WINCBD! – Walt’s Stack (8-4-10)

By | August 5th, 2010
Posted in Reviews | % Comments

I apologize in advance for any late reviews, as I’m busy moving this week, but I figured I would at least get you faithful readers one review on time. Follow the cut to see what I had to say about Daredevil: Black and White, and be sure to check back tomorrow (and maybe Saturday or Sunday) for my opinions on Amazing Spider-Man #639, Deadpool #1000 and Hawkeye and Mockingbird #3. As usual, here’s our rating 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

Let’s get started, shall we?

Daredevil: Black and White #1

I love Daredevil, black and white comics, and anthologies. Therefore, I pretty much had to pick this up. Additionally, I knew that three of the creators involved (Nocenti, Milligan and Aja) were great and had heard good things about the others, so I knew my hopes for this book would be at least partially paid off.

The first story was written by Peter Milligan, and told a sort-of-not-quite What If? regarding what could happen were Matt Murdock to correct his vision. It was a fun little read, but the best part by far was Jason Latour’s art. He really knew how to use black, white and shades of gray to maximum effect (which is obviously the goal in a black and white comic). What I found interesting was that something about Latour’s art looked like it shouldn’t have worked so well in black and white, but for some reason it did; that is, I don’t think someone with a similar style would have been able to pull it off as well as he did. I can’t really explain, but there you have it.

Ann Nocenti’s prose piece was definitely great, but I guess I was expecting a little bit more “oomph” from one of the most iconic Daredevil writers. Similarly, David Aja’s illustrations were excellent, but I was really hoping to see some sequential art from one of my favorite artists. Originally what sold me on this book was the inclusion of Nocenti and Aja, and while they both did great work, it wasn’t quite what I was looking for.

My favorite part, though, was the Kingpin-centric story by Rick Spears, a writer who I was not familiar with before reading this. Spears got the voice of the Kingpin down exactly as I like it: completely cold and menacing while remaining elegant and sophisticated. Personally, I’ve always wanted to see a mini or something devoted to the Kingpin’s point of view, and now I know at least one writer who would be great for it. The art in this section was the weakest, but I would hardly call it bad (plus, I’ll overlook mediocre art for a good story).

This past Sunday, I wrote about the need for more good anthology comics, and this issue was just the thing I was talking about. My one big problem, however, was the price tag. Marvel keeps hiking up 32 page comics to a $3.99 price tag, and this one has no excuse considering it was black and white. Otherwise, this book was a great read that I highly recommend to any Daredevil fan or anyone looking for some good one-and-dones.

Final Verdict: 7.4 – Buy it!

Amazing Spider-Man #639

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I was very ambivalent about the first issue of “O.M.I.T.” I had approached it expecting it to be terrible, and while I was proven wrong it still wasn’t great. After reading the first issue, I was hoping that the rest would be similar, treading the same ground as some of the lesser-quality post-OMD arcs that still managed to be alright.

Then I read the second issue. Let me say in advance that spoilers are heavily discussed.

I’ve gotten over One More Day. I really have. But this just makes it seem like Joe Quesada honestly wants to get me riled up about One More Day all over again. My main problem with One More Day wasn’t so much the end result as it was the terrible way in which it was done, and that’s exactly what is happening in One Moment In Time as well. I did like that Quesada was able to side-step all the continuity errors One More Day originally presented in an admittedly clever way, but in terms of the way he is telling the story it doesn’t make much sense: if Pete and MJ stayed together without being married all the way up until OMD would have happened, how the hell have they not talked about all this before? I know couples sometimes have communication problems, but that’s ridiculous.

Beyond that, there were two other things that bothered me: firstly, Mary Jane’s “I wanted to get married to have kids” reasoning is ridiculous. It just sounds so out of character and devalues the relationship that they had. Even more unbearable was the ending of this issue. For those with no intention of reading, here’s the skinny: Aunt May is in the same position she was in at the end of Civil War and before One More Day (a.k.a. she has a bullet in her chest). For whatever reason, even though Dr. Strange and Reed Richards couldn’t do a think to help, Peter decides that spider-strength CPR will save the day. And it does. Now, I know Joey Q isn’t suggesting that Peter’s powers give him the ability to heal (god I hope not) and that it will instead be revealed to be due to Mephisto’s meddling, but that’s just poor writing.

