This Week in Comics (8-28-09)

Big week here. We got a new writer, on Hulk, more Nick Fury, more X-Men, and I get to do my first ever motion comic. So let’s get to it.

The Incredible Hulk #601

Written by Greg Pak

Art by Ariel Olivetti

Incredible_Hulk_601

Now that’s more like it. For the past Two years the world of Hulk has been in a horrid slum caused by Jeph Loeb and his ridiculously bad writing on his Red Hulk title. For years Hulk fans have begged and pleaded for a Marvel to get Loeb off of Hulk and get a different writer, but a large number of brain-dead morons buy enough copies of Hulk to get it into the top 10 so Marvel has no intentions of cutting it off. However our prayers have been answered as Greg Pak the writer who brought us Planet Hulk and World War Hulk has returned to the Incredible Hulk and not a moment too soon. The story picks up after the events of Incredible Hulk #600 (which I didn’t read because Loeb wrote it) where a series of events caused Bruce Banner to separate from the Hulk. So at long last Banner is free from the Jekyll and Hyde monstrosity, which has afflicted him for almost 50 years. The overall plot of this issue centers on the Bruce Banner reaching out to Skaar (the son of Hulk) and trying to give him parental advice for an unavoidable fight against the Hulk. I feel that this issue is a step in the right direction and a breath of fresh air; however there is still room for improvement. I am welcoming Ariel Olivetti with open arms because I think that his particular drawing style will fit a Hulk book very well, considering his emphasis for huge muscles, which there are a lot of here. Overall I am just glad to see Pak back as the writer. I won’t go out and call this his best book ever but it is certainly a huge step in the right direction for returning Hulk to his former glory.

7/10

Spider-Woman, Agent of S.W.O.R.D (Episode 1)

Written by Brian Michael Bendis

Art by Alex Maleev

spider-woman_medium

At long last Marvel’s first motion comic has hit iTunes. This motion comic was just 99 cents but I still feel ripped off after watching it. Because this is a motion comic I feel obligated to address the art. I am a fan of Alex Maleev’s dark noir-like style, and he draws very well here, however his art isn’t the problem. The problem is the use of his art. The motion comic style uses the same panels over and over again and it gets really boring. There is a point where the same 2 panels are used back and forth for almost 5 minutes. So essentially you will spend half the episode looking at Jessica Drew and Agent Brand on a bus. The next issue I would like to go over is the ridiculously bad voice acting. Though my expertise is in the world of comics, I have performed voice-over so I can be critical here too. The actress who voices Spider-Woman/Jessica Jones really does not do a good job. She obviously has a British accent that she is trying to mask, but the end result is labored and sloppy, the voice of Agent Brand is completely without any effort and just sounds so fake, and then Spider-Man makes a cameo which is not only stupid but a lousy attempt at making Spidey sound funny in an atmosphere where that is completely unnecessary. Having addressed the lame animation and the even lamer voice acting lets get the story, I mean that must be good right…no. The episode opens with a Spider-Woman being all emo in some shady hotel room dreading her life, until she is summoned by secret package that asks her to join up with S.W.O.R.D so that she can help them destroy earth’s greatest menace THE SKRULLLS…Skrulls, it just had to be Skrulls. No one cares about the Skrulls anymore, for god’s sake I got bored with Skrulls halfway through Secret Invasion, their race had been destroyed by Galactus, the Annihilation Wave, then by earth’s super heroes and now its Jessica Jones job to do away with the rest of them. For all the hype that was put into this book it could have been so much better, but once again a new venue for entertainment has turned into a big flop. Do yourselves a favor and save your 99 cents on this rip off garbage.

2/10

The New Avengers #56

Written by Brian Michael Bendis

Art by Stuart Immonen

newa56

Not too much to be said about this issue. It starts off with a Mockingbird being the only member of the Avengers left standing after a cloud of gas has left her teammates depowered, so she must face the wrecking crew all by herself. This is one of those stories in which it is just a single hero against monumental odds, though there is a simultaneous plot where the villains try to barter against Norman Osborn for a bigger slice of the criminal pie. This issue doesn’t really do a lot for the development of stories because it isn’t all that memorable and it’s just a lot of fighting going on. However one thing in this issue actually surprised me here, I enjoyed the pencils by Stuart Immonen. I know in the past couple years I have ragged on Immonen’s art in Ultimate Spider-Man because it simply didn’t fit the atmosphere, but I was just biased due to having Mark Bagley’s art for 7 years and I simply couldn’t adjust to anything else. I must give Immonen credit here because he does a great job with fast paced action here and it is truly fitting for New Avengers.

