Friday, April 30, 2010

Mighty Avengers 36

Its not a surprise when I say I am in the tank for Dan Slott. His run on Mighty Avengers has been more enjoyable than Pak and Van Lente's Hercules. Additionally, he more understadably communicates more information between panels than Grant Morrison does. A lot of that second point comes from the incredible artwork of Khoi Pham, but Dan's writing, or absence of certain scenes in this case, shows how you can create good comics that rest on high points and avoiding writing about trivial details that don't advance the story in a meaningful way, or provide understanding of the story as a whole.
Between pages 7-8 Ultron reveals what he has done to corrupt Jan in the underspace, and rather than have 2-3 pages devoted to him enacting this plan, we get a suspenseful scene as he reveals what he has done and Slott/Pham place this revelation beautifully on the last panel of a page you have to turn in order to continue the story.
This is one of about 3 examples I can cite in this book of how Dan cuts out needless information and moves us along to the next high point in the story, and does it in a way the reader can follow.
I could continue to go on and on about this man, but, I dont think I have to. If you want fun comics that move at a breakneck pace and bring the most action/plot to you as can be fit in a 22 page comic, Dan Slott is that writer.

So now lets briefly mention Khoi Pham and this setting. Given that half the book takes place on Jan in Underspace, Pham has to utilize white space to its fullest. It is a background that, I believe, is meant for defining shots and heightens their meaningfulness. White space around a character means that your attention has to go on that object. Your eyes cannot wander and if the artwork/posing/fighting is not up to snuff, white space can be a detriment to the enjoyment of the comic. Pham uses white space so effectively in this book with the most awesome scene being the one on the 12th story page with Hank Pym launching off the tower of Jocastas at Ultron, who is floating in white space above Janet Van Dyne's body/universe. The Panel placement was superb, and the whitespace really forces you to focus on Pym due to the character's size and the contrast of Red and Yellow against white.

Just a great book all around and my favorite of the week.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Amazing Spider-Man 629

Well. That audio review thing blew right up in my face. And my procrastination, too.

Not a bad way to cap off this story. I'm a little bit hesitant to completely suspend my disbelief in the way this book asks me. I tend to shy away from a series of fateful coincidences that this book ended up becoming. That said, it is a fine story detailing, and continuing, the ongoing redemption of the Juggernaut in the Marvel U, which I wholeheartedly endorse under the auspice that the character is actually growing and evolving in a medium which embraces stagnation. Not to say that is a bad thing. Its just an observation. I wholeheartedly endorse this change just because of the fact it is change and it has honestly been one of the better things that came out of Chuck Austen's Uncanny X-Men run, and most enduring (looking in the direction of my run of "The Draco")

Meanwhile, in the backup story, we get a preview of the return of the Lizard! Well, I'm excited for it.

Friday, April 9, 2010

S.H.I.E.L.D. 1

So, hickman messes with Continuity and does a MASSIVE retcon of the Marvel U in this book. However, that is fine considering no one has bothered to really do much with ancient Marvel history outside of the FF, Dr. Doom, and Apocalypse. Really, Hickman is just tapping into an unmined vein of opportunity. Considering the technology that exists in the current Marvel World, why can't we accept that Leonardo DaVinci is the Reed Richards/Tony Stark of the 15th century?

Anyway, Hickman wallows in continuity in this book, but you dont have to be aware of continuity to enjoy this piece. I liked the special guest appearance of Apocalypse and Moon Knight in the ancient Egypt scene, and that was some nice similarities between Imhotep and Captain America.

There is a lot of Cosmic imagery in the book, Night/Day dichotamy, and Heliocentrism. All of it is not explained thoroughly in the first issue, but Hickman has set up a fabulous spread for our visual palettes to enjoy. Dustin Weaver really turns in gorgeous art-work on this book

It would not surprise me if the events and history told in this book begin having an impact on Hickman's other works in Secret Warriors and Fantastic Four. I'd dare say he is carving out a little niche of the universe for himself to play in. There's more that could be shared between this book and Secret Warriors rather than Fantastic Four, given the fact Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. is featured in Secret Warriors, but I would not be surprised if Hickman takes some of what he has in this book and runs with it in the Fantastic Four. Reed Richards and company have already traveled in time to Ancient Egypt and Doom is not too above using time travel for his own ends, so the events alluded to in this book may be better fleshed out in future FF books. One thing is for certain, though. This book may get me to buy into FF if this is a supposition that pans out to be true.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spider-Man: Fever 1

