James Hatton's Comic Reviews

Welcome one and all to MY chance to give you the tidbits of reviewy goodness I know you crave.

Let me first say that the last couple of days I’ve been reading everybody’s reviews and enjoying the hell out of our new style. Now as soon as I can convince one of the boys to give me a Monday or Tuesday spot – I won’t end up writing this every Friday on the train, with my roommate’s girlfriend Amy sleeping next to me, like I am now. OOooo that sounds dirty.

Only if they were naked Hatton…

Ok, so now all trivialities aside, let me just address one itty bitty about the way I might be a touch different than the other reviewers. (NOTE: I also might have the exact same idea as someone else, and if we end up writing similarly, write them hatemail saying I did it first.) Some of my capsule reviews might be a little… strange or…. odd or….. possibly even look like they were written by Nexus’ own Iain Burnside on a cold medicine bender.

That’s because we were told that these capsulated reviews can be any length, or near any content. If I can give you a review without actually having to be a damn bit serious, I will. This week I am going to keep it on the level with the one exception of Books of Doom #5. Anyone who has read my Marvel News & Views column might have an inkling where I’m going with that.


BOOKS OF DOOM #5 (of 6)
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Pencils: Pablo Raimandi
Inker: Mark Farmer w/ Drew Hennessey

Everybody now.. Deep Breath….. In…. Now… Let it out in the same way I do…..
DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

Good. Add and repeat until you have the urge to want to put on a silver mask and defeat the nefariously annoying Reed Richards

GRADE: A (was there any doubt?)


DAUGHTERS OF THE DRAGON #2
Writer: Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray
Pencils: Khari Evans
Inker: Christina Strain

Tied neck and neck for the book that gave me the most smirks with Nextwave. This book is not about serious telling of deep and flowing narratives. It is about having fun in the art, having fun in the story, and having a good time putting your characters in cool fight sequences. Do not expect to be moved to tears. Expect to giggle and ooh and ahh over the cinematic quality of the action.

This book is chop-socky greatness, and the art is guiltily hot. Colleen Wing will never, in fact, have relations with me and not until Evans/Strain did I realize that she might want to.

GRADE: B


FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #5
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Mike Wieringo

Take your everyday average superhero in the form of Spidey. Now examine a young woman’s life as it unfolds through her blog. It’s a great tale that takes Spider-Man, makes him a little more contemporary, and gives you a very Tangled Web kind of story. This isn’t a story about Spidey or Peter or any of that wackiness. It is solely about one girl who was influenced by Spider-Man, and a few astounding coincidences in her life.

Dare I forget to mention that the ending to what you feel is a light and fun little story of an obsessed fan type character, ends up being a telling and sad little narrative about someone who needed importance in her life. I couldn’t believe how all of a sudden in the last few pages, the entire world that David has built up is suddenly smashed down and all the laughs in the book all make you that much sadder. Easily my book of the week.

GRADE: A JAMIE’S PICK OF THE WEEK


INFINITE CRISIS #5
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencillers: Phil Jimenez, Jerry Ordway & Ivan Reis
Inkers: Andy Lanning, Jerry Ordway & Art Thibert
Colorists: Jerome Cox, Guy Major & Rod Reis

Look – I know shit about the DCU. (NOTE: In the new capsulation system, I don’t feel guilty about saying shit. I will one more time during this very review.) Only if I let you James. Remember that. I don’t know a Thargard War from a Bludhaven from an OMAC… and I will admit to not having read anything except Identity Crisis and the only other issue of ‘Crisis I’ve read was #4, because it was in the pile with #5 for Danielle.

HOLY SHIT IT’S GOOD!

Now if you are a DC Zombie in the same way I’m a Marvel Zombie – then you might sit there and comment how horribly Flash or Kid Flash or Zippy The Flashity Flash is being portrayed… or be able to comment on some strange reason why Earth-1’s Wonder Woman’s lasso doesn’t work on Superman… I know NONE of that – and I didn’t feel lost in the slightest, and actually felt that I really wanted to know what happened to a lot of the characters. Plus, Supes vs. Supes was epic… and I barely know why it’s significant! That’s good story-telling.

GRADE: B


LOCAL #4
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Ryan Kelly
Publisher: Oni Press

If you read Demo, then you know Brian Wood is single handedly doing his best to bring back the single issue story. Where “D’ brought us around the world of extraordinary events, Local gets to do the same thing, but no supernatural anything to be found. There is one constant character, and she barely appears in all the stories – mainly a reference point as we move from special locale to special locale. That is in fact the key of the book – that even these small no nothing towns, are still special when you look at them the right way.

This issue, sadly, will not go down as my favorite. It’s extraordinarily dark, which is fine, as Brian Wood tackles darkness well. The conversation flows easy, as two brothers fight the fight they’ve needed to have their entire lives. It feels so real, you begin to know the family deeply in under 30 pages. The flaws are nit-picky at best, but the set-up of getting all the chess pieces on the board (that’s a metaphor kids) seems a touch contrived. Don’t let that stop you from buying it though.

