is, they're actually being led out on chains and used as attack dogs by a bunch of Predators! Woah. That's a terrifying and exciting concept right there. Later we learn these are actually a quasi-mythical faction of Predators who don't hunt with honor, but simply kill for no reason. Interesting.

This storyline is actually a sequel to another storyline I never read, but the comic does a good job catching you up on the important information, so I never felt lost or confused. The writing isn't fantastic, but the concepts are intriguing, so I'll probably hang in there for at least one more issue.
Thumbs Sideways

The Marvels Project #5
This comic continues the disappointingly brief and exposition-heavy summary of Steve Rogers' transformation into Captain America. I know we've heard this story a million times, but I thought they'd give it a new spin or a different perspective in this miniseries. Instead Brubaker is just kind of hurrying on past it. Ah, well. The fun part here is the first appearance of the Red Skull, who is, as usual, right in the middle of doing something really awful and despicable. The bits with Steele and Fury and the Nazi scientists are interesting, and it's great seeing Cap getting suited up in the classic uniform for the first time, and meeting The Angel, whose perspective on Cap is fascinating.
Thumbs Sideways

S.W.O.R.D. #3
I love the contentious relationship between Brand and Beast, and Beast's witty dialog. Writer Kieron Gillen is even managing to make Gyrich a vaguely interesting character, which is difficult indeed. I love the scene where the troops invade Lockheed's room (which has nothing in it but a basket, a bottle of liquor, and a picture of Kitty) and try to take him into custody, and he easily eludes them. The scene with Doug, Warlock, and the Celestial is clever and cool; the Unit's backstory is totally fascinating; and Beast's escape plan is pretty brilliant. I was kind of hoping this issue would suck so I could drop this comic, but no such luck! In fact, it's fantastic.
Thumbs Up

The Unwritten #9
I think it's fair to say that this is my favorite comic on the stands at the moment. This issue is full of magic, tension, mystery, drama, and tragedy. Watching the children, their heads full of fantasy and a desire to help, wander into the prison and toward their doom, trusting to the very last in the power of a make-believe world to save them, is absolutely agonizing and devastating. I love the scene where the Governor reaches toward the ghost of Roland holding out his horn and punches through him to the fire alarm. I love the doorknob that opens magic doorways. And then Roland blowing his horn, and the final, terrible, fateful transformation of the Governor into Count Ambrosio - WOW. This is amazing, amazing stuff.
Thumbs Up
Tagged (?): Aliens (Not), B.P.R.D. (Not), Blackest Night (Not), Brian Michael Bendis (Not), Comic books (Not), Ed Brubaker (Not), Geoff Johns (Not), Green Lantern (Not), John Arcudi (Not), Lovecraft (Not), Mike Carey (Not), Mike Mignola (Not), Predator (Not), Siege (Not), The Take (Not)
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Tuesday, December 29, 2009 05:41 PM
The Take
 by Fëanor

Fëanor's (semi-)weekly comic book review post.

This post covers new releases from the week of 12/23. Beware spoilers!

New releases
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight - Willow
This entry in Dark Horse's One-shot Wonders series is a flashback story written by Joss himself, and focuses on what Willow was up to before the events of Season Eight. Turns out she left Kennedy behind and went on a mystical journey - a sort of witch's walkabout, to gain knowledge of herself and learn how to deal with the enormous amounts of power she has. The journey is full of guides and dangers and magic and fascinating metaphors. The math goddess gets all emotional for some reason. Then Willow gets naked and wet and chooses the sexy snake-lady trickster for her guide. Okay then. It's a pretty neat story, with some moving character development and some imaginative moments, even if it does get a bit cheesy at points.
Thumbs Up

Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield? #1
Due to Marvel's delayed publishing schedule and screwed up chronology, this one-shot, self-described as "The Stunning Aftermath of Captain America: Reborn," has been released before Captain America: Reborn is over! Also, it's not particularly stunning. D'oh! Still, it's not much of a spoiler to learn that Steve Rogers regains control of his body and our main characters survive. I think we all knew that was going to happen. There's a brief action scene, but this comic focuses mostly on thinking and talking, as Steve and Bucky discuss... well, the question asked by the subtitle of the comic (which is incredibly cheesy, by the way). It ends up being reasonably emotionally effective, and true to the characters. But it's also slightly underwhelming, as there's very little drama or conflict, and the outcome is pretty clear from the beginning. The bit with the President at the end is a little corny, too. And there's a weird moment between Steve and Sharon just before that that's oddly creepy, and I don't think it was meant to be creepy, but I'm not sure, so it kind of threw me off. I blame the artist.
Thumbs Sideways

