James Hatton's Reviews

There are things afoot here in my world. Whether any of you even ponder over what us writers do in our busy lives, I’m going to be reminding people of what I do here from time to time, if only because Comic Nexus gets new readers every single day, and now that we are doing the personal mini-reviews you get a more personal view of the writers themselves. So without further adieu, here is a little focus on me, James Hatton.

Hi!

My name is James Hatton! I’m a 26 year old desk monkey for a mortgage company, but at night I switch into the hepcat Reverend Voice, the stylish, lounge shirt wearing, doorag sporting, comic geek that all the ladies love. More importantly though, I’m a comic reviewer here at Comic Nexus and a wrestling reviewer over at our mothership, Inside Pulse. You can find me reading over most of the Marvel pantheon, and I generally end up voting the high end of the average on their books if only because I try and give most writers (with a few notable exceptions) the benefit of the doubt.

Outside of all of this fun stuff, I’m an aspiring comic book writer, and the creator of the webcomic In His Likeness as well as the co-creator of Silver Rage with Bill Ellis. We’ll be at Pittsburg Comic Convention on April 22nd and 23rd, so come meet us!

Okay, now let’s get to the reviews:


BOOKS OF DOOM #5 (of 6)
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Penciler: Pablo Raimondi
Inkers: Drew Hennessy w/ Robin Riggs
Colorist: Brian Reber

First, I’m going to get it out of the way now…

DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

This book has been a reinterpretation of the history of Doctor Doom. It has taken every little step between his college days and the first time he comes after the Fantastic Four. What does that mean? It means you get to watch as he studies hard, and grows up to become one of the most feared men in the world.

What’s fantastic about this story is that it starts to consider what it is within the man that gets him to the point of being the vicious demon that he is today. This includes shunning the world, science, his country, and finally the focus of this issue, his people. His former love Valeria is seemingly the only person who understands what is going on in Victor Von Doom’s mind, moreso even than he does.

By the end of the issue, Doom has placed himself at the top of his hill. The King, Lord, Tsar of Latveria. His people happy that the imperial rule of Vladimir is over, but as we know, the worst is yet to come. The issue itself has a bit of heavy-handed commentary on today’s politics, if you read into comics for that kind of thing (which I generally don’t, but the statue toppling and things were a bit obvious), but that doesn’t distract from Brubaker’s vision of Doom which is the greatest view of him in years.

RATING: A


FANTASTIC FOUR #536
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Penciler: Mike McKone
Inkers: Andy Lanning, Kev Walker, Cam Smith, and Kris Justice
Colorist: Paul Mounts

If I could just make a column where I scream ‘DOOOM’ over and over again. I’d do it. So if you are looking for a big secret ending… look elsewhere. If you look at the cover, you see what the world needs to know. If you want to know how Doom shows up after having been sent to hell? You don’t find it here. If you want some fairly mean back and forth between Thing and Human Torch… here it is.

It’s not a bad issue, but there are some glaring flaws that seem to just pull you away from the fun of it all. What does Thor’s Hammer portend? No idea.

RATING: C


NEW AVENGERS: THE ILLUMINATI
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Alex Maleev
Colors: Dave Stewart

I was going to do a full review of this book and make a big deal out of it, as it’s the book that leads us right into Civil War. We start off with a flashback to right after the Avengers/Kree-Skrull war, where Iron Man suggests that the world form a global united nations of superheroes.

What does this portend for the future? Well, it seems that Iron Man’s idea might have saved them all a lot of trouble nowadays, as the government is getting closer and closer to putting together a bill that makes superheroes register who they are. That very action will take people like Spider-Man and thrust them into the forefront, and without the anonymity of the mask, wouldn’t Mary Jane and Aunt May be at risk? Oh, I think they would.

So what do Panther, Namor, Reed, Stark, Black Bolt, and Strange seem to think about it? They are torn apart. Literally with Mister Fantastic, Iron Man, and Black Bolt agreeing that it’s the proper course of action, and the rest being against it – the beginning of the war begins. Black Panther throws them out, and Namor outright attacks Iron Man. It’s anarchy!

