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    Avengers vs. X-Men Vol 1 12 GI Review

    Title: So it’s come to this…

    It’s amazing that a series that’s had more than its fair share of ups and downs, as well as groan inducing moments, should produce an issue that’s pretty much everything a mesh up of this magnitude should be. It’s intense, it’s emotionally engaging, but not too much, and it’s what you expect without being too cliché. The opening scene has the one and only Captain America pitching himself and his plan to a character, who, he hopes, will be a game changer during this supposedly harrowing sequence of events. To quickly recap, the Captain and the Avengers seek to nullify the threat that the Phoenix represents as it’s returned to Earth. Past experience has shown that when it possesses people, things tend to turn out badly at best (cue the 90s Dark Phoenix Saga for those of you who watched that 90s X-Men cartoon show). At first, it seems he’s addressing a crew of Avengers behind him while he’s facing away from them, which is awkward, to say the least. That is, until you realize he’s actually facing the right way. The Captain’s inquiry to this character also serves as a way to brief the reader up to speed on what the general plot has been so far. As obvious as this is, it doesn’t feel too tacky but it does raise an issue that I’ll address later on. A much parodied response is just the answer Rogers was looking for, “Yes. Hulk will smash for you.” 

    If I saw this in real life I'd assuredly and unashamedly crap my pants

    The next scene is quite beautiful, in my opinion, as it shows Rogue, who’s been off in some other dimension dealing with alien shenanigans for 2-3 issues in X-Men Legacy, seeking asylum with the Professor and the Avengers. On a side note, I’ve always liked Rogue ever since seeing her in that all too popular and ever internally referenced here, 90s series. This is probably because her accent was hilarious, and both she and I are southern. I really like how she’s drawn here with the sun at her side, in a field, all too short jacket donned, and that useless belt resting on her hips. All kidding aside, I really do like this page and hope you all do too. Have a look see below. ^_^

    :

    What follows afterwards is a long overdue union of the X-Men and the Avengers. Truth be told, I think they should’ve joined forces waaay back when this whole thing began but better late than never, right? You can really get a sense of camaraderie from the scene as the two groups finally set aside their differences long enough to do what’s best for the world as a whole.  The next scene then skips to Utopia, the floating home of the X-Men which is now seemingly only inhabited by the remaining Phoenix Five.

    As this series/event has developed we’ve seen some of Marvel’s big name powerhouses (a la Thor, Scarlet Witch, Red Hulk, Dr. Strange, etc.) go up against the Phoenix Five and do little to hinder them. As it stands now, only two of the original five X-Men who were originally possessed remain -namely Cyclops and Emma Frost. It has been shown, that every time one of the five is defeated, their portion of power is redistributed to the remaining hosts. That may not seem like anything to take not of, but the fewer hosts there are, the closer the overall Phoenix force has a chance of regaining its initial unadulterated strength. By being divided, its power has been limited. To make matters worse, the remaining hosts have an increasing urge to be the “last man standing” so to speak, and thus become increasingly unstable and unpredictable. Infighting, which was rare to nonexistent amongst the five, also increases as a result.

    This comes to the forefront here with Cyclops and Emma Frost as the former becomes more keenly aware of the Phoenix’s corrupting influence during a spat with Frost. It’s not too surprising that’s he’s been the most resistant, save for Colossus, to the Phoenix’s influence and given his decades long history both with it and the X-Men, the way this issue plays out really hits home to X-Men fans. Even if you’ve never picked up a single comic, if you watched the show back in the day, the way this issue ends will have an emotional impact on you. There’s a decent, yet overall downplayed use of relationships both across generations (e.g Cyclops and Professor X as well as Magneto and Scarlet Witch) and team boundaries (Storm who’s both an X-Man and an Avenger) that are referenced here that really try to hone in on this impact. Unfortunately, this seemed overwhelmingly in favor of the X-Men. 

    What a way to address your "son," eh?

    Overall, this issue was enjoyable and one of the better ones in the series thus far. That being said, as with any issue, it wasn’t perfect. Much as I like the opening scene with Cap requesting Green Hulk’s (there are different Hulks now) help, given how the scene is setup, it left me wondering if the Hulk was levitating in midair.  Also, there is more plot induced stupidity involved, naturally. Before the confrontation between the Phoenix “Five” and the now combined Avengers and X-Men, Captain America orders the combatants to “Not let up, not even for a second.” This isn’t what happens. There are plenty of moments where members of the combined team could’ve attacked Summers, in particular, but they didn’t. There are a number of panels where the heroes are just standing around watching the goings on. On a related note, there’s also some badly timed “intervention” on Wolverine’s behalf. The book ends the way we all would expect but it’s still worth reading on your own as there’s a very interesting design change that’s sure to draw some commentary. I’d give this book a 3 as it was enjoyable, and had plenty of action, despite its flaws and predictable ending. 