Criminal: The Sinners #3
Tracy gets closer than he realizes to the solution to the murder mystery, then gets himself involved in a whole new kind of trouble (the Triads), while finally becoming aware of the other kinds of trouble he's already in. Poor bastard. It's just another tense, exciting issue of Criminal. The essay in the back, by Tom Piccirilli, is not my favorite - the writing is a bit clumsy - but I appreciate the attempt to bring attention to Korean crime thrillers, as I'm a fan of the genre myself. I'm particularly happy that The Chaser got mentioned, since I really enjoyed that film. Well, "enjoyed" is perhaps not the right word, but it's a great movie.
Thumbs Up

Green Lantern #49
This issue turns the focus on John Stewart and what he's been experiencing on the planet Xanshi. Interestingly, he meets a character there named Driq, who seems to be both a Green Lantern and a Black Lantern at the same time. He also does some relatively bad-ass stuff and has an important character moment. Then there's a separate short story where some Black Lantern tells Ray Palmer Nekron's origin story. Yawn. Yeah, overall, another mediocre issue of Green Lantern, with Johns' usual lame dialog and overdone narration. I'm seriously thinking about dropping this book. I still kind of want to know how this story is going to play out, but I'm not sure it's worth slogging through all this disappointing writing.
Thumbs Sideways

Hellboy: The Bride of Hell
Another entry in Dark Horse's One-shot Wonders series, this is one of the more difficult Hellboy comics I've read, not because the plot is complex, but because the moral and ethical issues are. It starts out looking like a typical, straight-up, Hellboy-saves-an-innocent-girl-from-an-evil-demon story, but the sect of knights who work for God and who are thus theoretically the "good guys" turn out to be pretty rigid, heartless, and bloodthirsty, while the demon and his servants turn out to be funny and sympathetic. It's a powerful, thought-provoking story that takes some really unexpected turns. I'm so pleased that Mignola can still surprise and delight me with stories about this character and his world.
Thumbs Up

Irredeemable #9
All kinds of exciting stuff goes down in this issue. Looks like The Plutonian is about to be replaced by someone even worse. And then there's Project Ultimatum, which is a crazy and fantastic addition to the story. And meanwhile, we've finally found out where Modeus is. Interesting! The only thing I don't like about this comic is how short each issue is. I just want to keep reading it and reading it.
Thumbs Up

The New Avengers #60
I gotta admit, this is a pretty great issue. Lovely art from Stuart Immonen, with beautiful colors by Dave McCaig, and a fun story in which Norman Osborn mistakenly blows up his own house, and Bullseye just laughs at him. Also, Pym and Strange take a magical, scientific, Fantastic Voyage inside of Luke Cage. And a dude's head gets blown up with a magic bullet. Good stuff.
Thumbs Up

New Mutants #8
Defeating the cat lady by tossing her own arm out the window and telling her to fetch it was cold - and awesome. Also, Magma is hot (literally!), the scene with the missiles is kind of sweet and sad, and it's great having Doug and Warlock back. I still refuse to read anymore of this Necrosha crap, though.
Thumbs Up
Tagged (?): Avengers (Not), Blackest Night (Not), Brian Michael Bendis (Not), Buffy (Not), Captain America (Not), Comic books (Not), Criminal (Not), Ed Brubaker (Not), Geoff Johns (Not), Green Lantern (Not), Hellboy (Not), Joss Whedon (Not), Mark Waid (Not), Mike Mignola (Not), The Take (Not)
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009 06:29 AM
The Take
 by Fëanor

Fëanor's (semi-)weekly comic book review post.

This post covers new releases from the week of 9/30. Beware spoilers!

