Thursday, June 30, 2005

Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers Sketches

These were originally published in DC Horizon in December of 2004. It is a free pamphlet DC puts out spotlighting their upcoming projects. It is free to whoever wants it, but it seems like a lot of people didn’t know that original Grant Morrison sketches were inside it. Morrison’s sketches of Frankenstein, Mister Miracle, Zatanna, Bulleteer, the Guardian and Klarion the Witchboy are quite nice and I decided to post them here on my blog for all to see.

Note: The Shining Knight sketch in the Horizon issue was done by J.H. Williams III.

Zatanna



Klarion the Witchboy



Mister Miracle



Frankenstein



Bulleteer

Comic Reviews - June 29, 2005 Part I

Wildstorm

Albion #1

Penciller: Shane Oakley
Inker: George Freeman
Plot: Alan Moore
Script: Leah Moore & John Reppion
Colorist: Wild Storm FX
Letterer: Todd Klein
Cover Artist: Dave Gibbons
Assistant Editor: Kristy Quinn
Editor: Scott Dunbier

Summary – The first of a six issue mini series asking us, “What happened to Britain’s greatest heroes?” Plotted by Alan Moore and scripted by his daughter Leah Moore and John Reppion.

For background information on the characters featured in this series check out this page.

DC bought a library of popular UK comic book characters a while back and they are bringing them to the US under the Wildstorm imprint.

Review:

The Good –

You can’t get much better than a story plotted by Alan Moore with covers by Dave Gibbons. Having those two names attached to this project instantly made me want to buy it.

True Moore isn’t doing the scripting, nor is Gibbons doing the interiors, but they are being handled by the next generation of creators and they do a great job on their own.

Moore’s daughter, Leah and John Reppion do an excellent job scripting the overall storyline. To be honest, the dialogue and overall flow of the issue feels like it could have been written by a younger Alan Moore.

Shane Oakley and George Freeman bring their Wildstorm look to the interiors and do a great job. I especially liked the black and white page sequences.

This book revives characters that a lot of American readers are not that familiar with, so this is a project that is definitely worth doing.

When it comes right down to it, this is a gorgeous book that will take you more than a few minutes to read. You’ll get your money’s worth out of this.

The Bad –

As I said this is told in the Alan Moore fashion, so it’s kind of hard to figure out what’s going on in this first issue. We’re jumping back and forth between a prison, a city and also into the actual comics themselves.

While this isn’t very hard to follow by any means it does make you think. So if you don’t like to think about your comics too much and prefer in your face straight forward action storytelling, this isn’t a book for you.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It

Image

The Pact #3

Penciller: Carlos Rodriguez
Inker: Lluc Banos
Writer: Phil Hester
Colorist: Jose Augusto Cano
Letterer: Bruce McCorkindale for ACTiON Impulse Studios

Invincible created by Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker
Zephy created by Jae Faerber
Firebreather created by Phil Hester and Andy Kuhn
Shadowhawk and the Pact created by Jim Valentino
Quantum Girl and The Reaver created by Phil Hester and Carlos Rodriguez


Summary – An untold story of the Pact featuring the mysterious fifth member, Quantum Girl.

Review:

The Good –

I have been impressed and pleased with this book from issue one, but this latest issue is by far the best outing in all areas.

The storyline is a basic time traveling/alternate reality type story, but it is executed so well that it really stands out as one of the best I’ve read. I knew that Hester was a great artist, but I had no idea he had the chops for writing too.

This is my first exposure to the work of Rodriguez and Banos, but I’m going to keep an eye out for anything else they do. They had a very strong showing this issue. I really dug the future versions of Shadowhawk and Firebreather that they came up with. Although their version of the future Invincible wasn’t up to par with the other two.

Overall this was a very good issue. The plot featuring the mysterious 5th member of the Pact is just great. I really liked how they handled the ending with this. Perhaps letting it open for a return?

The Bad –

I really can’t say anything bad about this issue. When I first started reading this, nothing matched up with the previous two issues, but that was all quickly explained via a short exposition within the issue.

I really hope this title turns into an ongoing series. The quality has been right up there with books like Teen Titans.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It

DC

Shining Knight #3

Artist: Simone Bianchi
Writer: Grant Morrison
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Peter Tomasi

Summary – Sir Justin turns himself into the Blue Knights (police officers) of Los Angeles and is interrogated by an FBI agent and a mysterious antiquities expert.

Review:

The Good –

This is a very different type of super hero comic. Truth be told, I don’t think you could call this a super hero comic at this point. It’s more like a scifi/fantasy comic at the moment.

