Welcome to Last Call Reviews with me, Andy Campbell. I will be the last word every week on new comics (mostly due to the fact that I don’t get my comics until Monday afternoon). I have a bit of a different approach. First of all, I don’t include spoilers, so you don’t need to worry about that. I give a general outline of the story, and will sometimes point to specific moments that I liked, but if it’s essential to the plot, I will be very vague in my description so as not to ruin anything for you. You also won’t find me going off on rants in here. For the books I love, I will tell you why I love them. For those that don’t work for me, I’ll tell you why (and they will be valid reasons… not “Bendis is a d!ck”). I will never state my opinion as fact, and I will never make you feel dumb if you like a book that I don’t (or vice versa). My goal is this: I hope that, after a few weeks, you’ll start to get a feel for the types of books I like and dislike, and how that compares to your tastes. If you find yourself agreeing with a lot of my opinions, maybe I’ll end up convincing you to try out a book or two that you otherwise wouldn’t have. That happened to me from Ben Morse’s column. His enthusiasm for the books he liked was infectious, so I gave them a try, and never was I disappointed. If I get one reader to try out a new book, I’ll have succeeded. Anyway, let’s get to the week!
EX MACHINA #18:
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Tony Harris (w/ Tom Feister & JD Mettler)
No matter what, I can count on Brian K. Vaughan to deliver a good book every time out. Ex Machina has been a joy to read since it began, and this issue was no exception. I love Vaughan’s characterization; it’s one of his strongest points as a writer, in my opinion. I feel like I know Mayor Hundred as a person, and that’s a real testament to his writer. Tony Harris’s art is another high point for me; he is one of my favorite artists in all of comics, and he never fails to deliver on Ex Machina. I will also give props to JD Mettler for a stellar coloring job. This issue sees Mayor Hundred begin the reaction to the disaster at the peace demonstration. I find the political nature of this book to be a very refreshing read, as it is different than anything else out there. And Vaughan’s cliffhanger, as always, has me drooling for the next issue.
GREEN LANTERN CORPS: RECHARGE #5:
Writers: Dave Gibbons & Geoff Johns
Artist: Patrick Gleason (w/ Prentis Rollins & Moose Baumann)
This mini started off promising to me, and ended on a “meh” note. It wasn’t bad by any stretch, but it wasn’t great either. The art, particularly, was kind of jarring to me. It had its moments (usually due to colorist Moose Baumann), but mostly it seemed “off” to me. The story itself was pretty cool, and there were some fanboy moments, to be sure (the massive group recharge comes to mind). I also liked the characterization of Guy Gardner, whom I normally don’t care for. I’ll be picking up the regular series when it debuts, but if it doesn’t start to pick up, I’ll be dropping it soon enough.
INFINITE CRISIS #5:
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Phil Jimenez, Jerry Ordway, & Ivan Reis (w/ Andy Lanning, Jerry Ordway, Art Thibert, Jeromy Cox, Guy Major, & Rod Reis)
To me, this book has continued to not only live up to the hype, but to surpass it more than I could have imagined. Each issue has just been overflowing with action, plot revelations, and just an overall feeling of “BIG.” You can also tell the amount of planning that went into this, and there were plenty of “little” moments that I loved too (e.g. Alexander Luthor’s explanation of Breach, Kyle Rayner, Huntress, & Jason Rusch; Wonder Woman meeting with Wonder Woman; the nod to Action Comics #1, etc.). The art is great, the story is great, and I look forward to this book more than any other each month. I really can’t give higher praise than that.
Writer: Paul Levitz
Artist: Rags Morales & Luke Ross (w/ Dave Meikis & John Kalisz)
This was the first “One Year Later” book that I read, and you can color me intrigued. The team seems to mostly be intact, but it’s obvious that something major went down during the missing year. The art by Rags Morales was up to his usual quality. The only thing that really struck me as being a bit “off” was some of the dialogue… to me, some of it just didn’t sound
like those characters. The story and the art were good, but the dialogue was enough to drop the grade a wee bit.
Company: DC Comics
Writer: James Robinson
Artist: Leonard Kirk (w/ Andy Clarke & John Kalisz)
I love James Robinson, and his start on Detective Comics is a promising one. There are a lot of familiar faces back again (which were spoiled in other reviews, but not here), which was very refreshing to me. It was also a pleasant surprise to see what Two-Face has been up to, since we haven’t seen much of him since “Hush.” I’m definitely looking forward to the rest of this storyline.
Company: DC Comics
Writer: Judd Winick
Artist: Matthew Clark (w/ Art Thibert & Guy Major)
One year later, and the status quo is quite different for the Outsiders. There are new members (who you can see on the cover), a new agenda, and at least one much-needed costume change. I was a bit confused with certain parts of the story, though, which is unusual for Winick, in my opinion. Also, it was a long time before we actually saw the Outsiders, which may be offputting to some readers. As for the art, normally I’m not the biggest fan of Matthew Clark, but this was a good offering from him. The plot is intriguing enough, though: there are some nasty goings-on in Africa, and… well, I’ll leave it at that. I’ll be back next issue to see what’s going on; I just hope things get a little more clear.
THE LAST MAN #43
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Arist: Pia Guerra (w/ Jose Marzan, Jr. & Zylonol)
Everything I wrote above for Ex Machina, in regard to Vaughan, goes for Y: The Last Man as well. This book is always an absolute pleasure to read. Just when you think there are no more stories to tell about the last man on earth, Vaughan shows us you how wrong you are. In this issue, the search for Ampersand continues in Japan. Pia Guerra’s art is perfect, as always, and I especially like Yorick’s outfit. Heck, this book is worth a look for that alone! Anyway, honestly, I can’t possibly recommend this book more, so if for some ungodly reason you’re not reading this book, kindly remedy that. Unless, ya know, you don’t want to. But you should.