Back issues and old data
The Hunter
Darwyn Cooke adapts as a graphic novel one of Donald Westlake's Parker novels, which Westlake wrote under the pen name Richard Stark. The story I'm familiar with from the film adaptations, but this is a different version of it altogether - from what I can tell, far more faithful to the source material. The great majority of the opening sequence is entirely wordless, making for some really powerful but subtle storytelling. About a quarter of the way through the book, Cooke takes a 180 and resorts to a whole lot of exposition to fill us in on the backstory, but the writing is so good it doesn't feel like cheating at all. One of the most fascinating things about the book is that it's a character portrait of a man who resists at all times any attempts to sympathize with him. The very first page of the book sees him responding to a kind offer of help with a curse. When his remorseful ex-lover tells him she takes pills every day to try to get over what she did to him, he says, "Take too many pills." When she does, he cuts up her face and dumps her in the woods so it will take longer for her to be found and identified, and he'll have more time to do what he needs to do. He's a hard, brutal man - not totally heartless, as his mission is one of passion and revenge, but certainly not sensitive or romantic. He's willing to do whatever it takes - even casually, efficiently, and single-handedly taking on a huge criminal empire - to get back at the people who hurt him, and to return to the pleasant, mechanical pattern that his life once had.

If the book has a flaw, it's that the ending is perhaps a bit anticlimactic, but really I'm just picking at nits. It's brilliant and riveting, and I can't wait for the next one, which we can apparently expect in summer of next year.
Thumbs Up

I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets
An amazing collection of reprints of the Golden Age work of writer/artist Fletcher Hanks. Most of these stories star either the interplanetary techno wizard Stardust, or the magical jungle goddess Fantomah, although there are a couple of random stories featuring tough logger Big Red McLane and space cop Buzz Crandall. It doesn't really matter that much who's in the stories, however, as every one of them has exactly the same structure: an incredibly powerful hero discovers that a crazed villain is planning to wreak terrible havoc. After the villain has set his evil plans into motion, the hero intervenes, easily defeats the villain, and then gives him a horribly appropriate punishment, a la Dante's Inferno. The sameness of the plots does not lead to boredom, however, as the details are endlessly inventive. The stories and dialog are oddly simplistic and almost childish in terms of logic, conception, and motivation, and yet they're also epic in scope and surreally imaginative. (The title of the book is an actual line of dialog from one of the comics; the characters are spitting out fantastic stuff like that all the time!) Hanks' art perfectly complements his writing; it's big, bold, weird, and striking, and yet also simple in its colors and forms.

Hanks' heroes are impossibly, unimaginably strong, and yet one gets the sense they're not being quite as heroic as they could be. Each story opens with the hero somehow becoming aware of what the villain is about to do, but quickly thereafter the hero vanishes from the story, and for the next few pages we simply watch as the villain sets his horrible plan into motion and begins murdering innocent people and destroying whole cities or planets. It's only as the chaos is about to reach its peak that the hero finally strolls onto the scene and takes care of business.

Hanks' villains seem like children compared to his God-like heroes, and yet their powers and schemes are also epic in size. Inevitably they have whole squadrons of bombers at their disposal, or the ability to create tsunamis, or to stop the Earth from spinning. But rarely do they think their plans through. After you've thrown everyone else off the Earth to steal their wealth, what good will that wealth be to you? Hanks' heroes seem troubled by similar short-sightedness, which is never clearer than in this unintentionally hilarious text on the title page of one of the comics: "Stardust, whose vast knowledge of interplanetary science has made him the most remarkable man that ever lived, devotes his abilities to racket-busting."

Hanks' stories are simple and clumsy, but also full of amazing magic, insane technology, indelible images, and incredible action. I will definitely have to pick up the second collection, You Shall Die by Your Own Evil Creation!

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the book's unique and wonderful afterword, "Whatever Happened to Fletcher Hanks?" This is a short autobiographical story by Paul Karasik, the guy who put this collection together, in which he explains how he became fascinated by Fletcher Hanks, what Hanks' work means to him, and how he started trying to track down what had happened to Hanks by finding and interviewing his son, Fletcher Hanks, Jr. The clever bit is that Karasik has chosen to write his afterword in the form of a comic - a smart, subtle, funny, and moving comic, at that. We learn some unsettling facts about Hanks here - that he was an abusive drunk who walked out on his own family. But he also made some incredible comics.
Thumbs Up

New releases
Aliens #3
This series is finally starting to get a little interesting. We get more backstory and explanations, and also the android is malfunctioning in pretty fascinating ways - he's even falling asleep and dreaming.
Thumbs Sideways

