Friday, April 29, 2005

Comic Reviews - April 27, 2005 Part II

DC

Adventures of Superman #639

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

Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

Summary –

Lightning Strikes continues with Superman battling a possessed Star Labs technician piloting a Kryptonian Battle Suit. Yes, Eclipso is back and she wants Superman.


Review:

The Good –

As with Action Comics last week the team of Churchill, Sotelo and Rapmund make this very easy to look at. This is the second Churchill issue I have purchased and I am not disappointed. I knew that Norm Rapmund was an inker, I had no idea he was a colorist as well.

The pacing of the issue is pretty decent too. Most of the time it is Superman fighting Eclipso, but there is a nice moment with Lois towards the end. FYI, Lois just happens to be dressing like the one on Smallville in this arc.

This is also the arc to read if you just want to read a good looking Superman story and not worry about continuity. I haven’t read a Superman title regularly in ages and I jumped right in. This is very much the status quo Superman, Lois and Jimmy. There are some references made to some earlier issues, but that is more or less to satisfy the people who have been buying this title regularly. You need not worry about it if you are like me and just here for the Churchill/Winick run.

The Bad –

Once again you can’t judge this book by the cover. Captain Marvel appears on the last page. If you are looking for a Captain Marvel story, pass on this one.

The next issue in this arc will be a Superman one so I am hoping that it is a good fight.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It

Batgirl #63

Penciller: Ale Garza
Writer: Anderson Gabrych
Inker: Jesse Delperdang & Andrew Pepoy
Colorist: Wildstorm FX
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Editor: Michael Wright

Batman created by Bob Kane

Summary –

After the events of last issue Cassandra dwells on her dark past. On the upside she goes out on her first ever social event. Too bad it is interrupted by Deathstroke: the Terminator!

Note: These two previously fought to a draw in Nightwing #81. I think it would be pretty cool to read that issue then this one, but it isn’t mandatory.

This issue is actually a great jumping on point.

Review:

The Good –

I could tell you how that Cassandra is invited to a party by her coffee shop friend and dances with the kid that has been watching her, but you want to hear about the kick ass fight don’t you?

Ok here is the deal with it, Deathstroke is no dumbie. After his previous battle with Batgirl he chooses to not fight her hand to hand. He pretty much knows he doesn’t have a chance that way. He uses his gun and sword this time, but Cass knows that he is just toying with her. It’s an awesome fight, nothing like the one in Nightwing #81 where Cass dominated the Stroke.

Gabrych does a nice job of describing Deathstroke through Cass’ internal monologue: “His body moves like a…choir. Many different voices all at once. But singing too fast. Too Loud.”

Garza also returns to the title bringing some of the cleanest artwork that is on the stands today. Cassandra Cain never looked better. He also has a very good understanding of fight mechanics. I look forward to seeing Batgirl fight the Ravager next issue.

The Bad –

False expectations on my part. I was looking forward to Deathstroke fighting her hand to hand again, but I should have known better. He’s not that stupid.

The Money Shot–



Recommendation: Buy It


Batman #639

Penciller: Doug Mahnke
Writer: Judd Winick
Inker: Tom Nguyen
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Associate Editor: Michael Wright
Editor: Bob Schreck

Batman created by Bob Kane

Summary –

The Family Reunion storyline starts with the Red Hood torching Black Mask’s deliveries. We also see a good bit of Onyx in this issue. She’s the only other vigilante in Gotham who Batman lets work the streets. She meets up with the Red Hood later on. Meanwhile Batman has his suspicions that the Red Hood is someone who has already died. He is traveling the world consulting people who have experiences in raising the dead: Zatanna, Jason Blood (the Demon) and Green Arrow.

Review:

The Good –

There are a lot of nods to Identity Crisis in this issue. Those who have read IC will know that Batman has the right to have a chip on his shoulders in regards to Green Arrow and Zatanna. Their meetings are handled very well by Winick.

I also like how he writes Onyx, she’s an interesting character who I hope to see more of in the future.


The Bad –

Mahnke and Nguyen’s artwork is very pleasing to the eye. Not quite up to part with their first Red Hood issue, perhaps the deadlines are getting closer and closer? Still, this issue looked great and I look forward to this book with every passing month.

