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    Wednesday Is New Comic Book Day! (7-29-09)

    By | July 30th, 2009
    Posted in Reviews | % Comments

    Welcome to another exciting issue of Wednesday Is New Comic Book Day! Remember to keep checking back as we put our reviews up, or you’ll never know what to read!

    MATT’S REVIEWS

    Ultimatum #5
    Remember last week? I read and reviewed Incredible Hulk #600 and I ripped it to tiny pieces. Then I picked up those tiny pieces and ripped them into even tinier pieces. Since that still wasn’t enough, I doomed their existance to the Anti-Matter Universe (just to add comic book company insult to comic book company injury). Those who have been keeping up with WINCBD also know that I have smashed and slammed every issue of Ultimatum every chance I get. Everyone here at Multiversity has a particular comic book related “villain” that we antagonize. For Carina, it’s Rob Liefeld and his stunning artwork. For David, it’s the Sentry. For me? It’s Jeph Loeb.

    So now that Ultimatum is done and over with, what did I think of the big finale? Meh. I know, you’re surprised, but in all honesty, I didn’t hate it. While I didn’t loathe Ultimates 3 like everyone else did (although it was a serious departure from anything resembling decency in the Marvel U), I thought Ultimatum could still be ok. I mean, Loeb did write Hush, and Hush is a favorite of mine! Ultimatum 1 also didn’t start out horrendous. It was a big explosion and upheavel and it didn’t hold back. Interesting enough, right? But with every subsequent issue, it continued to show Loeb’s severe lack of anything resembling talent. Loeb favors style over substance and would much rather show an unneccesary shot of the Blob eating the Wasp rather than develop any real reason for us to care that the Wasp is dead. Hell, it’s not the real Wasp, and when she died at the end of Secret Invasion everyone cared. That was a big deal. This? Meh. And in true Loeb fashion, rather than end it he allows it to have an “air of mystery” at the end, which really translates to “he wasn’t clever enough to come up with a legit ending so he’s going to put a dark figure in a corner and let someone else figure it out.”

    So what did we end up with? A rushed attempt at a unifying event that essentially is a reboot to a failing franchise. Not to be overly rude, but the Ultimate line has been suffering since all the big names moved on. Fantastic Four and X-Men dropped into the ground and sank, and Bendis’ priorities lay with the real Marvel U so his appreciation of his own fake continuity suffered. The extra Ultimate tie-ins were also very subpar, and even Warren Ellis couldn’t put together an interesting enough story. Ultimate Origins, which was supposed to bring light to all the odd continuities and show how everything is connected, ended up being a joke and presenting us with annoying retcons and the most idiotic idea of the Marvel U so far that ended up being a deus ex machina in the end. The Ultimate Universe needed to die. I just wish it had gone out with more of a bang instead of a slow and pathetic whimper.

    Hopefully, the rebooted series with Mark Millar, Brian Michael Bendis, and Warren Ellis will all be a bit more interesting. I trust that if we let them start at ground zero and work their way up. If they’re smart, they will just work on it casually as an alternate universe thing and not try and incorporate every little detail of the real Marvel U into this one. Sure, Galactus is cool, but Gah Lak Tus was not. Sure, the Clone Saga was crazy and cool and changed Spidey’s life forever, but Ultimate Clone Saga was dung. I’ve read a bit about what Millar and Bendis plan to do, and so far it seems alright. They just need to stick to their original ideas of the Ultimate U, and that’s a place to tell new stories with classic characters and none of the restrictions.

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    Fantastic Four #569
    Mark Millar’s most recent entry into the Marvel Universe has been quite epic. Putting together a trilogy of seemingly unrelated stories, he crafted a tale that was really magnificent in scope, but in actuality somewhat failed to deliver in the end. At least, with Fantastic Four. 1985 as it’s own thing was a good self contained little number – nothing overly special that you’d wanna write home about, but nothing to scoff at either. Old Man Logan so far has been great, and while in the end it’s seemingly taking flash over substance with a lot of two page spreads and a lot of story potential being skipped, it’s definitely a great read. But without Fantastic Four, you can’t link the two of those stories together, and Fantastic Four definitely suffered with the worst ending.

    Fantastic Four’s beginning run was so amazing in my mind, and it stayed that way until the Masters of Doom arc. Once we got here, we were just given a lot of flashy images but not a lot of development. While we were introduced to the Marquis of Death, we had no real reason to sit and/or care about him other than the fact he’s Doom’s Master. The only real reason would be if you’ve read all of 1985 and OML, as well as the entirety of Milar’s run because all points are, seemingly, leading up to this final battle. Sure, it’s interesting, and it’s definitely bad ass, but I feel like this lacks some of Millar’s clever abilities at writing stories. When you look at his alternate reality Superman in Red Son, comprised of 3 oversized issues, and then you look at this, you just kind of wonder. However, I do really like the ending. While I don’t believe in spoiling anything about this read, it definitely sets a whole new dynamic for the Fantastic four’s hero/villain dynamic.

    My only other real complaint with this issue is that Hitch didn’t draw it. Hitch had been doing every issue of this series up to this point and it was utterly fantastic (pun intended). However, in this last issue Stuart Immonen was brought on board to finalize the project. It was a bit jarring at first, and when it settled in and we started seeing the bigger two-page epic spreads Millar concocted, I began to miss Hitch’s work a lot. There is one final epic universe expanding/shattering battle at the end that would have been amazing if drawn by Hitch. While Immonen did fine, all things considered, it would have been better done by Hitch, and I felt that really took away from the finale. I don’t like it when art is changed around like that, no matter what the delay. I’d rather wait for the finale so it could be done right rather than have a new person come in to attempt to imitate a style, even if that new artist is someone I like. It’s just a slight pet peeve.

    All in all, Fantastic Four ended all right. Considering what had been done up to this point, it kind of pales in comparison, but it’s still an entertaining story and it’s definitely pretty bad ass, and I think that’s what Millar is realy known for. He writes these alternate reality type stories that, when it comes down to it, are just bad ass. I’ve never been a huge Fantastic Four fan, but with this issue I definitely want to keep reading (and with Hickman on board, who doesn’t!) further.

    Dark Reign: The Hood #3
    I’m a pretty big supporter of the Hood. I think that he’s one of the coolest new characters to receive the Bendis’ treatment of fame. However, this whole Dark Reign stuff is confusing, and it ultimately ends up detracting from the character. Let me break it down:

    On the one hand, I love this book. It really is a sequel to Brian K Vaughn’s initial book about the guy, and it actually shines a whole new light on the events that took place in said book. There were a lot of loose ends that were pretty aggravating all things considered, and Bendis essentially ignored them and reshaped the character for his own needs. This issue takes the new Hood stuff and makes it work with the Hood’s origin, and I think this is a great touch. I also love the character exploration of Parker Robbins. He’s ultimately not a bad guy, just a very amoral character who will do what he needs to get by. He doesn’t take a lot of people into consideration as he does his thing, but he definitely has feelings.

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    On the other hand, I can’t tell if this is canon or not. I mean, I suppose it’s supposed to be, but it doesn’t match up with the rest of the current Marvel U. Or does it? I don’t know. I’m having a hard time understanding where this fits in because the representation of the Hood here is different other representations of the Hood. Look, I get that people will reinterpret characters when they need to, and this is ultimately a necessity in order to create character development, but I don’t know who the real Hood is anymore. In one book, the Hood loves the power Dormamu gives him. In this book, he hates it. So which is it?

    He’s such a complex character because no one can decide who he really is. I’d imagine that right now Bendis is pretty much the Hood mastermind because all of it works ultimately into his final plan to finish off Dark Reign (eventually), but I wish that the people who were working on the Hood would collaborate a bit more. I like the character, but he needs definition.

    X-Men Forever #4
    I love the first three issues of this series absolutely. This is the first issue that I felt was kind of slow/predictable. The first 3 issues were very cool, a great remix of the old 90’s style that brought me into comics in the first place. However, this issue felt slow, and the shocking ending wasn’t so much a shocking ending as it was the only logical solution. My thoughts are actually pretty consolidated on this issue like that. Chris Claremont’s return to X-Men is 100% welcome and incredibly exciting, but as excited as I was for this issue initially I felt a bit left down. We pick up exactly where we leave off, but I understand there was so much to do with the five issues of this arc. A twist had to be revealed, and while it came out it just seemed so mundane that I didn’t find myself clamoring for the next issue as much as I did between other issues. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very excited to see the finale, and to see where the book continues to go from here. This issue felt a lot like a stagnant filler point, though.

    Perhaps it’s my negativity seeping in from my disappointment in the other books I’ve reviewed this week that’s causing me to look at this in a more negative prospect, just keep in mind this book really is a treat. A gift, even. Claremont’s original run was cut short by Marvel as the company wanted to do other things, but now they’re allowing us to see how he would have ended it, and it’s a very exciting prospect for those of us who read the comics when we were younger and remember his run as the defining run of the X-Men. While I love the modern day X-Men stuff Fraction is writing, Claremont’s X-Men will always be the definition of how it should be, with a core cast of characters and everything in it’s right place. So even though I didn’t care for this issue, I still recommend this series through the roof.

    Ignition City #4
    Warren Ellis is one of the hardest working men in the comic industry today. Seriously, have you seen the amount of books that he is working on/involved with? He’s got an upcoming Ultimate Comics title, he’s got about 10 different books on Avatar, a new “issue” of Freak Angels every week, and the upcoming Planetary final issue. Of course, then there’s my favorite little gem of his: Ignition City.

    This issue is my favorite out of all the books that I’ve reviewed this week. In just 4 issues, Ellis managed to craft a world that I cared about with characters that mattered to me, and this issue brought in a brand new character who is most definitely my favorite, if only for his constant screaming of “science!” I felt like the art in this issue really stood out a lot because it primarily took place in a single setting, yet the backgrounds always felt incredibly rich and full of life and texture. This issue also set in motion the events that will certainly lead to the final act of this mini, so it’s a very exciting tease.

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    My only complaint, and it’s a minor one at that, is that I wish this wasn’t just a five issue mini. I’ve heard rumors that the story will continue in later volumes of minis, but I feel like this whole book would make a great on going story, perhaps on Vertigo or something.

    Either way, I’m very excited to see how this is going to wrap up. We’ve only had 4 issues, but I really enjoy this story a lot. I’m a steampunk junkie as it is, but this definitely hits all the right notes regardless.

    DAVID’S REVIEWS

    Secret Warriors #6
    At this point, I’m probably starting to sound like a broken record about Secret Warriors. I have no problem sharing that I think this is the best book Marvel is making today, and in terms of straight up superhero books this is probably my favorite as well (apologies go out to Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps and Secret Six!). From top to bottom this book is quality. From the entertaining and occasionally quite shocking plot laid out by Jonathan Hickman and Brian Michael Bendis, to the script loaded with humor and grade A one liners, to the career best work by penciler Stefano Caselli, this is just ridiculously great work.

    This issue does two things: it wraps up the first arc (and Bendis’ last) of the series and it finally finds the team coming together and becoming everything Fury thought his young caterpillars could become. It does all this in stunning fashion, as the Secret Warriors find themselves in the midst of an intense fight against both Hydra and HAMMER forces as Fury and Dum Dum Dugan execute a plan to steal back old SHIELD helicarriers. Caselli renders the action sequences in larger than life ways (quite literally at times), as every fight happening on the page feels like a near-death experience for our favorite characters. Given that Hickman has proven he has no problem knocking characters out of commission, it makes these fights seem all the more intense.

    Not only did we get a fantastic wrap up, but Hickman set us up with tasty tidbits for the future, including two massively intriguing situations where a double cross is shown or at the very least evident, and the Secret Warriors team leader Daisy confronting Fury with the same questions the readers have been asking. Bendis may be jumping off, but I really feel like this book will be just fine without him, as Hickman has a firm grip on everyone involved and Caselli is the man.

    Justice Society Of America #29
    This issue marks a brand new start to the topsy turvy new volume of Justice Society of America. While it has been fantastic at times (the Thy Kingdom Come arc and the early stuff), I sort of always had the feeling that Geoff Johns and Dale Eaglesham did not accomplish all they could have with this book. In the hands of new writing team Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges along with new series artist Jesus Merino, we’re given a new beginning with basically the same team, yet there is a similar feel from before.

    While the team is still crazy enormous (two new characters? Come on now, the team is already gigantic), Willingham and Sturges did a very smart thing by giving us one narrator for the whole issue (Jay Garrick) and a few key characters whose perspectives we’d focus on (the new All American Kid, Stargirl and Mr. Terrific). However, while it helps, the fact of the matter is this fresh start puts us exactly where we were before with this book: with a massive roster of characters and very few who actually stand out amongst the rest. Without any characters really stepping up (besides Magog who is an ass and instantly earns my derision because of his connection to Kingdom Come), this issues is kind of a mess.

    It does provide us with a few genuinely surprising moments and is fairly entertaining, plus Merino has a great feel for the look of all the characters, but given the “all new!” nature of this issue, it sure feels like more of the same to me. I’ll stick it out for a bit more, but unless Willingham and Sturges pick it up, this book will go back to not being on my pull list quite quickly.

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    Thunderbolts #134
    Given that we went from a writer who writes pure gold (Warren Ellis) to an acclaimed one who I’d never read before (Andy Diggle), I was quite skeptical. Of course, I was foolish to be as this book continues to be every bit as entertaining as Ellis’ extremely awesome run (and secretly has been for the entirety of its existence).

    With this issue, former Thunderbolt and fugitive from the law Songbird continues her run as Norman Osborn’s black ops team gets closer and closer to tracking her down. Within these pages, Diggle perfectly captures the voice of three old standout T-Bolts (Songbird, Mach IV, and Fixer), along with developing two of the more recently created characters in Headsman and the mysterious Mr. X. Given the dynamic of this team (one obvious traitor, a number of hired guns, and a few complete wild cards who may just be involved to take everyone out), any interaction is an intense and often entertaining one. This issue is full of them, especially the one between the aforementioned Headsman and Mr. X. Not only that, but you even have a power struggle at the top, with the traitorous Black Widow being replaced as team leader by Scourge (as in of the underworld, as in a maniacal murderer…probably).

    Of course when you get down to it, this issue is very good until the very end, when it becomes truly excellent after a huge reveal (one that I didn’t even see coming). It turns out not all is as it seems at Thunderbolts Mountain, and the rest of this arc is set up to be an extremely exciting one. While Miguel Sepulveda does a solid job on this issue, I must admit I miss Roberto de la Torre’s work on this, as the grit and intensity he adds to scenes is occasionally sorely missing. Regardless, this book continues to be one of the best Dark Reign titles and I really can’t wait to see it start dovetailing in with the rest of the Marvel universe.

    Northlanders #19
    As a rule, I pick up every new title that Vertigo puts out. It is fact that almost everything they put out is quality, and you should only avoid a new series if it features a creator that you strongly dislike (i.e. Howard Chaykin). Northlanders was an even easier sell, as it is written by Local and DMZ creator Brian Wood and it is about Vikings. Who doesn’t want to read about Vikings?

    No less, the story never really follows the same characters around for long, instead giving us snippets into the life of a Viking for two to four issue arcs at a time. This issue wrapped up a new arc called “the Shield Maidens”, and was another standout for Wood and his artist of the arc (Wood’s collaborator switches up each arc) Danijel Zezelj. There isn’t anything really dynamic about how this issue is presented. Wood chooses in this arc to forsake stylish misdirection (which appeared in his last arc) for just straight up violence and good storytelling. He wraps up the story of the wives of Danish warriors and their tale of revenge and preservation of life in stunning fashion, especially when he reveals Thyra’s final fate. Worth a read just to see what Wood does with her.

    This book continues to be an under-read gem, as I’m one of the few people at my local comic store picking it up. I highly recommend picking up the trades for this series, as it is another well made book by Vertigo and Wood. Plus, it’s about Vikings! How can that possibly not be awesome?!

    Unknown Soldier #10
    Before this series came out, I decided to pick up the trade of Vertigo’s 1997 series of the same name, as written by Garth Ennis. That series provided me a general idea of what I would be getting into, but really, it isn’t remotely similar to what this book is really like. I’m going to admit at first I somewhat dreaded reading this book as it was somewhat slow to roll out, but now that it is ten issues in Joshua Dysart and Alberto Ponticelli’s book is an absolute gem.

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    This issue follows the titular protagonist (aka Dr. Lwanga Moses) as he attempts to kill movie star and Ugandan rights activist Margaret Wells, and what it does for his sanity when he fails completely. Moses is a completely engrossing character, as he is a character who desperately wants to resolve the horrible situation in Uganda (as based on the actual situation in Uganda) but is uncertain if he can truly do so. The most interest dynamic that Dysart imbues Moses with is the fact that he desperately grasps to his sanity, but the more he does the less effective he is in his personal war against the status quo. The more crazy and murderous he is, the more effective he is. It’s a horrible teeter totter Dysart has set him up on, but it provides for intense situations and incredible drama.

    With each passing arc Dysart’s stories and characters become more connected and well drawn and Ponticelli grows increasingly in sync with him, and this book is moving up in the ranks of Vertigo books as well. Another hit for Vertigo, and another gem for Dysart.

    GIL’S REVIEWS

    New Avengers #55
    It’s just like Marvel to put Wolverine is a book he’s not even in. While Wolverine has his hands full with the X-Men/Dark Avengers crossover(I know, it’s weird. Marvel is actually respecting contiuity right now) over in San Francisco, the rest of the team have their own Secret Society to deal with. But like I said, Wolverine has to find his way in there, so he’s passed out on the couch in a flashback. OK, now that I’ve given you your daily dose of Logan, let’s move on.

    Immonen’s art is as good as it’s ever been in this issue, beaturifully rendering Captain America and company along with Parker Robbin’s group of baddies. While it’s a really birght highlight, that’s as far as it goes. Spider-Man, usually a great source of comic relief and quotable one-liners, has become preachy, a little self-righteous, and whiny. If I have to hear him complain about sharing his secret again, I swear I’ll find a way to punch Peter in the Spider-Nuts. The ending, while being heart-wrenching because our team is certainly i nthe position depicted on the cover is that…it doesn’t make sense. Why can’t Spider-Man hold onto webbing anymore? Webbing isn’t part of his power set. Why can’t Clint Barton do anything but collapse into a lump on the ground? He’s not a superhuman, so the villains little doohicky should have no effect on him whatsoever.

    War of Kings: Ascension #4
    It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Darkhawk. I’m not even reading the main War of Kings event, and I had to pick up this title. The series as a whole has really turned the character status quo on his head. Streamlining the character while simulataneously expanding his role in the Marvel U as a whole.

    The art is fantastic and it fits really well with the action packed script. My only problem is a continuity error on the part of Abnett and Lanning. Being a fan of Darkhawk with a freakishly sharp memory, I know his method of deafeating the other Raptor shouldn’t work. It just shouldn’t. But that’s a nitpick, from a superfan that remembers way more than he should.

    Superman #690
    What is there to say about this book. It’s so eratic and all over the place, I could not connect to any one bit of the book. There are several disjointed points of view that don’t have anything to do with Superman, other than that they’re in Metropolis. The best would be featuring John Henry Irons. To put it bluntly, I DON’T CARE about The Sentry. I DON’T CARE that he has a guy on his team who’s gay. I JUST DON’T CARE. And What is this about Zatara?(Zatanna’s…brother? cousin? I’m not sure. This isn’t Teen Titans.) The only way this is Superman related is the villain that shows up for two seconds. I fee like I’m reading Wednesday Comics again, and one is enough. Thanks.

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    The New Krypton arc as a whole is starting to wear thin, much like The Dark Reign.

    Blackest Night: Tales Of The Corp #3
    This was easily the best of the mini-series. Instead of spotlighting new characters, or characters that we don’t care about, it focuses on two of the more popular ancillary characters, like the Green Lantern Drill Instructor, Kilowog, when he was in boot camp. This is Peter Tomasi at the top of his game, where you actually care about what’s going on. I can honestly say by the end of it, I was really rooting for the young Kilowog, and feeling for the losses sustained by the Corps. There’s even a cameo from a certain Lantern who’s since fallen from grace. The second story was a little hokey, but also a lot of fun. It gave us the history of Arisia, the Lantern from the sector next door(so to speak). Her family was unique in the fact that they were all Green Lanterns. Kind of a hardcore famly business! The emotion is palpable when you see the ring go through the family, until it finally reaches Arisia. Again, this is

    The art is pretty pretty stellar in both stories, with the edge going to Arisia’s origin, because Mark Mayhew’s art has a real polished, almost watercolor style to it. It’s lovely to look at. Much like Arisia herself. But that’s not detracting from Kilowog’s “New Blood.” Far from it. New Blood is beaturiful to look at, but is more gritty, which is far more suiting to the theme of the short. Kudos.

    Wednesday Comics #4
    Ahhh, the thing us men do to get laid. That’s the premise so far for Kamandi, and well, I think all men can can relate to that. This is vast improvement over last weeks stalemate-a-thon. some clips seem to be trapped in a holding pattern, and it doesn’t feel like they will go anywhere satisfyingly enough. Green Lantern is getting ready for a flashback only a third of the way through the arc, and Supergirl is STILL chasing those damn pets. Cats are douchebags, even when they have superpowers hailing from Krypton. The Flash is a time-travel clip, and time-travel always gives me a headache. He arrives ten minutes to Grodd’s hideout the second time ten minutes before he did the first time? Ow. Superman is getting far more interesting. The art is gorgeous(probably the best in the collection) and the story is finally ramping up (read: no Toy Story Aliens) to a place where I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next week. And no, not because I’m a Superman fan. I’m actually enjoying the Metal Men portion, and it contains a twist that had me worried for Dr. Magnus and his metallic cohorts. I’m going to admit I’ve given up on Wonder Woman. Nightmare on Themiscyra St. is unecessarily verbose(unlike me, of course) and the art isn’t too eye catching, so I stopped wasting my time. Batman feels really old-timey and such, but there’s no Batman. bruce Wayne, sure. But I don’t need to see how he’s getting laid by some femme fatale. I want to see him in costume beating up bad guys with batarangs and Bat Female Villain Repellent Spray. We see more of Batman in the Hawkman venture. and it’s just a talking silohuette. Seriously.


    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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