• Reviews 

    WINCBD! – Gil’s Stack (7-28-10)

    By | July 29th, 2010
    Posted in Reviews | % Comments

    Hello all! It’s that time again. I’m back a different banner, one I like better. I’m also posting reviews with a decidedly DC theme, with three DCU proper titles (Green Lantern #56, The Flash #4, Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #4) and a Vertigo title (American Vampire #5). Am I showing a bias? NAH! By now you should know how rating structure, but if you don’t it’s below!

    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

    Nowe that we have that out of the way, click the cut for the reiews!

    Green Lantern #56
    Written by GEOFF JOHNS
    Cover by DOG MAHNKE & CHRISTIAN ALAMY; 1:25 Variant cover by Stanley “Artgerm” Lau

    BRIGHTEST DAY shines on as the mystery of the White Lantern piques the curiosity of Hector Hammond. The bizarre telekinetic escapes his prison cell and sets his sights on one being — Larfleeze! Plus, Hal Jordan begins unlocking the secret behind who took Parallax during BLACKEST NIGHT!

    Doug Mahnke is a freaking genius. From beginning to end, this book was a testament to the mastery he holds over the medium, with beautifully rendered landscapes and characters. We got even more of this with the reintroduction of the classic GL villain Hector Hammond. Someone so grotesquely misshapen shouldn’t be so…wonderful to look at, but it is. His Hector Hammond is just awesome. All three versions. Yeah, you’ll see.

    Geoff Johns even inserted his trademark sit into the issue, with the addition of Larfleeze to the New Guardians storyarc. Larfleeze is a great addition to the Green Lantern supporting cast, as he adds a much needed dose of humor as the comic relief. His actions and expressions are all hilarious. I hope that Larfleeze Christmas Special actually happens, because I would buy it in a New York Minute.

    But when he needs to, Geoff Johns also injects horror, tragedy, or even fantasy with ease. He’s back at the top of his game, and this episode shows all of that. It’s especially lovely with Hector Hammond, because he’s either suffering from, or causing, most of those story elements in a single issue. It all culminates in a cliffhanger that leaves you wanting more.

    And then you see Mahnke’s line teasing the next issue, and you fall apart laughing all over again. Hysterical.

    If you’re a Green Lantern fan, you’ll love this book, and even if you’re not, there are so many pretty pictures here. Come for the art, stay for the awesome story.

    Final Verdict: 8.5 — Buy!

    The Flash #4
    Written by GEOFF JOHNS
    Cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL;1:10 variant cover by Scott Kolins

    The original Captain Boomerang returns as BRIGHTEST DAY continues. Meanwhile, Barry must prove his innocence to the Renegades, cops from the 25th century. Discover what connection they have to the Rogues and what travesties have occurred in the future.

    First the Brave and now the Bold; I chose these books purposefully because of that theme, but also because I wanted to compare and contrast Geoff Johns’ books to see how they’ve been doing since Blackest Night ended and the Brightest Day started up.

    Which is odd, because for the longest time, Flash was the superior book on the shelf. It was new, it wasn’t bogged down by 50+ issues of stories and not one but THREE crossovers and events sprinkled in between. But while Green Lantern was much more fun, Barry’s title faltered just a bit.

    Continued below

    I’m not blaming Johns, as there was solid character and plot development, as we get just a peek at what the upcoming Flash event “Flashpoint” might just entail. It certainly drew me in, and I have a feeling it will draw you in as well.

    I think my problem was shockingly with Francis Manapul. Do not get me wrong, I love his work to death and he is probably second only to Gary Frank when it comes to my favorite artist out there. But this issue just a little more rough than the previous issues. Maybe he was in a hurry because of Comic-Con, but some of the charm was lost when I noticed it. Granted it’s still better than most artists on higher profile books, but it’s still not as good as he could be. It’s a shame.

    But despite all that, this is still one of the best books on the shelves, and you’re sorely mistaken if you decided to not pass on this book for any reason. I mean, if simply character politics make you stay away, then I feel sorry for you. This book is worth your money, plain and simple.

    Final Verdict — 7.5 — Buy!

