The Un-needed and Un-asked for and Un-Grammatically Correct Biweekly Rundown

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Biweekly Rundown: Quick Hitters

 

Here are mini reviews for the past two weeks of comics! Enjoy, and beware, it’s a long one (that’s what she said).

 

Ultimate Origins #1 (of 5): Written by Brian Michael Bendis accompanied with art by Butch Guice. I decided to take a dip into a Universe that I hadn’t read since I was still keeping up with Ultimate Spider-Man, which was the last vestige from what used to be everything Ultimate that Marvel put out. It expanded too much and too fast in my opinion, even if the quality was almost always there. Because I so fondly remember the beginning of the Ultimate universe, I was very much intrigued to check out Ultimate Origins, especially since it’s written by one of the Ultimate brainchild’s, Bendis himself. This first issue was superb. Guice does some great work with pencils, and it’s really good to see him get back into comics, and taking big projects with him (Captain America and now this). It begins with a flashback to when Spidey first met Bruce Banner, and him exclaiming “It’s all connected”, which has become the mantra for this mini series and apparently the Ultimate universe. What does that mean? We’re going to find out, and if this issue is any indication, it’s going to be fucking great. This issue was mostly set up, taking us back to World War II, giving us a glimpse into a man called James Howlett, Nicholas Fury, and hey, a cameo by a crime underworld. The ending was great, and I don’t want to spoil too much. Pick it Up.

 

Spiffy Says…Fly Down

 

Trinity #1: Written by Kurt Busiek with pencils by Mark Bagley, and featuring a back-up story by Busiek and Fabian Nicieza with Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens doing the art. One of the bigger events of June in comicdom, this new weekly title features DC’s holy trinity of characters: Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman (their coolness factor is in that order). To me, it’s a bit of a let down. This is definitely a set up issue, introducing the fact that all three characters are sharing similar dreams that is being communicated to them by some ginormous cosmic being. They meet in their alter egoes, it’s all fun, and bam, it’s over before it really gets interesting. Trinity is set up as having the main story and a back up, and honestly, I’d rather them just combine the two into one, so the main story doesn’t feel so short, and because the back up story is completely linked to our heroes. It features a mysterious villain named Enigma and Morgaine Le Fey working together to usurp our trinity of characters. Much like Ultimate Origins, “it’s all connected” is how to describe this issue. Bagley’s work isn’t as good as what he was on Ultimate Spider-Man, but there really isn’t any reason to sing his praises. I also thought Busiek played up the alter ego cheese factor way too much, even if they were trying to stay incognito, they just don’t act like that, as far as I’m concerned.

 

Spiffy Says….Fly Stuck

 

Avengers/Invaders #2 (of 12): Written by Jim Krueger and Alex Ross with art by Steve Sadowski. The first issue was pretty solid, and this one is much of the same, but I’m not really into it so far. I don’t get the same feel for the present day Avengers as I do when Bendis is writing them, and Sadowski’s pencils are largely underwhelming and inconsistent at times. It’s just predictable so far: Invaders come to future, and because no one can TALK IT OUT (hey, kinda like Civil War), they have to duke it out with the Avengers, even with Tony Stark conflicted with Steve’s big return. It just seems jilted and off to me so far. Present day Bucky has yet to make a mark in this mini, and surely he will, and I’m looking forward to it. But at this rate, I might not care by the time that happens. The ending was promising, but definitely a brash and stupid move that would only happen in a crossover event. Maybe I’m being too hard on it.

 

Spiffy Says….Fly Stuck/Fly Up

 

Batman: Gotham After Midnight #1 (of 12): I had no idea this mini series existed until I read a last page blurb at the end of Trinity #2 (see below). It’s written by Steve Niles (who wrote the apparently excellent 30 Days of Night which was bastardized in the form of a Josh Hartnett movie), with art by Kelley Jones (who I’m unfamiliar with). The story is basically revolving around yet another Arkham break, but with someone new pulling the strings, a new villain named Midnight (who looks suitably fucked up and cool). Batman takes on Scarecrow and Axeman in this issue. Basically, as expected with Niles involved, it’s creepier and darker than most mainstream Batman stories, which I think is how he should be written more often. Kelley Jones is the perfect compliment to the story, and can really draw creepy. He (or she?) draws Batman with this obscenely long flowing cape and cowl, with longer horns than Ron Jeremy’s dick, and it works in this story. It’s almost old-fashioned and 1950s-y, but at the same time not camp at all, just dark. I’m looking forward to issue 2, good stuff from this one, and I think it’s just getting started.

