Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Comic Reviews - April 13, 2005

These reviews contain some spoilers. Please read at your own risk.

DC Comics

Breach #4

Storytellers: Bob Harras & Marcos Martin
Inker: Alvaro Lopez
Colorist: Javier Rodriguez Studio
Letterer: Clem Robins
Assistant Editor: Nachie Castro
Editor: Matt Idelson
Breach created by Bob Harras & Marcos Martin

Summary –

After the events of last issue the JLA decides to investigate the unusual energy patterns coming from the South African Desert where Breach is.


Review:

The Good –

The artwork is fantastic on this title. The whole art team from Martin, Lopez, and Rodriguez do a great job on each issue. It is a very unique look, not hyper realistic and not cartoony either. Yet it doesn’t look like any of the other comics out there that are in-between the styles.

The story was very good too. They are continuing to build on the Herdsman plot as well as the Secret Society of Super Villains subplot.

The Bad –

Batman didn’t do a whole lot, but I guess he was kind of out of his league with this one. He did make up for it by discovering that KOBRA was involved, so I can deal with that.

The Ugly –

The ads for the Matrix Online that that keep putting in the middle of a lot of DC issues.

Recommendation: Buy It

Gotham Central #30

Art: Stefano Gaudiano & Kano
Writer: Greg Rucka
Colorist: Lee Lughridge
Letterer: Clem Robins
Assistant Editor: Nachie Castro
Editor: Matt Idelson

Summary –

Montoya and Allen interview Doctor Alchemy in Keystone City. They are hoping to learn more about the chemicals that led to Officer Kelly’s transformation two issues ago. Alchemy says that he could probably change Kelly back, but he needs to see him first hand. Commissioner Akins of Gotham City approves the transportation of Alchemy to Gotham, but the Keystone City PD requires that two of their officers go with him. When Alchemy gets to the Gotham Hospital where Kelly is being treated all hell breaks loose.


Review:

The Good –

The artwork on this title has always been very strong. Even when Lark took issues off the guest penciller and Gaudiano did a bang up job. These last few issues Gaudiano has handled the pencils and inks, but with this issue Kano comes on as the inker. Kano will eventually become the penciller on this title and Gaudiano will go back to his normal job as inker. This is a great way to keep the book looking consistent and also a good way for Kano to get a feel for the style of the book. I heard he will be tailoring his style to fit this particular title so it should be interesting.

As usual with Gotham Central, the story is good. Rucka’s arcs tend to focus on Montoya more than anything, but this isn’t the case here. All of the characters get adequate page time. The Batman appearances are also welcome.

The Bad –

My only complaint is the carelessness of the Keystone PD. Shouldn’t they have known that a guy named Dr. Alchemy could change the composition of his shackles?

The Ugly –

Officer Kelly’s mug.

Recommendation: Buy It

Adam Strange #7

Art: Pascal Ferry
Story: Andy Diggle
Colorist: Dave McCaig
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Stephen Wacker

Summary –

After fighting across the Universe, Adam Strange is finally back on his adoptive planet Rann. He settles in, but his peace doesn’t last long because a Thanagarian Battle Cruiser is on its way.


Review:

The Good –

Since the first issue of this series, Ferry’s artwork has really impressed me. McCaig’s coloring scheme only enriches it further.

The pacing of the issue was also nice. We got a look at Adam’s relationship with his wife and daughter. The revelation that the Starbreaker was the villain we have been seeing talking to Valkyr was nice. It seems that he is a villain from Justice League International or something.

The Bad –

Like I said the art is very good on this title. Although it seems like it has went slightly down in quality over the last few issues. I imagine it has to do with deadlines as this book didn’t ship last month, causing it to double ship this month. Still that being said the art on this book is still better than most.

The Ugly –

Valkyr’s outfit.

Recommendation: Buy It

Green Arrow #49

Penciller: Eric Battle
Writer: Judd Winick
Inker: Jack Purcell
Colorist: Guy Major
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Assistant Editor: Michael Wright
Editor: Bob Schreck

Summary –

Arsenal is MIA captured by the deadly assassin Drakon. Green Arrow, Connor Hawke, and Speedy are frantically searching for Arsenal with the help of the Outsiders. Meanwhile Roy is in for the fight of his life with Drakon.

Review:

The Good –

Lots of cool stuff happens this issue. A lot of good scenes with Arsenal, this issue could be called Arsenal this month. So all Roy fans be sure to check this out.