Simoen Bianchi, like all the Seven Soldiers artists is really knocking these issues out of the park. His layouts are very easy to follow and his storytelling abilities are always improving.


The Bad –

If only Grant Morrison’s storyline was easier to follow. I know that you can read all these books separate, but I think I would be even more lost if I did that. He’s got all this stuff going on with Castle Revolving, Spyder, etc. and I’m trying to figure out what the heck is going on. Maybe it’s just over my head, or it could be the fact that I read so many books in one week.

The overall plot of this issue was also kind of flat this month. It was very decompressed, playing out in what is probably less than 5 minutes time. That’s just not my thing.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Borrow It

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Comic Reviews - June 22, 2005

DC

Legion of Super-Heroes #7

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

Summary – Braniac 5 leads a team of Legionaires to his homeworld of Colu to investigate the threats made last issue by a mysterious enemy. Meanwhile while Brainy is away, Cosmic Boy will play.

Review:

The Good –

Barry Kitson, Art Thibert and James Pascoe are one hell of an art team. Each of their characters are full of life and the backgrounds are just awesome.

Ditto with the coloring of Chris Blythe, he has chosen a very suitable color palette for this issue.

Waid also kicked some serious ass, bringing in silver age elements inspired by his child hood reading comics. The Silver Age concept of the “Bottle City of Kandor” gets new life, this time as the “Bottle World of Colu”. Pretty cool stuff.

Also the nod to the upcoming Crisis was nice. It seems Colu is going to be playing a big part of it back in the 21st Century DCU, as seen in Teen Titans.

The Bad –

I don’t know if it was only my copy or not, but there was some major printing errors in regards to lettering. Some of the letters were very faded and I could hardly make out the dialogue on some pages.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It


Robin #139

Penciller: Scott McDaniel
Inker: Andy Owens
Writer: Bill Willingham
Colorist: Guy Major
Letterer: Phil Balsman
Editor: Michael Wright

Summary – Robin must take down the latest rogue that is after the price on his head, Junkyard Dog. His path also crosses the Veteran once again in an issue that marks the debut of the new art team of Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens.

Review:

The Good –

Damn it is great to have an art team on this book that actually has some storytelling ability. I had no problem following what was going on from page to page and the fight scenes were awesome (a well known trait of McDaniel and Owens).

I also liked Batman’s reaction to Robin’s ruse. He wasn’t mad at him, but rather proud of the plan and suggested that Tim continue it. He even supplies him with more goodies for the Robin’s nest.

Willingham is writing a wonderful story…but…

The Bad –

I love Willingham as a writer and he seems like a great guy from online interviews, but we need some better villains. He created an awesome one in the form of Johny Warlock, but he hasn’t been on center stage for some time. The Rising Sun Archer, Dark Rider and Junkyard Dog are all fools.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It


Teen Titans #25

Penciller: Matthew Clark
Inker: Art Thibert
Writer: Geoff Johns
Colorist: Jeromy Cox
Letterer: Comicraft
Assistant Editor: Jeanine Schaefer
Editor: Eddie Berganza

Summary – Part III of the Teen Titans/Outsiders crossover, The Insiders. The teams battle their way through Supermen robots and come face to face with Lex Luthor and Superboy.

Review:

The Good –

Clark and Thibert really kicked ass this issue. The battles with the Supermen robots were great as well as the Wonder Girl Vs Superboy fight.

Johns did a good job writing both the Titans and the Outsiders in this issue. I like how this issue has little threads that connect the entire DCU together, such as the planet Colu. It’s a popular place this month.

The Wonder Girl and Superboy scenes were handled very well too. Their relationship has been handled very well by Johns and it has been great to watch it evolve over these last two years.

The Bad –

I found that a few Titans and Outsiders were left out of the spotlight, but that is only natural in an event such as this. I guess they were taking care of a lot of the Supermen robots off panel.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It


Dark Horse

Conan #17

Artist: Cary Nord
Script: Kurt Busiek
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Assistant Editor: Matt Dryer & Dave marshall
Editor: Scott Allie

Based on the work of Conan creator Robert E. Howard

Summary – Conan’s travels bring him to the City of Thieves. Needless to say there are plenty of skulls to crack and treasures to steal.

Review:

The Good –

Another great standalone story by the Conan team.

The Cimmerian didn’t like living amongst the “honest folk” so he comes to the City of Thieves to do what he does best.

Nord’s artwork is really worth the wait every month. He really brings the City of Thieves to life and transplants the reader into every dark alley and tavern.

Busiek is doing a great job adapting Robert E. Howard’s character for comics. We are really getting the best of both worlds.

