WINCBD! – Matt’s Stack (8-11-10)

By | August 12th, 2010
Posted in Reviews | % Comments

Remember how last week, my pre-scoring note was (insert witty intro)? Yeah. Usually I put that into draft mode so I can write something later. Obviously I goofed. However, I’d imagine that it was pretty funny anyway. So with that error out of the way, let’s get into our scoring system, shall we?

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 Morning Glories #1, Booster Gold #35, Ultimate Comics Avengers #3, and The Thanos Imperative #3. Should be an enjoyable little week.

Check out all the reviews after the jump.

Morning Glories #1
I was entirely skeptical of this issue. Not for any particular reason against it. In all reality, I was intrigued by the premise, but afraid that I would find another book that I would love and end up having to get a new ongoing – something I don’t think my wallet can handle. After my first visit to Morning Glory Academy, I’m not entirely sure I want to stay full time, but I definitely am convinced enough to keep on for the next issue.

Morning Glories revolves around new students to Morning Glory Academy. These six kids all fit certain stereotypes and demographics (the emo, the slut, the creepy rich guy) and all mysteriously are born on the same day. See, Morning Glory Academy isn’t your typical school. In fact, there are weird creepy purple men lurking in the shadows, and something is just not right about the teachers. The focus is very much on the school’s students being the future, and it seems that the teachers are employing odd methods in order to help enforce this, as seen at the very beginning and very end of the issue. Something is all kinds of wrong!

I’m not overly familiar with Nick Spencer’s work, but what I knew was that this was supposed to be “Runaways meets LOST.” Well, that is definitely close enough. I get the same feel for the young characters as I did when I first read Runaways, and that’s what really drew me into the story. The characters are humorous and endearing in their own way, and while we don’t get a lot of time of them interacting there is enough of a glimpse of how they will work together. It makes it quite intriguing as to what further issues will be, and makes me really curious to further issues.

However, as David Pepose said over at Newsarama, the book is not so much LOST as it is the Prisoner. For those that don’t know about the Prisoner, it has a mildly similar premise to LOST in that our hero is taken to a mysterious island that we know nothing about, where his outside life is stripped away and he is reduced to a number. I think this sums up the feel of the book quite well, as the students lose all ties to their family. There’s a very odd and friendly yet sinister feel to the book, and it’s that moodiness that decidedly keeps me here for a second issue. Congrats Nick Spencer – you pulled me in for another issue!

Joe Eisma is no slouch in the art department either. To pull the comparisons back to Runaways, Eisma has the same stylistic feel that Alphona had in Runaways. It’s very smooth and has apparent stylistic influences, and a frequent use of very bright colors over it. I already have a good feel for his artwork, and can definitely say that even if the writing hadn’t pulled me in, the artwork definitely would have. It’s very sleek and will definitely draw a lot of eyes.

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In all frankness, Morning Glories is a strong start. It’s enough to keep me in for another issue, but I’m not overly excited yet (not in the sense that I was for our book of the week). I want to stay with Morning Glories for at least a few more issues before I put my final thumb up or thumb down on it, but for now it is a thumb up. Definitely give Morning Glories a look in your local shop: you won’t be disappointed.

Final Verdict: 8.0 – Buy

Booster Gold #35
I like to start reviews a certain way sometimes, with informing the reader if I have a bias or not. In this case, it should be known that I do not like Booster Gold as a solo act. What I do like, however, is Justice League International and Keith Giffen. It’s this that led me to buy my first Booster Gold comic ever once he came in, and it’s this that has kept me in. This issue in particular has solidified my place in the Booster Gold Fan Club – at least as long as DeMatteis and Giffen are at the helm.

Picking up where the last issue off, we get a humorous recap followed by a lot of Big Barda kicking ass. I love seeing Barda and Miracle Man being able to play off each other, and having class Blue Beetle in the mix making excessive amounts of wise ass remarks make the comic a great laugh. We also get a really nice moment between Booster and Beetle when Beetle asks what happens in the future. You see, Beetle knows that the Booster there has come from a different timeline, so he’s quite curious as to why he came back in time alone. It’s a really great (albeit a little sad) moment in a really enjoyable comic.

