Weekly Purchases

A thick stack of books this week with quite a few debuts.  As reported this week, there’s also two interesting releases of two Blackest Night tie-in issues a little earlier than expected.  I’m quite happy with my Orange and Indigo rings early.  Check out below if the issues should of been released or could of used more time on the burner.  We also see the release of three of the best books in the market.  I really wish they were spread out more, sigh.  The other thing that sticks out is three lettering issues this week.  Three different comics, each have a missing letter in a word bubble.

Monthly Comics

Batman and Robin #6 – Grant Morrison like Warren Ellis is a hit and miss writer to me.  He’s either on, or he’s very off.  For the past five issues his take on the new dynamic duo has been entertaining and much improvement from the Batman R.I.P. storyline.  Well the wheels have come off with the sixth issue.  Not only has the art taken a dip, but the story at times is just not easy to follow and you feel like you’re missing something.  I know I ended the issue asking myself “what did I just read?”  That’s not a good thing.  The end to this arc just seemed to be very anti-climactic with a villain that wasn’t threatening enough (after a huge build up) and the police just finally showing up.  They biggest let down in my opinion is the unevenness between the art and narration.  Throughout this issue, where the art was strong the narration was weak and vice versa. There’s some bright points and small subtle touches, but overall what a let down.

Story: 4.5 Art: 5.5 Overall: 5

Black Panther #10 – I started reading the new Panther series when it launched expecting political intrigue, but what started off with much promise turned into nothing spectacular and was dropped from my monthly pull list as the first few issues revolved around limbo and a new Panther (yawn).  I decided to give the series another shot in the lead up to the mini-event Doom War which sees Wakanda and it’s allies finally confronting Dr. Doom and his attack.  The first issue back is good, but doesn’t get me excited enough to pick up the issues I missed.  Hopefully the mini-event is worth it.

Story: 7 Art: 8 Overall: 7.5

Booster Gold #26 – Booster Gold much like R.E.B.E.L.S. has taken it’s Blackest Night spotlight and used it to enhance it’s already ongoing story and themes.  Instead of the usual dead rise, hero fights risen dead person, we’re given a story in introspection as Booster Gold must deal with the death of his friend the Blue Beetle (who of course is the Black Lantern in question).  In fact, we’re not even treated to a confrontation with the risen Beetle until the last few pages of the issue.  DC succeeds in providing a clean entry point for new readers and a solid issue that might hook them in for the long run.  My biggest issue is the design of the new Blue Beetle

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

Cable #20 – For 20 issues it’s been Cable and Hope on the run, Bishop gets close, and then the two run some more.  For the last few issues it’s been in space and the Brood have been added to the mix.  I liked this issue, in that it was told from Emil’s perspective, but overall it doesn’t quite live up to it’s potential.  As a whole the series has served as a holding pattern for Hope’s return to the present Marvel time line and has spent 20 issues explaining what Hope and Cable have been up to when that could of been handled in a page or two when they eventually return in the next chapter of the Messiah trilogy.

Story: 6.5 Art: 6.5 Overall: 6.5

Dark X-Men #1 – When I heard there’d be a Dark X-Men limited series not including Emma Frost, Namor, and Cloak & Dagger, I didn’t know what to expect as far as a team dynamic.  Frost and Namor’s interactions with each other and Osborn made for some of the most interesting parts of the team.  Mystique, Dark Beast, Mimic and Omega are left to do Osborn’s bidding as he attempts to show he has control and order when it comes to mutants.  They’re dispatched on a mission when a town goes “hive mind” and repeat the word “X-man” over and over.  The first issue is actual very good with an interesting team dynamic of Omega and Mimic being completely insane and loose cannons, Dark Beast doing what he feels like, and Mystique attempting to lead this band of misfit toys.  Add in the return of the absent Nate Grey, aka X-Man, and you’ve got a solid start to the limited series.

