Zilla and the Comics Junkies

Friday, December 23, 2005

Uncensored's purchases for the week of December 21, 2005

Last bunch of comics before Christmas, and there was actually a couple more than I thought there would be. Three from DC, four from Marvel. Oh Marvel, Marvel, Marvel… DC is catching up to you on my pull list. This week’s shipment at the local comic shop was delayed by a day, so I got my comics today.

Ghost Rider #4 (of 6)
Written by: Garth Ennis
Artwork by: Clayton Crain
Published by: Marvel

Okay, so this came out last week, but I forgot to pick it up, so I’m reviewing it this week…

In the aftermath of last issue, the angel Ruth has stolen Ghost Rider’s hellcycle in her pursuit of Kazaan, forcing Ghost Rider to accept a deal offered by Hoss to team up.

I must say this is probably my favourite issue in the series so far. Garth Ennis seems like he’s finally taking this story somewhere, and I actually chuckled at a few things too (Ghost Rider questioning why Ruth was on a Greyhound bus, Hoss says that Heaven is on a tight budget, since all the billionaires go to Hell). The artwork of Clayton Crain is as nice as ever, although like many others, I do have a bit of a problem with the small amount of flames on the Rider’s skull. Solid issue and I’m anticipating the next one.

Rating: **** out of *****

Green Lantern (vol. 4) #6
Written by: Geoff Johns
Penciled by: Simone Bianchi
Cover by: Ethan Van Shiver
Published by: DC

So I haven’t been enjoying this series as much as others have, but no matter.

Last issue German-speaking demons attacked a plane (Twilight Zone: The Movie style, as I mentioned last month), which happened to have The Black Hand on it. This issue sees Hal Jordan and Black Hand battling it out, while Black Hand rambles on about how death wants Jordan, and causing Jordan to flashback to making a promise to his mother that he would never join the Air Force (because his father was a pilot as well, and died if I’m not mistaken), and subsequently breaking the promise which ultimately made his mother hate him all the way to her grave.

This issue was an improvement over the last (the humanoid-like psychic Shark barely appearing), and the exploration of Hal Jordan’s past was somewhat interesting, if not slightly clichéd. The artwork was by a different artist than last issue (I’m assuming to get it out on time), and it was nice in a “drawn in pencil crayon” sort of way. End of an arc, decent issue, but not enough to keep it on my pull list.

Rating: *** out of *****

Green Lantern Corps: Recharge #3 (of 5)
Written by: Dave Gibbons & Geoff Johns
Penciled by: Patrick Gleason
Published by: DC

I must admit, I was only mildly interested in this series from the very start. To the fact that, between my lack of interest and the delays, I don’t even remember what happened in issue #2.

Green Lanterns Kyle Raynor and Guy Gardner head off against orders to save a trainee Lantern named Natu (whom Guy repeatedly makes comments about her attractiveness, which is rather difficult to see as the artwork is so god damned generic looking) who was stranded on some planet after being drawn into a black hole.

The story is somewhat interesting, and big things happen (galactic big, though a sci-fi series such as this, it’s pretty common), but the characters just feel so… Fictional. What I mean is, the way the characters interact with each other really makes you have a hard time believing in them. Guy Gardner has this tough guy (sci-fi) Vic Mackey attitude yet his dialogue is delivered in a very corny, Disney movie way. Also, Natu says that she is giving up the Ring, yet all Kyle and Guy have to do is say a couple brief things to her (respecting the memory of the former bearer and that she must be afraid, respectively) and suddenly like three panels later, she decides to keep it (it reminds me of Kung Pow, with Master saying “I’m afraid I cannot help you” and Chosen One replying “Master, I implore you to reconsider!” and Master coming around suddenly “Hmm, okay!”).

The artwork, as mentioned above, is really really badly generic, it just looks too simple, like some first-timer fresh out of a community-college art school. Overall, a mediocre story dragged down even more by poor art.

Rating: ** out of *****

Infinite Crisis #3 (of 7)
Written by: Geoff Johns (I swear he’s DC’s Bendis)
Penciled by: Phil Jimenez
Cover by: George Pérez
Published by: DC

I don’t know a lot of DC history, what I do know is from explanations in this series and from research. But even with that in mind, THIS is how you do a universe-wide event.