GRADE: A (See, not my favorite issue – and still gets an A)


MARVEL ZOMBIES #4
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Sean Phillips

Robert Kirkman is defining the oft neglected ‘comic book zombie’ market in the same way one might have watched Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan define werewolves and vampires in the 70s. I know that’s a HARD pedigree to live up to, and I really am not talking about this book, but The Walking Dead, but Kirkman writes two zombie books… how many do you write?

I was high on this book came out, and I’m still high on it conceptually, but as it wears on I feel like I keep giving in too much to deus ex plot points. This one being that the zombies created something near enough to the great nullifier. That’s bad. This was to make it so next issue we have a feast of Galactus. That’s good. Black Panther escapes and finds the last faction of humans seemingly randomly. That’s bad. We possibly get to see zombies in space. That’s good.

See – with this book it’s all give and take. If you aren’t neck deep in zombie flesh already, wait for the trade.

GRADE: C


NEXTWAVE #2
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade Von Grawbadger

Warren Ellis is a stiff guy. I remember back in the day discussing his inability to know the current vernacular of the kids when he had someone in Ultimate FF refer to someone else as a ‘butthat’. This book has made me possibly see the error of my ways. It’s funny. It’s quirky. It is filled with characters that are probably could be in better hands than Warren Ellis’ since every single character ends up sounding like Warren Ellis… but aside from that, it is pretty fun. What ISN’T funny about a huge dragon threatening to put people in his pants.

Where as it’s not a book I’m going to scream for everyone to read, this book could end up having a strange Red Dwarf like following that it would be completely deserving of. More of a cult fanbase than a mainstream one – which is what I’d want if I was him. Good stuff.

GRADE: B


ps238 #14
Writer: Aaron Williamson
Penciler: Aaron Williamson
Inker: You guessed it – Aaron Williamson
Publisher: Dork Storm Press

If you don’t know what this book is – you should really go find it. It’s a cute, sweet, and surprisingly intelligent look at little kids learning how to use their powers in a school hidden beneath the Earth. Williamson has been known for years to have a great style, and a fantastic voice, and I really think that ps238 leads the pack.

This story finishes the Rainmaker story, tying together little bits from ten issues back. What’s nice is he does spoon feed a bit to you, so you aren’t lost. Then when the action hits, it flows, and you know exactly why. The trades are highly recommended pick ups, and this storyline ends his most adventurous portion to date.

GRADE: B


ULTIMATES vol.2 #10
Writer: Mark Millar
Pencils: Brian Hitch
Inker: Paul Neary/Brian Hitch

Okay, Ultimates is excellent. Fine. Ultimates is great… I get it. Millar writes great characters. YES YES YES, I KNOW! I’ll admit it. This book is fantastic. Why does it grate on me then? Because the book is an Ultimates book. It appears in a continuity. I understand that the FF and the X-Men can’t appear in it for purposes of losing focus on the Ultimates… but HE BLOWS UP COUNTRIES! Can we just get a slight mention in another title? That point does not affect its grade though.

Every scene in Ultimates feels like an action film. Whether it’s Hawkeye’s gritty escape attempt or Widow and Tony Stark’s last conversation together… every scene seems laden with drama and gritty action. Top marks all around.

GRADE: A


UNCANNY X-MEN #470
Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Billy Tan
Inker: Jon Sibal

Coming off of what I thought was Claremont’s best story of the run, “End of Greys”, we move into ‘Gal On The Run’ which is the first issue of what I assume is Claremont’s last big arc before the summer, and we taste paradise in Ed Brubaker. Well, it’s disjointed as it tells three stories that don’t all seem to fit properly, but it’s not horrible. I am also becoming a big time Billy Tan fan. That’s me.. a Tanfan. His art is just pretty to look at, and Sibal’s inks do a nice job overtop.

I am not a huge fan of the Shi’Ar becoming the flavor villain of the month with Claremont, but given how the X-World has worked, this story will have a ‘barely ok’ ending, and then will get a real ending over in Excalibur.

GRADE: C (The art ALMOST made it a B, and saved it from being a D)



X-FACTOR #4
Writer: Peter David
Inker: Stuart Grawbadger

As the end of our first arc seems to come to a close, with Monet as our MVP – I recognize that until Brubaker is attacking Uncanny, this is my favorite X-Title. Easily. Hands down. I’ve been digesting it easily, and every single character feels perfect, as well as their motivations for even being there. When I can sit there and enjoy Monet St. Croix as a character (one whom I’ve despised because of Larry Hama (SEE: Penance… nevermind.. don’t)), I know we have a winner.

This book leaves you with that perfect balance of frustrating questions and not enough answers, while trickling the hope of knowledge down your throat so slowly it feels just good enough to keep going.

And THAT right there.. is my line of the day.

GRADE: A

So that’s that… what did you think?

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