27 November, 2010

X-Men #5

            This series has been “disappointingly average.” When two things like mutants and vampires are out together in the same arc, and the mutants are X-Men, I get high expectations. If this arc isn’t great then I am discouraged. So far that is exactly what this series has been, and I have been disappointed.
            In this issue the vampires siege Utopia. Cyclops puts all of his “hard skinned” people out front. Like Emma Frost, Colossus, Ice Man, and archangel. Cyclops also stays out side, and all the other people go inside. The vampires then release the vampired Wolverine. Cyclops then reveals that he temporarily shut down Wolverine’s healing gene, but then he turns it back on, and gets the vampirism out of him. So the mutants beat the vampires. Then Dracula comes back and takes control of the vampires.
            This is a good issue. In X-Men 3: the last stand there was a moment where they were about to battle the brother hood where it felt like the movie was holding its breath. This issue had the exact same feeling before the vampires. It’s hard to do that in a comic, but Gischler did it very well. Other than that the comic was almost entirely a fight scene, but a very entertaining fight scene. Except when Xarus lost, his defeated attitude and expressions really showed that he felt powerless. I still don’t know what happened to Janus, I expected him to show up around issue two or three, but I still just have no idea what happened to him. It’s a loose end that no one has tied up, if he appears now it will be pointless because he was on the run from Xarus, and now he’s not in charge any more, so I just don’t know about him.
            This arc isn’t over yet, but now I’m genuinely exited for the next couple issues, and the next arc. I wouldn’t call this a must buy issue, but it’s definitely in that range.

Grade: 8/10
Buy at: www.mycomicshop.com

25 November, 2010

Detective comics #870

          I've really enjoyed this arc, it showed the mayhem of what the Joker, or even someone who was joker gassed can be. The last couple of issues have been fantastic, they've been nearly perfect. I've liked David Hine for a while, because of his work with Batman and his villains, but he has out done himself.
          In this issue the "Impostor War" is on its last day. War has broken out in the fair that Winslow Heath set up. Batman goes and hunts down the Impostor Batman. He fights him and then rips off his mask, revealing that he is Winslow Heath/Impostor Joker. Heath says "I found that spot when I was exploring the rooftops. I used to climb around up there where it's quiet, away from the crowds and the hustle. No one else ever went up there, just me and Beth, we'd get stoned...I was planning to ask her to spend the rest of her life with me." That is when the Joker gassed him and Beth. Batman rescued Heath, but no one noticed Beth. The two survived because of some drugs they took, but Beth was hidden and frozen, as the birds fed off of her, while she was still alive. He blames Batman "We're collateral damage. You're the reason [the Joker] comes to Gotham. You're the reason they all come. The impostor Joker escapes and goes home to the skeleton of Beth.
           This is a great issue. Hine really pulled the watch the world burn thing down. I especially liked how Winslow Heath was the Impostor Joker, and the Impostor Batman, he just wanted to see the world burn. As I've said before the art in this is amazing, not because it's especially good, but it captures the insanity of the Impostor War, it's even better now that Winslow Heath was trying to accomplish just that. The part with Beth I thought was done very well because that combined with Joker gas, and a little bit of being awake during a coma, is enough to make someone crazy. Although I didn't like the "you bring the Joker here" bit, because like in Superman #705 I've seen it so many times before. While I do know with thousands of Batman stories, and it's probably getting hard not to recycle things, but those past two events have been constant themes in series of comics, and each time the authors think it's going to be as shocking as last time. My last complaint with this issue is that Winslow Heath being the Impostor Batman was really predictable. So I wouldn't say this issue is a must buy, just a check it out if you have nothing to do. Although if you've been a fan of the series then pick it up.          

