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    Wednesday Is New Comic Book Day! (08-05-09)

    By | August 6th, 2009
    Posted in Reviews | % Comments

    Now with a bigger bang! Theoretically, anyway.

    Get it? Because the picture is from Big Bang Theory? Yeah? No? Ok. It was Gil’s idea.

    MATT’S REVIEWS

    Irredeemable #5
    If you still aren’t reading Irredeemable, I don’t know what to tell you. I give this book more praise than I would give to my son if he came home with an A on his report card. It truly is one of the most entertaining books that comes out every month and it is so unfortunately over looked due to it being on one of the smaller publishers, and this is such a damn shame.

    Mark Waid has taken a group of characters we’ve never met before and makes us feel like these are characters who we’ve always known, despite us only being with these characters for 5 issues. Things continue to get worse and worse for our heroes as in this issue the Plutonian makes a broadcast to the entire planet effectively announcing how little he cares about each of them living or dieing while airing a select few peoples personal secrets. It’s so twisted and the casualty rate is so high that you’d almost imagine this is some kind of DC Crisis. In fact, one could say that it’s similar to Hal Jordan becoming Parallax, except this time he’s not trying to rewrite time, he’s just trying to do as much damage to everyone as he possibly can, and it’s absolutely twisted and ingenius. I will admit that this, which the publisher is calling “a new arc”, is probably the slowest issue of the book so far, but the consequences at the end are just as dire as they have been in any of the issues as pieces slowly begin to fit together. Still, as far as surprising and shocking endings go, this book still holds the corner on the market. On top of that, the artwork by Peter Krause perfectly compliments Waid’s writing, showing these super people in heroic detail but also crafting the world aroudn them to be just as dark and twisted as the setting provided could be. It’s as if the sun refuses to shine in this world, and it matches the tone 100%.

    Don’t forget, this last issue is $0.99, so if there’s any time to hop in it would be now. You can also get a trade of the first 4 issues for $9.99, so if I were you I’d do so. This is by far and large a book you don’t want to miss.

    Invincible Iron Man #16
    Hey, Invincible Iron Man just won an Eisner! Congratulations, Invincible Iron Man! And this issue is a prime example of why it won said Eisner. This issue was really great. With this issue, we really start to feel that it’s all about to come to an end, and I can’t wait to see how it all goes down.

    Last issue left Tony in a sticky situation. Madame Masque is straddling him and whispering sweet nothings in his ears while Pepper Potts has to sit and watch like some creepy voyeur. So what does she do? Oh, she totally steps up and sets Masque straight a few pegs. Pepper Potts has been an important character to Iron Man lore for quite some time, but it’s only recently, after the Iron Man movie, that I feel someone came in and really made something of her. Fraction has been building up the evolution of her character for months, and this defintely feels like a great pay off for that work. The final pages of this issue alone are some of the most satisfying of the entire series. I’m also loving the artwork a lot. We’re seeing Tony in a way we haven’t seen him before (and I’m not just talking about the fact that he’s clean shaven), and I feel like the art direction gives it more of a realistic direction. If anything, it’s definitely a lot more gritty and reminiscent of Greg Land’s artwork (with less glamorous females). The only person I don’t like in drawn form is Norman Osborn – I feel he looks very odd and not like “himself,” and this issue is an example of that. He’s the only character who looks rather out of place in this book.

    Continued below

    We’re slowly but surely coming to the end of this chapter of Iron Man, but Fraction is proving that he’s not letting this series go out on anything but a high note. I am definitely excited for the remaining two issues of this book, and I can’t wait to see how it all goes down.

    Justice League: Cry For Justice #2
    I am so excited about this book I can barely even contain myself. I almost didn’t buy it due to monetary restraints, and I am so glad I did. This book acts as a direct follow up to both the Faces of Evil one-shots (specifically to Prometheus) as well as a follow up to Final Crisis, and takes place assumedly before Blackest Night. And it’s awesome.

