Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Occasional Reviews - The Big Batch

Marvel Comics Presents #1
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Rating: A-
In A Nutshell: anthology book with serialized & one-shot stories featuring characters like Hellcat, Spider-Man, and The Thing.
Pros: The Spider-Man "Unfriendly Neighborhood" one-shot story by Stuart Moore & Clayton Henry is Grant Morrison-level good and worth the price of the comic. Nelson's Thing story is very sweet and also a must-read.
Cons: The serialized story "Vanguard" by Marc Guggenheim & Dave Wilkins wasn't strong enough to start the book, and its lack of an identifiable superhero may discourage the casual browser to delve further into the issue. And the "Weapon Omega" story, while OK for a regular comic, didn't have the "prestige" factor I think is necessary for the "Marvel Fanfare" nature of this title.
Would I buy another issue? Yes

Potter's Field #1
Publisher: Boom Studios
Rating: B
In A Nutshell: A mysterious detective who specializes in identifying John & Jane Does buried in Potter's Field investigates a kidnapping.
Pros: I've always identified writer Mark Waid with capes -and-tights stories & it's neat to see him do a gritty crime drama.
Cons: The color palette is relentlessly & monotonously murky and it overwhelms & absorbs the art.
Would I buy another issue? No, but if it continues to be well-reviewed I might buy the trade.

Franklin Richards Monster Mash One-Shot
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Rating: A+ for kids, C for adults
In A Nutshell: A series of cute stories featuring Franklin Richards and his trusty robot HERBIE.
Pros: This is the perfect comic to give a child and introduce him or her to the Marvel U. It's adorable.
Cons: This book skews really young, and not in a way that easily crosses over to adult readership.
Special Note: This book looks a LOT like "Calvin & Hobbes." Especially Reed.

Justice League Of America #13
Publisher: DC Comics
Rating: B-
In A Nutshell: Picks up the action from "JLA The Wedding Party," with the Injustice League squaring off against the JLA.
Pros: Dwayne McDuffie's writing. The banter between John Stewart & Black Lightning is a highlight: "Although I do miss your Afro."
Cons: The art by Joe Benitez is like a cross between Michael Turner & Todd McFarlane. There is not enough characterization or variety in facial expressions. The line weight of the inking is thin enough that it often gets overwhelmed by the coloring. And the ending was weak.
Would I buy another issue? Yes, but I really wish Mike McKone or somebody like him was drawing this book.

Bizarre New World #1-3
Publisher: Ape Entertainment
Rating: A+
In A Nutshell: An ordinary Joe Schmoe gets the ability to fly in the "real world." Hijinks ensue.
Pros: This miniseries was a real find; believable & witty story, great art, and a unique handling of the subject matter. The sequence in #2 about real scientific explanations for human flight is very worth checking out.
Cons: Probably not enough people have heard of this book, so pass the word along.
If you can't find the issues at your store, you can order them here.

Iron Man #22
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Rating: B+
In A Nutshell: Continuing the events from last issue, Tony Stark investigates the murder of Initiative operative Gadget.
Pros: There are no bells & whistles in this book, no extravagant cross-overs. Just a solid story. And I like it that way. It's nice to just enjoy the continuity of a title from issue-to-issue.
Cons: Because of the lack of bells & whistles this book might get lost in the crowd.
Would I buy another issue? Yes

The Blot
Publisher: I Will Destroy You
Rating: A
In A Nutshell: A nearly-silent graphic novel concerning one man's struggle to be an individual in a conformist world.
Pros: Tom Neely's art in this book, evocative of Golden Age source material such as Popeye and Fleischer cartoons, is hauntingly rendered. I saw a couple of panels of the graphic novel reviewed on Tom Spurgeon's site & immediately followed the link to buy it. Something that stays with you.
Cons: This is not a book for people who strictly like capes-and-tights.
If you can't find this book at your store, use this link to order

Avengers: The Initiative #6
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Rating: A
In A Nutshell: A hunt to figure out who bashed drill sergeant The Gauntlet over the head & left him in intensive care.
Pros: The ending. It's a total pisser. Classic Dan Slott.
Cons: I like Steve Uy's art but it is a little bit of a jarring change from the rest of the issues.
Would I buy another issue? Yes


  1. That Spider-man bit was fantastic. Spectacular, even Amazing.


  2. Is it wrong of me to say that I wouldn't buy an issue of Iron Man, even one that got good reviews, simply because 'Civil War' has made me so dislike the character that I don't want to give Marvel the impression that I think he's worth spending money on?

    (Aside: I almost said the issue got 'ood' reviews. Which brings to mind the image of squid-faced people holding up glowing spheres in order to deliver their reviews.)

  3. I think I enjoyed JLA #13 as much as I did (which was a whole lot) because it reminded me of the In-Character, Competent Black Canary, and of the good times that *might* have been between her and Ollie. If he hadn't gone all Plot-Hammered-OOC all of a sudden.

    Ah, In-Character Competent Black Canary. What good times we used to share.