Grade: 7/10
Buy at: www.mycomicshop.com

21 November, 2010

Superman #705

         The first issue in this series was outstanding, the second one was bad, (I must admit I never read the third one) and the fourth one was on the worse side of okay.  That is just a let down, the first issue showed so much promise for this year long arc, but no matter what issue I've read I've been disappointed.
        In this issue Superman is walking through Illinois. While in Chicago some people tell him that he is a loaded weapon, and they're scared of him. He then goes to meet Lois in a park, and one girl follows him. When Superman goes to sleep he dreams about Metropolis in flames, with a giant monster, and a voice saying "if you can't save them all, what's the point in saving any of them?"The voice belonged to the girl that has been following him. When Superman wakes up his face is bruised. After putting on some makeup he goes and walks through Mt. Prospect. Where a little boy tries to defend his mother from his abusive father. The father throws and locks the boy into the basement. Using his super hearing Superman heard the boy, breaks into the house and arrests the father. He gives the boy a number to call everyday, and leave a message, and if he doesn't call one day, he's coming back to see what's wrong.
       The first part of this comic would have been shocking and touching if it weren't for the fact that I've seen it so many times before. That is the classic problem with Superman he's too powerful, and why Straczynski decided to devote an entire monologue to it is beyond me. Two or three panels would have been sufficient. Those two pages would have been better devoted to the family with the abusive father. I absolutely loved the part with the boy, it was touching, powerful, entertaining, and in the same genera of problem that made Superman #701 so good. Crowds that are against superheroes, I've seen it many before. Psychic dream, again I've seen it many times before. But taking an all to real situation like an abusive father, and show people that this is a problem, not very often. It takes superheroes and puts them into the selfless situation they were made for, with out being juvenile. There is one thing that all of the grounded issues have done right. The covers have all been great. Simple and eye catching, and this issue was no exception.
        So, this issue wasn't great, but it does show promise that Grounded may become great again.

Grade: 7/10
Buy at: www.mycomicshop.com

Hellboy Double Feature of Evil #0

          I've always liked Hellboy, but I've always wanted to like him more. I've read a couple one-shots, and some of his graphic novels/anthologies, and I always enjoyed them, just not as much as I thought I would. My two favorite genera of comic are horror and superhero, and Hellboy is both. But the whole Hellboy operation was just a let down for me. But I picked up this issue anyway hoping it would change my mind.
          In this issue Hellboy investigates two cases. In the first case a man comes to Hellboy and says his house is making him kill people. He describes how a man gave him the house and some money as a gift, and after the first night he slept in the house, he got a craving to kill people. So every time he killed people money would come down the stairs. There is a portrait near the stairs, and both the guy and Hellboy think it's his money coming down the stairs every time. So Hellboy goes up into the room, and after the man pushes him in, Hellboy sees the guy who's portrait is on the wall doing some magic stuff. A huge block of gold comes down the stairs and kills the first guy. Hellboy runs out of the room, rips open some floor boards, where he finds a heart. (most likely the heart of the house) he stabs it and the house explodes. In the second story, a man who works in the gift shop at a museum thinks he's an ancient Egyptian priest of Horus, and he's holding someone hostage in the museum, when Hellboy comes the "priest of Horus" gets scared and runs into the wrong temple, and prays to the wrong god, who has an alligator head. The god by the name of Sabek eats him.
         This was a great issue, and what I've been waiting for. This is the perfect combination of Horror and Superhero. Especially the first story which had murdering, someone going crazy, and the sorcerer. Those three things are always good in a horror, or more specifically a Hellboy. It was by no means a perfect story, but it really had a good... horror feel to it. I was disappointed not to ee Mike Mignola drawing the book. He was part of the reason I originally started with Hellboy, because his unique style was fantastic (to say the least.) The second story was so much shorter than the other, so no one can expect much plot development it's all pretty much one scene, although I though him running into the wrong temple (while it did feel like one of the old horror comics that I love very much) looked kind of like "okay let's end this quickly."  That story I wasn't a fan of, and if those stories in  separate comics, I would probably be very angry after reading the second one. But while I read it I was still impressed with the first story, so that was okay. I wouldn't call this a musty buy, but definitely check it out.