This just wasn’t a very good read, and the variable art quality (“I love you, mommy”) didn’t help. On a positive note, the beginning of the flashback concerning Peter’s breakdown was pretty well written, but that was about it. I recommend waiting for the next arc, Origin of the Species, and just finding out what happened in O.M.I.T. through your friendly Multiversity writers.

Final Verdict: 3.0 – Pass

Deadpool #1000

Tired of Deadpool yet? Well, Marvel says “Too bad!” Just like the relatively recent Deadpool #900, this issue contains a few stories by various different writers and artists featuring the Merc With a Mouth. Since they already did the renumbering joke with said #900, I don’t see why they didn’t just call this Giant Size Deadpool or something similar, but hey, I’m not skilled in the art of publishing.

As with most things featuring Deadpool that have been released recently, I did not have high expectations for this. The good thing about having doubts, however, is that it makes pleasant surprises that much better. I very much enjoyed the first story, written by Adam Glass, which involved a sort of whodunnit where the reader (and one of the characters in the story) had to figure out who Deadpool had been hired to off. There was a bit of a twist at the end, and even though I figured it out before it was revealed I still enjoyed the truth being brought to light. When it comes to twists, guessing the ending can be either a huge disappointment or a rewarding experience, and Glass definitely made it the latter.

The other big plus this issue gets is its value. While some of the 104 pages are just reprints of the variant covers Deadpool has been on in the past year, there’s still about 80 pages of original material for $4.99. That’s a hell of a deal, much like the recent Invincible Iron Man Annual. The only problem is that — even with there being so many pages — Marvel stuffed in too many stories, and so a lot of them suffered from not having enough pages. Almost every story that is over three pages (aside from the first one) has very little “flow,” which is a particular shame for Fred Van Lente’s otherwise hilarious story.

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Overall, the collection of stories was very hit or miss. Every story had at least one really funny joke and at least one really unfunny one, with the overall quality being somewhat average. The fact that it’s a great value is balanced out by the fact that it’s yet another Deadpool book, so I recommend flipping through it yourself to make sure you like what you see before making a purchase.

Final Verdict: 6.2 – Browse

Hawkeye and Mockingbird #3

I picked this title up on a whim, but I’ve been surprised with how entertaining it has been. I read the miniseries “New Avengers: The Reunion,” which focused on the same characters and was from the same creative team, and wasn’t particularly impressed, but this has been much more enjoyable.

The thing I like most about this series is the art. David Lopez has a very interesting style, and I particularly like the energy he brings to the action scenes. Maybe I was just so uninterested by the story of “The Reunion” that I passed over his art in that, or maybe he’s just trying harder now, but I’m really liking the work he has been putting forth on this title and will look for anything else from him in the future.

When it comes from the writing, I’m a bit undecided. The story is interesting and the characterization sound, but the dialogue leaves something to be desired. Even worse, though, is the exposition. Hawkeye and Mockingbird have a very rich history, but Jim McCann realizes that a lot of people aren’t going to be familiar with it (myself included). To make up for this, there’s a lot of expositionary dialogue that can sometimes be a chore to get through. Thankfully, there wasn’t as much in this issue, and I’ve a feeling that as the series progresses there will be less and less.

If you’re looking for a fun action comic with less focus on superpowers, this is a pretty good title. It can, however, be a bit difficult to get into without some previous knowledge of the pair (or Wikipedia). Give it a flip through and see what you think.

Final Verdict: 6.9 – Browse it and buy it if you like it.

Walt Richardson

Walt is a former editor for Multiversity Comics and current podcaster/ne'er-do-well. Follow him on Twitter @goodbyetoashoe... if you dare!