Welcome to another edition of Gil’s Stack! This week I tackle a rather eclectic mix of books, ranging from licensed property to Marvel to DC. I’ll be reviewing Avengers #3, Power Girl #14, True Blood #1, and Legion of Super-Heroes #3. I hope you enjoyed these reviews as much as I enjoyed writing them! If you’re a regular reader, you know our rating system, but if you’re a new reader, here it is:
0: Uwe Boll will direct the adaptation of this comic
0.1 – 1: Burn upon touching
1- 1.9: Abysmal
2.0 – 2.9: Art. Writing. Editing. All bad.
3.0 – 3.9: You’d be a masochist to pick this up.
4.0 – 4.9: “I’ll give it another month…but that was not good.”
5.0 – 5.9: “Really? The Watcher? In the face? I guess it was fun.”
6.0 – 6.9: “Hmm. That was decent.”
7.0 – 7.9: Well made but a few problems
8.0 – 8.9: Nearly flawless
9.0 – 9.9: Outstanding
10: Perfection. Issue of the year contender
Written by: BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
Art by: JOHN ROMITA, JR.
Release Date: JULY 21, 2010
The time space continuum is broken! And the Avengers must travel to the far flung future to see exactly what terrible mess their children have made of the world. But maybe, just maybe, Kang didn’t tell our heroes the truth about what has gone wrong.
Guest starring the Next Avengers, the Future Imperfect Hulk and the Amazing Spider-Girl! Yeah, you heard us! Another blockbuster issue from Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita, Jr.!
Plus! Another chapter in the untold oral history of the Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis…!
Let me preface this by saying that Bendis actually seems to succeed tackling The Avengers. Sure you have your quick and snappy dialogue that Bendis for which Bendis is best known, but it also has the grand plots that made the Avengers the premiere superteam in the Marvel Universe (that doesn’t consist entirely of mutants). Sure the New Avengers were (and are) a lot of fun, but it’s more or less a street level team and the feel is completely different.
You can tell Bendis thought this one through, and he has genuine care for the characters. Each character speaks with their own voice, and he even limits his trademark “Bendisisms” to Spider-Man, save for one line, which Spider-Man even points out. It’s a really funny scene that in any other hands, might have fallen flat.
The weak point is definitely the art though. John Romita, Jr. is a well known comic book artist, and I remember his art from when I was a kid. The Thing that sucks about it is, I hated it then, and I hate it now.
There are times I like it, like when he worked on Kick-Ass. But here; it’s just awful. Almost all of the character designs are boxy and almost inhuman; the action isn’t rendered very well, and the details are almost non-existent. To be honest, the book is quite ugly. When I look at this, I wonder if Alan Davis from the title Avengers: Prime can take over ASAP, because that has some gorgeous art. It’s certainly more suited for this boo than Romita.
The thing about this book is that I have a motto about art. It can’t make a book, but it can break it. And this art comes quite close to breaking it. Bendis is just lucky that his writing is THAT good.
Final Verdict: 7.0 – Buy
POWER GIRL #14
Written by: JUDD WINICK
Art & Cover by: SAMI BASRI
Release Date: JULY 21, 2010
Due to the events in JUSTICE LEAGUE: GENERATION LOST, Power Girl finds herself mysteriously unaware of the period in her life when Max Lord was pulling her strings as part of Justice League International. Meanwhile, the distractions of being a heroine cause her business to falter as her friends and co-workers disappear. Are they simply walking away — or is something worse happening to them?
I never got to read Palmiotti and Conner’s Power Girl. It’s something I deeply regret, but nonetheless, I need to go back and read it. And after Judd Winick and Sam Basri’s issue, I’m even more compelled to read it.
People give Winick a lot of crap. I’ve never had an issue with him or his writing, and here’s it’s just a lot of fun. For those of you who haven’t been following, Power Girl is broke. Her Chief Financial Officer embezzled millions from her company, and left out to dry in the process. On top of all that, there’s a new doomsday weapon laying waste to NYC, and she’s the only one who can stop it. It’s rough being an independent woman, I gather.
Here, Winick shows he understands the character and gives her a real sense of humor. Her personality is really shining here, and I love it. Even her supporting characters are fleshed out and a lot of fun to read. I don’t know much about them, but I feel like they’re complete characters I would actually care about.
Even the art, while it isn’t Amanda Conner, is absolutely stunning. It uses a lighter watercolor approach to make characters seem a bit more warm and inviting. There’s also a certain manga style that has a clear difference in style from Conner or most American Artists out there. It’s absolutely lovely. I enjoyed it a lot.
Flat out, this is one of the most slept on books out there, and I think it should be higher profile than it is. Check it out.
