Tag Archives: dmz

Around the Tubes

It was new comic book day yesterday. What’d everyone get? Was there anything that really stood out?

Around the Tubes

Kotaku – The Wolf Among Us‘s Dark Second Chapter Remains Faintly Unsatisfying – Hmm.

Kotaku – LEGO Spaceship Is Seven Feet Long, Took Four Years To Build – This is just amazing.

CBR – Wood & Burchielli’s “DMZ” in the Works as Syfy TV Series – Yes please!

Around the Tubes Reviews

Comic Vine – Action Comics #28

Comic Vine – Detective Comics #28

Comic Vine – Forever Evil #5

Comic Vine – Green Arrow #28

CBR – The Punisher #1

Nerd Reactor – Snowpiercer Vol. 1

10 Comic Suggestions for Furloughed Government Workers

Government shutdown getting you down? While we wait to for our elected officials to do their job and act like adults, hundreds of thousands of individuals are sitting at home. Here’s our suggestions of ten comics, series, or graphic novels to pick up and read through while you await your return to working for the American people.

If you have suggestions, sound off in the comments with them and why you suggest them!

  • The Authority  After witnessing the demise of most of her StormWatch teammates, Jenny Sparks wants to create a new super hero team dedicated to protecting Earth against threats of a global scale. Joined by former StormWatch members Jack Hawksmoor and Shen Li-Min, Jenny recruits four new members, the Doctor, the Engineer, Apollo, and the Midnighter forming the ultra-powerful Authority. The praised series features many of the top creators over the years. A mix of heroes and politics, this is a modern classic.

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  • DMZIt’s the second American Civil War that follows a journalist as he’s dropped in the middle of New York City, now a DMZ that separates the two warring sides. Initially starting as commentary about the Bush presidency the series quickly pivoted to comment on the hope and change that was promised with the election of Obama.

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  • Ex MachinaSet in our modern-day real world, Ex Machina tells the story of civil engineer Mitchell Hundred, who becomes America’s first living, breathing superhero after a strange accident gives him amazing powers. Eventually tiring of risking his life merely to help maintain the status quo, Mitchell retires from masked crime-fighting and runs for Mayor of New York City, winning by a landslide! But Mayor Hundred has to worry about more than just budget problems and an antagonistic governor.

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  • The Homeland Directive– As head of the National Center for Infectious Diseases, Dr. Laura Regan is one of the world’s foremost authorities on viral and bacteriological study. Having dedicated her career to halting the spread of infectious disease, she has always considered herself one of the good guys. But when her research partner is murdered and Laura is blamed for the crime, she finds herself at the heart of a vast and deadly conspiracy. Aided by three rogue federal agents who believe the government is behind the frame-up, Laura must evade law enforcement, mercenaries, and a team of cyber-detectives who know more about her life than she does – all while trying to expose a sinister plot that will impact the lives of every American. Set in the Orwellian present, The Homeland Directive is a modern-day political/medical thriller.

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  • The Nightly News– As an act of violence spirals out of control to encompass the entirety of the news media, a cult has emerged from the errors and retractions that have ruined careers, marriages and even lives. Under direction from his cult master, The Hand leads an army of followers committed to revolution, willing to die for their cause.

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  • Occupy Comics #1-3 – Occupy Comics brings together more than 50 comics pros to discuss and document the themes, goals, and ideals of the Occupy movement while also raising funds to support it. With a roster spanning from legends like Alan Moore and David Lloyd (V For Vendetta) to rising stars like Charlie Adlard (The Walking Dead) to icons like Art Spiegelman (Maus), Occupy Comics is a once-in-a-lifetime coalition of intelligent creatives using sequential art to record history as it’s being made.

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  • Scarlet– Scarlet is the story of a woman pushed to the edge by all that is wrong with the world…A woman who will not back down…A woman who discovers within herself the power to start a modern American revolution!!

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  • Transmetropolitan– After years of selfimposed exile from a civilization rife with degradation and indecency, cynical journalist Spider Jerusalem is forced to return to a job he hates and a city he loathes. Working as an investigative reporter for the newspaper The Word, Spider attacks the injustices of his surreal 23rd century surroundings.

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  • V for Vendetta– A powerful story about loss of freedom and individuality, V For Vendetta takes place in a totalitarian England following a devastating war that changed the face of the planet. In a world without political freedom, personal freedom and precious little faith in anything comes a mysterious man in a white porcelain mask who fights political oppressors through terrorism and seemingly absurd acts. It’s a gripping tale of the blurred lines between ideological good and evil.

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DC Entertainment Releases New Vertigo App

DC Entertainment Releases New VERTIGO App

And Announces SANDMAN Digital Comics Sale for $.99

Starting today, VERTIGO fans can download a new dedicated app featuring all Vertigo digital titles. The new app, available on the App Store, is free to download and features popular VERTIGO series THE SANDMAN, FABLES, Y: THE LAST MAN, PREACHER, 100 BULLETS, HELLBLAZER, AMERICAN VAMPIRE, THE UNWRITTEN, DMZ, THE INVISIBLES, TRANSMETROPOLITAN, and SWEET TOOTH, among others.

As an added bonus, readers who download the new VERTIGO app will have exclusive access to a three-day in-app sale that offers all SANDMAN digital comics for $.99 per issue. Written by #1 New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman, THE SANDMAN is one of the most acclaimed titles in the history of comics. Norman Mailer described the series as “a comic strip for intellectuals.” With a rich blend of modern myth and dark fantasy in which contemporary fiction, historical drama and legend are seamlessly interwoven, the series is considered to be one of the most original and artistically ambitious comic books of the modern age.

