Weekly Purchases

A thick stack of books, perfect to spend a long weekend reading.  Blackest Night, Image United, and a smattering of Marvel books.  It’s also a perfect week to hop on the Chew bandwagon (I have) as the trade paperback covering the first five issues is released the same week as the sixth issue.  The week also saw the release of the final two Lantern rings.

Monthly Comics

Avengers: The Initiative #30 – Nightmare is gearing up to be a big player with the focus on his villainy in both this book, Deadpool Team-Up and Doctor Voodoo.  The Initiative and Resistance both take him on with some major movement on a lot of plotlines and there’s even time to throw in a major curve.  This series has consistently been a spotlight in the “Avengers” line of books and this issue shows why.

Story: 9 Art: 8.5 Overall: 9

Blackest Night #5 – The Corps. have been united and head to Coast City to take on Nekron and the Black Lantern Corps.  The heroes have already arrived and are doing what they can, but there’s been an even greater secret being held onto in what is a pretty cool end to the issue.  There’s some great visuals and an action packed story.  Geoff Johns is knocking it out of the park with this great event.

Story: 9.25 Art: 9.25 Overall: 9.25

Chew #6 – It’s a new five issue arc for Tony Chu as he meets his new partner, who’s a lot like his old partner.  This issue is all about their dynamic and serves as a start to their new adventure.  The art is fantastic and the writing witty.  I found myself laughing out loud numerous times.  The series continues to be a treasure, and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes ahead.

Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5

Fantastic Four #573 – In just a few issue the new creative team has far surpassed the entire run of Mark Waid.  The series is back to being fun and, well, fantastical.  Hickman sort of wraps up the Nu-World storyline that Waid began in his run.  Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm and the Richards kids head to Nu-World and find out things have changed a bit.  The concept of Nu-World seemed silly to me when it was first introduced but this new twist is creative and again “fantastical.”  It’s also nice the issue is a stand alone issue you can enjoy without having to catch up on history heavy back issues.  The story is so solid and creative I’d of liked to have seen gone another issue or two.  Here’s hoping this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Nu-World.

Story: 8 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8

Green Lantern #48 – The final two Lanterns are gathered to form a Corps. of all of the colors of the spectrum.  The players are in place and the real battle against the Black Lanterns is about to begin.  My only issue is how Lafreeze is portrayed.  It’s been somewhat all over the place, and in this issue he strikes a more comedic tone, instead of his normal over the top self-centered avarice.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

Guardians of the Galaxy #20 – This series is consistently one of the most fun and entertaining books on the shelves and one of the best team books out there.  The fantastic story line which really has been 20 issues in the making and team dynamic are wonderful.  The mix of humor and action are perfect.  DnA do an amazing job with a such neglected side of the Marvel universe.  Do yourself a favor and start reading this book.

Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9

Image United #1 – In 1992 seven artists break convention and launched Image Comics, and what started as an act of defiance turned into a juggernaut that took on the top two publishers.  It’s been 17 and six of the seven founders plus newly inducted heavy hitter Robert Kirkman are uniting for Image United.  Their famous creations must gather to take on a major threat with each creator being responsible for the artwork surrounding their characters.  What in theory shouldn’t work with so many different art styles comes off pretty seamlessly.  There’s only some small points where the different art styles don’t quite mesh.  With Kirkman, who’s proven to be an amazing storyteller in his own series, at the helm the story is solid.  Plot and coherence usually fell short in the early Image works with the focus being design and art.  While the series does feel like arrested development as it’s almost exactly what I remember of Image comics when it first launched (with a more coherent story) it surpassed my expectations.  It’ll be interesting to see if; 1) future issues keep up the interesting story and solid artwork, 2) the series ships on time.

Story: 7 Art: 8 Overall: 7.5

Immortal Weapons #5 – I still haven’t caught up, sue me.

Story: ? Art: ? Overall: ?

the Invincible Iron Man #20 – Tony Stark has had a crappy year.  The man used to be on top of the world and Norman Osborn quickly turned him into the world’s most wanted person.  The only way to beat Osborn was to burn everything he’s built and that included putting himself into a vegetative state.  With his closest friends surrounding him a choice has to be made.  Does Tony even deserve to be brought back after the horrors he’s committed?  And why is it Tony who’s demons are always absolved?  The horseman are gathered but can they put Humpty Dumpty back together again?  Can Tony and Iron Man “get his invincibility back?”

Story: 9.5 Art: 9 Overall: 9.25

Justice League of America #39 – We know how the deal with most of the Blackest Night tie-in issues.  A dead character from the past arises and the heroes must deal with it.  We’re treated with a few of those this issue and with me knowing  very little of the JLA’s past I could care less about any of it.  We’re given pointless battles, the usual.  The one glimmer of creativity that could of made a great issue is left to the end and that’s the return of Dr. Light.  The themes of what it makes to be a hero, and the horrors done to him could of been revisited and made a solid issue, but instead we’re left with empty drivel.  Again, if you want the Lantern ring that came with the issue, that’s about all it’s worth while for.