This issue flows along the same way the previous two have, cutting to different scenes of different heroes around the world trying to fight this disaster (as the world is seemingly, coming apart). The main focus of the issue is Earth-Two Superman trying to convince Earth-One Batman to join forces with him. But Batman is skeptical, and thus does some investigating. The issue, as with the previous two, ends with a gigantic cliffhanger that makes you go “!!!”.

I absolutely love this mini series. It’s somewhat difficult to follow to minor characters’ quests, battles and etc. But that doesn’t stop the flow of each issue and hooking you into it, genuinely anxious to get to the next page just to see what happens next. The artwork is good, Phil Jimenez truly does a great job at following in George Pérez’ legendary shoes. I love this series, and I only wish it came out biweekly so I could enjoy it more frequently. I highly recommend picking up the first three issues of this series, and following through with the remaining four. Marvel should take notes, as this is easily better than almost anything they publish.

Rating ***** out of *****

Spider-Woman: Origin #1 (of 5)
Written by: Brian Reed & Brian Michael Bendis
Penciled by: The Luna Brothers
Published by: Marvel

I bought the Giant Size Spider-Woman last summer in anticipation of Bendis & Maleev’s Spider-Woman series, premiering sometime in mid 2006. It was lame, and corny, even moreso than most comics from back then. It didn’t deter me from picking this up, even though I really don’t like the art, at all.

Jessica Drew’s origin is retconned and rewritten for the 21st century, and that’s a good thing. Her father and his associate, none other than Prof. Miles Warren (yes, that Miles Warren) have been experimenting with DNA manipulation, and a freak accident has Drew’s pregnant mother shot with a laser that manipulates DNA with properties from other spieces. In this case, a Wundagore Widow spider. Jessica is born, perfectly healthy, against all odds, but ten years down the road, her father’s priorities become a little messed up.

Apart from the anime-influenced art, this is a pretty good issue. The pacing is actually a lot quicker than most Bendis material, but not TOO fast that it becomes irritating. There’s several retcons in this in this story and not all of them specific to Jessica’s origin (Bova being human, for instance, instead of some mutant cow creature). Overall, story-wise, this is a pretty solid read.

Rating: ***1/2 out of *****

Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #1
Written by: Damon Lindelof
Penciled by: Leinil Francis Yu
Published by: Marvel

I’m the first to admit, I’m not very knowledgeable of the Ultimate universe. I’ve steered clear of it for the most part due to an irrational disliking of changing timeless heroes’ origins, and such. But lately I’ve been warming up to it, and Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk has just made me fall in love with it.

The issue begins with Wolvie ripped in half (due to the page that’s been available on forums for a while now), and tells the story in a flashback form. Nick Fury, while trying to cover up for the fact that Banner survived being executed by S.H.I.E.L.D., recruits Wolverine to clean up his mess because of his abilities, and because Xavier can’t read his mind.

This is one of the best comics I’ve read all year, the dialogue between the characters flows so nicely and actually reads like a real conversation, and easily suspends any amount of disbelief. Mr. Lindelof knows what he’s doing, and does it exceptionally well. And the artwork, love it. Dark, gritty,  it has a very nice strong look to it all. And the scenery? Absolutely beautiful. The mountains of Tibet are depicted almost as if we were looking at a photo.

Marvel, I think you’ve published the perfect single comic book issue here. Titanic talent comes right at you in every page. I only wish the book was monthly. Congratulations on a fantastic job well done.

Rating: ***** out of *****

X-Men: Deadly Genesis #2 (of 6)
Written by: Ed Brubaker
Penciled by: Trevor Hairsine
Cover by: Marc Silvestri
Published by: Marvel

The first issue showed promise, and this issue shows even more. Although I think the pacing is a little slow.

