After a week off for celebrating the fantastic day of my birth, I have returned to bring you your favorite set of reviews. After a week away, I felt the only thing appropriate was to focus on some smaller titles that I feel needed some love – or possibly some hate! But before we start to look at the titles that I picked during the draft, let’s take a look at our scale:
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
This week my reviews include Action Comics #891, The Amory Wars: In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 #3, Pilot Season: Stellar #1 and Time Lincoln: Fists of Fuhrer #1 Quite a fun list this week.
Check out all the reviews after the jump.
Action Comics #891
I didn’t want to be buying Action Comics. I didn’t. My goal is to buy less books and not more, and Action Comics is a book that I have successfully dropped in the past. But dammit, Paul Cornell… you didn’t even give me the option, now did you? No, you just had to go ahead and write one of the best damn comics I’ve read all week and get me hooked on this series again!
Action Comics #891 is a weird mix of both intrigue and comedy. In fact, it’s one of the best mixes of these two elements that I got to read this week. Last week we had the outrageous reveal of Mr. Mind as the villain behind the first story, but we’ve known he’s not the big bad. In reality, Cornell wants to put Luthor out of his element. Well, this issue certainly does that, and with Inception having just been released it feels like quite an appropriate time to have a story centralized around Luthor being attacked in his dreams.
Cornell has an excellent way about his writing that makes what could’ve been a terrible story come off quite well. In all reality, the idea of Luthor fighting Mr. Mind in his mind through various outlandish dreamscapes isn’t something I feel I’d normally go for, but the way that Cornell writes it becomes endearing. I cheered along with the book as Luthor tore his shirt off, and I laughed at all the right moments. This issue does continue something that I commented on back in Blackest Night which to me seems odd, and that’s that writers like to portray Luthor as envious of Superman instead of trying to overcome him and be better. Someone explained to me once why this would work, but I always felt that the whole point of Luthor is that he didn’t want to be super – he just wanted to be better. Putting it in his dream that he wanted to be Superman, even to the point where he has a personal android created from Lois Lane, is odd… but ultimately it still works.
This issue also continues to be a testament to Pete Woods. I praised his artwork back in Last Stand of New Krypton and had noted that his work was one of the things I was looking forward to most in this comic run. This issue helps to prove why. Last issue was certainly an excellent and smooth/sexy treat for the eyes, but this issue – which bounces from dreamscape and setting back and forth – proves why Pete Woods is such a talented artist. I love his style, and his lines are so incredibly smooth. If you didn’t believe Luthor was bald before, you most certainly will see your reflection in his head now.Continued below
So thanks a lot, Paul Cornell and Pete Woods. My wallet is crying in both sadness and joy.
Final Verdict: 9.2 – Buy
The Amory Wars: In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 #3
I think I’ve reviewed every issue of this series now. With the first issue, I found myself really endeared with the tale. I thought that bringing in Peter David was a brilliant idea to help revitalize this series, which has failed in comic book form multiple times now. Three issues in, I’m beginning to waver a bit in my stance, but not enough to leave yet.
In the third issue, we actually see the plot that takes place in one of the catchiest songs on the album – the opening track! Man your own jackhammer, indeed. Under the water, Inferno and Dettinwolf’s forces face off. It’s quite an epic battle, although the underwater aspect certainly is a tad odd. We even get a bit of a deus ex machina victory for the heroes. Meanwhile, oblivious and thousands of miles away, Claudio continues to wander the streets as his life slowly intertwines with Al and Ambellina.
I enjoyed the issue for it’s battle scenes, but I’m still waiting for the story to really get going. We’ve seen the Priests before, but that element of threat seemed fairly glossed over here in the case of Ambellina saving Claudio. I’m also really waiting for Claudio’s story to begin, because so far this story has been about everyone but him. He’s basically been wandering the streets, saving the occasional little girl and arguing with himself. Meanwhile, we’ve got this weirdo guy named Al who is also walking around… and although they keep crossing paths, nothing happens. We’re three issues in, and I feel like something should happen already.
I’m also less impressed with Chris Burnham’s art as time goes on. While it seemed interesting at first, some of it seems kind of awkward this issue. It’s like he wants to be Frank Quitely, but he’s not quite there with his pencils. I also think Ambellina comes off as a different character this issue than she did previously, and Al as well. Al originally seemed to be this bigger guy and more threatening of a character. Now he just looks like a creep.
IKSOSE:3 is a long album, and everyone has their interpretation of the story. With all of our opinions of the story already, does anyone think that 12 issues might not be enough at this rate? I’m sticking with the title and haven’t given up hope yet, but I’m hoping that given the ending of this issue, something might really happen next issue in terms of advancing the plot. I get the feeling this might have been a wait for trade title, though.
Final Verdict: 6.9/7.0 – Browse/Buy
Pilot Season: Stellar #1
Pilot Season with Robert Kirkman and Marc Silvestri was something I was really excited for. I love the idea of a new series being started based on votes, and I was anxious to see a new Kirkman book on the market. As time went on and the issues stopped coming out on time, my excitement waned, and with this book finally on the shelves, I find myself fairly disinterested.
