Monthly Archives: June 2011
Detective Comics #878
Scott Snyder and Jock’s stellar run on Detective Comics is reaching its end, but not before Dick Grayson uncovers the mystery behind Tiger Shark. The third part of “Hungry City” finds Dick Grayson at the mercy of Tiger Shark, a pirate who is responsible for killing a woman and leaving her body in the belly of a whale. Which was found in the lobby of a new bank in Gotham. While this issue is another solid entry from the creative team, I do feel like they included a lot in the issue to wrap things up in time for the upcoming September DC relaunch.
Not only does Dick Grayson come face to face with Tiger Shark, but he also meets up with James Gordon’s possible psychotic son, James Jr. This scene between the two is fantastic, as Dick and James reminice about the past, and Snyder really sells this relationship between the two. However, it does feel a little rushed, which is probably attributed to the DC relaunch (again). Jock’s art is awesome, especially the scene at the end when GrayBat confronts the daughter of Tony Zuccho at night. And the ending of this issue is jaw-dropping.
Walking Dead #86
Once again, what is there to say about The Walking Dead that hasn’t already been said? We’re still in the aftermath of “No Way Out”, and Rick’s son Carl is showing little sign of recovering from his wounds, despite Rick’s optimism. Robert Kirkman and artist Charlie Adlard give us another character issue, in which we catch up with Angela and others, as well as see the groundwork for Rick’s plans to expand on the community that we live in. It seems that things may be looking up for Rick and his crew. But, fans of The Walking Dead know by now that once things start looking up, something terrible is just around the corner.
Ultimate Spider-man #160
Well, we’ve finally reached the final part of the “Death Of Spider-man” event that has been running through the pages of Ultimate Spider-man and Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates. While the latter title has been hurting from it’s lack of involvement in the event, Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley’s title focusing on Peter Parker has never been better. It’s a shame that after this issue, he’ll no longer be Spider-man.
Yep, Peter Parker does kick the bucket in this issue. But he goes down swingin’ defending his Aunt, Gwen Stacy, and Mary Jane from Norman Osborn, the final member of the Sinister Six that Peter hasn’t beaten. This was a pretty powerful comic, with a lot of great moments (I especially liked the part when Peter and Mary Jane see each other, and Peter’s way of getting her to safety).
Bendis is very much on his “A” game here, but the issue would be nothing without Mark Bagley’s pencils. Every punch is felt, and every emotion is right there on the page for you to see. The anguish on Aunt May’s face at the end of the issue was extremely gut-wrenching. This issue could very well go down as Mark Bagley’s best.
While I may not be sticking around for the NEXT Ultimate Universe relaunch this September, I will say that I’m very impressed with the way that Bendis and Bagley exited the character, and gave Peter Parker a hero’s death. Of course, the real Spider-man is still alive and kicking.
Carnage #5 (of 5)
Another book to (finally) reach it’s end this week is Carnage. When we last left good ol’ Kletus Casaday, he had used his symbiote to take control of one of the armored guards that were threatening to re-imprison him. This issue finds both Iron Man and Spider-man fighting him off, as well as Shriek and her doctor finally confronting one another. While I’m definitely glad this series is over, and I’m pretty sure I enjoyed it, the extremely long delays between issues are pretty much guaranteeing the fact that I’m going to reread all of the issues at some point. Putting this book out on a bimonthly schedule absolutely killed its momentum, but I like Zeb Well’s writing and absolutely love Clayton Crain’s art, so hearing that the two of them will next be bringing us Carnage, U.S.A. makes me very excited. I just hope it’s not a bi-monthly title again.
Deadlands: The Devil’s Six Gun
I picked up Deadlands: The Devil’s Six Gun on a whim. I had heard of the book through twitter, and the combination (wiki wild, wiki wild) Wild West and zombies role-playing game it’s based on made me extremely interested, as I am a HUGE fan of the Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare add-on game.
