Comic Book Weekly Reviews – 8/3/11 and 8/10/11

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Two weeks down of reviews and two more to go.  Expect some more later today and hopefully I’ll be totally caught up by week’s end.

Alpha Flight #3 – Alpha Flight is on the run and this series at this point would be ho-hum if it weren’t for the fact I’m interested in seeing what the Unity party is really up to.  The limited series is close to the half-way point and so far, it’s ok, but hasn’t made it’s case to be an ongoing comic book.  The art too is off at times with odd positions of the bodies and art that just doesn’t do it for me.

Story: 6.75 Art: 6.75 Overall: 6.75

American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest #3 – Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy’s offshoot comic about Nazi Vampires just keeps getting better and better expanding the world we already know.  Amazing stuff and I can’t recommend it enough.

Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9

Avengers Academy #17 – There’s parts of this comic I liked and a lot I didn’t.  The art is inconsistent, and overall the comic feels like the “B” coming to the other Avengers “A.”  I know the series gets a lot of praise, but I was a much bigger fan of it’s previous incarnations, and it hasn’t quite lived up to the potential of it’s first few issues.

Story: 7 Art: 6.75 Overall: 7

Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #522 – I had my doubts when I first saw the American Panther sketches, but using Fear Itself to bring back the Hate Monger has worked really well, mainly because it doesn’t deal with the terrible story that Fear Itself is, and instead treats it as a backdrop.  The last story arc was ok, but this one has kicked it up a lot dealing with hate, fear and immigration, a lot of issues being debated today.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Booster Gold #47 – The art is my issue with this particular issue.  It’s very, very off.  The story is ok and there’s some cool moments, especially the ending, but the series clearly went out with a whimper and not the bang I’d hope for DCnU.

Story: 7 Art: 6.5 Overall: 6.75

Criminal: The Last of The Innocent #3 – Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips latest entry in their noir comics is as amazing as you’d expect.  Instead of following the do-gooder who gets caught up in a bad situation the focus is on the bad guy.  It’s enough to inject massive life in a series that’s far and above the rest to begin with.  Absolutely  mastery.

Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10

Daken: Dark Wolverine #12 – Daken’s plan for the armored car robbery continues and that’d be just ok, but Daken is now having an issue with addiction, and that is getting interesting.  The character doesn’t get the respect he deserves and this series is proving why he stands apart and isn’t just a second rate Wolverine.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Deadpool #41 – Deadpool is still in the crazy asylum and the series, which has been having issues lately with quality, has bounced back for at least this one.  The art is back on track and I’m starting to like the move away from slapstick.  It’s a big improvement.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Fear Itself #5 – This summer event by Marvel has been underwhelming and this comic is the perfect example of the issues it has.  Thor dropping his usual speech, Spider-Man turning and running, and a simple solution when it comes to saving Ben Grimm.  There’s attempts at cool moments here and it all falls flat.

Story: 6 Art: 6.75 Overall: 6.25

Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force #2 – X-Force does it’s part in Fear Itself and I can’t say it adds anything to the storyline.  They’re on the move to stop the Purifiers who are trying to take advantage of the situation and not even art by Bianchi can save this mess of a comic that doesn’t need to exist.

Story: 6.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 6.75

Fear Itself: Wolverine #2 – Too many places at once is the issue of this not needed comic tie-in.  The art and character design is inconsistent and other than the parts with Wolverine’s girlfriend, I can’t say any of this is needed or important.  A clear cash-in that adds nothing to the story and in fact causes bigger issues with it.

Story: 6 Art: 6.75 Overall: 6.5

Flashpoint #4 – It’s the second to last issue of the event that’s forced DC to grow up.  In a five issue limited series DC comics has not only reshaped their entire universe, but they’ve also brought their comics into modern times.  The fourth issue moves the story along with some great moments and a cliffhanger for the fifth and final issue that makes me count down in anticipation of the next issue.