    In this book, our heroes are out for true justice in the wake of all the recent disasters. All of them in their own investigations based on the murder of their friends, and all signs leading to Prometheus. But is he the mastermind? We don’t know! The story reads exactly like everything I loved about comisc when I was a kid. You have a mastermind villain, but it’s all too easy to believe that he’s really the one they need to go after. There’s also a series of events that are seemingly disconnected yet, as Jay Garrick says, might have some hidden connection that they’re just not seeing. While I’m actually not overly familiar with the cast, I think that makes for a better story. It’s like Seven Soldiers in that regard, where we have a group of people who are seemingly disconnected but will all come together by the end. I also can not rave about the artwork enough. It’s absolutely glorious. This book is arguably the book that gets me most excited to read just to look at it. There’s a great two page spread of Hal and Ollie standing atop a group of bodies they’ve just beaten, and it’s absolutely mangificent.

    My only real complaint is how slow it is going for how short it will be. This is a 7 issue mini, and we still haven’t really gotten into the thick of it yet. Sure, we know everyone is on their way to hunt Prometheus, but outside of that there is no real action. We’re still in the midst of all the introductions (such as the great appearance at the end of the issue (“Who’s Charles Bukowski?”)) and I feel like, in a normal on-going book, a slow buildup for the full line up like this would be acceptable. We;re still missing two main components of the team, and only 5 have actually assembled together. I suppose that is pretty good, all things considered. I’m just hoping that the last two won’t pull a deus ex machina on us at the last second.

    Hulk #13
    I think I hate myself. Seriously. Deep down inside, I must have some sort of deep-seeded passionate loathing for myself. I have no other explanation as to why I would repeatedly do this to myself, and by that I mean I don’t know why I repeatedly volunteer to review Hulk books. No one assigns it to me – I volunteer for this. I openly say, “I’ll review Hulk this week!” And I know it’s not going to get better. I just want to be one to announce on this site who Rulk is, I guess.

    This week is about as effective as a “farewell” for Banner’s years as the Hulk as Fantastic Four’s Ultimate Requiem (see below). It’s poorly paced and poorly written and doesn’t really make sense. I’ll be the first to say that sometimes when I read a comic and something devastating happens, I tend not to believe it right away because chances are, next issue there will be some retcon. So even though Banner was de-powered, I figured he would do something about it to gain his powers back (such as team up with his son in future issues), but Loeb proved me wrong. Loeb took one of the oldest original Marvel characters and said, “Yeah, we’re not going to have you be you anymore.” Thanks Loeb! I thought you ruined Hulk when you started writing it, but it turns out I was wrong. You ruined Hulk by making Hulk not Hulk anymore. Great! Then Norman decides to send Ares after Banner to decidedly see if he is in fact no longer the Hulk, and then when Banner still defeats Ares Norman is happy because he can’t turn into the Hulk. What? Why? Norman has not been interested in Banner previously, so what changed? And the Abomination can’t turn back anymore? When did that happen?

    Continued below

    Again, I don’t know why I bother reviewing these books. I repeatedly don’t like them and all I do is flame them. The artwork was particularly bad this week and it felt like nothing compared to how the book had been drawn before. At least before it was decent in that cartoonish sense, but now it looks like someone had amateur hour with a colored pencil, but it’s the same artist it always has been. How does that even work?!

    Ugh. This book gives me a headache. I can’t even write a decent review for it because I can’t comprehend how a writer who used to be so good can turn out to be so collosally bad. And I hate that deep down inside, I just have to know who Rulk is.

    Ultimatum Requiem: Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four
    Oh, Ultimate Universe. You got my back into comic books hardcore and then you let it all go to Hell. The Requiem seems very appropriate because even if the Ultimate world wasn’t continuing with Ultimate Comics, it’d still die. At this point it felt like the Universe was just slowly dragging it’s feet until someone put it out of it’s misery, and that someone was the so-called “all star” writer, Jeph Loeb. The Ultimate U was a shadow of it’s former self even before Loeb came along with his ridiculous ideas and lack of talent, and it’s a very sad thing. So we all gather together at the funeral to say farewell to what used to be a great era of Marvel outside of it’s normal universe and prepare to move on to the new inclination in Ultimate Comics. So how do the Requiem’s pan out?