Story: 8.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8

Deadpool #17 – Deadpool is a series that walks a fine line between it’s humor and action.  It’s last arc fell too much in the humor catagory, but the latest story line that sees Deadpool wanting to join the X-Men is a perfect example of how to blend the two and make it work.  Daniel Way continues his masterful blending of the two tiptoeing the line and giving just enough humor and just enough action with an enjoyable story line and some nice art to boot courtesy of Paco Medina.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8 Overall: 8.25

DMZ #47 – In a few issues writer Brian Wood has turned his series from commentary on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to commentary on our current administration, and back to the lead up to the war.  The announcement by the Delgado Nation that Manhattan is now a nuclear state isn’t sitting too well with the United States.  The US has declared they will do whatever it takes to remove Delgado and remove the threat to them (sound familiar).  Add into the mix some father/son relationship issues and you can quickly see how this is one of the best comic books on the market and best commentary on the current political climate.

Story: 9.5 Art: 8 Overall: 9.25

Doctor Voodoo #2 – Marvel’s last forays into the mystical side of it’s universe usually falter in a years time with a few exceptions.  Usually these lines of books are walled off from the greater universe and left to their own, only allowed to interact and crossover with each other.  With the introduction of Nightmare as Voodoo’s nemesis here’s hopes that Marvel editors have scene the errors of the past.  Nightmare has been popping up a lot lately being seen as a foil for Hercules and a behind the scenes player in Avengers: The Initiative.  The series so far is decent and offers a look at a different side of the Marvel universe, but mystical babble some times makes this issue a little hard to follow at times.  The artwork is different, having a “water color” feel that stands out as something also different but not so much that it stands out as a highlight or reason alone to pick up the issue.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

Fables #90 – The series throttles towards it’s 100th issue which I’m sure will be another major turning point for the series.  This issue has a lot of moving parts all balanced nicely with a coherent narrative as the showdown with Mr. Dark inches closer.  This issue holds up to the usual high standards of the series and sits on top as one of the best comic books out there.

Story: 9 Art: 8.5 Overall: 9

Green Lantern Corps. #42 – Blackest Night continues as an member of the Indigo Lanterns and the Green Lantern Corps. must fight to prevent the Green Lantern battery from being destroyed.  The Black Lanterns continue to pave a path of destruction as they gain in strength.  One Lantern decides to make the ultimate sacrifice to defeat the impending Black Lantern wave.  The limited series can be skipped but this series, and Green Lantern are can’t miss when it comes to following Blackest Night.

Story: 9 Art: 8.5 Overall: 9

Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #1 – DnA is the team when it comes to writing Marvel’s cosmic series’.  Their first three chapters of Annihilation, Annihilation Conquest, and most recently War of Kings are action packed epic stories with much more than just the enjoyable action.  Their latest entry into their ongoing opera is Realm of Kings which deals with the fall out to the War of Kings.  The first issue is a great start to what I’m sure will be another fantastic and event.

Story: 8 Art: 7 Overall: 7.5

R.E.B.E.L.S. #10 – Most of the Blackest Night tie-ins have been the same, dead character rises, hero must deal, the two fight, hero has trouble figuring out how to defeat the Black Lantern.  Not only does R.E.B.E.L.S. explain the background of the series and what’s occurred previously, catching us up in a few pages, it largely ignores the formula that’s been the mainstay of Blackest Night tie-ins.  Instead, this forced tie-in actually enhances the story and the idea of Black Lanterns is left to the periphery.  I can’t say I care enough to pick up the next issue, but DC has accomplished it’s mission of delivering a gimmick (promotional lantern ring) to get people to take a look at a poorly selling series.  I’m sure they’ll succeed in hooking so new readers by this.  I just don’t care enough to be one of them.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

Strange #1 – The passing of the mantle of “Sorcerer Supreme” mantel from Stephen Strange to Brother Voodoo marked a huge opportunity for Marvel to explore Strange the man and really shake up the mystical side of the Marvel universe.  Doctor Voodoo is doing it’s best at achieving this but Strange starts off with a pretty lame story about demons and baseball.  To say the first issue of this limited series is a missed opportunity is an understatement.  Instead of exploring a flawed character looking for redemption, we’re left with a shallow story that does little to advance what we know of Stephen Strange the man.  This was definitely a throw away issue that isn’t memorable at all, and I could of definitely done without purchasing.

