Punisher Annual #1 (Remender, Pearson/Marvel Comics/$3.99):
I am going to tell you off the bat I am not a Punisher fan. I did enjoy the character quite a bit in his early appearances and have a whole punch of Punisher comics because Michael Golden did the covers. Other then that the character that was popularized in the 90’s holds no interest to me. But I bought the issue any way. Why because my favorite artist drew it. Jason Pearson. I cannot get enough of this guy ever since his early Marvel and Image work. I think a little before his first Body Bags series he did a Savage Dragon mini. That was probably one of the most influential comics art wise for me. I mean don’t get me wrong, I had be tracing Golden for years trying to get his lines, but Pearson had an amazing dynamism and line quality that really impressed me. I love it. Any way. I got exactly what I expected from the issue. A fun story as two emotion controlling brick house villains try to take out Frank Castle for a chance to live again. And it is fun. Especially when they turn Spidey on Frank a great fight on the city streets ensues. Which Pearson illustrates flawlessly. Great action, dynamism and detail. He is definitely in an elite league of artists capable of choreographing action sequences. The backgrounds are beautiful as well as all the props and vehicles. What I enjoy most about the art is the excitement and expressions. Every character explodes and borders on cartoonishness(is that a word, if not I made it up!), but in a good way. I especially love how despite unparalleled detail the panels are light. Dave Stewart did a wonderful job with the open clean colors as well. It’s not a great issue by any means. But is tons of fun, Remender did a fine job with the pacing and dialogue and from an art perspective beautiful to look at.
7 out of 10
Amazing Spider-man #608 (Guggenheim,Checchetto/Marvel Comics/$2.99):
Probably one of the weakest in the series post BND. There is so much thrown at the reader and with Guggenheim jumping back and forth in time to tell the Ben Reilly story while Peter works through his encounter with Raptor(?) you get lost, and quite frankly I lost interest almost immediately. Combined with art changes and particularly poor coloring it made it hard to focus on the many words on each page. Don’t get me wrong I like Checchetto, is previous issues were amazing, but with the art changes and colors it muted the whole experience. I am certain something important is going on, but I couldn’t tell you what it is, or if I care. And it looks like Kaine is back. Ben Reilly in the sleeveless hoodie I can take, but Kaine? Not a fan. Well I will chalk it up to the law of averages and say it’s just a bad issue, it had to happen eventually.
4 out of 10
Superman: World of New Krypton #8 (Robinson, Rucka, Woods, Randall/DC Comics/$2.99):
Even though I do not the think the art overall is as good as it has been all along the issue was still a good read. Rucka and Robinson are really giving us some nice exploration of New Krypton and its relations with other alien cultures. This issue focusing on the Thanagarians who really don’t get a long with the Kryptonians, but with some of Supes help manage to gain the trust of the Bird Warriors. Nice introduction of characters, especially Thanagarian wing Master. Hope she sticks around. This comic continues to be a gem and I highly recommend it to Superman fans and Legion fans. The art is done by Woods and Ryan Randall. Clean and crisp and open. Woods backgrounds and tech are awesome. Still the art seems some what rushed and even with the extra art help, diminished from what came before. I can’t complain Woods is one of the best out there so even when it’s not as good as usual..its still better then most. Interesting ending. I certainly didn’t expect to see Jemm show up.
7.5 out of 10
Batman and Robin #5 (Morrison and Tan/DC Comics/$2.99):
I was hesitant to pick this up after reading last issue. Why? Because tan’s art really isn’t strong enough to carry the book. he hasn’t mastered the nuanced storytelling and craftsmanship to follow Quitely on this book. Which if you ask me should only be featuring “A” list art talent. Tan is just not there. Although there are flashes (only a few) of brilliance, and Tan’s style working most of the pages are messy and incoherent. And even though the inks are tight and control the purposely messy blacks and shadow, many panels are just muddy with messy detail. It was a constant distraction trying to figure out what is in the background, or what some one used as a weapon, or why medical equipment in the background on the wall looks like ink mush. The writing is top notch, I love the idea. Jason Todd trying to replace the Dynamic Duo with a newer, modern approach to saving Gotham. Killing villains. These are new age heroes. And the dialogue and pacing is great, and Morrison nicely delivers new plot and characters. I still have some thematic issues with the concepts. Jason’s costume? What is that horrible symbol a demonic skull? But I really can’t understand how he got here since his resurrection? And then there’s the new era vigilantes thing with all this talk of I-pods and such…Morrison should be pushing the angle. Instead of sharing a book with his new sidekick why didn’t Jason Todd provide her with a kindle or download? And there is no way under any circumstance do I see the new sidekick gutting Damien. Over all a good read, but much like my review a mess to look at.
7 out of 10
That’s Starro the Star Conqueror by the way..he looks like a heavy metal god of a$$-kicking!!!
R.E.B.E.L.S. Annual #1 (Bedard, St.Aubin, Moline, Donovan, Andrasfszky/DC Comics/$3.99):
I am not going to lie. I dropped this book with issue #5. Bedard’s writing has been great. But the inconsistent art killed it for me. It started with solid, St. Aubin art and disintegrated by the third issue. After a while the book began to look…unprofessional. But DC had been previewing beautiful pages in the back of their comics for the last several weeks and I really liked what Bedard had done with Starro the Star Conqueror so I picked up the annual. Which has one of the most beautiful covers, really a perfect image. The interior is a series of Vignettes if Starro’s origin and motivation, plus that of two of his key operatives Storm-Daughter and Smite. Framed by the current goings on in the R.E.BE.L.S. book. I love it. Back to front the art is beautiful, lovely, stylistic, well executed, with great story-telling. I don’t know which I like best. They are all terrific. I would buy stories done by any of the artists in the book. and it’s a wonder DC doesn’t have this talent front and center. Bedard’s tales are very well done. He really gives you a quick snap shot of each character but doesn’t skimp one iota on establishing their personalities and motivations. In fact I love Starro’s. My only problem was Despero. Who has long been one of my favorite villains and certainly one of DC’s cosmic threats for any hero or group of heroes. Using him as tool to show Starro’s power was a bad gimmick to me. There are plenty of characters or adversaries Bedard could have used without resorting to marginalizing Despero completely by his utter and effortless defeat. Not that it was needed. Despero has become nothing more then a hulking space barbarian of late. But still. They should be working the character up. Not completing cheapening him. That being said it’s a wonderful comic full of great art and writing. I highly recommend it.
9 out of 10
Edit: Corrections provided by my good Millarworld buddy and all around walking comics encyclopedia Deniz…
Just to correct you for a moment, Aris, REBELS started off (and continues with) Andy Clarke as the artist. St. Aubin is the fill-in (who I actually felt did a pretty decent job emulating Clarke’s singular sytle, but will be the first to admit that it came up short…I find myself wishing he’d go back to the style he was using on his JLA work years back).
I would like to add one thing. Every one out there belly-aching over BND (still) needs to start reading the books. I have not enjoyed Spidey this consistently since…around 1988. And I really hope they (Marvel) “Mephist” the hell out of the X-men too. It is all they can do to save the X-men at this point. Or they can do another Giant Sized and scrap the current group for a whole new generation of X-men.
Any way. that was my short fanboy rant.
Go buy some comics. (Start with the R.E.B.E.L.S. Annual or Chew or Hercules.) 🙂