    American Vampire #5
    Cover by RAFAEL ALBUQUERQUE; 1:25 variant cover by PAUL POPE

    It all comes down to this: revenge. It’s payback time, as fledgling vampire Pearl Jones finally confronts the vicious Hollywood coven that left her for dead, and Will Bunting reveals the final, shocking chapter in the saga of James Book and his deadliest adversary, American vampire Skinner Sweet. Be there for the unforgettable, double conclusion to the first arc of AMERICAN VAMPIRE.

    American Vampire is a tough book to review. It’s so uniformly well made that one finds it hard to give it a numerical value. I’ll try my best though.

    First off, there’s the writing. Both stories were really well structured, with twists and turns around every corner. The final showdown between Pearl and the European Vampires is here, and it’s violent to be sure! It was told at a breakneck speed, giving a fitting conclusion to one of the best horror comics out there. Even if the series had been canceled, which I don’t believe it was even close to being; it would have been a near perfect ending to a great book. I admit that while Stephen King’s entry starring Skinner Sweet was really quite enthralling, I enjoyed Scott Snyder’s opus just that much more. That’s no fault of King’s though; I mean the man is a legend. I just find that Pearl is a much more relatable hero, whereas Skinner is a dark anti-hero, possibly even a villain. The idea of Skinner being a lead is a little off-putting, even if it is a flashback to the main story starring Pearl. Otherwise it’s a great arc on its own right, and it would even make a great standalone series.

    And even though I do have an issue with Skinner as a lead, he still is a great character. He has an interesting status as both antagonist and supporting character, as you’re never quite sure where his allegiances lie. He’s in the running for best new character of the year, that’s for sure.

    And then there’s Albuquerque’s art. David might kill me, but I never read his run on Blue Beetle. I’ve grown to love Jaime Reyes, but I never picked up the series when it was running. But now I want to go back and read his run on the series now, because his art here is just phenomenal. It’s moody and dark, but never gets drab. Not for a second. It’s just a lovely thing to look at. His character models are unique and each has a personality of its own. I grew to appreciate John her boyfriend for his simple farmboy modeling, as he really did look like he just fell off the hay truck. All of it is just gorgeous.

    I can’t really say much more. If you like horror titles, this book is for you. If you’ve grown tired of weak vampires that don’t frighten, this is for you. If you like good books, this is for you.

    Continued below

    Final Verdict — 8.5 — Buy!

    Batman: Return of Bruce Wayne #4 (of 6)
    Written by GRANT MORRISON
    Cover by ANDY KUBERT; 1:25 variant cover by CAMERON STEWART

    The most anticipated series of 2010 continues!

    Grant Morrison’s can’t-miss Batman story rolls on as Bruce Wayne’s next stop on his amazing journey through time brings him to the Wild West — but will he escape alive? Artist Georges Jeanty (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER) joins Morrison to take The Dark Knight on a ride!

    Georges Jeanty gets a bum rap. He is a super talented artist who happened to get the brunt of people’s rage when they found out the also brilliant Cameron Stewart wasn’t available for the issue. But even without Stewart, the book looks awesome. If you’ve seen his work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you might actually be a little shocked to see this book. Where Buffy has matched the tone of the TV show, RoBW has a moodier look to it. You can certainly see it is his style, but he changed it to suit Grant Morrison’s vision.

    Which brings me to Grant Morrison. When it came time to choose this book, I think I might have made a mistake. While it looks gorgeous, some of the book feels like it flies right over my head. It fits into Morrison’s overall arc, which is well written, just dense. He’s like the opposite of Ron Marz. Marz is one of the most new-reader-friendly writers out there, while Morrison’s books get heavily mired in continuity and almost pushes new readers away, kind of like the recently finished series LOST. I’m certain that when I finally catch up on Morrison’s work, this will make a lot more sense . Until then, it’s just unfair for me to give it a mere score for that.

    I’ll say this, if you’ve been reading his Batman epic, you will LOVE this, and you will love dissecting his words, finding meaning in between the lines. If not…there’s not much here for you. Unsure, Check back again soon.

    Final Verdict: 7.0 – Buy

    Gilbert Short

    Gilbert Short. The Man. The Myth. The Legend. When he's not reading comic books so you don't have to, he's likely listening to mediocre music or watching excellent television. Passionate about Giants baseball and 49ers football. When he was a kid he wanted to be The Ultimate Warrior. He still kind of does. His favorite character is Superman and he will argue with you about it if you try to convince him otherwise. He also happens to be the head of Social Media Relations, which means you should totally give him a follow onTwitter.