    As far as Spider-Man goes (the first to come out and the only one to have two issues), Bendis actually takes the time to say goodbye to the previous status quo quite well. At the end of the previous volume of Spider-Man, Bendis had most definitely been neglecting the book and not giving it the attention that it deserved, probably due to his large scale involvement in the normal Universe. It looks like he’ll be back full time in the second volume, so does he segue well? Yes, he actually does. The final issue of Spider-Man, the silent issue, was really great, and these two issues make a nice little farewell to it all. On top of all that, the final page of Spider-Man Requiem #2 is probably one of the best moments for the series he has written in a long time. We’d all been wondering who Spider-Man would be now that Peter Parker was seemingly dead, and now we know – Pete wasn’t dead. He was just buried under rubble! Man, Loeb Dormamu is such a jerk. I found that the whole premise of Spider-Man’s Requiem, however, was really moving. It’s not something you’d ever see in the normal Marvel U (especially with JJJ Mayor now), and it was nice to see Bendis actually trying in the book again, as well as art by Bagley. The whole thing felt done right, and I appreciated it greatly.

    How about X-Men? Well, it’s still written by the guy who had been writing it during it’s final and worst arc, Aron Coleite, but it’s actually pretty decent. As far as a finale goes, anyway. I mean, considering everyone in the X-Men is dead except for Rogue, Jean Grey, Kitty Pride and Iceman (essentially). The artwork by Ben Oliver, who had previously worked on the book during Phoenix?, Magical, and Cable, is actually top notch, and probably the best artwork that the series could see in it’s final gasp for air. Despite Loeb clearly leaving Wolverine up for a return, Coleite announces him as dead, dead, dead, which I feel is a bold move to make but a smart one. We see one brand new character (Assemble, an amalgamation of the Avengers), and a final show down with all that remains of the brotherhood before finally destroying the house Xavier built and burying all the dead. While the end of X-Men certainly was weak, this almost made up for it with a surprisingly good issue.

    Continued below

    Fantastic Four, on the other hand, was pretty miserable. Joe Pokaski only wrote for Ultimatum, and all of it has been bad. To be honest, I was happier when I thought that Sue and Johnny had died, but unfortunately this isn’t the case. What we get is something I can only describe as doing the best you can in a horrible Loeb situation. I imagine that Loeb just pulled in Pokaski and said, “Write this,” and Pokaski did his best but it still ended poorly. The Fantastic Four is no more, Human Torch is going to go be BFF with Spider-Man, the Thing kills Doctor Doom, and Mr. Fantastic moves back to his child home. Is this really the ending to go with? I mean, I know Fantastic Four was going to be canceled and was the least popular of the Ultimate books, but once Mike Carey came on to do the Annual and God War, the book was obviously full of fail. It’s really sad, too, because before then the book had been great with Bendis, Millar, and Ellis working together. This ending is just… pathetic.

    Ultimately, no pun intended, this requiem ended up being very hit and miss. You can actually look at it as a devolving format, with a great ending to Spider-Man, a good ending to X-Men, and then just a bad ending to Fantastic Four. I know Loeb probably thinks he’s pretty bad ass right now for having torn the Ultimate Universe apart, but in actuality, when it really coems down to it, they just ended up ruining some good series’. See, the problem with the Ultimate Universe is that lately, it had been falling apart. But why? It was due to bad writers. The solution to this is never to hire a worse writer to come in and “fix” things. The solution should have been to call in some of the people who used to do work on the series and ask them to come back, OR to get some of the hot shot young writers to try and come in like Matt Fraction, Jonathan Hickman, or Jason Aaron. Any of those would have been better than this. I’d rather not lose the X-Men and have Scott Summers sniped and Doom crushed for no good reason other than Loeb thinks he has skill. But that’s just my take on the whole situation.