If you are not a fan of Identity Crisis, I don’t think you will like the references made to it this issue. I get your point though it is getting worn out throughout the DCU.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It


Day of Vengeance #1

Penciller: Justiano
Writer: Bill Willingham
Inker: Walden Wong
Colorist: Chris Chuckry
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Assistant Editor: Rachel Gluckstern
Editor: Joey Cavalieri

Summary –

Taking place somewhere between Green Lantern Rebirth #6 (not yet released) and Countdown to Infinite Crisis, this mini series focuses on magic in the DCU. As Rann/Thanagar War focuses on the cosmos, Villains United focuses on the villains and the OMAC Project focuses on what it means to be a hero.

Each issue will be narrated by a different character compromising a team of B-List Magic wielders who have the impossible task of defeated the Spectre. Who in a rage of either being dog whipped by the new Eclipso or the separation from Hal Jordan (maybe both) vows to destroy all magic and magical beings in the DCU, thinking that will destroy all evil. This particular issue is narrated by Ragman, this is my first introduction to the character and I think he’s the shit.

Review:

The Good –

Willingham brings his silver tongue from Fables to Day of Vengeance. With it he brings some ideas that he originally had for a Vertigo book to the DCU. The bar where all the magic users in the DCU meet is a great idea and is pulled off very well by both the writer and the artists.

I love how people take a bunch of B-listers and make them cool. This issue was no exception with them making Ragman, Enchantress and Detective Chimp actually cool.

The artwork is very clean and everything is properly rendered. No complaints here.

The Bad –

This is for diehard DCU fans that are into either magic or Infinite Crisis in general. I let my cousin read this who is a casual comic reader and he didn’t like it. I can see why because most of these characters are unfamiliar to new readers.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Borrow It

Flash #221

Penciller: Howard Porter
Writer: Geoff Johns
Inker: Livesay
Colorist: James Sinclair
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Assistant Editor: Rachel Gluckstern
Editor: Joey Cavalieri

Summary –

The story of the Central City Scarlet Speedster continues in Rogue War part two. The previous issue had a very good introduction to the rogue gallery of the Flash, if you picked that up you should be set for this.

In this issue it is truly an all out Rogue War. The reformed (by someone’s definition) rogues take on the active rogues.

Review:

The Good –

Even though the Flash doesn’t appear as often as he normally does, this was still an excellent issue. Geoff Johns gives all of the rogues a great personality and all of them are very likeable characters given their profession.

Howard Porter and Livesay continue their kick ass work on this series. The fight scenes are very cool and no panel is wasted. The double page spread towards the end of the issue is what spreads were made for. Fantastic stuff.

The Bad –

If you didn’t read Rogue War Part 1 and haven’t read a Flash book in a while or ever you need to pick that up. If not you won’t really be able to comprehend the situation that well. This is a good book and Rogue War is a great jumping on point, but start with #220.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It


Legion of Super-Heroes #5

Penciller: Barry Kitson
Writer: Mark Waid
Inker: Art Thibert
Colorist: Chris Blythe
Letterer: Phil Balsman
Assistant Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Stephen Wacker

Summary –

Two of the most prominent members in the Legion of Super-Heroes take center stage, Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad. They are dealing with a situation on RimWorld 19 that was recently attacked by the mysterious force that is moving throughout the cosmos.

Each and every issue of LOSH so far has been a great stand alone issue, so whenever you want to jump into this series go for it. It’s very easy to get into and an enjoyable read.


Review:

The Good –

I have to say that overall this was one of the best comics I read this week. It held my interest the entire time and I’m not familiar with any of these characters. I have heard that Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl were fan favorites among old school LOSH fans, I can see why. Lightning Lad has instantly become my second favorite LOSH character. He was my #1 for a few pages until Brin Londo showed up. He’s a cool character who isn’t affiliated with the Legion, but a friend of Lightning Lad’s and an agent of Braniac-5 (at least that is what it seems). Needless to say that Mark Waid is simply the man.

It is no surprise that the artwork is as good as it was last issue, where it was great. I am really impressed with Kitson and Thibert’s work on this series. I never saw Kitson’s art before reading LOSH #1 and it is very pleasing to the eye. Of course Thibert is a favorite of mine from his Extreme Studios days at Image.

Also the villains that appeared in this issue were tops. The stories always suck without a good villain, in this series it looks like we have nothing to worry about.