Dark Reign: Lethal Legion #3
All the secrets finally come out, and all the mysteries are revealed. Turns out everybody was betraying everybody else! It's actually a pretty complicated story, with a lot of little twists and turns, and some intriguing characters at the heart of it. I particularly liked the relationship between the Reaper and Wonder Man. And the Grey Gargoyle's totally wrongheaded guesses as to the true identities of Osborn's Avengers are pretty funny.
Thumbs Up

Dark Reign: The Sinister Spider-Man #4
The end of this series does not disappoint. All of our subplots collide in a scene of extreme hilarity and chaos at Mayor JJJ's festival. I love Bullseye throwing a yap dog into Venom's eye, and the gangsters bonding over corn dogs. In the end, everyone of any importance mistakenly thinks Venom is a hero, and he's learned absolutely nothing from the entire ordeal. Fantastic!
Thumbs Up

Die Hard: Year One #1
I'm really tired of the whole "Year One" phenomenon, but I like the Die Hard franchise enough that this seemed worth trying. Unfortunately, it's quite bad. There's too much narration, it's poorly written, and nearly every character in the book is a completely disgusting and terrible human being. It's repulsive.
Thumbs Down

Green Lantern #46
We get to find out who those lovers are at the heart of the Star Sapphire's power battery: they're the original Hawk Girl and Hawkman. Sort of. I think. Meanwhile, there's lots of cheesy dialog, and then Sinestro gets to have his showdown with Mongul over ownership of the Yellow Lanterns. It's pretty cool how he wins. The arrival of Abin Sur and Arin Sur at the end is not at all a surprise, though it is rather melodramatic and over-the-top.
Thumbs Sideways

Jack of Fables #38
Jack Frost travels from fantasy world to fantasy world, and finally gets himself settled in a grand old fantasy adventure. Meanwhile, his Dad keeps getting uglier, fatter, and more disgusting. He's not anywhere near as charming as he used to be, and I don't see him coming to a good end. The dialog is still quite funny, and the tale reasonably entertaining, but I'm losing interest in this title.
Thumbs Sideways

Marvel Divas #3
Heh. I like the Runaways joke. I'm also really impressed with how this comic has turned into a funny, moving, realistic story about a woman dealing with cancer, and her friends rallying around her even as they deal with their own personal problems. Of course, because it's a superhero comic those personal problems have to do with winning a cursed monkey's paw at an auction, fighting with a super boyfriend over committing a robbery, and making a misbegotten deal with the son of the Devil. It's great stuff!
Thumbs Up

New Mutants #5
This issue ties up of some of the loose ends from the last story arc, gives us the return of Warlock, and introduces us to a new artist. Not sure how I feel about the weird new art, but I'm still loving the writing and the characters.
Thumbs Up

Wolverine: Weapon X #5
Another big showdown - this time including sharks! - a shocking reveal about Maverick's participation in all this, and that's it for the first story arc in this title. I have to say, I'm really disappointed. I was expecting a lot from Jason Aaron on Wolverine - especially Aaron on Wolverine versus new Weapon X soldiers armed with laser claws. But despite some great concepts and a few great scenes, overall this book has been pretty dull and mediocre. I think I'm dropping it.
Thumbs Sideways
Tagged (?): Aliens (Not), Comic books (Not), Dark Reign (Not), Fables (Not), Geoff Johns (Not), Green Lantern (Not), Jason Aaron (Not), The Take (Not), Wolverine (Not)
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Saturday, October 24, 2009 04:12 PM
The Take
 by Fëanor

Fëanor's (semi-)weekly comic book review post.

This post covers new releases from the week of 9/23. Beware spoilers!

New releases
Final Crisis: Aftermath - Dance #5
Super Young Team reunites, but of course they have to do it on a Dr. Phil-like talk show. Then it's time for the big showdown. Is that Mr. Mind in Rising Sun's head? This issue wasn't as fun as previous issues, but I'm hoping the conclusion will be exciting.
Thumbs Up

Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant-Size #1
Two of the most disturbing comics I've ever read came out the same week. This is one of them. There is so much in this book that is disgusting and wrong. It's depressing and horrific to see what's become of Bruce Banner. I mean, inbreeding and cannibalism? Ugh. And yeah, Wolverine is tough, but it's a little hard to believe he'd be able to kill the entire Hulk family so quickly and easily. I mean, the Hulk is practically impossible to kill! The odd ending with Wolverine riding off into the sunset with little baby Bruce on his back is almost too cute. An impressive and explosive - but also sickening and slightly disappointing - conclusion to a great series.
Thumbs Sideways