 

Spiffy Says….Fly Down

 

Secret Invasion #3 (of 8): Brian Michael Bendis and Leinel Francis Yu is the creative team of the Marvel event you may have heard of by now. I’ve been writing too much, so I’m going to cut this short. We get a glimpse at all the many plotlines (and hey, they actually advance a bit this one), and most importantly, we get to see some sweet Skrull action in this one. The Times Square fight is sweet, and judging by the ending, it’s going to get even better. There’s also possibly the biggest moment in Marvel SINCE Captain America’s death. It might not be realized or true or what we may or may not think, but there are some huge implications in this issue, and I’ll leave it at that. The art by Yu is as stellar as ever.

 

Spiffy Says….Fly Down

 

Kick-Ass #3: Written by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. Finally. This issue was about a month late. Davie Lizewski, the first real-life superhero, is now a Youtube sensation and has his superhero name….Kick-Ass. From there we get some heartbreaking and relatable high school drama, with one of the most ingenious High School gossip ever explaining Dave’s frequent beatings. Kick-Ass goes on his next meeting, and predictably gets more than he bargained for, but as I’ve come to expect, you have no idea where it’s going. The ending was terrific. I’m a bit concerned in how it’s handled in issue 4, but that’s future Andy’s problem to deal with. Also, while I may be the only one on Earth who thinks that Romita isn’t God’s gift to comicbooks and that he’s overrated, he does his best bloody work on this title that I’ve seen in awhile (and granted, I haven’t seen as much as I should).

 

Spiffy Says….Fly Down

 

Moon Knight #19: Written by Mike Benson (co-plotted by Charlie Huston) with pencils by Mark Teixeira. It’s the finale to “God and Country”, and the issue that I touted in my weekly column for this week. As usual, the narrating monologue for this book is fantastic, but unusual, is that it’s not Marc Spector (aka Moon Knight), but Black Spectre/Carson Knowles’ narration, which makes it all the better and more interesting. Teixeira’s art is the best I’ve seen from him, and maybe that’s because I’m finally used to it, but I feel like it’s gotten darker and more consistent page to page since he first started (which makes sense). There’s great moments with Crawley and as usual, a terrific scene between lovers and fighters Marc and Marlene in a diner. The finale is really great, and a worthy end to Benson’s first arc on the title. I went into this arc debating whether or not I should…but Benson and company have me on board for the foreseeable future (WEREWOLF BY NIGHT RULES).

 

Spiffy Says….Fly Down

 

Green Arrow and Black Canary #9: Written by Judd Winick with art by Mike Norton. Green Arrow has been one of, if not my favorite character in comics since I started reading in 2001. While I haven’t heard particularly great things about this series, and I wonder where Judd Winick’s awesome has gone, I thought I should give the new storyline, “A League of Their Own”, a shot. Why? Well Plastic Man was on the cover, a definite plus, and it was kind of a slow week and I wanted some Ollie in my life. I didn’t really know what was happening with the “League of Assassins” that everyone in the title is following, but the banter was solid (if not a little too cheesy, especially between Speedy and a guy I fondly refer to as guy with prominent sole patch) and it was for the most part enjoyable, even if I didn’t know what was entirely going on (but you don’t really have to, and yes, this parenthetical was added to make this sentence 40 words longer than necessary). I was surprised I liked Norton’s art as much as I did. It’s really clean and kind of cartoon-y, but for a lighthearted romp, it works, and I particularly liked it. The ending adds another Justice Leaguer to the mix, and it’ll be enough for me to try the next issue, just because I’m determined to a) waste money and b) always read something with Green Arrow in it.

 

Spiffy Says….Fly Stuck/Fly Down

 

Trinity #2: Written by Kurt Busiek, Fabian Nicieza with pencils by Mark Bagley and Tom Derenick. I was hoping this issue would take the story to new heights, or at least make it more interesting and exciting to read…but that hasn’t happened yet, and since it’s a weekly title, I question whether or not I’m going to make that type of commitment to it. Again, I felt like the stories shouldn’t have been separated. In issue one the back up story was more interesting than the main one, in this one, the back up story didn’t really need to exist, because it didn’t add a whole lot to anything, except get a Green Lantern in the mix. My favorite part was the dialogue between villains Enigma and Fey discussing how the “Trinity” fights off the obligatory cosmic powers in their respective cities, and in particular, Enigma’s sentiment toward Batman (he loves him). The art’s great, and I do like how there is a new artist for every back up story (the only benefit from having it), but I don’t know if Busiek has advanced the story enough for me to get issue 3.

 

Spiffy Says….Fly Up and untouched except for Enigma/Batman moment.

