Saturday, September 24, 2011

Comics Roundup for 9/21/11

Batman #1 - What a difference an artist can make.  Scott Snyer, who comes off of an excellent run on Detective Comics is the writer of this relaunched Batman title, but it feels like a completely different animal in the hands of artist Greg Capullo.  I liked the two artists that were working with him on Detective, and I like Capullo, so I can't say that this is any better or worse.  It just feels a bit more like a post-Image superhero comic now.  Anyway, everybody looks younger, and I think that this was probably the mandate from the higher ups at DC.  That's tough to pull off when you have a Batman who's on his fourth Robin, but Bruce Wayne doesn't look ridiculously young at least.  I don't have much to say other than that I enjoyed this, and I bet that it will be even better as the story continues to develop.

Captain America #3 - This is another fun, straight-ahead superhero comic.  There isn't really a whole lot going on story-wise, as it's really a bit of an extended fight scene.  Still, it's done well in the hands of artist Steve McNiven.  Captain America versus a giant Captain America robot.  What's not to like?:

Nightwing #1 - I recently reread Chuck Dixon's run on the original series, and I really enjoyed that.  This was a pretty good start to a new series, and I'll stick around for the next issue at least.  I also like the subtle blue-to-red change in his costume.  It works a bit better, I think.

Avengers #17 - Just like the past few issues, this really doesn't add a whole lot to the series or the Fear Itself crossover in general.  I'm glad that these crossover issues are over after this one, and I'm looking forward to the next issue.

Wonder Woman #1 - I liked this one when I first read it, and it got better the more I thought about it.  Brian Azzarello said that he's trying to create a "horror" comic with this series, and he's succeeding while at the same time remaining true to the character and her roots in Greek Mythology.  Basically he's just taking the horror elements that already exist in Mythology and turning them up a few notches.  I've been waiting for a Wonder Woman series that I could really get into, and it looked like I was going to with the last relaunch of the series, but that just didn't work out.  Hopefully this will be the version for me.

Daredevil #4 - The only thing that upsets me about having Marcos Martin and Paulo Rivera taking turns on the art chores for this book is that they're no longer doing any work on The Amazing Spider-Man.  Oh well, at least this is proving to be a solid new series, so I'll get to see their work on this title.  Mark Waid does a good job of building on the elements that he established in the last issue while setting up an intriguing new story where Matt Murdock has to help out a blind guy who got fired from his job without any real cause given.  Of course, there's more to it, as Murdock is now helping clients who have to represent themselves in court.  Plus, there are a hell of a lot of laser sights on Murdock and his client by the end of this issue.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Comics Roundup for 9/14/11

For anybody who's reading my "Comics Roundup" for the first time, allow me to explain the point of all this:  Mainly, it's a way for me to keep on top of what I'm buying.  I find myself less likely to buy stuff I don't really want when I have to take the time to write about them.  I guess you can call them mini-reviews, but I don't feel the need to be as thorough as I would if I was actually attempting a legitimate review site.  Also, I try to only buy what I like, so most of this stuff is pretty positive unless the title takes a sudden shift in quality.

The Amazing Spider-Man
#669 -
See the cover there?  That's the exclusive variant cover that you can only get at my local comic shop, Flying Colors.  Anyway, I'm enjoying this "Spider-Island" storyline well enough, but I think that Humberto Ramos's art is starting to get a little sloppy.  Maybe two issues a month is too much for him.  They should have split it up a bit.  Also, I'm not sure if I'm supposed to know who this "Queen" is at the end of the story.  Was she in the comics before and I just don't remember?  Maybe I'll try to Google it later.  (Just did.  Okay, I did remember her - barely.)

Batwoman #1 - As much as I liked the art of JH Williams III when he did the character over in Detective Comics, I just couldn't get into the story for some reason.  Now he's co-writing it with W. Haden Blackman, so I thought I'd give it a shot.  The art is gorgeous, as expected.  The story?  Interesting enough for me to at least check out the next issue.  I'm not sure how good of a jumping-on point this is for new readers though.