The latest entry, Stellar, features a mysterious girl crash landing on a planet and battling an alien while searching for a specific element not of our world. This element, as we find out, is the only thing that can save a poor boy who is dying of an insane infection on a distant planet – the son of a man who our heroine somewhat fancies. However, the poor girl isn’t quite human, and as we learn, she is doomed to be alone forever. Or is she?
Kirkman is certainly no stranger to writing aliens, and certainly not ones who are on the offensive against us. While the heroine of Stellar is certainly no Viltrumite, her story surely has a similar angle to the Invincible one. I suppose this is where I lose interest in the story – I’ve seen it before. Alien is asked by race to join up and help destroy Earth, or else. It’s a good idea, but it’s one I’ve seen Kirkman run with before, so I’m not as enthralled. On top of that, I’m not sure entirely where the story will go from here. It doesn’t really look like the title could sustain an ongoing, so much as it could sustain a really ominous cliffhanger. How can one person realistically stop their entire race?Continued below
I will say, though – Bernard Chang’s artwork here? Fantastic. I read that Chang really wanted to inject emotion into the art, and I fully believe that he did it. You get a lot out of the character here. We are shown so much about her and the world she lives in, and Chang’s art really brings it home. While I didn’t get into the story, I did find myself gazing off at the artwork, which I really found enticing. Chang has a great set of pencils and inks here, and the coloring to match it is fantastic.
The comic looks brilliant, but it’s the writing that doesn’t hold up for me. It’s not entirely surprising though. I can’t expect a writer to come up with five great ideas in a row. Pilot Season as a whole is something I feel has ultimately fallen flat. The delays are hurting my interest in it, the stories end up feeling so short, and with no apparent place to vote to see these continue we’re ultimately getting little tastes of things that I don’t think will be coming. In that regard, I’d wait for the trade.
Final Verdict 6.7 – Browse
Time Lincoln: Fists of Fuhrer #1
The original Time Lincoln one-shot was something that I was personally enthralled with. I thought it was a hilarious concept executed brilliantly, and I lamented the fact that it was a one-shot because I thought that the ideas in the story were pretty brilliant and hilarious. Little did I know that Time Lincoln actually was an ongoing – at least, in a sense. That’s how I was able to grab Fists of Fuhrer, the next entry into the Time Lincoln saga.
Of course, this isn’t your average on-going series. In fact, with stories months apart, we’re really getting whole stories condensed into single issue form. Now, the first issue worked really well because it presented all the facts – the entire time line was laid out with humorous little nods and winks at various directions. The second issue into this series – the first real story starring Time Lincoln – doesn’t play out as well.
In this issue, Lincoln has fallen back through time only to end up with Albert Einstein. The rip in time has allowed him and various other great minds to link up due to the tear, but when Ben Franklin does finally cut through time with his device, he winds up in the middle of burning house fighting off the hordes of Mephitler, whose Demonazi’s have kidnapped Einstein and are currently attempting to kill Lincoln.
The issue is decidedly hilarious. There really is nothing about it that isn’t funny. The dialogue, the names (Mephitler!), and the interactions that characters bring to one another. I mean, the finale is atop of Lincoln’s head on Mt Rushmore! There’s so many little jokes and moments that the book reads as one great comedy, and that’s good. The intention of the book is to be funny, poking fun at history and the genre in general. It is here that the book succeeds.
Where it doesn’t, however, is that this time around the pacing is not as good. Last time we were looking at moment’s in time as Void Stalin was about to destroy Lincoln and thus alter the timeline in his favor. Through all these little blip moments, the comic’s timing worked. This time, we’re still given a look at the blip factor as Franklin explains how time travel was discovered by he and his ilk, but then we are thrust into the story without being able to watch Lincoln grow as a hero as I would have initially assumed and/or hoped we would. Due to this story being condensed into single issues at a time, a lot of the story that SHOULD be elaborated on isn’t. Why should I care that Einstein was kidnapped beyond my knowledge of Einstein due to history class. This is something that should be stretched out and built up, not condensed down into single issues at a time, and it in turn makes Mephitler kind of a throw away one-and-done villain, which is pretty disappointing.Continued below
Now, I enjoy Perry’s work. As I said last time (much to the chagrin of a commentor on the site), I’m not familiar with his work so he and the publisher are new to me. I really enjoy the work being done here, and I think Perry’s got a good grip on his story. His art is also enticing, and it’s reminiscent of Mike Oeming’s work. I just wish that the story wouldn’t be condensed down as much as it is being. Perry’s got a good sense of humor in these issues, and to see Einstein and Lincoln have longer and more meaningful interactions would have made the pay off of this issue’s ending much more satisfying. I don’t really think that the single issue story arc works very well, at least not here.
While I doubt that will change, I still recommend grabbing the issue if you can find it. Time Lincoln is a very fun ride, and while I may not entirely approve of the story, you do get your money’s worth out of this comic (and, as a side note, who knows when the trade will come out with this one, so you might want to enjoy the story now while you can!).
Final Verdict: 7.1 – Buy