    (If you’re wondering where the last two writers came from (since they both seemingly came out of the blue), I’ll break it down simple for you: Loeb used to be a writer for Heroes, remember? Aron and Joe were also writers for Heroes. Are you seeing the connection?)

    DAVID’S REVIEWS

    War Of Kings #6
    This is it. This is what the entire series has been building to. Black Bolt vs. Vulcan for the fate of Marvel’s cosmic universe. This issue will resolve all of the threads left open, it will be exciting, and it will be the culmination of everything the first five issues built.

    Or so I hoped it would be.

    I hope you like intense fights, as this issue is effectively 17 pages of that and 4 pages of anything else. The good news is Vulcan gets his ass kicked; the bad news is we get little to nothing else. Basically, it leaves the cosmic comics in even more disarray than they began with. That ties directly into my biggest complaint about this issue — this is the wrap up to a huge event comic, yet it is only 21 pages with ads removed. We couldn’t get extra sized? We couldn’t get fewer ads? Nope, we get a rushed story that is effectively a fight between an overgrown and overpowered baby and a mute nuclear bomb man. Sure, the fight is massively entertaining and there are some great little moments (Gladiator the Majestor…intriguing), but overall you get the feeling DnA got screwed here.

    DnA do the best they can with the space they have, as it is a ripping yarn when you get down to it, but they got hosed and it ends up reading like a better version of the culmination of World War Hulk. Paul Pelletier does some amazing work here, as he captures the brutality of the fight with expert detail and flair, but the problems in this story are strictly story based. Evidently Marvel is following this up with a one shot to wrap things up, but why couldn’t this issue do that for them? Because they are money grubbing bastards…that’s why!

    Continued below

    Captain America: Reborn #2
    While reading this book, I really have to admit I often think about reasons why this book exists besides to make Marvel more money. Why couldn’t it take place in the pages of Captain America? Why do we need an additional title to explain a story that features all of the primary characters while the main title is effectively running side stories and money grab issues featuring all star collaborations and stories with no impact. It’s perplexing really.

    Besides that major issue I have with this series, it continues to be an entertaining one as Steve Rogers Slaughter House V’s all over the timestream, jumping in his own body from various point of his life with the ability to impact the situation but with the fear of messing up the future world. While I really, really hope we do not just get five issues of this, as that will tire pretty quickly, where we’re at with Steve is a very interesting place. Then on the other side of the story we have Bucky/Cap and Natasha Romanov infiltrating a HAMMER base, only to get ambushed by Venom, Ares, and a slew of HAMMER agents. Plus, we get more of Norman Osborn being an evil bastard (he really, really is kind of amazingly evil), which all in all adds up to being an action packed and very well paced issue.

    Bryan Hitch predictably provides stellar pencils, but I once again want to state that I wish they had a different penciler on this book. Hitch excels at widescreen imagery, expansive layouts that are filled to the brim with detail. Brubaker’s condensed paneling efforts limit Hitch’s strengths and in many ways I wish Hitch had just worked on this book with frequent Cap collaborator Steve Epting (instead of on the Marvels Project). It’s not that I don’t like Hitch (love the guy), I just think he fits writers like Mark Millar better, those who know his strengths and go out of their way to showcase them.

    Chew #3
    Chew continues to be one of the most entertaining and exciting new books on the market. With the last issue developing hero Tony Chu’s relationship with new partner Mason Savoy and briefly introducing a love interest, this issue now expands on that love interest — food critic Amelia Mintz. Mintz is perhaps the perfect foil for Chu, as she is a saboscrivner, a skill that makes everyone that reads her writing experience exactly what she did. For a person like Chu who cannot eat anything besides beets or he’ll experience the entire history of the food, that is music to his ears.

    The introduction of a romantic interest only goes so well for our boy Chu, as it turns out he’s only so good with the opposite sex. This leads into a ridiculous situation where Chu has to deal with pro-poultry terrorists, talking to the woman of his dreams, and trying to fire her at the same time. This book is absurdity at all corners, and series writer John Layman does a great job of making it funny but relatable, and at making this a fictional universe that is believable. The issue also develops a few story threads so we have more to go on than just random detective jobs for Chu, as it appears he has unseen enemies and that his love interest is involved with something intriguing as well.

