Zilla and the Comics Junkies

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Uncensored's single issue reviews for the week of January 11, 2006

Well I managed to scrape together enough cash to pick up a few issues today. Most of them were released on December 28, in fact, all of them were, with the exception of one.

New Avengers #14
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciled by: Frank Cho
Published by: Marvel

Last issue, Spider-Woman let Madame Hydra go. Captain America figured out that she must be a double agent, and confronts her, so Spider-Woman spends this entire issue explaining her entire situation to Cap.

So, questions that were originally brought up in New Avengers #3 and Giant Sized Spider-Woman are finally answered; and to be honest, it’s rather underwhelming. Jessica (Drew)’s motives are, at best, predictable. I won’t give it away, but it would have been nice if she actually her own agenda, for once. I am rather surprised at just how much info is given in this issue though, as it’s not Bendis’ usual style.

Frank Cho’s artwork isn’t exactly up to par with his usual work, it looks a bit rushed; which surprises me since his two-issue run on NA was announced way back in the summer, so it’s not like he didn’t have plenty of time to work on it.

There’s one amusing moment in the book… As of late many fans have been complaining about Jessica being featured with massive melons since NA began, since she had small potatoes previous. On a page where she is on an operating table, being given her powers back, there is, beside her, what appear to be silicone implants on a table.

This issue was for the most part, a dud. All of this could have been easily explained ages ago, at the very least, before the (pointless) “Ronin” arc. This book is dangerously close to being removed from my pull list.

Rating: ** out of *****

All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder #3
Written by: Frank Miller
Penciled by: Jim Lee
Cover by: Frank Miller (yes, I got the 1-in-10 variant, which cost me $10)
Published by: DC

In a seedy Gotham City bar we meet Black Canary, who is the recipient of various pick up lines, and other comments regarding her smoking-hot body. In an environment like this, she is a ticking time bomb waiting to go off. Meanwhile, The Goddamn Batman and Dick Grayson are still in the Batmobile, which apparently is not only a car and a jet, but also a submarine.

I swear, for some reason I will never ever drop this series, and will buy anything relating to it—erm, anyway. This issue mostly focuses on Black Canary for… some reason. It’s not a particularly bad thing either, her scene reads (as was clearly written this way intentionally) like something out of Sin City. The dialogue, narration, paneling, and action are straight out the film noir side of Miller’s brain; in fact, during that entire scene, I read the narration using Clive Owen’s (as Dwight McCarthy) voice in my head.

This part of the book is great, and while I’m a fan of Jim Lee’s work, I must say I wish he wasn’t penciling it. Don’t get me wrong, he draws the bar scene as well as he draws anything else, and damn, did he go all out for Black Canary. But I just feel this type of story would’ve benefited from Frank Miller’s pencils more; anything else would be like another artist trying to draw Sin City, it just wouldn’t work.

We see very little of Batman and Dick in this issue, which is a bit unusual. It almost feels like much more of them had been written into the story, but was removed for some reason, and quickly replaced with the Sin Canary scenario. This theory is strengthened by the fact that there is some bad continuity happening here; at the end of the issue, immediately after Batman & Dick dive underwater in the Submobile, we get the caption “FIFTEEN HOURS AGO” a character (revealing who it is would be a spoiler) sees Dick Grayson’s face on a milk carton. So, they’ve been riding around in the Batmobile for fifteen hours!? And how does a kid’s face end up on a milk carton immediately after he’s kidnapped!?

All that aside, this was a good issue, and substantially better than the last two (horrendous continuity errors aside), I have a feeling this book will only improve more as the series goes on. Now, if only it would release on a steady schedule.

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

Daredevil #80
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciled by: Alex Maleev
Published by: Marvel

Daredevil has been shot. His formerly-estranged wife, Milla, hears television reports that he has in fact, been killed. Acting on a request from DD, Black Widow finds Milla with the intention of getting her out of the country, but Milla insists she be taken to see her husband. Meanwhile, Elektra has brought Matt to a woman known as “The Night Nurse”, who treats costumed heroes discreetly.

The legendary, redefining, Eisner-winning run on Daredevil by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev is almost at its end, and what a way to go. As usual, Bendis gives us very human characters, characters that the reader can easily become attached to; from the endearing, vulnerable Milla Donovan (Matt’s wife), who I very much hope will not be faded out of the Daredevil supporting cast, to the ever persistent Black Widow, who will do anything for Matt, because he means that much to her, Elektra, being mysterious as always, and the motivations behind her actions rarely ever being clear from the start.

Ben Urich’s loyalty to Matt is heavily tested in this issue, not in exactly the most original scenario, but it still works well to show us just how strong he values their friendship. Unfortunately though, it ended up being all for nothing.