Story: 9 Art: 8.75 Overall: 9

Flashpoint: Batman – Knight of Vengeance #3 – As a single issue, I can’t say I’ve enjoyed this final one as much as the previous two, but as a whole, all three are a solid read.  This issue jumps back and forth between the past and present which fills in some of the blanks.  Overall a solid three issues, even though this is the weakest of the bunch.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Flashpoint: Citizen Cold #3 – A pretty cool ending to the three issue limited series that just fits the feel of a world ending.  The art is solid and story entertaining.  A solid comic overall and very good limited series.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Flashpoint: Deadman and the Flying Graysons #3 – An interesting comic, but the issue is it doesn’t wrap anything up, in fact it ends as an origin comic.  The story is ok, but nothing too special, but I do think the last quarter was much better than the first three fourths.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

Flashpoint: Deathstroke and the Curse of The Ravager #3 – An interesting story that adds to the world of Flashpoint, but doesn’t add anything to the Flashpoint story.  It’s a decent three issues, but I can’t say I came away with having to read them at all.  Decent, but not great.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

Flashpoint: Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown #3 – Wow, did this third issue go off the rails.  There’s lots of twists and turns and even more that’s just not explained.  Why’s the doctor dressed as a mummy?  Why are they on horses when they had a plane?  Just such silliness that an ok idea crashes and burns in the end.

Story: 6.5 Art: 6.75 Overall: 6.5

Flashpoint: Secret Seven #3 – Out of all of the books, this one is my least favorite.  I really don’t understand what was going on, and I honestly didn’t care to figure it all out.  The issue is too much backstory that if you didn’t know the characters, you didn’t know what was going on.

Story: 6 Art: 6.75 Overall: 6.5

Flashpoint: World of Flashpoint #3 – A pretty sappy ending.  The good about this series is it tied directly into the great Flashpoint story, but it didn’t add anything to it in the end, except show off a bit more of the world.  But, that’s about it, it’s a three issue glorified travel guide.  It’s not bad in anyway, but not really a must read.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

Ghost Rider #2 – I’m still not quite sure what I think about this comic.  It’s not bad in any way, but also doesn’t quite grab me like I’d hope.  I’m sure die-hard Ghost Rider fans will appreciate it more, but to me, it’s missing that hook that gets me really excited.

Story: 7 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.25

Hero Comics 2011 – A comic book to benefit the Hero Initiative, it features work by some greats.  For $3.99 you get some awesome stories and it goes towards a good cause.

Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9

Heroes for Hire #10 – The once great series has been sidelined to deal with the underwhelming Marvel event Fear Itself.  The team is split between the chaos on the Raft and what’s going on at Yancy Street and neither of it is particularly entertaining.  This just slows down the momentum the series had.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

Iron Man 2.0 #7.1 – If the point one comics are supposed to be a jumping on point for new readers, this didn’t achieve that.  Instead it’s just a continuation of the ongoing storyline which continues next issue.  So the question remains why does this comic exist and why wasn’t it just the eighth issue?  The issue is good in that it continues the Palmer Adley storyline, but, it doesn’t need to exist as a point one.

Story: 7.25 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.25

Irredeemable #28 – Plutonian is back and the world and The Paradigm react to his return.  But what happens to the people who lied when they said they’d protect you.  It’s an interesting issue and I have no idea what Mark Waid has in store next for this series.

Story: 8 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.75

Mega Man #4 – A cute ending that’s perfect for younger kids.  The story is entertaining and has enough nostalgia for adults to appreciate it.  It’s a decent first arc, but a bit rushed overall.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8

Moon Knight #4 – Moon Knight and Echo check up on each other and have their first date, sort of.  The series is beyond solid taking Moon Knight’s crazy to a whole new level.  The series is fantastic with great writing and amazing art to match.  This should definitely be on your pull list.

Story: 8.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.75

The New Avengers #15 – The issue’s focus is Squirrel Girl and her time during Fear Itself.  It’s really entertaining with a great voice to the story telling and solid artwork.  It might seem silly at first, but it’s a really good issue.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

New Mutants #29 – After a solid last issue, this one seems to run into the issues we’ve seen with Fear Itself tie-ins.  The story just seems out of place and the characterization is off.  Along with a new art style (which grew on me throughout the issue) the series seems to have swerved again.  This series gets a lot of praise and I’m still not quite sure why.  It’s not bad, but clearly the weakest of the “X” books.