     

    My pull list

    Vae Victis.

    Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit.

  • Batgirl Vol 4 0 GI Review

    Title: A Well-Done Defining Starting Point

    Wow, just wow. I really enjoyed this issue. For those of you who are fans of Barbara Gordon, you’re gonna wanna go grab this issue straightway. There’s so much goodness packed into this issue and it really feels like an origins story rather than like prequel filler. From the outset, we’re given privy to Barbara’s both introspective and reflective inner monologue that sets her up not only as an admirer of her father and his work, but also as the “driven” and effective character we knew her to be both pre and post the New 52. On a random note, there’s an ad in here about Dr. Who in which the guy playing the doctor looks creepily like Willem Dafoe. *Shudders*

    The story starts out with her convincing her dad to let her take a tour of the police station as an attempt to give her studies an authentic boost. This further goes to show just how smart and clever she is as we don’t really get to know her true motivations as to why she wants the tour until a few pages later so it’s a very good “Aha!” moment. There are a few “cryptic” moments that involve her brother, James Gordon Jr., who, prior to the reboot had a very creepy yet hugely intriguing role in the story called Black Mirror, during which Grayson donned the mantle of the Bat. This story focuses more on the Gordon family dynamic and less so on Grayson and is a highly recommended read. James Gordon Jr. also had a tie in with the most recent issue of Batgirl that echoes his disturbing pre-reboot personality and that is further shown here. In other words, we get some much needed and appreciated character consistency, even if it is with a more peripheral character. Keep an eye on James Gordon Jr., here and if you do read this issue, read it before you read Black Mirror.  Despite this appreciated consistency, Gordon Jr.’s actions don’t really add too much to the issue but rather serve more appropriately as nods to past continuity. 

    Cue the villain, Harry X, and the story then goes on to show how Barbara deals with a typical day at Gotham PD, i.e everything goes to hell in a hand basket very quickly. What’s neat about this is that her character’s ingenuity and intelligence really shines through as she’s constantly planning things out the best way she knows how while remaining as cool and collected as she can. All the while, she’s also acting selflessly which is how heroes should behave. 

    :

    During her fight with Harry, both she and the reader know that luck is definitely on her side as she manages to leave the encounter unscathed, but the fact that both parties are privy to this is okay and acceptable, rather than coming off as being utterly unbelievable.  To be honest, I was taken by surprise by the last page but it serves as a nice way of, once again, acknowledging past continuity and when you couple that with other smaller acknowledgments spread throughout the issue, this story feels “right.”  

    This also mimics Batman's appearance towards the end of Batwoman: Elegy.

    There are some small things that bother me in this issue such as the very thinly veiled exchange between Harry and Barbara, some stupidity on behalf of the Gotham PD, and Gordon’s reaction, or lack thereof upon coming back to the ablaze police station knowing that his kids are trapped inside, but overall, this issue comes off very strongly as establishing Barbara as the strong, self-reliant, intelligent, and resourceful member of the Bat family that she is. The book, from beginning to end, contributed to this worthwhile portrayal of her and I give it a 4.5/5.

     

    My pull list

    Vae Victis.

    Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit.

  •  

    Debris Vol 1 #1 GI Review

    Title: Borderlands meets Planetoid with a hint of the Matrix

    This was one of those issues that I grabbed on a whim. That is to say, I saw the cover, was intrigued by it, flipped through it, and decided to give it a shot. As you all are a bunch of active participants in gaming culture, I’m sure you keep an eye out for potential titles that you may be interested in. The same goes for me with comics, but this series was, quite literally, nowhere on my radar.  

    The story starts off following a teacher/student pair, or rather master/apprentice to me because of Star Wars, named Calista and Maya, who are undertaking some sort of training exercise some distance away from their home village. From the dialogue and setup it’s clear that Calista is testing Maya, perhaps in preparation for a promotion or a story changing event. The pacing and buildup are nice and also have some smaller, more subtle elements to them that quickly lead into us seeing Maya encounter a very dangerous and potentially life threatening situation.  One panel reminded me of how the human/alien hybrids from the X-Files regenerated. After she skillfully overcomes the Colossal (an exceedingly large, mechanical creature), she and Calista return home.

