Monday, March 24, 2008

Comic Reviews Catch-up part 1

Re: Astounding Wolf-Man #5

All right, now things are finally heating up in this book. I’ve been a big proponent of stuffing a lot in to every issue of this book as long as it continues its bimonthly status, and this issue gives a lot of bang for the dollar. Loved the Capes cameo, and the character development points between Wolf-Man and his more and more estranged family is some great comics writing. The lovely Erin at my local shop, Alter Ego (331 7th Ave. in Marion, IA for anyone in the Eastern part of our lovely corn-filled, first to vote state), was nice enough to hook me up with an issue featuring the beautiful variant cover by David Williams and Art Adams. I remember Williams from pin-ups and a few single issues years back at Marvel. Where’s he been all this time?

Re: Grendel Behold the Devil #5

Zombies! Sweet!

I was wondering when this series would finally kick in to gear, and issue five seems to be it. We are finally tying together some of the pieces of the story, building towards the answers to Grendel’s problems and all together making some damn good stuff.

Great stuff and here’s hoping for a whole lot more from Matt after this book is finished.

Re: Hack/Slash #10

Mostly a filler issue, but we do finally get a look at Cassie Hack’s father and his work. Another brutal fight with some yucky feral children, more great art by Emily Stone, and a rather good read even if it doesn’t seem as deep as previous issues. (I can’t believe I just used the term deep for this series…) Anyhow, well worth the $3.50 admission price and the preview cover image alone has me itching for issue #11.

Re: Invincible #49

More good stuff as we wrap up the mini-Image crossover fight with Dr. Seismic. We finally get the build to issue 50 (really quick there, Kirkman) and the return of both Darkwing and the Reanimen served the story well. This issue has me salivating for issue 50, so I have to say good job with that, Robert. And the pinup by Rob Hough is just plain amazing in the back. Someone needs to get this guy on an extended project and stat.

Re: Madman Atomic Comics #7

A quick read this one, what without any words and the like, but as always another beautiful issue of Madman. I enjoyed this issue quite a bit though, as it’s an obvious bridge from the extended arc of issue one and six and what I hope is more traditional one or two issue arcs a la the older Madman issues. Madman’s such a great character and such a great book that is so versatile in any number of comic book genres that the extended space story has sort of worn thin on me. But I ain’t going anywhere. For his art alone, Allred books are well worth every penny, and this comic has nowhere to go but up in a big way.

Re: Omega One #2

Big City Comics has surprised me right out of the bat with some impressive series. I have enjoyed Mario Gully’s new Ant Unleashed book quite a bit, Tempest is a fun twist on the vampire book that harkens back to Marvel’s take on the vampire, and Omega One is one of the best concepts for a team book in ages. Take the un-team concept of the Defenders than throw in a subcutaneous explosive device that forces the characters to work together and you pretty much have the concept behind this book.

The characters in the first arc all first appeared in Image’s Ant in the final issues of that series, but you really don’t need to have read that book or even issue one of this series to get that. No, writer Jeff Kaufman does an excellent job of making sure we know who everyone is in the series and why they are here. Painter Elvin Cintron brings them gloriously to life with some of the best painted art I’ve seen in comics since Alex Ross.

Oh, and did I mention Shi? William Tucci’s classic and always cool sohei warrior guest stars in this story arc, following up her appearances in Fallen Angel last year. Now we just need to convince Mr. Tucci to finish up his Sgt. Rock commitments and get moving on a new Shi project to follow up these stories. Other creators’ guest stars seem to be a recurring theme for this book as next issue Heroic Publishing’s Liberty Girl appears on the cover. It’s a great concept to help out the books, and let’s hope it can help Omega One and the rest of the Big City Comics line last for some time to come.

Re: Snakewoman: Curse of the 68 #1

When I picked up the original run of this book it was for the interesting concept mixed with the talents of up-and-coming writer Zeb Wells and the art of the always excellent Michael Gaydos. Gaydos only lasted about 6 issues though, and the series continued on halfway decently until issue 12. The lackluster Tales of the Snake Charmer limited followed that, and I considered giving up Snakewoman then and there. But the concept of Curse of the 68 seemed interesting, so I decided to give this one an order.

Well, it’s definitely the best arc since the early parts of the first series. Instead of focusing on the current incarnation of the Snakewoman, we are now flashing back to previous reincarnations, starting with a story in the old west. Behind a just plain awesome painted cover by Gaydos, new artist/colorist Pradip Ingale provides far superior art than anything that appeared in Tales of the Snake Charmer. Curse of the 68 looks to be an excellent series of done in ones that help explore the Snakewoman concept, but after it’s done I wonder if there is really anything left to say for the character. Even so, I’ll be back for the rest of this curse.

Re: The Sword #6

I’ve flip-flopped a bit on my opinion on The Sword. All in all it is better paced and better written than their previous Girls, but six issues in it already has its weak points. This issue gave us a solid look at the history of the title weapon and its original holder Demetrios, and how that saga relates to the three villains of the story. All in all, it’s a nice bit of mythology and works well to tie the series first five issues together.

Now that it’s out of the way though, I’m not sure how much left can really be said about current holder Dara and her quest to destroy the three siblings. Honestly, I don’t really see a need to run this series for more than a few more issues (four or five max) to finish up the saga. But hey, the Luna brothers are nothing if not surprising in their writing style so I’ll have to wait and see where this one is going to go.

Re: Tangent: Superman’s Reign #1

I’m going to be a 100% honest here: I’m an unrepentant Tangent fanboy. I loved both of the Tangent fifth week events from the late 90’s, and if anything made me mad from that era it was the fact that we didn’t get either a third event or an ongoing series spun out of those issues. Well, nearly a decade later and DC finally answers my wish.

Superman’s Reign #1 isn’t the greatest Tangent story ever, but original Tangent creator Dan Jurgens gives us a decent start to a new extended Tangent story that will apparently feature New Earth’s Flash and Green Lantern (John Stewart) as cast members as well. Characters are well written, but the story plods along quite a bit, spending more time reintroducing the Tangent Joker than anything else.

The backup by Ron Marz does a little bit better even though it serves only to introduce two mystery characters. But it does give a quick review of the history of the Tangent Universe which will be handy for all newcomers to the book.

All in all, this is a good start, especially with 11 more issues to go before the series finishes. It makes me happy to see DC give original Tangent architects Jurgens and Marz the reigns with this, and I just hope that Tangent: Superman’s Reign can prove as excellent as the initial two runs of Tangent were years ago.

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