The Bad –

The bad news is that we get a fill-in artist next month..the good news is that it’s Bruce Timm!

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It

Image

Hero Camp #2

Artists: Robbi Rodriguez & Chad Thomas
Writer/Letterer: Greg Thompson
Colorist: Russ Lowery

Summary – Another day in the life of Eric, the non-super powered teen at Hero Camp.

Review:

The Good –

This is turning out to be a book that has loads of potential. The ideas planted in this issue alone are screaming to be explored further. I loved how the one kid has what could be an invisible girlfriend..or she could be imaginary. That’s great.

How cool is the one girl who can make three super powered hairy midgets out of her spit?

This is a lot of fun and the artwork is great.

The Bad –

There are a bit too many characters and we aren’t really told their names. A roll call sheet is needed for this book in a major way. To be honest I believe that there were Hero Camp comics before this, so in the minds of the authors the characters have already been established. I think the bio pages and backup strips are their way of filling us in, but I would rather have an easier reference.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It


Iron Ghost #2

Artist: Sergio Cariello
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Colorist: Rick Hiltbrunner
Separations: Barry Willians
Letterer: Charles Pritchett
Cover Art & Character Designs: Flint Henry
Editor: Stephen Nilson

Summary – The Iron Ghost haunts Berlin and he’s killing off Nazi’s faster than he can reload.

Review:

The Good –

Sergio Cariello is fantastic! He is an underrated artist in terms of both energy and storytelling. His action scenes are great and his women are great looking. He’s not a cheesecake artist, but he can draw it just as good as any of them (save Adam Hughes of course).

Chuck Dixon’s war time vigilante is very unique, I loved the way he set up this issue. The #1 person on my suspect list was the main character for this issue and let’s just say Dixon executed him brilliantly.

The Bad –

Truth be told this wasn’t a very deep issue, but as far as Dixon comics go they usually aren’t. You can always count on him for a great action tale full of testosterone and bullets. This issue was no different. Don’t go into this expecting a Morisson, Gaiman or Moore type story and you’ll love this.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It

Friday, June 17, 2005

Comic Reviews - June 15, 2005 Part III

Cable/Deadpool #16

Penciller: Patrick Zircher
Inker: Udon’s M3TH
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Colorist: Gotham
Letterer: Cory Petit
Consulting Editors: Barber & Macchio
Editor: Nicole Wiley

Cable created by Rob Liefeld and Louise Simonson
Deadpool created by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza

Summary – Deadpool, Siryn and Cannonball hop from dimension to dimension encountering a different version of Cable in each.

Review:

The Good –

Month after month Zircher and M3TH really make this book look great. It’s a very cool fusion of east meets west. The coloring of the mysterious Gotham is also a great addition.

Nicieza writes some great jokes for Deadpool and puts him into some very hilarious situations as usual. His different incarnations of Cable are great and Zircher brings them to life with ease.

The Bad –

The dimensional hopping kind of got old, but this is an X-title after all. So I guess I should expect this thing to happen from time to time.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It


Daredevil #74

Artist: Alex Maleev
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Editor: Jennifer Lee
Executive Editor: Axel Alonso

Summary – Another session with the “The Devil Among Us” crowd at St. Mary’s Church. This time an unexpected member of the group is revealed.

Review:

The Good –

Maleev and Bendis continue their Decalogue story arc in which members of a discussion group offer up their stories of contact with Daredevil.

In anyone else’s hands this would be a train wreck, but this has been a very good arc. There is no other comic on the stands like this.

The Bad –

With so little of Daredevil in costume, I imagine new readers picking this up won’t like it. I mean call me crazy, but when reading a comic about a super hero it would be nice to see him in costume for more than a two pages.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It


Wolverine #29

Penciller: John Romita Jr.
Inker: Klaus Janson
Writer: Mark Millar
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: VC’s Randle Gentile
Editor: Jennifer Lee
Executive Editor: Axel Alonso
Cover: Joe Quesada

Summary – Wolverine takes his fight to the Hand!

Review:

The Good –

Hell, everything about this book continues to kick ass. JRJR and Klaus Janson’s artwork is so awesome. They really drew some great fight scenes this issue.

Millar is definitely writing the ultimate revenge tale here. Right now it’s two down, two to go. Next up is Hydra itself, followed by the Gorgon.

The Bad –

Only two (three if you count Millar’s special) issues left of Millar and Romita’s run on Wolverine. It’s been great though.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It


Conan and the Jewels of Gwahlur #3

Artist/Writer: P. Craig Russell
Colorist: Lovern Kindzierski
Letterer: Galen Showman
Designer: Darin Fabrick
Assistant Editor: Matt Dryer
Editor: Scott Allie

Adapted from the story by Conan creator Robert E. Howard.