    Given the opening pages of the book the environment of the world these two live in seems quite similar to the very mechanical one depicted in the new series by Ken Garing called Planetoid. To sum up their similarities, both have a very post-apocalyptic kind of feel, feature humans living together in fragmented communities of sorts on a hostile, perhaps alien world, that’s full of creatures that are mechanical in nature.

     It's them against the world, almost.

    The rest of the issue gives us insight into just how dire everyone’s situation is. When you couple the fact that they are supposedly the last vestige of humanity with the threat of impending danger (potentially more Colossals), you have a rather extraordinary situation that calls for equally extraordinary measures to be taken in order to ensure humanity's future. Thus, Maya is thrust into unknown and all too unfamiliar territory as her journey truly begins.

    The art reminded me of the cell shading found in Borderlands and I was quite fond of the colors used by Owen Gieni and of the initial panel layouts as well. Together, they really helped convey the story’s initial progress and smoothly transition into a gorgeous splash page that you can see below.  

    Mechanical Chocobos?


    I absolutely love this panel layout.

    This combination also allows for a smooth ending to the first, larger than life encounter with the Colossal, partially shown above. That being said, both the art and panel layout suffer from inconsistency. There are a number of times when characters lack faces entirely, particularly in smaller panels. While this is not uncommon at all in the medium, for a first issue trying to establish itself in the minds of readers, this seems like a grave misstep. There are also times when pages have a lot of empty, white space which is odd when contrasted with such well-done pages like the ones shown here. There is also a very predictable development that deals with Maya and Calista but, given the background of the story and its future potential, this is easily, and not regrettably, written off as a forgivable plot device. Overall, this issue was solid but it teetered somewhat precariously on the edge of just being okay. If you're willing to take a chance on a series that caters to a taste for alien worlds, lifeforms, and humans doing their best to survive, give this issue a try. You can check out a preview here at IGN. Final score 3.5/5

     

    My pull list

    Vae Victis.

    Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit.

  • Aquaman Vol 7 0 GI Review

    Aquaman, you say? You much be joking. No, I'm quite serious. Why? You ask. Keep reading.


    I'll admit, this was also my reaction at first.

    There’s so much goodness crammed into this issue. To be honest, I have no complaints in this issue. It was done by the original creative staff and is definitely up to snuff. Having just recently read the trade Aquaman Vol 1: The Trench the tie ins in this issue are nice reminders that work really well to tie this origins issue in with the current series. In the opening panel, there’s even a reference to the current Justice League roster, but the better mention is of Black manta who’s been 100% bad*** in the current series. 

    The story opens with Aquaman and his father in an ambulance. In predictable fashion, his father is on his deathbed and charges Arthur with finding his wife (Arthur’s mom, a former Atlantean queen) and telling her that he loves her. He’d spent several years looking for her to no avail. As expected, he passes away.

    Fast forward to the day of his dad’s funeral. Arthur is being heckled and questioned by presumably a slew of news reporters and random citizens who want to know more about him and his “alien” heritage. Understandably, he’s quite upset as he’s just trying to deal with his father’s death and the still unresolved issue of what Atlantis means to him. He bursts out of his home, enraged, escapes to some nearby cliffs, and leaps off to the safety of the ocean waters below. This is where the issues’ creator credits are quite cleverly shown. It’s here, for about five pages or so, that the art does the story telling on its own. 

    What happens next is just plain gorgeously rendered but you'll have to see for yourself.

    The rest of the issue shows Arthur take the beginning steps on the journey that help him transition into the character we see in the current series. It’s difficult to not delve into more details of this issue’s remainder as it’s just enough background info to whet your appetite if you’re new to Aquaman and to fill in some relatively minor plot details if you’ve been faithfully following it. There is a nice balance of action and heart-warming moments that help to round out the issue. 

    While the release of zero issues is questionable, as they’re meant to serve as the telling of a character’s origin and we’re 12 issues into most series at this point, a few have managed to stand out as good, standalone books. This is one of them. If you still think Aquaman is a joke, you’re in for a treat as Geoff Johns has done a good job in helping make the character popular again. Pick up this issue, you won’t be disappointed. Final score: 4/5 and thank you all for reading. 