Kitty Pride and Hank McCoy are attempting to free Wolverine from military custody (they believe he was involved in “yesterday’s” space shuttle crash, since he was found in the vicinity). Eventually due to Emma Frost doing some Jedi Mind Tricks (ha ha), he’s released. We also see Scott Summers and the new Marvel Girl being held prisoner by the mysterious enemy from last issue. It is also apparent that Scott no longer has his powers, as he is visor-less and not blasting out heat rays from his eyes uncontrollably.

Overall a decent issue, the mystery of who this new enemy is is continued, as is the mystery of the seemingly horrible act that Xavier committed ages ago. The artwork is nice, Hairsine is a great choice for an Astonishing X-Men team, as he depicts the characters quite well. The only thing I’m wondering though is, the back up stories that have been featured in both issues of this series, what exactly do they have to do with the current situation? Because, it seems, at least at the moment, nothing.

Rating: ***1/2 out of *****

Well there’s this weeks mini reviews from me. I don’t know if I’ll be picking up comics next week so I’m not going to promise anything. HOWEVER! I did receive another early Christmas present today, a gift card for my local comic store. So with it, I bought the following graphic novels:

Daredevil: Yellow written by Jeph Loeb and penciled by Tim Sale, the creative team behind the amazing Batman: The Long Halloween. I can’t wait to see how they handle DD’s early days.

Dawn: Lucifer’s Halo by Joseph Michael Linsner. I must admit, I became interested in this character (who I’d heard about years ago in Wizard) simply because Linsner draws Dawn as being one of the most beautiful women in comics I’ve ever seen, and she actually has curves!

I’ll be reviewing this two graphic novels in-depth as well as several others (that I got from the library) some time over the next month or so.


23 December, 2005 09:46, Blogger zilla said...

uncensored - friggin' GREAT new post format (reads like a charm).

I totally agree w/ you on Ghost Rider, this book seems to be largely unheralded for some reason but i'm loving it. Will make one hell of a purty TP. and the art... man!

As for Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk - It is pretty good right? You and i differ a bit on the dialogue (just between fury and wolverine) but the rest of the issue is great - especially the art. that over-marketed panel of hulk ripping wolverine in half is one of the best i've ever seen... if my wife would let me i'd frame that.

ps i LOVE how you read different stuff than i do - gives us some variety around here (and keeps me looking at titles i wouldn't normally). happy holidays partner.

23 December, 2005 10:53, Blogger zilla said...

ps let me know about daredevil yellow - i loved loeb and sale in hulk gray (big time). thx.

23 December, 2005 14:39, Blogger Christopher Green said...

Hapy holidays to you too, zilla. My review format has been evololving over time but I think this might in fact become my set format, so it's awesome that you like it.

And if you haven't read Batman: The Long Halloween, I highly recomend it. I'm no Batman expert but it's hands down the best Batstory I've read so far.

23 December, 2005 15:36, Blogger zilla said...

it's on my wish list for sure my friend... don't forget to let me know how you like daredevil yellow - i love that team of loeb and sale. thx. and once again - happy holidays partner!


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In no particular order:

Criminal, The Goon, Daredevil, Exterminators, Punisher, Hellboy/B.P.R.D (All), Powers, Godland, Usagi Yojimbo, The Walking Dead, Invincible, Conan, Ex Machina, DMZ, Desolation Jones, Fell, 100 Bullets, All-Star Superman, Ultimates 2, Loveless, and Fear Agent.

I'm recently back reading after a 15 year comics hiatus.

Zilla is not my real name.

I'm from Tejas living in VA. I'm married w/ 2 dogs. I'm an IT security consultant cranking the wheel for a big consulting firm in "real" life.

I watch the History Channel, Nat'l Geo, TLC, Mil Channel, ESPN and NFL Network, CourtTV (forensic files, etc.) and the Cartoon Network (love Genndy T's Samurai Jack and Clone Wars Adventures). My taste in movies: Gladiator, Last Samurai, Braveheart, Godfather, Tarantino (whatever), Kung-Fu (whatever), Westerns, Top Gun, Big Lebowski.

I love the outdoors and bs'ing around w/ my dogs.

In addition to being a comics junkie, i'm also a sports junkie especially when it comes to the Texas Longhorns and the Dallas Cowboys.

Blog contents copyright © 2005 Rod Wetsel