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This Week In Comics 8/27/08

Sorry about getting to this so late. I had a hell of a night at my job. But they’re here – this week’s new release reviews.

We start the reviews off with Nova #16. This issue ties the Centurion, while investigating a possible Phalanx infestation, is pulled right into the Secret Invasion storyline. The space trooper must team up with one of the enemy, Kl,rt – the Super-Skrull. However, can he be trusted. And, sure, Nova’s been outnumbered before, but he stands against an entire fleet of Skrull warships. Oh, and did I mention Worldmind seems to be out of action for good?

Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning wrote this issue, kicking off Nova’s run in the Secret Invasion story. The story is solid and the dialog is strong. I should also mention the great character building work they did on Kl’rt. The artwork was provided by Wellington Alves and Geraldo Burges. Action packed and filled with great hero shots.

This is the first “cosmic” character I have ever been into and this issue is yet another reason why. Nova #16 gets 4/5 stars.

 

This weeks indie title comes from indie giant Dark Horse with Star Wars Legacy #27. Now, I am a Star Wars fan and could not pass up the opportunity to check out two Sith dueling to the death. Traveling into the Deep Core, master of Sith lore Darth Wyyrlok must find the knowledge needed to keep his master alive. And he must battle Lord Adeddu, an ancient who once kept himself alive through sheer force of will alone.

John Ostrander wrote the script and, as a fan of Star Wars, I can say he puts me right back into that immortal universe. Furthermore, he manages to turn a story about a Sith into an inspirational tale about confidence. The art by Omar Francia is top-notch and detailed extremely well. Brad Anderson colored the issue and did an equally spectacular job. Details added to Darth Wyyrlok’s ship remind me of the detail on the X-Wings when I first watch A New Hope (complete with rust and dirt).

A good read and an excellent exploration into Sith philosophy with very talented art and colors earns this issue 4/5 stars.

Finally, we have our DC title, Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1 of 2. As Louis is dying in a hospital bed, Superman is approached by a super god seeking to recruit the man of steel in a fight against a “reality-spanning menace.” In return, the super god offers Superman the chance to save the life of the woman he loves. It is then that we embark on an adventure that spans across the various Earths of the DC Universe and are introduced to a disfunctional team of Supermen.

Written by Grant Morrison, he juggles the various versions of Superman well, though the dialog can get kind of cheesy. However, that’s part of the fun. Doug Mahnke penciled the art and though a few panels seem off, the action shots and most of the panels with Ultraman are intense. Colors were done by David Baron and he makes sure to use them to bring the story alive with everything from divinity to crazed anger.

A fun read, especially with seeing Supermen of so many Earths coming together. I give the first installment of this two part mini 4/5 stars.

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August 28, 2008 Posted by | Comic Books, dark horse, DC Comics, Marvel, Reviews, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

This Week In Comics

Before I start this weeks new release article, I would like to inform you that this blog will now be focusing on comic books and comic book related topics. This includes reviews, opinions, and even some how-to posts. Later on down the line, I’ll be able to provide you with interviews and coverage of events. Our entertainment products will still be largely diverse though, Including: comics, web shows, serial novels, and more. That said, here are your reviews.

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #1: DC’s final crisis reaches the 31st century in the first issue of five in this miniseries. Carrying a grudge against the Legion of Superheroes, the Time Trapper has found the ultimate weapon to destroy them – Superboy Prime, an evil version of the boy of steel from a parallel Earth.

The there are various plots going on here at the same time, spanning from the United Planets aiming to disban the Legion to Superboy Prime coming to the 31st century and finding he’s been placed at the bottom of Superman’s list of villains. With everything going on, it is kind of confusing. However, writer Geoff Johns pulls it all together at the end and, instead of promising us four issues of royal rumble, he sets us up for what looks to be a strong character driven story. The artwork is very lively and detailed, with even small panels delivering a sense of grandeur. George Perez is at the top of his game here. I give this issue 4 out of 5 stars for strong writing and excellent art.

The Incredible Hercules #120: The “Sacred Invasion” continues in this “Secret Invasion” tie-in. Here’s the lowdown directly from Marvel: “Hercules leads the ragged remains of his God Squad into desperate battle with the unimaginably powerful Skrull pantheon — and if they lose, Earth dies!”

While writers Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente do well at depicting the fanaticism and arrogance of the Skrull. However, the portrayal of Herc and the other gods seems a little melodramatic and forced. Rafa Sandoval provides the pencils and I am actually left wanting. I mean Hercules is an epic level character and the art should reflect that. However, it lacks the majesty of titles like Thor or the epic levels of The Incredible Hulk. I therefore rate this issue 3 out of 5 stars even though, with a little work it could reach constant 4s.

 

The Helm #2: Every comic fan has fantasized about having some great superpowers. In fact the most popular superheroes are usually branded for geeks through their average lives. Examples include Superman and his geeky cover identity Clark Kent or Spider-Man and his science nerd “normal life” as Peter Parker. The Helm also brands itselfto this crowd, but I think it is more accurate as to what would actually happen if one of us got powers. Here’s the synopsis from Dark Horse: “The Helm, an enchanted artifact of countless legendary heroes, has learned that its latest Chosen One is a chubby, unemployed fantasy addict . . . who lives in his mother’s basement. Defying all odds, however, Matt Blurdy managed both to defeat a bloodthirsty hobgoblin and thwart the Helm’s scheme to have him killed. Now the hero’s training begins in earnest: workouts, retrieval of a magic flaming sword, battles with wraiths, and a showdown with a sorcerer in mortal combat. But when the media starts reporting Matt’s victories as murders, an old flame reenters the picture, and true darkness looms on the horizon, even a replica Highlander trench coat might not be enough to save Matt’s hide!”