    This is the new Aquaman, albeit this splash page is from Justice League.

    My pull list

    Vae Victis.

    Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit.

  • Hit-Gril Vol 1 3 GI Review

    Title: Keep on truckin'

    Oh, Mindy. I was really quite enjoying the series thus far, despite the seemingly erratic and far-spaced out release schedule, but this issue threw a curve ball at me and had me just barely liking it while I loved the first two. This is probably because a decent bit of the issue is dedicated to further developing Red Mists’ progression into being an actual super villain. Mark Millar’s limited series takes place between the events that happened in Kick-Ass and Kick-Ass 2, the latter wasn’t that great, in my opinion.

    Given the title of the series, it’s clear that its emphasis is on Mindy, aka, Hit-Girl, and how she deals with things that happen after her father’s death and being “forced” to hang up the tights. To sum things up briefly, she’s been: trying to adjust to a normal life, to the extent of even trying to fit in with the most popular girls at school, and training Dave (Kick-Ass) so he’s not one hop short of being completely useless in a fight, and trying to keep successfully continuing her vigilante lifestyle without her mom and stepfather finding out.

    As the issue unfolds, we first get a look at Red Mist and how he’s striking out on his own for the first time. It’s interesting to see him mess up in so many ways and how quickly he loses control of the situation. What’s most interesting, however, is that we get a closer look at how corrupt the police department is as it doesn’t take too much finagling for Mist’s Uncle Vic to get him out of the legal mess that ensued after his botched outing. There’s also a touching moment with Red Mist here as we get to see how his grief over his father’s death really fuels his actions. I would post the page, but it has some profanity. Sorry guys and gals, you'll just have to see the page that comes before the moving moment.  :/

    Those noses...

    Next, we go to Mindy, who, for whatever reason, is doing her darndest to fit in with the snobby, rich girls at school. She even puts on makeup (yes, yes, I know, I didn’t believe it either), and references The Hunger Games as part of her prep, as she gets herself psyched up to go out and take on her most difficult "mission" to date. While I like this as it shows how she would act in preparation for this “mission” of sorts, the Hunger Games reference just seems out of place as it just came a few months ago and this comic is taking place before a series that came out before The Hunger Games did. Still, that’s just a minor gripe, and one could argue she was referring to the book series. The following page is from an earlier issue. 

    :

    Why would you wanna hang out with girls like these? Well, she is only 12.

    There is something art wise that threw me off during her prep scene and that’s Mindy’s left hand. Not only do her fingers look like they’re almost all the same length, but they also look like they could pass for toes. Yikes!  Unsurprisingly, her attempt fails miserably as Debbie, the leader of the group of uppity girls, just trash-talks her all the more for trying to fit in. Finally, Mindy takes things into her own hands in her own way and this makes for the most entertaining part of the book. Due to some nerdy preoccupations, Dave has to bail on crime fighting with Mindy and she has to head out on her own. 

    This issue, despite not focusing on Mindy as much as I would have liked, was still pretty solid and that’s a good things as it sucks when a series has a lag in writing quality halfway through. A lot of people hate on John Romita Jr.’s art but concede that his style is  fitting for the likes of Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl. That being said, there were a few art things that seemed really odd and disproportionate to me but these didn’t detract from the overall feel of the book as both the art and story fit together very well and do justice to the characters. If you’re a Hit-Girl fan, you should definitely pick this up as well as the first two issues. Millar is tying together a number of developments from the first and second Kick-Ass as well as this series, and doing so in a very smooth fashion.  look forward to seeing how this series ends. The next issue is bound to be action-packed given what happened towards the end of this one. Final score: 4/5.

     

    My pull list

    Vae Victis.

    Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit.

  • Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE

    Fatale #8

     

    To be honest, I am not entirely sure what this book is about, but I do know that I like it. I do not have a lot of knowledge regarding Brubakers previous personal work to compare it to. The only other personal project of his that I have read was Last of the Innocent, which was amazing, and significantly less complicated. For this reason I can’t really give an effective synopsis of what has happened previously. I swear I am not being lazy, it really is that complicated.

                I just deleted my synopsis of this book. I realized that no matter how hard I try to describe what happened, I will not do this story justice. Not because it is the pinnacle of comics, it’s a good story just not the greatest I’ve read, but because of the complexity of it. When 5 year olds try to tell you stories, they tend to ramble on and on. They either give you more detail then you need, or not enough, but either way it lasts way too long. That is how I feel I sound when I describe this story. I am going to try again but more succinctly.