Final Verdict: 7.5 – Buy
True Blood #1
Written by: ALAN BALL, DAVID TISCHMAN & MARIAH HUEHNER
Art by: DAVID MESSINA
Covers by: J. SCOTT CAMPBELL, JOE CORRONEY, ANDREW CURRIE, DAVID MESSINA
Release Date: JULY 21, 2010
Alan Ball’s hit HBO series, the sensually sizzling story of the lives and loves of vampires, mind readers, and all manner of creatures, comes to IDW!
Blood and sex mix on a hot rainy night at Merlotte’s, when Sookie and her friends are trapped by a vengeful spirit who feeds on shame. People die and dirty secrets are revealed as Sookie, Bill, Eric, Sam, Tara, Jason, and Lafayette and are all coerced to dig deep and tell painful memories from their past–those things we all have locked within us that we never tell another living soul! Bon Temps, Louisiana has never been stranger, or more twisted, in a story co-plotted by TRUE BLOOD series creator Alan Ball, with a script by David Tischman (Bite Club) and Mariah Huehner, and lush art by David Messina (Star Trek: Countdown). First Issue special: an exclusive pullout gatefold poster by David Messina!
I really enjoy True Blood. It’s a little soapy, sure, but it’s also a lot of fun. And this issue, which is taken from the series, fits the mood of the show perfectly. It’s a stormy night in Bon Temps, and the whole gang, from Sookie to Tara to Jason’s wench-o-the-week is all inside eating and staying dry. But there’s a mysterious stranger who takes the whole crew hostage because of a wrong doing that occurred some time ago. It’s not really known who did it, or even what happened to our transient hostage taker, but the important thing is that he’s in control, and there’s nothing they can do about it.
Some of you might be wondering why a True Blood comic is even necessary. It’s a valid question, this comic is a book based on a TV show which was in turn inspired by a book series. It’s kind of cyclical in its inspiration and it might be a little annoying if you think about it.
But the difference is I don’t think this episode would have been possible on screen, even if it were HBO. And clearly Alan Ball (creator of the show, and writer of this title) knew that, so he used the format to push the ideas to the very limit of what they can do. It was definitely a smart choice to adapt this too, because you know how lucrative comics are!Continued below
And the art is gorgeous, my God. David Messina’s work in the page looks nearly exactly like the actors who portray the characters, and he adds just enough cheesecake to truly fit the style of the series. It’s raining outside? So then of course Sookie’s shirt would be wet. It’s all perfectly captured right there on the page. I loved looking at it so much.
But you know, if you’re not a fan of the TV show, you probably shouldn’t bother at all. I’m going to score it as a buy because I am a fan of the series, and I’ll be picking up the next issues of the book. But if you don’t like the series, you’ll find it gimmicky at best.
But who cares? I love it.
Final Verdict: 8.0 – Buy
Legion of Super-Heroes #3
Written By: PAUL LEVITZ
Art by: YILDIRAY CINAR, WAYNE FAUCHER
Covers: YILDIRAY CINAR, WAYNE FAUCHER, JIM LEE
Release Date: JULY 21, 2010
The xenophobic Earth-Man was once the Legion’s most despised foe, but now he’s forced to join their ranks! But can his Legion teammates — particularly his one-time torture victim Sun Boy — let bygones be bygones so quickly?
Ever since the series relaunched and Paul Levitz has been onboard, the book has been stellar. He took an existing franchise and instead of a clean reboot, he built upon stories from Geoff Johns’ run on Action Comics and the Legion of Three Worlds mini to make it feel like an organic and natural storyline continuation. Levitz even added a twist, giving a Green Lantern ring to a character who’s been a villain to the Legion longer than an ally. He’s still an ally here, albeit a reluctant one.
That’s actually my one gripe with the title. Earth-Man seems to have bonded just a little too quickly with the team, and even though they don’t seem to like him, he doesn’t seem to be so opposed to being in the Legion. Do I want him sulking in the corner? Probably not, but he’s just a little too eager it seems. But while he’s eager, the Legion REALLY doesn’t like him. Sun Boy tells him that if if were just the two of them, he would have let Earth-Man die.
This is perfectly understandable seeing as how Sun Boy was tortured by Earth-Man for God knows how long. But at the same time, it’s such a smarmy thing to say for a hero.
The other sub-plot seems to have been disregarded pretty easily, as it was over by the halfwaypoint o the issue. Saturn Queen was controlling Brainy and Tyroc in what seemed like a justified way of revenge for the destruction of Titan. But she was never able to make herself much more than a nuisance to our heroes. I was hoping for a larger threat, as it was interesting, but here it’s more of an afterthought. That’s a shame.
Yildiray Cinar’s artwork was off the chain as well. His lines were very detailed and textured and his facial expressions were top-notch as well. He is certainly one of the better up-and-coming artists out there, and I hope this Turkish penciller finds his way onto a top tier book sometimes soon, even if it’s this one. I want this book to be in the top ten, as it’s that good.
The book is a damn fine read. I’ve loved the series since I was a kid with the reboot and I hope it continues being this good.
Final Verdict: 7.5 – Buy