Story: 7 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.25

Rachel Rising #1 – The first issue of Terry Moore’s new series brought with it a lot of buzz and I can see why.  It’s all tease though and I think I can see where it’s going, but not 100% sure.  There’s enough there though to get me to check out the next issue.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

Secret Six #36 – So sad to see this series go.  It’s been a great ride and this final issue has so much going for it.  It’s not perfect, but it hits every note reminding us what made the series so special.  It’s been great, and unfortunately we won’t be seeing it in the relaunched DCnU.  Thank you Gail Simone for giving us thirty-six fantastic issues.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Severed #1 – Scott Snyder puts together another amazing horror series, which he’s shown he’s a master of.  This one also takes place at the early onset of the 20th century, a time period he seems to enjoy writing about.  We’re teased a lot and it’s more than enough to get me to check out the second issue.

Story: 9 Art: 8.75 Overall: 9

S.H.I.E.L.D. #2 – The series continues and I continue to scratch my head.  I want to like it, and the ideas seem very interesting, but to say I really understand what the hell is going on here is a lie.  This is one I know I need to go back and reread the entire thing through again.

Story: 7 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.5

Supreme Power #3 – A series that continues to mix super heroes and politics, I’ve been finding what it’s been doing is interesting.  There’s only one more issue left in this volume, and I’m a bit perplexed how it’s going to wrap up everything that needs to be.  It’s a very interesting book though and I can’t wait to see what the fourth issue holds.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Thunderbolts #161 – The team is focused on saving Chicago, and overall the story is decent with some good interaction between the characters.  I can’t say it’s great though.  But, a fun read.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.5

the Unwritten #28 – Huh, is really all I can say.  The comic series about stories and myths begins to set it’s sites on Biblical tales.  How this comic didn’t cause more of an uproar, I’ll never know.  But it’s continuing to bring up interesting points in ways I can just barely comprehend.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8 Overall: 8.25

Vengeance #2 – I seriously don’t get this series.  It’s supposed to focus on the next generation of heroes and villains, but we’ve seen this exact same story done before, and better.  I’m waiting for the big reveal, but so far, pretty unimpressed.

Story: 6.75 Art: 7.25 Overall: 6.75

War of the Green Lanterns Aftermath #2 – The war is over and Sinestro still has a ring on his finger.  The corps is rocked and everyone is in doubt.  If anything this is an attempt to bridge the new Green Lantern series we’ll be seeing in DCnU.  It’s interesting and does it’s best to set up what’s coming next.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8.25 Overall: 7.75

Wolverine #13 – One more issue and this story arc is over thank god.  Wolverine continues to run the gauntlet as we get to see the pain he’s caused from the view of his victims.  Yawn.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8 Overall: 7.75

X-Factor #223 – The story focusing on Rahne’s child continues and hopefully it ends soon.  I can’t say this is the best of stories involving this team lately.  It has it’s moments, but right now, it’s only ok.

Story: 7.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.75

X-Men #15.1 – I’m so confused as to what the point of these point one comics are.  I thought they’re supposed to be easy entry points to get new readers pumped and interesting about the comic and characters?  This is a self contained story, but it has nothing to do with what makes the X-Men interesting.  An utter failure.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8.25 Overall: 7.75

X-Men; Legacy #253 – How come Magneto’s helmet keeps coming going?  Where does he put it when he’s not wearing it.  Other than that weird art issue, the story is cool and we get to the meat of what we want.  The return of Havok and Polaris and Rachel.

Story: 8.25 Art: 7.75 Overall: 8

X-23 #13 – Laura, meet Spider-Man and the FF, FF and Spider-Man this is Laura.  While that’s interesting and has potential, it’s the hint we might see the NYX crew back that gets me more excited.

Story: 7.25 Art: 7 Overall: 7.25