Friday, September 30, 2011

Wolverine #16 – A Quick Execution

How the f**k does the baddest ass hero in comics, get one of the toughest, hard as nails, raw emotional writers in comics and turn in such a weak and lame ass issue of Wolverine. This comic was possibly the worse Wolverine stories I have ever read and I had to check it twice to make sure Jason Aaron was really the writer. Add in Goran Sudzuka turning in Sal Buscema style art with coloring from the seventies and this book was a mess from the $4 price point to the bitter end of the story.

The story was about Wolverine who has gone all feral and is running around with wolves. He went all self pitying and depressed because the Red Hand set him up to kill his own kids that he never knew existed. Evil hunters find the wolves and capture a few and shoot Logan in the head thinking they killed him. Logan gets mad, saves his wolf brothers and the children these guys had captured to be fodder for their games of wolf fights and wolf fights with kids. If only they had also been Nazis and smokers they could have been the most evil people of all time. After saving the kids everybody in the all the groups he belongs to came out to the wilderness lead by his girl friend to tell him they love and want him to come home. Interspaced are head shots of all of Logan’s friends saying what they think of him. Everyone hugs and Wolverine gets excited and pops his claws killing his girl friend. Okay the last line I made up but it would have at least given the book some edge. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Near Death #1 – A Review

Near Death #1
Writer  Jay Faerber
Art Simone Gugliemini
Color Ron Riley
Publisher Image Comics
Price Point $2.99

An assassin dies for a minute. During his “death” he visits purgatory and discovers that the afterlife does exist and in order to avoid the pangs of hell he needs to try and balance the scales. He starts his balancing act by saving the girl he was trying to kill by killing the man that was hired to finish the job he failed at. An unfortunate twist is the guy he thought he killed to save the girl is still alive and at this point in a coma or something. The employer of our “hero” wants the name of the person who screwed up this assignment. 

It all sounds a little contrived and it read a little contrived. In fact I didn’t like the ending because our central character Markham is supposed to be one of the best at his job in killing people and this last assignment that almost killed him was an aberration, so the fact that he screwed up twice in one issue felt a little too coincidental. The fact that his employer may find him out is something that could have been built over the course of the series. The flip side is with this type of book you may only get one chance to hook a reader in and this choice was one the writer made to keep readers coming back for issue #2.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Batman #1 – A Quick Rant

Scott Snyder (writer), Greg Capullo (pencils), Jonathan Glapion (ink) and FCO Plascencia (colors) produced a beautiful book and a great story. They are resetting the Batman Universe and this book is already being universally praised. I’m not here to review it, I here to talk about a panel that stopped me in my tracks, the picture of Batman and the boys. Here it is:

My problem with the picture is it is changing Batman way too much. Green Lantern hardly changed a lick and the rest all needed to be overhauled, but Batman was great. I know they (DC Editorial) hated how old Batman appeared, but now he looks like if he is 30 it is probably too old. Dick Grayson looks like a 15 year old – really – he replaced Batman, how did this skinny punk replace Batman at all. Tim Drake is maybe a ninth grader and Damian is still in elementary school.

I know they wanted a younger Batman, but this takes it too far. It takes it way too far for Dick Grayson. It gets even more confusing when I opened up Nightwing as in that book Dick appears to be a grown up.
Do not, I repeat do not get this wrong, this is a Grade A, terrific story and a great opening in what should be a terrific series and this is DC’s best book of the New 52 so far, but let Dick be a man. Hell let him be as tall as Bruce, just not as wide. Also let Bruce have a little age on him, he doesn’t have to be 50, but he can be 35 or even 40. Steve Dillon when he started PunisherMax was drawing Frank way too young, maybe Greg will get it better down the road, unless this is a DC edict, but then why is Dick an adult in Nightwing?

Why do comics suck? Because DC wants us to believe in a cohesive universe, but can’t even be consistent within the same family of books. I’ll chalk it up to growing pains, but it really bugged me.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Severed #2 – A Review

Severed #2
Writer Scott Snyder & Scott Tuft
Art Attila Futaki
Publisher Image Comics
Price $2.99
This series has an unease and creepiness to it that is hard to generate in a comic. I often think that horror plays better in a written book as the horror is on a more personal level. What we can generate in our imagination often is the scarcest stuff out there. I also think a moving picture can generate suspense and therefore static pictures lose some of the visceral feeling that a horror story should generate, Severed overcomes those limitations and manages to tell a great story and yet put a chill in your heart. 

