10/7/09 Reviews

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Was there a comic you weren’t sure about buying? Want to know how some issue was, so you can reconsider buying it? Don’t want the hassle of thinking for yourself? Before you go back to the store Wednesday, take a look at the return of GGG’s weekly reviews.

I’m going to give some quick thoughts on what I bought last week and give each comic a rating on a 5-point scale, with half-points available. The following issues reviewed this week:

Batman Annual #27

Batman and Robin #5

Justice League: Cry for Justice #4

Marvel Spotlight: Deadpool

The Torch #2

If you checked out the weekly recommendations thread (DO IT), you know I also bought Peter and Max: A Fables Novel, which was my most anticipated release of the month. However, it’s a 400+ page novel, so it’ll take me some time to get to it. It’ll have its own separate review when that happens.

Dave’s “Best of the Week” Spotlight

The Torch #2

The Torch #2

The Torch #2 (of 8 )

Story by Alex Ross, Jim Krueger, and Mike Carey; script by Mike Carey

Art by Patrick Berkenkotter; cover by Alex Ross

RATING: 4.5/5

The first issue was pretty good, but I still was not completely sold on this miniseries until #2 came out. I’m sold now. The original Human Torch, the android Jim Hammonds, has been brought back to life. His old partner, Toro (Tom Raymond), is learning the secrets behind his own abilities. And behind it all is the Mad Thinker, an underrated villain who looks like one of the best bad guys in comicdom under this writing crew. Berkenkotter was not familiar to me, but his art is good. There has already been a good deal of plot development, and Carey & Co. have given the story an underlying mystery and suspense, both in Torch and Toro’s true nature and especially in what exactly the Mad Thinker’s endgame is. The ending gave us a very interesting cliffhanger that has me excited for the next installment.

Quick Hits: The rest of 9/7/09

Batman and Robin #5

Batman and Robin #5

Batman and Robin #5

Written by Grant Morrison

Art by Philip Tan and Johnathan Clarion; cover by Frank Quitely

RATING: 4/5

Part Two of “Revenge of the Red Hood,” in which Batman and Robin take on Red Hood and Scarlet, Gotham’s newest crime-fighting duo — or, perhaps more accurately, crime-killing duo. The action is good; the dialogue ranges from great to mediocre and cliched, but mostly stays above average. Tan’s art is mostly very good, but he always seems to lapse on a couple panels. The ending was not what I expected, so we’ll see where Morrison takes his intriguing story from here.

Batman Annual #27

Batman Annual #27

Batman Annual #27

Written by Fabian Nicieza

Art and cover by Jim Calafiore and Mark McKenna

RATING: 3.5/5

I didn’t intend to buy this, but it was in my box, so I went with it. It was solid, at times very good. The story has Batman and Robin tracking a priest killer and stumbling into a plot by a radical religious sect, bringing them into an uneasy alliance with Gotham’s most unpredictable vigilante, Azrael. The story will continue in the Detective Comics Annual, setting up the new Azrael ongoing series. I’ve never had any love for Az, and despite a good story here, I’m still unlikely to get his new book. I will say that Nicieza is a great writer (I adored his Thunderbolts), so it’ll probably be very good. Calafiore’s art is OK. His pencils remind me some of Doug Mahnke; both are otherwise good artists who draw weird, kind of overly angular faces. Mahnke has actually gotten better about that recently, while Calafiore’s work looks the same here.

Justice League: Cry For Justice #4

Justice League: Cry For Justice #4

Justice League: Cry for Justice #4 (of 7)

Written by James Robinson

Art and cover by Mauro Cascioli

RATING: 3/5

This is a tough miniseries to grade. The basic plot is mostly good, but it’s developing slowly and has a couple weird holes. The dialogue is mediocre at best and the moral implications are often too heavy-handed. However, there are some entertaining dynamics and it’s solid conceptually. The highlight is Cascioli’s art, which is absolutely gorgeous. I also like that Robinson spends a few pages at the end of each issue talking about a different character featured in the mini, why he chose him/her, and speaking candidly about different stories or creators he does or does not like; it’s a nice behind-the-scenes glimpse into a creator’s thought process, which is rare. I’ll buy the rest of this miniseries and give JLA a shot when Robinson takes it over this month, but I hope he brings more consistency to that main title.