This arc has been moving at a quick pace, unfolding very much in a similar matter to an action thriller, such as Murder At 1600. It works very well for this story, and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat, in eager anticipation of what’s going to happen next. Bendis has gone balls to the wall with this story, and hopefully his finale next issue will be a worthy end to not only a great arc, but a great 60 or so issue run.

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

Ultimate Extinction #1 (of 6)
Written by: Warren Ellis
Penciled by: Brandon Peterson
Published by: Marvel

Several characters (Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Mahr Vehl, Carol Danvers, Sam Wilson, and Nick Fury) gather at S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters to discuss the coming of Gah Lak Tus, Reed has built a simulation of what exactly will happen when the planet-killing entities arrive on Earth. Elsewhere, Misty Knight, a private detective, has been hired to track down a man who is convincing middle-ages housewives to fund his cult.

This is the third and final mini series is the Ultimate Galactus trilogy, and I have to be honest, I haven’t read the first two. This issue is really, rather uneventful. We’re given a rather explicit picture of what will happen when Gah Lak Tus arrives on Earth—but I find myself wondering, why do we need to see this? I understand the importance of it for the characters in this situation, but I think it would have more impact on the reader to see it first-hand, without having any previous expectations. I’d say the biggest moment of the issue is an unexpected appearance of a classic Marvel character; expected given the nature of the story, unexpected, given his role in the issue.

Brandon Peterson’s pencils are, as usual, nothing special. There’s nothing particularly wrong with his style, it just doesn’t stand out that much. What does stand out though, is the blatantly obvious computer colouring used, it gives everything a rather nice, polished (yet almost artificial) look to it. And, as typical with many Marvel books these days, the cover really doesn’t have anything to do with the events of the issue (it depicts Gah Lak Tus landing on Earth, which doesn’t happen), but then again, it’s purpose is to sell the book.

The mini has promise; it could end up being a great series, providing something actually happens. Unfortunately though, too little happens in this issue, starting the series off at a snails’ pace.

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

She-Hulk 2 #3/100
Written by: Dan Slott
Penciled by: Juan Bobillo
Cover by: Greg Horn
Published by: Marvel

She-Hulk is on temporal trial for her attempting to change Hawkeye’s fate last issue. She has pleaded guilty, and so her sentencing begins; the prosecution is requesting she be blanked out of existence, so the defense brings in several character witnesses from various periods of time to prove that She-Hulk is too important to be erased from history. This is the 100th issue of She-Hulk published, so as a bonus, there are reprints of Savage She-Hulk #1 and Sensational She-Hulk #1.

This is the first issue of this series I wasn’t particularly fond of. The story, and especially the flashbacks, is told in an over the top Silver Age comic book style, which is almost absurd when compared to the serious tone of most modern day stories. I suppose this was done as an homage to the classic She-Hulk comics, but it’s not something I enjoy reading; this is 2006, not 1976. Furthermore the exploits depicted aren’t particularly interesting either, which is a shame because these are apparently not events from previous issues, but new tales written set during various periods of Marvel history. Slott could’ve used this opportunity to set some great events in the She-Hulk mythos, but did not; and as such, it feels like a missed opportunity.

Lots of guest artists are on this issue, and I mean lots. Not as many as the recent Witchblade #92 (which had 14), but still enough to break the continuity of the sequential art. I’ve always found it distracting (and at times, irritating) when several pencilers work on a single issue, as I get accustomed to the style of one artist on a story. Sometimes it’s not as noticeable if the artists have similar styles, but when you see Juan Bobillo’s art on a book, you’re not going to see anyone else whose style looks even remotely similar; his art is just that unique.

I’m probably not the best person to judge this issue, because I’m sure by many other peoples’ standards, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. But for the type of reader I am and the type of stories I want to read, this just doesn’t work. I didn’t read the two reprinted issues in the book for that very fact that they’re silver age books, and my last experience trying to read issues from that era (Giant Size Spider-Woman #1) left a bad taste in my mouth.

No Rating.

That’s it for now, later on this month expect to see reviews of All-Star Superman #2, Infinite Crisis #4 (of 7), Spider-Woman: Origin #2 (of 5), The Pulse #13, Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil That Men Do #5 & 6 (of 6) and various others.


16 January, 2006 13:01, Blogger zilla said...

i felt that all-star batman and robin was pretty hokey in issue #1 (and i didn't really like the way batman or robin was written) and didn't give it much of a chance after that... has it changed at all through 3 issues? I'm wondering if i should give it another shot...

i also disagree w/ you a bit on NA. i was thinking that NA was going down the tubes a few issues before this latest one, but felt that #14 added some intelligence. not great by any stretch but...

16 January, 2006 16:20, Blogger Christopher Green said...

Batman & Robin hasn't really changed that much as far as the characters go, I just found that issue 3 was vastly better because Miller basically wrote it in a style he does very well.


Post a Comment

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