Jim Hardison is writing this series and writing it well. Filled with action, humor, and fantasy – it leaves little to want. The relationship between Matt and the Helm is probably one of the best love-hate relationships I’ve read. Furthermore, the fact that the main character happens to be a geek instead of being forced into the part, makes it all the more endearing. Bart Sears draws the book and his style works well with the story being told. I especially like the talent he displays when utilizing facial expressions to add to the story. The colors by Dan Jackson work well with the art, despite their lack of great detail, creating a neat little package with the writing and drawings. I give this issue 4 out of 5 stars, and hope that this is not the last mini about Matt and the Helm.

August 21, 2008 Posted by | Comic Books, Reviews | , , , , , | Leave a comment

This Week In Comics

Well, this is the first of comic review posts, so I guess I should explain what you can expect. Each week I will review three books (one from the powerhouse publishers, DC and Marvel, and one independent title). I will give you the lowdown on the plot, the writing, the art, and the entertainment. Then I will rate it 0-5 stars. Zero stars means leave the book alone, it is the suckiest piece of crap to ever suck. One star means it is really bad, the only reason you should get it is if you are a diehard fan of the title. Two stars means the book is below average, with a little work the creative team could have made it better. Three stars means it’s average, you won’t see anything groundbreaking but will be entertained. Four stars means the book is really good, buy it. The coveted five stars means the issue is amazing, there is no reason you should not own it at all. That said, let’s take a look at this week’s titles.

First on our list is Marvel’s first issue of Secret Invasion: Thor, a mini that ties Thor into the Marvel Universe’s current Skrull crisis. It starts off with something crashing towards the Earth as Dr. Blake (Thor’s human alter ego) makes a house call to a pregnant woman. An explosion catches the two off guard and sends the woman labor. Blake knows that something has happened to Asgard (his floating castle of a home) and leaves the woman in the care of a nurse to investigate. This leads to the return of Beta Ray Bill, Thor’s longtime friend and brother in arms, who Thor puts in charge of the impending assault against the Skrull so he can go back to the pregnant woman and deliver the baby. We also have the now sexy Loki getting into people’s minds and making them wonder if their aren’t enemies amongst them even as they make their plans. Oh, and the Skrull have Beta Ray Bill’s hammer, which is just as powerful as Thor’s.

Matt Fraction is scripting the series and the writing is alright. It’s not too deep, but not stupid either. Doug Braithewaite provides the artwork, most of which feels like sketches, good sketches, but sketches none the less. The colors are done by Paul Mounts and they go well with the style of art provided.

The writing in this issue could have been a better, especially since I am loving his Ages of Thunder Thor mini. The art is a bit skeletal to me. After all, I am a diehard Thor fan and am used to the majesty of the current ongoing being drawn by Coipel, so this is a bit of a downgrade for me. Overall, the issue was an okay read, earning itself 3 out of 5 stars.

Simon Dark #11

is our DC title this week. Simon, a Frankenstein monster-styled hero, who has found himself in a battle with magically mutated monsters. This issue starts off with Simon soothing the monsters and we get a flashback tale of how they were made. At the end of it, he garners their help in his attempt to save Gotham City from an impended evil. After a less than spectacular fight scene through a mob of hooded cultists, he finds himself at a door that “only a master” can go through. Once inside the room, Simon find himself face to face with the ghost of Dall Moss, a former mayor of Gotham City. What ensues then is half an issue of back story about Simon as told by Mr. Moss and the end of any and all action.

Written by Steve Niles, the genius behind 30 Days of Night, I was expecting more from this series (especially after reading the first two issue when they first came out). The title is drawn by Scott Hampton with artwork that is very minimalist. Most of the panels have little more than white backgrounds and when there are backgrounds they are usually super simple. Daniel Vozzo colors this issue and the colors are very minimalist as well. There is a bleakness in them that boarders on bland.

Having read the first two issues, I have to say that I like Simon Dark more as street level character fighting and decapitating cultists rather than traveling into the realm of the supernatural. The art is way too simple for my tastes, even for a gothic-styled superhero title. Granted, I did drop the title for about eight issue to make room for others in my pull list, so I’m a little behind on the story’s continuity. Still, I feel obligated to rate this issue 2 out of 5 stars.

Our final title tonight is Welcome to Hoxford #1, from IDW. We are introduced to Raymond Delgado through a series of traumatizing events in his life which leads him to become a walking encyclopedia of psychosis and a cannibal. After killing yet another cellmate, he and a few other less desirables are transferred to Hoxford, an institute for the criminally insane. This place is being kept pretty top secret too. They won’t even let a young psychiatrist in to see her patients. The guards and the warden also seem to have a taste for raw meat. Once checked in, Raymond takes a chunk out of another inmate and gets everyone sent back to their cells… except for the poor sap bleeding all over the place. The guards take him on down to the meat locker where he makes a gory discovery before meeting a delicious end.

Written, drawn, and colored by Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night and Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse), this guy is a comic book triple threat. The writing is good, moving along at a steady pace that doesn’t feel rushed. The artwork is an acquired taste, but if you liked 30 Days of Night, you’ll like this too. The same goes with the colors. While monotonous and bleak, they still somehow seem to add to the story.

This is the first time I’ve read anything written by Templesmith and I was not disappointed. The book seems like a demented version of Oz. Again, the artwork is an acquired taste, but right up my ally for the type of story being told. In the end, I give this issue a 4 out of 5 stars.

August 14, 2008 Posted by | Comic Books, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment