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    Wednesday Is New Comic Book Day (8-19-09)

    By | August 20th, 2009
    Posted in Reviews | % Comments

    Yeah. We went there.

    MATT’S REVIEWS

    Batman: Streets of Gotham #3
    This book continues to greatly entertain me. I think that, as far as Batman writers go, Paul Dini is definitely one of the best of the new age Batman writers. His runs in Detective Comics were amazing, and his final work with Dustin Nguyen was so great. It made me really happy when they got their own book when Detective Comics switched over to a primarily Batwoman book. This book continues to be a major part of the new Batman universe as well, definitely effecting the greater outcome of the Bat-universe where only Morrison’s book so far has done.

    In this issue, the Bat-family finally confront Hush after he gives a nice big middle finger to them in the form of a recent purchase. For those not following the book, Hush, who now looks like Bruce Wayne due to facial reconstructive surgery (see Heart of Hush), has come forward and started spending all of Bruce’s money. Batman and Robin show up to set some terms, and this is one of the two main focuses of this issue. What I love is this wraps it up without being final. In fact, there are many ways the story could continue to progress with Hush. In the second storyline, the first major villain in for the long haul has been identified. We’ve had Hush and a new villain in the past two issues, but now we have a familiar old villain who hasn’t been used in a while being employed by the new big time villain, Black Mask. I absolutely love this choice of a villain because ever since I first read him in Arkham Asylum, I thought he was being criminally underused. Having him return makes me really excited, especially with Dini behind the wheel.

    Also, I feel I really need to make a special note of Nguyen’s artwork. It really works so well. His versions of Batman and Robin are great, and the rest of his characters look so crisp. I’d say if nothing else, you should be checking out this book for the artwork. The cover of this issue alone is a great example of the sleek style inside the book.

    The Bat-verse is a bit too much at this day and age. There are so many books and so many stories to follow. However, while you definitely have to follow Batman and Robin, this book is by far the other book you MUST add to your pull. It is for sure something you don’t want to miss being a part of.

    Final Verdict: Buy

    Atomic Robo: Shadow From Beyond Time #4
    Atomic Robo continues to be one of the best underrated books around. Clevinger’s writing with Wegner’s art make such an enjoyable read that I am almost sad that I don’t wait for trades so I can enjoy the whole story in one sitting. In all honesty, waiting per issue is the hardest part! Fortunately, each issue is rewarding with a slick sense of humor and plot that at least I don’t have to wait for trade, right? Right.

    In this issue, Robo continues his non-linear battle through time against one of HP Lovecrafts beings. In the previous issue, Robo had seemingly found a way to defeat them, and now we have him in a completely different place in time with no resolution to the previous battle… or do we? See, the great thing about this volume is that, since the villain is non-linear in time, the story matches it in such. However, it all comes full circle and does make sense in a nice little twist at the end. That comment in itself might be a spoiler, but trust me – it’s not what you’re thinking. This issue also features Robo’s hilarious penchant for scientific cameos, this time featuring Carl Sagan, noted astronomer. He helps Robo take on this Lovecraftian demon thing from nowhere and by far and large holds the best line of the book. (hint: it features a lightning gun. And shooting.)

    Continued below

    Every week I praise Robo, and every week I can only hope that in doing so, we help sell some copies. We also just featured an interview with Brian Clevinger that I strongly recommend you check out for a look into his hilarious mind. We were also quoted by Red 5 Comics in promotion of Atomic Robo. So, what do I gotta do to get you to go out and buy this, eh? Seriously. You can’t go wrong with this book. It’s smart, funny, and VERY well drawn. In fact, it’s better than some of the books that the bigger publishers are putting out right now. I will take that statement to court. So go out and buy yourself a copy or two of Atomic Robo.

    Seriously. The only one you’re hurting by not buying it is you.

    Final Verdict: Buy

    Batgirl #1
    I think one of the biggest issues with comics today is that we get a lot of identity teases but not a lot of explanations. Here’s a prime example: RULK. And right now in the Bat-verse, we have the new Black Mask and the new Red Hood, and everyone’s wondering just what is going on. So now, not only do we have Batwoman in her own adventure (Detective Comics), but we also have a Batgirl? And we don’t even know the identity yet? Come on.

    Except… not. This book actually really rocks the secret identity element. You know why? Because Bryan Miller tells you who she is in the first three pages. That’s right. If you were thinking of picking up this book just to see who the new Batgirl is, you’ll find out who and you’ll find out exactly why. Also, without giving her identity away, I highly approve. 100%. I think that they made a great decision even if I think this book is adds to the overkill that is Batman: Reborn. Seriously. Great pick.

    Now, a lot of us were originally thinking Batgirl would end up being Babs again, what with the Oracle: The Cure title that tied into Battle for the Cowl. This isn’t the case. However, she does play a big part of this. On top of that, the previous Batgirl, Cassandra Cain, is given a proper farewell. She doesn’t simply disappear. Everything is actually done quite nicely and neatly in this book, and I really like it.

    The issue I have in writing about it is that I don’t want to give too much away. I feel that, for people who have been following the Bat books for quite some time now, this is most definitely a rewarding story. HOWEVER, for those that haven’t been following the Bat-books, this book will be a big “What?” moment. See, there are a lot of reasons that this book is rewarding that I just can’t get into without spoiling who Batgirl is. So that’s the reason that I rate this book between a buy and a browse. I feel that, when you go to your store, you should browse it. Get to who the identity is, and then decide. I know for a fact that she has a big following, and I can flat out say that I believe that picking her was a great idea, so take that for what you will.

    Either way, Batgirl was over all a very pleasant surprise.

    Final Verdict: Somewhere in between buy and browse

    Deadpool: Suicide Kings #5
    I’ve been harsh on Benson. In past reviews, I’ve sort of panned this book in saying that he is trying way too hard to write a hip gangster version of characters in the book and it just comes out dumb. I say this because I grew up reading Deadpool comics, ever since he got his first series. I feel like I’m somewhat of an expert on the character. After his recent re-invention, I began to start becoming harsher with my reviews of him (See last weeks review of Daniel Way’s Deadpool book). However, with this final issue to Suicide Kings, I’ve gotta say: Benson? You rock.

    Continued below

    In all honesty, this book captures the heart and hilarity of the character that is very true to his very essence. In fact, you can say that it goes over the top with it, but not in a way that becomes too ridiculous. By this I mean that Deadpool takes the 4th wall and kicks it straight in the crotch in a way that left me positively cracking up while I read this – multiple times. It’s been a while since Deadpool has been a book that made me really laugh, and that’s unfortunate because as much as the book is about him kicking ass, it’s supposed to be funny. This book is just that – very funny. In fact, this is the first Deadpool comic I’ve read in a while that I really enjoyed, and I think that’s saying something for Marvel’s latest “Wolverine” (if you know what I’m saying).

    All in all, while Deadpool is kind of an annoying character these days, this issue was really quite amazing. If you weren’t following Suicide Kings, that’s too bad, because this was a pretty amazing finale to a book that had been somewhat mild throughout. Benson really proved himself to me at the end, and while I liked him a lot in Moon Knight, I’d been weary on him in Deadpool. This book changed my mind, and while it’s his last Deadpool book, I can honestly say I approve of how he went out.

    Final Verdict: Buy

    Dark Reign: The Hood #4
    Man, the Hood really screwed the pooch with this one. I’ve made it no secret that I believe Parker Robbins is one of the better villains to be introduced in the past couple years, and I love that he’s part of the Cabal in Dark Reign. He’s a character who I felt was really under appreciated (only appearing ever in Beyond!, Daredevil, and New Avengers), and now you can’t turn your head without finding him. It only makes sense that he’d have at least one of those books be his own.

    So, as I’ve said in the past, this book acts as a sequel to the original story about the Hood while including all the new elements. It works really well, too. The original artist and back, and while BKV isn’t behind the story, it still works and is very true to the character. I love how they tie in the original origin but then include all of the added Dormamu stuff that Bendis put into practice. Plus, bringing back his family into the forefront was a really great move. Suffice it to say, I highly approve on all fronts.

    Only thing is – while for me this is awesome, anyone who wasn’t a fan of the Hood before is probably pretty confused right about now. I mean, there’s a lot in here that references to his other appearances, and unless you’ve been following the rise and fall of Parker Robbins, it might seem off putting. It’s not so bad that you can’t follow it all, but I feel like this is what separates it from his other appearances where he’s just a villain.

    So it’s a satisfying Hood story, and I love where this issue leaves off. In fact, it touches on one of the original problems I had with all of his other tales, which as I mentioned before was the element of his family. Without ruining anything about this issue, his family is definitely the big focus in this one, as we’ve been seeing a steady growth in their importance again. While I feel the Hood might soon be leaving the Marvel universe based on New Avengers and this, I’m at least glad we have a legit sequel to the original story to wrap up some of the inconsistencies.

    Final Verdict: Buy if you like the Hood, otherwise Browse

    Archie #600
    Yes, I’m actually reviewing the latest Archie book. You read that right. No, you don’t need to get glasses. I’m serious. I have the issue right here in front of me, and now I’m going to review it.

    Continued below

    Back when I first started the blog, one of the very first things I reported on was Archie getting married (seriously). I wrote about how odd it was, and I had no idea who he would pick. Well, cat’s out of the bag: he picked Veronica! And a collective “whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?” goes through the room. I would’ve totally picked Betty. Not that I have anything against dark haired broads, but Betty has always been the “fun” one. Veronica always came off rigid to me, and that’s probably because she’s the rich one, but apparently she’s the only gal for Archie!

    (Also, I couldn’t help but crack up at Jughead’s apparent dismay on the front cover. Is he sad because Veronica is getting married… or because Archie is?)

    So how does it play out? Well, long story short, Betty freaks out and gets wicked depressed and Veronica is super excited and pampered. I mean, how else did you think it would play out? Oh, you don’t actually read Archie? Well, Hollywood hasn’t made an Archie movie yet, so I guess it makes sense you wouldn’t know. To recap: Betty and Veronica have been in a mild war for this boy for YEARS. They both love Archie and come from different backgrounds, but since Archie is eternally a teenager he doesn’t care. Why not play the field, right? Well, in the opening of this issue, Archie is graduating high school finally and decides to walk up Memory Lane. Not down, up. This creates a magical time vortex that puts him 4 years further in the future. He’s just graduated college as a History Major, and now he needs to make some big decisions as well as everyone else. So what’s he decide? While everyone else is getting jobs, he decides to get married! To Veronica! And only Betty is hurt.

    So… uhm… why should we care? Well. I can’t say we should. It’s a milestone in Archie comics, that’s for sure. I mean, #600! Wow! But, in actuality, unless you’re really attached to the Archie books, I can’t see why you’d be interested. Also, the whole spoiling of who he picked right on the cover, while it’s sure “classic Archie,” it kind of kills the whole mystery right off the bat.

    So I can’t say I’m thrilled. It’s a 6-part arc though, so you can be sure that it’s not over! And if I can tell anything from reading into the book a little bit, I can bet you that this’ll end in divorce. But don’t worry – I’ll be with you every step of the way to chime in with commentary and let you know how it ends up. I wouldn’t leave you hanging in the wind.

    Final Verdict: Just follow my commentary

    GIL’S REVIEWS

    Amazing Spider-Man #603
    You ever think that someone else would play a better you than you? Well, Peter might have not, but he may reconsider.

    This is the return of the villain Chameleon, and he is more terrifying than he’s ever been. Not only is he stealing lives, he stole OUR HEROES face, leaving him for dead in the process.

    And what does Chameleon do? He proceeds to destroy Peter’s life, and I can only imagine how hard it’ll be to piece it together after this is over. From doing his roommate to belittling American heroes, out face stealer is really doing a number. But he’s also having difficulty understanding Peter, which must be tough for a guy who prides himself on knowing his marks.

    I must admit I didn’t know Fred Van Lente was a writer, but I’m impressed. He scripted a great story which brings new relevance to an old character, and it’s only accented by the layouts and pencils. Even though that for all intents and purposes Peter looks the same to everyone else, you can SEE a definite attitude difference in this issue.

    All in all, I can understand why there was no Spider-Man in this issue, it’s an arc about Peter. And it can get a little repetitive to see them in the suit all the time. Good stuff. Make sure you pick up the previous issues to get the arc though.

    Continued below

    Verdict: Browse(only because it’s mid arc)

    Blackest Night: Superman #1
    The only thing scarier than the undead is a member of the undead with superpowers. And more than that, it’s an undead Superman.

    This book was oddly heartwarming for me, because I never realized how much I liked the dynamic between Kal-El and Kon-El. Original and clone almost seems like father an son. It’s really kind of sweet.

    I also love how the Black Lanterns see. The effect of seeing the emotional spectrum can be hilarious(see Green Lantern for Guy being full of rage) but it’s always illuminating. It’s especially telling for a guy like Superman, who seems to wear his emotions on his sleeve. There’s one scene where he is filled with almost the entire emotional spectrum, and it has to be one of my favorite moments all week. This is the mark of a great hero.

    Robinson is also proving to be a worthy number 2 to Geoff johns with regards to plotting the exploits of The Man of Tomorrow.

    I’m also glad that the entirety doesn’t take place in Smallville, as one of the most surprising, and scariest moments takes place (spoiler alert) on New Krypton, with the rise of Zor-El, Superman’s uncle. This definitely includes the Superman Family, and I’m along for the ride.

    I’m such a sucker for these tie-ins. And this was no exception.

    Verdict: Buy


    Mighty Avengers #28

    I used to be such an Avengers fan. When they first re-assembled under Bendis, it was fantastic, when they split after Civil War, we got a second title, this one, and it was fun. Not quite a challenging as it’s papa, but it was closer to Classic Avengers which is nice. But I think it’s a victim of it’s own success, and it’s too hard to navigate the universe without either A) getting confused, or B) not caring.

    On one hand, we have USAgent (still one of my favorite supoerhero names.) and Quicksilver “teaming” with the Chinese equivalent of the Avengers to battle The Unspoken(I must admit, that is a killer name.). It’s crawling along, and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. But on the other, we have Stature suspecting The Scarlet Witch of some nastiness, and not being able to do anything about it.

    While it started out promising, this book’s excitement level plummeted, and I have a new candidate to take off my pull. Even the art seemed to suffer. It was a lot less clean and detailed. Pham phoned it in.

    Glen also pointed out that Slott didn’t even write the script. It sure shows.

    Verdict: Pass

    Superman Annual #14
    Another review, another Superman book penned by Robinson. But of all the reviews I have to submit this week, I think this is the hardest. I mean, I’ve had my problems with the New Krypton event, because it tears Superman away from what makes him the most interesting, but we do get Mon-El, which is a great character. And this is essentially about Mon-El’s origins and how he came to be. It also explains the history of Daxam for the first time, from the relationship to Krypton to it’s relationship to Earth to it’s Xenophobia.

    It’s one of the sloppier books written by Robinson (you mean that spaceship was there ALL THIS TIME? That’ll make sense in context.), but it’s beautifully rendered by Javier Pena.

    This is painful to say, but unless you’re a fan of the Superman family like I am, at best I can give it a browse. There’s not much furthering the story(not that Annuals ever do that) and it’s the origin of an ancillory character at best. Tread lightly.


    Verdict:
    Browse

    Wolverine: Weapon X #4
    This book is possibly the most exciting in-continuity Wolverine books in a long time. Which is certainly saying something coming from a guy who finds most of his exploits boring. He’s not really a redeeming character in my mind, I don’t understand why he’s such a hero to a lot of people.

    Continued below

    But this book is perfect for him. It certainly portrays him as less of a hero, and more of a Jason Bourne type character who is seeing the past sins come back to bite him in the ass.

    I also like the addition of Logan’s adversary. He’s definitely an opposite number to Logan, but not like Sabretooth. You can tell that he and Wolverine share a code of honor, as evidenced during their battle. And that it’s not money that he’s after, it’s the desire to be the best. Which is also honorable. It’s really easy to make a villain you hate, but it’s talent that makes a villain that you can respect, whether you want to or not.

    Jason Aaaron put together a taut web of super soldiers and projectile energy claws(WTFRENCHTOAST?! REALLY?! AWESOME) with enough political intrigue to keep a guy like me coming back. And Ron Gerney is more than capable of putting together slick action scenes to keep the book moving at a brisk pace.

    Everyone should be reading this book. Fans and non-fans alike.

    Verdict: Buy


    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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