The launch of the app is timed to the release of four new VERTIGO series debuting each week this month, beginning with today’s publication of FAIREST by New York Times best-selling and award-winning writer Bill Willingham. A spin-off of FABLES, the series stars some of the fairest in the land and balances horror, humor and adventure. Each FAIREST storyline will explore the secret histories of one character, from Sleeping Beauty to Rapunzel to Cinderella to Thumbelina to Snow White and more. The first six issue arc drawn by Phil Jimenez (WONDER WOMAN, THE INVISIBLES) follows the misadventures of Briar Rose along with Ali Baba and the Snow Queen.

Also available same day digitally this month are the following new Vertigo series:

  • SAUCER COUNTRY (VERTIGO / ongoing series / 32pg. / Color / $2.99), a dark thriller that blends UFO lore and alien abduction with political intrigue, all set in the hauntingly beautiful Southwest written by Paul Cornell (DEMON KNIGHTS, Doctor Who) with art by Ryan Kelly (NEW YORK FIVE).
  • DOMINIQUE LAVEAU: VOODOO CHILD (VERTIGO / ongoing series / 32pg. / Color / $2.99), a high octane story set in New Orleans that blends the mortal and supernatural worlds, written by former editor-in-chief of The Source magazine, award-winning author, journalist and TV producer Selwyn Seyfu Hinds, with art by Milestone Media co-founder Denys Cowan (THE QUESTION) and John Floyd with covers by Rafael Grampá.
  • THE NEW DEADWARDIANS (VERTIGO / mini-series / 32pg. / Color / $2.99), a murder mystery set among the world of the undead in post-Victorian era London, brought to vivid life by writer Dan Abnett (RESURRECTION MAN) with art by newcomer I. N. J. Culbard (At The Mountains of Madness).

“Making all of our digital titles available in one downloadable location provides readers even more accessibility to our vast array of ground-breaking stories. What’s better than that? I can’t wait to get the app on my phone.” said Karen Berger, executive editor, VERTIGO. “With four new series launching in March, this is the perfect time for fans to download the VERTIGO app and keep coming back each and every week.”

“As the digital landscape becomes increasingly crowded, this stand alone app underscores DCE’s commitment to growing and spotlighting Vertigo by directly addressing its unique reader base,” stated Hank Kanalz, senior vice president of digital, DC Entertainment. “Vertigo fans can now access same day digital content faster and more conveniently on their iOS devices.”

Click here [http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/vertigo-comics/id503929481?mt=8&ls=1] to visit the App Store and download the new VERTIGO App.

Previews of all four new series are available for viewing here: http://www.vertigocomics.com/2012/02/08/graphic-connection-vertigo-preview-2012

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

 

Best Comics of 2011

It’s the first day of a new year and so that means we’re doing our “best of” listing of the top comic books for 2011. Generally these are comic books that came out in 2010, though some are from earlier times and we got around to reading them. Keep in mind, this is what I have read.  If it’s not on here, I just might not have read it.

Best Super Hero Comic – Daredevil

Daredevil #1 CoverDaredevil has had an interesting 2011, we started with Shadowland and then got Matt Murdock finding himself and then a relaunched back to basic series written by Mark Waid with art by Paolo RiveraShadowland wasn’t too bad, a bit uneven, but as a whole Marvel had issues with this year’s events.  Seeing Murdock corrupt and the emotion from his friends was an interesting read.  After you had Murdock wandering the country in short mini-series followed up by the relaunch.

It’s that relaunch that makes Daredevil stick out in my mind.  It’s a comic I look forward to reading each month.  Waid has given it a pulp action feel like classic Green Hornet or the Shadow and Rivera’s art is fantastic.  The comic is just fun to read.  On top of Waid’s take, Daredevil is now an Avenger and each of his brief appearances so far has enhanced that series.  When you show up in an ensemble comic and steal the show, that says something.

Waid has set up a lot going into 2012, can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Runner Ups – Moon Knight, Uncanny X-Force, Aquaman

Best Non-Super Hero Comic –DMZ

DMZ 50Is there a more politically relevant comic book series out there? Every month we’re given something to think about as we follow Matty Roth through Manhattan which is now a DMZ in the middle of the second American Civil War.

Writer Brian Wood is able to pivot and comment on what’s currently happening in politics and the world challenging our perceptions and not seem preachy at the same time.

With some single issues that stand as some of the best of the year and numerous holy shit moments, this isn’t just one of the most relevant comics out there, but some of the best political commentary of any entertainment medium.  Fittingly, this final week also brought us the final issue of the series, a perfect way to end the year.

Runner Ups – American Vampire, Chew, The Walking Dead

Best Limited Series or One Shot – Criminal: The Last Of The Innocent

Criminal: The Last Of The Innocent #1Really, just sign me up for whatever Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips have in store.  This latest volume of their crime/noir series from Marvel/Icon gave us a shit-head of a main character and kept us on our toes as to what to expect.  Sean Philips also showed us something new by changing up the art style every so often.

These two are one of the best teams in comic books today.  Early 2012 brings us Fatale from them to be published by Image which is more horror/noir.  Hopefully we’ll be seeing another volume of this series as well.

I’m a huge fan up pulp/noir comics, and this is the gold standard by which all others are judged.  Just fantastic.

Runner Ups – Critical Millennium, Severed, 27: Second Set

Best Single Issue – Transformers #22 and #23

Transformers #23 CoverTechnically it’s two issues, but the story is spread out between the two issues and either stands out as the best.  On top of that Transformers: The Death of Optimus Prime reflects on what’s discussed in these issues as well.  Megatron is captured and the two issues reflect on his and Optimus’ past and how they became who they are.  Flash forward to the present and the two leaders debate politics and motives.  It’s an adult discussion coming from two giant robots.

DMZ might have been “the” political discussion of the year, but these two issues I just didn’t expect it from.  Absolutely fantastic and enough to give me pause and make me think.

