This week in comics (9-4-09)

Has it been a week already? What a wacky week it’s been, I guess that I’ll just have to get used to life under our new Disney overlords making a darker dark reign over at Marvel. So I’ll have to put on my little mouse ears and make sure Mickey likes my reviews.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #2

Written by Brian Michael Bendis

Art by David Lafuente

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Last month I was raving about how the new ultimate Spider-Man was the hit of the week, but it seems that our hit has turned into a big miss this time around. The previous issue offered some great writing and hideous art, but I still gave it a 9 out of 10. The issue showed us life in New York half a year after ultimatum, where the city loved Spider-Man, Peter is working a new dead end job, but is compensating for it by going out with Gwen. The story got much more intriguing when the Kingpin returned from his exile and contemplated his ascension to the top of New York’s crime syndicate, (watch out spoilers ahead avoid the next few lines) had his plans and his life ended at the hands of a mysterious mystical mystery villain, by whom I am referring to Mysterio. Then we find that an exhausted and confused Johnny Storm appearing on the front door of the Parker residence and collapses, not to mention the new red hooded crime fighter that is taking away work from Spider-Man. (End of spoilers). The first issue really got me into it and I was impressed, but this time around not so much. I cannot stress enough on how bad this art is. This is the worst art outside of Howard Chaykin, the body portions are terrible, and Spidey’s head is almost the size of the rest of his body. If you were a fan of Bagley’s art in the original Ultimate Spider-Man, you will cringe at the sight of what he has done to Kong, so to make it easier on you I will just tell. Lafuente gave Kong a purple Mohawk and an eyebrow piercing and dressed him up in emo clothes. So I guess that’s the best way to display that you are big time football player… Another art gripe I have is that no one can display anger with open eyes. Everyone closes their eyes when they are mad, as if everyone in the book is using emoticons or something. Well enough of me griping about the bad art let me get onto the bad writing. Half of this book is just Mysterio talking to himself about this great plan he has to take over the world. This is really unnecessary and pointless, in fact its reminiscent of Stan Lee’s dialogue in his post-Ditko Spider-Man books, it way too wordy and normal people (without mental problems) don’t talk aloud like that. Usually the visuals can tell the story for you, but I think Bendis knew what he was getting into here with Lafuente on the art, so he took it upon himself to overextend the dialogue in order to compensate for his lame visuals. So I guess that is understandable. And the new villains here (ugh) don’t get me started on the Bombshells. Villains who blow up stuff aren’t cool, its just Michael Bay in comic book form. Avoid this book, it sucks I had hopes but they have been dashed. I guess there is no such thing as a good Spider-Man book anymore.

4/10

Chew #4

Written by John Layman

Art by Rob Guillory

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Chew, what can I say about Chew? Each issue has been a mix of insanity and hilarity and this issue just continues that wonderful trend. This issue takes a break from the chicken prohibition and instead takes Tony Chu and Mason Savoy to an observatory in the middle of the Antarctica to investigate the death of U.S senator with chicken found in his digestive track. So Chu and Savoy head on over to this observatory to find out what the overfunded scientists with too much free time are doing, and trust me the truth is quite disgusting and funny. That is what I love about this book; it grosses me out and makes me laugh at the same time. Not since Marvel Zombies (the original not the Van Lente garbage) have I had this mix hit me. This book is so entertaining despite it’s over the top storyline. The art is very goofy but it fits in perfectly with the storyline, because a comic with a plot like this needs an art style that can hold slapstick humor and cannibalism. Check out Chew it is awesome, but if you don’t feel like checking it out the TPB will probably be out within a few months so you can have all 5 stories in one collection then. So that might help satisfy your appetite for entertainment (no pun intended).