The Bad –

I didn’t like the use of blacks in some of the panels. I know this is a dark and shadowy planet, but I think it could have used some brightening up. Maybe I am just used to the past issues where they are set on Earth which would naturally have a different palette than RimWorld 19.


The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It


Richard Dragon #12

Penciller: Scott McDaniel
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Inker: Andy Owens
Colorist: Tony Avina
Letterer: Phil Balsman
Editor: Michael Wright

Summary –

The final issue concludes with Richard Dragon fighting Lady Shiva in a death match. This is the issue that those of us who have been reading the title regularly have been waiting for.


Review:


The Good –

This was probably the best issue of the series. A ton of action, which is why you buy this book, no talking heads here.

The creative team pulls off the Enter the Dragon type tournament very well. It is to no surprise that Connor Hawke is written at his best by Dixon.

Scott McDaniel’s fight scenes are truly something every artist should aspire to. The Lady Shiva fight was very cool, fast paced and in your face. The characters looked good as did the martial arts techniques.

The Bad –

The ending of this issue was very rushed. I didn’t like how it ended with more questions than answers in regard to the kid and Neron.

This is the final issue of the series. Which is a real shame because this book just started getting really good around #9. This was a tough sell though to the consumer with Richard Dragon being a niche character and one that was modernized on top of that.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Borrow It


Superman/Batman #19

Penciller: Ian Churchill
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Inker: Norm Rapmund
Colorist: Christina Strain
Letterer: Richard Starkings
Associate Editor: Tom Palmer Jr.
Editor: Eddie Berganza

Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster


Summary –

Spinning out of events in the “Supergirl from Krypton” arc by Michael Turner and Jeph Loeb in Superman/Batman #8-13, this is essential Supergirl #0. The same creative team will be helming the new Supergirl title this summer. I highly recommend this to those who plan on buying that.


Review:

The Good –

Churchill and Rapmund do double duty this month, but it doesn’t show. The coloring on this is a little bit darker than the Adventures of Superman issue, but this mostly takes place in space or at night so it makes sense.

Loeb like always on this book succeeds on many levels when he’s telling a story. I was very pleased with the way he wrapped up the future Superman last issue. He didn’t disappoint this issue to in surrounding Kara Zor-El in even more mystery.

The Bad –

Boy was I confused when the Barbara Gordon, Batgirl showed up. Then I calmed down and remembered what city they were in.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It


Wonder Woman #215

Penciller: Rags Morales
Writer: Greg Rucka
Inker: Michael Blair
Colorist: Richard and Tanya Horie
Letterer: Todd Klein
Editor: Ivan Cohen

Wonder Woman created by William Moulton Marston

Summary –

The Identity Crisis art team joins Greg Rucka on continuing the tales of the Amazon Warrior. This issue starts the Bronze Doors storyline. Which has ties to the upcoming Return of Donna Troy mini series. That’s why I bought it at least.


Review:

The Good –

The artwork and the involvement of Wonder Girl drew me to this issue. Frankly, I couldn’t care less about what is going on in this title other than that.

Rags and Morales do a pretty good job on this issue. Not nearly as good as their Identity Crisis work, but I was satisfied.

Wondergirl’s involvement grew as the issue progressed. I liked the part at the end which dealt with her and Superboy’s relationship.

The Bad –

Wonder Woman is blindfolded now. It looks stupid and new readers have no idea why. Could this be playing to the same kind of fetishism that the original creator always did? I always thought making a character blind was a stall. I think it’s the case here too. Most likely Wonder Woman will decide to have Donna Troy brought back to life rather than her vision being restored. In turn for that sacrifice I am sure whoever grants her wish will also give her eyesight back due to her having so much honor or whatnot.

I haven’t read this book for a while, so I don’t know what is going on with all these subplots. For someone like me who got this for Wondergirl and the possible tie-in with the Return of Donna Troy, those were a waste of time. Hopefully those should be kept to a minimal for the rest of the arc.

I’ll be getting the Bronze Doors storyline, and then the Superman tie-in in July and that’s it for me.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Pass on this until further notice

-------------------------------------------------

A pretty solid week for DC titles. I may have a few more books to review from a few publishers. I might just give them their own spotlight thing though. We'll have to see.

Top 5 Books for 4/27/05

1. Hunter-Killer #2
2. Legion of Super-Heroes #5
3. Daredevil #72
4. Sleeper Season 2 #11
5. Authority Revolution #7

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