6/10

The Red Circle: The Shield

Written by J. Michael Straczynski

Art by Scott McDaniel

rc_shield-02

Another week another super hero revival from JMS, but the Shield is a character that I actually know some history about. The Shield is an MLJ (what is now Archie comics) character from the early 1940s that displayed the stars and stripes all over his costume and held a shield to protect him from danger. A short time later Timely comics would create their own star spangled super hero by the name of Captain America. The introduction of Captain America caused quite a stir at MLJ and they threatened legal action against Timely Comics. Timely and MLJ came to a compromise where Captain America would no longer be able to use a shield similar to the Shield’s, and instead would use the discus-like shield we see him with to this day. For more on this history lesson go read Kirby: King of Comics by Mark Evanier (shameless plug). Now back onto the review. I love J. Michael Straczynski’s writing more than life itself, but I didn’t like this issue. It lacks the innovation that Straczynski brings into a character when he takes creative control, and you have read his Amazing Spider-Man or The Twelve you know how good he can redefine a character. This shield just seemed like a quick do-over to bring it into the modern era. I really didn’t care for it all that much, it was just a like a rushed out Captain America.

5/10

Dark Avengers #8

Written by Matt Fraction

Art by Luke Ross

21_DARK_AVENGERS_8

Stop, please stop. Dark Avengers has been taking a turn for the worse since it ended up in Matt Fraction’s hands. The story is currently set in a cross over event where the Avengers are pitted against the X-Men in a battle to save San Francisco. Now in chapter 5 the storyline has become so ingrained with unnecessary subplots and inadequate storytelling that I have trouble caring. I seemed to notice a trend in this issue that it was just 22 pages of people making angry faces. I really don’t care about this saga anymore, I just want Bendis back on so we can get to Dark Avengers stuff and not lame X-Men storylines.

4/10

Batman and Robin #3

Written by Grant Morrison

Art by Frank Quitely

Batman_and_Robin_3

Part 3 of the new Dynamic Duo. We start this story with Batman on the verge of torturing information out a lowly minion, while Robin is held within the clutches of Professor Pyg. This issue is mainly a stop the mad scientist before he can unleash his sinister plot against Gotham City. I am fairly new to reading Batman books, so I am not the best person to be critical here. I am becoming fond of Dick Grayson as Batman, because Morrison really shows his weakness and uncertainty of being Batman are transitioning into confidence, though he still is a little more unrelenting than Bruce Wayne would be. I must say that Professor Pyg is as funny as he is crazy, but I wish I could get the disco striptease that he performed for Robin out of my head. Frank Quitely delivers rich expressive art that look like something out of a Tim Burton movie. This book is pretty damn good, so go out and get it.

8/10

Wolverine: Weapon X #4

Written by Jason Aaron

Art by Ron Garney

wolverineweaponx04

Alright all you Sniktbubs, its time to review another Wolvie book, in fact this is the only good Wolverine book since his son took over the other one. Logan continues his assault against the revival of the Weapon X program and has to fight against Super Soldiers with laser claws. If you like action and fighting and blood and hairy guys this is the comic for you. Logan is working his way up the Weapon X ladder on a quest to kill everyone so he doesn’t have to deal with anyone else like himself. The lead up parts are done with and now I feel that it’s going to be mostly action that we see here and its just going to get more intense into the next issue. Overall it was a good read.

7/10

Secret Warriors #7

Written by Jonathan Hickman

Art by Alessandro Vitti

secretwarriors07

The wonderful new series is continuing to kick ass and take names, and then kick more ass. Not only does this issue start off with some action but also you will be cracking up after seeing the demands on a certain banknote on the 2nd page of the book. Nick Fury is back in full swing and wants to start up and underground S.H.I.E.L.D to take down Baron Strucker and Norman Osborn. Nick Fury is back on Marvel’s A List for heroes now and I couldn’t be happier. The writing in this book actually took a turn for the better, due to Bendis leaving and now Hickman can do his thing in full swing. There is also a very interesting development as a an old character from the late 80s actually is going to be a major character, though I won’t say who it is for fear of spoilers…that and most of you wouldn’t remember him anyway. This issue also marks the starting point of Alessandro Vitti, who actually sets the book in a darker atmosphere and it’s not as cartoony as Caselli’s art. Pick up this issue, it’s pretty damn good, and hopefully the trade comes out soon so you can catch up with the previous stuff.

9/10

Until next time.

– Matt Dunford (Your comic book guy)