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Comic Book (not so) Weekly Reviews – 12/28/11

I’m WAY behind in my reviews, but here’s there first batch of them.  Hopefully I can be nice and caught up in a week or so.  It was the last week of the year and that saw a lot of new releases.  It was a thick stack of books… did the year end on a good note?  Find out below.

All-Star Western #4 – Jonah is still in Gotham, this time hired to look for missing children.  The story is decent and pretty entertaining, but there’s a hint as to what he stumbles into, and while I like him being tied into the greater DCU, I’m not sure if connections like this are a bit too cute.  Still though, we have a western comic that’s a great read in both story and art.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

Alpha Flight #7 – Wolverine shows up to see what’s going on and it turns into good guys versus good guys before they team up to take on the bad guys.  This limited series turned ongoing turned back into limited series has one more issue to go.  It hasn’t been a bad read, but also hasn’t knocked it out of the park like I’d hope.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

American Vampire #22 – Flash forward to 1954 and we have a new story arc from the vampire hunter angle.  It’s a completely different comic in a way and so damn good.  The main character just exudes the time and bleeds cool.  Add in some great story telling when it comes to revealing the plot and you’ve got a hell of a way to end the year.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Annihilators: Earthfall #4 – Hmmm, not the best of cosmic Marvel.  Hopefully whatever 2012 has in store, it’ll be better than this.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

Aquaman #4 – Aquaman and Mera head into the trenches to free the people kidnapped by the weird fish people.  All of that raises lots more questions that don’t get answered, but gives a good place to go over the next year.  The art is fantastic, writing top notch.  Aquaman is one of the best super hero comics being put out by DC and one of the best on the market.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Astonishing X-Men #45 – Astonishing X-Men to me has struggled as to where it’s stood in the “X” cannon and how it stood out from the other “X” series out there.  This story arc which has Cyclops in another universe is pretty damn interesting, but I’m still not sure it’s enough to really justify it’s existence.  Still, much better than what’s come before.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5

Avengers: Children’s Crusade #8 – So I guess this character wasn’t big enough to make headlines about being killed off?  It’s been a while since we saw the last issue for this series which feels like it started years ago.  The two teams fight Doom who then hints that he was behind Wanda going crazy.  Did we just get a crappy retcon!?  Ugh.  This limited series has dragged as far as release schedule and not lived up to what I’d hope as far as story, but the art has been solid.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 7.75

Batman: the Dark Knight #4 – Batman investigates Ivy’s hideout and chases some leads in an ok issue of the comic.  Really, the focus is on friendships and how being Batman crushes Bruce Wayne’s personal life and limits his personal friendships.  There’s a bunch I like about the comic, but some things seem a bit forced.  Some foreshadowing though that could get interesting.  This is the Batman book that’s more about the visuals than the plot.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 7.75

Black Panther: the Most Dangerous Man Alive #527 – The Panther and Kingpin’s chess game continues as each attempts to out-maneuver each other.  It’s sad the series only has a bit to go.  It’s such high quality and deserves and audience.  The art too is great with a very interesting style in this particular issue.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

The Cape #3 – Um wow.  To say the moment my jaw dropped would ruin the comic.  The issue and series is balls out, just going full throttle.  The body count is rising but how can someone prove there’s a flying person out to get them?

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Captain America #5 – Hydra is starting to role again as Cap battles in the dream world.  The ending to the first story arc wasn’t bad, but there was something a bit off about it.  The good part is we start to get a sense of a weakness when it comes to Steve Rogers and Captain America.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.75

Captain America #6 – Steve’s got some doubts and he also might be having issues with the super soldier serum.  He and Hawkeye head out for a night of crime fighting and run into an old nemesis.  The arc has been solid so far, the art I’m not totally sold on though.

Story: 8.5 Art: 7.25 Overall: 8.25

Captain America & Bucky #625 – Cap is drawn into a murder mystery surrounding the Cap and Bucky that replaced him after he was frozen (yes a bit confusing to explain).  The story is pretty damn interesting and very entertaining and shows off some more “lost” history of Captain America.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

DMZ #72 – And with that, the series comes to an end.  Brian Wood’s series about war and those impacted by it turns into a love letter to New York City and those that live there.  The series for seventy-two issues has been solid and some of the best political commentary in an entertainment medium.  The ending is bitter sweet.  A great comic, but you don’t want it to end, because that brilliance comes to a close with it.

Story: 9.25 Art: 8.5 Overall: 9.25

FF #13 – The kids, Doom, Reed Richards and Nathaniel Richards stand against the made Celestials.  It’s interesting, but the bigger questions is how does writer Jonathan Hickman’s crazy storytelling all weave together.  he’s put together an epic Fantastic Four story for the ages.