 

Secret Invasion: Who Do You Trust? Written by Brian Reed, Mike Carey, Christos Gage, Zeb Wells and Jeff Parker, with art by Lee Weeks, Timothy Green III, Mike Perkins, Steve Kurth and Leonard Kirk. This one-shot wasn’t originally on my pull list for the week, but because I had heard good things, I decided to go back in and get it yesterday (along with Batman and Avengers/Invaders). Much like the Civil War one-shot “Choosing Sides”, this one-shot features stories about various characters around the Marvel U and their dealings with the Secret Invasion. Unlike “Choosing Sides”, these stories are actually interesting and relevant to the crossover event, and because of that, they actually matter (as much as I love Howard the Duck, it gave more credence to “Choosing Sides” being a joke). We get to see Captain Marvel, Agent Brand, Wonder Man and Beast, Marvel Boy and Agents of Atlas. All of them except the latter have played roles into Secret Invasion to this point. It’s little wonder that Agents of Atlas is one of the weaker ones. I really liked Reed’s Captain Marvel story, because it clears stuff up about what’s been happening in Secret Invasion, and illuminates a little more about Mar-Vell himself (which is hard to do, because who knows what’s going on with him half the time) Lee Weeks’ art in Captain Marvel was Romita-esque, and I actually mean that as a compliment, despite me insulting him earlier. A lot of the stories I simply liked because they were informative, which particularly came into play with Agent Brand’s story by Carey. The art by Green kind of had a SI Yu feel (which is a lot different from his New Avengers) and I just liked learning about who the fuck Agent Brand and S.W.O.R.D. is, because I had no idea. The highlight of the issue for me, was predictably, the Wonder Man & Beast story by Gage. It was fun to see Perkins do art other than Crossgen and Captain America, and it was even more fun to see best friends reunite, even if we didn’t know who was a skrull or not, and that was completely the point. The ending was predictable, but who cares, it was a delight. P.S. Wonder Man still sucks. I find a hard time caring about Marvel Boy and the Cube and have a hard time following it, even now, but there were cool moments, and Kurth’s art was great. The fact that I even cared about the Agents of Atlas story is praise enough for Jeff Parker, because I really didn’t going in (who the fuck are they and why should I like anyone led by Gorilla Man?), but there were some really cool moments in this, even if I wonder why it was even in the one-shot, because all other one’s had endings leading to other places except this one.

 

Spiffy Says….That was way long….but fly down

 

Booster Gold #10: Written by Geoff Johns and Jeff Katz, with pencils by Dan Jurgens. “Blue & Gold” featuring one of the best duos in comics (Booster Gold and Blue Beetle, ‘natch) continues to be enjoyable and continues to surprise me, (sometimes) because I don’t know any better. I love me some time travel and I love me some humor. But there wasn’t anything funny about the ending (as it shouldn’t), even if it was excellent. Check out the coolest book DC puts out.

 

Spiffy Says….Fly Down

 

FINAL WORD

The Best: Secret Invasion #3 and Ultimate Origins #1

The Worst: Avengers/Invaders #2 and Trinity #1-2

My favorite word: pickle

 

Thanks for sitting through all that folks. You did me proud.

 

–Spiff

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6 Responses to “The Un-needed and Un-asked for and Un-Grammatically Correct Biweekly Rundown”

  1. Gokitalo Says:

    DC’s holy trinity of characters: Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman (their coolness factor is in that order).

    Pfft, lame.

    because no one can TALK IT OUT (hey, kinda like Civil War)

    Ha!

    Ultimate Origins and Booster Gold are the ones I’m most excited about. Origins because Bendis is one of the architects of the Ultimate U. and Booster Gold because it’s all kinds of entertaining. But I’ll get Trinity #2 and the Secret Invasion comics too, since both series haven’t been bad.

  2. spiffyithaca Says:

    Well, the Secret Invasion comics come recommended! And you’ll probably like Trinity #2 more than me

  3. Gokitalo Says:

    Maaybe. Thing is with Kurt Busiek, I find his work on DC and Marvel to be stronger when he’s doing human-scale, Astro City-esque stories (Marvels, Secret identity) than the regular stuff. But I didn’t think Trinity #1 was bad, so maybe I’ll dig #2.

  4. davidry214 Says:

    You know what’s bizarre? I’ve like 7 Ultimate issues ever, yet even I’m slightly interested in Origins. Not interested enough to buy/read it, but definitely interested enough that I hope for spoilers.

    And I’ll be watching for further reviews on Winick, because I too would love to read a Green Arrow book

  5. spiffyithaca Says:

    Ultimate Origins #1 was pretty great.

    SPOILERS:
    -Nick Fury, Wilson Fisk and James Howlett all fought in the war together
    -Nick Fury was taken into custody and subjected to Super Soldier experimentation in an attempt to repeat the success with Cap
    -James Howlett is subjected to Weapon Plus/X what have you experimentation…..these scientists CREATED the first mutant with Wolverine, and it was something that “spread”, which is pretty gnarly

    That’s the big stuff so far. Goki said it wasn’t bad, but I loved it for whatever reason

  6. spiffyithaca Says:

    And oh, I will try to keep you up to date with Green Arrow and Black Canary.

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