I’ve never been one to idolize the relationship between Booster Gold and Blue Beetle like some do, but I think DeMatteis and Giffen have definitely brought back the charm that was so apparent in the various JLI titles, including the relaunches (I Can’t Believe It’s Not Justice League!). While I’m not a fan of Booster solo, putting him in a team with Barda, Miracle, and Beetle makes the tale really endearing, and putting them in one of the most ridiculous situations ever makes the book a good comedy read. See, most comedy-based super hero titles get one key thing wrong: it’s all slapstick and no heart (you know what I’m talking about). Booster Gold is a heavy duty comedy book at this point, but it’s got a lot of heart running through it as Booster tries to prove he’s not just a joker, especially when interacting with the always joking Ted Kord.

I am also seriously loving Chris Batista’s art. He is standing up well with Maguire (the aforementioned ICBINJL title), and a tad sharper at that. Batista has done a really impressive job at giving this book a strong feel towards the silly while not overdoing it to the point that the art becomes disgusting to look at. His humorous moments are queued together with a sharp style that make the book a terrific and easy read that propels the story forward at a quickened pace.

As Walt said a few months ago, Booster Gold is now safe to go into. Now makes a great time to get into it, and while the tie to Generation Lost is pretty thin at best at the moment, there is enough in here to make it endearing to those who were hoping for more than just a tie in- like myself. There is a new book to love here and it looks and feels as good as the comic that came out in 1987. Definitely a book to keep in your rotation.

Final Verdict: 8.2 – Buy

Ultimate Comics Avengers 3 #1
While I mentioned reading Booster Gold and loving it’s way to keep a comedic mindset while inducing some heart as well, then I get to review a book like Ultimate Comics Avengers 3. I don’t look at Mark Millar’s work in the same way that I used to. If this was 5-10 years ago, I’d be praising his ingenuity with work like the Authority, Red Son, or the Ultimates. Now? Now I just role with the punches, laugh like there is no tomorrow, and just keep wondering: what the heck is he going to do next?

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Now is the beginning of the controversial arc. Just as you will be seeing in X-Men by Victor Gischler, Mark Millar is bringing America’s #1 villain into his story: the vampire. Beginning with Blade post-threesome, the book quickly launches into a vampire hack fest that includes an admittedly well timed Jew joke. We also get a look at the new Daredevil, who is almost exactly like Ultimate Matt Murdock, except he has a fleshed out origin instead of just appearing (not that we really needed the origin… we all know Matt Murdock’s story). And when I say exactly, I literally mean exactly, by the way. This book then ends with the vampire attack coming out full force, Nick Fury reacting, and someone showing up to say a line that only Mark Millar would end his books with (or maybe Jeph Loeb).

As I’ve said, there is no taking Millar seriously at this point. His books are fun, but they’re pretty silly. I dislike this book for all the same reasons I disliked X-Men #1: neither book get a good feel to them. Let’s forget that the vampire phenomenon feels pretty overplayed at the moment, and just focus on what we’re presented with here. In this book, vampirism is a simple disease that is briefly described and explained while Blade lays post-coitus with some ladies. What follows is a rather large style over substance sequence that, in all reality, is no different than the past two Ultimate Comics Avengers titles. It’s as if Millar has a definitive outline/formula that is printed out and taped up near his workstation, and now he’s just making paint by numbers tails with different overall enemies.

Really, all these books come down to is: what artist is he working with, and do I like that artist enough to want to buy this? For me, Steve Dillon is a no questions asked kind of artist due to this phenomenal little series you may have heard of called Preacher. That book changed how I look at comics, and I will forever follow Steve Dillon into the gates of artist hell at this point. This book pretty much feels like that, though. For those reading PunisherMax, you’ll see Dillon for the phenomenal gritty work he is known for. When looking at this though, something just feels off. While I can’t quite put my finger on it, I had to double check the cover to make sure that it was in fact Dillon’s work. The book feels nothing like him, with pencils far too smooth and layouts far too clean. I love Dillon for his gritty art style and his perfect way of making really ugly yet beautiful artwork. This? Well, this I have no clue what to make of, but it feels wrong in the same way that McNiven (normally a clean and stylistic powerhouse) is doing less than normal work with Nemesis (also by Millar).

