Comic Capsule Reviews 7/15/2009

Wednesday Comics week 2 (various, $3.99, DC Comics):  Another home run by DC Comics. As an old time fan (30+ years) the newspaper format really brings me back to the days when I used to go to the Optimo with mom, dad or papou and pull comics off of spinning racks next to old guys with cigars talking with the shop owner under the “R” train on Ditmars, or across the street from my apartment on 62nd and 1rst. There is this great tactile sensation as you on fold the paper to get to the strips within and when you turn the pages. I hear chatter complaining about the format and price. Seems silly to me. The Twitterati wouldn’t know good comics or a great idea if it hit them in the face.

It’s also great I can share it with people who haven’t read comics in years and right away they love it. Kudos again to DC for a job well done.

To the individual strips.
Batman: Great art, not much movement in the story. 7 out of 10
Kamandi: Beautiful and fun. Love the writing style. 9 out of 10
Hawkman: Fun and brutal. Great art and narration by Baker. 8.5 out of 10
Deadman: More nourish ghostly goodness and nice artistic stylization. 8 out of 10
Green Lantern: Some wonderfully rendered retro-action and excitement. 9 out of 10
Superman: Supes goes to Gotham for a chat with Bats. World’s Finest. 9 out of 10
Metamorpho: 60’s era zaniness by Allred and Gaiman. Great layout and I love the Fan Club ad, this is my favorite. 10 out of 10
Teen Titans: Love it. If the comic was this good every one would be buying it, great art by Cheeks. 9 out 10
Strange Adventures: Fun and well paced. Beautiful art. 10 out of 10
Supergirl: More Super-cuteness. 8 out of 10
Metal Men: Wonderful scripting by Didio, and great art by two legends. 9 out of 10.
Wonder Woman: A little too chaotic for my tastes and the panels are too small. 5 out of 10
Sgt. Rock: Great art and nice pacing by the Father and Son Kubert team. 8 out of 10
Flash: Very interesting development. Great art. Classic without being derivative, and oh so clean.. 9 out of 10
The Demon/Catwoman: I really enjoyed this. Seems like Catwoman got into a bit of trouble there. 8 out of 10

Over all rating. 9 out of 10

Captain America #601 (Writer: Brubaker Artists: Colan and White, $3.99, Marvel Comics): Great to see a Gene Colan issue. I know he doesn’t remember me, but he got me introduced to Marvel editors way back when and then I got handed scripts I never did. The man has tremendous talent. You can see in this flashback issue, he has a unique, dynamic and artistic style that was perfect for books like Dracula, Daredevil and obviously Cap. I really enjoyed his story telling and dynamism. It really pulled me into the story. I love the angled panels and sketchy quality of the art. The painterly colors over the pencils work nicely and I was blown away by the images of Cap retelling his origin to the dying soldier. The story was very well told, You can tell Brubaker enjoyed scripting this. And I enjoyed the break fro the post Civil War modern era Captain America world for a look back and some vampire action. I will admit this may go over the head of today’s readers, who are probably wondering wtf is going on and why isn’t Bucky trying to track down Cap’s body. But it’s good to see this stuff. I think this was a great tribute to Gene “the Dean” Colan, Guy has been drawing comics for what? 60 years?. I think it’s great the industry show this type of respect for those that paved the way. We lose that sometimes. So many great creators, innovators like Gene Colan get lost in the slick, modern, Facebook digi-age of comics, lets make sure that doesn’t happen. 8 out of 10

Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #3 (Writer: Eliopoulos Artists: Guara and Sotomayor, $2.99, Marvel Comics): This book is just wacky furry fun to the max. Chris Eliopoulos is really doing a great job with the personalities for all the Pet Avengers. I love Throg! And I really love Ms. Lion. They are hilarious. I love the straight forward zany fun of the book. The pet Avengers recover 2 of the Infinity gems from in side Gianto (big Whale monster with arms!) and then are off to the White House to retrieve the last one. While pushing around an exhausted 500lb Lockjaw, OMG! And then THANOS shows up! Yeah you heard it right. Thanos. The last page splash is amazing. I don’t think I have seen anyone draw Thanos so damn well. Which brings me to the art. Although I have to admit I am not a fan of colors over pencils. What Guara does with the animals is amazing. Really amazing. He gives them great movement and character without making them too cartoonish. They look like real animals and not like Bugs Bunny or Woody Woodpeckers. And the painterly style of the colors really brings out the brightness and fun of the book. Giving it an almost children’s book illustrative feel. I am really enjoying this series. And next issue from the last page of Thanos alone seals that the last issue will be the best of the bunch. I mean Ms. Lion vs. Thanos. Wow. Never thought you would live to see that did you? And like it? I have news for you. It’s frickin’ great. 9 out of 10