The Incredible Hercules #135
I keep ditching this series and then picking it up again. This issue I had to get because it focuses on Amadeus Cho, one of my favorite characters, and it connects back to the old school Master Mind Excello stories. The introduction is done up as a combo of a Choose Your Own Adventure novel and a D&D module, and that thematic premise is carried forward throughout the rest of the book in a really clever and funny way. I'm impressed! But I think I'm leaving this series alone again until something similarly clever pops up.
Thumbs Up

Monsters, Inc.: Laugh Factory #2
This issue features the return of Mr. Waternoose, and the reveal of a powerful new "Master Door" technology. But just as in the first issue, interesting ideas that have the potential to be developed over an entire series are introduced and hastily resolved in only one issue. This series still feels rushed and clumsy, and is definitely not living up to its source material.
Thumbs Sideways

The Muppet Show: The Treasure of Peg Leg Wilson #3
I enjoy the amusing board game gag, and the rather moving scene between Animal and the fleas. But yeah, this could be better.
Thumbs Sideways

The New Avengers #57
I am so loving this art, but the incredibly wordy thought bubbles are not so good. Show don't tell, Bendis! It's also a bit hard to believe that the crippled rogue Avengers could have escaped from the united forces of Norman's Avengers and the Hood's entire gang. Of course, Norman catches up with them almost immediately, but still. At least the ending is dramatic and exciting, and the subplot with Loki and the Hood is a ton of fun.
Thumbs Up

No Hero #7
I said earlier that two of the most disturbing comics I ever read came out this week. This is the other one. The conclusion of this miniseries makes it clear just how appropriate the title is. There are indeed no heroes here. The superhuman security team secretly controlling the world is morally bankrupt and awful. The agent sent in to destroy that team is a horrifically twisted, homicidal individual. The people and nations who have joined together to send him in are just as terrible; they don't want freedom for the world, they just want to steal back their power from the superhumans. And once the evil superhumans have fallen, the whole broken world falls with them. All is death and horror and evil. Even for Warren Ellis, this is an incredibly dark and depressing and cynical story. But also incredibly powerful and well told.
Thumbs Up

Star Trek: Spock - Reflections #3
More fascinating gap-filling recollections from Spock. First up is a telling meeting between T'Pring and Spock that takes place between the events of the original TV series and the first movie - she really does know him well. Then another example of how Kirk would commit daring acts of bravery that flaunted the regulations, and he'd still somehow get results. And then a moving letter from Picard explaining Kirk's death. This is really a fascinating and powerful series.
Thumbs Up

Superman: Secret Origin #1
A really emotionally effective, totally human and believable, and somehow wonderfully original retelling of Superman's childhood - how he learned to deal with his incredible powers and with the revelation that he's not from Earth, and even how he first met his nemesis, Lex Luthor. Once again Johns and Frank are a dynamite combination.
Thumbs Up

Wednesday Comics #12
Batman - Batman lets some shameless, murdering hussy find out his secret identity, and then kisses her while she's bloody and dead? I just don't buy it! This should not be a Batman story.

Kamandi - It's a bittersweet ending, but Kamandi still has some hope of finding more of his kind. Definitely one of the most beautifully drawn stories of the series, even if it didn't always move me.

Superman - A weirdly anticlimactic ending. The threat of danger at the end of the last episode is immediately defused and deflated at the start of this one, and everything is suddenly just fine. A little disappointing, but I do like that Batman got to save the day, and that Superman is now feeling at home again.

Deadman - This conclusion is pretty interesting. Deadman finds himself having to do the dirty work of Hell to maintain the balance he upset by interfering earlier.

Green Lantern - A fun, cute ending to one of the more solid and entertaining strips.

Metamorpho - Heh. The French chef and his helpers get left behind during the escape. I like the silly previews of future Metamorpho stories that will never be. This was an uneven strip, but definitely had its moments.

Teen Titans - Absolutely the worst strip in Wednesday Comics. Terrible from beginning to end.

Strange Adventures - One of my favorite strips has one of my favorite final episodes. Absolutely beautiful. "And the days roll by, one by one... days of strange adventure."