Yet, there’s something amusingly endearing about it all. While Ultimate Comics Avengers 3 is certainly nothing near how great the Ultimates or the Ultimates 2 was, it’s an amusing read for completely different reads. When you get past the point of caring about what Millar is writing and just simply start reading the comic to be entertained, it works well. There are books on the market that attempt to be funny and resort to simply slapstick as a tool, but Millar has his own (dare I say it?) Millarisms at this point that just make his books stupid and fun reads. If you have the extra money and are looking for a ridiculous read that is overdone but not in a pie in the face kind of way, stick with Ultimate Comics Avengers. It’s fun and right in all the ways that Loeb’s Hulk books never have been, no matter how hard he has tried.

But just so we’re all clear here: yes, this is a bad comic.

Final Verdict: 6.9/7.0 – Buy/Browse

The Thanos Imperative #3
Mmm, Cosmic Marvel. Delicious with every taste we get! There has been a lot of build-up to this event, and sometimes I get a little afraid that the book won’t deliver until the end. See, I read the first two DnA events in trade, and I found that the story works so much better when it’s all collected because there is a lot of build up and moments of event-itis. DnA haven’t let me down for three events in a row though, so fingers crossed for Thanos Imperative, the second event I’ve been able to tag along for.

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Now at the halfway point of it’s story, I can easily say that this is pretty crazy awesome. Last issue’s finale was pretty huge, and unfortunately it didn’t have a very big effect on the events of this issue. What we got instead, though, was some backstory and interesting pacing between two factions – the Guardians, and what have ended up being dubbed the Cosmic Avengers. On the Guardians side of the story is where we get the most over all plot details, including how the Cancerverse came to be. We also get our twist finale (which, if my clever mind is right, makes quite a lot of sense). Over in our universe, the battle just gets worse for our heroes until ultimately, the Cosmic Avengers form!

Now, I was a bit let down by the Cosmic Avenger stuff. Granted, they are not called the Cosmic Avengers and there is no note at all that they will stay together post-Thanos Imperative. However, for the purposes of the here and now, that’s what they’ll be called. It’s just… I guess I was hoping the moment would feel much more triumphant than it did. In all honesty, the scene played out less as a “come on, let’s get together and kick ass” moment of epicness, and more of a “ok, this is a last ditch effort at this point, and someone call Beta Ray Bill” moment of ‘alright, I guess that’s cool’-ness. It’s definitely going to be fun next issue to see these guys work together (and assumedly and hopefully beyond this point), but for what it was it felt generally lackluster.

However, the Guardian side of things? Oh man. That was a lot of fun. The Guardians are my favorite element of the Marvel Cosmic U and what originally pulled me in due to all the rave reviews. They hold the best moments of the book, with Thanos in tow and all the secrets of the Cancerverse to be revealed. It really feels like the big moments to the series are all going to be with the Guardians, and for me that’s perfectly fine. Nova’s Avenger storyline is alright so far, but it’s essentially just a big battle with a big bad that can’t be beaten. The Guardians are the key, and this portion of the book proves why Guardians was the best Cosmic title for as long as it ran.

I also think that the art by Sepulveda is the best it has been for the entire book so far in this issue. There are a lot of big cosmic moments, but there is a key scene in particular when Nova returns from getting mind blasted (so to say). It’s so incredibly sharp and leads to the Armageddon-esque march towards us (where BRB randomly comes in to play), and it has a very nice and crisp/clear feel to it. The book has been pretty huge so far, but it hasn’t felt as smooth throughout. While there are still some moments of contention that I have with the book’s art, the biggest parts of the tale are quite wonderfully put together as a visual feast, and it ends up evening out in the end.

I’m loving the Thanos Imperative. As opposed to other events happening at the moment, this is holding up rather well. Thanos Imperative runs at a quicker pace than previous events and features a lot more bang for the buck within. The fate of the universe is definitely at stake here, and that element comes through in the end. With the way this issue ends, I can only imagine how the tables will be turned in the next issue, and I look forward to seeing the resolution. While I’m sure the Thanos Imperative will read better finalized in trade form, it’s still making for a great issue by issue read so far.

Final Verdict: 8.1 – 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."