The story is set in 1916 and is the story of a young boy in search of his father. This issue specifically records the struggles of Jack in recovering his possessions from an older hobo on a train and his bonding with his friend Sam. As Sam and he reach the city and await the show where Jack hopes to met his father we find out Sam is actually Samantha. She disguises herself as a boy to keep from being picked on even more as Jack and Sam are both only around 12 years old. Jack fails to actually met his Dad and is given a lead on where he maybe, Sam concocts a plan for Jack to play the fiddle to earn them traveling money. At the same time the killer is on the loose and the grim remains of another child have been found. The killer called the Salesman, as that is the guise he uses, is a cannibal and we get to see the results of his appetites. Although Jack and the killer’s path have not crossed we know the inevitable is coming.

Friday, September 9, 2011

13 Number Ones Week One – Ranking The New DCU

My week in review on the Comics And website will go into other details but my initial impression of the new DCU is that the whole thing is a very, very strange experience. As a long term DCU fan nothing could have gotten me ready for the total and confused morass that the new DCU has become. These thirteen first issues show a picture of the DCU being totally changed. Some of the changes are good and some may not be, but I have no sense of the DCU as a cohesive whole at this point. Right now of the thirteen the way I rank them is as follows:

1)      Animal Man. I know DC is cutting back on Vertigo and that Animal Man was one of the early DCU books that got pushed into the Vertigo side, but this book read like a Vertigo series. The art had an indie feel to it and the “rot” of the flesh world was more of a horror element.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Importance Of Dying

You wanna know why comic books suck?
Because no one ever stays dead.

How is a story supposed to be entertaining when there is no risk involved. It's like watching a tightrope walker with a safety net five feet below them. It's like watching sharks in an aquarium. It's like drinking a can of Tab. Who gives a shit who the X-Men are fighting if there isn't even a chance that Wolverine isn't going to die.

Yeah yeah, I know- Comics are a business and you can't kill of the flagship characters. That's big movie bucks. So don't kill Superman or Batman or Wolverine or Spider Man. You can make other stories with new people. Invest some time (a year or three) in character development and a story. Make the public fall in love with the character and the story he is in. Then kill them. And then don't resurrect them with magic or other dimensions or spells or voodoo bullshit. Make them stay dead, make their deaths mean something to a story.

Why do you think The Wire and The Soprano's are the two greatest shows in television history? Because you never knew who was going to die next. That's what keeps tension going, what makes a story pop, but I don't read comics often, and no one should listen to me, but I will warn you in advance, don't come complaining to me in 10 years after Daredevil returns from hell to fight zombie Bullseye for the 50 billionth time, because I already told you why comic books suck.

Monday, September 5, 2011

So I Told My Wife She’s Been Retro-Conned

It is sad but true. My wife did not take it very well, but I told her I still loved her and she would be a supporting character in my life and maybe a love interest at times, but she will stay in the mix. I told her it wasn’t a divorce; it was just that all of the marketing data was pointing to the fact that my life would be more interesting if the romantic interest angle was in my story line. I mean with her knowing all my secrets it is not as interesting as me trying to hide my double identity from a new girl. How much fun is it to have to make lame ass excuses to get out of a date, hide my costume from her or hurriedly leave some event? Heck I told her not to worry as with a retro-con we will never have been married so she won’t miss what she never had.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Justice League #1 – A Review

The bold, the brash, the exciting, the new formula Coke is here and ready to take the world by storm. What, it is the new DCU, errr okay. Take two.

The new DCU starts here and it started five years ago, where the heck was I?  Justice League starts five years ago and is about Green Lantern and Batman meeting for the first time. They meet, they exchange quips, they fly over Victor Stone’s high school on the way to Metropolis to investigate if the problem they are dealing with involves Superman and they meet Superman. That is about it for $4 and 24 pages of story and art.

Let’s start with the good part, Jim Lee’s artwork. Jim’s work can be super busy, but it is dynamic story telling at its best and for slam bang super hero action, Jim is hard to beat. Of course Scott Williams is always Lee’s main inker and does a dynamite job of making Jim’s pencils look their absolute best. No major DC super hero book would be complete without Alex Sinclair coloring the book. Alex is hands down the best color artist for this type of work. Alex’s work always enhances the work and is a master with any type of panel. This book has tons of special coloring effects too make the contrast between GL and Batman work. If you just flip through the pages and look at the pictures the words are almost superfluous. Finally as much as I not sure about what they are doing with Superman, the last panel of Superman standing there in his new costume looks pretty damn cool.