                Josephine is an immortal woman with ties to the occult. Nick is a chump who falls in love with her (along with about 5 other guys over a span of decades) The Occult fellas are after her; she doesn’t want them to catch her. She manipulates men to survive. I realize that that description also does not give the story justice.

                This issue, like this book, is a wonderful read. It is, like so much of Ed Brubaker’s work, incredibly refreshing and surprisingly original. His blend of the noir and the supernatural is done adroitly and Sean Phillips’ artwork compliments the story telling very well. There is a reason this book sells out every week, there is a reason all the critics love it, and there is a reason that I participate in both of those occurrences. Check out this book, and it will all make sense…except for the story line, that will still be complicated. 

     

  • DC: Before Watchmen: Rorschach # 2 

    Title: You've still got my attention.

    I must say that the Before Watchmen books that I’ve read have all been pretty good so far. My favorite series, surprisingly, is the one for Silk Specter, but Rorschach’s comes in at a tie with Ozymandias for second place. Truth be told, he (Rorschach) was my favorite character both from the original Watchmen comics and the movie adaptation so I was really looking forward to his solo series. To date, even though we’re only two issues in, it has not failed to deliver. The story picks up from where Rorschach has just escaped a very brutal, almost life-ending beating at the hands of a local gang that’s spearheaded by a guy nicknamed “Rawhead.”

    This is how the last issue ended. XD God, I love Rorschach!

    Everything from the cover design (notice how the blood droplets form an inkblot), to characterization, to all aspects of the art, and even the lettering come together to render a story that feels like it genuinely comes straight from Rorschach himself. The pacing is a little slow overall as not much is done to progress the overall story but there’s so much attention to detail that goes very well with Rorschach’s, for lack of a better phrase, down to earth, way of dealing with everyday crime as an “ordinary” human being, that the lack of intermediate development isn’t all that glaring. There are also a number of panel layouts that beautifully and seamlessly transition the scene. That being said, given that this series is only going to be four issues long it’s probably for the best that things don’t kick into high gear too quickly as momentum would likely be lost in the remaining two issues. 

    There’s another scene that takes place at Rorshcach’s residence that shows both just how obsessed he is and how neglectful he is of his living space. The filth depicted just makes you want to squirm away from the page. The way facial expressions are rendered, to believable, body shapes, proportions, and builds, and surroundings are just a joy to behold. I want to point out the often unsung hero of comics, and that is the lettering. In this issue, Rob Leigh’s lettering is an integral part of establishing the overall mood of the book and also of Rorshach’s outlook and insight into things as we, once again, get excerpts from his journal, complete with corrections of misspellings, along with distinctive talk bubbles for him. Taken together, these both show just how different he is from every other character we encounter in the book. Whenever you encounter both his journal entries and speaking parts you can just hear Jackie Haley’s voice in your head. This is awesome, in case you were wondering. 

    While there are some very minor quibbles with this book they really don’t detract too much at all from the distinct feel and energy that Azzarello (the writer) and the rest of the creative team has set out to establish. Final score: 4.5/5 Thanks for reading and have a good weekend!

    How'd she not notice he was bleeding before serving him food? I do love that bottom panel layout, though.

     

    My pull list

    Vae Victis.

    Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit.

  • Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE

    Spider-Man #695

    I like Spider-Man, I like him a lot. Which is part of the reason I was so upset when I found out that Marvel is ending the book with issue #700. Sure they will replace it with a new volume, but it still seems like a mistake. The silver lining, I thought, would be that they would at least give him a pretty epic send off. But, as history has proven time and time again, I think like an idiot.

    The problem with this issue isn’t that they aren’t going big enough. I mean, look at the cover, it has Kingpin, two Hobgoblins, Madame Web (who I love), Max Model, and an evil version of Matt Mauer, oh and Peter Parker is on there too. The problem with this issue is that almost every major idea that is in this issue was used in previous issues. Which is forgivable since you are working with a backlog of issues numbering 694, but these ideas were all used super recently. Anyone who has been reading this book will recognize these;

    ·      Spider sense jammer

    ·      Madame Web foreseeing an earth shattering event

    ·      Someone finding out Spider-man's secret identity

    Hopefully this will build into something more significant, but there are only 5 issues left so time is limited. There is a new artist on this book, Camuncoli, and I am not a huge fan. The action scenes are great; basically anyone with a mask is drawn really well. The problem is that ever face he draws looks like the person is squinting.  I would picking this book up but only because it is the start of the final arc (I think). If it were any other occasion I would say skip it. 