Marvel Spotlight: Deadpool

Marvel Spotlight: Deadpool

Marvel Spotlight: Deadpool

Writing/art credits: Various

RATING: N/A

I’m not giving this a rating, because it would be unfair to give it a 0 just because I misunderstood what I was buying. I thought this would be similar to the free Moon Knight comic Marvel gave out a little over a month ago — it gave the character’s history and led into what he was doing now. Well, Spotlight doesn’t do that. Instead, it has a bunch of interview with current and former Deadpool creators, talking about the character and what they like about it. Interesting? I guess to some. But not at all worth $2.99 to me, especially when I was just looking for something to give me an indication of whether to buy the main Deadpool series. A better indication would have been actually buying the main Deadpool series. Oh well. Lesson learned.

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9 Responses to “10/7/09 Reviews”

  1. gokitalo Says:

    The original cover:

    You won’t believe some of the online hubbub over Cry for Justice. People flipped out over this one scene that implied Hal got his freak on with two superheroines at once:

    Oh, they don’t like the dialogue a lot either. Although I do like this page with the Shade (and other familiar faces from James Robinson’s Starman run):
    http://asylums.insanejournal.com/scans_daily/1022560.html

    Glad to hear Torch was good! I’ll probably still trade-wait, although it’s hard to say no to a comic with beekeeper AIM agents on the cover.

  2. davidry214 Says:

    Yeah, that Hal line was pretty unnecessary and not particularly in character, but I took it in the vein of humor in which I think it was intended. My reading of that page interpreted Ollie making a joke with Hal, who played along, rather than seriously implying Hal had a drunken threesome. It seems to me more likely that two great old friends would make a sex joke than a serious superhero would secretly be a sex addict.

    And yeah, the dialogue on the whole is fairly indefensible, but it has been interesting to see Robinson weave some rarely used characters, including some he has a history with. I bought the first Starman omnibus, though I haven’t read it yet, and look forward to getting that whole run.

    Torch is really, really good, and I think you would very much enjoy it. Trade wait if you must, but make you actually get it in trade, and that this isn’t just some stalling technique on a book you’ll never really read. I’M ON TO YOU, GOKI!!

  3. Gokitalo Says:

    *turns to the Cabal*

    HE KNOWS

    Doom: “BAH!”
    Namor: “You incompetent–”
    Emma Frost: “I ought to turn your brain to mush–”
    Norman Osborn: “Stay calm, Norman, remember your temper, remember your tem-temp-temmperrrr…”
    Loki: “Ha. Ha ha ha ha ha.”
    Hood: “…



    “lol wut”

  4. davidry214 Says:

    Come on Goki. Deep down, you know you want to Eat More Comics. And you can’t eat what you don’t buy. Well, you might be able to, if your comic guy isn’t very attentive, but you can savor them better at home.

  5. Gokitalo Says:

    Why, Dave! Do I detect some…
    DBZ Abridged EPIC FORESHADOWING

    … in your last post?

  6. dillonmania Says:

    God, Cry For Justice is *terrible*. The last issue wasn’t so bad, but overall it’s truly the worst thing I’ve read in a long time. All it has going for it is the art, which is wasted on this crap.

  7. davidry214 Says:

    I don’t think it’s that bad, but yeah, it has been disappointing, and doesn’t bode well for the main Justice League title.

  8. dillonmania Says:

    At least a couple of issues have had me in awe of its badness. I actually thought it was so bad it was funny.

  9. davidry214 Says:

    I think it’s solid conceptually, but the dialogue is so pathetic, or laughably terrible, or anything else bad you want to say about it.

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