Delayed Two-Pack: Reviews for 8/27 and 9/3

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Behold! The reviews from two weeks past, and I’m STILL behind. Reviews for 9/10 will come a lot faster than these did, I promise. Click on for a recap of the past two weeks.

Weekly Rankings for 8/27/08

 

A huge week here. Take it all in slowly, or else you may collapse. I almost did writing it.

10. Runaways #1: Terry Moore, Humberto Ramos. Now even with a last place ranking, this isn’t a bad issue, and held promise. But, since Ramos’ art, while better than he’s sometimes been, is still revolting and something I can’t justify paying for, I probably won’t be back for issue 2. But Moore has a good grasp of the characters here, and it’ll be interesting to see the crew return to L.A. That said, I’m not entirely sure if these guys should exist if not written by Vaughan. Granted I haven’t read Whedon’s storyline, but I know it wasn’t as brilliant as Vaughan’s, which delivered one of my favorite runs on any book ever.

 

9. Mighty Avengers #17: Brian Michael Bendis, Khoi Pham. This was the first issue I read, and while I didn’t buy it, I’m ranking it on memory (which may have hurt its chances for a higher rating). It was a good issue. When I saw the cover, it made me want to vomit, but this issue is about a skrull Hank Pym having second thoughts about the Invasion, because even skrully Pym acts like a bitch. The skrulls don’t like second thoughts. Bam, fight scene. I really like the idea, but again, with most of these tie-ins, it didn’t warrant an entire issue, especially when drawn by Khoi Pham, who would win the worst artist of the week award if not for Ramos.

 

8. Ambush Bug #2 (of 6): Keith Giffen, Robert Loren Fleming. This low ranking is probably the surprise of the week, but it’s more indicative of the awesome competition this week than Ambush Bug’s quality. #1 was exactly what I wanted at the time and was almost the best of the week if I ranked it, and this was a continuation of that issue, but just not as funny or brilliant as the first. Maybe the concept of ridiculousness wears off or maybe I’m being an asshole, but this is where I had to slot this issue. Fleming’s art is perfect for this story, and I’d definitely like to see him do something else as well.

 

7. Batman: Gotham After Midnight #4 (of 12): Steve Niles, Kelley Jones. This was probably the best issue of the series so far. I’m trying to cut titles down, but this issue definitely delivered the goods. Jones had some brilliant art here, especially in scenes with Midnight, Clayface vs. Batman and Commissioner Gordon, and he delivered some of the greatest panels I saw this week. That said, when the action goes to a glam ball, he/she is entirely out of his/her element, and it’s kind of hard to watch. There’s also a dialogue between Batman and Alfred that seemed kinda out of character, but that may have been a reflection of the old school style of this story. With the ending this issue had, it’s hard to see this story last another 8 issues, but I’m going to be there in a month to find out.

 

6. New Avengers #44: Brian Michael Bendis, Billy Tan. As usual, New Avengers is markedly better than Mighty, and I could’ve told you by the cover and/or the solit. While I was hoping for some more illuminati, it was actually pretty sweet to see some more skrull workings behind the scene, and this issue really made them a sicker and more evil villain overall. What their scientists do to secure their invasion is eerie, and great stuff. The highlight of this issue, though, is Billy Tan, a rising stud in the industry. He’s just brilliant. One quibble, which can be seen as major by some, is that I am having more and more trouble finding consistency/reason with how Bendis portrays the skrulls and their powers and how they’ve been able to duplicate heroes and such.

 

And now, they get even better. These next three are nearly impossible to rank, but I’ll do what I can.

 

5. X-Men Legacy #215: Mike Carey, Scot Eaton. Making it’s debut in the rankings this week, X-Men performs rather admirably. I’ve really enjoyed this book since I got on, reading the past arc. Xavier’s journey to put his life and mind back together has been interesting and illuminating and has been a great character study for all X-Men characters he’s encountered, and there’s been a few. This issue focuses on Xavier reaching out to Cyclops, which predictably turns out poorly. There’s also some Rogue and Hellfire Club stuff sprinkled in here that will payoff big time later. Xavier and Cyke’s stuff was quite sweet, and the ending sets up rather nicely for a great issue. Carey teams with Scot Eaton, who has really improved his work since the Messiah CompleX storyline. While he was merely good there, he’s now become a formidable force. This book could easily be the best X book on the stands (yes, better than Uncanny X-Men).

 

4. Kick-Ass #4: Mark Millar, John Romita Jr. The ultra violent and ultra cool book about Dave Lizewski’s quest to become a superhero FINALLY comes back with another issue, and it doesn’t disappoint in the least. We get more info on the crazy violent little girl (Hit-Girl) and her buddy Big Daddy, and it’s pretty sweet and mildly terrifying. The rest of the issue seems to be setting up some mafia story in the future, and the ending is just fucking great. This book already has a movie coming out in 2009, and it’s only been 4 issues. That’s how fucked up/cool this story is.

 

3. The Immortal Iron Fist #18: Duane Swierczynski, Travel Foreman. The first issue was the best of that particular week, and this one is very close. It’s amazing that the creative team has completely turned over, but in two issues, it’s as high octane as it was under Brubaker and Fraction, with even more implications than before, if that’s possible. We’re perhaps witnessing the death of Danny Rand here folks, and I’m loving it. The only thing I don’t love? Foreman’s art. It’s just so inconsistent and doesn’t seem like a good fit for a martial arts book. It obviously doesn’t detract from the story, so it’s not Humberto Ramos bad, but it’s the one thing I can find to critique this book about.