What’s the difference between a terrorist and freedom fighter?  Find out in these issues.

Worst Single Issue of the Year – Holy Terror

Just a holy piece of crap.  This is up there as one of the worst things I’ve ever read.  The graphic novel by legend Frank miller is racist, xenophobic, sexist and horribly written.  Can’t believe we’ve waited so long to read it.

Runner Ups The Infinite (any issue)

Best Graphic Novel/Trade Paperback – Green River Killer

Green River Killer A True Detective StoryDark Horse’s Green River Killer is a true-crime story focused on the Green River serial killings.  The writer was close to the subject, as his father was one of the lead detectives.  The story has multiple layers, looking at how families were affected, the struggles the police went through and at the end, why the killer did what he did.

The graphic novel is haunting.  I couldn’t stop thinking about it for many days it was that disturbing and unsettling.  The art is good, but it’s the story that gets you.  The whole time you’re wondering how they’re going to solve this, but also why is this happening.

Add in the fact this is a true story.  It’s a disturbing true story.  Being able to get some of the behind the scenes to a story I only know from newspapers and the nightly news, just adds more to it all.

Runner Ups Any Empire, Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand

Best Event of the Year – Uncanny X-Force: The Dark Angel Saga

Uncanny X-Force #18 Teaser 1I’m counting this as an event, though it’s really a long story arc.  Rick Remender has put together the best “X” book put out by Marvel.  This event which saw the rise of a new Apocalypse in the form of Archangel and X-Force is all that stands in the way between him and world destruction.

Diving into “X” lore with trips to the Age of Apocalypse universe, this was a story for the hard core “X” fans.  But, more than that, everything was thrown into it.  You had no idea what was going to come next and what to expect.

It wasn’t until I finally read the last issue that I know the ending, that’s how much of a big question mark Remender gave us.  The follow as well was fantastic as why characters did what they did and a new status-quo and direction were set.

Runner Ups Artifacts, Flashpoint

Best Genre of the Year – Horror

Horror was where it was at this year with DC folding in some Vertigo books and some great limited series like Severed.  Animal Man, Swamp Thing, I, Vampire, B.P.R.D. and more lead the way to dethroning last year’s winner, a bunch of shuffling zombies (though that’s also horror in a way).  I’ve never been creeped out more and enjoyed it as much.

Runner Up – Steampunk, Zombie

Best Comic Tie-In of the Year – Batman: Arkham City

I enjoy a video game or two (dozen).  One of the best video games of the year, not just comic book tie-ins was Batman: Arkham City which just brought more of the brawler game.  There’s a reason many are naming this as one of the best video games of the year and it’s sold so well.  It’s that damn good.

The downloadable material which seems to be coming as a steady flow, the fact you can play as so many characters, that all adds up to a comic book experience you can control.  Add in amazing graphics, game play and there you have it, it’s a must buy video game.

Runner Up – Marvel Universe toys, DC Universe Super Heroes Legos

Best Comic Book Related Movie – Thor

Marvel Studios Thor PosterThis year’s crop of comic book related movies wasn’t as amazing as I’d hope, but it’s a solid bunch.  Marvel’s batch as what stood out and all three really deserve to share the honors.  Each was excellent and flawed in their own ways, but out of the three Thor holds up best.

The story is pretty standard, didn’t really challenge me at all, but the visuals and Chris Hemsworth’s acting is what really makes it all stand out.  The flaws also are the least of the bunch with only the final fight between Thor and the Destroyer really bothering me.

Out of the bunch, this was also the highest grossing, showing it wasn’t just me that liked it.

Runner Ups – Captain America: The First Avenger, X-Men: First Class

Best Surprise of the Year – DC New 52

DC ComicsThis is a mixed one as DC’s relaunch is also a disappointment, but I’ll address it all here.  DC made a bold move this year to shake up their sagging line of comic books by starting from the beginning and relaunching the entire line.  It was gutsy.  On top of that, their digital initiative was bold.

The story that lead up to it all, Flashpoint, was pretty damn good and what came out of it as well.  I took a chance on all fifty-two issues and came away with giving half of them a chance for the second issue.  From there, I made further cuts, but today, I’m reading more comics from DC than I ever have and their higher volumes they’re selling that the initiative has worked for the short term.

The disappointing part is that they didn’t go far enough.  The comics were pretty standard and we didn’t get anything out of the box.  There also was a clear audience, adolescent males (or men stuck in their adolescence).  While we saw more advertising to the general public, we haven’t seen a sustained campaign.  For all their gains in 2011, I think we’ll see a good chunk of it erode in 2012.

Biggest Disappointment of the Year – Marvel Events

Marvel ComicsFear Itself and it’s follow up were and are bad.  X-Men: Schism was ok, but much better than what was before.  Shadowland was uneven.  Marvel has been having some issues when it comes to their events.  I won’t call it overall event fatigue in the industry as others have put out quality and showed what works.

Too many tie-ins, stories not thought out and gimmicky tricks paved the way to a substandard experience.

Marvel relied on the tired gimmick of death, killing the Ultimate Spider-Man, Bucky, the Human Torch and more, that all made headlines but some of it is already undone.  There’s only so many times you can call death before the masses catch on and shrugs their shoulders.

Already we’re heading into more events at Marvel in 2012, here’s hoping there’s some improvement.

Runner Up – Green Lantern (movie), DCnU

Best Character – Moon Knight

Moon Knight #1 CoverMoon Knight has always been a character that’s intrigued me.  Brian Michael Bendis, along with amazing art by Alex Maleev, have given us a new series that really looks at the many personalities of Marc Spector.  The new series really has fun with the idea having Moon Knight drawing upon his personalities at different points.

Moon Knight is the psychotic Batman, a super hero struggling with mental illness.  But is he really suffering from it?  And should it be this much enjoyable to read?