Story: 4 Art: 5 Overall: 4.5

Supergod #1 – A comic cover of a super hero (could be a villain) crucified  will stand out on the shelves.  Warren Ellis’ latest creation (how many monthly comics does this guy write!?) attempts to deconstruct the religion/super hero mythology.  Some times Ellis’ concepts fail in their execution (Astonishing X-Men), don’t live up to their potential (Black Summer), or exceeds your wildest expectations (Thunderbolts).  His latest high concept series kicks off with a near pitch perfect start and it looks like he might just pull of this gutsy attempt at story telling.  From an interesting narrative perspective to engaging art, this series is definitely one to keep an eye on.

Story: 9 Art: 8 Overall: 9

Sword #1 – I seem to be in the minority in my thoughts on Joss Whedon’s run on Astonishing X-Men, but I’d agree his most lasting contribution is his introduction of Agent Brand and SWORD, the galactic version of S.H.I.E.L.D./H.A.M.M.E.R.  Sword had the potential to be an interesting arch between the main Marvel universe and the rest of it’s cosmic story lines.  In reality it reads like a microcosm of the greater Dark Reign story line with Gyrich playing the role of Osborn and Brand being the ousted Stark.  As if the story wasn’t disappointing enough the art as abysmal and comes off as if it can’t decide what/who’s style it’s trying to imitate.  The male character’s heads are all flat (why is Brand the only one with a round head) and the aliens shown all have heads like horses (including X-Man Beast).  The only upside to this series is it might finally wrap up the story of Kitty Pryde who continues to rocket through the cosmos stuck in a giant bullet.

Story: 4 Art: 4 Overall: 4

the Unwritten #7 – This Harry Potter for adults continues on as Tom deals with his imprisonment.  To say this series is out there and cerebral is an understatement.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

the Walking Dead #67 – There’s “zombie books” and then there’s books with zombies.  This series falls into the later.  Robert Kirkman, in his twisted brilliance, has created a post apocalyptic series who’s focus is squarely at the humanity of the survivors.  This issue finally sees Rick have a heart to heart with his son as the group gets closer to DC and two bombshells are dropped.  Kirkman never disappoints as you the emotions expressed by the various characters bleeds from the pages.  But as usual you can’t help but feel this is another lull before chaos breaks out yet again.

Story: 9.5 Art: 8 Overall: 9.25

X-Force #21 – X-Force continues to be attacked by Selene’s forces as the slowly begin to figure out what’s occurring.  Selene decides to raise Genosha as Bastion gets a wind of a growing mutant population.  What really is a long “action” issue manages to pack in enough points to continue the plot a lot more than fighting should accomplish.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

X-Men: Forever #11 – Chris Claremont’s continuation of his run on X-Men has been entertaining to see where it’d go.  The stories are free to go their own direction without the need to drive sales or the weight of a greater Marvel universe.  However, the series as a whole just doesn’t do it for me anymore.  While it’s a nice throwback to the 90’s the plots seem glacial in their speed and the writing over explains everything.  This issues sends part of the team to Russia with no decent reason given why they showed up where they did and why they even went to begin with, other than they were “checking in on Colossus”. Add to that horrific art that seems to accomplish the amazing feet of getting worse each issue (people’s eyes were changing shape an positions throughout this issue).  At two issues a month, I just can’t justify keeping up the $8 monthly investment.  Drop!

Story: 5 Art: 3 Overall: 4