Comics News

This week in comics (1-25-09)

Joker, Atom, Captain America, Wolverine, the Inhumans and the Sentry are the geek books this week, but how do they hold up?

The Brave and the Bold #31

Written by J. Michael Straczynski

Art by Chad Hardin and Justiniano

Another installment of JMS’s stand-alone team up series. This time the players are the Atom and the Joker, quite an unlikely mix. The plot is this issue is “Journey to the center of Joker” as Mr. J is slowly dying of a brain degenerative disease. So the Atom finds himself in a tough situation, does he let the world’s most maniacal villain die a painful death, or does he shrink down and save his crazy mind? And with the Atom being a noble super hero I’m sure you figure out which choice he made. I’ve loved every issue The Brave and Bold since JMS came aboard, but I did not like this issue as much as the previous ones. The biggest problems I had here was the artist transition, I came in expected Jesus Saiz but I got Chad Hardin and Justiniano. The drawings by Chad Hardin don’t click with me mostly because of his use of sideburns on the Joker. Hardin’s Joker doesn’t look like Joker he looks like a pale Wolverine. Where Hardin falls short, Justiniano succeeds by offering darker and more twisted atmosphere. I understand that it becomes necessary to switch between artists in order to transition the real world and the mind of the Joker but I would have preferred if Justiniano did the entire issue. In terms of storytelling Straczynski does a good job but there are a couple points that could have been done better. I have gotten very tired of people shrinking down and going inside other characters, but at least it wasn’t Luke Cage again. I had problems with the Joker origin story that JMS crafted for this issue rather than sticking to the traditional bad day origin. Although this series takes place outside of normal DC continuity so the Straczynski’s Joker origin must be taken with a grain of salt. Otherwise the story features a solid beginning, middle and end that all tie together like a story should and there is a lot of great dialogue both funny and emotive. Brave and Bold #31 isn’t the high point of the series but even the best books have their missteps, but this is still worth picking up.

7/10

Captain America #602

Written by Ed Brubaker

Art by Luke Ross

So Captain America has finally returned in its ongoing form. And for the record this series is still revolving around Bucky, so just because Steve Rogers is back don’t think that Bucky is down for the count, its still his book. Unfortunately this book isn’t up to the par that it was, in fact I think this is probably the most lackluster issue of Captain America in the Brubaker run. The whole story now is focused on Bucky Cap vs. Crazy 50s Cap. The theme in the Brubaker run of Cap has been focused on things from past storylines leading into some bigger scheme, but this issue just feels like Captain Americas plotting against each other and planning to fight. Overall this issue was on the boring side and didn’t have the mystery and excitement that we come to expect from Ed Brubaker. The penciling by Luke Ross was pretty good, but the coloring by Dean White really made it look unappealing. Most of the art looks like it was filled in with crayons and at other times like it was spray-painted. Captain America fans have suffered for 6 months through the travesty that was Captain America: Reborn, but now that the main series is back our hopes have been dashed again. Hopefully the next issue stirs things up a bit, because Captain America should never be this lame (unless its Reborn).

6/10

Dark Avengers #13

Written by Brian Michael Bendis

Art by Mike Deodato

Only 3 issues left. Yep that’s right all the Avengers books are going to be cancelled, I’m not too upset because I am only reading 2 out of the 4, and Dark Avengers has been the better of the 2 books. It is not mystery that everyone hates the Sentry because when he appeared, he retconned the universe, and he was basically a blonde and overpowered Superman with no real origin story. No real origin story until now. I must say that I was genuinely impressed by the origin story that Bendis has crafted for Sentry (the true origin story). He has used the rubric for the origin story and shown it to be a delusional reality but still holding some truth, and even managed to tie in some religious themes. The story is told through the point of view of Lindy the Sentry’s wife and I think that’s the better move for this issue because I just can’t stand Sentry dialogue and he usually doesn’t have half a clue of what is going on. Mike Deodato continues to draw amazing visuals; he truly is the king of the dark atmosphere comics. The characters he draws show vivid emotion and can draw some really good full-page spreads as well. I liked that he added in some of his uncolored work for recollection scenes, which was very cool despite the lack of color. I know that this review may not convince everyone that the Sentry is a great character but at least it will let you know where he’s coming from. I am just happy that we finally know what his deal is, and in the next issue we will be learning even more.

8/10

Wolverine Weapon X #9

Written by Jason Aaron

Art by Yanick Paquette

Save your $3.99 on this issue, its nothing but mindless violence. And when I say mindless violence I mean mindless violence. People getting their brains ripped out, people eating peoples brains, blood guts, strangling people with their own intestines this book has it all but that doesn’t necessarily make it good for storytelling. A bigger problem that runs this issue runs into is the addition of Nightcrawler and Psylocke to the ensemble. Even though Nightcrawler is my favorite X-Man and Psylocke has always been my favorite X-Girl is the visual sense they don’t add much to the story. X-Men cameos are harmful here because I feel that Wolverine functions better as a solo character, and the isolation that he has enjoyed for this book is now broken. But I must admit that I did laugh at Psylocke’s joke about coming back from the dead a few months ago, (constant resurrections being the reason why I don’t read X-Men books). This book was just as ridiculous as all the other X-Men books out there so save your money here.

5/10

Realm of Kings: Inhumans (Part 3 of 5)

Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning

Art by Wellington Alves

In space no one can hear you scream, even if you’re Black Bolt. This issue gets some automatic bonus points by not including Dan Slott’s crappy Mighty Avengers, they really made the last issue suck big time. So now the Inhumans return to their cosmic isolation free of earthly lame-ass loser teams. Civil War on the home planet, and no sign of Black Bolt in the Fault. This issue features some nice moments but they don’t really deliver the goods like one would hope. It’s sort of a get your hopes up followed by a let down kind of thing. The storyline has been that same as the earlier issues and most likely will continue that trend up until the end. Things have become a little predictable and if you are an Inhumans fan you already know who the real villain is that’s causing all the trouble. Wellington Alves does some good art here, bright and flashy in the style that we like cosmic books to be. There aren’t many problems with the art, its just that the story is a little predictable, but this issue is still worth picking up.

7/10

That’s all you get.

– Matt Dunford “your comic book guy”

One comment

  1. Matt,
    This is two reviews in a row where you’ve said that Dan Slott’s Mighty Avengers is crappy. But last time you said, ” I quit reading Mighty Avengers when Dan Slott came aboard because he is a terrible writer.” So if you quit reading Mighty Avengers WHEN Dan Slott came aboard, how do you KNOW it’s crappy?

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