Drakon is an interesting character. You might have noticed I kind of knocked on him in here, but getting to know him he isn’t so bad. Winick gives him some great dialogue.

Also the guy pulling the Duke of Oil and Drakon’s strings is none other than the Riddler. Not the one that you remember, but the new supped up Edward Nigma that Shane McCarthy introduced in his LODK run. He’s a major threat now.

The James Jean cover was very good this issue too. I usually don’t like his cover work on anything, but Fables.


The Bad –

While this guest art team is better than the new team, it still isn’t as good as Hester and Parks. While it may not seem fair to compare them, it is in this case since Hester and Parks were on this book since issue 1.

Also I didn't like how Grace jokes about Connor's sexual preference. That kind of thing gets old after a while.

The Ugly –

Once again the 6 page article/ad for the Matrix Online in the middle of this issue was a nuisance.


Recommendation: Buy It if you are an Outsiders/Arsenal Fan. Otherwise Borrow It.

Action Comics #826

Penciller: Ian Churchill
Writer: Judd Winick
Inker: Norm Rapmund
Colorist: Beth Sotelo
Letterer: Richard Starkings
Associate Editor: Tom Palmer Jr.
Editor: Eddie Berganza

Summary –

Three people commit suicide on a crazy night in Metropolis. Superman decides to investigate considering that each death was pretty suspicious. Elsewhere the Wizard Shazam tells Captain Marvel about an impending danger.


Review:

The Good –

This issue sports AWESOME artwork by Ian Churhill and Norm Rapmund. I have been a fan of both since the 90’s and they did such a great job on this issue.

Winick takes his shot at writing the big blue and again he succeeds. I am not a huge Superman fan by any means, but I liked his Superman. I also liked Lois in this issue, she looked good. This seems like a prelude to all the Infinite Crisis stuff (Day of Vengeance especially) so be sure to check this out if you are interested in it.

The Bad –

There were only a few pages of Captain Marvel. This was supposed to be some kind of a team up and we hardly see him in this issue.

The Ugly –

Eclipso

Recommendation: Buy It

Vertigo

Fables #36

Penciller: Mark Buckingham
Writer-Creator: Bill Willingham
Inker: Steve Leialoha
Colorist: Daniel Vozzo
Letterer: Todd Klein
Cover Art: James Jean
Assistant Editor: Mariah Huehner
Editor: Shelly Bond

Summary –

Boy Blue explores the Homelands with the help of his enchanted cloak. He kills Goblins, impersonates a Governor and comes face to face with a dragon. The one from Saint George and the Dragon.


Review:

The Good –

We finally get a look at the Homelands. I was under the impression that it was all a wasteland, but it actually still looks very much like a fairy tale place. I always thought that Boy Blue was a weak character, but now that he has this cloak he is a force to be reckoned with.

As always the art team of Buckingham and Leialoha do a great job. They really bring the magic of the Homelands to life. The coloring is wonderful in both the enchanted area and in the dark wasteland that Boy Blue discovers later.

I can’t praise this book enough, it’s highly recommended.

The Bad –

Everything moved a little bit too fast for me this issue, but it can be argued that it pushed the story forward. This issue was so good it was really tough to find a flaw.

The Ugly –

Those stinking Goblins.

Recommendation: Buy It

Dark Horse Comics

Conan and the Jewels of Gwahlur

Art & Script: P. Craig Russell
Colorist: Lovern Kindzierski
Letterer: Galen Showman
Assistant Editor: Matt Dryer
Editor: Scott Allie
Designer: Darin Fabrick

Summary –

Conan tries to steal valuable treasure and becomes involved in a conspiracy that could cause war throughout two kingdoms.


Review:

The Good –

The artwork really was the highlight of this book. I’d buy a Russell drawn fantasy book every month.


The Bad –

The script was way too wordy. The story also drags on a bit. This is only the first part of three issues, but I am not sure if I’m going to be back for the second. I might flip through it at the store and if there are more fights I’ll pick up the second issue.

I am going to leave my Conan reading with Busiek and Nord's ongoing from now on. These specials aren't really stacking up to the ongoing's quality.

The Ugly –

Certainly not the goddess residing in the temple.

Recommendation: Borrow It

Weekly Rankings

1. Fables #36
2. Gotham Central #30
3. Action Comics #826
4. Breach #4
5. Adam Strange #7
6. Green Arrow #49
7. Conan and the Jewels of Gwahlur #1

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