Grade: 7.5/10
Buy at: www.mycomicshop.com

18 November, 2010

Amazing Spiderman #648

          Amazing Spiderman has only been a decent series, the last arc was an improvement but it still wasn't enough to make this a great series. Spiderman is one of the more brilliant characters ever developed, and the only reason I've stayed with Amazing Spiderman as long as I have is purely because of the character, not the stories or the writing.
          In this issue Spiderman leads the Avengers into a city full of Dr. Octopus giant robots.But this is all a diversion for Chamilion and Electro to brake into an army base and plant some weird Doc Oc toys. Doctor Octopus then sets all of the giant robots to explode, and while Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic are trying to figure out what to do, Peter Parker (science wiz) figures it out. Michelle moves out of her apartment, and by doing so also kicks Peter out. At Raft Maximum Security Prison they are ripping the Venom from it's host for examination, and Peter gets a job at Horizon. Also Fisk sends the Hobgoblin to Horizon.
           I don't even know where to begin when I'm trying to describe how good this issue was. This is the issue I have been waiting for. The issue where Marvel says, here is Spiderman, here is Peter Parker, here is his life. Mainly what Marvel did was give structure to Spiderman again. While trying to make him relatable Marvel only succeded in making him complicated. He was hated by the mayor, an out of work photogropher, the whole thing with MJ, plus the whole thing with Michele and all of the evolving villains, somewhere along that road I just stopped caring. But now that his life is put back together I'm very happy. I also like that the "nerdy" part of Peter Parker is being shown again, it disappeared for a while, and with it part of Spiderman, but like many other things this issue, it's back. This issue also established a couple main villains are back in action, like Venom and Hobgoblin, and the little bit in here about Green Goblin. Besides that the writing in this was really good, and the art was extremely well done. This was a funny, happy issue, and I'm going to put it on the must buy list.

Grade: 10/10
Buy at: www.mycomicshop.com

14 November, 2010

Justice Society of America #44

          I know I haven't reviewed a Justice Society of America for a while, but that's because I skipped the whole "Star Heart" thing. If you look back on my archive of reviews you will see Justice League of America #45 which I absolutely hated. Coincidently it was the lead up to the whole Star Heart event, so I skipped the whole arc. However, before that arc, there was an arc about the Fourth Reich, and I loved that story line, so that's why I didn't just drop the Justice Society all together.
       In this issue Jay Garrick announces that he will retire soon because he had just been elected mayor in his town. But Alan Scott won't let him. Mean while Mr. Terrific keeps taking IQ tests and his score is gradually falling. Then the entire JSA  is called into battle because some super powered terrorist breaks out of a CIA prison in Afghanistan. Green Lantern goes to arrest the man/thing but the terrorist ends up knocking him down. Thats when everything breaks. Dr. Fate puts Green Lantern in a hospital, and the rest of the team beats the terrorist, but in doing that they destroyed the city, and then we find Green Lantern is paralyzed from the hips down.
        I'm just going to say right out front that this is a great issue and I would conceder it a must buy. The writing and story were both great, and the art was "iffy" at first but then improve ten fold. I really loved the idea of the terrorist winning. It pretty much took 9/11 and threw it into a comic book. Now something like that could have easily been overdone or underdone, but Marc Guggenheim did it perfectly, so that you can see the resemblance, and still have it be a good story. I'm not really a fan of the fact that Mr. Terrific's intelligence is going down, because that would just ruin the character, and this is one of those moment where I'm just waiting for them to fix it. It's kind of like a "made you look" kind of thing. It happens more than I would like. Besides that my only other complaint is not using more of the JSA members, like Dr. Midnight. Especially him, because I really think that having a medical person around during the time where Alan Scott gets paralyzed would have been better. Actually that's what I thought was going to happen because Dr. Midnight is even on the cover of the comic. I'm very exited for the rest of this arc, especially because the end of this issue leads to so many more opportunities. Now the world is going to turn against the JSA and even though I've seen that before, combining that with the terrorist winning and you have a really good arc.
            Like I said before this is a MUST BUY.