Publisher of the Year – Archaia

ArchaiaArchaia received the honor last year as well, so let me really explain my logic here.  Lets start with the big two, Marvel and DC.  Marvel’s line has suffered in 2011, they’re out.  DC made a bold choice, but four months letter, it all feels empty.  There’s quality, but there’s also a lot that just doesn’t excite.

BOOM! made it’s case towards the end of the year with some great original series, along with some on-goings that continue to show off their quality.  Add in a lot of licensed comics and they’ve got a line that has something for everyone.  There were also some busts, but they’ve got a great line of comics.  Image Comics, for all the quality also has some major duds.  Inconsistency is the issue, but their quality is some of the best out there.

Dark Horse has some amazing comics.  A lot of big name licenses and some good original, but there’s a lot of series I read and just didn’t interest me.  Their quality though is up there.  If your a Star Wars or Buffy fan too, they put out excellent product.  Then we come to IDW Publishing.  A lot of license there too, and also a lot of original material.  Each week I see their new releases, I get excited, as a whole, I’m probably interested in more of their monthly comics percentage wise than any other publisher, and it’s all excellent.

And the big winner is Archaia.  I should start with the presentation of the books.  Beautiful covers and packaging is the first thing that sticks out.  Their entire line of graphic novels are beautiful to look at on a shelf.  Then there’s what’s in between those fancy covers.  The variety of the books and quality is unmatched.  I can find something for everyone and hand out one of their series or a graphic novel and know I’m good with my choice.  All of what I read was good to great and much challenges story telling and comic book visuals.

Licensed books, original books, it’s all here.  And it’s amazing.  There’s comics for kids and adults and books kids and adults will love together.  Books from the US and Europe, we have different styles and perspectives, it’s like the publisher goes out of it’s way to present choice and variety.  And it’s all good.

I said it last year and it still holds true this year, when I think Archaia, I think high quality and expect the best.  They continue to not let me down.

Runner Up – IDW Publishing

Pick of the Week – Aquaman #4

It says a lot that a character who at one point was a punchline is now one of the best comics DC is putting out.  This year’s relaunch was an attempt to invigorate a sagging line of comics, and it’s seen mixed results.  I will say Aquaman is one of the characters and series that’s benefited the most out of it all.  With amazing art, story and writing that keeps me interested, it’s a comic that I look forward to reading each month.

  • Aquaman #4 – see above
  • I, Vampire #4 – Vampires in the DC universe?  The mood and tone wouldn’t of fit a year ago, but Joshua Hale Fialkov has put together one of the most fascinating comics to come out of the new 52.
  • DMZ #72 – Brian Wood has put together one of the most politically relevant comics of the last decade.
  • The Cape #3 – The comic is full of holy shit moments.
  • Avengers: Children’s Crusade #8 – Reading the first issue you know it was leading to the Avengers and X-Men squaring off.  This limited series that’s been plagued by lateness will lead up directly into the next big Marvel event.

Comic Book Weekly Reviews – 11/23/11

It’s a long weekend, which is perfect cause there’s a lot of comics out this week to read!  What was worth it?  Find out below!

All Star Western #3 – While I generally like the Hex story, the ending is a bit abrupt and the story doesn’t seem resolved at all.  Maybe it’s because it’s not and we can expect more from the villains, but something was a bit off.  The back-up story too was just ok, in a retro sort of way.  Overall, not quite as solid an ending as the beginning.

Story: 7.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.75

Alpha Flight #6 – The limited series that turned into a regular ongoing and then back to a limited series is almost wrapped up with two issues to go.  It’s an interesting read, but for some reason it feels like an “also ran” when compared to other comics.  It’s a feeling I’ve had for Alpha Flight series of the past.  It’s never quite had the edge like others or enough to get me really interested.

Story: 6.75 Art: 7.5 Overall: 6.75

Annihilator: Earthfall #3 – The epic factor kicks up a bit, but overall the story is still puttering on.  Something just seems off overall about this chapter of DnA’s Marvel cosmic opus.  The art is inconsistent which doesn’t help matters at all.  Overall, these characters have seen better days.

Story: 6.75 Art: 6.75 Overall: 6.75

Aquaman #3 – Three issues in and the series hasn’t dipped in the quality of story or art.  I’ve never cared for Aquaman but Geoff Johns’ writing and Ivan Reis’ art has changed all of that for me.  It’s such a high quality story that just pulls off so well what on paper should be a meh story and character.  One of the best of the new DC universe.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.5

Astonishing X-Men #44 – Uh, what the hell is going on?

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

Batman: The Dark Knight #3 – The art is fantastic, the story is a bit shaky.  Why is The Flash involved at all?  He just seems to be a needless cameo.  Oh well, the comic is entertaining and stands out enough from the other “Bat” comics on the market.

Story: 7.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.75

Captain America & Buck #624 – We get a bit of Bucky’s time as the Winter Soldier as he tells his story to someone.  I wish I could go into detail about that, but it’s nice to see that part of his life fleshed out some.  I’m a bit torn on his confessing to his sins the way he does.  It seems a bit shallow and empty, but overall the story is good and the art strong.

Story: 8 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8

Daken: Dark Wolverine #17 – Daken starts to put two and two together to figure out who Rolston is and then goes about seeking some help to stop him.  The story is pretty decent with a lot of voice over from Daken that adds depth to the character.  It’s not shocking the series is coming to an end, but it’s a shame more people didn’t see this character grow from a knock-off Wolverine.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.5

DMZ #71 – As we come closer to the end, this issue reflects on all Matty Roth has done over the last six years and the “crimes” he’s guilty of.  After so many issues, you begin to wonder too what is fact and what is fiction.  But as Matty himself points out, he can’t have done the good he did without also doing all the horrors.  It’s been an amazing run by Brian Wood and it’s sad there’s so little of it left.