Written by David Gallaher and drawn by Steve Ellis, this first one shot follows a man named Copernicus Blackburn, a man who invents the Devil’s Six Gun, a weapon that is said to be able to “kill the devil” (and give us the name of this first one-shot). Gallaher’s script allows us to follow the man as a child, where we learn of his ability to create extremely advanced weaponry for the time of the old west. He eventually meets a financial backer who gives him the Ghost Stone, a green, skull-shaped stone in which one can access supernatural powers. After being screwed over by the backer, and the death of his family in a fire, Blackburn uses their bones to great the Devil’s Six Gun. Armed with his new weapon, he goes out for vengeance against the man who did him wrong.
Gallaher’s script starts off slow, but once the Ghost Stone is introduced it definitely ramps up. His panels do start to get a little wordy, and he’s definitely needs to learn the “show, don’t tell” rule of comics. However, the story is very cool and unique, and Ellis’ pencils fill the creepy zone effectively. While it didn’t know me out of my seat, I am intrigued enough to pick up the next one-shot, and possibly even research the role-playing game.
Now this is what I want from an X-Men comic. The latest issue of Chris Yost’s X-Men story finds the Evolutionaries attacking Utopia attempting to get to Cyclops, while the other X-Men are fighting their damnedest to prevent them from getting to him. However, they also have to prevent them from getting to Magneto, who was also one of the mutants that they had contacted years ago when they first arrived in our time stream. There are some fantastic action sequences here, especially when we see Storm using her abilities to fight off their attackers. Paco Medina and Dalibor Talajic share art duties, with the former tackling the modern story and the latter handling the past story. For once it’s refreshing to read an X-Men story involving timelines being altered that isn’t confusing. It’s just a shame that Yost will leaving in two issues.
Ghost Rider #0.1
Marvel’s “Point 1” initiative rolls on, this time setting the stage for the upcoming Ghost Rider relaunch, in which ol’ flamehead will get boobs. Yes, that’s right, the Ghost Rider in the new upcoming series is going to be a lady, not Johnny Blaze. Ghost Rider .1 catches us up to speed with Blaze, and gives us insight into just why he wants to be rid of the curse of the Ghost Rider.
The issue finds Blaze fighting off a demon who is kidnapping a woman. After easily dispatching the creature, the attractive lady in distress actually turns out to be a vampire, thereby launching into a long monologue from Blaze stating that he is tired of there always being a catch whenever something somewhat good appears for him. This part of the issue is told in flashback, as Blaze is informing a local bartender of his life. Then the mysterious “Adam” enters, telling Blaze that he can help him be free of the Ghost Rider forever. Blaze tells him to get lost, and helps another attractive lady with her ex. Blaze gets the crap kicked out of him(he decided not to transform because he’s pretty tipsy), but the woman takes him home. When Blaze wakes up the next day, he lashes out at the woman and her son, convinced that they are demons from another realm. After driving off, he realizes how because of being Ghost Rider, he can never trust anyone. He then summons Adam to him, who helps him remove the curse.
While this issue does a really good job setting up Ghost Rider for new fans, I’m really curious when ever writer started characterizing Johnny Blaze as a good ol’ boy from the south. It’s really too much, but not nearly as bad as his abysmal Shadowland one-shot. Writer Rob Williams also throws in some humor into the issue, although I’m pretty sure everyone stopped making the “vampires are the new zombies’ joke a year ago. That being said, the issue sets up an intriguing premise for the upcoming series, as it’s pretty clear that Adam is not what he seems, and that Blaze will probably rethink his decision to get rid of the curse. The art by Matthew Clark is very well done. His Ghost Rider is one of the best I’ve seen, and I really enjoy the fact that they didn’t make him look exactly like the Dan Ketch Ghost Rider from the 90’s. If you’re a fan of the character like myself, you won’t mistake picking this up, especially since it sets up the new series.
