Thursday, March 6, 2008

Comic Review Catch-Up

Re: Umbrella Academy #6

Man, I really liked this book. It sort of surprises me, as I happen to dislike Mr. Way’s music. More than dislike, really, but not quite at the hate level, but I digress. Nonetheless, The Umbrella Academy proved to be a surprising venture in to weird superheroes, a genre that hasn’t gotten much love over the past few years outside of Mignola’s little world. I do see a lot of BPRD in this, as well as another late 90’s Dark Horse comic and another favorite of mine, The Nevermen. With that in mind, if Mr. Ba should decide to leave this series for its second run (and I would like to see him back on Casanova), I would love to see the excellent Guy Davis take a shot at these characters.

The plot was solid, the characters while not as well defined as some, were leaps and bounds above most of the work from the Big Two. Only big complaint: why did the monkey have to die? Never kill the monkey, people! When will comic creators (or musicians) learn.

All in all, amazing stuff. Can’t wait to see volume two, hopefully later this year.


Re: RASL #1

Jeff Smith is back, and I’m not quite sure what else to say. I didn’t find anything bad about RASL, but I didn’t really see a whole lot of anything else either. We get what seems to be a dimension-hopping thief of some kind, some sort of creature chasing him, cryptic thoughts about an evil “they” and “them”, and that’s about it. Now I know Bone started out slow too, but I guess I just expected a little more bang for my buck. Solid storytelling, beautiful art on ugly characters, kind of steep price tag for black and white. Otherwise I can’t think of much else to say. I’ll wait and see for a couple issues on this one.


Re: Adventures of Miranda Mercury #295

I remember Brandon Thomas. You might too, he scripted the Rob Liefeld plotted X-Force: Shatterstar limited series a couple years back. Let’s not hold that against him. Miranda Mercury is yet another independent comic with the goal to inject some fun adventure elements back in to comics. (Note to the folks at Marvel and DC: some of us still like fun. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true.) Miranda is exactly that, a fun book with a nifty little meta-concept to get it off the ground running.

This is the first issue in case you are throwing out a WTF at the #295 after the title. We’re in the last stage of Miranda’s career, as she’s apparently been poisoned somehow. She’s dying and we only have five issues left to find out how that will come to be.

I really don’t want to give away a lot of the plot, but I will say there is a lot of action, a great bit of character interaction between Miranda and Jack Warning, her faithful sidekick, and a samurai genie.

Lee Ferguson (I know his name from somewhere too, but it will take awhile for me to figure out where) is an able artist. His style isn’t perfect, sometimes his characters look just slightly off, but he’s got fine linework and good storytelling skills. You never get confused by a strange panel as some of the other ASP artists can sometimes do to you.

All in all, thumbs up for Miranda Mercury. It’s rare that I say this, but it’s well worth the $3.95 price tag. Go check it out, folks.


Re: Nexus #100

Ten years between 98 and 99, and it seems like almost as many between 99 and 100. I’m okay with it though after reading the lead in issue 100. I thought the return issue fell a little flat, but issue 100 finally gets the story moving. I don’t know, maybe I was expecting a slam-bang, dropped in the middle of who the hell knows what’s going on return with the last issue. Sure I know that isn’t Baron and the Dude’s style, but I am so used to it, that it surprises when I don’t see it. With 100 I feel like I’m finally getting back in the groove of things and Nexus is back to being his same classic stuff that I’ve fell in love with thanks to the Dark Horse reprints and back issue bins.

I have to say that the back-up wasn’t worth the ridiculous delay however. It was cute, the Kennedy and Clinton parodies were amusing, but a silly little back-up like this definitely wasn’t worth the full delay. Hopefully, everything will be back on track for issues 101 and 102, and from there we can get to the first anthology issue. I for one want to know what this Origami and Silencer business is about already.

All in all good stuff with Nexus #100. Let’s just avoid the slam-bang specials and keep the schedule going from now on, ok, Rude?


Re: Criminal (v. 2) #1

Best issue of this book already. Everyone should be reading this book. It’s the best writing of Brubaker’s career, and the best art Sean Phillips ever made. The hard-boiled crime genre is a great fit for comics, and they show it every issue. And don’t wait for the trades either; the exclusive back matter in each issue is worth the price of admission alone. It saddens me every time I read an issue though, as this book should be outselling Daredevil, Captain America, and Uncanny X-Men, but instead it remains just a modest success.

I will continue my quest to get everyone reading Criminal as long as Brubaker and Phillips keep producing it. Thanks for the great work, guys.


Re: Ant Unleashed #3

Gratuitous nudity in this issue aside, this book finally gives the payoff for the long build of the Ant storyline. Mario Gully is back on art with this one and despite an absolutely horrible cover (and I do mean bad, Ant just looks terrible on it, barely even human shaped), he provides solid pencil work in this issue. With most of the origin out of the way, Ant Unleashed seems to be well on its way to greatness. Gully’s writing has improved leaps and bounds each issue, and I am still thankful to him for giving the world a strong African American female to comics. Here’s hoping Gully can keep up with his current schedule and finally give Ant the push this character deserves.


Re: Zorro #1

This may be the most disappointing comic I’ve read in months. It’s not bad; it’s just not nearly as innovative as other reviewers seems to think it is. Francesco Francavilla produces some amazing art for the book (I still miss his excellent Black Coat), but Wagner’s story falls flat for me. I love Matt Wagner; his Grendel and Mage are two of the best books of the last twenty years. But Zorro #1 is just a so-so framing sequence wrapped around a comic adaptation of Isabel Allende’s novel Zorro from a couple years back. I had a few problems with Zorro as a novel, and I just fear that Wagner is going to rehash those elements in this book.

I’ll give Zorro a few more issues to get past the origin segment and hopefully we will move in to the quality book that Zorro deserves to be.

Now where is Lady Rawhide at? (Just kidding.)


Re: Youngblood #2

I’m still not sure what to think of the new Youngblood. Casey’s writing is almost always great, but so far this book seems to fall short of his usual talent. He’s quickly developing the personalities of his team members (which is innovative enough for Youngblood), but he still hasn’t really told us what this book is about. So far it just feels like it exists because Rob Liefeld wanted to have a new Youngblood book on the market. He’s having fun with the whole celebrity superhero stuff, but it’s by no means innovative. X-Force/X-Statix, New Warriors, Blood Pack, Wildguard, and even the most recent Wild Cards novel have covered the same ground. The book could be great if it moves past that and in to a clever storyline, and with the building of the insidious sub-plot again with this issue, we may be doing that. I’ll give Casey a chance with this one; his previous work is great enough to make me do that.

Let’s hope that the next few issues can finally give us the ongoing, well-written Youngblood book that I always thought was possible.

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