Story: 5 Art: 6 Overall: 5

the New Avengers #59 – It’s a jail break as the team and some friends decide to go get Luke Cage back from Osborn’s clutches.  But was it the best idea?  The story and banter is top notch, but the art just seems off this issue.  A great issue though.

Story: 8.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8.25

New Mutants #7 – Necrosha so far has been a little uneven in it’s story telling.  Each series is focusing on the overall story through it’s own characters which is making the event a little incoherent.  This issue however is pretty solid as the team must deal with Doug and their wounded teammate.  The fear and anger resonates off the page with solid artwork.  While I might not be super excited for the overall arc this particular issue is great.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Powers #1 – Brian M. Bendis kicks up another run of his super hero crime series.  This is my introduction to the series and it’s intriguing.  I enjoyed the first issue but felt that you had to know a little bit more than I knew to truly appreciate it.  It’s not that it’s difficult to understand, there just seemed to be another layer that I was oblivious too.  Overall it’s a welcome addition to the numerous crime series hitting the shelves, but I think it’s one I’ll be catching it trade paperback form.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Secret Warriors #10 – The relationship of Ares and Phobos has been touched on these past few issues and it’s the main focus of this one.  We learn more about Alexander’s origin as he must go with his father and be judged by the Gods.  It’s an issue with little action but with excellent art, and great story telling it feels like a great pay off.

Story: 8.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.75

Giant-Size Thor Finale – Why this needed to be a special issue and couldn’t of been part of the regular series is beyond me.  This is the last issue of Straczynski’s classic run on Thor as William tells Balder Loki and Doom’s nefarious plan.  The wheels are set as this clearly is part of the upcoming Marvel event, Siege.  We’re also given a preview of the new team’s work in the next issue and from the few pages shown it seems like a seamless transition can be expected.

Story: 9.25 Art: 9.25 Overall: 9.25

Uncanny X-Men #517 – Summers takes the lead as the first major attack on Utopia takes place.  Some great action is show as the various mutants do their coordinated part in taking down the various Predator X’s.  Also nice to see there’s not complete cohesion as Magneto and Namor do their thing showing their own weaknesses as team members.  Also Rogue and her students step up in the best showing of what we can hope to expect in the future of that other X-Men book.  Matt Fraction as a writer is clearly showing he’s grasping the dynamics we’d expect from this series and after a weak start he’s gotten better throughout his run.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Unknown Soldier #14 – Moses finally gets Paul back to his village but neither is welcomed with open arms.  The horrors and atrocities both have committed are examined as the demons that live within and the crimes they both took part in must be exorcised.  The art isn’t quite as solid with this issue as in the past but the story makes up for that.

Story: 9 Art: 7.75 Overall: 9

Dark Wolverine #80 – Daken is still dealing with Moses Magnum and his crew as Osborn must step in the finish.  But is it Daken that’s playing Osborn?  The relationship between father and children is explored more as two sides of the same coin are examined.  The series continues to impress in it’s story telling and art.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

X-Men: Forever #12 – I’ve been torn with recent issues of the series.  Within each issue there’s glimpses of greatness in both the writing and story telling with a great throwback feel to it all.  But with the latest issues there’s often times when the story telling and dialogue is silly or over explains what’s going on, and the art is inconsistent.  Claremont tends to give us memorable runs when he’s put in charge of the X-Men.  I can’t help but feel in this “break with continuity” where anything can happen Claremont wants to veer so much from what we’ve seen that the series comes off poorer for it.  The sub-par/inconsistent art doesn’t help.  Maybe with a stronger artist the need for extended dialogue wouldn’t be needed and the series would be more enjoyable.  This issue is a definite improvement from last issue though.  In the end, again I’d make the series once a month, and get a stronger artist.  With the improvement of this issue though the series will get a stay of execution from being dumped from my pull box.

Story: 5.5 Art: 4.5 Overall: 5

Graphic Novels

Chew: Volume 1 – Taster’s Choice – Tony Chu is a cibopath, which means he gets “psychic impressions from whatever he eats.”  Tony also works for the F.D.A. as a special agent.  There’s also a ban on poultry after a Bird Flu outbreak swept across the country.  John Layman and Rob Guillory bring us this very original and fun series with this volume collecting the first 5 issues.  The story and writing is funny, gory, has action, great banter and the art style is very original with character designs you won’t find in your average book.  This series is the total package.  The folks at my local shop have been recommending I read this series for a while and I can now see why.  With issue 6 also out this week it’s a perfect time to see what the fuss is about, you won’t be disappointed.  I want to give this collection a perfect score, if only there were more extras to the trade paperback.  Live a DVD these have to be considered, but the stories and art are so solid, a 9.5 across the board is well deserved.

Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5