 

AND NOW, a tie at #1

 

1. Wolverine #68: Mark Millar, Steve McNiven. Millar had a pretty good week, I’d say. Part 3 of “Old Man Logan” is the best so far, and I just LOVE this story. Who knew futuristic Wolverine is what it took to make the title more interesting and cool than it’s been in years (of course I haven’t read any of it, so I’m an idiot)?  Logan and Hawkeye face the Kingpin of Crime, and while I wish it was more explicit to who he was instead of some future bad Luke Cage ripoff, it had some great scenes, particularly in the ending. And there was one spread, drawn fantastically by studmuffin McNiven that blew me away because of its gore and surprise factor. AWESOME.

 

1. Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge #2 (of 3): Geoff Johns, Scott Kolins. It’s been almost a week since I read it, but I remember my feeling after I finished this issue: Wow. I knew it wasn’t going to be topped and I knew it was easily the best Final Crisis related issue so far in the event, and will be hard pressed to top. Johns is a master at writing these rogues, and has cemented Captain Cold as my favorite DC villain. Scott Kolins is the perfect counterpart, and he really has grown even better and more consistent than he was back on their famed Flash run from years previous. In this issue the “old” rogues, featuring the familiar Cold and company take on the “new” Rogues, those hired by Libra, and the results couldn’t be any better than they are. BUY THIS BOOK. If #3 isn’t #1, I’ll stop reading comics.

 

Fucktastic Writer(s) of the Week: Geoff Johns (Rogues’) and Mark Millar. Easy decisions here. Millar gets perhaps the bigger nod, because not only did he give us Wolverine, but Kick-Ass as well.

 

Fucktastic Artists of the Week: Steve McNiven (Wolverine) takes top honors, but Scott Kolins (Rogues’) and Billy Tan (New Avengers) also deserve mention.


Weekly Rankings for 9/3/08

 

It was a very small week this week, and I very well could’ve skipped the comicbook store entirely. But instead I took a chance on two #1’s, one in the DC Universe and one in the Marvel Knights universe. Both intrigue. Read on.

 

2. Secret Six #1: Gail Simone, Nicola Scott. Let’s get this out there: I’ve heard of Deadshot and that’s it out of the Secret Six and I couldn’t even name you the other five if I tried (Catman, Scandal, Ragdoll, Bane….I’m close). I only bought this issue for one reason: Gail Simone. She’s produced practically the funniest comic I’ve ever read (Agent X/Deadpool) and was (is?) superb on another (Birds of Prey). The idea of seeing her go nuts with various villains in DC was too good to pass up. The results? Very interesting, with the possibilities of some great payoff. I loved the interactions between Catman and Deadshot, and I know the back and forth between all of the villains will be the highlight. And also, Gail has already added some great stuff to the mix: a creepy villain named Junior (I didn’t think it was possible) and some Batman and Huntress (Catman and Huntress are boning) action. I’m in for next month’s issue. One caveat: Nicola Scott. Scott’s good and I do enjoy his work thus far, but I think this book could be even more amplified if we got a darker tone and pencils, because a dark black comedy is what this book needs to be. Perhaps it could be done with the inker and colorists, because I get the same feel from this as I did from the nigh cheesecake art of Birds of Prey (Ed Benes).

 

1. Sub-Mariner: The Depths #1: Peter Milligan, Esad Ribic. I had no idea this book even existed until I spied it during the Diamond shipping list, and I was intrigued and marked it as something to look at. When I saw that Ribic was doing the art I was clinched, and Milligan, a respected writer from X-Force/X-Statix fan made it an even easier decision. While it’s probably only #1 because it’s such a small week, it’s no fluke. This creepy, real-world take on Namor is good stuff and Ribic’s gorgeous paintings are just the tapestry for it. Basically, this mini chronicles Captain Stein and his crew in their search for Atlantis and their defiance of the myth of “Namor”. This issue was entirely set up, but the fact that this is so good despite the fact that the namesake of the title doesn’t even show his face, is a good fucking sign. Sign me up.

 

Fucktastic Writer of the Week: Honestly, I don’t think either of them deserve to be fucktastic, but both Gail and Peter were very good.

 

Fucktastic Artist of the Week: Esad Ribic, in a land slide, and he’s due for more.

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One Response to “Delayed Two-Pack: Reviews for 8/27 and 9/3”

  1. Gokitalo Says:

    Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge #2 was amazing. Geoff Johns was BORN to write the Rogues. Scott Kolins’ art was also great, although there were some odd parts where faces inexplicably disappeared. I know some of it was due to shadows, but not always…

    I totally forgot Secret Six was out, but that’s definitely on my radar, since Villains United was so awesome. Can’t go wrong with Catman! Forgot about Ambush Bug too, but the first issue didn’t thrill me as much as I’d hoped…

    On the Marvel end, I haven’t had enough money for “Old Man Logan” these past few months, but I’ll definitely catch up next time I head to the store. As for Runaways, I kind of want to read more of the Vaughan stuff first before trying out Terry Moore’s stuff.

    I’ve been hearing surprisingly good stuff about Milligan’s Sub-Mariner: The Depths (I say surprising because Milligan’s usually at his best when he gets to do weirder stuff), so I just may give old wing-feet a whirl.

    You may interpret the last part of that sentence any way you wish.

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