Story: 9.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 9.75

Fantastic Four #600 – Wow, a 600th issue just packed with awesome.  Jonathan Hickman has been weaving an epic story here and while at times I might have been bored and didn’t see the big picture, over the last few issues of FF he’s been putting all the puzzle pieces together so we can see the big picture.  We knew Johnny Storm wasn’t dead, but that’s a hell of a return.  The various stories in this stuffed issue all tie together adding layer after layer like Hickman has been doing for a while now.  Bravo.

Story: 10 Art: 8.75 Overall: 9.5

The Flash #3 – The Flash is another series and character that’s stood out in the new DC universe.  I was a fan of the previous volume and this one has been a lot of fun so far as well.  The character is expanding a bit in what he can do, so it’s nice to see his abilities expanding and thus what we can expect from him.  What I’m really looking forward to is the eventual return of the Rogues.  It’s coming…

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.25

Green Lantern: New Guardians #3 – The big picture starts to reveal itself as we get a better idea as to why all of the rings are attracted to Kyle.  There’s some awesome art here and the Guardians aren’t putting up with any crap anymore, which after the years of insubordination makes sense.  An interesting read that’ll hopefully play out in the other series.

Story: 7.25 Art: 8 Overall: 7.25

I, Vampire #3 – So the first negative thing can be said about the series, whoever chose the blue and orange to show off the locations in the beginning needs to be slapped upside the head.  But, other than that, the series continues to impress.  The story seems a bit Blade, but there’s a mood and look to it that makes it stand out.  It’ll be interesting to see where it all goes and especially how the greater DC universe is tied into it.  Looks like we’ll be finding that out pretty soon.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

The Invincible Iron Man #510 – Fear Itself has wrapped and Stark has to deal with his drinking again.  At the same time his enemies are planning something big and it’s a whose who of bad guys involved.  There’s a big plan here and it looks like the series has righted it’s direction in one issue and then some.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Iron Man 2.0 #10 – How do you take on a bad guy that’s nanotechnology and spreads like a virus?  This series run seems to be exploring that till the end.  It’s been interesting, but not enough to stand out, not a shocker it wound up on the chopping block.  Good, but not great.

Story: 7 Art: 8.25 Overall: 7

Justice League Dark #3 – While I think the series will play a lot into what’s happening in Swamp Thing and Animal Man, I just can’t get through it.  It’s not clicking for me at all.

Story: 6.75 Art: 7.5 Overall: 6.75

Kick-Ass 2 #5 – Action gore porn.  Jump. The. Shark.

Story: 6 Art: 7.75 Overall: 6

The Mighty Thor #8 – Well that was quick.  Now we know who Tanarus is and what the deal is, for the most part.  It’ll be interesting to see how they get Thor back in time for next year’s Avengers film.  The first issue of the new status quo is interesting and a decent read.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8.25 Overall: 7.75

Secret Avengers #19 – Warren Ellis’ final single issue of the series before the new creative team takes over next issue.  This one was a blip up compared to the last few issues.  Something about it was really interesting and entertaining.  A decent issue that’s a pretty good read for folks who are looking for a self-contained story.

Story:8 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8

Teen Titans #3 – And we get to meet a new member, Bunker.  The story is great with a few different parts all going at their own pace and speed.  There’s a great kinetic, fun feel about it all.  I’m really enjoying the series so far and looking forward to seeing where it goes.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Ultimate Comics Hawkeye #4 – Hawkeye has a mission and we learn the history of what’s going on in Asia.  It’s all interesting and I’m finally sucked into the Ultimate universe.  The limited series wasn’t totally needed but it did it’s purpose in fleshing out the current storyline.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8.25 Overall: 7.75

Voodoo #3 – Ron Marz continues to show there’s more depth to the series than the stripping from the first issue.  Many dropped it at that point or wouldn’t even pick it up, and that’s a shame because he’s mashed together a spy/super hero mash-up that’s a slow, but fun burn.  Too bad he’s not going past this first arc.  DC has made a bad decision when it comes to that because he’s bringing us a character and series that has a lot of different skins much like it’s main character.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.25

Wolverine & the X-Men #2 – The attack on the school continues in an over the top wave after wave, crazy on top of crazy, mish-mash of everything.  All hell has broken loose really and the second issue is a bit over the top, but there’s something still very fun about it all.  Hopefully the entire series won’t be one big issue of ADD, but so far it’s a welcome change.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8 Overall: 8.25

Pick of the Week – Wolverine & the X-Men #2

I was a bit skeptical of the series when it was announced, but went into the first issue hoping for the best.  What I read was an entertaining, hilarious and kinetic series that had me sucked in.  There’s something so entertaining about that first issue that I can wait to see what’s coming next.  The “X” line of comics needed a shake up and this series is one of the best things to come out of it so far.  I can’t wait to read Wolverine & the X-Men #2 this week and that’s why it’s an easy pick.

  • Wolverine & the X-Men #2 – see above
  • DMZ #71 – Brian Wood is wrapping up this brilliant series that has some of the best political commentary out there in any medium.
  • I, Vampire #3 – Joshua Hale Fialkov has taken the vampire series and made it somehow fit into the DC universe.  It’s got an interesting take and I can’t wait to see where he takes it.
  • Aquaman #3 – Before issue one, I hated Aquaman.  After issue one, I was a fan.  This is one of the best super hero comics out there, solid writing and solid art.
  • 27: Second Set #3 – I’ve read Charles Soule’s third issue and reviewed it.  If you love music (and even if you don’t) this is an absolute read.

Comic Book Weekly Reviews – 10/26/11

Some debuts and a lot of second issues for DC.  What’s worth it and what should be skipped?  Find out below!