Summary – Conan comes face to face with the Teeth of Gwahlur, but is forced to make a decision. Who will he decide to save, the treasure or the girl?

Review:

The Good –

Russel’s artwork is great, it really fits this fantasy setting that Conan of Cimmeria dwells. Likewise, the coloring of Kindzierski is also very pleasant to look at.

The Bad –

After finishing the story itself, it seems like this just wasn’t worth doing. No offense to Russell or Howard, but it just wasn’t up to par with the stuff in the ongoing title. It did have some nice art though.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Borrow It

Comic Reviews - June 15, 2005 Part II

Adventures of Superman #641

Artist: Karl Kerschl
Writer: Greg Rucka
Colorist: Tonya & Richard Horie
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Associate Editor: Tom Palmer Jr.
Editor: Eddie Berganza

Superman created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster

Summary – The aftermath of last issue starts with Clark Kent visiting Pete Ross in prison. Of course the cover is pegged as an OMAC tie-in, so expect a visit from one of those guys.

Review:

The Good –

Kerschl’s artwork is on par with his work on the Majestic mini series released last year. It’s very clean and the coloring of the Horie’s is also very nice.


The Bad –

The whole storyline for this issue is really redundant considering the DCU as it is right now. I am just sick of all these mystery villains and all the twists and turns concerning them.

The OMAC showed up for a few pages and killed a Parasite. Hopefully all these OMAC tie-ins will be explained in the actual mini or in the Superman-Wonder Woman crossover next month.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Borrow It


Batman: Gotham Knights #66

Penciller: Al Barrionuevo
Inker: Bit
Writer: A.J. Lieberman
Colorist: Laurie Kronenberg
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Associate Editor: Nachie Castro
Editor: Matt Idelson

Summary – A Villain United tie-in issue focusing on HUSH and Prometheus. The Society wants Prometheus, but he’s dying from Poison Ivy’s virus. Talia forces the hand of HUSH to try and cure him.

Review:

The Good –

Barrionuevo and Bit’s artwork is perfect for Gotham. It’s gritty without being ugly and the coloring of Kronenberg fits right in.

The Bad –

This issue is really just a prelude to the next JSA Classified arc after the Power Girl story. To call it a tie-in rather than a prequel is a bad move. Although, at least some members of the Society appear in this issue.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Borrow It


Birds of Prey #83

Penciller: Joe Bennett
Inker: Jack Jadson
Writer: Gail Simone
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Assistant Editor: Rachel Gluckstern
Editor: Joan Hilty

Summary – The Birds in Gotham and Singapore are working their cons as Oracle has another spell.


Review:

The Good –

On their third issue the new art team of Joe Bennett and Jack Jadson have done a great job. The covers as of late have been exceptionally good as well.

Simone does a great job of cutting back and forth between all three locations in the book. I like how what’s going on in Gotham and Singapore are connected. The meet up at the end was also nice, although expected.

The Bad –

This was said to be an OMAC Project tie-in, but all that happened was a guy operating a forklift was going to get activated, then he wasn’t.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It


Day of Vengeance #3

Penciller: Ron Wagner
Inker: Dexter Vines
Writer: Bill Willingham
Colorist: Chris Chuckay
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Assistant Editor: Rachel Gluckstern
Editor: Joey Cavalieri

Summary – The Spectre and Captain Marvel duke it out as the fate of magic in the DCU hangs in the balance.

Review:

The Good –

These Walter Simonson covers are just amazing. I wonder if he is planning on doing more interior work in the future. Until then I’ll take his awesome covers on Day of Vengeance.

The art team for this issue did a fantastic job. This issue was done by Ron Wagner and Dexter Vines. I’m not familiar with Wagner’s prior work, but I liked what I saw this issue. Dexter Vines, who usually puts the magnificent finishing touches on Ed McGuinness’ work did his usual job on this issue.

Bill Willingham’s storyline really picks up this issue too. I like how he included Johny Warlock from his first “Robin” storyline into this issue.

The Bad –

Some questions are still left unanswered, but we have a few more issues to get clued in.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy it


Manhunter #11

Pencillers: Javi Pina & Diego Olmos
Inkers: Fernando Belanco & Bob Petrecca
Writer: Marc Andreyko
Colorist: Steve Buccellato
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Assistant Editor: Rachel Gluckstern
Editor: Joan Hilty

Summary – The mysterious Dumas continues to hunt the Manhunters. Next on his list…Kirk DePaul!

