This week in Comics (8-13-09)

Once again its time for me to review some funny books. Once again the report was delayed due to my presence at the Pokémon World Championships (which was awesome and there will be a report for very soon), but without delay lets get to some comics.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1

Written by Brian Michael Bendis

Art by David Lafuente

Colors by Justin Ponsor

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In September of 2000 a comic called “Ultimate Spider-Man” hit the shelves and took the comic world by storm. I was just a 14-year-old boy when I picked up issue #1 of Ultimate Spider-Man and I was hooked from the start. USM appealed to me because it told the story of a Peter Parker who was my age, dealing with the same problems that I was. It was easily the most relatable book for a kid my age to be reading. Through the years USM kept up the consistency with great art and A grade storytelling, however in recent years USM has fallen off the boat a little bit. Ultimate Spider-Man switched artists after a recording setting writer/artist pairing of 117 issues and most of us didn’t care for the new artist all that much. The next big problem that afflicted USM in its final stages was the big unnecessary cross over event known as Ultimatum. Ultimatum forced USM into writing that it didn’t need and only weakened the book, and finally when Ultimate Spider-Man ended it got a very lame conclusion, which the fans were not thrilled with. Now Ultimate Spider-Man has been given a reboot. I was very skeptical about this new book yet I gave it a chance, and I am glad I did. Ultimate Comics Spider-Man is the Spider-Man book fans have been waiting for and it has a great quality of writing that has not been seen in Ultimate Spider-Man for several years. The humor we love is back, the strong character development has returned, and the villain mysteries are really turning up good especially the new mysterious crime fighter in the red hood. The one gripe I have with this issue is the art. Originally USM had Mark Bagley who was beyond perfect for the job, then after over 100 issues he left and Stuart Immonen took over. I didn’t care for Immonen because I was too used to Bagley’s art. Now we have David Lafuente who makes this book look like a manga that has color. The art isn’t bad, but its just not what the book needs, but there are a few problems here and there. Spider-Man’s head is always way too big for his body, and most of the characters have bad body portions. Overall I think the writing overrides the shoddy art to make Ultimate Comics Spider-Man a smash hit.

9/10

Ultimate Comics Avengers #1

Written by Mark Millar

Art by Carlos Pacheco

Inks by Danny Miki

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Now that half the Ultimate Universe has died we are free to do reboots. Move over Ultimate X-Men and Fantastic Four; make way for the Avengers who finally get their own ongoing series. This issue mainly centers on Hawkeye and Captain America, and introduces a villain that has been long overdue for 7 years, Ultimate Red Skull. This issue is full of action, lots of action, but not overly violent action that we usually see from Millar’s writing, I personally think that is the better decision here since the Ultimate line is directed towards a younger audience. I am very glad to see that the Millar’s writing still has time for humor among all the action, as is demonstrated with a drunken Tony Stark at one of his favorite gentlemen spots. The art by Carlos Pacheco is fits the book pretty well, I would have preferred that Bryan Hitch stayed on the book, but he is a little tied up with Captain America: Reborn. This is a solid book and has me eager to find out more about this connection between Cap and the Red Skull. Ultimate Comics Avengers is off to a solid start, and I just hope it stays good.

8/10

War of Kings (Part 6 of 6)

Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning

Art by Paul Pelletier

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This is a part 6 of 6 and everybody knows what they can expect in one of these…SMACKDOWN!!! Black Bolt vs. Emperor Vulcan, King vs. King, Inhuman vs. Shi’ar. In the past 5 issues we have seen the galaxy’s political struggles and peacekeeping efforts, and starship fights, now this is true fight we get to see. I must say that this fight is one for the ages. Seeing an Inhuman with a voice that can destroy planets fight against a ruthless Omega mutant is something worthwhile even if you haven’t been keeping up with the past 5 issues. Fighting and action is everywhere in this book, and it comes to a very nice conclusion. Yet, I have a strange feeling that things are only going to keep moving, as is demonstrated with Gladiator’s reaction to the end of the war and his fallen Empress, that is a new storyline I think we should be looking forward to but I won’t say too much. War of Kings had good ending to a good event, which is something that rarely happens anymore. God bless you Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning for bringing Marvel’s cosmic side back into play.

9/10

Captain America Theater of War: To Solider on

Written by Paul Jenkins

Art by Fernando Blanco

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Powerful, simply powerful writing. Paul Jenkins is the kind of man who can take a story and really have it impact you. This is not a story about Captain America, this is a story about Bryan Anderson, a soldier who was deployed to the Iraq war. During the initial invasion Americans were welcomed as liberators, during that first encounter Bryan and his fellow Americans were welcomed as liberators and fought alongside Captain America as heroes. However, on Bryan’s next tour of duty he and his fellow Americans were not as welcome as before. To Soldier on is a very tragic story with a lot of pain, and bitterness, but it really brings into perspective the life of a soldier, and the struggles they go through during and after war. War is hell, and there really should be more books like this to show the worlds exactly what is going on while we sit comfortably in our homes.

8/10

Chew (Part 3 of 5)

Written by John Layman

Art by Rob Guillory

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I don’t get into indy books all that much lately, but this one takes the cake, and eats it…and then has a crazy vision while digesting. Chew is the story about a detective named Tony Chu (play on words) who is cibopathic, which means he gets psychic visions from whatever he eats. In this issue Tony Chu has been promoted to agent of the FDA so he can help them in their struggle against chicken speakeasies due to bird flu, Chu has been paired up with a large Chuck Norris style FDA agent who also happens to be a cibopath and they are out to put a stop to the dining column being written by the girl that Tony Chu is in love with. Now most of you may be thinking that a Chinese guy who gets visions from the food he eats, while fighting against a chicken prohibition, and fights crime with and has crazy shootouts against terrorists in the process may be a little over the top, but rest assured this is a solid book. Not only is this a solid book, but also it’s a hilarious book, it features some of that cynical humor that you would see in Transmetropolitan. This book is a little on the violent side and has some four-letter words that you may not want the youngsters to see, but if you are of a mature age and you like immature comics with crazy plots, then take a bite out of Chew.

8/10

The Red Circle: Inferno

Written by J. Michael Straczynski

Art by Greg Scott

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Last week JMS gave us the Hangman, and this week we get the Inferno, another character from the past that no one has heard of. I love Straczynski’s writing more than life itself, but I wasn’t too thrilled with this issue. This is only part 2 of 4, but I feel like this issue was just setting up into something bigger, and I didn’t care for the art all that much either. I really want to like this issue but it just doesn’t have what I want in a comic. This issue features a guy with no memory realizing that he has super powers, and we have all seen that a time or two, I’ll just try to be hopeful for the next issue since I know JMS has his hands full with so much other writing.

6/10

Thank you so much for reading in this week of geek, until next time.

– Matt Dunford (Your comic book guy).

Matt_Dunford

My name is Matt D, I’m like no other. I’m a 6″ half black, half white brother. And when I say white, I don’t mean pink, I’m about as white as white out ink.