Supergirl - This strip ends with a really cutesy, Twilight Zone-style surprise reveal. Yawn.

Metal Men - A surprisingly moving, if also rather corny, conclusion to one of the less interesting strips in the book.

Wonder Woman - The lesbian make-out session between the villains in this episode is pretty much the only interesting thing that happens. Once again the action is so cramped, poorly drawn, and laid out that it's nearly impossible to tell what's going on. Lame. Just lame.

Sgt. Rock and Easy Co. - This strip was mostly a huge disappointment to me, but this final episode has a bit of a twist ending that's actually quite moving.

The Flash - One of the better strips wraps up in true postmodern fashion, by concluding the action in a comic strip inside a comic strip. As Iris points out, it "doesn't make any sense at all," but it's still a ton of fun, especially when Barry whisks Iris off to the restaurant at the end.

The Demon and Catwoman - This strip was uneven, but this last episode is sexy and cute.

Hawkman - For about half of this strip's length, I really hated it, but then it took a sudden turn toward the totally awesome. This ending keeps the awesome going, as Hawkman kills a T. Rex by carving through to its brain from inside its mouth while Aquaman keeps its jaws open. Then there's this exchange - Superman: "Sorry we're late, Batman. There was a black hole in hyperspace. Don't ask." Batman: "Save the Earth, and all is forgiven." Heh.

Although the strips themselves were uneven, Wednesday Comics was a wonderful experiment and a great format in which to deliver comics. I hope they do something similar again in the future.
Thumbs Up
Tagged (?): Avengers (Not), Batman (Not), Brian Michael Bendis (Not), Comic books (Not), Final Crisis (Not), Flash (Not), Geoff Johns (Not), Green Lantern (Not), Greg Pak (Not), John Arcudi (Not), Mark Millar (Not), Monsters (Not), Monsters Inc. (Not), Muppets (Not), Neil Gaiman (Not), Pixar (Not), Star Trek (Not), Superman (Not), The Take (Not), Warren Ellis (Not), Wednesday Comics (Not), Wolverine (Not)
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Friday, October 16, 2009 04:38 PM
The Take
 by Fëanor

Fëanor's (semi-)weekly comic book review post.

This post has really gotten out of control lately. It takes so long to write that I've started to look at it as a chore, and I've purposefully avoided working on it, which doesn't make sense; this is supposed to be something I'm writing for myself, for fun, on my own blog! And when I do get it done, it's so long that even I don't want to read it. For now I'm going to stick with it, but try to keep my reviews as short as I possibly can. If it remains a chore, I might drop it altogether.

This post covers new releases from the week of 9/16, plus a back-issue I missed. Beware spoilers!

Back-issues and old data
Dark Wolverine #77
The first story arc of Dark Wolverine ends with a kind of stalemate. But Daken has gained allies and is owed favors. Clever guy. Clever book.
Thumbs Up

New releases
Batman and Robin #4
Scarlet is seriously creepy. She and the new Red Hood are taking a violent but effective approach to crime-fighting. But who is Oberon Sexton, and who is the Flamingo? Hmm.
Thumbs Up

Blackest Night #3
Flash: "Whoever did this... crossed one hell of a line." I couldn't have said it better myself, Barry! The new Firestorm is seriously lame, and there's lots of corny dialog and melodrama in this issue. But it's good to see the Indigo Lanterns finally showing up and explaining how to defeat the Black Lanterns. It feels satisfyingly right that to counter the absence of light you'd need to combine the whole light spectrum to make White.
Thumbs Sideways

Captain America: Reborn #3
More emotionally effective time-shifting scenes with Steve. He figures out a clever way to send a message to the present that reminds me of an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Bucky makes a bad-ass escape, Sharon makes another in a long line of really bad choices, and then there's a really effective and creepy ending.
Thumbs Up

Dark Avengers #9
A surprisingly moving and effective issue focusing on Ares' relationship with his son, and his reaction to discovering that the kid is essentially working with his enemies. Also features a shocking sequence with the Sentry, and another amusing Osborn freakout.
Thumbs Up