Review:

The Good –

Both art teams did a great job this issue. I think they have similar styles because I didn’t even notice the transition from one to the other.

Andreyko continues to pile up the Manhunter body count as another one bites the dust this issue.

I’m glad that he is thinning out the herd as there are far too many Manhunter’s running around the DCU.

The Bad –

The guy he offs this issue has a small fan following and I can’t believe he was allowed to do it. Hopefully this doesn’t cause bad press for the book.


The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy it


Seven Soldiers: Klarion the Witchboy

Artist/Colorist: Frazer Irving
Writer: Grant Morrison
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Assistant Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Peter Tomasi

Summary – Klarion makes his way up to the subway lines, previously seen in Seven Soldiers: Manhattan Guardian #2. Here he meets the legendary Ebeneezer Badde, another Limbo Town expatriate. He isn’t who he seems though..

Review:

The Good –

So far this is my favorite of the Seven Soldiers titles. It’s very different than anything else on the stands and is full of the kind of uniqueness that can only come from the mind of Grant Morrison.

Frazer Irving is also doing a fantastic job on the artwork for this book. It’s very eerie looking without being goofy. In a way it’s kind of a horror/comedy comic at times. Although it’s main genre would be adventure.

The Bad –

Nothing really, this is one of the best books of the week.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Comic Reviews - June 15, 2005 Part I

Authority Revolution #9

Penciller: Dustin Nguyen
Inker: Richard Friend
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Colorist: Wendy Broome
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Assistant Editor: Kristy Quinn
Editor: Ben Abernathy

The Authority created by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch

Summary – Spotlight on Henry Bendix, with a surprise return of a favorite character from the Stormwatch days.

Review:

The Good –

A surprise return for a fan favorite character is the highlight of this issue. Hint: He/she is from Warren Ellis’ run on Stormwatch.

I believe this to be the best recent issue of the series. Both Brubaker and the art team did a good job.


The Bad –

Not much of the Authority is seen in this issue. You are let in on why the Doctor is no longer around though. Mostly it is Bendix talking with his cohort.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It

Wildsiderz #0

Penciller/Story: J. Scott Campell
Digital Inks: Avalon Studios
Writer/Story: Andy Hartnell
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: Comicraft
Assistant Editor: Kristy Quinn
Editor: Scott Dunbier

Summary – A preview of the next big thing from Wildstorm Entertainment. From the creators of Danger Girl, comes Wildsiderz. What happens when high school students acquire the powers of the animal kingdom?

Review:

The Good –

J. Scott Campell’s artwork has come a very long way since I last saw his work in Gen-13 during the eary 90’s. His stuff was great then, but I had no idea how much that young artist evolved until I looked at Wildsiderz #0 last week. It’s some pretty gorgeous stuff. Pair his artwork up with some magnificent coloring by Edgar Delgado and you have a title that is very easy on the eyes.

The overall story is kind of Power Rangers meets teenage superheroes, but it looks like it’s going to work.


The Bad –

Don’t think of this as an issue, think of it as a trailer. There are bios on all the main characters, plus an interview with the creative team. At the end you are treated to what I can only describe as a trailer, showcasing scenes from future issues. It is pulled off pretty well.

I have this in the bad column, as a warning for those of you who want to buy it for the story. There isn’t really one here, but it’s a great find at $1.99.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It

Powers #11

Artist: Michael Avon Oeming
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Colorist: Peter Pantazis
Letterer: Ken Bruzenak
Editors: James Lucas Jones & K.C. McCrory

Summary – Deena stands up to her boyfriend as the power gem goes missing before the FBI can pick it up.

Review:

The Good –

Oeming’s artwork shined as usual. This was a very dark issue and he and the rest of the art team really got the job done in that regard.

The Bad –

Not much really happened save for one major moment where a character does something we never thought she would do.

There also wasn’t a lot of jokes or dialogue, which I come to expect in a Bendis book.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Borrow It


Battle Hymn #3

Penciller: Jeremy Haun
Writer: B. Clay Moore
Colorist: Dave Bryant
Letterer: Greg Thompson

Summary – The team is up to no good in their downtime.

Review:

The Good –

These characters feel alive. That’s the biggest compliment I can give this creative team. You actually feel like these character existed in the real world all those years ago.

Haun’s artwork is amazing. He is a star in the making.

This book is gradually building towards something, but I’m not quite sure what yet.

It looks and reads very well though.

The Bad –

This issue is a lot like Powers. A character commits a murder and then not a whole lot happens. You basically learn that the guy who does it is a complete sleazebag since he’s sleeping with his teammate’s woman and what not. It’s too bad because I actually liked that character.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It