This week in comics (12-12-09)

Groo: The Hogs of Horder (Part 2 of 4)

Written by Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier

Art by Sergio Aragones

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It looks like things in the kingdom of Horder will be getting worse as jobs get sent away to the far off land of Khitan, the carriage companies make bigger models that need more horses, and the banks lend all of their money out thinking that they will made an interest profit. Hmm… where have we seen this before? So economies crumble, people lose their jobs, but Groo is always there to do what he does best, make everything worse. I enjoy how this story has a great rhythm to it, even if the minstrel doesn’t make an appearance. But the story moves from point A to point B in a very humorous and an enticing manner. The humor and the art are nothing short of spectacular. Sergio and Mark continue to deliver one of the most consistently great comics around, detailed, funny and all around lovable.

9/10

What If?: World War Hulk

Written by Mike Raicht and Michael Gallagher

Art by Lucio Parrillo and Patrick “SPAZ” Spaziante

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So once again the “What If?” stories are back, not in the good continuing series that we had in the late 80s and 90s, but the recent what ifs have all been stand alone stories based on questions that no one asked. This issue is among the latter category. In this book we have two stories “What if the Heroes lost World War Hulk?” and “What if Thor entered World War Hulk?” The question in the first story was already answered in an issue of What If? last year, but this time they decided to add the Skrull invasion into the question. I will admit that it does have an acceptable story held within and some very good art. The dialogue could be better and the ending was a little predictable. The second story “What if Thor entered World War Hulk” was quite lame. The dialogue is corny, the pacing is bad, and overall it’s a very forgettable story. So the end question here is “What if Matt Dunford saved his $3.99 for something else?” Oh the possibilities that $3.99 could have made for me.

5/10

The Incredible Hulk #605

Written by Greg Pak

Art by Ariel Olivetti and Paul Pelletier

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Training resumes for Skaar as a battle with his father the Hulk looms closer. This time Skaar’s opponents are monsters from his home world of Sakaar that are now under the control of the Mole Man. Story wise this issue has plenty of action and monster fights, but ever since The Incredible Hulk came back into Greg Pak’s hands it feels like all the issues have just been setting up rather than telling their own story. Next month we will get the story that the past 5 issues have been setting up for in Fall of Hulks. For the presentation of this book it continues the trend of switching artists midstream. Ariel Olivetti is a good artist when the mood is darker, but the battles in this issue are occurring in New York City at mid-day so the atmosphere takes a hit during scenes, however the areas that are lacking for Olivetti’s work are more than made up for with Paul Pelletier’s scenes. Pelletier has a talent for making scenes come alive and look extremely animated. Overall the past 5 issues of The Incredible Hulk have been acceptable, but I think this is the end of my Hulk road, at least for now. Next month a huge Hulk tie-in event is being penned by Jeph Loeb, and nothing good ever comes from his writing. So I’m calling it quits on The Incredible Hulk. Oh yeah, as for the Savage She-Hulk backup story in this issue, well I haven’t bothered reading it just like all the others. No one cared about Savage She-Hulk and that’s why it was cancelled after 2 issues.

6/10

The Invincible Iron Man #21

Written by Matt Fraction

Art by Salvador Larroca

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Almost there, it was almost there. This issue almost had it, but it missed by a pinch. It was almost a 9 out of 10 but it just missed it. Tony is still lying comatose while he searches his mind for the answer to a mysterious question by digging in a barren desert. On the outside world Tony’s friends are doing what they can to help him out in this dire situation. Friends who may or may not be Asgardian Thunder Gods or star-spangled super-solder serum based friends. I felt that the true star of this issue was Pepper Potts as she struggles with all the pain that she’s been through as Tony’s assistant and she keeps enduring it. Another thread that is being weaved into the story is a revenge plot being cooked up by Madam Masque, however there really isn’t too much to say about it at this point. Salvador Larroca continues to shine at this highly polished story. His opening act in the desert looks great, but the best scene is an amazing two page spread near the end, I can’t describe what goes on due to spoilers but I will say its makes good use of 3 of the most iconic items in the Marvel Universe. Best of all Norman Osborn didn’t appear in this issue so Larroca couldn’t draw severely underage. Solid issue as usual.

8/10

That’s all I’ve got, now I’m gonna go enjoy my winter break.

Until next time.

– Matt Dunford “your comic book guy”