Grade: 9.5/10
Buy at: www.mycomicshop.com

07 November, 2010

Ragman #1

              Frankly, I don't know why DC decided to make a One-Shot right now, unless they are planning on making an ongoing series. To be honest, I had never heard of Ragman until the announcement of the One-Shot but I thought the catch phrase: Suit of Souls was pretty cool so I decided to pick up the issue.
              In the one-shot  a guy named Roy Regan walks into a Rabbi's office and asks "How does someone hate... [themselves] so much?" After some conversation between Roy and the Rabbi, Roy reveals that he is a superhero named Ragman, the defender of the Jews. He was created because the Golem (from the jewish myths) didn't have a soul and was ruthless. Roy's father was the previous Ragman, but he never told Roy about where they came from,  their history, and he didn't even say they were Jewish until Roy was 16. So roy naturally asked why?  Since the Ragman can take evil  souls and make them a patch in his suit, (so they can redeem them selves and go to heaven) he goes back and talks to someone his father captured. A stormtrooper named Jaegar Brandt. Jaegar explains the situation and then finally goes to heaven. I can't say what he said without having this be a major spoiler, but I can say what Roy learned at the end: He stopped being Ragman... [but] he never stopped being a hero.
              When I finished this book I was at a loss for words. One of the best issues I've ever read. Ragman is a tear jerking master piece. Batman has been known as the one of, if not the best comic book character ever created, and that is because of his dark past, so that mixed with moral dilemmas made him such an interesting character. Ragman has that and more. Christos Gage has only been writing comic for around five years, but I've never seen anything like this. Ragman is a fantastic character, but that isn't the only reason this comic was so good. It was written like a dream. The writing drew me into the story and kept me there. I do have to admit that Ragman is a lot like Batman, dad killed in front of him. But while Bruce Wayne is always trying prove himself to his father, Roy Regan is trying to find out why his father did the things he did. Even though it's not as sad as Bruce Wayne's story it's still sad.
               I see so much potential in this character DC must make this an ongoing series. I have searched recent reviews of this issue and the popular rating for this issue is "mediocre" which I flat out disagree with. This is one of the best comics I've ever read, and this is a must buy. There wasn't a dull moment in the issue, and the part with the stormtrooper was one of the best moments in pop culture history. While I respect that other people disagree with me, I say this was a perfect issue. Oh... and I also have to mention that the art/cover were both done beautifully. Buy this issue, and I sincerely hope that DC makes this an ongoing series.

Grade: 10/10
Buy at: www.mycomicshop.com

04 November, 2010

Bruce Wayne the Road Home: Ra's al Ghul #1

              I've wanted Bruce Wayne to come back since the moment he was gone, I will admit that I've been a little biased against Dick Grayson being Batman, but that's because He's Not Batman. There are a couple things in the comics world that should never change, the secret identity of Superman, getting rid of the Guardians, and killing (kind of) Batman. I'm happy that when Dick Grayson was Batman, the writers didn't try to make him like Bruce Wayne, they made him his own Batman, but sometimes they tried a little to hard, like getting rid of the Bat-Cave, and instead having a Bat-Bunker, and also changing the Bat-Mobil, things like that, which are harmless, sometimes seem like DC is trying to hard to make Dick Grayson his own person. Although, I do like the new Robin, as I said in my review of "Superman/Batman #77" I really think that Damian Wayne is a good Robin, and in the direction that the writers are going. Damien Wayne is the perfect way to give a new Batman a new Robin, and still have both of the characters have Bruce Wayne lurking the back of there minds.
            In this issue Ra's al Ghul sends the new Gray Ghost out to kill Vicki Vale, but he's stopped by some robotic Batman. When Vale finds some cops, she also finds that they've also been paid by Ra's to kill her, but they are also stopped by the robotic Batman. When Vicki Vale finally gets back to her apartment Ra's al Ghul is waiting for her, with a sword in his hand. The robotic Batman gets there and steps in front of Ra's, and takes off his helmet revealing that he's Bruce Wayne, Ra's goes away for reasons I can't fathom, and then there is a whole shtick with Bruce and Vicki.
            This issue has been titled wrong, it should not be Bruce Wayne the Road Home: Ra's al Ghul, it should be Bruce Wayne the Road Home:Vicki Vale. To be honest I had no idea that Bruce Wayne was actually going to be in the Road Home one shots, so I only bought Ra's al Ghul because I like his character, especially his sophistication, I got no Ra's, but I did get Bruce, which is better. I thought DC was waiting for the new Dark Knight series to really bring Wayne back, but I guess not. I don't think Scott McDaniel was the right choice for the art in this issue. He does work in the most recent Detective comics arc because it reflected what happened in the story, but for this issue I would have picked, someone more like David Finch, who has a darker drawing style.
             Even though I thought the reason Ra's left was (to be perfectly frank) bogus, Nicieza really did a good job with the character, he was just smart, tough, and "gentlemanly" enough to be a good Ra's al Ghul. Several times writers will make him too much of an action hero, or too much of a wise guy, but this was a happy medium.

Grade: 7/10
Buy at: www.mycomicshop.com