     

  • FAMESREVENGE:

    Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE

    Fatale #8

     

    To be honest, I am not entirely sure what this book is about, but I do know that I like it. I do not have a lot of knowledge regarding Brubakers previous personal work to compare it to. The only other personal project of his that I have read was Last of the Innocent, which was amazing, and significantly less complicated. For this reason I can’t really give an effective synopsis of what has happened previously. I swear I am not being lazy, it really is that complicated.

                I just deleted my synopsis of this book. I realized that no matter how hard I try to describe what happened, I will not do this story justice. Not because it is the pinnacle of comics, it’s a good story just not the greatest I’ve read, but because of the complexity of it. When 5 year olds try to tell you stories, they tend to ramble on and on. They either give you more detail then you need, or not enough, but either way it lasts way too long. That is how I feel I sound when I describe this story. I am going to try again but more succinctly.

                Josephine is an immortal woman with ties to the occult. Nick is a chump who falls in love with her (along with about 5 other guys over a span of decades) The Occult fellas are after her; she doesn’t want them to catch her. She manipulates men to survive. I realize that that description also does not give the story justice.

                This issue, like this book, is a wonderful read. It is, like so much of Ed Brubaker’s work, incredibly refreshing and surprisingly original. His blend of the noir and the supernatural is done adroitly and Sean Phillips’ artwork compliments the story telling very well. There is a reason this book sells out every week, there is a reason all the critics love it, and there is a reason that I participate in both of those occurrences. Check out this book, and it will all make sense…except for the story line, that will still be complicated. 

     

    You owe it to yourself to read Brubakers other books, mainly the first several arcs of criminal and incognito, both of which I find superior to Fatale, and as far as Criminal stories go Last of the Innocent kinda sucked, it just felt hollow compared to the much better Coward, Lawless, and dead and the dying, which is the best the series has to offer IMO, the two arcs after those three felt kinda middling but were still pretty good, I feel better chocking Last of the innocent up to a weird experiment brought on by Brubakers grieving over his fathers death, which is fine, but I'm a little peeved that the promised follow-up to Coward (probably the best story of the lot, which is soon to become a movie) got pushed back for Fatale, which while good just feels kinda like the reader is just along for the ride, Brubakers at his best when he's able to elicit a personal emotional stake in his stories, we want to see the hero succeed no matter how big of a *** he is, and we want the guys who are even worse than him to get what's coming to them, so far I haven't felt in eight issues what it usually takes Brubaker one to pull off, still a fascinating read, but check those other books out, Ed Brubaker can do better 

    "If you really loved me you'd all kill yourselves right now"  -Spider Jerusalem

  • Yeah I have been meaning to read the other Criminal books. Part of me wants to hunt down the individual issues, but my practical side says just buy the trades. I like Brubaker, when he is on, he is on, but when he is off he is so terribly off.

  • I wouldn't say he's off to a terrible extent, there are other writers who fluctuate in quality far worse than him, he just has a bad habit of turning in scripts that are either the best thing ever or just ok, after familiarizing myself with his creator owned books I made the mistake of going back to his captain america run, which is by no means a bad run, it just pales in comparison, that and Cap's inability to beat ****ing crossbones to death ticked me off, which is besides the point but come on, you can't make a character so incredibly unlikeable and not have terrible things happen to him, I mean I understood why bullseye and joker never got killed off, that fit with the hero's aversion to killing (although daredevil did once drop bullseye off a building which was clever) and allowed the popular villain to return later on, Captain america on the other hand has been known to kill people if necessary, and I hardly see crossbones as having enough charm to make people care if he were to be killed, but like I said, thats besides the point    

    "If you really loved me you'd all kill yourselves right now"  -Spider Jerusalem

  • This Weeks Pick, DC, Batman #13

    Title: A Mixed Bag

    Don’t get me wrong. I like the Joker just as much as the next guy and am somewhat glad to see him return to comics after being gone for what feels like forever, i.e. since the beginning of the DC reboot. For a while now, DC has been teasing the Clown Prince of Crime’s dramatic and harrowing return with teaser images and what have you, and after reading Scott Snyder’s Court of Owls story arc and thinking about how the Joker may follow up this well-crafted unfolding of events, thinking about how he will fit back into the world of post-reboot Batman is somewhat interesting. Why only somewhat? Because, as you all know, the Joker does things in his own way and with his own style. This makes it hard to make sense of his plans and fit him in anywhere, really. So, overall, I was cautiously hopeful about his return from his months’ long hiatus after having had his face cut off earlier on in the year and vanishing into thin air, somehow.