    Artist Rob Guillory handles his job perfectly, as he really is a fantastic partner to Layman, capturing both the absurd moments and the real moments equally as well. This is definitely the front runner for my favorite new series this year and I’m really looking forward to seeing where they take us. Hopefully they keep pushing the story forward and give us a story thread to really push this series along, but until we find out whether or not they will, I’ll just sit back and keep enjoying this book.

    Continued below

    North 40 #2
    This book continues to be quite the pleasant surprise. While I figured it would be entertaining to begin with, Aaron Williams and Fiona Staples continue to escalate matters to the point of it being a condensed and modern day version of Stephen King’s the Stand. It’s a classic case of good versus evil except with odd super powers thrown in the mix, and it is truly one hell of a ride.

    This issue finds the side of good mobilizing, as there are a few characters that seem to know that there is something bigger going on in Conover County and are trying to bring together the good souls for a final confrontation. Of course, given that an entire country was blessed/cursed with powers all of a sudden, not all of them were going to end up with good people, and in this issue we really get our first look at them, as two of our heroes are confronted by those who would rather use their powers for personal gain. Evidently they have never heard “with great power comes great responsibility” in this world.

    Fiona Staples really is a revelation in this series, as her artwork looks like a combination of Doug Mahnke with Ryan Ottley, two artists who I love and whose art seemingly fuses extremely well. She’s a unique talent whose work seems destined to land on far bigger books sooner rather than later, but for now, I’m really glad to have picked this book up if only to have discovered this up and coming artist. One of my two favorite artistic finds from this year along with Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers artist Ig Guera.

    This book is highly worth a pick-up, but I would probably suggest trade waiting at this point. It’s 2/5ths through and will be on trade before the year is out, so definitely book mark the preorder on Amazon when it comes up.

    GIL’S REVIEWS

    Secret Six #12
    Let me start by saying that I’m an unabashed Gail Simone fan. This book continues to prove why, as well. I feel like she’s the only writer(that I know of) who can write female characters that are badass proper, and not characters who would end up littering the floor (or inhabiting a bed) in a Frank Miller “yarn.” But more on that another time.

    The penciller, Nicola Scott, is in fine form this week. The action is equally parts beautiful and visceral, depicting what could quite possibly be the best battle I’ve seen Wonder Woman participate in in years. And seeing as how Ms. Simone also writes the Wonder Woman title, I’m thinking about adding that to my pull.

    The story also gives us great reveals, more specifically, what the heck is going on in the village our heroes(or are they villains?) are visiting, and just WHO is this mysterious Jeannette? Jeannette was already one of my favorites, because of her mystique, but she’s now even more interesting, given her roots as a long standing character in the DCU.

    But of course, we’re left with the more pertintent questions, like what is that THING?! Well done Gail, well done. Love it.

    Destroyer #5
    Review pending, check back soon!

     

    Amazing Spider-Man #601
    After all the smoke has cleared, after all the dust has settled, after all the complaints lodged(mostly at Hulk), I must say, these milestones for the Marvel Icons feel more like setups for other ongoings. I’m not necessarily saying that’s a bad thing, but it’s definitely noteworthy. Cap has Reborn, Hulk has…another (unneeded) Hulk series, and in Spider-Man we have…New Avengers?

    All in all, it’s a pleasant and light issue for Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. There is a main story, which follows up the previous issues tangle with Doc Ock, and the reintroduction of Mary Jane(look at her on the cover? Isn’t she amazing? Certainly no Kirsten UGHnst) It leaves us with the question, did she get a dose of radioactive spider-sperm? (here’s a hint: no)

    Continued below

    One thing I’ve always liked about Spider-Man is that it features the Wall-crawler, but it doesn’t neglect the alter-ego Peter Parker. Peter is again the focus of this issue, and it’s certainly a welcome sight. I personally find the art leaves a littler to be desired, however. It’s not terrible, but there are some panels where I thought Peter was a background character with downs syndrome. Mary Jane looks gorgeous (as I previously stated). And Mark Waid definitely knows how to keep the humanity in focus with Peter.