The Last Resort #1 (Writers: Palmiotti and Gray Art: Caracuzzo, $3.99, IDW):  What got me to pick this up was the preview art. Jimmy Palmiotti was pimping this on Facebook and I clicked on his link and was really blown away by the watercolor-ish washed ink-line style. I also liked the theme. Adult survival horror in flip-flops. I highly recommend this to any fan of  zombie/horror flicks or movies like I Spit on Your Grave. Palmiotti and Gray do a tremendous job with the prologue that sets the tone for what’s to come. Chicks running around topless on the beaches of Aruba are going to get eaten up by zombies. After the prologue you are treated to a wonderful symphony of character introductions as the group comes together for a plane flight to their vacation destination. The vignettes are very well paces and the dialogue is fun to read. After a bumpy ride and emergency landing, BOOM! The comic ends in a fiery explosion as a fuel truck explodes into the plan. The Dawn of the Dead remake and recent survival horror elements come crashing into the last page and you know next issue is going to hit the ground running. Curious to see if they develop an origin for the zombies and how the group fights back. The art was as beautiful as expected the colorful characters have unique and varied features and body types. Great expression and poses. Caracuzzo does great work with the backgrounds and establishing shots, and really sells the humor in the book. He even makes the sex and nudity stuff which I usually hate in comic form (unless it’s Lil’ Annie Fannie) fun and natural. The entire book feels and reads like a horror flick. I can definitely see it as a movie…heck I want to see it as a movie. It even has a catchy name. I will say one thing I love Amanda Conner, but really would have loved the option to pick up a book with a cover done by the interior artist. 9 out of 10

Greek Street #1 (Writer:Milligan Artisit:Gianfelice, $1.00, Vertigo comics): I missed this when it first came out so I was surprised to find it when I picked up my books on Wednesday. I am so glad fate left it there for me. I had no idea it was $1.00…How awesome is that. So that was another surprise. The next surprise was the newsprint format. I love it, I prefer it to the slick paper that usually is not put to good use by the coloring anyway. I think DC and Marvel should put out all their low selling books out like this for a $1 less. Might give people the incentive they need to pick up some more comics. Any way. What a great read. Milligan really took the idea of using the Greek tragedies and re-imagining them in modern times. Not sure I can recognize all anything besides Oedipus and some classical themes but it really comes together very well. Nice introductions and great over all pacing. You get nice build up to the tragic and important parts of the story. And see that the entire cast is caught up in a fate beyond their control. There is a lot going on, but its spread out nicely through the issue giving you a great feel for things to come. It’s an adult book so it’s got the adult themes, cussing, sex and violence thing in spades. All nicely handled by Milligan who surprised me a few times along the way with story elements. The art is great. Clean and open. Straight forward. Gianfelice draws great drama and nice scenes of physiological angst and thuggish violence. He draws sexy chicks. I like how it’s all thrown together without being hyper stylized and over the top, I seem to be branching out from Capes these days. And this is one of those books like Chew and Last Resort that really makes me glad I have. 8.5 out of 10

Amazing Spiderman #599 (Writer:Joe Kelly Artists:Segovia, Checchetto and Siqueira, $2.99, Marvel Comics: I have to rant about the art here. Marvel took one of my favorite and possibly best modern Spidey arcs and almost dashed it to pieces with the poorest possible art choice. Fortunately Segovia was used for only 5 pages, unfortunately they are important pages. I have to say what should be obvious Segovia’s art is not on par with the rest of the art this issue by Checchetto and Siqueira who really came out of nowhere and knocked the art duties on this series into the stratosphere with their tight control, great anatomy and expressions, wonderful dramatic storytelling, hot chicks, and ability to create nuanced scenes and individual characters. Segovia is not in their class. Not just stylistically, but from a storytelling perspective the first few pages are full of stylized excessiveness and poor anatomy. Segovia was part of the reason I dropped Mighty Avengers. Once you get beyond that it feels like your reading a different comic. Drawn by two unprecedented finds. With fantastic storytelling, wonderful emotive characterization, stunning scenery and details. These guys are amazing. I really hope they are get heavy rotation as Spider artists. They handle all the characters very well. I want more please. Joe Kelly banged another great issue out the park. Great emotional Spidey drama. A great fight as all the Osborn’s converge and it’s father vs. son. With a Spider in the middle. I love how Joe Kelly ends this. You could feel Harry wanting to end it..but Peter won’t let his best friend become his father. It’s freaking great. A great fight and high drama and sets up some wonderful endings and possibilities. The eerie way Norman holds Lily while talking to his baby in her belly.  “My Goblin Prince”, that guy is sick. I really loved this story because it hit on something that is great about Spiderman…he is willing to do anything for his friends. And although Harry hates Spidey, he loves his best friend Pete. A great arc. One of my all time favorite Spidey stories. I really wish this wasn’t the last we are going to see Harry as the American Son. 9 out of 10 (I had to fight not giving it an 8 deducting a point for the first 5 pages.  🙁 )