All Star Western #2 – Two western stories in this issue.  The first continues Jonah Hex’ and Dr. Arkham’s investigation into the murder of prostitutes in Gotham.  We learn the “who” as far as the bad guys, but not really the “why.”  There’s some hints to it, but it’s not really laid out in this issue.  The second story is a zombie western that’s entertaining in a throwback sort of way.  Hex’s story is great, the second story is just so-so.  Overall though the comic is still a welcome addition to the DC line up.

Story: 8 Art: 7.75 Overall: 8

Annihilators: Earthfall #2 – Hmm, I fear the cosmic side of the Marvel universe is starting to gas.  The Annihilators take on the Avengers in one of those misunderstanding fights.  The Church is also up to something, hatching someone… The story is pretty typical and has been tread before (two teams fight before teaming up) and the art is really off and inconsistent.  Rocket Racoon and Groot’s story is entertaining though, but that too just seems off.  Overall, I’m left pretty bummed.

Story: 7 Art: 6.75 Overall: 7

Aquaman #2 – Going into the reboot, this series was one I’ve been more skeptical of.  I can’t say I’ve been too fond of Aquaman as a character and have never enjoyed his solo series.  Well, times have changed.  With this second issue, the series is becoming one of the top tier DC reboot series, standing above others in it’s quality of writing and art.  Just beyond solid and an absolute must read.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Astonishing X-Men #43 – Emma and Danger team up to free a computer program that’s detected.  I yawn.  The story isn’t “astonishing” and actually quite boring.  Hopefully the series gets it’s footing and figures out it’s place in the “X” world, cause right now it’s stumbling.

Story: 6.75 Art: 7 Overall: 6.75

Avengers Academy #20 – It’s post Fear Itself and the group has to decide what to do.  Instructors and students leave and the ending opens up for the series’ new direction.  It has to be better than what’s come before.  The series needs a shake up, hopefully it gets better than what it’s been.

Story: 7 Art: 6.75 Overall: 7

Batman: The Dark Knight #2 – Someone is giving Gotham’s freaks a drug that gets them all roided up and Batman is on the case.  Lots of fighting ensues, but again the art is what stands out for the series, clearly much better than the story itself.  Also, the Joker pops up in the end, which is a bit odd considering his fate in other series… not sure how that works, but whatever.

Story: 7 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.25

Captain America & Bucky #623 – An important asset has been captured by the Nazi’s and Bucky and Toro head to free him without orders.  During the mission they discover the horrors that the Nazi’s have been committing.  Unfortunately a bad fate awaits Bucky before he could see their liberation.  It looks like we’ll be getting a glimpse of Bucky’s Winter Soldier years next.  The comic’s been entertaining so far, here’s hoping the next arc is just as solid.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Daken: Dark Wolverine #16 – I’ve enjoyed the series overall, but this latest story that saw Daken being addicted to a drug is mixed.  I like the idea of the addiction and how it’s messed with his healing factor.  That opens up a lot of future stories if they stick with it.  But, the person behind it all seems silly and it doesn’t totally make sense with the lack of a lot of set up.  The motivation is missing even with the attempts at an explanation peppered throughout.  A mixed bag overall.

Story: 7 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7

Daredevil #6 – The mystery over the firing of a blind man begins to unravel and it’s a big international conspiracy.  A certainly interesting story in how it’s being presented.  Mark Waid is giving us a top Daredevil series that’s a mix of pop and noir and all kinds of fantastic.  One of the best Marvel comics on the stand, beyond solid and an absolute buy.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

DMZ #70 – As the series winds down we’re given glimpses of the New York City that is and what might be.  A city, a nation, wracked by war and destroyed in spirit and mind.  Through seventy issues Matty Roth has explored this world as a reporter and as an agent for change.  For seventy issues we were drawn into this world that reflected events from our own.  In this issue we’re asked “how.”  How, for seventy issues, Zee has been able to keep herself together while Matty spiraled out of control like the city.  One went with the flow of events, the other tried to change events.  For seventy issues Matty has been part of the story, he’s been the story and for his role in this world, for his acts it looks like he’ll finally answer to someone.  Brian Wood is wrapping up this epic look at war, peace, journalism, corporatism and activism.  And it looks like it’ll end with a hell of a message.

Story: 8.75 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.75

FF #11 – Attilan, the Inumans, Kree and Annihilus, how is this being contained in just the Fantastic Four!?  This story seems ripe for a massive classic crossover event.  Writer Jonathan Hickman is bringing together threads he set out a long time ago and it’s beginning to really pay off.  This issue was full of “holy shit” moments.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.5

The Flash #2 – While Barry might run like the fastest man on the planet his mind isn’t catching up to his legs.  In this issue he works on that with some really entertaining results.  There’s a lot of moments that made me feel like a kid while reading the comic and staring at the amazing art.  This is a series that’s speeding it’s way to the top of the pile of DC’s 52 revamp.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.5

Green Lantern: New Guardians #2 – Kyle is still trying to figure out why so many rings are being attracted to him.  The other corps. members aren’t too happy about it, leading to the predictable drag out fight.  The issue’s ending is what’s worthwhile for the issue, both Kyle’s interaction with the Guardians and what happens to him (as predictable as it is).  The issue is interesting so far.

Story: 8 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8

I, Vampire #2 – Joshua Hale Fialkov has put together one of the best series of DC’s new 52.  Instead of a straight forward vampire tale, they’re portrayed as freedom fighters, attempting their liberation.  An interesting take that resonates with modern times much more.  A beyond excellent second issue that puts the series up there as one of the best of DC’s relaunch, but also one of the best comics out there.