Dark Reign: M.O.D.O.K. - Reign Delay #1
A comedic one-shot in which M.O.D.O.K. is tricked by Norman Osborn into returning to his hometown of Erie, PA, where he comes face to face with what a desperate & pathetic a loser he used to be - and still is. It's only when he meets a hero even more desperate & pathetic than he is that he stumbles on success. The book relies on shame and the incompetence of its main character to generate humor, and that's my least favorite type of comedy. Still, the book has its moments.
Thumbs Sideways

Dark Wolverine #78
This issue reminds us that Daken and Norman Osborn are not nice guys. In fact, they're both extremely clever and manipulative scum bags who aren't afraid to kill innocent people to get what they want. Fun!
Thumbs Up

Star Trek: Romulans - Schism #1
Klingon sex is scary. I've enjoyed Byrne's other books in this storyline, but I'm having a hard time getting into this one. Maybe it'll get better.
Thumbs Sideways

Ultimate Armor Wars #1
I was expecting a lot from a new Warren Ellis book set in the Ultimate universe, so naturally I was a bit disappointed in this rather dull story about Tony getting robbed and saving a girl. But it does have a classic Ellis-style line of dialog: "I'm dying of super-powers."
Thumbs Sideways

Wednesday Comics #11
Batman - More clumsy dialog and hard-to-believe emotional reactions from Batman and our villainess. Is her heart made of ice or gold? Azzarello can't seem to decide. And I can't shake the feeling this is a mediocre crime noir story that shouldn't have Batman in it at all.

Kamandi - Our happy ending is interrupted by a deus ex tragedy. Argh! That sucks.

Superman - Some fun action and an exciting ending, but the dialog, though occasionally effective, is mostly just a load of clumsy exposition.

Deadman - The other shoe finally drops and what's really going on is at last revealed. Only thing is, everything seems to be resolved, so I'm not sure what's left for the last issue.

Green Lantern - Giant space fight! I don't really get why the narration says, "They came, they saw-" and then never finishes the phrase. But otherwise, fun.

Metamorpho - Another big reveal/happy ending that seems to leave little room for another issue's worth of doings. Cool art, some fun action, but not as exciting as one might hope.

Teen Titans - I believe I've read comics that sucked worse than this one, but I can't really think of any right now.

Strange Adventures - A slightly disappointing entry in an otherwise great strip; basically this episode just repeats and slightly augments the ending of the last episode. Still, it's pretty fun and the art is great, so...

Supergirl - Supergirl sucks at nonverbal communication, and the aliens shoot her. Luckily, the superpets are coming to save the day. I remain unable to get into this strip. It is cutesy and dull.

Metal Men - A terrible sacrifice is made by the few for the good of the many! It's actually slightly moving. Slightly.

Wonder Woman - Another cluttered and confused episode of this strip. Well, at least it's consistent. All the gleeful bondage harks back to the rather embarrassing origins of this character. But hey, since when did the lasso make you a slave? I thought it just made you tell the truth.

Sgt. Rock and Easy Co. - Finally, a real action scene! Unfortunately, it's a pretty clumsy action scene, with more unbelievable back and forth between Rock and the Nazi Captain. Sigh.

Flash - A surreal, powerful, dramatic climax with more unique and imaginative panel layout - this time the strip spirals down toward a point in the bottom right corner. I'm not sure exactly what's going on, but it's an interesting, emotionally effective story with well written dialog, so I'm okay with it.

The Demon and Catwoman - Exciting magical action! The Demon even breathes flame. But Catwoman's jokes at the end fall a bit flat.

Hawkman - Aquaman sets a shark and an octopus on a T. Rex! That might be the coolest thing I've ever seen Aquaman do. Awesome!
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Tagged (?): Avengers (Not), Batman (Not), Blackest Night (Not), Brian Michael Bendis (Not), Captain America (Not), Comic books (Not), Dark Reign (Not), Ed Brubaker (Not), Geoff Johns (Not), Grant Morrison (Not), Green Lantern (Not), Iron Man (Not), John Arcudi (Not), John Byrne (Not), M.O.D.O.K. (Not), Paul Pope (Not), Star Trek (Not), Superman (Not), The Take (Not), Ultimate Comics (Not), Warren Ellis (Not), Wednesday Comics (Not), Wolverine (Not)
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Welcome to the blog of Jim Genzano, writer, web developer, husband, father, and enjoyer of things like the internet, movies, music, games, and books. For a more detailed run-down of who I am and what goes on here, read this.

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