Spiffy Says: Reviews for 7/16/08

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This week was exceptional (note: prepare for a lot of repetitive adjectives in this post). We got it all: the continuation of one of the finest sagas in comics, a giant sized issue featuring the two darkest “heroes” in comics, another issue of the finest mini series that’s NOT a crossover, another Final Crisis tie-in done well and another Secret Invasion tie in done in true mediocre fashion. Read on for one of the most top heavy weeks in recent memory.

5. Mighty Avengers #16: Brian Michael Bendis, Khoi Pham. For every other issue that came out this week, a low ranking was representative of how awesome every issue was. Not this one. This was an easy pick for the bottom of the rankings, but it wasn’t devoid of some highlights. Spoiler free: this issue described the story of Elektra and her battle with the Skrulls and how she was replaced. It was a lot of action, and not a lot of surprises. Here’s a SPOILER FILLED excerpt from the lone messageboard I frequent that will describe my thoughts on the issue:
“I thought this was lame. The only thing we actually learned from this issue was the weird love story and I’m sorry, but I didn’t give a shit.

And I didn’t really like Khoi Pham. He did a tie-in or issue earlier in Mighty or New, and I remember being off and on about him. His proportions were off, the faces were weird and he was sometimes too sketchy, but I need to look at the issue again to see why he rubbed me the wrong way. Regardless, I would have liked this issue a lot better if I liked the guy’s art, because most of this issue was action, and action scenes are predicated on the artist moreso than the writer most of the time (sometimes writers can transcend that). So I didn’t find myself loving the action as much as I would’ve. Yes, I loved Elektra being a badass before she went out, and her doing the obligatory sword stab through the stomach, but I didn’t fully enjoy it, and I didn’t think the Hand thing was that great either, aside from her chopping the head off the leader. It was cool that it was easy, but also unrealistic: after reading so many things with the Hand or Hydra involvement, you can’t just kill the leader and one guy from Hydra and make your problems disappear and come up with an alliance between the two forces. I would’ve liked to see more politics to see this happen than just ONE fight.”

All in all, I didn’t feel like I really needed to read this issue at all for SI’s sake, and didn’t find myself liking it a helluva lot on its own merits. Aside from Secret Invasion itself, I can’t wait to read the Avengers titles again without skrulls, because they were far superior to what we have now, aside from about every other one from each title.

AND NOW, for AWESOME. I could have made this a four way tie for 1st place, but instead I’ll just try and narrow it to the top two, and shaft the others, that are a sliver behind the rest.

4. 1985 #3 (of 6): Mark Millar, Tommy Lee Edwards. The beginning of this issue was the highlight, and really, the human factor of this mini series is what makes it so strong. The father and son relationship between Jerry and his son Toby is captivating, and the dark history of Jerry and his friend Clyde is what we all want to know about first and foremost (moreso than why Doctor Doom is living in this town, although of course the answer to both are tied to one another), and just the real life dialogue kills (it’s like Kick-Ass only rated PG-13). Edwards’ art is also a huge highlight, having won Fucktastic Artist of the week last month. Here it’s more of the same, although I would say it’s not as fucktastic as the first two issues. We get some appearances from more villains, and finally Toby knows he’s not the only one who sees them. I can’t wait for the second half of this saga, because it’s set up beautifully.

3. Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge #1 (of 3): Geoff Johns, Scott Kolins. While the mini series itself hasn’t been as good as Secret Invasion so far, the tie-ins for Final Crisis that I’ve read, have been far superior. The first thing I wanted to do after reading this issue was reread their brilliant Flash run and then catch up on the Flash title, because some huge things have happened since I gave a shit, including the death of a character. Here we get the old Rogues’ coming back to their old haunt after an escape, and determined to do one last thing before walking out in the sunset. Captain Cold might be my favorite DC villain, and his presence here rules. The many Kolins pencilled panels where they show his eye slits RULE. Some great stuff here, and while some of it would’ve been made better if I had been caught up with all the goings on with these characters, the set up didn’t lag at all. Count me in for issue 2 and 3.