Daredevil #3 - I didn't like this as much as the previous two issues, but the end wrapped up with some interesting twists, so I'm still sticking around.  I find myself liking all the courtroom drama even more than the superheroics.

Criminal:  The Last of the Innocent #4 - I wasn't sure if I liked the ending to this at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was pretty much perfect.  Pretty dark stuff going on here, and I wonder if there's any way for Ed Brubaker to revisit this character (or at least some of the characters).  I doubt it, but it might be interesting.  A comeuppance is in order.

Fear Itself #6 (of 7) - This is a decent enough of a story, but it seems like it could have just run in The Avengers, as it's not special enough to warrant its own series.  The art by Stuart Immonen is top-notch like always though.

Green Lantern #1 - Forgive me for being blunt, but anybody who was enjoying Green Lantern, and saw the reboot as a "jumping off" point, is an idiot.  This might as well be Green Lantern #67.  Sure, it tries to set things up for new readers, but it's continuing on what was done in the last series.  Plus, the creative team is exactly the same.  Only "jump-off" if you don't like what was going on beforehand.  Otherwise, quitting it over the numbering is stupid.

The New Avengers #16 - Captain America tried to recruit Daredevil to the team when the first New Avengers team started.  DD didn't accept.  However, now he's in, and this was a good way to get him on the team.  I like the character and I like this title, so I'm looking forward to what happens from here.

Batman and Robin #1 - While I still think more could have been done with the Dick Grayson/Damien Wayne dynamic, Peter Tomasi does a really fine job with Bruce Wayne back as Batman in this series.  There's definitely a lot of potential here when it's literally father and son, especially when that son is Damien.  While I liked Tim Drake as Robin, I have to say that it's far more convincing that Damien could kick as much ass as he does, considering that he was raised by Ra's al Ghul's League of Assassins.

Demon Knights #1 - What can I say?  I wanted to give something new a chance with all of these reboots.  I've always found the character of The Demon, Etrigan, to be fascinating, and I'd love it if I could have that Jack Kirby Omnibus featuring the character.  Anyway, I liked this - a bit of medieval sword and sorcery, and I'm interested enough to at least check out the next issue.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Comics Roundup for 9/7/11

Action Comics #1 - This was probably the one relaunched DC book that I was looking forward to the most - even more so than Justice League. Even though I'm not a huge fan of Superman, I have been known to pick up his comics from time to time. I was genuinely excited for this one though because Grant Morrison is writing, and some of the best recent Superman comics - nay, comics in general - were his All Star Superman issues.

I also liked the whole conceit of the story - really getting Superman back to his roots. Before this came out, I took the time to read my Superman Archives, Volume 1 which reprints Superman's earliest adventures. I was surprised at what I read, as I could almost see a bunch of Fox News pundits protesting the character if it had come out just recently. Superman was proactive and represented the truly oppressed and downtrodden. My favorite example of this is when he trapped a bunch of rich people down in a mine in order to get the mine's owner (who was among the group of rich people) to improve the working conditions of his employees.

So what did I think of this relaunch? Good start. We've got a real (Super)man of the people here, and it was cool to read the throwaway line about how he dealt with a guy who was abusing his wife (something he did in one of those adventures from the 1930s). I also like the fact that he hasn't completely developed his powers just yet. Plus, Lex Luthor is given a pretty good motive for hating Superman. Don't get me wrong; he's still evil. However, now his reasoning could actually convince a person that Superman is an enemy of mankind.

Batgirl #1 - I figured I'd at least check out the first issue of this series so I could find out how Barbara Gordon is able to walk again. Unfortunately, all we're told is that "a miracle" happened. Now, I can buy miracles in a comic book universe, but I still feel like a plot point this significant should be given a bit more than a throwaway line. Perhaps they'll follow up on it in future issues. That said, I found this to be a really compelling story. There was an interesting bad buy and some great characterization. I especially like the fact that her paralysis is still a significant part of who the character is. She certainly doesn't seem to be taking it for granted that she's up on her feet again.

