12/3/09 Reviews

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Welcome to any viewers that are new to the blog. I’m about to do a brief rundown of Thursday’s new comics; please feel free to comment and let us know what you thought about anything I review, or even better, about something I didn’t buy but perhaps should have. I keep spoilers out of my Quick Hit reviews, so if you want to mention something in particular that happened in an issue, all I ask is that you give an all-caps warning first, so no one finds out something they didn’t want to know.

Reviewed this week:

Blackest Night: Flash #1 (of 3)

Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1 (of 3)

Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love #2 (of 6)

Dark Avengers Annual #1

Empowered #1 (special)

Incredible Hercules #138

Jack of Fables #40

JSA All-Stars #1

Torch #4 (of 8 )

Uncanny X-Men #518

 

 

Dec. 3, 2009: Quick Hits

Incredible Hercules #138

Written by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente; art by Rodney Buchemi.

RATING: 4.5/5

This is only the second issue I’ve ever read of this book, but if you take a quick look here, you can see my fairly glowing review of #136 (HercuThor vs. ThorCules). After this issue, part 1 of “Assault on New Olympus,” I’m on board long-term. Issue #136 impressed me with its humor. This issue was also funny, but impressed me with the depth of Pak and Van Lente’s storytelling, who weave an interesting and enjoyable tale. I’m quite hooked, and wish now I’d starting reading sooner. Best part? It’s quite easily accessible.

JSA All-Stars #1

Written by Matt Sturges; art by Freddie Williams II.

RATING: 4/5

Sturges debuts the “B team” of the JSA, though they assert their place in Cyclone’s proclamation that they’re actually the All-Stars. I foresee myself getting tired of the Power Girl/Magog tension sooner rather than later, but Sturges softens it by giving several characters a small chance to shine, most notably Stargirl. Williams’ art is very good, nearly the equal of Jesus Merino on the main Justice Society book.

Uncanny X-Men #418

Written by Matt Fraction; pencilled by Terry Dodson.

RATING: 4/5

“Nation X” reaches its third part (of seven), and although the overall plot advancement is moving a little slowly, the smaller plot points have been great. Here, the psychic rescue is hit-or-miss, but the tension with Magneto is nicely done. The highlight, though, is Iceman and Beast. I was looking forward to a respite from Greg Land’s art, but Dodson actually seemed to be trying to do his best imitation of Land, so it was only a marginal upgrade.

The Torch #4 (of 8 )

Written by Mike Carey, Alex Ross, and Jim Krueger; art by Patrick Berkenkotter.

RATING: 3.5/5

A little less action and a little more table-setting in this issue, which meant less of Mad Thinker, who has been the best part of the miniseries. However, Torch and Toro have a couple nice moments, and the ending was exactly what I was hoping for. Next issue: a fight that’s literally 60 years in the making, a rematch of one of Marvel’s (maybe still Timely’s) earliest, most famous superhero battles.

Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love #2 (of 6)

Written by Chris Roberson; art by Shawn McManus.

RATING: 3.5/5

We get a good look at what to expect out of this miniseries as Roberson fleshes out not only Cinderella, but also Crispin Cordwainer, while introducing us to the intriguing Aladdin — yet another character with nice potential. I’m not sure whether this mini will ever move to the “great” level or just stay pretty good, but I like it.

Blackest Night: Flash #1 (of 3)

Written by Geoff Johns; art by Scott Kolins.

RATING: 3.5/5

I was expecting a little more from this issue, but it was still a nice start. One bigger plot develpment seemed highly illogical and weak, and Kolins’ art was surprisingly nothing special. However, we also got some stuff to look forward to for the remainder of the mini, particularly with the Rogues. 

Dark Avengers Annual #1

Written by Brian Michael Bendis; pencilled by Chris Bachalo.

RATING: 3/5

This annual was all about Marvel Boy, who left the Dark Avengers and his role as Captain Marvel several months ago. Here, he’s trying to find his place in the world, as Bendis tries to establish a new status quo for the character that will surely last beyond Dark Reign. Like Bendis’ plot, sometimes Bachalo’s pencils worked, and sometimes they didn’t. On one page in particular, they failed miserably, and ruined what was supposed to be the biggest part of the issue. Still, Noh-Varr is a good character, and I’ll be interested to see what Marvel does with him.

Jack of Fables #40

Written by Bill Willingham and Matt Sturges; pencilled by Russ Braun.

RATING: 3/5

“The New Adventures of Jack and Jack” concludes, and I’m not sure how to feel about it. The Jack Frost parts were all very good, but the Jack Horner sections are what has me still scratching my head. It’s an odd direction for Willingham and Sturges to go, taking the book to a very different place after “The Great Fables Crossover.” My initial reaction is that I preferred the way things were, but I’ll have to read over the coming months to make that determination with any certainty, I suppose.

Empowered #1 (Special/one-shot)

Written and drawn by Adam Warren.

RATING: 2.5/5

The first Image comic I’ve bought in years, this purchase was entirely the result of my comic guy practically begging me to give the book a shot. I don’t necessarily regret it, though the $3.99 price tag was a bit much for a black-and-white book (to be fair, no ads). The book’s origin, as explained to me, is that Warren was frequently having people come up at conventions and ask him to draw Catwoman or Supergirl or Wonder Woman … in bondage. And from fanboys’ perverted nature, he had to idea to create Empowered, a story about a superheroine of the same name whose costume gives her powers, but tears easily, and she always ends up captured and put in bondage. It sounds like a recipe for comic porn, but there’s no nudity, and it’s actually a subversion of the way superheroines are often treated. At times, it’s a quite good satire, but at others, it’s just trying way too hard to be funny. There are five volumes collected so far, and while I would be tempted to give one a shot, it’d be a ways down on my list (unless I just really want a good laugh).

Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1 (of 3)

Written by Greg Rucka; pencilled by Nicola Scott.

RATING: 1.5/5

If I could use one word to describe this issue, it’d be: boring. If I could use three words, they’d be: really, really boring. I don’t even have to worry about spoiling this issue for you, because hardly anything happens. As for Scott’s art, it’s pretty enough at first glance, but even it’s kind of boring. Emotions play such a huge role in Blackest Night, but good luck finding any emotion on a single face in Scott’s art. I have no interest in getting the remaining two issues of this mini, unless my insomnia worsens and I get that desperate for something to put me to sleep.

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2 Responses to “12/3/09 Reviews”

  1. gokitalo Says:

    I think he’s trying to say Blackest Night: Wonder Woman was boring :p

    I second pretty much everything about Blackest Night: Flash, although I’m not sure I know which plot development you’re referring to. Does it have to do with Reverse Flash/Thawne? His status is, to put it mildly, a little complicated…

  2. davidry214 Says:

    SPOILERS ON BLACKEST NIGHT: FLASH

    The Reverse Flash stuff is definitely weird (I hated the “revelation” about his history with Barry in the most recent Flash:Rebirth), but that wasn’t what I meant. I thought it was really unrealistic that Flash would suddenly go to Gorilla City in the middle of a crisis. I understand that he thought his friend was wise and might be able to help, but when you consider all the veritable geniuses in the superhero community, why would that be your first stop? Especially when his help was needed to fight? It was just an illogical way of introducing a fight.

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