1. Moon Knight #20: Mike Benson, Mike Deodato Jr. Here’s the third and arguably best of the $3.99 issues this week (Rogues’ and 1985 being the others), marked by the arrival of guest (?) penciller Deodato, replacing the unfortunately named Mark Teixeira (but an artist who I had grown to love in this title). Deodato in his work on T-Bolts has made him one of my favorites, and he amazes in his work here, it’s so dark, human and gritty, and his Werewolf By Night is scary. The werewolf himself is the big draw in this issue, and while the issue was almost entirely a flashback, it illuminated what Marc Spector’s next move was, and it completely fits with his character. The first person narration of this title is topnotch, and has been since Huston wrote it at the start, and could very well be the best in comics, along with the other #1 of this week. I just loved this issue, having always been a fan of Jack Russell/Werewolf By Night. Another real highlight, which made it a no brainer at #1, was the inclusion of Moon Knight/Specter’s origin in Werewolf By Night #32 and 33. Written by Doug Moench and with art by Don Perlin, the issues are camp, to be sure, but surprisingly dark at points and immediately interesting (especially to see Specter’s seedy beginnings), in part due to how much it fits with this issue. It made me want to know more about the history of these characters in the current issue. Fine work.

1. Captain America #40: Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting. This ranking should come as no surprise to people who read the title or have followed my well documented man crush on Brubaker and this title in particular. The last issue was solid, but one of the weaker issues of the run, but this issue keeps the best long running story in comics going, and the ending gives it a big shot in the arm that will promise to make the next few issues incredible. We get a great Sin/Sharon fight and interaction in this issue, and the ending will be exactly what you DIDN’T expect from the outcome. The Cap vs. Cap fight delivered, and the bickering of the the best trio of villains you’ll see in any comic (Red Skull, Dr. Faustus and Dr. Zola, ‘natch) made this issue one of the best in awhile. It’s hard to gush any more about Epting than has already been done on this blog, but it’s not a coincidence that after seeing mediocre art in this title for the first time last issue I gave the title a middling ranking, and this week it gets #1, in a week with more competition than perhaps the 15 issue onslaught of a few weeks prior.

Fucktastic Writers of The Week: Ed Brubaker, Captain America. Mike Benson, Moon Knight. Geoff Johns, Rogues’ Revenge.

Fucktastic Artists of The Week: Mike Deodato Jr., Moon Knight. Steve Epting, Captain America. Scott Kolins, Rogues’ Revenge. I can’t put TLE here, even though I want to. 3 out of 5 is too many as is.

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4 Responses to “Spiffy Says: Reviews for 7/16/08”

  1. gokitalo Says:

    I love you guys. I’ll be back soon. I’ll read your Preview Reviews. I will laugh and cry simultaneously while I do so. Then I will read Final Crisis: Rogues Revenge #1 and probably agree with Spiffy.

    Speaking of which, I just bought the third trade of Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins run on The Flash, “Crossfire,” and it was fantastic. Buy Rogues Revenge, kids: it will be worth your while.

  2. spiffyithaca Says:

    YES, I just FUDO’d with your post

    Awww, I love you too Goki. We miss you. When do you come back already? Or are you back?!

    And listen to what he says readers: read Rogues’ Revenge

  3. davidry214 Says:

    Great post, sorry it took me a while to get to it.

    I really liked your Moon Knight review. Made me almost want to check it out, actually. But I actually know nothing of Werewolf by Night. Oh, and Teixeira did a few early issue of Priest’s Black Panther (which Moon Knight later had a guest appearance in), and yeah, he’s awesome.

    Couldn’t agree more on Rogues and Cap.

    I’m glad 1985 is keeping it up. Doesn’t surprise me, since anyone whose name is Tommy Lee must be good.

  4. spiffyithaca Says:

    It’s weird; back when I was still reading comics every once in awhile, I bought the first issue of Moon Knight. I read it on the plane much later, and didn’t remember it.

    Then it was recommended to me. Now I’ve read every issue, thanks to my friend Will’s trades and the fact that my store had like 5 back issues. I guess that wasn’t a very worthwhile story, but I’ve come full circle, and the book is great. Dark and gritty like Batman should be, and he’s even more of an asshole.

    Tommy Lee rules.

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