Story: 9 Art: 8.75 Overall: 9

Journey Into Mystery #630 – Volstagg returns home to recount the story of Fear Itself to his children.  It’s actually a very cute issue that’s a great read and very entertaining.  There’s something sweet and innocent about it.  We’ll see where the series goes from here.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Justice League Dark #2 – What. The. Fuck.  I have no idea what the hell was going on.  And how is Deadman having discussions with Dove when he’s out and about in his series.  I’m so confused…

Story: 6.75 Art: 7.5 Overall: 6.75

Legion: Secret Origin #1 – I wasn’t a fan of the relaunch Legion titles and can’t say this one interests me either.  Just not my cup of tea.  There’s too many characters and not enough focus to explain it all to new readers.  But at least I got a cool ring out of purchasing it.

Story: 6 Art: 7 Overall: 6

The Mighty Thor #7 – After all of these months, we’re finally shown the origin of the Serpent and his war with Odin.  After all of the build up, it’s not very good.

Story: 6.5 Art: 7 Overall: 6.5

New Mutants #32 – Hrm, I still think the story could of ended an issue or two ago.  A casualty of being tied into Fear Itself.

Story: 6.5 Art: 7 Overall: 6.5

Secret Avengers #18 – Another self-contained issue written by Warren Ellis.  This one sees the Shadow Council trying to gather a weapon.  It’s entertaining and there’s a lot going for it, but I just don’t see the overall direction of the series or it’s point.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.5

Spaceman #1 – A very odd new limited series from Brian Azzarello.  I have no idea what to make of it, but it’s $1, so you have no excuse not to give it a shot.

Story: 6.25 Art: 7.75 Overall: 6.5

Stitched #1 – Another messed up horror tale set in the Afghanistan war zone.  I have no idea what the hell is going on other than over the top violence.

Story: 6 Art: 7 Overall: 6

Teen Titans #2 – Red Robin continues to gather his team as N.O.W.H.E.R.E. makes it’s move.  It’s clear one of the next big events will center around what’s going on this series.  I also like how Superboy plays into it as well.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8.25 Overall: 7.75

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #3 – We get more of the Turtle’s origins as they look for their missing brother Raphael.  I really dig the series, especially Casey Jones.  It feels like the old school gritty comics I loved and not the campy version they turned into later.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

Ultimate Comics the Ultimates #3 – S.H.I.E.L.D. attempts to engage the enemy straight on and all hell breaks loose.  Not the best issue, but this is the first action sequence of an epic story.

Story: 7 Art: 8 Overall: 7

Venom #8 – What!?  How did that fit in her!?  Another tie-in that’s such shoddier than the normal series.  I loved the letter from Flash’s dad though.  What could have had some amazing emotional impact is lost in a jumbled mess of a tie-in.

Story: 6 Art: 7.5 Overall: 6

Voodoo #2 – Writer Ron Marz asked people to look past the strip club setting of the first issue and I’m glad I did.  This second issue is more spy/on the run action than anything with the government after Voodoo who is on some sort of mission for her alien people.  Lots of action and some tight writing.  A great second issue.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

The Walking Dead #90 – The series’ power is it’s focus on human nature.  This issue shows that all as things somewhat settle down but human nature takes over as people react and plot.  Robert Kirkman is leading the series on it’s way to it’s 100th issue and it hasn’t slowed down in any way.  Beyond fantastic because the zombies aren’t the star of the comic, it’s the people doing everything they can to survive.

Story: 9 Art: 8.5 Overall: 9

Wolverine & The X-Men #1 – A first issue that’s so beyond entertaining.  I laughed, had a bit of nostalgia and can’t wait for the second issue.  I love Toad being Milton and their attempting to get accredited.  Just so many fantastic moments in this kinetic and frenetic first issue.  Welcome back to form.

Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9

Comic Book Weekly Reviews – 9/21/11

It’s the third week of DC’s reboot which I reviewed on Friday.  There’s also some great indie books and Marvel’s Fear Itself continues.  What’s worth it?  Find out below.

A Game of Thrones #1 – The debut of the comic series based on George R.R. Martin’s popular books reads like an adaptation of the television series that spun from the books.  But sanitize the television show a bit.  It’s only the first issue, so it’s hard to tell if that’s just this particular issue, or overall.  I watched the tv series and enjoyed it, but had trouble following the vast cast and propensity to rattle off names, that happens here too.  The comic is decent though, and might help me understand exactly what I watched.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5

Avengers #17 – The Avengers take on Sin/Red Skull just after Avenger’s Tower fell.  This really is just one small part of the bigger picture and while it adds a little to Fear Itself, it’s a pretty flimsy issue by itself.  It looks like we get to move on from Marvel’s epic event disaster as the team gets shaken up once again.

Story: 7 Art: 8 Overall: 7.25

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7 – So we get a big more of the reasoning as to why Wanda went nuts, killed a bunch of Avengers and almost the entire Mutant race.  The reason given comes off as a bit of a cop-out and retcon, but it’s enough to move the story forward.  The big point here is the fall out between the X-Men and Avengers and I’m sure what will be the big event for 2012.  My problem with the series is it doesn’t jive with some other series, like Wonder Man who recently attacked the Avengers and you have Doom helping the FF.  Delays in the series I’m sure haven’t helped in that department.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8

The Bionic Man #2 – The story picks up a bit as we learn more about the bad guys Steve Austin will be up again and the fallout from his crash starts.  It’s a slow start overall, but the series is top notch so far and it looks like Kevin Smith will do for the Bionic Man what he did for the Green Hornet, bring him into modern times.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

Captain America #3 – The plan is a bit convoluted, but really fun.  Cap fights an 18 foot robot version of himself while Sharon Carter takes on Baron Zemo, which seems really out of place.  Not quite as good as the first two issues, but still a lot of fun with amazing art.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8

Daredevil #4 – The vast majority of this fourth issue focuses on Murdock and his new law practice.  It’s a nice and slow pace that show off the human side of the character and gives us a good idea of where he stands with that.  At the end of the issue we get the beginning of the next arc which seems like it could be interesting.  Mark Waid as usual has put together a comic that breathes new life into Daredevil and puts his series dead center as one of Marvel’s top comic books like it should be.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