Story: 8.25 Art: 7.75 Overall: 8.25

the Flash #4 – Mob Rule is causing all sorts of issues as folks have to deal with the affects of the EMP blast and folks are confused by the Flash’s passing a plane through a bridge.  This issue has some amazing visuals and the story has some good pacing.  It doesn’t stand on it’s own, but as part of the story arc, it’s solid.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Green Hornet #20 – The new Hornet and Kato take on a bad guy that their parents did in this self contained issue.  The relationship between the two is the focus really and it’s a reminder that this isn’t your parents’ Hornet.  The art takes a bit of a dip, but the story is solid enough to keep this series entertaining.

Story: 8 Art: 7.25 Overall: 7.75

Green Lantern: New Guardians #4 – We start to get down to the mystery of the rings and Kyle.  There’s a lot here that I’ve never seen before, especially at the end.  The story is a giant fight scene and a bit muddled, but there’s some original stuff here and that has to be given lots of props.

Story: 7.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.75

I, Vampire #4 – Bennett meet Constantine, Constantine meet Bennett.  It’s a good story as these two individuals must deal with another vampire.  There’s a twist at the end I wasn’t expecting at all which just makes it that much better.  This is easily one of the best comics to come out of DC’s relaunch.

Story: 8.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.75

Iron Man 2.0 #12 – Wow, such a bad ending…. the series had a great start and then just went off the track into a wall.

Story: 6.75 Art: 6.75 Overall: 6.75

Justice League Dark #4 – What the hell did I read.  The series is just not doing it for me.  The story is muddled and really confusing.  It’s too choppy without a really solid narrative to pull it all together.  The series has a lot of potential, but so far I haven’t seen it come close to living up to it.

Story: 6.5 Art: 7.75 Overall: 6.75

Kick-Ass 2 #6 – The most entertaining thing about this issue is seeing Hit-Girl spout out really inappropriate things.  The series is over the top violence at this point without much of a narrative.  The first volume was Shakespeare compared to this mess of a follow up.  Millar wants to shock and awe, but missed the mark you need a story first to really pull that off.

Story: 6.25 Art: 7.5 Overall: 6.25

the Mighty Thor #9 – Loki still tries to figure out who Thor is.  Taranus does his thing and the All Mothers decide to turn Asgard into a Republic.  Um yeah… things got rather interesting in this series.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.5

Secret Avengers #20 – Wow did this issue make my head hurt.  Lots of time jumping and the story and art are interesting, but overall, call we move the series forward instead of these pointless self-contained stories?

Story: 7 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7

Spaceman #3 – The series is beyond unique and creative but I think it doesn’t read all that great as single issues.  I’m definitely waiting for the trade and reading it all at once.

Story: 7.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.75

Teen Titans #4 – Superboy takes on Wonder Girl as the Teen Titans finally get their members together.  The series has a great tone and some entertaining interaction.  The art is solid as well.  This is one of my favorite series of the DC relaunch.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Micro-Series Michelangelo – Michelangelo gets caught up in a diamond heist.  The story is entertaining and the art is solid.  I’ve loved the new TMNT series from IDW and these self contained issues have been just as good.  Great for TMNT fans new and old.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.25

Ultimate Comics the Ultimates #5 – This issue is just solid.  All kinds of great moments just building up to the eventual battle.  This issue doesn’t stand on it’s own, but as part of the greater story so far, it’s so good.  As usual, great art and great plot.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Ultimate Comics X-Men #5 – Um, holy crap.  So the beginning of the comic hinted at the ending, but I didn’t put two and two together as to what it all meant until those last few panels.  This comic just is so tense and so amazing.  The series as a whole just rocks.  The art, story, like the other Ultimate comics, I’m so happy I took chance with the relaunch.

Story: 8.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.75

Uncanny X-Men #3 – The team continues to fight Sinister and also have Celestials to deal with.  The story and art is ok.  To me, that’s it, just ok.  There’s two different teams basically and I think the quality is different too.  Out of all of the “X” books two stand out to me, Wolverine & the X-Men and Uncanny X-Force.  Uncanny, just doesn’t live up to the relaunch and continues on it’s meh course.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5

Voodoo #4 – Voodoo is on a mission to learn about the world’s super heroes.  Seriously, Marz has been booted from this series?  His mix of action heroine/spy/super hero comic is fresh and is as solid as they come.  Hopefully the series keeps it up, but I have my doubts the quality will keep up.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

X-Men: Legacy #260 – In a transition issue, Rogue and friends rescue Ariel and Korvus is dealt with.  The issue really just moves the story along with a dip in art and overall a ho-hum.

Story: 7.25 Art: 7.25 Overall: 7.25

 

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