    The story opens with the worst detective ever, the doughnut devouring Harvey Bullock, discussing a number of downright eerie and superstitious events that have recently happened in Gotham. Events that seem to be hinting in a not so subtle way that something unnatural, even for Gotham is on its way to stir up the town in a “new” way. To be honest, there’s not too much that Gotham hasn’t faced.  The two seasoned members of the GCPD discuss how they should have been more observant of these signs and have been more diligent and able to discern their meaning but I think they’re being just a tad bit too hard on themselves. I mean, having a two-headed lion cub born at the zoo and a river flooded to the point where it travels back on itself just seems like a combination of nature being utterly creepy and bad luck rather than a harbinger of sorts. Still, these opening pages show just how much these two regular citizens are both dedicated and in tune to their city. They’re seeming drawing connections where there are none, but it turns out the timing of these events just happens to coincide with the Joker’s blitzing resurgence. 

    Gotta love comic logic

     

    We then head to GCPD where Joker initiates his attack. It’s carried out in a manner that is pretty predictable but still has a few elements that manage to make it stand out. The expression on Gordon’s face as Joker explains to him just how much about his life he knows is really well-done. Batman shows up, too late this time, to be of any use, but the lines drawn around his head just look downright hilarious and really detract from the seriousness and terror the previous scene was trying to establish.

    I felt like I was watching Teen Titans with that first panel.

     

    In typical fashion, the rest of the issue features Batman trying to figure out just what the Joker’s plan is, but seeing that there was, somehow, “no trace” of him during his time underground, it’s a virtually impossible task. Joker, true to his late 30’s early 40's self, announces his first crime and Batman, the Commissioner, and a good chunk of the GCPD use both traditional and more high-tech methods to try and thwart Joker’s crime. Unfortunately for them, also true to form, he outthinks them in a way that really does justice to the criminal mastermind aspect of the Joker that isn’t exploited as often as it should be, in my opinion. Strangely enough, he doesn’t deliver exactly what he said he would but he could come back to tie up that loose end in later issues. 

    Batman, being the great detective that he is, manages to skillfully piece together a clue left behind by the Joker’s attack and heads off to try and stop that madman. What happens afterwards is a little interesting as it, once again, highlights the Joker’s old-school use of situational misdirection while also highlighting one of his most prevalent, longstanding relationships. Towards the end of the issue we’re granted a flashback that gives us but a small glimpse into the Joker’s new mindset, but this glimpse really isn’t all that insightful and actually leaves us with more questions as to what the Joker’s direction and plan of action will take.  The end also delivers a shocking, though not altogether unexpected plot development that strikes right at the heart of the Bat family.  All in all, I’d give this a 3/5 as it seems like it was kinda scattered and all over the place, and relied upon some of the same old Joker evil plan devices, but it also had a number of easter eggs and references that anyone who’s ready Golden to Bronze Age Batman will appreciated. Perhaps the unfocused feel of the book was meant to more directly reflect the Joker’s character, but it still made for a less satisfying read. 

     

    My pull list

    Vae Victis.

    Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit.

  • Valiant: Bloodshot #4!

    Title: I hope it delivers…

    Ladies and Gents, I’m proud to say that this series has been delivering, especially with respect to the past issue. As I might’ve mentioned before, this was one series I grabbed on a whim, gave a chance, and am glad I did thus far. That being said, I was pretty psyched to read this issue. So psyched, I gave this review a working, rather than retrospective title. Let’s see how this pans out. I’ll add on that this is by a publisher that’s not been reviewed by your comic reviewers on GI so it’s time for someone besides Image and Darkhorse to get some time in the limelight. I mean just look at this awesome cover!

    The colors, Duke! The colors!