DMZ #69 – The post war tour of New York continues as we get to see the ramifications of the war and how some of the people are dealing with the peace.  It’s also beginning to sink in for Matty as to what he’s really done and the weight of what he’s experienced starts to rest on his shoulders.  It’s a shame the series is ending but Woods is putting a fantastic end-cap on it all.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Fables #109 – The story in Oz continues and I have no idea where that’s going, but more importantly who will be the next King of the North Winds?  The cubs are put through trials to figure out which should take over the mantel as we learn about a prediction concerning their futures.  It’s interesting to see where the series goes post Mr. Dark and there’s so much right now, it’s impressive it’s all being kept together so smoothly.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.25

Fear Itself: Fearsome Four #4 – Wow, just so bad, and why did I keep up with it?  Another pointless offshoot of Fear Itself that added nothing to the greater storyline.  Man-Thing was alson in Thunderbolts where he was handled much better.  This, just was a money grab.

Story: 6 Art: 7 Overall: 6.25

Fear Itself: The Home Front #6 – A mix of serious and silly, only the story featuring Speedball will likely have long term impact.  It’s an ok issue, but forgettable and not really worth it in the end.

Story: 6.5 Art: 7 Overall: 6.5

Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt #5 – Out of all of the limited series and tie-ins, this one looks like it’ll be the most important and have the longest impact.  Vegas is still shaking as the heroes rush to save survivors.

Story: 7.5 Art: 8 Overall: 7.75

Generation Hope #11 – A Sentinel is bearing down on Utopia in an issue that doesn’t make much sense unless you’re also reading Schism.  There’s some great internal conflict here and arguments that’s just leading up to what’s coming next.  The series is finally getting it’s own legs and finding it’s voice, and here’s hoping that post Schism it continues with that.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8

Green Hornet #18 – We get the full scoop on Redhand and his dislike of the Katos.  It’s a simple story but still very entertaining.  The plot overall for this arc is simple, but it introduces a good villain for them all and the action is entertaining.  Some of the art is a little off in the proportions and contortions, but it’s not too distracting.

Story: 7.75 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.75

Heroes for Hire #12 – The series took a nasty detour due to Fear Itself, but it’s back to form as we dive right back into the Hook plotline.  Even taking a break, the series goes right back into form with pure entertainment that acts like a 70s C-grade movie.  Fun, entertaining, a great read.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Invincible Iron Man #508 – Stark continues his issues in Asgard as the battle rages in France.  The art is great as expected, but this isn’t a story, it’s on part of a longer arc.  On it’s own, it’s not much, but is fun as part of the whole.

Story: 7.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.5

Marvel Universe vs. Wolverine #4 – There’s a few scenes in here that are awesome and that ending is fantastic.  As far as final issues, this one actually ends better than the series as a whole was.  The fourth issue packs a hell of a punch and is filled with awesome moments.  Beyond solid.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #2 – We learn more about the Turtle’s origins as Raphael meets Casey Jones.  The series has a nice mix between the dark gritty feel of the original series and some of the more modern takes on the property.  It’s perfect for old and new fans alike.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

Thunderbolts #163.1 – This point one issue does exactly what it should do, give you a good history of the series and where they’re at right now.  In this case we see enough to get an idea as to why the Thunderbolts was founded and some of what they went through.  The team in the modern time also figures out where the fugitive team is as well.  I’m not the biggest fan of time travel stories but two teams, one of which is fugitive sounds very interesting to me.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5

Ultimate Comics Hawkeye #2 – The situation in Thailand is deteriorating and Hawkeye is doing his best to get all of the information.  There’s a new group trying to run things and he needs backup to take care of them and to that I say, “Sheeet, you’re sending the Hulk? That’s all you needed to say.”  I’m still pretty new to the Ultimate universe, but so far, I’m digging it.

Story: 7.5 Art: 8 Overall: 7.5

Ultimate Comics X-Men #1 – The fourth and final series of Marvel’s relaunch of the Ultimates line focuses on the X-Men whose world comes unraveled in this one issue.  We learn the truth about Mutants and see a world that’s gone beyond just hating them.  If you read the first few pages and immediately don’t get sucked in, there’s something wrong with you.  A hell of a start.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Uncanny X-Men #543 – Out of all of those taking part in Fear Itself, the X universe took the best advantage by now having Colossus taking over as Juggernaut, but also seeing how far Cyclops has come.  The end of this issue is fantastic, because we get a great sense that this is a man who will do everything he needs to, to protect his people, but is fiercely loyal at the same time.  His evolution has really driven where the X line is going and you better believe I’m looking forward to where it’s heading.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

X-Factor #225 – A nice quiet moment starts the issue as we get some reflection on how everyone is reacting to recent events, but then as seems to be the recent norm, something from their past comes back and drags them into a new mystery.  The character interaction is great and there’s so much hinted at here, I’m only expecting great things as we go forward.  X-Factor is one X title more people should be paying attention to.

Story: 8.25 Art: 7.75 Overall: 8

X-Men #18 – The latest arc is interesting and the bad guys are a nice change of pace, but there’s something about it that’s just not really clicking with me.  The art is good, but there’s some off panels.  Overall, meh.

Story: 7 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7

X-Men: Schism #4 – Well this is it.  It’s been brewing for a long time now, but Cyclops and Wolverine have finally come to blows over their philosophy.  It’s a logical progression for the characters, Cyclops being the soldier turned general who had his childhood taken from him and Wolverine who has always acted as the mentor to at least one younger character.  This is it, and it’s fantastic, welcome back to the quality that’s been missing for a while.

Story: 8.75 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.75

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