Tales of  the Corps #1 (Writers: Johns/Tomasi Artists: Ordway/Morales/Samee/Mahnke, $3.99, DC Comics): a series of 3 character vignettes. Johns did a good job with the pilgrim’s progress of Saint Walker. I actually find the character a little more interesting. He climbs the mountain after his trials, questions his faith only to find hope and restore it to his people as the blue ring appears and de-ages his sun. Saving his home world. I hope they follow up in the actual GL titles with the battle between the blues and the orange on Odym. Great art by Ordway, love the way he draws Walker. The Mongul piece by Tomasi is my favorite. Really nice tale of the son wanting to be the father, and the father not really caring. You can see why he turns out like he did. Nice bit with the aliens, about his sister and thehis father smashing the statue. Great work by Tomasi. Never heard of the artist, but I liked what Samee did. Great story telling and a nice less-is-more style. Mongul is such a great character my hope is when Sinestro finally gets around to reclaiming his corps Mongul doesn’t take a dirt nap. Johns introduction of the Indigo Tribe really didn’t do anything for me. It was too deliberately enigmatic. Interesting how they can absorb and use the power of the other rings. The art by Rags was amazing as always. Doug Mahnke did a several spreads of the corps. The Blues, Greens, Indigo and the Sinestros. All beautifully rendered. I really love the Sinestros piece. He draws a great Sinestro. 7 out of 10

Blackest Night #1 (Writer: Geoff Johns Artist: Ivan Reis, $3.99, DC Comics): Ok fan boys this lives up to the hype. I am literally blown away. I am almost at a loss for words. THIS IS HOW YOU DO AN EVENT! It’s all there. History, gravitas, action, suspense, thrills, great images and unforgettable moments. Johns really kicked this off big. Great intro narration by Hal about reviving the corps and Coast City. Making observations about his fellow Lanterns John, Kyle and Guy. Contrast to the death and destruction that’s coming his way. Great observation about Guy and Ice. I think my friend is right…that may be the target on Ice’s head that pushes Guy over the edge. I love how you find out that the world has commemorated Superman’s day of death a national day of remembrance for superheroes. Nice vignettes of characters paying their respects to their dead comrades foreboding their return. You know, I was never a fan of the Rogues, but that one scene of them at their secret graveyard got me real interested in them. I love the building tension as the black rings start flying looking for their hosts, Skar turning on the Guardians literally biting a throat out and engulfing them in a primordial stew of vomit, Flash and Green lantern together attending to the frantic terrified call from Alfred and how incredible was the scene of Martian Manhunter descending on them..and saying “you both should be dead!”. I almost crapped my pants. And then the drama between Hawkman and Hawkgirl…murdered by the scariest Sue and Ralph Dibny. I mean vicious an intense, horrifying, brutal and dramatic scene. All the elements are here. It’s almost a perfect first issue. And really Black Hand walking around with Batman’s skull. Sick. I loved this comic. The wait has been worth it. DC and John in particular have this fan boy standing and clapping. Wow. It is incredible how Johns fills the book with information and makes it accessible and still keeps the pace up. The art is Reis’ best ever. Great powerful images. Wonderful dramatic storytelling. And balls out action. I mean seriously. You never thought Elongated-man could be scary…well he sure is, big time. The book is chock full of great images. The horror elements are handled in a great way. Reis makes it work for super heroes. This is pretty much the perfect comic. I recommend it to everyone. Don’t miss out, you will regret it, like Crisis on Infinite Earths this is an event that we will be talking about for a long LONG time. 10 out of 10

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