Flashpoint: Emperor Aquaman
Okay, I’ll admit this: Aquaman is a character that I think has a lot of potential to be really cool. Thankfully writer Tony Bedard knows this too, as his Emperor Aquaman tie in for Flashpoint showcases many ways that one can make the character a badass when his relaunched book arrives this September. However, the difference between the two Aquamans is that the Flashpoint universe Aquaman is a very, very bad dude. He also seems a little misunderstood and hurt, but also very bad. This first issue gives us pieces of the puzzle as to how Aquaman and his army were able to flood Eastern Europe in the main Flashpoint series. I won’t spoil how they do it, as it’s integral to the plot, but I will say that it is very cool, and makes the character seem extremely cold and driven. We also get more information behind his motives, and we learn that Aquaman was responsible for the death of Wonder Woman’s mother (SPOILER he had her assassinated on the DAY OF THEIR WEDDING! Man this guy is COLD!) Ardian Syaf’s art is wicked good here, especially in the opening pages, in which Aquaman swims through the ruins of Rome. Flashpoint: Emperor Aquaman may not be essential for the main series, but as someone who is very intrigued by the Flashpoint universe (and of the opinion that Aquaman COULD be cool), it’s just what I wanted.
Flashpoint: Batman: Knight Of Vengeance #1 (of 3)
Now that it has been revealed that the upcoming DC reboot will be because of the events of Flashpoint, I won’t be surprised to see a massive up tick in that event’s sales. One thing that I hope doesn’t get lost in the shuffle is the tie-in book following the Dark Knight of the Flashpoint universe.
Written by Brian Azzarello and drawn by Eduardo Risso, the former 100 Bullets teams presents the world of SPOILER Thomas Wayne as Batman SPOILER in a very new way. Wayne is running numerous Gotham casinos, drawing in the criminal underworld that he is sworn to destroy. By attracting them to his place of business, he is able to keep tabs on their goings on, and strike them when they least expect it. It’s also interesting to see the many different ways that familiar characters are presented to us in the Flashpoint universe. Penguin is Wayne’s casino manager, Harvey Dent is still happily married, and major villains like Scarecrow, Hush, and Poison Ivy are dead, thanks to Batman. Yes that’s right, the Thomas Wayne Batman kills, and it actually fits. Instead of him dying, Thomas Wayne sees his wife and son brutally murdered in front of him. Because he is a grown man when this happens, he never has that sense of innocence lost that Bruce has, and such, never makes the vow to “never take a human life”. We also get a interesting spin on the Jim Gordon/Batman relationship. In fact, Gordon is probably the only character who doesn’t have a major change.
Azzarello’s script is extremely entertaining, and you can see that he put a lot of effort into twisting these familiar characters so that they feel new and fresh. Eduardo Risso’s pencils are just as solid as Azzarello’s story. He makes Thomas Wayne look like a towering figure, and very much like the depiction of an elderly Bruce Wayne in the Batman Beyond cartoon. His action scenes are fantastic as well, with the fight between Batman and Killer Croc being extremely exciting and brutal. The issue ends with a glimpse of the Flashpoint universe’s version of The Joker, who looks strikingly similar to Heath Ledger’s now iconic portrayal from The Dark Knight, which for me gets me extremely excited for the next issue. Even if you don’t give a rat’s ass about Flashpoint (although you probably should with the recent reboot news), you should pick this book up, especially if you’re a Batman fan.
Fear Itself #3 (of 7)
Hate to say it, but: called it. I think everyone who has been following Fear Itself (or Marvel in general) was able to put two and two together regarding the mystery of “which major hero will fall” in this issue, but come on, did it have to be so obvious? Anyways, despite the fact that this character should not even be fighting right now (I’m sure that will be touched upon), the third issue of Marvel’s summer event is pretty good, even if it just continues to show characters being given evil hammers. This time it’s The Thing.It’s pretty cool, and a few members of The Avengers finally come face to face with the possessed Hulk. It’s good to know that we’re getting some confrontations, but I do wish the pace would pick up just a little bit. And it would be nice if the character Marvel “killed” wasn’t spoiled in the solicits a few months ago. Oh well, such is comics.