Artistically speaking, the book is great! Story speaking, it’s not bad. I saw a few people comment that it seems a bit convenient with the backstory of Iron Man suggesting what might have been useful, lending a bit of credo to Iron Man’s decision to back the government. I can’t really comment on whether Iron Man’s opinion ‘back then’ is a valid one, as I wasn’t a big Avengers guy back then, but I don’t think the premise of wedging that in is bad. Almost a worse problem was the creators having seemingly sent off Hulk into outerspace to wait this whole thing out.

All in all, the lines are beginning to be drawn, and I found Illuminati to be a well written, and decent introduction to your main pieces of the chessboard.

Welcome to Civil War – a damn fine concept – let’s see if it holds up.

RATING: B


ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #92
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Mark Bagley
Inker: John Dell w/ Mark McKenna
Colorist: Laura Martin & Richard Isanova

There are some issues of Ultimate Spidey that are fantastic. They, honestly, mainly deal with the interpersonal relationships of Peter Parker and Mary Jane. That doesn’t mean that the action heavy issues are bad – they aren’t. They are just different. This issue though, there is something off about it in that intangible way that makes me upset. Is it the seemingly rushed ink work over Bagley? The fact that there are two inkers might insinuate that.

Maybe it’s that this issue feels less about Spidey and more about the X-Men. Also, it’s a return to Krakoa for them, and Spidey’s first time here, but there is barely a page of explanation as to what’s going on for someone who doesn’t read Ultimate X. Either way, it’s got Deadpool and that’s worth part of the price of admission, and it seems that ‘Pool is a bit more of a badass in the Ultimate-verse, as the head of the Reavers (again, former X-Villains, all of them).

So not the greatest showing from Spidey this month.

RATING: C


UNCANNY X-MEN #471
Writer: Chris Claremont
Inks: Sibal & Tan
Colors: Brian Haberlin & Avalon

D F J I J I I C K O T I I F J D . J ‘ H K N K T L Y K D D K N Q W G J Q I D F T D O K N K Q N K T D K L Y U Z T N Q W P K E D J Q G K Z D T P P U Q F T P P K Z X K L G W Z B K U I O J D F I F W N D D K N G G K G W N U P W I I .

Yep, a comic so bad I had to give my opinion as a cryptogram. Trying to read this issue, understand what was going on, try and figure out the purpose, and recognize that Claremont has lost all concept of character design (Cannonball’s powers have completely changed? Who knew?!) and each month he’s left makes me yearn for Brubaker more.

RATING: F


X-MEN: DEADLY GENESIS #5
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Layouts: Trevor Hairsine
Finishes: Scott Hanna
Colorist: Val Staples

Hey, look it’s Ed Brubaker again, this time with his vision of the world of ‘X’ – where their first mission to the isle of Krakoa has a lot more to it than we ever suspected when the X-Men appeared so long ago. In the original vision, a new team of X-Men were selected to save the original members. In the story Brubaker tells us, the team of Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Storm, etc. weren’t the first team to go, but the second.

This mysterious team that has disappeared has all died off (or so we are to assume), with one minor exception. A child by the name of Kid Vulcan who has trapped Scott and Rachael in the hopes to lure out one man. The man that put everyone in this precarious situation to begin with. So finally, having been missing since House of M, Professor Xavier appears and he validates everything that we’ve been told up until now and then follows up with a new layer that we might not have considered.

I’ll be commenting again on this over in Marvel News & Views with full spoilers, so let’s just say it’s not completely unexpected, but it is….. interesting.

This issue is more of a lead-in to the big end all versus Kid Vulcan, as well as Brubaker’s run on Uncanny X-Men. I expect the last issue to be fantastic with more twists and turns than can be imagined, but this one just felt as much a summary to get us to that end moment.

RATING: B

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