Recently I've taken to reading "Essential Doctor Strange Volume 1" and this book compares favorably to those Stan Lee/Steve Ditko comics. Brendan McCarthy's artwork is pleasantly surreal when featuring Doctor Strange.
I was a bit unsure about the plot. As far as I am concerned, the Arachnix were an entirely new entity being introduced into the Marvel world. I tend to not embrace limited stories that don't feature villains I care about, or, rather, I need really good writing to truly keep my interest given my lack of familiarity with the antagonists. I hate mysteries because of that belief.
Right, back to the book. McCarthy does the proper thing in characterizing the Arachnix through the use of curious language at seemingly bizarre moments. Aside from the chanting of "Harrah Harrah" the little droppings of phrases such as "I shall have it with custard" and "It will be such a strange meat" are just sliiiiiightly off base of normalcy in their use. That helps evoke a more alien feeling towards the Arachnix rather than their looks, to me.
On the whole, the book is good. It is a solid beginning to a limited series, and I always welcome more stories featuring Doctor Strange.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Punisher 15

I'm not going to rehash anything about whether or not Frankencastle is supposed to be a good or bad, or whatever. Rick Remender is doing things with this character that no one could have expected that they would want to see in a Punisher book. That's the only thing that needs to be said about that.

Now, onto the content of the book itself. Once Remender is able to cut loose with the premise of the book, the amount of wacky that permeates every page of this comic is something to behold. There's Frank Castle riding a D&D Red Dragon. There's Frank shooting up WWII Nazi and Russian zombies. There's Hellsgaard. Everything you need to make this enjoyable is in here.

Regarding Hellsgaard: I read about how this villain is another example of what would happen if there are two Punishers in the world and they meet each other. Ennis covered that, I believe, and probably better. Hellsgaard is nothing like the Punisher in terms of motivation. Hellsgaard did lose his family to monsters and has vowed to kill all monsters. And if, in that last sentence, you replace "Hellsgaard" with "Frank Castle" and replace all the letters "n" with "b" you will have the summary of the Punisher. You know what though? They aren't the same guy. Hellsgaard is more akin to a racist than anything else, and Fraction covered that in War Journal, while Punisher is a killer of people for their deeds. Not the same. Do both men hate? Absolutely. But then that'd mean Wolverine is similar to the Punisher, too, and Magneto, as well.

Siege books for 3-31

Dark Wolverine 84
Reiterating what I have said before: If you have been reading Dark Avengers and thinking that Bendis, for all the time he spends of dialog, has not really characterized that group of maniacs, then you need to read this book.
Daniel Way is writing some of his best work on this title with Marjorie Liu. I've had no prior introduction to Daken outsid eof this title and his first appearance in Wolverine Origins. Yet, as I read more of these Dark Wolverine books, I'm becomig more and more intrigued by Daken. This is a guy that liks to make everyone around him uncomfortable, it seems, so that it puts him in a power position. It creates, honslty, great scenes of ballsiness, such as deep throating Bullseye, that can shock the reader once they see it.
As a Siege tie-in, the Dark Wolverine books haven't done much. They're fever dreams and imaginary stories Daken is experiencing throughout the Siege. They don't have any real impact on the greater Siege story, which is a shame.
If I could be reading the adventures of crazy-nihilist-aranchist Daken and the Furies, I'd probably keep buying into the book. Right now, though, this 3 part arc has got me intrigued enough to look into the past stories from the year of Osborn's Dark Reign, and I might keep my eyes further on the title. Yet, I'm disappointed that the Furies and Daken as "Menace of the gods" won't be any further explained since Siege is finished next month and Dark Wolverine will be busy with a new story to tell.

New Mutants 11

This is a bit of an ancillary tale to Siege, but, over-all, the story was good.

Norse goddess Hel calls in her mark from Dani Moonstar after giving her the strength to fight Ares back in Utopia, and, really, its not that big of a deal. Now, I'm coming at this with, really, no prior experience of what Hel is like in the Marvel U, but if all she wants Dani to do is pick up some dead spirits, Dani is being, pretty much, a petulant bitch. Really, in the grand scheme of things, Hel doesn't give her a morally difficult, ethically ambiguous job. I honestly have no sympathy for the spot Moonstar puts herself in at the end of the book.

It is good, though, to see Kieron Gillen write more stories involving the Norse Gods. His Thor run is absolutely great and I wil be sad to see him leave Thor. He does a great job characterizing the Norse pantheon through their dialog while in action, and that's what I love most about Gillen. But you also have to tip your hat to Niko Henrichon's art and how much it conveys to the reader. Although, he still has men that look a lot like Jay Leno. Seriously, the chins of the men in his book are always pretty massive.

And, in the end, everything gets reverted to normal. The New Mutants, after-all, need to get hopping into "Second Coming" next month. However, that doesn't do anything to prevent this from being a good stand alone New Mutants story.