Justice League International #1 - I wasn't originally planning on getting this one, but I'm glad that I did. In a way, it was a more satisfying reading experience than the first issue of the much-hyped Justice League. It has the sort of character dynamics you'd want in a team book, and it doesn't feel like Dan Jurgens is just riffing off of the now-classic series of the same name that took the book in a more humorous direction. Everybody's in-character - especially Batman and Guy Gardner/Green Lantern - but I don't feel like I've seen these interactions before.

Spider Island - The Avengers - Yeah, this is kind of a shelf-filler issue that capitalizes on the mini crossover running out of Spider-Man's book. Still, it was a lot of fun - especially the bit about Hawkeye being one of the people to get Spider powers. That would be amusing enough, but the fun thing is that he really sucks at using them.

The New Avengers - Annual #1 - This was disappointing. Wonder Man elaborates on why he thinks that the formation of The Avengers is a bad thing. He enlists some guys to create The Revengers. Then he beats the crap out of the New Avengers. At the end, he's on his way to Avengers tower to take on the main team. The second part of this, in Avengers Annual had better offer a good payoff to all this. Plus, I don't know why they made such a big deal about Gabriele Dell'otto drawing this issue in the ads. The art kind of stinks, if you ask me.

Wolverine #15 - While bordering on turning Logan all emo, this was a compelling issue. Basically, he got his world destroyed last issue like he never has before, and now he pretty much just wants to die. How can you die though when you heal from a wound almost as soon as you get it? That's the question, and I'm eager to see how Wolverine will eventually get his mojo back.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Comics Roundup for 8/31/11

Justice League #1 - This is it, the first of the "New 52" from DC Comics, where they've rebooted the entire DC Universe. How was it? Pretty good, I'd say. I was actually having a bit of a hard time getting into it at first, but it picked up once Green Lantern met Batman, and it got even better when Batman casually yanked off GL's power ring. There were definitely some nice character bits, and the new version of Superman gets to make quite an impressive introduction.

I realize that there are probably some folks out there who would have preferred to see all the members of the league together in this first issue, but I think by doing it this way, Geoff Johns is leaving some room for some character development and an emphasis on how these heroes are all different from one another.

Jim Lee's art is pretty good here as well, but he usually turns in some good stuff. While not the best when it comes to storytelling and layouts, he always has enough genuinely cool moments to make one of his comics worth the cover price.

Flashpoint #5 (of 5) - And here is the end of the old DC Universe. Overall, I'd say that this was a pretty good crossover miniseries, and I'll repeat the reason why. While involving many different characters, it was smart to focus on only a few. That's what made the ending work so well, and the fact that it provides an explanation for why things are somewhat different now is only a bonus.

The Amazing Spider-Man #668 - I have to say that I'm enjoying this "Spider-Island" storyline a lot more than I thought I would. I guess Dan Slott is just a good writer, and he's good at getting the reader involved with what's happening. As always, I really feel like I get a lot of story out of each issue, which is a nice change of pace for comics nowadays. Also, while I've never been a big fan of Humberto Ramos, I also find myself enjoying his art more than I would have figured.

Secret Avengers #16 - I realize that this issue has the fanboys drooling, but I found myself not liking it much at all. Apparently the Secret Avengers are in a place fighting some people for some reason. While there were some nice character moments, overall I found myself not giving a crap about anything that happened. It's too bad, as I was really looking forward to this. Maybe I just wasn't in the right mood, but I'm going to give the next issue a serious looking over before picking it up. I just might be done with this series. (What has the fanboys drooling? Warren Ellis is writing the series for a few issues, this one being the first.)

Rocketeer Adventures #4 - This is the last issue of this series, and I think that it did a pretty good job as a tribute to Dave Stevens's character. While the strongest stories were in the first two issues, the rest of the series was decent enough. I especially liked the story by John Arcudi and Brendan McCarthy this issue with the female Nazi version of the Rocketeer.