    Now, you remember when I mentioned that this was a set up for New Avengers? Well, here it is. There’s a back up tale featuring Sentry’s favorite writer, Brian Michael Bendis and the editor-in-chief Joe Quesada on pencils. Another light story, it delves into the recently recovered history between Peter and Jessica Jones, otherwise known as the wife of Luke Cage. This is also the Spider-Man I like, he’s not whining about his identity being known, he’s not happy about it, but he’s not pouting in the corner and pointing fingers at Ronin either. Most of the Avengers make a cameo, and it appears we might see the return(debut?) of a certain retired Bendis creation, and a slightly popular one at that, join the active roster in the very near future. Yay?

    Superman: World Of New Krypton #6
    It took an assasination attempt on a (reformed?) villain, but the warmth that David commented the Kryptonians were lacking finally pushed it’s way out of their steel hearts. It’s faint, but the symbol that humans see Superman as is exactly the way they feel about General Zod. He rallies the public to a common cause, and does genuinely care for the Kryptonian people, which certainly makes him a more sympathetic characters, and possibly not even a villain anymore. I think that’s the beautiful part about this arc; it’s that it is just starting to paint Kryptonians as people, not gods.

    Robinson and Rucka, already talented scribes by themselves, are really good together, but I do think this is a case of the sum not being greater than its parts. I think either of them could have scripted a story just as well by themselves. The art is epic in scope, and I don’t think anyone save the G.O.A.T(with regards to Superman) Gary Frank could have drawn this any better.

    It’s a shame it took this long for the series to show any heart, because it’s already setting up the end of the mini. Alura is showing unease with her role as leader of the last of the Kryptonian culture, the citizens are pissed and scared with the fall of Zod, and there are zealots on New Krypton! It jsut feels too late. If you haven’t been reading this book, I would definitely just wait until a trade came out. It’s too far in to really get anything out of it.


    Deadpool: Merc With A Mouth #2
    Oh, Deadpool. You wacky son of a gun. If anyone can make a book about chasing the zombi-fied decapitated head of your alternate reality double, it’s you.

    This issue is classic Deadpool. It’s wacky mad cap fun with the welcome return of his inner dialogue(I know it was in the last issue, but it’s been missing in the main series.) It truly felt like Wade Wilson was back.

    I’m rather unfamiliar with the writer, Victor Gischler, but so far he’s weaved an engrossing story with an addictive nature most relatable to MJ’s need for Demerol (too soon?) The art is also provided by another rather unfamiliar (but HILARIOUS) name, Bong Dazo. It is well rendered, and the inking and coloring (contributed by Jose Pimentel and Matt Milla respectively) helps the story pop off the page.

    As I previously mentioned, the story left me wanting more. When I started, he was working for A.I.M. to search for a possible weapon, and ended with me wondering if there’s going to be the return of a certain lovable supporting character. I’ll give you a hint: his name can be said backward and forward. And can I ask, “WTF?” at Deadpool-Head being in Dr. Betty’s lap when she wakes up. LOL. Possibly the best moment of the issue.

    Continued below

    At first, I didn’t want to like this series because I was concerned about the Wolverine-ing (Read: over-saturation) of The Merc with the Mouth. But I do like the series, and I don’t mind admitting that now. Now I’m wondering: Will we meet the zombi-fied decapitated head of Ryan Reynolds in the movie? I can only hope so!


    Matthew Meylikhov

    Once upon a time, Matthew Meylikhov became the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Multiversity Comics, where he was known for his beard and fondness for cats. Then he became only one of those things. Now, if you listen really carefully at night, you may still hear from whispers on the wind a faint voice saying, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine is not as bad as everyone says it issss."

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