8/10

Guardians of the Galaxy #17

Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning

Art by Brad Walker

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The War of Kings is over and what do we have left? A big rip in the space-time continuum (or is it time-space continuum), and it’s up to the Guardians of the Galaxy to fix it. As with any rip in the fabric of time, immediately huge squid-like monsters start spewing out into their realm. Does is always have to be squid-like monsters, why not hamster-like monsters? The story itself is solid, and is actually necessary here. Most big events just end without their repercussions being addressed but guardians pick up right were the story leaves off, and take it upon themselves to clean up the mess of the big war. The story is mainly fighting, but it does have a lot more redeeming qualities. This story shows that there is much more depth to Groot than actually appears, but then again every giant tree-man is always hiding a big secret. Guardians has been going through a lot of artists lately, and this new guy Brad Walker is pretty decent but there are still some flaws. One of the noticeable flaws is the elongated facial structure that he seems to be afflicting everyone. I find it a little distracting when I see that all the characters have a horse-face and ugly chins, with the exception of Rocket Raccoon for obvious reasons. I won’t give any spoilers here but the ending focuses on a big change that’s coming up for Adam Warlock and even I have no clue what is going on, so I am eager to see what happens next. Go pick it up and get over your Cosmo-phobia.

8/10

Invincible Iron Man #17

Written by Matt Fraction

Art by Salvador Larroca

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One question has been on my mind for the past year now. “WILL TONY STARK EVER STOP RUNNING?” Ever since Dark Reign began, he’s been running from this, running from that, and giving up everything he has in the process. This issue opens with the results of the big fight between Pepper Potts and Madam Masque in the middle of the Russian tundra, and then returns to Tony Stark on the run from the law, boy I sure haven’t seen that before. This issue hits a little deeper than the previous ones, because it shows exactly how far Tony has fallen, and how much he is suffering. For all you female fans out there, Tony has his beard back no more of that clean-shaven lame look. In this issue Tony is not the star of the show, I found that the best part of the book was the interaction because Black Widow and Maria Hill. Hill’s paranoia is growing steadily and is become more and more desperate to find Captain America so he can help Tony. The writing here is still solid and consistent, but not really rising above a B grade. The art by Salvador Larroca has improved a bit since the previous issue and I am enjoying the emotion that he is giving the characters. My big gripe is still with his art on Norman Osborn. Once again he still looks like he is in his 20s, he needs to look 55. I will keep saying it until things change.

8/10

Son of Hulk #14

Written by Paul Jenkins

Art by Andres Guinaldo

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So Hulk has 2 kids now?!?! So for all you Planet Hulk fans can rejoice because Hulk has another son who is actually more like his mother, although his origin has yet to be explained. This issue is follows the refugees of Sakaar after their planet was devoured by Galactus. I really don’t have a lot to say about this issue, because it mainly just focuses on fighting with the inhabitants of the new planet they landed on. However I do think that that an explanation for all this warring will be explained soon. Even though Hiro-Kala is a fresh into the book, he already wants everyone in the universe to call him God because he possesses the old power. Oh I can already imagine the fight that’s going to go down when he comes across his brother and his dad. The art featured here is very gritty and dark, almost like a Leinil Yu drawing but it works out well for the most part. I liked this issue, but I expected more, and I am certain that I will see more in the months to come.

7/10

Incognito #6

Written by Ed Brubaker

Art by Sean Phillips

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The conclusion to the Ed Brubaker’s latest pulp story has finally arrived, so what do I make of this issue? Well for one thing I adore the Brubaker and Phillips noir stories that are dark and have a lot of 4 letter words that can’t be said in other comics. As I’ve said before in my reviews I think Brubaker has been slipping in his writing lately and Incognito has been further proof there. I felt in previous issues that Incognito was just a lesser attempt at Sleeper, but unlike Sleeper, Incognito didn’t hook me in. I must say that this was one of the better issues of Incognito. Anyone who knows Brubaker’s writing style knows that he always pulls things from the past back to haunt you. Here all the mysteries get explained and a big fight between the good guys and the bag guys goes down. Incognito #6 was probably the best book of this week but I wanted more from this series. It wasn’t very different from Sleeper and I want something new. Overall the series was good but not all that it could have been. Fortunately Brubaker will start back on Criminal next month, so we can all look forward to that.

8/10

Until next time.

– Matt Dunford “Your comic book guy”.