    The summary page starts with a panel from the last issue that really sums things up quite succinctly, but for those of you who haven’t read the first three issues I’ll give you a summary that’s (hopefully) brief. The main character is codenamed Bloodshot and he’s full of “micromachines” of sorts called nanites that are able to do just about anything. They’re able to deconstruct and reconstruct matter on a subatomic level and this allows for Bloodshot to possess an amazing, and I fear an eventually overpowering, array of abilities. These range from regeneration from wounds that would be fatal to anyone but Wolverine, to even shapeshifting. Naturally, he was an agent of some super-secret government agency that’s used him for an unspecified amount of time to do all kinds of missions that involve stealthy infiltration to flat-out going on with guns blazing. They also did the luxury of Weapon X-ing his brain and giving him tons of false memories to keep both his cover and sanity intact. As expected, he found this out and is out for vengeance, but has been thwarted by his parent agency pretty adeptly so far. Are you still with me? Good. Now enter a young woman who’d been similarly mistreated by the same agency. The only thing is, she’s his foil as her codename is Pulse and she can temporarily shut down the nanites in his body, thus rendering him killable/manageable. At the end of last issue she’d been routed to use her powers on him and a government agent has moved in for the kill. 

    Switch to the present issue. Of course, things don’t go his way and Bloodshot’s able to recover and eventually even gain a new ally. You guessed it, the new ally is Pulse and they are united mostly because of the shared pain they both experienced at the hand of these shady government operatives. Kara, who we encountered about two issues ago, is a very sharp witted, resourceful, and necessarily smart-ass Army nurse. She decides to stay along for the ride for reasons that are still a little unclear. She does give us a little personal anecdote as to a reason why she’s partial to veterans, but it doesn’t quite, at least not yet, justify her staying on with the group.  

    During the first few issues we were given part of Bloodshot’s story via flashbacks and I was hopeful they wouldn’t be relied upon too much in the series. While they are used here, they’re done so tastefully and actually add to the story rather than seeming like a good ol’ story telling device. In fact, they’re skillfully used here to bring together Pulse and Blooshot in a time when both were a little more innocent and a lot more naïve.  Additionally, some of the funniest dialogue takes place during one of the flashbacks and the final page of the issue brings back fond memories of both Terminator 2 (when Arnold’s character is in the desert prepping in that awesome underground bunker), and Rambo. You can bet your next pay check (don’t) it’s gonna hit the fan next issue if this creative team has anything to say about it. 

    I'm sorry. When'd  you say you needed that containment team again?

    My only gripes about this book are that it ready really quickly, at least it felt that way, and that the art isn’t consistent, but it’s pretty good and solid and so is the story. There’s also enough action to keep this series going along and help it maintain that military, high throttle kind of feel you’d expect a story with this kind of background to have. Definitely pick this up if you’ve got four bucks to spare or just wait for the trade. I take that last part back, as a trade, in all likelihood, isn’t due out any time soon but there will be one from the first volume of Bloodshot available on the 24th of this month. I’ll definitely be picking that up. Final score 4.5/5.

     

    My pull list

    Vae Victis.

    Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit.

  • Cyber Force #1

    Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE

     

    What is Cyber Force? I don’t know, but I am not totally sold on it. It takes place is a futuristic dystopian America. It is nothing if not a incredibly designed world with some very cool technology in it, unfortunately at times it seems like that is all it is.

                Carin Taylor is on the lam. She is running from Shoc troops in hopes to find Morgan Stryker. I can’t help but be annoyed by that sentence I just wrote. It seems to be a staple of futuristic story lines that we, English speaks, start replacing I’s with y’s and dropping k’s and every established phonological standard of the English language is thrown out the wyndow!  The other tired trope that is played out in this story is that of mechanical additions to humans. Carin is quasi-kidnapped by a group of terrorists who were once Shoc troops themselves but went rogue and became terrorists (ummm, okay). There are three men and one woman, the men’s faces nearly covered with this techno-organic knockoff, making them look gruesome and dangerous. The woman has a small sliver on her face, protecting her visage from being malformed. Oh, and if those weren’t enough, the world is going to end and only Carin knows it and her mother never paid enough attention to her and swords are still a weapon for some reason.

                The problem with this book isn’t that its poorly written, because its not. It is not that it is badly drawn, because it is in fact beautiful. The problem with this book is that Silvestri has decided to pull out every cliché and cram it into this issue. The only silver lining that comes out of this issue is the fact that he kills off about half of the characters he introduces. If it wasn’t for the fact that this issue is free I would say skip it. 

  • That's a shame. I backed this kickstarter and was expecting good things from this series. I've enjoyed some of Silvestri's past work too.

    My pull list

    Vae Victis.

    Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit.

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